Monthly Archives: July 2010

JBOM: The Lost – Part II

JBOM stands for Jewish Book of the Month Club. This is a book club that was started this past March by Messianic Rabbi and blogger extraordinaire Derek Leaman www.derek4messiah.wordpress.com. The motivation behind starting this book club was to get a group together within the greater Body of Messiah reading, getting educated and sharing our thoughts on Jewish works with those who might not normally come in contact with such (like myself ). The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million was the JBOM selection for May.

“Time, time, time, is on my side. Yes it is!” goes the old Rolling Stones lyric about a fractured relationship in which “time” would be certain to have its impact and say in the matter. But is time really on our side? That depends on a million different angles and the short answer is most certainly both yes and no. The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn is largely a book about “time”. About the things related to time that we can’t control-the families we’re born into, the generation that we’re a part of, the decisions our parent’s make for us when we’re not of age to make them ourselves, plus other’s all play a part in the “big picture” of how and where we land in that little piece of history that is marked out for us. Of the things related to time that we can control (or at least we like to think so)- who we’re friends with, our spouses, where we live, education, employment, children, vacations, ect are often made because of an introduction or a chance meeting, a being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. Mendelsohn says “. “For everything, in time, gets lost”: from the great civilizations of ancient history such as the Greeks and Romans up to the specifics of someone we hold dear in our lives who has a “beautiful smile” or a certain “way” about them. Things that we hold significant or other’s hold significant, in time become infinitely insignificant to most until they are virtually “lost” to “time”. Towards the end of his amazing journey where “time” was both on his side and against him, Mendelsohn says “….at the very end of my search I was standing, finally, in the place where everything begins: the tree in the garden, the tree of knowledge that, as I long ago learned, is something divided, something that because growth occurs only through the medium of time, brings both pleasure and, finally sorrow.”

The Lost is specifically about the lifelong search for six of Daniel’s relatives that “perished” in the Holocaust, at least that’s how it began, but as “time” goes on and takes him through the proverbial “ups and downs” it becomes a search that far exceeds his initial expectations with unforeseen but far-reaching relational impacts and emotions that stretch the globe over. To sum up the over-arching feel and layout of this amazing story, I quote Mendelsohn on p.413 when he is relaying how his late grandfather told stories “The long windup, all that background, all those Chinese boxes; and then, suddenly, the swift and expert slide into the finale, the finish line where the connections between all the details you’d learned along the way, the seemingly irrelevant facts and subsidiary anecdotes he’d lingered over at the beginning, suddenly became clear.”

This is a great book that contains not just one but many amazing stories within stories that no matter the seemingly irrelevant facts all tie together to make the whole continue to build and build until the grand finale. Highly Recommended!!!

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!

Advertisements

Well Versed: July 18-24

Well Versed is a weekly blog series I created to review my Scripture readings for the week and log some of my notes and thoughts that stuck out to me the most during my studies. I follow a yearly Scripture reading plan that is built off of the weekly Torah and Haftarah portions and includes the Wisdom and Apostolic Scriptures as well.

D’varim (Deuteronomy) 3:23-7:11

In 4:6-8 Moses exhorts Israel to be careful to observe and follow God’s Torah, for by doing so all the nations will see and hear of the wisdom and understanding that Israel posses by being obedient to God’s Law. This is one aspect to Israel’s covenant faithfulness where they are a light to the nations and a testimony to the people. I believe that one of the reasons that many non-Jews have begun to express their faith in Messiah Yeshua through Torah is due to the wisdom and understanding that has been expressed in Messianic Judaism and Non-Messianic Biblical Judaism for thousands of years. Non-Jewish believer’s in Messiah Yeshua have been drawn to the depth and beauty of Torah that has been exemplified by the Master Himself, and expounded by the Sages of the Jewish Tradition and modern Messianic commentators. If indeed the number of Gentile believer’s who see the wisdom and beauty of Torah is Spirit-led (I believe it is) then the Gentile Torah movement will continue to grow and stand as a testimony to God’s faithfulness to Israel and Israel’s faithfulness to God. In 4:29-31 we have another prophetic promise that “in the end of days” Israel will seek and search out God and return to His words for “He will not fail you, destroy you, or forget the covenant He made with your ancestors which He swore to them”. In 4:39-40 Israel is exhorted to establish God’s Torah in their hearts so that it will go well with them and their day’s will be prolonged in the Land that God has given them forever. In 5:25-26 God say’s “Oh how I wish that their hearts would stay like this forever”. The Torah makes it clear that God is after our hearts and it’s been a “heart issue” from the beginning, not merely external was Old Covenant and internal is New Covenant. In 6:4-5 we have the Shema or the “greatest commandment” as affirmed by the Master. From The Complete Bible Handbook “The claim of these words-that a total, undivided, and unreserved response to God is the only appropriate response is in one way or another foundational to both Judaism and Christianity……. The Shema summarizes the essence of the 1st and 2nd commandment of the 10 Commandments; the LORD is unique and so is to be the sole recipient of Israel’s loyalty…..Love is not a matter of feeling but of doing i.e. “if you love me, keep my commandments””. We have been reciting the Shema for the past few months in the traditional Hebrew canting at our house with our 3yr old daughter and 1yr old son and it’s been a real joy and blessing to have both of our children exited and able to say this sacred text as a family each night. In 7:9 “From this you can know that YHVH your God is indeed God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and extends grace to those who love Him and observe his commandments, to a thousand generations.”

Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 6-10

Jeremiah was the Prophet of the destruction of the 1st Temple (Yeshua was the Prophet of the destruction for the 2nd Temple) and in these chapters of Jeremiah we have the foretelling of Jerusalem and her Temple being destroyed and the reasons for why this happened. In 6:10 “For them (Israel and specifically Judah) the word of YHVH has become unattractive, an object of scorn.” and in 6:19 “for they pay no attention to my words and as for my Torah they reject it”. As a side note, this explains the negative and seemingly contradictory comments about the sacrifices found in 6:20 and at 7:22. In 8:13 Israel is likened to a vine that doesn’t have grapes and a fig tree without figs-what good is a tree that doesn’t produce fruit?. Though God is just in bringing about the destruction of Jerusalem and taking Israel into captivity, this is not His will and something He is very mournful over as He say’s in 8:23 “I wish my head were made of water and my eyes were a fountain of tears, so that I could cry day and night over the slain of the daughter of my people!”. In 10:1-5 we have the oft-quoted out of context verses to prove that Christmas trees are biblically forbidden. While I don’t condone everything associated with Christmas and we don’t put up a Christmas tree at our home, we must be faithful to the text and not read into it our 21st century culture and mindsets. These verses are clearly talking about an explicit idol that is worshipped and adored and relied upon as if it were God Himself. Ninety-nine percent of those who have Christmas tree’s don’t come close to the level of idolatry if any at all with what is being discussed in this text. In 10:23-24 Jeremiah says in humility “YHVH, I know that humans are not able to direct their steps as they walk. YHVH, correct me, but in moderation, not in Your anger, or You’ll reduce me to nothing.”

Tehillim (Psalms) 17-23

17:15 But my prayer, in righteousness, is to see your face; on waking, may I be satisfied with a vision of you. – This is indeed a righteous request; to see God’s face, to have Him go before us and lead our path. This is a simple yet powerful prayer to recite upon waking in the morning.

18:11(10) He rode on a keruv (cherub); He flew, swooping down on the wings of the wind. – This is a very interesting verse to me. I haven’t read any commentary on it but would be interested in any insight someone might have. I know this Psalm is paralleled in II Samuel Chapter 22 as well.

19:6-7(5-6) In them He places a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom from the bridal chamber, with delight like an athlete to run his race. – I was talking to my wife and children about this Psalm and when I got to this verse my wife says “That’s provocative and kind of romantic”. I was expressing a different interpretation to the kids, but thank God for women!

20:5(4) May He grant you your heart’s desire and bring all your plans to success. – This is just pure positive biblical admonition that we have been gifted with to bless our family, friends, co-workers and other’s we come into contact with.

21:7(6)-8 (7) For You bestow on Him everlasting blessings, you make Him glad with the joy of your presence. For the King puts His trust in YHVH, in the grace of ‘Elyon (Most High); He will not be moved. –  In its immediate context this Psalm is speaking about David’s kingship, but in its greater application to the Kingship of Yeshua and those who submit themselves and are a part of it.

