After the reigns of Kings David and Solomon, a tragic split took place within the nation of Israel which led to the formation of two separate kingdoms. The nation of Israel has been divided ever since that time, and unless we realize the split that took place we cannot understand the Messiah’s mission to bring all of Israel’s people back together as one in Him.
After the nation split, the two tribes left in the south were called the southern kingdom of Judah (or the House of Judah); and they are the spiritual (if not also the literal) ancestors of the Jews as we know them today. Additionally, the ten tribes in the north were called the House of Israel (or the House of Ephraim), who later became known as the “lost ten tribes.”
Israel’s history is long and complex, but the split took place at least in part because King David’s grandson Rehoboam was a cruel tyrant. When the ten northern tribes saw that he did not love them (and was planning to treat them cruelly), they decided that it would be better for them to break away from David’s grandson and establish their own kingdom in the north.
Melachim Aleph (1st Kings) 12:16
16 Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying, “What share have we in David?? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse!! (Therefore go) To your tents, O Israel! (And) Now, see to your own house, O David!” So (the House of) Israel departed to their tents.
As we explain in the Nazarene Israel study, America descends spiritually (if not also literally) from this exact same House of Israel (Ephraim). It should therefore not be surprising that, following the same pattern, the American colonies rebelled against King George of England for the same reasons the House of Israel rebelled against the House of David: they were being taxed, but they were not loved.
Like the American colonies would later establish a new government, the ten northern tribes of Israel (Ephraim) established a new government under a man named Jeroboam. However, Jeroboam knew that if the people continued to go up to Jerusalem three times a year (as the Torah says), their loyalty would eventually return to their old king, Rehoboam (in the south), which would eventually lead to Jeroboam’s downfall and death.
Melachim Aleph (1st Kings) 12:26-27
26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David:
27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their master, Rehoboam king of Judah…and they will kill me…and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.”
Rather than see his people return to King Rehoboam, Jeroboam took counsel and decided to create a new faith. This new Samaritan faith would still focus on Yahweh, but it would differ in several essential details. To please men’s visual orientation he set up idols (i.e., visible objects of worship and religious icons) in Dan and Beth El, thus changing the location of the worship away from Jerusalem. This was a grievous sin.
Melachim Aleph (1st Kings) 12:28-31
28 Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!”
29 And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.
30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan.
31 He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi.
Jeroboam also made priests out of those who were not Levites. Not surprisingly, this is also what the church would do many hundreds of years later: they would create a new faith based on the old one (just changing the details). Rather than focus on an invisible Creator, they would give adoration to visible symbols (such as crosses, figurines, and other icons). They also moved the center of the faith from Jerusalem to Rome.
Jeroboam also changed the times of the festivals. He pushed the Feast of Tabernacles back from the seventh Hebrew month to the eighth. This is a picture of what the church would later do in pushing Sabbath back a day (to the Sun-day), pushing Passover back to Easter Sun-day, and pushing the Feast of Tabernacles back to Christmas (near the winter solstice). The church has lovely sounding reasons for having done these things, but just as it was in the Garden of Eden, the decisions that were made run contrary to Scripture. Whether the church is aware of what they were doing or not, by failing to obey Yahweh they end up honoring the sun (aka Lucifer, the Light Bringer, i.e., Satan).
Yahweh sent prophets like Hosea and Elijah (Eliyahu) to turn the northern kingdom back to Him, but it was to no avail. After roughly a hundred and fifty years, He finally allowed the king of Assyria to come and take the northern tribes away into captivity where they became mixed with the gentiles. Over time their Israelite heritage became lost.
Melachim Bet (2nd Kings) 18:11-12
11 Then the king of Assyria carried Israel away captive to Assyria, and put them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,
12 because they did not obey the voice of Yahweh their Elohim (G-d), but transgressed His covenant and all that Moses the servant of Yahweh had commanded; and they would neither hear nor do them.
These were the captives Yeshua came to set free.
Luqa (Luke) 4:18-19
18 “The Spirit of Yahweh is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of Yahweh….”
While the Jews expected the Messiah to throw off their Roman oppressors militarily, Yeshua said that He was not sent on His first trip, except to begin regathering the lost sheep of the northern House of Israel.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 15:24
24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent (on this first trip) except to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”
When the Assyrians had come to take the northern ten tribes into captivity, they did not stop at the border. Rather, they invaded the southern kingdom of Judah as well. Members of all twelve tribes went into captivity, which is why the apostles write their epistles to the lost and scattered of all twelve tribes of Israel.
Ya’akov (James) 1:1
1 Ya’akov, a bondservant of Elohim and of the Master Yeshua Messiah, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
Most Christians know that the Good News was to be preached to the Jew first, and also to the gentiles; but they do not always realize that in Hebraic thought there are two kinds of gentiles. A goy is someone who has never been part of the nation of Israel, while a ger is someone who used to belong to the nation of Israel, but who has become estranged from the nation (and is now a stranger). It was these strangers of the lost ten tribes (who used to belong to the nation of Israel) to which Kepha (Peter) wrote his epistles.
Kepha Aleph (1st Peter) 1:1
1 Kepha, an apostle of Yeshua Messiah, to the strangers of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia….
Yeshua alludes to the lost ten tribes in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Try reading it with the understanding that the House of Judah is the older brother.
Luqa (Luke) 15:11-32
11 Then He said: “A certain man (Yahweh) had two sons (Judah and Ephraim/Israel).
12 And the younger of them (Ephraim) said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood (the kingdom).
13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living (in the Dispersion).
14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine (of spiritual food) in that land, and he began to be in want.
