- Appendix 6 -
In Appendix 5 - "The Subtle Demise of True Christianity" - the tragic results of rejecting or even neglecting the constitution of our faith, the Torah, and its author Yehovah as the God of Israel, resulting in Replacement Theology, was described. And I am eternally grateful to Yehovah for opening my eyes to the Hebrew roots of my faith. There is no way that I could fully or correctly interpret prophetic Scripture without some understanding of the language, religion, and culture of the writers of Bible prophecy.
However, there is another side of that coin: Some Messianic/Hebrew Roots Believers not only disparage the Jews who have not yet recognized that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah, but, in claiming that only physical, genetic descendants of Jacob and Gentiles grafted into physical Israel are true followers of Yeshua, resulting in just another form of Replacement Theology, they ruin their witness to both Jews and to Christians. At the other extreme, others (like Mark Biltz), though they might not consider themselves to be physical descendants of Jacob, in trying so hard to be simultaneously Torah-observant and non-offensive to Christians and Jews, neglect their New Covenant relationship with the Messiah Yeshua, even to the point of refusing to minister the Gospel of salvation through Yeshua to the Jews, and thus also ruin their witness both to Jews and to Christians. The following essay explains how certain flaws in Hebrew Roots/Messianic doctrines undermine New Covenant life in the Messiah, divide His body of believers, and result in misinterpretations and misapplications of end-times prophecy.
Although it is clearly explained in Scripture, few Hebrew Roots teachers seem to acknowledge the clear distinction between Yehovah’s (God's) plan for His physical People, those of the twelve tribes of Israel who will not recognize that Yeshua is the Messiah until He returns at the End of the Age, and His plan for those Jews and Gentiles who have already come to faith in the Messiah Yeshua.
Many (not all) Hebrew Roots Believers and teachers think that, when the Messiah returns, the two houses of Israel will be reunited and all of physical Israel, including those Gentiles grafted into Israel through faith in Yeshua, will be brought out of the Gentile nations back into the Land of Israel at the End of the Age. Then, in the Messianic Kingdom, they will inhabit the restored earth either in their mortal, physical bodies or in their resurrected, glorified bodies during the millennial reign of the Messiah Yeshua. However, Scripture clearly reveals that there will be two categories of the Redeemed of Yeshua during the Millennium - those who have already trusted in Yeshua as their Savior and Messiah before the sounding of the “Last Trump” on Yom Teruah (those who are already, before the Messiah's return, under the New Covenant), and those physical descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel who will not recognize that Yeshua is the Messiah until He returns in the clouds on that day (those who are still attempting to live under Yehovah's original covenant with Israel). And Yehovah’s plan for those two groups of Saints at the End of the Age and during the millennial reign of the Messiah (albeit not throughout eternity) are very different. There will also be a third group present during the Millennium: those God-fearing Gentiles who did not take the mark of the Beast during the Great Tribulation and who aided Israel and did not come against Jerusalem during that time.
Most Hebrew Roots teachers take numerous passages of Scripture out of context, misinterpret them, and misapply them to support their doctrine that all of Israel, including the Gentiles grafted in through faith in Yeshua, will be brought out of the nations at the End of the Age into the Land and established there as the spiritual and physical Kingdom of Yehovah.
An example of a misinterpreted passage is Zechariah 8:23, which states, “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that [Yehovah] is with you.’” Most Hebraic Roots teachers assert that “those days” refers to the End of the Age, when the Lord will gather His People Israel out of the nations into the Land. However, just a cursory examination of the text reveals that this passage is referring to what will happen during the millennial reign of the Messiah, after Israel is reestablished in the Land and is surrounded by nations made up of descendants of God-fearing Gentiles who did not come to faith in Yeshua prior to the Millennium, but who were allowed to enter the millennial Messianic kingdom because they favored and helped the Jews during the Great Tribulation and never took the mark of the beast. During the Millennium, according to the prophecy of Ezekiel 40-48, the twelve tribes of Israel will be reestablished in the Land and will have a favored place in the Land, just as they did in the land of Goshen in Egypt when Joseph (a type of the Messiah) was the Prince of Egypt. And, during the Millennium (not during the Great Tribulation at the End of the Age), those of the surrounding Gentile nations will see that Israel is blessed by Yehovah and will want to share in her prosperity. But, to partake of Israel’s prosperity, the Gentiles must observe the Torah of Yehovah. Those who fail to keep the Torah, and to go up to Jerusalem year after year to keep Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) and worship the King, will perish during the thousand years (cf. Zechariah 14:16-19), or will be among those who will be deceived into following Satan when he is released from the bottomless pit at the end of the thousand years, only to be destroyed by fire from Heaven (cf. Revelation 20:8, 9).
