Twelve Gates: Where Do the Nations Enter, A Book Review

The book of Revelation describes New Jerusalem as having twelve gates named after the twelve tribes of Israel. Through which gate will you enter?

The Two-House movement teaches that many modern Christians are in reality descendants of the ten lost tribes. Its followers consider themselves ethnic Israelites. The idea that anyone might be the biological descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and therefore entitled to the promises of God, is inherently attractive. The emotional and apocalyptic appeal of Two-House theology is obvious.

Boaz Michael, a leading voice in Messianic Judaism, looks at the history of the movement and examines the key biblical texts under dispute. Using the most recent scholarship about Gentile identity in apostolic theology, his book introduces a balanced alternative to Two-House theology. Twelve Gates welcomes Gentiles into the commonwealth of Israel, the New Jerusalem, and the Messianic Jewish movement.

from the promotional page for the book
Twelve Gates: Where Do the Nations Enter?
First Fruits of Zion

This is one of the “secret, unpublished books” I quoted from but couldn’t talk about before. Now I can, so I’m publishing my review. This book is really interesting, but probably not for the reason you think it is.

First off, the book was written by Boaz Michael, the Founder and President of First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ). I’m only drawing attention to this fact to say that I will not accept any comments made on this blog post that are for the specific purpose of “Boaz bashing.” If you want to comment about my review and the potential implications of this book, please be thoughtful and respectful. As the blog owner, I will remove any comment I deem offensive. Thank you.

On the surface, this is a book providing a critical analysis of the foundations of the two-house movement. For those of you unfamiliar with this perspective, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Two House Theology comes from the idea that the “House of Judah” in scripture refers to Jews, and the “House of Israel” refers to the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, or Ephraim. Where scripture states the House of Israel and Judah will again be “one stick” (Ezekiel 37:15–23), it is believed to be referring to the End Times, right before Jesus returns, that many of those descended from Israel will come back to Israel. This theology postulates that the reason why so many so-called gentiles are coming into Messianic Judaism is that the vast majority of them are really Israelites and just don’t know it yet. They believe a majority of the people who considered themselves as gentiles coming into Messianic Judaism are those of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. Like One Law groups, the Two House movement appears at first glance to have much in common with Messianic Judaism because of their belief in the ongoing validity of the Mosaic Covenant. While much of the Two House teaching is based on interpretations of Biblical prophecy, the biggest disagreements are due to inability to identify the genealogy of the ten lost tribes.

What I really love about this book though, isn’t its coverage of the two-house movement, but its treatment of a topic near and dear to my heart: the identity of non-Jews in discipleship to the Jewish Messiah. In other words, “me,” or to be more complete, everyone out there who is like me, Non-Jewish people who are drawn not only toward the God of Israel, but the perspective of Israel on God. This is crystallized in the conclusion of Boaz’s book:

The prophets of Israel recognized that when the Gentiles began to attach themselves to Israel and to Israel’s God, not as members of Israel or usurpers of Israel’s destiny but as sympathetic worshippers of the God of Abraham, it was a sign of the coming redemption (Zechariah 8). It was a boon for the Jewish people. Paul understood that if he was successful in his ministry to the Gentiles, it would cause the Jews to see his ministry in this light, and they would, as a result, accept Jesus as the Messiah of Israel and initiate the resurrection from the dead (Romans 11:12, 15). Paul could taste the closeness, the imminence of this event even in his day; how much more should it ignite our hearts with passion today!

Messianic Jews and Christians who are sensitive to their Jewish roots stand at two ends of a great bridge across which Christians receive the greatness of the Torah and the centrality of the Jewish people in God’s redemptive plan, and across which the Jewish people can see, for the first time in untold centuries, Jesus as a legitimate Messianic candidate. When everyone on both sides of the bridge understands their role and the eschatological significance of their very existence, this interchange can benefit everyone.

The majority of Twelve Gates is devoted, not to the two-house perspective a such, but to the matter of Gentile identity. To the casual reader, it may seem as if the book is unbalanced and loses its focus halfway through its own narrative, but I know from talking to Boaz that the emphasis on Gentile identity is deliberate. It’s impossible to talk about two-house without addressing the Gentile identity issues because, if we non-Jews who are drawn to the Torah and Judaism are not “the lost ten tribes,” then who are we and why are we swimming against the current of traditional Christianity?

