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Isaiah’s Afflicted Angel

January 24th, 2014

I will make mention of the mercies of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us; and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His compassions, and according to the multitude of His mercies.  For He said: ‘Surely, they are My people, children that will not deal falsely’; so He was their Saviour.  In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them, and carried them all the days of old.
(Isaiah 63:7-9; Jewish Publication Society, 1917)

This is a picture of God’s relationship with Israel.  Is it not a fitting picture of the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus)?  He is the fulfillment of God’s love to His people.

Posted in Anonymous, Biblical Interpretation, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Redemption, Some Words and Thoughts | No Comments »

Why won’t you listen?!

January 20th, 2014

I don’t know how many times I have to say it: I don’t believe in three gods.  No one who is a Christian believes in three gods.  Every true believer can say, along with every Jew the Shema: Here O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One (Deuteronomy 6:4).  Neither do we believe that a man became God – that is sacrilegious.

Where do you get these ideas?  From those who do not understand themselves what Christians (whether Jewish or Gentile) believe.  Why not get the truth about the Christian faith from those who understand it: Christians (whether Jewish or Gentile)?  Or from the source, the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament)?  We’d be happy to send you a copy.

Is it possible that the you are told not to interact with us, because there is truth in what we say?  You won’t know till you check it out.

Contact us!

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Christianity, New Covenant, Things Doctrinal and Theological | No Comments »

Have you kissed the Son?

November 26th, 2013

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalms 2:12; English Standard Version)

Do homage in purity, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way, when suddenly His wrath is kindled. Happy are all they that take refuge in Him. (Psalms 2:12; Jewish Publication Society)

A quick perusal of this verse in the two versions will show that there is some disagreement here.  But, why?

The phrase under debate is the Hebrew words that can be transliterated in English as neeshku-var.  The Hebrew word nshk, can mean “kiss” or “paying homage.”  Var is the Aramaic word for “son.”  So why has the JPS translated it, “do homage in purity?”

Although this is the tradition of some Medieval Jewish sages, there are notable exceptions, such as Ibn Ezra, and the Radak.  The Zohar also speaks of this verse, understanding the word as son.  More importantly, the Talmud recognizes this psalm as Messianic, and speaking in relationship to both Messiah son of Joseph (i.e. Yeshua or Jesus), and Messiah son of David (b. Sukkah 52a).

Already in Psalm 2 we are asked why the world rebels against the Lord and His Anointed (v.1). Later in the psalm God calls this anointed his Son whom He has begotten (v. 7).  So in the words of Michael Brown, to whom I am indebted for the information in this article*, “Why then should it be considered odd that the psalm would close with a twofold admonition, namely, to ‘serve the Lord with fear’ and ‘kiss the son?’”

Where traditional Jewish interpreters vary, they are required to say that the word as written is not quite correct, and that it represents a different word (like the Hebrew word for “purity” which is very similar).  As demonstrated above, however, that is not necessary.

Who is right?  Those who take the words as they are written and translate them within the context of the Psalm; or those who –  disregarding what is written both in the Scriptural text and even, at times, in rabbinic tradition – translate according to their own idea of what they want Scripture to say.

Sadly, many (happily not all) passages in Scripture that point to Yeshua as Messiah are treated this way. Still, more Jewish people are coming to “kiss the Son” today than since the time of Yeshua.  Why not listen to God and do the same?

Please contact us for more information, or you can click here.

* For a more detailed discussion on this passage, read “Answering Jewish Objections of Jesus: Volume Three – Messianic Prophecy Objections,” by Michael Brown.  2003.  Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Following God, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Talmud vs. Tanakh, The Bible, Things Doctrinal and Theological | No Comments »

A Tale of Two Messiahs

August 30th, 2013

IN THE DAYS OF YESHUA (JESUS), THE RABBIS RECOGNIZED TWO MESSIAHS

We know this from Talmud (traditions of the rabbis codified between the 2nd & 6th Centuries).

