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Posts Tagged ‘Messianic Judaism’

Pied_Piper_1Play Me a Song

I have lived more than a few seasons of life falling under the spell of pied pipers’ tunes.  Each time I felt excitement over some new knowledge, or believed I belonged to something only special people understood.   Pied pipers draw a respectable following, so I usually enjoyed plenty of company as we merrily danced along.  Having so many people sharing love for the same song made it seem even more pleasant and true.  The longer I listened, the less I could see, except for what the song allowed.  The pipers were preachers and politicians, and the songs told of doctrines and dogmas.  Not that these things are always bad.  Often they contain elements of truth.  The trouble comes when we cease to question the source and nature of the song, or don’t see we are marching away from Jesus into the arms of another.  Our desire was to follow this song no matter what, no matter where.  If someone tried to speak to us about truth, we went back to singing our song even louder to drown them out.  Its familiarity became our comfort and security.  If the pied piper were to die, many others would be willing pick up the flute and keep going.

Then thgood-shepherd.jpg.w300h411e Good Shepherd begins to call again for His wandering sheep and starts to sing softly to our hearts.  I find myself feeling uneasy with the direction I am going.  My eyes focus more clearly to see the surroundings and direction of the march.  I also hear a more beautiful song that seems out of sync with the one I’m following.  I remember the love of the Shepherd and I wonder when it happened, that I left Him behind to follow another? Eventually, the piper’s song begins to sound terribly out of harmony and hurts my ears.  I can hear the notes that don’t belong in the music.  I look back at my friends and try to tell them, “this is all wrong!”  But they can’t hear me.  If one happens to look my way and listen for a moment, they become agitated and sing louder.  Just as I used to do.  I love them, but the Shepherd still calls.  I have to follow Him I know.  So I step out into His love and find peace and freedom.

This analogy is too one-dimensional to describe my life and all the facets that resemble pied piper mindsets.  I have followed more than one at a time and I have friends that left one to follow another.  Some were born under a tune and haven’t considered there may be any other song.  They are even told the Good Shepherd is marching along beside them.  That’s why God calls us sheep.  We are so easily distracted and led astray.  He has also promised that those who belong to Him will hear His voice and not follow another….forever.  This is a huge comfort and I have experienced this so many times.  I want to always be aligning my life to the God song.

Each time I hear Him more clearly, I experience an awakening that brings a family of emotions.  I rejoice in the Truth of Jesus, yet there are painful departures too; people that don’t want to walk with me anymore, objects of affection I have to lay down at His feet.  When I finally realize how opposed my idols are to His heart, the act of surrender then comes easily.  If I hold on to the false image in my mind of what I think my cherished idols are, I tend to cling and not let go.  We must see clearly.  This is why I keep the verse posted on the right margin here, “Jesus, let me see!”

All this to say, since I began writing here, I’ve had another gradual and often painful awakening over the last two or three years.  I have argued with God over this (giving Him all the reasons I don’t want to write about it), argued with myself, and argued with all the voices in my head that oppose what I know to be the Truth in Christ concerning these things.  I started writing in an anonymous place, Jonah style, because the burden to write was so strong I couldn’t say no.  (Yes Lord, I will go somewhere – but not to THAT city.) I don’t want to hurt or upset people I love, or be misunderstood.  I have a hundred reasons why not.

But with each passing day I see more clearly, and the pain of what I see, and what I must say, does not become less.  And the directives from His heart are getting stronger and more specific.  I can say no – and someone else will speak.  (And many are.) But out of love for Him, and those who are being hurt by the false images, I write.

A Waking Up Dream                                       

Let me begin with a very disturbing dream I had a few mornings ago.   It’s horrific actually.  But I believe it represented a core issue for me that I needed to see without confusion.  I was in a house not my own, and my young son was with me, only in the dream I was not the parent.  My role in this dream was a bystander.  His older sister had been brutally killed, put in a trash bag, and thrown out into the city trash can at the curb.  (I don’t watch things like this on TV or in movies by the way.) There was the body of an adult male as well whom I don’t know the identity of.   A woman caretaker had convinced the young boy that things would be better for him if his sister was gone.  He would have more of everything he wanted and he would not need to share anymore or get into fights over anything.  In his young naive mind it sounded attractive.  He agreed.  (In my dream I had knowledge that all this had taken place in a house other than the one we were in.  But the dream scene picked up after the fact.) In the house it’s just the boy and I.  He begins to cry and whine that he wants his sister back.  I am trying to explain to him that she is gone, and can never come back.  I have a horrible sense of finality and grief, of being unable to undo a terrible deed.  And even though in my dream I have not done it myself, I know that I had allowed it without protest.  I have the feelings of a parent (because the children in the dream were mine!), even though that wasn’t my role here.  I realize the parents are coming, and somehow, the guilt for the event is going to fall on me.

The parents arrive, and they are not immediately aware anything is wrong.  I was not the caretaker, but now have gone from bystander to messenger.  I must tell them what has happened, and I feel like it’s all my fault.  I am telling them to please arrest me.  I know I must go to prison for this.  The family is in grief, and the little boy is crying for his sister, and all I can think is that in some way I could have intervened and I did nothing.

The thing that impressed me the most when I first woke up, after I recovered from the horror of it, was the grief of the child who remained.  In the heat of the moment, of maybe a fight over something they both wanted, it seemed like a good solution.  The caretaker made the choice of who would live and who would die, but in the end, both were victims.

I believe the “caretaker” represents false religion that is aligned with the world’s values which are based on logic and reason which protect greed, rather than self-sacrificing love.   This world system is always ready to make a sacrifice of the weak to benefit the strong.   And those who are eliminated are considered “trash”.  Even those who crucified Jesus followed this logic.

The man may have represented a divorce.   The woman caretaker was the bride who did away with her husband to follow what seemed right to her.   This tragedy has taken place throughout history with the people of God.   As we crucify Christ for our own desires, we forget His true identity and take on another one for ourselves.  Because my dream picked up later, “in another house” seems to indicate how a current generation may be tied to the sins of the past, if not recognized and repented of.  The core beliefs and attitudes are carried on, even if we are not directly involved.

