Understanding the Two-House Movement
Bob & Suzanne Hamrick
One fairly recent development in “Hebraic Roots” Christianity is what is being called the “Two House Movement”. It is primarily composed of Christians who have come to believe that they may be physical descendants of the “lost tribes of Israel”, as prophesied in the Hebrew Tanakh (Christian “Old Testament”). Most of those who believe this also believe that it explains, at least in part, the strong emotional attachment they personally feel for Christianity’s Hebraic roots, for the land of Israel, and for the Jews. Part and parcel with this belief is the discovery that much of what they have been taught as Christians concerning their own faith is a pack of lies according to the Bible, and that even this discovery is itself prophesied in the Tanakh!
O YHVH, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. (Jeremiah 16:19)
So, what is this all about, and what does it have to do with the Church as a whole? Let us see.
First, a brief recap of the relevant history is in order.
The twelve original tribes of Israel were originally allocated lands in Israel according to the dictates of Moses and Joshua. Later, during the reign of Solomon, YHVH Elohim divided these twelve tribes into the Southern Kingdom, comprised of Judah and Benjamin (centered around Jerusalem and the Temple), and the Northern Kingdom, which was the other ten tribes, variously referred to as “Ephraim” or “Israel”.
In 1 Kings 11:9-13, YHVH tells Solomon (who was king of what is now called the “united kingdom” – which is all 12 tribes of “the children of Israel” – that He will take that kingdom away from him because of all his idolatries.
In 1 Kings 11:28-32, the prophet Ahijah then tells Jeroboam that YHVH has split Solomon’s kingdom into two, and given him (Jeroboam) the rule over the ten Northern tribes. Because Ephraim had grown by this time to be the largest of the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, the entire Northern Kingdom itself is often referred to as “Ephraim”, or as “Israel”, as distinct from “Judah”. (We refer to it either as “10-Israel” or “Ephraim”). Needless to say, all of these overlapping names have led to much confusion among Bible students, down to our day.
In 1 Kings 12:26-13:33, Jeroboam, as king of 10-Israel/Ephraim, later also sins against YHVH, by corrupting the priesthood, other idolatries, etc.
In 2 Kings 17:6, as punishment for their sins, the Northern Kingdom (10-Israel/Ephraim) is carried away into captivity by the king of Assyria, as prophesied in Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. They eventually are totally assimilated into Assyria and into the rest of the pagan/Gentile nations of the world, completely losing their Hebraic identity in the process, as detailed in the Book of Hosea. This is what is generally referred to as “the ten lost tribes of Israel”.
In Jeremiah 3:8, YHVH confirms this, explicitly stating that he has divorced 10-Israel/Ephraim.
In Ezekiel 37:15-28, below, YHVH then prophesies through the prophet Ezekiel that the two warring kingdoms – Judah and Ephraim – will ultimately be reunited in the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah, after the seven years of the Tribulation (also known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble”):
15 The word of YHVH came again unto me, saying,
16 Moreover, you son of man, take one stick, and write upon it, “For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions”: then take another stick, and write upon it, “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:”
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in your hand.
18 And when the children of your people shall speak to you, saying, “Will you not show us what you mean by these things?”
19 Say to them, Thus says the Lord YHVH; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand.
20 And the sticks whereon you wrote shall be in your hand before their eyes.
21 And say unto them, ‘Thus says the Lord YHVH; Behold, I will take the children of (12-)Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
28 And the heathen shall know that I, YHVH, do sanctify (all) Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.’
So it was the God of the Bible – YHVH Elohim – who divided the original twelve tribes of “the children of Israel” into two “houses”: the Northern Kingdom (ten tribes, also referred to as “Ephraim” , “Israel”, or “10 Israel”); and the Southern Kingdom (two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, also referred to as “Judah” or “the Jews”). The modern “Two House” movement refers to several different teachings within Messianic Judaism (or, Hebraic Roots Christianity) which seek to predict (!) just how and when this reconciliation will be accomplished, and what it may mean to Gentile believers in Yeshua (“Jesus Christ”) today. For many, it has also meant an acceptance of Zionism and the present secular nation called “Israel” as being Biblically legitimate, and worthy of their support. As we will see, this last is absolutely untrue according to the Tanakh. There are other problems.
