Restoring the Gospel Message to Its Hebraic Roots

The Gospel Message Is More Than You Have Heard in the Church—Much More!

The word gospel is one of the most common words in all of Christendom. But what does it mean, and where does the concept originate? If you believe that the idea of the gospel originated in the New Testament, you would be mistaken. As we shall discover and learn about below, the idea of the gospel (an Old English word for “good news”) came straight out of the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament hundreds of years earlier. But there is more. What follows will be the backstory behind the biblical concept of the gospel message—something you never learned in Sunday school!

The word gospel itself is easily enough defined, but what about the concept behind the word? The answer will take us into a whole other dimension and level of biblical understanding. The apostolic writers use the word gospel or its synonyms 132 times in the Testimony of Yeshua (NT).The word gospel literally means “good news or glad tidings.” There are two Greek words fors gospel: (euaggellion and euaggelizo). They are translated into English in the Authorized Version (KJV) via the following words: as a noun, gospel and as a verb, preach, bring good tidings, show glad tidings, declare, and declare glad tidings. The word itself is quickly defined, but what really is the good news? Let us begin to answer this by first seeing how the apostolic writers used this term. The vast majority of times the term gospel is used in the Testimony of Yeshua, the word stands alone in its noun form as simply the gospel without any adjective modifiers. However, on several occasions, the word gospel is used in a modifying phrase. This gives us a clue as to the meaning and scope of the word in the minds of the biblical authors.

  • Gospel of the kingdom or of Elohim (used five times, see Matt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mark 1:14)
  • Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah or Yeshua (used 15 times, see Mark 1:1; Rom 1:16; 15:19; 1 Cor 9:12; Gal 1:7; Phil 1:27; 1 Thess 3:2)
  • Gospel of the grace of Elohim (Acts 20:24)
  • Gospel of Elohim (used five times, see Rom 1:1; 15:16; 2 Cor 11:7; 1 Thess 2:2, 8, 9)
  • Gospel of peace (Rom 10:15; Eph 6:15)

But again, what is the good news? One cannot read the Testimony of Yeshua without seeing that Yeshua the Messiah is at the center of this good news message. Thankfully, this same good news (or gospel) of “Jesus” has been at the center of the Christian message for two thousand years. This will hardly come as a new revelation to the reader. The well known passage from John 3:16 sums up this blessed message perhaps better than any other: 

For Elohim so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The good news of the Messiah (Acts 5:42; 1 Cor 1:23; 2:2; 2 Cor 2:12) involves understanding the spiritual significance of his death, burial and resurrection and how that relates to the redemption, reconciliation and salvation of sinful man through Yeshua’s shed blood at the cross of Calvary (Heb. Golgatha). But is there more to the basic message of the good news that most Christian have missed? Yes. A whole lot more that adds richness and depth to this message, and help bring the whole Bible to life in a new and profound way. Let us now venture down this road of revelation and discovery.

Let us on this path of discovery by reading a passage from the writings of the Paul, a Jewish Torah scholar without peer in the first century, who discusses the deeper implications of the meaning of the term gospel in Romans 10:14–15,

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (emphasis added)

This is a quote from Isaiah 52:7. As we learn here, Isaiah who lived some five hundred years before the New Testament was written, coined the phrase “the good news” from which the word gospel originates. But what is this good news or gospel to which Paul is referring? Let us now gain a quick contextual overview of the passage from Isaiah which Paul is quoting by starting in Isaiah 52:2.

Isaiah 52:2, “O captive daughter of Zion.” This verse identifies the subject of the prophecy as the people of Israel.

Isaiah 52:3, “You have sold yourselves [to your harlot lovers] for nothing; and you shall be redeemed without money.” The people of Israel had turned away from Elohim and become apostate spiritually. This history has repeated itself many times in Israel’s long and sad history.

Isaiah 52:5, “…my people is taken away for nought?” Israel went into captivity because of her spiritual apostasy.

Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says unto Zion, Your Elohim reigns!” Isaiah prophesies that the time of Israel’s spiritual restoration, redemption and deliverance is coming.

