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Anti-Semitism in the Church
A Required Response to the Charge
that Messianic Judaism is Apostasy

by Messianic Pastor/Theologian Ari Levitt
MA, MDiv, ThM, ThD, DMin, MBA, NS, CNHP
Page 12

Ms. Nero’s Article Continues My Response

In Closing

The rituals that the Messianic Jews are tenaciously clinging to as their Judaic roots are not at all what our Lord Jesus Christ held fast to. The reason Jesus didn’t adhere to Judaism as it was practiced leading up to and during His time was because it was polluted. The Jews, at that time, were in a state of depravity. They were now divided into Pharisees and Sadducees with the Pharisees being the majority and the most powerful sect. [83]

 

 

 

[83] Again Ms. Nero demonstrates her abysmal lack of knowledge of the Scriptures, of Bible history, and of secular history. Yeshua was born, lived, and died as a totally-Torah-observant Jew, accepting and observing all those things that were written in the Scriptures by the prophets, who were verbally inspired by His Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). He encouraged His followers to observe the “Tradition of the Elders” except when they were in conflict with the Torah. (Matthew 23:1-3) Had He not been 100% obebdient to Torah, He would have been a sinner and disqualified to be the Messiah!

If Yeshua is God, and the Holy Spirit is His Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit inspired every “jot [yod] and tittle [decorative flourish]” of the Scriptures as He taught, then He would have been a hypocrite had He Himself failed to follow the very mitzvot [commandments] that He Himself wrote in stone with His own finger on Sinai and that He gave to Moshe [Moses] when He met with him “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”

What Ms. Nero either doesn’t know because she has failed to do her homework, or fails to admit out of dishonesty, is that neither Yeshua, nor the Shliachim, nor most adherents of Messianic Judaism accept the oral (Rabbinic) tradition as binding on their lives, only those mitzvot (commandments) that appear in the Scriptures.

She obviously has no idea what “rituals” are used in Messianic Jewish worship and has obviously never attended a Messianic Jewish worship service. They are, in fact, as near to those rituals practiced in the first century in the Judaism which Yeshua and His disciples all practiced.

Judaism of the Second Temple Period was in almost exactly the same state that “Gentile Christianity” finds itself in today, though it was not nearly as fragmented as Christianity is. There were five major “denominations” or so-called “parties” within Judaism at that time: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, the Zealots, and the Messianics. [There are over 43,000 major divisions of Christianity, each of which believes only they have the truth. They are for all intents and purposes 43,000 different religions, all claiming to be Christianity.]

The Pharisees, who numbered only about 6,000 in all of Israel during the first centuries before and after the birth of Yeshua, were the theological conservatives of their time. They would be the theological counterparts of most of today’s Baptists. However, to their shame, in order to legislate every detail of Jewish life and practice they created thousands of takanot, or regulations, now codified in the Talmud, that either add to or subtract from the requirements of Torah in direct violation of Torah; laws enacted by the Rabbis that change or negate Torah law.

Contrary to what Ms. Nero believes, it was the sect of the Sadducees, not the Pharisees, who were the most powerful sect, as the Sadducees had total control over the Temple and the priesthood. The Sadducees were the liberals, mostly political appointees to the priesthood, which position they purchased for exorbitant fees. They were only concerned with the proper “form” of worship and with retaining their cushy “clergy” positions. Since they categorically rejected all things supernatural, they naturally rejected a supernatural God who provided supernatural revelation. Theologically they would be more like today’s “high-church” Episcopalians, Lutherans, Catholics, and those “God is dead” philosophers who for some strange reason want to cling to the title “Christian.” If they were alive today, they would be those who produce “religious” documentaries for PBS and The History Channel.

The Essenes were the separatists, like the Catholic monastic orders, who were almost all gathered together in cloisters like the one at the Qumran community, where they spent their lives in prayer, meditation, ritual bathing, and copying the scrolls that we have recently received as the “Dead Sea Scrolls.”

The Zealots were the religious/political activists similar to the modern religious ultra-right, except they advocated and actively promoted the violent overthrow of their political oppressors, like the “Branch Davidians” and those other self-called “Christian activists” who bomb abortion clinics. One of the Master’s Emissaries (Apostles) was Simeon Zelotes (Simon the Zealot).

