After spending some time at the Western Wall, we left to go into the Jewish Quarter of the Old City for lunch and shopping. Our first stop was at a store called something like Shorashem. The stores owners are two brothers who felt led to move to Israel many years ago. They are Jewish and extremely knowledgeable about the Christian faith. One of the men (we shall call him Mr. Shorashem since I don’t know his name) spoke to our group. I must say it was one of the most interesting teachings I have heard in a while.
He started off by giving us a warm welcome and telling us that we were in Israel because we had been invited by God. Aside from God’s invitation, we listened and came. Mr. Shorashem stated, “Your Father has invited you here to spend time with Him in His house.”
As he spoke he started off speaking about Romans 11 and the gentiles being grafted in. The main point that we discussed here was replacement theology. Honestly, I do not agree with replacement theology. I do not believe that the church has replaced the Jewish people. Mr. Shorashem in referencing Romans stated that many Christians are realizing that you “cant bloom if the root is withering.” I agree.
He went on to discuss the differences between Jews and Christians and summarized it with a lack of understanding with in languages -referencing the tower of Babel as the start of confusion. Mr. Shorashem said for both Christians and Jews, we have the same purpose: to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love others as ourselves. He said its not the purpose we disagree on its the how to – not the what or want to. He touched on three questions that Christians always ask Jewish people and gave us his answer as a Jew and our language differences.
1. We ask: Do you have a relationship with God? Do you love God? Is God a part of your life?
- Christians believe (as I do) that the only way to the Father is through the Son and that you must repent for your sins and ask Him into your heart.
- Jews do not “declare” they have a relationship to God because they are the same/one/equal to Him.
- Both Christians and Jews say yes they love God and yes He is a part of their lives.
2. We ask: Do you believe in heaven/salvation?
- Jews believe that heaven is not the goal. Loving God being cleansed, and walking in it is their goal, not heaven.
3. We say: Stick with us and you will be free from the burden of the law.
- Jews say, how could fulfilling the law of your beloved be a chore? To them it is not 615 commandments, but opportunities to give to Him.
Mr. Shorashem concluded by referencing Romans 11:11 that states, “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.” The word jealousy hear in the Hebrew text actually means zealousness. As Christians, we are to encourage the Jews zealousness for the Lord.
Anyway, I have not had time to sit down and re-read all of this, my notes, scripture, etc, so I have yet to formulate an opinion on all that was discussed. That said, I do believe there is truth to his teachings and as a Jew, I appreciate his studies and understandings of the Christian faith and his desire to communicate between the two to allow us better understandings of each other.