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(House of Study)


TWO HOUSES OF ISRAEL



Israel and Judah - Same or Different?

The question of the two Houses of Israel poses a thought, new to some people, old to others. The thought is: "Who are the people of the two Houses?" On the surface it may not seem to matter. However, in Isaiah 49: 5-6, the Scriptures say that one of the purposes of forming Messiah from the womb was to restore the tribes of Jacob. Without understanding the Two Houses of Israel, we will be teaching an incomplete gospel message. Much in the Messianic Scriptures is misunderstood and incorrectly taught, because the Two Houses of Israel are overlooked and considered a small thing. However, in order to understand the writings of Paul, it is extremely important that we understand the two houses.

Footnotes are added and indicated by the pound sign plus a number (# + number), when appropriate. They are listed at the end.

The discussion of the terms "Jew" and "Gentile" are not to describe or identify specific peoples of today, but to show the kingdoms represented by these terms. Terms, or words, and their false or true meanings have been dividing people for many ages. The purpose here is to see if we can see these terms and their meanings from a Scriptural perspective instead of a traditional perspective.

Example: Jacob is considered the patriarch of what is called the "Jewish" people. The Scriptures say Jacob had twelve sons. These sons became the patriarchs of the tribes:

The descendants of Reuben were called Reubenites;

The descendants of Simeon were called Simeonites;

The descendants of Judah were called Judahites, etc.

Each tribe was linked to the patriarch by a term of identification.

However, after Jacob's name was changed to Israel, all the tribes were linked to Jacob by the term "Israelite". Here, we will use the terms "house of Israel" and "house of Judah" to help us see the separation of the kingdoms and their eventual return and reunion. Today, some people who consider themselves to be Jewish (from the tribe of Judah) may actually be descended from one of the other tribes without knowing it. On the other hand, those who consider themselves to be Gentiles may be descended from Jacob without knowing it. We will not attempt to identify you personally, but we will attempt to dispel the teaching that the church has replaced Israel as the chosen people.

Let's begin our journey seeking the truth which sets you free (#1). In Isaiah 8:14, the word says, "He shall become a sanctuary and a stone of stumbling and a rock of falling to both houses of Israel...." Here, in the words of Isaiah, we know that Isaiah recognized the Two Houses of Israel that existed during his time. To see how the two houses came into being, we must understand that Abram the Hebrew (#2) fathered Isaac, the son of promise (#3). Isaac fathered Jacob (#4), the person whose name was changed to Israel (#5). Israel then fathered twelve sons, whose descendants became known as the twelve tribes of Israel (#6). Judah was the fourth son of Israel,(#7). Thus the eleventh son, Joseph, did not come from Judah, but was Judah's brother. Now, Ephraim, the son of Joseph, is Joseph's heir; so Manasseh and Ephraim are also Israelites (#8).

Joseph and Judah became the most prominent of Israel's sons (#9). Ultimately the twelve tribes were divided into two distinct houses (#10). From reading the books of Kings and Chronicles, we recognize that the nation was divided into two kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Yet the Word says, BEFORE THEY WERE SEPARATED, all Israel and Judah loved David (#11), and so King David ruled over all Israel and Judah (#12). David became king over the house of Judah first (#13). In the book of First Kings, Chapters 11&12, we are told that King Solomon loved many foreign women (#14), even though the Israelites were instructed not to intermarry, because YHVH knew the women would turn the men's hearts away from Him to other gods (#15). Therefore YHVH told Solomon...because he had done this with the women and rebelled against the covenant of YHVH, YHVH said He would take the kingdom away from Solomon and give it to his servant (#16). The kingdom was then split, with the tribe of Judah in the south and ten tribes in the north. Rehoboam was king over Judah and Jereboam became king over Israel (#17). YHVH promised Jereboam He would build an enduring house for him, as He had done for David (#18). After the death of Solomon the separation of the two houses became effective; with Jereboam ruling over the house of Israel and Rehoboam ruling over the house of Judah (#19). Now Rehoboam intended to restore the house of Israel and the house of Judah back into one kingdom, but YHVH stopped him (#20). Now that we have seen the establishment of the Two Houses of Israel, we will look at the time frame between the establishment and dispersion of the two houses.

