Mystery Babylon

The Roman Catholic (RC) Church according to some ‘extreme’ Protestant groups like the Seventh-day Adventists, view the Papacy and the RC Church as a woman that rides the beast as described in the new testament (NT). Historicist interpreters of the NT commonly used the phrase “Whore of Babylon” to refer to the woman as the Roman Catholic Church. Reformation writers from Martin Luther (1483–1546) (who wrote On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church), John Calvin (1509–1564), and John Knox (1510–1572) taught this association.

Ellen G. White’s book ‘The Great Controversy’ states that “Spiritual Babylon” would have worldwide influence, affecting “all nations”, that Imperial Roman Empire could not meet the criteria for prophetic fulfillment, as she wrote that it only had influence in the Old World. Like many reformation-era Protestant leaders, her writings also describe the Catholic Church as a fallen church, and it plays a nefarious eschatological role as the antagonist against God’s true church and that the pope is the Antichrist.

All of the above is just part of the heady cocktail of ideas and interpretations which have flooded the Christian theological world for centuries. One only has to be an observer over a period of time to take stock of the many ‘curved balls’ that current events have thrown which see amazing theological gymnastics performed on previously established end time doctrines being re-jigged. Like the fashion industry if one waits long enough you may witness the ‘resurrection’ of  previously established end time doctrines coming back into vogue!

The waters are indeed muddy especially if one notes that Martin Luther in his branding of the RC church as ‘anti-christ’ still promotes burning of Jews in their synagogues and other horrible things included in his tract “The Jews and their lies”. All the more amazing when we see to today the so called messianic Jewish movement getting all friendly with Rome:

Messianic Jewish Theological Institute   MJTI

Messianic ‘Rabbi’ Dr. Mark Kinzer has engaged in ‘unsanctioned’ talks with the Roman Catholics!! A book has been written by Mark which has glowing approbations by Mark’s newly found chums in the RC church. Unsanctioned? Yeah right……. and we were all born yesterday!!

The Bigger Picture

Nostra aetate (Latin: In our Time) is the Declaration on the Relation of the RC Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council. The efforts of Nostra aetate no doubt include a unique program which occurred on May 4-7 2015 at Domus Galilaeae, the Catholic center for study and prayer in the Galilee. The program included rabbis, cardinals, bishops and priests who met together, prayed together, discussed theology together, sang, danced and feasted together, and recited the Shema together. They cried together as they attended a church orchestra performance of The Suffering of the Innocents[*], commemorating the Holocaust, with the intertwined parallel theme of Mary crying as Jesus suffered and was killed.

Library Domus Galilaeae Official Site

The Goals of Domus Galilaeae in their own words are:

The center “Domus Galilaeae” is a place where Christians, and above all, seminarians and presbyters, will be able to have a direct contact with the living tradition of Israel, following the footsteps of, Origen[1], and St. Jerome as well as many other Fathers of Church who returned to their Hebrew roots to understand the meaning of prayer, of feasts, and Hebrew liturgies, which were the daily food of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In stark contrast let me quote some of these Church Fathers:

Justin Martyr – Dialogue with Trypho (Between 138A.D. and 161 A.D.)

We too, would observe your circumcision of the flesh, your Sabbath days, and in a word, all you festivals, if we were not aware of the reason why they were imposed upon you, namely, because of your sins and the hardness of heart.

The custom of circumcising the flesh, handed down from Abraham, was given to you as a distinguishing mark, to set you off from other nations and from us Christians. The purpose of this was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and you cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of you land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. Your circumcision of the flesh is the only mark by which you can certainly be distinguished from other men…as I stated before it was by reason of your sins and the sins of your fathers that, among other precepts, God imposed upon you the observence of the sabbath as a mark.

Origen of Alexandria (185-254 A.D.) – An ecclesiastical writer and teacher who contributed to the early formation of Christian doctrines.

We may thus assert in utter confidence that the Jews will not return to their earlier situation, for they have committed the most abominable of crimes, in forming this conspiracy against the Savior of the human race…hence the city where Jesus suffered was necessarily destroyed, the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election.

St. Augustine (c. 354-430 A.D.), Confessions, 12.14

How hateful to me are the enemies of your Scripture! How I wish that you would slay them (the Jews) with your two-edged sword, so that there should be none to oppose your word! Gladly would I have them die to themselves and live to you!

The presence in Israel of many of the best scriptures scholars and prestigious biblical schools, allows “Domus Galilaeae” to be the ideal place to promote a recovery of scriptural studies as the witness of the living presence of God.

The ex Catholic priest Martin Luther (1543) in the tractate titled “On The Jews and Their Lies”

“their synagogues should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it. And this ought to be done for the honor of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians, and that we have not wittingly tolerated or approved of such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of His Son and His Christians.”

From the above we can firmly see that the Church fathers vehemently hated the Jewish people and clearly believed at the very best the Church was a replacement of the “Israel” of God [the Jews] and at the worst, as history bears witness, also includes the attempts of the Jews’ wholesale annihilation which is both physical and spiritual.

Under the rubric of many agendas merging into an effort to be politically correct and gain popular appeal we have a classical example of how the waters are getting more muddy:

No, Rabbi Riskin: Reform and Conservative Movements are a danger

The Reform and Conservative movements are not allies, but pose a clear danger to Jewish continuity.
 

By Rabbi Avraham Gordimer

First Publish: 6/15/2016, 1:05 PM
Original Post click here

Rabbi Gordimer is a member of the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, and a member of the New York Bar. His writings on Jewish topics are published widely.

