We, Angus and Batya, are pleased to announce that we have a new Administrator, Alexander David Altman.
At our last ARI Gathering David saw our computer needs at the Registration Desk and quietly came alongside us and worked to take care of the problem. He has been a beloved brother to us ever since. David has often driven for hours to help the ministry with computer needs (he is very accomplished in this field). We have come to know him to be a very intelligent, solidly Scriptural Believer with a true servant’s heart. He is also a devoted Jewish Believer in Messiah who sees the need for restoration to come to both the houses of Israel. He belongs to the Torah Boat Congregation, led by P.J. and Christi Jones in Palatka, FL. Alex’s stated desire is to “be our strength and to help us carry on with our vision.”
All of the ARI Shepherds have met and communicated with David and they too, are in agreement that he is the right man for the job. He will be planning and coordinating future ARI Gatherings, plus some inspiring new ministry endeavors – to be shared at a future date.
Again, we feel very blessed to have someone of David’s caliber come alongside us and help us work toward Israel’s restoration. Because he lives two hours away, we will be moving the home office to his area. The new ARI Home Office address will be:
Alliance of Redeemed Israel
PO Box 947
Palatka, FL 32178
800 829 8777
386 937 5742
Saint Cloud Office: 407 344 7700
We pray that all of you will welcome David in his new position. We also invite you to please send him a Welcome email at:
A Progress Report for the New Book, A Door of Hope
Batya’s new book, A Door of Hope for the Last Days, awaits finishing touches on the cover and will then finally be off to the printer. We have thus far reproduced the Foreword (by Angus Wootten), Introduction, and the first Chapter (See them here). For your reading pleasure and review we are now offering Chapter Two. (Footnotes must appear here within the text.)
Our prayer is that the book will help us refocus on the things that are truly important and inspire and encourage us for the days ahead. The follow-ing is a pre-publication peek at what we hope will prove to be a life-changing, revealing book that calls for a paradigm shift in our view of the Father’s pur-pose behind end time events.
To order a pre-publication autographed copy click here.
“The Call of the Firstborn”
Joseph’s second son, Ephraim, was declared to be Jacob’s firstborn heir. The profound role that he has yet to play will prove to be absolutely essential in the culmination of the last days.
Through the seed of Abraham all nations were to be blessed. His blessing was given to Isaac, then to Jacob/Israel, then to Joseph, and finally to his younger son, Ephraim (Genesis 12:3; 48:22; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2; Ezekiel 37:19; Galatians 3:16).
Ephraim/Israel: The fullness of the Gentiles…
Non-Jewish Believers see themselves as being part of the “fullness of the Gentiles” spoken of in Romans 11:25, and Genesis 48:19 declares that Ephraim’s heirs would become just that. Yet, true Believers in Messiah often make the critical error of separating themselves from Israel. Some even mistakenly claim that “the Church replaced Israel.”
Believers are in fact, “part” of the people of Israel. Even if they are not actual biological descendants of the Patriarchs, they are nonetheless called to be one with Israel, in and through Messiah Yeshua’s commonwealth of Israel:
“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh…remember that you were at that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall…so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. …[T]hrough Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Messiah Yeshua Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:11-22).
Abraham is the father of all who believe. “If you belong to Christ [Messiah], then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise” (Romans 4:11; Galatians 3:29). Believers are called to be a spiritual dwelling but must not separate themselves from their call as part of the chosen people of Israel while they are here on earth. That is like denying a family inheritance. They must not separate themselves from Israel’s holy calling in the Earth (Matthew 5:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:9-10). We are to be “witnesses” for the God of Israel, having been reborn of His Spirit, and be praying for His Kingdom to come here on Earth.
Sadly, many mistakenly focus on going to Heaven while His focus is on bringing Heaven to Earth.
The Right and Role of the Firstborn
Messiah Yeshua is our Father’s Firstborn Son. While on Earth, we are called to His “congregation of the firstborn” (Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 12:23). What does this mean to us and how does it affect our end time role as Believers?