Isaiah 52:8, “…when YHVH shall bring again Zion.” YHVH promises to redeem Israel from the physical and spiritual captivity where they were taken because they left the Torah ways of YHVH and sold themselves into adulterous relationships with their foreign, pagan lovers. He promised to bring them back into a righteous relationship with him

Isaiah 52:9, “…he has redeemed Jerusalem.” How will YHVH redeem Israel out of sinfulness and bring them back to himself spiritually? He has a plan to do this, which he has revealed to Isaiah, which the prophet will now share with his readers.

Isaiah 52:13ff, Enter Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), the Suffering Servant, who will redeem his sinful and apostate people and bring them back to Elohim.

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The End Time Prophetic Implications of Yeshua Cleansing the Ten Lepers

Luke 17:11–19,

“And it came to pass, as [Yeshua] went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices, and said, ‘Yeshua, Master, have mercy on us.’ And when he saw them, he said unto them, ‘Go show yourselves unto the priests.’ And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified Elohim, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. And Yeshua answering said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine?’ There are not found that returned to give glory to Elohim, except this stranger [lit. sprung from another tribe, foreigner or alien]. And he said unto him, ‘Arise, go your way, your faith has made you whole.'”

Prophetic Points to Analyze

  • verse 11— the midst of Samaria and Galilee
  • verse 12— ten men that were lepers
  • verse 12— that stood afar off
  • verses 14–15— they were cleansed … healed
  • verse 16— he was a Samaritan
  • verse 18— stranger

Samaria and Galilee were Roman provinces comprising of the ancient territories of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the home of the ten northern tribes. As noted earlier, Yeshua spent much of his time ministering in that region and in much of what he taught, as well as the venues where he ministered, in the meanings of the geographical names, and in the terminologies used in describing his ministry activities, we can find a deeper or allegorical prophetic meaning relating to his ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This account of the ten lepers is no exception.

These ten lepers lived in the historic region of the Northern Kingdom, house of Israel or Samaria. The number ten corresponds to the number of tribes that historically had lived in that area. These tribes were: Ephraim, Manasseh, Reuben, part of Levi, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Zebulin and Issachar. (Judah, part of Levi and Benjamin comprised the Southern Kingdom, or house of Judah; Simeon is omitted, for it is thought that they were assimilated into Judah in accordance with the Genesis 49:5–7 prophecy, and that their land inheritance was surrounded by that of Judah.) But when the ten northern tribes were exiled from the land of Israel they became strangers or aliens in the countries of their captivity. These terms are used throughout the Scriptures in reference to the scattered tribes of Israel. These lepers, because of their disease, were likewise aliens from their fellow Israelites in the land of Judea where they currently were living.

The term “leprosy” scripturally, was a generic term for any infectious skin condition and does not necessarily relate to the modern term leprosy that is a disease involving the slow rotting away of the flesh. Samson Raphael Hirsch, the nineteenth century Jewish Torah scholar, shows that the biblical skin condition of tzaraas is unrelated to leprosy and therefore is an erroneous translation in our English Bibles.Here is a brief study on the skin disease the Torah calls tzaraas and some of the spiritual implications of this ailment. It is quoted from the author’s own Torah commentary. 

Leviticus 13 discusses various skin disorders known as tzaraas. The KJV uses the word “leprosy,” but this is a mistranslation. The [Jewish sages] teach (and so does Christian biblical commentator Matthew Henry in his commentary) that these skin disorders “[were] a plague often inflicted immediately by the hand of [Elohim].”

Tzaraas is a result of sins of the mouth such as slander, gossip, murder with the mouth, false oaths and pride as well as sexual immorality, robbery, and selfishness. For proof of this the [Jewish sages] cite the similarity between the Hebrew word for “skin disorder” (m’tzora) and the word “one who spreads slander”(motzeyra). They say that these skin disorders are “divine retribution for the offender’s failure to feel the needs and share the hurt of others. YHVH rebukes this antisocial behavior by isolating him from society, so that he can experience the pain he has imposed on others—and heal himself through repentance.”They then cite the examples of Miriam’s skin turning white when she slandered Moses. We must not forget what occurred to Gehazi and to king Uzziah, as well (2 Kgs 5:27; 2 Chr 26:19, 21). 

