Sunday, July 26, 2015

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

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

Responding to Lee Miller from House of David

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Richard Baukham, Paul's Christology of Divine Identity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(1e) Six stereotyped OT phrases including kurio

'to call on the name of the Lord'

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

'the day of the Lord'

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

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

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

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

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

(2) YHWH texts with God as referent:

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

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

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

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


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




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

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Cheaters" [Reblogged from Kineti L'Tziyon]

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

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

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

Shocked gasps from the audience.  EVERYONE was offended.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Initial Impression of Caleb's 1st Lecture on Kabbalah

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Caleb Hegg (Free Video on History of Kabbalah)

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



Tim Hegg: Praying with the Siddur (Video Seminar)

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


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

America Makes Deal With Iran: Remembering Jabotinsky's Tisha B'Av Speech

So America just reached a deal with Iran--the country that has publicly declared it seeks the complete destruction of Israel.  The deal is that Iran may continue to produce nuclear material and without those pesky economic sanctions.

Some deal.

Hearing that Obama made a deal with Iran, reminds me of Chamberlain announcing his deal with Germany:
"My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep," Neville Chamberlain

As Tisha B'Av approaches, I'm reminded that Netanyahu said this year:

"Just as the Nazis aspired to crush civilization and to establish a 'master race' as ruler of the world while annihilating the Jewish people, so too does Iran strive to gain control over the region and then spread further, with the explicit intent of obliterating the Jewish state."
And this reminds me of Jabotinsky's speech on Tisha B'Av back in 1938 in Warsaw, Poland:

“…it is already three years that I am calling upon you, Polish Jewry, who are the crown of world Jewry.
I continue to warn you incessantly that a catastrophe is coming closer.
I became grey and old in these years.
My heart bleeds, that you, dear brothers and sisters, do not see the volcano which will soon begin to spit its all-consuming lava.
I see that you are not seeing this because you are immersed and sunk in your daily worries.
Today, however, I demand from you trust. You were convinced already that my prognoses have already proven to be right. If you think differently, then drive me out of your midst! However, if you do believe me, then listen to me in this 12th hour:
In the name of God! Let anyone of you save himself as long as there is still time. And time there is very little…and what else I would like to say to you in this day of Tisha B’Av:
whoever of you will escape from the catastrophe, he or she will live to see the exalted moment of a great Jewish wedding: the rebirth and the rise of a Jewish state. I don’t know if I will be privileged to see it; my son will! I believe in this as I am sure that tomorrow morning the sun will rise.”
May G-d protect Israel as we approach Tisha B'Av on 7/25/2015.



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Big Shake Up in the Messianic Blogosphere This Week

So first Derek Leman and now, evidently, James Pyles have left the Messianic blogosphere--at least for a while.  I wish them well and I hope they eventually start blogging again.  

For me, I got into blogging because First Fruits of Zion started spreading confusion and misery to my brothers.  I decided to take a stand against them and the UMJC in order to promote Inclusionist Theology (aka "One Law Theology) which teaches that:
  • Jews and Gentiles are equal members of Israel
  • The Torah of Moses is for all members of Israel
This is the Truth--as G-d is my witness.  And I will proclaim it until G-d takes away the breath of life from me.  We are destined to live together in loving, tight-knit communities, where everyone is encouraged to learn and keep the Torah of Moses.  This is the vision!  And with His help we just might live to see it!

I'm too excited about what HaShem is doing in our time to ever stop blogging.  I'm too excited!  Israel is home again!  Our brethren have returned to the Land.  There is a Temple Mount just waiting for the righteous to restore it as in the days of old.  There is much to discuss!  

Let's keep all channels of communication open!

