Promises and Secrets

Promises and SecretsPromises and Secrets

A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.



Why Aren't More Jews Christian?

VIEWPOINT



Based on the description of the growth of new believer numbers in the New Testament, why aren't there more than that now?

FACT



According to an article at Wikipedia, as of 2007 there were about 20,000 Messianic Jews (Jews who believe in Christ as Savior) in Israel.


BLUE VIEWPOINT



Reading passages like Acts 2:41
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

, Acts 2:47
praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

, and Acts 4:4
But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

, it seems as though the number of Jews who became believers was growing by leaps and bounds - every day.


A rough guess from just those three verses would have the number exceed 10,000 after a short time - and that's just the men. Adding Acts 6:1
In those days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Grecian Jews began to grumble against the Hebraic Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.

, Acts 6:7
So the word of God continued to spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem grew rapidly, and a great number of priests became obedient to the faith.

, and Acts 9:31
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria experienced a time of peace. It grew in strength and numbers, living in the fear of the Lord and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit.

, the number would surely exceed the number of Messianic Jews that are there in Israel today. What happened?

If you think about it, the message that was being passed on by Jesus and His disciples was very convincing and must not have created a large conflict in the mind of the average Jew. That average Jew was not among the leaders who had already changed the law of God in their Talmud (Oral Law) to their man-made traditions, but the average God-fearing Jew that knows the Torah (the books of Moses). Peter was spreading the Gospel to the Jews, and those who heard seemed ready and willing to accept the message and believe.

Then something changed

However, some time after the original surge in numbers, something must have changed. That change could have been in either the minds of the hearers, or the minds of the preachers, or in the message itself. There may be a way to find out what happened, or at least make sense of the numbers we are seeing today.

First, the average non-Messianic Jew knows the Bible, and therefore his God, very well. He knows what he has been taught all his life, indeed to all his ancestors. He also knows that the leaders of his faith have modified the words of God, supposedly to protect people from "accidentally" breaking the law. But his basis of belief is the Torah.

When Jesus came along, He chided those leaders for burdening the people with their traditions (Mark 7:13
Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.

). He told them that they were making it so hard to follow their rules, the rules of men, that no one could do it. One thing He did not do was to change the law as given to, and recorded by, Moses. He held that those parameters were God's law and were still in effect and, in fact, would not change until "everything is accomplished" (Matt 5:17-20
17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

). Guess what? Heaven and earth have not disappeared. So, unless you want to call Jesus a liar, the law is still around and is still very necessary. He didn't do away with it.

Paul agreed with Jesus

Paul preached the same gospel, and he was very successful at teaching the value of believing in Jesus. He also did not preach that the law had changed, but he, like Jesus, said that the Jewish leaders were not helping the people obey God because they were "nullify[ing] the word of God by [their] tradition". His message was that the law alone will do you no good without faith in the Messiah - Jesus Christ. That's what the whole book of Galatians was about. Real Jews know that the law of Moses has never changed and still applies to both Jews and Gentiles without affecting the message of the Gospel.

So, early in the Christian process, many Jews were believers in Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. The message we see in the same New Testament Gospel from the first century was very effective in teaching about Christ. So, what changed?

The Jews are the same

Since it was obviously not the mind of the Jews, evidently the Gospel being preached to the Jews today is different from that of Jesus, all the apostles, and that of Peter, who also spoke to the Gentiles (Acts 10). Even the Gospel preached to the Gentiles by Paul was effective for the Gentiles and Jews, except for the Jewish leaders who felt threatened, and it was the same as that of Jesus and Peter. The Biblical words are the same, but the message is somehow different.

When people start listening to others

One huge thing about the handling of the Gospel has changed from then to now. In fact, it changed right after the death of the apostles of the New Testament. This change was largely encouraged by the very anti-Semitic early church fathers. That was when, for some reason, the Gospel message was changed to say that the law of Moses was discarded by the death of Christ.

