Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Nothing Old About (Rabbi Shmueley Boteach: Values Of Hebrew Bible Are Universal And Timeless)
Jerusalem Post ^ | 11/25/2007 | Rabbi Shmueley Boteach

Posted on 11/25/2007 7:22:05 PM PST by goldstategop

A few weeks ago I attended the annual dinner of the National Bible Association, which admirably seeks to promote the reading of the Bible across the United States. I was seated at a table with other Orthodox rabbis, one of whom had kindly invited me. Things did not go smoothly.

One of the honorees was a Jewish-born Christian chaplain from the armed forces who spoke of his conversion away from Judaism and how he had chosen Jesus as his personal Messiah.

Fair enough. People are free to believe what they want and, sadly, there are Jews who, sometimes out of ignorance of their own faith, find their spiritual home in Christianity.

But what bothered me more was how one Christian clergyman after another got up and spoke of their admiration for "the Old Testament." It had a bad ring to it. "New" connotes vibrant, alive and fresh. "Old" brings to mind stodgy, musty and out-of-date.

I am a rabbi who enjoys an extremely warm relationship with the Christian community and has the highest admiration for my Christian brothers and sisters. And I had, of course, heard and read the phrase "Old Testament" on countless occasions. But that night something about the phrase grated.

To be sure, Christians have used the expression for millennia to portray the Jews, in whose stubbornness Jesus was rejected, as God's old, forsaken people; while Christians, who embrace the savior, are the "new" Israel. But this organization's mandate was to promote a love for the Bible and instill within the American breast an appreciation of its wisdom and values. Would they be successful if they referred to 70 percent of it as something turgid and dreary?

WERE THE speakers who lauded the wondrous values contained in the "Old Testament" not aware of how they contradicted themselves by referring to the Hebrew Bible as obsolete? The time has come for our Christian brothers and sisters to finally retire the "Old Testament" pejorative and begin referring to Jewish scripture as "the Hebrew Bible," in contradistinction to the "The Christian Bible," which is what the New Testament is.

We live in an age when we have begun cleaning up the language of so many past slights. We no longer call twentysomething women "girls" or "gals." We no longer insultingly refer to Native Americans as Redskins, or to African-Americans as Negroes. Why, then, would our Christian brothers and sisters unnecessarily refer to our Bible as "Old?"

Can we really be successful in promoting biblical values in America, most of which are based on Hebrew Scripture (as opposed to the New Testament), when we look at those scriptures as having been rejected because of their irrelevance? You can't have it both ways; insisting, on the one hand, that America is based on the principles of the "Old Testament," which suggests an eternal relevance, while describing those same scriptures as archaic and prehistoric.

This follows a much broader need for Christian reexamination. Christianity is one of the world's greatest religions, and it has brought the knowledge of God and the Bible to more people than any other. But it has always suffered from a critical flaw, namely, its claim to a copyright on all spiritual truth.

NO DOCTRINE has done more harm to Christianity that its insistence on the uselessness of other religions. And this doctrine of exclusivity lies in stark contrast to the incredible humanity one otherwise finds among believing Christians.

In New York City on December 8, our Jewish Values Network will host a high-powered discussion featuring leaders in politics, media and the arts debating whether religion is a blessing or a curse to America. Truth be told, it is both.

On the one hand, religion is the source of America's most cherished values, none more so than religion's emphasis on the infinite value of human life. The Bible is what inspired a faith-based army to fight on behalf of a severely mentally-handicapped woman named Terry Schaivo.

The elders of Sparta would carefully inspect newborn infants and, if they were judged to be weakly, would cast them into a chiasm off Mount Taygetos. The Romans behaved similarly with adults of significant mental disability, throwing them from the Tarpeian Rock.

By contrast, a Godly America declared on its most famous monument, the Statue of Liberty, that it embraced the "poor, your huddled masses... the wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

But somehow, in a rejection of biblical values, Terry Schaivo's life did not even rise to the level of "wretched refuse," and she was condemned to the monstrosity of death by starvation in the richest country on earth. Such are the consequences of rejecting religion and its value-system.

ON THE other hand, religion has become the single most divisive issue in our country, inspiring a culture war of Right and Left. This was never necessary. People can disagree on abortion and gay rights without assassinating each other's character.

Religion can use the power of rational argument and win over its critics, but not when it insists on wholly irrational and immoral doctrines, such as the conviction that whoever lacks belief is going straight to hell. That our evangelical brothers and sisters continue to insist that irrespective of a non-Christian's righteous actions he or she is going to burn forever because of a wrong belief seems utterly incompatible with the lofty ideal of Christian love.

Jews can be guilty of the same sin. We sometimes hear religious Jews speak of "goyim," a word that, while meaning "nation," has also assumed a pejorative connotation and should therefore likewise be retired.

We even sometimes hear religious Jews speak of the superiority of the Jewish to the non-Jewish soul, in direct contradiction to the biblical declaration that all humans are created equally in the image of God.

Chosenness has never meant that Jews are better than any other people. Precisely the opposite is true: The Jews are chosen to bring the light of God to all nations as a permanent reminder that God loves and values all his human children, and wishes for them all to share in the bounty and glory of His light.

That is the cornerstone of all religious belief. It comes from the Hebrew Bible, and there is nothing old about it.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: christian; hebrewbible; jerusalempost; judaism; judeochristian; oldtestament; shmueleyboteach
Chosenness has never meant that Jews are better than any other people. Precisely the opposite is true: The Jews are chosen to bring the light of God to all nations as a permanent reminder that God loves and values all his human children, and wishes for them all to share in the bounty and glory of His light.

The Hebrew Bible's values are universal and timeless. The Jewish people exist to bring the truth of God's teachings to the entire human family.Choseness then is not a problem; it is in fact an obligation to show mankind how to love God and act justly.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

1 posted on 11/25/2007 7:22:09 PM PST by goldstategop
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
Me thinks the rabbi doth protest too much. However...

America is the "Judeo-Christian" nation, or it is no different than any other.

Just as the Hebrews brought Ethical Monotheism to the world, America has been Chosen to project Liberty therein.

Israel and America must continue to do these things together, or islamism will certainly bring allah to us.

2 posted on 11/25/2007 7:43:25 PM PST by onedoug
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop

Thank you, Goldstategop. Great post.

Would you please delineate which books of the Hebrew Bible are correctly referred to as “The Torah”? And how do we refer to the other books? Are they the “Mishneh Torah?”


3 posted on 11/25/2007 7:46:37 PM PST by DivaDelMar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
The Jewish people exist to bring the truth of God's teachings to the entire human family.

A practicing Jew (one who subscribes to Judaism as their faith) does not believe that Jesus was/is The Messiah. A Christian would be hard pressed to conclude, then, that "The Jewish people exist to bring the truth of God's teachings to the entire human family."

As a Christian, I have a difficult time [when I am not straying or going through a bout of skepticism] in reconciling the beliefs of other faiths with my own when claims such as yours are made like the are above. At the present moment, I'll respectfully disagree with you.

4 posted on 11/25/2007 7:53:02 PM PST by LowCountryJoe (I'm a Paleo-liberal: I believe in freedom; am socially independent and a borderline fiscal anarchist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
...there are Jews who, sometimes out of ignorance of their own faith, find their spiritual home in Christianity.

There are also Jews who, out of KNOWLEDGE of their own faith, find their spiritual home in Christianity without need to cease expressing their Judaism, just as the apostles did.

5 posted on 11/25/2007 7:59:06 PM PST by Carry_Okie (Duncan Hunter for President)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
People never get enough of taking "politically correct" hits at all those evangelicals...

PC recipe for discrediting, lump them all together, poor on the sour sauce, repeat and stir.

6 posted on 11/25/2007 7:59:20 PM PST by Earthdweller (All reality is based on faith in something.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
But somehow, in a rejection of biblical values, Terry Schaivo's life did not even rise to the level of "wretched refuse," and she was condemned to the monstrosity of death by starvation in the richest country on earth. Such are the consequences of rejecting religion and its value-system.

Fortunately, we live in a secular society where each of us has a right to practice our own spiritual conviction no matter which persuasion those convictions might be...to include not practicing at all.

In the Terri Schaivo matter, a court decided that Ms. Schaivo's had told her husband that if she were ever in a state where she could not live with a certain amount of dignity, that she would prefer to not live at all. The husband was convincing enough in front of the court and also had the legal right to make decisions on Terri's behalf once the judge made the ruling.

Was the court's decision bad? That depends on your own viewpoint and perspectives regarding what happened in the Schaivo household and what was really said (or not said). But, as rare as these cases are and as much anguish and gray-area are involved in them, the consequences of forced adoption of religion (or, put another way, a prohibition on rejecting religion) would most certainly be far, far worse. History hath shown many perversion when the state and the church become one in the same.

7 posted on 11/25/2007 8:12:15 PM PST by LowCountryJoe (I'm a Paleo-liberal: I believe in freedom; am socially independent and a borderline fiscal anarchist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

ping


8 posted on 11/25/2007 8:16:36 PM PST by whipitgood (Let's burn some MEXICAN flags!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop

I like the idea of referring to the OT as the Hebrew bible and shall do so henceforth. We should remember that Christians and Jews are hated equally by Muslims, therefore in their eyes we are one and the same.


9 posted on 11/25/2007 8:18:29 PM PST by whipitgood (Let's burn some MEXICAN flags!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DivaDelMar
I'm not Jewish, but here are some sources of answers. See "Mishneh Torah (Review of the Torah)" under the following,...

The Ramba'm – Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides) 1135 – 1204 http://members.aol.com/LazerA/rambam.html

...and most other questions can be answered here.

Ask Noah
http://www.asknoah.org/Default.html


10 posted on 11/25/2007 8:32:01 PM PST by familyop (Grateful goy.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: whipitgood
The OT is not entirely in Hebrew--parts of Daniel are in Aramaic. So maybe it would be more accurate to call the OT "the Hebrew-Aramaic Bible." (And that's leaving aside the fact that Catholics and Orthodox Christians count some pre-Christian books written in Greek as part of the OT.)

Thomas Paine, IIRC, used the word "Bible" to mean only the OT, excluding the NT books.

Maybe the OT can be called "the Older Testament," since it is obviously of greater antiquity, without implying that it is in any way outmoded.

11 posted on 11/25/2007 8:33:50 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: DivaDelMar

Oh...and the first five books are the Torah. The whole Bible (24 books) is called the “Tanach” (or often, “Tanakh,” phonetic spellings can vary). The whole Bible is sometimes called the “Torah.”


12 posted on 11/25/2007 8:35:35 PM PST by familyop (Grateful goy.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: LowCountryJoe
"...a court decided that Ms. Schaivo's had told her husband that if she were ever in a state where she could not live with a certain amount of dignity, that she would prefer to not live at all."

Shame on the court for killing this dignified woman...


13 posted on 11/25/2007 8:37:25 PM PST by Earthdweller (All reality is based on faith in something.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop

Well it is called Old Testament because it is ... old. The New Testament came much later and is relatively speaking ... new.

I can understand why the Rabbi feels uncomfortable but Christians will not be changing how it categorizes books of the Bible just to suit him. His rant is childish.


14 posted on 11/25/2007 8:43:56 PM PST by plain talk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
WERE THE speakers who lauded the wondrous values contained in the "Old Testament" not aware of how they contradicted themselves by referring to the Hebrew Bible as obsolete? The time has come for our Christian brothers and sisters to finally retire the "Old Testament" pejorative and begin referring to Jewish scripture as "the Hebrew Bible," in contradistinction to the "The Christian Bible," which is what the New Testament is.

I also dislike the term old testament. But Hebrew bible and Christian bible isn't accurate either. There are plenty of Christians who still revere the "old" testament scriptures. Maybe better terms would be "Pre-Jesus Scriptures" and "Post Jesus Scriptures". I don't think that would go well with our Jewish brothers though.

15 posted on 11/25/2007 9:25:41 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop

this rabbi’s ignorance of the “old”, “hebrew”, “law and the Prophets”, is stultifying.

No, there’s nothing exclusive about Judiasm, no sir ree!

Sheesh, what a maroon!

The Hebrew Bible is about Jesus and only Jesus.


16 posted on 11/25/2007 10:28:36 PM PST by Carl from Marietta (I know, I've been gone for awhile, but I do look in occasionally, so don't mess up!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Carl from Marietta

What about God The Father and The Holy Spirit?


17 posted on 11/25/2007 10:32:10 PM PST by Xenophon450 (They say it's lonely at the top, then I am as lonely as can be.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
"Fair enough. People are free to believe what they want and, sadly, there are Jews who, sometimes out of ignorance of their own faith, find their spiritual home in Christianity."

Ignorance? sadly? The old bible leads us to Jesus, it's a testament to his coming and the salvation he brings. It isn't 'ignorance' that leads a Jew to the savior, it's understanding what the (old)bible says, and beliving that Jesus was in fact the Christ when he came. The first Christians were all Jews, all the apostles, John the baptist and Christ.
One becomes "Christian" when they accept that Jesus Christ is Lord and accept his completed covenant, are baptized and born again.
Those who don't remain bound by the "old law" the old (and incomplete)covenant and laws of Moses.

These are the Jews that exist today. They didn't believe that Jesus was the "anointed one" the bible spoke of, and so remained bound to the old law (as Mosaic laws are called in Christian circles), and the old (incomplete) covenant God wrote on the tablets on mt. Sinai. The "Chosen";

This is a hard one to tackle, but I think I can without insulting anyone. It seems Christians here don't know what this means to them, so I will tackle it from a Christian perspective.

Most of us, when we hear the word 'Israel', think only of the Jews. But from the beginning the Jews have had to share this title with a great many others, because in scripture the House of Israel consists of twelve tribes and the Jews are just one of those twelve.

It is the same with the word 'Hebrew' -- the term describes twelve tribes, not just one. Everything that is written in the Old Testament was written for the the House of Israel as a group, not just for a single tribe. Understanding this is a major key to understanding the Bible.

The clan of Judah rose to dominance over the other tribes of Israel when the Hebrew leaders of Ephraim proved unworthy. The bible tells us the Jews gained complete control over the Mosaic religion when the Israeli nation divided and fell apart because of sin.

Attacked and taken away into foreign captivity by Assyria, ten of the twelve Hebrew tribes vanished from history. By the time Jesus was born, only a small remnant of two tribes remained in the Holy Land. The others had all disappeared -- melded into the genetic infrastructure of the human race.

With their disappearance, the Jewish remnant that remained in Palestine came to the conclusion that they were the sole beneficiaries of all of God's promises to the House of Israel.

But the prophet Ezekiel told them no. They were simply the last tribe to go into Babylon's exile.
Ezekiel scolded the Jews for trying to usurp the covenant. He told them in no uncertain terms that all twelve of Israel's tribes were going to share equally in the fulfillment of scripture's promise.
Ezekiel told the Jews that the missing Hebrew tribes were not missing as far as God was concerned.

Jeremiah agreed. "In those days the House of Judah will unite with the House of Israel; together they will come from the land of the north to the land I gave your ancestors as a heritage." (Jer.3:18).

The Jewish leaders did not believe these predictions because they could not see how those vanished tribes could ever be recovered. The missing tribes of Israel had entirely disappeared. Their genetic identity had evaporated completely and seemed irretrievably lost.

The Jewish scholars could not conceive a divine intervention powerful enough to restore these missing people, because the lost tribes had become indistinguishable from the Gentiles into whose stock they had disappeared.

For this reason, the Jews steadfastly see themselves as the sole beneficiaries of all the ancient promises in scripture concerning the House of Israel.

Scripture had long predicted a royal lineage for the tribe of Judah and the rabbi's translated that to mean exclusivity. There were so many prophecies all seeming to say the same thing, who could deny it?

But all those prophecies of royalty were pointing to Jesus, not the Jews. It was not the roots that were royal but the One who sprang from them. The royal heir was Jesus, the Christ -- the princely Son of the Almighty King.

The name 'Israel' means 'rebel'. It was the name the Lord gave to Jacob because he rebelled against God by fighting against an angel.

Jacob, the son of Isaac, was Abraham's grandson. He sired twelve sons. Their names were, in the order of their ages: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamine.

These were the men whose descendants were to form ten of the twelve tribes of Israel. Two were removed. One to perpetuate the priesthood, and the other to sire two grandsons who were later added in.

Out of jealousy over a dream Joseph had, the brothers conspired against young Joseph and sold him into slavery. He was taken in chains to Egypt, where he rose to a position of great authority, becoming a personal friend of the Egyptian Pharaoh who put him in charge of the Egyptian grain stores.

A skillful administrator, Joseph filled the Egyptian silo's to overflowing, staving off a disastrous famine that engulfed all the other nations of the Middle East.

Later reconciled with his family (after they came looking for something to eat), his father, Jacob (Israel) elevated Joseph to patriarchy status, and promoted Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manesseh to positions of equality with his own sons.

This completed the formation of Jacob's 12 tribes.

In response to his rebellion against the angel, God changed Jacob's name to 'Israel', and, as a result, his eleven sons became known preferentially as the 'House of Israel' rather than the 'House of Jacob' (which is used as an occasional alternative by various prophets).

The name 'Israel', therefore, is symbolic. It means 'house of rebellion'. And it stands for a nation that made war against God by rebelling against His will, but which was allowed to survive by the mercy of God.

The name, therefore, has two derivatives, rebellion and mercy. The people of Israel were born into rebellion because of Adam's sin and they have gained their life only through the mercy of the forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ.

A symbol of that forgiveness can be found in Israel's true name, 'Jacob'. That is why references to this name appear in many prophecies. They are synonymous with an 'Israel' reconciled to God and restored to its former status. This is a reconciliation that can only take place in Jesus Christ.

