Have you ever wondered about the “deeper meaning” of Titus 3:8-9?
Titus 3: 8. Faithful is the Word: and in these things I would have you also establish them; so that they, who have believed in Elohim, may be careful to cultivate good works: these are the things which are good and profitable to men. 9. But foolish questions and stories of genealogies and the disputes and contests of the scribes, avoid: for there is no profit in them and they are vain.* (AENT)
What does this mean?
Well, the truth is that the ancient world is not alone when it comes to “stories of genealogies.” The Internet teems with Jewish, Christian, Messianic, Hebraic Roots, Ephraimite or Two-House identity teachings that tend to endlessly focus on bloodlines, DNA and genealogies – all focusing more on the importance of “who” we are, than on the Truth of YHWH/Yeshua/Torah, and totally ignoring the fact that we are actually all ONE in Messiah (Ephesians 2:15); and that in Messiah there is no Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free (Galatians 3:28)….
Some Ephraimite leaders even teach that ONLY the 12 Tribes of Israel will be “saved!”
Some have lost sight of Y’shua altogether, swinging completely to the “other side of the pendulum” to adopt different forms of Orthodox or Karaite Judaism for their spirituality - all because of their pursuit of bloodline theology, identity, and “Hebraic” teachings.
The “lost sheep of the house of Israel” is another example of an 18th century Christian doctrine that takes the focus off the Kingdom of Heaven and puts it on ancient maps of Europe, Assyriology, self, and Jewish and Israelite history in a bid to link bloodline connections between British and American Christians with the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel.”
Rav Sha’ul (Apostle Paul) specifically told us to “avoid” these things!
Titus 3:9 But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile. 10 Warn a divisive person once, then a second time; and after that, have nothing more to do with him. 11 You may be sure that such a person has been perverted and is sinning: he stands self-condemned. (CJB)
The following excerpt was borrowed from a footnote on Titus 3:9 in the Aramaic English New Testament (AENT):
One of the ironies of the Ephraimite, Two-House, and British Israel movements is that the key word for “lost” sheep in Hebrew is “abad” (destroyed or perished) from which the term “Abaddon” destroyer is derived. The movement has produced leaders who are highly influenced by Rabbinical and Karaite Judaism, some of whom no longer believing that Y’shua is the King of Kings, or that Y’shua did not make atonement on the stake; but rather, that he came to “gather the 12 Tribes of Israel.”
However, Hebrews 13:8 says Y’shua is “the same yesterday, today and forever”. So, if Y’shua cannot change, if he is not King of Kings now, he never will be King of Kings. By focusing on self and identity, many have elevated their genealogy theories over and above the Redemptive work of Mashiyach, and put the Kingdom of Heaven as a secondary pursuit.”
(End of footnote excerpt.)
What people seem to forget is that “tribal identity” is secondary. Why? Because, the bottom line is that there is only one Torah for the Jew and the foreigner (Numbers 15:15-16) and the righteous from the nations become part of the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-16) …which includes ALL 12 tribes in unity (Revelation 7:1-8).
As believers in Y’shua Mashiyach, our ONE, TRUE SPIRITUAL IDENTITY is that we love him by keeping His Father’s Commandments (Revelation 22:14). That is also why Jeremiah 31:31-34 starts with Two Houses and ends with One—Israel.
Continuing with another excerpt from the AENT footnote on Titus 3:9:
Ezekiel goes even further: “And for all there is One Shepherd from David to rule over them all, the two sticks being the shepherd’s staff in his hand: And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms.” (Ezekiel 37:22-NAU)
Since it is clear that there is no Mediator between humanity and Abba YHWH other than Y’shua, why does it seem as extremists from all camps are promoting their man-made hierarchies, whether Jewish, Christian, Catholic, Messianic, Hebrew Roots or Ephraimite?
In part the answer must reside with the deceptions of the enemy that are reflected in the root level of the Hebrew language itself. Ephraim first appears in Genesis 41:52; “He named the second Ephraim for he said, Elohim has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
There are two concepts brought into sharp juxtaposition here. First, is the word para (fruitful), which according to Brown Driver Briggs becomes “Ephraim” in Hiphil form. So, when Joseph’s children—or anyone else for that matter—lives in righteousness, they can be fruitful even in tough times. That’s the good news. However, the sense of affliction (oni, anah in Hebrew) could also be viewed as a warning of what will befall those who choose rebellion and unrighteousness.
Very often in Hebrew a “blessing” word starts with the letter Aleph but turns “corrupt” by swapping it with the similar sounding Ayin. For example, “light” is spelled Aleph-Waw-Resh, but “blindness” is spelled Ayin-Waw-Resh (see Exodus 4:11). Similarly, Ephraim is spelled with an Aleph but if we swap it for an Ayin we get Epher which means “ash heap”.
In Psalm 44:24-26 we find “affliction” not with “fruitfulness” as it is in Genesis 41:52 but with dirt, dust, ashes via Epher: “Why do You hide Your face and forget our affliction (oni) and our distress? For our core beings have sunk down into the dust (epher/apher). Our body clings to the earth. Rise up! Be our help! And redeem us for the sake of Your loving-kindness.”
Therefore, just as “light” degrades to “blindness” so too can “Ephraim” stop being fruitful and become ashes, the ultimate symbol of surrender or mourning. The same choices apply to everyone, not for Ephraim alone.
Adam was formed from Epher/Apher and was told; “For Apher (dust) you are and to Apher (dust) you shall return” (Genesis 3:14). The Good News is that all of humanity is called to fruitfulness through righteous behavior—regardless of what man-made teachings say—to celebrate and rejoice in Mashiyach and Torah.
When we open our hearts to Torah we are fruitful, but when we rebel and turn a blind eye we come to ashes. On that score, when we walk in humility and repent of our sins in sackcloth and ashes we become “fruitful” again.
(End of footnote excerpt.)
The bottom line is. while it’s “nice to know” where we came from and “who we are” here in our “earth suits,” our TRUE identity lies in YHWH/Y’shua! Divisions concerning our respective places in that identity are totally unnecessary and uncalled for. We are ONE IN MESSIAH! End of story.