How to Witness to Jewish People

When witnessing to Jewish people we must remember to be sensitive to the 2,000 years of anti-Semitic prejudice that has infiltrated the “church” teachings.

As a Jewish man, I can tell you that I have seen anti-Semitism, shrouded in the “Christian” Bible and also clearly demonstrated by those that have been told how the Christians are not subject to the “Law”, saved by the Blood and, in extreme cases, now the new Israel and God’s chosen people because since the Jews rejected Jesus, God has rejected the Jews (this is called Replacement Theology).

I don’t have the time to go into how absurd and anti-biblical that idealism is, and will discuss it some time in the future. It is a very serious sin, against God (essentially it calls Him a liar) and against His chosen people.

You might ask, if it is so hard to witness to Jews, why should we? Well, how about because Yeshua said you should. Remember the last words in the Gospels, i.e., the “Great Commission”?  Yeshua didn’t say go make disciples out of people who already believe, or out of only the Goyim (literally, the Nations), but go to the Jews.  Yeshua Himself told the Syrian woman that it wasn’t right to give the children’s food to their dogs (no offence, Syria), and Shaul (Paul) said that the Good News was to the Jew first, then the Gentile. It wasn’t until later that salvation was made available to the Gentiles, too.

That’s why you need to remember that you will not impress any Jewish person by quoting the New Covenant writings. Why? It’s simple- Jews are taught that the New Covenant is a different religion and they don’t believe anything in it. It caused thousands of years of death and persecution. If I tried to ask you to become a Nazi and quoted Mein Kampf, would it hold sway over you?  That may seem outrageous to compare Hitler and Jesus, but to a Jewish person, the Jesus Christ of the Western World isn’t far from that. The Crusades, the Inquisition, Martin Luther’s teachings, Nazi uniforms had the words “Gott mit uns” (God is with us) on their belt buckles.  Yeah, I think that it’s not too hard to see why Jews don’t trust anything in the New Covenant writings.

When I was a salesman, selling high priced items in the home on a one-call close (buy now or never), I learned you can’t tell people that their ideas or beliefs are wrong. You also can’t change their minds because people believe (maybe) 50% of what you say, but they believe 100% of what they say.

So, the way to get people to change their minds is to make them change it, themselves. How? By asking questions. Make them see that they do not have the information they need to make a proper decision.

For instance, if a Jewish person says they don’t believe Yeshua is the Messiah, I will ask them, “Why?”  Usually the answer is, “Because” (I did a drash on this recently- you should be able to find it under the Jews and Jesus category.)  Most Jews reject Yeshua simply because they have been told to. And by people they trust and respect: their parents, their Rabbi, their friends. It’s tough to overcome that.

After you make them realize they don’t really have a reason, the next step is to qualify why you believe, and use ONLY the Tanakh references as your justification.

DO NOT TRY TO SELL A JEW ON JESUS USING THE NEW COVENANT. It ain’t gonna work. And, if you can’t identify at least a couple of Messianic references in the Tanakh, you better brush up on your knowledge. You might want to ask yourself why you believe! If you believe only because of what you have been told, and if you can’t cite messianic prophecy from the Tanakh and show how it came true, you aren’t ready to minister to the outside world.  Study up, get to know your reasons for accepting Yeshua as your Messiah. That is what you need to tell Jewish people; in fact, that is the best witness to anyone.

No, wait- the best witness is to live as Yeshua wants us to live. To love God and to love each other.

Another lesson I learned in sales that you need in ministry is that if  you don’t have an absolutely firm belief in your “product”, if you don’t “own” the product, and not just physically but emotionally, then you won’t be successful.

“Whoa, Steven- what’s all this talk about ‘selling Jesus’? This isn’t a sale, it’s salvation!”

Get real- it’s a sale!

If you want to minister to people you need to sell Jesus. And, if you don’t like that idea, then you should consider another way of serving God. Ministering to the masses is tough work. I have a ton of respect for people that go into the darkness (in other words, the World) to save souls. It is the ultimate sale, and a “commission” that doesn’t have a commission. Although it is rewarding to save a soul, your reward will not be here on Earth but in Heaven. And it will be great.

Look at it another way- refusing to witness to Jews is like saying, “Let the Jews die unsaved.” You think God appreciates that? Is that what Yeshua would want?

