"THE MYSTERIOUS HYBRID CHRISTIAN"
(I received the following article from an anonymous reader with a note dated 4-20-99 that reads, "Hello: If possible, in a future issue of your newsletter, could you comment on this article, The Mysterious Hybrid Christian? It is written by Charlie Read and appears in the April 1999, Issue #58, of "The New Jerusalem Times" newsletter (of New Testament Outreach, PO Box 4062, Parkersburg, WV 26104). Thank you."
Answer: Yes, I will comment on the article, since it needs some explanation. The way I have chosen to do it is to print a section - a sentence, a paragraph, or more, and then comment on that section. My comments will be in [bold italics within brackets].)
"They seem to be everywhere these days: folks who seem to be part Christian and part Jew! They are followers of Jesus Christ, but their speech and customs exhibit a Jewish slant.
"I know Christians who were not even Jewish before their conversion, who have rejected Christmas and Easter (which they have every right to do, of course) but have adopted the Jewish feasts such as Passover. One family now even celebrates Hanukah!
"Other folks have come from a Jewish background, and try to merge former traditions into their new Christian faith. They claim we need to get back to the "Jewish roots" of Christianity.
[Comment: Our Savior was a practicing Jew, of the tribe of Judah, who kept the Law perfectly. He gave us an example that we should follow Him (John 13:15 and 1 Peter 2:21).
The most superficial research will reveal that Christmas and Easter come to us from paganism, not the Bible, and that the Savior Himself, His disciples, and His followers for many years after His death, kept the so-called Jewish feasts. Actually the Creator identifies them as His Feasts, Lev. 23:2.
If Christianity does not have "Jewish roots," then where did it come from? Where are its roots? The Savior did not come to found a new religion, but to save that which was lost, Luke 19:10. The people had lost their way, and had gone astray. Yahshua came to restore and reaffirm the Law, and to make a way for those who were under the death penalty for breaking the law and would accept His sacrifice to have their sins forgiven. This was accomplished by instituting the New Covenant, whereby we can have the Holy Spirit come live in our minds (Jer. 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:6-10, with Romans 8:9-11).]
"Now we have groups of Christians who carefully write "G-d" and "L-rd" instead of God and Lord, who pepper their language with Hebrew words and phrases, and who refer to Jesus as Yeshua.
"I doubt if the Lord minds being called Yeshua (many groups actually differ over the Name, claiming it to be either Yeshua, Yehoshua, Yahshua, or Yeshu). But what purpose, exactly, does this serve?
[Comment: The purpose, exactly, that it serves, is this: Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. I can't think of a better reason.
Our Savior had the same Name as Joshua, the Old Testament general who succeeded Moses and led the Israelites into the Promised Land. There is no letter "J" or "J" sound in either the Hebrew or Greek languages. All the Biblical names of people and places that start with "J" actually have the "Y" sound. Thus, John is Yachanan; James is Ya'akob, etc., in Hebrew.
The Jews and some others refer to Him as Yeshua to get around the prohibition the Jews have against using the Holy Name, which begins with "Yah." The true name of the Savior, Yahshua, means "the salvation of Yah," or "Yah's Salvation." That is why the angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:21, "you shall call His Name Yahshua (Yah-Shua) FOR HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS."
As for people writing G-d and L-rd, I also know of a few who do this. It is unnecessary, but they think they are avoiding "calling upon the names of other gods," by this subterfuge. They don't understand that the prohibition against calling upon other gods means we are not to do it in a worshipful way.]
"If Jesus lived in Spain instead of Israel, would it be more "spiritual" for us, today, to begin referring to Him as Jesu Christo? What does it benefit to sprinkle our Christian terminology with Hebrew names and terms when we are an English-speaking people?
