One Torah For All

One Torah shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
Exodus 12:49

Which Messiah Do You Follow?
Bearing with one another

Qorintyah Bet (2nd Corinthians) 11:4
For if he that comes preaches another Yeshua, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different gospel, which you did not accept, you do well to bear with him.

The following picture has been making its rounds on social media sites. We felt the need to address what it contains as well as the general message of this picture, including its divisive nature. We are hopeful that the maker of this picture (we have no way of knowing who made it to give proper credit), made this with good intentions and motives. However, even if that be the case, there is information contained within this picture which is not accurate, and some misleading. So, let us carefully and prayerfully examine the contents of this information and actually compare it to Scripture as well as reality.

Chart showing difference between a false messiah and the true Messiah

As we proceed through each one of these points, please understand that one’s emotions can experience all kinds of rises and dips across the range of human feelings. One needs to be able to recognize these emotions for what they are and to be able to put them aside and reason through each one of these points using his cognitive abilities concerning the facts and information available to him from Scripture.

Where there is more than one legitimate interpretation available, one needs to be flexible enough to allow others to have a different point of view without being condemnatory towards those who do not see or understand things in exactly the same manner.

We have placed a portion of this picture in front of each point for ease of reference for the reader.

Point 1

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No true biblical scholar believes that “Jesus” was born on December 25. While I have met a few people who actually do believe this, they are in a very small minority, but I have never known of any scholars who believe this. Most of the masses know Messiah was not born on December 25. Most do not even celebrate Christmas as the birth of “Christ.” Please understand, I am not defending Christmas! We are simply looking at the facts in an effort to be honest with ourselves as well as with the message we deliver to those who listen to us.

What we need to see here is that the actual majority do not believe that “Jesus” was born on December 25 as this point would lead one to believe. I have heard many preachers, teachers, scholars, and theologians who know and teach that Messiah was born at the time of Sukkot (Tabernacles).

Point 2

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Historically and archeologically speaking, the name of our Messiah was and is ישוע (English transliteration approximates Yeshua). It is an Aramaic name. “Yeshua” is the closest approximation one can come to it in English. To deviate from ישוע is simply a matter of interpretation.

The name “Jesus” comes to us through several steps of translation. When the KJV was written and published in 1611, there was no letter “J” in the English language. The ninth letter of the English alphabet came in two forms and depending on how and where it was in a word determined on which form of the letter was used. One form was “i” “I” and the other form was “j” “J”. But it was the same letter. This letter was very much like the five Hebrew letters which have a final form.

I used to have in my library some old publications from John and Charles Wesley, who lived and ministered in the 1700s. They understood and still used the name of Messiah as it appeared in the KJV 1601, that is, Iesous. Due to the growing misusage and misapplication of a Dutch printer, the ninth letter became two letters as it is today. Thus, now instead of Iesous, the first letter became a “J” and thus the name “Jesus” came into being. I cannot tell you, nor can anyone else, whether any of the translators through the years had ill motives. What we can know is that the name of “Jesus” in and of itself has no meaning, that is, it is a made up name. It is made up simply because one cannot get that name using recognized and acceptable methods of transliteration from either the Greek or the Aramaic (or Hebrew) into English. It simply is not possible since there is no equivalent to the English letter “j” in either Greek or Aramaic, that is, that letter does not exist in either of those languages.

In all of the political correctness today that is in our world, there is one aspect of all the PC which is correct, the focus upon saying a person’s name according to his own language, rather than Anglicizing it. If one was to do this with our Messiah’s name he would have either Iesous from the Greek text or Yeshua (Y’shua) from the Aramaic text. Either would be acceptable; however, since the earthly parents of Messiah did not speak Greek (as far as we know), nor did they give Him a Greek name, the understanding from the Aramaic text should be preferred.

However, to call the name “Jesus” the name of a false messiah is not understanding the historical context of that name, nor is it having any kindness or compassion to our Christian brothers who are doing their dead-level best to follow Messiah as they know Him.

What we are attempting to show with this article is that the information contained in the above picture is over simplified and in some cases, just downright wrong and even misleading. Much of what is contained in the picture is a strawman argument, that is, it will not stand up to close scrutiny.

