I have written about Jews and Christians many times, almost always, but only now and then specifying things that we have in common. I usually spend most of my time pointing out all the things we do NOT have in common, and why it shouldn’t be that way.
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But today I want to point out something we have in common, something other than the obvious things, such as we both believe in God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We both, for the most part, believe in the existence of Yeshua (Jesus), although where Christianity has accepted him as the Messiah God promised to send, mainstream Judaism has rejected him as such.
Now, here is the one thing that both Jews and Christians have in common, which is not a good thing:
Both Jews and Christians say that if you want to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, you can’t be Jewish anymore.
Now isn’t that amazing? And totally disappointing.
You see, most Christians have been taught that following the instructions in the Torah, which are often referred to as the Mosaic law, is something that Jews are required to do because they are still subject to the Torah, and that is because they have rejected Jesus. But Christians, because they accept Jesus, are under Grace and not under the law, which is what Paul said in his letter to the Romans .
What Paul was talking about was the teaching of the Pharisees, which was a performance-based salvation; in other words, the Jews were being taught that they had to perform righteously in order to be “saved.” Paul constantly reminded them that it isn’t performance, but faith which allows us to be seen as righteous, preaching a faith-based salvation.
But here’s the kicker: faith doesn’t mean disobedience. Paul often states this, saying that Grace trumps sin, but it isn’t a license to sin. And James also states that faith without works is dead, meaning faith encourages and motivates us to obey.
So, nu? Obey what? There are no commandments issued by God anywhere in the New Covenant writings. All of God’s instructions are in the Torah.
Yeshua said if we love him we will obey his commandments, so what are they? In truth, Yeshua gave no commandments, other than to love one another, because that is how people will know we are his talmudim (John 13:34); but, in reality, that wasn’t new: Yeshua was rephrasing Leviticus 19:18, which says love your neighbor as yourself.
So what Christianity has taught is lawlessness. Shaul (Paul) teaches in his letter to the Romans that the Torah created sin by identifying what is right and what is wrong. So, if you don’t have to obey the Torah, then you are by definition, sinning. And when we add to this another Christian teaching called “Once Saved, Always Saved”, not only are you sinning but you don’t even have to repent!
What about the Jewish side of this? Do they agree that when a Jew accepts Jesus they are free from obedience to the Torah? Not really: what Jews will tell you is that any Jew who accepts Yeshua as their Messiah is now a Christian! According to mainstream Judaism, no Jew who believes Yeshua is the Messiah is Jewish anymore. It doesn’t matter if they obey the Torah, go to shul on Shabbat, observe the Moedim of God, or do any other “Jewish” thing: as far as Jews are concerned, if you believe in Jesus you aren’t a Jew anymore.
You can be born Jewish and convert to any other non-Christian religion, and you will still be considered a Jew, just a Jew who is a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Hindu, but if you accept Jesus you aren’t a Jew.
How meshuggah is that?
The sad part of this, which is not just sad but destroys people’s chances of truly being saved, is that both sides are absolutely, 1000% WRONG!
Anyone who believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah God promised to send is, by definition, grafted into the Chosen people of God (Romans 11), who are, have been, and always will be…the Jews. No Christian who says he or she believes in Jesus is absolved of obedience to God, for God, himself, has said over and over throughout the Bible that anyone who joins with the Jewish people is to receive the same treatment under the law as the native-born. That means to be protected by it, as well as obligated to obey it.
As for the Jews who accept Yeshua, they are just as obligated to obey God now as they ever were, because accepting Yeshua as their Messiah completes them as a Jewish person: not only do they have God, and his Torah, but the Messiah, as well.
Yeshua said in Matthew 5:17 that he did not come to change the law and that nothing in the Torah will change until all things have come to pass. That means A-L-L things: Yeshua’s return, the Tribulation, the new heaven and earth, the temple lowered from heaven, the dead in Messiah risen, Satan and his demons in the lake of fire, etc., etc., etc.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any of these things here now.
Both sides agree believing in Yeshua as the Messiah means you can’t be a Jew anymore, and, according to what God, Yeshua, and even that little Jewish Pharisee tent-maker from Tarsus all say, both sides couldn’t be more wrong.
In fact, the most Jewish thing any Jew can do is to accept Yeshua as their Messiah, and Christians shouldn’t do as the “Church” teaches, but as Yeshua actually did, which was to live a Torah-observant life, motivated to obey Torah by his faith in, and love for, the Lord God.
It is clear from the Bible that to obey God’s instructions (which are in the Torah) is to accept him, and to refuse to do as God says is to reject him- there is no middle ground here. In the Gospels, Yeshua said he does and says only what God tells him to do and say, so Yeshua obeyed God by living in perfect accordance with the Torah; otherwise, he would not have been an acceptable sacrifice, So, nu! To live as Yeshua lived, to follow in his footsteps, to live up to the WWJD on those bracelets people wear, is to obey God’s instructions in the Torah.
And we don’t obey Torah because we want to attain salvation by works, but because of our faithful loving obedience to our father in heaven, who only wants what is best for us. Obedience to the Torah is not how we are saved, but faith in God and Yeshua is meaningful and real only if you do as they say.
Not as Paul says, or as your Priest says, or as your Minister says, or as your Rabbi quoting from the Talmud says, but as God says.
Jews and Christians have to realize that accepting Yeshua as your Messiah doesn’t mean you are free from Torah, or that you are not Jewish, but that you are grafted onto the Tree of Life that God provided, and that tree’s roots are the Torah.
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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!