It is sometimes hard to believe what we are reading, as things are turned upside down in an effort to be politically correct and gain popular appeal. Orthodox Judaism has never sought to be politically correct – on the contrary, it has stood its guns no matter what direction the winds are blowing. Unfortunately, with the case of Modern Orthodox rabbis who have crossed the line into Open Orthodoxy, it has become almost commonplace to read the unbelievable, things that would never have been expressed were Rabbi Soloveitchik zt”l, the Torah luminary of American Modern Orthodoxy, still with us. Sometimes, shocking ideas are articulated in direct contravention of his views, with the excuse that “times have changed.” Since when has that well worn excuse been used in Orthodoxy?

This, much as it hurts to write it, seems to be the case when it comes to rabbinic superstar, Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, who seems to be on a much publicized collision course with tradition. There was the “Rabbi Jesus Video” (which Rabbi Riskin later said did not represent his views, due to the video’s poor editing), his promoting the chanting of Megillath Ruth by a woman at the main minyan of a synagogue under his jurisdiction, and other ideas that fly in the face of Orthodox tradition. A once modern rabbinic icon who did much to bring people closer to Torah, Rabbi Riskin has in his later years adopted positions that fly in the face of normative Torah understanding. (Please also see the later portion of this linked article regarding Rabbi Riskin’s involvement with Christian ministries.)

Although one could have otherwise, perhaps favorably interpreted Rabbi Riskin’s hair-raising idea in his recent public pronouncement on Arutz Sheva that the Reform and Conservative movements are partners in Jewish outreach to have been intended to express the demarcation between acceptance of Reform and Conservative Jews themselves and unequivocal opposition to their leaders and their interpretations of Judaism, a view held by respected rabbinic authorities, that is clearly not what Rabbi Riskin said.  Rather, Rabbi Riskin stated:  “They’re not tearing Jews away but bringing them closer… That may have been true at the beginning of the Reform Movement, but it’s very different now – they’re trying to bring Jews closer. Not to the wholeness, the fullness of Orthodox Judaism that I love and that I know, but nevertheless they’re trying to bring Jews closer.” In other words, it is the leadership of the Reform and Conservative movements whom Rabbi Riskin praises!

This leadership is bringing Jews closer to what? Intermarriage?  Christmas trees and menorahs in the living room? A total departure from normative halakhic Judaism?

Let us look at that greatest danger to the continuity of the Jewish people, not the just as important continuity of its halakhic framework. On a factual level, not only are most Reform Jews (and non-Orthodox Jews in general) intermarried today, and not only does the head of the Reform movement extol intermarriage, but there has been serious discussion within the Reform movement to permit its rabbis to themselves be intermarried. The Reconstructionist movement has gone further, formally allowing its rabbis to be intermarried, and a large plurality of rabbis in the Conservative movement favor the performance of intermarriages. In fact, the Conservative movement’s USY youth group now permits its leadership to interdate

To endorse these movements as positive and as forces for bringing Jews closer to Judaism is downright wrong and even farcical. Although these groups may espouse some type of Jewish identity, they embody and encourage assimilation and the abandonment of Jewish tradition and commitment. And it is happening before our eyes.

Theologically, the Reform and Conservative (as well as the Reconstructionist) movements reject the Singular Divine Authorship of the Torah and the other Cardinal Principles of Faith, and they have disavowed the binding nature of halakha.

It is therefore not only incorrect to refer to these groups as partners in bringing Jews closer to Judaism, but it is dangerous, as such a statement empowers and validates groups which threaten the very integrity and future of authentic Judaism in every manner.

There is no need for elaboration, as the issue is not subtle or nuanced; endorsing the heterodox movements is tantamount to endorsing the dismantling and destruction of traditional Judaism.

Many of my friends were immensely impacted by Rabbi Riskin in a most positive way during his early tenure in the United States, as he energetically established Torah institutions of the highest caliber. My friends miss the old Rabbi Riskin. We all wish that he would return.

The views expressed in this article are solely the author’s opinion and do not represent any organizations.

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Epilogue

 The mystery of Babylon for me as an Orthodox Jew is how we can join with so many falsehoods under one umbrella of political correctness gone wild. I watch in amazement that so many Orthodox Jews including our leaders are intoxicated with Babylon and the ‘wine of her adulteries’. The intoxication sees our leaders accepting financial incentives from missionary organizations which exposes our people to the falsehoods of many different forms of idolatry and perversions. How on earth did we decide to allow the erection of such a monstrous idol as Domus Galilaeae in our land? How and why do we tolerate missionaries in our land who have the sole intention of converting us to Jesus/ Yeshua under the devious guise of ‘loving and blessing Israel’? The intoxication sees our leaders embarrassingly running towards idolatry and perversion to openly embrace those who would destroy us both physically and spiritually. G-d help us!

Business is Business, Right?

Me and Stu

Me and Stu

There is a popular term often used as a catchall phrase to justify the most strangest of actions. ‘Business is Business” is to convey the meaning that the purpose of business is to make a profit, and that other things, such as personal feelings and other inconsistencies, must not be allowed to prevent the making of the profit.

With respect to the Messianic Judaism business model, inconsistencies in theology are similarly ignored for the sake of the mission and its ongoing agenda. The ongoing agenda is of course to convert Jews to Jesus.

In a very slick donor donation video presentation by the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI), we have a gambit proposed with all the familiar characters including Dr. Stuart Daurmann, in the context of academic achievement. No doubt addressing the problem of mixed marriages[Stuart’s pet subject], students a la MJTI studies may be able to use impressive academic terms such as “an anticipatory or proleptic position”, “a post-supersessionist position” or a “post cryptosupersessionist position”, to help them in their evangelistic efforts with their Jewish in-laws. Yep I think you are onto a winner with this one Stuart! The bottom line in the donor video presentation is that the Jewish community at large and real Rabbis in particular are going to be so impressed that they will jump over to the ‘truth’ of Jesus/ Yeshua!!

the ceremony

Graduates of MJTI

The gambit of the donor video then maneuvers from the idea of ‘educated’ evangelists in Jewish matters providing that vital link of acceptability to providing video support from another familiar face emerging onto the messianic scene. The familiar face is Diane Cohen who is now a MJTI board member and was one of the first people to be interviewed by Stuart Daurmann in one of his radio shows.

