Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, October 30, 2019 

Shalom *|FNAME|*,

I’m going to be traveling over the next 9 days, so the RR may be a little sketchy.  There are two things going on (if you would like to pray).  Today (Tuesday) I began my travels by driving to Baltimore, MD.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) I’m flying to Dallas for my sister-in-law’s (my brother’s wife) memorial service (which will take place on Saturday).  My return flight from Dallas to Baltimore is early Sunday morning.  Then Sunday through next Wednesday I’ll be meeting in Frederick, MD with the Tikkun American Apostolic Team.  (We meet twice a year.)  Then, next Wednesday night I will conclude my travels by driving back to Knoxville.  Thank you for keeping me covered in prayer.

How can I not comment on the concept of predestination?  This is usually framed as a discussion between predestination vs. free will.  Objectively, it would seem that both are at work at the same time.  Therefore; they are not  necessarily mutually exclusive.

If God knows our decisions before we make them, does that mean we can’t have free will?  More to the point regarding soteriology (who is saved and how), are only the elect saved or is salvation universally available?  My answer to these questions may make me unpopular, but I have an answer for that; “Maybe you’re right.”  

If we read John 3:16, may we understand the meaning of “whosoever?”  Does it mean only the elect or did God so love the (whole) world?  To be sure there is scriptural evidence that favors election too.  However; I believe the preponderance of evidence favors universal free will.

Paul is getting the last word a lot lately.  1 Timothy 2:4 He desires all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth.

Week 44
Memory Verse: Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been made righteous by trusting, we have shalom with God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

216   10/28    Monday:        2 Corinthians 9-10

217   10/29    Tuesday:       2 Corinthians 11-13

* 218 10/30    Wednesday:  Romans 1-2; Acts 20:1-3

219   10/31    Thursday:      Romans 3-4

220   11/01    Friday:           Romans 5-6

Question of the day:  Today we read the first two chapters of Romans and the first 3 verses of Acts 20.  Toward the end of Romans 2 Paul writes something very encouraging to our way of life at Shomair Yisrael.

Romans 2:26 Therefore, if the uncircumcised (Gentiles who follow Yeshua) keeps the righteous decrees of the Torah, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?

This Shabbat we are going to sing Joel Chernoff’s “oldie but a goodie,” “Jew and Gentile.”  But that doesn’t tell the story.  The title should be the first line, “Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah.”  There are 4 categories, not two.  Jewish believers and non-believers and Gentile believers and non-believers.  

At any rate… back to Paul in Romans 2.  There is an ongoing debate in Messianic Judaism about how much of the law may be enjoyed by non-Jews.  Let me make a statement intended to override the discussion. (And I’m putting my statement in quotes because I’m quoting myself.). “When it comes to observance of God’s righteous standard; everyone in our Shomair community is held to the same standard, both Jewish and non-Jewish members of our community, and that standard is the Word of God.”

Paul seems to endorse that statement… Romans 2:27 Indeed, the one not circumcised physically who fulfills the Torah will judge you who—even with the written code and circumcision—break the Torah. 28 For one is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision something visible in the flesh. 29 Rather, the Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—in Spirit not in letter. His praise is not from men, but from God.

Thank you Paul.  We’ll let that be the last word today.