What’s The Good News?

My grandparents knew a woman who used to call and tell my grandmother all her calamities. Every week, it was another gut wrenching story about what went wrong and how her life was ruined. When she would call, if my grandfather answered the phone, he’d ask, “whats the good news?,” before handing the phone to my grandmother. Its was funny, but at the same time, a good question for us.

It’s a funny thing. The word “gospel” means “good news,” and when I first began following Yeshua, we talked about the “good news,” and what a wonderful thing it is. But the more time i spent around Yeshua followers, I found that I didn’t hear much good news. People were always telling me what was wrong with “other” people, or the government, or politics.
Even when they talked about other people who followed Yeshua, they told me how their theology was all wrong, and how we couldn’t trust them because they would use every opportunity to spread their errant doctrines. They would point out people’s flaws, and say I’d be better off not hanging around people like that. The problem with that was if I avoided everyone who was “bad,” I’d only get to hang out with a small group who was warning me to avoid everyone else.

I didn’t follow Yeshua to accept other people’s likes and dislikes. I believed in Yeshua because of His message of life, not the negativities of others.

The worst thing for me was that people were telling me that God loves the Jewish people, but I should stay away from anything that had to do with Judaism and the Rabbis. They said most Jews were on their way to hell and while we “love” them, they just don’t understand. I had a real problem with this, because I follow Yeshua because I believe he is the Messiah. I didn’t reject Judaism, because it was the religion of Yeshua. Yeshua didn’t come to end or replace Judaism. He taught Torah, and mitzvot.

People like this say that the Jewish people were “set aside” in the plan of God, until they recognize Yeshua. I have a real problem with that view. First of all, for Yeshua to be the Messiah, he has to be good for the Jews. If his coming resulted in the bulk of Jewish people over the last 2000 years going to hell (as some Christian theologies purport), then he wasn’t good for the Jews. If his coming meant that Jewish people were no longer the covenant people of God, and they were replaced with non-Jews, then he wasn’t good for the Jews. I have a hard time understanding how such a view could be even remotely construed as “good news” for anyone.

For me the problem is not with Yeshua. Yeshua came to the Jewish people. Yeshua was and is the Messiah, and he IS good for the Jews. The problem has never been Yeshua. It has been his followers. Yeshua’s good news was that God loves us and cares about us, and desires to bless us. That’s good news.

The news brought by historic Christianity has been less than good for the Jews. Historic Christianity’s news for the Jews has been that God doesn’t love you anymore. You have been replaced by the Church. You are just another people, nothing special. You and your whole people are going to hell unless you become part of the Church. What ever you want to call it, it’s not good news, at least not for the Jewish people. Either Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel, which would mean his coming would be good news for the Jews, or he is not the messiah of Israel, and his coming is bad news for the Jews. If he isn’t the messiah of Israel, then none of his claims could be valid.

Yeshua came to Israel, and brought a message of good news. He is the Messiah who loves his people. He is very much like the Patriarch Joseph, who, in a world of Gentiles, is dressed like one. He sought to redeem them as well, without breaking the ties with his own brethren. When his brothers came before him, they did not recognize him. But far from rejecting them and punishing them, he loved them and hugged them and took care of them. Yeshua has only love for the Jewish people, and when he returns, will rule the earth from Jerusalem.

Bad news came from Christian theology, not from Yeshua. Jews have been sinned against by the church as they shed the blood of the Jewish people in Yeshua’s name. Their actions profaned his name. Their replacement theology also profaned the Name of Yeshua because it is a lie that keeps Jewish people from seeing the true good news that God loves them and cares about them. It keeps them from understanding the love of Yeshua.

The good news is that God loves us, and Yeshua is our Messiah. The God of Israel is our God and we are His people. He cherishes us, and cares about us. In the end, even though we are scattered, will take us to Himself. Now that’s what I call…. Good News!

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61 thoughts on “What’s The Good News?

  1. You said, “[Historic Christianity teaches that] You have been replaced by the Church. You are just another people, nothing special.”

    I think it’s just as valid to say, “[Historic Christianity teaches that] You have been replaced by the Church. You are not just another people… you are an example of how G-d curses a people when they reject Jesus.”

    Both teachings tear at my heart. It saddens me when replacement theology in any form is perpetuated. I spoke with a Muslim and asked him why certain Islamic doctines supercede others. He said that later revelations counter and void older ones if there is a contradiction [or perceived] contradiction. This explains why the oldest texts of the Koran that honor the People of the Book are ignored because later texts encourage atrocities against us. This saddens me. It also invalidates the Islamic message. However, I can’t help but think this concept was perpetrated by the Church. By allowing an interpretation of the Newer Testament to supercede the Older, Christainity provided a distorted view of Progressive Revelation. Islam adopted this method of interpretation as well. Without realizing it, Historic Christainity invalidates their message as well because they do not understand how Progressive Revelation works.

  2. “If his coming resulted in the bulk of Jewish people over the last 2000 years going to hell (as some Christian theologies purport), then he wasn’t good for the Jews.”

    Someone needed to say this. Thanks.

    I do find it amazing how some Christian theologies and/or doctrines have take the God of Israel and turned Him into an anti-semite.

  3. Don’t forget to share your messiah with others…
    Jesus didn’t come “only” for the Jews.

    For God so loved “The World” that he gave his only begotten son. That whosoever believes in him shall not parish but have everlasting life.

    No man can give what he has not received and if one surely knows God’s love for them then they will also know it is not only theirs. It is a perfect love and one we need to share freely and not in a elitist way for any one group.

    We are not the source of Gods love, we are the pipes and God’s love flows through us from him.

    If we are not flowing that love we are as useless as a sealed pipe. We experience Gods love when we allow it to flow through is to others.

    I’m sorry you’ve had bad experiences with Christians as I also have. Ive also had bad experiences with Jews, agnostics, fill in the blank.

    I can tell you one thing… God is not elitist, he created man and saw it was good.

    Christ said I am the living word.

    Genesis says, in the beginning was the word. The word was with God and the word was God.

    Therefore Christ is the word in it’s entirety. Not just the Tenach. He fulfills the old testament and our need for atonement.

    Levitcus sacrificial lamb, Passover blood on the doors, all represented the temporal atonement for the permanent solution through Christ.

    My biggest issue is with Jews or christians or any other person’s claiming Christ or God’s elitist or sole interest on their culture alone.

    The idea in itself is very superficial and self interested, where Christ was not self interested, he came to be a suffering servant and serve others.

    Isaiah 53.

    He cares even for the criminals on the crosses beside him and the hands that nailed him to the Roman device.

    We need to stop being so self interested as that type of thinking forments the body that holds those ideas.

    • Steve, thank you for being the epitome of what I was writing about.

      First of all, I don’t need you to tell me to “share my messiah with others.” Who said I don’t? Who is my judge of that… not you. God is my judge and you should mind you own business and not pass judgement on others.

      Second. Yeshua came for Israel. The rest of the world can benefit from him, but he came for Israel. Matthew 10:5-6 says,”Yeshua sent these twelve out, and charged them, saying, “Don’t go among the Goyim, and don’t enter into any city of the Shomroni.” Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’el.” Later, He said, In Matthew 15:22ff “Behold, a Kana`ani woman came out from those borders, and cried, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, you son of David! My daughter is severely demonized!”But he answered her not a word. His talmidim came and begged him, saying, “Send her away; for she cries after us.”But he answered, “I wasn’t sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’el.”But she came and worshiped him, saying, “Lord, help me.”But he answered, “It is not appropriate to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”But she said, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”hen Yeshua answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Be it done to you even as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.”

      The Fact is Steve, Yeshua came to the Jewish people, and he IS our messiah. Gentiles can benefit from Him, but he isn’t some disconnected universal messiah. He is the Messiah of Israel. that doesn’t change. If He is disconnected from the Jewish people, He isn’t anyone’s messiah.

      Third, I don’t need you to quote a bunch of verses like you are preaching to me. I think I understand the verses pretty well without you dropping them on me and thinking you’ve made some profound point. So you can quote scripture. Big deal. Knowing what they say and what they mean are two different things. If you want to know what they mean you can take a few courses from me.

      You dare equate the few unkind experiences you’ve had with Jews and Moslems as equivalent to the suffering of the Jewish people over a 2000 year period at t he hands of the Christians? You’ve got to be kidding me. Hundreds of thousands, of Jews were murdered by Christians, how many more were raped, and expelled from their homes? and what.. that is equivalent to you being offended by some people who weren’t nice to you? give me a break. Trying to trivialize the suffering of the Jewish people at the hands of Christianity is naive at best, insensitive and anti-Semitic at worst. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and just assume you are naive.

      You want to be connected to the Jewish Messiah? good. sit and learn instead of telling other people they are wrong and trying to enlighten them with your perspective.

      • Hello,

        I read your post and the comments and I find it all very interested. I’m a Messianic Believer and always love to hear the thoughts and perspectives of other Messianic brothers and sisters.

        There are two things I’m curious about after reading everything:

        1. What happens to a Jewish person who dies having not accepted Yeshua as their Messiah?

        2. Could you have possibly been more polite to Steve? It seemed like his comment was genuine and polite and I thought your comment sounded a little on the antagonistic side.

      • thank you Eryn for your comments. I was not meaning to be impolite to Steve, but you need to understand that his brushing aside of Jewish suffering devalues it, and I find that highly offensive. To me it was highly insensitive, which I find common in Christian circles. They treat Jews like theology instead of people. Simply prooftexting scripture is condescending. He may have seemed polite, but he was trying to tell me off. Maybe I took it wrong, but thats how he came across to me.

        As to your question about Jewish people and Yeshua, I would say you are asking the wrong question. I will refer you to a blog post I wrote a few months ago. href=”https://drschiffman.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/vayigash-%E2%80%93-joseph-yeshua-and-their-brethren/”>

        Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them.

