Conclusions on Former Gentiles

You, a former gentile who believes in Messiah, are no longer foreign to the covenants God made with Israel. You used to be alienated from Israel, now you’re not. No longer an alien/foreigner, but a first-class member of God’s people.

The other week, we critically dissected the first part of Ephesians 2, where Paul makes this claim of gentiles-as-first class citizens, in God’s kingdom, no longer foreigners to Israel and the covenants God made with his people; now part of the commonwealth of Israel.

Enjoy your first class seat!

114602488820060426 Air Canada Solar Seat

Since then, we’ve had a lot of vehement debate.

The initial post generated a 15 responses as folks interpreted Paul’s letter in light of their own theologies.

A week later as we discussed this in more detail, wondering just exactly what Paul meant by this mutation:

Initial state:

  • Apart from God
  • Alienated from Israel
  • Strangers to the covenants God made with Israel

New state:

  • Brought near to God through Messiah
  • Joined to the commonwealth of Israel
  • Partakers of God’s covenants with Israel

Beware the mutant gentiles!  

That means gentiles have been brought near to God through Messiah, are no longer aliens to Israel, and are no longer strangers to the covenants God made with Israel.

That's some pretty deep theology there.

We finally looked at the last half of Ephesians 2. Sweet goodness, did you guys have a lot to say on this! As of this writing, we’ve have 49 comments of debate discussing this last bit where Paul tells us a mystery: this metamorphosis has come because Messiah broke down the wall dividing Jew and gentile. By abolishing the Torah on the cross.

Yeah, about that last part. As much as some Christians want that to be true, it just doesn’t pan out, as we’ll shortly see.

Let’s get out our scalpel and finish this sucker! Here is the last bit of Ephesians 2: it’s nice and short, but contains some real doozies!

He is our peace, who made both one.

He broke down the middle wall, the enmity in his flesh, the law of the commands in ordinances having done away, that the two he might create in himself into one new man, making peace, to reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity in it.

He came and proclaimed good news – peace to you – both far off and near, because through him we have the access – we both – in one Spirit unto the Father.

Then, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the house of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua Messiah himself being chief corner-[stone], in whom all the building fitly framed together increases to an holy sanctuary in the Lord, in whom also you are built together, for a home of God in the Spirit.

-Paul, in his letter to Ephesus

Whew. Let’s dissect this and see what comes out.

He is our peace, who made both one.

Who’s he talking about when he says “both”? Because we’ve studied this thing in context, we know he’s talking about Israel and the gentiles.

Ok, so to paraphrase, here’s conclusion #1: “Messiah is our peace who made Israel and the gentiles as one.”

Paul explains this a bit:

He broke down the middle wall, the enmity in his flesh, the law of the commands in ordinances having done away, that the two he might create in himself into one new man, making peace, to reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity in it.

He broke down the wall that divided us. Ok, good good good. Don’t know what the enmity in his flesh is. Skipping… He did away with the enmity, which is the Torah, slaying it on the cross. Good good…erhm, wait, WHAT?! 

Many Christians interpret this verse in this way: “Jesus Christ slew the Torah on the cross.”

Slew. To slay. That means, “destroy with violence”.

JesusRifle (3) = Broken Law

Is that how you interpret this, dear blog reader?

Here Paul just finished saying how gentiles are no longer foreigners to Israel and the covenants (including the Mosaic covenant!). But then Paul supposedly says, “Oh, and Messiah destroyed the covenants by slaying them on the cross.”

Folks, it ain’t addin’ up! </southern drawl>

Joking aside, there’s a deeply-rooted flaw with such an interpretation. If Paul is saying what some wish him to be saying, then Paul is contrary to Messiah, contrary to the prophets, contrary to the Psalms, contrary to pretty much all of Scripture. If Paul is saying, “Jesus violently destroyed and abolished the Torah on the cross”, then Paul’s writings would have the need to be violently ripped from the New Testament!

Fortunately, Paul is not saying that.

Fortunately, Paul is in alignment with Messiah.

And we don’t have to perform any airy spiritual acrobatics to interpret in such a way that Messiand and Paul are not at odds with each other.

After discussing this verse with you fine blog readers and hearing your own interpretations, my own interpretation comes to this, conclusion #2:

As Israel was kept separate from the nations through Torah, hostility abounded. Messiah destroyed the hostility-wall.

Simple.

And no Scriptural acrobatics required.

acrobatics

So Messiah destroyed the hostility between Jew and gentile, Israel and the nations. Ok, how exactly is that accomplished? Since Torah is still here (as Messiah said, “until heaven and earth pass away”), how is it that there’s no hostility between Jew and gentile?

Well, truth be told, there is still hostility. I sense it even on this blog, in the comments. I sense it in the religion of Messianic Judaism.

But if we are walking perfectly with Messiah, that hostility would not exist. And this is Paul’s next point:

He came and proclaimed good news – peace to you – both far off and near, because through him we have the access – we both – in one Spirit unto the Father.

This hostility is broken down because we both have equal access to God through Messiah. If I could paraphrase, I’d say, “Messiah brought good news to both Israel and the gentiles: through Him, both have access to God.”

Makes sense.

And Paul ties it all together – why was he talking about “former gentiles” before? How does this fit?

Therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the house of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua Messiah himself being chief corner-[stone], in whom all the building framed together increases to an holy sanctuary in the Lord, in whom also you are built together, for a home of God in the Spirit.

Gentiles are no longer strangers to the things of God: Israel or the covenants with Israel. Instead, you’re fellow-citizens with Israel. You’re built on Messiah, the prophets, the apostles. You’re the Temple. 

Conclusion 

To summarize and paraphrase, this is what Ephesians 2 is all about:

You gentiles used to follow the ways of the world, sinning without remorse. Rebels against God. You were dead. You were separate from Israel. A complete foreigner to all of the covenants God made with His people Israel --no Torah, no God, no life!

But God loved all humanity; he saved us by giving Messiah. He did it to show how great He is. It's all Him, we sure didn't warrant it!

Now even gentiles can be set right with God.

In doing this, Messiah became that shalom that makes Jew and gentile as one.

Because of the Torah, there was hostility between Israel and the gentiles. But He destroyed this hostility by bringing peace to both Jew and gentile, giving both of us access to God.

Because of that, you gentiles are fellow citizens with Israel in God’s house, you each have become a Temple to house God’s Spirit, a Temple built on the prophets and the apostles, with Messiah himself as the bedrock.

-My summarized, simplified interpretation of Ephesians 2

After weeks of Scriptural study and having heard the opinions and interpretations of you fine blog readers, this is the conclusion I’ve drawn.

One thing I was hoping this study would do is give us a better idea of how Torah applies to gentiles, and whether gentiles become Jews.

It’s shed a little light, I think:

  • Gentiles do not magically change lineage to become Jews. Gentiles are still non-Jews, the nations.
  • Gentiles are no longer foreigners to the any of God’s covenants, including the Torah.
  • Gentiles are fellow citizens of the commonwealth of Israel

Does that mean Torah applies to gentiles?

If you are not a foreigner, but a fellow citizen of the commonwealth of Israel, Torah applies to even the gentiles who were once far off but now are near.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? If God wants even the previously-unclean gentiles to be clean, wouldn’t He apply the same standard of cleanliness to both Jew and gentile?

He told Israel how to be holy in a day-to-day life using very practical and concise commandments about what’s right and what’s wrong. Christian blog reader, you may be surprised to know these day-to-day instructions exist in the first half of your Bible.

There exists but one standard of right and wrong for God’s people, whether native born Israelites or you former gentiles who are fellow citizens, joined to the commonwealth of Israel, no longer foreigners to God’s covenants with Israel. That standard is Torah, embodied by Messiah who showed us how to live. Messiah made Jew and gentile as equals before God not by destroying the Torah, but by giving both Jews and gentiles access to God through himself.

53 comments:

  1. I was recently forwarded to this blog, noting your discussions on the Epistle of Ephesians. I have been conducting a Bible study on Ephesians for the past 3 months and addressed the Ephesians 2:11-17 passage in significant detail, evaluating the opinions of contemporary Ephesians' scholarship. They are actually not as cut and dry on Yeshua abolishing the whole Law, as Reformed/Calvinist scholarship has historically held this to only be the ceremonial law of the Torah, and not the moral law. I don't agree, but it is a better view than the whole Law being abolished.

