What Did Yeshua Change for Gentiles?

archaeology_clip_image004I am interested in this question from several angles. First, there is a general idea that something radical changed for non-Jews with the appearance, death, resurrection, and ascension of Yeshua. Second, in Messianic Judaism we constantly hear people with varying ideas about how Gentiles and Jews are not distinct in any way. From slogans like, “we’re all grafted in,” or “we’re all children of Abraham,” to theologies like supersessionism (replacement theology), One Law, Ephraimite restorationism, and even Anglo-Israelism, there are many ideas out there about why non-Jewish Christians and Messianics are now, for all intents and purposes, Jews.

Really the first angle interests me far more than the second one. But as Messianic Judaism comes to grips with the important issue of non-Jews in our synagogues (including me), the second question has more practical relevance.

The following is the beginning of a quest to answer, “What did Yeshua change for Gentiles?” I am not able to be thorough here, but hopefully will say enough to get a conversation going and dispel a few options along the way which simply will not work.

Before Yeshua Were Gentiles Unclean or Forgotten By God?
Absolutely not. In Genesis 1-11 the focus is on God working with all his children and there is no sense in which people before Jacob were considered lesser sons and daughters of God. Furthermore, the covenant with Abraham is specifically said to be about blessing through Abraham to all the families on earth. God’s redemptive purposes have often been misunderstood.

God did not choose Israel because Jews are spiritually superior. The Bible never indicates this. This is a widely held belief in Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish circles. It is not good Judaism and it is not Biblical.

In the covenant between God and Israel at Mt. Sinai (a covenant which does not include Gentiles, by the way, as the nations were not a party to the Torah covenant), the intent again was to bring blessing to the whole world. Israel was chosen as a priestly nation (Exod 19:6).

A priestly relationship requires three parties: God, priest, and the recipients of the priestly revelation. If Israel is the priestly nation, then it is assumed that the other nations, a la Gentiles, are the beneficiaries.

God chose Israel because his plan is to work through one nation to reach all nations.

This plan of God has been called mutual blessing (see R. Kendall Soulen’s The God of Israel and Christian Theology). The nations bless Israel and are blessed in return.

Gentiles were not unclean or uninvited before Yeshua came. Numerous texts speak of God’s intent to redeem the world, especially in the Psalms and prophets. In Numbers 15:14 makes it clear that Gentiles could enter the court of the sanctuary exactly as Israelites to come to the altar and make a sacrifice. The Second Temple custom of excluding women and Gentiles from the court of the Temple was in violation of Torah clearly and without justification.

Did Yeshua Change the Message to Make it Palatable to Gentiles?
Another idea out there is that before Yeshua the message of God was for Jews only and no place could be found for non-Jews. But Yeshua came along and taught a religion for Gentiles as well as Jews.

Can anyone find for me a place where Yeshua preaches anything like this?

Of course there are several places, such as in Luke 4, where Yeshua spurs his own people to faithfulness by pointing out the irony of greater faith outside of Israel than in it. Also, Yeshua respectfully healed and worked with a number of Gentiles, including a Roman centurion and a Canaanite woman (though he did tell her he came only for Israel, Matt 15:21-28).

Yeshua’s message was restoration coming to Israel but only when Israel was ready to repent, to quit pursuing war as the answer, and call on God for salvation instead. He said the kingdom was coming, the same kingdom proclaimed throughout the Hebrew Bible.

There was no change in the divine economy which suddenly opened the kingdom to Gentiles who had somehow been previously excluded. Nor did Yeshua preach a Christian message somehow changed from the message of Judaism. Those who persist in believing Yeshua came to start a new religion are hard-pressed to find any evidence of it in the gospels.

How Did Paul and the Mission to the Gentiles Explain It?
If everyone would remember that Paul was a Torah-faithful Jew called to work cross-culturally with Gentiles, it would greatly benefit New Testament theology. Too many people assume that the distinction between Jews and non-Jews ended at the cross and that Paul’s words about circumcision and Torah are somehow God’s instructions for all who follow Messiah.

This is not so.

Paul did not live what he preached.

That may sound like blasphemy, but Paul was a Jew preaching to non-Jews. Paul did not consider the Sabbath a matter of choice as he preached in Romans 14. That was a message to non-Jews to consider that the Sabbath might not mean anything to them, but to other servants of God (Jews) the Sabbath was an important part of their relationship to God. Paul did not withhold circumcision from Jews and converts though he preached in Galatians and 1 Corinthians 7 that Gentiles should not, under normal circumstances, be circumcised.

