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Collage Discussion

John:

Ben is a Cohen; he’s from Judah. I want to ask him, “As all of these Ephraimites are waking up to their identity, in your Biblical understanding, when are Ephraimites going to be accepted by Judah?

Ben:

It’s a very good question. We don’t have any fast solution for that. Right now what we know is that Messiah is the One who is going to be gathering the whole House of Israel together. I would like you to look at Deuteronomy, Chapter 33. It’s the blessing of Moses to the tribes.

It begins: “And this is the blessing that Moses, the man of God, bestowed upon the Children of Israel before his death. He said, ‘HaShem came from Sinai – having shone forth to them from Seir, having appeared from Mount Paran, and then approached with some of the holy myriads – from his right hand he presented a fiery Torah to them. Indeed, You loved the tribes greatly, all its holy ones were in Your hands; for they planted themselves at Your feet, bearing the yoke of Your utterances.’

“The Torah that Moses commanded us is the inheritance of the Congregation of Jacob. He became King over Jeshurun, when the numbers of the nation gathered – the tribes of Israel in unity.”

I have a lecture about this particular sentence. Let’s go over it again. Basically, this verse (verse 5) says there will be a King in Jeshurun (Jeshurun is the poetic name for Israel, the land). When will the King Messiah come? When the heads of the people gather together and try to live in unity. Here is the secret Moses is giving us in Deuteronomy when he is blessing the tribes of Israel before he passes away.

To go over it again: this is the description of the coming of the Messiah in one sentence. He’s talking about the King, but at that time of Moses there was no king in Israel, so, obviously he’s talking about the King Messiah. When will this King come? Moses says he will come when the heads of the people are gathered together. There is going to be a unity among the people of Israel, and then all the tribes of Israel will gather together as well. That’s when Messiah is coming and that’s the purpose of the Messianic Age. That’s what’s going to happen.

And we understand that we are beginning this period right now. We’re starting to wake up to these ideas, all of us together. There is a big movement today (and it’s getting bigger and bigger) of Christians who feel that they are part of Israel.

If you remember the doctrines that we had before, they were replacement theology. Replacement theology was hit very badly when the State of Israel was established in 1948.

What we’re saying is this: Israel right now is a big mystery. Judah is now in the land, only 2 or 3 tribes (for the most part) out of 13 tribes. There are 10 tribes concealed among the nations. They were exiled by the Assyrians into Assyria about 2,800 or 2,900 years ago, the first exile ever from Israel. And if you read Hosea and the history you’ll find out that they lost completely their identity throughout the generations. They are completely unaware of the fact that they are Israelites.

We want these people to arrive!

The unity of Judah and Ephraim is clearly given in Ezekiel 37. This chapter, as we discussed yesterday briefly, has two parts to it. The first part is talking about the dry bones; that we’re all familiar with. And the second part which is 37:15-16 is about God speaking to Ezekiel and He tells him, “Now, you, Son of Man, take for yourself one piece of wood and write upon it, ‘For Judah and for the Children of Israel, his comrades’, and take one piece of wood and write upon it ‘For Joseph, the wood of Ephraim and all the House of Israel, his comrades’. Then bring them close together to yourself, one to the other, like one piece of wood, and they will become united in your hand.”

So this is the picture right here. They will become united in your hand.

“Now when the children of your people say to you saying, ‘Will you not tell us what these things are to you,’ say to them: Thus said the Lord HaShem: Behold, I am taking the wood of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his comrades, and I am placing them and him together with the wood of Judah; and I will make them into one piece of wood, and they will become one in My hand.

“The pieces of wood upon which you will write shall be in your hand, before their eyes. Say to them, Thus says the Lord, Hashem: Behold, I am taking the Children of Israel from among the nations to which they have gone; I will gather them from all around and I will bring them to their soil; I will make them into one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and one king will be a king for them all; they will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms, ever again. They will no longer be contaminated with their idols and with their abhorrent things and with all their sin.

“I will save them [taking them] from all their dwelling places in which they had sinned, and I will purify them, they will be a nation to Me, and I will be a God to them. My servant David will be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all of them; they will follow My ordinances and keep My decrees and fulfill them.

“They will dwell on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, within which your fathers dwelled; they and their children and their children’s children will dwell upon it forever; and My servant David will be a leader for them forever.