Diane Cohen board member

The fly in the ointment of course is that Diane Cohen has appeared in a video for One for Israel Ministries. One for Israel Ministries is probably one of the most aggressive messianic endeavors which is complete with angry attacks on rabbinic tradition, lies about the content and purpose of Talmudic passages, and open invitations for Jews to convert to Christianity—all of it in fluent, eloquent Hebrew, delivered by two clean-cut, bona fide Israeli salesmen.

A top video of One for Israel is titled “The Oral Torah — the Big Lie.” Its content is a familiar accumulation of arguments against rabbinic law which began as far back as the pre-destruction split between the Sadducees and the Pharisees, continued with the Karaaites of the 7th century, was picked up by Spinoza in the 17th century and reached its full blossom with the Reform movement in Germany in the 1820s. The effect, however, coming from extremely manipulative speakers, and directed at an Israeli audience with limited knowledge of their own traditions, is yet to be seen.

Diane Cohen is not the only fly in the ointment for Stuart Daurmann who has in the past addressed an article published in a popular Christian venue, in which the author Ron Cantor, a Messianic leader in Israel, proceeded to discount the validity of the Jewish claim of a divinely authoritative Oral Law. Stuart says this kind of literature is grievous and damaging to the cause of representing a credible Yeshua-faith to ‘our fellow Jews’. Stuart then closes with a request to Ron and others in the me$$ianic business. The request is to a principle known as “pikuach nefesh” which states that short of idolatry, murder, and adultery, one may do anything to save a life, including breaking any of the mitzvot. As an example Stuart cites Rahab the Harlot who lied to the representatives of the King of Jericho when he came looking for the Jewish spies. Saving lives was more important than “telling the truth”. Stuart argues that for the sake of saving Jewish lives, of commending ‘our Messiah’ to ‘our people’, Stuart encourages Ron and the others in the messianic believers’ movement to become followers of Rahab: and lie. Tell people that the Oral Torah and the religious legacy of ‘our people (Jews)’ are honorable, beautiful and holy, even if that is not your view.

2 Nahum Sokolov Street/ Keren Hayesod Street Jerusalem

The not so secret location Of the MJTI on 2 Nahum Sokolov Street/ Keren Hayesod Street Jerusalem

Well not really, is it Stuart? In his article “On Keeping Your Mouth Shut and Saving a Life” seems to have some rather hard dynamics to understand when actually discussing the religious legacy of ‘our people’! Not even when it comes to things which are not even Oral Law but instead just plain biblical (see how Nehemiah sorts out the intermarriage problem in Neh 13:23-28 and Ezra 9:1-2 which also validates Oral Torah too BTW, Jewish status is established through the mother and not the father or via a halachic conversion). Hiding in the smokescreen of “matters of interpretation” will not avail you much in your agenda ‘rabbi’ Jews for Jesus Dauermann because even the ‘older’ Jewish scriptures prove you to be wrong. Intermarriage is not an example of obeying Torah it is in actual fact a violation of it.

The bottom line, no matter how Messianic Jews try to ‘spin it’ in the present with various new tricks, we can at least appreciate Ron Cantor’s candor and an increasing band of others in their rejection of Oral and Written Law and see that in fact Stuart Daurmann’s claim that the Oral Torah and the religious legacy of ‘our people’ is honorable, beautiful and holy is absolute hogwash!! Not only hogwash but morally questionable in view of his possible ‘illegal’ misappropriation of “pikuach nefesh” but then again ‘they’ are saving those Jewish lives are they not with that evangelical paradigm, so that must make it OK?

And after all Business is Business and there is no business like the Me$$ianic Bu$$ine$$.

‘No But’, ‘Yes But’, ‘Yes And’, and why to just go with what has always been ‘YES’?

by Menashe Dovid

Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI) Jerusalem: 2 Nahum Sokolov St/ Keren Hayesod St. Jerusalem

Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI) Jerusalem: Now not so secretly located on 2 Nahum Sokolov St/ Keren Hayesod St. Jerusalem which is more or less right next door to the OU centre.

In the cut and thrust world of converting Jews to what is after all just a re-packaging of Christianity, there is yet another endeavor to gain a legitimacy to ‘Messianic Judaism’ via a scholarly route. The scholarly route in this case provided for example by the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI) through various blogs and websites to give ‘real’ academic qualifications. The scholarly route of course no doubt appealing to the Protestant work ethic of these Christians, woops, I mean ‘Messianic Jews’ who possibly pander to the belief that life is not worth living if you do not have a job. Of course to have a legitimate job, you have to have legitimate academic qualifications! Is that not right Mr. [Microsoft] Bill Gates et al[1]?

There are of course limitations as to what academic qualifications can achieve. Something glossed over by most ‘messianic Jewish’ groups is that a person’s status as a Jew according to Orthodox Halacha[2] and/ or becoming a Rabbi have never depended on having an academic degree. Orthodoxy quite happily stands on its own in terms of applying (to real communities) and validating the G-dly knowledge and wisdom of its people and/ or Rabbis, and has been doing so way before any University. This G-dly knowledge and wisdom we Jews call Torah, exists as a book within the Jewish people. Everyone knows what those “symbols on your hands” and “on your foreheads are”, just as they know what is to be written on the doorposts of their homes and how to make strings on the corners of their garments. There will always be Jews doing those things.  The book has meaning only within the context of our people, our experiences as a people, and the way that our people have unfolded and applied that which we have received. In common with both the Reformed Jewish movement et al and to a large extent within ‘messianic Judaism’ is the rejection in varying degrees (no pun intended) of this G-dly knowledge and wisdom because this G-dly knowledge and wisdom is ‘Rabbinic’ Judaism.

