by Batya Wootten
Martin Luther King once said that he “had a dream,” meaning a vision of what he wanted to see happen concerning his people. I too, have a dream. It is a hope that is always stirring in my heart. It has to do with my people and Israel’s full restoration. My hope, my dream, my vision for Israel begins with Ephraim’s realization of the truth of who he is called to be in Messiah.
I hope for this because, in jest I often call myself a “Jewish evangelist in disguise.” I say this because I have a deep, abiding love and respect for my Jewish brothers – but I do not necessarily feel led to “take the gospel to them.” Instead, I understand their hurts and long to see great change come to the people of Ephraim – so they can become a true blessing to Judah. I want to see Ephraim once again become a mighty man, to become sons of Israel who truly are a great help to their brother. I long to see Ephraim come into his “fullness,” which, in my opinion, does not speak so much of numbers as it does of maturation, of him growing up in Messiah and beginning to walk in a Scripture-based-Spirit-led way that actually causes Judah to see him as a beloved brother Rom 11:25.
I want to see this loving provocation because I know that when Judah sees Ephraim as someone who has a relationship with the God of Israel that he wants to have, then our family will be reunited. Then I will be able to laugh and weep and shout and rejoice forever. I will be happy because my whole family will be together. That is why I dream of “fixing” Ephraim Zec 10:7; Rom 11:25.
YHVH gave Ephraim a divine mandate, it being to walk in a way that makes Judah jealous. But, Ephraim is instead often jealous of Judah. Jealousy is good when it is protective, but when it takes on the character of envy, it is bad. Even as Judah’s enemies need to be cut off, so Ephraim needs to be delivered of his envious jealousy of Judah. He must not harbor any negative feelings toward Judah, but must instead truly love him and be jealous only for his well-being. When Ephraim manages to accomplish this, then Judah will cease to vex him Isa 11:13.
To do this, Ephraim desperately needs to know who he is in and to the Messiah, because, when he feels inferior or superior to Judah he does not properly walk in his call.
To bring about this change according to Scripture, Ephraim first needs to be instructed about his own Israelite roots, then, when he sees that he is part of Israel, and not a replacement of Judah, he will repent of the lawless/torahless deeds of his youth Jer 29:11; Hos 4:6; 5:11-6:3.
YHVH calls Ephraim His “delightful child” and promises to have mercy on him. He also calls Ephraim to be a mighty man, a watchman and a prophet Jer 29:18-19; 31:6-20; Hos 9:8. Watchmen warn their people of danger. True prophets point them toward the Holy One of Israel.
This job description brings us to some problem areas that Ephraim needs to address before he can fulfill his awesome call. For instance:
• Ephraim is sometimes misguided in his love for Judah and thus tends to compromise the truth. Ephraim instead needs to catch a vision of the full glory of Israel’s restoration. He needs to see how the Father wants to use him in the days to come – because Ephraim is destined to play a key role in Israel’s restoration. To walk in this high call, Ephraim must learn to speak the truth in love and, to judge with equity while seeking peace among the brethren Deu 25:13-16; Zec 8:16; John 7:24; Eph 4:2.
In the last days, YHVH gives His chosen ones “the valley of Achor as a door of hope” Hos 2:15. Achor means trouble, and after a season of it, Israel is restored. At Achor, Achan and his family were stoned to death for their dishonesty. Their actions brought defeat and curses to all Israel. Victory was withheld until Israel collectively dealt with the sin in their own people. Dealing with sin in their camp was key to their triumph Josh 7:24-26; Isa 65:10. Dealing with sin in our camp will likewise prove to be key to our victory. For the Father has sworn that “the remnant of Israel will do no wrong and tell no lies, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths” Zep 3:13.
Israel’s kingdom will not be restored among thieves. Therefore, we must learn to be honest, loving and godly people who have the nerve to call fellow Believers to account 1 Cor 6:3. We need to realize that, collectively, we we tend to take a wrong attitude toward sin. YHVH warns us that our sins will find us out Num 32:23. To this day, through Scripture, He tells the world about the ancient sins of all of His people – and He surely will not hide the truth about us. Let us therefore repent while there is still time. Let us be wise enough to realize that all sin will be exposed. And that, we can only repent of our sins on this side of the Jordan. Once we “cross over,” our life becomes a matter of history. Let us therefore ask Abba to give us honest, and truly repent hearts while we still have time to seek His way in the earth.
• Some, in their jealous desire to be united with Judah, deny Messiah Yeshua’s Deity. When they do this, they end up with a form of godliness but have denied its power Mat 24:30; 2 Tim 3:5; Heb 1:3; 2 Pet 1:3,16. Only Elohim/God has the power to deliver man from Sheol. Mortals cannot do that Psa 49-10-15. Yeshua is our powerful Savior, Healer, and Divine Redeemer, and there can only be “One/Echad” of them. YHVH says, “There is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life” Deu 32:39; Isa 45:21; Hos 13:4). Luke 2:11 says, “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior.” In John 4:42 Yeshua is called the “Savior of the world.” Because Yeshua claimed to be “One” with YHVH, some tried to stone Him Isa 49:26; John 8:58-59;10:25-33. Yeshua is Elohim manifested in the flesh. Our God is echad, meaning a plural unity. Regardless of how difficult this mystery might be for us to understand, we must become like little children and accept this mysterious truth. Our eternity depends on it Mat 18:3; 1 Tim 3:16;1) 1 John 5:10-11. (See Redeemed Israel – Reunited and Restored, chapter 10, “The Blood and Our Redeemer.”)