It would be well for us to pause at this moment and to consider our own behavior with respect to our tongue. Thankfully, we’re under the grace of Elohim. But in the book of Acts, Ananias and Sapphira found out what happens when one sins with one’s mouth and Elohim pulls back his hand of grace. They were instantly struck dead. As we get closer to the end of the age and the return of Messiah it is likely that Elohim will begin to require greater spiritual accountability of his people, especially of leaders, in the areas we are discussing. He wants to instill within his people the true fear of YHVH-Elohim and a repentant and contrite heart, and to turn people away from lukewarmness. It is likely that such rapid judgments as happened to Miriam, Korah et al, Gehazi, Uzziah, Ananias and Sapphira and others in the Scriptures will begin to occur soon, in our day, and may already be occurring. 

The time for playing fast and loose with our mouths and other members of our bodies is over. We are all being called to account by Elohim. Be hot or cold, not in-between! Yeshua is not coming back for a Babylonian (half world and half Word-orientated lifestyle), sin-spotted bride, but one who is without spot and wrinkle. 

The skin disease, tzaraas, was like a red flag which if a person had it was regarded as a judgment from Elohim for the sin of slander, gossip, murder with the mouth, false oaths and pride as well as sexual immorality, robbery, and selfishness. That person was considered to be physically and spiritually contagious and so was put outside the camp of Israel until the disease was gone. According to Samson Raphael Hirsch, quarantine was a means of shocking the victim into recognizing his moral shortcomings and driving him to repentance.

It is the skin disease of tzaraas that the ten men of Luke 17 most likely had making them ritually impure and causing them to be legally banned from social contact with the rest of Jewish society. It was these social outcasts of the region of the historic homeland of the lost sheep of the house of Israel to which Yeshua was reaching out. These men knew they were spiritually and physically unclean and they cried out to the only one who could heal and save them—Yeshua the Messiah, whose very name means “salvation.”

Similarly, in the end times, the house of Israel (or the Christian church) will begin to recognize that many of its Torahless religious traditions have been inherited lies handed down from previous generations (Jer 16:19), that she has failed to remember her Torah-based marriage covenants with YHVH (Mal 4:4–6), and that the foreign lovers to which she turned spiritually did not satisfy her like YHVH her husband once had (Hos 2:7). The house of Israel (and the house of Judah) will eventually return to YHVH (Hos 2:6–7) in covenantal relationship (Jer 31:31, 33). They will no longer be a rejected people (Hos 1:6, 9). YHVH will begin to call his people to come out of the filth of Torahlessness and spiritual Babylon (Rev 18:4) and urge them to stop forgetting his Torah (Hos 4:6; 8:1, 12). YHVH pleads with both Judah and her sister Israel (Ephraim) to return to him from their backslidden spiritual condition (Jer 3:6–14). Hosea prophesied that both the houses of Ephraim and Judah will acknowledge their sin against YHVH (the sin of breaking their covenants with him and syncretizing themselves spiritually with the customs of the heathen nations around them, Hos 5:3), and begin to seek YHVH eagerly (Hos 5:15). Hosea then prophesies that Messiah will return after three days (or in the third millennium) to “revive,” resurrect or resuscitate them spiritually and give to Israel new life (Hos 6:1–2), after which she will live in Messiah’s sight during the Messianic Age (or Millennium, verse 3).

Yeshua’s encounter with the ten lepers is an allegorical picture of this. After the Messiah healed the lepers, he instructed them to present themselves to the priests whose duty it was, according to the Torah, to declare that they were physically healed and ritually clean. This pronouncement on the part of the priests cleared the way for the former lepers to legally integrate themselves back into Jewish society without fear of retribution or ostracism.

It is interesting to note that one of the ten “lepers” was a Samaritan. These people were highly shunned and disdained by many in the Jewish culture of the first century. This mixed race people lived in the historic lands of the house of Israel. They were most likely comprised of Northern Kingdom Israelites and heathen Gentiles that the Assyrians had transplanted into northern Israel when they conquered that nation. Here Yeshua is reaching out to this people whom the Jews despised and rejected. Hosea prophesied that the house of Israel would mix herself with the nations of the world (Hos 7:8; 8:8), yet Yeshua reached out to these same type of people when he ministered to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), and when he commanded his disciples to take the gospel to Samaria (Acts 1:8). 

