Netzarim, Original followers of Yeshua & His 12
There was a game show many years ago called “To Tell the Truth”. It was a show that had one real person and three other imposters pretending to be the same person. The panel would ask questions and then try and determine the true one from the imposters.
That is the argument made by Jews and anti-missionaries who try to dissuade Jews from believing in Yeshua. The argument goes that since Yeshua “Jesus” started a new religion any Jew who believes in Yeshua is no longer a Jew. So, it is time to tell the truth.
Firstly, I think it is important to note that most Jews have Yeshua confused with the Jesus of Christianity. The following paper will illustrate the difference between Yeshua the Jew and Jesus the Christian.
Maran Yeshua said: “17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.(Matt. 5:17-20)
Firstly, Yeshua did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. I know what most Christians are saying: by fulfilling the Law “Jesus” abolished it. I am married, and when I stood before Hashem and man I made vows to my wife. Now, if I am to fulfill those vows does that mean that I am no longer obligated to love and honour my wife, Heaven forbid!! In the same way, Yeshua, by fulfilling the Law is keeping the Law to its utmost.
Secondly, Yeshua tells us that the Law will not pass away until Heaven and Earth pass away. The last time I checked Heaven and Earth were still here, so there goes that argument.
Thirdly, Yeshua says anyone who sets aside even one of these commandments or teaches others to do the same will be least in the kingdom. The Christian will say that “Jesus” is speaking only of his commandments, or those in the “New Testament” (here after called the Good News). The Good News had not been codified yet and so it cannot just apply to those commandants. Also, Yeshua begins by talking about not abolishing Torah or the Prophets. This sentence is a continuation of that argument, ergo; anyone who teaches someone to break Torah will be least in the Kingdom of heaven.
Finally, Yeshua states that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees we will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. I know of many Christians who love to bash the Pharisees. The term Pharisee has been used derisively to denote a self-righteous and sanctimonious person. I think most people miss the point. The Pharisees were righteous people. The word Pharisee comes from Hebrew פְּרוּשִׁים pĕrûšîm which means holy ones. Yeshua, I believe, was emphasizing that unless our sense of holiness is even greater than the Pharisees we will not enter the kingdom.
First of all God commanded us to keep the Sabbath. See Ex. 20:8-11 and Deut. 5:12-15 It says of Yeshua that he worshiped in the Synagogue on the Sabbath as was his custom. They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Yeshua went into the synagogue and began to teach (Mark 1:21-similar verses: Mark 6:2; Luke 4:31; 6:6). He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read (Luke 4:16).
Many Christians will argue that the Sabbath was abolished by Yeshua’s death. Sunday was instituted, in part, because of his resurrection on “Sunday”. If this is true let us examine what the disciples did after Yeshua rose.
The women who had come with Yeshua from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment (Luke 23:55-56).
On the Sabbath they [Paul and believers] entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, "Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak" (Acts 13:14-15).
As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath (Acts 13:42).
"Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day" (Acts 15:19–21).
As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures (Acts 17:2).
Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks (Acts 18:4).
Then never let anyone criticize you for what you eat or drink, or about observance of annual festivals, New Moons or Sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what was coming: the reality is the body of Messiah (Col 2:16-17).
There must still be, therefore, a seventh-day rest reserved for God’s people, since to enter the place of rest is to rest after your work, as God did after his (Heb 4:9-10).
I think it is clear from the many references above that Yeshua’s disciples kept the Sabbath holy.
The two passages which Christians love to misquote are in Acts 10 and Mark 7; let us take a moment to look at these passages from our Jewish Rabbi’s perspective.
Mark 7 (From the Besorah Tovah)
And there assembled together unto him the Pharisees and some of the scribes, coming from Jerusalem. 2 And when they had seen some of his disciples eat bread with common, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews eat not without often washing their hands, holding the tradition of the ancients. 4 And when they come from the market, unless they be washed, they eat not: and many other things there are that have been delivered to them to observe, the washings of cups and of pots and of brazen vessels and of beds. 5 And the Pharisees and scribes asked him: Why do not your disciples walk according to the tradition of the ancients, but they eat bread with common hands? 6 But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men.
I want to focus on two main points. First, the passage has nothing to do with food, but instead with the ritual washing of hands. Notice that on this point the Pharisees are not accusing Yeshua, but that some of his disciples do not wash their hands.
Secondly, Christians seems to link verses 15 and 19b. They argue that it doesn’t matter what you eat and that “Jesus” declared all foods clean. Let me address the second point since that is the one relating to food.
I believe Yeshua addresses the “not what goes in, but comes out from verses 20-23. 20 "It is what comes out of a person," he went on, "that makes him unclean. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come forth wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, arrogance, foolishness… 23 All these wicked things come from within, and they make a person unclean."
