Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Iran's Military Chief Says the Destruction of Israel is "Nonnegotiable"

Keep in mind that Obama is trying to negotiate with these people:

Goldblatt's Monograph "Elements of Ancient Jewish Nationalism" [REVIEWS]


The Rise of Messianic Nationalism?



So I've been reading Al McCarn's "Give Me a Place Where I May Dwell" (LINK)...  I'll eventually do a review of it--still have a few pages to go.  But he brings up an interesting point that I'd like to discuss.

First, I should explain that I do not consider myself an "Ephraimite", that I disagree with any movement amongst Gentile Believers that would promote a hint of ethnocentrism, that I believe with absolute conviction that Gentile identity in Messiah must be based on covenant through Yeshua our L-rd and Messiah.  I am interested, however, in assessing the idea of nationalism and how it might relate to our Messianic movement.

THE IDEA OF NATIONALISM

What is a nation and what is nationalism?  That's one question.  Another is:  what should nationalism be in an ideal sense?  Another way of asking the latter is:  is there a Biblical basis for nationalism for the Jewish People?  And, related to that question, is there a Biblical basis for nationalism for Gentile Believers?

It seems that nationalism is not a new phenomenon.  The first examples of nationalism do occur in the Bible--we see the emergence of the Two Houses of Israel which are types of nations.  One is forced to wonder what type of nationalist movement (if any) led to the creation of Two Houses in the first place.  And we see the nationalism in the era of Ezra/Nehemiah, in the era of the Maccabees, and in the era of Herzl.

But this Jewish nationalism is an ethno-religious (covenant) nationalism.  And, for Jews, this makes sense.  Because nationalism is traditionally defined (except in the case of the United States) as a convergence of worldview, way of life, ethno-centric social group identification, and territory (e.g. Russian nationalism, French nationalism, Jewish nationalism).  The United States being an exception in that it doesn't have the ethnocentrism (although an argument could be made that it does).

THE RELEVANCE OR UTILITY OF NATIONALISM FOR THE MESSIANIC MOVEMENT

Now the benefit of a nationalist movement for Messianic Jews makes sense in that it is merely an extension of Zionism--the goal of returning Jews to their homeland.

But is this goal compatible with Messianic ideology of a unified One New Man?  Are we Gentiles to be content with being separated from our beloved Jewish brethren?  Is that the ideal state?

Or could it be that the destiny of Messianic Jews and Gentiles is intertwined?

CONCLUSION

This is a bit much to tackle in a short blog post and for that I apologize.  Let me summarize:  I'm not an Ephraimite but neither am I opposed to the goal of the Ephraimite camp.  Do we not share a common goal?  We both desire to live in a unified Messianic Israel.  The Ephraimites just have a slightly different analysis on the form that this nationalism will take and the type of national identification that Gentiles should have.  I'm simply interested in being a part of the discussion.  We shouldn't be afraid to talk about these things.

Does anyone have thoughts on the idea of nationalism and the relevance it might have to Messianics?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Real vs. Virtual Community

Random musings from this morning...

Some people feel isolated and they explain to themselves by saying, "It's because I don't have a community."  And yet others feel isolated despite the fact that they are active members at a church or Messianic synagogue, etc.  They go to church on Sunday (perhaps even on Wednesday nights).  Or they go to synagogue on Friday evening or Saturday morning.  They participate on the praise and worship team.  They serve on committees.  And yet they feel something is missing.

We have within us some sense that there is an ideal community and we're constantly measuring our own community (or lack thereof) against this sense of what a community should be.

The sociologists have a term for this social dichotomy:  gemeinschaft vs. gesellschaft.  The idea is that there is an ideal gemeinschaft (intimate community such as a family) and then there is gesellschaft (virtual community such as a nation).  There are, in reality, very few examples of true gemeinschaft but they include such groups as the Amish community, religious kibbutzim (perhaps even secular kibbutzim), the Hasidic community, etc.

Church pastors (and even Messianic leaders) are constantly trying to manufacture gemeinschaft.  But it's difficult to think of a congregation as a community when you only see them once a week (or perhaps several times).  You can make it feel like a community when you utilize small groups, after service community meals, etc.  But ultimately these attempts result in a virtual community.  We don't really need our church or synagogue.  We can leave and go to another one.  It's relatively painless.  It's not like you're walking out on family.  

