JEWISH ROOTS OF CHRISTIANITY
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WHY JEWISH ROOTS?
"Listen to Me, O pursuers of righteousness, O seekers of Hashem:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and at the hollow of the pit from which you were dug;
look to Abraham your forefather and to Sarah who bore you,
for when he was yet one alone did I summon him and bless him and make him many"
Isaiah 51:1-2 Stone Edition Tanakh
Why Jewish Roots?
In the last several years, more and more in the Church universal have been led by the Spirit of God into studying the roots of their Christian faith and invariably all of their search for Truth have brought them to a common point which is the Jewish beginnings of Christianity. Their discoveries have spread and today this awareness is growing steadily among the Christians worldwide. For example, well-known ministers such as David Wilkerson and Rick Joyner have begun to make mention of returning to the Jewish roots.
What Has The Church To Do With The Jews?
The Church has a lot to do with the Jews, whether or not she accepts this fact. In the first place, both Judaism and Christianity came from the same God.
Abraham Is their Common Forefather.
Abraham was the first Jew or Hebrew and both the Jewish people and the Church of Jesus Christ are the seed of Abraham. "Also, if you belong to the Messiah, you are seed of Avraham and heirs according to the promise." Gal. 3:29 (JNT). Looking at Gal 3:8, he was the first Christian (believer of the same gospel), being preached to by God Himself.
The Old Testament Is Our Common Foundation
Both Judaism and Christianity share the same Old Testament as our holy scriptures. The foundations of our faith in God are rooted in the Old Testament, so also that of the Jews, for their history and their laws are all in the Old Testament. Moreover, the entire Old Testament was written by Jews. 'The New Testament was also written by Jews with the exception of Luke. 'Judaism is the name that men have attached to the formative stages of biblical faith (Old Testament) and Christianity is the name that men have attached to the completing stage of biblical faith (New Testament).'
Judaism is The Mother Of Christianity
Christianity as a religion was an offshoot of Judaism. It has been said that Judaism does not need Christianity to explain its existence, but Christianity needs Judaism both to explain its existence and what it believes. Hence, Christianity has also been termed historically as the Judeo-Christian faith. In the early years of the Christian faith, Christianity was regarded as just another sect of Judaism (Acts 28:22) known as the sect of the Nazarenes. The early disciples and the 12 Apostles were all Jewish. Apostle Paul even took a Nazarite vow (Num. 6) to prove to his critics that he was a Torah-observant Jew (Acts 21:17-26). The term 'Christians' surfaced only in AD 42 when the disciples were first called that in Antioch (Acts 11:26). The term gradually was adopted to differentiate believing Jews from unbelieving Jews and over time, it became a separate identity altogether. " don't boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root (Israel's forefathers), the root is supporting you (Church)." Rom. 11:18 (JNT)
Salvation Is Of The Jews
"You people don't know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews." John 4:22 (JNT). These were Jesus' very own words, that salvation belongs to the Jews. The gospel that we hold dear, first belongs to the Jews for the gospel was first preached to Abraham, the first Jew. All the blessings we have in Christ are first to be found in Abraham to whom God promised those blessings. And the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant have been entrusted to his descendants, the Jews. Without the Jews, we would have no patriarchs, no prophets, no apostles, no Bible and no Savior! Deprived of all these, how much salvation would we have left to us? None! " .in thee (Abraham) shall all families of the earth be blessed." Gen. 12:3 (KJV) " in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Gen 28:14 (KJV) "Then what advantage has the Jew? What is the value of being circumcised? Much in every way! In the first place, the Jews were entrusted with the very words of God." Rom. 3:1-2 (JNT)
Salvation Is Extended To The Church Via The Jews
And it was finally through Jesus (Yeshua), born a Jew that the promises given to Abraham have been extended to the rest of the world that we may become partakers of those same promises. "at that time had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Israel. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God's promise. You were in this world without hope and without God. But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah's blood." Eph. 2:12-13 (JNT) "that in union with the Messiah and through the Good News the Gentiles were to be joint heirs, a joint body and joint sharers with the Jews in what God has promised." Eph. 3:6 (JNT)
Apostle Paul, himself a Jew, told us this:
"In that case, I say, isn't it that they have stumbled with the result that they have permanently fallen away? Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary, it is by means of their stumbling that the deliverance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy For if their casting Yeshua aside means reconciliation for the world, what will their accepting him mean? It will be life from the dead! .. ..and you - a wild olive - were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, then don't boast .." Rom. 11:11,15,17,18 (JNT)
Jesus Did Not Abolish Judaism
Jesus was born and raised as a Torah-observant Jew. He was considered a rabbi and taught the people like a rabbi. He Himself clearly affirmed the Torah when He said: "Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah (Law) or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah - not until everything that must happen has happened." Matt. 5:17-18. (JNT). Jesus did not abolish Judaism but He reformed Judaism (Heb 9:10), which reform many Jews could not accept as of God, thus opening the way for the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles who gladly received the gospel.
