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“Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times
some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving
spirits and doctrines of demons.”
Essentially the Ephraim Teaching, that continues to plague so many Israel supporting Christians, is false as it is rooted in historical inaccuracy and the irresponsible exposition of the scriptures. Of course those enamored with all things Jewish see in this teaching an opportunity to identify themselves as Jews! The Ephraim teaching is a form of replacement theology in that by virtue of its older manifestation as British Israelism it asserts that the British Commonwealth of nations are indeed the so called lost ten tribes of Israel. They just don’t know it but if they studied their history they would discover this as the word “British” actually means “Covenant Man”. The British Royal Family is thus said to be the perpetuation of David’s Throne since after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC Jeremiah supposedly brought the “Crowning Stone”, otherwise known as the “Stone of Scone”, and the royal Princesses to the British Isles.
In its more recent form this doctrine takes the names of “The House of Joseph” or that of “The Ephraim Teaching.” To support this theory two scenarios are posited:
1. That Christians replace the Ten Tribes of the once Northern Kingdom of Israel and are thus very much part of Israel and as such have the right to make Aliyah. (Return to the land of Israel and resettle in the Biblical heartland.) They assert that the Northern Kingdom was judged and exiled because of their rebellion against God and subsequently cast away.
2. That Christians are the ancient house of Israel and that Jesus’ atoning work only extends as far as them. Fully misunderstanding Jesus’ mission; in that the Kingdom had to first be offered to Israel, they wrongly apply Matthew 15:24 (Jesus says; “….I was only sent to the House of Israel.’) to themselves and thereby believe in a limited atonement. Jesus did not die for every man on the face of the earth (Hebrews 2:9) but only for the house of Israel. Thus a Zulu man living in the one thousand hills of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa, if he comes to faith in Jesus, proves that he is in fact a descendant of the ancient house of Israel! How he got there they cannot tell you!
All of this turns Paul’s references to the Gentiles in the New Testament upside down. They are in fact Israel Gentiles! Jesus never really died for real Gentiles, like those in the Amazon jungle, as He only came for the lost sheep of the House of Israel. This also makes nonsense of the Great Commission and the fact that one day in Heaven there will be people from every tribe and nation gathered at the great Throne of God. (Matthew 28:19-20; Revelation 5:9-10) And yet, this false doctrine continues to take root everywhere deceiving the untaught and unsuspecting Christians. It brings the valid biblical ministry to Israel into disrepute and ministers are rightly scared to move in this direction because they fear that the Ephraim crazies may well move in and affect their flocks with their nonsense.
The truth is:
1. The tribes of Israel were integrated by division and dispersion.
That is; with the division of the Davidic Kingdom into two entities after Solomon’s reign a mass migration from the Northern Kingdom of Israel to the Southern Kingdom of Judah took place because of the Temple at Jerusalem and the significance of the city itself. To stop this migration Jeroboam, the Northern King, built a rival Temple in Samaria with pagan rituals. Scripture affirms that he caused Israel to sin thereby. (1Kings 12:25-33) Therefore in the south the tribes mingled, lived together and finally integrated. Slowly but surely the term Jew became a generic term for all of Israel.
In 722 BC the Northern Kingdom is conquered by the Assyrians and taken into exile. This exile is to the north and east of Israel meaning that when the Southern Kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BC the people were carried off into the same region. Here again they mingled and integrated and became finally known as Jews. (Esther 3:6; Nehemiah 1:6) So, the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom were lost only in the sense that they lost their tribal identity. They were never lost in the sense that they vanished from history. Proof of this is that Jesus recognized that in preaching to the Jews of His day He was in fact preaching to all of Israel. (Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24) Also, James addresses his epistle to the…”twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.” He would not write in this way if the twelve tribes were lost! Actually these twelve tribes were Jews who had believed in Jesus as the early apostolic preachers went from Synagogue to Synagogue preaching Jesus. (Acts 13:5)
The Jews that have returned to Israel today are indeed the twelve tribes of Israel and truly as Ezekiel predicted they have returned to the land of their forefathers as “one stick” and not two! (Ezekiel 37:15-19)
2. The Book of Hosea is incorrectly expounded by Ephraim Teachers.
Hosea warns Israel that she will be judged for her iniquity and that a people who were never God’s people (not my people) will be invited into fellowship with the God of Israel. (Hosea 2:23) Ephraim teachers wrongly assert that these “not my people” are Christians called to replace Israel or at a later date, some 2030 years later, are the lost tribes recovered in the Christian Church! This is sheer nonsense.
Our understanding of what Hosea meant is not open to conjecture as Paul clarifies this for us in his Epistle to the Roman Church. The Northern Kingdom’s rebellion against God and sin removed its people, for a period, from the grace of God. To make them jealous God will call a people to a place of faith and salvation who historically were never His people. (Romans 9:30)These people are real gentiles from all over the world according to Paul. They are not Israelites and never were and they are not a replacement of them. They are gentiles called out of darkness into the great light of Jesus and they share in Israel’s spiritual things. (Romans 9:25-26; Romans 15:27) Moreover, they are grafted into Israel’s spiritual tree of salvation and are thus first class citizens of the Kingdom of God and do not have to prove that somehow they are Jewish or Israel. (Romans 11:17-22)
So then to infer that the Gentile believers are somehow the lost ten tribes of Israel or a replacement of them and thus having a secret identity is a blatant contradiction of Paul’s teaching. Enough said; the argument is over! Indeed the Gentile believers in Jesus are the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham when He told him that he would be the father of all nations. (Romans 4:13)
3. The New Testament itself bears testimony to the fact the Jews in the dispersion are in fact the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Ephraim teaching is offensive to Jews as it constitutes yet another attempt to rob them of their identity. The doctrine is a deception built on the falsification of history and the twisting of the Word of God. It attacks the notion that God loves the whole world (John 3:16) and that He gave His Son to die for it. It also undermines the completeness of Jesus’ work as its disciples begin to keep Jewish rituals, Sabbaths and feasts. All of this is warned against by Paul. (Colossians 2:6-10; 11; 16-19)
Jesus knew that by preaching to the Jews of His day He was in fact preaching to the twelve tribes of Israel and He sent His disciples out to do the same thing and said as much. (Matthew 10:6) James writes to the Jews in the dispersion and calls them the twelve tribes (James 1:1) and Peter does the same by addressing his first epistle to the “pilgrims of the dispersion.” (1Peter 1:1) These were Jews or Israel as the gentiles were never “pilgrims of the dispersion” as he puts it.
In closing let me say that the Jews today are a people comprising all the original tribes of Israel and that the term “Jew” then has become an inclusive designation of all the tribes. These tribes are not lost by any means as, apart from a great multitude from all tribes and peoples that will appear at the Throne of God in the end, there will also be the saved twelve tribes of Israel. (Revelation 7:4-12) God seals them and numbers them! The message could not be clearer.
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries