March 12 National Shabbat Report

I pray if you do not know about the National Shabbat concept, please contact me so that I can explain to you something that is taking place to encourage communities of believers all across North America (Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, soon Washington, and Southern Ontario in July) and potentially Europe.   You see, it is the Shabbat that will preserve us as a people.  Too often we have been arguing with one another about who’s right and who’s wrong and if you don’t think my way, well, you need to hit the road.
First, they gave an exhortation regarding what the National Shabbat statement “to grow the nation” means and how it can supply nourishment to individual families and fellowships.   Ephraim mentioned that the National Shabbat can also serve as a resource for local fellowships by drawing in new people into their congregations.

Then they began to share the actual meaning of the verses from Ezekiel 37 in Hebrew.  The first step to unification is that the 2 sticks will first come alongside each other.

Ezekiel 37:16 Moreover, you son of man, take one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:  17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in your hand.

The Hebrew word used for “join” is “karav” which means to bring near or alongside.  This further explains the use of the word “echad” for one – a compound unity.   In other words, in the beginning, the two sticks in Ezekiel’s hands will be drawn near to each other but they will still be 2 distinct sticks. Could the Sons of Joseph one day have a nation that is alongside the modern Jewish state?

Ephraim then gave a brief history from our father Abraham to Jacob.  You see, resurrection life has been working in our nation through the patriarchs.  Sarah, Rebbeca, and Rachel had wombs that were once dead but became alive.   In addition, the ovary on its own is not alive, but it takes a sperm to fertilize the ovary to bring life into this world.

Many think that Jacob’s wrestling with the heavenly messenger was the time that he was called Israel.  If we look at the verse carefully it does not say that.

Gen. 32: 24 Jacob was left alone, and wrestled with a man there until the breaking of the day.  25 When he saw that he didn’t prevail against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was strained, as he wrestled.  27  He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob”.  28 He said, “Your name will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

So Jacob was told that at a future point in time he would be called Israel. When was that time?  And why? In these ancient cultures, their nursemaids would literally succor a child off of their breasts.  A child would receive nourishment from more than one breast.  We have a hard time conceptualizing this in our Western society. But, if we begin to see Scripture in its original cultural context, we get an amazing insight. In ancient times, a nursemaid was almost like a mother.  A close emotional attachment carried on with that child even into adulthood.   And so it was with Jacob and his nursemaid Deborah.

Genesis 35 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. He built an altar there and called the place El Beth El;  because there God was revealed to him when he fled from the face of his brother.  Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak, and its name was called Allon Bacuth.

And Elohim appeared to Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-aram, and blessed him.  11 And Elohim said to him, I am El-Shaddai: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of you, and kings shall come out of your loins; 12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to you I will give it, and to your seed after you will I give the land.

The One who succours, the Many Breasted One (Heb. El-Shaddai), came to Jacob who was grieving over the death of his nursemaid.  Jacob was at a low point and was met by El-Shaddai.  So, at the time of Jacob’s greatest need, he is given the name Israel!  And it was at this point El-Shaddai repeats the promise given to his fathers Abraham and Isaac.

Later Mike Clayton and David Altman gave a brief report of the North American Summit in Tampa, FL.    If you know Mike he’s got an amazing talent to coax Israelite men to come out and dance.  And he challenged men to dance at this event just like in Tampa.  Hey, men, it’s Israelite culture!   We all had a great time worshipping together!

Special thanks to Exodus Road and the Washburn family for blessing us with live music.

Brakot (blessings),

Tzefanyah ben Yochanon

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