Picture of Pastors Jim and Marie Watt
Pastors Jim and Marie Watt

Two Are Better Than One

Reuben: Jewish Roots

One. The Tribe of Reuben: Its relationship to Jewish Roots. There are at least 14 different listings for the 12 tribes of Israel. There is a different order for the tribes in each list. There is significance in each order, not to be overlooked or taken for granted. The first list is the order of birth in Genesis 29-30. In Genesis 49 Jacob gave a patriarchal dying blessing over each of his 12 sons, using a prophetic order by the Holy Spirit. Of the 14 lists, we have chosen the Spirit-directed prophetic order. This also fits into the prophetic mold of the 1948 revival. God used this to restore the office of the prophetic in fuller understanding, as well as the 5-fold ministry. At this time He also restored the Presbytery concept of “laying on of hands” with prophecy, which Jacob used for his two grandsons first, and then his 12 sons.

In the Hebrew language, the name of each person and place is drawn from common words of the language. Reuben is from two such words, Reu: See, behold; and Ben: a son. Leah, Jacob’s first wife named him in the context of seeking to win Jacob’s love from Rachel.

See, she said, God has given me a son! Therefore my husband will love me.

Jacob normally linked his sons with an animal; if he did not, Moses usually did so in Deuteronomy 33, where he added to Jacob a further tribal prophetic blessing.

Jacob’s blessing turned out for many to be a rebuke. He stripped Reuben of the Leadership of the firstborn and gave it to Judah. He took the Blessing of the firstborn and gave it to Joseph in Ephraim and Manasseh. Instead of priestly honors to Reuben, Levi became the inheritor. Yet he left Reuben honor. He retained his place as leader of two of the tribes: Simeon and Gad, in the order of the encampment and March.

Reuben is not linked with an animal. He epitomizes the frailty of humanity. He is like the man of the Gospel of Luke, and in a sense fits with the full humanity of our Lord Jesus (Yeshua), as Son of Man.

Artisans inscribed Reuben’s name on the fourth stone of the Breastplate of Judgment worn by the High Priest. Various interpretations appear in commentaries concerning this passage in Exodus 28 where these stones are mentioned. They are in the order of the march of Numbers. In some 15 books and commentaries I have consulted, the green emerald makes the grade. This indeed fits Jacob’s prophecy: unstable as water. Often the sea is a green color, restless in its activity with the tides and seasons.

Reuben had trouble as a decision-maker. When Deborah and Barak called him to assist in the battle against the Canaanites, they missed him at roll call. Where was he? Among the sheep pens pondering: Shall we go up and help, or shall we not?      Too late, Reuben! The battle is over you have lost your chance.

Make no mistake. We need our Reubens. Each church and congregational member is linked with one of the 12 tribes in particular in a spiritual sense. Reuben in Luke shows forth a quietness, often a melancholic outlook and a creative potential. Many doctors, lawyers, musicians, scientists, artists and actors have Reuben as the main part of their character or temperament.      All of us, like Jesus, have all four of the leading tribes represented in our temperament, but the top two identify us with one particular tribe and temperament. All four living beings in the 4 Gospels and Ezekiel, represent our Lord Jesus as man, all in perfect balance. None of us reflect that same balance and perfection. Rather, we on a scale of 10-50 in these 4 categories, individually show great variation. And then, unlike Jesus, who was 50, 50, 50, 50 – all positive and no negatives – we vary on a scale of 10-50 in a negative way with Matthew the Lion, Mark the ox, Luke the man and John the eagle.

Friends and relatives checked me out as a Reuben. I labored to live up to the best of Reuben for many years, but ended in frustration. Through Tim LaHaye and his temperament analysis, I discovered myself to be a Benjamin, which set me free! For those in the class who are interested, we can help you find your tribal identity, and with it the corresponding revival principle.

Just as Israel required all 12 tribes active in faith and obedience to make the Commonwealth of Israel function the way Balaam prophesied – so each church or congregation requires all 12 tribes to be represented in a spiritual sense – knowing their place – and functioning in unity. Then the body of Messiah with Himself as Head can function in the way of 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Ephesians.