Paul did not have liberty from the Torah. He kept it faithfully as we read clearly in Acts 21.

So, Paul was the revealer of God to the Gentiles. His writings should be understood that way.

And in two analogies Paul defined what the Gentile relationship to God and to Israel was. These two analogies come from different contexts and should be seen in their context.

The first was an olive tree with some wild branches grafted in by a master gardener (Rom 11:17-24). The second was a citizenship in the kingdom of God, in which Gentiles were recently included (Eph 2:11-22).

The Olive Tree and Its Context
The context of Romans is very different from that of Ephesus. The Roman disciples are hostile toward the Jews of Rome. Paul writes to defend his own people and call for disciples of Yeshua in Rome to respect God’s relationship with his own people.

For that reason, the olive tree metaphor is mostly about the distinction between Israel and Gentiles. It is a clear note that Gentiles are wild branches grafted into a natural tree. Wild branches never become natural branches. Neither will God give up his special relationship with Israel and allow non-Jews to take the place of his own chosen people.

The Citizenship Metaphor and Its Context
In Ephesus there was a need to build up the non-Jews following Messiah. They felt alienated, in need of reassurance that they were as beloved of God as Israel.

Thus, the emphasis in the citizenship metaphor is inclusion. Gentiles following Messiah should not feel alienated, as the Judaism of the time did make them feel alienated. There was no need to convert and become Jewish. Whereas the Temple regulations in Jerusalem and synagogue laws in the diaspora made them feel excluded, God has drawn them near.

They are citizens of Israel. (Note: Some translations use the term commonwealth, but the basic meaning is citizenship).

Does this mean Gentiles in Messiah are identical in relation to God as Jews? Not at all. Paul would be contradicting himself. Paul must envision this citizenship in a similar manner to the sojourner in the Torah.

To interpret Paul in Ephesians 2 as making Jews and Gentiles equivalent in relation to Torah and to God does violence to Romans 11 and many other apostolic teachings, not to mention the distinctions in Torah which Paul upholds.

Conclusion: So What Did Change?
The answer to this question is not what most people think. The cross did not somehow open a new door for Gentiles that did not previously exist. Gentiles did not become de facto Jews nor did Christians replace Israel as the chosen people.

Yeshua died to take Israel’s curses on himself and redeem his own people. But the redemption of Israel is the redemption of the world anyway, since God’s redemption comes through the particular and to all of his children.

It is something else that Yeshua did which is what changed for Gentiles.

Yeshua commanded the message of the kingdom of God be proclaimed in the nations (Matt 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8). Further, he appointed one of history’s greatest leaders and thinkers to head up the task, the highly educated and courageous Paul of Tarsus.

The invitation had always been there. Yeshua, as in many other areas, simply fulfilled in his own disciples what the nation of Israel was supposed to do all along.

The change in direction obviously worked. And our world has never been the same since the message of Israel’s God spread through Rome and to the world. The ideals of Psalms and Isaiah are seen fulfilled in the world today and Yeshua is not yet through. Glory be to God.

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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34 Responses to What Did Yeshua Change for Gentiles?

  1. judahgabriel says:

    >> The cross did not somehow open a new door for Gentiles that did not previously exist.

    Wow. I think all of Christianity just imploded, Paul turned in his grave, and Ephesians was just torn out of the Scriptures.

    This is a crux disagreement between you and I, Derek. It’s beneath all this other stuff about Torah and distinction and everything else — this is, I think, one foundational difference that results in disagreement on other matters like Torah. We can talk more about this if you like.

  2. Judah:

    Let me try to illustrate why I do not think your statement about me throwing Ephesians out is accurate. Imagine this conversation:

    Judah: Torah is for today.

    JohnQChristian: But Ephesians 2:15 says Jesus “abolished Torah in his flesh.”

    Judah: I don’t agree.

    JohnQChristian: You are tearing Ephesians out of the Bible.

    Back to me again: So, Judah, it is about how you interpret the passages. I interpret Eph 2 in harmony with Rom 11 and other passages. I do not throw it out.

  3. Dan Benzvi says:

    Derek,

    It is almost Shabbat, so no time for an elaborate discussion. I find your claim as having more holes in it than my back yard screen door.

