Hebrew Catholics as Jews

A Hebrew Catholic is a Jew who has entered the Catholic Church. Hebrew is his ethnicity and culture, his membership in God’s people Israel. Catholic is his faith, his membership in the Church of the New Israel.

Many Jews who become Catholic call themselves Hebrew Catholics because Hebrew is historically associated with Abram the Hebrew, who received the eternal election in the everlasting covenant with God, and whom Melchizedek blessed with bread and wine foreshadowing Rabbi Yeshua.

Who is a JewRabbi Paul, a Jew Acts 26:46 speaking of Jews, makes the relevant distinction: “As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” Rom 11:2829. We understand Judaism as a religion, but also as a tribe. Rabbi Paul means by “enemies of God” that they do not believe that Rabbi Yeshua is God’s Mashiakh as the Gospels affirm.

Tribal Affiliation

As regards the election, “The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable Rom 11:29. God promised Abram, “To your descendants I will give this land” Gen 12:7. The history and destiny of Abram’s descendants, God’s chosen Hebrew Gen 14:13 people, were forever bound to the promised land.

God continued to emphasize that his covenant would be with Abram’s descendants forever. “For all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants for ever” Gen 13:15. God established his covenant in the flesh with Abram’s descendants: “I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant” Gen 17:7. In Rabbi Yeshua‘s time the Jews cited their Jewish identity: “We are descendants of Abraham” Jn 8:28.

Visibly, from the tribal perspective, Hebrew Catholics continue to be Jews. At birth we were recognized as descendants of Abraham, most of us as children of a Jewish mother and therefore members of the tribe of Judah. Our baptism does not affect our ancestry.

Religious Affiliation

Then, the rabbis say, you follow Yeshua, whom we do not accept as Jewish because he claimed to be the Son of God.” The First Commandment says, “You shall have no other gods before me” Ex 20:3; Deut 5:7.

They add, “You follow this Yeshua, whom our ancestors knew face to face and did not follow.” Yes, we reply, and he warned them that the Temple would be destroyed Jn 2:1921 because “you did not know the time of your visitation” Lk 19:44.

Rabbi Yeshua repeated his prophecy,

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down” Mt 24:2.

The Second Temple was built of walls 5 meters (about 16 feet) thick of  stones weighing on the average 10 tons each, including one weighing 400 tons, and capable of accommodating up to one million people. It was a building so wondrous that even today its construction remains a mystery.

If an ordinary man had predicted that so massive a building would be destroyed with not one stone left on another, within the lifetime of his hearers, he would certainly not have been taken seriously.

Rabbi Yeshua at the time he made this prophesy was already no ordinary man. He presented a tribal genealogy far better than any modern rabbi’s Mt 1:216Lk 3:2338, and he kept the religious commandments § 578. He reminded Rabbi Yokhanan‘s disciples, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them” Lk 7:22. A man who has raised others from the dead certainly deserves to be taken seriously, but they did not Mt 23:37.

Then, Rabbi Yeshua’s bet din did not condemn him according to God’s law. God had commanded for idolatry cases, “On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses he that is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness” Deut 17:6. When Rabbi Yeshua said “I am [the Son of God]” Mk 14:62, Caiaphas immediately said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy” Mk 14:6364. But it could be blasphemy only if Rabbi Yeshua in fact was not the Son of God. The high priest made no attempt to show that Rabbi Yeshua was not God’s promised Mashiakh.

But some 40 years later Emperor Vespasian ordered the Second Temple destroyed. His son Titus crucified so many Jews that the Romans ran out of wood for the crosses, an obvious echo of Rabbi Yeshua‘s crucifixion. The Temple destruction on the Ninth of Av made it obvious that the Temple was destroyed by God, not Vespasian. It would have made obvious sense at that point for them to re-consider whether Rabbi Yeshua might indeed be the Son of God. He had been condemned by Caiaphas’  bet din, and no further evidence was needed.

Let’s bring this question into our own time. Suppose that during the late 1990s the CIA had found a source who said that the World Trade Center would be destroyed. However, suppose the CIA experts found no connections, concluded that the man was not credible, and did nothing in response. But then, after the World Trade Center fell to the ground, they would have remembered that the man’s prophecy had been accurate and decided that he was highly credible after all.

Then the rabbis try one more time, “Well, it’s not that exactly. It’s that the Gospels say Joseph wasn’t the father of Jesus of Nazareth, so the link to David’s line Jer 23:56; was broken.” And that’s where they’re impaled on the horns of a dilemma. Logically, apart from faith, there are only two possibilities. Rabbi Yeshua compels a choice.

If they acknowledge that the Gospels are true, they have to acknowledge that Rabbi Yeshua’s conception was miraculous Is 7:14, therefore that he really was God’s promised Mashiakh, and therefore Jewish on God’s own authority.

Or,

They can say they don’t believe that the Gospels are true, in which case Joseph would have been seen as Rabbi Yeshua‘s biological father. After all, the genealogies show that Joseph was in the line of David, and if he was the biological father of Rabbi Yeshua, then Rabbi Yeshua was Jewish on both tribal and religious grounds.

Bishop Barron comments on Israel, the Church and the Law pt 1 7:05
Bishop Barron comments on Israel, the Church and the Law pt 2 5:56

How Hebrew Catholics Live Lent Well