    Suffice it to say, the clause ton nomon tōn entolōn en dogmasin is quite debated among expositors. When reading the text, we see that it specifically relates to the dividing wall that existed in the Second Temple. Notably the term dogma does not appear in the Septuagint translation of the Torah, but does appear throughout the LXX translation of Daniel referring to decrees of the Babylonians and Persians. Some kind of man-made decrees or law is the subject matter here, and is only intensified when we can grasp the fact that nomos has a bit more flexibility in an ancient Mediterranean context. Yeshua abolished man-made decrees that deliberately skewed the mission of God in the world, as originally given to Ancient Israel.

    You will be very limited if all you do is stick with an English translation. Inductive Bible study is a great starting point for interpretation, but it is insufficient in addressing these difficult questions. This Bible study (currently into ch. 3) is accessible at:

    http://www.tnnonline.net/biblestudy/index.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi J.K.

    Thanks for visiting. I hope you hang around.

    I'm familiar with TNNOnline. I will check out your study. My own conclusions didn't lead me to the idea that only the man-made decrees were abolished. With that stated clearly, I further say: my conclusion is not sealed; I'm just here to understand it more. The more I understand it, the more my opinion will take shape.

    I feel like now that I've studied it for a few weeks, I have a much better understanding than when I started. I expect that trend to continue.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for your gracious approach to Ephesians and to the subject matter.

    One debate concerning this letter that you probably missed (and most do) is the fact that "in Ephesus" is missing from the oldest manuscripts of the text. Most conservatives are agreed that "Ephesians" was a general epistle written by Paul to Believers in Asia Minor, not those specifically in Ephesus. Paul doesn't exactly act like he knows people with whom he has spent three years (Acts 19). The letter eventually made its way to Ephesus, though.

    Too many people skip the Bible study Introduction, when in many ways that is the most important part.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Judah,

    I'm not going to comment.

    I'm not going to comment.

    I'm not going to comment.

    I'm trying not to comment.

    Please, someone jump in soon.

    Thank you.

    Shalom,

    Efrayim

    ReplyDelete
  5. J.K.

    That's interesting. I'm gonna have to look at that. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Efrayim,

    :-) Is there something that absolutely, positively must be said, and you're not saying it?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Judah,

    Yes, there always is...

    but I don't want to start another tennis match with Gene.

    I'll just watch for awhile and see where this goes. Besides, it is going to take some time to wade through what TNN has included in their study.

    Shalom,

    Efrayim

    ReplyDelete
  8. Another issue you may wish to explore in your Ephesians studies is the close relationship Ephesians has to Colossians. Most commentators are agreed that the two epistles were written at about the same time, and some would go as far as to say that the mysterious "letter to the Laodiceans" (Colossians 4:16) is in fact the circular epistle to Asia Minor known as "Ephesians."

    There are many parallels seen in Ephesians and Colossians, and many commentaries include Ephesians and Colossians (and Philemon) together.

    ReplyDelete
  9. J.K., I'm glad you posted here. I had read one of your essays that had been posted on someone else's blog (I don't remember which). I liked the essay, but couldn't find any further information about you or your writing. So, I'm happy to bump into you here! I've bookmarked the TNN website and will be reading it when I have more time.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Judah, you mentioned in your post that if the typical Christian interpretation of Shaul's words is correct - that is, the Pharisee AND Essene (read my last email, hehe) Rabbi of the coalition-sect of Judaism called the Netzarim after Yeshua HaNetzer - THAT Shaul - then it contradicts Yeshua.

    Not only that, but if what the Christians say Yeshua did or came to do, it means he contradicted the Tanakh and Judaism. If that's true, he's not Mashiach. And so it is true, Jesus is not Mashiach, he is like another greek god, another son of Zeus.

    And even if what many Messianics say Rav Shaul said, it contradicts at least the Torah. If they are ignorant of all the sects, teachings, and happenings of 2nd Temple Judaism and the teachings of Judaism in general, then they will draw false conclusions like their Christian counterparts do. And true enough, the Shaul of the Messianics is a liberal, anti-Judaism, hardly-zealous-for-Torah wimp.

    In fact, he was then opposite. He is so badly misunderstood its disheartening.

    I had to stop reading the Khetuvei Netzarim (i.e. "Brit Chadasha") and get a solid grasp of Judaism, first century Judaism, the customs, traditions, etc to even begin to really understand Shaul and stop misunderstanding him.

    The "works of the law" verses of Galatians are the very worst, and if they're true to all Christian and almost all Messianic interpretation, they're in conflict with what the great brother of Yeshua and Nasi of the Netzari Beit Din wrote in his book, chapter two (Ya'akov/"James" 2).

    Instead, they're in alignment, and they're in alignment with Yeshua's teachings that gaining eternal life comes through observance of the Torah. You just have to understand the arguments and teachings they make through the lens of nothing less than Judaism!

    Really, before anyone can understand the "Brit Chadasha" (i.e. "new testament"), they have to learn A LOT, otherwise there is no way you can understand! Its impossible. And probably no one knows how what I'm saying can be true unless they have learned it themselves - because all the Christian doctrine running through their minds will tell them how plain and simple it is to understand Yeshua's and Shaul's words and just understand them from a totally removed-from-Judaism western, gentile, Greco-Roman, Christian paradigm.

    Not gonna work!

    And even understanding modern Judaism will not do it. You have to understand WHO the Netzarim/Nazarene Jews were, what Netzari/Nazarene Judaism was, and where its roots were. Put plainly, its roots were Pharisaic and Essene (not Sadduceean/Karaite, as both the Pharisees and Essenes believed in the Oral Torah and the authority of halacha, etc). Which becomes very obvious to one who studies each sect and becomes somewhat familiar with them. The parallels with those sects and the later Netzari sect which sprouted from both of them are unreal and undeniably directly connected.

    I encourage anyone and everyone to understand this more, because I'm telling you, after living a Karaite-like Messianics lifestyle, and after living a more modern Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, and then after living an entirely Orthodox lifestyle for a short period of time in Jerusalem, attending the second-largest syangogue in Jerusalem - I can absolutely say that I am a Netzari Jew for life!

    Its changed my outlook on life entirely, its answered the questions to my zeal for Torah that went shunned in Messianism, it began me on the right path, a fulfilling path for my quest of the perfect Oral Torah and halachot of Torah observance, and it has made me a zealot for Zion, Torah, and the real Yeshua.

    B"H!
    BS"D

    Your bro,
    Aaron

    ReplyDelete
  11. Let me be a classic example of a Jew and write a commentary on my commentary of something else, hahaha.

    I wrote:
    "The "works of the law" verses of Galatians are the very worst, and if they're true to all Christian and almost all Messianic interpretation, they're in conflict with what the great brother of Yeshua and Nasi of the Netzari Beit Din wrote in his book, chapter two (Ya'akov/"James" 2).

    Instead, they're in alignment, and they're in alignment with Yeshua's teachings that gaining eternal life comes through observance of the Torah. You just have to understand the arguments and teachings they make through the lens of nothing less than Judaism!
    "

    What do I mean by this? I want to clarify so that I'm not considered a heretic or sorely misunderstood like Shaul (not that I'm anywhere near Rav Shaul's level, chas v'shalom I would consider myself at that level).

    Yeshua CLEARLY teaches, on at least two occasions that eternal life comes through observance of the Torah (the scribe who asks him and also the rich man who asks him).
    Sha'l says, or seems to say you cannot be saved by works.

    Contradictions, right? Ya'akov shows that they're both right. Ya'akov tells us in chapter two of his book that faith without works is dead. Follow this: faith in the Living Torah, Yeshua, is dead without works of the Torah.

    So here we see, we ARE saved by following the works, obeying the mitzvot of Torah, which REQUIRES in and of itself to have faith in HaShem and to "love him with all your heart, soul, and capacity", and in that same group of verses commands us to be obsessively zealous for the Torah.

    So, if you do what the Words of the Torah tell you, you will inherit eternal life. As eternal life comes from faith in HaShem and the works that prove the faith and that show you love him ("if you love me, keep my mitzvot"). Trusting in Yeshua and keeping his mitzvot is the way to eternal life. Nothing has changed since the days of the Tanakh.
    And as Ya'akov tells us, "I will show you my faith BY my works".

    Enough said - problem solved. But if I were anyone reading this who still has those "works of the law" verses running through their heads, go look into the ancient Essene sect of Judaism to find a much deeper and accurate meaning there.

