Until The Two Become One

It is more than something that will take great love, patience, and maturity because our nature is to seek to make others look, think, and act like ourselves. This is our safety valve, our place of comfort, our security blanket!

When the family of herders stood before the chief Ruler of Egypt, there was likely not a greater contrast to behold. On one side stood a humbled group of brothers who lived a distance from where they now stood. They were successful at what they did, but past sins and a nasty drought had humbled them and brought them before this strange ruler, seeking assistance to continue to merely exist. On the other side stood a clean, well groomed, wanting-for-nothing ruler who literally had the lives of all before him in his hands. I imagine him to resemble what we see in our history books. The dress of royalty, somebody who at least in appearance, was clearly Egyptian of elite class.

What the herders did not see before them was their brother. In fact, before Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers, they had spent at least many hours with him, dining, being entertained, and also being berated and yet they saw only an Egyptian. To anyone who might have been standing at a distance, looking upon Joseph and that family of herders, being able to see that they were family would likely have been impossible.

The Prophet Ezekiel gives us a similar end-time picture in that we have two players who might just as well stand in such contrast. In chapter 37, verse 16, where we read the following:

“And you, son of man, take a stick and write on it, For Judah and for his companions, the sons of Israel. And take another stick and write on it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and all the house of Israel, his companions.”

What is easy to miss in the above verse is that Ezekiel takes two blank sticks that represent people and he is to identify who the two sticks are. The first he determines as Judah and those who are joined with Judah. The second stick is said to be for Joseph, but a stick that is Ephraim, and it includes the House of Israel and those joined to Israel. So we have a lot going on in this one verse. Most scholars believe that these two sticks represent the Whole House of Jacob, what was once a great nation that divided into two Kingdoms, Judah and Israel. But why the use of those names? Judah and Joseph were the kingly tribes of those two Kingdoms. Yet the fact that the stick for Joseph is actually the stick of Ephraim is a fascinating twist to a story that only God could have weaved.

A promise was given to Abraham that not only would he would become a great nation, but that ALL nations of the earth would be blessed. This extraordinary promise of all nations being blessed would be fulfilled by a seed no man can count, Abraham’s seed. But how would this seed bless all nations? That process began with Isaac, Abraham’s son and that promise would pass from Isaac to Jacob whose own blessing was that “out of your loins would come nations and kings.” (Genesis 35:11) Clearly we are looking at more than just what we have come to know as “Israel” today or at any time in history; nations and kings are plural thus more than just the State of Israel.

Ephraim would receive the next blessing in this great puzzle, he would become a “multitude of nations.” An interesting side note here, from what is commonly called the New Testament, we see “fullness of the gentiles.” (Romans 11:25) If that phrase was rolled back into Hebrew, it would be translated as “melo hagoyim,” or, “fullness of the nations.” But how would Abraham bless all nations, Jacob sire kings and nations, or Ephraim become a multitude of nations? The answer is…through punishment!

After Solomon, Israel divided. The Southern Kingdom of Judah for the most part, continued to walk in the statutes and laws of God while the Northern Kingdom, Israel, did not. The Northern Kingdom became exceedingly idolatrous and eventually all but turned it’s back on God. After some warnings by God in the form of prophets and enemies, God lifted His hedge of protection and allowed the Assyrians to come and take them into captivity. Though debated, the evidence biblically and historically suggests that while some from the Northern Kingdom came home (less than 30,000 of them), the vast majority, well over a million, did not. Moreover, when Israel did not repent and desire God, He not only gave them up, He scattered them into the nations and called them, “Not my people!” (Hosea 1:9-10) This is a harsh reality and a humbling reminder that God, though loving and merciful, will only be pushed away for so long. That said, merciful is an understatement because despite the complete lack of love shown to our heavenly Father by Israel, He still promised to bring them home and again call them “My people.” (see Deut. 30:1-6, Hosea 1:10, Hosea 2:23)

So this brings us back to Ezekiel who has two sticks which are blank that he identifies, and in parenthesis this writers opinion, as being Judah (the Jews) and Ephraim (found mainly within Christianity). Religiously speaking, these two groups stem from the same lump (see Romans 9:21), clearly serve the same God, clearly await the same Messiah, clearly await the same coming Kingdom and time of peace, and clearly have the same foe. Ezekiel holds the key to the reunification of the two sticks, and that key reveals that we cannot force this to happen. Ezekiel identifies the sticks, and then in verse 17 we read this:

“And join them to one another into one stick. And they shall become one in your hand.”

