glory

Jews, Gentiles, and the Divine Spirit

My father wrote that he heard in the name of the Alter Rebbe that all rabbinic authors until and including the Taz [1] and Shach, [2] composed their works with ruach hakodesh, the Divine Spirit. An individual’s ruach hakodesh, as explained by Korban Ha’eida in Tractate Sh’kalim (Talmud Yerushalmi), end of ch. 3, means that the mysteries of Torah are revealed to him. This comes from the aspect of chochma in its pre-revelation state. [3]

“Today’s Day”
for Tuesday, Sh’vat 6, 5703
Compiled by the Lubavitcher Rebbe; Translated by Yitschak Meir Kagan
Chabad.org

The sacred Zohar teaches that God, the nation Israel, and the Torah, are one. This suggests that God may be experienced through those phenomena that are also perceived to be eternal. Since Israel is eternal [by Divine oath, Genesis 15] and since the Torah is eternal, God/Israel/Torah are inextricably linked by common eternity.

-Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
in his commentary on Parashat Behar-Bechukotai
for May 15, 2012,
published at The Jewish Week

I know today’s “morning meditation” may be a little esoteric for some of you, and I’ve been debating whether or not to even write it. However, I think there’s a certain benefit in visiting the relationship between God, the Torah, and the people and nation of Israel at a more mystic or metaphysical level. God, after all, is not human, so we shouldn’t expect His methods to correspond to human limitations. After all, if God created the Torah, what is it?

It is true that the Zohar writes, “G-d looked into the Torah and created the World”.

Of course, the Torah, in its written form, only briefly describes the process and sequence of Creation. However, we should not think that because of its deceptively brief and general description that the Torah does not contain within the text the plan for the entire multitude of Creation.

-Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman
“Torah Blueprint”
Ohr Somayach

The idea is that there is a Heavenly Torah possessed by God that, when given to the nation of Israel at Sinai, was “clothed” so that it could exist in the material world and be comprehended by human beings. That makes all written Torah scrolls, though immeasurably precious, mere shadows of the supernal Torah of God. Alternately, all earthly scrolls are “encoded” with the information in the Heavenly Torah, and we could read it if we just knew how.

It is said that the world was created for the sake of Torah, but the world would have ceased to exist of the Israelites had refused the Torah at Sinai. Fortunately, this did not take place.

OK, I know what you’re thinking. Many of you are not going to be willing to take the Zohar as an authoritative source of information, and many of you don’t believe there is a supernatural equivalent of the Torah in Heaven that corresponds to the Torah on Earth.

But we know through the Epistle to the Hebrews that there is a Heavenly court that corresponds to the Temple in Jerusalem (when it exists) and God commanded Moses to construct the Mishkan (Tabernacle) according to a model he was shown on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 25:40), indicating that there is a perfect Heavenly version of the Tabernacle Moses was to have constructed in the desert.

Tree of LifeIf the Tabernacle and every single object in it has Heavenly equivalents, including priests, and including a High Priest, why not the Torah?

This would make Israel, that is, the Jewish people and the inheritors of the Torah and the covenant at Sinai particularly unique among all the nations of the Earth. Even the Master said “Salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22) illustrating that apart from Israel, no other person or nation can be redeemed and reconciled with God. The means into eternity for the people of the nations is the eternity of Israel.

The Land of Israel shares in this eternity. The earth’s perennial cycle of birth, growth, decay, death and rebirth, express a movement of regeneration and renaissance. There are intimations of immortality: The trees shed their leaves and fruits onto the earth, and when they decompose and merge with the earth, that very earth provides the necessary nutrients for the tree to bear fruit in the future. Plants leave their seeds in the ground, these continue to sprout plant life from the earth after the mother herb has been taken and eaten.

Further, the Land of Israel is invested with a special metaphysical quality which is inextricably linked to Knesset Yisrael, historic Israel. The first Hebrew, Abraham, entered into the “Covenant between the Pieces,” that God’s promise of world peace and messianic redemption will be realized in the City of Jerusalem. Hebron’s Cave of the Couples — Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah — was the very first acquisition by a Jew of land in Israel, purchased as the earthly resting place for the founders of our faith. At the very same time, it is also the womb of our future, a future informed by the ideas and ideals of our revered ancestors. “Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children” [Proverbs 17:6].