Does this seem too shocking and graphic to you? I hope it’s as nightmarish to you as it was to me.  I hope you have not been desensitized by all the violence in media and news stories to not feel the gravity of this.  We would never in a million years agree to something like this with our own children.  Yet, this is the world we live in – and we pass by this type of favoritism, often even supporting it.  Scripture tells us the children of the Most High come from every tribe, tongue and nation on earth.  How can we standby in any conflict and say, “One must die so another may live in peace and prosperity”?  Does this apply to any situation you know of?  I can think of many examples in history, and in the present.  Those who engage in this type of thinking are following a pied piper.  They believe the song that says this is the only solution.  I have believed it, supported it, even wished for it, without daring to think of the human cost.  In this – as a bystander, I do feel my own responsibility.  In the dream the condemnation was heavy and final in my heart.  But I believe God only wanted me to see the tangible reality of responsibility when we walk in agreement to things opposed to His heart.   Cain cried, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” – even as the blood of his brother was on his own hands.   I feel I have gone the way of Cain in the past myself.

I see also the extreme victimization of both the one who dies, and the one who agrees to kill.  There is a deep wound left in the one who remains.  As humans, we are all sons and daughters of God, His Creation.  Even those that will in the end reject Him are loved by Him.  We cannot agree to the elimination of other human beings without ourselves also being deeply wounded.   I have noticed the last three major headlines of horrific maniacal homicides in the past couple weeks have involved former military personnel as the perpetrators.  We send them to war, and they come home severely damaged in their hearts and minds.   We are hurting ourselves all the while believing we are winning a victory.

Formerly, I supported all that my country did in this regard, as well as the state of Israel.   I marched behind that war drum for quite awhile – until I heard Jesus through the flags and national anthems.

I understand nations will defend themselves against attack.  This is a political right and fact.  It does not however mandate how a Christian will react in this situation (having a higher Commander in Chief).  A believer must seek the Lord for His will.  There is a fine line between being in submission to our earthly governments and yet following Christ first and foremost.  Each one must follow their conscience in these things and I do not stand as a judge of anyone who believes in defending their homeland from a human perspective.  But no matter where we find ourselves on the chess board, the issue of love and hate within our own hearts does not change.

Self-defense and does not justify, in my opinion, most of what I see going on in this sick world as it relates to violence, both military and civil.  In the end the value judgments seem to come down to the decision that it’s better for someone else to die, so I can live as I want to live.   Self-defense is the justification for huge liberties taken at the expense of others.   In the end, it’s about self-interest.  Speaking as a U.S. citizen,  I believe this attitude of protecting our own interests is also one factor (of several) in our tragically high abortion rates.  Being pro-life goes much farther than defending the right to life in the womb.   We cannot devalue life without consequences.

The Hebrew Roots Movement’s Song

This pied piper idolatry blinds many people as they get drawn into the Hebrew Roots Movement.  Their love for anything Jewish is as blind as young romance.  They accept anything with Hebrew letters written on it, even if they can’t read it.  Play a song in a minor key and they will dance.  Love the Jewish people and not even care that there are many suffering peoples in the world, including the opposing sides in the Israeli conflicts? You bet!  But this is not of Christ.  This is the way of the old nature, not the New Creation.  We cannot harmonize this deep, ancient evil with the teachings and heart of Christ.  We cannot follow Him and sing this song on anyone’s “side”.   This truth should be realized irrespective of various belief systems about end times and the restoration of Israel.   I don’t quarrel with anyone about these.   I will however stand up for the love of Christ for all people.

And I cannot talk about a blinding love for the nation of Israel as a secular state, without speaking of my own country as well.  We are truly bound together as many prophecy teachers proclaim, yet not in righteousness.  This has been the most painful awakening I think I’ve ever experienced, because it doesn’t mean departing from a small, fringe group.  It means standing against tidal waves of nationalism and pride.  There is a great deal to love and admire in both nations.  I have probably loved Israel even more than my own country.  And now, choosing to stand firmly on the ground of only One Kingdom (of which even Israel is not yet grafted into her Messiah) I am able to lay down my worship and blind devotion to both of them, and truly, deeply love them in the love of Christ.

This means I will not support every military action as a mandate from God Himself.  As earthly kingdoms, these governments succumb to the songs of fear and hatred, but thankfully not all the people inside do.  There is another kingdom within their borders which extends far beyond them.  Citizens of this country will not waver with the winds of war or the seasons of hate.  Their love for Him, the royal family, and all of God’s creation guide and sustain them in all their ways.

I will, and I must – speak more openly about this form of idolatry in relation to the United States and Israel.  Many Christians here are blinded to many things by the false images and their worship of them.  In relation to Israel, they are willing to blend Judaism with Christianity.  Their blind devotion often leads to inadvertently insulting and offending Jewish people, hurting Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ, and exploiting the Jewish Jesus for profit and popularity.  The Christian Zionist “witness” in Israel I think overall has a damaging affect spiritually on everyone, although it may bring financial benefits.  I have watched it sink down into a favoritism that supports death – within the Christian community.  I was party to this, and have had to repent of my participation in this mindset.   We truly should love the Jewish people and pray for peace.   But how do we expect to see this take place?  Do our hearts ache for peace for all God’s children?  Every side has enough hate of their own to start a thousand wars.  Yet, does peace come through vindicating our own disgust with other human beings?  Is this what Jesus taught?

I used to know a woman who loved her son.  It’s a very good thing to love your son, but not so much that you believe everything he does, in his selfishness and immaturity, are good.  The son lived irresponsibly but she would never admit he had a fault.  He drank, abused drugs, refused to support his family, spent his little income on his own fun, yet she never wavered in her undying devotion to him.  She built up an image to his young daughter, so she would worship and love this man as she did, even though as a father he hurt her terribly with his selfishness that prevented true fatherly love and nurture.  The child was caught between what she was told about her father, and what she experienced.  In this dissonance, we find also the phenomenon of nationalism.  It is good to love our country.  It is natural.  But when we become blind to our faults, and refuse to face the truth of where we diverge from our true King, this love becomes dangerous and harmful.

May we all see Jesus clearly, Who grants us our true sight.   I have so much more I want to share about the Way of the Cross as it relates to our citizenship here on Earth.   I have not agonized over anything I’ve written as much as this, since I began writing here.  Although, as this poem beautifully explains, the God Song cannot ever truly be told in words.

Song of the Soul
by Kahlil Gibran

In the depth of my soul there is

A wordless song – a song that lives

In the seed of my heart.

It refuses to melt with ink on

Parchment; it engulfs my affection

In a transparent cloak and flows,

But not upon my lips.

