Let’s first answer this question by taking the easy word first; “Reach”. According to the dictionary, “reach” means to stretch out a hand or arm in order to touch. It also means to make contact with and to succeed in influencing or having an effect upon. The purpose of Ephraim’s Reach then is to reach out and touch the “least of these in God’s kingdom” for the purpose of having an effect on their lives and we accomplish this with the various programs that you can read about on this site.
“Ephraim” . . . Now this will require a bit more explanation. This leads ultimately to the question; Who is Ephraim? In the Holy Scriptures we find our patriarchs of faith; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham was promised by God that myriads of descendants would come from his loins and the same promise was passed down to Isaac and Jacob. Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel when he wrestled with the angel of God, had 12 sons which became the 12 tribes of Israel. One of Jacob’s sons was named Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt yet became a very powerful man second only to Pharaoh. Joseph had two sons by his Egyptian wife, which he named Manasseh and Ephraim. Genesis chapter 41 is the first place that we find the name Ephraim whose name means; “doubly fruitful” or to multiply greatly. Jumping ahead 1000+ years, we find that Ephraim did indeed multiply greatly, so much so that after the reign of King Solomon, his kingdom was divided North and South. The southern kingdom was called Judah and the northern kingdom was called Israel but was also referred to as “Ephraim” because they were the largest and most fruitful tribe of the 10 tribes that resided in the north. Scripture refers to these two kingdoms as; “both houses of Israel,” God’s “two nations” and “the two families that God chose.” An unfortunate situation with all the 12 tribes of Israel is that they had a propensity towards idolatry. It became so abhorrent that God sent both the northern and the southern kingdoms into exile. Those of Ephraim, the northern kingdom, God divorced and scattered them among every nation and thus, they lost their identity as a people. Through this scattering, they were destined to become, what is described in Hebrew as a, “melo hagoyim” a “fullness of the Gentiles”.
The southern kingdom of Judah also went into idolatry and was exiled to Babylon however, Judah repented and was brought back to the promise and and rebuilt Jerusalem and the Temple. Judah did not lose their identity and they are the modern-day Jewish people of today. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Thus, there is an eternal call on all Israel, both Judah and Ephraim. Both are called to love and obey God with all their heart. Once scattered among the nations, the Ephraimites became degenerate and wild olive branches. When they are grafted back in to the Root of the Tree (Jesus Christ), they are supposed to learn to walk in a way that provokes those of Judah (make them jealous of Ephraim’s living relationship with the Holy One), and thus make Judah want what Ephraim possesses.
So, who is Ephraim? It is anyone, regardless of race, creed or economic status that has been grafted back in to the olive tree, the root of which is Jesus Christ. Ephraim is anyone who loves and accepts the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through his son Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 15:24 “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” We, the non-Jewish, scattered abroad, mixed people, without an identity, now have an identity in Jesus Christ. Ephraim is the Church of Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ is Israel just as much as the house of Judah is Israel.
One day, according to the book of Ezekiel chapter 37, the two sticks representing the house of Judah and the house of Joseph/Israel/Ephraim will become one in the Father’s hand united under King Jesus forevermore.
Who or what is Ephraim’s Reach?
It is all of us who call upon the name of the Lord reaching out in “true faith” to the widows and orphans and those who are downtrodden.