How is Messianic Judaism “Trending?”

the crowdMy stats say this blog has a little over 900 followers and while that doesn’t put me anywhere in the same neighborhood as TechCrunch, it does mean that at least potentially, a few people out there are visiting and reading my content (and thank you for doing so, especially since I don’t post here nearly as frequently as I have in the past).

In answering a comment on my previous missive, I found myself wondering about the current state of Messianic Judaism (or whatever you want to call it) and whether or not it is growing, shrinking, or just holding steady. That is, how is MJ “trending” in terms of population?

It’s the sort of question I’d love to dig into but I haven’t the faintest idea where to go to find valid numbers. I know there are probably individual Messianic organizations that likely keep track of their numbers, but I can’t think of any one central repository that could tell me if MJ is gaining or losing ground.

Why should I care?

Because I wonder how many people there are out in the world like me.

I once belonged to a private Facebook group made up of Christians who are “unchurched.” The term “unchurched” usually means people who don’t go to church, but in this context it describes Christians who remain in the faith but who no longer attend a formal congregation. Usually they meet in small, home groups because “church” in one way or another, no longer suits their needs.

I left that Facebook group when I saw them using the Bible to somehow justify that large, organized bodies of believers isn’t supported by scripture. Of course, I had to bring in Temple worship, plus the system of synagogues that existed during Yeshua’s (Jesus’s) “earthly ministry” which even Rav Yeshua attended.

I got a lot of blowback and I know how much fun that is from maintaining a presence in the religious blogosphere for so many years, so I dropped that association like an angry rattlesnake.

I have lots and lots of reasons for not being involved in any sort of faith community anymore, some are relative to theology and doctrine and some are personal. One has to do with being intermarried to a Jewish spouse and how my affiliation with organized Christianity (including the Messianic movement) impacts her. No, she’d never say I couldn’t worship as I see fit, but we’ve been married nearly thirty-five years and I can tell how my “praying with the enemy” (metaphorically speaking) affects her.

Every once in a blue moon I catch myself missing such congregational meetings, but in the end, the liabilities involved still outweigh the benefits.

How many others who have previously been regularly involved and integrated into some sort of formal Messianic Jewish/Hebrew Roots group have since dropped away to march to the beat of their own drummer? Believe me, I can see why folks would fall away, either to go back to the normative Church or to attend no congregation at all, but how can we find out about them?

Of course this begs the larger question of the state of Christianity. Is the normative Church shrinking? If so, then maybe a shrinking Messianic movement (though I have no idea if it is shrinking) is understandable in that context.

A quick Google search wasn’t particularly illuminating.

The Washington Post published a January 2017 article called Liberal churches are dying. But conservative churches are thriving but Thom S. Rainer’s blog (President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources) posted a September 2016 blog post titled Five Reasons Churches are Dying and Declining Faster Today. ChurchLeaders.com produced a December 2017 article that was way too long but reported mixed trends depending on location and church size, and The Gospel Coalition created a March 2015 “fact checker” that seemed to say conservative churches weren’t growing as fast as they once were but were still growing, while “mainline” churches which had strayed away from “Biblical Christianity” were on the decline.

However that’s normative Christianity, not Messianic Judaism.

So does anyone really know how MJ is doing and if so, what’s your source of information?

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85 thoughts on “How is Messianic Judaism “Trending?””

  1. Being essentially ‘unchurched’, and knowing hardly anyone with views approaching mine, its darned hard to tell what Messianic Judaism is doing. I mostly keep an eye on the people I watch for anything remotely resembling a congregation I might attend if there were one near me…Greg Hershberg, David Lancaster, David Nathan, and Jacob Prasch…all outstanding Messianic teachers in small congregations that are both Jewish and Gentile in nature yet are not at all like one another.

    Greg Hershberg and David Lancaster teach from a more Synagogish slant, while Jacob Prasch and David Nathan are perhaps teaching from a bit more Churchlike style. All post on their websites, and in some form of video…all can be found on YouTube, and all to me are valuable teachers I would greatly miss, but I do not see them growing in the worldly way that denotes making an impact.

    I don’t think anyone would be able to tell they are making a dent in all that ‘Christian’ noise on the web or in their hometowns…and they are far flung over the globe. Their YouTube viewership records would be fascinating if one could get information about them, but who would be nosy enough and rude enough to ask? You can see the number of views that their video’s pull in, but their newer videos do not catch on in the way a secular video might, or even a Christian one if you could tell the difference. There is a gradual rise in views showing over a period of weeks, and the longer the video is there, the more accumulated views accrue. To me, the new videos seem to have the same regular viewership, which is basically the same small audience they always have. I am grateful for the regular discussion of anything that is related to Mashiach that does not come bound up with Greco/Roman imagery.

    Considering that they occasionally teach how difficult things will be in the near future, and are trying to get their people to face up to the idea of persecution, ecumenicalism and secular humanism that is coming in the near future, one cannot expect people to flock to them. Teaching spiritual discernment, attending to the Moedim, and hinting at Torah at one and the same time is not all that attractive a mix to most people. I can’t find anyone online talking about where they go for spiritual nourishment. It doesn’t seem to be a popular topic.

    Only if you are in the middle of the space between Judaism and Christianity are you even interested in what these men might say, except that whatever they speak on is interesting to those in the middle as I am, with the time to burn on Shabbat and the data allowance available to catch up on the videos. My only clues to what is going on is the persecution of outspoken YouTubers on any uncomfortable issues, and how quickly Messianic Judaism is progressing in Israel compared to just a few years ago, and just how virulent the Rabbinic Jews are getting about the issue. The two indicators seem to be happening at one and the same time, and both are tracing an almost invisible line of a crucial amount of time passing, and a growing distaste in the world for anyone who steps out of line.

    Oddly, I rather expect that we will not really know if people are trending toward a Messianic view of Yeshua, as opposed to the Christian ideation currently in vogue. All kinds of Judaism are mostly about the home, and Shabbat, and the Moedim, and do not require a synagogue or a congregation to be fulfilling while having access to the teaching that is available online, Younger people with growing children move to where there is fellowship, or invite friends over, and become a house church which, if they are called or sent of G-d, might become a congregation.

    I don’t think Messianic Judaism will become an underground sensation until the teachers that are stable and producing sound teaching are kicked off the web. When that happens, it will be time to start knocking doors and finding out just who is of a Messianic frame of mind, and who might be willing to risk fellowship…when it will most be needed.

  2. Your question is interesting, and I don’t have a reliable window on such demographic information either, but an additional question occurred to me. My interest is less in quantity, but in quality. MJ originated almost 50 years ago in the USA, as a concept or realization about how Jews should respond to their recognition that a couple of ancient rabbis had been misrepresented among both Jews and Christians for more than 18 centuries, one Israeli and one from the galut that existed even then as a holdover from incomplete re-gathering of Jews back to Israel from the Babylonian exile of five centuries earlier.

    Such a realization had occurred elsewhere among a few individuals as much as a century earlier than in the USA, in Europe and even in the land of Israel, but they never spawned a social movement like MJ. Even where there might have been a little progress in such a direction, it was destroyed in the Nazi Holocaust. But even as the post-Holocaust social movement in the USA began to flower, it began to be distorted and inhibited by some of the same mistaken views that had been responsible for the misrepresentation in the first place.

    Consequently it must be asked how well have modern Messianic Jews incorporated into their views and behavior their original recognition that haRav Yeshua ben-Yosef and haRav Shaul haTarshishi were Pharisaic teachers of Torah, and that any Jew claiming to follow their teachings should become likewise diligently devoted to Torah teaching and praxis as it has continued to develop among the subsequent disciples of the scribes and Pharisees whom these rabbis endorsed. The movement grew significantly in numbers, and it may be growing still. But is it still pursuing and fostering that fundamental view qualitatively? Do its Jewish adherents pursue the implications of Rav Yeshua’s statements as recorded in Mt.5:17-20, or in Mt.23:2-3, comparably to their ancient counterparts cited in Acts 21:20? Do its gentile adherents pursue Rav Shaul’s derivations of Torah principles that he advocated for them to pursue its righteousness where they are, outside the boundaries of the Torah covenant that HaShem contracted only with Jews? Is the movement qualitatively Jewish as it affects its gentile adherents? Is it qualitatively Jewish even for its Jewish adherents? Are they learning Torah? Are they practicing halachah? Are their children doing so, and are Jewish offspring marrying fellow Jews and raising Jewish children and grandchildren to contribute qualitatively to the ongoing Jewish enterprise? Are they returning from the galut to Israel? Are they repenting from the sins of historical cultural assimilation and returning to covenantal, halachic, Torah learning and personal and communal Jewish praxis? Are they incorporating these lessons into the theology and “common-wisdom” that they teach themselves and their righteous-gentile companions? Are they even recognizing that they are responsible, under the ancient covenant, to do so?

    From the last question in my last paragraph you may sense that there might be some reason to doubt that all the answers to the prior questions are in the affirmative. If they are not, then even an increase in numbers worldwide among supposedly-MJ groups would not indicate a trend of progress for the original, genuine, MJ aspirations. Thus I, too, am curious about how is the modern social movement, that has been called “Messianic Judaism”, trending.

  3. It depends on who you ask, Eric. Some groups see it as a Judaism that recognizes the identity of the Messiah in Yeshua without the anti-Judaism and replacement theology aspects of historical Christianity.

  4. As one who is now disconnected from a congregation, I find I am running into more people seeking the truth of scripture, who are questioning all they’ve been taught in church. These are people I run into in everyday circumstances. I can’t help but believe this is a work of the Spirit.

    So while accurate statistics may not exist, the heart of believers is yearning for true worship.

    @Proclaim Liberty – wish I could find a congregation like yours here in south Florida.

  5. You always thought *what* was Christianity, Eric? I don’t blame you for suffering any particular confusion on the subject, because, most regrettably, there are many folks out there and on the internet who have coopted the terminology of Messianic Judaism but used it to mask some form of Jewishly-flavored Christianity. As I tried to indicate above, that is not the religious perspective from which the terminology originated. Indeed, it was originally formulated in an attempt to break *away* from the monopolistic control and influence that Christianity had exerted over the Jewish literature of the apostles that they called a “New Testament”. The original intent was to develop afresh the Jewish perspective held by those ancient apostles and disciples and the Israeli rabbi to whom they were dedicated. The intent was not to develop a new religion, but rather to return to and grow within a long-standing time-honored Jewish religious matrix.

    It was this radical “first-century” perspective that was also very attractive to gentile Christians who were dissatisfied with the degree and manner by which Christianity had distanced itself from the apostolic Jewish roots of the Jewish faith which gentiles also had embraced. Regrettably, they very quickly outnumbered the Jews who were seeking to re-develop the perspective that had attracted them. In addition, there were Jews who had already assimilated into some form of Jewish Christianity and adopted its doctrines. Even those who still sought to maintain a distinctive Jewish cultural community, the “Hebrew-Christians”, had accustomed themselves to think in an essentially Christian way about the apostolic writings and the characters described therein. It is understandable that all these culturally and religiously outweighed those seeking to accomplish the more radical redevelopment of the Jewish perspective that preceded Christianity and continued despite the rise and hegemony of Roman Imperial Christianity.

    Consequently, relatively few who identify themselves as “Messianic Jews” actually have ever adopted the radically new paradigm of a truly Jewish messianism. In their defense, I must suggest that many of them have not actually been taught the original parameters and characteristics of that paradigm, having been inculcated instead with some form of Christianity and Jewishly-flavored emulations of its religious practices, thereby appropriating Jewish terminology without actually adopting Judaism. I tend to think this may be also similar to what occurred in Europe and Israel during the past century, in connection with Jewish missions activity, which derailed prior attempts by Rav Yeshua’s Jewish disciples to develop communities that honor him from within the traditional praxis of Judaism. It is for this reason that a book entitled “Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism”, released in 2005 by Dr.Mark Kinzer, is worth reading for its expression of a perspective reflecting an alternative paradigm.

  6. There is, I believe, yet another viewpoint or two that I should address in the context of “trending” vis-à-vis Messianic Judaism. The notion of trending implies progressive change in one direction or another. This notion stands in contradiction to the static notion of being “right”. Now, it would seem that MJ ought to recognize progressive change as a natural element of its nature, since its very existence had to begin with a radical change, and it has not reached any sort of final stage in its development as comparable with its self-definition as returning to some variant of an ancient Jewish perspective.

    I can remember noting a difference in viewpoints, when I was in high-school and in college, between my Reform Jewish peers and the rare few Orthodox ones. Reform Jews are susceptible to a notion that there is such as thing as being “too Jewish”. Many Christians subscribe to a similar notion, which has traditionally led in anti-Semitic directions. Reform Jews may have picked up the notion originally in Germany, impelling them to institute a diluted form of Judaism that would allow them not to stand out as being so different from other “good Germans”. Regardless of its origins, I noted how non-orthodox Jewish adolescents viewed the orthodox ones as being in some way too insistent upon their adherence to Jewish praxis — even to the degree of viewing them negatively as too rigid or arrogant (or even to pity them as religiously enslaved or deluded). I imagine this is somewhat analogous to liberal Christians who view fundamentalist ones similarly. There exists also a similar analogy to how secular Jews in Israel view religious Jews, even if they are not haredim or so-called “ultra-orthodox”. Thus, those Jews who are less-orthodox or non-orthodox tend to develop a certain defensiveness, or resentment, or disdain, against anyone who might suggest to them that there is something they are lacking religiously, or that they should improve in the direction of more traditional observance. It is an emotional response rather than a rational one that could consider and weigh the possible merits of such a suggestion.

    I’ve noted some of the same sort of reaction among non-orthodox MJs, many of whom grew up in liberal/Reform Judaism. Conservative MJs are slightly less susceptible, because the tradition in which they grew up was already closer to orthodoxy and they hold a notion that expects gradual or progressive adoption of mitzvot and middot. But even *they* don’t like someone pushing too hard on the definition of what constitutes a proper or valid form of Messianic Judaism to which all MJs should aspire. Of course, at the present stage, an entire generation or two of MJs has grown up in a religious environment that is anything but comfortable with orthodox Judaism. Consequently, I believe, there has been significant hesitancy for MJs to “push too hard” in the direction of the implicit orthodoxy that I described in my previous posts above. This has blunted the radicalism that might otherwise have demanded of would-be MJs that they seek “greatness in the kingdom of heaven” as Rav Yeshua described it in Mt.5:19, or that they must be, as described in the subsequent vs.20, even more diligent or “righteous” than the ancient scribes and Pharisees, even to be entering into that kingdom.

    What I conclude from considering such a situation is that any trending currently occurring in the MJ socio-religious movement is likely to be reactionary against the implicit demands of a radically-rooted Jewish messianism, albeit derived directly from the apostolic description of Rav Yeshua’s direct teachings. Thus MJ is most likely to slide away from the ideals and actuality of its Jewish origins unless it can embrace again the fervor and delight in Jewish identity and commitment of the pioneers who began it. It ought explicitly to repudiate immature notions such as “too Jewish” or “too orthodox”, as if there were something wrong with traditional Judaism. Insisting that traditional Jews have mistakenly adopted Christianity’s erroneous misrepresentation of two ancient rabbis, is not the same as an egregious overreaction that Judaism itself is at fault. Then, perhaps, MJ will be free to develop trending in positively Jewish directions characterized by the parameters I set forth in my previous posts above.

  7. On the Jewish side of MJ, I hear wild estimates into the hundreds of thousands for Messianic Jews, but I would imagine that those cited studies would consider Dr. Michael Brown a Messianic Jew, which probably places the figures more modestly.

    1/5 of Millennial Jews believe that Yeshua is the Son of G-d according to the Jerusalem Post. Nevertheless, I’m skeptical of the stats, as Jews open to Jesus tend to be open to just about anything and rather unseriously frum. In fact, I’m sure to some that’s part of Yeshua’s draw. A hippie with a light burden. What’s not to love? Such folks tend to be hard for us to attract, and there was a mini-exodus of them after a bygone scandal owing little to yiddishkeit shook our synagogue. This group is often celebrated, but I suspect they go any way the wind blows, honestly. So I don’t take such boasts seriously.

    Such sinusoidal swings in MJ stats – both from our side and anti-missionaries – seem owing to the fact that the outside world does not know what actually a Messianic Jew makes. Some reporters might think it’s a Jewish Christian, other’s see it like I do as a separate religion altogether. Of the ones that are intermarried, I know they split their time between both worlds for the sake of compromise. I observe that most kids want to identify with the most robust group, and so it is my conclusion that most Jewish children of an intermarried relationship swerve Christian for the sake of ease.

    Finally, there is the challenge of syncretism with Christianity, which I strenuously oppose. Jews will walk in and see hokey behavior like wailing and Davidic dance and feel alienated. So I would conclude that only some synagogues actually operate a legitimate Torah service. I know one such person that prefers Jewish tradition but is geographically relegated to attend a Jewish-flavored church.

    On the gentile side, I casually spoke with a prominent voice in Messianic Judaism about the gentiles that have dropped off the rosters in times past. He cited that once people taste this way of life and then leave for whatever reasons, they generally become secular. Personally, I can imagine why. After all, Judaism does offer something that Christianity cannot, which is a social operating system of divine origins. The best Christianity can do is take someone else’s national literature and loosely derive how gentiles are to live from it, knowing that none of it is directly applicable to them and few of the derivations are any more required than Torah observance. Once you climb the mountain to the headwaters and get kicked off, where can you go? Two of my friends went secular and I’m mulling it myself.

    Take for instance an novice Buddhist. He’s told that all his prior beliefs are false or made-up mythology, which is traumatic enough. Then he shaves his head and receives his saffron robes that he’ll wear for the rest of his life. Finally, he asks the monastery elder about what the sacred writ is. The Dhammapada? No. The elder hands him Homer and Hesiod. The novice objects that these books are written by Greeks, for Greeks, about Greeks. How can such apply to us?