How can I sigh it?  I fear it may

Mingle with earthly ether;

To whom shall I sing it?  It dwells

In the house of my soul, in fear of
Harsh ears.

When I look into my inner eyes

I see the shadow of its shadow;

When I touch my fingertips

I feel its vibrations.

The deeds of my hands heed its

Presence as a lake must reflect

The glittering stars; my tears

Reveal it, as bright drops of dew

Reveal the secret of a withering rose.

It is a song composed by contemplation,

And published by silence,

And shunned by clamor,

And folded by truth,

And repeated by dreams,

And understood by love,

And hidden by awakening,

And sung by the soul.

It is the song of love;

What Cain or Esau could sing it?

It is more fragrant than jasmine;

What voice could enslave it?

It is heartbound, as a virgin’s secret;

What strings could quiver it?

Who dares unite the roar of the sea

And the singing of the nightingale?

Who dares compare the shrieking tempest

To the sigh of an infant?

Who dares speak aloud the words

Intended for the heart to speak?

What human dares sing in voice

The song of God?

peace1

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Another moving testimony of deliverance from deception to the simplicity of Jesus!

It is with a grateful heart that I've received the following testimony.    From talking to those who have come out of Law-keeping sects, I understand that it can be a difficult thing to write about the experience.  Many thanks to "GirlLuvs2Read" for the following. This testimony will also appear on the Testimonies Page here at JGIG. If you have a testimony you’d like to share about coming out of the Hebrew Roots Movement (or a variation of the HR … Read More

via Joyfully Growing in Grace

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By definition…
Judaize or Judaise
vb
1. to conform or bring into conformity with Judaism
2. ( tr ) to convert to Judaism
3. ( tr ) to imbue with Jewish principles

They have pure devotion to God as their banner and restoration of the Church back to Israel as their mission so the Jewish people may be saved.  Your pagan Jesus is getting in the way of Israel seeing the truth.  By keeping the law of Moses you will no longer offend them with your foreign Jesus and they will accept Him and you both.   Although it may have remained dormant for centuries, this “Moses is for everyone” mindset is nothing new, finding its birth in the unexpected event of a Gentile coming to Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

In the early church, “those of the circumcision” seemed to cause the most controversy.  Today the majority of people placing the yoke of the Law on believers are in fact Gentiles.  You may find it hard to believe after the great effort the Apostle Paul put forth trying to divert people away from this distraction, that 2000 years later, people are now falling for the same divisive teachings.  If the Galatians were bewitched, we are beyond blind.  So many are willingly choosing a theology that requires Paul’s letter to the Galatians be ignored, denied, or twisted beyond recognition – along with many other New Testament passages addressing these issues long ago.

The quest for the salvation of the Jewish people (a most worthy cause) works as an effective lure to many Christians, especially as some segments of the church become increasingly interested in prophecy and the restoration of Israel.  But the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Movement pulls in Christians from all branches of the church, for many reasons.   Many no longer refer to themselves as Christians at all.  They have traveled down a path towards a Yeshua/Yahshua/Yehoshua/Yahoshua repackaged by modern Judaism rather than the Jesus of the New Testament Scriptures.  Although they can’t quite agree on a name for their new Messiah, they view their Christian roots as entirely pagan and their Hebrew Roots as not only restored truth, but a spiritual identity that causes them to feign a Jewish ethnic identity as well in many cases.  Some even ditch their Gentile names for Hebrew ones.

When I relate the story of our journey out of this movement, many Christians give me a look of disbelief that anyone could fall for something so illogical.  I am happy to reveal our own foolishness and am always relieved when others see it for what it is.  But as crazy and ridiculous as it may seem to some onlookers, the fact remains that this quietly encroaching disease seems to be taking down people left and right.  Every time I find myself wanting to put this to rest and move on to things I would rather talk about, I am presented with a new example of someone who has given their mind over to this movement.  Its teachers have painted a big, red, bull’s-eye target on your church, because you are the only ones with enough knowledge to understand and desire their complicated messages.  The lost person on the street is of no interest to them.

Spiritual Snipe Hunting
After a few years in this persuasion, focusing on the first five books of the Bible, we deeply sensed the group we led needed to study the New Testament scriptures as well.  We referred to the New Testament (called many things, but never New) when it reinforced the Torah study we were in, but we never approached the New Testament with the same systematic, reverent study as we did the Law.  We followed the same study schedule as the Jewish synagogues.

After one failed attempt to add a mid-week study night, we subscribed to a New Testament study course offered from a “Hebraic” perspective.  Although expensive, we felt it might encourage participation and moved the study to an early Sabbath session, before our main Torah study.  The Torah study took priority and could not be rescheduled or set aside.

I believed at last, after nearly six years, I would finally get to see this Jewish Yeshua that I’d been seeking for all along – to understand and see Him in His fullness.  For me, this had been the original attraction.  I’d been led to believe my Christian Jesus was incomplete and there was some deep wisdom and fabric of life underlying those gospel passages I just could not see.  If someone could bring that out for me, I was convinced I would know Him like never before.

The Hunting Outfitters
We initially chose this particular publisher because they avoided the most divisive subjects in the movement, presenting a sleek, scholarly approach.  Even though we are not customers now, we still periodically receive catalogs and fundraising correspondence from them.  Looking at their offerings with new eyes, I have been wanting to share what I believe are some of the most revealing focus statements.  (The letter discussed here can be read below in its entirety.)  Evaluate the following quotes with the overall pattern and focus of the New Testament writings.

Their Mission Statement:

Proclaiming the Torah and it’s way of life, fully centered on Messiah, to today’s People of God.

Proclaiming what? (Torah)  To Whom? (The people of God).  This is their reason for existence.  Does this align with any ministry found in the New Testament?  Searching the word “proclaim” in the ESV New Testament (often translated “preach” in the KJV) produced 27 results.  They overwhelmingly refer to the gospel of the risen Christ, and related subjects. Not a single example supports the direction of this mission statement above.  No one can proclaim Torah as their first priority and still be “fully centered on Messiah”!  If you are fully centered on Him, you will proclaim Him.

Their Plea:
The first paragraph states this mission is financially suffering and needs your help, even though one of their complete volume studies cost nearly $300 (but you can pay as you go, so it’s fair).

…..over 2 billion people in the world identify themselves as Christians…Almost the entire 2 billion of them are unaware of the Jewish roots of their faith and the amazing, transforming teachings of the Torah.  Who is willing to take this message to them?”

