Loss of Anonymity

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.

Make the Break

In the early years of the storyline found in the Book of Acts,  chapter 15,  the followers of Yahshuah the Messiah found themselves with a perplexing problem. Their Messiah had been written and prophesied about in the Tanak [“the Old Testament”] and was understood to be the Deliverer of Yisrael. However, He was gaining adherents from among the goyim or gentiles. These people had had no training or instruction as to what would normally be expected of one in a synagogue. They still observed pagan societal norms and had pig on their breath. Yet they believed that Yahshuah of Natzeret was the Messiah of Yisrael and wanted to follow after His teachings

The leaders met and determined to command them to follow the basics of the Noachide Laws; abstain from idols, blood, things strangled, and sexual immorality. If observant of these things, they could join the worship and hear the Shabbat teachings in their local synagogue. It sounds strange to western ears that anyone would have to qualify for attendance of a worship service, when church marquees all over town present an “Everyone Welcome” message.

However, those who follow the Torah, the teachings and instructions given to us from YHWH through Moshe, are required to be Set Apart and undefiled. The Torah also shows us that repentance and salvation is more than the result of a single prayer that includes, “I’m sorry, forgive my sins.” I remember being shocked to learn that no where in Scripture are we told to “…invite Yahshuah to live in our heart…” Rather, the Scriptural approach is to make Teshuvah, to turn from willful sin and disobedience to the Torah’s commands, and then start walking in obedience. Yes, prayer, confession, and repentance of sins is the beginning step, but then we must keep on walking in a different direction, living a different life, demonstrating the fruits of repentance.

Back in Acts 15, Ya’acov, the brother of Yahshuah spoke of these goyim coming to Messiah as part of rebuilding the “Booth of David” [also called Tabernacle of David or Sukkah of David], “…so that the remnant of mankind shall seek YHWH, even all the nations on whom My Name is called…” This phrase is quoted from Amos 9:11-12 and the context is again about the restoration of all the tribes of Yisrael. The word for “remnant” here is “sharith”, from the root “sha’ar”, which means, to remain, to be left over or left behind, to survive. In a parallel text, Yo’el 2:32 says, “…For on Mount Tziyon and in Yerushalayim there shall be an escape as YHWH has said, and among the survivors whom YHWH calls. Here the word for survivors is “saryid” meaning, that which is left; remnant. Rooted in sarah, “to escape, as through a puncture or small hole.” How well does the idea of being a Survivor of the Last Days suit you? Remember what Yahshuah said in Mattithyahu [Matthew] 7:13-14, “Enter in through the narrow gate! …the gate is narrow and the way is hard pressed, which leads to life, and there are a few who find it.”

In Yirmeyahu [Jeremiah] 30:11 we read, “For I am with you, declares YHWH, to save you. Though I make a complete end of all nations [goyim], where I have scattered you, yet I do not make a complete end of you…” While we see that we are not judged as completely as the nations, the idea expressed is that we survive or remain after the judgment. So we see that grabbing onto the fads of the Messianic/Hebrew Roots Movement is not sufficient to endure the Last Days. Tallits and Shofars are great to have, but they will not show you the narrow gate by themselves.

We have arrived at a time when you are going to have to want the Kingdom more than anything else and are willing to endure, sacrifice, and persevere without getting your feelings hurt. Those early gentile believers loved Yahshuah enough to go through the required process, learning the Torah, submitting to a mikvah and circumcision, not to be Born Again, but to become a part of Yahshuah’s Covenant Family; Am Yisrael. In our modern Greco-Roman-Western-American mindsets, we don’t want to be offended, categorized, labeled, or told we are not allowed because of who we are or where we have come from. But the bold truth of the matter is this. If you want the Kingdom and want to be apart of the Covenant that Yahshuah died and rose again to offer you, then you must do what He requires of you. We must stop the sin, repent, sin, repent cycle that the church system taught us. You shouldn’t need to rededicate your life to Him at every gathering. We must study the Word for ourselves and stop depending on the guy up front to tell us what we need to know. And for crying out loud, do we still need to argue about whether we can eat unclean food, join in pagan holidays to keep peace with family members, or remain members of churchianity so we can have fellowship with other people? MAKE THE BREAK!! If you’re going to follow Yahshuah HaMoshiach, then do it completely and stop making excuses for yourself. If you believe the Torah is for us, here and now, then live it with all of your might. If you want to enter into His Kingdom, then press through, strive to find the gate, survive, endure, persevere, and be the Remnant. You won’t do these things by accident or while still apart of a different system or while retaining the cultural mindset you were trained to operate in. Yahshuah is worth it. The Kingdom is beyond comparison. DO IT! MAKE THE BREAK!!