Christians are monotheists, believing in one God (Deuteronomy 6:1). In the Scriptures God reveals Himself as three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yeshua (Jesus of Nazareth) affirmed “I and the Father are One.” The Holy Spirit (Ruach Hakodesh in Hebrew) is called “The Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30), and possesses divine attributes.
What’s the difference between an evangelical and Christians in general?
“Evangelical” comes into English from the Greek word euangelion, which means “Good News” or “Gospel.”
Briefly stated, an evangelical is a Christian who believes, lives and wants to share the gospel. This good news is summed up in the words of I Corinthians 15:3-4:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
What is the origin of the fish symbol?
A common symbol representing Christianity is the “ICHTHUS,” or “fish” symbol. ICHTHUS is the Greek word for fish, and forms an acrostic: Iesous CHristos THeou Uios Soter, meaning “Jesus Christ God’s Son Savior.”
The fish symbol fits well with Jesus’ words to his fisherman disciples, “I shall make you fishers of men.” The symbol is said to have been used by early Christians as a way of identifying themselves to one another.
Aren’t Jewish people saved through the Mosaic covenant?
God gave the Torah through Moses to the Jewish people so they could understand His righteous standard. Our holy God desires to have a relationship with us, but as Isaiah said, our sins have made a separation between Him and us (Isaiah 59:1-3). The Mosaic Code also established the priesthood and sacrificial system.
God’s commands also set Israel apart from the nations. (See Deuteronomy 4, for example.) The Law showed the Jewish people how to live in order to be blessed by God (e.g. Deuteronomy 28).
New Covenant believers are commanded to love God and love our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-39). Yeshua said, “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40). In loving God and others, we please and glorify Him – but our salvation is based on what Yeshua did for us, not on what we do for Him (Titus 3:5-6).
If I become a believer in Yeshua do I stop being Jewish?
Definitely NOT! Yeshua Himself is Jewish and so were His early followers.
Becoming a believer in Yeshua does not change a person’s heritage. But we understand the question. Sadly, in history “Jewish identity” and “faith in Yeshua” have often been considered incompatible, both by Jewish people and misguided Christians.
True, Yeshua changes those who put their trust in Him, but this does not mean you will have to leave your Jewish identity behind. Yeshua changes us on the inside, giving us the “circumcised heart” Moses spoke of (Deuteronomy 30:6). This leads us to love and obey the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
God gave the Scriptures to the world through the Jewish people. Becoming a believer in Yeshua means affirming the greatest heritage of Israel: the Word of God. Embracing Yeshua as the source of forgiveness, hope and peace pointed to in the Bible has helped many Jewish believers feel they have become “more Jewish” through their faith in Israel’s promised Messiah.
Scripture tells us a day will come when all Israel, as a nation, will recognize Yeshua as the Messiah (Zechariah 12:1-10; Romans 11:25-27). When this happens, all God’s promises which He made through the prophets will be fulfilled.
When you become a believer in Yeshua, you are doing what the entire Jewish nation will do one day. Don’t let anyone tell you are not Jewish anymore because you believe in the One who is the hope of Israel!
If I become a believer what happens to my family?
Confessing our faith in Yeshua openly is a good thing to do (Romans 10:9-13)! If your family is opposed to Yeshua, your profession of faith in Him will not be received as good news. Likely you will face misunderstanding. You may even face rejection from family members. But like the early disciples, we must obey God rather than man (Acts 4:18-20).
Throughout history many believers around the world have paid a high price when they confessed their faith in Yeshua. Even today there are certain countries in the world in which those who follow our Savior are imprisoned, tortured or killed.
No matter the response or reaction of others, God calls us to keep loving, respecting and praying for those who oppose us and not to react in kind (Luke 6:27-29). We need to honor our parents and love our families. But Yeshua also wants our first loyalty to be to Him and His truth (Matthew 10:32-33).
When we face rejection by our family, we can know God wants to sustain us by his grace through that ordeal. We will be able to say with David, “Even if my father and mother abandoned me, the Lord would take me in” (Psalm 27:10).
Yeshua once told the following parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it ”(Matthew 13:45-46).
