How to Share the Good News With Jewish People, Part 3

“Bubbe, please shake hands with Dr. Kaplan,” said Sarah.

“I’m honored to meet you, Mrs. Levy,” said Ben as he extended both his hands and warmly grasped both of hers.

Jenny Levy appeared to be in her mid to late 60’s. She was tall and had an athletic build and striking facial features. Her thick iron gray her was arranged in a French twist. She wore a dress that was attractive yet modest. Airs of pride and arrogance seemed distinctly absent. Inner strength and dignity were clearly present.
“Please, call me Jenny.”

“I will. And please call me Ben. Josh and Matt are also here today. They are two of Sarah’s classmates. How are you today?” asked Ben as he guided Jenny to a comfortable chair with a small table next to it that held a glass and a pitcher of water.

“I’m not so good today, Ben. My husband Isaac died suddenly a few weeks ago. We were getting ready to celebrate our 45th anniversary,” said Jenny as a tear ran down her right cheek.

“Is there anything that we can do for you Jenny?” asked Ben.

“Possibly. I need peace, personal peace, and I don’t have it. I’ve never had it. But I’ve never needed peace like I do now, since Isaac’s death,” said Jenny.

“I’m so sorry to hear about Isaac. Would you mind telling me about your family?” said Ben.

“I had two children. Barbara, Sarah’s mother, is alive and well. I had a son, Bradley. He died 20 years ago in a car crash. He was 21 years old. I miss him terribly and I have tremendous guilt in my heart concerning him, Ben,” said Jenny.

Tears were now streaming down Jenny’s cheeks. She was sobbing softly.

“Could you tell us why you have this guilt?” asked Ben.

“Brad lived at home with us. When he was 19 and at college he was suffering from depression. He was even thinking about suicide. He told me that he had no hope for himself. He didn’t know why. We sent him to see a psychiatrist but that didn’t help. Our Rabbi even met with him a few times to counsel him. That didn’t help either. Then he went to a Jews for Jesus meeting on campus. A few weeks later he accepted Jesus, Brad called Him Yeshua, as his Lord and Savior. The depression lifted. Brad seemed to be transformed. He was full of joy. He had been having trouble at school. After he accepted Yeshua he was able to focus on his studies and he became a “A” student,” said Jenny.

“It sounds like good things happened to him after he accepted Yeshua,” said Ben.

“I agree. But then trouble started, a few months later. Brad joined a Messianic Jewish congregation and he was baptized. He told Isaac and me that baptism represented an outward sign of an inner change. He told us all about his new faith and Isaac became enraged. Isaac told Brad that he was a traitor to his people and that he was no longer a Jew, that Jews don’t believe in Jesus. He called Jesus a mamzer and he called Brad an anti-Semite. He ordered Brad to leave our home and to never come back. Isaac told Brad that if he ever came back he would kill him. Brad left and I never saw him again,” said Jenny.

Mamzer means someone of illegitimate birth, a bastard, in Hebrew. It’s translated as misbegotten in Deuteronomy 23:3,” Ben explained to the group.

Deuteronomy 23:3 No one misbegotten shall be admitted into the congregation of the LORD; none of his descendants, even in the tenth generation, shall be admitted into the congregation of the LORD1.

“Jenny, how did you feel about what happened?” asked Ben.

“Terrible. I didn’t agree with what Isaac did but I was afraid to stand up to him. He was a very inflexible man and he had a terrible temper. He changed our phone number and made it unlisted,” said Jenny.

“Jenny, what’s past is past. What do you want to do now?” asked Ben.

“I don’t know what I can do. I know that I want peace. I’m afraid of dying. And I want to see Brad again. I think he’s in heaven,” said Jenny.

“Jenny, what do you know about Yeshua?” asked Ben.

“Brad shared a lot with me after he was baptized but that was a long time ago. I know that Yeshua was Jewish and that those who follow him believe that He was the Messiah and equal to God,” said Jenny.

“Do you have any thoughts about why Brad changed after he accepted Yeshua as his Lord and Savior? You said Brad seemed to be transformed,” said Ben.

“I don’t know why Brad changed but I know that the change was miraculous. It was as if he had hope, irrepressible hope. I remember wondering at the time what power could have caused it. It had to be a good power,” said Jenny. “Ben, I want that hope, the hope that Brad had.”

“Jenny, what do you know about sin?” asked Ben.

“Sin? I know that none of us are perfect,” said Jenny.

“Do you believe in God, Jenny?” asked Ben.

“Yes. My parents believed in God and they taught me that He is real and that there is a heaven and a Book of Life. My father sometimes read Bible stories to me and we celebrated the Jewish holidays,” said Jenny.

“Jenny, God is real. He is alive today. His Son Yeshua who is our Messiah is also alive today. God loves you, Jenny. He also loved Brad. He sought Brad out and rescued him. That’s why Brad changed. God wants to do the same thing for you, Jenny,” said Ben.

“Ben, you asked me a moment ago if I know about sin? Does sin have something to do with this?”

“It does, Jenny. Do you know about the Ten Commandments? Would you mind if we read them now?” asked Ben.

Jenny looked nervous. She was clenching and unclenching her hands. The color had drained from her face.

“It’s OK, Ben. Go ahead.”

“Matt, there’s a Jewish Publication Society Tanakh in the bookcase behind you. Would you grab it please and show Mrs. Levy where the Ten Commandments are?” said Ben. “Jenny, would you please read the verses?”

Jenny read: 2

Ex. 20:1 God spoke all these words, saying:

Ex. 20:2 I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: 3 You shall have no other gods besides Me.

Ex. 20:4 You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I the LORD your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject Me, 6 but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Ex. 20:7 You shall not swear falsely by the name of the LORD your God; for the LORD will not clear one who swears falsely by His name.

Ex. 20:8 Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God: you shall not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, or your cattle, or the stranger who is within your settlements. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth and sea, and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

Ex. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land that the LORD your God is assigning to you.

