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 Re:

Quote:
Shall we get started?


I just read through this entire thread and think there is a need to start. I think its most benefical in grasping a large subject like this is to look generally at verses and look at as many verses of scripture as possible to get a wider context. It turns into a tunnel-vision discussion when we rest on one or two verses. I personally have been showed some of this awesome truth, It saddens me to talk to an evangelical Christian that basically believes that the Jews are totally seperate then Christians. First off Jesus was a jew, and basically all of the original church gathering were jewish believers also. Jesus came first to save the jews then the gentiles. I will quote some verses from Romans, going in order as best as possible:

[b]Romans 1:16-17[/b] - I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

At first glance this above passage seems to say that Jew and Gentile alike come to believe by the means of faith. They obtain 'a righteousness' not of there effort but by an external force, the power of God. And they enter into this righteousness? Christ? who is the true vine?

[b]Romans 2:12-13[/b] - All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

[b]Romans 2:17[/b] - Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God;

Paul seems to be saying here that the arguement of the Jews was that they were righteous and special before God because they had the law. But he clearly shows that the Gentiles hearts are a law unto themselves (Romans 2:14-15). So in conclusion he states that having the law doesnt save you make you in better relationship with God. Its obedience to the law of God that makes you righteous and in right-standing with God.

[b]Romans 2:28[/b] - A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.

It still seems to me that the Jews are special and set apart to God amongst the nations and salvation is found with the Jewish people in the Old testament. Because a true Jew in God's eyes was one who had a 'circumsized' heart and that action was done by the Spirit of God, God wrought the righteousness of Christ in Jews hearts that walked humbly with their God in faith. We are ingrafted into this circumision of the heart by faith in Christ. We are given that same faith to follow God that Abraham and the other patriachs did.

Well thats Romans 2.. I confess I don't know that much about this subject and please correct me as much as you can. And if my comments are too simplistic, complexisize them :-P


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/3/15 21:33Profile
RobertW
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And if my comments are too simplistic, complexisize them :-D

I like that! You did quite well! Someone just asked me over my shoulder... "How old is that guy?" :-)

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/3/15 21:41Profile
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[b][size=small]The Fourth Philosophy: (THE ZEALOTS)[/size][/b]
[size=xx-small]By Robert Wurtz II[/size]


In our first lesson we sketched out some of the characteristics of the JEWISH FREEDOM MOVEMENT in the time of Jesus. They would eventually come to be kown as the ZEALOTS, but the movement itself developed greatly from the time of the Galileans (Judas of Galilee) until they fled to MASADA and took their own lives. The philosophies of Judaism most important in the time of Christ were the Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes, and the Zealots (fourth philosophy). Keep in mind that all such movements in the first century were both religious and political; not one or the other. However, there was so much dissention within the Zealots as time went on that it is more accurate to call them a “tendency” than a “party.” Before it was over they were at war within themselves. According to Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews 18,3 –18,23 their main doctrine was as follows:

1) Only GOD may be called LORD or ruler (sole rule of God)

2) They had an ‘invincible love of freedom’

3) The people must cooperate with God for His intervention and help

4) They had a deep and bitter resentment of the Roman census

The history of this sect as we know it began with resentment from the census conducted by Cyrenius in 6-7 CE. It resurfaced again in 48 CE when two of Judas’ sons were crucified by Tiberious Alexander and was continued at the beginning of the Jewish war by Manehem (another of Judas’ sons. Manehem claimed to be the Messiah). It ended with the mass suicide of the Zealots at Masada and the mass murder of the deadly “sect within the Zealots” called the Sacarii (assassins) in Egypt in 73 CE. The Sacarii held to the “Sole rule of God” even under extreme tortutre. Needless to say, when Herod placed a statue (graven image) of an Eagle over the door to the Temple it did not sit well with this movement. The eagle was a divine symbol of the false god Jupitor and of Baal Shamin (sun-god) in Syrian temples (among others, See also Daniel 9:27). This helped keep the fear of the days of Antiochus Epiphanes (a type of the anti-Christ) and his mad behavior in the Temple, ever before their eyes. Judas the Galilean gave this whole struggle a theological implication and that secured in the hearts of many their allegance to the struggle. Judas the Galilean taught that people could not yield to a ruler who claimed ‘divine status” for themselves. To obey the emporer was to break the First Commandment and worship a false idol (or god. See Exodus 22:19).

