Restoring the 'Jewish Roots' of Christianity
The Prophetic Overview
A growing phenomenon
There is a spiritual phenomenon stirring in the hearts and minds of men and women around the world. An increasing awareness, a new conciseness, a longing, a mental fixation on things of another culture, another era, another world. Many wonder why? Many ask, from where do these things come? Many look for meaning?
These 'things' defy an easy description or definition. Even long time seekers do not have comfortable words to describe it. Different people use different terms selected to portray a given emphasis or aspect. So, what is this phenomenon? Many use the term 'Jewish Roots', others 'Restoration' to depict this new awakening, awareness, interest, or love for Israel, the Jewish people and culture, the Old Testament Scriptures and symbols, Davidic praise, worship, dance and celebration, Torah and the 613 commandments, the Sabbath and Annual Feasts, Talmud and other Jewish writings, the Prayer shawl and Siddur, etc., etc.. Of course these things are not new, they are ancient, but today they are appealing to a wider and wider circle of spiritual seekers. The large numbers of gentile Christians involved is what marks this phenomenon as so unique. But even Jews, many raised in a spiritual void, find themselves also, responding to this stirring to return to 'our' Jewish roots.
This article will try to explain this phenomenon. The good news is that there is an explanation, there is a critical purpose to all this, and there is a logical road map that goes along with the emotional stirring from within. For some the rational explanation may not be as important as their experiential involvement. That is fine for some, but many want to know what is behind this call to 'return', to restore, to rebuild. Is it just a fad, or is it Act I of a greater drama unfolding.
Let's begin with our conclusions. If the Jewish Roots / Restoration (J/R) phenomenon is about anything, it is about truth. Raw, blatant truth. There was a day for parables and veiled sayings, but that day is over. There are some things we are not going 'back' to. God has spiritual knowledge that was to 'high' for us. Too powerful for darkened minds and bodies. That is why God used parables, symbols, and patterns to speak about kingdom truths in times past. That should not be so surprising that God should do this. We see similar things in the natural world which are seen to teach us what is going on in the spiritual world. As children God has veiled the most powerful adult experiences from us. Try explaining sexuality to a six year old. We wouldn't and shouldn't try. Of course there are important and proper foundational truths that should be shared with them. Their future sexual lives are being formed in them now, but the full range of an intimate relationship cannot be comprehended, and must wait to be experienced. It is no different with the kingdom. The spiritual intimacy available to us transcends even sexual intimacy. If you like sex you'll love the kingdom! Is that statement hard to relate to? That is the point. Humanity has not attained full spiritual intimacy with God - yet. That is the essential nature of this stirring within us. This call back to our Jewish roots is a call forward into the kingdom. It is a call to fulfill the requirements of our true nature (to those having the seed of divine life within them). We are being trained to carry the mantle and seal of the divine family. Divine representatives to the universe, the bride of God's only begotten son.
We live at the end-of-the-age, the age of preparation of the kingdom people. The people come first, when they are ready the kingdom comes. The veil covering the truth-fulness (reality) of the kingdom is about to be lifted. (Or more accurately, the veil was lifted 2000 years ago and now we are just about old enough to see the truth) We will see clearly (all this takes place first in this age - not the millennial (kingdom) age to come). We will know clearly. We will testify clearly. Jesus said, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matt 24:14). We will preach a Jewish Jesus' kingdom gospel. A gospel that began with our father Abraham, was elaborated on mount Sinai, fully developed by the Jewish Sages, and exemplified by God's Messiah, Jesus. A gospel that reveals a society, a relational order, a lifestyle, a theology, a government that we closely associate as Jewish, but which is, in fact, straight out of heaven, the throne of God, the temporary capital and our national citizenship (as true believers). It will be shocking to our darkened senses. Shocking but not impossible to bear. It is possible for anyone to enter - any who will. Many will object to this radical change in the course of affairs. Many will resist this paradigm shift. Many will say, its impossible, it can't be done, the people, or our institutions won't accept it Nevertheless, the kingdom is coming. The stirring will grow stronger, the light will grow brighter, the restoration of all things is near.
