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A Tree of Life

October 29th, 2015

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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 »

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 »

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 »

Operation Rescue

January 25th, 2012

“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”
(Proverbs 24:11-12)

These are very convicting words from the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures).  They demand that when you see someone on the way to calamity, it is your responsibility to prevent it.  The caring for others is of paramount importance to God.

We, who are believers in Yeshua (Jesus), must take this precept very seriously.  We also know that the greatest peril man faces is not mere physical death but spiritual death: eternal separation from God (Isaiah 66:24; Revelation 21:8).   Furthermore, we understand that eternal life only comes from a right relationship with God through Messiah Yeshua (Romans 6:23).

It is clear then that believers in Yeshua have an obligation to share the Gospel truth with those who do not believe.  To not do this, is to allow people to be taken away to death and to stumble to the slaughter.

In verse 12, the Lord’s admonition against the response, “behold, we did not know this,” is not dealing with ignorance of a person’s peril, but ignorance of God’s precept of intervention.   As expressed in modern jurisprudence, “ignorance is no excuse for the law.”  God has made it clear in His Word, and so we who are His children must act accordingly.

One of the most neglected people group in this regard is the Jewish people.  Although there might be a number of ministries, like New Covenant Forum, whose mandate is to share the Gospel with the Jewish people, we are nevertheless too few and far between.  Sadly, most believers – those who have the best opportunity – avoid sharing the Gospel with their Jewish friend or acquaintance.

One of our purposes at New Covenant Forum is to encourage, empower and equip people to be able to share the Gospel with the Jewish people; and, by so doing, to help them be better equipped to share the Gospel with most anyone.

If you want to know more about how to share the Gospel with Jewish sensitivity and sensibility, please contact us.  If your church would be blessed by understanding the Jewish roots of our Christian faith better, and how to build that bridge of understanding between the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament), we would be happy to help; you can click here.

And if you are a Jewish person who does not believe in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ), know that we are doing what God has commanded us to do.  Don’t be offended.  Rather, consider the possibility that through us God is forwarding to you an invitation to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23).  Why not contact us to find out more?

Posted in Anonymous, Biblical Interpretation, Evangelism, Following God, Goyim for God, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

A Word About Your Father

December 19th, 2011

Growing up within the Catholic school system, one of my earliest religious memories as a child was being taught to recite the prayer that Yeshua (Jesus) taught his disciples, commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer, and found in Matthew 6:9-13. The prayer begins with the words “Our Father.”

At the time, I did not find that opening phrase particularly remarkable but now, upon reflection, it hits me with much more force. That’s because I have since learned that, although billions of people around the world believe in God, many of those people do not see Him as a Father. He is either an impersonal force or a distant ruler.

“Our Father” – even amongst those of us who affirm it in word, we seldom think on it or ponder its significance. I find it interesting that most Jewish people today do not emphasize the idea of God as Father to His people.

After all, this idea was expressed by the Jewish prophets. In the book of Hosea, written during the time when Israel and Judah were split into two kingdoms, God refers to Israel as His son.

Concerning His people, he says: “when Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. (Hosea 11:1)”  The rest of the chapter, however, talks of how Israel went away to serve other gods.  Due to their spiritual blindness they were unable to recognize that He was the one who was their provider:

The more they were called, the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to
them and fed them.
(Hosea 11:2-4)

Because of Israel’s disobedience, God had to punish them severely. The punishment that He administered upon His people, however, was not merely retributive justice. It was also a display of His love. He cared for His people, and so He chastened them in order to lead them back. After all, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24)”

Furthermore, God did not hold His anger against Israel forever, but eventually withheld it in order to show His mercy towards them:

How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.
(Hosea 11:8-9)

The Lord’s mercy is best exemplified in the B’rit Hadashah (New Covenant):

“But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ [Messiah] died for us. (Romans 5:8)”

