Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another Great Dialogue with Gene

So the comments in the post entitled "Should a Non-Jew Aspire to be a Pharisee Like Paul?" were pretty enlightening.  In that thread, we saw Gene offer the following test for how one can know which commands apply ONLY to ethnic Jews:
Dan, if you want to know which commandments apply specifically to Israel, just look up any commandment (or a section of commandments) that starts with G-d saying "Say to the children of Israel" and you'll know who G-d meant them for.
And then Zion pointed out a flaw in Gene's test:


Gene, in 1 Peter 2:9-10 We have Peter calling gentiles a "chosen race", "priesthood", "holy nation"...etc etc. The point is, he is quoting Exodus 19:6 concerning gentiles, and the verse in Exodus 19:6 says: 
These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel. 
Since Peter applies a verse that directly applies to the sons of Israel to gentiles who now trust in the Messiah, where does your understanding come into this?"
But Gene responded:


Zion, my friend, you've made a lot of assumptions about the First Epistle of Peter. Neither its authorship (most scholars today consider the work to be pseudographical) or its the target audience (which many scholars believe were assimilated Helenized Jews living in Diaspora that Peter as the Apostle to the Jews was trying to reach) is a settled thing. Far from it.
 To break it down:  Gene is advocating that 1 Peter is deceptive when it purports to be written by Peter (1:1).  He's also advocating that the consensus of scholars are wrong to say that the addressees were predominantly non-Jewish.  But let's pause to hear what the scholars are saying.  First, was Peter the author or is 1 Peter pseudographical:


"If the evidence traditionally used to point to a late date and pseudonymous authorship is actually inconclusive because it could pertain to any period of the Christian church in the first century, then it becomes more difficult to avoid a more direct association of the letter with the apostle Peter himself.  And there is substantial evidence that would point to a very close association of the apostle Peter with the letter.  
First, the letter indisputably claims to be from the apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:1).  In today's scholarly milieu, this may seem a naive point.  But under the assumption that epistolary pseudonymity was frequently practiced and widely accepted in antiquity, the text's own claim is sometimes not given its due in favor of inferred evidence of questionable weight."  [1 Peter (Baker Exegetical Commentary) by Jobes]
Second, who were the addressees of 1 Peter:


"On the basis of 1:18, most modern commentators disagree that the audience was primarily Jewish Christian; that verse refers to the 'useless way of life you inherited from your ancestors'…" [ibid]


So I just think it's funny to watch how the Exclusionists attempt to get around Scripture.  They have a big problem with Ephesians 2.  But they have an even bigger problem with 1 Peter 2!  With Ephesians 2, they desperately try to redefine "politeia" to mean something other than "citizenship" because if it means "citizenship" then non-Jews are FULL members of the New Covenant along with Messianic Jews.  And they desperately try to argue that 1 Peter isn't written to non-Jews because if 1 Peter 2 is about non-Jews then we're forced to conclude that Apostle Peter believed that non-Jews had been incorporated into the People of Israel.  

One last thing:  what is the implication if non-Jews have been incorporated into Israel?  I think McKee says it best:
 "James affirmed Peter's testimony before the Council about God concerning Himself with the nations, and integrating these new Believers into the community.  Interestingly enough, Peter himself would later write to a large group of Jewish and non-Jewish Believers, and would apply many Tanach concepts of Israel equally to them.  Not only would these concepts serve to inform who they were to be as transformed Believers, but also how they would all be living out the Divine mandate as originally given to Israel together:
     '[Y]ou are CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY' (1 Peter 2:9-10; cf. Deuteronomy 7:6; 10:15; Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 61:6; 43:21; Deuteronomy 4:20; 14:2; and Hosea 2:23).
We can safely assume that James, brother of Yeshua, would have agreed with this later assessment of Peter.  It is not enough to just be a part of Israel or God's chosen, as one must live forth the special calling upon Israel,"  (pg. 57 "Acts 15 for the Practical Messianic" by J.K. McKee)


CONCLUSION

If you are a non-Jew then you need to realize that Yeshua has brought you into Israel, that this is a humbling responsibility given so that you will help Jews come to know the Messiah (because it's a gospel to the Jew first), and that you must "live forth the special calling upon Israel" which involves following Sinaitic Torah and showing respect for the Jewish traditions that conform to the spirit and letter of the Law.  

