Ralph Messer doesn’t represent the Two House movement or Hebrew Roots

Over the weekend, a great outcry from the Jewish community was heard over this:

TL;DR: Ralph Messer, a man claiming to be a Messianic rabbi, wraps a mega-church preacher in a Torah scroll, parades him around in a chair, crowning him as a king.

The Jewish world’s reaction can be summed up as:

“O! Look at this nonsense and religious sacrilege! This ‘rabbi’ is one of those ugly Messianic Jews – no wonder!

The Messianic Jewish world then punted it back:

“O! What a circus! Good thing he’s not one of us. He’s not ordained as a rabbi or recognized as such in any mainstream Messianic Jewish organization. In fact, he’s one of those ugly fake Jews, a Hebrew Roots/Two House gentile meshuggener!

The Messianic Jewish leadership used | this | opportunity | to slam the Hebrew Roots and Two House Messianic communities.

As someone involved with the Hebrew Roots and Two House communities for some twenty years, with connections to people who know Messer, attended his congregation, or know about his dealings in the Hebrew Roots world, I have some unique insight into this matter.

But first, was it wrong for Messer to do what he did?

Here’s my take:

  • It's a misuse of the Torah scroll to wrap a person in it. Treating God's holy books with reverence is important, for the sake of honoring the Lord and for the sake of avoiding a stumbling block for others.

  • Calling the Torah covering a ‘foreskin’, claiming to speak on behalf of all of Israel and Jewry, saying 90% of Jews have never seen a Torah scroll, and calling yourself a rabbi when you have no ordination or formal training suggests flippant, uninformed speech at best, deception at worst.  
     
  • The reverend Long is currently accused of financial impropriety with church funds. He was also accused by several church boys of pedophilia, with whom he is now trying to settle privately. Associating with, uniting with, and crowning as king a person under investigation for being a swindler and a sexual deviant is unwise for biblical eldership.

  • Messer's whip-up-the-crowd antics was inauthentic, insincere, and TV preacher-esque, using the Torah as a gimmick and the appearance of authenticity to give him credibility in front of a mega-church audience.

  • Messer made about 20 false statements in the video, some of them serious. The whole video showed a load of misinformation combined with emotion manipulation.

Overall, Ralph Messer came across as a religious showman. And I think that's shaming the name of Messiah. It’s an embarrassment to Yeshua faith.

I’m not the only Hebrew Roots guy to speak out against Messer. Keith Johnson, the author, touring speaker, and African-American Hebrew Roots believer offered the following insider’s view into his first-hand experience with “Rabbi” Ralph Messer:

Ralph Messer has been exploiting African Americans and making a mockery of the Hebrew roots of the faith for years. I first encountered Messer eleven years ago when my friend the late Football Hall-of-Famer Reggie White paid him an inordinate amount of money to learn Hebrew under his tutelage as a "rabbi." A year went by and Reggie never received even a single Hebrew lesson. I decided to confront Messer with Reggie and Pro-Bowler Hardy Nickerson as witnesses. In their presence "Rabbi Ralph" admitted he had never formally been ordained as a real rabbi. I then challenged Messer to read from my Hebrew Bible and he responded by making excuses for an hour about why it was "dangerous" to learn the language. I continued to insist he read from my Bible in Hebrew and with great effort Messer managed to slowly sound out the first verse of the Bible one syllable at a time. It was obvious to everyone present that Messer did not possess the knowledge to read the Hebrew language let alone to teach it. For the past ten years, I have seen Messer continue to throw around Hebrew terms he does not fully understand and misuse holy objects such as Torah Scrolls to manipulate people and bring them under his authority as a "rabbi" and a supposed "representative of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel." As a United Methodist pastor who believes in the importance of the Hebrew roots of our faith I am deeply offended by what he did this past week at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. It is my sincere hope and prayer that by speaking out others will be spared from falling prey to his manipulative practices that offend both Jew and Gentile alike.

It seems as though a good number of people have come recognize Messer as a religious shyster.

Finally, I would like to offer some insight that you haven’t heard yet either through the news articles or the Messianic Jewish blogs.

I spoke with several folks over the last week, including some people who attended Messer’s Colorado congregation, folks who knew Messer when he was affiliated with Hebrew Roots and Two House organizations, and leaders within the Hebrew Roots communities. Here’s what they have had to say about Ralph Messer:

  • He and his wife both have a Jewish parent.
  • He claims to have dual Israeli citizenship.
  • He was involved with Messianic Israel Alliance, the large Two House organization for a time.
  • He attempted a takeover of that organization some years ago, and was shown the door.
  • He went rogue roughly 10 years ago.
  • After his leaving the Two House organization, he began to speak at black mega-churches.

That’s all second-hand information, so take it with a grain of salt.

Objectively, there’s almost no background information about Messer on his own website. That’s a red flag in itself. On the Messianic Israel Alliance site, the only reference to Messer is some citations of Torah commentaries. I see nothing authored by him on that site. I can’t find him elsewhere on the web. Keith Johnson, the Hebrew Roots speaker, claims to have a first-hand experience with Messer, in which it was shown Messer was deceiving a man – Reggie White – while accepting a large sum of money from him. Red flag.

