There are two kinds of Judaism: Rabbinical and Biblical.
Rabbinical Judaism was birthed through rabbis and sages who spent hours into years interpreting the Torah and the Prophets so that the Jewish people would more fully obey the commandments of Adonai. This became known as halacha or the ‘walking out of the commandments.’ Though they meant well and their teachings are grounded in Torah, their purpose became distorted and their regulations became overwhelming. Few people, including them, could keep the ‘whole law’ that they created.
Eventually, they referred to all of the Feasts of the LORD as sabbaths which created confusion with the timing of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits; they twisted the Abrahamic ‘sign’ of the covenant of faith, circumcision, into an entry requirement to join their religious system known as Judaism or the ‘traditions of the fathers.’
Once circumcised into Judaism, a person had to keep all the requirements of traditional rabbinical Judaism. They had to wash their hands a certain way, they couldn’t pick grain on the Sabbath, and they couldn’t touch an injured man on the road. Today, turning on lights or opening the refrigerator door is prohibited on the Sabbath because it’s considered ‘work.’
When God called forth the nation of Israel, created of a mixed multitude of Egyptians and Hebrews, at Mt. Sinai, He made them a priesthood of people. As His priesthood, they were to keep His commandments, His Torah. In this way they would be a ‘light to the nations’ (Isaiah 49:6). Because they have been faithful to protect the Torah throughout their generations, many Biblical commands began to look ‘Jewish.’ For example, Passover is not a Jewish holiday, but a Feast of Adonai; yet because of the Jews’ faithfulness to celebrate it, it is known as a Jewish feast.
Circumcision falls into the same category, however, Scripture states that Abraham was circumcised before there was an Israel or Jewish people. He was circumcised because of his faith and circumcision was a ‘sign’ of that faith. Because the Jewish people have been faithful to the ‘sign’ of the covenant of faith, circumcision has taken on a Jewish identity instead of a Biblically-faithful one.
Yeshua, the rabbi of all rabbis, had two messages for those promoting rabbinical Judaism. He called them a “brood of vipers” and “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 12:34). Their rules and regulations were a ‘yoke’ that burdened everyone who took them on, including them. He told them they were not children of Abraham because they did not live the faith or works of Abraham; they were children of their father the devil (John 8:44).
Biblical Judaism could be defined as following Adonai’s commands as He wrote them and allowing His Spirit to direct how each of us walks them out in our lives. Of course, if non-Jews start keeping the Sabbath, according to the fourth commandment, we may appear ‘Jewish.’ If we eat meat according to the Levitical dietary outline given by Adonai, we will again appear ‘Jewish.’ Since our Messiah Yeshua is Jewish and kept the fourth commandment and ate Levitically, we will appear to be like him which should be the goal of our faith.
Yeshua taught ‘Biblical Judaism.’ He did not remove or destroy the Torah and Prophets, the Words of His Father. He came to live them out the way they were meant to be lived out: with love for Adonai and love for our neighbor. His ‘yoke,’ the ‘yoke’ of his Father is light and easy (Matthew 28:11-30). John, his disciple, understood his teachings and wrote that the “Torah is not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
Yeshua became the embodiment of the Feasts of Adonai, fulfilling them on the correct days. He asked his Father to pour out His Spirit so that those who obeyed His commands would have the power to obey, to overcome sin in their lives, and be witnesses of him to the world. The only requirement to enter the Kingdom of Adonai is and always was faith in the ‘seed of the woman.’
Sha’ul taught that Yeshua brought down the dividing wall between Jew and non-Jew. That dividing wall was rabbinical Judaism and all of its rules and regulations. Unless one became Jewish through ‘circumcision,’ they could not join the Commonwealth of Israel and enjoy the promises and covenants given to Israel. Faith in Yeshua’s work through his death and resurrection created ‘one new man’ and brought unity between Jew and non-Jew. Through faith like Abraham and obedience to Adonai’s commands like Yeshua, the purpose of Biblical Judaism and the Jewish people being a ‘light to the nations,’ was brought to its culmination in the Messiah of Israel (Ephesians 2:13-22).
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