In my previous article I discussed the different sources of deception that would exist in the times we are now living in. One of these sources of deception was the prophets in the midst of the nation as in the days of Jeremiah.
8 “For thus said יהוה of hosts, Elohim of Yisra’ěl, ‘Let not your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, neither listen to the dreams which you are dreaming.
During the last week I was exposed to one great example of this deception that is currently within our midst. We have a group of people within the Messianic fold that are subscribing to the teaching that believers in Y’Shua (Messianic or Christian) are not required to keep the commandments of YHVH. They believe that only “Jews” are Israel and that the requirement of keeping Torah is exclusively for them. They also have their own terms and definitions to segregate the different groups from one another and then sort them into different covenants. Like any other successful lie this is based on half truths. My discussion with this group this past week lead to no positive outcome. I have decided not to spend anymore time discussing this with them.
However, when working through this discussion in my mind afterwards, the discussion started becoming very familiar to me, but I was not able to place this. The next morning the penny dropped for me and I realized why all of this argumentation was so familiar. For those that do not know yet, I grew up in South Africa and have now relocated to Europe. It was my South African history that lead me to the answer – this is simply another form of apartheid! Allow me to explain to you why I believe that the two are very similar on more than one level. Other forms of religious apartheid has already existed in other parts of the world as well, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Saudi Arabia are some examples.
South African apartheid
Let me explain to you in simple terms my experience and understanding of apartheid as practiced in South Africa. The National Party government of South Africa decided around 1948 after their election, to separate the people of the nation according to their race. The National party was responsible for creating this classification and then assigned every South African into one of these four categories (White, Asian, colored and native). If a native could proof that one of his/her parents or grandparents was white, they were allowed to move from the bottom of the rankings (native) to a bit higher ranking (colored). Unofficially there was also within the white population a separation based on your language. if your mother tongue was Afrikaans, you were one of the true settlers (Dutch, French, German) but if you spoke English you were part of the British support that ended with the election in 1948 when the Unionists (part of the then ruling alliance) was kicked out of office. The “bad blood” between these groups remained until the generations that remember the Anglo Boer War had passed away.
In order to understand the similarities, we also need to look at the system of apartheid from the National Party’s point of view. Remember that the first National Party leader, DF Malan was a Protestant cleric who knew the Bible and believed that what they were doing was in line with scripture. Let me provide a very simplistic summary of what their justification was:
1. Nobody was denied residence in South Africa. Everybody could be a South African citizen. We simply had several groups within the same nation.
2. Every group was allowed to manage their own affairs and except for the natives, everybody had a vote! However, some racial grouping’s vote counted more than another. This was the foundation of the Tricameral Parliament that came into existence in 1983.
3. Nobody was refused land ownership. it was simply a fact that the minority could decide where you may own land. Thus they created 10 separate homelands where natives could live and rule themselves (provided that the National Party agreed to their rulings)
4. Everybody was afforded basic human rights (remember this is from their point-of-view not mine.) During the years of apartheid, the National Party even forced white employers to pay for the construction of accommodation for their workers. They continued building hospitals (Baragwanath with 3200 beds was the largest hospital in the world), schools (15 new classrooms for blacks every working day, every year) and other infrastructure in the areas demarcated for other racial groups. Of course the allocation of funds were never proportionate to the population of the nation, but statistically they could proof that they provided for the basic human needs of all groups. Some of the biggest anti-apartheid area spokes-people like Desmond Tutu (Archbischop of Cape Town and Nobel price winner) were trained to become a teacher and later pastor within the South African educational system.
These four points above are not to justify or legitimate apartheid, but simply to show to you that the practitioners of apartheid believed that they did not do anybody damage by simply keeping them apart and allowing each to live and develop on it’s own. The purpose of this history lesson is for me to be able to draw some parallels for you to the current teachings that are doing the rounds regarding the separation of “Messianic Jews” and “Messianic Gentiles”. My understanding of this doctrine is based on the blog post I mentioned earlier ( Torah Fundamentals, #1 by Derek Leman ) and the documents released by First Fruits of Zion. As I said, I was never given the opportunity to finish my discussion on this site, but based on what I learned, here is my comparison.
The false doctrine
This doctrine also divides the believers into several groupings:
1. Jews – These are the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose parents (father and/or mother) kept their association with the Jewish nation throughout the generations. It also includes the people that have decided by free will to “convert” to Judaism. This conversion process is a man-made institution whereby a board of Jews can decide if another person has learned enough of their ways to also be called a Jew. Thus, inclusion in this group is a board decision by members already part of this group. Within this group also exists several smaller groups (Ultra-Orthodox, Chasidic, Reformed, etc…) as well as some unofficial groups like Karaite and Messianic Jews. These last two groups are not officially welcomed by the first group and therefor do not have all the same privileges (right to Israeli citizenship etc..) but they are better than the rest of the groups I will mention later. Once your parents have decided to leave this club (convert to another religion or not be part of synagogue) your membership is also “suspended”. You have to officially return to the club by proving to the “board” that you have learned enough to return. This group are in covenant with YHVH under the covenant of the Torah and are required to keep all the applicable laws (Torah and Mishna). By keeping the Torah, they will receive the blessing that have been described in Deuteronomy 28 & Leviticus 26.