You can expect a lot of rejection from Jews. After all, to a Jewish person believing in Jesus is like turning your back on God, your people and 5,000 years of  history. Some of the objections you will hear will be:

* Jesus could not have been the Messiah because there wasn’t peace after his death and we don’t have heaven on Earth

* I like being Jewish and don’t want to convert to Christianity (most Jews never heard of Messianic Judaism)

* Jesus was just a good teacher or prophet

* Christians have always killed and persecuted Jews- why should I believe you want to help me?

* Constantine’s effect on Christianity (Council of Nicene) solidified a gentile Christianity and replaced Jewish holidays and traditions with rebranded pagan ceremonies

* Anti-Semitic teachings of the Gentile leaders of the early church

– Crusaders murdered many Jews on their way to Jerusalem (by now renamed by Rome as Palestine)

– Stories like: Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzo at Passover

* Forced to wear distinctive clothing, pushed into ghettos, kept out of many occupations

* Blamed for the Black Death plague

* During the 15th century the Pogroms (Poland/Russia) were responsible for the death of thousands (or more) Jews

And there’s more- much more. Today I think it is much harder for a Jewish person to accept their own Messiah than it is for a Believer to try to witness to that person.

Finally, you must be very sensitive to the words and names you use. Do not deny the anti-Semitic past, but say it is time to move forward, to atone for what was done by telling the truth and getting back to the “Jewishness” of the Gospels.

Don’t be cocky. Remember Shaul warned Gentile  Believers that if God was willing to cut off the natural branch, how much more will He be willing to cut off a transplanted branch? Believers aren’t any better than non-Believers, and Christians aren’t any better than Jews. Yeshua said to be first you must be a slave to others. Keep that in mind when you minister to anyone.

Always relate to people as people with courtesy, dignity and friendliness. Be natural and spontaneous, not derisive or argumentative, and always depend on the Ruach HaKodesh for your witnessing. As Yeshua told His disciples, do not worry about what you will say because the Ruach will give you what you will need. If you let the Ruach guide you, then it is really God witnessing to the people, not you. And His word never returns void.

If we are to make people jealous for the Messiah (Romans 11:11), the best witness is not what we say but how we live our lives and act towards others, even in a brief encounter. Avoid offensive terminology; instead of the word ‘conversion” use ‘turning from sin’, or T’Shuvah. Instead of ‘you Jews”, say ‘the Jewish people’, instead of ‘Old Testament”, say ‘Hebrew scriptures’, ‘Tanakh’, or ‘Torah”. And never, NEVER refer to a saved Jew as a “Completed Jew”. That is insulting and derisive. I like to call myself a “Born-anew Jew.”

And above all, instead of ‘Jesus Christ’, say ‘Yeshua’, ‘Mashiach’, or ‘Messiah’.

If you practice this, keep up on your Messianic prophecies, learn how to answer objections with leading questions, and act with compassion for what it is like to be Jewish, you will be more successful than you can imagine. It will take time: Jewish resistance to the B’rit Chadasha has been built up over millennia. It is based in prejudice, hate, fear, ignorance, and suffering.  It is a very thick wall to penetrate. But it can be penetrated- I am living proof of that.

If you want to see my witness, go here: http://www.jacobshope.com/pages/video3.php

Now! Get out there, save souls, and may God be with you.

Baruch ha Shem!!

Because “Because” Doesn’t Cut It

Growing up I was never much for God, although I wanted to be. I felt an emptiness when I went to Shul, and I never felt that talking to God was supposed to be using other people’s words. I found prayer difficult because I thought I should be talking from my heart, and not repeating what someone else wrote in a book for me to say. Needless to say, I gave up on religion and God pretty much right after my Bar Mitzvah.

It took me nearly 30 years to return to Him.

Now that I am Messianic, meaning I am a Jewish man who believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah God promised but I still follow the rules and regulations God gave us (remember: God has no religion), I am often asked by other Jews how can I believe in Jesus? In fact, being Messianic is being in the middle, and not understood by either side: Jews say I can’t be Jewish if I believe in Jesus and Christians tell me because I still do all that “Jewish” stuff I am still “under the Law” and not really “under the Blood.”

They’re both so very wrong.

This Drash is about the Jewish thought that if a Jew believes in Jesus that person can’t be Jewish anymore. How silly. First off, what does it mean to “believe in Jesus?”

I don’t know. Do you? Does it mean believe He existed at all? Believe He is the Messiah? Believe He is God? (BTW…He was a man. He had to be fully human or His sinless life was no big deal and His resurrection doesn’t mean anything.) Believe all the above?

