Boaz Michael’s Tent of David.

Some books are a joy to review and recommend.  This is not one of them.

Frankly, I have struggled to read Tent of David by Boaz Michael, the founder of First Fruits of Zion Ministry (FFOZ).  tentofDavidSeveral times I put it down and walked away from it hoping it would disappear under a pile of papers, or some such.  It is not that I was in any way challenged by the message of the book, rather, I was completely irritated that a brother would claim to present a ‘healing vision for the Messianic Gentile’ then instruct him/her to “go back to the church, we don’t really want you….  Oh, and when you go, be sure to send money in support of Messianic Judaism, and buy my stuff.”

Some time back I became concerned about the message I was hearing from FFOZ.  Scripture teaches ‘one body, one Lord, one faith,’ and for a time, this was FFOZ’s message.  Over the last several years they have morphed into ‘two bodies, one Lord, two faiths.’  They call it ‘bilateral ecclesiology,’ an error we have addressed on multiple occasions.

As I read this book, or, should I say, in the periods of avoidance between reading sections of the book, I went back to the Scriptures and several other authors to search again whether I have misunderstood something regarding the place of the non-Jew in the Kingdom.  Each time, in short order, the Scriptures would dismantle this false idea of non-Jews belonging somewhere on the outer edges of the Kingdom.  While I am sure Michael would not appreciate that characterization, his message to Torah pursuant non-Jews is clear, “You don’t belong here, go home and play with your Christian buddies.”

Perhaps Michael’s greatest error in this book is never really defining what the ‘Tent of David’ is (he spends a brief three paragraphs on it, pg 21) and taking the time to wrestle with the Scriptures concerning that future great Kingdom.  He cites Isaiah 2:2 when he states,

Isaiah (2:2) prophesied that people from all nations-Gentiles-would flow to Jerusalem and worship there…

but, he conveniently ignores Isaiah 2:3 that explicitly states that Messiah will ‘teach us His ways’ and ‘the Torah will go forth from Zion.’  [Later, on page 173, Michael admonishes the Messianic Gentiles he is sending back to the church that they need to teach that ‘The ‘Ten Commandments’ cannot be ripped from context.”  Pot, kettle!]

James, half-brother and disciple of Yeshua says this,

15 With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,

16 After these things I will return,
And I will rebuild the [a]tabernacle of David which has fallen,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,
17 So that the rest of [b]mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Gentiles [c]who are called by My name,’
18 Says the Lord, who [d]makes these things known from long ago.

And, he continues by defining exactly how Gentiles are to seek the Lord:

19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from [e]things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21 For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him (Torah), since [f]he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

Michael is hyper-critical of “Messianic Gentiles” who are Torah pursuant while completely avoiding errors in Judaic traditional additions to the Law.  Here is an extended quote from pages 98 and 99, [bold is mine]

In fact, as I mentioned in the last chapter, ninety-nine percent of the time it is not proper for a Messianic Gentile to claim that he or she is personally Torah observant, either.  Torah observance – shomer mitzvot (“protecting the commandments”)- is a well-understood concept in Judaism and involves guarding the commandments as they have been traditionally interpreted.  Claiming to keep the commandments while ignoring the traditional method of observance is misleading at best.

An outstanding example is Sabbath observance (shomer Shabbat).  A Messianic Gentile who has recently taken hold of the beauty of the Sabbath rest might be tempted to say that he is “keeping the Sabbath” or “Sabbath observant.”  However, to be truly shomer Shabbat requires an incredible lifestyle change.  It is difficult and demanding for modern families to prepare for a day without electric lights, cooking implements, money, driving, phones, computers, and other modern conveniences.  The scope of Sabbath commandments goes far beyond what most Messianic Gentiles would even consider.

For a Messianic Gentile to set aside the traditional understanding of Sabbath observance in Judaism and simultaneously claim to be Sabbath observant is confusing and misleading.  Claiming these terms – Torah observant, Sabbath observant – without living up to the standard they represent hurts the character of the claimant and diminishes what those terms mean.

While I will give Michael the point that many do not understand the difference between the words ‘observant’ and ‘pursuant,’ instead of explaining and teaching the difference and encouraging Torah pursuance, he uses it as a straw-man argument – assuming all Messianics make this mistake – so he can give yet another reason why Messianic Gentiles are in error.  Further, he hangs his hat of ‘correct observance’ on the peg of traditional Judaism that itself is not monolithic and has a bad habit of adding to the Torah with Rabbinic decree, an error he never addresses.

In my concern that I was being overly harsh on Tent of David, I did some searching for the thoughts of a few others.  Rob Vanhoff of the Torah Resource, takes Michael to task for using undefined excessively broad terminology with the intent of sending Messianic Gentiles packing.  See link for the whole article, but here is a quote,

I can only assume that these “wrong people,” to use Collins’ model, are none other than the Messianic Gentiles (MGs). The “right people,” then, are those Jews who believe there’s a good core to “Judaism” and a good core to “Christianity,” and that God has ordained and endorses both; that believing Jews only need  remain in Judaism and believing Gentiles in the church. Is Michael thinking that if he gets the MGs off the bus and the right MJs on, he’ll know where to drive? On the flip side, let’s not suppose for a moment that he’s leaving the MGs on the side of the road to fend for themselves. Rather, he has another bus already set up for them, with the promise to deliver the education and training they’ll need (that is, driving tips and maps). This way, they’ll be sure to get to where he wants them to go.  [me: back to the church for assimilation.]

To be clear, Rob knows of whence he speaks as a writer for Torah Resource.  Torah Resource’s founder, Tim Hegg, was previously the Theological Editor for FFOZ and departed precisely because he did not believe some of FFOZ’s changing theology was supportable from Scripture.  In Hegg’s response to FFOZ, he specifically addresses Michael’s and FFOZ’s desire to utilize traditional Judaism as a basis for understanding the commandments.  Hegg says,

My response is twofold: First, “greater Israel,” expressed in Orthodox Judaism, even in its current multifaceted expressions, is in many ways as far removed from Apostolic Judaism as is the current Christian Church. To accept Orthodox Judaism as the “greater Israel” within which Messianic Judaism should define itself leads us, it seems to me, in a direction away from Scripture, not towards it.
Second, the idea that if we align ourselves with Orthodox Judaism in our Torah observance we will become unified with “greater Israel” is illusive. So long as we confess Yeshua to be the true Messiah; so long as we confess that Yeshua is worthy of our worship; and to the extent that we affirm Him to be Im
manuel, “God with us,” “greater Israel” will not accept us and we should not attempt to couch our message in smooth words so they will.

I could not agree more. To wit, rather than ‘Healing the Vision of the Messianic Gentile,’ Michael further divides the Body and brings a confusing message to those the Holy Spirit is calling to the Torah!  Yeshua, in Matthew 5:19 warns,

19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches  others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven

Hegg and Vanhoff are not alone in their criticism of the FFOZ Message as portrayed in Tent of David.  As I went back to trusted scholarly resources to make sure I wasn’t way off base in my understanding of one Body, I pulled the excellent J.K. McKee work, Are Non-Jewish Believers Really A Part of Israel?, from my bookshelf (I have not reviewed this highly recommended work…  added to my ‘to-do’ list…).  I did not remember McKee addressing not just Boaz Michael, but specifically Tent of David, yet he does so multiple times.  Here is one such quote from page 86 where he speaks to a quote from Tent of David concerning Acts 2:38-39,

Michael’s assertions in the first paragraph are right to emphasize that the good news is, in its entirety, a message of repentance and transformation of one’s behavior and lifestyle, as a Messiah follower will be a person oriented toward God and good deeds.  His quotation of Acts 2:39, in the first paragraph, did not make any error.  The verse says, “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (ESV).  But in Michael’s commentary in the second paragraph he only makes light of “all who are far off,” and totally excludes “everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself,” hosous an proskalesetai Kurios ho Theos hemon.  He concludes that “all who are far off” are just those Diaspora Jews who were unable to attend Shavuot/Pentecost at the time.

Who does Michael think constitutes “as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself” (Acts 2:39)?  This is where he, as a Messianic Jewish leader of reputation, whether he consciously knows it or not, reveals a definite bias against non-Jewish Believers….

To be fair, both Vanhoff and McKee directly affirm Michael’s love for Messiah and passion for his kin, the Jewish people, and I believe Hegg would be in complete agreement.  All, like myself, question the presuppositions taken that lead to dividing the Body into two camps: Jews and Christians.  Tent of David, in the slickest of terms, affirms this division, even sending Messianic Gentiles back to the church.

YES!!  Do we need to reach out to Christianity with a message concerning the very Jewishness of Jesus, affirmation of the Torah and the importance of Israel remaining significant?  And, do we need to do so with love, concern and sensitivity?  Absolutely!  But that does not require that we go back to church!  Jewish Messianics avoid the church for fear of assimilation (and because the message from the pulpit is consistently misrepresented); should Messianic non-Jews act any differently?

Frankly, if you haven’t guessed, I am deeply concerned about the message of this book and the damage it does to the Body.  Rather than ‘healing,’ it brings greater confusion and division.  I cannot recommend this book to anyone as I believe it promotes error and sets the average Messianic non-Jew up for major trouble.

Shalom.

About Pete Rambo

Details in 'About' page @ natsab.wordpress.com Basically, husband of one, father of four. Pastor x 11 years, former business and military background. Micro-farmer. Messianic believer in Yeshua haMashiach!
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83 Responses to Boaz Michael’s Tent of David.

