I have been following the work of Hanok ben-Isaak who runs JewsandJoes.com ever since I heard him on the Truth2u.com radio program over a year ago. He is a great writer and his blog is absolutely worth checking at least on a weekly basis. I’ve had a lot of discussions recently about Two-House and I know there are people who disagree with it or who are not even aware of it. Why re-invent the wheel when Hanok does a great job winning the argument for me. 🙂
I hope you will take the time to check out his website: http://jewsandjoes.com
Jews and Joes
Two-House Theology (Reality) defined and defended
It is known by several names, both positive and disparaging. You may know it as the “Two-House Teaching”, the “Two-House Doctrine”, the “Two-House Ideology”, the “Two-House Movement”, the “Two-House Heresy”, the “Ephraimite Movement”, the “Ephraimite Fallacy”, and the “Ephraimite Error”.
However, it would be more accurately called the “Two-House Reality”…. and this reality of TWO Israelite peoples, both “Jews“ and “Joes“, are depicted in prophetic End-Time scenarios in verses like the following:
Zechariah 10:6 –“And I shall strengthen the House of Jew-dah, and I shall save the House of Joe-seph. And I shall bring them back, because I have compassion on them. And they shall be as though I had not cast them off. For I am their Elohim, and I will answer them.”
Note: In English translations of the above verse, the words “Judah” and “Joseph” are used respectively. The simple modification is made here for illustrating a reality not well-known in mainstream circles… which is… the people known as the “Jews” are only part of Israel, NOT exclusively representing ALL of Israel. The modern government of Israel nor the Orthodox Rabbis deny this FACT, but actually confirm it (see the article: 10 Proofs the Jews are from Judah).
Also note that this author does not promote what is commonly called ‘British-Israelism’. There are some similarities, but the Two-House Reality which exists in Torah, History, and Prophecy was not derived from British-Israelism, but vice versa. It is not uncommon for errors to be derived from original truths and it will be up to you to decide if the content of this article is also in error.
WHO ARE “THE JEWS”?
Where does the word “Jew” come from? It is simply an abbreviation for the word “Judah” in English. The Hebrew pronunciation and transliteration of Judah is “Yehudah” and individuals of Yehudah are sometimes called “Yehudi”. Most languages that attempt to designate an individual of “Judah”, generally have a shortened form like “Jew”, but because so few understand the two-house reality in antiquity or in prophecy, most people think of that shortened form, Jew, as a name representative of ALL Israelites.
Note: On this website, you’ll sometimes see Judah written as “Jewdah”, “Jew-dah”, or “Jew da” to help readers get their minds wrapped around the idea phonetically.
So who are the people known as the “Jews”? Ancient and modern rabbinic sources indicate the Jews are a people predominantly descended from the ancient Southern Israelite Kingdom of Judah. However, (this is important) they are not “just” the tribe of Judah. In antiquity, this Kingdom contained the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and some of Levi and Simeon (who were both scattered without large land inheritances throughout all the other tribes because of a curse – see Genesis 49:7). Judah was the largest and most prominent tribe in the South. It was the tribe of Kings, thus all those paying allegiance to the kings of the Southern Kingdom and living within that king-domain… became known as “Yehudim”… or “Jews” as we know them today in English. For confirmation of this, use e-Sword or a Hebrew concordance and verify how the underlining Hebrew word Yehudi is translated as “Jew” in passages like Zechariah 8:23.
WHO ARE “THE JOES”?
The “Joes” (from the House of Joe-seph) have become a multitude of nations, colors, and peoples who descend from various admixtures of ancient Israelites (and non-Israelites) who were largely scattered and/or deported by the Assyrian Empire (740-722 BC). There were also those who settled outside of the Promised Land hundreds of years before the Assyrian invasions (likely for various problems and opportunities), later to be united with those being aggressively dispersed by the Assyrian invasions.
Many Israelite Joes were likely not deported but fled voluntarily by way of land and/or sea before deportation, just as Lulê, the King of Sidon, reportedly fled “far off into the midst of the sea” before Sennacherib’s armies arrived (see the Taylor Prism). Some of the Israelites and their Phoenician allies likely fled because they had safe havens to flee to and because credible Prophets such as Hosea were forewarning the people of impending punishment and calamity. The righteous and unrighteous, the brave and the cowardly, all likely fled if they were able and privy to the inevitability.
Modern descendants of these ancient dispersions are predominantly oblivious to their distant Hebrew ancestors, but this should not be surprising (although it is a common criticism of both secular and religious historians). The prophet Hosea foretold 10-Israel would cease to be “a people“, but they would not forever forget their Israelite identity (see Hosea 1:9-11, 2:23). Remember, 10-Israel departed from their Torah-based culture, which set them apart from other peoples, and hence began to look just like the surrounding peoples even before the time of their dispersion. Forgetting one’s ancestors and cultural identity is not an unprecedented phenomenon. The same can be seen in modern nations and cultures, especially considering globalistic pressures and the general ease in which family histories are lost within just a few generations.
