Jews and non-Jews for Christ
Jews for Christ
At the beginning of our contemporary era there was a Jewish preacher walking around the area of Galilee and Jerusalem.
He became a respected rebbe who could talk marvelously and do wondrous things (miracles).
After his death and resurrection his talmidim, after they received the Power of the Holy Spirit, started going out to bring the Good News to all sorts of people. They did not only attract Jehudi brethren and sisters but also could reach goyim, heathen or non-Jewish people.
Though the came a huge schism in the 4th century, dividing Christianity in two groups, Trinitarians and non-trinitarians, Jews naturally could never agree with such three-headed god of the false human doctrine of the trinity.
In the 21st century there are still several Jews who recognize the rebbe Jeshua, Jesus Christ, as the Kristos or Christ, the Messiah.
Jews for thousands of years had their prophets talking about the one to come who would bring salvation. As such we can find:
- Messiah was to be born at Bethlehem: Micah 5:2 (Micah 5:1 in Hebrew Bible)
- Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah: Genesis 49:10
- Messiah would present himself by riding on an ass: Zechariah 9:9
- Messiah would be tortured to death: Psalm 22:1-31
- Messiah would arrive before the destruction of the Second Temple: Daniel 9:24-27
- Messiah's life would match a particular description, including suffering, silence at his arrest and trial, death and burial in a rich man's tomb, and resurrection: Isaiah 52:13-53:12
All those prophesies from the Hebrew Writings should convince people that Jeshua is the son of man from the root of Jesse and tribe of David being spoken about. (Isa 11:10; Luke 20:41; Matthew 21:9)
As Jews can only have One God, the God of Israel, Jeshuaists do keep to that One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jeshua or Jesus and his disciples.
In regard to lineage, birthplace, time, and lifestyle, the Nazarene master teacher Jeshua, better known as Jesus, matched the Messianic expectations of the Hebrew Scriptures.The Messianic Scriptures do give further proof that this sent one from God is the anointed one from God the world was waiting for such a long time.
Jeshua never claimed to be God and clearly told his God is greater than him, and said that he even could do nothing without his God, Who is the God indefinite above all gods and mightier than all and that we should have no other gods than his heavenly Father, the Most High King Who is also Judge (Exodus 20:3; Psalms 75:7; 90:2; John 14:27-31; 5:17-36; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 15:28; 2 Corinthians 1:3)
In the Messianic Scriptures (or New Testament) we can find how Jeshua is the sent one from God but also the anointed of God who got authorized to speak and act in God's Name. (Psalm 110:2; Galatians 4:4; Luke 1:30-35; 2:11; 3:21-23; Matthew 28:18; John 5:27; 10:18; Acts 5:31) Several other factors combine to further substantiate the Messiahship of Jesus and how this sent one from God is the son of God who we must take as our savior and mediator between God and us (Luke 2:11; Acts 5:31; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 12:24).
Jeshua very well knew his position, being lower than God, but as His sent one being the one who had as task to be the that long awaited for Messiah! When a woman said to him,
"I know that Messiah is coming,"
"I who speak to you am he" (John 4:25-26).
Naturally, that doesn't prove anything one way or the other. But if Jeshua or Jesus had never made the claim to be the Messiah, why would we bother to try and prove that he was? His own claim lays the groundwork for the rest of the evidence.
To understand this, one must realize that by the time of Jesus, the messianic hope had become greatly politicized in the minds of the people. They were seeking deliverance from the tyranny of Rome.
Although the Scripture spoke both of the sufferings and of the victories of the messiah, the victorious aspect had become uppermost in the minds of the common people because of Roman domination. This "lopsided" view of the Messiah has stuck with many Jewish people, and the politicization of the messianic hope has continued to this day.
This is not to say that all Jewish people rejected the claims of Jesus. On the contrary, all the first followers of Jesus were Jews. In fact, the rabbis of that time and afterwards were well aware of the many messianic prophecies which Christians claimed were fulfilled in rebbe Jeshua (Jesus Christ). So, for instance, although the Talmudic rabbis concurred that Isaiah 53 was a prediction of the Messiah, by medieval times the pressure from those who applied this prophecy to Jeshua or Jesus (like he is known in many countries), was so great that Rashi, one of the greatest medieval Biblical scholars, reinterpreted the chapter and said it referred to the nation of Israel. This interpretation is maintained today by many Jewish scholars, though it only dates back to the Middle Ages.
