What Else Could We Possibly Need?

the-teacher2The unique quality of Mashiach is that he will be humble. Though he will be the ultimate in greatness, for he will teach Torah to the Patriarchs and to Moshe Rabeinu (alav hashalom), still he will be the ultimate in humility and self-nullification, for he will also teach simple folk.

“Today’s Day”
Monday, Menachem Av 1, Rosh Chodesh, 5703
Compiled by the Lubavitcher Rebbe; Translated by Yitschak Meir Kagan

I agree that through the Abrahamic Covenant we are to understand that the New Covenant is also a way of understanding God’s relations with Gentiles in the coming age. Though not stated directly, when Israel is living the New Covenant promises the nations will be part of expanded Israel (Ephesians 2 language) and the parts of Torah that are for everyone will be the ways the nations follow.

from Derek Leman’s comment to me in his blog post
The New Testament is Not the New Covenant (Updated)

This is about the closest I’ve ever gotten to reblogging someone else’s blog post. I generally prefer to be inspired by the work of others and to add my own commentary, but I couldn’t think of anything to add to what Derek already wrote. He’s offered his audience a nice, neat, concise description of the role the New Testament writings play in the lives of believers and why the written Apostolic Scriptures are not equivalent to the New Covenant as mentioned in Jeremiah 31 (please click the link I’ve provided above to read Derek’s excellent article, including the comments section where Derek responds to Scot McKnight and 2 Corinthians 3:14-18).

This has important implications for Christianity and particularly churches that still cling to the old, outmoded doctrine of supersessionism, which is also sometimes known as replacement theology or fulfillment theology. If Christianity is supposed to replace Judaism in the covenant promises, we need something with which to replace the Law…and it’s not in the NT documentation.

I know what you’re going to say. Grace replaced the Law. Except that isn’t true. Grace is all over the Tanakh (Old Testament) starting with Adam and Eve in Eden and beyond. It was faith and grace that brought Abraham near to God. It was grace that followed Jacob and his children on their journeys and down into Egypt. It was grace that brought Moses close to God and grace that sent Moses down into Egypt to bring up the Children of Israel.

And in spite of all of their failures, it was grace that constantly brought Israel back to God when she strayed after other “lovers” like an unfaithful mate.

It was grace that brought the Messiah down to us from Heaven, the Divine in the form of flesh and blood, to announce the good news of redemption and salvation for Israel and through Israel, even for the people of the nations.

So grace didn’t “replace” the Law. In terms of its function in the life of humanity, it likely preceded the Law, at least in the form of a document, but at Sinai grace and Torah co-existed; two sides to the same coin. In fact, I’ll make a case that the Torah was one of God’s greatest gifts of grace to Israel rather than a puzzle that was always too hard for the Israelites to solve.

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:7-11 (NASB)

Many Christians think God only gave the Law to illustrate how tough it was to keep and to show, by comparison, how easy the yoke of Messiah was to uphold.

But again, that implies replacement, and we don’t see the Messiah bringing a different and better gift. Everything he taught and the entire way he lived was all built on what happened at Sinai. However, if Messiah is the culmination of the promises, what Torah always points to as the model of Holiness for Israel before the Father, then where do the Gentiles come in?

lifting-torahI’ve already answered that question. If you put that together with Derek’s commentary on the Old and New Covenants, you get a fairly complete picture of the history of how God works with human beings and the nature of salvation and redemption. You need only make the Jewish Gospel (part 1) and (part 2) more explicit, and you pretty much have the whole enchilada, so to speak.

How Christians have been taught to read and understand the Bible has missed some very important points and as a result, the church has felt well justified in walking all over Judaism and the Jewish people for many centuries. We are just now coming out of a very dark period and beginning to learn to take seriously the words of Messiah when he said “salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22). Gentile believers have not replaced the Jews in the covenant promises nor have we taken them over so that we too must look and act “Jewish” thereby eliminating the Jewish people as distinct and chosen.

It is human nature to want what you don’t have. We always want to acquire more.

A person is both wise and wealthy when you master the art of appreciating what you already have. View all that you have as a personal gift to you from our Father, our King, Creator and Sustainer of the universe. The outcome of mastering this is that you will live a joyous life. (Guaranteed!)

-Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
“Daily Lift #874”

We who were once far away have been brought near by grace through faith, just as Abraham was brought close. As Paul shows us (Galatians 3:16), it is through his “seed,” that is, Messiah, that we non-Jewish disciples of Christ are brought into a relationship with God alongside the Jewish people, the inheritors of Sinai. It is through Israel’s Messiah that we Gentiles are also gathered by God, all of us who believe and are willing.

With such good and gracious gifts of God being given to mankind, what else could we ask for? What else could we possibly need? If we think we’re missing something, as the Chabad commentary about Mashiach states at the beginning of today’s “meditation,” a wise and humble Messiah will teach us all Torah as it applies to our roles and our lives, and the finger of God will complete the job of writing that Torah upon our hearts.

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