One issue arises because there are two different lists of tribes, one given in the Hebrew Tanakh (Genesis 35:23) and another in the Book of the Revelation, Chapter 7:
“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”
But the tribes listed in Revelation as “ALL” of the twelve tribes are Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Napthali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulon, Joseph, and Benjamin. Comparing this list with the last list in the Tanakh, we see that Ephraim, named for the younger son of Joseph, is missing from the Revelation list, apparently because it had been “divorced” by YHVH for idolatry. Dan is also missing, apparently because of its acceptance of the idols established by Jeroboam, described in 1 Kings 12:28-28, and referred to in Amos 8:14 as “the sin of Samaria”.
But what can it mean, that the God of the Tanakh makes no mention of the very tribe which he has singled out for special attention during the end times? This has puzzled serious Bible students for centuries, but since it did not seem to have any significance for the “Christian” church, little has been written about it from that perspective. In fact, the issues involved have enormous implications, both for the Jews and for the disciples of Yeshua of Nazareth, whatever they may call themselves!
A consistent theme running throughout the Hebrew Tanakh (Christian “Old Testament”) is of the spiritual “harlotries” (unfaithfulness to their Covenants with YHVH Elohim) of both “houses” of “the children of Israel”, Judah and 10-Israel, how the God of the Bible has been dealing with them over the centuries, and how he will eventually reconcile these “Two Houses” to one another and to Himself.
And I (YHVH) saw, therefore for all the causes whereby apostate Israel (the Northern Kingdom, also called “Ephraim”) committed adultery, I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce. (Jeremiah 3:8)
Yet, for all this, YHVH clearly states that it is his intention to redeem Ephraim in the “latter days”:
Jer 31:6 For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, “Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto YHVH our God.”
Jer 31:7 For thus saith YHVH; ‘Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O YHVH, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.”
Jer 31:8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.
Jer 31:9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn*.
NOTE: “Firstborn” in the Biblical Hebraic lexicon may mean numerically first, but not necessarily so. Sometimes, as here, where it would be internally self-contradictory to consider it to mean numerically first (since Ephraim the individual was not numerically firstborn), it means, “equally as important as any others of its type”.
Jer 31:17 And there is hope in thine end, saith YHVH, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
Jer 31:18 I (YHVH) have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; “Thou (YHVH) have chastised me (Ephraim), and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn me, and I shall be turned; for you are YHVH my God.”
Jer 31:19 “Surely after that I (Ephraim) was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.”
Jer 31:20 “Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spoke against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my heart is troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him”, says YHVH.
The Mosaic Torah (Deuteronomy 24:1) does make a clear and binding provision for a “writ of divorce.” Though its interpretation has changed through the ages, the original Hebraic interpretation was much stricter than those which are prevalent today, both in Judaism and Christianity. Messiah Yeshua also confirmed this restrictive view of divorce (Mark 10:3-12, Matthew 19:4-9), namely that only adultery is a valid cause for divorce, and remarriage to the same person after such a divorce is tantamount to adultery and is also therefore forbidden.
Deuteronomy 24:4 confirms Yeshua’s declaration: “… her first husband who repudiated her, may not take her back as his wife now that she has been defiled in this way. For that is detestable in the sight of YHVH, and you must not bring guilt on the land that YHVH your God gives for your inheritance.”
This has monumental implications in the divine repudiation (divorce) by YHVH of Ephraim, which is also “the House of Israel”, the ten northern tribes. YHVH was therefore bound by his own eternal Torah Law, so that once he had divorced “her”, he could never take back the ten tribes of the House of Israel/Ephraim! BUT, he had made an oath to Abraham and the patriarchs, that all of the descendants of Jacob (all 12 tribes) would inherit the promised land! Plus there are specific prophecies concerning the future redemption of Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:20), and the entire Book of Hosea is about the same topic!
This very question of the apparent impossibility of reconciliation between YHVH and his rejected bride, is raised by YHVH himself in the same chapter of Jeremiah which confirms the divorce of YHVH from Israel:
Jeremiah 3:1 YHVH said to the people of Israel: “If a divorced woman marries, can her first husband ever marry her again? No, because this would pollute the land. But you have more gods than a prostitute has lovers. Why should I take you back?” (CEV)
The Key to Understanding the Two Houses in Prophecy . . .
