Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Woe to You Pastors and Ministers --
You have Taken the Word of YEHOVAH God and Turned It Into a Lie!
This has ALWAYS been the message of YEHOVAH's TRUE servants: repentance and remission of sins. It was repeatedly proclaimed by all the prophets, and YEHOVAH knows that most people will not repent. But He unequivocally says, Witness against them anyway! That way they will be left without excuse. If YEHOVAH's true servants do their job, then when the plagues descend, the unrepentant won't be able to say, You should have warned us!
by HOIM Staff
In the seven verses of John 6:15-21, that reflect the period from the Messiah's ascension to his future appearance, we find mention of a "strong wind": "Also the sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing" or, in other words, terrible tribulation among the nations. In the Bible the term "sea" quite often refers to the masses of people and the nations of Israel in general. Notice!
"When evening fell, his [the Messiah's] disciples went down to the sea, and, boarding a boat, they set out across the sea for Capernaum. Well, by now it had grown dark and Jesus had not yet come to them. Also, the sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. However, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they beheld Jesus walking upon the sea and getting near the boat; and they became fearful. But he said to them: 'It is I; have no fear!' Therefore they were willing to take him into the boat, and directly the boat was at the land to which they were trying to go" (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).
Sadly, nowhere in the Israel nations is this “strong wind” blowing more so than in America, where devastating natural disasters seem to follow one after another; where, despite the strength of its economy, the division amongst its people is worse than perhaps at any time in the past century; or where troubles abound, as evidenced by angry mobs marching and demanding the unrealistic, like the demand for open borders and elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Put simply, True Israel has lost its way because we have turned aside from what made us great in the first place, adherence to the Laws and Commandments of YEHOVAH God Almighty.
Running To and Fro
When we look around at today’s world, including the church world, one must of need ask the question, “What in the world is going on?” In Daniel’s last chapter (12:4) we read where YEHOVAH God tells Daniel to seal the book of this last prophecy until the time of the end. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
To most of us who read and study our Bibles, it is a well-established fact that we are in the End Times. We are rapidly approaching the end of the church age, which will culminate at the return of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah. “Many shall run to and fro” is a sure indication of the present-day confusion that seems to especially have the modern church in its grips.
“And knowledge shall be increased”. There is no denying the fact that knowledge had been increased. In the last hundred or hundred and fifty years, mankind has seen advances in medicine, transportation, farming, electronics, etc. on a scale never before seen in the history of the human race. Yet, it seems that in these end times, knowledge is sadly lacking wisdom and common sense. Through the use of computers, I-Pads, and smart phones, people have lost the ability to converse, to think, and to reason for themselves. Sad, sad, sad!
What’s more, probably the majority of Israelites have little or no closeness to YEHOVAH God or the Messiah, most even claiming that the Messiah is Divine! This malady is not only confined to the secular segment of our society but is also very evident in the church world today. Most church-goers seldom read and study their Bibles in their own homes, and instead only listen to the Word of YEHOVAH God as some texts are read when they attend the service in their local church. Home Bible study is, by and large, a thing of the past. It is sad, but most church-goers are Bible illiterate, completely relying on their pastors to guide them in their spiritual needs.
This can be likened to a cancer that has struck the heart of many in the churches today. It is not a physical cancer, but a spiritual cancer that invades and corrupts to the very core. It can accurately be called pseudo-Christianity. A pseudo-Christian is someone who may exude a facade of being a Christian -- who goes to services and perhaps even sings in the choir -- but who, in reality, leaves his God and His religion at the door of the church when he leaves, and never gives YEHOVAH God or His Law another thought throughout the rest of the week. They may appear to be Christians, but they have no walk with YEHOVAH God, and do not obey His Law. In fact, many pseudo-Christians may actually even hate the Law of YEHOVAH God, and call those who love YEHOVAH's Law evil.
What does the Messiah have to say about this attitude, so prevalent amongst the Messiah's own Ecclesia? Notice Revelation 3:16-18:
"So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth. Because you say: 'I am rich and have acquired riches and do not need anything at all,' but you do not know you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire that you may become rich, and white outer garments that you may become dressed and that the shame of your nakedness may not become manifested, and eyesalve to rub in your eyes that you may see" (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).
