How Much Good Theology Do We Need?

Doug posted this question on Facebook:

In your opinion: how much good theology/Christology to I need to get to heaven and how much bad theology/Christology can I have and still make it? Note: Christology what is what one believes/teaches about Yeshua. Thus, how much must I (properly) understand / believe / teach to be saved? Consider, do I need to understand and believe in the virgin birth, the Yeshua’s divinity, the hypostatic union etc.?

I am not saying that those things aren’t true or that they don’t matter, but how much must I understand those things to be saved? Is it possible to be saved while having an incomplete or even wrong understanding of the key doctrines? If so, can Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, be saved?

I think this is a good question that needs to be further broken down for a thorough examination.

Understanding particular doctrines is not so much at issue as the heart of the individual who places His trust in God and the degree to which he submits.

To start with, I’d like to examine an example of somebody who was saved through faith, without any level of knowledge; the thief on the cross.

This man did have knowledge of Jesus’ divinity and Lordship:

Luke 23:39-42
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

Here we have the basic element necessary for salvation; repentance. He was also aware that what he had done was wrong in God’s eyes which implies a knowledge of God’s standards.

We have to look to Scripture for examples of salvation without the knowledge that Jesus was God. Hebrews 11 details many who were saved by faith, who did not have the explicit knowledge that Jesus, or the Messiah, would be God. They simply believed, had faith in, the Word of God (which Jesus was anyway).

A point that is worthy of consideration is that Paul wrote this to Timothy:

2 Timothy 3:15
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

He asserts that Timothy has had the Holy Scriptures that would make him “wise unto salvation” since he was a child. There is no doubt in my mind that he is referring to the Tanakh.

Paul does refer to the book of Luke as Scripture when he says:

1 Timothy 5:18
18 For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn” is a reference to the Torah but “The labourer is worthy of his reward” (which he says comes from “Scripture”), comes from the book of Luke.

So depending on Timothy’s age, a case could be made both ways on whether Paul was referring to all of Scripture or just New Testament writings but I know where I’d put my money. I also think it’s interesting that he follows up the reference to “the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” with this verse:

2 Timothy 3:16
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Paul has also just spent a great deal of 2 Timothy 3 discussing those who reject Moses:

2 Timothy 3:7-8
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

He also goes on in 2 Timothy 4:3 to say that a time will come when people reject Torah:

2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Paul knows exactly what sound doctrine is, Biblically speaking:

Proverbs 4:2
2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

He also makes several references to “the truth”:

Psalm 119:142
142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

The entire of 2 Timothy 3 and half of 2 Timothy 4 is an admonition to follow Torah, so the idea that 2 Timothy 3:15 is referring to anything else, would be ludicrous given the context.

All in all, I would conclude that Paul was saying that the Tanakh could make you “wise unto salvation” through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Another point where I would seek to breakdown the question further is that, it is a very different question to ask whether somebody must have certain knowledge to be saved, to asking whether somebody can believe something false and be saved. For example asking ‘If I was unaware that Jesus was God, could I still be saved?’, would be very different to asking ‘If I believed that Jesus was a purple taco called Sam could I still be saved?’.

Regarding the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their false doctrine, Scripture tells us that false prophets can lead people away from YHVH:

Deuteronomy 13:5
5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

We have the Word of God, so it is incumbent upon us to seek out the truth of what it says. We know that angels can sin and so they are not eligible to pay the price of a sinless substitutionary atonement. We are also told explicitly, in several places in Scripture, that Jesus is God.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in prophets who have prophesied things which have not come to pass. YHVH takes a dim view of such things:

Deuteronomy 18:20-22
20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?

22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

The crux of the matter to me is realising that YHVH is sovereign and it is Him that salvation is dependent on. We cannot do anything to guarantee salvation for ourselves. We cannot say that if you follow a prescribed procedure, you will definitely be saved. All we can do is acknowledge that we are saved by faith and act faithfully to YHVH and His word and know that He is faithful and just.

All we can really say is that YHVH knows those who are His and no man can snatch them out of His hand. He has foreknowledge and all we can do is make sure that our heart is always to seek truth; otherwise we are led astray.