Ex. 20:13 You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Ex. 20:14 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house: you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female slave, or his ox or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

As Jenny finished reading tears were streaming down her face. She was convulsed with sobs.

Ben got up and stood in front of her. He took her head and shoulders in his arms and gently hugged her.

“Bubbe, why are you crying?” asked Sarah.

“Because I’m guilty of breaking those commandments. I don’t think I could ever keep them all. Ben, I think I understand what sin is now. Is there any hope for me?” asked Jenny.

Ben went back to his chair.

“There is, Jenny. There most definitely is. Jenny, you’ve just read the Ten Commandments. You’ve confessed that you have broken them. Moses said that righteousness or salvation can only come through the Law if you obey the Law perfectly. Nobody can do that. We are all guilty of breaking God’s laws. The penalty for that is death, eternal separation from God. That’s why we all need a Savior. Jenny, you need a Savior. That Savior is Jesus, Yeshua, the Lamb of God,” said Ben.

“Ben, I know that I need a Savior. I’ve known that for years now. Now is the time. If Jesus can save me so that I can go to heaven when I die, I’m ready to accept Him and follow Him as my Lord and Savior,” said Jenny.

“He can save you Bubbe. He saved me and Josh and Matt and Dr. Kaplan. He is the Jewish Messiah,” said Sarah.

“I believe that now, Sarah,” Jenny said as she smiled through her tears. “Would you take my hand and kneel down with me?”

Jenny and Sarah knelt together with their hands joined. Kneeling behind them, Ben, Josh, and Matt put their hands on Jenny’s and Sarah’s shoulders. Jenny prayed.

“Yeshua, I know now that you are my Messiah, my Savior, and my Lord. Thank you that you died on the cross for me. I know that your blood paid for my sins and I know that I can never repay you for what you did for Brad and for Sarah. Please save me now. Thank you Lord.”

Joyful hugs and shouts of Hallelujah followed!

0

Am I Still A Jew After I Accept Jesus?

The weekly meeting was about to start and Sarah was agitated.

“Dr. Kaplan, I just told a Christian friend that I’ve accepted Yeshua as my Lord and Savior and he asked me a question.  “Sarah, when did you convert from being a Jew to being a Christian?”  Frankly I was flustered and didn’t know how to answer.  I know that there are many Jewish people today who would tell me that I’m no longer a Jew because I believe in Jesus, but I did not expect this from a Christian.

“Dr. Kaplan, what should I have said to my friend?” asked Sarah.

“Is your friend Jewish?” asked Ben Kaplan.

“No,” replied Sarah.

“Is he a believer in Yeshua?  Has he been born again?” asked Ben.

“Absolutely, Dr. Kaplan,” said Sarah.

“Did you sense any animosity toward the Jewish people in your friend’s question?” said Ben.

“No.  Jordan loves the Jewish people and has stood up for them at a cost to himself,” said Sarah.

“Sarah, your friend Jordan and many other Christians don’t understand that a Jewish person doesn’t stop being a Jew when he or she accepts Jesus as Savior.  This misunderstanding is in part due to Galatians 3:28 and several other verses like it in the New Testament,” said Ben.  “Let’s look at that verse.  I think the New International Version translates it best.”

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

“Sarah, you are still a Jew because you are a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  You are now a Jewish believer in Yeshua, or Jesus.  Some people would call you a Messianic Jew.  Others might call you a Jewish Christian or Christian Jew, or just a Christian.  When I am asked what I am, I usually say I’m a Jewish believer in Jesus, so I’m a Christian or better yet, I’m a follower of the Messiah, but I’m OK being called a Christian.  I haven’t stopped being a Jew.  That would be impossible.  Do you get the idea, Sarah?” asked Ben.

“I’m not sure,” Dr. Kaplan.

 “But what about Galatians 3:28?” asked Matt.

“Matt, the Bible divides all people into two groups.  The two groups are Jews and Gentiles.  When a Jew or Gentile accepts Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior he or she is converted from a Jewish or Gentile unbeliever into a Jewish or Gentile believer in Jesus and there is then spiritually no difference between members of these two groups.  They are both members of one body,” explained Ben.  The key phrase in Galatians 3:28 is in Christ Jesus.  

“So Galatians 3:28 is saying that there are no differences between Jews and Gentiles, in Christ Jesus and since all born again people are in Christ Jesus there is no difference between them in Him.  Jews and Gentiles are both saved the same way, through faith in Jesus, and God hears all of our prayers the same way.  However the verse is not saying that there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles,” said Ben.

“I’m confused, Dr. Kaplan.  Can you explain further?” said Sarah.

“Sarah, you are a woman, and Matt, Josh, and I are men.  In a physical sense we are quite different.  However, in a spiritual sense we are not different.  Does that help?” said Ben.

“Yes,” responded Sarah.

“Before we continue with our discussion we need to briefly digress.  I need to say something now, about the sexes, that even a dozen years ago I would not have needed to say.  The Bible recognizes a person as being either male or female.  There are no other sexes.  God did not create transgender people and He assigned our gender to us before we were born.  God also did not create homosexuals or bisexuals.  This is not our focus today but it is important and you all need to remember it,” said Ben.

“Got it Dr. Kaplan.

“So just as there are differences between the sexes, there are differences between Jews and Gentiles although those differences are not physical and are not as obvious as the differences between a man and a woman.  But in Christ Jesus, meaning spiritually, there are no differences,” said Josh.  “Is that right, Dr. Kaplan?”

“Exactly right, Josh!” said Ben.  “In fact Paul’s letter to the Romans talks about an Olive Tree.  It’s a spiritual Olive Tree.  It has natural branches which are Jewish believers and wild branches that have been grafted in which are Gentile believers.  We believers in Jesus are all branches in the same Olive Tree.”

“So what are the differences between Jews and Gentiles, Dr. Kaplan?” said Matt.

