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The following articles by John J. Parsons explore various facets of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, covering a wide range of issues, including questions about Torah observance, the relationship between the followers of Jesus and Israel, and much more. For usage permissions and copyright information, please contact the author. 

Kabbalah?
Role of Torah

Is Christianity anti-Jewish?
A brief look at Interpretative Factors...

Marc Chagall - Exodus

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Many of today's church leaders seem to hold views about ethnic Israel that express institutionalized prejudice and an "anti-Jewish" bias. But how did the church get so far removed from the Jewish roots of the faith?  Is Christianity essentially anti-Jewish in its perspective?

This brief article surveys the history of an interpretation method that regularly gives rise to the idea that the Christian church is "reconsituted" or "completed" Israel.

To the Jew First...
Remembering God's Heart for Zion

Christians who ignore their spiritual debt to the Jewish people and write them off as "unreachable" because of "God's sovereign purposes" are like Pontius Pilate who vainly washed his hands of the guilt he richly warranted... So-called pastors or teachers who deny God's unconditional promises given to Israel need to rethink whether they are serving the LORD God of Israel - or mere men (Gal. 1:10).

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The Most Important Mitzvah
The Centrality of the Gospel Message...

There are many false teachers at work today, including many who teach error in the name of the "Messianic movement." These teachers invariably claim that something more is needed than simple faith in the truth of the gospel message. This brief article is meant to appeal to those who are confused about the nature of salvation and to refute those who falsely claim that Christians are "under the law" of Moses rather than the law of the Messiah....

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Israel and the Church
What's the Relationship?

When studying the Jewish roots of Christianity, certain questions often arise regarding the nature of the "Church," the nature of "Israel," and the relationship between them. Do Gentile Christians become "Jewish" on account of their relationship to Jesus?  Does the "Church" somehow replace the Jewish people in God's plan as the "new Israel"?  Exactly how should we understand the relationship between the Church and Israel?

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Testing "Messianic" Ministries...
Where is the central focus?

Because false teachers abound in the world, each of us is obligated to test (δοκιμάζω, lit. "determine if a metal is pure") the thinking of others to see if they are truly children of God (1 John 4:1). This is especially important regarding "Messianic" minstries that purport to be speaking the truth on behalf of the Living God....

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A Few Thoughts on Prayer
Attuning your heart before God...

Prayer is essentially a response to God's call for us, a kind of teshuvah (תְּשׁוּבָה), or turning (shuv) to God. God's love for us is the question, and our turning of the heart toward Him is the answer. It is not about finding the right words: "When you pray, rather let thy heart be without words than thy words be without heart" (Bunyan). Inwardly bow in awe before the throne of grace. Keep praying until you are able to let go and trust God's heart...

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Interpretation and Tradition
Assumptions that affect our faith...

Rituals are inescapably a part of life. We celebrate birthdays, set our daily schedules, and organize our lives around a patterned series of events.  Since they are inherently a part of human nature, the question then is not whether we will engage in them, but rather which ones we will observe...

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The Akedah
And the Passion of Isaac...

In the Torah we read about how Abraham was asked to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah. In Jewish literature, this final test of Abraham is called the Akedah, or the "binding of Isaac." Now the question may be asked, whose sacrifice was greater, Abraham's or Isaac's? And how does the suffering of both portray the passion of Yeshua our Mashiach?

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The Offense of the Cross
Further Reflections on Skandalon...

Yeshua repeatedly took the role of a "stumbling block" to test people's response to his ministry and message. Most people were offended at Him, of course, and in the end Yeshua was crucified for the sake of their offenses.  After His death, the cross itself became the scandal of faith. The Apostle Paul referred to the "offense of the cross" which he did not want removed. But what is the "offense of the cross" and why is the proclamation of the crucified Messiah a scandal (σκάνδαλον) to Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles?

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Do you have a Jewish heart?
Taking hold of your identity in Messiah....

It should be obvious that those who claim to worship "Jesus Christ" (i.e., Yeshua the Messiah of Israel) will necessarily have a heart for the Jewish people - and hopefully a desire to learn of the roots of their faith. This brief article attempts to argue that any form of Christianity that is not inherently Jewish is missing the mark and subject to error. Jewish identity is not an accident of the spirit, but a necessary part of being part of the family of God.