Josephus was not all to kind to this movement and chose to refer to them most of the time as “robbers” ( Gk word? or as we might call them “pirates.” In Rabbinic literature the Hebrew word used lends to the idea that they were to be feared at night. The Babylonian Talmud calls the “rebels” in Jerusalem by the name Barjone (See Gitt 56a,b. the barjonim is plural). The word literally means “out-laws.” This has led a few scholars to believe that Simon was a Zealot based on Matthew 16:17, but there are real problems with this view. However, Simon Peter’s overall concept of Messiah was obviously very much effected by the Jewish Freedom Movement based upon the fact that he was willing to die for who he thought was the Messiah (another study) and what the average Jew believed the Messiah would do when He appeared. Satan used Jesus’ capture to create confusion in Peter’s mind about what was going on. This, in my honest opinion, was the “sifting” that took place. The Greek word for “sift” is Strongs NT:4617 siniazo (sin-ee-ad'-zo); from sinion (a sieve); to riddle (figuratively). Satan used that contradiction of the reality of what was happening to Jesus and Peter’s Messianic concepts to “riddle” his mind that he would loose his faith. Jesus cleared it all up in Luke 24:44… as it is written… And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

God bless,

-Robert


* None of this information on this page is from Internet sources (not that that is always bad). It is original information in which I have utilized Josephus' Complete Works and Martin Hengel’s scholarly work “The Zealots” T & T Clark EDINBURG c1989 among other sources as well as recollections from past lectures of Dr. Ron Moseley of the AIHLS (American Institute for Holy Land Studies).


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/3/16 8:15Profile
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[b][size=small]THE "ROBBERS" [/size][/b]
[size=xx-small]By Robert Wurtz II[/size]

The "Robbers" (Gk. les-tes) as we touched on in the previous study was the preferred term to describe participants in the Jewish Freedom Movement by Josephus. This sheds much light on the Gospels and the crucifixion of Jesus. When the temple guards came to get Jesus He asked them the question "48 "Am I leading a rebellion," said Jesus, "that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled"(Mark 14:48, 49 NIV). Literally the passage says "have you come out against a ROBBER?" The NIV captures the meaning though. The teachings of Jesus were well contrary to the doctrines of the Zealots (Robbers, Sacarii, Barjone, etc.). He taught the people to love each other and not to rebel against Rome. He will be shown to die for the very sins and behaviors he TAUGHT AGAINST. In fact, He said if you are asked to carry a load for a mile carry it two miles (Matthew 5:41). And again... render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the things that are God's (Mark 12:17). And again I say unto you that you RESIST NOT evil (Matthew 5:39). Many like teachings that were totally contrary to the Zealot cause. Jesus did MUCH to squelch the Zealot uprising! We will see what they did with Him.

Many wanted to force Jesus into the mold of their own interpretation of prophesy and Messianic concepts of that day. The application I make of this fact for today in my life is thus: There misinterpretation of key Messianic passages proved to be deadly dangerous in the end for the Zealots and others and speaks to us today that we ought to use caution in how dogmatic we are about the TIMING of the Coming of the Lord. The Jews had the timing... they were in the dark as to the details and purpose of the first coming (and most of them blew it because of their own agendas). We as the Church have the details, but are in the dark concerning the timing and could be in danger of our own agendas causing a similar plight (no need for me to defend this comment... its my own personal position).

