22 April 2010

Must a Jew, by definition, disbelieve Jesus? — 2

by Dan Phillips

[Concluding a post begun here.]

Sharp cookies that you are, you may have noted that I am approaching this primarily from an Old Testament perspective. That is deliberate and purposeful. Refer back to the "I believe Jesus / I believe the OT" portion beginning to the first part. I don't grant that one self-appointed segment of Jews holds a copyright on the letters J, E and W. I think God does. The issue is how does He define being a Jew-in-good-standing, in His word. Even if one grants some role to tradition, one either accords ultimate veto-power to the Word, or he forfeits a voice.

Stay with me here, and let's ask....

Have Messiah-rejecting Jews the right to define
who is, and who is not, a Jew?
Three thought-experiments
Play a thought-experiment with me.

Put yourself in the picture in Numbers 13. You are a Jew, in Kadesh-Barnea, poised to enter Canaan. You knew Yahweh's will: He Himself had led you to this very point, and He had informed you that He was about to give you the land whose borders you were approaching. It is God's will for you to enter that land — at His word.

But then the spies bring back their report. Ten out of twelve Jewish spies reject the call to enter the land. That is, eighty-three percent of Jewish leaders say that Jews should not attempt to take Canaan. A paltry seventeen percent demur.

What is a faithful Jew, then, at that moment? Well, 83% of Jewish leadership defines a Jew as someone-who-does-not-enter-Canaan... even though Yahweh had said they should. Refusal to follow God's word defined them; not submission to it.

Read on, and you see that Yahweh's response in essence is "Fine. Don't enter. Die in the wilderness. I'll bring your children in, along with the 17% minority of Jewish spies who trusted My word." (What percent of the total population of Jewish adults would that be?)

So Yahweh's will for all Jews at this point is that they remain in the wilderness until all unbelieving adults had died off.

Does Israel accept God's word this time? Yet again, no. When God said "Enter," they said "We won't." Now God says "Don't enter," and they retort, "We will!"

So who is a Jew-in-good-standing now? Jews who try to take the land (as Yahweh had formerly said to do, but now said not to do)? Or Jews who stay in the wilderness (as Yahweh had formerly said not to do, but now said they should do)?

Put another way, who are the apostate Jews? Among the spies, the vast majority of Jews are apostate. Among the nation, the vast majority of Jews are apostate.

Who are the faithful Jews? The tiny minority who continues to take Yahweh at His word.

Play another thought-experiment. Without arguing about Jesus as such, imagine yourself in the days of fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15-19, whenever they might be. This Prophet has come. He has spoken. Some heed His words (which are the words of Yahweh); some do not.

Among that mass of Jewish population, who gets to define the Jew-in-good-standing-with-God? The number who do accept His words (which was a minority initially, in Moses' case)? Or the number who reject His words (which was a majority initially, in Moses' case)?

Who, then, are the apostate Jews? Those who accept the Prophet's words? Or those who reject them?

A third and final experiment. Consider Jeremiah's prophecy:
"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31:31-14)
This OT prophet specifically and explicitly predicts in Yahweh's name that the Mosaic Covenant will one day be supplanted by a New Covenant.

From that, focus on just one consideration. Say that the covenant has come. Yahweh has acted to initiate this New Covenant. In so doing — according to His mouthpiece, Jeremiah — Yahweh has Himself set aside the Mosaic Covenant.

If we learn anything at all from Israel's history, we must assume that some Jews will accept this Covenant, and some will not. This has been true at every turn; there is no reason to suppose that suddenly the pattern will be broken.

That being the case then, in this experiment, riddle me this: who are the apostate Jews? The Jews who abandon the Mosaic Covenant to embrace the New? Or the Jews who adamantly stick with the Mosaic Covenant, no matter what their stated rationale?

According to the Torah, it would be the latter, not the former.

The issue, and the point
The factor that isolates and defines a Jew as a Jew-in-good-standing-with-God, in these narratives, is not whether or not he takes Canaan. It is not whether or not he stays in the wilderness. What defines a Jew-in-good-standing-with-God is whether or not He takes Yahweh at His word.

When the majority shifts, as it often did in Israelite history, that definition did not change. At some points, the remnant was very small (1 Kings 19:18). Prophecy said it would be small in the future (Isaiah 6:11-13; Zechariah 13:8). The majority per se never has the right to define faithful Judaism. God alone retains that right. It is faithfulness to God's Person and Word that defines faithful Jewishness.

