"I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land." And, "Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,' declares YHVH. "Many nations will join themselves to YHVH in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that YHVH of hosts has sent Me to you. YHVH will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem'" (Joel 3:2; Zec 2:10-12).
Without provocation, Palestinian terrorists recently fired more than a 1000 rockets at Israel and Israel responded with air strikes against Gaza. After eight days of intense fighting they agreed to a tenuous cease fire. Then the United Nations General Assembly gathered and approved a resolution that gave "Non-Member Status" to Palestine. The UN essentially gave a "Birth Certificate" to a State that never existed.
As Believers, what, if anything should we do to help Judah in this hour? We know that our God has chosen Judah and Jerusalem forever, and that He enters into judgment with those who come against His people, Israel. So, is there anything that we can do about the seemingly never ending attacks against tiny Israel? How can we best help them? Or, should we not be involved in earthly "political" situations? Should we instead wait for the Messiah to return and solve the problem?
We believe there are Scriptural things that Believers can do to help stop the nations from their continual assaults against Israel. But, it will call for something more profound than politics, something stronger than standing together in our shared "Judeo-Christian" ethic. Specifically, the solution calls for a first step on the part of non-Jewish Believers. To help us take that step, we must first examine one of the root causes of the problem.
The turmoil we now see in the Middle East is related to an ancient sibling rivalry that hearkens back to the time of Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was born because Abraham and Sarah tried to fulfill a promise the Almighty had made to them: In their old age, Sarah was to bear a son. Instead of waiting for that to happen, they decided that Abraham should have a son with Sarah's handmaid, Hagar. Then, when Sarah did give birth to the son of promise, Isaac, Ishmael began to mock, laugh at, even make sport of him. And, Sarah demanded that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away from her son (Gen 21:1-20). Ishmael later became the father of the Arab nations and Isaac was a forefather to the people of Israel. Sadly, Ishmael has often fought against Isaac since that time.
As the late Paul Harvey used to say, "Now, for the rest of the story..."
Isaac married Rebecca and they had twins, Esau and Jacob. Here again, we see a case of sibling rivalry. We also see a struggle over a birthright and a mother and son who were not willing to wait for YHVH to fulfill His promise. Jacob (who was YHVH's choice) wanted what would normally have been Esau's firstborn birthright, and with the help of his mother he used deception to get it. Esau had no regard for the title of firstborn and sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of beans. Because of this, Esau missed out on a blessing, which led to him being angry with his brother, who revered the blessing. Later, Esau became the father of Edom, and the Edomites became deadly enemies of the children of Jacob/Israel (Gens 25:19-33; 27:1-40; 36:1; Joel 3:19; Mal 1:4). Thus we see more enmity, all born from not caring about something that should have been deemed important, and from not waiting for the Father to fulfill His promises. As we know, Abraham was the father of Isaac, who was the father of Jacob, who had twelve sons who became known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob chose Joseph, his firstborn son by Rachel, to be his heir, and he chose Joseph's younger son, Ephraim, to inherit Joseph's firstborn blessing (Deu 21:17; 1 Chr 5:1-2; Eze 37:19).
Some time after the Twelve Tribes went into the Land of Israel, they divided into two houses: Ephraim/Israel and Judah. With this division, came more enmity between brothers. According to Zechariah 11:7-14, the Father broke two staffs, called Favor and Union and thus "broke the brotherhood between Judah and Israel." The once united Kingdom of Israel will not be restored until their "broken brotherhood" is restored. Our hope for L'olum Habah, the Kingdom To Come, will not be made manifest until, as prophesied by Ezekiel, Israel's "two sticks become one stick in the Father's hand." It will have to wait until they are no more plucked up from their Promised Land, until they have one king over them: Messiah Yeshua, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Eze 37:15-28).
Scripture speaks of "both the houses of Israel" and calls them "two nations" and "the two families which YHVH chose"(Isa 8:14; Eze 35:10; Jer 33:24). To understand what is happening with Israel at this time we must realize that both houses were chosen for a purpose: "The whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah...[were] to be my people for my renown and praise and honor" (Jer 13:11, NIV). Yah's plan is that both Israel and Judah would be for Him, "A people, a name, a praise, and a glory" (ESV). But, some who know about both houses have little regard for Ephraim's accomplishments. They have a bias against things that are related to Christianity. This attitude impedes Yah's purposes and plan for a glorious Israel. It unfairly demeans one of His chosen families.
