Identity Crisis

Grafted In?

©by Menashe Dovid ben Avraham

31 Behold, the days come, says Hashem, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. (Jer 31)

In the verse above, both Messianics and Christians ignore the context of Jeremiah and project onto it the teaching from the NT that the house of Israel includes ‘grafted in’ gentiles as full blown equal citizens of Israel by virtue of an evangelical paradigm. A survey of the Jewish Scriptures, clearly shows that G-d consistently portrays Abraham’s descendants as a great nation and not a great religion. However, the fact is a non Israelite without conversion may only have residency[1a] in the nation of Israel by their adherence to the laws of the Torah, only stopping short of full conversion. Full conversion gives full citizenship of Israel [Ruth converted BTW].

In the Torah, there are many references to “the strangers who dwell among you” or “righteous strangers.” Israel society has always made provisions for non-Israelites to worship the G-d of Israel allowing either full conversion to Israeli  citizenship or for people to selectively choose what they may wish to observe of the Torah [whilst dwelling with the people of God] short of circumcision/ full conversion and citizenship. Such a system to allow non-Israelites to worship the G-d of Israel is even identified in the New Testament with the non-Israelites referred to as G-d fearers. G-d fearers are referenced in the New Testament’s Book of Acts in Acts 13:16, which describe the Apostolic Age of the 1st century CE.

The evangelical paradigm, however, according to the New Testament, with the coming of Jesus, changed everything! Now, according to the prevailing evangelical paradigm, all of these Jews AND non-Israelites were fundamentally lost, unless and until they accept Jesus as their personal savior. The evangelical paradigm still to this day requires Jews AND non-Israelites to accept Jesus as their personal savior or they are doomed [See Mark 16:16, John 3:18, 5:24, 1 Corinthians 1:18].

Moreover, the evangelical paradigm asserts that full citizens of Israel, to the exclusion of any previously held beliefs and parameters of Israeli citizenship are now changed. Instead, Israeli citizens are only believers of Jesus and his ‘does it all, once and for all’ sacrifice. The bottom line is that non-Israelites (who do not want to convert fully) are allowed to reside as residents of the nation of Israel by believing in the G-d of Israel. The New Testament annuls and ‘upgrades’ the revelation of the will of G-d (Torah) by its promotion of Jesus and the receiving of the Holy Spirit turning Shavuot into Pentecost. Ruth however, did not ‘upgrade’ by virtue of belief in a divine/ human messiah for her citizenship because no such thing is mandated in the Torah. Rather Ruth chose the requirements for citizenship as shown in the Torah (i.e. 613 commandments):

12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 14 To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the LORD set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. Deut 10

Gentiles and Jews are BOTH deceived if they think they are full Citizens of Israel and are grafted into Israel by being believers of Jesus.

Dan 9 for Evangelicals

 The idea is very often presented by Christians to Jews and goes something like this:

“The temple was destroyed in 70CE by Titus and therefore, Jews have not had a means for atonement for 1940 years because there is no temple. Moreover, as the book of Hebrews explains, a far superior priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus exists which atones completely for all sins unlike animal sacrifices which do not. Indeed Jesus’ sacrifice has also been applied to a ‘superior’ heavenly temple too!”

In contradistinction, the Torah clearly states that all of a person’s sin may be forgiven entirely by virtue of atonement with animals with the often ignored proviso that an animal sacrifice without repentance is worthless. Indeed ample evidence in the Jewish Scriptures, show that repentance alone without blood atonement is sufficient to attain forgiveness and atonement for sin[1]. Moreover, the writers of the New Testament conveniently skip over the fact that there has been at least three time periods in biblical history where no temple or tabernacle has been in existence.

 The first case is in the time period from the time of Cain and Abel leading up to the time of the Exodus.

The second case is the time period between the destruction of the first temple to the time of the rebuilding of the second temple. The prophet Daniel here provides an insight as to means of obtaining forgiveness and atonement right in a portion of chapter 9 prior to the much maligned and misapplied 70 weeks of Daniel 9 which Christians view as their ultimate proof for Jesus. Daniels prayer at the beginning of chapter nine precedes the revelation of the 70 weeks. Daniel’s prayers provide the context of a previously functioning Temple and a dysfunctional sinning people. The people persist in a willful deviation from G-d’s commandments and ordinances (v5) and G-d’s teachings (lit G-d’s Torah) with the subsequent destruction of Temple and City being a specific reference to a fulfilment of the curses found in the law of Moses (v10, v11, v13) along with the current exile in Babylon.

The situation and context of Dan 9 serves to prove the point that even with a temple, a continuation in sinful behavior is unacceptable and blood atonement by the use of animals is worthless if not accompanied with true sincere repentance. Moreover, the situation and context of Daniel 9 also underscores the attitude of the Jewish Scriptures in the rejection [2] of the idea of penal substitutionary atonement, where the animal takes instead, the punishment for the sin of the sinner. Rather the focus and the teachings of the Jewish Scriptures for an individual and a community are to repent and keep G-d’s teachings (lit G-d’s Torah), commandments and ordinances (v5). In fact obedience to Torah has always been the desire of G-d and preferable to sacrifices:

 “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” (1 Sam 15:22,23)

 Not only are the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 an example of ‘holy’ mathematics gone astray but a chance to perform ‘holy’ theological gymnastics which projects onto Daniel 9 an idea from the New Testament that atonement is ‘finished’ ‘once and for all’ by The Messiah who does it all for each individual and/ or community and who takes all the punishment for each individual and/ or community too. In light of individual repentance and obedience being preferable to sacrifice, the so called classical verses of Daniel 9 used to prove the idea of Jesus performing the ultimate once and for all substitutionary atonement is eliminated.

