Introduction to Messianic Judaism: Fulfilling the Prophesy of Amos, Part 2

Receiving the Spirit

When this group of Gentiles believed in Jesus, they immediately received the Holy Spirit in so evident a way that Peter could only conclude that God had extended salvation to them as Gentiles, not requiring that they first become Jews. He therefore baptised them, admitting them to the messianic people of God without expecting them to be circumcised or to observe any more of the Torah than they already did (as God-fearers who worshiped the God of Israel and lived by the moral principles of the Torah).
-Richard Bauckham
“Chapter 16: James and the Jerusalem Council Decision” (pg 178)
Introduction to Messianic Judaism: Its Ecclesial Context and Biblical Foundations

This is Part 2 of a two-part blog post. If you haven’t done so already, read Part 1 before proceeding here.

Bauckham seems to be making a few assumptions about what Peter expected, but they are reasonable assumptions, since we have no record that Cornelius (or any other Gentile disciples of the Master) was ever circumcised or ever assumed a greater obligation or duty to Torah as time progressed, at least as an expection of or obligation to God. Bauckham states that “these Gentiles received the same blessing of eschatological salvation that Peter and other Jewish believers in Jesus had received at Pentecost.” The Jewish and Gentile believers were two bodies within a single ekklesia, sharing the hope of the resurrection and the promise of the life in the world to come as co-heirs of Messiah.

But so far, this is confined to Peter’s observation of Cornelius and his household. What about the other Gentiles? What about James and the Council of Apostles (who Peter had to give an accounting to in Acts 11)?

Peter’s testimony before the council (Acts 15:9) indicated that he understood that God made no distinction between Jew and Gentile, specifically in relation to “cleansing their hearts by faith.” Whatever “impurity” that the Jewish believers saw, even in the Gentile God-fearers, was set aside (which was the point of Peter’s vision in Acts 10) as a result of the Spirit being received even by the Gentiles “through the grace of Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:11). The “distinction” that was eliminated between Jewish Israel and the believing Gentiles was the distinction between the “holy” and the “profane” with the Gentiles also receiving access to holiness through faith in Messiah.

It became possible to envisage the messianic people of God as a community of both Jews and Gentiles, the former observing Torah, the latter not. Of course, neither Peter nor any of the Jerusalem leaders entertained the idea that Jewish believers in Jesus should give up observing Torah. But Torah observance no longer constituted a barrier between Jews and Gentiles, since their fellowship was not based on Torah, but on faith in Jesus the Messiah and experience of the transformative power of the Spirit.

-ibid pg 180

Bauckham doesn’t reference Ephesians 2, but his statement seems to evoke “abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances” in this case, by making Torah a “non-issue” between Jewish and Gentile believers, since it is faith in Messiah that binds them, not Torah obedience.

Bauckham’s statement will be difficult to accept for almost anyone in Christianity, both in mainstream Protestantism and the numerous variant worship platforms. However it does line up with content written by FFOZ’s Lancaster and numerous other contributors and cited sources in the Rudolph/Willitts book. In the church, we have gotten so used to the idea that we have permanently altered if not replaced Jews, Judaism, and Jewish Torah observance, that it never occurs to us to ask why Judaism should have had to change in order to accomodate the entry of Gentile disciples. We were (and are) the ones who need to change, since Israel and her King were totally foreign to any one except Israel. Faith in Yeshua HaMashiach is a perfectly expected developmental progression in Israel’s history. The really dramatic event is that the nations, Gentile Christianity, were allowed entry into the Jewish religious branch “the Way.”

apostles_james_acts15In Acts 11:1-8, Peter already convinced the Council that the Gentiles could receive the Spirit as part of God’s plan for the nations, and they praised God for His graciousness to the Gentiles. In Acts 15, Peter reminds the Council of these events, and James, in deliberating the matter, offers Amos 9:11-12 (part of last week’s Haftarah portion) as the proof text supporting what Peter had observed and in support of Paul’s position to admit Gentiles without requiring they be circumcised. In using the words “all the nations over whom my name has been invoked”, according to Bauckham, James is stating that God has declared “ownership” over “all the nations” (Amos 9:12) just as He had declared ownership over Israel as His own people (e.g., Deut 28:10; 2 Chr 7:14; Jer 14:9; Dan 9:19).