    “Simple,” the elder responds, “We derive. Just as Ajax guarded the ships, we guard our hearts from needless excess. See?”

    Now this approach-but-not-too-close proposition would be absurd to most people. In fact, I would imagine it would be demoralizing.

    I don’t have any hard numbers, but most of the people I meet coming to shul are goys like myself. And a few of them nurture a rather unsightly and apocalyptic “come out of her” rationale, wanting to “worship G-d authentically in truth and spirit.” Which nobody wants those. I don’t. Time and again, we get some Jews as well, most of them rather secular or dilettante in their observance.

    I find myself at variance with FFOZ about a major stance – one which I think is reaching a crisis. And I am at odds with this stance even though acknowledging so unplugs my legitimacy in a synagogue; I don’t believe there even is such a thing as Messianic Gentiles. The category is a fabrication. The Bible does not seem to suggest some “super-elite Kung-Fu grip goys” as being a real category at all. Gentiles are just Gentiles to G-d. The end. I believe it best to bow to rough realities even if they are arrayed against you.

    Furthermore, all gentile identity in the Bible is an identity by negation. Gentile = Non-Jew. Gentiles weren’t given an identity (G-d did not found Denmark or Egypt), so we have to make up our religious identities and customs and forget that we did. Think about it. Nobody ever joins a Non-Skiers Club or a Non-Reader’s Club. But that’s exactly what a “Bar Tzaddik” seems to be, and it’s what I think of whenever I hear someone tell me to “celebrate your gentile identity.”

    Most demographically foreboding to me are the kids in the lobby. Most of the teens hang around the there and stare off into the fluorescence of their iPads while their parents sit in service, plumb bored with the avocation of their moms and dads. Most of them are gentile, and they cannot seem to relate to it, and I imagine so in light of the aforementioned. That’s not exactly L’dor va’dor or winning the future, eh?

    Rabbi Richard Nichol brilliantly states on OurRabbis.org:

    “As Michael approached his 13th birthday he entered into Bar Mitzvah training with other Jewish kids. But while they were training for Bar Mitzvah, Michael was preparing for something else. We had no way to legitimately call him a Jew, even though he has liked the life as much as any of the other kids. I can tell you that as his spiritual leader my heart was broken every time I had to qualify his training as a “Bar Avraham.” I can only thank God that Michael was a very mature and understanding young man. But can we say the same for all our non-Jewish kids? Perhaps we might say that adults can live with the ambiguity of this kind of iden­tity confusion. But it is too much to ask of children.”

    http://ourrabbis.org/main/articles/on-conversion-mainmenu-32

    I imagine there is something of a revolving door for most goys, though they are the most numerous.

    1. Feel drawn to the beauty of Torah.
    2. Investigate.
    3. Go to the MJ world and revel in it.
    4. Discover Torah is not about you.
    5. Hear that observing parts of it are actually offensive to Jews.
    6. Wonder then what religion gentiles were given.
    7. Discover gentiles were given none and had to make everything up.
    8. Feel dispirited that one cannot stay in MJ synagogue.
    9. Feel dispirited that one cannot return to church.
    10. Go secular, baby.

    For Jews, the revolving door is probably similar.

    1. Desire to return to Torah while maintaining Jesus belief.
    2. Investigate.
    3. Go to the MJ world.
    4. Become startled by oddball practices and blurred lines.
    5. Talk to leadership about oddball practices and blurred lines.
    6. Make a temporary truce.
    7. Discover gentiles run the place.
    8. Feel dispirited that one cannot stay in MJ synagogue.
    9. Feel dispirited that one cannot return to church.
    10. Go secular, baby.

    I, for one, am in the middle of a real tempest right now. A relationship is making me ponder the future, and I don’t really see a possible way forward. The options I see are either to convert, or just go secular and live a private religious life. There is no “MG.” I believe that was an accommodation, and one that’s immoral to saddle onto a child. I believe Paul saw synagogues as incubators, not a gentile destiny. I honestly don’t know what he had planned.

    Judah had to realize that Joseph was chosen, that he was allotted a simple and unexceptional role in his lifetime, he will get no answers as to why, and he had to learn to be okay with that. And that seems to be the challenge to every goy who comes into this knowledge. After learning that cold truth, can you still proclaim Laus Deo?

    Someone told me that my take was bleak, but I cannot help but wonder how many times the goyishe faithful have beaten their chests and said, “Give me a broken heart, L-rd! Crush my resistance! Tear me down!”

    To the sadness of my girlfriend, I recently abdicated many of my synagogue duties and am winding down my participation. I love G-d with all my heart, my soul, and my might – even if He never pacted with us. And I love the Messiah, even if he came for someone else. I believe this religion is the apogee of truth…even if there is no place for me in it. There is profound pain and joy in loving something and letting it go. Perhaps in the next world G-d will define gentiles.

    It is my observation that MJ is plugging along at a steady clip. Many MJ communities, bound by Torah life, enjoy ironclad kehilla for the Masada hold-outs and sedulous, Maccabee die-hards. One of the hard assets the faith has going for it is the fact it’s ancient, edgy, innovative, and provokes the world with people that dare to observe. Another is that MJ is positioned as a conversational bridge between religions. Those advantages alone are probably what keeps the chairs unfolded and the lights on. That said, until the Gentile Problem is ironed out (which I don’t see happening absent revelation), I don’t think that the movement can grow. Jews will remain offput by corny and maudlin Christian worship and leave after a season (or just remain intractable in keeping Torah), while Gentiles learn hard facts about what their share actually is, find it too much to bear, and go secular (which I guess isn’t MJ’s problem).

    In our shul there was a loud, yellow wall that the previous tenants left for us, which we eventually painted it over with a cool beige. I told everyone in service it made us look like a giant coupon. All advertisers worth their salt know that yellow is the only color that draws and subsequently repels; an optical cul-de-sac. I’m hoping it wasn’t prophetic.

  8. Typos:

    Those advantages alone are probably what ***keep*** the chairs unfolded and the lights on.

    Judah had to realize that Joseph was chosen, that he was allotted a simple and unexceptional role in his lifetime, he ***would*** get no answers as to why,

  9. What, you never heard of a “Non-Smoker’s” club?! Sometimes a negative identity can be meaningful in itself, Drake. I’d suggest a “Non-Sinners” club, but the membership requirements could be daunting. [:)]

    As for the term “Messianic Gentile”, there are numerous reasons it was coined but I agree with you that it is artificial, non-definitive, and otherwise less-than-satisfying. How do you feel about a term like “Noahide” (does it make you wanna go-‘n’-hide)? However, Is.56 does quote HaShem very-highly commending “b’nei nechar” (foreigners) who voluntarily “cling” tightly to the Jewish covenant (even though they remain b’nei nechar, by definition on the outside boundary of it). That may not exactly meet your criteria for a “super-elite Kung-Fu grip goys” category, but I think it’s not to be dismissed, either. James wrote a blog article awhile back about Rav Yeshua’s gentile disciples (“RYGD”) being more than merely Noahides or “G-d-Fearers”, which offers terminological opportunities such as “Messianic Noahides” (“MN”) or “Messianic G-d-Fearers” (“MGF”) as a way of amplifying the meanings of the base terms. Nonetheless, finding an appropriate moniker is probably of secondary importance; and a solution might become obvious if some other aspects of religious praxis and relationship were more clearly defined and developed.

    Now, as for defining suitable religious praxis: perhaps we might borrow a page from the book of one pastor Dake who derived some 1050 commands for Christians to observe. James wrote an article about him, too. Now, Dake’s interpretive matrix failed to recognize the ongoing distinctions between Jews and gentiles, as well as the linguistic nuances that reflect metaphors as distinct from literal references, but his concept of extracting from the apostolic writings a suitable set of “commands”, that might be applied as a gentile disciple’s halachah, could have some merit if it were re-developed by someone with sufficient understanding to do it correctly. Of course, it might require someone with qualifications rivaling Rav Shaul’s, but hey, what’s a little challenge if not something worth getting out of bed for in the morning?!

  10. You answered the question. I studied early messianic Judaism in seminary. So I have a very technical understanding of what this was an important and radical departure from the Hillel School which the Gospel writers in MK MT LK don’t try to hide at all but tout. Sit it is good to finally read new writing in the area. I would agree that Evangelicals have co-opted the title without the theology, theodicy, and praxis of the early 1-2AD communities.

  11. I’ve heard of smokers clubs and even attended some. I’ve never heard of or would consider going to a non-smokers club. It sounds terribly boring.

    “Of course, it might require someone with qualifications rivaling Rav Shaul’s, but hey, what’s a little challenge if not something worth getting out of bed for in the morning?!”

    I commend your plucky enthusiasm. But really, I’m just tired. Dake says this, another rabbi says that, Jeremiah says the new covenant is with Israel, 1 Cor. 11:25-27 says G-d somehow makes a pact with the nations at kiddush and hamotzi. If people have had 2,000 to attempt to define what a gentile affirmatively IS and still haven’t come up with a clear answer, I’m done holding my breath. I have to move on with my life. That’s why I now fall more along the lines of MJRC, which is to cut the limbo by converting or leaving. I think most would just leave.

  12. @Sleepwalker “I love G-d with all my heart, my soul, and my might – even if He never pacted with us. And I love the Messiah, even if he came for someone else. I believe this religion is the apogee of truth…even if there is no place for me in it. There is profound pain and joy in loving something and letting it go. Perhaps in the next world G-d will define gentiles.”

    Actually, G-d arranged for those of us of primarily Gentile stock to be given as a gift to Yeshua, because G-d seemed to think the Jews that would cling to Yeshua would be insufficient of Yeshua’s self-sacrifice. And in the next world, as in Messianic Judaism of the 1st century, there was to be no difference between Jew or Gentile, Male or Female, slave or free.

    PL and I, years past had a robust exchange about how he, being Jewish, and I begin Gentile were simply from different herds of sheep…his of a more refined variety, well bred, and well schooled, while I was from the rougher wild flock that perhaps didn’t appreciate as much as I should how precious the separation of the original Israelites to G-d was. And we discussed, rather vibrantly in those days, how Jewish I might want to be.

    I have since found out that my genetics reveal a connection to Abraham, which gives me only slightly more reason to be interested in practicing Judaism, even though it doesn’t make me a member of the more refined flock, and I don’t wish to become officially a member of Israel by conversion…presuming there was anyone nearby to begin to lead me by the hand into a pure Messianic Judaism, even if anyone knew what that was where Converts are concerned..

    Goyim who cling to YHVH through Yeshua are not popular with all Jews, but we are popular with G-d. Being secular, as you put it, seems to me to be missing the point. Jewish or Gentile, one either practices some kind of Judaism, or one doesn’t. In Yeshua we are not required to do more than is specified in the Acts 15 decree, but once in Yeshua, and studying Torah, we feel drawn to cling to those things that are of Israel, as described by Yeshua and his Apostles. There is no other religion for Gentiles in Israel but the New Covenant, even if it is not completely in force as yet.

    And while we wait for that time, no matter how badly we are doing it, we are practicing Judaism.

  13. Very true Ro, but I suspect a lot of them are disenfranchised. While they may be seeking are more Biblically consistent understanding, good teaching is in short supply unless you are fortunate enough to live near a good community or are okay with getting it on the web.

  14. @Sleepwalker One point that I did not make clear…I do not wish to convert to Judaism, even a Messianic Judaism, because Sha’ul teaches that we should not do so.

    [i]”Was someone already circumcised when he was called? Then he should not try to remove the marks of his circumcision. Was someone uncir­cumcised when he was called? He shouldn’t undergo B’rit Milah. Being circumcised means nothing and being uncircumcised means nothing. [b]What does mean something is keeping God’s commandments.[/b] Each per­son should remain in the condition he was in when he was called (I Corinthians 7:18-20. JNT).”[/i]

    However, when you are married in, or your parents were, or as I have found, my great-grandfather was married in, the circumstances are muddied. You are not Jewish, but you are connected in a way that may pull on the heart to make it necessary to convert in order to feel whole, and to be in communion with other Jews in the way that makes the most sense.

    I do not feel that pull on the heart to convert, even though my distinct attachment to Torah, and to Yeshua keeps me from other Believers who have not yet found out about ‘keeping G-d’s commandments’, even if they do not practice their Torah-keeping in a distinctly Jewish style. Unfortunately, having so Gentile Believers attempting an understanding of Torah nearby me, that just leaves me in the middle, and I have gotten used to being alone a great of the time.

    Gentiles are grafted into the Greater Israeli Commonwealth of the future Kingdom of G-d, and we do not need more, even though some may want more, and choose to have more. But people do need to keep the commandments, practice the religion of Judaism as they best understand it, and leave the citizenship issue to the Kingdom of G-d.

  15. I tend to agree with Drake that Messianic Judaism may be approaching a tipping point, especially as the current generation of Jews and Gentiles involved continue to age, it will be up to the next generation to either continue the movement or fall away, either into secularism or into the normative synagogue and church.

    A good point was brought up about how we define Messianic Judaism. If we choose a narrow focus and only accept more “Orthodox” Jewish praxis, then Jews who were raised in the church or otherwise came to a knowledge of Yeshua through Christianity (and that defines the vast majority of Jews I’ve met in the movement) may well be put off because, as PL suggested, it’s “too Jewish.”

    As Drake points out, that may likely put off a lot of Gentiles as well, some because it’s “too Jewish” and others because although they love the praxis, they are not permitted to participate in most of it.

    If we widen our focus considerably, the best we might get is “Messianic Judaism lite,” which is, again as PL mentioned, “Jewish-flavored Christianity.” It’s not really a Judaism at all, and while it may appeal to a large number of Christian-minded Jews and Gentiles, it also tends to be a mile wide but an inch deep. For those people who want to dig deeper into the original intent of the Bible writers relative to Israel and the Jewish people, it won’t be appealing.

    So where does that leave us? Beats me. This way of life has frequently been murder on relationships, since often one spouse/partner will be head over heels for Torah and the other won’t. In my case it’s worse because my wife isn’t a devotee of Yeshua and as a Jew isn’t particularly observant (some part of that may be because we frequently have our little grandchildren over and their parents are non-religious).

    There’s no accurate way to tell the state and health of organized, formal Messianic Judaism, however you want to define the term, but I suspect that there may be a vast population of “Messianically-minded” people in the world who either can’t find a community or don’t feel welcome in one (whether that perception is real or imagined).

    PL suggested referring to us as Noahides or God-Fearers but neither term particularly defines Yeshua-devoted Gentiles within Judaism. Both (overlapping) populations were/are found in synagogues (and they aren’t always welcome in modern synagogues) as drawn to the Torah and Hashem, but not recognizing Yeshua as Messiah nor realizing that such a recognition changes their status in relation to Hashem.

    I once wrote a blog post about us (we Gentile whatevers) called What am I, Chopped Liver?. Maybe we independents need to gather under the the umbrella “Chopped Liver Believers.” 😉

  16. I forgot to mention something in my previous response. While modern Messianic Judaism doesn’t know what to do with we non-Jewish but Hebraically-minded believers, God has always had a plan for us. Paul understood what that was, but like PL suggested, people like Paul are in short supply. I have no idea how Hashem is going to carry us along now, though I know it’s His intention to do so. I suppose that’s why we’re told to have faith and to be vigilant.

  17. A lot of them/us are turning to the web. Unfortunately, many are landing on unsound teaching and staying there rather than investigating varied viewpoints and prayerfully arriving at a balanced understanding.

  18. Two things. First, I agree that the internet is the wild, wild west. You can and will access anything including a lot of crazy. Second, and I hate to admit this but it’s probably true (I’ve argued the opposite side of the coin before), but there’s really no substitute for a face-to-face relationship. If everyone who regularly comments here had Star Trek transporters and we could “beam” to a central location and worship together once a week, or even just have some sort of study, that would be fabulous, but otherwise, we’re scattered all over the world. The internet may not be the answer, but then again, as you say, for a lot of us, it’s all we’ve got for fellowship.

  19. One one hand I’d say that my personal experience suggests that MJ is continuing at it’s previous steady pace, growing and maturing. It’s a slow pace overall, but you can find it growing in every nook and cranny around in some way.

    On the other hand I’d say that my personal experience suggests that MJ is dying fast. While there will always be the rebellious ones who are drawn to the HR teachings and there will always be the critical thinkers who will ask the necessary questions to start this journey, it seems that there’s so much garbage out there, there’s still such an anti-Jewish perspective among believers, and there’s really no way for the majority of MJ/MGs to connect with one another so that it’s a one (maybe two) generation thing. It naturally dies out for lack of community/fellowship/belonging.

    So, that said, I have no idea.

  20. I’d edit my previous comment above to include that being a non anything is a tough spot to be in. Being in between Judaism and Christianity, feeling like we fit better attached to the Jewish world but we live in a Christian(?) culture, being only partially accepted by either group and wanting to be closer to the one group who will *never* accept us even if we are somehow connected to the greater community – all of this factors into why I don’t see a lot of hope for MJ growing very fast (if at all).

    There *IS* a place for nons in the Messianic Kingdom, according to the Prophets at least. To me it’s pretty clear. The thing is, almost nobody else is willing to live that out today and it’s impossible to live that out apart from the Jewish community, in Israel. It’s not our call and there’s nothing we can do about it. Maybe we’ve just jumped the gun – again.

    Those early nons who were attached to the Jewish community seemed to have a pretty good deal going – they were allowed to participate to a certain extent and then this guy comes along and says, “Hey, Hashem has shown that He already accepts you as G-d fearers. Isn’t that great? And some of us accept you as you are, too. Come on, let’s learn and pray together. Stick with us, we’ll keep teaching you Hashem’s ways.”

