Saturday, December 29, 2012

Find Other One-Law Messianic Believers or Jewish Roots Christians in Your Area!

The following link will take you to an interactive map of the United States.  You simply use the form to input some limited information about yourself (all you really need to input is your first name, email, city and country).  Then, after a reasonable time to process your data, you'll be added to the map and then people will be able to contact you about starting a Jewish Roots or Messianic fellowship in your town.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Great Discussion on Derek's Blog (Unless I Get Deleted as Usual)

Check out a wonderful post (yes, wonderful though I disagree with his conclusion) about James gezerah shavah in Acts 15 and how it relates to the Gentiles in the New Covenant.


In case he deletes me, here's a comment I wrote:


Re:  "Amos 9:11-12 is unique in its clarity that they remain Gentiles and yet are called by God’s name."

A Gentile always remains a Gentile, even a convert.  But such a Gentile is also part of the covenant--and that's all that matters.  Thus, Caleb was a Gentile even though he was an Israelite.  Same with Ruth (note that she's even called "Ruth the Moabite" despite belonging to the People of Israel).  

In other words, in a contest between ethnicity (gentileness) and covenant, covenant always wins.  

But don't take my word for it.  Isaiah 63:19 says that uncovenanted Gentiles are not called by His Name:

"We are yours from of old; but you have not ruled over them, they have not been called by your name."

So we see that this idea of being called by someone's name refers to covenant:

"In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, "We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!"" (Isaiah 4:1)

Remember that Abraham was accepted in covenant with G-d even prior to circumcision.  The circumcision is a sign and seal of the pre-existing covenant.  

"And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them," (Romans 4:11)

The covenant occurs apart from circumcision and thus salvation is possible apart from circumcision.  And recall from Acts 15:1 that this was the issue:  can Gentiles be in covenant apart from circumcision so that they may receive salvation even in an uncircumcised state?  And the answer, of course, was "yes."  Peter's argument before the council explained that the uncircumcised Gentiles had been called by His name and were, THEREFORE, saved by grace.  Note that James says that Peter made this argument about the gentiles being called by the Name of G-d.  

I hope you will engage and not delete.  



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Complementary Asymmetry (A Continuation of the Themes of Judaism)

Compare the following images:

Picture a typical, Christian church with the men and women standing together, boyfriends with their girlfriends, husbands with their wives, single men sitting in close proximity with single girls.  And the women are typically wearing tight-fitting pants that somehow are able to cover everything and reveal everything simultaneously.

Now picture an Orthodox synagogue, a sanctuary with a barrier going down the middle, men on one side, women on the other.  And the women wear long skirts and high-collared blouses.

The reason for the difference is that Judaism values the theme of complementary asymmetry.

But isn't it sexist to discriminate against women in this way?  Not at all.  The simple truth is that men and women are different and so Judaism allows for that:

  • Jewish women are not required to wear tzitzit because they don't get distracted as easily as men by fleshly desires.  
  • Jewish women are required to cover up more because immodesty engenders misogynous objectification of women.    
  • Jewish women don't have to pray at set times because their schedules are unpredictable.  Ask yourself:  would G-d rather have the woman breastfeed a crying newborn or finish a minchah prayer?  Of course G-d is compassionate to the needs of the child.   

So Judaism sees that not only must the natural order be maintained (men being the primary providers and protectors and women being the nurturers so that children are both provided for and well-nurtured) but the religious order must be maintained.  Everything about Jewish home life, synagogue life, and national life has been tailored to the specific needs of men and women.

But, you may ask, did Paul feel this way?  Yes!  Observe how politically incorrect Paul is when he writes the following:

"11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety," (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

Paul also prized this Jewish theme of complementary asymmetry! 

The further we deviate from the traditional, Judaic norms of complementary asymmetry, the closer we get to Sodom and Gomorrah.  

Anyway, if you want to read more about this topic then check out this article:  CLICK HERE FOR LINK

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Distinctive Themes of Judaism: Where Judaic Themes Overlap with Christianity and Where They Diverge

Where do the themes of Judaism overlap and diverge from Christianity?  Well, one must first distinguish to which Judaism one refers.  In this case, I'll say traditional Judaism in its ideal state (i.e. New Covenant Judaism or Orthodox Messianic Judaism).  But one must also distinguish to which Christianity one refers.  In this case, I'll survey different Christianities within the system of Christianity.

And which Judaic themes shall I select?  I'm just going to focus on several of the primary distinctives.  For this post, let's just examine (1) separation (i.e. holiness) and (2) complementary asymmetry in the realm of male/femal relations in private and public life.

When one talks about holiness, one is talking about separation.  But separation from what?  

Genesis provides a clue.  In the beginning there was chaos.  And G-d brought order.  He separated matter/energy throughout the universe, created our planet.  He then separated land from water.

So separation has something to do with order...

What else?

The Mosaic Torah provides another clue.  G-d tells Israel to be set apart.  Why?  Because the other nations were pagan.  But there's more to being set apart than just being non-pagan.  One had to be set apart from paganism and also set apart FOR G-d. 

G-d has a very specific way that He wants His people to set themselves apart.  He wants them to imitate Him.  But can one imitate G-d directly, a being who is completely transcendent?  

In fact there are some things about G-d that we can imitate.  We can imitate His creative force when we form relationships or produce offspring.  We can imitate His desire to separate things when we begin Shabbat with a seder and end it with havdalah.  

G-d wants order in so many different realms.  There are essentially three realms:  Person, Place, and Time.  You could say that many of the Jewish rituals help to accomplish this.  We separate our homes as Israelite homes when we place a mezzuah on the doorpost.  We separate ourselves when wear tzitzit.  We separate time when we mark the beginning and end of Shabbat.  We also separate ourselves respectfully from G-d when we refuse to make graven images of Him.  [This idea of separating oneself probably sounds strange to Christians but consider this:  if one is not separate from G-d then one ceases to exist.  Thus, separation is necessary and good.]

Christianity struggles with this theme of separation.  There are some sects of Christianity that take separation to an extreme;  other sects which advocate blending in with the secular culture.  In any event, no sect of Christianity (unless one considers Jewish Roots Christians a sect) uses Jewish/Biblical ritual for the purposes of becoming holy/separate.  Christians simply don't see Jewish ritual as necessary for holiness.

So, Christian, I ask you this:  if Jewish (Biblical ritual) is not necessary for holiness then why were the rituals given?  And if they are helpful for holiness for ancient Israelites (even gentiles like Caleb or Ruth) then why wouldn't they be helpful for you now?

Well, I apologize for the length of this post.  I'll write about the theme of complementary asymmetry next time!


Debunking Christmas and Easter

Here's something from a Jewish Roots Christianity site that debunks Christmas and Easter.  No, this ministry is not Messianic.  They use the Name, etc.  But they are good people and they demonstrate how G-d is causing Christians to wake up to the Jewish Roots of the Faith.  I apologize for the references to the Name...


Friday, December 21, 2012

As Christians Help You, So You Should Help Christians

I know there are people reading this who have just started to wake up to the Jewish roots of the faith.  They feel isolated, unsure of where to go.  They feel like they can't trust Christian church because it has spread an anti-Judaic message.  To you I have a message:

Don't be the angry outcast!

Remember that G-d does work in Christianity, that He moves Christians to do His work.  Do you need help networking to find a job?  There's probably a Christian ministry for that in your town!  Do you need counseling for a failing marriage?  There's probably a Christian ministry for that in your town!

We're all family:  Christians and Messianics.  And we can help each other in love.  Messianic, you can help them to understand the Jewish Roots of the Faith!  And they can help minister to your needs as well.

Remember, G-d gives gifts to EVERYONE.  Together, these gifts make us whole.  So I recommend that, wherever you are, that you consider the following strategy:


Work with your Christian brothers and sisters for mutual advantage!


Build up a Messianic community!  And do it through example of being loving and passionate about the Torah!

