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CHRISTMAS & THE JEWISH ROOTS OF OUR FAITH

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

Some may hesitate to speak out on this topic since it's an especially touchy subject within the believing community. My goal in sharing is not to stir up more divisive conflict but rather to bring true unity in the body of Messiah!



UNITY IN THE BODY OF MESSIAH


A quick background about me, I was born and raised in Israel into a Messianic, Jewish family. We honour and keep the Torah as God's commandments are a blessing to us and add so much richness to our faith.


We don't view them as a "nice suggestion from God", maybe relevant way back during biblical times but not anymore. The bible is clear that the definition of sin is breaking the commandments of God and we are called to be a set apart holy people.


When living in Canada for a few years I was seeking community amongst other believers. I met a Pastor's son and we started dating. With no real Messianic community around, I joined their church. That's when the problems began.



Our conversations went something like this:

me: "If we're going to date, you can't eat pork and shrimp!"


him: "Okay but Christmas is very important to me, we HAVE to have a tree in our home!"


me: "We can't celebrate Christmas & Easter... Easter is literally named after a pagan false god! Why wouldn't we keep the biblical holidays Yeshua kept like Passover and Sukkot instead?"


him: "I believe in keeping commandments like tithing and waiting until marriage but not commandments like keeping kosher or keeping the Sabbath... that's being under the law!"


me: "you can't whiteout which commandments you don't like and say that keeping them is legalism, Shabbat (the Sabbath) is one of the Ten Commandments! You don't believe in keeping the Ten Commandments?? It's right up there with do not murder, do not commit adultery."


him: "Okay fine, we can pick any day of the week to have a Sabbath, let's say Tuesday!"


me: "that's not what the bible says....."

 

Whew, I'm tired just reading our arguments!


With such differences how on earth were we going to make the relationship work?

WE DIDN'T!


It was impossible to walk in unity and be in community with others who oppose such fundamental biblical beliefs and values. God nudged me to let go of the relationship and wait for the one He has for me, which I did.



BEING EQUALLY YOKED


I'm very blessed that years later God brought His best into my life and my now husband and I do ministry together here in Israel. We often voice how grateful we are for the deep sense of unity we have. Making decisions and navigating the challenges of life feels easy to do together because we are equally yoked in our faith, and have unity of heart. I can't emphasis enough how important that is for relationships as well as community!


THIS is the problem with the Christian church today being so far removed from the Jewish roots of our faith. “How can two walk together unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3)




CHRISTMAS IN ISRAEL


It's not only a problem in the West, even here in Israel there is more and more outside influence causing division, with some believers choosing to forsake the Torah and keep holidays like Christmas and others holding fast to the commandments of God and His appointed times.



A few years ago we had a crazy thing happen in our little town smack dab in the middle of the Israeli desert. Because of the large amount of Russian immigrants, they put up a Christmas tree in the town square... yes! A Christmas tree here in Israel... in a little town in the South none the less.


Within a day or two of the tree being up, news quickly spread that in the middle of the night someone actually BURNED DOWN THE CHRISTMAS TREE! This didn't happen only once but TWICE!




For more of a perspective on why Christmas is so offensive for most Jewish people and the history of Christmas itself as well as references to Christmas in the bible, read this incredible blog post 'Who Burned Down the Christmas Tree?"


While Christmas is connected to good feelings, fun songs, pretty decor and family gatherings… it still does have obvious pagan roots (Jeremiah 10 lays it out pretty clearly in one example) God instructs us many times not to learn the ways of the pagan nations and worship him with their customs. However what I see as the major issue here is that there has been a HUGE divide between Israel and the Christian church today…


THE DIVIDE BETWEEN THE CHURCH & ISRAEL



News flash! Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) is Jewish!


He was born in Bethlehem here in Israel and will one day return here to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


He kept the Torah (God’s commandments) and kept God’s appointed times (Passover - He was the Passover lamb! Sukkot, Feast of Tabernacles, He came and tabernacled with us, even Chanukah is mentioned in the New Testament - John 10:22.)


