Dear Natan: If I’m a Christian, should I keep the dietary laws?

Sherly asks, I know that you’re a Messianic Jew who keeps the biblical dietary laws, but I’m a Gentile Christian, so should I keep them too?

Here is my answers:

I have hundreds of articles and video teachings answering your question. Start searching then out and learning! In the mean time, here is the briefest answer that I know to give to your question:

First, I am not a Messianic Jew. Whether one is Jewish or non-Jewish has nothing to do with anything. What’s important is that one is a disciple of Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah and is obedient to the Word of Elohim. 

A Christian, by definition, is one who follows and imitates Christ/Messiah. This is what Paul did (1 Cor 11:1; 4:14) and John did (1 John 2:6) as well as all the other New Testament disciples of Yeshua did. If I’m a follower of Messiah, then I will be doing what he did. He kept the commandments of Elohim; if he didn’t he was a sinner and not our perfect and sinless Savior. Likewise, if we don’t, we’re sinners. So shouldn’t we be following the examples of Yeshua and the NT saints? Isn’t this what the whole message of the NT and the whole Bible is all about—living righteous, holy and sin free lives? Any philosophy of men (I don’t care how many men, denominations or churches teach and believe it) that says otherwise doesn’t line up with the Word of Elohim. Period. So toss it and get back to the Bible!

 

When You Come to Messiah, Are You Still a Gentile?

Ephesians 2:11, Gentiles. 

Paul says in a number of places that those who come to Yeshua are no longer Gentiles but are the children or seed (literally “sperm,” which is the meaning of the Greek word) of Abraham (Eph 2:11–19; Rom 4:16; 9:8–11; Gal 3:7, 9, 14, 28–29). 

The word Gentiles as used in the Scriptures (both in the Hebrew and the Greek languages) simply means “ethnic groups or nations.” There are even many places in the Scriptures where Jews and Israelites are referred to as “Gentiles.” Despite this fact, there is no class of people called Gentiles in the spiritual body of Yeshua. Scripture uses the following terms for the redeemed of YHVH: the saints, the called out ones (or church), the body of Yeshua (1 Cor 10:16; 12:27; Eph 4:12) the one new man (Eph 2:15), sons of Elohim (Rom 8:14, 19; Phil 2:15; 1 John 3:1, 2), children of Elohim (Rom 8:16, 21; Gal 3:26; 1 John 3:10), or Abraham’s offspring (Gal 3:29), the bride (Rev 18:23; 21:2, 9; 22:17) for example, but the saints are technically and spiritually no longer Gentiles. This is a biblical fact that many in the church overlook when they refer to non-Jewish Christians as “Gentiles-Christians”. This is an oxy-moron: spiritually speaking, it’s impossible to be a Gentile and a disciple of Yeshua or a saint at the same time. 

Any attempt by anyone to keep the Jew—Gentile division alive within the body of Yeshua is in effect keeping up the middle wall of partition that the Paul gave his ministry life and eventually his physical life to tearing down (see Eph 2:11–19). It is also going against the clear teaching of the Scriptures, which say that within the spiritual body of Yeshua, there is no longer Jew or Gentile/Greek (Rom 10:12; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11).

The Scriptures reveal that ultimately spiritually speaking there are only two classifications of people: Israelites and non-Israelites or Gentiles. The former has eternal life because of their relationship with the Elohim of Israel through the Messiah of Israel, while the latter group, unless they repent of their sin (i.e. lawlessness or Torahlessness, see 1 John 3:4), will burn in the lake of fire because their names weren’t written in the book of life (Rev 20:11–15). 

Whenever Paul uses the term Gentiles, he is either referring to ethnicity, and not using the term as a spiritual designation, or he is using the term Gentile to mean “worldly.” In the latter case, it is a moniker referring to those who are carnal in that they act like gentiles (heathens) who are “without God and without hope” (Eph 2:12). 

Continue reading
 

Who are the modern descendants of Ephraim?

