Archives For Identity Theft

This is series of short blogs that detail how the Church sought to strip Yeshua of his Jewishness.

Identity Theft intro Part III

In Part one and two I focused on the revelation I had:

  1. I was still Jewish
  2. Yeshua Himself  was a Jew, not to mention all of His initial followers.

However, Gentiles have much to unlearn as well concerning Yeshua and the first believers. The Church’s guilt in obscuring the Jewish nature of this Man from Galilee is well documented. Church fathers taught their followers the most bizarre and unscriptural doctrines, such as:

  • God hates the Jews. (John Crysostom, pictured above)
  • It is your duty to hate the Jews. (same)
  • They are cursed and will never return to be God’s people. (General teaching)
  • The Church is the new Israel. (General teaching)
  • Rejected by God for the killing Jesus (Tertullian)
  • All the promises of God were meant for the Gentiles and the curses for the jews (Eusebius)
  • No one can be both Christian and Jew. (Justin Martyr)

They changed the Gospel and they changed the Savior and the tragic result is that Jewish people see Yeshua “through a glass, darkly,” while God wants them to see Him “face to face.” Identity Theft seeks to do that; to allow my Jewish brothers and sisters to see Him as He truly is: King of the Jews. And for my non-Jewish brothers and sisters, you will meet your Savior in a new and honest way.

God and Man

COME TO ISRAEL

Wayne Hilsden, pastor of King of Kings community in Jerusalem said it well in his endorsement of the book:

“If Jesus is both 100% deity and 100% human then it’s essential to understand what kind of human He is. He is certainly not a blue-eyed Scandinavian as some have portrayed Him.”

In other words, the Church has gotten it mostly right when it comes to the deity of Yeshua and His mission—namely to die as a sacrifice for sin and rise to new life. But do they know the man Yeshua? It is not just that He was not European, but that he was Jewish. And if you miss this part you miss so much. What? You may ask. That is what we will discuss in the coming weeks and months.

The recreation of Jesus and the Gospel into a something not only un-Jewish, but anti-Jewish, has caused both great tragedy amongst the Jews (The Crusades, The Inquisition) and it has caused non-Jewish believers to be confused as to the nature of Yeshua, His feelings towards His people and the role that they are called to play in Israel’s restoration (Zach. 8:23, Rom. 11:11).

Thankfully God is doing a great work in the last days and the eye of millions of Gentiles believers are being opened to the gruesome act of Identity Theft. They are beginning to pray for their elder brother Israel. They are seeking to see Yeshua as He was and is and as He will come—as the King of Jerusalem. The result will be the One New Man that Paul speaks of (Eph. 2), where Jewish believers will not be asked to leave their identity at the door and Gentiles will be co-heirs with Israel.

Choosing the wrong side

But our work is not done,

The Presbyterian Church (USA) will vote next week at its biannual meeting in Pittsburgh on a proposal to divest from three companies whose products are used by Israel to enforce occupation of the West Bank. (see link to full article below)

These Presbyterians who decry the “great inconvenience and deprivation because of the separation wall,” a fence that was built for the purpose of stopping suicide bombers, will all buy products made in China this week, a country that imprisons and murders believers and exercises slave labor. They stand against the people of God, while they say nothing about her enemies.

Social justice? YES! Stupidity and hypocrisy? NO! The very fence the decry stopped bus explosions and suicide bombers in their tracks. Oh, that they would simply embrace common sense over emotion driven false outrage.

While many believers have embraced God’s heart for Israel, clearly our work is not finished.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/presbyterian-divestment-vote-riles-jewish-leaders-642293/#ixzz1zSGhj7jW

 

 

When Ziva shared those amazing words with me—you are still a Jew!—it changed my life! This was a revelation to me. I am still Jewish? I am still part of the people of Israel? Of course this would have seemed a very strange revelation to the very first followers of Yeshua, whose Jewishness was never in question. They struggled with the question, Do Gentiles have to become Jewish in order to believe in Jesus? (Acts 10, 15), not their own Jewishness.

Ziva also told me of congregations of Jewish believers who met on the Jewish Sabbath and worshipped Yeshua. Again, I couldn’t believe my ears. Jewish Synagogues where they believe in Jesus? One year later when I walked into Beth Messiah Congregation in Rockville, Maryland, tears filled my eyes as I saw the largest number of Jewish believers I had ever seen worshipping the Messiah.

Peter, Paul and Mary? Jews?!

For a guy who grew up thinking Mary was Catholic, John was a Baptist, Peter was the first Pope and that the New Testament stories took place in Rome, I was stunned. I began to read the New Covenant for myself. The more I read it, the more astonished I became at how “Jewish” it was. This story didn’t take place in Rome; there is no mention of the Vatican or a Pope and the word Christian can only be found three times in the entire book! These people were not starting a new religion—they were Jews who believed they had found their Messiah.

Moreover, I discovered:

  • Jesus’ Hebrew name is Yeshua, which means salvation.
  • Mary was an Israelite called Miriam, a Jewish name, like the sister of Moses.
  • John was a not Baptist, but a Jewish prophet in ranks of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah.
  • Paul was actually a Jewish rabbi named Shaul.
  • Peter was not a pope, but one of the greatest Messianic Jewish communicators in history.

In fact, I was shocked to discover that Gentiles didn’t even begin to believe in Yeshua until many years after He was raised from the dead or that virtually the entire early “Church” was Jewish!

The Litmus Test

I have litmus test on how to come to the right conclusion on controversial theological issues. I asked myself a simple question: If I was untainted by either view, and I was given a Bible and locked in a room… what conclusion would I come to? So let’s apply that test to the nature of the person of Jesus. If a Jewish person, unspoiled by the anti-Yeshua bias in modern Judaism, was locked in a room and given the gospel narratives to read (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), would they come out of that room concluding that Yeshua was a Gentile, anti-Semitic, or the father of a new religion apart from Judaism?

I contend not only would they not see Him in that light, but they would fall in love with Him! They would see Him as a hero who stood up to the religious establishment of His day (like Jeremiah and the other prophets) as well as the political rulers, and ultimately demonstrated His love in the greatest way possible. And that is why I wrote this book—to present the real Yeshua, a Jewish Man from Israel, to my people.

Part III “Gentiles Have Something to Learn About the Real Yeshua too!”

Get Identity Theft here: www.IDTheftBook.com

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“Don’t you ever say that you used to be Jewish! You are still Jewish and always will be!” Like an Old Testament prophet, complete with boney finger in my face, Ziva, an Israeli believer rebuked me, because when I greeted her, I said, “I also used to be Jewish.” I was a brand new believer and she was the first other Jewish believer I had met. Until this time, I had considered myself cut off from Judaism. It was a painful price to pay (and one I would discover later that I didn’t even have to!), but Yeshua had radically changed my life and I loved Him for it… no matter what the cost.

Erroneously, I assumed that to believe in the Jewish Messiah, was to renounce Judaism: my religion, my heritage, my culture, and my people. The very statement seems strange, right? If He is the Jewish Messiah, why would I consider myself cut off? To understand that, you need to know what it was like to grow up Jewish. 

Mr. and Mrs. Christ?

“I was about twelve years old when I first learned that Jesus was Jewish,” writes Dr. Michael Brown in his book The Real Kosher Jesus.[1] In the same chapter he also shares the story of our mutual friend Mike Goldberg, who grew up thinking that Jesus was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Christ![2]

I can relate to both of their experiences. I too thought for the longest time that Christ was simply Jesus’ last name. We are taught, if not directly, indirectly, that one of the very definitions of being Jewish is that we don’t believe in Jesus. I have a strange memory of a phone call I made when I was about ten years old. I saw a sign on a car that read, “I found it!” In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I had seen this phrase in different places around Richmond; however, this time I jotted down the phone number and called it when I got home. I was curious to discover just what exactly he had found.

The person on the other end of the phone was excited to inform me that he had indeed found Jeeesus. I hung up the phone. Had I been cleverer at the time, I might have quipped, “I didn’t know He was lost!”

 

What is a Christian?

When I did “find” Him for myself in 1983 as an eighteen-year-old freshman in college, I assumed I had “left” Judaism. I was now a Christian. I didn’t like this term, mostly because everyone I grew up with—except for my Jewish friends—claimed to be one and yet it didn’t seem like any of them lived like a Christian. It didn’t take long for me to realize there were cultural Christians and true believers. There were people who claimed to be Christians because they grew up in a home where their parents told them they were Christians or because they went to a church on Sundays, and there were those who truly had a relationship with the Living God. In fact, growing up, most of the Jews I knew simply defined Christian as non-Jews.

Even though I did not dare call myself a Christian, I was still quite sure I was now separated from my people, my religion, and my heritage—cut off. If there was one thing I had learned growing up Jewish, it was that Jesus and Judaism don’t mix! I couldn’t explain everything we believed as Jews, but I could sure tell you exactly what we didn’t believe! In my mind, I was now outside the camp.

However, Zivas words changed that, “You are still Jewish and always will be.”

In the comments section, share with me your experience with the word “Christian” or you perception of Jesus/Yeshua growing up. Or ask me a question about mine.

Part II “I Am Still A Jew?”

Order Identity Theft Book by Ron at www.IDTheftBook.com 



[1] Michael L. Brown, The Real Kosher Jesus, Frontline, Lake Mary, FL, 2012, p. xv.

[2] ibid, p. xvi.

Photo (c) Maurice

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