Kol HaTor Weekly
4 Cheshvan 5769
2 November 2008
To our Jewish Associates – Articles in this Newsletter with Messianic content are identified with a label Messianic content and conform with KHT’s formal strategy NOT to evangelize Jews. It therefore contains no proselytizing intent. This Messianic content being non-relevant to Jews, mainly has importance for Returning 10-Tribers in the process of working for Reconciliation between Judah and the re-identifying House of 10-Israel.
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TEMPLE INSTITUTE VIDEO: An informal discussion between Rabbi Chaim Richman and Temple Institute Director Yehudah Glick: The Hakhel events which the Temple Institute conducted during the first of the intermediary days of Sukkot
From a newsletter received from the Temple Institute: 23 October 2008
As a spontaneous expression of our gratitude and excitement, at the conclusion of the holiday season we gathered together in the Temple Institute's video studio and taped an informal discussion between Rabbi Chaim Richman and Temple Institute Director Yehudah Glick about the Hakhel events which the Temple Institute conducted during the first of the intermediary days of Sukkot, and the unprecedented response of the people of Israel who arrived from the four corners of the land by the hundreds and thousands to participate in the biblically commanded Hakhel ceremony and to ascend in reverence to the Temple Mount, where Torah verses were recited aloud to mark the Hakhel.
The Rabbi and Yehudah describe the spiritual awakening they were witness to and the growing reconnection of the Jewish nation with the Temple Mount, the holiest place on earth.
Click here to view.
EDITORIALS ABOUT THE PROPHETIC SIGNIFICANCE OF SHECHEM:
(Inserts in blue by the KolHaTor editor)
THE MASTER KEY
By Rabbi Lazer Brodyy
Why is there such an existential threat against the Jewish people in the Land of Israel today? Where’s Moshiach? The answer is amazingly simple: if the door to Geula - the full redemption of our people – is locked, then when need a master key to open it.
King David, Hashem’s anointed and forefather of Moshiach, possessed the key to the Land of Israel and to the true liberation of the Jewish nation. The key is a simple and unobtrusive passage in Psalm 37:19, “The righteous shall inherit the land,” referring of course to the Land of Israel. The Metzudat David (Biblical commentary of the 18th century David Altschuler, who lived in Jaworow, Galicia. Metzudat David elucidates the meaning of the text.) explains (commentary on Isaiah 60:21 “Also you people shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land forever. The branch of My planting, the work of My hands. That I may be glorified.”) that the righteous will inherit the land because the evil will be wiped out during the tribulations directly before the arrival of Moshiach.
Who are the righteous that will inherit the Land of Israel? Rebbe Natan of Breslev answers according to the Zohar (“Book of Splendour” a mystical commentary on the Torah) (see Likutei Halachot, Birkot HaTorah, A) that a righteous person is a shomer habrit, in other words one who fulfills the holy covenant and maintains personal holiness. We therefore see that if the righteous will inherit the land, and righteous means shomer habrit, then our future in the Land of Israel depends entirely on shmirat habrit, guarding our holy covenant with Hashem.
Rebbe Natan adds (ibid, Hilchot Seuda, D) that the principle mode of overcoming the obstacles that prevent us from assuming our hold on the Land of Israel is by learning Torah. Since shmirat habrit is prerequisite to Torah, then once again, personal holiness is the key to the Land of Israel. Without it, Israel’s holy doors slam shut in our faces.
With the above in mind, let’s take a close look about what happened throughout history in the city of Shechem, for as we’ll see, it plays a key role in the conquest of our God–given homeland and birthright.
When Yaacov Avinu (Jacob) returned from Laban’s estate in Padan Aram (today’s Syria), the first thing he did was to buy a plot of land in Shechem. Our sages say (see Gemara tractate Shabbat 33b) that Yaacov Avinu was shalem, in other words, his Torah was unscathed and unblemished despite his many years in the midst of his father-in-law Laban and the other evil foreigners. (The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra) (from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by tradition") is the part of the Talmud that contains rabbinical commentaries and analysis of the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince (c. 200 CE), the work was studied exhaustively by generation after generation of rabbis in Babylonia and the Land of Israel. Their discussions were written down in a series of books that became the Gemara, which when combined with the Mishnah constituted the Talmud.
