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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 »

Israel in God’s Hands

February 10th, 2014

Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar– the LORD of hosts is his name: “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.”
(Jeremiah 31:35-36)

There is a great amount of to do, especially among evangelical Christians, regarding the issues of Israel’s borders.  Concern over negotiations that might return Israel to its pre-1967 borders, concern over possible anti-Israel actions by Iran and many other worries lead to a sense that Israel is imperilled.

From a human perspective, of course, all of these concerns would seem valid.  Israel does have many enemies, and their position certainly seems precarious.  From a spiritual perspective, however, I feel these concerns are misplaced.

In this passage from Jeremiah, God promises a perpetual existence for Israel.  Now He is talking about the People of Israel – the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – not the State of Israel.  These things should not be confused.

The truth is that God has his watch care over Israel so that they will never disappear from the face of the earth.  We know from Scriptures (e.g. Zechariah 12:10, 13:1; Romans 11:25-26) that one day the Jewish people will come to faith in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) and be saved.

With regard to the State of Israel, they can take or give away nothing that God hasn’t already ordained to be taken or given away.  Israel is in the hands of God, and there is nothing that would make their citizens (whether Jewish or not) safer than the acknowledgment of that fact.

Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalms 122:6), by all means, keeping in mind that the psalmist was talking in the context of piety and devotion as he made pilgrimage to the Temple.  Let us not get all worked up, however, on the issues of politics and geography.  Let us support Israel to the extent that it does right.  Let us not be blind, however to its secular and often ungodly character, especially with reference to its treatment of our brother and sister believers in the Lord Yeshua.

Israel is in God’s hands.  That’s the best place to be.

Feel free to comment or to contact us for more information.

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Messiah, Some Words and Thoughts, This, That, The Other Thing, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Honest Questions for Honest Science

February 7th, 2014

I have an honest question for all you budding (or not so budding) scientists, science teachers and just general science buffs out there.

Could you please respond and tell us when it is that the theory of evolution was proven?  Can you tell us what date the clinching evidence was produced, or at what point there was sufficient repeatable results to evidence the hypothesis of evolution as fact?  Can you please tell us when there has been an observable instance of genetic migration from one species to another (as opposed to change within a species, which is well documented)?

If you have this information, why not let us know about it?  If evolution is proven we’d seriously like to know how?

If not, then why is it being touted as truth in our schools and on our media?  Why is there no honest debate about evolution vs. intelligent design (let alone creationism)?

It’s a matter of honest science, is it not?

Posted in Daniel Muller, This, That, The Other Thing | 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 »

Days of the Maccabees

December 2nd, 2013

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

The week Yeshua (Jesus) was in Jerusalem, prior to his crucifixions, his disciples asked him when he would set up God’s eternal kingdom (Read Matthew 24).  They did not yet understand that he had come, not as the victorious Messiah son of David as promised in passages like Isaiah 9:6-7, but as the Suffering Servant Messiah son of Joseph, as promised in passages like Isaiah 53.

Yeshua warned them that, like the days of Noah, people will not be prepared for its coming (Matthew 24:37).  That is an interesting statement.  After all, Noah was 120 years building the ark, and in that time he surely proclaimed the truth of what God was doing.  The fact is, they just didn’t want to hear it.  The truth is that in the “days of Noah” there were two kinds of people.  God’s people, of whom there were eight, and the people who spurned God and wanted nothing to do with His ways.

This stark contrast is very obvious in the story of Hanukkah.  In those “days of the Maccabees” there were two types of Jews in Israel: Jews like the Maccabees who wanted to follow God, and Jews who wanted to follow the Greek ideals of the empire begun by Alexander the Great.  It was the latter who backed the evil incursions of the Seleucid King, Antiochus Epiphanes, which instigated the Maccabean rebellion and victory that our Hanukkah celebrations commemorate.

The name Hanukkah comes from the Hebrew word meaning ‘dedication.’  It is a fitting name, since the festival encapsulates the dedication and faithfulness of God’s people in the face of great persecution, as well as the dedication of God to His faithful people.

Are we not living in “days of the Maccabees” now?  Do not the words of the Apostle Paul, quoted in the passage above, ring true with regard to the world we live in today?  We live in a very pagan world, where the idea of a God who created and loves is unpopular and often denigrated.  His expectations are spurned and ignored.

