Messiah Journal and Messianic Gentiles

This post will take maybe 5 minutes to read. It ain’t for the Short Attention Span (“oooh, shiny!”) generation. If you’re easily distracted by shiny things, go elsewhere. Read 140-character status updates. Or something.

For the rest of you, I dare you to read it to the end. Double-dog dare you.

Good, now I’ve tricked you into trying, at least. ;-)

Your Attention, Please

The Messianic movement is growing and maturing. We’re sorting through theologies. We’re experiencing growing pains. There’s been a lot of fighting and bitterness between factions.

And many a fine blog reader have been caught in the crossfire.

The Messianic organization First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ) has done much to promote peace and maturity in the Messianic movement, presenting biblical teaching and sound scholarship in the face of conspiracy theories, wild apocalyptic scenarios, rigid zealotry, and the various fundamentalist kookiness that the Messianic movement has been drudging through.

I know several of the folks in FFOZ, and I can vouch: they’re honest people, earnest in their faith. They promote the peace of Messiah. I respect ‘em for it.

At the same time, it’s difficult to write clearly about FFOZ. They’ve made a significant theological shift that, honestly, feels like a slap in the face to all those folks that have sought out God’s commandments at high personal cost.

Still, I do my best to treat them kindly, better than I imagine the MJTI or UMJC would treat them if the roles were reversed. In my prayers, I make it a point to ask that God keep them along His path, that they would never end up opposing His plans, that even in their scholarly study and nose-to-the-texts, they would remain sensitive to God’s leading.

Messiah Journal 103

All that said, FFOZ is sending out a new issue of their flagship Messiah Journal this week. I want to give you fine blog readers a heads-up to what’s in the issue, and also offer my thoughts on the controversial matters therein.

Dark Days at FFOZ

Boaz Michael, head of FFOZ, starts off with a sobering description of the fallout after FFOZ’s theological change:

For months, we were flooded with letters from people attempting to prove to us that we were wrong… Others skipped trying to convert us and simply said, “Cancel my subscription.”

The end of 2009 brought us to the very brink. The poor economy had already critically drained us. HaYesod printing costs were enormous. The fallout from One Law combined into a perfect storm of economic disaster. I did the math. The end was near.

Last December, for the first time ever in the history of this ministry, we were unable to meet our payroll obligations.

It really pains me to hear stuff like this. They don’t deserve the poorhouse, folks, even if you disagree with them. They’ve done a boatload of laboring for God’s kingdom. I know it to be true, and I’ve seen only the tip of it. It’s a shame that some Messianics have wished them into bankruptcy.

But Boaz ends with a bright outlook:

Thank God, [closing FFOZ’s doors] has not yet been necessary. The Father has met our needs thus far and kept us afloat, and we trust him for continued provision and daily bread. After all, First Fruits of Zion is not my ministry, it is his, and it is in his hands to do with as he pleases.

The First Messianic Haggadah

After a listing of letters to the editor, which contains the usual comment from a mysterious D.L. whom I suspect runs a popular Messianic blog :-), Messiah Journal 103 documents what may be the first Messianic Haggadah: an 1890 work by Hebrew Christian Joseph Rabbinowitz entitled Haggadah For Israelites Who Believe in the Messiah Yeshua of Nazareth.

The Haggadah will likely generate some discussion between the traditionalist Messianic camp and the evangelical camp: like many of the Messianic pioneers, for better or worse, it envisions practice within a Jewish Christianity more than a separate Messianic Judaism. It seems the author envisioned his work as part of the Christian Eucharist.

The Haggadah itself is heavy on the Scripture, light on tradition. At the very least, an interesting view into how an early Messianic pioneer saw the Messiah in the Passover.

The Meal of Messiah

Boaz Michael describes the Chassidic Passover innovation of Se’udat Mashiach, or Meal of Messiah. He elaborates,

In the seventeenth century the founder of the Chassidic movement, Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer (the Baal Shem Tov) instituted a new custom for the last day of Passover. He called it the Meal of Messiah (Se’udat Mashiach, תדועס חישמ). It consisted of a special, additional meal on the afternoon of the last day of Passover, paralleling the traditional third meal of Shabbat.

They gather together to end the festival with matzah, four cups of wine, and a special focus on the Messiah. The entire theme of the meal focuses on the coming of Messiah and the final redemption. The meal is festive in spirit. Everyone wishes one another “Lechayim! (to life!)” while discussing their insights into Messiah and their dreams and hopes for the Messianic Era.