Someone puts it this way:
"Because of the ministry of Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross of Calvary, Gentiles as well as Jews can now maintain the righteous principles of the law without being encumbered with all the cultural baggage of Talmudic Judaism."
The Jewish Roots Our Unifying Point
Today, Christianity is embraced by people all over the world, each with their own unique culture superimposed by a western culture brought along by western missionaries. Someone wrote this: 'The important fact to remember is that Western culture is a mixture of Christian and pagan worldviews.' Christianity has been packaged to much of the world with a western culture. At the same time, much interpretation of the Word of God is based on the theology of the western Church whose roots sprang from Rome, not Jerusalem. And the western Church has always used Greek rather than the original Hebrew tools for interpreting the Bible. Thus, it is no wonder that while the Church is together in believing in the Messiah, they are widely divided when it comes to doctrines.
The cause of all these doctrinal differences lies clearly in the departure of the Church from her Jewish beginning, which is her only unifying point. The only way to truly have the right interpretation of the Word is to return to the culture and scriptures of the Jews and understand God from where He has intended for Himself to be revealed and made known, from the Torah and the Jewish culture which had evolved around the Torah and their life in God. Any other sources of interpretation will definitely veer off from the truth, especially when they are based in paganism as was the western Church. We are wild olive branches that have been grafted into the olive tree, hence we need to know the nature of this olive tree and to partake of that same nourishing sap that comes from its roots.
"An over-Hellenized, over-Latinized Christianity needs a re-Judaizing process to bring it back to its founding Jewish roots and renew it more in keeping with its own inherent ideals". Edward Flannery - Catholic scholar.
As a result of the drift, God's family is now divided into 2 kingdoms, Judaism and Christianity. Both have preserved certain truths of God's Word and both have erred. The day is coming when these 2 factions will be united and become 1 kingdom (Eze. 37:15-27). Christianity needs to repent for rejecting the Torah ( biblical patriarchy) and return to embrace it, while Judaism needs to repent for rejecting the Messiah, Yeshua and turn their hearts to Him. The people of God is one - 1 kingdom, 1 Torah, 1 Messiah.
Another puts it this way: 'Both Judaism and Christianity have erred in worshipping the God of Israel. BOTH are guilty. It is not a matter of choosing one over the another. Is today's Judaism biblical? In some cases, it is and in other cases, it is not. They have preserved some truths and departed from others. Is today's Christianity biblical? In some cases it is and in some cases, it is not. Christianity has preserved faith and believe in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah. Judaism has preserved our heritage.'
Finally, if there is anything inferior about the Jews is because they are compared with Christ the Messiah and not because they are compared with the Christians, for they are in every way more superior than the Christians (Rom 3:1,2) when it comes to knowing the ways of God. Are the Christians, like the Jews, well versed with the specifics concerning matters like raising children, marital and holiness standards, family and community relationships and many other things in life? The answer is no. For to them, the Jews, is committed the oracles of God. That's why Paul cautioned the gentile believers ought not to exalt themselves but to fear, for what had happened to the Jews may happen to them - rejecting the Truth.
The truth is that Judaism was reformed and reshaped, not removed, but perfected in Christ the Messiah. It is deception to think that Jesus came to do away with Judaism. The Jews missed the mark - Christ, not because they were under the Law, but rather because they did not have it in their heart, for Jesus told them that if they had truly obeyed the Law of Moses they would have known Him. The majority of the Jews missed Him at the first coming. Will the majority of the Christians miss Him at the second coming? Very possible.
With adaptations from a teaching by Anna Lim, El-Shaddai Conventions
Why Christians Should Know About Things Jewish, http://www.awareness.org/whyknow.htm
'How Long, O Lord, How Long?' by Luana Fabry, http://www.fan.net.au/~sos/hist.htm
Our Debt To Israel by Derek Prince, http://www.YASHAnet.com/library/prince.htm
The Final Renewal : http://www.awareness.org/juderest.htm
Whatever Happened To Western Civilization by Jay Rogers, http://www.forerunner.com/forerunner/X0223_Western_Civilization.html
RESTORATION OF BIBLICAL PATRIARCHY
HEBRAIC ROOTS OF CHRISTIANITY
Copyright © Israel CS Lim, Apr 1999