It shows that in the messianic age, Gentiles, precisely as Gentiles, will no longer be “profane” but will join the Jews in belonging to God’s holy people…

-ibid, pg 182

Now I suppose you’re going to ask about the four prohibitions James laid upon the Gentiles, otherwise known at the “apostolic decree.”

The reason these four are selected from the commandments of the Torah as alone applicable to Gentile members of the messianic people of God is exegetical. They are specifically designed as obliging “the alien who sojourns in your/their midst” as well as Israelites. Applied to the situation of the messianic people of God, this phrase could be seen as referring to Gentiles included in the community along with Jews. But the point is made more precisely by the use of this same phrase in two of the prophecies about the conversion of the Gentiles in the messianic age: Jeremiah 12:16 (“they shall be built in the midst of my people”) and Zechariah 2:11 (LXX: “they shall dwell in your midst”). In light of these exegetical links, the Torah itself can be seen to make specific provision for these Gentile converts, who are not obligated, like Jews, by the commandments of Torah in general, but obligated by these specific commandments.

-ibid, pg 183

I can certainly see many of the points D. Thomas Lancaster made about Acts 15 in his Torah Club essays (which I recorded in my Return to Jerusalem series) may have had their origin in the research and documentation of Bauckham and other scholars. Boaz Michael, First Fruits of Zion’s (FFOZ’s) Founder and President, also made similar points in his book Tent of David: Healing the Vision of the Messianic Gentile.

We see in Bauckham’s analysis, that he not only answers the Protestant Christian question about whether the Jews should continue to observe the Torah, but also the Hebrew Roots Christian question about Gentile Torah obligation. I know that neither population of Gentile believers, for the most part, will accept this position, even though it’s based on good biblical research and scholarship, but we must begin to challenge our thinking and our traditions which lead both platforms of Gentile faith in Jesus to misunderstand the plan of God for the Jews and Gentiles within the ekklesia.

Although we know that not all Jewish believers in the days of James, Peter, and Paul could accept Gentile inclusion into Jewish religious worship of Messiah, especially by allowing the Gentiles to remain as Gentiles, the alternative was to deny the words of the Prophet and the plan of God, that not only the Jews but the Gentile nations would be called by His Name, and that the nations would also belong to Him.

“In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David,
And wall up its breaches;
I will also raise up its ruins
And rebuild it as in the days of old;
That they may possess the remnant of Edom
And all the nations who are called by My name,”
Declares the Lord who does this.

Amos 9:11-12 (NASB)

We can hardly fulfill our role in prophesy if we believe we must convert to Judaism as a requirement of Messianic disicpleship or forcably take on the full Jewish obligation to Torah observance (becoming “pseudo-Jewish”) in direct defiance of the ruling of the Council of Apostles. If we believers from the nations, insist that we too are “Israel,” then all believing humanity is “Israel” and thus, the prophesy of Amos is either a lie or it will remain forever unfulfilled.

155 days.

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20 thoughts on “Introduction to Messianic Judaism: Fulfilling the Prophesy of Amos, Part 2”

  1. FIRST POST! 😛

    We see in Bauckham’s analysis, that he not only answers the Protestant Christian question about whether the Jews should continue to observe the Torah, but also the Hebrew Roots Christian question about Gentile Torah obligation.

    Bauckham, just like others who follow a similar conclusion to him, argue from a logical fallacy, known as “Appeal to Ignorance”, in other words, a lack of evidence by itself is no evidence. His main argument for gentiles not needing to keep Torah is based off a lack of evidence, it is just as much an assumption as any others.

    We can hardly fulfill our role in prophesy if we believe we must convert to Judaism as a requirement of Messianic disicpleship or forcably take on the full Jewish obligation to Torah observance (becoming “pseudo-Jewish”) in direct defiance of the ruling of the Council of Apostles.

    I agree with you on this, but Derek Leman would probably disagree with you.

