Saturday, November 1, 2014

Has the Word of Elohim Failed?

I have been really challenged this week with some questions about the Ephraimite identity. As most of you know, recently there have been some more attacks against this teaching, and the teachers who are espousing, advocating, promoting the true history of the Word of Elohim and its connection to the house of Jacob or the whole House of Israel. 

In order to build a structurally sound house, firm foundations have to be laid. It is with this thought in mind that, I am in the process of reexamining the Ephraimite/two house truths and movement.  Does it have those firm, rock-solid foundations?  I think most of us have exhausted the proof from the Tanach (“Old Testament”) and Yeshua’s parables and other sayings from the Gospels, but that is not sufficient without the apostolic writings.  One has to have at least two or three witnesses in order to establish a matter. The apostolic ingredient, therefore, is the catalyst, or agent that makes this mixture firm and hard to disprove.  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of Elohim,  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua the Messiah Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-20).  Yeshua is not only the cornerstone, He is the foundation as He is the Spirit of the Word and the Messenger that proceeded from Elohim:  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Yeshua Messiah [and His anointing](1 Corinthians 3:11).

Since Yeshua is the Word, we have to be very careful that we do not pull Him apart into a “past” or “old Yeshua” and a “new Yeshua”.  “Yeshua Messiah is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  The consistency of the Tanach and Renewed Covenant must be flawless.  However, with two thousand years of a non-Israelite/Gentile Christianity it is very hard to alter, change, or even modify the commonplace interpretations and translations to a recognizable connection between the Torah, the Prophets, the Gospels, and apostolic writings. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to try and do so, with the help and guidance of YHVH’s Spirit.  If this is not attempted, the present move of His Spirit, of turning the hearts of the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob back to those forefathers, will be stolen by religious spirits and taken to Babylon/Rome or worse, given over to the hunters’ sword. We heard an Anglican Bishop (charismatic assigned to the Vatican) quote that scripture but meaning back to church fathers. 

“But thanks be to YHVH, ‘For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because YHVH will make a short work upon the earth.’ And as Isaiah said before: ‘Unless YHVH Tzeva’ot had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah’” (Romans 9:28-29).   What seed/sperma is YHVH Tzeva’ot concerned about? Would it not be the one that He Himself singled out, when He said to Abraham that, “in Isaac your seed shall be called” (Genesis 12:21; Hebrews 11:18).  What is so special about Isaac?  Why does the apostle make such a big deal about pointing out this seed of Abraham that came forth from Sarah’s womb?  But not only Sarah’s (womb), also Rebekah’s, who gave birth to a “chosen nation” - Jacob (ref. Romans 9:9-12). Why is YHVH so concerned that His word would be of “no effect” in relationship to this special seed in the Adamic race? 

Many foreigners who were not related to the called and chosen seed had linked themselves with Israel over the centuries and assimilated.  Additionally, there were also those from Abraham’s other wives who had joined Israel. Thus the apostle had to clarify and deal with this issue of Israel’s true identity:  “But it is not that the word of Elohim has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of Elohim; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.  For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son’” (Romans 9:6-9, emphases added).   YHVH came to the dead and barren womb of Sarah and raised up an egg, a seed of woman in which Abraham’s “sperma” fertilized.  Thus Isaac was not only a child of Abraham, but also YHVH’s miracle child.

One of the reasons why the Tanach is not considered carefully and not taken literally is because the above scripture is interpreted as pointing to the one born of Miriam, and not of Sarah. The Church felt compelled to explain the apostles’ writings from the stand point of replacement theology or universalism, thus any seed/life will do, as long as it can be joined by and to the doctrinal interpretation of the institution. This is what Nimrod did when he built Babel and rallied all the family of Noah, except Shem’s and Ever’s family, into His kingdom of the “mixed multitude”.   If Elohim has indeed started over and abandoned His covenants and promises with the forefathers, why would He have gone through all the trouble in the first place?   Why would He replace His promised son Isaac and His “chosen seed” Jacob with a mixed multitude? 

