June 12, 2015 – Judeo-Christian?

“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 a cool winery, but it was really a church with an offer for wine tasting!   The other day one billboard inspired me to think about the compound faith known as the Judeo-Christian Tradition.

judeochristianlogo1Is there such a thing as a Judeo-Christian Tradition today?  In other words, is there something 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 to me 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, that’s a huge dividing wall in the description of a Judeo-Christian Tradition.

Judeo refers to Jews and their faith in the God of the Old Testament,  His promises of salvation to Israel and ultimately the world, and the coming Kingdom of God.   Christian comes from the Greek word Christ whose name in English is Jesus.  He died to save the world and make born again Christians who will live in heaven someday.

Because of the anti-semitic historical roots of Christianity,  the New Testament has been separated from the Old thus removing most, if not all of the Judeo roots of Christianity.   The obvious Biblical truths and traditions developed by the Jewish people so that they could be the light to the nations, bringing hope of salvation to the world and a coming eternal kingdom have disappeared. When someone does begin to embrace the Judeo part of their Christian faith, they are deemed legalistic, fallen from grace, and apostate from the church.  Even worse are the comments said with a sick, degrading tone of voice that ‘we’ shouldn’t be doing those ‘Jewish’ things because no one wants to be Jewish.   Wouldn’t it be more honest to say that those who turn away from the Judeo/Jewish part of their faith, the very foundation of a Biblical faith from which the Jewish Messiah came,  are the apostate ones?

These were just my random thoughts as I was driving.

Then I read Matthew 13 this morning. It is a long discourse in parables by Yeshua on the kingdom of heaven – the kingdom for which he came to teach about 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 God’s kingdom being exemplified by his very own Jewish Messiah standing with him in the dark of the night.

This is the same kingdom of God/heaven Yeshua speaks about through parables in the Matthew 13.   The first is the parable of the sower who plants seeds for the kingdom of God.  The seeds fall on good or bad ground and take root accordingly.  Some grow; some do not based on the heart condition of the person hearing the Torah, the Prophets or the Writings.   He follows with the parable of the weeds where the enemy sows bad seeds among the good seeds.  The good seeds are the words of God spoken by Yeshua; the bad seeds are the lies and distortions of the Truth by the devil.  Both 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 God’s Word as truth are gathered up, 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 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 as a small seed will grow into maturity and produce an ever-increasing ‘bread of life’.  Continuing to describe the coming kingdom of God, Yeshua  uses the parable of the net where good and bad fish are caught and the bad ones are thrown away. He also compares the kingdom of heaven 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 out of all the nations of the world to be his  treasured possession forever (Deuteronomy 7:6). In Revelation 21:21,  the gates into the New Jerusalem are made of one giant pearl while the names over the gates are the 12 Tribes of Israel.  Jews will have to enter through a pearl; gentiles through a Jewish-named gate.  Judeo-Christian in its perfection!

In his final statement in the discourse 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 along with Jewish traditions were made new treasures through Yeshua.  Every born again disciple in God’s kingdom needs to understand that the Judeo part of the Christian Tradition has beautiful old treasures as well as new.  It is with this understanding and ultimately the embracing of the Jewish ‘root’  that the real Judeo-Christian Tradition will be seen in the Body of Messiah  as it is meant to be.

Perhaps I should design some new billboard.  Any ideas?

©Tent Stake Ministries

 

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