A few words before we get into the subject matter. The subject of this letter has to do with Ephraim's diaspora, or exile if you will. Perhaps there is a purpose and a reason for what seems to be a delay in the return of the House of Ephraim to the Land. Bear in mind that you didn't know that you were outside of your homeland until just a few years ago (when you discovered your Israelite identity), and your forebears were even less aware that they were living in exile.
An Important Message from Hosea
Rabbi Mordechai Franko, the head rabbi of a Zionist yeshiva in Hispin which is in the Golan Heights, has been teaching recently the book of Hosea. Singling out chapters 1-3 as a stand-alone unit about the house of Israel/Ephraim, Rabbi Franko has opened it up in a fresh way, making it very applicable to our day. After chiding, rebuking, and taking action against faithless Israel, in 2:14 YHVH lures her to the wilderness, there to renew and restore their original relationship. Since the desert is the place where this relationship first started, it is only right to return there for making amends. Jeremiah 2:2 reminds us of the 'original' event: "I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown" (Jer. 2:2). Thus, the (renewed) betrothal is also to take place in the wilderness, outside the land (2:19-20). The restored relationship must be cemented in trust and a genuine love-motivated heart, and not by any selfish interests. The wedding and its consummation will occur in the future, in the land, which is being prepared for Ephraim's return (2:18). In the meantime, the betrothal in the diaspora is a necessary phase before the marriage can happen. YHVH's heart toward Israel is one of loving-kindness and mercy, while she, for her part, is to display righteousness and justice (v. 19). In verse 20 emphasis is put on mutual faithfulness – only in this way can the relationship be restored in its proper manner.
The proverbial scenario of chapter 2 is repeated in chapter 3. In verse 2 the prophet is told to love an adulteress woman, whom he sanctifies/buys with a number of measures of barley. Barley, as we recall, was what the jealous husband was to bring on behalf of his wife to the priest (Number 5:14-15). In verse 3 a period of testing is described. The relationship, again in a form of betrothal, is marked by fidelity and love but there is no wedding yet. According to the description in verse 4, the sons of Israel "abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim". In other words, a substantial time period is spent outside the land, in the diaspora or exile without sovereignty or a central worship place. Again, both parties are to display their love and faithfulness toward one another during this season, if the marriage is ever to be consummated.
Verse 5 (compare to 2:21-23) speaks to the final return of Ephraim to Elohim, and their seeking "David their king". Ephraim is now seen as accepting Judah and its leadership, implying of course King Yeshua but also the house that He hails from. When these two parts of the Bride are united as one and "appoint" the Bridegroom as their "head… they shall come up out of the land for great will be the day of Jezreel [YHVH's sowing]" (Hosea 1:11). So, if the present-day "life outside the homeland" is of great necessity, according to this exposition of Hosea's prophecy, then being in the "wilderness of the peoples", per Ezekiel 20:33-38, becomes very relevant and may just be the times we are living in - a time when the diaspora experience is highly intensified, as shown by this passage:
"As I live, says Adonai YHVH, 'surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered [is this a proverbial 'taking out', meaning, being extracted from the world system?], with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,' says Adonai YHVH. 'I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am YHVH'" (Ezekiel 20:33-38).
Here it may be added, that the ones who do not rebel will enter the land.
Once more, if indeed these are the very days we are living in, we must heed these words more seriously than ever, wherever we are (of necessity), as this is the betrothal stage with our Bridegroom and thus need to be fully devoted to Him, and wholly engaged (pun intended) in the process. After all, as mentioned above, Ephraim has only recently discovered his identity, and therefore the diaspora experience is very new to most. Therefore, an essential requirement is to consent to the present YHVH-ordained conditions and redeem the time (ref. Eph. 5:15) to its fullest extent in order to be made ready for the marriage feast in the homeland.
Thank you, Ephraim, and Rabbi Franko! This resonates. May we indeed redeem the time just now, as we eagerly anticipate the glorious Return. Redeeming the time includes the daily exercise of Faith in all the promises of God.ReplyDelete
You have once more "Hit the nail on the head"!!! Thank you for discerning the times and making it clear to us. My spirit resonates with this very much. Blessings!!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing with us this timely word! ~Ed.ReplyDelete
Lately, I've had these words running through my mind, "As in heaven so on earth." You are indeed speaking of this! Thank you once again for encouraging us to have YHVH set out rudder as He is the captain of our ship and in due time will bring us home & every trial in the diaspora prepares us to become transformed into the image of His Son.ReplyDelete
Speculative, of course, but perhaps the reason that Israel was closed to outsiders, aka tourists, is that Ephraim is not ready to "enter the land" just yet. My wife and I were planning a trip there in November 2021 but alas, our trip had to be cancelled due to COVID19 Lockdowns there. Could it be that even we weren't ready, or is He waiting for more of His people to discover their true identity ? Maybe, but I know in the last year we have sought the Lord more intensely and also sought to understand just who we really are as we have, as you pointed out, only begun the discovery of our Israelite predecessors. Most of that has come through reading what Yair Davidy has written in "Origins" and other works. And what a blessing it has been to discover your writings on this journey. May He richly bless your days! And we thank you!ReplyDelete