Intro to Messy Judaism 104

NoTe:  This is a four-part series I wrote for a lady I met at a garage sale, who wanted to know more about why I left Christianity and became a Messianic Jew.  I tried to keep it easy to understand, but there’s quite a bit to it… hence four parts.  Some friends asked me to share it here, so here it is.

Good Morning!

Don’t worry, this is not gonna go on forever!  In fact, this is likely the last letter in my little series.  I say that because… well, in #1 do you remember when I said Yehovah has numbers He favors?  That show up again and again?  Well, FOUR letters would be the the numerical value of  ‘love’.

And since I’ve ya here, I have to show you something else that changed my life.  We heard Josh MacDowell once, and he asked what ‘LOVE’s definition was… and nobody knew.  Then he pointed us to Mark 12:31.  We’re to LOVE (which means ‘to nurture, or help grow’), and we are to do it with our HEART (relational), SOUL (spiritual), MIND (intellectual), and STRENGTH (physical).  He said Messiah modeled this in Luke 2:52 for us:  “Yeshua increased in WISDOM (intellectual) and STATURE (physical), in favor with YEHOVAH (spiritual) and MAN (relational).

You see the four in a deck of cards:

Spades: physical         Hearts: relational
Diamonds: wisdom     Clubs: (clover/trinity = spiritual)

Or you see it in a square:

God above, Man below,
Wisdom/faith and Strength/works to connect them.

Our relationship as (relational) Man
with (spiritual) God
is not complete without
(physical) Works/Torah Obedience
(wisdom) Faith/Messiah .

Does that mean Christians aren’t going to Heaven because they aren’t Torah Observant?  Personally, I’m torn on this.  I was a christian for 30 years, and I honestly believed in God and the gift His Son gave me.  My grandma was the only person (until my husband) who loved me unconditionally… she died just as we were both being convicted by the Spirit to look into these things.  Does that mean – because she never got to where she obeyed/observed Torah – that she’s in Hell?  Me, [myself] I can’t go there.  I don’t want to believe that, but what I want/don’t want is irrelevant, so I leave it in Yehovah’s hands.  On one hand, the thief on the cross believed, and had no time to change/obey, and he was in Paradise that night with the Lord.  On the other hand, she was devout and had lots of time… just chose never to dig deeper.  Or wasn’t convicted to.  At any rate, it’s in His hands.

But as for me?
I know the Lord’s name, and I choose to use it.
I know Torah isn’t void, so I choose to obey it.

The next question, of course, is how do we do that?  I should add at this point that making the move OUT of Christianity and into Messianic Judaism isn’t a huge one.  We keep our belief in Yehovah, we retain ALL the scriptures, we cling to Messiah and Calvary and everything we read in the Bible… we just have to throw out commentary and false church teaching and return to Truth.  We’re just adding Torah to what we know, while correcting wrong beliefs ingrained from years of sermons and Sunday School lessons.  It’s not “I have something you don’t”, it’s “I have what you have, but want to show you how it’s been corrupted and help you go the rest of the way to a relationship with Yehovah.”  It’s about completing a not-whole faith with Torah observance.  And believe me, you’ll suddenly find SO much more that you never knew/understood before when you take this path!

Churchianity taught me nine commandments (since they don’t keep the Sabbath, so they even flunk at the bare-bones Ten Commandments), so where do we start in keeping Torah?  We don’t have to do purification rituals thanks to Yeshua’s water.  We don’t have to shed any blood/kill anyone or thing thanks to Yeshua’s blood.  So anything involving washings or killing can be left to Him.  But what DO we do?

I started simply, calling Yeshua by His real name, and swapping out the generic ‘God’, for Yehovah (or Adonai, or Ha’Shem – which is ‘The Lord’).  Then we decided to start having nice Sabbath suppers, with two candles for the two gifts of life given by Yehovah: first life at our Creation, and new life at Redemption.  We have communion on the Shabbat closest to the new moon (although some Messianics treat the new moon as a sabbath, as well).  Since the father is the priest of the Home, we do a Bible reading (I do ‘Torah Bytes‘) after the meal.

Then I read something interesting in Colossians 2.  Yeshua-believers were catching flack for following Messiah AND observing the Jewish sabbath, feasts, and new moons.  So Paul says in Col 2:16-17 that we are to let none of them judge us for it… that we observe because they are “a shadow of things to come”.  The feasts are illustrating something yet to happen!  That pricked me up – WHAT does that mean?  So I hurried to Leviticus 23 to find out about the feasts.

