Who Are We in Christ, Part 2

The task for defining the identity of Gentile converts was largely left to the Apostle Paul, the self-described “apostle to the Gentiles.” Modern social-scientific studies on the Bible have called Paul an “entrepreneur of identity” or a “social entrepreneur” who was engaged in forming the identity of his Gentile converts, creating for them a definition of who they were and mapping their relationships with other social groups. To do this, Paul used some metaphors that were drawn from the Old Testament and others that were drawn from Roman society. Taken together, they help give substance and definition to the identity of Gentile believers in Jesus. We will find that even though they do not become Jewish, neither do they remain an undifferentiated part of their pagan society. Paul “invents” a new identity for them and uses variegated imagery to describe that identity. Romans 4:16–17 and Galatians 3:7–9 contain one of Paul’s most powerful metaphors for describing Gentile identity. Paul claims that believing Gentiles are children of the forefather of the Jewish people, Abraham himself! His argument is that since Abraham believed when he was uncircumcised, he is not only the father of the Jews, his biological descendants, but also of all those throughout history who have had “the faith of Abraham.”

It is worthwhile to note that Paul leaves out the other two forefathers of the Jewish people, Isaac and Jacob. By limiting Gentile identity to children of Abraham, he makes it clear that these Gentiles are not part of “Israel” – a name reserved for Jacob’s descendants. However, God promised that Abraham would become the father of many nations, as recorded in Genesis 17:4. Paul sees the believing Gentiles as a fulfillment of that promise. They are still members of the “nations” (Gr. ethnē, Heb. goyim) but their new identity allows them to be simultaneously children of Abraham (and therefore heirs to the promise of Abraham) and members of the nations.

Paul takes great pains to emphasize that the covenant of promise which helps define Gentile identity in Christ is the Abrahamic covenant and not the Sinai covenant. His repeated contrast of these two covenants, especially in Galatians, is meant to drive home the point that though the Gentile converts are children of Abraham, they are not children of Israel, nor did they stand at the foot of Mount Sinai and receive the Torah.

Despite their shared ancestry in Abraham and their shared inheritance in the promise to Abraham, believing Gentiles and Jews have differing obligations to God. Paul also includes his Gentile converts as citizens of a kingdom. Variously described as the “kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; Galatians 5:19–21), the “kingdom of light” (Colossians 1:12), and the “kingdom of the Son” (Colossians 1:13), Paul uses “kingdom” to indicate the Gentile believer’s eschatological political situation. In other words, who is the Gentile believer’s ultimate authority? Is he still nothing more than a subject of the Roman emperor, while the Jewish people have an eschatological King to look forward to? Paul’s answer is that Gentile believers, like their Jewish brethren, are included in the reign of Jesus Christ. He is their King, and they are his citizens. They have transferred their allegiance from the reign of Caesar to the reign of Christ, a reign that will come into its fullness at his return. This metaphor may underlie the language of citizenship in a commonwealth in Ephesians 2, discussed below. Paul used the imagery of slavery and freedom as well. He regarded Gentile idolaters as “slaves to sin” (Romans 6:20–21) and to “the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world” (Galatians 4:9). Typical of Jewish attitudes toward idolatry, Paul associated it with all kinds of immoral behavior—behavior that led naturally from idolatry, and that was in some way an involuntary consequence of idolatry, dictated by God (Romans 1:18–32). This status of slavery has been removed through obedience to Christ (Romans 6:17–18). The Gentile believers are now free from sin and slaves to obedience (v. 16), to righteousness (v. 19), and to God (v. 22). Paul describes this process as redemption (apolytrosis), a word normally used to describe the ransom, or buying back, of prisoners of war or captive slaves. Paul envisions his Gentile converts as more than just freed slaves; they are adopted children, brought into God’s family (Galatians 4:5).

Another metaphor Paul uses is the term “in Christ” (Romans 8:1; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17). In contrast to those who are “in Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:22), those who are in Christ “belong to the new aeon with its freedom and life.” Gentile believers are no longer identified with the old way of life that characterizes sinful humanity; “in Christ” they participate in the eschatological community that Christ inaugurated, the community that foreshadows the ultimate redemptive era, the World to Come.

“Salvation” or the idea of being “saved” is very common in the Pauline corpus and is probably the most popular term used today to describe the action that brings someone into the community of faith—and rightly so. Believers are saved, or rescued, from this world, just as the Jewish people were saved from slavery in Egypt or the captivity in Babylon.

-Also from the book I’m reading that I can’t talk about yet

Updated! See the end of this blog post for details.

I couldn’t resist a “part 2” since these concepts and this discussion won’t leave me alone right now. I suppose it’s an issue that is really at the core of most of Christianity. Who are we in Christ? What does a Christian identity mean to me? What does it mean for a non-Jewish person to accept discipleship under the Jewish Messiah and King?

More plainly put, just who in the heck do we think we are?

Actually, that last question is really part of the problem. There’s (in all likelihood) a difference (probably a whopping big one) between who God thinks we are in Christ and who we think we are in Christ/Messiah (depending on our particular denominational orientation). It’s kind of interesting to think that Paul was the one to actually figure out (or make up) an answer to “the Gentile question.” I mentioned this in yesterday’s part 1 of Who Are We in Christ and decided I should allow the “other shoe to drop,” so to speak.

For the sake of some folks in the Hebrew Roots movement, I thought I should include what should be (but isn’t) obvious, in that if we claim a connection to Israel through Abraham, as our mysterious author tells us, “Paul leaves out the other two forefathers of the Jewish people, Isaac and Jacob.” Interesting, eh? If Abraham is “the father of many nations,” then he is father to more than just Israel. Islam also claims him, and because of Paul, so does Christianity. I seriously doubt most Christians (or any Hebrew Roots folks) would seriously consider Islam to be part of Israel through Abraham, so how can we justify Christianity being synonymous with Israel?

Or can we?

The Christian church hasn’t had to struggle with its identity for a long time. For many centuries, it (we) have been secure in the knowledge that we were the spiritual inheritors of all of the covenant promises because the Law (and the Jewish people along with it) was nailed to the cross of Christ and we were adopted by God’s grace to supplant the descendents of Sinai.

Except that isn’t so clear anymore.

Periodically, I become aware of articles that describe a general exodus from the church, especially by young singles and families who feel their needs are not being met. Some of those needs are spiritual, and the church in the early 21st century, appears to be leaning toward a kind of “entertainment” model to bring in and keep parishioners. Except that may not be what they really want or rather, what they (we) really need.

Some of those disaffected Christians make their way into the Hebrew Roots movement, hoping to find a deeper understanding of their faith and a richer and more robust God than the one they left behind in the Christian Bible class. We all have a tremendous need to feel close to God and sometimes we do that by asking questions and posing puzzles the church (or most of it) doesn’t want to deal with. Hebrew Roots, on the surface, seems to offer those kinds of answers, but it’s sort of an illusion. For a lot of people, “different” means “better” and it takes them a long time to realize that such may not be the case. Also the “stuff” that goes along with Judaism (Messianic and otherwise) is very compelling.

Wearing fringes makes you closer to God. Avoiding ham sandwiches makes you closer to God. Wearing a “beanie” makes you closer to God. It’s really cool stuff. But is it your stuff, or are the Gentiles entering Hebrew Roots merely attracted to playing with someone else’s toys because the toys look brand new, are from different toy stores, and are really cool?

I suppose that’s kind of a mean statement, but I think that fits some Hebrew Roots Gentiles.

For the rest, I think you’re like me. You really do feel there’s a larger reality to who you are and who God is than you’ve been presented with so far. However, I exited traditional Christianity, entered, and then (eventually) existed One Law because it didn’t satisfy what I was looking for either. Ultimately, I had to conclude that “doing Jewish” wasn’t who I really am and that whoever the first century Gentile disciples were, their identity wasn’t “doing Jewish” either.

There’s a mystery that needs to be solved and I think there’s an answer available. Maybe it’s not the final answer, but it beats settling for someone else’s identity because it’s not easy to find your (our) own. If the identity of the Gentile disciple of the Jewish Messiah isn’t in your local Baptist, Lutheran, or non-denominational church, and it’s not in assuming a Jewish identity with all the “bells and whistles” (minus Talmud which tends to put most Hebrew Roots people off), then we may need to start digging a little deeper.

I think enlisting the aid of some reliable Hebrew Roots and Messianic Jewish teachers is a good way to start. If folks, such as my (presently) anonymous author, are taking the time to tell us who Gentiles aren’t in the world of the Jewish King, I think they’ll be more than happy to help us discover who we really are in Christ.

Stay tuned. My commentary on this week’s Torah portion speaks more to this issue and greatly expands upon it. Please give it a read and let me know what you think.