What can you expect when so many ministers across the country preach their weekly sermons from Psychology Today, Readers Digest, or the latest best selling novel! Some preachers are so spiritually shallow that they even use sermonettes they download off the Internet rather than digging into the Word of YEHOVAH God for themselves! The spiritual meat that is to be found in YEHOVAH's Word has been abandoned, and church-goers are fed tasteless pabulum and self-serving platitudes that tickle the ears and make the hapless church-goer feel good about themselves -- when "Thus saith the LORD" is what we really need to hear.
The Word of YEHOVAH God states, "The soul [person] that sinneth, it shall die," while the pseudo-Christian says "Live and let live" -- and never once confronts the sinner with his sin! The Bible clearly condemns adultery, sodomy, miscegenation and witchcraft, while the pseudo-Christian says, "I'm okay, you're okay," and "To each his own." It seems that tolerance has either become equal to, or has replaced, true Christianity in the minds of many. However, the Word of YEHOVAH God is anything but tolerant when it comes to sin!
The Word of YEHOVAH God is also anything but tolerant when it comes to false religions. The pseudo-Christian seemingly has no problem fellowshipping with the followers of false religions and the enemies of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah. But the Bible says:
"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3)
"What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the LORD, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the LORD Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
The Messiah himself said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself; and take up his cross, and follow me" and "Thou shall love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul [body], and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind" (Matthew 16:24 & Matthew 22:37). Therefore, the true Christian loves YEHOVAH's Word with a passion -- no matter how much that Word goes against the grain of society.
The pseudo-Christian claims that we don't have to worry about keeping YEHOVAH's Law. But the Messiah said that until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle of the Law shall be done away with. He even went so far as to say that anyone who acts as though the Law of YEHOVAH God has been done away with (or that it is "nailed to the cross," as so many teach today) -- and who teaches others so, will be least in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God (Matthew 5:17-19).
Pseudo-Christianity seeks peace and harmony at all costs, even if it means compromising with evil. But the Messiah said, "Think not that I come to send peace on the earth: I came NOT to send peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34). You're either going to stand for YEHOVAH God and the Messiah, and stand for righteousness, or you're not. You can't serve two masters. You are going to either hate the one and love the other, or else hold to the one and despise the other. There is no room for compromising with evil in the life of a true Christian. Don't you think that it's time we put pseudo-Christianity out of our lives, and replace it with the real thing?
Blind Pastors and Ministers
And pastors themselves, in many cases, are just as spiritually blind as their flocks. It seems that those same parishioners and pastors accept a make-believe religion, in which some Divine being uttered some vague words in the distant past, that really have no merit or application in today’s world, but just makes a person feel good. Scant attention, if any, is paid to the Word of YEHOVAH God, uttered through His chosen prophets, in regard to YEHOVAH’s plan and dealings with a people that the Almighty set aside for His own purpose.
The people who live in that realm are lost to the full meaning of YEHOVAH’s Divine Word, to the reason of their being and to who they really are. They are just lost souls, sailing along in a mist of confusion. And where our ministers should be collectively standing up for the faith, they seem more content with the comforts of their lifestyle and preaching their feel-good messages.
The prophet Joel faced this similar situation; he pleaded with the ministers of his day to repent and to call Israel to prayer. Not so then and not so now! At least, then, knowing that the ministers would not do what they should, Joel cried out on their behalf, “O LORD, to thee will I cry.”
Notice what the prophet Ezekiel admonishes when castigating those who claim to be ministers of YEHOVAH God --
"Her [Israel's] priests have violated My Law and desecrated My sanctuaries; they have drawn no distinction between sacred and profane, they have not taught people the difference between clean and unclean [food]; they have turned their eyes away from My Sabbaths and I have been dishonored by them. Her leaders in the city are like wolves tearing their prey, shedding blood and killing people to steal their possessions. Her prophets have whitewashed these crimes with their empty visions and lying prophecies. They have said: Yahweh [YEHOVAH] says this; although Yahweh has not spoken" (Ezekiel 22:26-28, The Jerusalem Bible).