  1. loammi says:

    Represent brotha

    Like

  2. David says:

    Great one, Pete!! Here’s the problem–which I will share as my testimony—6 months in as pursuing a Torah observant lifestyle, I am really struggling, grappling, and fighting to live this new path with little support from real human beings close to me. Enter my new Facebook friend X who recommends that I read Tent of David and other FFOZ resources to deal with the struggles I am having ‘coming out’ of the church. Even as a Torah baby, I sensed something wasn’t quite right with what I was reading…Go to church, stop wearing tzitzi or hide them, don’t really worry about Sabbath or even clean foods.
    So, everything that I am in the process of trying to change in order to be obedient as a new baby, this book is telling me to not worry about. Plus, the fact that I am called a gentile over and over in the book almost offended me. I didn’t know about both sides of this argument when I read the book, so took a lot of it as truth…increasing my confusion. It was several months later when I found out that many were taking issue with his train of thought/theology. Praises to the Father, because I kept seeking the truth; but what about all of those that stop there??? From a newbie’s perspective, the FFOZ ministry looks legitimate and professional and it’s been around for a while. How many are being led back into a sinful lifestyle of Torah disobedience due to this???? It’s hard enough to do it without misleading information.
    A very good friend of mine started along on this journey with me for several months. As he was going through the trial with family members, they sent him to meet a real live “Jewish Christian”. Sadly enough, that individual had the same theology as FFOZ and guess what??—My friend rejected the Torah, and began criticizing me for even attempting to keep Torah. It grieves me still to think about losing that relationship.
    So, many thanks to you and all the others that continue to proclaim the truth!!!! BTW, I watched a video of your testimony very early on. It was a great help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Rambo says:

      David,

      Thank you for your testimony. My great concern is that there are so many others who have fallen into the trap set, wittingly or un-, by Tent of David and the ecclesiology it proffers.

      Hopefully, this article is one piece others can use to help reverse that.

      Shalom!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike says:

    Awesome review

    Like

  4. Rob Roy says:

    Great post Pete — I’ve got a lot of respect for J.K. McKee and the guys over at TorahResource.com. Very solid ministries indeed. One of the best ways to advance “Messianic theology” is going to be engaging and building upon the scholarly body of work that these ministries are putting out. Glad to see you’re doing just that brother.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Marcie says:

    I attend Ami Yisrael in Tx and we had a study on the book of Hebrews. This is the exact same thing that was happening to “new converts” then. They were pushed out of the synagogues not allowed to worship “because they were not blood”. And according to Roman law they either had to be “followers of the Roman cult or Jewish”. The synagogues were pushing them back into paganism. THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO STAND IN JUDGMENT.

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    • Pete Rambo says:

      Shalom and welcome!!

      We will each be held accountable!! Like you, it is deeply concerning that, among others in the Messianic Jewish groups, FFOZ does point many back into Christendumb.

      Like

  6. Ro Pinto says:

    Hi Pete,

    I agree with you that the concept of keeping us separate is wrong. However, I will share with you that I heard one of Boaz Michael’s teachings from this book – which I bought and struggled with as you did. But it did keep me from severing my connection with the church I had been actively involved with for 5 years. You see, I believe my call is to help Christians discover their Jewish Messiah, but how to do that when I was frustrated every week?

    So while I did not leave the church completely, I did leave behind ‘official membership’ at the church and became a member of Temple Aron haKodesh in Ft Lauderdale, where I am director of the singles ministry. But because I feel a call to help my Gentile brothers and sisters understand the truth of their faith, I still attend a Sunday morning and Wednesday night bible study at the church, where I can share what I know of the Jewish perspective. I don’t do this to be a sheep stealer, but because these people are part of my family that I love. And there are many who are seeking to know the truth, as I did.

    I have also led 2 FFOZ Hayesod studies, which have set several believers on fire for all things Torah. 🙂

    While I agree that the 2 house theory is wrong, there is so much material that FFOZ offers that assists me in understanding Torah and working toward Torah observance, I hate to throw out the baby with the bath water.

    At the same time, I caution those I introduce to Torah and FFOZ resources about the 2 house theory. And when you work within small groups, you can discuss this type of thing.

    And that, I believe, is the key – to work with small groups, discipling them. I believe this is how we can make a difference in Christendom – one disciple at a time.

    Thanks for sharing, Pete, and expressing some of my own frustrations with the FFOZ ministry.

    Like

    • Pete Rambo says:

      Thanks for sharing, Ro.

      You make some excellent points about staying connected, and certainly, Boaz’s message in that regard was not lost on me, but like you, my frustration is that his focus in other works on ‘bilateral ecclesiology’ (two people/two laws/etc) is a dangerous divider of the Body and therefore I am loath to recommend much of anything from that ministry.

      Small groups and individual discipleship is excellent!! Certainly, true growth and long term learning best comes through discipleship, ala Hebraic model of our Rabbi!

      Because of my background (seminary and 10+ years in Christian pulpit) my options in another church are less than limited… Hiding my background to fellowship is disingenuous… What to do? Minister in several other very viable ways: Blog. Give away dvds and cds by the fistful. Conversations when out and about to make people think… Inviting people to feasts, etc.

      The key is for each of us to be open to how Abba would use us, and then, BE USED!!

      Shalom and thanks for dropping by.

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      • Ro Pinto says:

        Hi Pete,

        Last night a group of believers gathered at my house to celebrate Rosh Chodesh. The conversation was invigorating and a comment was made that I thought apropos to this article, and to some of the comments that follow.

        The comment was from Rambam regarding the position of the believing Gentiles within the family of Israel. He said that the proselyte has full rights within the house of Israel. Now this was only one small part of the conversation, but I found it intriguing. And it speaks to those of us who have been adopted into the family of Abraham. That Maimonides would say something like that lines up with Rav Shaul’s teaching.

        Shalom!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pete Rambo says:

        Agreed! And good point, but where the wicket \gets sticky is in defining what a ‘proselyte’ is. Rambam, and most of Rabbinic Judaism, would argue for ‘conversion’ to Judaism, where Rav Shaul’s issue in Galatians is that ritual conversion to the Rabbinic halakah was contrary to the Gospel message.

        My concern is that parts of Messianic Judaism adhere more closely to Rambam/Rabbinic thought than to Rav Shaul who taught faith followed by obedience to simple Torah without the ‘yoke’ of the Rabbis. (At least, that is my understanding and perspective…)

        The battle Shaul fought is being waged again in our day… I.e., what role does Rabbinic tradition have in the life of a believer, and particularly in his place within Israel? Or, another way, who is the gatekeeper? Yeshua? Or, the Rabbis? Or, another way, who defines what is proper application of the Torah? (And, when it is deemed that the traditions are an improper/excessive/erroneous application, who gets to appeal and to Whom do we appeal?)

        Messianic Jews have a responsibility to expose and openly reject Rabbinic error codified as ‘tradition’ if they are to assume the mantle they were created for and walk in the footsteps of the Messianic Jewish Apostles!! (Now, there is a fire starter!)

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      • Ro Pinto says:

        Definitely a fire starter! I’ll not touch that one here, but I think my blog this week might touch on that.
        Shalom, my friend!

        Like

      • James says:

        Quick question relative to your conversation with Ro regarding rabbinic authority to establish Jewish practice. I’ve just written a blog post on Christianity and the observance of Tisha B’Av (it’ll post early tomorrow morning). What is your opinion of people like me and thee participating in the fast? After all, Tisha B’Av observance is not proscribed Biblically. Would you recommend deliberately avoiding such an observance as Yeshua-believers?

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        Tisha B’Av falls on August 5 this year and I have paid particular note to its approach because of the historical significance to nation Israel and the Temples. I absolutely believe it is a day of remembrance and sorrow, though likely will not be fasting. Certainly, I will remember. I’ve been watching that date with interest/concern based on the current dangers to Eretz Israel.

        The question in my mind as to observance is, do the Rabbis think less of a Jew who chooses NOT to fast? I.e., do they recognize and stress that it is tradition and not Torah that defines the day? Or, do they think less of or call into question the ‘Jewishness’ of someone who forgets (if that were possible) or does not follow the rabbinic practice?

        To see it from Yeshua’s perspective, has the tradition been elevated to a mitzvot? Now, understanding that, I also recognize that He clearly participated in Hanukkah which is not commanded… So, the point of contention would not be the actual practice so much as the motivation behind the practice in this instance.

        Not to be too hard on the rabbis, I’ve been very hard on Christendom, too… Along those lines, there are some traditions in Christendom that I avoid precisely because they’ve been elevated to ‘expectation/unspoken command.’ In and of themselves, some of those things are not bad… they simply have too much weight/authority.

        For me, much of my motivation has to do with bringing self and sphere out from under the authority of man’s traditions, whether Christian or Rabbinic, and seeing it returned to the authority of Yeshua and the Torah.

        Hope that makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      • James says:

        You’ll have to read my blog post tomorrow for a full answer, but in short, most Rabbis discourage Noahides from fasting because Tisha B’Av is specifically a Jewish mourning day, although there are other observances they permit and even encourage. There is virtually no information available about any Christian observance of the fast and I suspect most Pastors and church congregations are completely unaware of it.

        As far as Yeshua’s relationship with Rabbinic authority and their right to establish binding halachah, you might want to look at a paper written by Noel S. Rabbinowitz (PDF) that explores Matthew 23:2-4 as possible proof that not only did Yeshua recognize the authority of the Pharisees but actually endorsed their halachah.

        This brings interesting questions to mind about how Yeshua will relate to the different streams of Judaism upon his return and whether or not he will also recognize the traditional authority of that generations Torah scholars.

        It’s actually impossible to answer that question in absolute terms, but I don’t think the answer is as simple as following the Torah without an interpretive matrix.

        Getting back to Gentiles and Tisha B’Av, at the very least, I would encourage some sort of observance by Gentile believers, even if it’s not a full fast, not because it’s directly commanded in the Bible, but out of compassion and solidarity with the Jewish people. Christianity has caused a significant amount of Jewish suffering over the centuries, and fasting or otherwise shedding tears of grief with the Jewish people in their time of loss is a way to make Teshuvah. For if we are unwilling to stand with the Jewish people and nation in their time of sorrow, what right do we have to celebrate with them upon the return of the Jewish King Messiah in Israel’s joy and victory? Remember Genesis 12:1-3 and Psalm 122.

        In the end, we can’t avoid tradition. The minute you light the candles on Erev Shabbat, don tzitzit, lay tefillin, or put on a kippah in preparation for prayer and worship, you’ve wandered into the area of Rabbinic halachah, since the Torah either doesn’t recognize those activities as commands (Shabbat candles or the kippah) or doesn’t explain in any detail at all how to fulfill those commandments (fringes on the four corners and “frontlets” on your arm and between your eyes).

        We can’t borrow customs from modern, normative Judaism whilst simultaneously disdaining their source.

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        I’m looking forward to your article tomorrow.