    If we believers from the nations, insist that we too are “Israel,” then all believing humanity is “Israel” and thus, the prophesy of Amos is either a lie or it will remain forever unfulfilled.

    Paul actually considered all those gentile believers, to be part of Israel, and citizens, because of Messiah… we can either accept his words, or ignore them, but ignoring them will not help our case either, so as you say about Amos, either Paul is a liar or it will forever not be fulfilled. According to Amos, Israel will also possess/rule over the people who bear the name of the Lord. So… are believing gentiles simply going to be slaves to Israel or citizens, based on what we read in scripture, it is safer to say citizens, but this does not mean believing gentiles become Jews, just like anyone who becomes a citizen of any country in the world, they do not change their ethnicity(which is impossible), they simply become part of a national entity. Thus no contradiction, you seem to think becoming a citizen of Israel and being a Gentile is not possible, but according to the Torah, it was very possible and will be again. Gentiles who believe in the Messiah are servants of the King, members/citizens of His kingdom, this is not rocket science, well, ok, maybe it is…

  2. Bauckham, just like others who follow a similar conclusion to him, argue from a logical fallacy, known as “Appeal to Ignorance”, in other words, a lack of evidence by itself is no evidence. His main argument for gentiles not needing to keep Torah is based off a lack of evidence, it is just as much an assumption as any others.

    So we can’t say that Gentile disciples never kept the Torah like the Jewish disciples because it’s not recorded in the Bible. Lack of evidence. But then how can we assume that they did if it’s not recorded?

    I agree with you on this, but Derek Leman would probably disagree with you.

    I’m sure Derek can drop by if he’d like and share his point of view.

    Paul actually considered all those gentile believers, to be part of Israel, and citizens, because of Messiah…

    Then he either disagreed significantly with James and the Council’s Acts 15 decision, referencing Amos 9, or there is a disconnect in understanding Paul relative to who and what he thought “Israel” was.

    So… are believing gentiles simply going to be slaves to Israel

    Nothing I’ve said suggests this, and furthermore, nothing I’ve read in any of the articles in the Rudolph/Willitts book suggests this, In fact, Israel and the nations are completely interdependent upon one another as co-sharers in the promises of salvation and redemption, and equal parts of the Ekklesia of Messiah. We’re not “slaves.”

  3. So we can’t say that Gentile disciples never kept the Torah like the Jewish disciples because it’s not recorded in the Bible. Lack of evidence.

    Correct.

    But then how can we assume that they did if it’s not recorded?

    Here are a few points that I believe are evidence:

    Covenant inclusion, evidence #1, the Torah teaches gentile obligation to Torah(strangers and sojourners), evidence #2, Acts 15 references the Torah for gentile obligation (essentials), evidence #3, Yeshua told the disciples to teach the nations all that He taught them, evidence #4, citizens of Israel, evidence #5…. etc I can keep going, but I believe there is more to deal with here, than simply saying, the opposite.

    Then he either disagreed significantly with James and the Council’s Acts 15 decision, referencing Amos 9, or there is a disconnect in understanding Paul relative to who and what he thought “Israel” was.

    I don’t see the contradiction, maybe you can point it out for me?

    Nothing I’ve said suggests this, and furthermore, nothing I’ve read in any of the articles in the Rudolph/Willitts book suggests this, In fact, Israel and the nations are completely interdependent upon one another as co-sharers in the promises of salvation and redemption, and equal parts of the Ekklesia of Messiah. We’re not “slaves.”

    I never said you said that, read what I wrote, your boy Amos said that, :P, “that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name” Israel is going to possess/rule over the peoples who are called by God’s name. This is not interdependent, but dependent upon Israel, as the ruling authority. So, since Israel is going to rule over the gentiles who bear the name of the Lord… the question then is, will they rule over gentiles as slaves or citizens of the Kingdom?

  4. Point 1: The phrase “covenant inclusion” isn’t evidence, it’s two words strung together with no supporting references.
    Point 2: Anachronistic by the time of Jesus and denies that Jesus has any sort of role in covenant connectedness to God.
    Point 3: Open to interpretation. Not factual evidence.
    Point 4: Open to interpretation, since either the apostles assumed Jesus meant to convert Gentiles to Judaism or to only teach those portions of Torah that applied to the nations…and remember, they had no idea how to do this until the Acts 15 ruling.
    Point 5: Whoa! Big open to interpretation and major point of contention, not factual evidence.

