Rethinking with a Jewish perspective

It is all about roots. I’m a relatively nostalgic guy and as loyal as a golden retriever. I like the same stuff I did when I was 15. I still listen to the same bands and rarely add artists to my collection. I’m still somewhat of a vegetarian-no pork or beef in 23+ years.  It is something I started, so it’s something I will continue. When I dive into something, I don’t think about a way out of it. I’m stubborn, but in a good way. (At least, I think it is in a good way.)

I grew up a couple of miles away from Toco Hills, which is one of the most Jewish areas, if not the most, in Atlanta. I grew up going to a Christian school, Dekalb Christian Academy (D.C.A.), that was about a half-mile from Beth Jacob, a Jewish orthodox synagogue. I know it is a half-mile because during P.E. they would make us run to a street sign right next to it. Driving through the area as a little kid I thought, “Why are these people all walking to that building on Saturdays?”  Then, I didn’t understand Shabbat (the Sabbath).

The Bible was shoved down my throat at church and at school. I went to church on Wednesday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night. I was in choir at the Christian school, as well as the choirs at church on Wednesday and Sunday nights. (Yes, Sunday was a different group.) I had Bible class from kindergarten until 9th grade at school. I’m glad the scriptures were forced upon me, because if it weren’t, I never would have gotten the foundation that I have. The foundation included the “old” and “new” testaments. I’m now glad I grew up at a church that taught the Old Testament, and they understood that you could still learn from it.

Fast forwarding 10 years… Married without kids in Grand Rapids, Michigan (long story there), I started learning some concepts of 1st century Judaism. My wife and I went to our first Seder; I had no idea that it could be relevant to my life. Also, the teachings at Mars Hill were amazing in 2002. When we moved back to go Georgia, I still continued to listen to the sermons until 2008. There were concepts that were fascinating. I started to learn that I missed so much that the Bible teaches but, for some reason, the church skips over.  For example, the 613 commandments taught in the Torah (first five books of the Bible) are there for a reason.

In May of 2008 my wife and I went to Israel for the first time. Wow, do you want talk about feeling at home? Never before have I felt at home like this. Everywhere I went I learned and the Bible came alive. I got to see the sunrise at the Sea of Galilee. Yeah, a real place that Jesus was.  I walked on steps that Jesus walked on. Everything was amazing. The culture there was foreign, but somehow so comfortable.

When we came back we, as a family, started going to a Messianic Synagogue. We turned into sponges as we learned about Judaism and how it applies to the stories I learned growing up. I started to understand that the Law, or Torah, and isn’t a bad thing. James himself calls Torah “the law that gives freedom”. There is freedom, in the law, and a love, in the law. Who can love their children without laws and rules? The laws are there because He loves us.

Some people see Messianic Judaism as a group of people that have put the laws on themselves as if it is a way to earn salvation. There is no way to earn salvation. In John 16:15 it says “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you so that you also will go bring forth fruit and your fruit will remain”.  We can’t earn it by doing the 613 commandments, we are chosen to receive salvation.

In my version (version meaning, everyone has their own rules of religion they follow) of Messianic Judaism, there are not rules set in concrete when it comes to the Law (or Torah). There is “penalty” if you don’t follow a certain set of rules, just a blessing missed. The set of rules are in place for a reason.

In Christianity, the Law is seen as some kind of bad set of rules that no one should try to live by. But why? Paul says he “is a Pharisee,” not “was” or “am no longer.” He continued to follow the Law as a Messianic Jew. Jesus himself said that “He did not come to abolish the Law, but to complete”. He even said that, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” So why, then, is there such a negative view of the Law, and Judaism in general?

This view comes from centuries of moving away from anything “Jewish”. I mean anything Jewish. Look at this creed from Constantinople, from which the church stems:

“I renounce all customs, rites, legalisms, unleavened breads and sacrifice of lambs of the Hebrews, and all the other feasts of the Hebrews, sacrifices, prayers, aspersions, purifications, sanctifications, and propitiations, and fasts, and new moons, and Sabbaths, and superstitions, and hymns and chants and observances and synagogues, and the food and drink of the Hebrew; in one word, I renounce absolutely everything Jewish, every law, rite and custom, and above all I renounce Antichrist, whom all the Jews await in the figure and form of Christ; and I join myself to the true Christ and God. And I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy. Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity, and the dispensation in the flesh and the descent to men of the Word of God, of the one person of the Holy Trinity, and I confess that he was truly made man, and I believe and proclaim that after the flesh in very truth, the Blessed Virgin Mary bore him, the Son of God; and I believe in, receive, venerate and embrace the adorable Cross of Christ, and the holy images: and thus, with my whole heart, and soul, and with a true faith I come to the Christian Faith. But if it be with deceit and hypocrisy, and not with a sincere and perfect faith and a genuine love of Christ, but with a pretense to be a Christian that I come, and if afterwards I shall wish to deny and return to Jewish superstition, or shall be found eating with Jews, or feasting with them, or secretly conversing and condemning the Christian religion instead of openly confuting them and condemning their vain faith, then let tine trembling of Cain and the leprosy of Gehazi cleave to me, as well as the legal punishments to which I acknowledge myself liable. And may I be anathema in the world to come, and may my soul be set down with Satan and the devils.”

