Netzarim, Original followers of Yeshua & His 12
by Avram Yehoshua
Since 1983, I’ve watched Messianic Judaism grow and considered myself and my congregation a part of it, even though we were never officially a member of either the MJA (Messianic Jewish Alliance), or the UMJC (Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations). To my surprise, the Lord would not let me officially align myself with either group. Over the years I came to see why.
At first, what I thought was poor theology on their part, concerning Torah for both Jew and Gentile, would change when the leaders ‘saw the Light’. But over the years, it's only gone from bad to worse, and I’ve felt saddened by the infant that had so much potential, only to become a disobedient and rebellious child. It’s time for me to move on. I no longer feel that Messianic Judaism is capable of reversing its theology on Torah. It's become an institution set on defending its position against the Law at all costs. Because of this hardening, I no longer feel a need to try and correct it, or get excited about what ‘so and so’ says, etc. It can go on the way it wants to, without me. They have resisted the Spirit of the Lord in this vital area.
It wasn’t until I read a letter explaining the vision of the original leaders, that it all came together for me. Rev. Dan Juster, part of the leadership of the Union of Messianic Congregations for many years, in a letter (1) to Boaz Michael of First Fruits of Zion states,
‘the founding fathers of Messianic Judaism intended Messianic Judaism only as an evangelical outreach to unsaved Jews.’
Rev. Juster goes on to say that it was never the intention of those men to walk in Torah, for themselves or for the Gentiles. In the same article, Boaz Michael goes on to relate how, ‘at Messianic Jewish functions’, pork chops were served and ‘none of the assembled leadership even raised an eyebrow.’ I too can attest to the dietary laws being pushed aside at UMJC regional conferences in Glorietta, New Mexico (Dt. 19:15; Mt. 18:16).
Then, after reading a position paper of the UMJC in April 2005 by Rev. Daniel Juster and Rabbi Russ Resnik(2) (the current Executive Director of the UMJC), where they explain the dominant theological position of Messianic Judaism on the Law (One Law Movements), and lay out the agenda and theology of the founding fathers of Messianic Judaism, I was certain that Messianic Judaism was not for me. I had placed my hope on the wrong horse. (For my ‘reply’ to their article, please see my Articles section; it'll be under Miscellaneous.) Messianic Judaism was never intended by the founding fathers, or the current leadership, to take the people into Torah. It was only a ruse to use, hoping that the Jewish person who didn’t believe in Jesus would see that the Jewish believers were still ‘Jewish,’ and be saved. Sabbath and Passover were only deceptive tools in this charade. The founding fathers, as well as the current leadership, do not hold Torah, Sabbath and Passover as holy. It’s only (Jewish) cultural window decoration to win the Jewish people to a Law-less Christ.
The very thing that Paul was accused of, which was a slanderous lie (that he taught Jews to forsake Moses; Acts. 21:21), the Messianic Jewish movement now teaches. Paul went out of his way, ‘bent over backwards’ so to speak, to negate and dismantle the lie, by aligning himself with four men under the Nazarite Vow, and was purified with them, in the Temple (Acts 21:23-26) to show us that he still kept the Law, ALL the Law. (If he was ready to offer sacrifice, and Acts 21:26 clearly shows us this (Greek text, NASB, etc.), then all the Law was still valid, not just the so called ‘moral laws’ that both the Church and the Messianic Jewish leadership restrict themselves to.)
There was nothing more emphatic that Paul could have done to dispel the vicious rumor and to show all that he still kept the Law of Moses (Acts 21:24; see also, Acts 16:1, 3; 18:18; 23:1-5; 24:17-18; 25:8; 28:17; Rom. 3:31; 7:7, 12, 14; 1st Cor. 7:17-19). How is it that the majority within Messianic Judaism, while giving some lip service to Torah, think otherwise?
The Torah reality of the Apostles and early believers, both Jewish and Gentile, was quickly lost in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman Empire (70 A.D.), and the emerging Roman Catholic Church which would extinguish the fire of Torah. In the 1960’s, the Lord began to move through a number of Jewish people who believed in Jesus to begin congregations whose main focus was on reaching out to the Jewish community that they were a part of. They met on Sabbath and wore the tallit and yarmulke to attract Jews to Jesus. Unfortunately, their attitude toward the Law was as perverse as the churches they came from. This attitude prevails among most in the Messianic Jewish community today, as exemplified by Rev. Dan Juster and Rabbi Russ Resnik.
Some of these Jewish and Gentile believers though, much to the chagrin of the Messianic leadership, began to get a sense of their biblical roots. Back in 1983, after seminary at Oral Roberts University, where I learned that the Law was ‘done away with’, the Holy Spirit challenged my view of the Law of Moses. Finding out about Messianic Judaism, I thought it was the vehicle that the Spirit of Yeshua would use to lead both Jew and Gentile into Torah observance. In fact it was, in spite of itself. Many have come out of it with Torah in their hearts, contrary to what the leadership would have.
Over the years, the main Messianic Jewish organizations have denied their heritage for the porridge of the Church. I had hoped that in time, the non-Torah observant group would be won over to the theological position that all should walk in Torah and we could live happily ever after. That hope died some time ago. Now it’s being buried.
Messianic Judaism has not totally failed. It has, and is, accomplishing the purpose of the original organizers. It has received many Jewish people whom they make to walk like the mainstream Gentile Church, only meeting on ‘Sabbath’ instead of Sunday and doing Passover demonstrations to win more Jews, and wearing the trappings of the Orthodox Jewish community (the kipa, the tallit, etc.).
If a Gentile or a Jewish believer ‘makes waves’ though, and declares that Torah is sacred, they are escorted out of the congregation, just as they would be in say, a Baptist or Pentecostal church. This is why I am writing this article. It’s time to leave ‘Messianic Judaism’ behind me, as I did the kipa and the Star of David when I found out that neither one of them was biblically based, and both of them reflect paganism. If we are called to walk in God’s Truth, how can we espouse pagan things, and perverse interpretations of God’s Word? By one’s very use of the kipa, they endorse it as ‘holy’ and ‘of God’. And by one’s neglect of Torah, they say that it’s not holy.
Anyone can say that the lights of a Christmas tree represent the Light of Jesus. But is there any biblical reference to support this? Anyone can say that the Star of David is ‘Jewish’, but there is no biblical reference to support this, or the kipa. In fact, secular and pagan history tell us that they were both part of paganism, and still are. This is why believers should separate themselves from these things, and others like it. (See Articles: Jewish.)