You should know that throughout the ages there have been many false messiahs throughout Jewish history. Among the most prominent were Bar Kokhba, born Simon ben Kosevah the leader of what is known as the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 CE, establishing an independent Jewish state which he ruled for three years as Nasi ("Prince"). His state was conquered by the Romans in 135 following a two and half-year war. There was also Shabbetai Zevi, also known as Shabsai Tzvi, a Sephardic ordained rabbi, though of Romaniote origin and a kabbalist, active throughout the Ottoman Empire, who claimed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. Nathan of Gaza proclaimed in 1666 also this rabbi to be the Jewish Messiah and those followers of disciples and believers in Sabbatai Zevibecame known as the Sabbateans (or Sabbatians).
Later on there were also several others, like more recently the Korean leader Moon who also said he was the Messiah. He even claimed to be the returned Jesus Christ.
From the Messianic Writings all Jews, but also non-Jews, should get a fair picture of who Jeshua or Jesus is and what he has done, plus why he is so important for us.
His life stands in sharp contrast to those of the false messiahs, and it is a positive demonstration of what we would expect the Messiah to do. The Nazarene rebbe of the 1st century worked many miracles of healing, bringing wholeness into people's lives, forgiving sin and restoring relationships.
In contrast to Shabbetai Zevi, for instance, Jeshua carried out the Law of Moses as a devout Jew. And in contrast to Bar Kokhba, although Jeshua died he was also resurrected!And that resurrection or taking out of the dead, should be a signal for us of this man his special position.
The resurrection is a piece of additional evidence, and it is perhaps the most convincing vindication of Jeshua's claims.
Israeli scholar, Pinchas Lapide, wrote a book that has attracted no small amount of attention in the Jewish community. In The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective, Lapide argued that the resurrection of Jesus (or Jeshua) is well within the realm of possibility. After all, he reasoned, the Hebrew Scriptures give a number of accounts of people coming back to life. Why not Jesus as well?
Regrettably, Lapide fails to note that the resurrection of Jeshua is described in terms that go far beyond the resuscitations of the other stories. He fails to come to grips with the fact that Jeshua predicted his own resurrection, which vindicated his claims to Messiahship.
There was no way that a resuscitated Jeshua could have escaped and then convinced hundreds of skeptical eyewitnesses that he had conquered death forever! You might be able to fool one person, but it is impossible to fool 500 who saw him at one time.
For those Jews who know their Scriptures there is good reason to take that man of flesh and blood as the promised Messiah.
In the Jeshuaist community many do not want to give up their Jewishness, and there is no reason for, because the Jew Jeshua never wanted to create a new sort of religion. His presence is the call of God to come to follow Jeshua as the way to God and the way to life. (John 14:6)
Between the objective evidence of the Hebrew Scriptures and the Messianic Scriptures or New Testament, and the subjective verification in our own lives-we think there's ample evidence that Jeshua or Jesus Christ was who he claimed to be and is the one we should follow now!
Often we hear
"You can't be Jews if you believe in Jesus. Just call yourself Christians!"
That is what people say because that is what they have heard. But why do they say someone can't be Jewish and Christian?
Problem lies by the Christians. There are Christians who say the non-trinitarian Christians are no christians, though in reality they are more true followers of Christ, and have more reason to call themselves Christian than the trinitarian Christians.
Naturally when being a Christian and being a believer in the Trinity than that person can not be a Jew, because a Jew can only believe in the Only One true God of Israel, Who is One and not two or three.
Many Jews (and gentiles) have only a partial understanding of Christianity. Most do not know the difference between Christendom and Christianity and do not know what really the word being a Christian would entail. Most know that Christians believe Jesus is the Christ and that he died to atone for the sins of all who believe in him and that Christians say he rose from the dead.
Many do not understand how one becomes a Christian or much else about what that becoming does or does not entail.
Misunderstanding is so prevalent that for every four people there are five opinions of what it means to be a Jew or what it means to be a Christian.
Some say that being Jewish is merely a matter of religion. Since the majority of Jews think that the religion of Judaism teaches that Jesus (or Jeshua) is not the Messiah, that would certainly mean that a person who accepts Jesus or Jeshua is not a Jew. However, it would also mean that the majority of people now known as Jews are not. The definition excludes atheistic Jews, agnostic Jews and all other nonobservant Jews.
A lot of Jews also argue that Jewish identity is determined by cultural and sociological rather than religious factors. The interesting thing about those who use this argument is that they often add a caveat: that Jews who believe in other religions should be excluded. The caveat undercuts the whole concept, since one cannot use a nonreligious definition to include oneself, then turn and use religion to exclude others. Definitions must be consistent.