    Point blank, there is no documentation in the New Testament that shows the Gentile disciples of Messiah slowly taking on board greater measures of Torah observance that directly mirrored Jewish observance, nor statements saying this was an expectation. Wishing something to be so doesn’t make it so.

    You’re saying Paul called Gentiles “Israel” and (presumably) agree that James didn’t see them as such. If you accept that James, the head of the Council of Apostles and the final word on earth for how to implement Torah and halachah in the Messianic movement, and Paul held opposite viewpoints on Messiah and that Paul directly opposed the Acts 15 ruling saying that Gentiles had to remain Gentiles in order to fulfill the Amos 9 prophesy, how can you not see a contradiction? If all that were true, the Messianic movement was hopelessly shattered from day one.

    ” the peoples who are called by God’s name…’

    Israel will possess the nations who are called by His Name (Amos 9:12). We can hardly be nations called by God’s Name if we’re no longer nations but Israel. If we’re all Israel, then we’re all a bunch of Jewish people and there are no nations, thus the prophesy of Amos is empty.

    your boy Amos said that

    What do you have against the prophet Amos?

  5. Point 1: The phrase “covenant inclusion” isn’t evidence, it’s two words strung together with no supporting references.

    Like that time you invented the “Jesus Covenant”? Covenant inclusion is simply a statement that acknowledges gentiles as now part of the covenant. The opposite would be to argue gentiles who believe in Messiah are not in covenant with God…

    Point 2: Anachronistic by the time of Jesus and denies that Jesus has any sort of role in covenant connectedness to God.

    Faith has always been the covenant connector for those both naturally born into covenant and those who want to join. This is why Paul refers to Abraham as the perfect example for gentile inclusion, see Romans 4. I don’t see a disconnect from Yeshua and previous generations, I see a consistent message.

    Point 3: Open to interpretation. Not factual evidence.

    Acts 15:28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials” Basically, these are the bare necessities(essentials).

    But I agree with you, that this involves a wide range of interpretation, so this is not solid evidence.

    Point 4: Open to interpretation, since either the apostles assumed Jesus meant to convert Gentiles to Judaism or to only teach those portions of Torah that applied to the nations…and remember, they had no idea how to do this until the Acts 15 ruling.

    If they were to teach Torah as applied to the stranger and ger, then we can see that in the Torah, not Acts 15. Acts 15 at least taught that gentiles did not need to become a Jew in order to join the covenant and be part of Israel.

    Point 5: Whoa! Big open to interpretation and major point of contention, not factual evidence.

    Ephesians 2 states this.

    Point blank, there is no documentation in the New Testament that shows the Gentile disciples of Messiah slowly taking on board greater measures of Torah observance that directly mirrored Jewish observance, nor statements saying this was an expectation. Wishing something to be so doesn’t make it so.

    True, but we don’t just take scripture based on the Apostolic Writings, we use all of scripture.

    Israel will possess the nations who are called by His Name (Amos 9:12). We can hardly be nations called by God’s Name if we’re no longer nations but Israel. If we’re all Israel, then we’re all a bunch of Jewish people and there are no nations, thus the prophesy of Amos is empty.

    Much in the same way that strangers and sojourners could be part of Israel, without being Jews, yet responsible to the nation they were part of… Paul even said we are more than strangers and sojourners, but I just stick with the basics. Gentiles must maintain their identity as the fulfillment of the prophecies, but this does not mean we are not citizens in God’s kingdom… Amos envisioned gentiles coming into this restored kingdom of Israel, as gentiles who bear the name of the Lord. And the fact that Israel will rule these people, gives claim to citizenship or at least a kingdom that has Israel as a larger entity or one that has its ruling expended beyond its boarders.

    I understand it within identity purposes, in other words, we see in the Apostolic Writings the usage of the term Proselytes, why weren’t they just called Jews, if they really just became Jews, as is taught? Maintaining a form of identity does not cause a problem.