Here’s the bottom line, folks, things we can say with certainty:

  • Ralph Messer does not represent Jews for Jesus.
  • Ralph Messer does not represent Messianic Judaism.
  • Ralph Messer does not represent Hebrew Roots or the Two House sub-movement.
  • Ralph Messer is not a Hebrew speaker.
  • Ralph Messer is not a rabbi.
  • Ralph Messer deceived a famous person and took his money. (According to Keith Johnson, a first-hand witness, Messer accepted money to teach the late Reggie White the Hebrew language, only later to prove he hardly could read Hebrew himself.)

I extrapolate based on the evidence that his interest in black mega-churches may be for money’s sake. I think this guy’s a religious shyster and a con-man.

Maybe I’m just jaded, but when I see people jumping around stage, throwing around “facts” at an unverifiable pace, and whipping up the crowd in emotional fervor, I’m deeply concerned. It’s not that emotion cannot be present in religious services, God forbid, it’s that emotion is so often used as a manipulation tool. It suggests the one doing the manipulation is, well, a manipulator. Shepherds don’t need to manipulate emotions. When combined with false titles, false statements, misinformation, and when in association with shady individuals who have succumbed to temptations of money and sex, all at the cost of Messiah’s sheep, I suggest to you that Messer may be a religious con-man.

I’d love to see Ralph Messer respond to all this. If I’m wrong about him, I’d gladly retract publicly anything proven to be false, and say that he only made a mistake in mistreating the Torah. But until then, I’d suggest Yeshua’s disciples stay away from this guy. Red flags abound.

Yes, Messer may be Jewish, may follow Jesus, and share beliefs with Hebrew Roots and Two House organizations, but that does not mean he represents those groups. He’s a rogue guy, apparently accountable to no one, a fiery, whip-up-the-crowd preacher with questionable ties to unsavory individuals, including the Reverend Long, and a track record that involves deception.

He doesn’t represent us, the Hebrew Roots movement, the Two House movement, Messianic Judaism, or Jews for Jesus.

His antics shame Messiah’s name and are an embarrassment to our faith.

64 comments:

  1. Most people who have seen what Messer did with a Torah scroll, and with Eddie Long no less, are right to consider this a desecration. There was absolutely no reverence for anything present, and Yeshua the Messiah would certainly NOT have approved of this, and its blatant lack of humility.

    I myself immediately associated these actions with the U.S. Marines who urinated on human corpses. Reprehensible and grossly unacceptable action worthy of a court martial.

    This is probably not the first time Messer has done something like this--but it did get publicity. The fact that a sex offender like Long was involved, is what really piqued the Jewish community. Add to this it all going viral on YouTube.

    Fortunately, the two Jewish rabbis I have seen interviewed on CNN dismissed Messer as a misguided con artist. They did not mention "Messianic" anything. Of course, we do not know all of the kinds of interactions going on between Jewish and Messianic Jewish leaders. So, if this is an isolated incident, this will eventually be old news. Alas, knowing how sensationalists like Messer operate, this could very well repeat itself.

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  2. Shalom Judah,
    I really respect your unbiased researched. The major Messianic associations all of a sudden seem to be in condemnation mode now that they're being condemned by conter-missionaries. Please don't let anyone bully or peer pressure you into editing the facts to protect ANY organization.

    Here's an article that claims Ralph is moving onto his Televangelist Posse. He's going to anoint Paula White next.

    Reeeespect Mon!
    Sid

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    1. Interesting bit from that article:

      “He [Messer] actually already did this to Paula White some years ago...this was after she was divorced from Randy White and before the scandal with Benny Henn came out. He took her and wrapped her in a scroll and said the same thing - ‘She’s wrapped in the Word of God.’”

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  3. I agree.....He's not representing me, for sure!

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  4. Messer is the smart one. we are the fools, by giving the publicity he so craves. Enough alraedy, let it go. God will deal with him. There are myriads of abominations done in the name of God day in and day out. Are we going to condemn each and everyone of them? Because this charletan "annointed" the sex offender, is the sex offender really anointed?

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    1. There may be wisdom in simply ignoring the guy. But since this story has taken national media attention, we must rebuke the things wrong with this and state where we stand.

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  5. Judah, I really have mixed feelings about all of this. I don't necessarily disagree with you, (I have never personally liked or trusted Mr. Messer and his ministry) but I have a few questions regarding the whole kerfuffle! 1. Is a Torah scroll more important than the restoration of a man? First of all, let me say that I do not know if the accusations of sexual and financial misconduct that are leveled at that pastor are true or not. Does anyone really know for a FACT that this man is really guilty of what he is being accused of? What if he is not guilty, and we are all assuming his guilt? Yes, I know that it looks like he is guilty, but what if... what if he is not guilty? It seems that we are quick to shoot the wounded! Assume guilt and pull the trigger! But what if....what is he is guilty but has repented and is sorrowful for his sin? Has he committed the "unforgivable" sin? Let me put it this way; What if King David had been "surrounded" by a Torah scroll, even tho he was an adulterer and murderer? Would we be as scandalized by it as we seem to be with this incident? Is the Torah scroll, (as precious and Kadosh as it truly is), more important than a man? Perhaps even the restoration of a man? What if this act of "surrounding" this pastor with the Torah scroll is the Father, YHWH, acknowledging his repentance and a "prophetic" act to bring restoration? I think that we have all looked at the video with critical eyes, perhaps not seeing beyond the natural realm....what if there is prophetic significance to the act of surrounding him with the scroll? In our quickness to judge men, have we lost our mercy? I say, "Let YHWH judge this", for HE ALONE knows the motives and secrets of the heart. He knows Mr. Messer's motives, and HE knows his heart. YHWH knows the motives of the pastor's heart. In our quickness to condemn and judge, perhaps we have missed something. Also, the Torah scroll was not wrapped, if you look closely you will see that they simply carefully surrounded him and I don't think the scroll ever touched him, physically. I hope that it "touched" him spiritually!