Boaz encourages Messianics to adopt the Meal of Messiah. He explains,

For the last several years, my family has been keeping the Chassidic custom of ending the last day of Passover with a Meal of Messiah. Not because we are Chassidic or trying to be more orthodox, but because we have found it to be a delightful, meaningful, and joyful custom to focus us on the real meaning of Passover: the great redemptive work of our Messiah.

Personally, I think it’s a fine tradition, and a great fit for Messiah’s disciples.

We Are The God Fearers

Most controversial article, in my view. I’ll explain why in a moment.

Toby Janicki ponders, “What do we do with all the gentiles in the Messianic movement?” After all, many of the folks at FFOZ, including Janicki himself, are Messiah-loving, Torah-keeping gentiles, and most of their readership, I suspect, are as well.

Toby’s answer is, Messianic gentiles are the modern version of the God-fearers of the 1st century. God-fearers were those who attached themselves to the God of Israel, who voluntarily kept the commandments, and were respected by Israel, yet there were not full converts to Judaism, and by no means were they identified as Israelites.

Janicki explains,

First-century Judaism referred to this latter type of semi-converted Gentiles as “God-fearers” (Yirei HaShem, יראי השם or Yirei Shamayim, יראי שמים ). While not a technical term per se, it referred to “non-Jews who adopted certain Jewish practices without actually converting to Judaism;” in essence it was “an umbrella term for Gentiles with varied interests in Judaism.”

The Jewish community expected these God-fearers to hold themselves to the moral Noahide laws of the Torah, but many observed additional commandments of Torah on different levels. For example, to various extents, God-fearers kept the Sabbath, the festivals, and the dietary laws. Some even underwent circumcision, particularly in the second generation. Through their observance of the Torah they expressed their love for the God of Israel.

A New Testament example he gives is that of Cornelius, the righteous gentile of Acts 10,

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God … And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation.”

Janicki further suggests that the gospel message found fertile ground firstly among the gentile God-fearers who already knew of the Torah and prophets, and suggests bits of Acts and Romans were addressed to these same God-fearers.

Janicki ends with an bright summary:

As Gentile believers today realize that Messiah has spiritually grafted them into the nation of Israel, they feel drawn to the Jewish people and desire to worship alongside God’s chosen as fellow-heirs of the covenants and promises. Just like the God-fearers of old, we too have cast our lot with Israel.

Thoughts on God-Fearers

Today’s Messianic gentiles are like the old God-fearers in many ways: having been drawn by God to Israel, to Israel’s Messiah, to Israel’s Scriptures, to God’s commandments. Janicki does well arguing this case.

Still, I can’t help but point out the big fat elephant in the room: What about Messiah? Didn’t he change the status of gentiles as first-class citizens of the commonwealth of Israel? Isn’t there something new here? I think of Ephesians 2:

Remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)— remember that at that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Messiah.

Messiah changed the status of gentiles. Promoted ‘em. He did something new.

Gentiles were excluded from citizenship in Israel, foreigners to the Torah, without God. Messiah changed all that. Reversed it.

Like I said, big fat elephant.

Respected as God-fearers were, they were neither physically nor spiritually Israel, were not citizens, were not co-heirs of the promises to Abraham, were not first-class. Judaism unmistakably deemed God-fearers as second-class behind Jacob’s descendants and Judaism’s proselytes.

Messianic gentiles are God-fearers, but that label suggests the existence of the old wall of separation:

Here are the authentic Israelites, the Jews and the Judaism proselytes…

…and over there are the lesser God-fearers.

FFOZ isn’t trying to portray this image, praise God, but that is the implication.

Imagine the roles reversed. It’s as if I said,

“Gentiles in Christ are the true believers, and Jews are the respected covenant-keepers. To be a true believer, however, you must be a Gentile in Christ, or become a proselyte.”

Such a statement, well-intentioned as it is, misses the thrust of the Scriptures. Likewise, “God-fearers” isn’t deliberately demeaning, but it is implying inequality.

The last thing this Messianic movement needs is more inequality. But the end result of 2 Church theology, what’s called bilateral ecclesiology, will inevitably end in Messianic gentiles being marginalized as something less than a Messianic Jew.

“God-fearer” isn’t the solution to gentiles in the Messianic movement.

