In the Seventies, the big spiritual saying was, “I found it!”, meaning (of course) Jesus. There was also at that time a big resurrection (no pun intended) of Messianic Judaism, which has continued to grow. At that time, being Jewish, not caring, but still having been brought up being taught Jesus is a Jew-hater that started a new religion and Jews are Christ-killers, my response to “I’ve found it!” was: “I’m Jewish- I never lost it!”
That’s true, in a sense- you can only lose what you once had. I never had my Messiah, I never had the understanding about who Jesus was (Jesus Christ is not a name- we’ll get to that in a moment) and I never really had even a chance of getting to know the truth about the New Covenant writings because they were an anathema, forbidden and any thoughts about even wondering who Jesus is was traitorous!
About “Jesus Christ”: Yeshua ben Yosef was the name Jesus was given, lived with, and was called by all who knew Him or heard of Him for the first century or two since His birth. Yeshua is Hebrew and means, essentially, the salvation of God, or God’s salvation (ben Yosef is ‘son of Joseph’.) When the B’rit Chadashah (Good News) books about Yeshua were being written, except for Mattitayu (Matthew) which was most likely written in Hebrew (some scholars say), the other New Covenant writings were in Greek, the language of the world back then. There is no Greek word for Yeshua, since both culturally and religiously there was no Greek reference for God’s salvation, or for Messiah (Anointed One.) So, they did what we usually do when we have a word with no translation- we use a transliteration, a word that sounds like the meaning. For the Greeks, Yeshua sounded like a Greek man’s name, Jesu. As for Maschiach (Messiah/ anointed one) they used Cristos. That was a method of rubbing oil on a shield to keep the leather supple. When Jesu Cristos was Latinized, it became Jesus Christ. So, the etymology of “Jesus Christ” is a Latinized translation of a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name/title Yeshua Ha Mashiach.
Before Yeshua was born, the Septuagint was written. This was a Greek translation of the Tanakh and was distributed throughout the Diaspora for the Jews living there. As with Yeshua’s name, there were many words and ideas that had no relationship with Greek culture or religion, so the authors created a kind of Greek-Hebrew language. If you ask Greek speakers who read the Septuagint, they will tell you that there are words that have absolutely no meaning in the Greek language. Shaul (Paul) used some of these terms when writing his letters to the Messianic Congregations (there were no churches in the First Century CE) that he established. I think that is why some of his writings have been historically misunderstood, and used as a polemic against the Jewish people. And as such, have created the subtle but conscious anti-Semitic interpretations in the New Covenant.
Jesus was Jewish, He lived a Jewish lifestyle (more so than anyone ever did, and especially much more than any Jew I have ever known!) and when He was resurrected, He didn’t come back from the dead as a Christian. He also didn’t preach anything, not one thing, different from or against the Torah. If you read the Gospels you will see that His teachings defined the true meaning of the Torah. In Mattitayu 5:17 He insists that He did not come to change the law, but fulfill it. The anti-Semitic usage over the centuries of that statement has been to tell Christians that having fulfilled the Law, it was done away with. NOT!!! In First Century Rabbi-speak, to fulfill the law meant to interpret it correctly. Read the New Covenant writings- Yeshua tells us how to follow the Torah, not how to ignore it.
Think about this for a minute: Yochanan (John) tells us in His Gospel that there was the Word (i.e., Torah) and that the Word became flesh (i.e., Yeshua), and Yeshua tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand but that His Kingdom will stand forever, so….if Yeshua is the Living Torah, and His kingdom will stand forever, and a house divided against itself cannot stand, then for Yeshua to say anything against the Torah is a house divided against itself (since He is teaching contrary to who and what He is) and thereby, based on His own words, His kingdom will not last forever. If that is so, then when He said His kingdom will last forever, He lied. And, if Yeshua lied, He isn’t the sinless Lamb of God, His resurrection must be false and we have no salvation.
Ergo: if you believe that Yeshua did away with Torah, then you have no salvation.
