Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Facing the biggest problem

July 10, 2017

Choosing between being Jew or gentile. I think this was what Paul had in mind when writing Romans 9 and thinking about his people. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people.” (Rom.9:2-3) The question was (as it seems to me) whether to be with them under the curse of denying Jesus, or to be with those outlawed of Judaism and mostly gentiles believers. But Paul rejoiced however to be with the latter because he firmly believed Jesus was the Messiah. In Romans 9-11 he pointed out what the matter was of the Jewish people; they would go in exile for the sake of the gentiles. (Rom.11:11)

This was a great choice. Paul saw that he couldn’t be part of the Jewish people because of their denial of the Messiah, since he opposed to them, clearly saw the Messiah.

I can feel that today similar circumstances are in place when a Jewish believer clings to Messianic Judaism. He also has a choice. But that choice easily could culminate in accepting or rejecting Jesus.

In fact it should be that there was no choice at all. But we have yet the same Jewish people as in the time of Paul: you will not be accepted if you believe in Jesus, and hitherto you will not be a “real” orthodox jew.

It looks like the Jewish people must first recognize the Messiah as a nation, as a whole people.

Orthodox Jewry does not accept Messianic Jews. Even in politics. When they apply for citizenship during the immigration process, their application is denied simply because they believe in Jesus as their messiah. It looks like this is even against the Jewish Law of Return, but this is still how it goes.

Obviously, there will be other times ahead of us. For now we have to deal with this situation.

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Time for the Messiah

August 13, 2015

The Dutch poet Willem Bilderdijk said it already in the year 1830 or so: First there will be a time that all powers will cease, then it’s time for the Messiah.

I came across this book, The End of Power, the favorite book of 2015 of Mark Zuckerberg. Overlooking the subjects I remembered the words of Bilderdijk. I often remember that words. There’s something true about it.waning

When the Twin Towers collapsed I thought this will be the last great power that will cease: the power of money. And it was and is ceasing. It is not the economic power what will rule anymore. Other problems are rising and states are drawn to adjust the value of money to keep the economic engine work. And to keep people binded to work. Something like modern slavery; uphold some debt in order to keep people in business and playing with desires. It’s not the money that rules.

We all are drawn back to our very selves. We got the choice. It’s time for the Messiah. It’s time for teshuvah. It’s time to choose the King.

Apostle Peter wrote his letter to Jews

September 23, 2014

To whom did the apostle Peter write his letter? To the scattered people outside Israel, whom he also called strangers. 1Peter 1:1. The question is whether it are Jews or both Jews and Gentiles.

I think Peter wrote to the Jews. This would be normal since he is “the apostle of the circumcision.” That means that he dealt with the gospel for the Jews. As Jacob and John. Paul says this in Gal.2:7-9. (Jacob literally wrote to the 12 tribes, John is not clear and his 2th and 3rd letter is personal. Jude seems to write to the Jewish community.)

I base my conviction that he wrote to the Jews on the premise of his letter. And it is backed up by the way he use his words. Scattered (verse 1) points to the Jews who are scattered in exile. Non-jews are not scattered. They could be repented, but it is not likely that this claim was meant for them. Peter probably would use another word or statement. Strangers could be used for gentiles though. This rabbinical statement (Ger in Hebrew) is even particular used for gentiles. But in this context it can be that it is used for Jews outside the land of Israel. Combined with strangers it will fit to be meant for the Jews.

This Rabbinical statement comes another time to us in Peter’s letter. 1 Peter 2:11 states: strangers and pilgrims. In Hebrew: Ger weToshav. (Lev.25:35) Normally this will be used for gentiles. But it would not say that it won’t be apply to Jews anyway. David called himself with this very words: Ger weToshav (Ps.39:13). And according to this, hence Rabbies would call themselves so too, looking at their humbility in being righteous before God. In principle we all are strangers and passing byers on this earth, heading to a heavenly home.

Peter also wrote about what they know as their halacha, their way of life. Arguing about the holiness gained by Christ, he pointed to the earthly things of the way of life as commanded by the law. On this plane the law or halacha is futile. Although, of course, the law stands forever. But the holiness now has come from inside through the new covenant. Now he is going to say something that he can say only to Jews: “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers.” (1Pe1:18 NAS) Way of life here means the Jewish Halacha. But in fact he means here the Torah.