There is a way to circumvent the confusion and controversy over what it means to be a Jew. The Hebrew Scriptures pinpoint who is a Jew and why the Jewish people exist. Jews who believe in Jeshua or Jesus and accept the Scriptures as the authoritative source of Jewishness, whilst they also worship that Only One true God of Israel, have the full right to call themselves Jew.
God has chosen Himself a people and has laid out what shall happen to them and whom shall belong to them.
Biblically, a Jew is a Jew because of God's promise. The promise concerns the descendants of those to whom it was made. That means the promise of the Elohim Hashem Jehovah God to the Jewish people belongs to descendants of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah and Rachel. No human being can revoke God's promise. But though that is how one becomes a Jew, being Jewish should be more than race, religion or nationhood. We were meant not only to be a people of promise but also a people of purpose.
That purpose was first outlined in Exodus 19:5-6:
"Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession [segullah]. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests [mamlekhet kohanim] and a holy nation [goy kadosh]."1
God describes what will be, but allows people to decide if they want to participate in the purpose. A Jew is part of the people of Israel in any case, but some do not know or care what it means. Nevertheless, neither apathy nor even apostasy makes one cease to be a Jew. The Jewish Bible cites case after case of both. God dealt with his people but never withdrew the promise or the peoplehood from the descendants of Jacob.
We see the same thing in Jewish Law:
Even though a Jew undergoes the rites of admission to another religious faith and formally renounces the Jewish religion, he remains-as far as the halakhah is concerned-a Jew, albeit a sinner (Sanh. 44a).
According to Nahmanides this attitude derives from the fact that the covenant between God and Israel was made
"with him that standeth here with us today before the Lord our God and also with him that is not with us here today." (Deut. 29:14; Nahmanides ad loc.)2
Those who choose to hide their Jewishness are still Jews to God.
Jewishness goes on from generation to generation, but a Jeshuaist or follower of Christ one becomes by making the choice to follow the Nazarene rebbe Jeshua, the Kristos or Christ the promised Messiah. One can not be born a Jeshuaist or Christian. Without the faith in that man one can not call oneself Jeshuaist or Christian, but can be a Jew.
But accepting Jeshua as the Messiah makes not that the Jewishness ends. It also demands not that a person gives up being a Jew. But it certainly demands an act of having a certain attitude God worthy.
At the beginning the followers of the Christ, Christians, were Jews and today there is no reason at all not to find Jews under them too, though because of the confusion with the Christians who believe in the Trinity it would be better that those Jews and Christians would call themselves Jeshuaists (= followers of Jeshua, the real name of Jesus). Though today for the Jeshuaists or the followers of Jeshua there is no restrictiveness or exclusiveness to Jews any more. Today Jews and gentiles who, of their own free will, chose to trust in the Nazarene rebbe Jeshua (Jesus Christ), the Jewish Messiah, as the one who offered himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, should be recognized as brothers and sisters in Christ and as children of the New Covenant.
It is not because Jews want to identify themselves with that Jewish master teacher Jeshua, who is not accepted to be the Messiah by many Jews, that those Jews accepting him as their Messiah would not be members of God's People any more.
The assumption that we chose to believe in Jeshua as the Messiah because we didn't want to be Jews is entirely wrong. It was never our intention to be cut off from Jewish family, friends or heritage. Most of us didn't choose to believe in Jeshua because we find non-Jewish culture more pleasant or admirable.
As a Jew believing in rebbe Jeshua does not make us not following the Most High elohim as the Most High Master and Maker of all things.
The same as other Jews we value our Jewishness and like to keep to certain Jewish traditions as well as respecting all of our family members and friends who do not believe in Jeshua.
There is no reason at all why Jeshuaists, who from their family tree are Jewish, would suddenly have their Jewishness being taken away, because they come to see who is the Messiah according to the Scriptures.
For Jeshuaists too it is exciting to be a part of the people whom God promised would bring blessing to the whole world! Jeshuaists also do not exclude the Jewish or Hebrew Scriptures. It is wrong to think that Jeshuaist because they accept the Messianic Scriptures would put away the Torah, Nevi'im and Kethuvim. For us those ancient writings stay the base or foundation of our faith.
