Non-Jewish Customs, Worship, Deuteronomy 14

We’ve been talking about non-Jews and Jewish roots. Issues of Jewish identity and the role of the nations in God’s plan for world redemption keep coming up. There is a large contingent of philo-Semitic Christianity passionately interested in these matters.

In the course of the discussion, I brought up the issue of similarities and dissimilarities in Israel’s worship practices and those of the surrounding nations. One commenter says I can’t have it both ways (a strange argument — must two things be either completely dissimilar or completely similar?). I brought up the whole issue of similarity and dissimilarity in customs to make my case that a Christianity founded on a knowledge of the Jewish heritage of faith in Yeshua would not look like Judaism at all, but would have more points of similarity than we find in Christianity as it is (developed after formative and very-early-in-its-history rejection of Jewish heritage).

At the same time as this discussion is going on, I find myself writing commentary on the daily readings from the Chumash (the five books of Moses, I am trying to differentiate between Chumash and Torah, since Torah is a much larger concept including tradition and practice) as well as commentary on daily readings from the gospels and Acts. I call this daily service (which I send out by email to a list of 120 people and growing) the Daily D’var. Email me at derek4messiah@gmail.com if you’d like to read Chumash and Gospel every day with this email commentary.

The parashah (reading from Chumash) today is Deuteronomy 14:1-21. It is a perfect illustration of similarity and dissimilarity in customs as well as the differing role of Jews and non-Jews in the world of Torah. Here is my commentary for today (the commentary is meant to be brief and is not, of course, comprehensive):

In keeping with the teaching that Israel should be different from the Canaanites (see last section, 12:29 – 13:19) and reflecting the second commandment (no sculptured images in worship), this section details practices in Israel which must differ from the Canaanites. Canaanite and similar cultures engaged in fearful practices of mourning.

Death was feared as a portal for demonic powers which stopped up wombs, made crops die in the field, and wrought havoc in the life of the people. But Israel was to believe that God is in control of life and death. Mourning should be restrained, not featuring excessive rituals of self-mutilation. The people, a priestly people (the text says children of the Lord, chosen, a treasured people) must show by their practice that they trust in God’s power over death. The other nations will see Israel’s calm and know that God is real.

The dietary restrictions of Israel are part of the clean/unclean laws (Lev 11-15, Num 19). The purpose of all these laws is to show that God is about life and not death. Restricting Israel’s diet to a small number of species limits the killing of animals in the land (see Jacob Milgrom’s commentary on Leviticus for more). There is no hygienic reason for the laws (pig-eating gentiles do not live shorter lives). God’s commands do not have to come from reason, but are revelation (though they are not counter to reason).

14:21 is important for understanding the authority of Torah over Israelites and non-Israelites. The command not to eat nevelah and trefah (meat found dead, animals found torn by other beasts) only applies to Israelites. The resident alien (stranger, sojourner, ger) may eat this form of unclean meat, but the Israelite cannot sell it to him/her (because the resident alien must be looked out for and cared for). To a foreigner, however, such meat may even be sold. This verse is a good clarification helping clear up confusion found in some modern theologies, which insist the Torah laws were the same for all people and not given specifically to the Israelites.

Note a few implications of this text related to our discussion of customs, roles for the nations in God’s Torah, and so on:

(1) God could have told Israel not to have any practices to cleanse corpse uncleanness and to deal with death. God could have simply said, “I am in charge of life and death. Do not fear death. A corpse is not unclean.” But God did not do this. Check Numbers 19.

(2) God gave Israel customs very similar to those of the pagans. Death must be dealt with through ritual. Death is harmful if not cleansed and corpse uncleanness can defile the Temple (Num 19:13).

(3) God gave this custom at the very earliest in about 1400 BCE. This is the oldest date for the Exodus and Conquest that anyone holds to (there is a minority view which could go back further, but not much further). God’s regulations come AFTER the Canaanite customs have been practiced for a thousand years or so, not BEFORE the Canaanite customs (I mention this because the same commenter insisted God’s laws came first and the pagans copied them).

(4) Deuteronomy 14:1-2 shows that the key in understanding God’s customs is their DISSIMILARITY. By forbidding excessive rituals such as self-mutilation, God restrains fear of death and requires that his Chosen People Israel be an example to the other nations.