        Reading the Rabbinowitz article now…

        In view of the fact that Matthew routinely declares the teachings of the Pharisees to be wrong or hypocritical, we should assume (unless we have good reason to conclude otherwise) that Jesus’ command to do “whatever they say” is an exaggeration. To press pavnta to mean every single word of Pharisaic halakhah is exegetically unsound. The disciples are to follow the teachings of the Pharisees in principle, but they are not to follow a particular teaching that clearly contradicts the expressed or implied intent of Scripture. The “point” Matthew wishes to make is that the multitudes and disciples should practice what the Pharisees tell them, but they should not practice all that the Pharisees actually do.

        The evidence does seem to suggest that Jesus accepted and practiced some halakhic regulations. Matthew does not give “blanket approval” to Pharisaic halakhah, but neither does he utterly reject it. It seems reasonable to conclude therefore that “all things” does not refer exclusively to what the Pharisees teach regarding the Torah, but also includes some elements of oral tradition. While he does not give blanket approval to everything they say, Jesus does endorse the halakhah of the Pharisees in principle.

        One cannot divorce what the Pharisees taught about Torah from what they taught about Jesus. The significance of this fact cannot and should not be minimized.

        I can agree with the conclusions of that paper, and there are some items from tradition that I do hold to, but I will intentionally violate my own understanding of tradition at times to ‘keep it in its place.’ At the end of the day, tradition cannot be elevated to ‘law.’ (Little ‘L.’)

        Regarding the last quote, I am most concerned when I see a blanket acceptance of Judaic tradition that did not exist in the 2nd Temple period, but developed later by those who openly reject(ed) Jesus/Yeshua. (I understand, the Church has done little to endear Yeshua to the Jews….) But, the last 1700 years of Christendom has seen plenty of false/wrong theology woven in by well-meaning preachers/teachers. Judaism is no different. I try to be equally discerning and scrutinize them equally which sometimes is perceived as outright rejection or ‘disdaining their source.’ 😉

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      • Zion says:

        Hey James,

        Hope you don’t mind, as you were not talking to me, but I wanted to chime in on some points you made…

        As far as Yeshua’s relationship with Rabbinic authority and their right to establish binding halachah, you might want to look at a paper written by Noel S. Rabbinowitz (PDF) that explores Matthew 23:2-4 as possible proof that not only did Yeshua recognize the authority of the Pharisees but actually endorsed their halachah.

        Even if Noel’s interpretation is correct, which I agree with many of his points, it would be anachronistic to equate the Pharisees to the Modern Rabbi’s… my point is not to diminish the role of Rabbis or Pastors in a community and the leadership they bring to the table, they have a very hard job, with a lot of responsibility, they need our support and prayers, however, to compare them to the Pharisees is inadequate. Judaism changed drastically after the fall of the Temple, which caused Judaism to restructure… So 1st Century Judaism and Judaism today are disconnected by a major rift… and even farther away is Biblical Judaism…

        Getting back to Gentiles and Tisha B’Av, at the very least, I would encourage some sort of observance by Gentile believers, even if it’s not a full fast, not because it’s directly commanded in the Bible, but out of compassion and solidarity with the Jewish people. Christianity has caused a significant amount of Jewish suffering over the centuries, and fasting or otherwise shedding tears of grief with the Jewish people in their time of loss is a way to make Teshuvah. For if we are unwilling to stand with the Jewish people and nation in their time of sorrow, what right do we have to celebrate with them upon the return of the Jewish King Messiah in Israel’s joy and victory? Remember Genesis 12:1-3 and Psalm 122.

        Well said, I am in complete agreement, I look forward to your writing on this topic! The Temple is also considered a house of prayer for all nations, we should all be sad that the Temple was destroyed and with hope looking forward to its restoration, and obviously, to the points you already made. The Jewish people are such a fundamental aspect to our faith as gentiles, we should always be looking for ways of reconciliation, and finding ways to draw closer and support them, because without them, our faith would be worthless (Romans 11:21)…

        Concerning tradition… I find tradition to be a blessing at times and sometimes I find it to be a barrier. So I look at tradition overall as beneficial, sometimes it helps us to carry out a literal aspect of a commandment, or it helps bring joy to events that otherwise would be boring (just being honest :P), but also at times, I find it terrible, if it creates a stumbling block for truth, if it is used to beat and judge other people, which ultimately becomes some form of legalism… Overall, I appreciate the Jewish traditions and respect them, even those who keep the highest levels of Kashrut or other rigorous observances, that I may not believe are required. But like Pete said, I don’t elevate them above the plain text of the commandments, which can create erroneous doctrines, such as ones that deny that Yeshua is the Messiah… Some commandments are completely unclear, and tradition in many ways, helps to fill the gap, but even then, cannot someone else seek to fulfill that command with a different tradition, I think so, and in some ways, we already see that in Judaism, not just the differences between the various sects, but also the difference between Sefardi and Ashkenazi. I do not think it is right to judge people, if they choose not to use a Siddur for prayers, or do not use a katan tallit for wearing their tzitzit, instead of a belt loop tzitzit… or choosing to wear or not wear a kippah, a more recent tradition in terms of history… To me the bigger picture, is that of a heart wanting to keep the commandments, both in principle and literal application.

        I will stop there, as I think the point is made.

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      • James says:

        Actually, I didn’t mean to start a whole discussion on the merits of various streams of Judaism and their traditions. I only wanted to say that traditions, even those binding for specific communities, aren’t necessarily evil, and that we all have traditions, even those we consider binding within our own communities.

        Oh, the blog post is online: http://mymorningmeditations.com/2014/07/29/christians-and-tisha-bav/

        Like

      • Ro Pinto says:

        Hi Zion, et al,

        When I read the gospels, I see Yeshua obedient to the traditions as long as they didn’t counter the commandments.

        Recently, I’ve been delving into Jewish Folklore (as I am looking into writing a series of children’s books). One tale referred to the garden. In it, Adam built a fence around the commandment ‘do not eat’ by telling Eve ‘do not touch’. The serpent was then able to use this fence to deceive Eve into eating, because when she touched, she didn’t die. Interesting point.

        It also lines up with something Rabbi Matthew Salathe said, that sometimes fences around Torah keep Torah from penetrating the heart.

        I’ve been studying with him at Temple Aron HaKodesh – a Messianic congregation – in Ft Lauderdale where he is the associate rabbi. He pointed out that there were 24 sects of Judaism at the time of Yeshua, and only 2 survived the destruction of the Temple – the Way and the Pharisees (Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism). Rabbi Matthew suggested that when Yeshua came, he (in a sense) wrapped his arms around all of them to bring them back together, to say that there was something right in each of them (and as we see by his criticism, something wrong in each of them as well.)

        I find it interesting that we are still having the same conversations, the same ‘something right’ and ‘something wrong’ that were happening at the time. Solomon was certainly right – there is nothing new under the sun.

        Even so, I love how the body can get together and share ideas and perspectives.

        Shalom!

        Like

      • James says:

        Ro said: Rabbi Matthew suggested that when Yeshua came, he (in a sense) wrapped his arms around all of them to bring them back together, to say that there was something right in each of them (and as we see by his criticism, something wrong in each of them as well.) I find it interesting that we are still having the same conversations, the same ‘something right’ and ‘something wrong’ that were happening at the time.

        Reminds me of the letters Messiah dictated to the seven communities in chapters 2 and 3 of John’s Revelation. Perhaps this is how he perceives all of the Christianities and all of the Judaisms in our world today. None are perfect. All have some right qualities and wrong qualities. Only at a human level are we arrogant enough to think that only we (that is, whatever group the individual belongs to) are right and everyone else is wrong.

        Like

      • Ro Pinto says:

        Yes! Amen, James!

        Like

  7. Pete, you keep mentioning “division of the body” but what is leaving the Church, saying it’s apostate, and claiming a gentile is in danger of “assimilation” by attending… if not dividing the body?

    I’m missing something here.

    Frankly, I’m all for those with a healthy understanding of the “Old Testament” Israel, the Jewish people, and who stand firm against replacement theology, being in church and lovingly standing firm about these things. How will the Church ever know?

    Also Pete, I see lots of distinction in the verses you use to prove uniformity. Are you sure you’re not reading them through the lens of American homogenization ideals? Wondering how you see distinction between genders? Bad? Good?

    Like

    • Zion says:

      SWJ, I often have the same question for people who focus so heavily on distinction, such as yourself, since you hold a different view on this, what constitutes good distinction, what is too little and what is too far?

      In certain periods of history, it would have been wrong for you as a woman to even have a debate with a man as you are right now with Pete, you would have been crossing an established distinction. Do you think that distinction is good or bad? And what is your standard for determining such?

      You brought up American homogenization, would you consider the racist and sexist distinctions maintained before were better? Why or why not?

      Like

      • Hi Zion,

        The mistake you’re making is that you equate distinctions created by various groups of humanity with the distinctions God created.

        I see God’s distinctions as wholly good, necessary, and purposeful; they don’t offend me at all.

        But distinctions of gender roles created by men based on insensitivity, fragile egos, and a need to dominate the “weaker sex” aren’t the same thing at all, but then this has long been a “man’s world”, so I’m not surprised you’re clueless to having equated these two disparate realities.

        For me, since you asked, what constitutes “good distinction” is to notice what God did in creation and declaration: Male and female, and Jew and Gentile.

        I begin with stipulations about God and His character, however: He is very very good, He loves ALL of His creation, He knows what He’s doing, and His distinctions have purpose, which is not to subjugate the “other”, but to create mutual blessing.

        We don’t “fix” anything by blurring lines God created, as
        we can easily see with gender issues in our own culture over the last several decades. Seeing women as equals to men shouldn’t have meant women acting “manly”, rather understanding and bring our own strengths and gifts to the table, so to speak.

        As an aside, people coveting gifts and or identities that aren’t theirs generates lots of revenue and entertainment, just watch American Idol tryouts.

        Like

      • Zion says:

        SWJ said:

        The mistake you’re making is that you equate distinctions created by various groups of humanity with the distinctions God created.