This account of Yeshua’s ministry to the ten “lepers” teaches us that even though some lost and scattered Israelites may be in a state of extreme spiritual contamination and pollution brought on by sin, YHVH’s grace is open to all—even those whom society shuns and considers to be at the lowest echelon. 

Ezekiel 34 paints a clear picture of YHVH’s sheep who have been lost and scattered, but who YHVH, the True Shepherd, will regather. His sheep are starving spiritually, have been pillaged by evil and covetous shepherds and ravished by spiritual diseases and predators. Yeshua is that true Shepherd whose arms of love are still open wide (as they were while he was hanging on the cross). He takes upon himself the burdens of all lost Israelites who are returning to him and promises to heal and to feed them, and to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness. 

What You Can Do

We must follow the example of Yeshua and reach out to anyone regardless of their race or religious affiliation and offer them the good news of spiritual healing and salvation through Yeshua the Messiah. The disease of sin has made all humans impure and separated us all from a loving relationship with YHVH Elohim through Yeshua. Only as we as come into contact with Yeshua the Savior , place our trust in him, and receive his mercy can we be made whole.

 

Genesis 42–46 Two Brothers and the Two Houses of Israel in End-Time Prophecy (Part 3)

Joseph’s Brothers Didn’t Recognize Him as Their Savior (Gen 42–44)

Joseph’s brothers didn’t recognize that Joseph was their savior (from famine). Prophetically, and in our time, most Jews neither recognize Christians (the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh) as their brothers, nor that the Jesus of Christianity is their Savior who will supply spiritual food for which their hearts are longing (but not finding in rabbinical Judaism), a that he died to redeem them from their sins.

The Scriptures prophecy that this spiritual blindness would occur to many of the children of Israel, including the Jews. We read about this in Isaiah 8:14 and Romans 11:25.

The Concept of Deliverance Through Substitution (Gen 42:17–19, 24)

Joseph made known to his brothers a way of deliverance through substitution in that they would all be saved if Simeon were held back for ransom. 

Continuing our comparison between Joseph and Yeshua, what religious people-group in the last two thousand years has been making known to the world the way of deliverance through the substitutionary (sacrificial, blood atonement) work of Messiah Yeshua the Son of Joseph at the cross of Calvary? The Jews or the Christians? 

Interestingly, even though Joseph suggested that substitution be made so that the brothers might live (verse 19), it was Judah who ended up laying down his life as a ransom for Benjamin, his youngest brother, by becoming surety for him (Gen 44:32–34). In prophetic fulfilment of this antitype, we see that it was Yeshua the Messiah, son of Joseph, who descended from Judah, and who offered to lay down his life that his brothers (you and me) might live.

Judah’s actions are antetypical of those of Yeshua the Messiah in the following areas:

  • Both sought to please their fathers.
  • Both acted out of unconditional love for their younger brother.
  • Both stood to gain nothing personally, but rather stood to lose much, if their plan did not work. Judah, a prince, would become a slave in Egypt; Yeshua would become a slave to death and hell, if he sinned.
  • Both Judah and Yeshua were willing to lay down their lives for their brethren because of their love for their father (Gen 44:18–34; John 8:28; chapter 17).

It is interesting to note that Matthew Henry, the Christian Bible commentator, draws a similar analogy between Judah’s actions here and Messiah Yeshua.

Additionally, Judah’s love for his father and Benjamin, and his willingness to lay down his life as a ransom to become a slave in Egypt to Joseph, is analogous to Messiah Yeshua’s love for the lost sheep of the house of Israel to whom he came to reach out and to ransom in order to bring them back into the sheepfold of Israel (John 10:15–16; Matt 10:6; 15:24).

Judah Approaches Joseph (Gen 44:18) 

Judah came near to Joseph was willing to lay down his life for his younger brother (Gen 44:18–34). This is another prophetic picture of the future Messiah who would come to this earth in willingness to give his life as a ransom to save his brothers. The Scriptures call Yeshua the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Rev 5:5) who initiated the process in seeking to save his brothers who were spiritually lost (Rom 5:8; Luke 19:10; Matt 18:11; ), and who Yeshua referred to as the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:6; 15:24).

