In Nazarene Israel we saw that after King Solomon’s reign the nation of Israel split into two parts. The northern ten tribes were called the house of Israel (or Ephraim), while the southern two tribes were called the house of Judah. Ezekiel said that because of Ephraim’s iniquity, he would go into captivity in Assyria for 390 years.
Yehezqel (Ezekiel) 4:4-5
4 “Lie also on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it. According to the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity.
5 For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.”
However, at the end of the 390 years the northern house of Israel did not repent, and so the Assyrian captivity was lengthened seven times, in keeping with Leviticus 26.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 26:18
18 “And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.”
If we multiply Ephraim’s 390 years of captivity times 7, the new sentence is some 2,730 years of captivity. If we add those 2,730 years to the start time of the captivity (circa 732 BCE) we get a new end date of approximately 1998 CE. Not surprisingly, this is when the Ephraimite movement began to appear on the world scene.
We get a second witness to the 1998 date if we utilize the principle in 2 Peter 3:8, which tells us that a day in prophecy can equal a thousand earth years.
Kepha Bet (2 Peter) 3:8
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with Yahweh one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Hosea 6:1-2 speaks of a time after some two prophetic days (or 2,000 years) when the northern house of Israel will return to Elohim, and thus be revived as a people.
Hoshea (Hosea) 6:1-2
1 Come and let us return to Yahweh; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
2 After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up That we may live in His sight.
Historians disagree on the exact year of Yeshua’s birth, but most historians place it between 0 and 4 BCE. When we add the two thousand years to 0-4 BCE we come up with 1996-2000 CE, which matches the 1998 estimate of Ezekiel 4.
Now it helps to understand that there are two Judah’s in prophecy. In 2 Kings 18:13 we are told that when the Assyrian King Sennacherib took the northern ten tribes into captivity, he also took all the fortified cities (military forts) of Judah, and because of this, many Jews were also sent into the captivity in Assyria (along with the northern ten tribes). We might call these Assyrian Diaspora Jews (to differentiate them from those who did not go into the Assyrian Dispersion).
Melachim Bet (2 Kings) 18:13
13 And in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.
Then after another 136 years (circa 586 BCE) the house of Judah went into captivity in Babylon, where some huge changes took place in the Jewish faith. When Judah went into Babylon he had a Levitical priesthood, and when he came out of Babylon he had a rabbinical priesthood. In contrast to the Levitical order (who had understood it was their duty to teach Yahweh’s Torah), the rabbinical order believed Yahweh had given them the authority to establish their own Torah in each generation, even though this violates Yahweh’s Torah.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 12:32
32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”
Since the rabbis were disobeying Yahweh’s Torah (and calling it Torah), what should Yahweh do? The Roman Church (wrongly) tells us that Yahweh sent Yeshua to abolish the Torah, and to replace the Jews with the Gentile Church. However, as we saw in Nazarene Israel, Yeshua did not seek to replace the Jews or Judaism. Rather, Yeshua sought to replace the rabbinical order with His renewed Melchizedekian one. Then He sent His renewed Melchizedekian priesthood out into the world to find and regather the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Ephraim).
Mattityahu (Matthew) 15:24
24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Yeshua’s renewed priesthood was to go into all nations, make disciples, and teach them to obey all things that Yeshua had commanded.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:19-20
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in My name*,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amein.
And not only are we as Yeshua’s disciples to do all that Yeshua commanded, but we are also to imitate Him, and to teach others to do the same.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 11:1
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Messiah.
Yochanan (John) tells us that if we abide in Yeshua, then we ought to walk even as He walked.
Yochanan Aleph (1 John) 2:6
6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
Hebrews have a tradition of imitating their great men. “To walk as He walked” is Hebraic idiom meaning we should practice the same faith Yeshua practiced (down to the last detail).This is what it means to be reconciled to Elohim by being reconciled to the person of Yeshua. In being reconciled to Him we become reconciled to all.
Qorintim Bet (2 Corinthians) 5:18-19
18 Now all things are of Elohim, who has reconciled us to Himself through Yeshua Messiah, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 that is, that Elohim was in Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
To be reconciled to Yeshua, and walk as He walked, we need to see that Yeshua still practiced Judaism. There are many witnesses to this all throughout the Renewed Covenant. For example, in Mark 11:25-26, Yeshua says that when we stand praying we need to forgive others their trespasses, so that we also might be forgiven.
Marqaus (Mark) 11:25-26
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Yeshua is commenting on the Amidah, or the Jewish Standing Prayer, which forms the central part of almost every Jewish ritual worship service. There is a prayer for forgiveness in the Amidah, and here Yeshua tells us that if we want Elohim to forgive us, then we must also forgive others.
History also tells us that the Jews in Yeshua’s time wore both tefillin (phylacteries) and tzitzit (tassels). We should note that Yeshua never said not to wear tefillin, or tzitzit. Rather, He criticized those who made special straps for their tefillin (to be seen by men), and also those who lengthened their tzitzit so they drag the ground (as some Orthodox men still do today).
Mattityahu (Matthew) 23:5
5 “But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders [i.e., lengthen the tassels or tzitzit] of their garments.”
And if we are to imitate Yeshua’s walk as a means of reconciliation, we should notice that it was Yeshua’s custom to go to the synagogue on Shabbat.
Luqa (Luke) 4:16
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
In Judaism it is considered an honor to stand before the congregation and read Scripture, and only those in good standing are invited to do so. This tells us Yeshua was a respected regular at His synagogue. And if Yeshua was a respected regular at His synagogue, that is our ideal as well.