        I never actually stated how I equate distinctions, so I am not sure how you came to your conclusion. I just asked questions hoping to see where you are coming from, because you are making over generalized statements concerning distinction, and not showing what you claim in any relevant way…

        I see God’s distinctions as wholly good, necessary, and purposeful; they don’t offend me at all.

        I agree, so how come we don’t see eye to eye?

        The issue here, is that there is no monolithic understanding of these distinctions in scripture in every application… Even in Judaism, there are varying interpretations on these distinctions. So, it is very narrow minded to think your understanding of these distinctions are correct, this is simply just another generalized statement that has no real world relevance. It simply becomes your own human standard.

        Also, simply stating that these historical issues do not have any relation to the issue you are making, is simply absurd. Many of these issues throughout history have been defended by showing someones interpretation of the Bible with supporting scriptures, your very same argument above (“I agree with the scriptures concerning distinction”), is in direct relation to sexism and ethnic segregation… both have been defended by the scriptures.

        Thus how you are determining what is blurring the distinctions and what is not, unless directly and clearly stated without the need of interpretation in scripture, is simply human created, something you argued against, yet this means that you are now committing the same error that you opposed earlier.

        If you don’t understand what I am saying, I will give you an example, define what this scripture says, and we will see if you are not creating your own human opinion on the matter:

        Deut 22:5
        “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.

        Who defines what is “women clothing” or “men clothing”, culture? humans? God? Let me know… 😀

        Like

      • Rob Roy says:

        SWJ, I for one would argue that for those in “the Church” (if we can speak in broad generalities) who truly put their faith/trust in the Father and Son, these are truly not apostate. But practically speaking, just using one example: is it possible to keep the 7th day Sabbath *and* attend a Sunday congregation? (assuming you believe it is binding on all believers today)

        And how are you defining who is a Jew and who is not? If you believe that “Jewishness” is God-ordained in the same way that gender is, that would seem to indicate that you believe Jewishness is a matter of genealogy. It that’s the position that you hold, do you believe converts to Judaism, then, are not Jewish?

        Like

    • Pete Rambo says:

      Welcome, Ruth,

      There are different ways to get the message to our brothers in the church without necessarily warming a pew… You blog…

      In the next couple days I hope to review a book that might challenge you. J.K.McKee’s Are Non-Jewish Believers Really A Part of Israel? is an extremely well articulated answer from Scripture to bilateral ecclesiology. I recall you saying once that you were not really familiar with the ‘one Law’ arguments, and while McKee does not even touch that issue, he has a fantastic scholarly review of numerous passages concerning ‘one Body.’ You would agree with much of his exposition and might be challenged by some points… Bottom-line, there is no separate entity called ‘Church.’

      Blessings.

      Like

      • Hi Pete,

        Yes I blog, host a bible study, and interact as much as possible with Christians. I’d attend church too, if not for the difficulty of being intermarried; it doesn’t work out well for us.

        You know I’m critical of what’s wrong in Christian theology, especially regarding the track record with Israel and the Jewish people. But I’m not a church basher or hater (not saying you are). I think the Church gets more right than it does wrong, and I shudder to think of America or the world without the church; I know too many good, descent, honorable people. But I also don’t think any person or organization has perfect theology, not me, not the church, not Judaism, not anyone.

        I’m serious when I say I see distinction in the verses you think are calling for sameness. If nothing else, it’s interesting how differently we can read the same passages! But as I’ve said before, I don’t see being a gentile as negative, less than, or 2nd class. Many Gentiles seem to feel that maintaining distinction is tantamount to saying we are not loved, not chosen, not necessary. One commenter said they were “offended” at being called a gentile in the book you reviewed. I don’t understand this mentality. Unity is not sameness, and on one hand you, and those commenting, are critical for “splitting the body” but on the other hand your defending the split from the Church.

        Like

    • Ro Pinto says:

      SWJ, hope you don’t mind me chiming in. I agree that those of us in (or connected in some way) to a church, particularly one that believes in replacement theology, should lovingly continue to help them see the error of their ways.

      The challenge I have with making this our only place of worship and learning is that we are not being taught the truth. But more importantly, those with children face the danger of having their children continue in this error.

      For instance, I have two grandchildren that attend church with me. They attend a separate service than the one I do, based on their age. My 10 year old granddaughter told me that the teacher said the Sabbath was changed to Sunday. And a few weeks later, my 15 year old grandson shared that his group leader made it clear that there was no need for a physical resurrection, that we were just going to heaven when we die.

      Now these are only two things that the kids shared with me. These are things they knew were not true because of our discussions, readings and their participation in a Messianic congregation.

      But what else are they learning that I might not have shared a differing opinion? When children are learning things in contradiction to scripture, coming from someone they think knows the truth, we are feeding our children poison (to borrow a term from D Thomas Lancaster.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • James says:

        I don’t think there’s anything in Boaz’s TOD book mandating only one place of worship/learning and I believe he offered the suggestion of attending a Sabbath keeping congregation *and* a Sunday church for exactly the reasons you mention. This is also a good argument for considering the differences in how Christianity and Judaism see the center of religious life. In Christianity it’s the church but in Judaism it’s the home.

        Like

      • Ro Pinto says:

        I think Boaz did offer that suggestion, but it was either him, or someone who wrote in, saying that it is sometimes hard to do both. I can certainly relate to that.

        I home-schooled my children because I saw the school trying to take over the raising of my family. I wish I’d known about the Sabbath celebration when my children were younger.

        And yes, too many times I see the parents abdicating their responsibility to teach their children about God to the church.

        My point was, for those of us who don’t agree with replacement theology, the teachings of the church could be harmful to our children.

        Like

      • Hi Ro,

        I don’t mind at all. 🙂

        Just for the record, I actually haven’t said what Christians should do regarding their “only place of worship”, I’m just not anti church. I understand the points you make and it also was a huge thorn in my side too. However, my focus and passion is two-fold: To protect Jews, and to educate Christians as to why they should too.

        I came to these realizations as a Christian, because I have a Jewish family. To that extent you could say it’s a selfish desire to protect “MY” Jews, but as I’ve pondered and wrestled with the issues I think it goes far beyond my family. I think it’s one rather large aspect of why we gentiles were brought near to God in the first place, not to “be” them.

        I also love other Christians and from that vantage point I know how much of a blessing it is to see the scripture and messiah in their Jewish context. I believe that until the Church repents from it’s egregious error regarding the Jews, that healing will not come, and the breach between Jews and Christianity will remain. I’m affected by that in a very personal way, as opposed to theoretical, so I want to see that come about, for everyone’s sake. But who will tell them? Who will soften the hearts and encourage repentance within the church?

        There are 2 things that make me shudder: brazen Gentiles assuming they are Israel (whatever the perceived mechanism is) and Christians turning away from the church. I don’t think, for one second, that those Christians will replace their flawed perspective on Israel with a “healthier” hermeneutic.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ro Pinto says:

        I’m with you, SWJ, in that I am not anit-church. In fact, my heart is to help my gentile brethren to see their Jewish Messiah and understand He words within the context of the Hebrew Scriptures.

        Still not sure where I land regarding Gentile obedience to the Torah, other than having it internally change me to look like the person God wants me to be. What that will eventually look like, only He knows. But in no way do I want to take away from the Jews their primary place as first born and the apple of God’s eye.

        Being the first born of my family’s generation gives me some insight into the importance of the first born, as well as the responsibility for setting younger siblings and cousins straight on the rules of the family. 🙂 And as the Word points out, the first born has a double portion.

        Like

      • BTW, one thing that helped me while raising the kids was to explain that because a teacher or pastor said it, it doesn’t make it so. Not to bring disrespect to them, but to
        make my kids understand their responsibility to “separate the wheat from the chaff.”

        For example, regarding the rapture, pre, mid, post-tribe, etc and other end time events, I explained that these are all as yet theories, and despite how some speak with absolute assurance of their position, they remain nothing but a theory until that time comes, and then we will know. Naturally, I didn’t vilify the things I disagreed with (no alcohol consumption for example, as I went to a Southern Baptist church) but taught the kids that they weren’t bound to necessarily agree with a doctrine of the church, but I would try to get them to understanding why that doctrine came about. I know it takes effort, but I honestly don’t think there is an organization or congregation on the planet that has it all right.

        Lastly, I’m reminded when my daughter was in jr. high at a private school, she’d come home upset with stories of (Catholic) kids calling her a “Christ killer.” She was beside herself, naturally, and my advice to her was to “change things” at school. We found out there was no Holocaust education there, but before long they began hosting a Holocaust survivor. So, the answer isn’t always to cut and run, but to affect change.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ro Pinto says:

        True. However, I had 6 of them ranging from 1 to 14 and when the oldest one was in middle school I moved from Long Island to south Florida. The school systems are worlds apart in standard. So I pulled my oldest out to home-school due to his sudden failing, but as I researched more, I saw the direction the local schools were going in what they were teaching. I tried the private school route, but after a while couldn’t stay ahead of the cost.

        The main reason I remain in the church is because I love these people, they have become part of my family, and want them to know the truth.

        Cutting and running is not always the answer, but sometimes you have to run for the hills to protect the ones you love. (This coming from a stubborn Italian who prefers to confront and fight! God sure is doing a work in me. LOL)

        Like

  8. “I never actually stated how I equate distinctions, so I am not sure how you came to your conclusion.”

    Yes, Zion, you did, when you said:

    “In certain periods of history, it would have been wrong for you as a woman to even have a debate with a man as you are right now with Pete, you would have been crossing an established distinction.”

    That is what I based my remarks on. And let’s be realistic, we’re both making generalizations, that’s the nature of blog posts and even more so the comments.

    If you really want to know how I feel about God’s distinctions, it’s easy enough to read what I said, but you’ll have to get over yourself first. I’ll reiterate for you: I think God’s ways and purposes are above ours. If He created distinction, then it’s good, and there’s a reason. Have men abused these distinctions and used the Bible to defend it? Duh. You’re preaching to choir here sweetie.

    I’m a female after all, and never a day went by growing up where I wasn’t told that I was ” worthless” and the “only thing” I was “good for” was to “get married off by 17.” Later I was victimized by males and an ex-husband. I church I heard a million times how women are to submit to their husbands but only once on how men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church.

    People gave perveeted all of God’s gifts and provisions, but His heart and purpose can be ascertained, but competition and subjugation isn’t part of the recipe. Sorry I have to go, just arrived at my destination.

