Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, December 12, 2019 

Shalom *|FNAME|*,   

A few moments ago I’m reading Acts 22.  Paul is defending himself before a crowd of Jewish people who want to kill him.  He has to talk fast or die, but he’s not overly concerned.  You see, he turned his life over to the Lord years earlier.   

Rabbi Trail:  I want to answer the question, “Why are so many comedians Jewish?”  The answer is actually related to the question, “Why are so many Frenchmen short?”  It’s called (by me) “unnatural selection.”  

Frenchmen are short because whenever they would line up to fight a war, they would put the tall ones up front to intimidate the enemy.  The tall ones were killed first and the short ones in the back went home to have babies.

So, how is that related to Jews being funny?  Throughout much of history, Jews have been persecuted in various ways.  For instance, we have been prohibited from participating in certain professions or from attending certain schools.  Significantly, Jews have also been prohibited from carrying weapons of any kind.  The only defense Jews had in the middle ages was a quick wit.  By now you know where I’m going, so here it is… The slow witted Jews were killed and the quick witted ones went home to have babies.  End RT.

Acts 22 is the story of Paul’s testimony in Jerusalem.  Before Acts 22 took place, Paul had written to the Romans… Romans 14:8 For if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 

Paul starts his defense in Jerusalem with a profound statement that I don’t want us to miss.  Acts 22:3a “I am a Jewish man.”  Wait, I thought Paul became Christian.  You would think by the end of his life Paul would have figured this out.  Maybe Paul meant, “I was a Jewish man.”  Or, maybe Paul didn’t speak English and there was no Aramaic word for Christian.  (While that’s true, may I introduce you to my friend, “facetious?”)

The whole story is simply this.  Paul knew, and now so do you, that it is perfectly consistent with being Jewish to have faith in the Jewish Messiah.  No one should have to stop being Jewish to start following the Jewish Messiah.  That’s not true of any other world religion.  But Christianity has nothing that didn’t start out Jewish.

The Jewish Messiah has a name.  That name is expressed in many languages.  Throughout the English speaking world His name is Jesus Christ.  In the Hebrew speaking world, His name is Yeshua HaMashiach.

Here is a link to the song “There Is A Name” by Joshua Aaron… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1DclNmrKc8

In Acts 22 we are reading about many Jewish leaders who decided Yeshua was not the Messiah and to follow Him was inconsistent with Jewish practice.  Every one of those Jewish leaders is dead.  Why should their decision be yours?  Think for yourself.  Read the Bible while asking God to reveal His truth. 

If you don’t believe the New Testament, then read the Old Testament.  The Jewish prophets speak of the coming Messiah.  Who could this be in Isaiah (Jewish prophet) 42 and 53?  What about Zechariah (Jewish prophet) 12?

Zechariah 12:10 “Then I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication, when they will look toward Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son and grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for a firstborn.”

Call me at 865-414-4527 and let’s pray.  God promises to turn your mourning into joy.  I just love a happy ending. 

Week 50
Memory Verse:  2 Timothy 2:15 Make every effort to present yourself before God as tried and true, as an unashamed worker cutting a straight path with the word of truth.

246   12/9      Monday:        1 Timothy 1-3

247   12/10    Tuesday:       1 Timothy 4-6

248   12/11    Wednesday:  2 Timothy 1-2

* 249 12/12    Thursday:      2 Timothy 3-4 

250   12/13    Friday:           1 Peter 1-2

Question of the day: When will this verse be fulfilled?  2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not put up with sound instruction, but they will pile up for themselves teachers in keeping with their own desires, to have their ears tickled.

Answer:  Wait no more.  The time has come.  The time for deception.  This message is a warning not to be deceived.  After all, it is called “deception” for a reason.

There are too many heresies available to God’s people today.  And they are readily available on the internet.  Just because a teacher looks good and smells good doesn’t make his/her good or right.  1 John 4:1 Loved ones, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world.  

Here are a few to beware of… 

Hyper-grace:  The hyper-grace movement believes that since there is grace to cover all sin, there is no need to repent from sin as grace covers that.  It can lead to antinomianism which is the false idea that since we get grace when we sin, we should sin more so we’ll have more grace.  Paul addresses this error (which must have been around in his day) in several Scriptures.  http://kevindustow.com/2018/08/24/the-hyper-grace-deception/

Universalism:  Universalism is the false idea that there is no hell.  Connected to this is the idea that everyone will somehow and someway get saved regardless of what they believe.  https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-universalism-700701 

This makes me want to write about another subject (note to self)… How is what we believe connected to what we do? (Second note to self) I actually lean toward “One Law,”… I will write about that leaning sometime soon.

Two House/Ephramite/One Law:  These (and more) are various errors that come out of a wrong sense of identity in Messiah Yeshua.  Some of these wrong identities are born out of past hurts or slights.  Generally, they are connected to feelings that if you’re not Jewish then you are something less than… and being Jewish is better.  What’s better than being grafted in?  What’s better than being a child of God?  God has Jewish family and He has non-Jewish family and to say otherwise is to make Him a liar.  https://www.torahresource.com/EnglishArticles/Two%20House%20Fatal%20Errors.pdf  

The Faith Movement:  This is connected to the prosperity gospel.  All of these errors have components of truth, but stray from the truth into error.  This is the idea that all sickness is connected to a lack of faith.  Whose faith?  Can anyone have enough faith?  Then why do people who believe in the faith doctrine get sick and die?  I guess we all fall short eventually (back to my friend facetious).  If everything that happens is connected to our faith, then we are our own God.  Last time I checked (which was just a few moments ago) God is still on the throne.  https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-errors-of-the-prosperity-gospel/

Any wonder we are warned so often to beware of false teachers?  How did God know?  Yup, there I go again.

Matthew 24:21 For then there will be great trouble, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22 And unless those days were cut short, no one would be delivered. But for the sake of the chosen, those days will be cut short.