20 December 2010 (Shanee/Matzah)|
Day #279, 5934 AM
Why Messianic Judaism is Not the Answer
According to Wikipedia, "Messianic Judaism is a religious movement that adds to Evangelical theology some elements of Jewish terminology and ritual...[and] sees itself as related to Judaism". Yet non-Messianic Jews ironically do not accept Messianic Jews as Jews in spite of the vigorous attempt by the former to continue to be viewed as such.
We, who are Messianic Evangelicals, are not, however, Messianic Jews. We reject 'Judaism' as a new religion which, in rejecting the Messiah as well as addding numerous non-biblical Talmudic traditions and claiming these to be from God, ceased representing the original faith or religion of the Tanakh or Old Testament. Accordingly we are not Zionists either and do not accept that the Israeli Republic is biblical Israel Restored in any shape or fashion (see Jacob's Trouble for a detailed exegesis). We no more accept Jewish 'culture' than we do Christian 'culture' - we are only interested in New Covenant Israelite culture and religion, or to put it another way, Messianic Ephraimitism.
Today I wish to carefully explain what I mean by that so as not to misunderstood. Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph, occupy a special place in the Scriptures, because of the blessing given to them by their grandfather, Jacob (renamed Israel by Yahweh). What was that special place?
In other words, the tribe of Joseph was divided into two tribes according to the names and descendants of his two sons, and elevated to the 12 Tribes of Israel. These two grandsons now stood on an equal footing to their uncles. Reuben and Simeon were the two firstborn sons of Jacob and as you know the firstborn son of a family receives a double inheritance compared to all the rest because it falls upon the firstborn to assume headship of the family after their father's death and to meet the needs of the other family members. The extra inheritance was given to ensure that they had the means to do this.
"Then Jacob said to Joseph: "Elohim (God) Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.' And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine'" (Gen.48:3-5, NKJV).
Unusually, Jacob appointed - using his crossed right hand (denoting strength and authority) - the younger Ephraim to be the legal firstborn (replacing Reuben) instead of the elder Manasseh (replacing Simeon) who was blessed with his left hand (denoting being under ruldership, and therefroe also representing all the other tribes). Appropriately, the name Ephraim contains a hidden meaning for in Hebrew it means "double fruit" - a true Ephraimite produces twice as much fruit as the other tribes making him worthy of the double firtsborn inheritance. He therefore represents the fruitfulness of Abraham as his successor:
"So Joseph brought them from beside his knees, and he bowed down with his face to the earth. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near him. Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, and said:
'Elohim (God), before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the Elohim (God) who has fed me all my life long to this day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth" (Gen.48:12-16, NKJV).
Lest anyone think I am referring to a racial or religious group of people like the Jews, I am not. This is not a tract for 'British Israelism' or 'white supremacy' because the blood of Israel is mixed into all races - white, black, brown and yellow. An Ephraimite could come as easily from Botswana as he could from Japan, Iraq or England. And whilst the bulk of racial Ephraim is almost certainly to be found in Britain and its former colonies, we are not here talking about race at all because Ephraim represents the BRIDE OF MESSIAH from every nation, kindred and tongue. And just as 'Israel' represents one who overcomes the flesh (as Jacob did), so Ephraim represents one who has a double portion of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) because be both trusts (in Messiah) and obeys Torah and in consequence is very fruitful in all his works: what he sets his hand to, he multiplies, just as Joseph did even when he was a slave of Pottiphar and a prisoner of Pharaoh.
"I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you" (Gen.17:6, NKJV).
The calling of Tribe of Ephraim is to rule Messianic Israel by setting an example of fruitfulness, something that cannot be done in the flesh but only by and through the Ruach haQodesh. Only those who are fruitful come up to the final Sukkot having brought forth the triple fruits of Yom haBikkurim (Feast of Firstfruits, Barley harvest), Shavu'ot (Pentecost, Secondfruits, Wheat harvest) and Sukkot itself (Tabernacles, Thirdfruits, Grape harvest). To be a part of the Bride of Messiah you must bring forth this triple fruitfulness which is the Marriage Feast of the Lamb (Sukkot). Ephraim therefore symbolises full-marriage. Ephraim, then, is a spiritual picture of this fullness as represented by the completed New Covenant in Messiah. Judah represents the completed Law-giving Old Covenant and the transition from Old to New in Messiah, the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah" (Rev.5:5). His rulership ended when Shiloh (Yah'shua) came the first time (Gen.49:10).