Regarding this, we can only be deceived by what it is in our hearts to want to be deceived by. The adversary has no power other than that which we give to him. He leads us away by preying on our own failings and evil desires:

James 1:13-14
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

The characteristics that all who received salvation throughout Scripture had were repentance and faith in the Word of God. This posits a question about the larger context of this inquiry which is ‘What does Scripture tell us about salvation generally?’

Regarding salvation generally (I know this is outside of the scope of the original question but if you will indulge me I’ll give my opinion because I think that it is indirectly relevant), the issue is not the same for each person because, as I will demonstrate, our level of culpability is directly correlative to our level of understanding.

1 Samuel 16:7
7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Jeremiah 17:10
10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

1 Corinthians 4:5
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

A tool that is used to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart is how we respond to His Word.

Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

If we just blow off the Word of God or choose the desires of our flesh over it, then we are showing our heart towards the Word which John 1:1 tells us is God Himself.

YHVH’s judgement is dependent on other factors that should be examined too:

Luke 6:46
46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

There are two obvious reasons for not doing what the Lord has said:

a) Disobedience

b) Not Knowing what He has said.

To deal with disobedience, we can see that such is not tolerated, if someone engages in it unrepentantly:

Deuteronomy 29:19-20
19 And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:

20 The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.

So blessing yourself even though you are walking in stubborn disobedience results in your name being blotted out:

Hebrews 10:26
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Again “the truth” is Torah and sin is transgression of it (1 John 3:4). The word “wilfully” implies a stubborness. Another parallel to what Paul writes here is found in the Torah:

Numbers 15:30-31
30 But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

31 Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

The Hebrew implies something that is done by thumbing your nose to the Torah’s authority. It is equated with despising the Word. We see here that acceptance of the Word is necessary for your iniquity to be forgiven.

A question that often arises, is “What is the unforgivable sin?” Since sin is transgression of the Torah, we must find “the unforgivable sin” somewhere in Torah. Wilful disobedience shows a lack of repentance and without repentance there can be no forgiveness. The sin is, literally, unforgivable.

We know that the previous Scriptures are not addressing repentant sin, from other verses such as these, however:

1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 2:1
2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

If we repent, we are forgiven. YHVH knows that we are just dust and that we will fall. We can see that repentance has always led to forgiveness of sins throughout Scripture (Psalm 51):

Ezekiel 18:21-23
21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.

23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

Ignorance is a different matter and is dealt with indirectly and directly, in Scripture. It is dealt with indirectly, in that we know there are sections of the Torah that were procedures to deal with ignorant sin. We know that the sacrifices in the Torah pictured the atoning sacrifice of Jesus so we know that ignorant sin can be atoned for.

Ignorant sin is addressed directly, in Scripture, in the following places:

Luke 12:47-48
47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

48 But HE THAT KNEW NOT, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

So deliberate sin (that is repented for) will entail being beaten with many stripes and ignorant sin entails being beaten with few stripes. The level of culpability is dependant on knowledge. We are given this principle “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”. The wicked would, perhaps, see this as a reason to know less but the righteous would see this as a reason to know more and seek truth with all of their heart (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Those who did not know are mentioned elsewhere in Scripture:

Proverbs 24:12
12 If thou sayest, Behold, WE KNEW IT NOT; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

Again YHVH tries the heart and has this as His standard (what you did with what you had) rather than a prescribed level of knowledge.

There are passages that bear examination because they give us more insight into the relationship between knowledge and judgement:

Matthew 7:21
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

So we are plainly told that he who doesn’t do the Father’s will, will not enter the kingdom of heaven. It is therefore imperative that we know how Scripture defines the will of the Father:

Psalm 40:8
8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Jesus continues:

Matthew 7:22-23
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

So those who work “iniquity” are told to depart from Him. The word for iniquity is ἀνομία (anomia) and its usage is given thusly in Strong’s:

the condition of without law

because ignorant of it

because of violating it

contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness

So, we are told that those who are without Torah (who do not do the will of the Father) will not enter into the kingdom and will be told to depart from Jesus.