This seems like a good argument for a Jewish person to use against believing in Yeshua except for one thing: it is a false argument based on a false assumption. Yeshua did not lie because He did not teach against the Torah; in fact, He upheld every Torah commandment as necessary. He worshipped Adonai, and He did the will of Adonai. The same is true about Shaul- even though his writings are a little convoluted. However, when you carefully dissect what he says (he talks like a real Jew!) he is always upholding the Torah as a valid set of rules and laws. He talks about the future often, and when the New Covenant writings talk about the future they often foretell the end of Torah, which is no different than what we read in the Torah, itself. The End Days (Acharit HaYamim) will see a new heaven and a new earth, and a new temple with God living amongst us (read Ezekiel.) I don’t think anyone can actually say what rules or laws we will be living with: Jeremiah 31:31 (THE New Covenant) says that God will change our hearts, and Joel tells us the same, so what will happen is that (according to the Tanakh) we will have hearts of flesh and the Torah will be written on them. In other words, we will also be living Torahs. If you are a living Torah, do you still need a written Torah to tell you how to act?
I don’t think anyone can tell us what it will be like after all is done. But the important thing is that we are on our way, and not only are we getting closer to the end, we are picking up speed!
If you aren’t right with God, better get a move on. If you are Jewish, better take a new look at this Yeshua guy. Forget the Westernized, blue-eyed, blonde-haired Aryan Jesus of the Christian right-wingers, and ignore (I know it’s hard, but you have to try) the bigotry from both the Jewish and Christian worlds about Jews believing in Yeshua and still being Jewish, and make up your own mind. The Jews say you can’t be Jewish if you believe in Jesus, and the Christians say if you believe in Jesus you have to stop being Jewish. Weird! They finally agree on something, and it is the absolutely wrong thing to believe.
Listen: there is nothing more Jewish than believing in the Messiah, and the truth is Yeshua is the Messiah God promised us throughout the Tanakh. He is the Jewish Saviour to the Jewish people, who has made it possible for Gentiles to be saved, as well. In the time Yeshua lived and afterwards (for about 200 years), when a Gentile was “saved” by accepting Yeshua as their Messiah, they were becoming Jewish simply because that was all they could be. There were only Jews and Pagans: accepting Yeshua meant they were adopting a Jewish way of life. Nowadays, the Christian world says that if you want to be “saved” by accepting Yeshua, you have to stop being Jewish!
OY! Dey’s all Meshuggah!
Look, it’s simple: God said He would send a Messiah and Yeshua is that Messiah. Don’t take my word for it, and don’t accept anything anyone else tells you. Read the Tanakh so you know what to expect, then read the Gospels to see it come to fruition. Forget the other New Covenant books for awhile- stick to the Gospels until you decide yea or nay about Yeshua. If you decide nay, it’s your right to make that choice- you will regret it. If you decide yea about Yeshua, then before you read further in the Bible, pray to God (not to Yeshua- He isn’t God the Father and He is the means to your salvation, not the giver of it. That has always been, and still is, only God the Father) and confess your acceptance that you are a sinner, that you are unable to overcome your sinful nature, and that you wish to accept the salvation offered by God through the sacrificial death that Yeshua underwent. Accept Yeshua as your Messiah, and ask that God send to you the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, to guide you in doing T’Shuvah (turning from your sin) so you can do what God told His people to do: “Be thou holy, for I am holy” (that’s all Old Covenant stuff, Folks!)
Then wait for it. The Apostles waited 50 days for the Ruach, I waited about 3 months after accepting Yeshua before I received the Spirit. Once you have the Spirit to guide your understanding, hit the rest of the New Covenant.
You can see my testimony here: http://www.jacobshope.com/pages/video3.php
If you are Christian and you have been raised believing in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, you probably should review this, too. I know many, many Christians who ‘believe’ for no other reason than they have been told they believe. Their belief is not heartfelt- it is rote. And they easily and completely accept the lies the “Church” has told them: they only need to be good people to go to heaven, that they have the spirit of God in them because they could correctly answer a few questions, and that they are the new Chosen people since the Jews rejected Christ so God has rejected the Jews. And the BIG one: the Torah is just for Jews because Jesus did away with it and when you follow Jesus you don’t have to follow the Torah.
All lies, all misdirected teachings over millennia, all from the Enemy of God, and sending all who accept those lies blindly into the pit of Sheol.
Make up your own mind. I like “The Matrix” Trilogy- have you seen it? The Oracle constantly tells Neo (the Messiah) that he needs to make up his own mind about what he is, and Morpheus (sort of a John the Baptist figure) tells someone who says to him, “Not everyone believes as you do” that “My faith doesn’t require you to believe.” That’s powerful- we don’t need others to believe something for us to believe it. You shouldn’t accept anything as truth except what you, yourself, have found to be true.
Jewish or Jesus? Here’s the truth- they are both the same! Now go and verify it for yourself.