When the Fruit Tree is Silent

the-fruit-treeOne who humiliates another person in public … even though he may be a scholar and may have done many good deeds, nevertheless loses his portion in the eternal world.

-Ethics of the Fathers 3:15

Imagine a situation: you have a fine home, a well-paying job, a comfortable car, and a substantial retirement annuity. If you do a single thoughtless act, you will lose everything you have worked to achieve: home, job, car, and savings. What kind of precautions would you take to avoid even the remotest possibility of incurring such a disaster? Without doubt, you would develop an elaborate system of defenses to assure that this event would never occur.

The Talmud tells us that everything we have worked for during our entire lives can be forfeited in one brief moment of inconsideration: we embarrass another person in public. Perhaps we may say something insulting or make a demeaning gesture. Regardless of how it occurs, the Talmud states that if we cause another person to turn pale because of being humiliated in public, we have committed the equivalent of bloodshed.

Still, we allow our tongues to wag so easily. If we give serious thought to the words of the Talmud, we would exercise the utmost caution in public and be extremely sensitive to other people’s feelings, lest an unkind word or degrading gesture deprive us of all our spiritual merits.

Today I shall…

…try to be alert and sensitive to other people’s feelings and take utmost caution not to cause anyone to feel humiliated.

-Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski
“Growing Each Day, Adar 2”
Aish.com

I suppose this is a continuation of a previous morning meditation and yet another attempt on my part to appeal to the body of faith. I am aware of a discussion in the Hebrew Roots “blogosphere” that has cast me and a friend of mine in an unfavorable light, but up until now, I’ve said nothing about it. I certainly have no intention of visiting said-blog and attempting to refute the accusations. What would be the point? As we see from Talmudic wisdom, behaving unkindly in response to criticism is unsustainable. Of course virtually all Christians, including those in the Hebrew Roots movement, have little use for the Talmud, so I imagine Rabbi Twerski’s appeal is in vain when applied to such an audience.

Accessing the Bible, do we really get a sense that if we humiliate another person publicly, we’ll lose our salvation as the Rabbi suggests? No? So why worry about it? I guess we are free to humiliate others with impunity, right?

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)

OK, that’s a little harsh, even for me. Also, Paul was talking about God’s wrath upon the unrighteous, and that couldn’t possibly include anyone in the body of Christ, could it? Maybe I should look elsewhere for more appropriate scriptures.

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 3:11-15 (ESV)

That may still be a little over the top, since you don’t actually have to hate someone in order to publicly embarrass and humiliate them. I’m sure my recent critics don’t actually hate me. Given that, is it OK with Jesus then to be insulting?

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV)

Hmmm. I don’t know about you, but that one seems to be pretty close to the mark. In fact, it is pretty much identical to the following:

He who publicly shames his neighbour is as though he shed blood.

-Talmud: Bava Mezia 58b

studying-talmudWell, so much for the Talmud having absolutely and totally no relevance to a Christian life of faith. Perhaps a certain amount of the Torah and traditional Jewish halachah applies to Christians after all, if it connects back to what we learn from our Master.

But getting back to the main point of this missive, it seems that (and I’ve mentioned this many times before) our endless series of rants, public insults toward others, and general “bad mouthing” of other Christians with whom we disagree, isn’t exactly “kosher,” so to speak. Unfortunately, when I say stuff like this, the usual response from some quarters is that I’m just an old “softie” and that I’m sacrificing “clarity” and “truth” for the sake of patience, kindness, avoiding envy or proud boasting, and attempting not to dishonor others (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-5).

Obviously, I’m not perfect at it, thus some of the language that I’ve included in this “extra meditation.”

But what are we to do under such circumstances when other believers insist on overlooking both Matthew 5:21-22 and its Talmudic corollary Bava Mezia 58b?

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:14-21 (ESV)

But in making this an issue on my blog, am I “repaying evil for evil” rather than “heaping burning coals” (by heaping kindness) upon the heads of those who are so critical of me? (As an aside, Paul’s quoting partially from Proverbs 25:22, so again, I guess more of the Torah is applicable upon us than we commonly realize.)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Easier said than done, especially on the Internet, when people visit each other’s blogs and make sniping comments like gangbangers doing drive-by shootings. It’s one of the reasons I don’t visit and especially don’t comment on the blogs of some of my “opponents.” My minor effort at not repaying evil for evil and perpetuating the cycle of “drive-bys.”

But this still isn’t working because I’m still writing a message to people who don’t want to listen. There’s no hope of trying to get them to see why what we’re all doing is so wrong. Self-justification is a powerful lure and there’s a tendency to confuse our priorities with God’s.

But if there’s no hope, what’s left?

There is hope, and there is trust in G-d –and they are two distinct attitudes.

Hope is when there is something to latch on to, some glimmer of a chance. The drowning man, they say, will clutch at any straw to save his life.

Trust in G-d is even when there is nothing in which to hope. The decree is sealed. The sword is drawn over the neck. By all laws of nature there is no way out.

But the One who runs the show doesn’t need any props.

-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
“Between Hope and Trust”
Based on letters and talks of the Rebbe
Rabbi M. M. Schneerson
Chabad.org

shhhhSo I should trust in God to take care of whatever (or whoever) is bothersome and move on. That’s pretty much what Rabbi Freeman said as I quoted him on a previous meditation.

Why don’t people like to remain silent when others insult them? Because they’re afraid that others might think they’re weak and unable to answer back.

The truth is, it takes much greater strength to remain silent when someone insults you. Revenge, on the other hand, is a sign of weakness. A revenger lacks the necessary strength of character to forgive.

(Rabbi Yerachmiel Shulman; Ketzais Ha’shemesh Big’vuraso, p.42; Rabbi Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p. 302)

-Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
“Daily Lift #728: It Takes Strength to Keep Silent”
Aish.com

Yeah. I’ve got to work on that one. After all, I can hardly say I’ve advanced further spiritually than my critics if I’m just as prone to the same misbehavior as they display. We shall know a tree by its fruit. In my case, I’ve striving to be a “silent fruit tree.”

Taking a page from Rabbi Twerski’s book…

Today I shall…

…try to refrain from replying to insults that others say to me or to those people I care about and strive to return good for evil.

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53 thoughts on “When the Fruit Tree is Silent”

  1. Thank you for acknowledging that we are getting to you…You see, we have no choice, Scriptures admonish us to chastise people who worship other gods…The god you guys are worshiping is not the God of Scriptures… Sorry….

  2. James. I think the message of Yeshua as provided by his words and his actions should take top priority over everything else. After all, he was sent from above with the words that are “spirit and eternal life”. There is wisdom in speaking wisely, understanding we will give an account of every word.

    If we follow Yeshua’s example we will have a good understanding of what is proper to say and do. But, what should be done with false prophets and false teachers and the wolves who have crept into the congregation with false doctrine and false teaching, not sparing the flock? How should they be treated?

  3. I’m not talking about being passive in the face of poor teaching or worse, in the face of true evil. I’m talking about the typical “spitting matches” that occur between believers over the usual minutiae regarding this theological opinion or that. I also think it’s possible to address what one believes is a mistake of someone else without resorting to name calling, character assassination, and personalizing conflict.

    I don’t believe I’ve said anything in this blog post that contradicts the teachings of the Master, and I do believe that I have upheld his words as the final authority. Quoting Rabbinic thought and opinion, as long as it doesn’t contradict scripture, is not being a “false teacher” (and I know you weren’t accusing me as such).

  4. “false prophets and false teachers…. How should they be treated?”

    Over the years, I’ve come across many so called “prophets” (usually in the Charismatic circles of Pentecostal Christianity) whose prophecies were an obvious farce, failed to come true and these people were themselves denounced by others as “false prophets”. Yet these same failed “prophets” too spoke of their competitors as “false prophets”. So, “false prophets” calling others “false prophets”. Were it not so pathetic, it would be funny. And of course, every denomination of fundamentalist Christianity has someone denouncing another denomination’s leaders as “false teachers”, usually over differences in theology and not some outright deception and lies (although there are plenty of those who engage in just that sort of thing to lead others after themselves).

  5. @Gene, sounds like you don’t care much for these pathetic fundamentalists. But, what are you saying about the false prophets and false teachers that get into the flock? It doesn’t sound like your saying there are no such people.

    @James, just to be blunt, it appears to me you and these others are currently seen as false teachers. Some of you are teaching others to break the commandments, that G-d did not intend Gentiles to keep the Law. THAT contradicts the teaching of the Master. One thing Yeshua said, that you have directed me to on more than one occasion, is “I did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it”.

    That same teaching says of the law and the prophets “if anyone shall break the least of these commandments and teaches others to break them they shall be called least in the Kingdom of G-d, but whosoever keeps these least and teaches others so shall be called great in the kingdom of G-d. That would include even James and the Apostles and Paul, you me and Gene.

    On top of that, several of you guys are not teaching outright that Yeshua had no human father and was born of a real virgin girl, that she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit with the seed of G-d. That is making some wonder if you guys are not wolves among the flock.

    Yeshua said “my sheep hear MY voice, another they will not follow”. I hate to be the one to say it, but some of you guys do NOT sound like Yeshua, at least to me. Yeshua would NEVER teach a man NOT to keep the commandments and his sheep KNOW that.

    The Holy Spirit will never say, to ANY man Jew or Gentile, “do not keep the Sabbath Day Holy”, or “you are invited to not bear false witness against your neighbor, but your not obligated”, or “your welcome to honor your mother and father, but that was only commanded of the Jews and you don’t HAVE to honor them, only the Jews have to honor their parents”, or “only the Jews can not steal, the rest of you take what you want”, etc. etc.