I challenge FFOZ to boldly stand up for Messiah’s gentile disciples and publicly acknowledge:

  1. Gentiles in the Messianic movement are here by God’s hand.

  2. Messianic gentiles are not in any way inferior to Messianic Jews.

  3. Gentiles in the Messianic movement are evidence of God’s move among the nations.

  4. Because Messianic gentiles are a result of God’s move among the nations, viewing Messianic gentiles as a “problem”, or suggesting they return to the Church, is ultimately opposing a move of God.

  5. Gentiles in the Messianic movement are first-class citizens of the commonwealth of Israel, far greater than anything Orthodox Judaism could label them with (e.g. “Noachides”).

  6. Special congregational treatment of Messianic Jews over Messianic gentiles promotes inequality in the vein of the inequality described in Acts 6, and is ultimately contrary to the New Testament model.

In the end, Janicki wrote a great article in “God-Fearers”, and explores an area bound to be raised in Messianic communities. Ultimately, the conclusion that Messianic gentiles are merely God-Fearers promotes inequality. I suspect this wasn’t Janicki’s intention, but that is the conclusion a lot of folks will draw after digesting this article.


There’s much more to cover in Messiah Journal, but I regret this post is already too long for the 5 Minute Internet Attention Span.

I particularly regret not reviewing Aaron Eby’s article on the Temple and how it addresses often-negative Christian view of the Temple. Perhaps in another post.

Bottom line: Go get a copy of Messiah Journal. Parts will provoke you. Other parts will lift you up. You’ll question your theologies and will be forced to check the Scriptures – and that’s a good thing.

Ultimately, it will sharpen and harden your faith and make you a better disciple of the Master.

Kudos to the fine folks at FFOZ for putting out such a scholarly, Messiah- and Torah-focused publication for God’s people. They’ve done a fine job, and I hope you fine blog readers can get your hands on Messiah Journal and benefit from their laboring.


  1. If we were to follow the "bilateral ecclesiology" terminology, it seems we have a Gentile-majority Church in which Jews are often spoken about and treated in a negative way, and either leave the Church hating it, or fully assimilate and become just like Gentiles. Uncircumcision.

    But we also have a Jewish-majority Messianic movement in which Gentiles are often spoken about and treated in a negative way, and either leave the Messianic movement hating it, follow 2-House, or convert to become just like Jews. Circumcision.

    I think the problems in the Messianic movement mirror the problems in the wider church.

    I'd like the way all Jews and Gentiles in Messiah relate to each other to be based on dynamic personal and then communal relationship with Yeshua, and not on circumcision or uncircumcision.

    Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

  2. You're right that the Jew/gentile divisions in the Messianic movement have mirrored -- inverted -- the problem the Church has faced.

    I want to write a post dedicated to the bilateral, 2 Church, view. I really have grokked the reasoning that leads to this view. I'll elaborate in another post.

  3. Judah,

    Thank you for the review and I appreciate your spirit and kindness. You brought up some great points about my article and certainly it is possibly for people to come away with a feeling of inequality for Gentiles. I think my article on the God-fearers should be looked at in conjunction with FFOZ's other materials such as Grafted In and my article "What is a Gentile?" in MJ 101. What was most exciting to me about the topic of God-fearers is how in the Psalms we see that they are labeled as a formal group that has joined in with Israel. There is no more inequality between them and the regular Israelite as there is between the regular Israelite and the Levite or Priest. We all have our roles and I certainly would agree with all the points you listed. Keep up the great blogging!


  4. Toby,


    Glad to hear you aren't angry at me over my critique. :-) I am hoping the rest of my blog readers will follow your lead, and won't zonk me over the head with a virtual mallet! :-)

  5. "God-fearers isn't deliberately demeaning, but it is implying inequality."

    Judah, let's attempt to solve this matter here and now - how do you propose we refer to Yeshua's non-Jewish disciples?

  6. "Gene: how do you propose we refer to Yeshua's non-Jewish disciples? Judah: God's people."

    So, I take it you would likewise be opposed to calling the Jewish disciples of Yeshua "Jews", but would prefer to use the same the term "G-d's people" for them as well?

  7. Great review and I appreciate your thoughts.

    I think the most important thing in the "shift" is simply to recognize that the Jewish people are the only identifiable Israelites today. This is amazing because it testifies to God's promises to His chosen nation. Just take a second in your mind to acknowledge that there are Jews, and there are Gentiles. There, you're done! How many Messianic Gentiles would benefit and have softer hearts from considering that simple thought.

