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The Pilot Project for the Nations

Warning. This is pretty cynical. It’s been that kind of day.

@James — You wrote: “It does seem like the Bible is biased heavily in defining the roles and responsibilities of the Jewish people and is pretty skimpy with its “advice” to the Gentiles.” I think I mentioned somewhere above, in response to a similar comment from Drake, that this should be obvious because the literature was written by Jews for Jews, and its consideration of gentiles was only to provide a larger framework for the world in which Jews must exist as a part of that larger body of humanity. It was never intended to provide advice or guidelines for non-Jews, though such guidelines may be (and have been) inferred from it. I pointed out to Drake that it is inappropriate to “criticize” this literature for not providing such information, because that was not its purpose. One might as well criticize a cookbook for not including motorcycle-repair instructions, or a self-help book about quitting smoking for not addressing drug addictions in general. Now, it’s not entirely incidental, of course, that the instructions for a pilot program redeeming one of the families of the earth should contain information that can be generalized to other families; but to criticize a lack of generalized information is just not correctly appreciating the nature and purpose of the existing literature.

Comment by ProclaimLiberty (emph. mine)
Submitted 2015/06/30 at 10:53 a.m.
On Why Do Christians Hate Judaism

That explains a lot.

I actually like the references to the non-Jewish disciples of Yeshua (Jesus) in the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) being referred to as a “pilot program” (I know PL used “pilot program” as applied to the Jewish people and then generalized to the rest of us, but I think my interpretation fits better). It makes perfect sense. The phrase brings into clarity what I think we’ve been struggling with in the conversation taking place on the aforementioned blog post, as well as the one that started this whole thing out.

I don’t know if the Apostle Paul ever intended to flesh out his “pilot program” and develop a full-fledged halachah for the non-Jewish disciples. Maybe not. I’ve read more than one commentary stating that Paul believed the Messianic return was imminent, so he probably didn’t think he had to do anything but put band-aids on gushing arteries because Yeshua was going to be back so fast, he’d heal all our wounds.

Oops.

divorceThis also explains why, with the passage of time, the Gentiles decided to take matters into their own hands and, in a rather ugly divorce, separate themselves from their Jewish mentors and invent an identity of their own, one that diminished if not deleted the Jewish role in the redemptive plan of God through Moshiach (Christ).

Maybe I’ve been a little hard on the Church Fathers. Maybe they thought that turning against the Messianic Jews, all other Jews, and Israel was an unfortunate but necessary step if Gentile lives and souls were to mean anything at all, at least in a more fully developed form.

No real identity, role, or function for the Gentile disciples in Jewish space? No problem. Leave Jewish community and create an identity, role, and function for non-Jewish believers, excuse me, “Christians” that stands on its own legs, without any sort of need for Judaism. Heck, if they were stinging from being put on long-term hold in a “pilot program,” they’d just take it to the next level and write a theology that made Israel and the Jewish people the “bad guys”.

And it worked, at least, from a Christian perspective, for the past eighteen-hundred years or so.

Then, as Derek Leman recently wrote, Messianic Judaism had a “revival” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and then later in the 1960s. From there, after a few missteps, it picked up steam and is now beginning to realize itself as an authentic Judaism again.

And as I’ve said before, with Jewish realization of their identity in Messiah, there also came a Gentile realization that said, “I’m no longer the center of Christ’s attention, anymore” (not that we ever were).

And it’s not too far a walk from that point to, “I’m not only not the center of attention, but I’m pretty much irrelevant.”

Of course that defies certain statements in the Bible such as Galatians 3:28 which seems to establish some common ground between Jews and Gentiles in the Messianic ekklesia, but I think it stands to reason that if you admit the centrality of Israel, Judaism, and the Jewish people in God’s redemptive plan for the world, then the only place for Christians to go once they leave the pitcher’s mound is either the outfield, or more likely, the bleachers (the parking lot? …maybe a few miles away from the ballpark?).

shakespeareI’ve mentioned before that when Israel becomes the head of all the nations and King Messiah reigns from Jerusalem over not only Israel but over the rest of the world, the rest of the world will be composed of vassal nations, subservient to the head nation, the Jewish nation.

For some reason, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 57 comes to mind:

Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you.
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu;
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But like a sad slave, stay and think of nought,
Save, where you are how happy you make those.
So true a fool is love that in your will
Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.

Of course, the accepted commentary on this sonnet states this is the lament of a neglected friend regarding a companion who has abandoned him and gone off adventuring with others, but I think it could be applied to the current discussion.

I know I’m probably exaggerating, but this series of blog posts are an evolutionary exploration into who or what non-Jews in Messiah are if at all in relationship with Jewish community.

In the blog post I mentioned at the top of today’s missive, I commented that the worst case scenario (for Gentiles) in the Messianic Age, given what I’ve just said, is a true “bilateral ecclesiology,” one extending world-wide with the Jewish people in Israel and the rest of us in our own nations, perhaps only visiting Israel on special occasions to pay homage to our Lord, but otherwise, as the defeated nations that had vainly attacked (or from the present’s point of view, will attack) Israel and were conquered and shamed for our efforts, we remain in our place and tend to our own affairs and only come to the King if summoned.

I wonder if the pilot program was ever meant to be developed further, even by Messiah, since the rather dystopian scenario (for Gentiles) I’ve just crafted doesn’t really need a lot more detail than said-pilot program provides.

solomon

I wonder if there’s a Gentile application to Solomon’s Ecclesiastes? We poor, dumb Christians rule and reign in our churches for eighteen-hundred years thinking we have the proverbial tiger by the tail, only to realize that we are the tail and we’re no tiger, not by a long shot.

Each and every insult, pogrom, persecution, injustice, and inquisition Christianity has ever visited upon the Jewish people in eighteen or so centuries is going to come back and land right on our collective necks with a solid, concrete “thump”.

Maybe the reason Gentiles don’t fit into Messianic Judaism is that we were never meant to. Maybe Mark Kinzer’s vision of separate silos for Jews and Gentiles is intended to be carried over into the Messianic Era. Maybe we had our chance to stay loyal to the Jewish people and Israel during the Age of the Apostles, but once we walked out of the house, so to speak, and slammed the door in Messianic Jewish faces, there was no going back…

…ever.

I see now why the Pastor and just about all of the other people I described Messianic Judaism to at that little Baptist church I used to attend didn’t accept a word of it. I know why “One Law” Hebrew Roots Christians (no, you aren’t “Messianic Judaism”) can’t accept it either. It’s a terribly humbling realization and one accepted only with great difficulty and personal reorganization of who we are. We can never be who we thought we were. Those people never existed, at least not to God.

What was Solomon’s point in writing Ecclesiastes again?

Oh, yeah.

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NASB)

Yes, God will judge us, may He have mercy on the nations. Except that keeping His commandments, if you mean the Torah mitzvot, only “applies to every person” (assuming Solomon didn’t mean “every Jew” since his primary audience was most certainly exclusively Jewish), in the broadest possible sense.

torahOf course, it’s dangerous to attempt to apply any of the Jewish scriptures (and even the Apostolic texts are Jewish scriptures written by Jews for Jews) to non-Jews in any sense, so I’m skating on proverbial thin ice (a very hazardous thing given that it’s triple digit highs in and around Boise for the foreseeable future).

Yes, I’m being pessimistic. Half the time, I want to take this “religion thing” and say “to heck with it…if I’m not supposed to belong to the club, I’ll leave.”

Maybe Thomas Gray was correct when he penned in his poem “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College:”

“Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”

While Christians were ignorant of their/our true place in the ekklesia and their/our station in the future Kingdom of Messiah, we felt like Kings and Queens, reigning and ruling with Jesus, King of the Hill, Top of the Heap, and so on.

Given the “alternate reality” I’ve just constructed, we’d better duck and run when Messiah really does return for treating the Jewish people and Israel so badly, especially if all of the nations we live in (everywhere except Israel) are going to war against God’s precious, splendorous people, and, as the Bible says, we’re going to get our fannies whooped.

So wising up, I look around and find that I’m just part of a pilot project, a starter kit, a house made of cards with cotton candy for a roof and play-doh for a foundation.

No wonder I’ve felt so “unfinished” or maybe just “unmade” in my version of being a “Messianic Gentile.”

But it all fits. It explains everything, particularly why there are so many questions and so few, if any, answers.