Martin Hengel comments on this saying "His enemies, however, had him condemned before Pilate
as a messianic pretender who endangered the state and, together with two "robbers", who may have been real Zealots, he suffered the same death as som many menbers of the Jewish Freedom Movement before and after Him." (Martin Hengel, The Zealots, Edinburg 1989)

In John 18:40 we find Barabbas being referred to as a "robber." And again... A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. (Mark 15:7-11 NIV) What madness is this? To condemn with lies a man for doing the very thing you know the man you are asking the release of is guilty of? Yes, I believe, Jesus was condemned in Barabbas' place-- the truly guilty one. Barabbas was released as was common with the scapegoat and Christ bore our sin dying for the very things He preached and taught against. Talk about a riddle? How did that riddle Peter's mind? The whole situation was insane. Not only did he have to come to terms with what he thought the Messiah was supposed to do; but He watched Him die for the very things He preached against. Only by the prayer of Jesus and the sovereign grace of God did Peter (Petros i.e. "the rock") not watch his faith be dashed into powder.

God Bless,

-Robert




* None of this information on this page is from Internet sources (not that that is always bad). It is original information in which I have utilized Josephus' Complete Works and Martin Hengel’s scholarly work “The Zealots” T & T Clark EDINBURG c1989 among other sources as well as recollections from past lectures of Dr. Ron Moseley of the AIHLS (American Institute for Holy Land Studies).


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 2004/3/16 9:03Profile
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 Re:

[b][size=small]THE ASSASSINS (Sacarii)[/size][/b]
[size=xx-small]By Robert Wurtz II[/size]

In Matthew 24:2 Jesus asked... "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." (NIV) Jesus knew what was coming and it was total devastation. After the death and resurrection of Christ- the Zealots and the Pharisees were still at work. The Church in Jerusalem was headed (the president) by James the half brother of our Lord and then it was headed by various family members of His after that. The Christians were a new sect called the Notzrim (Nazarenes). According to Dr. Ron Moseley there were around 20 other mini sects that were likewise out of step with the Pharisees and Zealots and were given the harsh name "the Minim" (All the while the Church is spreading the Gospel and coming under intense persecution-- the Zealots and the other sects were doing their aganda.) The "Minim" is sort of like saying "the heretics." Remember this fact, it will be important in our future studies.

To cut through a lot of details it happens that Felix lied to the leader of the Zealots and lured him into being taken prisoner to Rome. This upset them greatly. They retaliated by forming a group called the SACARII. These men were brutal killers. They carried a short dagger under their clothing and would wade through crowds to assassinate people. Some scholars believe that there was a connection between the sacarii and the Temple leaders in those days and refer to the incident with Paul in Acts 23:12. Their actions are typical of the Sacarii. The fact that Roman guards were taken to protect is good indication that this may have been the case. The Zealots and especially the Sacarii would threaten people with DEATH who would not follow them in their uprising. They had a very believable reputation and track record for doing it, as they were not mere idle threats. FROM these facts we begin to see why Josephus so resented the Zealots and referred to them as "robbers." He saw them as common criminals. Josephus reports that they were scattered around in bands of rebels that would rob and steal and kill like outlaws. They took the property of the rich, killed the owners, and plundered their possessions (Antiquities 20, 185).

Josephus says that the Sacarii (and Zealots) in many cases had a "senseless thirst for blood." They were motivated by greed and desire for spoils and not merely religion. Most of their behavior was cloaked in religion- but had nothing to do with it. This was not true for all, but for many. This is the character of the Zealots.... what will come of them?

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/3/16 10:20Profile
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 RE:

Isn't it amazing that Jesus chose from among these different groups for His disciples? What an odd group He put together. Two sets of brothers, Peter and Andrew,and then the sons of thunder, John and James who were probably a bit obnoxious to be around (why else would they be called that?). Then there was another Simon who was a zealot. Matthew a hated tax collector. Some people believe that Judas was most likely a member of the sacarii. Some of His follwers had political interests, others like the fishermen did not. Then Jesus also had many women following His ministry, something very unusual for that time.

What a group He put together, calculated not to get along! Guaranteed to get on each others nerves. Only Christ could unite a group like that!