    I hope you hear me and what I am saying as gently as I can.

  6. ” It doesn’t sound like your saying there are no such people.”

    Steven… then you must not have finished reading my comment.

    “Some of you are teaching others to break the commandments, that G-d did not intend Gentiles to keep the Law. THAT contradicts the teaching of the Master. ”

    False. Never taught that (BTW, I don’t teach – I blog or comment) and in fact I have posted an article on by blog titled Jewish sages: Gentile who studies and keeps Torah is like high priest. Judaism very much expects and directs Gentiles to keep the Law and it outlines which laws are considered binding on Gentiles and which are only binding on Israel.

    “On top of that, several of you guys are not teaching outright that Yeshua had no human father and was born of a real virgin girl, that she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit with the seed of G-d. That is making some wonder if you guys are not wolves among the flock.”

    False, never “not taught” that nor know anyone who did among my fellow bloggers. Steven, are you making stuff up to smear other followers of Messiah who do not agree with your frequently expressed anti-Judaism?

    “The Holy Spirit will never say, to ANY man Jew or Gentile, “do not keep the Sabbath Day Holy”, or “you are invited to not bear false witness against your neighbor, but your not obligated”, or “your welcome to honor your mother and father, but that was only commanded of the Jews and you don’t HAVE to honor them, only the Jews have to honor their parents”, or “only the Jews can not steal, the rest of you take what you want”, etc. etc.”

    False. never taught that. Gross misrepresentation of reality.

    Steven… I am going to be charitable and assume that you have merely misunderstood or misconstrued something that was said, and do not meant to purposely slander.

  7. Some of you are teaching others to break the commandments, that G-d did not intend Gentiles to keep the Law.

    If you’re suggesting that Yeshua’s intent was for all people, Jew and non-Jew alike, were to keep the Torah in an absolutely identical way, then yes, I do not support that. I also don’t think it’s supportable from the Bible, and I’ve blogged extensively regarding my reasons. If others don’t agree with me, does that make me a “false teacher” or just someone who has a different theological opinion than you? In the world of theological scholarship, there are many different opinions. For instance, Hurtado and Dunn don’t agree on everything, but they are both respected New Testament scholars. I’m pretty sure they don’t call each other “false teachers.” Having a difference of opinion doesn’t make someone evil. At worst, it just makes someone in error. What makes someone a “false teacher” and “evil” is when they use their platform to promote an agenda for their personal gain (*cough* Benny Hinn *cough*).

    On top of that, several of you guys are not teaching outright that Yeshua had no human father and was born of a real virgin girl, that she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit with the seed of G-d. That is making some wonder if you guys are not wolves among the flock.

    When did I ever say that?

    The Holy Spirit will never say, to ANY man Jew or Gentile, “do not keep the Sabbath Day Holy”, or “you are invited to not bear false witness against your neighbor, but your not obligated”, or “your welcome to honor your mother and father, but that was only commanded of the Jews and you don’t HAVE to honor them, only the Jews have to honor their parents”, or “only the Jews can not steal, the rest of you take what you want”, etc. etc.

    You behave as if the application of the Torah is like a light switch. It’s either on or off. Nothing could be further from the truth. How Torah is applied between Jewish and Gentile people is different but with a great deal of complexity. That’s why it’s so hard to define the differences and to describe their operationalization in our lives. I just posted today’s new “meditation:” What Is Jewish Identity In The Body Of Messiah which is my attempt at describing the difficulty of defining halachah just within the modern Judaisms of our day! Adding a “Gentile halachah” adds a lot of wrinkles to the process, which is why it took me a six-part series to write a commentary on Lancaster’s commentary on Acts 15 (The Jerusalem Council’s halachah on the Gentiles).

    The four prohibitions aren’t just a simple list of dos and don’ts that ignore the rest of the Torah and what Yeshua taught. It’s far more complex than that. I believe James was describing a starting point for the new Gentile disciples. I just don’t think his end point was turning Gentiles into Jewish “look-a-likes.” I’m hoping in the coming months to make my point a lot more clear, but it’s going to take a lot of work.

  8. You behave as if the application of the Torah is like a light switch. It’s either on or off.

    If your speaking, you are either telling lies or telling the truth.

    If you are dealing with your neighbor it is with love or with hate, indifference is a form of hate.

    If you are worshiping, you are either worshiping the G-d of Abraham, or you are worshiping an idol.

    If you are married, you either are faithful or you are not.

    On the sixth day, you are either resting or you are not.

    When you are looking you are either offending G-d or you are not.

    When it comes to our Messiah you believe in him or you don’t. Your on his side or your not.

    A man is well or he is sick. Righteous or unrighteous, holy or defiled, born again or dead in trespasses and sins. In the book of life or not. Obtaining eternal life or obtaining eternal destruction. On the straight and narrow, or on the broad path.