Where does the Word of God ever teach that the Law is the source of transformation for those who are in Christ?  In contrast, we are told:

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3,4

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

What could the Law not do?  Where does our transformation come from?  Who are they replacing with the Torah in these statements?

Some Christians use the Law of Moses as their tool to convict sinners and bring them to Christ, but this ministry is dedicating itself to teaching the entire Jewish system of Law to those who ALREADY trust Christ.  Paul asked the Galatians, “Having begun in the Spirit, will you be perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3)  Good question.

Their Claim:
The letter becomes increasingly bold as it explains why this is so vitally important, a point which is even underlined for emphasis,

Christian ignorance of Torah is the single-biggest obstacle to Jewish evangelism and the restoration of the body.

The Hebrew Roots solution to antisemitism is to teach Christians how to observe Torah.  Conversely, rejection of Torah, or suggesting Jesus did something new, is often viewed as antisemitic.  They go beyond calling this a reformation but a “restoration” … being entrusted with “the greatest revelation of biblical truth since the apostolic era.”  That is one of the most bold, arrogant claims I have seen. By “restoration of the body”, they mean the inclusion of followers of Yeshua into Israel, which requires their Torah observance.  In their present state, Christians are still defiled and “outside the camp” and the division in the body is our fault for offending our Jewish brothers with bacon and Sunday church attendance.

Jesus was indeed born of the tribe of Judah, keeping the Law, yet the Jewish people as a whole rejected Him then.  Why do these modern teachers think this will work now for the church?  The gospel of John reveals the Jewish leaders sought to kill Jesus because, “being a man, he claimed to be God.”  This is still a huge theological obstacle, and many Messianics have obliged by taking this out of the way as well, conceding that Jesus was just a man.

Impressing or Offending?
I asked a Jewish friend and follower of Christ, living in Israel, to share his perspective on effective Jewish evangelism.  Below is a short interview.  I so much appreciate his willingness to share his thoughts, and grateful to God for bringing our paths together.

8thday4life:  How likely is it that a large sector of Gentile “Christians” pretending to be Jewish (observing and adapting Jewish customs to their own liking) would be a catalyst to help the Jewish people accept their Messiah?

Jeremy:  From my observations most attempts by non-Jews to replicate the rituals of Judaism are clumsy. Therefore the effect is to basically defile those rituals. For example, I knew a (Gentile) pastor who draped a tallit over the podium in an attempt to “make Jews feel at home”. Most Jews are horrified to see their ritual objects used in a way for which they were not intended. It would be like taking the wine and wafer of the Catholic Mass and using it for snacks after the Service. (I have to use a Catholic Mass as an example because I can’t think of sacred objects in most Protestant ritual.)  In actual fact it is my observation that among those adapting Jewish customs Christians who leave Jesus far outnumber Jews who turn to Him. (emphasis mine)

8thday4life:  What do you believe is the single biggest obstacle to the Jewish people recognizing Jesus as their Messiah?

Jeremy:  The Veil. This is a prayer thing. I believe that Christians need to pray and God will speak. God speaking is absolutely the best witness. When Christians humble themselves (in imitation of Christ) rather than imitate a work of man, I believe that this speaks. Love speaks. Love speaks to you, doesn’t it (she?)?

One day during the time when people were witnessing to me I came down with a sore throat. My friends could have laid hands on me and prayed for me and God would have healed me (they prayed their roaches away, so I knew He heard their prayers). But they didn’t do that. They made me hot lemonade. Their love healed my throat.

8thday4life:  What would be the best way for the Church to reach out to them in your opinion?  (Realizing – the history of persecution – the Church has done the Messiah no favors with His people.)

Jeremy:  See above. Make more hot lemonade! But in a natural way, i.e. as God leads. Not in a forced way. Richard Wurmbrand was led to the Lord by a man who prayed all his life that God would let him lead a Jew to Jesus. God put it together. Like I said, I think it’s a Prayer thing. A phony can be spotted a mile off!

(You can read more of his testimony and perspective on the Messianic Movement HERE)

It appears that love, compassion, prayer, and being led by the Spirit may be more effective than parading around in a tallit, nailing a mezzuzah to our door, learning the Shema in Hebrew or abstaining from food on Yom Kippur while we argue about the solar and lunar calendars.  And Jeremy also confirms from his own testimony, and many others like him, the veil Paul spoke of is still the spiritual obstacle to Jewish people seeing their Messiah, which remains while they are reading the Law itself as described in 2 Corinthians 3.

But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:14-17

Lifting up Jesus (and acting like Him), rather than proclaiming our own law-keeping and affinity for Jewishness, seems to be the Scriptural approach.

"Back to the Wilderness" by Ramone Romero

No Snipe for Dinner Tonight
In the end, as we studied this esteemed publisher’s course, I still did not see this elusive Yeshua who was so superior to Jesus.  The course consisted of tedious, dry information which relied heavily on the writings of Jewish Rabbis who had never believed in their Messiah.  While these writings are valuable in many ways to understand Judaism and provide interesting historical insight, they are not helpful in understanding the Person they did not acknowledge.  These same sages have in some cases cursed both Christ and His followers.  Judaism was opposed to Jesus as its Messiah 2000 year ago, and last I checked, has not changed this firm position.  I am reminded of what the disciples were asked when they were looking for Jesus at the tomb.  “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Even though we were studying the gospels, it seemed as if the life had been sucked off the pages and replaced with discussions about the Torah, once again.  Because, in this movement,  the law is a god made synonymous with the incarnated God, who is worth an obligatory mention only as He relates to the higher god of Torah.

I am so thankful that before we finished the gospels, I had delved into Matthew again on my own and seen Jesus like I had never seen Him before – standing alone, above the Law and the Prophets.  This revelation is second only in my life to receiving faith in Him as God and Savior many years earlier, but the grief of my repentance was close to the same, if not deeper, because this time the truth I saw was so simple, I could not find any plausible excuses for my ignorance and vain wanderings.

To its credit, this same study course had a lesson with a description of a rabbinic disciple in the time of Jesus, explaining how they would mimic their teacher in every aspect of their lives.  I realized, by definition, I was not a disciple of Jesus because I was not focusing my attention on His words and endeavoring to imitate Him, but Moses.  I was a disciple of Moses first.  In seeking Jesus, my veil was also lifted.