Matthew 5:18-19
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

So, we have two standards here, those who are without law who are told to depart and cannot enter the kingdom and those who accept law but break the least of the commandments, who are least in the kingdom.

I find this passage very, very interesting:

Revelation 22:14-15
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

So, this is after the great white throne judgement, when those not found in the Lamb’s book of life are cast into the lake of fire; there are still those who are outside of the city. Whether these are the least in the kingdom or whether those outside are the ones told to depart from Him is not explicitly clear. I do believe that a proper exegesis of Scripture will reveal the answer though.

They are described as “dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters”. All of those terms are used in the Tanakh to describe those who reject Torah. As for “whosoever loveth and maketh a lie”, I would point out that “the truth” is Torah so this is another term for those who love sin over Torah. They are also contrasted with “they that do His commandments”.

Whether salvation depends on your obedience (obedience certainly demonstrates a higher level of faith (Romans 16:26)) is certainly debatable but I do not see the profit in this debate. The only ones interested in such a question are those who do not seek His righteousness. Either way, the general principle is that those who are more righteous and seek to know Him better will fare better.


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Who Are the House of Jacob?


The Bible is full of stories of betrayal, adultery and redemption; of covenants made with man and broken by him. However, there is one that although you may have read, you will, perhaps, have not understood. In this article I will uncover it for you, and hopefully, by the end, you’ll be as amazed as I was when YHVH revealed it to me.


We pick up the biblical narrative after the flood and the lives of Abraham and Isaac, when Jacob has misappropriated his brother’s birthright and blessing, fled and returned from Laban’s house, has wrestled with YHVH, lived in Shechem, settled in the land of Canaan with his sons, moved to Egypt and been reunited with the son he thought lost to wild animals, Joseph.

YHVH has given Jacob the name ‘Israel’ which means ‘struggled or wrestled with God’. The descendants of his twelve sons would become the twelve tribes of Israel. As he was approaching the end of his life, he blesses them all (along with Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh who he adopts as his own (Genesis 48:5-6)).

Jacob (Israel) split the firstborn blessing between Joseph (and his lineage through his sons) (Genesis 48:14-20) and Judah (Genesis 49:8-12), who would become the house of Israel and the house of Judah respectively. To Joseph he gave a double material portion and to Judah he gave the priestly blessing, the pre-eminence and kingship (which is why Y’shua came from this line). This is key, in understanding how everything played out from then onwards.

When Israel blessed Ephraim (Joseph’s son), in Genesis 48:17-19, he uses a phrase that will become very significant:

17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.

18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

Multitude of nations’ in Hebrew is מְלֹֽא־הַגֹּויִֽם ‘melo ha’ goyim’ which can be translated into the Greek phrase πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν which we have rendered as ‘fullness of the gentiles’ in Romans 11:25. This will be discussed below.

A gentile is simply a member of a nation other than Israel and hence implies that they are out of covenant with YHVH. We as Christians are not gentiles. There is no such thing as a gentile believer; only people who used to be gentiles but are now believers. In the context of Ephraim, Jacob is saying that he is going to become a group of people who are out of covenant with YHVH and no longer a part of Israel, and indeed they do. We will look at that more fully below as well.

In Exodus 19, Moses goes up unto YHVH who makes a covenant with all of the children of Israel (house of Jacob) at the base of Mt. Sinai. Consistently through the scriptures, when we draw close to YHVH, things go well for us; we reap His blessings.

Deuteronomy 4:40
40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which YHVH thy God giveth thee, for ever.

When we stray from YHVH’s teaching and instruction (a more accurate translation of ‘Torah’) and start to think that we can be wiser than God, things go badly for us; we reap the curses described in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. God lays the whole situation out in Deuteronomy 30:15-18:

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

16 In that I command thee this day to love YHVH thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and YHVH thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

Among the specific curses that are listed in Deuteronomy 28, this is mentioned in verse 64:

64 And YHVH shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.

By the time His people were about to cross the Jordan, into the promised land, a generation had passed and YHVH reiterated the words of His covenant.

Deuteronomy 29:1
1 These are the words of the covenant, which YHVH commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb [Mt. Sinai].

