COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY - PART 2
By Douglas W. Krieger
(Introduction: This is Part 2 in a two-part series on Commonwealth Theology. Part 1 can be found at this LINK . . . Part 1 contained numerous Endnotes--not so with Part 2. Again, this is a PRELIMINARY RESPONSE to this most dynamic body of theology.
We are pleased to announce that a Web Site has been opened @ COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY - where a more vigorous exchange of ideas, etc., on this topic will be exchanged, along with other issues relative to Commonwealth Theology. A systematic Theology built around CT is not now available--but could readily be with multiple authors/researchers contributing).
WHAT HAPPENED TO EPHRAIM?
It is inaccurate and/or exceedingly misleading to suggest that Ephraim/Samaria/the 10 Northern Tribes/Jezreel, united in great numbers with Judah of the South before their captivity (the Passover during the reign of Judah’s King Josiah—2 Chron. 34-35) and during the Babylonian Captivity (607-537 BC). Those who suggest that Ephraim/Israel can be found as today’s ethnic Jews disregard the following passages:
“When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb; yet he cannot cure you, nor heal you of your wound . . . None of them calls upon Me. Ephraim has mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake unturned. Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it . . . aliens would swallow it up…Israel is swallowed up; now they are among the Gentiles . . . like a vessel in which is no pleasure. For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself; Ephraim has hired lovers. Yes, though they have hired among the nations. . . as for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird . . . My God will cast them away, because they did not obey Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations” (Excerpts from Hosea).
In sum: Bits, parts and scattered pieces of the “Lost Ten Tribes” MAY be found in today’s Judah/Jews but Ephraim has been swallowed up of the nations--this is a far more biblical view in its accuracy and anthropological evaluation as well (See copious footnotes in Parts 1 and 2).
James 1:1 speaks of the “12 Tribes Scattered Abroad” – this is simply an acknowledgement that Israel (both Judah/Ephraim) are/were scattered throughout the nations.
WHAT DOES PAUL SAY? - JEZREEL
Paul speaking of the “elect [ekklesia] from among the nations” (the “Gentiles”) and of those Jews who had joined themselves to the Messiah:
'I will call them (referring directly concerning Ephraim by quoting from Hosea 2:23) My people; who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved.’ And it shall happen in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God’” (Hosea 1:10; Romans 9:24-26).
“And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy; which He had prepared beforehand for glory; even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles (lit. “nations”)? As He says also in Hosea: (Rom. 9:23-24).
When was it “said to them?”
“They shall answer Jezreel (Lit. “God will sow”). Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’” (Hosea. 2:22b-23).
“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.’” Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together and appoint themselves one head; and they shall come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel! (God will sow!) . . . Say to your brethren, ‘My people,’ and to your sisters, ‘Mercy is shown.’” (Hosea 1:10-11; 2:1)
When Paul speaks of God’s mercy and directly addresses the Gentiles/the goyim, the “elect from among the nations” – he says:
“For I speak to you Gentiles (ethnos), inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles (the “nations”), I magnify my ministry . . . For I do not desire brethren that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles (Lit. “multitude of nations”) has come in. And so ALL ISRAEL will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:13, 25-27)
When Paul says ALL ISRAAEL will be saved - does he exclude the "Multitude of Nations" from the equation or is he referring only to National Israel (i.e., the Jews/Judah)? More of this phrase later.
We would contend that the scattering of the house of Israel to the nations was likened as seed sown among the nations; to wit:
Psalm 106:26-27..."So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the desert, make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands."
The House of Israel was sown as seed into all the earth. Keep in mind that the house of Israel (Samaria/Ephraim) quickly adopted the customs of the Assyrians and lost their identity. They forgot who they were. They intermarried until their DNA was continually diluted. Today it is very likely that most of the world could trace their lineage back to the house of Israel (100 generations)--literally (grief, my little grandson did a precursory DNA test and found out he was 1% "Middle Eastern" - whatever that is!
Furthermore, the Almighty’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and then to Joseph and on to Ephraim regarding a “multitude of nations” would come from their loins and that this “FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES” (lit. MULTITUDE OF NATIONS) would be those of Ephraim scattered throughout those very nations as JEZREEL – God will sow . . . Seed among the Ethnos the nations. Paul's message takes on new understanding in using ethnos as nations.
Colossians 1:27 says:
"To them God has chosen to make known among the NATIONS (ethnos) the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
This hearkens back to Genesis 48:19 where Jacob blesses Ephraim and says that he will become a multitude of nations. Also, when God blessed Abraham and told him in Genesis 18:18 that all nations would be blessed through him, and to Isaac, in particular, when He said to him:
“And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed ALL THE NATIONS of the earth shall be blessed”
We affirm that Genesis 26:1-6 confirms the PROMISED SEED through Isaac as an archetype of Christ, the “S”eed and that the 430 Years of Promise confirm this from Exodus 12:40-41 and Galatians 3:15-18 and Gal. 4:28; to wit:
“And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt (i.e., the EXODUS/LAW) . . . Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of ‘one,’ ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God IN CHRIST, that it should make the PROMISE of no effect . . . but God gave it to Abraham by promise . . . Now, brethren, as Isaac was, we are children of promise.”
