Home and about

The woodcut in the heading is Gustave Doré’s “The legend of the Wandering Jew.”  The Jew flees the cross and spends, this is no legend, all of time wandering, wondering, not daring to consider that he might have been wrong about the man called Yeshua.

If you’re Jewish, you’ll probably   tear off in a hurry from this treif.  In case you happily don’t, my name is Raphael Gamaroff.   My parents were Jews who immigrated to South Africa from the  Russian Empire when they were children in the early 1900s. I converted to Roman Catholicism at university but left that Church in the 1980s. I have remained in the Christian faith. I studied philosophy, French and linguistics, and taught at schools and universities.

My user name is “bography”. How did this name come to be? Rapha-el in Hebrew means “doctor/healer of God.” But I am not literally the rapha of el; so I have opted for a more modest user name “bography” (Dr bog). What is the Russian for God? Bog. What is the Russian for doctor of God? Raphabog. In changing from Rapha-el to Rapha-bog, all I’ve done is change the Hebrew “El” to the Russian “Bog”.There’s no escape from my name – I’m spellbound by knowing who I am, as Alan Watts would say.  Watts speaks of the “taboo” of knowing who you are. Alan Watts was obviously not Jewish.

Part of this “bog” is my  autobiography.  Joshua Liebman in his “Peace of mind,” writes: “One man’s spiritual Odyssey may be of interest to others seeking peace of mind.” For many, the supreme quest of humanity is peace of mind. Gerald Jampolsky, in his “Love is letting go of fear,” says this about peace: “[w]e have been given everything we need to be happy now. To look directly at this instant is to be at peace now” (p. 7). The Christian view is that the peace that the world gives is not the peace that the Lord Jesus gives: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:7).

Contrary to Jampolsky, as much as I feel strongly drawn to a fellow Jew (as I feel to a lesser extent with Joshua Liebman), “look[ing] directly at this instant” of  the eternal now,  living in the vibration of the eternal now, living in a “nowgasmic” encounter with other selves, this is not the Christian way – nor the Torah way – to find the peace that surpasses all understanding. The peace that the Lord Jesus gives is intimately tied up with this basic human question: “How can man be saved from sin?” The two (Jewish)  psychologists I mentioned are vehemently opposed to this view, and try to dissipate the notion of sin, where the effort to do so is, arguably, the mother of dissipation itself. My biography, if not an Oddysey, is the story of my spiritual journey from enslavement (to Self) to adoption into the family of God through  Jesus (the) Christ. My early years can be found here.

Can a Jew, for example, John (Yochanan) the Baptist and Paul (Shaul) the Apostle, followers of Jesus (Yeshua), and indeed Jesus himself, remain a Jew after falling flat on their face before this?

Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.  Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ (which means “Messiah” – the sent one) the Son of the Blessed One?”

“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him. (Mark 14 (60-65).

Or is it true that once a Jew always a Jew? Some Jews say “yes, always”; other say, “no, oiveys.” See my two posts on this question: When is an “ex-Jew” not a Jew? Once a Jew Oiveys a Jew and Assimilation and the Jew: I am who I – erm? My bography is not obsessed with this question at all, yet it is important, not only because of who I am (erm?) but because of its implications for both Jew and Christian in general – for all mankind, I suggest.

*The following is my transcript from an audio message from Albert Martin. The brackets are mine.

He is talking about Jesus’ sermon on the mount:.

“Not only is the blessed man someone who knows something of holy mourning, holy meekness, hungering and thirsting, but one of the beatitudes is this: blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, rejoice and be exceedingly glad (Matthew 5:11-12). He  (Jesus) assumes that one of the characteristics of his people will not only be these others (previous things mentioned), but that their lives will stand in such contrast that the world cannot stand it and will rise up and persecute them, and say all manner of evil against them falsely. Now he (Jesus) says to people like us who hate the suffering of rejection,  “enter through the narrow gate.”

60Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ,[f] the Son of the Blessed One?”

62“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

63The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64“You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.


116 thoughts on “Home and about

  1. Raphael,


    I too am a Jew!!…like you. born in New York City, U.S.A. and I am presently living in Hawaii.

    I encountered your blog, providentially of course :), and I thought it would be a blessing to make contact with you.

    I admire your blog and your writing. which I have only just seen.

    I am a New Covenant Jew living my Faith in the Contemplative Tradition of St. Francis of Assisi. I am a Third Order Franciscan hermit.

    Please fee free to write, if you like.

    Hashem yevarech otcha

    (This is my birth name. My mother was afraid of my experiencing anti-semitism so…
    When I attended hebrew school, they wouldn’t let me proceed without a hebrew name, so I took the name of my grandparent – Yosef)
    I am from a secular Jewish background, however, and have experienced my jewish identity more since my conversion to Christ than before.)

    • Christopher, we have much in common. Your life sounds very interesting, and I’d like to know more. Isn’t the intenet amazing; how else would an ex-Catholic relatively new Reform Christian Jew who almost became a Dominican friar living on the East coast of South Africa meet a Catholic Jewish Franciscan hermit living in Hawaii.

      Have you heard of John Bradburne? He was also a Third order (secular order) Franciscan and a great poet who spent his last years in a leper colony in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He was shot in 1979 during the Rhodesian war. I was a French teacher at the Jesuit Collge, St George’s in Harare from 1971 to 1976. Here is a summary of John Bradburne:

      “John Bradburne’s life was a remarkable spiritual odyssey. After wartime service on the Indian sub-continent he became a perennial pilgrim, never at home in the world, not even in his native England. Restless wanderings led him through Europe, to a succession of religious communities, until he was eventually introduced to a colony of 90 leprosy sufferers in Africa. It was here at ‘Mutemwa’ Zimbabwe, that he dedicated his last ten years with total dedication until he met a violent death at the end of the war for Independence in 1979. Since that time there is an ever growing following to his memory, many believe him to be a saint.”

