My thoughts on the Two Houses…
When the Disciples asked Jesus, saying, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). In other words, “…wilt thou at this time bring the 10 tribes back to the land Israel?” Fact is, the exact opposite was about to take place. In Matthew 21:43, Jesus, speaking to Judah, said: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
That’s “nation” — not Church! Christianity does not represent the kingdom of God; it’s the national religion of the kingdom of God. In the OT Israel’s national religion was The Law of Moses. After Calvary it was replaced with the New Covenant. (Jer. 31:31.)
The nation Jesus was speaking of was Israel, the northern tribes. “The kingdom” Jesus was referring to was the tribe of Benjamin who was a part of the kingdom, who were the Galileans in the north, but were kept with Judah for David’s sake. Now they would be removed and given back to the northern kingdom and Judah would be alone.
God made an oath to David that he would never want for a man to sit on his throne ruling over the house of Israel.
“Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.” I Kings 9:5. (Jer. 33:17)
However, after the death of Solomon, the northern kingdom broke away from Judah and God’s promise to David was in jeopardy of being broken so the tribe of Benjamin was annexed to Judah. (1 Kings 11:34) Benjamin became Judah’s “Israel” and represented the kingdom. After the throne of David was removed back in Jeremiah’s day via Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion, Benjamin was no longer needed, their purpose had been served.
“Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe [Benjamin] to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.”
I Kings 11:11-13.
Benjamin was a kingdom tribe and was given to Judah on a “temporary loan” basis for David’s sake. This is the same kingdom Jesus was referring to in Matt. 21:43. Jesus was speaking of the “one tribe” that was annexed to Judah. If you paraphrase what Jesus said it would read something like this:
“Therefore say I unto you, Judah, the tribe of Benjamin shall be taken from you, and given back to the northern kingdom, a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
That’s how it would have been understood by the Jews in the first century. The “kingdom of God” in the OT was Israel; “Judah was his sanctuary and Israel his dominion.” (Psa. 114:2) Benjamin was not a “sanctuary” tribe, but a “kingdom” tribe. The tribe of Benjamin could not share “sanctuary” status with Judah, the sharing of birthrights was strictly forbidden in the Law of Moses, it was not their birthright. The union between Judah and Benjamin was an “arranged marriage” for David’s sake. Albeit, an “arranged marriage” doomed to end in divorce as Jesus foretold.
“And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.” (I Chron. 28:5.)
The “kingdom of God” or the “kingdom of the Lord” are one and the same. Benjamin was a part of the “kingdom of God” and that’s what Jesus was referring to in Matt. 21:43.
These verses make it clear that when Jesus said that the “kingdom of God” would be taken away from Judah He was referring to the tribe of Benjamin. This was the last tribe Judah had contact with. And yet there’re many Christians who still claim that the Jews represent all 12 tribes! A complete contradiction of what Jesus said. If the kingdom of God is represented by the 10 tribes, now 11 with the return of Benjamin, and Jesus told the Jews that the kingdom would be taken from them how can the Jews represent all 12 tribes? Answer: It’s impossible! Judah (with an add-mixture of Levites) is alone today. Many claim that the Jews of today are made up of Judah and Benjamin, but that also contradicts what Jesus said.
In closing let me say this, if you research this issue on your computer you’ll find 1000’s of articles debating how many members or how many tribes of the northern kingdom returned with Ezra. In the end, it doesn’t matter if one Israelite or one million Israelites or if every Israelite on the face of the planet returned with Ezra – according to Matthew 21:43, they would all be removed and separated from Judah. Matthew 21:43 renders all these arguments null, void and moot. According to Matthew 21:43, the “kingdom of God” was removed from Judah.
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I noticed that Eph. 2 was quoted in this article, let's take a closer look:
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” Eph. 2:12.
The word “aliens” appears twice in the NT: Eph. 2:12 and Heb. 11:34. The word used in Hebrews is “al-lot'-ree-os” and translates; “not akin” or “not one’s own” (Strong’s 243) The word used in Ephesians is “ap-al-lot-ree-o'-o” and means “to estrange away” (Strong’s 575).
The word "commonwealth" pol-ee-ti'-ah, (Strong's 4177) in this verse can be translated "citizenship." When Paul uses the word ap-al-lot-ree-o'-o when writing to the Ephesians it would imply that they once had a relationship with the Lord but were "estrange away," i.e., divorced.
When God divorced the ten tribes of the northern kingdom they were, in effect, "Gentilized." In other words, they lost their "citizenship" as God's people. Paul is not saying that the Ephesians were “not akin” to the citizenship of Israel, he’s saying they were “estranged” from the citizenship of Israel.
This is what Paul was speaking of where he wrote; “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Eph. 2:14.
There was a “wall of partition” between Israel and Judah because of Israel’s divorce. Calvary removed it. Jesus made Israel and Judah “one” again. Many interpret this verse as meaning the wall of partition was removed between Jews and Gentiles, although that is true and Paul explains this in great detail in the book of Romans, that’s not who Paul was referring to in this verse.
However, when this “wall of separation” was removed between Judah and Israel, who at the time was “estranged” from the commonwealth of Israel, it was also removed from those who were “not akin” to the commonwealth of Israel. That’s what Paul was talking about where is said; “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” (Rom. 11:12) How could the fall of Israel enrich the Gentiles? The answer is obvious; when the wall of separation was dropped against Israel it was also dropped against those who were “not akin,” i.e., the Romans and all Gentiles. When Paul realized what God was doing he rejoiced; “For God hath concluded them all [Israelites and Gentiles] in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”
Here, Paul rejoices over Israel’s bill-of-divorce, because he realizes what God is doing. Not only would the door of salvation be reopened to “estranged” Israelites, it would also be opened to “non akin” Gentiles:
When Paul addressed the Ephesians he used the word "ap-al-lot-ree-o'-o" If Paul used the word “al-lot'-ree-os” found in Heb. 11:34 it would have meant that the Ephesians never had a relationship with God in their past. However, that's not what Paul is saying.
In spite of the fact that both words are translated "aliens" in the NT there's a huge difference in their meanings.
What Paul is saying in Eph. 2:12 is that the Ephesians were estranged-divorced Israelites regaining their citizenship. Here we catch a glimpse of what Paul was talking about in Romans 11:23; “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.” Note the word “again,” it means “once more.” Strong’s 3825.
The definition of the word "estrange" according to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language:
1. separated and living apart from one's spouse.
2. no longer friendly; alienated.
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