Month: August 2017

Was Abraham Jewish? (The House of Israel and House of Judah Restored as One)

Was Abraham Jewish? (The House of Israel and House of Judah Restored as One)

Were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Jewish? No! Before the break of the united monarchy ca 930 BC, there were NO JEWS. There were Hebrews who became the nation of Israel, which then split into the House of Judah and the House of Israel.  Despite this historical fact, nearly every modern Jew uses the term loosely to mean any descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; there are many that anachronistically refer to the Jews in Egypt and the Jews at Mt Sinai. So what? Not understanding this seemingly minor detail causes a lot of confusion about who is a Jew, who are gentiles, and even what is the church.
 
The central focus of the New Covenant was to reunite the two houses and make them one again!
Jer 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
The united kingdom became two houses because God divided it due to their forsaking God by not doing what was right in his eyes. Ten of the tribes (the House of Israel) were given to Jeroboam, and two (Judah and Benjamin) remained for the House of Judah.
1Kgs 11:31-33 ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you ‘(but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), ‘because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth…and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David.
After the death of Solomon, that his son, Rehoboam, tried unsuccessfully to restore the united monarchy:
1Kgs 12:21 And when Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah with the tribe of Benjamin, one hundred and eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, that he might restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
The House of Israel went further and further away from God’s instructions becoming ever more adulterous, so God swore to not have mercy on the House of Israel though he would have mercy on the House of Judah:
Hos 1:6-7 “…For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, But I will utterly take them away. Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah…”
God stated that he was longer their God and they weren’t is people:
Hos 1:9 Then God said: “Call his name Lo-Ammi, For you are not My people, And I will not be your God.
He even stated that He divorced the House of Israel and exile her:
Jer 3:8 “… for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce…
Nevertheless, God promised to mercifully restore the House of Israel and to make her his bride:
Hos 2:19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy.
Not only would he restore the House of Israel, but he would mend the division between the two Houses and make them one. He illustrated this with two sticks in Ezekiel’s hands, which represented the two houses restored:
Ezek 37:19 “say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”
A main point of Paul’s teaching is that the two houses have been restored and the middle wall of separation has come down:

Eph 2:11-16 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh…Eph 2:12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

This was prophesied in nearly every prophet and it is the heart and soul of the New Covenant: the House of Judah (Jews) and the House of Israel have been reconciled so that there is no longer a middle wall; they are no longer two sticks but one! This is the fulfillment of the New Covenant which the Father spoke of through Jeremiah:

Jer 31:31 “… I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
Paul consistently taught the good news of the New Covenant in his writings demonstrating what Jesus did through his death, freeing the divorced and adulterous wife, Israel, from her perpetual state of divorcee/whore status.
Rom 7:2-4 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law [of the husband] through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another–to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
Consequently, the two houses can reunite as one, without the wall, and will never be two nations:
Ezek 37:22 “and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.
While the absolute fulfillment of this will only be realized completely in the age to come, the inception happened at the cross and therefore there is technically no longer any distinction between the two houses…which is what Paul repeatedly said:
Rom 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
And again:
1Cor 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
And again:
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Paul spoke of the House of Israel as “gentiles” because that is where they were scattered… first foretold in Leviticus:
Lev 26:33 I will scatter you among the nations [ba’goim בַגּוֹיִ֔ם, Greek ἔθνος ethnos=gentiles]
And later in Deuteronomy:
Deut 4:27 “And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples,  and you will be left few in number among the nations [ba’goim בַגּוֹיִ֔ם, Greek ἔθνος ethnos=gentiles] where the LORD will drive you.
Before God scattered them, He first split the united nation into two nations:
2Kgs 17:21 For He tore Israel from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel from following the LORD, and made them commit a great sin.
Then day came when God made good on this warning against Israel:
2Kgs 17:23 until the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.
Through the prophet Hosea, God confirmed they would be scattered among the gentiles:
Hos 9:17 My God will cast them away, Because they did not obey Him; And they shall be wanderers among the nations [ba’goim בַגּוֹיִ֔ם, Greek ἔθνος ethnos=gentiles].
When we speak of the Kingdom of God, there is no longer a House of Judah (Jews) and House of Israel (who were scattered to the gentiles/nations). As far as tribes go, there were twelve tribes and there always will be twelve tribes, as evidenced by the twelve tribes in Revelation 7 and 14 and by the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem. Hence, there will always be those who are from the tribe of Judah and those from the tribe of Levi, Benjamin, Asher, Naphtali, etc. But these twelve tribes are no longer divided in two nations – they are now one.
In conclusion, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were not Jews; they were Hebrews. Jacob’s sons became the Israelites and when the nation split, two nations emerged known as the House of Judah and the House of Israel. God divorced the House of Israel because of their incredible adultery and then scattered them to the nations/gentiles. He promised to remarry them back and the only way for that to happen was for Immanuel to die thereby cancelling the initial marriage contract (Old Covenant). When he arose, He was free to marry her under a new marriage contract (New Covenant)  in Jesus’ blood. This new covenant brings the two houses together and the two shall never again be two nations.
If you are under the New Covenant, you have come either from the House of Judah or the House of Israel (who were wanders among the gentiles). You might be genetically Hebrew but if you aren’t then you are part of the mixed multitude. Assuming you are not Jewish, then you are no longer a “gentile”: you have been grafted in to the commonwealth (all twelve tribes) of Israel! You are now a Hebrew and you can enter the kingdom through the work of Jesus on the cross, who removed the middle wall of separation between the House of Israel and the House of Judah.
Debate: Is the New Covenant Jesus Instituted the Same as Jeremiah 31:31?

Debate: Is the New Covenant Jesus Instituted the Same as Jeremiah 31:31?

In this episode of the Awakening Report, Dr. Doug Hamp contends that the New Covenant Jesus instituted is the same New Covenant foretold in Jeremiah 31:31; while Morgan Sorensen argues that they are not the same. Listen and let the evidence be the judge.

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31).

“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD” (Jer. 31:32).

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jer. 31:33).

“For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28).

WHAT IS MEANT BY “YES DISTINCTION” – “NO SEPARATION”?

WHAT IS MEANT BY “YES DISTINCTION” – “NO SEPARATION”?

Dear Brian – simply put – to answer your question: What exactly is meant by the terms: Yes Distinction – No Separation?

Ephraim and Judah have distinction but Ephraim and Judah are NOT separated.  Likewise, the definition of what constitutes Israel is exceedingly important as far as its present interpretation(s).

It’s better understood when we compare this simplistic definition as we examine Replacement Theology wherein there is NO DISTINCTION and, consequently, NO SEPARATION – i.e., they do NOT see the distinction between Ephraim (aka, “the Church”) and Judah (aka, the Jews) or in their case between Israel and the Church – there’s no distinction and no separation because the Church subsumes Israel and becomes the SPIRITUAL ISRAEL and/or the TRUE ISRAEL of God defines today’s totality of the “Church.”

Frankly, the Church is the ONLY ISRAEL OF GOD – so NO DISTINCTION, NO SEPARATION – the Church is the “continuing Community of Grace” throughout the ages – no need for a Millennium and certainly no prophetic destiny for the Jews (and, by the way, they could care less if Ephraim were subsumed by Judah and the lot of them are just Jews) – and certainly, there is no significance (prophetically) for the State of Israel; therefore, why not Boycott, Divest, and Sanction – go for it!! The Jews were REJECTED because they rejected the Messiah! All “covenants” have been abrogated! There is no Abrahamic, Palestinian (land), Davidic (future Millennial reign) or even New Covenant – and as far as the Mosaic Covenant concerns: It’s extinguished as well!

WHEREAS:

Dispensationalism teaches that there is distinction between “Israel and the Church” (of course, in so saying this, there is NO EPHRAIM, the Church has nothing to do with Israel and/or Ephraim because as far as the dispensationalists are concerned (e.g., Dr. Watson [although under consideration] and Bro. Franz [although not a strict dispensationalist]) – is fairly well set that Ephraim was swallowed up primarily by Judah; not so much by the nations–although that as well; S. Douglas Woodward, and my beloved sister, Jerri Tuck–all embrace some, not all, forms of classical Dispensationalism).  Today’s Israel are simply “the Jews” (all 12 tribes are referred to as “Jews” – one can be a “Christian Jew” or one can be a “Jewish Jew” but still Jewish, still a Jew – it is an ethnic designation – some “Jewish Jews” take offense that one can be described as a “Christian Jew” – therefore, some Christian Jews preferred to be called “Messianic Jews”).

Again: Judah (the “Unbelieving Jews”) have subsumed Ephraim and what’s left is the Church (the “Elect from among the nations” and also Jews (defined as all the 12 tribes of ancient Israel, aka, the Jews–brought into the “Church”:) which has nothing to do with Ephraim, ipso facto Ephraim has nothing to do with Israel – the Church is comprised of Jew and Gentile–saved by the blood of Jesus–the “Elect from among the Nations” is NOT Ephraim, for why should Jews of Judah be joined unto Ephraim?!

So, with Dispensationalism there IS DISTINCTION – but it is a “dispensational distinction” as so described between “Israel” [so defined] and the “Church” [so defined]. In Dispensationalism there is total SEPARATION between the Church and Israel (forget any definition having to do with Ephraim being a part of ALL ISRAEL (Rom. 9:6; 11:26) or the ISRAEL OF GOD (Gal. 6:16) – that’s because the Church cannot be defined by Ephraim–she is TOTALLY SEPARATED from the “natural branches”). The Church is separated from the unbelieving Jews (Jews which are comprised of the subsumed Ephraim into Judah from history past.

Furthermore, forget Romans 9:20-28 (it’s naught but an allegory or at best a metaphor)–notwithstanding, mercy shown to the:

“. . . vessels of wrath . . . of the Gentiles . . . ‘I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved, and it shall come to pass IN THE PLACE where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they shall be called sons of the living God‘” (Rom. 11:24-26; Hosea 2:23; 1:10).

Likewise, the prophecy found in Ezk. 37:15-28 – the Two Stick prophecy – is irrelevant or, at best, this prophecy has already taken place (Ephraim has been subsumed by Judah and there weren’t that many 10-tribe Israelites “swallowed up” by the nations in the first place). Moreover, Ephraim (now swallowed up by Judah) will be miraculously taken out of Judah in the “latter days” just before the Second Coming when the Almighty makes them ONE STICK in the Hand of the LORD. [I know, sounds a bit redundant since the two are in their minds already joined together.]

But there is YES DISTINCTION and YES SEPARATION – even into the Millennial Era where the Church (having nothing to do with Ephraim because those are just Jews/Judah/All Israel) is like a Satellite orbiting above the Earth as the Bride of Messiah (Walvoord) for 1,000 years; all the while the Jews/Israel are/is upon the earth ruling and reigning with the “David, My Servant” – although they confirm that the saints rule and reign with Christ a thousand years like good ‘ole Chialists once affirmed.

On the “downside” – the Jews rejected the KINGDOM offered at Messiah’s First Coming – “it [the offering of the kingdom to Israel] has been postponed” until the Jews cry out “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!“
Jews today (all 12 tribes) are outside of the Commonwealth of Israel–they have their own prophetic destiny but are not included in the Bride of Messiah and will, by themselves, undergo the 70th Week of Daniel and their own “Jacob’s Trouble” – neither this unbelieving “prophetic Israel” – nor, in point of glaring fact, the Old Testament saints from Adam to the Cross, will participate in the Marriage of the Lamb nor the Wedding Feast (just as guests to the “Wedding Feast”); and they are NOT the Bride of Messiah in any way, shape or form – they have their own New Covenant which is NOT the same as the Mediator of the New Covenant or the New Covenant offered to Christians–TOTAL SEPARATION is the norm! Jews after the Church’s rapture will preach “this gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 24:14) which is NOT the “gospel of the grace of God” which is in view in Acts 20:24 – why? Because the gospel that the Jews will preach after the Rapture will NOT produce the Bride of Messiah–only “tribulation saints” – and no more!

You can see then:

REPLACEMENT THEOLOGIES (RT):
NO DISTINCTION – NO SEPARATION

DISPENSATIONALISM
YES DISTINCTION – YES SEPARATION

They either place Israel in subsumption (RT) or, and forgive me to say this, ghettoize the Jews keeping them apart from the Elect from among the Nations both prophetically in the latter days, up through the reign of “David, My Servant” (Ezk. 37:24-25). In their interpretations concerning WHO IS ISRAEL?–neither one (RT or Dispy) sees today’s Israel as Ephraim and Judah – neither one.

COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY

YES DISTINCTION – Yes we see there is Israel and the Church but we see Israel as Judah (the Jews – both unbelieving and believing) and Ephraim (the Church, or the ELECT FROM AMONG THE NATIONS)…We see DISTINCTION but NOT the same way that the Dispensationalists see distinction, in that they have Ephraim subsumed by Judah – NOT SO WITH CT!!

NO SEPARATION – We affirm (but NOT like the Replacement Theologians) that there is no separation between Judah (the Jews) and Ephraim (the Christians) – this is a profoundly prophetic statement in that unbelieving Jews/National Israel shall come into full prophetic fulfillment in accordance with Romans 11:25-27 when ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE DELIVERED – meanwhile, we wish to keep both believing Judah (Jews) and Christians in the One New Man, the ONE BODY, the New Creation, the Bride of Messiah.

BUT, and here’s our little twist – BOTH PROPHETIC JUDAH/JEWS and the ONE-NEW MAN (Jews and Christians) are NOW within the Commonwealth of Israel (Eph. 2:12) – why? Because even in unbelief they have a most peculiar prophetic destiny and God Almighty is gathering them NOW back into the Land and the fact that they are but “blinded in part” – so they are not as the other tribes of the earth! Ultimately the Natural Branches are wholly grafted in again into the ONE ROOT with the wild branches – the Prodigal (Ephraim) is in the house of the Father WITH the Faithful Son, Judah (Note: Judah was NEVER divorced, but Israel/Ephraim was but then mercy would be shown on her–Ezk. 6:9, Jer. 3:8; Hos. 1:6-7, 9-10; 2:2, 23; 2 Kings 17:18-23).

So – defining these terms is incredibly important – so, when we say under CT: YES DISTINCTION – we mean it differently than the NO DISTINCTION of RT and, for that matter Dispensationalism. Dispensationalism’s YES DISTINCTION is not the same as the YES of CT because the definition of the term Israel is different. When we say NO SEPARATION we mean it differently than RT (which subsumes Judah/Jews which they see as just an ethnic designation of “Jews” or worse, “fake Jews”); and Dispensationalism, of course, which demands their own brand of “separation” between National Israel and the Church – can you follow me?

I would be happy to explain this more clearly if need be; however, in my two articles and additional material, I have attempted to explained it – but thank you for inquiring.

NO, it is NOT easy to explain this due to the millennia which have distorted the FACT OF THE MATTER. The doctrines (esp. eschatology) embedded in Commonwealth Theology are, I believe, SUPERIOR to those of the Replacement/Reform theologians and their anti-chialism eschtologies which disinherit the Jews of Judah and distort any distinction between Ephraim and Judah.

Furthermore, the many doctrinal inaccuracies within dispensational theology are resolved by the insightful and moderate proposal embedded in CT – in essence, CT embellishes and clarifies the distinctions between “Israel and the Church” by clarifying the identities of Judah and Ephraim; and, simultaneously, adheres to the singularity of NO SEPARATION espoused within Reform thinking (e.g., the New Covenant is NOW a New Testament reality – not just the “spiritual blessings” of the New Covenant but the New Covenant as described in the O.T. passages is enjoyed today–Jer. 31:31-37; 32:40; Ezk. 36:16-38).

Fundamentally, it must be understood, today’s Jews (Judah) who are brought into the ONE BODY OF MESSIAH, the ONE NEW MAN, the NEW CREATION where there is “neither Jew nor Greek” are altogether A NEW CREATION. The phenomenon of Messianic Congregations where Jewish-style practices take place and where there is a greater recognition of the Torah in daily living are NOT separate from the “goyim” who are members of the One Body–there is “neither Jew nor Greek” – however, just as there is neither “male nor female” – there abides Jewish Christians and Christians who are non-Jewish–it is what it is.

The “assimilating influences” of the overwhelming number of “goyim” within the ONE BODY tends to “swallow up” the Jewish Christians; however, with the rebirth of the State of Israel, that mitigating influence (i.e., the loss of “Jewishness” juxtaposed to “the Elect from the Nations”) has been diminished – and all the more with the rise of “Messianic Judaism” – which is readily recognized by Christians of non-Jewish backgrounds but vociferously resisted as a branch of Judaism by non-believing Jews (however, not like it used to be – an encouraging development indeed!).

Messianic Congregations which wholeheartedly welcome BOTH believing Jews and folks with non-Jewish backgrounds provide extraordinary examples of true unity in Messiah and should be encouraged to thrive!

Bless and Shalom – Doug Krieger

The Conclusion to the Parable of the Prodigal Son

The Conclusion to the Parable of the Prodigal Son

If you recall, when Jesus ended his famous parable (Luke 15:11-31), the older brother was still having a hissy-fit. And the father, who had organized a wonderful homecoming celebration for his younger brother, “who was lost and has been found,” was desperately trying to talk him into joining the party. But the older boy was having none of it. He couldn’t understand how his father could have a party for that worthless, no-good brother of his when he had served so faithfully and nobody had ever thrown him a party.

And that’s where Jesus left us. Wondering if the older son would ever understand and receive his father’s unconditional love. And if the two brothers would ever reconcile.

Well, after 2000 years, I believe we’re watching the conclusion to this parable unfold before our eyes. And it seems headed for a happy ending. Of course, what happened to the angry older brother in the interim, sad to say, was pretty devastating. He ended up in the same pitiful homeless situation his younger brother had experienced, destitute and far from home. We know that because the parable was clearly a prophecy about to be fulfilled. And hindsight tells the tale.

The older brother surely represented the Jews in Yeshua’s day. And in telling the parable, he was revealing how they would react after he was gone and Father God began to bring into the family those who had been far off among the nations (the prodigal). They’d become jealous and go ballistic – just as the older boy did.

Why? Because, like that son, they thought they could earn God’s love and approval by following commandments. They did not understand they already had His love. But His approval and reward of righteousness comes only through faith. “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God”

Therefore, when they saw all those “aliens and strangers” (Eph. 2:12), who didn’t know Moses from Adam, claiming to be part of the commonwealth of Israel through faith in Yeshua, it pushed them right over the edge.

History then records how the older brother’s hardened heart eventually drove him from the Father’s estate. And how the relationship between the two brothers went from bad to worse. In fact, there was a complete role reversal. The prodigal (now called “Christian”) began to consider himself the favorite son and persecuted his older brother in whatever country he lived in. Driving him further and further from experiencing his Father’s love.

Centuries passed – then two miracles occurred . . .

First, the older brother was allowed to return home from his bitter exile. Secondly, the younger brother came to his senses again and remembered the unconditional love and mercy he’d been shown. Yes, suddenly we saw how poorly we’d been treating our older brother. And we wept bitter tears. And began to love again.

So here we are today. Two brothers, separated for centuries by jealousy and persecution, trying to trust one another again. Still not on the same page yet, but letting the mutual worship of our Father in Heaven, and desire to see Israel strengthened, heal our self-inflicted wounds. The story is almost complete.

In Yeshua’s parable, we see that the father wanted to celebrate with both sons. But only the forgiven son had reason to rejoice at that time. That tells me this gift of unconditional love we have been given for our embattled brother is a preparation for him to now enter God’s “covenant of peace” (Ezk. 37:26).

Which means Abba is about to throw another party – this time for the two of us! And who are his two sons? Who else but Judah and Ephraim.

The parable also reveals one more truth. When the prodigal came to his senses and repented he was far off. He still had to pick himself up and return home to be reunited with his family. That tells me there is a return trip ahead for us. That there’s “going to be a day when watchmen on the hills of Ephraim call out, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God’” (Jer. 31:6). We just need to be ready to move when the door opens. And the call comes.

Because this time our homecoming will result in a family reunion celebration that will rock the universe.

How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1).

 

The Commonwealth of Israel – A Geometric Approach from Eph. 2 & Gen. 49

The Commonwealth of Israel – A Geometric Approach from Eph. 2 & Gen. 49

By Dr. Gavin Finley, MD

(A somewhat geometric progression of axioms and theorems on the Commonwealth of Israel from Ephesians 2 and Genesis 49.
See:  #1 at Endtime Pilgrim) – Part 1 is below – Part 2 see #2 at Endtime Pilgrim)

Foundational Scripture:

Ephesians 2:11-12

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Christ. You were excluded, aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in this world.

Biblical Axiom #1 –

Ephesians 2:11-12  There are two groups. There are strangers, OUTSIDE the covenants of promise, aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, without hope and without God in this world. And there are those INSIDE the covenants of promise inside the Commonwealth of Israel, inside the national sovereignty, the Kingdom of Israel.

Ephesians 2:13

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Biblical Axiom #2 –

Ephesians 2:13 declares that it is through the blood of Christ that Gentiles, aliens from the nations come into the Commonwealth of Israel.

If we look at what our apostle Paul told us in Ephesians 2:11-13 we see that before we came to Christ we as Gentiles or “goyim”, or people from the nations outside of Israel’s sovereign rule were aliens and separated from the Commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise. But now, in Christ, we are brought near, into the Commonwealth of Israel or the citizenship or the political covering in Israel. This new national status in Israel comes through the blood covering of Messiah it is His blood that brings hope to us in this world is now afforded us under the blood of Christ.

Biblical axiom # 3 –

In the Last Supper Jesus states that the New Covenant is in His blood.

Jesus stated very clearly on the night in which He was betrayed, at the Last Supper, these words. Jesus took the cup and said, “This is the New Covenant in My blood”.

Theorem #1 –

The New Covenant and the Commonwealth of Israel are vitally connected in the blood of Christ.

If the New Covenant is in His blood and the Commonwealth of Israel is also by His blood then there must be some essential and vital equivalency or conjoining of the two.

Theorem #2 –

The Commonwealth of Israel is established by and is an essential part of the New Covenant.

If the New Covenant is in His blood and the Commonwealth of Israel is also established by His blood then it is reasonable for us to conclude that through the blood of Messiah the Commonwealth of Israel, the national sovereignty and citizenship of Israel, is presented to all born-again believers in Christ under the auspices of the New Covenant.

