Toby’s Story and Mine

I promise. I’m running out of Shavuot conference stories. It won’t be long now until I’m tapped out. Be patient.

I mentioned in my recent review of Toby Janicki’s book God-Fearers: Gentiles and the God of Israel that I was just a tad disappointed that he didn’t describe anything about his personal journey in transitioning away from One Law. I kind of expected that he would have included some of those details, because he told a lot of his personal story at the conference last week.

I promised to share one of those stories with you (I have Toby’s permission to do so). I don’t think I’ll be able to tell it as well as Toby did. Certainly, I’ve forgotten a lot of the little details by now. In fact, since I’m telling all of this from memory, doubtless my story will contain just a ton of errors. Hopefully, I’ll still be able to get the main point across. Then I’ll tell you a story of my own.

But Toby’s story first.

Toby talked about visiting what sounds like some sort of upscale food store in the Denver area several years ago. He was wearing a talit katan under his shirt with the four tzitzit extending out into public view. He apparently was very satisfied with the tzitzit being the correct halakhic length and with the proper blue for the techelet threads. His observance of the mitzvot of the tzitzit was just flawless.

As Toby was approaching the check out line, he heard a man’s voice from behind him, “Excuse me.”

Toby paused and turned as the man continued to speak.

“Are you Jewish?”

At this point in Toby’s story, I can imagine him freezing momentarily in a sort of “deer in the headlights” pose.

Toby said, “No.” This prompted the other fellow, who was Jewish, to ask Toby a number of questions. Why would someone who wasn’t Jewish wear tzitzit, and particularly pay such fine attention to the relevant halachah? Toby most likely answered each of this Jewish person’s questions and I don’t doubt it would have been a fascinating conversation to watch and hear. I somehow believe that the Jewish gentleman never quite understood the whole concept of “One Law” and why anyone who wasn’t Jewish would desire such an experience. On the other hand, he may full well have understood the implications of people who were not Jewish entering into behaviors that, on the surface, made them seem as if they were.

It’s what I would call an epiphany event for Toby. The light bulb went off over his head. He realized something that had never occurred to him before on a very fundamental level.

That’s the best I can do about Toby’s story but before getting to my own, I want to share another one I heard at the conference.

A non-Jewish fellow at the conference described how he once went into a church, not his home church by any means, wearing a kippah and carrying a talit gadol over his arm. He elicited a lot of questions from the other Christians there, particularly, “Are you Jewish?” Of course, the answer had to be no, but the fellow in question felt that dressing as he did would be a witness to the Christians and allow him to speak about the Jewishness of Jesus. Perhaps in that one church it did, but what does it say when someone who is not Jewish dresses in a manner that seems to say he is a Jew? Toby’s encounter was accidental. This other gentlemen deliberately presented a confusing message about his identity.

What are we really saying to the Jews and Christians around us when we create the impression that we are someone we really aren’t?

Praying with tefillinNow to my story. It’s not a single event, but I’ll pretend it is so this blog post won’t go on too long.

Like most people who live in a suburban home, my house’s master bedroom has a walk-in closet. It used to be my habit to pray in that closet in the mornings. I would take my siddur with me and reciting the proper blessings, don my talit and lay tefillin (I want to thank my friend Baruch Hopkins for teaching me the proper manner of laying tefillin, particularly since being left handed, my technique must be different from most other people). My Hebrew is terrible (as many people at the conference I recently attended can attest), but I prayed from my heart and my humble devotion to God. I believed that, imperfect though my prayers were, imperfect though my Hebrew was, and imperfect as my performance of the relevant halachah was, I was doing my best. I hoped God would understand.

And I didn’t want my Jewish wife to walk in on me during my prayers. I tried to time everything so she’d either be asleep or already gone to work when I’d pray. I know it may sound silly to you, but I had a couple of important reasons.

The first was that I wanted to be able to completely focus on my prayers. I didn’t want to be interrupted or to have to worry about being interrupted during prayer. I wanted and needed to have a private time when I could connect to God.

