21. I don't understand the difference between Messianic Jewish and Messianic Israelite? I thought the whole Bible was Jewish, including the New Testament, and that we should return to its original Jewishness?
There is a world of difference between 21st century Jewishness and 1st century Jewishness, so much so that we make it a point at NCCG to make a clear distinction between the two by referring to the 1st century Jews as Judahites with members of the political entity of Judah called Judeans. Paul, for example, was not a Judean but a Roman by virtue of his citizenship in Antioch. The predominant tribe in Judea was Judah but also most of the tribe of Benjamin and smatterings from the other tribes who historically chose Judah rather than northern Israel in order to flee apostasy and stay close to the Temple. Was Paul a Judahite? No, he wasn't. He was a Benjaminite who grew up in Judea whilst holding Roman citizenship in what was then a Roman province.
So why aren't Jews Judahites? Well, some of them are, but the vast bulk of the Jewish people have no racial connections to Abraham, Jacob, or Judah at all - they are non-Hebrews (descendants of Eber) and non-Israelites (descendants of Jacob). The vast bulk of them are descendants from a Turkic tribe called the Khazars who were descended from Ashkenaz, son of Japheth - hence eastern Jews are called Ashkenazi.
Are Judahites Jews? Some of them, yes, but not all. Some Judahites went to Khazaria after its conversion to Judaism in the Middle Ages to teach them, and others went there for safety from Catholic Europe and the Islamic Middle East. So Judahites are to be found amongst the Jews.
Is the New Testament Jewish? How can it be! Is it even Judahite? Well, not entirely, no, because all the Pauline epistles were written by a Benjaminite and the Gospel of Luke was written by a Greek gentile. And though Timothy didn't write anything, he was half Judahite (on his mother's side) and half Greek.
The more correct designation would be to describe the New Testament as Israelite. Paul and the Judahite apostles like Matthew, Peter and John were all Israelites. Gentiles like Timothy and Luke became adopted into Israel by in-grafting but not necessarily into Judah (though they might have been - the Bible does not say). All gentile believers are grafted into Israel and into one of the twelve tribes, and many Israelites are mixed with the gentiles (as Timothy was) whose Israeliteness is being revealed without their ever having been a part of the Jewish community, including many Judahites.
The Bible was never Jewish - never has been and never will be. Even Moses wasn't a Judahite but a Levite. The Bible is Hebrew and Israelite and some of its authors are Judahite. If you are a Jew and convert to the salvation of Yah'shua (Jesus), then there is a small chance that you are an actual Judahite, especially if you are a Western Sephardic Jew. If you are a Jew then there is at least a 90% chance (if not higher) that you have no blood connections to Abraham, Israel or Judah, and the chances are even more remote if you are an Eastern Ashkenazi Jew.
What of the cultural aspect? Can the Jews, in spite of their heterogeneous and largely non-Israelite origin, claim to be the inheritors of the original Israelite or Judahite traditions? Inasmuch as they are Torah observers in the general sense, yes, but inasmuch as they have also invented their own laws in the Talmud which Yah'shua (Jesus) condemned, and inasmuch as they have embraced occultism through kabbalism, no they are not. The Jews are as contaminated by false teachings and spirits as the Gentile Christians and are by no means superior to them - Gentile Christians and Messianic Jews both, respectively, have truths that the other does not.
Messianic Judaism exists as an almost separate entity from Gentile Christianity on two grounds: (1) They want to be Torah-observant, which is good; and (2) They want to remain culturally Jewish and distinct from gentiles, which is not necessarily good. That needs careful explanation.
The Bible acknowledges only one culture, one Messianic Community (Church), one faith, one Lord (Yah'shua/Jesus), one baptism, and one faith (doctrine). Both the Judahites and Gentiles had to move from their respective religious and cultural points of origin into a new paradigm - Messianic Israel. The Judahites were required to retain their Torah (minus the parts Yah'shua/Jesus changed, abolished or filled up) but abandon their Talmud and legalistic view of salvation. The Gentiles were required to retain their New Birth and gradually become Torah-observant in manageable amounts as the Council of Jerusalem so instructed them. Major changes were required of both as Peter was to learn when he was harshly rebuked by Paul for gravitating towards Talmudic separateness again and away from a life in Christ. He taught the revelation that Yah'shua (Jesus) had given him that there is now no longer Gentile or Talmudic Judahite but only Messianic Israelite, just as there is no male or female in Christ, but only a redeemed child of Adam.
All Christians begin their spiritual life with a new birth, not with Torah! Obedience to New Covenant Torah (as opposed to Old Covenant Torah) is the natural spiritual response to the New Birth! You can't start with Torah and add a relationship in Christ to it. The New Birth implies just that - for Jew and Gentile alike - it implies ceasing being Jews and Gentiles (culturally, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, psychically, etc.) and being reborn as a Messianic Israelite. Only then can Torah be observed in the true Ruach (Spirit).