We really were never meant to go as far as we tried to go, were never meant to rise as high as we tried to fly.

Like Icarus, now that I’ve flown close enough to the Sun to see the truth, my wax wings have melted and I plummet to earth like a broken angel, though I’m hardly angelic.

“Being your slave, what should I do but tend upon the hours and times of your desire” indeed.

icarusI think I’d better crawl on my knees in abject humility or humiliation for the incredible arrogance I’ve been guilty of in even imagining I could be more or, worse yet, that I was more.

I don’t think I’ve understood being a servant up until now, not really.

A fallen servant is one whose wings have melted, and wallowing in soggy, warm wax, all I can do to serve is to scoop up some of that gooey, messy stuff. Maybe it’ll be good enough to make into a few candles to light the way, should the King decide to return by the road that winds past my small place.

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73 thoughts on “The Pilot Project for the Nations”

  1. @James — There is always a challenge in the process of scaling upward from a pilot program to a full-scale production program, much as a recipe often must be adjusted in significant ways if it is to be used to feed many times the original number of servings. One must begin, however, from a successfully operating pilot program or a thoroughly-tested recipe. Due to the upheavals of the late first century and second century, I’m not convinced that the original recipe for gentile discipleship to a Jewish Messiah was ever fully developed; and there were certainly some fundamental errors made in trying to scale it up for all humanity. Certainly there have been complaints about the scarcity of program documentation. Moreover, there have been lots of failures that crashed and burned in prior attempts to develop a full-sized program; and too many folks have become accustomed to the quirks of the kluge that has been clanking along for some while, to be willing to scrap it and build something better. There was some effort to start fresh in the USA of the 1960s, and there are some such efforts even now, but their development was often lacking key information.

    So now we find ourselves trying to reconstruct a working model even for something on the scale of the original gentile-discipleship pilot program. We may finally have a model for the post-exile Jewish program, but I can’t say that it can yet be claimed to be fully functional. I’d say that this is a very exciting time to become involved in the project, but maybe you need to be an engineer to appreciate that perspective. For everyone else, we’re stuck with encouraging them to please be patient, because HaShem isn’t finished with us yet. Even the builders are still scratching their heads about exactly how to place that “cornerstone” (actually the capstone of an arch), that has no longer been rejected, to enable everything to fit together around it just right.

  2. James,

    Don’t let “PL” discourage you. If the Bible was only written to Jews then why does it begin with a story about Adam (humanity’s universal ancestor) who lived in the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life and then later it ends with all of mankind, Adam’s descendants (excluding idolaters), in the NEW Garden of Eden (the New Jerusalem) with everyone partaking of the Tree of Life?

    It’s begins with a message for all humans and ends with a message for all humans. Paradise is lost but through Yeshua paradise is eventually restored–for all mankind.

    Don’t let PL’s blindness to this obviously universal message get you down! G-d loves everyone! And He wrote the Bible for ALL humanity!

    : )

    This is good news, yes?

  3. PL said:

    There is always a challenge in the process of scaling upward from a pilot program to a full-scale production program, much as a recipe often must be adjusted in significant ways if it is to be used to feed many times the original number of servings. One must begin, however, from a successfully operating pilot program or a thoroughly-tested recipe. Due to the upheavals of the late first century and second century, I’m not convinced that the original recipe for gentile discipleship to a Jewish Messiah was ever fully developed…

    Yes, exactly. And even if that model had been fully developed in the first and second centuries CE, unless it continued to progress forward in time toward the present, the original model as it was wouldn’t be applicable. Imagine Jews from the late Second Temple period suddenly appearing in our world today and attempting to teach modern Orthodox Jews about their halachah.

    Two-thousand years of development in defining and refining Judaism to adapt to the demands of history would make that a very difficult thing to do, just as taking first century non-Jewish Messianic disciple practices and applying them to modern Gentile believers today, even within Messianic Judaism.

    I wrote this blog post yesterday evening after a particularly difficult day, so it is cast in the most cynical light possible. I had a reasonably good night’s sleep and an incredible workout at the gym this morning, so I’m feeling better now.

    I still think we have a long row to hoe before we “Messianic Gentiles” are going to get any traction as far as who we are and what God wants us to do, beyond the generic “do good” (although if what we’re here to do is kindness, charity, and generosity, that’s really not a bad thing).

    @Peter: In spite of what you may believe based on what I wrote above, PL doesn’t have all that much influence on me. I respect is knowledge and amazing perspective on what it is to be a Jew in Messiah and I’d love to meet him face to face, but he doesn’t actually impact my emotions and mood.

    In fact, the way he used the term “pilot program” isn’t quite the way I originally understood it. But through my misunderstanding, I arrived at something I’ve suspected for awhile now. I realize just how difficult it is to integrate non-Jews within a Jewish social and communal space. No wonder many of James’ (Ya’akov, the brother of Yeshua) associates couldn’t imagine how the non-Jews could benefit from any of the New Covenant blessings unless they converted. It’s a very difficult concept to grasp.

    I also appreciate more what Paul had to go through. Transitioning pagan idol worshipers and polytheists into Jewish ethical monotheism must have been a tremendously difficult task. No wonder he sounded so frustrated in some of his letters to the diaspora Goyim disciples.

    Also, imagine how alien it must have been for those former pagans to begin to fathom anything about Judaism at all. The very idea of only One God, who is not made into an image, who is simultaneously everywhere and in the Temple in Jerusalem, who had a Son who is Divine, who died, who was resurrected…it must have been a fantastic leap of faith that allowed them to partake of Yeshua worship at all.

    We Gentiles have had nearly 2,000 years to “friendly up” Moshiach, rename him Jesus Christ, and make him very, very familiar, not an alien King from a foreign land and a strange, almost incomprehensible culture.

    A lot of that “Jesus is my best friend” mindset has covertly transfered over with the non-Jewish believers to both Messianic Judaism and Hebrew Roots, the movements you and I identify with respectively. We can’t imagine, even a really Jewish Yeshua as I believe he truly is. We cannot fathom the grandeur, the power, the glory he will possess upon his return. We can’t and probably would avoid confronting the fact that when his Kingdom is fully established on Earth, especially for the nations (including me and thee), we will experience a rule and reign like nothing we have experienced, like nothing that has ever happened to human beings before.

    It won’t be familiar. Some of it might not even be friendly. Remember, we’ll be living in lands (America in all likelihood) that have actively attacked and sought to destroy Israel down to the last Jewish man, women, and child. They’ll be a lot of sucking up to do by our governmental representatives every year when they travel to Jerusalem for Sukkot.

    If we can face that vision and understand completely what it means to us and how we will not be sitting in the catbird’s seat or anywhere near it, if we can accept being servants and citizens of a nation vassal and subservient to the Jewish nation of Israel, if we can embrace life on our knees before the greatest King who has ever walked the face of our planet, we will be in much better intellectual and emotional shape to welcome King Messiah when he actually returns.

    You bring up the end of the Book of Revelation, and those events occur way past the Messianic Era. At some far flung future time, even the Temple passes away and God and the Lamb will be the Temple. Many other things will be different as we progress into eternity, but in the meantime, we have a lot of adjustments to make.

    Yes, God loves everyone (“Love wins”) but that doesn’t mean everyone is the same. That doesn’t mean God has set aside his unique covenant relationship with Israel and transfered that all to humanity across the board. Israel will always, always be special to God in a way the rest of us will never be, because God chose Israel for a special and specific purpose that only they can fulfill.

    The rest of us have a reason and purpose for existing and living and we are called to serve God in our own way.

    In Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” as the Adversary was about to be thrown into the pit, he said, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”

    I believe it is better to serve in the nations as part of the Kingdom than to vainly imagine we Gentiles will reign at the Master’s right hand.

    But to do that, we have to empty ourselves of every personal aspiration we have that we think makes us somehow better, special, or elevated, compared to Israel. We have to submit totally to the Master, swearing fealty, accepting his rule without question, even if he doesn’t always command us to do what we want or believe we deserve.

    We deserve nothing. God doesn’t owe us anything. We exist by His grace and mercy alone. Anything we have beyond that is because God loves us, not because He owes us or we merit it.