Blessings and Shalom to my Brothers and Sisters in Yeshua,


2 Jewish Views on the Third Temple

A disagreement exists between apocalyptic and naturalistic messianic perceptions over the question of the establishment of the Temple.  The miraculous approach, based mainly on the rulings of Rashi, argues that the Temple will descend ready-made from the skies.  This is referred to as Mikdash shel Esh (a Temple of fire).  Adherents of the naturalistic approach prefer an approach that is ostensibly more activist, based mainly on the writing of Maimonides, according to which it is incumbent on humans to build the Temple.  They argue that it is unacceptable to wait for the Temple to be built by istelf in a miraculous form, and demand that every individual do all they can to construct the Temple.
     Numerous commentators have engaged in theological experimentation in an effort to fuse these two apparently dichotic perceptions regarding the establishment of the Temple.  Rashi's approach to the issue is rooted in the Midrashic literature, which notes that the Temple may be built instantaneously--even at night, and even on the Sabbath or a Holy Day.  Thus, the construction of the Temple is expected to be a miraculous and supernatural event. The Third Temple will descend ready-made from the sky, and it is impossible that it will be built by men:  'The Temple of the future that we anticipate is constructed and equipped; it will appear and come from the skies, as it is written:  'The Temple of the Lord Your hands will establish.'  This position was supported by the authors of the Toseftot in the tractates Sukkah and Shavuot.  A contrary position is presented in the writing of Maimonides (Mishneh Torah:  The Laws of Kings and Wars), where it is claimed that the King Messiah will build the Temple:  'The King Messiah will rise and restore the Kingdom of David to its former glory as a supreme government, and will build the Temple and ingather the far-flung of Israel and all the laws will return in his days as they were of old, and [they will] offer the sacrifices.'  Maimonides added this commandment to the 613 commandments, as appears in his Halachic work--Sefer Hamitzvot (Commandment 20) and in his essay Hayad Hahazaka (Laws of the Temple), and as formulated in his rulings:  'It is a positive commandment to make a House for the Lord, a Temple, and to be ready to make sacrifices there and celebrate thereto three times a year,'"
Jewish Fundamentalism and the Temple Mount, Motti Inbari, pgs 111-112

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Okay, folks.  This is it.  I just listened to Richman's drash (LINK).  We will officially enter uncharted waters this Sunday (7/12/2015)--I CAN'T STRESS THIS ENOUGH.  Here's a transcript of the relevant portion:

"...we are getting ready to build the Holy Temple and so the death throes of the ugly husk of evil that holds these things for ransom is fighting against us but it is death throes and we will win.  Speaking of which...first of all, one week from this Thursday, on the eve of Rosh Chodesh Av, the Temple Institute will be holding its 34th annual conference on Temple research that will be held I believe in an auditorium on Mount Zion.  If you are in Jerusalem I believe it begins at 4 o'clock.  We will be posting probably as of Sunday the details of the schedule...I'm not going to tell you at this moment the main topic of the research that will be revealed, unveiled, and discussed at this conference because to do so would be to give away...something else...which is a major, ground-breaking, earth-shattering, life-changing, game-changing, announcement that we are going to be making on Sunday which is frankly, and personally if I may say, the result of almost three decades of intensive research, toil, and it is with profound emotion that I say...just stay tuned for something that is basically gonna rock the world and we're gonna announce it on Sunday through the Temple Institute's social media and the fine details of that revelation will be discussed on a highly scholarly level on the 34th annual conference on Temple research.  A fitting attitude, a fitting way of relating to the month of Tammuz, the days that we're in, the three weeks of mourning for the Holy Temple are not about sitting and moping and crying and acting as if we care and acting as if we're so sorry...these three weeks of mourning are supposed to be bring us to this like this has got to stop this is too much for me I've had it mourning why are we not doing something about the situation?  Well, actually...we are.  I see that I have totally overwhelmed my best friend who is speechless.  [Other voice says "Yeah, I don't know what to add to that.  Yeah, Sunday is a big day in the annals of the world I would say."]  I'll tell you a few more things about the announcement...they said it couldn't be done, but we're doing it, they said it was a miraculous thing but we said "no it can be done" they said well "that's like...mythical" and we said "no, it can be done" you're gonna see something that you never saw before [Other man's voice:  "well that's a teaser but don't turn it into a spoiler, rabbi"].


I'm calling on all Messianics and supporters of Israel to pray for the peace of Jerusalem this weekend!

Pete Rambo On the Proper Home Fellowship Model

I love this:  LINK

"In-Grafting" as Conversion in Rabbinic Terminology

"In truth, the converts could not decide to come to Israel if Israel had not already been first chosen by God.  Israel's election, to use a rabbinic term, is 'the root' (iqqar); the converts' conversion is 'grafted' (tafel) onto it," Novak, The Election of Israel, pg. 188

Hmm, this sounds a little bit like...

"But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree," Romans 11:17

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

3rd Temple NOW? What is the Temple Institute Going to Announce on 7/12/15???

So the above image was on the Temple Institute's Facebook page with the caption:


Okay...they've got my attention.  Are we really this close to the End Times???  

Perhaps it's nothing.  But it would be really irresponsible of the Institute to post such a cryptic message when they know full well we're going to interpret this as an announcement for the 3rd Temple.

We'll know in a week...