“Dr. Kaplan, can I just ask one other question before you answer Matt’s question?  Do some believers fail to understand that there are differences between Jews and Gentiles, even born again Jews and Gentiles?” asked Josh.

“Yes, Josh!  Sarah’s friend Jordan is one of them.  There are many people who fail to understand that there are differences,” said Ben.

“Does what they say or think matter?” said Matt.  “I mean, are we making a big deal over nothing?”

“No, Matt, because God made certain everlasting promises to the Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and God is going to keep those promises,” said Ben.  “He did not make those promises to Gentiles,” said Ben.

“Do the promises have to do with the Jews being God’s Chosen People?  What exactly does that mean?  And are the Jews still the Chosen People?” asked Josh.  

“Before the Jews entered the Promised Land the LORD, through Moses, said this to them:

Deuteronomy 7:6 (NASB)  For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

“And He said it again:

Deuteronomy 14:2 (NASB)  For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

“And this Chosen status of the Jewish people has never been taken away.  God has not canceled it,” said Ben.

“Now I’m going to say something that sparks outrage on the part of many Jewish people when they hear it.  But I have to say it because it’s true and Jewish people need to know this truth.  If they don’t know this truth they could spend eternity separated from God.  They could perish.  And we do not want that to happen!

“This truth is that  not all of the Chosen People are Jews in God’s eyes.  A Jew in God’s eyes is a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who has had circumcision in the flesh as well as circumcision of the heart,” said Ben.  “A Jewish person who has not had his or her heart circumcised will not inherit the things that God promised to the Jewish people.  Moses spoke about this as did the prophet Jeremiah and the prophet Ezekiel, ” said Ben.

“Can you please give us the Biblical evidence for this, Dr. Kaplan?  I mean, this is really heavy stuff.  I have a Mom and Dad and two sisters who need to know and understand this.  I don’t want them to perish,” said Sarah.

“Sure, Sarah.  Let’s start with three verses from the Old Testament,” answered Ben, as he adjusted the computer projector to bring the verses up on the screen.

Deuteronomy 30:6 (NASB)

“Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

Jeremiah 4:4 (NASB)

“Circumcise yourselves to the Lord

And remove the foreskins of your heart,

Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,

Or else My wrath will go forth like fire

And burn with none to quench it,

Because of the evil of your deeds.”

Ezekiel 36:26 (NASB)  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

“Wow!  Those verses are pretty clear!  Circumcision of the heart is equivalent to being born again!  Are there any verses that talk about this in the New Testament?” asked Sarah.

“Yes, Sarah.  Let’s take a look at Romans 9:6-7, where the apostle Paul is anticipating an objection or question that some readers of his letter will raise.  I’m going to paraphrase the question.  Why are the Jewish people, the Chosen People, seemingly no longer in God’s favor as they were in the time of Moses, King David, King Solomon, etc?  Did God’s promises  to His Chosen People, given in the Old Testament, fail?  Did God renege on His promises?” Here is Paul’s answer:

Romans 9:6-7 (NASB)  But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.”

“Paul is saying that Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, but Abraham’s descendants were named only through Isaac.  The same principle applies to God’s Chosen People, Israel.  God is saying, through Paul, that not all who are descendants of the Chosen People are Chosen.  In this very same chapter of Romans, Paul quotes from the prophet Isaiah,” said Ben.

Romans 9:27 (NASB)  Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;

“Wow!  Are you telling us that there is a subgroup within the Chosen People, the remnant, that are the true Israel, the true Chosen People and that only they will be saved?” asked Matt.  “They are the ones with circumcised hearts, right?”

“Exactly, Matt.  You’ve got it,” said Ben.

“Doesn’t that seem unfair?” said Sarah.

“It’s not unfair, Sarah.  God is never unfair except in His grace to us.  He graciously does not give us what we deserve, which is eternal separation from Him because of our sins.  That’s why He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins,” answered Ben.

“But what about Christians?  Are all Christians truly Christian?  Is everyone sitting in church on a Sunday morning a Christian?” asked Sarah.

“Now that’s a great question!  In fact, not all who claim to be Christian are Christian.  Many, maybe even most, sitting in church pews are not Christians.  They are not born again and they will spend eternity separated from God.  This overall group who profess to be Christians can be referred to as Christendom.  Only a subgroup, a remnant, of Christendom will be saved.  Christendom is in a way comparable to the Chosen People.   Only a remnant of the Chosen people will be saved.

“Many Jewish people say “I was born a Jew and I will die a Jew”.  That is true.  But many who say this don’t understand that a Jew who is not saved, who is not part of the remnant, will spend eternity separated from God.  Jewish people need to know this truth,” said Ben.

“What do we do with this knowledge, Dr. Kaplan?” asked Josh.

“That’s another great question!  Let’s look at what Jesus said about that in Luke’s Gospel.

Luke 19:12-13 (ESV)  He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’

“Jesus is speaking a parable and it has to do with the fact that He went away, back to heaven, 2,000 years ago and He is going to return, soon.  He has given each of us gifts, represented by money in the parable, and He expects us to “engage in business” until He returns.  I understand that to mean that we are to share the Good News of Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, the Gospel, with everyone He calls us to share it with, until He, Jesus, returns.  We are to share this Good News with Jews and Gentiles and we are to share with Jews first whenever possible just as the Apostle Paul did,” said Ben.  “And we must share this Good News because it is the only way a person, any person, can be saved.”

Romans 1:16 (ESV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

“How do we do that Dr. Kaplan?” said Sarah.

“Let’s make that the focus of our next meeting, OK?” said Ben.

“We can’t wait!” said Matt.  Josh and Sarah nodded their agreement.

0

Rabbi Greenberg Accepts Yeshua as Lord and Savior

Rabbi Jonah Greenberg approached the reception window in Ben Kaplan’s office and was greeted by Denise.

“How are you Rabbi? I wasn’t expecting to see you today,” said Denise.

