A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me why I am so interested in studying Jewish beliefs. I am pretty terrible at organizing my thoughts into words unless I have had time to think and write, so after some consideration, this is my reply.
This is a pretty important question, considering the fact that I almost always bring up some aspect of Jewish belief or understanding during our Sunday School lessons. The ladies in the class always respectfully listen to me ramble on, even if they are not interested or do not know how it applies to them.
I have come up with six reasons that I pursue this kind of knowledge. This post contains the first one:
The Christian faith is an extension of the Jewish faith. It is what the Jewish faith would have become if they had believed on Jesus as their Messiah. That is, if they had believed the report that the Father gave of the Son. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” I John 5:10. This verse is not saying anything new. It is saying that God testified of His Son already, and that some people reject Him.
The Jews say they believe their own writings, that of the Old Testament. However, they do not believe it when it speaks of the Son. I spoke before about Isaiah 53, and how the Jewish rabbis knew this passage referred to the Messiah, that is, until Jesus came and fulfilled it. Then they changed their minds. Look into it, and you will be amazed by what you discover. This is why I love studying what they believed then, and what they believe now. It is so revealing!
“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53
I have so many things to say about this passage. I will try to be brief.
First of all, I believe John is thinking about Isaiah 53:1 specifically when talks about those who do not believe the record of the Son. Do you see how similar the passages are? He explains that when you deny the Son, you are calling God a liar. You have not believed His report. To see specific references to the Father/Son relationship, see Psalm 2:7, Proverbs 30:4, Isaiah 9:6 (Remember the verse in Genesis 1 about seed bearing fruit after its kind? You can’t be God without having come from God. If the son mentioned in Isaiah is also the everlasting Father, he must be the seed of the everlasting Father – that is, His son.) Isaiah 7:14 (Born of a virgin. Who then, is His Father, if not God? Immanuel means “God with us.” A virgin gives birth to God. Messiah has to be the son of God.)
I Chronicles 17:13-14: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.” – The record God gave of His Son.
New favorite chapter, Psalm 89. Here are verses 26-29, but this whole chapter is full of Messianic prophecy:
“He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.” – The record God gave of His Son.
Second, the arm of Yahweh is a person. That is evident from reading Isaiah 53. It is also an extension of Yahweh Himself, naturally. Also, if you look at the photo I have used in this post, you will see the Ancient and modern Hebrew spellings of God’s name (read right to left). Arm, which, as a function of the Hebrew alphabet, often denotes work being done, spirit or worshiping man, which can also mean behold, or look, tent peg, which often denotes hooking something together (it is also the Hebrew symbol for “and”), and spirit or worshiping man. Do you see how the arm of Yahweh hooks us to Himself, and that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves – nothing we have to do to earn salvation, aside from standing back in amazement as He completes the plan of salvation? Also, you can easily see in the written Hebrew language the foreshadowing of the way Christ wrought salvation – hand, nail, worshiping men. “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” Exodus 14:13. See also 2 Chronicles 20:17. (Look into the ancient Hebrew letters and their meanings. Every word has meaning and is written using letters that reveal that meaning.) Also, do you know that Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) is the same as the word salvation? Yeshua is literally the salvation of Yahweh. Now that you know, read Jonah 2 all the way through. Do you see it? I almost fell out of my chair the first time I read Jonah after learning the meaning of Jesus’ name and the meaning of the word LORD (in all caps) in the King James Version – Yahweh. These are things I never knew before looking into the Hebrew language. Is my excitement showing?
Third, it is foretold in Isaiah 53 that the Messiah would be rejected. Psalm 118:22 says “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” This is interesting, because Psalm 118 is part of the Hallel. Wikipedia says “Hallel (Hebrew: הלל, “Praise”) is a Jewish prayer, a verbatim recitation from Psalms 113-118, which is used for praise and thanksgiving that is recited by observant Jews on Jewish holidays.” They may already have been singing the hallel as they traveled to Jerusalem, bringing their lambs into the city in preparation of the Passover feast. It’s where we get our word “hallelujah,” “jah” being short for Yahweh or Jehovah. Here’s where it gets really interesting: just 4 verses later, in 118:26 we read “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.” This is the passage the Jewish people cried out when they hailed Jesus as their king, the Messiah, choosing as a nation the lamb that would be rejected and slain only 4 days later.
“Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” Exodus 12:3-7
During those 4 days, He was daily examined by the scribes and Pharisees, and the high priest. The entire Passover feast and everything surrounding it, including lamb selection day, foreshadowed the last week of Jesus life. By the way, Hosanna means “save now” (Matthew 21:9). Jesus rose from the grave on the Feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23), becoming the firstfruits of the resurrection (I Corinthians 15). He was first, and we will follow. Do you see why I love studying this stuff? How it sheds so much light on Jesus our Messiah? I am trying to give you the references for everything, but please look these things up for yourselves! Why would we not want to know everything He has revealed to us about Himself? He is amazing! On top of that, there is zero probability that all of this could have happened by chance. God gave a record of His son. We should be able to give that record to men seeking Him. Sharing personal testimony is fantastic, but this stuff is irrefutable proof.
Fourth, the Jewish idea of being “cut off” is to die relatively young and without children (according to the forums that I read). Isaiah 53 tells us that the Messiah would be cut off (also see Daniel 9:26), yet “he shall see his seed…” That’s us. We are the seed. This proves that he would be resurrected from the grave after having died. The Jewish concept of being cut off is everywhere in the scriptures. Now aware of the idea, I am seeing some very interesting things as I read back through the Bible, shedding light on even more verses that I could not fully comprehend until I understood this concept.
Earlier, I said, “The Christian faith is an extension of the Jewish faith. It is what the Jewish faith would have become if they had believed on Jesus as their Messiah.”
Hopefully, they would also have listened to Him as He preached against the Talmud, or oral law – the doctrine of the Pharisees. (I couldn’t figure out how many individual regulations the Talmud contains, but according to Wikipedia, “The entire Talmud consists of 63 tractates, and in standard print is over 6,200 pages long.”) To give you an idea at how out-of-hand these rules have become, look here. You can easily see that they stretch the scriptures to say something they do not mean, and then invent extra regulations, and regulations for those regulations, etc. I also found some strange rules last year when I was researching how they prepare for the days of unleavened bread. Here is what Yeshua Messiah has to say about this issue:
“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” Mark 7:6-9
“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Matthew 23:4
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I love that passage in Isaiah 53…I remember years ago reading it and just mourning him, crying my eyes out over Jesus dying for us. It’s beautiful. Love the Hebrew too…my dad’s family is Jewish. I learned Hebrew back in college and read the Masoretic Text a lot. It’s so rich and rewarding to read it in the original language. God bless!
That is so very awesome. I would love to have someone I could just talk to about the Jewish view of scriptures. Have you grown up knowing about the feast days, etc? Do you ever compare notes with them? It’s amazing how a little bit of insight can shed so much light on God’s great big, beautiful plan of redemption.
I am trying to learn Hebrew on Duolingo, but it’s slow going. I bought an interlinear, but it still doesn’t seem good enough, lol.
No, my dad’s side was either Christian or atheist, so they never really had a history of orthodox Judaism. I’ll celebrate a couple with my family just because we like to, and we do passover, but not at all in the Judaic way. I usually just grab a Bible and go with it instead of getting into all the orthodox traditions. 🙂 never really got into the Talmud or any much of their orthodox or mystical teaching just because they are missing Jesus. I don’t see a ton of value in their extra Biblical stuff, especially post Christ, since I don’t think they were guided by the Spirit.
on the other hand, I adore the Hebrew language. It’s absolutely beautiful. Reading the OT in Hebrew is awesome, you get so much more in depth that gets lost in translation to English. I’m learning Koine Greek too and comparing the MT to the LXX is super interesting, especially because it appears at least parts of the LXX were translated from a slightly different version than the MT, which then a blend of each found their way into our modern English Bibles. Regardless, God’s Word stands and is immutable! But I just love Hebrew.
Duolingo isn’t bad. But if you are really new to the language and want to get proficient in it, like in reading and writing, I’d recommend starting with a copy of Beginning Biblical Hebrew by Cook and Holmstedt. A great more advanced one after that is Waltke and O’Connor’s Biblical Hebrew Syntax, fantastic book.
I love talking to Jesus in Hebrew 🙂 I always enjoy talking Biblical languages too, Hebrew is beautiful. I really wanna go to Israel one day. We’ll see on that, might be after his kingdom returns!
I meant to say, I personally haven’t read a lot of orthodox Judaic texts just because I haven’t seen a lot of extra spiritual value in them for myself and haven’t been led by the Spirit to do so, not to say that there isn’t value in them. Paul quoted from Greek poets in the epistles, so I’m sure if Jesus can use that through Paul then he can use some of the extra Biblical Judaic stuff to build someone up, and if so, great that’s awesome! I just haven’t read much of them myself.
Awesome, thank you for the book recommendation! I love Duolingo, but it does leave a lot to be desired. I was able to pick up quite a bit of Spanish from them, but I had a basic understanding before I began using the site. Hebrew is completely new to me.
