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Weekly Bracha 52

Welcome to the 52nd Weekly Bracha, shining the light on gems in the Messianic blogosphere over the last week or two, plus relevant news items from Israel.
  • My Saddest Night In IsraelIMG_1889Anti-Messianic groups organize a protest against Messianic Jews in Ashdod, Israel. One Messianic Jewish resident relates:

    Before I realized what was happening I had between 50-100 people surrounding me, calling me a missionary and asking me what I was doing in Israel.  Boys as young as 6-7 years old were hissing at me, making hateful faces.  The group closed in more and more trying to intimidate and I'll be honest it worked.

    As my heart pounded more and more, I kept repeating to myself 'I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah'.  I suddenly had a glimpse like never before of what it must have been like for Peter or Stephen to suddenly find themselves surrounded by a hate-filled mob.

    It wasn't just that there was a group of people surrounding me.  I've lived in some of the most dangerous cities in the world and encountered all sorts of 'seedy' elements.  No, this was something entirely different. These were people who had been bred from the the womb to hate Yeshua and anyone who identifies themselves with Him.  They didn't even see me as a human being.  They just saw me as a vessel of everything they loathe.

    More coverage of the harassment on Rosh Pina:

  • Testimony of survivor of Nazi liquidation of Jews in Belarus – Holocaust survivor Rivka Yosselevska recounts the day the Nazis came for her and the rest of the Jews in Zagrodski, Belarus.

    Then my second sister was shot and then my turn came.

    We turned towards the grave and then he turned around and asked, `Whom shall I shoot first?’ We were already facing the grave. The German asked, `Whom do you want me to shoot first?’ I did not answer. I felt him take the child from my arms. The child cried out and was shot immediately.

    And then he aimed at me. First he held onto my hair and turned my head around; I stayed standing; I heard a shot, but I continued to stand and then he turned my head again and he aimed the revolver at me, ordered me to watch, and then turned my head around and shot at me. Then I fell to the ground into the pit amongst the bodies – but I felt nothing.

  • Temple Update: Sanhedrin Chamber of Hewn Stones Blueprints Revealed – The Temple Institute recently revealed blueprints for the Lishkat haGazit, the area of the Temple Complex in which the Sanhedrin would convene. See the following 3d flythrough:

  • Why was the Second Temple destroyed? – Examining the rabbis of Judaism and the gospels as to why the 2nd Temple was destroyed.
  • The New Messianic Jewish Learning – New Messianic blog, as MJTI rabbi Carl Kinbar looks for Messianic Jews wanting to engage in serious study the Scriptures and rabbinic writings.
  • Pesach – A Perpetual Rememberance – Passover as an eternal commandment to remember our deliverance from Egypt.
  • Passover, Last Supper, Crucifixion Part 1 and Part 2: Popular Messianic blogger Derek Leman seems to be leaning more and more towards a liberal interpretation of Scripture. He is now suggesting the Last Supper wasn’t a Passover Seder, and that there are irreconcilable differences -- and errors -- in the different gospel accounts.

Enjoy the tasty bracha, fine blog readers!


  1. Judah:

    Ah, the politically vilifying "liberal" word. And your motivation in implying that I am now "liberal" is?

    Since you are not "liberal," do tell me how Mark and John's accounts of the Last Supper and the day of crucifixion can be read without seeing a discrepancy.

    Stone-throwing is easy. Ignoring obvious discrepancies is a longstanding game of politics in religion: "We do not believe in discrepancies because we are 'conservative' (but don't ask us detailed questions about defending our stance, because we cannot give a detailed answer).

    Until you give a credible reading that harmonizes Mark and John on these matters, your "liberal" slur against my writing is nothing more than self-promoting politics and religion-as-usual.

    Derek Leman

  2. I said you're leaning towards a liberal interpretation of Scripture. That isn't stone-throwing. That's a statement of perception.

    You asked for my interpretation; you've already rejected conservative interpretations, so why would you listen to mine?

  3. I don't believe in "conservative" or "liberal." I prefer things like coherent and based on evidence.

    If you have a reconciliation or reading that harmonizes Mark and John, let us know.

    Derek Leman

  4. Derek,

    Your view of the gospel looks like liberal scholarship. What do you want me to do, call it something it's not?

