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An Open Letter to Boaz Michael and First Fruits of Zion

In John Holmes, Teachings, Written Teachings | on June, 25, 2013 | by



An Open Letter to Boaz Michael

Answering his statements in his “Twelve Gates” book


Dear Mr. Michael,

I am continually amazed by the “One Housers” telling Two House people what Two House people believe. Then the “One Housers” are quick to point out how wrong these beliefs are. Mr. Michael, after reading your Twelve Gates book, I feel a response is necessary. You have done a superb job of quoting others who agree with you. I hope this may provide a balance to your book.

Before beginning, one statement you make on page 38 becomes a watchword for those of us in the Two House belief structure. You say, “The Jewish people are particularly sensitive to the ramifications of any theology which diminishes or erases Jewish identity.” The reason for this response to your book is the very same reason you give here. Your theology twists or more importantly, erases the House of Israel from scripture. As Gamaliel said, “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to naught: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5:38) Judging from the point you make about Gentiles flocking to the Messianic Jewish congregations and the proliferation of Two House congregations in the past 20 years, one must address the question, “Is this of God?” The Way did, in fact, diminish not Jewish identity but the traditions which formed the power base of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Could this be termed “Jewish Traditions” today?

You say we Two House people believe we are genetic descents of the House of Israel. I agree there are some people who believe this concept but I submit they are in the minority. Here you have the distinction between those from the “Christian Identity Movement”, “British Israelism” and others. You paint with a very broad brush in your book and lump all groups together into the one you call Two House. Proceeding in this manner and using the same logic, one might say, since some Jews were at high levels in Al Capone’s Chicago Mafia, all Jews are Mafioso types. This is, unfortunately, what some of the groups mentioned above do in their treatment of Jews and just as you have done with the Two House people.

However, many others in the Two House or Hebrew Roots movement see the adoption or grafting in spoken of by Paul as the only defining criteria. The teachings of Chumney, Judah, Clayton, Cloud, Scott, McWilliams, 119 Ministries and others all subscribe to Paul’s concept of adoption. Not one of these main line Two House teachers espouses the idea any believer has any genetic connection to the Northern Kingdom . . . nor is it necessary, according to Paul, to have any genetic connection.

Scripture clearly teaches there are two families whom He has chosen. The Father goes on to state this is forever. (Jer. 33:23-26) Other references to the House of Israel and the House of Judah throughout the prophets clearly make a distinction between these two and the Gentiles. Since it is forever, redefining this to be the Jews and the Gentiles makes no sense.

Secondly, you lump both the House of Israel and the House of Judah together under the term Jews or Jewish. You quote one source (your own Torah Club, Vol. 3, 179, n7) as authority for only Levi (and maybe Simeon) joining the House of Judah during the rule of Jeroboam. In this quote (page 13), you neglect to mention the very next verse (2 Chron. 11:16) which says people from ALL the northern tribes joined Judah. Yes, Judah, at this point, had all 13 tribes represented. However, this was not the bulk of the Northern Kingdom nor was the Father finished with those remaining in the north. If He had been finished with them, why would He have sent Elijah, Elisha, Hosea, and Amos to them AFTER 2 Chron. 11:16 had already taken place and Judah, at this point in history, already had “his companions Israel”

On page 28, you quote Silberling saying the reunification of the tribes could have come at the time of Ezra (6th century BC). This contradicts Scripture. HaShem, in Ezekiel (4:4), says the House of Israel will be in captivity for at least 390 years. Simple math puts the earliest return at approximately 332 BC, if we calculate from the captivity date of 722 BC. In another place, you name Cyrus the Great and state this is the time the assimilation occurred. This is the same time frame since Cyrus and Ezra were interacting. Silberling becomes a non-authority since she contradicts Scripture. The other option, of course, is your assumption that by this time they had all become Jews. If this is the case and both houses were one, as you say, then “the Jews” could not have been in The Land either at the time of Ezra since that contradicts Ezekiel 4:4 and 4:5.