Stopping the Gentile from walking in Torah is a theological perversion that comes from a faulty interpretation of Acts 15:20 (See Set My People Free! Acts 15:20), as well as some portions of the letters of Paul that deal with Torah and Salvation. And of course, leading a Jew to his Jewish Messiah, but not teaching him to walk in Torah, is an ultimate irony.
What Messianic Judaism Could Have Been
Dr. Howard Ervin, the first Baptist pastor in New Jersey to be filled with the Holy Spirit in the 1960’s, told his Hebrew class on Psalms at Oral Roberts University in 1981 that, ‘The only thing Greek about the New Testament are the words.’ I didn’t fully understand it then but over the years the Holy Spirit has shown me what he meant. Even though most of the original writings were in the Greek language(3) the reality that the words sought to convey were of a Hebraic nature.
The Creator God did not come to the Greeks, or to the Romans, or to the Chinese. He chose the Seed of Abraham, to not only save from Egyptian slavery, something that he did for no other people, but He also chose to wrap Himself around them with His divine words and manifestations. Consequently, the Reality of the God of the Universe is interwoven with His people Israel. Their holy Book, unlike any other ‘holy book’, is the only true reflection of the Nature and Will of the Creator. All other ‘holy books’, no matter how much they imitate the true one, always have deception in it. A glass with 90% water but 10% arsenic, will still kill you. This is the spiritual problem with other so called holy books (even Jewish ones; more on that in a moment).
The Hebrew Scriptures reflect the Living God and His understanding of Reality. All the other cultures had words for god, salvation and sin but only one, the Hebrews, knew the One True God, His salvation, and His Words of Life, the Torah. To fully understand the New Covenant, one has to understand that it too is Hebraic in nature.
To understand the New Covenant from the Hebraic Perspective is to see it as an extension of the Old, not a completely new and separate reality as the Church has taught for 1,900 years. To fully understand the New Covenant is to see it as a rose on the stem of the Old Covenant, both thriving and alive.
You’ve heard it said that things translated from one language to another, lose something in the meaning. This is true for two reasons. One, the other language may not have the exact meaning for the actual words being used. And two, which is the greater reason, is that what is reality for one people, may not be for another. An example of this is to relate baseball, an American reality, to a person from say, Finland. They might understand a part of it because the Finns do have words for ‘ball’ or a piece of wood that we call a ‘bat’. But baseball is not a sport of national proportions in Finland and because of that, they don’t have a conceptual tree to hang ‘baseball’ on. It therefore holds no value to them other than that they recognize ‘ball and bat’ in Finnish. And there’s no emotional excitement at the mention of say, the Yankees and the Red Sox in game seven of the American League Championship Series.
This is a problem with scholars of the Greek language and Western mindset who come to the New Covenant with a theological bias against the Law of Moses. Yes, they can translate the words, ‘ball and bat’ but they fail to properly interpret how the game is played. After all, isn’t that what a translation is all about? It’s supposed to tell us what the Greek words mean in relation to Jesus and to us.
Each culture sees reality through their own eyes. Their experiences as a people are unique to them. Just think in European terms and you’ll see this. What does it mean to be a German or a Frenchman or an Englishman? Or in terms of the States, what does it mean to come from Brooklyn or Alabama or California? This is one reason why it’s important, but not essential, to know Hebrew. What we really want to know is the Hebraic (biblical) reality to the Word. And this can come through in English, if properly interpreted. What was the ancient Hebraic mindset? There are many (Western) Hebrew scholars but most of the time they fail to understand the Reality and Hebraic mindset behind the Greek New Testament. Therefore, they present us with what they think, which, in terms of the Law, is diametrically opposed to what the Holy Spirit has written in those passages.
The foundation is Yahveh and His Torah (Law), for Yahveh is one with His Torah. The Law is literally, His very Words which were written down, which is also a synonym for Messiah Himself as The Word of God (Rev. 19:13). To artificially separate Jesus from say, the dietary laws, Sabbath or Passover, is like trying to separate Yahveh from what He said on Mt. Sinai to Israel (Ex. 20:2-17; commonly called the Ten Commandments). God’s Word is ‘one’ with Him. It’s by His Word that we know Him and by His Word that we can know what is good and evil (sin), in His eyes (Dt. 12:8; 21:9). Today, even without knowledge in the Hebrew language, one can grasp the concept that Torah is for them to walk out in their lives. But this only comes through the Holy Spirit as the Church has demonized Torah. To not know and walk in His Torah is to be open to deception and a sinful lifestyle. Millions of believers have accepted counterfeit hundred dollar bills from Satan, through the Church, thinking they were from God.
Only when one is intimately aware of what a biblical ‘hundred dollar bill’ feels like, will he be able to discern God’s Truth from Satan’s counterfeit. For instance, bank tellers who handle real bills many hours every day are able to immediately know the counterfeit when it comes across their hands. That’s because they already ‘have a feeling’ for the Real Thing and so instantly they notice when something is not like it. Only by intimate knowledge of Torah can one know what is real and what is false. The Church is a perfect picture of this, in reverse.
Too many of God’s people have been deceived by the master Counterfeiter into believing that things like Sunday, Easter, Christmas and the eating of pig are of Jesus. That’s because they were told that the Law was done away with, believed it, and didn’t have the foggiest notion of the divine Gift that Satan took away from them. So Satan replaced it with his imitations, and false interpretations of the New Covenant at the point of the Law. And ‘biblical’ exegetes and commentators for the last 1,900 years, like the Pharisees before them, have given the Church ‘Scripture’ to validate worshipping Jesus on pagan holy days and in pagan ways. Please realize that the Pharisees could ‘back up with Scripture’, their traditions that nullified the Word of God. As King Solomon once said, ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’ (Eccl. 1:9).
If the believer had known Torah, it would have been impossible for Satan to have deceived him with the counterfeit. Without touching upon how God could allow the Church to be blind to Torah for almost 2,000 years (isn’t that what everyone says when something goes wrong?), we see that Daniel prophesied that such would happen!
‘And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times (Feasts) and in Law. And the saints will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time’ (Dan. 7:25).
Understanding the Scriptures from a Hebraic perspective reveals to us how the Messiah calls us to walk with Him, both Jew and Gentile. There is more to the Word than initially meets our eye. And there is more to the Word that does and would effect us, to walk in His Way, if we only understood what the Church intentionally buried 1,900 years ago, and continually demonizes. For it’s by our understanding that we follow the Lord and obey His Will, the Scriptures. But if our understanding is faulty on a grand scale, involving not just us but everyone around us, we all fail to do His Will at those points of ignorance and satanic deception.
