“Paul is hard to understand.” Like me, you probably hear this all of the time. I finally had to start rethinking Paul. Whatever position I arrived at, I knew that it had to agree with the Apostle Peter.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,  as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.  You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.2 Peter 3:14-18
Peter clearly admits Paul is ‘hard to understand’, but also admits that his writings fit with ‘the other Scriptures.’ I decided that I must be missing something or not seeing Paul correctly. I had to rethink or re frame him.
Recently we had a comment here on the blog and a portion of that comment expresses exactly what has me concerned. And they are not alone in this difficulty.
“Since we know that Paul’s teachings/letters have done huge damage in getting people off track, as they are truly stumbling blocks, then why do so many messianic pastors try to ok his teaching against Torah and try to ok it? Yeshua warned us that the false tare words would remain till the end! And they sure have. Our Abba didn’t allow mixture then and He doesn’t allow it now. We had better be careful when we use Paul’s mixed teachings. I want nothing to do with stumbling blocks!.”
Part of my concern is that many in the Torah walk have minimized or even outright rejected Paul’s letters! This is a very dangerous thing to do! Supposedly, Paul upheld and taught the Torah. Is it possible we misunderstand Paul because we are looking through the wrong lens?
One thing that I think we often forget when we read Paul is one of the most basic rules of Bible study. CONTEXT IS KING. We often consider the surrounding context of Scripture, but we fail to understand the circumstantial or cultural context of his audience. So let’s consider the context of Paul and his writings.
Food poisoning is not a pleasant experience. In fact, sometimes it can be quite serious leading to hospitalization or death. Nobody plans for it, rather it usually occurs because of some minute unnoticed contaminate in the food that negatively affects the body. Sources could be fecal, bacterial, parasitic, or even viral. We are familiar with names that strike fear, such as e. coli, salmonella, campylobacter, toxoplasmosis, rotavirus, etc.
But, what if the contaminate is visible? Would we remove it? Or, like a turd in the punch bowl, would we just dip around it assuming we can ignore or ‘dodge’ it?
Most who desire the coming of the Messiah, whether Jews, Christians or any shade in between (Messianic Judaism/Hebrew roots/Torah pursuant/etc) seem to prefer to dodge the obvious contaminant in the punch bowl. Let’s consider some challenging things.Continue reading “Restoring kol Israel: Greco-Romanism in the Kingdom?”
The first major gathering of Yehudah & Yoseph in modern times: JUNE 7 – 15 including 3 Day Conference in Jerusalem, 12 Tribe Biblical Heritage & Redemption Tour, Joint Shavuot Activities and Shabbat Dinner. Also included will be a Magen David Adom blood drive to contribute to saving lives in the land of Israel in the name of Yehudah and Yoseph. Please read below for details and pricing. Continue reading “Can These Bones Live?”
About a week ago, I introduced Commonwealth of Yisrael to you. Following is an article about the project with many comments by co-founder, Kellen Davison. As a matter of full disclosure and to help my readers put pieces together there are three items you need to know:
- I am on the board of Commonwealth of Yisrael and covet your fervent prayer as we undertake this project.
- I am heavily involved in the leadership of B’ney Yosef North America (BYNA), a fledgling organization that seeks to bring unity to the House of Joseph in North America as part of a larger project that is international! All readers in North America should be considering getting involved with BYNA as I indirectly represent them to Commonwealth of Yisrael. (Strength in numbers…)
- My stance and that of BYNA is that those of us from the nations who seek to be united to Judah as part of Kol Yisrael only have rights through the restored covenant in Messiah Yeshua, He who came for the lost sheep of the House of Yisrael. I.e., We will not deny Him and He comes with us… (More on this later.)
“’And thou, son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it: For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions; then take another stick, and write upon it: For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and of all the house of Israel his companions; and join them for thee one to another into one stick, that they may become one in thy hand.” (Ezekiel 37:16-17)
During the recent Jewish holidays in September 2015, the Reconciliation with Israel Conference in Jerusalem, hosted by Kellen Davison, focused on recognizing the commonalities and addressing the areas that divide the two Abrahamic religions: Judaism and Christianity. As a result of conclusions made at the conference, Davison initiated the Commonwealth of Yisrael Project to help non-Jews join together in their common goal of bringing the Messiah Ben David, alongside the Jewish people, in a way that is mutually acceptable, conforming to Jewish law and Christian beliefs, and beneficial to all concerned.