Another reason that he is arguing to the Jewish people is this. Peter brings up a prophecy of Hosea what explicitly is about the Jewish people: “who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God (Hebrew: Ami): who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (Hebrew: Ruchamah)” (1Pe.1:10) This prophecy is about God leaving his people, but later on he will have grace and get them back. (Hos.1-2)

If Peter writes to the Jews, then it is very obvious that he writes to born-again Jews. “Hath begotten us again” (1Pe.1:3 KJV)

Furthermore he supposes a knowledge of Rabbinical tradition when he speaks about the principle of thousand years as one day. “But forget not this one thing” (2Pe.3:8 ASV)

I think it is very important to know that Peter is writing to Jewish audience. When not seeing this so, the demarcation line of Jew and Gentile fades away. And more than that, this letter then could be probably the best letter for a bold replacement theology.

I’m aware that I have another opinion as the writers of The Jewish Annotated New Testament, and many others, but after time I changed and now I think he wrote to believing Jews only. Of course it is meant for gentles too, but we have to read it in the right manner.

I published this article a few weeks ago on my new Dutch blog. But since I read about this matter on the blog of James here, I have re-written it in English now.

[update 18apr.2017] James Dunn backs up my opinion as I read in a book review: “Dunn accepts the minority opinion that 1 Peter was addressed to Jewish Christians, but recognizes the Pauline influence on the letter.” (James Dunn, Neither Jew nor Greek: A Contested Identity, 2016. page 728)

Terrorism in Europe

August 9, 2014
demostratie24julidenhaag

Demonstration, juli 24th, The Hague, NL

isis

If we don’t stand against terrorism as we face it now in Israel and Gaza, we surely will face it in our country very soon. Several pro-Palestine demonstrations were held in the Netherlands since Hamas is fighting Israel. They compared Israel’s actions with the Holocaust and shouted dead to the Jews. Antisemitism is rising high. They also showed ISIS flags.

Against this rising antisemitism, a protest pamflet is issued and published in national newspapers by well-known Dutch persons and another one by prominent (protestant) pastors. You can do no better than act at this time and show support for the Jewish people.pamflet-nos

pamflet-rdIf a nation doesn’t do anything, or worse, condemns Israel by saying something stupid like “disproportional” reactions, soon they will be involved with terrorism itself.

This all because the God of Israel is coming to us. Period.

No nation excluded. Yes! The hand of the God of Israel is stretched out!

Faith joins Gentile and Jew into the Messiah (Our place – part 8)

May 22, 2012

Faith joins Gentile and Jew into the Messiah as one entity

Paul begins to point to the stumbling of the Jewish people as a matter/cause what brings salvation to the gentiles. But he directly points out too, that the salvation is first the Jew and then the Greek (Ro.1:16) This salvation is to be attained since Christ completed the suffering self sacrifice as an atonement for the sins of “all Israel”. And now the time has come that gentiles also may be part of “all Israel”. All this is done by faith in this Christ which gives true righteousness. And the “all Israel” factor is a mystery what will be revealed in the future. (Of course in future, otherwise it would eliminate the free will and choice to repent.)

The faith (emunah) is the true righteousness and will gain the true Torah. This is not something new to the Jews. It is the most basic tenet together with repentance. Paul explains this with a well known verse of the Torah, Deu.30:12: For this commandment which I command you this day, it is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.

And this is Paul’s midrash (commentary) on it: For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law, “The one who does them will live by them.” But the righteousness which is of faith says this, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down); or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)” But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;” that is, the word of faith, which we preach: that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

I have to say that many of the church communities are taught that the law (Torah) is the opposite to grace. Paul doesn’t do this here: Christ (grace) is the end of the law. (Ro.10:4-6) Not the opposite. Moses described the righteousness of the law, (v.5) but the same Moses described the righteousness of faith (v.6) in Deu.30:12.

