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Judaizers

 

The term “Judaizer” is a disparaging term aimed at those who conform to the spirit, character, principles, or practices of Judaism.  In reality, followers of Jesus who are labeled as Judaizers, rarely follow Rabbinical Judaism; all they are guilty of is having what the New Covenant describes as "Torah" written upon their hearts.  Jesus stated to the Pharisees, “Why also do you transgress against the Commandments of God because of your traditions?” (Matthew 15:3) Regardless whether it is Pharisaical or Christian tradition, transgression against the Commandments of God is certainly not at all acceptable to Jesus the Christ.

 

     Unfortunately, Christians who aren’t familiar with how Jesus taught "Torah" employ the term “Judaizer” to disgrace Christian or Messianic souls who are Torah observant; condemning them as having “fallen from Grace,” “legalists,” “pro-Jewish” or as “enemies of the gospel.” In other words, Christians who choose to observe the Seventh Day Sabbath and the Biblical Feasts, or who follow a Biblical based diet, risk being disgraced by other Christians for doing so.

 

     Today, as in the First Century, there were various Judah-isms (sects of Judaism). Before Gentile based Christianity evolved, Gentiles were converts–to the original Way which was referred to as Nazarene or Netzarim Judaism.  Apostle Paul was labeled as a “ringleader of the sect of the Netzarim” (Acts 24:5), clearly a Jewish sect.  Jewish followers of Jesus brought Gentile converts into their homes, synagogues and into the Temple; therefore, the chain of Judaizing began with Messiah himself as the quintessential “Judaizer.” Essentially, anyone who keeps the Commandments of God could be referred to as a Judaizer.

 

     The term Judaism is derived from the tribe of Yehudah (Judah) which became prominent within the 12 tribes of Yisrael when The LORD anointed David as King and his son Solomon to build the Temple in Jerusalem. “And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise Yahweh: therefore she called his name Y’hudah; and left bearing” (Gen. 29:35). Y’hudah (Judah) is derived from the Hebrew word yadah praise (or give thanks) the yad (hand) is extended in thanks to Yahweh and is likened to the branches of the menorah that reach upwards towards heaven.

 

     In full context Yehudah means, “one who praises (or gives thanks to) Yahweh.”  The toledot (line or geneology) of Yehudah was highly honored by YHWH: “The sceptre shall not depart from Yehudah (Judah), nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen. 49:10). YHWH orchestrated Jesus to be born into the line of David through the tribe of Yehudah (Judah). The scepter of Government and the Lawgiver is Mashiyach (Messiah).  Messiah is the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16) and the promised seed of woman (Gen. 3:15). The line of Jesus is both a genetic and spiritual continuum beginning with Adam and Eve and extending into the Millennial reign.

 

     Whether traditional Jewish tradition approved or not, the most prophetically defining moment for the Jewish people was when “…Pilate asked him and said to him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him, ‘You say it!’” (Luke 23:3) It is unthinkable that the king of the Jews would teach against Torah since it was Torah that promised through Moses that: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee” (Deut. 18:18).

 

     The promised Messiah is the true King of the Jewish people and, of course, it was Jews who first accepted Y’shua (Jesus original Hebrew Name) as their Mashiyach (Messiah).  It was Jews who were first called and believed in Messiah and who gave witness that Y’shua was their Messiah, which opened the door for Gentiles to enter into the Kingdom of Elohim (God). And it was these Netzari Jews who originally “Judaized” Gentiles into the original Faith of Messiah.  Jews were astonished when non-Jews began receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:45) a fulfillment of Isaiah 11:10; 42:6; 49:6. The Judaism of The LORD God of Israel is Messiah Himself, yet many Christians berate fellow believers for seeking to live according to a Torah observant lifestyle that was common to Y’shua and the original Apostles.

 

     Politics (and ism’s) aside, most realize that the Kingdom of God was portrayed in the Garden of Eden according to the Tree of Life.  Every succeeding generation has been given access to that Tree through Messiah therefore it is Messiah who defines Judaism certainly not Jewish sects (Judaisms) that were and are largely comprised of those who reject Y’shua (Jesus) as Mashiyach (Messiah).  Messiah is the Word of Yahweh, therefore it was Messiah who chose Judah to carry the physical and spiritual line of Messiah from Abraham to the nations (Genesis 17).  It is therefore Messiah who is both the Living Torah and quintessential Jew making it very ironic that Christians feel threatened by Torah-observant followers of Jesus.