  4. Thank you Michael for that post. It needed to be said; and I will study it as it’s got a lot of good meat in it. I am so tired of Christians – and also some errant Jewish believers claiming that de facto, all Jewish people who do not believe in Jesus, Yeshua or whatever other name you want to call him (we all know who we’re talking about and euphemisms for Jesus don’t make sense to me) definitely do not have a “real” relationship with God. I don’t know about all of you reading this but I do in fact know many orthodox and non-orthodox Jews who have a lively, real, living and true relationship with God. This includes my orthodox family living in Israel but is not exclusive to it. It is ultimate hubris to believe that we, the select few whose eyes have been opened (tongue firmly implanted in cheek) have the exclusive rights and claim to God’s open ears and heart.

    As always, Michael, thank you for going against the grain when it’s wrong and for having the courage to post messages that may rub some people the wrong way but that speak the truth.

    While I’m on a rant, I’ll also add my other pet peeve as a Jewish Messianic believer for over 20 years. @ Christians, please do not ask me when I “converted”. Yikes, what an insult. I’m born a Jew and will die a Jew. When did YOU convert to Judaism? Bye for now.

  5. Dr. Schiffman,

    I read the article to which you referred me and I have to say it was quite interesting and different from any other explanation I’ve ever heard. I don’t mean this to be coy or baiting, but if I’ve asked the wrong question, what is the right question? Based upon your article on Joseph and his brothers, I’m honestly not sure what that question might be.
    In some ways, it seems that your explanation is very different from traditional Christian views of salvation and acceptance into the Kingdom of G-d (and I realize that you aren’t a “traditional Christian,” nor should your views necessarily conform to theirs). Inasmuch as I understood what you had written, it seems as though you’re saying that no Jew will be cast away by Yeshua. Am I correct in my understanding?

    • Eryn, my point is that Jewish people do not have the same kind of relationship to Yeshua as Christians. Jews have a pre-existing covenant with God. That covenant was never invalidated. The New Testament does not treat Jews the same as non-Jews, just as Priests had different rules than other Jews. I am not saying that no Jew will ever be cast away, but I believe the vast majority will be received by him. In Galatians 2:16 it says, “yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through the faith of Yeshua the Messiah, even we believed in Messiah Yeshua, that we might be justified by faith in Messiah, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law.” The standard rendering is “Faith of Yeshua,” or “Faith in Yeshua,” however, a more proper translation of the greek text would be “the faithfulness OF Yeshua.”

      The implications of this, is that people are justified not by their own faith in Yeshua, but by the faithfulness Yeshua showed in his life. That would make the passage read, “yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through the faithfulness of Yeshua the Messiah, even we believed in Messiah Yeshua, that we might be justified by the faithfulness of Messiah, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law.”

      Jews don’t follow the Torah to be justified by it. Its a lifestyle commanded by God and we follow it as an expression of faith and love for Him. Yeshua’s faithfulness is what justifies everyone, and it is Yeshua who makes the call, not our theological constructions.

      I hope this helps

  6. Dr. Schiffman,

    It does help, thank you. I found your response to be fascinating and thought provoking. I certainly hope (as I fell safe to say that you do as well) that, no matter what interpretation of Scripture is born out in the workings of G-d, the Jewish people will come to recognize their Messiah and embrace Him as their brother and their King.

  7. I want to highlight something that could perhaps get easily lost in the back and forth…

    If Yeshua is NOT the Messiah of Israel, then he is no one’s messiah.

    The Tanakh (or “Old Testament” is a Jewish book…written by Jews, (generally) about Jews to Jews. It’s the story of the Jewish people (that’s not elitist!). The Messiah written about in the prophets IS the Messiah of the Jews.
    This was the evidence to those followers of Yeshua that we read about in the gospels. Those are the scriptures Christians use to validate the claims that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah/son of God.

    Any implication that Yeshua is not FIRST and foremost the Messiah of Israel invalidates the claim ((really, it cuts it off at the knees) that He is the Messiah. Period.

    This is not xenophobic or narrow or elitist. It’s putting the horse back in front of the cart.

    You’ve got to know where you’ve come from in order to know where you are headed.

  8. Rabbi-
    I had another thought…
    what about the Jews who are secular? I can see your premise applying to the religious jews who have devoted their lives to God (Yeshua’s father)…but w/ secular jews who resemble an atypical atheist…I don’t know.
    I’d love your thoughts.

    • Jonathan,

      I believe God who knows us inside out doesn’t just judge our actions. Sometimes people do the right things for the wrong reasons, and sometimes people do wrong things for the right reasons. God sorts this out. Many secular Jews look at the historic persecution of the Jewish people from the fall of Jerusalem, to the Crusades, the Inqusition, the Chmelnitzki massacres, the pogroms and the Holocaust and say “Where was God? Why didn’t he protect us?” They question him and even his existence. I think God understands this as not some philisophical exercise, but an honest look at Jewish suffering and find it hard to believe in the idea of a God who loves us and cares about us.

      I believe they come to the wrong conclusion, but for the right reasons. This is something God has to sort out. It’s why He is the Judge of all the earth and not us.

      Secondly, Evangelicalism focuses on the individual, but if you look in the Jewish prayer book, you will see that most of the prayers are in the plural form. Jewish people, religiously, see ourselves as one corporate entity. We are the physical presence of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on the face of the earth. We are one people. Some are the believing part of the people, others are the businessmen, some are the soldiers, etc, but we are one people. God can sort out the individuals, but for the most part, we are all part of one people. In the scriptures, peoplehood is important. Even in the Torah, Moses said “He who does this shall be cut off from the community.” Being cut off from the community was one of the worst things possible. Your question looks different if you view it from this perspective.

      I hope this helps.

  9. Dr. Schiffman,

    My apologies if I seems a bit to the point or “matter of factly” with you. I responded to this post as it was on a Facebook wall of someone I know, and the author was not clear initially. That being said I have to ask you, do you have any non Jewish members of your church or synagogue or congregation?

    I’m curios because again I get the feeling that the Christ that you described gives Gentiles the scraps from the table and how can that attitude co-exist in the Christ that cared to see the children or the poor or the sick. Someone has to have a pretty large heart to care for people in the manner that Christ did an it didn’t seem like he asked for credentials.

    I’m not arguing for any Church or religion. I’ve spend my time existing and serving in both Messianic Churches and Christian Churches.

    Messianic or Christian, their is an example to follow, which is that of Christ Messiah.
    Who was a suffering servant. Would your words to me represent his as well?

    I don’t think Christ would asked to see proof of my Jewishness before he placed value on me nor should you.

    This is none righteous, no not one. Our culture doesn’t get us reconciled with God nor earn us anything, for what did we do to be born? Nothing…

    It happened that way to every single person.

    I am no less valuable to God then your are, and you are not less valuable then I am.

    But you are a religious leader and with that opportunity that God entrust you with you are leading people to place up walls with their brothers in Christ. Does this bring glory to God? Does it strengthen his kingdom or divide?

    I do know that my opinion, right or wrong, is one for the heart of peace, which is the heart of Yeshua.

    He came to make reconciliation with man.
    All men.

    Dr. Schiffman,
    I value you but I do not agree

    Even God’s greatest angels fell because of their pride.
    There is no room for any arrogance for anyone when they stand before God.

  10. Steve,

    I wish you could see your own pride. First, you say you spend most of your time “existing and serving in both Messianic Churches and Christian Churches.” If you came into our congregations with a true servant’s heart as you posture yourself, you would know we do not call ourselves “churches.” The nomenclature is not an accommodation, but a reflection of who we are. Churches are not Jewish places. If you respected and understood the Messianic Jewish vision, you would know we are not churches. Would you call a place where Moslems worship a Moslem church? I don’t think so. You fail to acknowledge our values. To me that shows a lack of respect for who we are. Not a respect in a sense of being better, but of common courtesy. Your religious tradition uses terms like “Christ.” Sorry. that is not how I express my faith. it really doesn’t matter to me that you express your faith differently, but when you come into my living room, I expect you to follow the house rules. I don’t expect you to be Jewish. No one is perfect. But I expect you to be respectful of my values in my space.

    I do not disrespect Gentiles for being Gentiles. Just because I don’t treat Gentiles the same as Jews doesn’t mean there is disrespect. It means we are different. Different in the plans of God. The Bible does NOT treat everyone the same. There were different laws for different people. Priests had laws that didn’t apply to other Jews. There were certain laws just for the King of Israel. Gentiles were not made the same as Jews by the coming of Yeshua. We are still different. If you read Acts 15 and 21, you will see that there were different rules of conduct for non-Jewish followers of Yeshua. The fact is, if the Holy Temple stood today, even though you were redeemed in Yeshua, you still couldn’t get any further in the Temple than the court of the Gentiles. Maybe that offends you, but its the way it is. The question is, “Is that really such a bad place to be?” I don’t think so, but apparently you do.

    Its not a question of how God values you, but how you value others. You come into my blog and start telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing. You treat your understanding of Scripture as if it is the Word of God. Its not. Its your understanding of the Word of God. You never consider that you might be wrong. You accuse me of being prideful, but that is all you have been. That is arrogance, and quite honestly, I find it offensive.

    You say that my culture doesn’t matter. You don’t say yours does, but you act like it is the way it is. Well, it isn’t. When Yeshua returns, he isn’t going to be following your culture, he will be following mine, because it’s his as well.

    Yeshua’s coming was not to make us all the same. Men and women are not the same. Neither are Jews and Gentiles. Sorry if that offends you but thats how God set it up, not me.

    I never said you were more or less valuable than me or anyone else. You are reading your own insecurities into me, and I don’t appreciate it. I am not prideful for being who I am. I don’t have to deny who and what God made me to make you feel better about yourself.

    You assume my heart is not the heart of Yeshua. Just because I don’t live by your categories doesn’t make that so. I won’t sit here and defend myself, God is my judge, not you. People who know me know how I am as well.