Doesn't that sound like what's happening to our people today? Ezekiel goes to say:
"You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them...Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 'as I live,' says the LORD God, surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock.." (Ezekiel 34:3-4, 7-8).
YEHOVAH God blasts the irresponsible leaders of America and the other Israelite nations, and makes it very plain what He thinks of their degenerate behavior:
"Come and gorge, all you wild beasts, all you beasts of the forest. Our watchmen are all blind, they notice nothing. Dumb watchdogs all, unable to bark, they dream, lie down, and love to sleep. Greedy dogs that are never satisfied. Shepherds who know nothing. They all go their own way, each after his own interest. 'Come, let me fetch wine; we will get drunk on strong drink, tomorrow will be just as wonderful as today and even more so!'" (Isaiah 56:9-12, The Jerusalem Bible).
This certainly sounds like modern "Christianity" with all its different denominations going "their own way, each after his own interest"!
YEHOVAH God then goes on to lambast the religious leaders of our nations:
"The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness. But come here, you sons of the sorceress, you offspring of the adulterer and the harlot! Whom do you ridicule? Against whom do you make a wide mouth and stick out the tongue? Are you not children of transgression, offspring of falsehood, inflaming yourselves with gods under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?...
"And of whom have you been afraid, or feared, that you have lied and not remembered Me, nor taken it to your heart? Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me? I will declare your righteousness and your works, for they will not profit you. When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will carry them all away, a breath will take them. But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land, and shall inherit My holy mountain" (Isaiah 57:1-5, 11-13).
Examples of False Ministers and Churches
In a recent letter to the President of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty, Pope Francis expressed the Catholic Church's opposition to the death penalty, calling it "inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed." He continued, "It is an offence against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person, which contradicts God's plan for man and society, and his merciful justice, and impedes the penalty from fulfilling any just objective. It does not render justice to the victims, but rather fosters vengeance."
Say what?! "Contradicts God's plan for man and society"? Evidently the Pope lost his Bible somewhere along the way. If any of you readers out there happen to come across it, please send it to the Vatican right away so that the Pope can open its covers and hopefully learn something about YEHOVAH's Law!
One of the tenets of the United Church of God is as follows: "We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who is the Word and who has eternally existed. We believe that He is the Messiah, the Christ, the divine Son of the living God, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born in human flesh of the virgin Mary. We believe that it is by Him that God created all things, and that without Him was not anything made that was made." This, as does the death penalty issue, flies in the face of YEHOVAH's Word the Bible.
Baptist Church doctrine can be traced to an ignorance of YEHOVAH’s Word and ignoring what it says. How could anyone conclude that scripture authorizes the abandonment of YEHOVAH God's plan as found in the Bible? The Messiah warns us against allowing the authority of the traditions of men to determine doctrine. He says, "Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition…And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:6, 9). To continue to exist, the Baptist Church has to rely on their different creeds such as the Baptist Church Manual, by J. M. Pendleton and the Hiscox Standard Baptist Manual to guide them in their false beliefs. The various Baptist Churches could not exist without their creeds. The Baptist Churches would cease to exist if they followed only the Bible and did what it said!
Followers of Baptist doctrine believe that they will "spend eternity in an amazingly glorious place of indescribable splendor, beauty and joy in the presence of the Light of the Universe -- the Son of God -- Jesus Christ." They claim that when Christians die, their bodies are buried but their spirits (or souls) are immediately ushered into the presence of the Messiah in heaven. While their doctrine of baptism is correct (i.e., only adults and full immersion), most of their other doctrines are erroneous and not to be found in Scripture.