(5) The fact that laws given to Israel in the Chumash (Torah) do not necessarily apply to non-Jews is evident from Deuteronomy 14:21. This verse is one of the banes of the universal Torah movement (One Law, Two House). It goes against every principle of the universal Torah movement to say that a gentile may eat unclean meat. To date, I have never heard a cogent reply from the One Law folk about how this verse fits with their theology (but I bet I will get comments now making the attempt).

BOTTOM LINE
Deuteronomy 14 is simply one text which features distinction between Jews and non-Jews while showing the similarity and dissimilarity of God’s ways for Israel with the ways of the nations.

Israel is forbidden to copy the ways of the nations. This does not mean, as the commenter I keep referring to suggested, that God’s ways for Israel are not similar to the ways of the nations. They are. But the differences are key and Israel must not stray from the exact practices God commands.

But God has not given worship customs and regulations to the nations in the same detailed manner he has done so for Israel. How should Christianity have developed its worship practices? Should it have been a universal Torah movement, started synagogues, and had all its people wearing kippot and tzit-tzit? Obviously not.

Those from the nations who follow the Jewish Messiah had complete freedom to develop their own cultural expressions of worship as long as they avoided idolatry and practices which demean the power of God.

The Church has done this. While we lament the anti-Semitism at the core of church history, and we regret that Jewish roots were forgotten and played no role whatsoever in the development of church practice, there is nothing wrong at all with most worship customs in churches.

There are major exceptions, of course. Using statues and icons in worship, I would argue, is something tragic and pagan. I cannot, much as I want to be broad-minded and tolerant, give a pass to images used in worship. And lest Protestants think they have escaped this problem, consider how the Cross has become a sort of worship image in many churches. I applaud the trend in contemporary churches in which a cross is not a required object in the sanctuary of the church.

But even the use of images in some forms of Christian worship does not remove God’s favor completely. Read the history of Israel carefully. The Bible records numerous compromises with idolatry, illegal altars, and so on, which God overlooked in his mercy and in which God received the worship of his people even in its flawed state. I don’t write off the faith and covenant relationship between God and any Christian group simply because there are errors and sins. Thanks be to God he receives my worship in spite of my own grievous errors and sins.

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About Derek Leman

Rabbi, writer, Weight Watchers leader, blogger, geek. My main blog is DerekLeman.com/Musings and my health blog is LemansLoserBlog.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Bible, Christian, Gentiles, Judaism, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Non-Jewish Customs, Worship, Deuteronomy 14

  1. jennbrooke says:

    Thanks, Derek! The posts over the past few days have been very insightful and helpful.

    The images thing is why we no longer do a creche for Christmas. It just didn’t feel right to use carved/cast images to worship Yeshua. I am a little confused on one thing. You say in this post, that you think images/icons in worship are not ok (which I agree with), even if done for the “right” reasons (worshiping and honoring God), because God said not to do it. Period. But, in the previous post, you seemed to have no problem with the inclusion and re-purposing of pagan imagery and ritual in celebrating things like Easter and Christmas. To the point that you called such claims “foolish.” (which I found a tad harsh)

    I fully agree with you on the images thing. It’s something we’ve become convicted of, ourselves. In fact, we were going through the Westminster Shorter Catechism with our kids, and it specifically mentions not using images in worshiping God. And the reason is simple. The pagans did that, and God didn’t want His followers to worship Him in the same way. But to me, *God* taking a pagan practice and re-purposing it for His glory in prescribing certain practices for His people (fringes, how they dealt with dead bodies, etc.) is far different from His followers taking a group of pagan practices, prohibited by God, meant to honor a pagan Messiah, and re-purposing them to worship God.

    To me, when God says don’t cut down a tree and decorate it as part of a worship practice (which Christmas is *supposed to be), and don’t imitate the heathen (unless doing something prescribed by God, Himself), then I think He means it.

    That’s the only thing that’s kind of perplexing me about your posts. I’m loving what you’ve written and I agree with almost everything you’ve said. :-)

    • jennbrooke says:

      Crud, I think I may have lied…there was one other thing troubling me. On the Sabbath – you said Gentiles shouldn’t observe the Sabbath, because that’s for Israel only. Observing the Sabbath is one of the 10 Commandments, which might lead one to believe that the 10 Commandments were/are for Israel only. Then you reference the graven images commandment being applicable to both Jew and Gentile. So are the 10 Commandments solely for Israel, or only parts of them? And if so, how do you know which to keep and which are for Israel only?

  2. jennbrooke:

    I deliberately chose Christmas trees as my example for a myriad of reasons.