But in a gemeinschaft no one considers leaving.  To leave is to die a spiritual (and perhaps physical death) death.  The true gemeinschaft is not a city type of "community" but rather a rural community.  It is not high tech but rather simple--even at the cost of inefficiency.  It is agrarian.  It is old-fashioned...

Ah, well, I've got to run.  Such is my modern life.  






Sunday, March 29, 2015

Community and the Regathering of Ephraim (LINK TO NATSAB POST)

I've been having some wonderful phone discussions with Pete from the Natsab Blog.  In his recent post, he refers to one of those conversations:

CLICK HERE FOR LINK

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The 10 Lost Tribes and the Messianic Expectation [COMPLETE]




"Upon retiring from professional life, Avigdor Shahan, a prolific writer, historian, and educator, embarked on the greatest journey of his life:  following in the footsteps of the ten lost tribes.  The ensuing voyage culminated in a book, [Towards the Samatyon], which is half a history of the tribes and half a travelogue for which Shahan had a deeply personal impetus.  As he explains: 
I was eight years old [in 1940] when our teacher at the traditional Jewish school told us with trembling voice about the exile of the ten tribes:  Reuben, Shimon, Zebulun, Yissachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naptali, Ephraim, and Manasseh--by the kings of Assyria and their cruel soldiers.  He described the formidable river they crossed in their wanderings, the Samatyon; and the fearsome mountains of darkness behind which they disappeared.  He told us about that great county where they live a life of freedom and liberty; the commanders of their armies alert and ready, their swords sparkling, and their legions ordered in columns behind their banners and flags.
The young pupils, children of the Jewish quarter of Komarov, Romania, listened with 'breathless anticipation.'  Finally, one of them exclaimed, 'Why don't we send messengers to let them know about our misery?'
     'Indeed, throughout the generations many messengers set out towards the tribes,' the teacher answered solemnly.  '[T]hese messengers climbed high mountains and wandered in desolate deserts, but their traces were also lost.'
     That very day, Shahan and two young friends, Moishe'le and Leibe'le, set out themselves in search of the ten tribes.  They decided that the nearby Dniester River was in fact the Sambatyon.  They undertook to leave Komarov, but never got to cross even the limits of its Jewish quarter.  A large black dog standing at its edge frighterened them back home.
     Just one year later, in September 1941, the Jews of Komarov went on their own terrible march.  Following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Romanian soldiers deported Komarov's Jews to Transnistria, a mass death zone created by the occupying forces across the Dniester.  Shahan recalls how his friend Moishe'le likened the Romanian soldiers leading the forced march to the ancient Assyrian military that had so cruelly deported the ten tribes.  Growing frantic, the boy fled the ragtag column of marchers, and ran for the Dniester--the 'Sambatyon.'  As he had the year before, Moishe'le wanted to seek the help of the ten tribes, which he imagined to be on its far bank.  He never reached them; a soldier murdered him beside the river.  Shahan later leared that Romanian soldiers had also killed his other friend, Leibe'le, by drowning him in the Dniester,'" Zvi Ben-Dor, The Ten Lost Tribes

Tim Hegg, against all evidence, claims that the Jewish people are completely mistaken, that in reality there are NO lost tribes at all:
"The Two House theory is built upon the [false] presupposition that the Northern Tribes were lost among the nations and have forgotten their true identity.  In general, biblical and historical data show conclusively that the Northern Tribes were never lost," Tim Hegg, The Two-House Theory:  Three Fatal Flaws [emphasis added].
But going back to the beginning of the Common Era, we see that Jews fervently believed in Lost Tribes:
 "…the entire body of the people of Israel remained in that country [Media]; wherefore there are but two tribes [Judah and Benjamin] in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers." Antiquities of the Jews, 11.5.2, from The Works of Josephus, translated by Whiston, W., Hendrickson Publishers. 1987. 13th Printing. p 294
 "The Ten Tribes will not return [to the Land of Israel], for it is said, 'And cast them into another land, as is this day: just as the day goes and does not return, so they too went and will not return.' This is R. Akiba's view. R. Eliezer said: 'As this day—just as the day darkens and then becomes light again, so the ten tribes—even as it went dark for them, so will it become light for them." Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 110b. 
For the Jewish people, this was an absolute certainty--there WERE lost tribes.  There had to be!  Later, we read Rashi referring to the mythical river Sambatyon as though it were an actual river:
"Because they were dispersed in a distant land beyond the River Sambatyon, [Isaiah] called them lost," Rashi on Isaiah 27:13

