Practicing Messianic What?

studying_tanakh_messiahBy now, most Christians have at least heard of “Messianic Jews,” that is, Jewish believers in Yeshua of Nazareth who have retained their Jewish identity and continue to observe the Torah and practice Judaism in loyalty to Yeshua and their biblical heritage.

Less well known and less understood are what we can call “Messianic Gentiles.” I identify myself as a Messianic Gentile, and I am not alone. There are a lot of us, and our numbers are growing, but what exactly is a Messianic Gentile?

The Messianic Gentile is a Sabbatarian and Torah-keeper practicing Messianic Judaism, not as a wanna-be Jew, but as a Gentile. The holy Torah of Moses has commandments for both Jews and Gentiles. Judaism is a universal religion. It is naturally centered around the Jewish people (and the Jewish Messiah), but its scriptures and practices extend out to all nations, encompassing all of us in the final consummation of the Messianic Era. A Messianic Gentile lives for the Messianic Era, an idea that our Master called “the kingdom of heaven.”

-D Thomas Lancaster
“I’m a Messianic Gentile” (June 26, 2011)
FFOZ Blogs

You probably think I’m crazy even asking if Christians practice any form of Judaism. The vast, vast majority of both Christians and Jews would answer a resounding “no.” Only a tiny population of Jews and non-Jews in what is referred to as the Messianic Jewish and Hebrew Roots movements (they overlap somewhat but are hardly the same thing) even ask such a question. Moreover, only some of the people inside of those movements are considering or confused by the answer.

But why even ask such a ridiculous question? First of all, I recently read such a question as it was floating by in the blogoverse and was intrigued by its audacity. One such church-going (non-Jewish) Christian says he regularly tells other people in his church that he practices “Messianic Judaism”. This is just a hair off from his possibly telling other Christians that he’s a “Messianic Jew”. I don’t want to be unfair or inaccurate, and this person did not refer to himself as a Jew, Messianic or any other kind.

-from my blog post
Do Christians Practice Judaism (October 17, 2012)

Well, color me chagrined. I seem to have run headlong into a contradiction. Boaz Michael, President and Founder of First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ) posted a link to Lancaster’s “Messianic Gentile” blog on Facebook recently (though I can’t seem to find it on Facebook again), and I registered my embarrassment in a comment there as well (this is related to Michael’s recently published book, Tent of David: Healing the Vision of the Messianic Gentile).

But I felt the issue needed more exposure so of course, I’m blogging about it.

I really don’t think that a Christian can practice Judaism as such because it seems to muddy the waters between practicing Judaism and being a Jew. Don’t only Jews practice Judaism? It’s confusing because Judaism is more than just a religious movement (Christianity is a religious movement). It’s a people group, a culture or collection of related cultures, a lifestyle, and when factoring in Israel, it’s not just a piece of geography, but the Jewish people and the Jewish nation as well.

If you’re not Jewish, how do you “practice” all that?

According to Lancaster, a “Messianic Gentile” such as he, practices Messianic Judaism by keeping the Shabbat and keeping Torah, “not as a wanna-be-Jew, but as a Gentile.”

My Jewish wife once called me a “Jewish wannabe” in the heat of a discussion and among many other events, it has “inspired” me to attempt to embrace my identity as a Christian for the sake of clarity and as a sign that I’m “backing away from her turf.” That Lancaster calls Judaism a “universal religion” doesn’t mean (in my opinion, but I don’t have even the beginnings of the educational and experiential background in religious and Bible studies that Lancaster possesses) that it can be universally appropriated and practiced by anyone anywhere.

There’s a fine line to be drawn here. On the one hand, Gentiles dressing frum and wearing payot would be offensive to Jews and even look kind of crazy, but on the other hand, Isaiah did relate the words of God when he said:

“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Isaiah 49:6 ESV

Jewish in JerusalemThis goes back to something more basic we find in the Torah:

See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

Deuteronomy 4:5-8 (ESV)

Israel, in a sense, was supposed to be an example to the rest of the world by how it obeyed God and adhered to the standards of the Torah mitzvot. The rest of us were and are supposed to observe, be really impressed, and allow Israel’s idealized example influence our nations to become more just, more compassionate, and for all of us to leave our “idols” behind and embrace ethical monotheism.

