In the world of gardening, there are many gardeners who would very selectively nurture the roots of some plants in their garden and omit the nurturing of others if such were an option. The world of religion is much the same except, within this world, there exists the opportunity to selectively nurture – the problem for worldly citizenry is knowing what to select and nurture. Far too many individuals confuse ‘religion’ with ‘righteousness’ – the two can ultimately be eternities apart. Only the Christian faith and that of Messianic Jews has roots extending to the Messiah/Christ Who was shamefully crucified for all who would, or will, accept Him; and was risen from a thenceforth empty tomb to remain a Living Advocate on behalf of all Christian believers.
But the term ‘Christian’ itself applies to a large, often putty-like, conglomerate of people who are sadly remiss in knowledge of their true roots, true understandings, and true convictions; nor are they aware of the root system of others and very little aware of the Scriptural nutrients in a book called the Bible. They would be hard-pressed to differentiate between ‘evangelical and ecumenical’, between ‘animist, atheist and agnostic’, or between ‘Buddhists, Hindus, and Shintos’. In vague generality, many think they should be for the Jews (some not) and against anything else not labeled Christian, – and concerning some of the latter, they are not so sure. They go to Church because, “What would Aunt Rosey say if they didn’t?!” Were one to ask them about ‘Messianic Jews’ they might question the term ‘Messianic’ while questioning the deacon about the status of the air conditioning. Such ‘Christians’ have totally confused the politicians of the Land because the politicians don’t know on which evangelical-bandwagon to jump that might garner the most votes. And heaven forbid (‘ever what that is’) if they should alight the wrong bandwagon. If their preacher is addressed as Pastor, Father, Vicar, Brother, Priest, or Bishop instead of Reverend, negative waves wash over their innermost being.
Note: Stephen Prothero, Chairman for the Religion Department at Boston University well documents America’s religious ignorance in his article, ‘Worshiping in Ignorance’ for The Chronicle Review 13Mar07. http://chronicle.com/temp/email2.php?id=St6myqDqmjytqfVqvSwk9SbgzbdqGHDq
Into this Valley of Confusion charges this ‘Christian light brigade’ – light on knowledge / strong on opinion; light on spiritual fruit / strong on negativism; light on understanding / strong on misunderstanding. Since ‘Rabbi’, to them, is synonymous with a ‘Jewish preacher’, they must be ‘for’ what is ‘right-n-truthful’ because Jesus was both a Jew and referred to as ‘Rabbi’ (Jn 1:38, 49; 3:2; 6:25). WAKE UP CHRISTIAN WORLD! Of such ignorance and apathy comprise legions of well-meaning Christians and lofty mega-church leaders and/or big TV-ministries. The label of ‘Rabbi’ connotes different things to different people. As a label it is neither good or bad; but what it connotes to the Orthodox-Jewish-world and such televangelists as John Hagee can accomplish ends diametrically opposed to what the ‘lowly Carpenter of Nazareth’ lovingly desires for all who would serve Him!
During last summer’s hostilities (2006) between Israel and the Hezbollah-terrorists of Lebanon, there was much Media drivel against-Israel and pro-Hezbollah in one form or another (BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and others). Fully aware of the US government’s stance in support of Israel, FOX News (touted as ‘fair-n-balanced’) predominately came to the support of Israel and the US. But the Media, in general, is godless-to-the-core and thus totally void of Spiritual or Scriptural awareness. Into such ignorance and unawareness plays the influence of Rabbi Eckstein’s organization, The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Orthodox Jews like Rabbi Eckstein thus tap a very deep, strong Christian emotion. The rhetoric sounds so ‘spiritual’. . . support Israel. . .pray for peace. . . bless the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then Rabbi Eckstein and others sucker the now-sensitized ‘Christian light brigade’ (via manipulative TV commercials) to send millions of dollars in support of Orthodox Jewish programs – schools for orphans, housing for the homeless, assistance to elderly widows, etc. A prime example of such info-mercials sees Rev John Hagee shaking hands with an Orthodox rabbi in front of a partially built school for orphans. There is nothing wrong with supporting widows, orphans, homeless individuals, or other needs. But the question begged returns to this essay’s title, “What Roots Should You Water?” In Orthodox Jewish schools built by Rabbi Eckstein’s ideology, Jewish orphans will be taught that Jesus is not for Jewish people, and the faith in Jesus as Messiah and Lord is traitorous to God, to the Jewish people, and to Israel. Such Christian ignorance (while advantageous to Rabbi Eckstein) sees the very funds they raise in America going to support anti-Jesus education and other such education contrary to their innermost principles!