Two. Collateral Reading: Helps in seeing Reuben as the tribe pointing to our Jewish Roots.

This is a high honor indeed. If you find yourself strongly identified with this tribe, take heart. In the Spirit you can overcome the lusts of the flesh that overcame Reuben, and escape the penalty that befell him. Forewarned is forearmed. The apostle Paul was a Benjamite by tribe and temperament, a combination of Luke-Melancholic and John Choleric. Look at how Saul of Tarsus started out – ravening as a wolf against the church. Look how he ended: the mighty apostle of the uncircumcision and author of ½ the books of the New Testament. He helped the uncircumcision come out from Gentile paganism to become part of the one new man as believing non-Jews.

FFOZ (First Fruits of Zion) has a 14-week Leadership Training Course called HaYesod (The Foundation). It came out in September of last year, but holds promise of being a great blessing in the areas we are discussing. They have published two excellent books by Ariel and D’vorah Berkowitz: “Torah Rediscovered,” ISBN 965-90104-0-0 ($13.95); “Take Hold,” ISBN# 1-892124-01-7 ($17.95). These two books will give one the main gist of the 14 units in HaYesod. FFOZ, PO Box 620099, Littleton, CO 80162-0099 USA.

“One New Man” by Reuven Doron is a key book of this last century. You will not regret letting it challenge you. ISBN 0-9629049-9-6, 1993. Reuven Doron, PO Box 10102, Cedar Rapids, IA 52410.

“Jewish Roots” by Daniel Juster will likewise open your eyes and illuminate you. ISBN 0-937831-00-X

“The Ephramite Error” by Kay Silberling could give you an insight on “Jewish Roots” from a negative viewpoint that the positive approach may not give you. See last week’s notes in the Introduction, page 3, and dated 1-8-00.

Last but not least, Dr. Michael Brown has just come out with the first of 3 volumes entitled “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus,” ISBN 0-8010-6063-X. Sid Roth has been on Michael’s back for years to get this out. It is tremendous!

Most of the books recommended in this course can be obtained on the Net from <Amazon.com>, or by presenting Title, author and ISBN# to your local Christian Bookstore. Some are only handled by the author or publisher.

Three. Some Preliminaries to help understand Jewish Roots. The subject of this unit is perhaps the equivalent of all 12 units in importance! The church has neglected it, but now by the Spirit since 1967, a real interest is growing.

Until the church understands the enormity of her neglect inunit is perhaps the equivalent of all 12 units in importance! The church has neglected it, but now by the Spirit since 1967, a real interest is growing. this area, repents and returns to the place and time of this loss, the one new man creation is hindered and delayed. When Christian with his companion left the true road and chose a by-path in John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress,” they suffered unnecessarily. When they returned to the point of departure to the true path, all went well again. Revival in its ultimate, according to Charles G. Finney, is dependent upon meeting God’s conditions in His timing.

See Lecture 4 of Revival Lectures – “Break Up the Fallow Ground.” Here Finney delineates the sins of omission and commission that hold up God’s blessing. He also talks of the lifting of the Holy Spirit in power from his life. His remedy was to set aside 3 days of fasting and prayer. During that time he carefully and ruthlessly examined his life as to the above two areas. He made promise to God to follow thru on any sin of commission or omission following the conclusion of these 3 days. Invariably, he said, following these 3 days, the Spirit returned with His original intensity!

And what was that? It is recorded in his autobiography. He tells us that the Spirit visited him shortly after his conversion, and came upon him with wings of liquid love with such intensity that he cried out, “Stay Your hand, or I shall die.”

See the following manifestation of such a visitation. Finney visited a clothing factory. The presence of God in Finney was of such intensity, that the workers became confused, made errors in their work, and broke down in tears. The foreman called a cessation to all work. If God wants to visit and bless the workers, he said, then let Him have His way.