Maimonidies (Moshe Ben-Chaim) Laws of Kings, Laws 11:10-12 (Capach Edition): “[10] …Can there be a greater stumbling block than this (Christianity)? That all the prophets spoke that the Messiah will redeem Israel and save them, and gather their dispersed and strengthen their Mitzvot, and this (one, i.e., Jesus) caused the Jews to be destroyed by the sword, and scattered their remnants and humbled them, and exchanged the Torah, and caused the majority of the world to err to serve a god other than the Lord. [11] Nevertheless, the thoughts of the Creator of the world are not within the power of man to reach them, ‘for our ways are not His ways, nor are our thoughts His thoughts.’ And all these matters of Jesus of Nazareth and that of the Ishmaelite who arose after him are only to straighten the way of the king Messiah and to fix the entire world, to serve God as one, as it is stated (Zephaniah 3:9), “For then I will turn to the peoples (into) clear speech, to all call in the name of G-d and serve Him unanimously. [12] How (will this come about)? The entire world has already become filled with the mention of the Messiah, with words of Torah and words of mitzvos and these matters have spread to the furthermost isles, to many nations of uncircumcised hearts, and they discuss these matters and the mitzvot of the Torah. Some say: “These mitzvoth are true, but were already nullified in the present age and are not applicable for all time.” Others say: “Hidden matters are in them (mitzvos) and they are not to be taken literally, and the messiah has already come and revealed their hidden (meanings). And when the true Messiah stands, and he is successful and is raised and exalted, immediately they all will retract and will know that fallacy they inherited from their fathers, and that their prophets and fathers caused them to err.”

-quoted from mesora.org

maimoCommentary on this quote found at mesora follows:

With respect, the point is, I think, that although Christianity and Islam are not true, they have played a part in the Divine scheme for the redemption of the whole of humanity by spreading some sort of ethical monotheism involving an albeit incorrect idea of Messiah, Torah and Mitzvot. Although Islam and Christianity are part of the overall process leading to the redemption their imperfect ethical monotheism will be rectified through the adoption of the seven laws.

Naturally, neither Judaism in general nor Maimonides in specific, support Christianity nor the idea that God intended our faith as a mechanism for spreading knowledge of God, and the opinions expressed at the mesora website reflect this. Nevertheless, we can see that Judaism has had a great influence on the world (like it or not) as expressed through Christianity and Islam.

But does “influence” equal “practicing Judaism?” Again, most Christians and certainly most if not all Muslims will strongly deny practicing Judaism in any way or form, but returning to the Messianic Gentile, what about them?

I mainly see “Messianic Gentiles” as having a different perspective than more traditional Christians (which isn’t to say that a self-identified Christian in a church couldn’t have the same point of view). As Lancaster says, they “believe that the Torah is not cancelled, and it contains laws and commandments that apply to both Jews and Gentiles. We keep those laws and commandments as we seek the kingdom.” He further states that:

The idea of practicing Messianic Judaism as a Gentile is not a new thing. Paul’s readers were doing it almost 2000 years ago.

However, in my reading of many of Lancaster’s other works, I don’t believe he is saying that we Christians are all obligated to practice Judaism nor commanded to imitate Jews in every detail in their halalach lifestyle. I don’t think you can find the early Christians who were established by Paul living in such a manner, although I admit that they did live more like the Jews of their day than we Gentile believers do today. I don’t doubt they kept a kind of kosher for table fellowship with Jews, perhaps kept Shabbos as they were able (early Gentile Christianity, unlike Judaism, was not a recognized religion by the Roman empire and Gentiles would not have been absolved from working on Shabbos as the Jews were), davened at the set times of prayer, and even observed some of the festivals (Passover would have been particularly meaningful).

But were even the ancient Christians at the end of the Second Temple era “practicing Judaism?”

A few days ago, I wrote a meditation that outlined the struggles Jewish and Gentile believers had with each other in the days of James, Peter, and Paul due to conflicts in what the Gentiles should and shouldn’t be practicing, and what sort of social bonds (if any) should form between Jewish and non-Jewish disciples of the Master…all based on Lancaster’s commentaries.

I don’t think this is an easy issue to deal with. It wasn’t 2,000 years ago, and it doesn’t seem to be in the present. But if the early Christians in their religious life weren’t “practicing Judaism,” what were they doing? “Christianity” as a discrete entity did not yet exist. Were these Gentiles acting as some sort of “quasi-converts” or “amplified God-fearers?” I think the New Testament was struggling with trying to identify who and what the Gentiles were as they entered into “the Way” and never got around to answering the question.