But this understanding of the End-of-the-Age and the Millennium scenarios begs the question, “If they do not return to the Land of Israel with the twelve tribes, what will happen to those who have previously (before the end of the Final Seven Years) accepted Yeshua as the Messiah (the New Covenant Saints)?” does it not? Again, Scripture is clear to those who have their doctrinal ducks in order and their spiritual eyes open to the Truth: At the end of the Final Seven Years, the wrath of Satan (the “Great Tribulation”) will be interrupted (cf. Matthew 24:22) by the awesome events of Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets), when the Messiah will return to gather those who have already believed in Him, catch them up to meet Him in the air, and take them to New Jerusalem (which is still in Heaven), until Yehovah has finished pouring out the “last plagues” (Revelation 15:1) of His wrath on the earth dwellers. Then, after the marriage in Heaven of the Lamb to His Bride (the Body of Believers in Him) and His coronation as King of kings and Lord of lords, the armies of Heaven (including angels and the redeemed, glorified Saints) will return with King Yeshua on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) to destroy His enemies, save the Redeemed of Israel (who had looked on Him whom they had pierced, repented, and accepted Him as their Messiah and King when He returned in the clouds on Yom Teruah (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7), pour out His Spirit on them and write His Torah in their hearts (Joel 2:28; Jeremiah 31:33), and establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Isaiah 65:17-25; Revelation 20:4). The glorified, New Covenant Saints will then rule with the Messiah over the tribes of Israel and the surrounding nations from their thrones in New Jerusalem (which has descended from Heaven—Revelation 21:1). (cf. Matthew 19:28; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:27; 20:4).
However, contrary to this Scriptural scenario, some of the more popular Hebrew Roots teachers (Bill Cloud, Perry Stone, Jim Staley, Eddie Chumney, et al.), ironically, teach a Hebrew Roots version of Replacement Theology, asserting that those Gentiles who come to faith in Yeshua are actually literal Hebrews of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (the “ten lost tribes”) who will be brought back into the Land and reunited with the tribes of the Southern Kingdom (mainly the tribe of Judah) who are already in the Land and who will not come to faith in Yeshua until the Final Seven Years. In other words, according to this doctrine, the “Jews” who do not yet believe that Yeshua is the Messiah are in a different category - they are not yet the People of Yehovah in the same sense that those “Hebrew Gentiles” (an oxymoron) are. This “two-sticks-becoming-one-man” doctrine, which asserts that only the tribes of the Northern Kingdom (consisting of the Hebrew Gentiles) will be brought out of the nations back into the Land, but that the tribes of the Southern Kingdom have never been divorced by Yehovah and exiled from the Land - they have just been temporarily blinded to who He is - is based on erroneous interpretations of Ezekiel 37:16-22, Romans Chapter 11, and Ephesians Chapter 2.
Scripture correctly interpreted, however, proves this doctrine false. A basic reason for its error is in making a false, unscriptural distinction between the House of Ephraim and the House of Judah, stating that the Northern Kingdom was divorced by Yehovah, banished into the Gentile nations of the world and absorbed by those nations, making them “Hebrew Gentiles.” But, according to this doctrine, the tribes of the Southern Kingdom have never been divorced by Yehovah and dispersed into the nations, so have not become Gentiles. But, I would submit, that interpretation is incorrect according to both history (see the Wikipedia article "Kingdom of Israel [Samaria]") and sound exegesis. Yes, the Northern Kingdom was divorced by Yehovah because of idolatry, but history tells us that, although as a political entity the Northern Kingdom was destroyed, not all of the ten “northern” tribes were carried away by the Assyrians. Entire tribes remained intact in the land. In fact, although ten tribes rebelled against the Torah and practiced idolatry, Simeon was located within the boundaries of the Southern Kingdom, so was not geographically a “northern” tribe at all. Part of the tribe of Dan was also located within the boundaries of the Southern Kingdom. Also, when the Assyrians invaded the Northern Kingdom, multitudes fled to the Southern Kingdom. The population of Jerusalem increased five-fold because of the influx of refugees from the north. And the tribes that were taken away by the Assyrians remained pretty much intact for many years in the lands in which they were relocated. And today, there are groups of people all over the world who are still keeping the Torah, or at least remnants of the Torah, who either claim to be or studies have shown them to be descendants of the nine (not ten) northern tribes. And now, DNA studies are further confirming that many of these modern Israelites are indeed descended from or are at least partially descended from various tribes of Israel, including both the “northern” and southern tribes. 7,000 members of the tribe of Manasseh recently immigrated from India to Israel.
