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3 November, 2016 15:08

November 3, 2016

WHO IS MAKING WHO JEALOUS?

Saul of Tarsus was certainly no fan of the early Church. His zeal drove him to plunder, persecute, prosecute and imprison whomever he came across belonging to The Way. Entering house after house he destroyed God’s fledgling flock, causing them to be scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. His very name evoked fear in all who heard it. Then it happened. Saul had an encounter with the Living God. This once proud Pharisee became the apostle to the very dogs he formally despised. Saul, their one time arch adversary, became their chief advocate. So great was his conversion and his subsequent revelation of God’s grace that he became even more zealous. Now Paul’s zeal turned against his former manner of life and against those Judaizers who sought to infiltrate his former enemies in the Church. So radical was Paul’s conversion that he compared his former religious life as one of bondage or slavery. Paul relished his new freedom in Christ. No longer was he striving to please God through his own efforts. No longer was he under an obligation to observe days and months and seasons and years which he referred to as weak, worthless, and elemental things leading back into slavery.

Paul was a changed man. Christ meant everything to him. Christ was his treasure in the field, his pearl of great price, his unspeakable gift. He soon realized that all the types and shadows he had grown up observing and zealously lived for were mere dung in comparison to Christ.

While Paul consistently loathed and opposed those Judaizers who insisted that the Gentile believers be circumcised as well as keep the law of Moses, he also carried a great burden for his own people, Israel, that they might be saved.

In his writings to the Romans Paul stated that Israel’s transgression led to salvation coming to the Gentiles, but then he adds “to make them jealous.” Israel’s calling was to be a light to the nations. It was their job to make us jealous, but now Paul says the shoe is on the other foot. It is now the Church’s job to make Israel jealous.

By now you may be asking where am I going with all this? I’m glad you asked. I’m concerned with what I see happening throughout the Body of Christ. Over the last decade or so as the Church has become increasingly aware of it’s responsibility to pray for and support Israel, there has risen the subtle yet false belief that Israel is somehow superior to the Church. As a result many are being drawn back to the types and shadows, festivals and Sabbaths, etc. In other words, Israel is now causing God’s people to be jealous for her ways rather than God’s people causing Israel to be jealous for Christ.

This got me thinking. I wonder how the Apostle Paul would react today if he were to tune into some religious broadcast extolling the virtues of a prayer shawl or hearing the clamor over blood moons and shemitahs. Added to that is the constant reminder that this is the beginning of such and such a feast or festival. Why have these days, seasons and Sabbaths proven to be more exciting than Christ? Why has the Feast of Passover become more attractive to God’s people than the communion celebration that replaced it? Why do these Old Testament types stir so much passion? Paul himself states they are merely a shadow of things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

My concern is that there is a new breed of Judaizers who unwittingly are causing the Church to be drawn back into bondage and slavery. While that may not be their intention, nevertheless, they dress, act, and emphasize what the writer to the Hebrews declared to be over with. “He takes away the first in order to establish the second.” I believe if Paul were here today his message would remain the same; “You foolish believers, who has bewitched you…” “Stand fast in the liberty in which Christ has made you free and be NOT entangled again with the yoke of BONDAGE”.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. L Young permalink
    November 4, 2016 9:46 pm

    Absolutely agree with you. As one who initially enjoyed learning of our Hebrew roots in the late 90’s, as a believer in Christ I started to use Hebrew names and celebrate the feasts and kosher food. Then I watched in horror as believers I knew turned ito ‘Messianic sects and one man I know rejected Christ and embraced Judaism. The Lord used Paul’s letter to the Galatians to wake me up before it was too late. By the way, we were not making the Jews jealous, we were losing our testimony! My story. Thanks for highlighting this problem! L

  2. Al . W permalink
    November 5, 2016 4:44 am

    I once belonged to a church which observed all these sabbaths and feast. It was as religious as could be and the law gave one a sense of security but no personal relationship with christ. When i had my road to damascus experience everything changed. I too agree with your analisis. As i know and lived under the law and under grace . Only when i came out from under the law did i truly have christ in me and with me. Thank you so much for reminding us / me of being carful not to be bewitched again . After observing the same movement i too am going to be a voice that speaks this truth and though i see the magnification of the law i live in the completed work of christ.

  3. November 12, 2016 11:35 am

    David, Thank you for the stark reminder, I have noticed these things as well, but unlike you I did not see it as lifting up tradition over Christ, looking to something more than Christ. I even thought perhaps it might be better if we were to look at and even go back to some of these “Laws” and “Festivals” hoping it could help us wake up in this generation.

    Thank you for the correction.

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