[P.S.  I've got to go to work now so I won't be able to check back until probably tomorrow.  Shalom!]













75 comments:

  1. ""If the evidence traditionally used to point to a late date and pseudonymous authorship is actually inconclusive because it could pertain to any period of the Christian church in the first century, then it becomes more difficult to avoid a more direct association of the letter with the apostle Peter himself. "

    What kind of explanation is that? Is this what passes for scholarship these days? Translation: "There some evidence that 1 Peter wasn't written by Peter and we don't know for sure either way, but this could only mean that there's indeed a direct association with Peter and in fact it's a sure thing as far as we are concerned!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gene,

      It's astounding to me that you'd have everyone believe that 1 Peter is a forgery.

      Everyone,

      Look up "pseudograph" in a dictionary. The definition is "forgery." Gene never ceases to amaze me. The lengths an Exclusionist will go to in order to dodge Scripture! And then he says that THEY are guilty of bad scholarship!

      Delete
    2. "It's astounding to me that you'd have everyone believe that 1 Peter is a forgery."

      Peter, I am sure that whoever wrote this literally masterpiece in the name of the "unlettered" Apostle meant well, as did the Church Fathers who later canonized this letter.

      Delete
    3. "The lengths an Exclusionist will go to in order to dodge Scripture!"

      Oddly, the more you use the word, the more I am starting to warm up to the label "Exclusionist". Almost like a badge of honor, a scar from an unjust beating, like being cursed by being called "holy" (which interestingly enough means, "separated" or "set apart" from all).

      Delete
  2. "Oddly, the more you use the word, the more I am starting to warm up to the label "Exclusionist". Almost like a badge of honor, a scar from an unjust beating, like being cursed by being called "holy" (which interestingly enough means, "separated" or "set apart" from all)."

    the Nazis started thinking like that and look what happened in the end...Do you think before you post?

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    1. "the Nazis started thinking like that and look what happened in the end."

      Dan, throughout our history Jews have been reviled for being different, for being set apart from the nations, for being "exclusionists". Christianity wanted to do away with Jews through conversion and complete assimilation into the Gentile population. Nazis, feeding of these ideas, thought that even assimilation won't help, and that Jews should be slaughtered.

      Are you comparing Jews to Nazis?

      Delete
  3. "Are you comparing Jews to Nazis?"

    I am comparing the methods....

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    Replies
    1. So, Messianic Jews and Jews in general are behaving like the Nazis, correct?

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  4. No, I said that this how the Nazis started...Pay attention....

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    1. "No, I said that this how the Nazis started...Pay attention...."

      So, in your mind, Dan, the next natural progression is for Jews to raid churches and start carting off hundreds of millions of Gentiles into concentrations camps, force-work them to death and then burn them to ashes. I see...

      Delete
  5. The traditional authorship of EVERY book of the Bible has been challenged by modern scholarship--and this INCLUDES Genesis-Deuteronomy.

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    1. Anonymous, what's your point - that our approach should be all or nothing? You do realize that the Christians in the first three or four centuries had hundreds of books and letters circulating, including many gospels, some of which were later canonized by the Church Fathers, right?

      Here's a list of just some of them:

      http://www.earlychristianwritings.com

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    2. The point is not an all or nothing approach to the composition of Biblical books. The point is that you better be willing to question Mosaic authorship of the Torah, and the authorship of every book of the Old Testament as well...

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    3. "The point is that you better be willing to question Mosaic authorship of the Torah, and the authorship of every book of the Old Testament as well..."

      Anonymous, I look at everything objectively, however, I do not put the Greek NT and associated writings which circulated in the first few centuries (or even Talmud and Mishnah) in the same category as the Torah and the prophets, which virtually alone - with a few exceptions - record G-d saying "Thus saith the L-rd".

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    4. Shlomovich, thank you for revealing your bias.

