Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mixed Signals: Why Did Yeshua Change His Instructions About Gentiles?

Here are some passages where Yeshua seems to have a change of heart about Gentiles:


"These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel," (Matthew 10:5-6)
 "He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.  He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.  “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” (Matthew 15:24-27)

And now the change:

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth," (Acts 1:8) 
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19)

QUESTION:

Why did Yeshua change His instructions about Gentiles?



48 comments:

  1. I think it is reading too much into those verses, concerning gentiles. Yeshua had to fulfill prophecy, in order for the testimony to be true on His account. That being that, He had to come to the Jews first in order for Him to be the Messiah, just as He had to keep the Torah perfectly, etc. If He had an anti-gentilism viewpoint, as Peter the Apostle did at one point and many in that period of time did, then He would not have ever helped them or ever commanded that His message go to the ends of the earth. Thus it is not a change, but a prophetic fulfillment, we know this because of plenty of previous examples... Millions of gentiles coming out in the Exodus with Israel, in Solomons day, 150,000 something gentiles coming to the God of Israel. But we have to also consider that God is going to reach out to those in covenant with Him, before anyone else, because those who are in covenant are representatives of Him. Israel is called to be a light to the nations, if the nations who are not in covenant with God, can simply join God without any relation to Israel, then Israel is worthless and of no purpose... Thus in order for Israel to fulfill its calling, Israel had to receive the Gospel first, then take it to the nations, in order to do what they were called to do. And in this, it makes gentiles who come to the God of Israel and join the covenant, responsible to Israel, it all comes together.

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    1. Amein!

      Yes, I believe Yeshua was pro-Gentile all along. It's not as though Yeshua failed to hear those "whispers" of pro-Gentilism (do we call it universalism?) in the Tanak.

      I should probably do a post entitled "Whispers of Universalism in the Tanak". G-d planned all along for Gentiles to eventually be included in Israel. It is literally written into Creation (Shabbat). It comes across in Jonah (an awesome story of universalism). It comes across in Abraham himself (the first convert). It comes across in Rahab, Ruth, the Prophets. Yet it remains as a whisper even during Yeshua's ministry--not until He is departing does He make the universalistic message explicit.

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    2. Peter, when I hear the term, "universalism," it makes me think of the idea that all enter the kingdom of God without any involvement on their part. I believe what you mean to say is that the kingdom is open to all who are called and will come. I would call that divine mercy or collateral blessing, and perhaps there is a better term?

      Yeshua was promised to Israel, not to the pagan nations, however, as you say, there are hints that his salvation would reach beyond Israel, and that the plan was for Israel to be a light to the nations. So, in his life on earth, Yeshua was sent to the house of Israel, but after his rising from the dead, his disciples are commissioned to go the ends of the earth. It is not a contradiction. Yeshua never left Israel, but his followers did.

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    3. I agree with all of the above...:)

      Just to add...I have been listening to an orthodox Jew who has recently stated that he believes Yeshua came first as Messiah ben Yosef and will return as Messiah ben David

      He has some wild/interesting ideas, but he makes an interesting case for the significance of the fact that both Joseph and Yeshua were sold by their brothers to the nations. In Jewish law, this is a great sin.

      So the post resurrection mandate of Yeshua to go to gentiles/nations follows the pattern of Joseph who after being sold by his brothers and believed to be dead by them after the fact, redeems the gentiles/Egypt.

      However, it is was through this sale that redemption not only came for Egypt, but both redemption and reconciliation for Jacob/his sons as well. The same will "universally" be true of Yeshua.

      It is an interesting typology at least.

      Another point of this in terms of the above discussion is that Yeshua, who currently looks "Egyptian", that is to say Torah-less, to Israel. will be revealed to his brothers as more and more gentiles begin to take the Matthew 28:19 mandate seriously and turn to Torah.

      I think it is an exciting and awesome privilege for Messianics to be part of this process!

      Noah

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    4. I agree with JewishPrincess, on terminology, "Universalism" puts a bad taste in my mouth, lol. In fact, I would argue that Bilateral Ecclesiology actually supports a universalistic approach to scripture, "everyone maintains their culture and traditions, despite that some of them might be pagan, God likes diversity, etc..." but as JewishPrincess said, God did not give His promises to the nations/pagans or to anyone other than Abraham to Israel... All are welcome to take part, but there is a particular path one must take, they simply can't just stay within there traditional cultural beliefs or traditions, many will have to be abandoned. We see this through the scriptures, if gentiles can be in covenant with God, outside of Israel, then there is no need for Israel. However we do see Yeshua promised to all of mankind, before Israel ever existed, before Abraham ever existed.

      Paul's olive tree analogy fits perfectly, Jews are not being grafted into a new tree, it is their tree, gentiles are being taken away from their tree and put into a tree that is not theirs, meaning the ones taking the biggest changes in their lives are the gentiles, there is not a third tree where we both convert, no the gentiles are converting and Jews do not convert, it is theirs to begin with.

      But I know Peter understands this, this is more a discussion on what word fits to describe this the best.

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    5. Noah,

      Thanks for sharing.

