Dialogue with a Messianic Jew

22 11 2008

I will comment below in between your comments and have italicized yours differentiate between mine.. Also when I refer to “Orthodox” I am referring to the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church and not any particular jurisdiction/diocese (i.e. Greek, Russian, etc…) and not the Catholic Church. When I discuss the early church teachings I am referring to the disciples and followers of Yeshua along with the 2nd generation of disciples and not something more modern… usually teachings that were established in the 1st through 3rd centuries and by the 7 ecumenical councils that the entire world of Christendom followed up until the split between Rome and the rest of the Christian world and before the dark ages.

 

Well, its like this …

 

At the time our Messiah was alive he came from a poor family, albeit he was of the line of King David ( on his mom’s side ) … this fulfilling the professy that he will be a son of David.  I don’t know the way it was practiced in the time of the Messiah, but now you have to attend a college called a Yeshiva in order to become a Rabbi.

 

Rabbi simply means teacher in hebrew.  This is why I find it so interesting that during his ministry these college trained Rabbis were calling him Rabbi. They clearly much have known his background.

 

Perhaps I am mistaken and he did got to Yeshiva, but either way, it doesn’t matter.

 

Re: Messiah as a rabbi – did he or did he not go to yeshiva? From the earliest writings of the disciples of the disciples & jewish historians, messiah did not go to school… The Bible mentions that many people were astonished at his wisdom (even as a child) having been a “carpenters son”. It is understood that the pharisees did not like Messiah, he was a threat to them, however, he was popular among the “regular folks”, so they used the term rabbi mostly out of respect to appease the people. Many times throughout scripture, it is mentioned the pharisees would do something so as not to make the people upset. At that time, the land of Israel was occupied with the Romans, there were many zeolots & rabble rousers and the area was a hotbed of trouble, so the pharisees & sadduccees wanted to keep the peace & the status quo.

 

Now, he hung out with the woman at the well alone, who was a samaratan and quite the harlot it appears.  First of all, this gives the appearance of impropriety, yet he did not care.  Yeshua saw the big picture.  Yet he hand picked her to tell her that even though she wasn’t Jewish the gift was still for the samaratins or the gentiles or anyone who could accept a message so simple a child could understand it.

 

Yes, Yeshua did see the big picture and this is even evident throughout the old testament, especially when it even comes to the lineage of Yeshua when you see Ruth the Moabite, and rahab a Canninite and a harlot. The Jewish people were set-apart to be God’s chosen people, but not to be exclusive but to share the message of the one true god and to bring others to the true faith of the one true god. Unfortunately, especially at the time of Yeshua, they had become isolationist or exclusionist. So Yeshua was restoring that mission because as part of the holy trinity, being the son of God, the God-man, from the time of our father Adam until the time of our father Abraham, God was reaching out to all men. Even at the time of Abraham, there was Melchizidek who was already worshipping the one true God. At the time of the holy prophet Moses, Moses’ father was a worshipper of the one true God and yet was not part of Israel & Moses married his daughter. Moses’ wife became a subject of controversy concerning his leadership and even Moses’ sister was upset, however God disciplined her by giving her leprosy & after Moses prayed, she was cleansed, verifying his authority from god. There was also the case of the holy prophet Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, and the holy prophet Elisha and Naaman, the commander of the king of Syria. The other example is the holy prophet Jonah sent to the wicked city of Nineveh. This is an example of the mindset that had set into the Jewish people & how God wanted them to be a “light to the world” & God’s desire that all men might be saved & come into relationship with him.

 

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)

 

These words were spoken by Jesus to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well as He taught her the truth concerning worship to God. He taught that there would no longer be just one place to worship God (such as Mt. Gerizim or the temple at Jerusalem) but that from the “hour” of the establishment of the New Covenant, the true worshippers of God must worship in a definite way and according to a fixed pattern indicated by this statement of Jesus, “in spirit and in truth.”

 

Yes, Yeshua made it clear that worship was no longer going to be in one place… God had made it clear that he could meet with people anywhere at any time in any situation, one only needs to look at how Moses met God at the burning bush, Abraham, Elijah, and the children of Israel wandering through the desert having only a tent to worship God in. However, God did give the plans for the temple in Jerusalem, he did give the plans for the tent in the wilderness, he did specifically spell out how we were to worship him & if one looks at the layout of the tabernacle & the temple, with the coming of Yeshua… All of these things are symbols of the eternal and of Yeshua himself – for He is the way, the truth, the life. I could go on for hours about the symbolism in the temple and the comparisons to Yeshua being the fulfillment of all things… The bread, the lampstand, the alter, the washing basins, etc… However, Yeshua did say that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Yeshua did attend and worship in the temple and made his trips to Jerusalem and so did his disciples. The pattern of the service, the articles and structures in the temples/churches are supposed to point us to Yeshua & not be objects of worship or “legalism” but to draw us closer to God, along with being spiritual beings we are also physically sensory beings with sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. The incarnation of God, becoming man was more than just bringing us into right relationship with God, it was bringing the whole world including the physical world into perfect union with God, bringing back the Garden of Eden, the state of perfection. Yeshua was a man and was God in the flesh – Immanuel – God with us. In the traditional early christian church even with the first disciples of Yeshua, a pattern of worship was set based on the pattern set forth in the old testament, except that all would point to Christ and the new covenant. With the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, this sealed the new covenant that truly God not only was with us as Yeshua and God the Father, but now, for those who would follow Yeshua as their Messiah, then had the promise of the Holy Spirit coming to dwell with them, inside their spirit.