Genesis 48:14 and 16, Jacob’s Prophecy Over Ephraim and Manasseh

While prophesying over Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob crossed his hands over their heads making the symbol of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav  (like the letter t or x in the alphabet), which resembles a cross and in that ancient Hebraic script and according to some Hebrew scholars pictographically means “sign of the covenant.” Jacob then spoke of the Heavenly Messenger (the Hebrew word malak mistranslated as “angel” in most Bibles) of YHVH (i.e. the preincarnate Yeshua) who had redeemed him from all evil (see Gen 31:11–13). Jacob then prophesied that the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would become like “fish in the midst of the land” (literal translation of Gen 48:14–16; see The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach).

In light of this prophetic symbolism, which present day religious group would qualify as having fulfilled Jacob’s prophecy as to who the descendents of Ephraim and Manasseh would be? Which religion on earth uses the fish as their symbol, speaks of a Messenger from YHVH as their Redeemer, and has the sign of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav, which looks like a cross? The Buddhists? The Moslems? The Hindus? Even the Jews? No! Only Christianity fits this enigmatic criteria. Many Christians are without Continue reading


 

Who are the lost and scattered sheep of Israel?

But [Yeshua] answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt 15:24)

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt 10:6)

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16)

Deuteronomy 32:21, I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people. I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. The term not a people is the Hebrew phrase lo-am. Curiously this same phrase occurs in several other references in the Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh) in reference to the Northern Kingdom or House of Israel (Ephraim) and is repeated by several apostolic writers in reference to the “Gentiles” or “peoples of the nations” (which is the meaning of the Greek word ethnos translated as gentiles). (See Isa 7:8; Hos 1:9; 1 Pet 1:1; 2:9–10.) In Romans 9:25, Paul equates the “Gentiles” with the same people-group to which Hosea makes reference in Hosea 2:23. To whom is Hosea referring in his prophecy? (Read Hos 1:4,6; 4:15–17, chapter 5; 6:10–11; 7:1–11; chapter 8; etc.). Remember that the nation of Israel split into two groups at the time of Jeroboam and Rehoboam: the Northern Kingdom comprised of the ten northern tribes of Israel and referred to in Scripture as Ephraim, House of Israel and Samaria while the Southern Kingdom was known as Judah, the House of Judah and Jerusalem. 

Where are these Ephraimites today? The answer can be found in Genesis 48:14 and 16 where the patriarch Jacob is prophesying over the two sons of Joseph: Ephraim and Manasseh. Can you find any clues in these two verses that may point to a religious people-group in existence today on earth? What sign does Jacob make with his arms when placing them on the heads of his two grandsons? Is it coincidental that it is the sign of the cross? Then in verse 16, Jacob recounts his experiences with the Angel or literally Heavenly Messenger who “redeemed me from evil.” This is a reference to Genesis 31:1–11 where, while fleeing from Laban, Jacob’s adversary, he had a dream where the Messenger of Elohim calls himself the El of Bethel (or the El/God of the House of El/God). Who is the Messenger of Elohim who is also a Redeemer? (See Rom 3:24; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:12.)

Finally, Jacob prophesies that his grandsons’ descendants would grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. The word grow is the Hebrew word dagah/VDS from which the Hebrew word dag/DS or fish derives. This is why the ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach translates this phrase as “may they proliferate abundantly like fish within the land.”

The question is then begged, what religious people-group on earth today can be associated with a cross, a Redeemer and a fish? Knowing this will give us a clue as to whom Paul and the other writers in the Testimony of Yeshua (NT) were referring when they equated the “Gentiles” with “a foolish nation” and “not a/my people.”

Deuteronomy 32:26, I will scatter them into the corners. How was this prophecy fulfilled to Israel? Who in Israel was scattered and forgotten? Certainly not the Jews. They were scattered, but not forgotten.

Verses 28–29 say of these people that they are void of counsel and Continue reading


 

Genesis 42–46 Two Brothers and the Two Houses of Israel in End-Time Prophecy (Pt 1)

Biblical Types and Antetypes

A major key to understanding biblical prophecy is to recognize the relationship between antetypes and types in the Scriptures. This means that an event or a series of events occurred once, was recorded in the Scriptures, and then at a later time a similitude of the event repeats itself, but with different characters and scene.

