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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 »

Hanukkah Posts Past

November 28th, 2013

Here are nine Hanukkah posts from the past that might interest you.  Nine messages representing nine candles on the Hanukkiah or Hanukkah Menorah:

  1. The Real Shammas of Hanukkah
  2. Hanukkah: a time to think of Jesus
  3. A Hanukkah Encounter with Jesus
  4. Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication
  5. A Message of Hanukkah (Dedication)
  6. Hanukkah: More than a Festival of Lights
  7. Light and Darkness at Hanukkah
  8. Twas the night before Hanukkah
  9. What does Hanukkah have to do with Jesus?

 

 

Posted in Anonymous, Jewish festivals, Jewish holidays, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, This, That, The Other Thing | 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 »

Who really cares?

January 21st, 2013

Now that the winter hostilities against Israel seem to have died down and a cease-fire put in place, at least for the time being, life for the rest of us goes back to normal.  The world keeps spinning and the media is on to the next thing.  

But what’s going on behind the scenes? I’m not talking about Israel’s enemies stirring up trouble so dependably … No, this is about Israel’s friends who don’t stop what they’re doing either.  

As a Christian tuned in to this subject for 20 years, I’ve seen so many doing so much. But it’s occurred to me recently that, being in different social circles, you might not even know they’re there.      

We’ve heard of those righteous Gentiles doing what any decent human would do to defend other humans … but do we realize how unrecognized they probably were while their lives and stresses were happening? And on that same note, how many other heroes are doing big things we don’t even know about now?

These are your friends defending Israel online or off: dedicated bloggers, teachers, writers and tweeters. People living regular lives to all appearances but at the same time using their free time to stand up for truth.   

I wish I could introduce you to Betty-Lou or to Gail, just two of my many friends hard at work in this arena. Betty-Lou is relentless, getting the other side of the story out there one email after another … while Gail teaches workshops and teaches others to teach workshops on the subject. Warriors, both of them.  

Then there are high-visibility friends like best-selling author Joel Rosenberg who wrote about 9/11 before it happened; Mitch Glaser of Chosen People Ministries putting the truth out there with passion; Dean Bye at Return Ministries working to enable Jews making aliyah; … or our own Daniel Muller here at New Covenant Forum, bridging the gap between our two faiths.  

There are too many to be listing all, but they’re out there. Watching Israel’s back and caring about her people worldwide.  

So today, no matter how quiet things seem – and how loud the silence gets – I wanted you to know you have friends.

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

Posted in A Gentile perspective, Israel, Jews and Christianity, Shari Menzel, This, That, The Other Thing, Zionism and Israel | 1 Comment »

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 »

The Wrong Jewish Experts

January 9th, 2013

The “Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies” sends a regular media report of Israeli articles dealing with Christian issues of relevance to believers in Yeshua (Jesus).  Recently it reported this:

HaMekomon Petah Tikva, December 26, 2012
In a short snippet addressed to children, Itzik the Clown explains what Christmas is: “During Christmas the Christian faith marks the birth of Jesus.” He adds that “today, Christmas is the most popular and most beloved holiday in the Western world. It is celebrated by religious and secular alike. Those who believe pray a special prayer in church, called Midnight Mass.” In his final message to the children, Itzik the Clown writes that “we [Israelis] who live in a land that is sacred to all religions must learn about those who live in our midst. This is how we will learn to respect one another and live peaceful and quiet lives. The religious wars caused lots of problems, and that’s why we need to respect one another.”

Itzik the Clown, a popular Israeli radio and TV celebrity, is genuinely trying to foster a spirit of peace, and for that he should be lauded.  Sadly, this article also highlights some of the ignorance of Christianity that the non-believing Jewish community often exhibits.

While Christmas is an important religious day for most Christians, it is not so for all.  This is especially true for many Jewish believers who do not observe the day (while many Jewish believers do).  It is also important to recognize that, while Christianity is the most popular holiday, especially to the secular world, from a religious perspective it is Easter that is of greatest importance.

The most egregious mistake in this article, to my mind, is when he says that, “those who believe pray a special prayer in church, called Midnight Mass.”

  1. Midnight Mass is a service, not a special prayer.
  2. Only Catholics celebrate Midnight Mass.   There are a great many believers outside the Catholic faith that celebrate in a variety of ways.
  3. Most believing Christians honour the Messiah’s birth throughout the day, and not just at church.

I suppose the error is trifling, but it highlights an important point.  Most of what Jewish people understand about Christianity comes from Jews who have no idea what Christianity is about, not just in Israel but everywhere.  And so Jews believe that:

  1. Christians worship three gods (which we don’t – there is only One – click here for more).
  2. The New Testament writers were anti-Semitic (which they weren’t – see this recent article).
  3. That baptism makes you a Christian (which it doesn’t – faith does).
  4. That the Pope speaks for all Christians (which he doesn’t – only for Roman Catholics)

These are just a few of the many misunderstandings of Christian belief that my Jewish people get hold of and believe, simply because Jewish “experts” who are not Christians say so.  It is amazing to me how man Jewish people go to such sources for their information, rather than to the people who do know: Christians.

