An Open Dialog On: The Church And Its Hebraic Roots
Dr. Himie Pickett
This essay is written as a follow-up to an invitation to dialog by Pastor Carl Carl A Wauchope The invitation to dialog centered around an essay written by a very noetic pastor Damon Richardsonn. The premise of the essay was: We the Church must have a proper balance between our current church practices and our Hebraic (Judiastic or Israelite) roots. This essay will augment the dialog.
First, I will point out the the Church is constituted of two people: Jews who believe in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) and Gentiles who believe in Yeshua HaMashiach. (Jews are ethnic decedents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and Gentiles are anyone not Jewish.) Let’s examine the Scriptures:
Ephesians 2:11-16 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
The Church is constituted of ethnic Jews and Gentiles. However, to really understand the Church, we have to look very heavily at the Jewish origins or roots of the Church. Remember, the Old Testament, upon which the New Testament was builtt, was given to the Jews:
Psalms 147:19-20 He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules. Praise the LORD!
Romans 3:1-2 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
Not only the Old Testament (Word of God) was given to the Jews but so were four unconditional covenants: Abrahamic, Land, Davidic, and the New Covenant. Let’s examine the Scriptures:
Romans 9:2-5 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
Paul let’s us know that we are adopted and have sonship because of the blood and life of a Jew…Yeshua HaMashiach. Let’s examine the Scriptures:
Romans 4:4-7 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Romans 15:8-13 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Even the priority of the Gospel is to the Jew first:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
So the dialog is: What relationship should the Church (Jewish believers and Gentile believers) have? How should the Church reach out to ethnic Jews who are not believers in Yeshua? How much Jewish culture should be in the Church?
For me, I have resolved to use Hebrew terminology to refer to the Godhead, recite Hebrew prayers, and teach the Bible relating it in its Hebrew terminology and culture. And, I have resolved to support Messianic ministries who evangelize to ethnic Israel. The Apostle Paul exhorted us to do so:
Romans 15:27-28 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you.
Let’s continue the dialog.
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