11.12.19, JEW AND GENTILE, ONE IN MESSIAH

ONE NEW MAN

Although Antisemitism is at an all-time high, and that fact even embodies so-called Christians, so consumed by the world’s standards, so submerged in their own personal and political agendas, that God’s Word has escaped them, or at least their selective awareness, lip-service is consistently given to the desire/goal for unity. Amidst a zillion different denominations, each of which assumes their perspective is the only right one, some spouting accusations that would condemn and judge another denomination to not qualify as candidates for salvation; yet there is talk of unity. One surely wonders, how can this be?

It was always in God’s plan for Jew and Gentile to be united through the work of Messiah on the Cross. God’s heart and intention is effectively captured in: 

Ephesian 2:

Jew and Gentile, One in Messiah

11 Therefore, keep in mind that once you—Gentiles in the flesh—were called “uncircumcision” by those called “circumcision” (which is performed on flesh by hand).

12 At that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 

13 But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.

14 For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility— 

15 the law code of mitzvot contained in regulations. He did this in order to create within Himself one new man from the two groups, making shalom

16 and to reconcile both to God in one body through the cross—by which He put the hostility to death. 

17 And He came and proclaimed shalom to you who were far away and shalom to those who were near— 

18 for through Him we both have access to the Father by the same Ruach

19 So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. 

20 You have been built on the foundation made up of the emissaries and prophets, with Messiah Yeshua Himself being the cornerstone.  

21 In Him the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple for the Lord. 

22 In Him, you also are being built together into God’s dwelling place in the Ruach.

From Abraham evolved a Jewish people/nation; through Abraham was birthed all adopted sons and daughters of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for “you are all sons of God through trusting in Messiah Yeshua. For all of you who were immersed in Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.  And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed—heirs according to the promise” (Gal.3:26-29); and “if children, also heirs—heirs of God and joint-heirs with Messiah—if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom.8:17). 

“Abraham was not Jewish; he was a Gentile. . . . . from Adam to Abraham, there were no Jewish people. It was God’s plan to take a man and create a nation, and to take one nation, and redeem the world,” states Rabbi Cal Goldberg; “No man is more respected in faith than the man, Abraham, the founder and father of the nation of Israel” (Goldberg, Message from the Bema, 28.10.17). Upon this foundation was built our faith in Messiah, whether Jew or Gentile. Therefore, keep in mind that once you—Gentiles in the flesh—were called “uncircumcision” by those called “circumcision”  . . . . you were separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope  . . . . now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah  . . . . made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation . . . .  He did this in order to create within Himself one new man from the two groups” (Eph.2:11-15).

“It was through Abraham’s faith that God accomplished His purposes, and it is through our faith, that God will accomplish His purpose in our life as well,”(Message From The Bema, 20.10.18), Goldberg teaches. “Faith is trusting God when it doesn’t make any sense. . . . By faith, Abraham being called to a place not known to him. . .  the Lord told Abraham to leave his past behind,” (http://www.bethshechinah.com/sermon/go-forth-avraham-rabbi-cal-goldberg/), promising him that he would create from him a great nation. When God promised to multiply Abraham as the stars, “God was not just talking about physical descendants, but all the nations and peoples who would come to believe . . ..”  The disciples in Acts recalled what God had begun through Abraham when “Stephen declared, “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. He said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come here to the land that I will show you.’ Then he left the land of the Chaldeans . . . .  God moved him to this land . . . He gave him no inheritance in it—not even a foothold—yet He promised ‘to give it to him as a possession to him and to his descendants after him,’ even though he had no child” (Acts 7:2-5). 

“Faith that hasn’t been tested, can’t be trusted,” Goldberg asserts.  “All God’s people will have trials to test their faith, the question is, how do we handle the tests when they come?”  (http://www.bethshechinah.com/sermon/go-forth-avraham-rabbi-cal-goldberg/).

“God’s call on Abraham parallels Yeshua’s call to His followers. Just as Abraham was called out, we too, have been called out . . .  come out from among them . . .. we are to be separate, to be pure, and to be holy. We are called to be in this world, but not of it”(Col.3:1-3).

“Get going out from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. My heart’s desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing. My desire is to bless those who bless you,

but whoever curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. So Abram went, just as Adonai had spoken to him” (Gen. 12:1-4), the Abrahamic Covenant, the most important Covenant in all the Torah, the foundation for all the future covenants, was thereby formed. We can see how the promises encased within this covenant, include both Jew and Gentile right from the beginning. After all, Abraham was not yet considered a Jew; he was a Gentile. Secondly, within the covenant promise are the words, “My desire is to bless those who bless you . . . .  in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” which intends for the promises to be extended to those who would bless Abraham and his descendants, whether Jew or Gentile.

God promises that Abraham’s barren wife, Sarah, will have a son, even at her old age: “I am the Lord! There is nothing too difficult for me. I’ll come back next year at the time I promised, and Sarah will already have a son” (Gen.18:14).  But Sarah became impatient and decided to take matters into her own hands, using her maid, Hagar, as a surrogate mother, “So Sarai said to Abram, “Look now, Adonai has prevented me from having children. Go, please, to my slave-girl. Perhaps I’ll get a son by her” (Gen.16:2). Of course we know that Sarah eventually gave birth herself, to her own son, Isaac, just as Yahweh had promised. If only Sarah had waited  . . . .. .

