Archive for May, 2014

A fairly new teaching has arisen that proclaims the “Gentiles” of the New Testament are none other than the “House of Israel” that was sent into exile for their sins. I disagree and hope to set the record straight through this study.

The first passage used to promote this new teaching is Romans 9:23-26:

“And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He has called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As He says also in Hosea, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, You are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living Elohim.”

 Verses 25-26 are quoting Hosea where Yahweh says through the prophet:

 “Then said Elohim, Call his name Loammi: for you are not my people, and I will not be your ElohimYet the number of the children of Israel will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living El.’” Hosea 1:9-10

 “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my Elohim.” Hosea 2:23 

 The subject of the Hosea passage is the “children of Israel”. However, the Apostle Paul is broadening its fulfillment to include the “Gentiles” (the non-Hebrew nations) in addition to the Jews. Paul uses the term “Jew”, in Romans 9:24, to represent both houses of Israel, the House of Judah (including Levi and Benjamin) and the House of Israel (the remaining tribes).

The term “Jew” originally referred to the people of Judah, but later included those of Benjamin and Levi and still later all Israelites.

We can see this in the following verses:

Acts 19:14 – “And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewand chief of the priests, which did so.”  (This “Jew” was a Levite).

 Acts 21:39 – “But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.” (Paul was of Benjamin)

Acts 2:5, 36 – “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. . . Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that [Elohim] has made that same Yeshua, whom you have crucified, both Master and Messiah.” (Who crucified Yeshua? Was it not the house of Judah in Jerusalem?)

Therefore, when Hosea says, “the children of Israel”, he is referring to both houses of Israel. How can we be sure that he means both houses as opposed to just the House of Israel? Because he refers to the promise that Israel will be like the sand on the seashore. That was a promise given to Abraham in Genesis 22:17.  

“That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;”

Abraham’s “seed” refers to his descendents through Isaac and Jacob (both houses of Israel).

You may say, “How can Paul include the non-Hebrew Gentiles (nations) in Hosea’s prophecy? Paul is focusing on the words, “You are not my people”. He has in mind the words the Apostle James spoke to the council at Jerusalem.

“Simeon has declared how Elohim at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.”  Acts 15:14  

The Gentiles were not Yahweh’s people until He chose to take from among them those He was calling (those who received His Son as their Saviour).

The Apostle Paul also had in mind Deuteronomy 32:21 where Yahweh says the Gentiles are “not a people”.    

“They [Jeshurun – both houses of Israel] have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not Elohim; they [Jeshurun] have provoked Me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them [both houses of Israel] to jealousy with those which are not a people [fulfilled in Romans  10:19 & 11:11 by non-Hebrew Gentiles]; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation [the holy nation of  non-Hebrew Gentiles spoken of by  Paul in Romans 10:19 and Peter in 1 Peter 2:9].”

It was laid out in Torah that Yahweh would use the non-Hebrew Gentiles to provoke both houses of Israel to jealousy.  This is what Paul wrote of in Romans 10 & 11:

Romans 10:19 – “But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses says, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no peopleand by a foolish nation I will anger you. ”   

Romans 11:11 – “I say then, Have they (both houses of Israel) stumbled that they should fall? Elohim forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.”

Paul goes on to say in Romans 10:20-21:

“But Isaiah is very bold, and says, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after meBut to Israel he says, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”

Paul is quoting Isaiah 65:1-2:

“I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.  I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people [Israel – Romans 10:21], which walks in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;” 

This cannot refer to the house of Israel since they were called by Yahweh’s name (2 Chronicles 7:14; Daniel 9:19), but to the non-Hebrew Gentile nation of believers that were grafted into Israel in order to provoke them to jealousy. 

Along the same line is Isaiah 55:3-5: 

“Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, you shall call a nation that you know not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of Yahweh thy Elohim, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he has glorified thee.”

Those same non-Hebrew Gentiles that Yahweh used to provoke Israel to jealousy are grafted into Israel.

Romans 11:12-17 – “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:  If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh (the Gentiles he is writing to are not his flesh), and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and you  (Gentiles), being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;  . . .”

Paul continues writing about the Gentiles in Romans 11:24:

“For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?”

The non-Hebrew Gentiles are wild by nature and are grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree. This cannot refer to the House of Israel being grafted “contrary to nature” since they were of the original good olive tree. The Houses of Israel and Judah are the natural branches that were cut off in unbelief and who can be grafted back in again.

“For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away wickedness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” Romans 11:25-27

“Israel”including both houses, was blinded until the predetermined number of non-Hebrew Gentiles are grafted into the natural olive tree. This is a clear distinction between the two groups of people, Israel and Gentiles. “All Israel” is comprised of both houses of Israel AND non-Hebrew Gentiles who become Israel through grafting in.

Here are a few other passages that make a clear distinction between Israel and non-Hebrew Gentiles:

Isaiah 49:6 – “And he said, It is a light thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”

Yeshua would not only restore the preserved of Israel, but also be a light to the Gentiles. 

Matthew 10:5-6 – “These twelve Yeshua sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter you not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

These “lost sheep of the House of Israel” were dwelling in the land of Israel which was separate from were the Gentiles were dwelling.

Acts 4:27 – “For of a truth against thy holy child Yeshua, whom you have anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,” 

The Gentiles are separate and distinct from the people of Israel. 

Acts 9:15 – “But the Master said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:” 

Paul was to bear Yeshua’s name to three distinct groups; Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

Romans 9:30-31 – “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel [both houses], which followed after the law of righteousness, have not attained to the law of righteousness.” 