“Well, Denise, I have something exciting to tell Ben and his students. I know that today is the day of their weekly meeting and I didn’t want to wait another day to share my news,” said Jonah.

“Rabbi, please come with me. I’ll take you back to Dr. Kaplan’s consultation room,” said Denise.

“Thank you, Denise. But first a question for you if you don’t mind,” said the Rabbi.

“Of course I don’t mind, Rabbi.”

“Denise, do you believe in Messiah Yeshua?” asked Jonah.

“I most certainly do, Rabbi. Why do you ask?” said Denise.

“Because I’ve just accepted Yeshua as my Lord and Savior,” said the Rabbi.

Denise looked at the Rabbi. Within seconds tears of joy began streaming down her cheeks. She could not speak. Instead she hugged Jonah, hard, and then took him by the hand and led him in to Ben’s consultation room.

*

“It’s great to see you, Jonah. How is everything?” said Ben.

“I have some news, Ben. I’ve accepted Yeshua as my Messiah, my Lord, and my Savior,” said Jonah.

Susan, the Jewish student who had originally invited Jonah to come to these meetings, was overwhelmed. “That’s just wonderful, Rabbi!” said Susan, who promptly embraced the Rabbi and kissed him on the cheek.

“Wow, Jonah! What incredible news! The angels are rejoicing!” said Ben as he warmly embraced Jonah. “What finally convinced you?”

“There were many things that contributed to my decision, Ben. But two things in particular convinced me as I asked God to show me the truth. The first is that Yeshua is unquestionably God. Permit me to read from the prophet Jeremiah,” said the Rabbi.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 (ESV) “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’

“Could you please explain how this verse helped you decide, Rabbi?” said Josh.

“Sure, Josh. The Branch, or tzemach in Hebrew, is a title used for the Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures. He is a righteous descendant of King David. And in these verses God Himself, the LORD, Yahweh, expressly states that this Branch, the Messiah, has a name and that name is the LORD, Yahweh, our righteousness. Isn’t that staggering? The Messiah’s proper name is Yahweh! This is absolutely so wonderful that it’s mind-boggling to me!” exclaimed Rabbi Greenberg.

Matt had a question. “Rabbi, how can Yahweh, who is God the Father, say that His Son, the Messiah, will also be called Yahweh?”

“I think that I finally have the answer to that, Matt. The Father and the Son are equal and they are both Yahweh. They are equal and together with Yahweh Ruach Hakodesh (God the Holy Spirit), these three equal personalities are One God, whose proper name is Yahweh!” replied Jonah.

“Rabbi, that is staggering! That is mind-boggling! But, do you know what Rabbi?” said Matt.

“Please tell me, Matt,” said Jonah.

“I believe it! It makes perfect sense!” said Matt.

“It most certainly does, Matt!” agreed Ben Kaplan heartily. “Jonah, you said that there were two things in particular that helped you decide to accept Yeshua. Would you tell us what the second thing is?”

“Sure, Ben. It’s what Gamaliel said in the fifth chapter of Acts in the New Testament when the apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin. I’d like to read it to you if I may,” said Jonah.

“Absolutely,” said Ben.

Jonah picked up his Bible and read.

Acts 5:34-39 (ESV) But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (italics added)

“Ben, I know from my own research that the New Testament is historically reliable. I have absolutely no doubt about that. That being the case, I am confident that Gamaliel said what he is recorded as saying in the fifth chapter of Acts, and Gamaliel was among the most famous of Rabbis. In fact Saul, before he was chosen by God to be His Apostle, studied under him. So Gamaliel is to me an unimpeachable source. And Gamaliel said that what Peter and John were teaching would not be overthrown if it is of God. Well, 2,000 years later it has not been overthrown!

“Now Ben, these were just the final pieces of the puzzle for me in my quest. All that we’ve spoken of in our two previous meetings, and a great deal more, have combined to give me unshakable faith and assurance that Yeshua, Jesus, is my Lord and Messiah!” said Jonah.

“Rabbi, this is so wonderful! Who ever said that a Jew cannot believe in Jesus!” said Josh.

“You won’t ever hear that from me, Josh!” said Sarah.

“Can we all please lay hands on Jonah? I have some anointing oil here. Jonah, may I anoint you before we pray?” said Ben.

“By all means, Ben,” said the Rabbi.

Ben anointed Jonah and then they prayed.

“Father, Lord God, please bless this Son of Israel who has come to faith in You today through Your only Son, Yeshua, our Lord, Savior, and Messiah. Please show Jonah what to do next. Lay out your path for him that he may know the way to go. Please use him mightily in bringing others, both Jew and Gentile, into your kingdom. We pray in Yeshua’s Name. Amen.”

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Anti-Semitism Part II, Replacement Theology

As we continue the discussion of anti-Semitism – Jew hatred – I’ve decided that this would be an excellent topic for Dr. Benjamin Kaplan and his medical students, Josh, Matt, and Sarah, to handle, so we will go to Ben’s office for that discussion right now.

*

“Hi Dr. Kaplan. I understand that we are here today to talk about Jew hatred and that we will be focusing on replacement theology. You know that I’m interested in all of the manifestations of Jew hatred because I’m Jewish, but I don’t know what replacement theology is,” said Sarah.

“Dr. Kaplan, Josh and I have been talking a little about replacement theology since we knew that was today’s topic but we don’t really understand what it is either. Even though we’re not Jewish we are definitely opposed to any form of Jew hatred, so we are all ears today,” said Matt.