Are Non-Judaic Religions Legitimate? Wrestling with the Implications of Psalms 147:19-20

"Law of the Gentiles:  Continuum or Contrast?
'He issues His commands to Jacob, His statutes and rules to Israel.  He did not do so for any other nation;  of such rules they know nothing.  Hallelujah' (Psalms 147:19-20).  This may sound like a rather extreme statement; but let us recall that even though the Bible expects moral behavior of all people (and not only Jews), it nowhere asserts that God revealed His law to any but Jews.  The Sages, of course, would have to square these verses in Psalms with the belief in Noahide Law that is commanded to all men," Schacter, Judaism's Encounter with Other Cultures, pg. 27
This is very puzzling.  If G-d never revealed His Instructions to mankind, how did Adam and Eve know to teach their children about sacrifices?  If there is nothing to be learned from Gentile religions, why did Moses accept Jethro's teaching in Exodus 18?  If G-d never revealed His Law to gentile nations, why did G-d judge the gentiles of Noah's era for their lawlessness? Etc, etc.

Does anyone have any thoughts?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Secret Weapon of the Jews in the War on Moral Relativism

I've blogged before about the difference between how Christians and Jews read the Bible (LINK1 and LINK2).  In that little series, I quoted an excerpt from Chaim Saiman's article, "Jesus' Legal Theory" in which the author provided an amusing anecdote that highlighted the difference between Christian and Jewish approaches to the Bible.

The story was about a rabbi (the author) who walked into a church.  He'd been invited to give a lecture about Christian and Jewish approaches to the Bible.  He writes:

"After a short discussion, I told the group that the Talmudic rabbis maintain that the first 'commandment for generations' (applicable beyond Adam and Eve) was to '[b]e fruitful and multiply.'  The group nodded in approval, and I sensed we were on the same page.  Next, I asked a simple, almost inevitable, question from a Talmudic perspective, but one deeply foreign to my audience.
     C.S.:  "How many?"
     Group:  "How many what?"
     C.S.: "How many children?"
     Group:  "What do you mean, how many children?"
     At this point I realized that we reached a bit of a brick wall, so I backed up.
     C.S.:  "Do you believe the Bible is the word of God that expresses His Will?"
     Group: "Yes."
     C.S.  "Do you believe you have to follow it?"
     Group:  "Yes."
     C.S. "Well, then how do you know when you have done it?  How do you know when you have been sufficiently fruitful?"
     Again, blank stares from the audience."

The little episode shows that the Christian way of life is governed by the heart, not by an objective rule-based system.  To be sure, Christians have their own set of limited rules.  But it's not an all-encompassing system like the Jewish system.  And the rule-averse ideology behind the Christian system makes it very unstable.

In the Jewish Way of Life, you're not allowed to simply interpret the Bible in the manner that "feels right" to you--in effect, to be led by your heart.  This rule-positive system is therefore very objective.  It's also based on the Bible.  The result: a very stable system of halacha that has changed very little in the last 2000 years.

Now, with the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, a lot of Christian folks are upset but others very calmly say "the world is gonna be the world and the church is gonna be the church" (I think Bishop TD Jakes said that).  The problem is that churches are not insulated from popular culture in the same way of halachic Jewish communities.  Because they don't have all-encompassing rule-based systems that inform their way of life, their hearts often get the best of them.  Case in point:  many churches now welcome practicing homosexuals into positions of leadership.  In other words, Christians should be very concerned about where popular culture is going because it's very likely that the next generation of Christians will see homosexuality as normative.

Normative uncertainty in Christianity will ultimately lead to Christianity's acceptance of secular cultural norms.

So, for Messianics, we must learn from the Jewish model.  We need the secret weapon that combats moral relativism and normative uncertainty.  We need a halachic system:  only then will we our communities be able to promote (1) moral objectivism; (2) normative certainty; (3) long-lasting legal stability.

But to get there we must move beyond "being led by the heart".  We have to embrace an ideology that Christianity disparagingly calls "legalism."  And there will be 2 sides to a Messianic halachic system:  (1) the laws themselves; (2) the meta-laws which explain how to recognize a law as valid.  And the only way we'll achieve this is with Messianic Jews and non-Jews working together as one.   Bipolar Theology (aka "Bilateral Ecclesiology) doesn't even want to provide a halachic system for non-Jewish Believers.  The One Law movement is the only hope for viable Messianic halacha that informs the Way of Life for both Jewish and non-Jewish Believers.

May G-d have mercy on us and bless us with wise leaders so that we may know how to walk in the Way!

Coincidence? SCOTUS Goes After Jerusalem and Marriage in the Same Year

Does anyone else think it's interesting that the same year the Supreme Court of the United States declared that G-d was wrong about heterosexual marriage (by placing the their imprimatur on gay marriage), the Court also declared G-d was wrong about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel (by holding that American citizens born in Jerusalem may not list Israel as their place of birth)?

Is it just a coincidence that SCOTUS goes after Jerusalem AND marriage in the same year?

Of course we know the truth:  the modus operandi of Satan is all over this!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015