Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our Jewish Roots

Most Christian churches today preach and teach almost exclusively out of the Christian New Testament claiming that they are the scriptures to be studied and virtually ignore the Hebrew Bible that was being studied and discussed by the Jews and early Christians.  There exists an almost anti-Semitic attitude toward anything Jewish including the Hebrew Bible.  This should not be the case.  Judaism and the Hebrew Bible are the foundations of Christianity and should be embraced with open minds and hearts.  I have found that Christians are missing out on key biblical truth by their lack of understanding of the Hebrew Bible and Judaism.  There is much in Jewish literature that explains and gives insight into the Scriptures.

The Christian messiah was a Pharisaic Rabbi and as an Orthodox Jew he taught from both the Hebrew Bible and the Oral Torah.  This can be seen by his teachings recorded in the Gospels of the New Testament.  The Sadducees on the other hand were rabbis that did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, in the Messianic age, angels, or Oral Torah.  The Sadducees were loyal only to the Romans and were put in power in Jerusalem by the Romans.  Most of the people did not believe in what the Sadducees taught and were loyal to the Oral and Written Torah.  It was the rabbis among the people that the common people followed, not the group of Sadducees that were ruling in Jerusalem.

When the Christian messiah criticized his fellow Pharisaic rabbis, he did not criticize their teaching but was critical of their hypocrisy.  In Matthew 23:1-3 it says:  Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses;  therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” (NASB)  The Pharisees had Moses’ seat of authority and were teaching correctly, they were just not living according to how they were teaching.  This same situation exists today with many religious leaders teaching correctly, but not internalizing what they teach in order to live what they teach. 

We also have many religious leaders today teaching incorrectly because they do not know the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) or the context of Judaism in which the scriptures need to be understood.  Some of my blog posts have been criticized by Christians for being too Jewish.  One individual told me that I should only present things from a Christian perspective.  He went on to say if I only understood Christian dispensational teaching I would not be so confused with the scriptures.  In response to his comments, I would counter that I don’t have truth.  I only have a limited understanding of truth.  I only write to share things that I have learned in my spiritual journey hoping that others will find some of these things useful in their own journey for truth.

Only God has the truth. Those that think they have it all figured out are deceiving themselves.  We are all on spiritual journey towards God and His truth if we seek Him.  I am constantly learning God’s word and the truths that it contains.  I don’t need man’s thinking and explanations as a substitute for God’s truth.  God’s truth is there in His words and He has promised to reveal His truth to all who sincerely seek it.  Finding truth requires taking theological blinders off and asking serious questions of yourself and what you believe.  It involves digging deep into the words God gave us in the scriptures.  Truth is always from God.  It is evident in all of creation that surrounds us.  It is not found in the world of lies of mankind.  Test everything you read and hear from man against God’s words.  That is the standard for absolute truth.  Beware of man’s teaching and seek God’s instruction.  Return to God and His Torah!


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