Since I first set foot in Israel in May 2004, there has been what felt like an all-out assault on my faith. In reality, as I think back, the war actually began when I found a Passover Haggadah in a homeschooling catalog in 1995 and ordered it. And so, for no apparent reason, we gathered with another family around a large table and began following a script for the Passover meal.
At the time I don’t think I had ever heard the terms, “Jewish Roots” or “Hebraic Roots.” I don’t remember my world being rocked, but I do remember having a feeling of connection – a Jewish connection. Yes, it is odd for a Christian to have a Jewish connection. It is odd, but the fact that it is odd is very unfortunate.
Before I briefly attempt to dive into this topic, I first want to say to my Jewish friends (and even those who may not refer to me as a friend) that I am deeply sorry for the way Christianity has presented itself for 2000 years. I will tell you that most Christians don’t know Jewish history – at least where and when it involves Christianity. Unless a Christian has walked through the first section of the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, they most likely would not know about the Protestant involvement in the murder of six million Jews – nor the Catholic involvement in the Spanish Inquisition, nor, of course, the seemingly endless murders of Jews in countless Christian pogroms and crusades.
It is shameful.
Yet as shameful as it is, most Christians refuse to believe they have any responsibility for these atrocities. After all, they were not personally the perpetrators. I would argue that unless the core doctrine of Christianity changes, then the Jews can and should expect the same results they have experienced historically.
If I haven’t already, I am about to enter into a terrifying theological place. The probable reality is that I will not make it through the next few paragraphs without plunging off the rope into a small grape juice filled communion cup. I may not make it past the next sentence, but here goes.
Yeshua (Jesus) was a good Jew who practiced Judaism. Christianity, for the most part, is a religion that follows Yeshua (Jesus), the good Jew, but hates Judaism and has proven over time to hate anyone who would practice Judaism. Many theologians from every denomination would agree that Christianity, in its beginning, was a sect of Judaism. In order to better understand modern Christianity, then we would have to define it as a sect of Judaism that did not practice Judaism, or that it practiced Judaism and then rejected Judaism even to the point of hating Judaism. Got it? Really?
I do not have the time nor space here to go into this discussion in greater depth. Okay, I am actually afraid to go any further. Much of this has been my own personal journey and my greatest fear is your rejection. But honestly, so much in Israel has become personal for me. I have gained a deep appreciation and love for the people of Israel and their God-given prophetic identity. I have connected spiritually and emotionally to the land of Israel as I have connected to the soil of Israel. I have begun to connect to the heart of God. The One who never slumbers nor sleeps concerning Israel. (Psalm 121:4)
I would like to leave you with what I believe is a good Jewish teaching from a good Rabbi named Yeshua (Jesus). Since HaYovel is an organization that reaches out to Christians who follow Yeshua, I thought this would be encouraging.
Yeshua said, “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” (Matthew 21:28-31)
If you are a Christian who desires to connect with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – your Hebraic roots, then I would invite you to meditate on this parable. It is time for us to stop giving lip service to our faith, which is the fruit of replacement theology. There is a prophetic reality occurring in Israel that requires our physical participation. Have you said, “Lord, here am, send me,” and then done nothing?
Come to the vineyard, or support someone to come, and do the will of the Father!