If it had not been for the continual and faithful duty of the Jews to guard their identity and protect the validity of the Torah, the tides of evil would have destroyed mankind by this point. By many historical accounts, our brothers from the House of Yehudah have suffered terribly, pushed to near complete genocide, by ruthless and yes, demonic regimes. Their greatest trials of endurance have arguably occurred at the hands of those who claim that “christ” was their motivation and their savior. The church of Rome has the blood of the Great Inquisition, the Crusades, and the countless forced conversions of Jews to their brand of religion on their hands. Yet the Jewish heart still beats and the list of Jews who have accomplished great deeds in science, technology, industry, commerce, finance, and especially in the study of Scripture is one that is too long to even begin. We can pause while you stand up and cheer.
The House of Yehudah is all that remains of the Great World Power of Kings David and Solomon, the remainder of which has been scattered to the winds and the nations, as was well prophesied by Yisrael’s prophets. Amos 9:9 says that YHWH would sift them among the nations, “…as one sifts with a sieve.” This was foretold back in D’varim [Deuteronomy] 28:64, “And YHWH shall scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other…” In D’varim 32:26, in the Song of Moshe, we read, “I said, ‘I should blow them away, I should make the remembrance of them to cease from among men…’ “ The House of Yisrael, the 10 tribes of the North, who turned from the Throne of David, were told by Hoshea HaNavi, [4:6] ” My people have perished for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being preist for Me. Since you have forgotten the Torah of your Elohim, I also forget your children.” So, all those tribes, all those people, and all that legacy no longer remain. All of it is gone.
Yehudah has survived. They have taught their generations to retain their uniqueness, their names, their culture, and their identity. They have struggled against the allure of assimilation and the fantasy of anonymity, fitting in with everyone else and being like those they encounter. Many have abandoned the dream of the Land of Israel and the boundaries of the Torah, but many have not. They stubbornly refuse to let go and become absorbed into what we think is normal. For those who remain and who carry on being Jewish, again, I stand and applaud.
My journey is complex and complicated. I have traced my lineage back to the early days of Wales and found the origins of my surname. Phillips is the surname of one of the first seven Jewish families to come to America. I have strong suspicions, but vague facts, to suggest that there is a Jewish lineage there somewhere, but I can’t prove anything. Nevertheless, I have heard the whistle of Yah [Zakaryah/Zechariah 10:8-12], and one who has not been raised as Jewish also hears Hoshea 1:10, “…And it shall be in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ they shall be called, ‘You are the sons of the Living El.’ “ I have chosen to follow after YHWH Elohim of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’acov, and identify myself as a man of Covenant with the Living El. I choose to keep the Shabbat of Scripture. I choose to wear the tassels that raise eyebrows, called, Tzit Tziot. I set aside the Feast Days of YHWH as being Set Apart and strive to keep them with Him. I choose to change my diet, my identity, and my culture. I no longer want to fit in and assimilate. In fact, I must now dis-assimilate, if there is such a word.
Now, to the root of the matter. For their identity and uniqueness as YHWH’s people, the Jews have had to endure and struggle to survive. Are we willing to do the same? Hear the words of Yahshua in Yochanan 16:1-3. “These words have I spoken to you, so that you do not stumble. They shall put you out of the congregations, but an hour is coming when everyone who kills you shall think he is rendering service to Elohim. And this they shall do to you because they did not know the Father, nor Me.” If we are to take on this role as being YHWH’s people, we cannot hide and become anonymous. We cannot live this life in the shadows and hidden inside our walls. We are to be Light, and Salt, and vulnerable to man’s responses. We embrace Him and lose our anonymity. We are to be sealed with His Seal and everyone will know who we are. If we are to be so revealed and are fearful, then we should not even begin.
I am concerned that many who have jumped on the Hebrew Roots bandwagon and enjoyed the new and fresh approach to worship, will fall under persecution. They will lose their tallits and hide their shofars, claiming that they merely got caught up in a fad. If we’re going to be rejoined to the House of Yehudah, then we may well have to endure and persevere as they have. Only in America do we preach a gospel that says that we are blessed, and not supposed to suffer. Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus wrote his disciple Timothy, “For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also shall deny us.” [2 Timothy 2:11-12] It’s time to make up your mind, for the long haul of it. If you’re going to quit and hide, don’t start. If you’re more in love with Him than you are with life itself, stand with me and let us walk together. Lose your anonymity and be identified with Messiah, and be rejoined to your brother. Heaven will stand up and cheer.