Ephesians 2:14-15

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.

Here we see that in Messiah in Himself the dividing wall between both groups is broken down and they are are made into one. What two groups is Paul referring to here? In the context it would be those in Israel who had enjoyed access to the covenants of promise, (those saved under the covenants of promise), and Gentile outsiders, strangers from other nations who were formerly outside the Commonwealth of Israel, unsaved, aliens without access to the covenants of promise, that is,  people who were formerly without hope in this world.

“by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances,”

The peace that comes in Messiah and under His shed blood absorbs and abolishes the enmity, and the hostility that a righteous God has against sinners. It is in His flesh, in the death of His sinless and broken body upon the cross, that those who were formerly strangers and aliens, even those of the lost tribes from the northern Kingdom who were formerly divorced and told “not My people” and “no mercy”, along with heathen gentiles from all nations, are given grace and salvation and brought into one single undivided enmity we might call the Elect.

“. . . so that in Himself He might make the two into ONE NEW MAN, thus establishing peace.

Here we see that through the blood of Christ our Messiah the two groups under this blood are made into “one new man”. That “one new man” must be another Biblical term for those in the New Covenant and in the restoring Commonwealth and Congregation of Israel.

Theorem #3 –

There appears to be some equivalency between those in the New Covenant, the Commonwealth of Israel, and the “One New Man.”

Ephesians 2:17

“AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY,

AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR”

There is no difference in the salvation and the peace that was preached to Israel, including the Jewish House of Judah who were and are today “near”, and the peace that was preached to the heathen, the Gentiles, and in amongst them the lost tribes, and all those who were and remain today far off.

Theorem #4 –

There is ONE MESSAGE OF PEACE. The same message of peace originally and initially preached to Israel is the message of peace that is preached to the nations in places afar off.

Ephesians 2:18

“. . . for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.”

Theorem #5 –

And there is ONE SPIRIT through whom ALL have THE SAME access to the Father.


Genesis 49:10

 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”

 Biblical Axiom # 4 –

The scepter and sovereignty of Israel is in the Jewish House of Judah

Jesus is the Son of David, the Lion of the Jewish tribe of Judah. He is the prophesied Shiloh in Judah spoken of in Genesis 49:10. He is the One to whom the royal scepter of Israel, (which is in Judah), belongs and the One who sits upon the Throne of David.

Theorem #5 –

The citizenship in Israel which the Gentiles never had and the citizenship the lost ten tribes of the northern Kingdom once had but lost under the Old Covenant at the Breach of Jeroboam is restored by the blood of Christ under the New Covenant. This reconciles all the redeemed together under Messiah as one sovereignty, even as “one New Man” in the Commonwealth of Israel.

We can conclude that the sovereign connection to national Israel, which comes through the Throne of David in the House of David in the royal Jewish House of Judah was lost at the Breach of Jeroboam with the rebellion of the northern 10 tribes. The ensuing great divorce of the 10 tribes by Yehovah-God in the Old Covenant is spoken of in Hosea where those in the rebelling northern kingdom were declared. “Not My People” and “No Mercy”.

With our baptism into Christ, by our identification with Christ in His death on the cross, by the death of the testator, the Old Covenant and ordinances wherein comes the enmity are made of none effect. And being risen with Christ we are new creatures. We are identified with the Messiah of Israel in His triumphant resurrection from the dead. He Himself is the promised Seed of Abraham. And by the covering of His blood our citizenship in Israel is restored or established in the New Covenant. The promised and prophesied reconciliation comes under the blood of Israel’s promised sinless Sacrifice Lamb. He is also the broken Unleavened Bread of Heaven, the Suffering Servant, the Seed of Abraham, even our Messiah and coming King.

When Did Christians Ever Make Jews Jealous?

When Did Christians Ever Make Jews Jealous?

Wasn’t that supposed to be our job? Didn’t the apostle Paul say he magnified his ministry to the goyimthat I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them?” (Rom. 11:14) Implying, we thought, that the more goyim he could convert to the faith, the more his brethren would become envious of what we had, and want to know Yeshua.

But when I search the New Testament I can’t find even one example of where a Jew meets a non-Jewish believer and says, “I want what he has!” And then repents and gives his life to God. Instead, all I see is Jewish outrage at the idea unclean goyim would dare think we could be accepted by God apart from the Law. Look at the murderous intent Saul (before he became Paul) showed towards his own Jewish brethren who’d become believers, even sanctioning the stoning of Stephen.

Of course, after non-Jews started getting saved in droves, and Rome destroyed the nation, everything flipped. We became the ones who thought we were now God’s favorite people, and we began persecuting the Jews. So, any chance then the Jews would become envious of our beliefs plummeted to zero.

That’s when I realized we might have this all backwards. That when Paul said “salvation has come to the nations to make them jealous” (Rom. 11:11) God’s real purpose was not to attract them to the gospel – but to repel them!

Didn’t Paul also tell us, that from the standpoint of the gospel God had made them “enemies for our sake?” (Rom. 11:28). Paul had to give them every chance, but he knew only a small remnant would respond. Most would reject the gospel. Because nothing stokes fury faster than to be convicted by the truth that “this people [only] honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Mark 7:6).

When God tied His righteousness to faith in Yeshua, those Jews who were just going through the motions in their service to God erupted in anger.

I found my suspicions confirmed when I went back a few verses in Romans and found what Paul had said previously. He asked two questions related to showing why his unbelieving fellow Jews were without excuse: “(I paraphrase) Did they not hear the word of God?” And, “Did they not understand?” And answers both – “Indeed they did!” (Rom. 10:17-20)

His second question, especially, revealed his brethren should have realized that their reaction towards the incoming non-Jewish believers was way over the top. And that should have triggered something in their memory. Namely, that a judgment prophesied by Moses (and Isaiah) was now being fulfilled.

Moses had foreseen that once Israel settled in the land they’d fall away from the Lord. So, he had declared God’s judgment in advance. And Paul quoted it: “I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, by a nation without understanding will I anger you” (Deut. 3:31; Rom. 10:19).

There it was – he equated their jealousy with anger! And when you read the whole prophecy of Moses we learn the punishment fit the crime. “They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked me to anger with their idols. So, I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.” (Deut. 32:21)

But God had a purpose for that anger. He used it to drive the gospel forth from Jerusalem to find more of that “foolish nation” scattered among the nations.

But that raises this question. What about Paul’s words that suggested this jealousy would bring about a salvation for the Jews?  If God’s purpose was not to make Jews envious, but to make them furious, why would Paul say, “I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them?” (Rom. 11:14).

There can only be two possible explanations.

First, Paul knew his countryman’s time of salvation was not then, but future. He had just quoted Isaiah, informing us how long ago God said he’d visit upon Israel “a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not, and ears to hear not” (Rom. 11:8). This was all due to the past sins of the fathers who’d refused to repent.

So, maybe Paul realized he only had one shot at rescuing some of his beloved brethren at that time. And that was to preach the gospel all the louder in the hopes it would make a few so hopping mad they’d connect the dots and remember the Moses prophecy and realize – this was that! And then realize this Yeshua who had so inspired the goyim must be the Messiah. And they’d repent and be saved. Maybe.

For a long time, that was the only explanation I could see. But I now see another possibility. One that sees the meaning of “jealousy” as we traditionally understood it. That is, provoking a desire within the unbelieving Jews to want what we have. Because now it’s a new day. The “judgment of jealousy” with its resultant Jewish anger has served God’s purposes. God has returned them to the land. The judgment has passed. Now it’s time for all Israel to get saved.

So, maybe, just maybe, Paul was looking towards this day when he saw that the more he “magnified” his ministry the more chance his brethren could get saved. Just like in the story of Joseph. God had used the jealous anger of the eleven brothers towards Joseph to send him to Egypt to be part of God’s future salvation plan for Israel. And indeed, for the rest of the world.

So, Paul too could have realized that the sooner the “fullness of the ethnos (nations) came in,” the sooner God could return to the Jews. And save some of them. So, he redoubled his efforts to reel in the ones God had chosen from among the nations.

And here we are today. And look what is happening. There’s been an unprecedented outpouring of Christian love towards Israel and the Jews over the last forty years. And for the first time it’s actually making the Jews curious as to what makes us so different – at least from other Christians!  More and more want to know why we love them and Israel so much. Initially, they thought we had a hidden agenda to “missionize” them – the term they use for “evangelization.” But now many are seeing our love and concern is genuine. Time will tell.

I’ll just close with one more observation. Notice that the Moses prophecy said: “I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, by a nation without understanding will I anger you.” In other words, this people who would make Jewish Israel angry had been a nation. But now it was not.

Well, who does that sound like? Sounds like the House of Israel to me. For they had been a distinct nation until Assyria carried them off to be assimilated among all the tribes and tongues and peoples of the earth. And then they were a nation no more.

And since Paul equated all the so-called non-Jewish believers with that “foolish nation,” doesn’t that reveal we must be that missing House of Israel – the remnant of Ephraim? And what better descriptive then to call us a “nation without understanding.” For we have had no clue who we were for the last 2000 years.

But we’re waking up.

THE NATURE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL

THE NATURE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL

ARE UNBELIEVING JUDAH/JEWS EXCLUDED FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL?

By Doug Krieger

We’ve been examining the nature or scope of the “Commonwealth of Israel” (COI) as given in Ephesians 2:11-12:

11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

At issue among those of us who are involved in defining the scope of this phrase and of understanding just what Paul meant by his use of the “Commonwealth of Israel” – a number of obvious questions arise.  One brother presented the issue of salvation as far as whether or not COI excludes unbelieving Jews of Judah into the COI.

You might think that a bit odd in that Paul in his unsaved state claimed he was an Israelite, a Hebrew of the Hebrews and obviously thought he belonged to the COI (Phil. 3:5)–although we don’t have that exact expression used by him prior to his acknowledgement of Yeshua’s Messiahship; however, the question is posited:

To say that unbelieving Jews will be [or are now] a part of all Israel apart from grace through faith (or in unregenerate state) is to proclaim another gospel for Judah apart from Ephraim, or those elect from the Gentiles.” 

This brother went on to examine the potential conflict that if, indeed, unbelieving Jews of Judah (i.e., if we are to assume that “Israel” is broken down TODAY as both Judah/Jews and Ephraim (the “elect from among the nations”–aka “the Church”) are acknowledged as part of the Commonwealth of Israel (NOW) – doesn’t this muddy the waters of the otherwise pristine jurisdiction of the COI which could in sum and substance be equated with believers in Yeshua only?

The assumption is made that if we of the NATIONS were “brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13) – i.e., into the COI, shouldn’t all those now entering the COI be “saved” by the same blood of Messiah?

Prior to the cross, and immediately thereafter, it appears that Paul, the Apostle, who certainly was an unbelieving Jew as far as Messiah concerns, apparently considered himself as a member of the COI.  Paul, who was still an Israelite, even in unbelief, would have considered that he fully participated within the Commonwealth of Israel, with covenants, promises, and that he had “God in the world” (Eph. 2:12) – he certainly would not have considered himself an alien to the COI but a citizen of the COI.

Replacement theology does not accord any significant or even a minor role for National Israel, but Dispensationalism does (of course, not only is there DISTINCTION as far as Israel is concerned–for Israel embraces all 12 tribes under the banner of Judah [aka the Jews] who incorporated, historically, the other 10 tribes of the North according to Dispensational exegesis).

Indeed, today’s National Israel (unbelieving Jews both within the State of Israel and those scattered among the nations in the diaspora) within the Dispensational construct, are positioned for future prophetic fulfillment and a key role in the Millennium yet to come (separate and apart from the “Church”).   As such, would they (unbelieving Israel today) find themselves within the Commonwealth of Israel?  Prior to their admission to the COI they would need “grace and faith” and DELIVERANCE, via the Deliverer both now, and on that day, to be saved . . . and then ALL ISRAEL shall be saved. This thin line, therefore, suggests that the Commonwealth of Israel is but a post-Cross expression/reality and that this Commonwealth of Israel was designed for only the One New Man, so making peace, between Jew and the elect from the Nations–where there is neither Jew nor Greek . . . ipso facto unbelieving Jews/Judah are excluded from the COI in this understanding of what the COI includes and excludes.

The Thin Line in Excluding Today’s Jews from the COI
We are not suggesting that today’s unbelieving Jew, Hebrew, Israelite is ALL ISRAEL in unbelief (with the believing portion of Israel being “the EXPANSION or EPHRAIM” from among the nations) – if they affirm faith in the promise (Yeshua) then they are the saved of Judah and with us (Ephraim–the “elect from among the nations”) — both would constitute the ISRAEL OF GOD (Gal. 6:16) . . . I think we’re all clear on that point (or at least some of us are clear).
What I am saying is that the Commonwealth of Israel is comprised of BOTH believing and unbelieving Jews (as well as those of Ephraim – unbelieving Jews because of the aforesaid relationship that they have even in unbelief, as the faithful son, the wife not divorced (Judah–Hosea 2:2-23), still aligned with the covenants of promise (New Covenant, Abrahamic, Davidic, Palestinian, etc.) . . . in other words, the Commonwealth of Israel acts like a CATALYST where prophetic fulfillment takes place.  A catalyst in chemistry in and of itself is just that, after its fulfilled its usefulness it is, in that sense, no longer needed–that catalyst produces ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE DELIVERED (Romans 11:26) – and again, ALL ISRAEL, at this time, is comprised of BOTH “the multitude of the nations” (Romans 11:25) as Ephraim AND unbelieving Jews of Judah who experience National Deliverance via the Deliverer/Messiah who “will come out of Zion” (Romans 11:25-27).
To say that National Israel is disqualified from the plan and purpose of God is a misnomer, of course – and, I feel, that to suggest, even in unbelief that they see nothing is too much.  They are “blinded in part” (Rom. 11:25) – therefore, they are in “partial blindness” – yet they apparently “see something” – but we too, “look through a glass dimly and we prophesy in part” (1 Cor. 13:12).
Why cannot the Household of God be comprised of believing Judah (Jews) and Ephraim (“Elect from among the nations”); and yet within that same Household are His brethren who rejected their Joseph?  Is the faithful son who never left the Father’s house, outside his Father’s house?  We cannot say that Joseph’s brothers were no longer his brothers nor that the faithful son was no longer within his father’s House.  So, there is this most peculiar standing that is divinely recognized; indeed, what earthly tribe has such a peculiar standing?  None.
Can we say in the verse wherein “not all Israel who are of Israel” (Rom. 9:6) – to mean that Israel is not comprised of the Judah/Jewish side of Israel only, but also those “Israelites” who have been justified through the faith of Abraham–for “In you all the nations shall be blessed…so then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” (Gal. 3:3-9)?
Or are we saying that “not all Israel who are of Israel” means that unbelieving Jews of Judah are not of Israel, and only those believing Jews of Judah are at least a part of Israel (i.e., only “believing Jews” constitute the “Israel of God” as seen in Gal. 6:16)?
You might be able to see where I’m going with this – for if we conclude that unbelieving Judah/Jews is not of Israel, when the very State of Israel bears their name–then is not the accusation of the Replacement Theologians that today’s “Israel” on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean  has no eschatological bearing whatsoever–and is, at worst, apostate or simply a gathering place for Jacob’s Trouble (at best); but, more likely, it is simply a happenstance, meaning nothing?
That’s why I am concerned that the “spiritual Israel” – yes, the “True Israel” folks (by the way, neither expression can be found in the N.T.) – will and has had a heyday with “not all Israel who are of Israel” and would suggest that, in particular, unbelieving Jews are NOT only “rejected” but they, the Church, are today’s “Spiritual and True Israel” whereas the physical seed of Abraham are NOT ISRAEL who claim to be of Israel!
Why can’t the Jews of Judah be a part of the Commonwealth of Israel in unbelief–for isn’t that what distinguishes them from us – YES DISTINCTION – NO SEPARATION?  Don’t they, the Jews, National Israel, even now, maintain their distinction, but when they enter into the One New Man there is NO SEPARATION; yet,  on that day they shall experience NATIONAL SALVATION and then shall YES DISTINCTION be in full operation.
Sundry movements, primarily centered in Israel (e.g., the COI Conventions), contend that Judah (the Jews) and Ephraim (“the elect from among the nations”) find their unity in the Torah . . . this is not to say that much agreement can be reached in such a commitment to the Torah; however, this effort appears to wholly obviate the breaking down of the “middle wall of separation” between Jew and Greek through the Cross of Yeshua.  If more and more Jews see in Ephraim a true brotherhood–THAT is amazing . . . yet it cannot be in Torah (alone) but through Him Who made peace as the “Suffering Servant.”
At that time there shall be NO SEPARATION for Judah and Ephraim – they shall be One Stick in the Hand of the Lord (Ezk. 37:15-28).  In other words, today, believing Jews, and the Elect from among the nations, are within the confines of the ONE BODY, ONE NEW MAN, THE NEW CREATION where the Middle Wall of Separation is in reality demolished (Eph. 2:14)–where there is neither Jew nor Greek; but there abides DISTINCTION in that the partial blindness that has befallen the Jews of Judah provides them this profound prophetic distinction–enabling them their Millennial position with that of the Elect now in Messiah…”they sing the Song of Moses the Servant of God and the Song of the Lamb” – they “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony/faith of Jesus” (Rev. 15:3; 12:17) . . . . DISTINCTION YES – SEPARATION NO.
When we, therefore, say DISTINCTION YES – SEPARATION NO – it is mandatory that this ultimate DISTINCTION be viewed in the most profound eschatological context as far as Earth’s Redemption concerns.  Indeed, that DISTINCTION – even today – is in unbelief but therein are those of Zion who are being “prophetically positioned” to greet their Deliverer who shall arise OUT OF ZION (Romans. 11:26).
Messianic Believers
As far as Messianic believers are concerned today–there is most definitely within the One New Man neither Jew nor Greek–but members of Judah and Ephraim comprise the Household of Faith/of God today.  Herein is DISTINCTION but NO SEPARATION as well.
Since the rebirth of the State of Israel, there are today in the world upwards of 350,000 “Messianic Jews”–mostly in the USA.  These Jewish believers in Yeshua can be found in all-Messianic Congregations or simply in Christian assemblies at random.  By distinguishing themselves as “Messianic Congregations” that does not mean they are not “open” to inviting into their membership believers from non-Jewish backgrounds . . . but by maintaining their DISTINCTION they confirm that there can be DISTINCTION YES  but SEPARATION NO within the Body of Messiah.
Replacement theologies acknowledge “their whereabouts” but, in the main, disregard “Jewish practices” as irrelevant or antithetical to Christian practice.  It is our concern, here at CT that this DISTINCTION within Messianic Judaism does not lead to a defacto SEPARATION in the Body of Messiah.
Again, ultimately when ALL ISRAEL embraces the Messiah, the Deliverer, then ALL ISRAEL shall be delivered, saved – YES, there will be this profound distinction between Judah/Jews and Ephraim (the “elect from among the nations”) but there will be NO SEPARATION!
Think about it…Doug Krieger
Are “Gentile Believers” Still “Gentiles?”

Are “Gentile Believers” Still “Gentiles?”

By Brian Hennessy

(Posted by Doug Krieger)

(Originally Published on ISRAEL TODAY)

It was Yeshua’s greatest desire that all his followers, from both Jews and the nations, become one people. His impassioned plea to the Father before going to the cross was “that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know You sent me, and loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:23).

Well, it’s no surprise that the world still remains unconvinced of his Messiahship.  How could it be otherwise when his followers have separated into over 40,000 denominations and other unaffiliated groups.

But even before our divisions metastasized there existed an issue of unity between the Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Yeshua.  It began on the day the Lord told Peter to witness to the family of Cornelius. Before then the Jewish nation was under the impression this salvation belonged exclusively to them. Now, suddenly, it was being offered to others.  Worse, these “others” were the former bane of their existence – the so-called goyim, whom our Bibles term “Gentiles.” The very ones they’d been shunning for the past 1400 years, according to Moses instructions.

But hadn’t Yeshua prepared his Jewish followers for this when he was with them in the flesh? Hadn’t he told them, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd?” (John 10:16). Nevertheless, it was still a tough pill for Jewish Israel to swallow. And it was made harder, because along with this influx of unsavory outsiders, Israel was being asked to transition from their God-given covenant of Law to a new covenant of grace.  

The transition was so formidable, that to make it happen God had to raise up a uniquely qualified man –Saul (later Paul) of Tarsus. To this former Pharisee was given the anointing to bring us all together under “the law of liberty” (James 1:25).  And even though the Roman Empire cut short his work, along with Jewish life in Jerusalem, God made sure Paul’s teachings were preserved as Scripture in the New Testament.  

Since the Roman exile, for 2000 years the unity of Jewish and “Gentile” believers in Messiah has not been an issue. Mainly because after the first century there were almost no Jewish believers! And the non-Jewish believers had taken on another identity, calling themselves “Christians.” But with the physical rebirth of Israel, many Jews began experiencing the spiritual rebirth. And all of sudden the term “Gentile believer” was back in vogue. Along with the issue of us all becoming one again.

As I see it, the term “Gentile believer” is inherently discriminatory and creates an unhealthy division in the body of Messiah. If one is a “Gentile” it implies you are an unbeliever, outside the camp of God’s people. After all, the word often translated as “Gentile” just means “nations” – in both the Hebrew (goyim) and Greek (ethnos). Even then, it carries centuries of baggage. Over half of its usages in the Old Testament are negative. And so is a quarter of them in the New Testament, where the word is occasionally translated as “heathen” or “pagan.” It may not equate non-Jewish believers with being “uncircumcised Philistines,” but it doesn’t define them as “Snow White,” either.

But weren’t we all made “white as snow” in Yeshua? Weren’t we all circumcised with the circumcision made without hands?  Why then should we who are not Jewish be saddled with terminology that immediately creates a division in the body of Messiah? From God’s perspective we are no longer goyim. We are no longer “Gentiles.” We have come out of the nations and are now included with God’s people in the commonwealth of Israel. We have been counted as part of the nation, co-inheritors with all Jewish believers in the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “For if you belong to Messiah, you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29).