    You can't find if you don't look! Don't think you've already found it, especially if you're confused or still believe there is a difference in the teaching of the Torah and the teaching of Yeshua or Shaul.

    Another commentary on my own commentary coming in a sec.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Aharon,

    Have you been hanging out with Yosef ben Ruach, otherwise known as Norman Willis?

    Did you read his book?

    Is that where you are coming from?

    thanks,

    Efrayim

    ReplyDelete
  13. Efrayim,

    No, I haven't been hanging out with him, figuratively speaking of course.

    He is Nazarene Israel, which is somewhat different from Netzari/Nazarene Judaism, but most of the Nazarene Israel organizations are together with the Jewish ones.

    Generally speaking, Nazarene Israel groups are mostly the Ephraimites in the Nazarene movement who have a problem calling their faith Judaism.

    I believe I have read some of Norman Willis' book.

    -Aaron

    ReplyDelete
  14. B"H!
    BS"D

    Instead of writing more explaining my original post here, I'm going to raise the very controversial question as to whether goyim should be converted to Judaism.

    First, take notice how converting Jews to Christianity is A-OK with most, even Messianics, many of whose organizations are aimed at this very thing. But to convert a Christian to Judaism - heaven forbid! That's "Judaizing", right? And the EVIL Judaizers are the people "Paul" taught against, right?

    Well.. wrong. First, read this, by Rabbi James Trimm, on the term "Judaize":

    "Many Christians have come to use the term "Judaizers" to describe Paul's oponants in the book of Galatians, who by their interpretation were wrongly teaching Gentiles to keep the Jewish Law.

    Sadly many in the Messianic Jewish movement have brought this term into the movement with them as part of their "baggage" left over from Christianity.

    I have talked to many in the movement who used this term and when I asked them they were CERTAIN the word "Judaizers" came right out of the Bible. When I have challenged them to find this word in the Bible they eventually
    come back and admit that this word is not there and are shocked because they were so sure that it was. This illustrates how completely this word and the thought behind it have been infused into people. In fact just
    recently I heard a speaker at a Messianic event use this word to attack those who would teach things Jewish to Ephraimites.

    The truth is that the term "Judaizer" as it is used by Christians today is a HIGHLY anti-semitic term which I personally find offensive. The way in which this term is used today implies that that which is Jewish is bad.
    To Christianize is ok, to gentilize is fine, but to Judaize is bad. Why should "Judaizing" be bad? Why should it be thought of as evil to teach Judaism?

    The truth is that these persons are not even using the terms "Judaize" and "Judaizer" according to their proper meaning.

    The term "Judaize"(ioudaizo) comes from Gal. 2:14 (which we will examine later). Let us examine the ancient usage of the words "Judaize" and "Judaizer".

    The earliest usage of the word "Judaize" is to be found in the Greek LXX translation of the Book of Ester. In Ester 8:17 we are told that in the wake of the Jewish victory and the institution of Purim, many of the people in Persia "became Jews" (yahad) (Strong's Hebrew# 3054) The Greek translator of the Greek LXX version of Ester 8:17 renders this with the statement that they "were circumcised and Judaized (ioudaizo) (strong's Greek# 2450)".

    Josephus writes of the Roman Commander Metilius who was commander of the
    Roman garrison in Jerusalem. Josephus writes that he "saved his life by
    entreaties and promises to Judaize (ioudaizo) and even to be circumcised"
    (Jewish War, 2.17.10).

    Elsewhere Josephus tells us that when the Syrians thought they had brought the Jews to ruin, they "had the judaizers (ioudaizontas) in suspicion also".

    In all of these contexts it appears that "to Judaize" means to convert to Judaism and a "Judaizer" is a person who has "Judaized" (i.e. has converted to Judaism).

    Now lets look at Gal. 2:14 from the Greek:

    "I [Paul] said to Kefa before them all, 'If you, though a Jew, live like a
    Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to Judaize
    (ioudaizo)."

    Where the Greek has "Judaize" the Aramaic of Galatians has "live as the Jews".

    It appears here also that to "Judaize" is to convert to Judaism. Here it is not Kefa that Judaizes but those he teaches. It is important to note that Paul is not accusing Kefa of causing Gentiles to Judaize, but of wrongly acting like an Aramaean rather than a Jew should because he was only associating with Jews and giving Gentiles the cold shoulder. He was judging people racially. Paul was not accusing Kefa of teaching Judaism of of racial prejudice.

    Next we see the term "Judaize" used by Ignatious of Antioch (c. 98 C.E.). Ignatious was the founder of the Anti-nomian Christian religion. His clearest statement of his split of what he termed "Christianity" from
    Judaism is to be found in his letter to the Magnesians:

    Be not deceived with strange doctrines;
    nor with old fables which are unprofitable.
    For if we still continue to live according to the Jewish Law,
    we do confess ourselves not to have received grace…

    let us learn to live according to the rules of Christianity,
    for whosoever is called by any other name
    besides this, he is not of God….

    It is absurd to name Jesus Christ, and to Judaize (ioudaizo).
    For the Christian religion did not embrace the Jewish.
    But the Jewish the Christian…
    (Mag. 3:1, 8, 11)

    "Judaizers" are not persons who teach Judaism, they are persons who have chosen to convert to Judaism. To "Judaize" is not to teach Judaism, but to convert to Judaism. Ignatius, the founder of the new anti-nomian (anti-Torah)
    Christian religion, was the first to characterize it as wrong to "Judaize".

    The words "Judaize" and "Judaizer" as they are used by most Christians (and sadly even Messianic Jews) today to characterize the teaching of Judaism as evil are highly offensive and should not be used in that manner.

    In closing, Judaism is the one true faith that was once and for all time given. Therefore I hope that any of you who are not already Judaizers will eventually make the choice to Judaize.

    James Trimm"


    So tying this all together, why would Ya'akov HaTzadik ("James"), who was Nasi (President) of the Netzari Beit Din/Sanhedrin, rule in Acts 15 the same ruling ancient Pharisaic and modern Pharisaic Judaism has for goyim who are coming to Judaism?

    There he tells them to abstain from some of the Noachide Laws, and that they will hear the Torah spoken in the synagogues every Shabbat, as is the Jewish custom.
    Modern Judaism tells us that the Noachide laws are a step for goyim leading to Judaism, that eventually as they understand more of the Torah, they will decide either to convert to Judaism and be circumcised under the covenant of Avraham and Torah, or they will choose not to be.

    This SAME outline is given for those goyim who came to faith in The Master, Yeshua HaNetzer, the Great Rabbi of the sect of Netzarim. These goyim were to be fully integrated into Israel and take on the faith of Israel which has become known as Judaism, named after the righteous remnant of Israel, called Judah (the Jews).

    It really is that simple, and we shouldn't make a fuss about it or try to avoid calling our faith Judaism. Maybe many are still in the Noachide process and not ready for that. So be it then, I have no problem.

    If you're faith isn't Judaism yet, it doesn't mean you're not so-called "saved" in the event you were to die. Instead, the final outcome for every non-Israelite who comes to Yeshua is to BECOME an Israelite - and all who start that path through Yeshua HaNetzer have become netzarim (meaning sprouts or offshoot branches) of the Olive Tree of Israel. It is only the fruition of that process in Yeshua that leads one to come to Torah observance (the faith of Israel, known as Judaism today) and become an Israelite fully.

    That is why Yeshua IS the restorer of the exiles of Israel, and so is his job as Mashiach - so he better do it! His sacrifice was an atonement for the sins of lost Israel, especially those who became integrated into the goyim, to draw them back into Israel. (What are sins? Transgressions of Torah, 1 Yoch./John 3:4-6).

    However, this process is not for everyone who believes or thinks they believe in Yeshua. Only some former goyim will become Israelites and truly hearken the call of Mashiach.

    Long comment, I know. Kol hakavod to anyone who reads through this all and doesn't skip around and then accuse me of being a heretic or something else, hahaha.

    Shalom,
    Aaron

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  15. Aaron, I must admit, I thought the term "Judaize" was in the New Testament somewhere.

    I just did a search on BibleGateway.com for "judaizer", and I see a few results:

    -"Judaizers were a corrupt form of Christianity." Acts 15, Acts 21, Galatians 3.

    -"Paul contends with the Judaizers against their circumcision theology" Acts 15:1,2


    I clicked on both links, but to my surprise, "Judaizer" doesn't appear there. Hah!

