First of all, Yeshua himself was Jewish, as were all of his first disciples. He was described by one who saw him as a child, as “a light of unveiling for the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” 1
But it was necessary that his people rejected him at first, as they did with David who wrote: “I have become a stranger to my brothers, and a foreigner to the sons of my mother. For the zeal for your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those reproaching you have fallen on me.” 2
He also had to become like Joseph, who was sold by his own brothers for 20 pieces of silver, but who, by divine grace, became Lord over Egypt before delivering Israel in later days.
For Yeshua was and is the king of Israel, but he had to become a light for the Gentiles, while he was despised by his own nation. And we have seen how it was YHWH’s purpose to have Zion trampled on by the Gentiles until an appointed time.
In this way, YHWH was drawing attention away from the physical, and to the spiritual. And even your ancestors would have to do this to a certain extent, for when they could no longer offer animal sacrifices, they replaced them with the fruit of lips.
That YHWH did not see fit to restore his own physical Temple during that time, is an indication that he was satisfied with a spiritual one - although he really does not need a Temple at all - and a spiritual Zion as a temporary residence for his people, just as the tabernacle in the wilderness was of no fixed location, and as he said through Ezekiel, “I will be a little sanctuary to them in the lands to which they have gone.”
Now, some Christians have interpreted these things to mean that they themselves have replaced Israel altogether. For in those days, it appeared that Israel and Zion in the physical sense had been abandoned and deserted forever; and some still teach this.
That was even Zion’s own cry, for “Zion is saying, 'YHWH has abandoned me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” 3 These words could not apply to the body of Christian believers, but they could certainly apply to the city of Jerusalem, which for a long time did indeed appear to be abandoned by YHWH.
But just as YHWH veiled the purpose and identity of his anointed one to many of your ancestors and their teachers, and this to fulfill the purpose of YHWH that his anointed one would become a light of Gentiles, so he also veiled the purpose of Israel to many Christians, so that no man can boast about his own wisdom.
And even Yeshua’s own disciples, after he was raised from the dead, asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” But his answer was that it was not for them to know the times and the seasons that were placed in YHWH’s jurisdiction. Instead, they were to be witnesses of Yeshua (whose name means “YHWH Is Salvation”) to the ends of the earth, to fulfill YHWH’s word that his anointed one become “my salvation to the end of the earth.” 4
But with tender language, YHWH said through Isaiah that he had not forgotten Zion. And in the last days, YHWH’s appointed time arrived to restore the nation of Israel, and to bring Zion’s children back to her in a physical sense, so that YHWH could show his glory again, and so the nations would come to know that he is YHWH, and to fulfill his promise through Hosea, that “the sons of Israel will return and seek YHWH their God, and David their king, and they will be in awe of YHWH and his goodness in the last days.” 5
Therefore, given that you have these and so many other good promises from YHWH your God, how is it possible for you to lose your identity, by accepting the one YHWH sent to you in advance, to prepare for your salvation in later days?
For it was the same Joseph, beloved by his father but despised by his own flesh and blood, who returned to his brothers for their salvation at the end. Or rather, we could say that it was his brothers who finally returned to Joseph.
It was the same Israel who wept over the loss of his son Joseph, who was later astonished, and rejoiced over the return of his son at the end.
It is the same one YHWH sent to you on a donkey, who will also return to you on the clouds at his appointed time; and it is the same One who deals with Israel again in the last days. For he says, “who has acted and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, YHWH, The First, and with the last ones I am he.” 6 And again: “Listen to me, Jacob, and Israel whom I have called. I am he. I am the First, and also I am the Last.” 7
Israel was first to inherit YHWH’s promises, but by rejecting his means of salvation, they became last in reference to salvation; just as, after being rejected by his brothers, Joseph became the salvation of Egypt first, and Israel last. And so the first became last, and the last became first. Nevertheless, YHWH is with “the last ones” just as he was with the first ones.