Paul had explained, just prior to that verse, that now “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua” (Gal.3:28). Did he mean Jews are no longer Jews, Greeks no longer Greeks, females no longer females? Of course not! Until the Lord returns and we are transfigured into our new bodies we remain who we are in this world. But in Messiah, all racial, national, economic, gender – and other fleshly differences – disappear. In him we become one people, the Israel of God! Different ministries and callings, yes. Different ethnic and racial groups, no.

It was Peter, the first Jew to witness to non-Jews, who later said to the entire body of Messiah, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” ( 1 Pet. 2:9). He had taken the very words Moses had spoken to all Israel and applied them to the New Covenant ecclesia without distinction. He was not saying the “church” had replaced the physical descendants of Abraham as God’s people, but that all who are in Messiah, both Jew and non-Jew, are the chosen remnant of Israel.

As we see God restoring the nation of Israel today, isn’t it time to also believe Him for a greater unity among Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Yeshua? After all, who are the Jews but the descendants of Judah, the former southern kingdom of Judah exiled by the Romans. And who are those who have come out of the nations, but Ephraim? A remnant of the once divorced, idolatrous northern kingdom, known as the House of Israel exiled in 722 BC by Assyria. The ones to whom God promised through the prophets that He’d show mercy to one day and bring back?

If so, isn’t it time we both started to treat each other, not only as brothers in the Lord, but as brothers in the commonwealth of Israel – the Israel of God? Again, let us recall Yeshua’s impassioned final prayer request to the Father on our behalf – “that they may all be one…so that the world may know You sent me.”

A good place to begin is by retiring the unbiblical term “Gentile believer,” once and for all.

 

 

 

COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY – PART 2

COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY – PART 2

COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY – PART 2

By Douglas W. Krieger

Ephraim and Judah

(Introduction:  This is Part 2 in a two-part series on Commonwealth Theology.  Part 1 can be found at this LINK . . . Part 1 contained numerous Endnotes–not so with Part 2.  Again, this is a PRELIMINARY RESPONSE to this most dynamic body of theology.  

We are pleased to announce that a Web Site has been opened @ COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY – where a more vigorous exchange of ideas, etc., on this topic will be discussed, along with other issues relative to Commonwealth Theology.  A systematic Theology built around CT is not now available–but could readily be with multiple authors/researchers contributing).

WHAT HAPPENED TO EPHRAIM?

It is inaccurate and/or exceedingly misleading to suggest that Ephraim/Samaria/the 10 Northern Tribes/Jezreel, united in great numbers with Judah of the South before their captivity (the Passover during the reign of Judah’s King Josiah—2 Chron. 34-35) and during the Babylonian Captivity (607-537 BC).  Those who suggest that Ephraim/Israel can be found as today’s ethnic Jews disregard the following passages:

“When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb; yet he cannot cure you, nor heal you of your wound . . . None of them calls upon Me.  Ephraim has mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake unturned.  Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it . . . aliens would swallow it up…Israel is swallowed up; now they are among the Gentiles . . . like a vessel in which is no pleasure.  For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself; Ephraim has hired lovers.  Yes, though they have hired among the nations. . . as for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird . . . My God will cast them away, because they did not obey Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations” (Excerpts from Hosea).  

In sum:  Bits, parts and scattered pieces of the “Lost Ten Tribes” MAY be found in today’s Judah/Jews but Ephraim has been swallowed up of the nations–this is a far more biblical view in its accuracy and anthropological evaluation as well (See copious footnotes in Parts 1 and 2).

James 1:1 speaks of the “12 Tribes Scattered Abroad” – this is simply an acknowledgement that Israel (both Judah/Ephraim) are/were scattered throughout the nations.

WHAT DOES PAUL SAY? – JEZREEL

Paul speaking of the “elect [ekklesia] from among the nations” (the “Gentiles”) and of those Jews who had joined themselves to the Messiah:

‘I will call them (referring directly concerning Ephraim by quoting from Hosea 2:23) My people; who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved.’  And it shall happen in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God’” (Hosea 1:10; Romans 9:24-26).

“And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy; which He had prepared beforehand for glory; even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles (lit. “nations”)?  As He says also in Hosea: (Rom. 9:23-24).

When was it “said to them?”

“They shall answer Jezreel (Lit. “God will sow”).  Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’” (Hosea. 2:22b-23).

“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered.  And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.’”  Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together and appoint themselves one head; and they shall come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel! (God will sow!) . . . Say to your brethren, ‘My people,’ and to your sisters, ‘Mercy is shown.’” (Hosea 1:10-11; 2:1)

When Paul speaks of God’s mercy and directly addresses the Gentiles/the goyim, the “elect from among the nations” – he says:

“For I speak to you Gentiles (ethnos), inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles (the “nations”), I magnify my ministry . . . For I do not desire brethren that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles (Lit. “multitude of nations”) has come in.  And so ALL ISRAEL will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”  (Romans 11:13, 25-27)

When Paul says ALL ISRAEL will be saved – does he exclude the “Multitude of Nations” from the equation or is he referring only to National Israel (i.e., the Jews/Judah)?  More of this phrase later.

We would contend that the scattering of the house of Israel to the nations was likened as seed sown among the nations; to wit:

Psalm 106:26-27…”So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the desert, make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands.”

The House of Israel was sown as seed into all the earth. Keep in mind that the house of Israel (Samaria/Ephraim) quickly adopted the customs of the Assyrians and lost their identity. They forgot who they were. They intermarried until their DNA was continually diluted. Today it is very likely that most of the world could trace their lineage back to the house of Israel (100 generations)–literally (grief, my little grandson did a precursory DNA test and found out he was 1% “Middle Eastern” – whatever that is!

LOST 10 TRIBES

Furthermore, the Almighty’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and then to Joseph and on to Ephraim regarding a “multitude of nations” would come from their loins and that this “FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES” (lit. MULTITUDE OF NATIONS) would be those of Ephraim scattered throughout those very nations as JEZREEL – God will sow . . . Seed among the Ethnos the nations. Paul’s message takes on new understanding in using ethnos as nations.

Colossians 1:27 says:

“To them God has chosen to make known among the NATIONS (ethnos) the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

This hearkens back to Genesis 48:19 where Jacob blesses Ephraim and says that he will become a multitude of nations. Also, when God blessed Abraham and told him in Genesis 18:18 that all nations would be blessed through him, and to Isaac, in particular, when He said to him:

“And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed ALL THE NATIONS of the earth shall be blessed

We affirm that Genesis 26:1-6 confirms the PROMISED SEED through Isaac as an archetype of Christ, the “S”eed and that the 430 Years of Promise confirm this from Exodus 12:40-41 and Galatians 3:15-18 and Gal. 4:28; to wit:

“And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt (i.e., the EXODUS/LAW) . . .  Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made.  He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of ‘one,’ ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ.  And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God IN CHRIST, that it should make the PROMISE of no effect . . . but God gave it to Abraham by promise . . . Now, brethren, as Isaac was, we are children of promise.”

Acts 15:14-17 concerning the “elect from among the nations” who would constitute membership in the Commonwealth of Israel, the Congregation of the Living God . . .

“Simon has declared how God at the first visited the nations (aka, the Gentiles) TO TAKE OUT OF THEM A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME . . . and with this the word of the prophets agree, just as it is written:  ‘After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up, so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, even all the Gentiles (lit. “the nations”) who are called by My name, says the LORD who does all these things.”

Yes, by now after nigh 100+ generations since 740-712 BC the “Jezreel” has been thoroughly sown among the nations—Ephraim is swallowed up of the nations—but He Who scattered is gathering since Messiah’s First Coming and onwards unto the prophetic fulfillment when the LORD shall take the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim and make them ONE STICK IN HIS HAND – that is happening NOW and shall accelerate unto the end of the age.

one in my hand

Even so, the prophets declare His mighty work among the nations – the Gentiles:

Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:  

“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name.” (2 Sam. 22:50; Ps. 18:49)

And again he says:

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!” (Deut. 32:43)

And again:

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!” (Ps. 117:1)

And again, Isaiah says:

“There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope.” (Romans 15:7-12, Isaiah 11:1, 10)

FELLOW HEIRS – SAME BODY – PARTAKERS OF HIS PROMISE

. . . by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,

ONE NEW MAN

The exegesis of Ephesians 3:6 brings out the following:  “ . . . that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs (synkleroma), of the same body (sysoma or co-body), and partakers of His promise (synmetoka – singular promise) in Christ through the gospel.[1] 

The prefix of these three Greek words (“syn” of “sy”) connote, by definition: a prefix occurring in loanwords from Greek, having the same function as co- (synthesis; synoptic); used, with the meaning “with,” “together,” in the formation of compound words (synsepalous) or “synthetic” in such compounds (syngas). Expand. Also, sy-, syl-, sym-, sys-. 

These words give us both distinction but also demand that we be TOGETHER—fellow heirs of the SAME BODY.  They are not together, yet separated—they are together in the SAME BODY.  “Syn” also gives the meaning of EXPANSION . . . even so, the word Ephraim means:  Doubly fruitful (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) or INCREASING or EXPANSION. 

SUNDRY ISSUES RELATING TO “ISRAEL”

“ALL ISRAEL” – “THE ISRAEL OF GOD” – “NOT ALL ISRAEL IS ISRAEL” – “SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN”

Bible verses that have been taken both by Replacement Theology and Dispensationalism to say that the “Middle Wall of Partition/Separation” de facto still exists are in “prophetic denial” of the literal, grammatical, hermetic of the Word of God. 

The phrases found in both Romans 11:26 (“And so all Israel shall be saved/delivered”) and Galatians 6:16 (“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God) either exclude today’s progeny of Abraham (i.e., the Jews of Judah) . . .  unless they have been incorporated into the “elect,” (aka, the Church) . . . or exclude the Jews by stating that “All Israel” and “the Israel of God” are exclusively the purview of the Church (the “Ekklesia” wherein unbelieving Jews are omitted from the phrases All Israel and the Israel of God . . . which is it?

If “blindness in part” has happened to Israel (i.e., the Jews/Judah of Israel) – then when the “Fullness of the Nations” has come in – then the Deliverer (aka, the Messiah) shall come out of Zion and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob and “take away their sins” – then when it says ALL ISRAEL will be delivered—when does that happen?  At the end of the age?  Then, ALL ISRAEL is comprised of both houses:  Those “elect from the nations to be a people for His Name” and National Israel, the Jews. 

BLESSING TO THE NATIONS

What the Amillenarians attempt to do is simply subsume the Jews (National Israel) into the True Israel of God (i.e., the Church alone is the True Israel of God; therefore, the Jews are NOT today’s Israel—which is a “triumphalism” that is void of Scriptural validation); whereas, the Dispensationalists confine the Jews alone to Israel and contend that the Church, the “MULTITUDE OF NATIONS” (aka, the Fullness of the Gentiles) are raptured to the heavens–and never were ALL ISRAEL or even a part of Israel).  When this takes place in Romans 11:25 (“Until the fullness of the Gentiles/Nations be come in“) . . . either way, the Jews are left to themselves via total absorption where their “identity” is totally lost or utterly diminished  Amillenarians) or they are left to their own demise during THEIR “Jacob’s Trouble” (Dispensationalism).  

Likewise, the Amillenarians simply commit the New Heavens and the New Earth to the Church’s estate–with the Church inheriting the entire earthly and heavenly scene; whereas, Dispensationalism appears disaffected by the “earthly Jews” who are the “Wife of Jehovah” and are somehow ported in the heavens during the entire Millennium [2]–in BOTH cases the Jews are either wholly neglected, having lost all identity or they are placed within an earthly ghetto, expansive though it may be!

The “elect from among the nations” have not seen their true heritage in fullness without Judah and Judah has not seen their Deliverer and Deliverance outside of “the elect from among the nations” – Ephraim. 

Yes, of course, there is undoubtedly Israelite DNA among “Ephraim” after 100+ generations; but the emphasis is upon the spiritual imprimatur in being “children of promise” via Isaac, being IN the Seed, which is CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY – and “he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the Spirit” (Romans 2:29).  Incredible, the Jews/Judah now find that true Christians are their erstwhile brothers and sisters because of the Messiah Who was rejected by National Israel and, more so, since we from “among the nations” are viewed as having the Messiah in us (“Christ in you the hope of glory“) and, corporately, we are in the Messiah/in Christ–isn’t it rather peculiar then, that when we and the Jewish people convene from time to time – if we take this with the most profound spiritual implications (and add in the DNA–after all, to be Ephraim, you have to be Ephraim) – we have Jesus sitting with His Jewish brethren at meal, at business, at play, at festivals, whatever!

The “Israel of God” found in Galatians 6:16 includes all those who are “seen of God” as His prince – they comprise the One New Man, the One Body, the New Creation.  The Israel of God is comprised of both Jew and Greek (the nations).

However, that duly noted, the sons of Korah rebelled (Numbers 16) . . . their linage was of the Tribe of Levi, the same tribe as Aaron and Moses.  They were true Israelites, but they were “spiritually” rebellious and were summarily judged.  Thus, “not all of Israel are of Israel” – in that sense.  However, there has been a blatant hermeneutical disaster in both the translation and the exegesis of Romans 9:3-13 as far as “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel.”  

Paul wishes he:

“. . . were accursed from Christ for his brethren, his countrymen (lit. “relatives”) according to the flesh—i.e., the “physical progeny of Abraham” . . . WHO ARE ISRAELITES . . . to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God.  Amen” (Rom. 9:3-5).

It is firmly established, in the flesh, that these are true ISRAELITES, no doubt—but they are NOT all the ISRAELITES there are—they are part of Israel, but not all of Israel.  Yes, these are the SEED OF ABRAHAM—“nor are they all (the) children (of Abraham) – i.e., Abraham had other children via Isaac . . .  In actuality, Paul is saying . . . now listen carefully: 

ONE OLIVE TREE

The physical seed of Abraham are not the only Israelites there are—there are other Israelites . . . let me explain: “In Isaac your seed shall be called” . . . that is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the (only) children of God; but there are others—these children are the children of promise through Isaac—these children via the “S”eed of Isaac “are counted as the seed” AS WELL.

There is nothing in these passages which exclusively ascribes TRUE ISRAELITES being the “S”eed of Isaac (again, exclusively) vs. untrue (false) Israelites, i.e., the physical seed of Abraham – the Scriptures do NOT say this.

That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of promise are counted as the seed (Rom. 9:8).

This verse has been read to EXCLUDE the physical progeny of Abraham (i.e., the Jewish seed of Abraham, from being Israelites).  It is as if it were thusly read by those who exclude the Jewish element of Israel:

“Those who are simply the physical progeny of Abraham, the Jews, these are not the true children of God; the children of promise, through Isaac’s Seed, are the only true Israel of God.”

This is NOT the proper reading of this passage at all; nor does it comport to the concept of the “Commonwealth of Israel” as found in Ephesians 2:12. In fact, the passage’s rendering could just as well be said to read more accurately based upon the previous statements of Paul and the overall context of this verse within the confines of Romans 9 through 11:

“That is, those Israelites who comprise the progeny of Abraham of the flesh are not the only children of God, but the children of promise via Isaac are counted as seed as well.”  Together – the progeny of Abraham and “now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise” (Gal. 4:28), as well.

For too long Replacement Theology or Identity Theology has excluded the progeny of Abraham’s physical seed from the Commonwealth of Israel—declaring that they (viz., the Church) are in totality the True Israel, the Spiritual Israel, All Israel, the Israel of God or as Dispensationalism teaches, in the “opposite direction” wherein anything to do with Israel has nothing to do with the Church.  Dispensationalism is actually saying:

“The Church has nothing to do with Israel to the extent that we, “the elect from among the nations” – the EKKLESIA – are a “new species” apart and wholly separated from the progeny of Abraham.  The New Creation, One New Man, Body of Messiah, the Bride of Messiah – the Church has nothing whatsoever to do with the progeny of Abraham – Jacob’s Trouble is his own and has nothing to do with the “elect from among the nations” – nothing!  The Bride of Messiah has nothing to do with the Wife of Jehovah.  The Commonwealth of Israel excludes the Jews in toto aside from their conversion to Christ (NOW)!  The Church has its prophetic destiny and Israel has their prophetic destiny – the Jews are upon the earth and the Church is to the heavens during the Millennium – that is all we will have in common throughout the Millennium and perhaps throughout the Eschaton!  THAT is what is flawed about Dispensationalism.”  (Our quote – not putting words into the mouth of Dispensationalism–but this is what they would and have said.)

“The Bride of Messiah is exclusively the Church–not even the O.T. saints comprise this Bride of Christ–the Jews and all others in the O.T. and even in the 70th Week (aka, “tribulation saints”) are guests are the Marriage Super of the Lamb and, in turn, the Bride of Christ are the guests at the Marriage Feast of the wife of Jehovah – and NO, I’m not kidding, this is what Dispensationalism affirms.[3].  It appears that Amillenarians altogether disregard the Wife of Jehovah (for the Jews/Israel) but the Dispensationalists at least allow them to show up as GUESTS at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb throughout the Millennium or at least at its commencement and somewhere along the way they can get married to the Father as the Wife of Jehovah, with the Bride of Christ showing up as guests to their wedding with Jehovah” (Douglas W. Krieger Quotes).

The emphasis in Romans 9 is indeed upon those children who are of promise – but not at the exclusion of the physical progeny of Abraham.  BOTH find themselves within the Commonwealth of Israel – The physical progeny of Abraham has NOT lost his prophetic destiny and calling . . . they remain DISTINCT but NOT SEPARATED from the Commonwealth of Israel – they are NOT excluded from ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE DELIVERED . . . they are NOT excluded from THE ISRAEL OF GOD.  Likewise, Ephraim is NOT excluded from the Israel of God and most certainly NOT from ALL ISRAEL.  The Stick of Judah abides in prophetic alignment with the Stick of Ephraim, just as the Natural Branches (Judah) abide in prophetic alignment with the Wild Branches (Ephraim).  The work of the Cross, the Blood of the Cross, of the Everlasting Covenant abides resolute – the Lord’s CHOSEN is irrevocable! 

There are not Two New Covenants – there is but One New Covenant inaugurated by the Messiah, the Deliverer, in the Upper Room:  THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW COVENANT (Matthew 26:28 KJV) – it is the Blood of the Cross which makes the following possible:

The Mystery of Messiah (the Christ) by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:  that the Gentiles (nations) should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power . . . Therefore, remember that you, once Gentiles (goim) in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens (non-citizens) from the COMMONWEALTH (Lit. “polity” or “state” or “community”) of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  but now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 3:4-7; 2:11-13).

SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN…

SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN

The prickly passages in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 – “I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan . . . Indeed, I will make those of the synagogue (congregation) of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” – these passages have been used by anti-Semites for centuries to justify their hatred toward the progeny of Abraham.

We read of the Ephesian believers’ strengths in Revelation 2:2“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false.” We see the same grammatical structure in Rev 2:2, as we see in Rev 2:9 & 3:9, (“those who say they are apostles and are not” and “those who say they are Jews and are not.”)  As the self-proclaimed apostles were not actual apostles, so the self-proclaimed Jews were not actual Jews.  As it happens today as well, these were merely Gentiles who called themselves Jews; perhaps thinking that there is some spiritual validation in having the name “Jew” (which, according to Scripture, there is not, for in Yeshua alone is all our righteousness and complete validation before God).

“Synagogue”:

The word “synagogue” in this verse is also confusing for many readers.  “Synagogue” is a transliteration of the Greek word meaning a gathering place or assembly.  But many assume that in Scripture a synagogue always refers to a place of worship for non-believing Jews, but not a place for believers to gather to worship.  This is not the case.  In James 2:2, the Greek word “synagogue” is used for a place where believers gather for worship.  This word is generally translated “assembly” in many English translations, but in the Greek, it is the word synagogue (Strong’s #4864), nonetheless.  Apparently, and as a result of the anti-Jewish bias that developed from the Early Church Fathers, most translators today do not want to ‘confuse’ English readers by translating the Greek word “synagogue” as synagogue, lest they think that believers went to a non-believing Jewish synagogue for worship, so the word “assembly” is used instead or the word “congregation.”

The following is a summation of the major axioms of Commonwealth Theology–it is not comprehensive, however, and is “a work in process” – notwithstanding, without these major “planks” the theology would not be viable within either Christian or Jewish communities:

CONCLUSIONS RE:  COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY (CT)

  1. CT distinguishes itself from Replacement Theology, Dispensationalism, Identity Theologies by accepting both the House of Judah (the Jews) and the House of Ephraim (purposefully sown among the nations – a “people called out from among the nations”) to be the Whole House of Israel – both form the Commonwealth of Israel – that ELECT throughout the ages from Adam onward who constitute the “people of God.”
  1. CT is emboldened to recognize the prophetic ingathering of BOTH HOUSES into the Household of Faith at the close of the age – and sees in the rebirth of the State of Israel the prophetic fulfillment of that ingathering – primarily of Judah in anticipation of their Redeemer, the Deliverer, the Messiah whom we “called out from among the nations” attest to be the Son of David, the Son of God and the Son of Man.