    I think it highlights the anti-semitism present in Christianity you were talking about.

    I try to be sincere in all things. I hate it when people aren't sincere. :-) So let me be sincere: I haven't come to grips with Yeshua-following-as-Judaism. I believe Yeshua following isn't about the Christian religion, which I see as a Roman-led departure from the original faith.

    But I'm hesitant to say Judaism is the original faith because I see problems with it. Heck, I see problems with "first century Judaism" that so many Messianic congregations are worried about restoring.

    Believe it or not, Aaron, I'm seeing a lot of Messianics distance themselves from anything that's not traditional Judaism. You may say that's a good thing. I'm not so sure.

    Here are some example of what I mean:

    -Daniel Lancaster's congregation in Wisconsin doesn't want folks using the name YHVH. Instead, as in traditional Judaism, use the name Adonai, Lord, HaShem. But not His name.

    -As another example, folks like Derek Leman want nothing to do with the Torah-based calendar, and instead wish to use the traditional Jewish calendar, even though we know the Jewish calendar to be off slightly (due to exile), and the knowledge that it contains the names of pagan gods. (Tammuz, for example).

    -In another example, many other Messianic congregations want strictly controlled worship: no singing from the heart, singing "in the spirit" to the Lord, no flow of the spirit, just do some songs in an orderly, controlled fashion, and call it worship.

    It's stuff like this that makes me shy away from "Judaism".

    What do you think of this? Am I way off? Please tell me what you think without worry of offending me, I'm here to learn, not be offended.

    ReplyDelete
  16. J-bro,

    Your concerns are well founded and make sense.

    The problem is, you're viewing Judaism too much through what you see of modern Orthodox Judaism - but that's expected since really the only modern Judaism is of this kind. Can you make a judgment about Judaism as a whole without knowing the entirety of it, or its origins?

    See, I don't follow Orthodox (or more accurately "Rabbinic") Judaism and all its halachot, traditions, and minhagim in its entirety. I am Netzari, not modern Pharisaic/Rabbinic Judaism. What that entails is that I follow the halachic judgments of Yeshua, my highest Rabbi, my Mashiach, and the founder of my sect. And I follow the halachot of the Netzari Beit Din/Sanhedrin.
    The only problem is, we don't have all the halachot of either The Master, or of the Netzari Beit Din.


    Judah, think of the one true faith as being called Adamism in time of Adam, since he was the one who passed this knowledge of the One True El to his sons.

    Then lets say the Torah was passed to Noach, the righteous remnant, the only survivor, and Shem took on the responsibility of teaching to Torah to not only his sons, the Semites, but to the sons of his brothers as well. So Avraham would have known this maybe to be called Shemism (or Semitism), let's just say. Or maybe it is named after Noach? "Noachism"?

    And after the flood, there are new innovations that need to be made to righteousness, since things have majorly changed on earth. In accordance with the Torah passed from Adam who knew it from HaShem directly in Gan Eden, Shem makes righteous judgments for new situations that exist on earth, let's say.

    Then Avraham, a son of Shem, a Semite is chosen of HaShem, he is as a righteous remnant of Shem, learning the Torah from Shem, obeying the mitzvot, passing it on to his sons. What did Avraham observe? Shemism, lets say, as passed down from Adam eventually to Shem.

    Avraham passes it down to his chosen seed, the righteous remnant, eventually to his grandson Ya'akov. Ya'akov/Yisra'el to his 12 sons who observe it, and Yosef known for wearing his special talit his father gave him.

    Then Israel is put in Mitzrayim, forgets the Torah, and it is renewed at Har-Sinai by the hand of Moshe, who was chosen as the leader of the righteous remnant that came out of Mitzrayim. The Torah is givin there and written down and the wisdom of carrying it out is passed down to the elders, they are given authority to make halachic decisions for all Israel, as the written Torah tells us.
    Now, at this point in time, what is this one true faith in the One True El called? Israelism maybe? Mosheism? We'll say Israelism for now - the Faith of Israel.

    After a long while, Israel is split in two. The house of Ephraim is divorced of HaShem and falls away into idolatry. Judah remains faithful to HaShem and carries on the Torah, carries on the faith of Israel.

    So Judah carries the Torah with him into Babylonian exile. There the faith of Israel is first named "Judaism", named after the righteous remnant of Israel, called Judah.

    So here we have Judaism, the righteous continuation of the faith in the One True El. Yeshua not once took issue with it being called Judaism, instead he tells the Samaritan that salvation is of the Jews. And Shaul was not ashamed of not only being a follower of Judaism, but a Pharisee in that faith!

    The Netzari/Nazarene sect, of which Rav Shaul is called a ringleader, was based upon two sects at the current time, the Pharisees and Essenes. Anyone who needs proof of that, I can surely supply.

    So here we see Judaism being reinforced and fixed with Yeshua's movement that crossed sectarian boundary and united a myriad of Jews and brought in tons of goyim back into the Olive Tree of Israel.

    Here are two examples from the "Brit Chadasha".
    1. The Prodigal Son. Judah is the prodigal son, Judah, the Jewish people, Judaism.
    Ephraim is the rebellious son.

    2. Romim (11?), Shaul talks about the two olive trees. Never are olive trees used to describe the goyim. Rather, one olive tree is Ephraim, and/or Ephraim's pagan,idolatrous religion.
    The other is Judah, and/or Judaism. Who is grafted into what? Ephraim is grafted back into Israel through Judah/Judaism. Not that they become tribal Jews, but that they tap into the olive tree known as Judaism which has its roots all the way back into Adamism, if you will.

    In other words, salvation is of Judaism, Shaul knew and taught that Ephraim would regain his proper Israelite identity THROUGH Judah/Judaism. It makes sense.
    Don't think of Judaism as only of the Jews, but as of all Israel, backing up, as of all Avraham's descendants (including Yishmael!), all of Shem's descendants, all of Noach's descendants (the whole world!) rooting back to Adam.

    So 'Adamism' is Judaism and everything in between. It is all the same thing, the one true faith in the One True El, based on a personal relationship with El Elyon (Most High El), and learning to love him like a Father ("if you love me, keep my commands").

    Why is Judaism probably much more complex than Adamism? As the tree of the One True Faith grows, it sprouts beautifully with leaves, fruit, etc. (These sprouts, in the form of minhagim, are to be looked upon as beautification so long as they are in line with Torah). And the most beautiful sprout (NETZER in Hebrew) of that Tree is Netzari Judaism. Founded by Yeshua HaNetzer who came to restore many branches back into the Tree.

    See the symbolism, its not that complicated. And when you follow the righteous remnant line all the way down - everything else fits in. Now you can understand Shaul's message better, and see that in Yeshua there truly is no difference between observant Jew and goy, because the goy is made into a Torah observant Israelite, as the Jew already is, and the two are one in his hand as a kingdom of Cohanim zealous for the Torah and the service of YHVH Elohei Yisra'el.

    Does this fly with you, or is it just a nice try?

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  17. The way in which this term is used today implies that that which is Jewish is bad.

    I agree. I used to read that and think "what was the problem?" although Shaul is referring to an obvious state of confusion the Galatians were under about how to be "saved".

    Erm, pardon my ignorance, can someone please explain Ephraimites? I'm too lazy to look it up myself and this seems like a nice place to ask stuff...

    ReplyDelete
  18. Judah,

    You said:

    "Here are some example of what I mean:

    1.Daniel Lancaster's congregation in Wisconsin doesn't want folks using the name YHVH. Instead, as in traditional Judaism, use the name Adonai, Lord, HaShem. But not His name.

    2.As another example, folks like Derek Leman want nothing to do with the Torah-based calendar, and instead wish to use the traditional Jewish calendar, even though we know the Jewish calendar to be off slightly (due to exile), and the knowledge that it contains the names of pagan gods. (Tammuz, for example).

    3.In another example, many other Messianic congregations want strictly controlled worship: no singing from the heart, singing "in the spirit" to the Lord, no flow of the spirit, just do some songs in an orderly, controlled fashion, and call it worship.
    "

    I'll address it point by point:

    1. I would limit the pronouncing of the Namein common speech and stricly limit it to intimate prayer and worship. But that is the halacha that is followed by Daniel Lancaster and probably then the rest of FFOZ. The same halacha could have been found in the very synagogues of the very people who knew Yeshua face to face - I don't know. I tend not to think so, but I could be wrong.
    Something like this would not cause me to separate from, or hold anything against a congregation. I will respect peoples' halachic convictions and not consider them inferior than me if they're either more strict or more lax than me.

