I just got an advance copy of Messiah Journal 105 (available at ffoz.com). Aside from the fact that I have an article in this issue (“Yeshua’s Example in Spirituality and Ethics”), this new issue is another example of why First Fruits of Zion’s materials have such a wide readership. Quite simply: they produce excellent articles and publications and fill a need no one else is filling for Judaically informed Christians and Messianic Jews.
Let me preview and comment on some of the contents.
One Law for All?
Toby Janicki, a solid researcher who puts in his groundwork, does what so many have needed to do all along: he examines the context of each use of “one law” in the Torah and considers what it means in context. Sounds simple. In readable fashion, Janicki gets at the heart of what this phrase means in the books of Torah.
I’m not sure why Torah folk still use the one law passages as prooftexts for their view that all followers of Jesus must keep all of Torah. I’m not sure why folks in these groups use the ger (resident alien, sojourner, stranger) texts as a precedent for their sense of obligation to Jewish norms.
But I think Janicki’s article simply and effectively counters these trends with simple interpretation. No casuistry here. I’d be very interested to see how people would debate Janicki’s evidence. Feel free to email me or comment here with reasons why you think the one law passages require non-Jews to keep all of Torah. (If you’re nice, I will be too — I really am a gentle soul).
I was moved, actually even floored at one point, by the biographical sketch of Franz Delitzsch in Messiah Journal 105. Authors Siegried Wagner and Arnulf Baumann write with intelligence and insight.
I have read some advance portions of the upcoming Delitzsch Hebrew-English gospels that Vine of David is producing. I have for years owned and used the Keil and Delitzsch commentaries on the Hebrew Bible.
I had no idea how interesting Delitzsch’s life was (and is). But I was floored when I read this forward-thinking quote by him from 1882:
I have often thought that many would put better use to their recognition of Jesus as the Messiah by staying in the Synagogue until God himself releases the crypto-Christianity which is bound within the Synagogue and creates a Jewish-Christian Church.
Yes, Yeshua is in Judaism, all over the place. Delitzsch saw it. He disdained mass evangelism to Jewish people. He modeled individual dialogue and the use of scriptures. Delitzsch was surely not perfect (who is), but his open mind to the working of God amongst his own people must have been all the more difficult in an environment where supersessionism (replacement theology) was almost universal.
Yeshua’s Example in Spirituality and Ethics
My own article in Messiah Journal 105 is one that I benefitted greatly from researching and writing. New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson says of the gospel of Luke that scenes of Messiah praying occur at the critical junctures in his story. Luke’s gospel is a fertile field for drawing on many sayings and wisdom teachings of Yeshua about prayer, deeds, generosity, and union with God.
More Articles of Interest
I haven’t finished the journal yet. I prefer to take some time to enjoy the content at a pace I can assimilate and savor. I am eager to read a classic piece translated and printed for the first time in English, “The Talmud on Trial,” by Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein, a Yeshua-believer who write the piece in 1886. The journal also includes a biographical sketch of Lichtenstein.
Other articles on the Second Coming of Messiah and some surprising Chasidic texts, the vision of Vine of David, a short piece on Hebron, and some book reviews round out a solid journal that builds up Judeo-Christian and Messianic Jewish individuals and community.