Beginning with the Apostles, we have record of Jews who associated Messianic redemption with the recovery of the Lost Tribes:

Peter, addressing Gentiles, refers to Gentiles as the forsaken House of Israel, the "Loammi" from Hosea:
"9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy," 1 Peter 2:9
Paul similarly says:
"23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” 26 and, “In the very place where it was said to them,  ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God,'" Romans 9:23-26
James, after citing to a group of prophecies in which the House of Israel "turns" to G-d in the latter days, announces:
"We should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn (epistrephousin) to God," Acts 15:19
And then, flash forward to the 18th Century, when world Jewry was expecting the return of the Messiah (and some believed that they had actually found him), we have another rush to find the Lost Tribes, of which the following are but a few examples:

  • Isaac Nieto, sent on behalf of the Jews of Britain to find the 10 Lost Tribes in China (c. 1760).
  • Tobias Boas, wealthy Jewish banker who spent 20 years searching for the 10 Lost Tribes in Asia (c. 1762)
  • Barukh Gad, rabbinical emissary, who claimed to have encountered the 10 Lost Tribes in Persia (c. 1646)
  • Moses Pereira de Piava who searched for the 10 lost tribes amongst the Jewish community of Cochin (c. 1687).

Why is that the Jewish people have always connected the return of the Messiah with the return of the 10 Lost Tribes?


The answer is that they believed, having read the Messianic prophecies, that the Messiah would be a Davidic figure.  David was considered a great king because he did what no other king had done:  he destroyed the Jebusites that controlled Jerusalem.  Why was this significant?  In David's time, certain natives still dominated the central area of Israel.  Geo-politically (and spiritually), this made a united Israel impossible.  What David accomplished in defeating the Jebusites was to unite these two realms, the House of Judah and the House of Israel, around the centralized city-state of Jerusalem.  His victory was virtually complete when he finally brought in the Ark of the Covenant--the symbol of a unified Israel.

David was the first shepherd to gather the tribes of Israel!

So, in conclusion, the heart of the Messianic expectation is that there will arise a Davidic Messiah who will unite Judah with his "lost" brethren and thereby create a unified Kingdom Realm of Israel:
"My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd," Ezekiel 37:24



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Presbyterian Church Changes Constitution to Allow Gay Marriage

"Messianic Gentiles...are Christians..." Boaz Michael (a.k.a. Christopher Detwiler), Tent of David

This is part of the reason that we, Messianics, have no desire to identify as Christians (contra-Detwiler):

CLICK HERE FOR LINK

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Fruit of a Poisonous Tree: Boaz Michael's "Authentic" Jewishness Derived from a Halachic Conversion



Learned this today...

Boaz Michael claims "Jewishness" from a halachic conversion yet tells people that he doesn't recommend that they undergo the same conversion (LINK).  He's essentially saying "this Jewishness means a lot to me that I got from my halachic conversion....but don't you try it!"

Disgusting.

Oh, by the way, "halachic" conversion means accepting the rulings of the Talmudic Sages who say that Yeshua must be a liar for claiming to be G-d.





Monday, March 16, 2015

Cut Here: Why the Torah Cannot be Divided into Self-Contained, Individual Laws

Does the Bible give a specific set of laws to Gentiles?  

Some groups in the Messianic movement would say "yes" (see, for example, David Rudolph's 'Paul's 'Rule in All the Churches').

They would, in fact, be forced to argue that the Torah must be cut into self-contained units forming a set of individual Gentile laws.  They would agree that some laws originating from the Divinely Revealed Torah such as "love the Lord your God" are binding on Gentiles but other laws (they can't say precisely which laws) are not binding on Gentiles.  But they fervently maintain (without knowing precisely how to do so) that the Torah must be cut into pieces.

I have a question:  just where are these dotted-line cutting guides in Torah?

But here is a better question:  what evidence does David Rudolph and his UMJC brethren have that the Torah is NOT an interdependent system of laws?

For such men to assert that the Torah may be divided into self-contained units presupposes that the entirety of Torah is NOT an interdependent system.  But this is easily proven to be false.  After all, do not all the commandments serve the single purpose of making Israel holy unto G-d:
"That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God," Numbers 15:40
Maharsha says:
"The multiplicity comes from the recipient, because to the Giver, blessed be He, they are all as one precept.  But a human cannot grasp it thus, because multiplicity is inherent in matter and time, which are innate to his nature...for we can only understand through multiplicity.'
This is supported by Torah itself which refers, in somewhat puzzling grammar to the multiplicity of the singular commandment:
 "You shall faithfully observe all the Instruction (Heb. kol ha-mitzvah) that I enjoin upon you today, that you may thrive and increase and be able to possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your fathers" Deuteronomy 8:1
Each law in Torah must be followed in accordance with the totality of laws of Torah.  You simply cannot cut out a self-contained law because no law is self-contained--but needs the entire legal system of Torah.