I’m not sure the question has been answered today, either. Some Hebrew Roots supporters have jumped from A to Z and declared that Messianic Judaism is (supposed to be) all-inclusive and there are no distinctions allowed. Gentiles entering the movement acquire a covenant status that’s not only equal to the Jews in the movement, but identical to them in every conceivable detail. A “Messianic Gentile” is just a “Messianic Jew” without a particular string of DNA and (in the case of males) a circumcision.

I’m not trying to be disagreeable to Lancaster, Boaz, or anyone else, but my opinion is that we use the phrase “Messianic Gentile” as a way to describe a Christian who has a very specific view of Jews, Judaism, the Torah, and God, all relating back to what the movement teaches. But does that mean whatever Messianic Judaism is allows both Jews and Gentiles to practice Judaism as a religious or worship form? If my wife and I go to one of the local synagogues and worship together, am I practicing Judaism?

D.T. LancasterWhile my viewpoints and attitudes probably identify me as a “Messianic Gentile” by Lancaster’s definition, I tend not to use the label for a variety of personal reasons. My wife thinks of me as a Christian and I can only imagine that everyone who sees me at church doesn’t give my being a Christian (as opposed to being a Messianic Gentile) a second thought. Of course, at this stage of my life, I don’t observe anything that even resembles a Shabbat and my level of kashrut is what the Chabad Rabbi in our community would call “kosher style.” If I wanted to truly be “Messianic,” I’d have a long way to go.

I don’t lay tefillin, I don’t pray while wearing a tallit gadol, I only wear a kippah if I’m actually going to shul (since all men are required to, Jewish or not), I pray with a siddur very sparingly, I can’t pray in Hebrew (languages are not one of the things I’m good at), and in many, many other ways, I’m not a “Messianic” anything. I certainly don’t practice Judaism, Messianic or otherwise.

I can’t tell D. Thomas Lancaster or anyone else that they aren’t practicing Messianic Judaism, but on the other hand, in my own life, I can’t see how a Christian like me could ever do such a thing. I suppose this is where opinions differ and possibilities for some of us are yet to be realized. Even if my wife and daughter were to suddenly become shomer shabbos and kasher our kitchen, and I were to daven at the set times of prayer, who would I be and what would I be practicing?

I tend not to think that it’s any form of Judaism, in spite of the obvious similarities, but on the other hand, I don’t really know what to call it. One thing’s for sure, especially with the recent issues involving Gentiles at the Kotel and the lack of respect we’ve been showing at this most Holy site, I feel once again diminished (it’s so sad some Christians can’t treat Jews with respect) and I know for certain that we sure aren’t Jews.

16 thoughts on “Practicing Messianic What?”

  1. “My Jewish wife once called me a “Jewish wannabe” . . . it has “inspired” me to attempt to embrace my identity as a Christian for the sake of clarity and as a sign that I’m “backing away from her turf.”

    This probably has more to do with her not knowing she was Jewish until adulthood. The Jews I know have always known they’re Jews (my spouse included) and don’t have these issues. My spouse actually wants me to take more on and not pull back.

    “if the early Christians in their religious life weren’t “practicing Judaism,” what were they doing? “Christianity” as a discrete entity did not yet exist.”

    If you compare what the Gentiles were doing prior to becoming devoted to the God of Israel and learning His ways, an objective observer would say they were practicing Judaism. Christianity has couched it as Jews converted (to Christianity) oy!.

    DTL does a fantastic teaching about Acts 15 (which can be found at Beth Immanuel audio section) where he points out the Noahide Laws were already in place in 1st Century and incombant on all humanity according to Judaism. Then he points out how the Apostolic Decree, which is written (in the letter of Acts 15) in the same order as these issues come in Lev 17-18. It’s a truly awesome teaching where he points out that by giving the A Decree James was elevating the status of these believing Gentiles who, they had decided, did NOT need to become full proselytes, into another category, fully defined by and compliant with Torah; Sojourner with Israel.

    It’s by far the most clear understanding of what’s happening in Acts 15 I’ve ever seen and answers these questions of where we (believing Gentiles) fit in and how we too can be referred to as “called out” ones because we are to be called out of our old status amongst “our people” and draw near to God and His people. Clearly we are not the same as before being called out, but that doesn’t make us Jews either. Both identities are God ordained.

