“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” -Morpheus “The Matrix”
Part of my time within the Messianic/Hebrew Roots Movement involved learning about the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Originally, Israel existed as one unified nation consisting of 12 tribes. Those tribes carried the names of Jacob’s 12 sons. During the reign of Rehoboam, the ten northern tribes rebeled against the king and aligned with Jeroboam. Those tribes retained the name Israel. The two remaining tribes, The Southern Kingdom, became known as Judah.
The Northern Kingdom, Israel, persists in her idolatry. Yahweh eventually divorces her and she is taken away by Assyria. This is foretold in the book of Hosea. Yahweh parallels Hosea’s family dynamics with that of Israel. The names Yahweh gives for Hosea’s children are symbols to how he will deal with Israel. The first child is named Lo-ruhamah (No Compassion). The second child is named Lo-ammi (Not My People). Yahweh further explains that Judah will be his people and he will have compassion with them, contrasting to his dealings with Israel. Yahweh then explains that one day, he will have mercy and compassion on Israel and join her again with her sister Judah.
This study gave me a new understanding of the entire Nation of Israel. God showed his judgement to Israel, but showed mercy to Judah.
This study also led to more questions. “Could this be what Romans 9 was really about? Could it be that the vessels of wrath were of the Northern Kingdom and the vessels of mercy were from Judah?”
I began studying more of the prophets, mainly Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Now that I could distinguish between Israel and Judah, the prophetic writings made sense. Honestly, I had never been able to read them before. Previously, they were boring, hard to follow and had nothing to do with me. Now they were intriguing, alive, and somewhat relevant.
I noticed a trend within the texts of the prophets – the law was to be kept, (not done away with), and Yahweh would restore the Kingdom of Israel, complete with the Ten Lost Tribes (which hadn’t happened yet). There was no mention of a dying and raising man-god messiah. There was no indication that Israel could be replaced by another entity. So I began to wonder how Jesus fit into to it all. I asked a fellow Messianic Christian. He advised me to watch a study called “The Law of Moses and the New Covenant” done by a Jewish Rabbi.
The rabbi pointed out a place in the book of Hebrews where the writer misquotes from the book of Jeremiah (31:31-33). The original texts reads, “
Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was their husband,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
However, the writer of Hebrews states
For he finds fault with them when he says, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Did you notice the difference? Jeremiah states that they broke the covenant, yet God “was their husband.” The writer of Hebrews says, “so I showed no concern for them.”
I could not believe it! “Can the Holy Spirit do that?” I asked myself.
I decided to take a look at all New Testament quotes from the Old Testament. What I found astonished me. I then realized I had been living in the Matrix. My reality was not reality at all.