The awakening that takes place in a Christian who discovers the Hebraic roots of his faith is fascinating to watch. His immediate reaction is to fall madly in love with Israel and find new compassion for the Jewish people. That soon leads to wondering why he’d been so clueless in the first place – until he learns about the role Replacement Theology played in obscuring those roots. That sets him to wondering what else hasn’t he been told about his religion.
Then he discovers the major holy days of Christianity like Christmas, Easter and Sunday are pagan in origin. And that Jesus never divided us into clergy and laity. Or told us to build churches. And before long he’s exiting his church and checking out worship services at the nearest Messianic Jewish synagogue.
But what led me to write this article is what often happens next. There is a strong temptation at this point to think the best way to draw even closer to the Hebrew roots of our faith in Yeshua is to embrace the religion he practiced. The one we know for sure God started, namely the Mosaic Law. Of course, with no temple or Levitical priesthood today one can only do so much. Like keeping Shabbat, eating kosher and applying whatever Mosaic commands fit 21st century living.
But I have to ask, is Moses the one who can truly unite Christians and Jews? Wasn’t the Law the very thing that kept us apart? Don’t the Scriptures teach it is only in Yeshua that we become one? That “he himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, abolishing in his flesh the enmity, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in himself he might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace?” (Eph. 2:13-15).
Having gone down this road myself I can certainly relate to the vulnerable feeling that comes with laying aside one’s religion. You quickly want to get under the protection of another. But where does it say in the New Testament we need any religion at all? Judaism or Christianity? Didn’t Yeshua come to fulfill the Mosaic Law and lead us all into a new life of living by faith?
What we forget is that before God gave Moses the Law He had declared Abraham righteous by his faith. Faith, or complete trust in God’s voice, is the true ‘religion’ of Israel. “For without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb. 11:6).
I believe the biggest revelation coming forth from this restoration of Jewish/Christian fellowship in our day is discovering that religion is what has been keeping us apart. Each side thought unity and sanctification could only be realized by observing the tenets of their religion. And we were both wrong.
Only living a life of faith through Yeshua and walking in love can true unity be found and the promises realized. “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith” (Rom 4:13).