Rabbi Schneider - Inclusion of the Gentiles
It is so important to understand, that Jesus never came to start a different religion. He came to fulfill that which God had already given to the Israelites and the Jewish people. That's why Jesus said in John, 5, I'm sorry, Matthew, 5, verse 17-18. He said: Do not think I've come to abolish the law. For I have not come to abolish but to fulfill. And so knowing that Jesus came to fulfill that which had already been given to the Jewish people in Scripture, how is it now that Jewish people look at Christianity as something totally foreign, something that is, is not Jewish, and conversely Christian people look at Judaism as a completely different religion. What we're doing is we're showing how the two really, beloved, are part of the same, with Jesus as the fulfillment.
So in order to get to this place of seeing how Jesus is totally the fulfillment of what God originally gave the Jewish people, we need to go back in history to understand how did they get separated. Again, I want you to go back and get the earlier teachings because I'm gonna launch right in to a brand new point today. One of the major influences that caused these two movements to separate, and by movements I'm speaking at this point, remember the first church was all Jewish. The first church, the mother church, was in Jerusalem, that was led by Jesus' half-brother, James. And the apostles we know were all Jewish. So this began as an entirely Jewish oriented movement in terms of the demographic of the people that were following Jesus.
Remember, Jesus said to the Gentile that came for deliverance and healing, He said, Woman, He said, I've come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Jesus while He was on earth was only ministering to Jewish people. We know that ultimately His purpose was to reach the world. But I'm just making the point that originally this was a totally Jewish thing. So how has it become something that the Jewish people's no longer Jewish, and to Christian people is no longer Jewish? Well I'm making the point; one of the things that led to this is when God began to bring Gentiles to Himself through Jesus. Now we really need to kind of change our lenses so we can understand the dynamic during Jesus' day. And so we're gonna go now to the Book of Acts, chapter number 10.
Now some of you are familiar with Acts, chapter 10. For some it might be newer. What happened in Acts, 10, Peter who is Jewish, one of Jesus' apostles, was asleep on the roof one day while they were preparing him a meal. So I'm gonna pick up now in Acts, chapter 10, verse number 9. It says: On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance. So Peter is on the roof. They're making preparations for the meal, and Peter kind of goes into a trance. You know, he kind of goes unconscious. His eyes are closed. He's half sleeping, half awake. He's in a trance form. He's having a divine encounter.
Let's continue on. Verse 11: And he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. A voice came to him saying, Get up, Peter, kill and eat! But Peter said, By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean. Again a voice came to him, a second time, What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy. Now let's put this in perspective. Peter again, he goes into a trance. He's on the roof. He sees this sheet lowered. In the sheet were all these unkosher animals. How do we know they're unkosher? Because when the voice says to Peter, Peter, take, kill and eat. Peter says, Lord, I've never eaten anything unholy or unclean.
So inside this sheet, beloved, were types of animals that Jewish people were forbidden to eat according to the laws that God gave them in the Torah, which we call the first five books of our Bible, or the Pentateuch. But when Peter says, No, Lord, I've never eaten anything unholy or unclean, the Bible says, again a second time the voice came and said, Peter, what God has cleansed let no man any longer consider unclean. So Peter then wakes up. Right after he wakes up, there is a knock on the door. When they go to answer the door, there's the servant of a Gentile leader named Cornelius. And the leader says to Peter, listen, Peter, my master, Cornelius, sent me to you. He said that God instructed him that you have a message for him. Then Peter put it all together. He realized that although Cornelius was a Gentile, he wasn't to consider Cornelius as unholy or unclean. He was to go to him and share the good news of the Gospel with him.
So we read about this in the 28th verse of the same chapter. Let's hear what the Word says: You yourselves know, he's speaking now to the people here in Caesarea, where he went to to share the Gospel with this Gentile, Cornelius. You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew, get this now, to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. So let's go back and put this in perspective. The Jewish people of Jesus' day would not co-mingle with Gentiles. That's just what Peter got done saying. He said here, listen again: He said to them, You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him.
And so this was the culture of Jesus' day. They secluded themselves. The Jewish people separated themselves from the Gentile world. Who is a Gentile? Everybody that's not Jewish. Everyone that wasn't an Israelite was considered a Gentile. So again, the mindset of the religious world of Jesus' day that's reflected, beloved ones, in the New Testament is that the Jewish people were a separate people, a holy people, and they weren't to be contaminated by associating with the unclean nations or with the Gentiles that didn't know God. But God comes to Peter in the trance, in the vision, and He says, Peter, I want you to eat this meat. It was unkosher meat. Peter said, No, Lord, I've never eaten anything unholy or unclean. And the Lord says, What God has cleansed, let no man say is unholy. Then when Cornelius' servant came, it was Gentile. Peter understood the meaning of the vision that he was no longer to consider the Gentiles as unclean.