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13 thoughts on “Who Are We in Christ, Part 2”

  1.      So I realize there are a lot of differing views, and different motives for those views.
        Im gonna try and cut past all that, so I’ll list some big problems just for awareness. 

    1)Jewishpeople that have come to “Christianity” have been told to throw out their heritage (and the Torah).
    2) Christianity has taught that the church is the “new Israel” and has hijacked “Jesus”,and the Hebrew scriptures, and taken them as their own.
    3) in the “Torah pursuant messianic movement” the issues of ;
    A)conversion 
    B)rejection of messiah 
    C)Halachic authority questions, [Orthodox,conservative, reform (and now MJ?)]; Is it the MishnahaTalmud, or some kind of quasi karaite/conservadox/Yeshua believing thing that we all keep here?

         I’m not going into supersessionism. I realize that’s a major issue, but it’s not really Paul’s context in the passages mentioned here. (aside from Romans 9-11.)

    { As for Divine invitation I’ll just put DI and One Law, OL.}

    I understand as a Jew we have a right to say, “hey this is our Jesus, and this is His and “our way” of observing Torah so don’t come in here “doing as you wilt”.

    The real question no one seems to be asking is, what does that “way” REALLY  look like. It is presented as a sort of, “hey read between the lines man! The apostles followed Talmud here, (and in an undertone ;”talmud mixed with MODERN Judaism)”.
         Many Jewsish scholars do not lean on the authority of the sages. Rather they hold that “joining the camp” of the ancient Israelites would have not included a legal ceremony. In some cases it would have been, “your G-d, my G-d, your people my people, now pic up a sword your on our team now”.

       There is high, medium, and low levels of orthodoxy and liberal-secular Jewish opinion, so everybody just mixes and matches whatever fits their point. 

        Then, there are literally TONs, of REALLY whacked out, annoying, Hebrew roots followers, I admit. 
    From the sacred namers, to the black Hebrew isralites, to the ones on the road to conversion, and are leaving their confession of Yeshua and the authority of the gospels.
        Boaz Michael once spoke of a non Jew who dressed up like a priest and had a sacrifice in his backyard.

         I admit that the DI puts a halt to much of these embarrassing and offensive ideas,(in theory).

         On the other hand, I know Jews who wear tzittziyot on their belt loops, don’t wear kippah and eat shrimp. 

        There are Gentiles that wear tzitziyot and keep kosher and are ONLY offended by the “NON-one law” camp, because they view anyone who’s Jewish as some sort of authority. 
       When the authority says, “your observance is not required”, what’s head is, “G-d doesn’t respect your offering Cain!”. They feel discredited, like their not gonna get their brownie points. 

         This is a wonderful opportunity for them to check their motive!

         There are some gentiles who support the “NON one law” position, ONLY because they don’t have the courage to wear tzitziyot (or a kippah) all day everywhere. (and those who say, there should be a distinction about tzittziyot and kippah, as it is a more recent tradition).
         Not only do they fear all the laws of kashrut, they hate confrontation, and don’t want to face all the fellowship, and  meals they will have to forgo with family & friends, (not to mention fast food). So it’s really just a comfortable excuse, and a way to avoid the reproach and prejudice we Jews, “enjoy”.
    (I would also add there is a bit of confusion and anxiety regarding which laws to follow “written vs oral?”.)
     
         I don’t have have a better idea than the DI teaching but I feel like some of the Non-One Law proponents over step themselves by demanding certain interpretations of NT scriptures and injecting the views and fears of modern Judaism.
          
          I think that the problems we face are new and to superimpose the acts 15 ruling and many of the rulings of Paul into our present day post Holocaust, post Hebrew roots, era is doing injustice to the original context.

        There are Jews who feel ashamed to observe Torah too as I mentioned. There are others who feel “this is our thing and you can’t have it! You Gentiles are blurring the lines!”
          Why does this matter? As far as I understand, intermarriage and observance.(period). Tainting the group, defiling Israel. The non Yeshua believing orthodox of today would agree. The only other folks I find making a stink about Gentiles in the mix is Proselytes! Former Gentiles! 