Is this the power of the church today? Is there among God’s servants such a manifestation of His presence, that daily and regularly the abnormal takes place? Or are we so subnormal that when the above “normal” takes place, we charge it with being abnormal?

Andrew Murray made this failure in distinction when the Spirit first fell on young people in South Africa in the 19th century.

When the church returns to this first of the 12 Embryonic Revival principles, it will be perhaps the major condition, that when met, will so please God that He will pour out of His Spirit so that there will not be room to contain it!

Note that George R. Hawtin restored the Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot) to the church in partial manner back in Star City in 1935. He brought it to Bethel Bible Institute of Saskatoon and on up to North Battleford in 1947. In 1948 I lectured at Sharon Orphanages and Schools in North Battleford on the Feasts of the Lord from Leviticus 23. A Jewish Missionary to the Jews in my hometown of Port Alberni, B.C. became my mentor. In 1944 she shared with me the importance of the Bible year. She told me that she kept all the appointed feast mentioned here, including the Sabbath. She told me that Jesus had fulfilled Passover and the first 3 feasts on Calvary. The Holy Spirit came 50 days from the count of Firstfruits, and fulfilled the fourth. At that time, we remember the first Pentecost for Israel when God gave the 10 Commandments on this day. Then some 1600 years later the Holy Spirit fulfilled this Feast and the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah in Jeremiah 31. The Holy Spirit now writes the Torah (Teaching of God is a better translation than law) on our hearts and minds – first upon believing Jews, and later upon non-Jews who responded by coming out of pagan Gentile nations.

But Succot, the Feast of Tabernacles, will not be fulfilled till Jesus (Yeshua) returns the second time as King of kings and Lord of lords. He came as the suffering Messiah 2000 years ago. He will return as Reigning Messiah soon.

George Warnock sat in on this lecture. He already knew this truth, but God would not release him till he wrote “The Feast of Tabernacles” in 195l. Here he outlined all seven Feasts of the Bible celebrated by Jesus, but he majored on the last future three.

John R. Stevens laid hold of Warnock’s challenge that came alive out of the 1948 Revival, and soon had his followers celebrating all seven.

God has given this promise to Abraham: Those peoples who bless you and your seed (the Jews) I will bless. Those who curse you and your seed, I will curse. Look at Pharaoh of the Exodus. Look at Haman in the days of Esther and Mordecai. Look at Nebuchadnezzar who went overboard and beyond God’s will in bringing judgment on the Jews. Look at Hitler and his 1000-year reign. Because he made the Jews his chief enemy and murdered 6 million of them in the Holocaust, he died a shameful, degrading suicide. His 3rd Reich lasted but 12 out of his 1000-year projection. But soon – Jesus our Jewish Messiah of both Jew and Gentile will return to honor the believing remnant from both camps, uniting them in the one new man, and inaugurating His 1000-year reign!

Satan may try to ape God’s plans thru his Hitler stooges – but God will in the end have the last laugh. He in the heavens shall watch satan and his stooges – and suddenly in strong displeasure shall frustrate their plans. Their 1000 years will dwindle to a mere 12. And He in the heavens shall laugh. He shall say, “Kiss the Son, (My Son, a Jew) lest He be angry.” One man said, “I could almost be angry with God, for letting Jesus be a Jew!” And do I have any of that spirit? And what kind of worship shall Jesus the Messiah and Jew inaugurate in His 1000-year millennial reign?

It will indeed be well for the church to ponder what we left from 100 to 325 AD under Constantine. We have brought in many pagan practices and holidays, and sanctified them with Christianity. But did God sanction this? And in the end will He require adjustments on our part? Have we departed from the clear Plumbline of His Word? Are we like the leaning Tower of Pisa? Do our formulations need Reformation and restructuring and shoring up? Do we need a Hezekiah and a Josiah to arise and destroy our idolatries and departures? Does the spiritual temple of the church need cleansing of filth (2 Corinthians 7:1)? Do we need to reinaugurate Passover as did they, and the other Feasts of the Lord that Constantine replaced from paganism? Are we willing to truly examine what we believe and in the light of the total Plumbline of God's Word from Genesis to Revelation?