    This, primarily, is why I believe that there isn’t a second generation of MJ/MGs, at least not in our family. They saw all the crazy out there, they knew we weren’t that, but they also got to experience the Orthodox Jewish community in Israel where we were partially accepted as perpetual outsiders. Then we came home, back to being alone and ostracized. Their smoldering flames couldn’t withstand such rejection and isolation at such important stages of their lives. I don’t see MJ growing fast enough to prevent such attrition.

  21. Hi, there, “Q”! I believe I’ve previously commented somewhat extensively, after one of James’ essays, about the kinds of circumstances that may justify conversion, which therefore place the individual outside the framework addressed by Rav Shaul when he advised the Corinthians or excoriated the Galatians about remaining as gentiles and not converting. For these special cases there are no hard and fast rules where one size fits all, and each case must be evaluated individually to determine if conversion is appropriate or permissible. Motivation is one criterion; attitude is another. Sleepwalker/Drake would thereby likely be disqualified; and you say you yourself do not feel pulled toward it. However, those who do convert become just like any other Jews who must learn how to approach Torah and become better Jews. A “pure Messianic Judaism” is no different for converts than it is for Jewish “hozrei b’tshuva” (newly repentant returnees), nor for Jews who are already acculturated within Judaism. Life is a continual learning experience, and we all continue to discover increasing depths to Torah, to Rav Yeshua’s insights into it, and to the implications of a messianic kingdom as it impacts present psychological conditions and as it may affect us in its future physical realization.

    As for the notion of gentiles practicing a messianic Judaism, I believe there is some fuzzy thinking involved. FFOZ also has expressed the notion of Messianic Judaism as the religion for everyone in the future Messianic Kingdom. I perceive in that notion a confusion which neglects the continuing distinction between Jews and gentiles, defined by Torah, the validity of which continues to endure at least throughout the thousand-year duration of that kingdom. I would agree that gentile citizens of the kingdom, then and now, may practice a “messianism”. That is to say, they will honor HaShem’s anointed king (Messiah) as the human representative of HaShem’s Kingship, and they will therefore rejoice in loving righteousness for the progressive redemption he administers in his subjects (just as will Jewish disciples/subjects). But, cultural distinctions will be preserved, and only Jews will practice Judaism, even with a messianic mindset. Perhaps in the physical kingdom we may dispense with the adjective “messianic”, because that distinctive will no longer be required. So what should the religious culture be called, that non-Jews in the kingdom will practice to reflect their honor of the messianic king? I think this brings us back to the same question of what label should they wear even now. They will not be Jews, not of “Yehuda”, therefore what they do should not be called Yehuda-ism or Judaism.

    But “gentilism” doesn’t convey the special characteristics relating to cultural and psychological or spiritual redemption. “Redemptionism” might work. It might not be so bad for a gentile to identify himself or herself by saying, “I’m a redeemed (gentile/human/person)”. But “Messianic Redemptionists” is a bit of a mouthful. Maybe we might get some mileage out of “Reformed”, as in: “I’m “Reformed”. But there could be confusion with Calvinists, who also use that term but with regrettably very different doctrines that are inimical to Jewish thinking (even “Reform” Jewish thinking). “Salvationism” might work, and it is, after all, a translation of Yeshua and his and HaShem’s primary purpose on behalf of humanity; but it might be mistaken for the work of the Salvation Army organization. Both of these terms, however, seem insufficient as they focus on the negative issue of the human shortcomings from which we must recover. They don’t capture or express the positive joy of looking forward to enjoying the results of living uprightly after redemption is accomplished. “Uprightism” is also rather unwieldy, it can be hard to translate across language boundaries, and it is maybe just a bit presumptuous. I must confess that I haven’t yet thought of a truly suitable term, but after all, the term Judaism has taken millennia to acquire its meaning and it shouldn’t be surprising that a comparably appropriate term for redeemed gentiles, or for the religion they are to practice, might not become immediately apparent.

  22. @James — You know, that sort of term is just odd enough that no one will be able to infer what it means and they will have to ask, opening the door to a presentation of some amount of explanation. Maybe you’re onto something, there. [;)]

  23. “Sleepwalker/Drake would thereby likely be disqualified.”

    First of all PL, you don’t really know me and I don’t know you. Secondly, and for what it’s worth, my motivations are more prismatic than you probably know, whatever path I opt for.

    Just the fact you have difficulty as a Jew characterizing what gentiles actually are is of itself quite telling. That might be your intellectual badminton you can dip in and out of at whimsy, while for many it’s a personal hell. I’m watching relationships and families collapse. People are stuck between a Scylla and Charybdis of freeloading in someone else’s revelation or making religion up (God-Fearers, MGs, Noahides, Catholicism, Islam), all under the sinking realization that such is all the Bible leaves gentiles with. With the moving target of shifting beliefs, family is delayed, anxiety grows, and children become hostages. I’ve seen it. And consoling a person with the vagaries of “Thou art saved” or “you have the image” doesn’t really do anything to quell these complex questions of praxis, identity, legitimacy, and generational continuity – for gentiles.

    “…but after all, the term Judaism has taken millennia to acquire its meaning and it shouldn’t be surprising that a comparably appropriate term for redeemed gentiles.”

    PL: the grim reality is that those millennia have just begun with the Messianic Movement. And so gentiles can usher in a thousand years of darkness. Lovely. And again, if that’s how G-d wants to run the board, that’s His choice. But away with all the platitudes of equality or remonstrations to rejoice. No. If salvation is as holistic as we say it is, then just no. Gentiles are not yet saved. Enough with the Pollyannaish declarations.

    I’ll have you know that I was halfway through conversion talks when something externally rocked our synagogue a few years back. And so I shelved the talks to deal with that, and for a year it was “every man to an oar” and “steady as she goes.” In the interim, I’ve witnessed more and more of this happen to gentile families around me, myself a lone and single man. And I know none of this is your problem, but I began to really feel for them. Here these good and sincere people are drawn to the only text G-d ever gave, stranded in the middle of the ocean on a sinking lifeboat, and I’m helicoptering out with a conversion while the ghost of Paul is shouting that we ignore the helicopter.

    Part of me would rather sink with them and leave religion altogether, and it’s the part of me that would rather burn one’s home than watch it divvied in probate.

    I hit it off with a Jewish gal for a stint and almost recommenced talks to convert. But we were in different life chapters and so here I am.

    You cannot tell people that life has no meaning without G-d on one hand, and then insist they make their own meaning amid silence. That’s a bait and switch of cosmic magnitude.

  24. You’re right that I’ve never interviewed you nor your rabbi, Drake, so I’m recusing myself from any likelihood of serving on a Beit Din to ratify your conversion. But given your statements on this blog, I stand by my statement about your attitudes and outlook disqualifying you.

    What Rav Shaul wrote to the Galatians also reveals that the teaching they had received about conversion was inadequate and distorted. Their conversions would have been invalid. You could say that he was trying to warn them that their presumed “helicopter” was an illusion. That is not to say that all conversion is invalid. But it is not a bandage for every wound.

    You are dismissive about the redemption that the apostolic writings offer also to gentiles per se; and even about the derivations of it from the Tenach. You say gentiles are not yet saved. I presume you are referring to repentant ones, or else your statement would be merely axiomatic. But even repentant Jewish disciples of Rav Yeshua are still required to pursue the righteousness that is made available to them, and Rav Shaul’s advice to the Philippian gentile disciples in Phil.2:12-13 is just as applicable. The notion of “working out the results of one’s salvation” is sometimes referred to as “sanctification”. It is a process that begins with a repentant decision, it is accepted as righteousness just as Avraham’s faith was thus accepted, and it must then influence all one’s subsequent actions and attitudes. If one fails to rely sufficiently on the support of scriptural teaching and the encouragement of one’s spiritual-support community and friends, and falls short in some manner and degree, it is by resorting yet again to faithful trusting that one may again repent and arise and walk. This is the ongoing process that accomplishes redemption, for individuals and for entire communities of the faithful ones who persevere.

    I have attempted, at various times, to offer supportive suggestions about how gentiles may resolve issues that attend their efforts to embrace the covenant from outside its boundaries. It is not my calling, and probably beyond my capabilities, to define the details of how non-Jewish non-idolaters should conduct themselves as they walk in faithfulness to HaShem’s principles. It was Rav Shaul’s, and his advice and responsa constitute fully half of the corpus of the apostolic writings. The gentile assemblies to whom he wrote were suffering from a variety of social and political pressures and misbehaviors, which he tried to address from a Torah-informed perspective. Modern assemblies also suffer such problems and pressures and misbehaviors, and HaShem’s Torah, Rav Yeshua’s insights, and Rav Shaul’s responsa offer source material and instruction to address them as well. The lack of a suitable label for Rav Yeshua’s modern gentile disciples does not inhibit the address of such problems.

    You cannot justifiably claim that gentiles lack sufficient scriptural guidance to identify their need for redemption and to pursue it, merely because Jews may have more due to a longer period of working at it. Do not make of it a political game of “haves” versus “have-nots” and victimhood for the latter. Jews emphasize generational continuity because it has been especially hard to maintain in the face of millennia of continuing oppression and persecution. Gentiles in general haven’t had to face that issue, though gentile disciples do have reason to care about communal continuity and inducing their offspring to likewise choose the paths of repentance and redemption. Jews may be able to invoke a sense of communal identity that gentile disciples cannot, but gentile disciples can and should emphasize the distinction between the benefits of life and prosperity versus the disadvantages of death and adversity. For them it is not expressed by a covenantal choice, but the choice itself is the same as it was for Jews so long ago when it was presented in Deut.30:15 & 19. The Jewish example can be applied as a lesson from which gentiles can learn likewise.

    I cannot help but feel I should ask you, pointedly, Drake: “Just … where … is … your … faith?”. You write of “watching relationships and families collapse”, and “stuck between … freeloading in someone else’s revelation or making religion up”. Note that religion is merely the response of faith to revelation, by whatever name it may be called. Its quality may be measured by its faithfulness to the revelation upon which it is based. Personal problems and community problems were the bread and butter of Rav Shaul’s responsa to his gentile assemblies. Surely you can find in them *some* inspiration to counsel the people around you who suffer. Their problems cannot be solved by converting to Judaism, nor by wearing tallit, tefilin, and kippah, nor by adopting some religious label for themselves. They may obtain some comfort from exemplary portions of the prayers in the siddur, though the promises of HaShem’s sustenance for them as non-Jews more likely may be seen more clearly in some passages of the apostolic writings. But none of it will avail anything without a fundamental trust in HaShem’s Presence and the guidance that He has revealed, throughout Jewish history and in the apostolic writings. This is why Rav Shaul emphasized faith so strongly.

  25. “You are dismissive about the redemption that the apostolic writings offer also to gentiles per se; and even about the derivations of it from the Tenach. You say gentiles are not yet saved.”

    A famous MJ leader you all know got up and declared at a synagogue once: “I am a Jew. I am not yet gathered to my land. The Temple is not rebuilt. I am not yet saved. I know that is a radical statement, but if salvation is holistic, I am not saved. Not yet.”

    Taking that logic, I just point out that so many goyim don’t know where they fit into the Bible. They are not yet saved. G-d has yet to fully save them.

    Hey. Check it out. I found a copy of Homer’s Iliad. In it, Ajax defends the ships from the Dardan onslaught. Sure, the epic was written to a different people entirely. But that does not mean I can’t get anything good out of it! After all, Just as Ajax guarded the ships, so too must I guard my heart from the melee of temptation.

    See what I did there?

    I guess, ultimately, I’m having difficulty as a gentile identifying with the whole grand mythos, if you catch my drift.

    “Do not make of it a political game of “haves” versus “have-nots” and victimhood for the latter.”

    I never said that. I’m not concerning myself with Jews. They’ve already had answered for them the questions I’m asking. Rather, I’m asking it about gentiles. I’m not asking why gentiles have so little in relation to Jews. To wit, the very paganism they came out of would also fit into the “haves” category. After all, Greeks had covenants, holy books, land, priests, epics, revealed laws, oracles, identity, and could pray to a god of their fathers. An Athenian knew who he was. I’m not suggesting gentiles just got the short shrift when it came to their Jewish cousins; I’m saying they lack a framework of socially identifying with a deity that had once universally existed before monotheism wiped it away.

    This is why Replacement Theology and Triumphalism flourished. They are necessary. As bad as they are, they define a gentile positively instead of by negation.

    “Gentiles in general haven’t had to face that issue, though gentile disciples do have reason to care about communal continuity and inducing their offspring to likewise choose the paths of repentance and redemption.”

    Look at gentiles in the Islamic World. Many churches have gone extinct in that part of the globe. Now, if one is going to claim that G-d “treasures gentile culture,” then what of those extinct communities? While Israel has proven to be quite imperishable, the upright nations and all of their ethnic expressions have not.

    A spiritual person might ask “why cling to what doesn’t last?” Of course, PL, gentiles have had to face this issue.

    “Their problems cannot be solved by converting to Judaism, nor by wearing tallit, tefilin, and kippah, nor by adopting some religious label for themselves.”

    As for labels, I think labels are underrated. The Jewish label means something hard and fast to you, doesn’t it PL? Adam labeled all the animals. G-d labeled Creation “good.” Leviticus labels the holy. Labels kinda hold the world together in the Bible. Savvy?

    I never said certain problems should be solved by converting. The fact I put the kibosh on inquiring about converting when I witnessed tumult should clue you in on that. I did so in part because I felt for my friends. How can I convert when this is happening to them? How can I abandon them? Is empathy the behavior of a person seeking to solve problems through a bris? I know damn well that would fix nothing and that the same questions would keep me up at night. But I do agree with you that Messianic Gentiles are a fictitious category and that the only real choices are either to convert or leave (mostly leave). If I ever get the gumption to inquire into conversion for the third time, it will be because I love Jewish community and see my soul there, not because I’m trying to rescue myself from turmoil. Again, you don’t know me.

    I want my gentile brethren to be part of a religion that isn’t made-up, in a strong community, and able to pray to a G-d of their fathers. I want them to know what they are in the Kingdom. We don’t know what gentiles are. You can’t really answer it. Answer me that and I’ll submit to the scalpel tomorrow.

    As for my faith, yes. It’s taken a pounding and it’s down for the count. The idea that Paul seemingly distilled the Tanakh and handed the gentiles a Jefferson Bible of broad ethics is somewhat unsettling for a variety of reasons. But admonishing me to have more faith – while I think it is noble and I commend you for it – does not answer the question of how to raise a family, what my role is in synagogue (if any, according to you) how to perpetuate a faith inter-generationally as a gentile.

    These questions, PL, are like a mummy’s curse. They laid in dark repose for thousands of years, a hapless professor accidentally unleashes them, I accidentally touched the forbidden gold, and you’re telling me it might be another 1,000 years before we’re in the clear.

    You learn the Church never replaced anything.
    You learn the Church revolves around Israel.
    You learn the Torah is not abolished.
    You learn that one day, Israel will be the axis mundi.
    You learn that Christianity is not mandatory for gentiles.
    You learn that Christianity is actually quite made-up.
    You learn that the Bible is someone else’s book.
    You learn your refuge of “Messianic Gentile” is as made-up as Christianity.

    FFOZ makes a massive boo-boo. Oops!
    Paul thinks the end is near and answers are forthcoming. Oops!
    PL says I’m wrong but can’t name what a gentile is. Oops!

    I’ve come to the conclusion that all of the gentile walk is mere head-belief and kindness, nothing else. This plops me right back into hyperspiritualization and easy-believeism for which we critique Christianity.

    Despite that, I do have enough faith to forge ahead believing that G-d exists, that he’s good, the Messiah redeems, and that perhaps he has a destiny for gentiles he hasn’t yet revealed. I’m just not sure I can pretend that destiny is here anymore with a religion.

  26. PL: If it’s any consolation, I don’t begrudge you for not being able to tackle these big questions. We’re on different bailiwicks and ultimately it’s not your problem. I’m just tossing this out there for the overall health of MJ as it pertains to its disaffected goyishe youth. Commendably, MJRC points this out online.

    I think it has deep-running implications for attrition rates from Jews who cannot put up with the drama and gentiles who don’t even know what the heck it means to be a gentile (I sure don’t).

    As I said before, I think our religion’s hipness can staunch the attrition by attracting new people, but only for so long. But I’d probably refrain from spreading its message given our current condition. It needs quarantine until its gotten to the bottom of.

    Cheers. Good shabbos, PL.

  27. I think I have at least a few answers for you, Drake. First of all, salvation or redemption is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It is a process that occurs in stages, both for individuals and for communities. It is analogous to Yehezkel’s vision of dry bones, which experienced stages of re-gathering and assembling the bones, and being clothed (or re-upholstered) with muscle and skin (and clothing), and ultimately being infused with life by the four winds. So the “famous MJ leader” you cited as an example was mistaken by not acknowledging the stages whereby in some aspects he had been saved while in others he still fell short of it, and likewise his local community and ultimately the entire Jewish people. Another expression of it was offered by a Christian teacher in the phrase: “Please Be Patient, God Is Not Finished With Me Yet”, which he also presented as an acronym on a button he would distribute to his students that they might remind each other of that viewpoint. But one may lay claim upon the redemption by trusting that HaShem is capable of completing the process by which it will be accomplished. As Rav Shaul expressed it in Phil.1:6 — “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of the Messiah Yeshua.”

