Frequently Asked Questions
Here we try to answer questions regarding our Biblical roots, our Hebraic roots, as related to Scripture and to our life today, to help you walk closer to HaShem.
If you have a question you'd like to see added to this page, please email it to Mike.
Here are the promises that they can stand on. Joined To Hashem, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) ministry to teach the Hebraic perspective of faith in and obedience to the One True God. Cognizant of the prophecy of Jeremiah that "...in the last days the Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, 'Our fathers have inherited only falsehood, futility and there is no value in them.' (Jeremiah 16:19) and the promise of restoration in the last days voiced by the apostle Peter in Acts 3: 19-21 when he spoke of the "restoration of all matters which Elohim spoke through the mouth of His set-apart prophets from of old..." to happen just before the coming of the Messiah, we are committed to diligently seek and share the eternal Truths of the Scriptures as accurately as His grace enables us to do. We use the name HaShem, which literally means "The Name," to refer to our God, Creator of the universe, for several reasons. The first one is respect. For too long the world, and unfortunately the church have used the names of God in a manner that could be termed "in vain". Mankind has lost respect for the creator of the universe and for His name. God has many names that He has used thru the centuries to introduce Himself to mankind. With each name was another attribute of who He is. There is no doubt that we can not comprehend all that He is at one time. A favorite Jewish author said it like this, "If I understood all that He is, I would be Him, and I am not". There is no way that man will ever comprehend the Almighty, yet man has through the centuries tried to bring Him down to our level, many times through familiarity of His names. The use of the term HaShem is to encompass each of His names and give reverence to all that He is. The wonderful part that is added on though, is that I also have the right as one of His children to call Him Abba, Father, Daddy. In other words, why does this ministry exist and on what scriptures do we stand? Let me start with scripture, Isaiah 56: 6-8. I encourage you to read these words in your own Bible before going on. Isaiah speaks of the "foreigner." In Hebrew this term is used for a people that are not related by blood, but are living among you, as one of you, obeying the laws of your land. Could this be the people that are being spoken of in Romans 11? Here are the responsibilities of these people:
Joined To Hashem, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) ministry to teach the Hebraic perspective of faith in and obedience to the One True God.
Cognizant of the prophecy of Jeremiah that "...in the last days the Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, 'Our fathers have inherited only falsehood, futility and there is no value in them.' (Jeremiah 16:19) and the promise of restoration in the last days voiced by the apostle Peter in Acts 3: 19-21 when he spoke of the "restoration of all matters which Elohim spoke through the mouth of His set-apart prophets from of old..." to happen just before the coming of the Messiah, we are committed to diligently seek and share the eternal Truths of the Scriptures as accurately as His grace enables us to do.
We use the name HaShem, which literally means "The Name," to refer to our God, Creator of the universe, for several reasons. The first one is respect. For too long the world, and unfortunately the church have used the names of God in a manner that could be termed "in vain". Mankind has lost respect for the creator of the universe and for His name. God has many names that He has used thru the centuries to introduce Himself to mankind. With each name was another attribute of who He is. There is no doubt that we can not comprehend all that He is at one time. A favorite Jewish author said it like this, "If I understood all that He is, I would be Him, and I am not". There is no way that man will ever comprehend the Almighty, yet man has through the centuries tried to bring Him down to our level, many times through familiarity of His names.
The use of the term HaShem is to encompass each of His names and give reverence to all that He is. The wonderful part that is added on though, is that I also have the right as one of His children to call Him Abba, Father, Daddy.
In other words, why does this ministry exist and on what scriptures do we stand?
Let me start with scripture, Isaiah 56: 6-8. I encourage you to read these words in your own Bible before going on.
Isaiah speaks of the "foreigner." In Hebrew this term is used for a people that are not related by blood, but are living among you, as one of you, obeying the laws of your land. Could this be the people that are being spoken of in Romans 11? Here are the responsibilities of these people:
There is so much more within those words of Isaiah for each of us, but may each of us "sh'mah", (hear intelligently). The words of the Rabbis are so fitting here: "Through doing, comes understanding." Start to live the responsibilities and watch the promises flow.
Because I want to know what the original, Hebrew scriptures said, I study from several versions or translations that help me better understand the original language and meaning.
I currently use for general reading the Complete Jewish Bible, translated by David Stern, largely from the traditionally preserved "Masoretic Text" of the Hebrew Bible, which restores the Hebraic unity of the Bible, with the particular objective of showing "that the books of the "Renewed Covenant" are Hebraic through and through." David serves as a forerunner to translators and translations yet to come from the excellent linguistic research currently in progress, including study of the Dead Sea scrolls. His translation is very readable, and includes many notes to help us understand more of our Hebraic roots.
The Scriptures, is an excellent literal translation of the Tanakh and the Messianic Scriptures.
Regarding translations, to quote from David Stern:
"While on the subject of the translation-and/or paraphrasing process, I want to make some general remarks about translations. First, it is a common belief that there is such a thing as a 'best' translation of a text from one language to another. I question that. Languages have different words, different syntaxes, different sentence structures, different semantics, different cultures out of which they arise and evolve, and many other differences; so that translation cannot be a simple, automated process. Moreover, readers differ. Some prefer a simple style with a modest vocabulary, while others respond to a more elegant or complex style with a larger vocabulary. Even the concept of accuracy is reader-dependent -- what scholars might consider an accurate translation might fail to accurately communicate to less informed readers. If translators fail to consider who their readers are, aren't the translators responsible for the lack of communication? Clearly some translations are, by all reasonable standards, worse, while others are better. But because readers differ, no one version can be best for all."
See also Translations of Scripture.
Our friends and clergy have seldom been taught much, if anything, about Hebraic roots. We live in a time of restoration, when God is restoring a hunger and thirst for His Truths to those earnest souls who seek to be closer to Him. In restoration, things that were lost are found, and recovered. Hebraic roots were lost by the church early in its history, nearly 2,000 years ago. They are currently being found and recovered.
Most clergy and most lay teachers teach what they were taught, so we can't be too critical of them. Tradition has much more influence on our beliefs, attitudes and practices than we generally realize. As Jack Deere, former professor of Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary puts it in his book, "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit,"
"We all have many reasons why we believe and do things, and Scripture is only one of those reasons. Sometimes, Scripture is not even a primary reason for our beliefs or our practices, no matter how much we may protest to the contrary.The "church" has been quite anti-Semitic since the fourth century AD. Consequently the "church" has generally taught believers to concentrate on the New Testament, and treat the Old Testament (which contains the foundations of Hebraic Roots) as "old," secondary and not to be trusted for doctrine. The teaching of Yeshua that "Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete" (Matthew 5:17 CJB) was ignored, by most church leaders, seminaries, pastors and therefore most laymen. Romans 11, with its direct statements about the relationship between Gentile and Jewish believers, was neglected. Only within the last few decades has the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) awakened in an increasing number of individuals the hunger to accept and practice the entire Scripture.
The Restoration of our Biblical and Hebraic roots is coming to a remnant (See Joel 2:32) who desire more than tradition; they want to dig and learn Truth. Once you have learned Truth, you want more and more, you want to study and learn, you desire Truth over tradition. If you are part of this remnant, you are a spiritual leader, you are out front, you are plowing new ground, where stumps left in the ground add to the work of plowing, you will experience loneliness because you are out front, and you must do your own study because you have stepped out in front of tradition. You are a pioneer, you lead the pack, you capture your own meat for your soul, you don't require spoon feeding, which relies more on tradition than on Scripture.
Matthew Henry's commentary on Zechariah 8:23 addresses the both the historical and current interest of Gentiles to seek out Hebraic roots for guidance:
"Observe upon what inducement they shall join themselves to the church, not for the church�s sake, but for his sake who dwells in it (v. 23): Ten men of different nations and languages shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, begging of him not to outgo them, but to take them along with him. This intimates the great honour they have for a Jew, as one of the chosen people of God, and therefore well worthy their acquaintance; they cannot all come to take him by the hand, or embrace him in their arms, but are ambitious to take hold of the skirt of his robe, to touch the hem of his garment, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you. The gospel was preached to the Jews first (for of that nation the apostles were) and by them it was carried to the Gentiles. St. Paul was a Jew whose skirt many took hold of when they welcomed him as an angel of God, and begged him to take them along with him to Christ; thus the Greeks took hold of Philip's skirt, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus, Jn. 12:21. Note, It is the privilege of the saints that they have God with them, have him among them - the knowledge, and fear, and worship of him; they have his favour and gracious presence, and this should invite us into communion with them. It is good being with those who have God with them, and those who join themselves to the Lord must join themselves to his disciples; if we take God for our God, we must take his people for our people, cast in our lot among them, and be willing to take our lot with them."Thus many Gentiles are "in these days" "grabbing hold" of full-Bible teaching and practice as a way to draw closer to HaShem and Yeshua, who "completed" (His words) the Torah. Full-Bible teaching and practice appears Hebraic because it was written by Hebrews in a Hebraic culture and environment. Full-Bible teaching and practice appears Hebraic or Jewish because Yeshua himself was a practicing Jewish Rabbi. (See Brad Young's "Jesus the Jewish Theologian.")
Good question, but hard to answer not knowing where you are. If you live in a densely populated area, with, say, 50,000 people or more near you, you probably have one or more home study groups and maybe a congregation with a few like minded individuals. Word of mouth is probably the best way to find them. You might also call around to the various pastors near you and ask the question, "Do you have anyone in your congregation who is interested in Hebraic roots?" Of course, don't be discouraged if you get the response, "What do you mean?" Just use that as an open door to witness, and make the next phone call. And don't limit yourself to one denomination or group of denominations -- we minister to folks in most denominations. If, however, you live in a more sparsely populated area, you may have more trouble finding them.
Leadership (See the previous answer) is lonely, but rewarding. Although crowds aren't automatic, we do need to fellowship together. We pray, and hope you pray, that you as a leader will find like-minded folks nearby. We must trust God to work His way in our lives. If you don't find like-minded people around you, be a bright enough light that others will be attracted to you.
As Jeremiah 31:34 tells us, "No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, �Know the LORD,� because they will all know me." As we move toward that day, I see folks transitioning to letting God teach them, to growing up and standing alone in their acquaintance with God, in their knowledge of Him, and in their obedience to His commandments. History and Scripture are replete with descriptions of leaders who were alone most of the time, meditating, thinking, praying, growing in leadership stature. Yeshua is a prime example. Folks often didn't understand them, and were often suspicious of them, but that was OK — they were leading and following Scripture.
We know and minister to folks across the United States and on other continents. We would be glad to try to put in touch with someone nearby if you will email us, although we cannot promise you success -- we can only try.
Attendance at one of our nearby meetings may allow you to make contact with like minded believers. If you would like to host a meeting and advertise it to bring together like minded folks, please contact us.
The correct name for the Messiah in Hebrew is Yeshua. The name was dictated by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) himself, in Matthew 1:21 (CJB). "She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means 'Adonai saves,'] because he will save his people from their sins." So, Yeshua is what Yosef and Miriam called Him. Why shouldn't we? One of the greatest honors we can bestow upon a person is to call him or her by their correct name, in this case, Yeshua — not "Jesus," a transliteration of the Greek Iesous. Do we want to continue in tradition or do we want to use our newfound truth to properly honor Him?
Shakespeare asked, "What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," writing from a western, Greek/Roman mindset. And, yes, the Messiah hears us call Him by any reverent name we choose. Salvation comes by truly accepting Him for who he is, our Redeemer.
But in Scripture, written from an Eastern, Hebraic mindset, the relation between a name (shem) and a thing (dvar) is of fundamental importance. In the Hebraic mindset, naming and being are linked together to form a unity. The right use of a name denotes a right relationship with the thing named. Adam established dominion over the creatures that God brought to him by naming them. The Hebraic mindset understands words to be of fundamental importance, since davar in Hebrew means "word" as well as "thing," implying that knowing the thing is to know the word.
Western culture uses names primarily to identify persons, places and things. In ancient Hebrew, a name (shem) had symbolic and often prophetic significance, so much so that the name of a person was linked to that person's life, reputation, character, and even spiritual destiny. Acts 4:11-12 (CJB) tells us, "This Yeshua is the . . . There is salvation in no one else! For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by whom we must be saved," implying that His name is critical to our salvation.
This is not to say you must use the name Yeshua to ensure your salvation. But we prefer to use His Hebrew name rather than His Greek name. Might He not feel we are honoring Him more highly by calling Him by His real name? In spite of tradition?
Consider the following. Do we translate names today? Are Khomeini, or Idi Amin, or Chiang Kai Chek, or Usama Bin Laden translated? No, they may be transliterated from Arabic or Chinese or whatever characters into Latin characters, but not translated, so they "sound" the same in a Latin language as in the original language. So why not transliterate the Hebrew into Yeshua, giving the Messiah as much respect as we give those characters?
Briefly, that is where it all started, and that is where it will end. "Many peoples will go and say, 'Come, let's go up yo the mountain of Adonai, to the house of the God of Ya'akov! He will teach us about His ways. and we will walk in His paths.' For out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of Adonai from Yerushalayim." (Isaiah 2:3) Pray for shalom in Yerushalayim; may those who love you prosper. (Psalm 122:6) God's dwelling place is in Jerusalem (Ezra 7, Micah 4:2, Matthew 5:35, for example). The Lord will rule and reign over the earth from Jerusalem (Jeremiah 3:17, Joel 3:16-21, Zechariah 2:12, Revelation 3:12, 21:2, 10, for example).
So why not follow HaShem's lead and emphasis on Israel? To do otherwise would be to ignore His Word, His way, His people. To do so would be anti-Semitic, which is satanic!
Israel has been a forgotten place for many years. Describing her as "truly . . monotonous and uninviting," Mark Twain wrote in 1867, "Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village; the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was the pride and the glory of Israel, is gone."
But no more! Jerusalem and all Israel bustles with the restoration of the land, of the nation, of the people, all in fulfillment of Scripture. HaShem is using restoration of things spiritual and of things political to focus His remnant on His foundational teachings, especially Torah and His "forgotten" commandments. Analogous to a person who revisits the place of his birth, from which he moved early in life, to relearn the place, the old-timers, their manners, their customs, and their beliefs, so as to learn who he is, so are we revisiting our spiritual heritage and learning who we are. This restoration of our Hebraic roots benefits Israel, yes, but it benefits us tremendously and for eternity.
We believe the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, " I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
Far too little emphasis has been placed on the Scriptural requirements for receiving HaShem's blessings. Far too many Scriptures have been misinterpreted by the church, leading to gross misconceptions about Israel, things Hebraic, the teachings of Yeshua, His commandments, and therefore His blessings.
We are trying to do our part to come back to the real teachings of Yeshua, of the Torah, and of the whole Bible, "rightly divided."
We in no way intend to ignore other aspects of the walk with Yeshua, e.g. orphans, widows, needy, missions, etc. A major part of our ministry is to those groups of people, through our Isaiah 56 Project which can be found on our Home Page.
As discussed previously, few church leaders have been taught the Truths we teach and preach. Most of us pass on to others what we have been taught. We are taught from birth to comply, to color within the lines, to think within the box. Our Greek mindset leads us to the attitude that, "I am to teach you, and then you are to parrot what I've said." If we don't do so, we do poorly on exams. Such attitudes are in direct opposition to Hebraic understanding, that, "After you teach me, I am responsible to build on that foundation, to take that knowledge farther." That concept is behind our blessing of children at Shabbat, for example, to empower them to grow beyond our stature — spiritually, mentally, emotionally and academically.
Why do you emphasize the Old Testament (We prefer the term "Covenant") instead of the New Testament (We prefer the term "Renewed Covenant."
For example, how can we understand the structural design of a building unless we know and understand the foundation, or first story, of that building? If we try to build from the top down, say build the second story first, the law of gravity doesn't allow success. This natural observation certainly applies to the spiritual.
Unless we know and understand the Torah, (First five books," we can't even know who Yeshua is! Knowing and understanding the Torah, Prophets and Writings is not over emphasis, but rather correct emphasis, as we pursue HaShem and His plan for our lives, including the Renewed Covenant. This total knowledge allows us to understand how Yeshua, Shaul (Paul), Ya'akov (James) and others built on the Torah. For example, as verse delineated in the Complete Jewish Bible, Shaul quoted from the Torah 84 times, and from the Torah, Prophets and writings combined 222 times.
By Yeshua's own words (Matthew 5:17), He came to complete (teach correctly) the Torah and Prophets, not to replace them, not to diminish their priority, but to detail for us the complete building, in our analogy, whose foundation and first story are described in the Covenant, and which completion is soon to come.
We have all become interested because, "It's God." It's something that He is doing in our day. To answer this question is akin to describing God. His ways are far above our ways. I often hear, "I wish I had known these things years ago." So do I, but that was not His plan. HaShem has looked on our hearts like He looked on David's, on the prophets', and disciples' and found vessels He could use. Why did He choose Abraham, for example? He is no respecter of persons, but He chose Abraham, Moses, etc. as leaders because He knew they would get the job done.
So why have you and I been called? Why have we been given the thirst and hunger? He has called us because He sees something in us that we don't see. He sees that we have abilities, from Him, of which He has need. Realizing that call on our lives is very humbling, realizing that we have been asked to serve in His ministry, in His Kingdom.
You are fulfilling prophecy. The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) has led you into understanding, a closer walk, and a fuller life in HaShem. And I say that very sincerely. You are not alone, by any stretch of the imagination. Although few pastors and congregations appreciate our Hebraic roots, the numbers are increasing rapidly.
Zechariah 8:23 (CJB) reads "When that time comes, ten men will take hold -- speaking all the languages of the nations -- will grab hold of the cloak of a Jew and say, 'We want to go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'" Your yearning for Hebraic understanding is a fulfillment of that prophecy.
If the church had been straight up about the entire Scripture and Hashem's chosen people throughout the centuries, things Hebraic would be a natural, pervasive part of our heritage. But such has not been the case. Therefore the prophecy in Jeremiah 16:19 (CJB), "Adonai, my strength, my fortress, my refuge in time of trouble, the nations will come to you from the ends of the earth, saying, �Our ancestors inherited nothing but lies, futile idols, completely useless."
No, they didn't write the Bible. But neither did Matthew Henry, Weirsbe, Scofield, or any of the multitude of non-Jewish commentators or writers we employ in our study. Underlying the question is a hint of anti-Semitism. Why should we even question the commentary, writings and thoughts of Rabbis who have spent decades studying the Word, and who may understand its deeper meanings better than we, because they interpret it from and in the Hebraic setting in which it was written.
Study of Scripture, and of early church history, reveals that "myriads" (Acts 21:20 NKJV) of Jews accepted Yeshua as Messiah. Many rabbis were undoubtedly among those numbers. Many Jews today accept Yeshua, including many rabbis. Why should we look down on Jews as a race just because the religionists among them couldn't see Yeshua because of the scales on their eyes? Remember they were blinded in part, for the benefit of Gentiles (Romans 10:25). As a Gentile, I am forever grateful for that grace, and love my Jewish brethren very deeply. While they are blinded in part, what they do see, they see very well. Their hearts and minds were and are more in tune with the history, culture and spirit of biblical days. They can teach us many insights.
I can see how my beloved Jewish brethren, with their blood lines and their devotion to HaShem, would be allowed to be part of His family. But for me, a foreigner (Exodus 12:43, 45; Leviticus 22:25; Deuteronomy 14:21), I had no right to be allowed into the family, until the "grafting in" policy was instituted by HaShem. If the word "adopted" had been around, I suspect Shaul would have used it here.
We are not adopted into Christianity, however, (important point!) but into the family of Abraham! Big difference! When a person is adopted into a family, he lays down the traditions of his previous family, and takes up the traditions of the new family into which he is adopted.
Christianity is not the religion of Abraham, of Moses and the Torah, or of Yeshua, but rather was formed sometime after 70 AD, when the Gentiles took over the group of people called "The Way," also termed Nazarene Israel, who followed the Torah and all that Yeshua taught about it. The Jews had evangelized the world so well that they were outnumbered by the Gentiles, who chose to depart from Torah (because of anti-Semitism) and from Yeshua's teachings on it, and instead to follow Greek and pagan practices, resulting in a church, first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26), almost unrecognizable as deriving from Yeshua's ministry.
Paul used the term in Romans 11:17-24 to describe the relationship between Gentiles who come to believe in Yeshua and HaShem's chosen people, Israel.
See also Romans 2:28-29; 9:8; Galatians 3:7; 3:29; 4:28-31 for Scripture that describes how believing Gentiles become part of the spiritual nation of Israel.
By understanding that life is a journey, walking closely with HaShem, as His child, while learning from Him is not an event that happens instantaneously, but rather a process that happens over time. We take our lives where we are, and we move forward. We allow HaShem to teach us as we walk. Judaism teaches that the purpose of all that has happened in our lives until now was to bring us to the point of where we are in Him today. God has brought each of us to this point to lead us on, regardless of our past — sins, paganism, ignorance, unfaithfulness, disobedience are all history — we are to move on in His light.
We realize that, sad to say, most fellow believers and most pastors will have little, if any, interest in studying with you. We empathize with you. However, often the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) will reveal believers with similar interests. Home study groups are springing up in many localities. You may be able to start your own; we'll help you every way we can.
Several ways of learning more are possible, including:
We do encourage you to be careful about the doctrine of ministries, books, movements you study with! Some movements are not as biblically founded as we believe HaShem would desire. Some movements stray from full acceptance of Yeshua's teachings. Some have even failed to recognize the "fine line between renouncing the pagan elements of Christianity and renouncing Yeshua Himself that many don't seem to be able to hold at the point of falling off the edge." Some who have studied Hebraic Roots have converted to Judaism, renouncing Yeshua as the Messiah in doing so. "All too often, the Torah becomes the focal point and Judaism the identity rather than Yeshua remaining the cornerstone of our faith."
Try to find a mentoring figure, even if he or she is long distance, to assist you with discipline, understanding and authority. The Internet has much information; a mentor can help you separate the wheat from the chaff. We are endeavoring to record, write and make available to you as much help as we physically can.
Absolutely not! We should worship HaShem every day of the week! In our home. In our workplace. In every activity of our life.
What is scripturally wrong is to say that God has changed Saturday to Sunday. Believers in Yeshua have traditionally been erroneously taught that "Sunday is the Sabbath," a fallout of early Hellenization of the church. Sunday worshippers don't rest on Sunday; rather they often scurry to worship service, where the family is likely separated, followed by going out to eat, forcing restaurant workers to work, possibly followed by shopping (Scripture has plenty to say about work, buying and selling on the Sabbath), and maybe going visiting. That is not a day of rest! Nor are the activities of the day holy! Shabbat and the New Moon will be observed in the world to come (Isaiah 66:23) and I just don't believe it will be on Sunday, the first day of the week!
But biblically, the Sabbath was given by HaShem to man for rest. He even made it one of the ten commandments. Exodus 20:8-11 (NIV) reads: "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
Yeshua and his early followers certainly worshipped on the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. (Mark 1:21; Mark 6:2; Luke 4:16; Luke 4:31; Luke 13:10; Acts 13:14; Acts 13:42, 44; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:4) They followed the commandment, "Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you."
The introduction of Sunday-worship into the early church was a gradual process. It was motivated by the desire of early Christians to separate themselves (in the eyes of outsiders) from the Jews. Simultaneously, the Jews were introducing different changes to separate themselves from the Christians. There are many books explaining the shift from Saturday to Sunday, for example "From Sabbath to Sunday" by Samuele Bacchiocci. When Christianity became the official Roman religion under Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D., Sunday became the officially recognized day of Christian rest. But this was because influential bishops, including the Bishop of Rome (The Pope) supported Sunday. Sunday was called "The Lord's Day". Saturday was still called "the Sabbath." It was not until the Reformation that some people started calling Sunday, "the Sabbath."
One of the things that discredited Martin Luther's claim of "Scripture only", as far as the Catholic bishops were concerned, was that he did not return to Saturday-Sabbath observance.
Sabbath worship is only one example of biblical commandments that have been altered by the church "because it is Jewish." For example, this 1851 poem by Roswell F. Cottrell:
When we present God's holy law,Whether you worship on the first or last day of the week is NOT, however, a test of salvation. My desire is to be like Yeshua, to follow in His footsteps, as much as lies within me. If He commanded the seventh day as the day of rest, and if He Himself worshipped on this day, I want to do so also.
Long story. Sad story. Shortened version: Spiritual drifting from Torah. Failure to "hear" Romans 11.
The first century AD church, having sprung from the synagogue, following the message of Yeshua, proclaimed itself the fulfillment of Israel. (Matthew 10:6; 5:17; John 8:58) The synagogue looked upon the new movement as just another Jewish sect, and His followers hoped that all Israel would embrace Yeshua's teachings. The first "church" was a Jewish church in the leadership, membership and worship; it remained within the precincts of the Synagogue.
It soon became clear, however, that the majority of Jews would not follow Yeshua. This realization was disconcerting to His followers, whose beliefs were built on the Jewish scriptures and the Jewish Messiah. The Synagogue resented Yeshua's claims, especially that He announced Himself as the sole way to the Father, asserted His priority to Abraham (John 8:58), and instructed His followers to go and "make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:19) By 80 AD synagogues were weeding out His followers from services. In 130 AD a majority of Jews hailed Bar Kokba as the Messiah, finally dashing the hope of Yeshua's followers for unity.
By 100 AD the attitude of Yeshua's followers toward Judaism had stiffened. The hostility of the Synagogue and the refusal of the majority of Jews to follow their teachings despite the apostolic preaching was increasingly regarded as blindness and malice. "Church" leadership turned acrimonious in their refutation of Judaism. Of what to accuse the Jews? Saint John Chrysotom (344-407 AD) wrote they were men who are "lustful, rapacious, greedy, perfidious bandits. . . inveterate murderers, destroyers, men possessed by the devil" whom "debauchery and drunkenness have given them the manners of the pig and the lusty goat." "They have surpassed the ferocity of wild beasts, for they murder their offspring and immolate them to the devil." [What happened to Christian love?]
In the fourth century, Constantine came to power and the shape that human events were to take for another thousand years was rapidly crystallizing -- a century in ferment. Powerful in number and influence, the "Church" was now exalted as Church of the State, a role in which it exerted a dominant influence on the political and social as well as religious life.
Fourth century history convincingly demonstrates a threshold across which Christian theological anti-Judaism is transformed into Christian anti-Semitism. In other words, the principal source of Christian anti-Semitism was the Church's theological anti-Judaism.
It is a scandal of Christian history that during the first half of the second millennium AD, while the Church and the Christian state were at the zenith of their power and influence, the sons of Israel reached the nadir of their unending oppression. Martin Luther in 1543 asked and answered in a damning way the question, "What shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews?" The political, cultural and religious changes of the 16th - 18th centuries which led Europe from the medieval into the modern world had little immediate effect on the life of the Jews. The times changed, but their situation did not. Racial anti-Semitism broke out in Germany in the 1870's, spread throughout Europe, then subsided before its bloody climax in Nazi Germany. The term anti-Semitism first appeared in 1879, in Germany.
The sin of anti-Semitism contains many sins, but in the end it is a denial of Christian faith, a failure of Christian hope, and a malady of Christian love. And the ultimate scandal: that in carrying the burden of God in history, the Jewish people, HaShem's chosen people, did not find in the Christian churches an ally and defender, but one of their most zealous detractors and oppressors.
It is a story that calls for repentance.
Sad story. But true!
Modern replacement theology, which erroneously teaches that Israel has been replaced by the church in God's plan, is also to blame for much of the current anti-Semitic attitudes. Most people tend to follow tradition, what they have been told, rather than thinking things through for themselves.
Thank G-d that in recent decades Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) has sensitized those who will "hear" (sh'ma) the truth of the Torah, and who will "hear" and obey His commandments regarding His chosen people. (Deuteronomy 7:6)
Thus has begun the world-wide revival that is reversing the anti-Semitic attitude of the "Church."
Because Yeshua did so. As the Living Torah, He came to teach correctly the written Torah, such that It is written on our hearts, and such that we live it out in our daily life, and therefore become a living Torah.
A concept of spiritual unity, beyond our natural understanding, pervades those around the world who read and study a common Scripture portion each week. Phone conversations, email messages, water fountain discussion, dinner conversation, children's teachings, guest speakers can all have a common ground when we each concentrate on the Torah portion for the week. That is our attempt and intent.
If you are blessed by our ministry, and wish to be a very real part of it, you may contribute on a secure page of our website. We also publish a weekly newsletter, which contains a Torah commentary, and which you may receive by request. God has led us to develop leaders, in small groups, who will then turn around and develop another generation of leaders.
|Compiled by Jerry Lambert|
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