Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, February 28, 2020
(Early) Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,
Pillar Eight: The Kingdom is Expressed in Jewish Calling – part 4
This will be the last part of “Pillar Eight” and I want to start with a question. Okay, two questions. Will the non-Jewish part of the body of Messiah reach its destiny without a lot of Jewish people being included? Before you answer, let me get in a second question. Will the Jewish part of the body of Messiah reach its destiny without a lot of non-Jewish people being included?
Have you figured me out yet? Do you already know where I’m going with this? My purpose in asking the first two questions is to ask this third and final question. Then, why, in heavens name, do we act as if we can get where we’re going in the kingdom of God without each other?
Yeshua’s prayer in John 17 is specific enough to leave no doubt about where His heart was on the eve of His crucifixion. Yeshua’s prayer for oneness is not for some homogenous soup that is blended beyond distinction, but a prayer that the enmity would be done away.
Sibling rivalry is not of the Lord. Who does God love more? Is it you or me? Is it Jew or Gentile? Is God limited in His love, so that such an argument is necessary? Obviously not.
Let me change gears slightly. God is able to love us all individually, right? Then He is able to love and does love every people group according to their own needs. The world defines justice as sameness. The world says it’s unjust to have billionaires and poor people breathing the same air. The world thinks the rich should be poorer and the poor should be richer.
In God’s kingdom, everything fulfills its God-given destiny according to His will. And that is God’s justice. God’s justice is that Israel would fall away so that Gentiles could be included. And that those included Gentiles would then make Israel jealous. Not so that Israel would stay that way, but so that Israel would return to the relationship established in the beginning and take her place at the family dinner table and partake of the “Se’udat Adonai” (the Lord’s supper) at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let me offer 3 proof texts. If I were being thorough, I would reprint the entire Bible, for this is the story of the Bible.
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— 15 the law code of mitzvot contained in regulations. He did this in order to create within Himself one new man from the two groups, making shalom,
Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready, 8 She was given fine linen to wear, bright and clean! For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the kedoshim.” 9 Then the angel tells me, “Write: How fortunate are those who have been invited to the wedding banquet of the Lamb!” He also tells me, “These are the true words of God.”
Revelation 21:2 I also saw the holy city—the New Jerusalem—coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 I also heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is among men, and He shall tabernacle among them. They shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them and be their God. 4 He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more. Nor shall there be mourning or crying or pain any longer, for the former things have passed away.”
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: Leviticus 16-17
Question of the day: Fast forward by skipping another six chapters of Leviticus. Why are these two verses in the Bible? Leviticus 17:3 Anyone from the house of Israel who slaughters a bull, a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside the camp, 4 but has not brought it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to offer it as a sacrifice to Adonai before the Tabernacle—let bloodguilt be charged to that man. He has shed blood—that man is to be cut off from among his people.
Answer: All of that has meaning for us today. You might ask, “How does it have meaning for us? We don’t even make sacrifices today?” Are you listening to yourself? Of course we make sacrifices today. We sacrifice our time, our desires, our finances. In Messiah Yeshua, everything belongs to the Lord.
The key phrase in Leviticus 17:4 is “…but has not brought it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.…” The hills of Tennessee are littered with “good ole boys.” These men (and women too) are generous and loving (wouldn’t hurt a fly) and caring. But, they have not brought their offering to the “entrance.”
What do I mean by that? We can only love in the kingdom of God in connection with covenant. Being part of the body of Messiah, in covenant relationship, with a community is necessary and not optional. Anything else (freelancing for Yeshua) is “loving without covenant commitment.” And loving without covenant commitment is a pretty good definition of prostitution. The Scriptures warn against that.
God’s order is righteous. No group of people is perfect. Life is not about “perfect,” but about walking with God in overcoming imperfection. We humble ourselves before God and He lifts us up. The more broken we are, the more His strength is manifest through us.
Jacob 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of Adonai, and He shall lift you up.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah may dwell in me.
“Ad Machar” (“until tomorrow” in Hebrew). Shabbat Shalom.