    Like

    • Zion says:

      SWJ, I honestly still do not understand where you stand on distinctions and I guess I never will, thus I really do not understand your argument for distinction, if you can’t actually define what distinctions are being blurred and how, it makes your argument in the plain since, irrelevant…

      Also, just to be clear, you thought this was my view concerning distinctions when I stated that this has historically happened to women, I can assure you, this in no way is my view, this is absurd and disturbing in my opinion:

      “In certain periods of history, it would have been wrong for you as a woman to even have a debate with a man as you are right now with Pete, you would have been crossing an established distinction.”

      My point in bringing this forward was to understand your view of this perspective, if you considered this view to be a valid distinction, and to consider how you come to your conclusion. You said that you believe this view is skewed, which we agree on.

      So I am still left wondering what your argument actually is, and your point in trying to argue for distinctions, without knowing what you mean, or what that actually looks like, you seem to point the finger and say that Pete is ignoring distinctions, but you are not showing how… just something to think about.

      Like

  9. Zion,

    Re: Distinction. God created the Jewish people and set them apart from the nations, elected/chose them to be His distinct, holy nation, forever. He made covenants with them, including the New Covenant, and gave them the Torah with specific commandments to live by. Within the Torah there is distinction for the Jewish people, i.e., Benjamites cannot usurp the Cohen’s responsibilities, or the Levites, and so on. Men have requirements that women don’t, and vice-versa. I see an obvious plan, not a ranking system where He loved the Cohens more so made them the priests, or loved the other tribes more because they didn’t have to worry about all that responsibility, depending on one’s perspective. Everyone is to be functioning within their group, both gender, and tribe.

    There’s also commandments for how they’re to treat the one sojourning with Israel. Again, this is distinction: not just any person, not just any gentile. The distinction between Jew and non Jew remains, in my reading and understanding, and not all of the commandments apply to a gentile, just like all of the commandments don’t apply to every Jew! Or outside of Israel, or without a Temple standing, or Sanhedrian.

    I believe all of this is based upon mutual blessing, in other words, He selected them, but also for our benefit; we aren’t an afterthought…

    Being drawn near to Him via Messiah Yeshua, the Gentile now has a role to play in the redemption: to be a light for Messiah and a testimony for him. But also, I believe, to be a shield and defender of the Jewsih people in their long exile. On that mission we’ve largely failed because we’ve told them their covenant was nullified, God hated them, they were just used for a time until Christianity came along, etc. Acts 15 and many other places, make it abundantly clear that we are acceptable as Gentiles, and aren’t obligated to the Torah as a Jew is.

    So what does that mean? Gentile believers can lie, commit adultery, murder, etc? No, of course not. There are aspects of the Torah that are universal, and the rabbis/sages noted such.

    But there are commandments specifically given as a sign between God and the Jewish people, and I think infringing upon them is blurring the lines of distinction. Add to that the fact that many Gentiles use religious garb that is traditional to Judaism (kippah and prayer shall for example) and then you have Gentiles dressing up Jewish. This has a cross-dressing feel about it for me, and can lead to some pretty crazy stuff, which is harmful to Jews in more ways than one.

    The Jews have a specific role in redemption, which they’ve largely failed at, and that is to be faithful to their covenant with God. Gentile believers have a role to play in redemption too, which we’ve largely failed at by trying to blending the Jews into oblivion by assimilation: the only way they could be acceptable to God is to be “Gentile”. Now we have some who reverse that: the only way to be acceptable to a God is to be “Jewish[y]”. I reject both.

    Now, that’s about as clear as I can get on a blog comment Zion. And btw, I’m not pointing any fingers at Pete, I’m voicing another side to this issue.

    Like

    • Zion says:

      SWJ, thank you for the response, I want to address a few points you brought up.

      We all believe in distinctions, the question is how far we go to define those distinctions. Earlier I stated how these are for the most, man made, more than likely your very own understanding of distinction is more than likely for the majority, man made. Such as ‘should women be able to wear jeans, since men also wear jeans’, does this mean she is cross dressing or him, and who decides, some would argue yes, and others no. Because some of these things are simply debatable as to what is actually a blurring of distinction. You brought up the distinctions among the Levites versus the rest of the tribes, the distinction between men and women, etc and I agree. However we have to look at the other side as well. Where are they the same, majority of Israelites, men for example shared the exact same laws… majority of Israelite women shared the exact same laws. In some ways their distinction was unnoticeable and in other ways as noted, such as the Levites place of office, it was clear as day… but despite the specific offices, there were the layman, the average ‘joe’, which represented the majority and they were not very distinguishable from the next, and this is where majority of Israel would be, not the exceptions…

      I agree with your view concerning gentiles supporting the Jewish people…

      Your view on Acts 15, I disagree with, in fact, I would argue that if you think Acts 15, deals with whether gentiles should keep the Torah, you missed the entire context…

      You said here concerning Acts 15:

      So what does that mean? Gentile believers can lie, commit adultery, murder, etc? No, of course not. There are aspects of the Torah that are universal, and the rabbis/sages noted such.

      This is as invalid as it gets, the Law of Moses, is contained inside of a covenant, not made with the nations or gentiles and only made with Israel, that is not the say a gentile cannot join. Thus, you cannot apply the Law of Moses to a gentile who has no part in the covenant. It is not universal as you suggest. The only time the Law of Moses applied to a gentile, was if the gentile was passing through the land and thus just like any government law even today, one is responsible to the Laws of the land they are visiting or traveling through. The other is if a gentile joined the covenant and was thus responsible to its regulations. Anything outside of that is fairy tale theology. Knowing this, your argument has nothing to stand on. The best you could argue is for the Noahide Laws, and then your argument would encounter different problems.

      But there are commandments specifically given as a sign between God and the Jewish people, and I think infringing upon them is blurring the lines of distinction.

      Can you be specific as to which ones, since you said there are specific commands?

      Add to that the fact that many Gentiles use religious garb that is traditional to Judaism (kippah and prayer shall for example) and then you have Gentiles dressing up Jewish. This has a cross-dressing feel about it for me, and can lead to some pretty crazy stuff, which is harmful to Jews in more ways than one.

      I dig what you are saying here, I have seen and heard of some disturbing things in this regard…

      I have heard that this happens at Beth Emmanuel congregation, the FFOZ affiliate… and I have seen some gentiles do this as well… most with good intentions, some actually think they are keeping commands, if they could simply understand that most of these things are cultural traditions and not biblical commandments, they would come to their senses…

      Now, that’s about as clear as I can get on a blog comment Zion. And btw, I’m not pointing any fingers at Pete, I’m voicing another side to this issue.

      Technically, you’re pointing a finger at Pete, because you believe he is blurring distinctions, am I correct?

      Like

  10. James says:

    I wasn’t going to weigh in on this one but I saw my friends Ro and “Sojourning” were commenting and thought I should offer some support.

    I’m uncomfortable with the Tent of David (TOD) book’s central message being characterized as “all you Gentiles go back to church.” I’ve read the book several times and reviewed it on my own blog and further, took its advice and returned to church after an absence of many years. I’ve struggled with Boaz’s message and have been critical of some of its implications, but I don’t think it’s a directive from Messianic Judaism to all “Messianic Gentiles” to abandon Messianic worship and practices and “revert” to Evangelical Christianity.

    As I recall, Boaz did say that his book wasn’t for anyone and that his primary audience is Messianics who are still in a church or still affiliated with a church on some level. The idea is to take what you know and be a representative of the Messianic movement as a long-term participant in church. This isn’t a “mission” for everyone, so don’t take it as such. For the longest time, I wasn’t sure it was a mission for me.

    As difficult as the TOD message might be for some to grasp, it’s really the best way to communicate Messianic values and combat supersessionism in the Church. I can say from my own experience that it’s taken me over a year and a half to get to a point in Sunday school class where my comments and perspectives (and some of them must seem pretty radical to a bunch of conservative Baptists) are listened to and valued. I’d never have accomplished this if I just showed up for a few weeks or even a few months, beat people over the head with the Torah, and left because I was afraid of being assimilated (trust me, I haven’t “converted” to Evangelicalism).

    Granted, there are limitations, but trust and credibility aren’t built overnight and I’m probably never going to be able to completely “rewrite” the church’s doctrine. But if even a few people move a little further along in their understanding of what the New Covenant really means and why the Good News of Messiah is primarily good news for Israel, then perhaps I’ve accomplished my, or rather, Hashem’s purpose.

    I know that TOD was a particularly difficult book to write and it underwent many revisions as a result of critical input by a number of editors. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s a message that needed to be said. It’s a difficult message to communicate and it’s easily misunderstood. Of course, since the book’s vision of a Messianic Gentile doesn’t support a One Law/One Torah perspective, it’s going to be rejected out of hand by people who believe the covenant obligation of both Jews and Gentiles to Hashem should be identical.

    While I don’t always feel “comfortable” in church and have considered leaving on a number of occasions, Hashem has given me reasons to stay.

    I should say to Pete’s readers who don’t know me, that I blog incessantly on these matters. I’m also intermarried, a Gentile Christian (or Messianic Gentile if you prefer) husband married to a Jewish (non-Yeshua believing) wife. If anyone can be said to live out a “bilateral ecclesiology” in his marital existence, it would be me.

    I don’t see Boaz really advocating for a strict bilateral stance in his book. The majority of Messianic Jewish synagogues, such as the Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship in Wisconsin, are quite “Jewish” in its practices. Yet the majority of the Beth Immanuel members are Gentile (which is typical of Messianic Jewish congregations, at least in the U.S.). D. Thomas Lancaster, who is the primary teacher at Beth Immanuel, is a Gentile. And yet Lancaster is also one of the major contributors to FFOZ’s teaching materials and he has been for many years.

    I don’t see Messianic Judaism in general or FFOZ in specific advocating to “throw out” Gentiles from Messianic worship and practice.

    Oh. One other thing. In these comments, David said:

    Plus, the fact that I am called a gentile over and over in the book almost offended me.

    Assuming David isn’t Jewish, then he’s a Gentile. I’m not Jewish, so I’m a Gentile. What’s the problem? Paul was Yeshua’s handpicked emissary to the Gentiles. It’s not a dirty word.

