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In Parts 1 and 2 of the “One New Man ─ What Should this Mean to the Believer?” series we discussed the One New Man message and the divisions that were created between Jew and Gentile Believers. We also touched on the problems that the Apostle Paul faced when negotiating between the two.
Despite the divisions within and without, we see that the Jewish people have survived, and even thrived, throughout the past two millennia. They have been chased out of many countries, robbed, beaten, murdered, and yet allowed to live peaceably in others, at least for a season. If not for the hand of God, they should have essentially disappeared through assimilation and mixture. Yet, here they are today, returned—and still returning—home to Israel, thriving and growing as a vibrant culture!
How did this happen?
Let’s take a look back at Paul’s letters to the Church in Rome.
What did the Apostle Paul mean in Romans 11 when he talked about the Gentile being grafted in, and the remnant Jew being chosen by grace?
Paul, writing in Romans 11, asks rather poignantly,
“Did God reject His people…? So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.”
(Romans 11:1,5 NIV)
Also in Romans 11:11-12 Paul states,
“Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring.”
Paul goes on further in verses 17-21 saying that SOME of the branches were broken off, meaning that some original (Jewish) branches remain, allowing for wild (Gentile) branches to be grafted in.
The tree was not chopped down and replanted! The grafted in branches are feeding from the original (Jewish) root along with the remaining Jewish branches, and can just as easily be broken off in the same way that some of the original Jewish branches were removed.
We were never meant to be Jewish or Gentile, slave or free, but all who came to believe in the root—Messiah Yeshua—would thrive and grow together as One New Man. If the tree needs to be pruned, then the Master will take care to do it.
Jesus/Yeshua did not become Gentile, and did not intend for the Jewish Believers to abandon the instruction in the tenets of their faith. They became complete in their Messiah. The Gentile Believer was grafted into the family of Messiah and was allowed to embrace the richness of the Jewish heritage in Torah and the scriptures that Yeshua fulfilled!
By grace, the Jewish remnant that was left on the tree would return to their homeland, become re-established, and once again have a chance to receive their Messiah and worship Him together with the Gentile as before the separation occurred. By grace, the Gentile Believer would learn the richness of God’s instruction regarding His feasts and His appointed gathering times. By grace, the distinction of Jew and Gentile would merge into the One New Man—the One Whole Man—united in Yeshua.
What is Anti-Semitism and do you have it… even a little?
Anti-Semitism is defined as hostility toward, or discrimination against, Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group. As with many ethnic groups, certain stereotypes have been developed as to what, or who, a Jew is. “All Jews are greedy; All Jews are rich; All Jews are stingy…”—these stereotypes have spread around the world. Unfortunately, stereotyping led to the many pogroms and holocausts throughout history.
Historically, the Gentile Church became so powerful that it would only accept the Jew if they turned their back on their Jewish faith and heritage. They had to publicly disavow their beliefs and take on the Gentile lifestyle in every way. Many Jews would not, and could not, turn their backs on their precious beliefs and their love of the Torah, which instilled their love and devotion of God.
These Jews were ultimately banished from the land, or many times executed. The Gentile Church would not allow their very existence if they held onto their “Jewishness.” This is what has separated Jews and Christians since 325 A.D. when Constantine called the first ecumenical council of the Christian Church at Nicea.
What is said in the paragraph above is not a pretty picture… but, it is true. It wasn’t only the German Holocaust, but holocausts and pogroms throughout history in many nations that drove the Jew out, either by murder or by banishment. Yet, it was the hand of the Father who held on to the remnant and ultimately led them back to their land.
We must remember to be very careful that we do not harbor hatred of the Jew, nor any race for that matter. If you know that you harbor hatred against any people group and are a Christian, then you need to repent and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness.
What does it mean that the Bible we have today was “canonized?”
Returning to Part 1 of the “One New Man ─ What Should this Mean to the Believer?” series about searching out the scripture for oneself, it is good to question your teachers and pastors about what you are studying.
Your personal search may take you down various paths from other Believers, but the Lord will never fail to direct you onto the path He wishes to take you, as long as you prayerfully look to Him for His direction, listening to the Holy Spirit along the way. He is faithful to walk with you, directing and re-directing your steps out of His extreme love for you.
We are told to work out our salvation, which means it cannot be a passive endeavor. It is a daily ‘hand-in-hand, walk-and-talk' experience with our Savior.
The common thread in this journey with the Lord will be the steady foundation and instruction in the scriptures. If you have ever learned another language and then tried to interpret signposts and directions for those who did not know the language, then you can appreciate the difficulty of translation.
Most, if not all, of the various English translations we use and study come from a very specific set of documents that were agreed upon by the early Church fathers, led by the Holy Spirit. This is what is meant when someone says ‘canonized’ scripture. We then should accept by faith, that the Holy Spirit is overseeing the various versions that we use such as the King James Version (KJV), the New King James Version (NKJV), the New International Version (NIV), etc. Each version was developed to update the changes in word meanings, or to help provide clarity to the reader.
Most of us do not have a copy of the original documents, and even if we did, we would need study resources to use them. Therefore, it is by faith that we search out the scriptures… it is by faith that we trust the Holy Spirit to reveal to us these written words… and it is by faith that we are moving toward becoming the One New Man.
- Did the “Christian” replace the Jew as the new Israel? If yes, then what hope is there for Jewish salvation? If no, how do we go about reconciling with the Jew?
- So, what does all of this have to do with the One New Man?
We will explore these questions and more in Part 4 of this series: The One New Man: What Should this Mean to the Believer?