The Jewish Side of Why They Just Refuse to Believe

One of the hardest things for a Jewish person to do, especially one who practices the religion (they say practice makes perfect but after a lifetime of practicing we still don’t get it right), is to accept that Jesus is the Messiah. In fact, you can barely even get anyone who is Jewish to talk with you about Him.

Maybe there’s a good reason, or even a few good reasons: the persecution that started after Rome accepted (what had become) Christianity, separated now from it’s Jewish roots and forcing Jewish people to convert or die, then there’s the Crusades (nearly as many Jews were forced to convert or be killed as Muslims were), the Inquisition, the Holocaust (the Nazi’s, believe it or not, had the saying “Gott mit uns” [God is with us] on their belt buckles)…just to name a few. All of these historical atrocities were perpetrated by “Christians” trying to get Jews to give up the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and convert to Christianity so they could worship Jesus.

I know, I know…Christians worship God. Well, sit down and hear this word: Christianity teaches idolatry. Many Christians will pray to Jesus instead of praying to God (Jesus is supposed to intercede for our prayers, not intercept them), and the Replacement Theologists say that Jews have been rejected by God because they rejected Jesus. The “Born Again” crowd often tells us that the Old Covenant is no longer valid, and I have personally heard from people who tried to be more Torah observant but their fellow Christians scolded them, accusing them of now being “under the law” instead of being “under the blood.” And just walk into any Roman Catholic church and count the graven images people bow down and pray to. To a Jewish person, all Gentile religions are “Christianity.”

If a Gentile in the 1st Century wanted to accept Yeshua as his or her Messiah, they would start to live as Yeshua did, which meant observing Torah; in other words, 1st century Gentiles (who were all Pagans) who accepted Yeshua were becoming Jewish. Nowadays, if a Torah observant Jewish person wants to accept Yeshua as his or her Messiah, they are told they can no longer be Jewish and have to become Christian, worship in a church and forget all that “Jewish” stuff. They are told, essentially, that they have to stop being a Jew to believe in the Jewish Messiah.

How stupid is that? And some people wonder why it is so hard for Jews to even listen to the truth about Messiah Yeshua!

If I hadn’t discovered Messianic Judaism, I don’t think I would have remained saved. If I had to stop being a Jew (and remember- I was not even a ‘practicing’ Jew) in order to accept Yeshua as my Messiah, I don’t think I would have lasted. Praise God that He directed me to mature Christians and a Messianic Synagogue. And a real Jewish Rabbi to show me how to be a Jewish Believer.

Jewish people have been the subject of persecution and hatred pretty much since the days of Goshen, even before they left Egypt. We’re almost used to it, although that doesn’t mean we like it. It’s easier to accept such treatment when you think you’re on the winning side, although it is a shame that many, actually most, Jews don’t realize that that isn’t going to happen without first accepting Yeshua, their true Messiah, for themselves.

That’s why it is so important to help Jewish people know the truth, and consequently so hard to get them to accept it. History is against us because history proves that accepting Jesus means giving up being Jewish. Although that is not the truth, and shouldn’t be the truth, it is a fact.

If you want to approach  a Jewish person with the truth of their Messiah, let me make a few suggestions:

1. Never use the name Jesus- His name is, was and always will be Yeshua, so use that name;

2. If you, yourself, do not believe that the Torah is valid and all who accept Yeshua should live a Torah observant life, then don’t ever talk to a Jew about Yeshua. And get your head into the game- Yeshua IS the living Torah and anyone who thinks Torah is dead might as well say Yeshua is dead;

3. Understand and emphasize with thousands of years of history which has shown for a Jew to believe in Yeshua means converting to a different religion and no longer being Jewish. You need to show that believing in Yeshua means they can stay Jewish, and is the most “Jewish’ thing they can do;

4. Introduce them to a Messianic Synagogue instead of a church- they will feel much more comfortable;

5. If you aren’t fully familiar with the Old Covenant writings, especially the predictions about the Messiah, then don’t ever talk to a Jew about Yeshua. Jews do NOT accept that the New Covenant is scripture.  In fact, they give it as much credibility as they give to the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita. You won’t get anywhere quoting the New Covenant as proof that Yeshua is the Messiah. You need to use Tanakh, and only Tanakh;

6. Once you have proven you know about Judaism, that you respect their Jewish heritage and do not want to take that away, then you might be able to talk to them about the B’rit Chadasha. And call it that- use all the Hebraic terminology you know so that everything you talk about “sounds” Jewish. To talk to a Jew about Messiah, you need to talk about His Jewishness, the Torah He taught, and that He did not create a new religion;

7. Last and most important: You cannot convince someone to listen to you by telling them they are wrong. If you want to start to get the interest of a Jewish person, you start by asking them questions why they believe what they believe. Don’t try to force your beliefs down their throat- simply ask them why they believe. Most people, Jewish or Gentile, who believe something probably do so because someone told them that’s what to believe. Most people are too lazy or unconcerned to study and try to determine the truth of something for themselves. So, if you want to get a Jewish person (or anyone, for that matter) to believe in what you have to say, you first have to get them to doubt what they already know. You do that by asking questions, as simple as , ” I know the reasons why I believe Yeshua is the Messiah God promised, please tell me why you don’t?”  Most likely it will be somewhere between “That’s what I’ve always been taught” to “Because He isn’t, that’s all.”