Bear in mind, Ephraim/10-Israel was carried away into captivity to Babylon, and these tribes were eventually TOTALLY assimilated into Babylon and the other Gentile (non-Hebraic) nations of the world, COMPLETELY losing their Hebraic identities in the process. The descendants of all these still have the DNA of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel in their blood, but not any clue that such is the case! Are YOU one of them? Are we? If we are, what does this mean in terms of Bible prophecy, and the out-working of the end-times plan of YHVH Elohim?
Much has been written and taught in the “Christian” Church about the sacrifice and redemptive process involved in the death and resurrection of Yeshua of Nazareth, but virtually nothing about this all-embracing and earth-shattering truth, that the House of 10-Israel/Ephraim, which had been divorced/rejected by God, had no hope of salvation and no possible share in the eternal Covenant promises. YHVH was prohibited by his own eternal Torah Law from “remarrying” the faithless whore of a bride whom he had divorced. As things then stood, Ephraim/10-Israel was doomed forever and could never return to a covenant relationship with God! There seemed to be no way out of this problem, which had an inconceivable consequence: the God of absolute Truth would not be able to keep His promise to His own creation!
According to Torah, the prohibition against any remarriage by the original bride would normally stand for as long as the “bridegroom” (YHVH) lived – and this “bridegroom” lives forever! In other words, since it was YHVH Elohim Who divorced Ephraim, and because God cannot die, it was therefore impossible as things stood then, for Ephraim/Israel to be rejoined to Judah, ever! But at the death of the bridegroom, a divorced woman would be legally free to remarry without breaking the law. What to do?Naturally, this was not really a “problem” to YHVH Elohim at all, since the solution to the problem had been part of His eternal plan from the beginning, what the Christian New Testament calls “the word of God”.
The solution lies in the nature of personal agency under Hebraic law. A person may appoint another as his or her agent (shaliach in Hebrew), and such a person has ALL of the power and authority to act in any regard exactly as if the agent were the person himself. In the west, this office is often referred to as a “minister plenipotentiary”, or one endowed with ALL of the contractual powers of his principal, such as a monarch. Such a representative can enter into covenants as a proxy for his or her principal, contract on their behalf, etc. In this case, YHVH would send His miraculously only-begotten Son, Yeshua to be His shaliach and to die in His place! Just as Abraham told Isaac when he was about to offer his only-begotten son up in obedience to the command of YHVH, “God will himself provide the lamb, my son.” (Genesis 22:8)
And He has, He has.
One salient anti-trinitarian point about all this is that such an arrangement would have been impossible, if Yeshua really were God incarnate, and not the 100% human which all of Scripture describes. If Yeshua really were God incarnate, being “eternal and immortal God” he could not “really” die for his “principal”, and YHVH Elohim would have been barred by His own eternal Torah law from “remarrying” His once-faithless bride. Ephraim would have had to remain “divorced” for all eternity, and the promises of YHVH would have been rendered null and void by His failure to keep His word, an inconceivable consequence, given what we know about the Elohim of the Hebrew scriptures. But Yeshua’s 100% humanity made the desired result possible.
Once our Lord Yeshua was resurrected, from then on he would be fully entitled to RE-wed – as the shaliach of YHVH – the previously-divorced 10-Israel/Ephraim! And THIS is what the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” celebrated throughout all Scripture is really all about, and about which most of orthodox Christianity is completely ignorant.
Testimony to these facts – from God Himself – is found in Chapter 54 of the Book of Isaiah, immediately after Isaiah 53, which is surely one of the clearest Messianic prophecies in the entire Tanakh!
“Shout for joy, you barren woman who bore no children (for God had ‘divorced’ her, i.e. northern ten-tribed Israel) break into cries of joy and pleasure, you who were never in labor.
For the sons of the forsaken one (Ephraim/10-Israel) outnumber the sons of the wedded one(Judah, whom God never ‘divorced’, though he complained bitterly about her wickedness, stubborness and whoredoms), says YHVH … for you will burst out to right and to left. Your race will take possession of the nations.
Do not be afraid … for you will forget the shame of your youth and no longer remember the curse of your widowhood (having been cut off from the covenant).
