Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Hebrew word tikvah might just have been an important word to a scholar named Tikva Frymer-Kensky, the original author of The JPS Bible Commentary: Ruth. Frymer-Kensky died before the completion of her commentary which was completed by her student, Tamara Cohn Eskenazi. Obviously Tikva Frymer-Kensky had a personal investment in the word תִקְוָה tikvah, the…

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Andy Stanley is a leader whose shadow covers this entire city of Atlanta and its suburbs. As far as I know he has more congregants than any pastor in America except Joel Osteen. And I have personally seen the commitment of his church, Northpoint Community, to loving neighbor and giving food and money to people…

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Galatians takes us other places besides its overarching issue of Jew and Gentile, Torah and Messiah. The reason is that understanding the role of a Gentile in God’s redemptive promise requires knowing what Messiah has provided for everyone, how we are to live life now, and a peek into mysteries about our identity. There is…

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The following article is by one of my students, Krista. If her story doesn’t amaze you, I will be amazed. . . . . . . . “Men plan; God laughs,” says a Yiddish proverb. Things haven’t turned out as I expected them to. And for that I thank God. We moved to the Czech…

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There is a principle for reading the Bible that I think is simple, yet it has been undermined by a false idea. Recently a reader emailed about this principle (on my old blog this was a classic article) saying it could be a positive contribution that Messianic Judaism makes to the Christian world. He said…

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Non-Jews who believe in God and Messiah are a last days miracle according to Paul and James. Prophets foresaw their arrival in dreams and visions. These prophetic dreams found partial realizations at times, especially in Jerusalem, as Gentiles were attracted by the Temple and the light of monotheism. But in the early days of the…

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The use of forms, appearances, and manifestations of God in the Hebrew Bible seems to be a way of saying God enters the world without abandoning his unlimited, omnipresent rule over all things that exist. In Exodus 24 the elders of Israel see God. The story of what they see is shrouded in mystery. When…

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An excerpt from my 2014 book, Divine Messiah . . . Most people who have believed in Yeshua have not seen visions of his heavenly glory. Only a relative few saw such things in the early years. What came down to us is the record of people who believed something because they saw them. The…

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Magnus Zetterholm’s theory is bold. It is precisely the opposite of the common view. Where did the name Christians come from? Most think it grew within a new religion of Jesus-believers as a way of distinguishing themselves from Jews and pagans. Not so, says Zetterholm. The label came instead from what people started calling a…

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Misinformation in some cases has become the standard view of God and the Bible. Last week I posted “Our Deeds Are Not Filthy Rags” (see it here). A related misconception is that God could care less about the quality of your character and deeds, but only wants to give undeserved favor to everyone. Grace. “God’s…

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All Israel witnessed the thundering and lightning, the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking. –Exodus 20:15 (18) After the Exodus, the people saw and heard the Presence of God on Mount Sinai, also called Horeb. Some time much later in Israel’s history, Elijah came there. He wanted to see the mountain smoking and…

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I expanded and modified this article June 30, 2015, originally written in February of the same year. My understanding of the history of Messianic Judaism went through a sea change during some talks with Boaz Michael of First Fruits of Zion in Jerusalem. Messianic Judaism is a Judaism committed to Yeshua. It is a Judaism…

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It’s not difficult to imagine our faith as a building, an edifice of things learned made of materials collected during a life full of remodeling, demolition, and clean up. I have walked through buildings, usually churches, constructed in phases sometimes a decade or more apart. These cobbled together buildings often do not fit well together.…

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If you had lived in Galilee or Judea back then you might have witnessed a man who drew crowds with miracles and intrigued the masses with ambiguous parables. Many came to hear speeches that sounded vaguely revolutionary or apocalyptic. Yeshua talked about a sower spreading seeds. Were these seeds of a revolt against Rome? He…

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Sometimes close reading of the Bible is anything but academic; sometimes it is vital, life-giving, guiding us in the confusing paths of life’s greatest issues. By way of contrast to close reading of the Bible, we find a great deal of tacky prooftexting. In opposition to clear guidance in the ways of the human condition…

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I have been asked repeatedly over the years, and especially lately, in light of my belief that Torah was given specifically to the Jewish people, how should non-Jews read it? This article is for people who want to get past arguing. It is for people who are tired of arguing about whether Torah is legalism…

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