• It has been decreed that Israel’s reunion and full restoration will not happen by the power or might of men, but by the power of YHVH’s Holy Sprit, by His Ruach HaKodesh Zec 4:1-14. Yet, some resist the Ruach. We do not want to be a stiff-necked Israel who resists the Spirit. We want to instead have YHVH’s Spirit train our senses, for it is in this way that we learn how to separate the bogus from the genuine Acts 7:51; Heb 5:14. If we throw out the Spirit because of the counterfeit claims of some, we lose. It is our job to sort through the mess and begin to walk in the power and truth of the Spirit of the God of Israel. Then we will begin to see Messiah-like miracles in our lives. Then sinners will be converted to Him. (See Israel: Empowered by the Spirit, by Smith and Wootten.)
• In the parable of the Prodigal Son we see a wayward son returning to his merciful father, and his father then hosts a celebration in his honor. It is this celebration, this making merry with the father that provokes the older son to jealousy. We want to follow this results-oriented plan. But sadly, some have lost sight of the joy of personal relationship with the LORD and have instead put their focus on the study of minutia. Please don’t misunderstand the point being made here: We must study and show ourselves to be workmen who can accurately divide/discern the Word of truth, however, our head-knowledge- based study of minutia is not the best way to provoke people to jealousy. In fact, it often drives people away for the the LORD. Our God is so grand that there are more minute things to learn from His Word than we are capable of fully comprehending. So let us put our studies in perspective and realize that people also need to see the Almighty at work in our lives. If the truth be known, we too, need to see Him working miracles in our lives. That will happen as we learn to listen to His voice and to follow faithfully follow Him Deu 4:30; Isa 30:21. When we know Him, when others see His Holy Sprit at work in our Scripture-based-Spirit-led lives, then they will want what we have. (See The Voice… Hearing the Almighty.)
• Yeshua, who also is called “Israel,” is the epitome of all that is Israel. He is YHVH’s Firstborn, He is His Servant, and the Israel who is sent to gather the scattered tribes of Jacob. It is YHVH’s good pleasure for Israel’s fullness to dwell in Messiah Yeshua. In Him, YHVH is reconciling us to Himself Exo 4:22; Isa 49:3; Hos 11:1: Zep 3:19; Mat 2:15,18; Col 1:18-20.
We must not compromise the truth about our Messiah. We must realize that Jerusalem is called to be the “City of the Great King” Psa 48:2; Mat 5:35. Messiah Yeshua is that King. Without Him, Jerusalem is but an old city with a lot of history.
We have more to do, friends. We have grown greatly in our Hebraic understanding and in seeing some of the greater depths of Torah’s truths. However, the deep meanings of Torah are unending. It is a book written by our Creator and it surely contains more than His creation is capable of absorbing. We need to learn to balance our study of such things with our call to have a child-like faith. Messiah Yeshua said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” Mat 18:3.
Let’s face it. Many in the Messianic movement have been “church haters,” and the result of their hatred is to have many walk away from truths that should have been modified or maintained. This baseless sin of hatred is no more acceptable to the Father than is the sin of anti-Semitism. Both fall in the category of “hatred without a cause.” And that is the real reason for Israel’s division.
Friends, it is time for us to mature and grow beyond these destructive attitudes. It also is time for us to stand up for the truth. To do so, we must be empowered by the Ruach. Without Him and His power we will never see the fullness of the New Covenant nor be able to help establish His “City of Truth” Jer 31:31-33; Zec 8:3.
I am not finished with the rest of my dream but need to close for now. I do so with a story.
We once heard a man teach about the difficulties Israelites encountered when they were in the desert, following the cloud by day and the fire by night. The man asked us to imagine what it might be like for us to always have to be on the move, following the LORD. He wanted us to imagine a fellow who had set up his tent, arranged his easy chair and TV, and was comfortably watching the football game of the year. Suddenly, the guy hears someone call out, “The cloud’s moving!”
I think we have gotten very comfortable in the Messianic movement. Our easy chair is soft, the head games we watch are very interesting, and we sort of like things the way they are.
However, the fact is that one more time we need to hear the call, “The Cloud is Moving…”
Our God has wonderful things in store for those who will be faithful and follow Him. But, if we will not get out of our comfort zones, pack up and move out with Him, we will find that we have nothing left but yesterday’s manna. Our source of Provision will have left the area.
We want to follow the One who brought us out of Egypt with outstretched arm, and Who worked great signs and wonders in behalf of our fathers. His mercies are new every morning. He is always doing a new thing in the earth Isa 43:19; Jer 31:22; Lam 3:23. And now, He wants to do a new thing in our lives as He begins to redeem and restore His chosen people, the whole house of Israel, Judah and Joseph/Ephraim. So let us now choose to follow Him, regardless of the costs. He is truly the Pearl of Great Price. He is worthy of selling our all just to be with Him.
Father, we want to follow You and You alone. We do not want to get off course, lag behind, or get ahead of You. We instead want to walk lock-step with You. We pray now, that even as You promised, You will whisper in our ears, “The is the way, walk ye in it” Isa 30:21. We ask You to please fill and empower us with Your Spirit. We ask You to do a great and mighty work among Your people, and to allow us to play a part in that coming work.
Amen and Amen.
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