For now your Creator will be your husband. His name, YHVH of hosts, your Redeemer will be the holy one of Israel. He is called the God of the whole earth.” (Isaiah 54:1-5)
This is the completion of what Messiah’s death and suffering truly signifies! By dying – as only as a man can truly die – to fulfil the requirements of the eternal Torah of Father YHVH, our Lord Yeshua would actually be setting free YHVH’s disloyal and unfaithful bride (10-Israel/Ephraim), and then, as a “new” proxy husband for YHVH Elohim in his resurrection,redeeming her so that she could re-enter the original Covenant. In his resurrection, he became a “new” husband unto her! After his return, he will “remarry” her, as the New Testament so often refers to – the “Marriage of the Lamb”! God, as eternal spirit, cannot die – but his 100% human shaliach could and did! Praise Father YHVH! Praise our Lord Yeshua!
It seems that this concept was clearly understood by the apostle Paul, for he went into the same subject at some length, in Romans 7:1-4:
1 Don’t you know, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the Torah) how the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
2 For the woman which has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
John 11:51 confirms this overwhelming truth when Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest, unwittingly confirmed prophecy at a critical point, when Messiah’s resurrection of Lazarus from the dead posed a threat to the nation. John says, quoting the high priest: “ ‘… it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Yeshua was to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but to gather together in unity the scattered people of God.”
Indeed, under Torah law, which YHVH Himself declares is eternal, the death of Yeshua is the only thing that could have made it possible for the Two Houses of the children of Israel to be united again. Without that, the promise of YHVH to Abraham would have been rendered impossible of fulfillment! The eternal promises would have been invalidated!
But the ramifications of Yeshua’s death would eventually reprimand those scoffers referred to in Jeremiah 33:23 who despise his nation. This would be brought about by the re-uniting of the “two families” again, after their extended animosity which would last for nearly 3 millennia (a re-uniting prophesied for the end time in Ezekiel 37:15). It would prove to the scoffers that YHVH has not rejected his people and that he ultimately would reign supreme, as the righteous and loving God who does not renege on, nor fail his promises, no matter what!
Apparently because it was essential (so that the messianic prophecies be fulfilled in him) that Yeshua be born into the tribe of Judah, YHVH could not “divorce” equally-corrupt Judah (the Jews) as the other covenental bride, so “she” needs no such repurchasing or reconciliation! But Judah has been corporately blinded to his advent 2,000 years ago – thus conforming to the divine decree as described by the apostle Paul in Romans 11.
This chapter from the Book of Romans, reveals (v.25) that this whole matter was concealed by God in previous times. It concludes that Judah’s rejection of the Messianic Gospel served to benefit the Gentile peoples, who were then granted the opportunity to receive him, instead. (Romans 11:11-15; 28,29) And this exclusion of the Pharisaic Jews is surely the theme of the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:
1 And Yeshua answered and spoke unto them again by parables, and said,
2 “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, who made a marriage for his son,
3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were invited (Judah – the Jews) to the wedding: and they would not come.
4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, ‘Tell them which are invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.’
5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
6 And the remnant took his servants (the prophets), and treated them disrespectfully, and even killed them.
7 But when the king heard of it, he was furious: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city (the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD & the Diaspora).
8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.
9 Go therefore into the streets (of the world), and as many as you shall find there, invite them to the marriage.
10 So those servants went out into the streets, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
The last part of this parable from our Lord confirms that those who will be invited to replace the apostate Jews are also a mixed bag, including “both bad and good”, and that some of those who accept the invitation and show up for the Marriage (who believe themselves to be “born again”, but who are not) will be rejected for their failure to understand that more is required of a “guest” at the wedding of a king than merely showing up. We know that at the real wedding of the Lamb, ALL of the acceptable participants will be attired in white, which is a sign of righteousness, and righteousness is solely a consequence of obedience to Torah.
Mat 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who did not have on a wedding garment:
Mat 22:12 And he said unto him, “Friend, why did you come in here without a wedding garment?” And the man was without excuse.
Mat 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Mat 7:19 Every tree that does not bring good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits shall you know them.
Mat 7:21 Not every one that says unto me, “Lord, Lord”, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?”
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, “I never knew you: depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Greek anomia/anomia: a- without,+ nomos – law; i.e., Torah-lessness!)