    Basically, what you view as a contradiction, would make all sojourners and strangers in the Torah, to be a massive problem and it was not a problem.

    What do you have against the prophet Amos?

    Nothing, it was only joke… thought it would make you laugh. 😀

    By the way James, I really do enjoy discussing with you, I enjoy the questions, I find that I learn the most in questioning what we know against those who oppose our views, it is part of growing. Just wanted to throw that in there on a positive note!

  6. Well, James, it is not so certain that Bacukham thesis can stand…

    basically Kinzer refers to Bauckham’s thesis on the basis of “gzera Shava” Linking of common words between the texts. the key term that Bauckham finds, which links Lev. 17-18 to James interpretation of Amos 9 is the word בתוך-“among you.” In Bauckham’s words “the alien who sojourns in your midst.”

    If הגר הגר בתוככם- “the alien who sojourns in your midst) and similar phrases were Gzera Shava for James exegesis of Amos 9, what about the other times where this phrase is found in the Torah? Like Levit. 16:29 about humbling one soul in Yom Kippur. Or Numb. 15: 14-16, 29; 19:10? Bauckham conveniently dismiss it as specifically referring to the temple colt. but humbling oneself on Yom Kippur does not necessitate involvement in the temple cult!

    So, at best Bauckham’s thesis is weak, since the necessity to assume an allegorical interpretation of Lev. 16:29 seems driven by the need to find the 4 prohibitions of the Apostolic decree in Lev. 17:18.

    No cigar….

  7. Like that time you invented the “Jesus Covenant”?

    I was being poetic. There is not “Jesus Covenant” and in fact, how Gentiles are connected to God in a covenant relationship is incredibly hard to trace in the Bible. It’s a mystery that has stumped theologians for centuries. I’ve managed to come to a place where I can grasp the essentials, but I’m sure there’s stuff I’m missing.

    Faith has always been the covenant connector…

    True. Abraham’s faith is our model, but we don’t have access unless we also have faith in Messiah. The path of the ancient Ger didn’t factor in Messiah, so by invoking the Ger of Moshe’s days, we (or you) are saying that the Messiah is beside the point. We don’t connect back to Abraham without Messiah.

    But I agree with you, that this involves a wide range of interpretation, so this is not solid evidence.

    OK. Settled without an agreed upon resolution.

    If they were to teach Torah as applied to the stranger and ger, then we can see that in the Torah, not Acts 15.

    You can’t involve Acts 15 only when it’s convenient. It’s part of the Bible (and remember all scripture is God-breathed). Yes, Torah is the foundation but the Bible is a living, developing document. Moses didn’t have the same information about the Messiah (at least as recorded in Torah) as James did in Acts 15. Since Jesus gave the apostles the authority to “bind or loose” on earth, he gave them the authority to set binding rules. Gentiles had never been accepted into relationship with Israel or with God in this way before (no, not even in the days of Moses), so no one knew how to do it. If it had been obvious, then the Acts 15 ruling would have been unnecessary.

    Ephesians 2 states this.

    That’s a matter of opinion.

    True, but we don’t just take scripture based on the Apostolic Writings, we use all of scripture.

    Agreed but go back to my answer regarding Acts 15. If the precedent was a total replication of the anachronistic ger from the days of Moses, then it would have been no big deal. However, that status as it existed no longer applied, since Israel was no longer tribal or clan based and halachah had been developed by the first century that involved the concept of conversation (and like it or not, Jesus agreed that the ancient sages of his day had the right and authority to establish halachah).

  8. Actually Dan, by Bauckham and later, Lancaster bringing in Lev. 18 and 19 (relative to James’ decision in Acts 15) to define the role of the Gentile disciples of Jesus “among Israel,” it should mean that the newly minted goy disciples would have a significant obligation to Torah but not precisely identical to the born Jew.

    I refer you back to Toby Janicki’s article in Messiah Journal #109 “A Gentile Believer’s Obligation to the Torah” which describes a rather complex set of observances.

