At the end of April I attended a day’s (Commonwealth of Y-israel) conference, and then again before Shavuot Rimona and I attended the first day of another, this time Commonwealth of I-srael, conference in Jerusalem. Those two conferences, particularly the latter, purported to center on reconciliation between the House of Judah and the House of Ephraim. Since we didn’t participate in the entire 3 day event we only got a partial impression of what we perceived to be a kind of general consensus among the Jewish (orthodox) people regarding this reconciliation. In addition to these events, having been exposed to other dialogues and having participated in some, my impression is that by in large “Brother Judah” (orthodox) are not really convinced, in fact are very skeptical and in some cases cynical, as to the identity of the “Ephraimites/sons of Joseph/Israelites”. The bottom line seems to be that not practicing Judaism (via conversion) totally rules out the acceptance of the Ephraimites as part of Israel. The Israelite identity according to biblical parameters is not really taken into account by the majority of these orthodox people. And so, what are the Ephraimites to do in light of this state of affairs? What should be the proper response? Well, one of the speakers, in the above mentioned conference, made an observation regarding those who are “trying to draw close to the Jews” by stating that they “suffer from identity crisis”, i.e. they really don’t know who they are, and therefore are on a quest for their identity.
In some ways this speaker was right. Whereas the Jews have no problem stating with great confidence that they are the direct descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that is not the case in the Ephraimite camp. “But we have no proof of our physical lineage to Abraham”, many retort. Well, what proof does any Jewish person, for that matter, have of such a link other than his or her recent family’s passed-on tradition? Does Scripture not depict for us a portrait of “latter day returning Ephraim” in addition to many other relevant prophecies, Yeshua’s words and in particular His parables, and the apostles’ dissertations in their epistles? Do you fit the descriptions of the “Ephraimite/Israelite portrait”? If you do, where does the problem lie in believing and embracing the Word and “owning” securely your Israelite identity, on par with the Jews’ identity as Israelites? My assumption is that an unshakable and solidified sense of identity will be of considerable help in future dialogues with the Jewish people.
For this reason I have been trying for years to expose the scriptural facts as to this very cardinal issue. Do Ephraimites have any birthmarks that actually identify them as the seed of Israel? It is time that we not be double-minded about YHVH’s choice and call. Recently I posted two articles on the subject: http://uruhaeevrim.blogspot.co.il/2017/06/the-law-of-sowing-and-reaping.html
In those articles I elaborated on some New Testament examples. But below are two more interesting prototypes from the Torah.
You most certainly are familiar with the common saying, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. Many times when we are ‘chewing’ on scriptures we don’t take the time to fully masticate this food as we should, enjoying its aromas and tastes. Chewing or masticating is known to be the beginning of good digestion: “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding” (Psalm 119:103-104). “Oh, taste and see that YHVH [and His Word] is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him”! (Psalm 34:8).
YHVH’s Word contains ‘recipes’ with varieties of ingredients, and when each is measured accurately and mixed in well they produce savory meals. Many non-Jewish believers in the Gospel of the Kingdom (of righteousness), have ‘tasted’ the “goodness” and the “wholesomeness” of discovering their lost Israelite identity. But how is it proven? The proof must be in the Scriptures. If we find that evidence, it opens up our understanding to our DNA, meaning “Pre-Determined Natural Ancestry” of the forefathers. The seed of Israel that has come out of the loins of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob cannot be mixed with another. It is only the male sperm that carries the life of the forefathers, and in the case of Israel that seed is also the carrier of the anointed Word of Elohim’s covenants, promises, and prophecies (positive and negative).
The Parashot that are coming up next week are Matot and Masa’ey. They are the last two of the book of Numbers. While going through them I was struck by two very clear principles that exemplify how YHVH is accomplishing the natural sowing of the seed, until it becomes the fullness of the nations (Genesis 48:19; Romans 11:25) The Father desires that we understand this most important truth regarding the “seed”, for the life of the Patriarchs is in it. He has sown it in the earth, while Yeshua His son is bringing its fruit into the granary of glory.
In Parashat Matot we read: “And they warred against the Midianites, just as YHVH commanded Moses, and they killed all the males”… “ Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately but keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately” (Numbers 31:7, 17-18). Did YHVH charge Israel to perform these acts because He is cruel and unmerciful, or is there a mystery hidden in the loins of a father? After all, Levi is said to have paid tithes to Malchizedek while still in the loins of Abraham (Hebrews 7:9-10). And, again, how could Daniel and Nehemiah confess the sins of their forefathers? Did they understand that their life was one with the one seed of Israel in the past? Is this why the writers of the Scriptures do not use the term grandfather, or great grandfather, but simply “father”, “our father Abraham” or “your/our forefathers”? And thus the Midianite virgins, spoken of above, would have simply given birth to Israelite children much like Zipporah, Moses’ wife, or Ruth the Moabitess. The children whom these women bore and gave birth to were not hybrids, “Medio-Isrealites”, they were pure Israelites belonging to the ancestral tribe of their Israelite fathers. When YHVH scattered His people Israel into the nations, often the males would have married the local women. But their offspring’s identity, having been determined by the father, would have perpetuated the Israelite seed (unbeknown to themselves).
The next morsel to chew on is found in Parashat Masa’ey (as well is in this Shabbat’s Parashat Pinchas), and is contained in the story about Zelophehad’s five daughters who wanted to claim the inheritance of their father in the lands given to his progenitor, Manasseh son of Joseph. Let’s look at the entire passage, as the fact that Zelophehad did not have male heirs was of great concern to the elders of Menasseh: "Now if they are married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the sons of Israel, then their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our fathers, and it will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry; so it will be taken from the lot of our inheritance. And when the Jubilee of the children of Israel comes, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry; so their inheritance will be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers" (Numbers 36:3-4). The above scripture speaks for itself. The inheritance always goes by the father or husband (as does the identity).
Is this why YHVH divided the nations into the number of the tribes of Israel in the first place? Does this have something to do with the earth’s ownership? “When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. YHVH's portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance” (Deuteronomy 32:8-9).
Let us take one more bite now. Or, put differently, let us examine another aspect of YHVH’s hidden strategy to cause Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to inherit the world (see Romans 4:13) in a very unique way, as proclaimed by Isaiah: “Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” (Isaiah 27:6). What kind of fruit? The faith-producing fruit of righteousness.
Could it be that this is how YHVH will fill the earth with His glory? “But now, thus says YHVH, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine,’… ‘Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him’" (Isaiah 43:1, 7).
“Therefore thus says YHVH, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now grow pale; But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will hallow My name, And hallow the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the Elohim of Israel’” (Isaiah 29:22-23 emphasis added).
The Almighty knows who’s who. He knows who Jacob and Israel are in the field of this world, just as a farmer knows the difference between wheat and rice. He also knows which seed/life has “the faith life” of Abraham and whom He has called out of a dead womb (Isaac and his progeny). He even knows which Israelite tribe we are from. He chose to sow this particularly peculiar seed into all the nations so that they will bear the fruit of righteousness through this faith, and inherit those nations and the world. The Creator doesn’t have to come up with a new idea because He established it already in the Garden of Eden. Throughout history He just puts together males and females of His choice to accomplish the mission and to fulfill His purposes, doing this even ‘under the nose’ of the gods of this world (like Jacob did to Laban’s sheep, ref. Genesis 30).
“Sing, O heavens, for YHVH has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For YHVH has redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel” (Isaiah 44:23). “Blessed be YHVH Elohim, the Elohim of Israel, Who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen” (Psalm 72:18-19).