You state on page 26 the prophet(s) may be making the names of House of Judah and the House of Israel synonymous. Here, to make your point, you quote Silberling again. She says, “parallelism is a common rhetorical device in Hebrew . . . placing two ideas, concepts, or words together in parallel is to equate them, not differentiate them.” One other idea is left out of this argument, which is the comparison of two things. Jeremiah 3:8 is an example of comparison. Only the House of Israel was given a divorce by the Father. It says Judah was sinful as well, but not to the point of divorce. If we follow your assumption, then both Judah and Israel (as one) were divorced. With this concept, then Judah cannot be living in The Land today either, since that is against Torah (Deut. 24:4). There is one other way around this, and this is to say Silberling’s parallelism only applies to scriptures defining prophecy which occur AFTER 332 BC.

It seems you cannot have it both ways. Either, the Father is making a distinction or He is not. Either Ezekiel is to lay 390 nights on his left side for Israel or it doesn’t matter because he only has to lie 40 nights on the other side. Either the Father divorced the Northern Kingdom (Jer. 3:8) or he did it to Judah. Scripture is very specific when it comes to the two kingdoms. The concept of allegory is very handy when it comes to twisting scripture to fit a non-scriptural interpretation. To mix or blend or bend them as you do “makes the scripture of none effect”. (Mark 7:7-13)

On page 27 we find the statement, “It seems to be assumed that if no descendants of the Northern Kingdom exist as a separate people then they cannot reunify with the descendants of Judah, and the prophecy cannot be fulfilled.” This is exactly the point. He is God and not us. Is anything too hard for him? Is it not possible for him to set up his own shepherds (Jer. 23:4) whose teaching will be different from your “Jewish Tradition” teachings?

On page 32 you site two extra biblical sources, both confirming the existence of an “immense multitude” still in captivity. However, you then say they “retained their identity as Jews” and “practice as Jews”. What bit of scholarship brings you to the conclusion they did this? Josephus, your source, never indicates this anywhere in the chapter. He only indicates Esdras and the priests made a trip “beyond Euphrates” to spend time in prayer with “those in captivity”. Nothing in Josephus indicates they “retained their identity as Jews”, especially since you repeatedly indicate this is a function of “Jewish Tradition”.

Further, on page 25, you state, “The bulk of the northern tribes did assimilate – not into Assyria, though, but rather into Judah.” You seem to feel your statement, “during the period of the second Temple there were representatives of all twelve tribes in Israel” provides proof for the statement. The latter does not prove your former statement. The latter is not difficult to explain since the already mentioned (2 Chron. 11:16) passage addresses the fact people from all of the northern tribes joined Judah at the time of Jeroboam. Josephus records, in Antiquities 11.5.4 “all those in captivity should gather themselves to Jerusalem . . . those who were of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin came together . . .” Josephus, in his striving to be accurate, would have noted any other tribes present. So, where do you find any substantiation for the statement about the northern tribes already being assimilated into Judah?

On page 29, you say, “Neither Jesus nor the apostles identified Gentiles as Israelites who had lost their identity.” This is technically correct. They didn’t say it exactly that way. But there is New Testament evidence of the dispersed still being among the Gentiles. I would call your attention to John 7:35 where the Jews were wondering “will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?” First century scholarship finds the Jews calling the dispersed Northern Kingdom “Gentiles” as in this scripture

Thirdly, you speak often of “Jewish Tradition”. There are times when mentioning said traditions seem to allude to Torah while other times you separate them. Regarding Sabbath, on page 19 you say, “Other commandments, like Sabbath observance, are observed in some sense but with no connection to the historical Jewish method of their observance.” You seem to be saying the only proper way to do it is the “Jewish method”. I point out, nowhere in scripture does it say you may not turn on (or off) a light switch on Sabbath-the “Jewish method”. And, again I remind you of Jesus’ condemnation of the traditions in Mark 7.

Paul and Yeshua differentiate between the “traditions of men” or “law of works” or “traditions of the fathers” and Torah. Referring again to Mark 7, Jesus says the traditions “make the Scriptures of none effect”. David Stern, in his translation, quotes Paul with the phrase “legalistic perversion of Torah”.