    When you say the NT contains discrepancies that cannot be harmonized, and that the gospels contain errors, this is a common position in liberal scholarship, less so in conservative scholarship.

  5. Judah:

    If you cannot give a credible harmonization are you a "liberal" also?

    Please name the "conservative" commentators who give a credible harmonization of Mark and John.

  6. Funny how liberals get bent out of shape being called liberals. I thought is was all about "freeing yourself" from the constraints of dogma - able to freely admit discrepancies, etc. Isn't that what being "liberal" means? Why the denial?

    Some of us are content not to know everything.

    The Gospels can of course be harmonized. The question is Who is attempting it. Those that think they know (it all), or the One Who does know all?

    Clearly, man is not qualified to tell HaShem what is, or is not true.

    @Judah, I enjoyed the Chamber of Hewn Stone fly-through.

  7. Derek,

    You already mentioned 2 harmonizing views, and you reject them, right?

  8. Judah:

    So you find credible either the "two calendars" view or the "Passover" can mean either the Seder-lambs or the festal offering on the first day view?

    I also explained in my posts why these views are not credible. And I cited Scot McKnight, from his book Jesus and His Death, for support. McKnight is hardly a "liberal."

    So, why use the "liberal" tag for someone? Why to discredit them, of course. And it is easier to discredit people by name-calling than to actually engage with them. I've invited you three times now to engage with me.

  9. Rick:

    I also invite you to engage. You are not a dreaded "liberal." So surely you can tell me how Mark and John agree about which day Yeshua was crucified on? Or about whether the Last Supper was a Seder or not?

    If you wish to sarcastically say that I am a liberal and angry when called out as one, prove it.

    I could call you anything I want ("a flat-earther") and if you argue, I could say, "funny how flat-earthers get angry when you label them."

    Engage or know that your put-downs are the empty words of someone afraid to engage.

  10. >> I also explained in my posts why these views are not credible.

    Right, that's your personal conclusion, that they are not credible. What you end up with is a view that looks like liberal scholarship on the gospels.

    >> I've invited you three times now to engage with me.

    No, what you've done is complained I was stone-throwing, then demanded I provide you a credible harmonization.

    That's not engagement, that's "I'm right unless you can prove me wrong."

    Proper dialog here would be something along the lines of,

    "Yes, Judah, even though I'm not liberal, my view here aligns with liberal scholarship because I'm not convinced of the conservative scholarship on this issue."


    "No, Judah, my views on the gospels are not aligned with liberal scholarship, and here's why."

  11. You started with a premise I don't agree with. Your premise is, "The only legitimate reason to say Mark and John have a discrepancy is if you are a liberal."

    My premise is that "conservatives" have no choice but to say that Mark and John have a discrepancy. Therefore, I am not being "liberal." I am being honest.

    Calling me a "liberal" is low. It is low because to you that term means "someone who values rationalism above faith" or "people with an inadequate view of the Bible's authority."

    You know it is low. You just want to justify yourself and your continued game of name-calling.

  12. Engage or know that your put-downs are the empty words of someone afraid to engage.

    Whether to engage in debate or not is not left up to one party. You see, I reject the premise that there is a need to debate "All Scripture is inspired..." Feel free to debate yourself.

  13. Rick:

    All scripture IS inspired. And also, you are afraid to engage. You are afraid because you have no idea how to interpret the issue of Passover-Last Supper and the timing of the crucifixion.

  14. Derek, I was wondering if you could say more about scripture being inspired by God and at the same time, containing the various inconsistencies noted by most NT scholars? I'm particularly interested in how it jibes with 2 Timothy 3:16. Thanks.

  15. Sure, James. I think that in some circles people have associated 2 Tim 3:16 with the notion of inerrancy ("the Bible cannot have any discrepancies or factual errors."

    But 2 Tim 3:16 doesn't speak about anything of the kind. God-breathed and profitable have nothing to do with discrepancies or factual errors. They have to do with divine truth and authority. In fact, all the verses about the authority of the scriptures should be read as being about, well, authority.

  16. I am a little reluctant myself in getting involved in this, especially with claims of "liberal" and "conservative" being thrown around. I wrote a lengthy paper last year entitled "The Last Sedar and Yeshua's Passover Chronology," which I put together hoping some of the rhetoric and accusations one can encounter would be toned down:

    In short, I adhere to the position of R.T. France who argues that the Last Supper was a sedar meal, but one deliberately held early because of emergency circumstances. The article has the various references, both scholastic and from the ancient period, for interested parties to consider.

