"Stand in the ways, and look intently, and ask, in regard to the ancient paths, which one is the right way, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."                                                  (Jeremiah 6:16 in the Bible)

We’ve all been at many such crossroads, trying to find the right path--one that will reassure us that our life has not been wasted and that we can yet accomplish something that will outlast us.

In the language from which the above quote was taken, the word for “progress” means “toward the primordial [time and place].” You’ve heard of “back to the future”; but this is telling us that we need to go “forward to the ancient past”!

That may not sound so exciting; after all, haven’t we made tremendous advances? But something in our hearts keeps nagging us. What we really want most is to get back to the pristine, the original intent the Creator, YHWH, had for His people. 

 Even when He says, “I will do something new” (Isa. 43:19), it is for the sake of restoring something that had been lost in the past.  As Jeremiah said at the end of his Lamentation, "Renew our days as [they were in] antiquity!" (Lam. 5:21)

So what is that “ancient path”? The word the prophet used here, in his native language of Hebrew, is actually related to the idea of being “eternal”, so it's not just about something long ago, but something for every era and every generation.

But it also has the sense of something “hidden"-- what’s beyond the horizon, extending so far either ahead of us or behind us that we can no longer see it. We can’t tell where the road leads, so we have to ask for directions.  But where are we supposed to be heading?

    “...At that time,” declares YHWH, “the descendants of Israel will come, they and      the descendants of Yehudah (Judah) together, walking and weeping as they go,
    and YHWH their Elohim they will seek. They will ask the way to Zion, [with] their     faces [looking] there: ‘Come, let’s join ourselves to YHWH—an everlasting     covenant [that] will not be forgotten!’ My people have become lost sheep. Their     shepherds have led them astray!”                                         (Jeremiah 50:4)

So YHWH said He would provide shepherds of His own—and one in particular would say that his only task was to find those “lost sheep of the House of Israel.”

So who are they? The answer will hit closer to home than you might expect. They are anyone who has heard that shepherd’s voice. 

Seen by many as Gentiles, but only because that's what their ancestors chose to be, they will come from the ends of the earth and say,

    "Truly our forefathers have inherited lies--an empty vapor, in which there is no
    profit!" (Jeremiah 16:19)

"Profit" here literally means "ascending"--moving 
higher. The steps by which everyone except the 
priests entered the ancient Temple at Jerusalem 
were uncovered by archaeologists not many years 
ago. To enter the Creator’s presence, you have to 
ASCEND from the earth that has been demoted 
from what it started out as because humanity
profaned it.  Coming to the Messiah for redemption 
is the solution, but it is just the first step.  To stay at the front gate is hardly the purpose for which we were redeemed! There is much more offered to us!

Just as the cloud that led Israel through the wilderness stopped at many places, but then would lift up and move again, YHWH has visited us in many ways throughout the ages. Different denominations are the lasting reminders of each. There were real issues to contend with, and they do represent battles won for the truth.  But though He Himself never changes, there remains a rest--a Promised Land to bring His people to. 

Today the cloud is moving on again. Many doctrines and practices that may have been adequate even for the last nineteen centuries will not stand the tests that are coming. Why? Because an exile is coming to an end, and not everything that was allowable and maybe even necessary in that condition meets the standard of the level of holiness to which YHWH wants to take us next. 

What? You didn’t know you were in exile? Very few did, and for a very important reason, but now we can see why the Scriptural name for what has long been known as the "church" is really "the called-out ones". The Messiah's puzzling statement that he had come only for "the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel" is now as clear as day. The answer has been there in Scripture all along, right in front of our eyes, but a veil has been lifted, because a disciplinary sentence that had specific time parameters has now run its course—if we will take up the challenge of correcting what brought it on in the first place.

The House of Israel (a group related to, but distinct from the Jews--those "descendants of Yehudah" mentioned above, many of whom have already arrived back at Zion--or at least its shadow) disbanded over 2,700 years ago. Is it any wonder that the path, covered up by so much rubble and the sands of time—and all but abandoned—can be right under our feet and still be hidden?