Now, one of Yeshua’s apostles taught that there is no Jew or Gentile, or male or female in Christ, which word means “anointed one.” And this is true in reference to salvation through Yeshua, for he is the same savior for all.
Nevertheless, Yeshua did not abolish male and female. When a man and a woman marry, they become “one flesh,” but they still retain their unique body parts, and the things that make them “man” and “woman.”
Jews and Gentiles become one in Yeshua, and one flock under their shepherd, but may still retain what makes them distinctive, as if in two sheepfolds.
And the same is true of the nation of Israel itself. It is also one of YHWH’s servants, uniquely created to be a “spiked threshing sledge” in his hand when necessary. For each of his servants perform their roles as appointed by YHWH.
And Yeshua did not abolish the law of Moses, in the way that people think of abolition, but rather, he both fulfilled it and showed Israel how to fulfill it. Gentiles were never under that covenant to begin with. It was a covenant made between YHWH and Israel.
But Yeshua showed both Jews and Gentiles how to write YHWH’s law within their hearts. For example, he showed how to fulfill the command, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” He did good to others, and taught them truth, regardless of whether they loved or hated him; and ultimately, he even sacrificed himself for others.
He fulfilled the description of the servant spoken of by Isaiah, who said about himself: “My Lord YHWH has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious and did not turn away. I gave my back to the ones striking, and my cheeks to the ones plucking at my beard. I did not hide my face from humiliation and spit.” 8
As another example, the law says: “You must not commit adultery.” But Yeshua said that when one looks with passion at a married woman, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart!
Now, Yeshua is not really laying down an even stricter command here, but is simply showing how to write the law into one’s heart. When a genuine love of God and love of fellow humans is in our heart, we do not need a command to do what is right. For love does not do injury to others, and does not seek its own selfish interest.
Joseph had no law covenant to obey when he fled from the advances of Potiphar’s wife, but his actions showed that he already had the law written in his heart. But David, who could probably recite much of the law word for word, saw Bathsheba and committed adultery with her; and when he could not cover up his sin, he even had her husband killed.
But what of the sabbath? Now, YHWH himself was the first to keep the sabbath, even before the creation of Israel, for he worked on six days and rested on the seventh. And thus, in the law given through Moses to Israel, the sabbath was given as a command, and became a day on which to rest from work and to honor YHWH.
But your ancestors broke the first covenant, and so YHWH promised a new one, “not like the covenant that I made with their forefathers.” In this one, “I will put my law within them, and write it upon their hearts,” says YHWH.9
By bringing in this new covenant through Yeshua, attention was shifted away from the law written upon tablets of stone, so that both Jews and Gentiles could become part of a greater “Israel” with YHWH’s law in their hearts. In this way, the focus came to be upon the inner person and the individual, rather than on special days and festivals for the whole nation, and even the “fruit of lips” rather than physical sacrifices.
Nevertheless, we should be careful not to judge one another in relation to such matters in this present age. For through Isaiah, YHWH promised to bless those who do good to others, and also those who chose to make the sabbath a delight:
“If you turn back your foot on the sabbath, from carrying out your own desires on my holy day, and you call the sabbath a delight, a holy one to YHWH, a glorious day, and you glorify it rather than doing your own thing, seeking your own desire and spoken word – then you will take delight in YHWH, and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and I will feed you the heritage of Jacob your father; for the mouth of YHWH has spoken.” 10
Furthermore, in the vision of the Temple given to Ezekiel for the house of Israel to build in later days, there are several references to the sabbath. For example, it says: “This is what my Lord YHWH says: The inner gate of the court that faces east shall be kept locked on the six working days, but on the sabbath day it will be opened, and on the day of the new moon it will be opened.” 11 And again: “The people of the land will worship at the door of the gate before YHWH on the sabbaths and on the new moons.” 12
And YHWH, speaking through Isaiah of a new heavens and new earth, says: “And it will be that, from new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh will come before me to worship, says YHWH.” 13
As for the festivals, were they not given to make Israel a distinctive nation? But after he plagues the nations who come against Jerusalem in the last days, YHWH says: “And it will be that everyone left from all the nations that came against Jerusalem, they will go up from year to year to worship the king, YHWH of hosts, and to celebrate the festival of booths. And from the families of the earth, whoever will not go up to Jerusalem to worship the king, YHWH of hosts, there will be no rain.” 14
And so, if even Gentiles will go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival of tabernacles, then surely Israel will also be celebrating them!
