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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 »

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 »

PASSOVER: Exemplifying God’s love and mercy.

March 25th, 2013

In designing and instituting the Passover, God displayed His passion to save us, His power to overcome evil and His provision of a way of escape from judgment (Exodus 12).

Why did He do it? Because He loves us passionately to the point of sacrificial love, and because He wants our lives to reflect who He is (Isaiah 43:21; Hosea 14:4; Ephesians 1:6).

The Passover is a picture of a greater salvation, not only for Israel, but for everyone. God knew from the beginning of time that we would separate ourselves from Him (Isaiah 59:2) and that we would need a Saviour from spiritual darkness, from evil, and from our own wayward bent. So He created a plan to rescue us. Yeshua’s (Jesus’) sacrifice for us on the cross is so significant that it marks the division of all time:  the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament) looks forward to it and the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) looks back at it. Our Messiah-Redeemer has come and one day He’s returning in power and glory.

Today we need God’s intervention again: on a personal level from our own sin and self-centeredness and on a national level for the protection and deliverance of Israel from those bent on her destruction.

As you celebrate Passover this year, worship the living God, the God of Israel, the Creator and Saviour of the world.  After all, the God of the Passover is the God of the Cross (Exodus 12:7,13; 1 Corinthians 5:7,8).  He is the same yesterday, today and forever (John 8:58; Hebrews 13:8). He is the mighty God, merciful and awesome in judgment.

May we humble ourselves before Him and be ready to meet Him face to face.

Contributed by Cynthia Sugar, a Jewish believer in Jesus.

Posted in Cynthia Sugar, Jewish festivals, Jewish holidays, Knowing God, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Redemption, Salvation | No Comments »

Some Words and Thoughts

January 14th, 2013

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

Some things to note:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some words from Yeshua (Jesus):

January 9th, 2013

Yeshua (Jesus) is here speaking to the Jewish leaders of his day:

And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me1.  His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me2, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 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 me3. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
(John 5:37-47, English Standard Version)

1. Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22.
2. Genesis 3:15; 12:3; Psalms 2; 16:8-10; 22; 89:3-4, 35-36; 110; Isaiah 7:14; 9:1-7; 52:13-53:12; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Daniel 9:22-27; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 3:1-10; 6:9-15; 12:10, 13:1 et. al.
3. Deuteronomy 18:18-19. 

Posted in Anonymous, Following God, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Messiah in the Tanach, 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 »

Some Words and Thoughts

January 4th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Best Fit Theory

July 11th, 2012

I am a big fan of the theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking.  I immensely enjoyed his book, “A Brief History of Time.” Even though I don’t agree with all his presuppositions, especially when it comes to issues of God, he is a mighty man of science who can speak to non-scientific minds, like myself, to explain the complex cosmology of the universe.

I have been watching some of the program series, “Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design,” in which he presents his audience with a glimpse into the grand scale of the universe, both in macrocosm and in microcosm, and what science is doing to discover the laws and meaning behind it all.  I was struck by something he said in the midst of his discussion of string theory, which (if I understand it correctly) posits that the smallest particles known to man (electrons and quarks) are themselves composed of strings of energy from which are derived  all the forms of matter, basic forces and physical laws that govern the universe.  

What’s more, string theory predicts that there are other universes with different forms of matter and governing forces; we just happen to live in one that is capable of supporting life and has given rise to our planet and our humanity.  It is all very complex conceptually and mathematically, requiring a number of dimensions of space and a fantastic brain like that of Dr. Hawking.

What struck me was that in the midst of his explanation of string theory, he talked about the scientific practise of “best fit theory.”  He explains that where things are not directly verifiable, and much of particle physics isn’t at this time, then science tends to accept the theory that best fits the facts.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  To many scientists, string theory best fits what is observed in the universe; but does it?

It never ceases to amaze me how much we will contort ourselves to deny the obvious.  While scientists try to find the ‘best fit theory’ to explain a complex and seemingly designed universe without a designer, they completely ignore the best fit theory that the universe appears designed because there is, in fact, a designer – God!

Does what is observed by science in the universe deny His existence? Absolutely not!    Is the truth of God verifiable?  Probably not, scientifically.  Is the existence of God observable in the universe?  Absolutely (Romans 1:19-20)! 

Not only that, but the miraculous testimony of his involvement in our universe and in our world (the Holy Scriptures) gives witness to his existence and does not contradict anything that science can throw at it.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out for yourself.  If you find anything contradictory in the it, let me know – you can contact us at any time.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
(Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1)

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

Posted in Daniel Muller, Knowing God, Personal Stories, The Bible, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

If It Looks Like a Duck… Part 2

March 12th, 2012

You will find it helpful to read Part 1 first.

David’s great-grandson, Josh, was a prosperous but reclusive man, like his father before him.   One day he had pity on Jacob’s great-grandson, Michael, a young student struggling to make ends meet, and invited him for dinner.

