Thursday, August 20, 2015

Stop the Press! Mainline Christian Scholars Beginning to Promote the Torah of Moses



"I am keenly aware that in proposing [that the Torah of Moses is valid for Christians] I have guaranteed for myself a limited hearing," Daniel I. Block, opening line from his essay entitled "Preaching Old Testament Law to New Testament Christians" found in the book "The Gospel According to Moses:  Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Book of Deuteronomy"
What follows are my notes on Daniel I. Block's essay entitled "Preaching Old Testament Law to New Testament Christians."  I just read this today and was astounded that a Christian would be promoting the Torah of Moses to fellow Christians.  And not just any Christian but he happens to be a professor of the Old Testament at Wheaton College.  Friends, this is G-d at work in Christendom, changing it into something new.  Enjoy:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Censoring the Face of the Messiah: Why the Jewish Publication Society Purposefully Blurred Out the Messiah in Zechariah 12:10




"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn," Zechariah 12:10

Non-Messianic Jews, when they read Zechariah 12:10, are faced with a problem:  here is a passage where G-d is the speaker and He seems to be saying that He was rejected and pierced by His own People.

So here's how Jews have historically censored this passage.

ATTEMPT #1: REINTERPRET THE PASSAGE AS REFERRING TO MOSHIACH BEN YOSEPH

The Talmud says that the "mourning" refers to the Messiah (Sukkah 52a).  Rashi said the "mourning" referred to a Messiah, specifically the Moshiach ben Yoseph.  Rabbi Moses Alshech explains:
"‘They shall look unto Me, for they shall lift up their eyes unto Me in perfect repentance, when they see Him whom they have pierced, that is Messiah, the Son of Joseph; for our Rabbis, of blessed memory, have said that He will take upon Himself all the guilt of Israel, and shall then be slain in the war to make atonement in such manner that it shall be accounted as if Israel had pierced Him, for on account of their sin He has died; and, therefore, in order that it may be reckoned to them as perfect atonement, they will repent and look to the blessed One, saying that there is none beside Him to forgive those that mourn on account of Him who died for their sin; this is the meaning of ‘They shall look upon Me.'"
Notice that the Rabbis understood the grammar "look unto Me".  They couldn't get around the Hebrew grammar!  So they used an interpretation that ignores the problematic grammar suggesting a Divine Messiah--ignored it altogether--and they proposed that there are 2 Messiahs, a Messiah ben Yoseph who came to die for our sins, and a Messiah ben David who came to bring peace.

Only one problem with that though...the passage doesn't seem to be talking about 2 different people.  It indicates that "they" (i.e. Israel) pierced the Messiah and now they are accepting the one they previously had rejected.  And this context matches the rejected Messiah of Isaiah 53:
"...we held him in low esteem.  Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.  But He was crushed for our iniquities...He was oppressed and afflicted..."

Furthermore, Zech. 12:10 says that they will look unto "me"---the one who was [previously, at some other time] slain.  The passage literally says they will accept the Messiah that they had previously rejected!  It's talking not about 2 different Messiahs but about a single Messiah!


ATTEMPT #2:  DISTORT THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION EVEN IF IT MEANS IMPERMISSIBLY VIOLATING HEBREW GRAMMAR

 As we previously mentioned, the Rabbis never even attempted to get around the Hebrew grammar of Zechariah 12:10.  But the guys at the Jewish Publication Society didn't have any problem with violating Hebrew grammar when they wrote their new English translation.  Now, you might say, Peter, you poor fool, of course the Christians will claim that the JPS translation is wrong.  But what do they know anyway?  Jews are the only ones who know how to translate this passage correctly.

Actually, Jewish authors admit that the JPS translation is wrong (more on that in a moment).