As Jeshuaist we continue on the path being put in front of God's People. We believe that the Elohim Hashem Jehovah continues to have a purpose and a plan for the Jewish people and that one way or another Jerusalem shall become the capital of the Holy Land and of the whole Kingdom of God (here on earth). But as Jews who believe in the Messiah Jeshua we also are aware that the exclusive right to the Kingdom for the Jewish community has been forfeited and has now been made accessible by Jeshua, who now acts as a mediator between God and man, to other people as well.
Believing in the New Covenant and accepting that there now is also a place for non-Jews to enter the Holy Land, does not give other Jews to deny us to be and stay a Jew.
As Jews with a beautiful hope feeling a connection to the past, a purpose for the present and a great hope for the future for all pepole, we only can give our hand to Jews and non-Jews, asking them all to join us on the road to God His Kingdom, which is a Kingdom above all human kingdoms.
Jeshua for non-Jews
Non-Jews for Christ
Though the Nazarene Jeshua was a Jew he did not exclude heathen or non-Jews to come to listen him or to follow him. Jeshua knew he was the sent one from God having the task to prepare the way for all people to come closer to his heavenly Father, the Only One True God of Israel.
After Jeshua was impaled his earthly task came to an end, but it was not an end to a movement started up by him. He was buried and after three days in the grave rose out of the dead. Notwithstanding Jeshua after his resurrection also appeared to his talmidim, they were very much afraid and did not like to come out into the open. Though one day when they were all together in a closed room, in the form of fire-flames coming above them, they got enlightened. The Power or Spirit of God gave them the force to go outdoors and tell the people that Jeshua was resurrected and was the way for all people to come to God. Already on that day of the appearance of God's Spirit they talked in many languages and baptized many people.
They being Jews also spoke to non-Jews who also wanted to join their movement, which came to be known as a Jewish sect, The Way. More and more goyim, i.e. heathen and non-Jews became part of the group which followed the teachings of Jeshua.
Problem hereby was the many Jewish rules and the talmidim not sure what they had to do with them and those non-Jews who joined their movement.
After some serious debate new light or understanding came to the talmidim, who decided that the goyim or non-Jews did not have to fulfill all the Jewish laws and as such should not have to undergo circumcision and could eat certain meat or would not have to keep to the rules of kosher food.
The Jewish scholar Saul first fought against the followers of Jeshua but conversed and became a fierce defender and preacher of the movement. In his writings, and particularly to the Galatians, we get a glimpse of how difficult and bitter the move to include non-Jews was in the early days of the expansion of followers of the Jeshua movement. Paul was writing in the thick of it, before all Jewish followers of Jeshua were equally convinced that non-Jews could be members of the group the Way as partakers of the Body of Christ. The apostle Paul (Saul) saw it as his own particular commission from Jeshua to preach to the gentiles, so his whole sense of his purpose in life is bound up with this issue. He bears witness to a time when the decision could have gone either way.
The doctor Luke, on the other hand, is writing with the benefit of hindsight, reporting on a period that is now past, but living at a time when the divisions over the issue were largely just a memory. The original talmidim were very well aware of the task Jeshua had given them, to go out into the world to bring the Good News of the coming Kingdom to all people, not only just Jews. Therefore Luke tended to see the spread of the gospel all over the world and through all cultures as inevitable. He saw the seeds of the gentile mission right back in Jeshua's own life and work: at the very beginning of Luke's gospel, the old man, Simeon, says, prophetically, that Jeshua is given as
"a light for revelation to the gentiles".
And in the Book Acts of the apostles we can read how the talmidim Philip and Peter had already started to preach to non-Jews before Paul got going at all.
Luke is perfectly clear that the decision to include gentiles in the new Jewish community is one forced on the group of Jeshua followers (or Jeshuaists) by the Holy Spirit. In Acts 10, he describes a dream that Peter is reported to have had, in which he is explicitly told that he must eat things that were forbidden by Jewish law. While still puzzling over the meaning of the dream, Peter met a Roman centurion, Cornelius, who was longing to become a follower of Jeshua or member of the group The Way, as it was then called.
When Cornelius and Peter had gathered to hear what could be done for them, just to reinforce the point, the Holy Spirit "fell" upon Cornelius and all his friends, and they spoke in tongues and praised the Most High Elohim, Jehovah God. Peter concluded that
"God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him."
So as far as Acts is concerned, the spread of the gospel to gentiles is something that happens in an orderly, spirit-filled manner and with the imprimatur of the Jewish followers of Jeshua in Jerusalem.
