Dear Refiner's Fire...

READER COMMENT:

"Jews don't need to believe in Y'shua! He said He came ONLY for the lost sheep of Israel. Messiah died for the TEN tribes who were divorced and cut off, NOT for those still in Covenant, and the Jews are in the Covenant! They DON'T NEED JESUS, so leave them alone!"

Our Response...

OUR RESPONSE:

Thanks for your comments. First, we need to ask you: Since you believe the "ten tribes were divorced," where is the divorce certificate? (And please don't point to Jeremiah 3:8, without first studying the rest of that passage!)

Malachi 2:16 tells us that YHWH HATES divorce. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 tells us that a man CANNOT remarry his ex-wife. Matthew 5:31-32 says that one who puts away his wife (for some cause other than fornication) causes her to commit adultery....

There are tons of other scriptures concerning the "divorce" issue, but the question remains: Would YHWH really do that to His "bride"? Would He allow His Divine and Holy Son, the Word, John 1:1,14) to "marry" a divorced and defiled bride?

More on that, below, but since you brought up several points, let's do some further study:

First, the whole Bible is about Israel and what has commonly become known as "the Jews." Jews ARE PART of Israel; they constitute one of the 12 tribes. Abraham (the first "Hebrew") was the first Patriarch of ALL the tribes who ultimately became known as "Israel." Israel consisted of all 12 tribes that YHWH coached in the wilderness for 40 years. "All" included "the Jews."

The Covenant Promises YHWH made through Abraham are for the benefit of ALL nations (Genesis 17:7); and we are told that ALL who accept YHWH as their God are to do "exactly as" HIS people do, because the same law, "same Torah and standard of judgment will apply to both you and the foreigner living with you." (Numbers 15:13=16)

So it is that Mashiyach is the "seed" who came to his own people to fulfill the Promise - TO THE JEWS FIRST and then the Gentiles (Romans 1:16, 2:9-10; Matthew 10:5, 6). We are all ONE IN MESSIAH! (Romans 12:5; Galatians 3:28)

The sad thing is, on one hand, we have many Christians and certain factions of "Hebrew Roots" and "Messianic Judaism" insisting Gentiles who accept YHWH and His Messiah don't have to bother with Torah; while on the other hand, we have many "two house/two stick advocates" like yourself, suggesting Messiah's death wasn't for the Jews. Never mind that we are "One in Messiah!" (Ephesians 2:15)

So, let's examine this a little more closely:

The erroneous "two-house" belief (started half a century ago) that all Christians who become Torah observant believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob automatically belong to the Tribe of Ephraim...and they have built an entire religion around this train of thought - and some have even gone so far as to place more emphasis on their supposed "tribe membership" than on the fact that through Y'shua we are all ONE in Messiah....

Many, if not most, proponents of this movement contend that members of the "born-again" segment of the Christian church are, in fact, actual blood descendants of the ancient Israelites who were exiled in the Assyrian invasion of Israel in 722 B.C.E. Their agenda is to "prove" that Christians are the northern tribes.

To reiterate, we are ONE in Messiah, which means, while "tribal affilation" may be important to some, it's NOT the be-all-end-all! Originally, the Messianic Jewish "movement" was all about bringing Jews to faith in Messiah, nothing more. It was never about separating Jews from Gentiles in some sort of a hierarchy of faith....

And the fact is, NOWHERE in Scripture are we ever told "Messiah died for those who were divorced and cut off, not for those still in Covenant." Yes, he died for the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24) - but we need to remember Israel includes ALL of the tribes, which includes the Jews! YHWH has always required blood atonement for sins, and Y'shua martyred Himself to provide that.

(NOTE: Our use of the term "martyr" is intentional because traditional Jews love to point out that "G-d never required human sacrifice!" Well, Y'shua wasn't a "human sacrifice" because nobody "sacrificed" Him. He was a Divine Offering who willingly went to the cross/stake. As a human being, he had the choice to obey YHWH or not. As we see time and time again, he CHOSE to obey because he KNEW who He was....)