So here's the JPS version:
"But I will fill the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem with a spirit of pity and compassion;  and they shall lament to Me about those who are slain, wailing over them as over a favorite son and showing bitter grief as over a first-born," Zech 12:10, JPS (1988)
And here's Gerald Sigal admitting that this translation is completely in error:
"...the translation 'look to Me whom they have pierced' is correct.  The relative clause 'whom they have pierced' in in apposition to 'Me,' the spokesman of the passage.  'Et, the Hebrew word introducing the clause marks it as the object of the verb 'look to'; the Hebrew word 'asher is always a relative pronoun in that context, and never the conjunction 'because.'  It should also be noted that in the Hebrew clause 'they have pierced' lacks the pronominal suffix 'him,'" Gerald Sigal, Trinity Doctrine Error:  A Jewish Analysis.
CONCLUSION

It is inescapable.  The Messiah had to be rejected and killed.  But now--and I'm speaking especially to my Jewish brothers and sisters--NOW is the time to accept Yeshua, the Divine Messiah who came to take away your sins!  If you read this far then it's because G-d is working in your heart.  Now you must consult Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 12 for yourself and allow G-d to continue to speak to you!  You must make the choice while it is still today.  You are not guaranteed another day on this earth.  Tomorrow you may have to go before the Throne of the Living G-d and give an account for your life!

Choose salvation!

Choose Yeshua!



Monday, August 3, 2015

Did the Creator Have Help?



"Our rabbis taught:  Adam was created on the eve of the Sabbath.  And why?  So that the heretics could not say:  The Holy One, blessed be He, had a partner in his work [of creation]," T. Sanh. 8:7
When most people think of G-d, they think "all powerful" or "all knowing" or "all encompassing."  But there's another aspect of G-d that is unique:  He's the only Creator and Sustainer.  In other words, He didn't have any help creating the universe.  He did it all by Himself, alone:
"Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself," Isaiah 44:24

Yet, even though the Tanak says that Adonai alone made the universe, the Apostolic Writings affirm that Yeshua is this same Creator of the universe:
"But for us there is one God, the Father by whom all things were created and for whom we live.  And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live," 1 Corinthians 8:6
"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made," John 1:3
Now why should this matter?  Must we believe that Yeshua is the Creator?

To call upon the name of a mere man is not the same thing as to call upon the Name of the L-rd:
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance..." Joel 2:32
"(9)That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved....(13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," Romans 10:9,13 
 To believe in Yeshua as a mere man is to have constructed a theological sand castle; the entire structure of such a belief system will eventually collapse and be replaced with a competing belief system.  The only way to have a sure faith and sure salvation is to acknowledge Yeshua as the One L-rd of Israel, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the object of ALL our praise and worship.

Anyone who denies the unique Divinity of Yeshua is not fit to be called Messianic.  We cannot fellowship with such people.  They not only have forfeited all credibility but they represent a threat to our Messianic Family.  Beware of any religion or cult that denies the Divinity of Yeshua!

Shalom,

Peter

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Whenever Someone Says the Iranian Deal is Good, Show Them This Video...




Video with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei addressing the Iranian public 4 days after the nuclear deal, calling for the death of Israel and the United States, with Ali Larijani, chairman of the Iranian parliament, Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, Vice President and Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency--all sitting in the audience listening approvingly.  Then everyone chants "Death to Israel!" and "Death to America!"



Friday, July 24, 2015

Responding to Lee Miller from House of David

This post is intended for Lee Miller of the House of David Fellowship in Richmond, Virginia.  Lee, I hope you'll take the time to read all of this carefully.

Recently, I visited House of David Fellowship in Richmond and felt quite out of place because they teach there that Yeshua is not the G-d of Israel.  Now think about the implications of this doctrinal position for a moment:

If a congregation teaches that Yeshua is not the G-d of Israel then that means that anyone who worships Yeshua as G-d, in the eyes of that community, is a heretic, unfit to be called an elder and probably a candidate for being kicked out of the community.

So for that reason alone, the question of the Divinity of Yeshua is a big deal.  But it's also a big deal because the Bible claims that Yeshua is the G-d of Israel and so if He's not then we've got a big problem.

So yesterday Mr. Miller recommended Skip Moen's writings (LINK) on the topic of the Trinity.  I say he recommended them because he said Skip had some insights on this topic.  So I reviewed some of Skip's blog posts.

BRIEF REVIEW OF SKIP MOEN'S WRITINGS ON THE TRINITY

If I had to briefly summarize Skip's writings, he basically says that Trinitarians violate the "plain meaning rule" of exegesis when they interpret passages such as John 5:19 and especially Matthew 24:36.  He focuses particularly on Matthew 24:36 because it seems to indicate, at face value, that Yeshua has no knowledge of a particular upcoming date.  Lastly, Skip asserts that the concept of the Trinity (i.e. that Yeshua is the G-d of Israel) arose through the Council of Nicaea and that "Jewish sages and rabbis never came to this conclusion."


REBUTTAL

First, the plain meaning rule doesn't apply when the context indicates that the meaning is not plain.  For example, if one applies the plain meaning rule in an exegesis of Peter's Dream where the sheet comes down from heaven or if one applies the plain meaning rule to various passages in Revelation then one will arrive at absurd conclusions.  In the same way, given that any passage referring to aspects of the Deity must be considered mystical.  There is no "surface" meaning when the entire passage deals exclusively with a deep, mystical subject.

Okay, now for the fun part.  Skip asserted that Second Temple era Jews would never have accepted Yeshua as the G-d of Israel because this idea only arose in the fourth century or thereabouts.  So the following excerpt provides a rather lengthy table of references that show Paul the Apostle had no problems whatsoever with identifying Yeshua with the unique Divinity of the G-d of Israel:

Richard Baukham, Paul's Christology of Divine Identity

"...the monotheism of Second Temple Judaism was indeed 'strict.'  Most Jews in this period were highly self-consciously monotheistic, and had certain very familiar and well-defined ideas as to how the uniqueness of the one God should be understood.  In other words, they drew the line of distinction between the one God and all other reality clearly, and were in the habit of distinguishing God from all other reality by means of certain clearly articulated criteria."

"In my view high Christology was possible within a Jewish monotheistic context, not by applying to Jesus a Jewish category of semi-divine intermediary status, but by identifying Jesus directly with the one God of Israel, including Jesus in the unique identity of this one God.  I use the term 'unique identity' as the best way of speaking of the uniqueness of God as generally conceived in early Judaism."

"The one God of Second Temple Jewish belief was identifiable as unique by two kinds of identifying features.  The first concerns his covenant relationship with Israel.  He is the God of Israel, known from the recital of his acts in Israel's history and from the revelation of his character to Israel (Exod 34:6).  He has revealed to Israel his name [Adonai], which was of great importance to Jews of the Second Temple period because it names precisely the unique identity of their God."

"...this God was also characterized as unique by his relationships to the whole of reality:  especially that he is the only Creator of all things and that he is the sole sovereign Ruler of all things.  Such identifications of [Adonai] are extremely common in Second Temple Jewish literature.  Such identifications of [Adonai] are extremely common in Second Temple Jewish literature.  They were the simplest and clearest way of answering the question:  What distinguishes [Adonai], the only true God, from all other reality?  In what does his uniqueness consist?  These characteristics make a clear and absolute distinction between the true God and all other reality.  God alone created all things;  all other things, including beings worshipped as gods by Gentiles, are created by him....However diverse Judaism may have been in many other respects, this was common:  only the God of Israel is worthy of worship because he is the sole Creator of all things and sole Ruler of all things.  Other beings who might otherwise be thought divine are by these criteria God's creatures and subjects.  (Thus so-called intermediary figures either belong to the unique identity of God or else were created by and remain subject to the one God, as his worshippers and servants, however exalted.)"

"My purpose in the rest of the present paper is to examine some of the evidence for this kind of Christology of divine identity in the letters of Paul."

"(1) [Adonai] texts with Jesus Christ as referent:

(1a) Five quotations including kurio
Rom 10:13-----Joel 2:32
1 Cor 1:31------Jer 9:24
1 Cor 2:16------Isa 40:13
1 Cor 10:26----Ps 23(24):1
2 Cor 10:17----Jer 9:24

(1b)  One quotation to which Paul adds legei kurio
Rom 14:11----Isa 45:23

(1c) One quotation not including kurio
Rom 9:33----Isa 8:14

(1d) Nine allusions including kurio
1 Cor 8:6----Deut 6:4
1 Cor 10:22----Deut 32:21
2 Cor 8:21----Prov 3:4
Phil 2:10-11----Isa 45:23
1 Thes 3:13----Zech 14:5
2 Thes 1:7----Isa 66:15
2 Thes 1:9----Isa 2:10, 19, 21
2 Thes 1:12----Isa 66:5
2 Thes 3:16----Num 6:26

(1e) Six stereotyped OT phrases including kurio

'to call on the name of the Lord'

1 Cor 1:2 (cf. Rom 10:13)----Joel 2:23; Zeph 3:9; Zech 13:9; Jer 10:25 etc.

'the day of the Lord'

1 Cor 1:8; 5:5; 2 Cor 1:14; 1 Thes 5:2; 2 Thes 2:2 Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; Amos 5:18; Isa 13:6, 9 etc.

