Recently, I was at an airport and watched with a remembering smile as a young person made the effort to walk up the down escalator. It immediately brought two memories to my mind. The first was when I was a young child and to the consternation of my mother I walked up the down escalator every time I found one. The second memory was of a statement made by one of my first biblical teachers who say that rising in our faith was like taking an escalator ride in which the lower you went (humility) the higher you rose spiritually. In other words, if you want to rise,
Luke 14:11 says it this way:
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
And Proverbs 18:12 renders the thought this way:
Before ruin a person’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.
The idea that when we become lower G-D raises us up higher is not the only directional reversal that we find in the Scriptures. However, one of them only becomes clear when we look at the text in the original language. Let’s look at Exodus 9:1:
Then Adonai said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him: This is what Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘Let My people go, so they may serve Me.’
In this text we see G-D’s instructions to “Moses to Go in to Pharaoh” the Hebrew word “Go” is “Bo.” This word, however, means both to “go” and to “come.” One good example of the use of this word can be found in the well-known Messianic Song by Paul Wilbur entitled “Bo Ruach Elohim” which means “Come Spirit of G-D.” I know that at this point I have not yet made my point. So let me continue. In this verse, G-D was commissioning Moses to go and get His people out of Egypt. Moses was told to, “Go”, yet the truth is that by Moses going to Egypt, Moses was not getting closer to Pharaoh. In reality, Moses was getting closer to G-D. Moses may have left the wilderness and traveled to the throne room of Egypt, but spiritually he left the wilderness and traveled to the throne room of G-D.
You may wonder what this has to do with us as believers in Yeshua (Jesus) today. The truth is it is extremely important to us today. Just think about Matthew 28:19 known as the Great Commission:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh.
Notice that these words spoken by Yeshua to His disciples are very similar to the commission that G-D spoke to Moses. We are told to “Go” and make disciples. Just as in the instructions to Moses, if we want to be drawn nearer to G-D, the way to “come” into His presence is to “Go” and make disciples. When our efforts are invested in humility, we will be elevated and when our efforts are invested in “Going into all the world to preach the Good News,” we will find ourselves coming into His presence.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, God Has No Plan "B", and his most recent book Galatians in Context.
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Ideas – Good and evil
‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.’ -Isaiah 5:20
For lack of a better word, and to avoid cliches and the pitfalls of misunderstanding, I will use the word Ideas to describe that which lays behind the concept of Good and Evil.
On the very simplest level, Evil (and Good) exists outside the individual person and his physical makeup in the form of Ideas. Those Ideas may be indoctrinated into the person, such as a young Muslim who is taught from childhood that it is good if he straps on a suicide belt and kills Jews in a pizza parlor, and he will be rewarded with 72 virgins in paradise. This is an evil Idea. Such Ideas may be spread to permeate an entire society, such as was the Nazi Idea in Germany with its murderous anti-Semitism, which is an evil Idea. Ideas, good or evil, are spread from outside the individual through writing and art and education and the media, and thus affect the behavior of persons and societies, and bring about good or evil results into the world.
There are Ideas which are bad in that they are built upon a false premise of errant assumptions, and therefore lead to evil results. The pleasant banner over the French Revolution- Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite- led to national chaos and the guillotine and streets running in blood. The ‘equality’ meaning ‘sameness’ promised by atheistic, materialistic Communism based on a false Idea contrary to the nature of humans, led to oppression, poverty and the murder of millions. Islam of the Quran based on primal fear and forced submission has long been known by its fruits of hatred, intolerance, backwardness and unending wars and terror. Bad Ideas.
In the marketplace of Ideas there are some very good ones. There are good Ideas, such as “Love your neighbor as yourself,” which have been passed down from the biblical writings for over 3000 years, and have had some positive effect upon humanity. The basic Idea at the very foundation of the Bible is “You shall love”. E Pluribus Unum (‘out of many, one’) and One Nation Under God are good Ideas, but their reversal becomes a bad Idea that leads to division and dissolution of the unity of a free nation, just as the good Idea of Christianity has caused evil when tragically misused contrary to its Founder’s tenets. Fire may cook the food and heat the house, or burn the house down if misused.