Sometimes Ephraimites distrust the Jewish synagogue service, perhaps because they cannot tell which parts of Judaism continue the worship style of our fathers (which existed before Babylon), and which parts were created in Babylon. However, Shaul tells us that the worship service (and the synagogue style) was one of the things that Judah was given to maintain while the Ephraimites were off in the nations.
Romim (Romans) 9:4-5
4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Torah, the [worship] service of Elohim, and the promises;
5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Messiah came, who is over all, the eternally blessed Elohim. Amein.
By following Yeshua’s form of worship we can side-step many of the corruptions which pervade rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. But what kind of corruptions?
In Nazarene Israel we saw that the disciples continued to offer animal sacrifices for as long as the temple stood. We know this because in Acts 21 there is a conversation between Yaakov (James) and Shaul (Paul) in which Yaakov tells Shaul to pay for the 15 animal sacrifices needed to separate the Nazirite vows of himself and four other men. Five of these animal sacrifices were for sin (Numbers 6:14). By this Yaakov said that “all would know” that Shaul himself also walked orderly, and kept the whole Torah.
Ma’asei (Acts) 21:23-24
23 “Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have [also] taken a [Nazirite] vow.
24 Take them, and be purified with them, and [you] pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads—and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you [teaching against the Torah] are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the Torah.”
There was persecution in the first century. While it was sometimes possible for the disciples to go into the temple, at other times it was not. The Apostle Yaakov was reportedly killed in 62 CE when he was pushed off the temple, stoned, and then finished with a club.
So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to each other, “Let us stone James the Just.” And they began to stone him, for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned and knelt down and said, “I entreat thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And while they were thus stoning him one of the priests of the sons of Rechab, the son of the Rechabites, who are mentioned by Jeremiah the prophet, cried out, saying, “Cease, what do ye? The just one prayeth for you.” And one of them, who was a fuller, took the club with which he beat out clothes and struck the just man on the head. And thus he suffered martyrdom. And they buried him on the spot, by the temple, and his monument still remains by the temple. (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, quoting Hegesippus, 2.23.4,10-18)
Eight years later (in 70 CE) when the Romans destroyed the temple, the disciples fled to Pella. After this the Nazarenes were no longer connected to the house of Judah through the temple service, but they could still enter the synagogues until the Birkhat HaMinim was established around 80-90 CE. The Birkhat HaMinim is a curse over believers in Yeshua. It was originally written for the Nazarenes and all other similar sects (minim), but the language was later changed to read slanderers (l’malshinim). However, the intent to curse believers in Yeshua is very clear. This curse is spoken three times each day by practicing Orthodox Jews, as Article 12 of the Amidah (the Standing Prayers). Let’s read the modified version first (for slanderers).
Orthodox Amidah (Standing Prayer) Blessing 12
12 And for slanderers [l’malshinim] let there be no hope, and may all the evil [ones] in an instant be destroyed and all Thy enemies be cut down swiftly; and the evil ones uproot and break and destroy and humble soon in our days. Blessed are Thou, Adonai, who breaks down enemies and humbles sinners.
At Berachot 28b-29a, the Babylonian Talmud states that in its original form, the Birkhat HaMinim did not refer to l’malshinim (slanderers) but to l’minim (the sects, and especially the Nazarenes). (The numbers are footnotes.)
Tractate 28b: These eighteen [benedictions] are really nineteen? R. Levi said: The benediction relating to the Minim 18 was instituted in Jabneh.19 To what was it meant to correspond? R. Levi said: On the view of R. Hillel the son of R. Samuel b. Nahmani,20 to The God of Glory thundereth; 21 on the view of R. Joseph, to the word One 22 in the Shema; on the view of R. Tanhum quoting R. Joshua b. Levi, to the little vertebrae in the spinal column.
Our Rabbis taught: Simeon ha-Pakuli 23 arranged the eighteen benedictions in order before Rabban Gamaliel in Jabneh. Said Rabban Gamaliel to the Sages: 24 Can any one among you frame a benediction relating to the Minim? 25 Samuel the Lesser arose and composed it. The next year 26 he forgot it
Tractate 29a: and he tried for two or three hours to recall it, and they did not remove him. 1 Why did they not remove him seeing that Rab Judah has said in the name of Rab: If a reader made a mistake in any of the other benedictions, they do not remove him, but if in the benediction of the Minim, he is removed, because we suspect him of being a Min? (Babylonian Talmud, Berachot 28b-29a)
After the destruction of the temple, the Nazarenes were no longer tied to Judaism through the temple service. After that, the Birkhat HaMinim effectively drove a wedge between anyone who believes on Yeshua, and the rest of Judaism. From that point forward the faith on Yeshua became divorced from Judaism, and it became tied primarily to the house of Ephraim, whom Yeshua said He had been sent to.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 15:24
24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
So those who belong to the house of Israel, who want to practice Yeshua’s Melchizedekian Judaism should pray the Amidah, omitting Blessing 12. And if that means we are not welcome in a synagogue, then our alternative is to raise up assemblies of our own. And how that is done, and the organizational structure both within and between assemblies is the subject of the next chapter. What we will see is that if we will all do our part to walk as Yeshua walked as a discipline, not only will it side-step the corruptions of rabbinic Judaism and the church, but it will also heal our nation, and bring reconciliation with Elohim.