Yes, Hosea 1:6, 7 states that Yehovah will . . . “utterly take them [the House of Israel] away. Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah . . .” But, obviously, that was a Hebraic hyperbole that meant the House of Ephraim/Israel, as a political and geographical entity, would be destroyed and scattered. It did not mean that the individual Israelites or even the tribes would be absorbed by the nations of the world to the point of totally losing their identities and even becoming Gentiles. Also, although Yehovah had mercy on the House of Judah and did not divorce them at that time, they were not blameless before the Lord, were they? Please notice that in Hosea Chapter 3 the focus of the indictment for spiritual adultery generalizes to the whole nation of Israel (the “children of Israel”) rather than applying just to the “House of Israel” (Ephraim). And more is said about how the entire nation of Israel was guilty of idolatry from the time they came out of Egypt in 11:1, 2. So, although the book of Hosea addresses primarily the unfaithfulness of the House of Israel and their consequent rejection by Yehovah, and His sparing of the House of Judah because they had not yet rebelled against Him as had the House of Israel, beginning especially with the reign of King Ahaz, the tribes of the Southern Kingdom also rejected the Torah, sank into idolatry, and broke the covenant, just as had those of the Northern Kingdom. And just as happened to the House of Ephraim, beginning in about 606 BCE, the House of Judah (which consisted of members not just of the tribe of Judah, but of all 12 tribes) was carried away into captivity into Babylon. Then, please note, 70 years later, only a small remnant returned to the Land of Israel and rebuilt the Temple and Jerusalem. The vast majority remained in Babylon and other places to which they had migrated. And what did those Jews who had come back into the Land of Israel do in 29 CE? They totally rejected the Living Torah - the Messiah - didn’t they? And what happened to them? Just as had happened to the House of Ephraim, they were scattered (in 70 and 135 CE) all over the world. So, exactly as was prophesied (Isa 50:1), both houses of Israel were divorced by Yehovah. Please read Jeremiah chapter 31 which clearly prophesies both houses of Israel returning to the land from the nations of the world.
So what, really, is the difference between the Northern Kingdom (the "ten lost tribes") and the Southern Kingdom today? I submit to you that, at the present time, there is ZERO difference - ZILCH! They are both members of the cultivated olive tree that have been cut off (Romans 11). They have both been scattered all over the world until the Lord gathers them out of the nations back into the land, where, when they see Him return in the clouds at the end of the Final Seven Years, on Yom Teruah at the sounding of the seventh and “last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 11:15), will mourn because they will then recognize that their Messiah and King is the Torah they have both rejected and the one they pierced (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7) (in a spiritual sense, we have all rejected and pierced the Messiah). So, it will be at that time - at the end of the seven years (and not before) - that the physical descendants of Israel - all 12 tribes - will repent, accept Yeshua as their Messiah and King, and be saved. There is absolutely no reason to interpret Ezekiel 37:16-22 in any other way than the plain, literal way in which it was written - as referring to the physical descendants of Israel - all 12 tribes - being separated and dispersed into the world, then coming back together at the End of the Age. To say that it refers only to the House of Ephraim is a forced, inconsistent interpretation that is disingenuous, to say the least. Please read Ezekiel 37:21-22 carefully and honestly:
Surely I will take the children of Israel [not just the House of Ephraim or the House of Judah] from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them [the children of Israel] from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them [the children of Israel] one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all [the children of Israel]; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.
And please notice that the terms “children of Israel,” “one nation,” “two nations,” and “two kingdoms” all refer to all 12 tribes of Israel. The term “children of Israel” appears 656 times in the Bible, and it always refers to all 12 tribes of Israel - never to just the Northern or Southern Kingdom.
But the teachers of the Hebrew Gentile doctrine insist that it was only the tribes of the Northern Kingdom, the House of Ephraim/Israel, who were divorced by Yehovah and dispersed among the Gentile nations. And, they assert, at the End of the Age, it will be only the Hebrew Gentiles who will be brought out of the nations back into the Land. And who, specifically, are the Hebrew Gentiles according to this doctrine? They are those who have already accepted Yeshua as their Savior and Messiah. They are the branches of the wild olive tree who have been grafted into the natural olive tree, Israel (Romans 11:17), and have been made “fellow citizens” in the “commonwealth” of Israel (Ephesians 2:12, 19). And, according to this doctrine, this grafting-in process will continue until “the fullness of the [Hebrew] Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25).