  4. @Peter — The reason why the Jewish story begins and ends with descriptions of all humanity is because Jews are a fully native subset of that humanity, and remain so. Genesis provides context to show where Jews come from and where they (we) fit into the created order. It is part of the Jewish assignment to enlighten the remainder of humanity, hence we needed to see the bigger, “universal”, perspective on it. Just because our literature contains some universally true messages does not make the literature itself universal rather than particularistic to Jews.

    Sorry if you find that discouraging, because it is that very particularistic focus which is actually responsible for providing good news for the rest of humanity, via HaShem’s Jewish pilot project for human redemption — which is how I first used the term that James has re-applied here to another incomplete pilot project for expanding the original project to include gentile redemption.

  5. Why, Drake — Are you trying to characterize our exchanges here as akin to the disagreements between the discontented Inanna and her father Enki who wouldn’t let her distribute the “mes” to Uruk? [:)] I don’t see how this connects to Nimrod’s tower project at Babel, though. BTW, do you happen to know if this legendary “Enki” is the same “Enkido” who fought alongside Gilgamesh against the Great Bull of Heaven?

  6. I’ve read more than one commentary stating that Paul believed the “Messianic return was imminent, so he probably didn’t think he had to do anything but put band-aids on gushing arteries because Yeshua was going to be back so fast, he’d heal all our wounds.

    Oops.”

    If Paul and the other Apostles got this wrong, it makes me wonder what else they might have gotten wrong. It negates the entire notion of God-breathed, New Testament scriptures. The Tanakh wasn’t written to me or for me and now I can dump the NT also! Buddhism is looking more attractive every day.

  7. PL:

    There were nearly 70 mes/decrees/social directives that the gods of Sumer supposedly (I don’t worship them or anything) gave to the nations of the world. In other myths, Asherah had 70 sons (which I believed seeded the earth if I am not mistaken), spurring the flood myth.

    But the mes would be like the G-d of the Bible telling a Scythian what it means to be a Scythian, and to a Greek what it means to be a Greek. The average person rests assured that he didn’t make any of it up, but that his identity and actions align with heaven.

    Ancient peoples of all stripes saw the need to relate to the divine. They also, like the Hebrews, viewed divine decree as an act of creation in and of itself. In Enki and the World Order, this is how the Sumerian nations reckon themselves as being “created.” You mentioned that there is a disorienting and denuding act of purge, and I suppose this is the other side of the coin.

    Torah just answers this story by G-d scrambling and baby-proofing Mesopotamian powergrabs, but not determining any clear destiny.

    Enkidu is not Enki. “En” is analog to the Canaanite morpheme “El,” or Lord or “Adon.” Ki means Earth. Enki lived in the underworld as the En of Ki, so to speak.

  8. @Steve: I believe the Bible is “God-breathed,” that is, the Spirit of God inspired and directed the human writers. However, that doesn’t mean God directly dictated, word-for-word, what the Bible says. There is as much a human influence in the Bible as a Heavenly influence. That’s one of the reasons there is variation in the four gospels when describing a common event.

    Paul had spiritual and even mystic encounters with Messiah, but the Apostle may not have literally known everything about exactly how God’s redemptive plan was supposed to work, and particularly about issues of timing. To the best of my knowledge, Paul wasn’t the only apostle who thought that Yeshua would return in a few years or in a few decades. I think the apostle John, the last of the apostles to expire, died wondering why Yeshua hadn’t returned yet.

    The Bible is a unique document and it is said that there is a Heavenly Torah as well as an earthly one, but it is not perfectly, internally consistent. Many translators and theologians have tried to smooth over and harmonize the differences, but they continue to exist. That means there is human frailty woven into the Bible’s fabric as well as Divine light.

    That hardly means the Bible is useless as a guide, and in fact, it’s the single most unique and important document in all of human history. That said, there’s still room for Paul to get the timing of Messiah’s return wrong.

  9. Yeah, it just wasn’t written for/to 99.9% of the world’s population. Lot of bloody good that is!

  10. I did say the purpose of my writing this blog post was to confront some uncomfortable truths about the nature of our existence and who we are in Messiah. I didn’t say it would be easy or particularly comforting.

  11. I always notice Kari and Marlene talk about “we all have equal access,” and “everyone is loved of G-d,” and Paul’s egalitarian language “neither this nor that.” Then there is Jesus’ statement to the centurion about people coming from East and West and the originals getting the boot.

    I’m sorry, but none of that – theirs or Paul’s – actually seems to line up with the hard facts of the Messianic Kingdom, at least not in the overall sense you describe. That’s why it agitates me when someone tries to placate me by saying I should stop hand wringing and know that Jesus made me a “holy priesthood” or his “elect.” I don’t see it. At least not its substance.

  12. Or other statements that “we all have equal access.” I just don’t believe that in my takeaway from the Bible. I just don’t.

  13. “That’s why it agitates me when someone tries to placate me by saying I should stop hand wringing and know that Jesus made me a “holy priesthood” or his “elect.”

    People who do this are practicing misintegration: taking a fact and turning it into an abstraction.

  14. @Drake: To quote Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) from the first Iron Man film: “Is it too much to ask for both?”

    Somehow, in spite of my rather doom and gloom depiction of the Messianic Age above, the Gentiles are included. Every knee shall bow.

    And then there’s this:

    “Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
    To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord,
    To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath
    And holds fast My covenant;
    Even those I will bring to My holy mountain
    And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
    Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar;
    For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”
    The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares,
    “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”

    Isaiah 56:6-8 (NASB)

    Gentiles have/will join themselves to the Lord, minister to Him, love the Name of the Lord, are/will be servants to Him, don’t profane the sabbath and hold fast to His covenant.

    I’m not sure how that works out since technically we aren’t directly named in any of the covenants, particularly the New Covenant, but that’s how it reads in Isaiah.

    Also, God will bring us to His Holy Mountain, that is, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Temple will be a house of prayer for all of us, and our burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on His altar in the Temple.

    So not only will God gather the dispersed of Israel back to their Land, but also the Gentiles will be gathered to God.

    I know this presents quite a puzzle, but somehow, because of our Abraham-like faith in God through the faithfulness of Messiah, all that I wrote above will come to pass.

    And yet, Israel will become the head of the nations and the people of the nations of the earth will be servants to Israel and her King.

    My guess is that it isn’t a bad thing to be the sheep of the other fold as long as King Messiah is our shepherd, but none of that erases the fact that the sheep of the first fold are Jews and that fold is Israel.

  15. Steve:

    Was it you who sent me all those Ayn Rand links?

    I don’t think this just makes people give up on religion. That’s the easy route. Atheists have no problem with a compassionless and random universe and yet still revering it. It makes no sense to leap from disbelief to belief and suddenly assume it’s a bonanza of wish fulfillment.

    So no, Steve. I’m not going to become a devotee of Ayn Rand. Though I love her thoughts on Capitalism, my criticism of Rand will echo Camille Paglia who criticizes Feminism: markets and gender are not full cosmologies, and they don’t alone explain all of life. Rand’s books overextended markets into the soul to where the superhumans in her novels were purely objective creatures who did not think about life beyond production and transaction. The men were rock-jawed titans and the women were daringly beautiful, perfect, and brooked zero thought beyond career. The looters were all ugly and gray. Dagny’s misplaced optimism about people, Galt’s everspinning mind. The characters don’t seem like real humans, nor do they seem dynamic as to have developed far beyond accepting a magical key to life that’s as eschatological as the religion Rand criticizes. Its end goal is the complete full integration of reason and emotion, a tectonic shift in human nature. The brochure looks nice.

    When robot automation converts the world into a zero-based economy with no workers earning income, but no real production costs either, all of Rand’s characters will have been outstripped by truly objective creatures.

    Atlas Shrugged was a how-to book for gods to achieve apotheosis. It’s a spectacular outlook for someone willing to run a business and has its cherished place in the annals of high thought and American Liberty which is now on the lam. I felt Dangys rage in high school. But for deep questions of the soul? Alas Steve, abandoning the Bible will not help you. You are still living your life under the yoke of the prophetic Jewish voice if you live like an objectivist. One cannot run from G-d.

    Think about it.

  16. I don’t think it was me. Have recently had a discussion about Rand and libertarianism. I posted something about the DIM Hypothesis which may have been from someone who is an Objectivist. Refresh my memory. This isn’t the only place I post.

  17. When robot automation converts the world into a zero-based economy with no workers earning income, but no real production costs either, all of Rand’s characters will have been outstripped by truly objective creatures.