I agree that most of the Jewish traditions are just that – man-made traditions. (But then again, I believe that most Christian traditions are man-made as well and not at all beneficial.) When we do Passover, however, we do institute some of the traditions that point emphatically to Christ, such as the afikomen, the matzo (also breaking and sharing it), the bitter herbs, and the cups. The wine and the bread aspects are similar to what Jesus and His disciples did the night before His crucifixion, and I believe that Christ was not instituting a new tradition, but rather keeping the Passover in the common way (minus the lamb of course). Suddenly, however, all of the foreshadowing present in the tradition was made clear to them – although this clarity did not dawn on them until after the resurrection. Everything they ever knew about Torah became crystal clear in the light of the new testament of His blood.
Also, it is really interesting to see what the rabbis thought about the Messiah before the advent (and their subsequent rejection) of Christ. I found it interesting that they used to believe that there would be two Messiahs – the suffering servant and the king. Now it is clear that there were two comings prophesied, but they are the same Messiah.
I love talking about this stuff! Also, I would love to hear anything you might have to say about reading the scriptures in Hebrew. For instance, I watched a YouTube video produced by a Christian Jew. He read this verse in Hebrew: “And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.” Genesis 48:19
He said that “multitude of nations” literally translates into “fullness of the Gentiles” in Hebrew. I was just wondering if that is how Jews would perceive this verse, or if they would perceive it more like “a bunch of people groups.” I know that goy means nation, and also that it is sometimes applied to Israel, even though it is usually applied to foreigners, so I wasn’t sure his video was revealing the whole truth, or whether he was just putting a Christian spin on it. Anyway, since you don’t have a Jewish perspective, you may not know the answer, but maybe just being familiar in Hebrew would be enough to guess at an answer.
We are also hoping to go to Jerusalem one day. If I don’t see you there sooner though, I will definitely see you there later: “Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” Isaiah 51:11
Totally agree on that, there’s so much there in the Torah pointing to Christ. Passover, the feasts (eg Tabernacles, trumpets,…), the Law, it all shouts Jesus’ glory. Yes it is very interesting about their thoughts on the Messiah. So on that, I have a 92 year old friend who’s a strong believer in Christ, gave me a copy of a book called Rabbi vs Chaplin, it was the transcript of their debate. And it’s super interesting to here the rabbis interpretation of their coming messiah which the rabbi expounded on some in it. ..I didn’t know this, but did you know it’s actually impossible today for the Messiah to come because of the curses God put on Solomon’s descendants. Solomon had a conditional promise from God to have his descendants on throne and David had an unconditional promise from God. Jesus fulfilled the promise God gave to David because (we think) Mary was a descendant of David through Nathan (in Luke’s genealogy), but Joseph was a descendant of Solomon. Jesus only had Mary’s blood in him, thereby fulfilling David’s promise and not through Solomon.
How far along are you in Hebrew? Have you gotten to the Binyanim yet, and stuff like perfect & imperfect aspect, narrative form, etc?
Amen on the church traditions too! Amos 5:21, ” I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.” If it’s not worship from the heart, don’t bother is what I say! Let me check out the verse you had in Genesis 48 a bit later today and get back to you. I’m home with a sick momma and taking care of our 3 kiddos so I’m a little tied up! (We home school too btw!)
Yeah, my family is Jewish by blood, but none are orthodox. My grandpa was atheist, my dad is a strong believer though. We do celebrate Festival of Dedication (Hannukah) too…which of course remind me of one of my fave foods, latkes!! 🙂 have you had latkes before? Or played dreidel? So much fun! We play it with the kids with chocolates and they looove it haha!
Agreed definitely see you in Jerusalem there later if not sooner!! galatians 4:26, But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
I was trying to figure out what the discrepancy was just the other day! And when I say discrepancy, I mean I was trying to figure out what it was that I couldn’t understand. The Word of God agrees with itself, so when something seems off, I have to ask myself what’s wrong with my own preconceptions that prevent me from seeing the truth. It seems that Jesus is legally descended from Solomon (through Joseph) and descended by blood through Nathan (through Mary). That way, the kingly rights still belonged to him, but the curse did not pass to him. At least, I think that’s the conclusion I came to. I am still a bit confused though, and I need to read it more.
I am not very far in Hebrew. I have barely begun prepositions, and I actually have not been on Duolingo in a couple of months. I need to hit the books again because I love it, but … homeschooling, lol. And now I know you know what I’m talking about!
I have not had latkes or played dreidel. I have played the song, however, lol. I bought a songbook the other day that contains many of the Jewish festival songs.
