Posts Tagged ‘zeal for the Torah’

Jealousy – Our Place, part 10

June 16, 2012

Where does Paul points to with this text of the song of Moses (Deu.32:21)? That there would be a “no-people” that will get glory as much as to make the people of Israel made jealous, to cause them have a zeal for the truth. However, they won’t win yet. The Jews will be despised and rejected. That “no-people” are the gentiles. God choose the gentiles, as much as are called. (Don’t read here Christianity, it are just a few amongst them. It’s difficult to see, but Christianity leans on the shoulder of just a very few righteous ones who are sticked to Christ and the Word. Common Catholic Christianity is considered by them as an antichrist power ruled by a false head, in stead of Christ. The old Protestants pictured the pope very clear as the antichrist. But to protest in the church is a rare thing nowadays and even Protestants doesn’t differ that much with Catholics now.)

The text of De.32:21 could be compared to a relationship. When a woman walks after another to make sins with, she provokes her husband to anger and jealousy. So does Israel do with God. Now God is saying when you do this to Me, I’ll do the same and choose a people (as a husband) which are nothing, to provoke you, oh Israel. (Like the analogy of Hosea ch.1)

That this text is used by Paul as one of the fundamentals he used to build his case upon, is seen by the places he mentioned the word jealousy. We need to understand this word. It also means zealot.

Paul used this in: Ro.10:2, 19, 11:11.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. (Ro.10:2)
But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. (Ro.10:19)
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. (Ro.11:11)

This are key points in his message. What we need to do is to take a look at this word. It is the Hebrew word קנא (kenah). It’s translated as jealous, zeal, anger.

It affects the body with an emotional power, it moves the blood to the head, and would result in anger or hard working for the sake of the reason what caused it. An expression with a direct connection with this text is given in Is.65:5. The transgression of the people of Israel caused God to say: “These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burns all day”. And our text gives: For a fire is kindled in My nostril, and burneth unto the depths of the nether-world. (Deu.32:22) All this sounds not so positive, but it can turn out in a positive way though. It creates power to act. And when Paul renders this to the gentiles who makes the Jews jealous, (Ro.11:11) because God is passing the promises to the chosen ones from the gentiles, he gives this a positive turn to make the Jews act and get the grace (back) from their God. Their everlasting God who doesn’t abolish the law/Torah, covenant and promises etc. There’s a Jewish tradition that says that in every negative thing lies something positive.

The Hebrew word kenah (קנא or קנאה) is used in the following verses.
It is one of the attributes and name of God: for thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (Ex.34:14)
For I the LORD thy God am a jealous God. (Ex.20:5)
The zeal of the God of hosts will perform this. (Is.9:6)
The LORD will not pardon him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. (Deu.29:20)

Another verse, what would draw us to the right understanding, is from Zachariah. When the angel asks God: how long will you not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which you have had indignation these seventy years? (Za.1:12)  (Here the 70 years of exile are meant, which are thousands of years actually.) On what the Lord response: Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. (Za.1:14-15)
This correlates with the last part of the song of Moses. I thought I would make an end of them [the Israelites], I would make their memory cease from among men; Were it not that I dreaded the enemy’s [common gentiles] provocation, lest their adversaries should misdeem, lest they should say: Our hand is exalted, and not the LORD hath wrought all this. (Deu.32:25-26)

But in fact God would choose (some) gentiles to make the Jews jealous. This is what Paul not only believed, but also experienced. And this, as seen in the song of Moses, is all a part of the story of the people of Israel. They were the chosen people. They were the commandments, they were the blessings and the curses. They were the promises. They fell into apostasy. They were brought up again. But if they are now drawn into the greatest exile ever and must go through the greatest punishment ever and must suffer more than any nation, are they abandoned now? Is it all over? NO says Paul. Of course not. Gentiles are part of the story, but they are not interchanged with Israel!

I say then, Have they [the Jews] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy (παραζηλόω parazēloō). (Ro.11:11)

Paul brings the meaning of Deu.32:21 here into reality. A no-people, chosen by God, who provoke the people of Israel to jealousy. Paul sees it happen. Based on the verse Deu.32:21 of the song of Moses, we can assume that the words jealousy and zeal have both a meaning in the word jealousy (kinah). The Greek and the English word have the same voice.

For I bear them record that they have a zeal (ζῆλος zēlos) of God, but not according to knowledge. (Ro.10:2)

What does it mean? If you ask me, I would say: The Jews would be more and more dedicated to the Torah. A more zeal for the Torah. And you can see it: After the destruction of the temple rabbi Jochanan ben Zakkai e.g. began with a great school in Javne to learn Torah. And it expanded greatly with works of describing the oral Torah (Talmud) and many chachamiem (sages) came after him, like Rambam and Rashi, expounding the Torah for the people of Israel. They have a great zeal. They are provoked with the loss of the temple, the loss of a king, the loss of the sanhedrin, the loss of the land, the loss of the prophets, and so on. But they are also provoked by a no-people, a people who utterly proudly claimed the promises as the Christians and the Moslims. They have to take stand against them. But more then that, there are people who claimed that Jesus is the Messiah and they have very strong premises. In fact they are one of them. If that comes close, then they are bothered whether what to believe. They are challenged.

The people of Israel have a zeal for God. And they are called to have a zeal for God They are even called to be an example before the all the people of the world. They are a light unto the nations. Thats why they have a great responsibility. And you might say are they an example when they fall? Certainly yes, especially in this part. An example for everybody! Who do not fall? Paul warned the gentiles for this: “Do not boast over those branches [the Jews]. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. (Ro.11:18)

Paul let us now that they have a zeal for God in his time. (Ro.10:2) And we can see throughout history that the Jews have a zeal for God. But what says Paul, how does he put that zeal for God of the Jews with respect to Jesus? He followed the statement with: but not according to knowledge. If we render the word knowledge back to Hebrew word Daat, we’ll get some insights in the deeper meaning of it.
For, as is known, the term Daat connotes a sensitivity of the soul, and this is comprised of Chesed and Gevurah. Chesed gives rise to love and Gevurah to fear. Only when one possesses the attribute of Daat and spiritual sensitivity, will one experience the kinds of love and fear of  God.# Without knowledge (da’at) there is no understanding (binah), without understanding there is no knowledge. (Avot 3:21)

The problem Paul faces is that the Jews didn’t have the understanding and the real wisdom which comes from the Holy Spirit who teaches us. They want to achieve it but they didn’t receive it. Because they didn’t receive it and it was given to the gentiles, to a no-people, Paul was arguing to the gentiles that this would give them a reason to show the beauty they have gotten to make the Jews jealous. Then, at least, it would give the gentile believers a reason to live a good life as an example for the Jews, to remove any (remaining) antisemitism.

Advertisements