Notice, Yeshua did not mention food here in these verses. As to the second part where he declares all food clean; we must look at that in the historical context. First, look at all the parties involved: Yeshua, his disciples, and the Pharisees. What does these three have in common? They were all Jewish! So, therefore, their understanding of food would have been in the Jewish concept of the dietary laws found in Torah.
Put another way, in North American culture, we do not eat dogs and cats. However, in some cultures they do eat those animals. We in this culture do not consider dogs and cats as food. I would make the same argument for the passage in Mark. The Jews in their culture would have not considered non-kosher animals to be foods. Thus, when Yeshua declares all foods clean he is stating that all kosher food is clean even if you don’t do the ritual hand washing.
Acts 10 (From the Besorah Tovah)
13 And there came a voice to him: Arise, Peter. Kill and eat. 14 But Peter said: Far be it from me. For I never ate anything that is common and unclean. 15 And the voice spoke to him again the second time: That which God has cleansed, do not call common. 16 And this was done thrice. And presently the vessel was taken up into heaven…. 34 And Peter opening his mouth, said: In very deed I perceive that God is not a respecter of persons. 35 But in every nation, he that fears him and works justice is acceptable to him.
This passage, especially verse 15 and 16 are used by Christians to proclaim all non-kosher food as clean. However, I believe one has to look at the historical context to understand the meaning behind the passage.
Peter, a Jew, kept so kosher that when God tells him to eat he says “No, sir! Absolutely not! I have never eaten food that was unclean or treif." (verse 14)
I believe that the answer to the vision can be found in verses 28 and 34-35. When Peter explains the vision he does not talk about food, but about people. For those Christians who would still say this is about food let me make this point. We have already seen Peter’s response as to never eating unclean food. As a Jew, his food would come from the dietary laws in Leviticus. If God were proclaiming a new dietary law, don’t you think Peter would have mentioned it in his explanation of the visions?
However, he does not because after all it would have been a revolutionary experience for Peter, the Jew, to change his dietary habits. I believe, the three visions are in reference to the three non-Jews who were about to become part of the group.
Therefore, this passage does not refer to food at all, but to the acceptance of non-Jews into the Jewish community.
Firstly, nowhere in the Good News did Yeshua ever command his disciples to celebrate his birth. The fact is that the only two instances of birthdays are mentioned in the Bible; both represented pagan situations and were related to the killing of people.
The first mention of a birthday is in Genesis when Joseph was in Egypt and he interpreted the meaning of a dream. The dream included, among other things, the hanging of the chief baker on Pharaoh’s birthday (see Gen 40:20-22). In the Good News, the other mention concerns the beheading of John the Baptist when Herod was celebrating his own birthday. During the party, Herod promised Herodias’ daughter any gift she wanted, because he was so pleased by her dancing. At her mother’s urging, she asked for John’s head and she received it on a platter (see Matt. 14:6-10).
This is not to say that birthdays cannot be celebrated, but simply that Yeshua never commanded that we celebrate his birth. The fact is though that both Christmas and Easter are pagan holidays having to do with fertility rights. These pagan holidays were introduced by Constantine when he “converted” to Christianity.
There is a passage in Jeremiah 10 which warns Jews not to celebrate pagan holidays.
Hear what the L-RD says to you, people of Israel. 2 This is what the L-RD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. 3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. ” (Jeremiah 10:1-4)
I will explain why Christmas and Easter are pagan view the website for more details. Yeshua, our Rabbi kept the biblical feast days of Passover, Sukkoth, etc. It appears clear that Yeshua and his disciples did eat the Passover supper. Two things make this apparent.
First, he promised the disciples that he would “keep the Passover” (Mt. 26:18), which is the equivalent of “eat the Passover” (Mk. 14:14). He appointed the place for that event and gave instructions for the preparation (Mk. 14:12ff). The Synoptic texts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) then harmoniously flow toward the evening of that very day, and depict Yeshua as “eating” with the disciples (Mt. 26:21; Mk. 14:18).
Additionally, the law of Moses was still binding at this time, and Yeshua was very careful to do all that the law commanded (Mt. 5:17-18; Jn. 8:29). Since the Passover was a part of the law’s requirement, Yeshua obviously partook of that feast. The testimony of the Synoptics is clear and decisive that Yeshua and his disciples observed the Passover.
There is so much more that could be said. I personally believe that Yeshua was the Messiah and that he died to atone for our sins and was resurrected. I do NOT however, believe in the Jesus of Christianity. I reject Jesus and I would urge all Jews to do likewise. I reject Jews for Jesus and other such ministries which proclaim that Yeshua and Jesus are one and the same.
As they say at the end of the game show “Will the real Messiah please stand up?