Apples, Onions and Pomegranates

This isn’t going to be an easy one to write, but I sat down to do a TorahClass and realized that I couldn’t go any further without talking about this first.  And the reason it’s gonna be hard is because it goes wholly contrary to everything I was brought up to believe.  I didn’t think it did – I thought I understood… but it’s like that pomegranate we had at Rosh Ha’Shana… I knew what a pomegranate was – a fruit that resembled an apple and was sweet… but when I actually cut the sucker in half, I was flabbergasted by what was inside and had NO idea it looked like that… and hadn’t a clue what to do with it.

As a Christian (and I use that past-tense), I was raised to believe that the Jews were the chosen people of God.  That they were ‘special’… and because I’m not Jewish (and therefore, Gentile), I wasn’t as special.  Or would it be… special in a different way?  Whichever, I didn’t have whatever it was that set them apart.  Yes, I had Christ, having Christ and being a Jew weren’t the same thing.  I don’t know how else to explain it other than that.  I wasn’t as extreme as my mom, who wrinkles her nose and says “I have no use for the Jews… they rejected my Savior”.  I still believed they were special – chosen.  That meant that – rejection or no – they had to be special to me, if they were special to my Lord.  But it was like looking at a pomegranate from an apple’s point of view – we’re both red, we’re both round, we’re both fruit.  I’m just a different variety of fruit than them… right?  Jew and Gentile, Apples and Pomegranates.

When I started delving into the feasts, I’ll be brutally honest with you, I was playing.  I thought, ‘hrm, I’ve discovered that the Bible is an onion, and there’s layers in here, and I’m going to start pulling those layers back to see what’s inside.  Y’know… just check it out.  Knowing the Bible is an onion and peeling it apart to see the layers are two different things.  I’m quite sure all of you know the Bible is like an onion – multi-faceted, multi-layered.  I’m not as confident that many of you have the guts to pull more than a layer or two away.  Most christians don’t do that – they take the onion at face value and struggle with having the odor of Truth around in their lives.  Cutting it open is a WHOLE ‘nother ball game.  And once you start digging, it rocks your senses… all of them.

You can’t study the Old Testament feasts and not trip over Judaism as a christian.  And this is a problem, coming at it from outside.  And while you can easily say, “it’s not so bad, Anna, we’re just another branch alongside of them”… use fancy Christian-speak phrases like “ingrafted in” and “joint heirs”… it isn’t as pat as that.  I’m learning the hard way that it’s not that simple.  What they do and what Christians do are TWO different things.  Apples and Pomegranates.

Forgive me, but this is where I always strugged in The Matrix.  There is no spoon.  Wrapping my head around that… man, I have to think as hard as I can and focus… and it still only brushes the periphreal of my understanding.  Likewise, there is no apple.  Stop and think about that a moment.  There is no apple.

If there is one Chosen people, one tree… there is no apple.  There’s only pomegranates.  Okay, another way to say it… if you’re John Smith and you’re adopted into Lord Kingsley’s family… you’re not a Smith anymore… you’re a Kingsley.  You cannot be adopted into the family and become one of them if you keep your name, reject that lineage, and that bloodline.  And I’m not saying that christians reject Christ’s blood… I’m saying that they embrace the adoption without merging into the family.  They play foster kid… the same rules don’t apply, and they don’t really belong.  But if it’s a real adoption, there’s no Smith and Kingsley… there’s only Kingsley.  There’s no Jew and Gentile… there’s only Jew.

And you might rankle at that… but it’s true… only by way of the spiritual.  You cannot claim to be an Israelite.  There’s a difference between the spiritual and physical – the physical Jews will inheirit the physical land… the spiritual Jews will inheirit the kingdom… if we spiritually accept Christ and believe we’ll also inherit the kingdom, we’re Jews.  We can never be physical Jews… but through Christ we ARE spiritual Jews.  Need a little scripture to back that one up?

Romans 2:28-29  For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward, in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.

I need to repeat that this is referring to Judaism – the spiritual faith, not the physical lineage.  There are Jews that are circumcised and observe the traditions and customs of their heritage… OUTWARDLY, that are not spiritual Jews.  That’s not what this is talking about.  This is talking about the person who gives their heart to the Lord by way of the sacrificial offering at the cross.  That’s not a Christian… THAT’S A JEW.  Read the verse.  Paul didn’t make a mistake.  He knew the difference between a Jew and a Gentile.  In fact, he mentions the two different classifications in this same chapter.  So there’s no reasoning away his choice of terms for what we are.  We are adopted in as one of His chosen… the Jews.

Galatians 4: 1-7  Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Now I want to take another tack and hit another nerve.  Y’know how Christians say that the laws in the Old Testament were for the Jews, not for us… because we’re not Jews…?  ((grins))  Wow… whaddya know?  If we’ve taken part in the circumcision of the heart, we’re Jews!  That whole ‘toss out the Old Testament’ thang just doesn’t… work.  The feasts were not just for the Jews… Colossians 2 says they’re a shadow of things to come… they’re relevant today because they have not been fulfilled… and that means that the lasting statues in Leviticus are not only still necessary and pertinent… THEY ARE FOR US!  Because when we were adopted, we became Jews.  We inheirited the commandments (“If ye love Me, keep My commandments”), the blessings, and the promises.  We inheirit it all… excepting the blood sacrifices, which came to fulfillment with the shed blood of Christ.  Christ Himself said He did not come to abolish (or nullify) Torah, but to bring it to fullness – to give us the complete picture of what it is.  Even more reason to embrace those commands… because they make that picture richer in our own lives.

I’m new.  I’ll admit it.  But this is something that seems to be extremely important… something that isn’t taught (or lived, anyhow) in the Christian community.  And I’m finding that it makes a HUGE difference in the behavior of people towards God and His commandments… and if Jesus and the Father are one, and Jesus said ‘keep My commandments’… well, that really changes things when we view the Old Testament.  That stuff is for us, too.

If you cut open an apple, there’s a few seeds, but mostly just smooth inside.  If you cut open a pomegranate, there are literally thousands of seeds, each with its own sweet nectar.  Pardon me if I think that’s a great illustration of the difference between Christians and Messianic Jews.  Christians have a few layers of the onion peeled back… a few seeds of Truth.  But the Messianics have peeled back all of the layers, diving in and embracing every command, every feast, every illustration given in the Word.  They are loaded – like pomegranates – with thousands of seeds of truth, each with it’s own sweet nectar.  I’ve spent half my life with a few seeds and the outlook of an apple.  I’m just realizing that what I really am is a pomegranate… and realizing each seed might take the other half of my lifetime, but its a sweet nectar worth partaking of.

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