Neither for that matter has a non-Jew ever become Jewish[3] by just doing the practices of Judaism and certainly not whilst believing in Jesus[4]. At least this last point is one thing which the Orthodox, Reformed, Conservative, Liberal, Progressive and Re-constructionist Judaism movements are agreed on!

All that has been said above leads me to another prong in the efforts of the MJTI et al to gain legitimacy and acceptance from any of the movements of Judaism mentioned so far. Attempts for legitimacy now of course include the study of ‘Rabbinic’ Judaism. The inclusion of ‘Rabbinic’ Judaism would appear to be a new way of evangelism and may address the growing problem(?) of intermarriage in Messianic Judaism and how the Christian part of ‘the intermarriage equation’ deals with the Jewish in-laws. In a case where the Jewish in-laws are just academic at heart, the Christian part of ‘the intermarriage equation’ or even the other half of the equation may be able to use impressive academic terms[5] such as “an anticipatory or proleptic position”, “a post-supersessionist position” or a “post cryptosupersessionist position”, to help them in their evangelistic efforts with their Jewish in-laws . Yep I think you are onto a winner with this one MJTI!

However, where the Jewish in-laws are just too frum[6] to appreciate academic reasoning, it may be beneficial to ignore centuries of grimed in distrust or ridicule of the halachic rulings of the wider Jewish community. Instead, why not pander to the Jewish in-laws by convincing them, by your elevated observance, that the Torah is best interpreted in concert with the historical stream and transgenerational discussion of that people to whom it was given?

Alternatively, where the Jewish in-laws are neither academics or too frum but instead more business and/ or marketing orientated, it may be possible to use the “Yes and” approach.

The YES-AND option whereby the Yeshua believer genuinely respects, hears, and values what his Jewish significant other

Stuart Daurmann in the 'missionary scholar' action!

Stuart Daurmann the ‘missionary scholar’ in action!

reports about the value of his/her Jewish life, faith and experience. This involves saying a YES to all of that, AND going on to report how, in and through Yeshua, God is at work to deepen Jewish life experientially, while bringing the Jewish people and their tradition to their foreordained consummation.

Implicit in the above, apart from the obvious need to ‘win’ them Jewish in-laws, is the nauseating idea of an evangelical paradigm that the Yeshua believer is somehow superior! Winning them Jewish in-laws to Yeshua means they are not going to get thrown onto the eternal BBQ (as per Mark 16:16) because they have accepted the superior offer! Of course such black and white terms of the evangelical paradigm presented in the New Testament, Stuart Dauermann (MJTI) conveniently chooses to deny by saying that no such things are said in the apostolic writings which witness the efforts of the apostles to convert Jews to Yeshua. Moreover, to divert further, Stuart claims I have stolen and projected onto his paradigm. The bottom line, no matter how Messianic Jews try to ‘spin it’ in the present with various new tricks, Yeshua will never be Kosher just as no matter the number of times one scrubs a pig will ever make the pig Kosher either! The answer is YES Stuart and has always been without ands, buts and/ or degrees!

So what are they up to in general these Missionaries in Israel?

Here a mystery can be revealed which has been around for some time. The mystery concerns a general lack of information on various web sites of messianic organizations advertising their missionary work here in Israel. The general lack of information is typically balanced of course by a one way process which is a common feature of all missionary websites, namely a donations page.  The donations page of course allows you to provide a huge chunk of money and personal information about yourself for what appears to be just a casual guarantee that the missionaries are doing a good job in Israel by infiltrating Jewish communities and converting Jews. The general lack of information typically includes no relevant information or location of so called study centers or headquarters for the missionaries’ activities in Israel. A question then obviously arises that if a person wishes to visit one of these study centers or headquarters for the missionary activity in Israel, how one is supposed to know where they are? Or most importantly why would the missionaries NOT want just anybody to know?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yes I have actually met Stuart Daurmann!

The missionaries behind missionary work in Israel have developed unique strategies to avoid accountability on all sides of the divide between supporters and opposers of missionary activity. A favorite strategy is to claim that anti-missionary groups such as Yad L’Achim are only too keen to close down missionary activity by various ‘illegal means’ such as protesting, holding rallies and warning people of the spiritual dangers of missionaries in the local press. Here is another common thesis and a lie:

“As you may know, ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel do not, as a rule, seek employment. They expect the State (our taxes) to pay for their living expenses while they spend their days in Rabbinical studies. Messianic Jews have found that they seem to have an excess of leisure time spent in persecuting Israeli followers of Yeshua across the country.” Shira Sorko-Ram

The common thesis and the lie (repeated by the secular Israeli press BTW) is easily refuted, since the breadwinner of ultra-Orthodox Jewish families in Israel may be the Mother of a family who works full time whilst the husband studies full time, both the Father and the Mother work part time, some families who have inherited money, some who have extended family financial support, many who engage in business activities which support the family, some people who are retired and some Fathers who work. Given that the welfare benefits in Israel (unlike Europe for example) may be actually insufficient to support a family, those on benefits do survive which is a testimony to the strong community support of Torah communities here in Israel.

One may also ask what is so ignoble about undertaking Rabbinical studies? How hypocritical of missionaries who allow themselves their own abundance of leisure time to study and infiltrate Jewish communities to convert Jews whilst simultaneously taking money from supporters of their ministry. Who is to say that missionaries in Israel, who may have gained Israeli Citizenship by deception too, are not claiming welfare benefits too?

