THE JUDAIZATION OF CHRISTIANITY
By Rev. Ted Pike
24 Aug 10
Nothing gives me greater joy than a Jew finding salvation in Jesus
and becoming part of His spiritual body, the Church. Yet, just as St.
Paul labored to preserve the infant church from absorption into Old
Testament legalism, so a similar warning must be sounded today. Evangelical
churches are rapidly incorporating Jewish holidays and other philo-Judaic
elements into Christian worship.
“Messianic” Jews primarily lead this trend. Messianic
Judaism is the belief of many converted Jews that Jesus is properly
worshipped in the context in which He was born. They seek to maintain
a Jewish, often largely Pharisaic/rabbinic religious structure devoted
to continuing obedience to the Mosaic Law. Today there are 250,000
Messianics in America and up to 15,000 in Israel (which include many
Messianics diversely interpret how the Old Testament Torah should
be obeyed. One extreme believes it was a mistake to ever share Jesus
with the Gentiles; they think Jews “own” Jesus and He should
be returned to His role as Messiah of the Jews alone! Persecuted Messianics
in southern Israel are much more like “Jews for Jesus;” they
simply desire to bring the good news of salvation to their people.
(Some deeply appreciate Truthtellers.org and
our criticisms of their persecutors, the ultra-Orthodox “Haredim,” and
the state of Israel which looks the other way.)
Generally speaking, Messianic Jews are the most passionately pro-Israel
of the Israel-first evangelicals. Over the decades, my personal experience
has been that if my criticism of ADL, Israel, Jewish control or the
Talmud spurs controversy, Messianics quickly appear to assure local
Christians that there is no threat in anything Jewish. Such Messianics
habitually provide a bridge of persuasion for ADL to the evangelicals.
Since they are Jewish, their claim to expertise on all things Judaic
gives them tremendous credibility with gullible Christians.
In this category is Messianic Jewish lawyer Jay Sekulow who heads
the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Sekulow has a worldwide
audience of possibly 100 million Pentecostals through his program on
Trinity Broadcasting TV network. In 2005, Sekulow should have sounded
the alarm when the “Philly 11” Christians were attacked
as “hate criminals” by ADL. Sekulow did nothing. Along
with other TBN Judao-philes, Hal Lindsey and Pastor John Hagee, he
has never significantly warned against ADL's federal hate crimes bill.
Instead, they magnify the threat of potential Islamic UN hate laws,
acting as pipelines for ADL/Israel propaganda to the church.
Are Christians Indebted to Jews?
Most Messianics and evangelicals believe the Gentile church is incalculably
indebted to the Jewish people for making Christianity possible. Yet
the Bible says something different. Christians should feel grateful
only to a faithful remnant of obedient Jews; they usually constituted
the tiniest minority. The Old Testament is emphatic that the Jews were
an unusually “stiff-necked” people who habitually ignored
or persecuted God’s prophets. These prophets, including Jesus,
hardly encouraged perpetual gratitude to such rebellious Jews. Instead
they castigated the majority of Hebrews for their sins, setting an
example that criticism of evil Jews today is not reprehensible or “anti-Semitic.”
Yet Messianic Jews insistently believe there is a uniquely chosen
identity, sanctity and access to God in the Jewish race and its Torah
traditions. Messianics are not attracted to Paul’s clear statements: “In
Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek…for you are all one in
Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) “ It is for freedom that Christ
has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened
again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1) Messianics continue to
observe Hebrew holy days and rites originating from non-Scriptural
sources, such as Chanukah and Purim. They and their evangelical followers
reason that, if these holy days were given to the Jews by God, shouldn’t
their observance bless believers today?
The answer is no.
