Plans to prosper Israel the Church.

My son attends a Christian school, whose walls are adorned with Scriptures like this one:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

-Jeremiah 29


It’s a nice, uplifting piece of Scripture.

My mother-in-law, who occasionally reads this blog (hi Sue) has a picture of bird houses, flower pots, and other crafts. Underlining the picture is a verse from the Torah,

For the LORD your God will bless you in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

-Deuteronomy 16

They are nice, uplifting verses. We find comfort in them.

While they’re uplifting, it’s important to understand that they were not intended to be used this way; they weren’t intended to be motivational tidbits to help gentiles get through the day. Let me show you what I mean and why that’s important.

Here is Jeremiah 29 in context:

This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

-Jeremiah 29

This prophecy is specifically to the House of Judah (that is, the southern Israelite nation comprised primary of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin). The nation of Judah was taken captive to Babylon for 70 years, and here Jeremiah is prophesying to those exiled Israelites that God will bring them out of captivity and prosper them.

This was not a promise to all young Christian school children that God would prosper them.

Looking at the other example, here is Deuteronomy 16 in context:

Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your Feast—you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

-Deuteronomy 16

Here we have a succinct commandment for Israel to keep Succot, God’s Feast of Tabernacles. If Israel does this, they’ll be blessed, God’s decree.

Some Christians have retrofitted this verse to mean, “Anything I work on, God will prosper, and I’ll be joyful as a result.” A nice sentiment, but ultimately an untrue statement. I mean, God doesn’t prosper everything you work on. Let’s be real here, guys, God doesn’t prosper the garden out in our front yard just because our precious hands worked on it.

Why it matters

Messianic Rabbi Derek Leman discusses the shocking Israel-centric nature of the Scriptures, saying,

Passages like [Jeremiah] gave rise to a problem of interpretation. When Jews brought the Bible to non-Jews confusion started very early. When a non-Jew reads his or her Bible it is with certainty that the everlasting love of God is for him or her too. So how do we interpret and teach these passages?

The common approach is to ignore the original intent. The love letter to Israel is appropriated by non-Israel. A pastor preaches Jeremiah 31:3 as God’s love for all. A youth pastor puts a poster of Jeremiah 29:11 on the wall. It’s a bit like stealing a line from someone else’s love letter and addressing it to yourself or to someone else.

So we’re stealing God’s love letters to Israel and making it address us Christians instead. Big deal?

Yes, it is. While the intent may be honorable – uplifting Christians in their walk with God – we must see this as a minute manifestation of replacement theology. (An anti-Jewish theology that states the Church and Christians have replaced or superseded Israel and the Jews as God’s people.) This form of Scriptural interpretation is doing exactly that: taking God’s promises and blessings, and replacing the intended recipient, Israel, with a new recipient, the Church and Christians.

What about the New Testament?

Were Messiah’s words only for Israel? This is a tough question, because he often spoke in generalities and parables that might be applied to anyone. For example, it would seem the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 are universal – blessed are the peacemakers, the meek, the merciful, those who are hungry for righteousness. On the other hand, if the beatitudes are universal, so is the Messiah’s commandment in 5:17 regarding keeping the Torah, meaning the Torah is applicable to all Christians.

It is my opinion that Messiah’s words were directed to Israel, with full knowledge that gentiles would be grafted-in.

And what about Paul, whose letters were almost entirely to gentiles. Paul talks about the “assembly”, often translated “church”. So surely he means Christians, right?

The answer is: yes, but not in the way we’d like to think.

Paul talks about believers in Messiah being part of Israel.

Remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" — remember that at that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Messiah.

-Paul, in his letter to the assembly at Ephesus

Stop and let that sink in for a moment. Part of Israel. A citizen of Israel, God’s people. You haven’t replaced Israel; Abraham’s physical descendants remain God’s vehicle for blessing the world. But now, with your faith in the God of Israel and its Messiah, you’re now joined to Israel. First-class citizen of Israel. First-class Israelite, even though you’re a gentile.

To underline this fact, Paul tells gentile Corinthians that the great Hebrew ancestors of old -- Moses, Abraham, Jacob -- are "our fathers", that is, fathers of both Jews and gentiles in Messiah.

Brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Messiah.

-Paul, in his letter to the assembly in Corinth

Gentiles are joined to the commonwealth of Israel and share Israel’s heritage, as Paul says. Because of this, I believe gentiles can read these Israel-centric Scriptures to apply them to themselves, even as non-Jews who believe in Messiah.

