The God of Israel hates those who sow discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16, 19). It is the heart of the God of Israel that His family dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1). By dwelling together in unity, the God of Israel promised that HE would command a blessing (Psalm 133:3). In John 17:21-22, Messiah prayed that His body would be one. When we become one body and show love for one another (John 15:12), it will be a witness to the entire world that Yeshua / Jesus is the Messiah (John 17:23). It is with the heart and spirit for a greater unity within the Messianic / Hebraic roots movement in the body of Messiah that a meeting was held on March 27, 2003 in Jacksonville, Florida between Messianic / Hebraic roots leaders. The time has come for men of goodwill and a heart for the entire sheepfold of Messiah to stand up, lead and be counted. It is our prayer that other leaders within the Messianic / Hebraic roots movement will follow in our efforts for unity among the brethren. Pastor Paul Zink hosted the meeting.
Today, the Messianic / Hebraic roots movement is divided over a variety of issues. One of the most heated areas of contention within this movement is the controversy surrounding the teaching of the two houses of Israel (house of Israel / Ephraim and the house of Judah / Judah). Monte Judah of Lion and Lamb Ministries and Eddie Chumney of Hebraic Heritage Ministries International actively teach that Yeshua / Jesus, the Messiah, died on the tree (John 10:14-17, 11:49-52) to redeem and restore both houses of Israel (Ephraim and Judah). In doing this, Yeshua / Messiah made salvation available to the entire world (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, I John 4:9). Currently, disagreement over the issue has eroded and become an issue of fellowship within the Messianic / Hebraic roots movement. As a result, Messianic / Hebraic roots ministries and individual brethren are being harmed by this behavior. In order to try to bring about a more positive situation and bring healing to those who are bring harmed, Monte Judah and Eddie Chumney expressed a desire to meet with Dan Juster of Tikkun Ministries about the subject matter. Dan Juster has been a pioneer of the Messianic Jewish movement over the years and was a former General Secretary of the UMJC (Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations). Monte Judah and Eddie Chumney would like to formally recognize the efforts of Dan Juster and express our appreciation for his positive influence within the Messianic Jewish movement over the years.
Dan Juster agreed to meet with Monte Judah and Eddie Chumney. This meeting was made possible by the efforts of internationally recognized Messianic song leader, Paul Wilbur, through his friendship with all parties. Monte Judah and Eddie Chumney would like to personally thank Paul Wilbur for his efforts to make this meeting possible and his heart of love and compassion for the unity of the brethren.
The meeting basically lasted from 9AM � 5PM with a break for lunch. The meeting was conducted in a professional manner. All parties came with a spirit of humility and a desire to listen, learn and understand. The dialogue was inquisitive, explanatory, productive and fruitful. As a result, a common understanding was reached. All parties expressed a desire to communicate the results of our meeting to the rest of the body of Messiah and especially to the Messianic / Hebraic roots movement so that there can be a greater unity among the brethren. It is our prayer that through these efforts that misunderstandings and misinformation can be clarified. We pray that where division over this issue has caused misbehavior that one will ask for forgiveness and it will be granted so that our wounds can be healed.
The following represents what Monte Judah and Eddie Chumney were able to affirm to Dan Juster regarding our understanding and our teaching on the two houses of Israel (Ephraim and Judah). Much of the information in this paper was discussed at the meeting in a general manner. It is the prayer of Monte Judah and Eddie Chumney that from the affirmations presented in this paper that the teaching of the two houses of Israel will no longer be labeled as being "heretical". We pray that the following affirmations listed below will enhance the understanding for those who have been opposed or misunderstand the teaching. Hopefully, these affirmations will create an environment so that there can be a greater dialogue and closer fellowship among all Messianic / Hebraic roots brethren in the future.