The Bible portrays the faithful in ancient Israel (the symbolic “daughter
of Zion”) as a bride eagerly awaiting her Husband, intended by
God from the “foundation of the world” to be slain in atonement
of sins for all who trust in Him and repent. Old Testament rites and
observances had only one primary purpose: to prepare the bride for
this coming. But now that Christ has come, they are obsolete. It’s
unseemly for a married woman to keep reading bridal magazines, posting
her profile on dating sites, or looking around at attractive men thinking, “Is
he the one?” In the same way, it’s redundant and inappropriate
for any Christian to repeat observances which were only meant to anticipate
Messiah. Now He has come and we are married. The wife’s role
is to lavish her spouse with undistracted love and attention. And now
that the Jewish and Gentile bride has been united with her true Husband
and the New Testament age of grace is in progress, it is appropriate
only for the church to luxuriate in Christ’s presence, giving
herself completely to her Husband in exchange for all He has given
Complete repentance and surrender of self is all Jesus truly wants
from us. When we bring Him trust with the simplicity of a little child,
we receive “peace that passes understanding.” In this state
of perfect married love and trust, we do not sin. (I John 3:3-9, 5:18)
Through continuing daily faith, His Spirit keeps us eternally secure.
Yet Messianic Judaism and countless churches bring Christ that which
He now despises: outdated Jewish rites and legalism. These outward
signs only incline Jewish and Gentile believers to place false confidence
in dead works. Of such observances God told the Hebrews in the time
of Isaiah, “I hate, I despise your festivals...” (Amos
5:21) Paul could have easily been speaking to such Messianics and evangelicals,
saying, “Oh foolish [evangelicals] who has bewitched you…?
Having begun in the spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal.
Because of a false infatuation with Judaism and Israel, Messianics
and Israel-first evangelicals also encourage establishment of what
Revelation calls “ Babylon the Great,” a rising system
of anti-Christ Jewish control and oppression centering in Jerusalem.
the Great' is Israel") They glorify an apostate religious
system of which Christ said He would never be seen again until they
is He (Jesus) that comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:39)
Jesus called this rejected system the “synagogue of Satan” for
a good reason. Talmudic Judaism masterminded our Lord’s crucifixion.
It went on to become the foundation of the modern world revolutionary
movement, spawning communism, liberalism, and Jewish financial and
media control. (See, "Jewish
Activists Created Communism")
Modern, Christ-rejecting Judaism is nothing of which to be proud. Christ
and the New Testament command us to beware of it (Matthew 16:6, Philippians
3:2, etc.) and flee from “ Babylon” on
penalty of loss of our souls.
Of course there is nothing wrong with Christians worshipping in an
ethnic and cultural context (Latino, Russian, African American, etc.).
Yet Messianic and increasingly Judaized evangelical churches are not
in that category. Most Messianic Jews may not view the Talmud and Kabbalah
as inspired, yet they venerate the liturgical and ceremonial structures
laid down by the very worst thing that ever happened to the ancient
Hebrew religion: the anti-Christ leaders from Babylon -- the Pharisees,
who wrote the Talmud.
Messianics are playing with fire. Once in the largest Christian bookstore
in Portland, Oregon, I entered its “Judaic” section, which
caters to the large number of Messianics in our city. To my astonishment,
it sold books encouraging appreciation of the Talmud and Zohar, with
works by the foremost practitioner of the Kabbalah and translator of
the Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz of Jerusalem.
Messianic Judaism is not just Christianity for Jews or even Christianity
in a Jewish context. It is the modern equivalent of the “Judaizers” who
plagued the New Testament in the time of the apostles. Today, as then,
they attempt to bring both Gentile “proselytes” and Jews
into bondage to law. Paul told Peter he “stood condemned” for
allowing such Judaizers to again impose the bondage of circumcision.
(Galatians 2) But many of today’s Messianic Judaizers want to
do much more: impose not just mandatory circumcision on their followers
but the entirety of the Old Testament law!
“The Law Kills…”
Many evangelicals are attracted to Old Testament legalism because
they crave the structure and values so missing in many churches today.
A recent Barna poll found that a mature, consistent Christian is increasingly
hard to find in the church. (Lack of examples of maturity, vision and
courage is much of the reason why the vast majority of evangelical
youth abandon Christianity for the greater challenge—even authenticity—of
Yet any search for spirituality will not be satisfied through return
to the dead letter of obsolete Jewish custom, only by a return to the
truly spiritual. “For the law kills, but the spirit gives life…” (2
What is the spiritual? It is submission to that hard-line
message Jesus laid down. Just as He gave up everything in death for
our redemption, so we must give ourselves completely to Him as His
of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke
14:33) Christ’s power came from His willingness to do the perfect
will of the Father and even die for the good of others. When we do
the same, we receive a victorious peace and marriage to God with which
no works, rituals or even emotions could ever compare.
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative
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