And so I say to David Rudolph and the UMJC:

Show us the cutting lines of Torah!

And, if you cannot, then be done with your lies!




Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Triple-Locked Door in the Basement of Christianity [UPDATED]



I can still remember the moment when the locked door was opened.  Though the book was imperfect, David Stern's "Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel" contained a very simple idea--an idea that destabilized my own personal Christianity:

Jewish outreach requires opening one's eyes to the valuable, native Jewish context of the Gospel.

In short, true Jewish outreach must change the outreacher.

But, as I said, there are serious flaws in that book.  One minute Stern says the Gospel must be separated from its original context so that the spread of the Gospel to other cultures will be "unencumbered":

"...[A]s soon as the early Messianic Jews began reaching out to Gentiles, it was necessary to separate the Gospel from its cultural context, so that its essential message would not be encumbered with cultural baggage unnecessary for salvation," Stern, Messianic Jewish Manifesto, pg. 241.

The next minute Stern says Gentiles need this Jewish context which has become obscured:

"What Type IV Evangelism requires is not a Gentilized Gospel contextualized for Jews, but a restoration of the Jewishness which is in fact present in the Gospel but which has become obscured.  Moreover, Gentile Christians too need aspects of the Gospel which a restoration of its Jewishness will bring them," Stern, Messianic Jewish Manifesto, pg. 249.

Talk about a mixed message!

But as I've matured in the Messianic faith I've come to realize that there is a door in the basement of Christianity.  What is this doorway?  It is your eyes opening to the wonders of the Torah.  Where does it lead?  It leads to your realization that the true Faith taught by the Apostolic Writings is a Messianic Judaism for all people.

Yet the door contains 3 very sturdy locks.

LOCK#1: Law is "Fulfilled"

Yeshua fulfilled the Law (i.e. He completed it, rendering it obsolete.  In other words, it's usefulness is at an end).

LOCK#2:  We're not "under the Law"

Paul said we're not under the Law but under Grace.  To preach the Law is to preach against Grace!  (There are of course a number of "problem" Pauline passages but the "under the law" vs. "under grace" dichotomy is emblematic of such passages).

LOCK#3:  The Jerusalem Council gives only 4 Laws for Gentiles

Acts 15 says that Gentiles only have to do 4 things.  Bottom line: they do not have to become circumcised or keep the Law of Moses.  To preach that Gentiles should keep the Torah is to reject the Jerusalem Council's decision in Acts 15!

But, in the life of a Messianic, somewhere in the past, HaShem systematically inserted a key into each lock and turned the key.  Here are the 3 keys:

KEY#1:  Pleroo doesn't mean "abolish"

Here is the passage at issue:

"17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  

18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  

19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven," (Matthew 5:17-19) 

Here is the three-part analysis:

(1)  In vs. 17, "abolish" and "fulfill" cannot be synonymous.  If they were synonymous then the passage would have the absurd reading "I have not come to abolish but to abolish."  Thus, logically, Yeshua argues that the Sinaitic Torah continues to be valid.  Furthermore, the word for "fulfill" is the Greek verb pleroo which means "to carry into effect, bring to realization, realize" (Thayer).  Yeshua thus indicated that He came to exemplify the Torah, to show everyone what real Torah observance looks like.

(2)  In vs. 18, Yeshua asserts that Sinaitic Torah continues until the cosmos is obliterated.  The last time I checked, we're still here.  Thus, the Sinatic Torah continues to be valid;


(3)  In vs. 19, Yeshua warns that if a teacher says that the Sinatic Torah is abolished (in any way) that such a teacher will be rebuked as "least in the kingdom".

In conclusion, Christianity took a very clear passage in which Yeshua states that His followers must keep the Torah and locked it up.  But once this passage is analyzed logically...CLICK!  One lock down.  Oh, and by the way, Yeshua also said:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you..."  Matthew 28:20
KEY#2: Not "under Torah" but rather "within Torah"

Here are three of the main "problem" passages:
"To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law [tois hupo nomon hos hupo nomon] though not being myself under the Law [hupo nomon kerdeso]; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but rather [en-Lawed or "within law'] to Christ [ennomos Christou] so that I might win those who are without law," 1 Cor. 9:20-21
And:
"For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace [ou gar este hupo nomon, all hupo charin].  What then?  Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace [ouk semen hupo nomon, all hupo charin]?  May it never be!" Romans 6:14-15
And:
"But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law [hupo nomon] being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed," Gal. 3:23


Christians interpret these verses to mean that Paul rejects the Torah.  However, Paul says explicitly that he is "within Torah" (ennomos) to Messiah.  So the first thing to note is that these passage cannot mean that Paul is against the Torah.  The reality is this:  Paul is juxtaposing the pre-trial relationship to Torah (i.e. the Old Covenant) with the post-trial relationship with Torah (i.e. the New Covenant) in which G-d fully exonerates Believers from the penalties of disobedience.  But note that being under grace is not a license to sin (Rom. 6:14-15).  In other words, the Torah (G-d's instructions for the right Way of Life) is still necessary even though full and permanent forgiveness is offered under the New Covenant.

Far from rejecting the Torah, Paul said the following:
"Do we overthrow the law through faith?  By no means.  On the contrary, we uphold the law," Rom. 3:31 
"What shall we say?  That the law is sin?  By no means," Rom. 7:7 
"Thus the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good," Rom. 7:12
Once a proto-Messianic hears this and understands it, something changes deep inside and there's a resounding--CLICK!  Another lock down...

KEY#3

Opening the 2 previous locks is not enough.  The 3rd lock is one of the sturdiest of all:  Acts 15.  Christians love to cite to Acts 15 if the discussion gets out of hand.  When a Christian refers to the Jerusalem Council decision, he's bringing out the big guns.   Because, as everyone knows, Acts 15 is where Gentiles are released from having to keep those awful Jewish laws and, instead, only have to do 4 things (a list which the Christian is unlikely to have memorized and is even more unlikely to have read in the Greek source text).

Here's the reality about Acts 15:


The issue before the Jerusalem Council was: from whence does covenantal salvation come? Some unauthorized Pharisees argued it comes from circumcision (15:1), Peter argued it comes from grace and faith (15:9,11).  Peter also posited that Gentiles had joined Israel, becoming “a People for His Name”(15:14, Note:  only Israel is called by His name, Deut. 14:2; Isaiah 63:19). The council concluded that Peter’s argument was correct (15:14) because his argument agreed with the Prophets (Amos 9:11-12 (LXX); Zechariah 2:11; Isaiah 2:2-3; Isaiah 45; Isaiah 56:3; Isaiah 45:21-22 (LXX), Isaiah 56:6-7 (MT); Micah 4:1-2; Jeremiah 31:31-33 (LXX); Ezekiel 36:25-27) . Given that Peter, the Prophets, and the Council deemed Messianic Gentiles to be saved by grace (contra the Pharisees of 15:1) and "turned" from paganism to join the G-d and People of Israel, James used this newly-established jurisdictional authority over the Messianic Gentiles to order them to desist from contextually-linked, pagan practices (i.e. the Fourfold Decree) that they might now cling to a Judaic sphere of influence (15:21, “law of Moses”).  Far from being a streamlined Torah for Gentiles, the fourfold decree describes 4 things done in first-century pagan temples:  (1) the first-century Gentiles would've understood the first item on the list as setting the stage for cultic pagan rites:  alisgematon ton eidolon ("pollutions of idols" and the clarifying term eidolothuton in 15:29 which refers to foods offered to idols);(2) the first-century Gentile would've associated pniktou ("things strangled") with cultic rites in which the sacrificial animal is strangled (see Philo, Special Laws 4.122); (3) the first-century Gentile would've associated porneia, given the context of "eidolon", with temple prostitution which was embarrassingly well-known in that era; (4) last, the reference to "blood" to a first-century Gentile would bring to mind the nearly universal cultic rite of blood-drinking.  In summary:  Acts 15 teaches that Gentile Believers belong to Israel, are expected to abstain from idolatry (i.e. the fourfold decree), and are expected to transplant themselves into a Judaic sphere of influence (Acts 15:21).

If this last lock is opened...(CLICK!)...then the real journey begins.  

May HaShem grant mercy and courage to those who step through the doorway to the Way of Life taught by Yeshua! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The 3 Dimensions of Paul (as seen from different perspectives)

Just came across an article from Kesher Journal that surveys the different perspectives on Paul (with the One Law perspective being noticeably absent).  The article is well-written but it can be rather tedious to review all the different perspectives.