So we’re here to uncover the path again, clearing away the obstructions, and trace where it’s meant to take us.

Recently some of the fog has lifted and a major roadblock taken out of our way so there is access to this “high road” again. We aim to make it even more accessible by "leveling the bumps and making the rough places smooth".  This is the missing link to how the "New Covenant" fits with the one that came before.  While the New version opened new possibilities for applying the earlier covenant to every context on earth in which we may find ourselves, it cannot be untethered from its mooring, or it will end up as adrift, as we see today.  It was meant to be more a renewal with amendments to deal with a different and broader situation than something totally new, and the Hebrew terminology bears that out well.  But when we realize who we really are, there is all the more reason to get in touch with its roots. 

These and many more ancient prophecies said this House of Israel would return just like the Jews, and at last this is beginning to come true. The time has come!

So we must move while the path is open.  Jeremiah 31:20 tells us to set up signposts that point back to the Way our forefathers departed from. This web site is designed to provide some of those markers to lead you in a navigable--if not always easy--way BACK to the ANCIENT PATH.

If you’ve felt that pull back to something more fruitful, it’s time to stop trying to capture the "empty vapor", stop following dead-end streets, and start to ASCEND!

It’s anything but boring! But true adventures are always a bit dangerous. This privileged information is not a hoax, a myth, or a joke. Nor can you can afford to ignore it. If you take it seriously, it will require many changes in belief, lifestyle, and priorities. You will be held responsible for what you read. There will be many tests.

But it is well worth the risks. Once you get past admitting, "We've been wrong about so much; we've inherited lies and things with no profit!", the road is full of joy for those who love our Creator and come back into the order that He actually set in place.  You may even sense that you've found your home, the place you belong.

This site is for any who are hearing the shepherd’s voice and realizing that they may, after all, be those “lost sheep of the House of Israel”. We're here to tell you, "You don't have to stay lost!"  But being Israel has definitions in terms of lifestyle.

That shepherd, who identified himself by saying he offered that same "rest for our souls" (Mat. 11:29) that is found only on the ancient path, said to enter by the narrow gate.  That means there is little room for "baggage". The more we can streamline by getting rid of unnecessary weight, the easier the trail will seem.

One big sidetrack is that for the longest time we focused more on that same  shepherd and lost sight of One even greater, toward Whom he was pointing us.  YHWH says, "If you return, return to ME"--not religion, not just anything that looks ancient or Hebraic.  But the shepherd He sent is still extremely unique and indispensable; going too far and "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" may be an even worse error than the other.  The "narrow way" to which the narrow gate leads requires a careful balance between the two extremes, for both Jews and Christians need the other's perspective to be complete, for we are two halves of a once-single people that was divided, and to compensate for what we lost in that split, both have added to and taken away from the actual message.  

But we must regain the parts we are missing, or most of what he worked for--and died for--could be lost or diminished at best.  "It is good that you take hold of this, but also not withdraw your hand from that, because the one who fears Elohim will come out with both of them." (Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 7:18) "Every teacher of the Torah who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old." (Mat. 13:52)

This site aims to be a bridge between these two estranged brothers.  It is easier to side with one or the other and settle for half of the truth.  But two witnesses are required to establish a matter, and when interpreted correctly, Scripture shows that they actually do agree.  Israel and its purpose are so radically different from anything this world has ever seen.  We dare not sell it short by truncating it again when we have been given such weighty, costly gifts from both streams.  

So take a deep breath and brave the full force of truth.  If you hear—and follow--the original call of the shepherd who set us free to return all the way home, you can indeed find a Sabbath rest for your soul.
Back to the Ancient Path 
is published by Remez Ben Yosef
and Aliyah Bat Yosef Zimmerman,
Lexington, South Carolina, USA 
Back to the Ancient Path
This Sabbath's
Torah Reading:
(Numbers 19:1-22:1)

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(Companion Passage):
Judges 11:1-33
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Accusers of Our Brethren?

