Monday, July 26, 2010

On the subject of a "unique calling"

" 4 Although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eight day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecuter of the Church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as a loss for the sake of Messiah. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Yeshua Hamashiach my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Messiah. (Philip. 3:5-8, NASB).

Allowing Scriptures to interpret Scriptures the text speaks for itself. Paul is proud of his heritage and pedegree, but count it all rubbish for the sake of Messiah. What things were gain to Paul? Can we include Rom. 9:4-5 in the list? One does not need a special long commentary to understand what the plain meaning of the text say: Paul does not consider one's "original calling" as something "unique."

Let's look at other passage in the same context:

"17 Only as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And thus I direct in all the churches. 18 Was any man called already circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called." (1 Cor. 17-20, NASB).

Again, allowing Scriptures to interpret themselves without performing all kind of theological gymnastics V. 19 is clear: circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing. Once again we can see that for Paul one's "unique calling" does not have any meaning.

Messianic Judaism UMJC style affirm Paul's admonition to remain In one's original calling, but then they fall in the mud of "do what we say, but don't do what we do."
By sunctionig Conversions for Gentiles they openly show their disregard for Paul's "rule for the Churches." How can they convert people and still teach that one should remain in his/her "original calling?" Their answer, the way I see it is, anytime some sticky issue arises, the Three organizations who are all under the UMJC Umbrella (MJTI, Hashivenue, and the MJRC)are divesting themselves from each other. Of course it does not solve problems. It is obvious that something in their theology smells.

Derek Leman says that the term "rule" means "generally" and that David Rudolph who is a friend is supporting his decision. then, maybe I did not quite understand Rudolph's question in the 1st page of his article? "Should a teaching that Paul considered IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO BE UNIVERSAL RULE be almost universally neglected by contemporary Christians?" (Emphsize mine).

So there we have it (or maybe I should say "I have it"). Having said all this, I just want to join others in commanding David Rudolph for writing an article that provoks us to think.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The time has come?

Here is an amazing article written by a non-Jew. As an Israeli Jew it certainly grabed my attention. Is this the time to built the Temple? What are you readers think?

Jews, Take me to Your Leader... and to His House

The following powerful and eloquent statement, written by a righteous Gentile, is beautiful proof that the entire world of G-d fearers anxiously awaits, prays for, and works toward the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, "a house of prayer for all nations." (Isaiah 56:7)

So what's a nice non-Jewish girl like me, living in the heart of the Bible-belt, doing mourning the destruction of the Temple? I'm mourning because somewhere deep inside, I get it. At least to the point that a non-Jewish girl living in the heart of the Bible-belt can get it. And just what exactly do I get? That the Temple is the key to everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Want to save the planet? Build the Temple.

I know, I know. This is not a very popular idea among many people. Excuses abound. Theologies contradict. Religious factions threaten. Modern-day intellectuals dismiss. But, really, there is only One opinion that counts. G-d chose Jerusalem as His abode forever. Forever didn't expire in 2010, so I think it's safe to assume that He still wants a Temple.

For some Jews, the idea of the Temple is antiquated. They believe ideas such as: That was then, this is now. We are too sophisticated for a Temple. In our day and age the Temple is just a spiritual concept, therefore a physical structure isn't needed. The animal sacrifices performed at the Temple are outdated and barbaric. The Temple will simply drop down from Heaven when the time is right. Nothing should be done until the Messiah is revealed, etc.

For many Christians, the idea of the Temple is just a means to an end. They believe ideas such as: The Temple is only important regarding the prophetic time clock. The Temple will be built, but only so the apocalyptical figure, the anti-Christ, can make it his throne. We are the Temple of G-d so there is no need for a physical structure. Animal sacrifices are no longer needed, so why have a Temple? Who cares about the Temple, I'm due to be raptured any minute, etc.