Victorious King Messiah – Moshiach ben Daveed ( Messiah son of David)

1.     Isaiah 27:13 –come at the blast of the shofar (the rams horn), when God promises that all of Israel will be redeemed and returned to the land.
2.     Psalm 2 – This is the conquering king Messiah
3.     Isaiah 9 – the one who would have the government upon his shoulders, and who would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

But the rabbis recognized another picture of messiah –

Suffering Servant Messiah – Moshiach ben Yosef (Messiah son of Joseph) – also called the Leprous Messiah (Sanhedrin 98b; quoting Isaiah 53:4)

1.     Isaiah 53 – This is the suffering servant passage: would suffer for our transgression (v. 5); upon whom our iniquities would be placed (vs. 5,6); would become an asham (guilt offering) for the atonement of the people’s sins (v. 10); he would be cut off from the land of the living (v.8), Isaiah tells us, but will then see the light of life (i.e. be resurrected; v. 10).
2.     Zechariah 9:9 – lowly and riding on a donkey.
3.     Psalm 22 – cry out, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 1), and suffer the anguish the psalmist writes of.

So if the rabbis had an understanding of these two pictures of Messiah:

  • Why were they unable to see Jesus for who he was?
  • Why did they miss him?
  • Why, in fact, did they do the very thing that God, through Isaiah, foretold in chapter 53 –despise him, reject him, and esteem him not?

You see the rabbis at that time reasoned in this way:

  • If Israel were righteous, then would come the Moshiach ben Daveed – the Conquering King Messiah – at the blast of the ram’s horn, on a white horse coming down from the clouds.  And he would bring Israel once again to prominence and bring peace to the whole world.
  • However, if Israel were unrighteous, then would come the Mochiach ben Yosef – the Suffering Servant Messiah – who would come humbly – lowly and riding on a donkey  A Messiah who would suffer for us and bear our sins. 

MISTAKEN IDENTITY: JESUS OUT OF CONTEXT

So if the Jewish scholars and sages knew both pictures of Messiah, why did they miss him?

Well, remember that since the return of the exiles, the religious Jew of his day considered himself doing all he could to be right with God.

  • He had all the Pharisaical traditions to follow.
  • He went to the temple regularly with his sacrifice.
  • He gave to the poor.
  • He fasted.
  • He did all the right things!

So did he think Israel was righteous, or unrighteous?  Righteous, of course.

So what Messiah was he expecting?  The Victorious King of course!

And that is the point!

  • For centuries, the people saw in their mind the Conquering King Messiah coming.
    • Another Judah Maccabee.
  • This was the expectation of the people because they believed themselves to be righteous.
  • So they refused to recognize the Suffering Servant Messiah when he came.

This is why Jesus says in John 5:45-47:

“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope.  For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Jesus and the Jewish leaders were reading the same Scriptures!  But Yeshua could see what the leaders would not.  Many leaders did come to faith, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea (see John 19:38-39).  Most did not.  Those that didn’t led the rest of Israel on the wrong path.

  • When the temple (the center of the sacrificial system by which Israel and Israelites could have atonement) is destroyed, then the question came:  how now can the Jewish people atone for their sins?
  • Then the Jewish leaders made new rules:
    • rules that took the temple out of the equation
    • rules that determined other means of atonement.

And so, by the 5th Century, when the Talmud was finally codified:

  • there was a whole system of law that included atonement for sin
  • but not by the standard of God (i.e. not through the sacrifice of the Suffering Servant Messiah, Yeshua)

My friend, Yeshua is not the Messiah of the Gentiles but the Messiah of Israel.  If you want to enter into the Olam Habah (to have eternal life with God our Father), you must believe in Him!

Contact us, and let us tell you how.  We would be happy to give you, free of charge, a book that tells you how twelve rabbis did just that.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Following God, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Messiah in the Tanach, Redemption, Resurrection, Salvation, Talmud vs. Tanakh | No Comments »

The Bible at its Word

August 23rd, 2013

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek [Gentile].” (Romans 1:16)

If a person believes in Jesus as proclaimed in the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament), that person can then read the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament) at its word.  The two parts of the Bible are seen to be complimentary, cohesive, consistent and correct.  The Word of God, taken at its word, then becomes a testimony to its own miraculous existence and, consequently, to the glory of God: to His wonderful plans, promises and faithfulness.

If a person will not believe in Jesus as presented in the B’rit Hadashah, then one must read into the Tanakh in order to make it work (as the sages and rabbis have done).  Then the Hebrew Scriptures cannot be taken at its word: they are seen to be confusing and, in many places, untrue.  The Word of God becomes full of contradiction and inconsistencies that testify to its being not of God but of humanity and, therefore, mundane – no different than any other religious book proclaiming truth.  The Scriptures then contain no or, at best, questionable testimony to the truth of God.

