Why Christendom MUST rethink evangelizing Jews.

Have you ever wondered why God divided Israel?  By that I mean, what was His purpose?  And, what does that purpose have to do with the respective roles of Judah and Ephraim?  Further, how does this relate to evangelizing/missionizing?  All of these are interesting and progressively more serious questions that challenge some of our established (inherited) thought patterns.  So, let’s explore some recent ponderings I have had.  We may not answer all of the questions, but we can begin to wrestle with a new level of understanding.

mizpahAt the Second B’ney Yosef Congress, Tommy and Dorothy Wilson led the Shabbat midrash from the first Genesis portion, focusing on Adam and Chava in the second and third chapters.  We considered that at the completion of creation, it was ‘tov meod,’ ‘very good,’ yet, just a few verses later we see that God says, ‘it is not good that the man should be alone…’  Adam was complete within himself, perfect, however there was something more that God wanted to do to display His glory to and in Creation.  Thus, He reached into Adam and drew out a part of him that was then fashioned into Chava, the help-meet and partner.

The Creation Story is about dividing and bringing together.  We see in day one a separation and gathering of light from darkness.  Day two waters of earth and sky are separated and gathered.  Day three water and earth are separated and gathered.

Each of these separations and gatherings shows us something of the majesty of Creation and thus the majesty of the Creator.  If we had only light, we could not see the magnificent stars and the reflection of the sun in the moon.  If we had only earth or ground, we would not know the glorious vivid colors and beauty of a coral reef and the teeming life thereon.  Dry ground and the ocean each have a purpose and a role to play in revealing God and His character, His beauty and His purpose. Each is incomplete without the other and importantly, neither can fulfill the function and purpose of the other.

Interestingly, we find this very truth to be evident in Adam and Chava.  Adam, though created perfectly, could not fully display the glory of God.  He was not incomplete, though he could not completely reveal that which he was called to reveal.  God drew Chava out of Adam to fully reveal Himself.

Most importantly, God immediately put them back together as ‘one flesh.’  Significantly, the text uses ‘echad’ (Gen. 2:24) and not ‘yachid’ (Gen. 22:2) for the ‘one’ which helps us to begin to understand the Shema and how God reveals Himself and the Mashiach.

If we were to use broad generalizations, I think we can agree that men and women are different.  They think differently, they feel differently, they act differently and they are, generally speaking, wired quite differently.  In many respects we are the same, but in others, we are very different.  In the relationship between man and woman, we generally find that the roles are different and neither can stand alone, rather both are necessary to function properly and to most effectively display each other’s part of the revelation of God’s glory.

Of course, we know the rest of the story.  Adam and Chava sinned and God has been about the process of restoring His Kingdom ever since.  But, even in this is a revelation of His Divine glory and His merciful character.  In this, we also find an amazing picture that should teach us about another restoration that God is passionate about in the restoration of His Kingdom.

Just as God created Adam out of the ground, He also drew Abraham and ultimately/specifically, Israel out of the peoples of the earth.  Israel was to function as an Adam that would be fruitful and multiply and tend the earth (and its peoples).  Israel was to be the loving caretaker that revealed God’s glory and brought order and fruitfulness to Creation.

Even before Jacob was named Israel, there were already prophecies through Abraham that involved his seed and the blessing of the nations, but the prophecies are brought into sharp focus in Genesis 48:14-20.  Not onlycoral-reefdo we see the name of Israel, as well as Abraham and Isaac, living on in Manasseh and Ephraim (v. 16), but we also see that they will ‘grow’ (dagah: by extension, fish, i.e., spawn, and not cursed in the flood, mixed clean and unclean…  selah….) into a multitude ‘in the midst of the earth.’  Then, to get even more specific in the prophecy, Jacob crosses his hands and places the very specific blessing on Ephraim that ‘his descendants shall become a multitude of nations/peoples.’ (v. 20)

14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, [a]crossing his hands, [b]although Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 He blessed Joseph, and said,

“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,/
The God who has been my shepherd [c]all my life to this day,
16 The angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
And may my name [d]live on in them,
And the [e]names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And may they grow (dagah) into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his [f]descendants shall become a [g]multitude of nations ( מלא־הגוים : melo hagoyim).” 20 He blessed them that day, saying,

“By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying,
‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!’”

Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.

Later, in fulfillment of God’s plan, Solomon’s kingdom was divided and the ten northern tribes separated under Jeroboam of the tribe of Ephraim while the southern kingdom of Judah continued under the leadership of the house of David.

I Kings 12:24 ‘Thus says the Lord, “You must not go up and fight against your [i]relatives the sons of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing has come from Me.”’