    JEZREEL

  1. We declare that God has sown (Jezreel) the seed of Ephraim, among the nations, and though they are swallowed up by the nations—yes, notwithstanding, ALIENS, NON-CITIZENS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL—yet, His SHEEP hear His voice and are known of Him.  He has come to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel (“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd“–John 10:16) – and they have heard His voice and, like the Prodigal Son who was dissipated and had totally forfeited his inheritance – like the Harlot of Hosea who was no longer a people and had sold herself for hire among the nations – yet BOTH the Prodigal and the Harlot have “come to themselves” and have returned to the LORD, to the Father, to her Husband (for she may marry again, since her first husband died–even “Christ died for the ungodly . . . and was raised again from the dead” [Romans 5:6; 4:25]  – and though they were NOT THE PEOPLE OF GOD – they have, through God’s mercy, become THE PEOPLE OF GOD. 
  1. We affirm that there is but ONE OLIVE TREE – Made up of Natural and (the progeny of Abraham of the flesh) and Wild Branches (those “elect” from the nations – sustained by the ONE ROOT (Messiah) WHO BEARS THEM!  To suggest that the “wild branches” must be raptured in order for the “natural branches” to be grafted back into the “root that bore us” is contrary to the metaphor of the One Olive Tree–no, “He is able to graft them in again!” (Romans 11:23).
  1. We affirm that the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim prophecy found in Ezekiel 37:15-28 has not been fulfilled in fullness but is fast upon us and that these Two Sticks, Two Houses, Two Branches – SHALL BE ONE IN THE HAND OF THE LORD—this process is both gradual at the close of the age and abrupt at His Appearing, Second Coming as, BEHOLD, THE MAN, WHOSE NAME IS BRANCH—Zechariah 6.
  1. We affirm that there is but ONE BRIDE OF MESSIAH – comprised of Judah and Ephraim – of the Jew and of the Greek – that is the Plan and Purpose of the almighty and always has been . . . there are NOT two Brides—i.e., the “Wife of Jehovah” and the “Bride of Christ” – there is ONE BETHROTHAL, ONE ESPOUSAL, one Bride for Messiah.  Likewise, there is ONE RESURRECTION of the JUST, not two resurrections as espoused by Dispensationalism; consequently, there is but One Bride of Messiah–all the redeemed throughout the ages – both O.T. saints and N.T. saints up through and including the final Week of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 12:2a “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life” – and Revelation 20:5-6:  “This is the first [i.e., “best” – “superior” – “first in kind”] resurrection.  ‘Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection,  Over such the second death has no power, but they [all the saints from the O.T. and the N.T.] shall be priests of God and of Christ, and SHALL REIGN WITH HIM A THOUSAND YEARS‘ . . . also:  Job 19:25-26; Hebrews 11:16, 19; Psalm 16:19; 17:15; John 5:28-29; Luke 14:14; Acts 24:15; 1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 52; Phil. 3:20-21).  (Our caps)

  1. Many of us affirm that the Ladder of Jacob as highlighted by Jesus in John 1:41-51 to Nathaniel is the Son of Man who brings heaven to Earth as the Son of God and brings mankind into Heaven as the Son of Man; but who shall establish His BETHEL – House of God upon the Earth as did Jacob!  This is the El Beth-el – God, the House of God, which is the Household of God—both Judah and Ephraim—the Whole House of God, the Whole House of Israel. Currently, there is a MAN IN THE GLORY – Messiah shall return to the Earth, bodily, first and foremost as the SON OF MAN!
  1. Many of us affirm that God has always designed TWO WITNESSES – Judah of Israel to the Gentile World Powers to be a Light to the Gentiles – and the Congregation of the Living God (now seated in “heavenly places in Christ”) to be a witness to “principalities and powers in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 6:12) – but the Deliverer shall come out of Zion and once and for all demolish thesedimensional barriers between the seen and unseen and there shall be ONE KING OVER THEM BOTH—the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim (Ezk. 37:24) – One Shepherd.  The MANIFESTATION of the Son of David over both Houses shall be both an earthly and heavenly manifestation at the SAME TIME wherein the dimensional divide of heaven and earth will be broken, united together by the Son of Man as seen in John 1:41-51.  This “Son of David” in Ezekiel 37:24 is NOT King David of the O.T. or a miscellaneous “son of David” but is the ROOT OF JESSE, My Servant, the Branch, the Great shepherd of the Sheep – He alone sits upon His Throne:  “My Servant David shall be their Prince FOREVER” (Ezk. 37:25) (See also:  Rev. 22:16 – “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star” – and Isaiah 11:1-2; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Rev. 5:5).  The “physicality” of the “Root and Offspring of David” being the Messiah turns Dispensationalism on its head–why?  Because the Messiah is seated upon His Throne on the Earth and obviously He is KING & SHEPHERD over the “two kingdoms” in an eternal display of reconciliation and governance.
  2. Many of us adjudge that the Law was fulfilled in Christ—the Law of Christ—and that it is holy and undefiled.  Indeed, the Law was given as our schoolmaster to bring us to Messiah (Gal. 3:24) – how can something that brings us to the Messiah be onerous or unsanctified?  Therefore, we give grace to those among us of the nations and to our Jewish brethren who affirm the Messiah who please Him to affirm the “commandments of God” but “have the testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 12:17); who “sing the Song of Moses, the servant of God and the Song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:3).

    2 lAMPSTANDS AND TWO OLIVE TREES

  3. Many of us are persuaded that the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 – the Two Olive Trees and the Two Lampstands could readily be the corporate witness of Judah (Israel) to the Gentiles World Powers at the end of the age (the Two Olive Trees); and the Two Lampstands the corporate witness of Ephraim (“the elect from among the nations” – the Ekklesia) as a witness to the principalities and powers in the last days.  The Seven Luchina/Lampstands or Churches of Revelation 1-3 are not seven Jewish congregations—they are the same Luchnia seen in Revelation 11 and are the EKKLESIA in history up through the end of the age.
  4. Furthermore, many of us affirm that the New Heaven and New Earth commences when the Glorified Son of Man sets His foot upon the Mt. of Olives (Zech. 14:4Acts 1:9-11).  We find no GAP in 2 Peter 3:10-13 between the Great & Awesome Day of the Lord and the New Heaven & New Earth.   Furthermore, the New Heaven and New Earth do NOT circumvent the land allocations given in Ezekiel 48 but substantiate their materiality but do NOT omit the participation of the ELECT from among the Nations as seen in Ephraim’s inheritance described in the region of “Galilee of the Gentiles.” The “meek shall inherit the earth” does not obfuscate the land allotments found in Ezekiel 48–we, poor puny man, simply cannot comprehend how BOTH the entire earth, and yet such a specific allocation of these tribal allocations square–there are some biblical truths we shall NOT comprehend until that day:  “. . . but then I shall know just as I also am known” (1 Cor. 13:12).
  5. We reject outright the notion that today’s Jerusalem is Babylon the Great, the Great City of the Revelation.  The “great city” of Revelation 11:8 where their Lord was crucified is OUTSIDE THE CAMP, outside the gate and is domiciled, not in the Holy City (Revelation 11:2; Hebrews 13:13) but in Babylon, that Great City.  Revelation contrasts the Holy City (New Jerusalem—whose gates bear the names of the 12 Tribes of Israel and whose foundations bear the names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb – the 24 Elders of the Revelation are the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim in the “Hand of the LORD” as one New Jerusalem, One Stick vs the Great City, Babylon.  This Great City found in Revelation 11:8 is akin, just as it says:  “Allegorically/spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt” – THAT is its name—it is Babylon the Great throughout the Revelation; whereas, the Holy City is comprised of Israel and the Elect from the Nations.
  6. Again, many of us affirm that the New Heavens and the New Earth is NOT postponed until the Eschaton but occurs nigh immediately when the Glorified Son of Man sets His foot upon the Mt. of Olives (Zechariah 14:4); therefore, there are NOT two Holy Cities, Two Sanctuaries, nor does the Bride of Messiah spin around the Earth like a satellite somewhere in the ionosphere[2] – she descends to the Earth.  Therefore, the vision seen by Ezekiel in Ezk. 40-48 and that seen by John the Apostle in Revelation 21 is MULTI-DIMENSIONAL – it is both HEAVENLY and UPON THE EARTH – it can be explained in no other fashion – we are simply limited by our poor puny minds to comprehend: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love Him!” (1 Cor. 2:9)

    new jerusalem

  7. The Word of God persistently calls the followers of Yeshua either Jew or Gentile—distinguishing the two well after Pentecost.  Yes, there is “neither Jew nor Greek in Christ” but neither is there “male or female” but there certainly are brothers and sisters in Christ; ipso facto there are Jews and Greeks in Christ (Acts 15:5-20; 18:2, 24; 19:17; 21:20; 21:39; 22:3; Rom. 1:16; 2:10; 3:29; 1 Cor. 1:24; Gal. 2:14-15; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 3:11). There is “neither Jew nor Greek” – but that is IN CHRIST, but not “By Nature.”  There is NO SEPARATION in Christ – yet, prophetically there is IN NATURE distinction between the Jew and the Greek.
  8. It is our affirmation that the strongest bulwark against Antisemitism in the Last Days is Commonwealth Theology where today’s Jew/Judah is given a major, even equal, prophetic role both now unto the end of the age WITH the Stick of Ephraim – the “elect called out from among the nations.”  We, the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel” have but One Shepherd, One Flock, One Stick IN THE HAND OF THE LORD.
  9. CT would appeal to Messianic Congregations throughout their associations to see in this new “body of theology” more than a friend and ally, but as your brothers and sisters in Messiah, Yeshua, the Christ—that we are included, as you, in the Commonwealth of Israel.  There should not be jealousy between us.  Nor, should there be jealousy between the present progeny of Abraham (aka, the Jewish people, ethnic Jews) and those called out from among the Gentiles/the Nations, who attest to their lineage and spiritual dimension as Ephraim and who bear the title as the “children of promise.” To the contrary, we should all be in mutual support of our common redemption and Deliverer who shall “roar out of Zion!”
  10. Finally, CT views the present State of Israel as the prophetic expression of the gathering of the exiles of Judah to their ancient homeland as heralded by the Hebrew Prophets—this is NOT an accident, a coincidence, but it is orchestrated by the God of Israel as a precursor for the unveiling of our common Messiah and Earth’s Redemption.  We applaud a more “Biblical Zionism” in hopes of igniting a hunger for the Torah among God’s ancient people.  We refute the teaching of current evangelicals who postulate that today’s Israel may NOT be the final ingathering or that today’s Israel has absolutely no prophetic promise from Scripture (i.e., all such promises belong exclusively to the Church—that we refute).  Our bond with the Jewish people is irrevocable because we who were scattered among the nations – yes, swallowed up by the nations – have “come to ourselves” as the Prodigal Son, and have returned to our Father to be under one roof with our Father’s faithful son, Judah.  May all jealousy and contempt depart from this One House, banished forevermore through His Everlasting Mercy & Love!
  11. As a point of clarification:  CT disavows the notion held by many well-meaning Dispensationalists, and even Christian Zionists, that the New Covenant prophetically promised to Israel (e.g. Jeremiah 31:31-34Ezekiel 36:26-27) is not the same New Covenant which Paul describes in Ephesians and elsewhere.  No, it is the same New Covenant which was foreseen by the Old Testament prophets.  Today’s “Elect from among the Nations” are “Spiritual Israel” (i.e., Ephraim)–they are not excluded from the Commonwealth of Israel; however, neither are the progeny of Abraham, the Jews, subsumed within that same Commonwealth of Israel as many of our Reform brethren would have us believe.  Moreover, there is a tangible, material, connection to the “earth” in Ephraim’s designation–one viewed by the Almighty which provides (as seen from the divine perspective) an actual uniting of the physical descendants of these scattered, ancient tribes–the “biblical language” used by both Paul and Peter is not just metaphorical, it is literal.  Thus, from that “divine perspective” there is a profoundly “spiritual” aspect, and a genetic configuration that is beyond our “natural minds” to fathom–awakening to both these realities is what is happening today among “God’s people.”
  12. One can logically inquire:  Why is this incredibly substantial TRUTH just now breaking upon both Jew and Christian?  If it were so vitally important, wouldn’t we have seen it long before this time?  That inquiry in and of itself validates the prophetic consummation of the age–we’re “seeing it now” because on an eschatological plain it was prophesied to take place in the “latter days and years” (Jer. 30:3, 24–spoken to both Israel and Judah; Ezk. 38:8) . . . “In the latter days you will consider it” (Jer. 30:24).  Indeed:  “Is Ephraim My dear son?  Is he a pleasant child?  For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still, therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the LORD . . . and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy; which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Nations?  As He says also in Hosea:  “I will call them My people, who were not My people; and her beloved, who was not beloved . . . and it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.‘” (Jer. 31:20; Romans 9:23-26; Hosea 2:23; 1:10).
  13. Finally: “How long will you [Ephraim-Israel] gad about, O you backsliding daughter?  For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth–a woman shall encompass (lit. “woo” or “court”) a man.” (Jer. 31:22).  Could it be that Ephraim, the “backsliding daughter” – the “gad about” – now woo Judah – “For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth–a WOMAN shall encompass a MAN“?  Now–that would be a switch!

    return to the land of israel

Hosea 11:8-11

“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred.

I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God, and not man, The Holy One in your midst; And I will not come with terror.

10 “They shall walk after the Lord. He will roar like a lion. When He roars, Then His sons shall come trembling from the West;

11 They shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt, Like a dove from the land of Assyria. And I will let them dwell in their houses,” Says the Lord.

__________________________________________________________

ENDNOTES (Are NOT necessarily linked to the text but are shown only as Endnotes):

[1] These three Greek words give a powerful meaning to the nations bound together with Israel:

Synkleroma, sysoma  synmetoka– all starting with the prefix “syn,” from which we get English words like synchronize, synthesize, and synergy.

First is synkleroma—“co-heirs.” This legal term suggests not just an equality of shared privilege, as in two business but instead it is more like two “blood-brothers” who have utterly bound themselves together, totally dependent on each other for whatever inheritance, hope, and success they can expect to receive from their common father. In Messiah, we Jews won’t get our ultimate inheritance from the father until the nations get theirs—and vice-versa!

Second is sysoma—“co-body” people, “of one body.” INTRINSICALLY ONE BODY

Last is synmetoka—“partakers of the same promise” in Christ Jesus. “Promise” is in the singular, not “promises.” In keeping with the rest of Paul’s writings, we can understand him to be specifically referring to the pre-figured, Gospel promise made to Abraham, as taught in Romans 4, 8:17, and Galatians 3:26-29. Romans 4:11-17 brings together these ideas from Ephesians 3:6, and other chapters in this book. (Source:  One New Man…The Mystery of Messiah – Kehila News Israel, Aug. 2, 2017)

[2] JOHN WALVOORD and the Satellite New Jerusalem: 

Most important, however, is the fact that the city is declared to come down from God out of heaven. In the Greek, the expression “out of heaven” precedes the phrase “from God,” just the reverse of the Authorized Version order. Nothing is said about the new Jerusalem being created at this point and the language seems to imply that it has been in existence in heaven prior to this event (for further discussion, see  Rev. 21:9). Nothing is revealed concerning this in Scripture unless the expression of John 14:2, “I go to prepare a place for you,” refers to this. If the new Jerusalem is in existence throughout the millennial reign of Christ, it is possible that it is a satellite city suspended over the earth during the thousand-year reign of Christ as the dwelling place of resurrected and translated saints who also have access to the earthly scene. This would help explain an otherwise difficult problem of the dwelling place of resurrected and translated beings on the earth during a period in which men are still in their natural bodies and living ordinary lives. If so, the new Jerusalem is withdrawn from the earthly scene in connection with the destruction of the old earth, and later comes down to the new earth. (Source:  Walvoord, The New Heaven and the New Earth)

[3]  Views on the Two Brides and the Marriage and Marriage Super of the Lamb:

Dispensationalist J. Dwight Pentecost:  Pentecost commenting on the two marriage suppers (the supper and feast), as noted by Dr. Chafer, gives this explanation: “…The marriage of the Lamb as that event in the heavens in which the church is eternally united to Christ and the marriage feast or supper constitutes the millennium, to which Jews and Gentiles will be invited, which takes place on the earth, during which time the Bridegroom is honored through the display of the bride to all His friends who are assembled there” (THINGS TO COME, p. 228).

Moreover, Pentecost excludes the O.T. saints, “tribulation saints” and National Israel from the Bride of Messiah, but then turns around and “invites” them to the Marriage Super of the Lamb which apparently is on the Earth, even though the Bride of Messiah, according to Dispensationalist Walvoord, is spinning around the globe like a satellite, never coming down to Earth:

The participants in the marriage.  The marriage of the Lamb is an event which evidently involves only Christ and the church.  It will be shown later, according to Daniel 12:1-3 and Isaiah 26:19-21, that the resurrection of Israel and the Old Testament saints will not take place until the second advent of Christ.  Revelation 20:4-6 makes it equally clear that tribulation saints will not be resurrected until that time also.  While it would be impossible to eliminate these groups from the place of OBSERVERS [i.e., “guests at the wedding feast”], they cannot be in the position of participants in the event itself.  In this connection it seems necessary to distinguish between the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper. The marriage of the Lamb is an event that has particular reference to the church and takes place in heaven.  The marriage supper is an event that involves Israel and takes place on the earth.  In Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24; and Matthew 25:1-13, where Israel is awaiting the return of the bridegroom and the bride, the wedding feast or supper is located on the earth and has particular reference to Israel.  The wedding supper, then, becomes the parabolic picture of the entire millennial age, to which Israel will be invited during the tribulation period, which invitation many will reject and so they will be cast out, and many will accept and they will be received in.  Because of the rejection the invitation will likewise go to the Gentiles so that many of them will be included.  Israel, at the second advent, will be waiting for the Bridegroom to come from the wedding ceremony and invite them to that supper, at which the Bridegroom will introduce His bride to His friends (Matt. 23:1-13) (Note:  Jews are just invited guests or “friends”.)

Pentecost continues:

In reference to the announcement in Revelation 19:9:  “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” two interpretations are possible.  Chafer says:  “Distinction is called for at this point between the marriage supper which is in heaven and celebrated before Christ returns, and the marriage feast (Matthew 25:10, R. V.; Luke 12:37) which is on earth after His return.”  This view anticipates two suppers, one in heaven receding the second advent, and the one following the second advent on earth.  A second interpretation views the announcement as anticipatory of the wedding super that will be held on earth following the marriage and the second advent, about which an announcement is being made in heaven prior to the return to earth for that event.  Inasmuch as the Greek text does not distinguish between marriage supper and marriage feast, but uses the same word for both, and since the marriage supper consistently is used in reference to Israel on the earth, it may be best to take the latter view and view the marriage of the Lamb as that event in the heavens in which the church is eternally united in Christ and the marriage feast or supper as the millennium, to which Jews and Gentiles will be invited, which takes place on the earth, during which time the bridegroom is honored through the display of the bride to all His friends who are assembled there.  (Pentecost, THINGS TO COME, pp. 227-28)

Other Dispensationalists are explicit:  There are TWO BRIDES/WIVES – one for Jehovah and one for Christ; to wit:

As we have seen, the OT represents Israel as the wife of Jehovah. Although she has been unfaithful and divorced by her Husband, a time is coming when “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26). At that time, Jehovah will take her back as His wife.  The marriage of Israel to Jehovah is seen in promises of God concerning the city, Zion. In her restoration, God will rejoice over the city as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride.

In the meantime, those who accept Messiah Jesus are baptized into His body (1 Cor. 12:13). In the same way that Eve was literally “one flesh” with Adam, having been taken from his side (Gen. 2:21-24), so believers are joined into the spiritual body of Christ and betrothed to Him. During Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation, the wife of Jehovah is being purified on earth in preparation for her restoration during the Millennial Kingdom to follow. At the same time, the bride of Christ is in her bridal chamber, having been taken in the Rapture and wed to Him at the marriage of the Lamb.

Later, after the Millennial Kingdom has come to a close and a new heavens and new earth are created, the holy city, the New Jerusalem, is prepared by Jehovah as a bride adorned for her husband—the Lamb (Rev. 21:2+, 9+). The long-unfulfilled promises of the restoration of Jerusalem, which found their initial fulfillment in the Millennial Kingdom (Isa. 62), will come to final fruition in the New Jerusalem where all the redeemed of all ages are in union with God and the Lamb Who are its temple (Rev. 21:22+). This is the ultimate consummation of all the redeemed. (Source:  The Marriage of the Lamb)

Thus, by postponing the New Heaven and the New Earth to the Eschaton, Dispensationalism has kept the Church and Israel in SEPARATION; their distinction has been carried to the extreme and has made the Cross of “none effect” (the “Wall of Separation” persists).  Likewise, by creating two brides, God is made out to be a polygamist!

Turning to Dr. Robert Gundry, we read:

We should not expect to find rigid consistency in the biblical use of metaphors . . .. Thus, since Israel as well as the Church is both bride and wife, we should not jump to the conclusion that the Lamb’s bride and wife consists of the Church alone.  On the contrary, the context indicates that at the marriage supper of the Lamb the bride includes Israel:  “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.  And he . . . showed me the holy city, Jerusalem . . . with twelve gates . . . and names were written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel (Rev 21:9, 10, 12).  If therefore, the marriage supper does not require a pretribulational resurrection and rapture of the Israelitish segment of the bride, neither does it require a pretribulational resurrection and rapture of the Church.

Notwithstanding, Arno Fruchtenbaum sums up the “polygamist God” we serve:

While the distinction between Israel and the Church is maintained in various ways throughout the Bible, this is one of the more picturesque [i.e., the difference between the Marriage of Lamb with the Church in heaven during the 70th Week of Daniel and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb upon the earth when the guests, Israel, O.T. saints, and “tribulation saints” show up as “guests” – our insertion]. However, if one makes the Wife of Jehovah (Israel) and the Bride of the Messiah (the Church) one and the same thing, he is faced with numerous contradictions because of the different descriptions given. Only when the two separate entities are seen: Israel as the Wife of Jehovah and the Church as the Bride of the Messiah, do all such contradictions vanish. (Dr. Arno Fruchtenbaum: The Wife of Jehovah and the Bride of Messiah, July 8, 2009)

And . . . 

But there will be “Guests,” for as all the dead in Christ shall rise and be present at the “Marriage of The Lamb,” and as only those who are saved from Pentecost to the taking out of the Church, belong to the Church (The Bride), there will be present as “GUESTS” the Old Testament Saints, such as Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Job, Moses, David, the Prophets, and even John the Baptist who claimed to be only the “Friend” of the Bridegroom. Then there will be the “Blood Washed Multitude” that come out of the Tribulation after the Church has been caught out. Thus we see that the righteous of all the past Ages and Dispensations, and all the Saints of God who shall be worthy, and who are not included in the Bride (The Church), will be “Guests” at the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” Angels will be “spectators” of the scene but they cannot be “Guests,” for that honor is reserved for only those who have been redeemed by the “Blood of the Lamb.” (Source:  The Marriage of the Lamb)

Thus, in the minds of the Dispensationalists, the God of the Bible has two SEPARATED MARRIAGES – One to Israel (somewhere along the line, yet future somewhere during or at the end of the Millennium) and one to the Messiah, the Christ, the Bride of Messiah–that’s how far they have carried their DISTINCTION–into SEPARATION!  Indeed, some Dispensationalists suggest that the “guests” at the Wedding Super will be the Wife of Jehovah (ostensibly) and the reverse is in play when Jehovah will marry His Bride and then the Bride of Christ will return the favor and show up as guests–so convoluted is their desire to keep the Bride of Messiah SEPARATED!  Somehow, through it all, the Triune God is likewise separated?

