A Voice in the
May 26, 1998
NOTE: This article is included in the 'Discernment Archives' for the error it presents, as reference, for the commentary that addresses its errors. Please do not mistake. Most false teaching includes some truth, and so does this. But it is false teaching; particularly in the area of the Church being grafted IN TO ISRAEL, and being required to keep Torah. For the corrective commentary please click the link at the bottom of this file. Again... to be clear: THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ONE OF THE APPROVED TEACHINGS OF THIS MINISTRY.
THE DESERT TRUMPET (May 1998 Vol. 12)
A Publication of Kyrie Ministries,
HOW DID THE CHURCH LOSE ITS JEWISH ROOTS?
Anti-Semitism: Christian Hatred and Persecution of the Jews
Now wait a minute! Is Christianity Gentile or Jewish? Does Christianity have Jewish roots? Are Christians anti-semitic? Is there a history of anti-semitism in the Church? If so, why are many churches today talking about "Jewish roots" and starting to celebrate the Passover and other feast days?
I can remember so clearly the remarks of my husband the first time I put up a Happy Chanukah banner. Take that thing down. We're not Jewish, we're Christians. But consider this:
Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) was a Jew, born of a Jewish mother, in the Jewish city of Bethlehem, in the Jewish land of Israel. Not only was He a Jew, He lived an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle (Heb.13:8). When He returns, He will rule and reign as a Torah observant Jew (1). His first followers were Jewish; His twelve disciples were Jewish; and the first 3,000 and 5,000 conversions (Acts 2:41; 4:4) were Jews, making the first "Church" Jewish believers. Further, the Bible itself was written by Jews (Luke in all likelihood being a proselyte to Judaism). . . . The Messiah's vicarious atonement is rooted in the Jewish sacrificial system (Lev. 17:11). The Lord'ss Supper is rooted in the Jewish Passover. Immersion (baptism) is a Jewish practice. Yeshua was promised by the Jewish prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 31;30-24). The very concept of a Messiah is exclusively Jewish(2).
And do you know what the final blow to antisemitism will be: The One ne who plants His feet on the Mount of Olives will be a glorified Jew (15).
Yeshua and His disciples, as well as Paul and the early Church, followed God's instructions in the Old Testament, worshipping on the Sabbath and celebrating the Feasts of the Lord (Lev.23; Acts 21:20). These practices continued for some time after the deaths of Yeshua, Paul, and the apostles. But, as Paul wrote in Acts 20:29 and 30, savage wolves were soon to come--some even rising from among the Church, speaking perverse things, drawing away the disciples, and taking away the foundational truths which had been so diligently laid from the time of Abraham.
To answer the above questions, we will start at the beginning to see how Bible-believing Christians have been deceived into becoming the chief persecutors of Jesus' family and their own family--the Jews.
From the beginning of creation God has always wanted to manifest Himself to show His love and care towards mankind. His plan was to choose a people in the earth for Himself, giving them His instructions whereby they could be a blessed, prosperous, and happy people. If these chosen people were obedient to His instructions, it would prove to the world that He did exist and also set an example for the nations to follow.
The Bible often refers to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Because Abraham believed (Rom.4:3), God chose him to be the beginning of the race of people through whom He would manifest Himself. Abraham became the father of our faith (Rom.4:16). One of the first promises God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2 and 3 is still in effect today:
"I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (3).
To show Abraham and his descendants that His promises were trustworthy, God personally entered into a blood covenant with him (Gen.17:1-8). Abraham's (and his descendant) part was to be obedient to God's instructions.
The covenant was an EVERLASTING covenant (Gen.17:7) and was made with Abraham and Jesus at the same time (Gal.3:16). Since the promise that God made with Abraham is an EVERLASTING covenant, it is yet to be fulfilled and is still valid today. God's covenant with Abraham will not be fulfilled (in it's fullnes) until Jesus returns and rules and reigns during the 1000-year Messianic Kingdom with His Bride(4). Israel is mentioned in Scripture some 2,293 times with at least 15 references to God's everlasting covenant (5).