Because of our birth into Adam's sin, we all share a common relationship with Israel -- having been born into a life of rebellion against God . Despite that fact, we have been allowed to regain our lives through repentance and conversion into the sanctifying grace of Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for this sin in all of our names.

Jacob's fight against the angel symbolizes man's warfare with God; and God's mercy to Jacob mirrored the reconciliation offered to mankind through Jesus Christ. For his struggle against the angel, Jacob received the name 'Israel', and that name has been passed down into all of his descendants -- and all, like Israel, have been offered the opportunity to extricate themselves from the battlefield and reconcile themselves with God.

We might gather from this that everyone in the world belongs to the House of Israel in a spiritual way, but Jesus Himself has declared otherwise: "If God were your father, you would love me, since I have come here from God...I was sent by him.
Do you know why you cannot take in what I say? It is because the devil is your father, and you prefer to do what your father wants."
(Jn.8:42-44).

Not everyone belongs to God. The salvation of those that do -- the 'lost' Israelites hidden in the deepest recesses of the world's population -- is one of the most important themes of scripture.

Anyone who accepts the sanctifying grace offered to the world by God through Jesus Christ comes into unity with these twelve tribes and proves that he is a true part of God's Israel in heaven.

One of the most important truths we have learned from Jesus is that the in-gathering is not genetic. The people of God are not determined by DNA or by any other genetic factor. God has no favorite people. There is no divine race. Only a divine behavior.

The missing Hebrew tribes, scattered among the people of the North, have been recovered by God, not by genetic tracking, but by faith in a preached Gospel.

Jesus told us that our enemies would be members of our own families -- people who share our own genetic lineage. (Mt.10:34-36). And this applies to Jews as well as to pagans. Paul said that "it is not physical descent that decides who are the children of God". (Rom 9:8).

There is no such thing, then, as a 'divine gene'. This will be seen clearly at the End when the Jews in Jerusalem divide into two camps. Scripture tells us that the Jews who are saved will be saved by their faithfulness to the commandments of God -- not by the fact that they are Jewish.

The true House of Israel are those who hear and obey the voice of God. "Those who do not love me do not keep my words." (Jn.14:24). Jesus told those he preached to (the Jews) that those who do not obey His commandments do not belong to God (Jn.8:47), proving that obedience to the Gospel is the actual measure that divides the true House of Israel from the civilization ruled by Satan.

"Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach, and in which I proclaim Jesus Christ, the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages, but now so clear that it must be broadcast to pagans everywhere to bring them to the obedience of faith." (Rom.16:25-26).

The people of the in-gathering, therefore, are those who listen to Christ's words: "I told you, listen to my voice; carry out all my orders, then you shall be my people and I will be your God." (Jer.11:4).

The lost tribes of Israel can be seen today only through Christian conversions. The fact that there are twelve tribes of Israel rather than just one explains the variations between the different churches of Christ.

If there are eleven different tribes of Israel pursuing Jesus, it only stands to reason that they will all manifest themselves in different ways.

Instead of hating and vilifying churches of Christ that differ from our own, then, we should glorify God that these differences exist because they prove the truthfulness of scripture by showing a rescue that spans all the different tribes.
This diversity shows that Jeremiah's prophecy has come true. And that means the Bible is correct.

"God said to me...go and shout these words towards the North: 'Come back, disloyal Israel -- it is God who speaks -- I shall frown on you no more, since I am merciful..." (Jer.3:10-12).

"See, then, that the days are coming -- it is God who speaks -- when people will no longer say, 'As God lives who brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt!', but, 'As God lives who brought the sons of Israel out of the land of the North and back from all the countries to which he had scattered them'." (Jer.16:14-15).

Jesus has initiated a rescue of the scattered lost tribes of Israel from all across the earth and recalled them to God's Jerusalem in heaven -- just as scripture promised He would.

Christians must see themselves in the context of this return; not as sole heirs like the Jews do, but as a family of heirs -- a family with a great many brothers and sisters all committed to the same master.

As far as the Jews are concerned all these other vanished Israelites have been lost and forsaken forever. But the Bible tells a different story:
"God is going to abandon them till the time when she who is to give birth, gives birth. Then the remnant of his brothers will come back to the sons of Israel". (Micah 5:2-3).

Just after the death of Solomon, a political schism occurred, dividing Israel into two 'houses' -- one house, the north, included the ten northern tribes and the House of the south, only Judah and Benjamin. The 'House' that disappeared into the pagan North was immense -- it started out at least 10 times larger than the tribe of Judah.

