PROVISIONS FOR RESTORATION
THE BASIS OF SALVATION For returning Ephraimites, coming into the new covenant was both salvation and redemption.
For the Jew, the issue was only redemption as they were already saved by faith in Yahweh and it only needed an acknowledgment that Yeshua was the Messiah who provided that salvation and for whom they had waited.
Salvation by faith was not an issue to the Jews, but redemption (righteousness) by faith was an issue as it was new to them and something which they did not understand. They were used to the redemption process of the soul, or sanctification, being by works of righteousness and the change effected by the new covenant was more subtle for them. Therefore they presumed that the old order was still legitimate and they sought to impose upon the new "Aramean" converts (from the nations) the laws of torah, as mandatory for their immediate instruction in righteousness.
The "Jews" had no problem with any Gentiles coming to salvation by faith, they readily accepted any who did so as "righteous Gentiles", or "God-fearers". There were no special requirements or expectations placed upon any who did so, but it was understood that they did not inherit or share the same blessings and privileges as those of the congregation of Israel and they were not part of or included in the congregation of Israel. There was a special place outside of the main temple area for such persons to worship, separate from the Jews.
But these returning Israelites were being accepted by Paul into the full inheritance as members of the congregation of Yahweh in the new covenant, without going through the accepted, scriptural process for conversion at that time and that was the contentious issue for the "Jews".
The accepted procedure in which any proselytes that wished to be included in the nation of Israel went through had to be completed before they could be accepted into full fellowship. Once this period of instruction ending in circumcision was complete, they were given the right-hand of fellowship, but not before.
This was also the issue behind the necessity for Yahweh to give Peter a special vision in His commission to him to go to the Gentile household of Cornelius. Although Cornelius was a God-fearer and was considered a righteous Gentile, he had not gone through the conversion process whereby he could be accepted into fellowship, although 'saved', he was an unclean "Gentile". Apart from the conversion process with its final steps of immersion in water and circumcision, such Gentiles were regarded as ritually impure and therefore, going into fellowship with such a one would render any observant Jew "unclean" and would require them to go through a separation process until 'cleansed'. They could worship in the Temple in a separate place but not be included in full fellowship with other members of the household of faith.
THE NEW COVENANT DISPENSATION
The special visitation to Peter was necessary in order for him to break tradition and go to Cornelius house, it alerted him that Yahweh was setting a new precedent and bypassing the normally accepted practice. Reflecting back on it, Peter said, "Men, brothers, you know that from prior days, from my mouth Elohim chose that the Gentiles would hear the words of the Good News and they would believe. And Elohim who knows what is in the hearts, testified concerning them and gave them the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) as He did to us. And He differentiated nothing between them and us because He cleansed their hearts by faith" Acts 15:7-9
Peter acknowledged that Yahweh had done a supernatural work of cleansing of their hearts by faith, rather than by a process of cleansing by the Word (although still an effective work of the Spirit in the new covenant). Notice that Cornelius was already a believer, this was not a salvation issue. It was a matter of sanctification. Yahweh had done this to demonstrate that the way was opened up for those of other ethnic groups to enter the covenant community of Israel. This set a precedent for others, both returning Israelites and those from the nations, to receive the gospel.
Yahweh bypassed the old order and told Peter not to call common or unclean what He had cleansed and sanctified by the indwelling of His Spirit. What had been unclean and unholy, had been cleansed and made holy. This enabled the new believers from the nations to participate in table fellowship with the "Jews" (House of Yehudah). They could also eat of the sacrificial altar of Bread and Wine in holy communion with the rest of the saints. They did not need to submit to the previous process of conversion through circumcision before being accepted into fellowship.
When Paul began his missionary journeys, he was harassed by Jews following him and teaching these returning Israelites, with the intent of discipling them in the conversion process that was standard practice in the old covenant.
This is what Paul referred to as bringing them "under law", rather than bringing them "under Messiah" and what he extensively dealt with in his letter to the Galatians, particularly in chapter 3.