 

PLEASE GO TO PART 1 of COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY  

COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY – PART 1 – SEE PPT.

COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY – PART 1 – SEE PPT.

PPT:  COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL (No Sound)

COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL No. 1

(Introductory Note:  It is imperative in reading the text that the reader give careful consideration to the endnotes when listed; otherwise, the full development of Commonwealth Theology will NOT clarify in the reader’s mind and/or spirit—it should be included as one reads through the document.  Note:  All Scripture is “hot linked” as are many references throughout the text which substantiate the content.  The NKJV is used throughout unless otherwise stated.  Much of this brief discourse came as a result of the Denver Prophecy Summit held August 4-6, 2017)

COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY – INTRODUCTION (CT)

It has come to our “prophetic attention” that the time has come to embrace and/or give serious consideration/definition to a growing body of present-day eschatology and theology which recognizes a more biblical basis for the Church’s relationship with Israel. (Note:  The plural or singular pronoun will be used interchangeably.)

One which falls within the confines of Evangelicalism, adhering to the major tenets of the faith; however, this is NOT a polemic on what does or does not constitute the tenets of the Faith but is narrowly focused on the distinctions of a growing body of theological understanding on what constitutes COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY (CT) juxtaposed to other “theological/eschatological systems” within Christendom which we shall later define. 

The term Commonwealth is taken from Ephesians 2:11-12.  

“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles (“ethnos”) in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens (lit. “alienated” – “non-citizens” and/or your citizenship was removed) from the COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

COMMONWEALTH connotes POLITY or the State, Community, and is corporate in nature (Strong’s G#4174 – politeia) – the relationship that a citizen shares with the state.

CT’s brings together Jew and Gentile in accordance with Romans 9:22-24; in particular, vs. 24, which has a profound meaning:

“. . . even us whom He called not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles (Strong’s G#1484 ethnon [pl.] or multitudes or nations)?”

The verse is phrased as a question wherein we are alerted that “He might make known the riches of His glory on the Jewish vessels of mercy” (vs. 23) BUT ALSO upon the Gentile vessels would He deign to make known “the riches of His glory” – thus, both Jew and Gentile are identified as “vessels of mercy” (vs. 23).  Moreover, Paul recognizes from the divine perspective that both Jews and the Ethnon/Gentiles are “called” (“He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Nations?” – vs. 24)

This word “called” has a most profound meaning.  It is taken from the Greek word kalamos (used here in Rom. 9:24 as ekalasen or “called out”).  Strong’s G#2563 gives the word the most unusual meaning/sense:

“. . . a reed (the plant or its stem, or that of a similar plant); by impl. A pen . . . The word denotes (1) “the reed” mentioned in Mt. 11:7; 12:20; Lk 7:24; the same as the Heb., ganeh (among the various reeds in the OT); e.g., Is. 42:3, from which Matt. 12:20 is quoted (cf. Job 40:21; Eze. 29:6, “a reed with jointed, hollow stalk”) (2) “a reed staff, staff,” Mt. 27:29, 30, 48; Mk 15:19(3) “a measuring reed or rod,” Rev. 11:1; 21:15(4) “a writing reed, a pen,” 3 Jn 13.”

Not only have the Jews been “called out” but also there are those “called out” from among the Nations/Gentiles who have been so designated.  This “calling out” is associated with “divine measurement.”  What God Almighty “measures” He owns.  John in the Revelation “was given a reed like a measuring rod” and told to “rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there” (Rev. 11:1).  John is told to “leave out the court [i.e., the Court of the Gentiles or Nations] which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Nations . . .  And they [the “antecedent” is obviously those Gentiles in the Court of the Gentiles] will tread the HOLY CITY underfoot for forty-two months” (Rev. 11:2).

Although this passage has manifold exegesis, the critical observation has to do with the reed, the kalamos (Strong’s G#2563) which appears in Revelation 11:1.  It is this kalamos which measures the “worshipers at the altar” and declares they are His, owned by Him.  It is this same sense that those “called out” from among the Nations are “possessed” (owned) by Him.  Likewise, as far as the Court of the Gentiles who shall persecute the “Holy City” for 42 months . . . this court was NOT a part of the original Solomonic Temple or the Second Temple, but was inspired by the Sadducees (the “liberal” Jews at the time of the Herodian Temple to allow uncircumcised Gentiles to come as close to the Altar as possible cause of their interest in the Jewish Temple). 

Here, we must distinguish between those “called out” from the Nations/Gentiles and those who occupy the “Court of the Nations/Gentiles” (i.e., “given to the Nations”) – for these “uncircumcised found in the Court of the Gentiles” refuse to deal with their “flesh” and, consequently, we find them in opposition to the “Holy City” for forty-two months—they are NOT measured, are NOT with the worshipers at the altar.  The symbolism here is overwhelming. 

TERMINOLOGY 

Although we have already explained some definitions, we will expand upon those initial terms.  From the outset, it is imperative for us to determine sundry words derived from Scripture which will assist us in clarifying what does and does not enhance our understanding of CT.

The Church:  From henceforth in this document the term “Church” as understood in the New Testament sense of the word refers to “the called out from among the nations” (aka the Gentiles or “ethnos” – Romans 9:24; Acts 15:14 – “God at the first visited the Nations/Ethnos to take out of them a people for His name.”) – as well as the “called” from among the progeny of Abraham, the Jews or Judah) to be “a people for His Name” – the predominate term/word used for Church does NOT appear in the testaments; the normative word is the Greek word in the N.T. – ekklesia (Strong’s G#1577 – used for both “assembly” (3x) and for Church (115x) . . . this word stresses a group of people called out for a special purpose . . . [derived from] ek, ‘out of,’ and klesis, ‘a calling’ (kaleo ‘to call’) [Note: We can readily observe that kalamos is engaged in this exegesis or ek-kaleo].

The EKKLESIA are the “called out ones” from among the Ethnos/Nations but likewise in accordance with Romans 9:24from “among the Jews” as well.

They are the “ecclesia” or “ekklesia” (the ELECT).  Together, both the “called out” Jews and the “called out from among the nations” constitute the One Body–the Body of Christ (the Messiah – Eph. 4:4; Col. 3:15; 1 Cor. 12:12; Rom. 12:5), the One New Man – the HOUSEHOLD OF GOD; to wit:

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both (Jew and Gentile) one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself ONE NEW MAN from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in ONE BODY through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity, and He came and preached peace to you who were afar off (Gentiles) and to those who were near (Jews). For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father . . . Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but FELLOW CITIZENS with the saints and MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD (Eph. 2:14-19) (Our caps).

Furthermore, this EKKLESIA – these “called” ones from the Jews and from the Nations – are revealed through Paul and John as a MYSTERY in that the “Mystery of God” is not finished until the sounding of the Seventh Angel:

But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel [the Seventh Trumpet] the MYSTERY OF GOD would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets (Rev. 10:7).

We cannot divorce the “Mystery of God” from its definition found in Colossians 2:2 which literally is read:

. . . to the knowledge of the MYSTERY OF GOD – Christ [the Messiah] (Col. 2:2).

In other words, the MYSTERY OF GOD is Christ.  But we must go on further for the MYSTERY OF CHRIST is likewise resolved in the book of Colossians; but first we must establish that there is the Mystery of Christ:

That God would open to us a door for the word to speak the MYSTERY OF CHRIST . . . (Col. 4:3).

And, what is the Mystery of Christ?

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His BODY, which is the church [ekklesia – Strong’s G#1577] of which I became a minister according to the stewardship [dispensation or administration] from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, THE MYSTERY which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of THE MYSTERY AMONG THE GENTILES:  Who is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:24-27).

The Mystery of Christ is His EKKLESIA – the ONE BODY.  Yes, the “riches of the glory” of this “Mystery among the Nations” is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  That same Mystery is embodied within His ONE BODY – made up of the “called” from among both Jews and the Nations, the Gentiles—the EKKLESIA.

The Mystery of the ONE BODY is the Pillar and Ground of Reality—the HOUSE OF GOD, the EKKLESIA OF THE LIVING GOD (1 Tim. 3:15).  This Mystery of Christ is the New Creation—“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a NEW CREATION” (Gal. 6:15); and through the resurrection of our “Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep” we NOW partake of the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant (Hebrews 13:20). 

The ONE BODY—comprised of both Jews and non-ethnic Jews—as a Result of the preaching of the Gospel of the Grace of God (salvation through the Blood of the Lamb of God, Yeshua—Jesus, the Son of the Living God—Acts 20:24)—which is intrinsically bound to the “preaching of the kingdom of God” (Acts 20:25).

Yes, we “both Jew and Greek” have been redeemed by the Blood of the Cross and have been brought as full-fledged citizens into the Community of Grace, into the Commonwealth of Israel, and have become “children of promise” as a result of our new-found position of being IN CHRIST and CHRIST being in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.  

We now share in the New Covenant[1] (Please carefully read the discourse concerning the New Covenant in this endnote.) mediated by the Mediator, the Lord Jesus, through His once-for-all sacrifice for our sins.  (Ref. Galatians 3:15-18; 4:28; Col. 1:20; Eph. 2:14-17; Heb. 12:24; 13:20).

Israel (First Definition) 

Israel is defined as ethnic Jews (aka, Judah and Benjamin; primarily the Two Southern Tribes and the remnant who joined themselves to Judah from the Northern 10 Tribes (likewise, most of the Levites and Simeon) after their return to Judea from Babylon cir. Sixth Century BC).  They are known today as “Jewish people” whether they live in the State of Israel or outside of the State of Israel.  This Israel is in line with the Abrahamic Covenant; the Land Covenant (Palestinian Covenant); the Davidic Covenant[2] (Millenarian Covenant/the Kingdom on Earth); and they will “nationally” participate in the New Covenant, which was inaugurated at the Cross in His First Coming as the Suffering Servant. 

They are likewise defined as the Stick of Judah (Ezekiel 37:15-28) or House of Judah (Isa. 8:14—“both the houses of Israel” – i.e., Judah and Israel) or as the Natural Branches of the One Olive Tree (Romans 11:11-24).  Most Jews today – be they traditional or religious – are seen under the Mosaic Covenant (aka, the Law of Moses) which if followed will bring them to Messiah, as a “school master” (Gal. 3:24) – but in and of itself the Law does not “save” – only Messiah saves/delivers through His once for all sacrifice—only His Blood can suffice the “Judicial Wrath of God” upon our sin, our unrighteousness—for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) . . .

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (Romans 5:9-11).

Israel (Second Definition) 

TWO STICKS

These Israelites constitute those nations identified in the blessing given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and conferred upon Joseph’s younger son, Ephraim, where he would become a “multitude of nations.”   Thus, the 10 Northern Tribes (aka, the House of Israel, the House of Ephraim, Samaria, Jezreel, were taken into captivity cir. 740-712 BC by the Assyrians and were assimilated among the nations.[3] They have a prophetic destiny with the Jewish people and BOTH constitute the COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL—be they “blinded in part” (i.e., the Jewish people) or “prophesy in part and see through a glass dimly” the elect from the nations—Romans 11:25; 1 Cor. 1:9-12).  Today’s Ephraim will be expanded upon in this CT tome.[4] 

These Israelites are today’s “Elect from among the Gentiles” called out of the nations to be “a people for His Name.”  They are DISTINCT from Judah but not separated in the “eyes of God.”  Prophetically, they are the STICK OF EPHRAIM and will be, in the Hand of the Lord, made ONE STICK in fulfillment of Ezekiel 37.  Neither Judah nor Ephraim (separately) constitute the “Whole House of Israel” but together they most certainly do.

They (viz., the Jewish people, Judah) are the “natural branches” of the One Olive Tree—both the Wild Branches (Ephraim) and the “Natural Branches” (Judah) which were broken off the COMMON ROOT (which is the Messiah) are of the single Olive Tree.  The First and Second Definition of Israel comprise ALL ISRAEL or the ISRAEL OF GOD.  BOTH Judah and Israel (Ephraim) comprise “The People of the Book” (both Testaments).  ALL ISRAEL – THE ISRAEL OF GOD – have both an immediate and prophetic fulfillment with their definitions.  Although Judah is “blinded in part”” as far as their Messiah’s identity, they still are described as a “natural branch” of the One Olive Tree, though “broken off.”  Are they still “Israel”?  Absolutely.

THE THREE THEOLOGICAL/ESCHATOLOGICAL PARADIGMS OF CHRISTENDOM 

There are three predominating views taken by Christendom as far as the Church’s relationship with Israel (First Definition – Judah):

(1) Replacement Theology (aka, Supersessionist) – Catholic/Orthodox (Eastern Churches), Reformational Churches (Protestant).  Amillenarian, Post-Millenarian, Preterism[5], Covenant Theologies, Dominionism, Christian Reconstructionism, Theonomy.  The “Gospel Age” persists until either the Church prevails over all the earth—both culturally and politically (no future Antichrist).  Today’s Israel is a fluke of history, not prophetic, and Zionism at best is worldly “nationalism” and at its worst, it is apostate.  The Seventieth Week of Daniel has already been fulfilled (in part but assuredly in whole) – there may be a final rebellion and there may be the physical return of Christ to the Earth – there is No Future Millennium—we are living in the one-thousand-year Millennium now.

REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

The Church is the One Continuing Community of Grace.  Israel forfeited their standing and their covenants were broken upon their corporate rejection of Jesus as Messiah.  Varied forms of Replacement Theology include “partial” Preterism; partial fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th Week (1/2); Jerusalem is Babylon the Great.  “Let His blood be upon us and our children” (Matthew 27:25) is the current plight of “the Jew” – for they have rejected their Messiah! 

These theologies tend toward virulent breeding grounds for hatred of Jews—Antizionism—Antisemitism.  Preterism, in particular, affirms that virtually all Bible prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD.  There is no future prophetic role for Israel (Judah/Jews)–they will be judged like all others who have rejected Christ’s Messiahship.  The Abomination of Desolation took place in 70 AD.  Today’s Israel is today’s Church in sum and substance—today’s Jews are NOT the real Jews (many hold to such a view) but are of the “Synagogue of Satan” – they “say they are Jews but are not.” 

There is no “favored treatment” of Jews today (viz., “I will bless him who blesses thee” – said to Abraham – “and in thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” – Jews are no more the “blessed peoples of the earth” than any other ethnic group.  Zionism is Racism in the eyes of many who embrace some form of Replacement theology.  Amillenarian, John Piper, seems foremost in this persuasion (See endnote.[6].  Jews returning to their ancient homeland (gathering of the exiles) – even in unbelief (e.g., Valley of Dry Bones—Ezk. 37:1-14) simply alludes (metaphorically) to the resurrection and has nothing to do with the modern State of Israel.  Indeed, Amillenarians who witnessed the “resurrection” of the State of Israel appear to be in “intellectual denial” of the material facts and the biblical injunctions associated thereto.[7]

“Replacement theologies” are, by definition, “supersessionist.” (See Marcionism[8] – although Marcionism’s belief system is more akin to that of Dispensationalism – see below endnotes).

The Church, as the continuing community of grace, the “redeemed of the earth” – has persisted throughout the ages from Adam onward.  The “Congregation in the Wilderness” (Acts 7:38) is the Church of today—she simply received her baptism at Pentecost.  Paul clarified the Church’s extension among the nations in her “take-over” of the kingdoms of this world. 

The “Law of Commandments contained in ordinances,” or even the mandate and/or standard of the Ten Commandments, was somehow abolished at the Cross[9] (which simply cannot be scripturally justified); indeed, Christians who celebrate Jewish Feast Days and other “legalities” are in opposition to the Christian Calendar.  The Jewish Feast Days are antithetical to the New Covenant and must be rejected outright if one is a Christian.  However, Theonomy and certain branches of Calvinism affirm that civil law as propounded in the Old Testament, Mosaic Era, is either a guideline for civil societies today or must be rigidly implemented for today.  MOST ANCIENT CHURCHES AFTER THE 2ND CENTURY ADOPTED AMILLINNIALISM AS THEIR POSITION—THE CHURCH IS NOW IN THE MILLENNIUM!  To that I could respond;  YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.[10]

(2) Dispensationalism – Premillenarian, Classical – Progressive – Hyper-Dispensationalism.  The Church does not replace Israel’s pre-existing Abrahamic, Davidic, Land (Palestinian), and New Covenant—nor does she participate in them as propounded by most Amillenarians.[11]  God’s Economy/Dispensational Administration is committed to at least seven dispensations over a seven-thousand-year time frame.  Today, we are living in the Church Age – previous to this it was the Age of the Law (Mt. Sinai).  We, as well, are living in the Age of Grace.  The Age of Grace is the Age of the Church and this “grace” produces but Mystery, the Church.

The Climax of the Age of Grace is the Rapture of the Church prior to the Wrath of God and the Lamb poured out upon “all them who dwell on the earth” and the judgment of Babylon the Great—Religious, Commercial and Political.  There is the coming of the Antichrist.  The Jews (Judah/today’s Israel) play a major role in Bible prophecy.  Most dispensationalists affirm a pre-tribulational rapture of the Church – the futurity of Daniel’s 70th Week is yet to happen.  The Church Age will terminate at the Rapture either at or some time before the commencement of the Week. 

DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH

The Jews will endure Jacob’s Trouble without the presence of the Church and Jews (perhaps 144,000 Jewish Evangelists)[12] preach “this gospel of the Kingdom to all the world” (Matthew 24:14) and will face the Antichrist, rebuild the Tribulation Temple and suffer the Abomination of Desolation by themselves.  The “Gospel of the Kingdom” is NOT the “Gospel of the Grace of God” – “tribulation saints” will be alerted to the “coming kingdom” and will be saved by their obedience to the Law—there are many conflicts in dispensational theology after the Church’s rapture.  The Holy Spirit will no longer restrain the rise of the Antichrist; there are “Two Brides” (the Wife of Jehovah for the Jews – the Bride of Christ for the Christians); two New Covenants or simply today’s Christians enjoy the “spiritual aspects” (only) of the New Covenant; the Bride of Messiah will descend to the Earth but remain hovering upon the Earth for 1,000 years where she abides, with the Jews upon the Earth “ruling and reigning” with her Groom who also shall be upon the Earth in some fashion—either as the Son of David upon His throne or through someone else who will either be King David himself or a son of king David. 

New theories proliferate:  After the Rapture there will be a GAP before the 70th Week – could last for decades; the Jews will come to saving knowledge of the Savior, the Lord Jesus, at the Abomination of Desolation in the Middle of the Week.  Many affirm that the Rapture is only “partial” – only the Overcomers constitute the Bride of Messiah—other Christians who “don’t make the cut” must endure unto the end. 

The Second Coming of Jesus is IMMINENT—“No man knows the day nor the hour” – consequently, the Rapture can occur at any moment–and since the birth of the Church, her rapture has always been imminent.  Today’s Israel is a fulfillment of Bible Prophecy – it does constitute a SIGN of the Second Coming of Christ but it is not a SIGN of the pending Rapture—the RAPTURE IS A SIGN-LESS EVENT[13] because no man knows the day nor the hour.  Christians should be ready at all times, and watchful. 

The GAP provides greater uncertainty as to the commencement of the 70th Week.  Most agree the 70th Week begins via an Agreement, Covenant, Defense Pact, Confirmation of the Unbreakable Alliance between either the Antichrist or Nations, and the State of Israel to guarantee their security—prophetic wars proceed and persist through most of the 70th Week and climax in the Battle of Armageddon. 

Once within the confines of the 70th Week the chronologies are rigid; but, still no man knows the day nor the hour – some say we can “discern the times and seasons” but not the “day nor the hour.”  Some dispensationalists affirm that the “Day of the Lord” commences as the “Broad Day of the Lord” at or just before the Rapture but the “Narrow Day of the Lord” are the Week’s final hours—the Judgment, the Great and Awesome Day of the Lord.[14]  There will be a “Great Apostasy” and move toward a One World Religion; however, “some will depart (lit. “apostatize”) from the faith” in “latter times” (1 Tim. 4:1) is different from the Rapture (Latin:  Rapizo; Greek: Harpadzo) found in 2 Thess. 2:3: “Unless the falling away comes first” – this “falling away” or “apostasies” means a “departing” from the Earth or Rapture (notwithstanding, some within Dispensationalism do not agree on this verse–they say it is not the rapture but the Great Apostasy).

A strict separation between the Church’s purview/witness to the Heavens is maintained—against Principalities and Powers in heavenly places; whereas, Israel’s authority/witness is to Gentile World Powers upon the Earth; consequently, there is separation today, and separation up through and perhaps including the Eschaton (beyond the 7,000 years). 

The Church is a MYSTERY not seen in the Old Testament but revealed only through Paul.  The Jews will suffer unfathomable persecution prior to the Second Coming of Christ to prepare them for His Deliverance.  Some dispensationalists flirt with “dual covenantalism” – i.e., the Jews today are brought (now) into right standing with the Almighty through the Mosaic Covenant; whereas Christians are brought to right standing via the “Blood of the Everlasting Covenant” (and some say the New Covenant) juxtaposed to the Old Covenant (which is still viable under “dual covenant” dispensationalists). Most affirm that the 2,300-day prophecy in Daniel 8:13-14 was fulfilled by Antiochus IV Epiphanes cir. 170 BC.[15]

(3) Aberrant Theologies/Other Eschatologies Theologies/ Identity Theology – Although this category could be placed within either Replacement or Premillenarian Theologies – it deserves its own platform.  These theologies are based primarily upon Christian Historicism.  Seventh-Day Adventism Eschatology, Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, other groups such as British Israelism.  All share some form of “Identification” with the ancient Tribes of Israel.  Most claim some philo-semitic identification but are wholly separate from the Jews, per se.  Most reject Replacement Theology but their theologies tend to be “all over the map” – in particular, most view the 2,300-Evening/Mornings Prophecy of Daniel 8:13-14 as fulfilled in “years” (most – Mormons and SDAs say during the Great Disappointment of 1843/1844 – William Miller – with the 2,300 years commencing in 456/457 BC with one of the Decrees made by Artaxerxes Longimanus and persisting until 1843/44 AD) – thus, Mormons started building temples, the SDA’s under E. G. White affirmed the “Investigative Judgment” as found in Daniel 7:9-14 when the Ancient of Days came forth, “the court was seated, and the books were opened” (Dan. 7:10). The JWs continued to calculate the “date of His coming” based on Historicism’s concepts (i.e., the 2,300 day/year prophecy). 

