Growing up in the Christian church, it was hard for me to understand why a Jew was utterly rejected by his family, friends and culture if he professed Jesus as his Messiah. Essentially, the Jew who dared to breath the name of Jesus in anything other than an epithet or curse was cast out of the family and community as a pariah and treated as dead. Understanding the complicated and multifaceted issues, not the least of which is a Torah-less Egyptian/Gentile looking Jesus who bears no real resemblance or connection to Yeshua, the Jewish Rabbi of Scripture, began to help me understand why Jews so violently and radically reject Jesus, a false Messiah.
Christendom generally expects and historically has required any Jew who believes Jesus/Yeshua is the Messiah to reject the Torah, a radical ‘no-no’ according to much Scripture. I could not relate to how ‘out of place’ this forced the Jew to be until the Holy Spirit began to awaken me to the everlasting unchanging Torah that is the Way of Righteousness, even today! It was at this point that I could not only understand the plight of the Jew cast out of his community, but could empathize. I had committed the ‘unpardonable sin’ within Christendom of embracing the Torah and was dutifully cast out of the community, an experience I have witnessed occur dozens of times to others who, led of the Spirit, have come to the same conclusions I did.
The strange result is the feeling of being in ‘no man’s land’ between Judaism and Christianity, two Abrahamic religions that oddly need each other. Christians recognize the Messiah, Yeshua ben David, even if they do not obey His commands, while Jews largely keep His commands, yet reject the false image presented by Christendom. The truth, as I see it, is in the strange ‘no man’s land’ between Christendom and Judaism: faith in Messiah ben David AND obedience to His Torah. [For those, particularly in Judaism, who read this and struggle with the idea that I refer to the Commandments as belonging to Yeshua, I would gently recommend you study out Memra, Metatron, Angel of the Lord and other terms that point to a physical manifestation of Adonai to Abraham, Moses, Gideon, all Israel, etc.]
I define/point out the ‘no man’s land,’ not to argue the merits of the position, but to share some of the hopefulness I have for increasing openness on both sides to explore the middle. (My previous post shared some of the persecution on the Christian side as well as a recent interaction with another of many pastors that I know who have or are re-evaluating millennia of Christian dogma.)
Earlier this week, a friend and fellow sojourner forwarded an article from Chabad.org. While I am sure this Orthodox Jewish site is not embracing or even referring to ones like me who hold fast to both Torah and Yeshua, never-the-less, they, like many others in the Jewish world, are wrestling with what to do with the
hundreds of thousands no, millions around the world who are beginning to walk Torah, a clear sign of the imminent coming of the Messiah!
Titled How Are We to View Jews by Choice?, Rabbi Yossy Goldman acknowledges and grapples with the increasingly obvious growth in Torah observance by non-Jews. The mere open mention that such is happening shines hope in my heart. That he would advise open arms to those who are willing subjects of the abuse historically heaped on the Jews is affirming, even if we may not see eye to eye. I love him for it!
Another voice chronicling the developments in ‘no man’s land’ and revealing the glimmers of ‘today’s growing movement towards mutual respect and a sense of brotherhood between the two faiths’ is Breaking Israel News. Friend and author, Eliyahu Berkowitz frequently explores the connections and bridge building taking place between Judaism and Christianity, Christadelphians being his most recent topic.
The point is that besides these couple examples, there are many, many indicators that this uncross-able no man’s land between Christendom and Judaism is increasingly being breached and many even choose to dwell in it. Ultimately, I believe this is where the Messiah’s Kingdom will be. The hallmarks from the Tanak are Messiah ben David on the throne teaching Torah. I long for the Messiah and His Kingdom!!
May it be soon and in our day!!