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Good enough for Hitler, but not for Israel

February 28th, 2014

“For the furnaces in Germany we were Jewish. But for Israeli citizenship we’re not?”

These are the words of Renata Kaufman as reported in an article by Shalom Yerushalmi in the February 21st edition of the Israeli newspaper, Maariv.  According to his article, Mrs. Kaufman has been refused citizenship by Israel’s Ministry of the Interior, even though she is a Holocaust survivor.

The reason?  She believes in Yeshua (Jesus) as her Messiah and Lord.  Mr. Yerushalmi reports, “When Kaufman decided to make aliyah, she was told by the Jewish Agency that she’s not Jewish—that she’s Messianic and a traitor.”  This, then, is the so-called pluralism I once heard touted by Benjamin Netanyahu at a Walk With Israel event.

Mrs. Kaufman became a believer in Yeshua after the war, but there were a number of Jewish believers during the war who perished.  They perished because they were Jewish.  Hitler had no problem understanding this, so why does Israel’s Ministry of the Interior?

Here is an interesting question:  why is it that you can believe in Buddha, or Vishna or even not believe in anything at all, and still be Jewish; but if you believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and have Yeshua as the Messiah you are not?  What if faith in Yeshua is the real Jewish faith?  What if believing in Yeshua is exactly what God wants, and the enemy (Satan) is doing everything he can to keep Jews from believing?  What if?

Please contact us and let us tell you why we believe that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Following God, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Messiah, Personal Stories, Uncategorized | 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 »

Still a Jew … and more!

April 20th, 2013

I remember a conversation with my mother in my mid-twenties.  At that time, I was heavily influenced by New Age thought and Eastern philosophies.  I did not then believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – I thought he was an anachronism of ancient Jewish mythology.  I remember saying to my mother that I didn’t feel that I was Jewish, since I didn’t believe in God.

I was born to Jewish parents, and I grew up going weekly to our Conservative synagogue and to cheder (which was a kind of Jewish version of Christian Sunday School). I felt that believing in God was integral to Jewish identity.  Such an assumption seemed to me to be written all over the pages of the Hebrew Scripture.  As I didn’t believe in the God of the Scriptures, I felt it inappropriate to say I was Jewish.

My mother’s response was memorable:  “You can’t stop being Jewish!  If Hitler were alive today, you would still end up in the concentration camp.”

As I recall, we let the subject drop.  I continued to estrange myself from Israel’s God.  I still went to the synagogue, if more irregularly.  I still felt a connection with the people I claimed to be estranged from – after all, I still thought like a Jew, expressed myself as a Jew, liked the same Jewish foods, was concerned for the same Jewish homeland and was proud of the same Jewish success stories.  I don’t have to like “Seinfeld” to be proud of Jerry, or like the “Hanukkah Song” to be proud of Adam.

Then came the day when I believed again in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  It was through the witness of a Christian friend (now my wife) that I returned to Him, as she responded to my questions about her faith.  I asked those questions for the purpose of proving how smart my belief system was and how foolish Christianity and the Judaism that preceded it was.  Her answers, however, were compelling.

I began to look once more to the Scriptures I read as a child.  Not just the stories of the heroes of the Bible – Noah, the Patriarchs, Moses, Kings David and Solomon – but to the meatier parts as well.  I confess that I also read the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament); not to find Yeshua (Jesus) – after all, I was Jewish – but to understand the faith my friend was sharing.

One day, and despite my best efforts to the contrary, I found myself as a confirmed believer in the God of my forefathers.  I knew that He was real, both as the creator of the universe and as an influence in my life.  I believed in the Lord as I had never done before, and I considered myself Jewish again.  This was a good three years before I came to believe that Yeshua was Messiah and Lord.

Nevertheless, reading the words of the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament) and the B’rit Hadashah, I couldn’t help but see the Jewishness of the latter and the consistency it brought to the former – something that rabbinic Judaism does not seem able to do.  I could read the plain meaning of the Tanakh, and see the inevitability of Yeshua being the Divine Messiah promised by Moses and the Prophets.

When I became a believer in Yeshua, I not only believed in God like never before, I also felt more Jewish that I ever did before.  I recognized my place, both within the Body of Believers in Messiah, and within the body of Israel.

