What Christians See When Looking At Messianic Jews

sefer-torahFor every complex question, as H.L. Mencken once put, there is usually an answer that is “clear, simple and wrong.” His observation rings true when it comes to a question I get at least once a week. What do Jews believe about Jesus?

Jews as a group rarely agree on matters of Jewish belief. How could we agree on the essence of another? Yet, we ignore the question at our own peril.

-Rabbi Evan Moffic
“5 Rabbis Explain Jesus”
Huffington Post

An MJ friend wrote me describing the resistance he has been encountering from other Messianic Jews about Torah. He gets it. Mount Sinai is an eternal covenant between God and Jewish people.

-Derek Leman
“Do Messianic Jews Really Need to Keep Torah?”
Messianic Jewish Musings

And meanwhile, the Bible from cover to cover is about God’s-plan-through-Israel-to-the-world and yet the “through Israel” part is forgotten by most. Deuteronomy 4:6 is in the Bible. Verify this for yourself.

-Derek Leman
“Why Don’t Christians Believe Deuteronomy 4:6?”
Messianic Jewish Musings

“What is the Torah?”

I’ve been blogging and blogging and reading and reading trying to come up with an answer that will work between my Pastor and me during our usual Wednesday night discussions. Pastor Randy is away for several weeks in association with his doctorate studies, but I sent him a link to Derek Leman’s blog post Do Messianic Jews Really Need to Keep Torah, since it addresses the heart of our conversations. Pastor has no spare time for a long blog post, but he did send me a brief email saying that he believes the Abrahamic covenant is eternal, but the Mosaic covenant is not.

I suppose I should have expected that response, and it surprisingly hit me in a tender spot. So when Derek wrote Why Don’t Christians Believe Deuteronomy 4:6, it did absolutely nothing to improve my disposition.

Really, is there any hope for communication across the aisle, so to speak, or are we doomed to endless discussion and endless disagreements with no middle ground between any of us?

Do I really want to live a life of faith like this, at least communal faith?

But Rabbi Moffic said that “Jews as a group rarely agree on matters of Jewish belief.” Ever since Sinai, the Jewish people have been chosen and called out to be different from all of the other peoples and nations of the Earth, but how do they stand all of the internal dissonance? My guess is that, at some core level, no matter what other disputes and disagreements one Jew has with another, at the end of the day, a Jew is always a Jew.

iron-sharpens-iron-hotOK, I know there are problems with that statement and there are all kinds of disputes between different sectors of Judaism, but when “they” come for you because you’re a Jew, those disputes vanish like a snow cone in a blast furnace. Beyond a certain point, we can even grasp hope based on a Jewish Cantor welcoming even Messianic Jews on Tisha B’Av.

But that doesn’t translate very well if at all to differing groups of Christians.

John the Baptist described himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” (John 1:23), and that worked pretty well for him up until his beheading, but I’m not sure how well it’s working for me.

Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17 (NASB)

OK, I get that. The constant “head-banging” is supposed to sharpen us, but it also can be painful, and frankly, I’m getting a headache.

I know, “if you can’t stand the heat…” Maybe I should get out of the kitchen.

But that’s where the food is.

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Hebrews 5:13-14 (NASB)

At the end of the day, a Jew is a Jew and like it or not, all Jewish people have been bonded together since Sinai and probably before that. Does that work for Christians, though? Are we bound together so that, when adversity strikes, we’ll join with each other based on our common identity as disciples of Christ?

I’d like to think so, but I don’t know. Jews are bound not just based on belief and theology, but by 3500 years of common experience and even down to the level of DNA. Although Jews don’t think of themselves in terms of being “tribal” anymore, it’s still there beneath the surface. Tribes and clans and families are bonded beyond any unbonding, and God drew all Jewish people to Him under the chuppah of cloud and fire at Sinai and sealed the covenant with Torah.

The Birthright program exists to encourage young Jewish people who have little or no attachment to the Land and to the Torah to experience Israel. I hear there’s something about standing on the ground and breathing the air in Israel that has an effect on Jewish people (and perhaps a few Christians as well). I can’t say from experience, but for the sake of my Jewish children, I hope so.

I can only say that for Christians, a common faith in Jesus is the lynchpin that holds us together, at least in theory. But while it is presupposed that Jews will argue with Jews as an expected behavior, how am I as a Christian supposed to explain to another Christian that being Jewish and the existence of the Torah are inexorably linked and cannot be unlinked. Even an atheist Jew will one day confront the meaning of being Jewish beyond the mere ethnic and genetic identity.

jewish-davening-by-waterI recently wrote about Jews encountering themselves through the mitzvot and some Rabbis hope that encouraging a Jewish person to experience even a single mitzvah will make a difference. At the time, I applied that hope to Christians as well, but we must face the facts that Christians don’t think of themselves in the same way as Jewish think of themselves.

No wonder that we can’t get Christians to see Jews as they want to be seen.

There are days when I just want to scream to the Church, “Just let Jews be Jews! We don’t have to agree with them! They don’t need our permission!” But I suppose that wouldn’t go over very well.

Jews rarely agree with each other on matters of belief. Christians are expected to agree with each other on matters of belief. If they don’t, then it usually means some group will split off from their church to form a different church. That’s how Christians manage the dissonance of disagreement.

I have what I think of as a unique relationship with my Pastor in that we can regularly meet every week, disagree on fundamental issues, and still be friends. Pastor lived in Israel for fifteen years and is intimately acquainted with Jewish life in Israel, so on that basis, he knows what it is like to live among lots of Jewish people. And yet, every week when we meet, I still feel like I’m facing some sort of battle for the rights of Jewish people to define their own identity as Jewish based on the Torah, especially Jews who are disciples of Messiah.

I keep thinking of the venerable 19th century Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein who became a devotee of Yeshua past the age of sixty and yet remained wholly Jewish in his practice, observance, identity, and discipleship. His life as a devout Jew and a Messianic disciple seems so open and clear. Reading The Everlasting Jew showed me how his life made so much sense the way he lived it.

I don’t see a dissonance between what R. Lichtenstein believed and how he lived and the Biblical life of Jesus, Peter, and Paul. I just wish everyone could see what I see, not because I’m so smart, but because I believe I’m seeing what God wants all Christians to see when we look at Messianic Jews.

Why is communicating that vision so hard?


31 thoughts on “What Christians See When Looking At Messianic Jews”

  1. It’s about attraction rather than promotion.

    If someone can’t see that the way I live my life is the way that everyone should, or that the beliefs I believe they should adopt, then I guess I can call them a human.

    Even though some things like human rights we may feel stronger about our other fellow man believing and understanding, we can only affect the way we think, feel, believe and act. As hard as I blow, the louder I speak, it still won’t change someone else if they don’t want to be changed.

    1. @Chana — While there is truth behind the joke about how many psychologists are required to change a light bulb, where the answer is: “Only one, but the light bulb must want to be changed.”, humans can be educated to change or persuaded to change. Of course they can be stubborn and resistant, and refuse any effort toward change, even when the proposed change is a beneficial improvement.

      But the real question for any Christian (or any Jew) to answer is whether they are personally committed to become Rav Yeshua’s disciple. A disciple is more than someone who made a decision or prayed a prayer or attends a church (or synagogue) regularly. A disciple obeys the example of his teacher. A disciple of Rav Yeshua does not interfere with any of his other disciples to hinder their growth, though one disciple might offer encouragement to another. The more difficult question that the Jerusalem Council of Rav Yeshua’s Emmisaries had to answer in Acts 15 was whether all disciples were to be required to conform with identical requirements. Their answer distinguished between Jewish and non-Jewish disciples. Shouldn’t the rest of us do likewise?

      @James — Even beyond Derek Leman’s question about why Christians don’t believe Deut.4:6, it appears that there is a question you might pursue to discover why Pastor Randy appears not to believe Matt.5:18 in which Rav Yeshua himself stated that the Torah (along with the Prophets), which includes HaShem’s establishment of both the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, remains valid in all its finest details as long as the heavens and earth continue to endure. It is therefore illogical and inconsistent to view the Abrahamic covenant as “eternal” and yet view the “Mosaic” covenant of Torah as any less so (though the heavens and earth themselves are not actually quite eternal). It shouldn’t really require a lot of education to understand this, though it seems often to require a significant amount of persuasion.