Why should we pay any attention to the “Old Testament” prophets? Perhaps Peter gives us a good reason to do so, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of Elohim spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).  Again, in the book of Acts we find the following statement: "whom heaven must receive (in reference to Yeshua) until the times of restoration of all things, which Elohim has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (3:21).

Yeshua came to redeem and restore this chosen Family of Jacob and will set up His kingdom in those whom YHVH predestined to be the called and chosen, as Moses prophesied: "… a holy people to YHVH your Elohim; YHVH your Elohim has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6).  Why would the Almighty abandon His call upon His people and substitute them with a mixture of some kind?  This obviously would weaken and even replace His own testimony as being faithful in keeping His covenants with and promises to the forefathers.   "YHVH delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their seed after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 10:15).  “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel" (Exodus 19:6).

In examining the writings of the apostles, we have to keep in mind that they did not have the interpretations of the “church fathers” from which to draw their understanding or conclusions.  Everything that they learned was by the Holy Spirit of Messiah and was based and founded on the Tanach’s facts and truths. When encountering Old Testament quotations in the Renewed Covenant, a principle of referring to the original contexts of these verses must be followed. The apostles may only use a verse or two from an entire chapter, but without a shadow of a doubt they had read, studied, and contemplated the whole book and its message.  Let’s take for example two scriptures from Hosea, who for some reason is ‘popular’ with Paul and Peter: “And Elohim said to him, Call her name Lo-Ruhamah: for I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel and I will utterly take them away” (Hosea 1:6).  “Then said Elohim, Call his name Lo-Ammi: for you are not my people, and I will not be your Elohim” (Hosea 1:9).  

Was Peter referring to the same people whom Hosea was addressing, when he wrote: “who once were not a people but are now the people of Elohim, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:10)?  Or was he speaking about a “mixed multitude”?

 What was Paul thinking when he quoted the following from Hosea: "And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people (Lo Ami),' There they shall be called sons of the living Elohim" (Romans 9:26; Hosea 1:10)?  The apostle then continues with a quote from Isaiah:  “Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved’” (Romans 9:27, 10:22).  The Hebrew word translated “saved” is actually “return” (shuv), and also means “repent”.  Was Paul referring to a “mixed multitude”, or was he sticking to the literal seed of Isaac and Jacob becoming so numerous that it would be impossible to count their offspring, especially when they have lost their identity and have become “Lo Ami”?  If he were numbering non-Israelites he would have said so. Additionally, in Romans 9:6-9 Paul is defining the true Israel of Elohim: “That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of Elohim; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.  For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son’” (vs. 8-9). Paul was not about to make the prophetic word of Elohim of no effect.  We too should not be quick to jump to the ‘mixed multitude’ conclusion or idea, as a mixture is descriptive of Babylon and replacement theology.  It also has the effect of diluting the faithfulness and righteous judgments of the Almighty Elohim.

Paul’s citation from Isaiah 10:22, in regards to the numerous multitudes, is not an allegory, nor a “type or shadow” (literary) device but a statement of fact, a reality, confirming the covenant to the forefathers as well as the blessing to Joseph/Ephraim: “…and his seed shall become a multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:19).  Being the One “Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 51:13), when He makes a promise YHVH also oversees His word all the way to its implementation and completion.

Did Elohim not say that He “watches over His word to perform it”? “Therefore thus says YHVH, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now grow pale; but when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will hallow My name, and hallow the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the Elohim of Israel’” (Isaiah 29:22-23 emphasis added).  “For YHVH has ransomed Jacob, and redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he.  And they shall come and shout for joy on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the bounty of YHVH…” (Jeremiah 31:11).  Then again from Isaiah: “So the ransomed of YHVH shall return and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (51:11 emphasis added).

Obviously one only returns to a place if he had been there sometime in the past. So how were we in Zion? The key seems to be in the returning, first to our identity and then to the place called “Zion”, which received its name from the people who were likewise named - “Zion”.  “And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, that I may plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, 'You are My people"  (Isaiah 51:16).  