      I agree, gentiles coming to a Torah observant lifestyle is a fulfillment of Paul's vision, which he understood from Deut (Romans 10-11), it is a blessing to be part of it all and it will be awesome to see the end result...

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  2. "Jews do not convert"

    Wasn't Jesus speaking to Jews here: "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

    and here: "That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

    and here: "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

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    1. Not the same thing, in this case there were Jews who did not believe, and in this regard their salvation was at stake, however Jews, who believed were not converted to anything, they remained Jews and remained in covenant.

      In Paul's Olive Tree metaphor, some Jews were cut off due to disbelief, and some Jews were not cut off. Cle

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    2. Anonymous,

      In the first two examples, I think the concept of "converted" used there is not in regards to a new religion/ new olive tree. Rather the conversion Yeshua is speaking of is a change in the attitude of the person toward humility. Without it they cannot accept Him or the truth he teaches about the kingdom.

      In the third case, the context is Yeshua's prediction that Kepha/Peter is going to deny Him. Converted their means when Peter has repented of this act.

      Noah

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  3. Noah and Zion, isn't it true that "conversion" always means towards G-d, not towards Israel?

    "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;"

    I would be interested in any supporting evidence otherwise, but eveyone including Jews must become converted to enter the Kingdom of G-d. Not the Kingdom of Israel, the Kingdom of G-d.

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    1. Yeshua is the King of Israel, and to Israel belongs all of these things, including the Messiah, Romans 9:4-5. Since these promises all belong to Israel, then they just have to heed the promises, they do not convert to a new religion, instead they heed the promises made to them and continue their faith. Yeshua did not invent a new religion. Jews are not grafted into a new tree, instead they remain or are cut off of the same tree, they are naturally part of, gentiles on the other hand are taken from their tree and grafted into a tree, they are not naturally part of. The only way to support Jews and Gentiles both converting, is to establish a third tree that both are grafted into and that none are naturally part of, but that is not the metaphor spoken of by Paul.

      All must trust in Yeshua for the assurance of salvation, but this does not mean that everyone who does not believe in Yeshua will be in the Kingdom, we cannot determine who will and will not be saved, but for those who trust in Yeshua, we can be sure of salvation.

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    2. Zion, you can't argue that the only thing to be gained is Israel and then also argue Israel must gain the Kingdom.

      In context, being converted is the same thing as being grafted back in. Your right that they don't convert to a new religion, those who have abandoned G-d and his way must convert (return) to G-d.

      The cultivated branches are those G-d has been working with over a long period of time to make lawful, the wild branches are those who G-d has recently worked with to make lawful.

      No need of a third tree, G-d is the only one we convert to.

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    3. In context, being converted is the same thing as being grafted back in.

      The problem is, not everyone was broken off, some Jews did not need to be grafted in or grafted back in, they remained. Why, because their continuation of faith continued down the righteous path.

      Salvation is of the Jews, God orchestrated it that way, Yeshua came to Israel first, not to the nations and not to everyone, just to Israel first, then to the nations. This order orchestrates God's plan of action concerning salvation.

      When a gentile comes to faith in God, he/she joins a community that already exist, despite their beliefs, their conversion is not just to God, but a body of people, we are not simply responsible for our self, but also our brothers/sisters.

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    4. I think you misunderstand, no one is disputing salvation is of the Jews, that Yeshua was the Jew it comes through, that Yeshua came to Israel first and then to the nations, etc.

      Are you setting up a straw man?

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    5. Then I definitely do not understand your question, if you would like to rephrase it or try to re-clarify what you are saying, I would be more than willing to try to answer.

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  4. I think it is a misunderstanding to say that the Jews who didn't believe the Gospel and thus were cut off from the Olive Tree, were simply cut off from the covenant. They remained Jews and members of the Sinai Covenant. What they were cut off from were the eternal blessings of the Covenant, the inheritance of a portion in the World to Come. Yet during their earthly life they remained temporal covenant members. They didn't loose this covenantal status.

    Obviously, this temporal inclusion in the covenant, which is by natural birth, only makes sense if it ultimately leads to the eternal inclusion. But yet two levels of inclusion should be distinguished.

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    1. Thank your for bringing forth this point, I was too generalized in my statement. Also Noah also did a good job explaining the understanding of conversion in those particular verses.

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    2. A consequence of this is that the Olive Tree of Romans ch. XI cannot simply be Israel. For if this were true, then the unbelieving Jews would no longer be Israelites. Paul, however, emphatically confirms that they are Israelites (in Rom. 9:4).

      Oftentimes we use the Olive Tree symbolism to illustrate that Gentile believers are engrafted onto Israel, which is not entirely accurate. For it would imply that the unbelieving Jews (i.e. the cut off branches) would be separated from Israel.

      Perhaps one can say that Israel, according to Paul's symbolism here, is the totality of the Olive Tree together with everything that belongs to it, including the cut off branches. And that the Olive Tree itself is the faithful remnant, which partakes of the spiritual essentialia of what it means to be Israel, namely the fatness and the root.