    Contrary to what you may think, I am not against you. I am offended by your attitude, but I am not against you. I was hoping you would see the underlying attitudes in what you are saying and doing, but apparently you don’t. in that I failed, but I hope you will understand what it means to approach people different than yourself with humility. Humility means God made us all differently. I know people wiser than me and some not as wise. I don’t tell them I am as good as them or they are the same as me. From what I read, we are not supposed to be comparing ourselves to others anyway. We are supposed to be trying to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

    I wish you the best as you seek to find you way with him.

    be well,

    Dr. Michael Schiffman

  11. Dr. Schiffman,

    You stated:
    “The fact is, if the Holy Temple stood today, even though you were redeemed in Yeshua, you still couldn’t get any further in the Temple than the court of the Gentiles. Maybe that offends you, but its the way it is. The question is, “Is that really such a bad place to be?” I don’t think so, but apparently you do.”

    Brother I’m not offended or slighted in the least that I can’t come in to your empty temple cause God had a plan to be reconciled with ALL MEN and I was included in that plan.

    That curtain was ripped when Christ died and rose.
    We need the temple like you need a mustache on your elbow.
    It was that very act that put you and I on the same level.

    Ephesians 2:15
    He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.

    We have a direct communication with God now.
    “Now man comes to the father, accept through me”
    (Jesus)

    Jesus is our high priest and he was the final sacrifice lamb.

    It is finished.
    I hope you aren’t pulling for temple duty in heaven cause it’s been decommissioned.

    The new temple is within us. It says the Holy spirit dwells in us and you should take joy in that because otherwise YOU WOULD NEED TO GO THROUGH A LEVITE TO INTERCEDE FOR YOU.

    Your living way in the past and are you aware of God’s plan because it’s greater then Judiasm and it’s greater then me and it’s greater then you. There is a much bigger picture.

    Judiasm makes up for less then 1% of the worlds population. Do you really think God’s plans are not further stretching then 1%?

    God has so much of a heavenly inheritance there is no need for anyone to be getting crumbs off the floor or fighting over words like church and congregation. We are of the same cloth now and you can take that up with God to get the Bible rewritten but I think you may be out of luck.

    His word doesn’t change.

    If you think that God is so limited or not far reaching in a Love that we will never fully understand, then you are putting God in a box in a way that suites you and his actions on the cross seem to very strongly suggest otherwise.

    I hope one day you realized you and I, by God’s standards are one united body in Christ.

    Be well. I pray the Lord softens your heart and gives you a glimpse of his bigger plan.

    • Steve,

      your theology is warped. if the temple was decommissioned and empty, why did the apostles and the disciples worship there after the resurrection? why did Paul? They even offered sacrifices there. It is not the Temple that is empty. It is your understanding of Scripture. You clearly are not open to learn anything other than what you already have decided, so go your way, and be happy. Go find someone else to preach to, but not on my blog.

  12. I’ve been following this for a while, and can no longer just sit here and read it.

    Steve, what is going on here is that you have been brought up in the church, and you assume that what you have been taught is so, simply because it was taught and interpreted for you by people who appeared to be learned and devout. They showed you in Scripture what to believe, but THEY told you what it meant to say. You are obviously not a student of Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek, which are the languages in which Scripture comes to us. No, it is NOT all Greek.

    The church dates back to the days of Constantine, or if you insist, back to the days following Yeshua. No, there was NO CHURCH in Yeshua’s day, regardless of how the church has translated the New Testament.. The traditions and the learning of the Jewish people go back far beyond that, and Jewish understanding of Torah (the first five books of the bible) and the Prophets was well established long before there was any church.

    What you fail to understand, or even consider, is that WE are the “establishment,” and the church is the upstart. You are treating Rabbi Dr. Schiffman with disdain and contempt, partly because he is a Jew, and partly because he doesn’t go along with the church’s REINTERPRETATIONS of Scripture. The fact is that Rabbi Dr. Schiffman is one of the most knowledgeable and learned men walking this earth today, when it comes to knowledge and understanding of Scripture. I posit that he knows more than either the pope or Billy Graham, OK?

    I’m sorry you don’t agree with him. That is your right. You can be just as wrong as you like. What is NOT acceptable is the tone you use when disagreeing with him. It is unacceptable to treat a Tzaddik (look it up) with disdain, contempt or any other form of disrespect.

    Steve, please look back at your own religious origins and reconsider whether you are as knowledgeable as you think you are.

  13. David Ben, and Dr. Schiffman,

    I am an active studier of God’s word. I mean no offense I am not always correct.

    Initially I was casual about my response because I did believe this was a friends blog… When he posted it, it had his name tagged to it.

    I have no disagreement that Jesus was and is the Jewish Messiah. I know the OT and Jewish scripture prophesied him hundred of years before he even came. I really have no argument with any of those points as they are very clearly stated in scripture.

    I know the Bible states, “To the Jew first, then the Gentile.”

    I myself was brought up 16 years at a Messianic Congregation that still exists, and left when I went to College.
    In this congregation there are many married couples that are both Jewish (Messianic) and some denomination of Christian.

    Some of the best people I know and have grown up with are Messianic Jews.
    I still hold many dear friendships there and I am welcomed to come anytime.

    I myself did volunteer work in the IDF with the Sar El program in Israel.
    I have prayed at the wailing wall.

    I’ve hosted Jewish, non believing, soldiers from the IDF at my home.
    There is a yearly Jewish fundraiser in the Metro DC area for Holocaust survivors which is the greatest, in terms of monies raised, in the tri state area.

    My father (non Jewish) is the person in charge of the fundraiser this year and was last year.
    That is the same person who raised me and clearly he more then supports the Jewish people.

    I myself financially supported a group called JCADA.
    Clearly I am not anti semitic. Nor was I raised in any form of it.

    I was in a Messianic group that had a private tour of Israel by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

    I do see the importance and relevance of knowing Jewish history, Mosaic Law, Levitical <– (Is that correct?)
    customs.

    We should know where this Faith came from before we know where it's going.
    Everything I've studied about the OT points to "Yeshua" as the Jewish Messiah

    My observation is that while many races and religions had multiple God's and lent themselves to idolatry and religious adultery, the Israelites stayed true to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    If I use the term Christ instead of Yeshua, it is because I am not Jewish and Christ was referred to by that name even in his existence on earth.

    Many of the twelve disciples were also referred to by their greek names regularly but I'm not trying to be rude or impolite.

    Looking forward, it appears after Christ (anointed one in Greek) came, Jewish and non Jewish followers of him were persecuted in Rome. Christian's (followers of Christ) in any form were fed to the lions.

    Mainstream Jews had legal exceptions which were very important to this history.
    1. Freedom from serving in the Roman army. (Very rare exception in that society.)
    2. Freedom from honoring Roman gods (All the gods of the conquered people)
    3. Freedom to not pay Roman taxes. (Again unusual)

    Yeshua taught that he was the Son of God, and he left the same Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh, for his Disciples that followed him.

    Rome wanted all it's people to adopt all of it's people God's for keeping peace but allowed Jews to be Monotheistic because they wouldn't give this up.

    In Roman law, suddenly there was an issue. How could some Jews follow this "Christ" one part of a trinity, and not accept the Roman gods, which they were granted immunity from honoring.

    Rome saw the Jews as a group who adamantly specified being Monotheistic and now some of them went to some weird Polytheistic belief and also had formed alliances with Gentile Christians secretly meeting in homes.

    History shows Jews and Gentiles collaboratively making up the body of Christ Yeshua.
    The New Testament has many letters to affirm this one people of two.

    The Congregation I went to also supported this vision as one of the worship songs had lyrics to support this and this was from the beginning back in the late 80's.

    Jew and Gentile by Joel Chernoff

    Jew and Gentile
    One in Messiah
    One in Yeshua
    One in the Olive Tree
    One in Yeshua's Love

    Help us Father to Love another,
    With humble hearts,
    Forgiving each other.
    Heals our wounds,
    Bind us together,
    So the world might believe.

    Dr. Schiffman,
    I also need to say to you that I had no part in the Holocaust. It is a tragedy that shouldn't have happened to ANYONE.

    To blame me or seem readily available take out your anger on me for it seems a bit off considering what I told you about myself above. It is as if you have that in your pocket waiting to pull it out on someone.

    I was never measuring wounds.
    The Holocaust was senseless murdering, and the ugliest form of racial prejudice.

    Roman society was known for its' torturous devices and Yeshua also died in a horrendous way.
    His death was not senseless God had a righteous purpose.

    He was both the high priest of God and that final sacrifice lamb for the sins of Israel and those that would believe.

    Just as Moses raised the Serpent on the staff to cleanse and heal the Israelites, Christ was raised up in the same manner.

    He also said on the cross, "Lord forgive them, for they know not what they do."

    (If you are up for further discussion, I would like to know where my theology differs from what you believe. I do believe you and I are brothers in Christ)

    • Steve,

      I did not say you had a part in the holocaust. You would have to be much older than you are for that. My point was that when you render invalid Jewish faith after Yeshua came, and equate Jewish people on the same level with non Jews, after all the Holy Scriptures say about God’s everlasting promises to the Jewish people, and claim that all Jewish people from Yeshua’s time onward are going to hell except for the minuscule minority that follow Yeshua, I don’t see how that could speak well for Yeshua coming if it had such a result. I don’t have a problem with Yeshua, but with the view that all Jews are going to hell because they didn’t follow some evangelical salvation formula, which is not the only way to interpret scripture. I simply reject the interpretation.

      You say I took out my anger on you, and it was wrong in light of what you just said. If you had said it in the first place instead of coming off as you did, maybe I wouldn’t have couched my words in that way, but you didn’t. Maybe you just didn’t realize how you came off, but it was pretty offensive to me, and to others. I’m sure you didn’t intend it that way, but before you take umbrage with my words, consider how yours read. They suggest a replacement theology that renders Jewishness a relic of the past, with no value now that Yeshua has come. I’m sorry but thats not how I understand scripture at all.