J. H. ALLEN

British Israelism claims that the Northern Europeans, especially the British, constitute the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel (carried away by the Assyrians into captivity between 740-712 BC.) – most adhere to some of the discoveries found in J. H. Allen’s Judah’s Scepter and Joseph’s Birthright (1902).  Herbert W. Armstrong popularized these views using Allen’s material.   Most all these sects assert the importance of keeping the “commandments” and portions or all the Law of Moses and, in particular, celebrate the Jewish Feast Days in some form.  Most rigidly keep the Sabbath Day as Saturday or enshrine the importance of the Lord’s Day (Sunday – Mormons).  Most tend toward “cultic practices” and do not find themselves in mainstream evangelicalism (although SDAs and others in the Worldwide Church of God are considered evangelical because of their soteriology). 

Most of these eschatologies do NOT regard today’s State of Israel as a prophetic fulfillment and most keep a rigid separation between themselves and their “Jewish counterparts.”  Many claim to be the real Jews or intensely philo-Semitic: “Mormonism teaches that its adherents are either direct descendants of the House of Israel or adopted into it. As such, Mormons regard Jews as a covenant people of God and hold them in high esteem. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the largest church in Mormonism, is philo-Semitic in its doctrine.” (Wikipedia).  NOTE:  The aforementioned “churches” which claim some degree of Christian identity are not considered by dispensationalists as a part of today’s “prophetic evangelical community” – most are outside the pale of acceptable Christian “prophetic understanding” and are considered either cults or cultic in their practice.

ARMSTRONG

(3a) British Israelism/Christian Identity – One only need to add to this mix various speculations made by both British-Israel and Christian Identity people, and their many offshoots.  For some, the association of these groups to this prophecy (Ezk. 37 – Two Sticks) is just too much, and so they think that it is best to avoid the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:15-28 altogether. But even though there have been abuses with the two-stick prophecy, and no one can deny how aberrant groups have interpreted it throughout recent religious history—it is nevertheless a part of the Biblical canon that cannot be avoided. (Source:  http://messianicapologetics.net/archives/1224).  The “Two Stick” doctrine found in Mormonism is altogether convoluted and bears little resemblance to the eschatology of the Two Sticks/Two Houses of CT.[16]

COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY (CT) – EXPANDED 

In summation, the three dominant views of the Church’s relationship with Israel are as follows; i.e. how are today’s Jews, who are not Christians (viz. Judah), viewed within Christendom by the Church—e.g., Replacement Theology says there is NO DISTINCTION and NO SEPARATION between Israel and the Church . . .

 

(A)     REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY –             NO DISTINCTION  –    NO SEPARATION

(B)     DISPENSATIONALISM –                        YES DISTINCTION –   YES SEPARATION

(C)     COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY          YES DISTINCTION –  NO SEPARATION

 

EXPANDING ON THE THEOLOGY OF COMMONWEALTH:

Opening Statement:

“I have been interested in this prophecy for quite a while. I think that when we weigh not only the claims of the text, but also the different views that are out there, we can safely say that the two sticks of Judah and Israel/Ephraim have not yet been reunited. Yet this prophecy also has an important message of fostering unity among God’s people, which many of today’s popular Two-House teachers, who you are likely to encounter, have seriously overlooked or just absolutely not implemented.” (Messianic Apologetics “Have the Two Sticks been Reunited?” Studies on Ezekiel 37:15-28 by J.K. McKee – 6 Sept. 2016).

Response to the Refutations concerning CT: 

Ephraim Ceases from Being a People or Ephraim’s Two-House Theology (ETHT) – The conclusion that the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:15-28 was fulfilled by the 10 Tribes now under Babylonian Captivity were united with Judah (the Two Tribes of the South – also known as Israel) was fulfilled when the Jews (now, configured by the ETHT opponents) returned to Judea as the full-fledged 12 Tribes under the decrees of the Persian Kings (commencing with King Cyrus in 537 BC)—this assumption is unbiblical and is naught but anthropological historical revisionism (i.e., large numbers of the “swallowed up Israelites among the nations” never integrated with the Jews of the Babylonian captivity–notwithstanding the aforementioned claims recorded in the Messianic White Paper—See Endnote #4).   

The prophecy given in Ezekiel 37:15-28 is yet future and must be taken in context to take place in the “latter days” – the prophecy finds itself between the vision of the “Valley of Dry Bones” (Ezekiel 37:1-14) and the Gog-Magog War (Ezekiel 38-39) . . . AND the unfilled Two-Stick prophecy:

“I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms . . . David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them” (Ezk. 37:22, 24)

The context of the yet future prophetic fulfillment is “Messianic” and is set within the immediate context of the yet future, literal 1,000-year Millenarian Reign of the Son of David.  “The Whole House of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:11).  At issue is this:  What constitutes the “Whole House of Israel?”  If we are to read further (Ezekiel 37:15-28) we discover that the “Whole House of Israel” is comprised of Two Sticks (Two Houses) – the House of Judah and the House of Ephraim; therefore, is the Valley of Dry Bones comprised of BOTH HOUSES or simply the House of Judah?

The context demands an agonizing reappraisal of the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones—it bespeaks of BOTH HOUSES as the Whole House of Israel and of BOTH resurrection and immediate revival at the close of the age for both Judah and Ephraim.  If Ephraim were swallowed up either by Judah through “captivity integration into Judah” or simply scattered among the nations and thereby assimilated—then why is Ephraim prophetically ensconced into Ezekiel 37’s Valley of Dry Bones vision and Two Stick prophecy which is yet future—finding itself just prior to the Gog-Magog War?  Many well educated and well-meaning brethren, like Chuck Missler, are determined to ascribe Ephraim’s assimilation into the Southern Two Tribes—but this argument from conjecture, juxtaposed to the biblical and historical accounting of Ephraim being SWALLOWED UP (Hosea 8:8 – there the Hebrew word for “swallowed up” is Bala, which is used twice in succession in the Hosea 8:8 text to emphasize a complete disappearance, even destruction—the same word is used of Jonah being “swallowed” by the great fish) . . . simply does not wash.[17]

Again, the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones is given to the “Whole House of Israel” – which vision feeds into the Prophecy of the Two Sticks; therefore, upon further examination of the relationship between the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Joseph, which is the Stick of Ephraim—a relationship dead for centuries, the “Whole House of Israel” can be viewed not only of Judah’s gathering together to the Land in the latter times (Ezk. 38:8) but of Ephraim’s revival wherein TOGETHER they are revived and stand as a mighty army—i.e., Judah’s awakening is Ephraim’s awakening and comports with Romans 11:11:

Now if their diminishing is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Nations (Gentiles) how much more their FULLNESS.” 

VALLEY OF DRY BONES

This passage of the Valley of Dry Bones can no longer be viewed as a unilateral revival of latter-day Israel (the Jews) but bespeaks of BOTH HOUSES – BOTH STICKS – for if their (the Jews) trespass/diminishing is riches for the world—then the following is being fulfilled:

“For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but LIFE FROM THE DEAD?” (Romans 11:11, 15). 

Even so:

“Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.  Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves” (Ezk. 37:12-13).

Judah and Ephraim abide “the People of God” destined for revival from “blindness in part” and the current apostasy afflicting the Ekklesia, among the nations.

Moreover, the contentions that a majority of Israelites (Ephraim – the 10 Tribes) joined themselves to Judah (the Two Southern Tribes) over the course of some three decades (740-712) cannot be substantiated by Scripture. 

David numbered the men of “fighting age” of the 10 Northern Tribes to be 800,000 (2 Sam. 24:9) cir. 980 BC or, because of other considerations, the number of men of “fighting age” was 1,100,000 (1 Chronicles 21:5); meaning, with women and children and the elderly, upwards of 4 million Israelites of the 10 Tribes.  Nigh 250 years later (722 BC) there could have been as many as 10 million or more Israelites of the 10 Northern Tribes.  The return of the Jews from Babylon to Judea was paltry compared to this number—approximately 50,000.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF EPHRAIM – EPHRAIM IS MIXED IN WITH JUDAH AS TODAY’S JEWS…

To suggest that all 12 tribes (Including Ephraim) joined together both prior to the Babylonian Captivity and during the Babylonian Captivity and were all subsequently identified as Israel or Jews flies in the face of previous Scripture which demands that millions were carted off by the Assyrian Kings, literally, anthropologically-speaking, by the millions.  Nigh 7 generations separated the Samaria/Ephraim Captivity from the Babylonian Captivity (e.g., 740-586 BC); although, King Nebuchadnezzar II (Viceroy at the time) laid siege to Jerusalem in 608/607 BC. At that time he took some captive of the Jews (e.g., Daniel and other youth). 

_______________________________________________________

END-NOTES

[1] Some dispensationalists teach, as did John Nelson Darby (see below), that only the progeny of Abraham (viz., today’s Jews) shall partake of the New Covenant mentioned in Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 11:19-21; 36:24-28; the Church today partakes of the “spiritual blessings” only of the New Covenant but NOT the New Covenant itself.  One

DISPENSATIONALISM

of the major proponents of this teaching today is Randy White of Randy White Ministries and is considered by some to be a “hyper-dispensationalist” akin to the late Peter Ruckman (aka, Ruckmanites)  who espoused a very strict separation between Israel and the Church throughout his teachings.  Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary (Dallas Seminary), embraced “two New Covenants”—one for the Church inaugurated at the Last Super and the other for ethnic and/or National Israel to inaugurate the one-thousand-year Millennial Reign of the son of David upon the earth.

A better position is taken by Lewis Sperry Chafer who believes the new covenant in the Old Testament will be fulfilled only in the millennium, but finds also another new covenant revealed in the New Testament which has reference to the church in the present age. This conceives the sacrifice of Christ as making possible two covenantsa new covenant for Israel as well as a new covenant for the church. (Dr. John Walvoord – The New Covenant with Israel – Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology (Dallas:  Dallas Seminary Press, 1948), IV, p. 325).

John Nelson Darby’s “spiritual blessings”

“A third position, also premillennial, was advocated by J. N. Darby who held that the new covenant belonged to Israel alone in both Old and New Testaments though the church participates in the benefits of the sacrifice of Christ.  He writes, ‘We enjoy indeed all the essential privileges of the new covenant, its foundation being laid on God’s part in the blood of Christ, but we do so in spirit, not according to the letter.’  Darby holds that ‘the gospel is not a covenant, but the revelation of the salvation of God.’” (Source:   J. N. Darby, The Collected Writings of J. N. Darby, William Kelly, editor (London: G. Morrish, n.d.) Doctrinal, I, 286.

[2]  These covenants are outlined by Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost in his classic text:  THINGS TO COMEA Study in Biblical Eschatology, Dunham Publishing Company, Findlay, Ohio with Introduction by John f. Walvoord.  The covenants are found in his section two:  The Biblical Covenants and Eschatology pp. 65-128 and include the New Covenant.  On p. 121 of his text, Pentecost states in reference to the New Covenant:

The relation of the church in the new covenant.  There are five clear references to the new covenant in the New Testament:  Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:8; 9:15.  In addition to these there are six other references to it:  Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Romans 11:27; Hebrews 8:10-13, and 12:24.  The question arises as to the relationship of the believers of this present age to the new covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34.  This question is important, for, as has been seen previously, the contention of the amillennialist is that the church is now fulfilling these Old Testament prophecies and therefore there need be no earthly millennium. 

(Note:  Pentecost lists John Nelson Darby’s “spiritual blessings” view; then Pentecost presents the view held by C. I. Scofield in his Reference Bible . . ..)

The second view is that of Scofield.  This view, more generally held than Darby’s view, says: ‘The New Covenant . . . secures the perpetuity, future conversion, and blessing of Israel . . . and it secures the eternal blessedness . . . of all who believe [C. I. Scofield, editor, The Scofield Reference Bible, p. 1297]. Thus, according to this view, there is one new covenant with a two-fold application; one to Israel in the future and one to the church now.

The Third View: 

The thirds view is the two-covenant view [See:  Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, IV, 325; Walvoord, op. cit., 110: 193-205; Ryrie, op. cit., pp. 105-25.]  This view holds that there are two new covenants presented in the New Testament; the first with Israel in reaffirmation of the covenant promised in Jeremiah 31 and the second made with the church in this age.  This view, essentially, would divide the references to the new covenant in the New Testament into two groups.  The references in the gospels and in Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 10:29, and 13:20 would refer to the new covenant with the church, Hebrews 8:7-13 and 10:16 would refer to the new covenant with Israel, and Hebrews 12:24 would refer, perhaps, to both, emphasizing the fact of the mediation accomplished and the covenant program established without designating the recipients.  This view would accept the Darbyist concept that Israel’s new covenant is to be fulfilled by Israel alone.  In addition, it would see the church as brought into relation to God by a new covenant that was established with them. (Pentecost, THINGS TO COME, p. 124).

Pentecost, notwithstanding, gives a brief summary of the New Covenant, by concluding that the Church is NOT under the New Covenant announced in Hebrews nor by Jesus in the Upper Room:

“It is a misrepresentation of the thinking of the writer to the Hebrews to affirm that he teaches that Israel’s new covenant is now operative with the church.” . . . In its historical setting, the disciples who heard the Lord refer to the new covenant in the upper room the night before His death would certainly have understood Him to be referring to the new covenant of Jeremiah 31.  Several things are to be observed concerning the record of this reference on that occasion.  In Matthew 26:28 and Mark 14:24 the statement is recorded:  “This is the blood of the new covenant . . . “ [italics ours].  In this statement emphasis would be placed upon the soteriological aspects of that covenant.  The blood that was being offered was that required by the promised new covenant and was for the purpose of giving remission of sins.  In Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25 the statement is recorded: “This is the new covenant in my blood . . . “ [italics Pentecost].  This statement would emphasize the eschatological aspects of the new covenant, stating that the new covenant is instituted with His death.  This would be according to the principle of Hebrews 9:16-17For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  For a testament is of force after men are dead:  otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

Pentecost’s insistence that Christians, the Elect called out from among the Nations, do NOT participate NOW in the New covenant due to its eschatological implications is the classical approach of Dispensationalism’s determination to keep Israel (Judah, the Jews) separated from the Church during the present “Church Age.”  Pentecost once again summarizes his conclusions by keeping the Church from Israel’s New Covenant or by keeping Israel from the inauguration of the Upper Room announcement of the Blood Covenant termed the “New Covenant in My Blood” – to wit:

(1) The term Israel is nowhere used in the Scriptures for any but the physical descendants of Abraham…Since the church today is composed of both Jews and Gentiles without nations distinctions, it would be impossible for that church to fulfill these promises made to the nation.

NOTE:  Many of us today would outright reject such a conclusion that the Scriptures unequivocally determine that “Israel” is singularly comprised of the “National progeny of Abraham, the Jews” – the Commonwealth of Israel by its very definition demands a corporate polity which contradicts Pentecost’s conclusion.  No, Gentiles are NOT Jews; however, both are included in the “State/polity” of Israel (Eph. 2:11-13)

(2)  Within the New Covenant there were promises of spiritual blessings and promises of earthly blessing.  While the church, like Israel, is promised salvation, the forgiveness of sins, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, yet the church is never promised inheritance in a land, material blessings on the earth, and rest from oppression, which were parts of the promise to Israel.

NOTE:  Somehow Pentecost occludes the fact that saints of the “Church Age” shall “rule and reign with Christ” ON THE EARTH for one-thousand years (Rev. 20:4).  “The meek shall inherit the earth” – within dispensational thinking was given to National Israel and not spoken for the formative Church.  The “ladder” – i.e., the Son of Man – apparently does NOT link Heaven to Earth and Earth to Heaven.  The “Church” by dispensational definition are exclusively a “heavenly people” and will, consequently, during the Millennium, never touch the Earth but, as Dr. John Walvoord contends:

If the new Jerusalem is in existence throughout the millennial reign of Christ, it is possible that it is a satellite city suspended over the earth during the thousand-year reign of Christ as the dwelling place of resurrected and translated saints who also have access to the earthly scene. This would help explain an otherwise difficult problem of the dwelling place of resurrected and translated beings on the earth during a period in which men are still in their natural bodies and living ordinary lives. If so, the new Jerusalem is withdrawn from the earthly scene in connection with the destruction of the old earth, and later comes down to the new earth. (From the Series:  The Revelation of Jesus Christ #21, John Walvoord)

Dispensationalism’s determination to keep the separation between Israel and the Church – both with regards to the immediate implementation of its inauguration in the Upper Room and the preponderance of its validation throughout the book of Hebrews because the Church constitutes a “heavenly people” juxtaposed to an “earthly people” (i.e., National Israel) – simply cannot be justified by the Scriptures used by these well-meaning dispensationalists – the Bride of Messiah does NOT orbit around or finds herself stationary, affixed somewhere in Earth’s stratosphere awaiting her final descent to Earth at the close of the Millennium as Walvoord and other dispensationalists would have us affirm.  This SEPARATION between Judah and Ephraim (which the dispensationalists eliminate because of their claim that today’s Jews are the sum and substance of “all Israel”) simply flies in the face of biblical realities. 

(3)  Since the church receives blessings of the Abrahamic covenant (Gal. 3:14; 4:22-31) by faith without being under or fulfilling that covenant, so the church may receive blessings from the new covenant without being under or fulfilling that new covenant.

NOTE:  The “biblical logic” presented by Pentecost obfuscates the succession of the Promise Seed through Isaac where the believer is IN CHRIST . . . we have become heirs of the Promise and as Isaac was we today “are all children of promise” (Gal. 3:15-18; 4:28).  Yes, we have received the blessings of the New Covenant because the New Covenant in His Blood has been shed for us TODAY.  Likewise, the salvation of National Israel and/or the Remnant of Israel wherein National Israel shall enter into these same blessings of the New Covenant wrought through His Blood will take place at the return of Messiah: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced.  Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zech. 12:10).  It will be at this time the SAME NEW COVENANT inaugurated by Jesus will be enjoyed by National Israel (viz., Judah).  By keeping the “heavens and the earth” separated, Pentecost has unwittingly kept the progeny of Abraham from those called into the New Covenant today—both Jews and Gentiles—by erecting a “dimensional divide” that is done away IN CHRIST and will, during the Millennium, be materially demolished once and for all.

(4)   Since the tribulation, second advent, and millennial age are yet future, the fulfillment of this promise [i.e., of the New Covenant] must be yet future, and therefore the church cannot now be fulfilling this covenant. (NOTE:  All quotes from Pentecost are taken from his text, THINGS TO COME, Chapter 8, The New Covenant, pp. 116-128).

NOTE:  The presupposition made by Pentecost regarding the timing of the New Covenant’s inauguration is simply stated but cannot be backed up with supporting Scripture.  He uses Romans 11:26-27 to substantiate his “timing claim” (viz., “And so all Israel will be saved . . . The Deliverer will come out of Zion and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob, for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins”).  There is nothing endemic within this text that demands the circumvention nor the immediate implementation of the New Covenant for the Church—it simply states that “All Israel” shall be saved at the time of the Second Coming of Christ, no doubt, but even leaves open a full exegesis of “All Israel” based upon the previous verse found in Romans 11:25 regarding the “fullness of the nations has come in” and its association with National Israel (i.e., the Jews and their prophetic deliverance).  The futurity of these items in the thinking of dispensationalism occludes the Church’s presence within the confines of the Seventieth Week of Daniel (aka, “the tribulation” from the viewpoint of Pentecost) and, apparently, her presence upon the earth during the Millennium—positions NOT supported by CT.

[3] The captivity and/or dispersion into the Assyrian Empire of the Ten Northern Tribes persisted from cir. 740 BC up through and including 712 BC (Assyria’s Campaign against Judah – See here).  Nigh thirty years with some five Assyrian Kings participating in their captivity—a captivity well over ten million for David numbered the men of fighting age (20 to 50 years of age) of the Ten Northern Tribes cir. 980 BC to be upwards of 1,100,000 (1 Chron. 21:5) – counting women and children and the elderly, the number of “Israelites” could have been approximately 4 to 5 million.  By 740 BC – nigh 250 years later – that number could easily have exceeded 10 to 15 million.  Their “swallowing up of the nations” (Hosea 8:8-9… “Israel is swallowed up, now they are among the Gentiles or Nations…for they have gone up to Assyria”).  Thus, from 740-712 BC, the Israelite captivity was in full sway; and then, after nigh 110 years (Judah’s captivity into Babylon commenced in 608 BC and reached its climax in 586 BC with the Fall of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar) or some 4/5 generations they “multiplied among the nations” all the more.  The Bible does NOT record a mass assimilation into Judah by these Israelite Captives into Assyria—they are simply “swallowed up of the nations.”

[4]  CT is keenly aware of the emphasis place upon “Two House Theology” wrought by aberrant denominational entities within the tent of Christendom (e.g., Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventism and the “Identity Movement” of British Israelism).  This tome (CT) presents a far more evangelical rendering of “Two House Theology” – that said, it would behoove the reader to explore the findings of “Two House Theology” recorded in Wikipedia – we simply state the contemporary attitude of opponents to the immediate thesis with citations required, notwithstanding; to wit:

Opponents (From Wikipedia with observations included)

Many opponents [who?] claim that the lost tribes reunited with the Kingdom of Judah in the years leading up to and following Judah’s return from the Babylonian Captivity in 537 BCE, hence they do not exist in the nations today other than in the form of the Jews, those scattered by the Roman diaspora (70 CE) and subsequent Christian and Muslim exiles in later periods.[citation needed] Other opponents claim that the lost tribes have been completely assimilated by and are unidentifiable in the nations of the world and hence could never have returned from their deportation by and into Assyria.[citation needed]

Opposition also arises simply when Israelites are identified with people more commonly associated with Japheth, one of Noah‘s three sons. Interestingly, some Two-House advocates won’t deny some aspect of this argument, taking into account a prophetic verse: Genesis 9:27a “God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem” (RSV). (Shem was another son of Noah, but also the ancestor of the Hebrews, Arabs, and many other ethnic groups according to genealogies found in the Hebrew Scriptures.)

