Lately, I have had multiple interesting articles/emails come across my desk regarding the building of bridges between Jews and non-Jews. The sources have been both Jew and non- with perspectives that have been varied, but a largely unified message:
Sensitivity in language and culture when speaking to or about Jews concerning things of Scripture.
Like most of you, I came out of Christendom and have a considerable amount of ‘Christianese’ in my vocabulary that means one thing to me and something altogether different to those of Judah. We may be well meaning, but our terminology, lingo and expectations can be heard as decidedly antisemitic. Friend and fellow blogger, Peter Vest, recently published a post titled, Unintentional Antisemitism: Why Christian Institutions and Ideologies are Antisemitic Despite the Philosemitism of Individual Christians. It is a short but instructive read about underlying expectations of Christendom upon Jews that have negative consequences.
Another recent source is a forwarded email I received from OvadYah Avrahami of Kol Hator titled We need to delete the word ‘conversion’ from our vocabulory. He writes,
In fact, the word or concept ‘conversion to Judaism’ does not exist in the Bible.
Ruth did not convert to Judaism – she joined the Nation of the God of Israel (12 Tribes).
Nowhere in the process is the convert ever told, ‘You are now a Jew’.
The process that we call ‘conversion to Judaism’ and which so many Ten Tribers fear and resist, is simply like a Marriage. You do NOT marry Judah – Judah is simply like the Marriage officer – to formalize the re-covenanting with the God of Israel and to ensure that it is done according to all ‘legal’ (Biblically defined) requirements. The Marriage (covenanting) is with God.
This has become clear from our recent discussions about the potential and promised Return of the masses of uncovenanted Hebrews in the world plus the de-covenanted 10 Tribers. The latter regard themselves as ‘covenanted by their Messiah’. What they fail to see is that they have been called to a Torah (Covenant) rejecting Messiah, as the Church commonly teaches.. Never yet have they formally re-covenanted, that is, accepted the Torah principles of the Covenant, like circumcision and Halacha as defined by the appointed Lawgivers from the Tribe of Judah. They have simply been called, awakened. They can ONLY recovenant on HaShem’s Torah principles as proclaimed throughout the ages by the Divinely appointed Mechoqeck of Judah.
These uncovenanted Hebrews and Ten Tribers need to re-covenant and ONLY Judah can facilitate that for them for they have maintained these principles throughout. It is absurd to suggest that the uncovenanted and the decoveenanted who have lost all Torah foundations until their recent Calling, can now come and lay down the legal conditions the way they interpret it (and in objection to the Jewish principles). The citizen, in any country or society, does not make the Law neither interprets it – that is the duty of the Justice department and executive arm of the Law to apply in the country. Those are the basics of Law and Order.
Re-covenanting with HaShem entails 3 Basic concepts:
– Circumcision. This was never for Jews alone but for all souls who wished to be part of His nation, thus also for the 10 tribes, strangers and returnees to the faith.
– Mikveh – a concluding process symbolizing re-birth through water (not just for Jews but for all concerned) after
– A sincere commitment to follow the rules NOT of Judah, but of HaShem (Judah simply being the interpreter).
The twelve Tribes covenanted at Sinai – and re-covenanted at Mt Eval (Joshua’s Altar) at their Entry (Return) to the Promised Land after their trials and reconciliation period in the Wilderness.
The pattern is clear.
Prospective returnees need to do the same.
Kol HaTor Vision for the Restoration of the 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel
Now, before some of you flip your lid… I do not agree with OvadYah’s recommendations, but it is clear that he understands the word ‘conversion‘ to Judaism is offensive to us, just as Peter Vest points out that to the Jew ‘conversion to Christianity‘ is offensive.
To build bridges between Jews and Torah-pursuant non-Jews, we must recognize centuries of abuse, injuries and bad theology… from both sides. Truly, Christendom has been the far worse aggressor due mainly to their size. We must seek to be sensitive to the other party’s perspectives and understandings. I believe, as we are sensitive and wait on the Mashiach, we can grow closer together until HE finally performs the unification much prophesied in the Tanach.