Rabbi Akiba believed Bar Kochba was the Messiah and all it got him was dead. And thousands of Jews with him, too. Oh, not to mention Bar Kochba didn’t come out of it too well, either.

There have been many false Messiahs over the years, and Yeshua warned us about them.

I have found that explaining why I believe is like talking to a brick wall, so when asked, “How can you believe in Jesus?”,  I do the most Jewish thing I know of: I answer a question with a question. I ask them, “Why is it that you don’t believe?”

You see, I have my reasons for believing. And when I ask why they don’t believe, the answer I get almost every, single time is “Because he isn’t.” So I ask why they believe He isn’t. What are their reasons? What biblical arguments against Yeshua do they have to prove He isn’t the Messiah?  And they say, ” He just isn’t, that’s all.” WOW!! How can you argue with that?

It is so sad; here is someone who may be a wonderful person and really believe in God, but they are doomed to Sheol because they reject Messiah, and their reason for rejecting Him is “because.” Oy!

I can’t get a mature, thought-out and biblically sound reason from any Jews who have questioned me why they don’t believe. It comes down to this: they don’t believe Yeshua is the Messiah because they were told He isn’t. That’s the reason- their father and their mother and their Rabbi and Zayda  and Bubbe and all their friends…all the other Jews they know tell them He wasn’t the Messiah. Oh, yes, and that if they should ever even think He is our Messiah then they can’t be Jewish anymore.

This is a bigoted and anti-Yeshua idealism. It’s not anti-Christian- Yeshua wasn’t a Christian. He was and is Messiah. He is above religion, He is only for God and God’s rules because (here it comes again…get ready…almost there …) GOD HAS NO RELIGION!!! 

What makes this worse is the Christian teaching that Yeshua died a Jew but was resurrected a Christian, and now that He completed God’s work all that “Jewish” stuff isn’t necessary. Kosher, the Festivals, even the proper day for Shabbat…all old and done away with. We are under the blood, not the law. Again, Oy! Where do they get this stuff? Oh, yeah, they get it from the same place the Jews get their beliefs- someone told them that’s how it is.

What we ended up with is Jews are taught believing in Yeshua as the Messiah is wrong and one can’t be Jewish if they do, which is then supported by Christianity telling everyone that Jesus did away with all the rules and laws that make one “Jewish”, so now we have Jews and Christians agreeing that anyone who believes Yeshua / Jesus is the Messiah is anything but Jewish.

Blind guides and lost sheep.  Sad, sad, sad.

“Because” is no reason. If you are not sure about who Yeshua is, read the bible. Read the whole bible, Genesis through Revelations. And don’t read the King James (i.e., anti-Semitic) version, or any of the regular versions. Read the David Stern version. Read some Messianic version. Heck- read my book! There are links to it on my home page (softcover or digital.)  But read something! Get information, not opinion. Make up your own mind. For the sake of your Eternal soul, please don’t depend on anyone else to tell you what the “truth” is about Yeshua. Talk to people, sure, but read and study and make up your own mind.

Be assured that if you should choose to believe Yeshua is the Messiah , you absolutely do NOT have to stop being Jewish. In truth, there is nothing more Jewish than belief in a Messiah. The trick is believing in the right Messiah. So find out for yourself.

Please!! Do the work: Eternity is an awfully long time to spend being wrong, and you have until your last breath to accept Him.

Final word: for those that do not know what it means to “accept Yeshua as your Messiah”, let me tell you what it meant for me. It meant accepting that I am a sinner, accepting that God provided a way for me to be with Him through a Messiah’s sacrificial death, thereby atoning for my sins, and that by “accepting Yeshua” I am committing myself to do T’shuvah (turn/ atone) so I can be with God throughout Eternity. I am still Jewish; in fact, I am even more “Jewish” now than I ever was before I was “saved”. I worship God, not Yeshua- he was supernatural in many ways, but he was human and He is my Messiah. He is not God and should not be worshipped as God. That is idolatry, and (sadly) a very real part of much Christian worship.  I capitalize His name and pronouns referring to Him out of respect for Him and His position, not because He is God. At least, not at this time. Right now He is Messiah. Did Yeshua come from God? Is He God in the flesh (which, by definition, makes Him human, doesn’t it?) Is he just a Prophet?

That, my Friends, is for another Drash.

Who Really Killed Jesus?