Don’t Be Led Astray

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.  2 Corinthians 11:3, 14

The closing boast of this letter alarmed me most, and prompted me to write this post.

We are in churches, connected with the Church, and bringing truth to the Church with no concern for denominational lines.  Hundreds of pastors from all different denominations read and study FFOZ materials because…. a shared faith in Messiah and Jewish roots is something we all have in common. (emphasis theirs)

This is not about simply engendering understanding between Jews and Christians, but about drawing Christians into Judaism and away from the simplicity of Jesus Christ.  If the common bond you have with someone is defined as Messiah AND something… anything…. presented as “essential and equal truth” you have been taken in by a man-made agenda.  The Jewish people need to be reconciled to their Redeemer and to see in Him the blood of their Passover Lamb they can no longer even sacrifice.  Christianity does not need to be reconciled to Judaism, which is the end goal of this endeavor.  Genuine love will reconcile people to each other who have at one time been enemies, and this unity also comes only in Christ. (See a pattern here?)

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Ephesians 2:13-19

The wall of hostility in Paul’s day between Jews and Gentiles was the law.  Jews looked down on Gentiles as a sub-species and history shows Christianity later developed a deep hatred for Jews.  Both of these sad developments of human pride are taken away in Christ.  We don’t need to glorify the Law of Moses, but agree with Paul, a pharisee of pharisees, that it has been taken out of the way for both parties, lifting up the Cross where we can stand united, fellow citizens.  Praise God He has done this, is doing this, and will continue to do this, until His Sovereign will has been carried out in this world!

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So many religious movements who claim to follow Christ actually demote or destroy the Deity of Jesus Christ. Sometimes they chip away at this truth with subtle contradictory teachings that elevate the “godhood” of man, and erode the definitions of  our Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent Creator/Redeemer God.  Others are blatant, as a publication recently left at my door by a Jehovah Witness which claimed to  entirely disprove that Jesus was God in the flesh.  I was also shocked how many people in the Hebrew Roots Movement have lost this truth and succumbed the the idea common to Judaism (and the chief reason this religion has not yet acknowledged its own Messiah – see John 10) that God’s son was to be a mere human, with a special anointing.

The New Testament teaches very clearly that Jesus was in fact God – in many places.  Jesus Himself accepted the adoration and worship allowed only for God, where angels are always seen to reject this response from humans.  Jesus made bold claims. You cannot profess to follow Him while simultaneously rejecting what He testified, and the Father and Spirit testified, was true about His Identity.

All this to share one great free resource!

Here is a free chart download from Rose Publishing which summarizes the New Testament witness concerning Jesus.

Jesus is the Truth – but there are many impostors.

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I have already written quite a lengthy post on legalism.. but had more thoughts on it recently.

One day Jesus was teaching a house full of scribes and lawyers.  The account (Luke 5) says  they were from every village in Israel so I am going to take a little bit of speculative license here and assume there probably wasn’t room in the house for many regular folks.  They were conducting an investigation it seems.  Outside four men are carrying a friend on a stretcher who is completely paralyzed.  They want to bring him to Jesus, but they can’t get through the wall of lawyers.  The lawyers would have summed up this man as a hopeless sinner, judging from his physical condition.  Their evaluation would not be questioned, but they would have not offered to help, nor would they have been able to.  Indeed no one was even foolish enough to ask them to help.  The only way around this obstacle seemed to be to come down from the top, through the roof.  These four men took their friend directly to Jesus.  They knew without any doubt He could do the impossible.

When Jesus saw their faith He simply told him, “Your sins are forgiven.”  The Law was appalled.  It said… “How can you DO that?”, outraged at this breach in procedure.  Then Jesus proved out the authority to forgive by healing his body as well, and the man walked out on his own.  They were speechless.  The law can say nothing in condemnation of healing (unless of course done on the Sabbath day..:)).  It can only watch in amazement.  Grace does not just forgive, it heals and makes all things new.  A changed life proves out a changed heart.

To me, this miracle is a parable in a picture.  The paralyzed man represents our fallen condition – totally helpless and condemned.  His four friends have no names and I believe represent the the Holy Spirit as He inspired four written testimonies,which bring all of us directly to Jesus.  The lawyers represent the “ministry of sin and death” – (2 Cor 3) – the thing which tells the truth, but cannot help us.  And the act of forgiveness and mercy that Jesus shows the helpless man is God’s heart toward all who seek His Son for their righteousness … by faith.

I wonder how the healed man conducted his life from that point on, and how he treated others he met who were lying helpless in a bed.  Did he look on them with contempt like the Pharisee or bend down to let the love of God flow through him to heal others?  A parable Jesus told about a man who received forgiveness of an enormous debt he could not pay, then afterward demanded payment from someone who owed him a small mount, without mercy,  indicates to me we can fail to extend to others the Grace we have received.

Our new life in Christ is manifested not only in seeking to live an upright life to the glory of  God, but also by the love of Christ flowing through us to others.  If the “new life” simply succeeds in adhering to a moral code, it is honestly no different than the thing which failed to help in the first place, and according to I John, is not new life at all, but a farce.   But sadly Christianity (not just cults) often defines this new life only as “being good”  (refraining from doing immoral things), or adopting a pious lifestyle with lots of churchy activity, rather than being love.  Some people can fake good, but you can’t fake real love.

Paul gives us only two options for the motivating force in our lives; flesh or Spirit.  If we do not walk in the Spirit (which manifests in purity AND love – Gal. 5) then we are in the flesh and no matter how upright, moral, well-versed in scripture we are, respected of men, or applauded for our integrity – we are still in our own inadequate righteousness.  We will not forgive others their shortcomings while we boast of our own accomplishments.  We won’t talk about Jesus and how He changed our lives but about our church or denomination and why it’s the best of all.  Because we do not sense our need for mercy we don’t extend it to anyone else.   We harbor resentment and encourage others in theirs, especially if it sympathizes with the direction of  our own.  We can be thorough Bible teachers but only relay information.  We cannot give living spiritual food because we have none to give.  Our houses may be immaculate, the picture of hard work and godly self-discipline.  But we probably wouldn’t want any unseemly people hanging around to mess it up.  We are pragmatic in our relationships and don’t have time for people who can’t further our agenda or make us look good.  We can tell everyone about right and wrong, have an impeccably orthodox doctrine and a spotless Biblical worldview when it comes to politics and social issues.  But we are strangers to love.  This kind of legalism is simply an outward righteousness devoid of  mercy, forgiveness, and compassion.  I John says this falls short of what we as children of God will exhibit in our lives.  Jesus said above all things, to love one another as He loved us.  When he said our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, this is a major  key difference.