It would seem to me that the existence of the miracle trumps the assumption of the mundane.  That is why I know that the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation is true and can be taken at its word.

“For in it [the Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:17)

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Knowing God, Some Words and Thoughts, The Bible | No Comments »

Don’t Be Blinded!

April 5th, 2013

“Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, ‘You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.’”(Matthew 24:1-2)

Yeshua (Jesus) is here speaking about the events that would occur in 40 years: the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.  He had just finished condemning the Jewish religious leaders in Matthew 23 where he calls them blind guides.  It is passages like these that cause many Jewish leaders today to call the Gospel of Matthew anti-Semitic.

Let us consider the source and the result, however.  Matthew, a Jewish disciple of Yeshua is writing about what his Jewish rabbi said.  This rabbis is, among other things, a prophet.  That Yeshua is truly a prophet we can determine by the result that what he said came to pass.  Consider how often the prophets condemned the Israelite leaders, both kings and priests, because they were disobedient to God (see also Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?).

Yeshua was not happy about that which was to take place; indeed he had just lamented over Israel and their inability to see the deliverance he brought for them (Matthew 23:37).  He knew God’s will, and declared it, just as the prophets of old.

The truth is that if Yeshua was a prophet as promised in the Torah (Deuteronomy 18:18), then he was also the Messiah and he was also God.

  • He was the Messiah as promised by Hebrew Scriptures (Isaiah 9:1-6; Isaiah 53),
    • and as a prophet of God he proclaimed this to be so (John 4:25-26).
  • He was God, as the prophets proclaimed he would be (Isaiah 9:6; Jeremiah 23:6; Malachi 3:1),
    • and as a prophet of God he proclaimed this to be so (Mark 3:11-12; Luke 4:41; John 1:49-51, 8:58 (claiming God’s name given to Moses in Exodus 3:14).

If what he said about the temple was true, then why should it surprise us that all the rest is true.  And if Israel had been blinded by their leaders before about the nature of God and His plans, why should we not be prepared for the same today?

Don’t be blinded by the traditions of men and be destroyed.  Come to the Word of God and the Son of God and be saved for eternal life!

“Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”(Matthew 15:14)

Please contact us for more information!

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, The Bible | No Comments »

Coming Out of the Bushes

February 13th, 2013

But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
(Genesis 3:9-10)

In Genesis Chapter 3, which relates the fall of Adam and Eve, three things are obvious:

  1. Through the temptation of the serpent, our first parents rebelled against God by eating the fruit forbidden to them – breaking the only rule that was given them to obey.
  2. By eating of the fruit of the tree of good and evil, the relationship between each other and between them and God seemed irrevocably disjointed.
  3. Though they deserved the death promised to them by God for their disobedience, they did not die.  God was gracious to them so that, even though there were consequences for their actions, they were not utterly destroyed.

The Genesis 3 account is one, therefore, of both regret and hope.  Regret at paradise lost, and hope for a future promised.  For here in Genesis 3 we have the first of the messianic promises found in the Word of God when the Lord  curses Satan: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel”  (Genesis 3:15).

This was fulfilled with the coming of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).  When he was hung upon the cross, sinless though he was, Satan bruised the heel of the offspring of Eve.  And when he died upon that cross, the offspring bruised his head.

There is one element of this story that is often overlooked, but is implicitly obvious from our passage above.  When God came to call Adam and Eve out, Adam came out of the bushes.

You see they had hid themselves from God in fear.  When God called Adam out, he might have tried to hide further but he did not.  He came forward and confessed – not a great confession – but a start.

God is calling us to come out of the bushes; to recognize our rebelliousness against him.  He has also given us a means to reconcile ourselves to Him: Yeshua (Jesus).

Come out of the bushes!  Perhaps you’re not sure of the consequences.  That’s ok – come out!  It’s a start.

Contact us to find out more.

 

Posted in Anonymous, Biblical Interpretation, Following God, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Some Words and Thoughts, The Bible | No Comments »

Some Words and Thoughts

January 14th, 2013

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
(Exodus 3:1-6)

Some things to note:

  1. We are told that it is the Angel of the Lord who appears as a flame in the bush.
  2. Moses is commanded to take his sandals off his feet because the ground is holy. 
  3. The Angel of the Lord then introduces himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
  4. Verse 6 clearly tells us that Moses assumed he was in the very presence of God.