    Yes, I do behave as if the application of the Torah is like a light switch. It’s either on or off.

    Shalom James

    1. “Steven…. do you really believe in your stark black and white world devoid of our imperfect humanity or are you just using it to justify yourself?”

      Gene, your questions are always with a trick lately. I’ll break it down.
      1) “do you really believe in your stark black and white world” answer Yes.

      2) “devoid of our imperfect humanity” NO

      3) “are you just using it to justify yourself?” I use it to judge myself. I came up guilty and worthy of death. I called on Yeshua for salvation. He delivered me from the enemy, redeemed me from slavery to sin, bought me back and paid the price of my penalty, picked me up and set my feet on a rock, washed me up, dressed me in clean clothes, gave me his Holy Spirit, put his word in my heart….. and sent me away justified, but not of myself. He very clearly told me he expects me not to continue in sin. So I work very hard everyday to overcome and have faith that in HIS power, not mine, I am overcoming the world and will sit down with my father in his throne, as he overcame and sat down with HIS father in HIS throne.

      I still can’t get over my amazement! 🙂

  9. If I’m going to have to explain my views on why I think that Torah is applied differently to the Jewish people and to the believers from the nations Steven, you might as well go to yesterday’s “meditation,” What is Jewish Identity in the Body of Messiah. I disagree that the Torah can be applied in only a single way to all humanity across time. While God’s justice and mercy are absolute, either being present or absent, the mind of God is hardly so simple and He really did create a very interesting and diverse world for us to live in.

  10. “If you’re suggesting that Yeshua’s intent was for all people, Jew and non-Jew alike, were to keep the Torah in an absolutely identical way, then yes, I do not support that. ”

    James, what are you teaching in this post? It appears to me that you are actually showing how Torah applies equally to both Jew and Gentile when it comes to how we treat one another. If Jew’s are held to a higher standard than Gentiles, we have a “double standard”.

    At the end of the day, if you are right….there will be two sets of rules for each item of the Torah. Gene believes that Judaism has decided what Torah applies to Gentiles. But, where is that list?

    If something that G-d considers wrong is not mentioned on that list, are Gentiles free to do as they please?

    Bottom line question….Are there two Torahs, two sets of instructions from G-d, one for Jews and one for Gentiles?

  11. “Bottom line question….Are there two Torahs, two sets of instructions from G-d, one for Jews and one for Gentiles?”

    Steven…. I will help you understand this ancient concept. Are there some different rules for women and men in the Torah? Yes! Does this mean that there are “two sets of instructions from G-d”, one one for men and the other for women? No, same list of instructions, but within that same list, not all instructions that are for men apply to women. Does this mean that women can “do as they please”? No, of course not – they have to obey Torah! However, the instructions for men are not binding on them.

    There are some commandments (kashrut, tzitzit, Shabbat, Jewish holy days, circumcision) which were given specifically to Israel as a sign for them. Gentiles are not obligated to observe those, although neither are they strictly forbidden.

    1. “Are there some different rules for women and men in the Torah?”

      Gene, that’s not really what is being called into question here. What I’m trying to get to is more on the lines of this:

      I agree that some rules are for women and not for men. But are the rules different for Jewish women and Gentile women?

  12. This really does go back to the ruling issued by James (and the Holy Spirit) and the Council of Apostles in Acts 15 and that is an enormously complex issue, much more than it appears on the surface. While I believe the four prohibitions were not the length of breadth of the expectations applied to the non-Jewish disciples, and I do believe that they were supposed to “learn Torah” in order to comprehend what the Master had taught, I also believe that how the Torah is to be applied is different (but overlapping in many areas) between believing Jew and Gentile.

    How it all works would require a small book to explain, but believe me, I’m doing a lot of reading and studying and hopefully when I get all of my material together, I can write something even more concise than my six-part Return to Jerusalem series which will draw everything out and pull it all together.

    Even with that though, I fear that nothing any of us will say, write, or do will convince all involved parties that James and the Council didn’t just say “poof” and turn all of the Gentile disciples into Jews without circumcisions. In other words, I don’t believe that God sent Jesus for the express purpose of revoking His specific relationship with the Jewish people and replacing Judaism with Christianity One Law style.

    1. ” I don’t believe that God sent Jesus for the express purpose of revoking His specific relationship with the Jewish people and replacing Judaism with Christianity One Law style.”