The second reason was that I was embarrassed. It wasn’t just that I have no command of Hebrew and that I don’t really know how to don a talit, although that’s embarassing, too. It’s that she’s Jewish and I’m not. Although she wasn’t raised in a Jewish home and for many years, did not have a lived cultural and religious experience, she has overcome many barriers and worked extremely hard to connect and integrate with the Jewish community. She has finally become a member of our local Jewish community and her habits, viewpoint, and even thought processes have become increasingly Jewish.

I certainly can’t say the same thing for me, and yet there I was, wearing a kippah, wearing tzitzit, binding tefillin on my arm and on my forehead, and trying to pray in bad Hebrew from a siddur.

When Toby was telling his story and how he felt when he was speaking with a Jewish man about why a Gentile Christian should be dressing like a Jew, I wondered if he felt even half as uncomfortable as I did when I just imagined how my wife pictured me. Toby’s encounter was with a stranger he probably never saw again. I had the same encounter but with my wife who I see all the time.

Toby’s encounter was probably only one of the steps he took on his journey which resulted in him re-evaluating his One Law beliefs. My “quasi-Jewish prayer life” was only one of the steps in my journey. But they’re both examples of our realizing that there is some part of the One Law assumption that just doesn’t “feel” right. When we put it into practice outside of our cloistered little groups, we have experiences that help us realize, however unintentionally, that we are putting on a mask when we wear tzitzit in public. As Gentiles, we are telling the world that we are a person who we really aren’t. Regardless of our intent, we are saying we’re Jewish when we know we’re not.

One SoulAnd when we do that, what do we do to the Jewish people around us? That’s a question I had to ask myself. What was I telling my wife about her Jewishness when I behaved in a manner that is unmistakably Jewish? What was I saying about how I viewed her unique choseness by the God of her fathers? Was I cheapening that specialness by adopting Jewish prayer behaviors? My prayers were in private. No strangers could have been offended. But if I don’t choose to respect my own Jewish wife and instead, I insist I have a right to wear tzitzit and tefillin, what commandments am I “obeying”…and which ones have I just shattered?

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. –Genesis 2:24 (ESV)

I’ve probably made a mess of Toby’s story and want to apologize to him and to everyone else for getting most of it wrong. However, I can tell you that I got my own story “spot on.” I’m not telling anyone out there what to do. I can only tell you why I stopped doing many things I still cherish and put away my tallit and tefillin. The siddur still sits on my night stand, but often it is abandoned. I still talk to God, but I’ve removed the “Jewish” elements.

When I was at the Shavuot conference, I arrived early on Friday morning. As I sat in the sanctuary, I heard the faint sound of praying from the direction of the library. I followed the sound and discovered that a number of men had met in an upper room for shacharit prayers. The Hebrew was beautiful, but it wasn’t just the language. Although Hebrew will always be a challenge for me and most likely beyond my grasp, these prayers speak to my heart in a way no other type of prayer can. I really miss it. I can’t explain why, but I really do.

In fiction, a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In real life, the story continues as long as we can draw a breath. My heart is still beating and my lungs still take in air, so my story is still moving forward. I still have no idea how it will end.

The only thing I can do is keep writing my story one blog post at a time and see what happens next.

34 thoughts on “Toby’s Story and Mine”

  1. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

    And yet, what I keep hearing you say is that you remain 2 and not 1. Maybe the concept is just beyond me…..Can your one flesh be half Jewish and half Gentile? Or, is there something else….something deeper or transcendent in the miracle of marriage?

    Not saying I have the answer although I have my beliefs…..

  2. We didn’t start out as an “interfaith” couple. We were both atheists when we married 30 years ago. However, we each discovered God in our own ways, her’s being Jewish and mine being Christian. The dynamics were unanticipated, to say the least. What you see on this blog is the dissonance between Christianity and Judaism as reflected in our marriage, but in all other respects, it’s still working OK.

    But if you’ve never been intermarried, it’s really hard to understand.

  3. Hi James, well that’s part of the difficulty for me in understanding. One…never married and not ‘interfaith” as well as never atheist. Two…Sometimes writers mean faith, and other times means genetics, when speaking about “Jewish” or “Gentile” as opposed to “Jewish or Christian”.

    To be more clear…at times, when speaking about “race” someone will counter with a statement such as “it’s about faith”. Other times when speaking about “faith” someone will counter with a statement such as “it’s about race”.