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    1. I was careful to say in my post that the man is accused of wrongdoing, not necessarily that he's guilty.

      Before there can be restoration, if that is indeed what was happening, mustn't there be repentance? Rev. Long hasn't admitted wrong, let alone repented. That's a difference here between Rev. Long's situation and King David's adulterous one.

      Finally, wrapping a Torah scroll around a person has no Scriptural precedence. The most it's done here is make Jews angry, the Messianic Jewish world embarrassed, and put a bad name on Hebrew Roots.

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    2. If we err in our judgments, I think I would rather err on the side of MERCY! Again, its not that I disagree with your statement that Mr. Messer does not represent the Messianic movement....I agree with that. But it seems that we all rushed to judgement over what may have been an act of Mercy from our Abba, YHWH, and an act of restoration. We put the "value" of a Torah scroll above the value of a man. Does this man deserve what was done for him????....probably not. But none of us deserve the tender MERCIES of YHWH. I agree that the "King on a Chair hoisted in the Air" shtick was over the edge and unnecessarily theatrical. But, honestly, would I like to be surrounded by a beautiful, ancient, kadosh Torah scroll???? Yes! Altho, I KNOW I am not worthy in and of myself, none of us are! Yet, in Yeshua, I AM surrounded by HIS TORAH! And it is being written on my heart. Perhaps, this act of surrounding this pastor with the Torah will begin the process of bringing Torah obedience to the Black community of believers! Wouldn't that be awesome!! anyway, that's my view....I appreciate yours, and I hope you will consider mine!

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    3. Yeah, I understand your point, and don't necessarily disagree....I just had more mercy in my judgments than everyone else I have heard on this. Anything the Messianic's do make the Jews mad....what's new?? Yeshua made them mad all the time! As far as no scriptural precedence....most of the things the prophets did as "prophetic acts" had no scriptural precedence! Even Yeshua put mud and spit on a guys eyes to heal him....no precedence, I believe! I think that the act itself had a lot of mercy in it...that's my point. I think we all missed the MERCY involved in this. I just don't want to react like a pharisee, when the FATHER'S heart may have been in the Torah scroll part. Anyway, we can certainly disagree on this. Only Abba knows the real story, I think. I may be as wrong as can be, and I am certainly ready to change my opinion if Abba corrects me. Maybe this pastor deserved a lightening bolt from heaven, instead. It seems that that would have made a lot of people happy. But how does Abba YHWH feel about it (the scroll part)....that has to be the bottom line.

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    4. I understand. You have compassion for Reverend Long.

      I'm less concerned with the Reverend. He may or may not be guilty. If he's guilty of pedophilia and stealing money, let him repent. God forgives even the worst crimes.

      I'm more concerned that Messer is a wolf among Messiah's sheep. We now have on record a first-hand account that shows Messer deceiving people while taking their money. We know Messer is not a rabbi like he claims. We know he's misled people into believing he can teach Hebrew (and took their money to that end) only later to find out he can't speak a lick of Hebrew.

      I am concerned that Ralph Messer is a religious con-man.

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    5. Yes, he is a con man! I certainly agree with you about Messer. As I said earlier, I have never trusted him and always felt something was "wrong", but didn't know what.

      I don't think I personally have compassion for Rev. Long, but I think the Father might. That's my point. I didn't want to miss the Father's heart on this. I watched the video and felt that the Father was extending him MERCY and not judgement. It wasn't my human reaction or emotion, but more from the Ruach. That's what I was trying to say. I don't know Rev Long, and personally would probably wish for a bolt of lightening, but in my spirit, I felt Abba reaching out to this man. I think a man's hopefully repentant heart is of more value than a Torah scroll (as much as I honor and revere a Torah scroll). Besides, the Torah scroll was not harmed in any way. I think what was harmed were people's religious feelings, and Abba doesn't care about that! You are right that repentance must be made public, tho, like King David.

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  6. Additional information has surfaced about Messer's relationship to Messianic Israel Alliance (MIA), the primary Two House organization.

    Julie Sagissor writes,

    The MIA issued a statement about the situation this weekend and explained that Messer himself had tried to take over the organization over a decade ago, but when that was refused he left and took as many people with him as he could. The statement said that the MIA has not associated with him since, and they thoroughly disavowed his actions at New Birth Missionary Baptist.

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    1. Thanks Judah! I am hoping that the MIA will actually post their statement to their website shortly, but it's not up yet.

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    2. Julie,
      Thank you for posting this. We mailed out our letter to those on our MIA mailing list, and have been receiving many thanks for it. But unfortunately, it did not get posted on the site and I did not realize it until I read your note. The webmaster will hopefully get our notice posted later today.
      You are quite right, we have nothing to do with Messer, and, we are in the process of pulling down some past Torah portions in which the author mentions him in a footnote.