      Wow, that’s a huge sentence.
      1) He did not need to send Jesus to revoke his relationship with the Jewish people. No one says that on this site that I have observed. Your preaching to the choir.
      2) G-d’s relationship with the Jewish people was already broken. He did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. The well do not need a Doctor. He came to seek the lost sheep of Israel. Why were they lost? It is euphemism for “broken covenant”, all we like sheep have gone ASTRAY. Their pretense at keeping the law was for their own benefit and not because they were honoring G-d.
      3) He made the promised New Covenant, in his own body and blood and called Israel to return. He made it clear that is only possible by believing in the one sent down by G-d from heaven. Only Yeshua can “give you rest” which is euphemism for “being in covenant”. “You believe in G-d, believe you now also in ME”.
      4) Judaism is dead works religion. “Whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones” (don’t get mad at me, deal with the truth of the word)

      “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.”

      They are graves because life can only be found one way: By faith believing in Yeshua.

      “You do NOT come to me that you might have life”. and “But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.”

      Yeshua came that we might have life and that more abundantly. But, there is no life outside of Yeshua.

  13. “But are the rules different for Jewish women and Gentile women?”

    Of course. One example: Jewish women are commanded to observe laws of ritual purity when it comes to menstruation and must immerse themselves in a ritual bath and abstain from intercourse even after period has ended (for a certain amount of time) – and there are also many other niddah related things. You may ask – how do we know that these commandments were meant for Israel and not everybody in the world … well, they start with G-d saying “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them“.

    When your spouse tells you “Steven, please go to the store and bring me some milk for our cat”, I, Gene Shlomovich am not obligated to get up and fetch milk for your cat (I don’t have one), although the concept of valuing a wife’s request is equally important to me as well.

  14. “Judaism is dead works religion.”

    A classic mix of run-of-the-mill Christian antisemitism and One-Law. Nice. Any One Law folks ready to stand up for the Jewish people and repudiate Steven’s blanket condemnation of the Jewish faith?

  15. ” “Whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones”

    It’s not a statement against Judaism or “the Jews”. It is about anyone who claims to follow G-d and sets himself as a judge of other sinners, but instead a hypocrite filled with hate for others.

  16. Their pretense at keeping the law was for their own benefit and not because they were honoring G-d.

    While Jesus did say he came for the lost sheep of Israel, your statement makes it seem as if each and every Jewish person in existence was totally pretending to observe the mitzvot while otherwise having bad motives.

    As far as the New Covenant is concerned, I’m adding a Part 10 to my “Jesus Covenant” series to continue to explore the impact of this covenant on all of the previous covenants and what it did (or is doing) for the Jewish people and Gentile believers. See tomorrow’s “morning meditation” for details.

    Steven, you say I’m “preaching to the choir” as far as God not revoking His relationship with the Jewish people, but it’s as if you are painting a picture of God saying to the Jews, “You know that Torah I gave you at Sinai? The one that contained all of the conditions of your unique relationship with me and all of the laws that have to do with life in the nation of Israel? I’m removing them as your unique covenant identification and giving it to the whole world, even though none of them were at Sinai. No I’m not calling them ‘Jews,’ but I’m applying the Torah universally to all of humanity, through Jesus Christ, so that you aren’t my special people anymore.”

    Like that line from the film “The Incredibles,” “…and when everyone’s special, no one will be.”

    But I’ve said all this before.

  17. Gene, you can contradict Yeshua and teach people that Judaism (who curses Yeshua and does not believe in him) have life. But, no one who knows the teachings of Messiah Yeshua will take you seriously.

    No one has life until they receive it from Yeshua. No one comes to G-d except through Yeshua. No one!

  18. Steven, our mission is to take the word of the good news of Messiah to an unbelieving world, including those Jews who do not believe. We can’t do that and condemn our audience at the same time. Let God judge, let believers serve.

  19. “your statement makes it seem as if each and every Jewish person in existence was totally pretending to observe the mitzvot while otherwise having bad motives”

    No, my statement doesn’t…….. it only makes it seem as if each and every Jewish person who rejects the Son of G-d is pretending to observe the mitzvot and have otherwise bad motives.

    Those who have not rejected Yeshua have life eternal. The way of return is ordained. Few there be that find it.

  20. “and giving it to the whole world”

    The Torah goes out of Zion to the nations and they say “…come, let us go up….he will teach us his ways….”

  21. “Steven, our mission is to take the word of the good news of Messiah to an unbelieving world, including those Jews who do not believe. We can’t do that and condemn our audience at the same time. Let God judge, let believers serve.”

    Sorry, the message of “the good news of Messiah” always begins with REPENT and BE BAPTIZED for the remission of SINS.

    They are already dead is sins and trespasses as were we. People don’t think they need a savior who believe they are not condemned already. First, you deal with the pretense of righteousness. Then, once the people understand their need and develops a desire for eternal life….THEN, you offer the solution.

    So far, we have not gotten past the Jews pretense of righteousness without Yeshua. How can we give them the good news of the Resurrection to those who believe themselves alive? Until Israel see’s Her righteousness as “filthy rags” before G-d, there is no moving forward.

    That brings us to men who stand in the way of G-d calling his people to repentance -those men who continue to reinforce the myth or Israels “righteousness” without the Son of G-d.

