I am in L.A. (hence the somewhat late blog posting for a Monday) meeting with staff at MJTI (mjti.com). Last night was a nice dinner with some friends of MJTI and some faculty and staff.
It was a night of talking about our dreams and hopes for the future of Messianic Judaism. Several us made short presentations.
Rabbi Stuart Dauermann is one of the most inspiring people you will ever meet. And he was in rare form.
The word “reformation” was a part of his presentation because he launched his talk from a review of a new book, which I won’t exactly name, that is about the emergent church and the idea that we are due for a reformation. Rabbi Dauermann rather dramatically pointed out that you won’t find “Israel” in the index and the little the book says about Judaism is about history and not the future. In other words, the author has a vision for an emerging reformation and, as is all too common, ignores or overlooks the role of the Chosen People in unfolding events.
Rabbi Dauermann spoke to us about three reformations (the only criticism we had after was that he should have started earlier with Abraham, Mt. Sinai, and so on — but it was just a way for the good rabbi to make a point).
The first reformation is the life and work of Yeshua of Nazareth. His death in which we participate and resurrection which is the prototype of our resurrection is obviously a watershed moment in the progress of God’s unfolding plan of redemption.
The second reformation, he said, is something we often overlook or fail to properly emphasize: the inclusion of the Gentiles in the people of God. It took eight years after the ascension of Yeshua before Peter wound up in the home of Cornelius (Acts 10-11). Why the long delay when the disciples had an imperative from Yeshua? It was a long delay because this was a paradigm shift they were unprepared to make.
Gentiles, as far as Jewry was concerned at the time, were by nature idolaters. One well-known Jewish advocate on behalf of non-Jews and the kingdom said so even years after the fact: “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).
But the inclusion of Gentiles — as Gentiles and not as proselytes to Judaism (see Acts 15) — was a paradigm change of great proportions. The priestly calling of Israel was at last realized. And it is hard for us, this side of history, to appreciate how difficult it was for Yeshua’s followers to take the kingdom message to non-Jews. But what’s done is done, and now it is the third reformation that people cannot get their minds around.
The third reformation is the even bigger thing God is going to do with Israel in these last days. As Paul said, “If [Israel’s] transgression means riches for the Gentiles, how much more with their full inclusion mean!” (Rom. 11:12).
The redemption of the nations in Messiah Yeshua was huge, changing history in the largest sense imaginable. The final redemption of Israel will even overshadow that great historical revolution. History will be changed all the more when the renewal of Israel through Messiah at last arrives.
Yeshua’s inner circle of disciples had a hard time getting their minds around the second reformation. What will it take to get momentum behind the work of the third reformation? What is holding history back? Are we on the cusp of that third reformation?