  2. ” I think the New Testament was struggling with trying to identify who and what the Gentiles were as they entered into “the Way” and never got around to answering the question.”

    Maybe it was dealt with more in writings that just weren’t preserved. Maybe the RT had already become prominent enough to squelch anything that would point to the responsibility of Gentiles to remain humble.

    “I tend not to think that it’s any form of Judaism, in spite of the obvious similarities, but on the other hand, I don’t really know what to call it.”

    James, scholars both (Jewish and Christian) acknowledge that Christianity is “a” Judaism. Certainly as practiced in the 1st Century. Additionally check out John Chrysostom and his 7 (or 8?) sermons telling Christians to quit keeping Sabbath, kosher, biblical feasts etc… The early Church writings point out (even if by its criticism) it was Judaism they were practicing. Although Christianity has morphed, as has Judaism (!) it’s still essentially a Judaism, biblically speaking.

  3. “There are five pages of audio recordings at the Beth Immanuel site and none of them have a title that obviously points to Acts 15. Can you narrow it down for me”

    Sure thing, it’s called “Apostolic Decree” should be page 2 and dated 5/5/12. I took copious notes and found the whole thing thrilling as to the implications of it.

  4. James, scholars both (Jewish and Christian) acknowledge that Christianity is “a” Judaism. Certainly as practiced in the 1st Century. Additionally check out John Chrysostom and his 7 (or 8?) sermons telling Christians to quit keeping Sabbath, kosher, biblical feasts etc… The early Church writings point out (even if by its criticism) it was Judaism they were practicing. Although Christianity has morphed, as has Judaism (!) it’s still essentially a Judaism, biblically speaking.

    Historically, that may well be true, but it would be tough to apply it (or reapply) it today. I’m sure, as I said above, the vast majority of Christians would deny that they’re practicing Judaism and the vast majority of Jews would also deny that Christians practice Judaism.

    The question is, if, as a Gentile and a Christian, I perform all or a significant number of the Torah mitzvot, such as properly keeping the Shabbat, eating Kosher in an approved manner, davening with a siddur at the set times for prayer, and otherwise, keeping a religious observance that is traditional for Judaism, does that mean I’m actually practicing Judaism? Would Jews (non-Messianic) observing such a Christian say that he/she is practicing Judaism?

    If we could talk to James, or Paul, or John at some point several decades after Gentiles were coming into “the Way,” they probably could have rendered an authoritative opinion on the matter, but as you say, if such an opinion were ever documented, those documents were lost to history.

    We’re trying to rediscover who we are and as you know, I tend to err on the side of caution.

  5. Sure thing, it’s called “Apostolic Decree” should be page 2 and dated 5/5/12. I took copious notes and found the whole thing thrilling as to the implications of it.

    Thanks, Lw.

    Just so folks can actually find it if they’re interested, here’s the link: Apostolic Decree.

    Apparently, it’s material taken directly from Torah Club Volume Six: Chronicles of the Apostles, which I’m studying now (haven’t gotten to the section on Acts 15 yet).

  6. Good question.

    What is it to “practice” a religion? According to Wikipedia:

    Many religions may have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, holy places, and scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration of a deity, gods or goddesses, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religions may also contain mythology.

    This gets a little “murky” when applied to Judaism:

    There is no precise equivalent of “religion” in Hebrew, and Judaism does not distinguish clearly between religious, national, racial, or ethnic identities. One of its central concepts is “halakha”, sometimes translated as “law””, which guides religious practice and belief and many aspects of daily life.

    I kind of like “participate” better than “practice” because it’s easier to get my brain around it. I can see just about anyone participating in Jewish worship. All you have to do is walk into a synagogue and you’re participating on some (albeit minimal) level. The more you do, the more you participate. Ultimately, it becomes less about religion and more about a relationship with God which is something anyone can do.

  7. “the vast majority of Christians would deny that they’re practicing Judaism and the vast majority of Jews would also deny that Christians practice Judaism.”

    The vast majority of Christians would probably say they’ve replaced Israel as God’s people too. it don’t make it so.

    Most Christians aren’t well grounded in the players of the NT and what group they’d represent in that framework, and take comments made specifically by Jews and to Jews, if they’re believers, as comments to and about themselves which really muddies the water.

    Christianity was purposefully distanced from Judaism, but then subsequent Judaism (RJ) has created defensive theology too in an effort to exclude Christians and their claims.

