IN JEWISH WORSHIP
by John T. Webb
My name is John . . . and I'm a . . .
A Gentile who prefers to worship with Jews.
Jews who believe that Yeshua is the Messiah.
The Messiah who is referred to by people in the "Old"
Testament several times as "the prophet," or "that prophet." The
prophet spoken of by Moses in
when he said, "The LORD your God shall raise up for you a
prophet like me from among you ... You shall listen to Him."
But Jesus is not the first object of our worship and adoration. El
Shaddai, God Almighty, is the Supreme Ruler. To Him
is our praise directed, just as Yeshua said when, in the 12th chapter
of Mark, He answered the Scribes' question "What is the greatest
commandment?" He said what every devout Jew to this day says several
times a day and is expected to say on his deathbed:
"Sh'ma, Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai
echad." "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God,
the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your
heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your
A Jewish Shabbat service is filled with prayer. It is said
that the only prayers which last forever are prayers of thanksgiving,
and many of the prayers are just that, as well as praise.
There is singing and rejoicing, which includes:
Clapping the hands as in Ps. 47:2. "Clap your hands, all
peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!"
Lifting the hands in praise as in Ps 63:4: "I will bless Thee
as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on thy name." Believe
it or don't, lifting the hands is NOT a spiritual gift,
a charisma. Anyone can do it. It takes no special skills or
training or blessing from God!
Dancing! Dancing?!? The Bible does not forbid dancing! Ps.
149:3 says: "Let them praise His name with dancing, making melody
to Him with timbrel and lyre!" "Davidic" dancing, as it is called,
is a graceful, flowing outward show of praise. It may be just three
or four people, or long trains may wind around the congregation.
WAIT! I see a problem here! All the scripture references I've
given you are from the "Old" Testament. It seems these practices are
not mentioned beneficently in the "New" Testament. But do you know
something? The only scriptures that Yeshua and Kefa (Peter) and Rav
Sha'ul (Rabbi Paul) and Ya'akov (James) had were what Christianity calls the
"Old" Testament. Today, to a Jew, this IS "the Bible." It is also
called the Tanakh, an acronym for the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nevi'im), and the Writings (K'tuvim).
This is what Yeshua taught from, as well as an unwritten, at
that time, oral tradition passed down for many generations, which was
later compiled into a written form in what is called the Mishnah. Yeshua
was a Jew's Jew, a rabbi's rabbi, a master communicator. He
knew the scriptures forward and backward. And as hard as it may be to
believe, most of what we have recorded as His words HAD BEEN WRITTEN
OR SPOKEN BEFORE! When he quoted from the scriptures, much of it was
taken a few words from here, a few words from there in a rabbinic
method of teaching called remez, or hinting; that is,
referring to scripture which the people knew well by simply
mentioning a small part of it. Other quotes ascribed to Him,
especially the parables, were simply variations of teachings of other
rabbis that were later written in the Mishnah.
Some would have you believe that the life, death and
resurrection of Yeshua abnegated the Law. But He Himself said it did
not.. He said, "I am come not to destroy, but to fulfill." Now, here
fulfill cannot mean put an end to, because that would be destroying
it, which He just said He wouldn't do! The Greek word used here can
also mean to make full or to perfect. He said that while the heavens
and the earth exist, not the smallest letter, or even a little
decorative mark on a letter, would be done away with.
True, some parts of the Law are no longer in effect,
specifically the sacrifices at the Temple, since the Temple was
destroyed in the year 70 of the common era. But some of the
sacrifices will be re-instituted when the Temple is rebuilt by the
returning Messiah for His reign on the earth. The offerings for
praise, worship, and thanksgiving will then have meaning, but the
final sin offering for all mankind was made almost 2000 years ago, so
it will be unnecessary.
The Shabbat service also includes public reading from the
Torah, the five books of
Moses. Commonly referred to as "the Law," Torah actually means
instruction. Surely no one thinks instructions should be thrown
away. Imagine throwing out the manual that came with your computer.
Does anyone have ALL the instructions memorized? I doubt it. You've
heard the quip, "When all else fails, read the instructions." Here,
we're talking about the instruction book for
LIVING, for mankind! No wonder the world doesn't
work very well. We neglect the manufacturer's directions!
The Jews call themselves "The people of the Book." Thank God
they are! Left to the rest of the world, this book would be torn up,
completely rewritten. Jewish scribes have been so scrupulous in
accurately copying the Scriptures that for millennia they have been
more true to the originals than publishers have been to the writings
of Plato and even Shakespeare.
When you study the Bible, do you spend more time in the "Old"
Testament or the "New"? Would you read a mystery book and not read
the last chapter to see "whodunit?" That is like reading the Tanakh
(the "Old" Testament) and not the "New." Or would you want to see only
the second act of a two-act play? Would you like to hear that Abe
Schwartz received the key to the city without knowing the reason for this
honor? Then read the "New" Testament and neglect the "Old," and all
you'll know is that Jesus came to save the world. You might even notice
that he came "to save HIS PEOPLE from their sins." But without reading
the "Old" Testament, you won't know that "His people" knew
that more than 500 years earlier!
The Bible is one book from Genesis to The Revelation, from the curse on the serpent to the New Jerusalem, and it is ALL aimed at pointing the world to the Messiah, and showing us that God loves us so much that He wants us to live forever with Him.
*Funk and Wagnalls Standard Desk
Dictionary (1984) defines "Gentile" as:
"n. 1. Among Jews, one not a Jew. 2. Among Christians, a heathen or pagan. 3. Among Mormons, one not a Mormon." Strong lists goy/goyim translated 30 times as "gentile" and 371 times as "nation/nations." It is my intent here to be considered as viewed from the Jewish standpoint per Funk and Wagnalls. RETURN
Back to top
What is Messianic Judaism?
Beit HaDerekh Site Index
Questions or comments?
Please e-mail me at johnt204(at)inbox.com.
Please put this %%--$$--%%--$$--%% in the subject line of your email
in case it goes to my spam folder so that I can notice it easier. Thanks.
Last update 27 January 2020