Bible Question:

My wife and I are currently reading Nazarene Israel by Norman Willis. He claims that we, as “Christians” are the apostate church, the hidden lost ten tribes of Israel, or the “Ephraimites” - the descendents of Joseph's son (in America). He says that God is calling us back to Him, to our Jewish brothers, to once again return to the Torah to obey all the commandments. He says that Jesus did not come to do awaywith the Law. Jesus said in Matthew 5:18-19 that “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (not that we wouldn't make it into heaven). Willis claims that Christians have twisted the meaning or true scripture in Colosians 2:16 about not letting anyone judge you in respect to observing the Sabbath. Willis says that Christians have changed the meaning, but God will judge you about observing His Sabbath. If the things this brother is stating are true, that changes have been made to the scriptures (mainly brought about from Constantine to allow the people to think of him as deity, yet still believe in Jesus as the risen Christ), then the church has fulfilled it's mission in getting the gospel of Christ out to the world, but has misunderstood the fact that we are to be brought back into the obedience of God's commandments. I guess this would mean observing Passover, the other Jewish feasts and celebrations, and we should prepare to return to Israel when Elijah shows up to restore all things and return the hearts of the fathers to their children...before the Day of the Lord. We are in turmoil, and the typical “church answer” we're getting don't seem to refute Norman Willis' claims. If he is right, we want to be obedient to God, but if he is trying to lead us astray, we don't want to be deceived.

Bible Answer:

The website you are concerned about is teaching error. Let us examine three issues in order to demonstrate that his teachings are in error.

Lost Tribes of Israel

The author’s first false teaching is that there are ten Israeli tribes that are lost. The names of all of the tribes of Israel are listed in Revelation 7:4-8. Two tribes, Judah and Benjamin comprised the southern kingdom of Judah (2 Chron. 11:1). The remaining tribes lived in the northern kingdom which was called Israel. A more complete description of the various tribes is available at Whatever happened to the ten tribes of Israel that were deported?

However, 2 Chronicles 15:9 indicates that some men from the northern kingdom of Israel were living in the southern kingdom. Nehemiah 11:20 indicates that after the Jews returned to the land after the deportations, men from all of the northern tribes of Israel were present in the southern kingdom of Judah. In short, none of the tribes of Israel have ever been lost. Also Luke 2:36 tells us that at the time of Jesus’ birth, the prophetess Anna who was from the supposedly lost tribe of Asher was present in Jerusalem. This is one more example that none of the tribes have been lost. They may have been deported and many killed, but descendants still lived and existed among the Jews in the land of Palestine. This reveals that the author of the website is in error when he states,

Today, however, scholars have been shown the answers as to where the House of Joseph is, and how they will return: Exhaustive research has shown that the Christian peoples are the prophetic (if not also the literal) descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel; and that as such, they have a prophetic destiny, as foretold in the prophets.”

His claims are false and misleading. The scriptures alone prove he is in error.

Colossians 2:16

The context (the surrounding verses) of Colossians 2:16 demonstrates that the apostle Paul is teaching the readers that keeping the ordinances of the Mosaic Law are no longer required. Consider Col. 2:20-23 which refers to not observing such laws as “do not handle, do not taste, do not touch.” In Hebrews 8 and 9 we are told that the Mosaic Law is no longer in effect. The old covenant has been replaced by a new covenant. Hebrews 9 explicitly refers to the Mosaic system and tells us that it no longer exists. Consequently, the implication is that there is no longer any requirement to observe the Mosaic Law. For further reading on this subject visit What Old Testament laws can we ignore? and Should we be keeping the Od Testament feasts? We should ignore his claim regarding Constantine. Where is his proof? Anyone can make such a claim. The difficulty is proving it.

Romans 11:25

While the author makes many false statements, we will only consider one final issue. The author rewrites Romans 11:25 as follows,

For I do not desire that you should be ignorant of this secret, brothers, lest you should be wise in your own estimation: that blindness in part has happened to (both Houses of) Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles (the House of Joseph) has come in.

He indicates that the word “Gentiles” means or refers to “the House of Joseph.” This is a false statement. The Greek word for “Gentile” is ETHNOS. It simply means “nation” and was used by the Jews to refer to non-Jews. Therefore, it cannot refer to “the House of Joseph.”

Conclusion:

We would recommend that you ignore the website. He is a false teacher.

Reference Links:

Whatever happened to the ten tribes of Israel that were deported?
What Old Testament laws can we ignore?
Should we be keeping the Old Testament feasts?