Anyone who has ever worked with genealogies knows that when they track an ancestor who lived even just 300 years ago, they discover a network of descendants from that single source large enough to fill the pages of a telephone book.

By the same token, the genetic descendants of those 11 tribes, ten of which disappeared 2700 years ago, and which numbered at least a million people then, have to be infinitely vast at this point.

The in-gathering is not genetically based, but the template of the scattering is genetic, and it points overwhelmingly to a massive hidden community scattered across every part of the earth. It is in this immense gene pool that now touches almost every living person on the planet, that the spiritual House of Israel has its roots.

The reason why so many Christians do not see themselves in the context of these mysterious charter members of the original House of Israel is that most do not realize that most of God's Hebrews were not Jewish -- only 1/12th of Israel's people were of Jewish descent.

Their genetic lobbying with respect to this claim has been so intense (and supported by so many) that most Christians today tend to view themselves as a kind of '13 th tribe' of Israel, bound to the Jews as an 'adopted' son of Abraham.

But as the prophets have shown, this is not true. Nor was it ever. Genetics plays no part in the determination of God's people. Not even with the Jews. (Mat.15:12-14). It is true that pagans were given a way to become a part of the House of Israel through a Jewish graft, but that was so that God could bypass the gene pool and open up His offer of salvation to the entire human race.

No one knows which Christian began from truly pagan roots or which began a hidden member of one of the missing tribes of Israel. Perhaps no one will ever know. All have been combined, and both have been made equal in the eyes of God who has restructured this entire division into just two groups.

Because of Jesus, the two 'Houses' of Israel in prophecy must now be seen, not as the tribes of the north and the tribes of the south, but rather in terms of Christians and Jews. The Christians form one of these two houses of Israel, and the Jews the other.

While the Christians have since divided themselves into seven churches (a metaphoric number), just how the various tribes of Israel will ultimately end up relating to one another in heaven remains one of the great mysteries of scripture. (Rv.7:4-15).

That relationship can be seen in the prophecy of John. The Book of Revelation has divided the 'saved' into two groups. (Rv.7:2-17). The first group, the "144,000" (Rv.7:4), lists the members saved from each of the twelve tribes.
The second group of saved (the pagans) is so vast, that John cannot even count it. (Rv.7:9).

It is important to remember that all numbers given in scripture are symbolic figures. The real numbers are always sealed in metaphor. The remnant of just one of these tribes, the Jews, for instance, lists vastly more than 12,000 people even now.

The Jewish population in the world today measures about 18 million. Nine million Jews alone were massacred by Hitler. And neither of these figures comes close to the number of Jews born since the days of Jacob. Further, no one can really say what the Jewish population will be in Israel when Jesus returns. One thing is certain though: if we were to literally count only 12,000 of them as saved, virtually none of the people listed above would be included.

So we have to see these salvation figures concerning the twelve tribes of Israel as metaphoric. Vastly more than 144,000 are involved, but the true number remains a secret.

The second group of 'saved' in John's revelation do not come from the twelve tribes of Israel at all. These are the pagans who converted to Jesus when they heard His word preached to them. These are the 'foreigners' who have been "grafted on".

"After that I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands." (Rv.7:9).

In heaven, both of these groups will be united in the one Jesus Christ, since both have had to go through the great persecution together. (Rv.7:14-17).

For those who still believe in the genetics of God, the ten missing tribes form a key element of the prophecy. One they cannot discount.
Scripture dictated the terms which Jesus had to follow in order for His appearance to be legal according to Hebrew Law. In the same way, the prophets dictated a return based on the framework of the lost tribes. And the return has followed that format -- though it has occurred spiritually, not physically.

So what seems at first glance to be a group of genetic outsiders (i.e., gentiles and pagans) rising up to administer the highest offices in God's new covenant , turns out on closer inspection to be otherwise. A great many of these Christians are actually missing members of the original House of Israel in disguise -- a disguise so perfect they are unknown to anyone except to God. The only proof of their camouflage, the fruits that emanate from their new lives in Christ.

The relationship between the 12 tribes of Israel and the existance of so many different Christian churches is a strong message to us from God.
It tells us that we need to be open-minded about those who worship Jesus differently than we do. Since God's salvation is based on a template of twelve different tribes, the existance of many different churches is a natural proof of their existance.

God has extended His offer of Salvation to everyone. To the tribes and pagans alike. Scripture has made it clear that not only does God intend to bring back all the lost tribes from the north, but that Gentiles, too, will be allowed to join them as equals:

"I shall say to a people that was not mine, 'you are my people', and to a nation I never loved, 'I love you'. Instead of being told, 'you are no people of mine', they will now be called the sons of the living God." (Hos.2:1, Rom.9:25).