    One question for you to contemplate during the weekend, Why Did you so conveniently omit Eph. 3:4-6?

    If Paul here lied about the mistrey of Messiah, then Judah was right, let’s tear Eph. and all his other Epistles out of the Bible.

    Your “different interpretation” explanation is kind of lukewarm, don’t you think so?

  4. Everyone:

    In the interest of not having discussions that get nasty and pointless, I am going to resist responding to comments like Dan’s above. He is using such pointed rhetoric (“lied about the ministry of Messiah”) I see no point in mere argument. This is not to say Dan has not raised a good point. He has. But my philosophy of discussion and dialogue is such that tone and rhetoric matter. Dan could make the same point and truly interact and dialogue, but what I read here is, “This is a pissing contest and let me fire the next volley.”

    Gene, I know you have a tendency to fight back. Please resist.

    Let’s keep the discussion about genuine conversation and dialogue, not a pointless contest.

    This is not at all to say that Dan’s feedback is unwelcome here, but only when the dialogue is respectful can we have progress. I know Dan from other forums and this kind of nasty rhetoric is common. I don’t want to encourage it here.

    Now, would anyone like to explain how Ephesians 3:6 fits with what I have proposed in this blog post? It is not difficult. And again, let’s keep the tone respectful.

    • Dan Benzvi says:

      Derek,

      You just are not used to a Sabra style interaction. I did not mean disrespect.

      • Thank you, Dan.

        Here is what I aspire to (and I have been nasty in arguing here and on other forums, but I am trying to change):

        State disagreements without combative language. The goal is discussion to illuminate truth, not to win a contest.

        Reinforce points of agreement when stating disagreement. This helps a person know how much is held in common.

        Expect that the other parties in the discussion may have something to contribute which could change your mind. If we are not open to learning, why talk?

  5. I just got an email from Dan Juster, no mean theologian. He basically agrees but adds something that I think is true and needs further expansion. Yeshua did partially usher in the Age to Come when he died and rose. And the ingathering of Gentiles to God is something in the prophets largely assumed to happen in the Age to Come or Messianic Era. Therefore it is fitting that Messiah’s call to reach the nations should happen as part of the dawning of the Kingdom Age (I’m using these terms for the coming age synonymously). Thus, Paul was not surprised to receive Messiah’s call to the nations. He would have understood if the resurrection had dawned, now is the time.

    • tnnonline says:

      The concept of the two ages is one that not only features prominently in ancient Jewish theology, but most especially the theology of the Apostolic Scriptures. Believers are people of the age to come, living in the present evil age. How today’s Messianics learn to consider the concept of “realized eschatology” is admittedly difficult, but it will probably be necessary not only as we consider how futuristic prophecies are applied for more current situations (i.e. the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31 applied in Hebrews 8).

      N.T. Wright deals with this throughout his book Surprised By Hope, in his coining of the phrase the “life after the afterlife.” While he affirms the goodness of an intermediate state in Heaven after death, the Bible is much more concerned with the resurrection and New Creation. The reality of that coming New Creation is to motivate us in the here and now to capture as much as we can of that future reality in our ministry service and treatment of other people, the planet, etc. If we are people of the future age, the future age is to be demonstrated in our character and good works.

  6. vadesigner says:

    Derek, Thanks for this insightful expose. I’ve always wondered how the whole relationship is to fit together. This helps tremendously.

  7. Hi Derek,
    Your posts are great! If you have time, I am wondering if you could say something about how you understand the branches that are cut off in Romans 11. Who is this referring to? Also, how do you understand the “unbelief” mentioned there? Is this referring to not acknowledging Yeshua or G-D in general? Also, is this trimming of branches occurring in in the first century (i.e. post Yeshua) or is this something that has been happening pre-Yeshua? I am asking because I value your insight! Thanks Derek.
    Aaron

  8. Dan Benzvi says:

    Derek,

    You write: “Yeshua commanded the message of the kingdom of God to be proclaimed in the nations (Matt. 28:19-20).

    I think Matt. 5:17-20 is a message of the Torah, not the kingdom.

  9. Dan:

    I think this perfectly illustrates what I consider to be a blind spot for you and many who share your theology. Torah is the teaching of the king. What is more important? The teaching or the king?