    Sometimes I feel like that one in the movie whose head spins all the way around…lol.

  4. James,

    If you can tell us right here in public that your prayers in the closet were in vein and God did not listen to them because you wore what someone labeled as a “Jewish garment,” if you really believe that, then you have not learn anything.

    If you think that what is important to God is how you “feel” when you wear a tzitzit, then your whole journey was for nothing.

  5. Dan, I don’t feel like any of my prayers were in vein. That’s not the point. The point, even though my wife would never complain, was that I believe the “better part of valor’ in this case was to avoid behaviors that would make me appear like a caricature. It’s not like God won’t hear my prayers if I don’t wear tzitzit.

  6. You are avoiding the issue. Who is thinking you appear as a caricature, God or man? Are all your action are to please man? Your thinking is skewed…

    A couple examples: Toby could have answered the man that the garment he wore is not a Jewish garment since the majority of Jews don’t have a blue thread in their Tzitziot.

    The Safaradic Jews adopted the Chasidic garb of Eastern Europe Jews, so what, is anyone complaining?

    Is anyone complaining about the Amish people who did the same stole the chasidic garb style from orthodox Jews?

    Your’s and Toby’s are just excuses for defending that awful switch…..

  7. Dan, these are meant to be snapshots in time that play against an overall pattern of experiences that lead us (actually, I can only speak for myself) to a decision that One Law wasn’t a valid model (and I’ll apply this to only myself in an absolute manner since I can’t speak for anyone else). These specific events weren’t the sole, direct cause for such a decision.

    There’s obviously a lot more going on in Toby’s decision and mine (and again, I can’t speak for him, only me). The one thing I wanted to illustrate with this story is that we can’t consider our behaviors as existing in isolation. It is probably one thing for a non-Jew to employ Jewish-specific behaviors in a sincere worship of God and another thing entirely to ignore the impact of deliberately adopting a Jewish appearence in public. It’s like my example of the non-Jewish gentleman who entered a church wearing a kippah and tallit. Was he obeying God in doing so or some other personal motivation?

    Yes, we are supposed to obey God and not men, but the Bible also teaches that we are to respect the feelings of others and not to go out of our way to injure them and get in their face just because we can.

  8. So “epiphany” means just one small thing…Tell it to Paul when he met Yeshua…

    When a gentile wears a talit katan with a blue thread tzitzit, you call it offensive, but then when the same gentile wears the Tzitzit in his belt loop you also call it offensive, so how can a gentile obey Numb. 15:37?

  9. Dan, I’m using the word “epiphany” or “epiphany-like” to describe the “lightbulb-going-on-above-the-head” experience a person has when they make a unique realization. As far as Numbers 15:37 is concerned, based on the context, this commandment was directed at Israel, not at the non-Jewish people who would eventually become the disciples of the Jewish Messiah. That’s just my opinion, of course.

  10. Well, James, ALL the commandments were directed at Israel, so you as a Gentile can go and murder at your will. Does’t it make you feel special?

    The more excuses you guys are looking for, the more you are standing in front of a broken vessel…..

  11. Oh good grief, Dan. You seem to be taking an “all or nothing” approach to the Gentile response to God’s commandments. Given the granular presentation of commandments in the Acts 15 letter and coupling them with the teachings of Jesus, we see that what was expected of the Gentile disciples may not be as easily understood as we might imagine. Remember, all of this information was originally aimed at a non-Jewish population who had no idea how to conceptualize ethical monotheism, let alone the Sinai commandments, and which ones applied to which group.

    I know you may not take my next suggestion seriously, but Toby Janicki’s God-Fearers book really is a good resource for sorting all this out. I recommend picking up a copy and seeing it for yourself. You can always write your own review on your blog after you’re finished reading.

  12. Gal. 2:11-14, “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” ”

    An interesting question indeed. Was Cephas compelling the Gentiles (non-Jews) to live like Jews all the time? Or did that happen only when certain other Jews were present? The two lifestyles were obviously different enough to warrant the confrontation between Cephas and Sha’ul.

    Was Sha’ul bringing the charge against Cephas because he believed it was wrong to have Gentiles live as if they were Jews, or because he believed it should be one way or the other but not both?

