In the Footsteps of King Jeroboam – my journey to discovering Ephraim
by Margot Crossing
1 Kings 16:26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.
In 1990’s many people around the world started to hear, by the Spirit, the word ‘Ephraim’. That is how many people started to understand the mystery of the gentiles that Paul had talked about in Ephesians chapter 3 when referring to chapter 2 and in Romans 11.
However, that is not how God started to talk with me. He started to show me that the church was not following after the traditions of the apostles but had incorporated into Christianity many traditions from paganism. Instead of worshiping at God’s appointed times the church had started by changing times and seasons and instead of Passover starting on the fourteenth day of the month of Aviv/Nissan that Easter instead started on the Friday before the Sunday after the full moon after the Spring Equinox. This is sometimes close in date and sometimes a month different. The birth of Jesus which evidence suggests was in September during the Feast of Trumpets was changed to the day of longest night – a pagan festival – 25th December. Leviticus chapter 23 gives us the way to know what the dates were that were God’s appointed times.
The apostles were centred in Jerusalem but Jesus had said that the days were coming that we would all worship in Spirit and in truth. However, the church makes Constantinople and then Rome as its centre of worship – an entirely different place of either Jerusalem or wherever the Spirit is.
The bible tells us that we are a Royal priesthood and that we are predestined to be formed into the image of Christ and that we are under a new covenant where no man will teach his neighbour to know the LORD for we will all know Him from the least to the greatest. The church had at one stage taken the reading of the bible away from its people and placed it with a chosen few and then caused that chosen few to tell everyone what to think about God. Priests were placed over people but God had said that all believers were to become priests. Yes there were to be decans, elders and bishops but their role was not for the purposes intermediaries between God and man.
The church also brought in the worship of saints, Mary and various statutes. Although Mary and the saints were good people we are told to worship God alone.
I realized when I read about the sins of Jeroboam that we, in the church, had over the past two thousand years paralleled his sins. Jeroboam had been given, by God, the kingship over the ten Northern tribes of Israel when God had split the Kingdom of Israel into two after King Solomon’s reign because of Solomon’s sin. Jeroboam did not trust God to keep the people he had just been given so he devised a plan to stop them becoming one with the Kingdom of the South which Solomon’s son Reoboam had inherited from his father. He did this by constituting four new things. They were:- 1) different gods i.e. Golden Calves; 2) different place of worship i.e. Bethel and Dan; 3) a different priesthood i.e. not from the Levities; and 4) different time of worship i.e. the eighth month.
There are over twenty places where the bible refers to the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel/Ephraim as having sinned after the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat. All the kings of the Northern Kingdom sinned. None were good. That is why God sends them into captivity and breaks covenant with them.
These are the sins of Jeroboam
- Changed who was worshiped Golden Calves
- Changed where to worship Bethel and Dan
- Priesthood Not Levites
- Changed times Eighth month
These are the sins of the church
- Changed who was worshiped Mary and saints
- Changed where to worship Constantinople & Rome
- Priesthood Select few only – not all of us being a Royal priesthood
- Changed times Synchronized pagan holidays
Although things are different in the New Covenant from the Old Covenant we can easily see that the type of sins is very similar. So I saw the church as having sinned after the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Maybe that is why the prophet Jeremiah says of the gentiles in chapter 16 verse 19, “O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, ‘Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.’”
I then started to meet people who had heard the word Ephraim and had studied the Two Houses from that perspective and I realized what God was showing me fitted with what He was showing them only from a different perspective.
Have you ever considered that the church, predominantly gentile church, sins in the same manner that the northern kingdom of Israel sinned? Is that by accident or by pattern?
If the New Covenant of the New Testament is made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah (Hebrews 8:8) then who are the gentiles and what covenant are they under?
Paul makes much of his being in prison for the sake of the gentiles in Ephesians 3:1 and in verse 2 “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward [the gentiles]” verse 3 and 4 “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,[see Ephesians chapter2] whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” verse 5 and 6 “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” [ ] my additions bold my emphasis.