      1. @Proclaim Liberty: If I go and tell everyone they have to be an observant Jew (or Christian), no one is going to want to be an observant Jew and live a life of Torah mitzvos (and learning/living by the teachings of the Rebbe of their chosen sect). If I can show them how important it is and how happy I am, maybe then they will be a bit more turned on by the whole thing.

        I think you have a valid point as well, just sometimes less harsh ways of approaching people with disagreeing views can allow them to hear/see your point more easily and then to make their own educated decision. Even if it means they are making a decision we don’t agree with, it’s their decision.

      2. @Chana — I agree with you that demonstrating the benefits of an observant lifestyle is an essential component of kiruv, and that mere “telling” is by far insufficient. Moreover, not every sect or its Rebbe is equally deserving, though it is notably difficult to learn from a Rebbe like Rav Yeshua who is not currently living except in the metaphorical sense through the teachings of his more educated and experienced disciples. However, Habadniks have managed to demonstrate successfully how to pursue a “toiter hasidut”, and Rav Yeshua’s modern hasidim can certainly do as well. Nonetheless, all of us must struggle with how to apply our ancient principles and practices in a modern setting. I suggest that it doesn’t need to appear entirely alien and outré, though certainly discipleship is likely to appear different and challenging compared with “easy believer-ism” and nominal religion.

  2. I don’t really want or expect Christians to live their life like Messianic Jews, I just wish they’d be able to see that it’s “OK” for Messianic Jews to live in observance of the mitzvot. Even if they don’t agree 100%, after all is said and done, it’s not really our decision to make as Christians how Jewish people live their life in Messiah (or any other way).

  3. Education is one thing but a paradigm shift is a different matter altogether. People can be highly education and very intelligent but also can tenaciously adhere to a particular worldview, particularly when it comes to the meaning of the Bible.

    I’ll put it another way. Men tend to think in linear terms (a leads to b leads to c, and so on) while women then to think globally (making associations between seemingly unrelated events, tasks, and concepts to achieve a set of goals). I notice this when my wife and I try to organize our day. I make a mental list of what I want to get done. Simple. My wife starts inserting all kinds of events, tasks and such into that list, which I sometimes find quite annoying, as I have to update my sequence and try to figure out how I’ll get all that done in a single day. What she’s actually doing is viewing my list and making associations across multiple conceptual domains, while I’m merely viewing a single domain.

    Getting her to see things from my perspective would be challenging. Her getting me to see how she conceptualizes a day would probably make my head spin. In order for each one of us to see things from the other’s perspective doesn’t require more education, since we’re both reasonably educated people. We’d need to shift our paradigm, the basic foundation for how we conceptualize the world and everything in it, in order to get what the other person sees and understand why they (each of us) say and do what they say and do.

    Pastor and I conceptualize God, Messiah, and the Bible in fundamentally different ways as far as the function of Israel, Judaism, and the Torah are concerned. The process of creating a paradigm shift remains rather mysterious to me, since it requires a retooling of one’s perspective at a foundational level. People are resistant to change on most levels, but monkeying around with someone’s concrete foundation is especially difficult. The whole house is built on it.

  4. interesting read, but, perhaps it should be re-titled as, “WHAT “SOME” CHRISTIANS SEE WHEN LOOKING AT MESSIANIC JEWS”,………just a thought,……..i have a very simple faith, and i do my best to keep it as uncluttered as possible,…i simply do my best to look at jesus, thus, looking at myself,………i find that getting my own house in order is much better than looking at someone else’s house and wondering why they don’t, (won’t, or can’t, etc) do the same as i do,………..hope everyone has a great day.

  5. @johnedoe: Thanks for commenting. Maybe a better title would by “What Christians Typically See When Looking At Messianic Jews.” Sometimes I use titles that are a bit “dramatic” to make a point. Once people start reading a blog post’s content, they get the idea (hopefully) of what I’m trying to say.