Too many times I’ve heard people use the expression, ‘Oh, that’s Jewish’ as though it being Jewish was something ugly, and couldn’t possibly be that it was meant for them too. They don’t realize that the very reason why the Sabbath and Passover are ‘Jewish’ is because God gave it to His people Israel. The biblical things that the Jewish people have are from God. It wasn’t as though the Jews came up with the Law themselves. When we understand this Reality, of what God has called Israel to be, we understand who our God is, for His Words reflect Who He is. Now this doesn’t mean that everything Jewish is of God, no more than everything Christian is of Christ. There is sin in the Camp of the Jews because they have perverted much of the Word, but that just seeks to contrast God’s Word for those who know it. And there is sin in the Camp of the Church because they have thrown out much of God’s Law and replaced it with Satan’s ways. We cannot know what sin is, and consequently what pleases Him, if we don’t know His Words, the Law (Rom. 7:7).
Messianic Judaism could have been the vehicle that lit the Way for the Church to walk on God’s pristine Path of Holiness. But she is blind to Torah and has failed to walk on that Path herself.
Torah: The Gift From God for His Bride, Israel
The Revelation at Mt. Sinai, with God taking a wife (Israel), and sharing with her His desire for her (His Commandments; i.e. His Words), reveals the Will of God. No other people had this. And no other people walked in this relationship, for better, and more times than not, for worse (due to Israel’s carnal nature, sins of rebellion and disobedience to God’s Torah), than Israel. Does God’s will on sin change? Is He not the same yesterday, today and forever? So how can one possibly think that Sabbath has given way to Sunday? Where is any Scripture in the New Testament to declare such a major change? There is not one Scripture in the New Testament that decrees it as such.
Torah is the epitome of God’s Love to Israel. Yahveh has revealed Himself to His people and in this, He has revealed what is pleasing to Him and what is sin in His eyes. Yeshua, far from negating the Torah (Mt. 5:17-19), declares in Mt. 22:40 that the Law is God’s definition of love: ‘On these two Commandments’ (love God and love your neighbor), ‘hang the whole Law and the Prophets.’ Every law, every Commandment, every statute, has its ‘reason for being’ in showing us how to love God, or how to love each other. Every one of them. With the coming of Messiah would that change? The only thing that changed was us. We died to self (Rom. 6), that we might live in Messiah and walk as He walked (1st John 3:1-5). Now, with His Spirit residing within, we can follow Him. We can be like Him. Was it sin for Him to eat pig? How could it not be sin for us then? Would it matter if one was born a Gentile? Since when does race determine what is sin or not? God determines what is sin, for Jew and Gentile.
How Gentile Christianity, early on (about 100 A.D.), in the form of the Roman Catholic Church, demonized Torah, is open for all to see. It’s an historical fact and a theological perversion from Hell as the Prophet Daniel tells us (7:25). But how anyone calling themselves a Messianic Jew can say Torah doesn’t matter, is not only a gross perversion, it’s completely absurd. A Jew, called by God at Mt. Sinai to walk in His Torah forever (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezk. 36:24-27; Mt. 5:17-19; Rev. 12:17, etc.), now comes to believe in the Jewish Messiah and Presto!’, ‘like magic!, he’s released from walking in Torah? One has to do theological gymnastics beyond Olympic dimensions to carry that banner proudly. If Jesus hadn’t kept Torah they would have some foundation for believing what they do. But they get around His Torah keeping by saying that ‘it all changed with His Death.’ Strange, there doesn’t seem to be anything that He said about that happening. If anything, He says the exact opposite (Mt. 5:17-19). What would change is that we would die to self so that we could be filled with His Spirit to walk as He walked. And when one truly understands the New Covenant, they can see that Torah is still very much alive and well, deep within its inspired pages (See Law 102).
Messianic Judaism could have been a voice crying in the wilderness of pagan Christianity, proclaiming His Righteous Truths, in a fuller, clearer and Hebraic way. But Messianic Judaism failed to do this, and will continue to fail. Once a movement becomes an institution, the preservation of the institution becomes the reason for its existence, and not God’s Truth, even though the leadership may genuinely believe it’s walking in (all of) God’s Truth. One can look at the Catholic Church, with their perverse doctrines and pagan practices (Sunday, Easter, Christmas, demonization of Torah, a ‘Mary’ who is worshiped as a perpetual virgin who never died and is herself, divine, a clergy that can’t marry, and so have extramarital affairs or become pedophiles; etc.), to see an institution where most of its billion adherents, thinking themselves ‘saved’, will spend eternity in Hell. It’s very sad, but Satan is real. And then there are the Protestant and Pentecostal churches that have taken much from Catholicism and don’t want to realize it or don’t want to deal with it (Sunday, Easter, Christmas, demonization of Torah, etc.).
No, this thing called Messianic Judaism will continue to grow the way we see it, till Messiah comes back because the Messianic leadership is very cozy with the Church and with their misunderstanding of Torah. The mainline Messianic Jewish movement is nothing more than the Church in Jewish clothes. What a pity and what gross sin.
Why has Messianic Judaism failed to walk in Torah? As the founding fathers and the current leadership tell us, it was never intended to raise the banner of Torah, for Jew or Gentile. It’s just a Jewish church that meets on Sabbath, sings Jewish songs and eats bagels and cream cheese. Another reason it was doomed to fail is because Messianic Judaism embraces a rattlesnake called Judaism.
Why The Term, Messianic JUDAISM?
One of the problems with the Messianic Jewish movement is the attaching of ‘Judaism’ unto ‘Messianic’. In this, Messianic Judaism is true to its title as having incorporated the perversion of Rabbinic Judaism into itself. Why some Jewish believers in the 1960’s took on the term, Messianic Judaism, is easy to see, but so extremely unfortunate. It seems to have doomed the movement to failure from its inception. In Hebraic thinking, one grows into the meaning of their name. That’s why God changed Jacob’s name (deceiver), to Israel (one who wrestles with God and finds favor with God and man; a prince).
Any entity that believes in Yeshua, that uses the term, ‘Judaism’ will grow into a Judaism of sorts. And that’s exactly what we have seen in the last 50 years of Messianic Judaism. It’s one part Orthodox Judaism, one part Kabbalah, one part Talmud, one part Church, and four parts polluted.