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The Role of Tradition...
Legalism and Liberty as Children of God

What's the role of tradition in our lives as Messianic Jewish believers? Are we to be "legalistic" in our observance of such matters as Shabbat, Torah reading, celebrating the holidays, and so on? Doesn't that impede the free flow of the Spirit? Why should we be tied to the Jewish calendar and ways of reckoning time? Are we obligated to think and act this way?

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Faith and Offense
Reflections on Skandalon...

Many "evangelical" churches focus on entertainment, on getting "results," and being "seeker sensitive" in the attempt to "spread the gospel" message. This so-called "gospel" focuses on meeting people's practical needs rather than heeding the message of the Kingdom of Heaven and salvation. The way of Yeshua, however, is anything but pragmatic. His focus entirely turns us around. 

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Did Jesus Speak Hebrew?
Disputing Aramaic Primacy

Every so often I get asked the question of whether Jesus (Yeshua) really spoke Hebrew (rather than Aramaic, Greek, or even Latin). After all, there seems to be some Aramaic words in the New Testament, and the text itself is written in Koine Greek. In this brief article, I take a look at the question.

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Torah Sheb'al Peh
The Oral Torah and Jewish Tradition

During Shavuot we revisit the miracle of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, but you might be surprised to know that Rabbinical Judaism believes that two Torahs were given to Moses at that time -- the written Torah and the oral Torah (in Kabbalistic traditions there is even a third or "hidden" Torah as revealed in the Zohar). This brief essay considers some aspects of the oral Torah and its significance to us as followers of Jesus.

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Olam HaTorah
Justice and Mercy will kiss

This exploratory article raises some questions regarding whether the Torah of Moses is immutable (as is held by traditional Orthodox Judaism) or whether it is (itself) subject to overmastering purposes and plans of the Lord. In other words, is the word "Torah" to be linked to the covenant made with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai, or is it perhaps grounded in a deeper covenantal purpose of God that is intended to embrace all of humanity?

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A Plea for Hebrew Study
Especially for Pastors and Teachers

In this short article, John Piper attempts to cajole his fellow pastors to take their duty to study the original languages of the Scriptures seriously. I would qualify Dr. Piper's comments, however, by insisting that the study of Hebrew must take priority over the study of the Greek text of the New Testament (though of course both are important).

After all, the Greek text of the New Testament derives its authority and veracity from the Jewish Scriptures, and not the other way around. In other words, while it's possible that the Hebrew Scriptures are true and the Greek Scriptures are not, it's impossible for the Greek Scriptures to be true if the Hebrew Scriptures are not. Too many Christian theologians go at this backwards, reading the Greek New Testament as the interpretative filter for the study of the Hebrew text. The hermeneutical primacy of the Hebrew text should be evident to all who study the Scriptures seriously.

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Birthpangs of the Messiah
and the End of Olam Hazeh...

Although the "world system" wants you to feel confused, perplexed, and threatened, we know there is no fear in love, since ein od milvado -- there is no real power apart from God. Ultimately, then, the purpose of the Great Tribulation is redemptive and healing (called yissurei ahavah, "the troubles of love"), a time that the prophets foretold would give birth to innumerable children.

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The Life is in the Blood
New Life and the Greater Exodus...

I was recently asked what to make of Jesus' statement, "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you shall not have life within you" (John 6:53). In this brief article, I consider this statement in light of other metaphors and hyperbole used in the Gospels, especially in relation to the Jewish Passover Seder.

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Torah Observant Redux
Should Christians Follow the Law of Moses?

Since Jesus lived as an observant Jew, and since we're called to follow Him, shouldn't we live as observant Jews as well? This question is deceptively simple yet enormously complex, as most of you know. If it resolves to the question as to whether we should study and obey the Torah as Jesus did, then the answer is yes, though of course we must be clear exactly what this means, especially in light of the collective teaching of the New Testament.

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Why then the Law?
Further Thoughts on the "End of the Law"...

Since parashat Ki Teitzei contains more legal commandments than any other Torah portion, it is natural that we should revisit the question of whether we are obligated to follow the lawcode of Moses or not... In light of the salvation given in Yeshua, what is our relationship to the law? What is the goal or "end" of the Law that the Apostle Paul discussed in his letters?

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Some Musings about Suffering
Must God immediately vanquish evil?