YHVH reiterated the words of the covenant He made at Mt. Sinai with the sons and daughters of those with whom He had made the original covenant. Their parents had seen the miracles that YHVH had done, their children had not. YHVH reiterated the promises of Leviticus 26 by saying He would scatter His people throughout all the nations of the Earth if they broke His Torah. He makes it clear that this is not only true for the people standing before Him that day but with their future descendants:

Deuteronomy 29:14-15
14 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;

15 But with him that standeth here with us this day before YHVH our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day:

YHVH made this covenant with you if you are a believer. He is and will be the same yesterday, today and forever. The covenant is with the Israelites, then and in the future, and with anyone who would attach themselves to the Israelites and become grafted into them.

When the Israelites were leaving Egypt, there were Egyptians who wanted to go with them. In Exodus 12:49, YHVH said:

49 There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.

Ephesians 2:12 talks in the same terms when it says:

12 That at that time ye were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Anyone who follows the terms of the covenants and submits to YHVH’s Torah, are counted as His people:

Isaiah 56:2-8
2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to YHVH, speak, saying, YHVH hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

4 For thus saith YHVH unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to YHVH, to serve him, and to love the name of YHVH, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

8 The Lord YHVH, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.


When the Israelites took back the land of Canaan, they wanted to have a King to rule over them like the nations that surrounded them; to appease them, YHVH gave them Saul, David and Solomon. The twelve tribes (the house of Jacob) were ruled as one, until events described in 1 Kings:

1 Kings 11:31
31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith YHVH, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:

The rule of the kingdom would have been passed to Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, who succeeded him as king, but Solomon took many foreign wives whom he allowed to worship other gods in contravention to YHVH’s law. Solomon even built shrines for his wives to sacrifice on and granted special privileges to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, thus alienating the ten northern tribes. The prophet Ahijah of Shiloh prophesied that Jeroboam, son of Nebat, would become king over ten of the twelve tribes, instead of Solomon’s son.

YHVH split the northern kingdom, the house of Israel, and southern kingdom, the house of Judah. The house of Israel were ruled by Jeroboam, the servant of Solomon, and consisted of the tribes of Reuben, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim, Manasseh and part of the tribe of Levi. The house of Judah (from where we get the name ‘Jew’), was the southern kingdom and consisted of the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin (and part of the tribe of Levi). 1 Kings 11:33 states YHVH’s reason for doing this:

33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

The worship and glorification of false gods among YHVH’s people who are still engaged in pagan rituals, instead of the Biblical celebrations that He has commanded, is still a major issue today but that’s a different subject for another day.

1 Kings 22:39 talks of ‘the annals of the Kings of Israel’ and in 1 Kings 22:46, about ‘the annals of the Kings of Judah’. By the reigns of Ahab and Jehoshaphat (the Kings of Israel and Judah respectively) the two Kingdoms had quite distinct identities.


The house of Israel (also referred to as the house of Joseph and Ephraim (Ezekiel 37:16)) and the house of Judah are of the same father (Jacob) but of different mothers. Joseph was born to Rachel and Judah was born to Leah. They were the two sons amongst whom Jacob’s firstborn blessing was split. There was fighting between them until the house of Israel were taken into captivity by the king of Assyria. Both houses were in open rebellion to YHVH, and following after pagan gods but the house of Israel were the worst offenders and in c.722bc, they were taken into captivity:

1 Kings 17:13-18
13 Yet YHVH testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.

14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in YHVH their God.

15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom YHVH had charged them, that they should not do like them.

16 And they left all the commandments of YHVH their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.

17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of YHVH, to provoke him to anger.

18 Therefore YHVH was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.

The pagan worship continued in Judah, until the reign of Hezekiah who trusted in YHVH and turned from the evil practices of the rulers before him.

2 Kings 18:1-7
1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.

2 Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.

3 And he did that which was right in the sight of YHVH, according to all that David his father did.

4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

5 He trusted in YHVH, God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.

6 For he clave to YHVH, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which YHVH commanded Moses.

7 And YHVH was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.

Hezekiah came under siege by the King of Assyria, who had taken the northern kingdom into captivity. He prayed to YHVH to ask His will, concerning the matter. Isaiah was sent to him with this word, as detailed in 1 Kings 18:30-34:

30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.

