As I was reflecting on the story of our forefather Jacob, after he fled from Laban his father-in-law, one word arrested my attention - “Machanyim” (“two camps”, Genesis 32:7). In the Song of Solomon (6:13) there is an interesting verse with this very word in it, a word which I think expresses well what is happening today in the relationship between the two camps of the house Jacob: “Return, return, O Shulamite; Return, return, that we may look upon you! What would you see in the Shulamite -- as it were, the dance of the two camps?” (Song of Solomon 6:13) (compare Jeremiah 31:21b; 22b).
The book of Ezekiel, especially chapter 37, has been gaining much attention, and with it controversy. The dry bones of the whole House of Israel are being breathed upon by the Spirit and are coming alive to their identity all over the nations of this world. Many attempts are being made to gather them and make organizations and congregations of various kinds. However, as the dance goes on, we see how out of step we are with one another. Ephraim is stumbling over his own feet in order to keep his balance, while Judah is doing their own version of the dance and at the same time trying to figure out who Ephraim is on the dance floor. The Jews have always known about the lost tribes in the nations, and for years were looking for tribes or people groups that had some kind of Jewish traditions. But in the past few years out of the woodwork of church pews came believers in Yeshua who claimed to be ‘Torah keeping Ephraimites’ or descendants of lost tribes. This turned Judah’s waltz into a twirling tailspin which they are trying to recover from, or at least catch their breath.
The music of the prophets of old is playing songs and concertos loud and clear over the airways of the Spirit of prophecy, thus drawing more and more attention to verses such as are in Ezekiel 37. The first verses speak of the dry bones of the house of Israel, then the prophet is told to go out and pick up two branches. The first of which is the etz/branch of Judah. Once he has done that, he is told to go and get another etz/branch and write on it, “Yosef”. He then takes the two into one hand and holds them up together, alongside the other, that they may be one in his hand (ref. 37:17). Because most of us rely on translations, we trust that some words like “one” means that the two have become one, yet the Hebrew does not bear that out. A closer look at that verse in Hebrew reveals a different idea. The word that is translated join is “qarav” and actually means “draw near” one (‘echad’) to the other ‘echad’, so “that they become one in your hand”. Here again the ‘one’ in Hebrew is actually in plural form - achadim – ‘ones’. That is why when the “sons of your people” see the hand of the prophet holding the two branches they ask “what are these to you?” and not “what is this?” The clarification, or answer to “what are these” is in a statement found further in the chapter, but stated in typical prophetic terminology: “that they would no longer be two kingdoms and two nations”. Thus before they dance together as “one” [echad], they are seen as two nations, two separate governments, two branches, and two separate houses.
How are they going to become one nation and one kingdom? The song and dance continue. YHVH is going to take them and make them one [echad] in His hand. How? By bringing them all back to the land promised in the covenants to their forefathers. Thus from a valley filled with dry bones in graves of disgrace, He raises them up to be filled with His Spirit and life. None of this could have happened, if our Heavenly Father had not had mercy upon the lost sheep of the House of Israel by sending a redeemer to the House. Yeshua paid the price that the law required for forgiveness and reconciliation, and so we were raised up with Him from the valley of the graves.
The etz of Yosef’s punishment for the rebellion was banishment, rejection, and being called “not my people”, and adding to that YHVH also declared that He was “not their Elohim”. However, that would change as we are seeing the rise of the Sons of Yosef and the other tribes his companions. They are coming back to their national identity through Messiah Yeshua who, according to the prophecy by Isaiah, was to gather and restore the tribes of Jacob. Some think that Yeshua is only going to do this when He returns to earth, but that assumption is keeping many from seeing that it is happening already and must be so before His return (Acts 3:19-21).
Last May many gathered from 12 nations to Ariel, Israel, for the first Etz Bney Yosef National Congress. The participants sensed the heart of the Father and His presence confirming that we were within His will and purpose. Since that time some have had the leading of the Spirit to continue to organize Bney Yosef summits in their host countries, seeking the Father’s guidance and direction for the next phases of the national restoration.
We already have one nation, the branch of Judah, being waved before the nations as a proclamation of how YHVH accomplished their national restoration through His involvement in all of humanity’s affairs. He raised up individuals such as Theodore Herzl and many other active Zionists. He has no compunctions about using human beings to accomplish His purposes, thus it is quite likely that He will do the same in the reconstitution of the nation of Yosef/Ephraim. He is also taking into consideration the potential of the powers of the other spiritual kingdom that, will do its utmost to trip up and confuse the dancers performing the dance of the two camps. As it was in Judah’s restoration, so it will be in Yosef/Israel’s. Many will come and go, some will be victims and some will be survivors. But a remnant will return!
When all is said and done: You will know that I am YHVH, who opened your graves and brought you up from your graves. I have put My Spirit in you that you may live, and it was I who placed you in your own land. Thus you have come to know Me, YHVH Elohim who spoke, watched over, performed, and fulfilled every word, covenant and promise to your forefathers (Ezekiel 37:13-14 altered). "Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old, together; For I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow. I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness’, says YHVH" (Jeremiah 31:13-14).