    !YEP!

  18. I don’t go around telling people they are “elect” or we all have “equal” access, etc. (and haven’t said it to you or anyone here).

  19. Speaking of optimism, we lost Glass Steagall under Clinton because he knew he could take advantage. Maybe he was stupid enough to be so optimistic, too. I doubt it. I think he decided to cash in.

  20. Hello again James ~

    I must admit upfront that I have only skimmed the 23 comments so far and I don’t intend to jump into that conversation because I have another thought I wanted to share and I don’t think what your post made me think of was addressed above.

    Where you are seem to be in your writing today, and where some of the above commenters seem to be, is where our family has been for a few years. I think I’m starting to come out of it and into a good space, but I can’t say the same for my family. The realization that we’re not who we were taught we were is a hard one, and the realization that we’re simply slaves is another hard hit in our affluent Western world. But I think it’s the perfect place to begin. We can’t be built properly if our foundation is askew.

    My husband and I are listening to DTLs sermon series’ separately but at the same time. Today we listened to “The Stone The Builders Rejected” in the Virgin Birth series. I was reminded of something he said there when I read your post, and I was reminded of many of our family discussions as I read your post as well. I’ll try not to write my own post here.

    DTL spoke of the stories of young King David, his conception, and the instruction of his mother when he was young. To make a good and long story short, young David was born from what was expected to be a sinful union, he was unrecognized by his father and brothers and considered a mamzer, but his mother knew the truth and instructed him as he grew to receive their taunts and ill will with grace because one day the truth would be made known. He was rejected by his own father and brothers, they taunted him and treated him as a slave. Somehow young David doesn’t return their insults nor does he defend himself so much. He takes his lumps as he was instructed. Then one day the Prophet Samuel comes to anoint the next king and who does he choose but the one that Jesse doesn’t even consider as his son. “The stone that the builders rejected has become the corner stone” indeed!
    If this was true of King David, and if this was also true of our Master Yeshua, is there something we can glean for ourselves as servants of our Master? I don’t mean that we’re assuming a kingship or a high place, I mean that we should glean from this how to walk when we’re misjudged, rejected, accused, and looked on as outsiders. After all, we aim to walk as He walked to the best of our ability and that is more than outward appearances, language, and diet. It is our hearts that are supposed to change, we yield to HaShem because of our Holy Master. Our character, our very being, is supposed to change into something that resembles His. Even when we feel rejected and we ARE rejected. That should drive us deeper into teshuva and developing stronger positive character/ethics. A tree is known by its fruit.

    If we as non-Jews will “major on the majors” by focusing on elevating our souls before HaShem as our lives display the fruit of the Spirit, as we strengthen good character, as we love at all times, as we do good – what more should we be focusing our attention on? I’m not aware of any limits that Judaism places on us in this.

    A long while ago you wrote a bit about how strengthening our character was all that mattered, everyone has their own tikkun and our job is only to focus on our own tikkun. I remember this because it burned my bacon at the time. You see, I had come to this understanding too but something was missing, and I had gone from feeling lost to a bit annoyed that I couldn’t solve that missing piece in a way that my soul felt at peace about. As of right now, this is what I’d include to my reminder of your previous posts: We do it BECAUSE our Holy Master came to prove to His brothers the faithfulness of HaShem’s promises to the fathers and *so that the Gentiles might glorify HaShem*. (see Romans 15:8-9) How do we glorify Him? By how we live, how we walk before HaShem, how we wear the Name of our Master. Do our lives bring HaShem glory, honor, and joy through our Master Yeshua? THIS is why we grow, because we wear His Name somehow, even as non-Jews. It is in THIS that we are united with Israel in fellowship – spurring one another on to love and good works, to the love of G-d’s word (because this is where we learn Who He Is), and hastening the coming of our Master to set all things in their rightful place.

    So if that means we’ll be street sweepers in the Kingdom, so be it. If we’re garbage collectors, field workers, shepherds – so be it. But is that any different than being “out here” and continuing to spur one another on to love and good works while the King sits on the Throne in Jerusalem? What’s the difference? We’re either living our lives to bring the Kingdom here to our little piece of the planet or we’re not. Of course I would long to be where my King is, but if I’m prevented from being there then I’ll have to find peace being out here with whoever else is out here with me. Maybe it won’t be so bad. After all, HaShem works everything out perfectly.

  21. G-d loved mankind long before Abraham arrived on the scene. He gave general information about how man should live. They didn’t do it well. God used Noah, and then Abraham, and the descendants thereof to show that even with rules, mankind was an egotistical, rebellious creature.

    The entire point being made, with show and tell being perpetrated on the Israelites as a demonstration, is that man cannot do life properly without G-d. The Israelites presumably were told they were to follow the Covenant for Blessing or Cursing, and that they should perhaps inform others of these important facts. All goyim among them had to be treated as one of them. They did not do that well. They weren’t good at the covenants either. If any were to be truly righteous, someone other than man was going to have to save man from himself.

    Yeshua came, died, rose, and sent the Disciples out to get the word spread…G-d is G-d, and He has a plan for us. It is not in the Israelite’s hands to tell G-d what to do with those Gentiles, particularly since in Abraham all the world is to be blessed.

    Yes, the Israelites get Israel, and a higher position that the goyim within the government of Yeshua. I’m fine with that. I have Yeshua now, and the Ruach, and I know that G-d blesses me. I don’t have to be ‘elect’ among the Israelites. I need only love G-d and enjoy Him loving me.

    Yeshua was the first to say that the ‘first would be last and the last first”. I do not say that Yeshua meant Gentiles, just that we cannot know who has what rank or position until we face Yeshua, and find out if we have anything except the promised wage of the worker in the vineyard. Gentiles are late on the scene, but we love G-d despite the fact that He has not given us extra special rules to live by. He gave us Yeshua, and the Ruach, and one day, we, along with the Israelites will be Incorrupt, and serving G-d as He desires…not what Jews or Gentiles desire. I am fine with that.

    Work out your salvation with traumas and phobias, as Shaul said, and stop looking to other men for instruction and advice on how to be a good Jew when we are Gentiles. Look to the Scriptures that were written to Jews about what G-d wants of everyone, with Jews supposedly giving a good example, and lean on G-d, Yeshua and the Ruach to do as G-d wishes to the best of your ability.

    We really cannot do more, and I am no longer waiting for someone to tell me what the Ruach wants me to do. I am just doing it.

  22. Ah, despair. Behold the true fruit of bilateral ecclesiology. You’re just a second-class citizen and don’t really mean all that much to God.

    Except the Word doesn’t support your words.

    Ephesians 2:11-3:6 as one of many places. Fellow heirs, fellow members, fellow partakers, etc… 4:4 ONE Body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism…

    One Shepherd, One flock/kingdom, one Torah. (Ez. 37:15-28; particularly 22ff).

    The Jews are not a ‘pilot project,’ They are the rich root into which we are grafted, and, being grafted in, I am now a part of the tree, partaker of the promises and recipient of the covenantS.

  23. Lisa said:

    The realization that we’re not who we were taught we were is a hard one, and the realization that we’re simply slaves is another hard hit in our affluent Western world.

    And that’s my point, or one of them. The Church taught us that Christians are the center of God’s attention, not Israel. Even those of us who have transitioned, either to Messianic Judaism or Hebrew Roots, have still carried that idea with us. When we really, really understand how Israel-centric and Judaism-centric the Bible is, we, in all likelihood, enter into an existential crisis, which is perfectly normal. If we can survive culturally and spiritually, we’ll be in much better shape to face the reality of the coming Messianic Kingdom.

    But survival is a tough one. It’s hard not to get “bluesy” if not downright depressed.

    Lisa said:

    If we as non-Jews will “major on the majors” by focusing on elevating our souls before HaShem as our lives display the fruit of the Spirit, as we strengthen good character, as we love at all times, as we do good – what more should we be focusing our attention on? I’m not aware of any limits that Judaism places on us in this.

    Exactly.

    So if that means we’ll be street sweepers in the Kingdom, so be it.

    Yes, you get what I’ve been saying. Thank you.

    Questor said:

    Yes, the Israelites get Israel, and a higher position that the goyim within the government of Yeshua. I’m fine with that. I have Yeshua now, and the Ruach, and I know that G-d blesses me. I don’t have to be ‘elect’ among the Israelites. I need only love G-d and enjoy Him loving me.