         Some Jewish believers act like its some type of identity theft. To a degree I understand, but on the other hand it be like the NAACP suing Eminem. 
         I can understand how some Jewish people that do not believe in Yeshua, and view tragedy like hashoah as the result of “Jesus followers”, and are  highly offended when the see a gentile saying, “I believe in Jesus, and I’m a Jew now, and I wear a tallit!” It’s like someone murdering a family and
    putting on their clothes afterward. (Chasvshalom)

         As for the Yeshua following Jews being concerned about the Gentiles “wearing shoes on the new carpet”(?).

         I have trouble seeing the logic in one sense because what about all the non observant Jews, who are “muddying the water” by lack of observance and intermarriage to non Jews who aren’t even necessarily believers in anything!
          On the other hand I recognize that my own children having a gentile mother will not pass any “jewishness” on to the next generation. 

         This is an issue of Halacha.
    Who determines Jewishness? The sages? The local Beit Din? Does it need to be orthodox? What really counts? If we’re talking the RCA, thats the only way to make aliyah right? So what goes “higher” than that?

         It’s kind of ironic that a person could be UNconcerned about who the sages say mashiach  is, and VERY concerned about who the sages say a non-Jew is, then be confused about the real value of what the mashiach “accomplished” for the non-jew. 

        In my journey I try to determine what the 1st century Halacha would have been and what Yeshua and the apostles Halacha was, as I’m sure so does the author of the “mystery book”.

         There are lots of other “types” of observance as all who read this blog are aware im sure. There are those who don’t follow the authority of the sages when it’s more convenient, and reference them when it appears that they enforce their own point.

    There’s all sorts, I’m not measuring one against the other. I’m sure I left out types like the ones who read this blog, (wink.)

    As for the “secret book” and these topics James is discussing I wanted to throw out my two cents.

         I don’t think I “have all the answers” by any means .
         I think that for the most part the Halacha of the sages is represented in the life of Yeshua and the teachings of Paul.

         That being said, this whole notion that the noahide laws were thought to be a permanent place for Gentiles to practice, is flawed.

         The Talmud in Sanhedrin 58b–59a actually gives the impression that the 7 Laws of Noach are more then 7 and Rambam in Hilkhot M’lakhim 10:9 explains that all of the Noachide code can be subsumed under the seven laws; indicating that the Talmud hints that there was more then just 7 basic laws. 

         Maimonides in Hilkhot M’lakhim 9:1 indicates that the seven laws are also part of the Torah, and the Talmud in Sanhedrin 59a, along with the Tosafot also states that Jews are obligated in all things that Gentiles are obligated in. 

         The truth is that many in the DI camp are teaching a chabad version of noachide laws.
         The sources from Chabad regarding converts is straight from local Chabaniks who take the words of Rambam out of context which is based on Yevamot 24b “converts are not received in the days of the Messiah,” 

         Since they believe the Lubavitch Rebbe as Moshiach they believe this is the Messianic Era and thus no converts should be accepted but that goyim should learn the 7 Laws of Noach through Chabad’s teaching.

    1) This whole notion that the acts 15 ruling WAS ABSOLUTELY noachide laws is unfounded.
         Unless, IMO, they stick to the script and interpret Noachide laws as the sages see it. Even still some work has to be done to interpret, “eating a limb off a living animal” and “blood-acts 15”.

         It can be suggested or theorized, but it’s not proven. Also the idea that Noach himself ate trief is proposterous. 

         The four prohibitions look more like clif notes from Leviticus than anything else. If this is the case once again the rulings of the NT concerning Gentiles aligns more with the Torahs teachings regarding the procelyte/stranger or ger.

         The proponents of the DI often say that the sign commands are only for the procelyte or the native born. 
         While this may be the case once again they overstep themselves.
         The fact of the matter is that the NT teaches the problem with legal conversion and the gentile is the hang up that the new convert will secure his hope of salvation in his flesh instead of the work of the living G-d- Not that the gentile believers would be hijacking synagogues in the sense of “Hebrew roots” enthusiasts. 

         This is the importance and the context for the emphasis on the believers position IN CHRIST. 

