The Key to Restoration
John Stembridge continues the teaching by
I think your conference is well aware that Israel was one kingdom, one nation under King David and King Solomon, but after King Solomon, the kingdom was divided into Judah in the south and Ephraim in the north. Judah, with most of Benjamin and Levi, was the southern kingdom and Ephraim, for the most part ten tribes of Israel, was the northern Kingdom of Israel. [Often referred to in the Scripture as “Ephraim” because that was the foremost tribe.]
Though now only a portion of Judah has been regathered, God says very clearly, He will gather Israel out of all countries unto this place and “I will cause them to dwell safely and they shall be my people and I will be their God.”
But I don’t think there’s a one in your conference there in Kansas, nor of us here in Miami, who feels that Israel is dwelling safely today. So that means this promise is not completely fulfilled as yet.
Going back to Ben’s basic teaching when I first met him: right from the beginning, Ben has been consistent in saying that we will not ultimately realize the fulfillment of this promise without tshuvah – repentance.
Everybody is upset with Ariel Sharon because he went on top of the Temple Mount with 1,000 troops and 2,000 more at the base, but what he simply did was to go there. Whether his visiting with troops instead of rabbis to pray was right, God is the judge, but he simply wanted to make a statement that if we have a true peace partner, the Jews and Christians should be free to pray on top of the Temple Mount. The freedom of that Temple Mount is, for Jews and Christians to pray there, a crucial issue of the fulfillment of this prophecy from HaShem (“the Name” in Hebrew).
In Joel 2 God promised to pour out His holiness, His Spirit, His presence on ALL flesh. That means the Spirit of Truth and revelation and prophecy is going to come to every Muslim, every Jew, every Christian – everyone who open his heart to receive it are going to be part of the redeemed and part of the sheep nations. Those who reject His Presence, reject His Sh’ma, His voice – as Ben was just sharing with the conference – His mitzvot, His commandments, His statutes, His ordinances, they’re going to be destroyed like Hitler and Haman and Pharaoh.
It’s the wicked that God’s going to cut down like giant trees in this hour. That will be every Nebuchadnezzar, every wicked person such as Haman who sets his heart and mind against the will of God to fulfill this promise of regathering His people out of all the nations. We’ve just finished the World Series and in baseball you have three strikes and you’re out. God was so merciful He gave Pharaoh ten strikes. If after any one of those plagues or judgments, he simply would have repented, even while holding the dead body of his eldest son in his arms, weeping, if he’d just said, “Oh, God, I repent, I’m sorry that I’ve been a pagan, I’ve been believing in the crocodile, the serpent, the vulture, etc.” (He was an animist.) If Pharaoh had repented and said, “I will believe only in You,” God would have spared his life.
Arafat who keeps hardening his heart, though his people have been given every educational and economic opportunity time and time again, if he doesn’t repent, is in danger of being turned aside by the Almighty. And any other leader that chooses to go against the work of HaShem is going to be cut down like a giant tree, and the slain of Adonai will be many (Isaiah 66). It says when he comes with fire and sword He’s going to slay the eaters of swine (pork), rats and other abominable things. He will judge according to His dietary Law as well as all the Torah. And it says that we will go and look upon the carcasses of the slain of the Lord for they shall be many.
Sticks & Bones, Spirit & Life
Ben Cohen Resumes:
This is exactly what Ezekiel, Zechariah, Isaiah, Joel – they are all talking about this, about all the nations coming on Jerusalem. Everyone wants to have a part of it. Everyone is going to participate in it. Every nation is going to be represented right there in Jerusalem. These nations are not believers and without doubt are going to be on the Muslim or the Arab side. They’re going to turn their backs to the Israelis and turn toward the Arab people that are there.
The whole world has its eye on a small, tiny piece of land there, less than 1% of what the Arab land right around Israel has. They’re going to come in the form of the United Nations, in the form of a NATO – and whatever. That will be the time, according to my studies, that Ephraim will be revealed through the help, the assistance and the spiritual backing that they will give to Judah. This is the most important thing. The physical part of it, the genetic part of it is going to be discovered as well, but regardless of that, Ephraim is going to be the one.