Yeshua Himself is that “pearl of great value.” When we realize His infinite worth, we see He is deserving of our loyalty, even if the price we pay is a painful rejection from our family, friends, and community.
If Yeshua is the Messiah, why isn’t there peace on earth?
Isn’t bringing peace on earth the very thing the Messiah is supposed to do?
The Messiah will finally bring peace on earth. One of His names is the “Prince of Peace.” Isaiah wrote, “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
But that’s not the entire picture. Yes, ultimately the Messiah will establish peace on the entire earth, but that is the end of the final act of “the Messianic play.” It is not how the play begins.
Many things must happen before “the wolf will dwell together with the lamb” (Isaiah 11:6). In reverse order of time, here is how the Hebrew prophets describe coming events:
Messiah’s peace will fill the earth, but prior to that he will come in judgment. “He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked” (Isaiah 11:3).
Prior to that, the Messiah will come with the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13).
Preceding that will be a special day on which the iniquity of Israel be removed (Zechariah 3:9, 13:1). This will happen at a day of national repentance when God will pour out His spirit on Israel and they will look to and mourn for the “one whom they (Israel) pierced” (Zechariah 12:10). [Thank God for this event prior to Messiah’s final coming. Because without repentance and removal of sin, no one can stand in Messiah’s judgment.]
All the events mentioned above have yet to take place – part of the final act of the Messianic play.
But there has already been a first act in which much prophecy has already been fulfilled. Zechariah 12:10, for instance, refers to “one whom they pierced.” This example points to many other prophecies about the Messiah which already have come to pass.
A closer look at the Messianic prophecies reveals that Messiah will not only come with the “clouds of heaven” at the end of this age (Daniel 7:13-14), but also will be born on earth (Isaiah 9:6-7). The Messiah is not only a heavenly being who comes on the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13), he is also to be born a son of David.
This implies two comings of the Messiah, first a normal birth; and second, a coming with all the glory of heaven. These are two distinct acts in the Messianic play. At present, we are in between these two acts!
What had to happen in the first act? According to the Hebrew Bible, the Messiah will first come to suffer and die (Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Zechariah 13:7, Psalm 22). The Scriptures indicate this had to happen before the destruction of the second temple. Prior to that, Messiah would be “cut off” (Daniel 9:26).
The prophecy of Daniel (as well as the prophecy of Zechariah) indicates that after Messiah has been “cut off,” times of difficulty, not peace, will follow (Zechariah 13:7-9, Daniel 9:26-27).
But why this first act of suffering and dying in the first place? Without it, no one would be able to enter the peace of the Messianic age. Without it, no one would survive God’s just purging of the earth.
Why? Because the Messiah came in the first place to make a sacrifice for our sins. As we read in the book of Daniel, this first act was necessary “to atone for iniquity” (Daniel 9:24). The death of this righteous one atones! (See also Isaiah 52:13-53:12).
We believe this Messiah is Yeshua from Nazareth. In the first act of the Messianic drama He hit the bulls-eye of prophecy.
He was from the lineage of David, born in Bethlehem-Ephrata (Micah 5:2).
Came in the right time (before the destruction of the second temple, Daniel 9:26).
Now everything is ready for the final act. Because Yeshua sealed prophecy in the first act with his death and resurrection, we are sure the final act of the Messianic play also will be “performed.”
When you repent and trust in the sacrifice of Messiah for your sins, you can face this final act without fear. Through Messiah you can stand in the final purging judgment.
Because of Yeshua we can be sure we will enter His kingdom of peace. “The punishment that gives us peace was upon him” (Isaiah 53:5).
Why is there such a long break between the different acts of the Messianic play?
This “extended pause” before the final judgment is because of God’s patience. This is our time – the “middle act.” God delays in pouring out His wrath because He wants as many people as possible to be ready for the last act (2 Peter 3:9).
Right now, the Messiah is actively reaching out and preparing many for the final act. Millions have already repented and put their trust in His sacrifice. Could it be God planned a role for you?
If Yeshua is the Messiah, why isn’t there peace on earth yet? That longed-for day will come – and judgment of evil with it. Will you respond today to Messiah’s invitation to trust Him to make you righteous? “Now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).