Michael came early and was on hand to watch Josh prepare dinner while they chatted about this and that.  Finally they sat down and ate.  Not long into the meal, Michael declared, “this is the best duck I have ever tasted!”

Josh corrected him, “its chicken.”

But I saw you prepare it, Josh, and it was a duck,” came Michael’s response.

Josh, a bit put out, responded, “Well, my family doesn’t eat duck.  You can call it what you like, but my father called this bird a chicken, and his father called it a chicken and his father before him called it a chicken.  So as far as I’m concerned, this is a chicken!

Of course, Josh was wrong.  It was, in fact, a duck.  But he was taught that it was a chicken as his father had been taught before him, and so on.

You know, Yeshua (Jesus) filled one of the pictures of the Messiah portrayed by Moses and the Prophets in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures).  He did all that was expected of the Suffering Servant Messiah.  He was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-6) ), came out of Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-7; Matthew 4:12-15; Mark 1:9), part of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Matthew 1:2-16; Luke 3:23-33) and of the house of King David (2 Samuel 7:8-13; Matthew 1:1).  He was God come as man to bring salvation to his people (Isaiah 9:6, 53:12; Luke 2:27-32; Acts 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

At the appropriate time he came to the temple in Jerusalem (Malachi 3:1; Mark 11:11; something not possible since shortly after his time).  After a time he was arrested, whipped and beaten and then killed as a guilt offering on behalf of the people’s transgressions (Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Matthew 27).  He died and was buried, but then was resurrected to sit at His Father’s right hand (Isaiah 53:8-10; Mark 15:37-16:14).  No one else has or can fill this prescription, only Messiah Yeshua.

But most of the Jewish leaders of Yeshua’s day did not want to think about him as Messiah.  They didn’t want to admit that they needed such a Messiah – they considered themselves righteous.  They didn’t want to believe that the Messiah would not rid them of Roman rule.  They did not want to consider the passages that spoke of Messiah’s suffering and death.

So these leaders called him something else.  They called him a blasphemer (John 10:32-33) and a servant of Beelzebub (Satan; Matthew 12:22-28).  Calling him these things, didn’t stop him from being Messiah.  Rather it prevented his accusers from tasting the fruits of Messiah.

What’s worse is that they taught their children the same thing, so that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to taste the fruits of Messiah either, and so on down the generations to this very day.  Just as Josh’s descendants never had the opportunity to taste chicken, so the vast majority of Jewish people have not had the opportunity to know the eternal life that comes through faith in Messiah Yeshua.

Oh, some over the centuries were told the truth and came to believe – in every generation there have been Jews (like myself) who have put their faith in Yeshua – but most would not consider it.  They would not consider it, not because they looked into the possibility and found it wanting, but because they were told not to do so by their fathers and forefathers and they acquiesced.

Josh could have found out that David was right, if he would’ve taken the time to check it out – Googled a chicken image perhaps.  I admit not having chicken is not such an important thing; but attaining eternal life is.  Check out the truth for yourself.  Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Don’t duck the question and don’t be a chicken!

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe me [Jesus]; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
(John 5:46-47)

“Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’”
(John 10:25-30)

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

Posted in Biblical Interpretation, Daniel Muller, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Messiah, Messiah in the Tanach, Salvation, The Bible | No Comments »

If It Looks Like a Duck… Part 1

March 1st, 2012

Jacob was walking by a pond and saw David, who was very poor, trying to corner a duck with a broken wing.  He asked his friend what he was doing?

“I’m trying to catch this chicken for dinner,” David replied.

Jacob pointed out that it was a duck to which David responded, “is it now?”

“Well, it looks like a duck,” said Jacob.  David nodded in the affirmative, but said nothing.

“It certainly is quacking like a duck,” said Jacob.  David shrugged but did not deny it.

Jacob was getting irritated at his friend and cried out, “It’s a duck!  It’s a duck!  Can’t you see it’s a duck?!”

David shrugged once more and said, “yes I understand it looks like a duck and all, but I’m having it for dinner and I don’t like duck.”

There is an old saying:  if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and waddles like a duck, it’s probably a duck.  It is a wise saying that most people would agree with.  Unless, of course, you are an atheist.

After all, the universe looks like it was designed, behaves like it was designed and is governed by precise laws that bears the mark of a designer.  With the great complexity that we see both in the grand scale as well as the miniscule atomic scale and everything in between, it is a safe bet to say that the world has a designer.  That would be God.

An atheist, however, does not want anything to do with God, so ends up having to say that things aren’t what they appear.  The problem is that, regardless of how badly David wanted that duck to be a chicken, all he would ever get was duck; and regardless of how badly the atheist wants a universe without God, denying the evidence won’t make God any less real.

Why not call a chicken a chicken?

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
(Romans 1:19-20)

Check out Part 2!

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


Posted in Daniel Muller, Knowing God, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

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