This is a brief conceptual summary of this article. The call to restoration is associated with the end-of-the-age, which is far more complex and surprising than any have comprehended. The Jewish roots phenomenon is the first major responsive (something we do) prophetic sign of the end of the age. As will be discussed later, the current J/R phenomenon (which has hardly begun) is forecasting the central issue of the end-of-the-age. It will drastically affect the very structure of both Christianity and Judaism bringing both unification and division as events progress. There is more to the end-of-the-age than the J/R issue. Understanding the full scope of prophetic truth is important in ones search to understand J/R. Stepping a little outside the scope of J/R to the related prophetic concepts. The prophetic theory underlying this view of Restoration predicted the Restoration phenomenon and further predicts that it will greatly expand in acceptance and in depth. It also predicts that God's people will fully comprehend the EOTA roadmap ahead. In that regard, a preliminary timetable would show that we are in the prepatory stages leading to the beginning of the end-of-the-age, a period defined as 14 years.
Defining the terms
The first challenge is even to assign adequate terminology to this phenomenon. While words are very important, words often fail to describe complex events or concepts adequately. With the Jewish roots (J/R) phenomenon this is especially true. Any word or phrase we use will not define the phenomenon it will only give us a useful 'handle' with which we can communicate with. The phenomenon is bigger than any word we use. Look out your window. Out there mixed in with hundreds of other movements, trends, fads, fashions and bandwagons is a still prophetic voice of change. A prophetic event is one which waits for its appointed time to happen, having been declared long before. J/R is just such an event. The enlightenment, the events, and the corresponding changes are all part of this phenomenon. We must attach a name for human discussions but the name should not limit what is being spoken by the Spirit of God. The Scriptures often use many names for complex objects. God, Messiah, Israel, Church, the Day of the Lord are all referred to with many names. Each name can accent a particular aspect of that object under discussion. So it is with J/R. Many names can be used. Here are some of the more common ones used and a comment about several.
The Early Church
The Faith of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob
The term Jewish Roots is a good term in that it speaks of returning to our beginnings. One's roots are important to giving perspective and a consistent point of reference as one's journey takes them farther and farther from those beginnings. The use of the word Jewish is valid in that the church was, at its beginnings, virtually exclusively Jewish for the first 10 - 25 years of its existence.. Its Lord and Messiah and future King was Jewish, it's founding fathers were Jewish, and it's Scriptures were Jewish (Torah/Tanack). It is a Jewish olive tree that non-Jewish believers are spiritually grafted into thereby defining the churches personality, character and lifestyle. Its prophetic hopes are Jewish, its goal the kingdom (in Israel and throughout the earth) is Jewish, and its only recorded seat of authority was Jewish (Jerusalem). The church was known as a sect of Judaism, not a new religion. The gentile church has made every effort to extract things Jewish from their religion, thereby creating something far different from the original flavor. Christianity is Judaism for the gentiles. The founding Apostles never saw it as anything other than Judaism, as Paul testifies:
However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect [of Judaism]. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, Acts 24:14
An interesting by-product of using the word 'Jewish' is that it evokes reactions from many Christians who have latent or not so latent feelings of anti-Semitism or Judophobia. Christian history is shamefully replete with horrible examples anti-Jewish sentiments and actions. This is hard to understand, knowing that Christianity's Lord, all its founding fathers, and its sacred book and doctrines are Jewish. Anti-Semitism alone should be a flashing red light indicating Christianity's need for reformation. It just couldn't happen if our teachings and doctrines were based on truth. The structure we might call institutional Christianity is built on sand. It will not withstand the coming flood of evil without reformation. And while the word 'Jewish' may not fall within Christianity's top-ten most appealing words, it has unique diagnostic powers appropriate for soul searching.
