Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, June 29, 2020
I can’t remember if I ever wrote to you about TJC II (Toward Jerusalem Council II – Roman numeral 2) tjcii.org . Here is what I do remember. Marty Waldman, founder of Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue in Dallas, TX, was president of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations probably 25 years ago. Either during his administration or shortly afterward, he had a vision that concerned Acts 15.
Acts 15 contains a report on how the early body of believers in Yeshua was able to solve a serious debate. Basically, the debate was over this question, “How do we integrate these non-Jewish followers of Yeshua into what God is doing in the world today?”
In the beginning, all the followers of Yeshua were Jewish. And those Jewish believers continued to live Jewish lives. They celebrated the feasts, kept kosher and taught in synagogues. The question wasn’t how Jewish can the Jewish followers of Yeshua be, but rather how Jewish do the non-Jewish followers of Yeshua have to be? While the answer is canonized in Acts 15, there are those who still want to debate the subject. As my kids used to say, “One, two, three, not me.”
The vision Marty had was that the question today is exactly the opposite from that first question. “How do we integrate these Jewish followers of Yeshua into what God is doing in the world today?” Then (2,000 years ago) the preponderance of believers were Jewish. At that time the minority of non-Jewish believers had to be integrated into the faith of Yeshua.
Today, the preponderance of believers are not Jewish. The minority of Jewish believers must be integrated into body of Messiah which is mostly non-Jewish. The idea that you had to stop being Jewish to believe in the promised Jewish Messiah was as strange then as it is now. TJCII is dedicated to fulfilling the Scriptures that call for the tearing down of the middle wall of partition, and making of the two, one new man.
Ephesians 2:14 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, 16 and to reconcile both to God in one body through the cross—by which He put the hostility to death. 17 And He came and proclaimed shalom to you who were far away and shalom to those who were near— 18 for through Him we both have access to the Father by the same Ruach. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. 20 You have been built on the foundation made up of the emissaries and prophets, with Messiah Yeshua Himself being the cornerstone. 21 In Him the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple for the Lord. 22 In Him, you also are being built together into God’s dwelling place in the Ruach.
Are you familiar with the term “supersessionism?” It is the idea that the “church” has replaced Israel in receiving the promises of God. Supersessionism believes that the blessings are taken from Israel and given to the church. It also believes that the curses of God remain on Israel. TJCII was launched 25 years ago with the hope to correct the errors of Christian doctrine over the last 20 centuries toward Jews and Jewish followers of Yeshua.
They ultimately came to 7 affirmations. TJCII took the perspective of Acts 15, and examined the other side of the question. Acts 15 considers the first century reality that the minority of believers were non-Jewish. TJCII takes a fresh look at the modern situation in which the minority of believers are Jewish. I will take one affirmation per day for the next 7 days and give you my perspective on it. Much of the body of Messiah is wondering why we even need Messianic congregations when there are so many perfectly good churches from which to choose.
In closing for today I want to say this…. It takes two witnesses to establish a word (2 Corinthians 13:1). Together Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Yeshua are two witnesses (not “the” two witnesses of Revelation 11). Our love for each other is intended to win the lost, both the lost sheep of the house of Israel and the lost from the nations.
John 13:34 “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Memory Verse: Zephaniah 3:17 Adonai your God is in your midst— a mighty Savior! He will delight over you with joy. He will quiet you with His love. He will dance for joy over you with singing.’
* 131 7/2 Monday: Zechariah 1:1-6; 2; 12
132 7/3 Tuesday: Ezra 7-8
133 7/4 Wednesday Ezra 9-10
134 7/5 Thursday: Esther 1-2
135 7/6 Friday: Esther 3-4
Question of the day: What or who is the “apple” of God’s eye?
Answer: The apple of God’s eye is mentioned in Zechariah 2:12 “For thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, He has sent me after glory to the nations that plundered you—because whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye.” We have to look back to the previous verse to determine who is being plundered. Zechariah 2:11 “Oy , Zion! Escape, you who are living with the daughter of Babylon.” That’s right, the apple of God’s eye is Zion. And Zion is intermixed and interchanged with “Jerusalem,” “Judah” and “Israel” throughout the Bible and especially in Zechariah 2.
Mount Zion is in the city of Jerusalem. But Zion has a problem. In verse 11, Zion is willfully rebelling against God, here “living with the daughter of Babylon.” But God is calling Zion back to Himself. God even promises to live within Zion, expelling the daughter of Babylon and reclaiming what is His, the “apple of His eye.” Zechariah 2:14 “‘Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will live among you’—it is a declaration of Adonai.”
And God will take vengeance on those who plundered Zion. In verse 13, those who plundered Zion will be plundered themselves by their own servants. Zechariah 13:13a ‘For behold, I will shake My hand against them and they will be plunder to their servants.’
And then, there it is. Zechariah prophesies of the many non-Jewish people who will come to be a part of what God is doing in the world today. Zechariah 2:15 ‘In that day many nations will join themselves to Adonai and they will be My people and I will dwell among you.’ Then you will know that Adonai-Tzva’ot has sent me to you.
This glorious end-time prophesy is being fulfilled in a marvelous way in our day. Psalm 136:1 Praise Adonai, for He is good, for His lovingkindness endures forever.