Ephraim is now holding the Spirit. We have the physical Israel which is Judah right now in Israel. They have no spirit; they’re dry bones. They get together and are a big strong army, but yet they do not have the Spirit. Ezekiel 37 has two portions. The first portion is talking about the dry bones and the second portion is talking about the two sticks of Judah and Ephraim. And, John, my thought now is that it is one portion. It’s the same, it’s absolutely the same event. Ezekiel is just prophesying it from two different standpoints but he’s talking about exactly the identical, same event.
It’s all going to take place together. These dry bones are there now in the valley. They have the sinews upon them; they have the flesh upon them; they have the bones and everything else, but they do not have the Spirit.
Ephraim has to come and has to blow that Spirit. He’s the one. In Israel we do have some people – the people that Chris knows of so well – that are occupying Judea and Samaria. These are the great believers. These are a very small minority. Most of Israel is against them. They think that they [the settlers in the mountain area] are a burden, rather than a help. But the truth is, they’re the absolute buffer zone for us right now and yet most of the Israelis look at them with contempt.
But this is changing now, because these people, as it says in Zechariah, are the big soldiers of Judah to protect this land. They’re going to do it right now. So we need a lot of unity, and we need to demonstrate the unity in our reaction to what’s happening right there. We need to gather our forces together. We need to be as one. We need to take those two sticks and put them into one.
picks up here:
The settlers are there, but are like being in prison right now. Israelis are not free to go around their own land. Miriam Jacoby, a friend of mine, just returned from Israel and she said she couldn’t go everywhere she wanted to go.
But in this passage, God speaks of judgment on those all who oppose His plan. He is saying here that any body who goes against His will to reunite the two sticks – as Ben was just telling you about in Ezekiel 37 – if they don’t repent as He pours out His Spirit, He is going to take them out. And after He takes the wicked out, look what He’s going to do in verse 6, “And I will cure them and reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.”
After God gives the wicked the last chance to repent and they refuse He takes them out. But then He will bring the peace. And in verse 7-9, “And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return and will build them as the first and I will cleanse them from all their iniquity.” This spiritual cleansing will take place after the great shaking and judgment. Ben was telling you the importance of the spiritual which comes after He cleanses “them from all their iniquities whereby they have sinned against Me and I will pardon all their iniquities whereby they have sinned and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth.” When He does this, that’s when Jerusalem will be a praise in all the earth.
Isaiah 62 says that we will give ourselves no rest and give HaShem no rest until He completes what He’s talking about here and makes Jerusalem a praise on the lips of all the people in all the nations of the earth.
Right now the shaking, the judgment is going on. God is exposing the sheep nations so He can bless and reward them. He’s exposing the goat nations and goat people so He can take them out.
Ben Cohen Concludes
And you know, I just want to conclude this by saying that if you look in the Hebrew prayer book, you find the most popular ending of the kaddash and the prayer which the Jews are saying about 8 or 9 times a day, yet they don’t understand. What it says is, “He who makes peace in His heights may He in His compassion make peace upon us and upon all Israel. And respond, Amen.”
You see we have to understand that the peace process without God means nothing and that’s what God is showing us. He says, “Hey, you want me to show you? I’m going to show you. You tried to do it. There has been exactly seven years since the handshaking of the peace process, the Oslo Accord, until the ending of it right before this Rosh HaShana [Jewish New Year]. It ended in exactly 7 years, and this is the chance God gave to the people of the world to see, that without Him, without recognizing Him, without worshipping Him there is no peace. Men and nations are saying, “Peace and peace but there’s no peace.” [Jeremiah 6:14 & 8:11]
The only way that the Israelis can gain peace in Israel – and I know it in my heart and in my mind without any doubt at all – is to repent and to go back to God. They have to recognize that they don’t have any right but through THEIR commitment [to obey God] they have the land. And Ephraim has a big part of it. Ephraim is the one who joins later, who is joining now, and I consider he’s going to be the strength.
About a year ago at the seminar we had in Chris’ house we talked about Ephraim having the Spirit, and this is what we need. We need that Spirit to come and to blow on these dry bones. Remember that, because the Law is nothing without the Spirit. They have to coexist together; they have to go together. One cannot go without the other. And the Spirit that Ephraim is going to give to this whole thing through their Messiah, through what they believe and what they study from the New Covenant, is needed. We have to see that it is ONE that comes together, and we hope that it is going to come together very, very soon. -