Yet, despite all of the excuses and diverse beliefs, G-d asked for a house on earth. Even King Solomon was a little surprised by such a request. The King of the Universe wants a house on a mount in Israel? "But even the heavens can't contain you, much less this house I've built," he said. He was right, kind of. Yes, this entire universe is like a quark, the smallest particle known, compared to the vastness of G-d. But the thing is, G-d likes to interact with humans. How does He do that? By allowing us to experience His presence. And He designated one specific spot on earth for the majority of His presence to be felt and experienced. The Temple.

If G-d wants a Temple to house His presence, who are we to argue? He left blueprints for the house. King David bought the "lot" for the house. (I suspect Dayan might have gotten a bit of a tongue-lashing after departing this world for giving partial control of the lot back into the hands of, ahem, how shall we say, the "neighbors.") But the point is, Israel, you have the blueprints, you have the lot, so what are you waiting for? If you build it, His presence will come. That is why the Temple is the key to EVERYTHING. "Sing and be glad, Israel, for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst. Many nations will join themselves to Me on that day... Hashem will choose Jerusalem again."

Every human carries a divine spark within them. Some make choices that continually diminish that spark, while others make choices that continually expand that spark. We all have the potential to be vessels of Hashem's presence. What is the result of His presence within us? Peace, genuine love, generosity, mercy, kindness, forgiveness . . . you know the feeling. The feeling of doing the right thing, of governing your life with wisdom, of divine love shaping your relationships; all resulting from His presence in our lives. But we are only human, therefore we are capable of housing only so much of His presence. There is a need for so much more of His presence in the world. But where is the vessel to contain that presence? It is missing. It is the Temple.

The Temple will be the focal point of all of G-d's presence, or at least as much as this physical world can contain. The intensity of His presence will change everything. There will be no a question of Who the One true G-d is. There will be no question of who the land belongs to, much less what the borders to that land are. Our striving to know G-d, to focus on Him and the things that really matter will become so much easier.

Our souls run on batteries, so to speak, that continually need to recharge. And thankfully we have the guidance of G-d's Word and the teachings of the sages to show us how to recharge. But when the Temple is here, it will be THE power station. It will be the place where G-d's energy is directly poured onto the earth, which will then emanate to the every square inch of the earth. People from all over the world will travel to Jerusalem to experience His presence first-hand, "It will happen, the mountain of the Temple of G-d will be firmly established as the head of the mountains, and it will be exalted and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will say, 'Come, let us go up to the Mountain of Hashem, to the Temple of the G-d of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in the paths.' For from Zion will the Torah come forth, the word of Hashem from Jerusalem. He will judge among the nations, and will settle the arguments of many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation will not lift sword against nation and they will no longer study warfare."

People flocking to Israel, world-wide problems being solved, warfare ending; all for a reason. Because the Temple is rebuilt. Do most Jews view Isaiah's vision as a fairytale or as an allegory? Because the majority of Jews don't seem to be rushing to build the Temple. Nor do they regularly visit the place that the Temple once stood. Even the secular voices of the Israeli police and intelligence community have expressed what an impact it would be for Jews to visit the Temple Mount. Authorities said, "If only more Jews would visit the Temple Mount on a regular basis, the entire balance of power would shift. There would be a paradigm shift; the attitude of the government and the police would be different towards the Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount. The Muslim terror would be abated." They ended by saying, "Many Jewish people visiting the Temple Mount would be the cure to the overall security situation." I don't know if it would be the overall cure, but at least it would be a very good start.

Jews, it's time for you to recognize and fulfill you role, (which some of you are doing with all of your heart and soul). You are special. You are chosen. You are the designated builders of the throne of The King of the Universe. But the job isn't getting done, therefore He asks, "Is this the time for you to sit in your own houses, while my House is in ruins?" That's a powerful question that deserves to be answered. Groups like Habit for Humanity build a house in a few days for homeless people. How long has G-d been homeless in Jerusalem? Nearly two thousand years. It's time for a Habitat for Hashem. His presence has been homeless for far too long.