Point 3

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The third item in the list, dealing with who Messiah came to save, is incomplete in both columns.

Matithyah (Matthew) 15:24
But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Yochanan (John) 3:16-17
16 “For Elohim so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
17 For Elohim sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through Him.”

On one hand we have words recorded in which Yeshua states that He only came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. On the other hand we have words recorded in which Yeshua states He came to save the world. Sadly, one side tends to ignore the other side. Can these two passages be rectified? Of course! It has always been true that anyone can be adopted into Israel. Rahab the harlot came into Israel and became a part of it. Ruth the Moabite came into Israel and became a part of it. Many others also became a part of Israel. Shaul (Paul) discusses in Romans 8, 9, 10, and 11, how one is adopted into the tree of Israel. “Whosoever will” is included in this message.

It may be true that many within Christianity do not fully understand this truth, that when a person is saved by grace through faith in Mashiach Yeshua, that person is adopted into the tree of Israel, but not understanding a particular truth does not make one any less saved.

Point 4

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I am not aware of any Christian denomination which teaches that “Jesus” broke the Sabbath. All I am aware of the teaching that He broke the traditions of the elders and this was one of the main contributing factors which brought about His execution. The religious leaders feared the people leaving them and following Him and this loss was more than they could bear.

Yes, Yeshua did keep the Shabbat perfectly, and this is what is taught in Christianity as well as the Hebrew roots movement. Regardless of which name Messiah is known by, be it “Jesus” or “Yeshua,” both main groups teach that He keep the Shabbat.

Point 5

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This is one of those points which both sides have merit. Let us examine two passages of Scripture to show the validity of this.

Yochanan (John) 13:34
“A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

Regardless of which name one knows Messiah by, these words are recorded as being said by Him, that is, He gave a new commandment, which, by the way, He has the authority to do since He is the Creator and the Giver of the Torah to Moshe on Mount Sinai.

Yochanan (John) 6:38
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

Yeshua also said that He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him who had sent Him, that is, His heavenly Father. Since He is one (echad) with His heavenly Father, it is also correct to say that He came on His own accord. Both are true and accurate. Likewise, it is true and accurate to say that He gave us a new commandment as well as taught His followers the true meaning of Torah.

To take one part without the other is to have an incomplete picture and thus be in error. One needs to have the whole truth! Furthermore, to state “Jesus” taught “new” commandments is simply a false statement as we have shown above from Scripture.

Points 6, 7, 8, 9

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We will take the next four items from the list together as they are all closely related. We will not be able here to deal fully with this matter, only briefly. There are two basic camps here. Much of Christianity holds that Messiah was killed on Friday and arose on Sunday, that is, He was in the grave parts of three days. Those in the Hebrew roots movement generally hold to a literal three days and three nights, which cannot be attained from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. As we take a brief look at these two arguments, please understand that it will not be settled here. We are two thousand years after the events in question and while we have some historical evidence as well as the Scriptural record, it is not definitive either way. There is evidence both from Scripture as well as historical which can support both positions. It is not nearly as cut and dried either way as one might like for it to be.

Part of the difficulty in this particular question is the text one uses to verify his information and position. This is especially true here as there is a distinct difference between the Greek text and the Aramaic text. Here are the English translations of the Greek text and the Aramaic text of Luke 24:21, a key verse in this question.

Luke 24:21
But we hoped that it was he who should redeem Israel. Yea and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things came to pass. [ASV]

Luke 24:21
But we had hoped that he was going to deliver Israel and behold, three days [have passed] since all these [things] happened. [Aramaic New Testament, Janet Magiera]

Please note from the ASV, it is the third day since these things happened. The context of “these things” is a reference to the crucifixion and other events surrounding the death of Yeshua. This passage then would support the Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection. However, from the ANT we find three days have passed. This same passage then from the Peshitta supports the three full days and three full nights understanding of a Wednesday crucifixion and a Shabbat (Saturday) resurrection. Both translations accurately reflect their respective texts, the ASV accurately reflects the Greek text and the ANT accurately reflects the Aramaic text. Now mind you, this is the same verse only from different source texts!

