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One of the difficulties…that Christian theologies have not really grasped, is that Rav Yeshua’s gentile disciples don’t actually participate in any covenant whatsoever. But through Hashem’s grace and mercy for the human race, He has allowed any of us who attach ourselves to Israel through our Rav to benefit from some of the blessings of that covenant. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
These are just a few scriptural examples illustrating God’s desire for all people, both Israel and the nations, to be devoted to Him. A Jew is the only person to be born into a covenant relationship with God whether he or she wants to. Except for the Noahide covenant, which Hashem made with all living things, we are born into no relationship with God at all.
I tend to think of the ekklesia in its broadest sense, as that world-wide body of people, Jews and Gentiles, who have answered the call of Rav Yeshua to follow his teachings and draw nearer to Hashem. As non-Jews, one-by-one, we come to faith and trust in Rav Yeshua and it is our custom to gather together with other individual non-Jewish believers in a congregation to worship and fellowship.
I know my attachment is symbolic and metaphorical, even though it has real, tangible results, but it draws a sharp distinction of what happens when Jews gather together in a synagogue on Shabbos, and what happens when Christians come together in church on Sunday. The former are bound not only to each other but to Hashem by covenant, a formal, specified, and direct relationship between Israel and their God. Even a secular Jew is a Jew, and even being non-observant, has a relationship with Hashem (even if they’re totally unaware of it).
Curiously enough, because HaShem is faithful to those who place their trust in Him, and because He values the voluntary commitment of people who cling to His precepts without the demands of a covenant (as described of the foreigners in Is. We non-Jewish disciples are living proof that God can be trusted beyond the covenant promises to Israel. We may only come to God one-by-one as non-Jews outside of the covenants, but we are more than just individuals. Jewish Israelis are deeply divided societally, religiously and politically, and are to a large extent tightly stratified within their particular societal sector a new report by the Pew Research Center has shown. The survey showed that there is very little inter-marriage between haredi, religious-Zionist, traditional and secular Jews, and little societal interaction between the different sectors as well. The deep division in Israeli society was highlighted by findings that show that Israeli Jews in general are about as uncomfortable for their children to marry a Muslim as secular Jews are for their child to marry a haredi person and vice versa.
I came across this news article in my Facebook feed, and it reminded me of my recent blog post Attached and Yet Unattached which mentions a group of Messianic Jews in Israel who desire to become an integral part of normative (Orthodox) Jewish synagogue life. The article and Pew poll highlights just how isolated the different parts of Jewish society in Israel are. Secular Israelis comprise the largest sector, totalling 40% of Israel’s total, population, traditional Israelis are 23%, religious-Zionists 10%, and haredim were 8%, while 14% of the population is Muslim, 2% Christian, and 2% Druze.
According to the study, 95% of Haredi Jews and 93% of secular Jews have a spouse from the same subgroup, while 85% of religious-Zionist Jews have religious-Zionist spouse. Traditional Israelis were the only sector to have a somewhat higher rate of intermarriage with other Jewish groups, with approximately 33% of traditional Israelis marrying a religious-Zionist or secular Jew, and 64% of this group marrying within their sector. In other words, Jews tend to stay socially within their own particular population and rarely have friends or marry outside their groups.
Messianic Judaism isn’t mentioned as a Jewish population group in the article, but I did wonder about that 2% Christian group. Which brings us back to the idea of Messianic Jews integrating into Orthodox synagogues and communities as an effort to become living examples to wider Jewish community in Israel (and any place else)  that they are us, not them. But the Jerusalem Post article, if it is at all accurate in representing Israeli Jewish society as it truly is, indicates that this is easier said than done. Of course, even though these sub-groups of Jewish Israel differ widely from one another and barely associate with one another, on some level, they consider each other Jewish…I think. It’s difficult for me to tell as an outsider not only to Judaism but to life in Israel.
On the other hand, they will not have a regular relationship with a community that recognizes our Rav and acknowledges the revelation of Yeshua returning as King Messiah to fulfill all of Hashem’s promises to Israel. When I made the decision (which I’ve done a few times over the past several years) to live without community, I received many kind emails and other communications telling me that it was a risky business standing apart from a Yeshua-believing congregation. However, she wasn’t anxious to include her Christian husband in her Jewish religious and social life, and ultimately, that plan went down in flames.
But outside of my home life and my highly specific theology, there are (or should be) no barriers to me attending church and being accepted, at least in my own little corner of Idaho.
For Messianic Jews in Israel, it seems as if they have an especially tough row to hoe, so to speak, again, at least according to the Jerusalem Post news story. I can see why this would be appealing to a group of Messianic Gentiles, but this only works under certain circumstances, the circumstances outlined in Rabbi Lerner’s brief missive.
Of course that second qualification could be adapted such that you are a regular attendee and while not intermarried, have nevertheless bound yourself to Israel through devotion to Rav Yeshua (Jesus Christ) as the coming Moshiach, and to Hashem, God of Israel. Recite any prayer that fulfills the ritual obligation of another person; for example, reciting Kiddush over the wine or another blessing for the community. Recite b’rakhot, sign the ketubah as a witness, or read the ketubah as part of the ceremony at a Jewish wedding.
Hold committee chairmanship or board member positions, or vote at congregational meetings (per policies of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism).
The areas that become challenging are those where K’rovei Yisrael are symbolically enacting a ritual that signifies their commitment to our tradition, which would not be accurate. Most of us (non-Jews) who are intermarrieds, if we found ourselves in such a synagogue, out of respect for the Rabbi, out of respect for the Jewish synagogue community, and particularly out of respect for our Jewish spouses, we would be more than happy to accept the limitations along with the opportunities being offered.