Acts 15 suggests that the matter of non-Jews coming into the movement of Jeshua followers was solved by a council in Jerusalem, which heard both sides and then made a considered decision.
Although the inclusion of gentiles or non-Jews among the followers of Jeshua is not an issue any more, we can find Christians who still have major disagreements, so this early record of how disputes were handled and how boundaries were drawn is still of interest to us.
Today from those who call themselves "Christians" the majority came to worship an other god than Jeshua and his talmidim worshiped. Jeshua did not pray to himself and never called himself God but clearly wanted everybody to know he could do nothing without his God, Who is the Only One true God, Who is an Eternal All-knowing Spirit no man an see or touch (Exodus 33:20; Psalm 90:2; Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 40:28; 1 Timothy 1:17; Luke 24:39; John 1:18; 4:24; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 1:20; John 14:27-31; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 15:28; John 5:17-36).
The apostles came to understand that theri master wanted all people to become one like Jeshua was one with his heavenly Father (John 10:30; 17:20-22) and that all should come to speak in the same way, with agape love welcoming all around them as brethren and sisters in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 13:11; Philipians 2:2; Romans 15:6; 16:17; Ephesians 4:3)
It is that call for becoming all brothers and sisters in Christ that Jews as well as non-Jews are being called to become members of that Body of Christ. Matthew 23:8; Ephesians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 6:15; 12:18; Colossians 1:18)
Gentiles or non-Jews also had to
"abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled and from blood."
and that has been very difficult throughout the ages, where we can see that many who call themselves Christian have taken themselves an other god than the God of Jesus (Jeshua) the Messiah and his apostles, who worshiped a singular and not a three-headed god or Trinity. The majority of Christians do think they do not have to keep to the Laws of Moses and think they can do whatever they like because they are saved. People who think that way are fooling themselves, because like Jesus or Jeshua kept to the commandments of God, his followers also have to follow and live according to the commandments of God. It is not because salvation comes over us by the Grace of God and by the death of Jesus, Jeshua impaled having given his body as a ransom for the sins of all, that we do not have to do any works any more.
The heathen, the atheist, the other believers than Jews, when they want to become a follower of the Christ (or if you would say "becoming a Christian" ) then has to accept the Words of God and the words of Christ Jesus (Jeshua). To become a real follower of Jeshua one has to follow his teachings, believe in the same God Jeshua believed in, and do their utmost best to live according to the rules and Wishes of the Most High Elohim, Jehovah God.
Normally being a Christian would mean being a follower of Christ. But today most of those people calling themselves Christian are not real followers of Christ Jesus, the Nazarene Jew Jeshua, who worshiped the Only One God of Israel.
Having the majority of Christendom following the false doctrine of the trinity, the non-trinitarian Christians, who are real followers of Jesus Christ, would better call themselves followers of Jeshua or Jeshuaists.
Jeshua wanted all to come to follow him as the way to God, and as such his invitation is still of high value today.
As true followers of Jeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ, we invite everybody to open the eyes and to come to see the Biblical truth, putting away all the false human doctrines and abandoning all those heathen or pagan rites and festivals, keeping to God His Words and His Festivals.
It is not because you have been an atheist or have believed in other gods or have joined other pagan rituals that you would not be welcome to join the members of the body of Christ. You too can become a partaker of that Body, by coming to believe in the Only One God, and by coming to try to live according His Laws and regulations.
Jeshua is also here for you. His actions have also prepared the way for you to come closer to God. It is only up to you to accept his unselfish deed of giving his body as a lamb for God, you willing to accept that ransom offering and also loving to join that brotherhood of followers of the real Jesus or the real Jeshua, the sent one from God who now sits at the right hand of God the Father. (Galatians 4:4-5; Matthew 3:4; 20:28; John 8:42; 1 Timothy 2:6)
All those who want to obey Christ Jesus or Jeshua, the only one by whom is salvation, shall be able to go on the small road with the hope to entering the narrow gate of the Kingdom of God. (Acts 4:12; Luke 1:69; Ephesians 2:12; Hebrews 2:3,10; 5:9-10; Matthew 7:14; Acts 14:22; 1 Peter 4:18-19)
John 3:16 has often been described as the gospel in a nutshell. It reads:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Note the words world and whoever. These universal terms include Jews and gentiles or non-Jews.
Whatever your previous faith was, it is never to late to change direction and to come to accept the Biblical Truth and to become a Jeshuaist, a follower of Jeshua, giving yourself in Jeshua or Jesus his hands, trusting on him who is the way to God.