We all have a potential legalist living in all of us.  Before we receive grace, we either rebel against God in total, or strive to reach Him on our own terms.  But even after we come to Christ we can still fall into this mindset so easily, because it is our natural tendency to focus on ourselves and become puffed up in what we see as our own success compared to others we know.

A person who has fallen into this trap will be a person that gives many others an opportunity to practice the love, patience, and forgiveness of Christ.  We cannot shun this brand of legalist and treat them as they treat others or we will become just like them.  We should take the opportunity to demonstrate to them what unconditional love looks like as we respond to them in a way they don’t understand.  They have seen a false standard of righteousness and thought themselves up to the task rather than seeing themselves as they are without abiding in the Vine of Jesus Christ and the  Spirit.  This is why Jesus came with new authoritative teaching.  I heard a sermon on the radio recently that had me cheering as we were driving down the road.  The teacher was pointing out that if you want to truly recognize your depravity,  study the Sermon on the Mount more than the Law.  What Jesus taught confronts the deepest inward motives of our heart, our secrets.  There is no wriggle room there for the Pharisee in us.  We have no choice but to cry “I fail” and go away in despair or to accept the grace that totally forgives and transforms us to be able to in any small measure, exemplify the life that Jesus describes.

Having begun in the Spirit, are we perfected by the Law (from any source, Moses or Church)?  – a rhetorical question asked by Paul, who knew both paths intimately. (Gal. 3:3)  Rather the answer is.. “If we live by the  Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:25)

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

For the law was given through Moses;

grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  John 1:16, 17

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Wonderful article from JGIG!

The Law of Christ – Defined and Defended

In the last several months the Law of Christ has become clearer for me.  Not that I haven’t necessarily understood what is the Law of Christ, but expressing that understanding has been challenging, especially when in a discussion with those who believe that we, as believers in Christ, are commanded by God to keep Mosaic Covenant Law…  CONTINUE READING

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In many ways I am thankful for our time in the Hebrew Roots Movement, simply for the perspective we gained.  I find it so difficult to express in words the magnitude of the contrast between a law-based approach to the Word of God and  a Christ centered one (so this post might be a jumbled mess).   In the HRM our eye was filled with the Torah and the modern nation of Israel.  I was recently looking over the website of a self-proclaimed Messianic “prophet” and had to dig long and hard to find any mention of  Yeshua.  I finally found Him mentioned almost in passing, and no New Testament scriptures were referenced anywhere in all his teachings that I could find.  I asked him via email what he believed regarding Yeshua, and he agreed we were reconciled to God through His atonement, yet this fact was not worthy of addressing in his writings. (And of course not applicable if we refuse to obey the Law of Moses.)  Plenty of criticism of Christianity for not keeping the Torah, and other such things, but no gospel.  Not even a false one.  Our focus was not much different. Of course we claimed faith in Jesus, but we seldom spoke of Him unless it was how He upheld the Law in some way.

Reading the gospels now, we sense so strongly the tension Jesus created when He began to declare His  authority both in Word and in demonstration. The point of contention truly was His authority.  The religious leaders were not remotely interested in genuine righteousness or justice.  The Torah put them in the “seat of Moses” so they were not about to let anyone rob them of the influence and authority this gave them.  When Jesus challenged them and the Law itself, establishing His own authority as God, they sought to kill Him.  They said..”What will we do?  Look.. the whole world is following after Him!”  Even Pilate sought to set Him free “For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. ” Matt. 27:18.

John tells how they came to take Him in the Garden and He asked, “Who are you looking for?”  They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”  He said… “I AM”.   My Bible translates it “I am he” but the footnote says the pronoun is not there in the Greek.  John 18:6 says that when He spoke this, they drew back and fell to the ground.  This is the name of God.  Did it occur to them they were seeking to kill God in order to sustain their own authority?  Isn’t this the bottom line for all of us?  We all have chosen our own authority at some point over God’s.  When we have done so, we also are members of the angry mob yelling “Crucify Him!’

Jesus declared I AM several times through the gospels.  It seems like a subtle way to say.. “I am God, and this is what God is for you.”  I AM the bread of life, I AM the water of life, I AM the light of the world.  In all these things He was showing Himself to be the sustenance of our humanity, our true Source for life and light, and the fulfillment of all the types and shadows contained both in the Law and in the mighty acts of God in the past to sustain and deliver His people.  At the end He prayed to the Father, “I have made your name  known to them.”

Have you ever watched a mystery unfold in a movie?  I enjoy movies where you really can’t predict the outcome.  They hold your attention till the very last minute when everything is finally explained.  The climax of the whole story is to know the TRUTH about what had taken place.  We read the Old Testament now with full knowledge of how Jesus fulfilled it.  We lose sight of the climax factor in the story.  Try to imagine reading the Bible for the first time with no knowledge of the outcome as you read.  Do you realize how HUGE Jesus is to the scope of the story the whole Bible tells?  He is just not one of many interesting stream of characters, He is the climax of the history of the entire human race!  How on earth can we shove him under the table as essential for salvation, but unnecessary in knowing God and His will for us?  How can we look to a contract with an ancient people for our ultimate revelation of who God is?  This is a good definition of insanity now that I look back on it.

So many gain followers by merchandising secrets, but the truth about God is no longer a secret or a mystery!  It has been declared and made manifest in His Son!  Instead we get bored with that simplicity and try to find some other complex hidden thing that no one else has ever found in the 2000 years of the faith.  I promise you.  There is no new truth under the sun.  Lies are often recycled, but truth has been made plain.  We can grow deeper in it – but it doesn’t move.

I have been working through the Gospel of John several times and am seeing a very interesting picture I hope I have time to write about soon – if I can get a working outline.  Jesus truly is everything.

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Many followers of Old Covenant Law really love and enjoy their lifestyles.  They don’t see it as drudgery or duty so much as a privilege.  I have heard some claim that to give it up would be equal to losing a family member; or they could possibly question all their other doctrines, but never under any circumstance would they give up the Sabbath. I can readily appreciate their love and enjoyment of obeying what they believe God wants them to do. I did not come to my present position because I got tired of the Sabbath or Festivals. I enjoyed them greatly and saw no reason why I would ever cease walking that path.