How Should a Messianic Reply to a Christian Who Says "Merry Christmas!"?

You should definitely say Merry Christmas if someone says Merry Christmas to you.  We don't want to be known as the movement of jerks.  Remember that honey attracts more flies than vinegar.

Want to tell Christians about the pagan origins of Christmas?  Perhaps you should consider (just consider) biting your tongue.  Why?  Because we are to be as wise as serpents (and harmless as doves).  The wise course of action is avoid conflict (when possible) and use the most persuasive means of communication available.

The most persuasive way to communicate the truth to a Christian is to (1) live a life of chesed; (2) celebrate the customs of Judaism!  People want to attend a Passover seder with the guy who happily invites them to attend;  people never want to attend a seder with the guy who tells them that anyone who doesn't celebrate Passover is deceived.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is the "Spirit of Lawlessness" the Same Thing as Christian Anti-Judaism and Messianic Exclusionism?

Satan hates New Covenant Judaism.  He cringed the day Yeshua first wore tzitzit.  He cringed when he saw Yeshua attend synagogue each Shabbat.

But Satan had a plan.  And he was very patient.

His first goal was to eliminate the Jewish leadership in the first century Messianic Assembly.

He succeeded.

His next goal was to create an anti-Messiah (Constantine) who would deceive the Gentile Believers.

He succeeded.

For the next several millenia, all was well for Satan.  He had Gentile Christians murdering Jews in the name of Jesus Christ.  He couldn't have been more pleased with himself.

But then the Jews rallied.

Israel, to his horror, became a nation again.

Still, he was the man with the plan.  He would simply use the same tactics as before:  send out a spirit of lawlessness to prevent the spread of the true, pro-Judaic Gospel.

Yet, he observed that the problem had become more complex:  the spirit of Torah was increasing not only in Jews BUT ALSO IN GENTILES!!!

Satan listened in horror to the reports that even the Gentiles were beginning to take hold of the covenant, to join themselves to the L-rd, to even keep the Sabbath!  And so he remembered the Prophecy:

"...the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord...everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it and holds fast my covenant--these I will bring to my holy mountain....I will gather others to Him besides those already gathered,"  (Isaiah 56)

So then Satan took aim at the Messianic movement.  His strategy?  Divide and conquer!

He would strike the leaders, deceive them, have them create institutions that preached that the Gentiles were excluded from the covenant, that Gentiles should not follow the Torah, that they were certainly not a part of Israel.

Now, surveying his handiwork, how the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations and First Fruits of Zion have spread the message of Exclusionism around the globe, Satan recalls the Prophecy once more:

"Let NOT the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say 'The Lord will surely exclude me from His People'" (Isaiah 56)

...and Satan laughs.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

First Fruits of Zion Blames One Law Believers for Disunity in Churches

"Instead of unity, we have found that the One-Law message sometimes brings disunity, fracturing, and dysfunction. There are several reasons for this. A few examples will illustrate the gravity of the situation.  When Gentile believers are told that they are under an absolute mandate to keep the Torah in all its 613 commandments, they are left with little choice but to sever relationships with their Christian friends and families who do not share the same conviction." from "One Law and the Messianic Gentile" by Boaz Michael

 So Boaz thinks that the One-Law message brings disunity--that One Law is the source of disunity.  This is a Satanic lie.  The real source of disunity between One Law Believers and Christians is this:  TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF ANTI-JUDAISM AND ANTI-SEMITISM.

Christianity has caused enough evil without any help from the good people of One Law.  Christians have been slaughtering Jews for two thousand years.  They've been slandering Judaism for two thousand years (click here for post about adversus judaeos).

So if you are a One Law Believer out there who has run up against friction--don't blame yourself.  Satanic anti-Judaism is the cause of the conflict, not you!

Pray for the men at FFOZ that G-d will bring them to the truth or at least nullify the damage they cause!

May Yeshua help the churches to transition out of Christianity and back into the pro-Judaic, Jewish Faith practiced by Yeshua and the Apostles!  May we live to see such a revolution in our time!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why Did Joseph Command the Egyptians to Circumcise? [UPDATED]

Joseph was in charge of Egypt.  This made him the master and the Egyptians were his servants.  Thus, he was required to circumcise them.  At least this is what Rashi has to say about Genesis 41.  So I'll give you a link to an article about this--it's very interesting.  Elsewhere in Jewish commentary we learn more about Joseph's reasoning:  the Torah says that uncircumcision is a "shame" and this word for "shame" refers to famine (Ezekiel 36:30).  So Joseph thought that if he removed the shame then he would remove the famine---and he did!

Anyway, here's an article to read if you're interested in this:  CLICK HERE.

UPDATE:  What I would like you all to consider:  if Yeshua is your master and you are His servant then isn't Yeshua required to have you circumcised (at some point) according to Genesis 17?  Hey, this is just a discussion.  Let's discuss!  Perhaps you have another perspective?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Do You Belong to Abraham's Household?

The Hebrew word for house or household can have different connotations.  The "House of David" for example refers not to a literal house per se but rather an enduring legacy or dynasty.  It also carries some covenantal overtones.  For example, Acts 16:31 talks about how if someone believes in Yeshua then he will be saved and his entire household.

I'd like to talk about the meaning of "household" as it used in the story of Abraham.  G-d commanded Abraham to circumcise even "those who are not your offspring", the servants of Abraham's household. For example, Genesis 14:14 talks about Abraham's army composed of trained servants who were born in Abraham's household.  These guys weren't literally born in Abraham's house.  They weren't even related to Abraham by blood.  They were probably the sons of servants that Abraham had purchased and they were trained to be warriors.

There is an ancient Semitic tradition for making someone a servant for life.  The master would pierce the ear of the servant which was a metaphor for opening his ears to the master's instructions.  Also, blood was a symbol of family/kinship.  Abraham most likely performed a similar tradition with his servants.  He considered them family.  And the covenant (Gen. 17) required him to circumcise these servants.

So how about Gentiles?  Do Gentiles belong to this covenantal family of Abraham?

Galatians 3:5-9
So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

So do the Gentiles join by faith or through circumcision?

Romans 4:9-12
...We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

So Abraham is the father of the uncircumcised as well as the circumcised.  What does it mean that Abraham is the father of the Gentiles?  It means that his children are automatically in covenant with him.  The Abrahamic covenant applies so that those born into Abraham's household must be circumcised. 

Or am I wrong?  Let's discuss!  : )

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tips and Strategies for Starting a Local Messianic Fellowship Group

So recently I posted a question about this subject and got some great responses.  Here's a bullet list of the ideas that were generated:

  • If you're already attending a church or even if you're just visiting, share your beliefs in a non-confrontational manner by inviting people over for Shabbat dinners.  There's nothing more compelling than seeing the traditions in action.  It's also more difficult to argue with someone when all they're doing is enjoying their Faith and expressing solidarity with Israel.

  • Try starting a Bible study group with a local church that meets on Wednesday nights.  Be the voice for Messianic Judaism in your group.  Try to calibrate your message to your audience.  Remember:  Christians are largely anti-Judaic.  This means they are wary about anything you say that is pro-Judaic.  But don't beat yourself up if conflict is generated.  Know that it's not your fault if you're speaking the truth in love.  Conflict is the fault of either (1) anti-Judaism or (2) exclusionism (i.e. the belief that G-d excludes Gentiles from the covenants). 

  • Propose to teach a Jewish Roots class at a local church.  Some churches are already involved in Jewish Roots.  This can be an excellent way to ascertain which people will be friendly to our movement.

  • Go door to door.  Hand out flyers.  Address basic topics (not the advanced One Law stuff).  For example, offer tips on "how to choose a good husband" or "how to be a good worker", etc.  Let people know you're starting a home bible study group.  

Chabad's Free Online Interactive Siddur (Looks Pretty Cool)


Excellent Introduction to Messianic Siddur on Adonaism Site


Free Transliterated Siddur

You can find it HERE.  Just use the table of contents on left side of screen to navigate between the weekday prayers and the Shabbat prayers.  Enjoy!