Now the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Messiah was created by YEHOVAH God as the archangel Michael before the physical world existed, and is a lesser, though mighty, god. Along with that, they believe that the Messiah was resurrected spiritually from the dead, but not physically. Further, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the second coming was an invisible, spiritual event that occurred in the year 1914, and that there are two peoples of YEHOVAH God: (1) the Anointed Class (144,000) will live in heaven and rule with Christ; and (2) the “other sheep” (all other believers) will live forever on a paradise earth. All of these concepts or tenets are erroneous and not to be found in the pages of the Bible.
Then, when we come to the pagan doctrine of the Trinity we find that, by my count, 47 of the 50 largest "Christian" denominations believe in the Trinity. These denominations include the Assemblies of God, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and, of course, the Catholic Church. Most of these denominations go so far as to say that "if you do not believe this -- that is, if you have come to a settled conclusion that the doctrine of the Trinity is not true -- you are not a Christian at all. You are in fact a heretic"!
YEHOVAH God has a different viewpoint on this pronouncement: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the LORD God to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?"'...'Thus says the LORD God: "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep [with lies and false doctrine], and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them"'" (Ezekiel 34:1-2, 10).
Probably one of the better known false ministers of modern times was Billy Graham. Billy Graham was very much an icon -- to many he was an idol -- within the "Christian" Church. He was praised for multi-thousand attendances at his rallies. People pointed to the huge number of responses to the "altar call". Why, then, should we question the veracity and integrity of the man? The answer is a very simple one: Billy Graham fell a long way from true evangelism and from the truth itself. And the "responses" can be taken with a huge pinch of salt.
Graham urged surprised listeners at a Chicago Crusade in 1962 to "pay more attention to the Blessed Mother...(because)...we have made too little of Mary." This should not really have surprised them -- he was known to attend many Catholic masses. But he was not only a Rome-lover; he also linked up with other world false faiths: "I believe there is a great deal to learn from other religions in the Far East...especially from Buddhism" (Reformation Review, reporting on a visit to Japan).
He did not care if people accepted the inerrancy principle and said that they may take the various Biblical accounts, such as Creation or Adam and Eve, as being literal or figurative. This is because, to him, "love" (a notorious excuse for unbelief!) was of greater importance than YEHOVAH's doctrine/Truth. Thus he believed that a man such as Albert Scheitzer is "in heaven," even though he was an unbeliever who once said the Messiah was an epileptic!
Graham did not teach the Biblical salvation of Israel, but said that there are many ways to YEHOVAH God. He also said that those who have been brought up in Christian homes are automatically believers -- even if they have not been following YEHOVAH's way of life. He also accepted that child-baptism regenerates and saves the child (reported in the Lutheran Standard). In a Brazilian crusade, Graham allowed (and must have invited) the local Roman Catholic bishop to "bless" the crowd (New York Times, Nov. 9th., 1963). He himself also admitted that the majority of support for his crusades came from Roman Catholics! Of course it did -- and Graham gave them new converts on a plate! One Roman Catholic priest even suggested that his church may one day canonize Graham!
As we have just seen, most of the so-called Christian pastors and ministers of today have taken the word of YEHOVAH God and turned it into a lie! I would not like to be in their shoes when the White Throne Judgment rolls around!
A Warning to Modern Israel
One of the most frightening passages in the Bible is Joel 2:1, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain, let all the inhabitants tremble: for the day of the LORD, cometh, for it is nigh at hand”. Joel wasn’t the only one who shouted these words, the prophet Ezekiel in Chapter 7 warns many times that the “end is come” and “the day is come.”
Ezekiel is an outstanding example of one who boldly announced a message of repentance and remission of sins. His entire book contains a warning that must be delivered to the modern-day descendants of Jacob -- the British and American peoples, along with the nations of North-Western Europe. Ancient Israel had gone into captivity long before Ezekiel wrote his book. His message is for us today.
If Joel’s warning of war is to come about, (verse 2) close to this moment in time, something must happen to bring the hearts and souls of YEHOVAH’s people Israel back to Him and His Ways. Remember 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Hosea 5:15, both warn that Israel must go to their collective knees and seek His Face before intervention.
"...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).
"I will return to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will diligently seek Me" (Hosea 5:15).