Here's another fact: Until the Third Temple is built and the animal sacrifices are reinstated, "the Jews" have NO way to atone for their sins (except by "prayer and supplication" which - according to Torah is NOT all that is required)!

Leviticus 17: 11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for our souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement."

Who gives anyone the authority to suggest we don't have to obey that rule anymore? Who has the authority to say that one can simply fast and do good deeds, etc.? If it were true that prayer and supplication is all that's required, then Messiah would NOT have had to give His life; he died in vain and millions of Christians and Messianic believers have been DUPED! ... Oh, what a slap in Y'shua's face!

What many seem to forget is that Y'shua said: "No one comes to the Father but by me!" (John 14:6; see also John 5:26, John 10:9, John 11:25.) He did NOT say, "No one comes to the Father but by me except for Judah." He said NO ONE!

So, the "Two-House movement" with all its followers (many of whom will beat you to a pulp if you dare suggest their theology might be a little skewed) has accomplished what?

(1) Division among Messianic believers.

(2) Falsely concentrated on the idea that there are "10 lost tribes." The Bible tells us there were 12 tribes, not ten; and YHWH knows where each one is, so they're not "lost"; they were merely "put away" because of their disobedience.

(3) Ignored the idea that Ephraim, the son of Joseph's pagan Egyptian wife, was a rebellious "bad guy" full of idolatry; not "a tribe that was destined to be a great people."

(4) Totally downplayed the fact that we are ONE in Messiah (Ephesians 2:15); that in Messiah there is no Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free (Galatians 3:28).

Please read this very carefully:

Romans 11: 25. (For I want you to know this) mystery, that blindness of heart has in some measure befallen Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles will come in: 26. And then will all Israel live. As it is written: A deliverer will come from Tsiyon and will turn away iniquity from Ya'akov. 27. And then will they have the covenant that proceed from me when I will have forgiven their sins.

28. Now, in the Good News, they are enemies for your sake; but in the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sake. 29. For Elohim is not changeable in his free gift and in his calling. 30. For as you too were formerly disobedient to Elohim and have now obtained mercy because of their disobedience; 31. So also are they now disobedient to the mercy, which is upon you, that there may be mercy on them likewise. 32. For Elohim has shut up all men in disobedience, that upon all men he might have mercy.

33. O the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of Elohim! For man has not searched out his judgments; and his ways are inscrutable. 34. For who has known the mind of Master YHWH? Or who has been a counselor to him? 35. Or who has first given to him and then received from him? 36. Because all is from him, and all by him, and all through him: to whom be praises and benedictions, for ever and ever: Amen.

A footnote from the AENT says: "All Israel" refers to those souls who make Teshuva (turn to YHWH) and welcome the Spirit of Mashiyach. Rav Shaul (Paul) does not say or mean that every Jew or Israelite by race will enter into the Malchut Elohim (see Matt 22:2-14; 25:1-12).

So, let's take a closer look at this "DIVORCE" that supposedly happened between YHWH and the Northern Kingdoms that spawned the "two house" movement:

Isaiah 49:1-3 - 1 Coasts and islands, listen to me, pay attention, distant peoples. Yahweh called me when I was in the womb, before my birth he had pronounced my name. 2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword, he hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me into a sharpened arrow and concealed me in his quiver. 3 He said to me, 'Israel, you are my servant, through whom I shall manifest my glory.' (NJB)

Isaiah 50:1 - Thus says Yahweh: Where is your mother's writ of divorce by which I repudiated her? Or to which of my creditors have I sold you? Look, you have been sold for your own misdeeds, your mother was repudiated for your acts of rebellion. (NJB)

Notice the question is WHERE is the certificate of divorce? That means...THERE WASN'T ANY! YHWH never divorced either Judah or Ephraim, but He did "send them away" for a time. Since there was no writ of divorce to make the separation official, YHWH reserves the right to bring them back at any time - and He will! You'll see this as you read the passage AFTER Jeremiah 3:8, which is apparently overlooked by the two-house proponents. Watch...

