Thursday, July 30, 2020

Aspects of the Elijah Mandate

Lately scripture verses about Elijah and his end time role before the great and terrible day of YHVH, have been ‘showing up’ time and again.  I can still remember, at one of the first MIA (Messianic Israel Alliance, in the beginning of this millennium) conferences, when Eddie Chumney introduced the song “These Are the Days of Elijah” to about 1100 Ephraimites sitting in attendance.  The atmosphere became electrified with the melody and lyrics, while Eddie was spinning around in jubilation like a ballet dancer.  The song was played over and over, and the excitement grew. I wonder if now we still have a sense of the ‘spirit of Elijah’, which is not only to herald the coming Messiah, but is actually to prepare His way. It is also the compass that keeps us pointed in the right direction.
In one way, the very fact that we have our Israelite identity which means that we have turned our hearts to our forefathers, and that a substantial number of the house of Judah are back in the land, are in themselves signs that we are living in “the days of Elijah” as prophesied: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YHVH.  And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse" (Malachi 4:5-6). “For YHVH of hosts will visit His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as His royal horse in the battle… They shall be like mighty men, who tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle. They shall fight because YHVH is with them… I will strengthen the house of Judah… (Zechariah 10:3, 5-6).  

In last week’s letter “Everlasting Covenant” I mentioned the following verse: “The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the Torah, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5). We determined that the everlasting covenant mentioned here is the Abrahamic covenant and its promises. In what way did “they” transgress that covenant and its promises? One word describes it all - “unbelief”.  YHVH redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt in order to fulfill that covenant, but this redemption was met with disobedience and rebellion. “Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.  Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways…Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living Elohim; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:9-10, 12-13 emphasis added).  If we do not know His ways we will be like our forefathers and thus unable to fulfill the Elijah mandate to “prepare the way” for the Messiah.

The opposite example is Avraham;   “He did not waver at the promise of Elohim through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to Elohim, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.  And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness’" (Romans 4:20-22). We are reckoned righteous through faith manifested in obedience.  The spirit of Elijah, therefore, is a call for repentance/return/restoration/reconciliation.

In the previous letter I did not include the stated consequence of the disobedience, which ties in with the last verse of Malachi: “Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left” (Isaiah 24:6). Please read the rest of the chapter.

A similar picture, pointing to the curse, is found in the lyrics of the above- mentioned song: “And though these are days of great trial, of famine and darkness and sword”… But the next line “still, we are the voice in the desert crying, ‘prepare ye the way of the Lord,” takes us right to Isaiah chapter 40:3 with its declaration: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of YHVH; Make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim;”.  That highway is the high-way of holiness, righteousness, peace, and joy through faith, hope and love which are embodied our redeemer Messiah Yeshua.   “A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness” (Isaiah 35:8).

In Matthew 11:10 and 14 Yeshua says of Yochanan the Immerser: “For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You…   And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” In evoking Elijah, Yeshua, who was referencing Malachi 4:4, pointed to the anointing to preach repentance/teshuva.  Obviously Yeshua has not yet returned, thus we are in the “days of preparing His way”.  So we have to ask ourselves: Who is the voice in the desert today? If it is the “dry bones being restored”, if it is us from both houses of Israel, then we must shake off the dust of the flesh with its religious and political systems and be about our Father’s business and that is “to prepare the way”. 

“Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; Build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples! Indeed YHVH has proclaimed to the end of the world: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Surely your salvation is coming; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.' " And they shall call them The Holy People, the Redeemed of ; And you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken” (Isaiah 62:10-12).  

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Everlasting Covenant

The other day someone sent me a couple of links to a Derek Prince teaching on governmental authority in the church, not that this is the subject of this letter… We already know Whose shoulders the government of the kingdom is resting on.  In his teaching Derek referred to Isaiah 24:5, a scripture that I had not taken serious notice of, until now.  This particular word, tied together with last week’s letter, added another dimension to the seriousness of the hour in which we are living.   In the previous letter I brought up Psalm 125:3:  “For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted [goral in Hebrew, also means one’s lot in life] to the righteous, lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity”. (In case you have not read the article or want to reread it here is the link “Allotment”.)

When the wicked rule and the righteous nation partakes of iniquity, as our ancestors learned at Baal Peor (ref. Numbers 24), for example, the consequence of sin will bring on the “curse”.  Isaiah addresses the reason for the curse:  “The land is defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the Torah, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5).  The first two speak for themselves, as sin is a violation of YHVH’s commandments.  But which “everlasting covenant” was YHVH referring to?  The first such covenant was with Noah and every living creature (see Genesis 9:14-16). 

Because this everlasting covenant was not made specifically with mankind, man cannot break it.  However, the next “everlasting covenant” was made specifically with a man and his progeny.  YHVH, speaking to Abram and to his seed, says: "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be Elohim to you and your seed after you…”  (Genesis 17:7, see also 1 Chronicles 16:17-18; Psalm 105:10).  YHVH confirmed it again to Isaac, Jacob and to the whole nation of Israel.  Nevertheless, generation after generation kept violating this covenant. But because YHVH made this everlasting covenant while Abram slept, He swore by Himself that He would be faithful to keep it. The scene of violating the covenant has never changed throughout history. But,”If we are faithless, He [YHVH] remains faithful; [because] He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).  