      When you come on the blog using Christian terminology, how am I to assume that you are anything but a traditional Christian. If you have a Messianic background, you should know how we express ourselves, and should be capable of that expression.

      I think its great that you support Israel and volunteered in projects with the IDF. Its admirable and I deeply value such things. Once again, how am I supposed to know that if you don’t tell me. I am sorry that I came off so harshly to you, but the way you came off initially didn’t give me much choice. I hope in the future we can have more meaningful mutually respectful conversations.

  14. Steve, even though Rabbi Dr. Schiffman seems to have softened his remarks toward you, I’m not as kind and gentle as he.

    First, if you knew anything about Judaism, you wouldn’t have addressed me as “David Ben.” If you knew as much as you claim, you would have recognized a Hebrew name as such. The name is, David ben Avraham. That translates into English as David, son of Abraham, not David Ben. That name carries another message, which I’ll bet you don’t recognize either.

    Your presentation of Joel Chernoff is another tipoff that you aren’t as smart as you think you are. He’s a high Muckety-Muck in the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, which formerly was the Hebrew-Christian Alliance. That organization, in large part, is NOT JEWISH. I know, because I was a member for quite a few years, and got out for that very reason. They teach that there is basically no difference between Jew and Gentile, that we are all one happy family. They don’t even allow conversion to Judaism, claiming it isn’t necessary and therefore isn’t permissible. None of this is supportable in Scriptire.

    Most of your last post was devoted to telling Rabbi Dr. Schiffman how wonderful you are, and all the service you have given to Israel. There are many Gentiles who have done the same, but they don’t go attacking learned Jews and preaching Christian theology to them. Rabbi Dr. Schiffman is a man from whom you could learn a lot, and he is not one you should be arguing with or trying to teach. Pretending to teach him is a FRONTAL INSULT to him, even though he takes it a lot better than I do. In addition to being a Tzaddik (did you look it up as I suggested?), he is a gentleman, which is why he even bothered to reply to you.

    By the way, I am not speaking for him, and I don’t represent him. I just deeply respect him.

    OK, I’m done for now.

  15. Thank you both for your responses and thank you for the information given in them.
    I take this experience as having been very valuable to me and others and I hope you can meet my actions gracefully as not having intentionally been offensive.

    If we can discuss things like this and try to stick away from offensive or defensive behavior, I believe it helps all parties be able to learn better, including myself.

    The defensive or offensive items tend to distract me from the solid information here being discussed.

    Forgive me for any ignorance of the Jewish culture.
    I am glad to know that my Messianic friends must give me much grace considering how easily I offended you.

    Peace be with you and grace.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  16. Dr. Schiffman,

    I am a Jewish believer in Messiah. All I know of you is what I have read on this page and on your Dec. 9 post on Joseph and Yeshua. In short, not much. So please forgive me for any inaccuracies.

    It seems to me that you believe there are differences in the ways that Jews and Gentiles are saved. I readily grant that Scripture throughout maintains, for various reasons, a distinction between Jews and Gentiles. But I see no distinction at all as far as salvation is concerned. (Rom. 10:9) Isn’t it true that the good news is bad news for all who do not believe, both Jews and Gentiles?

    I believe that the following passage confirms this. If you have the time, I would appreciate knowing your interpretation of it. It’s from the Complete Jewish Bible.

    “But now, quite apart from Torah, God’s way of making people righteous in his sight has been made clear – although the Torah and the Prophets give their witness to it as well – and it is a righteousness that comes from God, through the faithfulness of Yeshua the Messiah, to all who continue trusting. For it makes no difference whether one is a Jew or a Gentile, since all have sinned and come short of earning God’s praise. By God’s grace, without earning it, all are granted the status of being considered righteous before him, through the act redeeming us from our enslavement to sin that was accomplished by the Messiah Yeshua. God put Yeshua forward as the kapparah for sin through his faithfulness in respect to his bloody sacrificial death. This vindicated God’s righteousness; because, in his forbearance, he had passed over [with neither punishment nor remission] the sins people had committed in the past; and it vindicates his righteousness in the present age by showing that he is righteous himself and is also the one who makes people righteous on the ground of Yeshua’s faithfulness.

    So what room is left for boasting? None at all! What kind of Torah excludes it? One that has to do with legalistic observance of rules? No, rather, a Torah that has to do with trusting. Therefore, we hold the view that a person comes to be considered righteous by God on the ground of trusting, which has nothing to do with legalistic observance of Torah commands.

    Or is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, he is indeed the God of the Gentiles; because, as you will admit, God is one. Therefore, he will consider righteous the circumcised on the ground of trusting and the uncircumcised through that same trusting. Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah.” (Rom. 3:21-31)

    Thank you for your consideration.

    • Hi Jeff, nice to meet you. To put it simply, no, I do not believe there is a difference in the way Jews and Gentiles are “saved,” in that all must be saved through Yeshua. It is based on the verse you quoted from the CJB, “through the faithfulness of Yeshua the Messiah.” People are saved through Yeshua’s faithfulness, not through our faith, but His faithfulness. Its what Yeshua did, not what we did. Thats called “grace.” I believe the question you are asking is about appropriation of that grace. Jewish people, have a covenantal connection with God through our ancestral covenants, which have never been abrogated, terminated or transferred to another party. Paul wrote, “they are beloved on account of the patriarchs, for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” To me that suggests that there is a pre-existing relationship between God and the Jewish people. I believe it is with Yeshua and the Jewish people even if they do not recognize him, because he is, afterall, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That means a covenant between God and the Jewish people is between Yeshua and the Jewish people, because Yeshua and the father are One. This means, yes, Jews do not come to Yeshua the same way non-Jews do. Thats one of the perks of being a covenant people. Gentiles become covenant people by faith. Jewish people are covenant people because we are decendants of the patriarchs.

      All Jewish people are not atheists or pagans. There are many Jewish people who love God and trust in Him. They believe in and pray to the God of the Bible. I don’t think anyone who believes in the God of the bible and trusts in Him will go to hell. Why would God send anyone to hell who loves Him? They may not have as full a knowledge of God without Yeshua as they would have if they knew Yeshua, but their faith is not wrong, just less complete.

      What about people who survived the holocaust, and yet have the faith to go to synagogue and bless God’s name? That takes a whole lot more faith than someone who just prays some prayer to accept Yeshua. I think such faith honors God. I don’t believe He would reward them with hell. What about people who don’t really understand Yeshua as Messiah, not because of His claims, but because of the evil anti-Semitic things done in His name by his so called followers? Jewish people who believe in God and trust in Him are actually praying to Yeshua without realizing it. I don’t believe it is my place to declare their eternal destiny. I leave that up to God. Its His call, not ours. I trust in His mercy, and that He will do the right thing. What I do believe is that, as it says in Hebrews, “In Yeshua we have a more sure salvation.” The real problem is that the questions are framed from non-Jewish categories. Paul said, “we see in part and know in part.” Everything isn’t so cut and dry and theologies try to make them.

      Be well.

  17. Dr. Schiffman,

    Thank you for your reply.

    First of all, yes, you are correct that I should have framed my question in terms of the appropriation of grace, not the way in which one is saved.

    You wrote, “I trust in His mercy, and that He will do the right thing.” I say “amen” to that. Your examples of holocaust survivors who continue to trust in God, and those who misunderstand because of “church” anti-Semitism, are persuasive. I agree that situations such as these should be taken into consideration when we read verses that say that an awareness of, and faith in, Yeshua is necessary for salvation.

    To clarify: You are saying that, because there still exists a covenant between God and the Jewish people, a truly devout Jew will be saved by Yeshua even if he does not consciously believe that Yeshua is his Lord and Savior? And that, despite the covenant, a Jewish pagan or atheist will not be saved by Yeshua?

    Concerning Gentiles: Because they do not have a covenant relationship with God, they must consciously believe that Yeshua is their Lord and Savior in order to be saved?

    Thank you again for your consideration.

    • in answer to your questioning… yes and no. As I said earlier, you are asking questions that are purely Christian. They don’t begin to address these issues from a Jewish standpoint. What I am referring to is that you are asking about “individual” salvation. Christianity focuses on individuals. Judaism focuses on the community, on the corporate body of the Jewish people. You find this in the Torah, when it says if an individual does or doesnt do XYZ, they will be cut off from the community of Israel. You find it in the prophets, when it says “All Israel shall be saved.” YOu find it in Paul when he says “God has not forsaken his people who he foreknew.” Salvation regarding Jewish people isn’t so much an individual thing as it is corporate. If you read the Jewish prayerbook, very rarely will you see prayers that say “Me,”or “I.” Most Jewish prayer is couched in the plural forms, “We” and “Us.” Your questions apply to individuals, not to the nation or people of Israel. Individuals are just that, and I let God judge them according to His will. I’m not God, so I don’t postulate in the categories you listed.

  18. Jeff, if you want to deviate from Jewish reasoning and discuss undividual salvation, let me pose a question for you.

    Think about Moses and Elijah. Obviously, neither of them confessed his sins and turned to “Jesus” for salvation. Therefore, according to Christian doctrine, they both died and went to hell, right? Now then, how is it that both of them showed up for the transfiguration? Did satan give them a “day pass” to leave the lake of fire and go to see “Jesus” for the day? That is obviously preposterous, isn’t it?

    Did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, etc. go to hell because they failed to deal with “Jesus” while they were alive? Good ole inductive reasoning says there had to be some other way, because nobody wants to think of those guys frying in the lake of fire.

    All the men I mentioned, plus the 6,000,000 holocaust victims, plus millions of other Jews who have died over the years without having made a commitment to “Jesus” had one thing in common. They were Jews, and therefore under the Covenant of Abraham.