Growing up during the 50’s and 60’s I often was called “Christ Killer” by those nice Catholic kids from Christ the King High School. I didn’t know the Lord, but knew enough to counter with, “If Jesus came to die for your sins, then all we Jews did was complete God’s plan- you should be thanking us!”

It’s funny that with so little understanding I actually wasn’t that far from the truth.

It’s indisputable that the Romans killed Jesus. After all, Pilate condemned him, the soldiers flogged him and they nailed him to the tree.

Oh, but wait a minute…. Pilate wanted to set Him free and the Jews said to crucify Him in place of Barrabus. So it really was the Jews who killed Jesus.

Oh, but wait a minute… it wasn’t “The Jews” that killed Him, for there were (probably) more than 250,000 followers, nearly all of whom were Jewish, so it wasn’t really the entire Jewish population. In fact, the trial was illegal under Jewish law, so it was really just a few politically empowered people that rallied the mob, using mob mentality, that caused Pilate to succumb to their demands. It was just the Pharisees and Sadducees leaders that killed Jesus.

Oh, but wait a minute…Herod could have set Him free but he chose not to, so really Herod was the reason Yeshua was killed- Herod did it!

Oh, but wait a minute…Yeshua said that if He wanted to, he could have had God send legions of angels to protect and save Him, and He had been telling the Talmudim (Students / Apostles) for days that He would be handed over to the Goyim (Nations) and caused to suffer and die, and that this had to happen. So Yeshua actually committed suicide! Sort of like when people shoot at the police to get the police to kill them because they can’t shoot themselves.

Oh, but wait a minute…we always say that,  “He died for our sins”. So then, actually, we all killed Him.

Now we’re getting close.

Here is the definitive, correct, and absolutely valid answer to the age-old question, “Who Killed Jesus?”: I did. That’s right- it was me. Me, and me alone.

Whoa! Stop the music! C’mon, Steve- you weren’t even born then!  That’s right, I wasn’t even born then. But I am a sinner. I was born into sin, my nature is to sin, I have sinned, I still sin (thanks to the Ruach and my love for the Lord, I sin a lot less and am getting better at not sinning) and I can guarantee that no matter how hard I try, I will continue to sin until I am dead.

The purpose of the Messiah is to bring us all back into relationship with the Almighty. That is a simple, but (I think you’ll agree) accurate description of His purpose. Since God cannot abide or even be in the presence of sin, the sacrificial death of the Messiah is what cleanses us of our sins. By this cleansing we can now approach God. Messiah comes, Messiah dies, we are cleansed by His blood sacrifice, we now have a right relationship with God and can be in His presence. Job done.

I think the expression “He died for our sins” is misleading and is designed to make us feel good about ourselves, like , “Oh, I’m really a good person and good people get to go to heaven.”

What a crock!

Yeshua died for my sins! If the rest of the world was sinless, if every single person born before me and after me lived a Torah-perfect life, Yeshua would still have given up His majesty, taken on a mantle of flesh, lived a Torah-perfect life, died a painful and torturous death, and bled out His last drop of blood…for ME! I believe, absolutely, He would have done that just for me. Doesn’t He tell us so? In the parable about the man who had 100 sheep and if missing one would leave the other 99 to find the missing one. And when he finds the one missing and brings it back, he is overjoyed. And the parable about the woman missing a valuable coin. Upon finding it she is so happy she entertains people at a party (I’m taking some cultural liberties here) to celebrate.

Yeshua did what He did not for us, but for me. It is soooo important that each one of us understand this, because we need to own our sin. We each need to own-up to our failure to live as God wants. Not to beat ourselves up (that is from the Enemy), but to really understand how much Yeshua went through for my sake. Yes, for your sake too, but it is absolutely essential I feel that He did it for me.

Why? Because when we “own” our sin, we can give it away. You can’t really give away something you don’t own, so to give up our sin we need to first own it. The “religious world” teaches everything about sin in a third-party format. Sin is shared with others. He died for our sins, We are saved, by his blood we are freed.  I think this is a bad teaching because when you are part of a crowd you don’t feel individually responsible. You don’t have that sense of personal accountability for what happened, and your devotion cannot be as strong as when it is you, and you alone.

That is why I killed Yeshua. It was my fault he had to die because I needed to be able to escape the spiritual consequences of my sins. The physical and immediate consequences of sin are inescapable. Messiah didn’t die so I won’t have to face the results of my sins in this world (there’s an entire Drash on this topic- I’ll have to make a note to do that one) but so that I won’t have to suffer for them throughout Eternity. It is my fault He died, He died for my sins, I killed Him. I own my sin, and that’s why I can give it to Him.

You need to own your sin. You need to accept that you are a sinner. I know many people who think (because it’s what they have been taught) that if they are a “good person” they get to go to heaven. I feel so bad for them. They don’t own their sin, they see it as something that, frankly, isn’t a problem because it’s all covered. Jesus has their back, and it’s all third-party, non-committal understanding. It’s not really them. It’s everyone else. It’s also a lie from the pit of Sheol (Hell) and I feel so bad for them because they have a really nasty reality check coming up.

I have rambled a little bit more than usual. I keep repeating this over and over, that we need to own our sin, we need to feel personally responsible for Yeshua’s death, we need to understand that He would have done this just for me, or for you, even if no one else on Earth needed it. We need to feel this way so that our commitment to Him is solid, built on rock, and with deep roots. When a person feels that they are just a part of a group, it is easy to place the onus on the group. That’s mob mentality. When it comes to my salvation, I am the only one responsible for it.

My salvation is between me and Messiah Yeshua, and no one else. He died because I needed Him to do so, because I can’t be Torah-perfect. It’s because of me He died, which means I killed Jesus.

I pray that you, every single, individual person reading this Drash today, will walk away with the absolute conviction to say, “I killed Jesus. He died for me, and because of me. No one else is involved.”

Feel it, believe it, own it.

You Can’t be Jewish if You Believe in Jesus

I have heard this said more times than I can count. It is based not in fact, of course, but in bias, and in ignorance, and in fear.

Fear? What are they afraid of?  Well, simply put, Jewish people are afraid of being traitors to God. After all, they’ve been told their whole life that if they believe in Jesus they can’t be Jewish.

People are usually afraid of what they don’t understand, right?  So, let’s take a look at that statement to see if  we can understand it.

We’ll start by taking out the “religious” aspects. When we remove “Jewish” and “Jesus”, and restate it in a logical format, it becomes a relationship:  If  A,  then Not B

One test of the logic of a relationship is to see if the converse is true, i.e., if not B, then A? That leaves us with: Not believing Yeshua is the Messiah means you must be Jewish.

I don’t think that works, do you? After all, Zen Buddhists (nothing against Zen Buddhists here, I’m am just using them as an example) don’t believe Yeshua is the Messiah, but they’re not Jewish. Hindi’s don’t believe Yeshua is the Messiah, and they’re not Jewish. Communists don’t even believe in God, for Pete’s sake, and they’re not Jewish (although in the 50’s, Senator McCarthy thought all Jews were Communists, but that’s a different story. Besides, he thought everyone was a Communist.)

So it’s a statement that works only in one direction, meaning the converse is not true.

Now let’s look at this from a different angle. If believing Yeshua is the Messiah is an absolute disqualifier for being Jewish, to have a disqualifier you must have a qualifier. In other words, to identify what is not Jewish you have to know what is Jewish.

That is a question I don’t think anyone has ever answered to everyone’s satisfaction. What is a Jew? I once read that a famous Rabbi (sorry- forgot who) said that anyone who believes in God is Jewish. That seems to be too easy, and I am sure makes many Replacement Theologists shudder in fear. It also weakens the legitimacy of the topic statement, doesn’t it? If you really don’t know what makes one Jewish, how can you declare there is something that absolutely prevents you from being Jewish?

For the purpose of this commentary, would you agree with this definition: anyone who does what Jews do is Jewish? Is that good? It kinda makes sense, is a simple enough concept, and seems to be a universal qualifier, doesn’t it?

The next thing is to figure out what Jews do.

1. Jews believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Messianic Jews believe that, too.

2. Jews observe the laws and commandments in the Torah.

Messianic Jews do that, too (actually, no one does that or ever has except Yeshua, so let’s just say Messianic Jews try to do that, just as Jews try)

3. Jews celebrate the Festivals of the Lord, as defined in Leviticus 23.

Messianic Jews do that, too.

4. Jews believe in the existence of a Messiah  promised by God to bring us back to Him.

Messianic Jews believe that, too. Nearly a quarter of a Million Jews, at that time in history, believed it was Yeshua. And that’s about the same number of Messianic Jews, today.

Remember, there was no “Church” in the first Century- there were two kinds of people: Jews and Pagans. That’s it.