Acts 15:14-17 concerning the “elect from among the nations” who would constitute membership in the Commonwealth of Israel, the Congregation of the Living God . . .
"Simon has declared how God at the first visited the nations (aka, the Gentiles) TO TAKE OUT OF THEM A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME . . . and with this the word of the prophets agree, just as it is written: ‘After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up, so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, even all the Gentiles (lit. “the nations”) who are called by My name, says the LORD who does all these things.”
Yes, by now after nigh 100+ generations since 740-712 BC the “Jezreel” has been thoroughly sown among the nations—Ephraim is swallowed up of the nations—but He Who scattered is gathering since Messiah’s First Coming and onwards unto the prophetic fulfillment when the LORD shall take the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim and make them ONE STICK IN HIS HAND – that is happening NOW and shall accelerate unto the end of the age.
Even so, the prophets declare His mighty work among the nations – the Gentiles:
Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name.” (2 Sam. 22:50; Ps. 18:49)
And again he says:
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!” (Deut. 32:43)
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!” (Ps. 117:1)
And again, Isaiah says:
“There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope.” (Romans 15:7-12, Isaiah 11:1, 10)
FELLOW HEIRS – SAME BODY - PARTAKERS OF HIS PROMISE
. . . by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,
The exegesis of Ephesians 3:6 brings out the following: “ . . . that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs (synkleroma), of the same body (sysoma or co-body), and partakers of His promise (synmetoka – singular promise) in Christ through the gospel.”
The prefix of these three Greek words (“syn” of “sy”) connote, by definition: a prefix occurring in loanwords from Greek, having the same function as co- (synthesis; synoptic); used, with the meaning “with,” “together,” in the formation of compound words (synsepalous) or “synthetic” in such compounds (syngas). Expand. Also, sy-, syl-, sym-, sys-.
These words give us both distinction but also demand that we be TOGETHER—fellow heirs of the SAME BODY. They are not together, yet separated—they are together in the SAME BODY. “Syn” also gives the meaning of EXPANSION . . . even so, the word Ephraim means: Doubly fruitful (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) or INCREASING or EXPANSION.
SUNDRY ISSUES RELATING TO “ISRAEL”
“ALL ISRAEL” – “THE ISRAEL OF GOD” - “NOT ALL ISRAEL IS ISRAEL” – “SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN”
Bible verses that have been taken both by Replacement Theology and Dispensationalism to say that the “Middle Wall of Partition/Separation” de facto still exists are in “prophetic denial” of the literal, grammatical, hermetic of the Word of God.
The phrases found in both Romans 11:26 (“And so all Israel shall be saved/delivered”) and Galatians 6:16 (“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God”) either exclude today’s progeny of Abraham (i.e., the Jews of Judah) . . . unless they have been incorporated into the “elect,” (aka, the Church) . . . or exclude the Jews by stating that “All Israel” and “the Israel of God” are exclusively the purview of the Church (the “Ekklesia” wherein unbelieving Jews are omitted from the phrases All Israel and the Israel of God . . . which is it?
If “blindness in part” has happened to Israel (i.e., the Jews/Judah of Israel) – then when the “Fullness of the Nations” has come in – then the Deliverer (aka, the Messiah) shall come out of Zion and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob and “take away their sins” – then when it says ALL ISRAEL will be delivered—when does that happen? At the end of the age? Then, ALL ISRAEL is comprised of both houses: Those “elect from the nations to be a people for His Name” and National Israel, the Jews.
What the Amillenarians attempt to do is simply subsume the Jews (National Israel) into the True Israel of God (i.e., the Church alone is the True Israel of God; therefore, the Jews are NOT today’s Israel—which is a “triumphalism” that is void of Scriptural validation); whereas, the Dispensationalists confine the Jews alone to Israel and contend that the Church, the “MULTITUDE OF NATIONS” (aka, the Fullness of the Gentiles) are raptured to the heavens--and never were ALL ISRAEL or even a part of Israel). When this takes place in Romans 11:25 ("Until the fullness of the Gentiles/Nations be come in") . . . either way, the Jews are left to themselves via total absorption where their “identity” is totally lost or utterly diminished Amillenarians) or they are left to their own demise during THEIR “Jacob’s Trouble" (Dispensationalism).
Likewise, the Amillenarians simply commit the New Heavens and the New Earth to the Church's estate--with the Church inheriting the entire earthly and heavenly scene; whereas, Dispensationalism appears disaffected by the "earthly Jews" who are the "Wife of Jehovah" and are somehow ported in the heavens during the entire Millennium --in BOTH cases the Jews are either wholly neglected, having lost all identity or they are placed within an earthly ghetto, expansive though it may be!
The “elect from among the nations” have not seen their true heritage in fullness without Judah and Judah has not seen their Deliverer and Deliverance outside of “the elect from among the nations” – Ephraim.