    It is as Rabbi Dr. Schiffman has stated. There is a different deal for Jews and Gentiles. Both depend on Yeshua, but in different ways.

  19. Dr. Schiffman,

    As a Jew, I understand your heart for the Jewish people. To put it mildly, I do not relish the thought of my grandparents undergoing eternal torment because they did not consciously embrace Yeshua. I fervently hope that they are with God.

    But, since I believe the Scripture is inspired by God, I must adhere to it. I see many promises to Israel in God’s covenants with her, but nowhere do I see a guarantee of salvation. Yes, Sha’ul, citing Isaiah, says that at a future time, “all Israel will be saved,” but that seems to imply all Jews living at that time only.

    David ben Avraham, you specifically cite the Abrahamic Covenant. Again, I see many promises, but no mention of corporate salvation. Scripture says that it is impossible to please God without faith. God made a covenant with Abraham when Abraham believed Him, and that belief counted for righteousness. No, Abraham, did not believe in Yeshua, since he probably did not know of His existence, but he, as well as the other Patriarchs, believed the content of whatever God told them, and that counted for righteousness (salvation).

    One final thing: By “Christian theology,” do you mean the way Scripture has been distorted to marginalize, and even destroy, Jews? Or do you include it to mean what Scripture actually teaches about being “born again from above,” Yeshua’s atonement, etc.; in short, what has mistakenly been associated only with Gentiles?

    Blessings.

    • Jeff,

      I understand what you are saying, but I don’t buy into it. I too believe the Scriptures are inspired by God, and I do adhere to it. Just because I don’t arrive at the same conclusions you do does not mean my belief in the Scripture is any less than yours. It is one thing to accept the Scriptures, and quite another thing to accept the Christian understanding of what they mean. Interpretation extends to translation as well as commentary. What I question is the way Christianity has not only interpreted scripture, but has translated it in many cases. I did not say there is a “guarantee” of salvation for anyone, however, it also doesn’t say anyone who doesn’t “pray to accept Yeshua” automatically goes to hell. Most Christian theology looks upon the Jewish people as unsaved and spiritually divorced from God and translators carry that bias with them when they translate the scriptures. Two good books on the subject are “The God Of Israel In Christian Theology,” by R. Kendall Soulen, and “Body Of Faith,” by Michael Wyschogrod. Both are excellent books that will explain what I am saying more fully. In addition, you might want to read some of the writings of George Elton Ladd, an Evangelical theologian who expresses what I am saying. It is called the wider hope, and has traditionally been part of Evangelical theology. The degree of narrowness in your understanding is not required by Scripture and is not in concert with the rest of scripture. I don’t reject your degree of narrowness because I’m Jewish, but because I believe it is not correct. Are you so sure that what you think Scripture actually teaches is in fact what Scripture actually teaches? Its one thing to affirm what it says, and another to affirm what you think it means.

      be well.

  20. Dr. Schiffman,

    Thank you for your reply and for your book recommendations. One that was eye-opening for me is “Copernicus and the Jews,” by Daniel Gruber, which you may know of. I would think that there is much in that book with which you would agree.

    To some extent I think we’re on the same page, but I think there are some valuable things to learn from solid teachers of “Christian theology.” I think those in the Reformed tradition are strong on such subjects as the atonement and God’s holiness, for example. But much (probably most) of what they say about Israel is utter nonsense. Does what they are weak in cancel out what they are strong in? I’m pretty sure you would say yes because their views of Israel taint their views of atonement and holiness, but I’m not so sure. I might as well say here that I have been very much influenced by the work of Arnold Fruchtenbaum, though I certainly don’t speak for him.

    Regrettably, I don’t read Greek and know only a little Hebrew, so I must do what I can with lexicons and other material. I’m aware of the damage biased translation causes; the supposed word “church” is an egregious example. But is it true that, as you say, “Most Christian theology looks upon the Jewish people as unsaved and spiritually divorced from God and translators carry that bias with them when they translate the scriptures”? It would seem that you believe that any writer who does not believe in some type of corporate salvation of the Jewish people is saying that they are “unsaved and spiritually divorced from God.” Isn’t that rather harsh? Is saying that Jews and Gentiles are in the same boat as far as salvation is concerned the same as saying that Jews are “unsaved and spiritually divorced from God”?

    I don’t plan to draw this out much longer, if at all. Thank you for your replies; I plan to investigate the books you recommended.

    Blessings to you.

  21. Jeff:

    Yes, Abraham trusted and it was accounted to him as righteousness. I also trust.

    As to Christian theology, I believe it is based on translations and distortions of scripture, all of which were done to support theology which had already been established by the church. Yes, it does marginalize and generally exclude Jews, and most of it takes away our rights and gives them to the Gentiles. I was once told by an Episcopal priest, that the Jews didn’t accept salvation through faith in “Jesus,” so God cut us off and offered that salvation to the Gentiles instead. That meant if a Jew wanted salvation, he would have to quit his Jewish heritage and become a faithful Christian. That priest was 100% wrong. Check Matt. 5:17-19 to see, in his own words, exactly how much “Jesus” changed things.

  22. Many years ago someone told me that as Messianic believers we need to realize that we are still a PART of the body of Messiah and not the ONLY part there is. Just as every translation of the Holy Scriptures is an interpretation; and just as every religion has it’s points that are biblically sound ( though some are hard to find within the ‘nure (as in poop), and just as not one part of the human body can do the work of the entire body, we need to realize that we are not Yeshua , we are not Adoshem and thus we do not have everything spot on in our understandings of what HaShem wants from us and now expects of us. We are all too busy throwing the baby out with the bathwater and building negative reputations through overzealousness,.and yet we need to be like the young sapling , able to withstand the powerful winds of unexpected truths we find as we look at things we have for years been taught,from a possibly more accurate perspective. We often speak of the “church ” being wrong on many issues related to the Jewishness of the Gospel.and right on some issues of salvation. Yet when confronted with a clearer understanding that is from the perspective of the writers of the Bible ,which is just plain common sense, we find that the things many Christians have come to accept as teachings against the Jews were actually teachings to retain the Jewishness of our faith. As a child raised in the church we were taught that G-d turned his back on the Jewish people and Israel and the “church ” is now His chosen people since the Jews do not believe in “Jesus”. For many years I felt this must be right for if MY best friends turned away from my friend and it was important we all loved each other i would turn my back on them ( since we give G-d our attributes he would have to do such a thing cause we would) Ephesians chapter 6 is another case in point.we were taught that the teaching of the full Armour of G-d was to make sure we had the tools needed to fight off the evil Jews who would try to bring us back under the law and take away the traditions and holidays of the church… it is funny that the people of Ephesus were dealing with issues of paganization of the body of messiah and were seeking the answers we all seek , and Yeshua sent Rav Shaul to them with the message to be prepared and use the full armour of G-d that they WILL NOT (future tense) be led astray by the deciever ( with his good ideas and false teachings) . at this point the Ephesians are still the Jewish body of Messiah so it can not be that Shaul is saying to obey some new law but instead to remember the Torah and the things they were taught to do. and this included the people who were converts to following the Jewish Messiah. So it is not a matter of getting rid of things Jewish it was a matter of keeping out the things the evil one was trying to bring on board under the guise of new ways to win souls. I know i am a bit off topic and i am sorry Rabbi Dr. but I see the Christian body of messiah having it’s place but i also see the church starting to question after hundreds of years the validity of the doctrines set up in the council of nicea , ant the vatican , this started when Luther said give all the people the Bible , and continued under the other reformers as they said some things Just ain’t right. And the church being the only recognized body part of messiah ( now a headless corpse wandering around under the direction of a false brain )like a heart with a sa nodal block. impulses sent from a poorer trigger point maybe the purkinje fibers suddenly in charge … knowing their need to lead in the work to be done but without the effectiveness and accuracy of the rightful focci. which is Adonai. they have been lifted up to do a job thill the great physician could repair the spiritual damage and provide the accuracy once again that shows us that the Torah is for everyone , and Yeshua is for everyone and that G-d did NOT turn from his people and that The church holds many who understand and are grafted in by their belief in the one and only living G-d who DOES NOT CHANGE. Should everyone follow Torah ? Yes they should ! is grace in effect? yes it is ! Do all the Jews /Israel / gain salvation ? If G-d says so it will happen. IS IT AUTOMATIC that believing in Yeshua gives instant salvation and un- revocable salvation. IMHO … nope sorry too many places he says Keep my commandments over and over and over . if the salvation is automatic why worry about commandments . EVEN G-D has conditions set forth to provide us with the free will to be his or not .There is no free ride , salvation does not mean no discipline , it does not mean automatic ,and it does not mean EVERYONE will take advantage of the opportunity .He offers it to us but we must accept and understand there is a consequence to out behavior , what manner it will take is a mystery to me but i am honored that the death sentence is taken from the board .

    my apologies again for the bunny trails but i think i am a K-9 sometimes in my mode of operation a squirrel can take my attention from one thing to another and all i can say is sorry bout that…

    Dr S. you are i think on the money on what you speak of , for it is what i have looked at for years as what it should be . when each part of the body has it’s function. and each part of the body is healthy . then the body of Messiah can function in the optimal state and we do not need to beat each other up
    I am at times thinking that our leaders in all branches of the body of Messiah are the weakest link and their inability bend (like the sapling)when a truth is clearly revealed and weather the change will result in the same thing as a poorly grounded or dead tree will receive , either uprooting or breaking either one of which is the end of the tree as it is known.
    Abba Let us search , find , bend , adapt to the truth you show, and reinforce your truths and in time become that which you want from all your people ..Jew And Gentile the task is not small and we are not perfect , all we can do is as he asks ..
    todah rabah rabbi for allowing me to ramble

    • Clayton, you write as if the body of Messiah, as you see it, is the defining locus of faith in Yeshua. That is not quite so.