However, there are conditions for these blessings so many wish to apply to themselves.

Too often, Christians read Scriptural blessings to Israel and apply it to themselves without considering the terms of the blessing.

In Deuteronomy 16, the condition was keeping God’s feasts.

In Jeremiah 29, the condition is throwing off the old ways and seeking the Lord.

In Psalm 1, the condition is delighting in the Torah.

With so many of these blessings contingent on keeping God’s commandments, it should not come as a surprise that the Church of our time is riddled with spiritual famine and abuse.

Gentiles should become Jews?

No, but we do desire Christians to live like they’re serving the God of Israel, rather than merely abiding within the boundaries of a religion that has traditionally distanced itself from, and even persecuted, Israel.

Gentiles who have found the Messiah of Israel have a place as citizens in the commonwealth of Israel. You can relate to all those things that happened to Israel, because you’re now joined to Israel, a citizen of God’s people Israel. Your forefathers crossed the Red Sea. Your ancestors were delivered out of Egypt. Your family has received the Torah from God’s finger. The God of Israel graciously pulled you from the downward-spiraling gentile world and gave you a shot at life, by grafting you into Israel and his ways – Torah – that lead to life.

Because Messiah has grafted you into the commonwealth of Israel, it’s no longer “God of their fathers”. Instead, it’s “My God, the God of my fathers, the God of Israel who brought us out of the land of Egypt and bondage.”


  1. Romans 11:29, "for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable," is the same kind of Scripture. Great motivation, yet if not kept within its larger context, we forget that it is telling us something very important about Israel.

  2. Thank you for writing this, because lately I have been grappling with this very issue--are Christians part of Israel or not? I really appreciate your explanation.

  3. Robyn,

    Glad it helped. I think Christians are part of Israel, but often do not live it. Instead, Christians often live like they're still in their old life.

    Given this Israelite identity, it makes God's law, Torah, all the more applicable to Christians.

  4. Hi Roby and Judah...

    The Gentile identity in Yeshua and relationship to Israel seems to be a recurring topic of discussion on this (and other) blogs and forums.

    I have to correct you guys a bit (again):

    Gentile believers are WITH Israel and have been brought CLOSE to her and now partake in her blessings as promised by G-d to Avraham (we are joint at the hip, if you will) - BUT, they are NOT Israel nor are they are Israelites (spiritual or otherwise). Not once does the Bible call Gentile believers Israel or Israelites. Not even once.

    It's sort of like a marriage - where husband and wife are ONE, yet distinct, male and female - each one with a unique personality and responsibility. We are part of G-d family, fellows in G-d's household, but we are different parts of it (and of the Body) - each serving a unique purpose. Having different parts in the Body is very Biblical. See 1 Corinthians 12:12:

    "For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, form a single body, so it is with the Messiah."

    We need DIFFERENT parts of the Body. We don't need ONLY legs.



  5. A huge part of this debate is going to concern how one defines "commonwealth," or perhaps more accurately politeia. Some see the Commonwealth of Israel as like the British Commonwealth of Nations, where non-Jewish Believers are Canadians or Australians whose monarch lives in Great Britain, separate citizens of different states. Others would see the Commonwealth of Israel like a singular political entity such as the Commonwealth of Virginia or the Commonwealth of Kentucky--where everyone who resides within the polis shares the same citizenship.

    I recently wrote a piece that lays out the options regarding Israel that we see present in today's Messianic world:

  6. J.K. McKee...

    I read your not-so-unbiased overview of options. I would like to make a few observations:

    First, a short recap of your article:

    You support, what you term, an" Egalitarian Messianic Judaism" as opposed to the "normative" Messianic Judaism, which you term "Commonwealth of Israel-Beta" and see as the apartheid form of MJ. You accuse the present normative Messianic Judaism of being a system of "Jewish Believers being superior to non-Jewish Believers."

    I find it quite odd that when describing your version of "Egalitarian Messianic Judaism", you still insist that your "better" version of MJ "will recognize the Jewish leadership of Israel." What does that mean? It seems that you yourself are pitting the two groups against each other by making one the more prominent leadership position!

    Why not, in the same spirit of TRUE "egalitarianism", do away with ALL differences, including those in levels of leadership based on ethnicity and avoid all accusations of "superior and inferior" altogether?