And if ever a people needed a warning, it is today and it is us! Britain and the United States have been the world's foremost superpowers over recent centuries, first with the British Empire ruling the seas and a vast array of peoples and nations, followed by the United States assuming Britain's former role after World War II. But Britain's empire fell and is now a shadow of its former self. America is rapidly following in economic, social and cultural decline, losing influence daily around the world.
Notice what the prophet Micah warns --
"The day of your watchman and your punishment comes; now shall be their perplexity" (Micah 7:4).
The Curses of Deuteronomy 28
Now, I mentioned the prophet Joel because he looked far into the future, to a time of war and culminating with deliverance by YEHOVAH God Almighty. He was one of the minor prophets, but his message was mighty! If you read the three short chapters, you can come only to the conclusion that he refers to this very moment in time, whether only years away, perhaps not even that. In addition to his prophesy of war, he foresaw the removal of prosperity from true Israel. I doubt if there is an Israelite who is not feeling the effects of the bondage of debt, taxation and control in our lands today, let alone the crime and corruption that plagues our societies. Put simply, we are reaping the whirlwind of the curses of Deuteronomy 28. Here are a few examples:
"But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country" (28:15-16).
"Cursed shall be the fruit of your body [children] and the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the increase of your flocks" (28:18).
"And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. The LORD will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed" (28:23-24).
"You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall lie with her; you shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but shall not gather its grapes" (28:30).
"The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail" (28:43-44).
"If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues -- great and prolonged plagues -- and serious and prolonged sicknesses" (28:58-59).
In particular, true Israelites should pay close attention to verses 43-44, “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.” That has happened in the past century because we have not hearkened to YEHOVAH God.
The Downfall of Modern Israel
Why is it that the churches of the Israelite world DO NOT cry out for our nations to turn to YEHOVAH God in humility and to REPENT of their wicked conduct? Most religious leaders today don't even grasp what sin is because they have been led to believe -- erroneously -- that YEHOVAH's spiritual law -- which regulates all Israelite behavior -- was nailed to the tree! The only thing that was nailed to the tree was the Messiah's crucified body -- along with our guilty past, assuming that we turn to YEHOVAH God in repentance! It was the cheirographon or the record of our law-breaking that was nailed to the tree -- NOT the Law and Commandments of YEHOVAH God!
This is why, when the Messiah came into Galilee preaching the good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, he told people to REPENT and to believe (accept in faith) the TRUE gospel of the Kingdom. In other words, we have to be willing to change our ways -- to repent of sin -- if we are to enter into YEHOVAH's Kingdom.
Because these pastors and ministers will not repent, the war will come -- Ezekiel 38 tells us this. And we believe that when it does, and the enemy is devastating our lands, we will go to our knees in fervent prayer. As Joel wrote about this event nearly thirty centuries ago, Israel nations and Israelites will have repented and re-established the complete kingship of the Messiah in the nation. The people will petition YEHOVAH God to save them in the hour of trial. Of this day and time, when Israel would turn to Him with their whole hearts, the LORD said: “I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.” Cleansed and sanctified, Israel will come to their God and claim His help and protection. For this time to come, YEHOVAH God has patiently waited.
In Isaiah 26:20, the LORD God comforts the true Christian, but then in verse 21 the prophet promises judgment, “For, behold the LORD cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain”. So, is He saying, as many of us believe, that the main participants of Mystery Babylon, that is, in the economic, political and ecclesiastical spheres, are those that the apostle James described as “You have feasted here on earth, you have comforted your hearts with luxuries on this day that dooms you to slaughter” (James 5:5 Knox version).
But, what is the trigger? Some might speculate that it will be a financial collapse triggering the fall of Babylon, because such a disastrous event would affect every nation and person on earth. And the national debt of America has been teetering on the razor’s edge for many years now. Yet, other voices might suggest that the trigger might be the desire of ultra-strong enemies, such as China, who might be tempted to see weakness in Israel and desire to take advantage of it.