The Mishnah or Mishna (משנה, "repetition", from the verb shanah שנה, or "to study and review") is a major work of Rabbinic Judaism, and the first major redaction into written form of Jewish oral traditions, called the Oral Torah.) Why must we know this? Yaakov Avinu’s Torah learning and observance could not have been unscathed and unblemished without him meticulously guarding his personal holiness. He therefore was able to establish a foothold in the Land of Israel, and in Shechem particularly.
Yaacov Avinu undoubtedly learned from his holy grandfather Avraham (Abraham) that the city Shechem is the key to the entire Land of Israel. The holy Alshech (Rabbi Moshe Alshich (or Alshech) (1508 - 1593, Safed), known as the Alshich Hakadosh (the Holy), was a prominent Jewish rabbi and biblical commentator in the latter part of the 16th century. He lived in Safed, Northern Israel) explains (Alshech commentary on Breishit 12: 6-8) that Hashem waited until Avraham Avinu reached Shechem before He informed him that he would inherit the Land of Israel. Shechem – nestled in the narrow valley between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal – would be the place where the People of Israel would accept the Torah under a holy oath of blessings for those who guard and observe the Torah and curses for those who don’t (see Devorim 11:29-30). Shechem, with its potential for lofty holiness, was also the headquarters of the Canaanite nations and the worst forces of evil. Shechem therefore epitomizes the centuries-long struggle which is neither political nor military, but a spiritual battle between holiness and evil.
(Ed. Shechem or modern day Nablus, is the political capital of the Palestinians in Israel today. Refer to next week’s Report for further details). It is situated right in the center of the ancient Biblical Land of the Kings of Israel, in the Shomron (Samaria), which is designated 10-Triber Land).
Yaacov Avinu (Jacob) is symbolic of holiness, as Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, , better known by the acronym Rashi, (February 22, 1040 – July 13, 1105), was a rabbi from France, famed as the author of the first comprehensive commentaries on the Talmud, Torah and Tanakh) tells us (commentary on Breishit 49:3) that he never spilled the tiniest drop of his seed in vain. Yaacov Avinu is therefore capable of wresting the Holy Land from the hands of the unholy. Subsequently, we learn that Joseph is the son who more than anyone else is the disciple of his father (see Onkolos (on Breishit 37:3). Joseph devoted himself to learning his father’s wisdom. Like his father, Yoseph (Joesph) reached the highest level of shmirat habrit, or personal holiness An Aramaic Targum – “commentary” version), by withstanding the test of Potiphar’s wife. In esoteric terms, Joseph represents the sphere of Yesod, or foundation, which is personal holiness. Since holiness is the key to the Land of Israel, and Yoseph HaTzaddik represents holiness, we can now understand the Torah in a clear new light, namely, that Shechem was the center of trouble and strife both for Yaacov Avinu and for Yoseph.
Let’s slow things down and reiterate the chain of events that indicate the spiritually strategic importance of Shechem:
1. Avraham Avinu enters the Land of Israel, and when he reaches Shechem, Hashem promises him the Land of Israel.
2. Yaacov Avinu, knowing that Shechem is the key to the redemption of the entire Land of Israel, buys a plot of land in Shechem and settles there when he returns from the house of Laban in Padam Aram. This plot of land, situated between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ibal, is the present gravesite of Yoseph HaTzaddik.
3. Evil forever opposes holiness: Shechem, prince of the Chivi Canaanite tribe (Chivi is Aramaic for snake, symbolic of the Yetzer Hara, or evil inclination), abducts Dina the daughter of Yaacov Avinu and rapes her.
4. Yaacov’s sons Shimon and Levi take avenge on their sister’s abduction and kill Shechem, his father, and their entire town. Yaacov Avinu gives his sons a protective spiritual umbrella (see Rashi and Onkeles on Breishit 48:22).
5. Shechem is the place where Yoseph is sold into slavery. Therefore, Shechem in effect marks the beginning of subsequent bondage in Egypt (see Rabbenu Bahiya on Breishit 37:14).