Ideas existed long before Muhammad and pre-dated Plato and Buddha and Zoroaster, and even Moses. Ideas are like clouds that build to fullness and then precipitate into ideologies and philosophies and those to political movements and those, when two contradicting Ideas attempt to occupy the same space, to conflict, and the last place the Ideas meet in conflict is on the battlefield of war.
But if one were to part the curtain to find the source of Ideas, and what fuels them, one might find Truth and its opposite, Lies. Ideas shape Ideals, true or false ones. The introduction of the Idea that the God of Truth is ONE and only was revolutionary, an affront that shattered the multiplicity of gods and goddesses that had shaped the paradigm of the ancient thought world, even the intelligent philosophical Greek world that has shaped much of Western thought. The oneness of the Creator- an Idea so simple that many find it hard to grasp- who had created a beginning with purpose, implied the oneness of all his creation, and thus the promise of an eventual coming of shalom (a dynamic of all things working together for the good, not a cessation of anything- except evil). Then the oneness of reality will cause a unity of the Creator, mankind, and all creation, without further conflict. As it is written prophetically, “In that day YHVH will be king over all the Earth, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).
YHVH the Creator is outside of His creation as much as I am outside of the art that I create- but I do exist out here. YHVH is especially outside of rebellious men, who do not seek to invite Him inside. To be forever outside the light of YHVH is Hell, trapped inside of our own lonely selves and Ideas and desires, and separated unto a long self-chosen exile in outer darkness. A sad Idea.
The greatest Idea has been given from Heaven. “It is not in Heaven” (Deut. 30:12), which means it is now given to humankind in the Torah and the Prophets and the King Messiah, and thus the free choice is given to us: “This day I lay before you life and death, the blessing and the curse, therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live!” (Deut. 30:19). Which is a very good Idea.
Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published two illustrated books of poetry, and painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.
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Don’t keep your hands to yourself—How to heal the sick
In 1989, I was working selling copiers. We had a big office with many people and the office manager had just given four ibuprofen to the secretary, who happened to be Jewish. I asked why she was about to take so many pain relievers and she told me how badly her head hurt. I asked, in front of a few others, if I could pray for her. I did and she turned to the office manager and returned the ibuprofen! She was healed.
No, it was not cancer, but it did cause this young lady to be open to hearing about Yeshua.
There is much written about our calling to healing evangelism in the New Testament. In Mark 16, Yeshua lists five supernatural things that we are to do as believers. One of them is to lay hands on the sick and, it says, they will be healed!
Why are we to lay hands on people? Because God has used this to symbolize the transferring of spiritual power and authority. A leader who sins is to lay hands on a goat before it is sacrificed. (Lev. 4:24) The priest laid hands on the goat during Yom Kippur.
He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. (Lev. 16:21)
The Bible talks about having clean hands and that this is akin to having a pure heart. (Ps. 24:4) If God was for you, His hand was with you. If not, the Lord’s hand was against you.
We see this more clearly through Yeshua’s ministry. We read that when they arrested Yeshua, they tied his hands (Matt. 27:2). Why? Maybe because they, too, understood, both from Jewish history and from Yeshua’s ministry, that the power of God was released from one to another through the hands.
- Through Yeshua’s hands, He healed the sick. (Peter’s mother-in-law, the leper in Matthew 8)
- He raised the dead by taking the hand of a young girl who had died and by touching a dead boy’s body.
- He took the fish and loaves in His hands and fed 5,000 people.
- He made mud with His hands and put it on the eyes of the blind man, healing him.
What faith it took to touch the man with leprosy! It was a contagious, horrible flesh-eating disease. I am reminded of the story of John G. Lake and bubonic plague. Lake was a missionary in Africa during a time when scores of people were dying from the plague. People were afraid to bury the bodies for fear of contracting the disease. When doctors asked Lake what he was using to protect himself, he replied:
“Brother, that is the ‘law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.’ I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, that no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it.”