    In the end isn’t it more about the Biblical record and what God himself says and thinks? Isn’t His definition and plan superior to any human’s?

  8. Most Christians aren’t well grounded in the players of the NT and what group they’d represent in that framework, and take comments made specifically by Jews and to Jews, if they’re believers, as comments to and about themselves which really muddies the water.

    I address some of that “muddy water” in tomorrow’s “morning meditation” when I take something I heard at church recently and compare it to what runs around like a little hamster on a wheel in my brain. It’ll be interesting.

    In the end isn’t it more about the Biblical record and what God himself says and thinks? Isn’t His definition and plan superior to any human’s?

    We clicked out “Post Comment” buttons at the same time Lw (or “Lrw” as the case may be), and I think I addressed this question in my response above. While we need “religious systems” to make some sort of sense of what the Bible is telling us and what we understand about God, ultimately, it’s our desire to encounter God and have a relationship with Him that matters more than anything. Everything we do after that should be a reflection of that relationship.

  9. The message remains the same. “This is my son, hear him” as commanded by G-d to Elijah and Moses, witnesses present to establish the matter.

    We know ALL authority was given to him, not only in heaven but in earth. Therefore; “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded YOU”.

    Who should we hear? We don’t need to hear “James, or Paul, or John ” except as they point to Yeshua s’ words. We don’t need to look for lost documents to find instruction on what the gentiles are to be taught.

    The instructions to teach the gentiles is the same message “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded YOU”.

    The message, based on ALL AUTHORITY, was never the noahide laws. The message remains the same…..

    “This is my son, hear him”

  10. So Steven, are you saying that Jesus commanded his Jewish disciples to make “Messianic Gentile disciples” of the nations in Matthew 28:19-20? That probably sort of works since what record we have of the early church indicates that the Gentile Christians of those days did practice what we would consider a more “Jewish” lifestyle than what we see in the church today.

    It’s not as if James, Paul, or John were totally irrelevant, though. They were Christ’s representatives on earth and in fact, in Acts 9:15, in a vision, Jesus tells Ananias that Paul is his “chosen instrument,” at least suggesting that Jesus selected Paul for a very specific purpose, that of an emissary to the Gentiles.

    Going back to Matthew 16:19 When Jesus told Peter that he would give him the “keys of the kingdom of heaven”, even according to traditional Christian interpretation, that means Jesus gave Peter the authority to make what we might think of as “halalahic” decisions in the movement of “the Way.” In other words, Peter, and I suppose James and the Council, could make authoritative decisions about the Messianic sect, which would be binding on both the Jewish and Gentile disciples. In fact, Acts 15 is a perfect example of the council doing just that.

    However, the results of those decisions as an actual, lived experience among the Gentile believers and their communities wasn’t preserved for us in detail and so don’t have a defined “template” to show us what an ancient “Messianic Gentile” actually looked like.

    Getting back to today, we can either try to vainly reconstruct a “church” that lived and breathed 2,000 years ago, but one for which we have little information, or we can try as best we can to define who we are in the hear and now. I talked about that struggle just recently, and it is a road we will continue to travel down until Messiah returns and illuminates us all.

  11. “are we practicing or participating? And maybe there isn’t a difference but I think there is. Thoughts?”

    My thought is that I LOVE this!

    Very good point and very beautiful. We are indeed participating.

  12. James, if we can not get the foundation right….we will build on sand. While James, Paul and John build, they did not set the foundation and they do not have the ability to change the “word of G-d” as delivered by Yeshua. Having the “Keys to the Kingdom” did not mean the Apostles were given the authority to change G-d’s words.

    So, if we can get the foundation right on what to teach the gentiles to observe, then, we will build on the rock.

    Gentiles are not supposed to be taught something else other than what Yeshua taught the 12. Whatever he commanded his Jewish disciples is the same he commands the gentile disciples.

    If we can get this part straight, we will avoid a confused message on what the Apostles were commanded to teach the Gentiles to observe.

    “don’t have a defined “template” to show us what an ancient “Messianic Gentile” actually looked like.”

    IMO we DO have Yeshua’s teachings and they were always meant to be what “Messianic Gentile” should look like.

  13. So, if we can get the foundation right on what to teach the gentiles to observe, then, we will build on the rock.

    Gentiles are not supposed to be taught something else other than what Yeshua taught the 12. Whatever he commanded his Jewish disciples is the same he commands the gentile disciples.