God renewed this covenant through Isaac (Gen.26:1-4) and Jacob (Gen.28:10-14). Later God reiterated His promise to Jacob and changed his name to Israel (Gen.35:10). Jacob had twelve sons, who became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel (Gen.49). These twelve tribes have never been forsaken by God as their names are written on the twelve gates in the New Jerusalem (Rev.21:12). One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, had two sons by a Gentile wife. These sons, Manassah and Ephraim, were half Jewish and half Gentile, but Jacob adopted them into his own family. This was a foreshadow of the Gentile believers being grafted into Israel (Rom. 11). While Jacob gave the first-born, Manassah, his blessings, he gave his younger brother, Ephraim, the blessings of the first born. Ephraim is a prophetic picture of the non-Jewish remnant of the Bride of Messiah (6).
God renewed this covenant with the children of Israel at Mount Sinai by giving His further instructions--the TORAH. The nation of Israel was born on this day to be a light to the Gentiles. (In today's Bible versions, Torah has been translated as "law" but the correct terminology is "instructions") As long as God's people would follow His Torah, they would receive His covenant promises. By choosing the Torah, they would have life (Deut.30:19). If they became disobedient to the Torah, they would fall under God's judgment--the curse in Deuteronomy 28--and be dispersed throughout the world. Thus, the beginnings of the people of Israel began to show God's existence and blessings on His chosen people.
God knew that His people would not be able in themselves to keep His Torah, so He ordained an animal sacrifice to atone (cover) for their sins. Other animal sacrifices were instituted by God solely for the praise and honor in worshipping Him. However, God's ultimate plan was to send a Messiah, who would redeem His people from their sins. This Messiah is Yeshua, which in Hebrew means "salvation."
How would God's people recognize the Messiah when He came? In Leviticus 23 God gave a blueprint to follow in order to recognize His first and second comings. This blueprint gives instructions on celebrating the Feasts of the Lord, all of which point to the promised Messiah. We find in these feasts God's full outline of His redemptive plan for mankind. Each feast is a time in which the Messiah will DO something. In rehearsing these feasts year after year, Israel would be able to recognize their Messiah. The spring feasts teach of His first coming, while the fall feasts teach of His second coming. Each feast also signifies a spiritual step forward in the maturity of the believer. Sad to say, the priests of Messiah's day were so caught up in their traditions, most of them missed His first coming. Today the Church is so caught up in its traditions, it could repeat Israel's blindness and miss His second coming.
Let us first say that these feasts are "Feasts of the Lord" (Lev.23:2,4). Many in the Church today do not keep them, believing they are only for the Jews. But, God in His divine wisdom instructed that these festivals are for both Jew and non-Jew and are to be celebrated jointly with each other. The Lord is the Host of the festivals, and all Bible believers are His invited guests (4) (Ex.12:48; 20:8; Num.15:15,16; Isa.56:6,7). The feasts were to be celebrated by the people of God FOREVER (Ex. 12:14,17,24; Lev. 23:14,21,31,41), with the Feasts of Tabernacles being celebrated into the millennial reign of Messiah (Zech.14:16).
By keeping the feasts, there are three special blessings promised to the children of Israel in Exodus 34:23,24. As descendants of Abraham, we are now recipients of these promises as well.
Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you (deliverance) and enlarge your borders (prosperity); neither will any man covet your land (protection) when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year (3, parenthesis mine).
The first feast listed in Leviticus 23 is the Sabbath day, the seventh day of creation. This day is a foreshadow of the millennial reign of Messiah. There are many blessings for keeping the Sabbath holy. God instituted the Sabbath (Gen.2:2,3: Lev. 23:3; 26:2; Isa.56:6,7; 58:13,14), and nowhere in Scripture has He ever changed it from its original day. It is one of the ten commandments (Ex. 20:8) and a sign FOREVER that we love the Lord (Ex. 31:12-17).
Ezekiel 20:19, 20, also shows the Sabbath as a sign (or in Hebrew teachings (the wedding ring): I am the Lord your God: Follow my laws and be careful to observe My rules. And hallow My Sabbaths, that they may be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I the Lord am your God (3). Yeshua kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16), and, indeed, is Lord of the Sabbath (Mk.2:28).
As we will see below, when anti-semitism came into the Church, our Church fathers changed the Sabbath to coincide with the pagan traditions of the Gentile unbelievers.
There are seven main FEASTS OF THE LORD in Leviticus 23. Yeshua has fulfilled all of the springs feasts as follows
For a more detailed teaching on this subject, please read, "The Seven Festivals of the Messiah" by Eddie Chumney.
If God instituted the feast days with all their blessings and never changed them, and Yeshua, Paul, the apostles, and the first Church celebrated them, how did we lose these Jewish roots? Even though these people were all Jewish, hasn't their example been recorded for us to follow? Scripture and Church history will provide our answers.