Paul was not negating torah, as he acknowledged that it was good and useful for instruction or correction in the principles of righteousness, used in the right way. But what the Judaisers were doing, was virtually taking the disciples out from under the new covenant and bringing them under the old covenant system. The difference was that the old covenant required men to live by its principles to have righteousness in their lives, whereas righteousness was imputed in the new covenant.
It was the wisdom of God in operation to bypass the legitimate scriptural process of conversion that was in place at that time, to allow Ephraim's descendants to grow spiritually in their own identity as the House of Israel in the new covenant, separate from Yehudah. (Yehudah's spiritual personality was as the Law-giver -the scepter of Kingship, Ephraim's was the Priesthood).
THE GRAFTING-IN PROCESS
Paul went up to the central council in Jerusalem, to resolve the issue between himself and those who had been coming from the Jerusalem assembly, with the elders there. Although Paul had special revelations that were the basis of his teaching to the incoming Ephraimites, it needed the authentication of the authority which Yahweh had established upon earth, that of the Jerusalem Council, to be valid.
After much debate, James (Ya'acov) made a decree that they not "oppress" those who were coming in from the nations based upon the prophecy which Amos gave (Amos 9) pertaining to the lost 10 tribes return from the nations, and said that they not "trouble them, who from among the nations and who are returning (epistrepho - returning, not turning) to Yahweh. But that we write to them that they abstain from pollution of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moshe has from old time in every city, those that proclaim his teachings with his law being read in the synagogues every Sabbath" (Acts 15:19-21)
In other words, in every city there are synagogues that preach what Moshe taught, and if they do not already know the basics, they will learn them as they go each Sabbath to the synagogue to hear the Word preached. This left every person to grow at their own rate as the Holy Spirit dealt with their heart on issues in their own personal lives and according to their own ability to understand and incorporate the necessary changes.
It also circumvented the descendants of the 10 tribes from coming under Yehudah in a manner that would make them part of the House of Yehudah, i.e. "Jews". As the House of Yehudah was the only spiritual entity or "House" up till this time, all converts had previously been incorporated under them, and become "Jews".
Now, instead of being brought under the covenant of circumcision, they were brought under the covenant relationship which Abraham had with Yahweh, by faith only, prior to him being circumcised. During the time span up until the covenant in Genesis 17, Abraham was an uncircumcised man living by faith in the promises of Yahweh God. (A covenant was given for the land in Gen.13:14-18; and in 15:1-6 while he was uncircumcised).
As a result of this arrangement, they also became "children of faith" through Abraham - part of his spiritual household of faith as well as being his genealogical descendants, as Aramaens.
THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH
Note that Abraham had a large household of faithful believers who were not his genealogical sons, as well as other sons other than Isaac and they were not included in the promises to the nation of Israel. Gen.14:14, 15:2, 18:19
Abraham had Ishmael and Keturah's sons, as well as 318 trusted servants who were converts to Yahweh. So here we have a whole group of believers that were part of the household of faith, under Abraham, all of whom he instructed in Yahweh's laws and precepts. These all lived under the Noahic covenant, keeping all Yahweh's laws. Here is the basis for nations being grafted back in under Abraham, apart from being Israelites. It was only through Isaac (Yitzak) and his descendants, that the nation of Israel would come forth, for whom the promised inheritance was made.
Being grafted back into the rootstock through Abraham left it open for the Spirit to lead each individual to go on in accordance with the call placed upon them, in according to the election of God - leaving it open for returning Israelites to make the spiritual journey into full consecration of their lives as did Abraham, or to be like Abraham's household - people of faith from other nations.
Paul designates them all as Aramaens, as was Abraham, and like Abraham they could go on to full consecration of their life and be part of that company which would inherit the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:10,13-16), or else remain part of the nations of the world who are saved.
This order of things, allowed for the future falling down of the Tabernacle of David once more as it did, in the spiritual decline that followed the apostolic age.
THE RESTORATION PROCESS
In the following timespan, from the Apostles till the time of Constantine, the truth was trampled to the ground. There was little oversight and an element of confusion set in with regard to how to interpret the changes from the old covenant to the new, which opened up the way for Hellenistic influence to bring in pagan customs and traditions into the ordinances of the assemblies. Marcion was the first to lead the way in this, aborting the Sabbath, bringing in replacement theology and putting a Gentile face on the "Church" As they ceased to walk in the truth, they lost the power of the Spirit and the experience of the Baptism in the Spirit which generated the new covenant relationship, went into decline. A generation of believers eventuated that were not birthed in the power of the new covenant, but who walked by the letter of the law.
Yahweh has made several types of covenants with mankind and the provisions made under these covenants are still available. Those who do not, or have not received the Baptism of the Spirit which generates the birthing into the new covenant relationship with Yahweh are covered under the provisions and promises made under the fore-going covenant, namely that of Noah.
Yahweh's law is eternal - His ten main precepts for us to live by do not change, but He has made many different covenants each on different levels whereby man may enter into relationship with Him and be eternally secure.
As we considered, the incoming Israelites were given the necessary requirements at the Jerusalem Council for fellowship with the Jews (House of Yehudah) who were already walking in the whole counsel of God. The ten basic precepts given at Sinai, were not included in what was required of them before they could enter into fellowship. That was because it was an ongoing process to implement that into their lives and would take time to implement. But the commandments given at Sinai are Yahweh's eternal laws and they apply to all men regardless of their covenant relationship with Him. They are the basics of the lifestyle which Yahweh expects from anyone who believes in Him and worships Him. Our worship of Him is evidenced by the fact that we do keep His commandments. So Sabbath-keeping and abstinence from idolatry is just as important for those under the Noahic covenant as for Israelites.
His judgment of all mankind will be in accordance with the truth which has been revealed to them and the motives of their hearts, for which they will be accountable. To whom much is given, much will be required. Truth is being restored to His people to bring to fruition His eternal purpose for His set-apart nation, Israel, that both Houses may enter into their full identity and purpose.
Ezekiel 37 is a prophecy of the rebirth of the House of Israel (note the specific naming of the House of Israel to whom the prophecy is addressed), with the final outcome of the two Houses being joined together toward the end of the chapter. The bones, which are the structure of the body are first shaken and brought together, then sinews and flesh are placed upon them and finally His breath, i.e. His Spirit is breathed into them.
vvS. 1-10 Restoration of Truth
vvs. 11-14 Form to the Body - Body Ministry
vvs. 15-20 New Breath -- Outpouring of the Spirit
vvs 26-28 Restoration of the Two Houses
This rebirth began with the Reformation with Luther and others beginning to restore the te the Body of the House of Israel structure. The scriptures were restored to the people and progressively truths were restored and the Body began to get sinews and flesh upon it; until finally through the Penetcostal move, His breath, restored spiritual life once more to the once 'dead' Body, the House of Israel.
Through His Spirit there were manifestations of His power in healings and deliverance. Move after move came in refreshing and restoration bringing His Body into resurrection life, with the final stage being the recognition of her identity as she discovers her Hebraic Roots, as the 10 lost tribes, the House of Israel.
The final scene will be the joining of the two Houses as one in His hand, in perfect unity and function, each complementing the other as they flow together in the power of His Spirit as His holy, redeemed Bride – His kingdom of priests on the earth according to the Melchizedek order.
With the outpouring of the Spirit in 1900, people again began to enter the new covenant relationship experience through the Baptism in the Spirit, but there have been many groups who have remained in the other levels of covenant relationship. He has never withdrawn His previous covenants and they serve as His provision for all believers who do not receive the promised Holy Spirit and become new covenant believers. As Abraham, they would be under the Noahic covenant, a God-fearer - one who worshipped and obeyed the one true God, as He did.