6. Yaacov Avinu bequeaths the city of Shechem especially to Yoseph (see Breishit 48:22 and Rashi’s commentary there), since he know’s that Yoseph’s holiness is required in order to hold to Shechem.
7. Just as Shechem is the key to the conquest and redemption of the Land of Israel, the opposite is also true: Shechem is a place of constant potential danger whenever Israel goes astray, for Shechem was the place where the Kingdom of David was split in the time of Yeravam (see Radak on Kings I, 12:1), in other words, the beginning of the Diaspora of the ten lost tribes.
Shechem is the snake that opposes holiness. Just as exile and Diaspora begin and Shechem, so do redemption and conquest. Just as the redemption of bondage in Egypt depended on taking Joseph’s tomb out of Egypt (which Moses did personally), our future redemption also depends on retaking Joseph’s tomb from alien hands.
We can now understand the long list of Israel’s troubles (Israel’s hasty exit from South Lebanon in 2003 which led to the rise of the Hizbolla, Entifada, Disingagement in Gaza, the tragic Second Lebanon War, and now talk of surrendering the Golan, Jerusalem, Judah, and Samaria, G-d forbid) in the last eight years ever since the government and the army folded in the face of unruly mobs and relinquished control of Joseph’s tomb in October of 2000 (another attempt on 16 Oct. 2003)
Yoseph and his holiness are the bone in the throat of evil. Our only chance of retaking Shechem and the Land of Israel is by strengthening our own personal measure of Yoseph – the sphere of Yesod and personal holiness. The future of Israel depends entirely on the shmirat habrit, the personal holiness of our men and the tzniut, the modesty of our women. This is the master key to the holy Land of Israel.
At the very end of his life, Joseph gave critically important instructions, instructions that would chart the course of his family for hundreds, even thousands, of years. In a bold act of faith, Joseph did something even greater than anything he had done during his entire life.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place." (Genesis 50:24-25 NIV)
Come to their aid? Whatever for? Everything was fine and happy now, wasn't it? But Joseph, having received the same prophetic promise as his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, knew that his family would not stay in Egypt.
Joseph was insistent. You must carry my bones up. You must. Why was this so eminently important, and why do those instructions still have critical import today?
Hundreds of years later, when Joshua took the land promised by God, Joseph's instructions were carried out. His bones still lie in Shechem to this day.
And Joseph's bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph's descendants. (Joshua 24:32 NIV)
In the chapter of the Bible referred to by some as the "Faith Hall of Fame", Joseph is among those commended. Certainly he was a man of great character, who lived an extraordinarily faithful life during times of extraordinary duress. Many actions of integrity could be cited as examples of his solid faith in God. Joseph endured long periods of unjust suffering, but never questioned the benevolence of his God.
Yet the sole action of faith that is cited above all the others is extraordinary because it is so seemingly unexpected as his most laudable act.
By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. (Hebrews 11:22 NIV)
Why, among all the other meritorious feats of Joseph's life, are the "instructions about his bones" singled out as his ideal act of faith? Why is this so important?
It is so important because it signifies Joseph believed God's promise about the land inheritance. His instructions, to carry his bones to what is today Israel, are distinguished by God as the greatest indication of Joseph's faith. And that tomb today, where those bones still rest as a silent reminder of God's abiding promise to Israel, is now being attacked by the haters of that promise.
Certain acts of faith are more than just symbolic. Their import resonates throughout the centuries as a firm authentication of the finality of God's firm pronouncements.
Conversely, certain acts of contempt are more than just contemptible. They strike at the very heart of God's purposes, and at the very heart of God Himself.
Joseph's bones, still in Shechem after so many centuries, stand as an irrefutable witness to God's irrevocable covenant with Abraham. When the Jews came into the land with Joshua, the bones were carried there. Now that the Jews have once again returned to the land, those bones are under assault. Why? Because they stand as a sure, staunch verification that the land still belongs to the descendants of Abraham.
