Is there anything that unifies Judaism and Christianity? Who is the Holy Nation? Who will populate the Kingdom spoken of in the gospel? How does Judaism affirm their faith? What about Christianity? Can we determine the identity of the Holy Nation by their prayers?
If we look at the most visible affirmation of faith from both camps, we can find a unifying theme! They are similar!
The most common prayer of Judaism is the Sh’ma. According to Judaism, the first prayer to say in the morning, the last one to recite at night, and your final words at death is the Sh’ma! Christians have a similar affinity for the ‘Lord’s Prayer.’ They both contain the Gospel of the Kingdom!
Let’s look at the Sh’ma first. What do we find hidden within the Sh’ma?
HERE IS THE SH’MA:
Deu 6:4 Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: [FIRST Commandment]
Deu 6:5 and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. [2nd: HAVE NO OTHER gods BEFORE ME]
Deu 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; [All the commandments given to Moses!]
Deu 6:7 and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. [5th: HONOR FATHER AND MOTHER]
Deu 6:8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes.
Deu 6:9 And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates.
Within the body of the Sh’ma it declares the Commandments handed to Moses “shall be” (not “should be,” not “might be”) but, Shall Be upon your heart! This makes it clear that the Torah is to be written on your heart!
Who knew? I thought that was a ‘New Testament’ concept!
WHAT ABOUT THE LORD’S PRAYER?
Christians, across the board, recite the Lord’s Prayer. How is it the same?
Here is the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father who art in Heaven [1st commandment] Hallowed be thy name [3rd commandment] Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done [What is His will?] on earth as it is in Heaven. [Same Law above and below]. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen [apparently His Kingdom is defined and guided by His Will.]
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE CALL TRESPASSES (SIN)?
1Jn 3:4 Everyone who keeps living in sin also practices disobedience. In fact, sin is disobedience.
Sin is Disobedience to what? His Will! His Torah!
1Jn 3:5 You know that the Messiah was revealed to take away sins, and there is not any sin in him. 6 No one who remains in union with him keeps on sinning. The one who keeps on sinning hasn’t seen him or known him.
Verse six says that it is possible to live without sinning! So we should understand that He came to teach people HOW to live without sin, not abolish the reality of what sin is and how it is defined by YHVH himself!
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
How did Yeshua deal with temptation? He answered with Scripture! “It is written…” And what was written and quoted by Yeshua was the Torah!
Indeed, if you do your own word study on what is ‘evil’ you may be surprised to find that transgression of the law is ‘evil.’
BACK TO THE SH’MA
Just a few verses after the Sh’ma we find additional information! It is another re-iteration of the Commandments!
Deu 6:12 be careful not to forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and slavery. [1st Commandment: See Exodus 20:2]
Deu 6:13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him, and make your oaths in his name. [Exodus 20:3 and 7]
Deu 6:14 Do not follow other gods, from the gods of the peoples around you. [Exodus 20:4-6]
Deu 6:15 For the LORD your God who is among you is a jealous God. He will turn his anger against you and destroy you from the surface of the land.”
Deu 6:16 “Don’t test the LORD your God like you tried to do in Massah. [And like Satan tested Yeshua in the desert.]
Deu 6:17 Be sure to observe the commands of the LORD your God, his testimonies and his decrees that he gave you. [How to avoid doing evil!]
Deu 6:18 Do what is good and right in the LORD’s sight so it may go well with you. Then you’ll enter and possess the good land that the LORD your God promised to your ancestors,
IS THE GOOD LAND THAT WAS PROMISED THE KINGDOM?
We pray for the coming Kingdom on Earth. What is the Kingdom?
Would it surprise you to know that the Apostles all taught the Gospel of the Kingdom prior to the crucifixion and resurrection?
Wait! What? I thought the ‘gospel’ was the life, death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua!
Let’s look at that.
Did you ever notice that Yeshua himself taught the Gospel of the Kingdom?
Mat_4:23 Then he went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every illness among the people. 35 Then Jesus began traveling throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every illness.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Do you think that Yeshua went around and taught that He was going to die and be resurrected? And furthermore did he say it was all about what He was going to do in order to abolish the law?
What did Yeshua teach? Who did he come to reach?
He said: “I was sent only for the ‘lost sheep.’
What did he actually teach people? How did people respond?
DID YESHUA DO “ALTAR CALLS”
Yeshua came to save us, right? But, save us from what?
When He was walking among us, did he do altar calls? Did He instruct us to invite him into our hearts?
That is what is expected today, but it is a relatively new ‘invention’ to have people raise their hand, or go to the altar, or sign a card in order to ‘accept Jesus into their heart’ and, presumably get their eternal ticket of salvation punched.
We have had an invitation to write the Word (Yeshua/ the Word made Flesh) onto our hearts since the commandments were handed to Moses!
“And these words which I have commanded you today shall be upon your hearts.” (Deuteronomy 6:6)
So, when we learn, accept and obey His Word (the Torah) we are, in fact, inviting Him into our hearts! Do you see?
