The Jerusalem Council

A Global Association of Orthodox Jewish Disciples of 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:

Deuteronomy 29:14-15
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.

Thoughts? Comments?

Shalom

Israel

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 Responses to “Two House Theology is a Distraction”

  • Rhonda says:

    So…you’re saying…if I have accepted the G-d and Messiah of Israel, vowed to follow Him and His Torah, among witnesses, and have been immersed…I can rightfully call myself a Messianic Jew??

  • Hanok says:

    So when the Scriptures refers to “Israel and Judah” together approximately 200 times, is that too a “Distraction”?

    • If one uses such to promote obedience to Torah based off of “Israel and Judah” alone, yes, such usage of those terms to promote such would be a distraction from the real reason why people are led to Torah through Messiah. If one doesn’t believe one should even be Torah observant, whether one is of Israel or not, then one has a bigger issues to deal with than a spat over two house theology since one’s plain and simple obedience, and thus one’s loyalty to the King is then questioned.

  • Hello Israel

    I just found this page today.I must say that i find it very interesting what you have written here.

    I do have a question tho.If one wishes not to convert to Messianic Judaism,yet they are convinced that “Christians” who try to convert Jews or Israelis to Trinitarianism,or better said to idolatry are wrong.

    I find lately that i do not like the word Christian,at least not for myself anymore.Although i do see that it is used in the New Testament at least three times…So i have taken on the name “Economists”.Which is really not a name,but is what i believe in. “The Unus Deus”

    Since visiting your site i have even a better understanding of the Davar of Hashem (The Word of the Lord)…

    So my question is this,according to the Davar of Hashem…The greatest commandments are to Love G-d and your neighbor..Matthew 23:36-40…So then if i choose not to keep the Sabbath,or even the Passover,but do conform to Genesis 35:2 Exodus 20:2,33,Leviticus 17:11-13 and their New Testament counterpart or passages,Acts 15:19,20 and 21:25…

    Then Israel,our we not of the same house? And based on the fact that i too like the children of Japheth (the Gentiles)dwell in the “tent” of Shem,the father of all the children of Heber,(Jews and and Israelis)and dwell through the same faith in Yeshua the Messiah (Christ)as you…

    My ancestors are of the children of Ham,whom G-d blessed along with his brothers in Genesis 9:1.So Like Shem,Ham and Japheth are we not brothers?(tho i am a woman)

    Israel you are free,so please respond in that manner,i would really like to know what you think and believe.

    Dee/Delores

  • Sorry Israel,i have a Correction to make (Exodus 20:3,23)

    • If one refuses to observe Sabbath and the Festivals, by definition, one is not loving G-d, since “all the Torah” hangs from “love the LORD your G-d” which means not a single commandment exist that is outside the category of loving G-d. This means Sabbath and Festivals are acts of love of G-d. Why would anyone who claims to love G-d not do them? When you became a convert, to follow Messiah as King and Savior, you converted to Judaism. Like most Christians, you even went through a mikveh of conversion, so why do you still call yourself a gentile? You are a convert to Judaism. If you have committed to Torah, made repentance to Torah, believe Yeshua is the Messiah, and have gone through an immersion in water for conversion, then according to even orthodox standards, you are a Jew with a new heritage. Abraham, Issac, and Jacob become your fathers, and Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah, become your mothers, as it says in Deut 29 – the Covenant is made with everyone, and everyone who keeps it is reckoned as Abraham’s offspring.

  • Israel i do not wish to be placed under the law of Moses…For when i break even one law,i will be guilty of breaking the whole…What then? Will i then turn again to Grace? And say that Yeshua has kept Torah (law) for me anyway…Is this not hypocrisy? I would i not just receive grace and forgiveness instead?

    My whole point is this…Unlike many others who call themselves Christians,i know who the church is…And by reading the first book of scripture,Genesis…This is what i wanted to demonstrate to you…

    So i do not agree with what you have said here at all…So while we sit around “puffing” ourselves up,everyday minute of every day,thousands of people all over the world are dying in their sins,because they are yet without Yeshua as their savior…I know what the great commission is to,i does not mean to sit around on our Arses and waiting for people to come to you…It is about sharing the Gospel with every one!

    Also at this very hour,are those who called themselves “Christian Zionist” whom i believe will do anything to be the first to enter the Kingdom of G-d with Yeshua. Thinking that they Usurp those to whom he was sent to first,Israel… This includes encouraging the USA and or Israel to start a war with Iran or even worse,All Arab and Muslim Nations would be involved… So who will protect the church and those who do not believe yet from these Zionist? They wish to bring Armageddon Israel,dont you care!!!

    Yes i am probably off topic again so delete it…But see the video before you do…

    Unless you are committed as i am to do something about this then,i have nothing further…I know what the scriptures teach Israel,truly i do…This is perhaps why no one will ever answer the question concerning Daniel 9:27,then they would have to admit that the New Covenant is indeed in forced,seeing as we have the death and the resurrection of the one who confirmed it,who is also its testator…Hebrews 7:44 9;17,18..