Traditionally, we look at this division and see it as a bad thing, but what if, like separating Chava out of Adam, the Almighty’s purpose was to use the two, Judah and Ephraim, to accomplish different purposes and to reveal different aspects of His glory?  With the lens of history, we can look and see what has been accomplished.  Judah, to the glory of God and in the midst of immense pressure from Christendom, has held to the Torah and been obedient.  Ephraim, on the other hand, largely hidden in church pews among Christendom, has carried the name of Israel and the story from Scripture to the ends of the earth.  Like a logical Adam and a sensing Chava, Judah and Ephraim fulfill two different roles before YHVH!!  Each fulfilled the purposes of God, although imperfectly.

[Aside:  For those who may be struggling to understand the differences between Judah and Ephraim, or how this concept unfolds in Scripture, I highly recommend The Lost Sheep, a video by 119 Ministries.  It will unlock the whole of Scripture and reveal the Divine Plan that likely was never taught from your pulpit.  Simply, Abba has, by His plan, kept this hidden until our generation.  This 90 minute teaching will also clarify what is happening in our day with this crazy Hebrew roots awakening and why it is now and not 20 years ago or 20 years hence. ]

The great problem is that we have acted as our first parents.  As with the prophecy over Adam and Chava,

…Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you…” (Genesis 3:16b),

Judah and Ephraim have had a rough relationship summed up in Isaiah 11 with the verses,

Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart,
And those who harass Judah will be cut off;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
And Judah will not harass Ephraim.

Like Adam and Chava, Judah and Ephraim need each other, however they are at odds and have become part of the Great Redemption story.

Torah does not allow men to wear women’s clothing, or boundary markers to be moved.  Judah and Ephraim each have particular roles and defined boundaries.  When, by missionizing or evangelizing, either Judah or Ephraim cause a ‘convert’ to become like themselves, they have violated a boundary and a role marker.  I find it fascinating that both sides are hurt and offended when one of their own breaks ranks for the other side, yet both feel it necessary to make the other into themselves.

To be clear, Judah is quite hurt when Christians convert a Jew to Jesus and then teach the new convert that parts of the Torah are no longer truth, a gross fallacy.  Those of Ephraim are equally offended when one of their own converts to Judaism, whether to make aliyah or to have greater access to quality teaching from the sages.  Whether we understand it or not, the offense comes from each being convinced of their own piece of the truth without acknowledging that the other has part of the truth, therefore feeling justified in making the other like themselves.

 We must realize that each, Ephraim and Judah, have a valued and significant, albeit different role.  Here is a passage that illustrates how important it is for each to be who they are called to be:

Zech. 9:13 For I will bend Judah [a]as My bow,
I will fill the bow with Ephraim.
And I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece;
And I will make you like a warrior’s sword.
14 Then the Lord will appear over them,
And His arrow will go forth like lightning;
And the Lord [b]God will blow the trumpet,
And will march in the storm winds of the south.

If Ephraim becomes a bow, who will be the arrows?  If Judah becomes arrows, then who archersealwill be the bow?  Each has a role that must not be violated.

When Christendom missionizes or evangelizes with the intent that Judah becomes like them, giving up their calling to carry and protect the Torah, they have then circumvented part of the plan of the Almighty, broken Torah by moving boundary stones, and undermined the holy calling upon Judah.  Christendom, rather, should be living out their own calling in Messiah Yeshua by repenting and returning to the Torah, and they should be encouraging Judah to walk in their calling and rebuild the Temple!

As a closing thought, I would take us to Ezekiel 37 and the two sticks prophecy.  Verse 19 promises that the two sticks will be made ‘echad,’ united one, in the hand of YHVH.  Even as He brings the two kingdoms together to live in the Land under the headship of ‘My servant David,’ keeping Torah, they may still be distinguishable as two united peoples, no different than Adam and Chava in Gan Eden.


~:l:~

Having made the above observations and assertions, I recognize that many, particularly within Christendom, will meet this with raised eyebrows, or more.  What I have shared flies in the face of centuries of doctrine and seems to contradict some verses in Scripture.  Most of these objections have been addressed at one point or another on this blog, but I do want to share a few thoughts to alleviate concerns.

First, I fully affirm that I believe Yeshua is the Messiah and that in His time, He will reveal Himself individually and corporately to kol Yisrael (all Israel).

Secondly, I believe we all need individual redemption, the major focus of Christianity, but I also believe that we both need corporate redemption, a major focus of Judaism (which again points to the different roles of Ephraim and Judah).

Finally, I would recommend a series I wrote a couple years ago titled, ‘Who is….‘  These four posts will help understand salvation and the Eternal God.