Then Yeshua showed up, and there were three types of people: Those who believed Yeshua was the Messiah (made up of Jews and Gentiles), Jews who didn’t believe He was the Messiah, and Pagans (who, frankly, didn’t care either way because they had plenty of their own gods.)

But the Jews who believed were still considered Jews. And the Gentiles….now here’s the kicker….were becoming Jews! That’s right! The Gentiles were becoming Jews because following Yeshua meant to live like Jews did.

Yeshua was a Jew- no one argues that. The Christians try to make us believe He lived as a Jew but was resurrected a Christian!  Not so. He did all those Jewish things, and taught others how to do them the way God wanted them done.  Messianic Jews do all those Jewish things, and don’t forget that all those Jews in the First Century who believed He was the Messiah were all considered Jewish. So, if I do all these Jewish things and believe this Jewish man, who did and taught people how to do all these Jewish things, is the Messiah, why does that make me a Gentile?

I’ll tell you why. Because today, when a Jew wants to believe Yeshua is the Messiah, Christianity says they have to become Christian.  The Jews say you can’t be Jewish if you believe in Him, and the Christians say if you believe in Him you shouldn’t still do Jewish things. We finally got the Jews and Gentiles to agree on something about Jesus, but it’s the absolutely wrong thing!! Oy!

Did you know one of the greatest Jewish Rabbis of all time, Rabbi Akiba , believed a Jew named Bar Kochba was the Messiah, and no one says he wasn’t Jewish. Some Ultra Orthodox Jews believe Menachem Schneerson is the Messiah, and no one says they aren’t Jewish. Every Jewish mother believes her son is the Messiah, and they’re Oh-so-Jewish!

The truth is that believing Yeshua is the Messiah doesn’t disqualify you from being a Jew. In fact, even not doing Jewish things doesn’t really disqualify you if you are born Jewish. Therefore, bloodlines notwithstanding, as long as you do all the Jewish things described above, you are a Jew whether or not you choose to accept that Yeshua is the Messiah.

In Messianic Judaism, both the Jews and the Gentiles live a Jewish lifestyle. Messianic Jews do what Jews do (most, anyways. In truth, many, many Jews don’t do what Jews should do, and no one says they’re not Jewish. Not until they accept Yeshua, of course.) In fact, for the last 17 or so years since I decided to accept that Yeshua is the Messiah and became a “Messianic Jew” I am more Jewish now than I ever was before.

Hey, if you are Jewish and you are curious to know the truth about this Yeshua guy, don’t be afraid. Christianity has turned that nice, Jewish boy into someone totally different than who He truly is, so don’t buy the “Can’t be Jewish if” thing. Ask,  question, argue, learn, and then decide for yourself. After all, those are some of the most Jewish things we Jews do- we ask, we question, and (man-oh-man) do we ever argue.

So go ahead- be Jewish! Don’t be afraid, don’t be put off, don’t worry about losing your Judaism. Nu?… you just might find it.

How Can I believe in Yeshua and still be Jewish?

This is what I asked myself when I first began to accept the truth about who Yeshua is, and what I needed to do for myself. It’s tough because we have all (Jews, I mean) been told for nearly two Millennia that Jesus isn’t for Jews. 

I think the first thing we need to do is understand that the New Covenant isn’t really new; in fact, it is very Jewish when you get underneath the subtle anti semitism that Gentile interpreters have built into it. The truth is there is nothing “new” in the New Covenant!

Try this on for size…the Tanakh is a compilation of God-inspired, eye-witnessed writings by Jews, of Jews, to Jews telling about God and His laws, with the promise of a Messiah who is to come and reconcile the entire world to God. The B’rit Chadasha (Good News, or New Covenant) is a compilation of God-inspired, eye-witnessed writings by Jews, of Jews, to Jews (and Gentiles becoming Jewish), and is the continuation of the Tanakh telling us about the promised Messiah, what He did to prove who He was/is, and ends with the final judgement and what will happen in the Acharit HaYamim (The End Days). Together they take us from start to finish, from before time began to the end of time and Eternity.One without the other is like having only one bookend.

As Jews, we are told to stay away from that Christian book because it is all about a new religion. That is a lie from the pit of Hell. It is about the Jewish Messiah. 