If you replace the word “Gentiles” with “house of Israel”, the verse makes no sense.

Another passage used to support this new teaching that the “Gentiles” of the New Testament are really the House of Israel is Ephesians 2:11-19. Here is the passage with my commentary within.

Ephesians 2:11 – “Wherefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [Israelites were circumcised]

Ephesians 2:12 – “That at that time you were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without Elohim in the world: (the house of Israel had hope via Hosea’s prophecy as well as other prophecies dealing with the regathering of Israel and they were not strangers from the covenants (plural) of promise including the Abrahamic covenant. Paul says of Israel: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertain the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;” Romans 9:4. Also, Israel was not without Elohim as Ezekiel 11:16 shows. The Gentiles had none of those things listed in this verse.)

Ephesians 2:13 – “But now in Messiah Yeshua you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah.”

Ephesians 2:14 – “For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Ephesians 2:15 – “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (There was no enmity/hatred between Israel and Judah in Messiah’s day as Paul’s concern and love for them in Romans 9:2-3; 10:1-2 show. There was no hatred caused by man-made commandments except those man-made commands that caused a separation between Jews and n0n-Hebrews, in particular a literal wall that was built at the Temple to separate the Jews from Gentiles.)

Ephesians 2:16-19 – “And that he might reconcile both unto Elohim in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of Elohim;”

It is believed that the phrases “far off” and “afar off” used in verses 13 & 17 are keys to show the House of Israel is referred to. The following verses are used to show this. 

 Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from YHWH: unto us is this land given in possession. Therefore say, Thus says Adonai YHWH; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. Therefore say, Thus says Adonai YHWH; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” Ezekiel 11:15-17

 “Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spoke in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O YHWH, righteousness belongs unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.  O YHWH, to us belong confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.” Daniel 9:6-8

The phrase “far off” in the Tanakh and the verses quoted refer to the literal physical distance the house of Israel was from the land of Israel. In Ephesians, “far off” refers to the spiritual separation between non-Hebrews and Yahweh. Also, Paul was not quoting the Tanakh. He was simply using a common phrase in a figurative sense.

It is also believed that Ephesians 2:11-19 is the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37:16-24. 

“The word of YHWH came again unto me, saying, moreover, you son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in your hand.

And when the children of your people shall speak unto you, saying, Will you not show us what you meant by these? Say unto them, Thus says Adonai YHWH; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon you write shall be in your hand before their eyes.

And say unto them, Thus says Adonai YHWH; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, where they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their Elohim. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.”

The joining of the two sticks is a specific prophecy relating to the two houses and is accomplished through a miracle from Yahweh. Two sticks are joined to become one stick. This is different from the Gentiles being joined to both houses through grafting in and is accomplished through belief in Messiah Yeshua. A wild olive branch is grafted into a natural olive tree to become one. We cannot equate Ezekiel 37:16-24 with Ephesians 2:11-19 simply because they both speak of uniting two groups. One unites Judah and Israel, the other unites Israel and non-Hebrew Gentiles. Also, the uniting of the two sticks of Ezekiel takes place AFTER they are resurrected and returned to the land whereas the uniting of Israel and Gentiles takes place PRIOR to the resurrection and return to the land.

John 7:33-36 has also been misapplied to show Gentiles are the House of Israel.

 Then said Yeshua unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. You shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, there you cannot come. Then said the Jews among themselves, Where will he go, that we shall not find him? Will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?”

The “dispersed” refers to Israel that were living AMONG the Gentiles. This does NOT read, “the dispersed Gentiles”.

The last passages I will address are Romans 2:13-15 & 26-27:

“(For not the hearers of the law are just before Elohim, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)” Romans 2:13-15

From this passage it is deduced that the “Gentiles” must be the “House of Israel” because the law is written on their hearts. After all, how can a non-Hebrew pagan have the law written on his heart if he has no knowledge of Yahweh’s laws? That’s a good question and there is a logical answer to it.

The passage does not say the law, in its fullness, was written in their hearts, but that the “works” of the law were written there.  They “did by nature the things contained in the law.”  It is in the nature of man to have a certain degree of moral conscience. They had a sense of justice, love, mercy, etc. These are the “works” of the law or what the law was meant to accomplish. The moral nature taught obedience to parents, pity to those in need, maintaining peace, forbidding murder, stealing, lying, etc. Their conscience would be their guide and so they were a “law unto themselves.” “Their conscience also bearing witness.” They had that within them which approved their good works and which accused their bad works. 

“Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?  And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature if it fulfill the law, judge you, who by the letter and circumcision transgresses the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of Elohim.” Romans 2:26-27

It is believed that the word “uncircumcision” used here refers to the House of Israel and that, since the House of Israel is call the “uncircumcision” here, then the “uncircumcision” of Ephesians 2:11 must also be the House of Israel. Who are the “uncircumcision” in Romans 2:26-27?

This cannot refer to the House of Israel since they did not keep the “righteousness” of the law. They were disobedient and angered Yahweh continually, so much so that He was led to say “they are not my people”. Also, Gentiles are physically uncircumcised by nature. Israelites are physically circumcised contrary to nature. It is the House of Israel that had “the letter and circumcision” The Gentiles had neither.

I hope this study has helped you to understand the truth that Yahweh has indeed begun calling non-Hebrew Gentiles into the faith. He is allowing them to be grafted into Israel and to be partakers of the blessings and promises made to Israel. They become part of the Israel of Elohim. They were once not his people, but now are children of the living Elohim through Messiah Yeshua. HalleluYah!