    First, I want to dispel the myth that Jeremiah 10 is talking about anything remotely related to Christmas trees. You bring up Jeremiah 10 language in your comment (“God says don’t cut down a tree”). I would argue you are falling for an anachronistic and false view of Jeremiah 10. It is about making idols out of wood.

    Second, I chose Christmas trees because they are not used in worship. They are a decoration for the season, part of beautifying the Christian celebration of Messiah’s birth. (BTW, I don’t have a Christmas tree and I am not defending this custom for personal reasons at all). The Christmas tree is an analogy to the candles we light on Shabbat. They are custom to beautify the holy day. They are not images used in worship.

    Third, I chose Christmas trees because, of course, the use of trees as cultic objects has a history. But the use of Christmas trees in Christian homes as a part of the celebration of Messiah’s birth is an example of something similar but dissimilar to pagan customs.

    The Christmas tree in its secular and religious forms is not a requirement of Christianity. It is simply a custom. Should Jewish folk denounce Christians for this practice? I am saying no. And, BTW, the common Jewish thinking is, “Of course they have Christmas trees; they’re Christians.” It is really the non-Jewish universal Torah types who get hyped up about the supposedly pagan trees of Christmas.

    Derek Leman

  3. jennbrooke:

    Good. You are keeping me on my toes.

    Neither of these two views is correct: (1) God gave the Ten Commandments as universal law, (2) Since the Ten Commandments are for Israel’s covenant with God, nothing in them applies to the world.

    The fact is, nowhere does God produce a document outlining his laws for the nations specifically. Even the documents (like the Pentateuch) outlining Israel’s laws are incomplete and subject to change with time (note that within the Torah the commandments sometimes change, such as allowing secular slaughter in Deut 12 when it was forbidden earlier in Lev 7 and 17).

    We have to get past thinking that God’s commandments are a written, unchanging code. Judaism does not read Chumash this way. Neither should we.

    Do you have slaves? The Torah allows it. Do you consider polygamy acceptable? The Torah allows it.

    Simply put: the Ten Commandments are the core of Israel’s covenant stipulations with God. But most of the principles apply universally.

    Why is Sabbath the exception? Because God says so. Check Exodus 31:13, for example. Each commandment must be studied, its underlying purpose determined, and applied in a manner that fits with the principles God teaches us. When you do this for the Sabbath, you see it is a part of the distinctive lifestyle of the Israelite and not a universal command.

    Derek Leman

  4. jennbrooke says:

    So it doesn’t bother you that the timing of Christmas coincides with Saturnalia? Or that part of the ritual worship of Tammuz (the Summerian god who, according to legend, died and was resurrected each year) is cutting down an evergreen?

    I think it doesn’t bother mainstream Judaism for the same reason that it doesn’t bother most Christians. They just have come to accept it, as did I for over 30 years.

    I’m far from a universal Torah person. I think the inclusion of pagan practices in Christian celebration is the same as the graven images thing. Right reason and right heart motivation, but wrong practice. Doesn’t disqualify the Church or Christianity any more than having a cross up on the wall behind the pulpit does, but it doesn’t make it right, either.

    There’s enough evidence for me that the timing and many of the practices of Christmas have enough ties to pagan roots (*without* God saying, “it’s ok…I’ve redeemed this for myself” like He did other practices in the Bible), that I’ve developed a deep sense of disquiet over the practices. I wouldn’t judge someone else for honoring Christ with a creche or Christmas tree, but I do think we need to think a bit more about it, and not just do so blindly because it’s tradition.

    And for that (following my conscience), I don’t want to be called “foolish.”

  5. jennbrooke says:

    (Ok, this is weird….my post #5 was a reply to your post #3, not #4. LOL)

    Thanks for the clearing up what you meant. My only problem with that is it takes the 10 Commandments and kind of turns it into a scavenger hunt. Read the whole Pentateuch and see if anything precludes you from following this rule. If not, it’s Universal. Yikes! But if that’s how it is, I guess that’s how it is.

  6. benehrenfeld says:

    Derek,

    Would you consider God’s commands to Noach and the Jerusalem Council account (Acts 15) to be sufficient for indicating what is required of all people? I am aware this doesn’t get into the issue of later developed traditions (i.e. just because the Bible doesn’t specifically say, “don’t kneel before a crucifix,” doesn’t make it automatically okay) or into the acceptability of certain customs specific to Israel adopted by the ekklesia of the uncircumcision; these are the priamry issues you are addressing. Nevertheless, I wonder if identifying what you feel the basic standards actually are (per some of Jennbrooke’s thoughts) would help clear up some of the, “What’s left for the rest of us…” questions.