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    3. You're welcome, Batya. I know that people have strong opinions on the Two House issues, but what Messer did wasn't a Two House 'thing' and that needs to be cleared up. It will be good for all who want to, to be able to read your response on your website.

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  7. One of the most significant aspects of this Ralph Messer debacle--aside from the fact that he has acted entirely outside of accepted Jewish protocol as it would pertain to any Torah scroll--is that this incident has absolutely *nothing* to do with whether or not there is indeed a greater restoration of Israel prophesied in Holy Scripture ("Two-House"). Does this breach of accepted conduct have any relation to what an intelligent man or woman would discern from reading a Biblical passage like Ezekiel 37:15-28? It should not.

    Alas, though, too many in today's broad Messianic movement have not learned the art and science of being able to distinguish between data and the noise. Messer's actions utterly epitomize things that utterly classify as NOISE. Yet, the loyalty of all Bible readers must be to the text. Although it might be difficult, we have to put bad behavior of persons like Messer aside, and deal with the genuine thrust of the Bible.

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  8. Good write-up, Judah (though I am sure I am one of the MJ bad guys who associated Ralph with Two House). Still, you did add new information and I appreciate it. It seems to me also that you and J.K. represent the most moderate wing of Two House (you might even really be in a completely different camp and might consider another label).

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    1. Not necessarily a bad guy. You guys didn't want him associated with your organizations. And indeed, he's not actually associated with UMJC or MJTI.

      Now I am saying, he's not associated with MIA, or any Hebrew Roots organization I'm aware of. MIA issued a statement saying he was a member a decade ago, but he was shown the door after a failed coup d'etat. (Yikes)

      So what I'm saying is, he's not one of us, either. :-) Sure, he shares beliefs about Israel with us, just as he shares beliefs about Messiah with you. But that doesn't mean he represents us.

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    2. Derek, what label do you suggest?

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    3. oooooh yes, more labels, divisions, separations....Will it never end?

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  9. I never really considered addressing who Messer may or may not be "representing" in his rather strange behavior and misuse of the Torah scroll (and against my better judgment, I wrote my own blog on the matter). My viewpoint is that he is represents his own personal fringe, extremeist Christianity (I don't care what he calls it) in the vein of groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. They don't represent mainstream Christianity either, not even a little bit, but people who want to accuse Christians of being bigots and crazy are very quick to point a finger at these characters in the news and say all Christians are that way.

    Fringe religious groups have a talent for grabbing media attention just because they are so outrageous. If you're doing what the Messiah taught us to do, chances are it'll never end up on YouTube or be covered by CNN. The media isn't interested in doing plain old righteousness in God's Name. More's the pity.

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  10. I applaud you Judah, for saying what every other blogger on the subject needs to be saying. NO, you are NOT just jaded. You are discerning a deeper and more insidious pattern here. There are too many factors pointing to the conclusion that Messer is not even a Believer, but just a fraud who bears terrible fruit and can’t even pronounce Birkenau correctly. (*grimace and eye roll*) I remember the first time I heard one of this teachings (actually, the only time if my memory serves me correctly). I had been going through some circumstances that had left me broken and utterly desperate for Yeshua in my life. Yeshua had been using these circumstances to correct my walk with Him and lead me into a deeper understanding of how to depend on His moment-by-moment guidance to know where to turn and which teachers to trust for accurate insight into Him.

    That process of analytically comparing EVERYTHING a teacher said to the written Word and of learning to listen for the still small voice of His Spirit inside of me felt like pulling teeth back then, but after years of practice it feels so much easier today – like second nature. So, when I heard a tape of Messer teaching about twelve years ago, I carefully compared every statement he made to what I had read in the Scripture. I don’t remember specifics, but I do remember that my overall spiritual impression was of a braggard and an insensitive man who trampled over Biblical customs and wrenched verses out of context. The Spirit of Yeshua within me was uneasy with Messer. I never listened to another of his teachings after that.

    One of the foremost problems in the Western Body of Messiah today is that we have been trained -- through watching thousands of hours of video games, TV, movies and even the nightly news AND losing ourselves in our iPhones, etc. – to trample over the discerning small voice of Yeshua’s spirit with us. Most Believers I meet CANNOT even hear that Voice anymore. They are so used to ignoring it, stepping right over it, or numbing their minds with various electronic devices.

    I am going to go out on a limb here and state this is why most Western Believers today can’t tell a covert fraud from person of God simply by looking at that person, meeting that person, or listening to that person for a short time. We have persecuted Brothers and Sisters in restricted nations around the world who know immediately, by the SPIRIT of Yeshua, when a secret policemen pretending to be a Believer walks into a Christian gathering. Not just the pastor knows it. Numerous members of that church know immediately that they have a fraud in their midst, and they go to silent prayer about it. I read in one book that one pastor prayed about how to protect his flock from this secret policeman, and the Ruach haKodesh told him to quit announcing the location of the meetings. Instead, each Believer was to hear that from the Ruach Himself, in his/her own prayer times, in order to know where to meet. I have heard stories like this repeated over and over again from verified sources who know what goes on in the church around the world. Can you imagine that happening in the US today? We are far too ‘sophisticated’ to simply listen to Yeshua and depend wholeheartedly on Him. And that is why blatant frauds like Messer (and I know of others in the Messianic community) are accepted by people who can’t tell the difference until it is nearly too late.