So Peter goes to Cornelius. He shares the good news of Jesus with him. Cornelius receives the Word. He's baptized in the Holy Spirit. It's evidenced there that he'd received the gifts of the Spirit. And seeing the evidence that God had accepted him, Peter then realizes that God was now bringing Gentiles to Himself through Jesus; that Jew and Gentile were now becoming one in Messiah. But listen, this rocked the Jewish world because they didn't have the same revelation that Peter had. They still considered the Gentiles as unclean. So when the church started growing by leaps and bounds with Gentile believers, this again was something that was defiling, according to the Rabbinic mind, what, what God wanted. And so it led again, listen now, to the separation of the Judaism of Jesus' day, which we now call Rabbinic Judaism, to the movement that is known today as Christianity.
What am I saying, beloved? I'm saying this, that if you go to Israel today, you'll notice that the Orthodox Jewish people, those that are dressed, the Hasidic Jews, in the long black coats, and they have the Payot, the long sideburns, and the black hats. You will notice that they keep themselves separate from the Gentiles in Israel. They won't associate with them. They won't, you know, you know... They, they're a separate people. So when the message of the Gospel came that Jewish people were no longer to consider Gentiles as unclean, that we should fellowship with them, that we can eat with them, that we can go into their home, this was something that the Orthodox Jewish world, the religious world of Jesus' day could not accept, and it led to the separation of the movements that we call today Judaism and Christianity, although God's purpose is that they should become one together because Jesus is the fulfillment of everything written in the Scriptures.
And of course, God said to Abraham, Abraham, in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, not just the Jewish people, but all the nations on the face of the earth. So I hope that that makes sense to you. I hope that I was able to, to bring clarity to that to you. This mindset that existed, once again, in Peter's mind, it still exists today to some degree in Orthodox Judaism. But God showed Peter, who was a Jew, Peter, don't consider the Gentile unholy. Share the good news with them, fellowship with them, consider yourself one with them. We see this same issue taking place in the Book of Acts when Paul called Peter a hypocrite at one point because Peter was open to Gentile people when Jewish people weren't around. But we read in one incident that Peter had been open to the Gentiles, but then when religious Jewish leaders came to where Peter was at, then Peter began to withdraw himself from the Gentiles.
Why? Because he was afraid of the rebuke of the Jewish leadership there. And Paul said, I rebuke Peter to his face, because he was being a hypocrite by fellowshipping with the Gentiles when religious Jewish leaders were not around. But then when the religious Jewish leaders came, Peter began to withdraw himself from Gentile fellowship. And Paul called him out and said, Peter, don't be a hypocrite. God has called us to be one in Messiah, Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah. So hopefully everybody understands. We're gonna move on now, beloved ones, to the next point. We're gonna go to the time in history of 70 A.D.
Now in the day of Jesus, although in reading the New Testament we don't fully get the picture of this, what was actually going on historically was that the Jews were given freedom to practice their religion in the land of Israel, but actually politically the Romans were in control. And the Jewish people were only allowed to have as much freedom as the Roman authorities gave them. In fact, when we go back into the history journals, beloved ones, we read that the office of the high priest during Jesus' day was actually sold. And the Romans had a lot to do with who got to be the high priest. The high priests were those that were the wealthiest that could buy it. And the Romans were profiting from all this.
And so I'm trying to help you understand that the climate of Israel in Jesus' day was a climate in which the Jewish people were still under the thumbs of the Roman government. And eventually the Jewish people began to rebel against this. And there was a rebellion that took place and around this time period from 66 or so to 78 A.D. approximately. And what happened was that the Roman people got so angry at this revolt of the Jewish people. Again, the Jewish people were revolting. They're in Israel.
They're revolting against the Romans because they're tired of the Roman people, the Roman government, keeping them under their thumbs, telling them what they can do, what they can't do, etc. The Jewish people revolted and what happened was the Romans became so angry at their revolt that they came into Jerusalem, beloved ones, and destroyed the Temple. And this is when we see a great Diaspora, meaning Jewish people moving out of Jerusalem, out of Israel, when the Romans came in, destroyed the Temple, and ravaged the city.