Boaz’s answer is simple, elegant, and thoroughly satisfying, at least to me. No, I won’t reveal it here, but instead, I encourage you to purchase this book and discover it for yourself. It surprised me that Boaz took this particular direction in his writing and addressing two-house, and I’m very glad he did, because it quiets some of the disturbing voices I’ve been hearing about who I can and can’t be in relation to the King of the Jews and to God.

For those of you who support or are sympathetic to the two-house movement, rest assured that this isn’t a “two-house bashing” book. Knowing Boaz as I do, I didn’t think he would write it that way, but I’m sure there are a few folks who are thinking that Twelve Gates is just a way for FFOZ to discount and disrespect the sincere beliefs of those Gentiles out there who claim the spiritual and ethnic inheritance of Ephraim and Manasseh.

That’s not to say what Boaz writes will be popular among two-house proponents. Certainly, there will be those who will deny Boaz’s assertions and people who will feel wounded by this book, even though its approach is quite gentle.

But if you’re looking for a straightforward and honest treatment of two-house from a “Messianic Jewish” perspective, I really think you should read Twelve Gates. As I said before though, for me, the two-house content is secondary to what the book really says to me.

The Bible teaches that in Jesus, “the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body” with the Jewish people (Ephesians 3:6), and “fellow heirs with Christ” Himself (Romans 8:17). The point of the vision of the New Jerusalem is not to exclude the non-Jews from the city; rather the gates of Israel stand open to the Gentiles, beckoning them to enter into the eternal reward that God has prepared for His people. The vision of New Jerusalem is not one of exclusion but inclusion, as it says, “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day…They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the Gentiles.”

It says that though we are not all the same in function and purpose, we will all walk into New Jerusalem together as fellow disciples of the Master and fellow heirs of the Kingdom of God. It’s a book carrying the message, not of division, but of unity and the love of God. I said before that Boaz’s book pleasantly surprised me. Maybe it will surprise you, too.

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24 thoughts on “Twelve Gates: Where Do the Nations Enter, A Book Review”

  1. “The Bible teaches that in Jesus, “the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body” with the Jewish people (Ephesians 3:6), and “fellow heirs with Christ” Himself (Romans 8:17). The point of the vision of the New Jerusalem is not to exclude the non-Jews from the city; rather the gates of Israel stand open to the Gentiles, beckoning them to enter into the eternal reward that God has prepared for His people. The vision of New Jerusalem is not one of exclusion but inclusion, as it says, “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day…They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the Gentiles.””

    This contradicts the “Divine invitation” teaching. Boaz’s “New Jerusalem” is not really new. it is the same as the Jerusalem today, divided along ethnicity lines. The Arabs and Jews are not equal, and so is the vision of Boaz.

    So, what is new in the New Jerusalem?

  2. Frankly, I don’t see the contradiction. Jews and non-Jews can be co-heirs in the Kingdom of God without being blended into a single, homogenous, mass. In fact, it’s Jewish and Gentile identity and distinctiveness that adds the many different dimensions and gifts to the community of God that give it meaning.

    In the original Star Trek series, someone created the Vulcan symbol of the IDIC, which stands for infinite diversity in infinite combination. The physical IDIC symbol is made up of multiple different types of materials and textures but joined together in a single “framework” to illustrate the philosophy being described. Each element in the IDIC framework maintains its original properties and it all doesn’t have to be melted down and recast as a single, homogenous material in order to represent unity.

    Now imagine the different “materials” and “textures” of Jews and Gentiles being joined together in a single framework. That’s how I see the relationship of Jews and non-Jews in discipleship to the Master and as attached to the God of Israel.

  3. Now, take the “materials” and tell them that not only they don’t have the same responsibility in the “framework,” but they also have to go by a different ruls. How long do you think your “Marcian framework” will last?

  4. ONE-HOUSE/TWO-HOUSE/DUPLEX?: The enemy is using both sides of this issue to sow division; however: There is NO reason either side of this important dogmatic debate should be so…IF looked at in light of ALL Scripture….
    This issue has become quite a divisive subject over the last few years. But regardless of which side of this issue you take: I do not believe it is, nor should it be elevated to, a point of such contention that it causes Believers to break off fellowship and shun one another over it.

    This “dogma” causes division I think, as people are too emotionally attached to their own position(s) to examine it circumspectly. It’s kind of like when you find out something that you always thought was true your whole life is false, and it shakes your world view 🙂

    Let’s examine some things that can be shown to be facts….