    I’ve never said that the Torah is meaningless in the life of a believing Gentile, just that Gentiles aren’t obligated to turn ourselves into “pseudo-Jews” by attempting an identical imitation of Jewish observance.

  9. James: “True. Abraham’s faith is our model, but we don’t have access unless we also have faith in Messiah. The path of the ancient Ger didn’t factor in Messiah, so by invoking the Ger of Moshe’s days, we (or you) are saying that the Messiah is beside the point. We don’t connect back to Abraham without Messiah.”

    I think Scripture would argue that Abraham knew much more than you give him credit. John 8:56 : “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

    His encounter with the King of Salem would also play in…

    A question: You state:”Israel will possess the nations who are called by His Name (Amos 9:12). We can hardly be nations called by God’s Name if we’re no longer nations but Israel. If we’re all Israel, then we’re all a bunch of Jewish people and there are no nations, thus the prophesy of Amos is empty.”

    I’m admittedly weak on Hebrew, but can the word ‘goy’ translated as ‘nations’ also mean ‘gentiles?’ Would make more sense in this context as it refers to a group of individuals who are called by His Name?

    Frankly, Ezekiel 37:24-28 can’t be solved if there are divisions in the people. One Shepherd, one people, one law, one land. (Unless the goy get a free pass to the New Jerusalem… but that violates many more verses…)

    Shalom.

  10. @James,
    Gentiles had never been accepted into relationship with Israel or with God in this way before (no, not even in the days of Moses), so no one knew how to do it. If it had been obvious, then the Acts 15 ruling would have been unnecessary.

    James, this is a contradiction in itself, there ruling was based on what scripture said prior, they did not make up a new application.

    If the precedent was a total replication of the anachronistic ger from the days of Moses, then it would have been no big deal.

    It would have absolutely been a big deal, scripture cannot contradict itself, everything must be in some form consistent and coherent. During the time of Solomon there was a large number of gentiles who joined Israel in covenant. During the time of the first century, that would not have even been possible to have large amounts of gentiles come in. The stringent method of joining covenant during that time was extremely difficult and clearly not what God had in mind. Which is proven in the fact that the Pharisees when speaking of such in Acts 15:1, were wrong. If it was legitimate, then we have a major problem. Basically the method by which Judaism was offering for covenant conclusion during that time period, could not and was not, going to fulfill the prophecies spoken of concerning a people for Himself from the nations. The reality was a form of restoring what was true, Faith as the foundation of covenant inclusion, not ritual.

    Gentiles had never been accepted into relationship with Israel or with God in this way before (no, not even in the days of Moses), so no one knew how to do it. If it had been obvious, then the Acts 15 ruling would have been unnecessary.

    As stated above, gentiles were entered by large numbers similar to this during the time of Solomon, and Israel had changed since then. Acts 15 was getting back to reality, which was true for Jew and Gentile. For example, Acts 10 was necessary for Peter to let go of a false first century teaching, concerning gentiles. Acts 15:1 for example, is a false teaching, not a method by which it has changed.

    (and like it or not, Jesus agreed that the ancient sages of his day had the right and authority to establish halachah).

    Like it or not, Jesus also found some of the halacha to be in violation of God’s word.

    @Pete Rambo
    I’m admittedly weak on Hebrew, but can the word ‘goy’ translated as ‘nations’ also mean ‘gentiles?’ Would make more sense in this context as it refers to a group of individuals who are called by His Name?

    You are correct, this detail seems to be easily missed. This is not based on picking and choosing China or Russia or America, but instead gentiles from the nations, individuals being brought into a pre-existing group, Israel. Trying to argue for a nation representative of Gentiles, makes absolutely no sense.

  11. “Frankly, Ezekiel 37:24-28 can’t be solved if there are divisions in the people. One Shepherd, one people, one law, one land.”

    Pete… did you know that when Messiah comes, there will be more than one people of G-d and more than one land belonging to G-d, that is other than the people of Israel and the land of Israel?

    “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:25)

    “In that day Israel will be the THIRD, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth.” (Isaiah 19:25)

    That is to say that G-d will have Egyptians, Assyrians, Japanese and Bulgarians as his people (did I leave anyone out?), in ADDITION to Israel, and definitely not “one people, one law [in your definition], one land”.

  12. Dan said: James, you did not address my points…I wonder why?

    Probably because I don’t always have time to dissect everything you say, look up the relevant scriptures, and craft a reasonable response. Also, I dont always have to dance to a tune just because you whistle. 😉

    Pete said: I think Scripture would argue that Abraham knew much more than you give him credit. John 8:56 : “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

    True, but what he knew (knows) is a mystery. Even the people who heard Jesus say these words didn’t understand what they meant. If we take the Abrahamic covenant into consideration, then it likely means the Messianic promise of Messiah who, through “Abraham’s offspring” would be a blessing to the nations.

    Pete said: I’m admittedly weak on Hebrew, but can the word ‘goy’ translated as ‘nations’ also mean ‘gentiles?’ Would make more sense in this context as it refers to a group of individuals who are called by His Name?

    That’s not the way I read it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every single individual will be saved just by virtue of being a citizen of such-and-thus a nation, but the phrase is meant to indicate that salvation will be accessible to all, regardless of national and ethnic membership.

    Pete said: Frankly, Ezekiel 37:24-28 can’t be solved if there are divisions in the people.

    I assume the problematic phrase is “and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them” which certainly does lend itself to saying that everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, will keep God’s Law (Torah). But did God mean to completely obliterate the Jewish people at that point replacing them with one homogeneous humanity who all looked and acted in an identical manner, and thus violating his promise to Israel that their election would be irrevocable?

    I don’t have a hard and fast answer to you, but I’m not willing to form an entire theology based on a single sentence from the Bible. Given the overarching portrait I’ve been painting for nearly two weeks now, we could make a case that walking in God’s ordinances and statutes would adjust depending on the roles of the individuals involved, Jew and Gentile, male and female, Kohen, Levite, other tribal members. It’s an interpretation but I’m willing to go with it for now.

    Zion said: James, this is a contradiction in itself, there ruling was based on what scripture said prior, they did not make up a new application.

    I disagree, otherwise Messiah is irrelevant. I can’t throw Messiah’s revolutionary impact on the world under a bus just because it doesn’t “fit” a certain doctrine. James and the Council accessed text from Amos 9 and Lev 17 and 18 to forge new halachah for the Gentiles, but it was a new halachah. We’ll go around and around on this one, but I must continue to believe that Messiah makes a difference to the world and he did something new. He saved us. If he didn’t, then everyone is lost and the hope of the Messianic age won’t occur.

    Zion said: During the time of the first century, that would not have even been possible to have large amounts of gentiles come in.

    You see, this is my point. If the whole “ger” thing could be lifted as a whole and unadapted unit and just plunked down in the 1st century CE, and then used to plug in all the Gentiles who wanted to “join in,” then what’s the point of Messiah? All you need is the Torah as an expression of the Mosaic covenant. Everything else God did before or after Sinai is pretty much a non-event.

    Zion said: As stated above, gentiles were entered by large numbers similar to this during the time of Solomon, and Israel had changed since then.

    Again, my point exactly. Israel continued to change. One really big, big change was the birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Messiah and his command to make disciples of all nations. If that was already a done deal, why did he bother?

    Zion said: Like it or not, Jesus also found some of the halacha to be in violation of God’s word.

    I agree. See Acts 10. Doesn’t invalidate all halachah, though. Halachah isn’t a dirty word, nor is recognizing the fact that Jesus gave James and the Apostles authority to make new rulings in his name.

    Gene said: “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:25)

    “In that day Israel will be the THIRD, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth.” (Isaiah 19:25)

    Exactly. By the way, good to see you back here and “having my back.” 🙂

    Thanks.

  13. “Dan said: James, you did not address my points…I wonder why?

    Probably because I don’t always have time to dissect everything you say, look up the relevant scriptures, and craft a reasonable response. Also, I dont always have to dance to a tune just because you whistle.”

    Ok, James, you lazy guy..LOL…I will do the work for you…

    Instead of going through all the gymnastics, there is a much simpler understanding of James’ use of Amos 9 and the application of it at the Jerusalem council.