So in Gen 48:19 that part is, וְזַרְעֹ֖ו יִהְיֶ֥ה מְלֹֽא־הַגֹּויִֽם
Which is literally fullness of the nations, but that could be idiomatic and mean something else, like ‘multitude of nations.’ …your right גּוֹי typically refers to non-israrlite peoples, gentiles, but that it sometimes refers to Israel (Isaiah has a usage I think that refers to Israel). Context is always really important when trying to split hairs like this one… i think Jacob is trying to emphasize greatness when speaking to Joseph about Ephraim and Manasseh, both in magnitude of his descendants and of the blessing. that could be both physical, as in a large number of people, and/or spiritual, (eg Joshua was from Ephraim and his inclusion as such an important figure in God’s story has helped grow his spiritual descendants, essentially, through the Word). just just a thought, not sure. What do you think?
I am thinking that you have a better perspective than I do, lol. A more qualified one. However, I also believe that Ephraim represents the ten lost tribes as a whole, and since their blood has probably mingled with every race by now, I think the fulness of the Gentiles may be poetic for the restoration of Israel. I read Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel a lot, and I am excited about Israel turning back to God with its whole heart. Makes me wonder if I have some of Ephraim’s blood myself because I feel like I have woken up among the pigs, like the prodigal son. There’s no way to know for sure, of course, but I do feel a strange pull to Jerusalem, lol.
Ah I don’t know about that! Hey anything of wisdom comes from the Spirit, I think you’re point of view probably is more right then mine! Makes sense to me! I can see that…maybe fullness of the nation’s means ephriams tribe was scattered more than the others during the diaspora and with them being brought back, they have brought back more lineage from the nation’s than any others? I like it!
I’ve always wondered what tribe I’m from! Not sure, maybe Levi?
I’m excited for Israel’s heart to be turned back to God too…I have some family that have very hard hearts and Jewish acquaintances as well that seem a million miles away. Maybe not forever though!!
It must be amazing to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have Hebrew in your blood! I assume that I do, because of the prophecy concerning Ephraim (if I am interpreting it correctly), but there’s no way to know. But I am certainly adopted into the covenant, through God’s amazing grace to me. If you want hope for your family and friends, read Isaiah!
Isaiah 59:1 “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:”
This whole entire book is amazing and talks about the return of the house of Israel. Also, Romans 11 will be a great blessing to you as you consider the future of your family.
I like it, it’s neat to know that I’m a part of Israel by blood. Even better though, is being apart of his family through Jesus!!
Yes, Romans 11 is fantastic, so is all of Romans! Romans 8 is my favorite 🙂
Oh I absolutely love Isaiah!! Isn’t it beautiful! That’s a lovely verse! My favorites are Isaiah 9,10,11, 23, 49, 52, 53, 62, 65,66…well, ok, I guess the whole book haha! Hey question, what event do you think Isaiah 18 refers to? That one has stumped me and I never found a good interpretation to it.
Amen, brother. It’s amazing how Jesus has provided a way of salvation for all nations.
Lol, your love for Isaiah sounds like mine. I will look into that chapter tonight or tomorrow, and get back to you.
I am not sure which nation is being spoken of here, but it does seem that they will also be redeemed and return to Zion to worship. At least, I think that’s what that means. It also sounds like the nation will be pruned, so perhaps they knew of the true God and turned away from Him for a time?
I have been enjoying reading some of your posts. I haven’t hardly studied eschatology at all, but I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle that yet. I feel like I’m still missing something in the scriptures that is preventing me from understanding.
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I do not believe Christianity, as we know it today, would be the same, had most of the Jews believed in Yeshua. Over time, Greek and Roman culture became prominent in Christian Culture, while our roots in Judaism, were rejected along with the Jews. Our Culture has greatly influenced our perception of Christ and his teachings, and I believe it is through the Holy Spirit and a greater understanding of Hebrew Culture of the Biblical times, that we will understand more clearly, what Jesus was saying and doing. It is not the Jews who were grafted in, but the gentiles who were grafted into the vine. The USA, while precious, does not have the promises that were delivered to Israel by God. What we have is Grace and invitation to be a part of His Kingdom. Many of the Jews missed the salvation that was delivered by Christ, but there were many Jews who were faithful before the preaching of the gospel, who never saw Jesus, and we will see them in Heaven. Many Jews did not believe, and are lost, but we are saved by faith, and grafted in. Let us be careful, because if the children of the promise are lost because of their unbelief, we are saved by faith.
I could not agree more! (Except for the idea of heaven, lol. I think we’ll be living on the new earth.)
Isn’t it funny how we’ve been fed this lie that believing Jews are grafted into Christianity, when the Bible makes it so clear that the opposite is true? When I read the Bible now, I’m astounded at the things I used to believe – things that directly contradict the Word of God!