22:28-29 (27-28) All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to YHVH; all the clans of the nations will worship in Your presence. For the kingdom belongs to YHVH and He rules the nations. – What could this remembrance be about? This Psalm is the one Yeshua quoted while hanging on the cross and it alludes to His crucifixion by which His blood was shed on behalf of the people of the world to bring reconciliation between us and God. Another aspect of this remembrance could be in acknowledging God’s sovereignty and His kingship over this world and all the universe.

23:3 He restores my inner person. He guides me in right paths for the sake of His name. – Psalm 19:8(7) says “The Torah of YHVH is perfect, restoring the inner person”. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit (the “He” in this Psalm) that the Torah of YHVH is written upon our hearts and brings restoration to our soul.

Acts 11-15

In Acts 11 we continue with Peter sharing what God had done among the Gentile family of Cornelius. Peter also retold his dream from C10 again and in 11:12 the Spirit confirmed to Peter to have no misgivings about going to this Gentiles house which was the main point of the dream due to Peter’s Jewish background he would normally not have fellowship with Gentiles. The Messianic community praised God after Peter’s story and said in 11:18 “This means that God has enabled the Goyim (Gentiles) as well to repent and have life!”. In 11:20 we have the first public witnessing of Gentiles recorded in Antioch. Soon after Bar-Nabba went and picked up Sha’ul from Tarsus and they made their way to Antioch and stayed a year teaching and strengthening this young in the faith congregation. As it says in 11:26 “it was in Antioch that the talmidim (disciples) first begin to be called “Christians””. In the Greek “Christianoi” could be rendered “Christ people”. David Stern comments in his NT Commentary “I think the name Christianoi was applied to Gentile believers by Gentile unbeliever’s and in all likelihood the term was originally deprecatory but in time came to be self-defining and a proud title. In modern Hebrew “Notzrim” is the term for Christians, that is, followers of Jesus of Nazareth.” Chapter 12 is one of those chapters in the new testament that contain those amazing stories that are reminiscent of some of the best of the TaNaK. In C13 and 14 Sha’ul who is also called Paul and Bar-Nabba are sent on their first missionary journeys and make it a practice to proclaim the Gospel to the Jew first as well as to the Greek by starting at the synagogue in whatever city they are at on the Sabbath. In 13:43 “many of the born Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabbas” for in 13:48 “The Gentiles were very happy to hear this. They honored the message about the Lord, and as many as had been appointed to eternal life came to trust”. In Iconium at 14:1 “a large number of both Jews and Greeks came to trust”. Paul and Barnabbas were successful with their ministry starting in the synagogue by starting with Jew’s and “God Fearers”-that is Gentiles who were worshipping God within the framework of Judaism. In Chapter 15 there are many extensive commentaries that cover every possible angle that you could think of on this chapter. To me, the key verses are 15:1 “You can’t be saved unless you undergo circumcision in the manner prescribed by Moses”. Certain men had proposed that Gentiles must under-go ritual circumcision and thus be counted “Jewish” in order to secure salvation. In this context of Salvation, a group of believing Pharisee’s stood up and said in 15:5 “It is necessary to circumcise them and direct them to observe the Torah of Moshe”. To this Peter stood up and declared in 15:11 “No, it is through the love and kindness of the Lord Yeshua that we trust and are delivered-and it’s the same with them”. This is a clear statement in that Jew and Gentile are saved not by any work or act of obedience but by Grace through Faith. I believe the whole thrust of this Chapter is not a question of Torah observance but one of priority in meeting the needs to foster Jewish-Gentile relations. Up to this point the Gentiles were new to this primarily Jewish faith and they shouldn’t be hindered in any way in their turning from idols to God. I do think they were set on a trajectory towards Torah with the 4 provisions but this wasn’t an end in itself but a beginning of their sanctification and walk and something that they would gradually grow into as they matured in their faith. With that said the Apostolic community never explicitly worked out the fullness of a Torah theology in regards to Gentiles through we do have many clues through-out the Scriptures. I do agree with First Fruits of Zion’s position that outside of personal convictions we shouldn’t go further in Torah dogmatics than what the Apostles did themselves. Thankfully this will all be worked out when Messiah comes back.

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the name of Messiah Yeshua!


The Psalms in Israel’s Worship: Part II

In Part I (posted a few weeks ago) I gave a brief intro of this book and relayed some nuggets about the Psalms and various Interpretations before the Enlightenment. This post will deal with the second half of the forward; The Enlightenment and Beyond and the Author’s Preface.