Among the Zealots was a group of political assassins whose occupation it was to execute those whom they considered political oppressors or trators to Israel. These were dispatched with a quick plunge of an ice-pick-like dagger called a sicae into the base of the brain. These assassins were known as Sicarii (singular sicarius) from the name of their weapon. The disciple who betrayed the Master was was Yehudah the Sicarius (Judas Iscariot).

The Messianics were the many tens of thousands (Acts 21:20, literal translation) of Jews who made up the true “faithful remnant” from all four parties, who were earnestly watching for Messiah, and who and recognized Him immediately upon hearing of His resurrection. Just as is true in the “organized church” today, only a small portion of the “organized synagogue” of the Second Temple Period were redeemed by faith as was their father Avraham.

When Jerusalem fell in 70 CE, the Temple was destroyed so there was no further function for the Sadducees, the Zealots were all killed, captured, or dispersed, and the Qumran community was overrun and destroyed, leaving only the Pharisees and Messianics. The Pharisees and Messianics maintained fellowship in the Synagogue until the Bar-Kokhba Revolt in 132-135 CE. At that time Rabbi Akiva (the Chief Rabbi) declared that all who failed to recognize Shimon Bar-Kokhba as the Messiah were heretics, which resulted in all true Messianic Believers either being put out of, or voluntarily leaving, Synagogue fellowship.

From 135 until 324, Pharisaical Judaism and Messianic Judaism went their separate ways. Pharisaical Judaism gradually evolved into today's Rabbinical Judaism, and Messianic Judaism (HaDerek, or “The Way”) absorbed an ever-increasing number of Gentile Believers, until the Jewish Believers became a relatively small minority within what was still considered a “sect” of Judaism.

Up until the establishment of the Roman State Religion in 324, the synagogue remained the only existing “form” or “model” for both Messianic and non-Messianic Judaism. In 324, Emperor Constantine ascended to the Roman throne and immediately established his total control over both the religious and civil life of the Roman Empire by creating the blend of Messianic Judaism and Babylonian Paganism that became “the church” at the Council of Nicaea in 325. Following the Council of Nicaea, from which all the Jewish Elders were specifically “uninvited,” all members of the new Roman Church, which de facto included all citizens of the Empire, were given the choice of renouncing all traces of their Jewish heritage or being put to death.

Until the rebirth of Messianic Judaism in 1967, that remained just about the only choice for Jews who accepted Yeshua as their Messiah — convert to Ms. Nero’s heretical form of “Christianity” and renounce all Jewish heritage, or renounce Messiah and be permitted to remain in the Jewish community. [Return to 83]

By adding to the written law a mass of absurd or frivolous traditions, which, as they [Pharisees] foolishly alleged, were handed down from Moses, they subverted the authority of the sacred record; and changed the religion of the patriarchs and prophets into a wearisome parade of superstitious observances” (The Ancient Church: Its History, Doctrine, Worship, And Constitution, Traced For The First Three Hundred Years by W.D. Killen. Anson D.F. Randolph & Company, New York, pp 6-7, 1883). [84]


 

[84] This statement has absolutely no basis in fact. It is exactly the kind of patently false, venomous, and inflammatory anti-Semitic rhetoric that Martin Luther and Adolph Hitler spewed to stir up the masses against the Jewish people.

It is these traditions that Messianic Judaism continues to observe as a sign of them still being Jews or completed Jews. They want the very stuff that Jesus abandoned just so long as no one calls them “Christian.” [85]

 

 

 

 

Church, Jew and non-Jew alike, you are “…born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever (1Peter 1:23).

 

[85] As repeatedly stated before, extremely few members of the Messianic Movement accept as authoritative the takanot, or “traditions of the Elders,” though many ethnic Jews still practice them out of love for their tradition, the same way that most Americans enjoy turkey for Thanksgiving or fireworks for Independence Day. Most in fact reject the very same traditions of Rabbinical Judaism that Yeshua and the Emissaries rejected.

(“Liveth” and “abideth”? If Ms. Nero is so bent out of shape about Messianic Judaism using Hebrew liturgy instead of English in their worship services, why does she insist on using obsolete Elizabethan English rather than “real” English? Perhaps out of her tradition?)

“Born Again” and ”Made an [sic] Holy Nation” [86] sounds like a new name to me, and don’t you ever let any one humiliate you by calling you a Gentile Christian or a Messianic Jew. Yes, Satan has tainted the name Christian for 2,000-plus years, that’s his job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 But, a True Christian is known by his fruit[87] and is not ashamed of who he is in Christ Jesus. Satan is also guilty of having blurred the spiritual vision of the non-Jewish Believers by leading them to leave out much of what God intended them to do, and on the other hand, the Messianic Jewish Movement, he leads them to leave in The Church, much of what God intended them to not do. It’s satanic trickery on both hands – the gates of hell attempting to prevail against the True Church of Jesus Christ, and you all have been so accommodating.

 

[86] It is quite interesting that Ms. Nero should take this promise that was as part of the eternal covenant that God made with Israel and try to apply it to the Gentile “church.” She is a thief and usurper, who would steal for himself that which belongs to others.

In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you [Israel] shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” (Exod. 19:1-6, NASB)

Notice carefully that this promise was never made either to Gentiles or the the Church! The promise is made only to the sons of Israel and the house of Jacob (i.e., ethnic Jews!) It is also a conditional promise based on the criteria “obey My voice and keep My covenant.” It is only valid to those who are obedient to the entire Torah given at Sinai! Since “the Church” blatently denies they are responsible to keep the Torah, they reject the conditions of the promise and thus reject the promise itself!

[87] Ms. Nero stands condemned by her own words and the words of Messiah.

Messiah said: “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? … So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7:16,20)  “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

In the infancy of The Church, wherever the Believers in Jesus Christ went, their topic of conversation was of Jesus. [sic]
 

“They delighted to tell of His mighty miracles, of His holy life, of the extraordinary circumstances which accompanied His death, and of His resurrection and ascension. Out of the fullness of their hearts they discoursed of His condescension and His meekness, of His wonderful wisdom, of His sublime theology, and of His unutterable love to a world lying in wickedness. When they prayed, they prayed to Christ; when they sang, they sang to Christ; when they preached, they preached Christ. Well then might the heathen multitude agree with one voice to call them Christians” (Ibid. p 57).


 

 


That is why we are Christians. Why would one professing to believe Jesus as their Messiah want to be looked upon as a Messianic Jew because his or her Jewishness is more important than who he or she is in Christ? Messianic Judaism is apostasy! It’s schism! Just to prove that they are still Jews and be accepted by those practicing Judaism, Messianic Judaism is no better than the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who were all about outward appearance. [sic]

“…hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness….ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27-28).

In view of the fact that you have placed yourselves above being called Christians, you are denying Christ even though He prayed that all His people might be one.

Jesus prayed for unity/oneness in His Body – His Church. For the reason that He is immutable, why would He, after His death, say, “Oh, I changed my mind since Jewish Believers should maintain their Jewish heritage and identify [sic]. They are going to have to stand apart from the non-Jews so that they are Completed Jews.” No, Jesus didn’t say that. He didn’t tell the Jews that in their walk with Him they must keep their Jewishness because when any of us walk with Him, we are new creatures, meaning He and His ways are first and far most [sic] above traditions, rituals, and cultures. It’s Jesus – not the “nesses”. The “nesses” are outside The Church with the exceptions of, maybe, music and one’s native tongue. (All music must be pure for God.) [sic]

Believers, the Bride of Christ – Jew or non-Jew, should be totally immersed in The Church of Jesus Christ. There is no alternative and never has been that can label itself as being of God. All in The Body of Christ should identify with Him, His Gospel, and let go of the rest. As Believers in Jesus Christ, our historical identity is Jesus and His Gospel, and nothing else. Not even Judaism. It is far more important to remain a Believer in Christ – a Christian, than it is to remain a Jew, or anything else. Messianic congregations are not God-made, but are man-made – by some “wanna-bes” – wanting to be special or a notch above other Christians. The Messianic Jewish movement is not of God.

Jesus is “JESUS” and what difference does it make how He is seen (Jewish picture or non-Jewish picture) [sic]. What is utmost important [sic] is that you follow HIM, and Him alone, not your “ness,” traditions, rituals, and cultures.