Three of the major Messianic Jewish groups reject Two House Theology as being misguided at best, or at worst a Gentile cult seeking to make themselves appear as Jews. The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, the Messianic Jewish Association of America (an affiliate of the International Messianic Jewish Alliance) and the Messianic Bureau International all proclaim the Messianic movement as a movement for Jewish believers in Yeshua and forbid the teaching that gentiles may be of the lost tribes of Israel, or any reference to the two houses of Israel. This kind of thinking is best seen in the “Ephraimite Error”[1] white paper, produced in 1999, which several Two House proponents have responded to. These attitudes may come as a reaction to British-Israelism which is best epitomized by the Worldwide Church of God founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, and its many offshoots.[citation needed]

Many in Messianic Judaism consider Two House teaching to be irrelevant and meaningless.[citation needed] Some[who?] would view Messianic Judaism’s total avoidance of the issue and its dismissal of the Scriptures as a manifestation of Messianic Judaism’s wide-scale avoidance of more important theological issues pertaining to the nature of Messiah, the composition and historicity of Scripture, and Messianic Judaism’s engagement with modern society.[citation needed]

(SOURCE:  Wikipedia @ Two House Theology )

The Ephraimite Error, A Position Paper, submitted to the International Messianic Jewish Alliance, Author: Kay Silberling, Ph.D. Committee Members and Advisors:    Kay Silberling, Ph.D., Daniel Juster, Th.D., and David Sedaca, M.A. The “paper” is mandatory reading concerning the opinions of many “Messianic Jews” who, suffice it to say, are adverse as far as “Gentiles claiming attachment” as a separate House of Joseph/Ephraim to the House of Judah (i.e., the Jews).  That may be theologically unsettling in that “Messianic Jews” who by definition find themselves within the confines of the ethneon or of the nations who have for the past nigh 1900 years dominated the One Body’s attendance–where there is neither “Jew nor Greek.”  Their acceptance into mainstream Judaism is grossly irritated by the Messiahship of Yeshua; and, among some Messianic groups there is, unfortunately, a decided antagonism to the Zionist State as illegitimate until Messiah makes it so–oddly enough they find common cause with Ultra-Orthodox groups like the Neturei Karta and Satmar Hasidism who perceive the creation of the State of Israel as an anti-messianic act.

WHITE PAPER

We include only the introduction of the “white paper” but a full read is preferable.  The overarching concern of these sincere brethren centers on the physicality of the DNA, if you would, of those who aspire as the House of Ephraim.  That “element” in CT is NOT “doctrinal priority” – it is at best, irrelevant, for the “spiritual dynamic” far exceeds any materiality associated with the scattering and/or swallowing up of the Ten Northern Tribes who have been purposefully scattered among the nations (Hosea). 

We do not disclaim that “Israelite DNA” can be found among sundry peoples “called out from among the nations” but that is NOT the emphasis of Scripture regarding “I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved . . . and it shall come to pass on the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.’” (Hosea 2:23; 1:10; Romans 9:25-26)

One can immediately determine from the INTRODUCTION to the “white paper” on THE EPHRAIMITE ERROR this heightened sensitivity from those Jews who have embraced the Messiah:

INTRODUCTION:  A movement alternately known as the “Ephraimite,” “Restoration of Israel,” “Two Covenant Israel,” or “Two House” movement has recently gained ground in some areas among ardent Christian Zionists.  Proponents of this movement contend that members of the “born again” segment of the Christian church are, in fact, actual blood descendants of the biblical Israelites who were dispersed as a result of the Assyrian invasion of the ancient kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.E.

The movement’s proponents further argue that these dispersed “Israelites,” or “Ephraimites,” whose identities have remained undisclosed even to themselves until recent times, primarily settled in areas now recognized as largely populated by Anglo-Saxons.  At times they argue that all Anglo-Saxons, and even all of humanity, are descended from these lost Ephraimites. 

At other times, that only born-again Christians can claim descent.  In either case, Christians from Anglo-Saxon lands, such as Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and the United States, can feel assured that they are most likely direct blood descendants of the ancient people of Ephraim. It is now incumbent upon these members of “Ephraim,” they argue, to “accept their birthright” and live as members of Israel.  They urge Gentile Christians to keep the Torah in obedience to the Hebrew scriptures, to strive to re-educate Jews and other Christians about their new, “latter-day prophecy,” and to work toward the repatriation of the land of Israel by their own number.

Primary among the movement’s spokespersons are Batya and Angus Wootten and Marshall, a.k.a. Moshe, Koniuchowsky.  The Woottens publish a newsletter entitled the House of David Herald, as well as several books. Batya’s books include In Search of Israel, The Star of David, The Olive Tree of Israel, and Who Is Israel?  And Why You Need to Know. 

Angus’ books include Take Two Tablets Daily, A Survey of the Ten Commandments and 613 Laws that God Gave Moses and The Messianic Vision.  Other names mentioned by Wootten are Brian Hennessy and David Hargis.  Ed Chumney has written a book entitled The Bride of Christ, which I was unable to review.  Among the Woottens, I will deal only with Batya’s writings. Moshe Koniuchowsky leads a ministry called “Your Arms to Israel.” 

In addition, he has recently formed an organization named “The Messianic Israel Alliance,” which, despite its misleading name, has no affiliation with or endorsement by the International Messianic Jewish Alliance or any of its affiliates.  The movement is growing to the point that it now has some areas of overlap with the Christian Zionist movement as well as the Messianic Jewish movement.

As a result of this, there are several spokespersons in both these groups who advance this teaching while maintaining primary affiliation either as Christian Zionists or as Messianic Jews.

The conclusions reached in the EPHRAIMITE ERROR are as follows – although they do chastise the present Two-House Theology, they simultaneously open the door to genuine understanding – so it appears – to the relationship between the Church and Israel but focus such illumination to the “Apostolic Fathers?” – to wit – their conclusions:

The position of the I.M.J.A., then is that the Ephraimite, or “Two House” movement is in error for the following reasons:

1) flawed, unwarranted, and dangerous interpretation of scripture

2) inconsistent logic and contradictory positions

3) racist and race-based theology

4) supersessionist theology

5) historically inaccurate depiction of Israel

6) dangerous, false, and militant claims to the land which threaten the stability of the current State of Israel

It is not unusual for a group to construct a false genealogical myth, that is, one that is empirically unfounded, in order to create for itself a new story, a new mythic purpose in the world, a new ideology and sense of rootedness.  It appears that this may be the impulse that gave birth to this teaching. 

What it tells us is that Messianic Jews have an important task ahead to offer to the Christian world a clearly-articulated theology of Israel.  We should not forget that, up until the time of the Holocaust, the only formally developed theology available to Christians was a supersessionist theology. 

Since the time of the Holocaust, several Christian theologians have made important efforts to contemplate the theology of the Apostolic Writings in light of a sincere and open dialogue with the Jewish world.  The Messianic world would do well to encourage the dissemination of these theological works to the Christian world as well.

CT finds it somewhat amazing that THE EPHRAMITE ERROR completely disregards the teachings embedded within Dispensationalism and simply affirms Replacement Theologies (supersessionist) which evolved in haste from 144 AD (Marcion); and then encourages today’s Messianic community (Jews who embrace Yeshua) to celebrate the early church fathers/or Apostolic Writings “in light of a sincere and open dialogue with the Jewish world.”  Question:  Does THE EPHRAIMITE ERROR consider Dispensationalism “supersessionist?”  Quoting: “The only formally developed theology (prior to the Holocaust) available to Christians was a supersessionist theology.”  That seems to fly in the face of nigh three to four hundred years of historical research (Please see:  Dr. William Watson’s:  Dispensationalism before Darby, 2017).  We find it somewhat disturbing that Messianic Congregations would find theological recourse of any substance in the writings of the Early Church Fathers who were fast progressing into a Triumphal Christianity both in practice and doctrinally in their writings–hardly a reservoir of philo-semitic refreshment.

[5] Preterism holds that Ancient Israel finds its continuation or fulfillment in the Christian church at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The term preterism comes from the Latin praeter, which Webster’s 1913 dictionary lists as a prefix denoting that something is “past” or “beyond”. (Source:  PreteristArchive.com)

[6] JOHN PIPER: 

JOHN PIPER

Therefore, the secular state of Israel today may not claim a present divine right to the Land, but they and we should seek a peaceful settlement not based on present divine rights, but on international principles of justice, mercy, and practical feasibility.

This follows from all we have said so far, and the implication it has for those of us who believe the Bible and trust Christ as our Savior and as the Lord of history, is that we should not give blanket approval to Jewish or to Palestinian actions. We should approve or denounce according to Biblical standards of justice and mercy among peoples. We should encourage our representatives to seek a just settlement that takes the historical and social claims of both peoples into account. Neither should be allowed to sway the judgments of justice by a present divine claim to the land. If you believe this, it would be helpful for your representatives to know it.

We are not whitewashing terrorism and we are not whitewashing Jewish force. Nor is there any attempt on my part to assess measures of blame or moral equivalence. That’s not my aim. My aim is to put the debate on a balanced footing in this sense: neither side should preempt the claims of international justice by the claim of present divine rights. Working out what that justice will look like is still a huge and daunting task. I have not solved that problem. But I think we will make better progress if we do not yield to the claim of either side to be ethnically or nationally sanctioned by God in their present conflict. (Source:  Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East, by John Piper)

[7]   FROM PASTOR DOUGLAS R. SHEARER:

Louis Berkhof, another leading amillennialist of the 20th Century, declared much the same in 1938 – ironically, the very year the Nazis were orchestrating “Kristallnact,” the “Night of Broken Glass,” sealing the doom of six million Jews throughout Europe…

“Premillennialists … maintain that there will be a national restoration … of Israel, that the Jewish nation will be re-established in the Holy Land – and that this will take place immediately preceding or during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. It is very doubtful, however, that Scripture warrants the expectation that Israel will finally be re-established as a nation …” (italics mine).[1]

Berkhof, not content to leave it at that, went even further …

“(Premillennialism) is based on a literal interpretation of the (Old Testament) which (spells out) a future for Israel … which is entirely untenable.” (italics mine).[1]

Berkhof, though, unlike Bavinck, did indeed live to witness Israel’s restoration. And what was his response? Nothing! Nothing at all! Unbroken silence! Having declared so pointedly that the restoration of Israel would never occur, the UN vote in 1948 to make it so certainly deserved more from Berkhof than a studied silence. Berkhof died in 1957, giving him plenty of time to have acknowledged just how wrong he’d been in 1938. But he never did. Disingenuous? There’s no other way to describe it.

In light of Israel’s jaw-dropping restoration in 1948, Berkhof’s silence has not been an intellectually suitable rejoinder for amillennialist – most especially after Jerusalem was captured in 1967 and the very next day made Israel’s capital. Now, not just Israel, but Israel with her capital at Jerusalem! A miracle that only the most cynical could dismiss out of hand. (Source: Pastor Emeritus, Douglas R. Shearer, A Critique of Amillennialism, 2017 – a preliminary work) (Footnotes: [1] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), 712.

Shearer later goes on to explain that Amillenarians concur that there is a gathering of the exiles into the State of Israel today; however, that ingathering is NOT the same Israel depicted in the O.T. – not as actual flesh and blood continuation.  There is nothing of a “National Israel” in the theology/eschatology of Amillennialism. 

Shearer quotes Kim Riddlebarger who openly admits Jews are being regathered to the State of Israel for corporate conversion; however, in classical Amillenarian supersessionist language he states:

 “According to Reformed theologians, the promised restoration of [today’s] Israel, point(s) ahead to the church. This is because the New Testament explicitly represent(s) this promise as being fulfilled in the church, which Paul call(s) the ‘Israel of God.’” (Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for Amillennialism (Baker Books, 2013), page 267.

Shearer concludes his expose vis-à-vis Israel’s materiality (viz., the State of Israel) and the convoluted compensation afforded by Amillenarians to justify her existence as anything but a bygone type and shadow:

Amillennialism has stumbled over the birth of Israel in 1948 and the capture of Jerusalem in 1967. Simply put, its underlying hermeneutic doesn’t provide for a narrative that can account for either – notwithstanding all the tweaks they’ve proposed over the last fifty years to make it so. (Ibid. Douglas R. Shearer)

[8Marcionism – A quote from Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries links Marcionism with Dispensationalism:

John Nelson Darby was indeed in our view seriously deluded by the hyper dispensationalism to which he propounded and which factored into his split from the Open Brethren and Plymouth Brethren and has laid the ground work for closed brethren groups such as the Taylorites which we consider to be a cult that is indeed demonic. Darby’s hyper dispensational theology, among other problems, carries subtle influences of ancient Marcionism. Darby’s erroneous actions have unfortunately and unjustly tarnished the good name and reputation of more scripturally based Brethren groups and of moderate dispensationalists and caused rapture belief itself to be discredited. (Clarification of our view on Pre-Tribulationism)

NOTE:  Marcion (cir. 144 AD) – He rejected the O.T. and most of the gospels and other N.T. writings as “Jewish” and NOT written for the Church and/or to the Church.  These are the “roots” to which Prasch alludes; to wit (From Wikipedia):

Marcionism was an Early Christian dualist belief system that originated in the teachings of Marcion of Sinope at Rome around the year 144.[1]

Marcion believed Jesus was the savior sent by God, and Paul the Apostle was his chief apostle, but he rejected the Hebrew Bible and the God of Israel. Marcionists believed that the wrathful Hebrew God was a separate and lower entity than the all-forgiving God of the New Testament. This belief was in some ways similar to Gnostic Christian theology; notably, both are dualistic, that is, they posit opposing gods, forces, or principles: one higher, spiritual, and “good”, and the other lower, material, and “evil” (compare Manichaeism). This dualism stands in contrast to other Christian and Jewish views that “evil” has no independent existence, but is a privation or lack of “good”,[2] a view shared by the Jewish theologian Moses Maimonides.[3]

Marcionism, similar to Gnosticism, depicted the God of the Old Testament as a tyrant or demiurge (see also God as the Devil). Marcion was labeled a gnostic by Philip Schaff,[4] while other scholars have rejected that categorization. Marcion’s canon consisted of eleven books: A gospel consisting of ten sections drawn from the Gospel of Luke; and ten Pauline epistles.

Marcion’s canon rejected the entire Old Testament, along with all other epistles and gospels of the 27 book New Testament canon because they transmitted “Jewish” ideas.[5] Paul’s epistles enjoy a prominent position in the Marcionite canon, since Paul is credited with correctly transmitting the gracious universality of Jesus’ message in opposition to the harsh dictates of the “just god”. (Source:  Wikipedia)

[9] The following is an unilateral exchange between Douglas W. Krieger and Dr. William Watson, Professor of History at Colorado Christian University (only Doug Krieger is talking, however):

Wm Watson

There are and will be a wide variety of “Jewish practices and cultural reflections found among those who embrace the greater body of truth contained within CT; however, the majority of those who affirm the major tenets of CT also adhere to the following concerning the Mosaic Law, the Ten Commandments, the Commandments contained in Ordinances, Civil/Ceremonial Law…the following was presented in a discourse between several individuals interested in CT as an “eschatological/theological system of understanding” concerning the relationship between “Israel and the Church.”

Jesus did NOT nail the 10 Commandments to His Cross but He most certainly did the “law of commandments contained in ordinances”; to wit:

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the LAW OF COMMANDMENTS CONTAINED IN ORDINANCES, so as to create in Himself one New Man from the two, thus making peace…and that He might reconcile them both to God in ONE BODY through THE CROSS, thereby putting to death the enmity (Eph. 2:1).

Having WIPED OUT the handwriting of requirements (i.e., “the certificate of debt with its . . . “) that was against us, which was contrary to us . . . And He has taken it out of the way, having NAILED IT TO THE CROSS (Col. 2:14).

I say that it is in this light, Romans 14:1-23 comes into absolute focus!

One person esteems one day above another, another esteems every day alike.  Let each be fully convinced in his own mind…He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it…He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks (Rom. 14:5-6).

The summation of the Law of Christ is thusly spoken:

For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal.’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is ANY OTHER COMMANDMENT, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” “Love does no harm to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:9-10).

The Book of Romans makes it abundantly clear that the civil/ceremonial law contained in ordinances relative to the Mosaic Accord cannot atone for sin, neither do they possess any salvific quality for the believer.  That said, we believers in Jesus/Yeshua must afford liberality to those brethren who wish to esteem the Sabbath, for example, to be on Saturday–but NOT DEMAND that other brethren do the same as they in a way of condemnation nor to suggest that they are living in DISOBEDIENCE if they were, for example, to eat shrimp!

He who does not eat shrimp does it unto the Lord and he who eats at Red Lobster gives thanks unto the Lord–BOTH do it as unto the Lord–that’s what Paul taught and that’s what we should wholly embrace!

I trust this does not shock you nor offend your “Jewish sensitivities” – however, after listening to your presentation, I am very much relieved that what I heard echoes the truth of the N.T.’s understanding wrought among those called out from among the nations to be a people for His Name.

I will go one step further, as much as I deeply appreciate Arno Fruchtenbaum, I wholly understand why he affirms that an ethnic Jew’s children should be circumcised to maintain their Jewish identity–“but neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything–BUT A NEW CREATION!” (Gal. 6:15).

Now…continuing without the dialogue between Krieger/Watson….still just Doug Krieger talking, but not to Dr. Watson:

Regarding the Law of God (i.e., the Ten Commandments) – Romans 7 emphatically states that the “Law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Rom. 7:12); also that the “Law is spiritual” (Rom. 7:14); “I agree with the law that it is good” (Rom. 7:16) – but Paul states:  “For to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find . . . I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do go . . . for I delight in the law of God according to the inward man . . . I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lo . . . so then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin . . . There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit . . . for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death , , , for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin:  He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Excerpts from Romans 7 and 8).

All the aforesaid proclaims there is NO CONDEMNATION to them who are IN Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.  That which is holy, righteous, and good can only be fulfilled – the righteous requirements can only be fulfilled – by them who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  To suggest that the keeping of the Law—the Ten Commandments—the righteous requirements of the Law – are somehow “done away with” IN Christ completely misses the point.  To the contrary—one is able through the Spirit of Life in Christ—through the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ to meet and even exceed the righteous requirements made by the Law.

May I give the severest of observations – if we do not get off on the right foot on these matters of the LAW – knowing the difference between nailing the “law of commandments contained in ordinances” vs. the Ten Commandments – which Ten are embodied in the Law of Christ’s love – and their practices – we will be committing the same SEPARATION ultimately espoused by Marcion in 144 AD–that will be the end of Commonwealth Theology’s fledgling beginnings!

[10] This initial paper cannot go into excessive doctrinal detail as to these “supersessionist” theologies; however, Amillenarians (no future, literal one-thousand-year millennium upon the earth) are best expressed by Oswald T. Allis in his Prophesy and the Church, p. 154:

“The passage (Hebrews 8:8-12) speaks of the new covenant.  It declares that this new covenant has been already introduced and that by virtue of the fact that it is called “new” it has made the one which it is replacing “old,” and that the old is about to vanish away.  It would be hard to find a clearer reference to the gospel age in the Old Testament than in these verses in Jeremiah . . . “ 

Dispensationalist, Charles Ryrie in his The Basis of the Premillennial Faith, pp. 108-110 contends otherwise:

First, it is seen by the fact of the words of establishment of the covenant . . . Jeremiah 31:31 . . .. Other passages which support this fact are:  Isaiah 59:20-21; 61:8-9; Jeremiah 32:37-40; 50:4-5; Ezekiel 16:60-63; 34:25-26; 37:21-28.  Secondly, that the Old Testament teaches that the new covenant is for Israel is also seen by the fact of its very name . . . contrasted with the Mosaic covenant . . . the new covenant is made with the same people as the Mosaic . . . the Scripture clearly teaches that the Mosaic covenant of the law was made with the nation Israel only.  Romans 2:14 . . . Romans 6:14 and Galatians 3:24-25 . . . 2 Corinthians 3:7-11 . . . Leviticus 26:46 . . . Deuteronomy 4:8.

There can be no question as to whom pertains the law.  It is for Israel alone, and since this old covenant was made with Israel, the new covenant is made with the same people no other group or nation being in view.  Thirdly, that the Old Testament teaches that the new covenant is for Israel is also seen by the fact that in its establishment the perpetuity of the nation Israel and her restoration to the land is virtually linked with it (Jer. 31:35-40) . . . Thus, we conclude that for these three incontrovertible reasons, the very words of the text, the name itself, and the linking with the perpetuity of the nation, the new covenant according to the teaching of the Old Testament is for the people of Israel.

CT contends that the New Covenant does not supersede the New Covenant made to the progeny of Abraham, i.e., the Jews, as perpetrated by Replacement/Amillennialism theology. Moreover, neither is the New Covenant withheld from the immediate purview of the Church at the present time as rejected by Dispensationalism. 

These “two extremities” juxtaposed to one another wherein the one (Amillennialism) subsumes Israel and becomes the exclusive “Spiritual Israel”—leaving the physical descendants of Judah in the dust of history past with no prophetic future (supersessionist)—the sole inheritor of the New Covenant vs. Dispensationalism which confines the New Covenant to the exclusive purview of National Israel, yet future, clearly excluding the Church, aside from the ambiguous “spiritual blessings” of the New Covenant – BOTH are theologically deficient and demand that elements of both theologies can readily comprise COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY. 

There is DISTINCTION wrought by Dispensationalism between National Israel (aka, the Jews) and the Church – between the 12 Gates bearing the Names of the 12 Tribes of Israel and the 12 Foundations, bearing the Names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb – but there is One Olive Tree, one Holy City which is MULTI-DIMENSIONAL (Ezekiel 40-48; Revelation 21) and is NOT separated from National Israel—i.e., there is today a BOND that is intensely spiritual between Jews and Christians.  That bond makes them PEOPLE OF THE BOOK and that bond demands, through the Cross, that the MIDDLE WALL OF SEPARATION has been broken down to make of the two/both ONE NEW MAN, so making peace both NOW and into the prophetic future based upon the immediate and prophetic/eschatological aspects of the SAME NEW COVENANT. 

The New Covenant does NOT now or into the future exclude Jews.  Jews, just as their counterparts among the nations of today, are brought into the New Covenant (individually) and prophetically (corporately).  They shall enter into the full impact of that same New Covenant that believers (be they Jewish or non-Jewish) do today.  National Israel, during the “latter days” shall corporately enter the New Covenant at the commencement of the literal one-thousand-year Millennium.