When my parents found out about my new-found belief, the words of my mother came in handy once again, but this time from my own mouth.

My mother claimed that, “now that I believed in Jesus, I was no longer Jewish.”

I was conscious of the irony when I said, “If Hitler were alive today, I would still end up in the concentration camp.”

I did not come to faith in Yeshua to feel more Jewish.  I came to faith because, once I recognized that the God of Israel was the Lord of my life, I felt the need to understand His truth.  His truth led me to Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).  In believing in Him I come to follow the biblical faith – the faith intended by God for all the world, Jew and Gentile alike.

I’m still Jewish.  More than that, however, I am the Lord’s.  Do you want to be the same?  Contact us.

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Following God, Jewish Identity, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Messiah, Personal Stories, The Bible, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

Anti-Missionaries Miss the Point

January 18th, 2013

There is a lawsuit in the Israeli courts against the Israel Army Radio, filed by the anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim.  Apparently, the IAR refused to air a Yad L’Achim sponsored commercial telling people not to be deceived into believing in Jesus.  IAR did not air this because it felt it was considered controversial by the general public, and that it was offensive to some.

This is how a Yad L’Achim spokeman represented their position:

Christian mission is based on deceit. Its emissaries do not present themselves as Christian but as Messianic Jews, who represent a Judaism that believes in Jesus as the Messiah. Those ‘Messianic Jews’ hide their connection to a sub-stream of Protestant Christianity. Some of the leaders of the Messianic congregations have been ordained, some are Gentiles, and some are converted Jews.” Though their behavior is Jewish, “their theology is Christian.

Yad L’Achim’s lawyer used the persecution card, saying:

All through the exile Jews were forced – sometimes through torture – to convert to Christianity. Other Jews, including entire communities, forfeited their lives by refusing to convert. How can it not be permitted, in the State of Israel, to air an ad that warns against missionary activity?

In other words, since Jews were forced to convert to Christianity in a time gone by, people should not be given the chance to voluntarily hear the Gospel now.  For more about that, see our recent article, “Is the New Testament Anti-Semetic?”

In the end, all of Yad L’Achim’s rhetoric points to one thing: anti-missionaries don’t get the point.  They don’t understand what Christianity is all about, and how those Jews who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) view their faith in him.

For us, faith in Yeshua is the biblical faith.  It is the continuation of the work of God that was begun in Genesis and which will find its final fulfillment in the Book of Revelation, the last book of the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament).  This continuity is clearly visible with a simple reading of the whole of Scriptures. 

Both the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah are wrapped up in the history, the culture and the religious beliefs  of the Jewish people.  It represents God’s dealings with them and, through them, with every nation of the world.  To say that faith in Yeshua is the biblical faith is to say also that faith in Yeshua is the biblical Jewish faith (as opposed to the faith of the rabbis, or rabbinic Judaism).

That is what Jews and Gentiles who put their faith in Yeshua believe.  Whether we call ourselves Christians, or Believers in Jesus, or Messianics – that is our belief.  As Israel is ostensibly a pluralistic country, those who believe should have a right to express that belief, with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).  Yad L’Achim, Jews for Judaism and organizations like them want to keep that message from you.  You can heed their voice or no.

If you would like a chance to hear the message, why not contact us.  We would be happy to send you the Scriptures so you can consider these things for yourself.  If you have any questions, we would be happy to help you out – and by all means ask your rabbi too, or even Yad L’Achim if you wish.

As one follower of Yeshua put it:

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 Gentile. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17; quoting at the end from Habakkuk 2:4)

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

 

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, The Bible | No Comments »

Is the New Testament Anti-Semitic?

January 7th, 2013

For centuries, Jewish scholars and leaders have touted the B’rit Hadashah (the New Testament) as anti-Semitic.  Recently I came across an internet article (link here) attributed to Shmuel Golding, which states:

Bible-intoxicated Christians through the ages have thrown in the teeth of the Jews the demonic charges of “Christ-killers” and have fanned the flames of Jew-hatred using the New Testament for their justification.