 

Genesis 42–46 Two Brothers and the Two Houses of Israel in End-Time Prophecy (Part 2)

Joseph and Judah (the Two Houses of Israel)

In what follows, we will see types and shadows that point to the end-time reunification of the two houses of Israel (Joseph/Ephraim and Judah/the Jews), and to Yeshua the Messiah whose role it would be to regather and reunite the two houses of Israel by laying his life down as a ransom or substitute for his brothers. In this study, we will discuss the following themes:

  • reuniting lost family members
  • reuniting lost family members
  • reconciliation and healing of wounds and offenses between families
  • forgiveness of past wrongs, offenses and misunderstandings
  • prophetic shadows of Yeshua the Messiah

Let’s now analyze the events in the life of Joseph (and to a lesser degree, Judah) as they occurred chronologically to see how they pointed forward to events that would occur in the future including the end times.

Joseph Taken as Captive to a Gentile Nation (Gen 37)

Joseph was sold into slavery and taken as a captive to Egypt. Similarly and prophetically, Joseph’s descendants (Ephraim and Manasseh), along with their fellow tribesmen of the northern kingdom of Israel (or house of Israel), were taken as captives into Assyria (ca. 723 B.C.). From there they were scattered around the world (into spiritual “Egypt,” ) where the biblical prophets predicted they would remain until the final regathering at the end of the age (just prior to and at the coming of Messiah). We will understand this more as we proceed. 

Joseph: From Slave to Ruler (Gen 37, 41)

At first, Joseph was a slave and a prisoner in Egypt, but then he prospered and was elevated to a position of leadership there. Likewise, in the future, Joseph’s descendants (Ephraim, Manasseh, and the rest of the house of Israel) would start out as slaves and captives in Assyria (in the eighth century b.c.), but would later become leaders and rulers in their captive nations and would actually have their own nations just as Jacob prophesied would occur to Ephraim and Manasseh (that they would become a multitude of nations, Gen 48:19). We believe that these nations have become the primary Christian nations (of which America is the leader). As we shall see below, the ancient Jewish sages, based on their understanding of the Scriptures, foresaw that the nations of the ten tribes would spread the truth of Messiah Son of Joseph, the Suffering Servant (Yeshua the Messiah at his first coming) around the world. This would help to prepare the way for the Messiah Son of David (Yeshua the Messiah at his second coming). 

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Genesis 42–46 Two Brothers and the Two Houses of Israel in End-Time Prophecy (Part 1)

Biblical Types and Antetypes

A major key to understanding biblical prophecy is to recognize the relationship between antetypes and types in the Scriptures. This means that an event or a series of events occurred once, was recorded in the Scriptures, and then at a later time a similitude of the event repeats itself, but with different characters and scene.

An antetype is a type or pattern of something that occurs before the actual event occurs (sometimes incorrectly referred to as an antitype, which means opposite rather than before). In other words, the first event predicts or points prophetically to the future event. This is a way for the Creator to give clues and hints about future events that will come to pass. Those who are ardent students of his Word and those “who have (spiritual) ears to hear” will pick up on these clues and be able to have a sense of what the Creator is going to do at some future date. In this way, those who diligently seek him are rewarded with understanding or “inside information” about what he is planning to do in the future. At the same time, his divine plans and purposes will be obscured from those who don’t have a diligent heart to seek him and his truth, and who could possibly misuse the truth, if they were to discover it, for selfish purposes if they were to learn it.

Similarly, the Gospels record that Yeshua explained deep spiritual truths via parables not to make the meaning clear to the general public, but rather to obscure it. His teachings were meant to be understood only by those whom he had called that they might know the mysteries or secrets of the kingdom of Elohim (Matt 13:10–11; Luke 8:9–10).

For thousands of years, the prophets of the Bible, as well as biblical students, scholars and sages have understood the concept of antetypes and types and it has helped them to understand Bible prophecy and future events. 