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, more “Jewish” than to believe in a Messiah. The Ultra-Orthodox Lubavitchers believe that Menachem Shearson is the Messiah (out of respect I won’t absolutely deny this, but there hasn’t been any real evidence), and they’re still Jewish. The followers of R. Akiba believed, as he did, that Bar Kochba was the Messiah (he wasn’t, by the way) and they’re still considered to have been Jewish. If I believed that anyone was the Messiah, I wouldn’t be accused of not being Jewish. However, if I believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, well, that’s different! I once had a Rabbi, who was a Reconstructionist Rabbi, bang her fist on the table and say one couldn’t be Jewish if he believed in Jesus. A Reconstructionist said this! 

What makes up a Jew, anyway? Is it a lifestyle? Is it a birthright? Is it having good financial sense? If we look for the answer where all the answers we will ever need reside (three guesses what book I am talking about, and your first two guesses don’t count), God doesn’t have a religion. He has His rules and regulations. He doesn’t say, “Jews follow these rules, Catholics these, Methodists those, etc.” What He does say is simply that those who follow His ways are His people, and He will be their God. That’s it. So, as far as God is concerned, there aren’t Jews, or Baptists, or Mennonites: only those who follow His rules. He also states, more than once, that anyone who sojourns with the Israelites is an adopted son or daughter. That those people who accept Him are given the same rights and privileges as a natural born “Jew” (remember that Jew or Israelite is not used then like we would use it today. There were only two types of people then: Jew or Pagan. It was a term for those people who followed the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It was not a religion, per se, but a lifestyle.) 

Likewise, if you were an adopted child of God, you were also expected to live by His rules. That means no pork, Shabbat (Sabbath) is on the 7th day, which is Saturday, and all 613 commandments from the Torah are for you, too. 

Therefore, believing in Yeshua as the Messiah is not anti-Jewish. It is perfectly Jewish. And if you are Jewish, and you want to discover the truth, or (at least) the facts, for yourself, then grab a Messianic Bible and check out this guy named Yeshua. Jesus certainly isn’t for Jews, at least not the Jesus that the Western world has portrayed for the past 1700 years or so. But Yeshua- He’s OK for Jews.  

The really important thing is to make your own decision. Jewish people I know have asked how I could believe in Jesus- not why do I, but how could I? It’s like asking  why did I betray them instead of why do I believe in Him. My reply to them is that I have reasons why I believe He is the Messiah, but why do they think He isn’t? Almost always I get the same answer, which is “Because He isn’t, that’s all”. They have no real reason other than because they were told he isn’t, and that’s it. 

If you are Jewish and reading this (wow- that would be great!) or if you are just not sure (which is how I started off), PLEASE!!! read the Bible, the whole Bible (Genesis to Revelations) and make up your own mind! God won’t buy the lame excuse that you believed what they told you to believe. It didn’t hold water at Nuremberg, and it won’t hold water at Judgement Day. 

 

Did Jesus Really Start a New Religion?

No. 

That should be enough, but I guess I need to give a more detailed reason why the answer is no.

God gave us His commandments, rules, regulations and all sorts of laws. Generally, these are known as mitzvot. Yeshua taught from the Tanakh, or Old Covenant (I don’t say New or Old ‘Testament’ because a testament is a death document that comes alive when one of the parties dies, and a covenant is an agreement between two living parties. God made covenants, not testaments). After all, that’s all there was when He was teaching. There were no New Covenant writings until decades after His death and resurrection. So, what He taught was Jewish.

God told us what to do, and Yeshua showed us how it’s done. That’s all. What He taught, and the real reason He was accused of being rebellious and teaching “new” stuff, was because He taught us that God’s Word is more important than religion. His main target was not what God said, but the traditions of Men- religion. He was always in trouble with the ruling groups, which at that time in history were not sons of David and sons of Aaron, as God commanded should be in charge, but (for the most part) political “hacks” appointed by Rome. The King (Herod) and Cohanim (Priests/Pharisees) were teaching that people should follow the man-made traditions with precedence over what God said. The sad thing is that this hasn’t changed, even today. The Talmud is given more importance regarding daily activities than the Torah by some of the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Worse than that, the so-called Christian religions (which are supposed to have been created by Yeshua’s teachings) are almost entirely composed of traditions and rites and ceremonies that are not in the Bible, with holidays that God did not command us to celebrate. What the Jews did wrong during Yeshua’s time, and what He was absolutely against, has been multiplied ten-fold by Christianity!