Karaite Jews also take issue with “Jewish Traditions”. They are quick to point out most of these have little foundation in Scripture. Nowhere do we find the Father telling us which direction to face when relieving one’s self or which shoe to put on first, or any other minutia of this sort. A yeshiva student explained it to me this way. “We don’t follow the written Torah anymore because what was given to the rabbis is more up to date.” This explanation certainly smacks of Mormonism’s explanation for its existence. What ever happened to Mal. 3:6 and “I change not”? Then again, there are the two places where the Father tells us not to add to or take away from His word.

Page 37 brings up even more questions. You state, “Having a few Jewish ancestors does not make one Jewish. Rather, Jews must be circumcised according to Jewish tradition in order to retain their status as Jews”. And, “Children of Jews who are not circumcised are not considered Jewish.” Exclusivity is further expressed on page 16 where you state, “To become a full member of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, one must be Jewish.”

A couple of problems arise from this tradition. First, what about the girls? Do girls of Jewish descent get a free ride into Judaism while the boys must be circumcised? Or, is being Jewish only for men? As I see it, the only non-sexual answer to this has already been given by Moshe when he talks about the circumcision of the heart through faith.

The second problem arises before the “Jews” (as you call them) entered the land. There was a mass circumcision (Joshua 5:4-5). Who were these people? If heritage means nothing as you say, then, according to “Jewish Tradition”, they could not have been “Jews” while they were in the wilderness.

Continuing on page 37, you say, “Two-House exegetes like Batya Wootten reject Jewish tradition. This includes Judaism’s definition of who is and is not Jewish among other Rabbinic traditions.” I reiterate the Karaite Jews also reject tradition for similar reasons: the Rabbis had added to and taken from scripture.

Further on the same page, you find fault with Mrs. Wootten’s use of the Father’s Holy Name. You state, “This is very offensive in Judaism, whose adherents hold The Name should not be pronounced . . .” Why is this? Why do the Rabbis tell us not to pronounce the Holy Name? According to Nehemiah Gordon’s research, this tradition began 1800 years ago during the reign of Hadrian. It seems he decreed anyone pronouncing The Name would be executed. He went on to enforce this by burning a Rabbi, wrapped in a Torah Scroll, at the stake. Not being as fearless as Daniel, the Rabbis began substituting other names for the Holy Name. They also ordered the scribes to remove the vowel pointers from the name so readers could not pronounce The Name.

When Scripture says “remember his name”, according to Gordon, this means, in modern English, to declare His Name. Deut. 6:12-13 tells us not to forget and to swear by The Name. Deut. 10:20 reiterates this. These are but two of the many examples of our being told to “call upon His name.” The Name appears over 7,000 times in the Tanach. To say it was never meant to be spoken contradicts scriptures such as those above.

Also, Gordon states, Rabbinic writings from the period of Hadrian question why prayers were not being answered (after the decree went out and they were no longer using The Name).

On page 38, you make an interesting statement, “Israelite, (a term which in Judaism is restricted to Jews)”. I would ask, “By what authority?” Farther down in the paragraph, you again blur the issue. By your assumption of there being no others but the Jews in the family of God, it becomes obvious how the idea of a prodigal younger brother coming home would bother you. The attitude you express is described in the parable Yeshua gave us concerning this whole issue. (Luke 15:28-32) Is. 11:13 talks about vexation and envy between the two houses, while in Is. 11:11-12 we see the 2nd exodus and a strong differentiation between the houses.

Page 39 has more blurred half-truth. You say, “Two house proponents, though, largely reject Judaism and its traditions. They make a claim on the rights and responsibilities of the Jewish people without taking steps to be recognized by the Jewish people as Jews.” This statement is absurd. If the Two House people reject Judaism and its traditions, why would they want to be recognized as “Jewish”? Jack Carsten’s quote, which you say is correct, that Two House claims are a “complete usurpation of the Jewish national character”, may be true with those from the Identity Movement (Christian Identity linked to the KKK). But this again, by inference, shows the broad brush many “One Housers” use to show how bad we Two House believers are.