While it is clear that historically there have been members of the Church who have done this, it would be extremely erroneous to say that they were “bible-intoxicated.”  The vast majority of these persecutors of Jewish people, far from being intoxicated with the Bible, had hardly imbibed the Bible at all.  That is not to say that there were not some Christians who knew the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) and yet were foolishly anti-Semitic, but for the most part, the principle sources of anti-Semitism throughout the ages were an  ignorance of Scriptures and the agendas of wrong-thinking religious and political leaders.

Historically, much of this anti-Semitism came about after Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire.  Often Jewish critics conveniently forget the anti-Christianity of Judaism that went on before that time.  I, myself, have been on the receiving side of such hatred, and primarily because I’m a Jew (a new form of anti-Semitism).  In the end, these hatreds have everything to do with the weaknesses of humankind and its rebelliousness against God (i.e. sin) and nothing to do with Scriptures.

While modern Jewish rhetoric is quick to point out the perpetrators of anti-Semitism throughout the ages, they do not speak to the many Christians throughout history who have stood up for the Jewish people, and spoken out against hatred of them, including many church leaders in the Middle Ages.  It is interesting to me that the tendency in the Evangelical Church since the 19th Century to care about the Jewish people and, more recently, about the State of Israel, has come at a time when Scriptural literacy in the church is on the increase.

A fair reading of the B’rit Hadashah would show that Yeshua (Jesus) and the writers of the B’rit Hadashah (all of whom were Jewish) cared about their Jewish people, just as the prophets in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament) did.  

  • Like those prophets, the writers of the B’rit Hadashah condemned those who were not obedient to God. 
  • Like the prophets of old, they warned their Israelite brothers of the consequences of their disobedience. 
  • Like the prophets of old, they urged their Jewish people to believe in the Messiah God promised in the Tanakh and fulfilled in the coming of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

The dispute Yeshua and his disciples had with the Jewish leaders of the day was an internally Jewish one.  While a remnant of the Jewish people believed in Messiah Yeshua (including many leaders – see Acts 6:7) and entered into the New Covenant promised by God (see Jeremiah 31:31-34), most did not.  The same can be said of the Gentile world.  In the end the B’rit Hadashah points out that all can be saved to eternal life, through Messiah’s sacrifice on the cross, and all are condemned if they do not, regardless of whether they are Jewish or Gentile.

The B’rit Hadashah is not anti-Semitic.  It speaks of the fulfillment of God’s promises in the Tanakh by the one whom God promised, who himself was God as promised in the Tanakh (Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 52:10-53:12).  Won’t you come to him and have eternal life?  If you would like to know how or want to know more, please contact us.

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Jesus and Israel, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Christianity, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Salvation, The Bible | No Comments »

Thanks for trying!

January 3rd, 2013

As someone who grew up in a small Jewish Community, I spent most of my time with people who were not Jewish.  The neighbourhood kids I played with and my schoolmates were, for the most part, Gentiles.  Now many of them were not kids that went to church or had a religious upbringing.  I cannot help but think, however, that some of the hundreds of kids I went to school with were bona fide, dyed-in-the-wool, born-again believers in Jesus Christ.

Yet not once do I recall any one during my public school or high school days trying to share the Gospel with me.  Oh, we recited the “Lord’s Prayer” in junior public school (I didn’t know then that the prayer was straight out of the New Testament – Matthew 6:9-13), and I remember singing Christmas carols, but not one person ever tried to explain to me what it all meant; who Jesus was, and how he died on the cross for my sins.  I probably wouldn’t have believed them, but that’s a moot point – no one tried.

The same can be said about my university experience, except with one exception.  At a dorm party I spent a lot of time talking to a girl who shared the Gospel with me, and tried to show me that Jesus was my Jewish saviour.  I can’t remember what her name was and only vaguely recall what she looked like.  In response I was incredibly cynical, certainly arrogant and quite possibly rude.  To her credit, she was perseverant.

I can’t say that what she said at the time left any impression upon me (only  God can say for sure), but now that I am a believer in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) and vocationally involved in sharing the Gospel with others, especially among my Jewish people, I can’t help but wish that I could meet her again.  I would like to thank her for caring enough to take the time to share such a momentous message with a tough nut like me.   I can’t help but think that she prayed for me afterward.