Judaism today, with its Rabbis, is nothing more and nothing less than the spiritual descendants of the Pharisees of Yeshua and Paul’s day. Yeshua said in Matt. 16:6, ‘Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ Why would anyone want to use a name that is associated with those who hated Messiah?
In the days of Moses and King David, there was no religion called Judaism as we know it today. The Hebrews were known as the people of Yahveh (2nd Chron. 7:14), just as the Moabites were known as ‘the people of Chemosh’ (Num. 21:29; Jer. 12:14-16; 48:46), and all other peoples were known by their gods (Jer. 49:1). Judaism doesn’t even allow the use of even saying the Name, Yahveh. This is an indication of how far away from God’s Truth they are.
The way of life (Torah), that Yahveh gave to Israel from Mt. Sinai is vastly different from Judaism. Yahveh gave Israel the Tabernacle, Priesthood and sacrifice (for the forgiveness of sins, etc.), along with prophet and king. Judaism doesn’t have any of these. Judaism is a pale and perverse reflection of what God gave to Moses.
Israel worshiped Yahveh with sacrifice which was the core of the Mosaic Covenant and shows us how Yahveh could dwell among sinful Israel. Sacrifice, priesthood and the Temple were put on hold in 70 CE (AD), when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Roman Army, and Judaism, the religion of the Pharisees and Rabbis, took over.
In the days of Yeshua there was no religion called Judaism, for even the Pharisees and Rabbis went to the Temple and sacrificed. The High Priest was the leader of the people, not the Rabbis. There were many sects within the Jewish people that vied for the attention of the people as ‘the right way’ to walk out the faith and Law of Moses. There were the Essenes, the Zealots, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and approximately twenty other smaller sects. And those Jews who believed in Yeshua, after His resurrection, became one sect among the other Jewish sects. But we don’t find any ‘Judaism’, or Messianic Judaism at that time.
In the days of the Book of Acts, the believers were called (and called themselves), a number of different things. The most common was (the followers of) ‘the Way’ (Acts 9:2; 18:24, 25, 26; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14), and even the Roman administrator, Antonius Felix spoke of them like that (Acts 24:22). They were also known as a ‘sect’ within the Jewish people (Acts 24:5; this time being called the sect of the Nazarenes), and the implication is that it was seen as a heretical sect by the Jewish authorities (Acts 24:14; 28:22).(4)
The believers were seen as one sect among the other sects of the Jewish people (Pharisees, Acts 15:5; 25:5; Sadducees, Acts 5:17; Essenes, etc.). Of course, at Greek speaking Antioch (Acts 11:26), they were called ‘Christians’, where both Jewish and Gentile believers kept Torah, a somewhat different form of Christianity than is currently practiced today. What? Does someone think that those Gentile Christians there met on Sunday and kept Easter when a delegation is sent to Jerusalem to find out what the Gentiles among them had to do in order to be saved (Acts 15)? Were the Gentiles meeting on Sunday and the Jews on Sabbath? There is no Scripture to support such a position, especially when we know that, according to documented Church history, Sunday and Easter didn’t appear among the Gentile followers of Yeshua till after the Apostles were dead.
It would have been impossible for a movement called Messianic Judaism to have arisen in the days of Peter and Paul. There was no religion called Judaism (except in a general sense to speak of the religion of the Judeans). Why should we belong to an organization that is known as a Judaism that is anti-Messiah? And why should we use the term to refer to ourselves as the ‘true Messianic Jews’ or Torah observant Messianic Jews? It’s pointless as we’re swallowed up in what Messianic Judaism is, despite our pleas to the contrary.
The Problem with Judaism
If Judaism were only devoid of Temple, Priesthood, sacrifice, prophet and king, it would be a pale reflection of what God gave to Israel at Mt. Sinai, and that might not be too bad of a thing. But the Rabbis have muddied the pure Waters of God’s Torah. The Rabbis have given the Jewish people Talmud, Kabbalah and a fierce anti-Yeshua spirit, along with perverse interpretations of Torah. Talmud, the writings of the Rabbis and Sages of Israel, is seen as greater than Torah, just the way the writings of the Roman Catholic Church ‘Fathers’ are seen to trump the very Word of God when they clash. Talmud is a massive commentary written over a thousand year period, speaking about various aspects of life and the Commandments, and in some parts, is extremely anti-Messiah Yeshua and superstitious. That’s not to say that there isn’t some good information about the Temple and how they did the sacrifices in the days of Yeshua, etc., but it’s only a commentary by many men. Unfortunately, it’s one of the ‘holy books’ of Judaism.
Then there is Kabbalah. For many centuries the Rabbis themselves, warned against this Babylonian mysticism or witchcraft. But in the last two centuries it has wrapped its tentacles around the hearts of many a Jewish man and woman. Today, most Rabbis endorse and walk in Kabbalah, Babylonian mysticism in Jewish clothes. (See Articles, Jewish)
The Jewish man, in his attempt to walk with God and understand His Torah, has been shackled by Satan through the Rabbis. Their stranglehold over the Jewish people is as real as any Latin American Catholic priest over his superstitious and ignorant parishioners. For the Catholics say to their people in South America and Asia, that they must not read the Bible in their own language. ‘Only the priest can properly interpret the Word of God’, is what they are told. And ‘Anyone who reads it in their own language will go to Hell.’ That’s priestcraft. A satanic stranglehold on the neck of the people. And the Rabbis are identical. With warnings such as, ‘Only the Rabbis can properly tell you what the Torah means,’ and ‘Anyone who reads the New Testament will go to Hell’, they bar Jews from seeking to understand the Word of God for themselves, and shut the door in their face concerning the revelation of Messiah Yeshua.(5)
We can glean some things from Judaism such as ethical behavior (how to love God and one’s neighbor), but the place ‘to go’ is to your Bible, not the synagogue. Ask Yeshua to reveal the Hebraic perspective of it to you. It’s His Way of doing things. We must have eyes to discern God’s Truth (Heb. 5:13-14). He is calling us out of both perverted Camps: Christianity and Judaism, that we might learn to walk with Him, His Way. That’s not to say that we can’t glean wonderful things from both Camps. But perversion is not His Name. His Name is Pure Truth and He is Holy. He is the One True God, which means that He certainly doesn’t want His People immersed in perversion of any kind. His Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding will be beacons of Light to us and others in this world of darkness. Here’s what He says about those who desire ignorance and the way of the crowd:
‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me. Seeing you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your children’ (Hosea 4:6).