Biblical antetypes are identified in three ways. First, the Scriptures themselves identify events as being ante­typical. Examples would be:

  • The life of Moses pointed to Yeshua (Deut 18:15–19; Heb 3:3–6).
  • The serpent on the pole pointed to Yeshua’s crucifixion (John 3:14).
  • The rock from which the Israelites drank prefigures Yeshua (1 Cor 10:4).
  • The manna the Israelites ate prefigures the Word of Elohim or flesh of Yeshua (John 6:32, 48–51).
  • Aaron as the high priest was antetypical of Yeshua’s high priesthood (Heb 5, 7 and 8).
  • The sacrificial system pointed to Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross (Heb 9 and 10).
  • Jonah in the whale is a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s death and resurrection (Matt 12:40).
  • Melchizedek was an antetype of Yeshua (Heb 7).
  • The first exodus (or redemption of Israel out of Egypt) was prototypical of a second exodus or redemption of Israel out of the world in the end times (Isa 11:11; Jer 23:7–8).

The Jewish sages from antiquity have also identified antetypes. Examples would be:

  • The difficulties surrounding Jacob’s return to the Promised Land after 20 years of exile in Babylon (under Laban, Gen 31–33) is antetypical of the difficulties surrounding the return of Jacob’s descendants to the land of Israel in the last days, which the Scriptures call “Jacob’s Trouble” (Jer 30:7).
  • The life of Joseph prefigured that of a Messiah Son of Joseph, the Suffering Servant.
  • The life of David prefigured that of a Messiah Son of David, the Conquering King.
  • The seven-day week is antetypical of the seven thousand years of man’s tenure on this earth.

Christian Bible teachers have identified antetypes in the Scriptures as well. Examples would be:

  • The Passover lamb was antetypical of Yeshua’s crucifixion.
  • Isaac’s near sacrifice and the ram caught in the thicket in Genesis 22 was antetypical of Yeshua’s death.
  • The tabernacle of Moses pointed in all aspects to the ministry of Yeshua as Savior and Redeemer.

Finally, Hebrew roots teachers have identified antetypes in the Scriptures. Examples would be:

  • The biblical feasts point to the steps in YHVH’s plan of salvation for mankind centering around the first and second comings of Messiah.
  • The stages of the biblical wedding point to YHVH’s plan of salvation for mankind.
  • YHVH’s judgments on Egypt point prophetically to his judgments on Babylon the Great in the last days.
  • In like manner, the story of Joseph’s interacting with his brothers (starting in Genesis chapter 37 through 46) is antetypical of future events that are to happen on a national level with the children of the patriarchs. 

In this study, we will examine the events of Joseph and Judah in Egypt to see how they relate to the houses of Joseph or Ephraim (broadly speaking, the Christians) and Judah (broadly speaking, the Jews) in the last days. Remember that although the events and details of antetypes and types correlate, they do not match each other perfectly in every detail. There should, however, be enough similarities between the two that to the rational and biblically astute mind the juxtaposition of the two is not a logical stretch. Some of these parallels the writers of Scripture tell us about, while others we must arrive at through our own diligent and careful analysis of the Scriptures.

 

Who are the lost sheep of Israel and 12 reasons why it’s important to know…

Matthew 10:6, Lost sheep of the house of Israel.The phrase the house of Israel is used 146 times in the Scriptures, and has several possible meanings depending on the context of the surrounding verses in which it is found. To help us to define this term, let’s discover its historical roots or how it originated. 

Prior to the division of the united kingdom of Israel after the death of Solomon, this phrase referred to all twelve tribes of Israel. Afterward the death of Solomon, the nation of Israel split into two nations—the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. The latter was comprised primarily of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, while former kingdom was comprised of the remaining tribes of Israel. During this time, the phrase the house of Israel as a reference to the Northern Kingdom of Israel was often used in contradistinction to the phrase “house of Judah” in reference to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

In the Testimony of Yeshua, the Messiah makes reference to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt 10:6; 15:54). To which tribes was he referring? All of them or only some of them? Elsewhere in the Testimony of Yeshua this term refers to all twelve tribes of Israel (Acts 2:36; 7:42; Heb 8:10), and in some references it refers just to the Northern Kingdom (Heb 8:8). The point here is that the context of the passage of scripture surrounding this phrase determines its meaning. 