[Comment: If you dislike Hebrew "names and terms," then I'm afraid you will have to stop reading the Bible. You see, the Bible is a Hebrew book, written largely by and for Hebrews. Almost all names in the Bible are Hebrew names. Rules of grammar say that we do not translate proper nouns, names of people and places. Wherever you may roam on this good earth, your name will always be Charlie Read. It will not be translated into the language of the country you may be visiting. They may pronounce it with an accent, but it will be recognizable. This is called "transliteration."
In like fashion, names in the Bible, such as Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Isaiah, even Satan, are ALL Hebrew names. Some have been slightly "anglicized" in our English translations, but are still recognizable. The same thing applies to cities, rivers, territories and countries.
The Old Testament remained more true to the Hebrew than did the New Testament, which went through the Greek-Latin-French-English influence. That is why some names in the New Testament are hardly recognizable as having a Hebrew background. Previously mentioned were James (Ya'akov) and John (Yachanan). Others are Isaiah, called Esaias, and Elisha, called Eliseus in the New Testament.
The only Name in the entire Bible that has been almost universally eradicated from the Scriptures, is the Name of the Most High Creator, Yahweh. Every occurrence you see in the Old Testament where "the LORD" is printed in small caps, was originally written, and should still be, YAHWEH. But it was taken out on the pretext that it is too holy to pronounce, and the substitutes, LORD and GOD (Adonai and Elohim) were inserted in its place. This was done about 7,000 times in the Old Testament alone. This is "taking away and adding to" the scriptures, which is forbidden (Deut. 4:2, Proverbs 30:5-6, Rev. 22:19).
Here is one of hundreds of examples from the King James Version of the Bible:
1 Chr 16:8 Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
This was originally written, "Give thanks unto YAHWEH, call upon His Name, make known His deeds among the people."
So, what it boils down to, is this: The only "HEBREW" words in the Bible that anyone really objects to, are the Names of the Most High, Yahweh, and His Son, Yahshua. Isn't that sad?
Now that we have explained about the Names of the Father and the Son, let's take a look at Proverbs 30:4 and see if you can now answer the question asked there:
Prov 30:4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?
Now that you know, what will you do about it?
One more Scripture and then we will get back to the rest of the article. This time, Psalm 68:4.
Psa 68:4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
Again, this is from the King James version. "JAH" is YAH, as in HalleluJAH! It is an untranslated Hebrew phrase that means, "Praise Ye Yah." For a New Testament example, see Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6. Here "Alleluia" is the Greek rendition of the Hebrew HalleluYAH.]
"I am reminded that on the Day of Pentecost the astonished hearers asked 'How hear we every man in our own tongue?' and again noted 'We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful words of God' (Acts 2:8,11).
[Comment: Two things to note here. First, Why do you suppose they were there keeping the Day of Pentecost? That is one of those "Jewish feasts" you spoke of earlier in a negative light. Actually, the Feast of Weeks, known in the New Testament as Pentecost, is number three of seven annual Holy Days ordained by the Creator, Yahweh, to be kept by His people. If the disciples had not been there, obedient to the command, they would not have received the Holy Spirit.
Second, they heard them speak the common words in their individual and varied languages, but as noted above, the names of deity and individuals would have been the same in all the different languages. Did you ever listen to a foreign language news broadcast, and all you could understand was an occasional "Bill Clinton," or "Boris Yeltsin," or some other prominent person's name? That is what is meant by transliteration.]
"We do well to remember, also, that Judaism was a religion instituted by God. It was never designed to be permanent, but merely a vehicle to preserve strict monotheism, as well as spiritual types and shadows, until Jesus Christ came as the reality.
[Actually, Judaism is not the religion that Yahweh instituted. It evolved from the original as set up by Yahweh, into the nit-picky, tradition-bound mess that was extant when Yahshua came on the scene. One of His missions was to restore what had been perverted.
There were so many man-made rules and restrictions that every facet of religious life in Judea had undergone perversion from the original. Notice what the Savior Himself had to say about that:
Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of Yahweh, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Mark 7:13 Making the word of Yahweh of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
In the same way today, Christianity has been perverted by traditions of men, by adopting false pagan practices, by ignoring the Old Testament, and misunderstanding the New.]
