Coming to faith: The longing of Messiah

The following is a response to Yash’s post “Who is Messiah ben Josef?” from his blog “Real Messianic Jews: don’t believe it.”

Yash is an anti-Yeshua Jew. He not only rejects Jesus/Yeshua as the Messiah, but is very much involved in trying to get Jewish believers in Yeshua to come back to Judaism. He’s also trying to stop Jews like bogRaphy going to the bogs. Jewish believers in Yeshua should not shy away from good apologists  of Judaism, of which Yash is a good example.

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:12-15).

Here is my response to Yash’s “Who is Messiah ben Josef?” (Although, I didn’t address the topic, I thought that it was a timely “response”).

When I accepted Ye(ho)shua as the Messiah, it was based – from my standpoint – on my belief that Jesus was who He said He was. The belief of course was not blind; I did do my homework. But that is the surface view. Why does one believe anything, why does one do anything, why is one born into this or that culture/religion, and so forth? I find the answer in Isaiah:

“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure/delight/longing” (Isaiah 46:10).

מַגִּיד מֵֽרֵאשִׁית אַחֲרִית וּמִקֶּדֶם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־נַעֲשׂוּ אֹמֵר עֲצָתִי תָקוּם וְכָל־חֶפְצִי אֶעֱשֶׂ׃  

I am the person I erm? because God did the same to me. And yet, we are not robots.  The relationship between God’s sovereigny and our response and responsibility is one of the many mysteries hidden within the inscrutable decrees of God’s Holy Council. We can argue backwards and forwards on what the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) says. I have – in the final unanalysable “analysis” – accepted under the influence of God’s sovereign council (Isaiah 46:10) that Jesus is who he says He is. This does not mean that all is bright and breezy, and I’ve arrived. God continues to renew my mind.

sacrifice and the weaning of the primitive jew

Joseph at Roshpinaproject posted “The unbinding of Yeshua.”

I was struck by the contrast between the following explanation of the stories of sacrifice and something I had previously read. Here is the excerpt from the above article:

“Yet the reality is that all the stories of sacrifice, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Greek and Pagan, have their roots in Abraham, as recorded in the Akedah passage of Genesis 22, where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.”

Here is a contrasting explanation from  Jewfaq:

Were sacrifices a symbol of the savior to come?
“Not according to Judaism. Quite the contrary, some would say that the original institution of sacrifice had more to do with the Judaism’s past than with its future. Rambam suggested that the entire sacrificial cult in Judaism was ordained as an accommodation of man’s primitive desires.
Sacrifice is an ancient and universal human expression of religion. Greeks and Romans and Canaanites and Egyptians all offered sacrifices to their gods. Sacrifice existed among the Hebrews long before the giving of the Torah. Cain and Abel offered sacrifices; Noah and his sons offered sacrifices, and so forth. When the laws of sacrifice were given to the Children of Israel in the Torah, the pre-existence of a system of sacrificial offering was understood, and sacrificial terminology was used without any explanation. The Torah, rather than creating the institution of sacrifice, carefully limited the practice, permitting it only in certain places, at certain times, in certain manners, by certain people, and for certain purposes. Rambam suggests that these limitations are designed to wean a primitive people away from the debased rites of their idolatrous neighbors.”

What I find strange about jewfaq’s  view is that I was under the impression that God had ordained the sacrifices (and all the other exacting ritual) IN ORDER TO SET HIS PEOPLE APART, in other words to make them holy. Or should we stick with the Rambam and believe that Moses (and the Saviour YHVH) were merely in the civilising business. Perhaps, the roots of the Jewish Enlightenment lie here – in the  rationalist rationalisations of Rambam.

Rambam is – arguably (I don’t want to land in deep Talmudic water) – talking through his far too civilised hat. For a far more reasonable view of the Jewish view of sacrifice see “Sacrifice and community: Jewish offering and Christian Eucharist” by Matthew Webb Levering