So which one is correct? That is exactly the problem, it cannot be definitively proved either way. Now I have my opinion, for whatever that is worth. It is a studied opinion and I have not come to it lightly, as I am sure that those who hold to the opposing view have done the same in coming to their opinions!

The basic question really is a matter of textual authority. Was the New Testament written in Greek or was it written in Aramaic/Hebrew and then translated into Greek? I hold to the latter, but there are many within Christianity who hold to the former. Can it be proved one way or the other? No, it cannot be “proved.” This is exactly why we need to have an understanding heart towards one another!

Please note, this is not a salvation issue. Both sides of this particular question accept Yeshua (or Jesus) as Messiah and accept that He died on a cross (or execution stake) and then at the appropriate time, He arose and revealed Himself to His followers. Both sides of this question accept this Scriptural truth. Now I ask you, honestly, what is false about that?

Point 10

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The next point of what it was that was nailed to the cross is interesting. May I submit to you that Yeshua nailed nothing to the cross? He did not nail anything at all to the cross, rather He was nailed to the cross. As a result of being nailed to that cross, according to Torah, He became a curse (see Deuteronomy 21:23). We have examined in other studies that Yeshua is the Torah made flesh, therefore, in one sense, the Torah was nailed to the cross, but not by Yeshua, but rather by unrighteous men attempting to do away with the Torah made flesh. Now, I would not think that a person desiring to follow Yeshua would want to follow the example of His executioners, would he?

What happened as a result of Yeshua, the Torah made flesh, being nailed to the cross was that the record of our own wrongdoing (see context of Colossians 2:13-14), that is, our sin, was blotted out. The Torah, which is holy, righteous, and good (see Romans 7:21), does not need to be removed. The Torah simply reveals to us our sin and the need of a Savior. What needs to be taken care of is our sin. Removing the Torah does not take away our sin, it only hides it once again. Only the Blood of Mashiach Yeshua can remove the stain of sin from a person“s life. This was part of the work of Mashiach Yeshua upon the cross.

Point 11

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One aspect of this picture is that it lumps everyone into one of these two groups, when the fact is something quite different. While there are those who believe that a person does not need to keep the Torah, most Christians actually accept that they need to obey “Christ” in their lives. Now mind you, Yeshua is the Torah made flesh; therefore, whether they realize it or not, they are obeying Torah when they obey Mashiach Yeshua, particularly the Spirit of Torah, which YHWH willing, dwells in them in the form of the Spirit of Mashiach Yeshua! Many do not truly understand this reality in this manner, but it does not make it any less so. Truth is truth regardless of whether man understands it or accepts it.

Point 12

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I have known and read much about replacement theology. Honestly, it is a dying theology. It was a popular theology up to the point where Israel became a nation in 1948. After that time, people began rejecting this notion, and rightly so. YHWH has never rejected Israel, at least not on a permanent basis. He has at times severely disciplined her, but only for the purpose of bringing her back close to Himself, purified. This doctrine, while still held by a few, is not the norm within Christianity today.

In my opinion, for whatever that is worth, many within the church today do not fully comprehend that when a person is saved by the Blood of Mashiach Yeshua, he is adopted into the family of El Chay, that is, into the body of Shema Israel. The one true Israel consists of any person and every person who willingly chooses to hear and obey the Voice of our Creator. If a person obeys His Voice, He will come to Yeshua and accept Him as Mashiach. If a person obeys His Voice, He shall have eternal life. It does not necessarily follow that, once a person is “saved,” he understands all the mysteries of this realm or the next; understanding comes later. What it does mean is that he has become a part of the body of Mashiach Yeshua and that makes all partakers brothers and sisters in Mashiach Yeshua, regardless of their position or understanding! Not all are an eye, are they?

Points 13, 14

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The next two points that “Jesus” taught against the Law of Moses or that He opposed the Law of Moses makes me scratch my head. Now mind you, I have been through Bible College and was a pastor in a mainline denomination for many years, therefore, I know what I am speaking about when I say this: I know of no denomination which believes or teaches this! There may be a few individuals out there, none of which I have ever known or heard tell of, but I will allow for the possibility that there may be a few who do. However, to state this here in this way as though all of Christianity believes and teaches this is simply wrong and leads those reading it to think wrongly about their Christian brothers and sisters!