The tract of land on which Joseph's tomb lies was legally purchased by Jacob. But that purchase, and those bones, are emblematic of something far greater. Understand this: the presence of Joseph's bones is nothing less than the very signature of God on the title deed of the entire land grant to Israel.
Nothing less than the integrity of God's very word is being assailed by those attacking Joseph's tomb. Through those attacks, the Palestinians attempt to efface God's signature on the title deed He bequeathed to the family of Joseph, through the oath He swore by His own name. How do you think God will respond to those attempts?
(We will continue with the prophetic importance of Shechem in next week’s newsletter.)
REFLECTIONS IN OUR PROCESS TOWARDS UNITY AND RESTORATION – understand the Jewish mind mind
Important – Please refer to the KHT Disclaimer
Would Jesus want to convert the Jews?
By Shmuley Boteach,
The Jerusalem Post March 31,2008
A serious blow was dealt to the Jewish-evangelical alliance with the publication in Friday's New York Times of a full page ad by the World Evangelical Alliance - representing hundreds of evangelical Churches, organizations, and leaders, some being among the most prominent in the country - affirming their intention to proselytize Jews.
The ad said, "The most loving and Scriptural expression of our friendship toward Jewish people, and to anyone we call friend, is to forthrightly share the love of G-d in the person of Jesus Christ.... We recognize that it is good and right for those with specialized knowledge, history, and skills to use these gifts to introduce individuals to the Messiah, and that includes those ministries specifically directed to the Jewish people."
The time has come for them to once and for all declare their reciprocity by refraining from ever directly targeting Jews for conversion.
This is what Jesus would want and says so with ferocious directness, going so far as condemn all who attempt to pry Jews away from Judaism: "Whoever goes against the smallest of the laws of Moses, teaching men to do the same, will be named least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who keeps the Law of Moses, teaching others to keep them, will be named great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:19).
The Jewish community must respectfully but forcefully respond to our Christian brothers and sisters as to why proselytizing Jews is a bad idea.
IT'S BAD for Christianity because it betrays the tragic fact that after thousands of years of persecuting Jews, many Christians still have not evolved enough to respect the Jewish faith. It's bad for Christians because if they reject the Jewishness of Jesus they will never fully understand his teachings or his life. It's bad for Jewish-Christian relations because, for all their immense support for the State of Israel, most Jews are still suspicious of evangelicals precisely because many treat Judaism as an unsaved, subordinate faith. And it's bad for the Western world whose basic fabric is based on Judeo-Christian values, which will of necessity suffer if the groups who promote these values neutralize each other through unnecessary conflict.
But rather than merely lamenting this new effort by Christian to proselytize Jews, I believe that we might see it as an opportunity. Time magazine recently identified the new effort by scholars to re-Judaize Jesus as one of the 10 most important new ideas in the world.
Using public forums to teach our Christian brothers and sisters of the essential Jewish nature of Jesus and his teachings is vital to a renewed relationship.
Jesus was a Pharisaic rabbi. Everything he taught and lived was based on the Torah and the Talmud. From his proclamation that "The meek shall inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5) which comes from Psalm 37, to the famous Golden Rule of 'Do to others what you would they do to you," which derives from Leviticus 19, to his statement that 'the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath,' whose origin is the Talmud (Yoma 85b), Jesus' mission was to renew Jewish attachment to the Torah in a time when the threads of tradition were being unwoven due to the oppressive hand of the occupying Roman beast.
WHILE JESUS lived, Judaism was practiced by 10% of the Roman Empire. Later, because the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, it superseded Judaism as the world's foremost monotheistic faith. Judaism became a backwater that was practiced and largely known only to Jews. But it is specifically Jewish values which today represent a great hope for rejuvenating a crumbling modern world and from which our Christian brethren can greatly benefit.
For instance, Christianity says that faith trumps action. What you believe is more important than what you do. And that's why they want us to believe in Jesus. But is that really the problem in the world today, that people don't have the right beliefs, or that they don't have the right actions? Nearly all people believe in love, and, according to the Rutgers University Marriage Project, close to 90 percent of all college undergraduates also believe in marriage. But their actions are not loving, as they practice cheap 'hookups' that are bereft of romance and commitment, and husbands continue to profess a belief in marriage while cheating on their wives, as we've seen recently with so many politicians.