So we see Ezekiel take the two and hold them as if one. This excerpt in no way suggests that Judah should become Ephraim, nor does it reveal that Ephraim should become Judah. Instead, it simply reveals that Ezekiel and perhaps those alive in the day this understanding becomes known (Today?) are to identify the two and treat them as one. Only when that happens does God Himself complete the job:

Ezekiel 37:18 And when the sons of your people shall speak to you, saying, Will you not declare to us what these mean to you? (19) Say to them, So says the LORD: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions, and I will put them with him, with the stick of Judah, and will make them one stick, and they shall be one in My hand. (20) And the sticks on which you write shall be in your hand before their eyes.

So what is our job? Our job is to identify the two while treating them as one. Yet, this task will not be easy. It is more than something that will take great love, patience, and maturity because our nature is to seek to make others look, think, and act like ourselves. This is our safety valve, our place of comfort, our security blanket! It goes against our grain to stand before an Egyptian and accept him as a brother. It is even more against our grain to come to an understanding that we, those who identify as Ephraim, are the Egyptian and not the herders. We are the ones who have looked like the world because who are the ones who were scattered into it. However, we do not need to become Judah nor do we need to make them like us. What we need to do is identify the two sticks and learn to live in mutual respect and understanding as only God can complete the process of making us one. Perhaps Ephraim, just perhaps… now that we are identifying who the two sticks are and we await God to complete the work, we might spend the time learning to get along with each other a little better? After all, if Ephraim can’t get along with Ephraim, he certainly can’t expect to get along with Judah!

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On the ‘eve of destruction?’

“Eastern world, it is exploding, violence flarin’, bullets loadin’…” And so starts a song that is one of my personal favorites. It tells of a world falling apart and on the brink of nuclear war; a war which would destroy life as we know it.

The lyrics speak of of the racism, hatred, and intolerance that tears our society apart. Most of all, it expresses the fear we all feel of what is about to happen to our world… Truly a song for our times, don’t you think? A day doesn’t go by without us hearing about yet another tragedy. Wars, natural disasters (of every type imaginable), an economic collapse and the disintegration of our society and its values – and it’s all there in this one song.

Is there anything that we’re not worried about? If it’s not some rumor of an asteroid hitting, resulting in horrific tsunamis (East Coast) then it’s an earthquake (or two!), resulting in tsunamis destroying Washington and Oregon, or a perennial disaster favorite – California, falling into the sea. Is it animals supposedly fleeing Yellowstone Park? Maybe it’s tied in with fears of a One World Order, one currency for North America or the latest rumors of United Nations troops hiding in the U.S. preparing to take away guns from American citizens

Is it because the Shmitta (7th year Sabbatical year when the ground in Israel is commanded to be left fallow) ended this Rosh Hashana (Yom Teruah) – the New Year? Is it because, once again, on Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) blood red moons appeared? To many, that is a truly ominous sign… This song could almost be the anthem of our days, the topics seemingly ripped from today’s headlines. However, though – this song, “Eve of Destruction,” comes from 1965; not 2015.

It was written by Barry McGuire in July, 1965 and dealt with the burning issues of the time – all the fear and the challenges of a
world facing destruction. Well, it’s now fifty years later and we’re still facing those same issues, although people seem to think that this time it’s totally unique.

How should a person of faith view today’s news and the anxiety of their family and friends? People are staring up at the sky, looking for blood red moons, asteroids and other celestial bodies. But, how does the God of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) view all of this? Should we be focused on the heavens and be looking for signs to guide out daily behavior? Our beloved Avinu Sh’bashamayim (Father in Heaven) cautions us specifically, through his prophet: “ Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel: thus says the Lord, learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them…” Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) 10: 1-2

Although this seems like a pretty clear warning to me, there are those who count themselves among the children of Israel today who are filled with panic. Instead of focusing on the way we should be living our lives, based upon our faith in God, Himself, we become focused instead on the latest conspiracy theory…Instead of living a life filled with Emuna (faith) in our God, we instead quake at the all the rumors that people keep shoveling in our direction. We really need to begin asking ourselves – do we believe in a God that can deliver upon his promises, or one that can not? For those reading this article, I think you’ll agree with me – we believe He can do anything, and will live up to those promises He has made. And He repeatedly urges us (throughout Scripture) to return to Him and to the path he has set out for us.

