By Dr. Victoria Sarvadi
It’s important that believers in Yeshua be sensitive to God’s first covenant people, the Jews. We must respect their faith and discuss our faith in Yeshua without an agenda to convert them. Iron sharpens iron. Who knows maybe both of us can learn something from the other. When talking to a Jewish person about your faith include these points and concepts.
1.THE DECLARATION (The attention getter)!
I have come to the conclusion that Christianity has misinterpreted much of the 1st century Jewish teachings of Christ through Greco-Roman thought. I have also discovered that in the 4th century, Constantine, the Great, added paganism and de-Judized the faith that had remained a Jewish sect for 300 years. Christianity of today has altered the rich 1st century theology of Yeshua. I have researched and reconsidered many misunderstandings and misperceptions.
2. THE CONFESSION
The church was wrong in many of it’s claims concerning the Jews. I will share 5 of them.
Erroneous claim # 1. “The Jews killed Yeshua”
(By the way I call Jesus by his Hebrew name Yeshua not Jesus. Jesus is a transliteration from the Greek language. I will be using his real Hebrew name).
It was actually a Roman ruler that gave the order to Roman soldiers to execute Him. (I’ll leave it at that for now).
Erroneous claim #2. “God is finished with the Jews.”
The prophets say He will gather His people, the Jews from all the nations and bring them back to their land, all nations will line up against Israel. It is prophesied in the Acharit Hayamim (End times) Adonai will destroy the nations that attack Israel and will set up His Kingdom from Jerusalem.
Erroneous claim # 3. “Christians have replaced the Jews in God’s eternal plan.”
The covenant God made with Israel is an everlasting covenant and Adonai can not lie so the covenant is irrevocable. It is the Christian that must acknowledge Tziyon’s God (The God of Israel) and be brought near. In fact it was the Gentile that was converted into Notzrim Judaism (The Judaism of the Nazarene, Yeshua).
Erroneous claim # 4. “All Jews must be converted to Christianity.”
Judaism was here long before Christianity. Yeshua was a Jew. If I ever wanted to know what He taught I have to go back to his religion of the 1st century. Lo and behold- his religion was Judaism. I must say however, 1st century Judaism is different than the Rabbinic Judaism of today. How in the world did his faith become so mixed with Greco-Roman philosophies and paganism? I’ll share more about this with you in a moment.
Erroneous claim # 5 “The Church had a right to overcome the Jews”
There were shameful, unGodly heresies committed against the Jews starting with Crusades of The Holy Roman Empire, The Inquisitions, Pograms, The Holocaust, ethnic cleanses, prejudices and political betrayals in the name of Christ.
3. THE APOLOGY
For all of this I am truly ashamed. And I’m pained in my spirit…For my own peace of mind I need you to forgive me for my participation in all this.
4. THE APPRECIATION
I just want you to know what I appreciate concerning the Jewish people:
1. How the Jewish people protected and kept the Torah. (God’s Holy Word and His Ways)
2. The Jewish prophets that preserved the words and visions that Adonai gave them. (These prophecies were for Israel and the nations)!
3. How the Jewish people preserved their ancient traditions, language and identity.
4. How the Jewish people persevered in persecution.
5. Their unity as Jews even in diversity. (Christians could learn a lot from this one fact)
5. THE NEW UNDERSTANDING
My faith is not so much what you see in the modern church although many of those people are still connected to me in the very basic understanding of Yeshua. But rather my faith lies in the 1st century teachings of a Jewish rabbi named Yeshua Ben Joseph. His followers were called Notzrim (Nazarene) Jews and were numbered by historians to have been about 1/3 of the Jewish population in the year 70 AD before the Temple was destroyed. They were all Torah observant and worshipped in the Temple in Jerusalem along with their fellow Jewish brethren from various sects. The main difference between them and the other Jews was that they had filled in the blank as to who was their Messiah. They were also persecuted and many were murdered at the hands of the Romans in the fall of Jerusalem. They were exiled like all the other Jews and were relocated into the nations still practicing Torah and celebrating the feasts with their knowledge of Messiah.
The Notzrim Jews spread the news of Messiah to the nations as they were commanded to do by their Rabbi Yeshua, many gave their lives testifying that this very rabbi was Mashiach (Messiah). This Judaism was eventually embraced by the pagan polytheistic emperor, Constantine the Great because he had a vision of a cross. Constantine, an anti-semitic re-constituted the faith of the Notzrim as it was Romanized, Hellenized, paganized and stripped from it’s Jewish matrix and then became by edict the one-world religion in the 4th century. The Holy Roman Empire was born devoid of its rich Jewish roots.
You might ask how did these Jews know that Yeshua truly was the Jewish Mashiach? History records that before Constantine declared the new modified faith the official religion of the Empire, the Jewish believers were boiled in oil, flayed, crucified, stoned, fed to the lions, burned as human torches and impaled with the sword. They died for the sake of their first hand testimonies.
6. THE KEYS
They had 5 keys:
1. KEY 1 – they knew that We are all in need of God because we all have committed iniquity.
1.Isaiah 64: 5 ….Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7 There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
Ecc. 7:20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
KEY 2 – God is able to save but how can we approach Him in our sinful state?
Isaiah 59: 1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.
KEY 3– Atonement is in the blood
Leviticus 17:11 – This is because the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.
But the Temple is destroyed. Blood sacrifices have ceased. Daniel also prophesied the Messiah would be cut off (killed) then the Temple would be destroyed. So the Messiah had to have come before the destruction of the Temple.
The 4th key is found in the feasts of the Lord in Lev. 23.
What is Passover all about?
In Egypt – The blood of the lambs were placed on the doorpost and the angel of death passed over. These lambs were substitutionary sacrifices just like the lambs that were slaughtered in the Temple for acts of sin.
What day is it documented that Yeshua was placed on the cross? It was on the 14th of Aviv. Passover! At 9 am (at the morning sacrifice)
What hour is it documented that he died? It was at 3 pm (exactly at the time of the evening sacrifice on Passover, the 14th of Aviv).
He suffered for no wrong. His blood was poured out. None of his bones were broken. He was placed in a grave given by a Pharisee named Nicodemos before the onset of the High Sabbath, (Feast of Unleaven bread). It was documented that he was seen alive again starting on Yom ha Bikkurim. (Or Feast of First Fruits) by multitudes and walked the earth for 40 days. Could this timing be random? Or could He be God’s Passover Lamb?
The 5th key was in the words of the prophet Isaiah describing the Messiah
53:1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
NOTE- you are about to hear who really crucified Christ!!!!!
10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; (even though He is crushed (killed) God will prolong His days (he will
Live again) the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
7. THE SIDE NOTES
Consider 5 more side notes.
1. We know that Yeshua was from the tribe of Judah according to his documented genealogy.
2. He was born in Beit Lachem (Bethlehem)
Micah:5 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
3. He was a descendant from both sides of his family from King David according to documented genealogy.
4. His name means salvation.
5. And from the cross he referenced Psalm 22 in the fashion of Jewish prayer among a minion at his feet.
1 MY GOD, MY GOD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered…
7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help…414 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet-
17 I can count all my bones- they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
19 But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!..
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.
29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that
HE HAS DONE THIS. (OR according to other translations) IT IS FINISHED.
8. THE CHALLENGE
These 1st century Jews that believed that Yeshua was Mashiach weren’t called Christians. They just simply received their own Jewish Messiah. They were still Jews.
Jews today should not be converted to Christianity either. You can, if you felt compelled by the Spirit to just simply believe on the Jewish Messiah and you will be saved. His blood will atone for all your sins. Stay in your Judaism. As you study (which is the highest form of worship) you will see Messiah Yeshua all through the Tenach. To get a deeper understanding of Messiah I invite you to read the Jewish book called the New Testament. It’s written by Jews who witnessed the teachings and miracles of Yeshua.
Then you can decide for yourself.
By the way- one more thing
9. THE HOPE
Now consider this scenario.
Say we are living over 2,000 years ago. You are a Jew. I am not. I am in the nations worshipping Tammuz or Ishtar or some pagan God. You, because you are a Jew know the One true God, The God of Israel- but you are forbidden to talk to me. To tell me the truth concerning who truly is the One True God. I am doomed. I am destined to eternity without knowing the Almighty God. Who will tell me the truth?
But wait- The news of Yeshua, the Way, the connection to Israel’s God has come to me. Now I have received the truth that Zion’s God is Adonai Echad. That God has provided a sacrifice as He did for Abraham that has atoned for my sin!! This news is a light unto the myself and all the Gentiles. And it was brought to us by your brothers the Notzrim Jews. It is now my desire to grab ahold of your shirt tail and say to you teach me the ways of your God. The customs and traditions that you have preserved and The hope of Mashiach that will come and liberate all those who call upon Him n the Tikkun olam (Restoration of all things).
See, I believe He came first as God’s Passover Lamb fulfilling those Spring Feast with his death, burial and resurrection coinciding with each moedim (appointed time or feast) but He’s coming again as a Liberator, Judge and King – sounds a lot like Rosh ha Shanah, Yom Kippor and Sukkot doesn’t it?
10. THE BLESSING
At this time ask if you can pray a prayer of blessing over them.
Baruch atah Adonai, Elohenu Melech ha olam.
Blessed are you O Lord our God King of the universe
Who has brought us together to discuss and consider your salvation.
Thank you for the atonement through your provision.
I ask that you bless my friend _______. Help us both to understand you more.