      Delete
  6. Gene, one thing I have to give you, you are a master of diverting the issues....I am speaking about moral corruption and how it starts...just look at the Haredim in Israel, they more power they got the more they abused it and the public, until the public decided not to take it anymore...

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    1. Dan, exaggerate much? Messianic Jews have almost zero power, no influence and no money, and no growth, what are you talking about? Haredim will outnumber secular Jews in a couple of decades, while Messianic Jews leadership is a few dozen middle-age men from the 60's Jesus Movement (most from NYC) leading mostly Gentile congregations.

      You are not going to take this anymore? Throw the remaining Jews out and call it a day.

      Delete
  7. It took you a few years, Gene, but finally, finally you get it...MJ UMJC style is not from God...Never was...And as one who knows this you still have the chutzpha to attack an even smaller group as OL...Why?

    On second thought, do i smell an abandoning of Yeshua and return to mainstream Judaism? It happened before as you know....

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    1. "And as one who knows this you still have the chutzpha to attack an even smaller group as OL...Why?"

      Dan, and if you are judging it by size, does it mean that OL is even less of G-d than MJ?

      "On second thought, do i smell an abandoning of Yeshua and return to mainstream Judaism? It happened before as you know...."

      I am already IN "mainstream" Judaism, Dan and have been for many years now. Is this news to you? If I wanted to "abandon Yeshua", that I would have done a long time ago. Thankfully, Yeshua didn't abandon Judaism.

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    2. And since the first MJs likewise disappeared or were "disappeared" at the hands of others, than it must mean, according to your view of things, that they TOO were "not from G-d".

      Delete
  8. I'm hesitant to wade into what seems to be a highly personal dispute, but in case this is relevant...

    <toss>
    MJStudies has a paper listed on its 1 Peter page which challenges the consensus view that certain phrases in 1 Peter couldn't possibly be addressed to "Jewish Christians."

    Abstract here: http://www.bnts.org.uk/groups/catholic-epistles/2008-catholic-epistles

    Another summary here: http://theologicalscribbles.blogspot.com/2008/09/something-interesting-wot-i-learned-at.html
    </toss>

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    1. "I'm hesitant to wade into what seems to be a highly personal dispute"

      Yahnatan, I sure hope it's not personal!

      Great info, btw.

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    2. Yahnatan,

      Do you have any source on how those who view this from strictly speaking to only Jewish Christians deal with 1 Peter 2:9-10, I don't see how they could ever get around that?

      I have never considered the book of Peter to be written to either or, but to both.

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    3. Getting close to Shabbat, Chag Sameach everyone! Have a blessed Shavuot!

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    4. Yahnatan,

      Thanks for the links (I look forward to reading). By the way, not a personal dispute just for the record. I love Gene. His views...not so much. But I love Gene.

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    5. Zion, I would encourage you to check out the resources I listed above to see for yourself. That being said, I don't see why it's not possible to read 1 Peter 2:9-10 as a literal exposition of passages such as Exodus 19:3-6. With all the focus on Israel's covenant with Hashem, it's easy to forget that it wasn't always this way. The rabbis certainly weren't shy of this fact: each year we recite from the haggadah: "Our fathers were worshipers of other gods."

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    6. Peter, I'm glad for the clarification about Gene. I do want to comment on one sentence you wrote: "I just think it's funny to watch how the Exclusionists attempt to get around Scripture...[they] desperately try to redefine 'politeia'...And they desperately try to argue that 1 Peter isn't written to non-Jews..." I find this section of your post objectionable on three counts:

      (1) No offense to Gene, but I think taking one blogger's comments to represent an entire group is unjustified. Your post title references Gene, and if he's the only author you're referencing, I think you should be consistent with your referents.

      (2) I find the term "Exclusionists" to be highly pejorative. In respectful discourse its highly preferable to employ terms that don't contain an inherent value judgment. When possible, I think it's best to employ the term by which a group designates itself.