    Part of the purpose of the nation of Israel is to test other nations of the world. It is no secret who they are. Now, how are you (Iran/USA/Mexico/Canada/Europe/Spain/Russia etc etc) going to treat them? Will you humble yourselves, O nations, and learn from their scriptures and attach yourselves to their Messiah? God chose to work out great things and purposes with Israel, and that should not be discounted, and at the same time just because they were chosen does not discount the God-fearers. We are one in Messiah and all God's children. I hope I am making some sense and not rambling.


  8. Judah,

    I lost you e-mail address, can I get it again?

    Thanks in advance.

  9. judahgabriel at gmail.

    FWIW, there's a "mail" link on the side of this blog.

  10. "Just take a second in your mind to acknowledge that there are Jews, and there are Gentiles. There, you're done! How many Messianic Gentiles would benefit and have softer hearts from considering that simple thought."

    Well put, Cliff. Oftentimes the simplest solutions are the most effective ones.

  11. Yah, Gene, But covenant there is only one and both jews and gentiles are full participants, or have you not read Gal. 3:6?

  12. "covenant there is only one and both jews and gentiles are full participants, or have you not read Gal. 3:6?"

    Dan, of course I have. I have also read 1 Corinthians 17-20:

    "If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body."

  13. Thank you Gene for affirming my point. I knew there is hope with you....

    One Body with each part getting the same nutrients...or do you think that the eyes get cereal and the leg get a tomato?

  14. "I knew there is hope with you...."

    Dan, thanks! I also had an inclining that you "knew" SOMETHING after all, just couldn't put my finger on what it was, until now:)

    "do you think that the eyes get cereal and the leg get a tomato?"

    Eyes may have a bit different nutritional requirements than a leg, don't you know? Try not taking any Vitamin A, and will see which goes first - your eyes or your legs.

  15. i don't want to misrepresent myself, so i just wanted to say that my comment above had no further implications as to the religion or practice of those Jews and Gentiles, but first to just acknowledge the difference. after that, I believe FFOZ to be correct in their interpretation of differing "obligations," however all believing Gentiles can and should consider the Torah (at least read it!). The church needs a restored reliance on the Bible, badly from my limited perspective.

  16. As I recall, in John 10, starting at verse 16, Yeshua says there are other sheep (other than the "sheep" of Israel) that are of another sheep pen. The upshot of the scripture is that the other, Gentile sheep must be brought in to the one flock with Israel. One flock; one shepherd.

    That, more than anything tells me that the "God-fearer" status does not describe the "grafted-in" Gentile follower of the Messiah. I'm not trying to beat Janicki over the head, but based on how you describe his article, it seems he may have zigged when he should have zagged.

    I've just read the Meal of the Messiah blogs online and, if you check my blog, you'll see what they stirred up in me (traditions are just growing by leaps and bounds). A very timely mention.

    Not that I wouldn't mind subscribing to Messiah Journal as you suggest, but speaking of not making bills, my congregation is struggling along in the economy as well, so my information sources will have to be free (online) or the books I've already got in my library, though chiefly the Bible.


  17. "You're right that the Jew/gentile divisions in the Messianic movement have mirrored -- inverted -- the problem the Church has faced."

    Judah, it's absolutely NOTHING like the problems Jews faced in the church, not even in the inverted way. However, just like in the first century, Jewish believers are today once again the minority in the Messianic Jewish movement(and not the "majority" as the first commenter claimed - what?) - you can jump in here Dan with you assertion that we shouldn't be called "Jewish". Even though we have been very welcoming to non-Jewish believers in our midst, today our responsibility to lead our own congregations in the way that we find relevant to the vision and task G-d gave us is being challenged as racist apartheid (by some). However, we resist and will continue to resist folks who to try to assimilate us by seeking to erase any distinctions between Jews and Gentiles, those who seek to water-down and minimize our Jewish identity in Messiah, those who wish to thrust their pet identity theologies on us.

    We also reject the blame that we Messianic Jews somehow "caused" the Two-House movement to sprout or the One-Law theology to take hold among the Gentiles by not acknowledging Gentiles as de-facto Jews or Israelites (which they are not) with full Torah obligations (which they do not have) - instead as Gentile brothers and sisters with their own G-d-given identity and unique relationship to Torah. These theologies or those from which they sprung have existed among Gentile Christians long before Messianic Judaism ever became a reality. These accusations are a red herring, and they are based on good old fashion envy and insecurity.

    What is even more ironic is that people who are complaining the loudest are actually NOT part of the mainstream Messianic Jewish movement and many never were to begin with, but have separated themselves into their own "independent messianic" nearly 100% non-Jewish congregations and now speak from outside.