Deconstructing the Lies: a Look at the "Beliefs" Section of Derek Leman's Blog

You can find Derek's "Belief's" section HERE.

I'd like to take a brief moment to deconstruct his artfully constructed lies regarding Gentiles:

LIE #1:  "Acts 15 indicates that the sign commandments of Torah do not obligate non-Jews."

RESPONSE:  Acts 15 does not introduce the artificial dichotomy "sign commandments vs. universal commandments."  And the issue before the council was not whether Gentiles should observe Mosaic Torah but rather whether circumcision was required for salvation (i.e. does salvation come through works or by grace?).  Peter's argument before the council was that the Gentiles were saved through grace and joined to the covenantal People of Israel (i.e. the phrase "a people for His name" refers in Torah to the exclusive national covenant made with Israel).  Furthermore, the Gentiles were commanded to abstain from "pollutions" of idolatry, especially cultic prostitution and the drinking of blood from an animal that had been strangled for cultic sacrifice.  Why?  Because Gentiles needed to attend synagogue from week to week to learn the Torah of Moses (v. 21).  In short, Acts 15 explains that the Gentiles are joined covenantally to the people of Israel and must immediately stop practicing paganism and start practicing the Torah of Moses.

LIE #2:  "Yet Paul’s letters evidence the formation of congregations outside the synagogue which were for the Gentiles and which were Law-free (by Law-free I mean not bound to the sign commandments of Torah–I don’t mean they were libertines)."

RESPONSE:  Notice that Derek doesn't cite to evidence for his assertion that the Gentile congregations were "Law-free [of sign commandments]".  The observance of Shabbat was one of the most visible sign commandments and the Gentile congregations observed it (see Galatians 2:16).  Derek would argue that this was not the case.  But observe:  how could the Gentiles have even learned from Jews if they were not, like Cornelius the prototypical New Covenant proselyte, attending synagogue on Shabbat?  There was no such thing as Christianity back then even though Derek would have you think that to deny Christianity is to deny G-d's work:  "A Messianic Judaism that is anti-Christianity is equally false and in danger of denying God’s work amongst the nations."  In fact, Christianity is anti-Judaic and leads inevitably to political and social anti-Semitism as history has proven countless times.  Thus, in promoting Christianity Derek is unwittingly (1) promoting a system of anti-Semitism and (2) distorting the picture of first-century Gentile practice from the actual Judaic picture to a Hellenistic, Christian picture.  Derek would have all Gentiles suppress their G-d-given desire to reject the anti-Judaism that pervades Christianity.  

LIE #3:  "Another kind of supersessionism has risen in the recent Torah movements loosely associated with Messianic Judaism (Hebrew Roots, One Law, Two House) and involve non-Jews assuming Israel’s place as the Torah-keeping people and equating themselves with Israel on the basis of phrases in the New Testament such as “grafted in” and “commonwealth of Israel.”

RESPONSE:  Derek has redefined "supersede" here.  Supersede means to take someone's seat, to push them out of the way.  But Derek wants to attack One Law Theology and so he redefines supersede to mean "join."  The One Law Believers say that Gentiles join Israel.  For this, Derek calls them supersessionists.  But if this were true then Paul would be a supersessionist for asserting in Ephesians 2 that Gentiles are citizens in Israel.  Notice that Derek translates "citizens" as "commonwealth."  But he already admitted previously on his blog that he was in error to translate the Greek term as "commonwealth."  So now he is unashamedly basing his theology on known exegetical errors.  


"Responding to a comment, I came up with a list of points that is a good corrective to some ideas about Gentile relationships to Torah and Israel that arise in Hebraic Roots groups:

1) Non-Jewish followers of Messiah are not Israel, but are now in the commonwealth of Israel.

(2) Full Torah observance is neither an obligation nor a higher way for Christians.

(3) Jews and Gentiles remain distinct in roles and equivalent in blessing.

(4) The distinction will not disappear in the world to come.

(5) Israel is the Chosen People through descendancy from Jacob and Israel’s election is free and irrevocable.

(6) Christianity is not any more or less guilty before God than Judaism."

RESPONSE TO THE CATCH-ALL LIE:  All of these assertions on based on a single premise:  that Gentiles are excluded from the covenants.  However, Paul says that Gentiles are included in the covenants (Eph 2).  He says that the New Covenant inaugurated by Yeshua applies to the Gentiles (1 Corinthians).  The New Covenant, as Jeremiah 31 explains, is the national covenant of Israel.  Ezekiel 36 explains that this New Covenant contains the same categories of Torah as the Mosaic Torah (e.g. chukim and mishpatim, the supra-rational, ceremonial decrees as well as the rational, moral and civil decrees).  

A key misunderstanding of Derek's is that membership in Israel in determined by descendancy alone.  If Derek's assertion were true then he could never belong to Israel since he was born a Gentile.  So his arguments LIES are self-defeating.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lloyd Gaston on the Subtleties of Christian Anti-Judaism

"Possibly anti-Judaism is too deeply embedded in the foundations of Christianity to be rooted out entirely without destroying the whole structure," --Rosemary Ruether

"Perhaps I should make clear what I mean when I speak of antisemitism or anti-Judaism...Just as individuals can be relatively free of personal prejudice and still participate actively in a system of racism, so anti-Judaism has to do with the objective effect of the words used, whether or not the people who speak them subjectively hate Jews.  This underlines the seriousness of Ruether's point that theological anti-Judaism is the fundamental root of later cultural and political antisemtism.  (Philosemitism, in other words, is no excuse.)  If the three pillars on which Judaism stands are God, Torah, and Israel, then a fundamental attack on any of the three would be anti-Judaism..."
pg. 17 Paul and the Torah by Lloyd Gaston

I thought these quotes were interesting and I had two points I wanted to share:

(1) if hatred of Mosaic Torah leads to socio-political anti-Semitism, then shouldn't Gentiles love the Mosaic Torah?  And if they love the Mosaic Torah and it is something intended for the nations (Isaiah 2, etc), shouldn't all Gentiles embrace a Torah lifestyle (i.e. Judaism)?

(2) if one is culpable for racism by participating in a racist system, then could one be culpable for anti-Judaism by participating in an anti-Judaic system?  I think it's possible.  But I also think any culpability can be nullified by being open about your beliefs.  For example, if you start wearing a kippah to church then they'll probably get the message that you are pro-Judaic.  

If Gentiles are "Without the Law" (Rom. 2) Then Why Are They Subject to "The Curse of the Law"?

I read something interesting today.  Check it out:

"If nomos denotes the Mosaic law of Sinai, it by definition concerns the Jews, but not the Gentiles.  No wonder, then, that Paul often makes a clear distinction between the Jews 'under the law' and the Gentiles who are without the law [Rom 2:12; 1 Cor. 9:20; 1 Cor. 7:17]....Bearing this in mind, some statements of Paul in Gal 3 come as a surprise.  He says in 3.13-14:  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, in order that Abraham's blessing might in Christ come upon the Gentiles, in order that we would receive the promised Spirit.  At the first glance it seems natural to think that 'we' in v. 13 refers to Paul and other Jewish Christians--it is only they that had been under the Torah before becoming Christians.  Several reasons, however, speak against this explanation.  In v. 14b the 'we' must in any case refer also to the Galatian Gentile Christians; the mention of the Spirit ties with v. 2-5.  Now it would be strange, if the pronoun tacitly changed its reference in v. 14  There is no indication of any contrast between the 'us' of v. 13 and the 'Gentiles' of v. 14; unlike 2.14ff.  Paul does not deal with the difference between Jews and Gentiles at all in this passage.  And how could the redemption of the Jews from the curse of the law bring the blessing to the Gentiles?  The context does not speak of the removal of the wall between the two races;  Paul is explicating the liberty of the Galatians, which is connected with the crucifixion.  V. 13 ties with the opening verse (v. 1) of the passage.
Strange as it may appear, the conclusion is hard to avoid that even the Gentiles were, in Paul's mind when dictating this passage, under the curse of the law.  This is in tension with Paul's assumption in 1 Cor 9:21 or Rom 2.12, or even Gal 2.14.  Still, our conclusion is reinforced by the next passages in Gal.
The alteration of the pronouns in 3.23 ff. shows that in that passage, too, the first person plural includes the Galatians.  In v. 23-25 Paul speaks of 'us' being under the law, which is pictured as prison guard and tutor.  From the point of view of the subject-matter one would again think that he has the Jewish Christians in mind...Having said, 'We are no longer under the tutor', he goes on:  'For you are all children of God.'  This time, too, the tacit assumption is that even Gentiles had been tutored by the law....
Apparently without noticing it, Paul is thus operating with a double concept of 'law'.  The context suggests that he is talking about the Sinaitic Torah, four hundred years later than Abraham, all the time.  And yet the 'curse of the law' must, in view of the verses adduced, have a wider reference.  One cannot avoid noticing 'a strange oscillation of the concept of law in Paul'--an oscillation between the notion of a historical and particularist Torah and that of a general universal force." pg. 18 of Paul and the Law by Heikki Raisanen

"Fulfilling" the Law: How Yeshua Equates the Perpetuity of the Jewish People with the Perpetuity of the Mosaic Torah

It occurred to me today that Yeshua might've equated the Jewish People with Mosaic Torah.  Observe the following passages and see if you come to the same conclusion:

Matthew 5:17-18
"17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

Jeremiah 31:35-36
"35 Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name:  36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever."

Christians like to say that the Mosaic Law has been abrogated.  But if the Mosaic Law defines the Jewish People then it cannot be abrogated--or else the Jewish People would be abrogated along with it. Yeshua seems here to illustrate the Judaic belief that Torah, Covenant, and People are correlative.  Thus, He not only defends the perpetuity of Mosaic Law but He defends the perpetuity of the Jewish People.

And if these concepts are correlative, then He also came to "fulfill" the Jewish People.  What does that mean?  Well, to make something full is to add something to it.  One wouldn't say that a glass of water that was full had been terminated or reduced in any way.  One would say that filling a glass added something to it, helped it to serve its purpose.  A glass is meant to hold liquid.  So when you fill it up you are helping it achieve the purpose for which it was designed.  In the same way, Yeshua came to help Israel achieve the purpose for which it was designed.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hannukah Handbook (Courtesy of Cajun)


Popularity of This Blog is Increasing!

I just wanted to thank you, dear readers for visiting this blog.  I just noticed that when you type in "Messianic Judaism blog" in google that my blog is top of page number 2.  So we almost made page 1! I'm guessing we'll have page 1 ranking within a month or so.


The Greatest Threat to One Law (Hint: It's Not the UMJC or FFOZ)

This past Friday I went to Grove Ave Baptist Church's Hannukah party.  It was great.  The teaching was excellent.  One of the pastors explained why Christians should celebrate Hannukah.  Oh, and he was wearing a kippah!  

There was a small delegation there from a local UMJC synagogue.  And, yeah, they gave me the cold shoulder.  I even said "hi" to one fellow in the hall and he just glanced at me warily and kept walking.  Perhaps he didn't hear me?  

But I was thinking about something.  Where will all of this go?  I overheard the pastor tell someone that they wouldn't have been allowed to do this five years ago.  

These wonderful Christians have apparently been encountering a tough adversary:  their own denomination!  

It's funny:  the UMJC people there absolutely hate me (we have a history).  But the reality is that we're on the same team:  team Judaism.  We both only wish to show the beauty and goodness of G-d's Torah.  

The UMJC and others like them are their own worst enemy.  They make the gentiles feel excluded and so most of the gentiles (notice i said most) end up leaving dissatisfied after a while.  But the Christians are inclusionists with regard to their religion.  The Christian says triumphantly that all men should follow Christianity (even Jews).  So the Christian includes everyone and makes everyone feel welcome.

This is problematic.  Messianics shouldn't get too cozy at church---even the ones who are awakening to Jewish Roots.  Why?  Because that old threat is still there:  anti-Judaism.  

I don't even know if Grove Ave. will continue doing what it is doing.  I pray that they will continue on this trajectory!  But will they?  We don't have a lot of historical data here.  This pro-Judaism thing (e.g. pastors wearing kippot, teaching Christians to follow Hannukah because Christ followed it)...this is a new trend.  

Well, here's hoping that these Christians at Grove Ave. will continue on their journey and will not suffer reprisals from within their movement.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Coincidence? Or a Confirmation from G-d?

I was able to go to the Wednesday night small group session at Grove Ave. Baptist Church yesterday.  I'm glad I went!

When I arrived, I suddenly wanted to skip the first part of the men's group.  I suddenly dreaded the video part of the class in which I inevitably become impatient.  "I think I'll skip the first part of the class" I said to my wife in the lobby.  "I like the discussion part but I just can't stand sitting through the videos..."

I think my wife just nodded, knowing that I'd end up going.  And then she went to her class.  And I was left with the decision to hang out in the lobby or proceed to class.  So I reluctantly chose to go to class.

I got there and started talking with the leader.  He asked about my week.  I told him about how I was looking for a professional mentor, hopefully a G-dly lawyer who has had a practice for a while.

Then, within a few moments, it was time to start the video.  For someone like me who loves conversation, this is the difficult part!  I dislike sitting passively.  I want to engage!

But then the video started...

"Guys, it's so important to have a mentor in your life" the lecturer began, "someone who will be committed to your development.  And you can even have different mentors for different areas in your life:  mentors for your profession, mentors for your marriage relationship...."

Yes, dear reader, I'm always resisting the flow.  And G-d has to do things like this--all the time--to get my attention.  He will literally shut me up sometimes.  Sometimes he makes me cry in the spirit and I literally can't talk.  This has happened in meetings with certain high-ranking Christians before.  G-d just lets me know when the time is not right and He lets me feel a small amount of His own grief.

Anyway, I think G-d is happy with this particular Christian community.  Check this out:

My wife gets out of her class and tells me about the Hannukah Party that Grove is hosting this Friday.

"Oh?" I say.  "So it's probably the guy from Tikvat running it, right?"

"No, it's one of the pastors."

And she mentioned his name.

Earlier that day, Zion had urged me to work from within the church and so I sent this guy an email.  Got a reply from him just now.  He told me a little about the pro-Judaic journey that this church is on and invited me to come meet him.  He also said something that gives me a clue where he believes all of this is headed.

Dear readers, this particular church isn't just some small, country church with a few hundred congregants.  This church was the largest contributor to the Southern Baptist Convention in the state of Virginia.  They have their own television program.  This is one of the oldest Baptist churches in town!  And they are doing something that has never been done in the history of Christianity until now.

So is it just a coincidence that we happened to start visiting THIS CHURCH out of all the churches in our town?

Yes, it will be very interesting to see where this goes.  I'm very much looking forward to my meeting with the pastors and discussing the formation of a Jewish Roots fellowship group.  I'll keep you posted, dear reader!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Does Anyone Have Advice for How to Start a Fellowship Group?

Perhaps someone has experience in starting fellowship groups which they could share with me.  I have no experience...but I was brainstorming about it earlier today.  I was thinking that since everyone has to eat, that one could put flyers up at Grocery stores.  And then there's the usual places like libraries, religious book stores, secular book stores...what else?  I'm not really sure.

I suppose I can check to see if there are books about "church planting" that offer suggestions which would work equally well for starting a fellowship group...

Derek Leman Refutes Tim Hegg's Assertion That the "Yoke" in Acts 15 is the Oral Tradition

You can check out Derek's post HERE.  Here's the summary:  Tim Hegg says that the unbearable "yoke" in Acts 15 is Oral Tradition.  Derek says that the unbearable "yoke" is covenantal nomism (i.e. the Torah of the Covenant).

