Friday, May 20, 2011

Testaments: Old and New?

Old testament, new testament.  It sounds like one is done, past, obsolete; the other is the cool, hip new thing.  The old has gone, the new has come.  But is that really what is going on?

Imagine you are a Jewish person, and a Christian friend keeps referring to your Holy Scriptures as "The Old Testament," making them seem obsolete.  Don't you think that would bother you a bit?  I think it would bother me if I were the Jewish person.

Jewish people call their Holy Scriptures the Tanakh, which is an acronym for Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim (The teachings - also translated "law" - the writings, and the prophets).   The Torah (the first five books of the Bible) is also called the Pentateuch in Greek.  Messianic Jews also follow what is popularly known as the New Testament, but they often refer to it either as the Messianic Writings or the B'rit Hadashah (which means new covenant).

Why do so many churches today treat the Tanakh like it doesn't apply anymore?  When you take a look at our early church history, it makes sense.

The ancient church distanced itself from Judaism (even making Jewish practices illegal), and declared itself the new Israel.  "God is done with Israel," they declared.  "It's all about us now."  It is called Replacement Theology, and it has led to the horrible treatment of Jewish people throughout history.

Friends, there is SO MUCH in the Tanakh that points to the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua haMashiach.   The influence of the ancient Roman church and their obliteration of anything Jewish, sadly, has kept many of these teachings out of the modern church.  But the ancient scriptures are still there, just waiting for us to dig into them, like a wonderful hidden gold mine.

Look at Acts 17:10-12  "Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men."

It was through study of the scriptures that the Jews and also many Greeks realized that what they were hearing was true.  What scriptures?  The Tanakh, of course. The messianic writings hadn't even been written and/or compiled yet! 

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