fbpx There is a Tree of Life – The Israel Guys

There is a Tree of Life

In my last post I shared my initial exposure to Israel, having grown up, for the most part, ignorant of Israel and the Jewish people’s significant place in my own faith. Later, after completing a Passover Seder, I began to explore the foundations of my faith and Christianity as a whole.

This article is written with broad strokes to Christians – all in the context of my story – my journey – my experience until now. I hope one day to have a greater revelation of God’s plan. Even then, at my last breath, can I expect to have attained a full understanding of God’s redemptive plan? The prophet Isaiah says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

I often hear the comment, “I just don’t get the Israel thing.” Sometimes along with, “Why don’t the Jews just accept Jesus as the Messiah?”

As for my personal experience after arriving in Israel 12 years ago, it didn’t take long for me to understand how fervent the religious Jewish community is about a Jewish Messiah ruling in Jerusalem.  I am realizing more and more that the Christian understanding of Messiah and the Jewish understanding of Messiah are on opposite ends of the spectrum. When Christians think about their Messiah he is usually without Jewish identity. For the most part, our messianic understanding is made to order. For example, if we live in Mexico the Messiah will be Hispanic. If we live in Africa the Messiah will be of African descent. In the Anglo-European and American church communities, he is white – usually with blue eyes. I think you understand my point.

We may give lip service to a Jewish Messiah – maybe even as a Jewish carpenter, but many would quickly label a person who actually tried to imitate or follow the Jewish things Yeshua himself practiced as a “judaizer” or part of the “synagogue of Satan.” We Christians, for the most part, have been guilty of accepting hard core definitions of biblical terms without regard for their context. When a person reads something with an anti-semitic mindset, he will naturally gravitate toward the negative, concerning anything Jewish.  

Let’s look at what, in the Christian community, is called the “Apostle’s Creed”. I am not sure if the Apostles were aware of this creed – maybe because it was developed some 300 years after they were gone. For many Christians, even if you did not recite this creed every Sunday, it was still the sum of your understanding when you accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as your Messiah.  

For over 2000 years, we have accepted this creed as the foundation of our faith within both Catholic and Protestant circles.

What’s missing?

Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 2:3, Jeremiah 33:14-18, Micah 4:2 and Micah 5:2-4 declare very plainly that the Messiah would be Jewish, rule over Israel from Jerusalem and from a Holy Temple teach us His ways – the Law (Torah). No one that I know would refute the Messianic prophecy these verses represent, but we must admit that there is nothing in the creed about a Jewish Messiah who will sit on the throne of David – or Israel – or Jerusalem – or a Temple.

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it – does it make a sound? In the same way, if Christianity does not mention a Jewish Messiah in its foundational creed, does it mean it is not critical to the identity of the Messiah? How would good Jews like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah feel about that? Can we eliminate or even partially extract the Jewishness of the Messiah and still have the same faith as the Jewish Apostles?

Is our only desire to visit the Holy Land because Jesus walked there? Is it just to re-live Bible history? How much more should we look forward to what is to come! Are we longing for the Word of God to be fulfilled when Jerusalem becomes a praise in all the earth? (Is 62:7) The Jews that I know, including Yeshua, believe this will happen in the city that has always been known as Jerusalem –  the city of the Great King. (Mt 5:35, Ps 48:2)

Let’s face it… Christianity is at a crossroads. Most denominations are experiencing dramatic losses in membership and attendance. It was bad enough that the 20th century began with 11,000 denominations, but from then until now we have seen that number grow to between 33,000 to 43,000. It was in this same period that we saw the biblically prophetic return of the Jewish people to their promised homeland. There have been 33 to 43 thousand attempts to find our faith without the physical reality of God’s Word.

My Jewish brothers and sisters are praying toward one place every day, in expectation of a Messiah who will rule from a mountain in Jerusalem. Have we gone so far that we can’t come back? Yeshua, the good Jew, the one whom Christians are mandated to follow, was/is obsessed with the Temple (John 2: 17) and Jerusalem (Mt 5:35, Mt 23:37).

There is a Tree of Life – it has not fallen, but it is making a lot of noise.

Can you hear it?

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