    Being uncluttered can be a very good thing. I strive for that, but many times, I’m drawn into the “clutter.”


  6. Ironically, what makes communicating your vision to Christians so hard is the same reason Jews are bound together in such a powerful way. Thousands of years of tradition have cemented the bond between Jews as well as cemented the Jew’s position as God’s whipping boy whose only reason for existence was to show that the Torah could not be kept. That sounds kind of harsh, but often Christian theology in regards to the Jewish people is a variation of that theme and two thousand years of tradition doesn’t change easily.

  7. Some Christians, unfortunately, see a threat when looking at Messianic Jews. At my church, I was permitted to teach on the festivals when they occurred, then run HaYesod, the FFOZ teaching module. Pastor Paul went through the HaYesod program and materials in advance with me, then even facilitated one group in the parsonage as I facilitated another group in the fellowship hall. Teaching the festivals seemed okay to many, but running HaYesod caused several families to leave the church in protest. Pastor was great about all of this saying that “if they left for this reason then they’d likely have left for some other down the road, as well.”

    The key to Pastor’s accepting paradigm shift, I think, was creating an appointment with Rabbi Jim, a local Messianic rabbi, prior to running HaYesod, simply to meet and talk. My pitch to Pastor for the reason behind the meeting was explaining to him that I merely wanted him to sit across from a Messianic Jewish leader who loved Yeshua as much as he did; to look into Rabbi Jim’s eyes and feel the dividing wall melt based upon that fundamental imperative. That was it. The rest was, as they say, commentary. Rabbi Jim and Pastor Paul discussed things for two hours, then Rabbi Jim took us out into the sanctuary to prepare for Erev Shabbat service, allowing Pastor Paul the honor of holding the Torah scroll. Pastor Paul experienced a paradigm shift, I think, not to become a Messianic believer himself, but to understand and accept Messianic believers such as myself as equals, so to speak. It was a beautiful thing.

    Dr. King wrote that “Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.”

    To broker meetings between Christian pastors and Messianic rabbis – in similar manner as somewhat like Barnabas’ introduction of Paul to the Messianic Jewish congregation in Jerusalem – could be a powerful key to breaking down the preconceived notions and mythology that exists between Christians and Messianic Jews, bringing down the dividing wall that keeps the Body of Messiah apart.

  8. For most Christians, the Messianic reality of Yeshua (Jesus) has shifted so far away from Judaism that any attempt to make a significant “course correction” is met with a great deal of resistance. Most people know about inertia if they’ve ever tried to push start a car (back in the day). Getting the thing rolling is a major effort, but once it’s moving it’s not so hard to keep going.

    But it’s overcoming inertia that’s the real chore.

  9. I agree. I share my story in order to pose face-to-face meetings as the way to ‘push-starting’ the car. Pastor Paul is now one less pastor in the world that sees Messianic Judaism as a threat. The meeting with Rabbi Jim played a significant role in overcoming that existing inertia.

    Now, envisioning local, regional, and eventually, national conferences as a means of “push-starting the car” at a grander level of impact is an intriguing thought… It occurs to me that perhaps HaShem is looking for “push-starting” on a grander scale in order as means of inspiring “love [-ing] of one another.”

  10. I think Boaz Michael is in my part of the country (Pacific Northwest) just now on his way to Seattle. My Pastor is in Southern California for a few weeks as part of his Ph.D studies. Bad timing. I’d love to have gotten those two together for a few hours and listened to their conversation.

  11. James,

    You hit the nail on the head with this quote>

    “Education is one thing but a paradigm shift is a different matter altogether. People can be highly education and very intelligent but also can tenaciously adhere to a particular worldview, particularly when it comes to the meaning of the Bible.”

    It really takes a move of the Ruach on a person’s heart to be willing to humbly retool all of their theological underpinnings, because, indeed, a paradigm shift is the only answer.

    I studied and studied chasing little troubling questions and trying to make loose threads fit, then one day after much prayer and struggle I opened my Bible and it was as if it had totally been rewritten. I could see an entirely different picture and there was no way to ‘un-see’ it. That’s when I realized a radical paradigm shift had happened and I wouldn’t back up or change for the world!