THE NAME OF THE COVENANT FAMILY OF THE GOD OF ISRAEL
The God of Israel including Yeshua / Jesus made a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-18, 17:1-7, John 8:56, Galations 3:16). Through the redemptive work of the Messiah, all members of the body of Messiah from all the nations regardless of physical descent are heirs of this covenant (Genesis 12:1-3, Galations 3:8, 29). Physically, this covenant was made with the promised seed of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 26:1-4, 28:10-14). The God of Israel told Abraham that his promised seed would sojourn in Egypt and be redeemed (Genesis 15:12-16). After the children of Israel went to Egypt (Genesis 46:1-27) and went into bondage, the God of Israel remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and redeemed the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage when they cried out to Him (Exodus 2:23-25). Those who were redeemed from Egypt were required to put the blood of the Passover lamb upon their doorpost (Exodus 12:1-14). Those who put the blood of the Passover lamb upon their doorpost consisted of two groups of people. They were the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the mixed multitude (Exodus 12:37-38). The mixed multitude were not physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but were from native born Egyptian families and other slaves. Together, the physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob along with the mixed multitude are called the house of Jacob (Exodus 19:3).
The mixed multitude had a Torah status of being strangers, aliens and sojourners. They were grafted into the covenant made with the physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The mixed multitude from the historical Egyptian redemption foreshadowed those from among the nations (Isaiah 2:3, Isaiah 11:10, Romans 15:8-13) who could become adopted into the new covenant made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31, Hebrews 8:8) through the redemptive work of the Messiah. The name of the redemptive family in Messiah is also called the house of Jacob (Luke 1:33). Among the redeemed house of Jacob are those who are physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and those who are grafted in from among the nations. Therefore, the God of Israel has a covenant with the physical house of Jacob (descendents from Mount Sinai) (Exodus 19:3) and the redeemed house of Jacob (Luke 1:33) and their companions (Ezekiel 37:16-17). The Apostle Paul makes a distinction between the physical house of Jacob and the redeemed house of Jacob in Romans 9:1-8. The unredeemed physical house of Jacob still has a plan and a purpose in the redemptive plan of the God of Israel (Romans 11:11).
THE JEWISH PEOPLE ARE PHYSICAL HEIRS
OF THE COVENANT MADE WITH ABRAHAM
It was Jacob�s name that was changed to Israel (Genesis 32:24-28). Those who are physically descended from Jacob are all Israelites. In the history of the physical descendents of the house of Jacob (Exodus 19:3), they were divided into Northern Kingdom (house of Israel / Ephraim) and Southern Kingdom (house of Judah / Judah). We believe that the Jewish people (the house of Judah) are the legitimate heirs of the promise made by the God of Israel to the fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We believe that the house of Judah is composed of primarily physical descendants of the tribes of Judah, Levi and Benjamin. There may be other physical descendants from the other tribes sojourning with the house of Judah; however, they are on an individual basis and are a minority within the house of Judah. There also are Gentile companions in the house of Judah; however, they have been joined to and integrated with to such an extent that they can no longer be distinguishable for purposes of separation from the house of Judah. All Jews (house of Judah) are Israelites (members of the house of Jacob) but not all Israelites (those from the Northern Kingdom / house of Israel / Ephraim) are Jews (house of Judah). There have been Jews in every generation who have accepted the redemptive work of Yeshua / Jesus, the Messiah.
WHO IS THE NORTHERN KINGDOM (HOUSE OF ISRAEL) ???