Out of this came the conflicted situation of Isaac and Ishmael, which continues today.  “What we see in the natural is a picture of  what is happening in the spiritual realm . . . .  there is constant conflict between the children of God and the children of darkness  . . . . and there is a constant battle between the flesh and the Spirit, a battle of the mind, every day of our lives,” teaches Goldberg, Rabbi of Calgary’s only Messianic Congregation, Beth Shechinah. “Those who live according to the Ruach set their minds on the things of the Ruach. For the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Ruach is life and shalom. For the mindset of the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not submit itself to the law of God—for it cannot. So those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom.8:5-8).

Gal.4:21-26:

“21 Tell me, you who want to be under Torah, don’t you understand the Torah

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and one by the free woman. 

23 But one—the son by the slave woman—was born naturally; while the other—the son by the free woman—was through the promise. 

24 Now these things are being treated allegorically, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, giving birth to slavery—this is Hagar. 

25 But this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery along with her children. 

26 But the Jerusalem above is free—she is our mother”           

Goldberg says of the above set of passages: “Traditionally this allegory has been wrongly interpreted. . . . Most believers believe that Paul is speaking about law and grace . . . that Hagar represents the law/Torah, which leads man into bondage; that Sarah and Isaac represent the covenant of grace which leads us into freedom. It places Torah and Grace in opposition to one another.” He explains the extent of these errors: “Most christians today teach that the Torah was in effect until Messiah came, and then it was abolished. As Messianic believers we find this very disturbing . . .  we battle with this all the time, because it contradicts the Word of Yeshua Who said He did not come to abolish the Torah but to fulfill it. And this view contradicts many other passages in the Bible that say that Torah is everlasting.” Here he quotes 1 Pet.1:23-25: “You have been born again—not from perishable seed but imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All humanity is like grass, And all its glory like a wildflower. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was proclaimed as Good News to you.”  Goldberg points out that Peter was obviously basing his statements on the Words from Torah, for there was as yet, no New Testament.

“Then why the Torah? It was added because of wrongdoings until the Seed would come—to whom the promise had been made” (Gal.3:19). This Scripture is often misunderstood, also, says Goldberg: “The Torah was given to point us to our sin and to point us to Messiah.” Counter to what is taught by most christians, who teach that now that Messiah has come, the Law is no longer required, for Messiah is the end of the law, interpreted from:  “Messiah is the goal of the Torah as a means to righteousness for everyone who keeps trusting” (Rom.10:4).

Gal.4:1-7:

“Now I am saying, so long as the heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, even though he is the owner of everything. 

2 Instead, he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 

3 So also, when we were underage, we were subservient to the basic principles of the world. 

4 But when the fullness of time came, God sent out His Son, born of a woman and born under law— 

5 to free those under law, so we might receive adoption as sons. 

6 Now because you are sons, God sent the Ruach of His Son into our hearts, who cries out, “Abba! Father!” 

7 So you are no longer a slave but a son—and if a son, also an heir through God.

Goldberg (Oct. 28, 2017 Message From The Bema) teaches: “Paul is speaking here that the Torah is like a Guardian or Custodian/Protector; until such time as Messiah would come . . . . .  the Messiah did not redeem the Jewish people from the Torah, but He redeemed them from sin and exile . . .. … He delivered us from condemnation but not from the obligation to be obedient to the Word of God, to the Torah.” He points out that, “For 2,000 years, believers, for the most part have interpreted Gal. 4 in a way that is anti-Jewish.” 

When Paul says: “So how can you turn back again to those weak and worthless principles? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?  You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have laboured over you in vain!” (Gal.4:9-11), it is viewed by many as an admonishment for keeping the feasts and holy times, including Shabbat. “That would mean,” Goldberg explains, “that Paul viewed the celebration of the feasts/festivals as a backwards move, as bondage, placing the Torah into the same category as idolatry, equating it to a weak, worthless idol.” To think that Paul would teach anything against Torah, when in Rom.7:12, Paul says: “So then, the Torah is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good,” makes no sense at all. James also gives validation to Torah: “But the one who looks intently into the perfect Torah, the Torah that gives freedom  . . . shall be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). 

“It is important to understand the context within which Paul is speaking. . . he is speaking to Gentiles . . .  rebuking some of the God-fearing Gentiles. There were two types of Gentiles,” explains Goldberg: the God-fearing believers who participated in the Synagogues, and the proselytes who underwent circumcision, converting to Jews. “Paul is speaking to the God-fearing Gentiles, showing them that the days, months, and seasons which they were keeping were not part of the Jewish calendar. He was not speaking about the Jewish calendar, but addressing the pagan calendar with its pagan practices,” for these Gentile believers came from the Roman culture, in which they had participated in the worship of many pagan gods. They were now attempting to live in both worlds to avoid persecution (much as today’s christian population). Paul was concerned that they would become re-entangled in the pagan world, and all his teaching, mentoring, and discipling would be for naught.