Speaking for God, the prophet Isaiah echoed Hosea's prediction:

"Foreigners who have attached themselves to God to serve him and to love his name...these I will bring to my holy mountain...for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples." (Is.56:3-8).
"I am coming to gather the nations of every language." (Is.66:18).

These statements illustrate quite clearly that the salvation of God was meant, not just for the Jews and not just for the twelve tribes of the House of Israel, but for the entire world.

Isaiah said that the message of the Lord would go out to all the nations, even to the distant islands across the sea, so that people who had never even heard of the God of Israel would have His love preached in their hearing. (Is.66:19).

With the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus, the world has witnessed all these prophecies come true. God had purposely scattered the House of Israel throughout the world so that His offer of reconciliation and peace could be made to all people everywhere -- not just so that the missing tribes could be saved, but so that all people on earth might be saved.

The 'chosen people' are those who accept the offer -- pagan or otherwise. Every pagan who chooses to repent from sin is grafted onto the 'branch' made possible by the birth into the tribe of Judah of the Son of God.

The lost tribes of Israel are indistinguishable within this Christian composition. In Christianity there are no Ephraimites, Danites, Manassites or Asherites. There are only Christians.

A single tribe remains separated from this unity. And this, only so that the others could be saved. At the end, once all the other tribes and the pagans have been rescued, even that last separated tribe is destined to be combined in the oneness of Christianity, making the entire House of Israel a single people in Jesus Christ.

E.C.S. Leavenworth When that happens, both houses of Israel -- both Christians and Jews -- will be united in a bond that will last forever.

18 posted on 11/25/2007 11:04:57 PM PST by Nathan Zachary
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: whipitgood
"I like the idea of referring to the OT as the Hebrew bible and shall do so henceforth. We should remember that Christians and Jews are hated equally by Muslims, therefore in their eyes we are one and the same."

That is because once one learns what the bible and gospel are all about, and then what Islam is all about, it becomes crystal clear that anyone following Mohammad and his "god" exclude themselves from being one of the true living God's chosen.

They are deceived by Satan, whose only goal is to condemn as many souls as possible to eternal death and prevent their salvation and eternal life in the Lords new world, which is free from Satan's contamination- death. A Muslims only hope is to wake up and be saved, repent and accept Christs offer, which certainly sounds a lot better than eternal life in a whore house with 180 ft tall transperent vigins and Allah next door torturing bad muslims with hell fire. (makes one wonder where exactly is this whore house if Allah is next door in hell getting his jollies torturing people.)

19 posted on 11/25/2007 11:30:38 PM PST by Nathan Zachary
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
I would like to write a few words about the term "old." Even Christians differ on the nature of the Covenant, on dispensationalism, on eschatology and the like, which does cause many Christians to neglect the Jewish, sadly missing the foundations of their own New Testament. As a Christian, I spend more time reading the Old Testament though I do regard both as the Word of God. His law, Exodus 20, is perfect and tells each of us how God wants us to live. Prov. 23:24 Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

I would suggest, however, that the basis for the Rabbi's offense at use of the term old, without regard to the context, is rooted in a common enemy of Christian and Jews alike: the ubiquitous notion of inevitable progress since the so-called Enlightenment, which when logically unpacked seeks to subjugate even that which we would rightly consider immutable truths. This is the notion driving us as a nation and as a people toward globalism, which is necessarily shallow to accommodate legions of belief systems, and which is fundamentally atheistic in its outlook. The people who would ban all religious expression in the public sphere proceed under the smug assumption of the truth of their own unsustainable ideas, notwithstanding they lack all basis for truth as they reject the notion of a supreme Governor of the universe to Whom the latter's orderliness and axioms all point. They also are blind to the fact they seek to impose their own religion of secular humanism, instead preferring to deny they have one. Lucifer always was a liar.

20 posted on 11/26/2007 12:35:18 AM PST by Lexinom (Build the fence and call China to account. GoHunter08.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Nathan Zachary

Bump for later read.


21 posted on 11/26/2007 12:57:15 AM PST by RhoTheta (Environmentalists worship the ground I walk on.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
"The Hebrew Bible's values are universal and timeless."

The Hebrew scriptures are there not so much to tell us what happened as to tell us what happens.