I happen to vehemently disagree with both Hegg and Leman.  Here's the comment I posted on the discussion (which I fully expect will be deleted later this evening when Leman gets back from Shul):

The unbearable yoke in Acts 15 is not the Oral Tradition. It’s not Torah either: 
“Rabbinic literature uses the word yoke…but not as it is used here. See e.g. Aboth 3.5, ‘He that takes upon himself the yoke of the Law…, from him shall be taken away the yoke of the kingdom…(that is, oppression by worldly authority). Thus the yoke of the Law, the obligation to obey it, is a blessing and a privilege…Peter claims that to require circumcision and legal observance from Gentile converts would be to lay upon their necks a yoke…to demand of them something that Jews themselves could neither endure nor achieve. …This does not agree with the attitude to the yoke of Torah quoted above [from Rabbinic literature]–it was a privilege and joy…If Peter really felt like this about the Law–that it was an intolerable burden–why did not he and his fellow Jewish Christians themselves give it up? …Peter claimed that he had never touched unclean food (with the probability that one who was scrupulous in this respect would not be negligent in others).” pg. 718 A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles by C.K. Barrett 
So what is the yoke? Paul explains this in Galatians 5:1,4. He defines “yoke” as trying to justify oneself by works of the law. 
Commencing countdown to comment deletion…5….4….3…..

Monday, December 3, 2012

Check Out This Michael Brown Debate (Audio Link)

Click here.  It's about Israel and election and how to interpret current events in light of prophecy.  Are there two Israels?  An Israel of the flesh and the Israel of G-d?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Intermarriage: Avoiding the Neurosis of Exclusionist Messianic Judaism

In Messianic Judaism, as I've mentioned, there are two camps, those who see the Jewish way of life as excluding Gentiles and those who see the Jewish way of life as including Gentiles.  Of these camps, the Exclusionist Camp (the ones who segregate Jews and Gentiles according to a supposed differentiation in life calling) experiences confusion on the issue of intermarriage.

Exclusionist Jews who marry Gentile women often feel guilty that they've sabotaged their children with a difficult choice:  should the children follow the Jewish way of life of their father or should they follow the Gentile way of life of their mother?  (or vice versa)  And there's also the guilty feeling of having married outside the covenant.  Have I betrayed my People?  etc, etc...

Inclusionist Messianic Judaism, on the other hand, sees the New Covenant as more inclusive version of the Old Covenant (i.e. Sinaitic Covenant), thus obligating all Believers to follow a Jewish way of life--even the uncircumcised and non-proselyte Gentiles must follow a Jewish way of life.  In the Inclusionist view, since Jews and Gentiles belong to the same covenants and live the same Jewish lifestyle, all of the pitfalls of Exclusionist Messianic Judaism are avoided.  There's no confusion:  everyone must follow Judaism.  There's no guilt:  G-d loves it when a Jew marries a Gentile when both are dedicated to following the demands of the covenant of Israel.  Thus, under the Inclusionist framework, intermarriage is not an issue at all.  On the contrary!  It is seen as a beautiful thing!  Just like the marriage of Ruth and Boaz, intermarriage is something that glorifies HaShem by demonstrating the trans-ethnic goodness of His commands.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Seinfeld and Eschatology

I used to watch the show Seinfeld.  One of the recurring jokes I got a kick out of was when a character would say things like "Barring some unforeseen incident" or "Barring any unforeseen developments" and then, right on cue, something unforeseen would occur and hilarious chaos would ensue.

My point?

It's hard to predict things accurately.  Even when it comes to End Times prophecies in the Bible where we're given a general picture of how things unfold, we're still really sketchy on the details.

However, I would like to make a prediction...  : )

Based on the social trajectory of Gentiles in first-century Messianic communities, the fact that they were enjoying an unprecedented level of inclusion into Jewish life (for an understanding of just how "unprecedented"see the Cornelius story where Peter is shocked that G-d wants him to visit an uncircumcised man because it contradicted Jewish "law"), it seems to me that assimilation would've been inevitable.

So... wonders what might happen in the future Messianic Kingdom, a time when Gentiles are given unprecedented covenantal rights...  Would a similar pro-Judaic social trajectory lead to Gentile assimilation into Israel (just like in the old days of ancient Israel)?

I think I can say that, barring any unforeseen developments, that this assimilation will most certainly occur.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Was Paul a Maximal Judaizer? Or Was He Anti-Judaization? I Want To Hear Your Thoughts!

So if you haven't seen Rudolph's article on Paul's "rule" in 1 Cor. 7:18, check it out here.  Rudolph contends that Paul was anti-Judaization.  Here's the main verse in question:

"Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised." (1 Cor. 7:18)

It occurred to me the other night that you can either view Paul as maximally, minimally, or moderately in terms of Judaizing (or you could see him as being anti-Judaization).  I think of Paul as being pro-Judaization of Gentiles.  And I think of him of encouraging a maximal level of Judaization (i.e. I think he encourages Gentiles to follow Jewish practices).  The only caveat is that he seems to take into account certain first-century exigencies such as the anti-grace circumcision doctrines of certain Yeshua-believing Pharisees (see Acts 15:1; Gal. 5) when he says thinks like he does in 1 Cor. 7:18.

But let's get back to Rudolph.  By the way, I love Rudolph even if I disagree with him on some things. Okay, let's begin.

Rudolph starts off by saying that Paul in 1 Cor. 7:20 links "klesis" (situation) and "kaleo" (called).  In linking these concepts, Rudolph argues that Paul believes that circumcision (Jewishness) and foreskin (Gentileness) are callings.

What does this mean practically?  Well, Rudolph says that Gentiles should identify as being excluded from Torah:

"Paul describes circumcision as integrally related to Torah observance (Jewish identity), and lack of Torah observance is indicative of foreskin (Gentile identity).  Circumcision is incomplete without the circumcised life."

Furthermore, Rudolph makes the claim that Paul differentiated between Jewish commandments and Gentile commandments:

"If the [calling to a particular way of life] differed between Jew and Gentile (1 Cor. 7:18-20), it is plausible that Paul, a first century Jew from a Pharisaic background, held that [G-d's] commandments for Jews and Gentiles differed as well."

The problem with Rudolph's assertion that Paul differentiates between Jewish commandments and Gentiles commandments is not in the text.  On the contrary, Paul seems to eradicate such a distinction:

"Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing:  Keeping God's commands is what counts."

There is no place in Paul's writings where he says "Gentiles must live a non-Jewish lifestyle."  Quite the opposite.  Paul commands Gentiles to reject Gentilism (paganism) and adopt the beliefs and practices of Judaism (e.g. the belief in the Jewish Messiah as Savior, the keeping of Jewish customs like ritual immersion and the keeping moedim and kashrut).

Here's the other thing:  in the same chapter (1 Cor. 7), Paul says to virgins "Do not look for a wife."

So does Paul really think that men shouldn't look for a spouse?  If Paul was remotely Torah-observant then, knowing that the mitzva to procreate is mentioned first in the Tanak, it's impossible that Paul could be discouraging virgins from getting married.  Paul wouldn't preach against the Torah.  It's more likely that Paul understood that marriage is inevitable and natural for most people.

What's my point?

My point is that if Paul says that virgins shouldn't seek to get married (but actually believes that they should get married and that marriage is good) then it follows that when Paul says in the same chapter that Gentiles shouldn't seek to become circumcised that he might actually believe that Gentiles should get circumcised and that circumcision is a good.