Some, in seeking to be accepted by Judah, have denied Messiah Yeshua's Deity. Thus they deny His ability to be our Redeemer. Scripture says, "No man can redeem the life of another," the "price for [eternal] redemption is too costly." Only "God/Elohim can redeem us from Sheol" (Psa 49:7,10,15). To deny the Deity of Messiah Yeshua is to deny the very saving power that Yah wants to use Ephraim to bring to Israel's "Restoration Table." We are destined to be called "The Holy People, The Redeemed of YHVH," the "Redeemed are to return with singing unto Zion," and it will not happen if we compromise the truth about our Divine Redeemer (Isa 51:11; 62:12; Luke 1:68).
Another problem is that some are like Esau and don't care about being a "firstborn." Like their namesake, a day will come when they will be sorry for their behavior because they will have missed out on an incredible blessing.
Still others have a limited understanding of the blessings given to both houses, yet errantly rush ahead and try to help fulfill them. Sadly, compromised or incomplete understanding of our true call will only result in birthing something that will lead to much trouble for all involved.
Others feel that Believers should not be involved in earthly matters. However, while true that our Messiah's kingdom is not of this world, the least we should do is to pray daily, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven" Yeshua's Disciples spoke to Him about when, and not if, He would restore the Kingdom to Israel (John 18:36; Acts 1:6-8). Knowing His Kingdom plan means we should, at the very least, pray every day, "Father, what can I do to help in its restoration?" If we know that restoring the Kingdom is His heart's desire we should not assume that Messiah will do all of the work when He returns-because YHVH traditionally uses His people to do His work in the earth. We do not want to do works of the flesh, but neither do we want to harden out hearts to the Spirit. We rightly refuse counterfeit "works of the Spirit," but we do not resist true works of the Spirit. Stephen revealed that resisting the Spirit was a recurrent problem in Israel when he said, "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!" (Acts 7:51).
The works that the Father plans for the last days will not be done by the might of men, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Abba said, "When you are in distress...in the latter days you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice." He said He would be gracious to us when we cry for help, and that we would hear Him saying, "This is the way; walk in it." We need to have our "senses trained" in this regard, so we can discern the real from the counterfeit. It is absolutely imperative in this hour that each one of us learn to truly hear the voice of the Good Shepherd for ourselves (Deu 4:30; 1 Sam 2:9; Isa 30:19-21; Zec 4:6; John 10:16,27; Heb 5:14).
To help Israel in this hour, we need to deal with Scriptural truth, because the truth of Scripture will set us free. To see the problem and solution we need to see that Jacob gave the firstborn double portion and preeminence to Joseph, and then to his son, Ephraim (Gen 48:19-22; Deu 21:17; 1 Chr 5:1,2; Jer 31:9). A double portion was not given to the firstborn to prove that he was a favorite, but to help equip him to be a source of protection and provision for his brethren in time of need. Firstborn Joseph walked this preeminent path and greatly helped his brothers when they needed help. Joseph had more than enough food for himself, and could have refused to get involved. But he was instead a true brother and cared about his brother's needs. Moreover, the blessing of Abraham was given to Isaac, then to Jacob, then to Joseph, and finally, to Ephraim. Jacob prophesied of him, "His descendants shall become a melo goyim" (Gen 48:19), meaning, his heirs would become a "fullness of the Gentiles." It is time for Firstborn Ephraim, the Believers in the Messiah, to walk in their divine call. It is time for them to arise and care for Judah. YHVH tells us how to do that: "With weeping [repentance, supplication, and in prayer] they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn" (Jer 31:9, ESV)
It is time for Firstborn Ephraim to realize the full meaning behind the taunt of Ishmael's heirs. They are said to often sing a little song, "Today we get the Saturday people, Tomorrow we get the Sunday people." Ishmael's war against Isaac includes both houses of Israel: Jews and Christians, so we cannot be unconcerned about what is happening to our Jewish brothers and sisters. We have to help defend them. We cannot simply be quiet in the presence of an evil plan that includes the destruction of the whole house of Israel. We must not be hard-hearted and think that, since we have our own inheritance, all is well. No. True Israelites will stay in the battle until their brothers likewise have their own inheritance (Josh 22:1-9).
We should not be duped into thinking that all we have to do is to sit in a street corner and wait for a Rapture Bus to come and whisk us away. We instead need to rethink everything about the end times and realize that we are "part of Israel" (Eph 2:11-22), which means we will probably be here for a much longer time than we originally thought. Also, the end times are about judgement, and the Father says that it begins with "His house." Messiah warns us that we need to clean the inside of our cups. Outward religiosity will not please Him. He wants us to have clean hands and pure hearts with which to help our brethren (1 Pet 4:17; Mat 23:25; James 4:8).