Blessings.

About Pete Rambo

Details in 'About' page @ natsab.wordpress.com Basically, husband of one, father of four. Pastor x 11 years, former business and military background. Micro-farmer. Messianic believer in Yeshua haMashiach!
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13 Responses to Why Christendom MUST rethink evangelizing Jews.

  1. Wow, Pete, when you get a head of steam on, you are unstoppable. I believe you are entirely correct, and to be candid,Too be honest, Judaism and Christianity have vastly different views of conversion. In Christians, preaching the Gospel is hardwired. In Judaism, it is forbidden. I have always sensed an undertone of proselytizing when relating to Christians. The glaring exception is when I sat with you all. I believe that is because you want to join Israel as a tribe. In the Bible, there are always 12 tribes, though sometimes the actual tribes change. It is divinely mandated E Pluribus Unum. It is not that I permit you to be Bnei efraim and you permit me to be Judah. We need each other, each in our own separate way, in order to form a complete nation.It is not easy for Jews to go there, since we have been a lonely stranger in strange lands for so long. To be perfectly honest (not always the best policy, but I’ll give it a shot) I still can;t go there. But I am willing to jump into the sea and go in until the water reaches the top of my head, because I am sick of being in galut.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Pete Rambo says:

      Blessings, brother.

      We are enjoying the turkey hangover this morning, but preferring the afterglow from sitting in your sukkah. Having Al and Char as guests here for the last two days has fostered much fun, as well as deep and introspective conversation. So wish we could have had you and your family with us.

      But I am willing to jump into the sea and go in until the water reaches the top of my head, because I am sick of being in galut.

      I totally agree with the is sentiment. Sarcastically, I often say, ‘What we’ve done for the last 2000 years is working so well, why change?’

      Honestly, we are breathing rare air as we explore greater depths and open doors that possibly have never been opened. In doing so, as we work together, I trust that Hashem will lead us to HIS solution. Getting there requires that we explore what we have previously been told are ‘no-go zones.’ It is a risk, but I am prepared to be corrected by the Mashiach at his coming.

      Thank you for being willing to walk this path with us.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dorothe Waidelich says:

    Hi Pete,

    I agree and am just struggling like everyone with this shift.. And I am currently reading Romans (7 and 8 in particular at the moment) from what I understand is also that Yeshuas purpose was not only to bring the Children of God that are in dispersion into echad (Joh.11:52) but also that there would be now no more condemnation/curse of the law for all those who are in Messiah Yeshuah.

    So how do we reconcile this with not ‘telling the other side of the good news’ … I don’t want to convert Jews to be Christians, but I also see I don’t want to start another Shoah like David Stern puts it.
    I see that the priority of loving must come before anything.. Because of our history..
    That’s what I am struggling with.

    Like

    • Pete Rambo says:

      Dorothe,

      Blessings, and good to hear from you!

      Indeed, this is a paradigm shift that is continuing in my brain as I seek to reconcile many Scriptures, rather than build doctrines on singular verses. The solution is not a simple one, but rightly so. Hashem will have to sort this out to His glory alone. Still, here are some thoughts.

      In the Shema, we affirm the echad nature of the Elohim of Israel. If we truly believe that, then what are the implications? If all Scripture is true, then we have to wrestle not only with the multiple verses that I wrote about in the Who is… series, but we also must wrestle with verses like:

      Pro 18:10  The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
      Joe 2:32  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. 
      Act 2:21  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

      Looking at it from the side of the Patriarchs, faith and belief in God is belief in His Messiah,

      Gen 15:6  And [Abram] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 

      The point is that salvation/redemption has always been by faith in God. Yeshua is the perfect manifestation or revelation of God that is the door particularly for the ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel,’ but will ultimately be revealed as the visible King for all Israel. Zechariah 12, particularly verses 6 and following, demonstrate that Judah will come to a mass awakening. Our calling is not to pry their eyes open, but to simply ‘be.’

      The story of Joseph is very instructive. I recommend this series to see the parallels (nearly one hundred) between Joseph and Jesus/Yeshua. Clearly, Joseph was not seen by his brothers (Judah) until the time of Jacob’s Troubles (in the Land). We do know, from the Book of Jashar, that Benjamin recognized Joseph first and earlier though was not allowed to communicate this information with his brothers. In like manner, there are those among Judah (Benjamites?) who do see who Yeshua is, but it is a small percentage. Notice, Joseph did not identify himself… Benjamin had the eyes to see…. This part of the grand plan of Redemption that the Almighty is working out.