So why did he say the opposite of what he really felt?  Well, enough of my opinions!  I want to hear from you, dear readers.  What do you think Paul meant?  Do you agree with Rudolph's interpretation of Paul's "rule"?  Or is the "rule" against circumcision like the "rule" against marriage?  (i.e. not really a rule at all).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tel Aviv Bus Bombing...This is a Sad Day

Click Here for News Story

The Evolutionary Morphology of Jewish Roots Christianity

It occurred to me this morning that Judaism as a religious system is a genus and within this system there are many species:  the various denominations of Judaism and even Christianity.  While it might seem odd to taxonomize Christianity this way seeing that it is in many ways anti-Judaic, the very fact that Christianity self-identifies as anti-Judaic (being against Judaism in various ways) shows that it is morphologically related to Judaism.

I also see Jewish Roots Christianity [JRC] as further speciation of Judaism.  It occurred to me this morning that JRC can be seen as the evolutionary result of mutagenic agents in the religious ecosystem.  The overriding mutagenic factor that I observe is Messianic Judaism!

But there are different species of Messianic Judaism and each has a different mutagenic effect on Christianity.

As One Law Believers, we need to introduce the One Law mutagen into Christianity to facilitate Christian evolution into One Law Messianic Judaism.

[DISCLAIMER:  no, I don't believe in macro-evolution.  I just found the terminology useful in describing what I've been observing] 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Zetterholm on the Status of Gentiles in the Covenant of Israel

So I'll share a few interesting quotes from Zetterholm's book "The Formation of Christianity in Antioch" and then discuss them briefly.  It's interesting how close to One Law he gets without ultimately being able to put the pieces together:

British Foreign Minister Makes Anti-Israel Statement

The British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that if Israel invades Gaza that Israel "would lose...a lot of the international support and sympathy that they have in this situation.

No country in the world would allow a foreign country to fire missiles into it.  And everyone would understand if a country defended itself against such aggression.  But Israel is not allowed to protect itself?!

I know that there are Brits reading this right now.  You guys need to write to your leaders and voice condemnation for William Hague.  This guy is pure evil!

Israel's Secret Weapon: Computer Nerds!

Click Here for News Story

The Twisting of a Natural Desire: How First Fruits of Zion Exploits Gentiles' Natural Desire to Seek Reconciliation with the Jewish People

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Church Plans are on Hold

So work has made it so that I can't visit the church for the foreseeable future.  And just as I was making some friends!  Ah, well...  C'est la vie.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Remember to Pray for Israel This Week

Link to News Article About Kiryat Malachi Attack

Introduction Section for Orthodox Messianic Judaism (book and blog)

Just about any Christian who has been to church has heard that the Church is the New Israel, that Jesus abolished the Law, etc.  This type of teaching says that Jesus came to abolish Judaism and set up a completely different religious culture--that of modern day Christianity.  This means that when Christians try to convert Jews, they tell them to stop keeping the Jewish Sabbath and start keeping the Christian Sabbath, start eating Biblically prohibited meats.  In short, the Christian message to Jews is anti-Judaic:  "Stop practicing Judaism!"

And just about any Messianic Jew who has been to Messianic synagogue has heard that Gentiles are excluded from the nation of Israel and precluded from keeping the commandments of the nation of Israel.  In fact, many Messianic synagogues who promote exclusionism teach that gentiles who keep the commandments are actually hurting Jews.  Such "Torah-theft" is said to prevent Israel from achieving its mission to be the only nation in the world that keeps the commandments of the covenants.

But what if the New Testament promoted a religion that was both pro-Judaic and covenantally inclusive of Gentiles?  What if Israel is meant to include both Jews and Gentiles?

The Problem with Christianity:  Anti-Judaism

There are roughly four manifestations of Christian anti-Judaism:

(1) Supersessionism:  the belief that Jews have become irrelevant because the Church has superseded Old Israel by becoming the New Israel;

(2) Antinomianism:  the belief that Jesus sought to wipe out Judaism with all of its observances of Biblical commandments and set up in its place a new religion with different holy days and customs (e.g. Easter, Christmas, Sunday Sabbath, permissive food policies);

(3) Syncretism:  the belief that customs originating in paganism can be converted for use in Christian worship (e.g. Sunday, Easter, Christmas, etc);

(4) Triumphalism:  the belief that Christianity is the true form of religion which everyone must embrace.  Therefore, Jews must reject all Jewish practices from the Bible and replace them with the practices of cultural Christianity.

What's the harm in having such anti-Judaic views?  The costs of Anti-Judaism may be laid out as follows:

(1) Loss of intimacy.  Antinomianism hurts one's relationship with G-d.  The commandments are meant to orient one to G-d and to lead to a deepening intimacy with Him.  Thus, to ignore His instructions means to hurt one's relationship with Him;

(2) Damage to relationships.  Antinomianism also hurt relationships between family members and members of the community.  For example, the Biblical practice of the Sabbath was intended primarily as a means of deepening familial relationships.  In Christianity, the family has taken a hit.  There are many failed marriages and many broken families.  Rejecting G-d's instructions for relationships as set forth in the commandments means hurting those relationships and not experiencing the full richness that G-d intended.  Antinomianism also creates a relational rift between Gentiles and Jews;

(3) Distortion of the Gospel.  All of the aspects of Anti-Judaism distort a pro-Judaic gospel into an anti-Judaic gospel which Torah prohibits Jews from accepting.  Jews can't accept a gospel that (a) eliminates Jews as a Chosen People; (b) teaches that the New Covenant nullifies the commandments; (c) mandates a culture permeated with atavistic pagan practices; (d) and leads to loss of Jewish identity (i.e. replacing Jewish religious culture with the trappings of cultural Christianity.

So how can Gentiles help rather than harm?

The solution to Christian anti-Judaism is Messianic Judaism.  Gentiles need to identify as Messianics practicing Messianic Judaism.  The pro-Judaic influence of an inclusive Messianic Judaism reverses the harmful effects of Christian anti-Judaism.  It can do this in the following ways:

(1) Intimacy:  Following the Biblical commandments helps Gentiles understand G-d better and experience intimacy with Him;

(2) Inclusionism:  By understanding how the Gentiles are included with Jews in the national covenants of Israel, Gentiles will be better able to relate to one another as well as their Jewish brethren;

(3) Discipleship:  The original Gospel wasn't just about spreading a message.  It involved making disciples.  A pro-Judaic Gospel enables Jewish discipleship.  By understanding that the Gospel is truly pro-Judaic, Gentiles can finally transmit a Gospel that (a) celebrates Jews as a Chosen People; (b) encourages the zealous observance of the Law; (c) replaces cultural Christianity with the culture of New Covenant Judaism.

The Problem with Exclusionist Messianic Judaism

The loudest voices (but by no means the majority) in Messianic Judaism are those of the Exclusionist camp who say that the New Covenant excludes Gentiles from the nation of Israel.  They teach that the New Covenant is really a multi-national covenant that separates Jews and Gentiles into their nations of origin.  On the basis of covenantal exclusion, this camp teaches that Gentiles who keep the distinctive Jewish commandments are committing "Torah-theft" which robs the Jewish people of their identity and damages the uniqueness of the Jewish people.

What's the harm in excluding Gentiles from the covenants?

Exclusionism harms Gentiles in at least three ways:

(1) Loss of intimacy.  When Exclusionists prohibit Gentiles from keeping the commandments, they prevent Gentiles from experiencing the intimacy of the commandments;

(2) Damaged relationships.  To be excluded from the lifestyle of the commandments is to be excluded from the Jewish community.  This second-class citizenship leads to feelings of inferiority amongst Gentiles.  This feeling of inferiority coupled with the lack of relational wisdom that comes from experiencing the commandments, wreaks havoc on Gentile families and on the relationship between Gentile families and the Jewish community.  Additionally, with the pulpit saying one thing and Scripture saying another, many Gentiles suffer from identity and role confusion;

(3)  Communal rejection forces gentiles to reject Yeshua.  People need a community.  This is instinct just like the instinct to eat or procreate.  We are social beings.  When a Gentile feels excluded from a Messianic community, he often seeks acceptance from a non-Messianic Jewish community and eventually succumbs to the social pressure to reject Yeshua.

Is there a way to reverse these harmful trends of Exclusionism?


