Friday, February 8, 2019

The Church’s Most Tragic Mistake

The Winter 2018 issue of Messiah magazine has an extremely important point to make and it’s featured on the cover and on page 6. The cover depicts the Jewish Jesus standing in a synagogue surrounded by Jewish people in various poses ranging from distracted to rapt attention. Page 6 has an article beginning with a picture from Christian art showing an effeminate, non-Jewish looking Jesus, with a halo. Above this is a title to grab your attention: 

The Most Tragic Mistake – THE TRAGEDY OF FORGETTING THAT JESUS IS JEWISH.

I wish, no – I pray that every person, every Christian would read this article. Here is the first paragraph, written by Boaz Michael:

“Jesus is Jewish. The most tragic mistake the church ever made was to forget that Jesus is Jewish. I use the present tense purposefully; Jesus is just as Jewish today as he was when he walked the hills of Galilee. He did not quit being Jewish when he rose from the dead or when he ascended to the right hand of throne of glory.”

I urge you to get this magazine and read this article – and then act on it. One way is to become a supporting friend of FFOZ (FFOZ.org). You will then get this magazine and all of the materials FFOZ produces (this varies based on the type of Friend supporter you are).

Many years ago I taught a Sunday School class called The Jewishness of Jesus and went over some of the same things this article is talking about. The church needs to WAKE UP to this tragic mistake and make some changes. That is the main reason I am writing my Intriguing Love series of novels. Wittenberg Encounter and Prague Rendezvous are currently available on Amazon in eBook and paperback, and I encourage you to read these. I am working on the third installment, Kazimierz Conception that will continue to get into some of the things that need to change. It is also trying to show the historical reasons why the church took the wrong turns.

The article in Messiah has two quotes that are highlighted: “Jesus’ admonishment of the Samaritan woman in John 4 – that she didn’t know who she worshiped because she wasn’t Jewish – might find equal relevance directed at a modern Christian.” And “The best avenue of approach when communicating Jesus’ Jewishness is simply to point out scriptural evidence that Jesus was a practicing Jew."


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Prague Rendezvous is Published!


At the top of this blog you should see an item called Wittenberg Encounter. I now need to add a second one for Prague Rendezvous. Below is what the cover looks like for it. Here is a short description of its content:

In Prague Rendezvous, Heinrich continues his friendship with Martin Luther and prepares for his marriage to Rebekah, who lives in Kazimierz, Poland.  Rebekah makes good use of the Alberti Cipher coding device as she coordinates the details of their Messianic wedding. Heinrich experiences the true meaning of intriguing love in the Bridal Chamber after their wedding under the chuppah in Prague. The return to Wittenberg reveals Sarah’s own developing romance. Book 2 comes full circle as Heinrich and Rebekah depart for Krakow.

To get either book, go to Amazon > Kindle > and type my name (Dennis Kananen) or the name of the book. The ebooks are @2.99 and you can view these on a Kindle OR an IPHONE (or similar). The paperbacks are $8.99. By the way, I've updated the appearance of Wittenberg Encounter. I hope to use this type of format for my third book, Kazimierz Conception, which I am writing right now!


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Paul Within Judaism

Last weekend I attended the Paul Within Judaism seminar taught by Ryan Lambert of FFOZ.                     4/22/2018

Here are my notes

Rethinking Paul as a Jewish Teacher

Damascus Road was not a conversion; it was a calling (to preach to the Gentiles)

Paul needs to be restored to his Jewish roots. Paul is best understood as a JEW. Christianity’s traditional interpretations of Paul need to be challenged

Judaism needs to be challenged about their beliefs in Paul as well. He was Torah obervant before/after Damascus. He did not become a Christian. He was a Jew who received a calling to witness to Gentiles.

How did this rift occur?
Early in the 2nd century, Ignatius wrote against Judaisim.
In our day, John MacArthur, in his study Bible, holds that Jewish practices by early Christians were hard to break. “A mature Christian wouldn’t hang on to these things" (he said).

The New Perspective on Paul (20-30 years ago) was a step in the right direction; but wasn’t dramatic enough.
It had more to do with changes in our understanding of Judaism.

Did Paul see something wrong with Judaism? NO! Acts 28:17

“And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans”

Paul’s “so-called”, negative views on Torah, should NOT be universalized. Paul’s letters are highly situational. We must be very careful to know who he is speaking to. Is he speaking to non-Jews? (referred to as the uncircumcised group).

Paul’s view was that the Kingdom Age was happening NOW. This was a radical view. He was adamant that Gentile believers should not become Jews, which is what circumcision meant.