Application to the question of "Jewish Christians"
Very broadly speaking, then, we have two kinds of Jews today, and only two:
  1. Those who affirm Jesus as Messiah
  2. Those who reject Jesus as Messiah
Does the latter have the right to deny the former the ability to call themselves "Jewish Christians"? If so, on what grounds? On the grounds that they are the majority? But there is no OT precedent for such a thought. In fact, the pattern of OT history is that the majority is usually apostate. The center of authority in the OT is never those who claim to be prophets, priests, or kings. The center is always the word of God.

I made a point about my blog-name and web-site name previously: Biblical Christianity. (Of course, I am far from alone in holding it as my desideratum to be faithful to the entire Canon.)

But note, I could find no blog nor any web site named "Biblical Judaism." Why? Though the Jew intent on rejecting Jesus will try to find Biblical reasons for doing so, he has nothing with God's authority to replace such faith with. How so? Well, there is no such thing as "Biblical Judaism" today. How can I say that? Simple: there is no Temple. There is no active priesthood. There are no (Mosaically-warranted) sacrifices being offered.

[UPDATE: weeks after this was posted, a friend pointed out that one does get hits searching for the phrase "Torah Judaism." If I revisit this, I'll need to surf those sites beforehand, see how they try to square that circle.]

Why not? In 70 AD, for the last time to date, Yahweh acted to dismantle the Temple utterly, and Israel became scattered to the four winds. Since that time, genealogy has been unprovable, and there has been no Levitical cultus. It's gone, finished, done-with at present.

Why? What national event had preceded this catastrophe? I have not read that Israel went into the sort of idolatry that had previously led to their expulsion from the land. What other event had occurred?

No point in being coy; you know exactly what climactic watershed event preceded 70 AD. Messiah came, the Prophet like Moses. He spoke God's words. As usual, the majority of Jews did not listen to Yahweh's words, words that He spoke in Yahweh's name. As promised, Yahweh Himself required it of the nation.

God Himself made it impossible for them to practice Biblical Judaism. The majority continues to see this as an unfortunate tragedy perhaps, or a coincidence (since so many have a low, un-Biblical view of God — or are atheists), or as signifying something else. But if one connects it with the decisive, critical rejection of Christ, all becomes clear.

We must conclude that it is necessary to say that there are such things as apostate Jews, even as there are such things as apostate Christians.

Beginning with the second, what is an apostate Christian? It is a professed Christian who rejects some fundamental truth of the whole Bible given today. A formal professor of Christian faith who denies the truth of the Gospel, of Christ, of God — he is an apostate Christian, Biblically defined.

So who is an apostate Jew? According to the OT as we have seen it, same answer, with slight verbal adjustment: it is a Jew who rejects some fundamental truth of the whole Bible given today. Since that Bible contains the promise of Messiah, since Jesus has fulfilled and will fulfill the promise of Messiah, since the NT contains the words Yahweh gave Messiah to speak in His own person and through His prophets and apostles, the definition is provided by 66 books rather than 39.

But to stick with the OT alone, an apostate Jew is a Jew who rejected the Prophet like Moses when He came. He is one who swerved aside from the progress of revelation to create his own religion, crafted selectively on a few bones from that portion of the Word of God which was supplanted by the New Covenant, who continues in the rebellion of unbelief rather than accepted God's whole word.

And that apostate does not have the right to deny the faithful their right to speak of themselves as Jews who believe Messiah, or Messianic Jews — or, put another way, Jewish Christians.

[Note: a few related thoughts can be found here.]

Dan Phillips's signature

49 comments:

Mark said...

Good stuff. Love the AD 70 argument. Forceful apologetic.

-Mark

donsands said...

"Well, there is no such thing as "Biblical Judaism" today. How can I say that? Simple: there is no Temple. There is no active priesthood. There are no (Mosaically-warranted) sacrifices being offered."

Amen.

Excellent post again.

I think our hearts need to have to thoughts at once: There is no more Jew nor Gentile, free or slave, male or female, but all are one in Christ (Gal. 3:28), and yet we are still distinct, for the Gospel is for the Jew first, and also for the Gentile, and for male and female.