Now, hear me now, Judaism in its biblical form, hear me now, church, Judaism, the Judaism of the Bible in its biblical form consists of three primary foundations; get it now, the sacrifices, the Temple, and the priesthood. When you go to the Scriptures, the three primary foundations of Judaism were the sacrifices, including the highest sacrifice that took place every year on Yom Kippur when the blood of a bull and the blood of a goat were brought into the Holy of Holies in the Temple and offered to the Lord for the sins of His people. But actually there were sacrifices that were going on continuously all year long. But the sacrifice on Yom Kippur was the most holy.
So again, the three pillars of, of biblical Judaism are the sacrifices that took place. We read all about these sacrifices in the Book of Leviticus. Then the priesthood that offered these sacrifices, 'cause anybody couldn't offer up the sacrifices. Only the priests could offer up the sacrifices. And the Temple where these sacrifices had to be offered. So, not only did there need to be sacrifices, and not only did the priests need to be the ones that offered the sacrifices, but also the sacrifices could only be offered at a certain place. They need to be offered in the Temple.
So when the Romans came in in 70 A.D. and destroyed the Temple, listen now, it completely broke the foundations of biblical Judaism, because when the Temple was destroyed, we no longer had a place to offer sacrifices, and with the Temple destroyed, no longer having a place to offer sacrifices, get it now, the priesthood scattered. So the three pillars of biblical Judaism, the sacrifices, the Temple, and the priesthood were knocked out from under the Jewish people. And this created, beloved, tremendous difficulty. And the difficulty was without having these foundations, how do we practice our religion?
That was the question that the religious Jewish leadership was asking. We don't have a Temple any more. We're not offering sacrifices. We don't have a priesthood. This has been our foundation. What do we do to hold our people together? So what happened was about 20 years later in 90 A.D., there was a council at a place called Yavneh. It's often referred to as the Council of Yavneh. And during this council the religious Jewish leadership said, What are we gonna do to hold our people together without sacrifices, a priesthood and a Temple? And so what they did is they created something that we call today Rabbinic Judaism. They replaced the sacrifices, and the priesthood, and the Temple worship, beloved, with liturgy and prayers.
And so today in Orthodox Judaism it's mostly about, and I don't want to use the word mostly, but I'm just saying it's significantly about different ceremonies, different prayers, different recitations of liturgy. And so Rabbinic Judaism is really a very different Judaism than the Judaism that was practiced during the days, beloved, of the New Testament, and when the Temple was standing in Israel. Now during this Council of Yavneh in 90 A.D. when Judaism was reinvented and turned into Rabbinic Judaism, there was an anti-Jesus spirit, I believe, that was passed in to this development of Rabbinic Judaism, which defines Judaism today.
In other words, the Judaism of today, Orthodox Judaism today, has its origin, its genesis, in this Council of Yavneh in 90 A.D. And who was at the Council of Yavneh in 90 A.D.? The Pharisees and their sons, get it now, that rejected Jesus. So the people that re-invented Judaism in 90 A.D. were the Pharisees and their sons that rejected Jesus. And so in this re-invention of Judaism, there is an anti-Jesus influence in it. And so one of the things that happened in this Council of Yavneh was that there was a curse that was added to the liturgy. And the curse was against anybody that didn't follow the teaching of these Pharisees and Jewish leaders that composed the liturgy that now consists of Orthodox Judaism, again, that had its origin at Yavneh.
And so what happened was as Judaism continued from 90 A.D. all the way till today, there's this curse against the sectarians, those that don't follow their way, and many historical scholars believe that that curse was added to keep out of the synagogue any Jew that believed in Jesus, 'cause remember those that re-invented Judaism in 90 A.D., they didn't believe in Jesus, and they wanted Jesus killed, we read in John, chapter 11. And so what happened? Jewish believers were forced out of the synagogue because they were considered heretics and sectarians, which led to the further separation of the movement of Judaism versus those that follow Jesus today.
Jewish people like myself today are often times referred to as Messianic Jews because we believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and we've been rejected by the larger Jewish world as heretics and sectarians. But you know what, beloved? Praise God. You know Jesus was rejected too. We've been appointed not just to reign with Him, but to suffer with Him. Well I hope we're beginning to put all the pieces back together so that you can understand that Jesus never came to start a new religion. He's the fulfillment of that which the Jewish people had as contained in their Bible according to Matthew, 5:17-18. Join me next week as this fascinating journey continues to unfold. I love you, beloved ones.