Many Christians believe that Yeshua started a new religion. In fact, many in the Jewish community would be hard-pressed to describe what the Jewish faith of Yeshua looked like in 1st Century Judea. Christians are adamant that if one is to receive salvation, they must have faith in Jesus and must imitate Him. However, in what way do we imitate Him? What was the faith of Yeshua like? How did He express His faith?
The Jews Were Searching for Messiah
Men of the Jewish faith that were searching the Scriptures and actually “looking for the Messiah. They must have known He was coming soon.
Andrew was a diligent disciple of John the Baptist. He had been diligently looking for the Redeemer who was prophesied to come to be baptized in the Jordon. In fact, all of John’s disciples had been waiting, watching for this moment. They had been listening to the prophetic teachings of the “one that would come before Him in the spirit of Elijah.” It was foretold that when the Messiah would go down in the water, it would be witnessed that the Spirit would fall on Him and remain.
Then Yochanan gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and remaining on him. …the one who sent me to immerse in water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining, One this is the one who immerses in the Ruach HaKodesh.’ 34 And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God.” John1:32-34
The Word says crowds were there at the Jordon in great numbers.
Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the region around the Jordan. Matthew 3:5
As soon as Andrew witnessed the prophecy that was given to John and the Spirit lighted upon Yeesahua, he ran to get his brother Simon and brought him to meet the Messiah. They left everything to follow Him. It was at this point after He was baptized in the River Jordon near Jericho, the Word says Yeshua began to assemble His team of disciples. The mindset of this team becomes more apparent as we read what Philp says to his friend Nathaniel:
“We’ve found the one that Moshe wrote about in the Torah, also the Prophets — it’s Yeshua Ben-Yosef from Natzeret!” john 1:45
These zealous Jewish men had been seeking and expecting Him. They actually
“found the one” they have been studying about in the Torah. “They found the One” that they have read about in the Prophets. He was portrayed in vivid accounts in their Scriptures! How exciting that their ancient faith was now being actualized, realized. Their beloved Scriptures were coming to life…literally! They will soon see how their ancient traditions had a purpose in identifying their Messiah. Yeshua will begin to explain the Scriptures to them.
What Did Yeshua Teach?
For three years, Yeshua was an itinerant teacher. In Hebrew, he was called Rabbi or Rebbe.
He taught in the synagogues or on hillsides. He taught from a boat while many stood on shorelines. What was he teaching? And from what source was He reading from? He was expounding on the writings of the Torah. He expanded and explained in great detail the commands of God and clarified them making them applicable and meaningful. He called them His Commandments – after all, they were from Him. He was with God and He was God. He spoke on Mt. Sinai!
He taught that the greatest commandment of the Torah was to love God with your whole heart. He explained Torah principals – that one should be meek, humble, merciful, and be peacemakers. He taught that lusting in your heart is the same as committing adultery. He validated and substantiated the Scriptures that God gave to the children of Israel. For there was no other nation that God had placed His Name upon and had sworn to use in his plan to redeem the entire world.
Yeshua also explained that all the prophecies concerning Him in the Hebrew Scriptures must come to pass! He explained what would transpire. He emphasized that Moses had written about him!
“Don’t ever think that I came to set aside Moses’ Teachings or the Prophets. I didn’t come to set them aside but to make them come true Matthew 5:17
The Messiah is described, symbolized, blueprinted, and prophesied about throughout the entire Hebrew Scriptures. Yeshua not only corroborated the Words of the Torah and the prophets, but He authorized and supported them. This was His Faith. His holy expression of how to live and walk with God. This was His beloved Word. The very Words of God that He embodied. Every sacrifice was about Him. Every furnishing in the Temple pointed to Him; every feast was about His purposes to redeem man and this entire creation back to Himself.
For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me—because he wrote about Me. But since you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:46-47
Indeed, Moses gave beautiful depictions of the Messiah, what He would do and how to recognize Him when He appeared.
Before going to Jerusalem for the last time, Yeshua was very forthcoming:
And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished” (Luke 18:31).
He had been explaining all along to His followers that all that is all written in the Scriptures and the prophets must come to pass! There was no New Testament written yet. The only Scriptures that He could be referring to were all the books of the Torah and the prophets and the writings of Psalms. Throughout every book of the Old Testament. It was all written to recognize Messiah and to forewarn us of all the things that will happen.