    Now, your references to Greek literature and myth are not germane to this discussion, because they do not address the specific revelation upon which faith in HaShem’s redemption must be based. As I stated in my last post, religion is a faith’s response to revelation. We may refine that to qualify it with “true religion” and “true revelation”. Yacov defined true or pure religion in Jam.1:27 thus: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God [our] Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” In the preceding verse he also included something about self-discipline in controlling one’s tongue. Figure out how he derived that from the Torah, even with help from the Prophets, and you’re well on your way to answering the religious identity question for gentiles who have affiliated themselves with the Jewish Messiah (and thereby with his people) and are pursuing discipleship under his tutelage. That is who Rav Yeshua’s gentile disciples are; *that* is their religious identity. Their “grand mythos” envisions them as desert nomads who have been invited to share the shelter of Avraham’s tent, and to be inspired by his hospitality and the Noahide teaching that supports it, to become “souls that he has made”, as cited in Gen.12:5. From there they reach forward across time and space to see what HaShem has done with Avraham’s descendants along the way toward completely fulfilling His promises to him, including the gift of Torah and its covenant, whose principles they may embrace to share in its benefits, and the gift of a redeemer and a symbolic, imperishable sacrifice to focus their own repentance. Their subsequent response is to pursue righteousness and to express their gratitude to the descendants of Avraham their host. They may contribute to HaShem’s plans for the redemption of all humanity by facilitating His redemption and restoration of Jews to full relationship with HaShem, the land that He promised to them via Avraham, and covenantal obedience to, and internalization of, His Torah. They can be part of the ultimate “grand plan”, which include their own progress toward spiritual maturity as well. How can you complain that they do not have a sufficient base and substance for their identity? We know very well what gentiles are, both unrighteous ones and righteous ones. Even for the subset of righteous gentiles who are disciples of Rav Yeshua, multiple possibilities exist for “labels”, which is why I hesitate to pick any one in particular.

    However, I can see no connection between offering this definition and your statement about submitting to “the scalpel”. Given your history of postings, which is all I know of you, I would not recommend that you pursue conversion to Judaism. I’m sorry, but my impression is that your reasons for considering it are mistaken, and that you’re approaching it wrongly, invalidly.

    You ask to look at gentiles in the Islamic world, and the fact that HaShem has allowed the extinction of non-Islamic cultures and communities there. HaShem has allowed numerous Jewish communities to suffer extinction as well, though He has continued to preserve this distinct people to demonstrate that He keeps His Word. No one that I know has ever said that HaShem “treasures” every kind of gentile culture or wishes to preserve it. Some of them are pure abominations and deserve utter destruction. The only gentile culture that has any right to be treasured is one that conforms itself with HaShem’s expectations for human behavior. Such behavior was summarized from the Torah, by Jewish sages, as the Noahide laws (part of which are reflected in Acts 15:23-29, as selected by the Jerusalem Council of Emissaries).

    One last note: I didn’t admonish you to have “more” faith. I was asking you where you were placing or applying whatever faith you do have. Misplaced faith doesn’t accomplish much that is worthwhile. Well-placed faith can accomplish HaShem’s goals miraculously; and such faith tends to grow. If you ponder those assertions for a while, perhaps you’ll find them helpful.

  28. PL said: But “gentilism” doesn’t convey the special characteristics relating to cultural and psychological or spiritual redemption. “Redemptionism” might work. It might not be so bad for a gentile to identify himself or herself by saying, “I’m a redeemed (gentile/human/person)”. But “Messianic Redemptionists” is a bit of a mouthful. Maybe we might get some mileage out of “Reformed”, as in: “I’m “Reformed”. But there could be confusion with Calvinists, who also use that term but with regrettably very different doctrines that are inimical to Jewish thinking (even “Reform” Jewish thinking). “Salvationism” might work, and it is, after all, a translation of Yeshua and his and HaShem’s primary purpose on behalf of humanity; but it might be mistaken for the work of the Salvation Army organization.

    @James — Hmmm… “Messianic Chopped Liver-ists”? You know, that sort of term is just odd enough that no one will be able to infer what it means and they will have to ask, opening the door to a presentation of some amount of explanation. Maybe you’re onto something, there. [;)]

    I don’t think it’s so much a name as a cohesive identity across all of the Gentiles who are “called by His Name.” Also, as Marah Elizabeth pointed out, there’s no way to really unite us as a community and one of our biggest liabilities is our isolation. Of course that’s true of many Messianic Jews as well.

    I know we’ve stopped talking about whether or not Messianic Judaism as a movement is gaining or losing members and momentum, but the current discussion really addresses the underlying and core concerns that this blog keeps returning to.

    Although some Christians like to say that “it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship,” the reality is that people faith are largely defined by their community. By definition, Judaism is a communal faith. All of the festivals are ultimately centered around the Temple and even the weekly Shabbat is designed to be observed with family and friends (I once tried an experiment to observe the Shabbat using a Siddur written for “Messianic Gentiles” and it was a massive failure, in part, because I was alone).

    In a community, we are provided with a local praxis, we are provided with fellowship and community, and most importantly, we are provided with re-enforcement and support in our faith and walk.

    Many Messianic Jews and I suspect many, many non-Jewish “Messianics” have no community besides their own families and a lot of us don’t have even that. There are a lot of fellowships and congregations that call themselves “Messianics” but we’ve all experienced those that are more “One Law” driven and those that are simply “nuts.”

    Our options are limited.

    It’s not that Hashem doesn’t love us and after all, there are whole sections of the Bible dedicated to God’s plan for the redemption of the nations. However everything is future oriented. If we lived in the time of Paul and his letters were addressed specifically to us, would it make a difference knowing he’s out there, that he cares, that he’s praying for us, and that he earnestly desires to see us again?

    God is a God of the living and not the dead, so Paul is alive. Can we believe that his epistles are addressed to the modern ekklesia of Gentile believers as well as the ancient ones? If so, how to they speak to us today, Paul is the one Jewish Messianist who understood the Gentiles better than the rest. Maybe he still is.

  29. The Rabbis derived Noahide laws not as a means of approaching G-d, but just doing the bare minimum to keep G-d from destroying the earth again. You know that.

    Confucius spoke about taming the tongue. Buddha spoke of compassion. A gentile does not need the Bible in order to know not to gossip or help orphans. Epictetus the Stoic spoke about all men possessing a divine image. You sound off on a bunch of broad and universal precepts and then put Jesus as the cherry on top of the ice cream and call it a day.

    Jesus seldom spoke to gentiles, and he makes clear that they were not his primary mission. I mean, I’m grateful and all for the whole Via Dolorosa bit, but Jesus had no gentile disciples. I still believe in him and that he’s lofty and noble and will rule the world. But at the same time I don’t really know how to relate to him other than the fact that I brook the general belief that he is the messiah.

    Look. I don’t really care about the whole conversion bit. If it happens, yay. If it doesn’t, I’ve been a fool for lesser things. I told you my motives, assuming I even ask a third time.

    Here is what I do know:

    There is a G-d.
    G-d is good.
    Messiah will rule the world with Justice.
    All who follow him and live ethically are saved.
    G-d never gave a religion to the gentiles, only a faith.
    No Christian rites are any more required of goys than Torah is.
    Ergo, I don’t need church, MGs, Noahidism, or any made-up religions.
    Taking this barebones faith, I can develop a philosophy of virtue.
    This philosophy taps the moral universals the Bible yields.
    With this philosophy, I believe, pray, give kindly, and live a private and irreligious life.

    It seems to brook a lot less dissonance. I don’t see why that’s so noxious to you. It sounds a lot like what James does.

    I want to quit this discussion. We’re probably not going to budge each other and I have other things to do.

    I hope you have a warm and safe shabbos.

    -Drake

  30. PL,

    You leave a lot for me to address, but I’m going to just leave it. In the spirit of James’s post about gaining the last word, I think it’s better we let this lie. I really want you to stop responding. Neither of us are going to really convince the other. If you respond any further, I just won’t.

    I wish you a warm and safe shabbos.

    -Drake

  31. Shalom PL! I always enjoy getting to interact with you, because I learn a lot about the way Jews think, and as you know, I have little direct exposure to Jews, Jewishness, or a Synagogue.

    Being Jewish, you have by blood and breeding a sense of your connectedness to other Jews, and to Israel that is not merely a religious obligation, but a family connection, and a citizenship issue. It is the complexity of belonging to this tribal system deriving from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob called Israel that stymies most Gentiles. In Yeshua, Gentiles expect to be in the position that Sha’ul describes as being without citizenship issues, without gender issues, and without issues of social rank.

    Gentiles expect to be on an even footing with Jews through Mashiach, and erroneously believe they are already part of the family that calls itself the Jews; assume that they are already citizens of the future Kingdom of Israel even though no one is as yet, and believe they have already been adopted into the Tribes of Israel. They see that they are spiritually grafted into the Root of Israel that Yeshua is; take the instruction that they are wild olive vines, grafted into the cultivated plant, and assume a welcome they do not get even from most Messianic Believers that are not among the Children of Abraham. They want the close connection that they see existent among the Jews of the world and vainly seek it the majority of the time.

    I think this was at the heart of the dispute in Sha’ul’s day. Certainly, the Jews seemed to think that the new Gentile Believers in Yeshua were claiming to be suddenly and magically Jewish, and were adamantly refusing that claim unless they became circumcised, and learned to be good Jews. The Jews were fully aware that there was a lot more to being accepted as a new brother or sister in a tribally based citizenship than simply desiring it to be so.

    It is still the problem now. It doesn’t matter how much Sha’ul states that all Believers are the same in Yeshua…Sha’ul himself considers that Jews still are different, and essentially better than Gentiles. Salvation is not a part of this different, better status, but the belongingness of Judaism is. It is a matter of heredity, and a particular spiritual assignment from G-d to the family members of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The difference will divide us until death, not conversion, and only when we are raised incorruptible as Tsaddikim…as the righteous ones, will we be able to merge absolutely into one unit for any part of daily existence, not even that of worship together.

    We can love one another, enjoy one another, even marry one another, although with difficulties for those involved, because we are all one in Mashiach, or at the very least, all children of YHVH. But we are not all of the same family group, and without acknowledged adoption into that group via conversion, it will never be one single group of equal persons. And conversion requires not only adopting the ways of the family you are joining but leaving the ways of the family you were brought up in behind.

    I am not converting to Judaism because I was not called to Yeshua as a Jew. But even if I had a wide community of Messianic Believers around me, and even if there were people with whom I had intimate relations that happened to be in Yeshua, and also Jewish to learn from, and join in fellowship with, I would not seek conversion because I would not be accepted in the way I would want to be accepted. The entire family that derives from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would need to not just consent to my adoption, but welcome me. Alas, no certificate even from a Bet Din of impeccable Orthodoxy, no flawless religiosity of Orthodox standards and strictly frum behavior would ever create that welcome. There would always be those who would not to their dying breath ever admit that I had become a Jew…commandment or no commandment to the contrary.

    If you are born or raised Jewish and have passed through a bat or bar mitzvah, you will be welcomed into any shul, any Jewish family for a Shabbat dinner, and into most Jewish families by marriage simply because you are Jewish. You might not be liked or approved of, but you will be acknowledged. You are family. You are a part of Israel, even if you are a detestable person. You need not be religious in any way, and you need not live in Israel, or support Israel. You are a Jew, and that is enough.

    I am aware that I am not welcome in Judaism, and I am not distressed by that idea because I know it is a short-term condition of pre-Kingdom existence. I don’t seek to do anything Jewishly, because…well, I’m not Jewish. I don’t attend a shul of any variety, not because I would not be welcome for the most part so long as I was civil, but because there is none nearby me. I like to learn, Jews like to teach. I would make friends, and be quite content.

    I do not need to be acknowledged as Jewish to feel connected to all that is described in Scripture, and fortunately, I do not need to explain to myself that connection anymore. I always have felt connected, even as I know just how connected I am to other historicity that have nothing spiritual or Israelite-ish about them. But most Messianic Believers of Gentile extraction are still in the confused place where they are not able to see why they cannot add on the tribal dress and affinity that is not theirs when they feel so attached to all that is Scriptural. Drake apparently is watching a lot of people losing their faith in Yeshua because they have not come to a comfortable abandonment of the desired status that a Jew has among other Jews.

    I understand from your position as a Jew that you do not see a difference between conversion to Messianic Judaism and that of conversion as a ‘hozrei b’tshuv’. But you are speaking conversion as a learning experience, when I think Drake is speaking about the lack of connection Messianic Gentiles feel, even if they do convert, because of the lack of acceptance in all the shuls of Normative Judaism. They can say they are Jews but are they? To every Jew?

    And if they do not convert, why are they not acceptable? Why can they not act and somehow be as Jewish as they feel? Why is being a Messianic Believer of Gentile Heritage not as good as being a Messianic Believer of Jewish Heritage? They might be amongst the most pious in their congregation, and displaying devotedly religious behavior and be painfully aware that they are not quite Jewish enough to be Jewish. Why is then being grafted in not of any value to Messianic Jews? And so, we are back to the Acts 15 decree as the only way to get around the problem until we are raised incorruptible.

    As for the future in the Kingdom of G-d, I do not see that there is a distinction between those raised from the dead in terms of belonging-ness, and that eliminates the desire to be acknowledged as a Jew, and perhaps even the desire to take on any kind of Jewish praxis. We do not know what Yeshua will want former Messianic Gentiles to do because we do not know what he will want former Messianic Jews to do either. Halacha and praxis may differ in the future nations as opposed to Israel because the nations are not required to take on the Covenant as it will be enforced in Israel, but they will be given a set of laws that keep them in close alignment with the civil law of Israel under Mashiach Yeshua as haMelech. And Jews might be forbidden some of the halacha and praxis they have added into non-Messianic Judaism.

    As for what to call the various people in the world in the Kingdom of G-d one still has Jews and Gentiles. But there will be a third category of the persons being present who have lived and been raised who are directing, ruling and teaching both the Gentiles of the various nations and the Jews in Israel Those that are raised from the dead and are incorruptible are perfectly righteous. They will be Tsaddikim, the first real Tsaddikim to exist although others in the past may have claimed the name.

  32. @James — Even while you cited the rubric: “it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship”, you illustrated that for a religion based on the revelation of HaShem, the religion is itself dependent on relationships. Indeed, I think it fair to say that a fundamental characteristic of Rav Shaul’s efforts was to provide and foster communities where gentiles could sustain their faith by means of their communal relationships. It was Shimon Kefa, though, who may have expressed it best when he wrote to “those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Yeshua the Messiah and be sprinkled with His blood…”, that they, “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua the Messiah” (1Pet.1:1-2; 2:5). Now, it is quite likely that his intended audience were actually Hellenistic Jews assimilated in these regions, but I think he may well have offered a label to meet the needs that Sleepwalker/Drake has attempted to defend. “Living Stones” … “Livingstones”. That’s a marvelous name for an organizational banner to rally ’round as communities of Rav Yeshua’s gentile disciples. (It even translates well into Hebrew.) Of course, that’s still only a beginning, because behind the label a great deal of functional and propositional content must be assembled. The name does offer implications of diversity as well as coherence, because building stones are not all identical, but they each have a critical (literally, “edifying”) part to play. Even Kefa’s reference to the notion of a special “priesthood” can be applied to gentiles who understand in proper context their role to serve one another with encouragement.

    Now, do you think any sort of enthusiasm could be marshaled for the establishment of “Livingstone” havurot or communities as an adjunct of the movement to foster truly Jewish messianism? I suppose it might be necessary first to compile some sort of handbook to define their operational content?

  33. Peace be to all and a good heatlh.
    Hello guys, why not all give thanks and praise to the name of Yeshua Messiah. For many cannot do it and instead they directly thanking God (which is wrong) or they done it but the truth they do not really know who is he that was sent by God, for it was our only means of our salvation but this style of faith is still wrong! For God have made these Covenants Plan (1st and 2nd Advent) that all were required for its knowing and serious observance to it and no other else format of any religion will be acceptable, for there is no mediator between God and men except Yeshua M.. Inspite of the many endorsement made about these Plan of God and what for to the many mandatory prohibition orders for the peoples guidelines to the full knowledge of their faith to believe were really true unto their heart (but many were only in their mouth but not in their heart).

    Anyway, remember that we are already in the 2nd Coming of Christ Covenant Plan of God and we are also looking and calling them to come out to the open, this remaining living original messianic chosen call out Israelites and was also prophesies by A. Paul. And these living remaining messianic also do not know the exact date set period of this Kingdom of God in the Plan, for its concealment, and it is written in Acts 1:7.. So they may also be inform that the Ultimate Covenant Plan of God on the Parousia or the 2nd Coming of Christ is already at hand ever since 1994 or this Plan of God is still progressively going on (and many don’t believe us). Although we also know that there is no spiritual problem to this Original Messianics, for they were all already preserved by God and will just be caught by the clouds as A. Paul wrote in 1 Tes. 4:16-17.. and to A. John version in Rev. 20:4-5, they were also called as the 1st Ressurected, on such the “second death” have no power or preserved by God! See how the promise of God was true to them! And this Original Messianic believers of Yeshua M. that were still existing to date but only living in different gentile nations, estimated more or less 7000 Israelites. And they have no records of their recruitment in their faith believe to Yeshua M., read Rev. 14:1-5.. And this is the so called the “lone religion of God” on earth that will be only caught by the clouds and none of any religions were among them! So this Original Messianics were all now just waiting to that date.

    And the next problem and yet the very big problem is about these class of group of people that will be caught by the clouds? That were prophesies by A. Paul in 1Tes. 4:16. That they were those people that will rise first or will submit to comply to this Last Call Covenant Plan of the 2nd Coming of Christ. Which the world religion have not obtain the complete knowledge of this New Covenants Plan of God, for its exclusivity to all the Covenantal Israelites that can overcome to know the whole truth of this Plan of God. And the 144,000 Chosen Call Out were qualified with marked in their forehead for knowing his name and his Father name, for having a true complete whole knowledge faith believe to the name of Yeshua M., which the world did not get to know it!

