TAKING BACK LOST GROUND, 06.06.18
Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
“Jew and Gentile: The Origins of Division,” The Messianic Prophecy Bible Project, http://free.messianicbible.com/feature/unity-division-among-believers/
http://free.messianicbible.com/feature/the-lives-of-first-century-jewish-believers/, “Yeshua and the Lives of First Century Jewish Believers,” The Messianic Prophecy Bible Project.
Rami Danielli, “Rediscovering Our Roots, Part 1 of 3,” Yosef Rachamim (“Rami”) Danieli, http://www.touryourroots.com/Who_We_Are.html
“In the last 100 years, a move has taken place among the Jewish people that has seen many grafted into their own tree. That move continues to grow and prosper, especially in Israel where faith in Yeshua as the Messiah is flourishing and being increasingly accepted by the Jewish people living there. We see from Paul’s analogy of the olive branches being grafted together that God intended the Gentile Believers in Yeshua to live in unity with the Jewish People at large, and especially so with Jewish Believers, who would naturally maintain their Jewish identity” (http://free.messianicbible.com/feature/unity-division-among-believers/). Although it has not yet reached all of Christendom, there is a growing awareness amongst Christians, of the need to return to, or at least to understand, establish, and partake of, their Jewish roots. As Jewish people come to faith in Yeshua Ha Mashiach, the Messianic movement is growing in influence, and there is renewed hope of retrieving the original unity between Jew and Gentile believers. It’s time to reclaim what has been lost.
It is God’s heart’s desire for His people to be united, for “you were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root of the olive tree with its richness” (Rom.11:17), and “He did this in order to create within Himself one new man . . . . . to reconcile both to God in one body through the cross” (Eph.2:1516). “I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that My Name may be there forever. My eyes and My heart will always be there” (2 Chronicles 7:16). It was God’s desire from the very beginning that He would dwell amongst His people (Ex.25:8: “let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them”). And it was His desire that His people would be united through His son, Yeshua: “Holy Father, keep them in Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are”(John 17:11). Yeshua had said: “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd”(John 10:16). Yet today believers are divided in so many ways, through different denominations, groups, and movements, in addition to the split that occurred between Jew and Gentile believers. But that is not what God intended, for His Word says that “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Messiah is all, and is in all”(Colossians 3:11).
The original followers of Yeshua Ha Mashiach were in total unity. They worshiped at the Jewish Temple, prayed together and shared in common what they had: “All these with one mind were continuing together in prayer—along with the women and Miriam,Yeshua’s mother, and His brothers”(Acts 1:14). “And all who believed were together, having everything in common. Day by day they continued with one mind, spending time at the Temple and breaking bread from house to house. They were sharing meals with gladness and sincerity of heart”(Acts 2:44,46). This was the Father’s will; this was what Yeshua prepared His disciples for. It was never His intention for new religions/denominations to spring up, replacing the unity He’d begun.
“You cannot be a Christian without knowing the true Messiah of Israel. . . . .. . The first Century body was totally Jewish . . . .” instructs Rami Danieli, (Yosef Rachamim (“Rami”) Danieli), Jewish believer in Messiah, TourYourRoots.com, Guide and teacher from Israel. By the second century, there was a shift; Gentiles became the majority; antisemitism took root; and the majority took control. “ . . . . knowing your roots is what is important. . . most believers are disconnected from their roots . . . anything without roots will die . . . . the roots of our faith are in Messiah Yeshua, in the Bible,” Danieli instructs. He defines what the body of Messiah looks like, identifying errors, confusion, and even heretical doctrines, in addition to the misunderstanding of the Jewish component, contributing to the disconnect.
In the first century, believers were not understood as having been converted to christianity, but as followers of Yeshua Messiah. It was the opposite from today – i.e., today when Jews follow Messiah, the Church views it as a conversion to christianity; whereas, at that time, when Gentiles came to believe in Yeshua Messiah, they were considered Gentiles joining the Jewish followers of Messiah. As explained by Danieli (“Rediscovering Our Roots, Part 1 of 3,” Danieli), Gentiles subscribed to what the Jewish believers were doing. There was unity. Somewhere along the way, this got switched around: “Why in the world are the two bodies of Messiah so different today?” queries Danieli, proceeding to explain that when western culture became the majority (of believers in Messiah Yeshua), they then took ownership. In their need to ascribe logical, linear thinking to the concept of God, so much became altered, distorted, even lost. “Different mindsets directly influenced the interpretations of Scriptures . . …” Danieli explains; and Old Testament/New Testament became a divisive linear ascription determining and influencing theological categorizations after the canonization of the books of the Bible, prior to which there was only Old Covenant/New Covenant, based on the experiential realities, rather than theological constructs of Biblical scholars. Danieli’s teachings (http://www.touryourroots.com/Who_We_Are.html; https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFExJF2KBSH0z6tCqEMBR9imlxExXmDaJ ) take one along an in-depth pathway/comprehensive study, and I encourage readers to consult/study his many works on topic, as I can only make brief reference within this write-up.
“While the lives of countless millions have been radically changed by Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) for the better, how many have known Him as a Jew? Throughout His lifetime, Yeshua worshiped in the Temple in Jerusalem, honoring God’s commitment to the Temple Mount which God chose and consecrated, placing there His Name, eyes and heart forever. “For now I have chosen and consecrated this House so that My Name may be there forever. My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually” (2 Chronicles 7:16). He also consistently attended the synagogues of the first century. He participated, as well, in the Torah readings, giving His own teachings on Scripture. Like Him, the first-century Jewish Believers in Yeshua also maintained their faith in an authentic Jewish context. As the message of salvation was brought to the nations, the Gentile Believers faced the task of changing, adapting and/or repenting of their own cultural traditions and entering into a lifestyle that reflected Yeshua’s message—a message consistent with the Torah given through Moses to Israel. Today, however, many Believers have limited understanding of the Jewish roots of their faith, let alone its roots in the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic Covenants.
“His message has touched nearly every nation … and that is a good thing. However, in the process, the nature and identity of the Messiah has been tampered with, even altered, by those without the authority to do so,” says an angelic character named Ariel in Ron Cantor’s novel Identity Theft. Of course, Cantor is referring to the true-to-life and troubling divorce of Yeshua from His Jewish identity in the eyes of the world at large and in the understanding of both Gentile and Jewish Believers. Such a divorce makes it difficult to bring the Good News to God’s Chosen People since the message is steeped in Gentile culture, making it look like foreign to the Jewish People” (http://free.messianicbible.com/feature/the-lives-of-first-century-jewish-believers/, “Yeshua and the Lives of First Century Jewish Believers”).
The imposition of Anglosaxon Christendom’s distorted image of Christ and Christianity drove a wedge between Jew and Gentile believers. Antisemitism took its toll, and the gap only widened, creating even greater barriers to Jewish acceptance of Yeshua as their Messiah; after all, having been reformatted to fit Gentile culture, He became to them, a Messiah of the Gentiles. As Gentile believers superimposed their version of Christ/Christianity on Jewish believers, the breech only widened. God’s plan for unity was polluted and infected by distorted perceptions, impositions, strivings, and disparities. Added to this was the ever increasing and ongoing spirit of anti-semitism . . . .
It is time to take back the lost ground, retrieve, and embrace the privilege of having been grafted in, and to live out the call to be that “one new man” God intended us to be. Let us get back in touch with our roots, with who Christ/Messiah really is/was (Son of God, and Jewish Rabbi Who taught, followed, and lived Torah), and follow in His footsteps.
© 2016, revised 2017, 2018 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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