In 70 A.D. the Temple of Yahveh in Jerusalem, as well as the city of Jerusalem, was destroyed by the Roman Army under Titus. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were slaughtered and tens of thousands of Jews were sold into slavery. Thus, the religion of Moses gave way to what would become Judaism. With no Temple in Jerusalem, there was no place for sacrifice and priest. Sacrifice is one of the pillars of Torah. Without sacrifice and priesthood there was no biblically sanctioned way for Israel to be forgiven of their sins every year on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16; 23:26-32), or for God to dwell in her midst. And there was no way for the individual Jew to be forgiven for his sins on a daily basis (Lev. 1-6). The ancient faith and practice was gone. Into this void stepped the Rabbis and their understanding of Torah and Messiah Yeshua. And we know from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts, what they thought of Yeshua and His followers. It hasn’t gotten any better.
Judaism officially began in Yavneh (Jamnia), a city on the coast of Israel, south of present day Tel Aviv, by Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, only after the Temple was destroyed. This is the religion of the Pharisees and Rabbis. Judaism is not what Yeshua practiced. If anything, He strove to distance Himself from the Pharisees, Rabbis and scribes, the spiritual ancestors of Judaism, and so should we. When we see Messiah being confronted (Mt. 15:2; Lk. 11:38, etc.), for His disciples not washing their hands according to the (Oral) Tradition of the Elders (which would become the written Talmud), we should take note and be very cautious about taking anything from Judaism.
Many Pharisees (and Sadducees, which don’t exist today), were vehemently anti-Yeshua in their day, as many Rabbis and their followers are today. For those of you who have had any contact with the Rabbis, you know the extent they will go to in order to twist and distort Hebrew Scripture about Messiah ‘to prove’ that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah. And you know the hard attitudes that they express, and demand of their flock, toward Yeshua. All of Judaism is filled with anti-Yeshua teachings and sentiments. Add to this, Jewish customs and traditions that nullify the Word of God and we see why Yeshua warned us about the teachings of the Pharisees (Mt. 16:12). How then could any believer think to take the name, ‘Judaism’?
Then there is a segment in the Messianic community that tells us that we must place ourselves under the authority (and teachings) of the Orthodox Rabbis today. I find that usually what they base their belief on is a perverse interpretation of Matt. 23:2-3 (they sit in Moses’ seat; therefore obey what they say). What did Messiah mean? Yeshua was speaking about (civil) rabbinic legislation and judgments. He wasn’t speaking about sitting in yeshiva, learning Talmud and Kabbalah and donning tefillin. (The Judgment Seat of Messiah, 2nd Cor. 2:10, confirms that the Seat of Moses was a seat of judgment, and that in relation to what Yeshua says in Matt. 23:2-3, Yeshua spoke of following the Pharisees and Scribes in their judicial capacity as judges and legislators, not as teachers of the Law.)
In Yeshua’s day, the Pharisees, Rabbis, scribes, and Sadducees made up the judges of the courts. They also created civil laws for their towns and their cities, just as legislators do today. They were the judges and legislators, and Yeshua was saying that in a court ruling, you must obey the decision of the judges. To ‘sit in the seat of Moses’ (Ex. 18:13), is a euphemism for judging between two or more people. In Yeshua telling His early followers to obey their judgments (against them), He was following the Law of Moses:
‘If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, and between one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which Yahveh your God chooses. So you shall come to the Levitical priest or the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall inquire of them and they will declare to you the verdict in the case. You must do according to the terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which Yahveh chooses. And you must be careful to observe according to all that they teach you.’(6)
‘According to the terms of the law which they teach you, and according to the verdict which they tell you, you must do. You must not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left. The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve Yahveh your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die. Thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again’ (Dt. 17:8-13).
In Yeshua’s day, the Pharisees and Scribes had seated themselves in the seat of Moses (Mt. 23:2), and this reading is brought out by the Greek text and the NASB.
When a city made a legislative ruling, or a judge-rabbi issued a court ruling involving a believer, or a ruling that effected a community, the believer was to obey it. The believer was not to say that it didn’t effect him because he believed in Yeshua. He was not to say that the judges or legislators had no authority ‘to tell him what to do’, because he only recognized Yeshua as his authority. In other words, he was to keep the laws of the land, just as believers do in the United States, Bolivia, Canada, etc., today. They keep the laws of their respective countries (that don’t hinder their walk with Messiah). Yeshua was not saying that we should do everything religiously that the Rabbis teach. Yeshua was addressing two of the three ‘keys’ that were given to Rabbis upon ordination: the ability to teach authoritatively, to legislate and to sit as a judge. Yeshua addressed their civil authority. Paul conceptually says the same thing in Rom. 13:1-2:
‘Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.’ ‘Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.’
Another problem with someone trying to follow the teachings of Judaism is that it doesn’t speak ‘with one voice.’ There are many sects within the Orthodox and Hasidic communities, etc., and each has their own rabbi that disagrees with the other rabbis. So which sect or rabbi should a believer go to, if they were to misinterpret Yeshua’s words?
Let’s say that an Orthodox rabbi is chosen by a believer to learn from. First of all, the rabbi wouldn’t want to have anything to do with someone who believed in Yeshua, let alone teach him anything. So how can a Jewish believer even consider this, from a natural point of view? And what would happen if a rabbi consented (in the hopes of winning the Jewish believer ‘back to the fold’)? When one sits under a traditional rabbi, they are voluntarily placing themselves under an anti-Messiah authority. This is tantamount to severing one’s spiritual lifeline from Yeshua. You can begin to see the horrific consequences of ‘all that they tell you, do’, taken the wrong way. I know of a number of people who have done this and in a short time, have renounced Yeshua to walk in Orthodox Judaism. Spiritual authority is nothing to play around with.
Yeshua was addressing civil authority for His followers, not theological-Scriptural authority. The Gospels and Acts are filled with accounts of clashes over the very issues of ‘proper’ teachings (Matt. 15:1-20; 23:1-39; Acts 15:5, etc.). How can anyone think that today it would be different? Doesn’t the admonition of Yeshua still stand today?
‘Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees’ (Mt. 16:11; see also Mk. 8:15; Lk. 12:1).
‘But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the Kingdom of Heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in’ (Matt. 23:13).