Nowhere does the New Testament forbid observing these things (although it strongly warns multiple times from making them obligatory to others, or presenting them as a way of righteousness before God, either as a means of salvation or a required fruit of it.)  In the New Covenant, you are free to love God through the shadow if you wish. It is your liberty.

Often in Law-keeping circles we heard the following emphasis about the Messiah:

Jesus came to (among other things):

  • Demonstrate the Law
  • Make it possible for us to keep the Law
  • Clear up misunderstandings from the Rabbis about the Law
  • Reinforce and glorify the Law

While we acknowledged His role as Redeemer and Savior, this was not our area of focus.  Now I do not see His chief mission as being to point us back to Sinai, but for the sake of this challenge – I will ask… IF THESE PRINCIPLES ARE TRUE.. then should we not look very carefully at all Jesus said and did rather than just simply turn right back around and look to Moses? As a law-keeper, have you ever given equal weight to the words of the Messiah Himself?

Carefully consider the following verses

What the Torah commands:

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. Deuteronomy 18:18 , 19

How Peter used this scripture from Torah on the day of Pentecost:

Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” Acts 3:22-26

Question: If they had the Torah already, and great teachers of the Torah (scribes and Pharisees) who knew it backwards and forwards, in what way did Jesus come to turn them away from their wickedness?

What God the Father says:

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. Matthew 17:5-8

What Jesus says:

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10

For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:26

Question: Based on the previous verses, when Jesus speaks of His own commandments, does He mean for us to only open the Torah or to pay attention to the words from His own mouth?

What the Apostles say:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:1,2

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own. (Paul, speaking of his good standing in Judaism and training in the Torah) Philippians 3:8,9

To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 1 Corinthians 9:21

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….   Colossians 3:15, 16

The Challenge

I have often heard it said, “The Law is a representation of the character of God” yet Jesus said “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” When was this ever said of the Law? I agree the Law is an expression of the heart of God, but Jesus IS God. The Law is limited, but in Jesus, the fullness of the Godhead was present on Earth!

My challenge to you as Sabbath keeper or Torah Observant believer is not to abandon what you love, but to seek Jesus and HIS WORDS on equal terms with the Law you love already. One way I would suggest is to take a notebook and read through the gospels, writing down all that strikes you as important from the mouth of the Messiah, or record actions that demonstrate a principle or truth you can apply to your life. Tradition says the Torah has 613 commands. Those who enjoy making lists have found over 2000 in the New Testament. My hope is even if you never give up the shadow which points to the Messiah, in this investigation you will see Him as never before.

(My New Covenant readers will not like the part about making lists of New Covenant commandments but trust me on this… :D)

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I recently sat in a living room with several other Christian women who meet once a month to learn more about healthy living.  As an icebreaker for this meeting, the hostess asked us to share how we keep things in perspective during the busy holiday season, as well as special traditions our families had.  I realized how this question would have stressed me terribly a few years ago.  When my turn came, I related that I did not have a great deal of experience yet, (long story) but we make an effort to give Jesus the gifts, to the “least of these”,  rather than go crazy on junk no one needs, wants, or remembers this time next year.   As the sharing moved around the room, one woman began to explain why they were not going to celebrate Christmas this year.  Her explanation wavered between sheepish embarrassment to dogmatic conviction about “what the Bible says.”  I know that conviction well.  No one knew what to say.  I knew what I wanted to tell her, but I also knew she would have to walk down that road to see what I see now.

You cannot ignore Christmas, no matter how hard you might try.  And oh did we try, for nearly ten years.  We came under conviction early on in our Christian lives that we were wrong to mix the worship of the one true God with traditions inherited from Paganism.  The desire for our worship to be pure before God sparked our search for the purest form of our faith, seeking to go back all the way to what we believed were our authentic roots.

I don’t blame anyone for coming to this conclusion about Christmas, especially if you do as I did and study out the history of the Church and various holy days.  During the Middle Ages, every month had some type of celebration adopted from various pagan cultures, renaming the days for saints, yet retaining the rituals of superstition and divination.  I did not view this as an honorable history, but rather a church compromising in order to gain allegiance and control of the masses.  In many countries around the world today you see a strange mix of traditional cultures with Catholic mass and rituals, mixing Jesus and Mary with whatever custom they can impress them upon.  Watching documentaries of other cultures, I personally saw no difference in what they were doing and our culture’s worship of Christmas.  (I felt the day was worshiped, not God, and still see this is the largest pitfall of our materialistic culture.)

I became a Christian after spending time in the New Age, so I was especially sensitive to avoid all references or participation in paganism, which at this time in my life, was perfectly right.  All I could see in Christmas at that time was compromise, which is why I don’t judge anyone for choosing to not celebrate this day.  However for me, my pure devotion quickly transformed into a source of superiority and pride.

Each year as the day rolled around we sometimes had a dinner with friends who shared the same conviction.  There was literally nothing else to do.  We would eat, play games, and lament how our families just did not  understand.  We personally didn’t mind being with our own families, but some did not respect our unwillingness to exchange gifts, which created awkward situations, so we tended to avoid them.  The irony of our non-Christmas dinner fellowships wasn’t lost on me.  I realized, we were still acknowledging the day, just in a different way.

When confronted with Christmas invitations and questions, I soon tried to not reveal that we didn’t celebrate it because the questions were uncomfortable.  Do you believe in Jesus?  Are you a Jehovah’s Witness?  It took too long to explain.  Even with the challenge it posed, this became an important feature of our unique spiritual identity.  To ignore Christmas is like standing against a tidal wave.

When our eyes opened to the reality of what we have in Christ, and we began to rebuild our spiritual worldview, we had to face once again the question; What do we do with  Christmas?

We did not have a new set of facts.  History cannot be changed.  And this was in fact our conclusion.  Try as we might to pretend it didn’t happen, Christmas has become the shining star of the entire year of holidays for the whole western world, and even in many countries which do not generally embrace Christianity.  As we looked at the issue again, we had to go back to the testing method which originally prompted our discontent with the Hebrew Roots Movement.  Fruit.  The unintended result of rejecting Christmas had only caused people to shy away and assume we did not even believe in Jesus at all.  Only atheists and cults deny Christmas.  (Here’s your sign…once again.)  If you are in fact wanting people to know about Him, this is counterproductive to say the least.  This only added to the ways in which we gave the wrong impression about Jesus, which were many.  The only things we had to show for our pious obedience were sheer boredom, miffed family members, and a distraction away from Jesus, not toward Him.