      It all started with God’s relationship with Abraham, then his son and grandson, and so forth, down through the ages of the JEWISH people. We are the only people who live under the covenant God made with Abraham. The Messiah was given to and received by Jews first, and then the Gentiles, but not to the exclusion of the Jews.

      The church is almost an upstart in all of this. It is the agglomeration of Gentiles who aver that they have accepted the JEWISH Messiah as theirs as well. They simply do NOT get to change the rules to suit themselves. God set out the rules, and the church can live by them or not, but they may not change them or adjust them. Please look at Matt. 5:17-19.

      What I’m trying to say is that the church doesn’t define the body of Messiah. We do, and the church is a welcome participant, but on God’s terms alone.

  23. Clayton, you wrote:

    “IS IT AUTOMATIC that believing in Yeshua gives instant salvation and un- revocable salvation. IMHO … nope sorry too many places he says Keep my commandments over and over and over . if the salvation is automatic why worry about commandments . EVEN G-D has conditions set forth to provide us with the free will to be his or not .There is no free ride , salvation does not mean no discipline…”

    To my knowledge, there is no place in Scripture where Yeshua says that salvation depends on following His commandments. However, when asked, “What can we do to perform the works of God?”, He answered, “This is the work of God: that you believe in the One He has sent.” (John 6:28-29; also 1 John 3:23) We are saved by grace through faith, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    However, if what follows is that we have no desire to keep His commandments, then we have not received salvation. Out of love for Him and a desire to please Him, we want to obey His commands, but not because we think that by doing so we will add anything to our salvation. We are already saved. (James 2:14-17)

    I apologize if this is what you meant.

  24. Excellent post, Dr. Schiffman. Calibrating and deeply thought-provoking. Thank you for taking the time to lay it all out this way. Surely, I’ll be soaking it in for some time.

  25. Dr. Schiffman,

    I read this blog post about a week ago and have come back to it several times over to ponder it.

    I know that my view points differ. However, I’m looking for a better understanding of a few important questions. I’ll start with one!

    What is meant by the term “Torah Observant” (used in previous blog-posts you’ve written, which seem to be related to this topic)

    I have several friends/acquaintances that use the term, but I don’t often see correlation of what they mean by it.

    I am not trying to be antagonistic. I’ve seen communities/friends splintered around this concept, but I still don’t really know what is meant by it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Michael

    • Thank you for your comments Michael. Since you have read my other posts, you understand that I don’t care if people agree with my views or not. I am happy if they stimulate thought and reflection on the issues.

      While I can not comment on what other people mean when they refer to being “Torah Observant,” when I use the term, I am referring to a person seeking to do what the Torah teaches according to the manner in which it is practiced by the mainstream Jewish community by Halachic standards. People who do it in their own way may be Torah Observant in their own manner, but I believe it needs to be practiced in concert with the way the Jewish community has determined it should be practiced because the Torah was given to the community of Israel, not to individuals to interpret in their own way. I don’t know if this helps you or not, but i hope it does.

      be well

      MHS

  26. Dr. Schiffman,

    I appreciate your candid and honest answer, as well as your trust. I’m not looking for an argument, but I’m trying to understand what different people mean by what they say.

    Some of the people that I’ve attempted to talk to about this get very upset. The conversation often heads down-hill from there. I realize that the passion can come from deeply held beliefs (a good thing), but also an unwillingness to be challenged (a bad thing).

    It is my deeply held belief that all followers of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have a mixture of scripture and tradition that they believe is RIGHT, and in some cases unchallengeable. I encounter this in the gentile dominated church, as well as in the Messianic congregation. Furthermore, whether I’m identified with a Messianic congregation or a church, I also, am included in those who live in out a mixture of tradition, scripture and personally held beliefs.

    There is a great spectrum of good and bad effects of tradition and how we wrestle through them. But I fear any tradition that gives people a feeling or sense of security that the scripture does not afford them.

    Below is an example from a previous post:
    =========================================
    Jonathan Roush on March 15, 2011 at 9:17 am said:

    “If his coming resulted in the bulk of Jewish people over the last 2000 years going to hell (as some Christian theologies purport), then he wasn’t good for the Jews.”

    Someone needed to say this. Thanks.

    I do find it amazing how some Christian theologies and/or doctrines have take the God of Israel and turned Him into an anti-semite.
    ==========================================
    I believe the dichotomy of Jew vs. gentile in this point is missing the point. The issue is between sinners not saved by grace and sinners saved by grace.

    Are sinners (whether Jew or gentile), apart from the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah and faith in Him free from hell?

    If Jewish people are saved by their observance of Torah, (observance as they seem to interpret it), why did the Jewish Messiah have to die?

    I am doing my very best to reach out to three Jewish friends that do not recognize Yeshua as the Messiah. Because, I believe that salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. (Acts 4)

    This statement (Act 4) was being made to Torah observing Jews by a Jew. I don’t see this in any way as anti-Semitic. I see this as the Tulmadim of Yeshua boldly reaching out to those who did not place their faith in Messiah. To proclaim the good news and the bad news of the kingdom of God. Good news for those who would turn to Him, bad news for everyone else (Jew or gentile).

    I admit, I don’t like the idea that so many will be lost, but I can’t seem to find a way around this verse and so many others like it.

    Another example of Good News/Bad News:
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    This was spoken by the Jewish Messiah to a pious Jew.

    Yeshua, speaking to the Jews (since he came to the Jews, and to seek and save the lost), often talked about hell, and that many would be sent to destruction, (weeping, gnashing of teeth, wailing and eternally horrible stuff). But my sense, from your posts, is that you do not believe this could include Jews. My reading of the Messianic scripture do not lead me to believe your interpretation. I don’t believe this to be anti-Semitic, or a gentile formulation. I believe it is a scriptural truth that will condemn many.

    So how can we interpret the Messianic scriptures to say that Jewish people, by the fact that they are Jewish are not bound for hell apart from their Messiah?

    Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration… I know that we do not agree, but your responses are very much appreciated.

    Thank you, Michael

    • Thank you Michael, but I really think it is you who have missed the point. You said, “I believe the dichotomy of Jew vs. gentile in this point is missing the point. The issue is between sinners not saved by grace and sinners saved by grace.” All you have done is impose your theological grid of interpretation on the text, while totally ignoring every promise God made to Israel. The bible is Israel centered, not anything else centered. Thats what it says. When you try to strip all that away, you can make your point, but recognize it is your theology (part of the bad news I wrote about) that is doing the stripping away in the name of truth. If you strip way the promises of God to Israel, the Bible has no meaning; no anchor in the real world. I believe you are very sincere, but very wrong. I’m sure you’re a fine person, but thats not the issue.

  27. Dr. Schiffman,

    Thanks again for your response; again, I recognize the very real possibility of being wrong… I have a string of failed arguments that have lead me into faith in the Messiah and a much deeper understanding of the Hebrew and Messianic scriptures. I really don’t think I have it all “RIGHT”, but with that said, I have made clear propositions and backed them up with scripture. I don’t find it worthwhile making a proposition (as you have in the comment above) without refuting my point through the scriptures that gave me that conviction. You’re response above doesn’t do that. You make a claim, (right or wrong), without bringing it back to the scriptures that I quoted. Actually, you quote no scripture, you merely tell me you’re right and I’m wrong (a point as I’ve said before may be very correct) but weakly stated at best.

    Was I out of context? Was the translation wrong?

    The verses that I quoted indicate to me that salvation can come by no other means. If I’m wrong, please don’t hand-wave. If you’re doctorate is in Theology, Jewish or Rabbinical studies, (my assumption, pardon me if I’m wrong) then it indicates that you should be able to teach or explain. I’m willing, teach me. But the comment you make above is merely dismissive.

    I would not agree that the Bible is Israel centered, I would say that it is centered on the relationship of God and man, and that the main human characters on the “man” side are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their offspring. I do NOT discount God’s commitment to the house of Judah and the house of Israel.
    The promises were made to the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), the Law (or Teachings) were given through Moses, the histories and prophesies related to (and continue to relate to) the people of Israel and in some parts specifically to the nations. The Jews themselves were to be a light for the gentiles. The promise of the new covenant was given to the Jews through Jeremiah, and the Messiah came to the Jewish people, a direct descendant of Judah, indeed the new covenant was made with the Jewish people.

    But as I look at this new covenant, I see it calling Jews to repentance for the forgiveness of sins through faith in Yeshua.

    The prophet Jochanan called out: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

    At the time that this was going on, gentiles were barely in the picture. Furthermore, John’s tone was very similar to the tone of the other prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures.

    So my point is, that if I were a Jew, I would be deeply concerned about thinking that merely being Jewish, or holding to a tradition, (no matter how good that tradition is), would ever substitute for faith in the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua as the only means to eternal life.

    That concept is NOT anti-Semitic, it’s the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures.

    That is why I believe Peter said to the Sanhedrin: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

    It is because of the boldness of these statements that the Messianic scriptures repeatedly show an ongoing battle between those of faith in Yeshua, and those who were looking for salvation through a series of religious observances or by heredity. I’m not saying that the observances were wrong, nor were they unimportant, but they could not impart life.

    I’ll stop there, not because I could not go on, but because I’m sure you’ve heard this line of reasoning before, and I fear that my continuation will merely annoy… which isn’t the point of my comment. As I said before, I would appreciate your thoughts on these topics.

    So back to my point, please, if I’m wrong… teach me. Don’t just dismiss and say I’m wrong, show me, from the scriptures. My Hebrew is weak, but I have been working on it. I have not learned Greek, because I haven’t had the time and because I wanted to learn Hebrew before Greek, so that I had the best understanding of Torah before I took on the Messianic scriptures.