  22. Sorry, the message of “the good news of Messiah” always begins with REPENT and BE BAPTIZED for the remission of SINS.

    Really? Let’s hear from an “expert” on the matter, and see what Paul’s first words were to the synagogue of Jews and God-fearing Gentiles at Antioch Pisidia, which was Paul’s “first missionary trip.”

    “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’

    “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers…”

    Acts 13:16-32 (ESV)

    Paul said, “we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers.”

    The response to Paul from the Jews who heard the message was that they begged him to return to the synagogue and speak again next Shabbat. A number of the Jews followed Paul and Barnabas to where they were staying after services ended, so they could hear more (see vv. 42-3)

    And the Gentile God-fearers rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord and many of them came to faith (see v. 48).

    Sounds like good news to me.

  23. “Behold, I cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of her works.”

    “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

    Who “know G-d’s righteous decree”? Who received the Law?

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

    To the Jew first, and also to the Greek, What is it unto those who DO NOT BELIEVE?

  24. I copied some “experts”

    “The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent:”

    “And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    “From that time began Jesus to preach, and to say, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

    “For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye saw it, did not even repent yourselves afterward, that ye might believe him.”

    “and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe in the gospel.”

    “And they went out, and preached that men should repent.j”

    “I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

    “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.”

    “Even so, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

    “Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord;”

    “Him did God exalt with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins.”

    “Then to the Gentiles also hath God granted repentance unto life.
    testifying both to Jews and to Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    “but declared both to them of Damascus first and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judaea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance.”

  25. James, do you really want to defend a salvation without repentance? Really?

    I think you’re confusing what I’m saying. All people must repent of their sins but you act like you are the personal gatekeeper for the Jews and their repentence or lackthereof. All humans sin, but you single out the Jewish people like you’re on some sort of vendetta, Steven. You ignore how Paul said his message to a Jewish and Gentile audience and proceed to rail against Jewish people as if the only people on earth who have not accepted Jesus are Jewish people.

    Why? Are you angry at atheists? Are you angry at people who have had an abortion, robbed a bank, committed sexual sin? Why are you singling out Jewish people for your rage and why must they all repent to you (don’t tell me that they actually have to repent to God, you appear too personally involved to grant that kind of grace and mercy)?

    I’m not Jewish but I came to faith thanks to the grace and mercy of God and the many people who He sent into my life and who guided me along (he’s still sending good and Godly people my way). Fortunately, none of them were hostile, in-my-face, judgmental, accusatory, or went around generally trying to drag me down because I had ever lived a life of unbelief. If God had sent you to me to help me “see the light,” so to speak, would I have become a Christian as a result? Would I have recognized my sin and repented? Would I have asked for God’s mercy?

    Or would I have just been told that I’m a sinner, lousy, miserable, and that I was crummy for ever holding any other beliefs (and maybe you’d whisper that God actually loved me and didn’t want me to die)?

    I promise you that no Jewish person who is even considering the possibility that Jesus is the Messiah and the messenger of mercy and salvation for the Jews and for Israel will retain that conclusion if all they read or hear is what you think of Jewish people.

    If you’re not serving God, who are you serving, Steven?

  26. “I promise you that no Jewish person who is even considering the possibility that Jesus is the Messiah and the messenger of mercy and salvation for the Jews and for Israel will retain that conclusion if all they read or hear is what you think of Jewish people. If you’re not serving God, who are you serving, Steven?”

    Preaching Martin Luther’s “Jesus” to the Jewish people, that is “Jesus” who hates Judaism, views every Jew as a hypocrite, every rabbi as servant of Satan, every devout Hebrew a hater of G-d and only has harsh words for the people who have suffered so much from that “Jesus'” professed followers, transforms Jesus from the Messiah of Israel who brings hope into Israel’s worst enemy and persecutor.

  27. “I promise you that no Jewish person who is even considering the possibility that Jesus is the Messiah and the messenger of mercy and salvation for the Jews and for Israel will retain that conclusion if all they read or hear is what you think of Jewish people.”

    James, I have never given my opinion, but only what scriptures says. I have only ever said what I think of the Jewish people as I love them enough to tell them the truth.

    You on the other hand are a pretender. If you loved Israel you would tell them what Jesus told. them.

    You just want to tickle their fancy as they dance down the road to destruction.

  28. Steven… Jews don’t read your words, so you are having zero impact on them, negative or positive (and if they did – it would not be positive). They could only hear you if you actually loved them, but this would mean that you actually have to get up from your computer and do something tangible for the Jewish people. I am talking acts of love such as feeding the Jewish poor Holocaust survivors, taking care of the Jewish orphans (especially those who lost their parents to suicide bombers), or ever spoke up for Jews being physically and verbally attacked in countries all around the world. The bible quotes you selectively use to condemn Jews belie your absence of love.

