Two House Theory

Along the journey of discovering the Hebrew Roots of my faith, I’ve picked up on a few interesting theologies, one of which is the Two House Theory.  Essentially, this school of thought teaches that Christians are one of the lost Tribes of Israel and that God is uniting them with the house of Judah (i.e. the Jews) into one House under the New Covenant. 

If this is true, then do Christians need to follow the Torah? Is the reason for a resurgence of interests of Judaism a by-product of our lost ancestry?

Historical Precedence
Historically, we know that after King Solomon died, all of Israel was divided into two: The Northern Kingdom of Israel & the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The division was caused by North’s lack of allegiance to Solomon’s successor. In 722 BC, the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom, forcing the 10 tribes that inhabited the land to scatter and eventually become “lost”. 

What does this have to do with Ephraim?
We have to back up all the way to Genesis to get this answer.  In chapter 48, we see that Joseph brought his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, before their grand-father Jacob (also called Israel).  Jacob took Ephraim and spoke a blessing over him that “his seed shall become a multitude of nations”. 

Those who follow the Two House theory suggest that the Assyrian conquering is a direct fulfillment of this blessing forcing Ephraim to scatter and become several nations. And to further support their position they refer to a passage in Romans 11, wherein the Apostle Paul describes Gentiles as being grafted into the root of Jesse in order to receive the blessings of God.

Israel as a Nation
I don't believe God was speaking as a forerunners to Christians in any of these passages. Let's look at a couple of scriptures:
  1. It was prophesied that the Jewish people, Israel as a nation, (not the Gentiles) would be scattered:

    Deuteronomy 4: 25-31
    When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you.

    See also Micah 5:7-9
  2. Conversely, it was also prophesied that the nation of Israel would be gathered:

    Isaiah 11:11-13In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.  The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.

    See also Jeremiah 16:14-15; Jeremiah 23:3-8
  3. Paul refers to the 'Remnant' (same term used by Isaiah for the nation of Israel) & Gentiles as 2 separate concepts in Romans 11.
  4. James 1 refers to the 12 Tribes in the Dispersion (not the 10 tribes plus Gentiles & the lost).
  5. Ezekiel is chocked full of references to Israel as one nation with no 'lost' tribes. In chapter 47 and following, Ezekiel describes how the land was divided among the 12 Tribes (not 2 tribes & some lost ones), indicating he thought of it as one Jewish Nation.  Jump back 2 chapters to find a summary of this concept:

    Ezekiel 45:8
    It is to be his property in Israel. And my princes shall no more oppress my people, but they shall let the house of Israel have the land according to their tribes.
Spiritual Kingdom
I think Christians feel slighted if they are not Messianic Jews because of the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament, because we have come to associate them with the covenant of Salvation. When in reality, some of God's promises were to a physical Israel and to a land that he promised them. Has nothing to do with salvation or Christ's sacrifice. In fact, Yeshua flat out states that His kingdom (not the Kingdom of Ancient Israel) is a spiritual one:

John 18:36
“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 

I don't think we need to concern ourselves with trying to be Jewish as Christians. If you are a Jew coming from Judaism as Paul did (see Galatians 1:13) or you are Gentile, the promises made about the Ephraim and the division of the land has no bearing on your Salvation. Don't worry about it. You are not less in the eyes of the Father because you don't live in Israel or have Jewish blood.

Maybe I misunderstood the Two House Theory?


  1. Interesting. I hadn't heard the two-house theory explained before, though I have often heard (and disagree with) "the Church is the new Israel." I agree with your viewpoint, except I would hardly say that God's promises to Israel had nothing to do with salvation or Christ's sacrifice. The promises did have everything to do with salvation--their purpose, and in fact the whole purpose of the Old Covenant, was to set the stage for Christ. But your point was that nothing is lost from salvation for those to whom those particular promises do not apply, which is true.
    Anyway, thanks for the post. I enjoyed it :)

    1. Thanks for your response JennyBeth. You are right and I misrepresented myself. I did not mean to imply that all of the promises to Israel had nothing to do with salvation in Christ, as a great deal of the prophecies concerning Christ, the blessings through Abraham, and the like has everything to do with Salvation! These are referred to as universal or general covenants. There are others though that dealt with promising them the land that I feel had nothing to do with our salvation through Christ.