Still, the nagging question is why did not more people take the time to tell me the Gospel?   When it is a matter of eternal life or death – at least to those of us who believe – what can be said about those who cannot be bothered to pass the message along?

Was it because I was Jewish?  So what?  I still need Yeshua, the one who said to Jewish people, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Too many people avoid sharing the Gospel with anyone, but this is even more true with Jewish people.  Whether it’s because they think Jews won’t believe, or don’t need to believe, or, God forbid, don’t deserve to believe – and such anti-Semitism does still exist in the church, unscriptural though it is – many refuse to fulfill our God-given calling to preach the Gospel to the world when it comes to the Jewish people.

So I am grateful to those who do.  Thank you for taking a chance on your Jewish friend or acquaintance.  Thank you for offering to share with your Jewish workmate or classmate.   Many won’t thank you for doing it, and you might occasionally be belittled or ridicule; but know that you have sowed seed, or watered and nurtured.  Though you don’t see the harvest, that doesn’t mean that your efforts won’t bare fruit.

I can’t help but wonder if that young lady in university, going home that night, ever thought it possible that the difficult Jew she spoke with could ever become a true believer in Christ.  As Jesus once said, “with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)”

If you would like to more about how you can share the Gospel with your Jewish friend or acquaintance, please contact us.

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Goyim for God, Jewish Identity, Jews and Christianity, Personal Stories, Serving God, This, That, The Other Thing | 1 Comment »

I Might As Well

September 25th, 2012

I stopped by to wish a Jewish shopkeeper I know a Happy New Year .  I had not seen him in many months.   At first he wanted to know why I was there.  I quickly asserted it was not to do business but rather to say hello and that I had been thinking of him whenever I passed his way. I further went on to wish him and his family a “Happy and Healthy” New Year.  He expressed how he was glad to see me.

He went on to ask me where I went to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year), and I shared that I had been at my brother’s house the first night and stayed home the second.  He said that he did the first night at his house and the second at his sister’s.  We continued with more small talk: how I had been, how business was and a few other topics we had shared in the past.

He also told me that he observed only the first day and opened his business on the second, since he had to serve his customers.  We discussed the issue of closing for the Sabbath.   When I had owned my shop, I had discussed this many times in the past with my Jewish customers.  He said he had had this argument many times, but noted that his competitors were open and therefore he needed to be.    Besides, when was he going to be open if he always closed?

Then he asked me,” so are you fasting for Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)?”  I responded “I am not sure, but most likely not”.  I went on to ask if he was?  He said yes, so I asked him why?  He responded that he was going to Schsl (synagogue) all day, so he might as well.

When I asked him where he goes he named the synagogue.  He said he went there because his wife was converted there, he was married there and he was a member.  He needed to get back to work so he wished me “an easy fast” (yet another tradition) and I went on my way.

From our conversation I began to understand his observance of Judaism.  I knew he had a strong Jewish identity from past conversations.  I think his relationship with God was quite clear. He went to synagogue on Yom Kippur because “it’s was what you do when you call yourself a Jew.”

As I left his store, it occurred to me that I used to be just like him before I knew Yeshua (Jesus). My practice of Judaism was one of tradition or “that is what we do.”  That’s what my Bubbe (Grandmother) would answer me whenever I asked her “why do we do this?”

I am so grateful the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) has been fulfilled by Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ).  Besides, it is not even possible to celebrate the Holy Day biblically, without a Temple and High Priest; and the rabbinic substitutions have no biblical mandate. 

Mostly, I am grateful for Yeshua (Jesus) in my life as the one time eternal atonement for my sin.  All I have to do is what is commanded: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Henry Ford said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” 

I ask you, are you going to spend another year in tradition?  Maybe this year, you can check out the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) and check out the claims of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).  He is the greatest rabbi of all times.  He is the Messiah of Israel.  He is the means of our atonement (our Kippur).   

We at New Covenant Forum would be glad to give you a free copy of the B’rit Hadashah (in almost any language) and discuss our eternal atonement in Yeshua.

May your name be inscribed and sealed  in the Book of Life forever!

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

 

Posted in Alan Friesner, Atonement, Jewish festivals, Jewish Identity, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Personal Stories, Uncategorized | No Comments »

What does Christianity have to do with Judaism?