The highly emotional idea of a ‘wonderful does it all savior’ projected onto the ‘old’ testament from the ‘new’ testament serves as a strong delusion for the Christian mind! The strong delusion insists that the program must be completed within the 490 year time-frame mentioned in Daniel 9 by Jesus. The strong delusion also ignores the description of the destruction of the temple and city by the ruler (Dan 9:26), which should be within the 70 weeks or 490 years. According to Christian calculations, half way between the 69th week and the 70th week corresponds with the year 30CE or 33CE. The temple was in fact destroyed in the year 70CE some 40 years after 30CE!! Closer examination shows that the 490 year time-frame is a probationary period which must precede the implementation of God’s program. The probationary period of seventy weeks is a possible opportunity for the people:

“to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place.” V24

So God’s program continues in Daniel 11 verse 31, where Daniel describes the violation of the sanctuary and G-d’s people using the same terminology that he uses in the passage under discussion (9:26, 27). The violation of the sanctuary and G-d’s people is to take place at the close of the 490 years (Dan 11:31, 32), followed by a refining process (Dan 11:33-35). The refining process represents God’s program for the ultimate expiation of sin and for the salvation of mankind. The refining process by ‘flame, by captivity and by spoil‘, is for ‘many days‘; (verse 33) and continues ‘even to the time of the end‘, (verse 35).

A further point to consider is if sacrifices are finished why do sacrifices continue in the messianic age? According to New Testament teaching in Hebrews 10, sacrifices are no longer needed since Jesus’ once for all self sacrifice is forever and perfects forever those who accept it [Heb 10:8-14]. Hebrews 10 adds further, that the sacrifice of animals can never take away sins [3]. The messianic age described in Jeremiah 33:14-18 has a messianic figure (David A Branch of Righteousness), a promise fulfilled to Israel and Judah who along with Jerusalem will dwell safely and a Levitical Priesthood offering the sacrifices prescribed by the Torah:

‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgement and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. “For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house ofIsrael; ‘nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’ ” Jer 33:14-18

So much for a once and for all Sacrifice!!

______

1a. Ger Toshav – a Resident Stranger (Gentile) who dwells in the Holy Land. (N.B. Currently in this era nobody can become a Ger Toshav, until the Jubilee Year is reintroduced in Israel when the King Moshiach comes).

In biblical times a Gentile who observed the seven Noachide laws in the Holy Land was regarded as a resident alien or Ger Toshav in Hebrew. (גֵר תּוֹשָׁב)

The Gemara (Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 64b) quotes three opinions regarding who is a Ger Toshav, and they are:
Rebbi Meir maintains that a Ger Toshav is a Nochri (stranger) who accepts upon himself, in front of three “Chaverim” (Talmidei Chachamim), not to worship idols.
The Chachamim say that a Ger Toshav is a Nochri who accepts upon himself to observe the seven Mitzvos of Bnei Noach.
Acherim maintain that the above opinions are incorrect, and that a Ger Toshav is a Nochri who accepts all of the Mitzvos except for not eating Neveilos (animals that were not slaughtered properly).
Rambam’s Hilchos Issurei Bi’ah 14:7What is meant by a Ger Toshav (resident alien)? A gentile who makes a commitment not to worship false deities and to observe the other six universal laws commanded to Noah’s descendants. He does not circumcise himself nor immerse. We accept this commitment and he is considered one of the pious gentiles. Why is he called a resident? Because we are permitted to allow him to dwell among us in the land of Israel, as explained in Hilchos Avodah Zarah. Rambam’s Hilchos Issurei Bi’ah 14:8. We accept resident aliens only during the era when the Jubilee year is observed. In the present era, even if a gentile makes a commitment to observe the entire Torah with the exception of just one minor point, he is not accepted. Rambam’s Hilchot Avodat Cochavim 10:6 The laws concerning the sale of property and support of the poor, et cetera, mentioned in this chapter apply only when the Jews are exiled amongst the nations, or when they are attacking the Jews, but when we are attacking them it is forbidden to have them in our midst. Concerning temporary residence or moving from one rented house to another; we may not allow a gentile into our land unless he has accepted upon himself the Seven Commandments of the Sons of Noah, for it is written, “They shall not dwell in your land”, even for a single hour. If a gentile accepted upon himself the Seven Commandments then he is classed as a settling stranger. Settling strangers are accepted only at a time when the Jubilee is observed, but a righteous stranger, i.e. a convert, is accepted at all times.’

1. Flour to atone (Lev 5;12-15), Incense to atone (Num 17:11-13), Charity (Prov 10:2, 11:4, 16:6, 21:3, Hos 6:6, Dan 4:27), Silver (Ex 30:15), Repentance (Lev 26:40-42, Ezek 18:21-32), Jewelry (Num 31:50), Righteousness and Charity (Dan 4:24, 9:18), Post Temple period without blood and Jesus (Isaiah 27:9, 40:1, Ezek 33:11-16).

2. See Ezekiel 18:20, 30-32

3. For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Lev 17:11

8 thoughts on “Identity Crisis

  1. I would really appreciate it if these two studies can be posted to my e-mail address-as I would really like to study this. Very interesting! G-d bless. Shabbat shalom

    Like

    • I think the articles may be found on scribed. Let me look for a link. You can cut and paste into a word processor. However, please attribute this to my blog and my name as author. You alternatively send the link in the mail you send.

      Menashe
      Shabbat Shalom

      Like

  2. Thank you so much Menashe for sharing all those studies. I really really like it! It makes so much sens. Is it possible to copy those studies, please? I would like to study them more seriously because I debate with many Christians or Messianics. Those studies are a very good tool.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s