Ben continued the discussion. “Replacement theology has been with us for a very long time, possibly as far back as the end of the first century A.D. but it’s gotten much more complicated, widespread, and subtle over the centuries. It used to be simple. People who hated the Jews would say that the Jews killed Jesus, or rejected their Messiah, or both and because of that God has canceled his promises to the Jews. The Abrahamic Covenant, an unconditional covenant God made with Abraham, promised a number of things to Abraham and his descendants through the Jewish line of descent, meaning through Abraham’s son Isaac and through Isaac’s son Jacob and on down the line through Jacob’s 12 sons and their physical descendants, the Jewish people. Included in this covenant is a promise of a land for the Jewish people, and I will refer to this land as The Promised Land. Other critically important things were also promised in this covenant, including promises for the Gentiles. We’ll discuss all of the promises made in this covenant at a later date but for now we’ll stay with the promised land provision in order to keep things as simple as possible. Those who believe in replacement theology say that the promises made to the Jews by God are null and void because of what the Jews did to Jesus. Because of this crime the Church has replaced Israel so that all the blessings given to Israel by God and the promises of good things made to Israel by God, in the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant and in three other unconditional covenants (the Promised Land Covenant1, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant) have all been transferred to the Church. But the curses and the promises made by God of bad things for Israel remain. Those have not been transferred to the Church.”

“Dr. Kaplan, is replacement theology sometimes called supercessionism? Do the people who use that term mean that the Church has superceded Israel and the Jewish people in God’s eyes?” asked Matt.

“Yes Matt, that is correct” said Ben.

“So the Church has replaced Israel in receiving good things, but Israel receives all the bad things?” said Josh. “How do the people who teach this theology justify their teaching?”

“That’s an excellent question Josh,” said Ben. “We’re going to deal with that question a little later. But first I want you all to understand that replacement theology has become much more subtle over the centuries and there are numerous variants of it today. So contending against replacement theology can be like fighting the multi-headed hydra of Greek mythology; whenever one head was cut off another would grow back. But an even better analogy might be that of mutating virulent bacteria. As soon as one strain is killed by an antibiotic a new strain pops up that is resistant to that antibiotic and a new antibiotic must be found. For this reason I think we need the equivalent of a vaccine to prevent this deadly replacement theology from spreading and infecting more people.”

“What would be the equivalent of a vaccine in this case? And how would you administer it?” said Sarah.

“Great question, Sarah,” said Ben. “But before we attempt to answer your question I’d like to try to give you all a way to recognize replacement theology when it confronts you. Do any of you know what the Messianic Kingdom is?”

“Isn’t that when the wolf lies down with the lamb?” said Matt.

“That’s right,” said Ben.

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6 (ESV)

“And nobody will die at at young age?” said Josh.

“Right again,” said Ben.

“No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.” Isaiah 65:20 (ESV)

“And there will be peace everywhere?” said Sarah.

“Also correct!” said Ben.

“He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Isaiah 2:4 (ESV)

“You’ve all got it! And please also note that this Kingdom will be ruled by the Messiah and his reign will be from the throne of David which is in Jersusalem.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV)

“These five Bible verses, and there are many more, describe the Messianic Kingdom or what the Rabbis sometimes referred to as ‘the days of Messiah’ ”, said Ben. “These and other verses describe the Kingdom that the Messiah will bring in when he comes back. Most Jewish people don’t understand that the Messiah, Jesus, has already come once and that he will bring in the Messianic Kingdom described by these verses when he comes again.

“But I want you to notice that the above verses are all from the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament. These verses and others don’t tell us how long this Messianic Kingdom will last, ” said Ben.

“Can we know how long this kingdom will last? I’ve heard of something called the Millennial Kingdom. Is that the same kingdom?” asked Josh.

“Millennium means a thousand years doesn’t it?” asked Matt.

“Precisely Matt. And yes, Josh, the Messianic Kingom is the same as the Millennial Kingdom,” said Ben.

“Where does the Bible say that, Dr. Kaplan?” said Sarah.

“In the New Testament. It’s in chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation. It tells us the duration of this Kingdom which is 1000 years. In fact this one chapter mentions the 1000 years six times in six separate verses. I’m going to read just one of those verses,” said Ben.

“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4 (ESV)

“So the Old Testament gives us many verses that describe the character of the Messianic Kingdom, many more than the New Testament gives us, but the New Testament gives us the length of time this Kingdom will last. It will last 1000 years. That will be the duration of Jesus’ reign over this kingdom. The Messianic Kingdom and the Millennial Kingdom are one and the same,” said Ben.

“Wait a minute, Dr. Kaplan. Doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that 1000 years is equal to a day? Doesn’t that mean that the thousand years isn’t literal? Isn’t the thousand years just a figure of speech?” asked Sarah.

Ben replied. “Great question Sarah, but no, the Bible doesn’t say that. Let me explain. Let’s take a look at a verse from Peter’s 2nd letter which is in the New Testament.”

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8 (ESV)

“First of all, Peter is telling us that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. So Peter is not telling us that one day and a thousand years are the same. Secondly, this verse is expressing something important about the Lord and time. The Lord does not dwell in time. He dwells in eternity. Finally the context of this verse is crucial. In the passage which contains this verse Peter is telling us about the Lord’s patience and about His heart. Let’s look at verse 9,” said Ben.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

“OK. I get it. The thousand years in Revelation 20 is literal. So the Messianic Kingom is a literal thousand years and the Millennial Kingdom and the Messianic Kingdom are the same. But how does this relate to replacement theology, Dr. Kaplan?” said Josh.

“I’m so glad you asked!” said Ben. “This is where things get really interesting.

“Now stick with me please because this gets a little complicated. We have to be careful when we lump people together into groups but sometimes it’s useful to do that as long as we recognize the limitations. I’m talking about categorizing different groups of people who might believe in or reject replacement theology. Now just as Jews, like Sarah and me, do not wish to be stereotyped, we do not wish to stereotype other people either. Yet certain groups of people can be characterized in certain ways, within limits, by who they are. For example, Jewish people traditionally believe in one God and they also believe that Moses was a great prophet who delivered them from Egyptian bondage and who received the Law from God for them.