    Just so you know the answer to Daniel 9;27 is most clear to me in the Jewish Orthodox bible,so thank you,i downloaded it as well as ordered it…Did you know that Christians the Zionism stands by the misrepresentation of this passage,as being some anti-christ who will persecute Israel? When it is likely that they themselves,the soon to become apostates, of the church will in fact do it themselves and to the whole church!!!

    http://thechurchofjesuschrist.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/war-and-eschatology-christian-zionists-and-the-new-israeli-government/

    Shalom Israel…

    • One’s obedience to HaShem never jeopardizes their salvation. Ever. One is obedient to HaShem because they are saved. If you are concerned about breaking one law (because then you break them all), ask yourself, have you ever broken the laws to “love the LORD your G-d” and “love your neighbor as yourself” at any point in your life? Of course. We are all sinners. Yet because we fear “breaking them all” does that mean we aren’t to “love the LORD your G-d?” In Messiah, we are not condemned for our imperfection. Because of this, we can keep Torah without fear of condemnation. We can truly be obedient to HaShem as we can do all these things through “Messiah who strengthens us.” You are not “under the law” when you have Messiah. After you become “saved,” the Torah continues in it function to “teach, rebuke, correct and train in righteousness, so that the man of G-d may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:14-17). As disciples of Messiah, are we called to live a life of disobedience? No. Our reward will be very small if we do. Instead, we submit to HaShem and walk in his ways, because we love Him, and already have eternal life through Messiah. G-d’s perfect standard in how to love G-d and one’s neighbor, is the Torah. We do ourselves, G-d, and others, a great disservice when we think somehow that standard (that standard which condemned us as sinners) has somehow changed the moment we became believers, and that it is “ok” to be disobedient to it – that it’s ok to lust (love selfishly) after what we want, and not what G-d desires.

      I hope I have not come across as puffing myself up. My desire is to love you as HaShem clearly instructs me to do in the Torah, as I hope you would too. I just encourage others to love others and G-d as He himself instructs in the Torah, and not by our own arbitrary human standards. G-d’s ways are not our ways. I pray all those who read these articles are inspired to walk closer with HaShem than ever before, in accordance with the truth of the Torah, and not with the falsehood of our imaginations and comfort zones.

      I have not studied Daniel 9. My focus is on Torah, Messiah, and being obedient to HaShem. The future will happen regardless of what I know about, and I want to be ready to meet HaShem and hear him say “well done good and faithful servant.”

  • Yes i see you are about promoting your own self interest which has little or nothing to do with G-d or Yeshua or the Torah You are saved already right?

    I would challenge you to ask yourself honestly how many times,even in one day you find that you are in need of repentence,for thoughts alone,that would indeed displease G-d…What about keeping the Sabbath,are there not times when you do not keep it? Would you freeze to death rather than kiddle a fire if need be? Would you allow a love one to remain inside of your home if they are in need of medical care? So then good luck with keeping the Sabbath…Funny (strange)how Yeshua the Daver of Hashem never tells us to keep it…Oh yea,i forgot the New Testament is optional for you…You keep the things that you like and cast away the rest…Nice Israel!

    Do as you wish…Keep Torah then…I care not for what you practice,i did not come here to change your mind…However,i will share the Gospel…At least those idolatrous Trinitarians and Zionist do attempt even in their folly,to lead others to Yeshua…

    So can i do better with out the 1+1+1 does not really equal three god’s theory? Yes i can! Yes i was a Trinitarian once,so surley i know that they are not better than you,Israel…They are not better than you!!!

    Do not bother to answer,i have nothing more to say,until you change your mind about openly sharing the Gospel with everyone,starting with the people of the State of Israel!!! Thank you for your time.

    Take care and goodbye,Israel (only for now i pray)

    Delores

    • Yes, I believe I have a place in the World to Come by the merit of Messiah Yeshua alone. And yes, we openly share the gospel with everyone, beginning in Gen 3:15. Actually it was one of the first articles posted on this site: http://jerusalemcouncil.org/articles/apologetics/the-genesis-road/

      We should repent the moment we are made aware of our sin by the Spirit of G-d (often when we read his Word). I find I am in need of repentance always, which is why I ask for forgiveness of HaShem every time I engage him in the daily prayers as the Master himself taught us to say “forgive us our sin, as we forgive those who sin against us.” As demonstrated in the Tabernacle, we only actively ask for forgiveness when we go meet with HaShem, and not every waking moment of our lives. Just as one wasn’t called to run to the Temple to make a sacrifice every time one became aware of their sin, so too we don’t need to run to HaShem immediately to ask forgiveness too (however repentance is required for obedience the moment we are aware of our sin, and this often includes asking HaShem for forgiveness so that process can begin). People only needed to make a sacrifice when they went to the Tabernacle to meet with HaShem, but not every time they sinned. Since I meet with HaShem daily through prayer, it is during those times of prayer I ask for forgiveness, as the Master instructed “when you pray.” It’s a matter of courtesy and a sincerely repentant heart before the King when one enters into his Presence in prayer. Why demand or ask something of the King when we’ve insulted him with our disobedience? We should ask for forgiveness when we are before Him.

      Regarding Sabbath, if one even hesitates to consider whether or not to save a life on the Sabbath, then one has broken the Sabbath already since the entire day is about redemption. We are commanded to save a life on the Sabbath, and by doing so, one does not break Sabbath, even if it’s help a donkey out of a pit, as Yeshua clearly pointed out. Yeshua commanded us to love G-d and others, especially as he himself did – and he did so by being perfect to the Torah!

      The Latter Writings of the Disciples of Yeshua are not optional when one is a follower of Messiah Yeshua. They do not contradict the Torah, nor do they teach others to forsake it. We are called to love G-d and others in accordance with His perfect standard in how to love G-d and others, not our own standard; and His standard is, and always will be, the Torah.

      It is by our obedience to HaShem that we share the gospel, as it is written “go (if translated into Hebrew, is “lech” from which we get “halach”) therefore and make disciples.” Halacha in Hebrew is the word for walking out Torah. It is as we are obedient to HaShem that we make disciples who too are obedient, for this is what a disciple does: he imitates the one he is a disciple of. As Paul said “imitate me as I imitate the Messiah.” So then, Paul being a “Pharisee of Pharisee” and who said “I have done nothing against the traditions” is calling even those of the nations, to imitate Messiah as he imitates him. And how do we imitate Messiah? By walking (halacha, “going”) in love, that is, the Torah, the perfect standard for love that never changes.