Yes, 'Jewish' roots are appropriate, but not perfect. The vast majority of people within the church today are not Jewish. The Scriptures do not teach that every person automatically by accepting a Jewish Lord and religion become part of the physical bloodline of Israelites. There is still a special role for 'blood' Israelites to play during the end-of-the-age and especially into the Millennium. By mixing 'spiritual Israelites' with natural Israelites we only confuse the issue of prophetic function and the assigned role the natural Israelites have. There is a sense in which all believers, because they are grafted into 'spiritual Israel' are 'spiritual Jews', but saying we become Jews after salvation can be very confusing. Nowhere in the NT are non-Jews called Jews. There are Abrahamic promises for TWO groups of people (the stars of the heavens and the sands of the sea). One is entered by faith, and one by blood (of your father). (There is even provision for someone to enter the 'blood' covenant by conversion if they so desire). Everyone can participate in one or both of these promised covenants. The one is superior to the other (the faith covenant - the stars of the heavens), but both have their unique responsibilities and purposes in the plan of God. Blood Jews and the blood covenant are directly connected to the physical land of Israel, while 'spiritual Jews' and the faith covenant has no land connection. Faith Jews have a special responsibility for the blood Jew and the land of Israel. But beyond the issues of faith, the term Jewish has a distinct cultural connotation. For gentile Christians to say they are seeking their Jewish roots does not mean they are seeking everything Jewish. The distinctly Jewish cultural flavors of Europe, Spain New York or Israel are not necessarily included in J/R. So, the term Jewish Roots has its limitations.
We might also use the term Biblical Roots, which is a good term and certainly truthful. But the problem with the word Biblical is that it does not accentuate Christian deficiencies strongly enough. Christianity vehemently believes itself to be Biblical, so Biblical has very little emotional impact on any who hear it other than to reinforce what we already are. The character of the required change is unquestionably towards things Jewish, not just simply today's Christianity superimposed into an ancient culture of dusty roads and fishing nets. Christianity's 'Biblical' Jesus would not call us back to our roots. He's quite comfortable in today's non-kosher world. Biblical certainly is what we are needing, but not everything Biblical is Biblical. Biblical, like Christianity, has been redefined to represent something other than it truly is. For this phenomenon there are usually better words.
Another term is restoration. This term is also a good one. It is in fact the one the Bible uses to indicate the final end of the Jewish Roots reformation. This word emphasizes the product of the J/R phenomenon rather than the means. Restoration is the goal and the finish line. It goes beyond just a return to our roots and foundations. It implies correctly a complete restoration of the kingdom of God. It covers fully the work of the saints during this age in setting things in order for the return of Messiah and his eventual reign as king. There are two dimensions of restoration that should be noted. When the Scriptures uses the phrase "restoration of all things" it is pointing specifically to a single event marked by the bodily appearance of Messiah on earth and the beginning of his universal reign as king. That singular event is technically what restoration refers to. It could be seen as God's restoration. An event which we have no real part in. But the larger use of the word restoration would include all the events prophetically required to lead the world to that climatic event. Those prepatory events are just as much part of 'restoration' as the final spectacular. Those prepatory restoration events are what is being referred to in this discussion. There is a God part and a human part of restoration. RE is a vital end-of-the-age process. It is the believer's part of the process. The part too often not considered when we study prophetic events. Other more spectacular events usually get the spotlight, but the process of RE should be our first concern. There is a prophetic need for RE, we are responding to that need. Used in this context, of all the phrases that could be used, Restoration is probably the most encompassing and therefore will be used most often in this article.
Acts 3:21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
Each phase or word gives its own special accent to the phenomenon and most can be used interchangeably. We should not spent too much time debating over the caption we might place under the picture of this phenomenon. God is moving in a special way, it is the picture we want to comprehend and communicate to the world wide body of Christ.
Timing - Gradualism & the virtual church
There has probably never been a more complex spiritual challenge given to mankind than to define and execute the requirements of the J/R movement and all the subsequent events. And while the revelation of that program, of which J/R is central, will be developing for some time, a piecemeal definition is inadequate. Our struggle is to be clear and complete in uncovering the direct and indirect implications of this phenomenon. There is energy in change. The universal body of believers is empowered and quickened to make Defining it in Inconsistent theology will fail to provide truthful enlightenment. Limited views will continue to produce in-fighting and divisions.