Now the gentiles can get the same reward as the Jews can get, but it is not due to the law, but by means of believe that Christ fulfilled it and gives it to the believer.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Gal.3:28-29) Paul here pointed back to the Abrahamic covenant in which all the people of the earth will be blessed. (Ge.12:3)

But it is all about those who are righteous. There’s a calling amongst Jew and now also gentiles, to become righteous, and an election to become one of them, one of the chosen people. This is what Paul says in Romans chapter 9. It’s not just Israel: For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. (Ro.9:6) And then Paul shows on the hand of the patriarchs how Israel became Israel. Not by ethnic descendant, but by election. And not by works, but by faith. You can’t rely on the fact that you are the seed of Abraham: Neither, because they are Abraham’s seed, are they all children. But, “In Isaac will your seed be called.” (Ro.9:7) And you can’t rely on what comes from Isaac, because before the children were born it was already known that it was said to her, “The elder will serve the younger.” Even as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Ro.9:12-13) There’s an election according to God’s grace. And since the Messiah has come, this election is extended to the gentiles. The true people of God comes from anything but he who calls. (Ro.9:11) There’s a calling now also for the gentiles. It’s all from God who says: I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. (Ro.9:15 / Ex.33:19) Will that eliminate the free will? Far from that: But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed ask him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Or hasn’t the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory, us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles? (Ro.9:20-24)
Now Paul concludes: the goyim who didn’t seek righteousness got it, but, again, as many as are called. We can’t stress this enough. It’s an investigation for all of us: are we really called? Do we have true faith? Do we walk the right path? What are our deeds? Did we give our heart to Him who it belongs to? It are not the Jews, it is not the church, it is not our community, but those who fear God. (Ps.118:4)

The problem Paul faces is the lack of faith by the people of Israel. He admitted they have a zeal (קנא kinah, rendered back to Hebrew) of God (Ro.10:2), but what he wishes he would see by the Jews is the righteousness what comes through faith, which what he said is that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Ro.10:9)

Age of the gentiles

The problem however is, the common Jews didn’t hear the gospel yet in Paul’s time. And therefore they couldn’t tell it to the world also and detract the message of Christ. They are still in the time of exile and bear the curse as it is written in the Torah. And although Paul sees the glory of the Messianic times in the prophecy (Ro.10:15) of Isaiah, he stresses here the fact that it is also stated in scripture that they are not all obedient to the gospel (v.16) and hence, like Isaiah said Who has believed our message? [Jew and Gentile] And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? And then he comes to the conclusion that there must be a time of rejection of the Jewish people, a time of suffering. (Is.53#) The people of Israel didn’t understood. (Ro.10:2,19,21; Ro.11:8) The time wasn’t there yet for the restoration of the people of Israel, the end of the exile, and the gathering in the land, to live in peace. It will not say that the gentiles understood it well. They all were furious, Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing? Against the Anointed one? (Ps.2)
Just a few, a very few who are faithful and take the yoke of the despised Messiah. There would come a time of suffering rather than a glorious Messianic time on earth. And we see now that the people of Israel have its own unique role. Based on their special covenant as a nation and special blessings they also have special curses as a nation. The church could easily understand the curse, but now we see the emerging blessing since they have the land Israel back again. But also those who are called from the gentiles share the suffering. Since the great Master suffered, al his fellow people have a share in it, and a new era is about to begin. Not the glory of this world, but the world-to-come was expected. And despite of suffering, they already had glorious times because of the victory of the Messiah. That’s why Paul in the midst of his exaltation quoted psalm 44:23 Yes, for your sake we are killed all day long. We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter. (Ro.8:36)

Paul’s message in Romans 9-11 (Our Place – part7)

May 9, 2012

Paul’s message to the gentiles about the Jews

Paul’s letter to the Romans contains the most clear message in the NT about the role of the Jews. In three chapters (9-11) he writes his explanation about this special place the Jews have in world history. Paul is used to backup his point with scripture when building up a case like here in Rom.9-11.  We see here that he build his case upon the song of Moses described in Deuteronomy 32.

Before Paul begins to write his message, he showed in the previous chapters that the Torah on one side was a law that condemns the physical pleasures of mankind and on the other side it is a spiritual life which gains eternal life through the yet risen Messiah. He also showed that one cannot deny the Messiah Jesus and complete the Torah. For he lacks the spiritual salvation and therefore is condemned by this same law. But there is more to say about the people of Israel as a nation than just to conclude with this statement. Because they have the promises and the covenants which are irrevocable. (Ro.9:3and11:29) And so he paved the way to put his message.

He ends chapter 8 with a praise to God of the glorious time of redemption which has began yet through the Messiah Jesus in a spiritual way. Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written, “For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ro.8:33-39)

But now there’s a problem because of the Jewish denial of Jesus. This thought is present by Paul at the background, he called that a mystery and is about to show this as far as he and his audience can understand.