Thanks for the good teaching. A lot of good meat to savor.

DJP said...

Meta rules

That reminds me, I wanted to say right off. I allowed a fair bit of straying here and there on the last meta, but would like to be more focused in this one:

1. The focus is not the self-conscious peculiarities of some manifestations of Messianic Jews. It is whether Jews who believe in Jesus have the right to call themselves Jewish Christians.

2. This blog is not the place to debate dispensationalism. Sometimes, my blog is. This one never is.

There y'go.

G N Barkman said...

Excellent post! Very logical and clear. May God use it to help some of Abraham's physical seed become his spiritual seed.

Isaac said...

Dan,

Love this two-part post. I personally know some people who either claim to be "Messianic Jews" or to have once been such but claim it no longer. The last time I talked with on of them (who is studying to become a rabbi) I asked him some questions about how he practiced his Judaism and got some squishy answers that (to my mind) are unbefitting of someone who wants to be a rabbi. For example:

Me: Are you currently wearing any garments that are a blend of more than one fiber?

Him (with a pained look): It's hard in this day and age.

Me: Hard?! Is it is the law of the Lord God or not?!

I haven't pressed him (or the others) on how they are avoiding the sacrificial system... I'm saving that for when I next seen them. In the meantime though, perhaps you can clarify so if I use it, they don't catch me flat-footed:

Dan: The center of authority in the OT is never those who claim to be prophets, priests, or kings. The center is always the word of God.

But you just used the word of some of the prophets to justify your position and called the words of those men God's words. Didn't you just pull the rug out from under your own argument in the quote above?

Lynda O said...

Excellent post as always, and a great point that there are no websites called "Biblical Judaism" -- because it doesn't exist.
Today, even the Orthodox Jews know very little of their 39 books, and really only know the Pentateuch and focus on it -- or rather, on their own expanded legal code they've invented on top of the original Old Covenant. But by the very definition of things, they could not study their full OT Bible and remain as they are in unbelief.

Stefan said...

Dan:

As a Jewish Christian, I have to say you put it very forcefully, but very well.

My pre-salvific adult life was define by trying to understand who God is and what He was calling me to...and what the authentic nexus is between Judaism and Christianity. Try as I might, I could never make sense of it all.

My journey was complete when I found the authentic expression and fulfilment of Judaism in...the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Stefan said...

...And I'm pretty sure that if you asked any Jewish believer in Christ, he or she would say something very similar. Jewish Christian testimonies often revolve around the idea of biblical fulfilment.

It's like we've been given the secret key to unlock the hidden treasures of the religion of our ancestors.

DJP said...

Isaac, interesting question. I simply meant that there have always been apostate priests, false prophets and usurpers. But there are also faithful priests, genuine prophets, and legitimate kings. The Word of God is mediated through true prophets, as defined in Exodus 4 and 7 and tested in Deuteronomy 13 and 18.

Jeremiah is one of the latter.

stratagem said...

Very good! The world gets to define who they think is a Jew, and God gets to define who He thinks is a Jew. And every person who thinks they are Jewish Christians can define themselves that way, despite the objections of apostates.
I like it - very logically developed.
Strat

Word verification: "quickies"

Isaac said...

Dan,

So then perhaps it should have been said that: "The center of authority in the OT is never simply those who claim to be prophets, priests, or kings but rather those who claim to speak for God, whose prophetic words come true. Therefore, the center is always the word of God as spoken through his prophets." ?

I know you like to trim the verbal fat :D but I want to be clear on the definitions for your words... Especially for this topic, since we believe that the Bible's proximate origin was man, though ultimately from God.

A couple more issues, if you'll indulge me: These messianic/former messianic guys I mentioned are very keen on the numerology of the scriptures as they are written in Hebrew and they have often used it to infer meaning or significance that isn't really clear from a straightforward narrative-style reading of the text.

I am very leery of this sort of thing and it seems like it is really a sort of divination they are practicing, though I don't have much solid logical support for this claim. When I (or others) have spoken to them about it, they reason in a way that I am unfamiliar with, having been spent much of my life in decidedly Western academic-type settings.

My initial response to their numerological analyses been to compare them to the apostle Paul, who was himself a very good sacrificial Jew. "Paul didn't do this type of analysis, so you shouldn't either," is the sort of thing I said.