When, by faith, we accept this atoning sacrifice on our behalf, we are then adopted into God’s family as His children and He relates to us as our Father. As it is written:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
(Romans 8:14-17)

What makes this so amazing is that God no longer limits this adoption to Jews. Rather, He brings into His family children from every nation, tribe and tongue, in keeping with his promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:3). His Spirit of adoption is sent first to the Jew, and then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

Thus, even I, a Gentile, can be a co-heir of God’s promises.  Like the Jewish people, when I put my faith in the Messiah whom my Father sent, I am reconciled to Him:

But to all who did receive him [Yeshua], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
(John 1:12-13)

Praise be to our Father, maker of heaven and earth!

Want to know more about your heavenly Father and the heaven-sent Son he sent for you?  Contact us.

Contributed by Luis Dizon, a former intern with New Covenant Forum from Toronto Baptist Seminary.

Posted in A Gentile perspective, Goyim for God, Knowing God, Luis Dizon, Messiah, Salvation, The Bible | No Comments »

A Prophet Like Moshe

May 24th, 2011

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers – it is to him you shall listen. (Deuteronomy 18:15)”

What a promise for the Jewish people to look forward to and to wait for with eager anticipation.  Who would it be?  When would the Promised One arise so that he could be heard, listened to and obeyed?

At their inception as a nation, the people of Israel could affirm that they had great patriarchs like Avraham (Abraham), Yitzak (Isaac) and Yakov (Jacob).  These forefathers were friends of God, communicators with the Almighty and mediators of a wonderful covenant of blessing for God’s chosen people.

Then came Moshe!  Coming from the priestly tribe of Levi, he was a prophet to the people, telling them the words of the Lord.  He was God’s deliverer for Israel.  With God’s help he lead them out of slavery in Egypt.  He then led the nation of Israel to Mount Sinai and wrote down for them the very words of God – the Torah.

And those words included the passage above from Deuteronomy 18:15.

How would this be?  Was there going to be a passing of the torch to Moshe’s descendants, as there was  with Avraham, Yitzak and Yakov?  Moshe, Gershom and Shebuel and so on, down the family line, was not what God had planned.  Gershom would believe in the Lord and serve the Lord, but not be the commencement of a prophetic dynasty.

If not Moshe’s sons, then perhaps his chosen successor – Yehoshua ben Nun (Joshua son of Nun) for the next prophet?    Yehoshua was a warrior given the task of bringing the new nation into their land of promise; of conquering their enemies and establishing the land as the possession and inheritance of Israel.  He was a soldier and a leader, but not the promised prophet.

Perhaps all the prophets of succeeding generations from the time of the Judges to and through the time of the Kings were what this promise encompassed?  They were “from their countrymen.”  Some were significant individuals on the canvas of history, some not so much, but none of them were like Moshe.

So if there is no genetic dynasty, no successive ruler and no spiritual lineage that fulfills the meaning and context of who this great prophet is … then who is this prophet?  Who is the One to come who should be listened too? 

I know!  Yeshua HaMashiach (Messiah Jesus)! 

How could I say that?

Well, Moshe and Yeshua were both delivered from death as infants.  Both had wilderness experiences.  Both were mediators of covenants – one the Mosaic covenant given on Sinai; the other the New Covenant written on the heart, as it is written:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, …  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)”

When the Jewish people entreated the Lord not to overwhelm them with thunder, lightning, fire, light, smoke and glory, God gave them Moses to speak on His behalf.  But in the fullness of time God sent His only Son, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ), to live with them and speak to them in love and truth and gently invite them to,

 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)”

Yeshua offers salvation, peace, forgiveness, joy, eternal life and love.  Moshe said to listen to Him.  Will you?

Want to know more?  Contact us and we will be happy to help.

Contributed by Miriam Cannon, a friend of New Covenant Forum and of the Jewish people.