However, as Yeshua-believers, if we find ourselves in a Jewish community of Yeshua-believers, somehow we think that doesn’t matter anymore and we have been elevated to equal covenant status with the Jews. It seems that at least some groups believe Yeshua-faith is a license to abrogate the unique and exclusive covenant relationship that Israel and the Jewish people have with Hashem. It hardly seems likely, for it represents a gross betrayal of everything God did for Israel by covenant.
Ironically, in some ways, this is exactly the sort of betrayal that both normative Judaism and normative Christianity believe Paul is guilty of. I also recently read another article called How Jewish Christians Became Christians, which is a short summary from Lawrence H.
This perspective has echoed through nearly twenty-centuries of Church history and fuels much of how Christianity interprets Rav Yeshua’s relationship to his fellow Jews today.
In the earliest Gospel texts, which picture Jesus as debating issues of Jewish law with the Pharisees, no hostility is observed. In other words, the Gospels we have with us today show Rav Yeshua having what Jews would consider perfectly normal and acceptable debates with fellow Jews on matters of halachah. However, all of this only becomes a problem at the intersection of Jews and non-Jews in (Messianic) Jewish religious community. The blessings themselves indicate how integral the Torah is in our lives and that we have been given a unique destiny as Jews to live by its ideals, bringing them fully into the world. The answer, almost two-thousand years ago, was for the Gentiles to leave en masse and to develop a brand new Gentile-focused religion: Christianity. It would be easier for me, as a Gentile husband to a Jewish wife, to find a role in Jewish community in Rabbi Lerner’s synagogue (assuming my wife attended and desired my participation) than it would be for me to have a role in Messianic Judaism, at least if the goal is for Messianic Judaism to become an increasingly integral part of larger (Orthodox) Judaism and Israel. My personal answer is to give up the identity crisis and to develop my relationship with my Rav in isolation (with the help of the Internet, of course).
I get that Messianic Jews are Jews and I understand, having my wife as a living example, what that means. I wrote Why Worshiping Alone Matters and Why We Are Never Alone as possible responses to this issue.
For clarification, by the word “Torah,” I do not just mean the Torah, as in the Five Books of Moses, but to all Jewish religious texts such the Hebrew Bible, rabbinic and halakhic texts, and kabbalistic and hasidic texts. This somewhat dovetails with what I wrote in The Torah Without Judaism, and particularly the brief exchange I had in the comments section of that blog post with reader ProclaimLiberty. There’s probably no one answer, since depending on the given disciple, Jewish or Gentile, the perspective is going to vary.
Granted, I am doing a lot of mental editing when I read content from those resources, since those sites and their information are written by and for Jews, not Gentiles, particularly not for Christians, and absolutely not for anyone with my unique conceptualization of scripture, Messiah, and Hashem. I do read the occasional Christian-oriented book here and there, but either I don’t get very much out of them, or I actively criticize their content.
There have been other resources I have heavily consumed in the past, and they still guide the majority of my thinking and beliefs, but for a variety of reasons, I’ve chosen not to pursue them further, at least to any significant degree. I have become aware that a debate somewhat like the one I previously mentioned is occurring at a Hebrew Roots blogspot, and the discussion there is very contentious. However, the blog owner did provide a link to a brief review of a book by Rabbi Chaim Clorfene called The World of the Ger.
I think there are some things we might take from that example, but it’s also filled with trap doors and land mines.
It would almost be better for believing Gentiles to stay in their churches rather than take such a risk.
But then, in my opinion, their perspectives regarding what the Bible really says about Israel, the Jewish people, the redemption of the world, and yes, about Judaism, would remain limited if not misguided.
As with many other questions I bring up, I don’t have a hard and fast answer for you. I learn Torah every day because it gives me a cohesive set of answers to all of the ultimate questions.
I learn Torah every day because it connects me with the millions of other Jews worldwide who also learn Torah every day. That works if you are a religious Jew, but not so much for we non-Jews, even Noahides, I suspect.
And that’s one of the reasons, maybe one of my top reasons, for studying the Torah as I understand it. The one advantage I have is that I stand outside of actual, face-to-face Jewish or Christian community.
That may be why so many of us are unaffiliated, although there are plenty of other reasons.
If you confuse that with either Judaism or Christianity, you might already have lost your way. The article got me thinking; why don’t we create a 30-Day Challenge for Jewish things like mitzvot to help Jewish people undertake a new level of commitment? It’s Friday afternoon at the McGillis School in Salt Lake City, and students from the third through fifth grades are gathered for the weekly Shabbat celebration.
They read and discuss a passage about humility by former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
The ceremony is not dissimilar from weekly Shabbat celebrations held in Jewish schools across America. He says one group is active in encouraging Messianic Jews in the Land to start attending synagogue services within normative (probably Orthodox) Judaism as opposed to meeting with Messianic Jewish congregations. The other group (I’m purposely not naming names), the one my friend is more familiar with, are Messianic Jews who live their lives observing the written Torah and only the written Torah as they understand it. Karaite Jews do not object to the idea of a body of interpretation of the Torah, along with extensions and development of non-Rabbinic Halakha (Jewish law) that strives to adhere to the Tanakh’s straightforward meaning.
This begs the question of whether or not modern Rabbinic Judaism is an absolute requirement for Jewish (or non-Jewish) Torah observance.
My friend has certain problems with modern Judaism, such as why the majority of religious Jews aren’t trying to be a light to the nations. I did mention that The Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, actively promoted Noahidism among the Gentiles.