Yes, of course, there is undoubtedly Israelite DNA among “Ephraim” after 100+ generations; but the emphasis is upon the spiritual imprimatur in being “children of promise” via Isaac, being IN the Seed, which is CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY – and “he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the Spirit” (Romans 2:29). Incredible, the Jews/Judah now find that true Christians are their erstwhile brothers and sisters because of the Messiah Who was rejected by National Israel and, more so, since we from "among the nations" are viewed as having the Messiah in us ("Christ in you the hope of glory") and, corporately, we are in the Messiah/in Christ--isn't it rather peculiar then, that when we and the Jewish people convene from time to time - if we take this with the most profound spiritual implications - we have Jesus sitting with His Jewish brethren at meal, at business, at play, at festivals, whatever!
The “Israel of God” found in Galatians 6:16 includes all those who are “seen of God” as His prince – they comprise the One New Man, the One Body, the New Creation. The Israel of God is comprised of both Jew and Greek (the nations).
However, that duly noted, the sons of Korah rebelled (Numbers 16) . . . their linage was of the Tribe of Levi, the same tribe as Aaron and Moses. They were true Israelites, but they were “spiritually” rebellious and were summarily judged. Thus, “not all of Israel are of Israel” – in that sense. However, there has been a blatant hermeneutical disaster in both the translation and the exegesis of Romans 9:3-13 as far as “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel.”
Paul wishes he:
". . . were accursed from Christ for his brethren, his countrymen (lit. “relatives”) according to the flesh—i.e., the “physical progeny of Abraham” . . . WHO ARE ISRAELITES . . . to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen” (Rom. 9:3-5).
It is firmly established, in the flesh, that these are true ISRAELITES, no doubt—but they are NOT all the ISRAELITES there are—they are part of Israel, but not all of Israel. Yes, these are the SEED OF ABRAHAM—“nor are they all (the) children (of Abraham) – i.e., Abraham had other children via Isaac . . . In actuality, Paul is saying . . . now listen carefully:
The physical seed of Abraham are not the only Israelites there are—there are other Israelites . . . let me explain: “In Isaac your seed shall be called” . . . that is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the (only) children of God; but there are others—these children are the children of promise through Isaac—these children via the “S”eed of Isaac “are counted as the seed” AS WELL.
There is nothing in these passages which exclusively ascribes TRUE ISRAELITES being the “S”eed of Isaac (again, exclusively) vs. untrue (false) Israelites, i.e., the physical seed of Abraham – the Scriptures do NOT say this.
That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of promise are counted as the seed (Rom. 9:8).
This verse has been read to EXCLUDE the physical progeny of Abraham (i.e., the Jewish seed of Abraham, from being Israelites). It is as if it were thusly read by those who exclude the Jewish element of Israel:
“Those who are simply the physical progeny of Abraham, the Jews, these are not the true children of God; the children of promise, through Isaac’s Seed, are the only true Israel of God.”
This is NOT the proper reading of this passage at all; nor does it comport to the concept of the “Commonwealth of Israel” as found in Ephesians 2:12. In fact the passage’s rendering could just as well be said to read more accurately based upon the previous statements of Paul and the overall context of this verse within the confines of Romans 9 through 11:
“That is, those Israelites who comprise the progeny of Abraham of the flesh are not the only children of God, but the children of promise via Isaac are counted as seed as well.” Together – the progeny of Abraham and “now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise” (Gal. 4:28), as well.
For too long Replacement Theology or Identity Theology has excluded the progeny of Abraham’s physical seed from the Commonwealth of Israel—declaring that they (viz., the Church) are in totality the True Israel, the Spiritual Israel, All Israel, the Israel of God or as Dispensationalism teaches, in the “opposite direction” wherein anything to do with Israel has nothing to do with the Church. Dispensationalism is actually saying:
"The Church has nothing to do with Israel to the extent that we, “the elect from among the nations” – the EKKLESIA – are a “new species” apart and wholly separated from the progeny of Abraham. The New Creation, One New Man, Body of Messiah, the Bride of Messiah – the Church has nothing whatsoever to do with the progeny of Abraham – Jacob’s Trouble is his own and has nothing to do with the “elect from among the nations” – nothing! The Bride of Messiah has nothing to do with the Wife of Jehovah. The Commonwealth of Israel excludes the Jews in toto aside from their conversion to Christ (NOW)! The Church has its prophetic destiny and Israel has their prophetic destiny – the Jews are upon the earth and the Church is to the heavens during the Millennium – that is all we will have in common throughout the Millennium and perhaps throughout the Eschaton! THAT is what is flawed about Dispensationalism."
"The Bride of Messiah is exclusively the Church--not even the O.T. saints comprise this Bride of Christ--the Jews and all others in the O.T. and even in the 70th Week (aka, "tribulation saints") are guests are the Marriage Super of the Lamb and, in turn, the Bride of Christ are the guests at the Marriage Feast of the wife of Jehovah - and NO, I'm not kidding, this is what Dispensationalism affirms.. It appears that Amillenarians altogether disregard the Wife of Jehovah (for the Jews/Israel) but the Dispensationalists at least allow them to show up as GUESTS at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb throughout the Millennium or at least at its commencement and somewhere along the way they can get married to the Father as the Wife of Jehovah, with the Bride of Christ showing up as guests to their wedding with Jehovah" (Douglas W. Krieger Quotes).