Let us take a look at the beginning of this chapter (Isaiah 51), as it relates to the previous quote from verse 16.  The prophet’s opening statement is very interesting: "Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek YHVH: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.  Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him" (Isaiah 51:1-2).  Who is it that is being addressed here?  Why “look to Abraham” and “to Sarah”?  Is it because of YHVH’s provision of the female side of Isaac’s conception?  Was that ovum in Sarah’s womb the “pit” from which we were dug?  Is YHVH calling the female side of Isaac’s life “Zion”? Take note, this is a question, and not an unequivocal conclusion. By the same token, is the “rock” that is mentioned here the faith and life of our father Abraham?

Let us examine this label, or name, that YHVH places over the head of His people - “Zion”.  Interestingly, many in the world body of nations look upon its derivation - “Zionism” - as being synonymous with racism. In a totally different way, they may have a point… Peter quotes from the Torah in order to identify these redeemed as: “…a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for Elohim's own possession” (1Peter 2:9; Exodus 19:6).  Scripture may not be politically correct in the eyes of the world and its religious theology, but YHVH does identify Zion as a race that came from the womb of Sarah. And it does say that, the redeemed will return to Zion (ref. above), as they have been “redeemed by the precious blood of their Messiah” (1 Peter 1:19), Who is their kinsman Redeemer and the very foundation of “Zion”. Therefore thus says YHVH Elohim: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation…’” (Isaiah 28:16; Mathew 21:42; Romans 9:11; 1Peter 2:6). 

Both Paul and Peter use some very significant words when describing YHVH’s point of view vis a vis His people, calling them: “foreknown, predestined, called, chosen”:  “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).  

Sometimes it is hard to wrap our brain around the fact that the apostolic writings came by revelation understanding from the Tanach (Old Testament).  The New Covenant writers didn't have a concordance with cross references to interpret things out of context.  But unfortunately we have been influenced by the church fathers’ and other theologians’ teachings that, the Scriptures prior to Yeshua’s time are mere types or shadows and allegories with the substance being fulfilled in “Christ”.  The “Old” has become irrelevant as it was “nailed to the cross” and has passed away.   According to this teaching, Yeshua and the Holy Spirit brought forth new ideas not related to the Torah and to the prophets, while this new reality is consummated by a religion called Christianity.  However, as mentioned above, the foundation is built on the apostles and prophets with Yeshua being the chief corner stone.  Paul warns: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Yeshua Messiah” (1 Corinthians 3:11), for He is the “Word”. What did Paul mean by: “Do we then make void the Torah through faith? Certainly not! Elohim forbid! May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah” (Romans 3:31)?

The restoration of our identity as the “people of Zion”, descendants of our father Isaac ben Avraham who fathered in the womb of his barren wife Rebekah a chosen nation “Jacob”, has created a great dilemma.  Most of those who have come out of the darkness of religion into Yeshua’s marvelous light are faced with a great problem, what do we do with the Torah of Moses? What did Paul mean by "we establish the Torah"? What is our relationship to it as redeemed Israelites?  As mentioned above, has YHVH’s instruction, His Word, become irrelevant as it was “nailed to the cross” and is passing away? Or are they instructions for us to live by? It is almost embarrassing to ask such a question as Yeshua, quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3, says: “It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Elohim.'” (Matthew 4:4).

Instead of trying to explain what our relationship is to the Torah now that we are redeemed Israelite, I would like to ask another question: why did YHVH have to appear at Mount Sinai in such a dramatic and grandiose way at the giving of the Torah? Let us revisit the account: “Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled... Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because YHVH descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.  And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder Moses spoke” (Exodus 19:16;18-19).  

YHVH’s appearance in this manner and in this way reminds me of a description in the book of Daniel: "His throne [YHVH's] was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him" (Daniel 7:9-10).  Obviously the Divine appearance at Mount Sinai was no small matter. It was as if the very throne room itself came with His presence.