Inclusionist Messianic Judaism reverses the harmful trends of Exclusionism.  When it is understood that the New Testament teaches that Gentiles are included in the covenants of Israel and in the way of life mandated by the covenants, there are benefits to not only the individual but also to the entire community!   In addition to Gentiles experiencing deeper intimacy with G-d, feeling welcome as equal members in Messianic Jewish communities, the entire, global community of Jewish and Gentile Believers can experience peace and harmony with one another.  Under the unifying influence of a pro-Judaic culture, the community of Messianic Believers would grow and truly become a witness to Yeshua that the whole world might believe.


Stay tuned for the main body of the book...

Monday, November 12, 2012

What are the Respective Costs of Christian Anti-Judaism and Exclusionist Messianic Teachings?

The Consequences of Christian Anti-Judaism

We know that Christianity is anti-Judaic.  There's the anti-Semitic Church history, the anti-Judaic hermeneutics which make Christians think that the New Testament doesn't promote Judaism but rather discourages it, the Christian preference for non-Biblical practices of pagan origin, etc.  So what is the cost of all of this?

It would be flat out wrong to say that Christians will suffer all the Deuteronomic curses because of this. The blessings/curses listed in Deuteronomy are primarily contingent on national obedience.  Thus, there's no guarantee that any individual person who observes the Torah will be blessed or that any individual person who rejects the Torah will suffer curses.  It's entirely possible that a Believer who lives his whole life unaware of Judaism could live a prosperous life--and even have a good relationship with G-d.  So why follow the Torah?

Because the Law helps us to know G-d, to orient to Him, to better our relationship with Him.  Thus, at a minimum, the Christian who rejects New Testament Judaism and opts for a syncretistic religion like Christianity is HURTING his relationship with G-d.  It means that a Christian's relationship with G-d is not as good as it could be.  

But, maximally, a Christian is distorting the gospel and this has really bad consequences for Jews who are in desperate need of hearing a gospel that the Torah will actually allow them to accept.

The Consequences of Messianic Exclusionism

Those One Law adherents out there know that Exclusionist Messianic Jews who teach that Gentile Believers in Yeshua are excluded from the national covenants of Israel (and the right/duty of all Israelite citizens to observe Torah), that this is not in accord with the teachings of the New Testament.  We know that the New Covenant is just as much a national covenant of Israel as the Old Covenant.  We see covenantal inclusion of gentiles in Acts 15 ("a people called by His name"); We see it in Cornelius, that it is praiseworthy (i.e. good) for a gentile and member of the New Covenant to choose to follow Torah (since he had a reputation for observing well the Torah of Moses);  We see it in Paul's instructions to the gentiles to abandon gentileness (1 Cor. 12:2; Eph 2; Eph 4) and embrace their status as members of the national covenants of Israel (Eph 2) and in his exhortation to the gentiles that they put into practice everything they've observed him practice;  We see it in Peter's statements to the gentiles (1 Peter 2);  We see it in the historical reality that ex-pagan Gentiles had no other religious option than Judaism and that they were well-known to be observing Judaic practices (Col. 2).  Etc, etc.

So what's the harm in those of the Exclusionist camp in teaching that gentiles are excluded from the national covenants of Israel (i.e. Old and New Covenants)?  

It would be wrong to say that such Exclusionists will suffer Deuteronomic curses.  However, if gentiles are meant to be included in the national covenants, then teaching them that they are excluded could, at a minimum, lead to role/identity confusion that damages their relationship with G-d, and, at a maximum, could imperil the souls of the ones who, seeking Judaism in non-Messianic communities, end up rejecting Yeshua in order to feel included in the Jewish community.

What You Owe to Six Million Jews

Why Follow the Commandments? To be Happy? To be Blessed? Or Something Much More...

Here's some notes from my little black notebook from earlier today...

People say that we should follow the Torah so we will be blessed.  But is that why we should do it?

The motivation for performing chukim (supra-rational decrees such as kashrut, Shabbat, etc) is NOT that it will make us happy (it may not) or that it will make us wise (it may not) or that it will bring us health, wealth, and love (it may not); rather, the motivation to perform the chukim is knowing that it HELPS (rather than hurts) our relationship with G-d and brings pleasure to Him (rather than pain) and, secondarily, that it helps us toward fulfilling the mitzvah to love our neighbor as ourself.  

If we have a relationship with G-d then we have EVERYTHING good.  Therefore, our sole motivation in life is to help our relationship with G-d and not to hurt it.  This thought should guide every choice we make.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Shaye Cohen on Paul's Use of the Term "Judaize"

The following comes from Cohen's book "The Beginnings of Jewishness":

pg. 175  "The verb ioudaizein, 'to judiaize,' consists of two elements:  the noun stem iouda- and the verb stem -izein.  The verb then is of the same class as medizein, 'to medize,' attikizein, 'to atticize,' and numerous other such verbs that are securely attested in classical, non-Jewish, non-Christian Greek.  I shall first study this verb family as a whole and then turn to the specific meanings of ioudaizein...
Verbs in the -izein family have three basic meanings:  (a) to give political support (a political meaning); (b) to adopt customs or manners (a cultural meaning); (c) to speak a language (a linguistic meaning)....The verbs refer not to a change of essence but to a change of behavior, not 'to be' but 'to be like.'"

pg. 181  "In Jewish Greek the word ioudaizein appears only four times.  The first instance is the Greek version of Esther 8:17.  Here is the Hebrew text as translated in the New Jewish Version:

And in every province and in every city, when the king's command and decree arrived, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday.  And many of the people of the land professed to be Jews, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them.

'Professed to be Jews' translates the Hebrew mityahadim.  The simple meaning of the Hebrew (and, I think, of this English translation) is not that many non-Jews converted to Judaism but that they pretended to be Jews:  they professed themselves to be something they were not.  They did so because they feared for their lives; the Jews had just been given carte blanche by the king to kill their enemies, and therefore many gentiles pretended to be Jews in order to protect themselves.  The Greek translation of the crucial verb is perietemonto kai ioudaizon, 'they were circumcised and judaized.'  Many scholars have understood this to mean 'they were circumcised and became Jews'--that is, converted to Judaism--but this cannot be right, because, as I discussed above, -izein verbs indicate a change in behavior ('to be like'), not a change in essence ('to be')...Surely the Greek means that the gentiles either sided with the Jews (a political meaning) or adopted Jewish customs and manners (a cultural meaning)...
Paul uses the verb in Galatians 2:14 in his attack on Peter: 'If you although a Jew (Ioudaios), live in the gentile manner and not Jewishly (ethnikos kai oukh ioudaikos), how can you compel gentiles to judaize?'  The structure of the sentence makes clear that 'to judaize' here means 'to live Jewishly,' to follow the customs and manners of the Jews.  (Similarly, ioudaismos in Galatians 1:13-14 means the observance of Jewish traditions.)...The verb seems to be used in a general sense:  when gentiles adopt any distinctively Jewish customs and manners, they judaize."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Free Audio Bible

You can download the entire KJV audio Bible here.

Group Dynamics, Black Sheep, and Likeability: Why Chabad is Effective in Making Believers Reject Yeshua

Should Christians Evangelize Jews?

"In light of Auschwitz, any deliberate attempt to convert Jews to Christianity can be seen only as a more subtle form of Hitler's 'final solution'--the plan to erase Jews from the face of the earth,"  Eva Fleischner

Christians hold to an anti-Judaism, a belief that Judaism is bad and Christianity (any of the Christianities) should be normative--even for Jews.

For this reason, I believe Christians should not evangelize Jews in the way they currently view evangelism.

Evangelism is proselytization, making someone conform to your lifestyle--essentially making clones of yourself and your religion.  Christianity teaches that the mitzvot of Torat Moshe (a.k.a. Jewishness) has been abolished and that one should follow the customs of Christianity (i.e. pagan customs mixed with Biblical customs).  So when a Christian proselytizes, the result is an anti-Semitic, anti-Judaic rampage of destruction.