      If you haven’t yet visited the site, here is the John Bradburne website: http://www.johnbradburne.com/. See also http://www.franciscans.ie/content/view/387/1/,
      http://www.johnbradburne.com/includes/pdfs/newsletterwinter2005.pdf, and (here’s a long one on google books):


      • Raphael

        I am only first reading your comments. I did not know that they were here.
        Ahhh, but all is not lost..I have found them! Yes, how indeed. The internet is amazing. Thank you for your introducing me to John Bradburne, who I was not aware of. Almost a Dominican…that’s interesting. Well, we will need to discuss more. Peace and good,

        • Hello Raphael, greetings from an old friend! 31 years ago we met in Mafeking at the New Life fellowship led by pastor John Walker – Leo Tabone ,pilot with Bop Airways at that time – how are you my good friend? I still remember you well.

          • Hi Leo
            What a great surprise. I remember you well too. I’ve still got to get you for rolling your little plane for my “benefit” on our two-man flight from Mmabatho to Jo’burg.

            • Hello Raph! Its wonderful to hear from you ole boy! I am not sure whether the mail i wrote a few minutes ago was sent as its not on record on the post list here – mail me at leo.tabone@gmail.com then we can talk and catch up.

              Cheers Leo.

    • Hello, Christopher! I’m glad to hear you are well, and continuing with your unique vocation… I am finishing my graduate studies in Pastoral Counselingn at the Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA. Until I can figureout a better way to be a Catholic, I have chosen not to participate in my own faith tradition for the time being.. Happy holidays! Blessings on you & yours……………
      Celeste Wadowski

      • Celeste,

        I just saw your writing and do not know when it was written. So glad to hear you are well and completing your studies. Yes, I continue in my unique vocation. Just completing a blog or two about the same.
        Blessings and always gratitude for your love and compassion towards myself and my earthly dad Jack during his most sacred transition. You were an extraordinary part of that experience for both he and I and neither of us will ever forget it.

        Peace and Joy

    • A jew should not worship a man as god. This is sad! G-d is asking you to repent and trust in Him, not in man!

      Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem? ISaiah 2:22

  2. Shalom Raphael,

    I just discovered your blog through the Rosh Pinah Project blog. I feel like a kid in a toy store, there is so much here. I admire your scholarship, clarity, and especially your humor. I will comment some more as i continue to read.



    • Hi Dan
      I have recently discovered the Rosh Pinah site. It’s a little like coming home. I’m sure, though, that I am going to get a few little gentle and well-deserved taps from the people who are as passionate as myself for the apologia of God’s terrible majesty.


  3. Raphael,

    You have an interesting life story!

    Just to be clear, you wrote “I converted to Roman Catholicism”, but you didn’t indicate what you were before that. You’ve titled the blog “One Daring JEW”, but your bio only talks about the various Christian sects and theologians you’ve followed–albeit with the Jewish-sounding names you’ve overlaid onto certain Christian figures.

    So, since the purpose of a bio, certainly in a religious blog, must be to establish your religion, and since you thought it an important enough topic to include your bio as a blog entry, and since your blog is entitled “Jew”, and since I’m curious enough to ask, would you be kind enough to shed some light on your religious background prior to your conversion to Catholicism? What were you before that, and how did you become it, and why, these many religions later, do you still identify yourself as you do?

    Oh, and I like your blog format. It’s reminiscent of the clean NY Times layout, without the anti-American bias.

    • Hello Anon
      I added on my home page that my parents were Jews from the Russian Empire. I’ve also made my “bography” more accessible. It can be found by clicking “autobiography” on the main page.

  4. bography,

    Please note that I have not been ignoring you on rpp. Joseph has banned me there–I guess asking “are ya Jewish?” at a Jewishly named and decorated Web site where Jews and gentile missionaries intermingle just kind of pushed him over the edge.

    At any rate, I would be happy to continue our dialog here or at my Web site or via email if you like. Joseph has hung up on me on your behalf, but I have not hung up on you.

    All the best,


    • ANON, I know that some got very offended at the relentless “are you Jewish?” thing. But to me it was nothing more than a bit of a sticky record, one among your other records, which I thought added much needed spice. Besides, just think of all the more-than-just- ink that was spilled over your “infuriating” question. It led in all sorts of interesting directions; not to mention the humourous asides. Your swinging club kept us fom getting too smug and clubby. I shall post shortly a reply to something you said (Sept 7) on Isaiah 53, namely,

      “While every Jew should endeavor to be a servant to G-d, no one likes to suffer. And those gentile nations who took advantage of the opportunity to badly abuse the Jewish people, G-d’s representatives in this world, are in for a heck of a surprise. They’ll be rendered speechless, and without any excuse for their despicable misconduct in the over-the-top abuse with which they castigated Israel.” http://roshpinaproject.com/2010/09/06/where-moshe-shulman-is-right-on-isaiah-53/#comment-13420

      I think our exchanges might be of interest to other readers of this bog, oops, blog.

      You write reams about more than just dreams.

      I posted part of this response on “Double Take” at RPP http://roshpinaproject.com/2010/09/18/double-take-9/#comment-14168

      • As you know, my voice has been silenced where you’re commenting. Shall I take your acquiescence in the face of Joseph’s exclusion of my voice from the conversation, together with your interest in communicating with me only in a forum from which you know me to be blocked from participating to mean you really aren’t interested in engaging in discussions with me and with my perspectives?

      • By the way, bography, have you stopped at all to wonder at the “furious” reaction to a very simple and very harmless question? Matters of far more serious consequence have been vigorously debated there, and outright insults have been flying, most of the time off-topic to the blog entry.

        Does it not strike you as odd that Joseph snapped into action to protect the integrity of staying on topic specifically when I asked this question that everyone seems to agree has an answer that doesn’t even matter. And yet, fuses at rpp began to blow over it. More threatening than my arguments that their god is a mere idol was my question “hey, are ya Jewish?” Joseph repeatedly expressed grave concerns that I was continuing the Spanish inquisition by asking that question, as if the asking of questions was what defined that murderous Christian crime wave against innocent Jewry.