We believe that the physical descendents of the Northern Kingdom (house of Israel / Ephraim) who was taken captive by the Assyrians are still alive in the earth and that the God of Israel knows where every descendant has been scattered (Amos 9:9). We believe that this house of Israel is not so easily distinguishable. They are primarily physical descendants of the tribes of Israel not associated with the house of Judah, the Jews. These include the tribes of Ephraim, Reuben, Simeon, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Issachar, Zebulun, Manassah, and Dan. They also may be physical descendants of the other tribes sojourning with the house of Israel / Ephraim; however, they are on an individual basis and a minority within the house of Israel / Ephraim. We believe there are also Gentile companions in the house of Israel / Ephraim. Whereas the house of Judah is somewhat distinguishable by custom and tradition, the house of Israel appears to be assimilated within the Gentile world. They, too, are legitimate heirs of the promise of the God of Israel by the fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We further believe that the greater group in physical number of the two houses is the house of Israel. There are physical descendants from the Northern Kingdom who have accepted the redemptive work of Yeshua / Jesus, the Messiah, in every generation. However, the exact percentage that has done so is unknown. Their percentage within the entire body of Messiah is also unknown.
THOSE WHO ARE SAVED FROM AMONG THE NATIONS
We believe that the body of Messiah includes those from among the nations who are not physically descended from the twelve tribes of Israel. As it relates to being a member of Messiah�s kingdom, we believe that being a physical descendant from any tribe of Israel carries no special status or merit within Messiah's Kingdom. We believe that those from among the nations who are not physically descended from any of the tribes of Israel carry no special status or merit within His Kingdom. We also believe that being Jewish, Israelite, or Gentile carries no handicap either. We believe that the true heirs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are descendants by promise of and faith in the God of Israel (Romans 9:6-8). Therefore, whether a person is physically born Jewish, Israelite, or Gentile is of no matter within the Messiah's Kingdom. We are all co-heirs with Messiah (Romans 8:15-17, Galations 3:8, 16, 29)
THE ROLE OF JEWISH CUSTOM AND TRADITION FOR JEWISH BELIEVERS
We believe that Jewish custom and tradition is rich in history and heritage. Many of its practices go deep into our faith and are very expressive of our faith in Messiah. We believe honor and respect is due where honor and respect is, and therefore, Jewish observance, custom, and community is important and worthy for Jewish brethren. Therefore, those joining with Judah in the Messianic movement should observe the custom and culture with proper protocol rendering no disrespect to anyone. We also believe there is a difference between commandment and custom and teaching the observance of commandment while honoring custom. Most of all, we teach Yeshua / Jesus is the Messiah and we are to be His bond servants.
THE ROLE OF BELIEVERS WITHIN THE BODY OF MESSIAH
The new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31, Hebrews 8:8) was only made with the house of Israel / Ephraim and the house of Judah / Jews. Those from among the nations may choose to believe in the redemptive work of the Messiah and be grafted into this covenant. The entire body of Messiah consisting of believers who are physically descended from both houses of Israel and those from among the nations should see themselves as one body and one faith (Ephesians 4:4-6). The redeemed body of Messiah is known as the house of Jacob (Luke 1:33). We believe that the Kingdom of Messiah is characterized and defined within the whole house of Israel (the house of Jacob) model. They are the redeemed olive tree of Romans 11.
Those who are in Messiah's Kingdom, those who would desire to be the bride of Messiah should seek to identify with their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Isaiah 51:1-7). After we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:28-30), we should love Messiah and keep His commandments (Exodus 20:6, John 14:15, I John 5:2). Believers in the Messiah saved by grace through faith should establish the Torah in their lives (Romans 3:31) through the help and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13, Romans 7:22). The Torah is holy, just and good (Romans 7:12). Keeping the commandments of the God of Israel is not grievous (I John 5:3). He who abides in Messiah (John 15:1-8) ought to walk (lives their lives) as Messiah walked (lived His life) (I John 2:6). The stranger who is adopted into the covenant made with our fathers is to observe the commandments of the God of Israel. One Torah (set of commandments) is for both the stranger / sojourner and for the native born Israeli (Numbers 15:15-16). This includes observing the Sabbath (Isaiah 56:1-8, Luke 4:16) and the Biblical Festivals (Zechariah 14:16-17, Luke 2:41-42, 22:15). The new covenant is a Torah based covenant (Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10). Those who break the commandments are least in Messiah�s Kingdom. Those who keep the commandments are great in Messiah�s Kingdom (Matthew 5:19). The reward for keeping the commandments of the Messiah is the tree of life and access to the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 22:14). The Torah and the Prophets teach about the Messiah (Psalm 40:7, Hebrews 10:7, John 5:46-47).
Historical Christianity has separated themselves from the people of Israel, the fathers and the teaching of Moses with the Prophets. They have falsely testified that the death of Messiah did away with the teachings of Moses (Acts 6:13-14). We believe this separation in theology and practice is error. The Israel of God, the remnant of Israel, and chosen people (the elect of God) are those who desire to subscribe fully and completely to all that the God of Israel has manifested through the Scriptures. While the body of Messiah has many members (I Corinthians 12:12), the head of that body is Yeshua / Jesus, the Messiah (Ephesians 4:15, 5:23). All members whether Jewish or non-Jewish are to keep the commandments of the God of Israel (I Corinthians 7:18-19). We believe that there is one body of Messiah and one faith (Ephesians 4:4-6). Therefore, we do not subscribe to the definition that the believing world is composed of two groups: believing Jews and the Gentile Christian Church (with some of Ephraim in it). We believe that there is one body in Messiah Yeshua. That one body consists of descendants from the house of Judah with their Gentile companions and the house of Israel with their Gentile companions. Believing Gentiles are not an entity in and of themselves within the Messiah. Believing Gentiles are to be welcomed into the commonwealth of Israel and adopted into that Kingdom (Ephesians 2:12, 19). Torah teaches us that the adopted can never be disinherited and receives the inheritance of the first born. The believers in the Messiah have the status of being a first-born family (Hebrews 12:22-23) which is not based upon genealogy (I Chronicles 5:1). While all believers in Messiah are required to love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:15) and to keep what is written (Deuteronomy 30:10-14, I Corinthians 7:18-19) not adding or taking away from what is written (Deuteronomy 4:1-2), non-Jews are not required to observe customs and traditions which are uniquely Jewish and not specifically commanded in the Bible.
THE ROLE OF CIRCUMCISION WITHIN THE BODY OF MESSIAH
With regard to the matter of Torah and the rite of circumcision, both Moses and the New Testament testify to the importance of the rite being the circumcision of the heart first and foremost. Abraham was first circumcised in heart (his faith was counted for righteousness) (Genesis 15:6, Galations 3:6-8). Later, the God of Israel required him to be circumcised in the flesh (Genesis 17:9-11). The God of Israel required in the Torah that we be circumcised in the heart (Deuteronomy 10:12, 16). The New Testament further states that those coming from among the Gentiles (both Gentiles and those of the house of Israel) are not required to be circumcised in the flesh at this present time while living in exile from the land of Israel.
During the Messianic Era, the redeemed in Messiah's Kingdom will not be allowed to enter into the Temple of the Messianic Era without being circumcised in the flesh and the heart (Ezekiel 44:6-9). Therefore, in this present age, Jews practice circumcision of their sons and those who come from among the Gentiles are not required to do so. However, studies made by medical science have proven a benefit for all males who get circumcised at their birth. With regard to Torah, Torah is to be taught to the sons of Israel and to the alien and sojourner who is among them (Numbers 15:15-16). Therefore, any person regardless of ethnicity is to receive the teaching of Moses "on Sabbath in the assemblies in every city" (Acts 15:21) if they are in fellowship with the sons of Israel. Therefore, if a non-Jew would choose to get circumcised, they should not be hindered from doing so being an heir of the promises which were made to Abraham (Genesis 17:9-11, Galations 3:29) through the Messiah.
