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?