        And if Joseph will say that the problem was my repetition of the question, we have to wonder why he happily tolerated ad nauseum debates about many things, including for example the identity of the suffering servant in Isaiah, about which the same arguments that it was Jesus have been mounted and corrected and mounted again by overeager apologists on innumerable occasions.

        Does anything seem wrong, or at least a little odd, a little amped, with Joseph and the gang’s reaction to my question? What was your take on that whole process, and how are you feeling about it?

        • Anon
          Before we talk more, it feels strange that you use as your gravatar a picture of a person you execrate so much, mostly because of his attitude to Jews. Let me feel at least that I am addressing an Anonymous who desires to focus on mutual topics of interest, rather than someone with this huge chip – if not cross – on his shoulder. Of course, I don’t mind discussing Luther with you, which we have done in the past. Having said that, I think with you that Luther did not act right towards the Jews.

      • bography,

        While I’m happy to make myself available to you, I won’t allow you to impose preconditions on our dialog. I would also hasten to point out that you have expressed a number of views I find offensive, and you have done so through means I also find objectionable. I’m not fishing for an apology, I’m just stating a fact, and I don’t think, where you are right now, you can even fathom what could be so negative in some of your postings. Yet I’m looking past those matters to the good and somewhat damaged, or, let’s say injured person behind the confused message and I’m reaching out a hand to him.

        It’s important to note that Luther carried a chip on his shoulder. Against the Jews. It’s not the other way around. Luther’s reverent following needs to be reminded of the disgrace their continued use of his name brings on them.

        The bottom line is that, if you want to now seize on my anonymity or my Luther screen avatar as some kind of lame cop out for closing out a Jewish perspective on topics of spiritual importance, nothing is stopping you. Joseph and many others before you have done the same, to their own detriment.

        So you let me know, you either grab my hand or slap it away. My hand is extended. I’d like to help you out, you’re my brother. But make no mistake about whose loss it will be if you choose to sever our discussions.

    • Dear Bography. Wonderful Testimony …Its evident The Lord has been shaping your lifes Journey.. I am from Greek heritage and have also loved My journey to Messiah thus far. There is a Movement called the Messianic Movement whereby thousands are being redirected back to the Hebraic Roots of the Bible. The Lord has been leading me for years as an individual … I know that Many of the Tenements of the “Christian” Faith have been moulded by Paganism and not after the Torah of Yahuwah. So everything is swinging back to the original as found in The Tenach. Daniel7:25 said that the Beast Power would” Change the Times of the Sacred Festivals and the Law”…as we see today in Easter & Xmas and the Very Heart of the Ten Commandments! Not only have the Sacred Times been altered but over 40 Major Doctrines have been fashoned after Babylonian doctrines. eg: Transsubstantiation of the Eucharist.. The State of the dead… the Priesthood… Heaven and Hell etc etc… All these find their Roots in Babylon and their Authority from ROME.
      Whereas the Purity of the” Everlasting” Gospel Rev14 can only be found in the Hebraic Roots of The Bible. Yahshua Ha Mashiach(Jesus the Messiah) Bless You… Ha Shem Yevarech Otcha My Achoti… xxx

      • Angela,
        Thank you for your interesting comment. I’d like to comment on your:
        1.”Not only have the Sacred Times been altered but over 40 Major Doctrines have been fashoned after Babylonian doctrines. eg: Transsubstantiation of the Eucharist.. The State of the dead… the Priesthood… Heaven and Hell etc etc… All these find their Roots in Babylon and their Authority from ROME.”

        Question: In which way have the doctrines of heaven and hell been fashioned on Babylonian doctrines?

        2. “Whereas the Purity of the” Everlasting” Gospel Rev14 can only be found in the Hebraic Roots of The Bible. Yahshua Ha Mashiach(Jesus the Messiah).”

        Question: do you distinguish between the “Hebraic” (Jewish) roots of the Bible and the “Judaism” AFTER the rejection of the Christ/Hamashiach. If you’re not sure what I mean see http://www.banneroftruth.co.uk/pages/articles/article_detail.php?490 especially Baruch Moaz’s reply. Listen to BARUCH MAOZ: “JUDAISM IS NOT JEWISH: A Friendly Critique of the Messianic Movement” http://sharpens.blogspot.com/2011/03/blog-post_24.html

  5. Hello!
    You wrote: “Can a Jew, for example, John (Yochanan) the Baptist and Paul (Shaul) the Apostle, followers of Jesus (Yeshua), and indeed Jesus himself, remain a Jew after falling flat on their face before this?”

    [To differentiate,]The historical Mashiakh [“Messiah”] was a Ribi named Yehoshua.

    His authentic teachings were written down by his apprentice student Matityahu and were later redacted into the “gospel of Matthew”. I was a devoted Christian for six years and thought that I had found the teachings of the Mashiakh [“Messiah”] –called Ribi [‘Ribi’ was his title] Yehoshua from Nazareth – and that I followed him, but when I found the website of http://www.netzarim.co.il (only authentic Netzarim). I understood that I hadn’t followed Ribi Yehoshua. Ribi Yehoshua described in the originals teachings of Matityahu, was redacted into “Jesus” of the redacted “gospel of Matthew”. Proofs of this in the Netzarim-website.

    Relating to the Creator exactly in the same way Ribi Yehoshua did – i.e. observing the Creators directives in the Torah – leads oneself into an intimate relationship with the Creator, which is very meaningful!