Instead, the path people seem to be seeking leads them to the mountains, swamps, deserted areas, anywhere they can escape from the people who should be the ones comprising their communities. Communities where children will be raised to be loyal to the One Living God and where, as a community, people can begin growing in knowledge of HaShem’s (God’s) path – the one He has directed us to follow. But, shouldn’t we be scared, shouldn’t we begin running away, you’re asked? Tehillim (Psalms) 27:5 tells us, “For in the day of evil He shall hide me in His pavilion.”

Yes, we should always be prepared for any kind of disaster – several days of bottled water, food a first aid kit, etc. But, do we think that the Lord brought us to this point, drew us into His understanding to let us be swept away in some catastrophe that he will allow to be visited upon this planet? “Were it not that I believed I should see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the living…” Tehillim 27:14 We ARE a people of emuna/faith, we must believe in the promises that He has made.

And we are assured that this emuna/faith will be rewarded. We are told NOT to fear: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: For the Lord your God, He it is that goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Devarim (Deuteronomy) 31:6

And not only not to fear, but to trust in Him, and it’s repeated: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Yehoshua (Joshua) 1:9

The only instance in the entire Tanach (Hebrew Bible, what some still mistakenly refer to as, the “Old Testament”) when HaShem promises to do something with ALL of His heart and might is to restore His people. “…And I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will truly plant them in this land with My whole heart and with My whole soul.” Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) 32:41 More than one hundred references speak of the restoration of ALL of Israel, a promise that is consistent throughout Scripture and is  undeniable.

“I will surely assemble, O Yaakov (Jacob), all of you; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.” Micah 2:12

“And I will strengthen the house of Yehuda (Judah), and I will save the house of Yosef (Joseph).” Zechariah 10:6

“Fear not: for I am with you; for I am with you; I will bring your seed from the east, and gather them from the west; I will say to the north, give up; and to the south, keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth…” Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 43:5-6

It doesn’t matter how it is that you feel you’re connected with the people of Israel – whether you are part of either the House of Yehuda (Judah) or the House of Ephraim (Joseph) or the “companions” of both houses, spoken about in Yehezel (Ezekiel) chapter 37. Or, if you feel you are ‘spiritually’ connected to the people of Israel (spiritual DNA?) or believe you are “grafted” into the people, these promises apply to all of us…

“Thus says the Lord God; Behold, I will save My people from the east country, and from the west country…” Zechariah 8:8

“…I will sift the house of Yisrael (Israel) among all nations, as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” Amos 9:9 When He is ready to call us home, He will not forget us; any of us…and, that process of return has already begun.

And there is no clearer proof of this promised restoration of His people then in the rebirth of the Modern State of Israel. “Therefore say, Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the Land of Israel.” Yehezkel (Ezekiel) 11:17 And indeed, as improbable as it seemed, particularly coming after the Shoah (Holocaust). “Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born in one moment?” Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 66:8

No where else in the entire world is there a nation that has the same name, speaks the same language, has the same faith and lives in the same land as it did 3,000 years ago – ONLY in Israel… As Jewish people from all over the world have begun to return home, it has raised hopes and expectations all over the world among those who love Israel and long to be connected to it. “‘But days are coming, says the Lord, when it shall no more be said, As the Lord lives, that brought brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt; but, as the Lord lives, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands into which He had exiled them: And I will bring them back to their land that I gave to their fathers.” Jeremiah 16:14-15

“‘And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries into which I have driven them, and will bring them back to their folds; and they will be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them: and they will fear no more and not be dismayed, neither will any be lacking says the Lord.”

Behold days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise a David , a righteous offshoot, and he will reign as king and prosper, and will execute justice and righteousness in the earth. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell safely.

Behold days are coming, says the Lord, when they will no more say, As the Lord lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but as the Lord lives, who brought up and who led the seed of the house of Israel, out of the north country and from all the countries into which I have driven them and they will dwell in their own land.” Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) 23:3-8
Do we believe in a God that fulfills His promises, or not?
We in Israel get to see Biblical prophecy being fulfilled on a daily basis – the wasteland that had been Israel (as described so eloquently by Mark Twain who visited the Land of Israel in 1867) has been transformed into a gorgeous, vibrant Land, blossoming with produce of all kinds. Just as He had promised it would, once His children began returning HOME. When you taste Gold Medal award winning Israeli wine, or date honey (the original honey of the Bible) you truly begin to actually taste the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy!