    A rather famous portion of the Pirkei Avot states: “Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his lot.” Once we non-Jews in Messiah can be “satisfied with our lot,” the blessings of Hashem and His Spirit, then we realize we are lacking nothing.

    Pete said:

    Ah, despair. Behold the true fruit of bilateral ecclesiology. You’re just a second-class citizen and don’t really mean all that much to God.

    Really, Pete. I thought better of you than to simply drop by to gloat because your interpretation of the Bible doesn’t believe Israel is elevated above the nations.

    I’ve been beaten over the head by Ephesians 2 for years and finally come to realize that this passage, and the rest of the Bible, is far more nuanced and subtle when taken as a whole than most of us were taught to believe, especially as we read it in English from a western, 21st century CE perspective.

    One humanity, in which the Jewish people and Isarel form a very specific and elevated sub-set, is indeed one and will be one in Messiah in the coming age. That said, and I’ve mentioned this many, many times before, unity doesn’t not mean uniformity. The universe is not egalitarian. There will always be a “command structure” and God will always be in charge of the universe He created.

    But that also means King Messiah is King, exalted above all earthy kings, powers, or authorities. It means Israel will be elevated to the head of all the nations, and quite frankly, as far as authority goes, the rest of the nations will *not* be the head, nor will their citizens, the Gentiles, be the head, even Christian citizens.

    That doesn’t mean we are not loved. After all, as Questor said above, we have Yeshua as our King, the grace and mercy of God, and the Spirit, through which we will perceive God as did the prophets of old.

    Most non-Jews and I suspect not a few modern Jews do not really understand how different Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom will be…how Jewish it will be. It’s not going to be Christianity wearing a kippah. It will be a radically different reality in which we will live our lives in a way we can’t even imagine.

    We must be prepared to adapt to an identity we may not always find palatable. If you could see this through my eyes, I’m sure you’d experience the same “tail spin” as well, and hopefully pull out of it in time, as I and Lisa have. Once you do, your whole vision of the world, Messiah, and everything will be changed.

  24. @Drake and Marleen:

    I’m reading a book by Daniel H. Pink called A Whole New Mind which has the subtitle “Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future”. Pink doesn’t think all jobs will be automated but does agree that the skills required for jobs in the future will be quite different than how we’ve traditionally seen them.

  25. @Lisa W — I think I’ve got some idea, now, of the jobs you’d rather not be assigned in the millennial kingdom under Jewish administration, even if you’ve acquired the grace and humility to make them into honorable work. If I get any opportunity to put in a good word for you at the Human Resources department, I’ll try to do so. [:)] However, if you think about it, when the streets are paved with gold, a street sweeper could make out like a bandit, just by gleaning from the scrapings and shavings of wear and tear on the surfaces where vehicles are starting and stopping. (Please take note that I’m invoking a lot of metaphor, here, to lighten the mood with a bit of humor [I hope].)

    If we think about the jobs performed by some gentile employees in the ancient Israeli commonwealth, such as “hewers of wood” and “drawers of water”, not only was Israel commanded to treat them fairly, which was incredibly advanced compared to common working conditions in that era, but updating such work into a modern technological society would place them into positions at the heart of the societal infrastructure. Energy supply is crucial to any modern society, and represents quite a variety of skilled and unskilled jobs. Wood-working in the building and furnishings trades is also quite honorable, even if most of the final products of building construction in Israel are actually stone, concrete, glass, and metals, though wood is used in concrete forming processes. Water supply and management (and waste-water treatment) are also crucial. There is an ancient legacy among Jews regarding work and honest workers as honorable, including in modern Israel; and I see no reason why this attitude would not characterize employment in the millennial kingdom.

    So, while humility is always a commendable trait, gentiles really should not become pessimistic about their positions in a kingdom under Jewish administration.

  26. PL~

    LOL I thought it was cute, too. No worries. But I think you misunderstood me. 😉 Easy to do in this format. I have no problem being a street sweeper, or say – a vine dresser, or a shepherd, or a field worker, or whatever other job I may have mentioned. I have no problem sleeping in a dusty tent up on a windy mountain in the cold rain and in the dry heat. I have no problem going with one cold shower a week while doing this work and the same meals every.day.for.weeks, either. And paying our own way to do this work for free, even. You may catch my drift. What I’m saying is that even if these tasks are what are our assignment will be, *if* we are called to the land where our King is, so be it. But like you say, energy and infrastructure are necessary and serious positions to be filled in a community, large or small. And the bottom line is like you say, also – honest and trustworthy workers are commendable. We need to become those honest and trustworthy people now rather than waiting for some miraculous change “at the sound of the last trumpet” or “as lightning flashes”.

    I understand that Israel had, has, and will likely continue to have, a proper respect for those of the nations who come to work. When the prophets speak of the people of the nations serving Israel as slaves in those days, there should be no fear here. Maybe in our modern world it’s easier to digest if we use describing phrases like “members of the household” or “household employees”. Or maybe we need to really re-evaluate what we think of HaShem and His instructions regarding even slaves and slavery – do we trust Him, that He is Good?

    James ~

    I’m glad we’re on the same page. It is discouraging when the rug is snapped out from under you and all you’ve known is shaken. It makes it hard to walk. But these are good things, they make us unsteady so that we learn how to walk anew. It causes us to re-evaluate where and how we stand, which is always a good thing! We like to talk about taking the lower seat at the table and letting our host call us up higher, but shaking like this shows us what is really in our hearts. Sometimes it’s an ugly realization.

    But I must admit that wrestling with these things outside of a community (who is, ideally, also wrestling with these things) is the hardest of all. Kudos to you for processing these thoughts “out loud” with so many of us, and the vast number of people who read but don’t participate in the discussion.

  27. I hadn’t actually considered our jobs in the Messianic Kingdom. Since we’ll be living in our countries of origin, I imagine our jobs won’t be all that different than they are now. All I’m attempting to differentiate is the centrality and supremacy of Israel as the head of all nations, and the fact that the rest of the nations of the world, including the United States, will be subservient, vassal nations to Israel.

    The “Church” won’t rule and reign with Yeshua as is often taught in Christian doctrine, but Israel rules. The “saving grace,” if you’ll pardon the expression, is that even the least of us will possess the fullness of the Holy Spirit and will have an apprehension of Hashem greater than John the Immerser (Baptist).

    In this blog post, I emphasized the “lowliness” of the Gentile nations in comparison to Jewish Israel to make my point, not to say that Gentiles had no advantages at all.

    We have the resurrection, just as the Jews have. We have the indwelling of the Spirit, just as the Jews have. Our sacrifices will be accepted on the altar in the Temple in Jerusalem, just as Jewish sacrifices are accepted.

    And Yeshua is our King too, just as he is the King of the Jews.

    But the Jewish people will always be the “apple of Hashem’s eye,” so to speak. That means that my wife and children will be special to God beyond how I’m special to God. As a husband and a father, that’s OK by me.

  28. And another thing. According to Rabbi Kalman Packouz at Aish.com:

    We are now entering the Three Weeks, the time between the 17th of Tamuz (observed Sunday, July 5th) and the 9th of Av (starting Saturday day night, July 25th). This is a period when many tragedies happened to the Jewish people. Why do we mourn the loss of the Temple after so many years? What did and does it mean to us?

    The Temple was a central focal point of the Jewish people. Three times a year — Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot — the Jews living in the Land of Israel came to worship and celebrate at the Temple. It offered us the ultimate opportunity to come close to the Almighty, to elevate ourselves spiritually. It represented the purpose of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel — to be a holy people united with the Almighty in our own land … a Jewish state. That is what we seek to regain and that is why we mourn and remember the loss of what we once had.

    Lest in all of this dialogue we miss just how much the Jewish people have suffered and how much they have lost, often times because of the Church and certainly because of the Gentile nations, it seems not only fair but just that since God has allowed the Jewish people to linger in exile for so long, He also restore everything that was taken from them, just as everything was restored to Job after his suffering.

    The Gentiles have been in charge, not only of the world governments but, for the last nearly 2,000 years, of Messiah worship through the Christian Church. Messiah and his true identity will also be restored to Israel in due time.

    We Gentiles have had it long enough.