The outgrowth of a JCC early childhood program that morphed into an independent K-8 school about 15 years ago, McGillis may be the only American Jewish school of its kind.
Yes, I can certainly see those values being universal in scope and not restricted to the Torah, the Jewish people, and Judaism, although these values are exemplified in Judaism. They probably are in Christianity as well, at least most of them, but I’m sure Christians would have different names for those values and activities. And I did tell my friend that if he believes Judaism is a poor reflection of the Torah as it was originally understood and lived out by the ancient Israelites, then Christianity is just as poor a reflection of the teachings of Rav Yeshua (Jesus) and his emissary to the people of the nations, Rav Shaul (the Apostle Paul).
So should we attempt to reconstruct the Torah observance of the ancient Israelites and the devotion to Rav Yeshua of the very early non-Jewish disciples? I have a rather unique view of my local Jewish community through the eyes of my wife, so I’m quite aware of how Jewish people take to such bold intrusions into their space. He reminded me that there have been groups of Christian missionaries who have been wiped out by indigenous people in far off corners of the world, at least historically, who have then been followed by more missionaries, risking their own lives, who eventually did share the salvation of Christ with the folks who had butchered their predecessors. Apart from small groups of Messianic Jews (or non-Jews) who believe they can disregard Rabbinic Judaism out of hand and practice a greater fidelity to the Torah and to God by doing so, the majority of religious Jews, Messianic and otherwise, observe the mitzvot and serve Hashem within the religious, cultural, social, and historical context of Judaism. As we saw in the JTA article, Judaism can successfully transmit universal moral values to non-Jews without necessarily transmitting Judaism as a religious construct. When brings me back to Rabbi Nightingale’s 30-Day Jewish Challenge, as well as to the idea of a Torah observance without Judaism. Whether you care to admit it or not, your worship of God operates within a specific religious, social, cultural, and community context.
Some sort of organized body or bodies imparted all that upon you, and you continue with it because it makes sense to you, even if your religion and practices don’t always make sense to others. Head of School Matt Culberson says the McGillis School tries to inculcate the school’s guiding Jewish principles across the curriculum. No system is perfect, and a lot of systems are dysfunctional, but when you say that Judaism is broken because it treats the Talmud as more authoritative than the Torah, you are making that statement from inside some system, not from a 100% objective understanding of the Torah.
If I look at other communities and they’re doing the same thing, maybe they’re not doing so bad either. In email exchanges over the last couple of weeks, Paula Fredriksen and I have been comparing views on what might have been the nature of, and cause(s) for, the “persecution” of Jewish Jesus-followers that the Apostle Paul later lamented. In a recent publication, she probes the matter by first addressing Paul’s references to being on the receiving end of floggings by fellow Jews (five times) in the course of his Gentile mission (2 Corinthians 11:24).
The issue, as is stated in the quote above, was more likely the tension Paul was generating among the Gentiles by requiring his non-Jewish disciples to cease participation in Roman cultic practices and to be devoted to the God of Israel alone.
But how does this reflect on Paul when he was formerly “persecuting the church,” so to speak? Hurtado states that Paula Fredriksen believes this likely, but he says otherwise, and lists very specific reasons (see his blog post for the details).
In sum, it seems to me that both the nature and the cause(s) for Paul’s initially violent opposition to the Jewish Jesus-movement were somewhat different from the nature and cause(s) for the synagogue floggings that he later received in the course of his ministry as apostle. In other words, the bigger deal for Paul was the assertion among Jewish disciples of Messiah, that he was of a Divine nature and that they gave worship to Yeshua normally reserved only for Hashem.
This answer is what got Jesus killed, not claiming to be the Messiah, which as I said above, isn’t all that unusual a declaration in Jewish history, but stating that he was of Divine nature and appearing as co-equal with God in Heaven. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. Although Stephen said a great deal to anger the Jewish court before which he appeared, they didn’t turn murderous until he also described Jesus at the right hand of God. For more on the early Jewish belief in the Divinity of Jesus, see Derek Leman’s blog post Are We Apostates?
He who reads through translation looks through a blurred pane, not experiencing the full flavor and the soul’s yearnings.
Sabrina Allen, who was abducted in 2002 at age 4 by her mother in a custody battle, has been found in a secret rescue mission near Mexico City and returned to the United States, the private investigator involved in the search said Wednesday.
Sabrina, now 17, was rescued in an operation conducted by the Mexican Federal Authority, FBI and U.S. Klein told USA TODAY that Sabrina and her alleged abductor, Dara Llorens, were flown back to the U.S.


I insist on using evidence that is verifiable in cultural and documented substantiation to elucidate the information provided somewhat cursorily in the apostolic writings which themselves reflect earlier Jewish writing that begins in the Tenakh and continues with the apocryphal writings — and they are consistent even with later Jewish literature and archeological evidence discovered in such finds as the Dead Sea Scrolls (representing a variety of ancient Jewish literatures). To put it another way, the apostolic writings are Jewish literature, and we’re taking them back from the non-Jews who have oh-so-lovingly preserved them and distorted their meaning by wrenching them out of their native context and reading them as if they were written in an antiseptic cultural vacuum — or worse: as if they were written in a pagan cultural milieu.
Sabrina was (allegedly) kidnapped by her non-custodial mother at the end of a six-month period of court-supervised visitation in 2002.
I have a background in Social Work and Child Protection, and given that, I was imagining what this child had been through and now, at age 17, what she is facing. Problem is, she hasn’t seen Dad in twelve years and her entire world is built around Mom and living with her in Mexico.
