Question: I have read your articles on replacement theology and Israel. You stated that Gentiles observing the festivals and other Torah laws were frauds. Could you please explain? | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

Question:I have read your articles on replacement theology and Israel. You stated that Gentiles observing the festivals and other Torah laws were frauds. Could you please explain?

Response: That is not what I actually said, nor would I accuse those who sincerely think they are doing God's will of being "frauds." I would reserve that term for those to whom it properly applies. What I did say, in October 2005, was that "for a Gentile to keep those [Jewish] feasts today would be a fraud"--and I stand by that.

The Passover, for example, was clearly to be kept by Jews as a "memorial" of the deliverance of their ancestors from slavery in Egypt and as proof that they were the chosen people of "the God of Israel" to whom that land belongs today. It would, therefore, be improper for Gentiles to celebrate the Passover--and the same is true of the other Jewish feasts. Though all relate to the gospel symbolically, they are specifically for Jews to keep as part of their heritage in relation to the land God gave to them alone.

And yes, I have made it clear that I reject categorically the very word "Messianic." It is confusing and is not found in the Bible. To speak of a "Messianic Movement," or "Messianic Christians," or "Messianic Jews," etc., is not biblical. Such expressions were never used by Christ, the apostles, or the early church. Yet one gets the impression from "Messianic" believers that they are being more biblical by using that term.

The Hebrew word Messiah (mashiah) appears only twice in the Old Testament, both in the same passage (Dn 9:25,26). The Greek form of it, Messias, appears only twice in the New Testament (Jn:1:41; 4:25). In Israel, prophet, priest, and king had to be anointed with a special oil symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The words "Messiah" and "Christ" signified the Anointed One, in whom all three offices would be fulfilled.

In contrast to only four appearances of "Messiah/Messias" in the entire Bible, the word "Christ" (Gr. Christos) occurs hundreds of times in the New Testament. So it would seem more biblical to refer to "Christ Movement," or "Christ Christians," or "Christ Jews" than to "Messianic." That word purports to call us back to the Jewish roots of our faith. Unfortunately, "Messianic-whatever" implies that observing Jewish practices ensures that one will be closer to God--and it often becomes an excuse for imposing the law and Jewish observances upon Gentile Christians. This is unbiblical and something Paul combated in his epistle to the Galatians.

The gospel is all about Christ, who died for the sins of the world. Everyone, Jew or Gentile, must believe on Christ in order to be saved. All who believe on our Lord Jesus Christ in response to the gospel have embraced the Messiah--but not in the exclusively Jewish sense of the Anointed One who will rescue Israel at Armageddon and reign on the throne of David forever.

The term "Messianic Christian" makes an unbiblical distinction between two classes of Christians: "Messianic" and "Non-Messianic." Yet Jews and Gentiles who believe the gospel have been made one in Christ. If one is a Christian, whether Jew or Gentile, he has believed on Christ the Messiah as Lord and Savior. There is no other basis of salvation. What more could the "Messianic Movement" offer? Obviously, nothing.

The gospel that the apostles preached and that we are to preach doesn't even have the word "Messiah" in it. The gospel is that "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Cor:15:1-8). It would not be more biblical to preach, "Believe on the Messiah, who died for our sins." The early church was all Jews, but it is never called "Messianic."

Scripture refers to "Jews...Gentiles...the church of God" (1 Cor:10:32). "Messianic" describes none of these three. Both Jews and Gentiles who believe on Jesus before He comes visibly at Armageddon are in the church; Jews and Gentiles who do not receive Christ as Savior and Lord until He appears at the Second Coming will inhabit the earth for eternity--Jews in the special relationship to their Messiah promised to Israel, Gentiles as part of the nations that remain on earth (Rv 21:24; 22:2) along with Israel but distinct from her.

Again, it is presently impossible for anyone to be "Messianic" because all who believe on Christ (Jew or Gentile) are in the church, with Christ ruling as Lord in their hearts. They are part of the bride that will rule and reign with Him eternally. They will not be among the Jewish subjects in the Kingdom over whom the Messiah will reign on the throne of David. To call some Christians "Messianic" is not biblical but confusing.

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