 

II. The Enlightenment and Beyond

With the Enlightenment came an increased emphasis on rational inquiry and historical context. Philology (the historical study of language and literature) became essential. The study of Hebrew grammar and syntax began to flourish. The historical paradigm, stemming from the Enlightenment, comes to rule the day, with each psalm being studied for evidence of its historical setting and the individual author’s personal views. This atomistic (divided up or separate) approach to the Psalms is carried out in extremes by Jewish and Christian interpreters of the day. It wasn’t until Hermann Gunkel at the turn of the 20th century, who really begin to look at the Psalms based on form, function and social context. Hermann Gunkel, Sigmund Mowinckel and Joachim Kraus are considered to be three of the most influential Psalms interpreters of the 20th Century. Gunkel was a German Protestant Old Testament scholar who had an appreciation for the Oral Tradition when it came to understanding biblical texts but found it of no use in matters of practicality or practice. Gunkel felt that most of the Psalms originated in the ritual worship of Israel, but felt they were later freed from it for a more spiritual purpose. Our author Mowinckel, who builds upon Gunkels exegetical methods, though unlike Gunkel, holds a positive view of the ritual worship of Israel and locates nearly all of the Psalms in it from beginning to end. Mowinckel’s refinement of Gunkel’s approach to Psalms comes along several lines: 1. a basic simplification of the types; 2. a fuller exploration of the sociological dimensions behind the biblical texts; 3. a greater appreciation for the symbolic world of Psalms; 4. a keener interest in historical linguistic and literary structure; 5. a desire to trace the history  of interpretation of various Psalms, their reception history; and 6. an attempt to give modern poetic form to ancient Psalms. The extraordinary influence of Psalms on the church and synagogue has attracted a innumerable number of scholars over the last two millenium and these two volumes of The Psalms in Israel’s Worship seek to situate and give appreciation to the work of Sigmund Mowinckel for his contribution to the rich history of this discipline.

Author’s Preface:

Mowinckel believes in order to understand the Psalms in the religious life of Israel and of Judaism, they must be viewed and comprehended in their relationship to the congregation’s devotional life. Mowinckel suggests that the majority of the Psalms are ritualistic in origin by being composed for and used in the actual services of the Temple.

Next time: Part III – The Psalms and the Cult (Chapter 1)

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!


Well Versed: July 11-17

Well Versed is a weekly blog series I created to review my Scripture readings for the week and log some of the thoughts that stuck out to me the most during my studies. I follow a yearly Scripture reading plan that is built off of the weekly Torah and Haftarah portions and includes the Wisdom and Apostolic Scriptures as well.

D’varim (Deuteronomy) 1:1-3:22

This week’s Torah portion is also the Hebrew name for the 5th book of the Bible – D’varim, which means “words” in Hebrew. We get the English title Deuteronomy from the Greek Deutero (2nd) and nomos (law). The “Second Law” comes from a retelling and expounding of God’s revelation at Mt. Sinai, where He gave His instructions and teachings to Moses. Yeshua quotes exclusively from Deuteronomy when tempted by the adversary and when asked about the greatest commandment, He says the Shema (Hear O’ Israel….). Deuteronomy is one of the most oft-quoted books in all the NT, only behind Psalms and Isaiah. This portion deals with Moses expounding upon the trials and tribulations of the wilderness experience and highlights God’s faithfulness to Israel despite the their lack of trust in Him. This is something that every generation on some level has experienced.

Tehillim (Psalms) 10-16

10:16  YHVH is king forever and ever! – The 10th Psalm deals with the question of; Why the wicked prospers and God remains silent? Or so it seems in this life so often. Scripture is full of these types of questions including the most explicit by Job and Jeremiah. It is always important to remember the ultimate Kingship of our Great God. That He rules from His throne is heaven and the earth is His footstool. Though mysteries abound in the realm of righteous suffering and evil prosperity, God see’s all, hear’s all and will prove the Judge of all as the Righteous King is for all of his subjects. 

11:5 YHVH tests the righteous. – God tests us to get the best out of us. He loves us and holds us to His standards of righteousness. His testing brings about growth and maturity and is a sign of His faithfulness in sanctifying us.

12:7 The words of YHVH are pure words, silver in a melting-pot set in the earth, refined and purified seven times over. – The purification and refinement seven times over shows the completeness and wholeness that is found in the Word of God. The pure Word of God took upon flesh and walked among us to bring life to us in the fullest sense.