So we see that the New Testament, the Renewed Covenant for Israel in Jeremiah 31, and its 27 books, is the true commentary on the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic Covenants. Do we understand that Rabbinic commentaries on Talmud, Mishnah and Gemara can prove helpful in seeing the times in which the Word of God came – but when they make void the written word by contradiction and opposition – that part must be set aside. To the Torah and its testimony – if they speak not according to this written testimony, it is because there is no morning in them (Isaiah 8:20).     It is in the New Covenant that we understand the former Covenant. Israel and Torah have not passed away according to Isaiah and Jeremiah. See Jesus’ statement in the Sermon on the Mount. See that Romans and Galatians properly translated and understood fully accord with Jesus’ statements in Matthew 5-7.

Remember hermeneutics, the science of Bible Interpretation. All Bible statements must harmonize. A text without a context is a pretext. As a drop of the ocean when analyzed, contains in trace form all constituent elements of the ocean – so must any Bible text, from any of the 66 books, reflect in trace form the teaching of the whole Bible when interpreted. No wonder James said, “Be not many teachers, lest you come under the greater condemnation!”

In 1953 Robert Burrows from Scotland wrote the following in the fly leaf of “Rees Howells, Intercessor” by Norman P. Grubb:

Revival means REMOVAL –

      A willing sacrifice

Of all that grieves the Spirit.

      Who then will pay the price?        RHB

Hezekiah and Josiah removed all the filth from the Temple, both inside and outside (and we are the Temple of God, living stones, with Jesus the Messiah as both chief cornerstone and capstone). We the church, both individually and corporately, need to apply spiritually this same pattern. True, full, complete revival, renewal, reformation and reconstruction is pricey and costly. Only two kings in Israel’s history truly, consistently and completely followed thru.

The “Watch of the Lord” by Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda is well conceived and executed to achieve such revival. Its main priority is Israel and the Peace of Jerusalem. This Watch is concerned with prayer, watching and fasting thru the night each Friday evening. (Look what this has done in South Korea. 52% of the nation professes Jesus as Lord and Messiah!)

I realize this is a hard-hitting message to the church of America, Canada and the world. But doesn’t the present situation and facts of the church justify and demand it? Look at Jeremiah’s message, given to him by God. It was 4-fold removal before 2-fold building. It was, “Uproot and tear down, destroy and demolish. Only then was it Build and Plant.”

Now these words came to Jeremiah when Judah was yet a nation just over 400 years old. But she had departed from her moorings and foundations. Therefore God sent Jeremiah to rectify the situation with this 4-fold negative correction, and only then the 2-fold positive aspect.

The church is 2000 years old. Are our barnacles less than Israel’s? Or has 5 times the years brought a yet more serious problem in the church? Of all our revivals, renewals, restorations and reformations – not one has restored us as fully to God’s Plumbline as did that of Hezekiah and Josiah for Judah.

If we say we want revival and reformation – are we truly prepared to pay the price? Make no mistake – there IS a heavy price to pay. Our denominations, fellowships and parachurch organizations – all substantially walk in the principles of falling away of the last 1700 years. No move of God has yet brought us back to the complete Word of God Plumbline. We are indeed as the leaning tower of Pisa – a most precarious position!

Come, let this first Embryonic Principle of Revival – a return to our Jewish Roots according to Romans 11 – be our primary, foremost and urgent priority. The church has NOT replaced God’s purposes for Israel. Nowhere in Scripture is the church called Spiritual Israel. The church in the beginning was only Jewish. Not for some 10-20 years did Gentiles start to come in any numbers. It wasn’t till Acts 15 that the Holy Spirit thru apostles, elders and James – rule that Gentiles electing to become disciples of Jesus did not need to become circumcised as Jews.