“So would you be surprised to know that many Gentiles who believe in a literal Millennial Kingdom believe that this Kingdom will be ruled by the Jewish Messiah from Jerusalem? These people believe that, because they believe the Old Testament verses about the Messianic Kingdom and they believe the New Testament verses in Revelation 20. Now that certainly makes sense to me.

“But not all who believe in a literal Millennial Kingdom do believe that it will be governed by a Jewish Messiah reigning from a restored Jerusalem in a regathered Israel which will be the Nation above other nations. These people believe that there will be a Millennial Kingdom but their belief is based only on the verses in chapter 20 of the New Testament Book of Revelation. They don’t believe that any of the Old Testament prophecies about this Kingdom have anything to do with Israel,” said Ben.

“But why wouldn’t they believe that those verses are prophecies of the Millennial, or better Messianic, Kingdom?” said Sarah.

“Because they have written off anything in the Old Testament that prophecizes blessings or fulfillment of promises made by God for good, for the Jewish people,” said Ben.

“Are you kidding, Dr. Kaplan?” asked Matt. “Why in the world would they do that?”

“Great question, Matt, and we have to answer that question on more than one level. The most fundamental answer is that Satan, the deceiver, is relentlessly working to confuse people about what is true. He and his minions have convinced millions, perhaps billions, of people that God has gone back on His promises to the Jewish people because they are guilty of killing Jesus and guilty of doing other terrible things so that God no longer loves them. As we discussed last time, Satan is interested in completely annihilating all Jews from the face of the earth, so he will do whatever it takes to cause susceptible minds to condemn and hate the Jews and ultimately to destroy them. All of them,” said Ben.

“But how does Satan implement this?” said Josh.

“That’s a super-important question Josh. Let me give you just one example today. There is an ancient document, The Epistle of Barnabus, which was written around the end of the first century or the beginning of the second century, AD. It is an apocryphal letter meaning it is not God inspired and it is not part of the Bible. It is also not written by the Barnabus of the New Testament. But a lot of people have read it and believe it. It states that God broke His covenant with the Jewish people and gave the covenant to the Gentiles, because the Jews disobeyed God and because consequently the first stone tablets of the Law that Moses brought down the mountain from God were broken. This completely erroneous teaching is based on a misinterpretation of a passage of Scripture from Exodus. It’s so important that you understand all this, that we will read the passage in its entirety.

Exodus 32:7-14, 19 (ESV)

7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.

8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’”

9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.

10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”

“The LORD says in verse 10 that He wants to consume, or destroy, His people.

11 But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people.

13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’”

“Moses is “reminding” God of the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That was and is an unconditional covenant.

14 And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.

“So the LORD “relented” and did not destroy His people. Now please take note that He, God, never would have done this because He always keeps His promises. The LORD was very angry because His people disobeyed Him and made an idol and worshipped it. The Israelites broke the Law, they violated the Mosaic Covenant. But this was not an unconditional covenant. God knew that His people would never be able to keep it. But the Epistle of Barnabus is saying that God broke “the covenant” with His people. The people indeed broke the Mosaic Covenant but the much more important and foundational Abrahamic Covenant is not broken because it is an unconditional covenant from God and it is everlasting. Of course The Epistle of Barnabus does not tell us that.

Exodus 32:19 (ESV)

19 And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.

“The Epistle of Barnabus equates broken stone tablets with a permanently broken relationship between God and His Chosen People, the Jews,” said Ben. “That is a completely wrong interpretation of what the Bible teaches.”

“Dr. Kaplan, I see what you mean when you say that Satan is subtle,” said Sarah.

“He surely is Sarah.

“I think we need to wrap this up for today. But before we do so, let’s review:

  1. Most people who believe in the Old Testament and New Testament promises of a literal Messianic Kingdom do not believe in replacement theology.
  2. Most people who believe that Revelation 20 speaks of a future literal 1000 year reign of Christ, a Millennial Kingdom, but deny the Old Testament promises of such a Kingdom, do believe in replacement theology.
  3. People who don’t believe in a Millennial Kingdom at all almost have to believe in replacement theology. This would be the biggest number of church going people who believe in replacement theology and would include many members of Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican, and Episcopal churches, as well as the Roman Catholic Church, because the official teachings of those denominations have generally been that there is no Millennial or Messianic Kingdom. They do not interpret the Bible literally.
  4. And there is another group, and we haven’t discussed this group yet, but we will. These people believe in the Old Testament and New Testament promises of a literal Messianic Kingdom, and they believe in Daniel’s 70th Week, described in Daniel 9:24-27, which is a future literal 7 year Tribulation, and they believe in a Pretribulation Rapture. The people in this group are the most likely of all to reject replacement theology,” concluded Ben.
  5. And of course people or groups or even countries who deny the right of the Jews to the Promised Land of Israel and believe that that Land belongs to the so called Palestinian people, believe in replacement theology. Islamic nations can be included in this category but there are many other people and groups who fit here as well. Some of these groups sponsor something called BDS, which is against Israel. BDS is short for Boycott, Divest, and Sanction, and BDS is an overtly antisemitic activity.

“But Dr. Kaplan, just one second please. Why are those people who believe in the pretrib rapture the least likely to accept replacement theology?” asked Josh.

“And why are Islamic nations so likely to hate Israel?” asked Sarah.

“And what about the vaccine against replacement theology? What is that?” asked Matt.

“Those are all great questions. The answers are a bit complicated. How about we cover those next time?” said Ben.

“We can hardly wait!” exclaimed all three students together.

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Who is The Messiah?

Why is it important to know who The Messiah is? Because he is the primary agent in the cure for death. He can bring a person from death to life. My dear Jewish brothers and sisters, that is important!