13:6 But I trust in your grace, my heart rejoices as you bring me to safety – It is by God’s grace that we rejoice in the Salvation that He has provided.

14:2 From heaven YHVH observes humankind to see if anyone has understanding, if anyone seeks God. – This is one of those paradoxical verses in Scripture that goes on to say “no one seeks God” and Paul expounds upon in Romans 3. Yet in the preceding verse “Only a fool says “There is no God””. Don’t have time to go into the tension right here but Scripture is full of it and the Sages of Millenium past were quite comfortable with it.

15:4 Who hold to an oath, no matter the cost. – Psalm 15 is also widely known as the “Man of Integrity” Psalm. Yeshua said “Let your yes be yes and your no be no”. In our culture it is very likely to be frowned upon by other’s if a company or individual holds someone to a commitment or contract through its end. It is almost expected by our society that like “laws”, contracts are meant to be broken.

16:7 I bless YHVH, my counselor; at night my inmost being instructs me. – How can we bless God? By heeding His counsel and being obedient to His call. In John 14:25, the Holy Spirit is called our “Counselor” and it is by this Counselor that we are instructed from our inmost being.

Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 1-5

The name Yirmeyahu in Hebrew means “YHVH will raise up; YHVH will set free”. As for word count, Jeremiah is the longest Prophetic book in Scripture. The book of Jeremiah begins in the 13th year of King Josiah’s riegn (627 BCE) up to the beginning of the Babylonian Exile (587/586 BCE). In 1:17 Jeremiah was called by God to “confront them (Israel/Judah/Jerusalem) and don’t break down or I will break you down in front of them!”. In 2:3 during midst of Jeremiah “shouting” at Israel for there backsliding, God says “Israel is set aside for YHVH, the firstfruits of His harvest”. in 2:13 Israel has committed 2 evils against YHVH;  They have abandoned the fountain of living water and exchanged it for broken cisterns that cannot hold any water. In 2:17 God asked rhetorically if Israel has brought about this condemnation upon themselves?. 2:20 States that long ago (Egypt) God broke the yoke that was upon the Israelites (by the way, He didn’t put that same “yoke” upon them in the desert). 2:21 Shows Israel as the choice vine that degenerated and turned wild. 3:8-13 Though God had given Israel a divorce decree, He calls for Israel’s repentance and He will be faithful to their restoration. 3:16 After this restoration of Israel either in the millenium reign or the New Heavens and New Earth, the ark of the covenant will not even be thought about or missed. 4:1-2 Once Israel repents and turns back to YHVH, “the nations will bless themselves by Him and in Him will they glory”. 4:4  Circumcision of the heart as a matter of priority is what God has been interested in since the beginning “circumcise yourselves for YHVH, remove the foreskin of your heart!”. 5:10 about the branches that do not belong to YHVH being stripped away is virtually identical to John 15:2. 5:25 Is an intriguing verse in that it shows that our transgressions and sins against God can alter the natural laws of the universe a la Noah’s flood.

Acts 11-15

So this is the second week in a row that I haven’t been able to post on the NT portion of my readings. It’s probably for the better since Acts 15 is such an enigmatic chapter of Scripture and I want to make sure I do my best to be as balanced as possible in my review of it. I pray that God allows me to post on it next week.

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!


Well Versed: July 4-10

Well Versed is a weekly blog series I created to review my Scripture readings for the week and log some of the thoughts that stuck out to me the most during my studies. I follow a yearly Scripture reading plan that is built off of the weekly Torah and Haftarah portions and includes the Wisdom and Apostolic Scriptures as well.