There was nothing wrong with God's covenant with Abraham (Gen.12:1-3), for it was everlasting. The thing that was wrong was the hearts of His people--a stiff-necked people, whose hearts were made of stone. Thus, there was no need for a different covenant, but for different hearts. His plan was to send the Messiah, Yeshua, who would usher in a New Covenant, redeeming the people from their sins. The New Covenant was made possible by the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua. He then sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of the people. The New Covenant was not a different one, but a "renewed one" in which the indwelling Holy Spirit would change the "hearts of stone" to "hearts of flesh" (Jer. 31:31,33; Heb.10:16). This New Covenant never negated the covenant made with Abraham, but for the first time wrote the Torah on the new hearts of flesh, enabling God's people to keep the Torah. On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), the anniversary of the giving of the Torah, God came again in blazing glory as He had done at Mt. Sinai. But this time He wrote His commandments not upon tablets of stone, but upon the fleshly tablets of men's hearts, as the prophets had foretold (Jer.31:31-34; Eze.11:19,20; 36:26f, 27) (8).
This New Covenant was what Yeshua was explaining to Nicodemus in John 3:3,17 when he told him he must be "born again" to enter into the Kingdom of God. Paul further explains this in Romans 10:9,10: That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation(3). Those who personally accept Yeshua's death on the cross and trust in Him only for their salvation have their hearts "softened" or "circumcised." They become what is known as "saved" and can now honor God by growing and delighting in His Torah. This is not a one-time decision or prayer, but a lifetime commitment to serving the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--the God of Israel, living His Word by the power of the indwelling Spirit.
The Redeemer, the Messiah of Israel, is mentioned either explicitly or implicitly by type, in every book of the Bible. He was and is the hope of Israel. It is very important that Christians recognize that Yeshua is the promised Messiah of Israel. It is also essential to understand that in the last days God will make His Gentile "remnant" one with His Jewish "remnant" (Eze. 37:15-28) (6).
Through the death of Yeshua under the New Covenant, God made provision for Gentile believers to be "grafted" into the house of Israel (Rom.11). Gentile believers are fellow citizens of the nation of Israel (Rom.11:5,17; Eph.2:11-13,19). Believers are encouraged to study the writings of Moses and learn and adhere to the Torah which was taught in the synagogues every Sabbath even long after the death of Yeshua.(Acts 15:21).
Are you starting to see your Jewish roots? Christians are still under the covenant that God made with Abraham, father of our faith. We are his descendants (Gal.3:29).
It was not until approximately 200 A.D. that the New Testament was collected into a recognized corpus of writings that were listed as authoritative(5). Throughout this New Testament we find that Yeshua, Paul, the apostles, and the early church, all worshipped on the Sabbath and celebrated the feasts and new moons. Nowhere in Scripture does Paul state that God's instructions, the TORAH, the law, is done away with. In fact, he states that it is good, just, holy, spiritual, and excellent, and that he believed and fully followed the things written in the law and in the prophets (Rom.7:12, 14; 2:18; Acts 21:24;24:14). Paul took a Nazarene vow (Num.6) to prove that he was a Torah observant Jew and taught ot her Jewish believers in Yeshua to be Torah observant. (1) If Paul was keeping the law (Torah), why does the Church say that Paul was teaching others not to keep it?
The biggest lie Satan has propagated on the Gentile believers is that the Torah, God's instructions, His law, is no longer for today. His Torah is forever (Ps. 119:44). His instructions for a good life have never changed. Yeshua is the Word (John 1:1). Yeshua, the Word, is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb.13:8). Man has changed God's laws by his traditions and his hatred of the Jewish people.
Early in Church history, a total misunderstanding of the Book of Galatians developed. Only after one understands the Jewishness of Paul's writings can he obtain an accurate interpretation of the text. . . . Pauline statements, which at first might seem to disparage the law, were really directed not against the Law itself, but against that misunderstanding and misuse of it -- that of trying to keep Gentile converts from being taught they had to keep the Jewish covenant for salvation. The phrases "under the law" and "works of the law" were only used by Paul when addressing Gentile congregations who had mistakenly taught that they had to keep the law of the Jewish covenant to be saved(7).