The establishment of two kingdoms, under Rehoboam and Jereboam, took place in 928 B.C.E. (#21). The house of Israel continued from 928 B.C.E. until 722 B.C.E. when Shalmaneser, King of Assyria carried the house of Israel away and placed them in other lands and cities (#22). During the following 200+ years, the house of Israel had nineteen kings. The last king of the house of Israel was Hosea (#23). Beginning with the sin of Jereboam (#24), who caused the people of the house of Israel to sin, the people committed great spiritual adultery by departing from YHVH (#25). Now YHVH sent prophets to the house of Israel, to call them to repentance and return to YHVH. We see the promises of YHVH to cast out the disobedient people beginning in the book of Deuteronomy (#26). Also, the entire twenty-third chapter of Ezekiel addresses the harlotry of both the house of Israel and the house of Judah. The entire book of Hosea outlines YHVH'S plan to bring an end to the kingdom of Israel (#27). This was the end of a kingdom, not a people.

In Hosea, YHVH instructed Hosea to marry Gomer, a harlot; symbolizing the harlotry of the house of Israel. She, Gomer, conceived and bore a son, Jezreel (which means, "EL will sow"). This is a prophecy about the scattering of the house of Israel among the other nations in the world. Gomer also bore a daughter, called Lo-Ruhamah (meaning "no-mercy"), for YHVH said He would no longer have mercy on the house of Israel. Then she bore a son and called his name Lo-Ammi (meaning "not my people"), for YHVH said they were not His people and HE would not be their EL, because of their disobedience. Yet by great mercy, YHVH speaks of the future restoration and coming together again of the two houses (#28)

The fulfillment of the breakup of the house of Israel occurred in 722 B.C.E. The house of Judah continued for another 136 years, until they were taken away captive to Babylon in 585 B.C.E. This shows that the house of Israel ceased to exist in 722 B.C.E. Judah returned to the land after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, yet Israel has not returned. After the house of Judah's return from Babylon, they continued as a kingdom and became the sole representative of all the remaining descendants of Jacob. It was after the dispersion and return of Judah that the term "Jew" begain to be used to apply to all Israelites.

As you read the book of Hosea, you will see that YHVH used the name Ephraim as a synonym for the house of Israel (#29) many times. This usage established the tribe of Ephraim as the predominant tribe in the house of Israel. We will see the importance of this as we look at the loss of the birthright by Reuben, the firstborn of Jacob. Because Reuben defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph (#30). Although the birthright actually belonged to Joseph (#31), Jacob adopted the two sons of Joseph and made them equal heirs with Reuben and Simeon, his first and second-born sons (32). That is why the apostle Paul referred to the adoption as belonging to the Israelites (#33) and coming to the Israelites (#34), including His predetermined plan to adopt the Israelites back into the family (#35). YHVH designated Ephraim as His firstborn in the book of Jeremiah (#36).