The Jewish people are still God’s chosen people and Israel is God’s Land.

 


GRAFTED INTO THE COMMON WEALTH OF ISRAEL


This resource was made possible through the friends & partners of Light to the Nations Ministries. If you'd like to partner with us through a monthly or one time donation, tax deductible giving is available on our website: https://www.light-tothenations.com/donate


 
"I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means!I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew." (Romans 11:1)

Gentile believers are now grafted into the commonwealth of Israel, (Eph. 2:12) meaning that together we should be in unity celebrating the same biblical holidays and lifestyle that Yeshua modelled, honouring the commandments of God.


When Christians put up trees in their home which is a pagan tradition, eat ham on Easter (unclean meat that God calls an abomination and a holiday named after a false god) and completely forsake the biblical appointed times that God has given for ALL His people… it creates a big divide.





I completely agree that most Christians are not doing these things out of an evil, rebellious and sinful heart. It's simply the way the Christian community celebrates holidays and they have tried to put the emphasis on Jesus. What's so bad about that? You may ask.


Well, God's Word is pretty clear on HOW He wants to be worshipped and how we are to follow Him.



A NEW PERSPECTIVE



The original question as not "how can a Jewish person follow Jesus?" The original question in the days of Yeshua was; "how can a non-Jewish person, follow the Jewish Messiah of Israel?"

Yeshua didn’t come to start a new religion called Christianity. He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.


However He also opened the way so anyone from any nation could join the family of Israel and serve the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


This means joining as a citizen or as an adopted son/daughter. There now needs to be one standard and law for all of us to abide by to be in unity as one family. God doesn’t show favouritism granting one set of expectation to one child and a different set to the adopted one.


All the biblical appointed times point directly to Yeshua and are given to us by God Himself! What a tragedy to decide and keep pagan based holidays and completely turn our backs on the Jewish roots of our faith.


These appointed times are not even Jewish holidays! God says “these are MY appointed feasts…” (Leviticus 23)


There are many believers around the world who may not be keeping these biblical feasts simply because they don’t know how… and they don’t have any community to do them with.



 

LOOKING FOR COMMUNITY?


This is what our ministry is all about. We are passionate about providing discipleship & community to those seeking to walk out the Jewish roots of our faith.



To receive our teaching resources & videos get on our mailing list! We also will be having an online community group that meets weekly to fellowship and grow in our faith together. Drop your email in our form below to get plugged in.




 


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Also check out a ministry we partner with 'Voice for Israel Ministries' for an immense amount of incredibly deep and powerful teachings on the Jewish roots of our faith.


You can also sign up on the website to receive a weekly commentary on the Parasha (Weekly torah portion) as well as updates from Israel.






 

SUMMARY



God has given Gentile believers a calling to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy. He temporarily put a veil over the people of Israel so that salvation could come to all the nations of the earth.


"Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious..." (Romans 11:11)



But how are Gentiles supposed to provoke Jewish people to jealousy?


By keeping the ways of the God of Jacob and having a real and intimate relationship with Him.


I believe true revival in Israel will come when Christians begin embracing the Jewish roots of our faith and when we begin walking in unity together as a community balanced with spirit & truth, full of the love of the Messiah.



 


Prayer:


Dear Lord, thank you that when I ask you for wisdom you're faithful to give it. I pray that you would change my heart to see the truth of how you desire for me to worship and obey you. Give me the grace and strength to surrender whatever you're calling me to so I can be right before you, even if I may feel misunderstood by others. Lord, bring greater unity, not false unity but true unity in the body of Messiah and help me cultivate community that pleases you. Thank you for the blessing of your commandments and appointed times and that I am a part of the family of Israel. Amen.




 


BLESSINGS FROM ZION!


Thank you so much to all our friends and partners of our ministry Light to the Nations who faithfully pray for us and support the work we are doing here in the Land of Israel!


If you'd like to sow a seed into the younger generation in Israel you can give a one-time donation or become a monthly partner.



 

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