Friday, March 15, 2019

Beyond the Mountain (part III)

As we continue to take a closer look at our ancestors’ Mount Sinai experience, let us go back to Moses’ first encounter with YHVH on the mountain in Exodus 19.  Elohim calls him up, telling him to inform “the house of Jacob and the children of Israel” who they are as an “am segula”, with a very specific calling to be a kingdom of priests and a set-apart nation to Elohim.  This calling comes with a condition that YHVH’s voice is to obeyed and His covenant observed (ref. Exodus 19:5-6).  What covenant is He referring to?  Since the Sinai agreement had not yet been given, could He be referring to the one mentioned in Exodus 6:4-5? Here is what it says: "I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.”  Again, what covenant did He remember?  “On the same day YHVH made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘To your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates’” (Genesis 15:18). Fast forward, four thousand years later; to date there has not been a treasured priestly people living on the entire covenanted land ruled by Elohim’s kingdom government. 

The one message that all the prophets of old were proclaiming and the fulfillment of which they were hoping to witness, was a massive exodus out of all the nations, made up of the redeemed seed of the forefathers. But where lies the destination of such an exodus? Obviously, based on the pattern of the first exodus and according to the prophets it would be, once again, the covenanted land. This, however, cannot take place unless the lost tribes regain their Israelite national identity and become cognizant of the fact that the ultimate covenant that YHVH desires to fulfill is the one He made with Abram, when He walked between the cut pieces, and later reiterated at Sinai. It is commonly thought that Solomon ruled these areas, and/or that the return of the Jewish people to the present land is the fulfillment of this first covenant, being a prelude to Yeshua’s second coming once the temple is built. 
However, in preparation for Yeshua’s first coming the Almighty began the process almost 500 years beforehand, by raising Cyrus and Darius the Median kings, who amazingly decided to dispatch the Jews, from the house of David and Levi and the tribe of Benjamin, to Jerusalem, and to encourage and support their endeavors to restore the city and rebuild the temple.  And so we see that the times are in YHVH’s hands as He brings about the necessary changes for His segula people, preparing them and the land. We don’t like to think that it could take another 500 years for this expected exodus and for the “glory of all lands” (Israel) to be inhabited by YHVH’s am segula… but then again, the times are in His hand!
What does it mean to be an “am segula”?  Peter quotes the same Sinai scripture in his first letter, making some additions: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (2:9).  In ancient times each king had a special singular and unique treasure of his most precious riches.  He also had his most trusted and capable special force protecting it.  Yeshua also makes mention of this precious treasure in a couple of parables, when He refers to the pearl of great price and to the treasure buried in a field (ref. Matt. 13:44-46).  What does it mean for us once when we realize that we are YHVH’s segula, His treasure, His pearl?

In the eyes of the Almighty Israel is still His kingdom-people.  We cannot separate, add to, or take away from what He has covenanted with the forefathers. It is all one big package deal - land, people, nation, and kingdom government.  Regardless of where the Israelites are (geographically and spiritually), nor who is living on their land or occupying it, YHVH still watches over them and His “eyes are always on it [the land], from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year” (Deut. 11:12). But the condition remains the same, “and it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love YHVH your Elohim and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul…” (v.13) that, you will be allowed to live in the land and possess it.
How are we perceiving our lives in terms of bearing a testimony to being YHVH’s “segula”?  We have written much about the importance of identity, as mentioned even in the previous article of this series, but if we are indeed going to take on the identity from YHVH’s perspective, as Ephraim or Israel, we must recognize that “we do not belong to ourselves” and that we are here for the namesake of the One who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Do we have a keen sense of how our Father-King is looking at us? In another article we mentioned Ezekiel’s warning (in chapter 20), that out of the many who will be called out, no small number will remain in the wilderness of the people/nations outside the covenant land.  So like our Israelite forefathers at Mount Sinai, do we hear “if you will obey My voice and keep my covenant then you will be to Me…”?  How many times did our forebears want to return to Egypt? How many times do we give in to the pull of the world? 
Unfortunately we are not much different than them.  But ‘fortunately’ YHVH takes into account that we are still a stiff-necked people.
To be continued

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