In ancient Israel, the firstborn birthright consisted of a double portion and family preeminence, meaning the right to act as the next family ruler (Deuteronomy 21:17). The firstborn was given a double portion so he would be equipped to act as a kinsman-redeemer for his brethren in times of need. [Footnote 1: See Exo 6:6; Lev 27:13; Ruth 3:9; 4:4; Isa 59:20.]
The right, or mishpat, of the firstborn speaks of being ordained as the next head (leader) of the family. [Footnote 2: See Strong’s Concordance and Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (hereafter, Strong’s and BDBL) word # H 4941. When referenced together, these books will hereafter be listed as S&BDB.]
Jacob gave this position to Joseph, his firstborn heir through his wife, Rachel, then, Jacob declared that his physical grandson, Ephraim, would be Joseph’s heir. Ephraim was the last one to be given Jacob’s firstborn “stick,” which is the symbol of family leadership (Genesis 48:19-22; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2; Ezekiel 37:19).
Israel’s twelve tribes later divided into two houses. Those of the Northern Kingdom were called “Israel.” Their lead tribe, Ephraim, was Jacob/Israel’s firstborn heir, so they were primarily known as “Israel.”
The Father says “Israel is My son, My firstborn.” Thus, so to speak, Israel is a firstborn birthright name (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9). That is why the title was given to Ephraim when the house was divided. However, 2 Kings 17:34 tells us that YHVH named all twelve of Jacob’s sons “Israel.” But, after their division into two houses, those of the Southern Kingdom were primarily called “Judah,” and those of the Northern Kingdom (Ephraim) were primarily called “Israel.” Judah and Ephraim. We must include both houses.
While in Egypt, Joseph, who was a type of the Messiah, acted as a redeemer to his family in their time of need.[Footnote 4: See Redeemed Israel, Reunited and Restored by Batya Wootten, chapter 3, “Jacob’s Firstborn Heir,” 2006-2011, Key of David Publishing, Saint Cloud, FL.] In the same way, Joseph’s heirs, those of Ephraim/Israel, now need to arise and act as a family redeemer to their brethren, to those of Jewish Israel.
Being a “firstborn” is not a matter of getting a double portion because you are “Daddy’s favorite.” It instead speaks of one’s responsibility to serve his family in their time of need. The extra portion is for those in need. The Jewish people now need non-Jewish Israel to walk the walk of a loving brother. Judah needs to see the Gospel of the Kingdom being walked out in our lives. We need to be like our Messiah, who was said to be “a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people” (Luke 24:19). But, based on the Church’s past track record as an errant persecutor of the Jewish people, we would do well to focus more on our deeds rather than our words. Talk can be cheap, whereas loving actions can speak priceless volumes.
This is not to imply that non-Jewish Believers should compromise or deny their faith in Messiah in any way. Heaven forbid. It is simply to say that actions speak louder than words. It is to say, “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use a few words.” It is to say that 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” If we are “giving an answer,” of necessity, someone must have first asked us a question. Having to wait for questions will work positive changes in us. It will help us to realize that our call is not just about talking the talk, but about walking the walk. It is about walking in a way that makes people want to know more about the gift that we have within.
A fine example of how to walk out our faith is found in the encouraging book, Return to the Land: An Ephraimite’s Journey Home by Ephraim Frank (2004, Key of David Publishing, Saint Cloud, FL.). This compelling autobiography reads like an inspiring novel that you do not want to end. It should be required reading for all who want to know how to relate to the Jewish people in this hour.