2. “Messianic Gentiles” – “(Two-Housers, One Law folk, Sacred Namers, gentiles in Messianic congregations, and so on)” are people that have associated them with the Elohim of Israel but were not natively born into the Jewish nation. Thus, they believe the same as the Messianic Jews and some may even live the way they do, but do not have an active Jewish lineage. They may have been part of the Jewish nation many generations ago, but their family has not practiced Judaism for a couple of generations. This group is not required to keep all the commandments of Torah, unlike the previous group, and they are invited to keep Torah, provided that they keep their respect for the first group’s superiority in YHVH’s eyes. They base this on their interpretation of Acts 15. They are also welcome to join into the synagogues or congregations of Messianic Jews but are not allowed to participate in all the feasts of YHVH (Pesach) unless they are circumcised. They should also not keep the same customs and traditions like Bar/Bat Mitzvah or Bris as the first group. They are under the Messianic covenant of Y’Shua together with the next group. Even if they choose YHVH and follow all His commandments, they have no covenantal difference with the following group. These gentiles may be grafted into the tree (Jewish nation), but will never be the same as the first group.
3. Christians – This group believe in YHVH and His son Y’Shua, and believe that the law of Moses does not apply to them. Their actions have no impact, as they are under the grace of YHVH. As long as they keep their faith in Y’Shua the Ruach haQuodesh will lead them where they need to be. Some may still keep the 10 commandments but most believe that the only laws that apply to them is to love YHVH and their neighbors. This is also the biggest of the groups mentioned so far.
4. Non believers – These people do not believe in YHVH and have no salvation.
a. This is a man-made separation. Nowhere in scripture is there ever any mention of a conversion ceremony or is anybody given authority to decide who is part of YHVH’s people. Good examples of the contrary are Caleb and Ruth who both became part of YHVH’s nation without any mentioned ceremony. They did however choose to follow YHVH and keep His commandments.
b. They (Messianic Jews) believe that they are treating all groups fairly and they were given the mandate to make up the rules for the segregation. One of them can decide if you are allowed to move from one group to another. This is actually very ironic if you realize that they are not even officially recognized as Jewish by the majority of Jews. In the conversation it was clearly stated that they will be able to remain “special” by keeping others out – “When everyone is super, no one will be.” They do not seem to realize that keeping the nation in tact is not a human responsibility. YHVH has done it for thousands of years and He will keep on doing it as this is a promise He made.
c. The grouping that is trying to run the show is the minority and they need to keep enough peace among the groupings to ensure that they are not overrun. Their group is also a minority in the bigger scheme of things and unless they protect it with this artificial system, it will most likely shrink even more. Thus allow people to join them but not replace them.
d. The money they make also lies with the non-Jews, thus they need to give them enough freedom not to alienate them. This explains the doctrine of certain ministries becoming more and more Christian friendly. More of their products are aimed at assuring the Christians that they do not need to change their lifestyles. However, they do have the choice to allow YHVH a bit further into their lives if they so choose.
However this said, we should realize that there is some differences with apartheid as well:
1. The distinction between those that choose to follow YHVH and those that don’t is real and scriptural.
2. YHVH has chosen the nation of Israel to be His people and He will protect them even if they do not choose Him. This is the message He sent to Pharaoh via Moses.
22 “And you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus said יהוה, “Yisra’ěl is My son, My first-born,
This is the main message that He gave through Hosea. Thus, we should recognize the fact that YHVH also makes a distinction between His people and the rest. The gentiles coming to faith will not be better than the Jews, they will be equal in His eyes.
3. The question of “Who is Israël ?” does not have a simple answer. In order for us to answer this question we will have to get very specific with our definitions of Israel, His people, Judah etc… I will address this in a future post.
4. As stated more than once by Paul, I do not have to be Jewish (circumcised is the term that Paul uses for the Jewish people) to be saved. You can remain a gentile and still have salvation in Y’Shua.
When I look at this doctrine I see the works of man, just like the apartheid regime. If it smells like fish and looks like fish it most likely is fish. Both the Messianic Jews and the National Party intended to do good for all, but believe that the only way they can keep the supremacy of a minority group is by segregation. This has never worked in the political field and I also believe that this will not succeed in the environment of YHVH’s people.
YHVH is the One that makes the distinction and His distinction has also been simple, those that choose Me and those that don’t. Thus like the apartheids regime, YHVH will make an end to this man made classification of His people.
My biggest concern with this doctrine, and why I felt really forced to write this, is the doctrine of an “optional” Torah for those that are not born Jewish. This is one of the deceptions that have come from within our own midst. Look out!
16 ‘There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.’ ”
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