An antetype is a type or pattern of something that occurs before the actual event occurs (sometimes incorrectly referred to as an antitype, which means opposite rather than before). In other words, the first event predicts or points prophetically to the future event. This is a way for the Creator to give clues and hints about future events that will come to pass. Those who are ardent students of his Word and those “who have (spiritual) ears to hear” will pick up on these clues and be able to have a sense of what the Creator is going to do at some future date. In this way, those who diligently seek him are rewarded with understanding or “inside information” about what he is planning to do in the future. At the same time, his divine plans and purposes will be obscured from those who don’t have a diligent heart to seek him and his truth, and who could possibly misuse the truth, if they were to discover it, for selfish purposes if they were to learn it.

Similarly, the Gospels record that Yeshua explained deep spiritual truths via parables not to make the meaning clear to the general public, but rather to obscure it. His teachings were meant to be understood only by those whom he had called that they might know the mysteries or secrets of the kingdom of Elohim (Matt 13:10–11; Luke 8:9–10).

For thousands of years, the prophets of the Bible, as well as biblical students, scholars and sages have understood the concept of antetypes and types and it has helped them to understand Bible prophecy and future events.

Biblical antetypes are identified in three ways. First, the Scriptures themselves identify events as being ante­typical. Examples would be:

  • The life of Moses pointed to Yeshua (Deut 18:15–19; Heb 3:3–6).
  • The serpent on the pole pointed to Yeshua’s crucifixion (John 3:14).
  • The rock from which the Israelites drank prefigures Yeshua (1 Cor 10:4).
  • The manna the Israelites ate prefigures the Word of Elohim or flesh of Yeshua (John 6:32, 48–51).
  • Aaron as the high priest was antetypical of Yeshua’s high priesthood (Heb 5, 7 and 8).
  • The sacrificial system pointed to Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross (Heb 9 and 10).
  • Jonah in the whale is a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s death and resurrection (Matt 12:40).
  • Melchizedek was an antetype of Yeshua (Heb 7).
  • The first exodus (or redemption of Israel out of Egypt) was prototypical of a second exodus or redemption of Israel out of the world in the end times (Isa 11:11; Jer 23:7–8).

The Jewish sages from antiquity have also identified antetypes. Examples would be: Continue reading


 

Who are the lost sheep of the house of Israel? Maybe you’re one of them…?!

Lone Sheep

Matthew 10:6, Lost sheep of the house of Israel. The phrase the house of Israel has several possible meanings depending on the context of the surrounding verses in which it is found.

The phrase the house of Israel is used 146 times in the Scriptures. Prior to the division of the united kingdom after the death of Solomon, this phrase referred to all twelve tribes of Israel. Afterwards (during the time of the prophets), it was used in contradistinction to the phrase “house of Judah” in reference to the Northern Kingdom.

In the Testimony of Yeshua, Yeshua makes reference to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt 10:6; 15:54). Elsewhere in the Testimony of Yeshua this term refers to all twelve tribes of Israel (Acts 2:36; 7:42; Heb 8:10), and in some references it refers to just the Northern Kingdom (Heb 8:8). The context of the passage of scripture surrounding this phrase determines its meaning.

Although this phrase can include all the tribes of Israel and not just the Jews who were largely from the tribe of Judah, in Matthew 10:6, Yeshua seems to equate the lost sheep of the house of Israel with the Jews who were living in the land of Israel in his day, and not to the rest of the Israelite tribes who were at that time scattered among the Gentile nations. It was Yeshua’s priority to take the gospel message first to the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, and then to the rest of the world, and he expected his disciples to follow this same pattern (Acts 1:8).

In the larger sense, the Scriptures reveal that all of YHVH’s people have been like sheep that have gone astray spiritually, every man to his own way, because of sin (Isa 53:6). So in the broadest sense, this phrase refers to all the tribes of Israel including Gentiles with which they have mixed themselves through intermarriage.

Eventually, the gospel message is for everyone universally. Yeshua demonstrated this when, on several occasions, he ministered to non-Jewish Gentiles including preaching the gospel message to the Samaritan woman in John chapter four. 