LIKEWISE, few today don't believe in democracy. Even wannabe dictators like Putin and Chavez, and actual dictators like Mubarak and Assad, do their best to give their actions a thin democratic veneer. It's their actions, rather than beliefs, that aren't democratic and which must change.
Another example: Christianity values perfection while Judaism values struggle. Jesus was perfect, and Christians are meant to emulate his example. But in this age where we are all so deeply flawed and so many are lost, the message they must hear is that of the Hebrew Bible, which recounts all the errors of its heroes to teach us that even flawed human beings can vastly contribute to the perfection of the world.
And is the Christian emphasis on salvation what we most need now, or is it the Jewish emphasis on redemption? Should we be talking about getting into heaven when, after so many thousands of years of human history, our earth still has genocide in Darfur, terrorism in the Middle East, and broken, lonely souls across the West?
Rather than worrying who needs to be converted to get into heaven, Christians and Jews should join together to create heaven here on earth.
The writer hosts a daily radio show in the US. He is working on a book about the Jewish life of Jesus.
Cautionary note for Jews
(The reason for placing this article is without any attempt to evangelize, but to give the house of Judah a perspective of where the house of Ephraim is coming from, and the issues that it is wrestling with in the process of Return. This article has many valuable insights for those from the House of Ephraim/Joseph too, as it is evident that HaShem has chosen different ways for both Houses in the Restoration of all things, and many things that were veiled concerning the House of Ephraim in generations past, are explained in this article. Comments in blue by KolHaTor editor.) Refer also to our General DISCLAIMER
You may be a bit puzzled to meet someone wearing tehelet-blue tzitziyoth and a kosher beard but no kippah. It's because there is a people who are not Jewish, but who have, one by one, been feeling a tug back to things Hebraic. Only after we were convinced that this was the right path did we find others who felt the same pull, because it was not the teaching of men that called us back, but the "still, small voice" of the one who chooses to be known chiefly as the Elohim of Israel.
We have taken on much more as well--such things as binding t'fillin, shacharit prayers, niddah, eighth-day circumcision, the Sabbath and festivals, in short, observing as much of Torah as we can.
Are we just "Jewish want-to-be's"? Or is there something much deeper behind it?
The answer is found in the very ancient prophecies of Israel given during first-Temple times. The same Scriptures that tell us about the Exodus from Egypt also say that one day the recalling of Israel from among all nations will eclipse the first exodus so overwhelmingly that we'll no longer even mention it! If you're Jewish, you no longer have to end Passover with, "Next year in Jerusalem!" You can already move back. But the numbers there barely exceed those who came out in the Exodus--and the seder hasn't changed. So there must be something even bigger still to come!
A clue as to just what is found in the fact that Ezekiel was told his vision of the dry bones represented "the whole House of Israel". At the time he prophesied, the Jews had not even been dispersed yet.
There was, however, another part of Israel
that had been.
The problem lies in our tendency to think there is a one-to-one correspondence between "Israel" and the Jews. But by definition the Jews are descendants of Yaaqov's son Yehudah, and thus are only one of twelve tribes of Israel. To some extent, the Levites and Benjamites were included in their identifiable heritage. But where are the other tribes?
Yarav'am (Jeroboam), the labor force overseer for King Shlomo's magnificent building projects, brought a complaint to his successor, Rehav'am (Rehoboam), about the burdensome workload he was imposing on the other tribes as Shlomo had. The elders of Israel concurred that he should indeed lighten their burdens. But instead, Rehav'am listened to his youthful peers, and promised to only make the workload heavier. So the oppressed northern tribes would not accept him as their king. (1 Kings 12) It even angered (HaShem), who was also displeased because, wise though he was, King Shlomo (Solomon) had many foreign wives and political alliances. This opened the door for idolatry to gain a foothold in Israel.
So (HaShem) sent the prophet Achiyah to Yarav'am. Achiyah tore a garment into twelve pieces, and told Yarav'am to take ten of them. Only two were left with Rehav'am.
