Roots and Culture Part 5 was published in the April 2012 issue of HM Magazine. I'll be reposting each column here around the time the following issue is released. As always, comments, suggestions and flame mail are always... entertained...
Welcome to Chameleon Church...
Roots & Culture
of Olive Trees & Wild Branches
We have established that the Punk Rock and Alternative genres established by bands like The Sex Pistols and Bauhaus have, through time, been replaced with mainstream hybrids and counterfeits like Avril Lavigne and Dave Matthews, and that the essence of these genres have been buried deep below the sands of conjecture and opinion.
I’ve shared my conviction that an understanding and application of the biblical roots of our faith would breathe new sound scriptural Life into the Covenant relationship bought for us with the shed Blood of the Lamb.
I shared how Paul, in Acts 24:14, defined Christianity as being a sect of Judaism and defended his faith by confessing that he believed “all things which are written in the Torah (‘law’) of Moses and in the Prophets” whereas for nearly 1900 years a Greek and Roman linear thought process of a Jewish cyclical concept has buried the biblical roots and essence of our faith deep below the sands of conjecture and opinion.
Paul’s teaching in Romans 11 should correct our modern perspective to the Jewish Roots of our faith, the Olive Tree of the House of Israel: “But if some of the branches were broken off [Israel], and you - a wild olive [a gentile believer] - were grafted in among them [Jews] and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, then don't boast as if you were better than the branches [Jews]! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you.” Romans 11:17-18 (emphasis mine)
We discussed Ephesians 2 and how gentiles had no Messiah, were estranged from the national life of Israel and foreigners to the covenants embodying God's promise (Torah) - but now have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah's blood (verses 12-13). We saw how Jesus has made both Jew and gentile one and broke down the wall of separation by destroying the Law of Atonement Sacrifice in his own body (the cross) (verses 14-15a).
We learned that scripturally, the law is separated into sections; the oral traditions, the Covenant and the Sacrificial Law. Ephesians 2:12 speaks of Covenant while verses 14-15a obviously speaks of Atonement Sacrifice as being “destroyed” by the cross. This did not, however, “destroy” the Covenant Law and it’s observance (verse 10) with the goal being “One New Man” (verse 16).
“So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers. On the contrary, you are fellow-citizens with God's people (Israel) and members of God's family.” Ephesians 2:19 (emphasis mine)
Our root and culture as believers are found in Torah and Israel.
Christianity remains a foreigner to the Mosaic Torah covenant embodying Messiah and has rejected the scriptural foundational root of her faith, believing that she is “better then the branches”, and that she “supports the root” - thus estranging herself from the national and spiritual life of Israel.
What does Jesus say about this?
Popular Christian teaching has stated for centuries that Jesus “did away with” the Torah (law) of Moses – “the covenants embodying God’s promise” (Ephesians 2:12) - upon His resurrection.
Actually, immediately following His resurrection, we find Jesus expounding to His disciples all the things in the Scriptures (Old Testament), starting with Moses, concerning Him. He then reminds them that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets concerning Him and then opened their understanding, that they might comprehend these Scriptures. (Luke 24:27, 44- 45 NKJV)
Now, why would He default to the authority of the Law of Moses in regards to Himself - post resurrection – if He had just “done away with” it?