Issue 1 // Volume 1 // Winter 2017
RECONNECTING TO THE ROOT
Issue 1 // Volume 1 // Fall-Winter 2017
RECONNECTING TO THE ROOT INSIDE THIS ISSUE…
RTB Featured Author: Kelly Vonner
Editor’s Corner: Walking with YAH
Isaac & Ishmael by Jeremy Vonner Retaking Your Temple by Jeremy Vonner Finding the Knowledge of YAH Part 1 by Kelly Vonner RTB Featured Business: The Kefar A Lost Sheep Returns Home by Onleilove Chika Alston
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RESTORATION MAGAZINE is published for FREE distribution in the public interest. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without permission. All Rights Reserved. RESTORATION MAGAZINE is published by Restoring the Branches Ministry. Editor & Graphics Designer: Kelly Vonner Cover Image: Photo by Frida Bredesen on Unsplash Email: email@example.com
Mission Statement The mission of Restoring the Branches Ministry is to reconnect YAH’s people to the root and truth of His Word. We have been called to take YAH’s healing to the nations, remove the stumbling blocks out of the way of His people and teach as well as model the importance of serving YAH in spirit and truth.
RTB Name: Kelly D. Vonner Age: 34 Occupation: Wife, Mom & Educator Instagram/Twitter: @kvonner Bio: Mrs. Vonner has been married to teacher and speaker, Jeremy Vonner, since 2006. They have been blessed with three remarkable sons. Jeremy & Kelly have been walking â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Wayâ&#x20AC;? since 2009 and started Restoring the Branches Ministry in 2017. Kelly enjoys spending time with her family, learning Hebrew, studying Torah and graphics design. A Boldness for Him is a call to worship God in Spirit and Truth. It is a call to see the beauty in holiness and the righteousness in obedience. It is a call to not only walk like Christ but love like Him as well. It is a call to walk faithfully with God as disciples of Messiah through the newness of life that his sacrifice allows. It is a call to excellence in regards to everything that involves the Kingdom of God, and it is a call to fruitful service as humble servants to the King of kings as we experience his joy as our strength.
Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash
What does it mean to walk with YAH? Enoch walked with YAH; Noah walked with YAH. Rebekah was willing to leave her land, her family and her father’s house to embrace a new lifestyle with different customs in a land unfamiliar to her. Ruth was not only willing to embrace the people of Naomi but the Elohim of Naomi as well. So what does it mean to walk with the Most High? It means knowing the Word that comes from the Source. It means understanding that this walk requires a “Hebrews 11” type of boldness. It means studying “to show thyself approved unto YAH, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). It means leaving behind the traditions of men to cleave to the Rock. It means being one who hears so they can see. It means never walking alone because His rod and staff support you. It means remembering that He’s left the ultimate Comforter for us. It means giving ourselves to the Sovereign One so that He can have His way in us. It means coming to the knowledge that love is an action that is personified by our obedience. It means being a servant of His Kingdom and a witness of His grace. It means walking humbly, loving mercy, and acting justly. It means returning to the ancient path. It means abiding in the vine. It means being pruned in order to produce more fruit for the King. It means taking His yoke upon us. It means rejoicing in His appointed times as His peculiar and treasured
people. Walking with YAH means heartbeats and breaths; it means life. YAH is calling us to walk with Him and He’s calling us to walk with a message, His Message, and we are to do this His Way by His Truth with His Light and His Revelation. He is calling us to walk with our ears attentive so that we can see, perceive and go forth. We must remember that His salvation is near to those who fear Him (Psalm 85:9) and His reward is very great. If you walk it and live it, YAH wants you to share it. Restoration Magazine is part of Restoring the Branches Ministry. Our mission is to reconnect YAH’s people to the root and truth of His Word. We have been called to take YAH’s healing to the nations, remove the stumbling blocks out of the way of His people and teach as well as model the importance of serving the living Elohim in spirit and truth. If you would like to share your journey, submit your two page article to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a four to five sentence bio and picture. Shalom family! It is my earnest prayer that you abide in the vine and stay on the narrow path.