The emphasis in Romans 9 is indeed upon those children who are of promise – but not at the exclusion of the physical progeny of Abraham. BOTH find themselves within the Commonwealth of Israel – The physical progeny of Abraham has NOT lost his prophetic destiny and calling . . . they remain DISTINCT but NOT SEPARATED from the Commonwealth of Israel – they are NOT excluded from ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE DELIVERED . . . they are NOT excluded from THE ISRAEL OF GOD. Likewise, Ephraim is NOT excluded from the Israel of God and most certainly NOT from ALL ISRAEL. The Stick of Judah abides in prophetic alignment with the Stick of Ephraim, just as the Natural Branches (Judah) abide in prophetic alignment with the Wild Branches (Ephraim). The work of the Cross, the Blood of the Cross, of the Everlasting Covenant abides resolute – the Lord’s CHOSEN is irrevocable!
There are not Two New Covenants – there is but One New Covenant inaugurated by the Messiah, the Deliverer, in the Upper Room: THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW COVENANT (Matthew 26:28 KJV) – it is the Blood of the Cross which makes the following possible:
The Mystery of Messiah (the Christ) by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles (nations) should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power . . . Therefore, remember that you, once Gentiles (goim) in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens (non-citizens) from the COMMONWEALTH (Lit. “polity” or “state” or “community”) of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. but now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 3:4-7; 2:11-13).
SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN…
The prickly passages in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 – “I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan . . . Indeed, I will make those of the synagogue (congregation) of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” – these passages have been used by anti-Semites for centuries to justify their hatred toward the progeny of Abraham.
We read of the Ephesian believers’ strengths in Revelation 2:2: “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false.” We see the same grammatical structure in Rev 2:2, as we see in Rev 2:9 & 3:9, (“those who say they are apostles and are not” and “those who say they are Jews and are not.”) As the self-proclaimed apostles were not actual apostles, so the self-proclaimed Jews were not actual Jews. As it happens today as well, these were merely Gentiles who called themselves Jews; perhaps thinking that there is some spiritual validation in having the name “Jew” (which, according to Scripture, there is not, for in Yeshua alone is all our righteousness and complete validation before God).
The word “synagogue” in this verse is also confusing for many readers. “Synagogue” is a transliteration of the Greek word meaning a gathering place or assembly. But many assume that in Scripture a synagogue always refers to a place of worship for non-believing Jews, but not a place for believers to gather to worship. This is not the case. In James 2:2, the Greek word “synagogue” is used for a place where believers gather for worship. This word is generally translated “assembly” in many English translations, but in the Greek, it is the word synagogue (Strong’s #4864), nonetheless. Apparently, and as a result of the anti-Jewish bias that developed from the Early Church Fathers, most translators today do not want to ‘confuse’ English readers by translating the Greek word “synagogue” as synagogue, lest they think that believers went to a non-believing Jewish synagogue for worship, so the word “assembly” is used instead or the word "congregation."
The following is a summation of the major axioms of Commonwealth Theology--it is not comprehensive, however, and is "a work in process" - notwithstanding, without these major "planks" the theology would not be viable within either Christian or Jewish communities:
CONCLUSIONS RE: COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY (CT)
- CT distinguishes itself from Replacement Theology, Dispensationalism, Identity Theologies by accepting both the House of Judah (the Jews) and the House of Ephraim (purposefully sown among the nations – a “people called out from among the nations”) to be the Whole House of Israel – both form the Commonwealth of Israel – that ELECT throughout the ages from Adam onward who constitute the “people of God.”
- CT is emboldened to recognize the prophetic ingathering of BOTH HOUSES into the Household of Faith at the close of the age – and sees in the rebirth of the State of Israel the prophetic fulfillment of that ingathering – primarily of Judah in anticipation of their Redeemer, the Deliverer, the Messiah whom we “called out from among the nations” attest to be the Son of David, the Son of God and the Son of Man.
- We declare that God has sown (Jezreel) the seed of Ephraim, among the nations, and though they are swallowed up by the nations—yes, notwithstanding, ALIENS, NON-CITIZENS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL—yet, His SHEEP hear His voice and are known of Him. He has come to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel ("And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd"--John 10:16) - and they have heard His voice and, like the Prodigal Son who was dissipated and had totally forfeited his inheritance – like the Harlot of Hosea who was no longer a people and had sold herself for hire among the nations – yet BOTH the Prodigal and the Harlot have “come to themselves” and have returned to the LORD, to the Father, to her Husband (for she may marry again, since her first husband died--even "Christ died for the ungodly . . . and was raised again from the dead" [Romans 5:6; 4:25] – and though they were NOT THE PEOPLE OF GOD – they have, through God’s mercy, become THE PEOPLE OF GOD.
- We affirm that there is but ONE OLIVE TREE – Made up of Natural and (the progeny of Abraham of the flesh) and Wild Branches (those “elect” from the nations – sustained by the ONE ROOT (Messiah) WHO BEARS THEM! To suggest that the "wild branches" must be raptured in order for the "natural branches" to be grafted back into the "root that bore us" is contrary to the metaphor of the One Olive Tree--no, "He is able to graft them in again!" (Romans 11:23).
