Messianic Judaism (51)

Okay, clearly I sound like I’m reading these “Better Bible Reading” scripts. I hope to get better over time. I’m a little rusty at delivering speeches (and it’s hard to sound genuine when your entire audience is a single, soul-less camera). But I’m saying something here that I think is valuable (if you can put…

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This Week’s Torah Portions (Bamidbar): Numbers 1:1 – 4:20 The book of Numbers begins in a way many readers find to be, well, boring. To the ancients, this sort of material was not boring at all. The configuration of tribes, the tabernacle with the divine presence in the middle, all of this was a picture…

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This Week’s Gospel Readings: Luke 22:1 – 24:53 and John 1:1-28 We finish Luke, seeing Yeshua exalted after the resurrection, and begin John, catching a transcendent view into the mystery of the Word, the Logos, the Memra. Click here to see more about “The Weekly Gospel.” A Few Highlights from the Greek and the Commentary…

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This Week’s Torah Portions (Behar-Bechukotai): Leviticus 25:1 – 27:34 Leviticus ends with a breathtaking promise of beauty, a gruesome warning of failure, and a brief appendix that seems out of place. People are more aware that Deuteronomy ends with covenant blessings and curses, and for some reason the blessings and curses of Leviticus are less…

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This Week’s Gospel Readings: Luke 16:19 – 21:38 We are nearing the end of the Gospel of Luke. We’re moving fast because the Torah reading schedule has been doubled (and we read the Gospels on pace with Torah). Luke’s portrait of Yeshua is beginning to take a turn, from healer/teacher to suffering Messiah and then…

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Yeshua, as Luke depicts him, sometimes demands more than people are willing to give and sometimes surprises us with a willingness to accept and affirm graciously. He is demanding yet forgiving. And Luke depicts this artfully in chapters 18 and 19, as one of the sections of his gospel comes to a close (19:10 is…

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Teaching online Hebrew students is one of the joys of my life. Students are in many cases more than just clients. They are friends. After going through a Hebrew grammar textbook together — which usually takes six months — we translate the book of Ruth and then many continue studying as we work through whatever…

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In this “Rereading Paul” series, I aim to persuade you of the insights introduced to the world by Douglas Campbell in his massive volume The Deliverance of God. I add my own twist, of course. I will focus persuading you to abandon the “justification theory” reading of Paul and urge you rather to see him…

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So, let’s read a good Jewish book together each month for seven months. I am resurrecting something from the past, J-BOM, the “Jewish Book of the Month.” Way back in March 2010 it was a thing on my old blog site. You can read that post here: https://derek4messiah.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/get-ready-j-bom-is-coming/ Back then a number of Messianic Jewish…

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Messiah is everything. In today’s DAILY PORTION email, I address the long debated issue of Matthew seemingly misinterpreting Isaiah 7:14. Those who have become used to ancient ways of interpreting texts, such as the midrashes of the Jewish sages, are not surprised by what Matthew has done. It’s a Jewish thing. (Note: a midrash is…

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The following is an excerpt from an upcoming book, Living Yeshua, chapter 4,”Yeshua as Lord.” What does it mean when people say, “Jesus is Lord?” Here is something worth noting: when Paul in his letters refers to “the Lord,” he generally means Yeshua, not the Father. I’d be interested in seeing some of my detail…

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I get that not everyone wants to study Hebrew. I mean, an alphabet to learn. Most people quail even at the thought of getting started. Twenty-two little letters and ten vowels can scare the שְׁאוֹל [Sheol] out of you. I know. My Story, Learning Hebrew My own story about learning Hebrew goes back to when…

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The year 5777 has arrived! If you haven’t already, this is a good time to be amazed by the number and its significance. On October 23, the daily readings for the new Torah year will begin. And in keeping with the newness and excitement a new year brings, my daily email with commentary on the…

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Is the written Torah a set of ideal laws or a constitution for a people? Is it a collection of timeless principles or time-bound laws for an actual people? Is it social legislation or a set of ethical ideals? Many people want Torah to be something it is not. It seems as if Torah should…

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Messianic Judaism is a Judaism committed to Yeshua. It is a Judaism because its core purpose is to provide a home for Jewish followers of Yeshua where we may live out our covenantal relationship with God based on the Abrahamic promise, the teaching from Sinai, and the revelation of God which is in Messiah Yeshua.…

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As many of you know, I just returned from a trip to Israel. While there I thought many times about how the holiness of the place is hidden. What is Jerusalem but noisy streets, a cacophony of offensive noises, a melting pot of Jews of all varieties along with Muslims and Christians of varying kinds,…

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I am in Israel right now, leading a small tour group. This is a highly educated little group, more Jewishly informed than most groups I have brought here in the past. They are keeping me on my toes as we discuss the early believers and the earliest Messianic Judaism while touring. Obviously my blog output…

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Torah is not complete redemption. When you pray from the Siddur (Jewish prayer book) or read the teachings of the early rabbis you realize immediately that Torah does not contain the last word on redemption. You could say that everything is contained in Torah in a sense, so, for example, Torah intimates a future redemption…