31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of YHVH Tzeva’ot shall do this.

32 Therefore thus saith YHVH concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.

33 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith YHVH.

34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

YHVH saved the city. The angel of YHVH came that night and destroyed the 185,000 Assyrians encamped around it and Sennacherib retreated to Nineveh.

This break in pagan worship and the rebellion of the people was not long lived however. After Hezekiah’s reign, the house of Judah were involved in pagan worship, divination, enchantment and idolatry of all kinds again.


In 589bc, Nebuchadnezzar II besieged Jerusalem which fell after an 18 month siege. After killing all of Zedekiah’s sons, Nebuchadnezzar took Zedekiah to Babylon, putting an end to the independent kingdom of Judah. Much of Judah was devastated and the temple was destroyed:

2 Kings 25:1-11; 21
1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about.

2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.

3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.

4 And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.

5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.

6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.

7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.

8 And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:

9 And he burnt the house of YHVH, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire.

10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.

11 Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.

21 And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land.


After the Babylonian captivity, the house of Judah returned to the land (in part; some remained in Babylon) but the house of Israel, have never returned since they were taken by the king of Assyria and divorced by YHVH (Jeremiah 3:8). They are commonly referred to as ‘the lost tribes’. However, as we know, YHVH does not renege on His promises:

Deuteronomy 30:1-6
1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither YHVH thy God hath driven thee,

2 And shalt return unto YHVH thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;

3 That then YHVH thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither YHVH thy God hath scattered thee.

4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will YHVH thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:

5 And YHVH thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.

6 And YHVH thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love YHVH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Judah returned to YHVH and obeyed His voice but the house of Israel are yet to do this. The first century Jewish historian, Josephus tells of how those of the northern kingdom, who had not yet fully dispersed, lived just outside of Israel in Y’shua’s time. John refers to the dispersion himself in John 7:35:

35 Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?

The northern kingdom, are referred to as the house of Israel, the house of Joseph or just Ephraim. When you see these references in the scriptures, this is what is being referred to. The house of Jacob is both the house of Israel and the house of Judah together. YHVH promised to bring the house of Judah (the Jews) and the house of Israel (the multitude of nations) back into relationship with Him; and thereby, bring the house of Israel back into covenant.

Ezekiel 37:19-24
19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord YHVH; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.

21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord YHVH; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.

23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

Also in Jeremiah 31:31 (also quoted in Hebrew 8:8), YHVH says:

31 Behold, the days come, saith YHVH, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

The new covenant is only between YHVH and these two houses but as we saw, YHVH will welcome anyone who seeks Him and does the things which He finds pleasing, as His people.


Y’shua’s incarnation started the chain of events prophesied in Ezekiel 37, and this is something that is rarely taught in our churches. This is a tragedy, as it is such an integral part of our heritage.

Y’shua states that He only came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel:

Matthew 15:24
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

When He sent the disciples out, He instructs them that they are to only go to the house of Israel:

Matthew 10:5-6
5 These twelve Y’shua sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Y’shua was only sent ‘unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel’. He says so himself. Judah had not been divorced by YHVH as Jeremiah 3:8-11 says:

8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.

10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith YHVH.

11 And YHVH said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.

In Ezekiel 16:30-32, speaking of Israel, YHVH says:

30 How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord YHVH, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;

31 In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire;

32 But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!

There was a great mystery in the time before Y’shua’s incarnation; YHVH had divorced the northern kingdom and yet had promised to bring them back into covenant with Him.

Hosea 11:8-9
8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.

9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.

How shall I deliver thee, Israel?’ was indeed the question. Paul discusses this issue in Romans 7:1-4 and reveals YHVH’s amazing solution:

1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Messiah; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

By sending Y’shua to die, YHVH was releasing the northern kingdom from His own law, which said an adulteress could not remarry unless her husband had died. Y’shua (who is YHVH (Jeremiah 23:6)) was the husband to whom the house of Israel had been unfaithful; His death released them to be betrothed again to Him when He was raised.