         The “mystery book” makes the case that the Gentiles had so much to gain in Christ, that they were now under the kingship of Christ. Proponents of the DI make the point that the gentile is “Drawing near” to the Jewish people. The Torah was a gift to mankind, the smallest nation was “given the gift of Torah, because it is a light to the nations. All of it. The Shabbat was taught to the Israelites and the mixed multitude before they arrived at Sinai. They weren’t even circumcised until Joshua leadership! The midrash says that the voices spoke in 70 languages at sinai. This is a call to leave the tower of babel and come to the holy mountain. HaShem said he gave us the laws so other nations would say what wonderful laws you have! The laws of tzittzyit are not “the Gentiles may not have strings like you”. Its so you will not be led after your eyes for after which you stray into idolatry.
          I agree there should be a community rule and I agree with a lot of DI, just not so much in what they are basing it off of.
        Personally I say make it as orthodox as possible, just like an orthodox synagogue and whatever a gentile would be allowed to do in an orthodox shul the same goes for the Messianic one. But I’m also for shomer shabbos, no driving and strict kashrut etc, so if the Gentiles gonna eat with us he’s keeping kosher too. I just don’t see how else a messianic synagogue can lean on “some” of what the sages say.

         The fact is that in Mashiach WE ALL  are drawing near to G-d this isn’t just an upgrade for non-jews.
         The apostles realized that the Gentiles had been afforded an “upgrade” that surpassed that of a conversion. To give them the commands that pertained to a proselyte would be the minimum. Of course it’s not to be an overnight deal AND not something to guarantee salvation . (which, again, was the context of act15)
    As it explains The four laws of Acts 15 were BECAUSE ,  “If we want them to hear Moshe then at the minimum we need to get them in the synagogue.
    G-d fearers are already welcome. Why tell these folks something they already know? 
         If there are already G-d fearers in the synagogue what’s new?
         The G-d fearer had no four rules, he could break Shabbat or do whatever he had no legal attachment. 

         Why does Peter say at the point of the Gentiles coming in “I see no reason not to immerse them!!” immersion for a gentile from Duet 14 who can eat a dead carcass? Who can become unclean? Why immerse? Because this is the ger who must immerse, Lev. 17:15 . A reading between
    The lines could see this gentile is everything but a legal convert. They didnt know what to do with these people if they just took the spot of the G-d fearer than no big deal. This is the mystery of the “Gospel”. They are coming in to Israel.

         The apostles in my “reading between the lines” saw, the Gentiles as converts of the heart therefore sons of Abraham. 

         Everyone knows Bnei Avraham is the name given to proselytes the author of the “mystery book” is VERY VERY misleading concerning this.

    Not to mention he cleverly MIS-applies the “two covenants” of Galatians.

    Tisk, Tisk, this is the sort of overstepping that I’m talking about!

         The two covenants are to be correctly interpreted thus :
    A)that of the procelyte -Hagar the influencers of Galatia, 
    And B) the gentile believer -sons of Sarah. Sons of the promise.

    Let’s read it again

    “Paul takes great pains to emphasize that the covenant of promise which helps define Gentile identity in Christ is the Abrahamic covenant and not the Sinai covenant. His repeated contrast of these two covenants, especially in Galatians, is meant to drive home the point that though the Gentile converts are children of Abraham, they are not children of Israel, nor did they stand at the foot of Mount Sinai and receive the Torah.”

    The Jew is the Sinai cov of Galatians which is Hagar and she’s in slavery with her children?

    No, no, my friend . This reminds me of when Daniel Lancastor said that gal5:3,  [ which says :
    “If you get circumcised you will be obligated to keep the whole Torah!”] means that Paul ALSO meant the opposite; that if you are not converted, you are not obligated to keep the whole Torah!

    Nice try. The point is that, those who seek covenant relationship ie conversion, if they want to be RIGHTEOUS by keeping one mitzvah (circumcision) they better keep it up and never break a Law, for as James says, you break one you break the covenant, and there goes your righteousness ‘by works’ down the drain.
         To interpret it as Daniel does is like punching with an empty glove. It’s like telling someone, “hey if you get a job here your gonna have to listen to your boss! But if you don’t work here he’s not your boss..”

         The punch of the comment concerns righteousness.
    Not, strings on your shirt.

         So also here the mystery author is saying that Paul’s teaching “hey you goy you weren’t at Sinai you can’t keep these mitzvot! ”

         Sir do you realize you just interpreted standing at sinai as slavery? Hope this is a rough draft!

    Ok back to Acts15 

         The prohibition of blood and strangled animals is not in the “noahide laws”. 

         I’ve asked this many times and no one has offered an answer.

        How can the Gentiles be expected to “drain the blood” of a rat?

    The prohibitions are regarding idolatry. Paul’s further rulings on idolatry and food continue to follow the same logic outlined by the Rambam concerning Jewish practice for jews and would never leave the possibility of an unkosher animal to be eaten.