    Finally, this is only the entrance to where I’d love to go with a learned scriptural scholar. I have read and reread the Messianic scriptures (and YES I spend as much, if not more time in the Hebrew Scriptures), but I want to understand what is meant by Paul (and others) when speaking about “the law”, because the term Law can mean too many things. And too many theologies come from a faulty understanding. I believe a failed understanding of the law is one of the biggest problems of my own understanding of the apostles writing.

    I recognize that many “New Testament Scholars” read the Messianic scriptures outside of the biblical context of the Hebrew Scriptures, thus leading to the teaching of a teaching on a teaching without ever coming to terms with the foundation of Torah. Therefore, when I hear them speak on the issues that emerge from the Torah without ever going back to the Torah, I fear their lack of understanding will never be able to bridge the gap.

    However, if I’m to ever understand both covenants in context with one another, I need someone who understands both to wrestle through these with. This is in large part why I’ve been trying to get a grasp of your understanding of the new covenant.

    Thanks again for your time,

    Michael

    • Michael

      If you can’t see that the entire bible is centered around Israel and Its relationship to God, then quoting a random verse to prove my point won’t make a difference. From Genesis 12 onward, it has always been about Abraham Isaac and Jacob, and the children of Jacob. When Yeshua came, this did NOT change. Its all about Israel. Why do you think the only name God is known by is the “God of Israel. Why do you think Yeshua is known as the Messiah of Israel? That never changes. Let me suggest a few books for you. “The God of Israel in Christian Theology” by R. Kendall Soulen, and “Body of Faith” by Michael Wyschogrod. They should help you in your understanding.

      If you don’t have the time to read them, don’t accuse me of being dismissive. I don’t have the time to answer you point by point. As I have stated earlier, my goal is not to convince you of anything. You can believe what you want. I have stated why I believe what I believe. If thats not enough for you, thats the way it is.

  28. Michael, I have been reading your exchange with Rabbi Dr. Schiffman, and I sense both his frustratiion with your incomplete grasp of the nature of our (the Jews) relationship with God, and your frustration that he appears dismissive of you.

    I am not 1% the scholar Rabbi Dr. Schiffman is, but sometimes I can understand a Gentile’s inability to put it all together. Unfortunately, you have two things working against you. One is that you are filled with all the deep and profound knowledge you have gained through years of well-intentioned Christian teaching. Second, there are many serious errors in the translation of the B’rit Hadasha (New Testament). Every NT translation has been done by Church people, who obviously started out with preconceptions as to what it was going to say. Also, there are nuances in both Greek and Hebrew, that can be taken differently. For example, does your salvation depend on your “faith in Jesus,” or does it depend on the “faithfulness of Jesus?” That is, his faithfulness toward you. DEepends on how you translate it, right? Never mind what you already know about it, just look at what it really says.

    Look at Matt. 5:17-19, in which Jesus makes it perfectly clear that every single word of Torah stands as written (in Hebrew, by the way), and woe be unto anyone who says otherwise. There is no other way to interpret those verses.

    Rabbi is entirely correct in that the Torah, which church people love to refer to as “the law,” even though Torah doesn’t call itself that, is given entirely to the Jews. Gentiles are referred to as “people living among you,” or other similar references. To grasp the whole thing, you have to go back and read from Gen. 1 on, with an empty mind as to what you think you are going to read. Not easy, I agree, but necessary.

    \Let me offer you a few things to ponder, which go completely against the concept that salvation is availably only by confession and repentance, followed by asking Jesus to save you. Abraham had faith, and it was accounted to him as righteousness. Do you think for a minute that Abraham is swimming in the lake of fire? How about his son and grandson, Isaac and Jacob, and their families? What about the 6,000,000 of us that were murdered by your fellow Gentiles in the holocaust? Did they all go to hell? Really! Think about the transfiguration. Moses and Elijah were there, right? Do you suppose satan gave them a day pass, so they could leave hell and go to meet Jesus and some of his followers? I think not. None of those people were condemned. They all, however, were Jews….

    Look at Romans 10:4. The translations vary, but the gist of it usually is that Jesus put an end to the “law.” The Greek word there is telos, from which we get the English word, telescope. The Greek word, telos, refers to a goal, or an end in the sense of a goal. End can be used as goal, you know. Check it out.

    As I said, I am certainly not a scholar, but I do see that you cannot learn to understand anything by starting with preconceived ideas about it. For example, most Jews have the preconceived idea that Christians worship Jesus as another god. The bedrock of our faith is the Shema, which states, in part, “Hear o Israel, Adonai (The Lord) is our God. Adonai is one….” As soon as you introduce another god into the mix, every non-Messianic Jew goes completely deaf, and you will NEVER be able to lead your Jewish friends to Jesus until you get around that, which you probably cannot do. You definitely cannot do it with Christian teaching. It will fall on DEAF EARS.

    I could go on and on, but I hope this will explain to you some of the issues in your trying to reconcile Judaism and Christianity.

  29. Oops! I forgot something. Nowhere in Torah, or anywhere else in Scripture, for that matter, is Torah observance put forth as a path or means to salvation. The church preaches it, though, when they say they live under grace, not law, but there is not a word of scripture to support them. Just another example of a preconceived notion which is completely wrong.

    Here endeth the tirade, for now.

  30. David,

    At the end of your last post you say “here endeth my tirade for now”…

    Since I can’t interpret tone of voice, I have no idea if that was said as a joke or a you were considering what you wrote a rebuke or tirade…

    Which ever way you intended it, one thing is for certain… you actually answered my questions (or some of them), and you did refer back to scriptures.

    Thank you for being thoughtful that way… I deeply appreciate it.

    As an FYI, You make a statement above along the lines of “you can not start to understand anything while starting with preconceived ideas about it…”

    That is a wholly false statement. I’m a physicist by education, a software developer by practice, and a manager, furthermore I’m married. Learning ALWAYS starts somewhere. As I stated in one of my posts, lost arguments have brought me to faith, deepened my faith, turned me to a deeper understanding of the scriptures and of Judaism. I don’t mind loosing arguments. I mind people who simply state YOU’RE WRONG, and won’t back it up.

    I’m sincere when I say David, that I’m glad you responded and whether you’re 1% or 150% of Dr Schiffman in knowledge, you were bold enough to speak. Thank you!

    So I will converse more when I have time… as a note, I took about a year to read through Torah about 5 times as my sole biblical (or extra-biblical) reading. Note, I’m not fond of extra-biblical reading. Furthermore, in spite of it being “self-taught” i do read and understand some Hebrew.

    So for now, Shalom, Todah, and I look forward to a dialog with you. Please trust me a little bit, I’m seeking to understand NOT WIN!

    Enjoy this passover season, and for FUN you may want to google “Google Exodus” for a very fun Passover Video from Aish.com.

    Baruch HaShem,

    Michael

    • It doesn’t matter how much scientific education you have. You are mistaken on two points. One, my comment is NOT totally wrong. As long as you evaluate something totally new in light of what you think is true, but very well may not be, you will not understand the new material. It will always be contaminated by what you thought you already knew. Suppose you perfectly well knew the earth was flat. How could you possiblt be convinced otherwise, when everything you investigate has to be conformed to the earth being flat?

      Second, Torah is NOT extra-scriptural. In fact, it is the first actual scripture ever written, and it even contains statements that it was inscribed by the hand of God himself. Torah is the bedrock of scripture.

      My remark about the tirade was a play on the words spoken, at least in the Anglican church, after the reading of the epistle. The reader says, “Here endeth the epistle.” I presumed you would consider my writing a tirade, and to some extent it was. I have little tolerance for those who would take any exception to our special relationship with our God.

      Oh, yes, my statement that I am 1% as learned as Rabbi Dr. Schiffman was not exactly correct, but not 150% as you suggested. I celbrated the second seder at his homw last night, and we did discuss your communications. I guess it’s closer to 2%.

      Dave

  31. My point about the Physicist, and Marriage is in both, you start out with ALL the wrong ideas, and you change as you become aware of your incorrect knowledge.

    Thanks David,

    P.S. gentiles is not capitalized, and is NOT a people group. I would recommend against broad brushing, it’s not helpful when it’s done against Jews and it’s no better against non-Jews. (just a thought) and the word does not mean “live among them” it simply means “nations”, even when the context is the nation (goy) of Israel.

    Looking forward!
    TTFN

  32. So, as I get close to the Truth, you resort to insults. Some scientist you are! I start out with ALL the wrong ideas and then change as I become aware of my incorrect knowledge? That is INSULTING, and I will not waste further time on you if that is to be my reward.

    Yes, Gentiles IS capitalized, There are Jews, and everyone not a Jew is a Gentile. That’s what the word means. There is no disparagement of anyone in that statement, either. You may not put words in my mouth.

    The rest of your comments as to nations and all that crap is just that. You will NOT have the temerity to instruct me on what MY Torah says. That is the epitome of arrogance, which comes across to me as anti-semitism, and I will not play in that game.

    TTFE, and may your arrogance and patronizing condescension be upon your own head.

  33. David,

    I’m not quite sure how this got turned around, but it did. Please allow me a minute to explain:

    I wasn’t saying YOU were wrong, I’m saying that *I* don’t mind being wrong, because it is how *I* grow. The comment was self-directed, not directed at you.

    The statement I was making about being a physicist, programmer and married, is that ALL of those began with wrong concepts. However, I was able to learn from them and change. But I need dialog with those I disagree with so that I can learn from them. I was not intending to say YOU need to learn, I was saying *I* do. (Hopefully, you can see how far it got turned around?)

    When I saw your reaction, I realized you may have been reacting to what I wrote. I have reviewed what I wrote and perhaps you were responding to my brash statement “that statement is wholly false”.

    What I was attempting to say is that having incorrect preconceptions does not preclude the ability to learn or understand. Overcoming preconceptions is what learning is all about. This was in reaction to your statement:

    “you can not start to understand anything while starting with preconceived ideas about it…”

    Since we all start with wrong ideas; learning is the process of overcoming incorrect ideas with more correct ideas.