      In this interpretation, the Gentiles are still engrafted onto Israel, because they are engrafted onto the remnant. And the cut of branches are separated from this spiritual remnant, not from the nation of Israel.

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  5. It is all a matter of perspective. Conversion is a covenant with God and not a means of joining the Jewish nation. According to Chazal the people of Israel converted and entered into a covenant with the Lord. (Keritot 9a).

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    1. I agree that the nation of Israel was in a sense nationally converted to HaShem by entering the covenant conditions and accepting the Torah as their national constitution. But this national conversion is not about participation in the eternal aspects of the covenant.

      Participation in the eternal blessings is only possible through individual repentance and personal faith the divine promises. Paul's Olive Tree illustration is about this personal faith by which Gentiles are engrafted.

      I have a question here on which I would like to hear your opinion: Is it possible to separate being in covenant with G-d from joining the covenant community/nation?

      It seems to me that the covenant is never treated on an individual basis. Although the decision of faith is an individual decision, it stems from accepting the public revelation proclaimed by the Prophets and Apostles, which is the possession of the community. Acceptance of the faith thus seems immediately to lead to inclusion in the covenant community. Paul isn't an individualistic Protestant, but a traditional Jew. What do you think?

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    2. Messianic613,

      A look at Jewish law may shed some light here.

      From the point of view of Jewish law, once, Israel became a nation at Sinai, their participation in the eternal blessings was established at that time as well.

      "All Israel has a place in the world to come"...This eternal blessing is a divine birthright/inheritance of the Jewish people. As one orthodox Rabbi put it to me, "a Jew is born with an A+". A Jew is born going to heaven.

      However, an individual Jew can lose his place in the world to come by being karet or "cut off" from his people because of certain sins for which the person has not repented.

      There are differences of opinions as to what this "cutting off" means but the genera/consensus is that it is a "judgment from Heaven" that could lead to spiritual excision, spiritual extinction and or punishment in the after life.

      I think this idea informs us well on Paul. For Paul's olive tree example, Israelites were "cut off" in order for gentiles to be "grafted in". I think what Paul is saying is that it was the Jewish rejection of Yeshua which caused them to be karet or "cut off" from the olive tree. But prior to Yeshua's coming, they were already attached, not because of personal faith but because of being heirs to the promise, the keepers of the oracles etc.

      IN other words their being "cut off" is the same thing as saying they have lost their share in the world to come. Again, due to there rejection of Yeshua, but they can be grafted back in.

      In fact, in chapter 11, it seems like Hashem will graft them back in. Which makes sense because Paul says that Hashem has hardened their hearts.

      Noah

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    3. Noah,

      Paul says, that in every generation there exist a remnant, this is true all through the Tanakh, we especially see it in the Writings and the Prophets. Saying that Israel was saved just by being covenant members ignores the reality of faith, as Messianic613 said, there is a corporate aspect to covenant, but there is also an individual aspect. Thus Israel in itself cannot simply be saved by being Israel, there has to be an individual aspect, that even predated Yeshua, at least for there to be a remnant in every generation.

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    4. Exactly, and the distinctive identity of the Messianic Community seems to be that a person enters it by a confession of personal faith. The entrance rite of water Immersion in Messiah's name (Baptism) is strongly bound up to this faith.

      Since Acts ch. II we have thus a public community which one has to enter through personal faith, not by natural birth. Before that time the believers just lived dispersed between the members of the chosen nation.

      This means that something has changed since the appearance of Messiah. Yet this new community is not in conflict with national Israel. For it is a subset of Israel, to which believing Gentiles are added. From the beginning this community was recognized as something special within Israel, as is clear from Acts 5:13, where it says: "[..] of the rest durst no man join himself to them [= the believers in Yeshua]: but the people magnified them".

      This distinctive identity of the Assembly of Messiah as an organized community of believers is of a temporal nature. It bridges the time-gap between two important events: the first appearance of Yeshua, and his national acceptance.

      As a distinct public body the Assembly thus will exist until Israel on a national basis will accept Yeshua as their King-Messiah.

      After this acceptance, which will happen at the Second Coming, the situation returns that the true believers will exist in dispersion between the others. This will be the situation during the Kingdom Age. For in the Kingdom Age everyone is a subject of King Messiah and is thus forced to publicly acknowledge Yeshua.

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    5. Zion,

      I get your point and I would not want to argue it too much because I only suggested the Jewish law angle as another way of looking at it.

      That said, from the point of view I'm offering, the remnant you speak of are simply those who were not cut off due to sin.

      According to the prophets, because of their sins, the Jewish people were slaughtered, exiled and even cut off.

      The remnant in each generation were simply those who remained faithful.

      This is the same kind of language used by Paul in Romans.

      In other words, the question is... did each Israelite have to individually make a decision of faith regardless of the fact that they were born in.

      The Jewish law perspective says no. But of course, they had to REMAIN faithful. The individual/collective sins of Israel over their history demonstrated a loss of faith or, as I prefer, faithfulness, and this led to their prophesized judgment. But again, the fact that Hashem preserve's a remnant of those who remain faithful doesn't prove either way that each had to come to an individual acceptance of faith.