Moreover, money fleeced from the flocks with a love for Israel in Europe and the USA allows missionaries to ‘live it up’ in Israel whilst jetting off to other countries to promote their ministries on the basis that they represent ‘real’ Judaism/ ‘real Israel’, as their websites and Face book accounts show. Meanwhile the children of the missionaries (some of whom are not halachicly Jewish) take full advantage of free education in Israel, their spouses have the opportunity to take up work and/ or join in community projects and yet more missionising avenues are created!

The question is how the missionaries can have the nerve to leach off the success of the people of the Jewish State? The Jewish state is the culmination of the struggle of the Jewish people across millennia that have refused assimilation and other religions, including Christianity before Christianity ever evolved to produce a messianic Judaism about 150 years ago.

The answer as to why missionaries can have the nerve to leach off the success of the people of the Jewish State is that for missionaries the ends justify the means. They give themselves the passport to lie for the sake of converting Jews by misrepresenting, abusing Judaism and re-packaging it as the real deal to secularized Jews in Israel. Yet they plead innocence, plead persecution even, say they have never been caught for doing missionary work and say it is really only a matter of arguing to Jews; ‘Who is the real Messiah?”. Like as if the Jews are to somehow develop collective amnesia and forget the numerous disputations, blood libels, inquisitions and holocausts they can answer ‘Who is the real Messiah?” correctly?!

The question from the Jewish perspective is based on the thousands of years of persecution at the hands of Christians: How many times Mr. Christian Missionary do we have to tell you that we believe in One G-d who is absolutely one unlike you who believe in a compound or plurality unity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Do you think we Jews are so dumb to think that your statement that “we don’t teach replacement theology” jives with what is said plainly in your own New Testament? At least the Roman Catholic Church is more honest in this respect! No at the most please be Christians in your own Christian countries and leave the Jewish state for the Jews, this is all we ask.

Then again there is nothing new under the sun:

Can there be a greater stumbling block than [Christianity]? All the prophets spoke of Moshiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior, who would gather their dispersed ones and strengthen their [observance of] the mitzvos. In contrast [the founder of Christianity] caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humiliated, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the L-rd.” (Expurgated[7] by medieval Christian censors from the Mishneh Torah of Rambam, Chapter 11)

 _____________

[1] et al, is Latin for ‘and others’ by the way.

[2] The definition of a Halachic Jew according to Orthodoxy is that a person’s mother and their mother’s mother are Jewish or that a person has undergone a recognized Orthodox conversion to Judaism. In either case Jews are Jews and nothing will stop them from ceasing to be Jews, regardless of their level of observance within Orthodoxy or any other ‘ism’ of their choice. According to Orthodoxy a conversion to Reformed, Liberal, Re-constructionist and Conservative movements is not recognized as a valid conversion and so in terms of Orthodoxy a non-Jewish converter to non-Orthodox Judaism is not Jewish.

[3] To become Jewish one needs a Halachic Orthodox conversion.

[4] It should be noted that according to Orthodoxy, for a Jew to practice Christianity or a variant of it such as Messianic Judaism, that Jewish person is placing themselves in a situation of potential spiritual excision or to be cut off from the world to come for practicing idolatry. A non-Jew according to some opinions with respect to Christianity, similarly has the potential to be cut off from the world to come BUT according to other opinions not. Whilst a doubt may hang over the non-Jews fate with respect to their belief and practice of Christianity, the case is absolutely clear for the Jew……potential spiritual excision or to be cut off from the world to come. In the present as long as a Jew practices idolatry by believing in Christianity, it is as if the Jew is no longer a Jew and may indeed be in a worse situation as the non-Jew who practices and believes in Christianity. Repentance for the Jew from belief and practice of Christianity is vital if they are to avoid being cut off from the world to come.

[5] ‘Jewish Believers in Yeshua and Halachic Torah Observance: Living Today for Israel’s Tomorrow”, Posted on November 11, 2011 by Stuart Dauermann

[6] The Yiddish adjective frum (Yiddish: פֿרום; [frum | frim]), from the German fromm, meaning “devout” or “pious”, is a Yiddish word meaning committed to be observant of the 613 commandments, or Jewish commandments, specifically of Orthodox Judaism. This appellative is used in reference to Orthodox Jews.

[7] To remove matter thought to be objectionable or unsuitable from a book or account.

Everyone Hates Menashe?

derek&menasheWell he is at it again, that Menashe!! What with taking folks writings, reading them and then drawing conclusions from them. What a nerve of Menashe to actually use his own G-d given brain and buck the trend of a whole trail of ‘yes men and yes women’, heaping praises on a book just recently published. Imagine, Jews having the chutzpah to own an i-pad and then using it to download books, read them and then offer an opinion online. Of course if you only write complementary things which maintain book sales at the very least, the other issue of whether you have read the book or not are of no significance, apparently. Otherwise if the comments come from Menashe and the like…well its just Loshon Hara or just downright devious according to the standards which do not apply to messianics! Then again the classic weasel out clauses of “we do not debate” or the famous “this is not a venue for theological discussion” seem to be a bit out of vogue at the moment on the emerging me$$ianic scene!! After all one has to maintain the façade of academic integrity, forums for discussion and the right to ask questions and/ or make points.  So long as they are they ‘right’ questions and points of course!

Rather, I still have a phenomena of everybody hating Menashe if Facebook is anything to go by! The phenomena being manifest in the numbers of me$$ianic leaders on the me$$ianic scene who have taken ‘wise caution’ between themselves and blocked that Menashe. The problem is that such Facebook blocking technology does not stop reviews of the stuff that plops out of the organs of messianic Judaism. Now come on you me$$ianic leaders do you really think that Jews are not savvy about computer technology too? How do you think it should go? You have right to ‘evangelize’ wherever you please especially here in Israel? Churn out your materials and not expect a response, lazily resort to personal insults, questions of integrity of Jews and then undermine your façade of academic integrity? And all this from rabbis who are not real rabbis!

