Baruch HaShem

A Messianic Synagogue

Shabbat Services 10:40am

6304 Belt Line Rd, Dallas TX 75254

Unconscious Christian Anti-Semitism

Objections often arise in protest of the Jewish believer’s referral to themselves as “Messianic Jews” rather than “Christians.” Why is it interpreted by Gentile Christianity as threatening? If we say that such a practice jeopardizes the unity of the Body, then what makes this particular difference stand out from other belief and practice differences that exist in the universal Body?

We should never forget that it was G-d Himself that separated the Jew from the Gentiles (the “nations”). It was G-d who made the original distinction: He called a man out to father a nation through which He could send His Son into the world. This separation is confirmed in the prophetic decree of Balaam (Num. 23:9): “Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.”

Did the distinction between Jew and Gentile end with the fulfilled mission of the Son of G-d? This is the position held by many who protest the “Messianic Jewish” identification, citing the purpose of Messiah to be that the Son became the sacrifice for the sins of the world in order that the distinction between Jew and Gentile might end. Rav Sha’ul (the apostle Paul) clearly states this purpose in Ephesians 2:14, “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity… for to make in Himself of two [peoples, Jew and Gentile] one new man.” But history has proven that the prophetic decree of Balaam remains in force; that Israel would remain a separated people who would not be assimilated by the other nations. This is as true in secular history as it is in the Body of Messiah. So, why is enmity still alive and well between Jews and Gentiles; especially those Jews and Gentiles who are believers?

For many Gentile Christians the answer points to a self-imposed separation by Jewish believers from the rest of the Body. There is no ethnic group of believers whose religious convictions and practices are perceived as so threatening to the rest of the Body as those of Jewish believers. This friction is centered on the fact that Israel stood alone before G-d as His chosen nation for some 2000 years before any other ethnic group had entrance to the G-d of all creation. He had called them out and separated them unto Himself.

As Rav Sha’ul indicates in Romans 9:4,5 “…to whom [Israel] pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of

G-d, and the promises: whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Messiah came…” The very separation which G-d placed between Jew and Gentile continues to this day to promote enmity between Messianic Jews and the Gentile Church. How can this be?

A key to understanding the friction between Jew and Gentile in the body of Messiah is found in Hebrews 2:8. The apostle tells us in the past tense that G-d “hast put all things in subjection under His (Yeshua’s) feet… but NOW we SEE NOT YET all things put under Him.” Although the L-RD has already won the victory in the spiritual realm, it has not yet manifested itself in the physical realm. Yeshua has definitely broken down the wall of separation between Jewish and Gentile believers, but we do not yet see this enmity under His feet.

This understanding can also be confirmed in Rav Sha’ul’s explanation of the “mystery” of Israel and the Church found in Romans 11 and Ephesians 2. For the purpose of G-d in Messiah is that “He might reconcile both [Israel and the Gentiles] unto G-d IN ONE BODY by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”

Yet, we see that the full accomplishment of the L-RD’s plan is dictated by His own timetable: the full reconciliation of both Israel and the Gentiles unto G-d in one body is not made perfect “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”

“For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery… that blindness in part is befallen Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved as it is written…” (Rom 11:25).

For Israel to be reconciled along with the Gentiles “unto G-d in one body” it is necessary that this appointed time of the L-RD come. Although it is scripturally consistent that the details of the plan of G-d remain unrevealed until that time, the Roman believers were warned strenuously by Rav Sha’ul against a conceited arrogance regarding Israel (Rom. 11). He said he would not have the Gentile brethren to be ignorant of the mystery of G-d’s ultimate plan of reconciliation.

When prophecy came forth of impending worldwide famine (Acts 11), a collection was taken among the Gentile nations which was sent via Sha’ul to the poor at Jerusalem. This was only right, as Sha’ul noted: “For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their [the Jews] spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.” Sha’ul cited the Gentile “indebtedness” to Israel to make special provision for the needs of their Jewish brethren even when the famine would have consequences “throughout all the world.”