I can well remember discussing these matters in depth in theology class. I was taught by Christian theologians that “Jesus” did not teach against the Law, nor did He break it in any way. Rather, He taught against the tradition of the elders and chastised the religious leaders for breaking the Law for the sake of their traditions.

The truth is, while our Christian brothers and sisters do not have the same understanding as those within the Hebrew roots movement, they are not nearly as far off as some would have you believe! However, if a person places upon another person his own opinions, that is, one person believes another person holds to something without discussing it with him, it closes the door to open and honest dialog. One has misjudged the other! Now I ask you, is that the Spirit of Mashiach? Of course not!

Point 15

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The next point that “Jesus” chose the Gentiles and rejected Israel was dealt with in a previous point (point 12) and this point is redundant, so we will not debunk it once again.

Point 16

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The next point concerns when is the Shabbat, that is, is it upon the seventh day, or is it upon the first day of the week? Furthermore, is the “Lord’s Day” to be seen as the Sabbath? Or, is this day something different altogether?

First, there is no record anywhere of Yeshua our Mashiach changing the seventh day Shabbat. He kept it every week and expected those who followed Him to keep it as well. Furthermore, we are admonished many times in the New Testament to emulate His life. The seventh day Shabbat commandment is still obligatory upon us as a day of rest and focus upon our Creator, a time to gather and worship Him.

The majority of Christians that I have been in contact with do not refer to “The Lord’s Day” as Sabbath. It is a day of worship for them, but honestly, they do not think of it in this manner as far as I can tell, either by their actions or with their words. Part of this comes from how the majority of Christians treat this day. It is not a day of rest (the Hebrew word “shabbat” means rest), but a day to go and worship and then after that is done, they pretty much do whatever they want to do: mow the yard, work in the garden, do household chores, do handyman stuff, whatever they have a mind to do. If this were indeed a Shabbat/Sabbath to them, such an attitude would not be present.

The whole question of the seventh day Shabbat in the mind of the Christian seems to muddied waters at best. This is due in large part to pastors and teachers who help muddy their understanding by not understanding the simple truth that the Torah has not been done away with in any way; and the fact that Yeshua “fulfilled” it does not release another person from doing his dead-level best to live by that same standard.

Part of the difficulty as I understand it comes from the book of Hebrews and a passage from Colossians.

Ivrim (Hebrews) 4:10
For he that is entered into His rest has himself also rested from his works, as Elohim did from His.

Hebrews chapters three (latter half) and four discuss the “rest” with four ideas in mind. One of those is the seventh day rest. One is expected to enter into each and every one of the aspects of rest to be in complete communion with YHWH. This will happen if one follows the example of Yeshua.

Colossians 2:16
Let no man therefore judge you in food, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a Shabbat day.

Sadly, I have seen this passage of Scripture used to do exactly what it says not to do; that is, it is used to judge and condemn those who keep a seventh day Shabbat or keep the food laws or keep the festivals of YHWH. Does that make any sense to you, because it does not to me!

Conversely, it is also used to judge and condemn those who do not eat according to the food laws as found in Torah, or keep the festivals, or observe the new moon or keep the Shabbat on the seventh day. Judgment and condemnation do not have a place in the body of Mashiach between its members. What we need to find is open and honest dialog where the opposing parties are working to understand one another and hopefully come together in mutual love and respect.

Point 17

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The next point that “no one knows the day nor hour” and that Mashiach shall return at the appointed time are not mutually exclusive of each other. Rather, both are true and right. It is one of those points where to only take half of it is to have an incomplete picture.

Yeshua shall return at exactly the right moment; it shall not be too soon nor too late, but at exactly the right moment in history He shall return. In much the same fashion as His first coming was at exactly the right time, so shall His return be as well.

