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There’s a religious fad sweeping nominal Christianity, that of indulging in Jewish worship practices and traditions. Many searchers have determined there are precious truths to be discovered in types and shadows, with great and rare blessings. Seekers are flocking to this thinking because they are empty spiritually. They’re unfulfilled in their churches and their systems of belief and worship; they’re unfulfilled within because in unbelief.
This is a curious and sad thing. What have Jews circumcised only in the flesh had to offer, more than Jews circumcised in the heart? The apostle Paul writes to the Roman assembly of saints:
“But I say, Did Israel not know? First Moses says, ‘I will provoke you [Jews in the flesh] to jealousy by them that are no people [Gentiles], and by a foolish nation [Gentiles] I will anger you.’ But Isaiah is very bold, and says, ‘I was found of them that sought Me not [Gentiles]; I was made manifest to them that asked not after Me [Gentiles].’ But to Israel [Jews in the flesh, without circumcised hearts], He says, ‘All day long I have stretched forth My hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people’” (Romans 10:19-21: Deuteronomy 32:21; Isaiah 65:1).
The people flocking to Jewish worship practices and traditions often profess to be born-again believers. The above Scripture declares that it is the believing, circumcised-in-the-heart Gentiles who are to be provoking the unbelieving Jews to jealousy, not the other way around. But what we see are spiritually empty professing believers seeking to be fed by the customs of those who are just as empty themselves, still locked in their shadows and ordinances, without the Christ Reality.
I would liken such a seeker to one who should be a teacher in high school, yet goes back to kindergarten as a student because he simply doesn’t have what he thinks he should have or would like to have. He’s looking to those who should be his students for his education, instead of being able to minister to their dire needs. These professing believers believe the Messianic movements to be the most recent and wonderful, if not final, move of the Spirit of God in this last day; they are looking to darkness as the brightest of lights.
Jesus Christ came in the flesh 2,000 years ago to fulfill many of the types and shadows religious Jews practise today, found both inside and outside the Messianic circles. After His coming, the Reality within was made available for all. As Peter said to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem at Pentecost:
“Repent, and be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the Holy Spirit, for the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord your God shall call” (Acts 2:38-39).
One can be immersed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Fountain of Life – God Himself. If so, what need is there of ceremonies, ordinances, types, and shadows? One can and must have the Essential Fulfillment. Why would I, having the kernel of grain, continue to focus on the chaff?
You who are a grafted branch of the olive tree will find nothing worthwhile in the dead leaves and twigs of branches long ago cast off. The fruit you seek ought to be in the grafted branch – in you. You need to go forward, not backward; upward, not downward; inward, not outward. You need to seek the Lord God Himself, and if you do so with all your heart and soul, you’ll find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
“He that comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37).
Jesus Christ can’t be satisfied with formalized worship, as many suppose. He wants your heart. For many, worship becomes an end in itself and therefore usurps the glory of God. When you indulge in formal worship practices, don’t think for a moment you’re pleasing God – you’re not. You’re simply manifesting a religious spirit that likes to think it’s in control and pleasing God, but is only pleasing itself:
Colossians 2:20-23 MKJV
(20) If then you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to its ordinances:
(21) touch not, taste not, handle not;
(22) which things are all for corruption in the using, according to the commands and doctrines of men?
(23) These things indeed have a reputation of wisdom in self-imposed worship and humility, and unsparing severity of the body, but are not of any value for the satisfying of the flesh.
“For the Law which has a shadow of good things to come, not the very image of the things, appearing year by year with the same sacrifices, which they offer continually, they are never able to perfect those drawing near” (Hebrews 10:1 MKJV).
(Read The Worship of God.)
This is not a condemnation of Jews, or even of Jewish ceremony and tradition. When the Lord opens the eyes of the Jews and they believe, they’ll know the meaning of the words Jesus spoke to the woman at the well:
“Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:21-24).
Since Christ came in the flesh, many Gentiles have believed, while the Jews, for the most part, haven’t. So now in this world, we have Jews in the flesh and Jews in the spirit (those born again). God’s purpose is that all will be made Jews in the spirit (man completed in His image):
“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Romans 2:28-29).
The Jews in the spirit are the ones who indeed know what they worship, while the Jews in the flesh cannot and do not.
Whether you’re a Jew in the flesh or not, if you’re a Jew in the spirit and walking in faith, you’ll know Whom you worship. If you’re in darkness as a Jew in the spirit, repent of your sins and gods and turn to the Lord with your whole heart, believe, and obey, and you’ll find the Way.
Then, rather than looking to Jews in the flesh for guidance, you’ll be teaching both them and Gentiles the Way of Truth by example, presenting to them their Messiah, the Hope of Israel.
You may also wish to read The Error of Insisting on Using Hebrew Names for God.
Consider the alternative: If you’re the Lord’s, you’re already a true Jew, without types and shadows. Seek the Light of men that you may be light to lead, instead of one searching in the darkness of shadows, which shadows merely foretold of a better day, a day you ought to know.
Gary Amirault (correspondent in our last series, Public Promoters of Falsehood Confronted Publicly) replied by sending us an article from J. Preston Eby. Quotes from the article appear in Victor’s reply. Gary also gave us this comment with the article: I think you two would have much more success if you took a real long look at how you operate. This article might shed some light on what I’m talking about.
God prohibits our making or having images in a context of worshipping Him. However, man, in his unbelief, prefers a visible god to the Invisible One. Images are a sure sign of false religion and are widely used in nominal Christendom. Whereas images are seen as enhancing worship, God sternly commanded the children of Israel to destroy them, which tells us how odious to God and dangerous to man images are.
The new birth is one in which we are born of God, born again by His Spirit. Does God sleep? If He doesn’t sleep, and we are in union with Him, born of His Spirit, then how can we ever sleep? Yes, in body we sleep - our outer man perishes - but our new birth in Christ precludes death or sleep of the inner man.