Monday, January 26, 2015

Sons of Love

Writing to one of the most persecuted communities of his day, Paul reminded and instructed them regarding their relationship with one another, and how to conduct themselves in everyday affairs:  “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by Elohim to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia [or where ever you are]. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;  that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,  that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12).   There is one thing that is so important to YHVH that He Himself imparts it to us, just as the above scripture points out: “for you yourselves are taught by Elohim to love one another.”

Yeshua also taught us by stating:  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). One of His disciples later expands on that by stating:  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of Elohim; and everyone who loves is born of Elohim and knows Elohim(1 John 4:7 emphasis added). 

Do we have to know YHVH in order to love our brothers?  Perhaps a popular song of a few decades ago gives us the answer: “To Know Him is to Love Him.” This statement surely applies to our Heavenly Father and to Yeshua.  Thus only YHVH Himself can teach us to love one another, and that is by knowing Him.  I find it very interesting that immediately after YHVH makes a declaration of a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, He announces the following: "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know YHVH,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says YHVH” (Jeremiah 31:34).   Isaiah states that, “All your son shall be taught by YHVH, and great shall be their peace.”  (Isaiah 54:13). 

Hosea declares that we of the lost sheep of the house of Israel, who were called “not my people”, will be called “the sons of the living Elohim” (Hosea 1: 9-10).  What characterizes these sons of Elohim is that they share the same nature as their Father, and that is love and peace.  He also said that “I will put My Torah in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33 emphasis added), thus nullifying the curse that He placed upon them/us when He declared that we were “not His people and He was not our Elohim.”

We will never be called the “sons of the living Elohim” if we do not have this love for one another that He imparts to us through the Spirit of the Renewed Covenant, leading, teaching, and revealing to us His divine nature.  (Read 2 Peter 1:2-4)

“All your son shall be taught by YHVH, and great shall be their peace” and may I add, “love” (Isaiah 54:13).

 We feel very strongly that the success or failure of the Etz B’ney Yosef National Congress will be based on the maturity and love referred to in this article.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Our Choices in Prophetic Destiny

Two and half months ago I sent out a tribute to Angus and Batya Wootten, for their many years of service to the restoration of the “Stick of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim and all Israel his companions".  Batya has written several books which many of us have read and have gleaned revelation, confirmation, and encouragement from.  But I think it is time to point out a book that perhaps was published for such a time as this.  Back 14 years ago, Key of David published a book called “Restoring Israel’s Kingdom” by Angus Wootten.  It has been on our bookshelf for almost as many years, but you know how it is, your reading plan just fizzles with all the other intentions regarding ‘yet to be read’ books. 

A couple of weeks ago Rimona walked by the book shelf and this orange and gray object kind of just stuck out and beckoned her.  She grabbed this book, started to glance through it and could not put it down, as the Holy Spirit began to show her how relevant it was to the Bney Yoseph National Congress.  An extended passage that seems most appropriate commences on page 236 starting with the following:  “The Date of Yeshua’s Return?” A little later on the author asks: “Could the actual date of Yeshua’s return hinge on predetermined preparations and achievements made by disciples in the generation that will experience this event? We know our Father has set the date! But whatever that date is, why did He pick it? Is it a date picked randomly, without regard to the course of human events? Or is it a date that is predicated on human events – date determined by the actions and reactions of people? Did our Father pick a particular date because of circumstances He foresaw?

“Free will is a hallmark of Judeo-Christian theology. Man’s eternal destiny is in his own hands. Man has the right and the power to embrace or disregard the call of Yahveh on his life, and to accept, or reject His guidance to accomplish this call.

“Adam and Eve serve as prime examples of two people who chose not to follow the Father’s instructions. However, even though they could have chosen not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Yahveh foreknew what their decision would be, just as He knows the decisions we will make (Genesis 2:17).

Another example that Angus uses is Abraham.  “Yahveh said to Abram, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years’” (Genesis 15:13).  Where did this “four hundred year” time frame come from? What considerations went into its establishment?  … how did Yahveh fulfill His prophecy that Abraham’s descendants would be delivered from Egypt in four hundred years? Did He predestine that they would cry out for deliverance at that time? Did He create “puppets,” so Moses, Aaron, the elders of Israel, all the people of Israel, and a Pharaoh and the Egyptians would play their parts so as to affect deliverance? Or, did Yahveh look into the future and see that it would take four hundred years for the Israelites to have their fill of Egypt, and thus of their own free will, would cry out for deliverance. And that, A Moses, an Aaron, the elders and all the people of Israel, would be willing, at that time, to follow His guidance to the extent necessary to deliver them from Egypt?

“Granted that Yahveh can affect compelling circumstances to accomplish His purposes – such as the ten plagues… However, Pharaoh could have let the Israelites go at any time. He did not have to pursue them, and thus lose his army in the Red Sea. Also Adam and Eve could have rejected the tempter… And Judas could have rejected the offer of twenty pieces of silver.

“If you believe that man has free will, then it is reasonable for you to believe that Yahveh set the four-hundred year date based on looking into the future, and seeing that circumstances, which He undoubtedly created, would generate the free will response from people, sufficient to accomplish His purposes at that time.

“When the fullness of the time came, Yahveh sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). How did Yahveh determine when there was a ‘fullness of time’ for this world-changing event? Did He predestine a Mary, a Joseph, twelve disciples, a Jewish hierarchy, and a Roman Military Governor who would each accomplish the part assigned to them?

“More puppets? Or, once again, did Yahveh look into the future and see that the circumstances which He created would generate the free will response from people sufficient to accomplish His purposes?

“Thus we conclude that the date has already been set for the return of the Messiah, and for the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. It was set a long time ago when Yahveh looked into the future. He selected a time when circumstances and free will response from people will be sufficient to accomplish His Kingdom restoration.

