Last time we saw that the two houses of Israel, who are the two witnesses of Zechariah 4, Romans 11, and Revelation 11, are the two ekklesia: the cultivated olive tree, and the wild olive tree. The cultivated olive tree is the house of Judah — the Jews — and the wild olive tree is the house of Ephraim — the Christians (Gentiles). Now why equate the Christians with the house of Ephraim? It was prophesied of Ephraim that he would become a fullness of Gentiles; in other words, he would be dispersed among the Gentiles so that he could not be distinguished from them. And this happened. The northern kingdom, which in Scripture is called Ephraim, was dispersed among the Gentiles and lost. There is today no way to know who is physically descended from Ephraim among the Gentiles. But those who join themselves to Israel, and Israel’s God, become as Israel, the Scriptures clearly teach. They are grafted in among, Paul says. God numerous places in the Scriptures tells Israel that those who join themselves to Israel are to be as those who are native born (and here, for some beautiful assurance as to how the Lord God sees us former “Gentiles.”)
Now it is interesting that these two witnesses — Judah and Ephraim — show up as witnesses to God elsewhere in Scripture. Just yesterday I was reading the story of the sending out of the twelve spies to spy out the land of Canaan before Moses and the children of Israel enter in. We all know the story; ten spies give an evil report of the land, and two give a good report. Two agree with what God says of the land and furthermore encourage Israel to enter the Promised Land, for God would enable them to take possession of it. The two are Joshua, and Caleb. Joshua was the man chosen from the tribe of Ephraim, and Caleb from the tribe of Judah.
Coincidence? Not if we consider that these things happened to Israel for our example and instruction. Ephraim and Judah witnessed to God, and entered the Promised Land. It is a foreshadowing of a greater spiritual truth.
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 11: two witnesses concluded, part two