Disclosures: Boaz Michael offered me a sneak preview of the book with the working title Judah and Ephraim: The Two House Movement Examined and asked for my feedback, which I gave him. I haven’t seen the completed product, though, so I’m commenting from the perspective of a late draft that didn’t have any of my suggestions incorporated at that point.
I recently was talking with a one-law, two-house, neo-karaite messianic who still sacrifices Passover lambs. Dealing with one person with all those traits is a distinct challenge; the debate was even hard for me to follow.
The good thing is that he’s a fairly gentle, likable soul, which helped the discussion to stay civil. But I also was concerned about how his teachings would affect someone much newer to the messianic walk.
That’s where a resource like the forthcoming First Fruits of Zion book Twelve Gates comes in.
One of the answers to the last question is known as Two-House theology, which teaches that believers in Messiah (Christians) become Israelites when they come to faith. It teaches that those people can then be considered to be of the tribe of Ephraim, a common biblical name for the northern kingdom of Israel. In other words, another “house” or “tribe” in the House of Israel besides Judah.
However, the new Twelve Gates by Boaz Michael, founder and director of First Fruits of Zion, offers new messianics who are considering Two-House messianic theology an alternative view of the teaching.
Twelve Gates (due out in May) is a thorough and fair description of Two-House theology. The upshot of the Two-House approach is, in essence, that since believers are Israelites, they are bound to the same covenant obligations that natural-born Israelites are. That means all Christians are obligated to keep the seventh-day Sabbath, avoid forbidden foods, keep the annual festivals like Passover and Sukkot, and perform other obligations.
Messianic Jews, on the other hand, mostly believe that only Jews are obligated to such “sign commandments,” but that all believers are held to moral and ethical commandments.
But Michael doesn’t dwell on what Two-House adherents teach regarding obligations of Gentiles. First Fruits has made its beliefs on that known in such publications as The Holy Epistle to the Galatians and its quarterly Messiah Journal and in a white paper on the ministry’s Divine Invitation teaching.
Rather, he looks indepth at the teaching that comes from some parts of the Two-House movement that “modern Christians are in reality descendants of the lost ten tribes,” which he says is “at the core of the Two House movement.”