Don't Argue

Don’t Argue

“What is the point of arguing with a Jew? Every Jew has a mitzvah with which he feels an affinity. Find that mitzvah and assist him with it.”

-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
“Each One’s Mitzvah”
Chabad.org

I know that Rabbi Freeman was addressing a Jewish audience when he wrote this, encouraging one Jewish person to help other Jewish people with their special mitzvot, but consider this.

In her article for Messiah Journal, First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ) contributor and translator Jordan Levi referred to the Gentiles who help Jewish people find and assist with their mitzvot as “the Crowning Jewels of the Nations.” If I take the thoughts of Rabbi Freeman and Jordan Levi and put them together, then the Rabbi’s message is just as appropriately addressed to Gentile believers, that is, Christians, as it is to Jewish people.

Am I crazy? Christians helping Jews to find and perform their special mitzvot? Christians don’t even believe in mitzvot because the vast majority of them believe the “Law” is dead as a doornail, killed when the church was born in Acts 2

If you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time, you know I don’t believe that last part for even a second. I believe that we non-Jewish believers have a special duty, assigned to us by God, to be part of the restoration of Israel by helping Israel raise David’s fallen tent (Amos 9:11-12). We people of the nations are to be drawn to the Jewish people because they are close to God (Zechariah 8:23), and we desire to go up with them to the Temple of God in Jerusalem because we know it is the House of Prayer for all peoples (Isaiah 56:7, Micah 4:2).

I recently posted two articles on my blog about the Gentile relationship to Messianic Judaism, specifically within the Messianic Jewish worship context, Twoness and Oneness: From the Sermons of David Rudolph and Oneness, Twoness, and Three Converts. This was an attempt on my part to describe what it is to be a member of the “crowning jewels of the nations” “on the ground,” so to speak, worshiping and associating among believing and observant Jews.

As you might imagine, my commentaries were not well received within certain venues, specifically some Hebrew Roots groups where the message of Gentiles having a critical role in uplifting and supporting a return to Torah for the Jewish people without usurping the Jewish role for ourselves is not well understood or perhaps simply considered unacceptable.

But then I read Rabbi Freeman’s brief missive from this morning and the message clicked into place again. “What is the point of arguing with a Jew?” That’s what I’d like to ask some of these folks. And yet they insist on arguing with Jewish people over ownership of the Torah of Sinai rather than getting on with the job we were assigned by Hashem. “Find that mitzvah a Jew feels an affinity for and assist him with it.”

Let me spell it out to you again in case you’ve missed this message in previous blog posts. We have a duty to provoke the Jewish people to Zealousness for the Torah (see the link I just provided for the details). By doing so, we bring the time of Messiah’s return that much closer, summoning the Messianic Age, which is the true gospel message of the Bible.

The FFOZ television series episode The Good News which I reviewed last summer, also illustrates that the gospel message of Jesus is far, far more than a simple plan of personal salvation.

Why are there non-Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua worshiping alongside Jewish believers in Messianic Jewish synagogues? Why are there individuals or small groups of Christians who self-identify as “Messianic Gentiles” in traditional churches attempting to softly, gently deliver an understanding that the greatest part of the gospel message is our role in assisting Israel to bring about the future Messianic Age?

Rabbi Tzvi FreemanRabbi Freeman answered the first question in the quote at the top of the page. Boaz Michael, in his book Tent of David, answered the second question by stating we must help the Church to realize its true role in Israel’s future redemptive history, pointing them to the small lesson that Rabbi Freeman presented so succinctly.

When men like Pastor John MacArthur say that “In the character of the book of Acts, the church is born, and Judaism in God’s eyes is a dead issue…,” he is not only saying something terribly wrong about God’s intent toward Israel, he’s directly denying the Church’s role to assist Israel in bringing the return of Jesus Christ through the process of the Church coming alongside Israel as a partner, standing ready to restore David’s fallen sukkah.

“What is the point of arguing with a Jew? Every Jew has a mitzvah with which he feels an affinity. Find that mitzvah and assist him with it.”

Until we, the people of the nations who are called by God’s Name, we Christians are willing to put our traditions, our egos, and our fear of change aside, and do what God commands us to do, the Church and any other groups of Christians, including Hebrew Roots groups, are going to be highly limited in our service to God.