Kelly Vonner 5
By Jeremy Vonner History is important; some say the past causes the present, and so the future. The historical sojourning of the Negro (African-American) has been compounded into brief timestamps: West African savagery, taboo and foolish religions, chattel slavery, Jim Crow Laws and Civil Rights. YAH promised an inheritance to Abraham, and these promises would come from his loins by his wife regardless of their old age. Sarah prematurely attempted to make YAH’s promise come to pass by encouraging Abraham to sleep with Hagar, the African handmaid. The two boys’ birth began a rivalry that is still seen among the people today. Hagar and Ishmael felt just as much attached to YAH’s promise to Abraham as Sarah and Isaac. The devastation of them being sent away undoubtedly left an open wound on their hearts. Even though YAH protected them and blessed Ishmael to become a mighty people, the wound was never healed and this caused animosity to roll down from generation to generation. From Isaac, the promise was passed on to
Jacob and Esau. When Israelites are disobedient and refuse the call of YAH, He takes away the hedge of protection. The Ishmaelites, who are modern Arabs, have been yoked to us, so-called Negroes and unknown sons of Isaac, and we will look at this relationship that is deeper than we know. The Bible records countless interactions between the “ עבריIvri” or Hebrew and the ערבי “Ahravi” or Arabian. There were tributes to King Solomon in 1 Kings 10:15 and hostility towards the Yehudim (Judah) for rebuilding the temple in Nehemiah 2:19, 4:7 and 6:1. Prophets even gave prophecies toward Arabians in Isaiah 21:13 and Jeremiah 25:24. Throughout the bible we are instructed not to go back to or long for the things of Egypt. Once the monarchy was established over Israel and once the nation split into the southern and northern kingdoms, kings would still rely on Egypt either in diplomacy, military aid, or trade. After the people asked Jeremiah to inquire of YAH for them, he 6
warned Israel not to go to Egypt (Africa) and encouraged them to accept Babylon captivity. Choosing Egypt carried a consequence (Jeremiah 29:18). In our book, Lost and W ithout an Identity Until Now we show that there have been Hebraic colonies in Africa prior to, during and postexile. Because of this Israel could not understand why YAH would say go to Babylon instead of Africa. Needless to say Judeans journeyed into Africa and settled on the delta. From there they migrated to the larger cities down the Nile. The historian Josephus records that over 1 million Jews fled into Africa once Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. While it is overlooked, Jews fled into Asia via the Silk Road and others settled in southern Saudi Arabia (modern Yemen). The Arabian peninsula is a home for Arabs. The sons of Isaac dwelt among the sons of Ishmael. Arabs were polytheistic and served multiple gods. Their selfproclaimed prophet was not born until 570 A.D.; so for over 400 years there were Jews in Arabia. In the late 6th to early 7th century Elijah Muhammad studied with the Judeans in Arabia. Muhammad’s travels enabled him to visit and converse with Christians. It wasn't until the early to mid 7th century that Muhammad wanted to rally the Arab people to convert to a monotheistic deity based off their father Ishmael. Studying with the Jews and conversing with Christians lead him to pronounce a monotheistic belief in Allah as the only god. After his travels to Medina he gained followers but when he attempted to convert the influential Judeans, he was rejected. This rejection triggered an onslaught against the Judeans in Arabia. Something from within drove him mad and he wanted to shed the blood of the Jews. In 627 AD the Battle of Foss left the Judean armies defeated, and ethnic purging began in Medina and other surrounding towns. Judeans were cornered and given the option of the Koran or the sword; many chose the sword. The sword of Arab-Islam grew and overtook Medina and Mecca and moved into the African continent. Their first campaign was against Egypt between 638-644 AD. YAH promised that the sword would pursue the Israelites in Africa. Rome, Greece, and even some native Africans didn't know descendants of the ancient Israelites dwelt in Africa. General Amir Ibn Al-As took over Alexandria where he found: 4,000 palaces, 4,000 baths, 400 theaters,
1,200 green grocers, and 40,000 Yehudim. ArabIslam’s slaving in Africa began as an annual tribute of 360 slaves. Jewess Queen Cahena lead an army of Judeans who dwell in the desert. These were the Berber people who converted to Judaism. Nahum Schlotz records the inscriptions, towns, and statues dedicated to this Queen who was not European, Arabic, or African; she was Hebrew. In Travels of North Africa the author documents that there were large populations of Judeans in north, west, and central Africa. Scholz also proves that the empire of Carthage was more than a Phoenician state but Israelite as well. After the third Punic War the Romans destroyed Carthage in approximately 146 BC. This caused the Hebrews to flee and rebuild. After 600 years the Judeans who remained in northern Africa (Tunis) eventually revived and didn’t