So, let’s talk about The Messiah. But first let’s get our terms straight. The word Messiah comes from the Greek word and the later Latin word Messias. Messiah is the word we use in the English language. The Hebrew word is Mashiach. Messiah means an anointed one, usually one anointed with oil, as the first High Priest, Aaron, was. But in this post I’m not talking about an anointed Old Testament Levitical priest or an anointed Old Testament king. Nor am I talking about any other Old Testament person whom the LORD had chosen to anoint and set apart for a particular purpose. I’m also not talking about a person who might be a “messiah” in a secular sense. For example, a military general who wins a great war and by doing so saves his nation from invasion and defeat by an enemy force, might be referred to as a messiah even though such a person would not generally be anointed with oil. We are not going to talk about that type of messiah. We are going to talk about The Messiah, of whom there is only one. It is he who brings peace, righteousness, and the Messianic Age. The Messiah essentially brings heaven to earth. This is The Messiah that Jews have been waiting for, for thousands of years.

If you try to look for the one source or the one text that specifies who The Messiah is or what his qualifications are you won’t find one source for this information. And there is no definite agreement even among Jewish scholars and Rabbis as to who The Messiah is or which ancient books or texts can be used to identify him. And it’s important to know how we might identify The Messiah because if we don’t have reliable criteria we could miss The Messiah when he comes or we could wrongly identify an individual who is not The Messiah as being The Messiah. So how do we begin our quest to find The Messiah? Did he already come or do we look for him yet to come? And where do we look for answers to these questions?

As noted above, Messiah, or Mashiach, means anointed one. But the Jewish people mainly used the word Mashiach to describe that person, a human being and not God, who would be the deliverer or liberator or saviour of the Jewish people and Jewish Nation. So The Messiah is someone who would deliver the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people from disaster or catastrophe or oppression and such a person in actuality would not necessarily be distinguishable by being anointed with oil. Certainly someone thought to be The Messiah could be anointed with oil by a person with the authority to declare an individual to be The Messiah. But there is a potential problem with that. If one of us, you or I, were a King, or Chief Priest, or Chief Rabbi, of Israel and had the authority to declare a person to be The Messiah, we could then anoint that person with oil and declare him to be The Messiah. But I wouldn’t be convinced by that. Would you be? For an office as important as that of Messiah, the anointing must be from an unbiased and unimpeachable source. It’s quite clear to me that the unimpeachable source has to be God. Does that make sense to you?

If there is no one source of information to tell us about The Messiah, where did the information that we have come from? Where did it originate? It originates from the Hebrew Scriptures, i.e., the Old Testament, or Tanach.

Now suppose that you or I decided to carefully look for information and evidence pointing to The Messiah. I would start my research in the Old Testament. There would be more than one way to do that. I could study the works of someone who has already carefully researched this question of The Messiah’s origin and who is also familiar with the Hebrew language. Such a person would be Jewish and would very likely be a Rabbi or other Jewish scholar renowned for his knowledge on this entire topic. I could simply accept the conclusions of such a person regarding who The Messiah must be and of equal importantance, who the Messiah cannot be. And that could be the end of my research.

Or I could do this a different way. I’m Jewish but I don’t read Hebrew well, but I could, myself, read through an English translation of the Hebrew Scriptures looking for passages that seem to talk about a deliverer or liberator who will rescue the Jewish people, and possibly other people as well, from the consequences of disaster or oppression, from slavery or even from death. I could use dictionaries to help me understand particular Hebrew words, I could consult books written to give me the opinions of one or more authors on the subject, and I could directly question people who know more about this topic than I do. But I would put my own study of the Hebrew Scriptures first. I would want to avoid being biased and I would want to do my best to shed any presuppositions that I might have about The Messiah before beginning my study. I would not necessarily accept the opinion of an expert, particulary if it did not make sense to me and if it contradicted the plain meaning of the Tanach. And I would begin my study at the beginning of the Old Testament, in the Book of Genesis.

So, we will take a look at the Book of Genesis regarding who The Messiah might be, but before we do that we must confront two difficult and very important questions.

The first question is as follows: Why do questions about the identity of The Messiah often cause contention? Could it be that there is a very strong motive for someone to cause confusion about The Messiah’s identity? Could the reason for causing this confusion be so that the Jewish people will not accept The Messiah when he comes?

The second question is this: Could there be someone who even wants to stop The Messiah from coming altogether?

If the answers to the above two questions is yes, why would that be the case and who would that someone be? And there is something else too. The Messiah is peculiarly related to the Jewish people and the Jewish Nation, Israel, and over the centuries there have been more attempts to destroy the Jewish people and Israel than there have been to destroy any other people or country. Why? Could these attempts be related to The Messiah?

When we talk about The Messiah and the name of Jesus comes up, especially with Jewish people, feelings can quickly rise to the level of extreme anger and people, Jewish people, can sometimes even become violent. The Apostle Paul, who started his career as a Jewish Rabbi, was one of those who became extremely angry and he lived many centuries ago. Why does the name of Jesus provoke this anger and contention even today? Could it be that he is the Messiah?

The Jewish people, The Chosen People, have been persecuted for thousands of years. That persecution began long before the time of Jesus Christ but not before the time that the first evidence for The Messiah made its appearance. Antisemitism today is not decreasing. It is increasing. That is positively frightening. Much of it comes from Islamic countries. What is the ultimate reason for this antisemitism?

What if these two things are connected? The two things I’m referring to are 1) extreme anger and rejection on the part of many Jewish people when the possibility of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah is brought up, and 2) several thousand years of antisemitism and murder of Jews that finally escalated to the point of the attempted eradication of the Jewish people by Adolph Hitler and his Final Solution, and the current desire of radical Islam to eradicate the Jewish people and their Nation, Israel.