Why did God create the universe with both the possibility and the prevalence of suffering and evil?  Surely an all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful God could have created a world free from the harrowing pain that plagues us all. The question is not academic, since suffering in our lives can lead to bitterness and chronic depression. Pointless suffering can lead to eventual madness and spiritual suicide, so it is vital to attempt to understand its function in our lives and find hope in our struggles.

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Finding Courage
In the Midst of Sickness...

There are some well-meaning souls who seem to think that the life of faith in Jesus should be relatively pain-free and without the normal sorts of infirmities that affect all people.  These people seem to reason that since Jesus died on the Cross as a ransom for our sins, we should also be set free from pain and sickness of every kind. If a Christian gets sick or experiences loss in their life, then he/she must somehow be deficient either in their understanding of the power of the atonement or in the exercise of their faith.  Well, is this true?

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The Triunity of God
Multiplicity in Oneness...

Many "Torah observant" teachers today seem to struggle with the idea that Jesus is none other than YHVH come "in the flesh." Though they might accept the idea that he was the Jewish Messiah, they appear to have trouble with the idea that "God has a Son" and therefore struggle with the idea of the "Trinity" (השׁלושׁ הקּדושׁ) -- or the Triune nature of the Godhead.

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The Heart of the Law
And the Law of the Gospel...

Did Jesus want us to become followers of Moses?  Is the gospel message really a sort of "reformation" of Temple Judaism?  Did Jesus come to renew the covenant made with Israel at Sinai or did he come to give us a new covenant that would somehow supersede it? In this brief article, I look at some statements that indicate both continuity and discontinuity of the Law in the teaching of Jesus.

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Spiritual Acoustics
Avoiding Esoteric Nonsense...

Over the past few years there has been an increased interest in the Proto-Canaanite cuneiform that is surmised to predate and underlie ancient Hebrew. Is there any value in studying these ancient Proto-Canaanite symbols? Can we find "deep" or "esoteric" meaning in the Hebrew Scriptures by studying the Hebrew pictographs? In this brief article, I survey some of the linguistic and exegetical issues....

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Ayin Tovah
Learning to See the Kingdom...

Kierkegaard tells the story of two young portrait artists who both sought to capture the essence of beauty in their paintings. One artist looked high and low for the "perfect face of beauty" but never found it.  Tragically, he later gave up painting and lived in despair. The other artist, however, simply painted every face he saw and found beauty in each one.  Now here's your question: Which of the two was the sincere artist?

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A Taste of Pirke Avot
Finding Wisdom in the Mishnah

Since I recently wrote about the role of oral Torah in Jewish thinking, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at Pirke Avot ("The Chapters of the Fathers"), a popular collection of ethical maxims found in the Mishnah (i.e., the core text of the Talmud). Though it is found in part of Seder Nezikin (a section of the Mishnah concerned with legal liabilities), some scholars believe Pirke Avot originally was intended to be a summary of the entire Mishnah itself.

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Discipleship and Dialog
Beginning right in the middle of things...

You can't give away what you don't have.... Simplistic presentations of the Gospel message can be of limited value as starting points for discussion, but without taking the time to engage the total person by introducing him or her to the ongoing dialog about the life of a disciple, you run the risk of making a caricature of the life of faith.

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The Devil's Logic
Seeing through the disguises...

The devil's logic is based on compromise, calling evil good and good evil, hissing out a seductive appeal to supposed esoteric knowledge, claiming superiority to the commonsense truth claims of experience, pragmatically justifying human atrocities, barbarity, and even cold-blooded murder for the sake of political expediency.  It's the prevailing dogma of the princes of this world, and it is at work in the halls of power today.

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Reaping the Whirlwind
Of Postmodern Despair...

One of the key characteristics of the "postmodern world" (i.e., the spirit of this age) is a rejection of the idea that objective truth exists. Truth is now regarded as a function of (political/social) power, and the ulterior motive ("subtext") for making a truth claim is simply the raw desire to control a set of outcomes. Let's see where this idea comes from, and where it leads...

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You're always Listening
to someone....

The world has its message or its "song," chaverim, which is invariably focused on fear and egotistic self-preservation. We are tempted, are we not, to listen and accept such propaganda without serious reflection.... After all, we are always listening to someone, but the all-important question is to whom? The inner voice of your soul gets its messages from somewhere.

