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The Two Sticks Prophecy of Ezekiel 37 on All Four Levels - Remez

 

PaRDeS and the Two Sticks

An Examination of the Two Sticks Prophecy of Ezekiel 37 on All Four Levels

Part 2 The Remez

By

James Scott Trimm

 

 

In Judaism it is understood that there are four levels of understanding of a passage, which correspond to the four Hebrew letters that spell the Hebrew word PaRDeS (Paradise) The word PRDS is also an acronym (called in Judaism "notarikon") for:

[P]ashat (Heb. "simple") The plain, simple, literal level of understanding.
[R]emez (Heb. "hint")   The implied level of understanding.
[D]rash (Heb. "search")  The allegorical, typological or homiletically level of understanding.
[S]od (Heb. "hidden")  The hidden, secret or mystical level of understanding.

In this four part study I will relate the understanding of the prophecy of Ezekiel 37 on each of the four levels.

Ezekiel 37 reads:

15 And the word of YHWH came unto me, saying:
16 And you, son of man, take you one stick, and write upon it: For Y’hudah, and for the
children of Yisra’el his companions. Then take another stick, and write upon it: For
Yosef, the stick of Efrayim, and of all the House of Yisra’el, his companions.
17 And join them for you, one to another into one stick, that they may become one, in
your hand.
18 And when the children of your people shall speak unto you, saying, Will you not tell
us what you mean by these?
19 Say unto them, Thus says the Adonai YHWH: Behold, I will take the stick of Yosef,
which is in the hand of Efrayim, and the tribes of Yisra’el his companions, and, I will put
them unto him, together with the stick of Y’hudah: and make them one stick … and they
shall be one, in My hand.
20 And the sticks whereon you write, shall be in your hand before their eyes.
21 And say unto them, Thus says the Adonai YHWH: Behold, I will take the children of
Yisra’el from among the nations where they are gone, and will gather them on every side,
and bring them into their own land.
22 And I will make them one nation, in the land; upon the mountains of Yisra’el, and
one king shall be king to them all. And they shall be no more two nations, neither shall
they be divided into two kingdoms, any more, at all.
(Ezekiel 37:15-22 HRV)

 

 

 

THE REMEZ


Note that verse 19 reads:


19 Say unto them, Thus says the Adonai YHWH: Behold, I will take the stick of Yosef,
which is in the hand of Efrayim, and the tribes of Yisra’el his companions, and, I will put
them unto him, together with the stick of Y’hudah: and make them one stick … and they
shall be one, in My hand.



What is implied in these words “, I will take the stick of Yosef, … and, I will put them unto him, together with the stick of Y’hudah”?


Jeremiah tells us that the House of Israel was divorced by YHWH (Jer. 3:8 ) while Judah yet rules of YHWH (Hosea  11:12).  The hope of the House of Israel is the reunion of the two houses.  This is not accomplished, as some have taught, by merging these two houses on equal terms, and it is not accomplished by an Ephraim that persists in doing its own independent thing apart from Judah since that was Ephraim's fatal error in the first place.


Northern Kingdom rebelled against the rightful king, High Priest and Temple. They established their own non-Davidic King, their own High Priest and their own Temple at a new location in the Northern Kingdom. They were unwilling to submit to the rulership of the House of Judah. They, in effect, started their own new religion. An Ephaimite religion, under Ephraimite authority.


In Jeremiah Chapter 3 the two houses of Israel are discussed. Notice that Israel and Judah are allegorical sisters in this prophecy (Jer. 3:6-7) In Jer. 3:8 YHWH says:


And I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Yisra'el
had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her
a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Yehudah did not fear, but went and committed whoring too.
(Jer. 3:8 - The Scriptures Version)

However YHWH did not divorce Judah as well, as that would have left no remnant. Instead the Prophet Hosea compares the two Houses of Israel this way:

"Ephrayim has surrounded Me with lying,
and the house of Yisra'el with deceit.
But Yehudah is still wandering with El,
and is true to the Set-apart One."
(Hosea 11:12 - The Scriptures Version)

While the House of Israel abandoned the one true faith, a remnant of the House of Judah remained faithful to the one true faith. Since the one true faith had now become the faith of only the House of Judah, it had come to be called "Judaism".