-Rabbi Riskin, “The Unity of God, Torah And Israel”

In the quote from “Today’s Day” above, it is said that the Sages of the Talmud were inspired to write by the Holy Spirit. Since Christians believe that only Christians have the indwelling of the Spirit, this is going to seem at least confusing if not outright unbelievable. On the other hand, there’s another covenant to consider:

Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…

Jeremiah 31:31 (NASB)

I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

Ezekiel 36:27

Given Acts 2:1-4, you’d think that only Jews who are disciples of Yeshua (Jesus) would receive the Holy Spirit, but what if we’re wrong? What if the Sinai Covenant and the fact that the New Covenant being made only with Israel and Judah have a direct impact on both Jewish disciples of Yeshua and the rest of the Jewish people, because God, the Torah, and Israel are one?

I do not agree that mainstream Jews are apostates. I think that is far too strong. In fact, I’ll go one step further, I believe a parallel outpouring of the Spirit has happened among traditional Jews, not unlike the one happening to the congregation of Messiah. Isaiah 59:21, “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.””

-Derek Leman
from his comment of
24 January, 2015 at 6:55 am
on his blog post
Double Opposition to Messianic Judaism

I know this stands outside of most of what I consider traditional Christian doctrine, but if God doesn’t abandon His covenants and His people and He always keeps His promises, then we Gentile Christians can hardly dismiss Israel out of hand. In fact, if the redemption of the nations, of we Christians, is solely dependent upon the “oneness” Israel has with the Torah and with God, and if God, according to the New Covenant, will redeem all of Israel (Romans 11:26-27; Isaiah 59:20,21; 27:9 (see Septuagint); Jer. 31:33,34), then maybe one of the things we Gentile believers better get busy at is supporting Jewish observance of the Torah and stop working so hard at trying to convert Jews to Christianity. After all, Ezekiel 36:27 directly links Jewish observance of Torah with God’s Spirit being placed within them.

There is a different way to understand no one comes to the Father except through the Son.

Divine TorahGod will provide the revelation of Messiah to Israel and indeed, this has already begun as evidenced by the modern Messianic Jewish movement. But Messianic Jews are also to be Torah observant Jews. Maybe the main issue at hand isn’t non-Messianic but otherwise observant Jews, but those who are secular, assimilated, and yes, even “Hebrew Christians” who have set aside the Torah for the “promise” of a Gentile version of grace (not that grace and Torah are mutually exclusive…far from it).

God is with His people Israel, all of them. God is also with the Gentile disciples of the Master. None of us has the perfect apprehension of how to best serve God, though often we convince ourselves we possess such a thing. In the end, God will open all our eyes and show us what we saw correctly and what we were blind to. Then God will forgive, and all of the drama and trauma we experience in the world of religion today will just fade to black.

The Spirit is with us. Let us listen to what He is saying.

I know this blog post is probably theologically “sketchy” so I expect some pushback. On the other hand, this is something I felt needed to be said, no matter how imperfectly I said it.

Footnotes

1. Acronym of Turei Zahav on Torah law by R. David Halevi, d. 1667.
2. Acronym of Siftei Kohein on Torah law by R. Shabtai Hacohen, 1622-1663.
3. See “On Learning Chassidus,” Kehot, p. 18.

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32 thoughts on “Jews, Gentiles, and the Divine Spirit”

  1. Peter, I can speak from experience with the wider observant (by this I mean Orthodox) Jewish community, that a greater hunger for a deeper understanding of not just Torah, but the whole of Tanakh IS happening. This doesn’t happen by man’s doing but can only come from the Spirit of the One True G-d. I don’t for a minute place non believing Jews (I loath the Christian idea of separating the world into “saved and un-saved) in the category of apostate either. Those of us who do gave that revelation of Yeshua Ha Melech live to sit as judge over those we think don’t or haven’t yet had that same knowledge. The HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s relationship with Yourself, and the Torah is a mystical one. He can’t and won’t divorce His people, He is can do what ever He wants, if He chooses to pour out His Ruach on His holy people, He can. I’ve seen it personally. And this leads to a close relationship between the Jew and his/her G-d.

  2. Peter, I’m concerned about what I saw on your blog post (link above):

    There is an open fight in the UMJC over fundamental tenets of the faith such as whether Yeshua is even necessary for salvation.

    I think the answer is this:

    “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

    Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NASB)

    I can’t look into anyone, religious Jew or professed Christian, and tell whether they have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The only “clue” we have is if the individual in question is living what I’ve heard termed as a “transformed life.” I’ve felt the presence of God both in the church I used to attend and in the local (combined) Reform/Conservative synagogue. I am not prepared to say that God has abandoned his people Israel including the ones who do not (yet) recognize Yeshua as Messiah and King.

