Messiah and Sacrifices

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Messiah and Sacrifices

----- Original Message -----
From:  D*** C******
To:  FamilyBible.org
Sent:   Tuesday, February 24, 2004 8:51 AM
Subject:   Questions

I do not understand why the Jews have not accepted Jesus Christ as the messiah?

I do not understand why the Jews have abandoned sacrifices?

Could you please provide me with some guidance on these 2 questions?

Perhaps some simple literature?!?!?

D*** C******
slipform@...


Dear DC,

The Abomination of DesolationThe second question is by far the easiest to answer, so I'll tackle it first: Jews do not practice sacrifices because the Scriptures require that sacrifices be offered only in the Temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed in the year 70 CE. According to Yeshua and the Prophets, the Temple will be rebuilt and the sacrifices will be resumed shortly before Messiah’s return in glory. Until the Holy Mountain can be cleansed from the “Abomination of Desolation” (The Dome of the Rock, the neighboring Al-Aqsa mosque, and the new underground mosque that are now desecrating Temple Mount) and the Temple can be rebuilt, the Jewish people rely on prayer as an acceptable substitute for sacrifice in accordance with Psalm 141:1-4.

O LORD, I call upon You; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to You! May my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering. (Psalms 141:1-4)

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (Romans 12:1)

Let not the foreigner [Gentile] who has joined himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from His people.” Nor let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” For thus says the LORD, “To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off. Also the foreigners [Gentiles] who join themselves to the LORD, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath And holds fast My covenant; Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” The LORD God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet {others} I will gather to them, to those {already} gathered.” (Isaiah 56:3-8)

See also, for example http://www.jewfaq.org/cgi-bin/search.cgi?Keywords=sacrifice&x=7&y=13
and http://www.jewfaq.org/cgi-bin/search.cgi?Keywords=prayer


As far as the first question (“I do not understand why the Jews have not accepted Jesus Christ as the messiah?”) is concerned, I don't believe the question is actually phrased correctly. It assumes that Jews as a whole have rejected the Messiah, which I don’t feel is an accurate assumption.

In fact, I will go so far as to suggest that the percentage of Jews who have accepted the Messiah since His resurrection is probably very close to the percentage of non-Jews (Gentiles) who have accepted the Messiah since His resurrection. I feel that the real problem and source of confusion here is in the way the statistics are collected and measured.

First of all, it is my personal opinion that it is incorrect to assume that Yeshua was rejected by the Jews as their Messiah at the time of His resurrection. I don’t feel that assumption can be supported by history. In fact, I believe it can be successfully demonstrated that within not many years after the resurrection perhaps as many as 30 to 40 percent of the entire population of Jerusalem, including a large number of the kohanim [priests], believed that Yeshua was their Messiah immediately following His resurrection.

“The word of God increased and the number of the talmidim [disciples] multiplied in Yerushalayim exceedingly. A great company of the kohanim [priests] were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7).

“On hearing it, they praised God; but they also said to him, "You see, brother, how many tens of thousands [literal translation of muriaß, murias, myriads] of believers there are among the Judeans, and they are all zealots for the Torah.’” (Acts 21:20)

The Greek word translated “thousands” in Acts 21:20 is “myriads,” which is actually the word for “ten thousand,” not “thousand,” and is the largest number in their vocabulary at that time; it can also mean “an innumerable multitude, an unlimited number; innumerable hosts.” By most estimates I have seen, the population of Jerusalem at this time was about a hundred thousand. One or two myriads would not be referred to as “how many myriads,” but three or four myriads (or more) might be, and three or four myriads would represent, as an absolute minimum, between 30 and 40 percent of the population of Jerusalem at the time. I can assure you, that is a far higher percentage of Believers than can be found in any city in the United States today! In fact, there have been enough present-day Jewish rabbis who have believed in Yeshua that several books have been written about them. [For more on this subject, please read HERE.]

It must also be understood that until Emperor Constantine declared his pagan form of “Christianity” to be the official religion of the Roman Empire in the early part of the fourth century (about 311), the Body of Messiah was almost entirely Jewish. [See “Where Did the Word ‘Church’ Come From?”]

With that single decree, the entire Gentile population of the whole Roman Empire instantly became counted as “Christian”[1] regardless of their true beliefs. Then at the Council of Nicea in the year 325, Constantine issued decrees which essentially forced Jewish believers to totally abandon all of their Jewish heritage and identity. And in 365 the Synod of Laodicea issued additional decrees which defined virtually everything Jewish as “heresy,” expelling from the “church” any person who could be identified as Jewish.

Thus, the true Body of Messiah went from being almost entirely Jewish in 311 to being almost an entirely pagan Gentile “church” by 365, a period of only 54 years. [See “Anti-Semitic Decrees from ‘Church’ Councils”] Ever since that time, until the Messianic Jewish Revival began in the mid-1960s, whenever a Jewish person has come to faith in Messiah he/she was no longer considered to be a Jew, but was counted as a Gentile Christian by both the “church” and by the Jewish community. To both the “church” and the “synagogue,” he/she had “converted” from Judaism to Christianity.

Then there is the entire semantic-twisting issue of “who is a Jew?” engaged in by both Jews and non-Jews. According the science of genetics, a biological Jew is any person who is a physical descendant of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya`akov [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]. According to Israel’s Law of Return (by which is determined an individual’s right to be considered a Jew for purposes of returning to live in Israel as a citizen), a Jew is “any person whose mother was a Jew and who has not converted to another religion” (such as Christianity). Thus, according to Judaism, any person who has ever accepted Yeshua as the Messiah is, by definition, no longer a Jew. So you can see by this way of thinking it is literally impossible for a Jew to accept Yeshua as Messiah. Anyone who does so is no longer counted in the “Jewish” column. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the fallacy of this line of reasoning which, if applied equally to all ethnic groups and cultural identities, would create an entirely new ethnic group called “Christian.” If a Jew who believes in Yeshua as Messiah is not longer a Jew but “Christian,” then any Chinese person who believes in Yeshua as Messiah is not longer Chinese but “Christian”; any Mexican person who believes in Yeshua as Messiah is not longer Mexican but “Christian”; any Asian person who believes in Yeshua as Messiah is not longer Asian but “Christian”; any French person who believes in Yeshua as Messiah is not longer French but “Christian.” Totally absurd!!!

I believe a much more accurately-phrased question would be, “Why is it so difficult for a Jewish person to come to faith in Messiah?” But that question is almost as difficult to answer, again because of common definitions and assumptions. The most simplistic answer is that Jews do not accept Yeshua as the Messiah because “the Church” (a) does not present the Jews with a Jewish Messiah, and (b) “the Church” has systematically done everything humanly possible to prevent the Jews from coming to saving faith in Messiah for 1,700 years.

A majority of non-Jewish “Christians” who attempt to bring the Gospel to a Jewish person simply approach the issue entirely wrong. Instead of approaching the Jewish person with a heart of love and with a Messiah who is thoroughly Jewish (as is the historical Yeshua of Nazareth), they approach in a spirit of confrontation with a caricature Messiah called “Jesus Christ” who does not at all resemble the historical Yeshua. One such approach consists of something like: “Unless you accept that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, you will die in your sins and spend eternity in Hell.”

To most Jews who have not been exposed to the true Gospel, “Jesus Christ” is the “false Gentile god” — the illegitimate son of a Jewish harlot and a Roman soldier — in whose name they have been persecuted nearly to extinction for the past 1,700 years. “Jesus Christ” is the name under which the Roman Catholic Crusaders raped and pillaged their way across Israel from the 11th through the 13th centuries. “Jesus Christ” is the name under which both the Spanish Inquisition and the Nazi Final Solution were conducted. To most Jews, asking them to accept this “Jesus” as their Messiah is about the same as asking a black person living in Alabama in 1930 to accept the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan as his messiah. [Click HERE for more information on atrocities committed against Jews by "the church.”]

Additionally, when carefully evaluated from an historical Jewish perspective, the “Jesus Christ” that is presented by the church is a false prophet who must be rejected by any Bible-believing Jew!

The theological position of most Christian denominations is that because “the Jews rejected their Messiah” (which has been demonstrated above to be a false assumption to begin with), then God has rejected Israel as His chosen people, and is now working only through “the church” (Replacement Theology). Though not all will state the case so bluntly, most believe it. Most Jews know and understand this to be the position of most “Christians.”

The question that must be answered here is how God, who never changes, can arbitrarily revoke His “everlasting covenant” with Israel and transfer all of the benefits (but none of the responsibilities) of that covenant to people who don’t even know His Name [it is grammatically impossible to say either the word “Jesus” or the word “Jehovah” in either the Hebrew or Aramaic language, since neither language contains a “jay” sound], who reject His feasts and His holy Sabbath, and who ignore His statutes? If a covenant is “everlasting” then it can never be broken or voided. If it is ever broken or voided, it was never truly “everlasting” and God [who cannot lie] is therefore demonstrated to be a liar! If the god of the “Church” has violated his covenants with Israel, then he is absolutely not the God of the Bible, Who never changes.

Gen 17:7 - Show Context
“I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.”

Gen 17:13 - Show Context
“A {servant} who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.”

Gen 17:19 - Show Context
But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”

Lev 24:8 - Show Context
“Every sabbath day he shall set it in order before the LORD continually; it is an everlasting covenant for the sons of Israel.”

Num 18:19 - Show Context
“All the offerings of the holy {gifts,} which the sons of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD to you and your descendants with you.”

2Sam 23:5 - Show Context
“Truly is not my house so with God? For He has made an everlasting covenant with me, Ordered in all things, and secured; For all my salvation and all {my} desire, Will He not indeed make {it} grow?”

1Chron 16:17 - Show Context
He also confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant,

Psalm 105:10 - Show Context
Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant,

Isa 24:5 - Show Context
The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant.

Isa 55:3 - Show Context
“Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, {According to} the faithful mercies shown to David.”