    And this is another spiritual revelation truth knowledge about this name of Yeshua M. is not a literal man but he is the literal Word of God or Wisdom Knowledge of God or the Holy Spirit as a whole! And this Yeshua Messiah’s name as to the Word of God that was send by God to save his people. But this name was use spiritually represent to single out the dual character role of the Holy Spirit in the whole Covenants Plan of God and that is his name in the 1st Advent Glory and his Father name in the 2nd Advent Covenant Plan Glory! See, there are Two Separate Covenants with Separated Authority to proclaim but it will be work out by the Holy Spirit as a whole. That’s why, in Jn. 10:30, I and the Father are One. But the world religion taught it in many different understanding! Resulting to many confusion of knowing the truth of his name in the gospel. And this is now their whole faith believe, for thinking that by just reciting or saying Yeshua’s name is already the whole truth meaning applied to the name of Yeshua M. without even knowing the name of his Father name! And the Third name of Yeshua M. that was also use to name the literal character role of the prophet, which is only in the parable fictionize story writings of the gospel, that also make confusion to many readers (This is a long story to explain).
    May our living lord God Bless us all.

    LOVE : New Jerusalem – Holy City

  34. Hi, “Q” — Don’t deceive yourself about there being some sort of inbred or genetic connectedness among Jews. It is strictly cultural, and not always very effective, but it *is* connected with a survival instinct. On the other hand, it is not true that converts fail to receive acceptance in Jewish communities. It is not the entire community that must consent to a convert’s “adoption”, but only an authorized Beit Din. My experience has been that converts *are* welcomed in general, and the community recognizes its responsibility to nurture them and to inhibit any overt reminders that they are “newcomers”. This can be difficult, especially when a convert is insecure and effectively has not learned to stop viewing himself or herself as an outsider. I don’t deny that there also exist a few ignorant boors who “never got the memo” about integrating authentic converts into the communal environment. A convert who has been properly trained should have already experienced more than one style of local Jewish community for several years before they come before a Beit Din, and they should thus have become sufficiently comfortable that they do not call attention to themselves as newcomers or outsiders when they enter into another local community where no one knows them as a former convert. Thus they can flourish in their new identity as simply a Jew among Jews. At some later time, when sharing reveals they did not have a traditional adolescent Bar Mitzvah ceremony, but a Beit Din instead, it should be a mere point of interest that their entry among the people was not by birth but by mikvah. Their Jewish knowledge and behavior should have been already apparent, and it is on the strength of this that they are accepted.

    Even gentile visitors are welcomed into the shuls with which I have been associated, though they may be under heightened scrutiny to verify that they are truly interested observers and not some sort of missionaries or some other threat. However, in MJ shuls the concern is rather likely to be amplified and exacerbated, because the gentiles who visit are statistically more likely to be coming with some special agenda or presumptions. The tensions may be further heightened because MJs often have reasons to be insecure about even their own identity as Jews, or about that of their community.

    Turning to future conditions in the messianic era and its millennial kingdom, allow me to call to your attention that the Torah will still be in effect in its entirety (until the advent of the new heavens and earth), so distinctions between Jews and gentiles will still apply. Those who have been resurrected, or raptured and transformed, will still be Jews and gentiles regardless of their incorruptibility and righteousness — not some third category about which the Tenach offers no hint. Belonging is not conditioned by this, any more than access to HaShem and the pursuit of redemption are any less available to non-Jews (or women or slaves or whatever). Given Rav Yeshua’s instructions to his Jewish disciples about following the authoritative teachings of the scribes and Pharisees of his era, I believe we do have a pretty good idea that his opinion will not change and that the Jews who are his subjects then will follow much the same halachah as they are expected to do now — despite that there is some rabbinic expectation that the Messiah may institute some improvements in the enactments of Torah. The biggest change, though, I suspect, will be that Jews who previously did not conform with traditional halachah will be doing so, reflecting the “new”, deeper internalization of the Torah covenant as described in Jer.31:31.

    The situation ought to be similar for his gentile subjects, then and now, if we could only figure out how to package for them exactly what their halachah should be. I suspect it will look a lot like what is currently defined for Noahides, but augmented with practical acknowledgements of, and possibly some form of direct support for, Jewish observance of their moedim; as well as having some additional observances to commemorate honorable events in the histories of various redeemed cultures. Thus, for example, we might expect to see gentiles treating the shabbat as different from the other weekdays, not profaning it — as the behavior of “b’nei nechar” who cling to the covenant is described in Is.56 — even though they are not required to “sanctify” it as Jews are to do. I believe that sort of subtle distinction should serve as a clue to defining gentile behaviors relative to other Jewish observances and practices that righteous, post-Noahide, gentiles will acknowledge.

    Meanwhile, as I sign off for a while, I’ll wish you Shabbat Shalom!

  35. ProclaimLiberty commented on How is Messianic Judaism “Trending?”.
    in response to Questor:
    “Shalom PL! I always enjoy getting to interact with you, because I learn a lot about the way Jews think, and as you know, I have little direct exposure to Jews, Jewishness, or a Synagogue. Being Jewish, you have by blood and breeding a sense of your connectedness to other Jews, and to Israel that … ”

    “Hi, “Q” — Don’t deceive yourself about there being some sort of inbred or genetic connectedness among Jews. It is strictly cultural, and not always very effective, but it *is* connected with a survival instinct”

    Blood and breeding are descriptions of family ties and cultural training…which none of us escape. Being well bred is not just a reference to choosing the proper mate, although it helps maintain continuity, but also instructions on how you are raised to live. Sorry, but you mistook my reference as being about some genetic spiritual tie.

    Alas that Messianic Converts do not experience the delightful welcome you see all around your own shul that other converts to Messianic Judaism seem to miss from non-Messianic Jews…at least from what is written here and there on the web, or in books. As for non-Messianic Jews that become Messianic, and are booted out of fellowship with a lot of their non-Messianic family members…well, I can only assume that you keep your eyes closed to such unpleasantness.

    Most Messianics seeking to convert will not be accepted by the Bet Din because of their adherence to Yeshua, unless everyone present is deliberately avoiding the Messianic portion of the convert’s beliefs, and force the convert into hiding any allegiance to the future king that non-Messianic Jews do not admit to even being a contender for that position. And if there are only Messianics on that Bet Din, they do not speak for the entire family they are encouraging converts to join as a family member.

    How do I know? I spend a lot of time reading the accounts of those who convert or have attempted conversion, or who talk about those that convert with brutal honesty, and I listen to those that are ‘married in’ and are forever distanced without an Orthodox conversion, and even then, are always somewhat suspect to some of the family. I hear the children of a Jewish man and a Gentile woman who cannot get the slightest recognition as being somehow not Gentile because the current way of determining family lines is through the tribal affinity of the mother. Conversion is about citizenship in Israel, even if no one moves there, just as it is about family acceptance, even if you do not meet all of the family. If it were only about how you worship and where, in these modern days, it would not matter.

    As for any shul welcoming non-Jews, it is true that Messianic Believers may be tolerated at any shul so long as they come to learn and not teach, but I am talking about being welcomed into the entire family…not tolerated. Most non-Messianic Jews do not care if you are an atheist or a Buddhist, so long as you don’t talk about it, but I find their refusal to look at Yeshua while attempting an overwhelming devotion to Halachah to be a cold kind of religion unless you have the warmth of the family around you. The family, the tribe, and the history of the tribe is what converts seek. Halachah can be ignored so long as the converts are outside of the community they seek to be in. No convert is merely seeking to lay tefillin perfectly, any more than wearing tsit-tsit is at the root of all of the pain involved in the conversion.

    “Turning to future conditions in the messianic era and its millennial kingdom, allow me to call to your attention that the Torah will still be in effect in its entirety (until the advent of the new heavens and earth), so distinctions between Jews and Gentiles will still apply. Those who have been resurrected, or raptured and transformed, will still be Jews and Gentiles regardless of their incorruptibility and righteousness — not some third category about which the Tanakh offers no hint.”

    Certainly Torah will be in force…worldwide, just as it was in Israel, as the law of the land. Gerim existed then, and will again, but it is not any real equality of relationship…just sufferance. Why else would Yeshua have a rod of iron, and a populace of immortal beings that cannot be killed by the people they are shepherding, and at one and the same time, be totally and completely trustworthy, even by those in their care? Distinctions between mortal Jews and Gentiles may well survive, but how any such distinction can be made in those that are raised incorruptible eludes my understanding.

    True, only Sha’ul speaks directly of it…that there is no difference acknowledged by G-d of Jew or Gentile, male or female, bond or free, so you will not find it directly stated in the Tanakh. Certainly there will be three groups in the Messianic Kingdom…Jews and Gentiles who are ruled, and the Righteous ones who rule…as in teacher, cop, and the DMV. The division has the single merit of providing a completely honest government that anyone can live with, even if they dislike it.

    Such a government also provides a well-trained populace that has no reason not to live well, except for the flaw of being human, and has no inter-regional disputes because everyone has the same laws and practices. Indeed, the fact that people are punished for not coming to Jerusalem for Sukkot is an indication that everyone will be taught the entirety of Torah that Yeshua enforces with an iron rod as civil law worldwide. It also tells us what it is that those who rebel at the end of the Millennium are rebelling about…freedom from Torah. Certainly, it will be the best run cosmos that has existed since Eden, so why would anyone rebel if it were not for the flaws of being human and the sedition of a recently released Adversary from the pit?

    Being raised from the dead or changed from mortal to immortal in a blink of an eye is not exactly a mortal human condition, nor one that would encourage easy fellowship with the humans living alongside the Tsaddikim. I also do not understand why anyone would think that being immortal amongst mortals will not cause social difficulties. There must be some separation of those who have lived before from those that are living for the first time by the choice of the people involved that are being shepherded into a new paradigm. Incorruptible beings will not be accepted by the corruptible ones. You may see that those who are made righteous through Yeshua separating into Jew and Gentile all over again and huddling with their mortal counterparts, but I don’t see that being welcomed…by the mortals.

    As for those changed into being both immortal and righteous, whom else are they going associate with as equals? I see us as changed, and enabled to follow all the Torah without flaw, and without any difference in Halachah amongst us, for it will be fully written on our heart. It is because of that fact that we will be the example for the mortals, even as Yeshua is our example now, although we will be visible and constantly interacting with the mortals as we lead and teach them. Certainly, it does not make former Gentiles into Jews, but it does make us righteous, and walking blamelessly under Torah, and it gives us a bond that will supersede that of relationship amongst mortal Jews or Gentiles.

    I do not expect us to refrain from living amongst the populace of mortals as they grow, reproduce and re-populate the world even as we engage in renewing the Earth from the past damages caused, but who becomes our family, PL? Certainly, you may have relatives that succeed in being part of the mortal Remnant that walks into the Kingdom, but the rest of us who are raised incorruptible will likely have no one but one another. And that is marvelous for those with long lines of a family being raised incorruptible as well, but singletons like myself…where do we fit in? Do I have to convert to become part of the incorruptible family…or is being incorruptible enough?

    So if you wish to pull aside your skirts, raise a wall of partition again, and separate from the Righteous Gentiles so that you can be separate from us lesser incorruptible beings, well, you are only proving my point about converts not really being fully accepted.

    Shabbat Shalom

  36. Shavua tov, “Q” — While I’ve also experienced being “booted out” of a shul, I’ve experienced being re-admitted as well, after a cooling off period and reconsideration by synagogue board members who knew me for years and knew better than to believe the hype. But in saying this, I am emphasizing that there are qualities of Jewish knowledge and behavior that are valued, and Jews who pursue discipleship under Rav Yeshua’s tutelage must evidence them in order to be recognized as friend rather than foe. It has nothing to do with how well one “lays tefilin”.

    Converts are another matter, partly because the MJ movement has not yet demonstrated such middot to the rest of the Jewish community that people associated with Rav Yeshua can be trusted. A similar problem can occur with making aliyah. I don’t know what accounts you’ve read, but the folks who are actually successful within the Jewish world are not the ones writing such things. Yes, halachah is a critical issue in defining Jewish identity, and thus only Orthodox procedure is trustworthy at this time. It affects Jews who are “returning in repentance” and it affects conversion which is intended to unify mixed families within a controlled Jewish environment. In my previous post I described my observations about how valid converts truly are accepted, and some of the features associated with MJ that may interfere with such acceptance.

    When Rav Yeshua was resurrected, the transformation did not erase his circumcision, nor did it erase the wounds he had suffered from a spear-thrust into his side or that his face had been marred in keeping with the prophecy of Is.52:14. Should we expect that the transformation of 1Cor.15:52 will erase distinctions between Jews and non-Jews; or between males and females? That’s not the meaning of incorruptibility; and if HaShem is to be recognized as G-d over all nations rather than just over Jews, then the distinctions of Acts 15, as well as in the unchanging Tenach cited in Mt.5:18, will be reflected also in those who are transformed by rapture or resurrection at the last shofar. The inapplicability of distinctions between Jews, gentiles, males, females, slaves, freedmen, cohanim, levites, and other biblical distinctions is with respect to such things as redemption, access to HaShem, entry into the kingdom of heaven, and suchlike. All of these likewise die and will be resurrected; and they will be evaluated for what they did within the constraints of who they were. They will not cease to be who they were just because of transcending beyond mortality.

    One of the conditions described prophetically about the future kingdom is that of extended lifespans, which would likely reduce any social distinction such as you are envisioning between those who have been transformed and those who survive into the kingdom era as living mortals, whose lives may be as prolonged as Methuselah’s was in the ancient period before the Great Flood (969 years). Now, if you should find yourself, for some reason, a little shortchanged for familial relationships and social connections in the messianic kingdom, feel free to drop in over at my house anytime. We’ll just have to see about helping you to establish a new network of friends, then. [:)] The “wall of partition” mentioned by Rav Shaul in Eph.2:14-15 had to do with a legal judgment that was a declaration of a verdict of condemnation — in their particular case the result of former pagan idolatry. It was this that was broken down by Rav Yeshua as they forsook their prior idolatries and began to pursue a righteous monotheistic perspective under HaShem alone. The Torah was not a dividing wall to be torn down or taken away, nor was the associated halachah, though both were required to respect the wall that idolatry previously had erected. I don’t expect this will be a problem in the messianic kingdom, since just about anything that was previously idolized will have been already revealed for just how inadequate it is.

    I mentioned in my previous post that I expect the halachot in the messianic kingdom to continue to differ between Jews and non-Jews, and to remain similar to what they are at present. Similarly, I see no reason to expect the new covenant conditions of Jer.31:31 to change, in that this covenant is still contracted solely with Jews, and it is in *them* that the Torah is to be fully internalized. The aspects of Torah that apply to non-Jews will thus also continue much as they are, resulting in slightly different content being applicable for them to internalize when they embrace and “cling to” the Jewish covenant as in Is.56. Something that certainly may be expected in the messianic kingdom is that there will be no negative stigma about the difference between requirements for gentiles and Jews, vis-à-vis the amount of Torah that is applicable to each.

  37. PL said: Now, do you think any sort of enthusiasm could be marshaled for the establishment of “Livingstone” havurot or communities as an adjunct of the movement to foster truly Jewish messianism? I suppose it might be necessary first to compile some sort of handbook to define their operational content?

    I suppose anything might work if a certain group accepted it, but I don’t believe it will necessarily be taken up by all Hebraically-aware non-Jews in Messiah which I suppose is the problem. Regardless of the differences between different groups of Jews, in the end, they’re Jews. Hitler proved that. Whether you were orthodox or atheist, you still went in the train cars to the camps.

    In the end, we Gentiles are either self-defining as individuals or allow ourselves to be defined by our local fellowships or study groups. I suppose that’s the attraction of FFOZ for a lot of “Messianic Gentiles” because they provide, in some sense, an uniform definition backed by various educational materials.

    In reading the Bible earlier, I was struck by how it was an example of living out faith. In the end, it’s just you and God…or for me, it’s just me and God.

    PL said: The situation ought to be similar for his gentile subjects, then and now, if we could only figure out how to package for them exactly what their halachah should be. I suspect it will look a lot like what is currently defined for Noahides, but augmented with practical acknowledgements of, and possibly some form of direct support for, Jewish observance of their moedim; as well as having some additional observances to commemorate honorable events in the histories of various redeemed cultures. Thus, for example, we might expect to see gentiles treating the shabbat as different from the other weekdays, not profaning it — as the behavior of “b’nei nechar” who cling to the covenant is described in Is.56 — even though they are not required to “sanctify” it as Jews are to do. I believe that sort of subtle distinction should serve as a clue to defining gentile behaviors relative to other Jewish observances and practices that righteous, post-Noahide, gentiles will acknowledge.

    Assuming Rav Yeshua makes this clear and the information is disseminated to the nations by recognized representatives, then yes we will finally, finally have the answers we need for how we fit in to “the plan.” In the present age, all we have are educated (and some uneducated) opinions about how it’s all supposed to work out.

    Of course in normative Christianity, it’s not even an issue because they believe the Church is in charge and Israel must take a backseat. Once you (me) as a Gentile realize what the Bible is actually saying, it’s quite a shock, at least at first, which is why many or most Christians will never, ever be on board this side of Messiah, and I suspect even after the return, many will reject him for being “too Jewish”.

    For those like me, I can only imagine it’ll be something of a relief to just know where we fit in and who cares about being in the nations and having a far wider orbit outside of Israel and Messiah than the Jewish people. At least we know our place. Unless some of the Gentile nations choose to rebel, all of the arguments and religious posturing will finally be over.

  38. Ah, there’s the rub — Yes, we may expect the problems to be resolved in the messianic era, but what about: “Mashiach, Now!” or its comparable sentiment in ancient Aramaic: “Maran, ‘Ata” (Master, Now!) — though, of course, it is more widely recognized for the English representation of its Greek transliteration: “Maranatha”.

