Until The Two Become One

Category Ephraim

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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13 comments on “Until The Two Become One

  1. Mr. Rank, I do believe this is a very significant point that you have made. Well articulated, and hopefully heard by those who desire to do G_d’s will.
    Shalom brother

  2. Well that was a refreshing read. There is a rising number of our brothers Judah that are acknowledging Christianity as being part of G-ds plan in spreading his light throughout the earth. They are even looking at Yeshua in a more favorable light (not all the Theology that’s been attached to him) but as a great Jewish teacher, perhaps the greatest of all Sages & Ravs. Most of this is coming from the reformed and conservative circles. They also are now trying to reach across the aisle. This for sure is not “mans” doing.

  3. Love this and will reblog. Been writing about the Dry bones the last couple days and noticed something that you also state, though maybe inadvertently:

    34:11 says, YHVH will search for and gather the sheep, similar to what 37:19 says.

    34:23 says, THEN I will set My servant David over them, similar to the sequence in 37:24ff.

    In other words, YHVH gathers and brings them together, THEN we see the Messiah.

    We should be about the business of 34:8, searching for the flock if we want to be doing what He commands… Not searching is to be standing against Him!

    Blessings.

  4. Just ‘getting along’ is a hard job for so many. Too many want to bring about some idea of conversion, so we can all look alike and act alike but that is not what we see within any family! Let us all be content with what our Father, our God, is doing, let Him lead us to that final goal of uniting the family. The times we find ourselves in right now are very difficult, with the hatred going on in the world its amazing how He is really bringing us together in so many ways, truly getting the family to start seeing one another as He intended.

  5. Excellent insights … sharing the truth of Scripture. But once we “get it” … once we come to an understanding of these truths … what are supposed to do with it?

    I would submit that there are two vital things. One, is for us to share with others. There are many more who are still in some sort of church system, but they are going to come … they are going to “get it” one day.

    Number two … and maybe most importantly … is for us to remember the last two sentences of this teaching/post. “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!” Nuff said!

    1. Greetings Tom and thanks for the comments. Regarding number one, I agree with you, but we also have to make sure, in my humble opinion, that we do not follow in the footsteps of most Messianics. What I am saying is that while most of said Messianics have come across a greater or more in depth truth, their zeal often causes them to be too forceful and too eager and the result is not waiting on God or, not waiting for the recipient to even be ready to hear what we now know. We progress in steps not leaps, and in the end, as Zech. 8 suggests, many or most will not “get it” until the very end as “ten men will grab the hem (tzitzit) of the Jew.” We need to be ready to give an answer, ready to make students (disciples) but we also have to wait until they ask, because until they ask (seek) they won’t hear (find). Blessings brother. 🙂

  6. I’ve been trying to work through something for a long time and after reading these comments I think I may be on to something. We are told in the New Testament by Paul himself that he is of the tribe of Benjamin. In the past I often wondered why we needed to know this. Here is my conclusion: Paul was the apostle assigned to bring good news (Torah) to the gentiles who believed in Yeshua but had no instructions on how to live (maybe even how to”get along” with Judah? ?) . Remember what Joseph said to his brothers? Genesis 43:3 is where Judah is repeating Joseph’s commands to Jacob. And Judah spoke to him saying, the man did solemnly
    protest unto us saying, “You shall not see my face except your brother be with you.” In other words I think he was saying until we are all together (one stick) you will not see my face- not Joseph the Egyptian, Joseph the Hebrew brother. So now fast forward to Yeshua as he weeps over Jerusalem saying “you will not see me again until you say” and you know the rest. Joseph was a “type” of Messiah with many simularities. One of these seems to be not seeing his face until things are done His way! So He sends Paul, of the tribe of Benjamin, to teach the remnent of Judah and Ephraim “as it is written” in order to bring them back together; what we as followers of Yeshua are still supposed to be doing if we ever want to “see His face again”! I think maybe that is what He is waiting for.

    1. Some interesting thoughts. I would add two things, just for consideration as you are working through this. Please share any insights you might have once you have weighed these out. The first is simply that the tribe of Benjamin was part of the Kingdom of Judah. Basically, Judah, Benjamin, and half of Levi made up the Southern Kingdom. So Paul was not only one who lived Judaism as it existed in that day, he was also a Jew in the sense of being part of the “House of Judah” rather than the “House of Israel.” Of course you know Judah is part of Israel, I am just distinguishing the two Kingdoms. The second thing is something that really opened my eyes to some things. In the article I publish here, “Ephraim’s Shifting Paradigm” (http://www.united2restore.com/2015/12/16/ephraims-shifting-paradigm-2/) I placed in an end note a little fact most haven’t seen. Paul’s commission (Acts 9:15) has him sent to “kings and gentiles and the children of Israel.” However, the two times “and” appears there, we are looking at two different Greek words. The first is “kai” which means “and” and is pretty much always translated as and. But the second is “te” is that word is “never” translated as and anywhere else…. it is a word that means “both.” Now, before I reconstruct the verse, let me remind you that ethnos can be gentiles but also nations. So, his commission can read, “he will proclaim my name before the nations and kings both the children of Israel.” Now, go compare that to Jacob’s blessings (Gen. 35:11) and let me know what you see. 🙂 Blessings.

  7. Very well said, Ken! Abba has given you a clear and understandable way of explaining what He shows you in His Word. We “overzealous Messianics” need to realize that it should be our desire to allow YHVH’s Ruach to change the hearts of Judah and Ephraim. Our trying to change them only brings defensive conflict, not love. Since YHVH is Love, HE is the only One that can change the heart of a man/woman.

    1. Thanks sis. Ultimately this is God’s work, truly, ours is really geared around the idea of learning to respect each other, get along with each other. If Ephraim can’t get along with Ephraim, there is no way Judah will ever take his hand. Blessings!

  8. So appreciate the groundswell of insight into Scripture, particularly as it relates to the reunification of the tribes of Israel.

    One small tidbit of information to add:

    You mention, Ken, that the Northern Tribes were largely scattered to the four corners of the world. Jeremiah tells us that the exile of Israel (Northern Ten Tribes) was to be 390 years. With no repentance, God’s instruction of multiplying the penalty/exile 7 times of Leviticus 26 comes into effect, I believe, and so we have an exile which turns out to be some 2739 years. If we start in 722 BCE and consider there is no year zero going from BCE to CE we find ourselves witnessing the end of this exile in 2008-2009 Gregorian time. Isn’t it marvellous that we are now seeing God’s hand moving in terms of the reunification as this article so clearly points out? Praise YHVH and we look forward to the realization of that reunification and restoration.

    Thank you Ken for your insights!

    Blessings and shalom!

    1. Thanks brother. What I find remarkable, not because I doubt God but because I am human and just in constant awe of what He is doing… is that that math (which I might argue doesn’t have to be exact, but that can be for another thread) as compared to what we are seeing over the last 5-7 years suggests that while there has been an awakening that starts perhaps in the mid-1990’s, it really has been since 2009ish that the floodgates globally seem to be opening. Has God used His people through social media to reach out in a flash around the world? 🙂 I have always thought the internet was a toy or tool depending on who was making use of it. Either way, these are exciting times for sure. Blessings!

      1. Amen Ken. In 2008 I began sending this link to alternative media all over. It’s about using technology to take back our churches and our country. At the time, I had NO Idea about the prophecies unfolding today. I just knew the church had some things all wrong. Exciting times for sure 🙂

        http://homegroups.org/vision/

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