- We affirm that the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim prophecy found in Ezekiel 37:15-28 has not been fulfilled in fullness but is fast upon us and that these Two Sticks, Two Houses, Two Branches – SHALL BE ONE IN THE HAND OF THE LORD—this process is both gradual at the close of the age and abrupt at His Appearing, Second Coming as, BEHOLD, THE MAN, WHOSE NAME IS BRANCH---Zechariah 6.
- We affirm that there is but ONE BRIDE OF MESSIAH – comprised of Judah and Ephraim – of the Jew and of the Greek – that is the Plan and Purpose of the almighty and always has been . . . there are NOT two Brides—i.e., the “Wife of Jehovah” and the “Bride of Christ” – there is ONE BETHROTHAL, ONE ESPOUSAL, one Bride for Messiah. Likewise, there is ONE RESURRECTION of the JUST, not two resurrections as espoused by Dispensationalism; consequently, there is but One Bride of Messiah--all the redeemed throughout the ages - both O.T. saints and N.T. saints up through and including the final Week of Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 12:2a "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life" - and Revelation 20:5-6: "This is the first [i.e., "best" - "superior" - "first in kind"] resurrection. 'Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection, Over such the second death has no power, but they [all the saints from the O.T. and the N.T.] shall be priests of God and of Christ, and SHALL REIGN WITH HIM A THOUSAND YEARS' . . . also: Job 19:25-26; Hebrews 11:16, 19; Psalm 16:19; 17:15; John 5:28-29; Luke 14:14; Acts 24:15; 1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 52; Phil. 3:20-21). (Our caps)
- Many of us affirm that the Ladder of Jacob as highlighted by Jesus in John 1:41-51 to Nathaniel is the Son of Man who brings heaven to Earth as the Son of God and brings mankind into Heaven as the Son of Man; but who shall establish His BETHEL – House of God upon the Earth as did Jacob! This is the El Beth-el – God, the House of God, which is the Household of God—both Judah and Ephraim—the Whole House of God, the Whole House of Israel. Currently, there is a MAN IN THE GLORY - Messiah shall return to the Earth, bodily, first and foremost as the SON OF MAN!
- Many of us affirm that God has always designed TWO WITNESSES – Judah of Israel to the Gentile World Powers to be a Light to the Gentiles – and the Congregation of the Living God (now seated in “heavenly places in Christ”) to be a witness to “principalities and powers in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 6:12) – but the Deliverer shall come out of Zion and once and for all demolish thesedimensional barriers between the seen and unseen and there shall be ONE KING OVER THEM BOTH—the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim (Ezk. 37:24) - One Shepherd. The MANIFESTATION of the Son of David over both Houses shall be both an earthly and heavenly manifestation at the SAME TIME wherein the dimensional divide of heaven and earth will be broken, united together by the Son of Man as seen in John 1:41-51. This "Son of David" in Ezekiel 37:24 is NOT King David of the O.T. or a miscellaneous "son of David" but is the ROOT OF JESSE, My Servant, the Branch, the Great shepherd of the Sheep - He alone sits upon His Throne: "My Servant David shall be their Prince FOREVER" (Ezk. 37:25) (See also: Rev. 22:16 - "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star" - and Isaiah 11:1-2; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Rev. 5:5). The "physicality" of the "Root and Offspring of David" being the Messiah turns Dispensationalism on its head--why? Because the Messiah is seated upon His Throne on the Earth and obviously He is KING & SHEPHERD over the "two kingdoms" in an eternal display of reconciliation and governance.
- Many of us adjudge that the Law was fulfilled in Christ—the Law of Christ—and that it is holy and undefiled. Indeed, the Law was given as our schoolmaster to bring us to Messiah (Gal. 3:24) – how can something that brings us to the Messiah be onerous or unsanctified? Therefore, we give grace to those among us of the nations and to our Jewish brethren who affirm the Messiah who please Him to affirm the “commandments of God” but “have the testimony of Jesus" (Rev. 12:17); who "sing the Song of Moses, the servant of God and the Song of the Lamb" (Rev. 15:3).
- Many of us are persuaded that the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 – the Two Olive Trees and the Two Lampstands could readily be the corporate witness of Judah (Israel) to the Gentiles World Powers at the end of the age (the Two Olive Trees); and the Two Lampstands the corporate witness of Ephraim (“the elect from among the nations” – the Ekklesia) as a witness to the principalities and powers in the last days. The Seven Luchina/Lampstands or Churches of Revelation 1-3 are not seven Jewish congregations—they are the same Luchnia seen in Revelation 11 and are the EKKLESIA in history up through the end of the age.