    May G-d continue to guide and protect Messianic Judaism so that we can proclaim His Messiah to our people and also to the nations, and may He guide and protect our Christian brothers and sisters in churches into a closer relationship with their Jewish siblings.

  18. Nice speach Gene,

    so how come everytime you are challenged to answer to scriptures on any issue you raised here, we never hear from you?

    Is this the method they teach in the MJTI? (Yah, I know you are not a member,but you could have fooled all of us any time you being the first to jump to defend them.....LOL!

  19. "so how come everytime you are challenged to answer to scriptures on any issue you raised here, we never hear from you?"

    Yeah, OK Dan... tisk tisk... didn't your mother teach you a thing or two about telling fibs?

  20. Outstanding analysis, Judah!

    I am very troubled when I read comments such as "all believing Gentiles should at least read Torah" or "Gentile believers should go back to the [antinomian] churches." How does this line up with Matthew 5:19?

    I read somewhere that "God-fearers" were those who added the God of Israel to their pantheon of gods. So this suggested designation does not have the best of connotations. Maybe this is the real problem in Messianic congregations today. Many (both Jewish and Gentile) are only partially converted to true, born-again faith in Messiah Yeshua, forsaking all and trusting Him. They cling to their traditions, whether Rabbinic, Catholic, or Protestant and try to add elements of all of these traditions to the mix called Messianic. What is needed is a true restoration of "the faith once delivered" (Jude 3).

    My present concern is that in all the confusion, Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism are gaining converts! People with Messianic and Jewish backgrounds are being drawn to the mysticism, liturgy, and authoritative guidance. Somehow they are beguiled or intellectually convinced by elaborate philosophical rhetoric that practices such as venerating icons and sacramental Eucharistic salvation are in line with Scripture. Trust in tradition and "apostolic succession" is trumping trust in the clear word of God!

    I hope we get our act together soon. Precious souls are at stake.

  21. I personally find it interesting that there has been so much dialogue produced on some articles which, unless I missed it, have not yet been released. Judah has given us his impression, but rather than wait to actually read the articles, we're just going to comment on them anyway--site unseen. Funny how things work today!

  22. This post indirectly reminded me to order the Vine of David Passover Haggadah. So, thanks! :)

  23. Judah,

    Shalom to you and thank you for your gracious and fair critique of issue 103 of Messiah Journal. We pour our heart into every issue--so it is easy to be heavily invested emotionally with what we create. So thank you for being nice!

    I will take you up on your challenge. Give me a couple days to formulate my thoughts.

  24. I found the quote I referenced above. It is from Daniel K's blog where there is some good discussion:

    Shaye Cohen in From the Maccabees to the Mishnah does write that [some?] God-fearers:

    [...] thinking that the God of the Jews was like the god of other nations, they added him to their pantheon. They observed the Sabbath much as they would the sacred days of other peoples. They frequented the synagogues of the Jews much as they would the temples or ceremonies of other foreign gods.(47)

  25. Regarding Gene's comment:Judah, let's attempt to solve this matter here and now - how do you propose we refer to Yeshua's non-Jewish disciples?

    I would answer Israel, the Whole House of Israel the restored House of David, both Judah and Ephraim coming together through Messiah as one people.

    When discussing gentiles, James or Ya'acov quotes Amos 9:11-12 and I have added Amos 9:11-15 keeping in the context: Amos 9:11-15 In that day I will raise up the tent of David who is fallen, and close up its breaches, and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; (12) that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations who are called by my name,” says Yahweh who does this.
    (13) “Behold, the days come,” says Yahweh,
    “that the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
    and the one treading grapes him who sows seed;
    and sweet wine will drip from the mountains,
    and flow from the hills.
    (14) I will bring my people Israel back from captivity,
    and they will rebuild the ruined cities, and inhabit them;
    and they will plant vineyards, and drink wine from them.
    They shall also make gardens,
    and eat their fruit.
    (15) I will plant them on their land,
    and they will no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them,”
    says Yahweh your God.

    It is an historical fact that there was one house of Israel that was divided into two houses, the Northern Kingdom known as Ephraim or Israel, and the Southern Kingdom, known as Judah. These two houses had two different punishments from YHWH, two different punishment timetables but in the end would be gathered together again.

    It is James who qoutes about these gentiles that the fallen house will be restored. Through Messiah it will be done. James quoted rightly.