After the death and burial of Yeshua, the devasted and unaware disciples who walked with who they thought was a” totally clueless stranger “on the Road to Emmaus were blown away when they heard these eye-opening words:
25 Yeshua said to them, “Oh foolish ones, so slow of heart to put your trust in all that the prophets spoke! 26 Was it not necessary for Messiah to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them the things written about Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:25-27).
Yeshua began to reveal the absolute importance and validation of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures written by Moses and the prophets. All that was written ALL about Him and what He would do.
A short time later, He appears in the closed room where many of His disciples were hiding. Startled and afraid that they were seeing a ghost, Yeshua convinced them that it was He.
Then He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you—everything written concerning Me in the Torah of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:44-45).
The Foundation of Our Faith
The Jews were looking for their Messiah throughout the ages. He was described in vivid word pictures, through symbols and types, and in prophecies throughout the entire Tenach (Hebrew for what Christian call the Old Testament).
This rich collection of intricate and precise writings of God’s plan to save all who will choose to trust Him had been miraculously preserved over centuries and details what expectations should be for two significant advents of Messianic manifestations and interventions in the events of man.
Vivid details of where He would be born and what He would do, when He would die, how the people would react, how this event would scatter the people of Judah and how the message of this Jewish Messiah would be shared in all the nations are revealed and illustrated over and over in Moses’s writings and in the four major books of the Prophets as well as 12 minor prophetical books. In addition to the depictions of the first coming of Messiah, the circumstances and specifics of the world’s condition and governments, at the time of the Second Coming, are brilliantly portrayed in the Hebrew Scriptures as well. This is the substance and establishment of the Judeo-Christian Faith.
The first major foundation of our Christian faith is the Torah, the prophets, and the ancient writings of the Hebrew Scriptures!
This expression of true faith must be understood by Christians today. This is not the same as modern Rabbinic Judaism, which was the modified version of Judaism after the Temple was destroyed and neither is it the Greco-Roman version of Christianity void of Its Jewish Messiah, replaced by Latin interpretations and Roman traditions. Yeshua spoke Hebrew and Aramaic not Latin. He went to a Synagogue, not to a grand Roman Cathedral. He sang the Kaddish not Onward Christian Soldiers. He celebrated Passover (the tradition of the soon coming Lamb that would take away the sins of the world) and Tabernacles (the prophetic time when we will all tabernacle with God in the Millennium). He didn’t celebrate or command us anywhere in His Word to celebrate the modern Christian holidays that we are so familiar with.
No, it was evident what He valued and taught us to emulate. His faith was, without doubt, grounded in His Jewish roots.
Passover, Another Christian Foundation
Passover was about His death, burial, and resurrection and He said concerning the Passover whenever you do this (the 3rd cup of the Passover meal), you do it and remember it’s about me!
Would Christians consider the context of Paul’s writing to the Corinthians to be a message about Passover? The first-century Jewish disciples of Yeshua would. The Jewish followers did their best to teach the nations the ways of Yeshua but anti-Semitism and Roman Super-Sessionism were a powerful force. A Universal faith was born 300 years after Christ. The ways of Yeshua and the ways of Torah were a distant memory of the Church and soon to be forgotten.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you—that the Lord Yeshua, on the night He was betrayed, took matzah, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in memory of Me.” In the same way, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant[f] in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in memory of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
As often as you have the Passover bread and the 3rd cup of Passover… (Yeshua was explaining to the disciples as He was holding those Passover elements). He was commanding them to remember that Passover is about Him! Many believers don’t realize that communion is an abbreviated Passover meal.
How did Christianity get off base from the faith expressions of Yeshua and His early first-century Jewish followers?
He didn’t teach us to have a bias toward the Jews, Judaism, or Israel. This was who He was. Even to those Jews and Romans who were crucifying Him, He cried out, “Father forgive them.”
We must go back and take another look at the beautiful depictions of Christ and His faith in the First Testament.
Yeshua is in every book of the Bible:
- Yeshua was the Creator that is the Word (mentioned in John 1) that went forth from God that created the heavens and the earth. Not only was He the powerful force of Words that accomplished God’s mind and intentions in the dimension of time and space, but He was God himself that that spoke it!
- He was the Seed that crushed the head of the enemy.
- He is the Tree of Life – God’s perfect wisdom or mind (as opposed to the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil that man tries to accomplish through deceit and his power.).