What Restoration is NOT
Before we begin a discussion of what RE is, it might be helpful if we discuss what it is not.
RE is not another reformation
RE is not just the greatest reformation of our century, it is the final reformation. Throughout the course of Christian history there has been many revivals, reformations and advances. There have been many course corrections in Christianity's flight of destiny, but RE not just another correction, it is the end of the flight, it is the landing. Stop and think about that for a moment, it is quit different then what Christianity has expected. Christianity generally has taught to expect an 'interruption' not a 'landing'. Flying away, via the rapture or second coming was always the great expectation. RE is the opposite to those realities. RE must happen and then the end can come.
RE is not just another reformation.
Is Restoration just another of many hundreds of reformation movements the church has experienced throughout its 2000 year history? The answer is NO! RE is unique. Few movements in history can be found prophetically in Scripture. They all yielded their contribution to the mix of Christian culture along the journey, but not one is clearly and repeatedly detailed in the Scriptures. That is not true of RE. The Scriptures speak about it subtly and not so subtly over and over again. There are many reformations but only one RE. RE is reformation of course, but it is the final ultimate revelation of 'all truth' and the subsequent conclusion of all preparation needed for the kingdom on earth. This phenomenon is prophetic and not just one of the steps in the plan of redemption , but the final step. RE marks the end of redemption in this age - it is the EOTA. It cannot be dismissed without eventual serious ramifications. (That is not to say that everything God does in the EOTA will be under the banner of RE)
, cees RE is not something we have been doing for thousands of years. It is not business as usual. R is not well defined in current Christian theology. This will give pause to many because something new, something not already included in our spiritual diet was not expected. For some there has been an expected outpouring of the Spirit in the EOTA but that just means a greater level of something we are already familiar with - more power, more miracles, more souls saved, more calamities, etc. This is not RE although is should be stated clearly and emphatically that many of these things will be part of RE, however they are not the fundamental character of it. Expect RE to stretch your spiritual 'world view'. The changes may be uncomfortable, distasteful, dangerous, and appear heretical (to ones current theology).
Matt 13:52 He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."
RE is not a new move of evangelism
RE is not a new move of evangelism. Much of Christianity believes the Great Commission is the goal - our highest, and perhaps, only goal. That is just plain wrong. If that is your thinking than RE was probably neither expected or needed. Frankly RE is not needed to continue the world-wide programs of evangelism going on today. The theology of justification, the born again experience, is based on faith in the atoning work of God, not in something we do. It is not the theology of justification that is being restored (although the methods and message will be greatly affected by J/R). Spiritual birth is relatively simple and the model has remained unchanged since our father Abraham 'believed' and 'it was counted as righteousness'. Neither the need or the call to justification is going away, but RE is not primarily an evangelical movement.
RE is not directed to the unbeliever.
If fact, RE is not directed primarily to the unbeliever. In its lifetime Christianity has directed its greatest efforts towards the unbeliever hoping to introduce him to a saving knowledge and faith in God. This has been right and good. But we are now at the EOTA, RE is beginning . RE implies not birth but the transformation of something currently existing. Christianity has been very successful preaching to the sinner, but it has not been so successful at attaining to the conclusion of it's Lord's first sermon, "be perfect, even as your heavenly father is perfect." It's always easier to see the needs of someone else, and to see ones relatively superior position visa vi someone else. Relative to the unbeliever, the believer stands in a clearly favored position. But relative to God the believer is left humbled and clearly aware of his own need. RE is directed towards the believer first. Here again the unbeliever will not be unaffected. A great harvest of unbelievers is certain as a result of the RE of believers.
RE is not an ecumenical movement
What Restoration IS - Conceptually
Mind over heart (the total mind)
Responsive - A work of man
Knowing the Father
So, what IS RE?