      Noah

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    6. Exactly, and the distinctive identity of the Messianic Community seems to be that a person enters it by a confession of personal faith. The entrance rite of water Immersion in Messiah's name (Baptism) is strongly bound up to this faith.

      Since Acts ch. II we have thus a public community which one has to enter through personal faith, not by natural birth. Before that time the believers just lived dispersed between the members of the chosen nation.

      This means that something has changed since the appearance of Messiah. Yet this new community is not in conflict with national Israel. For it is a subset of Israel, to which believing Gentiles are added. From the beginning this community was recognized as something special within Israel, as is clear from Acts 5:13, where it says: "[..] of the rest durst no man join himself to them [= the believers in Yeshua]: but the people magnified them".

      This distinctive identity of the Assembly of Messiah as an organized community of believers is of a temporal nature. It bridges the time-gap between two important events: the first appearance of Yeshua, and his national acceptance.

      As a distinct public body the Assembly thus will exist until Israel on a national basis will accept Yeshua as their King-Messiah.

      After this acceptance, which will happen at the Second Coming, the situation returns that the true believers will exist in dispersion between the others. This will be the situation during the Kingdom Age. For in the Kingdom Age everyone is a subject of King Messiah and is thus forced to publicly acknowledge Yeshua.


      Well said!

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  6. "I have a question here on which I would like to hear your opinion: Is it possible to separate being in covenant with G-d from joining the covenant community/nation? "

    No it is not possible. But, then, it does not require a ritual of conversion. See Ruth.

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    1. Ruth is certainly a good example of a person binding herself to the nation of Israel for the sake of serving HaShem. In her confession she mentions inclusion in Israel first, even before mentioning G-d. In Ruth 1:16-17 she attaches herself to the people of Israel, to the G-d of Israel, and to the Land.

      In the times of Ruth there was no official conversion procedure. Ruth lived in the days when the judges ruled, which was a disorderly time when everyone did what seemed good in his own eyes. But I see no essential difference between Ruth's way of inclusion in Israel and the later conversion procedure. The effect of both is complete incorporation in the covenant nation. Ruth's solemn declaration 1:16-17 was her immersion, in a manner.

      In the early days of the nation this incorporation was strongly linked to the Land, as appears from Ex. 12:48 and other texts concerning the stranger in the land. These texts can not be literally applied in a diaspora situation. The development of a conversion ritual was in important respects an answer to that new situation. But since you reject this idea, my question is: In what way should a diaspora community living in the Babylonian Captivity or during the Second Temple era incorporate interested strangers? The Written Torah has no rules for this. You cannot rely here on the texts about strangers, since these texts only apply to strangers in the Land. In the diaspora, the Israelites themselves are strangers.



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    2. Just an observation, it seems some think that The Church is trying to become Israel. The Church is not Israel. Members of The Church are members of the Kingdom of Heaven. Israel is not the Kingdom of Heaven.

      Why would Members of the Kingdom of Heaven think they need to "convert to Israel?"

      Israel, needs to "convert to G-d" and become part of the Kingdom of Heaven.

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  7. Once Israel accepted the Torah at Sinai, they entered the covenant, becoming the distinct people of G-d, and a distinct nation. This accepting of the Torah..."we will do and we will here..." is the Covenant itself and the Covenantal obligation is to obey the Torah.

    When someone joined the nation of Israel, they "converted" that is, the entered into the covenant. This entrance involved three things in temple times: circumcision for males, a korban (sacrifice) and immersion.

    Once immersed, they were obligated to obey the Torah and had the rights of citizenship. Its similar, though not identical of course, to becoming a citizen of any country. For example, if you are going to become a citizen of England, you swear an oath to obey the Laws of England, and in return, you get certain privileges, like the right to vote etc.

    A person born into this Covenant later, that is years after Sinai, is born with the Covenantal obligations already on him or her as well as the rights of citizenship. Just like a person born in England is a citizen of England with all that comes with it.

    This is very different from Christianity/the New Covenant. Your not born into it. Each person has to individually chose to enter it.

    This is again, is why I said in a previous post, that from the Jewish point of view today, a Jew already has a place in the world to come. He is born into the Covenant (Mosaic) and simply has to remain faithful so as not to lose it.

    I contend that an essential argument in Paul in Romans is that when they rejected Yeshua/the New Covenant offer, they lost there place, not in Israel, but in the world to come.

    Noah

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    1. Being born in the context of the covenant says nothing about the status of the human heart. Access to the World to Come, however, is dependent on the status of the heart. The heart has to be circumcised, or, in other words, the person has to live in the true fear of HaShem, as expressed in the words of the Shema: "thou shalt love HaShem thy G-d with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might".

      This circumcision of the heart in John ch. III is called being born from above, and this birth is in no way guaranteed by being Jewish, not even by being an observant Jew. It demands a total renewal of human nature.

      This is not to say that this new birth is separate from Torah and Judaism. A person in Ancient Israel who truly took to heart the admonition of the Torah to circumcise one's heart and to obey HaShem in all things, and believed in the divine revelation and its promises, recognizing his sinfulness and pleading on G-d's mercy and forgiveness, obviously had grasped what the Torah was all about and had entered the status of having a circumcised heart. And it can be said that he got a circumcised heart by remaining faithful to the conditions of the Covenant, because all this is found in the Torah.