  17. But 2 Tim 3:16 doesn't speak about anything of the kind. God-breathed and profitable have nothing to do with discrepancies or factual errors. They have to do with divine truth and authority. In fact, all the verses about the authority of the scriptures should be read as being about, well, authority.

    OK, so just to help me make sense of this:

    1. The Bible (NT anyway) has inconsistencies. So far, the NT scholars I've read all say this.

    2. According to 2 Tim 3:16, scripture has authority and contains divine truth, I would guess to be a guide to the body of believers on the path to righteousness.

    3. You agree that scripture is "inspired" by God.

    So with scripture having authority, divine truth, and being inspired, how would it be different if 2 Tim. 3:16 didn't exist (or we didn't know it existed) and the Biblical record was otherwise identical? That is, if the Bible contains numerous inconsistencies due to human errors and such, what makes it any different than anyone else's religous document?

  18. @J.K.

    Thanks for the link and the articulation of your view on the last supper.

    Excellent quote from your article,


    "Some of today’s Messianic leaders (even myself at times), quite sadly, have looked at the Passover season with a little bit of dread—not because of its great themes of salvation from sin, deliverance from bondage, etc.—but because there will be debates over issues like the Passover chronology, which in all likelihood may never be fully solved."

    I want all of us as Messianic Believers to step back from our opinions for a moment, and focus first on what we can agree upon. I think we can all agree that the substance of what we need to be considering is found in Peter’s summary,

    “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Yeshua the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power” (Acts 2:22-24).

    We all agree that believing in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Messiah Yeshua is what is essential to our faith. I would submit that our attention during this season of Passover needs to be focused more on the severity of what took place, so we do not forget what the Lord has accomplished for us."


    Amein. Thanks for bringing me back to that. I suppose this whole thread has been a distraction from that. Thanks for the correction.

  19. Judah:

    You said, "I suppose this whole thread has been a distraction from that."

    If you want unity, don't label and put people down.

  20. James:

    That is what my book Yeshua in Context is all about (what is different about Yeshua's story than other "religious" stories). The same could be said of Torah and the prophets and apostles.

    Maybe when you finish Bart Ehrman, you should read Yeshua in Context to get the believing way of looking at the same texts he tears apart.

  21. Actually, I finished Ehrman's book a long time ago (apparently, you don't keep up with my blog). ;-) I'm reading Casey's "From Jewish Prophet to Gentile God" now.

    I'll write a review for your book if you want to send me a copy. Email me to discuss.

  22. Derek, the right answer was given on your blog.

    12 Now concerning the¹ first day of Unleavened Bread, (by when they would had sacrificed² the passover), his disciples said to him, “Where do you desire going we should arrange that you may eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room in which I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 15 “And he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; then arrange¹ us for that place.” 16 And the disciples went out, and came to the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they arranged for the Passover.

    It does not say "on the first day"

  23. Does anyone really want to find the answer? Here it is!

    7 Then he came¹ concerning that² day of Unleavened Breadª, for which³ it was necessary to sacrifice the Passoverⁿ. 8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and arrange us¹ for the Passover, that we may² eat.” 9 And they said to him, “Where do you desire we should arrange¹ it?” 10 And he said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters. 11 “And you shall say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat¹ the Passover with my disciples?”‘ 12 “And he will show you a large, furnished, upper room; arrange¹ for that place.” 13 And they departed and found everything just as he had told them; and they arranged for the Passover.

    14 And when the hour¹ had come he reclined at the table, and the emissaries with him. 15 And he said to them, “I earnestly desire this¹—to eat the Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I shall by no means¹ eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of the Almĩghty.”

    He says "I shall by no means eat it"!

    Last supper was not Nisan 15 according to Luke.

  24. That leaves Matthew...Doesn't say "on the the first of unleavened bread" here either.

    17 Now concerning the¹ first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Yẽshua, saying, “Where do you desire we should arrange for you to eat the Passover?” 18 And he said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; with you I make¹ the Passover with my disciples.” ’ ” 19 And the disciples did as Yẽshua had directed them; and they set up for the Passover.


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