Could there be an evil mastermind behind these things directing this hatred and the consequences that follow from it? In my opinion the answer is an unequivocal yes. I want to give you the evidence for my opinion and I propose to begin with a verse from the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”” Genesis 3:1

At this point I’m asking you to please recall my first post (The Cause of Death) in which we talked about the ultimate cause of death. But here is a summary: Death occurs because sin entered the human race when Adam broke the one commandment that God gave him. Adam was commanded not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and this commandment also applied to Eve, Adam’s wife. She ate of this forbidden fruit because the serpent tricked her into disobeying God’s commandment, and Adam followed Eve and ate of this fruit also. The serpent caused Eve to doubt the truth of what God said and to disobey the one commandment that God gave Adam, a commandment that applied to both Adam and Eve. In doubting the truth of this commandment Eve doubted God Himself and put the word of the serpent above the word of God. The serpent was very well aware of the one commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve. Here is how the serpent worked his deception:

“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:5-6

And here is what God ordained for the serpent and clearly communicated to the serpent because of what he did:

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15 1

Now something profoundly important has occurred here, in fact so profoundly important as to be beyond what we could even imagine. The woman, Eve, will give birth to a male descendant and either he, Eve’s son, or a male desendant of Eve’s further down the line, is going to bruise the serpent’s head. Many translators believe that crush is a more accurate translation than bruise. The male descendant will have only his heel injured. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, in his commentary on Genesis2 sees this verse as conveying a picture of Eve’s male descendant bringing his heel down on to the head of the serpent in a fatal crushing blow, and the serpent in a vain attempt to save itself, biting the descending heel. The bite inflicted by the serpent is non-fatal and comparatively minor.

Please remember that it is through what the serpent did, by tricking Eve into breaking God’s commandment, with Adam following Eve and doing the same thing, that Death entered the human race. When God spoke and pronounced sentence on the serpent, ultimately the sentence of death, God identified who would do this to the serpent. The person identified is a male descendant of Eve. Only here, and nowhere else in the Bible is someone described as being the descendant of a woman with no father mentioned. This is very significant. The fact that no father is mentioned fits well with the virgin birth of Jesus. This was prophesied by the Hebrew prophet Isaiah 700 years before it actually occurred.

Was the serpent acting on his own? No. Were any other animals in the garden said to have the ability to speak? No. Inhabiting this serpent was Satan, an evil angel, the archdeceiver, the father of lies, a murderer, and a hater of God. Satan, using the serpent as an instrument of evil, directly defied God and brought the curse of death on the entire human race. Would not this situation as described in Genesis warrant someone to reverse this curse of death? That someone would need to crush Satan’s head, utterly defeating Satan, and also pay the price for the sins committed by Adam and Eve and all of their descendants, including you and me. Only then could we be declared righteous, only then could this penalty of death be changed into eternal life.

Who could this descendant of Eve be? Would not this have to be The Messiah? That is what I believe. But more than that, a number of ancient Rabbis thought so too. They may not have known who The Messiah was to be but they did believe that he who would crush the serpent’s head was The Messiah.

Has there ever been a catastrophe so great that only a Messiah, The Messiah, could provide the remedy to liberate the human race from the bondage of sin and death that followed from the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden? Never! The consequences of this catastrophe are affecting you and me today. It is the reason for war, genocide, hatred among humans, and the evil pervading our world. This Messiah would need to be mighty powerful to reverse this curse! He’d have to be stronger than Satan, the chief of evil angels. It almost seems as if this Messiah would need to have the power of God.

But what about the two questions that I asked above? Why such anger when the name of Jesus is brought up and why anti-semitism, better called Jew hatred, and genocide? Is Satan responsible for these? Yes! He does not want his head eventually crushed. He knows the Bible and he is wily and powerful. But how will destroying belief in The Messiah benefit Satan? And how will eradicating the entire Jewish race benefit Satan? In order to understand the answer, I’m going to ask you to read several Bible verses with me, one from the New Testament and the others from the the Tanach:

““O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”” Matthew 23:37-39

Jesus said this to the Jewish people, his people, in Jerusalem, shortly before his death. He was telling them that he would not return, he would not come back, until they, the Jewish people, called for him to return by saying:

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Jesus was quoting part of a verse from the Tanach. It was from a messianic psalm, Psalm 118:26, recognized by Rabbis as referring to The Messiah. By quoting this verse, Jesus was once again affirming that he was The Messiah. Here is the whole verse, in Hebrew, in transliterated Hebrew, and in English:3.

כו. בָּרוּךְ הַבָּא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה בֵּרַכְנוּכֶם מִבֵּית יְהוָה

Baruch haba beshem Adonai. Berachnuchem mi’beit Adonai.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; we have blessed you from the House of the Lord

Jesus is telling the Jewish people, his people, that they will not see him again, that he will not return to deliver them, as a Nation, until they ask him to come back by blessing him in the Name of Adonai, God the Father.

Now, please look at these verses from the Tanach:

“On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them. And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” Zechariah 12:8-10

The Hebrew prophet Zechariah is speaking of The Time of Jacob’s Trouble, also known as The Great Tribulation. It will be a time of trouble like none ever before seen on this planet. The Son of David – The Messiah – will come to destroy all the nations attempting to annihilate Israel and the Jewish people. The Jewish people will look on him, Jesus, whom they have pierced, they will recognize him as their Messiah and mourn. He, Jesus, will then rescue them. He will destroy all nations coming against Jerusalem and he will bring in the Messianic Age.

In an attempt to prevent this from happening Satan will try to silence every last Jewish voice from crying out for Messiah’s return. He will try to do this by two means. He will decieve Jewish people so that many will not even consider that Jesus could be their Messiah and he will also attempt to destroy every single Jewish person. By means of this double plan he will attempt to silence the last possible Jewish voice so that not one Jew will cry out for deliverance. By so doing he believes that he can prevent The Messiah from returning and prevent his, Satan’s, head from eventually being crushed. Jesus came, for the Jewish people, in the first century AD as a suffering servant. He will return soon as a mighty King and Warrior.

My Jewish friend, as you ponder what I’ve written about in this post please remember that our God is a God of hope and blessing. He wants you to have eternal life. You can have that by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Messiah. Why not do that right now? No formula is needed. Just pray, out loud, and ask him to be your Lord and Savior today. He’ll do it.

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