The reference to an “appointed time” is a reference to the festival cycle. He came the first time according to the festival cycle. For example, He was conceived during the Feast of Lights (Hanukkah), He was born on the first day of Sukkot (Tabernacles), and He was circumcised on the eighth day according to the commandment, which fell on the last great day, Shemini Atzaret. Yeshua was crucified on the fourteenth of Aviv, Pesach (Passover), and arose on or shortly before the day of Firstfruits. Firstfruits is always on a first day of the week. He ascended into heaven forty days later and then gave His Spirit on Shavuot (Pentecost), fifty days (as well as seven full weeks plus one day) after Firstfruits. It is well within one’s understanding of prophecy to see that He shall return according to the appointed times. Since every festival was involved in some manner in which He came the first time, we can only image that the same shall be true when He returns. Upon which festival shall we be gathered to Him? Some say Pesach, some say Sukkot, some say Trumpets; the truth is we do not know the day nor the hour. But it will be according to the festival cycle (appointed time), of that much I am convinced.

I am also convinced that His return cannot and will not surprise His people! How can it if they are truly filled with His Spirit? Can He surprise Himself?

Point 18

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The next point is just plain wrong. While Roman Catholicism teaches this, no one in Protestantism holds to this tenet that I am aware of. Again, I can remember discussing this in theology class at great length and what we were taught was what is written in the right hand column, not the left.

Point 19

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There are many programs to disciple people within Christianity. I have been through a very good one while I was a part of the church. In fact, going through that program has led me to where I am today! It taught me to dig into the word and discover it for myself. So I did. This point is once again a gross oversimplification as well as misleading.

Point 20

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When I get to the last point, I am just really scratching my head on that one. Just exactly what is the difference to this writer between “good” and “holy” since YHWH our Elohim is both of these things?


Closing thoughts

Qorintyah Aleph (1st Corinthians) 1:12-13a
12 Now this I mean, that each one of you says, “I am of Paul;” and “I of Apollos;” and “I of Kepha;” and “I of Mashiach.”
13 Is Mashiach divided?

Overall, this picture is misleading, inflammatory, and divisive. Does each person in Christianity have the same understanding? If so, why are there so many denominations? Does each person in the Hebrew roots movement have the same understanding? If so, why are there so many different groups? Is Mashiach divided? Elohim forbid!

We have so many things in common, yet do we focus upon that which we have in common? No. We tend to focus on the differences, which when compared to the larger truth of following Mashiach Yeshua, are all minor by comparison.

It greatly saddens me in my spirit and thus I am certain it saddens our heavenly Father when we post disparaging comments and pictures about some of His children. Why is it necessary to tear down our brothers and sisters in Mashiach just because they have a different understanding of some things? Does the world not do this enough? Are we not commanded to build each other up?

Ephesians 4:1-3
1 I therefore, the prisoner in Adonenu, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith you were called,
2 with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We are duty bound to help one another. In order to help each other, it is beneficial if we understand each other. We don't have to agree with everything in another’s life to help him or to love him. However, in order to have an honest dialog, we have to be accepting and respectful. Every person wants and needs to be loved, respected, and accepted. If this is what you shall sow, this is what you shall reap!

We hope that the analysis of this picture has opened your eyes to the destructive nature of such things as this. Posting such inflammatory pictures as this does nothing to build up the body of Messiah. It simply closes the door for many, who instead of investigating further what is contained therein, simply walk away shaking their heads.

Part of the difficulty seems to stem from those coming out of the church system and the perception of being “lied” to for so many years. In one sense, there is some truth to this, if one views the withholding of information as a lie. Any preacher who has gone to Bible College or seminary knows that the name of our Messiah is Yeshua. He also knows the approximate time of year He was born. Yet, for the sake of tradition, these things are generally not taught to the people. This is sad that truth takes a back seat to tradition and convenience, but it happens all too frequently. It seems to me that such pictures as this one are a reaction to that phenomenon.

If we want to have an open and honest dialog, then we must be open and honest ourselves. This begins with a high degree of integrity on one’s own part first. If one who is in the Hebrew roots movement desires to “witness” to his Christian brothers and sisters concerning those things that he has discovered, then he needs to do so with open and honest dialog. Posting inflammatory pictures like the one discussed here do nothing to open dialog, but rather only closes doors.

May YHWH our Elohim be magnified in all that we do and say and may all that we do and say serve to build up the body of Messiah!

Ephesians 4:12-15
12 for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Mashiach;
13 till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, unto a full grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Mashiach;
14 that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error;
15 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into Him, who is the head, even Mashiach;

Shabbat Shalom
Zerubbabel ben Emunah