Tag Archives: Tim Hegg

Dr. Michael Brown Wasted Tim Hegg’s Time and Mine

I hadn’t intended to, especially since Keith had already done such a good job of it, but I ended up listening to the Line of Fire debate between Dr. Michael Brown and Tim Hegg on Does God Require All Believers to Observe the Torah with the intention of writing a review. Different sources continued to urge me to listen to the podcast and so I finally found myself one evening clicking the link.

I wish I hadn’t but maybe not for the reasons you think. I knew that Dr. Brown often took on controversial subjects in his interviews and debates on his radio show, but I’d forgotten how adversarial and contentious these dialogues could be. Dr. Brown obviously had an agenda from the start and I believe it was a mistake for Mr. Hegg to agree to debate him. After listening to less than thirty minutes of the exchange between them, I decided I never wanted to go within a mile of Dr. Brown or, given the current state of telecommunications, have any sort of direct link to him regardless of our relative geographical locations.

Let me explain.

Keith’s review, which I cited above, is absolutely correct in saying that Mr. Hegg, who is probably the leading proponent of the One Law/One Torah position for Gentile believers, seemed not to be able to communicate his viewpoint in a clear, straightforward manner. I listened to Hegg fumble with answers, not be able to focus on responding to a very specific, direct question, and wander all over the Bible, almost rambling, in an attempt to answer each of Dr. Brown’s queries.

I’ve met Hegg on a number of occasions and have found him to be a generally well-educated, intelligently spoken, knowledgable, organized individual. I don’t agree with his basic interpretation of the Bible, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect where he’s coming from.

However, when on Dr. Brown’s radio show, Hegg seemed totally out of his depth, as if he were a first year theology student suddenly thrown into a debate with the heads of his department and asked to defend doctrinal positions which he barely comprehended. Hegg was a mess.

Tim Hegg
Tim Hegg

To be fair though, it was abundantly clear that Brown was using all of the standard tactics to put Hegg off from the second the show went on the air. Brown defined the parameters of the debate, he asked leading and misleading questions, he verbally painted Hegg in a corner, he talked over him, and repeatedly interrupted him, even when Brown said he would give Hegg full rein to state his position. Invariably, Brown would interrupt Hegg in mid-sentence, saying yet another station break was coming up and that he was only seeking clarification for the sake of his listeners.

I have a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with fifteen years of post-graduate experience before changing careers and in my current employment, I report directly to the Vice President of Marketing. I know when someone’s trying to pull a fast one and manipulate not only the “interviewee” but the audience.

If I had been Hegg, I would have been deeply frustrated and embarrassed. He never had a chance to have a fair hearing regarding his beliefs. That may have been part of the reason that Hegg seemed so confused. He could never finish a complete thought.

To be fair in the other direction, Hegg, even at the beginning when there wasn’t as much pressure, didn’t seem to know how to form a short, simple, complete answer. I don’t know. Maybe he wasn’t used to a radio interview format. On the other hand (again), while Brown said this was supposed to be a “friendly” conversation rather than a debate, the way Brown went after Hegg was anything but friendly. Brown didn’t seem to be interested in finding out what Hegg believed, he seemed, like many entertainers, to want to produce the maximum drama for his radio audience. I don’t care if he does have the word “doctor” in front of his name.

Conclusion: The debate was a waste of time. Listening to it was a waste of my time and participating in it was a waste of Hegg’s time and probably his peace of mind. Like I said, I don’t agree with Hegg, but I certainly didn’t agree with Brown’s tactics, either. And from what little theological information Brown produced on his end, I had to conclude that he misunderstood the nature of the New Covenant and sadly has a classically Evangelical misunderstanding of what “fulfillment” is actually about (from my point of view).

Nothing in this “interview” changed my mind about Tim Hegg one way or the other but although I’ve had a sort of respect for Dr. Brown over the years based those few things I’ve heard of him, my estimation of the man sank to new depths based on this one hearing of his radio program. I can only imagine that Brown’s audience listens to his show for the same reasons the fans of Rush Limbaugh listen to his.

Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh

It isn’t about learning or education and it isn’t about trying to get to the truth on the so-called “Line of Fire” show. It’s all for the sake of entertainment and ratings, usually at the expense of the dignity of another human being. If Dr. Brown had bothered to take to heart the teachings of the Rabbis who speak of upholding the dignity of others, even if you believe your opponent is guilty of a terrible error, he probably would have conducted a very different interview. But then, he’d probably be out of a job if what his employer and his listeners want is to embarrass someone week after week. It’s about (metaphorically speaking) drawing first blood.