I hope and pray that this will be the last year that anyone mourns on the 9th of Av. "Hashem, Master of Legions says: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth month will be to the House of Judah for joy and gladness and for happy festivals... In those days it will happen that men, of all the different languages of the nations, will take hold, they will take hold of the corner of the garment of a Jewish man, saying, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you!'" I've grabbed ahold. Now are you going to start moving? Take me to your Leader. Take me to where He lives. We, the nations, are waiting. So is He.

This article was written by Camie Davis.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On the subject of conversion

The subject of conversion is up again on the blogsphare. Within the Messianic Jewish camp they put a high degree of importance to conversion. They seem to think that ethnicity can be changed with one cut. If this were the situation, then millions of Arabs would be Jews today.....

I know, I know, some of you would say: " Hey, Dan, circumcision is not the only component of conversion, there is acceptance of the Mizvot, immerssion, and acceptance of God's sovereignty." You are right of course, so let's imagine what would have happened if Ruth the Moavite would have requested to attain Israeli citizenship, where conversion-Giyur- is a political football for decades now.

Taken from an article by Reuven Hammer in the Jerusalem post 6/1/2009:

"...Please show us your conversion certificat. What rabbinical court issued it? What Jewish community does it represent? No beit din? So who converted you? Where did you study and what? Was the program a year long, and did it consist of at least 360 hours? No course at all? You said something about "your people, my people, your God my God" and that was it? What is this, a joke? Did you remain in the Moave Jewish community for a year afterwards? No? You say you had a Jewish husband-OK- but he is dead so that does not give you any rights. No, mothers-in-law don't count. Look, it is pretty obvious that you are simply one of those foreign workers looking for a job in agriculture that pays better than what you could earn in Moav. That is exactly what we're afraid of. Back to Moav with you.

So much for David and the Messiah! Obviously at the time of the writing of the book of Ruth, conversion as we know it did not exist-although later interpretations sought to read it into the book. See, for example, Yevamot 47b. The Torah envisions non-Israelites living in the land and after a period of generations some of them could become part of "the community of the Lord" (Deut. 23:4). The book of Ruth seems to posit this happening immediately when a person actively desire it. During and after the Second Temple period Jewish law gradually CREATED conversion as we know it, with a formal ceremony before the court."

So there you have it. And since in Israel Orthodox Judaism has control (see Agudat Harabbanim decision from 1997 where they decided that Reform, and Conservative are out of the sphare of Judaism), I don't think that Derek Leman's conversion is worth the paper it was written on.

Another point that Hummer says just put me in stitches...

" "After all, fancifully and anachronistically our tradition has even read conversion much further back than Ruth in our history. It asserts that Abraham and Sarah led conversion classes. He taught men, she the women. (Genesis Rabba 39:5)."

Can you hear him Gene Shlomovich? This guy is a Jew, and he is not One-Law....

Monday, July 12, 2010

What next?

Musing on the subject of Jews and Gentiles in the body of Messiah.

The line in the sand has been drawn. The battle lines has been marked. The arguments have been long and drawn out, mostly in an un-civil manner. (guilty as charged). Now the time has come for an assessment, at least for me at this point.

Messianic Judaism as we know it today was formed as a JEWISH, I repeat, a Jewish organization. Note the emphasis is on the word Jewish. A communist JEWISH organization or a satanic JEWISH organization are first, and foremost a JEWISH organizations, and as such Messianic Judaism as a Jewish organization has the right to operate along Jewish lines. It means they can deny non-Jews an equal standing in their congregations, or if they want they can exclude Gentiles completely from their midst. It is their right. Just like the state of Israel has the right as a Jewish state to refuse Aliyah to non-Jews.

The fact that Messianic Judaism is erring according to Scriptures, or that their aim (to become a part of mainstream Judaism) is laughable, or that some gullible Gentiles are willing to be treated as second class citizens, is another matter. What matter at this moment in the history of "Messianism" is that Messianic Judaism UMJC, and MJTI style are a Judaism and it is their right to discriminate against non-Jews.