    The gentiles who come to Messiah are now former gentiles.

    C.F. Montgomery

  26. Dear C.F. Montgomery

    The Two House theology exploits the insecurity of Gentile believers in their identity in Messiah, while breeding resentment against Jewish believers for not accepting Gentiles as fellow Israelites. This particular strain of Replacement Theology has been created and promoted by lady named Batya Wooten (she used to be a member of synagogue a very close MJ rabbi friend of mine, who knows her quite well and even read her very first materials before she went public with them and left Messianic Jewish movement - she's not Jewish, of course). However, very little research is needed to see that her ideas are really nothing new, but simply another repackaging of the good old British Israelism (you should really look it up, it will be very informative).

    Gentiles are NEVER referred to as "Israel" or "Israelites" in the scripture (which would make them very confusing - and Christianity tried that already, to view themselves as rightful, NEW Israel, and you know how well that turned out).

    G-d loves ALL nations and in the millennium we can clearly read about the world still divided into nations with Israel being at the center from which Messiah will rule. Egypt is still Egypt, Ethiopia is still Ethiopia, Assyria is still Assyria - and Israel is still Israel - you get the point?

    Even AFTER the thousand yeas of Messiah's reign, all nations and people will STILL not be blended into one big nation called "Israel"? How do we know that? Scripture, of course (Revelation 21:24):

    "And the NATIONS of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it."

    Notice it says "nations shall walk"? So, did G-d abolish all the diversity that he created and blended all of us into one nation called Israel? It's not what the scripture say... G-d will bless ALL of the nations.

  27. Once again, we are witnessing comments on proposals before they have fully been presented. I would urge all who are tempted to comment on anything regarding "God-fearers"? to keep their comments to themselves until the information can adequately be presented and all have read and dissected the relevant data for themselves.

    As always, our presuppositions begin with whether or not we can consider all those who declare faith in Messiah Yeshua to be fellow brothers and sisters in Him, especially per what we are to have in common as specified in Ephesians 4. This is where we begin, friends!

    Likewise, regardless of which position we take regarding the role of Jewish and non-Jewish Believers in the Body of Messiah, let us think about what it would mean to present those points of view with the Messiah Himself standing in front of us. Much of what I have sene in my interactions with people in the broad Messianic movement over 15 years has yet to really consider this. One's personal needs often seem to take precedence over His accomplishments for us. It is time to put the Lord first, and not our own human interests.

  28. How long until this article is available? It is unrealistic to expect people to hold their comments on a front-burner controversy when it is brought up on a blog like this. I wish we had a forum format instead of searching all over the blogosphere for commentary. We are all chomping at the bit to have this discussion. All viewpoints should be welcomed rather than stifled. Iron sharpeneth iron!

  29. @C.F.,

    As I like to say, every Jew and Christian and everything in between is a believer in 2 House, knowingly or not; it's in the Tenakh that there were 2 houses of Israel.

    It's a matter of whether you believe the 2 houses have been reunited. I don't; propecies like Ezekiel 37 havn't happened yet, and I think it's an end-times event.

    @Maureen, I think FFOZ is sending out Messiah Journal 103 this month, and it contains the "God Fearers" article.

  30. Gene,
    Who is Batya advocating the replacement of? If Jew-dah is Jew-dah, but Jew-dah is trying to be both Jew-dah and Israel, is it not Jew-dah who is advocating replacement theology? I'm not sure if this is partially why President Truman was surprised to find out the Jewish nation decided to call itself "Israel", but something tells me he was better informed than you and most of the world in this regard. "Judah" or "Judea" would have been more fitting.

    And this idea that somehow the two houses of Israel did not exist prior to Batya or prior to British-Israelism... is simply absurd. There have been many non-Messianic Jews who advocate the view that "the Jews" do not make up all 12 tribes of Israel... such as the late David Horowitz, Yair Davidiy, and Rabbi Avraham Feld... not to mention Josephus, Rabbi Akiva and Eliezer. Furthermore, Gene, you made a statement regarding Israel never being referred to as "Gentile". Jacob (i.e., Israel) passed his birthright promise of "nations" to Ephraim... and when he did this (prophetically speaking of the Last Days)... he said Ephraim would become the "fullness of the goyim". Is Goyim not frequently translated as "Gentiles"? ...whether correctly or not?