Have you noticed that in the last few years there is an awful lot more accusation going around?

Leaders are blamed for not fixing what those they lead should have been the ones to deal with. On the other end of the spectrum, those with the fewest resources also get blamed for “not doing anything about it” by those who are in a position to take action, but would prefer not to.

In such a world, to some extent, we have to adopt a defensive position, for there are much hate and hostility at large, though even that is offset by the fact that most are victims, the confused ones, sheep without a shepherd, who “don’t realize what they are doing”. So we must still approach with some measure of patience and compassion.  

But how much more the brothers who, even if they may be coming at things from an angle that is very strange to us, are nonetheless sincere seekers of truth? Iron does sharpen iron, but with genuine believers we should have a sense of shalom—a feeling of sabbath rest—when we encounter one another, a respite from the battles, not yet another battle.  That's why it hurts so much to hear those under whose teaching my life was radically turned around raked over the coals by other Bible-believers.

Of course there are counterfeit brothers, “wolves in sheep’s clothing” of which possibility we must be aware; after all, Jacob’s own brother was Esau. Jacob’s uneasiness was warranted. But though YHWH “hated” him (a Hebrew idiom for “he was not the one He chose”), He still told us not to bother anything of his, for he was given an inheritance of a different sort. (Deut. 2:5) This time He said, “live and let live”, at least until the very end of the age, when the wheat and tares are separated. (Obadiah 18) Until then, Yeshua warns, our eagerness to root out the fakes puts us in danger of harming a genuinely-fruitful stalk that just looks a little different, or may have its roots tangled up with those of one of the bad actors. (Mat. 13:24-30, 36-43) 

 YHWH would rather "err" on the side of caution than “destroy the righteous with the wicked”, as Avraham hoped and confirmed. (Gen. 18:23-25) The Israelis’ bending over backwards, even putting their own lives in jeopardy, to ensure as little collateral damage as possible in war has its roots in these parts of Torah.

Who is the one Scripture calls the “accuser of our brethren”? Is it not Satan? (Rev. 12:10) That is what satan means in Hebrew: an accuser.

So if you routinely accuse your brothers in the faith, and habitually adopt an adversarial position, are you not siding with the Adversary? Is that really where we want to be?

Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for accusation. In fact, in modern Hebrew, the prosecuting attorney in every court case is called the satan (in a generic sense). But even in the most serious criminal case, there is a fair trial; no one is to be considered guilty until proven so beyond any reasonable doubt. Up until that point, we should try hard to give the benefit of the doubt. Torah mandates that we undergo a thorough search and inquiry, following every lead that could get someone off the hook, especially before handing down a death sentence. (Deut. 13:14) After we conduct such a search, and light is finally shined into all the dark corners, we often find that the accusation reflects more the mentality of the accuser than of the accused.

Things are bound to go wrong in a world that sin has corrupted. But the human tendency—which reared its head not a moment later than we first started the ball rolling—is to want to blame someone. Yes, we can often pin responsibility on a specific person for a particular problem, but this problem is truly systemic (and this one runs far deeper than mere racism). We all make mistakes, but we seem to want to minimize our own and maximize those of others, though they may not be all that different objectively. We want to compare our small errors with someone else’s big ones, as if that would truly make us less sinful than someone who is not as skilled at talking his way out of the consequences.  

Is that really the kind of people we want to be, when Yeshua said that what would make us stand out—what would prove to the world that we have a different energizing source—was our love for one another? (Yochanan 13:35)  

Very rarely do we find anyone who is always “on the same page” as ourselves about everything. But if we are “in the same Book”, we can find enough common ground to be able to accept, support, and encourage one another, for if we are studying the book that is so unique and hard to categorize that it is only called “the Book”, whatever page we may be on has enough buried treasure to take up several lifetimes.