There are seven major feasts and two minor ones added later.

  1. PESACH/Passover.  Yeshua died ON Passover.  Jews set an extra plate on Passover for Elijah at their Seder table, who is foretold to come ON Passover.  If you read Luke 1:5 and compare it to the priestly rotation in the Old Testament (1 Chronicles 24), you find John the Baptist was born ‘in the spirit of Elijah’ (Luke 1:17) ON Passover.  Some believe that in the future Elijah will return as one of the two witnesses (Rev 11:3), likely ON Passover.
  • UNLEAVENED BREAD.  Yeshua was ‘unleavened’ (without life) ON this feast day.  Messianics remove anything with yeast in it from their homes for seven days, starting on this day.  Makes cooking interesting, I’ll tell ya that!
  • FIRSTFRUITS.  Yeshua rose from the grave ON Firstfruits.  If you look, 1 Corinthians 15:20 even calls Him the ‘Firstfruits’!
  • SHAVUOT/Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit was given to Yeshua-followers ON this day, as Torah was given to Israel on Mount Sinai ON this same day!  This is the day my family does any baptisms or baby dedications.
  • ROSH Ha’SHANA/Feast of Trumpets.  It’s also called ‘the day no man knows’ because it’s a 2-day feasts.  Yeshua gave us a hint about it in Matt 24:36, when He talked about the end times.  Traditionally, this is the day ON which the earth was created – the birthday of the world.  I let my kids have candlelight baths to clean the ‘old year’ off before our feasts begin.  We have a feast on the first day, blow the shofar both days, and on the second day, we have ‘Tashlich’, which is when we go to a body of water (river/lake/stream/sea) and throw stones (symbolic of our sins) into the depths.  This casts off our sins from the old year so that we start the new year fresh.
  • YOM KIPPUR/Day of Judgment.  It’s ON this day we will stand before the throne.  It’s ten days after Rosh Ha’Shana, and this is the day ON which the Last Trump shall sound (1 Cor 15:51-52).  It’s the only feast day that is a fast – the kids are allowed to do crackers and water, in our house.  Messianic congregations have a celebration called ‘Kol Nidre’, where they wear white and gather before Yehovah, reminiscent of the scene in Revelation 7:9-end.
  • SUKKOT/Feast of Tabernacles.  In John 1:14, the word for dwelt is ‘sukkot’ – Yeshua became flesh ON Sukkot.  It’s His birthday!  And Sukkot is an 8-day feast, and Yeshua was circumcised on the 8th day (Luke 2:21).  In the future, we will ‘dwell’ with Him again ON Sukkot.  How do we celebrate?  We build a ‘temporary dwelling’ (a sukkah) and sleep in it for seven nights, with a feast on the first day, and a feast supper on the eighth night.

There is also Hanukkah (which is actually only mentioned in the New Testament – Yeshua observed in John 10:22-23) .  Hanukkah is the ‘Festival of Light’, and it’s very likely Yeshua – Light of the World – was conceived ON Hanukkah.  It’s eight nights of lighting candles – one for each Biblical feast and the one for the lamp that stayed lit for eight days on enough oil for one day.

And the other minor feast is Purim (commanded in Esther 9:27-28, for all generations).  Purim is a feast of celebration where people dress in costumes and eat sweets and thank Yehovah for delivering Israel from Haman (the future fulfillment is likely to be deliverance from the Middle Eastern war.)

Wanna hear something else fun?  The feasts are also a calendar of sorts.  Yeshua’s time was the ‘spring’, and four feasts TO THE DAY by Him.  But we’ve been in the ‘summer’ for about 2000 years… Yeshua said He (as the Good Samaritan) gave two pence (Luke 10:35) – which is two days’ payment [=2000yrs, according to 2 Peter 3:8] and He would return after that!  It’s almost time for the ‘fall’ feasts to be fulfilled!!

But back to Torah, we DO need to keep the Sabbath and feasts, and refrain from eating unclean foods.  Christians try to say Peter changed that (in Acts 10:10-16), but Peter himself said it was about people, not food (Acts 10:28).  We are not to eat ham (pork, bacon, sausage), clams, shrimp, or anything with gelatin (pig by-product).  We are not to have relations for seven days after our niddah (ladies’ periods).  These things are not so hard, but they show our obedience/works out of faith in Messiah.  There are other things, but I only have so much space, and this is just about understanding the basics.

You may feel free to write me if you’d like any other information.  I recommend the book “God’s Appointed Times” on how to celebrate!

For easy access, here are the series links:
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