Jewish people have good reasons for not even wanting to hear about this guy Jesus. It is our responsibility to be understanding, patient and deliver a very “soft” sell when talking about Messiah Yeshua to them. They need to hear it, and Yeshua Himself said in Mattitayu 23:39 that He will not return until Jerusalem (i.e., the Jewish people) say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”, so it is really important for Jewish people to learn about and accept their own Messiah, Yeshua.

It will take a lot of courage to talk to a Jewish person about Yeshua. But that’s what we need to do. Just follow the rules above and you will be OK. Remember: we can only plant the seeds, God is the one who makes them grow. So have good seed to spread around, and throw it everywhere.

The good soil is out there, you never know where, so disperse the seed of truth and salvation everywhere you go, to everyone, in the way they can receive it.

Parashah Terumah (Offering) Exodus 25 – 27:19

Today we read of the instructions for building the Tabernacle, which are very, very detailed. The size of the supports, the types of precious metals and gems, the material the coverings are to be made from, the colors, everything about the Tabernacle is designed, defined, and described in this parashah, and in great detail.

The Tabernacle was more than just a tent- it was a symbol of the presence of God. It was situated in the very center of the campsite, surrounded by the Levites, who not only had to be close to service the tent, but they were also a buffer zone (if you will) to prevent the people from approaching too close to God and, by doing so, losing their lives.

The materials it was constructed with became more precious and fine the closer they were to God, just as we are to become more precious, i.e. holy, as we approach the Lord in our walk with Him.

The outer sections of the tabernacle were connected with rings and sockets of bronze, and as we got closer to the center of the tabernacle, where God’s presence sat, they used silver, and inside the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant, made of acacia wood overlaid with gold. So, too, the coverings: closest to God were made from fine linen woven with scarlet and blue and gold threads (these colors were very hard to make as they came from a mollusk that was very rare) whereas the outer coverings were of tanned ram skins.

Where is the Tabernacle in our lives, today? Have you ever been in the home of a Hindu person? Or a Buddhist? They have a small section of their home that is a sanctuary, a place which they have separated from everything else in their home where they worship. Although this is not the worship of the true God, it should be a lesson for us that we need to have a “tabernacle” that is centered in our life. Maybe not a physical structure, but we need a reminder of God’s presence in our everyday activities.

The Israelites could see the tabernacle; they saw the cloud over it during the day and the fire at night. It was a constant, physical and visual reminder of God. Jewish people who wear tzitzit and have a mezuzah on their doors (commanded in Numbers) have a physical, visual reminder of God’s presence. The kippah (yarmulke) is another visual reminder, although it is not commanded to be worn, same as the Star of David or a mezuzah (worn around the neck.) Christians wear a cross or sometimes a fish; there are different types of reminders of God’s presence in our lives we can have. Even a bumper sticker can serve as a reminder of God.

Maybe I should ask this: do we need a physical reminder if we have the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, living inside us? The tabernacle was in the center of the camp, and the Ruach lives inside us, sort of in the center of us. God outside of us, God inside of us; which is more important?

I don’t know! All I know is that if I had a constant, daily, absolutely impossible to not see or not be reminded of “thing” that kept me aware of God’s presence and kept me on track with serving God correctly, I would be a much better example of His holiness.

Let’s start to look for the “tabernacle” in our own life as we continue to become more holy. The Israelites had theirs right there, in the midst of them, but today we have to travel to get to our places of worship. I think that is somewhat problematic, but, then again, we aren’t wandering in the desert.

Or are we? Sometimes I feel that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I work, no matter how much effort I put into being a good husband, father or friend, I am just wandering through life. Going here and there, no real goal, no real end, just gadding about, aimlessly. Going through the motions of life instead of living my life.

That’s why I feel it is so important to have a “tabernacle” in the midst of our existence. A secure and stable foundation, with God at it’s center. Whether it be a synagogue down the block, a church in town, or a small, separated place of worship in a corner of the living room. Maybe I should wear tzitzit (I already wear a mezuzah around my neck), or a kippah? That won’t really make a difference, though, since I won’t see either of them and would get used to them being there.

I guess we all need to determine what the best “tabernacle” is for ourselves. And whatever it is, we need it to be there, all the time.

The Ruach is with us, it is a “comforter” (as Yeshua called it) and it can be the tabernacle in your life if you are open to always hear it. I confess I don’t always hear it, and when I do, sometimes I don’t heed it’s call. I gotta give the Ruach credit- it must be of God because it is so patient and constantly trying to get me to do what is right.

Find your “tabernacle”; and whatever it is, a place, the Ruach, a mezuzah, whatever…because it is a reminder of God’s presence in your life, make sure it is at the center of your life and that you live your life centered on it.

Where Did the Salvation GPS Go Wrong?