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  11. (continued) Not to take over your blog Judah, but bear with me momentarily...

    The Western limb of Messiah’s Body has become incredibly spiritually lazy and need to be taught again how to discern evil from good. It’s not just about reading the Words of the Torah and putting them into action; it is about cultivating and quietly abiding in a precious relationship with Yeshua. Valuing His thoughts and His heart above all, and listening to what He is speaking to your heart at any given moment.

    I don’t normally read Messianic or Christian forums. I have grown sick to my stomach of reading one believer after another spouting personal opinions over which they have NEVER made Yeshua LORD, yet which they feel entitled to share, even impose, on anyone else who will listen. I THINK this (yada yada)…I FEEL that (insert x)…well, no, you’re wrong because I BELIEVE (blah blah blah). It’s all flesh. All of it! And it needs to crucified, so we can get about the business of quietly surrendering our ‘right’ to our own humanistic, man-exalting opinions to the ONLY One Whose opinion matters.

    If we want the kind of discernment that our persecuted Brothers and Sisters have – the kind that the Scripture says is honed by use and practice – then we need to turn off the TV, the radio, our smartphones, our mp3 players, and yes, even our favorite Torah teachers for awhile and just ask Yeshua to begin to re-sensitize our hearts to the Voice of His Spirit within us. Ask Him to do whatever it takes, even if it means suffering to break through the humanistic nonsense that passes itself off as faith here in the West. Compare EVERY single statement you hear come from a teacher’s mouth, every single one of his/her actions to the Word. Ask often, “Where is that in the Word?” And don’t stop asking until you have your answer. Ask Yeshua, “What do you think of this man? How do you view this woman?” and expect your renewed heart to manifest His opinion on the matter. Ask for his repeated confirmation.

    When you have an immediate impression of someone that is not positive, don’t just write it off with “Oh, what an evil thought.” It may be the still small voice of Yeshua’s Spirit speaking in your heart. When we meet or hear others who are born again of our Messiah, we are going to experience the fellowship of the Spirit with them. It’s like sonar, once emitted, which seeks and seeks until it bounces off an object and returns to its original source. This spiritual 'sonar' emanating out of our re-born hearts is seeking an identical match, so we who bear Yeshua within are going to recognize when we meet a person with the identical Spirit in him or her.

    This kind of sensitivity to His Spirit is going to be the western Body of Messiah’s only hope of survival in the years to come as heavy persecution comes to the West.

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  12. The most legitimate alternative label to anything that regards the "Two-House" subject matter that I have been able to come up with includes things along the lines of: a greater/larger restoration of Israel, or it simply includes the *prophesied* restoration of (all) Israel, involving XYZ as participant(s).... But, this is terminology which can be perceived, admittedly, as rather vague.

    I do not think it is entirely possible to totally eliminate the term "Two-House" because "Two Houses of Israel" is Biblical terminology as far as the Tanach is concerned. I recognize that because of some over-simplicity and abuse by (far too many) proponents of the basic message that it is good to use a wider amount of other terms. It is appropriate to employ alternatives that direct people to various Scriptural prophecies and expectations in the Bible as it concerns Israel's restoration.

    All of us are united around a grand restoration of Israel, encompassing something quite unique and grand in its design, which we have yet to fully witness human history. This is why, when it concerns the participation of the exiled Northern Kingdom of Israel/Ephraim, why I have gone "overboard," so to speak, to place its fate entirely in the hands of a Sovereign, Omniscient, Eternal, Supreme, Creator God (not to overdo the "Calvinist" terminology).

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  13. G-d bless you brother. I'm so glad that you're out there.

    -Peter

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  14. The two-house doctrine is on par with the rapture doctrine. Both are a fantasy....

    Yeshua told His disciples to go to the nations and make disciples not ephramaites.....

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  15. The most legitimate alternative label to anything that regards the "Two-House" subject matter that I have been able to come up with includes things along the lines of: a greater/larger restoration of Israel, or it simply includes the *prophesied* restoration of (all) Israel, involving XYZ as participant(s).... But, this is terminology which can be perceived, admittedly, as rather vague.

    I've always been bothered by this particular theology because anyone anywhere can simply "decide" they are Ephramites or whatever and thus are "Israel", bound to the 613 commandments, and physical inheritors of the Land of Israel...without a shred of proof other than "a feeling."

    I don't understand what Biblical support there is for "I feel like an Ephramite."

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    1. James,

      That's a mischaracterization of the Two House argument. Two House doesn't reveal anything about individuals--it reveals something about G-d. And one doesn't become an Israelite by thinking that he or she is an Israelite; one becomes an Israelite by partaking in the Passover Lamb who is Yeshua.

      Cheers,

      Peter

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    2. But Peter, technically that includes every Christian who ever lived, if by saying "partaking in the Passover Lamb who is Yeshua" means anyone who has ever become a disciple of the Master. What about plain old, vanilla, Wonder Bread, Gentiles like me? Doesn't God care about our fate as well?

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    3. You haven't replied, Peter. Does that mean you believe there is something wrong with the redemption of the Gentiles or me not considering myself an "Ephramite?" The whole process is very mysterious to me.

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  16. I just want to mention that I am not related to Ralph Messer. :)

    @Dan, I'm curious, have you read any of the arguments for the two-house teaching? Such as some of Batya Wootan's books?