In other words, the terms “Hebrew Gentiles” and “Christians” are, essentially, synonymous. Both the "Hebrew Gentiles" and the Christians are Believers in Yeshuah. And, like most Christians, most of the teachers of the Hebrew Gentile doctrine see themselves as separate from and therefore, by implication, spiritually superior to those Jews who have not yet accepted Yeshua as their Savior and Lord. The only differences between "Hebrew Gentiles" and Christians are that "Hebrew Gentiles" have (allegedly) embraced their Hebrew roots and believe that they are, literally, descendants of the tribes of the House of Ephraim. No wonder popular Hebrew Roots teachers like Perry Stone, Bill Cloud, Jim Staley, and Eddie Chumney are finding warm acceptance in many Christian churches and their ministries are prospering here in America-Babylon.
However, there are several serious problems with the Hebrew Gentile doctrine:
So, it would seem that these teachers’ distinction between the two houses of Israel is purely arbitrary and contrived, based on misinterpreted Scripture, to support their view that “true Israel” (Romans 9:6) is comprised of those “Hebrew Gentiles” of the Northern Kingdom who have been grafted into the cultivated olive tree, but the Jews of the Southern Kingdom are not quite there yet. And sadly, it is at that point that subtle anti-Semitism and Replacement Theology are injected into their teachings.
The present-day, Torah-observant Jews (including those physical descendants of both the House of Ephraim and the House of Judah) who believe in Yahuah and look forward in faith to the coming Messiah, although they have not yet recognized that He is Yeshua, are no less the chosen People of Yehovah than were the Torah-observant ancient patriarchs and Israelites, beginning with Abraham, who believed in Yehovah and looked forward in faith to the coming Messiah. Or, are the teachers of the Hebrew Gentile doctrine going to insist that Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Elijah and all the other great people of faith in ancient Israel were not “true Israel” and are not saved because they did not accept Yeshua as their Messiah? Yes, many thousands - perhaps millions - of Jews (beginning with those of the House of Judah) of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms have come to faith in Yeshua, but I submit to you that most of them have not. However, in the end, all of "true Israel" (the physical descendants of Jacob who believe in Yehovah and look forward in faith to the coming Messiah, whether or not they have, at the present time, recognized that He is Yeshua), will be saved (Romans 11:26). In the eyes of Yehovah, who sees the whole mural of history from beginning to end, the ones who are saved - past, present, and future - have been chosen from the beginning - “elect according to the foreknowledge of [Yehovah]” (1 Peter 1:2). So, who are we to say that only the ones who accept Yeshua as their Messiah before He gathers them out of the nations into the Land are, at the present time, His redeemed Elect? Who are we to say that those of physical Israel who will not recognize that their Messiah and King is Yehovah until He returns in the clouds at the end of the Final Seven Years, and, at that time, look on Him whom they have pierced and mourn (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7), are not just as much the People of Yehovah as those Renewed Covenant Believers who have already accepted Him as their Messiah and Savior? Because they have been temporarily blinded to who the Messiah is, they have not yet come into the full New Covenant relationship with Him, but as soon as the blinders have been removed when He returns in the clouds on a soon-coming Yom Teruah, the Spirit of Yehovah will fall on them just as it did on the Believers on Shavuot following the Lord Yeshua’s resurrection and ascension, and they too will be New Covenant People of Yehovah, as was first promised to Israel (cf. Joel 2:28; Zechariah 12:10; Acts 2:3-18; Jeremiah 31:33).
Yes, the present Believers in Yeshua have a head start in having the Torah written on our hearts and being indwelled with the Holy Spirit, but we are no more the chosen people of Yehovah than are those physical descendants of Israel (all 12 tribes) who believe in the coming Messiah but have been temporarily blinded to who He is, but who, in the end, will be saved just as we are. That is the message of Romans chapter 11.
So, as the apostle Paul warned us (Romans 11:25), let us not, whether we are Messianic or Christian Believers in Yeshua, look down our noses at those Jews who believe in Yehovah and look forward in faith to the coming Messiah, although they have not yet recognized that He is Yeshua. Their blindness to His identity is temporary, and, although they will have a different role in the Messianic Kingdom than we do, they are just as much the beloved children of Yehovah as we are. And, in Timeless Eternity following the Millennium, there will be no distinction between Israel and the Gentile nations or between glorified and physical Saints. We will all be one in union with the Messiah Yeshua (Galatians 3:28).
For more details and Scriptural support of the above End Times scenario, please read this commentary on the Revelation Chapters 7, 11 and 19-21.
Continue to Appendix 6 - When is the Rapture?
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