experience a major threat until Arab-Islam came across the terrain some 500 to 600 years later. Once Arab-Islam conquered the areas we know as Libya, Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco, Israelites were forced to flee across the desert to Negroland. Arabs called this area Bilad al Sudan or the Land of Blacks. The sword of Islam swung by uncle Ishmael and the rise of the Moors lead to the subjugation of the Jews. The Hebrew noble families could still move and take part in business endeavors, but there were more poor and impoverished Israelites than wealthy. Sub-Saharan Africa is located beyond the oasis of the Sahara desert. Before Islam made its way into territory, there was a powerful Hebrew Kingdom called the Ghana Empire. With origins as early as 300 AD, the Ghana Empire eventually fell mid 13th century (1240 AD). Once Arabian explorers found the beauty and wealth of this empire, the sword and force of Islam availed. The conversion of native Africans and the rise of the Moors in north Africa who typically embraced Muhammadan beliefs stamped out the Hebrew presence in that area. This gave the Arabs the angle on trading and selling goods. It goes against the Koran to engage in dealings with infidels. The empire of Mali rose in the same region of west Africa, but kings would make decrees and change their forms of worship to an Islamic faith. Some did primarily for trading. When Mungo Park made his exploration in search of Timbuktu, the Arabs had control of West 7
Africa. By the late 18th and early 19th century West Africa had a strong Islamic presence. Despite this, there were documented Yehudi all over West Africa; they were prevalent throughout the Bilad al Sudan from the Niger to the Nile River. Timbuktu was once known as the “City of God” built by Israelites. By the 19th century it was an Islamic learning center, but there were still Yehudi present and contributing in the areas of science, medicine and mathematics. This is why there have been thousands of books and records destroyed by the Arabs. The Trans-Saharan slave trade via the Saharan trade routes had been dominated by the Arabs for centuries with commodities including gold, salt, silk, and slaves (Hebrews). In Genesis 37:28 the Ishmaelites who took Joseph into Egypt and sold him. This was repeated on the same continent thousands of years later. It wasn't until the Portuguese arrived in West Africa around 1441 that the European Slave Trade started. Between the late 17th century to the early 19th century, the Ishmaelites ran Hebrews through the west coast of Africa. The Saharan trade continued to the east into Turkey, Europe, India, and China. Scholar Paul Lovejoy estimates that between 650-1600 AD there were 4,820,000 slaves in the Saharan trade. Between 800-1600 A.D., 2,400,000 slaves were exported through the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. He estimates about 7,220,000 Hebrews were sold and/or traded but also says a safe approximation would range from 3.5 million to 10 million. I will also submit that native Africans and Hebrew kings (on the coast) were also responsible for selling slaves to the Europeans for rum, guns and other commodities. Unfortunately the slave trade still exists in Africa, and Arab-Islam is in the driver's seat. The sword of Ishmael haunts us today in the west. It is not as bloody as on the African continent but the effects are just as damaging. The Nation of Islam (N.O.I) became official around 1930; by 2007 its membership had reached up to 50,000. How can one enjoin themselves to the same principles that castrated Hebrew men, raped women, stole children, and sold millions and millions of our ancestors? Christianity, which has veered from the scriptures and excelled in colonization and capitalism, parallels Arab-Islam. Two different religions which rival one another both stemming its roots from the Bible have so much in common regarding Hebrews. Even today there is fighting amongst Christian nations and
radical Islamic terrorism. but when it comes to “Blacks” (Hebrew Israelites) there is a silent agreement the suppress their true identity. Malcolm X was one of the great Negro voices, but he converted to Islam, and worshipped Allah, the moon god. He could have done more and gone further if he would have chosen to walk with YAH. In many of our neighborhoods Arabs maintain ownership of our local corner stores. Cheap liquor, pork, cigarettes, pipes for weed, rolling papers, X-rated magazines and movies are sold for our consumption. To a Muslim this is uncleanliness and not to be touched, but they will sell it to us every day knowing we are defiling our temple and not walking in the truth of our Elohim. This is a different tactic but even more effective because we spend our time and money in these establishments. Native Africans called their bluff and knew they were not holy men but merchants; it is time we do the same. Does every Arab know we are from Jacob? I would say no, but plenty do. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the second president of Egypt, who was featured in one of the 1955 issues of TIME magazine, made it clear that the Israelis would never have peace because the original Israelites left black. Dr. Ahmad Al-Gundi, an Egyptian expert on “Jewish Relations”, said on MEMRI-TV (Middle Eastern Media Research Institute TV Monitor Project) on June 28, 2010 that the Negroes are related to the Biblical Israelites and that the modern Jew shares only in religion not blood. Why would they help an ancestral enemy? My suggestion is that we pray for our enemy but against their schemes and ask the Creator to fill us with spiritual wisdom and righteous guidance. Let us educate ourselves and strive to improve the future for us and the rest of humanity. Shalom and YAH bless! Elder Jeremy Vonner is a husband, father of three, founder of Restoring the Branches Ministry and author of Lost and Without an Identity Until Now: God’s Restoration of the Slave Descendants. He is passionate about the people of YAH returning to the ways of YAH. He travels to teach and preach throughout the US and is available to speak at your congregation upon request. Contact him at email@example.com or via Instagram or Facebook.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Psalms 144:1-3 KJV
Anyone who studies history, whether human history or geoscience, knows that it is very repetitive. Massive earthquakes over 1,000 years ago will repeat. Wars and conflicts between people due to resources, politics and religious ideologies are bound to repeat as well. The majority of the 21st century believers are not aware of the collision between the children of light and the children of darkness. This has been recorded throughout our scriptures and taught by the apostles in the New Testament. Apostle Shaul (Paul) says, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Those who have adjoined themselves to Christ must separate from darkness. We are now ambassadors of Christ, servants of the King, born again sons and daughters and His future Bride. But instead of clinging to truth, we accept and cleave to the unclean, unrighteous and the abominable things of this world. Darkness doesn't like light. Our covenant walk with Yahshuah (Jesus) confirms darkness as our eternal enemy. If we look with our spiritual eyes
By Jeremy Vonner we must embrace battles like Abraham and his servants, the Israelites under the leadership of Moses and later Joshua, and even the wars of David and his conquering of the Philistines, Edomites and etc. If the saints fought then, what makes us think that we would not have to be prepared for battle today? After the book of Malachi most Bibles have a blank page and then we begin with Matthew in the New Testament. Did the word of God cease? Did all of the saints just stop worshipping God? Did the prophets stop prophesying and did the faithful stop waiting for the ancient words to manifest? Was there a timeout that lasted around 400 years? As Apostle Paul would say, “God forbid”! After Persia fell to the Grecian empire (approximately 332 BCE) and right before Rome transitions from a Republic to an empire ( end of 1st century BCE), there were events that took place that all believers in Christ should be aware of . The incident is vital to biblical prophecy and carries significant spiritual importance to the followers of Christ today. As the Seleucid empire waged war against Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, there was a ruler named Antiochus IV (surnamed by himself Epiphanes) who desired to enlarge his territory. In 168 BCE rising Rome gave Antiochus an ultimatum and he chose to leave Egypt. It was on his way back that he unleashed his rage on Judea. The previous king, his older brother, Seleucus IV was in debt due to the long wars with Rome. He thought he could resolve the issue by taxing the temple treasury, but it did not work. Their father Antiochus III was also in 9
campaigns with Egypt and Rome and despite losing battles he was successful in expanding their territory. Josephus tells us that Antiochus III was respectful of the Jews and allowed them to continue their normal way of life. Antiochus IV had a different approach and wanted all of Judea hellenized and worshiping Zeus. Whether is was political, social, economical or religious, Greek thought was prevalent in Judea. This intensified under Antiochus IV’s rule, and in 167 BCE he attacked Jerusalem, killed thousands of Judeans and sold others into slavery. He also invaded the temple and desecrated it by erecting a statue of Zeus and slaughtering a pig on the altar. While some Judeans fled, others decided to fight in battles that are known today as the Maccabean Revolt. After a seven year period of rebelling against “the status quo”, the temple was reclaimed and the Most High God became the center of life again in Judea. Today, we as believers in Messiah must be prepared for this type of attack. Some will argue that there is no temple, but I submit that John 2:21 says otherwise. Being a part of this precious and wonderful renewed covenant built on better promises comes with expectations. It also comes with a bull'seye on our backs. If it was that important for Antiochus IV to destroy the temple during his time, then we can be sure that the same dark forces are still at work. As followers of Christ we are temples of God that harbor the Holy Spirit. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). It took sacrifice, fighting, fasting, praying, and faithfulness to weather the storm of the seven year war. People endured even when the enemy had more men, weapons, and resources. How long will we be willing to fight in order to retake our temples? Life in general throws problems, scenarios, and trials at us over and over again. We must be willing to fight and keep our minds focused on God. Regardless of the day or time, we must stay focused on our great and mighty Redeemer. We must remember that He lives and will save His own. In 2017 the agenda is clear and direct; there are dark forces looking to claim the temples of God. “If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” (John 3:12). We must prepare for the spiritual fight that is coming. Therefore the