    2. The reason for this in the Orthodox world is because there is no official ordination of the Biblical calendar from a Sanhedrin yet. I find no problem with this, but personally lean toward observing the calendar as specified in the Torah anyway. But either way - being in most cases a day or two different would not prevent me from congregating with these people on those days.

    3. I agree there is a problem there. And my answer to that sort of thing, including the daily prayers of Judaism, can be found in the email I sent to you recently about the Netzarim and praying the Amidah that Yeshua alludes to, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Aharon,

    I have to admit that what you say makes some sense. I have believed along those lines for many years, but have not come across a group that does the same.

    Most of the people we know are a mix of all that is going on in the transition from Christianity to Israelite.

    Thank you for your straightforward presentation. Your zeal does come through.

    Shalom,

    Efrayim

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  20. P.H. Atherton,

    You said:

    "...although Shaul is referring to an obvious state of confusion the Galatians were under about how to be "saved"."

    Right, and like I said, a goy who accepts Yeshua and begins the path is technically "saved" at that point - doesn't matter if he's circumcised yet or not. Only that the fruition of what he's being led to is full Torah observance.

    You also said:
    "Erm, pardon my ignorance, can someone please explain Ephraimites? I'm too lazy to look it up myself and this seems like a nice place to ask stuff..."

    Haha, I hate "erm", no one actually says that hahaha.

    No problem achi! Ephraim is the "northern kingdom" of Israel that split away from the southern kingdom which was called Judah (where Jews descend from) starting after the reign of Shlomo HaMelech.

    The house of Ephraim is commonly known as the "10 lost tribes", as you probably have heard of.

    -Aaron =)

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  21. Efrayim,

    Good to hear. The greatest thing I can do is only channel out whatever it is that HaShem puts inside me. I hope I do this well enough to please him, but I know I'm full of mistakes as well.

    Check out:

    nazarenespace.ning.com

    and

    haderek.ning.com

    Both are great places with lots of articles and discussion. Netzari Rabbi James Trimm runs and posts lots of the stuff on NazareneSpace, and Orthodox Netzari Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr does the same on the other one, HaDerek(h).

    I'm "Talmid Aharon" on each of them.

    -Aaron

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  22. P.H. Atherton... you asked who Efrayimites were... I will be happy to explain.

    Have you ever heard of a belief which holds that the many multitudes of Gentiles (especially those who believe in Yeshua/Jesus) are really not Gentiles at all, but rather they are the Ten "Lost" Tribes of Israel.

    You see, "Ephraimites" (and that's how people with this belief call themselves, including many people on this very blog) actually believe that they are the physical descendants of Jacob along side of the Jewish people.

    Many "Ephraimites" also believe that the Land of Israel (well, most of it) rightly belongs to them and that the Jewish people who are currently they are not recognizing this fact (yet), but rather must be educated to accept this before the Messiah returns. When the Jewish people finally accept that the Gentiles are their fellow Israelites, then Two Houses become ONE (a.k.a., the Two House Theology)

    But there's more: no only do the Jewish people (whom the Ephraimites hold to be only the tribes of Judah and perhaps Benjamin too) are not accepting of this at this time, they are actually occupying the land that rightfully belongs to other tribes (the ten "lost" Tribes - or the people who used to think that they are "Gentiles"). But "Ephraimites" do not want to push their rights to the land prematurely, of course - the Jewish people are not yet ready to accept them as fellow "lost" Israelites.

    Shalom,

    Gene

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  23. Concerning Gene's post,

    I know at least two Ephraimites who are advisers of members of the Knesset. They also have provided Gush Katif refugees with outstanding support in many different ways. They reach out to others as well as a part of their organization. They are against converting Jews to xtianity or "Ephraimites" barging into the Land, shunning the Jewish people, and claiming it as their own, in a kind of Ephraimite elitism as Gene correcly points out very much does exist, and in probably the majority of those who call themselves Ephraimites.

    -Aaron

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  24. Erm, Aharon, we say all sorts of weird stuff down under;)

    Ah, the "ten lost tribes", now I see where we are. But Ephraim are not "the 10 lost tribes", per se, are they?

    Is this all about what started with Jeroboam in the north and Rehoboam in the south (Judah)? When Jeroboam got stuck into idolatry the levites, and members of all the other tribes who wanted to remain faithful to YHWH moved south and "strengthened Judah" (2 Chr 11:14-17).

    So this means all 12 tribes were still represented in the south, before they where carted off to Babylon. And the idolaters in the north got co-mingled with the Assyrians when they invaded the north in 722 BC.

    Am I on the right track here or is this the contentious issue?

    Sorry Judah for getting off thread!

    Cheers
    Patrick

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  25. Patrick,

    Still, no one says erm, not even you guys haha.

    The house of Ephraim is the 10 northern tribes, yes, that is what it was/is comprised of.

    And yes, it is true that a trace amount of every tribe is found in Judah - I believe that. However, the Rabbis traced the whereabouts of the hous of Ephraim after they wer exiled into Assyrian captivity. There were people such as Toviyah ("Tobias") who were Ephraimites that broke away from the trend and returned to the one true faith. His acount, of course, is written in the Book of Toviyah. And it seems the Brit Chadasha makes some reference to this book, interestingly.

    It is my conclusion that Ephraim has filled many nations and I believe many of the people who are sincerely called by HaShem to Torah, who just know themselves as goyim, are more than likely descendants of Ephraim.

    The book of Hoshea/Hosea is plenty of evidence for me about things regarding Ephraim and being currently lost in the nations. There are also things Yeshua said which point to it greatly.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Aharon - you said: "I believe many of the people who are sincerely called by HaShem to Torah, who just know themselves as goyim, are more than likely descendants of Ephraim."

    To be honest, this seems very subjective to me.

    Todd

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  27. Aaron,

    Ok, so now I understand when you say the original faith has become known as Judaism.

    I better understand that the Judaism I am thinking of is based in Orthodox Judaism.

    That helps, honestly. Thanks bro.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Regarding the Ephraimites, here's one thing we do know, something that isn't subjective.

    After King Solomon, the nation of Israel split into 2, as recorded in Kings and Chronicles:

    -The northern nation, called the House of Israel. Also called the House of Joseph, after the coat-of-many-colors guy, and also called the House of Ephraim, after Joseph's son.

    -The southern nation of Judah, containing Jerusalem.

    Scripture tells us the northern nation of Israel/Joseph/Ephraim was taken captive by Assyria. They didn't return. The southern nation of Judah was taken captive a few hundred years later by Babylon. They did return.

    Some folks who love Messiah, love Torah, and love Israel, believe they are descendants of this northern nation Israel.

    Some Messianics, like Gene, despise such folks.

    Gene wishes to paint Ephraimites as a fringe group of gentiles that wish to push Jews out of Israel.

    I don't look at them that way. I don't believe everyone who loves Messiah and Torah is an actual descendant of the northern nation of Israel. That's unlikely. But I do believe with all my heart that those who love Messiah are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel, becoming fellow citizens with Israel, regardless of physical lineage.

    Before ending this post, I'd like to make it known there are Orthodox Jewish (non-Messianic) organizations doing research into where the northern nation migrated and settled after captivity. Such organizations are promoting the return of Ephraimites to Israel -- see BritAm.org.

    ReplyDelete
  29. "Some folks who love Messiah, love Torah, and love Israel, believe they are descendants of this northern nation Israel."

    Judah, I really doubt that the overwhelming majority of them have any love for anything other than the land on which the Jews walk.

    Your own brother Aaron, in an unusual show of solidarity, seemed to confirmed what I have experienced myself all along: "...Ephraimite elitism as Gene correcly points out very much does exist, and in probably the majority of those who call themselves Ephraimites."

    "Some Messianics, like Gene, despise such folks."

    Judah... I don't despise THEM - I more feel sorry for them because they feel utterly fail, just as their direct predecessor, British Israelism has failed. I do despise some of their doctrines, because I view them as destructive to the Body in general (and in some cases, plain anti-semitic).

    "Gene wishes to paint Ephraimites as a fringe group of gentiles that wish to push Jews out of Israel."