    I offer for our consideration…

  7. Cliff.C says:

    Hi Derek. Could you expound a little on Isaiah 56 and the eunuchs and foreigners who grab the covenant and keep the Sabbath? On the surface verse 8 sounds like “am echad” in more ways than bilateral ecc. suggests (I have not read Kinzer’s book). Even with all the new teaching on Jews and Gentiles, I can’t thus far limit Isaiah 56 to speaking of eunuchs and converts only. Because I suppose if the word is ger, then my question may become irrelevant in a classical Jewish view.

    Thanks for this thought-provoking series. Excellent! I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have anything figured out. That’s why I’m asking.

  8. Cliff.C says:

    (as a follow up to the Sabbath question in #2)

  9. Jennbrooke:

    About the foolish comment. I’m pretty sure I said it was foolish to condemn Christians over the Christmas tree issue. It seems you understand, even if you think trees are pagan, that this does not make Christianity worthless or pagan. So, I don’t think there is any sense I would ever call you foolish. Please know I think, far from it, you are intelligent, insightful, and innovative in your thinking. Would that all could be as wise as you in pursuing off-the-beaten-path answers.

    No, the coincident timing of Saturnalia and Christmas does not bother me any more than the coincident timing of Passover and Sukkot with the spring and fall festivals of the pagan cultures. Historically, the church had to make Christmas coincide with a cultural holiday so the Christians could be free from work and celebrate (feasts were multi-day celebrations then, not a hurried dinner and some presents).

    Derek

  10. jennbrooke says:

    Derek – You said, “Christmas trees are pagan, so they say. Let’s examine this foolish argument.” That’s what I was referring to. But thanks for clarifying what you meant by that, and what you did not mean by that. :-)

    You raise a very good point. I really have a lot to consider about all of this.

    • Oops. Caught in my own foolish lack of tact and patience. I did err and I apologize. You certainly have a right to think the practice is inappropriate and rooted in paganism. Where I would especially rebuke someone would be of they then went on to ridicule Christianity as pagan because of such issues. In the sense that people would criticize Christianity as pagan for such things, they could also say the same of Judaism. I bet the paganoids could get caught as well (such as in using the names for days and weeks and planets which are often the names of deities).

      Derek

  11. benehrenfeld:

    You ask a good question. No, I do not think the concept of Noahide commandments even existed in New Testament times, nor do I think that is what is reflected in Acts 15. Nor do I think the Noahide commandments are an adequate summary of all that is required of non-Jews.

    There is no document that contains all that is required of Jews either. Chumash (the five books) is not intended to be a complete code.

    Neither is there a document that contains all that is required of non-Jews.

    Principles like love, justice, mercy, and faithfulness have millions of applications not able to be spelled out in a black and white code.

    Chumash is the foundation of ethics and practice and by applying its principles we can get to what is required. But it is not and never has been a simple matter of a commandment for every decision. The same applies when considering God’s requirements for non-Jews.

    Derek

  12. Cliff:

    I’m pretty sure I will comment specifically on Isaiah 56 as I go along. Not there yet.

    Derek

  13. Cliff.C says:

    ok thanks.. I looked and I guess the word there is not ger. have a nice day

  14. benehrenfeld says:

    Thank you Derek for your reflections,

    I did not mean to suggest that Acts 15 reflected Noahide commands (I agree that there was likely not such a concept). I also agree that “sufficient” was a poor word choice on my part (As per your comments on nothing documenting “all” requirements for anybody). The thrust of my statment was more that, seeing as how Acts 15 documents the early community’s basic standards for the non-Jews coming into their midst, it might be helpful for the discussion.

    You were probably planning on mentioning it anyway, its just that its a few posts in and it hadn’t come up yet in a post. I thought it might help orient the discussion to what we know is foundational, even if not exhaustive.

  15. wordmachine says:

    Derek,

    You said: “Neither of these two views is correct: (1) God gave the Ten Commandments as universal law, (2) Since the Ten Commandments are for Israel’s covenant with God, nothing in them applies to the world.”

    It sounds like you are saying here that people in Christianity should not have to obey the 10 Commandments. Am I reading that right? Could you please explain more about this? The only reason I ask is because I don’t understand how they will do well in life without the 10 Commandments.

    • wordmachine says:

      Just another thought…If the 10 Commandments were meant for Israel it makes me believe more and more that Gentiles were always intended to be sharers with Israel. I don’t think God would want for non-Israelites to have other Gods before Him, to go around stealing, killing, committing adultery, etc.

  16. Derek said Deut. 14:21 is the “bane of the Universal Torah movement”. I would like to respond to that. I’m a person that believes God’s good commandments are righteous instruction for all his people, so I feel qualified to answer this.

    My answer:

    We have never considered Deut 14 to be problematic, and I’ll explain why in a moment. That Derek thinks its problematic suggests he is misinformed about what, exactly, pro-Torah folks believe.

    Now I’ll address the verse in question:

    >> Do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it to an alien living in any of your towns, and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner.

    Derek thinks this is a problem for pro-Torah-for-the-nations people because it says gentiles can eat unclean things.

    The reason this is not a problem for us is simple: In Messiah, gentiles are part of the commonwealth of Israel. Messiah made a transformation in gentiles. They are no longer the unclean dogs, foreigners, the heathens. They are not the foreigners or unclean gentiles referred to in the Torah. They are first-class citizens within the commonwealth of Israel. Or, as Paul said, contrasting gentiles before-and-after Messiah,

    Remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” — remember that at that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Messiah.

    -Ephesians 2

    Deuteronomy 14 presents no problem for us, as gentiles are no longer seperated from God or excluded from citizenship in the commonwealth of Israel, nor are they foreigners to the covenants of the promise.

    Thanks for bringing this up, Derek, and for giving me the opportunity to respond.

    • Gene Shlomovich says:

      “Deuteronomy 14 presents no problem for us, as gentiles are no longer seperated from God or excluded from citizenship in the commonwealth of Israel, nor are they foreigners to the covenants of the promise. ”

      Judah, it should present a problem for you, because your understanding goes against much of what NT teaches on Gentile relationship to Torah and Mosaic Covenant specifically. In many ways, the Gentile (those who are in Messiah or not) responsibility to Torah as given to Israel has experience little to no change since the coming of Messiah – they are STILL not obligated to live in the manner of Jews.

      • Ah, there’s our disagreement, then. You believe Messiah didn’t change gentile responsibility to Torah. I do. Actually, I think you do too, since even you would claim gentiles are obligated to at least the moral laws of the Torah.

        Anyways.

        For anyone interested in this thread, see the conversation rolling with Derek, Gene, myself (yes, all the Messianic All-Stars!) over here: Can gentiles eat unclean meats?

        (There, Derek, I hijacked your thread. Neener neener. ;-))

  17. rebyosh says:

    Judah,

    Those are some fancy theological gymnastics. I agree that non-Jews are brought into the Commonwealth of Israel through faith in Yeshua. But nowhere in Scripture is there the idea that through Yeshua somehow non-Jews take on the same covenental obligations and identities as Jews.

    This would even violate your use of the term “commonwealth.” Use the British Commonwealth for example. One can be a part of the Commonwealth, and yes still retain there unique citizenship in their home country (i.e Australian, English, Scottish, Irish, etc.). One can be a part of the larger British Commonwealth whithout changing their specific nationality.

    The same in the Commonwealth of Israel Paul seems to understand. Through faith in Yeshua, non-Jews are “brought near” to share in the blessings of Israel, but do not become “Israel” in the strictest sense (i.e. Jews). G-d has a specific role for non-Jews within the body of Messiah. If G-d intended for everyone to be the same, why didn’t G-d just do so.

    Truthfully, the totality of Torah does not apply to anyone. As a Jew, there is much of the Torah that does not apply to me. Either because I am not a Cohen or a Levite, because I do not currently live in Israel, because I am a particular gender, etc.

    So even for us who are Jews, Torah is a broad concept just as it is for non-Jews. And for both Jews and non-Jews there are specific aspects of Torah that apply and do not apply. SO the application of Torah in our lives today is something we all must wrestle with. (Not to mention we live nearly thirty centuries later!) Not only are we wrestling with how we apply Torah as individuals, we are wrestling with how to apply Torah principles to modern life. Quick example – the Torah does not address the internet. So, we must take Torah principles and ethics, and apply them in matters that were not originally intended.

    Anyway, my point is that Torah is not a broad-brushly applied to anyone. That is what is complex. It related differently to different kinds of people – including the way it gets applied to Jews verses the way it gets applied to non-Jews (with even further break-down within both groups). For just as Torah is applied differently to different types of Jews, Torah get applies differently to different types of Gentiles, as well.

    *Derek – Sorry for the long comment.

  18. rebyosh says:

    JUST TO CLARIFY – in my last paragraph above, I am not saying that the broad aspect of Torah does not apply to every Jew. But rather specific details within Torah are not exactly universally applicable for all individual Jews.

  19. danbenzvi says:

    Gene,

    If Yeshua would have thunk like you that because He is in the minority therefore His teaching is not accurate, you would not have what to believe today, would you?

  20. danbenzvi says:

    Rebyosh,

    Since all the covenant were given to Israel and Israel only, and since the Abrahamic covenant says that through Abraham all the nations will be blessded, how would you suggest the Gentile should be blessed? should Paul have said that the wild branches be grafted to another tree? A fig tree maybe?

  21. rebyosh says:

    Dan,

    As mentioned before, the Nations who come to faith through Yeshua, are grafted into Israel (see Rom. 11). However, although they are grafted in, and partakers in the blessings, it still does not make them Jews. As such, Gentiles who enter by faith actually get the better end of the deal – the blessings of being grafted in while not having to meet the same requirements.

    If the blessings and outcome are the same, shouldn’t that be good enough? I almost feel like this conversation is like the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1–16). HaShem brings in those from the Nations to become partakers in the blessings alongside Israel – for which they are not required to do the same amount of work for the same pay. However, it seems like you are complaining, and arguing that in order to receive the whole days wage, you should be required to work a full day in the vineyard just like everyone else.

    • Gene Shlomovich says:

      Josh, great reverse analogy with that parable of the workers in the vineyar – the One-Law late comers are complaining that they are not required to do the same work for the same pay as Jews – they wish they could do MORE work to justify their generous salary! I call this phenomenon “Mitzvot Envy”. The greater irony is, however, that in most cases it stops with the “envy” part, as most One-Law-ers, especially the loudest ones, can hardly be called “observant” in the way Jews are called to be.

      Another irony lost on One-Law adherents is that the first century Gentile believers actually REJOICED over NOT having to become observant in the manner of Jews:

      “The people read it (letter from the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem exempting Gentile followers of Yeshua from observance of great majority of Jewish mitzvot), and were DELIGHTED with the COMFORT it brought THEM.” (Acts 15:31)

      Note that there was nothing in the actually letter sent to Gentiles to indicate any “just start slow, you’ll become more Jewishly observant later as you learn” stuff..

  22. danbenzvi says:

    rebyosh,

    good, we agree then. Since OL never advocate for Gentiles to become Jews. ethnicity is the angst of MJ, not OL.

    • Gene Shlomovich says:

      Dan, OL advocates for Gentiles to become ‘ISRAELITES’ – which simply another word for “Jews” in just about anyone’s vernacular, but OL’s. And certainly, OL teaches Gentiles to become de-facto Jews – i.e. Jews in everything but name.

      As far as having “ethnicity angst” as you put it – well, I’ve seen plenty of Gentiles leaving their One-Law messianic churches to convert to Judaism (may be you’ve know quite a few yourself?). I suppose they were angst about their Gentile ethnicity.

  23. danbenzvi says:

    Gene,

    No Gentile believers leaving MJ. That’s why you have so many of them?….LOL!

  24. Gentiles are grafted to the tree. Have you examined what it means to graft a wild branch to an olive tree? It is inserted, through a wound in the body of the tree, and the tree “bleeds”. Then it bonds to the tree, after a couple of months, there is no separation in tissue, it has become an organic part of the tree, as whole as the natural branches, as righteous as the natural branches. But righteous not by observance or effort, not by merit through the law, but righteous IN Yeshua, the teacher of righteousness. They are inheritants by faith, because they believed Yeshua when he called them.

    A grafted branch will provoke the tree to revive, to react, as if its survival is at stake. The wounded tree will flourish again and bear abundant fruit. This is the natural reaction of an olive tree to a wound, to a grafted branch. This is the core function of drafting branches on a slow fruit bearing tree.

    The issue is not how jewish could the gentiles aspire to be, or how much effort and observance they must display, or under which part of the law they fit. That was settled by Yeshua.

    When the sacrificial lamb was slaughtered, they received the gift of righteousness, not by the instrument of law, but by emunah, by trusting G-d’s salvation and redemption through Yeshua.

    Oid y Entended.

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