YHVH promised another, “new”, everlasting covenant: "For I, YHVH, love justice… I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom YHVH has blessed" (Isaiah 61:8-9). "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12). 
Now may the Elohim of peace who brought up our Lord Yeshua from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Yeshua the Messiah, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).   Pray that we do not violate this everlasting covenant!

Friday, July 17, 2020


As the redeemed Israelites of YHVH, whether in the land of Israel or scattered in the nations, we must face head-on verse 3 of Psalm 125:  “For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted [goral in Hebrew, also means one’s lot in life] to the righteous, lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity”.  When we look around us, at what is happening in the nations at this time, especially the so called Judeo/Christian nations, we have to ask: “which scepter is ruling?” We could contend that (no matter what) YHVH is sovereign. But that is not what this verse is actually saying.  It is saying that we, the redeemed who claim our righteousness by faith through Yeshua, are the ones holding the scepter of His Kingdom on earth and in our respective nations. With that comes the promise that if “we trust in YHVH” we “shall not be moved” (Ps. 125:1) and hence, indeed, “the scepter of wickedness will not rest on that which has been allotted [or determined]for and to us.

However, if we reach out our hands to iniquity, we turn that scepter into the rule of wickedness and then, we will find ourselves fighting against YHVH and His determined lot for us. What is more, instead of being agents of blessings, we will be agents of bringing YHVH’s judgements via curses. 

A verse that was first brought to my attention in 1976, at a conference in Jerusalem, and then of course a million times after that, is 2 Chronicles 7:14:  "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (emphasis added). But in my opinion it may be a little too late to apply the content of this verse in order to change what is happening in the world. 

YHVH is allowing the tares and the wheat to mature together in the fields of humanity (see Matthew 13:30).  It is the tares that are standing tall at this time and can therefore be clearly seen, as they structure their governmental authority over the bowed heads of the wheat.  We know that this will only be allowed for a season, although it will not be a pleasant time for the righteous, as the Almighty must turn up the summer heat to ripen the seed and dry up the plants. 

The mature tares are the plants that grew out of the seed that the enemy planted, and will be taken out of the field in the course of YHVH’s season of harvest.  After removing the tares, the earth will be filled with the beautiful golden grain glistening in the summer sunlight.  For the believers this is also a golden opportunity to bow their heads in humble adoration of the Son of the Living Elohim, who is standing with the winnowing fan/fork in His hand to carry out one of the last tasks that the Father has given Him. "His winnowing fan/fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12 and Luke 3:17).

“Behold, I say to you, ‘lift up your eyes and look up, lift up your heads, the fields are already white for harvest, because your redemption draws near’” (John 4:35 with Luke 21:28).

As we hold on firmly to the confidence and joy of our hope to the end, we are Messiah’s lot, as it were, by being His house (see Hebrews 3:6), thus the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the lot (being us) of Messiah - the Righteous One.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Apostolic Calling

I want to thank those of you who commented on last week’s letter, “333”.  All of you were very encouraging and added eye opening comments. It is interesting to see how many times, and in how many ways, threes are mentioned in Scripture, both in a positive and negative way.  It would certainly make for an interesting study. 

Today I want to touch on what may be, for some, a sensitive topic: “the apostolic calling”. Yesterday, during a phone conversation, a friend suggested that the whole body of Messiah could be defined as an apostolic entity.  That gave me food for thought and as I was pondering this idea, a number of scriptures came to mind that just might speak into this concept. 

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).  In other words, we are to express His nature and character wherever we are.  Thus we “are to Elohim the fragrance of Messiah among those who are being saved” (2 Corinthians 2:15).  We, being in Him, and He in us, makes it possible for Him to fulfill His role as an Apostle and High Priest.  “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Messiah Yeshua” (Hebrews 3:1).  “As you have therefore received Messiah Yeshua the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him…” (Colossians 2:6-7).  “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him…” (Colossians 2:9-10). 

If I understand Yeshua’s work as an Apostle, it is to build up and establish His body by overseeing it, and by adding to Himself those who are drawn to Him.  His body is a living organism made up of living stones, a holy entity in this world.  Being that we have this treasure of His life in us, we are one body with Him reconciling those whom He calls.  What is the ingredient that He is using to ‘entice’ the souls that He is calling?  Is it not the love that we have one for another? Would that not be the sweet fragrance that issues from the spiritual fruit, which acts as His agent to fulfill His mandate from the Father to reconcile all men to Himself?  “Now all things are of Elohim, who has reconciled us to Himself through Yeshua the Messiah, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that Elohim was in Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us [as His body] the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).  Would this not be our corporate apostolic calling?  Just something to think about as we enter the Shabbat.
Blessings and Shabbat Shalom,
Ephraim and Rimona