The Apostle Paul teaches that each congregation should have its own judges when he rebukes the Corinthians for taking one another to court before the pagan judges (1st Cor. 6:3, 5). He says, ‘Isn’t there any among you who can judge these matters?’ He didn’t say they should go to the Rabbis in their cities for a ruling. And the Apostles in Jerusalem didn’t run to the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees, Rabbis, or the anti-Yeshua High Priest for advice and counsel when they didn’t know what to do concerning the Gentiles (Acts 15:1-7). They called their own council and with the help of The Holy One, they determined the will of the Lord (Acts 15:1-21). They made a decree that all in their community of faith followed. Did it apply to the Essenes? Of course not. Did it apply to the Pharisees and Rabbis? Or course not. Why should we place ourselves under a perverse authority such as Judaism, or even want to use that term?
Are the teachings of the Rabbis any better than their spiritual Fathers? Are the Rabbis leading their flocks into the Kingdom of Heaven today any more than the Pharisees did back then? So how could Yeshua be commanding us to place ourselves under the Rabbis or their teachings? But some believers don’t understand Mt. 23:2-3, and tell us that we are to do everything that the Rabbis say (except for maybe renouncing Yeshua?). With 2,000 years behind the Rabbis, there are far too many perverse, magical, anti-Yeshua and anti-Torah teachings that pervade Judaism. And because Messianic Judaism drinks at the well of Judaism, there are far too many perverse teachings that are magical, anti-Torah(7) and anti-Yeshua in Messianic Judaism and they don’t even realize it. ‘Now the Serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field’ (Gen. 3:1), which is a reference to Satan (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). Messianic Judaism teaches things that would have shocked the Apostles. (See ‘Jewish’ in my Articles section.)
Today, even in Israel, the Rabbis don’t wield the kind of civil authority over the general population as they did in the days of Yeshua. They are confined to their own sect, except in cases of marriage and divorce, where they have political sway in the Knesset (Congress), of Israel.
Messianic Judaism is a false epaulet(8) for followers of Yeshua, either Jewish or Gentile.
Messianic Judaism has latched onto a perverse sect of the Jewish people. It seeks to emulate much from the descendants of the very people who vigorously opposed Messiah Yeshua and His followers. It also teaches things that Yeshua warned us against. Did the Apostles attach themselves to the Pharisees and teach their doctrines? How silly. But today, you’ll find doctrines and ‘ways’ of the Pharisees-Rabbis being taught in Messianic Jewish Sabbath schools.(9)
That’s not to say that everything in Judaism is wrong or perverse. There are many things that can be gleaned from it, as well as Christianity. But one has to be mature and discerning in the reality of Yeshua’s Torah to understand the slick counterfeits. In other words, we must have a strong foundation in the full counsel of God’s Word, from Genesis through Revelation.
Messianic Judaism reveals God’s Word to us in a cultural Jewish setting but fails to reveal the Word of God to us, in its Hebraic form. Unfortunately, the trappings of Rabbinic Judaism which it embraces, and its own ‘founding fathers’ which it also upholds, has given us a hybrid religion that isn’t Jewish, isn’t Christian, and isn’t what God wants either.
Messianic Judaism, at the point of Torah, is atrocious and abominable. Most Messianics don’t keep Torah from the heart, even though they may walk in some of it. It’s mostly lip service here in Israel too where many of the Messianic leaders have been raised and nurtured at the fountains of the Church. And of those Messianics that do keep Torah seriously, there are some that tell us that Torah is only for the Jewish believer. How utterly perverse and sinister, creating a theological wall between the Jewish and Gentile believer. This is something that the Apostle Paul spent a lifetime trying to break down. How can it be sin for a Jewish believer to desecrate the Sabbath but not for a Gentile believer? This is nothing less than the creation of two totally different flocks. Theologically, it’s absurd. Practically it’s ridiculous. And spiritually, it goes against the very fabric of the unity that Yeshua and the Apostles sought for all of us (John 10:16).
Some Messianics on the other hand, have gone to the other extreme of adopting the Orthodox Jewish understanding of things. Thinking that Jesus sided many times with what they consider Pharisaic understanding and or a perverse interpretation of Mt. 23:2-3, they make Yeshua out to be a good Pharisee. If Yeshua were part of the Pharisaic camp, do you think that He would warn us against the ‘leaven’ of their teachings (Mt. 16:12)? As Alfred Edersheim rightly says, they ‘corrupted the holy bread of Scripture-truth.’(10)
If Yeshua were a Pharisee, would He have told them that they had usurped God’s authority and taken over His Vineyard and were about to murder God’s Son (Mt. 21:33-46), and many other parables like it (Mt. 22:1-15)? Do you think the Pharisees would have come against Him (Mt. 12:13-14; Mk. 3:5-6; Lk. 6:7-11) if He taught their doctrines? And how could they have not known that their Camp was where He got His teaching from (Jn. 7:15)? No, Yeshua was not a Pharisee, and if some of the teachings of the Pharisees appear close to what Yeshua taught, good for those teachings. But even those that appear close have been contested as to their appearance being close, but their substance missing the mark (See Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, pp. 362-363).
Others, coming out of the Church, and not having an understanding of Hebraic things, find it enough to sing Jewish songs and dance the Hora (a traditional Israeli dance). When Torah is brought up, they ask their Messianic Rabbis(11) and are told that it’s not necessary.
Messianic Judaism is almost as diverse as the different denominations of the Church itself. That’s not to say one can’t find some of God’s Truth in Messianic Judaism or the Church. But both are tainted and defiled beyond correction. The things we see now will remain till He comes. Yeshua is calling many people out of the Church, Messianic congregation and Synagogue, to follow Him into ‘No Man’s Land.’ I have come to call it, The Hebraic Perspective.
Why Fight Wind Mills?
Some have advocated that they could change the Messianic movement from within. I don’t think this is possible. Like Don Quixote who fought wind mills, thinking they were evil giants, one finds themselves fighting the air with little if any results being seen, except if one counts frustration.(12)
It’s time to leave the Messianic Camp and follow the Lord out into the Wilderness. He is not going to change that Camp anymore than the Pope is going to observe the Sabbath. As our Messiah said of the ancestors of the Orthodox Community, I say concerning Messianic Judaism: ‘Leave them alone! They are blind and those that follow them will also fall into the ditch.’ And, ‘I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, “Come out of her, My people! So that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues’ (Rev. 18:4).