What can we conclude?  The Angel of the Lord is God.  Now look at all the places where we see the Angel of the Lord and see how he is juxtaposed with the identity of God: Genesis 16:6-13; Genesis 22:10-18; Numbers 22:21-35; Judges 2:1-5; Judges 6:22-23; Judges 13:21-22; 1 Chronicles 21:15-17.

If the Angel of the Lord is an expression of God on earth, then it makes sense of this verse from the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament):

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
(John 1:17-18)

Is it possible that the Angel of the Lord was the Second Person of a tri-une Godhead, finding His ultimate expression in the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus)?  It certainly makes sense of the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures)!

Posted in Anonymous, Biblical Interpretation, Knowing God, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Some Words and Thoughts, The Bible | No Comments »

The Branch, the King and the Priest

January 11th, 2013

And the word of the LORD came to me: “Take from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah. Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”‘ And the crown shall be in the temple of the LORD as a reminder to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. “And those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the LORD. And you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”
(Zechariah 6:9-15)

God is painting here a prophetic picture through the prophet Zechariah, who ministered to Israel during the return from Babylonian captivity of some of the exiles.  He takes the High Priest Yehoshua (Joshua; in Ezra he is referred to as Yeshua, the same Hebrew name as Jesus), and he tells us that he is a symbol of something to come.  This High Priest is symbolized as the Branch (also in Zechariah 3:8), a messianic symbol that we find as early as Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah writing in the 8th Century B.C.E.

And this branch according to our passage, shall be a priest on the throne.  There’s a problem though!  According to the Mosaic Covenant, The High Priest was of the tribe of Levi (the first High Priest Aaron being of that tribe), and the king and the Messiah from the tribe of Judah.  So how is this possible?  Only if the Messiah were not of the Priesthood of Aaron; only if he was not a priest within the context of the covenant made on Mount Sinai, is this possible.

The prophetic symbolism used here of the High Priest Yeshua in the time of Zechariah some 2,400 years ago, is fulfilled  by the High Priest Yeshua, who lived, ministered, died and was then resurrected some 2,000 years ago.  He is the fulfillment of God’s messianic promise of an eternal throne for David, and an eternal priesthood.

That is why King David writes prophetically that:

The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
(Psalms 110:1-4)

That’s why the writer of the book of the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) called Hebrews can say:

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 6:19-20)

The writer goes on to explain this in Hebrews 7:1-10.

Once again we can see that the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament) only makes sense in light of the Good News that Yeshua was Messiah in fulfillment of it, as illuminated in the B’rit Hadashah.  Faith in Yeshua is the continuation of the faith in God expressed to the nation of Israel in the Tanakh.  Won’t you be a part of the faithful?

Please contact us if you want to know more, or if you would like a copy of the B’rit Hadashah.

Contributed by Daniel Muller, a Jewish believer and the General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, The Bible, Things Doctrinal and Theological | No Comments »

Some Words and Thoughts

January 4th, 2013

Then the LORD caused to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
(Genesis 19:24, Jewish Publication Society)

In Genesis 18, God appears to Abraham in physical form along with two other individuals.  Although the rabbis try to explain this away, the plain meaning of the text is clear – God took on physical form, ate with Abraham (even ate dairy and meat together – imagine that!) and walked around with him – read it for yourself.

In Genesis 19, the two individual with God turn out to be angels who go down to Sodom, speak with Abraham’s nephew Lot and then take him away from Sodom before God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah and the other sinful towns in the area.

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah begins with the verse quoted above.  God on earth reigns down fire and brimstone from God in Heaven.  Could it be that the biblical understanding of the nature of God is at odds with rabbinic understanding?  Could it be that the homogeneous oneness of God that traditional Judaism proclaims is merely the result of a polemic against a pluralistic view of God’s unity as understood by both Jewish and Gentile Christians.  Could it me that the idea of the tri-une nature of God is actually the biblical one and true?

John Wesley, an 18th Century commentator, reflects upon Genesis 19:24 in this way:

Then the Lord rained – from the Lord – God the Son, from God the Father, for the Father has committed all judgment to the Son. He that is the Saviour will be the destroyer of those that reject the salvation.

Let’s get scriptural shall we?!  Food for thought.  Contact us if you wish to know more or if you need a bible.

 

Posted in Anonymous, Biblical Interpretation, Jewish Tradition, Knowing God, Some Words and Thoughts, Talmud vs. Tanakh, Things Doctrinal and Theological | No Comments »

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