THE MESSIANIC AGE NATIONAL REDEMPTION OF EPHRAIM AND JUDAH
In the days following the reign of Solomon, the united kingdom of David was divided (I Kings 11:9-13). Jeroboam, an Ephratite, was the first king over the Northern Kingdom (house of Israel / Ephraim) (I Kings 11:28-35). Rehoboam was the first king over the Southern Kingdom (house of Judah) (I Kings 12:21). This division of the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom was part of the plan and purpose of the God of Israel (I Kings 12:24). This separation began when Ephraim led the Northern tribes away in opposition to the house of David (I Kings 12:12-20). Eventually, the Northern Kingdom was taken captive to Assyria (II Kings 17:7-23). From this captivity, the Assyrians intermingled the Northern Kingdom with their own people and mixed the worship of the God of Israel with their own religious customs (II Kings 17:24-41). The Southern Kingdom was taken captive by the Babylonians (Jeremiah 25:9-14). In the fullness of time, the prophets of Israel foretold that the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom would be reunited and return to the land of Israel and appoint themselves one king (the Messiah) (Isaiah 11:12-13, Jeremiah 3:14, 18, Ezekiel 37:15-24).
Their spiritual redemption would be through the blood of the covenant (Zechariah 9:9-13, John 10:14-17, John 11:49-52). Upon their redemption, those who were near (house of Judah) and those who were far off (house of Israel / Ephraim) among the nations where they were scattered (Daniel 9:7) would become one new man in Messiah (Ephesians 2:13-17). While the spiritual redemption has been made possible through the blood of Messiah, we believe in this present time, as in times past, the house of Judah and the house of Israel have been physically separated and have not physically joined together and have not been physically reunited as a corporate people in the land of Israel as described by the prophets. The prophets of Israel associate this event with the Messianic Era when Messiah will set up His tabernacle with His people and establish a covenant of peace (Ezekiel 37:24-27) where they will never again be scattered into the nations of the world (Amos 9:14-15).
The prophesied physical joining together of the two houses is the future restoration of Jacob. We believe that the future restoration of the two houses will be completed in conjunction with other events known as the Greater Exodus, Jacob's trouble, the Great Tribulation and the return of the Messiah (Jeremiah 30:1-7). Therefore, teachings and discussions in our day concerning how the two houses of Israel will be physically reunited are primarily eschatological (study of the end of days) in nature and substance. This physical reunion of both houses of Israel in the end of days is like a song of joy (Revelation 15:3). The future redemption of Jacob is patterned after the historical Egyptian redemption (Hosea 2:14-15, Micah 7:14-15). When this happens, those from among the nations who are not physically descended from the tribes of Jacob will be allowed to sojourn with the tribe of Jacob and inherit the land of Israel with them (Ezekiel 47:21-23). The Scriptures teach us to be both anticipatory and patient (Isaiah 8:14-17) for this event. In that day, Messiah will be king over all the nations (Zechariah 14:9) and will set up a Kingdom which will never end (Daniel 2:44). Therefore, we teach our brethren to anticipate and wait on the Lord for His perfect timing for these prophecies to come to pass.
THE NATION OF ISRAEL TODAY
We believe that the modern nation of Israel is primarily the house of Judah returning to the land of Israel as the first installment of all Israel returning in accordance with end time Bible prophecy. The God of Israel said that He would save the tents of Judah first (Zechariah 12:7). The house of Israel / Ephraim will join with the house of Judah and be reunited with them sometime in the future. We believe that Jerusalem plays a central role in the events of the last days (Zechariah 12:3, 14:1-2) and that there will be a controversy of Zion (Isaiah 34:8). As a result of the battles that take place in the end of days, there will be a greater Israel with expanded borders to facilitate a greater return to the land for all descendants of Israel. This land will include Lebanon, Carmel, Bashan, Gilead and the mountains of Israel (Jeremiah 50:19, Ezekiel 37:22, Micah 7:14, Zechariah 10:10). Only the God of Israel knows how He will expand the present borders of the nation of Israel so that the house of Israel / Ephraim can be physically reunited and join with the house of Judah. Any suggestion at this time that the modern state of Israel held by Jews should be further divided or shared with the house of Israel / Ephraim who is still mostly living in the nations is in error.