Remember the “Coat of Many Colors” which Jacob gave to Joseph as a young boy (Genesis 37:3)? Very few things are mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures without meaning or purpose. Even seemingly meaningless details often foretell profound prophetic realities. Joseph inherited Abraham’s promise of multitudes, and Jacob passed that blessing onto his grandson Ephraim in Genesis 48:19. For a promise with so many ramifications (as with the ramification of the two sticks of Ezekiel 37), it is mind boggling how quickly bible scholars and bible prophecy scholars pass over such passages with little time or consideration.
For example, how often have you heard Christian prophecy teachers like Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, or David Wilkerson mention 10-Israel?
Ephraim inherited the stick of Joseph (Ezekiel 37:16) and became the most influential tribe in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, largely because of the birthright promise and the ruling Ephraimite kings (for more detail, see History and Timeline of Israel and Judah). This is why the Northern Kingdom was sometimes idiomatically called Ephraim (Hosea 5:3) or the House of Joseph (Zechariah 10:6) by the Hebrew Prophets, but we sometimes simply call them “Joes” in English.
They do not necessarily have to be from the tribes of Joseph (Ephraim or Manasseh). Just as a Benjamite or Levite may be called a “Jew” or a “Yehudi”, so a Reubenite or Gadite can be considered a “Joe”. This is partially a practice born-out of necessity since the Jews nor the Joes can prove their exact tribal affiliation within the 12, but there will come a time when one’s tribe or companion tribe will be known and identified (Revelation 7).
TWO-HOUSE THEOLOGY OR TWO-HOUSE REALITY?
The Two House Movement is not a religion, but more an ideology held by many individuals and authors from within Judaism, Messianic Judaism, and Christianity. In the same light, Two House theology is not truly a “theology”. It is unfortunate such a title has stuck so well. Calling it an “Ideology” does not sum it up well either, even though it is charged with profoundly meaningful “ideas”.
This so-called “theology” or “ideology” would best be designated, as mentioned earlier, the “Two House Reality“.
Theology can be broken down to mean: “to talk about theos/God”. Ultimately, Theology comes from the Greek: θεολογία, “theologia”, from θεός or “theos” (God) + λόγος or “logos” (words, sayings, discourse). Technically, when “two house theology” is talked about, the perspective or existence of “God” is not mentioned. He is generally only implied and not cited except where His promises of multitudes to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Ephraim are referenced. Maybe we should just call it “Two-Housology” or “Israeology” to be more precise?
So what is the BIG controversy of Two-House Theology? There is truly no argument regarding the existence of two houses or two kingdoms of Israel in antiquity. That specific “reality” is NOT a point of contention.
Any novice bible scholar or simple bible reader can see plainly that the twelve tribes of Israel were divided into TWO nationalities after the reign of King Solomon. It is very clearly described in the Writings (Ketuvin) of the Torah and re-enforced by the Prophets (Nevi’im) where Israel and Judah are warned separately and repeatedly for their wickedness. It just cannot be denied and this author has found no one who is willing to do so.
The scriptures are literally riddled with this duality and there are approximately 160 instances where “Israel and Judah” are mentioned together in a single verse. And that is not counting the number of times Judah, the Southern Kingdom, is mentioned as the counterpart of “Joseph” or “Ephraim”, figurative names interchangeable for “Israel”, or the Northern Kingdom.
No, most everyone can see these two kingdoms existed as separate political and national entities before the Babylonian Captivity of Judah in 586 BCE. However, the mammoth controversy unhinges much of the Orthodox Jewish, Messianic, and Christian world when this ancient “reality” is applied to our modern context or even to the context of the First Century CE where Josephus, Akiva, and Eliezer all indicate the Two Houses were still largely separate bodies of people.
Yet, even MORE astonishingly, the existence of the Two Houses are inconceivable to most religious teachers even though the Prophets refer to both Houses in End-Time scenarios on numerous occasions (see the articles Promise of Hebrew Multitudes and Israel and Jew-dah in Scipture). It is really quite disconcerting to have to argue for a “reality” that is not only implied, but loudly and explicitly reverberates throughout the fabric of the Scriptures.
Below you’ll find a few verses indicating a continuation of the Two House phenomenon in Latter Day contexts. But even after reading and considering these, the more adamant “One-Housers” are so emotionally attached to the One-House paradigm, it will in essence mean very little to them. But for the sake of those seeking the truth and REALITY, consider and ponder these:
Jeremiah 50:4-5 “In those days and in that time,” says , The children of Israel shall come, They and the children of Judah together; With continual weeping they shall come, And seek their Elohim. (5) They shall ask the way to Zion, With their faces toward it, saying, ‘Come and let us join ourselves to יהוה In a perpetual covenant That will not be forgotten.'”