Two scriptural mentions of such Gentile provision for the Israeli brethren (Romans 15 and Acts 11) show the establishment of this as an apostolic tradition. It was not until the fourth century that the Gentile Church officially severed relationship within the Jewish arm of the Body. This was done by cutting off financial aid to the believers in Israel, and through the adoption of a vow which all Jews were forced to take denouncing their “Jewishness” before they would be accepted into the “Church.” Jewish believers were literally cut off from the rest of the Body, and left to wither and die if they would not renounce all ties as the people of Israel.

Historic records state that the purpose of the severed relations between the Church and the believers in Israel stemmed from the desire of Rome to secure preeminence in leadership and control of the Body of Messiah. There was fear in the Roman Church leadership that the living–and believing–descendants of Yeshua’s own family would hold too much sway and detract from efforts to centralize Church government under Rome.

Before their deaths, at least three of the apostolic biblical writers warned of false teachers and doctrines which would arise from within the Body after their deaths, and which were in place already. The prophetic warning has been proven most accurate in the leadership which came to scorn the Jews and the foundations of the faith which G-d laid among Israel. This progressive scorn eventually led to rulings which demanded that Jews renounce their Jewish heritage in order to be accepted as a member of the Body of Messiah. To accept the Jewish Messiah–Yeshua the Nazarene–a Jew must first renounce everything Jewish.

Perhaps this is the trouble that Gentiles really have with Messianics: nothing more than the threat that Jewish believers are “presuming” to change things that have been “our” tradition for almost two thousand years. It is fine if Jews want simply to fuse themselves into our thing, but it is alarming to many that they should want to identify in any way with their pre- “Christian” covenant with G-d!

The great surge that we have witnessed in this century of Jews receiving Israel’s own Messiah is of G-d. It is paralleled to the physical return of Diaspora Jews from the four corners of the earth back to the land of G-d’s promise. Both phenomena are exactly according to the prophetic promises of G-d to Israel.

Perhaps we Gentiles should give more thought to the work G-d is now doing among the Jews instead of what Messianic Jews are doing differently from Christian tradition. We should examine the motives behind our objections to Messianic traditions. If it is really the unity of the Body that we Gentiles seek, we should not expect the Jewish believers to conform to our image. Rather, we should respect the fact that they, too are observing that which they are convicted is correct scripturally in order to retain a witness among their own people.

Objections often arise in protest of the Jewish believer’s referral to themselves as “Messianic Jews” rather than “Christians.” Why is it interpreted by Gentile Christianity as threatening? If we say that such a practice jeopardizes the unity of the Body, then what makes this particular difference stand out from other belief and practice differences that exist in the universal Body?

We should never forget that it was G-d Himself that separated the Jew from the Gentiles (the “nations”). It was G-d who made the original distinction: He called a man out to father a nation through which He could send His Son into the world. This separation is confirmed in the prophetic decree of Balaam (Num. 23:9): “Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.”

Did the distinction between Jew and Gentile end with the fulfilled mission of the Son of G-d? This is the position held by many who protest the “Messianic Jewish” identification, citing the purpose of Messiah to be that the Son became the sacrifice for the sins of the world in order that the distinction between Jew and Gentile might end. Rav Sha’ul (the apostle Paul) clearly states this purpose in Ephesians 2:14, “Having abolished in His flesh the enmity… for to make in Himself of two [peoples, Jew and Gentile] one new man.” But history has proven that the prophetic decree of Balaam remains in force; that Israel would remain a separated people who would not be assimilated by the other nations. This is as true in secular history as it is in the Body of Messiah. So, why is enmity still alive and well between Jews and Gentiles; especially those Jews and Gentiles who are believers?

For many Gentile Christians the answer points to a self-imposed separation by Jewish believers from the rest of the Body. There is no ethnic group of believers whose religious convictions and practices are perceived as so threatening to the rest of the Body as those of Jewish believers. This friction is centered on the fact that Israel stood alone before G-d as His chosen nation for some 2000 years before any other ethnic group had entrance to the G-d of all creation. He had called them out and separated them unto Himself.

As Rav Sha’ul indicates in Romans 9:4,5 “…to whom [Israel] pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of

G-d, and the promises: whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Messiah came…” The very separation which G-d placed between Jew and Gentile continues to this day to promote enmity between Messianic Jews and the Gentile Church. How can this be?