Ephesians 3:5, 6 “In past generations it was not made known to mankind, as the spirit is now revealing it …that in union with the Messiah and through the gospel, the Gentiles were to be joint heirs, a joint body and joint sharers with the Jews in what God has promised.” Another problem standing in the way of a broader understanding of the prophetic issues involved in any consideration of the “Two House” movement, lies in the translators’ use of the word “Gentiles” to mean “all non-Jewish people/nations”, when it should be saying “Ephraim/10-Israel” which, at the time, were intermingled with the Gentile nations as exiles. Though our present study is limited to specific scripture verses on the subject, there is a concealed (parashat) theme of the reuniting of the Two Houses underlying much of Scripture.
Another part of our problem with understanding the Two-Houses theme stems from the fact that virtually ALL of the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and only later translated into Greek, Latin, and English. The translations which have come down to us (the identifiable originals having all been lost) were all translated by Catholics and Protestants who continued the anti-Jew, anti-Torah prejudices of their religions in the work of the translations. So anything in the New Testament which was concerned with the fulfillment of prophecies in the Tanakh which did not have to do with establishing the IDENTITY of the Messiah as God were either misunderstood or intentionally camouflaged by the translators, as can be easily seen by the often non-contextual meanings they assigned to specific words, such as translating the Greek word telos as “end”, when its more accurate meaning is “goal”. This translator’s device is used repeatedly to convey the erroneous idea that the eternal Torah of YHVH Elohim has somehow ended for Christians, which is specifically contradicted by the words of our Lord himself.
As shown in this study and in texts quoted, this whole concept of the Gentile inclusion in the Mosaic covenant was only gradually revealed by YHVH Elohim, and was surely not widely understood before Paul’s time. It was one of the “mysteries” of his gospel, as he went to some considerable lengths to describe. [Romans 11:25 & 16:25; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26; et al.] This development in Biblical revelation of formerly hidden things surely did not stop at the time of the writing of these texts which confirmed such a development. The last few decades, and notably the 1990’s, saw an explosion in knowledge of the scriptures and the prophecies, exactly as had been predicted by the prophet Daniel (12:1-4).
With all the new evidence provided today, 2,000 years later, and the astonishing re-identification of “lost Israel” (prophesied for the “end times”) over the last decade, as well as the “increase in knowledge” predicted by the prophet Daniel for the end time (Daniel 12:3,4), it seems clear that the apostles of the New Testament did not fully grasp this implication or Yeshua’s specific instruction to “go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But if the Messianic reconciliation was for the sake of “lost Israel” and not for Judah, why were the first Messianic believers mainly Jews?
It was vital, but also logical, that the initial Messianic congregation and message had to be based on Torah principles, being a development within the Jewish nation and based on ancient divine promises to the “chosen nation” of YHVH Elohim, the God of Israel, according to the original true Hebraic faith and prophetic scriptures. It is usually assumed by Protestant Christians that the original Messianic congregations were somehow based on “Christian principles”, which is not only contradicted by Scripture and history, it is an impossibility! Today’s anti-Torah “Christian principles” were not even imagined by any of the disciples of Yeshua, much less have his approval. The truth is that the forerunner of today’s “Christian church”, the sacrilegious union of “Christianity” with Mithraism – pagan Roman sun-god worship – was not formalized (as Roman Catholicism) until three hundred years later, based on pagan concepts which utterly opposed the Torah-true Mosaic Judaism upon which it was supposedly founded!
But we wonder, how else could the divine purpose in providing a Messianic sacrifice ever have been achieved, than by establishing the Messianic reconciliation on the foundations of Judaism – even if only for a kind of “jump start”? Could it possibly have been handed directly to the idolatrous pagan (non-Jewish) nations? Not even conceivable! Yet even this paganized version (Roman Catholicism and “evangelical Protestantism”) of the original gospel message, as corrupted as it was, still had the ability to save those who believed the Biblical truths they contained and rejected the rest. Moreover, freed from the restrictive requirements of the Judaic ceremonial laws (especially circumcision!), the mongrelized religion called “evangelical Christianity” spread like wildfire around the world, and continues to do so today.