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Scientific Realism
and the search for the Perfect Sphere...

Both the physical world and the world of subjective values are inescapably known or apprehended by means of the ideal.  The ideal world haunts everything we see, do, and experience.  It is known in the laboratories of scientists as they seek to create the "perfect sphere" just as it is known in our private moments of shame and confession that we do not live as we ought.

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The Near-Perfect Sphere

The Hermeneutical Spin Factor
Evidence of Epistolary Agnosticism...

What are we to make of the plethora of Bible translations we see today? In addition to the "mainstream" versions available (KJV, ASV, JPS, RSV, NIV, NASB, ESV, NKJ, NIB, NLT, TNK, etc.), you can also purchase any number of "Study Bibles" to suit your preferences.

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The Near-Perfect Sphere

Teshuvah
From Fear or from Love?

During the High Holidays we are called to examine our lives and turn back to the LORD. The Talmud notes that someone may be motivated to do such teshuvah (i.e., repentance) out of fear of Divine Punishment or out of Love for God and the desire to become attached to Him....

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The Near-Perfect Sphere

Meeting at Moriah
A God of Wrath or a God of Love?

Some people tend to regard the God of the "Old Testament" as a God of wrath, but the God of "New Testament" as a God of love. Such a perspective reveals a deficient understanding of the overarching unity of Scriptures - and of the very plan of God to redeem the world.

Click for more about this

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A Prophet like unto me
Moses' Prophecy of the Messiah

Moses foretold the coming of the Mashiach as one who would "be like me," namely, a Deliverer, Prophet, Lawgiver, Teacher, Priest, Anointed One, and a Mediator between God and man who (like Moses) would offer himself to die for the sins of the people. This brief article presents several ways in which Jesus is truly a "Second Moses."

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Mashiach ben Yosef
Jesus our Suffering Servant
  

Jewish tradition sometimes refers to two Messiahs who will deliver the Jewish people from galut (exile) and usher in the long-awaited Messianic era.  This short article looks at the life of Joseph as the archetypical pattern for the one who would be the fulfillment of Israel's suffering Mashiach.

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The Promised Messiah
Seeing Jesus in the Jewish Bible

The Jewish Bible provides several lines of prophetic evidence that demonstrate that Yeshua haNotzri (Jesus of Nazareth) is indeed the promised Savior of Israel. Prophecies concerning his place of birth, his lineage, his rejection by klal Yisrael, and his sacrificial suffering as Mashiach ben Yosef are provided in this brief survey.

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The Rent Parochet
God is on the loose

When Jesus died, the enormous paraochet (veil) that separated Hakodesh (the holy place) from the Kodesh Hakodashim (Holy of Holies) in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Why is this significant for those who look to Yeshua as their Savior?

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Taryag Mitzvot -
The 613 Commandments in Torah...

The Hebrew word mitzvah means "divine commandment" (mitzvot is the plural form). Although the word is sometimes used broadly to refer to Rabbinic (Talmudic) law, in its strictest sense the term refers to an explicit commandment given by the LORD in the Torah. In this article, I provide Rambam's list of 613 commandments, and offer New Testament correlations, when applicable.

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Two House Theology
Are Christians the "Lost Tribes" of Israel?

The Two House Theory (or "Ephraimite Movement") thinks that "Christians" are actually members of the "lost tribes" of Israel. Based on readings from the prophets Ezekiel (Ezek. 37:15-28) and Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31), this doctrine maintains that one day the lost tribes (i.e., the church) will be reunited with the "house" of Judah (i.e., the Jews) under the terms of the New Covenant. So what do we make of this?

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Torah, no Torah?
Getting down to business...

Some people tend to find nuanced distinctions abhorrent and seek "either/or" answers to complex questions. Unfortunately, it's just not that simple when it comes to understanding the role of Torah in our lives as Messianic Jews and Christians...

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So you want to be
Torah Observant?
 

Within the Messianic Community at large, there is a lot of discussion as to whether a follower of the LORD Jesus should be "Torah Observant" -- that is, obligated to follow the various mitzvot stipulated in the Sinai Covenant. In this brief essay, I look at the meaning of the word "Torah" and try to show that it is a function of (or response to) something more basic, namely, the covenantal acts of the LORD God of Israel.

