POSTED 29 AUGUST, 2016
In our day, a wide number of non-Jewish Believers, in significant numbers, have chosen to address what many throughout religious history have called, “the Ten Lost Tribes” of Israel issue. This has often taken place because of a strong interest by many Christians in the Hebraic Roots of our faith, and a renewed interest in Israel and their faith heritage in Judaism. A loose sub-movement, commonly known by the descriptions “Judah and Ephraim” or “Two-House” or “Messianic Israel,” has gained wide adherence in various sectors of the broad, modern Messianic movement. There is no doubting the fact that it has caused controversy, consternation, and even division among many Believers…
Appearing along with the article “Decoding the Priesthood” by Peter Hirschberg, from the 10 May, 1999 edition of The Jerusalem Report, the adjunct “Report Card” by Tibor Krausz stated how, “An evolving doctrine in Christian Zionism and Messianic Judaism, based on a new interpretation of scripture, holds that most true Christians are descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel.” This is certainly interesting, coming from a mainstream Jewish publication. What is going on, exactly? What might these sentiments mean? How do we properly approach the issues at hand, and what are at least, some thought-provoking statements issued? How can we know what is fact, and what is fiction?
What is the “Two-House teaching,” which has gained a great deal of attention and controversy throughout the Messianic world since the late 1990s? What is it all about and what is its purpose? Does it actually advocate that all non-Jewish Believers are physical Israel? Or, could it be that there are elements of Israel’s restoration which have been overlooked by Bible readers, requiring further analysis and contemplation? What questions are being asked today about “Israel” that we must take note of, and attempt to reasonably answer? What are some of the over-statements and under-statements that we have to all sort through, from both the pro- and con- sides of this discussion? How much data and noise have to actually be sifted through?
Each of us needs to take to serious heart the words of Ezekiel 37:28. God says that “the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever,” b’heyot miqdashi b’tokam l’olam. Notice that our Heavenly Father does not say He sanctifies a separate group of elect called “the Church,” and also notice that He does speak of a day coming when Israel is restored and His presence will be in the world forever. We have obviously not reached this anticipated point in human history.
We begin our discussions by examining some of the important questions concerning the subject matter commonly known by the label of “the Two-House teaching.” We will consider the historical division and prophesied reunification of Israel from the Tanach or Old Testament. We will examine some of the objections that people commonly have associated with a larger restoration of Israel to come, involving those of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. What are some things in the Bible concerning Israel and the Kingdom of God that readers may have overlooked or under-emphasized that can no longer be avoided? Is there a legitimate, larger restoration of Israel to take place before the return of the Messiah? If so, how many things have contemporary advocates of the “Two-House teaching” embellished and over-exaggerated, which need to be avoided?
In too many Messianic settings, when questions are asked about Biblical passages like Isaiah 11:12-16; Jeremiah 31:6-10; Ezekiel 37:15-28; and Zechariah 10:6-10, among others, polarized extremes are likely to be witnessed. One side makes these kinds of verses a central part of its spiritual identity—even more important than faith in the Messiah. Another side, when encountering past abuses, tends to totally dismiss legitimate questions and expectations that such passages pose. How can Bible readers have a mature approach to a larger restoration of Israel, prophesied in the Holy Writ, which is able to navigate through much of the immaturity detectable?
A significant question asked by the Apostles, before Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) ascended into Heaven, was, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Recognizing the restoration of Israel as a critical part of the Apostles own expectations of the Last Days—might there be any aspects of the restoration of Israel, beyond the rebirth of the State of Israel and many Jewish people coming to faith in Messiah Yeshua, that any of us have missed? Is there possibly more to be anticipated in future salvation history, as it concerns the emergence of the Messianic movement, non-Jewish Believers embracing their Hebraic Roots in a very tangible way, and many turning to the truths of God’s Torah?
Israel in Future Prophecy: Is There a Larger Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel? addresses some of the controversies and problems that have been caused, by what is commonly known as the Two-House movement/sub-movement. This book attempts to sort through much of the religious politics and abuse that one commonly encounters when poignant questions are asked about what is happening in today’s Messianic community. It intends to provide some preliminary resolution to the issues which are Biblically-rooted, and are engaged with contemporary Jewish and Christian scholarship, providing some viable alternatives to the posturing more likely to be encountered. Above all, this publication directly takes on over-statements, exaggerations, and sound bytes offered by prominent advocates within the Two-House sub-movement, providing more Scriptural answers to welcoming in the many masses of people from the nations, as a part of the Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-13) or the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).