    Israel, the Northern Tribes mostly as a whole were in the Diaspora, and their location was known in the first centuries A.D., (I say: mostly as a whole, as “some” came back, and “some” are shown being in Israel besides Benjamin, Judah, Simeon and Levi later.*[See Notes below]) Their identity was lost; however: I believe it is still represented in greater Israel to a lesser degree. Many are not identified with Israel, but were lost amongst the Goyim/Gentiles.- YHVH ONLY knows who they are for sure. The two sticks are both together today (as no one except the Cohanim know for sure who they are) – and yet the two sticks are shown as still being brought together again later – as the lost come in with the Goyim who come into the Congregation of Messiah, – both in Gentile expression and Messianic-Judaic expression, as grafted into the root of Israel. One could perhaps say then of the “grafted-in” branches: some are wild, and (YHVH knows who’s who): some are “natural” that were grafted into (so to speak) the Wild Olive Tree when they went into dispersion, so that they had taken on the identity of the “wild” and not the natural; so that they were cut-off – but have not (in a way) lost their identity as natural, (noting their parents who left of course), but have grown up in the “wild” so to speak.

    So far nothing too controversial just basic observation of history and what Scripture plainly says; but then the problems start to arise…

    Some say that if you are a Believer and start going to a Messianic Congregation that you HAVE to be of physical descent of the literal children of Israel. – This is not so. While I’m sure there are “SOME” who are physically Israel (YHVH knows who’s who) – there are others who are not. Else how could the Goyim/Gentiles of the “wild olive tree” be grafted into Israel during the 1st two centuries A.D. in the first place! And what about the Scripture that talks about the Goyim/Gentiles/Nations bringing their glory into Yerushalayim during the 1000 year reign of Messiah – etc…. Or that as AVRAM believed YHVH (as a Goy/Gentile) and became AVRAHAM and the father of “the Jews” by Covenant through FAITH – so to do the Believing Goyim become children of Believing Avraham! All kinds of doctrines get skewed if ALL people who go to a Messianic Congregation suddenly HAVE to be physical descendants of Israel. Even history and the Talmud and the New Covenant show us that their were two types of GOYIM – (not Israel in Diaspora) – that became Ger and Gar Tzadukim. Those who converted, and those who were “proselytes of the gate”: ones who kept Torah, yet did not become circumcised and thus part of Israel in the flesh. That of course addresses conversion, but the point is they were GOYIM. Also, if the wild are really ALL natural, then there would be no point of the darash that Rav Sha’ul/Paul gives and thus no need to identify the wild as “grafted and commonwealth” AFTER they are grafted in – if they’re only a re-grafting of the natural who “thought” they were wild! This sounds rather convoluted I must admit, but honestly think this through and I think that it will become clear.

    So… what can one say then? – Some in the Root of Israel are Natural that Believed and remained; some are grafted in of the wild Nations/Goyim that hold to a more Gentile expression (as in we see in Corinthians); some are grafted in that are of the wild Nations/Goyim that embrace Torah-Judaism but remain “Gentile” (in the good sense of the word Goyim – as simply meaning: ‘Nations’) – as we see in: the “Gar Tzadukim” or “Proselytes Of The Gate” as Talmud talks about and the New Covenant notes; and some are grafted in that were amongst the wild that were really natural way back with pysical Israel (these may or may not embrace Torah fully however, depending on how closely they listen to YHVH) – and finally some of this group “MAY” -(and I stress MAY) be led to become circumcised to re-identify with Israel. -[BUT: This must ONLY come about as the Ruach-HaKodesh/(Holy Spirit) leads, and NOT on their own volition. Otherwise they are violating the injunction: “…Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called….” – 1Cor.17:17-24. – Although we do have and example contrary to the rule in Scripture with Timothy. And we also note that Avram, as a Gentile, was specifically told to become circumcised by YHVH, not by man.]

