The weekly bracha: bringing you the good good goodies from the Messianic blogosphere, plus relevant news items from the Jewish and Christian worlds. Only the essentials for only the finest of Messianic internet lurkers.
Oh, and happy new year! Yes, with Passover just weeks away, today marks the beginning of the Biblical year according to Exodus 12, which states, “This month [in which Passover falls] is the beginning of months for you, the first month of your year.”
Without further introduction, ladies and gentleman, I give you the fantabulous bracha:
News and Archaeology
- Newly Found Lead Codices – Christian or Kabbalistic? – A cache of lead codices from a cave near Jordan containing mysterious symbols, including the symbol of the cross, as well as Paleo-Hebrew lettering, has been receiving much attention lately.
- Organized religion will be driven toward extinction in 9 western nations, experts predict – Looking at trends in public data for several western nations, and seeing “unaffiliated” as the fastest growing trend, and further suggesting that the majority tends to attract more followers, experts suggest organized religion will be going down the tubes.
- Jerusalem UFO video: case closed, they’re fake - Remember the videos about a strange ball of light flying over Jerusalem? Experts are now saying this was a hoax.
- Yad L’achim Exposed – Israel's Channel 1 News aired a special investigative report on the anti-missionary organization, Yad L'Achim. The group is responsible for regular acts of harassment and violence against religious minorities in Israel, especially Messianic Jews.
- What’s the Good News? – Is the gospel “good news” for Jews? Schiffman relates,
When I first began following Yeshua, we talked about the “good news,” and what a wonderful thing it is. But the more time i spent around Yeshua followers, I found that I didn’t hear much good news. People were always telling me what was wrong with “other” people, or the government, or politics.
Even when they talked about other people who followed Yeshua, they told me how their theology was all wrong, and how we couldn’t trust them because they would use every opportunity to spread their errant doctrines. They would point out people’s flaws, and say I’d be better off not hanging around people like that. The problem with that was if I avoided everyone who was “bad,” I’d only get to hang out with a small group who was warning me to avoid everyone else.
- Chronicling the Formation of the Gospels – Citing 1st century and early 2nd century works, particularly that of church father Papias, postulating about the formation of the 4 gospels.
If by chance anyone who had been in attendance on the elders should come my way, I inquired about the words of the elders — that is, what Andrew or Peter said, or Philip, or Thomas, or James, or John, or Matthew, or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and whatever Aristion and the elder John, the Lord’s disciples, were saying. For I did not think that information from books would profit me as much as information from a living and surviving voice.
-Papias (sometime between 80-130 CE)
- Rabbi Jacob Emden on Jewish Believers in Yeshua – 18th century rabbi and talmudist Jacob Emden commented on the gospels and Christianity, saying,
The Nazarene brought about a double kindness in the world. On the one hand, he strengthened the Torah of Moses majestically, as mentioned earlier, and not one of our Sages spoke out more emphatically concerning the immutability of the Torah. And on the other hand, he did much good for the Gentiles.
He then goes on to make an argument that Yeshua wanted Jews to be left as-is (that is, not convert to any religion), but did create a new religion for gentiles.
- Jewish Jesus – Was Jesus a Jew who practiced Judaism? Or is it the all-too-common rhetoric that makes us wince, where it’s Pharisees-as-Judaism-and-everything-wrong-with-religion and Jesus-as-the-first-Christian?
- The Torah before Noah – A Refutation of Noachide Theology – There is a growing movement in Judaism that says gentiles only need to keep the 7 Laws of Noah in order to be granted a place in the world to come. In this apologetics post, Messianic organization Jerusalem Council offers a refutation of this harmful theology.
- Messiah: Son of David, the Conquering King – Messianic blogger Lisa comments on Messiah-as-conquering-king, why Yeshua didn’t restore Israel at his first coming, and why we have to re-evaluate our expectations of what Messiah will be when he shows up a second time.
- The Consequences of Theology – Christian theologian Walt Kaiser refutes the idea that “the Mosaic law is not a direct or immediate source of guidance to the new covenant believer.” He points to problems in a “New Testament-only” guide of ethics, and suggests those who reject the Torah as a source of guidance inevitably end up with Marcion-like theology.
- Why Is Passover So Christianly-Popular? – Why is it that Passover is popular among Christians? “The reason Passover has become so Christian-ly popular is simple: Christians in many churches either lack a symbolic world to fill in the meaning of redemption and atonement or, if they are in denominations with a richer liturgy, they lack connection to the root, the Jewish root, which is the basis of redemption theology.”
- Who To Believe? – Reading books from modern religious experts, both pro- and anti-New Testament, Messianic blogger James Pyles asks, “How do people seem so completely sure of what they believe?”
- Is the Bible Just a Book of Parables? – Bible Answer Man (cue superhero music) and Christian apologist Hank Hanegraaf answers anti-religionist media spin doctor Bill Maher’s assertion that the Bible is “not meant to be history; it was not meant to be literal. They were parables; people read it back then and read into it something that was not literal; we’re the dummies who read it literally.”
- Comfort My People Japan – Messianic blogger David Lazarus counters the notion that the tragedies in Japan are the result of sin. Sometimes, David writes, suffering is not the result of sin.
“These conclusions are based on a false assumption that suffering is always the result of sin. It is the same misunderstanding and false teaching that Job’s friends had when they accused Job.”
Enjoy the tasty, satisfying bracha bits, fine Kineti blog readers! Till next time; salute!