Yarav'am was from the tribe of Ephraim. Thus "Ephraim" became a kind of shorthand for the northern ten tribes, and sometimes it was called the House of Yosef (Joseph), Ephraim's father. The Southern Kingdom was called Judah (Yehudah), from which we derive the term "Jew". The name Israel stayed with the Northern Kingdom. While Judah prevailed in carrying on David's throne, the birthright still belonged to Yosef. (1 Chron. 5:1-2) And now "the stick of Yosef was in the hands of Ephraim".
Ephraim was Yosef's son, but Yaakov adopted him and gave him the right of being in the position of his own firstborn. (Genesis 48) Yaakov specifically said, "Let my name be upon [Ephraim and his brother Mennashe]." (48:16) This means he was given both the right to rule and a double portion of Yaaqov's inheritance, given so there could be someone to rescue his brothers in a time of calamity, as Yosef had already done, proving that his position was rightfully given. So the name Israel (as in v. 15) would first and foremost refer to these two tribes. Ephraim is even called (HASHEM)'s firstborn, not just Yaakov's! (Jeremiah 31:9) Reuven had forfeited this right. (Gen. 49:4) So the Kingdom that was still called Israel was now synonymous with Ephraim.
(HASHEM) promised to bless Yarav'am if he
remained obedient. But Yarav'am was afraid that if his subjects kept going to
Jerusalem for (HASHEM)'s feasts, they might again become loyal to his rival
kingdom. So he set up alternative worship sites, and from there the idolatry
grew worse. The Northern Kingdom also kept mixing religions, even dedicating
altars "to (HASHEM) and His Ashtoreth"! Israel walked more and more
"in the laws of the Gentiles" (2 Kings 17:8). "Ephraim mixed
himself among the nations" (Hoshea 7:8; 8:8). They wanted to be just like
the others, so they were taken from the Land and BECAME Gentiles! Only Yehudah
was left. (17:18) Yehudah also eventually disobeyed and was punished, but
repented and returned to the Land, and has preserved for the world most of the
original ways--the Torah, the festivals, and the Sabbath.
(HASHEM) said He would not call Ephraim (a.k.a. the House of Israel) His people anymore. (Hosea 1:9) He scattered them and they ceased to be a nation, even forgetting they had once been Israelites.
Some citizens of the northern tribes did reject this compromise, and joined the southern kingdom of Judah, but only a token remnant. To properly interpret Holy Scripture, we have to recognize the distinction the prophets made from that time on between Judah and Israel. They're not just poetic synonyms. Now Israel's rulers grew more and more evil. They kept mixing religions, even dedicating altars "to (HASHEM) and His Ashtoreth (consort goddess)".
(HASHEM) sent prophets to dramatize their true condition. Zechariah broke a rod to symbolize symbolize the end of the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. And just as Hoshea's own wife was unfaithful, Israel had committed harlotry, so the Kingdom would be brought to an end. Through the names of the two illegitimate children of Hoshea's wife Gomer, (HASHEM) laid out the two curses that would be the Northern Kingdom's specific punishment. The first was named Lo-Ruhamah—"no pity", because they had reached the point where He had to discipline, since "those whom (HASHEM) loves He disciplines". They would have to undergo the curses laid out in Leviticus that were to fall on anyone who forsook His covenant.
The name of Gomer's next son, Lo-Ammi, means "not a people". In other words, there would be many descendants of the northern tribes, but they would no longer be considered one nation. They would be cut off from their roots and be dispersed. They would forget that they had ever had any connection to Judah.
By 722 B.C., (HASHEM) had had enough. He used the Assyrians to carry these Israelites away into exile and resettle them elsewhere. Yehudah also disobeyed and was taken into exile, but repented and returned to the Promised Land. But the northern tribes assimilated with the nations and most eventually lost their identity completely. That would help explain why Abraham's descendants can't be counted! Nobody knows who most of them are anymore! From a human standpoint, that is... But (HASHEM) never forgot. He said not a kernel of Ephraim would fall to the ground. (Amos 9) He knows where each of the descendants of the Northern tribes is today.