Later, on page 39, you say we feel “entitlement to interpret the Mosaic Law independently of Jewish (and Christian) exegetical tradition, even the Right of Return- . . . Jews do not accept their claims.” In this statement, you seem to say The Scripture is too hard for anyone (without a theological degree) to study. You, of course, obviously feel, by this, all tradition and previous teaching are correct and are the only source of knowledge of The Scripture. This stance negates any actions by the Holy Spirit, and makes tradition the exclusive arbiter of all understanding. I point you to Jer. 16:19-21 where it says, “…our fathers have inherited lies…”. Of course, by your statement, this prophecy cannot apply to “exegetical tradition”.

Insinuation is part of your technic in the book. For instance, you say (on page 40), “Two House theology may easily grow to include an anti-Jewish stance.” Study the teachings of those teachers in paragraph 4 and you will find a completely opposite teaching. The main line Two House teachers listed there teach we should and will embrace our older brother Judah.

On page 43, you state, “If Israel is limited to the Jewish people, and Israel is the people of God, where do believing Gentiles find their identity?” You then go on to show how supersessionism or replacement theology manifests the answer. I submit, the first phrase of your statement is flawed. Israel refers to the Hebrews and not just Judah. Again, we are beating a dead horse here because you say all of God’s people are Jewish and we say Judah and his companions Israel are only half of the equation. (Ez. 37). It still becomes a conflict of definitions. Another example of conflicting definitions is found in your statement on page 45 where you talk about food prohibited by “Jewish Law”. I submit Lev. 11 is not “Jewish Law” but God’s Law! This is similar to HaSatan saying “you will be as gods” somehow meaning you can interpret Torah out of context and/or taking it from the Father and making it as your own.

On page 47 you refer to the scripture where James is quoting Amos and the rebuilding of “David’s fallen tent”. I submit this is referring to the (future) return of the Northern Kingdom. As mentioned before, Hosea, Amos, Elijah and Elisha all prophesied mainly to the Northern Kingdom. Since history shows completely different events transpiring with the two kingdoms, it becomes impossible to say they were one at that time. This rebuilding is similar to the question asked in Acts 1:6. If, as you postulate earlier in the book, the reunification had already occurred by this time, why would both these NT passages refer to a restoration?

Paul also refers to the still unrestored Northern Kingdom in Rom. 10:19 where he talks about provoking (the Jews) to jealousy. Notice here, Paul refers to LoAmi (Hos. 1:9) as those who will do the provoking. Previous to this, in Romans 9:24-26, Paul quotes still more of Hosea (2:23 and 1:10). Again, although he doesn’t identify the players directly for us today, his original readers undoubtedly understood he was referring to the (still) captive Northern Kingdom. Obviously, he is directly linking those called Gentiles in Romans 9:24 to the House of Israel.

You say (page 49), Paul takes “pains to identify that the covenant of promise which helps define Gentile identity in Christ is the Abrahamic covenant and not the Sinai covenant.” Later on you say, “Gentile converts are children of Abraham, they are not children of Israel, nor did they stand at the foot of Mount Sinai and receive the Torah.” Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 10:1 seems to contradict this totally. He elaborated on the adoption by saying, “all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea.” Of course, history shows us he was addressing a mainly non-Jewish congregation in Corinth.

In Galatians 3:28, Paul tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Prior to this, v 24 says, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Obviously, by this we see Paul teaching two things in conflict with your idea of the “Gentiles” (Greeks as you point out), not being part of the covenant given at Sinai, in other words, the Law. And so your teaching is in conflict with Paul’s teaching of the law being the “schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” Obviously, Paul is telling us without the Law, we would not come to Christ.

Secondly, Paul disputes your statement about the separation between Jew and Greek. This was the Pharisaical teaching 2,000 years ago and it seems you subscribe to it still.

It is not a conceptual mistake to take Paul’s teachings as stated above. His teaching in Colossians 3:11 states the same concept: “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” Your exclusivity of Judah is in conflict to both teachings.

Further, Acts 13:16-17 shows us Paul again telling believers they are not “just part of the Abrahamic covenant” as you say. It says, “Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. (17) The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.” Notice, he is addressing Men of Israel AND ye that fear God (KJV). Obviously, not all were Israelites (Jews, as you say).

In Acts 13:26 Paul again says something similar. “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.”

How much clearer could the adoption be than this and the other scriptures listed here? Obviously, the first century understanding was adoption or grafting in made all descendants of those at Sinai. This is the teaching we also find from John.