If you aren’t mining the same one I am on today, does that give me a right to think less of you? If what I am reading is earlier in the book than where you are reading, can you can boast that you know more than I because you have read further? Might I not have read the whole thing many times, but found I had to turn back to a chapter that laid the groundwork in order to understand it better, to be sure I am building on the right foundation, to regain a perspective that time and emphasis have made me forget, or to get back to a balance I had lost?

If you are not on the same tangent as I am right now, does it mean I am any more right? To follow any tangent very far takes one off the circle, and a sad side effect of learning something really life-changing is often that we look on those who don’t share that viewpoint as unenlightened, worthless, or even enemies. But when we get to the next “page”, we often find that Providence has put us right where we need those very same “enemies”, and if we have burned our bridges because of the squabble, we will indeed find ourselves up the proverbial creek.

Some critique is needed to be sure we are really getting to the facts, but too much of it will rob us of the tools we will sooner or later need in our arsenal; usually it’s more fruitful to approach each other’s discoveries with the expectation that, despite the weeds, we can gain at least one gem from everyone who is intent on finding truth.  

As important as the Bible says wisdom, knowledge, and discernment are, loving one another is even more important than being right! (1 Cor. 13) Because no matter how much we have got right, we always still have some things wrong. People do wrong to us without intending to, because the world is a broken place. It needs healing, not more injury, but that is always what comes when we seek revenge and don’t take responsibility for our side of the equation.

“Why not rather be wronged”, Paul asks (1 Cor. 6:7), than to become like brothers who have wronged us by throwing back at them the things they accidentally set in motion when they merely tripped and upset an already-fragile balance?

Yeshua did just the opposite: he took responsibility for a problem that he had never contributed to, and resolved it by absorbing all the venom into himself and letting it be buried so that the world could actually be freed from it rather than perpetuating the cycle of tort, retort, and re-retort. And that is extremely comforting, especially if you are on the receiving end of the blame game.

As our dear friend Randy Stonehill sings, “I’ve got news for you: we are all the same… I’ve got news for you: we are all to blame, and when that is understood, we are free to live again.”  

Free—from the burden of always hiding the guilt we know is in us. Free—from a debt we would never be able to pay in a thousand lifetimes. Free—from the Accuser who is behind it all, because not only has our very real guilt been buried; we have been raised to new life, “born again” as members of a new race (yet one older than our old one), and are tasting the powers of the age to come when haSatan will be bound, unable to either tempt or accuse. When humans will again be benevolent rulers over the rest of creation and even snakes will no longer either bite or tempt. (Isaiah 11:8)

Let’s use those powers, as those who have been shown unimaginable mercy, to, in another dear friend Michael Card’s words, “shine our light upon a world that badly needs to know a human soul can love another human soul”.  

We each have only part of the puzzle, and mine may not just fill in your missing parts, but also anchor and stabilize both of us against all that militates to prevent us from getting the picture as complete as it can be this side of the great veil. So let’s battle those spirits, not each other, so we can all keep advancing in the knowledge of the Holy One without crippling each other in the process. 

If we reach an impasse in our understandings, we may have to step back from each other for a while, but sooner or later, we're going to need every link in the chain to get the job done. We are not in competition with each other. The real winners in this “race” are those who help each other get to the finish line.

We who have accepted the redemption that is offered to all no longer have to worry about saving face, for we have been given a new identity cleared of our past record. We have no ultimate fears for the future, for it is secured for us. 

 So let us use the time that we have left in the “valley of tears” to make the hard journey easier on those it burdens most, rather than adding to their burdens by pointing out the fact they are already most aware of—that they are imperfect. By reminding them of who we will be and who we have already been made to be in the eyes of the One who is most objective, we will empower them to line their present reality up with it just a little bit further each day.  

And that is a victory over the accuser every time.

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