Like those days, God’s people are called to be perseverant in their dedication and faithfulness to Him.  Why?  We do so because he continues to be dedicated and faithful to His followers.   Time and again He has shown his faithfulness, just as He did for the Maccabees and their followers – the followers of God.

No greater evidence is there than His faithfulness on the Cross.  He promised a deliverer in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and He provided that deliver as we see evidenced in the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament).  That deliver is Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

Don’t take my word for it.  Read the Tanakh and the B’rit Hadashah and see if it is not so.  We would be happy to send you both.  Just contact us; we would also be happy to answer any of your questions.

Hag Hanukkah Sameach!

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Following God, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish festivals, Jewish holidays, Jews and Jesus, Messiah in the Tanach, Redemption, Serving God, The Bible | 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 »

Flesh and Blood Yeshua (Jesus)

October 24th, 2013

“This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:50-51)

This is one of the verses that rabbis love to tout to demonstrate the terrible nature of Christian thought, as if Christianity were promoting cannibalism.  Indeed, Yeshua (Jesus) is responding here to the offense his Jewish listeners took when he spoke of this a few verses earlier (see John 6:.25-59 for the whole story).

But to take offense, is to lack understanding of the fact that Yeshua is speaking of spiritual things, not literal things.  The same confusion occurs in the 3rd chapter of John, when a Jewish priest by the name of Nicodemus is told that to see the kingdom of God he must be born again.  Nicodemus takes him literally, and asks how a man is to re-enter his mother’s womb to be reborn.  He doesn’t get that Yeshua is talking of a spiritual regeneration – reborn in his relationship with God (see John 3:1-21).

In chapter 4 we see the same thing, this time when Yeshua is speaking to a Samaritan woman.  He promises her living water that would permanently quench her thirst and she asks him for it assuming it was a physical thing – like Yeshua was some sort of snake-oil salesman.  But Yeshua was talking spiritually; that in having a right relationship with God through him, we can have eternal life.

And in our passage above, Yeshua is speaking spiritually once again.  It was, after all, his finger at Mount Sinai that put the law on the tablets of stone (Exodus 31:18); and it is by Yeshua’s finger again that, in the New Covenant promised by God through the prophet Jeremiah, the same law is written in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  So when he speaks of partaking of his flesh and blood, he is talking about our partaking spiritually in his act of sacrifice on the cross that would bring atonement for our sins and enable us to enter into that New Covenant.

Many turned away because they misunderstood Yeshua.  Many turn away today for the same reason.  Don’t misunderstand the Word of God.  It is a spiritual book seeking to give you life eternal.

If you would like to know more about what Jesus truly taught, feel free to contact us.  We would be happy to send you a copy of the B’rit Hadashah (New Covenant or New Testament) to read, and we are always ready to help you to understand it.

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, New Covenant, Salvation, Some Words and Thoughts | No Comments »

Doughnut Dilemma

October 22nd, 2013

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  (Romans 15:13)

I recently put this comment on my Facebook Status:

It’s interesting how, when you bring doughnuts to a gathering people invariably say no; and yet somehow those doughnuts disappear by the end of the evening. Hmmmmm.

Got a lot of likes on this one, and a few interesting comments.

One person pointed out that they eat the doughnut hole because it has no calories.  Problem is that you have to get through the doughnut to get to the hole, don’t you?

Another said that he breaks the doughnut into pieces to allow the calories to leak out.  Ok, that’s just a rationalistic – ok maybe irationalistic – excuse.

The real problem with a doughnut is that it is a lot of fat that, once your done with it, leaves you with nothing.  I kind of think that is life without God.  We fill our lives with fat, but have nothing in the end. To coin a phrase I heard on an episode of the BBC show Blackadder, life without God is like a broken pencil – pointless. (Sure I’m mixing my metaphors, but it’s a great line so I needed to add it!)

If we want to have real life, we need to have a right relationship with God, and that can happen through our Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).  Life with God through Yeshua is like a cream filled doughnut: delectable.

If you don’t agree with me, you can say so.  Better yet, lets get together for a doughnut – a cream-filled one I think.

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Following God, Messiah, Personal Stories, Some Words and Thoughts, This, That, The Other Thing | 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 »

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