Bible scholar Howard Rand wrote in his Study of Joel what he described as the prelude for attack. He wrote,
“The storm-clouds of war have gathered. Throughout the land the people are aroused -- they are angry and troubled. The judgments of God in the destruction of Israel’s property, her prosperity, and her population through storms, disasters, and disease have failed to turn the hearts of the people to their God. Israel’s leaders are guilty; for they have neglected to warn the people or show the nation the reason for these calamities.
The Watchmen of Israel
Rand then goes on to write about the watchmen of Israel --
"The LORD says, through his prophet Isaiah, that the watchmen of Israel are blind -- they are all ignorant. He likens them to dumb dogs who cannot bark, lying down and loving to slumber. They are shepherds without understanding; they follow their own inclinations, seeking their own gains. Their failure, as watchmen in Israel, to blow the trumpet and sound an alarm in order that the people may be prepared to stand in the battle in the Day of the LORD, is bringing them into condemnation” (ibid.).
In biblical lands in ancient times, the role of a watchman was crucial. Invasion, siege, destruction and enslavement were all too common as empires battled for power and plunder. Watchmen were stationed atop towers or the city wall, and if danger approached they were to sound the alarm to alert their fellow citizens to the threat.
A watchman failing in his role all too often meant the difference between life and death -- not just for himself, but for those around him.
The Hastings Bible Dictionary informs us that "The watchman blew the shofar to raise an alarm or to indicate impending danger (Amos 3:6, Jeremiah 6:1, Ezekiel 33:6), and Moore (on Judges 6:24) renders shofar by 'war horn.'" According to the New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, "The sound of the shofar was audible at a great distance (Exodus 19:16, 19); and watchmen blew it to sound the alarm (Jeremiah 6:1; Amos 3:6).
Notice that the shofar as an instrument is defined in the Bible as an instrument of warning. It was used to sound the alarm, when a city or nation was threatened by an invading army or disaster of some kind. Here we see the REAL symbolism of the watchman and his shofar. Shofars were blown as an alarm -- they signified a warning blast of impending danger, peril, calamity, destruction! They were a warning to get ready -- get prepared -- for the day of judgment is coming soon!
This is the background for the prophetic commission found in Ezekiel 3. Here YEHOVAH God tells Ezekiel, "I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me" (verse 17, emphasis added throughout).
Notice that YEHOVAH God says, "give them a warning from Me." It's YEHOVAH's message -- as delivered through His human instrument, Ezekiel. Eight times in chapter 33 (verses 3 through 9) YEHOVAH says warn!
"Say to them: 'As I live,' says the LORD God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'" (Ezekiel 33:11).
YEHOVAH God has commissioned watchmen to warn His people Israel -- watchmen who will NOT hold back from revealing the sins of His people:
"I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall NEVER hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth [during the Millennium]" (Isaiah 62:6-7).
Notice also that it was a message of sober warning: "If I warn the wicked, saying, 'You are under the penalty of death,' but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible, demanding your blood for theirs. lf you warn them and they keep on sinning and refuse to repent, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved your life because you did what you were told to do."
He continues, "But if you warn them and they repent, they will live, and you will have saved your own life, too" (verses 18-19, 21, New Living Translation). YEHOVAH's goal was clear: He wanted the people of Israel to heed the warning, repent and live.
YEHOVAH God raised up prophets who served as watchmen to the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 6:17). These prophet-watchmen had the responsibility to WARN the wicked of impending destruction and, if they failed to do so, they were held accountable to YEHOVAH God. If, however, the people were unresponsive and failed to heed the warning, their blood was upon themselves (Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:1-9).
The Two Kingdoms
And here's where the story really gets interesting: The ancient Israelites were divided into two kingdoms -- the House of Israel and the House of Judah. When Ezekiel, of Judah, gave his prophetic warnings intended in large part for the house of Israel, its people had already been punished and taken away into captivity by the Assyrian Empire more than 120 years before.
If you've been reading our articles for long, you probably understand that the modern Anglo-Saxon nations of the world are descended from the House of Israel. You may also realize that, as discussed regularly within our articles, those ancient Israelites disappeared from the pages of history (becoming known to historians as "the lost 10 tribes") before reemerging in more recent centuries as the peoples of North-Western European heritage, especially the major English-speaking nations.