He asked the doctor to put the foam that was coming out of the mouths of the corpses in his hand. When he did so, and then put Lake’s hand under a microscope, he could see that upon contact with Lake’s hand, the disease died.
That same power is in you! Take a look at your hands. The Spirit of God can be released to the sick through your hands.
A Drunk Man Made Sober
Once I was in Port Jefferson, New York, with a team sharing Yeshua. A young man who was quite drunk was not so interested. I told him, “If you let me pray for you, God will make you sober!” He thought it was a joke and allowed me.
Suddenly, he started going crazy, shouting, “What did you do? What do you do? I am sober!” He seemed quite scared by the encounter.
You can do MORE than Yeshua!
One of my favorite verses is John 14:12. Yeshua says,
“The things that I do, you will do and greater things than these will you do, because I am going to my father.”
Yeshua doesn’t say we can merely do what He did—but even greater things! Why? Because he has gone to the Father.
What does that mean, because He has gone to the Father?
- He has risen from the dead and conquered sin and death!
- We are now born from above.
- He has sent the Holy Spirit to us.
- He lives to make intercession for us. (Heb. 7:25)
Think about that…when you go out to share the gospel or pray for the sick, the Bible says that Yeshua – that great intercessor – is praying for you. Check out this verse:
“Messiah Yeshua who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Rom. 8:34)
What a joy to know that Yeshua is at the right hand of the Father—you can’t get any closer than that—praying for us, right now! We are immersed in the Holy Spirit to be anointed to do the works of Yeshua before unbelievers. Two of the gifts of the Spirit are healing and miracles.
Why Are so Few Being Healed?
So, why don’t we see more sick people healed? One reason is that most people don’t pray for the sick. Like anything else in life, you have to do it a lot to become good at it.Michael Jordan didn’t wake up one day to find out that he was the best basketball player in the world. No, he practiced…day and night, before games and after games.
Malcom Gladwell, in his book Outliers, speaks of a study that says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. No, I am not suggesting that you pray for people for 10,000 hours, but merely that the more you pray for the sick, the better you will get at moving in the Spirit.
Get Out of the Building!
Another reason we might not see so many healings is that we pray for believers only. It is so much more fun to pray for unbelievers! What is the first healing we see in Acts? A crippled beggar (Acts 3) receives new legs. Philip goes to Samaria (Acts 8) and casts out demons and does miracles—and the people believe. Our playing field is not inside the congregation but outside – at work, in the university, at the store, etc. God loves to heal unbelievers. Most of the unbelievers I pray for are healed instantly.
If we have such a great gift as healing, why do we keep it to ourselves? There is a story in 2nd Kings where four lepers decide to surrender to the Assyrians. They are dying anyway and wonder what they have to lose. When they arrive, they find the Assyrians gone and all their supplies still there. Food, gold, silver, iPhones!
As they are enjoying the spoils, they come under conviction.
“What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.” (2 Kings 7:9)
In the same way, we cannot keep this great gift to ourselves, but must share it with the lost. It is time to stop keeping our hands to ourselves!
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, January 4, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Ron and wife Elana make their home in Tel Aviv. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua—the Glory of Yeshua—a Tel Aviv-based, Hebrew-speaking Messianic congregation. Ron is a published author with Destiny Image Publishers, having written books like “Identity Theft”, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Jewish” and “The Jerusalem Secret”. Ron is a sought-out conference speaker and shares passionately about the Jewish Roots of the New Testament and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel.
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2 Peter 3: The day of YHVH is coming
Peter begins this chapter by reminding his brothers and sisters in the faith of what both the prophets during the Old Testament and also the Apostles of the Lord and Savior in the New Testament have spoken: “knowing this first”, that scoffers [among even the people of God] will come in the last days, living according to their own lusts, and saying that there are no indications/signs that the Lord is coming; nothing has changed since the creation of the world. If Christians and Jews do not believe in their heart that the Lord and Judge is coming, why should we expect others to take the matter seriously?! If believers are not praying the last prayer of the Bible – “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”! – why should we expect Israel to say “Blessed are you, Lord Jesus/Yeshua, who comes in the name of YHVH!”?