  29. Sorry to keep commenting while not in direct response to anyone, but I read the following yesterday, and I think it applies to the current conversation:

    Although during the time that a person is experiencing these challenges, it is often difficult to see beyond the frustrations and setbacks of the moment, Rav Pam reminds us that, especially when dealing with such an important goal, we must realize that these impediments are tools of Hashem’s mercy, and He desires only that in the end we make the proper decisions.

    The message that we must learn from this Torah chapter is one that applies to all of us, during every event of our lives. Sadly, often we do not recognize the great kindnesses that Hashem performs for us, and, like Bilam, we become angry at the “misfortunes” and “setbacks” with which we must deal. In truth, we must realize the vastness of Hashem’s protection, and, unlike Bilam who repeatedly struck his donkey to urge it to move, happily allow Him to continue protecting us.

    -from “A Mussar Thought for the Day,” p. 165
    Wednesday’s study of Parashas Balak
    A Daily Dose of Torah

    Although this was written for a Jewish audience, I think this particular piece of advice can be generalized to the rest of us. In realizing the humility of our status as non-Jews in the Messianic Kingdom, we must not take what we have learned about ourselves and imagine that this is a setback or a misfortune in our lives. That would lead to behavior like we see coming from Bilam in this week’s Torah portion.

    Whoever we are and whatever our future, this too is from Hashem and indeed, for our benefit. Once we realize that, we can accept everything from His hand with gratitude.

  30. Who can say, Steve. However long we have to be in charge of the world, the time of the Gentiles will eventually end and Messiah will return to rule as King.

  31. You are right James and I agree with what you’re saying. I took the tangent I did primarily as a way to address the common ideas that “we’ll all be in Israel” and what might that look like? You may have heard that popular saying and the song that goes along with it about how it’s better to spend one day in a menial task IN His courts than a thousand days anywhere else – it’s based on a Psalm. I think many of the ideas that spin off of that may not be what we’ll find when we get there.

    But as you’ve stated, the chances of us remaining “out here” are great. After all, who will populate these nations that send emissaries to Jerusalem to honor the King? I’m sorry for taking that tangent and running with it because it does contradict from your original message.

    Your comments above are good, I particularly appreciate the last one with the quote from A Daily Dose of Torah.

  32. I mean if PAUL thought the Messianic Kingdom was immanent, and HE was wrong, maybe it is all wishful thinking.

  33. Oh, your comments above reminded me of something I heard a bit ago too. In the book of Judges we read of all sorts of upheaval and struggle. “Every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

    It was pointed out that during this period Ephraim was in the lead during these years, not Judah. With a chuckle and a nod to some HR teachings, the statement was made that “Of course there was unrest and everyone did what they damn well pleased – Ephraim was in charge and they aren’t supposed to be. It’s Judah that holds the kingship, and later specifically the line of David. When things are out of order of course they’ll be out of balance. When the rightful people are in leadership, things go as they should.”

    Yes, the Gentiles have been in control long enough and it’s high time to return the reins to the proper leaders. There should be no fear here and no frustration.

  34. Behold, I show you a mystery (maybe), in a consideration of three verses juxtaposed:
    Lk.21:24 – and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
    Hos.6:2 – “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him.
    2Pet.3:8 – But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

    There are some who think the two-thousand year exile that is currently ending may be viewed as two of these sorts of days, and that the Jewish return to Jerusalem has sufficiently diminished any trampling of it by the gentile nations (not counting tourists [:)]). If indeed that “third day” foreseen by Hoshea is dawning, I seriously wouldn’t hold my breath for any 10,000-year rulership by gentiles.

    Just for a fun calculation, if we were to start from the year 67CE when the three-year siege of Jerusalem began (leading up to the destruction of the Temple in 70CE), which is not an unreasonable time to account as trampling on Jerusalem, and add 2000 years of 360 days length (commonly used for calculation of prophetic events such as the appearance of Messiah per Daniel’s 69 weeks), that would bring us to sometime in 2039. Other calculations make that out to be also a Jubilee year. Anybody taking bets on the day and hour of the Messiah’s coming? Any takers for which year? [:)]

  35. Lisa wrote:

    With a chuckle and a nod to some HR teachings, the statement was made that “Of course there was unrest and everyone did what they damn well pleased – Ephraim was in charge and they aren’t supposed to be. It’s Judah that holds the kingship, and later specifically the line of David.

    I hadn’t considered that point of view but I think you’re right. Those of us who have considered ourselves as “Torah observant,” or “Torah compliant,” or “Torah submissive” like to think we’re not doing our own thing but leading lives more in tune with God’s Biblical desires for us.

    How ironic if a Gentile donning tzitzit and laying tefillin because he thinks he’s obligated is actually “doing what’s right in his own eyes.” To be fair, these folks are sincere and actually believe they are obligated, but as I’ve said elsewhere, there’s more than a little ego soothing going on since imagining that Hashem *isn’t* egalitarian is difficult for a lot of folks to swallow.

    @Steve: I don’t think that the Bible is all or nothing anymore than Judaism is all or nothing. If we say that Paul got one little thing wrong, does it mean everything he wrote and taught is wrong? If we say there are certain parts of the Bible that are internally inconsistent, but it mean we throw the whole Bible away?

    The head Pastor of the Baptist church I used to attend was a strict Biblical literalist. God created the world in literally six 24-hour periods. God literally dictated all five books of the Torah to Moses. All four Gospels were literally correct, and where they appeared to diverge, there was a way to make the separate versions harmonize.

    As I said before, there is human influence and input in the Bible, just as there is Divine influence. Not everyone in the Bible made the correct decisions all of the time.

    Ten of the twelve spies who went into Canaan said that the people there could not be conquered. Moses hit the rock twice instead of speaking to it and then blamed the Israelites for his loss of temper, calling them “rebels”. Peter denied Yeshua three times after declaring to the Master’s face that he would die with him. And none of the Apostles believed that Yeshua would be resurrected.

    Yes, people we think of as “Biblical heroes” can be wrong, but that doesn’t invalidate the overarching, redemptive message of the Bible.

    @PL: No bet. Too many religious pundits have been wrong about when Messiah would return. He’ll come back when he comes back.

  36. PL ~
    LOL How about THIS year or NEXT year, right? I mean, the shmita and all. A couple of guys wrote books and they have YouTube channels, so it must be!

    But seriously – you may know much better than I – has there ever been a time when so much prophecy has been fulfilled within such a short period of time? You’re there, you hear much more about it than we do out here. Everything from the vats overflowing (Joel 2) to the rebuilding of ancient cities and amazing fertility rates in certain communities – do you know if these things have been seen before?

    Messiah will come and unfortunately many (maybe most?) will be unprepared and found slacking, it seems. How do we help strengthen the MJ/MG community to be found in a better state than the rest?

  37. James, it is not gloating. Truly, it makes me sad.

    But, a statement of fact: the logical end of BE is Gentiles who can’t figure out where they fit.

  38. I agree, PL. And, for those who haven’t sorted it out — like Pete Rambo and James Pile — there are two different things in this thread that people can be said to have despair over. Drake seems to have despair over the lack (or perceived deficiency) in instruction or identity for gentiles as distinct varieties of gentiles as defined by God. And it is similar (but also different) when gentiles are confused (or dissatisfied) about their place even as generic (I don’t mean that word negatively, just as a contrast to what drake has been focusing on) gentiles.

    That ‘s one aspect of what’s been going on. But not everyone here is dissatisfied in that regard. Then there is something else that was touched on. Drake being involved in it too, there might be insufficient clarity — especially for someone just dropping in — as to what that something else is. James, while the book by Pink might be interesting, you’ve missed the point of what drake and I were getting at, not that it’s important. The disrespect and disregard women have survived for millennia as we serve for utility thrown off at will, that fits in fine with Ayn Randian exuberance.

    Drake tried to expand out that disregard, because it can reach to others besides women. When money and efficiency, translate money, is the main thing, or power and dominance (usually via money), if this continues, it will ruin more and more people. But it’s not a concern because delight in the philosophy is more important than people. And whoever is still standing after a catastrophe are what count. My post about Clinton is confusing because it would seem optimism is warranted if he cashed in. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

  39. Sorry. A lot has happened (posting) before I posted. The last two posts of mine (including this one) can be ignored, obviously, as folks stay on topic (as to the opening meditation). This is what I agreed with from PL (I’m not quoting the whole but giving reference (5 AM):

    @Lisa W — I think I’ve got some idea, now, of the jobs you’d rather not be assigned in the millennial kingdom ….