    Like

    • Pete Rambo says:

      James,

      Thanks for stopping by and weighing in… It has been a good and spirited discussion.

      When preparing for the post, one which I struggled mightily about even doing, I noticed your comments about the TOD on Amazon.com. I also considered linking to your blog as I know you really like and promote the message of the book, but chose not to so as to limit collateral fallout… This is one we’ll have to disagree on.

      Yes, As I stated in the article, we need to reach out in grace and love with a consistent message of Yeshua’s Jewishness, the centrality of physical Israel, the importance of the Jews, etc… But there are VERY FEW people who, even after 3-5 years in this walk who are prepared to enter that lion’s den. It would be akin to sending a recovering alcoholic into a bar to work soon after he dried out. Not good. Truth be told, there are probably lots of examples like David’s testimony of those who read the book and collapsed back into the comforts of lawlessness.

      As a different example, I’ve had opportunity to befriend and witness to both Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses over the years, but I’ve never joined their fellowships and submitted myself to the probable indoctrination of error. I salute you for your extended participation in the local church, but one has only to peruse your blog to see that it has been possibly the single most frustrating and maddening thing in your entire life. More than once in your comments I said, “GET OUT!” Now, I understand why you are there and I support you, but, not 1 in 100 Messianic Gentiles could do what you are doing…

      And that gives me a thought: You and Boaz Michael, both on this mission to a local congregation, share a common point the rest of us do not. You by marriage, he by birth… By virtue of your connection with Judah, maybe you two have a much greater responsibility to be in those places, and as such his message is wrong. Maybe his message of going into the Church should be preached directly to Messianic Jews! Now there is an idea!! I’m going to have to ponder that one, but the more I stop and think, the more interesting that sounds, precisely because it is in keeping with what happened in the First Century!

      In that same vein, instead of sending the Gentiles back to church, Messianic Jews should be throwing open their doors, extending their arms to every Gentile who will listen, and come embrace Torah. It is the Messianic Jews who should be doing the teaching and welcoming all who come. THAT is how the Tent of David will be restored!! Not making shaliachs out of Gentiles who cross over.

      Liked by 1 person

      • James says:

        I’m OK with agreeing to disagree, but I think it’s a little unfair to call all churches everywhere “the lion’s den” and compare a “Messianic Gentile” going into a church with an alcoholic going into a bar. It implies that church is inherently bad and would create a terrible temptation for the “Messianic Gentile” to “backslide” into bad (addictive?) habits, such as eating ham sandwiches and mowing the lawn on Saturdays.

        First off, there are many good and kind people in the church I attend and although we sometimes disagree, I admire them greatly for how they perform the weightier matters of Torah, such as feeding the poor, visiting the sick, befriending the abandoned, and preaching the good news of Messiah. Also, and Boaz mentions this in his book, you can develop strategies to avoid violating your principles as a Messianic Gentile in a Christian venue. At no time has going to church made me want to eat ham, shrimp, or vulture. Of course, the fact that I’m married to a Jewish wife re-enforces my eating habits, and the day she decides to become more observant about Shabbat, so will I (as a Gentile, I’m not about to try to become more observant than my wife).

        As far as sending Messianic Jews instead of Messianic Gentiles as emissaries into churches, I believe Boaz and his family already did that prior to moving to Israel. Please keep in mind, he (and I) aren’t advocating this as the only method to communicate the Messianic message to the Evangelical church. It’s simply one strategy.

        I still say it’s probably easier to send Gentiles into the church since, as I’ve said before, Jews have historically been forced into church settings when coming to faith in Messiah, so I believe the time has come to establish and maintain Jewish worship and community space that allows Jews to live as Jews in their Messianic faith. As far as Messianic Gentiles going to church this doesn’t mean not attending a Messianic community as well, if an adequate congregation is available. Plenty of intermarried couples attend shul on Saturday and church on Sunday. I think Judah Himango and his wife do this, at least occasionally. It also presents an opportunity to invite friends from church to a Messianic group to share that experience, particularly on festivals.

        Anyway, here we disagree again, but that’s OK. But please don’t cast all churches and all Christians as evil, bad, wrong, corrupt, and apostate. One of my criticisms of many One Law/One Torah people is that they have become paranoia and phobic where Christianity is concerned. The idea here is to build bridges, not throw stones.

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        In the context of this particular conversation I think it perfectly fair to use vivid illustration to share my concern of the theologically dangerous waters upon entering a church, particularly for those not very well grounded.

        Are there good and admirable things about the church? Sure. Does that make them okay? Not necessarily. I love my own family, some of whom are on a flight right now to Ghana West Africa for a ministry trip, but I do not fail to speak truth to them. I may not address it at every opportunity, but there are times I do so very directly. For the subject of this blog post, this is one of those times.

        We’ll have to agree to disagree.

        I’m still looking forward to sitting down with you for a cup of coffee at some point. I think we’d both really enjoy the dialog… 🙂

        Shabbat shalom, my friend!

        Like

  11. James says:

    Shabbat Shalom, Pete. Be well.

    Like

    • loammi says:

      One of my favorite summary verses is Galatians 3:29 ‘And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise’. So even with Abraham not being of Judea or the tribe of J’ew’dah we are heirs like He is. What a wonderful King we serve.

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      • loammi says:

        And for me it is not a question of do I have to do anything based on who I am Jew/Gentile. it is, wow what a blessing to walk in His ways of Torah to emulate Him and enjoy the blessings thereof 🙂

        Like

      • James says:

        If Pete will forgive me once again “spamming” his blog Ioammi, a blog post of mine that went online this morning in a series of articles I’m writing on Romans somewhat addresses your comment and probably a more recent blog of Pete’s reviewing a book regarding Gentile inclusion in Israel: Reflections on Romans 4. The concept of being heirs and children of Abraham is rather nuanced and requires a lot of attention to comprehend. As with all other people, I’m still learning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pete Rambo says:

        Spammer… LOL!… I’ll have to come read, too… But Loammi and I are cut from the same bolt. We’ll let the King sort it out. 😉

        Edit: Okay, I had time to read the article and totally disagree with the bilateral ecclesiology on display! Frankly, I find it concerning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • James says:

        I appreciate your graciousness, Pete. It’s just that it’s easier to repurpose text that I’ve already written than to create a lengthy reply in the comments section of your blog. The issues we discuss are not easy to answer in a few sentences or a paragraph and, as you know, I can be rather verbose. 😉

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        Was rushing out to work, but wanted to add a few thoughts…

        Yes, in some ways, Paul is nuanced, but we have to be careful not to import presuppositions and to view passages in the light of the rest of his writings. In my opinion, holding a bilateral ecclesiology immediately biases one against the fulness of what it means to be grafted in/heirs.

        1 Cor. 10:1-11 To a decidedly mixed qahal of Jews and non-Jews: ‘OUR fathers…’ not, ‘my fathers,’ or ‘the fathers,’ or even Israel’s fathers’….

        1 Peter 2:9-11 Again to a decidedly mixed group of recipients, he cites promises previously understood as only for physical descendants and proselytes: ‘you ARE a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own choosing…’ (Those are singular: one race, one priesthood, one nation, one people…)

        Ephesians 2:12-122,; 3:6 Again, specifically addressing the a mixed fellowship with the ‘non-Jew side of the equation: ‘…fellow citizens with the saints (fathers?)… the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of the promise of Messiah Yeshua through the gospel…’

        There are more… The point is, the plain text says, over and over that the ‘nuances’ are much less than some would have us believe. For me, if a ‘nuance’ takes many words to explain and seems to contradict or call into question other clear passages, I see red flags.

        Now, as to your comments in your article about the Roman Gentiles acting/speaking in arrogance, yes. That is correct (Romans 11 further addresses this issue) and we as grafted-in non-Jews do need to be sensitive in how we portray certain parts of the Gospel message, but stating the facts, as Paul states them, is not arrogance. It is a simple statement of fact that can be/often is perceived as arrogance.

        Liked by 1 person

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  13. Vince Hirschler says:

    I haven’t read the book and after reading what I have here, I feel it would be wasted time, so if you feel my comments are invalid, I’m ok with that.
    A dear friend forwarded this to me so that is why I’m even here.
    I really think the term Messianic Gentile is of itself disingenuous, terms ‘by birth’ or ‘by adoption’ [first generation]. from the time of Abraham there were those who served him as they sought to benefit from his being blessed, as when they left Egypt [mixed multitude], taking the land [Rahab – ancestor of David], during the Judges [Ruth -ancestor of David] those Who sought the Torah have from the beginning been assimilated into God’s People [adopted]. So as I see it, it is a matter of Torah Seeker or Torah denier, not Jew or Gentile.
    And for me to exclude of my own determination is to take the authority of YHVH upon myself [placing myself in His stead] therefore exclude myself. So of what I took from reading this is that the basis of this book is to divide, where we are directed to unify in the FAITH [encourage one another]. An organization I left [or left me] sought to leave the Torah and demean those who sought Torah, what would be a benefit of going back there, several committed suicide [loss of hope]

    Vince

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pete: “Was rushing out to work, but wanted to add a few thoughts…

    Yes, in some ways, Paul is nuanced, but we have to be careful not to import presuppositions and to view passages in the light of the rest of his writings. In my opinion, holding a bilateral ecclesiology immediately biases one against the fulness of what it means to be grafted in/heirs.”

    I’m also in a rush, but wanted to include a thought or two.

    As strange and difficult this perspective is for me, I’m nonetheless trying to understand. I want to present the hurdles to what “I think” those who believe distinction is bad, are saying.

    A seemingly persistent argument against distinction between Jews and “members of the nations”, as Paul says, is the apparent belief that being the same as them (needling to look and act Jewish-ly) is what makes us acceptable, approved, worthy, in right standing, etc. As if worshiping God on Sunday, or without a Jewish prayer shawl and dangling tzitzit, is tantamount to giving him the finger.

    I’ve seen this expressed by people ( Not just here, btw)
    1. Getting upset or “offended” to be called a gentile, or when any distinction is mentioned.
    2. Who teach worshiping as a Christian is wrong, evil, or amounts to “assimilation” for a non-Jew.
    3. Assume their particular form of “Jewish” looking practice is the elite religion, the only proper way to worship God, and everyone else is apostate.
    4. Mentioning and maintaining distinction is declared as causing disunity and splitting “the body.”