The Bible well teaches us that there are many types of Jews and many types of rabbis. In the one camp there are Jews like Jesus (Rabbi, Jn 1:49 and loving teacher/Rabboni, Jn 20:16); and in the other camp there are the Orthodox Jews of varying sects as in days of old – Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes (or modern equivalents) with whom Jesus was in frequent conflict and at total odds with their harmful, legalistic interpretations of Scripture (e.g. Mt 19:1-12; 22:23-46; 23:-). Little has changed in 2,000 years among Orthodox Jewish extremists. But in Israel today there is a flowering and growing group of extremely persecuted Jews know as the Messianic Jews. All the Old Testament prophets at one point or another, and in one way or another, refer to Jesus returning to a Remnant of those believing in Him – Messianic Jews. Examples (by no means exhaustive) include: Jer 23:1-8; Dan 12:1-4; Joel 2:32; Zeph 3:12-20. God has always (and will always) preserve for Himself a Remnant of His Chosen People from which to generate righteous roots and seeds. It is these roots we Christian Gentiles should assist in whatever ways we can. It is most important to water and nurture the Messianic Jewish roots which, in fact, are our own roots through Loving, Gracious adoption and grafting-in, Gal 4:5 & Rom 11:17-21. We’ve been extended such adoption and grafting by God’s Son Jesus, (whom the Messianic Jews refer to as ‘Yeshua’).
Despite the indescribable atrocities and genocide practices of Nazi Germany against the Jews just 60+ years ago, the Orthodox Jewish extremists (Haredim) in Israel today are subjecting their own Messianic Jewish brethren to similar, and growing, human rights deprivation, rejections, intimidations, arsons and terror tactics to which Hitler and his evil regime subjected their fathers and grandfathers beginning in the 1930’s. This writer knows this from near-daily communications with dear Messianic friends and their email communications with me. Without specific identifications, the following is but one example:
…Things escalated again until there were regular demonstrations outside the homes of believers, and in the case of my sister (A) and her husband (B), the Haredi’s are coming right up to the windows, and screaming and cursing at the top of their voices, so they would be heard inside, through the double-glazing. My sister told me she just cannot believe the amount of energy these people invest into the screaming. She is now 9 months pregnant and was recently hospitalized with early labour related to stress and fatigue. She is now required to do nothing but rest. But that is a bit difficult, considering the tension they all live under.
Their 7 year-old son (C), was riding his bike one evening, and went down to the nearby park, thinking he was going to find his father, who had gone out for a walk with the two smaller kids. My brother-in-law (B), however, had taken a different route and didn’t go by the park. Eventually it got dark, and B came back home – with no C. My sister got worried and went out looking for him, and found him sitting all alone in the park, which was now dark. When she asked him why he was sitting there all alone, he said “I thought Daddy was coming to the park, and I waited for him. But when it got dark, I didn’t want to go back home alone, because I didn’t know if those people will be outside the house, shouting”. So my gorgeous little nephew, an innocent little 7 year-old, chose to stay alone in a dark park, rather than head home and risk facing his hateful persecutors.
Does this sound like something happening to a Jewish kid in Nazi-occupied Europe in the 1930’s? It isn’t. It happened to a Jewish kid in the Gur-occupied Jewish State of Israel, the Democratic homeland and safe-haven state for Jews, which they lobbied the United Nations for, in order for them to have a place to come to where they can live their lives and not be persecuted for their faith or ethnic belonging. This is so shameful I have no words. I was really saddened when she told me this…
And Little C had good reason to be worried: Upon returning home one day, these Gur Hassidim were just a few feet away from the house, on their way to start another little demonstration outside. He and his older brother D tried to hurry and make it in through their gate before the orthodox got there. D got in, but just then the black-clothed men got there and started shouting at the kids about missionaries, etc. So the little 7 year-old just cycled past the house, and continued to the closest place he could figure: The park. My sister caught a glimpse of what was happening through the window, and since my brother-in-law was not home, she was forced to reach a tough decision; go and look for C and escort him home, or stay and protect the other three young children inside. Eventually she left the other kids locked in the house with the Orthodox shouting outside the gate, and went looking for C. It took her a few minutes to locate him but eventually, heart pounding, she found him and together they went home – through the crowd and the shouts, their return home being filmed by the Orthodox. This has now been their life for almost two years. Over a third of C’s young life. His younger sister was about 6 months old when this all started – she doesn’t even know a life other than religious nuts shouting and ranting outside their gate and pounding on the double glazed windows as they hurl curses into the house.
