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Not All Israel is Israel Part 2

To many students of the Bible Paul’s comment in Romans 9:6 that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (NIV) sounds very strange.  Is Paul saying the part of Israel that is “descended from Israel” is no longer part of the nation known as Israel?  Then that would mean the only people who are actually Israelites are Jewish people who believe in Yeshua as Messiah  and the “not all who are descended from Israel ” group are no longer members of the Jewish nation.  Yet if you follow that logic, any examples of the NT apostles addressing the segment of the Jewish nation who have not accepted Yeshua as Messiah as  still “Israel” makes no sense.

Check out these examples from the New Testament:

Acts 2:22: “Fellow Israelites, listen to this:

Acts 2:29:  “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.”

Acts 2: 36: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

Acts 3:12: “When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you?”

Acts 3:17: “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.”

Acts 4:10:  “then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.”

No wonder Christians are befuddled by Paul’s reference to two Israel’s in Romans 9:6.

Twelve Tribes of Israel

Twelve Tribes of Israel

 

In light of Paul’s head-scratching use of the phrase, “”not all who are descended from Israel are Israel”, Christian theologians come up with explanations that confuse the issue even more.

My favorite explanation is the one that states unbelieving Israel has been replaced by the Church.  This is called “replacement theology.”   In this theological system,  “Israel” that accepted Yeshua is none other than the Church.  Rather than create clarity, Replacement Theology (aka disguised as Fulfillment Theology or Transformation Theology or Promise Theology) contributes more fuzzy thinking since the reader of the New Testament is forced to think “Church” when he reads the term “Israel”. Try to think “Church” in reading Romans 11:26,  “and in this way all Israel will be saved.”  Thanks, but no thanks.  (more…)

Christ at the Checkpoint Position Paper by Israeli Messianic Jews

 

 A Position Paper of the Messianic Jewish Community regarding the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference (CatC) 

 1. The Word of God: the Tanakh and the New Covenant Scriptures together, are the one true, infallible, and unalterable standard of truth and life for all believers. As Yeshua our Messiah declared, “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17) and “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Therefore we affirm that “all the promises of God are ‘Yes’” and ‘Amen’ (not abrogated) in Yeshua (II Cor. 1:20), and that “the gifts and calling of God” for His chosen people, Israel, “are irrevocable” (Romans 11:28b-29 in context). “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew!” (Romans 11:2). Rather, “to them belong [present tense!] the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple worship, and the promises” (Romans 9:4).

2. The Messiah Yeshua’s calling for His Body — in the Land of Israel and throughout the world — is to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19) by proclaiming “repentance for the forgiveness of sins…in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:47). Every movement or activity which does not promote or which, on the contrary, distracts us from that central purpose and calling is not of God, no matter what biblical or spiritual language may be used to describe it. Yeshua never commanded, or even suggested, that His followers were to “bring in” the Kingdom of God on earth. Yeshua Himself promised to establish His Kingdom upon His return (Matthew 25:31, 34), and we, who are heirs of His Kingdom and proclaimers of it in the present age (James 2:5; Acts 28:23, 31), are instructed to pray for that day to quickly come (Matthew 6:10; cf. Philippians 3:20-21).

3. Christ at the Checkpoint is, therefore, a false messianic movement, arrogating to itself the role of Messiah in establishing the Kingdom while promoting a humanistic, political “liberation theology.” [All the “evangelical” CatC speakers reflect the same approach and goals, as is evident from the Kairos Document which Yohanna Katanacho, CatC Committee member, helped compose and Bethlehem Bible College endorsed]. Although cloaking its “mandate” in biblical language (“the teaching of Jesus on the Kingdom of God”) and using seductively positive terms (“Peace, justice, and reconciliation”), this movement has one overriding purpose: to sway Evangelical believers worldwide away from belief in the eternal promises of God to Israel by slandering the Jewish people and delegitimizing the Jewish state; painting Israel as a wicked, oppressive, apartheid “entity”—especially in contrast to the supposedly ‘democratic, tolerant and peace-seeking’ Palestinian Authority and people. There is no Gospel here! (more…)

Just Published! Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity

Today ScriptureSolutions  published a new booklet written by Louis Lapides. This brief  book can be found for Kindle at Amazon.

Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity

Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity by Louis Lapides

It came to no surprise to me that when I first became a Jewish follower of Yeshua, I was going to have a cultural crisis trying to fit into a Gentile Church.  I lasted a few months before I started asking inevitable questions, “I’m Jewish. Jesus is Jewish. His first followers were Jewish. The New Testament was written by Jews and a lot of the concepts they discussed have a powerful Hebraic background.  Then why is Christianity so “not-Jewish”?

Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity provides the reader with some of the findings I came upon as searched for answers to my questions. For me a lot of the issues were resolved when I studied the origin of most of the terminology used by Christians when describing their beliefs and practices.  When I was growing up attending Hebrew school in preparation for my Bar Mitzvah I never expected that Rabbi Printz would tell me that the mass practiced by the Catholic Church across the street from our temple was actually based in the Jewish Passover.  Nor was I told that baptism has it’s origins in the Jewish practice of immersion or mikveh used when Gentiles would turn from their paganism and convert to Judaism.

Attending a church for me at age 23 was a shocker as I describe in my opening chapter.  Here is a sample section from that chapter that will give you an idea of what Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity is all about.

Here’s a shocker . . . Jewish people don’t feel at ease in a Christian church. The first time I attended a Protestant congregation, a Southern Baptist one, I couldn’t avert my eyes from the 10-foot tall stained glass mosaic of Jesus looming behind the pastor. I imagined for a few moments the man from Galilee was about to step out of the window, float over to my pew and ask whether I noticed the “Jews Not Welcome” sign at the church’s front door. “Of course,” I would respond, “But Jesus, aren’t you . . . .?”

(more…)

Jesus is the Only Path to God; You Just Don’t Know It

There’s not a Christian alive who does not know the contents of John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

What is there not to understand about this verse?  How much clearer can Jesus be about the fact men and women come to the Father through Him alone?  Yes, it is an exclusive statement that excludes the validity of other religious figures (and their followers) like Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna and every other so-called deity or religion.  John 14:6 is everything but inclusive.

Is Jesus actually a backdoor Redeemer?

Leave it to Rob Bell to find a loophole in what I call a  “Christianity 101 Bible verse”.  Bell says on page 154 of his widely read book Love Wins, “What He [Jesus] doesn’t say is how or when, or in what manner the mechanism functions that gets people to God through Him. He  doesn’t even state that those coming to the Father through Him will even know that they are coming exclusively through him. He simply claims that whatever God is doing in the world to know and redeem and love and restore is happening through him.”

When I think of all the off-the-wall theological comments Bell makes in Love Wins, this is the worst.  Would Acts 4:12 make it clearer for Bell?  “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

For Bell to claim Jesus doesn’t “even state that those coming to the Father through Him will even know they are coming exclusively through Him,” is heresy or just plain mental confusion. Is Bell saying a person who places his faith in Buddha is actually saved through Jesus; he just doesn’t know it. What about Satan worshippers?  Where is this taught in the Bible?  Are people who worshipped Molech or Baal in the ancient Canaanite culture actually worshippers of the God of Israel; they just didn’t know it. Why didn’t the God of Israel instruct Israel to enlighten the Canaanites instead of tearing down their altars and wiping them out? (more…)

Which Jesus Should You Believe In?

The book that has pushed the most hot buttons with Christians this year is Pastor Rob Bell’s work Love Wins. It’s not surprising a book that questions the existence of hell and hedges on whether all people go to heaven would make the front cover of Time Magazine.

Crazy Christians Getting in the Way of Jesus

In the initial chapter Bell puts forth the question: When it comes to accepting Jesus, which Jesus do we invite into our lives?  The author puts this important question in his own distinct way,  “. . . think about the many who know about Christians only from what they’ve seen on television and so assume that Jesus is antiscience, antigay, standing out on the sidewalk with his bullhorn, telling people that they’re going to burn forever” (Love Wins, pg. 8).

I think Bell makes a good point.

Here’s why.  I am a NY Yankee fan – the most hated team in baseball, especially by Boston Red Sox fans.  And the feelings are mutual. Yet if you were to become a Yankee fan based on what a Red Sox fan claims about the Bronx Bombers, you’d never consider wearing a dark blue baseball cap with a NY insignia on the front.

I’ve known the NY team since the days of Mantle, Berra and Whitey Ford.  I can tell you a lot about the great achievements of the team.  In addition, I also have a lot of respect for many past Red Sox teams and players.

Let’s face it. You’ll never become a fan of the Yankees by speaking to a fan of the LA Dodgers, Anaheim Angels or Boston Red Sox. Instead,  I’d tell you to interview real Yankee fans.  Go to a Yankee game at Yankee Stadium. Read the history of the team.  Learn about the Yankees from people who love the team and not from people who wear the NY caps to be stylish or pretend they’re Yankees fans immediately after they win the World Series.

I’d tell you the same thing about Jesus. Speak to people who truly know Him and have walked with Him for a good portion of their lives to truly learn about Christ. (more…)

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