A Voice in the
This commentary begins with a note from an e-mail subscriber:
"I am a Jewish Believer in Jesus/Yeshua the Messiah. I've subscribe to your VW newsletter & find it very 'pro' Jewish. I'm forwarding this article to you and if possible would like your impression."
First of all, any True Christian must be "pro Jewish." Israel is the "apple of God's eye."(Zec2:8,etc) And as the article states in some of its opening arguments; Jesus was prophesied by Jewish prophets, was born as a Jew, of a Jewish mother, grew up learning the Torah, and observed Jewish customs. And in Mt15:26 asserts His Jewish "purpose" as He initially pretends to reject the Canaanite woman's request, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."(vs24)
So, this Jesus [Christ] of the "[Christ]-ians" was a Jew. The apostles were all Jews. But many Gentile "christians" forget this fact. They also, over the years, have persecuted Jews, calling them, hatefully, "Christ killers!" Forgetting that it was a "Roman" cross upon which Jesus was crucified, and it was Roman soldiers who scourged Him, and "worked Him over" so badly that "His visage was marred more than any man"(Isa52:14) such that He wasn't able to carry His cross.(Lk23:26)
However, there is a need to keep a clear distinction between Israel and the Church. In the past we have spoken of Gentile groups calling themselves "Christian" who misappropriate prophecies specifically to Israel, for themselves. There is also an error amongst Jewish people, who insist that Gentiles must become "Jewish" in order to experience the fullness of God, and the blessings of the Holy Spirit.
The article this reader submitted, "HOW DID THE CHURCH LOSE ITS JEWISH ROOTS?" by Phyllis Petty of Kyrie Ministries, will be posted at the VW website "Library" under "Discernment Archives" for your interest. But we will respond to a few points she makes, as this piece is quite "classic" to this error, and provides us an opportunity to address a few points, and show a little of what Scripture says, as space permits.
Before we get to the article, itself, a couple observations: 1) the author is a woman, in disobedience to Paul's command, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man."(1Tm2:12) and 2) the "ministry" this comes from is called "Kyrie Ministries." This seems rather "odd" as she points to the "Roman origins" of much that is practiced in the Church, condemning them. While it is true that "Kyrie" means "Lord" ...it is primarily known as the characteristic opening of the Catholic Mass, "Kyrie eleison" or "Lord have mercy." So, the question in my mind is "why?" ...such a choice for a name?
Now: to the article, and some responses...
Here we see two errors. One of the primary complaints against Jesus was the fact that He did NOT always "keep the law" ...that He would "transgress the law." He did not "wash" ceremonially.(Mt15:2) And they were continually "after" Him for either breaking the sabbath (Lk6:1-2) or telling others to do so by carrying their beds after He had healed them...many times, on the Sabbath.
And the second error here; and this is an example of something she (the author) does a LOT in this article; as do many others who teach falsehoods. What does Heb 13:8 have to do with the point she is trying to make...that He "lived an Orthodox Jewish Lifestyle"?? Neither Heb 13:8, nor its contextual verses have anything to do with the topic she is addressing. And she does this repeatedly throughout the article. But, if a person doesn't bother to look up, or doesn't know the passage, it looks "impressive", the fact that there is a "Scripture reference" next to the statement..!! And so the uninformed will think they just read "truth."
As she claims that Gentiles should keep the Jewish law, traditions, and observe all the feasts; she says there is "nothing wrong with the old covenants." And yet Paul is quite clear that "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Rom 10:4) This is touched on in the VW study series, "Seven Mysteries." And will be moreso in a future series after that, "Covenants and Dispensations."
Here's some more, "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. (Heb 8:7) Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;(vs8) "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. (vs9) And then the writer of Hebrews goes on to quote Jer 31:31-34 As he says, "In that He says, 'A new covenant' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (vs13)
This lady claims that Jeremiah 31 was fulfilled at Pentecost; stating, "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." Obviously, she directly contradicts, as she again states, "Nowhere in Scripture does Paul state that God's instructions, the TORAH, the law, is done away with." While God made it plain that there would be a "new covenant" she is insisting that is the old "Torah."
The whole book of Galatians berates those who were seeking to continue in the Law. And yet, she twists Galatians around by saying, "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." And in support of this, she also misinterprets Acts 15, particularly vs 21.
But what does Paul say? "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth...having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal3:1,3) And in Eph2:8-9 he writes, "For by grace you have been saved through faith...not of yourselves...not of works."
She says that all the early church people kept the Sabbath, and that "Sunday" observance was introduced by Rome and their worship of the sun god. And yet, we have references to the "first day of the week." (Acts20:7,1Cor16:2) And Paul, a Jew, says about the keeping of special days, "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind."(Rom14:5)
And now, the "biggie" which pretty much sums up the whole thing, and I believe is "key" to the understanding of this error, is her comments about the "Gentiles being grafted INTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL." And she references Romans 11 to make these claims. That when the "branches were broken off that I might be grafted in"(vs19) she would add, "grafted in...TO ISRAEL." She also looks at Ephraim and Manasseh being named as tribes (Gen48) is a foreshadow of Gentiles being brought "into Israel."
Well, the "branches were broken off." If the Gentiles are grafted "into Israel" then, they are also broken off. Think about it. Israel was temporarily broken off, in order that the Gentiles could be grafted in..."in" to "what" (or "Whom")? Jesus said, "I am the true vine..."(Jn15:1) When the wall of "enmity" between Jew and Gentile was broken down, the reconciliation was "TO GOD."(Eph2:14-16) Not, Gentile "to" Israel.
This is Israel's big "problem." They rejected their Messiah first time 'round, and many of the current Messianists do, as well; pointing people to Jewish tradition, rather than the LORD Jesus Christ, Himself. They still don't accept their Messiah, Who already came. As I was just reading this morning..."But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, say, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours."(Lk20:14) As they actually reasoned, "If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation." (Jn11:48) As they did then, so they do now...
And so, the LORD "[came] and destroy[ed] those vinedressers and [gave] the vineyard to others."(Lk20:16) ...Gentiles.(Acts28:28)
Paul's desire for Israel was "that they may be saved."(Rom10:1) While they had/have a zeal, they are "ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God." ...as "God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, TO THIS VERY DAY." (11:8)
They refuse to relinquish "ownership" of God, as this lady claims, "there is no such thing as a Gentile Church" ..as she misappropriates Israel and Judah's reunion in (Ez37:15-27) to mean Israel and the Church coming together, "In order for the two kingdoms to become one, Christianity needs to embrace the Torah and repent to God."
Do we see the need to "be diligent to present yourself to God... rightly dividing the Word of truth"(2Tm2:15)? To not simply accept what somebody says, but actually look up the references and see what God's Word DOES say, "to find out whether these things [are] so." (Acts17:11)
For instance, the Kyrie Ministries author says that Cain "brought an animal sacrifice which was acceptable, while Abel brough an offering of grain, which was not acceptable"...IN FACT according to Ge4:2-5 and Heb11:4 the roles were reversed: Abel's offering was received and Cain's was not, and because of it Cain became angry with Abel and killed him. As she gets that story exactly BACKWARDS, most of her teaching is similarly twisted.
But rest assured, in "that day" all Israel will be saved, under a "new" covenant. (The "Seven Mysteries" series touches on this; in the VW "Library") It will not be the Law/Torah. Nor will it be the Church/grace/Gentiles... It will be a "new covenant."