Viewed in this light, the puzzle of Ezekiel's message makes sense. His warning could not have been for the Israel of his own day, since it was 120 years too late. It must be for the modern descendants of Israel, predominantly today's major English-speaking nations -- the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Are You Lost or Found?
The Old Testament is replete with warnings and promises uttered by YEHOVAH God, regarding the conduct and future of YEHOVAH’s people. Time and again we are told that YEHOVAH God will forgive the sins of His people Israel and gather them again into a flock worthy of His name. He tells us that we of Israel, who love Him, will be called His people, and He will be our God. He would change our name (Isaiah 62:2), He would change our tongue (language) (Mark 16:17), in other words He, YEHOVAH God, would completely change our identity.
But regardless of all those changes, we are still the people that YEHOVAH God chose for Himself. We, as a people, might be confused as to who and what we are, but you can be assured that our God has never lost sight of those He ordained to be His servants amongst the nations. We should take the Bereans, as mentioned in Acts 1:11, as an example and diligently study Scripture to find the truth.
In Matthew 15:24 the Messiah said he was not sent but unto the lost sheep of Israel:
"He [the Messiah] said in reply, 'I was sent ONLY to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.'"
In John 10:16 he tells of other sheep, not of the fold found in Palestine, that he would bring to make one-fold under him, and in that same chapter verses 27, 28 he tells that his sheep will hear his voice and follow him, and they will never be lost or perish:
"And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold [northern House of Israel], and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, and one shepherd" (verse 16).
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand" (verses 27-28).
The sheep not of that fold in Palestine are the Israelites in dispersion, the lost sheep of the House of Israel. When we compare these words of the Messiah with the prophetic statement about Israel in the Old Testament, we come to the conclusion that YEHOVAH God and the prophets were, and are, talking about the self-same people, namely us -- the people of the Book, the people with the Book.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” We have no choice, it is in our blood to follow the Shepherd of Israel. In our veins flows the blood of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a heritage that is richer than silver and gold. Only ignorance and or stubbornness will cause us to reject these facts, and we do so at our own peril. If we accept these facts as found in the Bible, we can consider ourselves found, not only of YEHOVAH God, but also of our own selves. We will know who and what we are as to what Scripture teaches.
Thus, the question remains, are you lost or found?
If you are among those that are still lost, and if your heritage is found among the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Germanic, Scandinavian and kindred peoples, I post this challenge to you. Study the prophets and compare those with the words of the Messiah, and those of the apostles, and try to find your answer. If your pride and apathy prevent you from doing so, you will remain lost to your identity forever, and when the time comes you will have to say, "LORD your book is full of nice words but I could not believe them."
To end this article, I ask readers to consider that Joel predicted the tumultuous Day of the LORD, followed by a time of universal peace, prosperity and abundance. But, the Day of the LORD is not a time to look forward to! The Bible reveals that it will be a period of unprecedented universal upheaval that precedes the return of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah -- a time of divine punishment on the nations and, of course, on Israelites ourselves.
This has ALWAYS been the message of YEHOVAH's TRUE servants: repentance and remission of sins. It was repeatedly proclaimed by all the prophets, and YEHOVAH knows that most people will not repent. But He unequivocally says, Witness against them anyway! That way they will be left without excuse. If YEHOVAH's true servants do their job, then when the plagues descend, the unrepentant won't be able to say, "You should have warned us!"
Sobering as it is, this is a primary message of Hope of Israel Ministries -- that sin exacts a terrible price, whether on a national level or on an individual level. We are seeing that played out before our very eyes. And like Ezekiel and the watchman on the wall, WE ARE BLOWING THE SHOFAR, WE ARE SOUNDING THE ALARM, SHOUTING A WARNING MESSAGE TO ALL OF ISRAEL WHO WILL HEAR AND HEED. Are you listening?
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Correcting the Errors of Modern Christianity!
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