So with that in mind, allow me to break things down.

In a post not too long ago, I defined Messianic Judaism (from the One Law perspective) as follows:

Messianic Judaism is the belief that Yeshua is the promised Messiah of Israel who taught His followers to inform their World View and Way of Life through both Scripture and Judaic Tradition and to identify as members of the Israel of G-d.

Notice that there are three dimensions there:  World View (theory of everything, how you answer life's most important questions), Way of Life (practices), and Social Group.

These same three dimensions apply to Paul.

In the Kesher article, the author referred to Zetterholm's breakdown of the different approaches to Paul.  He says there's the traditional approach, the "new perspective", and the radical new perspective.  The reality, however, is that people tend to view Paul based on the three dimensions of their own religious perspective.

For example, a Christian--even a relatively pro-Judaic Christian--will never hold to an approach to Paul that threatens the three dimensions of Christian thinking.  He won't argue that Paul wants Gentiles to keep Torah according to Judaic standards.  Such a Paul would threaten his own religion!

In the same way, the author of the Kesher article, I'm guessing someone from the UMJC, probably advocates a Paul that tells Gentiles to not keep Torah according to Judaic standards.  They promote a dual-Torah or Exclusionist Paul because the alternative is a threat to the UMJC's religion.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Seeing G-d Through the Lattice





Some scattered thoughts from today...



Someone once asked Bertrand Russell (an atheist) if he were to die and come face to face with G-d, what would he say?  And apparently Bertrand replied, "Sir, why did you take such pains to hide yourself?"

An interesting question...

This evening marks the beginning of the story of Purim, a story in which G-d famously hides Himself.  So now is as good as any to contemplate Bertrand's question.

This is similar to the question of transcendence and immanence.  Does G-d conceal Himself such that we may never have a relationship with Him?  Or does He reveal Himself on our level so that a relationship is possible?

I have to believe that, on some level, Bertrand's question was wrong.  G-d HAS revealed Himself--just not in a way that meets with our expectations.  He reveals Himself in the "coincidences" of the Purim story, He reveals Himself by preserving the Jewish People, He reveals Himself by drawing Jews and Gentiles into this global Messianic movement, He reveals Himself in creation itself.

He offers us glimpses through the lattices of reality:
"My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice,"  Song of Solomon 2:9 
He even has revealed His face to certain righteous men.  Moses spoke with G-d face to face.  David also spoke with G-d face to face and was dismayed whenever G-d hid Himself:
"O LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong; You hid Your face, I was dismayed," Psalm 30:7
Apparently He will one day heal our hearts so that we will turn to Him and see His face:
"Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed," Isaiah 6:10
And:
"Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God," Ezekiel 39:29
Still, on some level, Bertrand's question is right.  While G-d has revealed Himself in various ways, it is also true that G-d has hidden Himself from everyone to some degree.  And He hides Himself from prideful men to an even greater degree.

Yet G-d does not have to answer to Bertrand Russell.  He will "heal" whom He will heal.  He will reveal Himself to whom He will reveal Himself.

May G-d heal His People and forgive us for our disobedience.  May He reveal Yeshua to all of Israel.  May He make those who already believe worthy to be called a follower of Yeshua.





Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Purim Begins 3/4/2015 at Sundown

Here is a summary of traditions:

CLICK HERE FOR LINK


The Re-birth of the Persian Empire: 4 Reasons Why Iran Must Not Acquire the Bomb



"My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep," Neville Chamberlain

Netanyahu will address Congress today.  He will try to help Americans understand that Obama's attempts to appease Iran are very dangerous.

Why is Iran dangerous?  Here's 4 reasons off the top of my head:


  • First, Iran's stated goal is to wipe Israel off the map.
  • Second, Iran has been waging a proxy war with Israel via Hamas and Hezbollah.  
  • Third, Iran is poised to exploit the destabilization of the Middle East and grow a vast, powerful Persian Empire.
  • Fourth, Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons and ICBMs that can reach any target in the world.

I hope that the rumors about Obama are not true.  I sincerely hope he did not threaten to shoot down Israeli planes (LINK) thereby thwarting an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.  Because if that's true then he will go down in history as being far worse than Chamberlain.

It all comes down to today.  Will Obama listen?

My friends, pray for the peace of Israel!!!