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2004/3/16 11:16Profile
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 Re:

Amen to that! He is awesome. And it just occured to me that if He can keep the peace with that group... we all down here ought to be a cake walk (LOL).

God Bless,

-Robert :-D


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/3/16 15:04Profile
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[b][size=small]THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE (70 CE)[/size][/b]
A very truncated version!
[size=xx-small]By Robert Wurtz II[/size]

It is hard to imagine how beautiful and awesome that the Temple actually was in the first century. So many times we think the "upper room" may have been in someones attic, etc. The Temple was quite a site to behold for those who were there. We, some 2000 years later only have the detailed models and 3D animations to go on. Just seeing them is awe inspiring. Although hostility towards the Notzrim (Christians) increased with each passing year, we must remember that the believing Jews and the non-believing Jews were constantly mingling together both in the Temple and in the local synagogues. This is a very important fact! Paul preached in synagogues and Jesus attended synagogue. It was a main part of their identity as Jews and a means with which to express their religion. To loose the Temple would mean the loss of a common meeting place- both for believing Jews and non-believing Jews alike.

What exacerbated the whole problem were the many men who rose up and claimed "Messiah" status in the Zealot leadership (Jewish Freedom Movement). The believing Jews could not follow them and it alienated the believers from their non-believing family members and friends. They were viewed as traitors of Israel. This is the reality of the "sword" that Jesus said he would bring and set family members at enmity with each other (Matthew 10:34).

McClintock and Strong writes... "During the final struggle of the Jews against the Romans, A.D. 70, the Temple was the last scene of the tug of war. The Romans rushed from the Tower of Antonia into the sacred precincts, the halls of which were set on fire by the Jews themselves. It was against the will of Titus that a Roman soldier threw a firebrand into the northern out-buildings of the Temple, which caused the conflagration of the whole structure, although Titus himself endeavored to extinguish the fire (War, 6:4). Josephus remarks," One cannot but wonder at the accuracy of this period thereto relating; for the same month and day were now observed, as I said before, wherein the holy house was burned formerly by the Babylonians. Now the number of years that passed from its first foundation, which was laid by king Solomon, till this its destruction, which happened in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, are collected to be one thousand one hundred and thirty, besides seven months and fifteen days; and from the second building of it, which was done by Haggai in the second year of Cyrus the king, till its destruction under Vespasian there were six hundred and thirty-nine years and forty-five days." The sacred utensils, the golden table of the shew-bread, the book of the law, and the golden candlestick were displayed in the triumph at Rome. Representations of them are still to be seen sculptured in relief on the triumphal arch of Titus." (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)


Josephus reluctantly describes in detail the atrocities that took place. Everyone ought to read those sobering accounts. People resorted to the most horrific means of survival. Hunger has a way of bringing madness to those who are unrighteousness. The Psalmist once wrote... "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. 27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. 28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off."(Psalm 37:25-28)

Famine has often been used as an arrow of God's judgment. And as Matthew Henry once put it... "God is never at a loss for a means with which to punish a wicked people... His quiver is always full."

Jerusalem was destroyed and the Temple with it. The city was plowed according to Micah 3. The believing Jews fled to the Mountains of Pella. The Pharisees fled to Yavneh (Yamnia or Jamnia) to begin construction of an academy and forge a whole new "sterilized" Judaism free from all the "min" (minim- heretics) called RABBINIC JUDAISM. The "rebels" fled to Masada where they systematically committed suicide. Rome had built a ramp up the the fortress and when the Jews threw large stones down it... the Romans went into town and got the peoples family members to stand on the front lines. A woman and a few children who had hidden and lived to tell the story. The Sacarii were killed in 73 CE in Egypt. The Saducees were destroyed with the Temple.

In the next lesson, we will look at how the Pharisees took up the cause of the Zealots. The authority of God will soon be placed into the hands of the "Rabbi's" and the Jewish believers as we once knew them would be persecuted almost out of existence.

God Bless,

-Robert


Some info taken from Funk and Wagnall Encyclopedia 1983. Would recommend the Lumina software for looking at 3D versions of the Temple. Classes can be taken via correspondence from AIHLS on the Temple (2 semesters). Early Christian historians Eusebius and Epiphanius claim that prior to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70 the Jerusalem Christians fled to the Decapolis city of Pella (note also Mark 13:14; Matt 24:15; Lu 21:20-22; cf. 19:43-44 Evidence from Biblical, Historical, Archaeological and Critical Studies J. Julius Scott, Jr. (Web page)).


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/3/16 16:09Profile
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[b][size=small]The Birkat ha Minim[/size][/b]
[size=xx-small]By Robert Wurtz II[/size]

According to the Encyclopedia Judaica there were 7 different types of Pharisees (Perushim). Two of them were after the order of Abraham and Job and the other 5 were hypocrites (?). The Pharisee's that fled to Yavneh would likely have included no Nazarenes as they were deemed a heretical sect within Judaism along with many others.

Note some things mentioned by Daniel Gruber concerning the "minim" (heretics) in his lesson "The Day the Rabbi's Were Wrong."

http://www.beitsimcha.com/s_ser/s_ser_0009.asp

* Minim may be a shortened, derogatory form of ma’aminim, believers (in Yeshua)

* Rashi explains the minim refered to disciples of Yeshua (Jesus) "who did not believe in the words of the wise."

* Determining who is a Jew was a very vital question, since if you weren’t a Jew, you had to sacrifice to the Emperor, and if you didn’t you were guilty of treason.

* Minim were a threat because they could draw away followers of Pharisees (soon to be called Rabbis) by their teachings, writings and healings.

* Pharisees (soon to be called)Rabbis forbade reading the writings of minim and sanctioned burning their books.

* Birkat ha-Minim blessing (curse) developed and recited daily in every synagogue to weed out unknown Minim and their sympathizers and inculcate popular hatred of them (p. 156).

**********

When Jews assemble to pray they recite the Shemoneh Esreh (Eighteen Benedictions). It is the quintessential prayer in Judaism and
is also called the AMIDAH (which means standing). The insertion of a 12th benediction in
the late 1st-century against the "minim"(heretics) increased the number to nineteen and thus voided the original name. This benediction was aimed at the many Jews who had accepted the Messiah and is essentially a curse upon them. Under Rabban Gamaliel II there was a question asked if anyone knew a way to deal with the heretics... they found one... it was the Birkat ha Minim (12th ben.). Believing Jews had to endure synagogue services that essentially cursed them! This drove a deep wedge between what would eventually become Rabbinic Judaism and the believing Jews that still tried to coexist with their hostile non-believing non-believing friends and family. This addition is no doubt a landmark in the split between the Church and the non-believing Jews.

In our next lesson we will begin discussing how the Gentiles added to the alienation of the believing Jews by their behaviors, etc. Anti-semitism has long been a horrific problem among the Catholic and Protestant Church. Hearing these stories and understanding the issues heretofor presented will no doubt open many eyes to the reality of why so few Jews believe in their Messiah.

God Bless,

-Robert

All references and info is readily available on thw web. Just use the various key words.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/3/16 17:19Profile
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 Re:

[b][size=small]Identity and Expression of Faith[/size][/b]
[size=xx-small]By Robert Wurtz II[/size]