Let us seek to be sensitive to out brother Judah in our words and actions.
9 thoughts on “How to: Building Bridges with the House of Judah”
I do not agree with Ovadyah at all, for if you go and check out his website you will find disclaimers like that Yahudah doesn’t need salvation, they are saved! and all much other is pointing to a secret “conversion” of believers and followers Yahusha to deny Him! I found this out 2 years ago and it might be that he has changed this in the website, but I do not deal with him any more after he has been getting very rude and abusive during a conversation I had with him like forcing me to submit to his understanding. In 2013 I wrote about this here:
“Shalom everybody! There is something I want everybody to have a very close look into it. It is something I came over in the last 2 weeks which is very much concerning me and because it is so negative in my eyes I also can “see” the danger it is doing to the sheep and goats so to speak. It looks like on the first view being a great thing to be falling into the category of bringing Ephrayim back to his homeland and uniting with his brother Yahudah. But what it really does is chocking to me and should be addressed for what it is. Before I go into detail and judgement, please go onto this website
Please read the whole thing until the very bottom of the page and do not leave out especially the disclaimer. !!
Let me know what you think.”
“There is an organisation called “Kol ha Tor”, and its leader is Ovadyah Avrahami who works together with an orthodox rabbi, Mr. Avraham Feld. I have been coming over him already longer time ago and I thought he is one of them who understands the scriptures very well about Ephrayim coming back to Israel, as Yahudah is still in the process too, and we both get bound together in unity to be the one stick in the hand of Yah ac. to the Ezk. prophecy, the redeemed and reunited and one new man in the Messiah.
But what happens actually ac. to the false doctrine they both with Ovadyah on the lead are spreading is, to bring 2 brothers together under the condition of that Ephrayim humbles himself under Yahudah and their still until today exsisting orthodox rulings, and interpretations of Torah by saying and “613 laws” that all Torah is oral and doing away with he sacrifice Yahushua did for all of us, but ac. to them only for the nations and Ephrayim, but for Yahudah it is not relevant, not of need, because Yahudah has been stayed faithful to Yah, never got send away and doesn’t need to be saved by Yahushua! They stayed and never were under the yoke of paganism neither got effected by it. So that might be true for some of Yahudah, a true remnant core which actually always has been in The Land since old, but they do need as well as everybody else get saved , redeemed, by the blood sacrifice of Yahushua??! All have sinned also them. It was Yahushua Himself who said that we shall be cautious about the sourdough of the pharisees. Now they do not need the blood sacrifice of our redeemer and messiah King ? I am not a teacher and I have been many times taught wrong and even been abused by false teachings, what is my own fault , because it is up to me to prove or disprove, but so much I can say for sure that this is a lie, that Orthodox Jews are saved. Only when they really accept Yahushua into their life and accept Him as Master and King over their new life which is actually His life, for a crooked sinful one in exchange.
I am not sure if I can ask so much of you James, but this is an hardcore issue and I would love to hear about it from you how You would disapprove this deceptive doctrine, that the Jews are saved.
All hats up for what Jews had to go through and survived, but that makes them neither saved nor righteous ..I am a German born and it breaks my heart to know what once under this idiot happened and how guilty so many were in this and it breaks more so my heart to hear Yahudah is the big exception , the eye apple of Yah, but doesn’t need that same love we have been loved with and got saved by Yahushua’s sacrifice! I love every single brother of Yahudah and because I love them so much I want them to be safe in the Messiah ben Joseph and ben David , for He is the only One who bring us home, Jew and Gentile alike, brings us to the ONE House of Yah, brings us to be the bride of Yah’s son and reign together with Him in all eternity. Yahudah not been saved will will go the same way where Ephrayim or anyone else not been saved will go. Nobody can pass the tree where Yahushua was nailed on. If you do not, then you will be lost forever. No matter who and no matter what. Only through Yahushua Who is the Way to the Father.”
Peter, thank you for your post and also do I appreciate your comment about that you do not agree with all what what O. wrote to you and you might want to take in consideration even what I wrote now. Thank you & Shabbat Shalom!