    All of these are problematic, for me.
    1: God created the Jewish people and set them aside for himself, and although they’ve been “spiritualized” ad nauseam, they are literally defined as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I think it’s obvious that he created and covenanted with them for the benefit of ALL of his creation, yes, even the non-Jews.

    2: So, we must toss into the trash bin all the Christians who’ve done amazing things for God and humanity, and kept knowledge of and devotion to his son alive through the ages, since they didn’t hold to kashrut, perhaps thought Shabbat really had been changed to Sunday, never heard of laying tefillin, and never blew a shofar or recited the Sh’ma?

    3: Elitism has been a downfall of most religions, and has caused immeasurable pain and suffering. There’s also a great (and funny) visual depicting this tendency found here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/177821885261959332/

    4. I’ve addressed this twice already on this thread.

    Lastly, Paul’s word “our” in “our fathers” while addressing a mixed group of Jews and non-Jews, does not mean that he is eliminating distinction.

    If I sat in a room where several of your family members were present, and as you were explaining your family history you mentioned “our” parents, grandparents, ancestors, etc., I would not assume you were saying they were now “my” parents, grandparents, ancestors, etc.

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    • Pete Rambo says:

      Blessings,

      Loved the Pintrest pic!! Too true… unfortunately.

      You said,

      If I sat in a room where several of your family members were present, and as you were explaining your family history you mentioned “our” parents, grandparents, ancestors, etc., I would not assume you were saying they were now “my” parents, grandparents, ancestors, etc.

      The only problem is that you leave out the part where you are ‘adopted’ and now a member of the family…. If I am not mistaken, in the ancient near east, a natural born son could be disowned, but an adopted son could not… The ties of adoption were as close as a blood relative. so, ‘our’ fathers, in teaching an adoptee, does not mean ‘my’ fathers. It truly means ‘mine and now your’ fathers.

      I would recommend McKee’s book that I just reviewed: Are Non-Jewish Believers Really A Part Of Israel?.

      In a conversation James and I had earlier, he said, “I think we need to take into account that there aren’t just two points of view OL/OT vs. BE, but rather an continuum of viewpoints on a scale with OL/OT at one end and BE at the other.” And, I agree. Often, I think you and I talk past each other be4cause we assume the other is at the opposite end of the spectrum when in reality we are both closer to the center than we realise. Zion’s reply to your next comment really helps adjust the lens. How can disciples of the Jewish Messiah not take on some very Jewish looking things if they are obedient (Torah pursuant) to His Word? I’m the first to tell someone I am not Jewish, but I make no bones about walking as my Rabbi walks.

      Per Zion’s comment, this is exactly why I desire to see Messianic Jews throw open the doors and welcome all who will come walk. They have a responsibility and calling to LEAD, not send people back to wherever they came from! They can hold out the tzitzit for the nations to take hold of, or they can guard them, effectively brushing reaching hands away. The destiny of the Messianic Jew is NOT to cocoon and isolate and protect!! The destiny is Torah to the nations!! I really do not know how else to say this!

      Like

      • “Often, I think you and I talk past each other be4cause we assume the other is at the opposite end of the spectrum when in reality we are both closer to the center than we realise. “

        I actually don’t think you’re at the far end of the spectrum Pete. (Not that I would even know what that looks like, and factoring in we don’t know each other) but you impress me as gracious, good natured, and well intentioned, which isn’t usually the case with an extremist. I assume you’re like those of us who are in the process of reevaluating what we thought we knew, because you want to worship God in truth and obedience.

        What you assume to be my extremism is actually more of a face palm and exasperation at how the Church has misidentified gentile identity and calling, and IMO, the OL position simply flips the same coin over.

        I’m fueled by protecting the Jewish people and giving them the space they DESPERATELY NEED TO HEAL, without Gentiles telling them what to do, how to do it, and/or attempting to supplant them. I’m also fueled by pointing to the unique Gentile calling that is totally missed by assuming we’re to act/be/look Jewish. I believe we’ve made terrible mistakes by not recognizing our role, I long for that to be healed for the Jew first, and also for the Gentile.

        Several years ago I stripped my theology down to the bare bones and began the process of rebuilding. While in the process, I’m comfortable with leaving some things in the “I don’t know yet” pile as I wade through and sort out what goes where.

        Folks who argue for “One Law”, and by that seek to obliterate any distinction between Jews and Gentiles, apparently do so because they assume God’s Torah is the standard of all righteous behavior, and they diminish the covenant and constitutional aspects of it – and that’s understandable from an evangelical perspective…I spent some time wrestling that too.

        But his covenants are specific and uniquely with the Jewish people. Why?

        When I began “rebuilding my religion” (I’ve also written a blog post by this name, to be published in the near future), one thing that angered me about the Church’s narrative on the Jews and the “Old Testament”, is how often God stated and reiterated His covenant expectations to the Jewish people. It’s literally everywhere in the Torah; Jewish people are obligated, in writing, to keep His Torah and aspects of it are “for all time” and “in all their generations” etc. In a court of law the evidence would be overwhelming.

        Yet we have Acts 15 emphatically saying we aren’t obligated to the Torah as Jews are, and we have Paul so adamant that Gentiles remain in their identity and calling (and not become Jews) that people misunderstood him to be teaching that Jews shouldn’t keep their covenant obligations! So, if God was going to obligate Gentiles to the Torah as a Jew, wouldn’t you expect him to make it legally binding even one time, as he did with Jews numerous times?

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      • Pete: Re Zion’s comment. It’s only helpful because it points out that he misunderstands my perspective. Of course the Bible is Jewish, as is the messiah, all the prophets etc. And, of course we will look more “Jewish” if we follow the Jewish messiah. The issue is in degrees.

        What many don’t seem to grasp is that there were MANY faiths that stemmed from the ancient faith of a Israel, for lack of a better term, and were present among Jews in the first century. Jews didn’t have a monolithic faith at the time of Yeshua, and “Judaism” as such didn’t exist, all that came later!

        Only two of those 1st century faiths – stemming from the ancient faith of a Israel –survived, yet both morphed over time. One went on to become Christianity and the other Judaism. Neither are a Biblically “pure” version of Israel’s ancient faith.

        You say the Jews have a responsibility to “lead” and to “throw open” the doors to welcome all the eager Gentiles. This is fine and dandy, but only in an ideal sort of way Pete.

        Father’s have an obligation to be good role models and lead their children, but some dads have been to war, lost a limb, saw things they never should have, experienced torture and horror, etc. They’ll need time and space to heal and get themselves together, perhaps they’ll need a bit of extra love, protection, and grace. Perhaps expectations should be put on hold awhile. This is the realization I’ve come to via living with Jews. The passion you hear, and perhaps take as extreme, is because I’m trying to dress the wounds and convince people to stop picking their scabs.

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  15. I should have also mentioned, I believe all that you said is true regarding that we’ve been brought near, have also been chosen, are fellow heirs, and have a holy calling. But this doesn’t mean we must look, act, or be Jewish, or that non-Jewish expression of faith to God is not negative, in fact I believe it’s quite the opposite. Our calling is not identical to theirs.

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    • Zion says:

      The problem with your conclusion, has gentiles removing the Jewishness out of the faith, oh wait, that already happened.

      What you are describing about not looking Jewish is a logical fallacy. Our very religion itself is Jewish, the Bible is Jewish, the Messiah is Jewish, and if we care anything about our religion and want to live it, we are going to look Jewish, there really is no way around it, all the father’s of this religion happen to be Jews. However, this does not mean we should play dress up or try to act like we are not from the nations, or mimic Jews in a way that the idea is to deceive people into thinking we are Jews… We should be upfront about our identity as gentiles for multiple reasons and so should Jews…

      Liked by 1 person

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  17. loammi says:

    And let us not forget Jesus/Yeshua is Jewish and that will cause many who seek to walk as He walked to look like one as well if we are in fact walking as He walked.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Zion says:

    Folks who argue for “One Law”, and by that seek to obliterate any distinction between Jews and Gentiles, apparently do so because they assume God’s Torah is the standard of all righteous behavior, and they diminish the covenant and constitutional aspects of it.

    You do know that according to the Torah and Judaism itself, gentiles are welcome to join the covenant and thus keep the covenant, and this is in no way an obliteration of distinction, God made this possible and even wanted it to happen? See Isaiah 56 concerning gentile Torah observance and God promising blessings for those gentiles who keep His covenant and the commandments. Yet you are saying the opposite, that doing this is against God, it does not look well on your part.

    Yet we have Acts 15 emphatically saying we aren’t obligated to the Torah as Jews are, and we have Paul so adamant that Gentiles remain in their identity and calling (and not become Jews) that people misunderstood him to be teaching that Jews shouldn’t keep their covenant obligations! So, if God was going to obligate Gentiles to the Torah as a Jew, wouldn’t you expect him to make it legally binding even one time, as he did with Jews numerous times?

    Concerning Acts 15, this is a matter of interpretation, not a fact… if you would like to try to prove your case of Acts 15, go ahead, but just stating so, is not good enough.

    As to a legal binding on gentiles, that also depends on interpretation. In Ephesians 2, we can interpret that gentiles are now brought into the covenant, that in itself is implicit obligation. And the opposite would be true, if we are not in covenant, then we are not obligated, it is a very simple equation…, the real problem comes a long, in how we come to our conclusions, and this is through our various interpretations. We also have many verses giving implicit obligation, such as Matthew 28, “teach them everything I taught you.”, he did not say “teach them half” or “only what applies to a gentile”, nope, “all”. We have verses such as, “if you love me, keep my commandments”, the question then becomes what are His commandments, you would argue that they are different for different people, which in some cases is true, but without a standard to measure by, this becomes another issue of interpretation.

    You yourself say that gentiles are not obligated to the Torah in the same way Jews are, yet you offer no evidence to even prove how gentiles are even remotely obligated to the Torah. Can you not see how illogical your argument is???

    Liked by 1 person

    • “…Yet you are saying the opposite, that doing this is against God, it does not look well on your part.”