A key to understanding the friction between Jew and Gentile in the body of Messiah is found in Hebrews 2:8. The apostle tells us in the past tense that G-d “hast put all things in subjection under His (Yeshua’s) feet… but NOW we SEE NOT YET all things put under Him.” Although the L-RD has already won the victory in the spiritual realm, it has not yet manifested itself in the physical realm. Yeshua has definitely broken down the wall of separation between Jewish and Gentile believers, but we do not yet see this enmity under His feet.

This understanding can also be confirmed in Rav Sha’ul’s explanation of the “mystery” of Israel and the Church found in Romans 11 and Ephesians 2. For the purpose of G-d in Messiah is that “He might reconcile both [Israel and the Gentiles] unto G-d IN ONE BODY by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”

Yet, we see that the full accomplishment of the L-RD’s plan is dictated by His own timetable: the full reconciliation of both Israel and the Gentiles unto G-d in one body is not made perfect “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”

“For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery… that blindness in part is befallen Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved as it is written…” (Rom 11:25).

For Israel to be reconciled along with the Gentiles “unto G-d in one body” it is necessary that this appointed time of the L-RD come. Although it is scripturally consistent that the details of the plan of G-d remain unrevealed until that time, the Roman believers were warned strenuously by Rav Sha’ul against a conceited arrogance regarding Israel (Rom. 11). He said he would not have the Gentile brethren to be ignorant of the mystery of G-d’s ultimate plan of reconciliation.

When prophecy came forth of impending worldwide famine (Acts 11), a collection was taken among the Gentile nations which was sent via Sha’ul to the poor at Jerusalem. This was only right, as Sha’ul noted: “For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their [the Jews] spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.” Sha’ul cited the Gentile “indebtedness” to Israel to make special provision for the needs of their Jewish brethren even when the famine would have consequences “throughout all the world.”

Two scriptural mentions of such Gentile provision for the Israeli brethren (Romans 15 and Acts 11) show the establishment of this as an apostolic tradition. It was not until the fourth century that the Gentile Church officially severed relationship within the Jewish arm of the Body. This was done by cutting off financial aid to the believers in Israel, and through the adoption of a vow which all Jews were forced to take denouncing their “Jewishness” before they would be accepted into the “Church.” Jewish believers were literally cut off from the rest of the Body, and left to wither and die if they would not renounce all ties as the people of Israel.

Historic records state that the purpose of the severed relations between the Church and the believers in Israel stemmed from the desire of Rome to secure preeminence in leadership and control of the Body of Messiah. There was fear in the Roman Church leadership that the living–and believing–descendants of Yeshua’s own family would hold too much sway and detract from efforts to centralize Church government under Rome.

Before their deaths, at least three of the apostolic biblical writers warned of false teachers and doctrines which would arise from within the Body after their deaths, and which were in place already. The prophetic warning has been proven most accurate in the leadership which came to scorn the Jews and the foundations of the faith which G-d laid among Israel. This progressive scorn eventually led to rulings which demanded that Jews renounce their Jewish heritage in order to be accepted as a member of the Body of Messiah. To accept the Jewish Messiah–Yeshua the Nazarene–a Jew must first renounce everything Jewish.

Perhaps this is the trouble that Gentiles really have with Messianics: nothing more than the threat that Jewish believers are “presuming” to change things that have been “our” tradition for almost two thousand years. It is fine if Jews want simply to fuse themselves into our thing, but it is alarming to many that they should want to identify in any way with their pre- “Christian” covenant with G-d!

The great surge that we have witnessed in this century of Jews receiving Israel’s own Messiah is of G-d. It is paralleled to the physical return of Diaspora Jews from the four corners of the earth back to the land of G-d’s promise. Both phenomena are exactly according to the prophetic promises of G-d to Israel.

Perhaps we Gentiles should give more thought to the work G-d is now doing among the Jews instead of what Messianic Jews are doing differently from Christian tradition. We should examine the motives behind our objections to Messianic traditions. If it is really the unity of the Body that we Gentiles seek, we should not expect the Jewish believers to conform to our image. Rather, we should respect the fact that they, too are observing that which they are convicted is correct scripturally in order to retain a witness among their own people.

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