“This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Old men and old women will yet again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem and every man with his staff in his hand. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets. ” Zechariah 8:4-5

Come to Israel, and you can see this with your own eyes!

This is not the first time that people of faith have been put to the test, as the world we know seems to be teetering on the edge. This is not a time for running and hiding, but rather for building up, a time for planting not uprooting a time for embracing not for shunning. A time for faith, not fear…faith in our God and His promises.

It is a time for us to return to Him and to His path; to connect even deeper with His Chosen Land – Israel and all of it’s people. It is a time to visit Israel, buy Israeli products, support Israel in every way you can and continue to build and strengthen your communities. “Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him; and He will bring it to pass.” Tehillim (Psalms) 37:5

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Ephraim’s Shifting Paradigm

Most historians believe that a good solid understanding of history is the best guide in terms of understanding the future. History often stands as a beacon of things to come because humanity has not always excelled at not repeating its mistakes. And so it has been between Christian/Jewish relations for the last 2000 years. Where these two peoples should stand more united against their common foes, they remain at odds usually over poor conclusions, bad definitions, and false assumptions. This has been a two –sided coin in terms of fault, but it also might be safe to say that the coin lands on one side more often than the other. Though the Christian means well, his evangelical paradigm brings with it a line in the sand which he uses to determine who he can and can’t call brother. Couple this with the fact that most Christians tend to live out of the “New Testament” (NT) and don’t study the Tanach or “Old Testament” (OT) as much, it then becomes easier to understand why these two people who have far more in common than they realize seem to stand at odds with each other more often than not.

Whether Christians realize it or not, Christianity began as a sect of Judaism.[1] There was a Jewish rabbi, a teacher, whose name was Yehoshua[2] (Yeshua being the short form, commonly known today as Jesus) and he had many followers. He taught from the Torah (the law, God’s instructions), and he was believed to have walked out the contents of the Torah to perfection, as intended by the author. The book of Acts declares that as many as 20,000 or more Jews believed that Yeshua was messiah[3] and, though this may come as a surprise to some, many people now believe that the Jews were not necessarily his main target audience. While his message and work would appear to apply to all, the weight of his message was aimed specifically at the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel.[4] What has been widely misunderstood for a very long time is just who the lost sheep of the House of Israel are.

The question, “Who are the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel,” seems to have two widely accepted answers. The first is the dominant opinion of evangelical Christianity and it states that the Lost Sheep are anyone who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This view sees the world as lost and it sees the Great Commission, more or less, as a call to convert the world to Christianity as its primary objective. This answer, whose adherents tend to believe that there were none righteous before Yeshua, thus falls short in dealing with the bible calling certain people “righteous” even before Yeshua accomplished his mission.[5] The second answer is the minority answer but an answer that is quickly growing in acceptance. It believes that the Lost Sheep are the remnant (those who are left, still alive) of the Northern Kingdom, Israel, and those who are otherwise grafted into to Israel. Those who hold this view tend to be somewhat less evangelical and more centered on how to walk out the walk as modeled by Yeshua (which would include doing all the things he did, to include the Sabbath and Feasts). This view sees the Great Commission as a call to live in a manner that reflects Yeshua’s walk while being ready to teach those drawn by God to that individual. The weight, for these people, is on the walk first rather than evangelization first. It should be noted that BOTH opinions are centered on love; it is just that these two groups read the same material and come away with a differing conclusion. That is possible when two people read the same material but who each read from a different paradigm, a different perspective.

