A Global Association of Orthodox Jewish Believers in Messiah Yeshua
Two House Theology is a Distraction
This is a comment on Two House theology, otherwise known as the Ephraimite movement. Being a comment, it’s not going to address the totality of Two House theology, but it will address its most serious consequence in its thinking. I will address what I see is its most important flaw, and that is: its belief as to why so many people are being led into Messianic Judaism.
Two House theology is the belief that according to biblical prophecy, that G-d is restoring all the tribes of Israel to faithfulness, restoring them to keep the Torah, and that this promised return of the tribes of Israel to HaShem (and to the land of Israel) is the reason why so many people are drawn to Torah observance through Messianic Judaism. It’s belief that one is drawn to the Torah through Messianic Judaism because one is descended from someone who was at Mt. Sinai (at the giving of the Torah).
My friends, this is wrong. We should know better than to believe that every person led to Torah is so led because they may somehow be Jewish, and are for the moment unaware of it. Being Jewish does not, and has never guaranteed one’s faithfulness to the Torah (and thus faithfulness to Messiah), as the stories in the bible of Israel’s (un)faithfulness, and most of history is clear about.
Just because one is born Jewish doesn’t guarantee that they will make teshuvah (repentance to the Torah). This is the flaw at the core of Two-House theological reasoning.
So what is the correct answer to the question as to why all of us are drawn to Torah observance, through Messianic Judaism?
It’s not because we’re Jewish.
Believers are led to keep Torah because they have the real, Jewish, living Messiah who lives in and through them, and who himself is obedient to the Torah in every way, and thus calls all of his talmidim (disciples) to follow him in doing so.
Brothers and sisters, you are being led to keep Torah because Yeshua, who is Jewish, lives in you, and He himself keeps Torah.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Genealogy doesn’t get you there. Only the Spirit of G-d does as he convicts us all individually to return to the Torah – which was a covenant made with “those not here” at the giving of the Covenant to Israel (Deut 29:15), and this includes you, your family, your neighbors, friends, and enemies – everyone in the world, past, present, and future who were not there in Deuteronomy 29:15, when the Covenant was made. The Torah is clear on this:
I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you who are standing here with us today in the presence of the LORD our G-d but also with those who are not here today.
We have received accusation from some inquirers from other sites asking if JerusalemCouncil.org is a Two-House (Ephraimite) theology website. No it is not – at least not myself nor the majority of those who have chosen to volunteer in this site’s vision. This site is open to all who desire to discuss such things, but it is not the view of myself or the current volunteers at JerusalemCouncil.org. We believe the evidence is firmly on the side of a Torah-for-all-mankind call to repentance – in that the Torah is for both native and non-native born alike, not just the native-born. Israel has the G-d-given responsibility to guard the Torah, just as the Levites have the G-d-given responsibility to guard the Tabernacle. This does not mean that Israel is kept out of the Tabernacle, nor does this mean that the rest of mankind is kept out of the Torah! Just as Israel was expected to participate in the Tabernacle, so too all mankind is expected to participate in the Torah! All are called to repentance, for it is the Torah that reveals Messiah and confirms who he is, and it is to the Torah that the Messiah leads us to before his return as King. The majority of visitors to this site appear to follow a One-Law view of Torah application for the believer (both native and non-native born), rather than a belief that someone is drawn to the Judaism of the Messiah simply because they must somehow be descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel.
We, as a site, support and defend the non-native born’s right to the Torah and its application in their lives.
We of course do not discount the base premise of Two-House theology, in that those descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are making teshuvah as they discover their heritage. There is even the very real possibility that some believers in Messiah who are coming into a greater and greater knowledge of the Jewishness of the faith in Messiah Yeshua may in fact be descended from the 10 lost tribes of Israel (as this is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy) – but as far as it being the main reason as to why so many non-native born believers are drawn to the Jewishness of our faith, we disagree emphatically with such speculation.
What is argued here in this comment, is that the applicable conclusion of such thinking continues to promote the same lie the the Torah isn’t for the non-native born believer (even though this is not what is actually believed within the majority of Two-house circles, it certainly is the only logical apologetic conclusion for keeping Torah), which was the cause for the appearance of Two-House theology in the first place. Tacitly surrendering to the prejudice of others (that Torah is for native-born only) is not, in the opinion of this site, the proper solution to this sad state of Messianic affairs.