    Amos prophesied that at the time of Israel’s demise, God would restore the Davidic dynasty (the fallen house of David). And that the proof will be when Israel would posses the nations “called by My name.” For James, Yeshua’s resurrection and ascension to the right hand of god, meant that the Davidic dynasty has been restored in the reigning Messiah, and the influx of believing gentiles added to Israel was the very confirmation prophesied by Amos.

  14. Dan, Amos 9 isn’t the only place where the Bible mentions that Gentiles will worship the God of Israel in the Messianic Age. Are you suggesting that all human beings who eventually will worship Messiah (every knew will bow) will become “Israel” and there won’t be any Gentiles left?

    If that’s so, then why didn’t Messiah just tell his disciples to make converts (instead of disciples) of the nations? Much easier and more straightforward if non-Israel Gentiles aren’t eligible to worship God without becoming (Jewish) Israel.

  15. “Dan, Amos 9 isn’t the only place where the Bible mentions that Gentiles will worship the God of Israel in the Messianic Age. Are you suggesting that all human beings who eventually will worship Messiah (every knew will bow) will become “Israel” and there won’t be any Gentiles left?”

    LOL! this is not at all what I am suggesting. what I am pointing at is Kinzer and Bauckham taking one verse, twisting it like a pretzel and make a doctrine out of it….

  16. I said: “Dan, Amos 9 isn’t the only place where the Bible mentions that Gentiles will worship the God of Israel in the Messianic Age. Are you suggesting that all human beings who eventually will worship Messiah (every knew will bow) will become “Israel” and there won’t be any Gentiles left?”

    Dan replied: LOL! this is not at all what I am suggesting.

    Leaving Kinzer and Bauckham out of it for the moment, then why are you struggling against there being a distinction between Jewish and Gentile worshipers of God?

  17. I disagree, otherwise Messiah is irrelevant. I can’t throw Messiah’s revolutionary impact on the world under a bus just because it doesn’t “fit” a certain doctrine. James and the Council accessed text from Amos 9 and Lev 17 and 18 to forge new halachah for the Gentiles, but it was a new halachah. We’ll go around and around on this one, but I must continue to believe that Messiah makes a difference to the world and he did something new. He saved us. If he didn’t, then everyone is lost and the hope of the Messianic age won’t occur.

    James, I am not saying Messiah is irrelevant, I am saying what He did, is in no way contradictory to what was before. And what was before establishes what He would do.

    You see, this is my point. If the whole “ger” thing could be lifted as a whole and unadapted unit and just plunked down in the 1st century CE, and then used to plug in all the Gentiles who wanted to “join in,” then what’s the point of Messiah?

    Did becoming a ger in the Torah assure one of salvation, James? Because that seems to be the assumption being made? Faith just like Abraham is what is the exact same today, so if Abraham was righteous because of His faith, why do we need Messiah, that is essentially your argument, I know why, but I want to hear your reasoning on this?

    All you need is the Torah as an expression of the Mosaic covenant. Everything else God did before or after Sinai is pretty much a non-event.

    You are stating the Torah could save someone… I never stated such.

    Again, my point exactly. Israel continued to change. One really big, big change was the birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Messiah and his command to make disciples of all nations. If that was already a done deal, why did he bother?

    All covenants build upon the other, but they cannot contradict each other or we come up with doctrines such as replacement theology.

  18. “Leaving Kinzer and Bauckham out of it for the moment, then why are you struggling against there being a distinction between Jewish and Gentile worshipers of God?”

    Because that distinction is not indicated in the Scriptures.

  19. @Zion: Cutting to the chase (rather than doing the whole copy and paste thing again), yes it is faith that saves, that’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it is now. However the status of the Ger had been adapted between the time of Moses and the time of Jesus and the apostles because conditions were not the same. Torah never saved, but the requirements for entry into the ekklesia of Messiah needed to be established for the Gentiles given those changes, hence Acts 15. Jews in Messiah are saved and Gentiles in Messiah are saved, but Jews still have distinctive reasons for being obligated to Torah in a way that we Gentiles do not.

    @Dan: That’s obviously a matter of opinion.

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