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This book seeks to present a balanced approach to understanding the importance and the danger of traditions. There are good traditions and there are bad traditions. Additionally, there is a good spirit and a wrong spirit in which one can approach the customs. These were certainly issues that faced the first Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua.

On the Jewish side, the acceptance of Yeshua did not mean that they converted to a new religion. The Jewish believers actually saw themselves as having received the fulfilment of what was spoken of in the Hebrew Scriptures. They understood this to mean they were now Messianic Jews who would naturally continue in their God-given heritage. This fact is confirmed in a description of this Messianic Jewish community in the book of Acts: “You see, brother [Saul], how many tens of thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all zealots for the Torah” (Acts 21:20).

The first Jewish believers in Yeshua continued in the only lifestyle they knew: the Jewish life based on the Scriptures and customs consistent with the Bible. Their new understanding that Yeshua of Natzeret (Nazareth) was the Messiah made them even more zealous for their traditions, as they understood the spiritual reasons behind them. Modern Messianic Jews frequently feel the same way and share the same enthusiasm.

The Gentile believer was not excluded. Saul wrote to many of them concerning their new life in Messiah: “Therefore, brothers, stand firm; and hold to the traditions you were taught by us, whether we spoke them or wrote them in a letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). The first-century, non-Jewish believers in Yeshua understood many of the details of the Hebrew Scriptures and many of the traditions that enhanced them. An example of this is the cup shared at Messiah’s last Passover Seder. This element is not mandated in the Hebrew Scriptures, yet it became part of the tradition of Passover. The third cup is called the Cup of Redemption and, although it is a rabbinic tradition, it was blessed by Yeshua himself.

All traditions were weighed by the authority of the Bible, yet these believers were blessed as they understood the Jewish roots of their faith in Messiah. This is the balance that believers in Yeshua need to return to today. This book is an effort to bring out the spiritual richness of the biblical/Jewish traditions.

By Barry Kasdan

God’s Appointed Customs

SKU: 9781880226636
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