    If the Gentiles in the narrative were keeping Torah by being led by the Ruach, but were not adopting the cultural Jewish markers, why would there be a concern over lifestyles?

    The next verse is instructive:

    Gal. 2:15, “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; ”

    Is this part of the context? What is Sha’ul saying here? Taken wrongly a person could easily think that Sha’ul was indicating that Jews are righteous by birth and Gentiles are unrighteous by birth. But since Yeshua clearly said that both Jew and Gentile needed to be born again, where is the distinction between those who are Jew or Gentile by birth in the flesh?

    From where are we to derive our identity as believers in Messiah? From the flesh?

    Since scripture declares all to be unrighteous, whether a person’s life is molded by Torah commands or not, how can the distinctions remain as if it were a question of the type of righteousness that is defined by physical birth?

    Righteousness is defined for human beings by Torah. There isn’t another source for those who have accepted Yeshua as Messiah and put their trust in Him. It is easy to argue over who should wear tzitzit and who shouldn’t. But I’m not hearing any arguments over who should show mercy and who shouldn’t.

    If I am walking in the righteousness of Torah, being led by the Ruach, and I show mercy and compassion to others, does it really make a difference if I wear tzitzit on my belt loops? And if I choose to wear them, what difference should that make to anyone else? Unless of course the person who does complain is secretly an elitist, or worse, a religious bigot.

    Has anyone else found it a bit odd that the very early Gentile congregations had the problem of Jews coming to them and compelling them to adopt Jewish customs and identity, and now we have the opposite problem of Jews saying that the Gentiles should not adopt those customs and cultural identity markers and just be content to live as Gentiles?

    Is this really all about Torah observance? Or is there something else going on?

  13. “and coupling them with the teachings of Jesus…”

    What teachings of Jesus? like Matt. 28:19-20? did it include Matt, 5:17-20 or Jesus did not know what He was talking about?

    How much does Toby pay you for hocking his book?

  14. Russ, I read Paul’s main point in Galatians 2:11-14 as Peter’s hypocrisy in being comfortable associating with the Gentiles privately but being “standoffish” from them when members of the “circumcision party” (who apparently believed no Gentile could enter into covenant with God without converting to Judaism). The text is silent regarding the level of kashrut for the non-Jewish disciples in general, but it’s likely that when Peter or other Jews were present that the Gentiles did keep a “kosher table” for the sake of fellowship and peace.

    From where are we to derive our identity as believers in Messiah? From the flesh?

    My answer would be from applicable covenant. While the Sinai and Messianic covenants would apply to both groups, we Gentiles specifically entered into relationship with God through the Messianic covenant. Prior to that, the only options Gentiles had to respond to the God of Israel were either to become God-fearers or converts to Judaism.

    Righteousness is defined for human beings by Torah. There isn’t another source for those who have accepted Yeshua as Messiah and put their trust in Him. It is easy to argue over who should wear tzitzit and who shouldn’t. But I’m not hearing any arguments over who should show mercy and who shouldn’t.

    I agree that we should all show mercy, feed the hungry, visit the sick, and so forth, but this is Torah that the Master taught and he desired that we among the nations (Matthew 28:18-20) should obey what he taught.

    If I am walking in the righteousness of Torah, being led by the Ruach, and I show mercy and compassion to others, does it really make a difference if I wear tzitzit on my belt loops?

    Yes and no. First of all, for most believers, understanding when they’re being lead by the spirit of God, vs. other spirits, vs. their own emotions isn’t an easy take. We human beings have an enormous capacity for fooling ourselves and can sometimes mistake our personal desires for a sign from the Spirit. Obviously, since spiritual encounteers are wholly subjective, it is impossible for me to know when anyone outside of myself has had one or not.

    Doing mercy and compassion is always good but is it always mercy, compassion, or respect to dress in a manner that could be misleading to people around you? I could make an argument that such behavior causes a kind of “harm” at least to some people, and if that’s true, the next question is, does God condone that kind of “harm?” That isn’t religious bigotry, that’s trying to be respectful to other human beings and transparent as to who we are in Messiah.

    Has anyone else found it a bit odd that the very early Gentile congregations had the problem of Jews coming to them and compelling them to adopt Jewish customs and identity, and now we have the opposite problem of Jews saying that the Gentiles should not adopt those customs and cultural identity markers and just be content to live as Gentiles?