"When the Lord was crucified, the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom, showing that the way into the Holy Place (the heavenly sanctuary) was now open for all mankind. We no longer need natural temples, animal sacrifices, or a caste of priests - and certainly not the various feasts that foreshadowed Jesus Christ and His ministry.
[Comment: The rending of the veil covering the Holy of Holies at Yahshua's death, did signify that man no longer needed a human priest as his intercessor between him and Yahweh. That is now one of the functions of Yahshua, our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-15).
Animal sacrifices went out with Yahshua's once-for-all sacrifice (Heb. 10:10-12), and the abolition of the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 7:12).
But you make a grave error when you lump the annual Festivals in with the other. Notice carefully in Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come;
These shadows are yet to come. You use the past tense, "foreshadowed," when the text shows a future tense, "things to come." The annual Holy Days show the plan of salvation, from Yahshua's sacrifice, to our repentance and acceptance, to the receiving of the Holy Spirit, to the reconciliation and marriage of the Lamb at His coming, to the final resurrection of all who have ever lived (Rev. 20:4-6)]
"Paul asked the Galatians, 'Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?' They were trying to add Jewish customs and traditions - even circumcision - into their walk with God.
"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be under bondage? Gal. 4:9).
[Comment: The Galatians were trying to attain righteousness by their own efforts without benefit of the Savior's sacrifice. Paul is telling them that if salvation were possible by the works of the law, then the Savior would not have had to die. The "weak and beggarly elements" they were turning back to bondage was NOT Yahweh's commandments, but rather, the elements of the world - SIN! See verse 3. Yahweh's Commandments would NEVER be referred to as "weak and beggarly" and it borders on blasphemy to call them such. Psalm 19:7 says His Law is perfect.
Paul said in Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Yah forbid: yea, we establish the law. Again, in Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? is the law sin? Yah forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law:
John wrote, in 1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
If the law is done away, then there can be no sin, as we are told in Romans 4:15.]
"As Christians, we tend to drag enough "weak and beggarly elements" of Protestantism and Catholicism into our faith as it is…there is certainly no need to burden it down even more with traditions of Judaism!
[I agree with this statement. However, we must carefully separate what we may think are traditions of Judaism, from real Biblical commands that are still valid today. My experience, after years of research, is that Christianity has deviated far more from the Bible than has Judaism. They have remained far more faithful to the Old Testament than Christians have to the New. Their big failure is in not recognizing the Savior as the promised Messiah.]
"Just as there is no such thing as a Hindu Christian, or a Buddhist Christian, there cannot be a "Jewish Christian." I am not belittling the customs and traditions of anyone, but those things that belong to a different religion should not be transferred and merged with the Christian faith.
[Comment: Yahshua the Messiah thought different: John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
Paul thought different: Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of Yah unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Rom 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
Rom 3:1-2 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of Yahweh.
As a matter of fact, we must become Spiritual Jews (Israelites) in order to have salvation.
Rom 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 Yahweh.
We must be grafted into the Spiritual Israelite nation and become sons of Abraham.
Gal 3:27-29 For as many of you as have been baptized into the Messiah have put on the Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in the Messiah Yahshua. And if ye be the Messiah's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Read Romans Chapter 11. The "wild olive tree" is the Gentile Romans that Paul is writing to, and the "natural olive tree" is the Israelite (Jewish) nation. We must be grafted into that "tree" which is what you are referring to as Judaism. Even with all their faults, one had better be careful about denigrating Yahweh's chosen people. He pronounces a curse on any who would be so foolish. Read the first three verses of Genesis 12.
True, Abraham was not a Jew, nor an Israelite, but he was the ancestor of them all. They were his family. Judah, son of Jacob, was the first Jew. The 12 sons of Jacob, renamed Israel, became the Israelites, and the Jews were only one of the12 tribes. Our Savior came from this tribe. He was a Jew. We are to emulate Him.]