    Now, this group needs to also be further broken down into two categories: those who are of “Judah/Jews” who find out that they are Jewish and their parents/grandparents didn’t tell them – or didn’t even know themselves – (there are been several cases of this that I’ve seen); – and the second group that “MAY” be of Israel from the dispersion who don’t/can’t know except from direct revelation from YHVH. Why do I say “direct” revelation? – Because there are those who say that you are automatically of Israel, yet this can be show to be false premise. In this case, the best advice I could give is: MAKE SURE YOU ARE HEARING FROM YHVH! – and not just your own desire to be “natural” Israel, so that your emotions in this matter will not allow you to examine the possibility that you are a Righteous Gentile Believer – a “Gar” Tzadukim” (yet not a literal “Ger”) – one who desires to keep Torah, but are grafted-in from the wild, and not specifically “Israel”, yet still part of the “Commonwealth of Israel”, a child of Avraham, and in the Root of Israel in Messiah Yeshua. Remember, Israel is brought back to the land ‘from’ the Nations, but Israel is not ‘the Nations’ – else the whole world would be “Israel”. When the Goyim are grafted into Israel, they are “of” Israel, and a child of believing Avraham – but are admonished to fear lest they boast against the Natural Branches. That is one danger one can enter into if one is not circumspect in this “dogma”.

    So, everyone is right 🙂 – unless you say that your slant alone is right, then you’re probably wrong 🙂

    …However: A serious problem arises when 2 House teachings are in the extreme that are not constrained by the literal Word of Scripture (which is where some have entered into error) and borders on British-Israelism & Replacement-Theology falsehood. – I’ve heard some 2 house teachers who I agree basically with the majority of what they say; and then there are others who call themselves 2 house I don’t agree with most of what they say. – Discern by the Word – “…yea, let Elohim/God be True, but every man a liar; as it is Written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” – Rom.3:4b.

    The following is an very important article that also gives some circumspection that touches on this subject….

    https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=326008353626

    Shalom

    *Notes (& an updatd post follows these notes):

    {via an Email by on: Messianic_Colorado@egroups.com}
    {…}
    Nachmanides discusses these prophecies and distinguishes between them. Just as part of Judah was exiled with the northern tribes so too did some people from the ten tribes remain with Judah. Their descendants are now to be found amongst the present-day Jews. The overwhelming majority of the Ten Tribes however were exiled by the Assyrians and NEVER returned though they are destined to do so. The Ten Tribes (said Nachmanides in ca. 1260 CE) are still in Tserefath (Gaul and its region) and “at the ends of the north.”
    {…}
    They said in the Midrash Seder Olam: Of those who came into the Land in the time of Ezra the whole community together numbered 42,360. The total whose names are recorded however only numbered 30,360. What happened therefore to the missing 12,000? These were those from the other Tribes who came up with Ezra.
    {…}
    It also appears from the simple meaning of the text, that before the exile of the northern country by Senacherib there were gathered into the cities of Judah people from the neighboring tribes of Menasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon and these then dwelt in the heritage of Judah. Or . This explains what was said concerning King Josiah, “They delivered the money that was brought into the house of God which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin” (2-Chronicles 34; 9). Prior to that time in the period King Asa it was written, “And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Menasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance when they saw YHVH/The-LORD his God was with him” (2-Chronicles 15; 9).
    {…}
    Those from the Tribes of Ephraim and Shimeon from Israel that were present (2-Chronicles 35;18) with Judah were they who dwelt in the Land of Judah or perhaps to some degree also those who had dwelt in their own territories adjoining Judah and had fled to Judah. They are referred (in 2 Chronicles 35;18) to in a general sense as “from Israel” and not by their specific tribes since they represented only a small portion of their tribe. These are they who returned under Ezra with the Jews from Babylon. They were not expressly mentioned by their tribes since they were attached to Judah. They all settled in the cities of Judah. There was no Redemption for the Ten Tribes who remained in exile.
    {…}
    [Another authority however, Tosefot in Arakin 32;a, says that, “from each and every tribe a few returned”]. These few were not enough to be termed a tribe in their own right or even part of a tribe – due to their minority position they were included amongst the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin and dwelt in their cities.

    ADDITIONAL COMMENT ON A LATER POST ON FB THAT CLAFIFY SOME OF THE ABOVE POINTS…

    The enemy is using this teaching(s) to sow division, where there should be none – as there are extreme teachings on both sides of that issue that do not align with the facts of Scripture – I’ve put up two articles that I believe outline the discussion from a Biblical view, and if that was used as a premise, the overboard teachings would be shown incorrect, and perhaps people could stop fighting of this issue…

    I would add that BOTH sides of this issue are causing confusion and division. – Very sad to see, as this is an important dogma, but not one that should cause division. – the problem is that there is ‘some’ two house teaching (not all) that borders on Replacement Theology and ‘British Israeli-ism” (as well as black only Israelites) that is contrary to Scripture – and there is some one-house teachings that don’t align with Scripture either – that’s why I say I’m a duplex – lol

    ..Part of the reason is some people have and extreme identity crisis: I knew a woman who after becoming Messianic, could simply not deal with the fact she was German, it was so bad that she was actually paranoid about it. – Another problem, is some fall into what I call the ‘little flock’ syndrome: Like the JW’s (Jehovah Witnesses) they have to believe they alone are part of a small exclusive group that the rest of the world is not a part of….