15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country (the Church), and he sent him into his fields to feed swine (idols).
16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have (spiritual) bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,
19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”‘
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;
24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.
29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have (Torah) is yours.
32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'”
The name Ephraim means “doubly fruitful,” but it also has a secondary meaning of “prodigal.” Therefore, Yeshua’s parable is about the lost ten tribes.
In Nazarene Israel we give many more details about how Scripture tells us that we are the lost ten tribes of Israel (Ephraim) and how we are being called back to our inheritance by Yeshua’s sacrifice.
One day soon our Jewish brothers and sisters will also look upon Him whom they have pierced, and they will grieve for Him as one mourns the loss of a firstborn.
10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”
We can already see signs that Yahweh is getting ready to bring this about; but until He does, Yeshua tells us in His parable (above) that our Jewish brothers and sisters will not be happy at the thought of us coming home. They feel we are not worthy. Judah has kept Yahweh’s Torah for thousands of years, through Christian persecution, multiple invasions, the Holocaust, and more. They have suffered and died at Christian hands for the privilege of keeping the Torah. They fear the Nazarene Israel movement is a Christian trick of some kind, and they currently reject us.
While we are waiting for Yahweh to open our brother Judah’s eyes, we need to begin learning Torah, and learning Hebrew, and also joining together with each other in relational fellowship. However, in Acts 15:19-21 the apostles tell us that before we can enter into fellowship we must first agree to abstain from four spiritual abominations:
- Idolatry (which is spiritual adultery) (Leviticus 26:1)
- Sexual immorality (Leviticus 18 and 20)
- Strangled meats (Leviticus 11)
- Blood (Genesis 9)
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:19-21
19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are (re)turning to Elohim,
20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For throughout many generations, Moses has had those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
We give more details in Nazarene Israel, but being in relational fellowship in an assembly is an essential part of our walk. Unless we are in relational fellowship, we are not truly part of His body. Just as cells in a literal body must remain connected to each other in order for the body to live, we also must be in connection with each other (all over the world), in order for Yeshua’s body to be fully alive. Further, just as cells in a physical body must have fluid exchange for the body to be alive, there must also be reciprocal exchanges within the living body of Messiah.
Israel was originally organized by twelve tribes, plus an organized Levitical priesthood. The Levitical priesthood was organized into three tiers (Levites, priests, and the high priest). Each tribe had an elder, and was further organized into thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. There was also an exchange between the people and the Levitical priesthood. The people brought their tithes and offerings up to the tabernacle three times a year, to provide for the priesthood’s physical needs, and in turn, the priesthood provided for the people’s spiritual needs. Yet the three pilgrimage feasts gave the people more than an opportunity to support Yahweh’s ministers—they also served to unify the people. In effect, the three pilgrimage feasts gave Israel three “family reunions” a year. However, today we are to go make disciples in all nations, so how are we to remain united as one body, when we are dispersed worldwide?
Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:18-20
18 And Yeshua came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
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.
[*For why we immerse only in Yeshua’s name, please see “Immersion in Yeshua’s Name Only,” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3.]
We give more details in Nazarene Israel, but because we are not presently living in the land of Israel, not all of us come to the same place three times a year. Therefore, there must be another way to unify the body worldwide. The solution Yeshua gave is structural.
While Israel used to be ordered by tribes, now in the dispersion we are ordered by assemblies, in cities. Each congregation is to be led by the elder believers, who serve as role models for the people. The elders collect the people’s tithes and offerings, and use them to fund the evangelical effort in their towns. They also use them to provide for the poor. Those who work in the ministry full time may be supported by the people’s tithes and offerings. We are told they are to be counted worthy of double honor, especially when they labor in the word and doctrine.
TimaTheus Aleph (1 Timothy) 5:17
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
Just like the Levites gave a tithe of the tithe to the Levitical priests, the elders send a tithe of the tithe to the priesthood, to support them in their work. The priests then use these funds to conduct missions, and to create doctrinal and evangelical materials that benefit everyone in the body. They also connect all of the assemblies worldwide, so that we all form one single body, with one correct doctrine.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 1:10
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Adon Yeshua Messiah, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
The Levitical priests were not to have an inheritance in the land (but they were to focus on doing the work).
Bemidbar (Numbers) 18:20-21
20 Then Yahweh said to Aharon: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.
21 “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.”
In much the same way, Yeshua’s priesthood is to forsake all earthly possessions, and focus on serving His people.
Luqa (Luke) 14:33
33 “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
It takes great trust in Yahweh to lay down all of one’s material possessions, and not have an inheritance to pass on to one’s children, but this prerequisite helps to ensure that the priesthood is dedicated, and that the people’s tithes and offerings are used to carry out the work more fully.
There is great wisdom in Yeshua’s system. Just as each part of the human body must work together in a coordinated way, each part of Yeshua’s body must also work together to carry out the Great Commission. The priests provide leadership and tie the body together. The elders collect the tithe and the offering, and conduct the Great Commission locally. The people support the work, and take the message to the streets. When everyone does his part, everyone gives, and everyone receives. This is how the whole body works together.
Ephesim (Ephesians) 4:16
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Yeshua has given His bride a big job to do while He is away. Now He is watching to see who is eagerly doing what He has asked, the way He has asked us to do it. He says that when He returns, He will reward each of us according to what we have done for Him.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 22:12
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according
The Bride’s Journey Home
In Nazarene Israel we give more details about how the bride Israel has been lost inside the Christian church, as well as how she needs to return back to the original faith, in order to please her Husband. We also show how the Messianic movement is a good transitional step back toward the original faith.