Zechariah 10:6 “And I shall strengthen the House of Judah, and I shall save the House of Joseph. And I shall bring them back, because I have compassion on them. And they shall be as though I had not cast them off. For I am their Elohim, and I will answer them.”
Ezekiel 37:16 “And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.'”
Zechariah 2:11-12 “And many nations (compare Genesis 48:19) shall be joined to in that day, and they shall become my people (compare Hosea 1:9-11 2:23). And I shall dwell in your midst. And you shall know that of hosts has sent Me to you. (12) And shall inherit Judah, His portion in the Set-apart Land. And He shall again choose Jerusalem.”
Now, Ephraim nor Joseph are mentioned above in Zechariah 2:11-12, but the allusion to “Ephraim” is made so strongly, it should take our breath away in astonishment. Jacob prophesied that Ephraim would become the “fullness of the nations” in Genesis 48:19 and then Hosea prophesied Ephraim would become “not my people” and THEN become as numerous “as the sand in the sea” (Hosea 1:9-11) and THEN be called “My People” again at the End-Time restoration (Hosea 2:23).
Hosea 1:9-11 “And he said, Call his name Lo-ammi; for you are not my people, and I will not be for you. (10) Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea which cannot be measured or numbered; and it shall come to pass, in the place where it was said unto them, ‘You are not my people’, it shall be said unto them, ‘Sons of the living Elohim’. (11) And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint themselves one head, and shall go up out of the land: for great is the day of Jezreel.”
Hosea 2:23 “I will sow her for Myself in the land I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My People, ‘You are My People!’ And they will say, ‘You are my Elohim!'”
ANSWERING COMMON CRITICISMS OF THE TWO-HOUSE REALITY
1.) 10-Israel was not ever “lost” and they already re-joined the Jewish People after they (the Jews) returned from Babylon.
Those who dispute the Two-House reality usually argue that the Ten Tribes of Israel already united with or assimilated into the Kingdom of Judah, the Jews. This criticism is by far one of the simplest to refute. Two House teachers generally do not deny a small segment of 10-Israel have rejoined Judah. There is ample evidence that individuals from the Northern Kingdom escaped to the Southern Kingdom at different times and for different reasons, noting Jezebel’s persecution of the righteous in the Northern Kingdom and the later Assyrian invasions likely caused some to flee to the South as refugees (2 Chronicles 31:6;30:6). But on the flip side, there were also those from Judah who were assimilated into the Northern Kingdom, especially noting the numerous Judaen cities captured by the Assyrians (2 Kings 18:13), who were deported with Northern Kingdom Israelites to Assyria and Media. For example, the Assyrian monarch Sennacherib reportedly carried away more than two hundred thousand Jews (Taylor Prism), which was more than a hundred years prior to the Babylonian Captivity. Also (considering more recent centuries), many Jews have assimilated into peoples descending from 10-Israel, usually by force or voluntary conversion into Catholicism, Protestantism, or Islam.
The best refutation of this criticism comes from Jewish rabbis and historians themselves. The 1st Century Historian Josephus records the ten tribes of Israel as an “immense multitude” remaining “beyond the Euphrates River” (Antiquities of the Jews – Book XI Ch. 5), which would indicate “the Jews”, the two tribes in the Land of Israel controlled by the Romans in the First Century CE, were of the Kingdom/House of Judah who historically returned from the Babylonian Captivity 600 years before. Furthermore, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer (c.117-138 C.E.) argued about the prophesied return of the Ten Tribes as though it was an event which had NOT happened YET (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 110b), indicating “the Jews” of the 2nd Century C.E. were not representative of all twelve tribes, but instead, still represented the ancient Kingdom of Judah (of course, we mentioned earlier how some of the Northern Kingdom likely joined the Southern Kingdom for various reasons and vice versa).
And arguing whether or not 10-Israel was ever really “lost” is a delicate matter. Two-Housers have varied opinions, but they of course all agree that 10-Israel is no longer “lost” (at least not to the initiated). Most indicate the tribes simply became lost to “themselves” in a similar way some descendants of Judah (Jews) have experienced. Look how many Jews have been swallowed up by Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam in the last few hundred years (who no longer know they have Jewish ancestors). Yet, 10-Israel ALREADY resembled the pagans before their exile and further “lost” their identity as “a people” IN exile. Judah on the other hand, has better controlled and guarded against assimilation factors because of their affinity towards the Torah and their pervasive Rabbinic-system of Tradition (10-Israel had no such assimilation controls). For more detail on the “lost” factor, read: Where the 10 Tribes of Israel ever really “LOST”?
