Friday, November 24, 2017

Matters of Our Identity

I would like to share with you a few observations and reflections that I had after reading (most) of, Ten From The Nations by Rivkah Lambert Adler. 

This book gives a good idea of what is going on in this present move of the Spirit, which has been labelled “Torah Awakening” among non-Jews, especially Christians.  It also portrays the dangers and pitfalls that such a movement can, and does in many cases, bring to the New Covenant faith.  For those of us who are believers in the Messianic New Covenant Scriptures, the phenomenon of conversion to Judaism and abandoning Yeshua and the New Covenant writings is troublesome.  However, we had better refrain from judging the individuals who have chosen that path, as YHVH is the one who looks at the heart and is the ultimate judge.  Often this path has been undertaken by those who grew up in the Christian religion and now are simply exchanging one religious system for another, whether it be Humanism or Judaism or any other “ism”, and it may even be “Noahitism” (if I may coin a new term).

The main tenant of Judaism today is Jewish identity as defined by religious authorities, and as a result, when it comes to understanding “Israel” (the people) most think only in terms of Jewishness. Thus, the ten lost tribes, as well as father Abraham, are understood to be Jews. In Christianity the understanding is basically the same; the non-Jews are called “Gentiles”, while the Jews are Israel. 

In the State of Israel not many are aware of this Hebrew Roots occurrence.  However, at the end of Rivkah’s collection of testimonies some rabbis and other orthodox individuals share differing viewpoints about non-Jews studying and observing Torah.  But where does this leave us, who identify ourselves not as Jews or Gentiles, but as Ephraimites, or Israelites from the stick of Joseph?  The terminology found in the New Covenant writings, at least in its English translations, is “Gentiles” and “foreigners”, both of which are understood to mean non-Israelites.  We are the “no people” and “foolish nation” that are supposed to provoke the Jews to jealousy (Romans 10:19; Deut 32:21).  Many Hebrew Roots “Gentiles”, who have taken on a Jewish lifestyle and at the same time keep Yeshua as their Lord, Savior and Redeemer will never provoke a Jew to jealousy, unless it is accompanied by Elohim’s righteousness emanating from the heart and expressed in life because of the faith.  “For in it the righteousness of Elohim is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just/righteous shall live by faith’" (Romans 1:17).
On a different note, we, of the lost tribes of Israel, are now approaching the 3rd Congress, which as most of you know will be held just before Pesach 2018.  I think we need to put a strong emphasis on YHVH’s words to:“…remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm” (Deuteronomy 5:15).  All the way through the 40 years in the wilderness our forefathers never celebrated the Passover, a fact that caused them to forget the One who delivered them out of slavery and brought them into relationship with Himself.  The same goes with our New Covenant Passover and deliverance out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light in Messiah Yeshua. We too are liable to forget the Almighty Father, the First Cause and Initiator of it all.

Over a month or so ago I wrote about our trip to Crete, its connection to the Bronze Age and the evidence of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt.  But the most important part of that was not about Pharaoh, nor even about the Israelites, nor the date of the Exodus, but about the centrality of YHVH the Elohim of the Exodus.  Thus we must ask:  Was the Exodus about the lamb, the blood, the firstborn, the crossing of the Sea of Reeds?  Or was it about the Elohim of the Exodus? The exhortation to the redeemed Israelites was to remember who it was that saved them and brought them out of slavery. The same goes for the New Covenant Passover and Exodus. It is not about the Romans, the religious leaders, nor is it even first and foremost about the Lamb, Yeshua. “The Father was in Messiah reconciling the world to Himself” (ref. 2 Corinthians 5:19). He sent His Son Yeshua, He orchestrated all of the circumstances in order to fulfill His purposes. Additionally, it was Elohim the Father that raised Yeshua from the dead (see Romans 4:24).   Just as it was when the first Passover occurred, so was it in Yeshua’s one - it is about Elohim the Father and His mighty right arm that saves, redeems and delivers His people (us) from the slavery to sin and death. This is our Exodus. YHVH exhorted His people over and over again to remember their slavery. We too have to hear those words: "… you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt [this world], and YHVH your Elohim redeemed you from there…” (Deuteronomy 24:18).  Only after that appeal do we hear Him say: “keep my commandments”; or “therefore I command you to do this thing” (Deuteronomy 24:22).  Passover comes before Shavuot and to add, there would be no feast days or even Shabbat without it.

Let us give honor where honor is due, as did the apostles:   “Grace to you and peace from Elohom our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.  Blessed be the Elohim and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Messiah,  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:2-4).  

Egypt is not the only location connected to the Passover in the Exodus story. There is another, at the end of the journey when the new generation crossed into the land. Perhaps we too need to look at what took place at the end of the wilderness journey. Both Exodus stories (exiting Egypt and the wilderness) came to completion when the redeemed crossed water barriers (a sea and a river).  Before the crossing of the Jordan into the land, Joshua commanded the people to sanctify themselves.  Thus the New Covenant writers remind the redeemed who have come out of the world of sin and death to: “…sanctify YHVH Elohim in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15);   “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of Elohim” (2 Corinthians 7:1), and thus, as mentioned earlier, displaying the in-built righteousness gained by our Father’s action through His Son. Like our forefathers in their wilderness, we too have another Exodus awaiting, when we shall cross the proverbial Jordan, leaving the wilderness behind to enter the Promised Land.  

No comments:

Post a Comment