actions of the world must be seen as what they are and the saints must be willing to walk boldly in the office of the royal priesthood. We cannot be complacent, and we cannot deem ourselves as safe or saved by grace while failing to truly know and live for our King. The time is coming when the saints of God must stand up and defend the temple where the presence of God dwells. Unfortunately, there are believers who have allowed Zeus, idols and the abominable to be placed on the altar of their hearts. While there is a space of grace left for us, this is the time to fight the war in our minds and to cry out against the generational curses and iniquities of our fathers. We must be overcomers to earn the clothing of saints! “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Revelation 21:7). Following the word of Elohim (God), and being guided by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is God’s divine will, but we must yearn to follow after him and not the world. Our humanity keeps us from attaining righteousness on our own. We must walk like Abraham to have righteousness imputed to us from God. It's the obedience of the “priest” over his or her own temple (walk in life) that determines if God will impute or dress us in righteousness. “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” (Revelation 19:9). I pray we all fight with the zealousness of those who were in the Maccabean revolt. I pray we never lose faith and I pray we are not those who choose the worldly way. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). May we learn from the past and choose growth, and may the shalom and wisdom of God be spread throughout our hearts. Amen!
Finding the Knowledge of YAH Part 1
By Kelly D. Vonner The Book of Proverbs contains an immense amount of wisdom. In the second chapter, two of the requirements necessary to understanding the fear of YAH and finding the knowledge of Elohim are to “receive my words and treasure my commandments” (Proverbs 2:1). While we know this is a father instructing his son, we can easily see the Father giving wise instruction to us, His children. YAH is calling us to seek Him while He may be found and love Him with every fiber of our being. This is impossible without a zeal according to knowledge and a reverential fear of His power. Our first wise step is to receive His words and treasure His commandments.
Receive My Words One of the definitions that Merriam-Webster uses to define receive is “to accept as authoritative, true, or accurate”. Receive my words; a short but declarative sentence with power and authority when it comes from our Father and King. The Hebrew word for receive is לקח. Along with to receive, it also means to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, acquire, buy, bring, marry, take a wife, snatch, take away, and
obtain. Doctrine (H3948), used in Deuteronomy 32:2 and Proverbs 4:2, also comes from this Hebrew word. We are to receive YAH’s words with passion and not just the words that conveniently fit our lives. The words from Him that our flesh has deemed as offensive are to be received and obeyed. YAH’s utterances, promises and words of correction are supposed to be received for our benefit. Whether we love them or disagree, we are advised to receive them because they are true and eternal and from the flawless Creator. Christ, who came in the image of the invisible Elohim (Colossians 1:15), said “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). To receive the word of YAH is to be armed with the sword of the Spirit. To receive His word helps us to be transparent before Him. “For the word of YAH is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Yet and still it is for our benefit. We cannot treasure something that we refuse 11