      But this is quite different from saying that having a portion in the World to Come simply follows from being Jewish — or maintaining an observant lifestyle.

      The ultimate basis of HaShem's mercy on us was and is and remains always based on the sacrifice of Messiah, which is the meritorial cause of all G-d's supernatural graces, whether they be dispensed before or after the appearance of Yeshua.

      Naturally, the historical development of the divine revelation process brings additional things and new or more articulate theological distinctions, which create new and more articulate responsibilities. The arrival of Messiah and his Apostles creates the responsibility of explicitly recognizing this particular person, Yeshua, as the promised Messiah.

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    2. Messianic613,

      I don't think we are disagreeing over much. What I am trying to demonstrate is there is a distinction between being born into the MOSAIC covenant/converting into it on the one hand and entrance into the NEW Covenant on the other.

      We agree that this requires that everybody, Jew and non-Jew alike, accept the authority, sacrifice etc. of Yeshua.

      But Paul never says that Jews were "lost and without G-d in the world"...he says that about gentiles. It was the rejection of Yeshua by those of his own people, which caused them to be "cut off" from the olive tree. To be cut off means you must first have been attached. So to be cut off means LOSING their inheritance, their place in olam haba.

      Noah

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    3. As I said earlier in this discussion, the Olive Tree of Romans ch. XI is not simply to be equated with the nation of Israel. For if this were true, then the unbelieving Jews would no longer be Israelites. Paul, however, confirms that they are Israelites (in Rom. 9:4).

      The Olive Tree thus symbolizes faithful Israel, not simply the nation. It is the collection of those Israelites who are partakers of the root and fatness of the Tree, i.e. the spiritual blessings. The branches broken off are those who didn't remain faithful.

      One shouldn't stretch the image or symbol beyond its context. Paul never teaches that the Jew is born with an inheritance of the World to Come. From Paul's Epistles it is abundantly clear that acquiring this inheritance demands faith and faithfulness and that nobody can acquire it without these. Well, we don't have faith or faithfulness when we are born. Even if a person is raised in a faithful and devout Jewish family, he will arrive at a point where he has consciously to accept the spiritual inheritance of his upbringing.

      As to the eternal aspects of the Covenant, i.e. having an inheritance in the World to Come, everyone is born without them. The only means of acquiring them is supernatural faith, which implies the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh. Neither Jew nor non-Jew is born with the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh.

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    4. "As I said earlier in this discussion, the Olive Tree of Romans ch. XI is not simply to be equated with the nation of Israel. For if this were true, then the unbelieving Jews would no longer be Israelites. Paul, however, confirms that they are Israelites (in Rom. 9:4)."

      - I agree that the Israel Paul was addressing as the olive tree was the faithful of Israel. They were cut off for their unwillingness to accept Yeshua.
      This isn't what we are discussing however. You are making the claim that Israelites, prior to the coming of Messiah, were obligated make an individual decision of faith in order to have the eternal promises. I am disagreeing. They were born into those promises. If an individual or group, or the nation, whatever you want, turned away from G-d and followed after other gods/breaking from obedience to Torah etc., then they had forsaken the Covenant. They had BECOME UNFAITHFUL and could be cut off. You simply can't find anywhere in Tanakh regarding the Mosaic Covenant and its entrance, where an individual decision of faith has to made on the part of someone born in. Now if you want to say that its likely that every Israelite/Jew born into the covenant, did so during his lifetime as part of the process of remaining faithful...fine.

      But to compare entrance into the New Covenant with the system of Israel is anachronistic. -

      "The Olive Tree thus symbolizes faithful Israel, not simply the nation. It is the collection of those Israelites who are partakers of the root and fatness of the Tree, i.e. the spiritual blessings. The branches broken off are those who didn't remain faithful."

      - Again, this is exactly what I am saying. -

      "Paul never teaches that the Jew is born with an inheritance of the World to Come."

      - Not explicitly, but my argument is that this is already understood by Paul and his readers. Hermeneutics requires not only attention to literary context, but historical/cultural as well. I am asserting an explanation of Paul's words as they likely were understood by those Jews would have read Romans in the first century. -

      "Even if a person is raised in a faithful and devout Jewish family, he will arrive at a point where he has consciously to accept the spiritual inheritance of his upbringing."

      - Where does Paul say this? Please understand, I am not arguing that Israelites had to have faith in G-d. I am arguing that Covenant promises were inherited. Read Romans 11. they are "irrevocable" according to Paul. -

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    5. oops...meant second line of last paragraph to say "I am not arguing that Israelites do NOT have to have faith in G-d." of course they have to have faith,

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    6. Anonymous, with whom is the New Covenant made? According to Jeremiah 31:31 it is made with Israel and Judah.

      According to Paul the Covenant promises are indeed irrevocable. But this doesn't deny at all that the individual recipients of these promises have access to them only by faith. G-d will in the end always fulfil his promises to the chosen nation as a collectivity. But those members of that nation who don't care to exercise faith will find themselves excluded from the promises. All have to follow our forefather Abraham in his conscious acceptance of the promises of G-d. The promises to the nation will be fulfilled because there will always be a remnant of faithful believers.

      In your treatment of the act of faith you are neglecting basic insights and facts, for example that the act of faith is a conscious act of trust of the human mind, because otherwise it cannot be called faith at all. Such a conscious act of trust always emanates from our mind and will. It would not be a human act at all if mind and will were not involved in it. This is not explicitly said in Scripture because it is obvious. The concept of faith of itself implies the concepts of conscious thought and acceptance of divine truth.

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    7. Noah,

      Genesis 15:6
      Then he[Abraham] believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

      Faith is in every way connected all through the scriptures and the results of faith are seen in Abraham being the father of all, which sets the example. Abraham was credited eternal inheritance because of his faith, of course faith without works is dead, but that is another issue all together.

      Abraham cannot be disconnected from the Mosaic Covenant, simply because the part of the fulfillment to Abraham is actually seen in the Mosaic Covenant.

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  8. "Anonymous, with whom is the New Covenant made?"

    Messianic613, some men are gripping about the promises made to Abraham. I would like men to start thinking about some of the promises made to the Church:

    Here are but a few....

    To him who wins the victory and does what I want until the goal is reached, I will give him authority over the nations;
    he will rule them with a staff of iron and dash them to pieces like pottery, just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star.

    To him winning the victory I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life which is in God’s Gan-‘Eden.”’

    I will make him who wins the victory a pillar in the Temple of my God, and he will never leave it. Also I will write on him the name of my God and the name of my God’s city, the new Yerushalayim coming down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name.

    He who wins the victory will, like them, be dressed in white clothing; and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life; in fact, I will acknowledge him individually before my Father and before his angels.

    I will let him who wins the victory sit with me on my throne, just as I myself also won the victory and sat down with my Father on his throne.

    I'm trying to point out these things so we don't inadvertently miss the picture....

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  9. Messianic613,

    If you are born into a nation, you are a citizen with full rights without having to do anything. It is the duty of the nation, on the community level to instruct you as you grow older as to what is the history, basis for and observance of the laws of the land.

    Now, obviously, if a person says, "I don't believe in this ideology nor the observance of these laws"... there will be consequences of some nature.

    It was the same with Israel after Sinai. The people accepted that citizenship. This was not an act of faith by the way, the revelation of G-d to the people was incredibly vivid and intense it would have been virtually impossible not to.

    The Mosaic Covenant, which is "we will do and we will here"...Was extended to all future generations as an inheritance.

    Now as to the New Covenant. The entrance requirement is not "we will here and we will do"...it is the acceptance of Yeshua as the risen Messiah. The promise of the New Covenant is what is given to Judah and Israel , namely a changed heart and spirit, which provides supernatural ability to obey G-d's law.

    When many of the Israelites, TO WHOM THIS PROMISE WAS MADE, rejected Yeshua, they were cut off. This made room for gentiles to, in fulfillment of other scripture be "grafted in"

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    1. Anonymous Said: "If you are born into a nation, you are a citizen with full rights without having to do anything. It is the duty of the nation, on the community level to instruct you as you grow older as to what is the history, basis for and observance of the laws of the land.

      Now, obviously, if a person says, "I don't believe in this ideology nor the observance of these laws"... there will be consequences of some nature."

      My Answer: You don't seem to grasp that a person being taught things doesn't cause him to believe and accept them. Being taught religious doctrine is quite another matter as personally accepting them. There's always a decision involved in accepting, as well as in rejecting, these teachings.

      Further, the Sinai Event was certainly impressive, but yet it didn't take away the demand of faith. The demand of faith would only be taken away if there had beeb a visio Dei, which is impossible in our earthly existence. Moses was clearly taught by HaShem himself that nobody could see Him and live. And the subsequent apostasy of Israel in the incident of the golden calf makes sufficiently clear that the impression of the Sinai Event didn't last long.

      You confuse between the personal responsibility of individuals and the collective responsibility of the Chosen Nation. The nation indeed has simply to remain faithful to what is revealed. This is a national obligation of Israel. But this national obligation is realized by individuals who accept the national inheritance as their personal responsibility, which they have to affirm in faith and a faithful walk of life.

      I don't understand your examples of promises made to the Church. The context of all these promises is that the Church — i.e. the Assembly of Messiah — is part of Israel.

      Now, to avoid further confusion and endless discussion, please give me answer to the following questions:

      Is a Jew, according to your, opinion a believer by his natural birth? Is his Jewish faith — or if he is a messianic, the faith in Messiah — given to him by nature? In other words: does it result automatically?

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    2. Anonymous Said: "If you are born into a nation, you are a citizen with full rights without having to do anything. It is the duty of the nation, on the community level to instruct you as you grow older as to what is the history, basis for and observance of the laws of the land.

