Hello ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the first blog of 2016! I have to say that today’s topic has been one that’s been on my heart for quite some time. Pretty much all last year I wanted to blog about Christianity and it’s Hebrew roots. I wanted to discuss how as followers of the Messiah we should begin to learn more about Jewish customs that we read about in the Old as well as in the New Testament.
This is something Adonai began teaching me last year and has continued to do so into this year. It’s my belief that He’s calling us back to His roots so that we will stop participating in man made festivals and customs and begin to truly worship Him in Spirit and Truth.
Before I begin, there is one aspect of this that I have to share. I became aware late in 2015 that there was an actual movement called “The Hebrew Roots Movement”. I had no idea such a movement even existed when the Father began enlightening me with various scriptures and I began questioning certain verses. However, once I did some research the one aspect that alarms me from the Hebrew roots movement is that of legalism. What do I mean? Some in the movement may believe that by performing certain rituals, or sticking to a strict Biblical diet they are in some way gaining brownie points with God. Or, they may believe they are more righteous because they live as God directed the Jews, His chosen people, in the Old Testament.
It’s because of this legalism that I want to reiterate very loudly, we are saved by GRACE, nothing more. It’s only God’s Spirit who convicts us of our sin. It’s because of Adonais only Son, Yeshua HaMashiach/ Jesus the Messiah, who was born of a virgin, lived and taught among the Jewish people, was crucified, dead, was buried, and who arose on the third day, that we are able to be forgiven of our sins and be saved from eternal death. We cannot earn our way into heaven. It’s not possible. Not through diet, not through keeping certain festivals or dressing a certain way, the point is we are saved by grace, period. As it’s written in Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”
With all that said, I do believe it’s important we learn about our Hebrew roots. I can tell you this, that during the time our Heavenly Father has been teaching me more about the Jewish culture the more the word of God has become alive to me.
I’ve been dying to share this for a while now, but the verse that God first used to spark my interest was John 17:11, where Jesus is praying and he says, “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
Jesus says, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me. Ladies and gentlemen, I hate to disappoint you but the Father’s name is not Jesus. Allow me to share just a little bit about God’s Hebrew name. I learned this information from Hebrew-Streams.org, I encourage you to check out the website, again it’s Hebrew-Streams.org and it’s a very educational website. On the site it reads:
The name “Jesus” is an Anglicized (English) form of the Greek name Yesous. In the first century Yesous represented the Hebrew name Yeshua, which in turn was a shortened form of the name Yehoshua.
The Hebrew name Yehoshua consists of two parts.
(1) “Yeho—” is a shortened form of the Tetragrammaton [YHVH; in English Bibles: “the LORD”] when it is the first part of a name.
Hello readers, please allow me interject at this point. For those who don’t know, YHVH are the consonants that represent God’s formal name in Hebrew. The name He calls Himself in the Old Testament! The website goes on to say:
(2) “—shua” is an abbreviated form of the verb yasha, which means “to save, rescue, or deliver.” Thus the name Yehoshua means “the LORD saves or delivers.”
The New Testament reflects this Hebrew background in passages such as:
She will bear a son; and you shall call his name Yeshua,
for it is he who will save his people from their sins.
(said by an angel; Matthew 1:21)
There is salvation [Heb. yeshuah] in no one else;
for there is no other Name under heaven
that has been given among men,
by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
God highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the Name which is above every name,
that at the name of Yeshua [“the LORD saves or delivers”]
every knee should bow,
of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,
and that every tongue should confess that Yeshua Messiah is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
I have come in my Father’s Name . . .
[Father] I have manifested Your Name to those
whom you have given to me.” (John 5:43; 17:6)
An important point: “Yeshua” is the name God himself gave his son (Matt 1:21).