    The prophet Hosea indicated Israel would become "not a people" and then would later become "a people" again. When has Jew-dah ever ceased to be "a people" who are easily identifiable? They've had difficulties with assimilation, but they have certainly persisted as "a people", unlike Ephraim. Even so, the stirring of Ephraim in the nations to become "a people" again now cannot be blamed on Messianic Judaism. Gene, I certainly agree with you in that regard.

  31. I guess david Horowitz, David Yairi,Abraham feld, and you, can all tell us exactly from what tribes you all are?

    Good guessing...LOL!

  32. Dan - LOL, agree! (never thought I find myself saying that).

    Excerpted suggested criteria on how to identify whether or not you might be an "Israelite", according to Yair Davidiy (

    #1. INNER IDENTIFICATION: Do you FEEL Israelite or Jewish or WOULD YOU LIKE to be so considered?

    #5. PHILO-JUDAIC: Are you pro-Jewish? At the least do you reject anti-Semitism and even FEEL offended by it? Would you LIKE to see a union between "Israel" and Judah?

    #6 GOOD QUALITIES: Are you merciful, kind, and modest?

    Looks like it doesn't take a whole lot of evidence to "prove" that one is an Israelite:) In fact, one doesn't need any evidence at all (as long as you are prepared to buy Davidiy's "books", your are family!) It's all about how you feel! Except if you want to claim Israelish descent, and then decide to want to marry a Jew. In that case, Davidiy wants you to stay away (at least until Messiah comes):

    Question: Can I marry a Jew if I am non-Jewish but Israelite?

    Answer: No. The Lost Ten tribes had their identity suspended (see Hosea 1:9, Jeremiah 3:8) temporarily in the religious sense in order to release them from the consequences of not keeping the Law and the obligation of keeping it. In the Messianic Era however they will return and things will be as they previously were.

  33. The first century believers were never "Chrisitans", they were part of Israel, being grafted in through Yeshua. Judah is right the greater reunion of the two houses have not been fulfilled yet. But, whether we like it or not, we are on a journey to do just that. This journey is full of controversy of who we should be today in a world filled with different catagories than the scriptures discuss. We are still brothers and sisters in Messiah.


  34. C.F.,

    Even though I think that your Two-House theory is fantasy, ultimately this has little to do with the Messianic Judaism I practice or that of every single MJ I know. For me, it's outside of the scope of Messianic Judaism, just another loony theory floating around, similar to say Mormon's belief that they are actually Ephraim and Manasseh and that Native Americans descended from Israelites. Not that I have not seriously researched Two-House claims - I have. But I've done the same for Mormon, British, and Worldwide Church of God Israelisms as well.

  35. >> This journey is full of controversy of who we should be today in a world filled with different catagories than the scriptures discuss. We are still brothers and sisters in Messiah.

    Well said!

  36. Dan and Gene,
    And what tribes do you both descend from? Can you prove it? If someone really thinks Jew-dah has greater genetic credibility for their "Hebrew-ness" and claim to any particular tribe, then I recommend some further reading. The tribe of Levi is the only one that has much proof, but it too is hotly debated by Population Geneticists.

    "Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes"

    "Contrasting patterns of Y chromosome variation
    in Ashkenazi Jewish and host non-Jewish European populations"

    Jews have many similar genetic-identity problems that 10-Israelites have, especially if you only consider the Darwinian view point of human migration, mutation rates, and radio-metric dating.

    Antisemitic-types look at the enormous presence of Haplogroup R in the Jewish male population and say "See! Those Jews are fake! They're just a bunch of European converts." But if you take my view, and consider Haplogroup R as a representation of Ephraim... then those "mixed" Jews are actually mixed with various Israelite populations, not non-Israelites. The presence of Haplogroup E is likely not originally Hebrew (but Egyptian/African drift into the population). Haplogroup J is probably more genuinely "Jewish" (in the sense of representing Levi or Judah), but many traditionally non-Jewish populations are also made up of Haplogroup J. So you have to ask, why? Ask a Darwinists, he is going to tell you something that fits his paradigm. Ask someone else who understands exponential mathematics and prophecy, he'll tell you something very different, but also according to his paradigm. Which is truly right though?

    Israelite and Noahic Haplogroup Hypotheses:

  37. Hanok, I don't need any genetic testing to know that I am a Jew. I was born in a Yiddish speaking Jewish family with no Gentiles in sight, and I can trace my Jewish ancestors by name at least 5 generations back WITHOUT ANY RESEARCH (and have pictures of many of them). The town I lived in was heavily Jewish even AFTER most Jews of my town were murdered en mass by Germans in WWII and by Ukrainians in years prior to that, including my own family members. Could it be that some of those Germans or Ukrainians were actually Ephramites/Lost Israelites and didn't know it?