At the time of the adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob pronounced a blessing upon Manasseh and Ephraim which was to come to pass in the latter days, our days now. He said the lads would multiply like fish in the earth (#37). Everyone knows that fish lay eggs in the millions when they spawn. This signifies the growth of the descendants of Manasseh and Ephraim. Jacob also spoke a special blessing over Ephraim, saying he would become greater than Manasseh and would become a multitude of nations (#38). This phrase in Hebrew is "MELO GOYIM", meaning "the fullness of the gentiles." This is the reference Paul was speaking of when he said, "hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved (#39)." Since YHVH planned from the beginning to reunite the house of Israel and the house of Judah (#40), we are told many times that He would bring the house of Israel back from where He had scattered them and reunite them in the land. The Messiah said He was sent only to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (#41). The Messiah sent out the twelve disciples, instructing them not to engage in the ways of the gentiles, and not to enter a city of the Samaritans, but to go to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (#42). When Paul said, inasmuch as he was an apostle to the gentiles, he magnified his ministry (#43), he was talking about the large area he had been given to cover: He was sent to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel," wherever YHVH had scattered them. Salvation therefore came to all peoples in order to reach the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (#44). There have been many misconceptions concerning the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, the children, the gentiles and the church (called out ones). These misconceptions have led to many false teachings, such as, the church has replaced Israel, or that the two houses are the Jews and the gentiles, as well as the false teaching that EL has different rules for the different people. In reality we see the plan for reuniting the house of Israel and the house of Judah in Jeremiah, when YHVH says the day will come when He will make a new (actually renewed) covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (#45). Anyone who joins with them will become part of the children of Israel, just like the mixed multitude that came out of Egypt with the descendants of Jacob. You can see how this eliminates the concept of having different laws for gentiles and Jews. YHVH has one law for all, it is called the Torah. This is stated in many places, but I will quote one from Leviticus 24:22, "You shall have the same law for the stranger and one from your own country; for I am YHVH your EL." We can now understand the parables spoken by Messiah in Luke 15 concerning the lost sheep and the prodigal son (#46). Knowing who the two houses are shows us that the lost son is Israel and the son who stayed home is Judah.

In summary, I believe we have seen that YHVH developed a people for Himself that He called chosen. They were chosen to receive instructions from YHVH: His Sabbath, His feasts and their customs, which all teach the instructions for having life. This set of instructions is called the Torah, the first five books of Scripture, written by Moses. They were given all these things so that the rest of the world might see EL in them and join with them to partake of the adoption, the glory, the covenants and the promises (#47), and that all might become members of the commonwealth of Israel (#48). YHVH established the Two Houses of Israel and He will reunite them. No nation, people or anything else will replace the chosen people of YHVH. The House of Israel has been scattered for so long that they have lost their identity and do not know who they are, but YHVH is calling to the lost sheep of the house of Israel through the people of Ephraim. The true Bride of YHVH is composed of those who keep the commandments of EL (#49) and have the testimony of Messiah. The Two Houses of Israel are Israelites, who like Ruth, choose to say, "Your people shall be my people and your EL my EL" (#50).


FOOTNOTES

(1) John 8:32; (2) Genesis 14:13; (3) Genesis 17:19; (4) Genesis 25:26; (5) Genesis 32:28; (6) Genesis 35:22-26; (7) Book of Genesis; (8) Genesis 41:50-52; (9) Genesis 49:8-12, 22-26; (10) First Kings 11:30-39; (11) First Samuel 18:16; (12) Second Samuel 5:5; (13) Second Samuel 2:4; (14) First Kings 11:1; (15) First Kings; (16) First Kings 11:11; (17) First Kings 11:13, 30:34; (18) First Kings 11:38; (19) First Kings 12: 16-19; (20) First Kings 12:22-24; (21) The Timetables of Jewish History Simon & Schuster 1993 Judah Gribetz; (22) Second Kings 17:3-6; (23) Second Kings 17:6; (24) First Kings 12:25-33; (25) Hosea 1:2; (26) Deuteronomy 4: 25-29; (27) Hosea 1:4; (28) Hosea 1:10-11; (29) Hosea 5:3-13, 6:4-10, 7:1-8; (30) First Chronicles 5:1-2; (31) First Chronicles 5:2; (32) Genesis 48:5-6; (33) Romans 9:4; (34) Galatians 4:5; (35) Ephesians 1:5; (36) Jeremiah 31:9; (37) Genesis 48:16; (38) Genesis 48:19; (39) Romans 11:25-26; (40) Isaiah 11:12-13, Ezekiel 37; (41) Matthew 15:24; (42) Matthew 10:5-6; (43) Romans 11:11; (44) Matthew 15:24; (45) Jeremiah 31:31-34; (46) Luke 15:11-32; (47) Romans 9:4-5; (48) Ephesians 2:11-13; (49) First John 5:1-3; (50) Ruth 1:16-17.


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Psalm 122:6,7
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.
May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.