September 22nd, 2012

What does Christianity have to do with Judaism? It seems like everyone is asking the same thing these days.

First, I got the question from an older lady at church. She didn’t get why I’m interested in Jewish history, traditions and culture. From the way she talked it was like we’d been reading 2 different books – even though I’m sure her Bible and mine say the same thing. But while mine opens up awesome historic writings jammed with deeper Hebrew meanings, it sounded like her Bible reads generically. Either that or she’s managed to skim over all the parts about the origins of our faith … or how early believers would have viewed prophecies and events … or how much the Feasts tell us about the Messiah. I guess she missed the part about God’s covenant with Israel too. 

So to her the question made sense. Clearly she didn’t get the connection.

She’s not the only one. Although it’s exciting to see more and more believers waking up to the huge debt of gratitude we owe Jewish people today, at the same time—for some unknown reason—just as many Christians seem totally unaware. If you walked up to them in church and asked them, they’d probably stare at you with a blank expression. What does Christianity have to do with Judaism?

So it’s no surprise then that Jewish people are asking the same thing.  

Astonishment is a normal first reaction when I ask these friends more about their history, faith and how they observe it. They’re usually skeptical to some extent. But even then my Jewish friends are pretty good about helping me dig deeper. Maybe they’re waiting for me to slip up and give them a clue as to why a Christian is interested to begin with. After all, where’s the connection?   

One man I met was more direct than most. He was a Jewish leader new to our town and my plan was to meet and let him know about strong (non-Jewish) future friends and supporters here in the community. But it turned out he had no interest. Our coffee meeting turned into a cross-examination with him determined to uncover my dark motives in connecting with Jewish people at all.  

Christianity should have nothing to do with Judaism, from his perspective.

So with Christian and Jewish friends asking the same question and with all the different reactions I’ve seen on this heated topic, I’ve asked myself the same question more than once. Really, what does Christianity have to do with Judaism? And why do I even care?

But somehow just asking the question helps me refocus. Without Judaism, I wouldn’t be a Christian because there’d be no such thing. We wouldn’t have Scriptures or any of those powerful prophetic promises. We wouldn’t know about miraculous fulfillments in and around Israel. God wouldn’t have shown His undeniable covenant with one tiny nation. We wouldn’t have seen the proof of His faithfulness. There’d be no understanding of good versus evil because we’d have no moral absolutes handed down through Moses. And in a world with no sense of evil, where would any of us be?

But for me it gets even more personal than that.  

Without Israel, I wouldn’t have a Jewish Messiah.

Contributed by Shari Menzel, a Gentile believer in Jesus with a great heart for the Jewish people.

Posted in A Gentile perspective, Goyim for God, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Personal Stories, Shari Menzel, The Bible, This, That, The Other Thing | 2 Comments »

Seeking Honestly is the Best Policy!

August 1st, 2012

“I love them that love me, and those that seek me earnestly shall find me.”
(Proverbs 8:17; Jewish Pulication Society)

I was walking along Queen Street in the midst of the packed crowd at the Beaches Jazz Festival.  Along with a colleague and some volunteers I was wearing a blue shirt that says, “Jesus Loves You,” in the midst of a Star of David. 

A woman passed by – looked at us – and said, “That’s disgusting!”

I am sure it was only meant as a pot shot, and she was taken aback when I turned to ask her, “Why?” 

She looked a little startled, but could only restate her objection, “That’s disgusting!”  I asked her why once more and she responded in the same manner.

Finally, I smiled and said, “You don’t know why, do you?”  She could make no response and turned away, with, “that’s disgusting,” still on her face.

This is not an uncommon interaction.  The truth is that most of my Jewish people, when confronted with the Gospel, respond negatively – not because they have knowledge of the Gospel (very few do) – but because they have been indoctrinated against the Gospel.  The reaction is a knee-jerk one, and not one that comes from an honest look at the facts, biblical or otherwise.

There is a social contract among the wider Jewish community that Jews cannot consider Yeshua (Jesus), that Yeshua is not for Jews, and that for a Jew to believe in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) is to turn one’s back on Judaism. 