Romans 9-11

I would like to go through some verses of Romans 9 – 11 to see his explanation of a crucial verse in the Song of Moses, what speaks about the relationship of Jews and Gentiles.

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. (Ro.9:1-2)

An opening verse and important statement: great sorrow because of the state of unbelief of the Jewish people as a nation and the separation of these Jews from their spiritual renewal and salvation through their Messiah.

For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. (Ro.9:3-5)
This extraordinary and unusual saying of Paul signifies not only his zeal for his own Jewish people, but it also alludes to the view he has in mind of the role the Jewish people would serve in God’s plan. This is given in the following two verses 4-5.
They are the Israelites whom belongs the:
– the adoption of sons (prior to the gentiles)
– divine glory (Kaboth/Shechinah)
– covenants
– the receiving of the Torah
– the worship (the temple sacrificial system, Avodah)
– the promises.
– the patriarchs, from which comes Christ.

All these seven special gifts Paul mentioned, marks the uniqueness of this special people as a nation. As a nation they will be redeemed in the end. These gifts are given and bound to a nation. And they are irrevocable because it are Godly covenants and promises. However, Paul says that the Jews have stumbled over the stumbling stone. (v.32-33) But not to fall completely. (Ro.11:11) He marks his point boldly that Israel as a nation will remain with the promises. And his concern is that they may be saved and restored. (Ro.10:1) As soon as possible for the sake of his brothers, but he knows that in the end “all Israel will be saved”.

Paul first expresses a great personal tension here. He said he wishes to be cut off from Christ for the sake of Israel. It’s one or the other for Paul: with Israel and deny Christ, or with Christ and without the commonwealth of the people of Israel. Though in the end he declares that this Christ, who comes from their flesh, is God worthy to praise above all. (v.5)

But Paul goes on saying “not all Israelites truly belong to Israel” (v.6) In other words, there could be a time that it seems that Israel would not make it, but in the end “all Israel will be saved”. The promise is the identifier. (v.8) The promise will remain and God will fulfill His words. It is not what we see now what happened since the people of Israel didn’t accept their Messiah, but shared anger instead. It’s about what we have to expect based upon the promises made to the people of Israel which is written in the Torah.

Here, in Paul’s message to the gentiles the meaning already laid of the unfolding mystery of God’s plan with the Jews which leads to the salvation of “all Israel”. I suppose that Paul has the song of Moses (De.32) in mind. When he sees what happens, that the gentiles are foregoing the Jews in the way of salvation, he must have a scripture what backed this up. If this people, the witnesses of the revelation of God (on Sinai), the people of the Torah and the promises, as he said, if they rejected Jesus, he must have a scripture for this. It could not only be a convincing Spiritual persuasion, and even not only an appearance of Jesus Himself, otherwise you are a false prophet according to the Torah. I suppose he is building up a case upon the Song of Moses in this part of the letter to the Romans, chapter 9-11.

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?

Torah and homosexuality

January 19, 2012

The best statement in the world on homosexuality offered by some good rabbis:

The Process Of Healing:
The only viable course of action that is consistent with the Torah is therapy and teshuvah. (repentance)

Why on earth is it rejected by our orthodox rabbies in the Netherlands? What powers are developing to destroy the whole world? O my, in what age am I born??

But there’s hope: It seems that besides the bad part a good part is developing too. Albeit very tiny, maybe it’s a part of the little stone from Nebucadnezzar’s dream which becomes the cornerstone of the world! Glory to God who works it out! It’s not all bad, some people go back to God and go to fight evil, or at least to make a fence.

For out of Zion shall go forth the law. (Is.2:3)

The homosexual agenda is one of the most evil powers to destroy the world. That’s for example why Michael Brown is fighting hard against it. Before you know, your tiny little children are affected with it.

If I could sign, I would do it instant! (What a shame for our Dutch rabbis…they temporarely removed Dutch chief rabbi Aryeh Ralbag.)

Sharing Dutch articles

December 30, 2010

My native language is Dutch. I frequently write  in Dutch, not much but when I would like to share an article I prefer to do this separate on my yet new blog Neetser.blogspot.com

Mainly I’ll use this blog (FaithbasedWorks) for blogging.