But the difference between Brown and Limbaugh is that Limbaugh doesn’t claim to serve Jesus Christ, the Savior of humanity, the one who gave his life for the redemption of many, even while we were still enemies. Limbaugh doesn’t claim to be a disciple of the Prince of Peace and the King of the Jews. Dr. Brown says he does.

More’s the pity.

But then again, behaving like a Christian and upholding such ideals wouldn’t make for a good radio show.

Addendum: I suspected that Tim Hegg wouldn’t just walk away from Dr. Brown’s radio show without some sort of subsequent response. Turns out Hegg has a radio show of his own and on the Rob and Caleb Show, presumably because ”several people asked if Tim (could) expand on some of the ideas he was posing but was not able to finish,” Hegg will appear on the Thursday, August 28th program at 2 p.m. (PST) which will be replayed the same day at 6 p.m. (PST) to answer and expand upon what he was trying to say on Brown’s show. I suppose if I were Hegg, I’d do the same thing.

Is Sola Scriptura Enough to Understand Paul?

Apostle-PaulIs the Torah to be considered as a dead husband that nobody liked anyway? This is the way many Christians interpret Romans 7:1-6: “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies she is released from the law of her husband” (verse 2 of Romans 7:1-6). Paul refers to an ancient halachah (principle of the law) to illustrate his new relationship to the Torah because of his faith in Jesus. But one question is never asked when studying Romans 7:1-6. And it is only when the full impact of Paul’s Jewish heritage is understood in light of his entire teaching concerning the believer’s response to the Torah that this question can be carefully considered. Nonetheless, we must ask: Was Paul speaking about the death of the Torah or was he referring to the death of the flesh? Is the Torah, for Paul, a dead husband?

Brad H. Young
“Is Paul Against the Law?”
Biblescholars.org

Dr. Roy Blizzard promoted this article on his Facebook page, and since I’ve read both Blizzard and Young in the past, I was interested in seeing how their perspectives have developed.

What I read made me think of how I recently brought up the issue of sola scriptura in relation to a presentation given by Pastor Steve Lawson at John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference last October.

I found myself wondering if sola scriptura as offered by Lawson would match up with how Young is interpreting Paul in Romans 7.

To interpret Paul correctly on this passage, it is first imperative to recognize that the saying, “when a person dies he is free from the law and the commandments” (kivan shemet adam naaseh chofshi men hatorah vehamitzvot), was a well-known concept in halachah, which probably was almost proverbial in ancient Jewish thought (b. Nidah 61b and parallels). When Paul says that he is writing to those who know the law (Romans 7:1), it is clear that he speaks concerning a practice of halachah with which the Jews in the congregation of Rome would be quite familiar. The marriage laws concerning a woman and her husband would also be fairly well known. Of interest to the issue is the fact that Rabban Gamaliel the Elder, who according to Luke was the teacher of Paul in his early days as a student in Jerusalem, addressed questions relating to these laws in the Mishnah. Gamaliel the Elder taught that a woman is free to remarry even if only one witness gives testimony that her husband had died (m.Yeb. 16:7). Scholars have noted that the passage in Romans 7:1-6 might well betray the influence of Paul’s teacher Gamaliel. While the similarity between Paul and Gamaliel on this point of halachah should not be denied, it is also true that such teachings were probably common knowledge to Jewish men and women who lived pious lives according to their devout faith. Paul could have been acquainted with this principle from many sources, including Gamaliel the Elder.

-Young, ibid

sola scripturaI tried to choose the most representative paragraph in Young’s brief article to illustrate that a thorough understanding of not only scripture but of Judaism (or the various Judaisms) as it (they) existed during Paul’s lifetime is absolutely essential to correctly understanding Paul. Without addressing the complete social, religious, historical, national context in which Paul was writing, plus his education and as much of his “psychology” as we can apprehend after all this time, we are quite likely to get Paul wrong and, as a result, construct completely erroneous theologies, doctrines, and dogmas based on our misunderstanding, all the while believing we are standing on the rock-solid foundation of “sola scriptura.”

But am I being unfair? After all, I do believe the Bible (correctly understood) is the basis for a life of faith. I just think it’s more complicated than reading the Bible and taking the text (especially in English) at face value.

I recalled that a gentleman named Tim Hegg, who is well-known in Hebrew Roots circles, took exception to another criticism of sola scriptura, written by First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ) author, Pastor Jacob Fronczak for Messiah Journal issue 111 (Fall 2012).