No one knows just when the one true faith came to be known as "Judaism".  The earliest known usage of the term "Judaism" in written literature is 2Maccabees 2:21 where it is said that the Maccabees, fighting the Greeks are described as "those who strove zealously on behalf of Judaism". The term Judaism was in common use well before the first century being commonly used by writers such as Josephus and Philo.

Paul himself uses the term "Judaism" in Galatians 1:13 to describe his own faith (see Acts 23:6 for proof that this passage was comparing Paul's former life in Judaism with his current life in Judaism).

In the first two chapters of Isaiah we see a prophetic rebuke of each of the Two Houses of Israel. Isaiah 1:1-23 contains a prophetic rebuke "concerning Judah and Jerusalem" (1:1) while Isaiah 2:5-22 contains a prophetic rebuke directed at the "House of Jacob" (2:5).

The House of Judah ("Judah and Jerusalem") is observing Torah in some way... they are offering sacrifices and incense and observing new moons and sabbaths and the calling of assemblies (1:13). But note that Isaiah 1 calls them "YOUR new moons" and "YOUR appointed feasts" but the Torah calls them "My appointed feasts" etc..

This is why YHWH's nefesh (soul) HATES their appointed feasts (1:14). The House of Judah is observing Torah, but in an empty way (because they have violated Deut. 18:15-18 in rejecting Messiah). Their Torah observance is empty and meaningless because it has lost the Soul of the Torah the Messiah himself.

The House of Israel (also called the "House of Jacob") is rebuked for having turned from the "light of YHWH" (2:5) (i.e, the Torah see Isaiah 8:20); forsaking "your people" (2:6) and turning to idolatry (2:7).

But in Isaiah 1:9 there is a key passage:

Except YHWH of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

Note that this verse takes place in YHWH's rebuke of the House of Judah.  While the House of Jacob abandons the Torah and their own people (the House of Judah) and turn to idolatry, and most of the House of Judah observes Torah in an empty way (having rejected the Messiah) there is a remnant of the House of Judah which has not rejected Torah or the Messiah.

In a footnote to Isaiah 1:9 the Ryrie Study Bible has the following comment:

"Quoted in Rom. 9:29 with reference to Christian Jews."

Now I do not always agree with Ryrie's comments and I certainly do not agree with the usage of the term "Jewish Christians", what Ryrie would call "Jewish Christians" we would identify as "Nazarene Jews"

However it is very important that Romans 9:29 does quote Isaiah 1:9 with reference to Nazarene Jews. The "remnant" of the House of Judah in Isaiah 1:9 does in fact refer to Nazarene Judaism.

This brings us to the encounter between Yeshua and an Ephraimite woman (a Samaritan). There is no doubt that this Samaritan woman is to be counted as an Ephraimite because she refers to "our father Jacob" (Jn. 4:12) and Yeshua makes no attempt to correct her on this point. (Note she mentions the two different places of worship on different mountains in 4:20). Then Yeshua tells her her religion is false and that the Jewish religion is the one true faith saying:

"You worship what you do not know.
We worship what we know,
because the deliverance is of the Yehudim.
"But the hour is coming, and now is,
when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth,
for the Father also does seek such to worship Him.
(Jn. 4:22-23 - The Scriptures Version)


Yeshua makes it clear that the "true worshipers" are the Jews who practice
Judaism "in spirit and truth" as opposed to an Ephraimite religion. ("in
spirit and truth" - a reference to the Torah - see Ps. 119:142, 151; Ezek. 36:27).


Moreover Paul writes:


"...what is the advantage of the Jew? Or what is the profit of
circumcision? Much in everything!..."
(Rom. 3:1-2)


Now the question is: What is the prophetic hope of the House of Israel? Is there to be a last days restoration of a distinct and separate House of Israel (as opposed to the House of Judah) or is the hope of divorced Ephraim to be joined to the House of Judah?