When we looked at  Christmas again, instead of seeing only paganism repackaged, we saw paganism redeemed, for the spread of the gospel.  Just as Jesus took us who were broken, sinful, idolatrous, rebellious, and prideful – and redeemed us for His glory – we realized He can also do this with a day if it pleases Him to do so.  The evergreen, the pagan symbol for eternal life, we see now as a symbol of their desire to overcome the problem of death, the problem only Jesus has the answer for.  The lights symbolize the true Light of the World, that comes in our darkest, coldest nights.  The day they dedicated to call back the Sun is now celebrated to the Eternal Son.  It seems maybe God intended for things to transpire the way they have.  Another miracle of Christmas is the success of its worldwide popularity, being presented as the day of Jesus Christ’s birth!  If I were a pagan, I would not see this as a victory for my perspective, especially since most people don’t give a second thought to where the traditions came from in the first place.

As I sat in church during what was arguably my first real Christmas, fully embracing Christ, I was so moved by the focus on the amazing miracle and sacrifice of a God who was willing to come and give everything of Himself to His Creation.  How could the Creator submit to a human birth,  just as we are born?  I related to Him in the birth of my own children and wondered what Mary must have thought as she held God in her arms.  Thankfully she could not fully see the days ahead.

Did He command me to remember His birth?  No.  But part of the beauty of the New Covenant is found in the love offering our life becomes.  In the Old Covenant people brought freewill and thank offerings when they desired to.  I believe Christmas, for a genuine believer, becomes a time to present a thank offering to Jesus for the amazing gift He gave, which only started with His birth.  We cannot stop at the manger.  Our minds are drawn to the cross, and finally a risen Lord, and His ever-present Spirit, the true Spirit of Christmas.

I found it was not possible to ever completely separate myself from this holiday, but I am thankful that I am now in a new relationship with it that blesses me and gives me a chance to bless others in many ways.  I don’t believe there is any other day of the year that provides a better stage to share the truth about Jesus, to find people with their ears and hearts a little more open.  I am sorry for the years I missed that, and for all the frustration we put our families through.  I have also seen how special this day is to those who don’t have the freedom to worship Him openly, and how they have risked their lives to honor their Savior on the day dedicated to His birth.  I would much rather stand with them in their sacrificial love of Christ, than were I stood before, in pride against those who have given all for Him.  What will you do with the day of the Son this year?

Thank you Jesus for being willing to come to our dark world and share in our human suffering and carry our humiliation.  Your love is beyond understanding, beyond anything mortal man in all his vain wisdom ever dared to hope for – a God that would come down and unite Himself with us, in order to save us.  Thank you that You are in us, and we are in You, forever! Maranatha!

Simeon’s Moment by Ron DiCianni
© 2010.  Image used by Permission
www.TapestryProductions.com


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When giving our own testimony about leaving Torah Observance for Jesus alone and His Covenant,  I have always tried to make a distinction between the Hebrew Roots Movement (comprised almost completely of Gentiles) and Messianic Judaism, which I had no direct experience with.  Watching it from a distance I assumed this was culturally relevant for Jewish people having these customs as their background.

When I came to meet the brother who has shared this booklet I’m passing on to you, my theory was turned on its head.  I am so thankful that God has led him to write and freely share the wisdom he has learned from God’s Word.  He has blessed our lives incredibly with his words and I pray it blesses many others.

Judaism has beautiful elements in its practice and can be extremely alluring to those who mistakenly think they can learn to  “do what Jesus did.”   This is just the beginning of many distractions and deceptions, leading people to flirt with practices and philosophies of Judaism.   To draw from this well, as a believer, whether Jewish or Gentile is to drink from a broken cistern, guaranteed to run dry on you, most certainly NOT the Living Water that leads to everlasting life.

This booklet entitled “What Went Wrnog With the Messianic Movement” is a Jewish believer’s plea to reject the futility of false religion and inherited lies in favor of the One saving truth of Jesus Christ in a powerful, honest, heart-felt manner.  I praise God for the deliverance He has so graciously given so many of us who were once blinded, but now the veil has been taken away as we turned to Christ.  Here is an excerpt and a link to read the PDF copy.

“Judaism appears to be righteous and godly, but anything that turns away from or hates Jesus and His wonderful work also turns away from, i.e. hates, God as well. Therefore, because the spirit of Judaism is so virulently set against Jesus and His work on the Cross, the God of Judaism cannot be the God of Mt. Sinai, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets or any god at all. That Judaism and practitioners of Judaism hate Jesus reveals something much deeper in the character of the religion and the practitioners thereof. He who hates Jesus, hates God and cannot be said to be in any way godly.

But there is a redeeming characteristic to normative Judaism. Zeal. The day will come when “all Israel will be saved”, and when that day comes it will be with great zeal. The knowledge of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and the prophets will be added to zeal, to the eagerness to serve God. Lying, legal (and other) fictions and manipulative mental gymnastics of the mind of man will be put aside. The eagerness to seek God — the readiness on the tongue to discuss Godly matters —will be added to the clear vision of the eyes of faith. But it is dishonest to say that that day has come. Normative Judaism is not a beautiful religion for those who mean to seek the very face of God as described in the New Testament.

This booklet is not written for Jews who have never known Jesus. They should enjoy their religion in good health. However, for believers in the shed blood of the Messiah, normative Judaism is nothing short of spiritual adultery. In Romans we are told that we were made to die to the Law in order to be joined to (married to) the Messiah.”  p. 10

“Our heritage is beautifully described in the sixteenth Psalm:

“The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; Thou dost support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.” Psalm
16:5, 6 (emphasis supplied)

When David the psalmist says, “my heritage is beautiful to me” we should know that our heritage as believers in Jesus is not our culture; our heritage as believers is God Himself in diametric contradistinction to what has been handed down to us from our fathers. “Thou wilt make known to me the paths of life. In Thy presence is fullness of joy. In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.” These three amazing things (knowing the paths of life, fullness of joy and pleasures forever) are not obtainable from
our fleshly fathers; not from rabbis and not from books or lectures. Only the inheritance that we have as sons of God through Jesus (John 1) can bring us this inheritance.”  p. 42

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What Went Wrnog with the Messianic Movement

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