      My Answer: This is true, but it has nothing to do with entrance of the World to Come. All these things belong to the 'this world' blessings and responsibilities of the Covenant. But a person can only enters the World to Come by having faith in the things revealed by HaShem. And this faith, which is the acceptance of the divine revelation as true, always and necessarily involves a personal commitment, a personal act of the will, a decision.

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  10. Now, there are more than one anonymous here lol

    I am in agreement with messianic613, it is so important to "look up, our redemption draws near" because what we are waiting for is not of this world.

    Steven

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    1. Messianic613,

      Read Roman's 3:21-26 very carefully:

      "21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it,"

      Notice is says "NOW", righteousness is being revealed through faith APART FROM LAW...This can only mean that it was not revealed through it apart from law before. This is exactly what I am trying to say. Israel was a covenant people based on DOING first, faithfulness being an extension of this obedience, "again we will DO and we will here..." The prophets foretold the coming of the New Covenant of which we both agree on the terms of entrance.

      "22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. "

      The above being an explanation of what now has to be believed.

      "This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins"

      So during the Mosaic covenant, G-d showed FORBEARANCE, a forbearance he is not showing now. NOW one must accept Yeshua through faith.

      In other words for Paul, the Mosaic Covenant which was a covenant of works, was put in place until the promise came. This again is my point. Israel had their place in the world to come as an inheritance. However, they had to obey the Torah to remain in. Of course they couldn't, so part of the New Covenant promise is Yeshua's atonement, second the empowering Ruach to keep Torah.

      Until Yeshua, G-d showed "forbearance" to his nation. This forbearance can't be in this life, look at all the judgement G-d brought. It means the world to come.

      "26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus."

      To prove at the PRESENT time, meaning not before.

      You see for Paul, Abraham received righteousness based on his faith in the promise of G-d to him. This promise is ultimately Yeshua himself. This promise is also a Covenant between Abraham and G-d. This is why, for Paul, faith in this same promise is necessary for both Jew and gentile NOW that Yeshua has come. It is a promise that precedes the Mosaic Covenant and is why Paul is constantly separating the two. When a gentile enters into this covenant of faith/promise he enters the Abrahamic Covenant and Abraham becomes his father etc.

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    2. Anonymous,

      I see you refused to answer my questions.

      Your interpretation of Romans 3:21 is not correct. Paul doesn’t say that now, after the coming of Messiah, G-d’s righteousness has been revealed as being apart from the Torah. The meaning of this verse is that G-d’s way of declaring sinners righteous is now fully revealed. Faith in Messiah Yeshua has always been G-d’s way of declaring sinners righteous, but after the actual arrival of Messiah this way of justification has become fully revealed and made clear. Eternal justification or righteousness has always been “apart from Torah”, since it was already revealed to Abraham, who was justified by faith long before the Giving of the Torah.

      The addition "witnessed by the Torah and the Prophets" means to say that the Torah — here not the legal system but the Chumash — itself teaches (in Gen 15:6) that eternal justification is "apart from the Torah", i.e. cannot be gained by human efforts in doing the commandments.

      In Abraham’s days the foundation of this justification was not yet fully revealed. Abraham could believe in Messiah Yeshua only with an implicit faith, because he believed in G-d and in G-d’s promises. Nowadays, however, Paul says, this foundation is fully revealed in the death and resurrection of Yeshua.

      Now again my questions: Is a Jew according to your opinion a believer by his natural birth? Is his (orthodox) Jewish faith — or if he is a believer in Yeshua, his messianic faith — given to him by nature? In other words: does it result automatically? Yes or no?

      I will not continue my discussion with you before you have answered this question.

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    3. Messianic613,

      I hope this will be a clear answer to your very good questions:

      1. My point is that the Mosaic covenant was not based on faith. It was based on works. You were born in, the inheritance was yours (eternal promises), and to maintain that status, obedience was required or you could be cut off.

      That said, I believe that the faithful Israelites had faith in G-d. What kind of conscious individual decision they made, I have no idea.

      But whether they did or didn't you must remember that there were real consequences to disobeying, like stoning, lashes, shunning, as being exiles and the threat of being spiritually cut off itself. In other words, the curses helped keep Israel in line. So part of the faith you speak of is a faith that bad things are going to happen if you disobey.

      2. This was all before Yeshua. After Yeshua, the original covenant of promise made to Abraham was revealed/fulfilled. Which was and is based completely on an individual decision of faith in Yeshua. And this is true/necessary for both Jew and Gentile post the New Covenant.

      Just to add, now that Yeshua has come, the curses have been removed. Instead of fear based obedience, we have Spirit empowered love based obedience.

      Hope this clarifies.

      Noah

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    4. To be even more clear, No,I do not think that anyone Jew or Gentile was/is born with faith. It certainly is taught and in some way accepted.

      But this again makes no difference to my point which is that inheritance to the eternal promises was based on birth-right under the Mosaic Covenant. Obedience was necessary to maintain that birthright. Faith was, I'm sure involved, but as a motivating factor to obedience. Not a faith apart from works as is the case for the New Covenant.

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    5. Anonymous Said:
      "To be even more clear, No,I do not think that anyone Jew or Gentile was/is born with faith. It certainly is taught and in some way accepted.