    In Romans 11:26-27, Paul leverages the New Covenant language found in Jeremiah 31:33-34 among other portions of scripture to illustrate that all Israel will be saved through Messiah. I’ve heard Christian pastors “spin” that to mean only the remnant of Jews who convert to Christianity, but I believe there will come a time, perhaps upon Messiah’s return, when the eyes of Israel will be opened and they will recognize what was formerly hidden from them (I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of flack for that statement).

    “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit[a] of grace and supplication. They will look on[b] me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

    Zechariah 12:10

    John 19:37 appears to be the “fulfillment” of the verse from Zechariah, but I believe it will also be fulfilled in the future when Messiah returns and the “spiritual blinders” (so to speak) will be lifted away from Israel’s eyes, much as we saw happened to Paul in his famous Acts 9 encounter with Messiah. I believe that if God promised to redeem all of Israel as part of the New Covenant, then that’s what will happen.

    Exactly how it will happen, I haven’t a clue. This is where I trust that God has not abandoned the Jewish people and that in the end of days, He will reveal everything to them…and to us.

  3. ” They will look on[b] me, the one they have pierced”

    Wasn’t it the Romans who pierced Jesus (both times, first nailing him to the cross and then with a spear, to make sure he’s dead) and not Jews (as the Christian Zechariah 12:10 translation seems to imply)?

  4. I’m sure this won’t end well, but this is the closest I can come to an answer:

    Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor.

    But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!” And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”

    When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

    Matthew 27:1-2, 21-26 (NASB)

    I think you know me well enough to realize that I’m not antisemitic and I “don’t blame the Jews for killing Jesus,” but the object being addressed, that is “they” is defined as “the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” The verse also says that God will “pour out the Spirit of grace and of supplication (on them) so that they “will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son.”

    This isn’t a blaming or accusatory statement. I read it as one of compassion. But why should I explain myself? You already know what I’m going to say so I’m rather surprised you are asking the question. Of course, from your perspective, you are giving “the lurkers” on my blog something to think about and, again from your point of view, hoping that Christians reading this will abandon their faith and either become Noahides or undergo conversion to Judaism, which would seem to be their/our only two options unless we just become secular atheists and be done with it.

    Have you created that blog post I suggested yet? Like I said, it might be a more productive use of both your time and mine rather than having you “mine” my readership for potential readers of your own.

  5. James, First Fruits of Zion disagrees with your use of the scriptures in Matthew as a response to the verse in Zechariah, as do I.

    From FFOZ’s Torah Club Volume 4:

    “Only a small crowd gathered around the tribunal, perhaps less than fifty interested persons. Most of them came to petition for the release of Barabbas, the rest came by direction of Caiaphas and Annas to pressure Pilate into executing the Master. The small crowd at the tribunal did not represent the sentiments of all the Jews of Jerusalem, much less the sentiments of all Jewish people.

    The small band of Zealots and the Sadducean cheerleaders from the ranks of the priest-politicians were not able to invoke an eternal curse upon all Jewish people for all time.”

  6. Then how do you understand Zechariah 12:10, Keith? I’m the first to admit that I can be wrong. How will God fulfill His promise to redeem all of Israel, then?

  7. @ Keith, I tend to agree with your take on trial narratives as well. Cconsidering the point on the calendar when the trial took place, most of the regular observant folks were at home. I believe this was a small select group of as
    the narratives put it “false witnesses”.
    James as always, I Enjoy the writing, keep it up brother!

  8. @James, love the direction of thinking. As far as doctrinal fights and political battles in MJ organizations, evangelicals fight about doctrine; Jews fight too, but about other things.

    @Tony Linn, rather than seeking to explain your observations in light of current evangelical theology, why not start from scratch in seeking the meaning of the teachings of Yeshua (as best we can without an original Hebrew text) from the culture they emerged from?