The retort went something like, "The New Testament books were originally written in Hebrew. I can tell because I am a Hebrew expert and I know the marks of translation from Hebrew when I see it. Plus, the writers of the NT were Jews, you think they wouldn't write it down in their native language? The authority of the New Testament is therefore compromised because much of the original meaning that might have been there was likely lost when it was translated to Greek. Much like how your Biblical books (OT and NT) were analysed and explained by non-canonical persons (such as Luther), so have our Hebrew scriptures by successive rabbis."

How would you (plural, not just Dan) approach these issue when confronted with them? I, myself was not raised a Jew and read neither Greek nor Hebrew.

stratagem said...

PS: Oh and I meant to say one more thing:

I guess there is no reason there couldn't be a blog called Biblical Judaism, correct? It's just that its including Jesus as Messiah would surprise (and perhaps infuriate) a lot of apostate "Jews."

Stefan said...

Gematria (Hebrew numerology) is so arcane and so antithetical to the gist of doctrine of justification by faith upon the hearing of a clear proclamation of the Gospel, that I find it hard to believe that Paul (let alone any of the other Apostles) would have engaged in such practices.

...Letting alone the question of which language the New Testament was written, and don't get Dan started on that. ;) It's quite probable that the books were originally written in Greek, but using turns of phrase among Greek-speaking Jews that would have had their antecedents in Hebrew, or perhaps even Aramaic.

And the fact that virtually all Old Testament citations in the New Testament use or allude to the Septuagint's wording only helps the case for Greek authorship.

trogdor said...

Isaac,

I'm not sure what you mean by 'numerology' - is it similar to the Bible Code fad that hit a while ago? If so, I guess I would start by axing how they're doing with the stuff that's plainly and unambiguously written. Are they claiming to have reached such a level of holy perfection on the clear commands and precepts that they need to search for new, secret, hidden commands?

As for the supposed Hebrew originals of the NT, I would axe where they are. Locked away with Q in the secret vault in the Vatican? Their claim requires proof, can they provide as much as a shred?

As for why they'd write in Greek instead of Hebrew, that should be fairly obvious - who were they writing to? Do they really expect that Gentiles in Rome would fluently speak an obscure language from a tiny backwater province over a thousand miles away? Even with the books that were written primarily to Jewish audiences, they were living in areas where Greek was the dominant/trade language that everyone spoke. Why write in a language only a few hundred or thousand people in Galatia and Cappadocia will understand, instead of in the language everyone there spoke?

Of course, it's all a moot discussion anyway, since we know it was all originally written in King James English.

Stefan said...

Nothing to do with the discussion, but as a one-time deluded Jesus Seminar fan, I loved this:

"Locked away with Q in the secret vault in the Vatican?"

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Sheer brilliance.

Isaac said...

Stefan: Gematria! I didn't have a name for it. Now I can learn a bit more about it before engaging them again.

... virtually all Old Testament citations in the New Testament use or allude to the Septuagint's wording only helps the case for Greek authorship.

Very interesting! Can anyone confirm this?

trogdor: I am peripherally aware of the Bible Code junk and yes, I think what they are doing is similar. About the alleged original Hebrew texts, my first question was, "Where are they?" But that sounding facetious to my own ears since I don't ask for original Greek manuscripts either.

Also, Matthew, Mark and John (dunno about Luke?) were certainly Jews and they lived not in Greece but in Israel. They, like the other apostles except for Paul, preached primarily to Jewish audiences. I don't see a clear case for the Gospels being written to Gentiles, but that's a peripheral point.

If Stefan is correct, the OT references are a much stronger bit of evidence than possible inferred behavior.

Sorry to have asked such specific, thread skewing questions but I've already asked these of my pastor and a few others and came away with weak answers. My next stop was going to be Jews for Jesus. :D

Stefan said...

Isaac:

I'd like Dan to chime in on this, because he's better versed in this kind of thing.

Regarding gematria, it's a very old practice (dating at least to the middle ages, if not earlier), but that doesn't make it any more legitimate.

...And although it's benign enough in and of itself, it's related to kabbalah (also an old practice of Jewish mysticism), which is very definitely occultic in nature.

Trogdor:

You encapsulated the whole of 20th century pop Bible "scholarship" in a single sentence!

Stefan said...

...I mean, for Dan to chime in on the original language of the New Testament, and the influence of the Septuagint on it.