“Yahveh uses every generation to advance His plan, and He considers many factors in establishing times and seasons for specific events.

“The ancient prophets tell us that the day will come when Ephraim will receive instructions and will repent for the deeds of his youth (Jeremiah 31:19). Then Yahveh will whistle for him, and he will come trembling… Ephraim will once again be like a mighty man (Zechariah 10:7). And he will be as numerous as he was before. He will fill the land promised to the Patriarchs, until there is no more room in Israel, Lebanon, and Gilead (Isaiah 49:20; Zechariah 10:10).

“While we cannot foresee all the circumstances Yahveh will forge to fulfill the prophecies concerning Ephraim, we can see certain circumstances beginning to unfold…

“Yahveh has plans for our welfare, to give each one of us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  The accomplishment of His plans, in a manner pleasing to Him, depends on how we respond as He guides us through circumstances He has arranged for our lives. Like our forefathers in ancient Egypt, will we cry out for deliverance from our Egypt? In our day, will we take advantage of the opportunity to be numbered among the fishermen whom Yahveh is calling to re-gather His people Israel?"
End quote.

To that last question we add: “Will we take advantage of the opportunity to be numbered among the multitude of fish prophesied by our father Jacob, when he blessed Joseph’s sons (Genesis 48:16 literal rendering), especially since the hunters are now well on their way to accomplish theirgoals and assignments (Jeremiah 16:16)?”

We know that it is always a remnant that will choose faith, and will move forward in trust, even into the unknown times and purposes of Israel’s Elohim. 

Denial or Deception

This past week the hunters have been at it again, killing in cold blood 13 people in Paris.  However, what is almost overlooked and treated casually is the slaughter of thousands in the Middle East and Africa.  The Western democratic governments and most of their citizenry are in a state that may be defined as denial. For fear, they do not want to call a spade a spade, neither are they willing to take a look at their own moral depravity, at what the Word of Elohim calls iniquity, and at its consequences that are so clearly presented therein. 

If I may, I would like to tag a scriptural word to the state of denial - “delusion” - “a strong delusion”.  “And for this reason Elohim will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).  Again, “they believed a lie and took pleasure in unrighteousness…“ What is that lie that they are swallowing like poison? It is being persuaded that living in unrighteousness, lawlessness, iniquity and sin constitutes “freedom”.  But the truth is that, this frame of mind leads to bondage and death. 

Scripture states that Satan, the “lawless one”, comes with “all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 emphasis added).   The hunters are on the scene of history again.  Why “again”?  When did they appear in the (recent) past?  It was during the time when YHVH was sending prophets to the scattered stick/nation of the House of Judah.   It was during the time in which the Almighty was about to fulfill His promise, to restore that first stick/nation back to their inheritance in the land of Israel.  However, most of the Jews did not listen. They were caught up in the false idea that living and identifying with the nations was their only hope of surviving as a people, when in fact being vomited out of the land and being dispersed and exiled from their inheritance was one of the worse curse that YHVH placed upon Israel and Judah (see Deuteronomy 28:64-68; Lamentations 5:1-3).  Many of the leaders and elders of the Jewish people were apprehensive and reluctant to get involved in the Zionist Movement.  Why? Simply because they were afraid of stepping out into the unknown.  So, rather than do that, they elected to continue in what they thought would be a predictable, though not always comfortable, form of existence.  Others, were vehemently opposed to being proactive, as they were of the opinion that only the Messiah would restore the Jews back to their home.  

We are now in the beginning stages of the restoration of the “saved House of Joseph” (see Zechariah 10:6). We are hearing the dry bones responding to the Spirit of YHVH blowing on them.  They are clicking together, and the sound of “repent”, return to Shabbat, return to the Torah, return to the forefathers, and return to the national identity and turn away from all unrighteousness can be heard.  There are groups (some officially organized and some not) that are starting to join the bones with sinew, or tendons. But there are many bones that still need connecting, and that means a corporate effort of working together for YHVH’s ultimate purpose of bringing forth the “one new man” in nation-form, with His kingdom rule made apparent.

Concurrently, during these times of the restoration something else is taking place: “The idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people went [and are still going] their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd” (Zechariah 10:2).  The prophets of old warned that the leaders would lead the people astray (see Ezekiel 34) by declaring that, “it is not time to build or take a chance, as we might be seen as fools”, or as some of the Jews grumbled in the days of Nehemiah: "The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall. And our adversaries said, "they will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease" (Nehemiah 4:10-11).  We too have adversaries, in every realm of the political and religious expressions of this world, let alone in the unseen.  These ones are opposed to a nation who would rise up out of the grave as a mighty army, with the light and the glory of their King resident in and upon them. 

This same king (Yeshua) declared that He is the Good Shepherd and kinsman redeemer of the House of Israel, and that He only came to those lost sheep.  The prophets announced that the true Messiah would bring Jacob back and restore him/them to his/their own land.  We obviously are in those days, the days during which the Spirit of YHVH is turning the hearts and ears of the lost sheep so that they can hear the voice/whistle of the Shepherd.  But these are also days of deep darkness: “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; BUT YHVH will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.  The nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:2-3 emphasis added).  If there is no nation with His light, where will these other nations go?

The call to convene a National Congress of the lost sheep of the House of Israel on the Mountains of Ephraim is meant for solidifying the vision and the call, “Let us return and go up to Zion, to YHVH our Elohim”, and to lay the foundations to our national restoration as the stick/etz of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim.

It will take a united effort for everyone to take the sword in one hand and the working tool in the other, and to faithfully and humbly serve and work together for the glory of our great King and Redeemer.