The entire chapter of Romans 11 (for which the ‘Christian Light Brigade’ has little in-depth knowledge) provides a most instructive background regarding what is happening in Israel, both past and present. Such happenings today are largely catalyzing all present and near-future worldly events about which a godless Media is, or soon will-be, reporting. It deals with a righteous Jewish Remnant (Messianic Jews) whose present-day precarious position originated nearly 17 centuries ago in 605 B.C. – more on this presently. But far subsequent to 605 B.C., Apostle Paul opens Rom 11 by asking rhetorical questions; then answering; then proceeding on (AmStd):
? “. . .God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!
? . . . (vs 5) . . . there has also come to be at the present a remnant according to God’s gracious choice
? (vs 11) I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.
? (vss 13&14) . . . I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.
? (vs 25) . . .For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in . . .
The ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ to which Paul is referring is the same to which Jesus refers in Luke 21:24; and to which Daniel refers in 10:14 and chapters 11 and 12; and to which John refers in Rev 11:2. As in Rev 11:2 there are other similar prophecies (different authors, times, and circumstances) regarding ‘the nations (Gentiles) treading under foot the holy city . . .’ – all are end-time scenarios leading to His, the Messiah’s, return. Today’s world (predominately Gentile) is terribly messed-up in every respect from environmental to human intolerance and spiritual degradation. Gentiles who will accept (or have accepted) the Lord Jesus have been given their opportunity at the temporary expense of blind Jews such as the Orthodox. The Lord’s Remnant Jews accepting Jesus (Messianic Jews) are rapidly coming ‘on-line’ to evangelize and save as many Orthodox Jews (as well as Gentiles) as will be saved. And their Roots need to be nourished, fed, and watered by the Gentile Christian believers who must not become arrogant of their present privileged status for it is the Jewish roots that also support them (Rom 11:18).
Presently Messianic Jewish roots are very fragile. They are opposed on every side by Gentiles, most notably Arabs who would deny all Israel’s right to exist – Messianic or Orthodox. The Messianic Jews have elected to either live in Israel despite all the hazards, or lend support world-wide via a multitude of formats for their beleaguered brethren in Israel. Many (probably most) Messianic Jews have arrived at their present level of faith in Yeshua at the expense of family ties because their new found belief in Jesus is viewed as being in conflict with being ‘Jewish’ and thus rejected. But Jewish they are and Jewish they remain, Praise God! – referring to themselves in many cases as ‘Completed Jews’.
Chr 35:20-27 and http://www.crystalinks.com/dynasty26.html.
24and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
And of which Paul writes to the Romans in chapter 11 culminating in verse 25 –
25For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
With Nebuchadnezzar’s crushing and trampling of Jerusalem . . .
(not once but 3 times – 603 B.C. under Jehoikim, 597 B.C. under Jehoiachin, and 586 B.C. under Zedekiah see http://www.kingscalendar.com/kc_free_files_no_frames/CHAPTER_03.HTML)
the introduction of the “times, or fullness, of the Gentiles” was set into play and it is still being ‘played out’ on the world stage God has in motion. This fullness of the Gentiles will only be complete as Paul continues in Rom 11:26-27. So God really established the stage at Carchemish. With Nebuchadnezzar’s subsequent trampling of Jerusalem, the age of the Gentiles began and continued through the prophecies of Daniel’s visions describing the Gentile empires of Babylon, Media-Persian, Greece and Roman plus Roman-extended – Dan chapters 2 & 7. And the ‘fullness’ will overflow with Jerusalem’s final trampling prophesied by John (Rev 11:2).
WAKE UP CHRISTIAN WORLD; GUARD WELL WHAT ROOTS YOU WATER