to receive. In order to treasure His commandments, we must accept His Word as authoritative, true and accurate. We must be willing to shema (hear) so we that we can perceive, receive and obey. Treasure My Commandments Treasuring YAH’s commandments within us is a physical act with spiritual implications. Treasure in Proverbs 2:1 is the same Hebrew word used for hid in Psalm 119:11 when the psalmist says “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee”. When used as a verb, to treasure means to hold or keep as precious: cherish, prize or to collect or store up (something of value) for future use. We are able to treasure His commandments within when we come to a place where we desire to be set apart unto YAH. His commandment is pure (Psalm 19:8), precious and worth cherishing, but our vessels, or bodies, must be clean to contain it. We see multiple examples of the wrath of YAH when Israel refused to receive His words and treasure His commandments within; those examples were written for our learning. It is not enough to know and not do. We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and sojourners on this earth. YAH has awakened us from our slumber and called to us His light. Receiving His words and treasuring His commandments within help us to be a base that supports others and gives them the courage to stand. We walk in obedience to YAH out of love and that love draws others into our realm, but it starts with obedience. We must receive the words and treasure the commandments that came from the One who inhabits eternity, who said “Let there be” and it was, who is able to create the magnificent from nothing, who no one else can stand beside, who is perfect, righteous and holy character, who is sovereign and righteous in all things, who executes justice with perfect precision, who is full of grace and truth, who is not slack concerning His promises, whose word is eternal and who is the source of all. To receive YAH’s words and treasure YAH’s commandments are to breathe in His essence, thoughts, wisdom and understanding. It is a primary step in becoming one (echad) with Him. Shalom Family 12
RTB “The Kefar supports Hebrew and Torah learning through classes, curricular materials, and consultation services.”
Shalom! My name is T’helah Ben-Dan, I’m a 29-year-old teacher and curriculum designer, and I am proud to introduce my company, The Kefar. The Kefar was born out of my desire for our children to see themselves in Torah and Hebrew language materials. I started with children’s books, then established an immersive Hebrew early childhood program, and then began offering youth and adult Hebrew classes. I write curriculum and create tons of original content, from Alef Bet coloring pages, to Hebrew posters and study guides, to Torah quizzes, and more; much of it is available for free on www.thekefar.com. I also offer Hebrew lessons on my YouTube channel. A little more about me – I taught Hebrew for the past three years, and designed curricula for myself as well as for other educators and homeschooling parents. I am currently living in southern Israel, where I teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL), designing lessons to meet my students’ needs. I am also a Curriculum Designer for an Israeli nonprofit organization that advances English education in underserved communities. I truly love teaching and creating, so if you’re wondering how to incorporate Torah and/or Hebrew into your school days, contact me! You can also stay in touch on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and of course, on my website.
Written By Onleilove Chika Alston
Though I have scattered them like seeds among the nations, they will still remember me in distant lands. They and their children will survive and return again to Israel. Zechariah 10:9 Many conscious Hebrews say they found the truth but I would say the truth pursued and found me. I wasn’t raised in a religious home my mother was an atheist and my father was a member of the Five Percenters but he didn’t raise me in his faith. There was never a time that I didn’t believe in The Most High I just didn’t have a spiritual system to follow. I had a normal childhood until my family became homeless and my little brother and I were taken into traditional foster care and then into Kinship foster care with my grandmother and aunt in East New York, Brooklyn. Though I was happy to be back with some of my family East New York in the late eighties and early nineties was extremely dangerous and chaotic due to the crack epidemic. At the age of ten I felt led to read my grandmother’s Bible and pray morning, noon and night though no one told me to and no one took me to church. I started to read the Psalms. Maybe I was attracted to the Book of Psalms because the rawness of these
poems expressed the pain I felt due to the difficult circumstances I grew-up in. I didn’t know what led me to pray and read the Bible but I now know it was the Ruach Ha’Kodesh leading and guiding me into all truth. From 10-14 years old I continued to pray and read the Bible. In the eighth grade I had to take a World Religions class which allowed me to survey all the major religions and I still came back to the Bible. At 14-years old my aunt Freda looked at me and said “someone needs to take this girl to church” and so on September 29, 1996 I walked myself to the nearby Baptist Church and sat all the way in the back. When the Pastor did the altar call to accept Yahshua I went forward and gave my life to him and though this church didn’t teach the full truth it did allow me to have experiences that would lead me to my Hebrew heritage. At 14-years old when I read of the Sabbath Day in my Bible I told my Sunday School teacher that I wanted to keep the Sabbath and she said “your being too deep.” This incident made me question the gap between what the Bible said and what the church actually taught. As I advanced in age I served in the church in various ways: as a (Continued on page 17)