Dispensationalism finds itself among its many divergent streams engaged in both an eschatological and soteriological crisis–especially after the pre-tribulational rapture of the Bride of Christ when a “different gospel” called the “Gospel of the Kingdom” distinguishes itself from the Gospel of the Grace of God which produces the One New Man, the Body of Christ, the New Creation.  What exactly is produced by the “works of the Law” apparently integrated with spurts of “grace” is anyone’s guess; thus, the soteriological crisis.  Eschatological issues persist with the New Heaven and New Earth postponed until after the Millennium–apparently, having the redeemed of Israel, the Jews, and Christians “caught together” on the same planet is a fearful sight indeed!  In particular, where is the Son of David–is He ruling and reigning with the saints on His throne on the earth during the Millennium, or is He with His Beloved Bride, the Church, in orbit somewhere above the earth as John Walvoord suggests?  The multi-faceted “gospels” contrived by the Dispensationalists boggles the mind.

[11] John Piper presents a challenge to Christian theology and, in particular, to the “separatist” tendencies within Dispensationalism by asserting that the Church participates in the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenants; however, it appears the Church, once again, subsumes Israel (aka, the Jews) in this endeavor; to wit:

In the words of Romans 11:17, “You [Gentile], although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree”—that is, they become part of the redeemed covenant people who share the faith of Abraham. The reason, as Paul put in Romans 4:13, is that “the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” So all who are united to Christ, Abraham’s Offspring, by faith are part of the covenant made with him and his offspring.

Here’s the most sweeping statement of this truth— Ephesians 2:12, “Remember that you [Gentiles] were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. . . . So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

Therefore, Jewish believers in Jesus and Gentile believers will inherit the Land. And the easiest way to see this is to see that we will inherit the world which includes the Land. Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians will not quibble over the real estate of the Promised Land because the entire new heavens and the new earth will be ours. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23, “All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” All followers of Christ, and only followers of Christ, will inherit the earth, including the Land.

You recall that all-important word that Jesus spoke to Pilate in John 18:36: “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Christians do not take up the sword to advance the kingdom of Christ. We wait for a king from heaven who will deliver us by his mighty power. And in that great day Jew and Gentile who have treasured Christ will receive what was promised. There will be a great reversal: the last will be first, and the meek—in fellowship with the Lamb of God—will inherit the Land.

Therefore, come to the meek and lowly Christ while there is time, and receive forgiveness of sins, and the hope of glory. (John Piper’s document:  2004, Israel, Palestine and the Middle East)

All the above appears “biblically legitimate” – however, its downside completely obfuscates the role that even the conversion of the Jewish people shall experience has any legitimate role in the prophetic discourse laid out by Piper. Indeed, the “entire New Heaven and New Earth” will be ours” – therefore, nothing over which to quibble; but again, if you carefully read—these dictum announced by Piper obfuscate any role for National Israel with those today called out from among both Jews and Gentiles to be a people for His Name . . . they are simply rejected, and disregarded in toto. Indeed, Israel’s present materiality is an existential theological imbroglio for the Amillenarians.  Israel’s presence on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean has nothing to do with Bible prophecy–it’s just a “gathering place” where their final persecution will take place; and where they will meet their Messiah–even their final persecution is somewhat happenstance and means nothing in the sum total of their picture of the all-inclusive Messiah!

[12] Dr. Thomas Ice and the 144,000 Jewish Evangelists during the Seventieth Week of Daniel:

When one exams (sic) the biblical text they find that Revelation 7 speaks of two different people groups: 1) 144,000 Jewish male witnesses (Rev. 7:4–8) and 2) a great multitude, which no one can count from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues (Rev. 7:9).  Below are reasons why this passage means what it says and refers to exactly 144,000 Jewish guys (no gals or Gentiles included), and 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  First, at this point in Revelation John is writing down what he hears the angel who is crying out with a loud voice says (Rev. 7:2, 4). The angel says they are a specific number of Jewish men. (Tommy Ice:  The 144,000 Jewish Witnesses).

[13] Tommy Ice:  The Rapture is a Sign-less Event:

Tom Ice

The rapture is a sign-less event, thus there are not and never will develop signs of the time indicating that the rapture is near. This is true because the rapture is imminent, it could happen at any moment.[1] It is impossible for an imminent event to have signs. If signs are related to an event then it would indicate that it was near or not near and thus could not happen until after the signs were present. Thus, signs would have to precede the event which would mean that the event could not happen at any moment until after the signs appeared. Since the rapture is said in the New Testament to be an event that could occur at any moment, without warning (1 Corinthians 1:7; 16:22; Philippians 3:20; 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; James 5:7-9; 1 Peter 1:13; Jude 21; Revelation 3:ll; 22:7,12,17,20) then it cannot be related to any signs at all. However, this does not mean that there are not signs of the time that do relate to other aspects of God’s plan. (Source:  Tommy Ice:  Pretrib Research Center – Signs of the Time and Prophetic Fulfillment)

[14] THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS…WHY THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH MATTERS!  By Douglas W. Krieger (Tribnet Publications, 2015) is a point by point refutation of Dr. Renald Shower’s text:  Maranatha, Our Lord, Come! . . . A Definitive Study of the Rapture of the Church, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. P.O. Box 908, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099

[15] The prophecy of the 2,300 days and the various interpretations of those 2,300 “evening-mornings” can be viewed at Conservapedia @ http://www.conservapedia.com/2300_Day_Prophecy_of_Daniel_8 – Retrieved on 08.13.2017.

[16]  Mormonism’s Two Stick teaching (Source:  An Exegetical Look at Ezekiel 37:15ff (Evaluating a Mormon View) by Dr. J. E. Rosscup.       

Is the popular Mormon view acceptable, that the two sticks refer to the Book of Mormon (Stick of Joseph) and the Bible (Stick of Judah)? The view is that the sticks have parchment rolled around them containing books. For the Mormon view cf. LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, (pp. 67-68), and other sources in the next paragraph.

Mormons point in their Book of Mormon to II Nephi 29:6-14 to help prove their view. That passage argues that God not only gave one book to the nation of Jews, but another book to other nations. [But even here, it sounds like not two books, but the Bible (v. 10) and many other books (v. 11) by various prophets (v. 12), and men are to be judged out of those books]. Mormons believe that the two “sticks” (to them the two “books”) were joined in the early days of Mormonism (1840’s). So they became one book “in the hands of Ephraim” (Ezek. 37:19). They believe that the men who long ago engraved the plates of the Book of Mormon were in the line of Ephraim and Manasseh (Alma 10:3, Book of Mormon). So the Book of Mormon is the Book of Ephraim (cf. E. A. Smith, Restoration: A Study in Prophecy, a Mormon source, (p. 165); cf. also J. E. Talmage, A Study of the Articles of Faith, (p. 276); Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon. One can see a Mormon’s rejection of this Mormon view and an assertion of the correct view of Ezekiel 37:15ff.

In Heber C. Snell, “Roundtable: The Bible in the Church,” in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring, 1967), pp. 61-62. Mormons similarly hold that Isaiah 29:11-14 by its “book that is sealed” refers to the future Book of Mormon as “a marvelous work and a wonder.” Mormons claim, as Richards shows, that Isaiah 29:11-12 was realized when Joseph Smith received and translated golden plates to write the Book of Mormon. For a refutation of such Mormon contentions, cf. Marvin W. Cowan, Mormon Claims Answered, (36-38); David A. Reed and John R. Farkas, Mormons Answered Verse by Verse, (58-59); Bill McKeever, Answering Mormons’ Questions, (68-69).

[17] Chuck Missler attempts to persuade us that Ephraim (i.e. the Ten Northern Tribes of Israel) were over the course of some 200+ years (930 BC to 722 BC) merged in massive numbers into Judah and then taken into captivity as Judah, having lost their identification as Ephraim altogether!

There are many groups that believe the northern tribes, separated during the rift between Rehoboam and Jeroboam after the death of Solomon (and subsequently taken captive by Assyria in 722 b.c.), later migrated to Europe and elsewhere.

The myth of the “Ten Lost Tribes” is the basis for “British-Israelism” and other colorful legends, but these stories have no real Biblical basis. They are based upon misconceptions derived from the misreading of various Bible passages. (2 Kings 17:7-23; 2 Chronicles 6:6-11)

[NOTE:  It seems obvious that “Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel (i.e., the 10 Northern Tribes), and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone” (2 Kings 17:18).] (Our brackets).  The sweeping statements made by Missler regarding these “myths and legends” is astonishing, given his intellectual capabilities, as well as penchant for research. 

Before the Assyrian captivity, substantial numbers from the northern tribes had identified themselves with the house of David. The rebellion of Jeroboam and subsequent crises caused many to repudiate the Northern Kingdom and unite with the Southern Kingdom in a common alliance to the house of David and a desire to worship the Lord in Jerusalem. (1 Kings 12:16-20; 2 Chronicles 11:16-17; 2 Chronicles 19:4; 30:1, 10-11, 25-26; 34:5-7, 22; 35:17-18).

[NOTE:  The passages used by Chuck Missler appear to contradict the alleged massive numbers who joined with Judah from Israel; to wit: “Now it came to pass when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they sent for him and called him to the congregation, and made him king over all Israel.  THERE WAS NONE WHO FOLLOWED THE HOUSE OF DAVID, BUT THE TRIBE OF JUDAH ONLY” (1 Kings 12:20).  Furthermore, and from the “sound of it” the Levites who “left those from all the tribes of Israel . . . strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong for three years” – that does not sound like a massive commitment on the part of the Levites (three years?).  In 2 Chronicles 19:4 where King Jehoshaphat returned from battle with the Syrians, after King Ahab of Israel was killed (his ally at the time), simply “went out again among the people from Beersheba to the mountains of Ephraim and brought them back to the LORD God of their fathers” (2 Chron. 19:4).  The “mountains of Ephraim” do not necessarily include all of Israel’s Ten Northern Tribes; furthermore, we immediately discover that Jehoshaphat “set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city” (2 Chron. 19:5).  Again, this hardly sounds like the Ten Tribes of Israel are fortified by Judah!

[NOTE:  In 2 Chron. 30:1, 10-11, 25-26 the notion that some of the Ten Northern Tribes came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover with King Hezekiah (cir. 720 BC) AFTER the 10 Northern Tribes had a civil war with Judah (under King Pekah) wherein 120,000 of Judah were killed by Israel (all the “valiant men) in one day (2 Chron. 28:5-8) – plus Israel carried away captive, but then humbly returned 200,000 thousand women, sons, and daughters who they originally brought into Samaria but returned them to Judah at Jericho (2 Chron. 28:9-15).  Shortly thereafter, King Ahaz of Israel confronted the king of Assyria, Tiglath Pileser (2 Chron. 28:16-27), but all we are told is that this King Ahaz of Israel took treasure from the House of the Lord at Jerusalem and tried, so it appears, to buy off King Tiglath Pileser to have Assyria assist the King of Judah (same name as King Ahaz) who was under attack from both the Edomites and the Philistines (2 Chron. 28:16-18).  Assyria did not assist.  King Ahaz of Judah (now) was hardly a paramount of virtue—he set up high places all over Judah; then his son Hezekiah reigned in his stead at the age of 25.   

[NOTE:  Yes, 2 Chron. 30:1 says Hezekiah upon the inception of his reign; however, when the “runners” went out through Israel and Judah to gather the people for the Passover in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 30:6), it was already clear that if Israel would attend the Passover “then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria”—for huge numbers of the Israelites had already been taken captive by the Assyrian kings (cir. 740-725 BC) . . . there was but a REMNANT left in Israel!]

[NOTE:  Likewise, regarding this remnant of Israel who were encouraged by King Hezekiah to return to the Lord (2 Chron. 30:9) – but here’s their response:  “So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them . . . nevertheless SOME from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem” (2 Chron. 30:10-11).  Now, that does NOT sound like a massive turnout from the Ten Tribes of Israel who, at the time, were but a REMNANT in the first place!.  SOME from a REMNANT does not a MASSIVE turnout make!  Yes, 2 Chronicles 30:25-26 says it was a massive assembly but it was comprised of Levites, those who came from Israel, the sojourners (already infusing Israel with Gentiles—2 Kings 17:24-33—talk about a mixture) who came from Israel, and, of course, those who dwelt in Judah – but they did return after coming to the Passover and, yes, they “utterly destroyed” the high places and the altars—“from all Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh . . . then all the children of Israel returned to their own cities, every man to his possession” (2 Chron. 31:1).  Two tribes are mentioned of the Northern 10 Tribes—and they constituted but SOME of a REMNANT that had been left and not taken into captivity by the Assyrian kings.]

[NOTE:  In 2 Chronicles 34:5-7 we read that Judah’s King Josiah destroyed all the apostate altars throughout Judah, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon—as far as Naphtali and “all around with axes . . . throughout all the land of Israel” – however, King Josiah’s reign was years after the Ten Northern Tribes were taken into captivity (740-722 BC by at least five Assyrian Kings–) and years after King Hezekiah had faced off with the Assyrian King Sennacherib (2 Chron. 32) in 712 BC (2 Kings 18).  Indeed, there was an overlap of the reign of Israel’s last king, Hoshea, and King Hezekiah of Judah but somewhere between 722 BC and 712 BC the captivity of the Ten Northern Tribes was complete; to wit: “Now it came to pass in the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea the son of Elah, king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it…and at the end of three years they took it.  In the sixth year of Hezekiah that is, the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken…then the king of Assyria carried Israel away captive to Assyria, and put them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes” (2 Kings 18:7-11).  The defeat of Samaria/the Ten Northern Tribes was complete in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign…but in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign (2 Kings 18:13) – some eight years after the fall of Samaria in 712 BC – King Sennacherib laid siege to the cities of Judah and Jerusalem; therefore, from 722-712 BC the “captivity” of the Ten Northern Tribes was in full sway—there being every indication that the “siege of Samaria” lasted at least three years (722 BC through to 719 BC) . . . it appears to be a total wipe out – what was left of the REMNANT of ISRAEL was obviously, taken captive.  Furthermore, and based upon the record of 2 Kings 17:24-33 there hardly sounds like a host of Israelites lived in these ancient tribal areas of the Land—in point of fact, they appear to be nigh wholly populated by Gentiles!]

[NOTE:  We have no idea why Chuck Missler quotes 2 Chron. 34:22 to substantiate his claim that the Ten Northern Tribes massively merged with Judah.  As far as 2 Chronicles 35:17-18 is concerned – the massive Passover kept by King Josiah of Judah (there being King Hezekiah’s additional 15 year reign; plus, King Manasseh’s 55-year reign; plus, King Amon’s two-year reign; plus – there being 72 years of these kings of Judah extending to the year 640 BC; plus 18 years of King Josiah’s reign (2 Chron. 35:19) or some 90 years had transpired between King Hezekiah’s life extension in 712 BC and the great Passover held by King Josiah in 622 BC (nigh at least 100 years after the Fall of Samaria in 722 BC.). Yes, it says that “So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day to keep the Passover and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the LORD, according to the command of King Josiah.  And the children of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days.  There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept, with the priests and the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”  Notwithstanding these remarks, the “leftovers” of the Ten Tribes still constituted a tiny minority of the participants based upon the previous passages which indicted their persistent deportation by the Assyrian kings.  Also, as far as we know, the SOJOURNERS and the Gentiles within those lands who were now adhering to BOTH their own heathen practices and those of the Israelites (aka, the Samaritans) did NOT constitute a hearty throng of Israelites.

Despite all of this, Missler persists:

Not all from the Northern Kingdom were deported. Archaeologists have uncovered annals of the Assyrian Sargon, in which he tells that he carried away only 27,290 people and 50 chariots. 

DEPORTATIONS

(NOTE:  Source:  1 Kings 11:13, 32 – given by Missler and simply declares that the United Kingdom of Israel would be torn asunder—nothing of the Ten Tribes merging with Judah is given.  King Sargon (Isaiah 20:1) was the successor of Shalmaneser, and was Sennacherib’s father.  The 27,290 taken by King Sargon to Assyria simply specifies a group of Israelites taken into captivity—prior to that King.  They appear to be the “elite” of Israel and would, therefore, be accorded such an inscription—but simply a representative number of the overall Israelites taken into captivity at that time.  Furthermore, prior to that we read in 1 Chron. 5:26 “And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, who is also Tilgath-pilezer king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.” This was before Assyrian king Sargon.  It should be noted that Tiglath-pilezer began a three-step deportation of Israel with the initial deportation of the tribes east of the Jordan.  This is supported by Gad still being located east of the Jordan in the time of Saul as per 1 Samuel 13:7 which locates the “Land of Gad,” “And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.  As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.”]

[NOTE:  We then read in 2 Kings 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.  There are scores of passages which bespeak of the captivity of the Ten Tribes of the North (Israel):  2 Kings 16:5-10; 2 Chron. 28:20-21; 2 Kings 17:1-6; 2 Kings 18:9-11; 2 Kings 18:13 (Judah’s siege; also Isaiah 36:1; also, 2 Kings 19:36-37; 2 Chron. 32:21-22; Isaiah 37:36-38) . . . again, It is likely that Tiglath Pilezer (the first of the Assyrian kings to conquer the Ten Northern Tribes) actually made three invasions of Israel. The last included this devastation of Galilee and, when joined by Ahaz, he destroyed Damascus—please see:  Interaction of Assyrian Kings with Israel and Judah about 730 BC by Fred P. Miller]

Missler continues: 

Population estimates of the Northern Kingdom at that time range from 400,000 to 500,000; less than 1/20th were deported– mostly the leadership from the capital, Samaria. The rest of the Northern Kingdom were taken by Assyria as slaves, which were a valuable commodity. (It is difficult to view the Assyrians as careless enough to let their captives wander off to Europe.)  When the Babylonians take over Assyria, the descendants of the “ten tribes” were probably again commingled with the captives of Judah.

[NOTE:  Missler’s conjectures fly in the face of both Scripture and historical records.  Cir. 980 BC King David numbered the men of fighting age (20-50 years of age) to be between 800,000 to 1,100,000 (1 Chron. 21:5; 2 Sam. 24:9) – which means the Ten Northern Tribes in 980+/- BC could have easily numbered upwards of 4+ million counting women, children and the elderly.  It could easily have been upwards of 10,000,000 taken captive into Assyrian by the succession of Assyrian kings from Tiglath-pileser, Shalmaneser, and Sargon II through to Sennacherib (over the course of some 30-40 years).  For after nigh 250 years the Israelites which numbered upwards of 5,000,000 could readily have increased, given the parameters of their territory, some 10 to 15 million.  Please note the following:

The kingdom established by David [circa 1050 B.C.] on the foundations started by Saul and Samuel attained all the borders and limits of the Biblical promised land. God’s land-promises made to the Patriarchs were completely fulfilled in the kingdom of David and Solomon and these borders were kept by Israel through the time of David and Solomon. More than this, all of the Near East was under the control of the united tribes of Israel and ruled from Jerusalem. Garrisons of Israeli soldiers were stationed in Damascus, Hamath, Ammon, Edom, Moab and the out posts of the Negev and the Euphrates River. Shipping in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean was under the control of Israel. Coincidentally the strongest nations of the Near East, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, were eclipsed by the power of Israel and due to Israel’s political power and control this period is an empty page in the annals of those subject nations. In an extraordinary chart of world history the period of the greatness of David’s united kingdom is shown as a period that produces little or no records from the nations usually thought to be the greatest nations of history. This said chart maps all of civilized world history from Sumer to the present. It is in full color on fifteen 12″X18″ pages. The total chart stretches 15 feet therefore, and the charting is in small print. In the corresponding streams that chart Egypt, Assyria and Babylon at the point where the chronology matches the period of the United Israeli Kingdom the following entries are made: Re: Egypt, “Egyptian History a Blank”; Re: Babylon: “Break in Babylonian History,” Re: Assyria: “Few Assyrian Inscriptions known for 150 Years.” There is historical silence that is all but incredible for the greatest nations of the world during the suzerainty of the kingdom of David. No wonder the prophets saw the future age of Glory as the restoration of the kingdom of David. See this in: Hull Edward, M.A., L.L.D., F.R.S.; The Wall chart of World History; Pub. Princess House, London; many editions from 1890 – 1992. Go here: to see a small portion of the chart that depicts this period of history. (Ibid., Fred P. Miller)

To sum up the massive deportations to Assyria of the Ten Northern Tribes (or at least 9 of them) . . .

To sum up then: In a first assault, Tiglath-pilezer had taken captive the tribes east of the Jordan, i.e., the tribes of Reuben, Manasseh, and Gad, about 734 B.C. Approximately 731 B.C. the tribes of Dan, Naphtali, and Zebulun were taken during the invasion and the destruction of Galilee and Damascus by Tiglath-pilezer. The rest (three tribes: Ephraim, Issachar and Asher and the rest of Manasseh) of the “10 Tribes” (actually only 9) went into captivity under Sargon II at the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C.  Actually, there were only nine tribes in the northern kingdom after the Levites abandoned their cities in the north and joined Judah after the apostasy of Jeroboam I. Simeon was still settled in the portion of the tribe of Judah although part of Simeon had immigrated to various other locations, some “lehutz la’aretz” or outside the Holy Land. 1 Chron. 4:42-43 describes some 500-men of Simeon who immigrated from Judah to Edom. (Ibid. Fred P. Miller)

Thus, and not to belabor the postulations of our beloved Chuck Missler, it cannot be argued by those opposed to Ephraim’s deportation that such a minuscule number were deported nor assimilated while Judah was still in power, nor of these at least nine tribes being assimilated into the Jews of Babylon after an additional nigh ten generations (722 BC to 537 BC—the end of the 70-year captivity with the first captivity of the Jews taking place under Viceroy, at the time, Nebuchadnezzar, in 608 BC).  Finally, this quote from Josephus:

The Jewish historian Josephus (37–100 CE) wrote that “the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude and not to be estimated in numbers.” (Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities. p. 11:133.).  Frankly, one can go stark-raving mad determining the whereabouts of the Ten Lost Tribes—suffice it to say, they were “swallowed up by the millions” into the nations—end and beginning of story!  (See:  Wikipedia)

PLEASE GO TO PART 2