    Let's see what happens if we reverse of the roles of Jews and Gentiles in your definition of EMJ, like so:

    "An egalitarian Messianic Judaism will will recognize the GENTILE leadership of Israel....while not excluding JEWISH Believers from teaching or leadership."

    Does the above sound right to anyone?

    You know what I think? I think that your version of MJ would be just as comfortable if there were no Jews in it at all - a Judaism without Jews. Frankly, this is exactly where the Two-House movement finds itself today, and guess what - it views itself as "egalitarian" already!

  7. I figured this post would induce a Gene objection. :-)

    I know Gene interprets it as something similar to the "commonwealth of Britian" argument that J.K. mentioned.

    However one interprets "commonwealth of Israel", when Paul contrasts the state of gentiles before and after Messiah, I think the matter becomes perfectly clear:

    "Previously, you were separate from Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world."

    ...and once a gentile is in Messiah, all those things are reversed.

    J.K. recorded an excellent audio teaching on this topic just a few days ago. It inspired certain elements of this blog post, so I recommend you all give it a listen.

  8. Gene, I am not expecting you to understand a single thing about what I am communicating. I think that your life experiences growing up in Ukraine are significantly different than mine growing up here in America, and as a result we approach the issues at hand from significantly different vantage points. You compose Messianic Chapter 1 and I compose Messianic Chapter 2. This much is clear. But I do recognize that God does have a calling on your life to minister to the people He leads to you, who need to be encouraged by the skills and the personality you possess.

    The Apostolic Scriptures say that the Jewish people get to lead Israel, which at the *very least* means that the Messianic movement must have a Jewish tenor to it. I provided Scripture references in case you missed them. The Two-House movement has very little Jewish tenor to it, one of the significant areas of tension I have with its "leaders." If it gave proper respect to the Jewish people, then it would not have the debates that it has over the Divine Name, the calendar, and most of the basic issues of halachah--as the lead of the Synagogue would be followed.

    In my view, recognizing Jewish leadership means that whomever leads an individual Messianic congregation must recognize and give a proper place to the Messianic movement's Jewish theological and spiritual heritage. Obviously, Jewish people leading Messianic congregations would be apt to do this. Non-Jewish people leading Messianic congregations should do this as well, remembering "salation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). A Messianic congregation should have a significant Jewish substance to it, regardless of whether a Jewish person is the main leader.

    The Two-House movement does not at all view itself as egalitarian. If it were, we would have never been plagued with the recent controversy of polygamy. On the contrary, most of the Two-House movement believes that God is restoring patriarchy and that women need to be put off to the side, something I very much oppose.

  9. J.K. McKee... I came to U.S. when I was fifteen (I am 32 now), done three years of U.S. high school and have a B.S. degree from a U.S. university. All of my friends are Americans. I can safely say that I can relate to or at least understand native-born Americans' thinking just fine. Our backgrounds are different in other ways: ethnicity and theology.

    This is kind of off the subject, but since you mentioned egalitarianism and full equality of women and men in congregations, I wonder how you would reconcile the following statement by Shaul:

    "Let women keep silence in the congregations: for it is not permitted to them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also said the law...If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in a congregation." (1 Corinthians 14:34)

    Something doesn't compute, J.K. - I suppose that Shaul wasn't very PC or a forward thinking egalitarian American like you. I alo suppose if Shaul were to say this in your presence today (and you didn't know it was him), you'd rebuke him for his backward fundamentalism and lack of love towards the weaker vessels in the Body!

  10. Gene, I do not disagree with what Paul has said nor do I discount the authority of his epistles. Yet, what he said--like what he says in any of his letters--first related to the circumstances of his audience. We have to interpret the letter first before its ancient audience, before we can apply it for today.

    What were the circumstances he addressed in Corinth? I do disagree with the common interpretation of Paul as though he is writing that all women for all times are to be silent. And I am by no means alone in this assessment.

    Please read the viewpoints on women in ministry in Voices of Messianic Judaism, because there are people in Messianic Judaism who recognize the Corinthian specifics of his instruction. Also, get a copy of Craig Keener's Paul, Women & Wives. There are plenty of evangelical Christians who recognize that Paul's instruction about women regarded an ancient situation, and not all circumstances present in the Twenty-First Century.

