WHY JEWS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BECOME “CHRISTIANS,”  10.07.18

Scriptures/References:

Acts 11:26

Acts 26:28

1 Pet.4:14,16

Matt.16:15-17

Matt.20:28

John 14:6,7,9-11

John 17:21-23

Luke 9:23

“Getting To The Heart of Replacement Theology,” by Ryan Lambert, FFOZ, https://ffoz.org/discover/theology/getting-to-the-heart-of-replacement-theology.html

Aligned with the error of Replacement Theology, is the misnomer that Jews must become “Christians,” in order to be “saved.”

“However, the good news message of Yeshua and the apostles did not involve the creation of a new religion that would separate itself from Judaism. His introduction of the new covenant was designed to build on previous covenants as opposed to nullifying them. The apostolic message of forgiveness of sins does not imply that the Torah is fulfilled or canceled in the sense that some other set of standards has now superseded it” (Lambert, Apr. 24, 2017). Judaism was always intended to be, and still is, much a part of following Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, and something that was abandoned after Jesus/Yeshua ascended to heaven.

From a historical perspective, it wasn’t until some decades after Jesus/Yeshua ascended to heaven that the term “Christian” was coined. “For a whole year they met together with Messiah’s community and taught a large number. Now it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christianoi;” (Greek > Hebrew translation; Acts 11:26); although we see that in Acts 26:28, it is translated as “Messianic”  Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time you are trying to persuade me to be Messianic!” Also in 1 Pet.4:14,16, see the difference between the translations, from NKJ to Jewish TLV:

“If you are insulted for the name of Messiah  . . . .  if anyone suffers for following Messiah, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this name” (1 Pet.4:14,16, TLV).

“If you are reproached for the name of Christ  . . . .  if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Pet.4:14,16; NKJV). Notice the difference here from the Hebraic translation – “following Messiah” becomes “as a Christian,” a slight shift in definition and focus. Then, we see it go from “in this name” (i.e., Messiah, as previously referred to), to “in this matter,” once again, a different focus (from name, to matter is somewhat undermining of the focus on HIM/HIS NAME).

The terminologies in themselves may not seem that significant; however, the focus shift from being believers who followed Messiah, to the term of “Christian,” has implications. The subtle implication here is that of the formation of a new, or different religion.

Now let’s backtrack a bit . . . .    Who did Jesus/Yeshua say that He was? Did He come to start a new religion? And what was His main purpose?

Matt.16:15-17:

15 He said, “But who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Yeshua said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven!”

Here He clearly defines Himself as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” just as Peter says, for He validates that what Peter said is correct.

Secondly, He identifies Himself as the “Son of Man,” when He states:  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt.20:28).

Thirdly, He identifies Himself as being One with the Father, which would indicate that He Himself is also “God:”

“He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own; but the Father dwelling in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:9-11). From this, we can also conclude that part of His mission was to show humankind Who the Father is.

He defines Himself, fourthly, as the representative and connector to the Father:

6 Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him”(John 14:6,7). If we can only access the Father through HIM; and if we know the Father because we know HIM; then He not only represents, but also connects us to the Father. And if seeing HIM is equal to seeing the Father, then He is so intertwined with the Father, that He also must in fact be God Himself.

John 17:21-23:

21 that they all may be one. Just as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You, so also may they be one in Us, so the world may believe that You sent Me.

22 The glory that You have given to Me I have given to them, that they may be one just as We are one—

23 I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them as You loved Me.

Jesus/Yeshua wanted all believers/followers to be united, just as He and the Father are.

“If anyone wants to follow Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross every day, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23), says that if we believe He is who He says He is, we must abandon self, and follow HIM.  NOT a new religion – just follow HIM.

Extrapolating from each of these previous passages leads us to readily conclude:

  1. Jesus/Yeshua did not concoct the term “Christian,”
  2. Nor did Jesus/Yeshua become a “Christian.”
  3. Jesus/Yeshua did not begin a new religion.
  4. Jesus/Yeshua expected His followers to be, and to remain united. He did not instruct them to begin a myriad of different denominations. He instructed them to be united.
  5. Jesus/Yeshua made it very clear to those who believed in Him, not only Who He was/is, but what His followers were to do.
  6. His followers are to FOLLOW HIM, not a religion, not a new denomination, not another person, whether Pope or Priest. Just very plain, and simple: “Follow Me; do what you see that I did . . .” carry on and do what HE did.

Yeshua came to show us the Way, to bring His Holy Spirit, so we could have power to do what He did. His instructions were to follow HIM,  and NOT to create a new religion. Paul and the Apostles, and all His true disciples, followed Jesus/Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, not a new religion. They were followers of Messiah, or Messianic believers, regardless of whether they were Jew or Gentile; and that is how He intended for it to always be.

Devising a new branch/sect referred to as “Christianity,” came out of the division caused through persecution of the Jewish believers, and Roman/Anglo Saxon interference. The Gentile believers, sanctioned, coerced and rewarded initially, for splitting off from their Jewish counterparts, were then additionally reinforced to separate themselves, by Roman law which required them to worship on Sunday instead of Saturday, forcing the division between the two groups. Gentiles went on to misinterpret and require Jews who would believe in Yeshua as Messiah to abandon their Jewish ways, traditions, and culture. Initially all Gentile believers were united with their Jewish counterpart, keeping much of Jewish practices, and traditions such as the Feasts, and certainly incorporating Torah/Tanakh. As divergence continued, they began to require Jews to abandon their Jewish customs, and become “Christians,” as though following Yeshua Messiah had begun with Gentiles when, in actuality, it began with Jews. First of all, Jesus/Yeshua was a Jew, born into a traditional Jewish family. The Apostles were Jews. The writers of the Scriptures were Jews. Yeshua Himself taught from Torah Scrolls in the Temple . . . We could go on and on. (Obviously this is an oversimplified brief summation of the evolution of disunity, and an aside here, for this is a topic unto itself, which is addressed more specifically in other articles posted on One New Man webpage). Suffice it to say that the terminology itself lends itself towards division. We were meant to be followers of Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, the Jewish Messiah.

So, not only are Jews not required to become “Christians;” neither are Gentile believers in Yeshua required to become “Christians”.  We who believe in the true Messiah, simply need to be born again, and to follow HIM, Jew and Gentile alike. In fact, Gentile believers, upon understanding their true roots, and Jesus/Yeshua’s heart for us to be “One New Man,” (Eph.2:13-15), much prefer to be known as “Messianic Believers in Yeshua Messiah.”

© 2018 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.

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