Then, for the next fifteen-hundred years, more or less, Israel made a concerted effort to do just that, with the results being a sort of spiritual and experiential roller coaster ride, with some generations being obedient and some generations rebelling, suffering, and going into exile. Through his apostles, many more disciples were drawn to his teachings, and particularly through one late arriving apostle named Paul, many non-Jews were brought into discipleship while not having to undergo the proselyte rite and take up the same obligations that were the conditions of the Sinai Covenant, since only Jews belong to that covenant. It must have been a challenge for these non-Jewish peoples representing many languages and cultures, to fully grasp the complex and nuanced meaning of thousands of years of Jewish holy literature, since the Jewish people teach, live, and think much differently than the world around them.
Then, in more recent times, the child’s disguise is penetrated and a rescue mission planned. Only then will they speak the truth to both Jewish and Gentile ears and only then will we see the face of the Jewish King in her pages. Here Paul, although supposedly speaking figuratively, plainly says that the covenant on Mount Sinai produced slaves (even though the opposite actually happened there – Jews were freed from slavery there, becoming servants of G-d). To add a bit of dimension, where I “stalled” in the conversation, my friend questioned whether one could look at Paul’s letters in the same fashion as the writings of Moses.
In line with the above, I’ve attempted to answer the “Hagar and Sarah” question with my own commentary based on Ariel Berkowitz’s paper A Torah-Positive Summary of Sha’ul’s Letter to the Galatians. Finally, many if not most of Paul’s letters were written to a primarily Gentile audience, with many or most of them having limited literacy (according to my source) and for those fresh out of paganism, virtually no apprehension of Judaism, Jewish thought, Hebrew idiom and word play, and Jewish symbolism. It’s possible that no one can answer these questions or at least that no one will be willing to answer these questions on my blog, so I may continue to be stuck until subsequent investigation (which experience tells me could be months or years) helps me to understand where the answers lie (or, Heaven forbid, that there are no answers to give to my Jewish friend). Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The authorities who I have respected the most didn’t need to tell me they were in charge. This solo exhibition represents the culmination of five years of work by the acclaimed Chicago-based artist Kerry James Marshall.
Keith: Also, in my previous statement, I meant to say Bilateral Ecclesiology and NOT Bilateral Eschatology. ProclaimLiberty: But I think that, philosophically, we could really have some fun with a notion like: “Bilateral Eschatology”! James: Interesting when you consider the differences between Christian and Jewish Eschatology. Since Messianic Judaism is a Judaism that accepts the revelation of Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah, it makes a sort of sense to assume that much of Christian theology would be absorbed by that Judaism including the eschatological presuppositions involved, but what if that’s not true? Christian Eschatology and Jewish Eschatology seem light years apart, and the Christian version, at least as Wikipedia presents it, seems hopelessly confusing with far too many variations to be easily understood. This belief was still common among the Jews in New Testament times, as exemplified by the passage which relates the raising of Lazarus from the dead. In Judaism, although there is extensive information about the resurrection in eschatological thought, it doesn’t seem to be a major theme and references to the resurrection are less centralized. Of course, during the late Second Temple period, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, the Essenes believed in the immortality of the soul, but the Sadducees believed in neither. Christianity has developed are far more involved doctrine around the resurrection than apparently Judaism has, based on the Apostolic scriptures, including two resurrections, the resurrection of the saints and the general resurrection, specifics about the nature of the resurrection body, and specifics associating the resurrection with the second coming of Christ. Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
In one single event, the saved who are alive at Christ’s coming will be caught up together with the resurrected to meet the Lord in the air. Notice that none of the prophesies about the coming of Messiah from the Tanakh (Old Testament) are listed here.
I think Christianity acknowledges some of this such as the resurrection, the end of war, and that the whole world will worship God, but where many Christians get hung up is that they (we) expect to be raptured up to Heaven with Jesus and stay there forever. Jewish eschatology doesn’t talk about Heaven at all and expects a very human Messiah to be King and to rule over Israel and the rest of the world. If you are at all familiar with how Messianic Judaism in general presents its eschatology, although it has elements of the Christian viewpoint, it primarily resembles a more Jewish perspective.
Christian views of the future of the Jewish people can be quite different depending on which eschatological model you are using. And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed. Supersessionist: Under the Covenant of Works mankind, represented ultimately in a covenantal sense under Adam beginning from the Garden of Eden, failed to live as God intended and stood condemned. There will be a rapture of the Gentile church followed by a great tribulation of seven (or three-and-a-half) years’ duration during which Antichrist will arise and Armageddon will occur. By contrast, Jewish Eschatology is all about Israel and the Jewish people (see the list above of all the things Messiah is supposed to do). And if that future sees Israel and the Jewish people ascending to the heights as the head of all nations, and the Gentiles must go to them to be close to God, then the Church might not be in such a hurry to face that reality. I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord before them. Beginning with the call of Abraham, the history of redemption is the history of God’s election of his chosen people from among the nations. I reviewed most but not all of the chapters in the Rudolph and Willitts book and I probably skipped this one. I bring up the Hafemann chapter because last Wednesday, my Pastor, who’s been reading this book, mentioned that he had just read it and really enjoyed what Hafemann had to say. Before continuing, I should say that I’ve written blog after blog on how we non-Jewish believers in the Jewish Messiah are dependent upon the covenant relationship God established with the Jewish people and Israel for our own redemption and salvation and, without Israel, we would have no link to the God of Heaven at all. Most Christians probably wouldn’t get this, since historically, supersessionist theology has taught that the church replaced Jews and Judaism in the promises of God.
However, Hafemann’s focus is not just on the past or even the present, but on the future of this relationship and what it means for us all.