None of this is to say that we have nothing to learn from the Jews and especially the Messianic Jews, for they have inspired gentiles to return to Torah which is an excellent thing. However, Yahweh does not want further divisiveness. Messianic Judaism is a conglomeration of factions, sects and denominations, include antichrist ones who deny the deity of Yah'shua (Jesus) and who regard everything non-Jewish as impure and defiled - some even believe that gentiles converting to their brand of Messianic Judaism are perpetually second-class citizens in the Commonwealth of Israel (influenced as they are by some demonic Talmudic sects who believe that non-Jews are not properly human and can never be, even after conversion). Messianic Jews - even those that accept the deity of Yah'shua (Jesus) - are often sectarian and, deliberately or otherwise, have erected new walls of partition making two classes of believer.
Whatever Messianic Israel is, it isn't Jewish. It lies above and beyond mere cultural expressions with all their pagan accretions. But we are definitely Judahite, Ephraimite, Benjaminite and all the other tribes by either literal descent or by adoption.
Finally, we reject the notion that Yah'shua (Jesus) was (as Messianic Jews are so fond of drumming into us) "the Jewish Messiah". He wasn't. He was a descendant of Judah (together with many other races, including Canaanite), came to Judea, Samaria and Galilee, and became the Messiah of all men and women everywhere, first to the Judahites, Benjaminites, Levites and other Israelites of His time (you will read that He came first to the House of Israel, not just Judah), and then to the whole world through the apostles. Yah'shua is not the Jewish Messiah - He is the Second Adam, the Messiah of the whole Human Race of Judahite descent.
To constantly push - as many Messianic Jews so - that He is the "Jewish" Messiah is only, therefore, partly true (2-10%, since most Jews are Khazars) but exalts a particular tribe who historically were noted for their rebellion, apostasy and heathenism, and creates unholy associations with modern Khazar Jews who are for the most part violently antichrist. He did not come to represent a single race or to promote His own racial origin, important though He was Judahite in order to fulfil prophecy, but to save the world. He saved the world not by virtue of the fact that He was Judahite but because He was, and is, Elohim (God)! Far, better then, that we proclaim the Divine Messiah who was a descendant of Judah rather than the 'Jewish Messiah' who happened to be Elohim (God).
Everybody - Jew and Gentile alike - start as equals in the waters of baptism, and their racial or cultural origin is of no account as far as salvation is concerned. Indeed, if we are going to insist that race plays a part, then the most we can do is claim that everyone who is truly saved is in fact a descendant of one of the Tribes of Israel in some way.
We have been deceived - and Christians continue to be deceived - into believing that everything Jewish is holy by default. It isn't. And even if they were all true Judahites by descent, it would only show that those whom Yahweh has called to be His special representatives have descended into paganism, occultism and religious syncretism yet again. The modern Republic of Israel is one of the most sexually promiscuous countries in the world. Atheism is rife and at the other end is extremist and racist Orthodox Talmudic Judaism. The true racial Israelites are a tiny minority in a country which uses the name 'Israel' and of these (along with Khazar Jews and Arabs) only a tiny minority are actually Messianic Jews or Christians. The Israeli Republic is not the restoration of Biblical Israel. Rather, Biblical Israel (or at least Judah for the most part, with some Benjamin, Levi and Simeon) is hidden up within the counterfeit 'Israel' as a small seed that will eventually displace it.
New Covenant Christians are not, therefore, Messianic Jewish, but Messianic Israelite. Few of us know our actual racial lineage and even fewer of us actually care less, for what is important to us is, first, the New Birth, and second, our obedient response to this life in Yah'shua (Jesus) by obedience to Torah - not the Jewish version but the Biblical version. In this respect we most closely identify with the Karaite sect of Judaism which rejects all the Talmudic accretions and sticks closely to the Bible, though they are not, of course, Messianic. We have, in the end, nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism, by whatever name is goes by, whether Nazarene Judaism, Messianic Judaism, or whatever. We are not Messianic Jews even of we share much in common with them in terms of our love of Torah and our love of Yah'shua (or Yeshua as they mostly call Him). We are Sacred Name observers too but do not belong to the semi-cultic Sacred Name Movement of Messianic Jews which considers all those who do not use the Hebraic names to be unbelievers and on their way to hell!
Finally we must ask ourselves the question: what is a true Israelite? An Israelite is a person who worships the Elohim (God) of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) whose Name is Yahweh, obey His Torah (Law) and who, like Jacob (who was renamed Israel) has overcome the carnal disposition through faith and struggle. Furthermore, he is a person who trusts in the Messiah of Yahweh sent through the lineage of Judah and who accepts the Ephraimite rulers of Israel as the replacement firstborn of Reuben. That Joseph is the Chieftain of the House of Israel is not liked by Messianic Jews who often want to be seen as the rulers of the whole House of Israel as well as supplying the seed through which the Messiah was born. The glory of Judah is faithfulness to Torah, to set an example to Ephraim (Joseph), and to bring forth the Messiah. The glory of Ephraim was not to reject the Messiah (as Judah) did but to take Him to the world for two millennia while Judah remained in disbelief and so earn the firstborn right to be Head of the Tribal Confederacy. This Judah was obliged to do for centuries after Israel apostatised and was scattered until Messiah came, doing his brother's work for him, even establishing the first Messianic Community. Both Ephraim and Judah are indebted to each other, and both are indebted to Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). They have feuded for too long but now they must lay aside their mutual antipathy and suspicion and become true Israelites.
This page was created on 19.01.2004
Last updated on 19.01.2004
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