Shame on you messianic leaders to suggest that Jews in general do not have a spiritual or personal connection with G-d by virtue of just ordinary Jews thinking for themselves! For good measure, messianic leaders [who call themselves Rabbis] also add that the ”real” learned Ultra Orthodox Jews’ which they have interacted with, in orthodox neighborhoods, are also devoid of a spiritual or personal connection with G-d also by virtue of…..well, just because the messianic leaders say so!

Derek

All that has been said above leads me to another prong in the efforts of the MJTI et al via ‘Rabbi Lehman’ and “Rabbi Stuart Daurman” for example to gain legitimacy and acceptance from any of the movements of Judaism. They are really desperate to gain legitimacy. Attempts for legitimacy now of course include the study of ‘Rabbinic’ Judaism. The inclusion of ‘Rabbinic’ Judaism would appear to be a new way of evangelism and may address the growing problem(?) of intermarriage in Messianic Judaism and how the Christian part of ‘the intermarriage equation’ deals with the Jewish in-laws. In a case where the Jewish in-laws are just academic at heart, the Christian part of ‘the intermarriage equation’ or even the other half of the equation may be able to use impressive academic terms such as “an anticipatory or proleptic position”, “a post-supersessionist position” or a “post cryptosupersessionist position”, to help them in their evangelistic efforts with their Jewish in-laws . Yep I think you are onto a winner with this one Stuart Daurmann!

However, where the Jewish in-laws are just too frum [too religious] to appreciate academic reasoning, it may be beneficial to ignore centuries of grimed in distrust or ridicule of the halachic rulings of the wider Jewish community. Instead, why not pander to the Jewish in-laws by convincing them, by your elevated observance, that the Torah is best interpreted in concert with the historical stream and transgenerational discussion of that people to whom it was given?

Alternatively, where the Jewish in-laws are neither academics or too frum but instead more business and/ or marketing orientated, it may be possible to use the Stuart Daurmann “Yes and” approach.

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Me and Stuart Daurmann.

The YES-AND option whereby the Yeshua believer genuinely respects, hears, and values what his Jewish significant other reports about the value of his/her Jewish life, faith and experience. This involves saying a YES to all of that, AND going on to report how, in and through Yeshua, God is at work to deepen Jewish life experientially, while bringing the Jewish people and their tradition to their foreordained consummation. (This is no longer on Stuart’s blog as far as I can see)

Implicit in the above, apart from the obvious need to ‘win’ them Jewish in-laws, is the nauseating idea of an evangelical paradigm that the Yeshua believer is somehow superior! Winning them Jewish in-laws to Yeshua means they are not going to get thrown onto the eternal BBQ (as per Mark 16:16) because they have accepted the superior offer! Of course such black and white terms of the evangelical paradigm presented in the New Testament, Stuart Dauermann conveniently chooses to deny by saying that no such things are said in the apostolic writings which witness the efforts of the apostles to convert Jews to Yeshua. Moreover, to divert further, Stuart claims I have stolen and projected onto his paradigm. The bottom line, no matter how Messianic Jews try to ‘spin it’ in the present with various new tricks, Yeshua will never be Kosher just as no matter the number of times one scrubs a pig will ever make the pig Kosher either! The answer is YES Stuart and has always been without ands, buts and/ or degrees!

Can there be a greater stumbling block than [Christianity]? All the prophets spoke of Moshiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior, who would gather their dispersed ones and strengthen their [observance of] the mitzvos. In contrast [the founder of Christianity] caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humiliated, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the L-rd.” (Expurgated by medieval Christian censors from the Mishneh Torah of Rambam, Chapter 11)

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A Prophet like Moses

©Menashe Dovid

13. Be wholehearted with the Lord, your God. (Deut 18)

יג. תָּמִים תִּהְיֶה עִם יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ

Messianics and Christians alike, insist that there are some 300 plus prophecies in the ‘Old’ Testament which find their ultimate fulfillment in Yeshua/ Jesus. A mediatorquestion posed by a Facebook missionary friend of mine challenged me with Deuteronomy Chapter 18 verses 15 and 18 which speak of a prophet to come who is like you [Moses]. The prophet is of course Yeshua/ Jesus according to my Facebook missionary friend. Now who would have expected that![1]? Quite apart from the fact that nowhere is it ever suggested in TaNaCh that any prophet, priest or messiah would be better to replace Moses or that THE sacrifice of Jesus/ Yeshua ends the sacrifices of animals[2].

At least another missionary friend admitted that he had never considered just how in general a prophet or very specifically how Yeshua/ Jesus is like Moses, Moses who is a prophet. In actual fact when we consider such a question as how a prophet is like Moses, we may well come up with a very strict criterion or even come to a realization that we really do not know what defines a prophet at all!

Immediate Context

Immediate context helps to get a grasp of a bigger picture. The bigger picture in the case of Deut 18 pivots on verses 13 and 14 which provide a ‘but’ or a contrast between verses 9-12 and verse 15 onwards.

13 You shall be whole-hearted with the LORD your God. 14 For these nations, that you are to dispossess, hearken to soothsayers, and to diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not suffered you to do so.

Verses 9-12 describe prohibitions for the Israelites against practicing divination, child sacrifice, sorcery, omen reading, animal charmers, ‘armpit’ witchcraft, necromancy and speaking/ prophesying with a bone in the mouth. Prohibitions for the Israelites actually served as methods of ‘guidance’ for the nations to run their affairs.