One of the major problems associated with trying to witness to a Jew is the presence of so much Hellenistic influence that has existed in the Church since the 2nd century. As the Church began moving west the Gentile Christians began interpreting Paul’s writings in an Anti-Semitic light and adopting many pagan influences into the Church. The Church over the next 1000 years would be filled with all manor of graven images and pagan concepts of “mother-son” worship, etc. etc. Many of these things a Jew absolutely could not accept. On top of that there is still a concept that exists that if a Jew is going to “get saved” they have to become a Gentile to do it. In other words they have to cast-off their Jewish heritage and stop practicing those things that gave them a Jewish IDENTITY. If a Jew desired to continue to honor the Sabbath day Gentiles would view this as being “under the law.” Or is they kept Passover or Yom Kippur or any of the other festivals they would be viewed as being “under the law. “ What the Gentile Church essentially did was cast off the Jewish holy days as being legalism and then created a whole new bunch of Christian holidays that were in many cases a carry over or redefinition of pagan holidays they celebrated before they were born again. Herein lies the great inconsistency that has plagued the Church since the 2nd century and is a major cause of many Jews being unable to accept Christ. It was not long until artwork depicted Jesus as a westerner and not as Jewish. The last Supper was painted as though the people were sitting at a table and this was in no wise how the last supper (Passover) was conducted. In fact, many Christians do not realize what a Passover service is and how it so points to Jesus Christ. We think of it as the simple communion services we conduct.


In I Corinthians 7 we read… 18 Is any man called being circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

God does not expect a Gentile to become a Jew in order to be saved. This was laid to rest at the first Church counsel meeting in Acts 15. In like manor it is up surd to think that a Jew should be compelled to cast off their identity as Jews and become Hellenized Gentiles to become a follower in a Jewish Messiah. The first century believers lived as Jews and conducted themselves as Jews in the Temple and in Synagogue. The issue for the reformist is that there is a tendency to think these things are being done as “works” for salvation, when in reality it is their way of expressing their faith in light of the fullness of the understanding of all these feasts and festivals that POINTED to their Messiah that they now accept by faith (sola feday). I personally have been in these services in Messianic Meetings and have seen what Passover was like in the First Century. I only celebrated Passover once, but it an awesome thing to experience and it gave a whole new appreciation to the Christ that I had cast in my own image.

To try and set the Old Testament and New Testament into a Greek context is serious error. The Greek aspect of the Gospel is the language of the manuscripts (cedex) that were in the common Greek tongue that was spread throughout the world after the conquests of Alexander the Great. Greek was a common language with which the Gospel could be communicated and is not the same as taking on the Hellenistic influences and the full embodiment of the sorely Pagan ways of the Greeks. Greek logic and philosophy has been the lens that the Bible was viewed through now for some 1900 years (+ -). Greek logic compartmentalizes truths of scripture and boxes them in to try to make them subservient to Greek logic. But hear what Paul said concerning those things… I Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

The key to this is verse 21 … For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God. Yet the very tools of Greek logic are used to try to interpret scripture (?). I’m not saying that we should abandon systematic Theology… I have written over 700 pages of materials teaching this very thing for several years; however, we must understand that the “meat” of God’s word is Spiritually discerned. Intellect is not nearly as important as a pure heart when it comes to knowing God. It is sad that (As Leonard Ravinhill put it) that graduates of Seminary know the word of God, but not the God of the word. The wisdom of man exegetes God’s word to form more man made theologies and doctrines and ignores the very reason the word exists. Men then began to express their faith by arguing doctrines rather than fellowshipping concerning the things of God. They identify themselves in terms of "What" they believe as opposed to "what they believe about the who they believe in." Soon the doctrines themselves become their God. I am sorely guilty of doing this and it always would happen when I was growing cold and needed revival. When revival is present. I have a low tolerance for doing such vain things. I have expressed my faith by making apologetically arguments, etc. That is NOT walking in the Spirit and I knew it! It would get me by though until I was ready to repent again. Where is the balance in this? Is God more concerned with how well we understand the things that have been revealed to us in part as He is us walking in those things that are plainly understood. There are some strong rebukes and warnings in scripture against such behavior. This is NOT how Christianity was expressed in the first century. I never read in Act's "oh how they knew their doctrines." Paul said he came knowing nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified? We will find out in time how God feels about the wasted energies and pretense while a lost world is dying and going to Hell and were going to be ashamed.

The Jews will be won to Christ – not when they see Jesus through the eyes of systematic theology; but when they see the glory of God in our lives that provokes them to jealousy and makes the question the very things they believe. When the glory returns the elect will see it and recognize it.

God Bless,

-Robert



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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/3/17 11:19Profile





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