          For the DI to build its case that the acts 15 ruling was for the gentile to remain a G-d fearer lies on weak foundation.

         Even if it were noachide laws, the noachide laws were explained in the Talmud as stepping stones toward conversion .

         The other problem is that many could not “convert” under Roman rule. So the “class” of a G-d fearer perhaps wouldn’t have existed prior to this time. Besides what does that have to do with today?

    •Yes the gentile comes in to the commonwealth of Israel.

    •Yes the Gentiles acceptance far excels that which a procelyte ritual can offer.

    •Yes he is to remain un-legally converted . 
    1)because he is the fulfillmet of avrahams blessing as he is
    2)especially because of the teaching that righteousness comes by conversion. 
    Let’s not add to that by saying what he is NOT obligated to do. The acts 15 ruling doesn’t say “honor your parents” so..

    •The apostles and the NT treat the Gentiles in every other way as gerim.
    They recognized this as the coming in of the Gentiles as James quotes Amos. The Gentiles coming in authenticated that Yeshua was of the line of David.
    This was viewed as the beginning of the end.
     No one seems to want to touch this one either:

    Is56  1 This is what the L-RD says, “Promote justice! Do what is right! For I am ready to deliver you; I am ready to vindicate you openly. 2 The people who do this will be blessed, the people who commit themselves to obedience, who observe the Sabbath and do not defile it, who refrain from doing anything that is wrong. 3 No foreigner who becomes a follower of the L-RD should say, ʻThe L-RD will certainly exclude me from his people.ʼThe eunuch should not say, ʻLook, I am like a dried-up tree.ʼ” 4 For this is what the L-RD says: “For the eunuchs who observe my Sabbaths and choose what pleases me and are faithful to my covenant, 5 I will set up within my temple and my walls a monument that will be better than sons and daughters. I will set up a permanent monument for them that will remain. 6 As for foreigners who become followers of the L-RD and serve him, who love the name of the L-RD and want to be his servants – all who observe the Sabbath and do not defile it, and who are faithful to my covenant – 7 I will bring them to my holy mountain; I will make them happy in the temple where people pray to me.

  2. Wow, Michael. I think your comment exceeds the length of my blog post.

    I was hard to work my way through everything you said (which seems to have gone well beyond the scope of what I said) and draw conclusions. You seem to be looking at both sides of the coin, which is good, but it also seems like you’ve landed in the middle (I could be wrong about this, though).

    Quoting Isaiah 56:1-7, you seem to be saying that there is more for the non-Jewish believer in the House of the Lord than one might expect from Acts 15, but not fully becoming Jewish in a behavioral or covenant sense. I suspect there is more “Torah involvement” for the Gentile than is covered by Acts 15 if, for no other reason, than the “training wheels” James proposed don’t even begin to cover what Jesus taught.

    I tend to think of sharing things like the Shabbat and praying in the (future) temple, not as obligations for the Gentile that mirror Jewish mitzvot, but joys we will encounter and appreciate; gifts from the Messiah. Our identity in Messiah contains many wonderful things, but as you can see, I don’t believe it contains a pseudo-Jewish identity.

    Again, I’m not telling any Jew or non-Jew in the Messiah what to do, but I am trying to put some things out there for people to think about and consider. I don’t really think of myself as fitting some sort of label and even Bilateral Ecclesiology or Divine Invitation doesn’t completely describe my evolving perspectives. While it’s important to take a stand on matters of faith, I don’t want to be ‘pinned down’ into some sort of category where all the little elements that go into it don’t quite fit me.

    I’m still working on it.

  3. I really like how you put that James !
    “Gifts from the messiah” see now a gentile can keep Torah and be able to reference why he’s observant in the world or workplace and its not condemning or subversive.
    I have seen many Gentiles that speak about Torah to other Gentiles like “I’m a Jew now I have to do this because Yeshua ___ ___ ____.” or “if your a true believer you HAVE to do it to!”

    It’s all about perspective I’m not sold on the idea that three commands a “for Jews only”. I could go with it I just havnt seen anything from the scripture back it up.
    I’m not trying to tell people what to do either.
    I get a little lippy

  4. “sometimes”.

    LOL. 😉

    Sometimes, when I try to explain my perspectives to others, they (somehow) assume that I’m Jewish and I have to clear things up. I already responded to you in Facebook with this, but there’s a terrific need, not to try and sell the concept of Torah obligation to the church, but just to present Jesus as the Jewish King. I’m a little scared that there are millions of Christians all over the world who have this idea that Jesus Christ gave up his Judaism on the cross, and when he returns, it will be as a fully realized Gentile King.