 

     If Jesus the Christ truly defines his followers, then according to the Book of Genesis, it was Messiah who established the Seventh Day Sabbath as His Appointment with mankind.  It was Messiah who set the Sun, Moon and Stars in their places to establish all the Appointed Biblical Festivals, for all of mankind. Jews have been called to follow the Ancient Paths of the LORD that existed long before the tribe of Judah, but that Ancient Path is ultimately defined by Messiah Y’shua (Jesus), who was born of a Jewish mother according to the Promise.  Every person has the choice to be defined by Messiah or by an “ism,” most Christians define themselves according to a denomination whether it be Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Baptist etc, according to their hierarchy of choice and of course most Jews subscribe to Reform, Orthodox, Conservative Judahisms, etc. Although the Netzarim faith is Jewish to the core, it is most certainly not exclusive to either Jews or Gentiles, but it does reflect those who chose not to “transgress against the Commandments of God,” in favor of either Jewish or Christian traditions.

 

     Every denomination of “Christianity” and sect of “Judaism” has their own priesthood and “Messiah” and with so much religious diversity, it is clear that mankind has invented many “Messiahs,” exactly what Jesus warned would happen (Matthew 24:24).  The post-apostolic Gentile church founders wanted their own religious traditions devoid of “Jewish” or Hebraic content and consequently changed Yahweh's appointed times and laws, and became their own “Messiah” by making void the Ancient Paths.  In essence, “the Church” abolished all those things that they deemed as “Jewish,” when in fact Torah (defined in Scripture as "instructions in righteousness") is Yahweh’s universal “blueprint” for human life according to Messiah! Precious few souls seem to appreciate that Yahweh commanded that everyone who believes on Him as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is to be Torah observant:

 

“’Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to Yahweh. For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to Yahweh, he must do exactly as you do. The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before Yahweh: The same laws and regulations will apply both to you

and to the alien living among you’”

(Numbers 15:13-16).

 

“And he came and proclaimed peace to you afar off, and to those near: Because by him there is access for us both, by one Spirit, to the Father. Wherefore you are not strangers nor sojourners, but you are fellow-citizens with the Set Apart believers and of the household of God. And you are built upon the foundations of the Apostles and the prophets; and Y'shua (Jesus) the Messiah has become

the head of the corner in the edifice”

(Ephesians 2:17-20).

 

     Torah Observance is in fact Messianic Consciousness. Sabbath observance connects the spiritual man to eternity past and future; it is a Way to enter life in Messiah. Torah provides “platforms” for us to connect to Messiah, and through the power of Grace each redeemed soul enters new life in Messiah and allows Torah to be written upon their hearts. Few nowadays would suggest that putting trust in Messiah is “Judaizing,” yet Christian tradition links the observance of Shabbat with “Judaism” rather than with Messiah who is the Master of Sabbath. Gentile Christianity has in many ways invented “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:4) by adopting a pagan framework from which to build the Greco-Roman based Christian religion.

 

     The all-Gentile Christian Church has long viewed “Judaizers” as the single biggest threat to their Torah-breaking “liberty.” The post-apostolic Gentile founders of the Church wrote extensive condemnation against the Judaizers and history is replete with Judaizers facing all manner of untimely death, torture and disgrace at the hands of “Church people.” Cecil Roth notes in his publication, The Spanish Inquisition: During the Inquisition in Spain (1478–1808), 323,362 people were burned alive, 17,659 were burned in effigy. But by far, the greatest number of cases tried were for Judaizing (Cecil Roth, 1964. The Spanish Inquisition. USA: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.).

 

     The Gentile Christian Church was clearly founded upon anti-Torah, anti-Semitic principles that existed in the minds of its founders long before they became “Christians” and this sentiment is evidenced today by Christians who disgrace others as being “Judaizers” for returning to the original Faith of Jesus. “My beloved, while I take all pains to write to you of our common life, it is needful for me to write to you, exhorting you to maintain a conflict for the faith which was once delivered to the Set Apart believers” (Yehuda 3).  Notice that there was and has always been a “conflict” for the faith and whether the Judaizer likes it or not, he or she is at the middle of this conflict.  If you feel you are somewhere in between Judaism and Christianity, you will understand this perfectly. Those who are born Jewish but have converted to Christianity are often pressured into giving up their “Jewish” lifestyles so they won’t “Judaize” fellow Christians.

 

     Those who weren’t born Jewish but who want to live a Torah based lifestyle like Messiah himself are pressured into giving up Y’shua (Jesus) by traditional Judaism.  Christians who employ the term “Judaizer” to disgrace others for “fulfilling and observing Torah” (Acts 21:24) are demonstrating enmity for both the New Covenant and Yahweh’s own people:

 

“Haven’t you noticed that these people are saying, YHWH has rejected

the two families he chose? Hence they despise My people

and no longer look at them as a nation”

(Jeremiah 33:24).