The full text of Hegg’s rebuttal can be found at TorahTalkOnline.com (PDF) but I’ll take the liberty of inserting the relevant quotes here.

According to Hegg, Fronczak asserted “it (the Bible) needs no outside help to be correctly interpreted”as a tenet of sola scriptura. Hegg responded:

Wrong!

Sola Scriptura holds that the Bible must be interpreted according to its historical, grammatical sense. This means that knowing the history, culture, and language in which the inspired word is given is necessary for receiving its divinely intended message. But Sola Scriptura also states that the Bible is self-interpreting, meaning that since it is God’s inspired word as a whole, it is never self-contradictory. Therefore, the truth of the Scriptures is found in the whole of the Bible’s message, allowing the whole to interpret the parts

The first part of Hegg’s response sounds good, but it is dependent upon how well the interpreter knows the “historical grammatical sense” and how much they’re willing to take into account the “history, culture, and language in which the inspired word” was given. In other words, would the interpreter who is an adherent of sola scriptura take into consideration ancient Jewish thought and Paul’s relationship with Rabban Gamaliel the Elder when attempting to understand Paul’s relationship with and description of the function of Torah in the community of first century Jewish believers?

Also, when Hegg says that “the Bible is self-interpreting, meaning that since it is God’s inspired word as a whole, it is never self-contradictory. Therefore, the truth of the Scriptures is found in the whole of the Bible’s message, allowing the whole to interpret the parts,” he seems to be leaving out the necessity of understanding the context to its fullest degree.

By that, I mean in order to resolve those areas of the Bible that seem internally inconsistent (how Paul in some parts of the Bible seems pro-Torah and in other parts seems anti-Torah), we have to employ a much wider net of information gathering than I think Christian interpretive tradition is willing to allow.

Here’s more about what I mean:

If Paul employs a known analogy from halachah in Romans 7:1-6, perhaps the Jewish tradition can throw light upon Paul’s message and the conclusion he desires to draw from the evidence he cites. The sage, R. Simeon ben Pazzi, taught “…and the servant is free from his master”(Job 3:19). A person, as long as he lives is a servant to two masters: the servant of his Creator and of his [evil] inclination. When he does the will of his Creator, he angers his inclination, and when he does the will of his inclination, he angers his Creator. When he dies, he is freed, ‘the servant is free from his master!’ (Ruth Rabbah 4:14, M. Lerner pp.78-80). Rabbi Simeon ben Pazzi’s saying, “When he dies, he is freed…” not only recalls Paul’s words in Romans 7:1-6, but also provides a clear parallel in thought to his discussion of the servant who either is enslaved to his evil inclination or to his Creator in the preceding chapter of Romans. In Romans chapter 6, Paul teaches that an individual is either a servant of sin to obey the flesh or a servant of righteousness to obey God.

-Young

In order to grasp the meaning of how Young is understanding Paul, not only is understanding other areas of scripture necessary, but understanding ancient, and to a certain degree, modern Judaism is required as well. If you had no idea Paul was employing “a known analogy from halachah in Romans 7:1-6,” you might not consider investigating Jewish tradition in order to “throw light upon Paul’s message.”

Rabban GamalielThe conclusion you draw about what Paul is saying can be dramatically altered by inserting or omitting the Jewishness of Paul’s thinking, education, life experience, personal history, and teachings. If Paul was a disciple of Rabban Gamaliel, we know, as a disciple, he would have memorized his Master’s teachings to the degree that he could teach from the same perspective and understanding. To the degree that Paul became a disciple of Jesus (although not in a traditional sense), Paul would also have studied and memorized all of the teachings of this Master. If we don’t understand the full impact of what that means in terms of the late Second Temple model of Jewish discipleship and look to the relevant sources that would support authentic comprehension of Paul’s letters, we’re going to miss the point of everything Paul wrote, and as a result, misunderstand the very fabric of what it means to be a Christian.

I encourage you to read the full content of Young’s commentary on Paul and Romans 7. It only takes a few minutes, but it may also open your eyes, not only to Paul as you’ve never seen him before, but to the level of complexity involved in approaching and interpreting the scriptures. Sola scriptura is a good, basic place upon which to stand, but if you aren’t employing the proper interpretive tools to correctly understand “scripture alone,” you aren’t going to have a very accurate view.