    Anders Branderud

  6. Raphael–I knew you in Strasbourg, circa 1963? You used to throw pebbles at my window on Avenue de la Foret Noir. You wore a terribly dirty yellow sweater which you finally let me wash. Recently I found the little red leather shoes from Morocco ? you gave me and I hung them on my wall, here in New Mexico, USA. I look at this picture and try to see the boy I knew then….I think I see it in your smile. I’m glad you are smiling. Write me….Roberta, now called Christa christason@aol.com

  7. You said, “Now he (Jesus) says to people like us who hate the suffering of rejection, “enter through the narrow gate.”

    Question: Is the hatred of rejection a prerequisite to seeking the Lord Jesus?
    It sure seems so.

    • Melinda, the only prerequisite to seeking Jesus is regeneration, that is, when he raises the dead (in sin) and bestows on them the ability to seek him, to believe in him. Ephesians 2:1-10.

      That is not only daft to the world but also to most professing Christians, who believe that you first seek Jesus then you are born again (regenerated).

      I ask how on earth, and in heaven, can the dead even peek, never mind seek?

  8. I just now discovered your blog. I am in a unique way impressed. I feel that here might be a place to make reference to a reconstruction of posthumous Jesus traditions (over against Christian Origins) which I prepared as a challenge to R. Joseph Hoffmann’s Jesus Project in 2009, before it became defunct.
    It is largely based on works of Schubert Ogden, James M. Robinson and Hans Deter Betz. In sum it recognizes the Sermon on the Mount to be our most reliable apostolic source for knowledge of Jesus. As a Jew it may be of interest to note that the Sermon on the Mount is seen not only as an alternative to the writings of the Nt, but as the most Jewish writing within the NT. It is found {of all places) at: Ed Jones Dialogue – Vridar.

    • Ed

      Yep, you sure have arrived heim.

      I’m not sure, though, how to interpret your “in a unique way” in “I just now discovered your blog. I am in a unique way impressed..” You surely must’ve heard or even said, on occasion, about someone who bought you another (horrid) tie for Christmas or whatever whenever: “Thanks so much; I’ve never seen any tie (tasted any cake) like this one.”

      Your thesis about the Sermon on he Mount is interesting. And just two days ago! I was reading more of Alfred Edersheim’s “Life and times of Jesus the Messiah.” Here is the last paragraph I read in his CHAPTER XVIII. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT – THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST AND RABBINIC TEACHING. (St. Matt. v.-vii.)

      (He is contrasting Jewish and Jesus’ teaching)

      “Even thus far the contrast to the teaching of Jesus is tremendous. A few further extracts will finally point the difference between the largeness of Christ’s World-Kingdom, and the narrowness of Judaism. Most painful as the exhibition of profanity and national conceit is, it is needful in order to refute what we must call the daring assertion, that the teaching of Jesus, or the Sermon on the Mount, had been derived from Jewish sources. At the same time it must carry to the mind, with almost irresistible force, the question whence, if not from God, Jesus had derived His teaching, or how else it came so to differ, not in detail, but in principle and direction, from that of all His contemporaries.”

      So, feel at home. But one thing; watch out for my heim cooking.

    • My Jewish parents came to South Africa from the Soviet Union. Their mother tongue was Yiddish. My first language is English, but I also know Afrikaans, one of South Africa’s languages, which comes from Dutch.

      One of the visitors to this site, Dan Benzvi (his user name), is a Dutch Jewish follower of Yeshua (Jesus).

        • Shucks Dan, I am so sorry. All the time I thought you were Dutch.
          More serious is that “you keep misrepresenting me.” I am surprised. I don’t recall. What are you referring to?

          I thought I came across as having great respect for you.

          Please send me your autobiography.

  9. I love your post, and I love the Jewish people. It seems as if you are a Messianic Jew..either way…YHWH bless you! I support the nation of Israel and the Jews, and have many articles you might be interested in. My site is completely dedicated to YHWH and Yeshua, and very little about my upcoming trilogy, Martyrdom Series; although it is named after my author name here. YHWH used me to write my books, thus, why should I self glorify myself by making my site all about my books? He is in charge! I will make a post tonight that includes the beginning of my third book in the series, Soul Savior, because I start out with a blurb of Jesus speaking with his disciples, and I used the part you just mentioned above! You’ll recognize it. This first part is not what the book is written about, it’s something I added to the beginning because Soul Savior ends with Jesus coming in righteousness to judge and make war! He is a God of war; not the humble servant He was when He came the first time to die on the cross. God bless you! I hope you’ll subscribe to mine so you may see this post I will make here in a little bit, or check later under my recent posts. Thanks again for having such an intriguing site yourself!

    • Lyn, first thank you for visiting my site and your kind words.

      I read your link. I want to ask you whether you believe in the trinity. I ask this because you said in the first part of your link, “a Christian book and all about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and our wonderful Father, YHWH.” For a trinitarian, Jesus, like His Father, is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (as we read in Revelation). So the Son and the Father, and the Holy Spirit are three divine persons sharing the same nature of YHVH. What is your view?

      • Most certainly. I am a born again, Spirit filled Christian! My view is the same. I was just typing fast and trying to get to the point because I had some other things requiring my attention while I was in the middle of posting to you. Thus, why I forgot to put the link and had to go back and retype it. Thanks for asking. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit–they are all separate, yet one in the same, and together, they are God….all in all! The Holy Trinity!

  10. Love your new look! Very nice, and easier to read. I don’t know about you, but some people’s blogs overwhelm me if there is too much and it’s not so easy on the eyes, and then it’s hard for me to stay there and read. Again, this is very nice.

  11. Hello, Bography! I got your comment but couldn’t approve it due to the fact word press wouldn’t cooperate, so I will answer you here. I have never seen a fruit of any kind come up without a seed! 🙂 Thank you for stopping by! Blessings!! Juliana

    • Juliana, Yes, all fruit begins as seed. But it seems to me that the Bible doesn’t focus on the botanical details of the aetiology of seeds and fruit but often on its metaphorical use.