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Torah Awareness
Why Christians Should Study Torah

Often Christians think that the "Old Testament" is virtually irrelevant today, since the doctrines of the Church are made explicit in the New Testament writings. However, this is a serious mistake, as the following short article will demonstrate.

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The Problem of Torah
Searching for the ideal in the desert of the real

All-to-human idealizations, whether they take the religious or humanistic form, are nothing but trash talk when it comes to understanding a divine love that reaches down in compassion to heal and save those who are shattered by life in its concreteness.

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Lulav makes me happy

The Jewish New Testament
And the meaning of "under the law"

Recently someone asked me about Dr. David Stern's Jewish New Testament translation (which was later appended to the older JPS translation of the Tanakh (1917) to form the "Complete Jewish Bible"). Is it a good translation?  Do I recommend it?

Lulav makes me happy

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The Seventy Faces
of Torah...
 

Shiv'im Panim laTorah: "The Torah has 70 faces." This phrase is used to indicate different "levels" of interpretation for each pasuk (verse) of the Torah. This brief article explains the meaning behind the dictum and an overview of basic Jewish exegesis.

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The Tenth Red Heifer
& the Superiority of Jesus' Sacrifice...
 

Many well-meaning Christians get excited over occasional reports that a new Red Heifer has been born, understanding this to be a sign from God that the time to rebuild the Jewish Temple is at hand. But should a Red Heifer be found and later sacrificed, how should we regard this -- especially in light of the Brit Chadashah and its clear teaching that Yeshua is the substance of the what the shadow of the Red Heifer represents?

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Should a Christian
be Circumcised?

Traditional Judaism regards circumcision as a "rite of passage" into covenant relationship with the LORD, a type of "giving birth" to a member of Israel, the very family of God. Indeed, according to some of the Jewish sages, being born and circumcised a Jew is sufficient to warrant a place in the world to come. But should a follower of Jesus the Messiah undergo ritual circumcision?

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Blessing the Jewish People
I will bless them that bless thee...

Marc Chagall Detail

The descendants of Abraham are called (bavat eino), the "pupil of God's eye" (Zechariah 2:8), a term of endearment God uses for no other nation on earth. This short article lists a few of the reasons why the genuine Christian should love and support the physical descendants of Abraham, the Jewish people.

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Emunah
Believing In / Believing That
 

Faith of any kind itself must have an object-- whether it is (minimally) the truth status of a proposition or (in more Biblical terms) a positive trust in the character, purposes, and love of the LORD God Almighty....

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Spiritual Abuse:
"Touch not my anointed"

The phrase "touch not my anointed" is sometimes appealed to as a means of defusing criticism of supposed authority figures within the church. See why such an appeal is fallacious and an example of bad interpretation.

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Chayei Olam
The Wonder of Eternal Life

Judaism is not dogmatic regarding eschatological matters, and the various Rabbinic traditions have never reached consensus regarding the issues of life after death and the future state of the world. However, most discussions on the issue include a basic division of the world into two spheres: the Olam Hazeh and the Olam Habah. 

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Christmas
When was Jesus born?

Was Jesus really born on December 25th, or does Scripture allow us to infer a different time for His advent here on earth? Two arguments are presented here: one for the traditional date of late December, and the other for a date duing the festival of Sukkot. 

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Faith and Fear
Choosing to See the Good

Fear is the "default mode" of the soul that dwells in darkness. This is because the "fallen" soul regards the empirical world and its flux as ultimately real -- and therefore "sees in order to believe." The life of faith, on the other hand, looks beyond the realm of appearances to behold an abiding glory -- and therefore "believes in order to see." How we choose to see is ultimately a spiritual decision for which we are each responsible....

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A Good Jewish Name?
Funny, Jesus doesn't sound Jewish...

Many people raised in Gentile churches consider the Name of the Lord to be "Jesus" with a surname of "Christ." Although this is based on a misunderstanding, the designation "Jesus Christ" is actually of Jewish origin.  

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What is Truth?
Getting beyond the Greeks

A brief article intended to sketch some differences between the typically "Greek" conception of truth and the "Hebraic" conception of truth.  

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Some thoughts about "Jewish Conversion":
Meshumad?
 

A Messianic friend recently remarked to me, "Jews don't need to convert to Christianity; they just need to be "completed," like the Apostle Paul who became a completed Jew." Now what do we make of such a statement?