The Church created a basic set of interpretations early on in order to foster separation between Gentile Christianity and Judaism, with Judaism and the Jewish people cast in the role of the villain. We like to think we’ve come a long way in revising our understanding of the Bible, but the deep core of those original interpretations lives on, underground, unseen, and most Christians are unconscious of how much they permeate their (our) Biblical thinking. We have it within ourselves to dismantle those ancient assumptions and to take a fresh look at Paul. Interestingly enough, we’ll have to go back even before the so-called “Church fathers” to our “Jewish fathers” and their fathers, to the Jewish Paul and the Jewish Gamaliel, to see a vision of Jesus and of Paul that has been lost since the time of the apostles.

Only with such a lens can we see not only what Paul wrote, but the intent, the thought, the heart he used to pen his letters and what he wanted his original audience and us to understand.

Jesus, Halakhah, and the Evolution of Judaism, Part 3

The title I have chosen for this study is a “tongue-in-cheek” attempt to highlight something that seems to be missed by many, namely, that the Mishnah did not exist as a written document in the pre-destruction era, so it is quite obvious that no one, including Paul, could have possibly read what is known in our day as the Mishanh (sic). In fact, as we shall see, the Mishnah was not widely read by Jewish communities in the centuries immediately following the destruction of the Temple (70 CE) either, for the Mishnah was not “published” as a written document until much later.

Along the same lines, it is a methodological error to speak of “1st Century Judaism,” for no such monolithic Judaism existed. We must rather speak of “Judaisms” (plural) in the pre-destruction era. Granted that a variety of Judaisms extant in the 1st Century surely had some things in common (Shabbat, circumcision, Tanach, etc.), it was nonetheless their clear and (in some cases) radical differences that produced the variegated Judaisms of that era.

Unfortunately, the presupposition of some in the Messianic movement is that the later corpus of rabbinic literature presents a monolithic, historically accurate description of “the Judaism” practiced by Yeshua and His disciples.

-Tim Hegg
from the Introduction (pg. 1) of
“What Version of the Mishnah did Paul Read?” (2012)
TorahResource.com

Since writing Part 2 of this series, I’ve been pondering how to proceed, since, as I’m sure you’ve gathered if you read the questions I’ve been posing, the scope of my inquiry is rather ambitious. Then the answer landed firmly in my lap. I’m indebted to Peter at Orthodox Messianic Judaism (something of a misnomer given the theological nature of his blog) for providing a link to Tim Hegg’s article. I read it through once, meaning to go over it again and eventually write something about it, but as I was getting into the shower, I had an “epiphany” and quickly rushed to my computer (I put a robe on first) to compose the paragraphs that are the heart of this missive (we’ll get to those by the by).

I should say at this point that I like Tim Hegg. He has been very gracious to me. I’ve spent Erev Shabbat in his home, I’ve been treated well by his family and his congregation, and I admire and respect him as a leader and a scholar. All of which added to my surprise when I realized in reading the Introduction to the above-quoted paper, that he had made some glaring and erroneous assumptions.

I can’t think of anyone in Messianic Judaism who believes that the Mishnah we have today is a direct reflection of how Judaism (or “Judaisms”) functioned back in the late Second Temple period, when Jesus walked among his people Israel. I have no idea, even after reading Tim’s paper in full, where he got that idea. Certainly my drive to investigate the evolution of Judaism as it relates, both to the ongoing authority of Judaism to define itself across time, and whether or not First Century halakhah and modern halakhah can be considered equally valid for the Judaism of their times, doesn’t assume a fixed, static, and non-adaptive set of applications of Torah over a 2,000 year span.

Also, his point that in the day of Jesus, that there were multiple “Judaisms” (Pharisees, Essenes, Sadducees, and so on) is hardly a revelation. Again, I don’t know anyone in the Messianic Jewish movement who would deny the “multi-sect” nature of First Century Judaism. On the other hand, if we look at modern Judaism or modern Christianity, we could say the same thing. If there was no, one unified “Judaism” in the day of Jesus, there must certainly be no one, monolithic, unified modern Christianity either. The fact that the Christian church exists as perhaps hundreds of denominational models and their variants, (including One Law or, if you will, “One Torah”) establishes this firmly. Nevertheless, no one balks at talking about “Christianity” or “Judaism” in the 21st Century as if they were specific, unified entities, since at their cores within each individual religion, they contain a basic, common set of theologies, doctrines, dogma, and the like that identify them as either “Christian” or “Jewish.”