    I’ve never ever seen you stand up for the Jewish people, never ever did I see you denounce Holocaust or Christian persecution of Jews. Never ever a single expression of compassion or understanding of what they went through. Instead, I saw you only speaking approvingly of Jewish suffering as something that Jews rightly deserve for their disbelief in Jesus. Never condemning the evildoers, always seeing the Jews in the worst light. You preach and quote scriptures to Jews. There will be many who will tell Jesus that they prophesied in his name and even did miracles, but their lack of love will condemn them.

    1. “I’ve never ever seen you stand up for the Jewish people, never ever did I see you denounce Holocaust or Christian persecution of Jews. Never ever a single expression of compassion or understanding of what they went through.”

      James, your just up to your tricks trying to put me on the defensive so you can side track the truth again. I’m not here to defend myself or to “speak to Jews”, but to teach YOU something.

      When I want to know what it looks like when a man loves Israel, I look at the Prophets and Jesus. Now THERE are men who know what it means to love Israel and tell them the truth. There is a very good reason Yeshua was a man of many sorrows.

      If you needed a lesson on the Holocaust or Christian persecution of the Jews…..Yeshua would send you one, and probably not from me. That’s not what the Holy Spirit has sent me here to teach you, other than that G-d said these things would happen and they have. And, that when they cried out he would turn away and not hear them. Which he did. Is that my fault? Are you a better man and more a lover of Israel because you don’t believe G-d’s words?

      Now, back to scripture. Have you read all those about repentance? Do you understand Yeshua’s need to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers and fathers to the children? You never acknowledge the truth of the things I have said. You can’t fight me on scripture because I know it better than you do. So what do you do? You attack me personally and smear me as angry and hostile, a Jew hater, antisemitic, etc? Why do you do this to me James? Who do you serve?

      If you really want to prove your love for Israel you will start telling them the truth. THAT is the message I was sent here to teach you.

  29. James, if you can paint me as angry and full of rage, then you don’t have to deal with the truth of Yeshua’s sayings.

    This is a text-only environment, so I can’t experience vocal tone, volume, body language, etc… to modify your words. There’s only the text. Trust me. From an outside point of view, you sound angry at Jewish people.

    And you never answered my question about they they are your special “target” when the world is full of all kinds of people who need to hear “good news.”

    Oh, as far as the last comment you responded to, you use my name but it was written by Gene, just to keep things straight.

  30. I’m not in the habit of shedding my tears on the internet. What sorrow is in my heart for Israel, what hope, what love, is not easily expressed by blogging. It’s not for man to see the hours I spend before G-d crying out for the salvation of Israel. The best I can hope for on the internet is to be honest. My goal is to seriously examine the word of truth and avoid the trap of “lukewarmness”. That spiritual place where we fall asleep, that place where we forget to “let it go”, where we see G-d as allowing us to go through horrible experiences because he knows that only “in tribulation they shall return”. And Christ, he suffers with us for the hope of joy that is set before us, he works and his Father works.

    Not that we forget the evils of the world, who could forget that? But, that we never forget that we are called out of the world to show a better way. To rise above such evils by understanding, we who are forgiven so much, we seek to forgive others and desire to become like the Son of G-d. We desire to love the ones who hurt us most. To forgive those we feel we have every right to hold accountable for hurting us. We are called to be light in a dark world, salt . We are called to hold out hope to a dying world, a hope of eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    So, I do not lament the hurts of the past, I stiffen my spine to endure the hurts of today. I don’t waste my time cursing the Germans for the Holocaust, it won’t change the past. I don’t waste my time railing against those who destroyed the temple and leveled Jerusalem to the ground. I can’t undo the past. What can I do? I keep my eyes on that Cross. That message delivered into the world “why should you die”?

    I could stand here today and tell you how much I love Israel. It’s not enough. What really matters is that G-d loves Israel. Enough so that he set his ONLY begotten son to die on a stake for us. That he willingly hears the son who pleads “lay this sin not to their account, they do not know what they do”. So how should we view the Holocaust? How do I, Steven, specifically feel about the men who did horrific things to the Jews?

    “Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie were tortured by the Germans. Betsie told her she must not hate but love and forgive. Betsie said, “God showed me that after the war, we must give to the Germans that which they now try to take away from us: our love for Jesus.” And after the Holocaust, Corrie ten Boom returned to Germany and preached Jesus Christ and this message of love and forgiveness.

    “This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
    ― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

  31. I appreciate you spending the amount of time and effort you did to write your last comment, Steven. Frankly, that more than anything communicates the intent and “voice” of the Master toward his people Israel and as their “first born son.”

    I’m not in the habit of shedding my tears on the internet.

    Maybe that’s the problem with the Internet. Not enough tears.