      But this again makes no difference to my point which is that inheritance to the eternal promises was based on birth-right under the Mosaic Covenant. Obedience was necessary to maintain that birthright. Faith was, I'm sure involved, but as a motivating factor to obedience. Not a faith apart from works as is the case for the New Covenant."

      My Answer:
      For the moment I’ll limit myself to this point. That faith is not by nature or by birth, but is only there when there is conscious acceptance of HaShem’s revelation, proves my point that an act of the mind and will is involved, in other words a personal decision. A person belonges by birth-right to the Chosen Nation, that’s true. And it is also true that this birth-right is not taken from him, except when he is cut off through some mortal offense and receives the death penalty.

      This birth-right, however, doesn’t include or guarantee a place in the World to Come, the new creation. The new creation can only be inherited by being reborn, as Yeshua explains: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of G-d” (Jn. 3:3). Yeshua points to this requirement of a new birth not only for those who live after he has come. He posits it as a universal requirement for mankind, and he reproached Nicodemus for his ignorance in this matter: “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” (Jn. 3:10).

      Your opposition between faith under the Mosaic Covenant and faith under the New Covenant cannot be sustained in my eyes. First, because the New Covenant is itself the renewal of the Sinai Covenant, as is made clear by the Prophet Jeremiah: “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel; After those days, says HaShem, I will put my Torah in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their G-d, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:33). This New Covenant is not different from the Sinai Covenant in its contents — which in both cases is the Torah — but in that it brings about the goal true faithfulness and obedience, in which the Sinai Covenant did not succeed.

      Second, because your isolation of faith from works cannot be held in any situation. Faith apart from works is dead, is not true faith at all, and this is true today as it was before Messiah. We are not saved by faith apart from works, since faith apart from works is not faith. It is hypocrisy, and to my knowledge nobody is saved by means of hypocrisy. When Paul says that we are saved by faith, not by works of the Torah, he doesn’t isolate salvation from a walk of faithfulness, but he rejects the opinion that we become children of G-d and obtain the grace of salvation by doing Torah commandments. But Paul severly warns to who think that they will inherit the World to Come without a walk of faithfulness (cf. Col. 1:23 “if ye continue…”; I Cor. 6:9 and many other texts). And the Epistle to the Hebrews, which focuses on the implications of the New Covenant, teaches that if the unfaithful were punished under the Mosaic dispensation by being cut off of their temporal life, the same will still be more severly punished under the New Covenant, by being cut off from eternal life (Hebr. 10:28-31).

      Faith is thus always in tandem with works. Paul only combats the misunderstanding that a list of works, isolated from faith and true conversion of the heart, will bring us into the sphere of G-d’s grace.

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    6. Messianic613

      You and I simply disagree on the proper hermeneutic regarding Paul/the New Covenant.

      Certain things you state I agree with, certain ones I don't. I think were both clear about what those are.

      I have enjoyed the discussion.

      Noah

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  11. Yeshua; Rabbi (teacher/master). Disciple; (learned)... A teacher must simply educate his own house (school) first, in order to make proper teachers of his students.
    Yeshua kept the law and did teach it fully. He used parables to convey his teachings. He commanded his students to also keep the law as he did.

    1) Love Yahweh with all your heart, mind, body, and soul.

    What is love? How does one love Yahweh?

    Love = Law (Torah). To show one's love to Yahweh, one must keep (observe, remember, honor, practice, and apply) the law (Torah). This is commanded. Torah is the letter of the law.

    (Yeshua) "If you love me you will keep (my) commandments and love one another as I have loved you".

    Yeshua came to teach the law (Torah) and how to observe it; in the letter of the law and in the spirit of the law... This was called "The Way".

    Yeshua did not teach any form of division away from the law. Anything outside of the law (Torah) is "sin". Lawlessness is sin...

    The wages of sin is death...Breaking Yahweh's laws is punishable by death.

    "Revenge is mine" (Yahweh)... "Judge not, least you be judged also"...

    It is clear who the master of judgement is...

    This is again the letter of the Law (Torah)....

    2) "Love one another as I have loved you". This is the spirit of the law. Forgiveness (from sin/outside of the Torah), kindness, mercy, restoration and return back to Yahweh.

    (Yeshua) "Pick up your cross and follow me"...

    Notice that it does not say; "I will carry it for you". You have to keep the law for yourself.

    Notice who we are to follow in our observation of the law; Yeshua.

    3) Who must observe the law? Everyone!!!

    When the shabbot is observed, we are commanded to rest and all who are in our house and the sojourner at our gate must observe a day of rest. This is from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown and every high Shabbot day. This is commanded...

    Yahweh did not exclude any party from observation of the law.

    The law clearly states that it is to be observed for all time.

    Yeshua taught the law and "The Way" setting an example how to live it.

    Yeshua commanded that anyone following him, should observe the law.

    The students of Yeshua practiced and taught the law and "The Way".


    Notice that Yeshua and his disciples warned against anyone that should teach against The Law and The Way...

    Yeshua made it clear "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the father (Yahweh), except through me... In other words; by my example.

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