    It’s not odd at all. We aren’t quite sure if the early “Judaizers” were born-Jews or Gentiles who converted to Judaism, but as I understand it, the “circumcision faction” believed that the only way a Gentile could come into covenant relationship with God was to convert to Judaism and take on the entire yoke of Torah. Paul’s main point in Galatians was to strongly explain to the Gentile disciples that conversion was not a necessary step in achieving a convenant relationsihp with God. The Messianic covenant was more than sufficient and entering into the Sinai covenant was not only unnecessary, but made a mockery of the sacrifice of Christ.

    Russ, if you’re suggesting that I or the non-Jewish people at FFOZ (or anyone else) is trying to “play the race card” by saying certain behaviors are exclusive to Judaism, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. Nothing in Toby’s book suggests that Gentiles absolutely must restrict their worship behavior to non-Torah commandments (feeding the hungry, for example). He only says (and I agree) that Gentiles who choose to take on board additional Torah mitzvot are voluntarily doing so as a matter of conscience. That is to say, I could choose to wear a tallit gadol in prayer to respond to the commandments related to tzitzit, but it is not a sin if I choose not to.

    When I was at the Shavuot conference in Wisconsin last week, I got to Beth Immanuel early and was sitting quietly in the sanctuary. Soon, I became aware of the faint sound of praying in Hebrew.I followed the sound to the library and discovered a group of men praying Shacharit in a small room above the library. Not wanting to interrupt, I chose not to join them, but instead stood beneath and and listened, enjoying every moment.

    The men praying together were a mix of Jews and Gentiles. Some wore tallitot but a few did not. It was the same for public services over the Shavuot festival. Each non-Jewish person voluntarily observed various commandments up to the level they chose for themselves (and a few Gentiles had a level of observance that was equal to even the most observant of the Jewish people present). No one complained that anyone was too observant or not observant enough. There were times when I chose not to attend the public minchah prayers because I was talking with someone or discussing a matter of faith or observance. No one objected when I attended the public prayers and no one objected when I didn’t.

    If the congregation had considered all attendees as obligated, it probably would have promoted some “religious discomfort.” I was perfectly fine with observing the standards of that community and they fit very well into my own. I don’t believe that I did anything wrong in terms of community or in terms of God. Others will disagree with me and perhaps even condemn me, but ultimately if I need to account for my behavior at the conference or anywhere else, it will be before God.

  15. No, I’m not suggesting that at all. And most certainly not in the direction of anyone personally. I have come across those attitudes before, in varying degrees, over the years. Sometimes directed at me, sometimes at the believing population in general.

    I heard of conferences in the Seattle area when we lived there where the attendees were asked to wear name tags which indicated whether they were Jew or Gentile. The banner for the conference was, “Where Jew and Gentile can worship together”. I didn’t attend.

    The clashing of the cultures will be uncomfortable for many. But looking at each other and trying to sort out where each belongs and in what capacity will not bring about the desired result. We have all seen how well that works.

  16. I heard of conferences in the Seattle area when we lived there where the attendees were asked to wear name tags which indicated whether they were Jew or Gentile. The banner for the conference was, “Where Jew and Gentile can worship together”. I didn’t attend.

    Yuk. I wouldn’t attend either and I can’t imagine a lot of Jews would want to go. Reminds me too much of when the Nazis and other oppressors forced Jews into ghettos and made them wear yellow six-pointed stars on their clothing.

    Clashing of cultures happens whenever any Jew and Gentile enters the same room and starts a conversation. At some point (and believe me, I actually live this out), how the Jew and Gentile fundamentally conceptualize some point or idea will make the conversation just a little bit challenging from time to time. It’s not really dramatic in most instances, but there are cultural differences we can’t ignore. That’s not a good/bad thing. It’s just life.

    As far as covenant differences, I don’t think we can ignore them. Even within the Jewish community, there are different ways the covenant applies depending on who you ware (Kohen, woman, person under bar/bat mitzvah age, and so on).

  17. “I heard of conferences in the Seattle area when we lived there where the attendees were asked to wear name tags which indicated whether they were Jew or Gentile. ”

    I would like to find out if there’s truth to the above claim and who organized the conferences.

