by Chris Josephson
"And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one King shall be King to them all... They all shall have one Shepherd; they shall also walk in my Judgments and observe my Statutes and do them... Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them" (Ezekiel 37:22,24,26).
When God said in Ezekiel 37, he would join Judah and Ephraim together as "one stick" in His hand, how then can Judah give away the mountains of Ephraim? (When the kingdom split, after the death of Solomon, into northern and southern factions, the northern kingdom of Israel was often called by the name of the largest tribe "Ephraim." And likewise "Judah" stood for the tribes of the south and fragments of the 10 northern tribes who did not defect. The ones returning now are all called Judah or Jews. "Where are the ten lost tribes?" is a question of heated debate and growing search!)
The large part of eight years I was privileged to live in Israel with my late husband, Elmer Josephson, was spent in the Mountains of Ephraim. One day I said to him, "This is where you should be, for you are Josephs son." This was a pun on the family name from his Swedish immigrant father. Elmer was born in Kansas City, Missouri; both his parents were born and reared in Sweden. Sometimes he was mistakenly identified as being Jewish because of his name and appearance. He would always reply, "No, Im a full blood Swede. Both my parents came from Sweden."
Lost in Sweden?
Some research now indicates that part of the "lost tribes" of Israel may have helped populate the Scandinavian countries. The following story is interesting in connection with this.
In July 1964, Rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman, Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, came to Kansas City to meet former President Harry Truman who was the first world ruler to recognize the State of Israel in 1948.
The Rabbis and Jewish business men of Kansas City, gave a dinner for the occasion at the Muehlebach Hotel. Because of his practical pro-Israel activities (such as selling Israel Bonds to Christians unusual at that time), Elmer was the only non-Jew there besides Harry Truman. After Elmer talked with Rabbi Unterman, the Rabbi was heard to remark, "I wish we could trace and see if Rev. Josephson is from the lost tribes."
Elmer often said, "If I were Jewish, Id catch the next plane and make Aliyah to Israel. Id go to the Negev and dig out a place to live." I ask myself now the questions: (1) If he were alive today, would he study more about the dispersion of those "lost" tribes and how they might be identified and brought home to the Promised Land? (2) And if it is possible in the foreseeable future to learn by some means that Elmer actually did have Israelite blood in his veins, would he fulfill that dream and fly away to Israel?
If the answers to those questions were in the positive, you can be sure Id still have hold of his coattail and go along. But now he has departed this earthly life - temporary until the scheduled time (known only by our Heavenly Father) that the Captain of the Resurrection plane returns.
In the Meantime
Prophetic Scriptures linked with current events are teaching us daily whats going on in our planet. And with the knowledge comes the responsible question, "What do I do about it?"
Jewish/Christian conferences, dialogues and round-table discussion groups abound as seekers for Truth are coming together in respect for one another and it seems to me there is now more a spirit of at least wanting unity. In the past, and yet today unfortunately, many come mainly to hear a certain well-known man, and /or men and women who are honored as having the proverbial whole ball of wax.
Most of us when we came out of Universities, Seminaries and Bible Colleges, felt we were in possession of that whole ball of wax and our duty was to zealously inform others of our knowledge. We were quite certain that shortly wed straighten out the whole world and live happily ever after.
Several years ago I had a night vision of a huge fire reaching from horizon to horizon. A man was standing at the edge of it with a garden hose in his hand. A little stream of water was coming out of the hose, but about all it accomplished was to make the ground muddy for his own feet.
Doesnt that depict every one of us, probably for the most part of our lives, as we seek with our own little kettle of plans to do the work of the Lord? Were so sure we know the answers, because after all, doesnt water put out fire?
What is missing?
An often repeated adage in this publication is Wisdom is knowing how God is moving in the world and going with Him. However, so often we get the cart before the horse and in essence tell the Lord and others, "Now, this is how it is, and this is going to happen next, then this, and this is what should be done." So much time and energy is consumed on setting forth individuals ideas, resulting mostly in talk and fragmented effort.
What ever happened to the power Yahshua*
(Jesus) HaMeshiach (the Anointed One) told His disciples theyd receive after the
Ruach HaChodesh (Holy Spirit) came upon them? (Acts 1:8) The witnessing were to do
by this Power somehow gets lost in the power of our own spirit, and His Word gets clouded
and twisted by our own words.
What is the Remedy?
The outgoing Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu's name means "son of my right hand" and "gift of
God". He was loved by many. Can it be he will have now
Let us come again to the familiar verse, often quoted, but somehow missed in application: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts" (Zech. 4:6). We desperately need the contrite heart that declares and means it: "Not my will but thine be done." and can also add: "but may MY will and THINE be ONE."
Let us re-read and re-memorize Psalm 1. Let us put down roots into that River of Life (His Word taught by His Spirit) and become a tree that naturally bears fruit.
An apple tree doesnt have to hold up a big sign saying, "I am an apple tree". Neither does it bear apples by tying them on the branches. No! An apple tree can only bear apples because it IS an apple tree. If were truly His, we shall become more and more like Him whose "tree of life" brings healing for all.
But does this path of "dying to self" mean nothing is done? Does it mean we just sit and twiddle our thumbs or spend all our time trying to reach perfection? Are we to conclude it is an impossible life style? Let us take the "imp" out of "impossible" and surrender to Him, and by His enablement keep up the good fight of faith by laying aside selfish interests and desires which do not bear the righteous fruit. And what fruit is He looking for today? "Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance" (Gal. 5:22-23). No law against these! Let us pass them around generously.
Have a Heart for the Heartland
One way we can bear "fruit" is to go with God in fulfilling His Word regarding the mountains: "But ye, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come... I will multiply men upon you, ALL the House of Israel, even ALL of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded" (Ezekiel 36:8,10 - please read the whole chapter).
We have a small beginning-to-help project: an almond orchard in the settlement of Maaley Michmash. We have been allotted an area of 10 dunam (between 2 and 3 acres) for these fruit bearing trees which is only about 1/3rd planted. The area around the settlement is still desolate and undeveloped "waste" yet to be builded.
A cry for the Heartland of Israel is coming from the Heartland of America. Will you do as the Lord enables and bear the fruit of love-in-action with joy, peace, faith? Is this not what the Apostle James meant when he said, "I will show thee my faith by my works" (James 2:18).
Terror lives in the heartland of Israel and now we are experienced terror in our USA heartland. Is the Lord trying to get our attention? What is He saying to us? Are we concerned only about ourselves our own "heart" and care nothing about the heart of Gods land?
Israels heartland is suffering because our US policy says the settlements of Jacobs seed there is "the greatest obstacle to peace"! The obstacle to peace is US! And what we are sowing we are reaping in our own heartland!
We cannot shrug this off as happenstance. This is the day of restoration and much of what our country does is destruction for Israel. The promise to Abraham and his seed is in force: "I [the Almighty One] will bless them that bless thee and curse him [singular pronoun! to the last man] that curseth thee" (Gen. 12:3).
The phrase: "Caused terror in the land of the living" appears four times in one chapter (Ezk. 32:23,24,26,32). Each time it bears the judgment of "slain, fallen, gone into nether parts, laid in the midst of the uncircumcised" [unclean].
No one can live without a heart. And the heart is of no use unless it beats. When it beats it pumps life-giving blood to the rest of the body. When there is heart trouble, there are death problems where there should be life solutions.
Israeli settlers are bringing life to the heartland and you can have a part.