Key verse: I Corinthians 9:19-23

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”

Not under Nomos. It’s true that Paul’s argument goes all over the place. Was Paul a liar for the Gospel?

FFOZ’s interpretation: Did Paul keep the Torah for its own sake? Did he do so out of a sense of covenantal fidelity? FFOZ says yes.

I Corinthians 7:17-20 This is a super important verse:

But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.

There are (unfortunately) many Messianic Jews (today) who are anti-Torah and anti-Judaism, because of influence by the “church”.
The Torah has preserved the Jewish people.
A person’s Judaism should be evaluated because of their Torah observance, not because of Jewish culture.

Nanos’ interpretation is different and better

The verses have to do with Paul’s adaptability in Rhetoric, not Lifestyle. It had to do with how Paul would change his argument based on who he was talking to.

Acts 17: Paul at the Aeropagus/Mars Hill (Been there). He talked about “You have an altar to an unknown god; I’m here to tell you who that is." He didn’t change his lifestyle in front of them.

How does this thought relate to the incident at Antioch?
Like so many misinterpretations, our assumptions get in the way.

We are obsessed with the dietary laws and immediately think it has to do with WHAT THEY ARE EATING. It has nothing to do with food! (we make the same mistake with Acts 10 - mine). 

It has everything to do with the seating arrangement of the banquet. The new way of the Kingdom introduced a subversive seating arrangement. Gentiles and Jews can NOW sit anywhere they want. Gentiles are equals and there should be no differentiation. The Jerusalem crowd, led by James, came to visit. Peter, who had been sitting with the Gentiles, backed off because of the Jerusalem contingent. Paul got mad and told Peter to his face.


Romans 14 Needs rethinking. – Who is Weak and who is strong?
Current Replacement Theology (RT) thinking is that anyone who is obeying Torah is Weak. Such people are called Judaizers. As before, we focus on the food, but that is not what this is about.

MacCarthur says that it is hard for Jewish believers to let go of the old ways. This is a very unfortunate interpretation.

Romans 14:14 “Nothing is unclean in and of itself.” The ESV study bible says the dietary laws are no longer in force. The RT crowd believes that we who are not obeying God’s Word (i.e., Torah) should help those who are weak (i.e., following what the Bible says). We should encourage them to move beyond obeying the Bible and become more mature??? (sarcasm)

There is a huge disconnect here.

What are the alternatives? Mark KINZER and NANOS

Mark Kinzer (Messianic Rabbi in Ann Arbor, Michigan, (whom I have met))
The weak and the strong are believers who differ in their understanding of the intrinsic nature of Purity issues. According to Kinzer, the strong are those who can eat anything and the weak are those who do not eat somethings for purity reasons. For them, the food, in its essense, is *ontologically impure for everyone. The same is true for holy days. Purity is imputed, not intrinsic.  (*Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.)

Mark D. NANOS
The weak are non-Messianic Jews: 2 central assumptions:
1. weak and strong are believers
2. strong are Messianic believing Gentiles

Romans 9 and 11 are about the Messianic and Non-Messianic Jews. As such, in Romans 9:3, for the sake of my “brothers”. In Romans 14, NANOS is saying the weak are those who have a temporary rejection of Yeshua. The strong are believers in Yeshua. Jews are us. Jews are our brothers.

Unity doesn’t require uniformity

1. That Paul belongs to Judaism is a paradigm shift.
2. The real bad guys are Jews who hate Judaism.

Paul should be thought of as a Teacher of Torah to the nations. 
Returning Paul to the space he never left.
Paul is not a Christian who practiced Christianity. He was a Messianic Jew who practiced Judaism.

Christians should not try to convert Jews to Christianity if it is “Law/Torah free”

Jewish believers should keep the Torah and believe in the Yeshua as the living Torah.
Jews who know their Bible, know that the Messiah would never ask them to go against the Torah.

Kinzer’s quote:
“If Paul practiced Judaism (and he did), the Jewish “NO” to Jesus has been a Yes to God.” 

Judaism has not been replaced by Christianity. The Apostolic movement in the future kingdom age, where nations go up to Jerusalem to learn Torah, proves that. If we are going to do that then (study Torah), then we should do it now.

Replacement Theology is in error. It’s a theology that considers Grace better than Torah and Christianity better than Judaism.
This influences how we study the Bible. Any viewpoint that denigrates the Torah is Replacement Theology.

Conclusions:
1. Messianic Judaism is not a missionary enterprise. It is not Christianity with Jewish flavoring. It is not a half-way point between the two. Messianic Judaism is for ALL Nations, because Torah is for ALL Nations.

Isaiah 2:3
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.