“And he (Yeshua) said unto them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been made a disciple to the kingdom of heaven is like a man that is a householder, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old'” (Matthew 13:52).
I drive a lot. Sometimes I listen to praise and worship music and ‘dance’ with my feet while on cruise control; other times I drive in silence enjoying the scenery along the tedious interstate routes. Because I’m always going to the same two or three places, I pass the same billboards that advertise everything from dentists to new cell phone plans. There are always the ones that are supposed to be challenging: “Where you will be when you die?” with pictures of fire with HELL or clouds with HEAVEN. “We need to talk – God.” Come to this or that ‘open fellowship’ where everyone is accepted. One billboard I actually thought was advertising a cool winery, but it was really a church with an offer for wine tasting! One billboard inspired me to think about the compound faith known as the Judeo-Christian Tradition.
Is there such a thing as a Judeo-Christian faith today? In other words, is there anything recognizably Jewish in the Christian faith including the supposed founder of a new religion called Christianity –– the Jewish Jesus? I have actually had Christians say that if they knew Jesus had been Jewish, they wouldn’t have become Christian or that Jesus is in no way Jewish because he is the Son of God. That’s a chasm, a huge dividing wall in the ‘becoming one new man’ as preached by Paul in Ephesians 2.
Judeo refers to Jews and their faith in the God of the TeNaK (the Torah, Prophets and Writings), His promise of salvation to Israel and ultimately the world, and the coming Kingdom of God. Christian comes from the Greek word Christ whose first name in English, according to most Jews, is Jesus. Jesus died to save the world and create born again Christians who will die and live in heaven someday.
Because of the anti-semitic historical roots of Christianity, the New Testament has been separated from the Old removing most, if not all of the Judeo roots. Obvious Biblical truths and traditions developed by the Jewish people so they could be the light to the nations have disappeared. When someone begins to embrace the Judeo roots of their faith, they are deemed legalistic, fallen from grace, and apostate from ‘the church.’ Even worse, the comments are spoken with a sick, degrading tone of voice that Christians shouldn’t be doing those ‘Jewish’ things because first, we are ‘free from the law,’ and no one wants to be ‘Jewish’ or even look ‘Jewish.’ Wouldn’t it be more honest to say that those who turn away from the Judeo part of the faith, the very foundation of the Biblical faith that the Jewish Messiah taught, are the apostate ones?
I read Matthew 13 this morning –– a long parable discourse by Yeshua on the Kingdom of Heaven, the kingdom for which he came to teach and prepare God’s people. Yeshua told Nicodemus that a man must be born again to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3). Nicodemus did not become the first ‘born again Christian’ in a new religious system, but a born again disciple of Yeshua in God’s Kingdom –– exemplified by the Jewish Messiah standing with him in the dark of the night.
This is the same Kingdom Yeshua teaches about throughout Matthew 13. The Parable of the Sower describes the one who plants seeds for the Kingdom of God. The seeds fall on good or bad ground and takes root accordingly. Some seeds grow; some do not. The growth is based on the heart condition of the person hearing the ‘seed,’ the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. Yeshua follows with the Parable of the Weeds where the enemy sows bad seeds among the good seeds. The good seeds are the words of Adonai spoken by Yeshua; the bad seeds are the lies and distortions of the Truth by the Adversary, who has been twisting truth since the beginning. The weeds and the wheat grow together until the day when the angels of God separate them. The wicked who refused to hear and accept Adonai’s Truth are gathered up and thrown into the lake of fire where they will weep and gnash their teeth. The righteous who allowed the Word of Truth to be planted in them will shine like the sun in the coming Kingdom (Matthew 4). Yeshua uses the Parables of the Mustard Seed and Yeast to show how God’s Spirit planted in the heart will grow into maturity and produce an ever-increasing harvest when combined with the Truth. Continuing to describe the coming Kingdom of God, Yeshua uses the Parable of the Net where good and bad fish are caught; the bad ones are thrown away. Yeshua also compares the coming Kingdom to a pearl of great price and a treasure hidden in a field. The pearl which comes from an ‘unclean’ sea creature symbolizes the nations of the world that will be in the Kingdom. The hidden treasure symbolizes the nation of Israel who God called to be His treasured possession forever (Deuteronomy 7:6). The gates into the New Jerusalem will be made of one giant pearl while the names over the entrance gates are the 12 Tribes of Israel (Revelation 21:21). Jews who follow the Jewish Messiah will have to enter through a pearl gate; gentiles who follow the Jewish Messiah through a gate with a name of a son of Israel.
In his final statement on the Kingdom of Heaven, Yeshua compares God’s kingdom to a man who owns a house and brings out new treasures as well as old. Old treasures of Truth that had been hidden in the Hebrew Scriptures were transformed into new treasures through Yeshua. Every born again disciple of Messiah in God’s kingdom needs to understand that the Judeo part of faith has old treasures as well as new. Only after Christians begin embracing the Jewish roots taught and embodied by the Jewish Messiah will Biblical faith will be seen as it is meant to be.
Maybe Judeo-Christian needs a bill board: Is it Truth or a Great Deception?
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