The Two-House teaching of Judah and Ephraim, being reunited in the period prior to the Messiah’s return, is one which has certainly stirred a great deal of controversy across the broad Messianic community. Why has this been the case? A ministry like Outreach Israel and Messianic Apologetics has always thought that the safest approach to this difficult issue, is to focus the attention of Bible readers to a series of unfulfilled prophecies (i.e., Isaiah 11:12-16; Jeremiah 31:6-10; Ezekiel 37:15-28; Zechariah 10:6-10), which point to a larger restoration of Israel occurring subsequent to the Second Coming of Yeshua the Messiah. Such an eschatological approach to the subject matter, with many of its finer details only known by a Sovereign and Eternal God, should not really be that controversial. At the very most, such an approach is about as controversial as pre-tribulationism versus post-tribulationism. Things can get a bit heated from time to time, but ultimately it comes down to one’s vantage point regarding various prophecies, events that have yet to occur in future history, and how much we let God be God.
What has drawn a great deal of the controversy over the past two decades, or so (1990s-2000s), is what is often labeled to be the “Ephraimite movement.” Such a group of people, aside from emphasizing commonly overlooked prophecies regarding the restoration of Israel involving the descendants of the exiled Northern Kingdom as a player, go much further than the Biblical text itself. They commonly claim that the considerable, or even vast majority, of non-Jewish Believers in the broad, contemporary Messianic movement today, absolutely must be those descendants. Far from adhering to the Scriptural word, “He who scattered Israel will gather him” (Jeremiah 31:10), with God only knowing all of the details of where the Northern Kingdom has gone (cf. Hosea 8:8; Amos 9:9), those non-Jewish Believers who commonly and/or forcibly label themselves “Ephraimites,” feel that their identity as descendants of the exiled Northern Kingdom of Israel/Ephraim is absolutely certain. It does not matter if such people have no documentation proving this or not; they have a “feeling” that they are, and that is good enough.
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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).