      (3) I find the phrase "desperately try[ing] to argue" to be an unfair characterization, subjective at best. I see no reason why the ethnicity of Peter's audience isn't a legitimate question. If anything, your characterization (overemphasizing the word desperate through repetition) leaves me wondering why it's so important that you impress to your readership how "desperate" the "Exclusionists" are.

      The topics being debated certainly contain many challenging questions, and since they touch on issues of identity, the stakes are high. I hope my responses here will be received in the spirit in which they are offered. Shalom.

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    7. Zion, I would encourage you to check out the resources I listed above to see for yourself. That being said, I don't see why it's not possible to read 1 Peter 2:9-10 as a literal exposition of passages such as Exodus 19:3-6. With all the focus on Israel's covenant with Hashem, it's easy to forget that it wasn't always this way. The rabbis certainly weren't shy of this fact: each year we recite from the haggadah: "Our fathers were worshipers of other gods."

      Yahnatan,

      Thanks, but I did not read anything in the sources you posted dealing with 1 Peter 2:9-10, maybe I am blind, can you link directly to it.

      You said "I don't see why it's not possible to read 1 Peter 2:9-10 as a literal exposition of passages such as Exodus 19:3-6". Agreed, however we have a problem with referring this to Jews, because Peter does not just quote Exodus 19:6, he also quotes Hosea 1:10, Paul happen to also quote Hosea 1:10 in Romans 9:24-26 and the audience to who he is referring to is Gentiles, unless Peter and Paul are in some sort of contradiction, this verse is speaking towards Gentiles.

      So like I said, I don't see Jews in reference in that verse or we need to argue between Peter or Paul abusing the scriptures.

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    8. Who are the aliens and strangers Peter is addressing in 2:11?

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    9. Who are the aliens and strangers Peter is addressing in 2:11?

      For those who try to maintain a view that Peter is speaking to Jews, they say this verse is referring to Jews who live outside of the land of Israel, as aliens and strangers in those lands. But there are too many inconsistencies to maintain this view.

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    10. "But there are too many inconsistencies to maintain this view."

      I present to you:

      "We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were ALL our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope." (King David's Prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:15)

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    11. Gene, what about 1 Peter 2:10? Was there a time that Israel was not his people? Did he choose them in the beginning, then discarded them, and now chooses them again?

      If we read Scriptures consistently then Hosea 1:10 and 2:23 cannot be Israel.

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    12. "Gene, what about 1 Peter 2:10? Was there a time that Israel was not his people? "

      Dan, of course there was a time when it was said by G-d about Israel that we are "not my people".

      In judgmental of Israel, G-d told Hosea to name his son Loammi (not my people.) Why? G-d gives a reason:

      "Then the L-RD said, "Call him Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people, and I am not your G-d."

      Who is G-d referring to here, in His anger, who is the "you"? Israel, of course! At the same time, G-d is so merciful to us that in the next verse, He promises full restoration.

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    13. Some people say, when Paul must mean in Romans 9:25-26 that Gentiles are Israel! Well, that would make Paul quite inconsistent in light of everything else he wrote.

      A more likely use of Paul's Hosea in Romans is called "analogical", meaning that Paul uses the Hosea example of G-d being merciful to Israel (in restoring her), to show that G-d is doing the same to the Gentiles (who also were "not my people", but who became "my people" by G-d's grace).

      It has nothing to do with Gentiles becoming "Israelites", but everything to do with Gentiles becoming the people of G-d.

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    14. A more likely use of Paul's Hosea in Romans is called "analogical", meaning that Paul uses the Hosea example of G-d being merciful to Israel (in restoring her), to show that G-d is doing the same to the Gentiles (who also were "not my people", but who became "my people" by G-d's grace).

      However you want to look at this, Paul is using scripture that is spoken to Israel and applying it to gentiles... when trying to argue scripture that is spoken "only to Israel" should not be applied to gentiles, Paul did not follow that understanding.

      If any of us today, randomly picked out scriptures applying to Israel and said this is the same for gentiles, we would immediately get a response of saying, sorry the audience is Israel, who is willing to correct Paul?