  18. “My answer would be from applicable covenant. While the Sinai and Messianic covenants would apply to both groups, we Gentiles specifically entered into relationship with God through the Messianic covenant. Prior to that, the only options Gentiles had to respond to the God of Israel were either to become God-fearers or converts to Judaism.”

    From where do you get this from? The slaves and strangers in Abraham’s household did not convert to Judaism.

    “I agree that we should all show mercy, feed the hungry, visit the sick, and so forth, but this is Torah that the Master taught and he desired that we among the nations (Matthew 28:18-20) should obey what he taught.”

    So, let me ask you one more time, maybe you have an answer now, did Matt. 28:18-20 include Matt. 5:17-20?

    “Yes and no. First of all, for most believers, understanding when they’re being lead by the spirit of God, vs. other spirits, vs. their own emotions isn’t an easy take. We human beings have an enormous capacity for fooling ourselves and can sometimes mistake our personal desires for a sign from the Spirit. Obviously, since spiritual encounteers are wholly subjective, it is impossible for me to know when anyone outside of myself has had one or not.”

    But, then it is OK for you to judge them, and decide they are Wannabe Jews, right?

    You and FFOZ are all over the place on this because you really don’t know what you believe…..

  19. “The Messianic covenant was more than sufficient and entering into the Sinai covenant was not only unnecessary, but made a mockery of the sacrifice of Christ.”

    Tell it to the mix multitude that stood with Israel at Sinai….

    ” He only says (and I agree) that Gentiles who choose to take on board additional Torah mitzvot are voluntarily doing so as a matter of conscience. That is to say, I could choose to wear a tallit gadol in prayer to respond to the commandments related to tzitzit, but it is not a sin if I choose not to.”

    they call it CYA, which FFOZ is doing since its inception…..

  20. Dan, the mixed multitude at Sinai don’t apply to the population of Gentile disciples of the Messiah. The mixed multitude didn’t retain their non-Israelite status beyond a few generations and eventually assimilated into the tribes. We non-Jewish Messianics today aren’t looking to assimilate or convert (most of us) to formal Judaism. There’s no need.

  21. Dan:

    Ishmael was circumcised. Does that make him and his descendants Jewish?

    So, let me ask you one more time, maybe you have an answer now, did Matt. 28:18-20 include Matt. 5:17-20?

    Context, context, context. The Master’s audience in Matthew 5:17-20 is Jewish and so the affect and scope of the Law was very important to them. However, whether or not the Law was going away wouldn’t have been a meaningful message to the new Gentile disciples, since they had never kept it before. The Acts 15 letter answers that question for Gentiles for the most part and the end of the chapter showed that the Gentiles were really glad about it:

    So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. –Acts 15:30-31 (ESV)

    But, then it is OK for you to judge them, and decide they are Wannabe Jews, right?

    I’m doing the exact opposite of judging. I’m saying there’s no way for me to know what a person’s subjective experiences are. All I’m doing is introducing the possibility of doubt.

  22. “Dan, the mixed multitude at Sinai don’t apply to the population of Gentile disciples of the Messiah. The mixed multitude didn’t retain their non-Israelite status beyond a few generations and eventually assimilated into the tribes. We non-Jewish Messianics today aren’t looking to assimilate or convert (most of us) to formal Judaism. There’s no need.”

    Assimilation is not the point. the point is that non-Israelites stood at Sinai and said; נעשה ונשמע- (Will do and will hear). They did not say: but we are not allow to do what the real israelites do, we are different…..

  23. Assimilation is not the point. the point is that non-Israelites stood at Sinai and said; נעשה ונשמע- (Will do and will hear).

    True, with the full intention that their descendants would, within a few generations, be fully absorbed into national Israel. There was never any intention that they would retain their Gentile identity in perpetuity as is part of the One Law theology.

  24. “They did not say: but we are not allow to do what the real israelites do, we are different…..”

    How could the WHOLE mixed multitude say that when they were not even allowed into the congregation of Israel until the third generation (in case of Egyptians and Edomites) per Deuteronomy 23?

  25. “Ishmael was circumcised. Does that make him and his descendants Jewish?”

    Thank you for affirming my point.

