Archive for November, 2010

The New Jerusalem

November 22, 2010

Thinking about my latest post about the “glory of the cross” I was drawn to a book entitled The New Jerusalem of William (or Maximiliaan) Teellinck. It is one of the old pearls (1635) of Holland. These people we usually called old fathers. And this one really is a father. He draws you to Christ, the fulfiller of all the need you have. In his little book he writes a dialog between Mary and Jesus. Let me give you some insights.

Mary: Lord Jesus, how sweet and precious are your words! Your lips are honey and milk is beneath your tongue, your clothes are like the smell of the Libanon. You speak only truth and comfort. I can’t tell you enough, lord Jesus, what a pleasure, comfort and joy it is in my heart that you are pleased to come to me. Oh, how happy would it be for me to sit down at your feet and to be always at your presence!

Jesus: My dear, my physical presence is not what you really need. But it pleased me that you paid such an attention to my words. These are the words of eternal life. When you hold them firmly in your heart with mutual faith, you’ll live also eternal.

Some pages further Mary said: O Lord, how fragile and poor is the natural men. (Opposed to the spiritual) We all looking for freedom by nature, but I know Lord, the natural freedom wherein many are enjoying, is nothing more then a baneful slavery of sin. But your service, o most sweet Lord, is a perfect freedom. Draw my heart to it so I may enjoy myself more to serve your word.

Jesus: The more you need me, the more it shall be so. And another profit of serving is that all things of the ungodly men are cursed and will end the worst. But for the godly men that will keep my commands and counsel, shall be blessed in everything. It all will turn good.

The premise of this book is clear: The New Jerusalem is yet begun and it can be found in the heart by the Spirit. Yeshua is the beginning of the fulfillment of everything. What in the heart initiates, shall be in the World to come into existence. Yeshua is the first and the last. And his first coming to earth (despised) does not take away his second coming and the many prophecies therefore. He will come in glory. His name shall be glorious on earth too!

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Glory of the Cross?

November 19, 2010

I’m in doubt. Why is the very heart of Christianity the glory on the cross? Yes I can see the greatness of the glory of Jesus there and the redemption He brought. It’s the most important event worth to wonder about every day. But it is no glory on earth.

Yesterday I heard a lecture of a scholar and pastor who recently promoted with a dissertation about The glory of the Lord in the Old Testament and especially in Ezekiel. I had great expectations but I was disappointed. He rooted in replacement-theology. He wouldn’t say that his own I guess, but I understand this clearly. Oh, he prays for the conversion of the Jews, he is very friendly, is taking part of boards of church and synagogue relationships etc. But he shows a difference, a strong “church-side” is his exegeses.

The very interesting prophecy of Ezekiel is all about the departure of the Shekhinah (appearing glory of God on earth) and the return of it in the re-established (3th) temple. It’s about the glory of God. Once Moses saw it at mount Sinai (Ex.34) where the glory of God made great sense on earth but for the Israelites. (Torah given) However it was departed from the world with the exile. Though there was left a little sanctuary. (I’ll be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come, Ez.11:16)

Afterwards it was only seen in heaven. (Shepherds by night when Jesus was born, and at the transfiguration, Luke 9) I can’t see any glory on earth since the exile of the Jews.

When you put all the glory on the cross (Jesus time on earth) what are you doing with all the prophecies of the glory of God on earth? (Like Is.2 and Za.14) I think you will lose the glory entirely at the end of that viewpoint. What do you think?


Symposium on Jewish followers of Jesus

November 9, 2010

Yesterday I attended an interesting symposium organized by Centrum for Israel Studies about Jewish followers on Jesus. The subtitle was: Bridge between synagogue and church?

Speakers:

Richard Harvey PhD, teacher at AllNations – Messianic Jewish theological Identity. Strength and weakness of the position of Messianic Jews.

Evert van der Poll, Professor at Leuven University – Messianic Jews, an enrichment for the Christian congregation?

Kees Jan Rodenburg – a challenge for defining a border between church and Jewish people.

Richard Harvey gave a very interesting lecture about the Messianic Jews. Are they the missing link? A Jewish form of Christianity and a Christian form of Judaism he said.

He was arguing that we all have a chair in which we sit down. We can sit together, we can sit at the opposite, or with quite a distance between, but in fact it is the same chair. Whether you are a “lawless” Christian or an orthodox Jew, you have something in common: a chair.

So I asked him a question: I see a chair of a Christian community and a chair of a Messianic community. Which should I choose? His answer was that I don’t have to choose, it’s the same chair. If you are on a specific side you’re doing good. In fact it’s a great pallet with many colors. The most important is to have your own authentic witness.

About the MJ he says they have a responsibility to the gentiles in church. And I agree on that. I would like to say that the MJ are an important voice to the church. They let the church see what they have and what they are missing. I think the Messianic Jews could show the church their roots. And the church might listen to that voice. Because this are the first signs of a great awakening. If the church doesn’t listen, than the same thing happens as with the Reformation: a parting of the ways. But the Messianic Movement has something special: They include both Protestants and Catholics, Jew and Gentile etc.

He also said he strongly belief in the election of Israel and the land. But in the covenant blessing Israel and the nations come together.

When hearing his lecture I guess he saw rather gentiles in the church with love to Israel then gentiles taking part of a Messianic Jewish community. I like his view of unity in diversity.

Evert van der Poll was arguing that the relationship of the church with the Jewish people must run via MJ. The church can support Messianic Jews, but be aware with money! Israeli orthodox Jews are very concerned about Western sponsored missionaries. On the question from one of the attendees (a fund raiser) that we have to help them, van der Poll responded: “Did you ever ask them to help you?” He answered “It’s not fair for asking the poor to help the rich.” Van der Poll: “But who is rich?” Wow, very good question!

Kees Jan Rodenburg was talking about the difficulties of defining the Messianic Movement. He believed that the subtitle (the bridge) was not a good one. Many agreed on it.

He shared his concerns about the naming of the Messianics. He rather speaks about Jewish believers of Jesus. In fact some orthodox Jews also bear the name Messianic.

I was asking: Does the church carrying things over the bridge to Judaism or do we accept things brought by Judaism to the church? I stressed that we have to look to the Jews and see what they have. That’s what Messianics do also. We surely can learn a lot from them. Yes we can learn a lot from the Jews.

Recent publications of the speakers:

Evert W. van de Poll, Sacred Times For Chosen People. Development, Analysis and Missiological Significance of Messianic Jewish Holiday Practice, Zoetermeer 2008

Richard Harvey, Mapping Messianic Jewish theology. A Constructive Approach, Milton Keynes, Colorado Springs 2009

Kees Jan Rodenburg, Joodse volgelingen van Jezus. Een overzicht in 40 vragen en antwoorden, Artios 2010