So where do we go from here?
I, as a Jewish person am appalled by this racist, prideful attitude. Years ago, when we saw in our community what is coming, we changed our title from a "Messianic Jewish congregation" to a "Messianic Torah community." We agreed that we will not be caught dead identifying with such an abomination. So let us, who reject the "Deja-Vu all over again" error of the book of Acts, form our own organization, an organization where Jew and Gentile can truly be fellow heirs, and not be counted within an organization where Jews are more "fellow" and Gentiles are less "heirs."

Hope to hear from you my fellow heirs.

P.S. If some in the MJ camp think I am a bit harsh here, well, I meant to be.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I am reading Shaye Cohen's "From the Maccabees to the Mishnah." A very detailed and fascinating journey into the history, and theology of the Judaism of these periods. I find that at least for myself, every chapter requires a second and sometime a third reading in order for me to grasp all the nuances of each period.

In Chapter 5 Cohen is quoting Josephus on the subject of Fate.

"Now at this time there were these schools of thought among the Jews, which held different opinions concerning human affairs; the first being that of the Pharisees, the second that of the Saducees, and the third that of of the Essenes. as for the Pharisees, they say that certain events are the work of Fate, but not all; as to other events, it depends upon ourselves whether they shall take place or not. The sect of the Essenes, however, declares that Fate is the mistress of all things, and that nothing befalls men unless in accordance with her decree. But the Saducees do away with Fate, holding that there is no such thing and that human actions are not achieved in accordance with her decree, but that all things lie within our own power."

This is interesting at least for me since I did not know of such divisions on the matter of Fate. How do you readers feel about it? Any opinions?

It will be also interesting to find out if in today's Judaism there are differences between the branches on the subject.
Another question to ponder, does Fate stands in the way of faith?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We cannot forget who is the Boss.

We aregue beliefs, and theology, sometimes in uncivil manner I have to admit. But there is one thing that unite us, and that is the centrality of Yeshua in our faith. This is one thing we cannot forget.

For sometime, Derek Leman is presenting podcasts on Yeshua in context and now he is coming up with a book by that name. I did not follow all the podcasts, but I think Derek has something to offer. I know, many of you would not believe it, but I intend to purchas a copy.

Here is where you can find more about it:

Any book on the life and times of our master is worth reading.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Going to the dogs.....

We have two dogs. We got the first one at 8 Mts. old from a family where she has been very much neglected. We renamed her Netanya. She is a pure bread Bichon Frise and looks like it. We got our second Dog later on, at 2 yer. old. We kept her name Sweetpea. She came with papers from the kennel club that certify her as a pure bread Bichon Frise. Turned out she is not. She is a mix Bichon and Poodle. A Bichon wannabe......

The other day I was observing the two, remembering their history in our house. When Sweetpea arrived, Netanya did not receive her warmly, in a matter of fact she was down right hostile to the point of terrorizing Sweetpea. And I got to thinking, Netanya is used to be the only kahoonah in our house. By now she thinks, either she is a human, or we are Bichons. She somehow senses that Sweetpea is different. In her rants and raves could Netanya be saying to Sweetpea: "Hey, you are not like us, you are different, you do not belong here. If you stay here and we follow your ways there is the danger for us to become poddles like you.....You are not welcomed here go and find yourself another home where they have poodles like you...can't you see, if you stay here after a while we are all going to become mutts......

Today, of course, it is different. Both dogs learned to live together under the same roof, eat the same food, share the same toys, and follow the same house rules.

The assemblies that the Apostle Paul started were comprised of Gentiles and Jews. Were they housed in two separate buildings, one for Jew and the other for Gentile? When he admonished Jew and Gentile to "come as you are," what did Paul mean by that?

Was he at all concerned "how will it play in Jerusalem?"

Did Paul knew how to pronounce "bilateral ecclesiology?"