The scoffers are secure in their own unbelief and evil (in God’s eyes), and make light of the coming again of Jesus, who is going to judge them and their lifestyle. Peter writes that these scoffers willfully forget (willful collective amnesia) the flood in Noah’s day, when Godintervened directly into human affairs, judging and destroying the world as it was then. And God has promised by His word to again judge and destroy the world as it now is, this time by fire, on the day of judgment – the Day of YHVH – to put away ungodly people and subdue evil, and to rescue and save the righteous. The God of Israelwill vindicate and sanctify His holy name, and glorify His people. By faith, we, according to His promise, look beyond the Millennial Kingdom for the perfect New Heavens and New Earth to come (the present Heavens and Earth are “very good”) (Gen 1:31; 1Cor 13:10; Rev 21:1-4), in which righteousness dwells. (2Pt 3:13)
The scoffers have accepted or been heavily influenced by the teaching of evolution, which, in essence, claims that the Biblical record and testimony do not stand up to human wisdom. (And they can also be negatively influenced by numerous false prophecies about the end times and rapture that have already been proven to be false.) They add much and take away much of what is written in the Scriptures, as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Peter writes that they willfully forget that YHVH judged the world by the flood, and that Jesus is coming again to judge the world in righteousness. Evolution teaches that death was happening long ago without sin as being the cause; whereas Yeshua and the Apostles affirm that death came in because of sin through one man, Adam. In evolution teaching, there may have been a flood that covered the Earth, but it was not a judgment from the Creator. Evolution is more than just a teaching about length of time for things to be what they are. Yeshua came to save us from our sins, from the liar Satan, and from death and Hell. This is the gospel message!
Evolution teaches, generally, that there is no God, at least not YHVH, and if there is a God, then He is not good; no judgment; no Heaven, and no Hell (but, if there really is the God, they want to usually be in Heaven after the judgment that they do not fear, with the Lord whom they deny). This teaching undermines the Biblical testimony of the LORD Himself, who has revealed to us what He has done, when He has done it, and why He does it. Therefore, it, too, falls into the category of “destructive teachings”, or heresies, having come out from the household of faith. God also tells us that human beings are unique among all other created things, in that we are created in His image and likeness. That is why we are commanded to live in holy conduct and godliness. Charles Darwin (accredited for popularizing evolution as a world-view) knew that if he was right, then Genesis is wrong, and the whole Bible becomes discredited as the primary source and authority about origins and purpose; it becomes only a mythology of the Hebrews. In his theory, the strong survive (survival of the fittest). Jesus, and the writers of the Scriptures, tell us that the meek and righteous shall inherit the Earth and the Kingdom. (Ps 37:11, 27-34; Mt 5:5)
(Parents, pastors, teachers, we have an obligation to know and to show from the Bible why evolution is wrong. We do not have to understand how our God could create everything as He said He did. Neither can anyone explain how evolution is right. We either believe our Father, who has revealed to us what only God knows, or else we reject that and put this world’s wisdom above God’s Word. “Has God really said?!” We want to worship Him in spirit and truth.)
In these last days, Peter informs us by the Holy Spirit that people live in unbelief, without the fear of YHVH. We can see lawlessness increasing, with more violence and brutality as a consequence. They live as if God does not exist, or else, if so, that He is irrelevant. “God is dead”. Yeshua tells us that “as in the days of Noah, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Mt 24:37-39) People will be living as everything will continue to be as they always have, not expecting the return of the Lord. The Scriptures are united in their witness and testimony. The “scoffers” do not believe in their heart in the living God, or in the signs which He has given us to prepare and be ready of Jesus’ return. As disciples of the true Messiah, we need to renew our minds, and not be conformed to this world, and the spirit of it.