Instead and in complete contradistinction to the nations, Verse 13 tells the Israelites to wholeheartedly follow G-d and his guidance instead. The method of guidance collectively chosen by Israel was Moses the prophet and was with G-d’s approval:

“This is just what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb, on the day of the Assembly, saying, “Let me not hear the voice of the Lord my God any longer or see this wondrous fire any more, lest I die.” Whereupon the Lord said to me, “They have done well in speaking thus.” (Deut.18: 16-17)

However, as we know, Moses is not going to be around forever, eventually he will die and who will be a prophet in his place? After all the nation of Israel and its people still need a method which gives direction and guidance after Moses has gone. The method as scripture shows includes a prophet chosen by the Israelites whose choice is approved by G-d no less!

bettterAre we to assume based on Christian/ Messianic assertions that the Israelites are to wait around one and half thousand years for ‘Jesus’ the next ‘unique’, ‘one and only’, ‘ultimate’ and ‘better’ prophet than Moses? Does ‘a prophet’ really mean just one prophet after Moses? Are we to write off Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Joel, Ezekiel, Malachi, Habakkuk, Haggai, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, Zechariah, Micah, and countless others as prophets? Are we to write off the lives and history of the Jewish people as insignificant or an unpleasant ‘blip’ which now has been corrected by Jesus? According to Christian/ Messianic assertions via the NT for support, the lives and history of the Jewish people as recorded in the ‘old’ testament serve to show that previously and presently the ‘sinfulness’ and ‘blindness’ of Jews by not believing in ‘THE PROPHET” Jesus, as portrayed in the ‘new’ testament! Here are a few examples in point:

I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. Mat 12:6….The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless. Heb 7:18….Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. Ibid v 22….But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. Ibid 8:6….to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Ibid 12:24….Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, Phil 3:8….Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Mat 28:19

The ‘New’ Covenant is superior to the ‘Old’ Covenant because of Jesus/ Yeshua. So much superior that the NT likens the ‘old’ testament as weakuseless and dung[8]! Moreover that Jesus/ Yeshua / Paul positively encourage missionary activity to convert all nations to their superior revelation/ covenant.

Wider Context

The disciple of Moses was Joshua and surprise and the next book following chronologically after the Torah is the book of Joshua. What does it say of Joshua:

5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee; I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 6 Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land which I swore unto their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy ways prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.’….16 And they answered Joshua, saying: ‘All that thou hast commanded us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us we will go. 17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee; only the LORD thy God be with thee, as He was with Moses. 18 Whosoever he be that shall rebel against thy commandment, and shall not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death; only be strong and of good courage.’ Johua 1

“Israel served Adonai throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything Adonai had done for Israel.” (Joshua 24: 31)

The above scriptures from Joshua firmly establishes in the TaNaCh that the prophet Moses spoke about was Joshua son of Nun, not a sole ‘exclusive individual’ as part of some cryptic ‘mystery’ that even Moses himself was blind too. Also, it is clear that the Israelites obeyed Joshua and the elders that lived after him. After Joshua came other prophets. There was a threat, though, that of false prophets. Hence G-d gave very detailed warnings in Deut 13 and a warning in Deut 18:

“Any prophet who presumes to speak in My name an oracle[3] that I did not command him to utter, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet shall die.” (Deut.18: 20)

Common Threads from A to Z

When it comes to prophets there can only be two types: true prophets of G-d or false prophets. When it comes to future prophets, we can recognize a number of opposing teachings between true prophets of G-d or false prophets. G-d acknowledges that any one can CLAIM to be a prophet and even perform miracles yet not be a true prophet of G-d. (Deut 13 & Deut 18.)

So, how did G-d expect the Israelites living in the time of the “prophet” to determine whether to kill the “prophet” for being a false prophet, or listen to the message of the prophet?

The answer is that G-d set in place a system where it would be the recognized leaders of the nation who would arbitrate such matters and they would be the ones to test the prophets.

The Torah describes the false prophet as one who attempts to “make you stray from the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to walk in.” (Deuteronomy 13:6 (5). Instead of listening to the false prophet we are commanded: “The Lord your God shall you follow and Him you shall fear; His commandments you shall observe and to His voice you shall hearken; Him you shall serve and to Him you shall cleave.”

The true prophet will encourage Israel to follow after God – “O House of Jacob: Come let us walk by the light of the Lord!” (Isaiah 2:5). The true prophet encourages fear of the Creator of heaven and earth – “Will you not fear Me? says the Lord; Will you not tremble before Me? For I have set sand as a boundary for the sea, as a permanent law that cannot be broken.” (Jeremiah 5:22). The true prophet encourages observance of God’s commandments that were set down by Moses – “Remember the Torah of Moses My servant which I commanded him at Horeb for all of Israel – decrees and statutes” (Malachi 3:22 [4:4]). The true prophet speaks of hearkening to the voice of God – “…Thus said the Lord, God of Israel: Cursed is the man who will not listen to the words of this covenant that I commanded your forefathers on the day I took them out from the land of Egypt, form the iron crucible saying: Listen to My voice…” (Jeremiah 11:3,4). The true prophet encourages service of God – “Serve the Lord with gladness, come before Him with joyous song” (Psalm 100:2). The true prophet speaks of cleaving to God as the highest ideal – My soul cleaves after You; Your right arm has supported me” (Psalm 63:9).

The true prophet knows that God has richly provided for our every need, both spiritual and material. The true prophet recognizes the blessing that is inherent in the law that God has granted to His people and all of the prophet’s words direct us towards the God of Israel and towards the path He set us on when He redeemed us from the house of bondage in a clear and unambiguous way.