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campus ministry leader, as a Christian writer and speaker, a seminary student and a faith based non-profit professional. As I got deeper into the church system this gap between what the Bible said and what the church did grew larger. I always believed the people in the Bible were Black but it never dawned on me that those people were my literal ancestors. While in seminary my Oxford educated White Church History professor mentioned that all the early church fathers including the Greek and Roman fathers were Black and he would try to get Black students to study early Church history and Ethiopia because he said we would discover something special. This professor’s wife painted official icons for the Orthodox Church and the Icons were brown. I also studied liberation theology and learned that Yah has a preferential option for the poor (meaning Yah favors the poor and we all know who the poorest people in the world are). All of these were clues. Around 2011 the desire to celebrate the holidays was leaving me and church agitated me and finally in 2012 I decided to take a break though I worked as a youth minister for a prominent congregation and was being courted by more than one denomination for ordination. I took a break because I felt the longer I stayed in the church the further I was getting from The Most High who called me at 10-years old. As I took a break I decided to keep the Sabbath and while walking home from work one day a brother named Andrew stopped me on the street and gave me a flyer with Deuteronomy 28 on it and said “you look like someone who would appreciate this”. As I read Deuteronomy 28 my mouth dropped and I said “wow Yah don’t play” because I was reading what my ancestors went through on the Alston plantations of North Carolina as my family was owned by the largest slave holding family in America. There are books and documentaries about the Alston Family and we know that our ancestors were taken from
Nigeria a place I would later learn was key to understanding Hebrews in Africa and how we got to the Americas. Around Passover in 2012 I fasted and prayed for 2-weeks about my Hebrew identity and if I should start keeping the Sabbath and Biblical Feast. On the last day of my fast my friend and prayer partner from seminary Danielle called to tell me she found out we were the Hebrews! I took this as confirmation because when we were in seminary Danielle did a praise dance at a worship service for students and she started to speak in an unknown tongue when she was done our friend David another AfricanAmerican student who according to our Orthodox Jewish exegesis professor was her best student and who was fluent in Hebrew asked Danielle “did you take Hebrew?” and she said no (which I knew was true) and he said “wow you were just speaking Hebrew!” The fact that on the last day of my fast Yah used one of my best friends who miraculously spoke Hebrew while in worship to confirm that we were indeed the Hebrews of the Bible was deeply humbling as I realized I was the “Lost Sheep” that Yahshua came to call back to the Shepherd. Over the past few years I have been researching Hebrews in Africa and I now have historical and archeological evidence for my Hebrew identity but having the spiritual confirmation reminds me that Yah never stops pursuing his Lost Sheep. Whether you’re an orphan, poor, educated, in the church, in the academy or on the streets of Brooklyn Yah is always calling his Lost Sheep to return to him. At the heart of the Hebrew awakening is the Gospel; that due to our idolatry Yah divorced Israel his bride but that through the ministry of reconciliation Yahshua makes it possible for Israel to be married to Yah again. It is important that we not only know that we are Yah’s people intellectually but that we spiritually and personally know Yah. Remember you are prophecy being fulfilled.
it shall come to pass in that day, that Yah shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. Isaiah 11:11-12 Onleilove Chika Alston, is a native New Yorker, former foster child and a recipient of Yahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing grace. A writer, political organizer, speaker and coffee enthusiast she is the Founder of Prophetic Whirlwind: Uncovering the Black Biblical Destiny and The Co-Founder of Chikaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Closet African Attire Line. Her forthcoming Book Prophetic Whirlwind: Uncovering the Black Biblical Destiny will be released in 2018. For more information visit: www.PropheticWhirlwind.com.
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Bible Pathway Adventures The search for truth is more fun than tradition. http://www.biblepathwayadventures.com
The mission of Restoring the Branches Ministry is to reconnect YAHâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s people to the root and truth of His Word. We have been called to take YAHâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s healing to the nations, remove the stumbling blocks out of the way of His people and teach as well as model the importance of serving YAH in spirit and truth. #