Although this phrase can include all the tribes of Israel and not just the Jews who were largely from the tribe of Judah, in Matthew 10:6, Yeshua seems to equate the lost sheep of the house of Israel with the Jews who were living in the land of Israel in his day, and not to the rest of the Israelite tribes who were at that time scattered among the Gentile nations. It was Yeshua’s priority to take the gospel message first to the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, and then to the rest of the world, and he expected his disciples to follow this same pattern (Acts 1:8). 

In the larger sense, the Scriptures reveal that all of YHVH’s people have been like sheep that have gone astray spiritually, every man to his own way, because of sin (Isa 53:6). So in the broadest sense, this phrase refers to all the tribes of Israel including Gentiles with which they have mixed themselves through intermarriage. 

Eventually, the gospel message is for everyone universally. Yeshua demonstrated this when, on several occasions, he ministered to non-Jewish Gentiles including preaching the gospel message to the Samaritan woman in John chapter four, the Syro-Phoenician woman in Mark chapter seven, and the Roman centurion in Matthew chapter eight.

Twelve Benefits of Understanding Who
the Two Houses of Israel Are
 

Is the commonly called “two house” or “two-stick” message” of the Bible something we should study? Are there any spiritual and prophetic benefits to understanding who the two houses of Israel are? The answer is yes. I would prefer to call it the “One House Message,” since this biblical truth involves the regathering and reunification of the Jews (the house of Judah) and the Christians (the house of Israel or Ephraim) into one nation through Yeshua the Messiah. This is the one new man message Paul proclaimed in Ephesians chapter two. This is the great and largely overlooked truth behind the message of the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah. This is why it’s important to understand.

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Apostasy, Exile, Repentance and Regathering of the Twelve Tribes

A Last Days Prophecy

Deuteronomy 4:25–32, Apostasy, exile, enslavement, repentance and regathering of lost and scattered Israel to the Promised Land in the last days.  This passage deals with the exile and return of the Israelites. Because of syncretism with the idolatrous practices of the nations around them, YHVH prophesied that the Israelites would be scattered among the nations of the world. Conversely, YHVH prophesies that “in the end of days” (verse 30)—a metaphor for “the last days” or “the end of the age”—he would hear their pleas for help, have mercy on his people, and remember his covenant with them. According to some noted Jewish sages, “the end of days” refers to the period just before the coming of Messiah, and this repentance is the same as that which Moses mentions later in 30:1–2 (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 965). Here are some additional quotes from some noted Jewish scholars on the subject of Israel returning to YHVH from its exile among the nations:

The future King Messiah (Messiah Son of David) will not only redeem the Jews from exile, but will restore the observance of the Torah-commandments to its complete state, which will only be possible when the Israelites are living in the Land of Israel. At this same time, “there will be an ingathering of the dispersed remnant of Israel. This will make it possible for the Davidic dynasty to be reinstated and for the observance of the Torah and its mitzvot [commandments] to be restored in its totality” (I Await His Coming Every Day, p. 35, [see also p. 38 quoting Rambam] by Menachem Schneerson, emphasis added). According to the Rambam (also known as Maimonides) in his Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith the resurrection of the dead will occur just after the coming of the Messiah and that the resurrection of the dead is a key element of the Final Redemption (ibid., p. 59).

The Jewish sages recognize that the ingathering of the exiles, including the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, will also return, be reunited with Judah and that the whole house of Israel will serve YHVH together (Ezek 20:32–37, 40–42) (Mashiach—the Principles of Mashiach and the Messianic Era In Jewish Law and Tradition, pp. 20-22, by Jacob Immanual Schochet quoting from Sanhedrin 110b; Bamidbar Rabba 16:25).

The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis Commentary, vol. 1(b) states in its commentary on Genesis 48:19 regarding Ephraim: “R. Munk explains: ‘while it is true that the dispersion [of the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh] was caused by the unfaithfulness and sinfulness of Ephraim’s descendants (Hos 7:8ff), Jacob’s blessing was not in vain for “they will return to God” and will have their share in the world to come (Talmud Sanhedrin 110b).’ And R. Eliezer adds: ‘Even the darkness in which the Ten Tribes were lost will one day become as radiant as the day’ (according to the version of Avos d’Rabbi Nosson 36). And in the perspective of history, did not these exiled children of the Patriarchs enlighten the nations among whom they were scattered? They did so by teaching their conquerors the fundamental ideas of the knowledge and love of God, ideals they had never forsaken. Hence they too have a messianic vocation and their Messiah the Maschiach ben Yosef, Messiah son of Joseph (Talmud Succah 52a), also called Messiah son of Ephraim (Targum Yonasan on Exodus 40:11), will play an essential role in humanity’s redemption, for he will be the precursor of the Maschiach ben David, Messiah Son of David. It is therefore not surprising to find that the prophet Jeremiah (3:12) speaks affectionately of Ephraim. In this light, Jacob’s words, ‘his offspring will fill the nations,’ assume the significance of blessing” (pp. 2121–2122).