2.) Two-House Theology = British-Israelism with a twist?
The Two-House Teaching is often equated with Replacement Theology or having stemmed from British-Israelism (BI). There is no doubt British-Israelism had some radical replacement ideologies and there is no doubt that BI had a huge influence on making many English-speaking nations and Protestant Christian teachers aware of who 10-Tribe Israel is in the modern world. We do not or should not deny this, but fortunately there have been many other refining and correcting influences since the 1800’s, most notably non-Messianic Jewish rabbis and researchers such as Rabbi Avraham Feld, Yair Davidiy, Dennis Jones, and the late David Horowitz. Unfortunately, BI-influenced teachers have continued to identify Ephraim as only western English-speaking peoples even though their DNA very closely matches non-English speaking peoples still residing in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus region, Central Asia, and the Indian sub-continent. The languages (i.e Indo-European) and their DNA (i.e. Haplogroup R) descends from the same ancient people. They all came from the same region and 10-Israel makes up large (but not all) of their mixed populations. Ephraim has truly become “the fullness of the peoples/nations” as Jacob prophesied Ephraim would become (see Israelite Haplogroup-DNA Hypotheses).
Note: Yair Davidiy and many others point to evidence that Two-House knowledge defuses replacement-type ideologies found within Christian sects. Read the article: The “Two-House Teaching” defuses Christian-based Antisemitism.
Ironically, even though the Two-House Teaching is often equated with Replacement Theologies, Orthodox Christians are the ones who actually believe “they” are heirs to the promises given to Israel because of statements by the Apostle Paul. There is an interesting article concerning this called: The Hidden Irony in Christian Replacement Theology.
3.) Israel was already said to be “As Numerous as the Sand of the Sea” in Antiquity
“One-Housers” quote verses like 2 Chronicles 1:9, Isaiah 10:22, 1 Kings 3:8, and 1 Kings 4:20 which all reference back to the much older promises of Genesis 15:15; 22:17; 32:12, without also considering Deut 1:10-12.
2 Chronicles 1:9 “Now, Elohim, let Your promise to David my father stand fast, for You have set me up to reign over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.”
Isaiah 10:22 “For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return – a decisive end, overflowing with righteousness”
1 Kings 3:8 “And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted.”
1 Kings 4:20 “Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea, eating and drinking and rejoicing.”
One-Housers unwittingly utilize these passages without realizing the verses actually entangle them (the critics) in mathematically-fused prophecies (which have become even more magnified in modern times). These promises of numerous descendants were first given to Abraham, more than a thousand years before the time of King Solomon and Isaiah and the authors of I/II Kings and I/II Chronicles. The people of Israel had grown from just a few families to many millions of descendants within that period from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is much speculation about “how many” millions they had become by the time of Solomon, but there is no doubt it was considerable in comparison to their immediate neighbors and the relatively-small global population. For example, remember how the Egyptian population began to be shocked and alarmed by just how vast the Hebrew population had become… many generations after Joseph (Exodus 1:7-10). Now realistically try to consider what the Hebrew population could be in modern times (regardless if they know they are Hebrew or not) if they’re population has been multiplied 1,000-fold as Deut 1:10-12 alludes, that is… after they had already become like the “stars of heaven”.
Solomon and the prophets certainly employed hyperbole to communicate the “dust of the earth” and “sand of the sea” promises, but considering the shear volume of fighting men King David could deploy against his enemies to maintain and expand an empire against the likes of Egypt, Babylon, and Assyria… should put the suggestion of Solomon’s so-called “exaggerated” or “inflated” statement (recorded in 2 Chronicles 1:9) in proper context. And when that context of three thousand years ago is moved into our modern context (three thousands years forward), what should it convey? Did the millions of ancient Israel simply disappear or stagnate, or did they continue to radically expand as they did during the thousand years between Abraham and Solomon? If Israel could become millions in one thousand years, how many millions more could be descended from Abraham in four thousand years?
Understanding the math behind the exponential population growth curve makes it relatively simple to confirm how a small population can become enormous within a short period of time (such as a thousand years or even just a few hundred years) when there is a steady, natural birthrate (however, Ephraim’s birthrate variable should be considered at least somewhat “super-natural” because of the promises of ).
Two-Housers reference verses and historical texts like Hosea 1:8-11 and Flavius Josephus which indicate 10-Israel became even MORE numerous AFTER the Assyrians scattered and later deported them (740-722 BCE). Note: Josephus lived about two thousand years after Abraham.
~ Hanok ben-Isaak
For more great two-house information, please visit http://www.jewsandjoes.com