It’s as if Tim constructed a very well written and organized paper based on faulty assumptions about Messianic Judaism. It’s never been about the Judaism of late Second Temple times being one unified entity, and it certainly has nothing to do with the belief that the Talmud, (which is comprised of Mishnah, Baraita, Gemara, Halakhah, and Aggadah) as we understand it, having existed as the same body of information in the days of Jesus and the Apostles as it does today.

(The evolution of the Oral Torah and halakhah of Christ’s day into what eventually became known as the Talmud is well beyond the scope of this article, but the seeds of what became Talmud certainly must have existed in some form in the Second Temple period and before. What we know of Hillel and Shammai is recorded in Pirkei Avot, which is the “ethical teachings and maxims of the Rabbis of the Mishnaic period,” and yet both Hillel and Shammai pre-dated Jesus by a generation, and the formalization of Mishnah by centuries.)

In the Conclusions section of Tim’s paper (pg. 23, point 5), he states:

We see, then, that there is no historical nor biblical case for accepting oral Torah as divinely sanctioned. Even the suggestion itself is ill-founded, for it both presumes a monolithic “oral Torah” and that the rabbinic authorities who formulated and compiled the current corpus of rabbinic literature did so by the leading of God.

Point 7 of his Conclusions (pp 23-4) states:

As we avail ourselves of the wealth of rabbinic literature and gain value from the study of it, we must also keep in mind that it is the product of men and not that of divine revelation. It does not come to us with any sense of divine imprimatur nor should the rabbinic literature be considered as having sacred value greater than the works of non-rabbinic authors or sources. All the writings of men must be equally scrutinized in the light of the eternal word of God, the Bible.

There’s a certain irony in Tim’s statements if you fix your gaze, not on the Rabbinic writings that are encapsulated in Talmud, but on another “Rabbi’s” writings, which we find in “the light of the eternal word of God, the Bible.”

We take it on faith that the Bible, the Holy Scriptures of God, are Divinely inspired and not merely the writings of human beings, but even then, most of us don’t believe that God simply dictated the Bible to myriads of human beings over several thousand years of history, and that the authors involved were only human word processors. In fact, how much of the personalities and viewpoints of all of these authors made their way into our Holy Scriptures is a hotly debated point among religious scholars and worshipers.

Add to that the suggestion that the New Testament Epistles, which make up the majority of the Christian texts, were actually letters written mostly by Paul, with smaller contributions by a handful of others, to various early Christian churches, and you begin to wonder about the nature of “Divine inspiration.” More than one source has said that the New Testament letters could be of a “lesser authority” than the Torah, for example, and may indeed be Paul’s midrashim or commentaries on Torah, the Messiah, and on the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and New Covenants. If this is true, then the barrier between “Divine authority” and “human agency” in many of our holy writings is a lot thinner than most Christians (perhaps including Tim Hegg) would be comfortable with.

What if there’s merit to the idea that the Talmudic writings and subsequent commentaries, judgments, and rulings have a “Divine authority” involved, at least to a degree? If we can say that Paul’s letters are “Divine” in some manner or fashion, and yet were written by Paul with his mind and emotions fully engaged, (and who knows how “Divine inspiration” does and doesn’t work) then in Galatians, Ephesians, or Colossians, where does Paul leave off and God begin? There’s no way to know. Maybe God just “wired” Paul’s brain to write letters in a way that reflected His will and intent within the context of Paul’s personality, the place and time in which Paul was writing, who he was writing to, and the issues at hand that prompted the letter in the first place.

How is that different from the acknowledged and legitimate Rabbinic authorities issuing rulings, based on and extrapolating from Torah ideals and principles, and then applying them to their local populations?

Who can say if the Mishnaic Rabbis were Divinely inspired or not. How do you measure “Divine inspiration?” I suppose you can, as Tim says at one point, compare the Rabbinic rulings to the canon of Scripture and where they agree, you can say the Rabbis have produced value. Where they disagree, you can say they produced error. Detractors of the Talmud, as applied to Messianic Judaism, say that since “Rabbinic Judaism” does not recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as the Jewish Messiah, it invalidates everything produced by that “Judaism” including the Talmud as a whole (as far as Messianic Jews are concerned, anyway). On the other hand, as my friend Gene Shlomovich said recently in this blog comment:

If you want to believe, as much of Christianity and Islam does, that G-d has virtually abandoned the Jewish people by leaving them to fend for themselves without authoritative leaders and teachers because “they rejected Jesus”, that the Jewish people corrupted the interpretation of scriptures and have lost their right to interpret them, that G-d has removed his Spirit from my people, it’s your prerogative. You would not be the first or the last.