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    15. "If any of us today, randomly picked out scriptures applying to Israel and said this is the same for gentiles, we would immediately get a response of saying, sorry the audience is Israel, who is willing to correct Paul? "

      Zion, the point is that Gentiles are benefiting through Israel's redemption and salvation - they are not on some separate track in that regard. The contention is that some people take this to mean that Gentiles were viewed by Paul as "Israelites" or that even Hosea must have been taking about Gentiles in the future. Not alt all.

      With that in mind, for Paul then to use Hosea's "not my people" as an analogy (and do note that he actually reworded the prophecy to make use of it - which further confirms that it was only used as an analogy!) makes very good sense.

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    16. And here I though that Romans 11 says it the other way aroung..But what do I know.....

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    17. "And here I though that Romans 11 says it the other way aroung..But what do I know....."

      Nobody's perfect, Dan, don't worry. Give it another 20 years, and you'll know everything by then, I promise.

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    18. "Nobody's perfect, Dan, don't worry. Give it another 20 years, and you'll know everything by then, I promise."

      I am 71. If you guarantee me another 20, I will switch to "Mainstream" tomorrow....

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    19. "I am 71. If you guarantee me another 20, I will switch to "Mainstream" tomorrow...."

      OK, Dan, switch - you have my full guarantee or your money back!

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    20. Yahnatan,

      I didn't see any evidence in those links that would support a Jewish exclusive audience for 1 Peter (unless you count promises of evidence). I'm going to have to ask you to stop citing to dead-end links and start providing evidence for your views. What have you got? Archeology? Ancient writings? We've got the text of 1 Peter itself. If you, unlike Gene, believe in the authenticity of 1 Peter, then why not use the text of 1 Peter in your argument? In short, stop running from the text.

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    21. "If you, unlike Gene, believe in the authenticity of 1 Peter, then why not use the text of 1 Peter in your argument? In short, stop running from the text."

      Peter, I think I have demonstrated myself as being quite capable of working with 1 Peter with a supposition that it is indeed a fully authentic, 100% unadulterated letter by Peter himself. I used the text and argued from it - now show me where I got it wrong.

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    22. Gene,

      I'd be happy to move forward from your statement that 1 Peter is a forgery and talk about the text itself. Here's two quick points:

      (1) 1 Peter 4:3-4 "3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you."

      Jews were not known at that time for being pagan; on the contrary, Paul says "We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles" (Gal. 2). Also, Eph. 4:17 "Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds." In short, the Gentiles were known for their pagan walk and the Jews were known for their Torah-based walk.

      Also, why would the pagans be "surprised"? One didn't expect Jews to attend the pagan revelries. However, one not only expected Gentiles to attend but there could be serious social and legal consequences if Gentiles failed to show loyalty to the local gods.

      (2) 1 Peter 1:18 "18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."

      Here is the best evidence that 1 Peter is written to non-Jews. What way of life would Jews have inherited other than Judaism? All signs point to Judaism. Would Peter have said that Judaism was an "empty way of life"? No, because he practiced Judaism, visiting the Temple, praying at set times, etc. He did not reject his Judaic heritage as an "empty way of life." This statement only makes sense if he's talking about pagans. Because Peter knew the Prophets:

      Jer. 16:19 "LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in a time of distress, the nations will come to You from the ends of the earth, and they will say, "Our fathers inherited only lies, worthless idols of no benefit at all."

      Gentiles inherit an empty way of life. Not Jews!

      Delete
    23. "Gentiles inherit an empty way of life. Not Jews!"

      Peter, your whole reply is based on the erroneous assumption that Helenized Jews did not live in Greek cities among the Greeks and in the manner of Greeks (with everything that entailed).

      History, however, shows that they indeed do just that and that assimilation into the Helenic culture was rampant. Not only that, even Paul himself wrote the if one is a Jew, one is not to reverse his circumcision (as some Jews had indeed done, to participate in Greek sports, for example, events which involved sacrificing to idols!). He wouldn't write such a thing had it not been an actual concern at the time.

      Delete
    24. I've responded below. Let's continue there.