    FFOZ and others occasionally raise the spectre of anticipating kingdom conditions in some degree, even now. What if we actually can access some sense of how to do it from the information provided 20 centuries ago? What if we’ve just been blind to it, and it could be possible to figure it out? Do we need to give up entirely, just because of the bad example of traditional post-Nicene Christianity and its anti-Jewish roots as far back as Ignatius in the 2nd century? After all, the notion of Jewish messianism and Jewish discipleship under haRav Yeshua ben-Yosef is still in a process of rediscovery — why not also the notion of what gentile discipleship properly should be in anticipation of his kingship? If the kingdom of heaven is, at least for Jewish disciples, “within you”, as well as “among you”; if it is “near”, and immediately accessible, as Rav Yeshua described it, then some aspect of it does not need to wait for its physical political realization. Some aspect of it can be enacted within the individual’s psychology and within communal attitudes and praxis. It is not only the lonely pairing of the individual and HaShem, but it is intended to involve community interaction as well.

    And if so for modern Jewish disciples, whose ancient counterparts didn’t figure out how gentiles fit in for a few decades, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if we need a few decades yet again to re-invent the gentile discipleship environment. Perhaps the prior example of how such a thing can be done wrongly can show us how to avoid the same mistakes this time around. Certainly the past few decades of the MJ movement have demonstrated some of the same dynamics that we read about in the apostolic writings.

    As for disseminating the answers by “recognized representatives”, I’m afraid that description is just a bit too neat and clean — as if it were a package that could be delivered by someone in a uniform. Even Rav Shaul was not recognized at first as such a representative, and not for a number of years until finally he met with the original apostles in Jerusalem. Such representatives are often not recognized until after they achieve some measure of success. Similarly, the “package” is really a set of behaviors developed by trial and error (a *lot* of error).

    I’ve wondered more than a few times about the quasi-evangelical fellowships that have developed under MJ auspices, in which large percentages of the participants are not Jews and the “liturgy” is not that of the synagogue. While these may not live up to the standard that I believe should characterize Jewish discipleship, they certainly qualify as supportive gentile fellowships. Perhaps the “package” that has been already disseminated in the guise of MJ “synagogues” is really pretty close to what gentile discipleship assemblies need; and now that they are started the Jewish disciples should return to traditional synagogues and Jewish communities (preferably in Israel). If so, no one need moan and complain about these fellowship assemblies for what they are not — but rather perhaps to encourage them to update their terminology to reflect what they actually are (which ought to be clearer after their Jewish disciples make aliyah, and the Jewish teaching from Jerusalem via the internet begins properly to address the distinctive requirements and praxis of Jewish and gentile disciples pursuing a messianic kingdom perspective).

  39. Peace be to all and a good health.
    Hello guys, sorry to tell but frankly speaking, we have proven some of many contradictions to the true teaching of the New Covenants Plan of God. And yet many were still silent as if they were not affected. For the truth of this happening is not new anymore to Yeshua Messiah, for he also have it already prophesies this situation in the gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And don’t forget, we are all already in this Ultimate Covenant of the New Covenants Plan of God, which is the Parousia Period or the 2nd Advent Period of Christ. But note, is it not when one like to insist of other style by adding to the format made by God, even they quoted it from an already ackward covenant teachings. But what others like to insist were not literally written order in the Plan of God. Is this not already a transgression? Or a motivation against this aleady complete New Covenants Plan of God? And as for the overall authority of these New Covenants Will Order of God for one’s salvation which is first applied to the Covenantal people and secondly to those leftseeds already crossbreed to those gentile nations and this can be applicable to the literal gentiles that really love God and observe this whole New Covenants Plan of God. And only to this New Covenants Plan, these promise of salvation were applied and none of any teachings can be anymore needed to be added, for God already knows all the necessary factor to complete his Plan. That’s why, it has been order forewarn in Rev. 22:18-19. Now, can not anyone ever recall that even the devil also uses the Word of God, trying to decieved even Yeshua M. in Mt. 4:1-11 and read it. Because there is still someone that like to insist something to add to this New Covenants Plan, which to his believe that this NT Book is not enough or still lacking, that it can not give salvation, if his thinking is not also be observe! When the truth, it is only to this gospel that God have given these such high honor and authority that can be given the blessing of one’s salvation and no to other else can be added to mediate.

    Anyway, this kind of attitude of other people (even to those Israelites) which historically they have also experienced, when Yeshua M. proclaimed this Plan of God, many also opposed, ignores and even totally rejected him unto persecution by killing the Word of God or burning the gospel book (no crucifixion but only fiction story) or to Lc. 21:24, the gentiles trumple down the Jerusalem! And now see what happen to them, they only wasted the 2000 years allotted to Yeshua M. Covenant to save them, that resulted to a great mortality. And this Messianic or Christianity have already took end since last 1993. And the funny thing happen to this facts was, that this literal gentiles who are being condemn judged by Yeshua M. were the ones that understand and believes that Yeshua M. is the true Messiah while majority of the Israelites did not believe! And even to date, these gentiles and even those crossbreed leftseeds to the gentiles although they do not know who really is Yeshua M. and these people were also waiting and looking for the 2nd Coming of Christ? So, this is now the Holy Spirit or Clouds problem of observing to this people of who among them could really can comply to this Last Call of God that can be caught by the clouds or by Holy Spirit. And also read Mt. 12:31-32 and in this order is also true in our 2nd Advent Period. Please analyze the “Lord’s Prayer,” for the proper observance of this Plan of God is very well explain there!
    May our living lord God Bless us all.

    LOVE : New Jerusalem – Holy City

  40. This is not in response to anyone in particular. It’s simply relevant.

    Chapter three [of the letter to the Colossians]

    9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

    12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

    ….

    Chapter four

    2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

    Final Greetings
    7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant[a] in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our[b] circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.

    10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews[c] among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

    16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

    17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”

    18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

    Footnotes:
    Colossians 4:7 Or slave; also in verse 12
    Colossians 4:8 Some manuscripts that he may know about your
    Colossians 4:11 Greek only ones of the circumcision group

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+4&version=NIV

    This is so important. It shows that the apostolic writings aren’t only about religion. They are about politics. And it is not repetitious that the listing for Colossians 3:11 includes both gentile and Jew and circumcised and not circumcised… along with barbarian, Scythian, slave, and free. The power structure would have included circumcised men who were not true Jews [but often called Jews]; remember Herod the king headed a family falsely “converted” for position in Israel… even more so, position of a delineation obtained or grasped from Rome, just in a particular province or location (and most especially in Judea). (This also pertains to 4:11.)

    {I hope it goes, without saying (or possibly with already having been said), that the meaning isn’t there no longer are any Jews, slaves, [in another book] men and women, etc.}

  41. I don’t know whether it’s obvious and already being taught, but it looks like the Colossians were slaves. We could read that and decide they are gentiles (and they might be), but I’m noticing the name Onesimus. That’s a slave in another book/letter. Maybe that was just a common name too. I’m off topic now, and just sort of brainstorming the names. Justus is also in the book of Acts; he was seen as a potential replacement apostle (when lots were cast that went another way).

  42. Of course, there is also this:
    4 [1] Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

    Still, it might be that the letter is being put in the hands of slaves. Maybe, maybe not. Just thinking “out loud.”

  43. I don’t know the actual demographics of the Colossian assembly, but noticing the name of one or more slaves in the list of folks that Rav Shaul addressed, doesn’t necessarily imply that the whole assembly was such; and, as you point out, Masters were addressed as well as slaves, suggesting a mixed demographic. That might well explain potential social tensions requiring Rav Shaul’s response.

  44. It’s not only because of seeing his name; that might seem a little stupid. Just a little maybe? Maybe more than a little? It’s because of context. I’ll show a bit again: He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. So Onesimus wasn’t addressed anyway. Yet he was one of some category (as I touched on). Every person is “one of” more than one thing, of course, but something was meant by composing the sentence… a gentile like them, a slave like them. I would doubt Paul would say someone coming there is a Colossian like them, pretty sure they’d know such a thing. But it’s possible too, that he hasn’t been there since childhood or whatever… being a slave… and they don’t remember him. Paul also could have included the part about an element of appropriate behavior and attitude of masters for some people in Laodicea — who are also supposed to hear or read the letter. But I don’t want to argue about it. Like I said, I was brainstorming off topic at 4:38 and 6:21. I’ll guess Drake was brainstorming too… but on someone else’s name. Regardless of any details, it sure is likely for slavery to lead to conflict. Indeed.

  45. I proposed that the assembly was mixed because at the end of chapter 3 Rav Shaul addresses multiple relationships: wives, husbands, children, fathers, and slaves. Then in the first verse of chapter 4 he addresses masters. Since he was not the one to insert verse numbers of chapter divisions, what we’re looking at here is a continuous flow of text with three relational pairs: wives & husbands, children & fathers, then slaves & masters. I’m guessing that in that assembly they did not also have to deal with the social pairing of Jews and gentiles, since it wasn’t mentioned along with the others except for 3:11 where the list includes all sorts of social categories and the point was that they had something in common that transcended their differences as if they didn’t exist.

  46. I suppose I should have quoted the whole “book” or letter. I didn’t remove chapter numbers, etc., because my original reason for quoting any of it was to show the notes below — where the translation could be different than that chosen. To do that, I had to give credit where credit is due and not muck it up too much (in terms of the fact it’s not my translation but someone else’s work) and leave it where it would be easy to find the piece of text to which the notes refer.

  47. http://biblehub.com/galatians/3-28.htm

    Here’s the reference I indicated earlier, although I said “men and women” rather than “male or female” — I will now thus point out that I wasn’t exactly trying to quote that but to acknowledge it along with a common misreading. (Sorry; in my judgment, it would be too cumbersome to quote all of the book of Galatians. However, that mention was a side note, a safety, in a sense, not the main point of the post.)

  48. The main post of mine that I’ve been
    referencing starts like this:

    Marleen
    FEBRUARY 5, 2018 AT 3:41 AM
    This is not in response to anyone in particular. […
    …… {and then it’s a tiny bit long, mostly
    discussing Colossians and Rome (not the book of Romans)}]

  49. Sorry, Marleen, I believe I’ve lost track of the point you wanted to make. Perhaps you would be so kind as to restate it? Meanwhile, I’ll respond to the Galatians verse you cited.

    Gal.3:28 (nor its counterparts in Ephesians or Colossians) does not cancel the distinction indicated in Acts 15 vis-à-vis the Torah, nor does it obviate Rav Yeshua’s support for Torah in Mt.5:17-18 (not to neglect 19-20), which would include its many distinctions as well. Consequently we must recognize its context and its intended application, to point out that certain privileges are available to all humans regardless of social category (or gender, or ethnicity). With respect to the availability of redemption and access to HaShem, there is no difference.

    However, the reference to the gentile Galatians being Avraham’s children in Gal.3:29 does not eliminate other kinds of differences, because being a child of Avraham does not necessarily mean being a descendant of Isaac and Jacob. Avraham had many children who were sent away (in addition to Ishmael, for example) because they were not to inherit the promises of the land of Israel and the Torah covenant along with Isaac (as promised in Gen.15). In Gen.22, nonetheless, they could be blessed by Avraham’s “seed” (both singular and plural meanings apply). The example of Avraham’s faith was nonetheless available to them as a means to access these blessings. We see also in Gen.18:19 that Avraham’s legacy to all his descendants would be the pursuit of justice and righteousness; and Gen.25:5-6 shows us that distinction between Isaac and other offspring. (Gen.15 also showed that the descendants counted as his would be the ones enslaved in Egypt some four centuries later, dis-including Esav’s offspring also.)

    Of course, on this blog there have been numerous discussions about how to handle the issues of distinctive ethnic ecclesiology inherent in the MJ paradigm; though there have been fewer discussions about other wide-ranging distinctions such as gender or narrow distinctions such as apply to Cohanim, Leviim, Nazirites, Noahides, or any other specific category. In any case, ultimate resolutions seem to remain elusive.

  50. I appreciate that fairly succinct and helpful explication. I see it as background relating to the end from my Feb. fifth post, of which I later said as to said ending, partly pertaining to a stance repeated via the book of Galatians, “(… However, that mention was a side note, a safety, in a sense, not the main point of the post.)”

    *End quote to wit: {I hope it goes, without saying (or possibly with already having been said), that the meaning isn’t there no longer are any Jews, slaves, [in another book] men and women, etc.}*

    While it was a side note in that post, it undergirds — even without resolution, which you mention as well, PL — the Messian paradigm.
    As for the “main point of the post,” or the “point [I] wanted to make,” I’ll think about restating it in an additional post.

    Meanwhile, I’d recommend — to anyone — many specific analyses by Mark Nanos (see marknanos[dot]com).

    { A shout out to Drake/Sleepwalker: You might enjoy
    GALATIANS RE-IMAGINED/Reading With the Eyes of the Vanquished

    I’ve recommended it before, but don’t know if you were here (or immediately present) when I did.

    You may have found it on your own already anyway.

    https://epistletothegalatians.wordpress.com/tag/galatians-re-imagined/
    I don’t know anything about the owner for the blog just above, other than what you can read on the page to which I’m linking, but I’m using the link because it says the following (including a further link):

    This book will also apparently be available for Logos Bible Software next month.

    Hm. That was seven years ago, tomorrow. And I tried the business link a minute ago… which led to a note that the product isn’t available (in the format, or at that purveyor). That’s too bad. }

  51. PL said: And if so for modern Jewish disciples, whose ancient counterparts didn’t figure out how gentiles fit in for a few decades, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if we need a few decades yet again to re-invent the gentile discipleship environment. Perhaps the prior example of how such a thing can be done wrongly can show us how to avoid the same mistakes this time around. Certainly the past few decades of the MJ movement have demonstrated some of the same dynamics that we read about in the apostolic writings.

    Actually, as near as I understand it, Gentile and Jewish Messianic disciples never reached the spot where they had a real relationship, at least according to this point of view. Paul had the clearest vision, but I’m not convinced that James or the Jerusalem Council were ever completely on board, in spite of Acts 15. The Paul died and it all fell apart, so even historically, we don’t have a very good template to draw from.

    PL said: As for disseminating the answers by “recognized representatives”, I’m afraid that description is just a bit too neat and clean — as if it were a package that could be delivered by someone in a uniform. Even Rav Shaul was not recognized at first as such a representative, and not for a number of years until finally he met with the original apostles in Jerusalem.

    That’s depressing but I see your point. Even in the Messianic Era, things are still going to be messy between Jews and Gentiles, even the Gentiles who are basically on board with the Messianic Jewish vision. It’ll be much worse with those Christians who refuse to let go of the supersession myth or the idea that the Church is over Israel and the Jewish people.

    PL said: Perhaps the “package” that has been already disseminated in the guise of MJ “synagogues” is really pretty close to what gentile discipleship assemblies need; and now that they are started the Jewish disciples should return to traditional synagogues and Jewish communities (preferably in Israel).

    Yes, probably one answer, and it’s been proposed before, is to have Gentile-only “Messianic” communities (in a lot of places that’s the norm because there are too few Jews in the general population such as here in Idaho) which I suppose could look a lot like those Gentile-only Noahide congregations.

    and the Jewish teaching from Jerusalem via the internet begins properly to address the distinctive requirements and praxis of Jewish and gentile disciples pursuing a messianic kingdom perspective).

    Like what?

  52. “Like what?” Do you mean “distinctive requirements and praxis”? Since I’m looking toward a future that hasn’t quite caught up with us yet, and I’ve only been able to lay out broad outlines of it in previous replies, I regret that I don’t yet have a more definitive answer — especially about the distinctive gentile part. I think I have a reasonable handle on the Jewish disciple part, but the field is still pretty wide open for the enhanced Noahide gentile disciple part. I appreciate your link back to the 2014 Zetterholme article, though. I had forgotten about it, despite my responses to it. Apparently, I didn’t have any response to the Noahide article in your other link. I don’t know if somehow I missed it, or if I couldn’t think of anything meaningful to contribute to it. Of course, I didn’t receive any emails about other folks’ comments because I hadn’t responded at all myself. Perhaps I should revisit it.

    I think Zetterholme had some valid points to make about likely causes for the split, one particularly likely one being the tax on Jews from which gentiles would have had reason to feel they needed to distance themselves. Avoiding onerous taxation can be a very powerful motivation, especially if one feels that one is not fully vested in the “organization” being taxed. Add to that the social pressures of Roman anti-Jewish attitudes toward a supposedly subjugated people, and of isolation from family and friends who insist upon encouraging or demanding participation in common idolatrous civic and religious events that gentile disciples should have viewed as forbidden, and one can envision fertile ground for an Ignatius to denigrate any involvement with Jews or Judaism. I suspect it is but a short step thence to developing an entirely alternative religion and mythos to supplant the Jewish “ownership” of the One G-d Who created all things.

    The open question in our own era is whether developing alternative religious praxis for gentiles can avoid the ancient mistakes of supercession and outright anti-Judaism. Even the Didache, at least insofar as that document has been preserved, seems to contain a hint of anti-Jewish slant, which becomes much worse in the later Apostolic Constitutions that elaborated it. One could be justified in suspecting that just a tad of editorializing may have crept into the version of the Didache that was preserved. How, then, can the grafted wild olive branches acclimate themselves to the Jewishly-cultivated tree of faith without denigrating the Jewish roots of that tree or exalting themselves above the native Jewish branches? To be or not to be [what?], *that* is the question!

  53. This is not a point of debate but a tangential little addendum.

    Supersessionism did not begin with Christianity nor Judaism. It’s much older.

    Consider Mycenaean civilization of Ancient Greece. They used to worship the titans, according to some historians. The Hellenes and Dorians then swept down and inherited much of the land, myth, and customs, all while bringing their own gods and identity. And so the newcomers needed a means to tame the locals while allowing them to worship and hew to some old customs, striking a balance between oppression and laxity, a charge which always saddles history’s overseers. Furthermore, the Greeks probably lacked a way to even relate well to the titans of the supplanted folk.

