Messianic Dilemma

So having been raised in a Protestant Baptist church, keeping Sunday sacred, loving Christmas and Easter and not realising how far removed from scripture some of these churches current day practices and historical actions were, I moved to a Seventh Day Adventist Church. This seemed to merely substitute Sunday for the more scrupturally correct Saturday, but still Christmas and Easter were still adhered to.

After some time I went to a Messianic Judaist congregation.  Very powerful in terms of restoring the roots of scriptural meaning, rather than pagan influences encouraged by The Church. Yet at the same time Messianic Judaists are heavily Jewish in terms of culture – food, clothing, political ideology, and they too have teahcings which are based on scripture, but not actually what the scripture states.

2 In order to obey the mitzvot of ADONAI your God which I am giving you, do not add to what I am saying, and do not subtract from it.

Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: An English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed.) (Dt 4:1–2). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.

Or as the NIV would put it:

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)

I once commented to a Messianic Believer about how I felt attending Messianic Services:

  • I am not used to liturgy – especially when it is in Hebrew
  • I don’t feel culturally engaged and to an extent accepted – it feels like you have to accept Jewish culture with scriptural observance, rather than just scriptural observance
  • I can’t say that I believe in everything the current state of Israel stands for, nor the thought of Jews returning home “happening now”. To me Israel is a violent and turbulent place to live, too much disunity, I’m interpreting Matthew 8:10/11 to point to the time when the Kingdom of Heaven is fulfilled I don’t think I would want to live there now myself.
  • I really want to by being more observant of God’s commands in a community of people who don’t want to be Jewish, but just want to be faithful [that is, obeying God’s Law], not caught up in the madness of the secular Pagan world, or the error ridden Christian one.

The man I spoke to said “many times culturally you might feel out of place.  That is to be expected”.  From a child I have always understood God to be about peace, righteousness, unity, justice and I know that The Gospel of salvation is for all men, and we are all part of the same family in Messiah (Christ).

11 Therefore, remember your former state: you Gentiles by birth—called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised—12 at that time had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Isra’el. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God’s promise. You were in this world without hope and without God.
13 But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood. 14 For he himself is our shalom—he has made us both one and has broken down the m’chitzah which divided us 15 by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom, 16 and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus in himself killing that enmity.
17 Also, when he came, he announced as Good News shalom to you far off and shalom to those nearby, 18 news that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
19 So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers. On the contrary, you are fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s family. 20 You have been built on the foundation of the emissaries and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Yahshua the Messiah himself. 21 In union with him the whole building is held together, and it is growing into a holy temple in union with the Lord. 22 Yes, in union with him, you yourselves are being built together into a spiritual dwelling-place for God!

Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: An English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed.) (Eph 2:11–22). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.

Again, as the NIV would put it:

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22)

Why should I ever expect to feel out of place in a building where we are said to be one family, and be a kind of adopted child, second class, segragated other?

I’m not clear on whether people who add to or detract from scripture are aware of the implications of what they are doing.  Surely there is a reason why God’s commandments came in that epic and fearsome scene involving Moses, and that reason is God’s law is eternal, and totally unlike the laws rulers and governments pass that change from year to year, or perhaps when one administration or reign ends and another begins.

I’ve hinted at earlier at some of the error and liberalism that Christianity has bought to faith in Messiah, but conversely, here is a look at one verse of scripture that Messianic and Orthodox Jews have perhaps “over interpretted”, and is the reason why an Orthodox (religious) Jewish person will never have a cheeseburger.

Why?  According to the Oral Law, it is not allowable to eat milk and meat together.   This comes from a command in Torah that says, ”Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.” (Deut 14.21)  This is also mentioned in Exodus.

While we are not sure why God gave this command, it might be because in that culture, there were small settlements where people raised their dairy and meat animals together.  Consequently, there was a good chance that if meat was ever cooked in milk – the milk was from its mother in the same heard.

Therefore, 1) this would be insensitive to the emotions of the mother similar to the injunction against gathering eggs from a nest while the mother bird watches. (Deut 22.6)  2) against the natural order – that specific milk being God ordained for that specific calf (or young goat) – meant to grow it up to an adult. Or 3) other commentators feel that it kept Israel separate from eating with their gentile neighbors and thus kept them from fellowship with the pagans around them. They suggest that the law referred to a specific foreign [Canaanite] religious practice, in which young goats were cooked in their own mothers’ milk, aiming to obtain supernatural assistance to increase the yield of their flocks.  Israel was never to do this for help.

While we will never know the exact reason why God told Israel to do this (and we really do not need to know), the Jewish people were very intent on not breaking this law so they built a fence around it.

Since you could not be sure if the milk you were having with your meat was or was not from its own mother, the law became – just simply do not have any meat with dairy.

And that eventually became – do not even use the same silverware or cookware for meat and dairy.  You never know what microscopic portion remains on it.  Also, it is possible for cookware to become infused with the taste of certain foods and transfer this taste to other foods.

And eventually, in very strict Jewish homes and restaurants – there became two kitchens, one for meat and one for dairy.

And if you eat meat – you have to wait six hours, until it is digested, until you can have any dairy food and vice-versa.

So we can see how this went from something simple to something very complex.

It is interesting to note that when Abraham was approached by three visitors, he told his wife to quickly make a meal for them.  And what did they serve their guests?  You guessed it, milk and meat.

”He took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.” (Genesis 18.8)

From Rock of Israel Ministries Jan 2017 update.

And remember Dueteronomy 4:2 said, don’t add to or take away from the Word of God?

So it seems we have a lot of forces that all see to interpret scripture their own way, according to their own preference, perhaps build on faulty reasoning, error, fear of foreigners, supremacy, and even greed and avarice.  It seems clear to me what is needed is a sensible, logical middleground; not pagan infiltrated, not Jewish exlcusivity, not Catholic dogma, not Protestant reactionism, just the plain old inviolable word of God.

It’s hard for any believer to wade through this quagmire of incorrectness and strive to stand by the truth, but that doesn’t for me dent my belief that an omnipotent God exists and is watching carefully at everything that happens on earth.