This ladies and gentlemen, this is the reason I believe it’s important to understand our Hebrew roots. The very roots of our Lord and Savior. Yeshua is Gods Only Son and He is Jewish. He came to the lost sheep of Israel first to share that He is the Messiah. The Jewish people were chosen by God and it’s through the tribe of Judah, who was one of the 12 sons of Jacob, that the Messiah was prophesied to come and He did.
The reason Yeshua became Jesus is due to the Greek language as it was translated into English. Now, am I saying that by using Jesus’ given Hebrew name of Yeshua that in some way it is more correct? No, I’m not. However, my question is this. Once you learn the Hebrew name that our Heavenly Father gave to His only Son why would you not want to use it? Why would you not want to call Jesus by the very name His disciples used to call Him, when He was on earth? Why wouldn’t you want to call Him by the name His mother Mary called Him? HaShem gave Yeshua His name. The only name by which we must be saved.
I mentioned earlier that as Adonai has been teaching me about the importance of learning our Hebrew roots the scriptures have become more alive to me. Allow me to give you an example. I was reading Numbers chapter 6 the other night and in verse 1 through 3 it reads: The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of dedication to the Lord as a Nazirite, they must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink. They must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins.
In verses 6-8 it continues: “Throughout the period of their dedication to the Lord, the Nazirite must not go near a dead body. Even if their own father or mother or brother or sister dies, they must not make themselves ceremonially unclean on account of them, because the symbol of their dedication to God is on their head. Throughout the period of their dedication, they are consecrated to the Lord.”
Ok, how many of you are familiar with Matthew 8:21-22 where a disciple says to Yeshua:
“Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
For the longest time I always thought that was a cold thing for the Lord to say, I mean really? Let the dead bury their own dead. But now it makes perfect sense.
The disciple who said that to Yeshua I’m fairly certain was familiar with Tora which is the first five books of Moses, and as a result he knew perfectly what Yeshua was telling him.
Yeshua was telling him, if you want to be my disciple you must make a vow of separation. You must dedicate yourself fully to me and my teachings. You make yourself unworthy of following me if you place selfish motives and desires ahead of me. It had nothing to do with going and burying a dead relative, it had everything to do with being fully committed to God. And believe it or not the message has never changed.
Isn’t that amazing? For years I’ve read that verse and didn’t know that it was tied into the Old Testament. I mean sure, I knew it had to do with dedication, but what Yeshua says points right back to the Word of God. But then who would know the word of God better than the Living Word of God, right?
My whole point in bringing this up is I do believe it’s important for Christians to learn more about the Jewish roots of our faith in the Messiah. I do believe that by learning about Jewish customs we can get back to doing things the way God intended. And by that I mean celebrate Passover as opposed to easter. Hanukkah as opposed to Christmas. And we need to learn about God’s festivals because they all relate to the coming of our Lord and Savior.
Does celebrating Passover make us more righteous and acceptable to God. No, only the blood of Yeshua can make us righteous and cleanse us of our sin debt. However, I believe that anyone who chooses to follow after God’s word and place His festivals ahead of man made ones will reap more of a blessing. I say this from experience. Last year I choose to begin celebrating holidays from our Hebrew roots and by doing so I have felt my relationship with the Messiah and our Heavenly Father grow more intimate. Now, that could be just me, but like I said earlier, if God enlightens us into a better way of doing things, why would we continue to do the same ole same ole?
In the end, when the Messiah comes, and we are at the wedding feast. There will be guests, and there will be the bride. I don’t know about you, but I want to be the bride. And if in order to be the bride means that I sacrifice the festivals of men, and begin to participate in God’s festivals, then I’ll just delve deeper into my Hebrew roots of faith. Come and teach me Rabbi Yeshua. I will follow you always, Ha’adon Adonai Yeshua HaMashiach, the Lord God Jesus the Messiah.
Whatever any of you choose to do throughout 2016, I pray your relationship with the King of Kings grows to incredible depths. Thank you for subscribing to my blog and I look forward to bringing you more of what Yeshua places on my heart!
May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you shalom.