      No Zion, I framed my response – to Pete – by saying that it seems OL attempts to obliterate and ignore the specific covenant people and the constitutional aspects of the Torah and instead universalizes all of it. All this was predicated upon the fact that I’m not a OL, never have been, don’t find it compelling but rather–from my vantage point– harmful, yet because of my respect for Pete, I’m trying to understand it a bit better. Once again, you came up with a different issue entirely in order to assume the “experts” position. Unfortunately, blog post comments are limiting, so if you’ll have to pay better attention.

      “Concerning Acts 15, this is a matter of interpretation, not a fact… if you would like to try to prove your case of Acts 15, go ahead, but just stating so, is not good enough.

      Zion, if every comment must first be prefaced with a list of the obvious to pass your approval, then it becomes combersome quickly. I’m neither seeking to “prove” the obviousness that the Apostolic Decree emphatically did *not* obligate Gentiles to the Torah as a Jew and was never interpreted that way, nor am I’m seeking your approval for my interpretation.

      That you have a creative reading of Acts 15 and think it says: ‘Thus, all Gentiles are hereby obligated in full to the Torah of Moses without distinction’ is probably something you need to “prove”, especially since Paul kept highlighting distinction and he didn’t circumcise gentile Titus, but did circumcise the Jewish Timothy, and other obvious problems.

      “As to a legal binding on gentiles, that also depends on interpretation. In Ephesians 2, we can interpret that gentiles are now brought into the covenant, that in itself is implicit obligation.

      And here’s the rub Zion, no one needs to rely on a fuzzy interpretation of “possibilities” and “maybes” when discussing the literal aspect and binding nature of the covenant obligation with and upon Jews. It’s something that would be overwhelming in a court of law. No matter how logical you consider yourself to be, you cannot say the same for a Gentile. All that we can say is “possibly”, “maybe” and “perhaps”–provided it’s read a certain way. That was my point, and you proved it yourself.

      “And the opposite would be true, if we are not in covenant, then we are not obligated, it is a very simple equation…, the real problem comes a long, in how we come to our conclusions, and this is through our various interpretations.

      Not sure why, but the letters NSS keep coming to mind…

      “We also have many verses giving implicit obligation, such as Matthew 28, “teach them everything I taught you.”, he did not say “teach them half” or “only what applies to a gentile”, nope, “all”. We have verses such as, “if you love me, keep my commandments”, the question then becomes what are His commandments, you would argue that they are different for different people, which in some cases is true, but without a standard to measure by, this becomes another issue of interpretation.”

      There you go again broadening the topic so you can try to be the “boss of me.” Hehehe…

      “You yourself say that gentiles are not obligated to the Torah in the same way Jews are, yet you offer no evidence to even prove how gentiles are even remotely obligated to the Torah. Can you not see how illogical your argument is???

      No Zion, I see you trying to be the authority and gatekeeper of all truth, broadening the topic, ignoring context and previously stated premises, and misrepresenting statements to create an opportunity to declare “FALLACY”, or “ILLOGICAL”, or to insist an opinion must be “proved” to you.

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      • James says:

        Ruth said: Unfortunately, blog post comments are limiting, so if you’ll have to pay better attention.

        You could always do what I do in similar situations. Write a blog post about it. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pete Rambo says:

        And then provide links with backtracking… LOL!

        All: This has been a good discussion, but beware getting frustrated…

        Ruth: James and I are considering reading at the same time and discussing via blog interaction, JK McKee’s ‘One Law’ ( http://outreachisrael.net/products/books/confronting-issues/one_law.html ). Would you be interested in joining us should we dive in?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zion says:

        After reading this, one word comes to mind, Yikes!!

        SWJ,

        Despite what you think, I am not out to get you or lord over you, this is not a conspiracy as you suppose, I am simply confronting certain opinions that you stated and seeking your response, I do want to understand how you deal with what I see to be blatant contradictions. Obviously, you don’t have to defend your beliefs against my questions, none of us do, but then that defeats the whole purpose of actually trying to understand each others side…

        Zion, if every comment must first be prefaced with a list of the obvious to pass your approval, then it becomes combersome quickly. I’m neither seeking to “prove” the obviousness that the Apostolic Decree emphatically did *not* obligate Gentiles to the Torah as a Jew and was never interpreted that way, nor am I’m seeking your approval for my interpretation.

        Just to be clear, I never said you were seeking my approval, I am simply asking you questions from my perspective, people do that in discussions, and in doing so, wanting to understand how you deal with these dilemmas from your perspective, it would be no different if you were asking me…

        That you have a creative reading of Acts 15 and think it says: ‘Thus, all Gentiles are hereby obligated in full to the Torah of Moses without distinction’ is probably something you need to “prove”, especially since Paul kept highlighting distinction and he didn’t circumcise gentile Titus, but did circumcise the Jewish Timothy, and other obvious problems.

        “creative reading”, lol, nice. Everyone approaches the scriptures with interpretation, it would be naive to think you do not. Context is key, and no I don’t believe Acts 15 in the way that you portrayed me as believing… But this is where dialog comes in, based on what you said, you do not understand the One Law position or are intentionally portraying it negatively… This is where you can ask questions if you are truly interested in knowing or understanding, but so far that has proven to be fruitless, other than stating your negative opinion about One Law (at least how you view it as harmful). And any questions directed to you, have returned in a personal defense.

        And here’s the rub Zion, no one needs to rely on a fuzzy interpretation of “possibilities” and “maybes” when discussing the literal aspect and binding nature of the covenant obligation with and upon Jews. It’s something that would be overwhelming in a court of law. No matter how logical you consider yourself to be, you cannot say the same for a Gentile. All that we can say is “possibly”, “maybe” and “perhaps”–provided it’s read a certain way. That was my point, and you proved it yourself.

        Exactly, without a doubt it is interpretation. But none of us are doubting Jewish covenant obligation, that is a “no brainer”. We were discussing One Law position, and particularly gentiles obligation to the covenant and how this affects distinctions, with you making claims of distinctions being blurred. Hopefully one day we can actually have a discussion, in the mean time, I will look forward to that time.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Pete, I can’t directly reply to your invite so I’ll do it here. Yes!

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  23. chaya1957 says:

    Excellent insight, except you have one major error. Boaz Michael, aka Chris Detwiler, is not Jewish, so how can he be a Messianic Jew or speak for Messianic Jews? It appears you are saying that he purports that Orthodox Judaism (which faction?) should be the standard by which all Jews judge the correctness of torah observance. In his understanding, a person who turns the light on during Shabbat is being dishonest in claiming to keep Shabbat. It seems he throws up an old straw man: “This is too difficult for you.”

    I understand that none of the staff of FFOZ engage in dialogue with those challenge them?

    In any case, I wouldn’t worry about what this or that macher preaches or publishes.

    Like

    • James says:

      I’m just providing this as information and don’t want to get dragged into some long and ghastly debate about Boaz and whether or not he’s Jewish. Here’s what he has to say in his own words. Take it for what it’s worth:

      http://boazmichael.org/about-me/

      Like

      • chaya1957 says:

        @James, I understand you want to defend Boaz. He didn’t come out with this narrative until word got out and he needed to spin it. Driscoll and others have done the same, so he wouldn’t be the only one. As recently as a few years ago, Vanhoff and Hegg weren’t even aware that he wasn’t born Jewish, as that is how he presented himself.

        I know, and respect that you would never allow this on your blog, but he/his ministry lied to me when I asked if he knew if Messer was Jewish, back during that debacle. FFOZ said, “We don’t know.” Of course they knew. Both knew each other in Colorado and took part in the same fake, paid for conversion. Messer didn’t change his name. So, Boaz/Chris’ pronouncements about the role of gentiles, (and Jews also) coming from a supposed Jew is nothing but a fraud. The fact that Boaz convinced you to remove a link I placed in a comment to a government website with the financial info or his organization, something available to anyone who cares to search, says something.

        We are told that he who covers his sin will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes his sin will find mercy.

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      • James says:

        No, you don’t understand. You’re assuming. Read what I wrote previously. I’m simply providing information and as I said, take it for what it’s worth. I will not enter another “he said, she said” argument. They are pointless. Defame anyone you want, but tearing someone else down does is no way to seek truth. This is the “dark side” of Hebrew Roots. The need to establish itself by character assassination.

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      • chaya1957 says:

        I don’t consider myself as allied with Hebrew Roots since I am Jewish. I have worked in journalism, and it is not character defamation to report facts. It is no different than if I went around giving legal advice claiming to be an attorney, and someone discovered I never passed the bar.

        A person who has a lot of influence over others is held to a higher (not a lower) standard.

        If someone has nothing to hide, they should be willing to answer questions and not delete challenges, and also not stoop to asking others to delete things they don’t like from their blogs. I am not pointing the finger at anyone since this practice is rampant. Once I knew a guy who said that he wanted to live a life of such integrity that people would have to make up stuff about him. Case closed.

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  25. chaya1957 says:

    For some strange reason, I got a stack of notifications of old comments today.

    @Ruth, I also have told my kids to examine everything they hear and are taught, no matter the source.

    @Rio, it seems like it would be very difficult to be involved in more than one congregation, and perhaps confusing to kids too.

    @James and others: I am really sick of this, “lashon hara game.” See, if a big shot does something shady, if anyone calls them out on it, it is, “lashon hara,” which in charismania used to be, “touch not mine anointed.”

    It is also character assassination to call reputable research and evidence, “character assassination.” If a fake doctor were claiming to be an MD and treating patients, would it be going over to the dark side to warn people? If I were an MD, I would be upset to discover this occurring, just as it upsets me to no end to hear of persons who are not Jewish claiming to be Jews, and going farther, leveraging that to make money, sell stuff or gain influence. The game of the religious world is that you don’t talk about these dirty little secrets that might lead the market to buy elsewhere. The Boaz/Chris situation is not, “he said/she said,” anymore than a question of whether a person has a medical license or not would be.

    The dark side has always been there and will always be there. To refuse to shed light upon it doesn’t make it any less dark.

    Like

  26. rdhardman says:

    I’m glad I “stumbled” onto this. I was google searching FFOZ the other day trying to determine their two-house stance. It didn’t look good. This review is very timely for me. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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