      For the readers’ sake, I mention that my comment was based on your “Actions are our seed.” http://vineoflife.net/2013/01/20/you-do-not-want-to-sow-wild-oats/

      In several places in the Bible, actions (deeds, works) are described as “fruit,” while faith or the word is described as seed. Juliana, your post on “sowing” reminded me of the Parable of the sower, where this metaphorical distinction between seed and fruit is made.

      Luke 8:11-15
      Now the parable is this: The SEED is the WORD of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth FRUIT with patience.

  12. This is in response to your piece about purgatory and kaddish. I appreciate this article. I have been discussing with Catholics the roots of purgatory, and I said it is from a later altered idea about kaddish. I explained that the original kaddish was not directly about the dead, but it was actually about HaMashiac. It was a yearning for him to return and do good to Israel. In his return that would unite the living and the dead, so it is indirectly connected to the dead. Later, rabbinical Judaism which some today call modern day Phariseeism,, adjusted its purpose. So you have a mutation of intention. The Catholics latched on to the mutation, gave it some Christian flavoring, and voila, you have purgatory. The document continues for centuries, and the Catholic lay people have not learned and do not understand its debt to the erring rabbinical teaching. I say kaddish for my parents a few times a year, but it is not to move their souls along. It is a comfort and reminder for me the living to know that Yeshua will return and join the living with departed.

    • Anon

      How does your Messianic Kaddish description compare with this one:

      The Kaddish is characterized by an abundance of praise and glorification of God and an expression of hope for the speedy establishment of His kingdom on earth. The brief reference to the latter (“May He establish His kingdom”) in the usual Ashkenazi version is expanded by the Sephardim with ve-Yaẓmaḥ purkaneih ve-karev meshiḥeih (“May He make His salvation closer and bring His Messiah near”). The congregational response “May His great name be blessed for ever and to all eternity” is the kernel of the prayer (Sifre to Deut. 32:3). The verse is akin to Daniel 2:20 (in Aramaic), to Job 1:21, and to Psalm 113:2 (in Hebrew), and to the eulogy “Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever,” which was recited in the Temple (Yoma 3:8). According to R. Joshua b. Levi, “joining loudly and in unison in [this] congregational response …” has the power of influencing the heavenly decree in one’s favor (Shab. 119b; cf. Mid. Prov. 10).


  13. I just wanted to say that this is an incredibly interesting blog. I’ll be taking a close look at it when I have more time, there’s an amazing wealth of knowledge here. The volume of information you have about the Hebrew Bible in actual Hebrew, and about Judaism from a Christian understanding is fabulous. I am astonished there are only fifty followers…good luck getting more! Cheers.


  14. Shalom !!!

    Please have a look at my version of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream.


    The word of God is always the truth. Keep up the good work for Jesus !!! Time is short. The time of the gentiles is soon finished, 1 yearweek is left for the nation of Daniel.


      • Well hello, Bography. Have not heard from you in a while. How have you been? I won’t see your reply because I do not use the email address associated with my wordpress anymore… but please visit my youtube channel when you have the time! 🙂 If I type the link here, it might spam me. Just go to youtube and type in the youtube search Lyn Leahz Channel and you will see it come up. G-d bless you.

      • My children did a wonderful acting job for me in this video of them and myself..well, it’s just an intro for a video..but they did awesome! I nearly lost my little girl (in the video) months ago when her appendix ruptured and I thought she had the flu. Hospital for two weeks…it was awful. Praise God He took care of her and everything was okay!

        • Sorry for the long delay, Lynn. I enjoyed your kids in the intro to the other video. As for the latter the opening question is “Will you allow God to love you,” and minute 23:35-44 “If you don’t accept grace for yourself, you cannot give it to somebody else.” It sounds like Philip Yancey’s “grace” (be kind to others). Grace in the Bible – except for one or two occasions – is “saving grace.” (Arminian “prevenient” grace is also not in the Bible).

          As you might know from our previous conversations, I hold to the Reformers’ (the Reformation) view that Human nature hates God. It is God who chooses us, who first loves us, and through his grace (mercy) gives us a new heart, setting us free to accept him with joy. We sometimes talk of “common grace” meaning God shines his kindness (in this life) on every one without distinction. This seems to be what is meant in the video.

          You will agree, how we come to faith sets the course for the rest of our theology. The most important thing for me is the assurance that no height nor depth…. (Romans 8) can separate me from the love and promises of Christ, the Lamb who was slain for me.

  15. Just came across this blog, and was impressed. It’s rare to find a Calvinist Jew. Most of the Jewish Evangelicals I know of are (like Michael Brown) Arminians. I wonder, which of the following positions would you agree with?

    1) God’s people choose faith of their own free will (I know you don’t believe in this – I just thought I’d put it here for contrast)

    2) God’s people choose faith because they were predestined to do so (i.e. not because of their free will)

    3) God’s people do not choose faith at all. God just gives them it, in the new birth, pursuant to the whole scripture, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and have set you that ye should go and [that] ye should bear fruit, and [that] your fruit should abide, that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he may give you.”

    I’d be interested to know, because I met a Calvinist pastor once who basically told me he believed number 2 above, but as you can tell, I hold to number 3.

    • Hi John

      2) God’s people choose faith because they were predestined to do so (i.e. not because of their free will)

      3) God’s people do not choose faith at all. God just gives them it, in the new birth, pursuant to the whole scripture, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and have set you that ye should go and [that] ye should bear fruit, and [that] your fruit should abide, that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he may give you.”

      Arminians say he 1. “gave himself to the Lord , “he opened his heart to the Lord.” and sometimes “he accepted the Lord.” The first two are wrong. The third could be right, if you mean that having been chosen/predestined by God and consequently made alive/regenerated/given a new heart/made free, you exercise that born-again freedom/ability to accept/believe. “I chose you, you didn’t choose me,” means that God chose to make you free to IRRESISTIBLY to choose him. “Irresistibly” in the sense that you don’t, couldn’t want anything else.

      So, perhaps it is a mixture of 2 and 3.

      Did you know that Micael Brown used to be Calvinist.

      Have you heard of the Calvinist Jews David Baron, Adolph Sapir and Alfred Edersheim. All three have written wonderful books.

      • Hello again. Yes I knew that Michael Brown used to be a Calvinist. But no, I hadn’t heard of those people you mentioned. I shall have to look them up.

        I would like to correct you, however, on your answer. The words, “Ye have not chosen me” certainly do *not* mean that God’s people have chosen him, albeit irresistibly and freely. They mean exactly as they sound, “Ye have NOT chosen me” not irresistibly, not freely, not!

        God can do anything, and He can give a man faith without that man choosing it. One moment he is dead in his sins, the next God has given him new life and faith. Its a miracle of grace. Of course, God orders a man’s life so that it leads up to that miracle, but it is still a miracle when it happens. The man who is born in the new birth, is a new born believer, whose faith is reckoned to him as righteousness (think: new man of righteousness). The old heart of stone is taken out, that wicked heart of unbelief; a new heart of flesh, one that trusts in the Lord, is given. The new man of righteousness is the new born child of God. Now let me ask you a question: do people choose to be born from their mother’s wombs? No. This is the whole point of the analogy with birth. It isn’t chosen.

        God’s people come to Jesus, but not because they chose it. Rather, they come because they are drawn.

        Where does scripture say that God’s people choose faith? Never. Where does it say that they, “come to faith”? Never. Rather, in the new birth, faith comes to them! Speaking dispensationally (and I’m not a dispensationalist, but they don’t get to keep all the good words) Paul compares the entrance of the gospel to the work of God in His people’s lives, “before faith came, we were guarded under law, shut up to faith [which was] about to be revealed.”

        We must distinguish between the will and the choice. The will is what you *want* to do, what you *want* to choose. Take Paul’s example of lust. He says he had not known lust unless the law says Thou shalt not lust. Then he said that what he wills to do, he does not do, and what he does not will, that he does. Here his lust began with a choice. But the will to do or not do, respectively, is what Paul wants or wishes he’d choose/not choose.

        So you see, a choice is really part of the work itself; its on the work half of the will/works dichotomy. If you can’t accept this, think of all the works of the moral law. To kill requires physical activity, but to NOT kill requires only a choice. The good work boils down to a choice. To steal requires physical activity, but to NOT steal requires only a choice. To envy and lust do not require physical activity, and likewise to NOT envy or lust or hate or grudge, requires a choice. To obey usually boils down to what you choose. Choices are the beginning of, and sometimes the whole of, your works. Many of the works of the law are just choices.

        To have the will to obey is not the same. To desire to obey is not to choose to obey, but simply to have a desire: to will to obey. Perhaps you have known in your own life a desire not to lust. But when it has come down to it, down to the wire, as they say, at the time you were faced with a choice, you chose to lust. Your desire (your “will”) was not in line with your choices (or works).

        Thus where we read that it is God who works in you both to will and to work of His good pleasure, we are to understand that this encompasses both the desire AND the choice, the choice being the beginning of, and in some cases, the whole of the work that a man completes.

        But choices really pertain to works, not the will.

        Why is this important? It’s important because when Paul was battling the heresy of justification by works, he wasn’t battling against, “free will”. That came later in church history. In Paul’s day, free will simply didn’t come into the discussion. Paul was contrasting grace not with free will, but with works. “if by grace, no longer of works: since [otherwise] grace is no more grace.” Grace and works (including choices) are completely incompatible. To speak about God giving people the, “grace to choose” is really a huge mistake.

        Think about it: if you chose Christ, then you get to boast, “I’m going to heaven because I chose Christ.” Ok, God predestined it. God made it happen. But it was still YOU who chose it. Who made you to differ? YOU did!

        A man could reject free will and still believe in justification by works, albeit predestined works. A man could say that God, “predestined me to choose the right thing.” He could say, “I did it irresistibly! It was freely and irresistibly given to me to do that work of believing in God.” The same might even say that he can’t possibly take credit for it. “I did by the grace of God!” Ah, but here is the problem: “if by grace, no longer of works: since [otherwise] grace is no more grace.” They are totally incompatible. Paul was contrasting works with grace. In God’s work of grace, He gives men faith. They don’t choose it.

        God could (theoretically speaking) have chosen a different means of salvation. He could have given His people good works, and reckoned those as righteousness. But He chose to give them faith, and reckon their faith as righteousness. Why? So that they would have nothing to boast about. Good works ALWAYS involve a choice of some kind. But God did not want His people to be able to boast, and credit themselves and their own choices.

        It may sound strange, but I’m happy to say I never chose Christ. Where did Paul say “I chose Christ”? Never. Where did Peter say “I chose Christ”? Never. But Jesus did say, “Ye have not chosen me…”

        Don’t get me wrong. Men *should* choose faith. They have a moral duty to choose it: when they are presented with the word of God, they are obliged not only to accept it, but to embrace it, to believe it with all their heart, with conviction, for the word of God is living and operative and sharper than any two-edged sword. Unbelief, and especially unbelief in the Messiah, is the greatest sin. My point is only that nobody does choose faith.

        Faith is an obligation commanded in the law. But where it is commanded, it is, “of the law” and it is a doing thing. God’s people don’t, “do” faith. When God gives people faith, they haven’t, “done” anything. When God gives people faith, He does so without any input from them, predestined or not. Input means men doing something.

        Salvation is all by grace. This is why Paul could say, “So then it is of faith, that it might be according to grace.”

        Now on a personal note, I know that when God gave me faith, the first thing I did was to pray. Now prayer is something we do. And its not my prayer that saved me. God had already given me faith. That’s why I prayed. It was a prayer *of faith*.