When our first response to someone asking why they feel drawn to the Torah, is “your family probably was at Mt. Sinai 3500 years ago,” rather than “because Yeshua is Jewish,” then we’ve totally missed it. Worse still, we have laid the foundation for their journey into Torah observance as being based on their ability to secure their identity from supposed Israelite ancestry, rather than in Messiah Yeshua. Some do not admit this, and others vehemently say they aren’t doing this, but ideas have consequences.
When the identity bubble of a new believer who has subscribed to the Ephraimite bandwagon is finally questioned (as inevitably it will), and pops, then what remains as their reason for their draw to Torah?
If their legitimacy in keeping Torah is founded on a faith in their supposed ancestry, and in fact not founded on Messiah Yeshua and his faithfulness to the Torah, then what kind of disciples are we making? Ones that are distracted by genealogy, and without true root.
When we build a movement of teshuvah on the quicksand of ancestral heritage as those in the Two House movement do, we wind up committing the same logical fallacy as those (Jews) who think they will inherit the World to Come based on their own (Jewish) identity alone. In fact, when one reaches a point of reality or belief that they really aren’t in fact physically descended from Israel, and really aren’t Jewish, what is to prevent them from rejecting the Torah and therefore the Messiah along with it? If we make such a self-destroyed disciple, then the consequences of the Two-House Distraction may have effects which last into Eternity, if not damnation, then certainly a loss of their (and our) rewards in the World to Come which are based on obedience to Torah. Do you want to be responsible for that?
Take my advice, and those of others that have gone before us: let distractions and endless genealogies handle themselves, and you – focus on the real reason for keeping Torah: that Messiah Yeshua is your Lord and King – for it is he who gives you your identity as his am segulah (treasured people) – if this is called “Jewish,” then it truly is Messiah Yeshua who gives you your “Jewish” identity, not your ancestors. It is through Yeshua we are led to keep the Torah, and through the keeping of the Torah that we become Jewish (and part of the remnant that inherits eternal life). It’s not the other way around. It never has been, and never will be.
Sadly, Two-House theology evolved as a popular theology due to the rejection by some native-born (read Jewish) believers of non-native born (read Gentile) seekers, refusing them access to all the commandments of Torah which apply to Israel. This prejudice is due in part, we believe, to a fear of man, in which some in the Messianic movement have fallen to, as they seek recognition and legitimacy within greater and more popular Judaism that rejects Yeshua as the Messiah, and which refuses the Torah to non-native born believers. We believe such a fear is unwarranted when it should be the Messiah that our common identity is found in, and therefore legitimized as the sole reason for our participation in imitating Him.
Now that we have laid the foundation for your return to Torah as being the Messiah, and not one’s identity beforehand, then if you are looking for answers to solidify your identity after the fact, then look no further than the Torah as explained in orthodox Jewish halacha concerning conversion: one who has been circumcised (if male), and has committed themselves to do the Torah, and has been immersed in a mikveh (immersion) of conversion, is deemed an Israelite in all respects – and is considered fully Jewish and has a new identity as a Jew, has a new parentage, new ancestry, new heritage and promises, and becomes fully integrated as an equal member of the covenant community of the nation of Israel, and by default are associated with the tribe of Judah. Since land inheritance allocations have been lost today, then such a convert is just as equally a Jew as any other Jew who is not a Levite or Cohen. Furthermore, according to the Torah and to orthodox Jewish halacha, it is a transgression of Torah for anyone to remind such a convert of their gentile past, let alone treat them as such. Concerning the orthodox Jewish requirements for conversion, have not even the vast majority of Christians unknowingly done this, especially when they too make teshuvah and commit to the Torah? So then, when asked if you are Jewish, then if you have been circumcised (if male), committed yourself to the Torah, and have been immersed (baptized) in water (for conversion to HaDerech “The Way” a sect of Judaism), witnessed by others (by native-born Jews or other non-native born Jewish converts); then one can only answer with an emphatic and most-honest, “Yes, I am Jewish.” Anything less is dishonest with ourselves and with others.
Two-House genealogical speculation isn’t necessary when one realizes that it is a distinctly Jewish Messiah who desires to take Lordship over the hearts of both the native and non-native born, and make them his own people, teaching them to keep the Torah – since it is all what he commands us. If this sounds like the Great Commission, it is. Such imitation of the Messiah will lead someone to a distinctively Torah-observant, Jewish-looking lifestyle, and resulting Jewish identity, and to that end, we hope that this truth will counter the rapidly encroaching darkness of the Torahless Anti-Messiah in these times.