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    1. David,

      Can't you speak for yourself? Why do you invoke Wooten in here? If I wanted to know what she says, I would have asked her.....

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    2. I was just curious if you had read any of the arguments on the other side before forming your opinion.

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  17. It seems my previous comment in response to something McKee said as "disappeared". It may have ended up in the spam filter, Judah. If you removed it for other reasons, please email me and let me know where I "crossed the line". Thanks.

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  18. @James My focus on the subject matter begins at addressing what I read to be unfulfilled Bible prophecies, which involve the Northern Kingdom of Israel/Ephraim as a participant. I do not call myself an Ephraimite, even though there are many non-Jewish people who do. I call myself a Believer.

    I do consider myself a participant in the greater restoration of Israel. The Ezekiel 37:15-28 prophecy actually includes three groups of people who will be reunited: Judah, Israel, and their companions from the nations. The restoration in view might very well include a significant majority of companions. It is presumptuous for any non-Jewish Believer to automatically assume that he or she is some kind of "Ephraimite"; it is not presumptuous to assume, from reading Scripture, that there are prophecies involving the exiled Northern Kingdom as a participant that have yet to be fulfilled.

    Our ministry website includes a selection of FAQs and articles on the issue. It is not the same as the Wootten or MIA variety that you have encountered.

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    1. and their companions from the nations.

      Since I don't know that it's possible, at least currently, for anyone to tell who is or isn't from "the lost tribes", it seems more logical for me to consider myself as "of the nations." I can't see how I could possibly claim to be anything except a "plain old, vanilla, Wonder Bread, Gentile" as I described myself in a previous comment. I don't see what's wrong with considering myself that way at all. I'd rather be sit in the seat furthest away from the head of the table. If God has other plans for me, I'm sure He'll let me know.

      Oh, I wasn't saying you considered yourself an Ephramite before. I just used your quote as a jumping off point for my previous comment. Thanks.

      Delete
  19. "that there are prophecies involving the exiled Northern Kingdom as a participant that have yet to be fulfilled."

    Do you agree that the prophecies started in 1948?

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  20. @Dan Benzvi Yes, I would agree that the prophecies regarding Israel's restoration started in 1948 (even though the precursor to the rebirth of the State of Israel was the Zionist movement of the 1800s).

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  21. Long has apologised, Messer hasn't http://roshpinaproject.com/2012/02/06/eddie-long-apologizes-to-jewish-group-for-misuse-of-torah-scroll/

    Gev

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  22. @J.K.,

    I also appreciate your measured, balanced response. As you know, in the beginning of the discovery of the prophecies concerning the two houses of Israel there was quite a bit of excitement among the believers in Messiah. And as is usual with humans who are excited about something so big and so wonderful, they (the believers who embraced the "two house" message) caused some vehement resistance from certain groups who were suddenly starting to feel imposed upon as well as disrespected.

    The animosity has not diminished. In fact it seems to be growing. And as the two camps polarize, there are those of us who wonder just what the intent of revealing the content of those prophecies at this time in history could possibly be. We, my wife and I, thought that it could be the result of some heavenly event that triggered the earthly events. Who knows. We are hoping that we find out soon before there is another serious dent put in our love for one another.

    By the way, it is my own belief that it is Yeshua alone who represents, cares for and will ultimately bring the two houses of Israel back together.

    May it be in our day.

    Russ

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    1. Russ, you ask some really interesting questions. If I am understanding Zech. 11 (esp. vs. 14) correctly, it seems that perhaps the ugliness and division between Ephraim and Judah has not yet reached its climax. I agree with you that Yeshua alone can accomplish the word of restoring the two houses into one, but he works through human channels. It was a human prophet who was commanded to declare it into being in Ez. 37, so it is not going to be done without human handiwork, any more than the Red Sea parted itself at a divine command originating from Heaven. When Moses requested that he was directed to take the authority he had been given and do it himself.

      I think, what I don't understand is why so many people seem to feel entitled to NASTINESS because they disagree with the Two House doctrine. It's as if, in many Messianic circles, the commandment to love others applies to everyone, but those blankety-blank Two Housers. Yes, I have seen some very bad fruit in some people who say they believe in the Two House doctrine. I have also seen some terrible fruit in the official Messianic community as well. But I have also seen some remarkably gracious and humble people who believe in the Two Houses, people who have walked with Yeshua for a good while and who have experienced Him in a mature way. All this makes me wonder how people who say they love Yeshua could resent the excellent fruit pouring out of the lives of some of these believers, except that perhaps Yeshua is not the first love these people claim He is.

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  23. Has anyone seen this response to Messer's actions yet?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF8EVo7KS8I&feature=watch_response

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  24. Just saw it...thanks!

    One word: PERFECT!

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  25. Julie,

    Agreed. Yeshua works through His people. It seems that courage and patience are what's needed now. But as we all know, what YHWH has said will happen will happen, no matter what we do here. The fact that we are invited to participate at all is certainly His mercy.

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    1. Russ, yes His mercy is tremendous. It's incredible that He can trust any one of us enough to work us into His plan. I can't agree that this statement is Biblical, though: "what YHWH has said will happen will happen, no matter what we do here." It almost sounds like a 'que sera sera' sort of attitude, and that' not Biblical at all.