    Again, Aaron, your brother who probably knows a lot more about them then I do confirmed that this attitude DOES exist among NOT ALL, but a sizable portion of Ephraimites, and I quote:

    "They are against converting Jews to xtianity or "Ephraimites" barging into the Land, shunning the Jewish people, and claiming it as their own, in a kind of Ephraimite elitism as Gene correcly points out very much DOES EXIST, and in probably the majority of those who call themselves Ephraimites."

    Judah, you wrote: "
    Before ending this post, I'd like to make it known there are Orthodox Jewish (non-Messianic) organizations doing research into where the northern nation migrated and settled after captivity. Such organizations are promoting the return of Ephraimites to Israel -- see BritAm.org."

    Please, this place is run by Yair Davidiy, a promoter of British Israelism and a peddler of books to the gullible Americans. You don't believe it's British Israelism? Have you even seen that website before you gave us the link? Well, check out this article on the site: britam.org/bkjoseph.html

    Britain = Ephraim
    America = Menasseh

    This stuff is so old and ridiculous, it's frankly laughable that ANYONE would believe in this garbage.

    Oye, come quickly Yeshua!

    Shalom,

    Gene

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  30. Todd,

    It is subjective. That's why I clarified it was in that statement by using phrases like "I believe" and "more than likely".

    Of course, I have no proof they are, and neither do they, necessarily. But it doesn't matter, because once a goy, a descendant of "Ephraim" or not, come to Yeshua and is lead to Torah observance, he has become/is becoming an Israelite.

    This is really one of the main purposes of Mashiach, to return lost Israel to Torah - so all the goyim who are called and chosen to return to Torah (which are very few out of all the goyim - very different thing to do for goyim), it would make logical sense that they would be descendants of Ephraimites.

    But anyone can join Israel, it is not limited, and it does not discriminate.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hey Gene. You said,

    Judah, I really doubt that the overwhelming majority of them have any love for anything other than the land on which the Jews walk.

    Now that's subjective, Gene.

    And I sure hope that's not true.

    The folks I've met and known for years suggests something quite different than the picture you paint: their love for the Jewish people and for the land of Israel led them to their understanding of a complete, reunited Israel.

    You said you "feel sorry" for such people and have contempt for their theology. Your bias shines through, Gene.

    I know a lot of folks who believe they are part of Israel. They don't fit into your ugly picture of them.

    You mention there are some religious nuts among the Ephraimites. Yep, sure. There are also nuts among Messianics. And Orthodox. And Christians.

    It's not British Israelism as much as you wish to paint it as such. The US, Britian, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Wales, France, Holland, and Belgium are mentioned as possible settling places for the dispersed tribes, whom the book of James is addressed to.

    One thing I find interesting in all this is the fact that Israel went into dispersion and never returned is not discussed. Surely someone, somewhere with some mixed bloodline is an Israelite.

    Heck, we have folks from Ethiopia, Samaria, India, China, other parts of Africa, Britian, Persia, to name a few, who claim Israelite descent. Isn't it possible?

    I differ with many of them, and perhaps you, Gene, by saying physical descent matters little. I mean, if we're grafted into the commonwealth of Israel, does it matter whether we're physical descendants of Jacob?

    I thought we just finished reading that Messiah has given us both, Jacob-descendant and non-Jacob-descendant, equal access to God.

    ReplyDelete
  32. "You said you "feel sorry" for such people and have contempt for their theology. Your bias shines through, Gene."

    Remember the good ol' Christian saying "Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner":)!?

    "You mention there are some religious nuts among the Ephraimites. Yep, sure. There are also nuts among Messianics. And Orthodox. And Christians."

    Pointing to the nuts in other streams doesn't make Ephraimites' Two-House theology and core beliefs about their origins any less nutty.

    "One thing I find interesting in all this is the fact that Israel went into dispersion and never returned is not discussed."

    Surely you know that people in other tribes left the Kingdom of Israel and joined the Kingdom of Judah right before captivity? So, this would mean that all the tribes, in whatever amounts doesn't really matter, ARE today represented in the nation and people known as Israel - there's NO NEED to go looking for some imaginary Ephraimite Israelites.


    "Surely someone, somewhere with some mixed bloodline is an Israelite."

    Yes, while declaring that bloodline doesn't matter, you still insist on bringing it up - not only that, even a little drop, however mixed over the many thousands of years, apparently does matter to you, Judah!

    "Heck, we have folks from Ethiopia, Samaria, India, China, other parts of Africa, Britian, Persia, to name a few, who claim Israelite descent. Isn't it possible?"

    Claiming and historical reality are two different things. There are people who claim that they are Napoleons.

    "I differ with many of them, and perhaps you, Gene, by saying physical descent matters little. I mean, if we're grafted into the commonwealth of Israel, does it matter whether we're physical descendants of Jacob?"

    Who is G-d regathering to the Land of Israel today, Japanese? Who did Hitler/Satan wanted to destroy and erase from memory, the Spanish? Apparently in the supernatural realm, to both G-d and Hasatan it still very much matters, as much as you try to want to minimize it.

    "I thought we just finished reading that Messiah has given us both, Jacob-descendant and non-Jacob-descendant, equal access to God."

    And I will repeat again: each believer is equally loved, equal before G-d, each person and nation is different and unique in the way they were created and shaped, each nation and person is also different and unique in gifts and responsibilities.

    Why can't I be equally LOVED and yet be different than YOU or anyone else? Does everyone in the Body has the same function?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Surely you know that people in other tribes left the Kingdom of Israel and joined the Kingdom of Judah right before captivity? So, this would mean that all the tribes, in whatever amounts doesn't really matter, ARE today represented in the nation and people known as Israel - there's NO NEED to go looking for some imaginary Ephraimite Israelites.

    Ahh, nice dodge!

    You still didn't address the question - isn't it possible, even likely, that there exists descendants of Israel outside of the Jewish people?

    Who did Hitler/Satan wanted to destroy and erase from memory, the Spanish? Apparently in the supernatural realm, to both G-d and Hasatan it still very much matters, as much as you try to want to minimize it.

    Destroy and erase from memory...the House of Judah, the Jewish people. And the House of Israel.

    I mean, the Holocaust was terrible for the Jewish people, but how much worse what happened to the northern nation of Israel -- having been taken captive for hundreds of years, then finally assimilating and losing identity. (Something, at least, the Jewish people have been able to resist.)

    And isn't that precisely what Hosea prophesied? He prophesied that the House of Israel, the northern nation, would be taken captive and lose their identity until the last days.

    What of that prophecy, Gene?

    ReplyDelete
  34. "You still didn't address the question - isn't it possible, even likely, that there exists descendants of Israel outside of the Jewish people?"

    Judah... it's an argument from silence - nobody knows that but G-d, and certainly not the people who today boldy and without doubt claim to be Efraimites/Israelites today and actively promote this idea to others.

    The question, however, is who G-D think is Israel today. The DNA tests done on the Samaritans show that many of them have Israelite descent, and indeed they THEMSELVES claim descent from Jacob/Israel. And they certainly have a much great claim than anyone who lives in Tennessee and claims to be an Israelite. HOWEVER, while this may or may not be true, apparently it wasn't enough for Yeshua - he didn't call them Israelite when he said the following:

    "These were the twelve disciples whom Yeshua sent out after he had given them these instructions: "Don't turn on to the road that leads to the Gentiles, and don't enter Samaritan towns. Instead, go to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel." (Matthew 10:5-6)

    Also, while still thinking about the above verse, here's a Samaritan woman's claim (not contradicted by Yeshua, BTW) that Jacob is THEIR father:

    "Are you greater than OUR FATHER Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from..." (John 4:12)

    If the Samaritans, who most likely have DO their origins in the tribes of Israel and actually called Jacob/Israel their FATHER to Yeshua's face, are NOT identified as the lost sheep of Israel by Yeshua himself (see Matthew 10:5-6), what does it tell you about Efraimites whose claims are much more ethereal!???

    Seriously, can you Judah explain away Matthew 10:5-6 in the light of the above?

    Fun ah?

    Gene

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  35. can you Judah explain away Matthew 10:5-6 in the light of the above?

    Oh, I don't know, Gene. Nobody knows that but G-d.

    ;-) (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

    One simple explanation is: Messiah's statement was less about who is Israel and more about the lost state of an Israelite.

    Here's the problem I have with your theology, Gene. It cannot fit with prophecy. Hosea destroys your theology.

    Waiting for your fun response. ;-)

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  36. "One simple explanation is: Messiah's statement was less about who is Israel and more about the lost state of an Israelite."