Stefan said...

Isaac:

One of the best online resources for the role of the Septuagint in the early church is R. Grant Jones' Notes on the Septuagint.

It may be a little hard to navigate in a linear fashion, so he has also provided a PDF version of the whole website: PDF version.

Gary said...

Isaac: If Jesus originally spoke Aramaic/Hebrew and it was translated to Greek, the translation would make him sound like a Jewish person speaking Greek.

If Jesus spoke Greek, he'd sound like a Jewish person speaking Greek. So, in both cases, he'd sound pretty much the same in Greek.

It doesn't matter if someone is Jewish and claims to be a "Hebrew expert," in this case. The Sermon on the Mount, at least as we have it, is poetic in Greek. The poetry could not be reproduced or improved upon by any theoretical reconstruction in Hebrew or Aramaic.

"The eye is the light of the body." This phrase in Greek has the definite article ("the") three times, three nouns, and what's more, each noun ends in -os. The alliteration would be lost in Hebrew/Aramaic. What follows is "So, if your eye is 'good,' your whole body is light. But if your eye is 'bad,' your whole body is darkness."

There's a pun here, since the word for 'good' can also mean "generous," and having a "bad/evil eye" means "to be jealous/stingy." The passage is not about eye health at all, but rather about generosity with money.

Of course, this is utterly lost in translation in Hebrew or Aramaic (or English), so there is no way this statement could have originally been anything other than Greek. Alliteration is a poetic device that almost never carries over. Double-entendre usually won't carry over, either.

Your friends would be interested to read Matthew in Greek. Matthew loves the numbers 3 and 4 and engages in very creative numerical arrangements -- though I don't think he's trying to attach mystical significance to it.

stratagem said...

You guys have obviously never read the book "Theomatics" by Jerry Lucas

Sir Aaron said...

Isaac:

Just off the top of my head, wasn't Mark written in Italy and intended for Gentiles who wouldn't have spoken Hebrew? And, if I recall correctly, Luke was written to Theophilus. I'm no language expert, but Theophilus doesn't sound Hebrew to me.

Isaac said...

Sir Aaron: You could be right and I wrong. Having been attending church virtually every Sunday of my life but only recently grasping faith Jesus Christ, grace and the forgiveness of sins, I hardly consider myself an expert in these matters... Which is why I'm asking questions. :D

I am very interested in being educated in good Biblical scholarship, but being a candidate for a PhD in biology doesn't leave much time for in-depth study. Yet another reason to be here asking questions.

I welcome correction.

Aaron Snell said...

Isaac:

... virtually all Old Testament citations in the New Testament use or allude to the Septuagint's wording only helps the case for Greek authorship.

Very interesting! Can anyone confirm this?


Sure, I can. This is common knowledge in NT studies.

Also, Matthew, Mark and John (dunno about Luke?) were certainly Jews and they lived not in Greece but in Israel. They, like the other apostles except for Paul, preached primarily to Jewish audiences.

Not true. Mark was a part of Paul and Barnabas' missionary efforts to the Gentiles.

I don't see a clear case for the Gospels being written to Gentiles, but that's a peripheral point.

Well, there are actually many lines of evidence, both internal and external, for the Gospels (particularly Mark, Luke & John) having been written to a Gentile audience. For example, Mark on several occasions explains Jewish and Palestinian customs, as well as Aramaic linguistic issues, in the text (e.g., Mark 5:41, 7:3-4). This would be superfluous had the audience been Jews of Palestine.

Hope this helps, even if it is a tangent! :)

Aaron Snell said...

Isaac:

One more thing - if you want to get your feet wet with a good overview of all these issues relating to the authorship and audience of the NT books, I'd recommend Dan Wallace's outlines here.

Isaac said...

Aaron Snell : Thanks for clearing some of that up. :)

Perhaps a good set of commentaries would help me educate some of my ignorance and keep my tangents out of the meta. Recommendations?

Also Dan: Could you provide any additional details on the original written NT language + Septuagint influence? Maybe with a book title or author thrown in? ;)

Isaac said...

I went to that Dan Wallace link and WOW, awesome stuff. Perfect starting point for me, I think. Thanks again!

Stefan said...

Isaac wrote:

"Having been attending church virtually every Sunday of my life but only recently grasping faith Jesus Christ, grace and the forgiveness of sins,..."