One of the most beautiful prophecies of the reunion of the two houses of Israel is the "two sticks" prophecy in Ezekiel 37:15-20. In this prophecy each of the two houses of Israel are symbolized by two "sticks" which are brought together and made as one (Ezek. 37:15-18) the text goes on to specify that YHWH will:


...take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim,
and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him,
even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick,...
(Ezek. 37:19)



Now lets look at another prophecy in Zech. 8:23:


Thus said YHWH of hosts, 'In those days ten men
from all languages of the nations take hold,
yea, they shall take hold of the edge of the garment of a man,
a Yehudite, saying, "Let us go with you,
for we have heard that Elohim is with you .


Now lest anyone think that the "Jew" (Yehudite) in this passage is a certain Jew, such as the Messiah, I must point out that in the Hebrew the word "you" in "let us go with "you" and "Elohim is with you" is PLURAL and therefore refers not to an individual Jew, but to the House of Judah. No doubt the number "ten" here implies the lost ten tribes of Ephraim. Note that Ephraim says to Judah:


"let us [Ephraim] go with you [Judah]
for we [Ephraim] have heard that YHWH is with you [Judah]."


Finally let us look at the olive tree prophecy of Romans 11. This prophecy parallels the two "sticks" prophecy of Ezekiel 37 (note that the word STICK in Ezek. 37 is ETZ which also means "tree").


Rom. 9 begins the contrast of the "Jews" and "Gentiles" by quoting Hosea 2:25(23); 2:1 (1:10) in Rom. 9:25-26. But if we look up the context of the people "which were not my people" which he calls "my people" in Hosea we find that they are the "children of Israel" (Hosea 2:1 (1:10)) as opposed to "the children of Judah" (Hosea 2:2 (1:11)) So if Paul is quoting Hosea in context and contrasting Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 9:24) using Hosea 2:1-2 (1:10-11) then the "Jews" of Rom. 9:24 are the "Childern of Judah" of Hosea 2:2 (1:11) and the "Gentiles" of Rom. 9:24 are the "children of Israel" of Hosea 2:1 (1:10). If this is true then as this contrasting pair advances into Rom. Chapter 11 the two trees are the two Houses.


Now the uncultivated olive tree in Romans 11 is clearly therefore Ephraim and the cultivated olive tree is clearly that of Judah. This prophecy tells us that branches from the tree/stick of Ephraim will be broken off and grafted into the tree/stick of Judah, are to be fed by the root of the tree/stick of Judah and are not to boast against the natural branches (Jews)."

The House of Judah is the cultivated olive tree that Ephraimite branches are being grafted into.

Judaism is the one true faith that was once and for all time given.  Messiah did not come to create a new religion whether Christian or a new Ephraimite religion. Messiah came to be the Messiah of Judaism.

Many of those of Ephraim and the Gentiles being drawn to Torah truth and taking hold of Judah are being troubled by those wishing to discourage them from being grafted into Judah. These would have Ephraim return to the initial Ephraimite error of creating an Ephraimite faith apart from Judah and Judaism.


(to be continued in Part 3)



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Views: 675

Comment by Brad Lee Fitzsimmons on January 17, 2016 at 1:21am

I really enjoyed this teaching as it cleared up some vital points of understanding for me. I look forward to what comes next. Many thanks!

Comment by will brinson: ferguson on January 17, 2016 at 4:57am

This is another very good teaching, in a so far great series on the Two Houses/Sticks. Thank you James for having put this together. 

Comment by J. on January 25, 2016 at 4:26am

"Now the question is: What is the prophetic hope of the House of Israel? Is there to be a last days restoration of a distinct and separate House of Israel (as opposed to the House of Judah) or is the hope of divorced Ephraim to be joined to the House of Judah?"

The end state of course is clear: one herd with one Shepard, one people with one King.
However, that doesn't exclude an intermediate phase in which a separate house of Ephraim is erected. After all, two sticks are joined (and not: one stick and a bunch of splinters).
Also, from a chiastic perspective I would expect the erection of a 'northern kingdom' preceding unification.

Is it possibile to say anything on the order of events in the restoration process from Scripture?

N.B. I stumbled on this site quite recently, when I was searching if anybody had attempted to institute an authoritative body for believers in Yeshua (Sanhedrin) as I find more and more evidence that Yeshua instructed his talmidim to make (their own?) halachah. However, I meet many people that seem allergic to authority and especially of the word 'bet din' (if understood at all). So everybody does "what is good in his own eyes".
Initial question was posed from this perspective.

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