    If we can get this part straight, we will avoid a confused message on what the Apostles were commanded to teach the Gentiles to observe.

    Except in the 21st century, there is a lot of debate, disagreement, and competing interpretation of the Bible in terms of what exactly we are to do to be faithful disciples of the Master.

    First of all, let me be clear that I’m not disputing that Jesus is the foundation of our faith and it is through Christ that we are all reconciled to God. I’m also not saying that James, Peter, and the rest of the Apostles were authorized to change what Jesus taught. But how can you dismiss that Jesus deliberately assigned, particularly Peter and Paul to be his “Rock” and his “chosen instrument” respectively? There must have been many questions that came up (for instance, those addressed in the aforementioned Acts 15) that they weren’t given ready-made instructions for by Jesus. It is obvious that they consulted the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28) so they weren’t flying by the seat of their pants, but they still carried authority to make authoritative decisions for the Jewish and Gentile believers, which is exactly what they were doing in Acts 15.

    Steven, your conclusion is that all believers, Jewish and Gentile, must consider themselves obligated to the full “yoke of Torah,” and have identical covenant responsibilities to God, but that’s an interpretation that many dispute. You’ve made a decision about what you believe your duty is to God based on your understanding of the Bible, but that understanding isn’t universal.

    If we could talk to Paul or James (or especially Jesus) for five minutes in a face-to-face human being type conversation, they could answer all our questions, but in their absence and to the degree that not everyone who is a believer says that the Holy Spirit is giving us all identical instructions, then we spend our spiritual journeys walking with the Master, reading the Bible, praying, and seeking Him in the best way we know how.

  14. I have no Christian or Jewish upbringing other than what is in the Scriptures and books about History, Doctrine, Apologetics, and of course, Western Culture.

    I have never joined a Church or Synagogue, and when I was baptised after perhaps 6 weeks of evangelizing, I received visions of just who the Church was that so earnestly baptised me, and never went back to see any of them. They were scary, and thus it was not an experience that endears the Church to me, although I love many Christians.

    But I do not practice Christianity or Judaism or Paganism, or Secularism.
    Christians may perceive me as being too Jewish. Jews will perceive me as being too Christian, while other Messianic Gentiles will ask if my Torah Observance is Orthodox, or according to Kara…scripture.

    I observe Torah as written to the best of my growing ability, and am informed by the Talmud as to what Messianic or Rabbinical Orthodox Jews think is correct halacha, but I am saved in Yeshua, which makes me at most a justified, redeemed God Fearer. I am a son of G-d, and an heir to the Messianic age in Yeshua, and when Yeshua comes, He can tell all of us just what the halacha should be.

    I guess that makes me a Non-Orthodox Torah Observant Messianic Gentile. Does that mean I expect other Messianic Believers to be as fully Torah Observant as they can be? Yes, in order to be like Yeshua at the time He lived, and in His relative simplicity, because obedience is what Yeshua taught…obedience to G-d as taught by Moses.

    I do not believe that Messianic Believers have to do any obedience to YHVH in an exclusively Rabbinical style, and I feel that they should be careful to observe how any Jews they are amongst feel about them acting in a Jewish manner without being trained properly, and should get trained by an Orthodox Messianic Rabbi if they want to be received as a Jew. I plan to remain a Gentile, and act as simply as I can in all obedience.

    Some Christians are G-d Fearers. So are some Jews. And some non Jewish, non-Christian Gentiles. That is our range and style of faith practice, yet we all worship the same Creator called YHVH. The argument is now about how we perceive each others halacha, and what each person thinks is necessary, first for salvation, and then to please our G-d as a child wishes to please his Father.

    Yeshua wanted us to be disciples of Him, not of Paul or Peter. He wanted us to make ourselves to be as closely like Him as it is possible for us to be as enabled by the Ruach haKodesh. His brother James, in accordance with Peter, the Jerusalem council and the Holy Spirit did not specify that conversion to Judaism was necessary, and suggested paying attention to the laws as read each Sabbath in the Synagogues, while giving a minimum halacha for fellowship between Jews and Gentiles.

    Obedience is the question, not how to obey. And between all Believers, a little courtesy would be welcome in all places of worship, Non-Jews giving place to Jews in a Synagogue, and Jews giving place to Christians in a Church. Messianic Gentiles should give place to both in their Church or Synagogue, not being members of either group, and wait to be called up for greater honour when honour is due.

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