YESHUA’S GREATEST TEACHING
But, didn’t everything change at Pentecost? The Holy Spirit made the church, right?
What did Yeshua teach?
Most folks think it was three things: Judge Not; Think Not; and Love God and your Neighbor.
That looks kind of incomplete or simplistic doesn’t it?
The Bible tells us to be discerning. We are to judge with righteous judgment.
What is ‘righteous’ judgment?
Jer_21:12 This is what the LORD says, house of David: “Judge appropriately every morning, and deliver those who have been robbed from the oppressor, so my anger does not break out like fire and burn with no one to put it out because of your evil deeds.
Joh_5:30 I can do nothing on my own accord. I judge according to what I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”
Joh_8:16 Yet even if I should judge, my judgment would be valid, because it is not I alone who judges, but I and the one who sent me. [that’s Two Witnesses!]
Joh_12:48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has something to judge him: The word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day,
Joh_5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Joh_7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Righteous Judgment comes from YHVH. The Word that was shouted down at Mt. Sinai – the same words that Yeshua spoke!
LOVE GOD AND LOVE NEIGHBOR
I have written about the ‘greatest commandment’ before. In a nutshell: the Torah is our guide on HOW to Love God and Love our Neighbor. For it is written:
Mat 22:40 “On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”
Should we stop at this admonition from Yeshua? What does the whole verse say?
Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete. [The Torah (Law) and the Prophets is a term used for the pre-Messianic Scriptures.]
Mat 5:18 “For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.
Need a second witness?
Luke 16:17 “And it is easier for the heaven and the earth to pass away than for one tittle of the Torah to fall.
So, instead of ‘think not!’: Think This!
Has ALL been accomplished? Has Heaven or Earth passed away? If not, then Yeshua says that not one of the tiniest strokes of the pen will fall! He’s speaking of the TORAH!
How can we justify selecting a few bits here and there to follow and ignore the rest?
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM?
What about the phrase: ‘Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done?’
Remember? Yeshua taught the ‘gospel of the kingdom!’ Was it all about Him, or was it all about the Kingdom of YHVH?
Mat_24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Mar_1:14 Now after John had been arrested, Jesus went to Galilee and proclaimed the gospel about the kingdom of God.
Mar_1:15 He said, “The time is now! The kingdom of God is near! Repent, and keep believing the gospel!”
Yeshua said to keep believing the gospel! Yes!
What IS the Gospel?
Just after Yeshua re-stated the Sh’ma, and how the greatest commandments are to Love YHVH and Love our Neighbor as ourselves, we see this verse that gives us a clue to the Kingdom.
Mar 12:32 Then the scribe told him, “Well said, Teacher! You have told the truth that ‘God is one, and there is no other besides him.’
Mar 12:33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Mar 12:34 When Jesus saw how wisely the man answered, he told him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one dared to ask him another question.
And, as we discovered earlier in this article, the Sh’ma is a re-affirmation of the Ten Commandments handed to Moses. The Commandments which are suspended and animated by Love – as defined by YHVH!
Where we get into trouble, is when we claim ‘love’ trumps the Torah of YHVH. They are inseparable. Just as Yeshua is inseparable from YHVH!
KINGDOM OF YHVH
We keep revisiting the Exodus and Mt. Sinai events! Isn’t that convicting?
What were we told? What was the purpose? Scripture is clear:
Exo_19:6 but you are to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation to me.’ These are the words you are to declare to the Israelis.”
Deu 26:17 You have declared this very day that the LORD will be your God. You are to walk in his ways, keep his statutes, commands, and judgments, and obey his voice. 18 The LORD affirmed this day that you are his prized possession. Therefore observe his commands, 19 so he may elevate you far above all the nations that he has made. Then you will live to the praise, fame, and glory of God, and so be a nation that is holy to the LORD your God, as he has promised.”
WHAT IS THE COMMON DENOMINATOR?
What is the common theme? What is the foundation upon which those who believe the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must stand?
Judaism says the Sh’ma! The same words quoted by Yeshua, so there is no doubt about its validity!
Christianity recites the “Lord’s Prayer” and calls for His Kingdom to come and reign on Earth as in Heaven. The same words that Yeshua taught his disciples to say!
DO YOU SEE HOW THEY ARE ONE AND THE SAME?
What is the Kingdom? It is repeated over and over. His Kingdom is the Holy Nation whose GOD is YHVH! It is the House of Israel (which includes the House of Judah!); both the natural branches and those grafted in! We stand upon the commandments (Torah) of YHVH. It always has, and it always will be our foundation. Yeshua is the Torah made Flesh. YHVH’s Law and Yeshua are eternal. Write that on the tablet of your heart! HalleluYah!
For more information: see The Lost Sheep, Pentecost the beginning of the church? The Series on the Ten Commandments: Are they for today? Parts One through Six and other articles at the Writer’s Corner!