The false prophet[4] concentrates his attention on the tendency of man that fails to appreciate God’s blessings and that sees God’s law as burdensome and impossible[5]. Instead of encouraging us to recognize the love, the life and the light that is inherent in God’s law; the false prophet claims to offer us a “better path”:

“By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear” (Hebrews 8:13).

According to the author of Hebrews the entire Old Covenant has become obsolete, not just the ceremonial part! What does it say? “…he(Jesus) has made the first one obsolete…” This verse is very clear: the first or Old Covenant is obsolete or has passed away.

In Galatians 5:1, Jesus has freed all believers from something Paul calls “a yoke of slavery”. In context this verse is the culmination of Paul’s allegory on Christian freedom (Gal 4:21-31). In Paul’s allegory the yoke of slavery is the burden of the whole Old Covenant.

“Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says?” (Gal 4:21).

What “law” is Paul referring to? He continues, “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman” (Gal 4:22). Where is this written? In one of the five books of Moses that contains all the law. It is found in the book of Genesis chapter 16.

In Galatians 4:24 it is as clear that Hagar represents the Old Covenant established at Mt.Sinai which covenant means slavery for its children. “These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.” In v. 28 Paul says that his fellow believers are not children of this Old Covenant yoke of slavery, but are the children of New Covenant freedom. In v. 30 Paul tells Christians to “cast out” Hagar who represents the Old Covenant of slavery. What does this accomplish? “Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman” (v. 31). Christians are free from all the laws of the Old Covenant. The “yoke of slavery” referred to in Gal 5:1 must be the same yoke of slavery that Paul has been referring to in Gal 4:21-31 and that is the whole Old Covenant. “These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.” Hagar represents the entire Old Covenant and Christians are to cast out that entire covenant in order to become children of freedom.

According to the New Testament, the purpose of the Law was to reveal God’s standard of righteousness and man’s sinfulness. This in turn teaches man that he needs a substitutionary atonement—a savior. According to the New Testament, the Law of Moses was also a monitor over one immature in faith. When one moves to a mature faith, characterized by accepting the finished work of Jesus, that person is no longer in the monitor’s charge (see Galatians 3:23-25). Therefore, the monitor has reached its goal and is dismissed. The entire Mosaic Law becomes obsolete and the Christian comes under the Law of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2). The nerve of the New Testament knows no bounds:

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Rom 3:21

The way to resist the persuasions of the false prophet is to ask: Is there anything lacking in the path that God set before us when He took us out of Egypt? Did God not provide for our every need? Did He not shower us with every blessing?

By focusing on the blessings that God granted us we will learn to appreciate the holiness of His commandments and the life that is inherent in His law. When we appreciate His love towards us our hearts will be filled with love towards Him – and a heart that is filled with the love of God will not fall for the persuasions of the false prophet (Deuteronomy 13:4 (3)).

Conclusion

Moses like all the other prophets who followed him was born of a set of human parents, mother and father. None of the prophets were ever worshiped or considered divine.

Moses like all the other prophets who followed him never acted in a way that would indicate that they and they alone were the sole mediator[6] between G-d and man. The Creator does not have a mediator, nor does the Creator need a mediator. Furthermore, humanity does not need a mediator to have a relationship with the Creator. Jews pray only to the Creator. It is not proper to pray to anyone or anything else, nor is it permissible to pray through anyone else. And it will always be forbidden. It would be forbidden even if that thing or person had the ability to grant what you ask for.

Before the great and dreadful day of Adonai will come Elijah the prophet and we are to remember the law of G-d’s servant Moses, the decrees and laws G-d gave him at Horeb for all Israel. How interesting it is that at Horeb, where the law was given, G-d tells the Israelites to remember that they saw no form (Deut 4:12, 15, 23) so as not to make an idol! How telling it is that right after Malachi penned these words a man by the name of Jesus came along who claimed not only to be a prophet, a priest, a king but was G-d in the form of flesh[7]!

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of Adonai comes.” He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (Mal.4: 4, 6)


[1] Chapter 1, of Hebrews says that Jesus Christ is better than everybody and everything. Chapter 2 says that Jesus Christ is better than angels. Chapter 3 says Jesus is better than Moses. In Chapter 4, Jesus is better than Joshua. And then Jesus is better than Aaron. Then Jesus is better than the old covenant. And Jesus is better than the Old Testament sacrifices, etc., etc. The whole point is to show that Jesus is superior, supreme, and sufficient, you need nothing else. That’s the key according to NT theology.

[2] 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. 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 of Israel; ‘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

[3] In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to interface wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination. The word oracle comes from the Latin verb ōrāre “to speak” and properly refers to the priest or priestess uttering the prediction. In extended use, oracle may also refer to the site of the oracle, and to the oracular utterances themselves, called khrēsmoi (χρησμοί) in Greek. Oracles were thought to be portals through which the gods spoke directly to people. In this sense they were different from seers (manteis, μάντεις) who interpreted signs sent by the gods through bird signs, animal entrails, and other various methods

[4] Matthew 11:28-30 King James Version (KJV)

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

[5] Acts 15:7-11 King James Version (KJV) 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

[6] Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

[7] 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1

[8] Paul, in his letter to the Philippians (3:8) wrote ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου μου, διὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην, καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα, ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσω… If your Greek is a bit rusty, there’s no point in reaching for your English translation (straight from the culture that uses the euphemisms “going to the Rest Room” – I think it’s a pretty weird place to rest!, “going to the bathroom” – still looking for that bath there!…) Here’s what Saint Paul says: But indeed I also regard everything to be loss on account of the surpassing knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things; and I consider them shit so that I may gain Christ…Yep – σκύβαλα (skubala) = shit. Not the nice excrement, dung, or poop. In Saint Paul’s day σκύβαλα/shit was used in polite conversation about as much as we use it now. He is being very vulgar.