'to serve the Lord' Rom 12:11; 16:18 1 Kdms 12:20; Pss 2:11; 99(100):2; 101(102):22 etc.

'the word of the Lord' 1 Thes 1:8; 2 Thes 3:1 Isa 2:3 etc.

'the Lord be with you' 2 Thes 3:16 Ruth 2:4; 1 Kdms 17:37; 20:13 etc.

'the fear of the Lord' 2 Cor 5:11 Isa 2:10, 19, 21 etc.

(2) YHWH texts with God as referent:

(2a) Nine quotations including kurio"
Rom 4:7-8----Ps 31(32):1-2
Rom 9:27-28----Hos 2:1 + Isa 10:22-2316
Rom 9:29----Isa 1:9 (kuvrio" sabawvq)
Rom 10:16----Isa 53:1 (kuvrio" in LXX, no equivalent in MT)17 Rom 11:3 3----Kdms 19:10 (kuvrio" not in LXX, no equivalent in MT)
Rom 11:34----Isa 40:13
Rom 15:11----Ps 116(117):1
1 Cor 3:20----Ps 93(94):11
2 Cor 6:18 2----Kdms 7:14, 8 (kuvrio" pantokravtwr)

(2b) Three quotations to which Paul adds legei kurio"
Rom 12:1919----Deut 32:35
1 Cor 14:21----Isa 28:11-12
2 Cor 6:17----Isa 52:11 + Ezek 20:34

(2c) Twelve quotations in which the speaker ('I') is identified as YHWH in the OT context

Rom 4:17----Gen 17:5
Rom 9:9----Gen 18:14
Rom 9:13----Mal 1:2-3
Rom 9:14----Exod 33:19
Rom 9:17-----Exod 9:16
Rom 9:25----Hos 2:25
Rom 9:33-----Isa 28:16
Rom 10:19-----Deut 32:2120
Rom 10:20-----Isa 65:1
Rom 10:21-----Isa 65:2
Rom 11:26-27----Isa 59:20-21
2 Cor 6:2----- Isa 49:8"

CONCLUSION

As you can see, Paul had no problem identifying Yeshua with the G-d of Israel.  This blows Skip Moen's case out of the water---and this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to evidence on the Divinity of Yeshua.  But this can be an ongoing thing.  I'd especially like to address the passage where Yeshua refers to Himself as "I AM" without even an implied predicate (see notes below).  But the purpose of this particular post is to thoroughly and unequivocally destabilize Skip's assertion that the idea of Yeshua's Divinity is something that happened only after the fourth century C.E.

Shalom,

Peter





MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:

"In its predicative form...'I am' is a grammatically normal enough statement...When 'I am' lacks even an implied predicate, however, it becomes unintelligible except as an allusion to God's name..." Keener, The Gospel of John, pgs. 769-770

"Jesus uses the ego eimi formula in three different ways in the Fourth Gospel: (1) With a predicate....(2) With an implied predicate....(3) As an absolute...certainly in 8:58: 'before Abraham was born, I am!' The last of these uses needs furhter comment, for in this case ego eimi represents the divine name. In Exodus 3:14 God says to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' The 'I AM WHO I AM' is translated as ego eimi ho on in the LXX. In Isaiah 43:25; 51:12 ego eimi on its own functions as the divine name. Thus when Jesus said to 'the Jews', 'before Abraham was born, I am', he was identifying himself with God. He was not only pronouncing the name of God...he was claiming to be God," Colin Kruse, The Gospel According to John, pg. 138

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Cheaters" [Reblogged from Kineti L'Tziyon]




I realized something after reading Judah's newest post.  In it, he describes the fallout of divorce and how this broken-homeness is often self-perpetuating.