    Hah??? What does that mean - didn't Yeshua just give specific orders to the disciples as to whom they should go, instead of simply commenting on their spiritual condition? In any case, he obviously didn't identify the Samaritans (who claimed Yaakov as their father just as Efraimites do) as Israelites!

    "And isn't that precisely what Hosea prophesied? He prophesied that the House of Israel, the northern nation, would be taken captive and lose their identity until the last days."

    Can you quote me Hosea where he tells of Israelites losing their Israelite identity, where it is predicted that they will not KNOW they are Israelites for thousands of years and think of themselves as Gentiles instead? I know what your movement's prophetess Batya Wooten teaches on Hosea... and I amazed that anyone takes her seriously!

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  37. Gene, I think your interpretation of Matthew 10 is right.

    (See? I'm honest with you.)

    That Samaritans and gentiles aren't the lost sheep of Israel doesn't change that there exists Israelites outside of the Jewish people. As you note, Yeshua didn't deny that the Samaritan woman was an Israelite.

    I told you prophecy destroys your theology that Jews comprise all Israel. Here's an example:

    Then the LORD said to Hosea, "Call your daughter Lo-Ruhamah, for I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the LORD their God."

    The House of Israel will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.


    Can you, Gene, explain away Hosea in light of the above? I'm amazed anyone can take your theology seriously!

    (I hope you don't mind, I stole a few plays from your playbook at the end there! :-))

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  38. "Gene, I think your interpretation of Matthew 10 is right.(See? I'm honest with you.)"

    I knew all along that you were both smart AND honest - this proves it:)

    "That Samaritans and gentiles aren't the lost sheep of Israel doesn't change that there exists Israelites outside of the Jewish people. As you note, Yeshua didn't deny that the Samaritan woman was an Israelite."

    There is nothing in that text about her being an Israelite - she was still a Samaritan woman to Yeshua (and He told his disciples to NOT go to them, at least at first). You see, to be an Israelite you have to be part of the people of Israel - having a few drops of blood ALONE is apparently not enough.

    While I view the today's Gentile Efraimites as only existing in someone's overactive imagination, even if there are actually people who had descended from Jacob many hundreds of generations back but mixed in completely with Gentiles over thousands of years, those people are no more the lost sheep of Israel than Samaritans were.

    I am going to attempt to make a funny analogy here: let say that Jews are toy poodles and Gentiles are German Shepherds (btw, I like GS a lot more than poodles, but that's another story).

    Let say you cross a Poodle with a German Shepherd, and of course you'd get something in between:) But then, you just continue to breed the resulting animal ONLY with other GSs (and avoid those pesky Poodles all together) for hundreds or thousands of years. After thousands of years, if you'll try to sell that puppy and claim it's a Poodle, you'll have a very hard time convincing the buyers:) LOL! Woof!

    I don't buy your poodle:)

    "Can you, Gene, explain away Hosea in light of the above?"

    Judah, what does Hosea have to do with Gentiles in America, Britain or elsewhere claiming to be Ephraim and Manasseh?

    But notice this: "The House of Israel will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol."

    You're telling me that the Gentiles who forgot they were Israelites lived WITHOUT an idol for thousands of years/days? Sure doesn't sound like the Gentiles.

    So, you are telling me that the House of Israel refers to the Gentiles who are really Israelites, and House of Judah, to the Jews? OK, how about the following verse with words of Peter speaking to the crowd of JEWS:

    Acts 2:36 "Therefore let all the House of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ - this Yeshua whom YOU crucified."

    Who was Peter speaking to? Was it not Jews?

    "Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from EVERY NATION under heaven."

    Jews, and from every nation to boot, eh?

    "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. "

    "Men of Israel, listen to these words..."

    Judah, I don't know... it seems that the "Two Houses" are built on nothing but sand.

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  39. There is nothing in that text about her being an Israelite - she was still a Samaritan woman to Yeshua (and He told his disciples to NOT go to them, at least at first). You see, to be an Israelite you have to be part of the people of Israel - having a few drops of blood ALONE is apparently not enough.

    Yep. Even if one is 100% descendant of Jacob, if you're not part of the people of Israel, not following Torah, not striving for righteousness or living rightly, not loving the land God gave to Israel, I question whether that person is an Israelite.

    I propose to you that many Efraimites love Israel, love Torah, love the Jewish people, love the land, and give up possessions and family to defend those beliefs.

    Gene, such people aren't our enemies. That's why I defend them.

    What does Hosea have to do with Gentiles in America, Britain or elsewhere claiming to be Ephraim and Manasseh?

    I suggested Scripture-prophecy destroys the theology that Jews comprise all Israel. I don't see you contesting that. Your theology of "Jews comprise all Israel" cannot be; it doesn't line up. So change your theology to something else; it doesn't have to be mine.

    Gene, I have to call your bluff on something else: you are inserting "House of Israel" in places it doesn't exist. Acts 2 doesn't say "house of Israel".

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  40. "Gene, I have to call your bluff on something else: you are inserting "House of Israel" in places it doesn't exist. Acts 2 doesn't say "house of Israel". Messiah's words in Matthew 10 also does not say "House of Israel"."

    You said: "I suggested Scripture-prophecy destroys the theology that Jews comprise all Israel. I don't see you contesting that."

    The prophecy you cited speaks nothing of Gentiles really being Jews or Lost Tribes. I think I have contested that plenty.

    You said: "Your theology of "Jews comprise all Israel" cannot be; it doesn't line up. So change your theology to something else; it doesn't have to be mine."

    Thanks - I can have a pick of a bunch that also believe that Jews don't comprise all Israel (or even none at all), let's see what my choices are:

    - Mormons
    - Jehovah Witnesses
    - British Israelism
    - Worldwide Church of God
    - Millerites
    - Seven Day Adventists
    - Insular Celts
    - Native Americans (if you believe the Mormons)
    - and I am sure many many more...

    Thanks Judah... with choices like this, I think I'll stick with Messianic Judaism.

    ----

    Judah, are you sure about that the House of Israel is not talked about in Acts I quoted (what Bible version are you reading? The Wooten Special Edition?)

    When I look up "Acts 2:36", I read the Bible in Russian, Spanish, English translations AND also in Greek: as it's written:

    "Therefore let all the house of Israel know beyond a doubt that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ."

    The word for house in the Greek version is ALSO there: "oy'-kos"

    So, am I correct again? (the only version that didn't have "house" is NIV).

    Didn't look up Matthew...don't have time - I think the above example is sufficient. So, were you right or wrong to call my bluff?

    Shalom,

    Gene

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  41. Wow! Wanting to check back and see if anyone had made any remarks on my initial comments regarding Ephesians, it seems to me that things have spiraled way beyond the text of Ephesians and into things which are largely peripheral to Paul's letter.

    I will just say that there is *a* Two-House teaching in the Bible, one which relates to the full eschatological restoration of Israel. (Even dispesnational commentators recognize that Ezekiel 37:15-28 is a yet to be fulfilled prophecy.) But is the Two-House teaching that has become so en vogue in the past decade, complete with people thinking that they can trace this tribe or that tribe, the Biblical Two-House teaching? Oh God I hope not. It has largely become infused with a great deal of urban legends and human agendas.

    When we can learn to stick with the text, and place our emotionalism aside, then maybe we will achieve something. Right now the debate is polarized between a Jewish side that often fails to recognize non-Jewish Believers as their complete equals in the Lord. And on the other side are non-Jewish Two-House advocates who kick Messianic Judaism in the tuccus for not using the Divine Name, the Rabbinical calendar, and generally do not care about Jewish tradition at all--not exactly helping their stated cause of wanting "to reunite with Judah." I say the enemy has us right where he wants us.

    I discussed some of this in my blog for today:

    http://mchuey.wordpress.com

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  42. Gene, you were right about "house of Israel" in Acts. My mistake, I apologize. I was reading from NIV. (Maybe that was a mistake too! :-))

    The prophecy you cited speaks nothing of Gentiles really being Jews or Lost Tribes.

    Hmm. A prophecy of northern Israel losing their identity, then returning to God, returning to Israel with Judah in the last days.

    And Ezekiel talks about us these 2 nations once again becoming one Israel in the last days.

    Interpreting this in light with "Jews comprise all Israel" would read like this:

    "In the last days, I'll turn the [Jewish nation #2] back to God and bring then back to the land of Israel. Then I'll unite them with the [the Jewish nation #1] of Judah."

