You may have noticed that I have not been writing very many posts lately, nor have I been reading very many of your posts. Believe me, I haven’t lost my love for writing and sharing God’s word. Nor have I lost my love for reading what my brothers and sisters are posting on their blogs. The fact is that life is constantly changing, and we just never know where our heavenly Father is leading us.
Just recently, I began attending a School of the Prophets, and if that wasn’t enough, I also started taking a course called The Prophetic Voice of Hebrew. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to learn the Hebrew language, and I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful and amazing it is. On top of that, I’ve been spending more time with my grandchildren, so between class, time with my husband and time with my grandchildren, I haven’t had much time for reading or writing blog posts.
However, in my Hebrew class, I had a homework assignment that just stirred my spirit. We were asked if we are Spiritual Jews or Christians, what they are respectively, and why. I first approached this as any other homework assignment, and I began writing a very unmoving, intellectual report, which left me feeling very dissatisfied. Then, as I was looking through the scriptures, I turned to Romans 11, and my heart began to burn within me. This was what Holy Spirit was leading me to talk about.
Have you ever thought about whether you are a Spiritual Jew or a Christian, and what the difference (if any) is between the two? I pray that as you read this post, you’ll be just as blessed by it as I was when I studied and wrote it. I hope you don’t mind reading my homework assignment, but I was so excited about it, that I just had to share it with you too…
Are We Spiritual Jews or Christians?
The scripture passage that immediately leaps to my mind regarding this question is from Romans 11. As I read this passage, it brought tears to my eyes, for in this passage, we get a glimpse of the great depths of God’s love for both His chosen people, Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל) and for us as well.
See what love the Father has lavished on us in letting us be called God’s children! For that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it has not known Him. ~ 1 John 3:1 – CJB ~
Are we Spiritual Jews or Christians? Is there a difference in the two? What does our heavenly Father call us to be?
What is a Spiritual Jew?
For it is we who are the Circumcised, we who worship by the Spirit of God and make our boast in the Messiah Yeshua! We do not put confidence in human qualifications… ~ Philippians 3:3 – CJB ~ (emphasis mine)
According to the Apostle Paul, we, who worship by the Spirit of God and make our boast in Yeshua HaMashiach, are the Circumcised (Spiritual Jews). It is we, who do not put confidence in human qualifications, but instead trust in Yod Hey Vav Hey (יְהוָה) with all of our hearts, who are the Circumcised.
You see, according to scripture, the nation of Israel has turned its back on our heavenly Father, rejecting the very Messiah they so desperately longed and cried out for.
7 So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have – the ones God has chosen – but the hearts of the rest were hardened. 8 As the Scriptures say, “God has put them into a deep sleep. To this day He has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear.”
9 Likewise, David said, “Let their bountiful table become a snare, a trap that makes them think all is well. Let their blessings cause them to stumble, and let them get what they deserve. 10 Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs be bent forever.” ~ Romans 11:7-9 – NLT ~
So, what does this mean to us? Hallelujah! This means that because the children of Israel turned their back on Messiah, Elohim, our Creator and our Deliverer, in His mercy and grace, decided to reach out to the Gentiles – us!
11 Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But He wanted His own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. ~ Romans 11:11 – NLT ~
Does this not bring tears to your eyes? Think of this – because His own people stumbled and were disobedient, God made salvation available to the Gentiles, just as He had promised Abraham thousands of years earlier…
18 “And by your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed – because you obeyed My order.” ~ Genesis 22:18 – CJB ~
Beloved, do you see the great love our Father has for us? Do you see that He has called us to be His children? Do you see that a Spiritual Jew is the adopted child of Abba? He has grafted us into His family, so that we are no longer strangers or aliens.
What is a Christian?
The word Christian is mentioned three times in the bible. The first time it is mentioned is in Acts 11, which talks about the believers being scattered after Stephen was martyred, and some of the believers who went to Antioch began sharing the gospel with Gentiles, and a large number of them turned to Christ. When the church in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabus to check things out, and he was overjoyed when he saw what was happening and encouraged the believers to remain true to the Lord. Then, he went to find Paul.
26 When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.) ~ Acts 11:26 – NLT ~
According to this scripture passage, a Christian is a believer that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior. The Complete Jewish Bible refers to believers as talmidim, which is:
A plural Hebrew noun meaning “disciples” in its truest sense: those who leave family to study and follow the ways of their teacher [rabbi]. They study not only to learn what their teacher knows but to become the type of man their teacher is. From the Hebrew root word “limmud” meaning “instructed”. Strong’s #8527. Pronounced tal mee DEEM.
Therefore, according to this, a Christian is one who not only studies to learn what his/her teacher (Yeshua) knows, but to also become like Yeshua.
The next mention of the word Christian is in Acts 26, when Paul is sharing his testimony and speaking in his own defense to King Agrippa. As Paul shared his testimony and reached the part where Messiah rose from the dead, he was interrupted by Festus, the governor of Caesarea, who accused him of being crazy…
25 But Paul replied, “I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. What I am saying is the sober truth. 26 And King Agrippa knows about these things. I speak boldly, for I am sure these events are familiar to him, for they were not done in a corner! 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do –“
28 Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”
29 Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.” ~ Acts 26:25-29 – NLT ~
According to the scripture above, the Apostle Paul, also a Jew and even a Pharisee at one time, identified himself with the Christians (see verses 28-29 above).
Further, the Apostle Peter also encourages Christians who suffer for Christ, and he makes no separation between himself, (a Jew) and Christians. Indeed, look at Peter’s beautiful description of a Christian…
14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?”
19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you. ~ 1 Peter 4:14-19 – NLT ~
Am I a Spiritual Jew or a Christian?
After praying and studying the Word of God, I have determined in my heart that a Spiritual Jew and a Christian are one and the same. Therefore, I am both a Spiritual Jew, grafted into the Jewish lineage by my beloved Father, who saw me, just as the prodigal son’s father saw him, when I was far, far away, and in His great love and mercy for me, He chose me and called me His beloved daughter. And though I was unclean, He beckoned me…
“Come now,” says Adonai,
“let’s talk this over together.
Even if your sins are like scarlet,
they will be as white as snow;
even if they are as red as crimson,
they will be like wool.”
~ Isaiah 1:18 – CJB ~
Beloved reader, as one who grew up despised and rejected by her own family, this blesses me beyond measure, and I know that I’ve written more than two pages on this subject, so I will leave you with one final thought, from the Apostle Paul…
14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you back again into fear; on the contrary, you received the Spirit, who makes us sons and by whose power we cry out, “Abba!” (that is, “Dear Father!). 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our own spirits that we are children of God; 17 and if we are children, then we are also heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Messiah – provided we are suffering with Him in order also to be glorified with Him. ~ Romans 8:14-17 – CJB ~
Cheryl A. Showers
- Sect of “The Way”, “The Nazarenes” & “Christians” : Names given to the Early Church (biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com)
- Famous rabbi’s mystery solved! Or not? (wnd.com)