Ezekiel 36:17-27 speaks of the return of the house of Israel, it is striking how much it speaks of Y’shua’s salvific work as an integral part of it:

17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman.

18 Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it:

19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.

20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of YHVH, and are gone forth out of his land.

21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.

22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord YHVH; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.

23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am YHVH, saith the Lord YHVH, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Of course, the scope of Y’shua’s ministry was beyond this mission alone:

Isaiah 49:6
6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Although it is stated that Y’shua’s mission was to ‘restore the preserved of Israel’ Y’shua’s ministry was to be ‘a light to the gentiles’ amongst whom the house of Israel were scattered. Luke 2:25-32 also speaks of this:

25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Ruach HaKodesh was upon him.

26 And it was revealed unto him by the Ruach HaKodesh, that he should not see death, before he had seen YHVH’s Messiah.

27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Y’shua, to do for him after the custom of the law,

28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Here all of Israel is referred to together. Simeon was ‘waiting for the consolation of Israel’ which Y’shua will eventually bring. In Romans 11:25, Paul says:

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

If you remember, the term ‘fullness of the gentiles’ can also be translated as ‘multitude of nations’ and refers to Ephraim or the house of Israel. The Bible always defines itself, and the mystery that Paul speaks of is the blindness of the house of Judah (the Jews), which will continue until the house of Israel, Ephraim (who became that multitude of nations when the northern kingdom were scattered), have come back in. Paul refers to those that are blinded in contrast to those of ‘the election’ in verse 7:

7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

The whole of Israel has not obtained righteousness, which comes by faith in Y’shua (Romans 3:22, 4:13), only ‘the election’. This term will become relevant shortly, as you will see it refers to those whom YHVH had foreknowledge of and who constitute ‘Israel’ in His eyes. Paul speaks of Israel (both houses) as a whole in verses 26-28:

26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the Father’s sakes.

As Ezekiel 36:22 says, ‘Israel’, are saved for YHVH’s sake; the sake of His name. They were His chosen people and He fulfils His promises and covenants.

John 10:14-16
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

The elect refers to all believers, as we see in Matthew 24:22:

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

They are elected because YHVH had foreknowledge of those who would employ their freewill to choose Him, not according to Calvinist doctrine.

Two separate ingatherings were prophesied; the house of Judah (Jeremiah 29:14) and the house of Israel (Ezekiel 11:15-17, Ezekiel 20:40-42, Amos 9:9). The fact that both houses will eventually be gathered together is often prophesied (Isaiah 66:8, Jeremiah 23:3, 31:8-10, 33:7-10, Zechariah 10:6-10). However, until the house of Israel have come in, Judah will be blinded to the truth of their Messiah being Y’shua. They are the ‘other sheep’ ‘which are not of this fold’ (this fold being the house of Judah in context).

Isaiah 11:10-13
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that YHVH shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

Y’shua is that ensign, the root of Jesse (David’s father) that Isaiah 11:10 speaks of, and we are one people under Him. Peter’s first epistle makes it clear that Y’shua’s mission was to the house of Israel in 1 Peter 1:1-2:

1 Peter, an apostle of Y’shua HaMashiach, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Ruach HaKodesh, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Y’shua HaMashiach: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

He speaks to ‘the strangers’ who are ‘scattered’; the ‘elect’. The house of Israel made up the majority of YHVH’s people that were scattered. The house of Judah, came back to the land after the Babylonian captivity:

James 1:1
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Y’shua HaMashiach, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

Not all of Judah had come back after the Babylonian captivity but this emphasises that Y’shua’s mission specifically concerned the scattered tribes. The issue is written about throughout the New Testament but two epistles are specifically addressed to these people.

Y’shua called himself ‘the gate for the sheep’ (John 10:7) but who are these sheep?:

Jeremiah 50:17
17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.

Micah 2:12
12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.

Ezekiel 11:16
16 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord YHVH; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.

Ezekiel 34:12
12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

Y’shua’s incarnation started the process of healing that would lead to the two houses being rejoined as one flock, with one shepherd. His death allowed the then gentile house of Israel to come back into covenant. Y’shua’s ingathering of the house of Israel is spoken of throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament). When He arrived on Earth, the situation He had come to rectify was already clearly understood.