    So, while humility is always a commendable trait, gentiles really should not become pessimistic about their positions in a kingdom under Jewish administration.

  40. James,

    You keep using egalitarianism as your argument against gentiles who believe we have specific role in God’s plan, than just being bench warmers, of course you would argue being a bench warmer is a wonderful thing, but that misses the point (another strawman) and is not the argument. After seeing you toss around this word, willy-nilly, I don’t think you actually understand the full implications of that word or maybe you are just using it as a strawman. As you know, I am a proponent of One Law, however I am no proponent of egalitarianism (in the false Utopian sense), which the end result is unattainable in any form of reality. Even America, while it may seem to you like an egalitarian society, cannot and will not ever attain it and is not one today, even among all the ridiculous laws coming to fruition. It is impossible, simply because nothing in reality can sustain it, it defies order, structure and nature itself.

    Also note, on the reverse side of the way you have made your argument, we could even use the definition of egalitarian in use of scriptural morality. Take for example the homosexual argument lately, all are to abide by this law, that one shall not commit a homosexual act, it does not matter if you are gentile, jew, woman, man, free, slave, etc, thus this law is egalitarian.

    So I just wanted to point out, that your use of this word is inaccurate and bogus.

  41. @Pete: We can disagree with each other all day long, but as you are well aware, it is my contention that non-Jews are not supposed to “fit in” by taking someone else’s role, that is, the role of the Jewish people, by usurping their covenant relationship with Hashem.

    And while you may believe your viewpoint represents the truth, you cannot reasonably claim that it’s based on fact. Or, as Indiana Jones once said to his class, “Archaeology is the search for fact… not truth. If it’s truth you’re looking for, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall.”

    Theology, like philosophy, is the search for truth.

  42. Zion, I’m using the term in the sense that, as I see it, One Law proposes that both Jews and Gentiles in Messiah are equally obligated to the 613 mitzvot of the Torah so, in effect, there is not difference between them relative to the commandments. I disagree. I believe Israel, that is, the Jewish people, have a unique and highly specific relationship with God that the rest of the world doesn’t share, not even those of us who are Gentile disciples of Messiah. If you want to call that a strawman argument, you are at liberty to do so, and I don’t have to agree with your assessment.

    But as I mentioned to Pete, this disagreement shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

    I think the Messianic Kingdom as it unfolds and reaches fruition, is going to take a lot of Gentile believers, probably most of us, by surprise. The Christian Church, of course, will be stunned that it is Israel and not “the Church” that is the ruling national entity.

    I think a lot of we “Messianic Gentiles came to Messianic Judaism first through the Church, then through Hebrew Roots/One Law, and then finally to what I consider Messianic Judaism, an actual Judaism by and for Jews in which non-Jews are grafted into the social and communal environment. Once we realize that within the ekklesia of Messiah, we are with Israel without becoming Israel, we have a lot of mental, emotional, and theological adjustments to make.

    If you’ve read through all of the comments on this blog post, you can see that I’m not the only non-Jew thinking about all this stuff. The theology and doctrine of the Messianic Gentile isn’t yet settled (think of climate change and the science not being settled). There’s still a lot of exploration to be done. I don’t think this was possible before, because all we non-Jewish believers had was the Christian template for our identity in Christ. With the advent of modern Messianic Judaism and the willingness to admit that the Bible is a Jewish document describing, for the most part, the relationship between the Jewish people and Hashem (as opposed to the relationship between the Church and God), we have new things to think about.

    The easy way out is to simply believe that Christianity’s definition of the identity of (Jewish and non-Jewish) believers is correct and that being Jewish and Judaism are irrelevant. The other easy way out is to say that both Jews and Gentiles share, if not an identical identity, then an identical covenant obligation to the Torah.

    Both approaches solve the “identity problem” for the Gentiles in Messiah but that doesn’t mean either one is correct. You have your interpretation of the Bible and I have mine, and we both have to live with the consequences.

  43. James wrote:
    Zion, I’m using the term in the sense that, as I see it, One Law proposes that both Jews and Gentiles in Messiah are equally obligated to the 613 mitzvot of the Torah so, in effect, there is not difference between them relative to the commandments. I disagree. I believe Israel, that is, the Jewish people, have a unique and highly specific relationship with God that the rest of the world doesn’t share, not even those of us who are Gentile disciples of Messiah. If you want to call that a strawman argument, you are at liberty to do so, and I don’t have to agree with your assessment.

    It definitely is a strawman, because on the other side of this argument, in order for your argument to be consistent, you are saying Israel is egalitarian, minus gentiles, thus contradicting yourself, and then saying gentiles are not part of Israel, which is factually incorrect.

    The Torah actually describes gentiles being part of Israel, this should not even be a question, it describes gentiles being in covenant, and being required to keep the commandments, minus some exceptions.

    Once we realize that within the ekklesia of Messiah, we are with Israel without becoming Israel, we have a lot of mental, emotional, and theological adjustments to make.

    What you are essentially doing, is ignoring what the bible actually says, in favor of an anachronistic theology that tries to fit a square into a circle, you certainly haven’t “made it anywhere” (which should be obvious, as to why this is even a discussion), other than to say, you have simply accepted a majority view shared by Modern Judaism, and ignored the apostolic view, by rendering all gentile relationship to covenants, Israel, Abraham, etc as all just metaphors, with no implications in reality.

    We have a long ways to go…

  44. Oh, PL, I’m very into water. Like, water itself, on tap, at the ocean, in streams and rivers and lakes, swimming, bathing, mikvah, current issues in water handling and delivery. I don’t know enough right now, though. But sewage treatment… nah, not that please. I might have to include that as part of what I do if part of the bigger picture. I expect to travel.

  45. Just occurred to me to point out that I don’t think a catastrophe or deluge in current time is judgment. So, what I mean is people who die in a typhoon or economic drought are not the bad guys (although, certainly, a bad guy or any number of them can be swept up in the mess of their making or design they thought they’d be immune to).

  46. @Zion: You and I obviously live in different universes since I haven’t the faintest idea how you came to your conclusions.

    No, don’t try to clarify. It’ll just lead to another endless and pointless “he said/she said” debate with no resolution. I’m not going to engage or attempt to refute any of your points. We’ve both been down the road before and we know where it leads…nowhere.

    Let’s must admit here and now that we will perpetually disagree with each other because we view the world through a radically different set of lenses.

    You disagree with me. Fine. I accept that. Time to move on.

  47. In this conversation, and particularly when I engaged a couple of people here, this particular section of today’s “Closer Look at the Siddur,” p. 177 for Parashas Balak I read in “A Daily Dose of Torah,” came to mind:

    The first is that one must feel exceedingly humble and unworthy before Hashem in the knowledge that despite all of one’s worthy deeds, he has not begun to pay back the goodness and favors that Hashem has bestowed upon him. In that sense, he stands before Hashem as a pauper begging for alms.

    Second, one should realize that he has undoubtedly sinned and fallen short of his obligations. As such, he stands before Hashem as a thief before his victim, seeking a present.

    Third, he must fuel his understanding of the awesome greatness of Hashem until he is overcome with trepidation in approaching His unfathomable essence. Thus gripped with trembling as to how to address, praise, or beseech Hashem, he prays that Hashem open his lips and mouth to the proper words, and he will scrupulously say them.

    We non-Jewish believers particularly have been all too familiar with our Master, and I think the quote above describes pretty well (though it’s describing something else completely) how we will experience King Messiah in the coming Kingdom of Heaven.

    Why all the resistance to taking the lesser seat at the banquet for the King?

    “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    Luke 14:8-11 (NASB)

    I’d rather be criticized for taking a lesser station in the Kingdom than for presuming too much.