      Delete
  9. Also, I believe Ben Witherington argues for a Jewish Christian (again, hist term) audience for 1 Peter in his commentary Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians. If I recall correctly, Witherington thought this bolstered his case for authentic Petrine authorship.

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    1. Yahnatan,

      This is a promise of evidence (like your links above). Show us Witherington's actual statements. Or cite to a page so we can see it for ourselves.

      Delete
  10. "I am already IN "mainstream" Judaism, Dan and have been for many years now."

    Oh, I remember now...First you were afraid to tell Your Rabbi that Yeshua is God, and then you changed your mind to the point that His sacrifice was not authentic...Got it....

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    1. "Oh, I remember now...First you were afraid to tell Your Rabbi that Yeshua is God, and then you changed your mind to the point that His sacrifice was not authentic...Got it...."

      Dan, you obviously don't remember then. Oh well.

      Chag Sameach!

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  11. Judah remembers...

    Chag Sameach to you and yours!

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  12. Yahnatan,

    I'll happily receive your comments, brother. Now receive this one from me: your doctrines--the doctrines of UMJC-- are sending my brothers to hell.

    Shalom,

    Peter

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    Replies
    1. "Now receive this one from me: your doctrines--the doctrines of UMJC-- are sending my brothers to hell."

      Peter, could you elaborate? You got me curious.

      Delete
    2. Peter, if your "brothers" are going to hell for something that Yahnatan or UMJC teaches, than this must mean that Yahnatan and the UMJC are all headed to the same place as your brothers.

      Delete
    3. Gene,

      Sure, I'll elaborate. The teachings of men like Yahnatan and others in the UMJC cause non-Jews to reject Yeshua.

      Delete
    4. Ah, I see. I'll elaborate for you: Hebrew Roots/One-Law/Two-House people who believe that Jesus made them Torah-observant Israelites are not happy with the Messianic Jews who disagree, and would leave that very same Jesus to convert to Judaism (which means a direct ticket to hell, with the rest of the Jews).

      Delete
    5. Gene,

      I responded to your 1 Peter comment above. Here's my response again:

      I'd be happy to move forward from your statement that 1 Peter is a forgery and talk about the text itself. Here's two quick points:

      (1) 1 Peter 4:3-4 "3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you."

      Jews were not known at that time for being pagan; on the contrary, Paul says "We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles" (Gal. 2). Also, Eph. 4:17 "Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds." In short, the Gentiles were known for their pagan walk and the Jews were known for their Torah-based walk.

      Also, why would the pagans be "surprised"? One didn't expect Jews to attend the pagan revelries. However, one not only expected Gentiles to attend but there could be serious social and legal consequences if Gentiles failed to show loyalty to the local gods.

      (2) 1 Peter 1:18 "18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."

      Here is the best evidence that 1 Peter is written to non-Jews. What way of life would Jews have inherited other than Judaism? All signs point to Judaism. Would Peter have said that Judaism was an "empty way of life"? No, because he practiced Judaism, visiting the Temple, praying at set times, etc. He did not reject his Judaic heritage as an "empty way of life." This statement only makes sense if he's talking about pagans. Because Peter knew the Prophets:

      Jer. 16:19 "LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in a time of distress, the nations will come to You from the ends of the earth, and they will say, "Our fathers inherited only lies, worthless idols of no benefit at all."

      Gentiles inherit an empty way of life. Not Jews!

      Delete
    6. My reply:

      "Gentiles inherit an empty way of life. Not Jews!"

      Peter, your whole reply is based on the erroneous assumption that Helenized Jews did not live in Greek cities among the Greeks and in the manner of Greeks (with everything that entailed).

      History, however, shows that they indeed do just that and that assimilation into the Helenic culture was rampant. Not only that, even Paul himself wrote the if one is a Jew, one is not to reverse his circumcision (as some Jews had indeed done, to participate in Greek sports, for example, events which involved sacrificing to idols!). He wouldn't write such a thing had it not been an actual concern at the time.

      Delete
    7. Gene,

      I'm well aware that Hellenism was a problem for Jews. But you seem unaware that Hellenism was a problem for Gentile Believers--in precisely the way 1 Peter 4 describes.