Paul lays it out in chapter 2 of Ephesians that the gentiles are no longer strangers to the covenants and aliens to the commonwealth if Israel but are fellow citizen with the household of God and that by Messiah’s blood he has brought those who were far off – [the gentiles] – nigh and He has broken down the middle wall of partition that kept the gentiles outside the temple with its ordinances and sacrifices so that the two [gentile and Jew] can become one new man.
Paul goes further in Romans 11 to say that the gentiles, a wild olive tree, having been grafted into a cultivated olive tree [that being Israel as it was at the time of the apostles which was Israel being the Jews].
None of these scriptures talk about the gentiles replacing Israel but they do talk about them as becoming one with Israel. Paul talks about it being a mystery that has to be searched out and understood. Paul even quotes a prophecy which is directed at the House of Ephraim – ten northern tribes – as being fulfilled by the gentiles coming into covenant through Jesus Christ. Romans 9:24-26 “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he says also in Hosea, ‘I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, you are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.’” Hosea 2:23 is what Paul is quoting here and it is a future prophecy – after the House of Ephraim has been cut off from covenant and then scattered. It predicts that they will come back to God and He will again be their God and they will be his people.
Could the gentile Christian church be full of those from the ten lost tribes that Holy Spirit has found through the sending of His apostles and prophets and missionaries throughout the last two thousand years?
If we look at what He has done with the Hilltribe peoples of the Lost Book from India, Burma and Thailand – Karen, Wa Naga, Mizo, Lisu, Lahu, Kachin, Kui, Shan and Palaung – and their amazing conversion to Christianity in the mid eighteen hundreds and the Mizo tribe’s oral tradition that they are of the Tribe of Manasseh. Then we can see that God has indeed sent missionaries to peoples who are of the Lost Tribes of Israel. If he has done it here in the eighteen hundreds then did He do it also with the Celts in the second to fifth century? Has He progressively been finding and saving pockets of humanity that owe their ancestry to Israel?
Early church leaders (fathers) 2nd Century sought to keep the church from anything Jewish and in doing so acted in a way that was very much like Jeroboam son of Nebat as he sought to keep the northern kingdom away from anything the House of Judah was doing. Jeroboam, as we read in 1Kings12, decided that he couldn’t trust his people to go to the Feasts in Jerusalem three times a years as the Lord had commanded so he instituted the changes we have documented above. Church Fathers like Justin Martyr wrote extensively against doing the same things as the Jews. Constantinople and the Council of Nicaea forbade Easter to ever be at the same time as the Feast of Passover saying “Therefore have nothing in common with that most hostile people, the Jews.”1.
Just like God would have honoured His offer of kingship to Jeroboam had Jeroboam not sinned as described above, so too I believe God honours and would have honoured the early church’s teaching of the truth of the Jewishness of Christianity. History books of the time of the church fathers document a sect called Nazarenes that kept Sabbaths and the Feasts and held that Jesus (Yeshua) was the Christ. The early historians held them to be in error for keeping Sabbaths and festivals but a quick glance at the Apostles shows them, where possible, keeping Sabbaths and festivals. See Paul wanting to keep the feasts:- Acts 18:21; 20:26; 21:20-26.
1.Constantine Augustus, to the churches. Socrates, Church History 1.9 June 325AD http://www.fourthcentury.com/urkunde-26/ ”And in the first place, it seemed very unworthy for us to keep this most sacred feast following the custom of the Jews, a people who have soiled their hands in a most terrible outrage, and have thus polluted their souls, and are now deservedly blind. Since we have cast aside their way of calculating the date of the festival, we can ensure that future generations can celebrate this observance at the more accurate time which we have kept from the first day of the passion until the present time. (4.) Therefore have nothing in common with that most hostile people, the Jews.”