    @Gene S., וְשָׁפַכְתִּי֩ עַל־בֵּ֨ית דָּוִ֜יד וְעַ֣ל ׀ יֹושֵׁ֣ב יְרוּשָׁלִַ֗ם ר֤וּחַ חֵן֙ וְתַ֣חֲנוּנִ֔ים וְהִבִּ֥יטוּ אֵלַ֖י אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁר־דָּקָ֑רוּ וְסָפְד֣וּ עָלָ֗יו כְּמִסְפֵּד֙ עַל־הַיָּחִ֔יד וְהָמֵ֥ר עָלָ֖יו כְּהָמֵ֥ר עַֽל־הַבְּכֹֽור

    Since the first part of the passage, “I will pour on the house of David and those who dwell in Jerusalem the spirit of grace/favor and supplication (for grace) and they (they here has to refer to the previous direct object) and they shall look/behold upon me whom they have pierced/wounded, and they shall wail/lament for him as one mourns for an only (son), and shall be in bitterness for him, as one is in bitterness for a firstborn. An interesting question here is why does the pronoun change from, “look up me,” to, “mourn for him?”

  9. @James: The ten brothers sought to kill Joseph and wounded him, yet the one who suffered the most in mourning was his father Jacob. So, perhaps the one thrust through and wounded is the father, in a metaphorical sense, as the person and message of Yeshua has been hijacked so, like Zaphenath Paneah, he is not recognizable, but rather a source of fear and confusion for his brothers. It is the one in the likeness of Joseph who will reveal himself to his brethren which will effect the reconciliation. There is a blindness of a sort upon Jews, but also a blindness of a different sort upon the gentiles. I suppose we could draw lots of parallels here, for example, while Joseph’s wisdom and his position of authority given to him by Pharoah rescued Egypt, the deliverance and prosperity of Egypt provided the ability to enslave and abuse the children of Israel.

  10. @Chaya – I don’t know what Evangelical theology? My views on Torah and Judaism come from almost 20 years of study, 15 of those in intense chevrusa w/ two different rabbis and a very devout Breslov chossid. I was very involved in the UMJC on a congregational level as well at the annual South West regional conferences. I stopped after a difficult divorce. My current Wu e attends a Church (I attend w/ her for support) but I don’t line up with most mainline Christian theological thinking in terms of the centrality of G-d’s continuing covenant with Israel, and soteriology. I live in Oklahoma, there is one Chang rabbi here, and to be Frank, he is not the nicest guy in the world, even to the Jews here. But that said, I will always take advice, and when I’m wrong I appreciate correction! Kol Tuv

  11. @Chaya… perhaps if one reads the oft-used sentence in its context, we find that the mourning comes after great battle where someone important, perhaps a military leader, is killed by Israel’s enemies.

    Artscrolls translates it in this way:

    They will look toward Me because of those whom they have stabbed, they will mourn over him as one mourns over an only [child], and be embittered over him like the embitterment over a [deceased] firstborn.

    Next passage, Zechariah 12:11, gives as another clue:

    “On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.”

    What happened in the plain of Megiddo? King Josiah was killed in battle by Israel’s enemies (2 Kings 23:29, 2 Chronicles 35:20-24) and whole Israel mourned his death.

    John, btw, misquotes the biblical passage: John 19:37(KJV)
    “And again another scripture saith, THEY shall look on HIM whom THEY pierced.”, where as the Bible says they will look to “me” (that is G-d). And of course, John uses the Zechariah passage to claim fulfillment during the crucifixion of Jesus, when people were looking on at him!

  12. “God is with His people Israel, all of them. God is also with the Gentile disciples of the Master. ”

    OK, now something more relevant to your post! (but with my touch)

    Your first point can be supported by the Hebrew Bible many times over. Your second point, well it seems a bit presumptuous and seems to speak for G-d (as Jews would say) , which is a bit scary….since it can’t be found anywhere in the Hebrew Bible. However, you do have excellent support throughout the pages of the sacred text of Christianity (especially when we turn to Paul), the New Testament:)!

  13. It seems God attaches himself to a people, not a doctrine. So, I am going to infer that God was with the first century Nazarene movement because of the Jewish people in it, who drew in non-Jews to walk with them, according to Zech. 8:23 and other passages. Once the Jewish contingent was gone (many reasons for this) the divine presence left. Paul said that wolves would come in after his death and not spare the flock.

  14. James said: Then how do you understand Zechariah 12:10, Keith?

    I think Gene gave a good answer on how to properly understand this verse in his response to Chaya.

  15. Actually, I’m tentatively leaning toward Chaya’s interpretation but it seems clear I need to understand the connection between Zechariah 12:10 and how it is used in by John.

    I know that Gene does not believe in a single thing written in the Apostolic Scriptures and thus does not believe Yeshua has a thing to do with the ultimate redemption of Israel, but what about you Keith? Are you saying that Paul was wrong in Romans 11 when he said all of Israel will be saved?