22 posted on 11/26/2007 1:31:12 AM PST by joebuck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LowCountryJoe

Nice PARTIAL recitation of history: after the court gave Terri’s adulterous husband rights to decide her treatment, the Florida legislature passed a law forbidding the kind of cruel starvation that Terri ended up enduring. And then the activist Florida Supreme Court narrowly—and quite wrongly—tossed the law out. Only then did it go to the Fed’s (courts and Congress), the part that is more famous in the history books.

People should not be starved!


23 posted on 11/26/2007 1:51:51 AM PST by guitarist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: guitarist

Enlighten me: on what grounds did the Florida Supreme Court strike down the new law and did that court set new or existing legal precedent when it made its ruling? And, let’s suppose that you believe that Terri would have wanted to end her life given her condition, which is probably not the kind of thing that you would like to suppose but I want you to in order to answer the next question. How should Terri’s wishes have been carried out if not by withholding of food/water?


24 posted on 11/26/2007 3:26:17 AM PST by LowCountryJoe (I'm a Paleo-liberal: I believe in freedom; am socially independent and a borderline fiscal anarchist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: LowCountryJoe

Sorry, no time to research it! But you can post more here if you’d like.

Peace!


25 posted on 11/26/2007 4:20:38 AM PST by guitarist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: LowCountryJoe
“How should Terri’s wishes have been carried out if not by withholding of food/water?”

How? Easily, as once the decision to end the patient’s life is made, the question that then arises is “kill by what means?”.

Dehydration produces headaches of severe and lasting duration, along with a long list of other unpleasant effects.

“How? - you asked. Ask any vet.

Ask any physician.

Both have used well known drugs to end suffering.

For those with no knowledge of medicine, consider that an overdose of morphine results in a death vastly preferable to the prolonged agonies of dehydration.

Perhaps we are unwilling to accept that once a “kill the patient” decision has been made, to quibble over the passive withholding of water and food as compared to the active injection of a lethal drug is to attempt to avoid the inescapable responsibility assumed by making the “kill the patient” decision.

26 posted on 11/26/2007 6:35:16 AM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
"We no longer insultingly refer to Native Americans as Redskins, or to African-Americans as Negroes."

Just a remark to this particular sentiment.

"Americans", so-called "native" or any others, get the name from an obscure Italian illustrator and perhaps pornographer named Amerigo Vespucci, whose actual exploration exploits may fall short of the legends told about him. Is it proper to call a Apache a descendant of a risque Italian ne'er-do-well? I think not!

Better to call an Indian by the name of the Tribe he belongs to (excepting Ward Churchill, who we can safely call "slime").

And those so-called natives, themselves, are only recently arrived. Most tribes as we European-arrivals found them, only arrived in the settlements we know somewhere in the recent 500 to 2,000 years. We are all "out of Africa" or someplace, it seems -- Eden or Africa.

So the real insult is to call somebody something they are most definitely not, and even that which is slanderous, e.g. "Native American". It is a joke, untruths and even insulting.

The same thing goes with "African-American". What the heck does that mean? Whereas "negro" is no more or less than calling somebody white, light-skinned, pale-skinned, etc. It means only black, or dark.

And it is one thing to call an Indian a Native-American, at least you recognize by that that he is a member of some real genuine organized tribe. He is still an individual, but also a member of a tribe. Not so with "African-American" -- by using that term you steal a man's individuality and place him in some box of prejudice and bias -- locking him to a dark back-wards continent full of strive and hazard to our day.

27 posted on 11/26/2007 6:57:10 AM PST by bvw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
I do not think of the word 'old' as a pejorative. As a collector of antiquarian books, arts & crafts furniture, and the 'curator' of household items (schoolmarm bell, quilt, enamel washbowl, ... ) passed down through our families.

I think is strange that the writer equates the word 'old' as stodgy, musty, out-of-date. Perhaps the good rabbi also believes that folks over 65 as stodgy, musty and out-of-date too. He sounds like he's got a serious case of ageism.

Actually, I think what is sticking in his craw (a favorite expression of my Grampa Gene) is that non-Jewish people have absconded with Hebrew Scripture, tacked on more text, then had the audacity to claim that it is the completion of Holy Scripture.

28 posted on 11/26/2007 8:40:45 AM PST by Irish Queen (Nevada Gal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Irish Queen

The reason Christians did/do that is that is what Jesus claimed for Himself, the New Covenant in His blood.

However, I can certainly understand why the rabbi is cranky about it, as the Jews were indeed, before they failed to recognize Jesus, meant to be God’s people and a light to the Gentiles.


29 posted on 11/26/2007 11:54:05 AM PST by Wicket (God bless and protect our troops and God bless America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson