Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Plague Dogs c5p1

In my next post, I would like to continue with the main purpose of this blog which is to explore how best to educate and inspire the Gentile church to incorporate a healthy view of the Torah into its ministries. But first...

A few years ago I was asked to be a guest speaker at a class on the Biblical hero David. My main goal was to show that David loved the Torah and spoke of it with great reverence. I told the attendees that I was going to mention several Biblical terms and I wanted them to indicate if it was a negative or positive term. If it was positive, then I wanted them to raise their hands and if it was negative, then they would not raise their hands. I proceeded with: “Pharisee” - hands stayed down; “Grace” - hands went up; “Law” - hands stayed down. That is the common perception, but it is not true. 
One of my favorite authors is Richard Adams; his first and most famous novel is Watership Down, which is the endearing story of a small group of rabbits in England who are forced to flee from their homes. These are talking rabbits who possess their own culture, proverbs, poetry, and mythology. You are probably wondering where I’m going with this. Well, after reading Watership Down a second time, out-loud to my 5 year old son Peter, I learned that Richard had written another book called the Plague Dogs.
In this similarly anthropomorphised tale, two dogs escape from an animal testing laboratory into the English countryside. During the process of escaping, the injured dogs are mistakenly thought to have come in contact with bubonic plague in the lab. Though they had no contact with the disease, they became the villains in a crazed “dog hunt” instigated by an irresponsible journalist. 
The Torah shares a similar plight. David wrote about the Torah in the Psalms with glowing terms (e.g.,Psalm 119) and the last book of the Old Testament ends with these words:
Malachi 4:5-6 “Remember the Torah of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with its statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
When Yeshua offered Himself as the Messiah, the Jewish nation did not recognize Him for who he was, and, as promised, it was plunged into the curses of the covenant. In the aftermath of a destroyed temple, city, and country, the legacy of the Torah was replaced by a new theology. Zealous writers graced the seminaries with spiritual comparisons and the Torah was relegated to a dusty shelf. People stayed away from it as if it were the plague.
I was recently given several books to read. They are:
  • The meaning of the Pentateuch by John H. Sailhamer  600 pages
  • The Law and the New Testament by Frank Thielman  182 pages
  • Augustine and the Jews by Paula Fredriksen  360 pages
Augustine and the Jews is an insightful historical account of how Augustine and the early Catholic Church looked at the Jews and the Law. It is fairly neutral in its judgements.
I’m not done with The Meaning of the Pentateuch, so I’ll hold my comments on it.
But The Law and the New Testament is getting me riled! With yellow highlighter and pencil in hand, I’ve marked and annotated this one on almost every page. It's turning out to be a poster child for Replacement Theology. Refuting its claims is my goal so, stay tuned for my retort. 
While I start to look at how to help the average church to become Torah friendly in worship, through music, dance, drama, and art, I will compile my thoughts on these books into meaningful articles and then post them.

P.S. I removed the post with Asher Intrater's article because I realized I didn't seek/have his permission to print it. Please see the website for his material.

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