- Furthermore, many of us affirm that the New Heaven and New Earth commences when the Glorified Son of Man sets His foot upon the Mt. of Olives (Zech. 14:4; Acts 1:9-11). We find no GAP in 2 Peter 3:10-13 between the Great & Awesome Day of the Lord and the New Heaven & New Earth. Furthermore, the New Heaven and New Earth do NOT circumvent the land allocations given in Ezekiel 48 but substantiate their materiality but do NOT omit the participation of the ELECT from among the Nations as seen in Ephraim’s inheritance described in the region of “Galilee of the Gentiles." The "meek shall inherit the earth" does not obfuscate the land allotments found in Ezekiel 48--we, poor puny man, simply cannot comprehend how BOTH the entire earth, and yet such a specific allocation of these tribal allocations square--there are some biblical truths we shall NOT comprehend until that day: ". . . but then I shall know just as I also am known" (1 Cor. 13:12).
- We reject outright the notion that today’s Jerusalem is Babylon the Great, the Great City of the Revelation. The “great city” of Revelation 11:8 where their Lord was crucified is OUTSIDE THE CAMP, outside the gate and is domiciled, not in the Holy City (Revelation 11:2; Hebrews 13:13) but in Babylon, that Great City. Revelation contrasts the Holy City (New Jerusalem—whose gates bear the names of the 12 Tribes of Israel and whose foundations bear the names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb – the 24 Elders of the Revelation are the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim in the “Hand of the LORD” as one New Jerusalem, One Stick vs the Great City, Babylon. This Great City found in Revelation 11:8 is akin, just as it says: “Allegorically/spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt” – THAT is its name—it is Babylon the Great throughout the Revelation; whereas, the Holy City is comprised of Israel and the Elect from the Nations.
- Again, many of us affirm that the New Heavens and the New Earth is NOT postponed until the Eschaton but occurs nigh immediately when the Glorified Son of Man sets His foot upon the Mt. of Olives (Zechariah 14:4); therefore, there are NOT two Holy Cities, Two Sanctuaries, nor does the Bride of Messiah spin around the Earth like a satellite somewhere in the ionosphere – she descends to the Earth. Therefore, the vision seen by Ezekiel in Ezk. 40-48 and that seen by John the Apostle in Revelation 21 is MULTI-DIMENSIONAL – it is both HEAVENLY and UPON THE EARTH – it can be explained in no other fashion – we are simply limited by our poor puny minds to comprehend: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love Him!” (1 Cor. 2:9)
- The Word of God persistently calls the followers of Yeshua either Jew or Gentile—distinguishing the two well after Pentecost. Yes, there is “neither Jew nor Greek in Christ” but neither is there “male or female” but there certainly are brothers and sisters in Christ; ipso facto there are Jews and Greeks in Christ (Acts 15:5-20; 18:2, 24; 19:17; 21:20; 21:39; 22:3; Rom. 1:16; 2:10; 3:29; 1 Cor. 1:24; Gal. 2:14-15; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 3:11). There is “neither Jew nor Greek” – but that is IN CHRIST, but not “By Nature.” There is NO SEPARATION in Christ - yet, prophetically there is IN NATURE distinction between the Jew and the Greek.
- It is our affirmation that the strongest bulwark against Antisemitism in the Last Days is Commonwealth Theology where today’s Jew/Judah is given a major, even equal, prophetic role both now unto the end of the age WITH the Stick of Ephraim – the “elect called out from among the nations.” We, the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel” have but One Shepherd, One Flock, One Stick IN THE HAND OF THE LORD.
- CT would appeal to Messianic Congregations throughout their associations to see in this new “body of theology” more than a friend and ally, but as your brothers and sisters in Messiah, Yeshua, the Christ—that we are included, as you, in the Commonwealth of Israel. There should not be jealousy between us. Nor, should there be jealousy between the present progeny of Abraham (aka, the Jewish people, ethnic Jews) and those called out from among the Gentiles/the Nations, who attest to their lineage and spiritual dimension as Ephraim and who bear the title as the “children of promise.” To the contrary, we should all be in mutual support of our common redemption and Deliverer who shall “roar out of Zion!”
- Finally, CT views the present State of Israel as the prophetic expression of the gathering of the exiles of Judah to their ancient homeland as heralded by the Hebrew Prophets—this is NOT an accident, a coincidence, but it is orchestrated by the God of Israel as a precursor for the unveiling of our common Messiah and Earth’s Redemption. We applaud a more “Biblical Zionism” in hopes of igniting a hunger for the Torah among God’s ancient people. We refute the teaching of current evangelicals who postulate that today’s Israel may NOT be the final ingathering or that today’s Israel has absolutely no prophetic promise from Scripture (i.e., all such promises belong exclusively to the Church—that we refute). Our bond with the Jewish people is irrevocable because we who were scattered among the nations – yes, swallowed up by the nations – have “come to ourselves” as the Prodigal Son, and have returned to our Father to be under one roof with our Father’s faithful son, Judah. May all jealousy and contempt depart from this One House, banished forevermore through His Everlasting Mercy & Love!
8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred.
9 I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God, and not man, The Holy One in your midst; And I will not come with terror.
10 “They shall walk after the Lord. He will roar like a lion. When He roars, Then His sons shall come trembling from the West;
11 They shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt, Like a dove from the land of Assyria. And I will let them dwell in their houses,” Says the Lord.
ENDNOTES (Are NOT necessarily linked to the text but are shown only as Endnotes):
 These three Greek words give a powerful meaning to the nations bound together with Israel:
Synkleroma, sysoma synmetoka– all starting with the prefix “syn,” from which we get English words like synchronize, synthesize, and synergy.
