Why Study Hebrew
Or
The Jewish Roots of the Gospel?

By the Late Rabbi Michael Short of Blessed Memory

All the first believers in the Messiah were Jews, the Messiah Yeshua is a Jew, the scriptures(the entire bible) are Jewish and all the writers of the Brit Chadasha(New Testament) are Jews. I know people say Luke was a Gentile but in like manner these same people have given all the Jews gentile names except Judas Iscariot. I will be quoting from several writers to show that these are not only my thoughts but from people much more educated than myself. Those quoted will be not only believers but also Jews and what they think of Yeshua(Jesus).

Dr. John Lightfoot, the noted English writer makes this statement;
"For, first, when all the books of the New Testament were written by Jews, and among Jews, and unto them; and when all the discourses made there, were made in like manner by Jews, and to Jews, and among them; I was always fully persuaded, as of a thing past all doubting, that that Testament could not but everywhere taste of and retain the Jews' style, idiom, form and rule of speaking". This is from Dr. Lightfoot's book 'Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica'.

Also Emil Schurer in his series of books, 'A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ', makes this statement;
"In the fullness of time the Christian religion sprang out of Judaism; as a fact, indeed, of divine revelation, but also inseparably joined by innumerable threads with the previous thousand years of Israel's history. No incident in the gospel story, no word in the preaching of Jesus Christ, is intelligible apart from its setting in Jewish history, and without a clear understanding of that world of thought - distinction of the Jewish people".

We have heard from learned gentiles, what about the Jews?, I'm glad you asked that question.

Rabbi Joseph Teluskhin, in his book, 'Jewish Literacy' has quite a few things to say about Jesus and Paul, as well as some other well known Church Fathers. I will be giving several of Rabbi Telushkin statements. First "The New Testament depiction of Jesus suggests that he was largely a law-abiding and highly nationalistic Jew, and a man of strong ethical concerns. Like many of Judaism's great rabbis, he saw love of neighbor as religion's central demand. Though many Christians are under the impression that he opposed Judaism's emphasis on law, in actuality he criticized anyone who advocated dropping it." "Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law [the Torah] or the Prophets," "he declared to his early disciples." "I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved."" The law's "purpose," of course, is the universal recognition of God, a goal which neither Christianity nor Judaism believes was realized in Jesus' time, or since. Jesus concluded his message with a severe warning; ""Therefore, the man who infringes even the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven"" (Matt 5:17-19)". Rabbi Telushkin goes on to say, "However, almost no Jewish scholars believed Jesus intended to start a new religion. Were Jesus to return today, most Jews believe, he undoubtedly would feel more at home in a synagogue than a church."


Another quote by Rabbi Telushkin is "Most statements attributed to Jesus in the New Testament conform to Jewish teaching. This is, of course, not surprising, since Jesus generally practiced Pharisaic Judaism." As you may have noticed Rabbi Telushkin quotes from the New Testament, he makes a statement about that, "The New Testament can be better understood by the Jewish reader than the Christian" and why is that because he knows the Jewish Roots of the Gospel. So lets go back to the original question, "Why study the Hebraic or Jewish Roots of the Gospel".

If this doesn't convince you then I have failed to clearly show you why and it is a great loss to you because once you have grasped the concept the Bible with Jewish eyes, it becomes so much more real!

Then you will have better understanding of what Yeshua was saying in John 3:37-38:

37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

And John 8:12:

12
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

In fact I could go on to all of the quotes by the Messiah, but that would become a book and that is not the intention of this little love letter.


Shalom,
Rabbi Mike Short



I would like to put a PS onto Rabbi Mike's little love letter.

I am asked all the time, "What have you gained by studying the Hebrew Roots of the Faith?" My answer is always the same, "Once I was blind, but now I see!" (John 9:25) - I see my Hebrew Lord for what he is, a Jewish Rabbi, and now by knowing that, I value everything Hebraic. Yeshua's words teach me in a whole new way. For just as He said to the woman of Samaria,
"You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for Salvation is from the Jews." John 4:22

A Hebrew word picture of that verse (4:22) could read as follows:

"The Door of the Covenant, = Yeshua The Messiah."

The number 4 is a Door. The number 22 is the fulness of the Hebrew AlephBet. It is also the last letter in that AlephBet, a Tav. The Hebrew Tav means: Sign, Seal, Covenant. Therefore the numbers 4:22 of John's Gospel, speak of "The Door of the Covenant, i.e. Yeshua." Salvation is from the Jews, the Door of the Covenant, Yeshua Messiah, our Hebrew Lord.


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