Isa 61:8 - Show Context
“For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; And I will faithfully give them their recompense And make an everlasting covenant with them.”

Jer 32:40 - Show Context
“I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.”

Jer 50:5 - Show Context
“They will ask for the way to Zion, {turning} their faces in its direction; they will come that they may join themselves to the LORD {in} an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.”

Eze 16:60 - Show Context
“Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.”

Eze 37:26 - Show Context
“I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever.”

Many Christians cite the “New Testament” references to the “New Covenant” that God has made with the Church, and claim that the “New Covenant” cancels and replaces God’s covenants with Israel. The “New Covenant” is nor really anything new, but rather a re-confirmation and re-clarification of those covenants; a better translation would be “Renewed Covenant,” just as the “new moon” every month is not really “new,” but rather a re-appearing of the same moon that is always there! They conveniently ignore the fact that this “New Covenant” has absolutely nothing to do with the Church:

Indeed, if the first covenant had not given ground for faultfinding, there would have been no need for a second one. For God does find fault with the people when he says, “See! The days are coming,” says ADONAI, “when I will establish over the house of Isra'el and over the house of Y'hudah a new covenant. It will not be like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by their hand and led them forth out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, did not remain faithful to my covenant; so I, for my part, stopped concerning myself with them,” says ADONAI. (Heb. 8:7-9)

“Here, the days are coming,” says ADONAI, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra'el and with the house of Y'hudah.” (Jer. 31:31)

How is it possible for any Jew who deeply loves the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and who faithfully follows the commandments and precepts given by God to His people through Moses — not to gain favor or “salvation,” but simply because HaShem commands it, and obedience is the right thing to do — how can that person turn his back on everything he believes about God to embrace the teachings of an organization which teaches (in essence) that the Hebrew Bible (the so-called “Old Testament”), even if divinely inspired, is of no more spiritual value than any other secular history book? One which teaches that “Jesus nailed the Torah to His cross” and it is no longer of any value? One that teaches that God no longer cares anything about the Jews?

The form of “Christianity” that most Gentile Christians offer to Jewish people is simply not at all attractive to them, and the form of “Jesus” that most Gentile Christians offer to Jewish people is simply not one that can possibly be the Jewish Messiah. How can a Jewish Messiah do away with God’s divine instruction given by God through Moses? How can a Jewish Messiah abolish the LORD’s Sabbath and Feasts? How can a Jewish Messiah say that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob no longer cares for His covenant people Israel? Anyone who truly wants to reach a Jewish person for Messiah must learn how to present an historically accurate Jewish Messiah with a Jewish name, Yeshua, who taught and faithfully followed God’s Torah.

You asked me to recommend some literature. I strongly suggest that you get a copy of Take Hold: Embracing Our Divine Inheritance with Israel by Ariel and D'vorah Berkowitz.

The following books will also provide you with valuable insight: The Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David Stern provides a challenge to both Jews who honor Yeshua (Jesus) as Israel's Messiah and others involved with the Movement to catch the vision for its destiny, which is to heal the split between the Church and the Jewish people. Simultaneously 100% Messianic and 100% Jewish, we reject the "either-or" demanded by many Christians and Jews. Messianic Judaism is right, a radical solution, an idea whose time has come. A call to action for Messianic Jews and a source of information for others whether in favor, opposed, or just curious.

Jesus the Jewish Theologian by Brad Young. Prophet, madman, Messiah—Jesus was all these things to the people around him. But most importantly, he was a Jew, just like them. Drawing insights and facts from first-century Jewish literature, archaeology, and tradition, Young shows you why understanding Jesus' Jewishness is crucial for interpreting the New Testament and for understanding the nature of our Christian faith.

Paul the Jewish Theologian by Brad Young reveals Rav Sha'ul of Tarsus [Paul the Apostle] as a man who, though rejected in the synagogue, never truly left Judaism. Young disagrees with long-held notions that Hellenism was the context which most influenced Sha'ul’s communication of the Gospel. Only in rightly aligning Sha'ul as rooted in his Jewishness and training as a Pharisee can he be correctly interpreted. Young asserts that Sha'ul’s view of the Torah was always positive, and separates Yeshua’s mission among the Jews from Sha'ul’s call to the Gentiles.

I hope these comments help.

Shalom b'Mashiach,

Ari

_______________
For additional information, please see the draft of my in-progress work "The Model for the Messianic Community."

[1] The reason that I have placed the word “Christian” in quotes is to emphasize the point that not everybody or everything that is called “Christian” actually is. To many people throughout the world, any person who lives in one of the “Western World” countries and who cannot be clearly identified as Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or one of a few other religions, is by default considered “Christian.” Likewise, anybody who recognizes Christmas and Easter as holidays, even as secular holidays, is considered “Christian” by most people. And particularly, anybody who is a member of any organized “church” or pseudo-Christian cult is considered “Christian,” regardless of whether or not they have been truly “born again.” The word “church” appears in quotes for the same reason. [RETURN]

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