“I will seal a covenant of peace with them; it will be an eternal covenant with them; and I will emplace them and increase them, and I will place My Sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be among them; I will be a God to them and they will be a people to Me.

“Then the nations will know that I am HaShem Who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary will be among them forever.” (Stones edition)

So it is talking about the end of days which we are facing. We’re talking about two nations that are coming together. We have established, to ourselves at least, that we’re talking about Judah and Ephraim. We’re talking about Judaism and Christianity. Christianity has evolved, is tied to Judaism and we have these two coming together at the end of days. Now we need to understand it better.

Putting a Limit on Messiah

Polly:

Polly Grimes – Director of Tours Through the Book.

When Ben started with Deuteronomy 33 speaking of Messiah, that’s right in line with Isaiah 49:5-6, because I think that we, as Christians, have limited the role of Messiah. We have rightly understood His role to be salvation, redemption for us among the nations, but His purpose goes beyond that.

When the Lord started dealing with me about these truths, about 19 years or so ago, I started looking back into Jewish sources. I recognized that they had always known it was the role of Messiah to bring back the tribes.

I was studying and researching Ephraim and Judah when I heard a Rabbi speak, and it took only about 3 minutes to recognize that he felt that Ephraim would come primarily from the Christian believers.

I went to him after he spoke and I asked him, “Do you feel that we’re Ephraim?” He said “Of course you are”, in a matter of fact way.

Then I said, “Well, what are we to do?”

 “You’re supposed to inherit the land. What do you think? Along with Judah, not instead of, but along with Judah,” He answered.

He and I became very good friends. We studied together. I’d been praying a lifetime for my own private Rabbi and he’d been praying that God would send him a believer who understood, who had some concept about the Scriptures, but he hadn’t had very good experiences so far.

I said to him one day, “Do you think we’re living in the days of Messiah?”

Then he said the most awesome thing, “Now that you’ve come, I do.” It was a very humbling statement.

It’s so simple and yet so complex. I want us to read Isaiah 49:5 and 6 because it goes along with Deuteronomy 33:1. One of the roles of Messiah was to regather the tribes, and if He did not regather the tribes then He was the false Messiah, right? And one of the reasons that I think that Judah has not recognized that Yeshua was Messiach is because they feel He did not fulfill that role of regathering the tribes.

But He did! Because what did He do for us? By the grace of God, He did bring together the tribes, we just haven’t recognized it yet.

When Yeshua came they expected Him to deliver them from Roman bondage, but that didn’t take place either at that point. There is a time and a process with all these things, and the process was that He would, indeed, regather the tribes from the Gentile world, eventually.

But now we’re suffering through an identity crisis. When we recognize who we are, that’s when the whole thing of gathering the tribes together and becoming one in His mighty right hand will occur, as Yeshua prayed.

Isaiah 49:5 gives the role. Always the Jewish rabbis and Christian scholars recognize this as a Messianic verse. It says: “Now saith the Lord that formed me in the womb to be his son, to bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him. He said, It is too small a thing that you should be my Servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserverd of Israel: I will also make you a light of the nations so that My salvation shall reach to the ends of the earth.”

John:

That’s so powerful. Soon we will no longer say,“The Lord lives that brought Israel out of Egypt”. But rather what we’re going to say is, “The Lord lives that brought Israel out of the North country and from the four corners of the earth.”

Chris

At this point, I think we need to clarify some terms that we’re using here that might be confusing. When the twelve tribes (the entire People of Israel) split into two kingdoms after the death of Solomon, the Northern ten tribes were called the Kingdom of Israel or Ephraim. They are called “Ephraim” collectively because that was the largest tribe. They were carried away into Assyria a little before 700 B.C.

The Kingdom of Judah was made up of Judah, Benjamin (a small tribe) and most of the tribe of Levi. It was called “Judah” because it was the largest tribe. Judah, the Southern Kingdom, was carried away into Babylon about 200 years after the Northern tribes were led captive by the king of Assyria. When Judah returned to the land, they brought with them the nickname “Jew” from the word “Judah” and that’s who the Jews are today.

But the Kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes of the North, have never returned, and that’s who we’re calling Ephraim, or Israel (speaking of the People, not the country).