        Any prayer that is not of faith is sin, for, “Whatever is not of faith is sin.” If you, like me, prayed the first moment you believed, then don’t confuse your prayer with salvation. Its possible to misinterpret one’s own experience, and think one was saved because one prayed. But that would be to undermine the work of God in your life, and the very gospel of grace. God only answers prayers of faith.


        • John, ok then not “irresistibly CHOOSE Him” but ACCEPT Him.

          (What do you understand in this verse Deuteronomy 30:19 -I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live).

          When Jesus raises a person from the dead ( Eph 2:10), he gives the person a new “heart,” which believes in/accepts him. Upon regeneration, the dead sinner is released from bondage ( of the will – of rejection of God) and given new “legs,” which, instead of running away from Christ, run towards Christ, or if you like he accepts with joy being “dragged” by God to Himself (John 6:33-44). Non-Calvinists accuse Calvnists of being robots. Not so: He whom Christ makes free, is free indeed – to accept (trust) Him,.

          See my https://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/election-is-for-everyone-which-may-depend-on-free-will-but-never-on-human-choice/

          • Good question. Now the passage you quoted is from verse 19, and if you look back just three verses, to verse 16, you’ll see what it means: “In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live….”

            Keep the commandments, obey the law, make all the right choices, and you will live. Break the commandments, disobey the law, make all the wrong choices, and you shall die.

            This is the Old Covenant, what Baptists have historically called a “covenant of works”. Its really important we understand this. Had the Israelites obeyed, they would have lived. They would have lived long in the land, generation after generation. Far from proving that choices are part of saving faith, the passage you quoted is exactly what I’d quote to show that choices pertain to the law: “choose life” is the next part.

            Notice how Paul contrasts the works of the law with the righteousness of faith: “Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise….”

            Now here is a question for you: Paul said that by works of law no flesh shall be justified. Why? Is it because anyone who ever kept the law perfectly would still not be justified? No. Rather, its because nobody ever keeps the law. The reason no flesh shall be justified by law is because human beings always break the law. They break it because of indwelling sin. Examine how Paul frames it: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

            Now faith, truly, is more that mere intellectual assent. It is a conviction of truth. We read, “Faith is the undergirding of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

            I am reluctant to call faith, “acceptance” as I don’t know where scripture calls it that. Faith is a conviction of the truth of God, a heartfelt, deep down conviction.

            Also, the new birth and faith are instantaneous. They happen at exactly the same time. When Calvinists speak of an order, they’re talking of a logical order, not a chronological order.

            Take a cup. If I lift a cup to my lips, it will come to my lips. The lifting happens at exactly the same time as the coming. There is no chronological order. But there is still a logical order. My lifting of the cup caused the cup to come. The coming of the cup didn’t cause me to lift it. Now you could say that the coming of the cup was, in a way, “part” of my lifting it, and you’d be right. The new birth logically precedes faith, but a believer (one who has faith) is the one who is born in the new birth. The new birth/regeneration causes faith.

            But as I say, none of this is chosen. There is no aspect of this that involves any input from man.

            • John, I am with you on these two topics.

              Logical versus chronological order

              “The Calvinist’s logical order is (effectual) grace –> regeneration (born again) –> belief –> repentance. They all occur simultaneously. The Arminian order is (prevenient) grace –> repent –> believe –> born again. Some Arminians may disagree with the preacher and agree with the Calvinist that believe comes logically before repent. When it comes to regeneration, however, the reason why the Arminian places regeneration (being raised from spiritual death) at the end of the process is because it is he who decides (with his “free will”) whether he wants to accept God’s offer to be born again.” For more see my https://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/now-that-im-born-again-i-can-and-want-to-believe-and-repent-what-a-logical-logos-i-serve/


              Three components Notitia (knowledge) then assensus (assent) then fiducia (trust – “faith in) – “accept” or “come” comprises all three.

              “The Reformers of the 16th Century divided true saving faith into three parts: notitia, assensus and fiducia. Notitia comprises knowledge, such as belief in one God, in the humanity (1 John 4:3) and deity of Christ (John 8:24), His crucifixion for sinners (1 Cor. 15:3), His bodily resurrection from the dead, and some understanding of God’s grace in salvation. Assensus is belief. This belief hasn’t yet penetrated the heart; it is still on the mental level – a mental assent. In his article, I examine in more detail the relationship between logic (how we think), knowledge (what we think), the will, and the heart.” See https://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/calvinism-word-logic-and-heart/

              • Well, I can’t go with the reformers on everything. As I say, I’m a baptist. I looked up faith (pistis) in my Strong’s dictionary, and it said, “conviction (of relig. truth, or the truthfulness of God or a relig. character)…conviction of the truth of anything, belief; of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust…” So I’d stick with conviction (the Biblical word, used in Hebrews 11) or trust. I don’t know where scripture calls faith “acceptance”.

                Also if a man accepts something, he can later reject it. But if he is convicted about something, he can’t later reject it because of the conviction he has in his soul. It won’t let him. This is one reason that it makes no sense to say people can loose their faith. If it was true faith, its in them and they can’t shake it. I’m not here denying that the word “faith” includes acceptance, I’m just saying that if it does, that’s not all it means.

                Also, Arthur Pink, among many others, actually put repentance before faith. As for myself, I don’t see any logical order between faith and repentance. I see them as two sides of the same coin.

              • I don’t mean to be disagreeable, by the way. I’m sorry if my posts sound like that. I just want to be precise on what I believe. While I agree with the reformers on some things, the language they used was of its day, and we now have more precise language.

          • Shalom Brother Raphael!

            In regards to your question on Deuteronomy 30:19, I would offer that it should be taken as being “honestly” spoken, but indeed such doesn’t bode well for Reformed doctrines denying the real Free-Will of man, created in the “Image of God”.

            What stops you from accepting that passage along with Deuteronomy 30:15, Jeremiah 21:8, Jeremiah 11:4-8 and others?
            How do you reconcile it with Reformed/Calvinist doctrines which deny man’s free-will in favor of Divine Determinism?