  11. J.K... I suppose one can find or write a book to "prove" anyone's agenda. In the end, it's the Word of G-d that we have to fall back on to prove all things:

    1 Tim. 2:12-14, "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression."

    Apparently, Shaul had a SCRIPTURAL, and not simply a cultural audience-specific justification for his position when it came to allowing women to lead congregations or to teach men in them. Again, Shaul's G-d inspired teaching is OBVIOUSLY NOT egalitarian. Are men and women of today more holy than the people of first congregations? - I don't think so. Are they more enlightened today than the people who were taught DIRECTLY by the Apostles?

    Women can and do serve in many capacities, and I am sure that many can do a better job than some men, but it's not a matter of who can do a better job - but rather, what does G-d have to say about it. The Word of G-d is clear on certain issues - not everything in the Bible is so fuzzy that it needs to be twisted to adopt to our own personal ideals of how things "should" be.

    Anyway, nice to get away once in a while from discussing Jewish/Gentile things...

  12. Gene, I used to think very similiar to you until two things happened. (1) I witnessed that the Holy Spirit was gender blind, and that the Lord used more women to help guide and nurture me in the faith than men. (2) I witnessed that holding to an egalitarian position was by no means incompatible with a conservative reading of Paul's letters. The testimony of the Apostolic Scriptures, and a greater scope of Paul's own letters, IS CLEAR that there were women in the leadership of the First Century assembly. The most influential letter ever written in history was entrusted to the care of a woman (Romans 16:1-2).

    I'm not expecting you to agree with me at all (or for that same matter almost *all* of the current Messianic movement). Today's evangelical Church is currently debating the issue--which means it will hit the Messianic world soon enough. But you do seem to be writing off the possibility without any consideration or engagement with the background of issues of Paul's letters, translation from Greek to English, and then whether the curse of Genesis 3:16 has really been overturned by the work of Yeshua. This is what theology is all about. Your response has been pretty typical, though, of what I've witnessed (even in the congregation I currently attend). Today's Chapter 1 Messianic movement is often hyper-conservative on these kinds of issues.

    I wrote an FAQ entry on my website on this a few years ago. You don't have to agree, but I have thought out the issue and I'm not just speaking from my "feelings":

    I would recommend that if you want to discuss this any more, you can post your comments on my blog entry on the Apostle Junia. I don't think Judah wants us going off topic:

    The complimentarian-egalitarian debate will be one of the two big issues hitting the Messianic world in the 2010s. I won't mention the second one at this time...

  13. You have piqued my curiosity. What is shocking about the Israel-centric nature of the Scriptures? Do you really find it shocking or is this a straw man you are trying to knock down?

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29

    I agree, that verse does mean a certain thing in context. But if you break it down, doesn’t it also convey truth that is applicable to God’s children?

    Do you believe that God has a plan for you specifically?

    I don’t know about you, but God has prospered me beyond measure. Romans 8:16-17, James 2:5

    As His child, do you believe that God means you harm?

    Is your future not in Christ and is your hope not in Him?

    I think that we can get too tightly wrapped around the axle sometimes. There are types and pictures all throughout the Bible. Types of Christ are in the story of Joseph, for example. The story of the exodus, the wandering in the wilderness, and the entrance into the Promised Land is all specific to Israel, but I believe it is also a picture of salvation and the Christian walk.

    I agree with Gene, there does seem to be a lot of discussion about why those disobedient Gentiles aren’t becoming Jews. Jews and Gentiles both make up the body of Christ. Do you believe *that* unity occurs when Gentiles choose to become Jews or when Jew and Gentile place their faith in Christ?


  14. J.K....

    You make a classic mistake (common in certain church circles) of placing your personal experiences and feelings before scripture, instead of the other way around.

    The ONLY egalitarianism that the scripture refers to is in matters of SALVATION, our standing before G-d and justice. You seem not to want to recognize that G-d may have different purposes for each one of us, that he made us all different, given each one of us different gifts.

    You are pushing a "politically correct" social agenda that's popular in our modern society that pushes to erase differences in gender roles. I am sure that the world finds your ideas quite appealing and you will no doubt find many takers who would like their ears ticked.


  15. Gene, you didn't post your thoughts on my blog as I requested. So as a courtesy to Judah, my comments on this off-topic have stopped.

  16. Gene…we are one in Messiah and Ephraim is returning. I know you are a doubting-Thomas on this one. Here’s the thing, you can no more prove to me that you are born again and spirit filled than I can prove to you that I am Ephraim.