    Keep the faith. I know the wearying battle you are in… It is a special calling. Just be sure to get rest and recoop time for you to be fed of soul while dishing so much out!!

    Good shabbos! Pete


  13. “Do I really want to live a life of faith like this, at least communal faith?”

    In my experience, I say, “no.”

    When I first left the church, I found out that one person told another person (concerning me) that, “He needs to just go be with other people who think like him, instead of staying here being different and difficult.” He wasn’t saying that in a positive manner, but it is true. Why would I want to stay somewhere where I’m seen as “different” and “wrong?” Why do I need to do that? You wouldn’t see a Jehovah’s Witness trying to stick it out in a Catholic church. Or insert any opposing denominations and you get the picture. I agree and disagree with Boaz’s book. I think we should be active in the Christian realm, but that doesn’t mean we need to setup shop and try to fit in at a church, just for the sake of “it” (as Boaz pushes in his book). I even tried to go back to church, like Boaz suggested. Nope. Didn’t work.

    I understand your feelings toward trying to get Pastor Randy to see your side of things, but sometimes we let that whole mission of trying to prove ourselves over take our lives. Nothing wrong with trying, but sometimes you just need to know when to walk away.

  14. My conversations with Pastor are actually beneficial to the both of us, but I do get frustrated sometimes. What seems obvious to me (admittedly after a number of years of reading and study) seems nonsensical to many believers. My experiences yesterday, both listening to the “guest speaker’s” sermon and in Sunday school tell me that I have a long way to go in being able to communicate an alternate interpretation to traditional Christian doctrine.

  15. “My conversations with Pastor are actually beneficial to the both of us.”

    From your point of view, that may seem the case. When you say that they are beneficial to you, what do you mean? By beneficial, do you mean progression as in regards to him getting closer to understanding your side of things? I’m sure he may come away feeling the same thing. So both of ya’ll come away with the same feeling of, “I think I’m getting through to him.” And in reality, nobody is going anywhere. As I see it, and this may not be the case, you both have an agenda when sitting down for these meetings.

    If you want to keep chipping away at a brick wall, then have at it. You have more persistance than I do. Just don’t get too wrapped up in this because when you finally get tired of going round and round, you’ll have the tendancy to come away from all of this offended.

  16. As a believer, I don’t know very much about what Christians believe, at least in the details. I can’t really tell one denomination from another and I’m ignorant of many doctrines. Talking with Pastor Randy, who is very well educated (and getting more so all the time), I learn a lot about Christian theology and doctrine. In some ways, each week that we meet is like a 90 to 120 minute classroom experience for me. Yes, I do take notes.

    On one level I know that Pastor is trying to convince me of his point of view, but our conversations also operate on the level of us both learning from each other. I once had the opportunity to speak with his wife when Pastor wasn’t present, and she said he enjoys our conversations and shared them with her in the evening after we’ve met. He lived in Israel for fifteen years and has a great love of the Jewish people. I think he really wants to understand the Messianic Jewish point of view, but he’s not going to take anything for granted and he’s going to question everything.

    I can hardly blame him since I’m the same way.

    Yes, it can be frustrating sometimes, but I don’t feel any resentment. In fact, I too enjoy our meetings and look forward to them. If people of good faith who have differing points of view refuse to dialog just because they disagree, no one will learn anything and we’ll all end up locked inside our individual silos, trapped only with people who think and speak the same way we do.

    If Paul felt that way, he’d never have spoken to a single Gentile and would only have shared the good news of the Messiah with other Jews. But that would have been in direct disobedience to the Messiah, since he was specifically made an emissary to the nations.

    I don’t claim a special mission, but I do feel driven to communicate, which is why I have this blog. But as much as I am compelled to write, there is nothing like a face to face conversation to test what you know and to get your point across. I feel honored that Pastor has invited me to meet with him in private weekly meetings. The demands on his time are formidable and if his only motivation were to convince one lone individual to toe the traditional Christian line, I don’t believe we would be seeing each other. I know I learn from him and it is my fervent wish that he will be able to learn something from my end of the conversation.