 

All this is to say that worshipping in “spirit & truth” means that we should have a right “spirit” independent of where we are – the orthodox teachings often say that you can be baptized orthodox and be in church and still not know God… And there are those outside of the church that can truly know God independently of the church – for God does not look at the outward man, but on the inward heart. This does not mean that the liturgical life & church are negated. In other words Yeshua did not negate the law and the way we worship, he wanted to expand it to beyond “legalism & trappings” and remind us to return to our “first love” worshipping Yeshua with our whole hearts and lives. Applying this to modern day living, too many christians live compartmentalized lives and church/christianity is in one compartment, and the rest of their lives is segregated into compartments as well. Yeshua wants us to be whole and every aspect of our lives he is to be Messiah & Lord over all with us being in complete union with him, so we too can say, I only do what the father says. I, of course, have a long way to go.

 

Yeshua also said to worship in “truth”, implying there is many falsehoods in the ways we worship. Again he did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it & he himself said “I am the truth”. The orthodox teaching says, Yeshua is the truth, the scriptures & holy tradition are the truth about the truth (Yeshua), mans theology is the truth about the truth (scriptures), about the truth (Yeshua). Yeshua said that all scripture (meaning the old testament) was about him and pointed to him. Orthodox teaching says the old testament was about Yeshua, pointing to Yeshua. The Gospels are about Yeshua and his life, teachings, miracles, death & resurrection. The books of the Acts of the apostles and the epistles of the apostles are about Yeshua & the Holy Spirit establishing the “Church”, the “Body of Christ”, to be a witness to the entire world. One last thing on the temple in Jerusalem, Yeshua showed honor and respect to the temple calling it the house of God. God wanted that temple built. Yeshua twice in his ministry here on earth went in to cleanse the temple to reestablish it as a place of prayer and worship. He never said that the temple and the liturgical way of worship was wrong. And in the book of the Apocalypse/the Revelation of the Apostle John, the “new jerusalem” and the holy temple will come down once again as a place for Yeshua to once again be enthroned on the throne of David. Orthodox teaching is clear that all of our churches are reflections of this eternal truth & preach the message of the eternal kingdom, which was & is & is to come. Again, i could go on for hours on this subject as well. But I will stop at this point because i’ve probably gone on way too much already.

 

Leading children to the Messiah is a powerful thing.  I have had the honor of participating in that capacity at least once in my life. They are so humble and pure and I feel like a greazy rag sitting next to them while we discuss the path to the Holy City.

 

I totally am with you on this one!!! I feel the same way! It is such a humbling and honoring experience to lead one to the messiah. It is not something like a “badge to be worn” or another “notch” in someones belt on “how many people they got saved”, it is a very personal, very honoring, very humbling opportunity to be broken vessels used and poured out by god to bring someone into right relationship with the Messiah.

 

Our Messiah Yeshua, hung out with harlots and tax collectors and anyone, including nicodemeous ( a pharasee ) who was willing to hear his message.  He only wanted to communicate to people that we need to drop our perspective about everything and revise our thinking to constantly commune with God in prayer.  Beyond that he wanted to shun things that was distance yourself from God.  Plain and simple.  So easy a child could understand.

 

Man has made up most of the rest of the trappings of our religion and liturgy.

 

Anything can cause us to distance ourselves from God, even Abraham was tested with Issac, the promised child to make sure that God was first in all things. Much of what we see today in christianity is people putting “God in a box”, making a “golden image” of what they think God is. Yeshua is always wanting us to break out of the “box” – after all God is holy, God is beyond our comprehension (simply because he is God) and if we could know everything or understand everything about God, then he wouldn’t be God… And yet at the same time, even a child can understand, because most importantly along with God being truth, spirit, life, he is love. But without truth, even love can become distorted.

 

Yeshua did hang out with harlots, tax collectors, burly fishermen, ordinary people, low lifes, but he never lowered his godliness, his holiness… He just made himself reachable even in his death reaching out to the thief, the centurion, and renting the temple veil in two, signifying that we now have access through Yeshua to holiness and God himself.

 

“Nicodemus (Greek: Νικόδημος) was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, who, according to the Gospel of John, showed favour to Jesus.” — wikipedia

 

Yes, even someone like Nicodemus, a pharisee, became a follower of Yeshua as well as Joseph of Arimethea (a very wealthy person)… Both later became witnesses of Yeshua to the uttermost parts of the earth, suffering much for their beliefs in yeshua!

 

God bless you dear brother. I hope I have not offended you, please forgive me if I did. I hope I did not overwhelm you either. I am a history fanatic and especially when it comes to church history, biblical history, etc… I have studied this I think most of my entire life, including as a child, I was the “sunday school” child who questioned everything & fortunately my parents if they didn’t have an answer, would send me off to the library or buy me books to find the answers. My whole family were nominal christians and did not have a true faith, but over the years, things have drastically changed. My sister now teaches at a christian college & my father is now a pastor. And if you had known my family… You would say this is a huge change! Yeshua Messiah Immanuel truly has come and visited myself and my family even though we were afar off, living in slime pits, believing in off the wall stuff, he wooed us, drew us, loved us – in spite of our whoring, idolatrous ways and brought us into his sheepfold.

 

Blessings,

Kathy

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