Ephraim and the Notzrim
Ephraim is called to be a watchman, and YHVH has sworn, “There will be a day when watchmen on the hills of Ephraim will call out, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to YHVH our God'” (Jeremiah 31:6). In Hebrew, watchmen are called notzrim. Christians, too, are called by this name. It comes from the Hebrew root word, n tz r and essentially means to watch, keep, preserve, be preserved. The following words also stem from this source:
* Notzrim (notesreem)-watchmen, or guardsmen
* Natz’ra-Nazareth, home of the Nazarene (Yeshua) [Footnote 5: Hebrew and Aramaic scholar and Author, Andrew Roth, says Netzer-et (Nazareth) means “Village of the Branch,” and that it is a Hebrew word play suggesting ‘The Righteous Branch/Messiah (netzer) has been placed in this village (et).'” Roth also notes that the village of Netezer-et did not exist until 500 years after Isaiah’s death
* Natzer (naw-tsar’)-keep/preserve/guard/watch
* Netzer (nay’-tser)-branch
* Natsiyr (naw-tsere’)-preserved [of Israel] [Footnote 6: S&BDB #’s H 5341, 5342, and 5336.]
Ephraim has been “hidden/lost” for centuries, his identity unknown, yet, he has been preserved by Messiah Yeshua. [Footnote 8: See Jer 31:2; Eze 20:15,17,35; Hos 2:14; and Return to the Land by Ephraim Frank; Redeemed Israel by Batya Wootten, chapter 25, “Watchmen and Prophets.”]
The Father is now allowing Ephraim to see into the night so he can encourage and warn his brothers. He wants him to see His plan and be faithful to declare it. He also wants Ephraim to work to preserve all Israel-to be like the tribes of Manasseh, Reuben, and Gad, who had their own inheritance but would not rest until their brethren also had their inheritance and rest (Joshua 1:12-15).
Still, many are content to apply the title of Israel to themselves in an abstract, spiritual sense. Others feel it makes no difference whether or not they are part of the people of Israel. “We’re the Church,” they proudly assert, “So why should we care about being part of Israel?”
Ephraim, Esau, and Folly
We need to care about being the Father’s firstborn and not follow in Esau’s foolish footsteps. Scripture warns us, “See that no one is…godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.” Most importantly, when Esau later wanted to inherit that blessing, he was rejected and he “could bring about no change of mind, though he sought for it with tears” (Hebrews 12:15-17, NIV).
Esau missed out on an extraordinary blessing and could never regain it. After his mother Rebekah conceived, her children struggled within her. She was told, “Two peoples will be separated from your body; and one shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger….when she gave birth to the twins, the first came forth red, like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. Then his brother came forth, his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob” (Genesis 25:22-26).
Esau sold his firstborn birthright – for a bowl of beans. Returning hungry from a hunt, he said to Jacob, “Feed me now with some of that red stew, for I am famished.” Thus his name was called Edom, or Red. With the smell of fresh stew wafting through his tent, Jacob said to his brother, “First sell me your birthright.” Ravenous, Esau retorted, “I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” But before parting with the coveted stew, Jacob said, “First swear to me.” So Esau swore, and with his foolish decision, he sold his birthright. Jacob then gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate, drank, arose, and went on his way.
Thus did Esau despise his birthright (Genesis 25:28-34). “I am about to die,” the famished hunter said to his brother, “Of what use then is the birthright to me?” In other words, “It’s difficult for my flesh to try to hold onto this title. Besides, in this life what difference does it make whether or not I’m the heir of Abraham and Isaac?” So Jacob gave Esau a few lentils, and at the price of his inheritance, Esau ate. Thus YHVH decreed that with the uncaring attitude of this mournful man, he “despised his birthright.”
Esau Will Be Eliminated
Esau was supposed to inherit the right of the firstborn and be the next head of his family, [Footnote 9: Deu 21:17, S&BDB #’s H 4941 and 1062.] but he did not esteem the privilege. So the Holy One said of him, “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Yet I have loved Jacob; but have hated Esau.” He also said, I have appointed his inheritance for the jackals and will be indignant forever toward Esau. He will be ransacked, I will destroy wise men from him, everyone will be cut off by slaughter and covered with shame forever. Jacob will possess their possessions, but Esau will be stubble, there will be no survivor (Malachi 1:2-4; Obadiah 1:6-9,17-18; Jeremiah 49:10). In the end, Esau and his offspring will be no more. Esau. Erased. Eternally.
