Holy blessings, Messiah-loving Batmen and Catwomen! Many brachas this week in the Messianic blogosphere, plus a few good relevant items from the Christian and Jewish worlds.
- One Law For All (PDF) – Messianic apologist and biblical scholar J.K. McKee’s landmark paper on “one law” for Jew and gentile.
- What Does It Mean to Join Oneself to Israel? – Dr. Schiffman argues that these Torah-loving gentiles supposedly joining themselves to Israel are actually falling short, instead doing something separate from Israel.
- What Did Jesus Change – Ritual? – Did Jesus change the “traditions handed down”? Does the Oral Law nullify the commandments of God?
- I don’t think this will hold up in traffic court.
- Jesus in the Eyes of Josephus – Geza Vermes, a British scholar specializing in Jewish and Christian history, suggests that Josephus’ statements on Yeshua may in fact be authentic. Josephus, a 1st-century Jewish historian whose writings are preserved to this day, mentions Yeshua multiple times in his writings, even referring to him as the Messiah. The authenticity of Josephus’ statements on Yeshua is of great significance to both Christian and Jewish communities. Hat tip: Rosh Pina Project.
- Thoughts On Death And Dying – A frank, sobering post on death, God, and the world to come. This post was particularly moving to me. Please give it a read.
Doubting Doubts About David and Solomon – Derek Leman highlights some new archaeological evidence which contradicts the liberal, critical scholarship regarding the authenticity of a thriving Israel and Jerusalem under Kings David and Solomon.The more photos of the dig here.
- The Messianic Liturgy: Worship Space – Ovadia has some interesting ideas for Messianic Jewish services. Granted, Dan Benzvi doesn’t care for his ideas.
- Get Yourself A Teacher – Rabbi Resnik continues his amusing interview with Eli, his younger, hippie self. In this episode, he laments how today’s generation don’t respect elders or learn from leaders. Lamenting that so many folks these days are, in my words, Cowboy Religionists.
There’s this pervasive cynicism about anyone really being competent, which just tries to shoot the authorities or potential authorities full of holes. I mean in spiritual matters, there’s such a thing as elders—folks that have gone before and been in this pursuit for a while—and the younger folks are supposed to learn from them.
- Conversion In Early Judaism – Is conversion a post-biblical rabbinic invention? Rabbi Brumbach argues that conversion to Judaism is not a late invention by rabbis, but rather an accepted norm by the Second Temple period. What does conversion mean now that Messiah has come?
- Why Study Torah? – Carl Kinbar laments that, when it comes to study, we talk-the-talk but don’t walk-the-walk.
For Messianic Jews, this issue is even more profound. No one should doubt our commitment to God and Messiah. But, for the most part, we have not engaged our tradition on a level deep enough to form and sustain a substantial Jewish ethos. We gladly excerpt pithy sayings from the Talmud and midrash, but how many of us have ever studied even one sugya (an extended passage in the Talmud) or a substantial passage of midrash? In our writings, we quote a saying here or there, but our understanding of it is pale because we see that saying as a free-floating fragment rather than woven into the fabric of the rich and multi-dimensional Jewish textual tradition. Believe me—Torah cannot be learned in isolated fragments.
- Getting Away With Murder – An episode of the great Belgian detective Hercule Poirot reveals a deep truth about humanity: taking justice into your own hands rarely leads to elation or ease. Instead, as one Holocaust survivor observed, “those who forgave their tormentors were best able to rebuild their lives and move on, but the victims who harbored bitterness remained broken.”
- The Latest and Greatest – Daniel Lancaster on FFOZ’s new Torah Club Volume 4: Chronicles of the Messiah:
- Who or What Do We Worship? – Is it possible for a person to inundate himself with religion to the point that the object of his worship is religion rather than God?
- Elul Meditation: My Salvation and Who Shall I Fear? – Derek Leman on Psalm 27, a psalm traditionally recited as we approach the fall holy days.
- The Unbinding of Yeshua – Joseph has a deep post on Torah parallels of Yeshua’s sacrifice and the ultimate goal of life present within God’s commandments.
- A Path Back To Judaism – Is Jewishness a function of religion, culture or nationality? According to Israel’s High Court, it is all of them at once. A Jewish woman marries a Catholic man, converts to Catholicism, and then when husband dies, converts back to Judaism. And the courts of Israel deny her return to Israel until she proves to the Ministry of Interior her commitment to the Jewish people.
J-BOM (Jewish Book of the Month Club)
- Pastoral Epistles Study, 1 Timothy 6 – J.K. McKee takes in Timothy 6 and how its instruction is relevant for Messianics today. Particularly applicable, in my mind, is the parts on mixing religion and money, as Paul says that men robbed of truth “who think that godliness is a means to financial gain” are corrupt, and are destined for ruin and destruction.