    I was genuinely saying THANK YOU for responding, and that I was looking forward to a dialog.

    Please reconsider your TTFE (if that meant Taa Taa For Ever).

    Note: I usually write in WORD and transfer to the blog, that way I can see the entire post before I hit send. It was late and I was tired. So, I skipped that step, which didn’t turn out too well.

    FINAL NOTE: One of these posts I wrote: “I mind people who simply state YOU’RE WRONG, and won’t back it up.” That clearly came as a harsh insult against Dr. Schiffman, and it came from my sinful heart.

    I ask for his forgiveness for that.

    I *hope* that we can continue a conversation. There is much that you wrote in your first response to me, that I’m very interested in talking about. Do we disagree? YES? But this is a starting point, not the intended outcome.

    I just looked up “as iron sharpens iron” and I found Proverbs 27:17, with a short ‘drash underneath it that stated:

    A good friend is not someone who necessarily agrees with everything you do and say–it’s somebody who lovingly challenges you to be a better person. We grow in maturity when we can test our thoughts and ideas against another person, and when we’re open to correction when we’re wrong.

    This sums up, what I was ATTEMPTING to say in my original post. I’m not looking for agreement. I’m looking for someone who will challenge me.

  34. Michael, the discussion is ended, due to your pomposity and total unwillingness to accept anything I have told you. Fior example, did you look up Gentile? No, you just avoided further discussion about it because I told you what the facts are and you didn’t like it. As I told you before, and you insultingly told me I was wrong, you cannot learn anything if you require the new knowledge to conform to incorrect old “knowledge” you already have.

    Yes, it meant Ta Ta For Ever.

    TTFE

  35. I get it, this will be my last post before I leave the blog.

    David’s point was a good challenge to my understanding of the word “Gentile”. I have never thought of Gentile as a people group, only as non-Jews (in my mind many people groups). I looked back at my postings and I’ve continued to use the word gentile in lower case, because of it.

    I don’t know how I managed to offend you so badly, I was really interested in going through the points in a methodical basis. I’ve again managed to loose an opportunity to understand the point of view of both you and Dr. Schiffman. Which, in spite of difficulty of communications was important to me.

    I would seek to speak blessing, but I fear it would be taken as a curse.

    – Michael

  36. I can only comment on what I’ve read and the tone that I perceive from the various comments. I say it is my perception because I do not claim to know what people are thinking, I can only take the words as they are written.

    That being said, I’ve been somewhat troubled by the discourse between Michael and David Ben Avraham.

    It seems that, David, you have been particularly offended by Michael’s comments. I think you’ve been very clear on how and why he offended you. And Michael even admitted to being sometimes hasty in his remarks and even repented of writing things meant as barbs towards you and Dr. Schiffman. The most troubling thing, to me at least, is the way that you have consistently responded to Michael.

    I assume that neither of you know each other personally, but you are both followers of Yeshua. That being the case, I feel that you have been uncommonly uncharitable in your treatment of Michael. Though he was, at times, glib and brash towards you (as he admitted), I found your replies (at a certain point) became increasingly insulting and hostile in tone. I see no reason for two believers to come to (proverbial) blows over the issues brought up in these comments and I am saddened by what appears to be your extremely negative and dismissive view of Michael and Gentiles. This was, for me, epitomized by your statement about the 6,000,0000 Jews being killed by “your fellow Gentiles,” and your assertion that “You will NOT have the temerity to instruct me on what MY Torah says.” It seemed to me that you were guilty of the same arrogance of which you were accusing Michael.

    I understand if you will become offended by my comments, but I hope you can believe that I mean no offense by them. As I said before, I cannot judge your heart or your motives, and I have no reason to think ill of you (and I certainly don’t think that Michael was simply an innocent bystander). It’s just that what I read struck me as being completely unlike that behavior that would be characterized as Scriptural and righteous.

    In love,

    Eryn

    • Eryn, thank you for your comments. I make it a point not to censor other people’s remarks unless they are anti-semitic, or personally abusive, which these were not. I assume that everyone on here is an adult, and is capable of defending themselves. I express my own viewpoints, and expect others to do the same. I don’t think anyone intended to disrespect anyone else, but sometimes strong opinions take on a strong tone. Michael spoke his mind, even though he later admitted his intention was not simply to understand. David is equally welcome to express his own views, as are you. Being an adult, at least to me, means standing by our positions without putting down views different from our own. Listening to strongly held views should not threaten or offend, but rather we should be able to strongly disagree and still respect one another. I can only speak for myself, and that I do. Others are welcome to do the same.

    • Eryn, I don’t intend to get into another back-and-forth about Michael, but I will say a few words in my defense, if it will do any good.

      First, about his “fellow Gentiles.” Please look at his remarks about categorizing people, and how I must not capitalize “Gentile.” My point to him was that people most certainly are categorized, and that Jew or Gentile is perhaps the most basic way in which that is done. It was not intended as a judgement, but only as a distinction. Michael is a Gentile, and so was Hitler. I am a Jew, and so is Bernie Madoff. Madoff obviously not as bad as Hitler, but you can see my point.

      My comments about the Torah were in defense of the Torah. He had accused it of being “extra-scriptural,” which it is not, and the emphasis on MY was again to point out the distinction between Jew and Gentile.

      If you comb through his words, you will see that he accepted not a word of anything I told him, but rather insisted on judging everything on the basis of his false understanding of things. I’m not as smart as a lot of people, and I cannot reason with a person who says he seeks information, yet refuses to accept any information he receives. You will note that I cut off the conversation rather than go any lower with him.

      Eryn, I am truly repentant of any offense I have caused you. At one point, I thought about taking the discussion off Rabbi’s blog, but frankly I didn’t want Michael to have a means to contact me directly. I stand on everything I said to him, but I am sorry if anyone else was offended.

      Please accept my apologies for offending you, or anyone else who reads this, for that matter. It was not my intent.

      Dave

  37. Dr. Schiffman and David,

    I appreciate both of your kind words. I certainly wasn’t offended in any personal way, and I’m not angry or anything like that. I was mainly concerned, based upon a desire to not see undue strife among followers of Yeshua. I hope I didn’t seem haughty or judgmental, as I mean everything in sincere and humble concern.

    Thank you both for taking the time to consider my comments and respond to them. I feel that our conversation has been edifying, for me at least. I look forward to further discourse.

    Eryn

  38. David, Dr. Schiffman,

    I am sorry for my miscommunication. I never intended to state that Torah was extra-biblical. That was an outcome of hurried post, written right before bed. Furthermore, since I didn’t realize I had conveyed that, I was unaware of my offense, and did not understand David’s response. Which I understand better now that I figured out what I stated.

    Now I understand why you were so offended. But I assure you it was poor writing and in no way my belief system.

    For clarity, I believe that Torah is the foundation on which the rest of the scriptures must stand. To read other parts of the scripture disconnected from the foundational teachings of Torah is the source of most poor theology.

    In that post I had intended to convey that I was looking forward to a conversation.

    As a bit of background, I also attempted to state that I spent one year reading ONLY Torah (approximately 5 times through) and that I had also learned some Hebrew. At this point, other commentary on what I wrote, would likely confuse. So I’ll stop there.

    David was frustrated with my lack of response to what he challenged me on. But I wasn’t intending to respond *that night*, I was merely trying to say “Thank you for responding”, and that I look forward to correspondence. (it was too late to respond to his thoughts that night). I stated that in the post, but it was likely missed because of the statement about Torah.

    Before I go further allow me to say:

    David, Dr. Schiffman, I apologize that I’ve offended you, I really didn’t intend to, I was not attempting to insult your beliefs, I was attempting to learn about them. Please forgive me.

    Some of what Dr. Schiffman has written in this and other posts is foreign to my understanding. I’m seeking to understand what he believes and how it relates to the scriptures.

    With that said, I will read through this one more time and check for errors, pray that it is recieved, and hit send.

    Thanks for your consideration,

    Michael

  39. Pingback: Torah and Grace in John 8 « The Return of Benjamin

  40. Shalom: According to Yeshua there is only one way into the Kingdom (called Eternal life)

    Matthew 19:16-19 And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 Then he *said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; 19 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

    Look at Yeshua’s answer, notice that “having eternal life” is connected by Yeshua with “keeping the commandments” (all of these except one are categories of the law and commandments called The Ten Commandments and under each of these categories are other laws seen in the prophets)? Yeshua just referring to the Ten Commandments and there is something that those who neglect the teachings of the Tenach are missing in this teaching

    Notice that in the following verses the man asks what more he needed do. And Yeshua replies, to be perfect he should sell everything he owns and give it to the poor and receive treasure in heaven: “and come and follow me.”
    The man, on hearing this, leaves disturbed because he has great wealth and doesn’t want to lose it. There is no indication that the “follow me” means anything else but to accompany Yeshua on his journey down the Ancient Path.
    Yeshua’s message remains intact that observing Torah law gives eternal life. Perfection is another story.

    Mark 12: 28-31 28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Yeshua answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! YHVH OUR GOD IS ONE YHVH; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE YHVH YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH YOUR ENTIRE MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31 The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
    Luke 10:25-28, “. . . And a teacher of the law stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.”

    Did you make the connection between “inherit eternal life” and “you shall live” as also referring to eternal life? This is typical of Hebrew parallelism.
    In Luke 10:25-28, Matthew 19:16-19, Mark 10:17-19, and Luke 18:18-20 something very important is repeated? What is it?

    Namely, that possessing and inheriting eternal life is always connected with doing something……not with believing something!

    In closing I would like to use the last words of the Great and wise Solomon Son of David
    Ecclesiastes 12:9-
    9 In addition to being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly.
    11 The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. 13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: stand in awe of God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
    dDrich

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