    ‎…But on the other side are those who refuse to admit that the Nations, those of the Wild Olive Tree, once grafted in the Natural Olive Tree – while they are still identified as being ‘wild-grafted’ (but not the natural), yet they are no longer just ‘wild’ – but have become partakers of the Natural Olive Tree, and are part of the Commonwealth of Israel (as Paul writes), and are of the Seed of Believing Abraham through Faith – in that sense they become “Hebrew (crossed over in Hebrew – Ivrim: as Avram when he too by faith, believing as a “Goy”/Gentile, crossed-over and became a “Hebrew”)….

    …But: Part of the Commonwealth of Israel, does not mean they physically ‘replace’ Israel-(and Israel in context includes Judah) – nor as some teach are all who walk in the door of a Messianic Congregation suddenly all Ephraim (or Israel in that sense); yet this is being falsely taught. – While some are Ephraim; yet if all were Ephraim/Israel, then all the verse in Tanakh and the N.T. that talk about the Goyim/Gentiles coming in, and even as the N.T. and Tanakh talk FAVORABLY of the “Gentiles” AFTER they come into covenant and Believe in Yeshua Messiah, would make no sense whatsoever! – Part of the problem there is some (falsely) teach that Goyim/Gentiles/Greek ALWAYS means pagan/negative – but that is NOT the case in Scripture. – While that word does hold that meaning, it also simply means “nations”, and in that sense it is NOT necessarily pagan nor negative. – All the righteous before Israel were “Goyim”: Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob… all were before “Israel” (Jacob himself becoming “Israel”) – in fact Israel (the nation) itself is called a “Goy”/(gentile) in that sense of the word: Goy/NATION in Scripture.
    So: Yes, the “Goyim” come into the Olive Tree – not replacing the natural branches – but are now partakers of it – even as Avram Believed YHVH Elohim and became Avraham, the father of many nations/goyim – and so they become in that sense “Hebrew”, and fellow citizens of the House of Israel, becoming part of the Commonwealth of Israel. BUT (excepting for those who are of Ephraim/Israel and may not know it – only YAH really knows in those cases) – they are of the nations who have come in – Wild-grafted, not the natural nor replacing the natural (which is able to be grafted in again – and not ALL were broke off, and were/are only blind in PART) – yet: They are no longer JUST “wild” any longer – wild-grafted, is no longer just ‘wild’ – and the distinctions are part of our new identity in Messiah: One new man, yet still: Jew and Gentile one in Messiah – for while there is no longer male nor female – yet: There is still male and female.

    ‎”Gentile” can be a word for an individual too: In Tanakh it speaks of Israel saying your father was a “Gentile” (somewhere, but I can’t recall at the moment) – and elsewhere “Gentile” is applied to ‘individuals’ – BUT Gentile doesn’t always mean ‘pagan’ – it can simply mean one of the nations. – and yes: Of course there is the Ger-Tzadik (who converted / proselyte) in Tanakh – but also: Yes, in the sense that the goyim become PART of the Commonwealth of Israel through Faith – so: In that sense, the Believing Gentiles become “Hebrew-Israelites”-(but in all the context as I mentioned prior). – One needs to be careful of labeling ‘gentile’ as always meaning pagan/negative, when Scripture Itself doesn’t do so – it has a dual meaning and is not just a word in a box.

    …NOW: I should add, in the ‘negative’ sense of the word, Believers are no longer “gentiles/pagan”, but in the positive sense of the word they still are (from the nations) – BUT… that word is defined by its usage in context in Scripture – so…both statements are true: no longer ‘gentile’, and one who IS from the ‘gentiles’ – and both (negative & positive) apply…one past and one current…however: Gentile-only (even in the positive sense of the word) no longer applies to Believers in Messiah Yeshua/(Jesus) – although many Gentile Christians deny their new identity: Either out of ignorance or spite.

  5. @Wm BenCarl: Oh Wow! I think your response is longer than my original book review (and I don’t have the time at the moment to work through such a lengthy comment). Since I didn’t post the specific explanation the book offers for discounting the two-house theology, all I can suggest is for you to get a hold of a copy of Twelve Gates and read it for yourself (it’s fairly short so it won’t take a great deal of time to get through the material). Then you’ll be in a better position to comment on the specifics of the book and not just on the general concept.

    @Dan and everyone else:
    For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

    For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

    The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

    Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

    And I will show you a still more excellent way.

    1 Corinthans 12:12-31 (ESV)

    Even Paul said that it’s OK for us not to be all the same. Being different doesn’t mean more or less loved by God or valuable to God and to other people. It just means different.

  6. You are not alone by creating a straw-man from 1 Cor. 12:13-31. Nowhere does it say that the different part are not equal or each has to adhere to different rules.

  7. I have to disagree with you, Dan. I don’t think this is a straw man at all. The passage is clear that some of the folks Paul was describing were jealous of the position of others who they felt had “better gifts.” From the context, I don’t think Paul was specifically addressing Jewish vs non-Jewish disciples, but the argument can be applied that way, since the dynamics and the emotions operating are the same.

    Not too long ago, I posted a two-part series on this very topic: Part 1 and Part 2. Back in December, I also commented on this matter in a blog post simply called Dayenu. I suppose we could argue this back and forth all day long, but I’ve expressed my opinions on the matter of Jewish vs. Gentile identity in the body of Messiah abundantly already. I understand that you and probably many other folks aren’t going to see things the same way I do.

  8. @James: Yes, and I’ll try to do that. I also know Michael Boaz, and have heard him speak/teach when he’s done so here in Denver; as well as having kept up much of Tim Hegg’s teachings. I’ve also been in the Messianic movement here in Colorado since the 80’s, starting with Burt Yellin and Eliezer & Chaim Urbach’s Congregation: Roeh Israel, which was at the beginning of the UMJC. Having also attended off and on other Messianic Congregations in Denver over the years, a couple of them were ‘somewhat’ 2-house in their stance; but there are also some in the Metro area that I’d term as “radical-2house’. It is a shame that this subject has caused so much division in the Body of Messiah. First and foremost: We must as Believers in Yeshua Messiah ALWAYS put the Word of YHVH Elohim FIRST over are lives, and then weigh everything else, as a distant second, by His Word. – If that was practiced, dogmatic issues like these wouldn’t digress to the point they become man-made teachings that cause people to fall off into a ditch. – Shalom.

  9. What really stokes my fire is the fact that such a discussion is actually taking place at all; That men, to whom HaShem gives His Breath: life, like His own, are comprehending and handling His Holy things. Reminds me of Joseph Telushkin’s excellent book “HILLEL – If not now, when?”. We see the Master as a natural son of Beit Hillel and yet learn to see the rivalry with Beit Shammai, even in it’s ugliest moments, as what naturally happens in the Mishpochah when those who ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness’ actually set out to pursue it. Yeshua indeed brought us to a higher way of Love. Where are we on this 46 th day of the count? We are at Har Sinai, each one in his own mind, setting up camp, purifying prayers from parched lips, still unsure of so many things, but sure about one thing: that we have come to know Him that was from the beginning; that we have tasted the fruit of the Redemption, and the Grace that led us to His Torah, here at His mountain, and made us His Talmidim. Rosh Kodesh Tov and Hag Sameach Shavuot to you all.

  10. Greetings, Ari,

    Yes, I’ve read Rabbi Telushkin’s excellent book and even managed to blog on it.

    When you say that this discussion “really stokes” your fire, I’m not sure if that’s delight or dismay you’re expressing. I will say that these sorts of discussions are necessary between the different members of the body because we don’t always see these matters in the same way. We learn more about ourselves and about God when we ask questions, debate, and challenge (respectfully) each other.

    Hag Sameach Shavuot.

  11. Shalom James, Yes, it’s an old surfer term meaning ‘excited’ or ‘jazzed’ in a good way; What these discussions reflect is an ontological reality that validates HaShem’s efforts to speak to mankind. We ‘see in part’, like the proverbial Hindu blind men arguing about what an elephant is like, as each one holds a different part of the animal. True, their concepts may be hindered by their handicap, but, nevertheless, they are actually touching and knowing truth about the elephant. When Moshiach comes he will open our eyes, then we will all see ‘eye to eye’. May He come soon, in our day.

  12. Good review! I’m sure I’ll read this book some time. As a fellow Gentile I am always glad to see more material being published which clarifies the importance of a distict Jewish and Gentile identity in Messiah. Peace be with you.

  13. I received a copy of Toby Janicki’s book “The God-Fearers” at the conference which will further illuminate Jewish-Gentile roles. I will review it as soon as I can.

  14. Author Boaz Michael makes a number of assumptions in his quest to confront “two house” theology. One of the major assumptions by the author is that two house adherents consider themselves ethnic Israelites or that the focus of the two house movement is biological ancestry. By using “guilt by association” the author illogically lumps into one all two house adherents. There are many two house adherents who aren’t interested in their DNA results. The author misuses Romans 9:4 which refers to adoption. He doesn’t believe that adoption is a means of becoming part of Israel. He likewise misquotes Ephesians 3:6 claiming that Gentiles don’t take on the identity of Israel.

    What do believing Gentiles inherit as co-heirs? According to the author, the Gentiles are “saved” but they receive no inheritance. Is that consistent with Torah? What about Ruth, Rahab, Caleb, Jacob’s concubines, Moses’ wife, etc… Where is it written that they converted? What was the conversion process?

    The author is against non-Jews converting to Judaism in order to become “part of Israel” despite the fact that he himself converted to Judaism after being raised as a gentile! He asserts that Gentiles who become Messianic are practicing a form of Judaism. He fails to realize that the overwhelming majority of people in the Messianic movement were raised just like him: NON-JEWS. He asserts that Paul created an identity for believing Gentiles. Since when does Paul have authority to contradict God’s pattern of conduct regarding adopting believing Gentiles into Israel? Is the author stating that Paul was acting contrary to the Torah in creating a new class of believers? God forbid.

    Lastly, the author asserts that Israel was predominately assimilated into Judah after Cyrus’s Proclamation, but Ezra 1:5, 4:1 and 10:7, as well as Nehemiah 11:14 say that only Judah and Benjamin returned! If all, part or even a deminimis amount of the 10 tribes returned to the land with Ezra in 538 BC, then why does Zehariah write in 518 BC about longing for the exiles return?

  15. Thanks for stopping by and posting your opinion, S. Aaron. I’m sure it will be useful to those who are trying to look at the content from different points of view.

    Peace.

  16. Thank you for this review! I found it while looking for the symbols for the twelve tribes of Israel more for an art project. It was very well written, informative, respectful and comforting.
    Thank you!

  17. I can’t remember where I’ve seen this sort of discussion previously, where the question about where gentiles may enter mistakenly assumed that the Jewish tribal names on the twelve gates meant that only Jews of one particular tribe were to use a given gate. That’s really kinda silly, if we think practically. The current “old city” of Jerusalem has a gate called the Jaffa gate, and one called the Damascus gate, but no one would be so silly as to think that residents of those cities would use only those gates, even to return toward their homes, nor that only residents of those cities would use those gates. Similarly, the Lion gate is not intended for use solely by lions. We could say something comparable about the Dung gate, especially in modern times when sanitation is handled quite differently than it was when the gate was named. The name on a gate does commemorate something, but it does not prescribe nor limit who may use the gate. Consequently, gates named after each of the twelve Jewish tribes will commemorate those tribes, but the gates themselves will be open to welcome all who may come.

    This is, of course, quite a different matter from the discussion about who is a Jew of the house of Israel (or of Judah) or who is a participant in the Torah covenant, either as originally presented at Sinai, or as described by Jeremiah with a new delivery system for greater effectiveness, or as referenced with Passover-seder symbology by Rav Yeshua to his Jewish disciples at a pre-seder-training meal the evening before his arrest — or the question about the mechanisms by which gentile disciples may embrace or cling to the covenant to obtain non-member benefits from it alongside its Jewish members.

  18. I think the book was actually written to address the “Two-House” theology and debunk it. Although Boaz Michael’s name is on the cover, it was actually written by Jacob Fronczak, who is an FFOZ staff member (Jacob was new to FFOZ when he wrote this and I think they wanted to initially shield him from how some people would “critically” respond to the book).

    It’s been over 3 1/2 years since I wrote this and I haven’t thought much about my review or the book itself in a long time.

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