Neither should we focus on being a Bride who has only to wait for her Bridegroom to whisk her away to a wedding party wherein we eat cake while bother Judah gets pounded. Besides, New Jerusalem is the Bride. We are the Bride of the Lamb in so much as we are part of that Betrothed City, and she does not come down from Heaven until the very end (Rev 21:2). We will not have a wedding feast without her. We need to think about staying here and being earthly Jerusalem's protective watchmen. That is our job. As Isaiah 62:1-7 says, "For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning. The nations will see your righteousness.... It will no longer be said to you, 'Forsaken,' nor to your land will it any longer be said, 'Desolate'; but you will be called, 'My delight is in her,' and your land, 'Married'; for the LORD delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you. On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth" (Isa 62:4-6).
We have a job to do. The Chosen City of Jerusalem needs to become the "City of the Great King." Yeshua is that King and He warned that Judah and Jerusalem will not see Him again until they first say of Him, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." We must realize that Yah's plan is for Judah to "say and then see," and "not see and then say." And we need to help them "see" Yeshua! (Zec 12:10; Psa 48:2; Mat 5:35; 23:39; Luke 13:35; John 19:37; 20:29).
Yah's plan of salvation for the whole house of Israel is outlined in Romans 11. There we see that "Wild Olive Branch Ephraim" is supposed to walk in such a way that he makes brother Judah jealous and to want what Ephraim has. Ephraim will be empowered to help Judah when he is delivered from his jealously of Judah. YHVH spoke of a day when "the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, and those who are hostile to Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be envious of Judah, nor will Judah vex and harass Ephraim" (Isa 11:11-14). In Jeremiah 31:18-19 YHVH says He hears Ephraim "grieving." That happens when Ephraim learns the truth about himself and cries out, saying to YHVH, "You have disciplined me; but I needed it... After I was instructed, after I came to know myself, after I acquired knowledge of the truth [about my own Israelite heritage], I repented, and smote myself on the thigh. I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in younger days" (Emphasis added).
To further this repentance and restoration process, Ephraim needs to see the truth of his own Israelite roots. Some mistakenly speak of returning to our "Jewish roots," but to be accurate, we need to dig deeper. When YHVH called the people of Israel an "Olive Tree," He said He was speaking to "the house of Israel and the house of Judah." Jeremiah said to them, "YHVH called your name, 'A green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form.'" Though called to be a single, united olive tree, Israel sinned and was divided, so there came to be two branches in the Tree: Ephraim and Judah (Jer 11:10,16).
The first branches to be broken off of this tree were those of Ephraim/Israel. They turned aside from the Cultivator and became degenerate, wild, foreign (Jer 2:21). To be degenerate/wild means to turn aside. Foreign, or, nokri, means to be a stranger, and thus, foreign to the God of Israel (Nokri is also used in modern Hebrew to describe the Gentile). Ephraim's branches were scattered far from their native Israel. A tree becomes "wild" when it is removed from its native habitat: so it was for Ephraim. Once scattered among the nations, and being without their Cultivator, they became wild olive trees, growing in Gentile lands. To be restored, all of Israel must be connected to its Life Source, or Root, which is Messiah Yeshua (Rev 22:16).
YHVH said, "Lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel [Ephraim] among all the nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth" (Amos 9:9, Soncino). The Ephraimites, with their penchant for paganism, wanted to be like their Gentile neighbors, so Israel was "swallowed up...among the nations like a vessel in which no one delights" (Hosea 8:8). YHVH eliminated the "Kingdom of Ephraim," but not the people. He says, "I know Ephraim, Israel is not hidden from me." And, "Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him"(Hos 5:3; Jer 31:20). Yah has great hopes for a repentant Ephraim. He is the Prodigal Son of whom Messiah Yeshua spoke. The Prodigal went out and played with the pigs, then repented and came home and began to "celebrate" with his father. Celebrating with his father is what provoked his older brother to jealousy. The same will prove to be true of Ephraim.
Friends, our Father is now calling to us, "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness.... Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain....Pay attention to Me, O My people....My righteousness is near, My salvation [Yeshua] has gone forth....Do not fear the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their reviling....Let the weak say, 'I am strong.'...For YHVH of hosts will visit His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as His royal horse in the battle....Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as if with wine....For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted it with Ephraim, and made you like the sword of a mighty man." Then, YHVH will be seen over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning. Soon, Judah and Ephraim will "fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west; together they shall plunder the people of the East; they shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab; and the people of Ammon shall obey them"(Isa 11:14; 51:1-9; Joel 3; Zec 9:13-14; 10:3-7).
Arise O Israel to your great call! Do not compromise Yah's truth nor fear men. We can overcome with the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, and by not loving our lives even unto death. Ask the Ruach HaKodesh to guide and empower you as you seek to help establish Messiah's Eternal Kingdom of Israel! Set your face toward His City of Truth! (Rev 12:11; Zec 8:3).
Messianic Israel Alliance PO Box 700217, Saint Cloud, FL 34770 Phone 800 829 8777
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