Yeshua did exactly what a good Jew should have done- lived Torah as it was written, and taught others to do so. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) is so very much exactly what has been taught throughout the Tanakh- God sees the heart. David said it in Psalm 51, Isaiah said it, the prophets said it- God is not interested just in sacrifices or paying lip service to Him, He wants us to come to Him with a contrite heart. He wants us to feel the way we should, not just act correctly. That is what Yeshua taught: He said, “You have heard it said …..but I tell you….” and what He told us was to feel God’s love and righteousness, not just act correctly. Don’t just not commit murder: don’t even hate in your heart. Don’t just not commit adultery: don’t even lust with your eyes. These are hard teachings for humans, and exactly what God tells us He wants of us throughout the Tanakh. It’s Judaism in it’s purest form. More than that, it’s what anyone who worships God should be doing.

Yeshua taught Judaism as God wanted it- from the heart. The New Covenant promise (which, BTW, is not in the New Covenant writings, but in the Tanakh, Jeremiah 31:31, and also Joel) was that God would remove our hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh, and that He would write His Torah on our hearts. Yeshua taught that what mattered was what we felt in our hearts, not just what we did. He said follow God’s commandments and worship Him with all your heart, soul and might, and don’t follow these laws blindly just because you are told to do so. Basically, Yeshua wants us to not just walk the walk, but want to walk the walk and feel it; own it; let it fill you up and become it. 

That is Judaism- loving God and loving to love God, thereby wanting to please God. 

Religion teaches “do this or go to hell!” True, God teaches that, too (in a way) but not as a threat; indeed, as a request to live. God says in Ezekiel that the death of a sinner doesn’t please Him at all- in fact, He would much rather the sinner turn from his sin and live. That is what Yeshua taught.

Everything Yeshua taught was from God’s Word, it was purely the D’var Adonai (Word of God). He was not against the religious teachings, or even against the traditions, per se, but He was against when the traditions were given priority over God’s word.

Do you really think that teaching us to do what God says and not what men say is a different religion than Judaism? If so, you just don’t understand Judaism.

Read the New Covenant, but not King James or some other Gentile version- read a Messianic version (David Sterns “Jewish New Covenant” or “Complete Jewish Bible” is a good start) and get to know the Jewishness of the B’rit Chadashah (Good News). See for yourself if this guy Yeshua really is teaching something different.

Next post: How Can I believe in Yeshua and still be Jewish?

Why Jews hate Jesus

First off, they don’t really hate Jesus; they hate the way He has been portrayed.

Let’s go to the Wayback machine, Sherman. In the first century, there were 2 theologies: you were either Jewish, or you were a Pagan. That’s it- no church, no masque, just Jew or Pagan. Then along comes Yeshua (Jesus), and after that there were 4 theologies: Jews who did not believe He was the Messiah, Jews who did, Pagans who accepted Him (and, believe it or not, by doing so were becoming Jewish), and those Pagans, again. So for the first 300 years or so after Yeshua, Gentiles who accepted Him as the Messiah were being slowly converted to Judaism. I say slowly because, as shown in Acts and discussed in Romans (a very, very misunderstood book) the typical restrictions of diet and activity that the Jewish people were used to was not so strictly enforced on the Gentile Believers so as to make their transition to Judaism easier.

Now we move to the Council of Nicene, Constantine, and the beginning of a tremendous schism between Jews and “Christians”. There were no Jews at the Council, and the writings were being collected into a “Christian” bible that had many undertones of antisemitism. One cultural reason is that the Jewish population had been more and more revolting (pardon the pun) to the Roman government, and being Jewish was becoming less and less popular, so the loose restrictions on Gentile Believers became more like, “Forget all that ‘Jewish’ stuff and let’s not be associated with them.” Basically, Jews had been Okedokee and “Christians” bad news to the Romans, but now it was reversed. Thus, I believe, the beginning of the “Jesus hates the Jews” philosophy.

Moving along in history, we had the Crusades, where tens of thousands of Jews (not just Muslims) were told, “Convert, or die!” Then the Inquisition, Martin Luther first loving the Jews, but when they did not go along with his ideas, he turned on them and called them the spawn of the Devil and said all their books should be burned (i.e., destroy the Torah), the Holocaust (Nazi uniforms had the words, “Gott mitt uns”, or “God is with us” on their belt buckle), the Gentleman’s Agreement during that time when America turned away Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany, the Pogroms in Russia, etc. etc. etc..

When you think about all that has been done to Jews in the “name of Jesus”, it’s not hard to understand why Jews don’t like Jesus.

Next post: Did Jesus really start a new religion?