First is synkleroma—“co-heirs.” This legal term suggests not just an equality of shared privilege, as in two business but instead it is more like two “blood-brothers” who have utterly bound themselves together, totally dependent on each other for whatever inheritance, hope, and success they can expect to receive from their common father. In Messiah, we Jews won’t get our ultimate inheritance from the father until the nations get theirs—and vice-versa!
Second is sysoma—“co-body” people, “of one body.” INTRINSICALLY ONE BODY
Last is synmetoka—“partakers of the same promise” in Christ Jesus. “Promise” is in the singular, not “promises.” In keeping with the rest of Paul’s writings, we can understand him to be specifically referring to the pre-figured, Gospel promise made to Abraham, as taught in Romans 4, 8:17, and Galatians 3:26-29. Romans 4:11-17 brings together these ideas from Ephesians 3:6, and other chapters in this book. (Source: One New Man…The Mystery of Messiah – Kehila News Israel, Aug. 2, 2017)
 JOHN WALVOORD and the Satellite New Jerusalem:
Most important, however, is the fact that the city is declared to come down from God out of heaven. In the Greek, the expression “out of heaven” precedes the phrase “from God,” just the reverse of the Authorized Version order. Nothing is said about the new Jerusalem being created at this point and the language seems to imply that it has been in existence in heaven prior to this event (for further discussion, see Rev. 21:9). Nothing is revealed concerning this in Scripture unless the expression of John 14:2, “I go to prepare a place for you,” refers to this. If the new Jerusalem is in existence throughout the millennial reign of Christ, it is possible that it is a satellite city suspended over the earth during the thousand-year reign of Christ as the dwelling place of resurrected and translated saints who also have access to the earthly scene. This would help explain an otherwise difficult problem of the dwelling place of resurrected and translated beings on the earth during a period in which men are still in their natural bodies and living ordinary lives. If so, the new Jerusalem is withdrawn from the earthly scene in connection with the destruction of the old earth, and later comes down to the new earth. (Source: Walvoord, The New Heaven and the New Earth)
 Views on the Two Brides and the Marriage and Marriage Super of the Lamb:
Dispensationalist J. Dwight Pentecost: Pentecost commenting on the two marriage suppers (the supper and feast), as noted by Dr. Chafer, gives this explanation: “…The marriage of the Lamb as that event in the heavens in which the church is eternally united to Christ and the marriage feast or supper constitutes the millennium, to which Jews and Gentiles will be invited, which takes place on the earth, during which time the Bridegroom is honored through the display of the bride to all His friends who are assembled there” (THINGS TO COME, p. 228).
Moreover, Pentecost excludes the O.T. saints, "tribulation saints" and National Israel from the Bride of Messiah, but then turns around and "invites" them to the Marriage Super of the Lamb which apparently is on the Earth, even though the Bride of Messiah, according to Dispensationalist Walvoord, is spinning around the globe like a satellite, never coming down to Earth:
The participants in the marriage. The marriage of the Lamb is an event which evidently involves only Christ and the church. It will be shown later, according to Daniel 12:1-3 and Isaiah 26:19-21, that the resurrection of Israel and the Old Testament saints will not take place until the second advent of Christ. Revelation 20:4-6 makes it equally clear that tribulation saints will not be resurrected until that time also. While it would be impossible to eliminate these groups from the place of OBSERVERS [i.e., "guests at the wedding feast"], they cannot be in the position of participants in the event itself. In this connection it seems necessary to distinguish between the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper. The marriage of the Lamb is an event that has particular reference to the church and takes place in heaven. The marriage supper is an event that involves Israel and takes place on the earth. In Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24; and Matthew 25:1-13, where Israel is awaiting the return of the bridegroom and the bride, the wedding feast or supper is located on the earth and has particular reference to Israel. The wedding supper, then, becomes the parabolic picture of the entire millennial age, to which Israel will be invited during the tribulation period, which invitation many will reject and so they will be cast out, and many will accept and they will be received in. Because of the rejection the invitation will likewise go to the Gentiles so that many of them will be included. Israel, at the second advent, will be waiting for the Bridegroom to come from the wedding ceremony and invite them to that supper, at which the Bridegroom will introduce His bride to His friends (Matt. 23:1-13) (Note: Jews are just invited guests or "friends".)