    Hesiod writes of a changing of the guard in heaven. A great titanomachy between ensues between the titans and the new gods who vanquish them. And when Athens begins to approach its philosophical golden age, you can also read about this wrest in Aeschylus’s “Euminides,” wherein the conflict between the old and new powers plays out legally in court. Get this: an old and severe law of the titans passes the torch to a new and more life-centered one of the gods. Not abolished…but fulfilled! All at the Areopagus court, mind you. From thence, the new myth takes on a retrojective bent, and in the same way that we’ve always been at war with Eurasia, this titanomachy was always true from the beginning. Mass amnesia must obscure what really happened, otherwise people would doubt their legitimacy.

    Another and yet older example centers around the pantheon of Mesopotamia. Enlil, Inanna, Enki, and all the rest. Anyway, so Sumer as a civilization died off because they accidentally salinated their soil through mass irrigation. Ur and Babylonian civilization rose to prominence, inheriting the gods of the past peoples. Now unlike the perhaps-violent Dorian and Hellenic invasions, this situation might have been a more peaceful transition overall, and the myth reflects that.

    So instead of Sumerian Enlil remaining the chief god, the Babylonians shoehorned Marduk (the patron god of Babylon) into the story as the son of Enki. All the gods stand overawed by his superiority and a gracious transition slides into place. Marduk does the will of his father, fulfills old ways, and ushers in new ones. Almost everyone is happy, save perhaps any Sumerians left.

    Again, both of these scenarios portray a people happening onto the faith of another, unable to see themselves in the myth and possessing little to relate to it. The old myth leaves a descriptive void for the newcomers, or at best merely glances off of them. Yet for the sake of continuity and social cohesion it is dire that the victors make it work somehow. And so a Supersessionism is born. And like in 1984, people must consciously forget they fudged some details in order to continue. Christianity must forget that their customs are invented and not revealed, and they must pretend that their customs are actually required, and believe they took the torch of Israel, if they wish to govern the West. The cycle never ends.

    I bring this up to suggest that I think those in MJ typically talk about this problem incorrectly. Gentiles who have landed smack dab into the national literature of Israel and express difficulties with the Bible are dubbed Korach or Cain, accursed perennial symbols of religious envy. Or people describe them as emotionally brittle validation seekers. But myth, identity, and religion are vital for life and are universal needs older than Avraham. Civilizations that forget their myths crumble, yet the Bible defines most of them by pure negation, furnishing no myth, identity, nor religion for most of the world’s population unless they pretend it does. For them it only offers a bare belief. On the rings of a redwood, I think this burl is much older than mere squabbling siblings who envy a chosen one, as people often default. Both examples I offered of Sumer and Mycenaea are either coeval with, or predate, the finalized Torah. Reaching back eons into deep history, this quandary transcends the Jew/Gentile sibling rivalry altogether. There is a need that nations universally crave, and the Bible does not currently speak to it.

    I don’t think this is a dilemma to be patched up in a matter of decades. The Gospel broke the world under the auspices of healing it. I think this is a problem to lay at the feet of the Messiah – a Gordian Knot for him to untie.

    Shalom.

  54. That’s an intriguing historical pair of examples, Sleepwalker, but all the subjects of those conquests are now extinct — so the problem disappeared along with them. Unlike them, HaShem’s covenant with Jews is virtually eternal; and it will re-assert itself as prophesied and even as it has been doing already in our own era. Christian gentile supersession began in the second century CE, among people who were themselves subjugated under Greco-Roman hegemony and its gods, but the change of gods went the other way against the pagan Romans who wielded the political power. Then, of course, just a bit later, Roman Imperial Christianity arose in possession of the power to conquer and enforce that supersession against others, especially against Judaism. But you could be right that the model for such replacement was available already in the cultural background as a regrettable inspiration for it. In any case, Roman political power against subjugated minorities seems to have been the driving force that wedged apart the gentile proto-Christians and their Jewish teachers.

  55. Here is a negative review of the book I again recommended (as I have in previous years) above in my last post. I’ve excerpted from approximately the middle.
    https://epistletothegalatians.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/another-review-of-galatians-re-imagined/#comments

    An allusion to Luke-Acts, especially if the subject under discussion is insistance by some that others accept circumcision, should include mention of Act 15:1, where it is stated that ….

    I’m finding it interesting to read reviews and more reviews. The reasons given for not liking Kahl’s book… wow. By the end of this one, one can get the feeling of having “stepped in it.”

    I’ve read several now, and they almost never get into the archeological aspect of her writing. One did, but in such a minimal way as to in fact minimize her work.

  56. “That’s an intriguing historical pair of examples, Sleepwalker, but all the subjects of those conquests are now extinct — so the problem disappeared along with them.”

    Well, that’s the thing, PL. The problem didn’t die with them because the cause remains alive and well.

    “Unlike them, HaShem’s covenant with Jews is virtually eternal…”

    In truth, HaShem is probably not the first heavenly power to preside over a covenant or hand down a code (god Shamash to Hammurabi), which is perhaps why G-d warned the Israelites so deeply against alliances. You see, the covenant with the Jews being eternal pretty much answers identity questions — if one falls within the covenant people. And if one abides in Christianity, numb to the hidden Jewish history of the faith, one feels just as warm and safe. But for those gentiles who know which way the wind is blowing, the seas are a bit more choppy.

    PL: just because those religions are dead does not mean that their patterns and habits are. Pagan iterations of supersessionism perished but the cause of it did not. What spurs a Supersession? Supersession serves anyone striving to relate to someone else’s myth – and today it still does. So no. The problem is alive and well.

    In Jungian thought, which links personal psyche to grand myth, I don’t think people always self-consciously “conspire” to fudge history and supersede others; it’s something that just kind of happens. I mean, I’m sure the Romans had their motivations and conspiracies about it. But the hoi polloi do not. The people had songs, anthems, folkloric pride and all that relates. And while there might have been a few thought leaders pulling strings from on high, the public undertakes these changes unconsciously. America did not self-consciously birth Star Wars, a swashbuckling inter-genre pastiche in outer space. It just kinda did. And that’s the way dream and myth operate. People collectively participate in the ruck of it, often without knowing what they’re doing so from 30,000 feet. So how much of Rome’s exertion was conspiratorial versus collective instinct I don’t know.

    If a Messianic Jew huffs that gentile identity is not his business, then the conundrum becomes his business later on when it morphs into something unsightly and hunts him. Something always fills the void left in the wake of older myths. And across history, the same wayward Gentile identity the Bible disregards has a violent way of becoming Jewish business in the end (e.g.: the identity politics of Nazism and Catholic Spain, which had more to say about Europe than Paul ever did). Yet as long as the Bible leaves a mythic rift over all gentiles, MJ will never defeat Supersessionism and doesn’t deserve to.

    Therein lies the rub. And one can have oodles of faith, but one also has to get married, raise kids, be buried somewhere, live in a society, and know it all ties into something larger for the group and story.

    FFOZ is hunting their hardscrabble best on their safari for the elusive “messianic gentile,” and G-d bless them for that. I mean that. I kvell in their Boy Scout enthusiasm. But at the same time, they will always be hobbled in their herculean task as long as they’re moored in the Bible and never plumb the broader lore and schema it annihilated. Besides, amid Jews and Gentiles the Bible never speaks of a hybrid. So I think FFOZ has embarked on a lost cause. This is why I believe the undertaking to be a Messianic task; the Messiah broke the world and had to buy it. Only he can fix it.

    I’ve thought long and hard about this, PL. I’m not chasing escapist fantasies of, “Oh gee! If I just convert to Judaism then G-d will finally love me! Eeeee!” That’s not a sled dog in my personal race. I don’t believe G-d is that shallow. And I know Jews have their own unique problems. But given that these symptoms persist, I edge ever closer to concluding some unsettling notions about the Bible itself. And that is not a pleasant place to be. In speaking about Jews, I’ve often let slip the Freudian gaffe of saying “their G-d.” Perhaps innocent enough as errors can be mind you, they nevertheless betray a relational gap that widens as I study the national mythos of another nation.

    But before we (or the Messiah) can tackle the problem, we have to take full stock of it and encompass it. Which means we need to stop churning out comforting blandishments that sidestep and gloss it over. “G-d loves you, it’s relationship not a religion, you’re saved, you’re made in the image, Noahide Laws suffice, Messianic Gentiles are real, G-d treasures Gentile culture, etc.”

    People need to start telling the truth about the lay of the land.

    I’m pleased we could have an amicable exchange, Mr. Liberty.

    Be well.

  57. I don’t see 15:1 the way most people do; at least I don’t see it as necessary or inherent in the wording that we take it in the usual way. Additionally, in case anyone goes to look at that last link (in the post just prior to this), I disagree with the critic that mixed responses (across the board, not only in Jews) take away, to the extent that renders ridiculous, from the general concept of Kahl’s point of view. And, again, there is more to think about in terms of what was being experienced than the words included in the Bible. Ignoring half* the contribution says something about these analyzers.

    * To me, the part that is skipped over is the more illuminating “half” (I haven’t measured).

    Could this be a matter of losing our consciousness over matters that would have been obvious (more so) then?

  58. A quick note: Neither of my last two posts were in response to the posts just before them. I had started typing before those were present in the comments. (Granted, that means I’m taking a bit long to put a simple post together. Being sick doesnt help.)

  59. Sleepwalker: It might have been “Freudian” when you said “their G-d” — but I have seen it more than postulated from messianic platform (and not once and not by mistake) that gentiles should turn (toward Jews) and say “your G-d” when the liturgy says “our G-d.”

  60. Sleepwalker said: “Besides, amid Jews and Gentiles the Bible never speaks of a hybrid.”

    Yes, there is a hybrid in the Bible – the Samaritans. They were not fully “half and half” at first because I’m sure that Assyria didn’t send one man for every woman there, but you understand.

    And there still are Samaritans in the land, dwelling among Israel – even on the same mountain top (Mt Grzim) next to a vibrant Jewish community. They dwell separately yet respect one another.
    And do you know who else dwells temporarily during every year on that same mountain top? Christian agricultural volunteers.
    AND at the bottom of the hill are the cousins, the Palestinians who live in Shechem.

    There IS something happening in Israel that we, outside of the land, aren’t privy to. We need to continue to be patient, to live as rightly as we know before Hashem and all mankind for now. But one of these days, if we’re genuine and true, there may be an avenue for us to be recognized as something more than outsiders yet not insiders – there is a middle place but it’s been out of tradition for so long that it takes time for it to redevelop. And redeveloping it is, but it’s a slow process if it’s ever going to be a good process. Just because one mountain top has each community maintaining it’s identity among the whole doesn’t mean all of Israel or all of Judaism is following that same pattern, nor does it mean that the other communities are accepted among the whole. And the process may never bring about anything useful for us in our lifetime, but there needs to be examples to point to so the process can continue. The Gordian Knot is being examined by trustworthy leaders in SOME communities already though it will require Moshiach and a properly seated Sanhedrin to really make any difference.

    Yes, FFOZ is doing a good job of trying to shine a light on distinction as it seeks to educate those who are interested in the Jewish backbone of the Christian faith. But they will most likely never have the answer to Gentile identity, only exposing the ugly reality. And we may never have others to walk this journey with outside of our little computer screens and an occasional event here or there.

    The thing for us is that we’ve chosen to attach ourselves to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the teachings of Yeshua of Nazareth (and I suppose Paul would be in the mix too for us non-Jews). Maybe we didn’t count the cost as well as we should have before we began to learn things we can’t unlearn and experience things that have brought such a deep fulfillment that we can’t go back to the way things were. Until a more clear path is shown to us, we will continue to struggle and maybe MJ will fade away again until the time is right. Maybe the time is right and Moshiach is indeed right around the corner. How are we to know until we’re looking at this in the rear view mirror? If we allow our faith and practice to fade away while we still have strength, are we really that devoted? However, isolation can break even the strongest faithful families.

  61. If a person is being told, do this, no don’t do it; He is your God, no He isn’t your God (be careful about claiming too much, not to mention offending the people who are in focus), what is it — what are the faith and practice — being purportedly allowed to fade?

  62. Hmmm… I wonder, Marleen, if you’ve just put your finger on a key aspect of the problem, when you cite the notion of being careful not to claim too much. Isn’t it precisely this idea that Jews are withholding something from gentile disciples that they ought to be allowed to have that engenders a jealousy? Shouldn’t there be an emphasis on what these disciples have that is different and fulfilling rather than some sense that they need something more? It seems to me that such a sense is contrary to the trust in HaShem that enables someone to enter into the mindset of the kingdom of heaven. It is worried about not having enough rather than embracing Him as the loving Father and Provider that He is. It is a fundamental denial of faith. Since I am currently typing this on my phone with one finger, I can’t look up the verse I wish to cite, but it is about the need to trust in order to please HaShem or to receive from Him any good thing. Perhaps later today I might be able to get back to this forum with that quote.

  63. You have proved Drake’s point. Supposedly, asking questions is good? Nope. Bam. Accusation.

    I came back to say it might look like the question I asked is rhetorical and to say it’s not. Found THAT.

  64. Peace be to all and a good health.
    Hello guys, what thou have understand in all your qoutations such as the Acts of Apostles, Galatians and Collossians about those gentiles that were also included to the Promise Covenant Salvation of Yeshua M. is true and valid! Besides, its have different context message in the right application used in conformity to the Will Plan of God and this is in the writings of Evangelist Luke in the Acts of the Apostles regarding those gentiles, which he refers to the separated 10 North Kingdom of Israel. Which to A. Paul who understand the gospel of Luke, he also uses that term in Efe. 3:6, that the gentile is also heirs to the Kingdom. Because at that time those so called gentile were those separated covenantal people to the House of Judah! And the Jews that term them gentiles, for they defined their selves that any person who is not a Jew is gentile. So, A. Paul use that term for knowing it was referring to thier Covenantal countrymen! But the problem is in the Letter of A. Paul in Galatians and Colossians, which A. Peter in 2Peter 3:15-18, read it! Which A. Peter saw and understood this writings of A. Paul could decieve the readers of his letters. And the readers/people now were the example of using this letters of A. Paul as their evidence that the gentiles is also heirs to the promise covenant of salvation to their forefathers! Not knowing of the Exclusivity of the Messianic Covenant! And to this, Yeshua M. executed the Universal Final Judgment to all gentile nations in Mt. 25:31-46 ever since 1st Century. So, not to make problem in interferring to the Will Plan of God. When the writings of this gospel were very clear in the commissioning of Yeshua M. to his countrymen in Mt.1:21 and Mt. 15:24.. and what for in Mt. 28:19, for its being in the Proper Noun in the original writing but now it become in the Common Noun context messages, without questioning by the Israelites.

    Anyhow, this problems made by the gentile scholars and some unqualified Israeli scholars can be check proven by any readers in the concluding accomplishment worked by Yeshua M. in the gospel of John in Rev. 7:1-8 & 14:1-5, that only the 144,000 Chosen Call Out Israelites were saved and followed Yeshua M. and no representation of any gentiles! And thou could even ask this to the world religion now, if they also knew what those chosen Israelites knows in regards of knowing his name and his Father’name, as marked of their salvation! Or just ask them “in to what name of the Father they have been baptize?” And from this fact, can not anyone now prove that none of any religion of the gentiles do not know this fact and so all of those unqualified Leftseed Israelites is also have no knowledge of this mark of salvation!

    And note, about those mention gentiles in his letters is not a deception to all his bretheren messianic disciples, because they have the right to save other people as long as they also comply and believe to what their master taught them. And the example was in Yeshua’s crucifixion with the thieves (figurative writing) by promising the paradise to the thief. And this only to those people with direct personal contact or personal committment with the authorize chosen servant of God and A. Paul is a church of God or the prophet of God AT THAT TIME!
    May our living lord God Bless us all.

    LOVE: New Jerusalem – Holy City

  65. I once went to a doctor appointment while I was pregnant and took my older (still little) two children with me. It was only going to involve taking blood pressure, etc. When the doctor came into the room, he was going to be nice (totally his own idea and imagination) and give the boys something with which to color on the table paper. (No particular reason —
    they weren’t restless or bothersome.) He didn’t have anything like crayons, so he gave them pens. They wrote on the paper, and the doctor checked my heartbeat, etc. As we were leaving, the nurse angrily came down the hall and said the tables are expensive and I shouldn’t let my children ruin things (neither the doctor nor I knew what she was talking about). All they had done was what the man in charge of the place had told them. (Oh, but surely there was a woman in the room and a man in the room; it must be the woman’s fault. Or maybe this is an example of children being of the devil because they aren’t adults with developed motor skills and experience with ballpoint pens.) I can’t give you one story to cover all instances; sometimes it’s the very same person who says to do something and then acts exasperated with the very doing of it, not something going disappointingly about it. Now I will move more explicitly into the Messianic topic. I’ve been part of more than a couple such congregations in more than one place, but visited (a significant number of times) a second one in the same city. I have a very warm sense about the first one, and am very thankful for it. The other cannibalized that one and started their own, then set up rules to protect the status of certain people so no one could do what they had done to others to them. [Incidentally, in the process, I remember the term Korah rebellion at the original… but it wasn’t directed (by the Jewish rabbi) at gentiles, it was anyone who was stirring up trouble. (But the new one became more “protective” against gentiles even though the reason for a split wasn’t gentiles.] Did you read my (whole) post, PL, before reacting to wanting “too much”? You don’t see a problem with telling people God is their God, then that God is not their God (is the God of Jews only)?

    Sounds similar to God is your Father… psych!

  66. Speaking of jealousy, a son of the first rabbi [and I don’t even want to call the second one a rabbi] was doing something with the local traditional synagogue that cost money. Some people got jealous — apparently worried about where the money was coming from (that’s what they talked about), but that might not’ve been all. Then a man with an ego (hidden in a gentle manner) took the opportunity.