OUR OPPOSITION TO REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY
We believe that the house of Israel, led by Ephraim, who is scattered in the nations and their future reunion with the house of Judah is one of the most significant Messianic prophecies concerning the role and function of the Messiah of Israel. Yeshua / Jesus stated that He needed to die on the tree so that His two houses or sheepfolds could become one (John 10:14-17). Caiaphas prophesied that Yeshua / Jesus died on the tree to redeem and reunite both houses of Israel (John 11:49-52). However, the physical reunion of both houses of Israel from the nations and their return to the land of Israel has not yet taken place. Messiah was asked by His disciples when this event would happen (Acts 1:6). The Apostle Paul preached the regathering of both houses of Israel after the death of Messiah on the tree (Acts 26:6-7). Since the New Covenant was given distinctly to both houses of Israel (Jeremiah 31:31, Hebrews 8:8) and the Messiah commissioned fishermen (Matthew 4:18-20) to go seek and find the scattered "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:6), the Messiah's role as the Great Shepherd (John 10:14) is best pictured in the redemption, restoration and regathering of Ephraim with Judah.
By not understanding the role of the Messiah to redeem and restore both houses of Israel (John 10:14-17, John 11:49-52), we believe that historical Christianity has through much misunderstanding misappropriated the Good News, the Great Commission and the promises made to the house of Israel by the Messiah. This is a form of Replacement Theology. We, therefore, are strongly opposed to any form of Replacement Theology. This includes any teaching which rightly takes away the covenant promises made to either the house of Judah or the house of Israel / Ephraim and appropriate them to a "Gentile Christian church" from among the nations.
THE GOSPEL OF MESSIAH IS FOR ALL NATIONS
The Gospel of Messiah is for the entire world (John 3:16). This includes those from all nations, kindreds, people and tongues (Revelation 7:9). You do not need to be physically from the tribes of Israel to be redeemed in Messiah. However, we believe that the day is coming and very soon when the house of Israel / Ephraim who is presently scattered among the nations will be physically united with the house of Judah in the land of Israel at the time when the God of Israel expands the present borders to include a greater Israel. At that time, the Kingdom will be fully restored to Israel (Acts 1:6) and the Messiah will rule and reign from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3) and the Messiah will be King over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9). In that day, Judah will repent of treachery (Jeremiah 3:8) and Ephraim of unfaithfulness (Hosea 8:11-12). At that time, Ephraim will not vex Judah and Judah will not vex Ephraim (Isaiah 11:13). Joseph will be reconciled to all of his brethren (Genesis 45:1-5). We further believe that our stated identity will not be Judah, Ephraim, or Gentile. Instead, we will say, "We are all children of One Father." (I Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 4:6).
MAY BRETHREN DWELL TOGETHER IN UNITY
We would like to thank Dan Juster for working with us to help to promote a greater unity within the Messianic / Hebraic roots movement. We pray that this paper affirming what we teach about the two houses of Israel will be a positive catalyst within the Messianic / Hebraic roots movement to promote further unity among the brethren. We pray that those in position of authority and congregational leaders will share this paper with their members to help promote a more common understanding of the two house teaching. We pray that these same leaders within the Messianic / Hebraic roots movement will take responsibility and use the efforts made by Monte Judah and Eddie Chumney with Dan Juster through the help and encouragement of Paul Wilbur to help promote a greater unity and fellowship. Hopefully, we all can do our part to help realize the prayer of the Messiah for us to love one another (John 15:12) and thus testify to the world that Yeshua / Jesus is the Messiah (John 17:21-23). When we show ourselves to be one body in Him, the God of Israel can command His blessings upon us (Psalm 133) when we dwell together in unity.
Shalom in Messiah,
Monte Judah Eddie Chumney
Lion and Lamb Ministries Hebraic Heritage Ministries