- He was the Covenant maker. He was both parties that cut a covenant on behalf of Abraham. Cutting covenant with Himself would, therefore, be an everlasting covenant as God can not lie to Himself.
- He is our Shabbat – our rest. We enter into Him in this way. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:8
- He’s the unblemished Lamb that Redeems and protects His people from the curses of the evil one.
- He’s the Lamb that must be inspected.
- He’s the Lamb that must die on 14th of Nissan (Passover.)
- His blood was to be placed on the doorways (of our hearts.)
- Not a bone will be broken.
- None of Him would be leftover for the next day (buried before High Sabbath).
- He is the unleavened bread.
- He is the Guide and Protector.
- He is Mannah (provision.)
- He is the Living Torah from Heaven (Instructor).
- He is the Perfect Sacrifice.
- Sin, Trespass, Grain, Burnt, Peace Offerings
- The First Fruits
- He is The High Priest.
- He is the Sacrifice of the Nation of Israel.
- He embodies the Commandments.
- He performs all the Feasts- Appointments of God.
- He is the Shmitah and Jubilee (Liberator).
- He is the “Lifted up One” – Overcame by the Cross.
Adonai said to Moses, “Make yourself a fiery snake and put it on a pole. Whenever anyone who has been bitten will look at it, he will live. Numbers 21:8
Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life! John 3:14-15
- He is the Prophet Greater Than Moses:
See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? Deut. 4:5-7
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you (James 14:15-17).
- He is the Captain of Our Salvation.
- He defeats our foes.
- He is the Deliverer of all “Gideons”.
- He is Shiloh – The Tabernacle.
A scepter will never depart from Judah nor a ruler’s staff from between his feet until Shiloh comes and the people obey him. Gen. 49:10
- He is our Kinsman Redeemer, our Bridegroom.
In I, II Samuel
- He is the Perfect Judge.
In I, II Kings
- He is the Perfect King.
In I, II Chronicles
- He is bringing the Perfect Kingdom.
- He is the Faithful Scribe.
- He is the Restorer and Repairer of the walls of His coming Temple.
- He is the Advocate to the Father.
- He is the accused.
- He is the Ever-living Redeemer.
- All Songs and Prophecies are concerning Him.
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed. My heart is like wax— melting within my innards. My strength is dried up like a clay pot, my tongue clings to my jaws. You lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me. A band of evildoers has closed in on me. They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They stare, they gape at me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. O my strength! Come quickly to my aid! For the kingdom belongs to Adonai, and He rules over the nations. Everyone who goes down to the dust will kneel before Him— even the one who could not keep his own soul alive. His posterity will serve him, telling the next generation about my Lord. They will come and declare His righteousness to a people yet to be born— because He has done it! (Psalms 22:2,15-20,29-32).
- He is Wisdom (Hebrew- Chokmah).
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all without hesitation and without reproach; and it will be given to him (James 1:5).
In the Song of Solomon
- He is the Lover of our souls.
- He is the Suffering Servant.
- He is he Coming Conqueror and King
For to us a child is born, a son will be given to us, and the government will be upon His shoulder, His Name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, My Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace, Of the increase of His government and shalom there will be no end— on the throne of David and over His kingdom—to establish it and uphold it
through justice and righteousness from now until forevermore. The zeal of Adonai-Tzva’ot will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:5-6).
- He is the Righteous Branch.
- He is The Performer of His Word.
- He is The Weeping Prophet.
- He is the Glory of God that will soon be coming.
- He is the fourth man in the fire.
- He is the One who rode on the Clouds.
- He is the receiver of all glory, power and Kingdom.
- He is the one who would be worthy to unseal the seal in the future Revelation of John.
- He is the ever-faithful husband pursuing an unfaithful bride.
- He is the re-gatherer of all Israel.
- He is the Giver of the Holy Spirit..
- He is the Better Covenant.
- He is the Builder of the City of God.
- He is the Savior.
- He is the First Born of the Dead.
- He grants repentance that leads to Salvation.
- He is the Ruler of All Ages born in Bethlehem Ephrat.
- He is the Avenger.
- The is the God of our Salvation.
- The is the One in our Midst.
- The is the Restorer of the Kingdom.
- The is the Priest.
- He is the Promised Child.
- He will come with Healing in His Wings (the corners of His garments).
These are the Christian foundations that have been hidden from us but revealed in Messiah.
May He open our eyes as He did the eyes of His disciples. May we see that He is the rock, our firm foundation, our Living Torah.