 

     In modern times a majority of Christians theologize that the State of Israel no longer belongs to Jews, that the Covenant YHWH gave the Israelites is conditional and therefore annulled because of Israel’s disobedience. Through its theological posturing the Gentile church sees itself as “spiritual Israel” and therefore the sole heirs to the promises and blessings, all while breaking the Renewed Covenant and disparaging others from allowing Torah to be written upon their hearts. Although Replacement Theology is a self-serving fallacy of the mainstream Church, numerous Christian minorities refuse to endorse it. However, Christians who don’t subscribe to Replacement Theology also risk being numbered among the “Judaizers,” simply because they understand the nature of the irrevocable Covenant that is based on the Word of YHWH according to eternal Promises. In reality YHWH forgives the Jewish people their transgressions according to the same Mercy that He offers Gentiles. YHWH is no respecter of persons.

 

Gentile Judaizers

 

     When Gentiles first began to follow the Messiah Jesus they were referred to as “Fearers of Elohim (God).”  In the early days Gentiles met in synagogues with both Jewish followers of Y’shua and traditional religious Jews.  As the Jewish Apostles were establishing halachic (way to walk) needs for believing Gentiles, it was incumbent upon Jewish believers to demonstrate temperance towards new Gentile converts who were leaving pagan lifestyles to enter into the Kingdom of God. A dispute arose between Apostle Paul and Peter that brought lifestyle issues front and center; at one point Barnabas refrained from dining with Gentiles because of peer pressure from those of traditional religious backgrounds.  However, it is obvious that an anti-Judaizing campaign also evolved among secular Gentiles who disapproved of family and friends following the “Jewish Mashiyach.” Originally, it was unbelieving Gentiles who opposed the Netzari lifestyle, not Jews; but ironically it was Apostle Paul (Apostle to the Gentiles) who wrote some of the strongest words:

 

“But that what the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to Elohim. And I would not that you should be associates of demons. You cannot drink the cup of our Master and the cup of demons; and you cannot be partakers at the table of our Master, and at the table of demons” (1 Cor. 10:20, 21).

 

     Gentiles who follow Y’shua (Jesus) have always been required to break from popular Gentile cultural traditions that oppose Messiah and Torah; nothing in this regard has ever changed. However, nowadays the Christian majority is in clear opposition to the original Hebrew/Aramaic-based lifestyle of Y’shua and his followers in favor of traditional Gentile lifestyles.  Apostle Paul gave a clear warning against this;

 

 “For if he that comes to you, had proclaimed to you another Y’shua, whom we have not proclaimed; or if you had received another Spirit, which you have not received; or another gospel, which you have not accepted;

you might well have given your permission”

(2 Corinthians 11:4).

 

     The irony is that anti-Torah Christianity views its Gentile traditions and culture as though it were the original faith, and shows very little regard for the Ancient Paths of Yahweh (Jeremiah 6:16) that have progressively been revealed since the dawn of time.  Faith in Messiah is not a doctrine, but an action and lifestyle that is conformed into the Image of God.

 

     Most people never think of the fact that Noah could have been categorized by his contemporaries as a notorious “Judaizer” because he was deeply entrenched in “Yahwism” the foundation of Jesus' teachings.  In Noah’s day the earth had spawned its own “alternative” anti-Yahweh religions.  During the hundred years it took Noah to build the ark one can easily imagine his unpopularity for suggesting that Yahweh was displeased with mankind’s bad choices.  But, in these latter days “the Church” reflects the same anti-Torah, anti-Yahweh spirit as those of Noah’s day.  Noah’s salvation was an act of Mashiyach (Messiah); it is Messiah who forever bears witness of Yahweh as the Voice of Yahweh who spoke to Noah and guided and protected him.

 

Jewish Judaizers

     In Rabbinical circles Jews are cautioned against making Torah “attractive to the Gentiles.”  Much of this sentiment evolved when the Gentile Church began tormenting Jewish and Gentile Christians for “Judaizing.”  Constantine and his mother made it official for Christians to hate the Judaizers (321 AD).  One must also consider how Judaizing became so unpopular among Jews.  Imagine being Jewish and sharing your faith with a Gentile friend, only to later find them strung up on a Christian torture stake for “Judaizing.”  The Roman Christians traditionally crucified people next to busy roadways to instill fear in the rest of the population.  Certainly such deep “Christian” hatred towards Judaism forced the Jewish people from making Torah attractive to Gentiles.  It is important to note that Abraham was not “Jewish” by birth but yet he is the father of Faith for both Christianity and Judaism.  Abraham heavily “Judaized” his 318 servants into getting circumcised and putting their trust in Yahweh, clearly Yahweh loved Abraham for his heartfelt loyalty and obedience. Moshe spoke “mouth to mouth” with Yahweh and – of course – he “Judaized” not only all the 12 tribes of Israel, but the mixed multitude of Gentiles who came out of Egypt along with the Israelites.