New Covenant Believers and Esau
Esau’s story is an example that is recorded for our instruction; it is a warning to us (1 Corinthians 10:1,11). We need to take heed because YHVH also warns: “You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire….but…to Mount Zion and… to the assembly and ekklesia of the firstborn…and to Yeshua, the mediator of a new covenant….See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape….” Even as YHVH’s “voice shook the earth then…[so] He has promised… ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’…removing those things which can be shaken …that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:18-28).
Profaning Our Birthright
Because he did not appreciate being a firstborn heir, YHVH called Esau a profane man. He was not in awe of, did not revere his privilege and was thus easily shaken. Esau cared little for, yielded up and gave away, that which should have been most precious to him. [Footnote 10: Sold: Strong’s # G 591. See Gen 31:15; 37:28,36; Psa 73:18; 74:3; Heb 12:16, KJV.]
In the New Covenant the Father warns, “Esau I hated” (Romans 9:13). For Believers to think lightly of their call to be the ekklesia of Israel’s firstborn is to risk committing a sin like that of Esau. We do not want to be like him, nor do we even want to be one of his neighbors, for they too were destroyed (Jeremiah 49:10).
Fulfilling Our Call
To have our Father call us His firstborn is to be given a treasure, a precious, priceless gift. Like our father Jacob, let us cling to that treasure with unflinching determination.
With this precious inheritance comes a responsibility. Even so, Judah now needs our help. So let us not rest until they too, have their inheritance in Firstborn Yeshua. Let us arise and behave as a firstborn brother who comes to their aid in their time of need.
Now, if that is our call, how do we best fulfill it?
Paul spoke of wild olive branches (Ephraim) and their call to provoke Judah to jealousy (Jeremiah 11:10,16; Romans 11:25). Today, that call rests on all who know and are rooted in Messiah. They need to walk in a way that makes Judah see something in them that they would like to have. We see a positive form of brotherly jealousy in the story of the Prodigal Son. When he comes to his senses, repents, and returns home, his older brother was made jealous because the prodigal was in the house, “celebrating” with his father (Luke 15:11-32). The Parable of the Prodigal speaks of Ephraim’s return. The point about him celebrating with his father is key to both our last days understanding and success. (See the book, Israel’s Feasts and their Fullness.)
YHVH says, “Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I still remember him; therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him.”
And, “I know Ephraim, Israel is not hidden from Me.” He also speaks of a day when He hears Ephraim “grieving” and saying in repentance, “You chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for Thou art YHVH my God. ‘For after I turned back, I repented; and after I was instructed [Rotherham says, “after I came to know myself”], I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed, and also humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth'” (Jeremiah 31:18-20; Hosea 5:3).
Once Ephraim sees his Israelite roots, he is ashamed of the errant practices of his youth; he repents, enters into his fullness/ maturity, and becomes “like a mighty man.” Then, YHVH “whistles for them, to gather them together [with Judah]” and at that time, “Ephraim comes trembling from the west.” Moreover, his heirs will return in great numbers (Zechariah 10:7,8,10; Hosea 11:9-10; 12:1; Romans 11:25).
First the prodigal repented, and while celebrating his relationship with his father, the older brother was made jealous. So it is that having a true, living relationship with the Holy One is key to making Judah want what we have.
It is imperative that when we return, we do so in full repentance and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Repairing the breach that exists between Judah and Ephraim is a difficult task that can only be done in the wisdom of the Ruach HaKodesh. That is how Abba says it must be done: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:1-14; Revelation 11:4).
Now let us further examine our role as a “family leader.”
Next time, Chapter Three –
The Firstborn, Prophet, Priest, and King
Please join us in prayer for our proposed book cover. We are combining two artworks from different artists and different countries, one artwork laid over the other. Thus, we are dealing with International banks. We think the cover is exciting and covet your prayers for its quick completion.
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