      I can think of several examples in the Scripture where obedience was required of His man/woman of the hour for that plan to work. Esther? Salvation couldn't come except through a human channel. If she wasn't faithful to that task she would have been set aside and someone else wound have been chosen, but for that to happen the plan had to have been changed. (4:14) Moses? Same thing: the only way that Red Sea was going to part was for him to do it in obedience to YHWH.

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    2. Julie,

      Keep in mind that we are discussing an eternal being (YHWH) who knows the outcome of every situation long before it takes place in our reality. Would He count on someone who was "iffy" when it came to the preservation of His people Israel? Of course not.

      And we must keep in mind as well that there are heavenly judgements that must play out. Will people be involved? Of course. But there is a predefined end that we can read about. In fact it is encouraged for us to do so. Can we change it? No. Can we participate? Do we have a choice? Since good and evil are involved I would have to say no, we don't have a choice concerning involvement.

      But if someone drops out of the race of faith, does that mean that faith comes to an end? No it doesn't. My individual actions will not change the course of history. They will only blend into it like everyone else. That is how history is constructed.

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  26. Thanks for denouncing this desecration, Judah.

    Ralph Messer isn't Jewish. He was supposedly converted by the late Rabbi Nathan Lerer. Google has a long memory.

    So-called Messianic leaders need to get out in front of this in order to avoid guilt by association.

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    1. Why do people care if he is Jewish or not? Are Jews sinless?

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    2. "Why do people care if he is Jewish or not? Are Jews sinless?"

      Did you really have to ask this question, David? Oh, where does one begin....

      Ralph Messer:

      1) Claims to be a Rabbi
      2) Presents himself as a Jew
      3) Claims to speak on "on behalf of the Jewish People, the Land of Israel, and the G-d of Israel"

      Do you honestly think that in the light of the above the question of him being a Jew or NOT is irrelevant?

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    3. @Gene, you have a good point about its relevancy, but this seems to be a particular sore point for people. I've heard people say that one of Ralph's parents was Jewish. I haven't seen any evidence that that claim is false (or true for that matter) and yet the unsupported claim has been made here multiple times.

      He claims to be a Rabbi. Obviously he hasn't been ordained as a Rabbi by any recognized Jewish authority, but I know many Messianic teachers who claim to be Rabbis and certainly most religious Jews would say they are making a false claim.

      Anyone can "claim" to represent some other group or individual.

      I don't see the need to worry about Mr. Messer beyond the fact that he is a false teacher. (In the old days we could stone him for that. Sigh.)

      Reminder: we share a last name but he is no kin of mine.

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  27. Perhaps what is worse than what Messer did, by wrapping a piece of pork in a Tora scroll, is what all Messianics do, by wrapping the reincarnation of `Esaw in one.

    Aaron

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    1. Aaron, you're using Bible codes to prove that Jesus is the reincarnation of Esau? I don't rightly know how to respond to such nonsense.

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  28. I've been following this whole situation with "Rabbi" Messer and recently found his response to the allegations here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcF8uGOWgHE

    I'm curious to know what anyone thinks of it.
    Shalom,
    Tom

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    1. Ok, so he said, "If I've offended the Jewish community in any way, I repent."

      Second, paraphrasing, "I went to New Birth to teach Torah...and to encourage a man. I don't endorse anything that went on before there before our appearance there."

      "I used Hebrew terms that would communicate in Christian vernacular that made sense to them. We did that on purpose. With full intent of reaching the nations with the Torah."

      "If I failed you, the Jewish community, I repent."

      Perhaps most interesting is Messer's statement that he is not Messianic and does not belong to any Messianic group. Here's his exact words, starting at around 09:30:

      "We are not, I repeat, we are not Messianics. Our intention is to not be Messianic. We are Christians who believe in the Hebrew Roots of the Christian faith. Point blank, that's what we are. We are not part of any Messianic groups, and don't ever intend on being one. I'm not against them, I'm not against those organizations at all. If I've offended anyone from those Messianic groups, my sincere apologies."

      Here's my take: he repents, but doesn't admit wrong. He repents for "anything I've done to offend." He didn't say "I mistreated the Torah, and I said factually inaccurate statements."

      So it's not a real apology.

      I do appreciate Messer's honesty in that his ministry is a Christian one that teaches Hebrew Roots. He comes out and plainly says, "Hey, I'm not Messianic, and I don't try to be Messianic. I'm a Christian that teaches the 5 books of Moses to Christians."

      I think that's helpful for him to state clearly. I'm glad he said as much.