Yet, the message of Jesus and Paul was that the Talmud, the law as greatly modified by the leaders of the Jews, was what was discarded. That was the message of Matt 5:17-20
17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

, Romans 3:31
31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

, and the entire book of Galatians. If you read them in this light, the entire word of God will make sense, rather than think God changed horses in mid-stream.

And, it's the same words!

The same message written in the New Testament in the same words as then, preached by Jesus and Paul, that was understood by the Jews as good, is now twisted to mean something very offensive to the Jews and, you can be sure, to God Himself. Now, that first part may not seem like very much to you Sunday-"keepers", but the second part should concern you very much. To the Jewish community, you have just trashed everything that God directly told them to do since before Mt. Sinai in the wilderness.

What did God say about adding to or taking away from His words (Deuteronomy 4:2
2 You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

)?


This discarding of God's law allows the introduction of paganism into mainstream Christianity with nothing to interfere (Sabbath to Sunday, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, unclean foods). But, for some reason, typical "Christians" think that they are preaching the same message that Paul and Jesus did! Yet, even when we point out the differences, people refuse to even try to see them.

Even when my wife and I read the Bible, I see the message as compatible with Moses' law and compatible with the Jews understanding of the Old Testament, yet she sees it as the law being modified (or even eliminated) by the death of Christ, which to the Jews is a contradiction of God's word.

Back to basics

The whole purpose of this site is to have people compare the reality of what they read and see around them to what they are being told in today's churches. Isn't it proof of some change that something that worked during the first century of Christianity does not work now? And it wasn't even that long ago that some of those changes were made. But many important changes have been remade recently, and the message is completely different.

Example of changes

Elsewhere on this site I wrote about a Baptist minister that wrote an article before his death in 1965 that expressed the truth preached by Jesus and Paul. Here is an except from the Jerusalem Council page:

However, the most interesting dissenting opinion was at the-highway.com. It was interesting for two reasons. First, the article was titled "The Moral Law", by Ernest F. Kevan, subtitled "The Law not Abrogated by Christ to Believers". Now, if you think this is just another millennial opinion by some crackpot pastor of a rival church, let me put your mind at ease with the second reason. The description of the author of the article said:

"Dr. Ernest F. Kevan, a Ph.D. graduate of the University of London, was a Baptist minister from 1924 to 1946 before being called to be Principal of London Bible College, where he labored until his death in 1965."

And yet, now some 70 years later, another Baptist minister from my wife's church, imported from England as well, insists that the law was abrogated and is no longer in effect for Christians, whether Jew or Gentile. Now, if the views of a single denomination can change over 70 years while the Bible has not changed, what does that say about the message being given to those who attempt to evangelize the Jews?

A better way to see the changes

As a final point, there is a video article at a site called 119 Ministries called The Deuteronomy 13 Test. No, it's not a test that you have to take. It is about 45 minutes long, but it is an excellent presentation of this issue and the real reasons why the Jews are rejecting the traditional modern presentation of "Christianity".

Before you watch it, you might want to read Deuteronomy 13. The subject matter is disturbing, but if you get the message of this passage, you will understand the impact of changing God's word to say something other than He intended. If you remove the warnings to stay within the will of God, you open the path to destruction, often without even knowing the ramifications of your actions.

Use the Gospel to change the Gospel? - Careful...

Perhaps that is what Paul meant with his warning not to change his Gospel (Galatians 1:8
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!

). It is ironic that this is one of the Bible books many use to say that the law was abrogated, and use that foundation to change the Gospel of Christ. Until that changes back to the real message of the Gospel, we don't stand a chance of helping to pass the gift of Christ to His own people - or even our own Gentile brothers.

Some of us still think the Jews are the key to our Salvation (John 4:22
You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

), but only because that's what Jesus said.

Disagree? Find an error? Contact us at glenjjr@gmail.com and give us your view.

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