Until we stop either dismissing the Torah as yesterday’s trash or coveting the Jewish role in Torah observance for ourselves, we may still “win souls for Christ,” but we will be stifling the fulfillment of the greatest revelation of God to the world, the return of the Messiah King, the establishment of his rule on the Throne of David in Jerusalem, and the establishment of a reign of peace for all the world, so that everyone “will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken,” (Micah 4:4).

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7 thoughts on “Don’t Argue”

  1. Wow. This just sounds so right! Now, all I have to do is become acquainted with someone Jewish. 😉

  2. Even if you’re not, you can still share your views with your believing Gentile friends and acquaintances. One of the key phrases in Boaz Michael’s “Tent Builders” conference is “Changing the Church for the sake of Israel.”

  3. @Steve, you can become acquainted with me, and I think there are a couple other Jewish commentors on this blog. 🙂 Christians who desire to see Messiah return miss something really important that is so much in plain sight they shouldn’t have missed it. “You shall not upon me until you say, ‘Baruch habah b’shem Adonai.” (Blessed is he who comes in the name of YHVH.) It is the Jewish people who are going to be the deciding factor, and that is just one hole in the “immanence,” doctrine.

    You are not going to, “change the church.” Most of the institutional church is made up of hireling leaders and more goats than sheep in the pews. But his sheep will hear his voice. The “church.” is already changing, and not for the better, as it is turning against Israel and toward the emergent Christian Palestinianism/social justice narrative. I believe this is sifting, and our job is to help rescue the sheep, not give the goats a makeover.

    I was having a discussion a couple days ago with someone about the sources of the pre-trib rapture belief. See, at least the dispies accept that Israel is still loved as a nation and has a purpose not yet fulfilled, unlike the replacement theologists. But they still hold to a sort of replacement theology, in that they see, “the church,” as the divine mouthpiece and vessel for divine action. So, “the church,” has to be out of the picture, rather than retreat to a subordinate role.

  4. @CropCircles — While it appears that James complied with your deletion request, I did not find your post so terribly whiny (Jews often enjoy a fine “whine” [:)]), though perhaps you could benefit from a bit more information that might relieve your sense of “second-class-ness”. Americans are often tempted to think that different is the same as unequal, and therefore unjust or immoral. This is a failure to examine the nature of some kinds of difference. The Torah identifies a number of distinct social categories, some of whom have special responsibilities that others do not, including men, women, slaves, indentured servants, resident aliens (i.e., non-Jews), non-resident (transient) aliens, Levites, Cohens, and Nazirites. The fact that women have responsibilities and capabilities that men do not possess does not render the men as second class persons; and the same can be said of each of the other categories. Regardless of whether modern Jewish messianists have figured out how to conduct themselves properly relative to the Torah covenant that is binding upon them, there has been developed a set of behaviors derived from the Noahide principles that the Torah deems to be binding upon all humanity (i.e., the descendants of Noa’h the ark-builder whose family represents the only survivors of the ancient flood). We can see a reflection of this in the four principles cited in Acts 15 as the minimum that were binding upon non-Jews who were not deemed to be obligated to full Torah observance. (Incidentally, the other three of the seven Noahide laws identified by the rabbis were already commonly accepted features in the laws of the Greco-Roman society of that era, hence there was no need to reiterate them in the Acts 15 declaration.) Nonetheless, Shabbat observance is a step beyond Noahide observance, and Isaiah 56 opens the door a bit wider still in the context of voluntary behavior that exceeds any sort of legal requirements. However, learning and developing suitable procedures for such additional observance can only be done in relationship with Jews who observe Torah, in order to maintain a balance between maintaining Jewish distinctiveness and pursuing conformity with HaShem’s Torah instructions for which designated Jewish authorities bear the responsibility to mediate. Non-Jews who choose to aid Jews in this endeavor are therefore to be commended and honored for their service to HaShem and His Torah. That’s not a second-class position, but it is a distinctive one.

    It seems to me that the Tent Builders program is attempting to encourage Christians to embrace that challenge.

  5. This makes sense, this past Sabbath I started talking to the Reb at a synagogue I visited about 1 Corinthians 11:4 and I was thought a lesson. My opinion is that no congregation has everything completely right but that does not meet the members of them aren’t saved. This I say for the ones I have visited. I could definitely fill the presence of the Holy Spirit there though and many of the past I have visited. The Almighty is working everywhere somehow.

  6. @Ben: Fortunately, God works with us in spite of our flaws and misunderstanding.

    @Chaya: I like most of what R. Freeman writes as well.

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