But when former Gentiles, now non-Jewish believers became the majority in the church, they ruled that no Jew could become a Christian and church member without giving up his Jewishness! Was this fair? Is it fair? No – a Jew who believes on his own Jewish Messiah, Yeshua – is NOW the true Jew. But the orthodox Jew who puts the traditional Talmud above God’s written Torah (teaching) and the church that wants him to give up completely his Jewish lifestyle, both persecute him!

That’s not fair!     The Messianic Jewish Congregations are a transitional state where believing Jews can maintain their Jewish lifestyle, worship the God of their fathers according to the Bible Feasts of the Jews. They can live a Torah (Teaching) Observant lifestyle, and apply the 200 Temple and Priestly commandments in a spiritual way to Jesus the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7-10). Believing non-Jews who have come out of pagan Gentilism, can join with them once again, just as they did in the early church.

Now God used the 1948 revival thru George R. Hawtin to begin the restoration of the Jewish Feasts. Since 1967 and the formation of Messianic Jewish Congregations all over the world in the early 70’s, this restoration has gained impetus. Yet – all is in transition. It is too early to have clear parameters. Estimates vary between 200,00 and 1,000,000; but since the early 70’s, these numbers of Jews have become believers, and many are associated with Messianic Jewish Congregations. Some 50 exist in the state of Israel itself!

But many churches are seriously and earnestly becoming good Bereans. They are searching the Scriptures daily concerning these things. Some individual church congregations are following all the Bible Feasts of Leviticus 23. Some church congregations are sponsoring Messianic Jewish Congregations as part of their missionary outreach. Beth Chesed is one of these.

So be of good cheer – be encouraged. Like Jack Hayford, we are seeing the total church as “The Church on the Way.” We have not arrived at God’s Plumbline. Full Restoration, revival, renewal and reformation is not yet visible. But – we are on the way! Hopeful signs abound throughout the world.

The other 11 Embryonic Revival Principles are all important. But unless this first priority truth is restored, the other 11 will bring but half a revival.

Some people receive their mail, and place what might be an unpleasant letter at the bottom and open what may be pleasant at the top to open first. We have not followed this pattern, because the prophetic pattern of Genesis 49 puts Reuben first. And Reuben stands for our Jewish Roots. So in God’s order we look at this as the first of the Restoration, revival principles.

I personally believe this order is in the wisdom of God. If we make the right choice – if we decide with God on this first point – then the other 11 will be like falling off a log. This will follow naturally. If we fail to face and deal correctly with this first principle as Gods priority – then we will face disappointment in the final result. The 11 following principles, apart from this first (a key truth) will leave us holding half a bag. My prayer – Let all of us join as one – in seeking God for His wisdom and confirmation. Until this first challenge on revival is accepted, believed on and acted on – then we will not realize God’s accrued blessing both individually and corporately.

Note: Before Passover we will have completed 12 units of consideration plus an introduction. Look upon these as preliminary worksheets. They are open to suggestion, correction and adjustment. For example: one queried the position of the “Manifestation of the sons of God.” A man introduced this doctrine in Edmonton in the fall of 1948 from Winnipeg. People first heard of it at the turn of last century in Halifax, Nova Scotia.     Does the Bible teach that we can be overcomers prior to the resurrection? Of course.     Does it teach that God is at present forming the one new man from a believing remnant of Jews and non-Jews? Yes. Does it give hope for a last day revival before the return of Messiah and a judgment that will eclipse all former ones? Again, Yes.        Does it teach that sinless perfection is possible prior to that event? Conclusively, NO!       This has worked havoc in the lives of those who have fallen for this perverted and extreme teaching. Parts of the holiness movement of the 19th century fell into this same trap. Dr. Harry Ironsides, former pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church years ago wrote a telling rebuttal to this same extreme teaching. It is primarily speaking of the time for the resurrection of our bodies, and that takes place at the fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15:50-57, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Romans 8:18-2 3 (Last Days Bible). These promises are directly related to the resurrection of our physical bodies.     On these issues we must hue a clear line, and not spiritualize like Origen what the Bible makes literal. There is a fine line here.

I appreciate the challenge that occasions this clarification. JAW.