If you are a Jewish person who doesn’t believe in Jesus and you are reading this, ask yourself this question:  am I rejecting Jesus because I know what faith in Jesus is really all about, or because people who don’t know Jesus are telling me not to?

Why don’t you speak to Jews who believe in Jesus and find out what we really believe and why we believe it?  Get the information to make your decision about Jesus from a knowledgeable source.  We are here to answer your questions about what faith in Yeshua is all about, honestly and without pressure, so that you can make an informed decision.  Contact us!

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Evangelism, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, This, That, The Other Thing | 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 »

The High Holidays are passed us now, but …

October 3rd, 2012

The High Holidays are passed us now, and we are now celebrating Sukkoth (The Feast of Booths).  But I came across this story about Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) written by Ehud Neeman in the September 21st, 2012 edition of the Israeli journal Makor Rishon.  It tells the story of Franz Rosenzweig, a Jew who almost “converted” to Christianity in the late 18th Century, but did not do so in the end.  Yom Kippur apparently played a big part in this decision.

Neeman relates that Rosenzweig saw something lacking in Judaism; something that he thought Christianity offered.  What he concluded, presumably because of the Yom Kippur tradition, was that Christianity needed a mediator, Jesus, while Judaism did not.  Thus we can see, says Neeman, “Yom Kippur’s unique quality of being able to return lost sons to their father in Heaven.”

Part of what Rosenzweig was looking for was a Judaism connected with history, which he saw in Christianity.  But after his Yom Kippur experience, Neeman asserts that Rosenzweig felt that this need for a mediator actually makes Judaism more connected than Christianity – how we are not told in the article.

I remember the first Yom Kippur service I attended after becoming a believer in Yeshua (Jesus).  I remember the sadness it gave me that my people were seeking atonement in a way unsanctioned by God and insufficient for its purpose.  I mourned for my people Israel who were led astray by a tradition that tore them away from their Messiah and their only true means of atonement.

So, what is the difference between Franz Rosenzweig and Daniel Muller when it come to this varied response to Yom Kippur?  Why should Yom Kippur lead one back to the rabbinic traditions and the other away?

I think Neeman offers the answer when he writes in his article:

 “Christianity needs a mediator – a conclusion he [Rosenzweig] reached when thinking of Jesus as the Son of God, the only one through whom man can reach God. Judaism, on the other hand, does not require a mediator – the God of history has called his people to himself and they are his, directly.”

This comment indicates a misunderstanding of both Judaism and Christianity.  Judaism, as handed down by the sages is a far cry from the biblical relationship described in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures). 

Since the time they came out of Egypt and met God on Mount Sinai, Israel’s relationship to God has been mediated. First there was the mediation of Moses, which they requested themselves (Exodus 20:19).  Later, mediation came by the priesthood as “the priest shall make atonement for him [the repentant transgressor] as touching his sin that he hath sinned, and he shall be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:35 Jewish Publication Society)” 

Mediation is part of the historical context of biblical Judaism.  In fact, the true mediation for atonement was the blood of the atoning sacrifice.  “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life” (Leviticus 17:11 JPS).

A mediated atonement was essential to Jewish faith up until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., some forty years after Messiah Yeshua ministered here on earth.  But the Jewish people have grave misunderstandings of who Yeshua is, and therefore misunderstand Christianity. 

He is not, as some suggest, simply a man who is worshipped as a God – that is reprehensible for Christians today, as it would have been to the many Jewish believers of the 1st Century.  He also is not one of three Gods that Christians worship – we recognize the oneness of God found in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) just as do our Jewish counterparts.

No, Yeshua is God come in human form (as he did to Abraham in Genesis 18 and to Jacob in Genesis 32:24-32) to be the ultimate atonement for sins as promised in Isaiah 53:12.  The mediation of Yeshua, therefore is historically planted in the Judaism of the Tanakh.  It comes about as fulfillment of God’s promises and is borne out by his followers who recognized this historicity and even died to proclaim it. 

Does this not make more sense of why God would allow his temple to be destroyed?  It was no longer needed.  He has made a new Temple as He tabernacles within the hearts of His people, in fulfillment of His promise of a New Covenant that we find in Jeremiah 31:31-34; a New Covenant, by the way, that God promised to be unlike the one He made with Israel on Mount Sinai.

Rosenzweig (and Neeman) had it wrong!  Not only is Christianity grounded in history, it is grounded in the very promises of God historically given to the people of Israel.  The Judaism of the rabbis, sadly, has taken us away from our biblical faith and the precedents found there pointing to our Messiah, and they lead us to precedents and traditions made by man and set up to refute the Messiah of history, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

Oh, if only Franz Rosenzweig would have taken the time to explore these things more closely.  Oh, if only he would have come to know Messiah Yeshua as I have – to experience His grace and His presence.  Then, I believe, the following Yom Kippur would have confirmed his faith in Yeshua, and made him feel blessed in the atonement to eternal life he found in Him.

May your name be firmly written in the Book of Life forever as you come to accept on your behalf the once-for-all atoning sacrifice, Yeshua HaMashiach.  He is our 24/7 Yom Kippur.

We would love for you to contact us and let us know what you think of this article.

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Following God, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish festivals, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, New Covenant, Personal Stories, Salvation | 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 »

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