    I tried to explain this concern a few months back in a blog post called The Goyishe King, but this really needs to be repeated and spread around.

    It’s not so much about who is obligated to what, but who the Messiah is, who we are in him, and what we’re supposed to do about it. In spite of our differences, the Messiah is the lynch pin that holds us all together as a body, even though the different body parts all have radically different functions. The church has become really comfortable in their ideas, visions, and theologies and a lot of Gentiles in Hebrew Roots have become too comfortable in allowing themselves to be isolated form the larger Christian world.

    Only through (somehow) entering into a sustained dialog can we help each other not only learn to recognize the Jewish King when he returns, but to present him with a united “bride” upon that occasion.

  5. “There’s a mystery that needs to be solved” Sure, I think we all looking for that. Go ahead with writing! Great article! (I think God is moving Jew and Gentile to a certain common point, the true unhidden Messiah, which I believe is Jesus.)

  6. Seeing that the entrance requirements for the present covenant enacted by Messiah Yeshua are the same for both the Jew and the non-Jew, what would someone suppose the reason could be for then separating the two groups after the fact and assigning different obligations in their new role as citizens of the “Kingdom of Elohim”?

    Selectively taking certain scriptures as metaphorical and others as literal when it comes to trying to answer the question of who is a Jew and who isn’t will not bring us closer to the goal of understanding who we are in Messiah. YHWH made a new covenant with the two houses of Israel and then invited all the world to join that covenant through faith in His Son and His finished work. As I read it, the goal of Messiah with His people is to have them all in one house with Him as their King. Not to have three houses in permanent disagreement with each other.

    Are there cases in scripture where physical realities trump spiritual realities? Or do the two realities simply remain in conflict all through our lives as believers? Are they supposed to?

  7. That only works if each subsequent covenant replaces the previous covenant. However, if subsequent covenants ratified previous ones (as actually worked in the ancient near east when High Kings made covenants with vassel kingdoms), then the previous covenants would still be in effect.

    That would mean the Sinai covenant, allowed the Israelites to enter into a relationship with God, but the nations would not have this options unless they converted (think mixed multitude after about three or more generations). The subsequent Messianic covenant ratified the original Abrahamic and Sinai covenants. This allowed the nations to enter into a relationship with God on an equal footing with the Israelites without deleting the Israelites and requiring that they be recreated as Christians. The Messianic covenant, in addition to being a huge advantage for non-Jews, also added many advantages to the Jewish people relative to the coming of their King (and ours) and the promise that the world will one day be repaired with Israel at the head of the nations.

    Jews and the non-Jewish disciples of the Master are in one house, but that doesn’t make all of the inhabitants of that house uniform, homogenous, or identical anymore than man and a woman become uniform, homogenous, and identical beings when they marry and start living in one house together. Christianity has a tendency to separate and segregate spirituality from physicality, but they may simply be two sides of the same coin.

  8. Matters of identity are not solved through being, or trying to be, identical culturally or spiritually.

    At what level, or in which reality if you prefer, are my wife and I as one? We are certainly not the same person, but we are just as certainly one.

    My uniqueness is important to me and so the uniqueness of others is important as well. If everyone started acting and looking just like me I would become very nervous.

    Speaking of the previous covenants, I also believe that they remain. But I do not find scriptural support for the idea that they are still in effect ( I know that last statement needs clarification. I may be able to do that here or I may just provide a link due to space considerations).

    Notice that it is the promises contained within those covenants that remain in effect and are brought to fruition in the present covenant. Sha’ul’s argument in Galatians is an excellent example of showing how our relationship with Avraham is generated through the promise and not through physical descent. He doesn’t say that one is different than the other but rather that it is the same.

    Very much like the relationship between a husband and a wife. The differences could be clearly established and so could the oneness.

    I like your coin analogy. I think it is spot on.

    I believe the link would be the better choice. Here it is:

    www.http://torahandgrace.com/?cat=58

    Although the article has more to do with the difference between a testament and a covenant there is the mention of the promises continuing on through the covenants. As stated by Jeremiah, YHWH would “cut” a new covenant with the two houses of Israel and it would be based on the previous promises. I believe that this covenant and those promises are the foundation of our identity in Messiah as the whole house of Israel.

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