Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, January 8, 2019 

Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Oops, I got on my soapbox today and couldn’t just step off.  

What is heresy?  It depends on who is writing the definition.  We in Messianic Judaism are altogether righteous to some and altogether heretical to others.  Just as President Nixon self-defined as “I am not a crook,” I want to officially self-define as “I am not a heretic.”

Rabbi Trail:  Nixon gave his famous “I am not a crook” speech on November 17, 1973.  10 months later he resigned from office in shame.  I hope my “I am not a heretic” self-definition works out better for me.  Romans 9:33 just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and whoever believes in Him shall not be put to shame.” End RT.

I think it is important to self-define because it is better than the other option to allow others define me.  Although I’m writing this in the first person, it is not about me, but about Yeshua.  It is about who I am (and who you are) in Him that’s important.  We are a part of Orthodox Christianity.  What part are we?  The Jewish part, of course.  Can you imagine the body of the Jewish Messiah without a Jewish part?

When you “google” Orthodox Christianity you get a lot of websites about the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church and nothing about what I am attempting to describe.  When I say “Orthodox Christianity” I mean the greater body of Messiah that believes the Bible and the gospel message it contains.  It is faith that Yeshua is Savior and Lord.

I want us to also self-define as part of Judaism.  Much of the Jewish world has arbitrarily decided we are not part of Judaism, but we don’t have to accept that.  In fact, almost 40% of young Jewish people in a recent study said it is okay to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah and still remain Jewish.  Very encouraging.  

My Messianic rabbi, David Chansky, used to say, “If you draw a circle around Judaism that does not include Messianic Judaism, I will draw a larger circle that includes us all.”  (That’s how I remember Dave saying this.  Dave is an avid RR reader, so Dave, if I got it wrong, please correct me.  I prefer to ask for forgiveness than permission.)

Messianic Jewish evangelist, JB Bernstein, tells Jewish people, “If Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah, that’s very important.  Don’t let a bunch of rabbis who lived thousands of years ago make such an important decision for you.   Investigate for yourself.” 

Yes, despite conventional wisdom, we do have feet in two camps.  Another way to see us is as a bridge.  Not the ecumenical bridge of “kum-ba-ya” (let’s just hold hands and sing quiet songs to each other while allowing each other to believe lies).  That whole “COEXIST” thing makes me sick.

The question becomes, “Is truth relative, or is truth objective?”  Relative truth means that what is truth to me is my truth and what is truth to you is your truth.  Objective truth is absolute.  Objective truth is based on evidence.  Objective truth is fact based, not imagination based. Here are two pieces of Scripture to close this.

1 Peter 3:15 Instead sanctify Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, 16 yet with humility and reverence—keeping a clear conscience so that, whatever you are accused of, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Messiah may be put to shame.

Philippians 2:9 For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue profess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord— to the glory of God the Father.

Week 2
Memory Verse:  Hebrews 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God. For the one who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

6   1/6    Monday:        Job 38-39 

  1/7    Tuesday:       Job 40-42

* 8 1/8    Wednesday:  Genesis 11-12

9   1/9    Thursday:      Genesis 15

10 1/10  Friday:           Genesis 16-17

Question of the day:  What did God say to Abraham more than 3,500 years ago that still brings tears to my eyes as it applied to you and me today?

Answer:  God is speaking to Abram (before his name change) in Genesis 12:2 “My heart’s desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing.”

Our father, Abram received a blessing that applies to us today.  When God does something, it keeps on being done.  Need evidence?  Did the sun come up today?  Even if you’re reading this the day after I wrote it, the answer is still, “Yes.”  

God still has a heart felt desire to make Abraham’s descendants a “great nation.”  God refined His blessing 3 times.  First through Abraham, but not all of Abraham’s sons received the same blessing.  Then through his son, Isaac, but not all of Isaac’s sons received the same blessing.  And then the third time through his son, Jacob, who later became Israel.  All of Jacob’s sons did receive the same blessing.  And Jacob’s 12 sons fathered the 12 tribes of Israel.

It should bring many emotions to mind when we consider that God has included us in His blessings of redeeming and restoring what was lost through sin.  We are the blessed children of reconciliation.  

Acts 3:19 Repent, therefore, and return—so your sins might be blotted out, 20 so times of relief might come from the presence of Adonai and He might send Yeshua, the Messiah appointed for you.