The Minority Opinion

After the Kingdom of Israel split into two nations (Judah in the south, Israel in the north) the Northern Kingdom fell deeper into the idolatry that was already a way of life for them. Deaf to the warnings from Prophets sent from God, the Most High allowed the Assyrians to come into Israel and wreak havoc, ultimately taking the Northern Kingdom into captivity. There, Israel did not fall to its knees before the God of Israel, begging for forgiveness, rather, they seemingly assimilated into the Assyrian culture, marrying into their families and taking for their own the many gods of the Assyrians. Eventually, the God of Israel was no longer even a thought in the minds of those Israelites and the God of Israel cut the final tie, He let them go. God gave them up to their idols and along with their having accepted other gods in His place; it would take only one generation for Israel to entirely forget that they were Israelites. With them no longer seeing themselves as Israelites, the stage was set for the final act of punishment. God drove them from Assyria into the nations, scattering them like a farmer sows seed. While some historical sources suggest that 20,000+ returned, the majority of Israel (perhaps well over a million Israelites) went into all nations where they remain to this day. Israel, specifically the Northern Kingdom, is now represented by all colors, all nations, and they speak all languages, but they don’t know they are Israelites, they lack their root identity. They are as lost sheep[6], but they are a sheep with a promise, a promise to be returned. And that misunderstood point is very much a factor when it comes to a Christian’s awareness of who they are in biblical prophecy while affecting their current view of, and relationship with, the Jewish people.

Most Christians do not have a solid working knowledge of biblical history. That is not meant in any way to be an indictment on anyone nor should that be taken as a demeaning comment, it is a simple fact. Most Christians are raised in the NT, in the Apostolic Writings, and many churches do not teach, and might not even be aware of, the depth of relationship between the NT and OT. It should be noted as well, that most Christians when being discipled are only taught facts as understood by whoever happens to be teaching them. There is no methodology being taught, nor any research techniques that allow the Christian to work out his own answers, he is instead simply taught to repeat what he has learned from others. Thus when he reads the word “Israel” anywhere in Scripture, he assumes it is a reference to the Jews because that is the belief of the Christian culture we are born into. However, while the Jews are most certainly a part of Israel, they are not all of Israel. When the Northern Kingdom went into Assyria, the Southern Kingdom, Judah, did not. In fact, they essentially continued walking in the commandments and statutes of God. They had their moments, and ultimately they too would find themselves captive to another nation (Babylon), but their end is clearly different then the end result of the Northern Kingdom. The Southern Kingdom, Judah, came home from their dispersion, they returned from Babylon. Because of this, we have a clear historical line from before the time of Babylon to today’s modern Jew. It is accurate, both historically and biblically, to say that the House of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) is very clearly the Jewish people and the Jewish religion that we see today. Yet, the Northern Kingdom, Israel, went into captivity 140 +/- years before Judah went into Babylon. And with a prophesy spoken by Hosea proving that Israel hadn’t come back at that time[7], we know the lost sheep as referenced in the Apostolic Writings to be those Israelites still in the nations promised to one day return home. That is key because, again, Yeshua said, “I have not been sent BUT to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”

To put this history into simple terms, what we have is one nation that was split into two nations and one of those two has, for the most part, continued to walk with God. It was the other nation, Israel, which squandered its inheritance and became lost in the nations. What was just in italics should sound somewhat familiar to most Christians. There is a parable known as the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” that appears in Luke 15:11-32. The gist of the story is that there are two sons, one who is the elder of the two and who has remained on his father’s farm and the younger that left the father primarily to feed his flesh and live according to his own desires. Traditionally this parable has been interpreted through the paradigm of the more evangelically inclined. Thus the conclusion has been that these were two Christians with one of them being a devoted Christian who worked daily on the father’s farm while the other was a backsliding Christian who became a lost sheep because he had left the Father. However, I submit that this parable is speaking about the two Kingdoms, Judah and Israel, with the elder brother being Judah who, though not perfect, remained in covenant with God. Israel, or prophetically known in other biblical references as Ephraim or even Joseph[8], is the younger brother who was cut off and said by God to be “not my people.”[9] What many Christians miss, and why I believe this parable is clearly speaking about Judah and Israel is that the prophesies that pertain to Israel being punished always include the promise to bring them back home, back into the fold or “farm” if you will, just like the Prodigal Son. Consider:

Deuteronomy 30:3 then the LORD your God will turn your captivity. And He will have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you. (4) If you are driven out into the outermost parts of the heavens, the LORD your God will gather you from there, and He will bring you from there.

Hosea 1:10 yet the number of the sons of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered. And it shall be, in the place where it was said to them, You are not My people, there it shall be said to them, You are the sons of the living God.