The two houses are characterised throughout scripture:

Characteristics of the House of Judah

Will have the law of God (Genesis 49:10)

Would reject the Messiah (Isaiah 53:1-6)

Did not lose their identity after their scatterings

Known as ‘those that are near’ (Daniel 9:7)

Characteristics of the House of Israel

Live amongst the gentiles (Hosea 8:8)

Will forget the name of their God (Jeremiah 23:27)

Do not know or understand the law of God (Hosea 8:10-12)

They are called ‘my people who are not my people’ (Hosea 2:23), ‘those that are far off’ (Isaiah 57:19) and ‘lost sheep’ (Jeremiah 50:6)

The majority of them will come from the west when they are regathered (Hosea 13:15)

Today, the Christian world satisfies the characteristics of the house of Israel exactly. Most strikingly, we have forgotten God’s real name (YHVH); ‘the LORD’ replaces ‘YHVH’ (the Tetragammaton) 6823 times in most translations of the Bible.

Most of the Christian world have come to the erroneous conclusion that Y’shua came to do away with YHVH’s Torah (teaching and instruction), because of a complete misinterpretation of what Paul says (2 Peter 3:15-17). This is why the Jews today don’t recognise Him as their Messiah, because they are expecting a Messiah who is the Torah made flesh. Most Christians completely misunderstand what the Torah is, even thinking that it is some kind of curse to people if they seek to follow it. They teach, not that Y’shua came to do away with the curse of the law (our penalty under it) but the law itself. It is ‘counted as a strange thing’. Mistranslations and misinterpretations of Scripture have led to this, but there is a growing awareness of it, just as YHVH said there would be in the end times.

As believers, we are grafted into Israel. The New Jerusalem will only have twelve entrances, one for each of the tribes. The tribe to which we belong will be determined by whom we ‘sojourn with’. I’ll leave the meaning of that to your imagination:

Ezekiel 47:21-23
21 So shall ye divide this land unto you according to the tribes of Israel.

22 And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.

23 And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord YHVH.

Finally, this now reveals what is meant in what is one of the most hotly debated passages in the New Testament;

Ephesians 2:11-19
11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh (remember ‘gentile’ implies ‘out of covenant’), who are called Uncircumcision (circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant and this was a derogatory term that was used for those not in covenant with YHVH including the house of Israel) by that which is called the Circumcision (the Jews, or the house of Judah who bore the sign) in the flesh made by hands;

12 That at that time ye were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

13 But now in Messiah Y’shua ye who sometimes were far off (the house of Israel) are made nigh by the blood of Messiah.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances (Greek word is dogma and refers to man-made laws); for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off (the house of Israel), and to them that were nigh (the house of Judah).

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Remember, ‘those who are far off’ refers to the house of Israel and those that are near (or nigh) refers to the house of Judah. Y’shua made both houses ‘one new man’, by coming and dying for His adulterous bride who He had promised not to forsake. The house of Israel, are no longer strangers and foreigners (exactly the language used by Peter in his first epistle) but ‘fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God’.

The Bible is a love story involving YHVH and His people. YHVH refers to those that keep His covenant or ketubah (wedding vows) as His bride all throughout the scriptures. The story can be followed throughout the following verses: Exodus 19:3-5, Isaiah 49:5-6; 53; 54; 56:7; 59:20, Jeremiah 3:1-18; 31:31-37, Ezekiel 16:1-14; 15-32, Hosea 2:19-20; 11:8-9, Matthew 16:8; 22:2; 24:44-47; 25:10, Mark 11:17, Luke 12:35-37, John 3:29; 17:6-26,Acts 17:27-29, Romans 11:16-27, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 2:11-22; 5:23-32, Revelation 5:9; 19:6-9; 21:2,9; 22:17.

Without understanding the beginning of the Bible, the church (the house of Israel), to whom the law of God is counted as a strange thing, misses this; and without understanding the back of the book, the Jews (the house of Judah) do too.

Revelation 19:7-9
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.


John-Paul McMahon

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