  67. Perhaps I was thinking of Heb.11:6 – “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”

    I posted my last from my phone at 3:30am in Israel. I had awakened in the middle of the night and felt for some reason to look at my email on my phone before returning to sleep, and I must admit that my thinking was still a bit fuzzy.

  68. Many Messianic Jews mention Noahidism on this thread and others as sort of a guidepost, and I just have to sound off on what I think of that. I’m in a torrid mood to slice through all the dead flesh, paltering, and platitudes that have glommed onto the dialog and this one lands in the crosshairs.

    This ersatz code focuses on bare minimums to prevent a flood, not a means to spiritually lift oneself to G-d. Noahidism discussed in Talmud Sanhedrin 59a is a joke to read as any coherent spiritual path for gentiles. Packed in such dialogues we see that Gentiles who study Torah are liable for the death penalty and likened unto adulterers who reave a virgin bride, among various other absurdities in Mishneh Torah.

    “He [the gentile] is forbidden to have relations with any male, whether a minor or an adult, nor with any animal whether young or fully-grown. He alone is executed and not the animal, since an animal is only killed if it had relations with a Jew.”

    “A non-Jew is liable to punishment because of thievery whether he stole from a non-Jew or a Jew, whether he stole or robbed money or kidnapped or withheld an employee’s wages or the like. Even if he was a worker and ate at a time when he wasn’t working, he, too, is a thief and is culpable, which is not the case with a Jew. A non-Jew is liable for thievery for stealing even the value of less than a Prutah (penny). If a non-Jew stole less than the value of a Prutah, and another came and stole from him, both are executed.”

    “A non-Jew who violates one of the Seven
    Commandments is executed by means of the sword.”

    “A non-Jew is executed by the testimony of one, and with one
    judge, without forewarning, and by the testimony of relatives, but not by the testimony of a woman. A woman may not judge for them.”

    “A non-Jew may violate one of the Commandments if he is forced to do so. Even if he was forced to worship idols, he may do so, since non-Jews are not commanded to Sanctify the Name.”

    – Mishneh Torah, Maimonides

    For all their mistakes, FFOZ rightly strikes it down as an option. If non-Jews are not commanded to bless and hallow the Name, how can one even pray to or know G-d (Ignoring Mal. 1:11 and Zeph. 3:9-10)? How can one admonish gentiles to have faith in G-d’s long-term benevolence while rabbis cast Noahide punishments as the reality of the Messianic Age? How can gentiles ascend to G-d with such a base and horrid code? Noahidism seeks to spread monotheism at the cost of the very human dignity touted by believers in the Besorah. It reduces broader mankind to dhimmis and speaks of goyim almost zoologically. How can one defend the supposed uniqueness of gentiles while proffering Noahidism?

    Fortunately, most on this thread seem to share the sentiment that such a code is woefully insufficient. And to me the code is food for thought, nothing else. At best it should be perceived warily.

  69. http://biblehub.com/romans/3-29.htm…28
    For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is One God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
    [Emphasis added, numbers not removed.]

  70. This is the same link that was supposed to be in my previous post. I discovered I’d copied it badly when I just now tried to use it to retrieve another version [the Yoda-like] from the same page …
    http://biblehub.com/romans/3-29.htm
    Young’s Literal Translation
    The God of Jews only is He, and not also of nations?

  71. So, looking at that subsequent to posting it, it is apparent that God is not the God of nations but is of Jews and gentiles (individuals — individuals who can come together and look forward).

  72. PL said: “Like what?” Do you mean “distinctive requirements and praxis”? Since I’m looking toward a future that hasn’t quite caught up with us yet, and I’ve only been able to lay out broad outlines of it in previous replies, I regret that I don’t yet have a more definitive answer — especially about the distinctive gentile part…

    Hence my belief that we non-Jews who have aligned ourselves with a wholly Jewish religious movement centered on Rav Yeshua won’t find our true place until after King Messiah comes and defines it for us, or perhaps Paul will again embark on a series of missionary journeys to the nations and teach us. Until then, each religious community and/or each individual Gentile is left with the Bible, some other resources of their own choosing, and faith with which to define themselves. I’ve learned to more or less be comfortable with that since there’s really no other viable options at the moment.

    Marleen said: Sleepwalker: It might have been “Freudian” when you said “their G-d” — but I have seen it more than postulated from messianic platform (and not once and not by mistake) that gentiles should turn (toward Jews) and say “your G-d” when the liturgy says “our G-d.”

    God may have issued all of this covenant promises to Israel, but unless we want to negate Creation, he is the God of all humanity, past, present, and future. That our little corner of theology has difficulty in defining a Gentile’s specific role and praxis does not mean it’s a mystery to God. Perhaps this too is the reason for having faith.

    Drake said (quoted): “A non-Jew may violate one of the Commandments if he is forced to do so. Even if he was forced to worship idols, he may do so, since non-Jews are not commanded to Sanctify the Name.”

    – Mishneh Torah, Maimonides

    I’ve heard some Messianic Jew struggle with some of the pronouncements of the Sages, usually those that condemn Jews for having faith or otherwise being involved with “that man” (Yeshua) since on the one hand, a continual study of Talmud is very much a part of Jewish religious and communal life, and on the other hand, Rav Yeshua is the coming Messiah revealed to us in the Apostolic Scriptures of whom we are not ashamed.

    It seems to me that among all of their other struggles in the Messianic faith, Jews are caught between their own connection to larger Jewish community and how to manage their relationship with the Gentiles who also share faith in Rav Yeshua. It’s a question no one seems to have a very good answer for and I think it vexes as many Messianic Jews as it does we Gentiles.

  73. @Marleen — Shavua Tov! I was reviewing prior posts here, and in one I had asked you to reiterate a point of which I had lost track. Well, now I’ve found it. You had cited a number of verses in Colossians, which constitute a list of characteristic behaviors exactly of the sort that represent a religious package for gentile disciples. I don’t recall if you seemed to have posted it as a direct response to Drake’s plaint, but I think it does serve such a purpose. Rav Shaul wrote similar things to other assemblies, as well, and these are the kinds of instructions that seem to me to fit the role of a gentile disciple’s halachah. They probably also feature prominently among Pastor Dake’s 1050 NT commandments, though one of the failings previously identified for his list is that it fails to identify to whom each was addressed, Jews, gentiles, men, women, slaves, masters, or some combination of these and other categories. His list would likely also be much reduced if better linguistic analysis eliminated statements that were not actually commands, but rather advice or observations or commentary. But what *you* cited does at least illustrate that it was, in fact, Rav Shaul’s attempt to provide such religious guidance for gentile disciples — offering a basis for their ethical behavior that was not directly dependent on trying to emulate specifically Jewish forms of praxis; but was nonetheless a reflection of similar goals observable in the overall Jewish example.

    Now, I can’t say that these sorts of verses constitute the equivalent of a Kitzur Shulchan Aruch for gentile disciples, but there is some analogy that might be drawn. Likewise, they do not define a fixed liturgy — neither for Shabbatot nor for any other occasion in the home or in the public communal assembly. Nonetheless, that liturgy which has developed within supposedly MJ meetings, that resembles a quasi-“evangelical” collection of songs, readings, and teachings, might suffice to serve gentile disciples as an homage to the Jewish liturgy that is compiled in siddur and machzor. Thus there may exist quite sufficient material to support and guide “Livingstone” fellowships of gentile disciples, which also may draw upon biblical teachings from Jewish disciples. And there would be no harm if such “Livingstones” were occasionally to attend Jewish occasions such as Purim parties, or demonstration seders for Passover, and to visit a Sukkah or two, at synagogues where Jewish disciples ordinarily frequent.

    Perhaps this sounds overly idyllic, but in some ways it resembles the home fellowships I recall from the early days of the MJ movement some 50 years ago. They were already somewhat disconnected from standard Christian churches, and they were drawing upon elements of the Charismatic Movement and the Jesus Movement, both of which contained an element seeking to recapture something of the first-century environment of faith depicted in the apostolic writings. It was while participating in such a fellowship that I first became aware of the fledgling Jewish movement that spawned MJ a couple of years later. I can assure you that no gentile disciples in those fellowships suffered from any feeling that they were being deprived, merely because they were not following specifically Jewish praxis, because they were satisfied to be exploring biblical praxis to recapture a lost first-century perspective. Now, it is true that at that time they had not been much exposed to distinctively Jewish praxis, and perhaps it was only their ignorance that kept them from jealousy; but since no one had ever given them any reason to expect to live as Jews, they were quite content with the wealth of knowledge that was already available to them, including the insights that only Judaism could provide. They enjoyed songs and biblical study and discussions (and occasional meals) together. Their faith in HaShem and in Rav Yeshua was fulfilling and satisfying; and their sense of community was derived from their companions in their home fellowship group. They didn’t call it a “havurah”, because that term was yet unknown to them, but that is what they had. And certainly they were enjoying a perspective that afforded them a true sense of participating in the kingdom of heaven in the present, even if only in microcosm, and regardless of how soon they might hope it would become a worldwide reality under the Messiah’s rule.

    Because of my memory of this outlook and attitude, I find Drake’s negative outlook perplexing and entirely unnecessary. Could I be happy in such a fellowship nowadays, years later, knowing what I know now? If I were not a Jew, I believe so. I, however, know that my calling is different from theirs, and theirs is different from mine. I know that I would be arrogant to view theirs as a lesser calling, and that they would be mistaken to allow insecurity to rob them of their joy by viewing themselves so. At the same time, both they and I would be foolish to dismiss the depth of richness that can be mined from thousands of years of HaShem’s investment in Jewish experience with spiritual learning. Both of us must read Rav Shaul’s exclamation to the gentile Roman assembly that begins: “What advantage do Jews have? … Much in every way….” (Rom.3:1-2) without allowing it to induce pride for being Jewish nor gentile arrogance such as Rav Shaul warned of in Rom.11:18.

    Overall, I can’t say where the MJ movement is trending in its current forms. I can only offer recommendations of the sort I’ve described above, which would allow for gentile disciples to mature spiritually as redeemed gentiles (and if they want a distinctive label I offer “Livingstones”), and which encourage Jewish disciples to engage progressively more deeply with their own redeeming heritage. Regardless of current trends, I offer a viewpoint toward a better future.

  74. By the way, doesn’t having rules or laws to avoid another flood change the promise marked by the rainbow into something other than a promise of a solid decision made by G-d at that time?

    That’s how it seems to me.

    So, there are multiple reasons not to go that way. Just on principle. Of course, the reasons (and noachidism) have nothing to do with whether or not there will be a flood anywhere.

  75. I was writing this on Tuesday, then wasn’t sure about posting it and carrying on the conversation. I’ve decided I should post it so as not to inadvertently leave a wrong impression.

    Greetings, PL.

    Speaking of trending, my sense is that the congregations have tended by proportions worldwide and in the U.S. not to be of the sort I personally so appreciated.

    I have nothing solid, like a certified survey, James, to base this on, but it is the impression many of us get.

    Similar to what PL conveyed.

    Nonetheless, that liturgy which has developed within supposedly MJ meetings, that resembles a quasi-“evangelical” collection of songs, readings, and teachings, might suffice to serve gentile disciples as an homage to the Jewish liturgy that is compiled in siddur and machzor. Thus there may exist quite sufficient material to support and guide “Livingstone” fellowships ….
    [emphasis added]

    I can see the meaning here, but also have a word of caution. This describes how the second assemblage in my area [when I lived in a different place] positioned themselves… not necessarily with their own wording matching the type of description you, PL, have put to writing (they wouldn’t call themselves “evangelical” — but were in most ways — and they wouldn’t say they were “supposedly MJ”). In form, ethos, etc., they leaned more that way than did the previous fellowship (whereas some readers might surmise — mistakenly — the newer/second one was trying to be more traditionally Jewish). {Additionally, they actively (probably not formally or legally, but actively, openly, and aggressively) connected themselves with a local church or movement sort of thing to which I wouldn’t send anyone and from which I wouldn’t expect to find comfortable friendships (as they had many disconcerting characteristics such as false prophecy, abuse, strange “spiritual” habits and innovations*… all of this not to mention a bit of an obsession with politics).}

    * Note that I don’t use this term to denigrate innovation in general, nor creativity. I chose it as a balance to “habits.”

    Something like the name Livingstones (which was suggested) is good; it’s not inherently specific to only gentiles, and some Jewish people would actually prefer to stay+ in a place like this. Especially in diaspora, I don’t think a person who chooses that way is by definition off-base. Unfortunately, some less conscientious individuals seem to feel fine (not just as a visitor) in an overtly Christian environment while thinking there is meaning in calling themselves Messianic for the sheer fact that they don’t reject Jesus (good not to reject Jesus, but not helpful to the Messianic paradigm community). Beyond the inside baseball, this came up in a very disturbing American political episode [which I’ll skip] quite recently.

    + In my experience, these specific persons might not be very representative of recent history; they were people who didn’t stay in a place like this but rather broke off to start sort of such a place. I’d say they accomplished more of a buzz for themselves. More people then showed up who were not Jewish and had never been part of the havurah in the context of family or friends either, were not self-motivated seekers. You can imagine the incongruity of the almost overwhelming sense as to tourism in a place that these newcomers/visitors/supporters saw as Judaism because they didn’t know any better (and in many cases would not want to know better or “permit”).

    As for what those folks broke away from (this might seem counterintuitive against the optimism of our day), the core founders had wanted to continue together (whether Jewish or not, yet putting emphasis on a Jewish outlook and accessing and manifesting a true Jewish environment). The core also wanted to grow in attracting more Jewish congregants to a home of worship in Yeshua. They [including myself] didn’t want to take “shortcuts” for numbers. (In a way, the new messianic congregation that broke away were themselves supercessionist.)

    It might be constructive for the more hardcore (or, looking at it from another angle, heritage-sensitive) Messianic current leaders to work cooperatively or advisedly with another layer of meeting environments in order that outcroppings or potential straglers (however large) not misrepresent the intended hearts’ desire. Each location (or organic appearing) wouldn’t have to be outlined in detail (for instance in liturgy) by said leadership, but some guidance and guardrailing would serve not to hurt either the elders of the modern resurgence or those who do in fact love it [as opposed to aim at self gain or bring rivalry from any direction] — those who want to avoid causing displacement or even dilution (of understanding the most heritage-embracing brothers and sisters). I hope I’m clear enough.

    None of this would mean Christianity is rejected as a whole, simply that Christianity has no place defining. Christianity has no place defining either the hard-core Messianic or the Livingstone. We are fully aware that Christianity won’t, at this time, allow itself to be redefined, at least without a chafing that wastes focal energy [could be the calling of a few to need deal with said reaction]. Likewise, “Livingstones” ought not be cold-shouldered out of Livingstone environments (environments that you would deem “supposedly MJ” — not MJ).

    So, while I was disappointed with the kind of local grouping you’ve observed, PL, I know that in different circumstances and with better judgment something like it would not have been a negative thing (to exist, not for me to join). I think this may require people to honestly assess where they want to be and what they are willing to nurture. Of course when there isn’t a large count of interested parties in almost any locality, requests to entertain contemplation of a two-pronged undertaking may look ridiculous and emotionally taxing. In the long run, though, it might prove to be a relief.

    Meanwhile and in any case, a believer is free to live life as he or she sees fit (in an aspiring way as is appropriate to a reborn soul), as gatherings of believers are free too (free from any denomination or wing of Christianity to define you) [all of this addressing those who indeed live in free societies where freedom can really go forward as freedom]. But all are to be aware every moment and considerate, making an impression expressing sincerity in truth (for anyone… Jewish neighbor, atheist, reveler in Roman pantheon, Christian).

    I affirm (not Colossians but another letter by Paul if I recall correctly) that a leader should be the husband of only one woman (including, but not limited to, not having been divorced and remarried and not having children through plural women).

    I am happy that the Collossians “package” (as you put it, PL) starts with not lying to one another. A substitute lore for how that second establishment came into being (instead of the true sequence of events) was the last straw to me. (I later saw some of the other markers I’ve mentioned).

  76. http://biblehub.com/revelation/11-15.htm
    Some translations say “kingdom” (of the world) while others say “kingdoms” (in this world), but the overall point is clear enough. I find these two with other nuances to be noteworthy:

    ◄ Revelation 11:15 ►

    Good News Translation
    Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The power to rule over the world belongs now to our Lord and his Messiah, and he will rule forever and ever!”

    Jubilee Bible 2000
    And the seventh angel sounded the trumpet, and there were great voices in the heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are reduced unto our Lord and to his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

  77. Thanks for sharing, James. I graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2012 and pastored in a Baptist Church for three years. When I began an intense study on the Law of God and the continuity of the Old and New Testament, I accepted the Sabbath, the dietary laws, and the festivals as morally binding today. This inevitably led me to Messianic Judaism

    I currently attend Beth Yeshua Synagogue and find it helpful to be involved in a community of believers. I do find it difficult to discern the different types of flavors in the messianic community and also the Hebrew roots movement. There doesn’t seem to be a cohesiveness to this movement. But I do think it’s growing.

    It is my hope that you find a place of worship to connect to G-D and others who are like-minded. I can understand your frustration, but it’s also good to have accountability in your life and to be spiritually nourished. Blessings!

  78. Greetings and thanks for commenting. There are a number of “factions” of Messianic Judaism centered around different organizations as well as congregations more considered Hebrew Roots and also Two House, but also, to the best of my knowledge a bunch of smaller independents, from congregational size down to small home fellowships and individual families, and they all operate on some version of what they believe to be the “truth.” That’s also what makes it difficult to “count,” since, like “dark matter” there could be “stuff” out there that’s not visible because the groups/people aren’t on anyone’s radar.

    I’m glad you found a place where you are at home. It’s a little more complicated for me and I’ve talked about this many times before in other blog posts, but at present, if I can be said to have any faith community at all, it’s through blogging and interacting with commenters here.

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