The Day of YHVH corresponds to the Day of Atonements in the redemptive calendar which God gave to Israel. On that day, either the Jewish Israeli people accepted the sacrifice that He provided for their atonement, or they did not. If they do, He dwells among them (full-filled realized during the Millennial Kingdom, corresponding to the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles). If they refuse, they cut themselves off, and YHVH will see to it. (Lev 23:26-32; Lev 16; Zec 12:7-14; Heb 9:11-28) The 1000-year reign of Messiah, and the saints with Him, is the Sabbath rest for this creation – the seventh 1000-year period since the Creation, according to God’s Word. (Heb 4:1-11; Rom 8:18-25) All of the covenantal promises of God to Israel and her people and land are ‘yes’, and ‘amen’ in Messiah Yeshua, and will all find their fulfillment during those times of restoration of all things pertaining to this world, which will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD. (Acts 3:19-22; Is 11:9; 2:17)
God has been long-suffering before this long-awaited Day comes. He wants people to be saved, having their sins forgiven and wiped away, and to live with Him for eternity! (2Pt 3:9) It took Him about 1700 years after Adam and Eve to judge and kill all of the wicked, but saved Noah and his family in the ark. Peter is also telling us that God is not slow to put away the evil, but long-suffering, wanting as many as possible to repent and be saved. So Peter, by the Holy Spirit, references Ps 90:4, in which Moses writes, by the Holy Spirit, that 1000 years is like yesterday to God. Moses goes on to write that our life expectancy is 70 years, and with strength, 80 years. (v 10) In other words, a normal lifetime is between 70-80 years. (In Israel today, the average life-span is about 83 years; Israel today, as a nation, is approaching 71 years.)
Moses also wrote that that we should want God to “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”. (v 12) Hosea the Prophet wrote that Israel should return to the LORD, for YHVH has punished them, but will heal them. He has stricken them for two days, and on the third day He will raise us up, that we might live in His sight. Let us know and let us pursue the knowledge of YHVH. (Hos 6:1-3) These two days were not 24-hour days, but these completely align with Peter’s prophetic counsel to believers in Jesus in the last days – which began since Yeshua died and rose again, ascended to sit at the right-hand of the Father, and the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the 120 disciples. (Acts 2:16-21) We are living in the end-times of the last days, marked by the reestablishment of the Jewish people in the land of promise. (Mt 24:32-35) (Interestingly, even in the Talmud is a reckoning of history into three 2000-year periods, for the six days of history following the Creation: 2000 years of no Law; 2000 years of Torah; 2000 years of the Messiah. http://www.come-and-hear.com/zarah/zarah_9.html ) (With evolutionary thinking, there are no reliable time-markers.)
Yeshua rebuked the multitudes of the people in His day that, although they could discern the signs about the weather, they could not discern the times about His having come to them, the Messiah and Lord that the prophets had foretold them. (Lk 12:54-56; Acts 3:17-18) Do we want Him to say the same thing to us? The Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age. (1Cor 10:11; Acts 3:19-26) And what was the context in which Paul wrote that to the believers in Corinth?: they were walking according to their own lusts, just as Israel had done, warning the believers not to become idolatrous like unbelievers who live according to the lusts of the flesh. This is what Peter is saying to us, as well, nearing the end of the age: that since God is going to judge all these things, we are to live in holy conduct and godliness, waiting for and hastening the day of God (the day of YHVH). (2Pt 3:11)
The Father has set a Day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, and Yeshua is that Judge. (Acts 17:30-31) No one can know in advance precisely that day and hour; but, we are told to watch and pray concerning the signs which the Lord and the apostles and prophets have given us. Then we can be prepared, and not be taken by surprise when the Lord returns as a thief in the night.