Praise God and welcome home!

Also regarding writing for Gentile (or at least mixed Jewish and Gentile) audiences, there was an interesting threefold phenomenon in Jewish culture at Jesus' time, that had a direct impact on the spread of the Gospel:

(1) There were Jewish communities throughout the Mediterranean, many of them (at least outside of Judea) probably Greek-speaking;

(2) Synagogues were at the heart of these communities—both inside and outside Judea—serving as a proxy for Temple worship, and as the locus and template for much of early Christian worship. (Note the many mentions of synagogue services in the Gospels and Acts.)

Our modern order of worship—songs, Scripture reading, and sermons—all goes back to first-century synagogue practice.

(3) There was a relatively large number of Gentile converts to Judaism as well as Gentile "God fearers" (e.g., Cornelius in Acts 10:2, 22), who were part of these worship communities.

(4) As Jews and Gentiles in these communities heard the Gospel and came to faith in Christ—and as tensions developed with those who did not believe that Jesus was and is the Messiah—then these Christian communities began to go their separate paths, with their own places of worship.

God used the means of these dispersed, synagogue-based, mixed communities to serve as the birthplace for many of the earliest Christian communities, and as a network of communities that was prepared to receive and spread the Gospel.

So it is entirely conceivable that the Apostles and Evangelists wrote in Greek, to communicate not only with Gentile believers, but even with Jewish believers as well, at least in the Diaspora.

Sir Aaron said...

Isaac:

BibleGateway. I think you can see a few commentaries there including a general overview of the author, audience, and intent of each book of the Bible. The bottom line is that most of the books of the New Testament clearly had to be written in Greek just because of their intended audience. And my bet is that for many Jews, especially those living outside Israel at the time, Greek was their native language.

DJP said...

Isaac and anyone:

The NT was written in Greek. We have over 5000 Greek manuscripts of varying portions, going back as far as the second century. There is no witness for any other original, except a very ambiguous early tradition about Matthew only.

But the Greek is the original. There are indeed wordplays and shadings that would be meaningless in Hebrew or Aramaic. The style is similar to the Septuagint, all part of the broader Koinē (common) dialect of the time.

Interestingly, the first four verses of Luke's Gospel are quite literary, elevated in style. Then it goes back to a style reminiscent of the Septuagint. I think (un-originally, I'm sure) that's what happens when Luke starts using the interviews he'd collected over the years, from Mary and others.

As to numerology, when we say it's "old" we mean in the Christian era. I don't think there is evidence of it pre-dating Christ. In fact, there is no hard evidence even of using Hebrew letters as numbers, before about the second century BC. (I encountered that fact working on my Proverbs book.)

As to Bible version, the NT speakers/writers most often use some version of the Septuagint. Sometimes they make their own translation apparently, or a version we haven't yet sourced.

Hope that's of some help.

trogdor said...

Isaac,

I've heard very good things about this book recently as a good source for the sort of questions you have. I've not personally read it (or the longer version), but based on the authors it's almost certainly thorough and good.

Pastor Pants said...

Another great post, Dan. Surely your most productive day ever!

This was a fine apologetic for Jews - I'm praying I'll get a chance to use it!

Stefan said...

I want to get my hands on Beale's and Carson's (editors) exhaustive Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, but I can't justify the expense right now.

Isaac said...

Awesome guys! ^_^ Thanks for the clarification and link/book recommendations. I will investigate them all.

Jacob said...

DJP - Fascinating. Loved how you brought it all together.

Boerseuntjie said...

Romans 2:29

"But he is a Jew, which is one INWARDLY; and circumcision is THAT OF THE HEART, IN THE SPIRIT, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."

Indeed when Paul (Saul of Tarsus) who was a member of the Sanhederin and a student of Galmaliel speaks - a True Jew would attend carefully their heart.

As to the New Covenant replacement - may I just make mention that the New Covenant was Operative in the Torah - lest we somehow lead ourselves to believe that The Spirit did not convert the Old Testament/Tahnakh saints the same way He has consistently operated since Messiah.

Salvation has always been the Gift of YAHWEH by His Covenant of Mercy/Grace Alone, through the Person and work of Messiah JESUS Alone applied by the Gift of Repentant Faith Alone...
What has changed is the veil of the Gospel being lifted through the Testimony of our Messiah Himself being visible as Immanuel amongst us.


I love how Deuteronomy, Romans 9-11 and Galatians expound upon the Faithful Jew who is a man whose Heart is circumcised from sin and self.

Thank you for this useful topic and the Scriptural rebuke to those who oppose the true hearted Jew - who is by definition a follower of Messiah JESUS - a Christian Messianic.

Your fellow bondslave by the mercies gifted us in JESUS Alone,
W

Barbara said...

21 years ago I was a young adult woman who had an awful lot of questions about such things as that,and I remember asking a pastor that very question - "What about the Jews? Are they going to Hell just because they don't believe?" and the answer I got satisifed me but left me in a spiral toward deeper darkness. If somebody had sat down with me and showed me this from the Scripture, a miracle might have transpired and I and my then-future children might have been spared 19 years of carnage before I was to hear the truth.

DJP said...

That is a touching word, Barbara. Thank you for sharing it.

stratagem said...

#1 Barbara - I second Dan's comment... isn't that so true of all of us... we would spare ourselves no limit of heartbreak if we heeded the Word. And, no matter how many times I remind myself that people don't go to Hell "just because they didn't believe such-and-such" (which is intended to make God look like the bad guy) and they do go to Hell because of their own sin, I am always momentarily paralyzed every time someone throws that old canard out, whether it is in regard to Jews or Gentiles. Oy vey.

#2 I'm telling you, you must read Theomatics! I read it when I was a teenager and it still is amazing how God worked a mathematical structure into the Word. The person who wrote it was a professional basketball player and well-qualified... because he is a Christian. lol Good book, though.

Barbara said...

Stratagem, I agree with you now that I understand that it goes deeper than that. But people hear a watered-down gospel, they don't get the meat of it from the Scripture and aren't being taught the whys and wherefores of these kinds of things and how they always point back to the promised Messiah, the root and descendant of David who is the only one who is qualified to redeem, and so they're just left to wander around in that murky darkness. They're in need of compassion and mercy like the rest of us. I grew up in church - bunches of 'em (liberal mainline denomination preacher's kid who just simply didn't know the difference). It's not always a canard when people are genuinely trying to understand - it's just a result of being in darkness and therefore in need of some Light. When that Light comes and shines on these things and we can see what the Rock looks like, then we can really see that what we've been building our houses on - windows and all - is really just sand. But not 'till then.

Boerseuntjie said...

I have been racking my mind and reading quite a bit to find the following Torah references that are Hugely relevant to these new Covenant blessings we receive through our Mediator and High Priest JESUS (I hope it will bless you as it has me):

Deuteronomy 30:6
"And YAHWEH your God will CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEART and the heart of your descendants, TO LOVE YAHWEH your God WITH ALL YOUR HEART and with ALL YOUR SOUL, that you may live."

Deuteronomy 10:12-21
"And now, Israel, what doth YAHWEH thy God REQUIRE OF THEE, but to FEAR YAHWEH thy God, to WALK IN ALL HIS WAYS, and TO LOVE HIM, and TO SERVE YAHWEH thy God WITH ALL THY HEART and with ALL THY SOUL,

To keep the commandments of YAHWEH, and his statutes, which I command thee this day FOR THY GOOD?

Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is YAHWEH's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.

Only YAHWEH had a DELIGHT in thy fathers TO LOVE them, and HE CHOSE their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.

[16]
CIRCUMCISE THERFORE the foreskin of YOUR HEART, and be no more stiffnecked.

For YAHWEH your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.

Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Thou shalt fear YAHWEH thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.

He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen."

Jeremiah 31:31-34
"Behold, the days come, saith YAHWEH, that I will make a new covenant WITH THE HOUSE OF Israel, AND WITH THE HOUSE OF Judah:

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith YAHWEH:

But THIS SHALL BE THE COVENANT that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith YAHWEH, I will PUT MY LAW IN THEIR INWARD PARTS, and WRITE IT IN THEIR HEARTS; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know YAHWEH: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith YAHWEH: for I WILL FORGIVE THEIR INIQUITY, and I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SIN NO MORE."

>>>

Boerseuntjie said...

>>>

Jeremiah 4:2-4
“And you shall swear, ‘YAHWEH lives,’
In truth, in judgment, and in righteousness;
The nations shall bless themselves in Him,
And in Him they shall glory.”