      • Shalom!
        Well I pray that soon you will all “convert” to free-will and become Jews ; )
        Its not impossible, you’re in good company:

        “I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will. The Jews believe in free will. They believe that man shapes his own life. I reject that doctrine philosophically. In that respect I am not a Jew.” Albert Einstein (1928)

        ““I have never admired any system that encourages a herd nature in man by suppressing his free will to choose for himself. . . .” Albert Einstein (1954)

        Fyi, feel free de-vowel any of my words : )

      • Shalom!
        Even in REFORMED doctrine, the REGENERATED state is equated to “Re-Birth”, as RC Sproul would say that he was “born-again” so that he could believe, that faith was simply the result/fruit of salvation/regeneration. So in that context, why the need to choose anything or do anything after one’s already “SAVED”?

        Also don’t you think being “made free to IRRESISTIBLY choose Christ” and calling that “freedom” is hypocritical in light of calling the previous state where one supposedly can ONLY choose AGAINST God, calling that NO-FREE-WILL/Total-Depravity/Total-Inability? If one is “Irresistibly” made to choose (A) that’s free-will? But forced (B) means “No-Free-Will”?

        Its like when a DETERMINIST claims their view is not FATALISM (regardless of fact there’s more ‘free’ wiggle room in Fatalism compared to DETERMINISM) because oh well if God is the one causing the FATALISM then its not really fatalism.

        Or if God Wills/Desires/Determines ALL SIN/EVIL, then God still isn’t the Author of Sin/Evil. Yet if the Mafia Boss calls a hit why do we put him in JAIL and punish him just as much or even more than the peon carrying out his “irresistible” orders?

        I usually hear back nothing but crickets, or “its a mystery”, so I’d love to hear anything different than that! : )


  16. Here’s my latest… an event that I will be LiveStreaming to the world….the event many of us believe will cause a great revival! It’s going viral, and going global! Explosive News! Check out this video! The Holy Spirit is about to sweep with power like never before across this nation-this world! PTL!!!!!

  17. Hi. I too, am a Jew, that is, of the faith of Abraham, circumcised in heart not in flesh as Abraham was when he received the promise of a Seed, singular, of which I am an heir by regeneration and faith.

    Please tell me if you care to what you think of the fact that Ezekiel was seeing the rejoining of Joseph & Judah under one King in a covenant of peace still being in the future.



    • Hi Allan

      You seem to be saying you’re a “spiritual” Jew?

      As for Ezekiel, when it comes to the future restoration of the nation of Israel (Joseph, Ephraim) joined with Judah, it is a possibility, but I am not fixed on the matter. I find eschatology very complicated.

    • Allan, John Gill is one of my favorite exegetes. So on this one in Ezekiel, I tend to side with him, which is your view too.

      Ezekiel 37 Gill’s Exposition

      INTRODUCTION TO Ezekiel 37
      This chapter contains a prophecy of the Jews’ return from captivity to their own land; of the union of the each tribes with one another; and of the glorious kingdom of Christ among them. Their restoration is represented by a vision of dry bones made alive; the place in which they were; the condition they were in; and the manner in which they were made to live, are described, Ezekiel 37:1, the explication and application of this vision to the Jews, Ezekiel 37:11, their union is signified by a sign or emblem of two sticks, which became one in the hand of the prophet, Ezekiel 37:15, the meaning of this is shown, Ezekiel 37:18, then follow promises of their return to their own land, in express words; of their being one kingdom, under one King, Christ, the antitype of David, of their sanctification; of their covenant interest in God, made manifest to them; and of his presence, and dwelling among them, Ezekiel 37:21.

      • Fantastic to hear from you Raph! – i have often thought of you over the years, i remember Cathy and the kids, no doubt now all grown up and we have grown old.

        We live in Lynnwood Pretoria, have a holiday cottage in Hermanus and will no doubt retire in Hermanus town within the next 4 years.

        I have been a pilot for SAA the past 30 years and am a Senior Captain on the long haul international routes the past 11 years.

        I remember your generosity with the gift of the old gold pocket watch that belonged to the Governer of the Andaman Islands in the late 1800’s, i treasured it for many years, had an original glass face installed ,in later years we were robbed and our house ransacked and it was taken.

        I have three grown up kids, my daughter that ws 2 at the time we were friends is now 33 and has 2 sons, she is a single mother living with us. I have 2 sons, age 27 and 28 , one is also a professional pilot flying for a charter outfit in Johannesburg.

        Raph ole boy! You’re a Professor, wonderful indeed ,i salute you 👍👮

  18. I too am a Jew! Rabbi Shaul tells me so on the basis of my faith being the same as Abraham’s, and in that my circumcision is of the heart, rather then the flesh.

  19. Enjoyable Post my friend

    Did you know…?
    Theodor Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress, held in Basel, Switzerland, from August 29 to 31, 1897.
    In attendance at some of these congresses was David Baron, a well-known Jewish believer in Jesus. He had seen the plight of those Jews who lived under threat of pogrom and persecution, and was representative of many Christians (Jewish and gentile) who had committed themselves to working for the re-establishment of the Jewish state.

    • I’m glad you enjoys it, TZ.
      Yes, I knew about Herzl at the Basel conference. I have read Baron. I didn’t know he was at the congress. Very interesting. I have written much on Herzl – in one of the sections on my blog.

  20. You have a lot of well considered perspectives here. Thank you on behalf of humanity for organising a small corner of the internet into something coherent and useful.

    I think my favorite that I’ve found on your wordpress is “Most entertainment is a futile attempt to hold life together between interminable bouts of misery.”

  21. I found your blog while Googling something related. Greetings! I’m a woman who was raised an Orthodox Jew, but came to faith in Christ when I was younger. I am a traditionalist Roman Catholic, and 58 years old now. In just glancing over your log, I see we have much in common, and we both seem to have stumbled upon the LXX/Masoretic dilemma.

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