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Your assessment of OvadYah is correct and I agree with it. My point in watching and listening to him is that he is a growing voice in Judah and even if I disagree with his perspective, it is instructive to hear it.
One thing I would point out from the email I quote is that his perspective of Yeshua is that He was Torahless. We know that is totally false and that OvadYah’s perspective of ‘Jesus’ comes directly from the Chritianity’s misrepresentation of the Messiah. For that, I cannot blame OvadYah for wanting nothing to do with Yeshua.
Ultimately, it is going to be a work of the Ruach to awaken Yehudah to the Mashiach and bind us all together, but we can learn to be more sensitive to them in our language and actions….
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yes you are right in this Pete. Glad Pete you have this understanding. As long this “blindness” on his side exists it is our duty also to pinpoint truth and bring the falsehood out. Think only how many he or they (does not matter, who) brought some of us to fall! I post this wherever I see that people might not understand the warning. Many do not prove though the Spirit tells us to test everything. I do not impute that on you Pete, rather to warn the rest of us to be careful. Glad you looked through where O. is coming from and to us all I would like you to pray that the Spirit of Yah might enlighten O. with His understanding as well as our brethren in both camps: Ephrayim&Yahudah. Only together we will form the One house of Yah Yisra’el and the uniting link is the Messiah Yahusha Himself. . Thank you abba ! ~love& shalom blessings
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Another language issue to overcome is the meaning of “Torah”. What do we mean when we use the word? When I use it I refer specifically to the foundational instructions, commandments, and laws established by YHVH and delivered through Moses IN WRITING. All of them are in those first five books of the Bible, not in some oral tradition handed down through the centuries as a kind of parallel secret knowledge about what YHVH really meant. When I say we are returning to Torah, I mean that we from the Christian side are coming back to some very important instructions, commandments, and laws that our church upbringing set aside, such as the Shabbat, the Appointed Times (Moedim, or Feasts) of the Lord, the dietary commandments. True Christians already keep the “heart of the Torah”, applying as best they know how those two greatest commandments of loving YHVH and loving their neighbor, and adhering to the weightier matters of the Law (Matthew 23:23).
We are also coming to understand that ALL OF TORAH is still valid, although the circumstances for applying much of it do not presently exist. (For example, the laws regarding the priesthood, the sacrificial worship system, Temple regulations, and ritual cleanliness have no application at the moment because there is no Temple and no priesthood.) Since we begin with the premise that all of Torah is still valid, we take on faith that those things which we do not understand will be made clear in due time, but we DARE NOT throw anything out as no longer or value to a follower of Jesus (Matthew 5:17-21).
The language problem is that Christians and Jews for the most part think that “Torah” means “Oral Torah”. If I understand correctly from OvadYah’s writings, rabbinical Judiasim considers as scripture the oral traditions which were codified in the Babylonian Talmud. Talmudic teaching therefore holds as much authority for them as the Pentateuch (the Greek word for the five books of Moses). That means our observant Jewish brethren still consider the traditions and doctrines of men as greater than the commandments of God. When they read in the Apostolic Writings *New Testament) about Yeshua reprimanding the scribes and Pharisees in Mark 7 and Matthew 23, they think He is preaching against Torah. That, unfortunately, is the same thing our Christian brethren think. Very few have ever studied for themselves to see what Moses actually wrote, and thus assume, for example, that Yeshua’s healing on the Sabbath broke the laws set down by Moses rather than the traditions men had established to “clarify” the insructions of Moses.
This misunderstanding on both sides leads to a division over Yeshua the Messiah, with one side thinking He has contradicted Scripture by disregarding the man-made Jewish traditions, and the side thinking He has changed Scripture by throwing out whatever God commanded by the hand of Moses. That is why we who are coming into a Hebraic understanding of the entire Bible are uniquely equipped to serve in this bridging capacity.