In reference to the announcement in Revelation 19:9: "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb" two interpretations are possible. Chafer says: "Distinction is called for at this point between the marriage supper which is in heaven and celebrated before Christ returns, and the marriage feast (Matthew 25:10, R. V.; Luke 12:37) which is on earth after His return." This view anticipates two suppers, one in heaven receding the second advent, and the one following the second advent on earth. A second interpretation views the announcement as anticipatory of the wedding super that will be held on earth following the marriage and the second advent, about which an announcement is being made in heaven prior to the return to earth for that event. Inasmuch as the Greek text does not distinguish between marriage supper and marriage feast, but uses the same word for both, and since the marriage supper consistently is used in reference to Israel on the earth, it may be best to take the latter view and view the marriage of the Lamb as that event in the heavens in which the church is eternally united in Christ and the marriage feast or supper as the millennium, to which Jews and Gentiles will be invited, which takes place on the earth, during which time the bridegroom is honored through the display of the bride to all His friends who are assembled there. (Pentecost, THINGS TO COME, pp. 227-28)
Other Dispensationalists are explicit: There are TWO BRIDES/WIVES - one for Jehovah and one for Christ; to wit:
As we have seen, the OT represents Israel as the wife of Jehovah. Although she has been unfaithful and divorced by her Husband, a time is coming when “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26). At that time, Jehovah will take her back as His wife. The marriage of Israel to Jehovah is seen in promises of God concerning the city, Zion. In her restoration, God will rejoice over the city as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride:
In the meantime, those who accept Messiah Jesus are baptized into His body (1Cor. 12:13). In the same way that Eve was literally “one flesh” with Adam, having been taken from his side (Gen. 2:21-24), so believers are joined into the spiritual body of Christ and betrothed to Him. During Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation, the wife of Jehovah is being purified on earth in preparation for her restoration during the Millennial Kingdom to follow. At the same time, the bride of Christ is in her bridal chamber, having been taken in the Rapture and wed to Him at the marriage of the Lamb.
Later, after the Millennial Kingdom has come to a close and a new heavens and new earth are created, the holy city, the New Jerusalem, is prepared by Jehovah as a bride adorned for her husband—the Lamb (Rev. 21:2+, 9+). The long-unfulfilled promises of the restoration of Jerusalem, which found their initial fulfillment in the Millennial Kingdom (Isa. 62), will come to final fruition in the New Jerusalem where all the redeemed of all ages are in union with God and the Lamb Who are its temple (Rev. 21:22+). This is the ultimate consummation of all the redeemed. (Source: The Marriage of the Lamb)
Thus, by postponing the New Heaven and the New Earth to the Eschaton, Dispensationalism has kept the Church and Israel in SEPARATION; their distinction has been carried to the extreme and has made the Cross of "none effect" (the "Wall of Separation" persists). Likewise, by creating two brides, God is made out to be a polygamist!
Turning to Dr. Robert Gundry, we read:
We should not expect to find rigid consistency in the biblical use of metaphors . . .. Thus, since Israel as well as the Church is both bride and wife, we should not jump to the conclusion that the Lamb's bride and wife consists of the Church alone. On the contrary, the context indicates that at the marriage supper of the Lamb the bride includes Israel: "Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he . . . showed me the holy city, Jerusalem . . . with twelve gates . . . and names were written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel (Rev 21:9, 10, 12). If therefore, the marriage supper does not require a pretribulational resurrection and rapture of the Israelitish segment of the bride, neither does it require a pretribulational resurrection and rapture of the Church.
Notwithstanding, Arno Fruchtenbaum sums up the "polygamist God" we serve:
While the distinction between Israel and the Church is maintained in various ways throughout the Bible, this is one of the more picturesque [i.e., the difference between the Marriage of Lamb with the Church in heaven during the 70th Week of Daniel and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb upon the earth when the guests, Israel, O.T. saints, and "tribulation saints" show up as "guests" - our insertion]. However, if one makes the Wife of Jehovah (Israel) and the Bride of the Messiah (the Church) one and the same thing, he is faced with numerous contradictions because of the different descriptions given. Only when the two separate entities are seen: Israel as the Wife of Jehovah and the Church as the Bride of the Messiah, do all such contradictions vanish. (Dr. Arno Fruchtenbaum: The Wife of Jehovah and the Bride of Messiah, July 8, 2009)
And . . .
But there will be "Guests," for as all the dead in Christ shall rise and be present at the "Marriage of The Lamb," and as only those who are saved from Pentecost to the taking out of the Church, belong to the Church (The Bride), there will be present as "GUESTS" the Old Testament Saints, such as Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Job, Moses, David, the Prophets, and even John the Baptist who claimed to be only the "Friend" of the Bridegroom. Then there will be the "Blood Washed Multitude" that come out of the Tribulation after the Church has been caught out. Thus we see that the righteous of all the past Ages and Dispensations, and all the Saints of God who shall be worthy, and who are not included in the Bride (The Church), will be "Guests" at the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb." Angels will be "spectators" of the scene but they cannot be "Guests," for that honor is reserved for only those who have been redeemed by the "Blood of the Lamb." (Source: The Marriage of the Lamb)
Thus, in the minds of the Dispensationalists, the God of the Bible has two SEPARATED MARRIAGES - One to Israel (somewhere along the line, yet future somewhere during or at the end of the Millennium) and one to the Messiah, the Christ, the Bride of Messiah--that's how far they have carried their DISTINCTION--into SEPARATION! Indeed, some Dispensationalists suggest that the "guests" at the Wedding Super will be the Wife of Jehovah (ostensibly) and the reverse is in play when Jehovah will marry His Bride and then the Bride of Christ will return the favor and show up as guests--so convoluted is their desire to keep the Bride of Messiah SEPARATED! Somehow, through it all, the Triune God is likewise separated?
PLEASE GO TO PART 1 of COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY