Eight Reasons Gentiles Should Care About the Jewish Roots

Ron Cantor —  April 23, 2013 —  Comments

“Why are the Jewish Roots of the faith important to us as Gentiles?” I was asked this question the other day during a radio interview. After spending nearly a year writing a book about this subject and teaching on it for over a decade, I found myself at a loss for words!

The interviewer wasn’t being antagonistic—he just assumed I had the answer. I winged it and quickly threw out something that I thought sounded intelligent and compelling, but can’t remember for the life of me what I said. However, once it was over, I thought to myself: Why is this important to non-Jewish believers? If someone is born-again, what does it matter if they understand the Jewish Roots of their faith?

Four points quickly came to me, and four more later on.
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When Gentiles forget to honor the Jewish roots of their faith, it isn’t long before Jews start dying.

The minute the Church forgot her Jewishness, she began to charge Jews with deicide—the killing of God. Tens of thousands of Jews have been called Christ-Killer just before being murdered by supposed Christians and even Nazis. Hitler laughed at the Church and said, “I am just finishing what you started.” History is filled with stories of persecutions, expulsions, imprisonments, confiscations, rapes and mass murder of Jews at the hands of so-called Christians who lost their way. More than 30,000 Jewish ‘converts’ were burned at the stake by the Catholic church from 1500 to 1800 for the sin of returning to Judaism!

Furthermore, as soon as Church leaders forgot their Jewish roots, they started creating theologies that teach that the Church has replaced Israel, God has rejected Israel (see Jer. 31:35ff) and even, that God hates the Jews (c. John Chrysostom 347CE-407CE).

He Comes Back as the King of Israel

Yeshua is returning to Jerusalem (Zech. 14:3-4) not Rome and when He does the nations will be required to come to the Holy City every year and worship the Lord during the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech. 14:16). A Church unfamiliar with the Jewishness of the Messiah might be caught off guard to meet Jesus the Jew in the clouds. There has been so much anti-Semitism in the Church for 2,000 years that it appears they forgot not only that He Himself was a Jew, but that He will return as a Jew!

If you love someone, you should love what they love.

If you love Yeshua, then you should know that He loves his natural brothers and longs to see them embrace Him. In tears He told the Orthodox Jews of Jerusalem, “You will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matt. 23:39).

In Hebrew, those words, Blessed is he who comes are a greeting. It is how you greet someone who arrives in the country or simply comes to your home. I arrived in Israel last night, after a ministry trip to the US. My dear friend and mentor Asher Intrater called me up and his first words were: “Baruch Haba (Blessed is he who comes).” The words are written in Hebrew at our airport to welcome those arriving. Yeshua was saying, I will not return until you welcome me. Just as Joseph had the love of the nations, his joy was not complete until his brothers reconciled with him.

In addition, whenever a groom is invited to the altar in a Jewish wedding, the cantor sings, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Yeshua is the bridegroom and He will return when they call for Him.

Furthermore, in the most intense plea in Scripture, Paul reveals Yeshua’s love for Israel and desire for the Jews to be saved when he said by the Holy Spirit that he would be willing to go to hell if only his brothers, Israel, would be saved (Romans 9:1-5). If you love Yeshua, then you must love who He loves and He loves His brothers.

God’s Plan is to use the Gentiles to Reach Israel

Romans 11:11 says that salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. God has put an anointing in Gentile believers to reach Jewish people. Even as Israel was called to be a light the nations (Is. 42:6 & 49:6), the nations are now called to reach Israel with the love of God. I was brought to faith by a non-Jew and so were most of the Messianic Jews I know. God has given you an anointing to reach the Jewish people!

To Escape Judgment

Romans 11:17-23 says that if the Gentile Church treats Israel poorly, they are also in danger of being cut off. I know this is difficult language, but these are not my words, but Paul’s:

Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches (Israel), he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness (towards Israel). Otherwise, you also will be cut off. (Rom. 11:20-22)

May I encourage you to take a slow read of Romans 11 and let God speak to you? Start with v. 11 and go to the end of the chapter.

A Debt of Love

God brought forth Yeshua through Israel. No Israel equals no salvation. It was the prayers of people like Simeon and Anna, Jews, that brought forth the first coming of the Messiah, prophesied by the Jewish prophets. Without Israel, you have no Old Testament and even no New Testament (as the Old Testament prophesies the New [Jer. 31:31-33], and it was Jews who wrote the New Testament). Without Abraham there would be no Messiah! Without David, no Son of David! Without Israel, the nations would still be sacrificing their children to false God’s. It was the Jews who said, “the Lord is One”—a revolutionary concept in the pagan world. It was Jewish apostles who spread the message of salvation to the nations. The apostle to the Gentiles was a Jewish Rabbi (Rom. 11:13).

The Gentile Church owes a debt of love to the eldest brother amongst the nations, Israel, who brought forth salvation in Yeshua the Messiah.

A desire for Revival

Romans 11:12,15 says clearly that if Israel, by failing (rejecting the Gospel) brought revival to the nations, what will happen when Israel accepts the Gospel? The answer: Greater Riches and Life from the dead!