Given my recent conversations with Pastor, I’m a little puzzled at his enthusiasm over statements like this one, or perhaps we simply are reading this material differently. My Pastor is a great believer in the future of Jewish Israel in eschatology, which is what Hafemann is discussing a well.
Pastor said that if their conversation had ended at that point, they probably would have parted amicably, but Pastor added one more sentence.
Our highly esteemed Christian theologian pointedly shifted around in his chair to show Pastor as much of his back as possible in a very obvious snub.
Interestingly enough, Pastor and I were both trying to make a point based in this sort of behavior, but we were making different points. The conclusion to Hafemann’s chapter tells the story that the Gentile Christian church should read and take to heart.
Jewish people remain distinctly Jewish people in the covenant, which includes all of their covenant responsibilities, the Torah mitzvot, to God.
When Jewish parents have a child, that child does inherit a covenant relationship with Hashem by virtue of the fact that he or she has Jewish parents (or a Jewish mother in the case of my children).
And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. If you are Jewish and choose to disregard the covenants and your responsibilities relative to them (Shabbat, kosher, davening, tzedakah, and so on), I believe that at the judgment, there will be consequences.
But I do know that even as they are, they are still members of the covenants simply because they’re Jewish. 56), gentile disciples may benefit practically in a manner that is very similar to the benefits promised to Jews under the covenant. Covenants are highly formal and specific agreements between two parties, but every word the comes from the mouth of the living God is trustworthy, carved in stone, immutable, unchangeable, and utterly reliable. It shouldn’t be, except that nearly twenty centuries of enmity between Christianity and Judaism has made it so.
Utilizing this approach, twenty years ago, a group of Temple Emunah members, led by Barbara Palant, began to consider how we could become a more welcoming community—one that embraces interfaith families while still adhering to our time-honored traditions. It only works if you are not only regularly attending a (Messianic) synagogue that is primarily a Jewish space that permits Gentile involvement, but also, that you are married to a Jew.
If K’rovei Yisrael want to learn more about tefillin for educational purposes, they are invited to speak with me. Rabbi Lerner may be offering an extraordinarily generous opportunity for intermarried non-Jews to be part of synagogue community, but at the end of the day, even if you live in a Jewish home as a non-Jew, you’re not Jewish, which means, even if you share devotion to Rav Yeshua with the Jews in your community, there are just certain things that belong to the Jewish people because of their covenant standing with Hashem. For example, when Jews take an Aliyah to the Torah, they are not merely standing at the Torah; they are acting out a drama that reflects their relationship to the Torah.
Lerner speaks more about Jewish tradition, but for me, what he’s describing is the covenant relationship with God that a Jew possesses over the non-Jew. So we want to be called up for an Aliyah, we want to wear a tallit gadol, we want to lay tefillin, we want to be counted as part of a minyan.
Is this what our Rav, the once and future King (so to speak), Moshiach, the Jewish Messiah wanted when he called upon Rav Shaul (the Apostle Paul) to become the special emissary to the Gentiles? Except, Christians don’t look of it as guilt or betrayal, just replacement, inclusiveness, or whatever you want to call it. Schiffman’s book From Text to Tradition, A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism . It was a complex process which took some one hundred years, starting from the crucifixion [of Jesus], and which had different causes and effects depending on whether it is looked at from the point of view of Judaism or Christianity.
However, it does describe the Christian view of what caused the schism to the massive influx of non-Jews who did not see themselves as part of Jewish community. Therefore, they described Jesus as disputing with all the Jews, not just some, as would be appropriate to an internal Jewish dispute.
The crucifixion is said to have been carried out by the Romans with the support of some (apparently Hellenized) priests. We still sometimes tend to give in to the old habits and attitudes we were taught in our churches. Also, as I briefly explored in another recent blog post, there seems to be a movement of sorts among Messianic Jews in Israel to become participants in more normative Jewish synagogue life with the goal of being integral members of those communities (to paraphrase PL’s comment on the matter). This is probably what the early non-Jewish disciples in the Apostle Paul’s day and soon after experienced. But now, for whatever reasons, many Christians are leaving the Church in pursuit of some aspect of Judaism as they understand it, whether it’s formal conversion, becoming a Noahide, Hebrew Roots, or Messianic Judaism. What I say, think, do, and believe in private affects no one, except to the degree that I write about it on this blog. I also get why some Messianic Gentiles are looking to Noahides as a model for how to define themselves. It’s far too easy for some of us to confuse our faith in Hashem and devotion to our Rav with the practice of Judaism or Noahidism. After all, how Torah applies to the Ger is remarkably different from how it applies to the Jew, at least in the details, although keep in mind that I also previously mentioned a private Jewish school in Utah that teaches Jewish values to a student body made up of 75% non-Jews. To seek a common ground where I as a non-Jew can stand and learn who God is and who I am to Him through a Jewish lens. Neither one can have too strong a pull on me, although the Pastor at the church I attended for two years certainly tried as hard as he could to turn me into a good Baptist. I also can’t be accused (as sometimes occurs) of misappropriating the things unique to the covenant relationship between Hashem and the Jewish people, such as Shabbat, Kosher, the prayers, donning a tallit gadol, or laying tefillin.
This is because the written portion of the Torah doesn’t always describe how to perform the mitzvot.
Several hundred such books have been written by various Karaite ?akhamim (sages) throughout the movement’s history, although most are lost today. The vast majority of its students – 75 percent – are not Jewish, by the administration’s reckoning. Students, teachers and administrators constantly reference these values, albeit sometimes straining to pronounce the Hebrew.