Messianic Judaism is fatally flawed. Of the two major branches, the MJA is even less conservative than the UMJC. At least the UMJC puts up a ‘Torah front’. But it’s only Jewish ‘window dressing’ designed to lure the non-believing Jew to a Law-less Jesus who happens to have a Hebrew name, Yeshua. Yeshua’s words to the Pharisees applies both to the Church and to Messianic Judaism:
‘Why do you transgress the Commandment of God by your tradition?!’ (Matt. 15:3) and,
‘Full well you reject the Commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition!’ (Mark 7:9)
If He spoke that to the heads of the religious establishment in His day, and the Pharisees and Rabbis as everyone knows, are the spiritual Fathers of Judaism, why would any believer in Yeshua want to be part of Messianic JUDAISM?
We need to get back to God’s Basics and order our lives and beliefs around His Word, not the Rabbis, or the so called Church Fathers, or the Messianic Rabbis. The traditional Rabbis missed the boat long ago, in rejecting and still rejecting Yeshua as the Messiah. The Church missed it when it threw out God’s Torah and called the Jews, ‘devils’ and ‘Christ killers’ and set their theology accordingly. And the so called ‘Messianic Jewish’ community never got it straight either. The disease is incurable as both the ‘founding fathers’ and current leaders of Messianic Judaism insist that heart-felt Torah observance is not for today. Perhaps their children will see through their fathers’ folly and return to the ancient Path.(13) But it’s not for me to wait around and associate myself with Messianic Judaism any longer, as the past 22 years has proven. It’s time to set out on the Highway of Holiness without them, and pray that they may one day follow.
The Hebraic Perspective seeks to understand the Word of God as He intended it, that we might hold it dear to our heart and walk in it. It also seeks to reveal the traditions of Satan and Man that have posed as ‘the Gospel Truth’, in the Church, the Synagogue, and the Messianic community. Torah, as interpreted by Messiah Yeshua is our goal. How does the Word of God apply to me today?
When I first came into Messianic Judaism in 1983, I couldn’t believe that in all the years that I had already followed Jesus, that my understanding needed to be revamped in many areas. I was not ashamed to call myself a Christian for the first eight years of my life. And then, I was equally pleased to say that I was a Messianic Jew, from year eight till just a few years ago. But the reality of Messianic Judaism, with its fanfare for cultural Jewishness that nullifies God’s Word, and a theology that only plays with Torah, has driven me far from it. The Holy Spirit has led me into ‘No Man’s Land.’
‘No Man’s Land’ is a place between two warring armies, that if one goes, they take their life into their own hands. But this is the place where Yeshua is leading His Bride, to purify her and to give her more of Himself who is Truth. ‘No Man’s Land’ is between Christianity, Judaism and Messianic Judaism. It recognizes Truth in all Camps and accepts it, but it also sees the defiling of the three Camps by their pagan and perverse practices. None of those Camps are a place for a follower of Messiah Yeshua. He tells us:
‘If you continue in My Word, then you are truly followers of Mine. You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free’ (John 8:31-32).
It’s because He has revealed His Truth to us, that those three Camps are no longer viable places of worship for us. Yahveh says through the Prophet Malachi:
‘But who can endure the Day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the Sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to Yahveh sacrifices in righteousness’ (Mal. 3:2-3).
Yahveh has led us to ‘No Man’s Land’. He is refining us and our understanding of His Word for our lives. As we believe, so we walk. And with each new insight our walk changes, and we find ourselves further away from those three Camps. Praise God for His Mercy to us! He has opened our eyes to His Truth in the midst of all the perversions that we might offer Him sacrifices in righteousness.
The Hebraic perspective is Messiah Yeshua opening up the Scriptures for His people Israel. Now both Jewish and Gentile believer can walk on the King’s Highway as He has always intended. God has always desired for His people to walk in His Ways, His Law. This is brought out in many places of His Word (Jer. 6:16; 15:19; 31:31-34, etc.). One place that also comes to mind concerns unjust weights and measures, which is more a thing of the heart, than of the ancient scale:
‘You must do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight or capacity. You must have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin. I am Yahveh your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt. You must observe all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them! I am Yahveh! (Lev. 19:35-37)
His Statutes, His Ordinances, His Judgments and His Commandments are the foundation and pillars of His Justice and Righteousness. We are to have ‘just weights and measures’ and reflect the Lord of Glory in all we do and say by following His Commandments that apply to us. Holiness is God’s perfect will for His people. Yahveh doesn’t want us to walk in anything that doesn’t accurately reflect Him, hence the need for an accurate ‘weight and measurement’ or discernment of His Torah. And that’s why Christianity, Messianic Judaism, and the Synagogue, are not viable options any longer. They all have streams of God’s Truth running through them but the streams are polluted. Why drink from those streams when we can drink from the pure Waters of Heaven?
Yeshua is calling us out, both Jew and Gentile, from the Synagogue, the Church, and from Messianic Judaism, in a similar way He called Father Abraham. Abram left his county, his family, his friends, and his way of life and thinking, to go to a country that he had never been to before. It was here that he learned to trust God in all areas of his life. Of course it can by lonely and a little frightening but it was in this ‘No Man’s Land’ called Canaan that Abram’s belief in God grew so strong, that he was able to obey God when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Gen. 22:1-18).
If Abraham is our Father in the faith (Rom. 4:12-16; Gal. 3:29; James 2:21), are we called to anything less? You’ll not find many people there. You may find yourself lonely more times than not but you’ll never be alone. In this too, the Lord is refining us. He reveals to us our weaknesses (just as He did with Abraham when he said that Sarah was (only) his sister; Gen. 12:13; 20:2), so we can cry out for the promise of a new heart (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezk. 36:24-27). Anyone can sing praises to God and dance in the midst of a hundred others doing the same. But can you praise the Lord Most High when He allows Satan to crush you? Can you sing a sweet song to Him then? You’ll only learn how to do this in the Wilderness of ‘No Man’s Land.’
Yeshua is our Head, not the Jewish Rabbinate in Israel or Brooklyn, not the Christian Council of World Churches, and not the MJA or the UMJC. Leave them alone to their internal bickering and in-house fighting over ‘this doctrine’ and ‘that teaching.’ I don’t care what the Baptists or the Rabbis have to say. I don’t care what the Pope issues in his encyclicals. I don’t care what any church or religious group determines, even and especially Messianic Judaism because they have proven themselves worthless concerning Torah observance and pagan things in the congregation. Don’t think so? Go and try to change your pastor or your Messianic rabbi or your congregation. Then you’ll see below their surface smiles, to where their hearts are at for Messiah Yeshua and His Torah.