    Yep, confirmed. Prophecy destroys that theology.

    I actually agree with J.K. here; there is certainly abuses in the Ephraimite movement. There exists, nonetheless, a 2 Houses of Israel in Scripture, for which there will be a final restoration and unification of Israel in the last days.

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  43. And I would like to clarify something: I am not a part of the "Ephraimite" movement, and I have never called it such. My identity is first rooted in Yeshua (Phil 3:20, et. al.) But I do believe in the eschatological restoration of all Israel, something which Eze 37 tells us involves Judah, scattered Israel/Ephraim, *and* companions.

    What does Isaiah 49:6 say? "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth."

    Israel's restoration involves the whole world, something Messianic Judaism largely does not emphasize in its missiology. And why the "Ephraimite" movement cannot let God sort out the details is beyond me. We should emphasize that we are all His children, equal because of human sin (Rom 5), and that perhaps more is going on than meets the eye as the mystery unfolds. But I guess we can't be that surprised--theologically the whole Messianic movement is about 20 years behind where it needs to be! (With big changes up ahead in the 2010s.)

    A "hands off" approach to some of this is much safer, and it is does not go beyond the Biblical text.

    I discuss this more in my article "Revisiting the Two-House Teaching."

    I will not post any more on this thread, as you all can contact me or my ministry privately.

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  44. For Gene and Judah's benefit, "all the House of Israel" (regardless of whether or not it was in the quoted text) always refers to all 12 tribes.

    In Hebrew, kol Beit Yisrael means all the house of Israel. House of Israel was used to describe all of Israel, especially when refered to as "kol/whole/all Beit Yisrael", and at other times was used as a name for the northern kingdom. We know this because of context.

    Therefore, when someone says kol Beit Yisrael, they are usually meaning all 12 tribes.


    On another note, I find it very interesting that the distinguishing between House of Judah and House of Israel has been since at least as early as David's time. And its interesting to see how the House of Israel rebelled against King David and the House of Judah, even at times came against them with many men, and were defeated.

    Could David HaMelech be representing Mashiach here, and the House of Judah as Judaism? The House of Israel as the rebellious tribes who rebel against Mashiach and his true teachings and faith, in the form of Christianity maybe?

    Just a thought, and if Gene is right, I could be entirely wrong.

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  45. Wow! Wanting to check back and see if anyone had made any remarks on my initial comments regarding Ephesians, it seems to me that things have spiraled way beyond..

    Sorry JK, that was my fault.

    I say the enemy has us right where he wants us.

    Yes, we must be cautious. Ignorance certainly seems bliss, there are plenty of Christians who simply support and love the nation of Israel due to Biblical understanding, and don't want to delve into (what seems like) semantics on who-is-Israel.

    Having said that I commend and thank all posters here for putting my understanding of "Israelology" up a notch of sophistication.

    I have to admit I'm uncomfortable with the notion that "Jews" do not constitute all of "Israel", yet I understand the argument that the scattered northern Kingdom should still be considered descendants of the "Abrahamic covenant people".

    On a less serious note, the notion that these Ephraimites may consist of Poms really lights my candle! I'm Australian of English descent ... I could be a descendant of Jacob! Whoo-hoo!

    But, perhaps only G-d will know that.

    JK McKee, I'm just working through TNN. It really is refreshing.

    I have been from an Anglican background, (ambivalent on issues such as Israel or Dispensationalism v Preterism etc) to an evangelical environment bombarded with Left Behind theology. So you can see why I'm easily confused. Your teachings certainly do keep the center, I hope to learn more and impart the same centrist calm upon my home study group, while still getting excited about what G-d is doing today.

    Don't the Rabbis have a saying about the Ark of the Covenant- that the cherubim didn't see eye to eye, but were focusing on the seat of grace?

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  46. Patrick,

    You said,
    "I have to admit I'm uncomfortable with the notion that "Jews" do not constitute all of "Israel", yet I understand the argument that the scattered northern Kingdom should still be considered descendants of the "Abrahamic covenant people"."

    I'm a zealot for the house of Judah - the Jewish people, and for Judaism. And yet, I am not arrogant in that I reject a non-Jew to be an Israelite, as it Judah's mistake in the Master's parable of the prodigal son. His younger brother returns from a heathen life, eating unkosher food, idolatry, etc, and he is not happy about his Father's good treatment of his younger brother, namely, Ephraim.

    That's not me. And that's not a lot of other Jews either. Has anyone ever heard of the b'nei Menashe? That's just one good example of modern Orthodox Judaism accepting the returnees of the house of Ephraim (which obviously included the tribe of Menashe).

    There are genetic findings in certain small groups of people in various locations in the world who are proven to be sons of Aharon HaCohen. Among these include a certain African tribe in Zimbawe, I think. Others are white, others are whatever color, whatever race they may be. This isn't even just Israelites, I'm talking Cohanim!

    Many of them have taken on the appearances of their surrounding neighbors. They may look European, African, Asian, or any other ethnicity. It doesn't matter though, they (the ones proven by genetics) are offspring of Ya'akov Avinu himself.

    I believe in the Millenial Kingdom of Mashiach, the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) will be rebuilt in Yerushalayim, and all the 12 tribes gathered back to Torah observance (the Faith of Israel; Judaism) and gathered back in the Land, and when we all come up to Yerushalayim at the appointed times each year, there will be a multitude of Semitic-looking Jews, as well as a black Israelite here, a blond-haired there, an Asian-featured over there, an eastern Indian someplace, an American Indian/Native over here. And what do they have in common? They're all either physical descendants of Ya'akov, worshiping HaShem, or they come from an entirely goyish background but have joined themselves to Israel.

    Thus fulfilling the words that it will be a house of prayer for all nations. I definitely don't think that is fulfilled in there being Christians and Muslims and their holy sites alongside us and our holy sites in Jerusalem. Get the false religions and their people out of my Father's Land, out of my Father's city, and off my Father's Temple Mount. Let Torah reign supreme and Judaism established and known by all the world as the One True Faith in the One True El.
    May Mashiach come and do this work soon in our days!

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  47. Patrick, you also said,

    "Don't the Rabbis have a saying about the Ark of the Covenant- that the cherubim didn't see eye to eye, but were focusing on the seat of grace?"

    Yes, the kruvim looked down at the Sh'chinat-El descending on the mercy seat.

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  48. Seems like the debate has finally fizzled out...Time for a new post! :)

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  49. Hahah, you're right, Robyn. :-)

    I am for at least 2 posts/week. (And in fact, this year I have accomplished that and more.)

    New post time! :-)

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  50. Guess that means I win! =D

    Hahaha, jk.

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  51. I found this online and wanted to share it. Sort of a guide for debate within the Body of Messiah.

    1.The God of Truth is NOT afraid of our questions.
    2. Our God is God of the whole person: will, emotions, body, even our intellect.
    3. God is seriously committed to truth--whatever the cost...as His children, so should we be.
    4. Taking a person's questions seriously is an act of respect and love, even when they don't really take them seriously.
    5. Distortion, misrepresentation, or deception through omission are unethical.
    6. When we don't know the answer, we must say 'I do not know'...
    7. If a sincere question (as a felt need) comes our way, we should attempt to meet that need through answers, resources, or encouragement to patience.
    8. We are not allowed to be contentious or to argue for argument's sake.
    9. We should be changing the shape of eternity, one conversation at a time.
    Sometimes the best answer is silence.
    10. Prov. 18:13: "He who answers before listening -- that is his folly and his shame."
    12. "Slander" includes misrepresentation.
    13. Chronic ignorance can become irresponsibility, and chronic irresponsibly can become a moral failure.
    14. It is not a sin to have unanswered questions and agonizing doubts--you can raise more questions in 5 minutes than you can answer in 50 years!
    15. It is generally dishonest to reject a belief which you have N+1 arguments for, on the basis of only N arguments against (all argument weights being equal)...it is also somewhat foolish.
    16. Unanswered questions CAN be a source of emotional pain.
    17. This is NOT A GAME we're in.

    God Bless,

    Todd

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  52. By the way, here was the source for the guidelines given in post above (to give credit).
    Scroll down to bottom of linked page. By the way the whole website is pretty darn good.

    http://www.christian-thinktank.com/what.html

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  53. Judah,
    That is really cool. Thanks for dissecting that aaaand putting it back together.

    Ripening for the harvest,
    Trent

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