The Almighty’s presence, power and authority showed up on this earth in a cosmos/world that was governed by Satan’s principalities, powers, and rulers of the spirit world of darkness.  The people could not even come close to the mountain lest they die.   YHVH’s arrival was more than just making a covenant with Israel (as important as that was), as He already knew that they were totally incapable of living by its conditions. As a matter of fact no man could live by these Spiritual Laws. Because humanity was sold out to sin, they were slaves to it and in bondage to that spiritual realm.  Thus we must take a look at YHVH’s 'arrival' from an additional spiritual perspective.  

In the first chapter of Genesis, we see that Elohim is already giving Torah instructions to His newly created Man by telling him to “be fruitful multiply and fill the earth,” and to have dominion and rule over the fifth and sixth day creatures.  However, nothing is said about ruling over one another.  Adam’s children were given instructions to offer up to Elohim their first-fruit and first born.  Where did they get these instruction?  Most likely from their father Adam who had eaten from the Tree of Life (YHVH’s instruction/Word) while he was still living in the garden before 'getting the boot'.  However, there was one Torah injunction in regards to the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil: "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17).
It is very important that we understand what actually took place there.  As we know from the creation story, “darkness was on the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2). Satan’s kingdom was not allowed to interfere in the creation, nor in the cosmos of Adam’s dominion. As long as man walked in obedience to the Creator, he would be a channel of YHVH’s life and light to the rest the living creatures.  However, the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge was declared deadly should the man and woman eat of it.  Why was Satan so interested in Adam and Eve partaking of this tree, what was in it for him?  He knew that if he could get the humans to partake of the forbidden tree, he would have access to their lives spiritually and would be able to build his spiritual kingdom through them - they would become his slaves.   The apostle explains: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). When sin entered this world, Satan became the prince and power of the air, while man came under his dominion being ruled by the laws of sin and death.  "Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam" (Romans 5:14).

Before his 'fall' Adam was not 'under' law as his nature was the same as his Creator's and therefore the law was part and parcel of his very being. He was manifesting in every way what we call the "fruit of the Spirit": “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). However, once Adam disobeyed the consequences followed instantly; when the nature of sin entered him, the laws of sin and death came into operation. But in spite of this sad reality, this was Elohim's design. He created his son - Adam - as a natural seed that was "sown in corruption," but will be" raised in incorruptible"  It [Adam the seed] is sown in dishonor, but will be "raised in glory. It is sown in weakness," but will be "raised in powerIt is sown a natural body," but will be "raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). Thus Elohim did not impute sin to humanity from Adam until Moses. He had orchestrated it, so that, the real culprit the prince of this dark world would be judged. 
When Elohim showed up at Mount Sinai a change was brought to bear in this arrangement. YHVH’s Firstborn nation Israel, a chosen seed (Jacob) that He had just redeemed from bondage and slavery and guided to this mountain, would be the first to experience this change. YHVH's appearance on the mountain was introducing a new 'factor' that He was causing to enter this world and to change its conditions. So what was it that took place then: "Moreover the Torah/law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20 emphasis added).  What does it mean “Torah entered”?  Entered into what?  The Torah entered into this cosmos/world that already had existing laws - the laws of sin and death.   For the "entrance of sin into this world" the Greek word he used is “eiserchomai,”  but for the "entrance of Torah" that word is modified to “pareiserchomai” which means, aside from "entering," also "parallel to" or "alongside of."  Along side of what?  The 'entrance' of Torah into this world implied that it would be 'alongside' of that which entered previously, that is sin. This created a new reality, a different 'arrangement.' What did this new arrangement mean legally and otherwise? Do we not observe Torah laws after the 'fall' and before Sinai? Of course we do: Cain and Abel knew to bring sacrifices and offerings, Noah knew to do the same. The latter also knew about clean and unclean animals. His sons knew that they were not to look on their father's nakedness. And it says about Abraham that he kept YHVH's Torah. So what difference did it make to mankind and his world when the Torah "entered in" at Sinai?

This is why we must see the Torah first and foremost as “spiritual” For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. (Romans 7:14).  


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