      And you've failed to respond to point #2. Why are you running?

      Delete
    8. "Empty of life" - well, Peter, if these Jews were so absorbed into the Helenic culture that they participated in its wickedness alongside the Gentiles (as Peter notes!), they indeed inherited an "empty way of life" from their parents and not the Jewish way of life that Peter inherited.

      Delete
    9. Gene,

      Tortured logic. If Peter thought the threat was the Hellenistic host cultures of his Jewish audience, why talk about ancestry? Hellenized Jews were tied to Hellenic gods largely through choice; but it was the Gentiles who were tied to their gods from their ancestors (as per Jer. 16:19).

      Delete
    10. "Tortured logic."

      I think it was quite clear, supported by well-known historical facts with which you yourself seem to be acquainted, and to the point.

      "If Peter thought the threat was the Hellenistic host cultures of his Jewish audience, why talk about ancestry?"

      Because the start of Helenization goes way, way back, to the time of the Maccabees and earlier, giving rise to many generations of "Greek" Jews by the first century.

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    11. Gene,

      That's illogical. If the reader of 1 Peter identified as a Jew then it would've been because his parents taught him Judaism. Thus, a Jewish audience means that the parents did SOMETHING right in promoting some semblance of Judaism. So Peter wouldn't have traced the problem to the parents but rather THE HELLENISTIC HOST CULTURE.

      Delete
    12. And, on that note, I've got to go eat. Will check back later.

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    13. Not only that, but a Hellenized Jew is still a Jew, and gene is just grasping at straws....

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    14. "but a Hellenized Jew is still a Jew"

      And that's the whole point of Peter's letter to these Greek Jews in the first place!

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  13. "Because the start of Helenization goes way, way back, to the time of the Maccabees and earlier, giving rise to many generations of "Greek" Jews by the first century."

    Oh, I get it now...Peter did really mean the thousand of Jews who attend these Hellenized Churches today....

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    1. Dan, I like sarcasm like any other person, but not sure how this instance does anything for this discussion.

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  14. "Dan, I like sarcasm like any other person, but not sure how this instance does anything for this discussion."

    It is not my fault you cannot think, and it is not my job to make you think....

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    1. "It is not my fault you cannot think, and it is not my job to make you think...."

      Translation: "Am I my brother's keeper?".

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  15. Scholars who confirm a Jewish audience in 1st Peter have noted that it would make little sense for Peter to be writing letters to Gentiles in churches that Paul himself set up and oversaw. As Paul wrote in Galatians 2 regarding his and Peter's missions:

    "I had been entrusted with the Good News for the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the Good News for the circumcision"

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    1. Gene,

      I'd like for you to answer my question: is keeping enough Judaism--enough Jewish lifestyle--so that subsequent generations consider themselves Jewish, is that what Peter meant by "empty way of life"?

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    2. "I'd like for you to answer my question: is keeping enough Judaism--enough Jewish lifestyle--so that subsequent generations consider themselves Jewish, is that what Peter meant by "empty way of life"?"

      I know of plenty of secular Jews today who have inherited from their parents an "empty way of life", one that had little to do with whatever little Judaism they were exposed to and one that had little use for G-d. Yet, they are still Jews and for those of them who cared about being Jewish enough to in-marry, so are their children. It's not that hard to imagine the same being true in the first century.

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    3. Gene,

      Re: "...little to do with whatever little Judaism..."

      Saying that Jewish identity has little to do with Judaism is like saying sunlight has little to do with the sun.

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    4. "Saying that Jewish identity has little to do with Judaism is like saying sunlight has little to do with the sun."

      Excuse me, Peter, where and when did I ever say anything remotely close to that?

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    5. Gene,

      You said the parents had an "empty way of life" and you said that the addressees of 1 Peter IDENTIFIED as Jews. Thus, you'd have us believe that an empty way of life causes someone to identify as Jewish. That's absurd! It's Judaism (and not an empty way of life) that causes Jewish identity!

      Why is it that I should have to point out such an obvious causal connection??? Could it be that you are suffering from a profound bias?

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