So, what is RE? What is the central concept we should think about when we hear about Jewish Roots or Restoration or any of the other terms that may be used? What is the divine end expected by this outpouring of grace on humanity? In a word - MATURITY. It is time to grow up, to become adult. In theological terms there are many words - holiness, righteousness, obedience, perfection, sanctification. The most accurate word is sanctification. At the heart of RE is the concept of sanctification. God is preparing his people to meet the Lord; to establish the kingdom. That requires what many have not expected - maturity. Not maturing, beyond somejust - ab. As a bride prepares herself for her husband, so must we prepare ourselves for our God. Sanctification is the end of the process that begins with justification. Christianity has not fully understood the process of sanctification. As best it can figure out it is the living holy part of justification. It is also an act of faith not works. Yet somehow it relates to works in that it is tied to what we do. But that's very limiting because we know we can't live truly sanctified lives (perfect), or so its said. It is confusing and it is something that It is just common sense. Life and the Scriptures are replete with examples of the two-staged developmental process. We have childhood and adulthood, Christianity hasn't understood the requirements of God's kingdom.
Man needs truth
Christians outgrowing Christianity
The prophetic moment
prophetic reality check
a series of events
in the second half - sanctification
the advanced teachings
transforming the mind
prophetic road map
has an end (in this age)
What Restoration IS - Practically
Priesthood of the father
Family as center of spiritual growth and learning
Pray without ceasing
Blessings for blessing
Know the real Jesus
Study and debate
Honoring the Jewish people
New institutional structures
Judaica - symbols, Hebrew, Rabbinical writings, Talmud
Feasts and Sabbaths
Good works (Mitvots)
Davidic praise & worship
End of arrogance
Discipleship - Yeshivas and Midrashes
The virtual church
all truth, holiness, power
One faith, body
. Biblical . Why are they doing this?
Why should a Christian be interested in Jewish Roots?
What is 'Jewish Roots'?
Why is it needed?
The focus of the Pauline gospel is Jesua, but the focus of Jesus' gospel is the kingdom. Once Jesus is known Jesus' kingdom becomes our labor.
The house of Christianity is built upon the gospel to the pagans (Pauline). It cannot contain the truth, power, or presence destined for the BOC. We must go back and rebuild upon the gospel of Jesus and the Apostles, the gospel to the mature.
RE is a Spirit empowered exercise of mind over heart
Towards the Father not H.S.
Towards the expression of internal faith
The gentile church has made an erroneous assumption - that the Jewishness of the gospel message was a cultural setting that could be separated from the essential message of the gospel. Wrong!
Seek God in truth?
It is often said that C is a relationship not a religion
Christianity has focused on some of the truths of the kingdom. What are some of them?
There is two phases of the Christian life birth and growing up. JR has everything with the growing up phase.
Christians identify with heaven - but could they?
Lets test your kingdom quotient
What is behind this phenomenon? What is promoting it.
What is gained in confessing our errors? To admitting wrong? When there are no authorities calling for it? Grass roots self examination introspective
righting error of a diversionary track
What is a temple?
There is only One
It represents God's
A process of sanctification, which is a product of truth
For Your Information:
For the sake of those that may not know, the word 'Jew' comes from the word 'Judah', one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Judah was the fourth son of Jacob, who blessed and prophesied that Judah would be the rulling tribe of Israel. David was from Judah, and Judah's territory included the city of Jerusalem. Jesus, a son of David, was also from the tribe of Judah. After Solomon, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin were the only two tribes that remained faithful to the Temple and Torah observant practices. The other 10 tribes hid not remain 'sactified' and quickly became apostate. They were defeated and taken into Assyria, and from there assimilated into the world. Today, we call them the 10 lost tribes. Later, Judah too, became apostate and was taken into exile. But through it all, Judah maintained its sanctifying Torah observant lifestyle, and after the prophesied 70 years in exile, the remnant, Israelites from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin now for the first time called 'Jews', returned to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. It was largely the descendants of these two tribes who populated Israel at the time of Messiah. The word Jew and Israelite have now become interchangable, but technically, most true blood Israelites are 'lost' to the world. Prophetically, these lost Israelites will reappear on the scene in the end-of-the-age and play a critical role in that drama. It is not inconceivable that many of the people answering this universal call of 'return' to their 'Jewish roots' are, in fact, blood Israelites from those 10 lost tribes. Irony and surprise has always been part of God's 'modus-operandi'.