      The great tragedy, though by Divine Plan, is that we, Christendom, are the number one stumbling block for why Judah does not seriously consider Yeshua. WE have sullied His name throughout the nations for 1700+ years by taking a righteous Messiah and twisting His message to teach Torahlessness. The Jews are in a catch-22 and cannot, indeed, MUST NOT, accept Jesus as portrayed by Christendom because doing so is a violation of Deuteronomy 13 and only validates Christendom in their error.

      What we must do is learn and walk Torah in obedience to the everlasting unchanging standards of righteousness Hashem gave. As we do so and maintain faith in Yeshua, Mashiach ben Yosef, we begin to recover the righteous character of our Messiah and reveal him.

      Like

  3. mike says:

    http://letthelionroar.com/the-israel-issue#ep3 This is a Bible study from the producer of God’s not dead. Talks about anti semitism in the church.. He also produce a movie called Let the Lion Roar. He discusses Matin Luther and Clavin and their anti semitism. So the church is slowly waking up. Just my two cents.

    Like

  4. mike- new email address says:

    http://letthelionroar.com/the-israel-issue#ep3 This is a Bible study from the producer of God’s not dead. Talks about anti semitism in the church.. He also produce a movie called Let the Lion Roar. He discusses Matin Luther and Clavin and their anti semitism. So the church is slowly waking up. Just my two cents.

    Like

    • Pete Rambo says:

      Shalom, Mike.

      I do like the Let the Lion Roar series, though am not completely satisfied with their conclusion as they do not drawn a full connection with Israel, rather they see the church as a distinct entity which does not acknowledge prophecy and the recovery of the house of Israel…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mike-new email address says:

        I agree. However they do strike down replacement theology and gives a hint they we don’t have to evangelize the Jewish people. One of the questions is Why was Luther so mistaken to think that the Jewish people had to ‘come over to us’? (Isaiah 43:1, 49:6). Episode 3 The answer is they don’t because they are redeemed. I see it as a beginning. I look forward to your posts on a daily basis. Keep them coming. When is the next national sabbath gathering?

        Like

      • Pete Rambo says:

        Next SC National Shabbat is in January. Date tba…

        Thank you for reading. Glad I can encourage.

        Like

  5. Kelly Reed says:

    On a humorous note:

    Before Chavah was still “within” and not separated from Adam–did he argue with himself? And if so, was he still wrong?

    Anyway, this is a good reminder that we both have unique roles in the Kingdom. In my group, we talked last week about the mystery being fulfilled in Rev. 10:7 and the explanation that the mystery is the One New Man of both Jew and Gentile. Wouldn’t that also an “echad” union rather than “yachid”?

    If so, what will that look like? I know the Kingdom will look more “Jewish” than my (and most Christians) eyes are accustomed to and we will then be keeping the Feasts and Torah–but what kind of people will we be?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. TOM CULP says:

    Shalom Pete!

    Thank you for your faithfulness to HaShem in sharing your experience on this journey. Your words have helped gel many thoughts in my spirit.

    After digesting this post and tempered with my own thoughts, here is where my heart has landed:

    Each of us (Judah and Ephraim) has our own portion of the Truth. Our past error has been our blindness to this reality and our ill-advised attempts to “convert” each other. Instead, may we humbly seek to walk out our respective roles (as you point in Zech 9) side by side in HaShem’s Presence as He brings His two sticks prophecy to fulfillment.

    I plan to share these thoughts with Moshe when I get to see him in a couple weeks. We have been praying for humility for each other and for ourselves since we met in 2014.

    What an incredible privilege and blessing to be one called to this journey and at this time!
    Halleluyah!!

    Tom

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kenrank says:

    Well said Pete. There are so many ways the point can be made, but perhaps the very best one is the one made in this article. There ARE two sticks, ARE two houses… and in no verse in Scripture can we find evidence to suggest that anyone is to attempt to turn somebody from one house into the other house, or one stick into the other stick. If we cease to have two sticks, two houses, two PEOPLE…. we cease to have this dual witness that God has created for Himself. The Ezekiel 37 passage speaks of Ezekiel bringing the two sticks close to one another… it says “join” in that verse in most English bibles, but the Hebrew is to draw near, close… and once that happens, then God Himself comes and makes them one. It is God and not man who makes the two people into one… until then, we surely give an answer for the hope of our calling WHEN ASKED, but otherwise, we are to simply live in a manner that reflects the character of the one we serve and truth that HE will take care of the rest. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Rambo says:

      Even in making them ‘one’, the word is ‘echad’ as in, Adam and Chara became one flesh…. united, but still having certain distinctions…

      Exciting times to not only see, but be a part of this unfolding. So good to share this journey with you.

      Like

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