Jewish insularity and Talmud have gone a long way to preserve the Jewish people and Judaism, when the rest of us were trying to wipe both from the face of the Earth. Even if you are alone in your faith as I am, you get your understanding and interpretation of the Bible from somewhere, and your praxis was probably not invented just by you. I’d love to hear how Christianity and Judaism could be reconciled relative to the covenants and understand how he comprehends this process working out. They believe, since Church = Israel and Israel = Church, that they simply become participants of those covenants equally with Israel. They either have to convert to Christianity in order to gain righteous standing before God, or they vainly continue Jewish religious practice after Jesus made it obsolete. I’m just a guy who’s gotten older and who realizes that just because I have grey hair, I don’t have to stop lifting “black iron”.
Were the reasons for such poor treatment of Paul the same reasons Paul had previously in his life when he persecuted “Christians” (in this case, Jewish disciples of Jesus)? Her cogent hypothesis is essentially this: Paul required his pagan converts to withdraw from worshipping the gods of the Roman world. I’m inclined to think that Paul’s initial Pharisaic zeal was incited, at least in part, by the christological claims and accompanying devotional practices that he later came to embrace, and that are reflected in his letters. Those traditions of the Christian church, in my opinion, were born out of the historic tensions that have existed between Christianity and Judaism that go all the way back to when Gentile Christianity violently divorced ancient Messianic Judaism. It will be years (if ever) before the latest research trickles down to the local church pulpit and into the ears of the average Christian sitting in the pew.
Marshals in Estafeta Tlaxcala, about 60 miles southeast of Mexico City, according to Philip Klein, with KIC Investigations. For the past twelve years, Sabrina had been living with her mother in a town sixty miles southeast of Mexico City. There’s a good chance that Mom told Sabrina a whole bunch of bad things about Dad, so this teenage girl may not be at all happy to see him. But at this point, there is so much confusion about who is who, that even taking back what was once theirs, the Jewish people, redeeming the Jewish Apostolic Scriptures and bringing them back home, draw great ire, not only from the non-custodial (Gentile) parent, but from most other Jews as well. It’s probably been difficult to follow this metaphorical essay and keep everything straight, but this is how I see the Apostolic Scriptures and how they are being reclaimed by Jews in Messiah (as opposed to Hebrew Christians).
Obviously, I have to come to read him very differently and would like to run something by you. According to Paul, Jews who are still bound by Torah and the Mosaic covenant are not the spiritual children, but the children of the flesh and are born not of Sarah, but of Hagar.
May be the billions of Christians over the many centuries didn’t misread Paul after all but received much of their view of Judaism from him? For a little background, the person asking the above-quoted questions is a Jewish friend of mine who believes that Paul was anti-Torah and anti-Judaism. Further, we (or at least I) believe that there are messages “encoded” within said-letters that are difficult to understand without a “Rabbinic” comprehension of the text.
However my explanation of more hidden meanings doesn’t seem to pass the “pshat test,” whereby the plain meaning of the text is still the primary meaning, even if there are other more hidden and even mystic meanings contained within.
If Paul were writing to a bunch of Rabbis or other learned Jews, we could understand Paul crafting letters with great amounts of complicated theological detail, but wasn’t he trying to get his ideas across to mostly common Greek-speaking people? I’d like to encourage the readers there to post your responses here so my friend (and any other interested parties) can read them.


I’ve known too many people, particularly in the world of religion, who adopted roles, and titles, and authority that they certainly did not earn by education, experience, or temperament.
He is known primarily for his monumental paintings of African-American subjects based on the traditional genre of narrative history painting. Your Wikipedia reference under the “Christian” link seems to open the notion up to “Multilateral Eschatology”; which really drives the theological impact up a notch or two (or seven). Although the doctrine of the resurrection comes to the forefront in the New Testament, it predates the Christian era. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? Others expect to be raptured for a certain period of time until the tribulation ends, and then to accompany Jesus back to Earth so the Church can rule and reign with him.
By comparison, Christian eschatology is more focused on Heaven, and Earth seems to be reserved for those unbelievers who will suffer through the tribulation and later be judged and sent to hell.
But beyond time the Covenant of Redemption was made between the Father and Son, to agree that Christ would live an acceptable substitutionary life on behalf of, and as a covenantal representative for, those who would sin but would trust in Christ as their substitutionary atonement, which bought them into the Covenant of Grace. Salvation for all people in all times is found by trusting (explicitly or implicitly) in Jesus. The present Church dispensation concerns Christians (mainly Gentiles) and is a parenthesis to God’s main plan of dealing with and blessing his chosen people the Jews.
Then Jesus will return visibly to earth and re-establish the nation of Israel; the Jewish temple will be rebuilt at Jerusalem and the Temple mount, possibly in place of the Muslim Dome of the Rock (see Christian Zionism).
The worst case scenario from a Jewish point of view is that they cease to exist, either because they have totally been assimilated into the Church or because they have all been killed.
This folds into a Messianic Jewish viewpoint rather well placing Israel at the center of Gentile redemption rather than reverse-engineering the Bible and making the Jews come to the Gentiles to be redeemed by the God of Israel. Certainly there are variations both in Christianity and the other Judaisms, so there’s no reason to believe that Messianic Judaism should have a single, overarching eschatology that is taught and believed.
Whatever we have recorded in the Bible has been interpreted in many different ways over the centuries and no doubt we’ve distorted what was previously understood by original audiences.
Of course, should the King of Israel, that head of the nations, turn out to be Divine and resurrected rather than someone who will be born in the generation of the final war and the final victory, then that would give most Jews a rather poignant pause. I tried to be thorough, but all together I wrote eleven separate reviews of different portions of this book.
I have to admit that I read this book only once and that was months ago, so I didn’t immediately recall the content. Most non-Jewish believers don’t recognize any sort of relationship with, let alone a dependence upon, the Jewish people by the Gentile Christian Church.
Israel has a future role in the plan of God and the rest of us are dependent on Israel meeting and fulfilling that role for the sake of humanity. Pastor was at a conference on one occasion some years ago when, by chance, he was seated next to a rather well-known and published Christian author and theologian (Pastor mentioned his name, but I didn’t recognize it and, in any event, it would be poor form on my part to use it here). In fact, the covenant can’t climax, according to Hafemann, until Messiah returns, restores Israel for the sake of the nations, and judges the nations for the sake of Israel. What they have instead of a covenant is an individually-based responsibility to rely on HaShem’s unchanging character and graciousness. Yes, each individual Jew has his or her own responsibilities to fulfill under covenant, but ultimately, God doesn’t covenant with each individual Jew, but with all of them, past, present, and future. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? They don’t go away just because Israel as a whole or any individual Jew is not observant. The root (and I believe one way to look at the root is as Israel’s covenant relationship with God) supports us, not the other way around. The advantages possessed by Jews, which Rav Shaul described to the Romans in the third chapter of his letter, are still very much valid and effective, and “grafted-in” wild gentile olive branches have no reason to boast of their position relative to native acculturated Jewish branches on his metaphorical olive tree of faith, but the wild branches are no longer merely fodder to be fed into a fire. We voluntarily come to Hashem, and we may voluntarily covenant with each other when we gather together, but we are more than just a group of individuals.
K’rovei Yisrael are also different from non-Jewish relatives of Temple Emunah members who choose not to be involved in our synagogue community. First, they are called up with their Hebrew name, something that K’rovei Yisrael do not have. Further, the question of legal status as seen through Roman eyes also had some relationship to the issue. Once Christians saw Jews as the “other,” it was but a short step to the notion that all Jews were responsible for the rejection of Jesus and, hence, for the failure of his messianic mission to be fulfilled. You have a religious structure that is uniquely by and for Israel and that affords Israel a covenantal relationship with God, as well as a rich lifestyle of Torah practice, but so much of it doesn’t include the rest of us.
But on the other hand, we Gentiles in Rav Yeshua are facing the same dilemma that we faced in the First Century C.E.
For both Christianity and Judaism, community is extremely important and it provides a lot of support and encouragement. Hence the fact that we see some non-Jews in our communities as well as in churches leave Yeshua-faith and either join the ranks of the Noahide or convert to (Orthodox) Judaism. Whatever steps a person takes to follow the mitzvot, no matter what level or station of life they are at, that is always a plus and to be applauded and celebrated. And though McGillis teaches Jewish values, Jewish holidays and Hebrew, it does not teach Judaism as a religion. Too many Hebrew Roots people who think they have done so marshal a whole lot of chutzpah and much too little respect, and occasionally march into synagogues to tell the Rabbi that he is doing it all wrong. Sure, sometimes I take a stab at religious criticism, but I don’t like to make a habit of it.
We don’t always agree on everything, but we do get along, and I cherish our relationship.
Given the place and significance of the gods in Roman-era life, this would have generated serious tensions with the larger pagan community. It fits his own behaviour, continuing to identify himself as a member of his ancestral people all through his ministry as apostle to the Gentiles and herald of the gospel. Indeed, his zealousness for his religious traditions may have even made him particularly sensitive to the implications of the christological claims and devotional practices of the early Jesus-circles, perhaps more sensitive than many others, including perhaps even those early Jesus-circles as well!
When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. Through the prophet Moses, He gave Israel the Torah, the Holy Word of God, and commanded them to obey His Word as their part of the covenant He made with them.
How dare these few “Messianic Jews” bring a dangerous impostor into the fold and call her one of their own? Can you give me your thoughts on the following words of Paul, namely in Galatians 4:21-26 (and a bit beyond, in Galatians 5-1)? Christians (primarily his Gentile audience), however, are Sarah’s true children, who are free.
Scholars such as Mark Nanos and Roy Blizzard have written erudite works unpackaging the “hidden” meanings within Paul’s writing. Religion is the structure in which we comprehend the specifics of our faith, including how to interpret the Bible, the nature of prayer, and any traditions (yes, Christianity has traditions) and rituals that help us to operationalize and express our faithfulness behaviorally. I have very high regard for most of the people I communicate with (primarily over the Internet) in the world of faith, but others can be a royal pain.
God is good, and great, and pure, but what human emotion does to faith and religion is anything but. Marshall will present over 30 works in all media including sculpture, installation, photography, video and printmaking. There is an apparent reference to the resurrection in the book of Job, where Job says, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that he will stand at the latter day upon the earth. According to religious Judaism, any non-Jew who lives according to the Seven Laws of Noah is regarded as a righteous gentile, and is assured of a place in the world to come, the final reward of the righteous. The Covenant of Grace applies to all who trust Christ for their salvation, regardless of ethnicity, and thus the Covenant covers Jews and Gentiles alike with regard to salvation, sanctification, and resurrection.
Christ and the people of Israel will reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years, followed by last judgment and a new heavens and new earth. Most futurists are expecting a Rapture of the Church, an Antichrist, a Great Tribulation and a Second coming of Christ in the near future. These days, it is common to take our theology and read it back into the Bible rather than the other way around, for to take a fresh look at the Bible and use some honest exegesis might result if turning our beliefs on their collective head and forcing us to revise if not totally rewrite what the future is going to bring. I decided to re-read Hafemann’s article to see what Pastor Randy might have liked about it. The Torah goes forward in time and as 19th century Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein observed, Jesus as Messiah gives the fullness of meaning and holiness to the performance of the mitzvot for an observant Jew.