Isaiah 10:22 for though your people Israel are like the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return; the full end which is decreed shall overflow with righteousness. (Compare Romans 9:27)

Again, the Southern Kingdom, Judah, returned from their captivity and remained in covenant with God. It was Israel who broke the covenant, was scattered into the nations, was given up for idols, and yet mercifully promised to be returned. Two people, not one, which is why Ezekiel has two sticks that he is told to make one,[10] and why Jeremiah prophesies about two Houses[11] which are part of the new covenant. Two people, who ultimately become one:

Ezekiel 37:21 And say to them, So says the LORD: Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and will gather them on every side, and will bring them into their own land. (22) And I will make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel, and one King shall be king to them all. And they shall not still be two nations, nor shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.

Christianity has truly not understood these promises predominantly because it has seen Israel as Jews only. By extension, they then see the Jews as either cut off entirely and replaced by Christians or they see that the Jews are accepted as still being part of God’s people but are seen as lost because they do not accept Yeshua as messiah and thus the Jews remain an evangelical target by most Christians. Whichever of the two conclusions are drawn, the Jews are seen as an evangelical target of the Christians.

Misguided Love?

Because many Christians see the Jews as having been cut off and not as a people still in covenant with the God of Israel, they feel a deep draw to reach out and share their understanding of the gospel with the Jews. This is done from a position of love because the Christian truly sees himself as being saved and the Jew as being lost. Since the belief of the Christian is that those who are not saved will perish in Hell, then the Christian feels a divine duty to reach out to the Jewish people and make sure they hear the gospel so that they have the information and ability to make a decision for Christ, or not. But I ask, is this manifestation of their love warranted or misguided?

Love is more than just an emotion; it is also the physical manifestation of an emotion. One of the problems surrounding love, at least as it relates to one’s religion, is that it is limited to the information one might have at their disposal to work with. In this case, if a Christian is raised believing the Jewish people are no longer a part of the family of God, then their love of God and His truth as they understand it, will cause them to reach out to the Jewish people in order to present to them what they believe will save them. The Jewish person, especially the one who practices the faith in earnest, then asks the question when confronted with the gospel, “saved from what?” He already sees himself in covenant with God and he has a great case to base that conclusion on. Not only does he have many promises in the Tanach (OT) to stand on, but what if Judah is the older son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son? If that is true and he hasn’t left the farm so to speak, then despite whatever imperfections he may or may not have, he hasn’t left the covenant and he is still doing the work of the Father. Perhaps he isn’t doing our work because we have been given a unique calling, but he is still on the farm. Even if he continues to decay and die and ultimately needs the redemptive work of perfection applied to him, that doesn’t mean he isn’t walking with God. Perhaps there is a greater question, “What does it mean to walk with God?” Is our walk summed up only in a profession of faith, or is our walk summed up in our willingness to walk as God desires us to walk? Does our walk begin and end with confessing with our mouth the Lord Yeshua,[12] or is it manifested in our walking according to God’s commandments? If the Jewish person is already walking in the commandments then he is walking as God desires and this would explain Yeshua’s words in Luke 5:32 which state:

“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

According to the modern online Webster’s Dictionary as well as the 1828 edition, “righteousness” is defined as, “to conform to divine law.” 1 John 3:4 then defines sin for us as the breaking of commandments or walking in a lawless manner. Thus Yeshua was not calling those who were already walking the walk; he was calling those who weren’t. Again, that is NOT to say that those walking the walking have worked their way to salvation or do not need perfecting, that is not what is being said here. Rather, a Christian is told to come in faith believing but THEN to begin to manifest his faith and love in the form of obedience.[13] A righteous person is doing just that, thus Yeshua didn’t see that person as sick and in need of his attention. He came, rather, to call the sick, the sinners, the ones walking off the desired path.
Yeshua said he came for the Lost Sheep of Israel, he sent the disciples to the lost sheep of Israel,[14] and he quoted Jacob’s blessing over Paul as a commission.[15] The Great Commission was then to the nations, not to Judea.[16] Our call was to the Israel, to the Lost Sheep, not necessarily to the brother who remained on the farm but to the younger brother lost in the nations who was not on the desired path. The weight of the gospel was to take the message of repenting[17] which in Hebrew is really the idea of returning,[18] to the lost sheep of Israel who were in the nations and promised repeatedly to be returned. Verses like Romans 11:11 are not telling Christians to provoke the Jews to jealousy; it is a call for the lost sheep to provoke the lost sheep to jealousy. Otherwise, Romans 11:11 and Isaiah 11:13 are contradicting one another which we know cannot be the case.