Christians who believe in keeping the Torah are sometimes called "Judaizers" by their fellow believers. While there were (and perhaps still are) real Judaizers, it should be noted that the word Judaizers does not even appear in the KJV Bible. The first known use of the word did not occur until 1582, and if one searches for the word in the Scriptures, it will only be found in recent translations of the Bible. . . . Probably the best description of Judaizers is in Acts 15:1: "And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, and said 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.'. . . Judaizers were those who insisted that Gentiles needed a full, formal conversion to Judaism in order to be saved (8). In other words, the term "Judaizers" referred to those Jews who were teaching new Gentile converts that they had to follow the Torah in order "to be saved." Judaizing had nothing to do with adhering to the Torah as a means of instructions for living a fruitful life. Further, proponents who teach that God's Torah instructions--the law--are not for today need only look to Matthew 5:18 and Luke 16:17 to dispel this error. Early proponents who spoke for the law include Martin Luther, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, and many others.
There is not one instance where Yeshua or Paul attacked the law or any of its ordinances, but in every case supported it as the Word of God (5). If Yeshua, Paul, the apostles, and the early Church followed the law--the Torah--why should we not follow their example? Are we not to be like them? Indeed, we are to follow the examples set forth in the Word. But, the traditions of men have made the word of God of no effect, and the Church has been teaching as doctrines the commandments of men (Matt. 15:3,9).
One of the most important instructions God gave in His Torah was regarding man's worship to Him. This is where the doctrines of men have crept into the Church.
God only accepts worship, or a sacrifice, as set forth in His Word. We first see this with the two sacrifices of Cain and Abel. As instructed by God, Cain brought an animal sacrifice which was acceptable, while Abel brought an offering of grain, which was not acceptable.
At Mount Sinai, the children of Israel worshipped the Lord of Israel on a pagan altar, the golden calf (Ex.32:1-6). The children of Israel mixed the worship of the God of Israel with paganism and called it the worship of the God of Israel. This is the spiritual significance of the sin of the golden calf. God did not accept their sacrifice, and they came under God's judgment. Therefore, what happened to Moses, Aaron, and the children of Israel in Exodus 32:1 was a foreshadowing of future Christianity (4).
The same thing happened when Israel was divided into the northern and the southern kingdoms. As leader of the northern kingdom, Jeroboam foresaw that allowing the Israelites to go to Jerusalem to worship would cause them to assimilate back into the southern kingdom. Not only did he institute the worship of the God of Israel on two pagan altars with the golden calves at Dan and Bethel, but he also changed the days and times of worship (1K.12:25-33). Historically, Christianity has made this same mistake (4).
After the birth, death and resurrection of Yeshua the early Church fell into the same type of idolatry. The early church leaders led the people away from the faith of the first-century Church and the teachings of Yeshua and His disciples. Several hundred years later, Christianity became separated from the original Jewish Church which believed in Yeshua as Messiah, kept the Sabbath, observed the Biblical Festivals and followed the Torah. In doing so, the Christian Church began to mix the worship of God with the pagan religions around them(4). How did this all happen?
The first Church consisted of Jewish believers (Acts 2) and worshipped with non-believers in the synagogues. After Peter's revelation in Acts 10 approximately ten years later, the first Gentile conversions took place at Cornelius' house. However, the Gentile ways of worshipping their pagan gods were explicitly prohibited (Acts 15:19,20). These four requirements were the minimum requirements for the Gentiles to come into the Jewish faith(1). The Gentiles were encouraged to grow in the things of the Torah and to attend synagogue every Sabbath to learn of their new faith (Acts 15:21).
Gentile believers soon began to outnumber the Jewish believers, and as Paul warned, wolves within the Church came to divide the new believers. After the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua became less and less welcome in the synagogues. When the Romans won the war, it was not very popular to be associated with Judaism. As early as before 100 A.D., many Gentile believers had separated themselves from the Jews, the synagogue, worshipping on the Sabbath, and celebrating the feasts.
In 325 A.D. it was declared official by Constantine at the Council of Nicene (Roman decree), whereby worshipping on the Sabbath or in a synagogue was prohibited, as well as celebrating the feasts. In order to become a Christian under Constantine's reign, a new Jewish believer had to renounce all customs, rights, legalisms, unleavened breads and feasts ...new moons...synagogues, shabbats... everything Jewish, every right, law and custom (15). To make an even more defined division of the two sects, Constantine at this time declared that Christians would worship only on the first day of the week, now called Sunday, the day of the sun god. He further changed the observance of Passover to the spring pagan holiday of Ishtar, now known as Easter, as well as changing the birth of Yeshua from the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth) to the pagan winter solstice, the birthday of Nimrod on December 25, now known as Christmas(7). Nowhere in Scripture are we told to celebrate the birth of Yeshua, but we are commanded in Leviticus 23 to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Thus, we began to lose our Jewish roots as pagan idolatry entered into the worship of the God of Israel.