There are all kinds of religious, social and historical reasons that can be discussed as to why this is the case, but they all boil down to one thing: the Jewish people do not give the Gospel message a fair shake.  When pressed for details, many Jews who claim to have looked into the Gospel and rejected it will have to admit that their search generally consisted of prejudiced rabbinic responses and, perhaps, a smattering of liberal “Christian” scholars that themselves do not believe in the Gospel as presented in Scriptures, but are acceptable to rabbinic sensibilities.  Such research can hardly be considered honest.

We here at New Covenant Forum want to help the Jewish people to take an honest look at the message of Yeshua as both Messiah (Saviour) and Adonai (Lord).  We simply have a message to pass on that we believe in with all our hearts, whether we are Jew or Gentile.  We wish for this message to be heard and considered honestly.

To my fellow Jews, I wish to say that – though I don’t agree with the rabbis – we do not ask you to ignore them.  We merely wish you to hear the message we believe we have from God and consider it in an unbiased and honest manner.  Listen to your rabbi, to be sure, but please also listen to us.  Pray and ask God to reveal to you His truth, and then be willing to believe and follow that truth, whatever it may be.

If you would like more information, you can check our website out or contact us.  We also have the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah (New Covenant or Testament) that we would be happy to send you free of charge.

Honesty is the best policy – especially when it comes to seeking God.

“And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.”
(Jeremiah 29:13; Jewish Publication Society)

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Following God, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, New Covenant, Personal Stories | No Comments »

The Biblical Faith

July 11th, 2012

I recently watched a documentary about an Amish man who had left his community a number of years back, and who wanted to help others who were coming out of the community.  This man spoke much about spirituality and the search for spirituality. 

At one point he investigated a Pentecostal Church who was reaching out to those in the Amish community and called it a different religion, as if Pentecostalism was predicated on different intrinsic tenets than other Christian faiths, like the Amish.

It was then that I began to wonder if this man actually understood the faith of Christianity.  Did he not know that the Church of Christ was composed of all those who believed and put their faith in Christ, making him both Saviour and Lord of their life.  People who do so, are Christians regardless of what church they go to.  People who do not, are not.

I used to say that faith in Yeshua (Jesus) was the biblical Jewish faith.  After some thought, I realize that this statement is not entirely accurate.  What I should simply say is that faith in Yeshua is the biblical faith.

That is why we can say there are believers in the Amish churches, the Pentecostal churches, the Catholic churches, the Baptist churches and so on.  It is also why there are many who sit in the pews of these same churches who are not Christians.  Christianity is not about spirituality or religion – it is about the biblical faith.

This is something Jewish people do not understand, either.  Most do not know their Scriptures well enough to recognize how biblical Yeshua is.  But the consistency between the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament or New Covenant) make a convincing argument.

To believe one must recognize one’s sinfulness.  All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) is consistent with Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 53:6 and Isaiah 64:6.

We must recognize that sin separates us from God.  We are told that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  This agrees with the Tanakh which tells us that our sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2; Ezekiel 18:4).

Once we accept our own sinfulness, we must put our faith in the provision for atonement God has given us.  In the time before Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) that was through the sacrificial system (Leviticus 17:11).  Since then, it is through the Messiah that God had promised in the Tanakh (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Isaiah 53; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Zechariah 12:10; John 5:46-47, 7:14, Acts 4:11-12; Romans 6:23).

Faith in Jesus is the continuation of his plan for reconciliation between himself and humankind.  He has expressed that plan in the Tanakh and it finds its fruition in Messiah Yeshua.  Why not read the Tanakh and the B’rit Hadashah and check it out for yourself?  If you need a copy, contact us and we’d be happy to send you one.

That means that faith in Yeshua is for the Jew as well as the Gentile.  In fact, the B’rit Hadashah tells us that it is for the Jew first (Romans 1:16).  God’s call on the Jewish people was to behave according to his Word; in other words, to be biblical.  Faith in Yeshua is the biblical faith.

If you are Jewish and reading this, what will you do with Yeshua?  If you are reading this and you are not Jewish, the question is the same.

If you have any questions, contact us.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His Truth.

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

 

Posted in Atonement, Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Following God, Goyim for God, Jewish Identity, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, New Covenant, The Bible | No Comments »

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