But what about those who say that acceptance of Yeshua would mean the abandonment of Judaism? We have already seen how YHWH’s wrath came upon Israel, not for abandoning Judaism, but because Judaism had abandoned YHWH, either literally or in their hearts.
This is why, through Malachi, YHWH rebuked your ancestors with these words: “From the days of your forefathers, you have gone away from my statutes, and have not kept them.” But then he says: “Return to me, and I will return to you, says YHWH of hosts.” 15
The first time YHWH’s wrath was fully expressed, through the exiles to Assyria and Babylon, it was because they were misled by idols; and the second time, at the hands of the Romans, it was because, as Isaiah said, “they honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, and their fear of me has become commandments of men they have been taught.” 16 For even the “fruit of lips” do not mean anything if the love of God is not in one’s heart.
But YHWH also says through Isaiah: “To this one I will look: to the humble one, and the broken in spirit, and the one who trembles at my word.” 17 And again: “Hear the word of YHWH, you who tremble at his word. They say, your brothers who hate you and cast you out because of my name, ‘May YHWH be glorified!’ But we will see your rejoicing, and as for them, they will be ashamed. A sound of tumult from the city, a sound from the Temple, a sound of YHWH paying retribution to his enemies.” 18
While those who heard and listened to Yeshua were excluded from the Jewish community in the days of the Romans, YHWH also came with vengeance against those who were doing the excluding.
And so, it is not about abandoning Judaism. But rather, both in the past and even down to the present day, what is called “Judaism” has rejected its true messiah and king, and is in need of returning fully to YHWH!
And while YHWH says in regard to Israel, that they will “return and seek YHWH their God, and David their king” in the last days, both can already be found, because they are already present, as YHWH says: “Seek YHWH while he may be found. Call to him while he is near.” 19 And again: “Who among you fears YHWH? The one listening to the voice of his servant” 20 - that is, the same servant who gave his back to the one striking, and his cheeks to the one plucking the beard.
By accepting YHWH’s servant Yeshua, you are embracing the true essence of Judaism, which is to allow YHWH to write his law upon your heart, while you wait for your brothers and sisters in the flesh to catch up with you, and fully return to YHWH and his anointed one.
But after reading about him in the accounts of his life, if you are still in doubt as to who Yeshua really was and is, and you are sincere in your desire to resolve this in your heart with truth and honesty, then inquire sincerely and repeatedly of YHWH himself through prayer, and he will reveal it to you in his own way.
For your king is coming on the clouds, regardless of whether you believe or disbelieve, and the response to him will be either mourning or rejoicing. It will mean wailing and bitter grieving for those who did not know him in advance, but rejoicing for the remnant of Israel, those who have already put on the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness, and who have adorned themselves, in a symbolic sense, as a bride waiting for the bridegroom.
They can do this because YHWH’s anointed one has already been revealed, the one who was anointed “to declare good news to the meek,” “to proclaim the year of YHWH’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God.”
And indeed, we wrote earlier that even Gentiles are commanded by YHWH to “say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Look! Your salvation is coming. Look! His reward is with him, and the wage he pays is before him.’” 21
This we now say to you again! But how can Gentiles do this, unless they have already become acquainted with YHWH’s means of salvation in advance? And thus, YHWH has already revealed him to the Gentiles, so they can proclaim his identity to you again, and so you can prepare for his return.
And if “his reward is with him,” then what sort of greeting will he receive? For by listening to the voice of YHWH’s servant, you become part of the remnant of Israel, the bride, YHWH’s treasured possession; and YHWH will make with you an everlasting covenant, one that means life and peace.