 

Paul the Judaizer

 

“…If you who are Yehudeans, live as Arameans; why do you urge the Gentiles who have joined themselves to Yehuda to live as Yehudeans?”

(Galatians 2:14)

 

     This verse is cited as proof that Paul was an anti-Judaizer.  Many Christians are of the opinion that Paul was speaking against Judaizing and one translation even goes so far as to spell that out; “…If thou, being a Jew, in the manner of the nations dost live, and not in the manner of the Jews, how the nations dost thou compel to Judaize?” (Galatians 2:14 Young’s Literal Translation) The clear implication here is that Gentiles are being compelled to live according to Jewish traditions.  But the sad reality is that most Christians are virtually incapable of distinguishing between what is Jewish tradition and what are Torah observant lifestyle distinctions according to Mashiyach, often a very big difference.

 

     Rabbinical Judaism imposes plenty of religious traditions on its followers to be circumcised and keep their traditional interpretations of the “law of Moses” – a much different “law of Moses” than how Messiah himself revealed and interpreted Torah.  In reality, those who are Torah observant realize that having Torah written upon the heart is a spiritual process; but religious politics is what pressures people to conform to religious tradition.  Circumcision, for example, is a Torah Commandment; but how and when a converted person is circumcised is very dependent upon the leading of the Holy Spirit in a person's life, not on political or religious forces.  For Christianity to annul circumcision because of how it was ministered by Rabbinical Judaism simply demonstrates brute ignorance of the Way of Messiah. Paul demonstrates in many places that he, as a Pharisee who follows Y’shua, would not tolerate Rabbinical religious authority to be lorded over Jews or Gentiles; he distinguished between man’s religious tradition and Mashiyach’s truth.

 

“And Elohim who knows what is in the hearts testified concerning them and gave to them the Ruach haKodesh as (he did) to us. And He differentiates nothing between them and us because He cleansed their hearts by faith. And now, why do you test Elohim so as to place a yoke upon the neck of the disciples that which not even our forefathers nor us were able to carry?”

(Acts 15:8-10)

 

     Notice that Paul teaches that Elohim differentiates nothing between Gentiles and Jews, yet both Rabbinical Judaism and Christian tradition puts Jews and Gentiles into two very different categories for Torah observance. The yoke Paul speaks of is the oral law; the traditions of the forefathers are also known as "halachic" legal requirements that are a product of religion, not of the Holy Spirit.  Yet most Gentile Christian leaders are willfully ignorant of the fact that Torah is neither a yoke nor a burden to the household of Faith. Those who believe Torah to be a yoke are clearly serving humanist self-serving traditions. John writes,

 

For this is the love of God, that we keep his Commandments:

and his Commandments are not burdensome”

(1 Yochanan 5:3).

 

Judaizing in the World to Come

 

“Thus says Yahweh (the LORD) of Hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the hem (wing or border) of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you:

for we have heard that Elohim is with you.”

(Zechariah 8:23).

 

     In reality, Yahweh Himself forecasts His own efforts to “Judaize” by showing Himself strong on behalf of the Jew.  For those who believe this prophetically refers to Messiah, the quintessential “Jew,” then it stands that only a false religious system would attempt to disrobe Y’shua of his “Jewishness.”  The “hem” of the garment is where tzit tzit (fringes) are located (Numbers 15:38, 39). Tzit tzit are for a remembrance of Yahweh’s Torah to protect us from being drawn away by the lusts of the carnal flesh. Y’shua (Jesus) wore tzit tzit; therefore, when one “touches” the hem of Y’shua’s garment it symbolizes their acceptance of his headship and Torah-based Government.

 

Conclusion

 

     Although many Christians have long used the term “Judaizer” to disgrace fellow Christians and Messianic believers, the reality is that Y’shua (Jesus) Mashiyach (Messiah) is calling a Set Apart and spiritually renewed people out of the world – those who are not conformed to this world or the religions of it, but renewed in mind and spirit and who have the Word of Yahweh (Torah) written upon their hearts. The condemnatory and judgmental Christian spirit against the “Judaizers” is a straw man that hides ignorance and spiritually immature religious prejudices; it is one of the hallmarks of the false Church system.

 

     All who enter into the Kingdom of Elohim and live like Y’shua (Jesus) and his Apostles run the risk of being marginalized by the mainstream Christian status quo. The negative or condescending spirit against “the Judaizers” is a product of the demonic world that inspires the lower nature of mankind to fear what it does not understand.  Scriptural elements of Messianic culture that are considered as “Judaizing” by some, are providing intimate experiences in Mashiyach for many others.  It is very contrary to the Spirit of Mashiyach to harbor inter-religious hatred between persons of Christian, Jewish or Muslim religions because of each one’s observance and personal disciplines. Rav Shaul taught,

 

Who are you, that you judge a servant not yours…”

(Romans 14:4).

 

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