How did it happen? In the First Century, if you were a Gentile (read that as Pagan, ’cause that’s all there was if you weren’t Jewish) and you accepted Yeshua as your Messiah, you were becoming Jewish. In Acts we read how the Elders decided, in regards to what the new Believers had to do, on four things (not eat food sacrificed to idols, not eat anything strangled, not eat the blood, and no fornication) that were initially forbidden. These were never meant to be the only things that were forbidden, it was just a stepping stone. When you read the rest of that section you see they justified this as being the start because the law of Moses would be read every Shabbat, indicating (clearly) that the new Believers were expected to be worshipping at Shabbat services and they would learn the other laws and requirements there. So, in essence, being a Gentile who wanted salvation during Yeshua’s time meant becoming Jewish.

Today, when a Jewish person wants to accept Yeshua as his or her Messiah, the Gentile world, which has overall rejected Torah, tells that person they must stop being Jewish and become a Christian. And what requirements are there? Do they have regulations regarding food- no. Do they have regulations regarding the Ten Commandments- not really, since Grace is supposed to cover everything. Actually, the only regulation they have is that you must reject the Torah and Judaism! I have been told, and I have heard from many others that they were also told, “You aren’t really under the blood of Christ if you still do those Jewish things.”

So sad.

When I was studying for my Certificate in Messianic Studies, I had an essay question asking how the separation between Judaism and Christianity occurred. Here is what I said:

As more and more Gentiles came to be grafted in, the Jewish representation became less and less. As persecution of the Jews grew during the 3rd and 4th centuries it actually was safer for believers to be “less Jewish”. Of course, Constantine didn’t help things, either. Eventually the Jewishness was overwritten with Gentile ideals and cultural ways, so that the church grew apart from the roots. It is like the scientific principle of phototropism. Phototropism is the tendency for a plant to grow towards the sunniest area, which explains why so many trees have trunks that are weirdly shaped. The church, which was grafted in and at first learning about the light (of the world) grew towards that light. What happened was the Enemy shone another light that detracted them from the true light and their branches grew in the wrong direction.

Did I mean to say that the “Church” is now of the Devil? As dangerous as this may be to admit, the truth is: that is exactly what I meant.

Now, now…don’t get all up in a fury. It is a hard word to hear, but before you send hate mail and stop following my ministry-blog, think about this: God gave us the Torah. He gave it to everyone who is to follow and worship Him. John says that there was the Word (Torah- it was the only word of God there was then), and the Word became flesh (he was talking about Yeshua- duh!). Now, later on Yeshua tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand. So…if the Word/Torah became flesh, that means Yeshua is the living Word of God, or the Living Torah. If He taught that we should not obey or follow Torah, He is a house divided against Himself. In fact, it would be the same as Yeshua saying, “Don’t pay attention to what I say.” Now, no one will argue that Ha Satan is the enemy of God, right?  And does the Enemy want us to become closer to God, or does he want to drive a wedge between us and God so that we get so far from God we will worship the Enemy, instead? Okay- I am hoping we are all on the same page here, which is that the Enemy of God doesn’t want us to be close to God.

God says the way to be close to Him, and Yeshua says the way to show we love Him, is to (get ready- here it comes)… OBEY HIS COMMANDMENTS!!!

And where are His commandments? (three guesses, and the first two don’t count)… IN THE TORAH!!!

Get it? Telling people that want salvation that they do not have to obey the Torah separates us from God, it rejects Messiah and demonstrates we do NOT love him. That is the work of the Devil, and anyone who teaches that Yeshua did away with even so much as single stroke of the Torah is doing the work of Ha Satan because it is drawing that person away from God.

Judaism and Christianity should not be different, they should be the same thing. The Manual warns us that in the Acharit HaYamim (the End Days) there will be one world religion and one world government. This is not a bad thing, in and of itself; what makes it work or not work will be who is the one in charge. The Enemy will initially be the one to run things but he will be put down forever and then Yeshua will be the Eternal King of the Earth. Actually, if there is going to be only one religion throughout the world, there really won’t be any religion, will there? It will be  just us and God and the way we live.

In the beginning, salvation was for the Jews. “Jews” meaning anyone and everyone who worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as He commanded us to worship Him. As early as the Exodus we see many Gentiles sojourning with the Jewish people, converting to their way of life and way of worship. When Messiah came, many Jewish people (maybe as many as a quarter of a million Jews) accepted Him and the Grace that God gave through Him. They never stopped practicing Judaism. And through Messiah, salvation now came not just to the Jews, but to the Gentiles, as well.  They were grafted in and thereby saved, so long as they took their spiritual nourishment from the root of the Etz Chaim (Tree of Life, i.e., the Torah.) Gentiles who were saved were becoming Jews, accepting and worshipping a single way before God, as God said they should. That is the way it was at the very beginning, and how it was supposed to be. But we lost our way.

We need to get everyone back on the path that God said to follow. We all need to be getting closer to God, not further away. We need to reset the spiritual GPS so that we follow the straightest path to God, and that leads us to the Torah trail, not the Christian crossroads.

God has no religion, only Torah. Yeshua taught nothing different from Torah. Shaul never taught anything but Torah. John tells us that Yeshua is the Torah.

Hello? Christianity? You there? You listening?  Get with the program and return to working for the right guy.