Archive for March, 2012

Our Place (part2)

March 30, 2012

The Gentiles

The expression “those who are far away” as Peter was saying, is found in the prayer of Solomon in 1Kings8:41-43. Here is referred to the stranger “who is not from the people Israel”. This are the gentiles were Solomon is praying for, saying: “hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling-place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for; that all the peoples of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as doth Thy people Israel, and that they may know that Thy name is called upon this house which I have built.” (1Kings8:43). Those are coming “for thy Name’s sake” gentiles who fear God, who have a burden to know God and joined Israel. They have a place, even in the holy temple, to worship with the people of Israel and pray with them. There’s nothing here what implies that the gentile must convert himself. They are allowed, but not obligated. What we see here are God-fearing gentiles who join Israel.

A very good article about being a gentile with respect to the Jews, is to find here. It argues that it is great to be a gentile and to be like the Master and Lord Jesus, in His love and passion to one another’s brother.

The boundary marker for being incorporated into the people of God is faith in Christ rather than the works of the Law. According to Paul in Galatians.

So far we see two distinctions:
Distinction 1: Righteous (divine calling and rebirth, whether Jew or Gentile) or not (Pagans, wicked people, but also fake.)
Distinction 2: Jew or Gentile (the covenant issue.) There’s a covenantal relationship with Israel. But there are more covenantal relationships. The church also teaches such relationship were infant-baptism is a part of.

The first distinction is most important. That’s the question if one is righteous or not. That line cuts right through Jew and gentile alike. And divides genuine and fake. This is a matter of salvation or not.

There’s much to say about it, but I will stress the one and only important thing: especially after the time the Holy Spirit was poured out because of the fulfilled work of the Messiah Jesus, immediately repented people received a new born being, a new spirit, a new will, a new attraction to serve God in the most possible holy way they can achieve. That makes the most important difference. That makes whether you belong to the people of God, the sons of God, no matter if you are a gentile or Jew, an American or a Russian.

What I will argue here is that a gentile will fit conveniently in the Jewish commonwealth. There has always been a place for them. The Torah never rules out a gentile, but rather punish a sinner. The most basic rules for everyone are the 7 Noachide laws.

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Our Place (part1)

March 23, 2012

The place of the gentiles within Israel and its God, or the accommodation of the Christians with respect to the Jews.

For many years, lets say two millennia, the church fits in the place which was initially made by Israel at the time they rejected Jesus. For the treasures of Heaven came especially to the gentiles while the Jews commonly entered a stage of dispersion and curses, as said in the Torah, De.31. At that time, what churches stressed to be the beginning of the Christian Church, the apostle Peter said when the Spirit came down on Jew and Gentile alike, that this is the promise for you and your children (Israel) and for “all who are far away”, everyone whom the Lord our God calls him. (Acts 2:39) It looks like he is citing a verse from the Tenach, but that is not so. What he does do is summarizing for who the Torah was meant. For who the covenant relationship was meant. For who the promises were meant.

His saying was commonly known and understood by Jews at that time. And even now it’s easy to understand for a Torah learned Jew, what Peter meant by this. He said the Torah (and its promises) was first and only for the Jews (you and your children) but it was also for those “who are far away”, who joined Israel with prayer and worship. Obviously the gentiles are meant here. And more specifically, those who joined not only the people of Israel as their fellowship, but also the God of Israel with true love, as many as “the Lord our God calls”.

What was commonly known was the relationship between gentile and Jew, but what was totally new was the direct attachment to Israel and God by the gift of God of renewal and rebirth. The very baptism of the spirit was never seen before, not among the Jews but certainly not among the gentiles. This signifies a brand new era of Messianic proportions. But there were still difficulties to overcome where the Jews, I mean the apostles, meet the (not knowledgeable) gentiles. The struggles the apostles faces whether a gentile must be fully converted or not, are clearly presented in the book of Acts and the letter of Paul to the Galatians. How could one be holy and gentile at one time?

It’s all about the calling of the gentiles by way of rebirth through the gift of the Holy Spirit. They enter the special covenantal relationship of grace, the same as the true Israel, but remain gentile. In the Torah they are called a Ger. Here the distinction line is the real calling and rebirth.

As written

March 13, 2012

When Peter took his sword to prevent Jesus to be arrested, Jesus said: don’t do it because ”how could the words of the Scriptures come true, which say that this must happen?” (Math26:54)

I’m curious where it states. What does He mean by Scriptures? Does He mean the Tenach as a whole from which it can be derived that the Lamb has to be slaughtered? Many translations and commentators put some verses here like ps.22:7 and ps.68:2, but that doesn’t seem sufficient to me. Does He point to Pesach? But then until that time it was completely hidden in scripture that the Messiah must play such a role as the Lamb.

The distinction of Judaism and Christianity

March 10, 2012

Last week I had a conversation with somebody about why the NT is written in greek. We ended up with the statement that Christianity distinguishes itself from Judaism direct after the apostolic times. Alongside with rising anti-semitism. They didn’t listen to the warning of Paul in Rom.11 not to be proud and diminish the Jewish people

But: God distinguish His people Israel first and exclusively from among the other nations by His covenant. Only later by Jesus it was extended to the gentiles by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Shechinah). After that particular gift they were grafted in the same covenant relationship. (Rom.11) And shared the common wealth of that relationship, which means that the children have a share in it by the sign of water baptism, however they are only fully adopted by the baptism of the Spirit, i.e. rebirth. That is why it is said that not all Israel is Israel. The demarcation line lies in the hand of God which we not always can see. But this is true what John said: “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father” (1Jn2:23) OK, maybe it’s a mystery but it still stands.

In Ex.33:13-17 the proof of relationship of God and Israel is stated by the fact that God would go with the Israelites and not with other people. (Inclusive Rashi’s comments here)
Verse 16: “For how then will it be known that I [Moses] have found favor in Your eyes, I and Your people?” Rashi commented on it: “how will the finding of favor be known? Is it not in that You will go with us? One other thing I ask of You [I ask] that Your Shechinah shall no longer rest upon heathen nations. -[from Ber. 7a]” And: “Then I and Your people will be distinguished: Heb. וְנִפְלִינוּ. In this respect, we will be separated from every [other] nation, like “And the Lord will make a separation (וְהִפְלָה) …between the livestock of Egypt” (Exod. 9:4).”
Verse 17: “And the Lord said to Moses: “Even this thing that you have spoken, I will do, for you have found favor in My eyes, and I have known you by name.” Rashi on it: “Even this thing: [namely] that My Shechinah should no longer rest upon heathens, I will do. Balaam’s [i.e., the gentile prophet] words did not come about through the resting of the Shechinah [on him], but [his prophecy would occur when] he would “fall and his eyes would be unveiled” (Num. 24:4); such as “Now a word was conveyed secretly to me” (Job 4:12). They [these heathen prophets] would hear [the prophecy] through a messenger.”
The messenger for the gentiles is Jesus.

So the demarcation line is the covenant. That makes the distinction.

As is written: “Behold! I will form a covenant; in the presence of all your people, I will make distinctions such as have not been created upon all the earth and among all the nations”. (De.34:10)

It’s a big mistake to break the covenant of God and the Jewish people by owning it exclusively by the church. This happened unfortunately right after the time of the apostles. It paved the way for the “up-rise of the antichrist” which is Rome confirm the classic Protestant view. That obviously toke place in year 300-600, where finally the Roman Head of church and people had took his throne.

However, God is not breaking his covenant and yet we see the restoration of Israel happen. How will God bind Christianity and Judaism together? Or are both religions coming to an end? Will we emerge together in a new age?