Posted in Following God, Goyim for God, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Messiah in the Tanach, Miscellaneous Authors, New Covenant, The Bible | No Comments »

Real Christians don’t hate Jews

February 1st, 2011

My parents had just found out that I was a believer in Yeshua (Jesus).  They told me I was no longer invited for Passover Seder; not so much because they didn’t want me there, but because my brother didn’t want me there (if I went, he wouldn’t).  As my mother put it, “he’s Jewish, and your not.”

Later, I discussed with my mother this question of my being Jewish.  She is not a religious Jew, but a cultural one.  The problem for her was, “you can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus because Christians hate Jews.”

I know there are many other Jewish people who feel that way.  When this statement comes from my mother, however, there is quite a bit of irony.

You see, my mother spent the war (World War II) in Budapest.  Although the war was relatively shorter in Hungary than elsewhere in Europe, the Nazis were still very thorough in rounding up Jewish people for the concentration camps – especially those Jews in the countryside.

At one point, my grandmother sent my mother to a convent that was taking in Jewish girls for protection.  She spent some time there, when my grandmother came to take my mother home for a weekend (or something of that sort).  When they returned to the convent they were gone – the Jewish children and the nuns – the Nazis had taken them.  It was only by the grace of God that my mother was not among them.

Now I don’t know how many, if any, of those nuns were confirmed believers in Yeshua.  You can be virulently religious and not have a saving faith in the Messiah.  Most likely some were and some weren’t.  If all of the nuns were not believers, then my point is brought home all the more.

What I mean is that these nuns recognized that there is no way that Jesus could condone the atrocities of the Holocaust.  He could not approve of the destruction of His Jewish people.  He would never assent to His followers behaving in any other way than in the way these nuns behaved – protecting and caring for the Jewish people.

These nuns are just some of many many Christians who, during the Holocaust and at great risk, helped protect the people God loves.  Many of them were themselves put in concentration camps.  Many of them perished, along with their family.

What my mother and others do not understand is that anyone who is a true follower of Christ (Messiah) and understands his teachings cannot hate the people from whom that Christ had come.  If there are those who say they are Christians (followers of Messiah) and yet act with hatred against others – and there were many such during the Holocaust – they only prove one of two things: they are not truly followers of Christ, or they do not truly understand His teachings.

Yeshua came to give his Jewish people a message: the kingdom of God was at hand (Mark 1:14-15).  He was their Messiah (John 4:25-26).  He was the Saviour of the world (John 4:42).  Through him could be found eternal life with God (Matthew 19:29; John 3:14-16; 14:6).

Many Jewish people believed, but the great majority would not.  As the centuries went by, they drew further and further away from this truth – guided by religious leaders who turned them away from the Words of Scripture and towards the traditions of men (Talmud etc.).

Yet, in every century, there continues to be Jews who come to faith in Yeshua.  Presently there are more Jews coming to believe in Yeshua than there has been since the time of Yeshua.  And the Scriptures promise a time when all of Israel will come to know Him for who He is (Zechariah 12:10).  A time is coming when the great majority of Jewish people will come to faith in their Messiah (Romans 11:25-26).

What we as Christians, whether Jew or Gentile, are aiming for is to present this message to everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, because the message is for everyone.  Please don’t reject the message out of hand because of what some misguided people have falsely done in the name of Jesus.

Ours is a Jewish message about a Jewish Messiah.  Check it out!

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Following God, Goyim for God, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, New Covenant, Personal Stories, Talmud vs. Tanakh | No Comments »

“Our Father”: the paternity of God.

November 23rd, 2010

Growing up within the Catholic school system, one of my earliest religious memories as a child was being taught to recite the prayer that Yeshua (Jesus) taught, commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer. The prayer begins with the words “Our Father… (Matthew 6:9).”  At the time, I did not find that opening phrase particularly remarkable but now, upon reflection, it hits me with much more force. That’s because I have since learned that, although billions of people around the world believe in God, many of those people do not see Him as a Father.  He is either an impersonal force or a distant ruler.