Just after the vision of the dry bones, Ezekiel used two sticks to depict Judah and Joseph again being made one in (HASHEM)'s hand--a reversal of Zechariah's broken stick. It's a prophecy that one day, somehow, the scattered tribes of Israel would be reunited with Judah.
Yaakov had prophesied that Ephraim's descendants would become "the fullness of the Gentiles". (Gen. 48:19) People like Yair Davidy and Stephen Collins have traced the paths of some of them in great detail.
Genesis suggests that the preponderance ended up mingling with the descendants of Yafeth, a special blessing Noach had given to this son. (9:27) Certain sons of Yafeth are in particular called the ancestors of the "Gentiles who spread out to their coastlands". (10:5) This terminology about the coastlands waiting for (HASHEM)'s instruction (Torah) pervades the Tanakh. (e.g., Yeshayahu/ Isaiah 42:4) But (HASHEM) promised Avraham that every family of the earth would "be blessed" through his descendants. (28:14) But the way this verb is used here can also just as well read, "every family of the earth will be grafted into your descendants".
Hoshea named his third son Yizreel ("Elohim will sow" or "scatter"). He did indeed scatter the Northern Kingdom like seeds. But a sown seed is hidden in the ground for the very purpose of later showing up again to bear much fruit. This way, every nation could glean the leftover benefits of Israel's fruitfulness. Amos said (HASHEM) would sift these tribes among all the nations, yet He would not lose track of one kernel. (9:9) "Joseph" would one day, somehow, be reunited with Yehudah. (Ezek. 37:15ff)
In Jeremiah 31, Ephraim slaps himself. He'd thought he was an upright man until it was pointed out that he was really still doing many pagan things. This narrows our identification of Ephraim to apparent "Gentiles" who see themselves as obeying "G-d" (not realizing that even that name is tainted by paganism). When Ephraim recognizes his error and repents, (HASHEM) says, "Isn't Ephraim (after all) a precious son to Me?"
The prophets repeat this theme over and over so often that within the scope of this small pamphlet we cannot cite every reference. But once you see this, it shows up everywhere.
So it is clear that a large group of people whom everyone has thought of as Gentiles needs to return to the Elohim of Israel, having always unwittingly preserved that Israelite seed in them.
That is why so many, though having recognized Israel's Elohim to a limited extent, are pointing to Scripture after Scripture and finally recognizing that their churches just do not line up with it. So in whatever way they can, they're returning to the practices actually mandated by Scripture, forsaking paganism wherever they find it, taking on the Sabbath and the other festivals that are actually found in Scripture, and even learning Hebrew!
It is because we are not mere Noachides. We are Hebrews, just not Jews.
Each tribe has a place and is ordained for a particular task. "Each of the descendants of Israel shall set up camp by his own standard with the insignia of his father's house."
(BaMidbar/Numbers 2:2) Yehudah led the way, but there were other flags, though the whole camp was in unity. Recognizing this is enabling us to take our place as part of Israel, no longer envying Yehudah. (Yeshayahu 11:13)
Ovadyah 18 says that the House of Yosef will play a crucial in the avenging of Yehudah's enemies. So is it any wonder that when most of the world illogically raves about human rights for terrorists, millions are also coming out in support of the state of Israel, and doing so joyfully and eagerly? Most of them do not realize that it is because they, too, are meant to be a part of Israel.
At a crucial point of need, when the command is given from above, we will come to your aid. (HASHEM) is answering your many prayers to restore the exiles of the whole House of Israel—perhaps in a way you never expected!
But the New Covenant of Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) 31 "with the House of Israel and the House of Yehudah" cannot be fully in effect until the two houses of Israel are back together. As the firstfruits of the "lost tribes", at present we must be occupied with letting the rest of them know who they are so that we can again be a people (a house of Joseph) ready to unite with the other house--yours. Then Yehudah can walk with the House of Israel. (Yirmiyahu 3:18)
PEACE AND BLESSINGS
Compiling editor: Agatha van der Merwe
Content control: OvadYah Avrahami
Participating editors: Dr Robert Mock
Torah Guidance: Rabbi Avraham Feld
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