    If you keep Torah for the king, you keep Torah. If you keep Torah only to keep Torah, then you don’t keep Torah (Deut 6:5).

  10. Dan Benzvi says:

    What are you getting at Derek?

    You are quoting Deut. 6:5 as if is not a part of the Torah…..

    Did Yeshua sent His apostles to the nations to teach them TO OBSERVE whatever He commanded? Is Matt. 5:17-20 not a part of what he commanded?

  11. I got an email from Mark Kinzer, again, no mean theologian. He cautions me about a few things. First, we should be careful not to treat Israel’s election as instrumental (God chose Israel merely or primarily to accomplish a task). God chose Israel in love as a first-born child, not merely as an agent or servant. Second, he says that the idea of a son or daughter of God does not go back to creation (only the angelic being are called this in the beginning). It is when God chooses Israel that sonship and daughtership begins to happen. Third, he feels that the status of Gentiles before Yeshua was much more one of alienation than I have let on and that Eph 2 is not just about how the Gentiles felt.

    I am thinking about these things. I certainly agree with point #1.

    I cannot see alienation exactly for Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible so much as lack of access, but I will process it all and keep on thinking.

  12. Mishkan David says:

    Derek,

    “Paul did not consider the Sabbath a matter of choice as he preached in Romans 14.”

    I’ve taken your advice and read what Nanos has to say about Romans 14. I don’t see any weighty evidence that indicates the passage is about the Sabbath. I maintain my position that the chapter is about “QUESTIONABLE” things, and not things that are clearly stated in Torah.

    I believe that Paul taught the tearing down of the barrier of prejudice, not of Torah. The Greek of Ephesians 2:15 is not easy, but I believe most people make an error when they stop at the first of three nouns: “nomos”. Yeshua did not destroy “the nomos”. He destroyed “the law of commandments in ordinances”. The Greek word translated “ordinances” is only ever used to describe human decrees. NOT Hashem’s Torah.

    I find the overall view you have presented to be inadequate because it is based on two questionable and debatable points. Yeshua never eliminated Torah for anyone. It remains the standard of conduct for all who wish to participate in the community of God’s people. According to the full context of Ephesians 2-4, this joining is accomplished by Gentiles learning to identify with the people and nation of Israel.

    So-called bilateral ecclesiology is based on flawed reasoning and questionable interpretation. I believe it is only appealing because it takes Messianics out of “bridge” status, and allows them to comfortably fit in with the prejudices of both the Jewish and Gentile communities–exactly the prejudice that Messiah is supposed to have removed, according to my reading of Ephesians 2:15.

    Shalom,

    Mishkan David

    • “I believe that Paul taught the tearing down of the barrier of prejudice, not of Torah. ”

      The Ephesians 2:15 has nothing to do with some supposed prejudice (racism) of Jews towards the Gentiles. It simply describes how Yeshua’s sacrifice remedied the previous lost condition of the Gentiles (most of whom were idol-worshiping pagans, thus enemies of both G-d and Israel), thus allowing them to join the people of G-d (creating peace between the two).

      • Mishkan David says:

        Gene,

        Thank you for that reply.

        I’m not quite sure how you believe your position explains Ephesians 2:15. What was destroyed?

        The general view I hear on this passage amounts to saying that Hashem placed the barrier between Jews and Gentiles. This literally leads to the conclusion that Yeshua had to die in order to destroy the Torah. I find that conclusion contradictory to the rest of Scripture.

        That’s not what you mean, is it?

        Todah.

  13. Mishkan David:

    You have decided that Romans 14 is not about Jewish distinctives but what, pagan festivals?

    The problem with that reading, which sounds a lot like a desperate attempt to avoid the obvious, is that letters are written to deal with issues. Where do we have any other evidence in Romans that these Roman followers of Yeshua were dealing with pagan compromise?

    We don’t. But we do read again and again that these Roman followers of Yeshua struggled to understand Israel and their relationship to Yeshua and the Jewish community. The heart of Romans is Paul defending his people and defining the gospel in a way that respects Jews and Gentiles.

    We should be very surprised if Romans 14 takes Paul off subject, but not surprised at all if Romans 14 is a beautiful example of Acts 15 in practice being applied to a wayward group of Yeshua-followers who had disdain for their Jewish forbears.