“Our Father” – even amongst those of us who affirm it in word, we seldom think on it or ponder its significance. I find it interesting that most Jewish people today do not emphasize the idea of God as Father to His people. After all, this idea was expressed by the Jewish prophets.

In the book of Hosea, written during the time when Israel and Judah were split into two kingdoms, God refers to Israel as His son. Concerning His people, he says, “when Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. (Hosea 11:1)”  The rest of the chapter, however, talks of how Israel went away to serve other gods.  Due to their spiritual blindness they were unable to recognize that He was the one who was their provider:

“But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.”
(Hosea 11:2-4)

Because of Israel’s disobedience, God had to punish them severely. The punishment that He administered upon His people, however, was not merely retributive justice. It was also a display of His love.  He cared for His people, and so He chastened them in order to lead them back. After all, “whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (Proverbs 13:24)”  Furthermore, God did not hold His anger against Israel forever, but eventually withheld it in order to show His mercy towards them:

“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man—
the Holy One among you.
I will not come against their cities.”
(Hosea 11:8-9)

 The Lord’s mercy is best exemplified in the New Covenant, “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)”  When, by faith, we accept this atoning sacrifice on our behalf, we are then adopted into God’s family as His children and He relates to us as our Father. As it is written:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)”

What makes this so amazing is that God no longer limits this adoption to Jews. Rather, He brings into His family children from every nation, tribe and tongue, in keeping with his promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:3). His Spirit of adoption is sent “first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)”  Thus, even a Gentile such as myself can be a co-heir of God’s promises.  When I put my faith in the Messiah whom my Father sent, I am reconciled to Him:

“To all who did receive him [Yeshua], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)”

Praise be to our Father, maker of heaven and earth!

Contributed by Luis Dizon, New Covenant Forum intern from Toronto Baptist Seminary.

Posted in A Gentile perspective, Following God, Goyim for God, Jesus and Jews, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Luis Dizon, Personal Stories, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

Sure, she can cook … but is she Jewish?

June 10th, 2010

My wife Lynda is a wonderful Jewish cook. Friday nights are always best when she makes her home baked challah. (Store-bought is ok, but you don’t know what you’re missing till you taste hers.) Hanukkah means a chance to sample her delicious latkes, and I can’t wait for Purim to get a taste of her exquisite hamentaschen. Sure, she cooks other things as well, but there is no denying that she is a good Jewish cook.

What makes this even more wonderful to me is that my wife is not Jewish. In this day and age, many Jewish people like me have non-Jewish spouses.

My wife has also learned to say the b’rachah (blessing) over the festival candles and has learned to make our Erev Shabbat meal special.  Why does she do it? Why does she care? It is because we are a family who believe in Jesus (Yeshua) and believe that he came for the salvation of Jew and Gentile alike. Would she be doing these things if she hadn’t married me? Probably not, but that’s what a good marriage is all about: sharing and caring and learning how to please God and one another.

Is my family a Jewish home in the sense the rabbis mean it? Certainly not, but then, who says that Jewish is equal to rabbinic? How many of you who read this, I wonder, lead rabbinic lives?

No, our house is Jewish, because I am Jewish, and my faith in Jesus has done nothing to change that. In fact, it was not until I became a believer in Jesus, that I really came to appreciate what being Jewish was all about.

In many ways I feel like another Jewish man, who married a non-Jewish women, not only to his benefit but to the benefit of the entire Jewish nation. His name was Boaz and his wife was Ruth. She has a whole book in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament or Tanakh) named after her. Through her came King David and the royal line, right down to Messiah Jesus.

Most importantly, Lynda and I share a bond with each other, a love for God, and a regard for His Word as found in the Bible (both Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament). In mutual love we can proclaim the words of Ruth,

“For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  (Ruth 1:16-17)

Contributed by Daniel Muller, General Director of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Daniel Muller, Goyim for God, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Personal Stories, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

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