Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Pillar Eight: The Kingdom is Expressed in Jewish Calling – part 1
Just this morning (I’m writing this on Monday) a woman commented to me, “In the Baptist church where I grew up, the Jews were considered our enemies.” She seemed to impute that such could not be the case today. Sadly, not so much has changed in the 50 years since she “grew up.” So, are the Jews the enemies of the Christians?
Rabbi Trail: I’ll answer that question in a second. First, let’s answer the opposite question, “Are the Christians the enemies of the Jews?” The immediate answer is, “Of course not.” The complete answer is complex.
(Don’t doubt me in this.) Jewish people (for the most part) believe the Holocaust was committed by Christians. (Again, for the most part) If Christians weren’t complicit, they were at least complacent. Our own President, FDR, refused to bomb the death camps. He also refused to bomb the train tracks leading to them.
An honest assessment of the last 2,000 years of history will conclude Jews have suffered greatly from persecution by “Christians.” I have to put that word in quotes because it is impossible for a true Christian who believes the Bible to hate Jews. True Christians love what God loves and the Bible is clear that God loves His people, Israel.
Psalm 47:5(4) He chooses our inheritance for us, the glory of Jacob whom He loved. Selah
There is always an anti-Semite out there ready to tell you that Jewish people today are a fake people who are not really descendants of ancient Israel. Their claim is that Jews have always included a “mixed multitude.”
To them I say (in agreement with the word of God), that God has promised an “irrevocable calling” for His people, Israel. Romans 11:29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. End RT.
I’m not ready to get back to our original question just yet. (Are Jews the enemies of the Christians?) Instead, I first want to discuss this pillar just a bit. What is the point in “Jewish calling,” and why is it connected to the expression of the kingdom of God?
If you must, forget for a moment that Yeshua IS Jewish. Forget too that the Apostles and Paul are also all Jewish. But remember this… the Bible calls it a “mystery” that non-Jews can be included at all in the kingdom of God. Ephesians 3:6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are joint heirs and fellow members of the same body and co-sharers of the promise in Messiah Yeshua through the Good News.
“Joint heirs” with whom? Yeshua promised He would return for a united body of both Jews and non-Jews. How will we know this is true unless there is a recognizably Jewish part of His body when He returns?
So, before we end for today, we should at least answer the question at the beginning. Are Jews the enemies of Christians? Let’s get our answer from two scriptures.
Romans 11:28 Concerning the Good News, they are hostile for your sake; but concerning chosenness, they are loved on account of the fathers—
What’s this? Not only are Jews not enemies, but “loved.” Sing “hallelujah” and shout “amen.” And the next quoted verses show that the kingdom of God is not just accommodating the unity of Jews and Gentiles, but it is established on that unity.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14 For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility.
Memory Verse: Exodus 33:16 For how would it be known that I or your people have found favor in Your sight? Isn’t it because You go with us, that distinguishes us from all the people on the face of the earth?”
41 2/24 Monday: Exodus 32-33
* 42 2/25 Tuesday: Exodus 34-36:1
43 2/26 Wednesday: Exodus 40
44 2/27 Thursday: Leviticus 8-9
45 2/28 Friday: Exodus 16-17
Question of the day: In Exodus 34, Moses is making the second set of Tablets. What did Moses hear with his ears when he ascended onto the mountain?
Answer: Moses heard these words (which are repeated in several places throughout history. Exodus 34:6 Then Adonai passed before him, and proclaimed, “Adonai, Adonai, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, 7 showing mercy to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means leaving the guilty unpunished, but bringing the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”
There are 3 types of sins being forgiven. Each has a distinct Hebrew word. iniquity (Avon) and transgression (Pesha) and sin (Chatah). Why are there 3 words used?
Avon is unholy action and punishment for unholy action. It speaks of perversity and depravity.
Pesha is also unholy action, but connected to rebellion or a rebellious attitude.
Chatah is also unholy action, but more of an ordinary sin. It means “missing the mark.”
All sin is transgression of the Law. All three types of sin are interconnected, but there are distinctives. Instead of focusing on the different types of sin, maybe we should focus on the one type of repentance in Messiah Yeshua. Yeshua made the way out – which is why He chose Matzah (which is the bread of the Exodus) to symbolize His body at communion.
Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, that I may keep Your Torah and observe it with all my heart. 35 Help me walk in the path of Your mitzvot—for I delight in it.