Typically when something happens to you, it’s easy not to see the potential effects it can have. You just seem to miss it, because the weight of the event went unnoticed. Thus you don’t see the potential impact it will have on you, whether at that time or at some point in the future. Events that appear to be random, really seem to you to be just that – random. Many of us don’t always see or realize elements of the Divine Hand behind what occurs to us.
There are events, however, that at pivotal times in our lives become true turning points. Although it may take years before you realize that it was that particular event that had such dramatic impact upon your life because it often doesn’t manifest itself until much later in our lives.
Personally, I often think back to a meeting I attended in New York City (where I grew up) in April of 1994. I had seen a seemingly insignificant mention in the middle of a page of a mediocre Jewish newspaper (which, ironically, I rarely even looked at) of an upcoming meeting of an organization dealing with the Lost Tribes of Israel. I was stunned; although it was a subject that tugged at my heart – I didn’t know anyone that was actually talking about the Lost Tribes. And it was such a tiny little ‘blurb’ among lots of advertisements; I am still amazed to this day that I even noticed it.
I attended the meeting of the UIWU (United Israel World Union), and was deeply touched by the people that were there. They were sincere lovers of Israel and the Torah (although, of course – with a wide variety of beliefs and opinions) and although not Jewish, they all believed themselves to be connected to the people of Israel.
It seems that all of these people studied the Tanach (Hebrew Bible), were attempting to live its precepts as best they possibly could and they had all left organized Christianity. None of them lived in areas of the country where there were organized Jewish communities (something I was to find was the norm as I met groups of people like this in the future). But, that wasn’t the biggest shock – what really hit me as a staggering blow was that all of these people believed themselves to be part of the people of Israel – descendants of the legendary, “Lost Tribes of Israel.”
“Staggering” doesn’t truly capture how I felt, I was flat out and absolutely blown away! Of course, I always believed that the Lost Tribes would return, but just assumed they were hidden away, somewhere… in some other part of the world, far away from New York City, I was sure of that much! For anyone, especially who was not Jewish, to stand there and claim to be part of the Lost Sheep, part of the Northern Kingdom, was almost too much for me to process.
That time in my life, the mid-1990’s, was more than just a really fascinating time for me. It turns out that this wasn’t the only group of people who thought like this, in fact, several movements were all developing, simultaneously and apparently independent of one another. The Hebraic Roots of Christianity, the Bnei Noah (Noahides) and what people were calling, the “Torah Faith Movement.” But, now, perhaps somewhat intertwined between them all, was this “Lost Tribes of Israel” movement.
Their belief that they too were part of the people of Israel (PART of the people of Israel, in no way replacing the Jewish people – their long separated brothers and sisters) was nothing less than absolutely astounding to me. After all, they weren’t from some isolated group in Africa or Asia, some hidden tribe in some remote mountain village, but rather, had come from among the American Christians.
It wasn’t until I went back and studied (repeatedly…) the Nevi’im – the Prophets of Israel, that I began to see what was going on. The survivors of the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (also known as ‘Ephraim’ or ‘Yosef/Joseph’) who were taken into exile by Assyria were promised to be returned to the rest of the people of Israel. And, they were to come from every corner of the earth after having been scattered into every nation by the Almighty Himself.
We, their Jewish brothers and sisters, had been expecting to find them hidden away in some far away land. Throughout history, Jewish communities sent emissaries around the world, looking for Ephraim/Yosef, ‘hidden’ away as our Prophets had told us they would be. Once Australia had been explored, I think we began to lose hope. The idea that at least some of them might have been ‘hidden in plain sight’ within the Church pews of the Christian Churches of various denominations, never entered my mind; or, as I was to find out – anyone else’s either.
This trek that they were on was one that they had begun alone – not knowing that there were others around the country (and, as they were to soon find out – around the world) that were coming to the very same understanding. They were striving to return to what they often referred to as, the ‘Ancient Paths’ – as it was called by the Prophet Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) 6:16.
Over time, as I began getting to know many of these people, I began to realize how this was a movement that was growing. And it was growing all over the world, spontaneously. Often, this understanding was coming strictly from the study of the Tanach. I had no idea of it at the time, but this ‘encounter’ at that meeting was to change the course of my very life. I, in effect, began to walk with my Ephraimite brothers and sisters not as an Ephraimite, but as a brother. I would walk alongside them as they returned to our shared heritage. No judging, never criticizing, but trying to support their ‘walk.’
What has been among the strangest of elements of this process, is that I always find myself the only traditionally believing Jewish person among them. And to this day, I remain ‘there’ for them, without attempting to turn them into me. Actually, by now, we should have all learned that the goal is not to have Ephraim become Judah OR, Judah become Ephraim. We are to draw close to each other in mutual respect, for the reconciliation and Restoration of ALL of Israel knowing that if this movement is true, it will be the Almighty Himself who will make the two one in His hand. I’ll be sharing exactly how I personally see this happening, so please come back to this site to see the latest articles being posted.
Since August, 2013, I have been traveling across the United States (I live in Israel) 3-4 times per year, speaking to Congregations and Fellowships of Ephraimites. In case you didn’t know, I am a Licensed Tour Guide in Israel, specializing in reintroducing Ephraim to our ancient (and modern!) Homeland. My presentations focus on various aspects of the Restoration of ALL of Israel and are totally unique in their approach, content and style. If you are interested in inviting me to speak to your group, please email me at: Kolyehuda.firstname.lastname@example.org and please go to my website: www.Kolyehuda.com And of course, if you ever come to Israel, allow me to take you on the adventure of your life!
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