The Commonwealth of Yisrael Project is intended to bring together non-Jews that love the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and recognize God’s eternal covenant with Israel, unifying them with each other and connecting them with the Jews. Davison spoke to Breaking Israel News, explaining that in order to succeed, the project must focus on the strong points that join people together.
Read more at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/60606/commonwealth-israel-project-aims-fulfill-ezekiel-37-today-biblical-zionism/#EftLHqB2xIRycJiu.99
I would like to invite you to join a group of friends and colleagues who will be setting aside January 12, 2016 as a day of prayer and fasting for the House of Israel. Specific points of prayer:
- Dry bones to be awakened and restored
- Blind eyes to see
- Wisdom and discernment for those seeking avenues of restoration to Judah
- Bones to come together
- The move of the Spirit in breathing life into the bones
- The will of our Father in these days
This particular day is important in that you will be joining the voices of many others to a specific end. We need your earnest prayers that day and continued prayer in the days that follow.
Thank you for standing in the gap with us.
Christendom has been feeling some of the same call in a broad sense as exampled by this terrific Lauren Daigle song, ‘Come Alive.’ ….but, who are the Dry Bones?
37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
Following is a terrific article by Ken Rank explaining the Two Stick Prophecy of Ezekiel 37, a passage that is largely overlooked by theologians in its significance.
Until the Two Become One
by Ken Rank
What the herders did not see before them was their brother. In fact, before Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers, they had spent at least many hours with him, dining, being entertained, and also being berated and yet they saw only an Egyptian. To anyone who might have been standing at a distance, looking upon Joseph and that family of herders, being able to see that they were family would likely have been impossible.
The Prophet Ezekiel gives us a similar end-time picture in that we have two players who might just as well stand in such contrast. In chapter 37, verse 16, where we read the following:
“And you, son of man, take a stick and write on it, For Judah and for his companions, the sons of Israel. And take another stick and write on it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and all the house of Israel, his companions.”
What is easy to miss in the above verse is that Ezekiel takes two blank sticks that represent people and he is to identify who the two sticks are. The first he determines as Judah and those who are joined with Judah. The second stick is said to be for Joseph, but a stick that is Ephraim, and it includes the House of Israel and those joined to Israel. So we have a lot going on in this one verse. Most scholars believe that these two sticks represent the Whole House of Jacob, what was once a great nation that divided into two Kingdoms, Judah and Israel. But why the use of those names? Continue reading at United2Restore
Ez. 37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out [a]by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord [b]God, You know.” 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, HEAR [shema; שְׁמַע ] the word of the Lord.’ 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause [c]breath to enter you that you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
Last Shabbat, I posted a quick note about a global praying of the Shema asked for by a Rabbi on behalf of Judah and the need for the Mashiach to be revealed. In that post I stated that in addition to being a prayer, Continue reading “Prophesying to the Dry Bones…”
Yesterday, we began a short series considering some verses from the ‘Christmas’ story that challenge the traditional theological narrative of Christendom. As I implied yesterday, these verses should pique our interest in a search for truth. I don’t know about you, but I don’t care what men say, I want to see what Scripture says….
Thy Kingdom Come
When someone talks about the Millennial Kingdom or the future eternal Kingdom, what comes to mind? Whose Kingdom is it? Who rules over it? Who was it promised to? Who actually gets it? Etc…. At the end of the Book of Revelation, what does the Kingdom look like and who is in it?
Scripture gives a very unified story that often does not match the narrative I was taught growing up. At least, the focus I heard in church was quite different than what Scripture says.
A beloved part of the ‘Christmas’ story is the angel’s visit to Mary. Here is part of the encounter and a difficult verse.
Gabriel, a messenger of God, visited Miriam (Mary’s real Hebrew name) and said,
Luke 1:31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus (Hebrew = Yeshua). 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Here, the messenger Gabriel affirms multiple prophecies that seem to get lost in the Christian perspectives of this promised Kingdom. This Son of the Most High will,
- sit on the throne of David,
- reign over the house of Jacob (aka, Israel),
What surprises many when they dig into these verses is that they lead directly to Ezekiel 37, a chapter most are at least partly familiar with. The first part of the chapter is Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones that leads to the mid part of the chapter on the two stick prophecy followed by a detailed account of this Kingdom the Messiah will rule over. Those shocking closing verses say, Continue reading “Difficult verses in the ‘Christmas’ story… p.2”