  38. Hanok,

    Do you know how I know I am a Jew?

    Because you say so....That's right!
    You are labeling us Jews "from the tribe of Judah," don't you? Otherwise you would not have a theology (even if it is as bizarre).

    So, Please, stop preaching to us and go back to study.

    FYI, I am Jewish from the tribe of Asher. Go ahead and prove that i am not?

  39. Eagerly awaiting the comments of Boaz on the topic of "God-fearers" etc. It has been a long "couple of days". And when will the pdf edition of MJ 103 be available? Eager to continue this discussion. Meanwhile, I continue to read/hear of conversions to Catholicism! People are so wanting to "belong" somewhere and have some kind of "authority" over them, that Catholicism is making inroads. Very troubling to me as a former Catholic.

  40. I just stumbled on your site and read your intro and was touched to say the least. I am a gentile messianic (Christian) and was born into a Catholic background and families. I rejected Catholicsm utterly upon meeting Yeshua and learning that the light to the gentiles, our beloved Yeshua was real. Many years of living, learning and growing have brought me even further away also from false and foolish doctrines and so much of the type of Christianity created by 2000 years of gentile, papal and romish traditions and idolatry that has led to too many Christians taking on men's doctrines and never reading scripture and since I have found so much foolishness, I have slowly withdrawn. But, I have not withdrawn from G-d or His people Jewish and Gentile though I have discovered a deeper peace and wonder by studying His Word instead of men's. So it is not that I want to become Jewish, for that is impossible, because, as Paul said I am a grafted on Gentile who has been grafted onto His wonderful and strong root by Yeshua, onto the true root and tree, the Jews, Judaiism, Salvation, (for salvation is of the Jews), but, it is that I have found my way through the Jews. Everything wonderful and most important in my life (the Messages from our Father and Creator) was taught or related through His Word and all written by the wonderful Jewish Witness to whom I am forever indebted for their perseverence and fortitude in keeping these wonderful gifts for us all and faithfully passing on His oracles to the world.

    Point is that if you know anything about gardening and which it seems few Christians over the ages have really cared about, we would have all realized and been taught long ago that a grafted on branch to a strong root and tree always retains it's own type fruit and character but never replaces that which succours it. What folly was the blindness and hatred of the gentiles in all these ages to not know that if an apple tree bears one type of red apple is the true tree and root and a branch be it even wild, of a green apple or any other, may be grafted on and be succoured by the true root and tree, but, it will never become red nor has it power to destroy the root or become that root or it destroys itself and this is a marvel to me because the blindness of the gentile graft and saved has wrought much sorrow to Israel when they might have blessed her and succoured her that in fact bore merely a graft, instead. It gives me joy to learn of Israel rather than reject that which I have gained my strength and life from. I know this is long and rambling but it is to say it was nice to meet you in your site. I love Messiah and therefore His children and Witnesses, Israel first and always and the grafted Gentile believers (who saw that light) or whatever we call ourselves secondly, the second witness that long ago stopped embracing the tree and root with the honor and respect of the true brother that was their succour through the wonderful Yeshua that was brought forth through Israel, so, from that grafted branch a tired adoptee, a deeply heartfelt apology that so many generations of us gentile saved have failed to grasp this profound indebtedness and wonder. G-d bless you all on your site for touching my sad and weary heart this night!

  41. To the question of how to refer to the gentile saved who saw the Great Light. Actually I would not at all mind if you referred to me as Paul did; as the Graft; which is far more sensible when understood from G-ds' perspective and absolutely precisely and wonderfully correct. I have left the gentile church in my sadness at the amount of blindness and false doctrines that so fatigue my heart. It is true what Joseph said that either Witness; the Root or Graft; do not treat each other well; but; Joseph; I think their is a far deeper insight in Pauls'Roman's description of the Jewish root and tree upon which I am grafted; a branch of entirely different and wild fruit but of the same type of salvation drawn by G-d. If only there were more gardener hearts among us gentile saved; for then we would have understood and honored the root whether it acknowledged us or Yeshua Ha-mashiach; and we might have loved Israel for the great service done to not only us but the world through whom Beloved Messiah and Light to the gentiles would come by keeping and passing on to the world His wonderful oracles through the Prophets and Men and Writers of G-d; the Old and New Testaments. There is little else to be said but just gratefullness for so much given!