  48. Invited, Steve? Invited to what? If you’re referring to the metaphorical banquet that represents the messianic millennial kingdom, there is an invitation already available with your name on it (so goes the expression). Even without your RSVP, you might survive the impending troubles and find yourself within its auspices — though you would have missed the opportunity to prepare yourself properly for the experience, being thereby somewhat disadvantaged relative to those who did prepare after accepting the invitation. I suppose you might try to position yourself to bypass most of that era, whereby you could be swept up in the “second resurrection” mentioned in Rev.20 as occurring a thousand years after the first resurrection event in which messianic martyrs and others who had resisted the “beast” (so-called as a quasi-national entity similar to the empires depicted in the Daniel prophesy) thus initiated their participation in the messiah’s regime. However, that course is rather to be dis-recommended as it would place you among disreputable companions and in serious jeopardy of utter destruction. [:P]

    Or could it be that you fear you would not like some of the entrees served at this banquet? As James has effectively suggested, there may be some there who will be served portions of the proverbial “humble pie” — but I’ve heard that it is really quite healthy for one albeit somewhat lacking in sweetness. Everyone ought to have some at one time or other. [:)]

  49. PL, I’m reminded of the final scenes from the modified version of the Star Wars film “The Return of the Jedi”. In the original theatrical version, we saw the celebration of the fall of the Empire only on Endor, but in the remade version (Lucas could never stop tinkering with these films), we saw celebrations on the different worlds of the empire with great fireworks displays.

    I imagine the banquet celebrating the millennial messianic kingdom to be something like that. Of course, the main event would be in Jerusalem with King Messiah presiding over the festivities, but in every city in every nation, there would be equally festive events being held, and all of those who have kept the faith and endured to the end would have a seat at the table, praising, blessing, and toasting our King.

  50. PL, I was metaphorically asking for direct personal revelation from God on this whole MG mess. I am beginning to suspect the Messianic era is a fairy tale.

  51. Well. Steve — By what means do you think to ask for such personal revelation? Do you begin with any existing confidence about what is revealed already in the scriptures? Do you know already the basis upon which they may be deemed meaningful and reliable? It may be rather significant for you to verify for yourself the means to distinguish fairy tale and myth from history or prophecy. Even those who experience an epiphany or a theophany must have some basis to distinguish it from an hallucination. The notion of humans orienting their lives in relation to the ministry and teachings of a Jewish messiah, even if Jews and gentiles have differing historical cultural responsibilities affecting their response to that orientation, is not so complex so as to be deemed a “mess”. And while fairy tales may indeed be metaphorical, that need not obscure or invalidate the events or facts or realities represented by the metaphors.

    I can’t give you a recipe for inviting a personal revelation. The emissary Yacov wrote (Jam.4:8): “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you doubtfully-minded.”. However, the most famous revelations depicted in the scriptures were instigated by HaShem. Moshe wasn’t looking for a revelation, as far as we know, when he noticed an odd phenomenon on a desert mountainside, that turned out to be a bush that burned but did not burn up, whence the voice of HaShem began speaking to him. Rav Shaul had other things on his mind until a bright light spooked his horse to throw him before reaching Damascus, whence another revelation ensued. You can find other such examples for yourself. Regrettably, my own example will not likely help either, because I wasn’t looking for revelation when HaShem confronted me one night; and if someone could have warned me in advance what it would entail, I might just have tried very hard to be someplace else rather than to go through that experience. [:)] But subsequent experience lets me suspect that those who seek diligently and honestly to enter into the kingdom-of-heaven mindset, meditating on the teachings of Tenakh and on apostolic reflections of them, may just begin to experience similar insight. Who can tell what visions or dreams might ensue?

  52. @Drake – Talking about me behind my back? Lol

    I think I know why we’ve been talking past each other. I assumed you were drawing your conclusions about Gentile identity from what’s written in Scripture, and that we were drawing from the same canon (and I was confused at the many statements found therein that you appear to dismiss). Your statements about Paul were enlightening. If you see what he wrote as incompatible with the vision of the Kingdom you find elsewhere, then I suppose you wouldn’t find his many arguments and statements about Gentile identity in the Messiah very convincing. Am I right in concluding that you see Paul’s contributions as outside of the body of evidence you would conclude authentically represents Divine will for humanity?

    Now to the central question I probably should have started with: what *is* the body of evidence you draw from to come to your conclusions? We’ve already covered that you aren’t Sola Scriptura, yet you also disregard the historical and communal developments of Christianity as being invalid because of their many failures throughout history to live up to their stated goals. So if it’s not what’s written, and it’s not tradition and communal agreement, what is it? Where do you draw from to answer these questions for yourself? What do you include to come to the conclusion that “it’s not about Gentiles,” (a point I see and agree with) and what do you exclude to come to the conclusion that “They’re not even invited to the game, really”?

    Is there nothing you see that could result in a balance between “It’s all about Gentiles” and “Gentiles are insignificant?”

    You have mentioned feeling placated several times. Is that also how you’d see what Paul wrote to the Gentiles his letters addressed? If so, I won’t take your words personally. But it does seem you could throw that accusation at anyone who tries to point out things that paint a more hopeful picture than the one you’re painting.

  53. @Steve:

    I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven…

    Matthew 8:11 (NASB)

    Those are the Master’s own words about people from the nations attending the banquet of Messiah with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (certainly an impressive guest list), and reclining at their table, an image I believe PL likened to the Pesach seder.

    Gentiles are included. Paul was specifically charged by Messiah to include them (Acts 9). We have many of Paul’s letters to the Gentile disciples, oft times urging them to remain pure or to purify themselves from such things as idolatry and sexual immorality, in order to draw near to Hashem through Messiah’s faithfulness.

    While we don’t have a particularly specific model of the “nuts and bolts” of our involvement in the modern Messianic Jewish movement, the Bible does paint a portrait that includes both Jewish Israel and the believers from the nations.

    If we have doubts and fears (and the blog post above is all about doubts and fears), I suspect we are expected to hang on in faith until the end.

    When the Master says to us “well done good and faithful servant,” it wasn’t because we had an easy time of being his disciples in a confusing and faithless world.

  54. Cute! I like unusual names. We have Eliana, Samara, Johana and Natana. Johana is probably the most “usual” name we have! 🙂

    Hopefully you’ll get lots of cuddle time with baby Dani while she still likes to cuddle! 🙂

  55. I’m late to this conversation but I wanted to add my two cents.
    So, Gentiles get to find out that “Jesus” is not their best friend and He is/ is going to be, as distant from them as the Queen of England or the President of the United States. And Gentiles are not Kings/Queens/Princesses/Princes who will ‘rule and reign’ but instead are slaves/servants.
    And Gentiles won’t be in Israel/Jerusalem, living in mansions, but instead will be street sweepers and garbage collectors for eternity.

    It is like losing one’s best friend and ones hope for “heaven” all in one fell swoop. That is definitely enough to send one into an existential crisis. I know. It happened to me.

    Maybe we should pray for the gentiles because when they find out that everything they’ve believed and based their hopes for eternity on is wrong, they are going to be absolutely devastated.
    And I wonder how many would leave Christianity in its various forms and return to their ancestors paganism?

    Maybe what you write is true, James, but it certainly doesn’t paint a rosy picture for gentiles.:(

  56. Hi Kathy. Thanks for commenting.

    Yes, I paint a very different portrait of Jesus and his return than you’ll find in most (or all) churches. That said, if Jesus is ruling from the throne in Jerusalem, it would be difficult for him to maintain a close personal relationship with each and every person on Earth. The Bible also speaks of him ruling with a “rod of iron” which doesn’t sound too cozy. However, I expect that he will be a very unique King, one who does rule with the best intentions for all of his subjects in mind.

    Also, keep in mind that in those days, we well all have a full indwelling of the Spirit and will have an apprehension of God as great or greater than the Prophets of old including John the Baptist, so our understanding of Jesus, his Kingdom, and our role in it will be greatly amplified.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that we’d be slaves, but being a servant of the King isn’t such a bad thing. As Christians, we are all to consider ourselves servants, not only of God but of each other.

    I didn’t paint a “rosy” picture because I wanted to introduce a reality check. We’ve been taught to think of Jesus as our best friend in a very “warm and fuzzy” way, but if we really believe that Jesus is coming and will establish his kingdom on Earth in a physical, tangible way, then although there will be supernatural aspect of it, Jesus will be a King and he will rule his kingdom and ultimately the whole planet in a very physical and tangible manner. We need to be prepared for that. One of my worst fears is thinking about how many Christians will actually reject Jesus, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, because he’s too Jewish or otherwise not what they were taught to expect in the Church.

  57. Thanks for the quick reply, James.
    After I logged off I started thinking about how you are talking about The Kingdom as an Empire, an empire that will encompass the whole world.

    You definitely give a reality check.

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