    Believe me, it’s worth it, Keith. Avoiding challenges to what we believe and avoiding opportunities to share is the same as avoiding the mission to communicate about God.

    1. Well, I’m glad that you are having better experiences than I’ve had. Things are a little different down here in the Deep South. Not as many progressive views. More stuck in the old ways and very hard-headed. Also, quick to put you down or disown you over differing doctrines. However, your pastor seems like a standup guy. Rock on!

  17. We must not ever give up the effort to communicate the message of healing the great breach that has come between Christians and Jews, to include this one between Christians and Messianic Jews. We live in the post-Auschwitz world. We must understand and accept the absolute priority that must be given to generating and sustaining positive dialogue between Christians and Jews at every level of existence. The “Us vs. Them” syndrome was a key factor in the Final Solution being “successfully” perpetrated in the heart of Christian Europe. If Messianic Jews are not “accepted” as “Us” now, that is, from the Christian p.o.v., what does that say about the state of affairs overall? And from our side, as Gentiles who acknowledge the Messianic “way,” if we were doctors and our patient were not showing signs of improvement based upon our treatment, should we give up? Chazak ve’ematz, James! Be strong and courageous! Keep up the good work…

  18. Dan, you’re not reading my comments right.

    I said in my first comment, “I think we should be active in the Christian realm, but that doesn’t mean we need to setup shop and try to fit in at a church.” I never said that we should “give up the effort to communicate the message of healing the great breach that has come between Christians and Jews.” I’m all for communication. What I don’t like is the round and round conversations between Christians and “Gentiles who acknowledge the Messianic ‘way'” that never go anywhere. Under the guise of “discussion,” all it really is is an argument or piss’n match to see who can emerge the victor.

    Now what James and his pastor do is something a little different, but I can see where that too could sometimes become a back-and-forth kind of thing.

  19. I understand, Keith/Slim… glad to hear it. I simply reacted and should have asked a question or two before getting on my soapbox… Thanks for clarifying… and sorry for “reacting” …

    I’ve experienced what you’re talking about and, if for no reason other than a lack of time, kind of “categorize” [read: “profile” :)]those Christians who are truly interested and those who are so entrenched in their perspective that they’ll likely never change… I agree that we cannot go round-and-round-the-mulberry bush with the permanently entrenched forever…

  20. I have no idea why it put my old twitter name for that last comment, lol.

    No problem, Dan. I kinda did the same thing with James’ pastor, a few comment up. I love sharing what we call the “True Gospel” to Christians that are receptive to what I have to say. I even like trying to talk to the skeptical ones for a bit, but some people have dug their heels in and there’s really nothing you can do. I learned the hard way and let my emotions get involved, partly because they were my former congregants. After being verbally abused by people I used to call my friends, I guess I’m more cautious now. I had so many rumors spread around about me too that it was ridiculous (we’re a small town). Some people were asking me that they heard I was now a Jehovah’s Witness. Others where even saying that I no longer believed that Yeshua was the Messiah! Anyway, I’ll stop blabbering on here. I know I need to some projecting my experiences onto others situations, but I just hate to see anyone get hurt over this kind of thing. Sometimes this old saying is true, “You Christians eat your own. Always have. Always will.”

  21. James,

    As someone who has been part of Messianic congregations for some time – starting and serving on the worship team and leading several other ministries within the congregations – – – while at the same time serving on worship teams in Christian churches and having been a leader and served in Christian churches as well with the first part of my life being a Christian background, I might be qualified to give you and answer using your own post:

    You wrote:
    “Jews rarely agree with each other on matters of belief. Christians are expected to agree with each other on matters of belief. If they don’t, then it usually means some group will split off from their church to form a different church. That’s how Christians manage the dissonance of disagreement.”

    The problem is that you left something out, and because of that (which I am quite sure was not on purpose), you have done what I have seen done at every Messianic congregation I have ever been associated with at one time or another:

    “You have made the statement: “You people . . . ” which pits one against the other. A very smart Rabbi that I studied under used to teach about Jews being the “insignificant others” and yet the opposite happens in a Messianic congregation – Christians become the “insignificant others.”