Gentiles were required by Roman law to participate in/keep the pagan calendar/holidays, from which the Jews were exempt. Thus, it was especially difficult for Gentiles to become followers of a Jewish Messiah. “It was not easy for a Gentile to become a believer in that day. They had to learn new customs, culture, leaving gods and idols behind  . . . . . But after 2,000 years the shoe is on the other foot,” says Goldberg; “the roles have totally reversed. Now when a Jewish person comes to faith, he is told he can no longer be Jewish, that he must become a christian, deny his Jewish identity, and identify with the church, that the Torah has been done away with,  that the Church has replaced Israel.. . . Can you see why it is not easy to convince a Jewish person to believe that Yeshua is Messiah? The history of the church has not been kind to Jewish people; many of our people have been persecuted . . . that’s why the birth of the Messianic Movement today is part of God’s plan to restore the true meaning of the “One New Man,” and what it means to be grafted into the olive tree, to be ambassadors of reconciliation between Jewish and Gentile believers to correct wrong theology of the church.”   

Goldberg continues, explaining that, “Paul gave this parable to teach Gentiles that they didn’t need to become legally Jewish to receive salvation. They don’t have to be circumcised and obey the Torah in order to be saved. In fact, no one is saved by the Torah, it’s all a work of Grace” (Goldberg, October 28, 2017). Summarizing Goldberg’s elaboration of “The standard christian interpretation of this allegory,” are the following points:  (1) Sarah and Hagar represent two different covenants; (2) Hagar and Ishmael represent Torah and Old Covenant;  (3) Sarah represents the New Covenant/Gospel; (4) observing the Old Covenant is being legalistic and is bondage; (5) Christianity is good, a message of grace and freedom; (6) Torah = slavery; (7) the Gospel = freedom; (8) Jews are in bondage; (9) christians are free. “In this allegory Paul was not contrasting Jews against Gentiles, or christians. He was not talking about Jews at all. He used the Isaac and Ishmael analogy to contrast the two different types of Gentile believers. He was referring to the Gentiles under the Law (those who felt they had to convert to Judaism), and commending the ones who were not willing to undergo this conversion process” (Goldberg, Oct. 28, 2017).

This set of passages has been severely misunderstood: “Paul was actually commending the Gentile believers who were not willing to go through this conversion process, because it was not necessary . . .  he likened them to Isaac who is a child of the Covenant Promise  . . .  those believers who were going through the process to become Jewish were likened to Ishmael” (Goldberg, Oct. 28,2017).  Paul was attempting to straighten out misunderstandings, erroneous assumptions, expectations, and prevent unnecessary strife and division, while promoting unity. What was important for the Gentile believers to understand was that: (a) salvation came through faith in the Covenant Promise; and (2) “God would bless all the nations, not just one, through the seed of Abraham, because (3) circumcision of the heart is the most important thing” (Goldberg, Oct. 28, 2017). 

“If you are a Jewish believer, you are blessed; and if you are a Gentile believer you are part of the people of God, adopted, grafted in, but still maintaining your own identity.

Those Gentiles enter the family of Abraham by faith. This is a really important issue in the Messianic Congregation today as we see Jewish and Gentile believers coming together. We each have our own calling, and God wants us to maintain our own identity and fulfill our own unique calling. There is as much misunderstanding in the christian community as there is in the Jewish Community” (Goldberg, Oct. 28, 2017). 

May all of God’s people cross that threshold of understanding, and truly unite to form that “One New Man,” for we are to be “one in Messiah:”

Eph.2:13-16

13 “But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 

14 For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility— 

15 the law code of mitzvot contained in regulations. He did this in order to create within Himself one new man from the two groups, making shalom

16 and to reconcile both to God in one body through the cross.” 

From Yeshua’s own Words/Prayer, we clearly see the Father’s heart for all believers to be unified, to be rooted as One in Messiah:

John 17:20-23:

20 “I pray not on behalf of these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their message, 

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.

How poorly God’s people have responded to this call, the Heart of the Son, and the Heart of the Father. 

Scriptures/References:

Eph.2:11-15

Acts 7:2-5

Col.3:1-3

Gen.12:1-4

Gal.3:26-29

Rom.8:5-8,17

Gen.18:14

Gen.16:2

Gal.4:21-26

1 Pet.1:23-25

John 17:20-23

Gal.4:1-11

Rom.7:12

James 1:25

Eph.2:13-16

Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.

Rabbi Cal Goldberg, Beth Shechinah Congregation, Message From The Bema, 28.10.17, Lekh Lekha: Go Forth! Two Covenants, Posted on 31 Oct 2017, Pastor: Rabbi Calev Goldberg

http://www.bethshechinah.com/sermon/lekh-lekha-go-forth-two-covenants-rabbi-cal-goldberg/ 

Rabbi Cal Goldberg, Beth Shechinah Congregation, Message From The Bema, 20.10.18, Lekh Lekha: Go Forth Avraham, The Father of Faith, Posted on 23 Oct 2018, Pastor: Rabbi Calev Goldberg http://www.bethshechinah.com/sermon/go-forth-avraham-rabbi-cal-goldberg/ .

 

© 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.