 

Rahab is a prophetic picture of you and me

Joshua 2:1, Rahab. Rahab, the non-Israelite innkeeper and inhabitant of Jericho, was a woman of faith who became a sincere convert to the Israelites’ religion, and ended up becoming an ancestor of David and Yeshua. Throughout Scripture, there are examples of righteous non-Israelites confessing their faith in the Elohim of Israel, choosing to leave behind their pagan cultures and being grafted into the nation of Israel. Who are some other examples of this in Scripture? (See Gen 41:45; Exod 12:38,48–49; Lev 18:26; Num 15:16; Deut 10:19; 31:12; Ruth 1:16.) Rahab was a stranger or alien seeking to be grafted into Israel. What does Scripture say about this class of people?

Stranger (Foreigner or Alien; Heb. nekar). Rahab was a stranger or foreigner to Israel. She is a prophetic picture of Gentiles who come to faith in the Elohim of Israel and are grafted into that nation.

Scripturally the Hebrew word nekar (Strong’s H5236/TWOT 1368b) is used in reference to anything or anyone that is foreign to the religion or people of Israel (Exod 12:43; Deut 31:16; 32:16; Judg 10:16; Neh 9:2; Isa 60:10; Ezek 44:7).

Nekar can also refer to people who forsake their foreign or alien ways and join themselves to the people and to Elohim, the God of Israel, and who take hold of the covenants of Israel (Isa 56:3–6; cp. Eph 2:11–14). In Exodus 12:43 and 48, the KJV uses the word stranger, though in each verse they are two different Hebrew words. In the former, the word nekar is used in reference to those who are not allowed to partake in Passover. In the latter verse, the Hebrew word for stranger is ger (Strong’s H1616/TWOT 330a) meaning “a temporary inhabitant, or a newcomer.”

This word is also translated in the KJV as stranger, or alien, but also carries with it the connotation of “a sojourner.” The TWOT defines a ger as follows: “The root means to live among people who are not blood relatives; thus, rather than enjoying native civil rights, the ger was dependent on the hospitality that played an important role in the ancient near east.… The ger in Israel was largely regarded as a proselyte. He was to be present for the solemn reading of the [Torah] Law (Deut 31:12) showing that he was exposed to its demands. The law concerning unleavened bread applied to him as well as the native (Exod 12:19) and a circumcised ger could keep Passover (Exod 12:48f.; Num 9:14).” He was also included in the celebration of the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:29), the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Deut 16:14), like the native he was forbidden from worshipping foreign gods (Lev 17:8), and was forbidden from eating blood (Lev 17:10, 12, 13). The laws of sexual chastity applied to him as well as to the native (Lev 18:26) along with the Sabbath laws (Exod 20:10; 23:12). He experienced the same legal and civil rights as a native Israelite (Deut 1:16; 24:17; 27:19) and Israel was to not oppress the ger (Exod 22:21; Deut 10:19) but to love him as themselves (Lev 19:34) (The TWOT, vol. 1, pp. 155–156)

In brief, Israel’s treatment of the ger was a means of evangelizing the world with the message of YHVH’s Torah-truth. All could come into a spiritual relationship with the Elohim of Israel without respect to ethnicity and there was one Torah (i.e., YHVH’s instructions, teachings or precepts in righteousness) for both Israelite and non-Israelite. Indeed, this was the driving force behind Paul’s passion for the Gentiles (or people of the nations).

Realizing the basis of evangelism from the Tanakh and the command to make proselytes by bringing aliens and strangers into the covenants and commonwealth of Israel and into a righteous relationship with the Elohim of Israel may help us to understand Paul’s statements in Ephesians 2:11–19 (cp. 1 Pet 2:8–11).

As we study the concept of the stranger’s relationship to Elohim, to the people and Torah covenants of Israel, it is interesting to note that Scripture nowhere indicates that YHVH would ever make a new or different covenant with the Gentiles or have different standards of righteousness for them than for Israel. Rather, the Gentiles were expected to assimilate into Israel, become Israel, follow the laws of Israel and be treated as Israel. This rule of law for the people of El never changed even through the apostolic age despite what most Christian biblicists teach to the contrary. Remember, YHVH stated clearly that he does not change (Mal 3:6), and Yeshua taught that any religious tradition of men that nullifies the Word of YHVH should be ignored (Mark 7:7–9).