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Hebrew Tattoos and body art:
Kosher or not?
 

I am sometimes asked whether it is "kosher" for a Christian (or Messianic Jew) to get a tattoo or body art.  In addition, I regularly receive email requests from various tattoo artists asking me to give them "the Hebrew lettering for such-and-such a word." It is my hope that this brief article will express my convictions regarding this subject.

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No Place for Torture
Deconstructing Mr. Farah
 

Popular Christian journalist Joseph Farah (of worldnetdaily) appears to have recently endorsed the policy that the torture and interrogation of POWs is sometimes appropriate - if by so doing the "greater good" is thereby promoted.  Read my critique of this position and why I think the underlying sentiment of his viewpoint is fallacious and contrary to the truth of the Scriptures.

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The Wisdom of this World
is foolishness unto God

A Hebrew word translated "folly" is kesilut, perhaps better understood as stupidity (the Greek word used is μωρια). The "wisdom of this world" is ultimately based on fear that leads to the desire to control others.  Sometimes, as in the case of warfare, it leads to acts of violence and murder.  Human reason designs and schemes in order to obtain its self-serving ends, whereas heavenly wisdom understands that there is no further "end" in sight than that of the LORD Himself and His Presence.

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Faith and Collision
...even among friends.

We often feel quite alone with our faith, chaverim. Perhaps this is because Christianity (and Judaism before it) is a confessional faith, that is, there is cognitive (and volitional) content that, once embraced, sets up an endless array of contrary truth claims.

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Paul's Allegory of
Hagar and Sarah...

Many traditional Christian commentators have used the allegory of Hagar and Sarah (Gal. 4:21-31) as a means of rejecting the importance of Torah study for the Christian. It is clear, however, that Paul uses a common midrashic technique to argue that the idea of salvation by the grace of God is in perfect harmony with the writings of Moses.

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Compare the Covenants
New Wine and Old Wineskins...

New Wine

If you're a follower of the Messiah Yeshua struggling with the question of whether to become "Torah observant," it is essential for you to seriously consider some of the contrasts between the "old" and "new" covenants as described in the New Testament. By doing so, you will better appreciate the life-transforming differences between the Torah of the New Covenant (given at Zion) with the Torah of the older Covenant (given at Sinai).

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Theology and the Greek Mindset
Athens and Jerusalem...

Recently someone asked me what I meant by the term "Greek mindset," especially when used in contradistinction to the term "Hebraic mindset." This is a complicated question, of course, and entire books have been written on the subject. By way of response, however, I wrote the following exploratory article where I attempt to look at a few of the basic distinctions.

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Other Articles...

The following additional articles you might find helpful. Most of these are from one of my favorite authors, Soren Kierkegaard.

The Dynamics of Despair
and the task of life
...

An excerpt from Kierkegaard's book "The Sickness Unto Death" that provides an incisive analysis of the modes or ways we choose to embrace our existence. The self is defined as a conscious "synthesis" of the infinite/finite, the temporal/eternal, of freedom/necessity, all in relationship to God, who is the Source and End of self-conscious life. We will be in a state of "despair" when we attempt to deny any one of these paradoxes and thereby choose to understand ourselves apart from relationship with God. We are at the "crossroads" of the eternal and the temporal, and we can only know ourselves for what we are when we surrender to God for each irrepeatable choice of our lives.

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God has no Cause
by Soren Kierkegaard

There are many people who are self-deceived about being on "God's side" in a disagreement or conflict. But how many people understand that God is supremely powerful, the Master of the Universe, and that all that comes to pass occurs soley on the basis of His gratuitous will alone? He is not looking for volunteers to defend the faith or "come to His aid."  No, as SK points out, God is looking for those who are willing to "face examination," to come to the end of themselves and their supposed resources, and to "take up the cross" of Jesus.

Consensus

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The Road is How
by Soren Kierkegaard

Worldly wisdom is very willing to deceive by answering correctly the question, "Where is the road?" while life's true task is omitted, that spiritually understood is rather how the road is walked. Worldly sagacity teaches that the road goes over Gerizim, or over Moriah, or that it goes through some science or other, or that the road is certain doctrines, or certain behaviors. But all this is a deception, because the road is how it is walked.