There is equity [sic] in following Jesus Christ. Thank God, no one in Christianity is esteemed above another. Jewish Believers are not esteemed above non-Jewish Believers. Remember, Matthew 8 where Jesus marveled at the faith of the Roman centurion and He said …

“…many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness…” (Matthew 8:11-12).

The kingdom of heaven (www.scarlet-to-snow.com/ info23.htm) is “now” for all who have faith, and for Jesus to say many from all over will “sit down” (in faith) with the patriarchal fathers of faith shows that no one group of Believers in Jesus is esteemed above another. It’s about faith, and when one has complete faith in God, that one has true love for Him, which is all He wants from any and all of us.

It is not the intent of this Apostate Alert to discourage MJM from wanting to identify with the Hebrew people, but it is intended to discourage you from clinging to Judaism as a way of being identified as a Hebrew. Go ahead, be involved in the Jewish community, if they will allow you to « support Israel, we all should « practice Saturday Sabbath, we all should « celebrate the yearly feast days, we all should « have your traditional Jewish weddings « have your Bar Mitzvahs « play your Jewish Music to The Lord with its unique sound. [sic] Great! Go ahead, do all of that. But, when it comes to Messiah Jesus, your salvation and The Church, remember, The Church of Jesus Christ is a “new thing” and it’s not about Judaism and its rituals and it’s not about anyone’s culture. Thus, leave out of The Church your …

In this infancy of the Messianic Restoration Movement, whever we Believers in Yeshua HaMashiach go, our topic of conversation is Yeshua.

We delight to tell of His mighty miracles, of His holy life of dedicated obedience to the Torah and of His respect for even the non-biblical traditions that do not represent legalism or contradict the Torah, of the extraordinary circumstances which accompanied His death, and of His resurrection and ascension. Out of the fullness of our hearts we discourse of His condescension and His meekness, of His wonderful wisdom, of His sublime theology, and of His unutterable love to a world lying in wickedness. When we pray, we pray to the Father in the name of His Son, Israel’s Mashiach, as Yeshua commanded; when we sing, we sing to Messiah, and to His Abba and our Abba; when we preach, we preach Messiah and His Torah. Well then might the heathen multitude agree with one voice to call us Messianic.

This is why we are Messianics. We profess Yeshua to be the Jewish Messiah Who lived from His first breath to His last in obedience to God’s Holy Torah, and we long with ever fiber of our being to live as He lived, to walk as He walked, and to worship as He worshipped.

There is a great difference between a student and a disciple. The student wants to know what the teacher knows; the disciple wants to become what the teacher is. The goal of a true disciple is to become as much like his/her teacher as possible. Yeshua is our Teacher and we long to be as much like Him as we can be.

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

Yeshua prayed for unity within His holy community, the Commonwealth of Israel living in yielded obedience to God’s Holy Torah, which is to include all those from outside of Israel who, like Ruth, wish to become a part of God’s people and to worship the God of Israel. It is the Gentiles who are invited to become a part of this family through adoption as sons (Rom. 9:3-4) by being grafted into the olive tree that is Israel (Rom. 11:17-24). Gentiles are warned to not be arrogant towards the branches and the root of Israel (Rom 11:18,21), lest they be cut off.

The Gentiles who have invaded Messianic Judaism since the third century are like those arrogant foreigners who have invaded America in recent years. From beyond our borders they look at us and see the blessings and freedoms we enjoy and they wish to become a part of us. But when they get here they bring their foreign traditions with them and insist that we must become like they are.

So the Gentiles look to Israel and to Israel’s Messiah and wish to participate in the blessings, the promises, and the covenants of the God of Israel. They claim they want to follow the Jewish Messiah. But when they get here they insist that our Messiah is not Jewish, that only the blessings and none of the responsibilities of His covenants and promises are theirs, and they insist that since our Messiah is not Jewish, neither do we have the right to be Jewish. They tell us that the customs and practices we have observed for over 3,000 years are an abomination. Once they have been adopted into the Family of God they steal for themselves the birthright of those who were born into the family. And they tell us that our faith is not of God.