It occurred to me just now that broken-homeness also happens when a congregation splits in half.  Think about it:  all of those damaged relationships, trust destroyed, people who used to be friends who now have to avoid each other wherever they go.

So if G-d hates it when the relationship between a husband and wife is permanently destroyed, doesn't He also hate it when relationships are permanently destroyed on a massive scale in the form of a communal split?

Maybe if a covenant is needed between a man and a woman then it is also needed between members of a Messianic community.






Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What is Idolatry Really? Some Musings on Caleb Hegg's 2nd Kabbalah Lecture



One time I was addressing a roomful of Christians.  I don't recall how it came up exactly but I remembering saying something to the effect of "The Bible says G-d creates evil."

Shocked gasps from the audience.  EVERYONE was offended.

I shrugged it off and didn't mention it again.  I knew what the Bible said and didn't see the need to press the point further.  It is written in Isaiah:

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things," Isaiah 45:7

Well, this morning I was listening to Caleb Hegg's 2nd lecture and noticed that he said this:

"This is how you have sin within kabbalah.  The darkness is the sin.  Our world is made up of these sparks according to this belief.  Our world is worst of all possible worlds in which there is still hope.  The Theology of tzizum was a new take on kabbalistic teaching by Luria.  This doctrine is important for our study as it is one of the foundational doctrines of the Chasidim.  Tzizum is the only kabbalistic theology in which G-d created the world it is also how evil was created.  Luria brought a provocative new spin on the Ein Sof.  While traditional kabbalah taught that the Ein Sof made up of the Sefirot existed in perfect harmony, Luria taught that the powers of 'din' were able to exist disharmoniously.  This disharmonious power and 'din' is one of the sefirot.  This disharmonious power within Ein Sof was capable of turning from disharmony to evil so now basically what you've done and I think this is uh…uh…a sure sign of idolatry…is that you have basically made G-d into evil.  G-d is responsible for evil.  G-d is those pieces of evil.  K?"

I think a lot of teachers need to do a better job of defining what idolatry actually is.  Here's my definition which is based on Scripture:

Idolatry is the prideful state of mind wherein man fantasizes both the god and the human worship of the god simultaneously and in the process of imagining a god receiving worship participates in prideful self-worship.

Okay, maybe there's a more simple way to word it.  But I stand by the substance of that definition.

I say that to distinguish the kabbalistic explanation for evil from idolatry.  It's not idolatry to attempt to figure out where evil comes from or even to attribute evil to G-d.  Now, I'm not saying that G-d is responsible for ALL evil.  I'm merely pointing out that the Bible says G-d creates evil.  I don't have a whole theory to explain the origins of evil like the kabbalists have done.  I simply haven't spent much time thinking about it.

But I wouldn't call that aspect of kabbalah idolatry.  But perhaps someone disagrees.  I'm open to other points of view.  Does anyone have any thoughts?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

If We Each Have 2 Opposing Wills Then How Can Our Actions Ever Be Morally Blameworthy?

There's an old latin phrase that says:  "Actus reus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea" which translates to "The act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty."  In America Criminal Law, this sometimes is taken mean that the degree of guilt is lessened when it can be shown that the offender committed the act without "mens rea" which under Common Law is taken to be "malice aforethought."

In short, it's morally blameworthy when you knowingly planned on doing something known to be immoral (i.e. illegal).

But then Paul indicates the Jewish view that we have a good inclination and an evil inclination:

"For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate," Romans 7:15

It's paradoxical that someone could have 2 opposing wills--to knowingly commit a transgression of the law even when they desired to not commit said transgression.  It's like saying there both "is" and "is not" mens rea.  It's logically impossible.

So this is just a musing I was having.  I'm not sure how to understand this verse.  Anyone have any thoughts?

Initial Impression of Caleb's 1st Lecture on Kabbalah


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Caleb Hegg (Free Video on History of Kabbalah)

I'm looking forward to watching Caleb's presentation on the History of Kabbalah later this evening.  I'll post a little review post afterward.

Shalom,

Peter

Tim Hegg: Praying with the Siddur (Video Seminar)

This looks interesting.  I'm thinking of purchasing it:

CLICK HERE FOR LINK