"You may say, "Certainly you're not comparing Judaism to Buddhism." No, I am not. However, the former IS a religion (NOT a race!) based upon the law (Which Christians are no longer under; Romans 6:14), carnal ordinances (abolished under Christ; Heb. 9:10, and types and shadows (the substance or reality of which is found in Jesus; Col. 2:16, 17).
[Comment: Romans 6:14 is misused here. What Paul is saying is that we are no longer under the penalty of the law. If the law itself were done away, then there could be no sin. As already quoted, if there is no law, there can be no transgression (Romans 4:15 and 1 John 3:4). As we can see, if we are honest with these verses, sin is the transgression, or violating, or breaking, of the Law. But we are not under the penalty of the law after we have been forgiven for our past sins and have accepted Yahshua's sacrifice to pay the death penalty in our stead. That is one meaning of grace,
Hebrews 9 is confirming that the temple ordinances, including animal sacrifices, meat and drink offerings, and "washings" have been eliminated by the changing of the priesthood (Heb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law). Notice, not a "doing away" of the law, but a change.
Colossians 2:16-17 has already been commented on. When properly understood, this second chapter of Colossians is one of the strongest proofs in the Bible that the Sabbath, the Holy Days, etc., are still in force today. When Paul says "let no man judge you…" (v. 16) he is referring to the same "man" as in verse 4 ('..lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.), verse 8 (Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Messiah.), verse 18 (Let no man beguile you of your reward …..vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,..
Paul says these things are worldly ordinances (v. 20), and are all to perish after the using, after the commandments and doctrines of MEN, and most definitely NOT Yahweh's Commandments.
Also, as noted already, these things mentioned in Col 2:16-17 are identified by Paul as "a shadow of things TO COME" - yet future. They foreshadow prophetic events that are yet to occur, including the return of the Messiah, and beyond, even to the end of the age. The annual Holy Days depict Yahweh's plan of salvation, step-by-step. Write for more information.]
"I know most folks are sincere in their effort to get back to Christianity's "Jewish roots." But the truth is that the Judaistic system was merely a "parenthesis" in God's plan (a necessary one, to be sure). But a believer's roots go back not to Judaism but to our father Abraham (who was not a Jew), and ultimately back to the foreordained plan of Almighty God and the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8)!
[Comment: This is the end of Mr. Read's article. What we need to "get back to" today, is neither Judaism, nor Christianity, but to the "Faith which was once delivered to the Saints (Jude 3), and to the Gospel preached by our Savior and His apostles (Mark 1:14-15, Acts 14:7, Romans 1:16, Romans 15:16-19, 1 Cor. 15:1, Galatians 1:6-12, and many others.
Paul's commission was to the Gentiles, while Peter's and the other apostles was mostly to the Israelites (including the Jews), Galatians 2:7.
Salvation has been offered to the Israelites, and the Israelites only. All other nations, gentiles, are strangers to the covenant that Yahweh made with Abraham. We must become Spiritual Israelites to have a part in that Covenant that has now been made new with better, Spiritual promises (Heb. 8:6).
Gal 3:8-9 And the scripture, foreseeing that Yah would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you." For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.
It is true that Abraham was not a Jew, but he was the father of the Jews, as well as of all the other Israelites. So, in going back to Abraham, as the author declares in his last paragraph that our roots do, we must go through the Jews - we cannot skip them. After all, our Savior was a Jew. Would you feel comfortable "skipping" Him?
Much error is perpetrated by ignoring the Old Testament, and trying to base a religion on the New Testament only. The Scriptures comprise only one book. Man separated it into two sections, but neither is complete without the other.
Trying to understand the New Testament without a working knowledge of the Old, would be similar to beginning a 24-chapter mystery novel in chapter 17, and then wondering why you don't understand the book. How could you, without background as to the plot, cast of characters, what had transpired up to that point, etc.? ] <>