• Yarmulkes (God never told men nor women to cover their heads – His Spirit is their covering)

• Torah Scrolls (the whole Word of God is in your heart)

• Parading the Torah Scroll around the congregation for the congregants to touch it

• Phylacteries

• Lighting of Sabbath candles (Holy Spirit is the light)

• Prayer shawls (God’s Spirit is your covering)

• Common prayers (they straitjacket the Holy Spirit)

• Star of David

• The menorah

• Israeli and American flags (that’s patriotism)

We cover our head with the kippa (derived from the Hebrew word kaphar [rpk] “atonement” or “covering”) — yarmulke in Yiddish — as a symbol of humility and respect, and to remind us that Messiah is our atonement.

The Torah scroll is part of the Hebrew Bible! We display it to show reverence for the words written on it and for Him Who gave us those words. Because the words it contains are written in the language spoken by our Messiah it offends Gentiles? Surely then we can’t allow Gentile Christians to carry a Bible to church [unless, of course, it's a great big King Jimmy, also known as the A.V. (Abominable Version) due to is grossly inaccurate and anti-Semitic translation]! They might actually read it and find what liars and hypocrites men and women who teach this antisemitic garbage really are! That’s why Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible until the 13th century.

Even though very few Messianic Jews wear phylacteries unless they were raised in the Orthodox tradition, it is very likely that Messiah Yeshua wore them, as it has been Jewish tradition since long before He was born, and He followed most Jewish tradition that wasn’t contrary to God’s grace.

God gave us the dual commandment to observe and keep His Shabbat (Deut. 5:12). As the sun sets on the sixth day of the week, we light the Shabbat candles as our last act of “work” for the week, and we light two of them to remind us that there are two aspects to the mitzvah (commandment) of Shabbat.

The tallit, or prayer shawl, provides us with a portable tabernacle, a private prayer closet into which we can quietly slip to spend some quality time with Messiah. Although the tallit is not mandated by Scripture, we are commanded to wear fringes (tassels, tzit-zit, tcyc) on the corners of our garments (Num. 15:38-39), and a rectangular tallis gives us the opportunity to fulfill that mitzvah.

Since the wearing of the tallit during prayer was a long-standing tradition at the time Messiah lived, and as a Torah-observant Jew He observed all of the worship traditions of the syagogue, it is extremely unlikely that he would not have worn a tallit while praying. Additionally, Rav Sha'ul was by trade a talllit-maker (Acts 18:1-3), which is mistranslated in English Bibles as tent-maker (because the tallit is a “private tent.”)

The brakhot, liturgical blessings and benedictions, used by both Messianic and non-Messianic Jews today are nearly all either direct quotes or paraphrases of Scripture passages. They are exactly the same as those that have been used by Jews since the First Temple Period and were nearly a thousand years old at the time Messiah recited them in His synagogue services. If they were good enough for Messaiah, they are good enough for us today. If Messianic Jews should refrain from reciting Scripture in worship services, Gentile Christians should also refrain from reciting Scripture.

Although the Magen David (dwd !gm, Shield of David) has no specific official religious significance in Judaism, the psalmist David frequently refers to God as a “shield.” We would therefore not be far from the mark to refer to the Shield of David as a symbol for the God of Israel. It is also incorporated into the Messianic Seal, which is the oldest known symbol of the Messianic faith. As the Messianic Seal was frequently found in the earliest Messianic synagogues, so both the Magen David and the Messianic Seal found in modern Messianic Synagogues. If Jews should not display the Magen David, then should Gentile Christians be prohibited from displaying a cross?

The menorah was commanded by God to be among the furnishings of the Tabernacle that Moshe constructed in the wilderness about 1400 years before Messiah was born. It is a symbol of Ruach HaKodesh that stood in the Tabernacle, both the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem, and will also be in the Melennial Temple from which Messiah will rule the world. It is also found in every synagoge in the world today.

   

While we are ridding our houses of worship of unnecessary clutter, perhaps we should be sure to rid the churches of communion tables, baptistries, collection plates, hymnals, pew bibles, stained glass windows, sound systems, slide projectors, video screens, and crosses — none of which are either mandated or permitted in Scripture — just to be consistent. It would probably be a good idea to also get rid of the unholy practices of snake-handling, poison-drinking, and gibberish babblings (that must certainly go on in all Gentile Christian churches, to take the same line of reasoning that Ms. Nero applies to Messianic synagogues).

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Page originally posted on 30 August 2001
Page revised on Saturday, 14 September 2019
Page revised on Monday, 1 February 2021

Page last updated on Saturday, 03 July 2021 12:38 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!