But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

If Israel, through her rejection of salvation released revival on the nations, her acceptance will bring her back into right alignment with the plan of God, releasing worldwide revival—greater riches (v. 12) and life from the dead (v. 15). If the book of Acts represents riches,then Greater Riches means greater than anything we have ever seen!

Jews Alienated from Yeshua

By cleansing the Gospel of its Jewish Roots, Jews are left to think that this is a non-Jewish story—A Story about people named Peter, Paul and Mary, that takes place in Rome amongst Gentiles, as opposed to a story about Simon, Shaul, Jacob (actual name of James) and Miriam that takes place in the Galilee and Jerusalem, and focuses almost entirely on Jews until Acts 10. Without the Jewish context (Israel’s Messiah comes) Jews are left to believe that Jesus and Judaism are exclusive. The Jewish world wrongly agrees with Justin Martyr who said, He who would be both Christian and Jew, can be neither Christian nor Jew. They mistakenly assume that the New Testament represents a new religion.

Can you think of any more reasons that the Jewish Roots of the faith are important to the non-Jewish believers?


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  1. C.Brian Ross says:

    Not as much an addition as a confirmation. Just this morning, I was reading in the book of the Revelation of Jesus, given to John. In his vision of “the holy city, new Jerusalem” (21:2), John sees that it has twelve gates “and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed” (21:12). However, he also sees that there were twelve foundations “and on them the twelve names of the apostles of the Lamb” (21:14).

    If that doesn’t speak of one people (the city is the people) united in their worship of the true and living God, then I don’t know what does!

    Blessings, and shalom.

    Sh’alu shalom yerushalayim.

  2. dbe4876 says:

    Ron, I’m concerned about your section “To Escape Judgment,” and your included comment that interpreted “continue in his kindness” as “toward Israel.” I don’t believe the text supports that meaning for “kindness.” You began the quote with the last phrase of verse 20. But, verses 19-20 in their entirety seem to me to provide the context needed to rightly interpret both “kindness” and the threat included in verse 22.

    “Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 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.” (Romans 11:19-22 ESV)

    Note the phrase, “Note then the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen.” Clearly, “those who have fallen” refers to the branches broken off because of unbelief. Thus the severity of God has to do with being cut off because of unbelief. And the kindness of God referenced here toward Gentiles has to do with being grafted in because of faith. Therefore severity and kindness in this passage have everything to do with unbelief and faith. So, when Paul says “God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness” he is saying God has shown kindness to the Gentiles in response to their faith in Jesus (Yeshua), and will continue to do so, so long as they continue to live in that faith. The threat of being cut off has to do with whether one continues in faith in Jesus (Yeshua) or not. Indeed, throughout the New Testament we find again and again that faith must be maintained to have assurance of salvation. So, it seems to me that to equate “kindness” here as an expression of Gentile kindness toward Israel is really stretching this text past the intended meaning of the author. I certainly do not condone unkindness toward Israel, but it seems unfair the stretch this text to a meaning that just isn’t there. Please correct my layman’s exegesis as needed. And, blessings! 😀

    1. Ron Cantor says:

      Hello BDE, I just saw your response. I appreciate the spirit in which you shared and I think your view is certainly with considering. Of course I disagree 🙂

      1. The pretext of Romans 11, is the way the Roman Gentile believers were acting towards the Jewish believers. After Claudius kicked the Jews out of Rome, the young church of Rome developed a theology that God was judging the Jews. This is what Paul is responding to. The Jews had returned and were being treated like second class believers. I am reading a little bit into the History, but we know the Jews were kicked out (Acts 18) in 49CE and that Paul wrote Romans not long after they returned in 54CE. Much of Romans (1:16, 9:1-5, 10:1, all of 11) is to convince the Romans that even in unbelief the Jews are still called (11:29) and they can be redrafted in (v. 23) and they are still dearly loved by the Lord (9:1-5) and there will be an end-time ingathering that will lead to world revival (11:12, 15).

      2. The sin Paul is addressing is a boastful pride that the Romans were projecting towards the Jews. He tells them in v. 11 that they are to provoke Jews to jealousy (that would be, we assume, through showing kindness). The idea is that the Lord has been kind to you, now you be kind to the Jews. It is not unlike the parable about the man who is forgiven and but then doesn’t forgive (Matt. 18)–he too is cut off. Why? Because he didn’t show the same grace to other people as he received from the King. In same way, God is telling the Romans, you, who have freely received grace and kindness, must show grace and kindness to Israel–who brought you the Gospel (1:16 the Gospel is to the Jew first and John 4:22 salvation is from the Jews).

      3. History bears witness that the interpretation of kindness towards the Jews is correct. To whom is he speaking? The Roman Church. Did they listen? No. Rome became the primary persecuted of the Jews–particularly AFTER Rome embraced Christianity. They were viscous, many of their preachers claiming God hates the Jews and Constantine himself, the man who turned Rome to Christianity, was a rabid anti-Semite.

      So, what happened? Rome judges the Jews and as Paul warned in 2:1 in what I call the law of judgement, they became what they judged. Catholicism became just like pharisaical Judaism–a works-based religion, where tradition trumps the word of God.

      I hope that makes sense … 🙂