What’s in a Name?

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In the famous play “Romeo and Juliet”, William Shakespeare wrote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.

It was spoken by Juliet, who knew that Romeo’s last name was the last name of her family’s enemy.  Her point was that Romeo would still be Romeo, no matter what name he was called by.

My point is that God is God and Messiah is Messiah: no matter what name we use, that name will not change who they are.

Now, I am positive (and I base this on experience) that there are more than a few people reading this who are beginning to vent steam out of their ears because I am saying it doesn’t matter what name they use when they address God or Messiah.  To those people, using a name different from the one they think is correct is no less than blasphemy.

I do not think poorly of these people because I recognize their love for God and Messiah and their devotion to honoring them both. I respect the intensive research they have done over the years to come to the conclusion that they know the correct name. I also understand that to them, using any other name is an insult to God.

I would like to ask this of those people: Do you really think God will reject someone praying to Him with a contrite heart and a broken spirit (Psalm 51) just because the name they use is the only name they have ever known for Him?  Do you really think God will say to Himself, “That’s a nice prayer and I can see they are truly repentant, but I never liked –whatever- as my name so they can just go to hell.” ?  Really?

For myself, I cannot see God refusing a repentant sinner because the sinner calls out to God using a name that isn’t exactly the same name He told Moses.  I also cannot see Messiah refusing to represent a sinner that has called out to Him simply because “Jesus” isn’t the Hebrew name for Him.

Here’s a thought….when somebody tells someone else, as I have seen all too often, that the name they are using for God is wrong and implies that it won’t be heard, isn’t that the real insult to God? Isn’t that the same thing as saying God is too self-absorbed, too egocentric and too “picky” to accept a prayer to Him just because someone uses a name that may not be exactly the way God knows it should be pronounced?

I want to ask those people who are (pardon me for saying it this way) so obsessive about God’s “real” name to please try to remember God’s merciful nature, His understanding and His compassion; I would like to ask that you please STOP telling people that they have to use the name YOU think is right. Have you ever thought that you may be the one who is in the wrong? Could it be that you are the one who may be wrong because you are speaking for God?

Who are you, or me, or anyone to tell anybody else that their prayers and devotion are wrong just because they don’t call God the same name you call Him?

Did you ever consider that maybe, just maybe, your pronunciation is not correct? If so, are you willing to be judged in the same way that you are judging others?

Please think about that before you correct someone else.

I believe God and Messiah are both “big” enough to be able to handle someone mispronouncing their name. Don’t you?

And if it doesn’t bother them, it shouldn’t bother us.

What is “Jewish stuff?”

Have you noticed all the Halloween decorations in the department stores? Pretty soon the candy sales will be all over the place, and before the first little kid tries on his costume, they will be putting up Christmas lights along Main Street. Everyone is getting ready for something that is still a month away.

Yet, how many Gentiles realize we are in one of the most Holy of all periods, right now? These are the 40 days before Yom Kippur, and starting on the evening of October 2, Erev Rosh Hashannah (the eve of New Year) we will begin the 10 Days of Awe, when the Jewish people are supposed to introspectively review their commitment to God and to realize how close to (or how far from) meeting what God wants of them.

On the evening of October 11 we begin Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when we fast and pray all day for forgiveness for our sins, which we humbly and constantly remind ourselves we have committed against God. We are praying that He will move from the Throne of Judgment to the Mercy Seat, and inscribe us in the Book of Life.

As a Messianic Jew I am often asked by Christians why I fast, since Jesus (Yeshua is His real name) died for our sins. My answer is very simple. It is as complete an answer as I believe anyone can give, and as complete an answer as anyone who worships God should accept. My answer is, “Because God said we should.”

I fast because God said I should. Not because Yeshua died for the sins I have committed (which He did), not because I am not fully forgiven by God (which I am), and not for the sake of honoring and communing with my Jewish brothers and sisters (which I do): it is because God commands us to do this.

Leviticus 23, and other parts of the Torah, specify that on this day we are to afflict our souls, which nearly everyone agrees means to fast. I do it because I am Jewish and it is what Jews do, but I do not do it because it is “Jewish stuff”: God gave the Torah to the Jews not for them only, but for them to bring to everyone else!

Christianity has been teaching that the Torah is for Jews, but that is a wrongful teaching- the Torah is for everyone. What is being called “Jewish stuff” is really “God-fearing stuff” and anyone (more correctly, everyone) who professes to believe in God is supposed to do it.

The bible is absolutely crystal clear- the Jews are God’s chosen people, chosen to be priests to the world (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9) and to represent Him to everyone else. A Priest is not the only one who serves God, is he? No- the Priest is the spiritual leader of the community who acts as intercessor between the people and God. That is the function of the priest. So, to do what God commanded us to do is not just worshipful, or God-fearing, or even holy (although it is all of those things, too): to obey God’s Torah is so much more than just being “Jewish.”

I have had many Gentile’s come to me over the years and tell me how proud they are that somewhere in their family history they have recently discovered a Jewish Grandparent or a Jewish ancestor. They are so happy to be “real” Jews.

I think they want to be Jewish for all the wrong reasons.

If you want to be Jewish, then do what a Jewish person is supposed to do- honor the Torah by obeying it. Honor God by obeying His commandments without trying to box this one in and shut that one out. Don’t be what I call a “Buffet Believer“, picking and choosing whatever commandments you like, rejecting the rest and using Yeshua as your excuse for disobeying God!

If you don’t feel comfortable identifying with Judaism, then obey the commandments because that’s what Jesus did. How many Christians wear that silly bracelet with the “WWJD?” on it, but don’t do anything that Jesus would’ve done? He would’ve fasted on Yom Kippur, you betcha!

The term, “Jewish stuff” is a demonic slur created by the Replacement Theologists who are, in truth, the Synagogue of Satan Yeshua talks about in Revelations 3:9. They want to be Jews but reject the one thing that identifies Jews as Jews- obeying the Torah.

Hey, listen up! GOD HAS NO RELIGION! He has rules for worshiping Him, and rules for treating each other, and that is what He gave to the people who were descendants of the one man God chose to represent Him to the world, Abraham. It is only by geographical and linguistic relationship that we call those who follow the Torah, “Jews.”

Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?”; to paraphrase the rest, “That which we call a “Jew” by any other name, would still follow Torah.”

Don’t be concerned with what your religion tells you about how to worship God; you must read God’s word on your own to learn what He wants from you. Then do it to the best of your ability.

Yeshua’s death did not free us from Torah- it freed us from the results of our failure to follow Torah perfectly. His sacrificial death was never a means to avoid Torah- His life, His teachings, His very existence is all about Torah: Yeshua is the Living Torah!

Forget Jewish; forget Christian; forget religious titles and canon. These things are useless to The Lord; all He wants is for you to do what He said to do so that you can live with Him eternally.