  16. First, let’s consider what it means, “to be saved.” The Hebrew concept of the salvation of Israel (yeshuat Yisrael) does not point to the idea of whether one goes to heaven or hell after death; it means, “to heal,” to free from captivity/bondage, to deliver from death and destruction.” Considering the history of that time, the Jewish people being ruled over by the hated, oppressive Romans with the priesthood and Sanhedrin in cahoots with Rome and corrupt, what might this mean? I suspect Paul yearned in his heart to see Jewish sovereignity in the land and godly priests and judges who were to teach the people and separate clean from unclean. This would fit if the, “fullness of the gentiles,” is the fullness of wrath toward the enemies of Israel and the fullness of understanding of her friends. We could also see, “the times of the gentiles,” as alluding also to an end of patience toward the nations and a time of restoration of Jews to both the land and the covenant.

  17. “Are you saying that Paul was wrong in Romans 11 when he said all of Israel will be saved?”

    James (I hope I am not infringing on your commenting policy again), if Paul actually believed that “all of Israel will be saved”, why was he so worried about saving “some of them”, going so far as claiming to even to prefer being cut off from Jesus if it meant that Jews would be ‘saved”? It must have been really terrible in his mind to not “be saved” by Jesus. If he really believed that “all of Israel will be saved” instead of perish (somewhere… hell? or may be the other option you suggested, “not having a close relationship with G-d”?), he shouldn’t have been so concerned about their fate.

    Of course, one can interpret Paul as saying that only those Jews living in the “last days” will be saved when they are rescued by Jesus directly, but does that mean that all the Jews who lived in the last 2K years were “not saved”? What happened to them? But if you James believe that they were saved regardless, then why was Paul was wishing to “save some of them”?

  18. @Tony Linn, I don’t mean to be correcting you, just responding. I think I might have confused James quoting you and James quoting Peter, sorry. Its just the whole issue with doctrine is like a puzzle, and once you have some pieces fit or appear to fit, you have to force others to fit to complete your picture. Better to admit that his ways and thoughts are higher than our ways as the heavens are above the earth, and we don’t have all the answers.

    There are some issues with the concept of a brit chadasha, translated new covenant or renewed covenant. We know this brit chadasha is not a book or collection of books, so it is inaccurate to call the writings of the sent ones, the Brit Chadasha. The brit chadasha is with the House of Israel and the house of Judah, not with gentiles. (Please, nobody go down the 2-house dead end road.) Also, we have the promise that it would not be necessary to admonish others to know the Holy One, for all shall know me. Perhaps, with the announcement of Yeshua, “This is my blood of the new covennant….” we should look at this as seedtime and harvest. We should realize that the seed form will come to fruition, but from heaven’s vantage point, there is no past, present and future. Also, I don’t know Greek, but the dictionary says the word, “kainos,” translated, “new,” also has the connotation of, “refresh.”

  19. @Gene S, In the context, I don’t get how God pouring out a spirit of favor/grace and supplication for favor grace would be linked 1) look upon ME whom they have pierced/thrust through, and mourn for HIM? The one who pours out the spirit is the same one who is pierced.

    Who does the House of David and inhabitants of Jerusalem look upon once they have received the spirit? Me, which is God, the author of the first part of the sentence. What follows in sequence and happens next? The mourning and bitterness for him. I can’t see where one would require this special outpouring to emote following the death of a hero?

  20. You must be having a spellcheck issue 🙂 You live in OK and attend church with your wife to support her but don’t agree with the theology and stance on Israel and the Jewish people? The Chabad rabbi isn’t nice?

  21. “I can’t see where one would require this special outpouring to emote following the death of a hero?”

    Chaya…. why are you surprised that there’s so much grief over the slain hero? That’s precisely what happened already in Israel’s history before (which is why Zechariah refers to it) :

    ….And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. His servants therefore took him out of that chariot and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem and he died and was buried in one of the sepulchers of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spoke of Josiah in their lamentations to this day and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.(2 Chron 35:20)

    They mourned over the tragic death of Josiah so much, they even made an ordinance!

  22. I am not surprised there is grief – of course we have a history of grieving over the loss of great persons. It is the idea of linking an outpouring of the divine spirit that provokes this looking, mourning and bitterness, as if it is something that would not be a natural response.