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Consensus

Dare to Decide
Soren Kierkegaard on decision

Can there be something in life that has power over us which little by little causes us to forget all that is good? And can this ever happen to anyone who has heard the call of eternity quite clearly and strongly? A brief and provocative essay by Soren Kierkegaard.

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The Shadow Law
and Old Wine

An article written by Dean VanDruff concerning the popular drift among some Christians to embrace legalistic "Torah Observance" as a supposed step of spiritual maturity. Worth your consideration, especially if you are a Messianic.

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Shadow and Substance

The Crowd
and its servants...

We warn young people against going to dens of iniquity, even out of curiosity, because no one knows what might happen. Still more terrible, however, is the danger of going along with the crowd. In truth, there is no place, not even one most disgustingly dedicated to lust and vice, where a human being is more easily corrupted – than in the crowd.

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The Task before us
finding the courage of our convictions...

Why is it that people prefer to be addressed in groups rather than individually? Is it because conscience is one of life's greatest inconveniences, a knife that cuts too deeply? We prefer to "be part of a group," and to "form a party," for if we are part of a group it means goodnight to conscience. We cannot be two or three, a "Miller Brothers and Company" around a conscience. No, no. The only thing the group secures is the abolition of conscience.

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Consensus

Two Ways of Reflection
and their savants...

There are some people who approach spiritual truth as a subject matter to be mastered, like a schoolboy might study for world history examinations. But as Soren Kierkegaard points out, "truth" does not comprise a set of static facts that may be assimilated, nor does it promote a logical structure to the crisis of present experience. No, "subjective truth," meaning the truth for which one lives and dies, is never approached on such a basis, despite the bluster of those pretenders of knowledge who hail their own conceits on the question.

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Faith and Reason:
Passion and Paradox...

For Kierkegaard, the rule of faith is necessarily antithetical to the canons of reason, since objectifying God or attempting to explain Him in strictly rational terms weakens the radical decision to "walk by faith, not by sight." In this regard, he is far more "Hebraic" in his mindset than other big-name Christian theologians....

Objectivity never leads to certainty, yet our lives demand urgent, irrepeatable choices. As SK says, "Faith is the contradiction between the infinite passion of inwardness and objective uncertainty. In other words, if I apprehend God objectively, I do not have faith; but because I cannot do this, I must have faith." When truth is (objectively) understood as subjectivity it is called a paradox.

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Alone with God's Word
Hermeneutical Evasions and Abulia...

Kierkegaard used the analogy of a lover's letter written in a foreign language to make the distinction between the often tedious process of translation and the act of reading from the heart... For the lover -- the one for whom the words are addressed -- all the "scholarly preliminaries" of translation are regarded as nothing more than a necessary evil to reach the goal -- that of reading and understanding the question of the lover's message.

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Two Ways of Reflection
and their savants...

There are some people who approach spiritual truth as a subject matter to be mastered, like a schoolboy might study for world history examinations. But as Soren Kierkegaard points out, "truth" does not comprise a set of static facts that may be assimilated, nor does it promote a logical structure to the crisis of present experience. No, "subjective truth," meaning the truth for which one lives and dies, is never approached on such a basis, despite the bluster of those pretenders of knowledge who hail their own conceits on the question.

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Christ has no doctrine
Faith as its own category...

"To become a Christian is the ultimate, to want to "understand" Christianity, as if it were some doctrine, is open to suspicion..." This excerpt from Soren's work "Concluding Unscientific Postscript" reminds us that the life of faith as it's own category of existence. Attempting to explain the life of faith using terms from the realm of rational discourse is a means of evading the task at hand: "Follow me..."

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A Dangerous Schooling
Saving the Body but Killing the Spirit...

Only when a person suffers and wills to learn from what he suffers does he come to know something about himself and about his relationship to God. This is the sign that he is being educated for eternity. Through suffering a person can come to know a great deal about the world – how deceitful and treacherous it is – but all this knowledge is not the schooling of suffering.

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God's Triumphant Love
Parable of the King and the Maiden...

Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden and whose heart was unaffected by the wisdom that is so often loudly preached. Let then the harp be tuned. Let the songs of the poets begin. Let everyone be festive, while love celebrates its triumph. For love is overjoyed when it unites equals, but it is triumphant when it makes equal that which was unequal. Let the king's love reign!

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Hebrew for Christians
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