Traditional supersessionism states that God withdrew His Spirit from the Jewish people and transferred it to “the Church” because Judaism rejected the Messianic claims of Jesus. Not only do I believe that theology represents a tremendous error in thinking, but it is a gross simplification of a very complex set of events that occurred over decades and even centuries.

The paper Matthew 23:2-4: Does Jesus Recognize the Authority of the Pharisees and Does He Endorse their Halakhah? written by Noel Rabbinowitz, which I introduced in Part 1 of this series, suggests that not only did Jesus acknowledge the legitimate authority of the Pharisees, but also of the scribes, who, as Carl Kinbar explains, were:

…an independent group affiliated not only with the Pharisees, but also with the Sadducees, Chief Priests, and elders. In fact, in Matthew, a quick check shows that 10 references to the scribes relate them to the Pharisees and 10 to other groups!

As soon as we grant the scribes the same place that Yeshua does in Mt. 23:2, it seems that Yeshua was not promoting the idea that one group should be in control of the halakhic process. Rather, he acknowledges the vital role of Torah teachers but criticizes them as part of his teaching on humility (read to verse 12).

In essence, it seems Jesus, to some degree, acknowledged the legitimate authority of the religious leaders in the various “Judaisms” of his day to have the right to establish halakhah for their communities. Of course the Mishnah as we have it today didn’t exist when the events in Matthew 23 were happening and later recorded, but if Jesus could recognize (and still criticize) Jewish religious leaders as having the right to establish religious practice for the First Century Judaisms, and if that authority was maintained across time as granted by God (I know…a big “if) and perhaps even as a function of an evolutionary process occurring within global Judaism and the local “Judaisms,” then maybe we can say that Jewish authority to legitimately define itself and it’s practice didn’t come to an abrupt end when it was “nailed to the cross with Jesus.”

No one is saying that the Mishnah existed in the days of Jesus, Peter, and Paul. But even Tim Hegg must acknowledge that some sort of halakhah did exist as established by the Pharisees and scribes. Factor in Rabbinowitz, and you have established that Jesus agreed in principle, that the Jewish religious authorities were legitimate and he acknowledged much of their halakhah. We can build on this to explore the possibility that God did not turn His back on all of His people Israel across the last twenty centuries, and that He maintained His presence among them. If God abandoned Judaism totally, and completely “threw in” with Christianity, then whatever the Rabbis came up with was inspired by human imagination alone. But if God is with all of His people, those of the Covenant of Abraham and Sinai, as well as those of us who benefit from some of the blessings of the New Covenant, then both Christianity and Judaism have a place in God’s heart and in God’s plan.

Have God’s blessings continued to be with the Jews as well as the Christians? Considering the fact that Jews even exist today, let alone retain the faith, practices, and traditions of their Fathers, with some teachings stretching back over 3,300 years, it would seem the answer is “yes.” Has He let them spin out of control, creating laws, rules, and statutes that are made up of wishful thinking and pipe dreams, while only showering His “Divine inspiration” on the laws, rules, and statutes of the unified Christian church (I hope you’re picking up on my attempt to be ironic)? I seriously doubt it.

Tim Hegg, in point 6 of his Conclusions (pg. 23) states:

Our conclusion is that, while rabbinic literature does have much value, it is not to be received as having divine authority in matters of our faith and halachah.

Tim may esteem Rabbinic literature in terms of its historic value, as well as for its insights into “the perspectives, beliefs, and worldview of modern Judaisms,” which “aids Messianic believers in appreciating and understanding the religious perspectives of observant Jews in our own day,” but for those “observant Jews,” Messianic and otherwise, the meaning of Mishnah is a great deal more. It doesn’t have to mean the same thing to us, including me or Tim, as it does to observant Jews, since the vast majority halakhah does not apply to Christianity.

Will Jesus Christ, upon his return and when he establishes his reign over the earth and his throne in Holy Jerusalem, recognize the authority of the Jews of that day as he recognized the authority of the Jews of 2,000 years ago? I don’t know for sure. But as we’ve seen, Jesus didn’t reject the Jewish authorities of ancient days out of hand, though he didn’t completely agree with them, either. Perhaps we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility of Jesus seeing modern Judaism in the same light, particularly because God doesn’t seem to have dismissed His Jewish people…ever.

Part 4 in this series will examine another aspect of the authority of the Talmudic sages and of modern Judaism. Does Judaism have the right to define itself, including Messianic Judaism? Find out in tomorrow’s “morning meditation.”