For thus says YAHWEH to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:

“ Break up your fallow ground,
And do not sow among thorns.
CIRCUMCISE YOURSELVES to YAHWEH,
And TAKE AWAY the foreskins of your hearts,
You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
Lest My fury come forth like fire,
And burn so that no one can quench it,
Because of the evil of your doings.””

Zechariah 12:10
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, THE SPIRIT OF GRACE AND SUPPLICATIONS: and THEY SHALL LOOK UPON ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Romans 11:24-28
"For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: HOW MUCH MORE SHALL THESE, which be the NATURAL BRANCHES, be grafted into THEIR OWN OLIVE TREE?

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that BLINDNESS IN PART IS HAPPENED TO Israel, UNTIL the FULNES OF THE Gentiles BE COME IN.

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness FROM JACOB:

For THIS IS MY COVENANT UNTO THEM, WHEN I SHALL TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes."

All glory Alone be to our Triune God: Father and Son -our Messiah JESUS and Spirit of grace and truth!

Your fellow grafted shoot in The Root of Jesse and David,
W

stratagem said...

I agree with that. I grew up in a family that wasn't particularly evangelical or religious, and in fact most were probably best described as agnostic. It took decades for me to get even the basics straight after I was saved as a teen mostly through contact with my brother and the working of the Spirit within.
As far as the canard, I was referring to those people (and they are many) who use that canard to make God out to be the bad guy rather than honestly seeking the answer to anything.

David said...

This pertains to so few people that I don't understand the need for the debate. Paul told us who a Jew was. I'll go with his definition.

I guess from a theological standpoint, it gets to the covenantal view of the Church. That the bride of Christ displaces and spiritually becomes the Jewish nation. But, nothing in the debate has any real practical implications except for perhaps the extent to which you support the nation of Israel.

Isaac said...

This pertains to so few people that I don't understand the need for the debate.

I don't see a debate but I am very glad that God doesn't share your opinion. I, for one, am extremely grateful that he is willing to leave the 99 to find the one missing sheep.

jmb said...

Thanks, Dan, for stating it so clearly.

Of course, the Talmud is not inspired, but I find the following to be fascinating:

Talmud, Yoma 39b:

"Our Rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-coloured strap become white; nor did the westernmost light shine; and the doors of the Hekal [Temple] would open by themselves,"

The crimson strap was tied onto the head of the goat that symbolically received the sins of the people, the scapegoat (Lev 16). To prevent it from returning, the goat would be led off a cliff. Until Jesus' sacrifice, the strap always turned white, indicating God's acceptance of the sacrifice for the sins of the people. After His sacrifice, it remained red, apparently because God no longer required animal sacrifices. Nevertheless, the sacrifices continued for another 40 years, until the destruction of the Temple, despite the fact that the cord always remained red.

The extinguishing of the light may have indicated tht God's Presence was no longer in the Temple. The opening doors may meant, as did the splitting of the curtain in the sanctuary, that believers were now free to enter into God's presence because their Priest was now Jesus.

As I said, the Talmud is not Scripture, but its difficult to see what its writers would gain by fabricating this.

The historian Josephus also wrote about the opening doors.

David -

"I guess from a theological standpoint, it gets to the covenantal view of the Church. That the bride of Christ displaces and spiritually becomes the Jewish nation."

By this, are you saying that the church is "spiritual Israel?"

DJP said...

A bit distracted today, I missed David's off--topic remark:

I guess from a theological standpoint, it gets to the covenantal view of the Church. That the bride of Christ displaces and spiritually becomes the Jewish nation

Yes, "replacement theology" is the covenantal viewpoint, though not all will say it as baldly as you did. It is not the Biblical viewpoint. Nor is it the topic of the post.

I'm calling that topic pointed, counterpointed, and closed. Back to the post, please. I mean it.

Stefan said...

JMB:

Yes!!!

I got shivers up my spine the first time I read of that passage from the Talmud, and it sealed my conviction, a few weeks after I came to faith in Christ.

Here were men who had no vested interest in saying anything good about Jesus Christ or His followers, and passed this story without comment or theological extrapolation...

...And yet it so completely fits the doctrine of Jesus Christ's once-for-all sacrifical atonement for the forgiveness of sins!

Boerseuntjie said...
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