The regathering of not only the Jewish people (largely from the tribe of Judah), but Israelites from the other eleven tribes is predicted by Yeshua and the apostolic writers as well (see Acts 3:21; Matt 10:6; 15:24). 

Now note how the following phrases or concepts are used in Scripture, who they relate to, and how this relates to the statements of the Jewish sages and to our text under consideration as pertaining to Israel (including both the houses of Israel (i.e. Ephraim/Samaria or the Northern Kingdom and Judah or the Southern Kingdom) being scattered among the nations for their disobedience to YHVH, and then their being regathered and restored as a united kingdom and obedient people under the rule of King Messiah:

  • Dispersed: The house of Judah was dispersed out of the Land of Judah into Babylon because of her spiritual adultery (Isa 11:12; 56:3, 6–8; Ezek 37:21; John 7:35).
  • Far and Near: Solomon prophesied the Israelite/Ephraimic exile, that Judah would be exiled to a near country (Babylon) and Ephraim would be exiled to a far country (Assyria) (1 Kings 8:46; see also Dan 9:7). Paul makes reference to the purpose of his ministry being to preach peace to those who were afar off and them that are near that through Yeshua both may have access through the Spirit unto the Father (Eph 2:16–17).
  • Gather/Regather(ing): Ezek 34:13; 36:24; Isa 56:8
  • Israel, Assimilated Into the Nations: Isa 7:8: Hos 1:10; 4:1,6; 5:3; 2:23; Deut 28:64; 
  • Lost (assimilated, but not lost): Hos 8:8; Amos 9:9; Deut 28:64; Hos 5:3 
  • Mixed With the Nation: Ephraim mixes himself with the nations: Hos 7:8; 8:8
  • Outcasts: The House of Israel are outcasts (YHVH cast them out of the Land of Israel for their spiritual adultery, Isa 11:12; 56:8)
  • Return: In the last days, the sons/children of Israel (both Ephraim and Judah) shall return to YHVH and his Torah (Hos 3:5).
  • Scattered/Sown (Jezreel): YHVH would sow or scatter the descendants of the House of Israel (Ephraim) (throughout the nations, Hos 1:4).
  • Scattered Sheep of Lost Israel to Return By YHVH’s Hand: Ezek 34:11,16
  • Scattered: Ephraim scattered over the face of the whole earth, Ezek 34:6,12; 36:19; 37:21; John 11:52. In regards to Deuteronomy 32:26 which says, “I said, I would scatter them into the corner …” The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach Chumash comments, “This refers to the exile of the Ten Tribes, who were scattered to an unknown place where they have never been heard from again. On the phrase of the same verse, “I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men…” the same Chumash states, “This is a reference to the exile of Judah and Benjamin, the Davidic kingdom from which today’s known Jews are descended.” It goes on to say that though nations would seek to destroy Israel entirely YHVH would never allow Israel to become extinct or disappear. Israel’s perpetual existence is constant reminder of YHVH’s plan and eventually Israel will thrive and fulfill YHVH’s intention for it” (pp. 1105–1106). Samson Raphael Hirsch in his commentary on the Pentateuch on the same verse translates the phrase, “I would scatter them into the corners …” as, “I would relegate them into a corner…” and then says that the Hebrew here refers to the “extreme end of a surface, the side or corner …” He, too, relates this fate to the Ten Tribes who would be scattered “to some distant corner of the world, where, left entirely to themselves, they could mature towards serious reflection and ultimate return to Me …” (p. 650).
  • Swallowed Up Among the Nations (Gentiles): Hos 8:8