So, if you go back to at least the beginning of Jeremiah 2, you find that Adonai is berating Israel for their backsliding and their crimes against Him. Jeremiah goes on at some length using metaphor about how Israel's behavior was like that of a prostitute. Jeremiah 2 ends with these words:

Jeremiah 2:36 You cheapen yourself when you change course so often - you will be disappointed by Egypt too, just as you were disappointed by Ashur. 37 Yes, you will leave him too, with your hands on your heads [in shame]. For Adonai rejects those in whom you trust; from them you will gain nothing."

Continuing, Jeremiah 3 can now be read in context. Jeremiah says that this sort of behavior is judged by Torah with a writ of divorce, but that Israel's behavior is so bad that it's as if a woman had been divorced, married another, then remarried the first - thus defiling the whole land.

And now we read the verse so many take out of context:

Jeremiah 3:8 I saw that even though backsliding Israel had committed adultery, so that I had sent her away and given her a divorce document, unfaithful Yehuda her sister was not moved to fear - instead she too went and prostituted herself.

And the meaning is now clear, though obscured by the English translation. Adonai is saying "I saw that Israel was behaving as if she was a woman who had been sent away and given a divorce". It does NOT say that He had actually issued a divorce!

Indeed, in the Hebrew of Jeremiah 3:8, the personal pronoun "I", is not even present! The verse literally reads: "See, (that) because of (her) adultery, backsliding Israel was sent away, the recompence of a bill of divorce." This becomes clearer if we compare the way Adonai's action against Israel is stated in 2 Kings 17:18 to wit: so that Adonai, by now very angry with Israel, removed them from his sight. Here we understand that Israel was "removed from his sight", as if from a divorce yet the language here does not use the "divorce" metaphor as does Jeremiah.

If this is still not clear, look at Jeremiah 3:1 which reads 'If a man divorces his wife, and she leaves him and marries another man, then if the first one marries her again, that land will be completely defiled. But you prostituted yourself to many lovers, yet you want to return to me?' says Adonai.

Jeremiah is using the metaphor of divorce to explain that Israel has no hope to be restored to Adonai, because by Torah, they can't be restored. But the verse ends with "yet you want to return to me?" This tells us that, unlike a man who has issued a divorce and is thus not permitted by Torah to take back his wife, Adonai can take back Israel upon their repentance and thus has not issued a divorce! Adonai actually says He will take her back in Jeremiah 3:12-14, further confirming that no divorce was given....

Reading it altogether, it looks like this:

Jeremiah 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

Jeremiah 3:12-15 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, backsliding Israel, says Mater Yah; and I will not cause my anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, says Master Yah and I will not keep angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against Master Yah your Elohim, and has scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed my voice, says Master Yah. Turn, O backsliding children, says Master Yah for I am married to you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastures according to my heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

So, to reiterate, you can see in Jeremiah 3:8 YHWH threatened divorce but He also gave Israel a chance to repent. Apparently, somehow, Israel did repent, so Isaiah is talking about a future past Jeremiah 3, after Israel repented and got the promised forgiveness (i.e. that the threatened certificate of divorce was not given. Otherwise, the Scripture is contradicting itself.

Also note Isaiah 49-50 covered all 12 tribes. YHWH points out that they broke His covenant "though I was espoused to them" - but He did NOT say in Jeremiah 31 or anywhere else that the infidelity resulted in divorce. People forget that the stick of Ezekiel 37 is in the hand of one shepherd who will rule over them all, one nation....

Isaiah 49:1-3: He said to me, 'Israel, you are my servant, through whom I shall manifest my glory.'

So, the question remains: Would YHWH really "manifest His glory' in a "divorced bride?" NO! - because He HATES divorce, in part, because divorce causes the bride to become adulterous! YHWH would not and CANNOT go against His own Word!

Galatians 3: 28 there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor freeman, neither male nor female; for in union with the Messiah Yeshua, you are all one. 29 Also, if you belong to the Messiah, you are seed of Avraham and heirs according to the promise....

It is any wonder there are so many divisions within the Messianic/Hebrew Roots faith?