I missed my Thursday post and the usual time for my Sunday post. Thursday’s was a matter of not having much time this week and wanting to spend what I had working on an article that I hope to get published in a peer-reviewed journal. Today’s was due to first taking a bit of a vacation this weekend with several members of our synagogue to celebrate another’s 50th birthday (Happy birthday, Ed!) up in the Georgia mountains and then coming home to spend time with a friend from Japan who was in town to bury his father.
For those who have missed me, I did have the chance to get back into doing the Iron Show with Johnny McMahon and Matthew Miller (the last few months of which are available for download here). Johnny and I had the chance to discuss doing shows after we get done with Esther. Based on another conversation with Matthew, he may or may not bow out once we’re done with Esther to work on other projects, but I’m enjoying doing the Iron Show and plan to keep on going. One of the subjects I’d like to tackle is whether the modern political state of Israel is indeed the restored nation of Israel prophesied in Scripture, since apparently that’s coming under fire even in the predominantly pre-millennial fringe Christian movement. I’d also like to work out how to take questions from the audience, since that seems to me the best way to serve as an ambassador of the Jewish people back to the Christians.
Which really is how I’ve come to see my role. I lay this out in the May 4, 2013 teaching on Cyber-Synagogue. Since I was raised in the Church, and since I have determined not to ask anything of my people, I have instead determined to focus on what I can give my people instead. What I can give is greater love and understanding from the Christians to the Jews–a love and understanding not based on pre-trib dispensationalism (which frankly scares the heck out of my Israeli friends), but on the understanding that the Christians have been graciously adopted into a pre-existing family (the Jews) by the work of Yeshua the Messiah, who is himself a Jew. Therefore every Jew they meet is a brother or a sister that the Christian should be willing to lay his or her life down for–whether or not the Jew feels the same should be completely irrelevant to the true Christian.
As a result of this commitment, I have determined not to make apologetic arguments to the Jewish side a focus of this site or my ministry. To be very frank, after two millennia of giving a false gospel of Gentilization to the Jews, the Church has in effect lost the right to preach the true Gospel to the Jewish people. Since I don’t come from a pure-blooded Jewish line (unlike, say, my wife), I will leave the task of proclaiming the true Good News to those who cannot be dismissed as Jewish so easily. Instead, as a service to my people whom I love, my ministry will focus on bringing the true, spiritual Assembly of Messiah to a full repentance. I do so in full faith that the Holy One will bring about a reconciliation between the brethren as he did even in the days of Joseph.
Along a similar vein, long-time readers will notice a change in how I handle the pronouns referring to the Almighty. A common custom in English is to capitalize all pronouns referring to God. Basically, this comes out of the convention of capitalizing the first-person “I”, the feeling being that we should not capitalize a pronoun referring to ourselves unless we are willing to do so for Hashem. However, in doing so, we can prejudice translations and lead to misunderstanding. For example, there are a number of royal psalms that originally referred to David, but which also have a Messianic prophecy imbedded in them. If we capitalize the pronouns (working from the perspective that the Messiah does indeed have a Divine as well as a human nature), then we prejudice the reader to see only the Messianic prophecy, and not the original historical intent. For this reason, most modern translations use normal capitalization regardless of whether the perceived subject is God or not.
In writing about Yeshua, I have become aware of just how offensive capitalizing his pronouns can be to the mainline Jewish community. On the other hand, I still believe that Yeshua is the Word, Wisdom, Torah, and Sh’khinah (Dwelling Presence) of Hashem incarnate. Therefore, to neither prejudice my readers nor to disparage Messiah, I have changed a lifelong habit and will use normal English conventions whether I am talking about the Most High or anyone else.
I have some more thoughts that came out of visiting with my friend from Japan, but I want to give them some time to gel first. So, on that note then,