The Jews are of the People of Israel too, but the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) aren’t Jews, they’re Israelites.

We need also to study about Jacob’s blessing on Ephraim to understand this better. Sometimes we get all mixed up and call them all Jews, but they’re not. The Jews are Judah.

Polly Continues:

Ben asked me to speak a little bit on Ephraim and Judah, giving you some clarification. First, I want to go to 1 Kings 12 when David’s kingdom was divided into the Northern and Southern kingdoms. The Southern Kingdom was Judah, Benjamin and some of Levi. That was ruled by Rehoboam. The Northern Kingdom was the other ten tribes, and they were ruled by Jeroboam. When they seceded from the kingdom of David, they went away from God, changed the feast days, changed the capital. Does that sound familiar? That’s what’s happened to Christianity as well. They went out and tried to be like the other nations. This has been Israel’s problem, even until today.

In 1 Kings 12 (2 Chronicles 11), Rehoboam was set to go up against his brothers and to fight, but God said, “Leave them alone, because this thing is of Me.” God was sovereign even in the splitting of the Kingdom.

Each today has something to offer, one is that Judah has been faithful to preserve the Torah, the oracle, which is so important to the heart of God. They have been, and they are, a light to the nations.

Ephraim has been so full of love and grace but has forsaken Torah. Many Christians think our Bible starts with Matthew and ends with Revelation, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t even make sense unless you go back and start in Genesis.

So the tribes were scattered. The Southern Kingdom went into Babylon captivity, but many of them came back in 70 years. The Northern Kingdom went into Assyrian captivity and from there were scattered abroad. They haven’t returned. The Assyrians had a very unique way of scattering. They wanted to completely destroy Israel, so they scattered them all over. Some remained there, but they went into various islands in the north.

The scholar, Yair Davidi, has done a wonderful job of tracking historically the tribes as they went into exile and where they ended up. Their names have been changed numerous times. It would be very hard for an average layman to track it, but he has done a great job.

So the Scriptures say that not one seed is going to fall to the ground. He will bring them back in the last days. I spoke with a leading minister about this, and he said, “Oh, no, those tribes are long gone.”

I said, “That is interesting. Why did James write to the tribes long after they’d been scattered?”

“Well,” he said, “I haven’t really thought about that.”

I agree exactly with what John said, that this has been one of the major problems.

A few years ago I sat down with another leading minister and told him from beginning to end what I know about Ephraim and Judah and the division of the tribes. He interpreted Scriptures in a way I thought was very erroneous.

He listened and then said, “I have never in my wildest imagination even thought of such a thing. Would you give me the list of these Scriptures, and I promise you I’ll do a thorough study.”

Immediately he did go back into some of the Hebrew and agreed with what I was saying. And I gave him numerous Scriptures.

I didn’t mention it again to him because I thought I’d said enough. He loves the Word so I thought it best to just let him wrestle with it. The subject came up again a few years later and he said, “Well, I think you’re right, and I’ve been researching.”

I said, “In that case, it’s going to take you, and people like you, to speak up and teach it.” We talked at length about his Hebrew roots. I know he accepted this, because people told me he later was teaching some of those things in his lectures.

John:

Christianity has been so saddled with “being so heavenly minded we’re no earthly good.” The talk is all about rewards in heaven. If in fact, as Ben believes (and some Rabbis) that Christianity very well may be Ephraim, then Christians should begin to honor their birthright in this life. And if, in fact, you are Ephraim, then you’re to be reconnected to your brother, Judah, the Jewish people, as Ezekiel 37 says. They shouldn’t have to be just reclaiming and redeeming that land by themselves.

One reason I honor Dwayne Coxon is that for years he has been taking Christians to Israel to do manual labor – like the rose gardens there. That’s the name of their work, “Blossoming Rose”. We need to get our hands dirty, reclaim the desert, put in the plough, bring in the water, irrigate and redeem the land, making it into the Garden of Eden again. That’s practical faith and religion. We need to get Christians to be more practical in reclaiming and redeeming all of Judea and Samaria.

Chris:

What we’re talking about here today is that the Kingdom of God is coming on earth and we’d better be laying up our treasures there. We talk about Jesus returning and that He will set up his throne in Jerusalem, so we’d better be putting our treasures where our mouth is.  -