    I would add (and take away) to your statement above to get rid of the “you people” approach:

    “Jews rarely agree with each other on matters of belief. It is not uncommon for ‘some” of them to get into disagreements and join a different congregation as a result of disagreement. Many drift between several congregations doing Torah study at this one and Oneg at that one.
    Many Christians believe in unity on matters of belief. If there is not unity, they will often split off from their church to form a different church.

    There is really nothing new under the sun, and yet Tehillim (Psalm) 133:1 is applicable to BOTH groups – – – Behold how good . . .!

    Neither Christians nor Jews will accept being the insignificant other, to the other, or even within their own groups – – – they will accept unity unless their dogma doesn’t allow it (Christmas and Easter would be 2 big stumbling blocks along this line . . . )

    As we know (and sometimes forget), he broke down the wall:

    Ephesians 2:13-16 (CJB)
    13 But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood.
    14 For he himself is our shalom — he has made us both one and has broken down the m’chitzah which divided us
    15 by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom,
    16 and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus in himself killing that enmity.

    Sometimes, we are guilty of building the wall back up just as fast as we can and saying “Surely Lord you didn’t mean . . . ”

    Hinei Ma Tov . . . this is the key to keeping the wall down. We can not point at another group and say “your sin is way worse than my sin” – – and yet we do that when we differentiate. Romans 14 is always my gut check because it teaches us a very good lesson by asking us a very important question:

    Romans 14:4 (CJB)
    4 who are you to pass judgment on someone else’s servant? It is before his own master that he will stand or fall; and the fact is that he will stand, because the Lord is able to make him stand.

    If I believe that I have knowledge that many Christians do not, then I have great responsibility to share, disciple and build relationships – – to LOVE . . . I do NOT have the responsibility to beat them over the head with Ishtar Eggs and cries of Pagan! Pagan! Pagan! which unfortunately happens in some Messianic circles as you well know.

    The commands were to love our Creator and our neighbor – – – that all of the Torah and Prophets depend on these two things . . . I have yet to find the congregation Christian or Messianic that doesn’t fail in these two fundamental things – I know I personally fail at them daily – – –

    Maybe that is why it is implied in Pirkei Avot that teshuvah is a daily thing . . . or at least should be.

    Sorry for the long post – maybe I am a little passionate here because of belonging to both backgrounds . . . at the end of the day, few respond well to criticisms (meant or not) that single them out as “less thans” (meant or not)

    I enjoyed your post,
    Be blessed!

  22. Greetings, Even If. Glad you commented (and by the way, I visited your blog and I like the premise).

    Just a few questions.

    You said I left out something, but I’m not sure you said that that was.

    I searched the content of this blog post and I can’t find where I said “You people.”

    This blog post was really just my “rant” over the difficulties I have in convincing some Christians that Messianic Jews continue to have an obligation to the Torah mitzvot and that the Torah wasn’t deleted at the cross.

    I’ve written other blog posts (such as today’s), where I discuss matters of distinction between believing Jews and believing Gentiles, but my “What Christians See” missive isn’t focused on that.

    I understand and share your concerns about the “insignificant other” and in general, what I’m trying to say is that neither Jews nor Gentiles in the body of Messiah should attempt to make each other insignificant. However, recognizing distinction is not the same as promoting lack of significance. Both Jews and Gentiles in Messiah have highly valued and even critical roles to play out in the plan of God…they just don’t happen to be the same roles.

    For the record, I self identify as a Christian, albeit a highly unusual one, and I attend a small Baptist church in Southwestern Idaho. I’m not Jewish but my wife and children are, although none of them are believers. My interest in looking at the Bible, Messiah, and God comes honestly and I think both traditions contain valuable ways to see Holiness and to understand who we are as Creations of the Almighty.

    Please feel free to comment here. I enjoyed what you had to say. Blessings.

  23. Oops. I forgot to address your comments on Ephesians 2, which is often used in support of diluting or deleting Jewish/Christian distinction in the body of Messiah. I’ve written on this a few times before. Here are the links, Even If:




    Hope this clears up my opinion on that portion of scripture.


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