B’midbar (Numbers) 30:2 – 36:13

For this past week’s Torah reading, we had a double portion; Mattot (Tribes) and Masa’ei (Stages). With this doubling of Parashah 42 and 43 we finished out the book of B’midbar (Numbers) and in traditional fashion at our synagogue service yesterday after the reading from this Torah portion, the congregants stood up and chanted Hazak, hazak, v’nit’chazek three times in celebration. This phrase means Be strong, be strong, and let us be strengthened and is traditionally recited after the finishing of a book of Torah and can be for any book of Scripture for that matter. Scripture is indeed one of the ways we are strengthened in the Lord. In this portion we have YHVH commanding Moshe to lead Israel into battle to take vengeance on the Midianites, for it was the Midianites at the direction of Bil’am (Balem) who caused Israel to fall into idolatry and sexual perversion. During this battle Bil’am was killed by the sword as recompense for causing Israel to break faith with YHVH. Chapter 33 has YHVH ordering Moshe to record the “stages of their journey” beginning on the morning after Pesach when Israel left Egypt after YHVH had “executed judgment on their gods” up to the present when they are standing on the plains of Moab by the Jordan river across from Jericho. Chapter 34 contains the land grant that deals explicitly with the boundaries of the Land of Israel, which is considerably larger than what Israel is currently occupying. I believe that when Yeshua returns, these borders will be restored to what they were originally intended. The question must be asked; How could anyone who holds to the authority and dual authorship (man + Holy Spirit) of Scripture not be in support of Israel’s right to the Land?

Tehillim (Psalms) 3-9

3:9  Victory comes from YHVH; may your blessing rest on your people. – In Yeshua we have the victory from YHVH and the blessing of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). “but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Yeshua the Messiah” 1 Corinthians 15:57

4:4  Understand that YHVH set apart the godly person for himself. – It is God by the power of the Holy Spirit who makes us holy and sanctifies us, even this is not of ourselves.

5:8  But I can enter your house because of your great grace and love. – Though this text is dealing specifically with the Tabernacle or Temple of God, it also applies to entering into God’s family which is only done through His great grace and love.

6:5  Save me for the sake of your grace. – With this prayer or groaning the Psalmist doesn’t plead his righteousness for Salvation but for the sake of God’s grace.

7:10  Since you, righteous God, test hearts and minds. – God searches and knows us intimately from within. The heart and mind are where all attitudes and actions spring forth.

8:5  What are mere mortals, that you concern yourself with them; humans, that you watch over them with such care? – The God of Creation and the Universe is unlike any other so-called “god”. It is truly amazing to marvel at the wonders of His creation and dwell on His awesome power and loving-kindness towards mankind.

9:8  But YHVH is enthroned forever. – YHVH is the True King of this Universe. He is the True King of this world. Who was, Who is, and Who is to come. All the honor, power and glory to the True King! Amen.

Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 61-66

So, not only did I finish up B’midbar this week, but concluded Yesha’yahu as well. In 61:3 we have those who mourned in Zion being restored and called “oaks of righteousness, planted by YHVH, in which he takes pride”. In 62:11 God has caused “victory and glory to spring up before all nations” as this was accomplished in Yeshua’s Resurrection. Chapter 62 deals with “Salvation coming to Zion” and Jerusalem being “called by a new name which YHVH Himself will pronounce” and the Prophet exhorts to “give Him no rest till He restores Yerushalayim and makes it a praise on earth”. In 64:5 “All of us are like someone unclean, all our righteous deeds are like menstrual rags” speaks to us before we enter the covenant with Yeshua, for before that our deeds are truly not righteous but filthy. Chapter 65 speaks to a “rebellious people who live in a way this is not good, who follow their own inclinations…..they eat pig meat and their pots hold soup made from disgusting things.” (This is one of a few powerful verses in Scripture – see also 66:17  that convicted me of God’s dietary instructions). These same people in rebellion are caught in the snare of idolatry and “did what was evil from my point of view and chose what did not please me”. From the rest of Chapter 65:17 through the end of Chapter 66 seems to be speaking about the “New Heavens and New Earth”. Wether the end of Yesha’yahu is speaking strictly in this sense or a combination of the Messianic era (1,000 year reign of Messiah) there are some clear and notable references made to this future period. Jerusalem and her people will be made a joy (65:18-19). YHVH will judge all humanity with fire and sword and the slain will be many (66:16). Those who partake in idolatrous practices involving eating pig meat, reptiles and mice will be destroyed (66:17). All nations and languages will come to the holy mountain of Jerusalem to celebrate Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) and Shabbat, bring offerings and glory in YHVH (66:18-24). This text also suggests that priests and Levites will be taken from among the nations to serve alongside those from Israel.

Acts 11-15 will be included in next week’s Well Versed. It’s jam-packed full of major paradigm shifts for the Messianic community that were happening in the mid-first century and in some ironic and some not so-much-so ways still happening today. I just didn’t have time this week to get the thoughts in I wanted to share about these texts.

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!


A Gracious Attitude

Shabbat Shalom!