How do we hasten a day that the Father has set and no one can alter?: by faithful obedience, and by love. If we are busy with what our Lord and Savior has given us to do, we will be blessed in Him, and the “work day” will not seem so slow and long. He has commissioned us to take the gospels to all peoples, and that when the fullness of Gentiles have come in, then all Israel will be saved. And if we really love Yeshua, then we will be continually desiring to see Him, even as we go about His work, loving others, and He will comfort us by His Word and Spirit that He will come for us. We will “feel” that the time is going by faster, thus, hastening the Day. (Mt 24:36-51) As we read the whole counsel of God, we see that there is a unity and an agreement within the Bible that reinforces what He would have us to hear and understand and do. We are His children; we are His servants; we are His friends; we are His witnesses; we are the Lamb’s beloved Bride.
Peter, the Apostle to the Jews, commends his brother Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, but who was also commissioned by the Lord Yeshua to speak to the Jewish people and to kings. Paul had rebuked Peter when Peter had acted hypocritically regarding his lifestyle and teaching as a believer: he was eating with Gentiles, and free to eat whatever was put before him (if he wanted), giving prayer and thanks to God for it. (1Tim 4:3-4) But when leading Jewish believers who were still keeping certain traditions that were no longer required of believers in Messiah Yeshua, he acted like he was, too. His example influenced other believers, and Paul rebuked him for bringing confusion into the truth of the gospel – to the Jews first, and also to the Gentiles. (Gal 2:11-21) Peter humbled himself, and accepted the rebuke, and now, in his second epistle, commends Paul and the wisdom which he had received from God. He adds that those who twist Paul’s words and teachings – though some are very challenging to understand — do so with all of the Scriptures! (2Pt 3:14-16)
This third and last chapter of Peter’s second epistle to the Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua focuses on how believers – whether Jewish or not – should live in light of the falling away from the true faith in the true God, in order that disciples of Jesus can be overcomers in the Day of YHVH, after which there shall be a regenerated Heavens and Earth during the Millennial reign of Messiah with His saints co-ruling over saved Israel and the nations. (Is 65:17-25; Rev 20:4-6; Dan 7). Yet Peter takes us beyond the last 1000 years of this creation – which will pass away (Mt 5:17-18) — to the New Heavens and New Earth “in which righteousness dwells”. (Rev 21:1-8) God has called us by “glory and virtue”, given us “exceedingly great and precious promises” – all this that we would be motivated to strengthen ourselves in God to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. (2Pt 1:2-4; 3:11,18) Are you ready for the Day of the LORD? Or are you thinking that everything will just continue as they always have seemed to? What kind of people should we be in the light of that Day? Yeshua gives us attributes of God’s character in the Sermon on the Mount; and Paul gives us the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians. Let us aspire to become more like our heavenly Father, in His image and likeness. We should look forward to these things, and be diligent to be found in peace, without spot, and blameless when He comes.
The Apostle Peter’s reminder and counsel to us is similar to Hosea’s: pursue the knowledge of our God and Savior. Grow in knowing God – our Father, our Lord Jesus Christ whom He sent, the Holy Spirit dwelling within us joining us as one Spirit with our Creator and Redeemer. This is eternal life, which we possess already if we are born again from Above, and which we long for in fullness in the resurrection of our bodies.
To God be the glory both now and forever!
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, January 5, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.
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How can you not be Jewish if you’re born to a Jewish father?
Who decided that Jews born to a Jewish father are no longer legally Jewish?
If that’s true, we’d better rethink whether Ephraim (son of Joseph, born of a non-Jewish mother) and Gershom (son of Moses, born of a non-Jewish mother) are legitimately part of the tribe! Kind David had two non-Jewish women among his ancestors (Rahab and Ruth). Is he a non-Jew?
Throughout the Tanach, heritage is through the father. When did that change? The scriptures take pains to refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; what rabbinic scholar came up with the idea that this was a mistake and should rather be the God of Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel? While the history of the Jewish people included much tragedy, including the rape of many Jewish women, today’s Jewish mothers almost always know who the father of their child is. Isn’t it time that we returned our biblical heritage to its rightful owners – the fathers? If not, we are guilty of removing the true biblical birthright, which denies those who rightly are and should be recognized as legal Jews!!!
Terri is the wife of the founding elder of Poriya Congregation