  23. @ Chaya, I don’t agree with Christian theology that basically casts off Israel as the unrepentant apostate. The whole idea that Israel has somehow forfeited the blessings and privilege that comes from G-d’s everlasting covenant, because as I was told by a Church member last month “that the Jews were to stupid to listen in the first place” is appalling and repugnant to me. My wife is slowly learning to question some of the things that she grew up with.
    My issues are with the Theology, I personally can’t judge a man’s heart, that is the job of HaShem not me. My previous posting looked confusing lol

  24. @Tony, you may want to have a private discussion with @James, who can tell you about his experience in a church in a small town. Obviously, not all evangelicals believe in replacement theology, but there are other issues that I believe are a matter of worldview, tradition and not knowing the original language of the text. Even more amazing to me is that people would feel qualified to teach who don’t know the original languages. That seems to be like a person teaching Shakespeare that doesn’t speak English. I am taking a class now on Plato’s Dialogues, and while I don’t know Greek, the professor does and has studied the works in their original language. It is what I would expect.

  25. Chaya… notice something curious that many seem to miss: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spiria of grace and supplication.”

    It sure seems to me that the house of David (the royal house, house of the messianic king) will be of the same need of the spirit of grace and supplication as the rest of Israel. The spirit of grace and supplication is poured out by G-d to comfort Israel in time of their great need (remember, they have been just attacked by all nations and are mourning their fallen) – a spirit of kindness and answers to prayers (supplication) to reassure them of G-d’s love for them. You seem to be thinking of the “giving of the Holy Spirit to believers in Jesus”, a phenomena preached by Christianity. I don’t think it’s about that at all.

  26. James, I hope you approve this comment because I think it will contribute to the discussion going on here.

    I’m with Gene here on the understanding of this passage in Zechariah. This passage has nothing to do with Jesus dying 2,000 years ago on a cross because if we read Zechariah in context, Jesus did not die in a battle. Zechariah is speaking about a great battle that will take place in the future. He speaks of a great siege from all the armies of the world and this did not happen when Jesus died. Furthermore, their was no great national morning as described in Zechariah. The whole Jewish nation didn’t mourn for Jesus when he died.

    Now, concerning the scripture in John, let’s just forget about the fact that John changes the original text from Zechariah from “me” to “him.”

    In John’s verse, he is telling us that the verse in Zechariah was fulfilled 2,000 years ago when a Roman soldier pierced Jesus on the cross. So, to John, “they” are the Roman soldiers who looked upon “him” (Jesus) whom they pierced. So, John is reading this one scripture out of context so that he can apply it to Jesus’ death. What’s funny is that, now, not only does John take it out of context, but his readers years later are even taking John’s own out context passage out of context. Oh, the irony!

  27. @GS: I wouldn’t say I subscribe to that Christian doctrine, as historically, the ruach was poured out upon whoever God willed, whenever he willed. There is just the link between the outpouring and the subsequent response. I see a comparison between this concept and Joseph’s brothers although they don’t recognize Joseph, they supplicate before him.

    @Keith, the Zech. verse uses both, “me,” and, “him.” I don’t see how the Roman soldiers mourned or were in bitterness, and how would this fit with an outpouring upon the descendents of King David and the city of Jerusalem? Could this verse be viewed as a future, unfulfilled prophecy? Joseph’s brothers certainly didn’t mourn his loss or the loss of their father when they threw him in the pit, sold him as a slave and lied to their father. But there was weeping when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, along with reconciliation and joy.

    As an aside, do people here believe there are prophecies yet to be fulfilled, or yet to be fulfilled in completion?

  28. I came across this in a class, and thought it might be helpful:

    This God is one. He is not two or more, but one, ****unified in a manner which [surpasses] any unity that is found in the world;**** i.e., He is not one in the manner of a general category which includes many individual entities, nor one in the way that the body is divided into different portions and dimensions. Rather, He is unified, and there exists no unity similar to His in this world.

  29. Chaya said: “I don’t see how the Roman soldiers mourned or were in bitterness, and how would this fit with an outpouring upon the descendents of King David and the city of Jerusalem?”

    Tell that to the author of the book of John. That’s what he thinks.

    Chaya also said: “Could this verse be viewed as a future, unfulfilled prophecy?”

    Yes. That is exactly what Zechariah is telling us. It hasn’t happened yet. It’s not about Jesus. Unless you want to invent the thought that Jesus is supposed to come back (“second coming”) and die again in the great battle described in Zechariah (How many times is Jesus gonna die?).

    That sounds like the start of a new fringe Christian religion.

    The bottom line is that this scripture is not about Jesus, but most Christians don’t want to hear that.

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