    Meanwhile, you wish to read total identification with Israel into Ephesians. What can you then say about Romans 11 and the clear distinction between wild and natural branches? Why is Ephesians a text you are more comfortable with? Is it because you find Rom 11 difficult to reconcile with your idea of no distinction?

    You say “So-called bilateral ecclesiology is based on flawed reasoning.” Strong statement. Too bad you have made a bald assertion without evidence. You may either wish to tone your statements down or back them up more cogently.

  14. Mishkan David says:

    Derek, my friend, let’s be honest. This limited space for comments is not exactly the place for detailed presentation of arguments and counter-arguments. The views you now present are based on detailed arguments, each facet of which not only could be, but has been, treated with many books of its own.

    I have been pondering the topic of Jewish/Gentile integration for just as long as you and those you regard as mentors. I know the history of the discussion, have read many of the white papers that came out of their meetings, and have reached other conclusions than they have. You may consider my statements “strong”, but they are not without merit. Just don’t pretend that the whole topic could begin to be addressed here on this little blog comment area.

    I’ll drop you a note when I have prepared more detailed notes regarding my own take on the subject. I’ve already written my initial post to introduce a series on bilateralism at http://mishkandavid.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/handling-controversy/. I hope you will join me in helping to set the tone for the further discussion to be had within the MJ community.

  15. Mishkan David says:

    derek4messiah :
    First, we should be careful not to treat Israel’s election as instrumental (God chose Israel merely or primarily to accomplish a task). God chose Israel in love as a first-born child, not merely as an agent or servant.

    An interesting idea, yes. But what makes this so axiomatic? Why should it be accepted uncritically? Certainly, the Torah itself contains functional passages, describing Israeli obedience to Torah as being for the purpose of drawing Gentiles to Hashem. Then, there are the servant passages in Isaiah. Where is the text that tells us to focus only, or even primarily, on the concept of Israel being chosen for Israel’s sake?

    Does Dr. Kinzer refer to the passages that describe the calling of Israel as being “for the sake of the fathers”? In that case, we should examine the purpose for calling the fathers, yes?

    I’m not saying I have any great problem with the points sent to you by Dr. Kinzer. All the points he mentioned deserve to be considered, and their implications understood. But I do believe they need to be clarified a bit, and not accepted uncritically.

  16. Mishkan David :
    Gene,
    Thank you for that reply.
    I’m not quite sure how you believe your position explains Ephesians 2:15. What was destroyed?

    What was destroyed was the ENMITY (not Torah) caused by Gentile rebellion to G-d and his laws when G-d reconciled the Gentiles through Yeshua’s sacrifice.

    Colossians 1:21 confirms that former enemy status:

    “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled”

    As does Ephesians 2:12:

    “…remember that you were at that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without G-d in the world.”

    • Mishkan David says:

      Gene Shlomovich :
      What was destroyed was the ENMITY (not Torah) caused by Gentile rebellion to G-d and his laws when G-d reconciled the Gentiles through Yeshua’s sacrifice.
      Colossians 1:21 confirms that former enemy status:
      “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled”
      As does Ephesians 2:12:
      “…remember that you were at that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without G-d in the world.”

      Gene,
      I hate to write such a lengthy response here, but you do raise good points, and I’d like to address them. Especially since you leave me somewhat confused, as I try to follow through with your understanding.
      You certainly provided an excellent theological response. But what do we do with the practicalities of real life? What did Sha’ul mean when he wrote the following?

      First Thessalonians 2:14-16
      For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.

      Does this not indicate a certain animosity coming from the Jewish side regarding Gentiles?
      And what are we to make of Kefa’s comments to Cornelius in Acts 10, saying that Jews visiting Gentiles is “something that just isn’t done!”? Does this not communicate some level of negativity from Jewish teaching towards the Gentiles?
      And do I need to go into the many Talmudic discussions relating the idea that a Jew may not benefit from work performed by a Gentile if the Gentile consciously sought to benefit the Jew??? It is acceptable to benefit from the labor of Gentiles if one “steals” the benefit, but we deprive the Gentile of the honor he is due for going out of his way to help?
      Am I misunderstanding something? Are you telling me there is no Jewish prejudice against Gentiles reflected in either the Bible or the extra-Biblical writings?
      I still think the most natural reading of Ephesians 2:15, in the context of the entire passage of Ephesians 2-4, is to see a reference to early Jewish prejudice against the Gentiles. That’s why Sha’ul needs to address “the mystery of the Gentiles” in chapter 3. He must justify the influx of Gentiles into the Messianic community that he, himself, has precipitated.
      I’m certainly not saying that Gentiles aren’t in rebellion against Hashem. I just don’t think that rebellion is what is in view in Ephesians 2.
      Shalom

  17. Mishkan David says:

    Gene Shlomovich :

    What was destroyed was the ENMITY (not Torah) caused by Gentile rebellion to G-d and his laws

    Gene,

    Thank for stating that position so succinctly. I will certain re-read the relevant passages with that idea in mind, and see what I can see.