Here are my notes and reflection from the service today at Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue in Dallas, Tx. Our family knows of a few families who are members at BHS and we have been visiting off and on for the past couple of years (when I have Shabbat off from work ). For our family, BHS is a good theological balance and a different cultural perspective on our faith than our primary congregation at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Tx. Rabbi Marty Waldman has been in a series entitled End Time Attributes for the past couple of months and today was the conclusion to that series. Listen at www.baruchhashem.com

Primary Text: 1 Kefa (Peter) 4:7-11

7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The End Time Attribute series has been six to eight weeks focused on the text above from 1 Kefa. This has been a teaching series focused on growth and maturity in our attitudes and actions in union with Yeshua the Messiah and our unity in His body (the faith community), by the power of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

Actions follow Attitudes:

Jeremiah 17:10  “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Matthew 11:19  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” 

Philippians 2:5-8   Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 

We are called in obedience and discipleship to our Master Yeshua to have an attitude that leads to and is justified by our actions. We are called to be poured out and humbled before God and others.

Division and Disagreements:

Ephesians 6:11  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

1 Kefa 5:8-9  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

Galatians 5:14-15  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

By being grounded in our trust in Yeshua the Messiah and standing firm on the promises of God, we resist the adversary. As believers we must all realize that though we have different expressions of our biblical faith and interpret and apply texts with varying degree, we are not and should not be the enemy to each other. We shouldn’t be doing the devil’s work by being an accuser of the brethren.

The Biblical difference between Groaning and Grumbling:

Romans 8:23-26  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

1 Corinthians 10:10  nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. – See Numbers 14:1-2 and Numbers 17:5

James 5:9  Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

One of the most important things we can do the first thing in the morning is to pray for God to right our attitude for the day and to have us be gracious towards others in our words and deeds.

May grace and shalom by multiplied upon you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!


“Today” Consider Jesus

These are my notes and reflection from the sermon given on July 4th, 2010 by Geoff Ashley, Discipleship Pastor, The Village Church -Flower Mound, TX.  Listen at www.thevillagechurch.net

Primary Text: Hebrews 3:1-8

3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. 3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. 7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,“Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness.

This was Geoff’s first time to preach at The Village Church and maybe his first time to preach period? He began by confessing a fear of public speaking (something I can relate to) and with this task in and of itself, I think he did a fine job. As for as some of the opening comments relating to the backdrop and context of the book of Hebrews being written to Hebrews who were on the brink of apostatizing back to Judaism from Christianity, I disagree and I have shared this much with Geoff a couple of different times this year. I won’t get into the specifics at this point (that will be for a blog series in the future and an eventual position paper-Lord willing) other than I believe this Hebrews community is the same community spoken of in the book of Acts. They were “many tens of thousands of believers who were all zealous for the Torah”. They were Messianic Jews known as “The Way” or “The Nazarenes” and considered a sect within greater Judaism as all of the many thousands of first believers were.

 The main message to Geoff’s sermon is to Consider Jesus while it is still called “today”. There is nothing we can do about yesterday and we are not by any means guaranteed tomorrow, so “today” consider Jesus!

What should we consider about Jesus? Biblical Christianity and Messianic Judaism both confirm the truth of Jesus being born to a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit – that He is the Word of God, Who is God made flesh. That He lived a sinless life according to the Father’s righteous standards of obedience (Torah and His will). That He suffered a brutal sacrificial death to atone for our sins and was raised to glory on the third day after His death. That He is at the right hand of the Father and as our High Priest intercedes on our behalf in heaven. That He will return back to earth to take His bride and establish the Kingdom of God. These things are what we put our trust and hope in for eternity!

Is there more to consider about Jesus? Of course! The above are just some of the major pieces, you’ll actually have to read your bible to get the full picture.

There is though one aspect to Jesus that has been largely unconsidered by Christianity – His Jewishness. The historical Jesus has been so de-judiazed and incorrectly gentilized to the point that most Jew’s and Gentiles miss the fact or find it irrelevant that Jesus is a Jew. Jesus’ life and faith has been all but completely alienated to the Jewish people and largely mis-understood by Gentiles with anti-judaic tendencies. I think this contextual truth about Jesus’ life that has been de-emphasized for so many hundreds of years could help to begin to heal a lot of Jewish-Christian relations and set the “Church” back on the original, historical foundation of her Jewishness.

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the name of Jesus the Messiah!