The conversation turned to Revelation and eschatology, and the topic of the 144,000 (see Revelation 7:4-8) came up. They must trust HaShem Who wishes all humanity to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, as Rav Shaul wrote to Timothy in 1 Tim. The only thing that changes are the consequences, one set for obedience, and another set for disobedience. Not that God would do it, but if any one of us gets out of line, God could blow us off the root with a (metaphorical) sneeze.
One does not require a covenant to accept HaShem’s benefits, but one should not be jealous merely because someone else (namely the Jewish people) does have one. We are members of the ekklesia and we make up a huge portion of the ekklesia alongside of Israel.
It just seems that if the boundaries between the different sub-groups of Israeli Jews are so rigid, that penetration of said-boundaries is going to be rather difficult.
Second, an Aliyah is ascending to the Torah, accepting the Torah as the binding force for living your life. He’s a kind, intelligent person who I believe is close to the Spirit of God and who walks in the footsteps of our Rav. I’m 61 years old and I can tell you from that perspective, if I can go back to the gym, workout and workout hard, and feel great, so can you. As he identified himself as a Jew and linked up with Jewish communities in the various diaspora cities where he established early assemblies of Jesus-followers (ekklesias), these Jewish communities could have feared that they would bear the brunt of these tensions. It fits also with what we know of real and potential tensions over the matter of worship of the traditional deities (of household, city, nation, etc.). You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. We have to give them back, not that they don’t mean something to us, for they mean everything to us, but we must let them be Jewish, to speak with a Jewish voice, to have the face of the Jewish authors and readers and students, just as in days of old. Following Torah as given on Mount Sinai, according to Paul, is a yoke of slavery from which Christ came to set humanity free (Galatians 5-1).
Not being a theologian or a historian, especially within the context of Messianic Judaism, I don’t always have all the convenient answers at my fingertips.
But the Sages in more normative Judaism across the long centuries and into the modern era, reading the letters of Paul from a Rabbinic perspective, see nothing but a condemnation of Jewish people and Judaism in Paul’s writings. In such cases, I suppose they need to compel the world around them to give them what they deserve. Yet the first time he was here, he set them aside, even to the degree that he washed the feet of his disciples.
It takes a great deal of energy to be patient sometimes and you know how lousy I am at keeping my (virtual) mouth shut.
The newest body of work, One True Thing, simultaneously pays homage to and critiques the notion of a Black aesthetic. The Covenant of Grace forms the basis of the later covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the New Covenant in Christ. The Jews are regarded as special in God’s plan (as in Romans and Ephesians) and yet the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel find their fulfillment in Jesus and the Church rather than in a literal restoration of Israel. But they also accept certain past events, such as the rebirth of the State of Israel and the reunification of Jerusalem as prerequisites to them, in a manner which the earlier historicists have done with other dates. I was curious, since we don’t always agree on the nature and character of Messianic Judaism.
Pastor believes that they are literally the twelve tribes of Israel, 12,000 per tribe, while this renowned Christian writer and preacher said that the 144,000 represented the church in allegory. Moreover, it is precisely this climax to the covenant that secures the believer’s salvific hope in the return of Christ.
In fact, one may be grateful that HaShem’s covenantal faithfulness toward Jews demonstrates that He may be trusted even without a covenant.
We are different from the sum of our parts because the grace of God has made us children and family of the Most High. So, Paul was meted out synagogue discipline in the form of the 39 lashes as punishment on several occasions (he mentions five). It’s a matter of paying attention to and critically analyzing the collected body of research about the message of the Bible, what it meant within its original context and to its original audience, and thus what it means to us today. If Paul’s letters are so “Jewish” that most Christians don’t “get” Paul, why don’t most Jewish sages “get” Paul the way we do when peering through a Messianic Jewish lens? There are religious authorities I respect and consider very knowledgable and wise, and I defer to their judgment.
It’s ironic that people who God has given great gifts and who use those gifts in His Name, can still push back and push away those of us who are just trying to keep our heads above water. So I need to be able to push back as well, or let myself be pushed out of the body of faith altogether. Futurists, who do not normally use the day-year principle, interpret the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9:24 as years, just as historicists do. The distinctions continue to exist, which for me, means that distinctions based on separate or overlapping responsibilities to God, relative to Torah, continue to exist in the present. They, and their children, and their children’s children, each must approach HaShem as trusting individuals.
And this enables gentile disciples also to pursue faithfulness in response to HaShem’s gracious provision of all manner of blessings.
What Jew could possibly love a Bible that has been used for centuries to justify murdering and maiming Jews, and incinerating Torah scrolls, volumes of Talmud, and synagogues. As the titles and subtitles suggest, these works seek to raise intriguing and often confounding questions about the role of the artist and the institution in defining positions in artistic practice.
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust, for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth will cast out the dead”.
They may pass to their children a heritage of knowledge about how to trust HaShem, but each must choose to embrace and employ that knowledge afresh in their own lives. But some, such as Adam Clarke have time lines which also commenced with specific past events, but require a future fulfillment. In his commentary on Daniel 8:14 published in 1831, he stated that the 2,300-year period should be calculated from 334 BC, the year Alexander the Great began his conquest of the Persian Empire. He was not anticipating a literal regathering of the Jewish people prior to the Second coming of Christ.
But the date is of special significance to futurists since it is the year of Jerusalem’s capture by Israeli forces during the Six-Day War. His commentary on Daniel 7:25 contains a 1260-year period commencing in 755 AD and ending in 2015.



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