Although Apartheid has been scrapped from SA’s law books, we continue to walk around with the baggage of our past in our minds. Quite refreshingly we see that when the Bible states that someone is a Jew or Greek it was really to do with culture and language. Even when the Israelites left Egypt they were accompanied with a ‘mixed multitude’ (Exod 12:38) referring to the diverse ethnic origins of those who attached themselves to the children of Israel. This illustrated how Gentiles have always been part of God’s plan of salvation. Racial discrimination therefore never had and will never have a Biblical justification!
Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah and therefore a Jew and He never spoke a word of English. The name ‘Yeshua’ was also not randomly allocated to Him. We see in Luke 2: 31 it that was given as an instruction directly from the Throne Room and Gabriel the angel was tasked with the responsibility of relaying it to His earthly parents. The name was given not because of how it sounds as people often do these days but because of its meaning. His name would be indicative of the work or function that He would fulfil, namely that of salvation.
The foundation of His message was not new, but was the Law of Moses. Before you say,’ But we are no longer under the law hey?’ just hang in there for a moment. The word ‘law’ is really one of those watered down translations of the word ‘Torah’…
Judaism 101 explains: ‘The word ‘Torah’ is a tricky one, because it can mean different things in different contexts. In its most limited sense, it refers to the Five Books of Moses. However the word ‘Torah’ can also be used to refer to the entire Jewish Bible, or in its broadest sense, to the whole body of Jewish law and teachings.’
The New Testament is really a progression on the original theme. It starts with the accounts by different witnesses of the ‘Torah that became flesh and dwelt with us.’ It is then followed by the activities of the first followers of Messiah. Then of course some books (often letters) to communities of faith and so on.
This Messiah was not Greek, French, German, Dutch or even Fijian but Jewish. The entire Bible from Genesis to the Book of Revelation (of Jesus Christ) was written in Hebrew (albeit different versions) and translated later. The tricky business is this: Gentiles need to accept that the Messiah is Jewish and Jews need to embrace Yeshua as the Messiah! The fulfilment of more than 300 Hebrew prophecies cannot be coincidence.
Deliberate campaigns to remove His Jewish-ness, have resulted in a Jesus being portrayed as European. By doing this, it provides the framework to introduce paganism as Christian. You would simply take a pagan ritual and put a new label on it. Today there is an informal understanding that everything European is Christian, which of course is not correct. The peoples of Europe only encountered what we call Christianity later and people were not that prepared to let their pagan rituals and mindsets go. Will Durant gives give an apt description when he says: ‘Christianity did not destroy paganism, it adopted it.’
This is the reason why so much of what is held near and dear under the Christian label has nothing to do with Messiah but are but the traditions of men, these men were often pagans. Ironically in our day, Christians are often the ones defending these very pagan things! You try and suggest to someone that the origins of Easter and Christmas are really pagan: ‘Yes but this, yes but that.’ See what I mean?
Yeshua was born and lived in Israel seldom travelled outside of the country. He ministered to mostly Jewish people but also to Gentiles. He once said this politically incorrect thing to the Samaritan woman at the well as recorded in John 4: 22: ‘You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship for salvation is of the Jews.’ This simply meant that the Messiah is not Gentile but Jewish!
Yeshua would have spent considerable time in the harsh Mediterranean sun and as a result His skin may well been darker than what you may have pictured Him. But no, it is unlikely that he was ‘white or black’ as the Apartheid architects defined the terms. But those definitions are really quite embarrassing if you ask me!
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