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“Haven’t you read what God said to you?” Yeshua asks his critics (Matt 22:31). This question sums up nicely his view of the written Torah. He assumes its divine source and authority. In another place he asks “haven’t you read in the book of Moshe” the story of the burning bush (Mark 12:26). He does…

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The Torah has a lot to say about coming near to God at the Temple and bringing offerings and gifts, including animals for slaughter. A curious question to ask is whether Yeshua ever offered sacrifices in the Temple? It’s a curious question because the Gospels never depict him doing so. Our off-the-cuff answer to the…

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Yeshua’s words are like a current of living wind in the deadness of the desert. He spoke with authority, not just interpreting Torah like other teachers, but even adding to it. He increased its moral vision and pressed the ideal of righteousness beyond the literal reading. Therefore he made a statement clarifying what he was…

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Torah is one word with many meanings. Depending on the person using it, they may be referring to the first five books of the Bible, also called the Pentateuch. Or they may mean a leather scroll kept in an Ark in a synagogue on which is written the first five books of the Bible (a…

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A board member of Jews for Judaism contacted me a few weeks ago via my blog. He didn’t mention, of course, who he was or why he contacted me. He made it seem like he was Mr. General-Public with a question. He said his understanding of Christianity and Judaism is that they are distinct belief…

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The following is the conclusion of chapter 10 of my upcoming book, a Messianic Jewish guide for disciples. In chapter 10 I deal with the problem of our belief, which can make us outcasts in the Jewish community, that Messiah is divine. I explain what our belief means, what views are inadequate, why this view…

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Imagine you are preparing for marriage with some pre-marital counseling. The kind and helpful clergy person smiles at you, asking, “So why are you taking this step and finally getting married after three years of being together?” You gaze deeply into your fiancé’s eyes as you answer, “Most of our friends are married and we…

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To some degree, today’s short piece is a follow up to yesterday’s post in which I explained and defended the interest in Messianic Judaism we find among many non-Jews. I begin with a statement about MJ as a Jewish place, a home for Jewish believers. I then move into responding to the emotional situation reflected…

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They are inspired by what they read in the Bible. From Abraham to Moses to David to Isaiah, the Jewish people are the center of God’s plans to make something beautiful in this world. Some people who are not Jewish themselves are drawn by this, drawn to the Jewish people and toward Jewish practices that…

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This is the paper I just read at the Hashivenu Forum, a Messianic Jewish think tank. You can tell from my paper a lot about Dr. Vered Hillel’s paper on divorce. Dr. Hillel is the Provost of Messianic Jewish Theological Institute http://MJTI.org. I believe her paper will be posted on http://MJStudies.com. I will let you…

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God is the Lord of time and we are creatures swimming in it. But we can only swim in the stream of time in one direction. Time keeps on slipping, slipping into the past. And when time is gone we can only remember it. We sometimes remember it with regret. Others we recall with fondness. Sometimes…

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A new friend, an American now living in the U.K., wrote to ask me if the name “Messianic Judaism” is really the best label. He had two primary concerns. First, any Judaism that believes in a personal Messiah (all sub-branches of Orthodoxy and many Conservative Jewish expression) as opposed to those in which “Messiah” is…

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One of the difficult things about our Messianic faith is that the key event which transformed our Judaism into Messianic Judaism happened two thousand years ago. I say it is one of the difficulties because there are certainly others (e.g., our Messiah has not done most the the Messiah things yet, leaving us open to…

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God’s Torahs are his teachings, his instructions. God appeared to Isaac and said, “I will make your heirs as numerous as the stars” and “all the nations of the earth will bless themselves by your seed.” When God made this promise he said it was because, “Abraham listened to my voice, kept my charge: my…

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So, you want to celebrate Passover in a traditional way. You pick up a Haggadah, a Passover manual, and you think it will be simple. Passover is a ritual meal with a few symbolic foods and the story from Exodus, right? But as you read the Haggadah it seems anything but. What’s going on? It…

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The connections between Yeshua’s Last Supper (Mark 14, Matthew 26, Luke 22, John 13-16, 1 Corinthians 11) and Passover are undeniable. Yet there is a famous problem about the timing of the event in relation to the Passover and Yeshua’s crucifixion. My own views on the topic have changed over the years. I present here…

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I think you will see from the very first question why I picked this title for a blog today. And it’s nice sometimes for me to hear from you. There are a lot of people who come and read here. Some are three to five time a week regular visitors. Some subscribe via wordpress (although…

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The light of a person’s faith sometimes grows dim. Faintly burning wicks are all around us, people let down by religious groups, whose questions aren’t answered, who feel left out, and others who fear the love of Messiah cannot be real for them. I wrote yesterday suggesting a way for non-Jews to look at the…

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This is a list I made some time ago, but which I updated this morning and added short explanations to. Some of the points touch on current events, such as my recent post on the unfortunate decision of a good leader (Andy Stanley) to use “the Temple” (which represents the Old Testament and Judaism) as…

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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 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 MJ friend wrote me describing the resistance he has been encountering from other Messianic Jews about Torah. He gets it. Mount Sinai is an eternal covenant between God and Jewish people. Staying true to that covenant is a calling for all Jews, all the more so Jews who love God through Messiah Yeshua. But…

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