You may well ask, “If the basic tenets of evangelical Protestant Christianity do, indeed, have the ability to save those who believe (and they do), WHY is a return to the original faith of the Nazarenes even desirable, much less necessary?” Primarily, we would say, because there is a lot more to the Gospel of the Kingdom than the salvation of individuals. The Gospel of the Kingdom is all about the restoration of the rule of YHVH Elohim to the earth, and the Law of that Kingdom is surely the written Torah, as all of scripture attests!
We look around the “religious” world today, and all we see is division. Judaism is divided into those who follow the “oral law” of the Pharisees and today’s Talmudist rabbis, most of whom are Zionists, and those who reject the oral law, rabbinism and Zionism, called Karaites. “Christianity” is divided into thousands of warring sects, each of which believes that it alone sees something special in Scripture which none of the others sees. Is it even possible that this is what the God of the Bible really intended? Or is it rather prima facie evidence of diabolic influences?
It should be clear to any unbiased reader of Scripture that God’s original plan for the salvation of mankind is quite clearly spelled out in the Hebrew Tanakh (the Christian “Old Testament”), and that it involved the practice of Mosaic Judaism PLUS acceptance of Yeshua of Nazareth as the Messiah which was promised in it. In fact it was just this faith which was being practiced by the original disciples of Yeshua, who called themselves “Nazarenes” or followers of “the Way”. It was this “original faith” which is being referred to by the apostle Jude:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 3)
The reason for the need for Jude to urge them to fight to preserve the original faith was that “antinomian” (anti-Torah) false teachings had already arisen in the local churches, false teachings which sought to separate them from the observance of Torah. This is what the entire epistle of Jude is about. The same topic is addressed by Peter in 2 Peter 2:1-22:
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who by subterfuge shall bring in teachings which lead to damnation, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their poisonous ways; by which arguments the way of true salvation shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not.
4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Sheol, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example to those that thereafter should also choose to live ungodly;
7 And delivered just Lot, troubled with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, troubled his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
9 The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbade the madness of the prophet.
17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Yeshua Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, “The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
Anyone who questions that Torah will be observed during the Millennial reign of our Lord Yeshua should re-read Zechariah 14:16-19 …
Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles (Hebrew: Sukkot).
Zec 14:17 And it shall be, that whoever will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
Zec 14:18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith YHVH will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zec 14:19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
And there is our Lord’s reference to our need to be keeping the weekly seventh-day Sabbath (Hebrew: Shabbat) in Matthew 24, speaking of the Tribulation period just before his (only!) prophesied return:
Mat 24:15 When you therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9:27), stand in the holy place, (whoever reads this, let him understand:)
Mat 24:16 Then let them which be in Judah flee into the mountains:
Mat 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Mat 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
Mat 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to those who are nursing infants in those days!
Mat 24:20 But pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be again.
Mat 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
The Nazarenes correctly understood that their obedience to the Torah of Moses, keeping the feasts, the seventh-day sabbath, circumcision, the dietary laws, and all the rest, were surely NOT unto righteousness, but things to be done in simple obedience, as befits a loving bride who understands – and wholeheartedly agrees with – every aspect of the covenant into which she has been sealed.
The Hebraic foundations of the initial Messianic faith were soon undermined as pagan customs infiltrated and corrupted the fast-spreading gospel of Yeshua of Nazareth amongst “lost Israel” and the nations. Nazarene Israel, begun as a sect within Mosaic Judaism, soon morphed into the Great Whore of Revelation 17: the Roman Catholic church. But the great divine plan would be achieved regardless when, in the “latter days”, sincere believers would re-discover their Hebraic roots and return to the original true Hebraic root of the olive tree, spiritual Israel. We believe that this is the Nazarene faith, now seen to have been intentionally obscured by YHVH Elohim with the error which is inherent in Romanism and Protestantism alike.
We believe that this is all according to divine intention, so that, freed from the anti-Torah “Babylonian contortions” of Roman Catholicism, Protestant Christianity and rabbinic Talmudic Judaism alike, the original true gospel of the kingdom of God and Torah-true Hebraism could be restored to “the woman” of Revelation 12, “spiritual Israel”, the “one new man”, the true Body of Christ according to prophecy, as we currently have the blessed joy to behold!
In Our Lord Yeshua’s Blessed Service,
Bob & Suzanne Hamrick