It is hard to believe that this was required by a Jew if they wanted to become a “Christian.”
References here and here

The church once thought that way, and elements of it has continued to this day. Once all Jewish references were removed, then Christianity was born.

Once the Jewish beliefs and traditions were removed the church lost the appreciation of the Torah. I was taught about grace, mercy and love, but that those things were found in the “New Testament”, and the “Old Testament” was about how badly we have screwed up. Yes, the law was created to show the need for a Messiah, but no where does the Bible teach that the Tanach (Old Testament) is invalid and/or replaced.

So I take the Tanach, and see the beauty of the law and follow the laws when I can and to the best of my ability. I know that the law is nothing I can complete, nothing I can do perfectly, but I think God sees me trying to follow them, and He appreciates me trying.

I think about King David. David was a man after His own heart, and he blew it big time. God told him that he would not be the one to build the great temple, but that did not stop David from collecting all of the wood, silver and gold needed for his son Solomon to build. So, I have blown it, but I still try to follow His original plan.

We are called to be set apart and told to be different. So the best way for me to follow the Law and to be set apart is by following what God has said to do. Yes, it might make me dress slightly differently, look slightly different, and act differently following the Biblical commanded festivals but it is what I feel called to do.


  1. RT on August 29, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Why are you Christian in the first place? Aren’t you Jewish; and by that fact should follow the religion of your forefather all the way back to Sianai? Then why Jesus?

    • Aaron Reimann on August 30, 2017 at 12:06 am

      This is the 2,000 year old question, why Jesus? He was either a liar or Messiah. There is no other way around this. He is either who he claimed to be, or not. What are your objections to him being Messiah? (And I’m not Jewish, just a very Jewish sounding name).

      • RT on September 7, 2017 at 11:27 pm

        He is either who he claimed to be. Yes indeed, what proof do you have that he is? Do you agree that the burden of Jesus claim lies on him some evidences are needed before accepting his claims?

  2. RT on August 30, 2017 at 1:49 am

    Ok, he could have been a lunatic too (as per C.S. Lewis). But that would only hold true if 100% of the New Testament is truth. Many others believed they were the messiah, and that would be possible that Yeshua though he was… What are my objection? Well, the first and foremost is the heart. I am not Jewish either, but let just say that I would be. So my parents would be Jewish, and my grand-parents too; and we can go on and on until Mount Sinai. Where G-d told all the people (Children and women included) not to worship other being:

    ““Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire,”

    So, giving your devotion to another (Yeshua) would be wrong. I am not sure if you are a Trinitarian or not, but clearly G-d said to the Jews that they have not seen any form and should not be worshiping any “host/Created being” as god. This is my first objection.

    Since then, many Jews worshipped other gods and were chastised (exiled) for doing so. When this happens, Jews are removed from the covenant until they repent or they forget that they ever were Jewish. So if your great-grandparent were Jewish (and it’s possible because of the name you have) but converted to Christianity, then you lost your connection to your people. Think about the Jews in 400 CE who were asked to accept Christianity or die. Now, as per the B’rit Hadasha, those who refused to embrace Yeshua are in hell. Those many Jews did so because they feared the L-rd and did not want to break the First Commandment.

    am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

    “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

    Ask yourself if David, Moses and all the Prophets worshiped or trusted in the Future Messiah, or trusted in G-d? David clearly trusted in G-d, and even though he understood that in the future there would be an ear of universal peace lead by one of his descendant, he never put his faith that being though.

    Also, if you look at the evidence and what the messiah should be, Yeshua does not fit the picture. If you look at any prophecy, you can clearly see that they were:

    1) Taken out of context.
    2) Mistranslated
    3) Has not happened yet
    4) Is not a prophecy at all
    5) Does not fit Jesus
    6) Fit so many people that it cannot pin-point Jesus

    Aaron, I think you have been looking at the Scriptures through the lenses of the New Covenant (NT).

    Finally, I would like to say that I should have objection. It’s normal to look at things critically and check both sides before taking a stand. The burden of the Proof lies on Jesus and the stake is too high to ignore it. Idolatry of the Heart is what comes if your understanding of who Jesus is is wrong.

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