    Shalom

  18. Mishkan David says:

    derek4messiah :
    You say “So-called bilateral ecclesiology is based on flawed reasoning.” Strong statement.

    I’d like to make a public apology to Derek for demeaning his obviously strongly-felt position. I could have expressed myself quite well without tossing in the negative rhetoric towards his views.

    My goal in discussing topics like this is for us all to learn from each other, and come away more enriched in our understanding. Not to throw stones at one another, and stir up strife.

    Shalom to all

  19. Mishkan David:

    It was good to make some peace with you offline via email. Blessings. Let’s keep our dialogue at the highest level of respect on both sides and all will be well.

  20. Mishkan David :
    <they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.

    Does this not indicate a certain animosity coming from the Jewish side regarding Gentiles?

    Perhaps it does. Or, may be the better explanation is that the apostles were forbidden by the Judeans to talk about Yeshua in general, especially to the Jews?

    Acts 4:18
    Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

    Even if there was an actual display of “animosity” of Jews towards the Gentiles (even though Ephesians, in my opinion, refer to something else entirely), is anyone surprised (from a human point of view) given that the during that specific time in history the Jews were under brutal Roman (Gentile) occupation, antisemitism was rampant throughout the Roman empire, Jews were looked on a backward and superstitions, and most Gentiles were pagans who engaged in Emperor, idol worship (including temple prostitution)?! I don’t see how Jews, at that time, could have a very positive view of Gentiles, do you?

    Mishkan David :
    And what are we to make of Kefa’s comments to Cornelius in Acts 10, saying that Jews visiting Gentiles is “something that just isn’t done!”? Does this not communicate some level of negativity from Jewish teaching towards the Gentiles?

    Did Yeshua himself ever visit a Gentile’s home (unless you count Pilate’s mansion)? He did not. In Mt 8:7 the centurion himself even asks Yeshua not to come into his own – because he knew that a Jew may hesitate to open himself up to idolatry and uncleanliness. Yeshua was a Jew of his time.

    Now, of course there was a GREAT level of negativity of Jews towards UNCONVERTED idol-worshiping Gentiles. But do remember that once a Gentile converted, he legally become a Jew or a Jewish proselyte who was fully accepted into a Jewish community. This means that it has nothing to do with some supposed racial prejudice, but rather with idolatry and social mores of the non-Jews at that time.

    Do you remember what Yeshua OWN expressed attitude was towards Gentiles? One could certainly characterize it as degrading or prejudicial.

    A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “L-rd, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession. Yeshua DID NOT SAY A WORD.”…
    …. “The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. ”
    “He replied, “It IS NOT RIGHT to take the CHILDRENS’s bread and TOSS it to DOGS.” ”

    So, you see, even though Yeshua certainly showed great compassion to that woman, the exchange certainly indicates the general Jewish point of view of idolatrous Gentiles of that day.

    Also, I am sure that you are familiar with verses where Yeshua says “don’t even the Gentiles do that”, or comparing Gentile behavior when making an examples for his Jewish disciples (Matthew 5:47, Matthew 6:7).

    Mishkan David :
    And do I need to go into the many Talmudic discussions relating the idea that a Jew may not benefit from work performed by a Gentile if the Gentile consciously sought to benefit the Jew??? It is acceptable to benefit from the labor of Gentiles if one “steals” the benefit, but we deprive the Gentile of the honor he is due for going out of his way to help?

    Where did you get the above verse (can you give us a link to the website where you found this)? There’s much antisemitic misquoting of Talmud that is floating around the internet, and certainly even more out of context mischaracterization of information. Please give me a specific book and verse so that I can look it up in actual Talmud myself.

    Shalom.

    • Mishkan David says:

      Gene,

      I think we have officially exceeded the reasonable size for a comment here. I invite you to correspond more on this matter, privately… if you’re interested. Please drop me a comment on my own blog site with your email address if you wish to pursue this.

