Weekly Sabbath Survey
Me and Jewishness — 4-2-2015
I’ve been asked about my Jewish approach to teaching Bible and in my personal faith walk. I’ve given explanations, but mostly what I say seems to get lost in the telling. I believe my take on it is this: it is a sign of the times. Not just me, but multiple thousands of people are discerning this time. The God-inspired move among Christians to find their Jewish roots [taken from us by our leaders in the 2nd Century A.D.], mirrors the move among Jewish people to find their Messiah [hidden among the Christians!]. I recently found a magazine article by Joel Chernoff. He is a second generation Messianic Jew. He expresses the importance of this truth about Jewish people and Believers better than I can:
The vast majority of all Believers in Yeshua eagerly await the return of the Messiah to Israel and the establishment of His Kingdom in Jerusalem, as prophesied in Scripture. Most have an understanding that the two critical, prophetic events leading up to Messiah’s return are both the physicial and spiritual restoration of Israel. In 1967, Israel recaptured Jerusalem, fulfilling prophecy in Luke 21:24 (“Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.) At the same time, God released [a move] of His Spirit and the “Jesus People” revival was born. During that event, for the first time since the days of the Apostles, Jewish people by the thousands miraculously came to faith in Yeshua. In 1990 a Jewish council survey put the number of Jews who believe in Jesus at 1.19 million, 14.6 percent of the total American Jewish population. It seems, the Messianic movement is the fastest growing stream of Jewish religious life in the world today. Though the spiritual restoration of the Jewish people is well underway, it is not enough to see the prophecy of national revival in the nation itself realized. Perhaps the greatest obstacle to Israel’s spiritual restoration is the fact that Jesus Himself–and Christianity as a whole–is perceived to be non-Jewish, hostile and even lethal to Jewish people, because it denies the Jewish roots of the faith.
In Romans 11, Paul described the Congregation of Messiah as an olive tree in which the roots and main trunk are Jewish and the ‘nations’ are grafted in. [Christianity is by this definition, a BRANCH of Judaism.] But the perception among everyone, Jew and Gentile, is the Body of Christ is a Christian olive tree–the root and main trunk are non-Jewish and a few Jewish people happen to be grafted in. This is, of course, Biblically inaccurate. Messianic Judaism presents the truth that it is indeed “Jewish” to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah. But it does not answer the centuries-old Jewish riddle: “How is it that Christians, who worship the God of Israel, follow a man they believe to be the Jewish Messiah, study the Jewish Bible, and can still hate and even persecute Jewish people? Why do they deny that their faith is Jewish?” Until this riddle is solved, until Jew and Gentile are demonstrably united in Messiah as depicted by Paul’s olive tree, faith in Yeshua will not be embraced by the nation of Israel or the Jewish people as a whole. ~copied
About 1978, I launched into intensive personal Bible study and began to see it is just as important to know where we came from as it is to know where we are going. I realized I was a part of something I didn’t fully understand and I knew I needed to. (My quest to uncover deeper truth is on-going.) The faith we practice now is nothing like what Jesus taught and lived. Times have changed, but God has not. Unless and until we embrace the Hebraic origins of the faith we claim as our own, we are floundering around in ancient Greek philosophy that bears little resemblance to true heavenly faith. We cannot divorce our faith in the Jewish Messiah from the Jewish people He was a part of, or from their Biblical understanding of their God we claim to love. We cannot make God into a “Christian.”
Two books I read years ago had a particularly profound effect that remains with me today. I have recommended both before, but they are worthy enough to merit repeating. One is O Jerusalem, and the other is Pagan Christianity. One turned my heart step by step toward the ancient faith that Jesus taught to His Jewish disciples. The other one turned my heart away from the Greco/Roman religion that as been the Christian Believer’s “truth” for over 2,000 years. The “blindness” of both Jews and Gentiles, who worship the same God, has served His purposes, and now He is taking off the blinders! Christians seeking out Jewish truth, Jews seeking out Jesus, who is Truth: for such a time as this.
It shall come to pass in the Last Days . . . many Gentiles shall say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob: and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the Law shall go forth out of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Isaiah 2:2-3
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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