  32. Steven… the problem is not talking about Jesus or the Gospel. I wish you did that, instead of focusing obsessively on the Jewish people’s faults or calling Judaism “a religion of dead works”, oblivious to the fact that it is precisely this sort of attitude that prevents many Jews from embracing Jesus as their Messiah. Rather, it is taking Jesus’ words out of context and employing them to destroy people and faith, to make Jesus vile in the eyes of others, to use the Bible to denigrate the Jewish people and the Jewish faith. This is what Christian antisemitism has done and the blood of many innocent people has been shed. G-d will not overlook that. The people who did that THOUGHT they were serving G-d and Jesus, but they couldn’t have been more wrong! And not just Jews who have suffered, but others as well, including many Christians, who felt the wrath of misused and twisted Word of G-d.

    1. “of focusing obsessively on the Jewish people’s faults or calling Judaism “a religion of dead works”,”

      Gene, I’ll continue to focus on ANY falsehood. In this case the falsehood being put forth: that any man or woman, (and that includes but is not limited to Jewish but includes every nation), has ANY righteousness without Jesus. Can you admit that no man or woman has a righteous stand before the almighty without believing in the Son of G-d?

  33. ” Can you admit that no man or woman has a righteous stand before the almighty without believing in the Son of G-d?”

    G-d will be the judge of that, not you. Messiah is G-d’s Redeemer, yet many righteous have passed on without knowing Jesus, certainly before he came and I believe even after he came, yet they still hoped for Messiah and looked forward to his coming. It’s not those who say “I believe” and neither it is those who “preach” and even “prophecy”. Rather, it’s those who show that they follow Messiah and love G-d through by their actions.

    “Gene, I’ll continue to focus on ANY falsehood.”

    You are missing the plank, Steven.

    1. “Rather, it’s those who show that they follow Messiah and love G-d through by their actions.”

      Would those actions include hearing the message of Yeshua and recognizing him as the only sacrifice for sin?

      Do men “show they follow Messiah and love G-d” by denying Christ and cursing him?

  34. Steven, Gene has a point. If you were to stand on a street corner in Jerusalem or in any Jewish neighborhood in an American city, thumping a Bible, and yelling at the Jews around you, “You all deny Christ and curse him and you’ll burn in Hell for all eternity unless you repent of your sins, confess Christ as your savior, and become just like me,” just what do you think would be the predictable reaction?

    By the way, in it’s extreme form, that’s called Jerusalem Syndrome.

    1. ” “You all deny Christ and curse him and you’ll burn in Hell for all eternity unless you repent of your sins, confess Christ as your savior, and become just like me,” just what do you think would be the predictable reaction?”

      I think the predictable reaction would be the same as it was when EVERY prophet, John the Baptist, Jesus himself received when they gave that same message.

      “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee,”

      We are sent, “sheep among wolves”

  35. If you believe you have been sent out to bring those lost in the dark into the light, why do you deliberately choose methods designed to drive your audience further into darkness?

    My Pastor was a Christian missionary who lived in Israel for fifteen years. He also served in the “missionary field” (I’m learning to speak “Christianese”) in Brazil. He and I have talked about his relationship with Jewish people and something about how he interacted with them in Israel. He agrees that you can’t just stand on a street corner as I described above, and expect to promote receptivity. I respect his efforts and indeed, Jewish people did listen and some did turn their hearts toward Christ and become believers. Messianic Jew and author David H. Stern said it was even antisemitic to not attempt to preach the word of Messiah to the Jewish people. However, you can never do that and be successful if you don’t do it in love, which means communicating love to the Jewish people. Casting yourself as the sheep in the play, and saying the Jews are wolves isn’t the way to do that, Steven.

    By the way, I know my Pastor loves Jewish people and I have seen him shed sincere and heartfelt tears for them. You would be wise to reconsider your position and follow his example.

    Before you ask another Jewish person to seek God through the Messiah either in person or online, please do so yourself.

  36. Since when do I have to be an expert to care? And besides, treating people like objects, caring more about numbers than lives is one of the things that I find a tad annoying about some Evangelicals.

    1. Since when do I have to be an expert to care? ”

      You don’t have to be an expert to care. But you are doing so much more that that. You are telling me that my way is not good, that you know enough about the subject to tell me what will and will not work. You believe you know who will listen to me and how I should speak. You want me to speak “smooth words”. Just like you don’t answer to me, I don’t answer to you.

      Here is an idea…..Maybe you should take it up with our Master? Maybe you should inform him of what a mistake he and the Holy Spirit have made to command me to teach. Maybe you should suggest he send me somewhere else and leave you alone?

      I’d like to see that conversation…..!!! 🙂

      Anyway, I think I’ve said enough and I have so much work to do that I want to stop commenting so much. I will keep you in my prayers James. I only hope the best for you. I pray for your family and all your readers. May your walk bear abundant fruit in Messiah Yeshua. Shalom Brother

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