2000 Years of Christian Love

Friends, 2000 years of Christian love has not always been fair to the Jewish people. There have been forced baptisms, some Jews have been forced to eat unclean foods, there has been an overwhelming amount of ridicule, and God forbid… even deaths in the name of Jesus.

It is time ladies and gentlemen, to leave the Jewish people alone! It is time to concentrate first on our own walk, and then to continue with what was started by Yeshua, the reaching out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel provoking THEM to jealousy so that they come back to what they unknowingly lost so long ago. That isn’t to say that if a Jewish person asks about your walk or about Yeshua that you don’t answer, you most certainly give an answer for the hope that is in you,[19] but how is it that we have forgotten a basic principle shared by Yeshua, “He that seeks will find”?[20] Unless somebody is seeking, asking questions, whether Jew or Gentile, they won’t hear any answer you give. We can’t lose sight of that principle, someone must be seeking, asking questions, or anything we say falls on deaf ears. We can’t force anyone to believe anything, it has to be that somebody is seeking or they simply won’t hear you. In fact, force will only cause them to flee, not be drawn to you so that they might hear. The Great Commission reflects this understanding. The word for “Go!” is a participle, it is “going” not “Go!” Thus the commission is a call to walk in a manner that reflects who we serve, “As you are going, teach!” If we have to tell others what we are and they can’t hear it or see it in our words and deeds for themselves, we have already failed at the mission given to us.

I submit to you that it might be time to ask forgiveness from our Jewish brothers and sisters for trying to force them into looking, acting, and thinking like we do. Perhaps it is time to cease trying to make the older brother conform to the appearance and practice of the younger brother? I think of Joseph here who must have looked so Egyptian that none of his brothers recognized him at all. And yet, when they finally realized that Joseph was indeed their brother, they embraced him, as he was, without demanding he change his clothing before they embraced him. We need to be more like that, willing to walk with the Jewish people in mutual respect and understanding knowing that, ultimately, God will correct whoever is in need of correction, in His time![21]

The Christians and Jews are both waiting on messiah to come and usher in a time of world peace. They are both waiting on the messiah to reign as King over the nations with perfect and fair justice. Both await the time that messiah will bring in all exiles from wherever they are in the world today. Perhaps, just perhaps, we look outside our current religious paradigm to see that since we seem to be waiting on the same events to take place that we also see that we are really waiting on the same messiah! When we do we might just see that it is only the word “again” that truly separates us as we await messiah to come again, and they seek his first coming.

We are witnessing an awakening today, a revival started not by man but by God. Knowing now that God is indeed going to make these two people one, then perhaps we should walk toward the coming Kingdom together, knowing that ultimately God will perform the promises He has made concerning these things.

1 For a more detailed explanation of the Hebraic origins of Christianity, see (http://www.united2restore.com/2014/10/11/why-did-christianity-stop-looking-so-jewish/)
2 Strong’s Greek – G2424; Hebrew H3091
3 Acts 21:20 – note: the word for “many thousands” is μυρίας (murias), the Greek word for 10,000, and it is in plural form in this verse
4 See Matthew 15:24 and Matthew 10:5b-6
5 Matthew 9:13, Matthew 13:17, Luke 1:6
6 Psalm 119:176, Jeremiah 50:6
7 Hosea 1:11 – note, there has not been a head of king over a united Israel since Solomon
8 Genesis 48:19, Ezekiel 37:19, Jeremiah 31:9, Hosea 4:17, Amos 5:15, Zechariah 10:6
9 Hosea 1:9-10, Hosea 2:23, Romans 9:25-26
10 Ezekiel 37:15-28
11 Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:8-11
12 Romans 10:9
13 John 14:15, John 15:10
14 Matthew 10:5b-6
15 Paul’s commission is found in Acts 9:15. Notice in the Greek that there are two different words translated as “and” but the second one, “te” means “both” and is never translated as “and” anywhere else. Knowing “ethnos” can translated as “gentiles” or “nations,” then replace the second “and” with “both,” use “nations” rather than “gentiles,” and now compare Acts 9:15 to Genesis 35:11
16 Matthew 28:19
17 Matthew 4:17
18 Brown Driver Briggs, H7725, shuv – 1) to return, turn back
19 1 Peter 3:15
20 Matthew 7:7-8
21 Jeremiah 30:11, Jeremiah, 46:28

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