    “Context, context, context. The Master’s audience in Matthew 5:17-20 is Jewish and so the affect and scope of the Law was very important to them. However, whether or not the Law was going away wouldn’t have been a meaningful message to the new Gentile disciples, since they had never kept it before. The Acts 15 letter answers that question for Gentiles for the most part and the end of the chapter showed that the Gentiles were really glad about it:

    So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. -Acts 15:30-31 (ESV)”

    Hope you did not hurt yourself with these Gymnastics. Did you ever read: “The Torah will come out from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem?” It will go where? Back to Jerusalem?

    “I’m doing the exact opposite of judging. I’m saying there’s no way for me to know what a person’s subjective experiences are. All I’m doing is introducing the possibility of doubt.”

    Right….Just the opposite of: “God is not the author of confusion…” Good theology….

  26. “True, with the full intention that their descendants would, within a few generations, be fully absorbed into national Israel. There was never any intention that they would retain their Gentile identity in perpetuity as is part of the One Law theology.”

    Why are you looking at it in terms of Jew-Gentile? Why can’t you look at it in terms of all believers are covenant members? There are more Jews assimilating in the Churches than ever will be under one-law. You guys need to stop the excuses and go where the fish really are (remember Yeshua and Peter?)

  27. “How could the WHOLE mixed multitude say that when they were not even allowed into the congregation of Israel until the third generation (in case of Egyptians and Edomites) per Deuteronomy 23?”

    for this you have to show us a proof-text that the mix multitude traveled in a separate camp, not together with the Israelites. Is there such a scripture?

  28. Thank you for affirming my point.

    Apparently I missed your point, Dan. That happens to me when I’m fielding multiple blog comments. Some of the details get missed. On the other hand, that Ishmael was circumcised doesn’t mean he took on board the whole of Torah, certainly not after he left Abraham’s household.

    Hope you did not hurt yourself with these Gymnastics. Did you ever read: “The Torah will come out from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem?” It will go where? Back to Jerusalem?

    I could easily say that the portions that apply to Christians will be applied to Christians but the text from Micah 4 doesn’t mean that all people everywhere must be obligated to the full 613 commandments. It could mean that the knowledge of ethical monotheism went forth from Israel. Admittedly, I have no idea how that will ultimately be enacted in the Messianic Age, but that’s probably because no one else knows, either. We do have our opinions, though.

    Why are you looking at it in terms of Jew-Gentile? Why can’t you look at it in terms of all believers are covenant members?

    Christians and Jews are all covenant members, I agree…but members of overlapping covenants (my opinion).

    There are more Jews assimilating in the Churches than ever will be under one-law. You guys need to stop the excuses and go where the fish really are (remember Yeshua and Peter?)

    I agree, more’s the pity. Interestingly enough your suggestion isn’t original. I heard that same idea mentioned at the Shavuot conference I recently attended. I guess great minds think alike. 😉

  29. “Apparently I missed your point, Dan. That happens to me when I’m fielding multiple blog comments. Some of the details get missed. On the other hand, that Ishmael was circumcised doesn’t mean he took on board the whole of Torah, certainly not after he left Abraham’s household.”

    tell this to Derek, and the other BE crowd. They thinks that the ritual of circumcision is what makes someone Jewish….Glad you get this.

    “We do have our opinions, though.”

    Which you built whole doctrines on….At least in the case of BE and DI.

    ” guess great minds think alike. ”

    Finally something I agree with…..LOL!

  30. Sorry I faded from view. Go to bed, wake up go to work. You know.

    The conference in question (if you are still interested) took place in 1989 if I am remembering correctly. I do not know who hosted the conference and it might be hard to find the info even with Google. Nevertheless, my wife and I remember thinking that it was a shame that one or more believers thought that the separation between Jews and Gentiles needed to be enforced. Perhaps the whole thing fell on its face. I don’t know.

    But if people believe that lines need to be drawn or kept, between Jews and Gentiles within the new covenant, I will be as disappointed about that as I was about the previously mentioned conference.

    Republicans and Democrats sometimes shake hands across the aisle. But at the end of the day, they do not agree and they do not support each other.

    Is that where all this new delineation of roles is headed? And yes, it is new. Though it is starting to look much like the old one.

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