I am no longer part of the Messianic Jewish movement. I no longer call myself a Messianic Jew.(14)
The movement and the religious description just don’t describe what the Lord wants me to walk in. Why should I define and defile myself with a movement or group of people that, the majority of which, are anti-Torah? Why should I continue to call myself a Messianic Jew? The term has been railroaded by the majority of Messianic Jews who reject God’s holy Torah. I will retrain myself to say something like, ‘I’m a Jew who loves Messiah Yeshua and His Torah.’
What movement did Yeshua belong to? Pharisaic? Sadducean? Essene? He walked alone, like Father Abraham; like Moses; like King David, and like the Prophets. Like most of the ancient people of true faith and love for the God of Israel. We are Israel. I’m not saying that those in Christianity who love Jesus, or those who love Him in Messianic Judaism, or those who love God in Judaism, aren’t either. They just belong to different Tribes.
I don’t call myself a Christian. I don’t call myself a Messianic Jew. I’m not ‘Messianic’ either. There is too much confusion in those groups. Messianic would be a good term but it has been tarnished by Messianic Judaism, and also, by the Hasidic Lubavitch Jews who think that their rabbi who died in 1994 is the Messiah. They too call themselves ‘Messianic’.
Followers of the Way? It’s not without profound significance that the sect of believers in Peter’s day was called, the Way. It’s a designation for Torah and Messiah (Dt. 5:23; 9:12; 11:28; 31:29; Ps. 119:1, 14, 27, 30, 32, 33, Jn. 14:6, etc.). But there are too many other religious groups (and non-religious groups), that use that designation today.(15)
Followers of the Nazarene is nice. But there’s a Nazarene Church and again we run into something that already is established.
I wasn’t called to be part of Messianic Judaism. I was called to follow Yeshua. He didn’t align Himself with any group or sect in Israel in His day. The reason we feel a need ‘to belong’ to a group or organization is very human. We are creatures that desire fellowship. But even this need must be subject to our Master.
God is not interested in Jewish or Gentile believers being turned away from walking in Torah. God is not pleased with the Messianic Jewish movement at the point of Torah. Listen to His Words:
‘Thus says Yahveh, ‘Stand by the ways; see and ask for the ancient Paths where the good way is, and walk in it. And you will find rest for your souls’ (Jer. 6:16).
‘Therefore, thus says Yahveh, ‘If you return, then I will restore you and before Me, you will stand. And if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them’ (Jer. 15:19).
And Yeshua says to us, ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. But the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it’ (Mt. 7:13-14).
Yeshua is raising up Jews and Gentiles all over the world, to follow Him and His understanding of Torah; not the doctrine of the Pharisees, and not the teaching of the anti-Semitic Church (the ones despising the Jews yet ‘believing’ in the Jewish Messiah). The Lord is raising up many believers who are teaching this to His Body. They begin in small home fellowships, sometimes no more than their own family but then others join them. Praise His holy Name! In this, the saying of Isaiah will be partially fulfilled:
‘And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the Mountain of Yahveh, to the House of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For the Torah (Law) will go forth from Zion and the Word of Yahveh from Jerusalem’ (Is. 2:3).(16)
And some people will learn through me, via email correspondence, and, establish home groups and teach others around them. And some will be led to seek ordination through me, to establish branch congregations of The Seed of Abraham in their communities.(17)
I’d like to end by saying, as ‘for me and my House, we will serve Yahveh’, His Way (Josh. 24:15).
14 October 2005
P.S. (12 March 2011) I think that a terrific designation is the simple TOFY, which stands for Torah Observant Followers of Yeshua. It says it all and can be used for both Jewish and Gentile believers.
1. See Encounters with an Ephramite at http://ffoz.org/downloads/white_papers/?zoom_highlight=Ephraimite.
2. http://www.torahresource.com/English%20Articles/OneLawMovement.pdf I read, ‘One Law Movements: A Challenge to the Messianic Jewish Community’, in February 2005. Please see my response to Rev. Juster and Rabbi Resnik, in the Articles section, under Miscellaneous.
3. I think that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew, and possibly the first half of Acts. But today we have them in Greek. For a good book on Hebrew ‘being in back of the Greek Synoptic Gospels’ see, Bivin and Blizzard’s, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus, Destiny Image Publishers, revised edition, 2001.
4. It’s unfortunate that the English translations don’t bring out that those opposed to ‘the Way’ referred to them in a heretical manner. Please see The Nazarene Sect at http://www.seedofabraham.net/nazarene.htm for more understanding.
5. ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees! Hypocrites! Because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of Hell as yourselves’ (Mt. 23:15).
8. J. M. Sinclair, General Consultant, Diana Treffry, Editorial Director, Collins English Dictionary, Fourth Edition (Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998), p. 518. An epaulet is ‘a piece of ornamental material on the shoulder of a garment, esp. a military uniform.’
9. We find things like the wrong dating of the Feasts (which 90% of the time are not correct dates because they don’t go by the New Moon sightings), the lighting of the Sabbath candles and the saying of the rabbinic prayer, which states that God commanded us to light the Sabbath candles (when He didn’t), the use of the Star of David, the kipa, the teaching of Kabbalah, etc.
12. Please see http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~wldciv/world_civ_reader/world_civ_reader_2... for why Don Quixote attacked the windmills. The point here is that whatever one’s good intentions are, if they don’t line up with reality, their efforts will be fruitless.
13. ‘Thus says Yahveh “Stand by the way, see and ask for the ancient Path where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” But they said, “We will not walk in it”’ (Jer. 6:16). How appropriate for Messianic Judaism today.
14. If you find any articles on this web site with Messianic Judaism in it, it’s only because we either haven’t changed it yet to reflect the more proper, Hebrew perspective, or that at the time of the writing, Messianic Judaism was what I was walking in (e.g. in my testimony; My Story).
15. Lao Tzu’s classic text on living is The Way (Tao Te Ching). Most everyone is at least familiar with Te Ching (the Way). It’s more than 2,500 years old and so predates Yeshua by 500 years. There is also ‘People for the American Way’, an organization designed to protect American democracy. And another organization in Britain called, The Way, as well as a search engine by that name, The Way, and hundreds of other organizations, etc.
17. If you feel led to walk in The Hebraic Perspective, and would like to seek ordination through The Seed of Abraham, please see The Ordination Process (in the Articles section under Miscellaneous), for what that entails.