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  29. A couple of additional thoughts in regard to this situation. I don't support what "Rabbi" Messer did in this church, because I believe it was insensitive to Jews who were a part of the Holocaust and incensitive to a very important Jewish tradition related to not touching Torah Scrolls which is not a tradition that violates the Torah or the Tanach. It is also inconsiderate of preservation of a historical religious artifact that should not be touched much like you wouldn't consider touching an original Picasso or Mona Lisa painting. Even if it was done in well meaning to encourage one man, it was a discouragement and incensitive act to lots more people. To bring in a Torah scroll that survived the holocaust was very incensitive. It also did a lot to attempt to burn bridges of healing between Christians and Jews. It brought negative attention to the Messianic movement and the act seeks to discredit all the hard work many of us have done to restore the Jewish roots to belief in Yeshua. So how is this profitable in any matter? How is it fruitful? We know that "Rabbi" Messer also did this to Pastor Paula White on her show (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSWih7tBze8) and also unraveled more than a century old torah scroll and covered his congregation with it and had them touch it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DghBcrnFjwE) If the oils of human skin can truly damage the very words of Scripture hand written on a Torah scroll by someone who goes through a tedious and prayerful process in writing this out with utmost reverence for the Words of Elohim they are writing out- something that takes more than three years - this brings dishonor and lack of preservation to the work that went into creating the scroll by opening it up and touching human skin to it.
    As upset as many of us are about this, I've heard in many circles (including the MEssianic world) the word "desecration" also used to describe this ceremony that was performed. Desecration is a strong word that lends symbolism to a Nazi symbol being spray painted on a Torah scroll, or the burning of Jewish books like Hitler did or sacrificing a hog in the Jerusalem Temple to Zeus. I've seen "Rabbi" Messer called a false prophet and compared to King Jereboam who set up two golden calfs, changed the Torah in regard to the Appointed Times and violated the Torah with changing the priesthood. We've also seen Rabbi Messer accused of ripping off a pro football player. But is that the final judgment of the whole matter?
    With all that said, In order to rightly judge this matter, we still need to still apply the Scriptures to it and that is sorely lacking here. Is there any evidence that he is a false prophet in changing the times and the seasons, or teaching others to violate the Torah? Is there any Scripture in Tanach that was violated in what he did in this church service? I can't find anything in the Tanach that either allows or prohibits the touching of a Torah scroll. I have more to say, but I'm limited in words so I will post it after this one.

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  30. Secondly, the mouth of one witness against him by saying he ripped off a pro football player is not enough evidence by the Torah that states we need two witnesses. I hope that there are more people who would come forth if this is sadly true. I see no reason why this friend of his would lie, however, I still think it's important that there are two witnesses in this matter before we can rightly speak out against it. Otherwise it is hearsay.
    Also the affiliation of doing this ceremony with Bishop Eddie Long is another aspect of this situation. Again, look at the facts, everything is hearsay in his scandal other than him settling out of court and dealing with divorce. No arrests were made, no charges were proven true against Bishop Long. According to Torah - what Scriptural support do we have to even condemn Bishop Eddie Long? If the man commited a crime against these boys, he should be put in jail -- yet the "victims" took millions of dollars instead from him to "Settle" out of court. Doesn't that seem a little fishy to us? Where is justice in this matter? Who is more criminal the ones who took money or the one who is accused? Was he perhaps blackmailed? Yes, he's dealing with divorce from his wife, but is that enough for us to go by. Please don't consider me as someone who is defending a sinful act if it was indeed done by Bishop Long. I'm just saying we should ask questions and seek to make right judgments in the matter, but what right do we have to hold judgment on something where there's accusation but no hard evidence to make a right conclusion?
    Finally as you can see from the Youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcF8uGOWgHE)
    I sited in my earlier post, there is no evidence of repentance from "Rabbi" Messer. He seems to have grown stronger from this and actually believes he has done nothing wrong. So how are we going to correct someone in our faith if we don't have anything that's a violation in Scripture to humbly bring to his attention to give him an opportunity to correct his actions?

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    1. Secondly, the mouth of one witness against him by saying he ripped off a pro football player is not enough evidence by the Torah that states we need two witnesses.

      That issue was brought before 3 people: Keith Johnson reported it, and said there were 2 other witnesses present: Hardy Nickerson and Reggie White.

      if we don't have anything that's a violation in Scripture

      Lying is a violation of Scripture. Either Messer deliberately lied some 20-30 times, or he was misinformed and made factually inaccurate statements 20-30 times. He could at least repent of that. As of 2/13/12, the most he's stated is that those were not inaccurate statements, but was Hebrew terms in vernacular that the Christian gentile audience could understand.

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  31. Honestly perhaps I have spent too much time typing this stuff out. I don't want to come across as defending sinful acts of others. I just am calling for us to dig beyond the initial concerns if people want to speak out against this ministry. As I shared, that while the wrapping of the Torah scroll was insensitive and done in poor taste, it seems that people were more concerned about the Torah Scroll being touched which was not an actual violation of Torah than the accusation of ripping off Reggie White and other accuasations of lies.

    I know it was reported by Keith Johnson and referenced as 2 to 3 people. But this was only the testimony of Keith Johnson in the article and publicly. He referenced two others, but it was still only his testimony. And obviously we can't ask Reggie White sadly because He's passed on. I'm not saying I don't believe Keith Johnson either. I'm just saying it needs to be confirmed by two witnesses publicly for us to embrace it as Torah states. Hopefully Hardy Nickerson will come forth and confirm it. It would be like me saying on the news that Judah Gabriel was in the room with me when I went to visit with him for Shabbat dinner. I'm saying that you and I were there for Shabbat dinner, however you have not confirmed it publicly. It's just that I said it.

    You're right about the lying part being against Scripture, however he seems to believe he didn't do anything wrong nor that he actually lied, that he was explaining something in a way that the church audience would understand. I've been told that he lies about other things that are more serious, but that's one person's testimony to me. People need to come forward and testify publicly against such things so that people can become aware if his ministry is corrupt as it seems.

    Anyhow, thanks for reading my long posts. I am many times long winded. It's easier for me to type more than less. Shalom, Tom

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