      I’ll get you that Talmud reference this evening, just to wrap that up here in this thread. It was not from any web site, but my own reading of the Soncino Talmud. I don’t claim to be any Talmud scholar, but the entire paragraph was pretty plain, with repeated examples of the same principle. You may know better than I whether that opinion was ever considered to be authoritative, though.

      Shalom

    • Mishkan David says:

      Gene Shlomovich :
      Where did you get the above verse … Please give me a specific book and verse so that I can look it up in actual Talmud myself.

      To follow up with my source. It is in the Mishnah:

      MISHNAH. IF A GENTILE LIGHTS A LAMP, AN ISRAELITE MAY MAKE USE OF ITS LIGHT; BUT IF [HE DOES IT] FOR THE SAKE OF THE ISRAELITE, IT IS FORBIDDEN. IF HE DRAWS WATER8 TO GIVE HIS OWN ANIMAL, TO DRINK, AN ISRAELITE MAY WATER [HIS] AFTER HIM; BUT IF [HE DRAWS IT] FOR THE ISRAELITES SAKE, IT IS FORBIDDEN. IF A GENTILE MAKES A STAIRWAY TO DESCEND BY IT,9 AN ISRAELITE MAY DESCEND AFTER HIM; BUT IF ON THE ISRAELITES ACCOUNT, IT IS FORBIDDEN. IT ONCE HAPPENED THAT R. GAMALIEL AND THE ELDERS WERE TRAVELING IN A SHIP, WHEN A GENTILE MADE A STAIRWAY FOR GOING DOWN, AND R. GAMALIEL, AND THE ELDERS DESCENDED BY IT.

      (b. Talmud Shabbath 122a)

  21. Mishkan David :
    To follow up with my source. It is in the Mishnah:

    MISHNAH. IF A GENTILE LIGHTS A LAMP, AN ISRAELITE MAY MAKE USE OF ITS LIGHT; BUT IF [HE DOES IT] FOR THE SAKE OF THE ISRAELITE, IT IS FORBIDDEN. IF HE DRAWS WATER8 TO GIVE HIS OWN ANIMAL, TO DRINK, AN ISRAELITE MAY WATER [HIS] AFTER HIM; BUT IF [HE DRAWS IT] FOR THE ISRAELITES SAKE, IT IS FORBIDDEN. IF A GENTILE MAKES A STAIRWAY TO DESCEND BY IT,9 AN ISRAELITE MAY DESCEND AFTER HIM; BUT IF ON THE ISRAELITES ACCOUNT, IT IS FORBIDDEN. IT ONCE HAPPENED THAT R. GAMALIEL AND THE ELDERS WERE TRAVELING IN A SHIP, WHEN A GENTILE MADE A STAIRWAY FOR GOING DOWN, AND R. GAMALIEL, AND THE ELDERS DESCENDED BY IT.
    (b. Talmud Shabbath 122a)

    Mishkan David… this verse is NOTHING like you originally described it (in discrimination and prejudice terms of Jews against Gentiles). This simply has to do with proper procedures on Shabbat for Jews living in Gentile lands (with Gentile majorities), what is a Jew allowed to do on Shabbat and whether or not he can derive any directly or indirectly benefit from the work that a Gentile does on Shabbat (so as not to violate Shabbat himself). Also, where are the parts about it being OK for Jews to “steal” from Gentiles?

    Here’s a link to it so that people read for themselves: http://www.come-and-hear.com/shabbath/shabbath_122.html

    • Mishkan David says:

      this verse is NOTHING like you originally described it (in discrimination and prejudice terms of Jews against Gentiles).

      OK. If you say so. I’m always willing to go back and read more. I’m not on any witch hunts. I love a great deal of what I find in the Talmud and the sages. I just happened to read this a couple days ago, and it struck me as I described. As Derek has noted in his bio, Judaism is all about discussion,.

      Todah rabbah.

      • Mishkan David :
        OK. If you say so. I’m always willing to go back and read more. I’m not on any witch hunts. I love a great deal of what I find in the Talmud and the sages. I just happened to read this a couple days ago, and it struck me as I described. As Derek has noted in his bio, Judaism is all about discussion,.
        Todah rabbah.