    The Father doesn’t have two measures of prescribed worship, commandments, calendar, appointed times, names for His believers, etc. If a gentile (which I am no longer)–believer is different with a different set of measures, then what, by your definition, does that look like? If this were the case, that different limb you pointed to is broken. It’s not working even by its own definition. Which brings me to Gary…

    Gary…part of the problem *is* picking and choosing verses of His word without regard to context. I don’t disagree that you can apply lessons learned and blessings from one place and time to another. But think of it in a broader sense. You’re helping to build your own theology apart from God when you take a verse and apply that blessing to a people who are totally disregarding the condition of that blessing. Christianity loves to piecemeal Scripture. It’s taught from the top down. And now it’s become a hodgepodge of doctrines and beliefs. If you’re going to allow that kind of dissection and reattachment then even Oprah’s got a shot at her own form of Christianity. (that’s not a's already happening)

    A few days ago, in a hugely popular Bible study fellowship the lecture (to hundreds of women) was about the “Jewish” calendar and the “Jewish” feasts. “We Christians should know and understand them, but we don’t celebrate Passover because Christ fulfilled it for us. (…all the more reason to celebrate, I would say!!) We have our own important dates to remember, like Christmas and Easter.” She also went on to say that we are living in the 4 months between the spring and fall feasts…the church age. Ok, if feasts are nullified by fulfillment then we can, at least, all agree that the fall feasts are still in effect. So, why aren’t we celebrating those with eager anticipation?? Why does she make it sound so *forbidden* to celebrate Passover instead of its pagan imposter, Ishtar? --- Gary, is this the gentile-Christian limb’s purpose? …to deceive and alienate?

    Judah…your back! This post was reminiscent of the ones I got hooked on last year. Good stuff…thanks!

  17. Lydia and Gary,

    Thanks for the comments. I think Lydia has responded properly to what you said, Gary.

    The specific questions you raised, Gary, in particular the "gentiles becoming Jews" question, was succinctly addressed at the end of the blog post. Please give it a read.

    Shalom on His shabbat, folks.

  18. Lydia,

    "You’re helping to build your own theology apart from God"

    Have I done that?


    I read it. Maybe I didn't phrase the question like I intended. Do you believe that, as believers in Christ, you and I have been brought together in one body; that we have unity because of our faith in Christ? Or do you see you and me as separated by my beliefs about my relationship to the Law?


  19. Gary,

    Paul answered that question in Ephesians. (Hey, wouldja look at that, I get to use Paul in an argument for once!)

    He said that Jews and gentiles are together a single, new person because of Messiah.

    It is wonderful that Christians like yourself cite "one new man, Jew and gentile". I only lament that you forget the context of the passage, in which Paul says you're now a citizen of Israel, no longer a foreigner to the covenants with Israel (e.g. Torah!), and joined to Israel through Messiah.

    That's how Jews and gentiles become one new man. Not by conversion to Christianity.

  20. Judah,

    I haven't forgotten the context, you and I differ on what it means. We have been riding that merry-go-round for some time now :)

    What does "conversion to Christianity" mean to you? I assume you mean it to be some kind of religious system or practice, but I see it as something different entirely. But come to think of it, we have probably had this discussion before, as well :)

    That wasn't really my purpose for commenting on this post anyway. I guess I am a product of the part of the world I live in. Replacement Theology, as I understand it, isn't all that common here, maybe even nonexistent. Maybe it is the prevalent teaching where you live, so that you feel the need to spend so much time addressing it. That's cool. I guess I will have to stop taking it so personal when you make comments like, "the shocking Israel-centric nature of the Scriptures."

    In Christ,

  21.'re asking me if you're building your own theology apart from God?

    I don't believe that I was directing that at you, personally, and I couldn't answer that for you, if I had. But that is a valid question that I wish more of my Christian friends were asking themselves.

  22. Gary, you said,

    "I haven't forgotten the context, you and I differ on what it means. We've been riding that merry-go-round for years"

    Yeah, I remember you had a blog post one time on Ephesians 2. I battled it out with your readers who, at first, suggested Jesus had destroyed the Law, only to later retract after discussing Matthew 5. Oiy!

    I don't remember, though, what your take on the "becoming citizens of Israel" part was. I'm left to imagine a "spiritualized-away" interpretation, where Israel is the body of Christ, and the body of Christ is the Church. Enough speculation - what do you think it means?

