Introduction: This was originally written in reply to a comment on a post where we were talking about the word “Shalom” and folks mentioned they had never used it because they thought it was “Jewish”. I got excited because that is a common misconception and one I used to share myself until I learned more about the history of our faith. We have all been taught to think that certain things are “Jewish” when they are not and it makes sense that we wouldn’t think to question it because the church decided to send us thinking that way centuries ago.
For those seeking to learn how YHWH feels about this, here are some rabbit trails for ya.
Christianity and Judaism: Why The Family Tree Can’t Get Along
I. We begin with some Ladiceans… The Council of Laodicea met around the 300’s and drew up this whole set of rules that the church must abide by. In reading them (you can find them online and they start out dull but that council shows their intent pretty fast) it’s clear their hatred of the Jews. They actually made it a church law that Christians were not allowed to rest on the Sabbath. Where is that in the Bible? It’s not. The opposite is, though, in God’s words. So essentially in their hatred of the Jews, they openly contradicted God and made it church law, seeing no problem whatsoever with that.
Let’s look at a few excerpts from the Council’s decrees:
- Canon XXIX. CHRISTIANS must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.
- Canon XXXVII. IT is not lawful to receive portions sent from the feasts of Jews or heretics, nor to feast together with them.
- Canon XXXVIII. IT is not lawful to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety.
- This is from notes in the council: Light hath no communion with darkness. Therefore no Christian should celebrate a feast with heretics or Jews, neither should he receive anything connected with these feasts such as azymes and the like.
~Remember this attitude towards the Jews and the attitude that follows when you read the Bible passage at the bottom of this post.~
This was clearly designed to cause us to look upon them with disdain at best, hatred and ill will at worst.
II. Martin Luther- About 1100 years later, the father of the protestant reformation, Martin Luther, decided he was going to win over the Jews once and for all and have them all convert to Christianity!
Note: With regards to the Jews, “Convert to Christianty” is generally code for “Leave all of your customs, traditions, and stop following several commandments, thereby breaking the covenants you have with YHWH”. I can’t imagine why they didn’t jump at that, right? Also, telling them that in order to follow Jesus they had to do things that broke their covenants (Stop keeping Sabbath, etc) would never be an attractant anyway.
Another thing to think on: They know the Messiah would never force them to go against YHWH, so it starts to make sense why they would doubt Jesus as the Messiah, not that Jesus gave them any reason to doubt (because he IS the Messiah) but His people put all these crazy rules in place that had nothing to do with Him and so the Jews were like “Whoa…wait a minute. Let me rethink this.”
When that was unsuccessful, Martin Luther went off the deep end. He began writing such notable works as “On The Jews And Their Lies” in which he referred to them as “The devil’s people” and advocated setting synagogues and schools on fire, seizing all of their property and money, destroying their homes, and forcing the “envenomed worms” into labor for others or expelling them “for all time”.
His big regret? “We are at fault for not slaying them.”
This is the man who is celebrated on the fairly newly minted “Reformation Day”. He is considered one of the protestant churches primary fathers (most of us reading this fall under one of the Protestant denominations). He was also cited multiple times as a primary inspiration for Hitler. Further, his writings were used to justify what would eventually come to be known as Holocaust. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther)
Just imagine, being a Jewish Believer and seeing Christians celebrate this man after all of that. Ouch.
III. These early believers failed to understand (or intentionally overlooked) the struggle Paul and all of the apostles were fighting in the Gospels: Messiah and ALL of the apostles (except for perhaps Luke, we don’t know for sure on him) WERE Jews, they never stopped being Jews, and they didn’t have to stop being Jews in order to follow Messiah. They could keep to their traditions and honor the commandments and maintain their heritage so long as it did not go against YHWH. There were a LOT of issues with hedge laws (sometimes called fence laws) and Messiah clearly condemned those, but Jews don’t have to give up being Jewish to follow Messiah, just as Gentiles don’t have to become Jewish to follow Him.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” ~Galatians 3:28
So basically, we have a centuries old power play in which the church plays the bully to the Jews because they won’t play by the rules that the church made up in the third quarter. They then go after the Jews, YHWH (God) protects and preserves them because prophecy is still waiting to be fulfilled in which both branches will come together (Christians and Jews) and we will all come into the fullness of our faith (They in seeing Yeshua – Jesus- as the Messiah and us in seeing God’s authority as having dominion over our lives), and the cycle continues.
There is a general joke that I’ve seen several times that says the summary of each Biblical Feast Day for the Jews is “They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s Eat!”
~Hang on guys, I have Scripture coming to back this up so if anyone is getting their hackles up, simmer down and take a deep breath~
IV. ~There is a narrow path.~
Historically Judaism has gone down one side and Christianity, with some of motivation being to distance ourselves from the Jews, has gone down the far other side. Both of us are missing the mark in our own ways but YHWH is calling us all back to Him and we find, when we get on that narrow path, we have some neighbors we did not expect!
This is all part of YHWH’s plan as we will see in the continuation of our Bible reading. He is really clear on this in Biblical text. When we open our eyes to the fact that we do worship the same God (YHWH) but they have not come into the fullness of the Gospel as we have and we are missing the fullness of Scripture that they have, we can be part of the process of bringing the family back together and take part in this amazing prophecy coming true in our time!
V. SCRIPTURE TIME!
This following passage explains it perfectly but there are many more. It is very important to read if you’ve gotten this far.
My notes are within the text in parenthesis:
Romans 11:1-24 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” (There is a purpose to them not seeing Jesus as the Messiah and that is to allow the Gentiles to come into the fullness of the faith. See upcoming Romans 11:25 for confirmation) 9 And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; 10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.”11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. (But we are to live in such a way that makes them curious, causes them to want what we have – we have failed pretty miserably there so far -but things are changing!) 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! 13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?16 If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, (WE ARE GRAFTED INTO ISRAEL! WE HAVE THE SAME ROOT!) 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches •(Yeah, we’ve been arrogant towards the branches. Have you noticed how many times YHWH says “don’t do this” and then the first thing we do is exactly that?)•. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.(Read that again) (No, seriously, read that last sentence again. Now one more time)19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. (We either step in line or we will be removed from the tree) 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. (He’s not kidding) 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. (Now read that whole passage again! Really see what it is saying)
AND NOW THE BIG FINISH
Romans 11:25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,“The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. (They are still His chosen) 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (We are not better than them) 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.
They are still God’s chosen people but for a time they have been blinded to some things for our sake and that should draw our compassion and understanding. We are blinded to some things as well and Scripture tells us that we each have knowledge that the other one needs. With regards to this prophecy, we are to accept this, study it, and turn it over in our minds until we understand as best we can.
The Father is clear and blunt on this. If we take time to read His Word and set our hearts to follow Him rather than errant human doctrine, the veil of misunderstanding is lifted and suddenly it all makes sense. 😊
We will all know the truth eventually, but wouldn’t you like to be on the Father’s side sooner rather than later?