So Eva Fleischner was correct.

What should Christians do then?  They should devote themselves to studying Torah and Jewish tradition, to forming One Law communities.  Only then can they proselytize and achieve a result that does not involve, in the aggregate, a second holocaust.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Spending the Shabbos at Hasidic Rabbi's House

So this past Shabbat was interesting.  After talking to Judah and Zion, I decided to visit a local hasidic shul.  Before I went, Zion said "Just remember you're a guest."

Flash forward to the drash:  the rabbi says "This week's parsha is about welcoming guests...the story of Abraham and the three guests..."

It was a funny coincidence.  : )

We had a good time, davening, singing.  Then we went to a house and had the meal.  Discussion was good.  The question for discussion before the food was served was this:

"So why do we pray...the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, the G-d of Jacob?  Why not just say 'G-d of Abraham?  Why say it three times?  What are your thoughts?"

And so it was a good question and we all talked and ate and drank.  It was a lovely time.

And today we went to a Baptist Church again.  :  )

What a schedule.  But both are my people so why not?

Oh, I almost forgot.  There was a natural segue at one point and so I asked the rabbi "When did Israel transform from Am Yisrael to the nation of Israel?"

He explained that it was through Passover.  That Passover was the first of the months, the Spring, everything about birth, even the kabbalistic texts describe the blood on the doorposts and the emergence of the people as similar to a birth, etc.  So there was no question in his mind that Passover established Israel as a nation.



Friday, November 2, 2012

Going to a Non-Messianic Synagogue Tonight

Taking the family to a non-Messianic synagogue tonight.  Should be interesting.  I wonder how the conversations will go...  

The Christian Argument Against the Jews (Adversus Judaeos): A Brief Overview of the Ancient Christian Origins of Anti-Semitism

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Alphabetized Topical Index is Now Complete

See the new tab at the top of the home page.  I hope it will assist people in navigating the site.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How Do You Know If You're Saved?

So I was having a conversation with someone close to me today and they expressed a measure of disdain with my assertion that it was possible to know with great confidence whether one was saved from eternal punishment.

But I must confess that I believe salvation is, in essence, a straight-forward proposition.  We believe that Yeshua has the power to forgive our sins and that if we ask Him for forgiveness and we genuinely repent and try to follow Him that He will forgive us of our sins and spare us from eternal punishment.

I believe I'm a sinner---present tense.  I sin every day.  But I TRY to not to sin.  I ask Yeshua's forgiveness for my transgressions and I make every effort to better myself.  Thus, I'm confident that I will be saved from eternal punishment and that I will dwell in the Messianic Kingdom in the world to come.

Pyles Makes a Good Point

Here's something from James Pyles blog (link).  He takes me to task for something I said about rescuing Christians from anti-Judaic doctrines.  And he actually makes a good point.  Here's the relevant portion from his blog:

"I see church as a less than ideal environment for anyone who wishes to follow Torah…I see the need for rescue missions but for everyone in churches…I think they all need to be rescued — rescued from anti-Judaic doctrines…I see those anti-Judaic Christian doctrines as negatively affecting both Jews and gentiles. There is only one faith and it’s a Jewish faith — it’s the Judaism proposed by Yeshua and the authors of the New Testament.

-a comment from Peter
on Gene Shlomovich’s blog post
One Law Gentile Has a Change of Heart

Peter suggests that Christians need to be rescued out of the church and returned to…what?

Well, let’s go back a step. Rescued from what?
rescued from anti-Judaic doctrines…

So you get a small army together, raid a local church during Sunday services, scoop everyone up in a big net, and fly them via helicopter to…where? A late Second Temple era “ekklesia?”

But they don’t exist and frankly, we don’t know how to replicate one. Even if we did, is that our goal? To transport all 21st century Christians back in time twenty centuries to the first “churches” established by Paul in the diaspora? To what end?"

The idea of a rescue mission is to send in a team to evacuate or protect people and transport them back to a safe, home base.  Pyles is saying that the One Law movement either does not constitute such a "home base" or that it is futile to try to recreate the congregations that Paul planted in the first-century because our information about them is limited.  

So do you think Pyles has a point?  

Or how about a situation where there's a town that has no One Law congregations.  Why bother sending out search and rescue missions to the churches if it's not possible to transport the people to a One Law congregation?  

James Pyles Paints a Picture of a Segregationist Apostle Paul

Here's an amusing dialogue I had with James Pyles over at Gene's blog:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is the New Covenant a National Covenant?

Would anyone care to share his opinion?  Is the New Covenant a national covenant?  If not, what is it?

"Sealed with an Oath" by Paul R. Williamson

I read a book by Williamson today in which he makes the following points:

(1) The Sinaitic Covenant was a national covenant;

(2) The Abrahamic covenant promised a future national covenant;

(3) The Sinaitic Covenant "spells out the type of nation that [Adonai] intended Israel to be";

(4) The reference to "nation" in Exodus 19:5-6 is a fulfillment of the promise to Abraham that his descendants would eventually become a great nation.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Free eBook About Adat YIsrael: The Polity of Israel

So it became apparent to me recently on Gene's blog that even people in my own camp (One Law) did not see the Edah as it is typically seen in Jewish books of political science or history of ancient Israel.  I came across a free ebook today that discusses the Edah from a Jewish perspective and describes it as a federal political institution.  Sulzberger explains that the Edah functions as a "general assembly of Israel" (kola ha'edah), a "national court", a "federal tribunal", "national council."  While this is an older work and much has been learned since this book was written, I think it serves as a good explanation of the political nature of the term Edah.

You can find this ebook here or here.

The Leaders of UMJC Say You Don't Need Yeshua to be Saved

Dan was good enough to provide us with the source for statements made by Mark Kinzer (see his c.v. here) that articulate the false doctrine known as Unrecognized Mediation, the idea that Jews who don't know Yeshua are still saved via an unrecognized mediation offered by Yeshua--in other words, you don't have to know Him in order to be saved.  You can read Kinzer's statement for yourself at the Jews for Jesus Havurah archive (see here).  Here's a quote from the newsletter:

I do believe that the Abrahamic covenant offers Jewish people access to God in and through Yeshua. That does not mean that all Jews, by virtue of being Jews, have a right relationship with God. It does mean that God's favor still rests upon Israel, and He makes a way for humble and faithful members of His people to enter His presence through the unrecognized mediation of Israel's Messiah.
Once again, I thank Jews for Jesus for facilitating this public discussion, and for helping to highlight and clarify the important differences that exist between us.
M. Kinzer

So how do you refute this false doctrine?  I think our friend Zion said it best:

"Too bad Kinzer was not there to inform Paul, that the gospel did not actually need to go the Jew first, or better yet, to the Jew at all. It would have saved him a lot of trouble, especially the lashes and stoning's that he encountered."

Zion highlights the absurdity of Unrecognized Mediation.  If Jews don't need to know Yeshua in order to be saved, then why did Yeshua say to preach the gospel in Judea?  Why did Paul and the other Apostles take such pains (oftentimes quite literally) to spread the gospel to Jews in synagogue?  If Unrecognized Mediation--salvation apart from recognizing Yeshua--is true then Believers don't need to share the gospel with Jews.
So it's just Mark Kinzer, right?  It's not like he's the leader of the UMJC, right?  Check out the link I provided for Kinzer's c.v.  It shows that he really is the man behind the curtain over at the UMJC.  But if you don't think this false doctrine has permeated the UMJC then I invite you to visit a UMJC synagogue.  See if they EVER say anything about how to share the gospel with Jews.  I for one never heard them speak of sharing the gospel.  Which is kind of bad when you consider that it's a gospel to the Jew first.  
Anyway, thanks to Zion for showing us the absurdity of Unrecognized Mediation.  I knew it was a false doctrine but I didn't know how to articulate it until he wrote that comment.