  23. I don't remember anyone retracting anything...I guess I would have to go back and look.

    Actually, the conversation I was thinking about occurred on your blog, because I remember mostly agreeing with Gene's position. As near as I recall, he has never posted to my blog.

    In Christ,

  24. Ah, we're talking about 2 different posts. I was thinking of one on your blog, Gene wasn't there.

    Anyways. To wrap up by clarifying...

    Gene's view is gentiles as citizens of the commonwealth of Israel, with a stress on commonwealth. You said you mostly agree with him. I didn't know that, Gary, I didn't know you considered yourself part of the commonwealth of Israel.

  25. "Gene's view is gentiles as citizens of the commonwealth of Israel, with a stress on commonwealth."

    My view is that Gentiles are first and foremost citizens of the Kingdom of G-d. This Kingdom of G-d will be centered in Jerusalem, Israel from where the King Yeshua will rule both the nations and Israel.

    BTW, when G-d's Kingdom is set up from Israel, there are still nations in the Bible, identifiable by names (Egypt, Assyria, etc.) In fact, G-d loves them and will bless them in the kingdom along with Israel. It's quite clear in the scripture that there will be multiple nations on Earth along side of Israel (and not just the rebellious kinds), but these nations will be transformed by G-d:

    "In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance."

    The above flies square in the face of anyone implying that everyone is or will become an Israelite all of a sudden!

  26. Lydia,

    That lecture you mentioned, you realize that they are preaching replacement theology, right?

    My experience with “Christians”, (sorry for the lack of a better word), when they are not honoring the Lord’s feasts, they tend to adopt pagan practices and justify them with scripture. e.g. Christmas and Easter.

  27. Gene, we can all play these games.

    Watch this:

    "In that day, any nation that does not go down to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with the King will be plagued with famine and will have no rain."

    The above flies square in the face of anyone implying that gentiles don't have to keep the Torah!

    Zing! Your turn.

    Instead zinging people with quick-witted one-liners from Scripture, how about we have dialog and engagement and discussion?

  28. Guys, I'm taking off for shabbat, I won't be able to reply for a bit. Take care, all you fine blog readers.

  29. Judah, great blog, but there's 2 things I don't quite agree with.

    You wrote:
    "On the other hand, if the beatitudes are universal, so is the Messiah’s commandment in 5:17 regarding keeping the Torah, meaning the Torah is applicable to all Christians."

    HaRav Yeshua's teachings were Torah-based midrash and parable. I don't necessarily believe these teachings were aimed at gentiles at all, only Jews.

    Now when you said "should gentiles become Jews?", you said no, but said at the same time they become part of the commonwealth of Israel. I disagree to some extent, here's my view of this issue and the process of goyim/gentiles returning to Elohim:

    -When a goy accepts Yeshua, he becomes betrothed (this is drawn from the ancient Israelite betrothal and marriage customs that we can see prophetically in the exodus from Mitzrayim/Egypt).
    At that time, he is "saved", but not Israel.

    -The Nazarene Jewish Sanhedrin suggest in Acts 15 that these goyim are to obey some of the Noachide laws while learning the Torah every week in the Synagogues and advancing in Torah observance.

    -Then as they learn all the Torah, they are to make a choice to discontinue, or ideally to convert to (Nazarene) Judaism and become circumcised and be immersed in a mikveh. At that point they are Israelites, and figuratively, they are no longer betrothed but married.

    A fact to mention here is that goyim who did this back in the first few centuries were considered Jews by the Roman Empire, which was a protected religion.

    This article will shed insight into the facts of that era.

  30. lsquez...I see that now and I expected as much, I guess. The joined this group on the urging of some of my friends because they are doing a study on the life of Moses. I've learned a lot, but I find myself feeling very frustrated and stifled, lately.

    While I'm seriously considering discontinuing the class, I'm waiting on God for direction because it seems that being there with my Jewish Bible has sparked some interest in some fellow classmates and that maybe He's using this opportunity to plant some seeds.

    Sorry, Judah, for getting off the subject.

    Aaron...are you saying that I need to convert? ...that was the expectation in the 1st century? Sorry, I may not be understanding you correctly.

  31. Lydia, the Nazarene Sanhedrin gives the outline for goyim returning. I'm not saying anything but what they say.

  32. Aharon,

    Can you point us to the reference or reading? Talmud?