        Mishkan David, I appreciate your willingness to re-read the texts, re-evaluate the original impressions and to engage in conversation.

  22. Mishkan David:

    I am disturbed by the idea of seeking prejudicial texts in the Talmud and publicizing them. The place for a discussion of ethnocentrism and narrow prejudice among the rabbis and in other times in Jewish history is one where there is balance. Non-Jewish readers will pick up on such texts publicized without proper context. This is a scandal in Jewish history and not to be lightly brought up.

    Many readers might be unaware of the climate of the times when these statements were made. More shocking are the comments by prominent Christians, such as John Chrysostom, who spoke not from a place of persecution, as did these rabbis, but from a place of marginalization.

    Also, the Talmud records in detail the discussions of rabbis on many points. Other cultures tend not to record every thought and word the way Talmud does. There are many embarrassing passages in Talmud (bad science, superstition, etc.). The Talmud is not a book of inspired truths, not even in Orthodox Judaism, but a record of a conversation in which many ideas were explored. Quite a few of the ideas in Talmud are rejected by later generations within Talmud. Most readers don’t know this.

    The idea the anti-Gentile prejudice exists in some quarters of Judaism, historically and at present, has no bearing on Messianic Judaism unless you wish to charge systemic prejudice in Messianic Judaism. Evil, narrow thoughts abound in all human institutions and communities. To hate is human and to love is divine. Religious people are not immune, neither Jewish nor Christian people.

  23. Mishkan David says:

    Derek,

    I agree with everything you say here. You are right that there is no need to ever charge an entire group of people with the crimes or attitudes of a small sample. And truly, it was never my intention to imply generalized hatred of Gentiles by Jews. (But it does no one any good to deny the realities, either.)

    All I am asserting is that Acts gives us plenty of evidence for animosity towards believers from non-believing Jews. In Galatians 4, Sha’ul draws an allegory meant to demonstrate the animosity of the non-believing Jewish community towards the believers. In short, there is plenty of evidence for the fact that Ephesians 2, written by the same man who wrote Galatians 4, may very well be referencing Jewish animosity, rather than Gentile. In fact, knowing the context of his life, I consider this understanding quite defensible, if not absolutely certain. Especially when the operative noun in Ephesians 2:15 is “dogma”–a term used for human legal pronouncements. This passage is about halakha, not generalized Gentile animosity, as suggested by Gene.

    Shalom, Chaver.

    derek4messiah :
    Mishkan David:
    I am disturbed by the idea of seeking prejudicial texts in the Talmud and publicizing them. The place for a discussion of ethnocentrism and narrow prejudice among the rabbis and in other times in Jewish history is one where there is balance. Non-Jewish readers will pick up on such texts publicized without proper context. This is a scandal in Jewish history and not to be lightly brought up.
    Many readers might be unaware of the climate of the times when these statements were made. More shocking are the comments by prominent Christians, such as John Chrysostom, who spoke not from a place of persecution, as did these rabbis, but from a place of marginalization.
    Also, the Talmud records in detail the discussions of rabbis on many points. Other cultures tend not to record every thought and word the way Talmud does. There are many embarrassing passages in Talmud (bad science, superstition, etc.). The Talmud is not a book of inspired truths, not even in Orthodox Judaism, but a record of a conversation in which many ideas were explored. Quite a few of the ideas in Talmud are rejected by later generations within Talmud. Most readers don’t know this.
    The idea the anti-Gentile prejudice exists in some quarters of Judaism, historically and at present, has no bearing on Messianic Judaism unless you wish to charge systemic prejudice in Messianic Judaism. Evil, narrow thoughts abound in all human institutions and communities. To hate is human and to love is divine. Religious people are not immune, neither Jewish nor Christian people.

  24. drake82dunaway says:

    Ephesians 2:15 contains an interesting word. Whenever Torah is referred to in the Septuagint and Brit Chadasha, it uses “nomos.” Paul calls lawlessness “anomia.” In fact in the Septuagint it’s the same.

    In this verse, the “ordinances” actually translate from “dogma.” Human norms or decrees. When Caesar made a decree in the NT, “dogma” was used. You find this all throughout!

    In Acts, Peter tells Cornelius that it’s “unlawful” for Jews to hang around Gentiles, when again, that does not jive with the Court of the Gentiles and “anomia” is not in the text.

    The church should correct this. G-d’s Law is forever.

    -Drake

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