No pressure, but the fate of the world depends on our faithfulness to this calling. 😉
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Well stated, Al. I remember having a discussion with an orthodox man in a Kroger in Atlanta. They actually have a kosher deli/butcher shop and kosher restaurants inside this particular Kroger grocery store. The man told me that he would love to discuss “Torah” with me, but he recognized that I would be coming from a “written Torah” perspective and he would be coming from an “oral Torah” perspective. Maybe not a total waste of time, but how can you go very deep?
Another situation/discussion I had was with a well known Messianic leader in Eretz Israel. He told me that he keeps the Torah of Yeshua … as if it was something different than the Torah of His Father YHWH … and we would not be discussing things any further.
As always, it is crucial to define your terms. By the way, OvadYah is dead wrong if he is really saying that we need to remove the word “conversion” from our vocabulary. He is using an English word, so I will respond in kind, but he is obviously dismissing Psalm 51:13, where it says, “Then will I teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will be converted unto you”. Isaiah 60:5 uses the word converted … not to mention all the uses in the apostolic writings. We can never forget that in Acts chapter 3, Peter was speaking to observant, orthodox Jewish people … Israelites … who were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot. He told them that they needed to repent and be converted so that there sins would be blotted out and times of refreshing will come from the presence of YHWH. If this teaching was good for observant Jewish people then, why is it not now?
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As a former Messianic/’Netzari’, I sympathize with many who are now in the same shoes I once walked in.
I’d clarify a few things from the Jewish perspective about what Ovadyah mentioned as quoted here. I’m not looking for agreement so much, but rather to offer a point of view that I hope everyone considers and eventually comes to terms with as the truth.
After all, the Jewish people have had and lived the Torah since it has been given and have had huge Torah giants relay the details of the Torah (halakha) as passed down from Moshe at Sinai and as enacted by subsequent Sanhedrins since then (as necessary for Israel an ordained by HaShem in Deut. 17 as well as in other places in the written Torah).
First, there are gentiles who may keep the Torah, even in it’s entirety. The basic requirement for gentiles is the 7 universal laws of the Torah, also known as ‘the Noahide laws’. Beyond that, a gentile may progress as he feels fit in his walk with HaShem. Such a gentile is considered as a ‘ger’ of the non-‘convert’ kind. Just because he has attained this relationship with HaShem, without worshiping another or following a foreign religion like Christianity, doesn’t mean he is yet able to intermarry among the Jewish people. He is a prized gem, a righteous one among the nations, the total opposite of the so many anti-Semitic gentiles that are out there in the world.
When a gentile or even someone who perceives themselves to be a descendant of the House of Epraim wants to be able to become a full Israelite, they must have a formal accepting of the covenant in the witness of three Jewish men, undergoing a brit mila (or hatafat dam brit if they were medically circumcised), an immersion in a mikva, and the declaration of the acceptance of the entire Torah – making it now obligatory (whereas when he was a non-convert ger, it was optional). Then, he is considered nothing other than a Jew, an Israelite. And don’t be confused by the term Jew, since the House of Judah actually does contain descendants of all 12 tribes, even though we have taken the title of Yehudim. At Babylonian captivity, there were those of the northern kingdom of Ephraim who remained faithful to the House of David and remained among what became known as ‘the Jewish people’.
I think what many of you people are feeling is the fact that you do not belong where you once were, nor where you are today. I believe that at least some of you are likely all meant to become Jews, Israelites, fully, without question, without forming denominations in a dying religion, etc, and that is only done by renouncing any idolatry, the worship of another besides HaShem – which is obviously included in accepting the mitzvot of the Torah, and formalizing this declaration once and for all with a brit mila/hatafat dam brit, and a dunk in the mikva in front of three Israelite Torah scholars. The Jewish soul that I think at least some of you are feeling will not come to inhabit your body until you do this. Before that, it will be around you, connected to you, and it will bother you and bother you until you make it all the way home, or, sadly, if you reject it’s nudging and don’t change.
For others, perhaps you are called to be righteous gentiles instead, which is not to be considered less of a path or destiny!
Shalom and thank you for taking the time to post.
I appreciate you posting my comment!