As a side issue to the adoption, you say the adoption is into the Abrahamic covenant and not the covenant made at Sinai or The Law. 1st John 3:4 tells us sin is the transgression of the Law. If the Law is not for anyone not of Judah, as you say, then outside of Judah there can be no sin. 1st John 3:22 tells believers, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” The passage continues the thought in v. 24 with: “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” It certainly seems, to be in Christ, we must keep His commandments. This is not optional as you say. Your teaching is in opposition to the concepts taught in scripture.

1st John 2:3 has another concept which is inexorably tied to the concepts above. It says, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” Jesus warns us, at the time of the judgment, He will send some away saying, “then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: …” (Matt. 7:22) Knowing him in 1st John is linked to keeping His commandments. Again, if you say keeping the commandments is only for the Jews, then you are teaching something which will lead to condemnation at the Judgment. You are not teaching the gospel!

The writer of Hebrews also elaborates on this by saying, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” (Hebrews 4:2) This of course refers to those at Mt. Sinai (Hebrews 3:16). And so, this clearly identifies Torah as the gospel and says it was not just given exclusively to the Jews at Mt. Sinai!

Further, Paul states the gospel was given to Abraham beforehand (Gal 3:8). Was it a different gospel than at Sinai or the one preached by Paul?

On pages 50 and 51, you again blur the issue. In this case, the topic is adoption. You mention Gal. 4:5 and Paul’s reference to adoption. Then you discuss Eph. 2:11-12 and say this may not refer to adoption. One thing about Paul, he is consistent. As mentioned in the above examples he consistently refers to all believers as descendants of those at Sinai. While he talks about adoption in these instances, other examples he gives of grafting in are similar in nature. If he is referencing adoption in Rom. 9:4 and Gal. 4:5, why would you conclude he means something different in Eph. 2:11-12? Do you raise the question about Ephesians because this concept is contrary to the case you are trying to make?

There is more, but my points have been made. You are lumping everything you call Two House into one group without acknowledging the distinctions between groups. I reiterate some of your questionable points . . .

1) The genetic identity issue is not the teaching of most main line teachers who have emerged from the cloudy past of British Israelism and the KKK.

2) Two House teachers want to do away with Jews. This is again, a fringe teaching emerging from the past and is not the mainline Two House teaching of today.

3) Your statements about previous reunification of all the tribes under the House of Judah is not born out by scripture or historical fact. The prophets say the House of Israel will not return until the return of the Messiah. The scriptures make many clear distinctions between the two houses right down to the length of time each will be out of the land . . . again in contradiction to your assumptions.

4) You indicate Jewish Tradition is as inerrant as scripture. I point out, this is condemned by Yeshua and proven to be false by events such as the declaring of Bar Kokhba Messiah. I submit, Rabbis are people and only people. Sometimes they are led by The Spirit and sometimes they are led by their own imaginations alone. As the Karaites point out, the ONLY truth is the Tanach. It even becomes invalid for you to lump all Jews together especially since even Jews take issue with your foundational concepts of Jewish Tradition. It seems you have two houses within Judaism.

5) The only “People of God” or “Family of God” or “Sons of the Living God” are the Jews and Israel or Israelite is exclusively the name for those who have the genetic heritage and are circumcised. It is easy to say, but show the proof IN SCRIPTURE!

Mr. Michael, I understand your mindset, but am dismayed by the innuendo, misinformation, and lack of scriptural, especially prophetic, documentation for your statements. It reminds me of the prophecy teachers who quote one another instead of quoting scripture. Sources need to be rooted in truth not tradition. We Two House believers feel this is just as true for Christianity as it is for Judaism.

Willful ignorance and following the traditions of men are an anathema to the Father. The Torah is truth and is a lifestyle and heart issue. When Yeshua prayed in the garden, (John 17) it becomes clear He is praying for the two houses to become one. He prays about them not being of the world and therefore set apart for Him . . . obviously His chosen people especially since NO Gentiles have become part of the congregation yet.

This is our prayer for today. Make the two of us one . . . in the hand of Messiah.

I pray you accept this letter in love as one brother to another,

John Holmes


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