The present day Church still participates, some without knowledge, in this idolatrous worship of God by celebrating pagan holidays and the world's practices that go along with them. God did not accept Abel's sacrifice, nor the Israelite's golden calf, nor Jeroboam's pagan ways--neither will He accept the pagan ways of the present day Church.
God's family is now divided into two kingdoms--Judaism and Christianity. Both have preserved certain truths of God's Word and certain truths of His Kingdom. Both have erred in their ways. However, God has promised that one day His Kingdom will no longer be divided but that the two kingdoms will become one kingdom (Eze.37:15-27). In order for the two kingdoms to become one, Christianity needs to embrace the Torah and repent to God for breaking it and teaching other believers in Messiah to break it. Judaism needs to repent and acknowledge that Yeshua is the Messiah (1).
God wants to bring believers in these two kingdoms--traditional Judaism and Christianity--together to understand that the God of Israel has one family, one Torah and One Messiah (1). Since the Christian faith has its roots in the Torah, together they are one and the same faith in Yeshua (Rom.10:12; Eph.2:14). There is no such thing as a Gentile church.
God never meant for a new "religion" to be birthed at the death of Yeshua. Scripture shows that the early Christian Church was considered a sect of Judaism (Acts 28:22). Yeshua Himself said He came to fulfill the Torah, not do away with it (Matt.5:17). Christians are joint heirs with the Jewish people. In fact, Scripture says that anyone whose heart has been "circumcised" is the true Jew (Jer. 31; Rom.2:28,29). Why have Christians throughout the ages persecuted the Jews, their own people? Hosea 4:6 states it so well:
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law (Torah) of your God, I also will forget your children. (3, parenthesis mine).
Paul's admonishment to press forward to the high calling of God is to press forward to being a part of the Bride of Messiah. The Bride of Messiah is to be without spot or wrinkle. While only the blood of Yeshua can make us "righteous" before God, do you think the Bride of Messiah can be spotted with the wrinkles of worshipping on a pagan altar and on the wrong Sabbath and feast days? God will judge those in His Church who do not come out of this Babylonian system of worship. Therefore, the cry of God's heart to His people today is to flee this golden calf and Babylonian system and celebrate the Sabbath, the Biblical Festivals and keep His Torah. He is calling His remnant out in Revelation 18:
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her (Babylon), my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues(4). This faithful, mature remnant, the Bride, is a type of the Zadok priesthood (Eze.44), who will keep the Sabbath, the Biblical feasts and the Torah. The Torah is the Tree of Life (Prov.3:1,18), and those who eat of the tree of life have the right to enter the heavenly city of the New Jerusalem (Rev.22:14)(1). Only the Bride will live in the New Jerusalem in the continual presence of Yeshua as its light (Rev. 21). Believers who do not hear and obey what the Spirit is saying and remain in their pagan forms of worshipping the God of Israel will not have this privilege, but will comprise the nations which will come up to Jerusalem only once a year to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech.14:16). (Highly recommended, Who Is The Bride of Christ? by Eddie Chumney) see footnote 1 for ordering.)
by: Phyllis Petty
A couple of pertinent closing paragraphs from Part II
As further proof of errors which VW responds to:
So to answer the questions posed at the beginning: Yes, Christianity has Jewish roots which started with Abraham. And yes, because of the anti-semitic teachings of our Christian forefathers, we have lost these Jewish roots. Christianity is a continuation of Judaism and was never meant to be a separate form of worship. God in His mercy and grace is now bringing our Jewish roots back into the Church for all those who have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying. I encourage each of you today to lend an ear and come into the fullness of your Jewish roots by embracing the teachings of the Torah with a new enthusiasm for the second coming of our Messiah draweth nigh.
Remember, grafted-in Gentile believer, that you do not support the root (Israel), the root supports you (Rom.11:18). May it be understood clearly and never forgotten: Gentile believers have been grafted into Israel's tree, and they are nourished by the ancient Jewish root.
VW's response to errors in this article: "Returning to Jewish Roots?"