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My talmidim (disciples)" (John 15:7-8, NKJV).
What, then, is Manasseh? What does he represent? He represents those believers who have not been fruitful as Ephraim was. Why? Because his name in Hebrew means "forgetful". He has forgotten to love Yahweh (Rev.2:4), and since he has forgotten to do that, He has also forgotten to do His commandments and become lukewarm (Rev.3:16):
Manasseh, then, is a picture of those who fail to submit to and obey Yahweh in all things as Ephraim does. Unlike Ephraim, he is not fruitful for the Kingdom of Elohim. Accordingly, Manasseh is not a picture of the Heavenly Bride but a representation of the children of the second resurrection. Manasseh does not get to live in the Millennium with the Ephraimite Bride but must await as a disembodied spirit until the end of the Millennium.
"If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever -- the Spirit of emet (truth), whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you" (John 14:15-17, NKJV).
"For I, Yahweh your Elohim, am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments" (Ex.20:5-6, NKJV).
Are there any other connections between Ephraim and the Bride of Messiah? Yes. Ephraim is the masculine Hebrew equivalent of the female word Ephrathah which as you know is where the Messiah was born:
Ephrathah is another name for Bethlehem in the territory of Judah and is where the Judahite Messiah was born. Now we see more clearly the relationship between Ephraim and Judah. Here Judah is Ephrathah, in female position, in subjection to Ephraim which is male and in a position of authority as the legal firstborn and head of the twelve tribes. And that is how it must be, for Ephraim represents the submitted Bride of Messiah and is therefore qualified to rule. He is a picture of husbands submitted to Messiah as an allegorical wife and therefore worthy to rule over his own wives.
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting" (Mic.5:2, NKJV; also Mt.2:1-6).
This is a very clear picture. When Ephrathah (Judah) tries to rule Ephraim this is equivalent to matriarchy, or wife-rulership over the husband. Is it any wonder that in Judaism the spirit of matriarchy is so strong? Is it any wonder that Jews trace their lineage through their mothers, instead of through their fathers as the Bible teaches? Messianic Judaism is therefore a contradiction in terms. It overturns divine tavnith or pattern. And when you overturn divine tavnith, you blaspheme the Word of Elohim. That is why Judaism of all stripes - messianic as well as non-messianic - has no place in the New Covenant of Messianic Israel.
Judah's stewardship as a leader in Israel ended with the first coming of Messiah. And the only reason Jidah was given this privileged position was because Ephraim fell into idolatry. Judah, then, stands as a kind of prophetess Huldah, standing in the gap doing a man's (Ephraim's) job when no man (Ephraim) was to be found.
It should not be supposed that Messianic Israelitism is much better for whilst this development of Messianic Judaism recognises all 12 tribes and not just Judah, it still falls for the Ephrathah error in assuming that Judah in some way leads. Not surprisingly, because it operates out of tavnith, it invariably fails to discern the counterfeits of Judaism, Zionism, Israeli State and even the Japhethite origin of the bulk of Jews themselves, and so tends to support these like Messianic Judaism...thus identifying itself as essentially a mutation of Messianic Judaism and also in grave error. It likewise preserves and nurtures much of the arrogance of Judaism in its claim to be some sort of master race by virtue of supposedly being the "apple of God's eye" (Ps.17:8). No, the apple of God's eye is not in any case a racial entity but a spiritual one - His apple is those who are overcomers (Israel) who are exceedingly fruitful (Ephraim).
Blood Ephraimites are repenting - not many, but a few - but in the New Covenant far more are becoming adopted Ephraimites by ingrafting because of their faith and works. There is, therefore, absolutely no place for racial pride in authentic Messianic Josephite-Ephraimite Israel.
Messianic Judaism and Israelitism will show themselves to be as corrupt as Evangelical Christianity. However, there is good news, and that is that both Messianic Judaism and Evangelical Christianity contain essential truths along with their respective errors. Yahweh has called this people to pass between the two (see our Mission Statement and the picture at the top of this devotional) and beyond to an authentic Restoration based on authentic tavnith. We are still on the journey but you are welcome to join with us. Join the Messianic Evangelicals!