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September 24th, 2012 by Christine Colbert

The events of the week that began with Jesus’ humble-but-triumphant entry into Jerusalem and culminated with the crucifixion are unspeakably precious.

The overturning of the moneychangers’ tables in the Temple apparently followed His arrival in Jerusalem. Every one of His recorded acts during this pivotal week is spotlighted by the world-changing events that would subsequently unfold. This story of the cleansing of the Temple comes to our ears and hearts on its surface as revealing Jesus’ desire to re-establish God’s sacred intent for the Temple. To put the emphasis back on prayer and take it away from financial gain. “It is written: ‘My house shall be a house of prayer.’ — but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

This level of purpose comes across clearly. Perhaps nothing is more important in this world than prayer. But Yeshua was accomplishing more than this with His decisive and fearless disruption of the status quo.

He knew that He would fulfill the Passover later that week, once and for all, as the sacrificial Lamb for whom God had been preparing the way through the Temple’s sacrificial system. God had instructed Abraham to sacrifice animals. And the specific practice of sacrificing a spotless lamb at Passover had been divinely instructed as the Israelites prepared to depart from captivity in Egypt for the Promised Land. We remember John the Baptist’s clarion announcement: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” And Revelation’s describing Yeshua as “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.”

His overturning the tables that had been used for the business of selling doves and pigeons to Jews wanting to make ritual sacrifices signaled the end of the centuries-old sacrificial system. Fully knowing the price He would very soon pay to deliver Himself up to redeem lost humanity and restore us to His Father and our Father, no one was more appropriately qualified to upset these tables — notwithstanding the indignation of the Temple elites who stood by. This was His way of signaling the new and better covenant; the new dispensation of grace that He, the spotless Lamb, would provide through His voluntary sacrifice of His own sinless blood. He showed us in a way that we cannot forever miss how profoundly God loves every one of us. “For God so loved the world . . .”

Matthew 9:13 is a wonderful, instructive verse. The Torah teachers or scribes had just asked Jesus’ disciples why their teacher ate with marginal people like tax collectors and sinners. Yeshua the great communicator replied, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (NLT; italics added)  This is a direct reference to Hosea 6:6, among other passages. Jesus revealed that God never liked the idea of killing animals to sacrifice their blood. But He instituted this practice to paint a picture of Yeshua’s ultimate atonement. Down the long centuries God had worked through a concrete example that He hoped would provide the clear insight to enable Israel, forever the beloved seed of Abraham, to recognize Yeshua.

In Dr. Brown’s The Real Kosher Jesus, he provides several rabbinic texts that speak of the atoning sacrifice of a tsadik (righteous one) as a means of saving the people. He points out that this concept is not a Christian construct; it had for centuries been part of Judaism. As one example, “. . . the Zohar states, ‘As long as Israel dwelt in the Holy Land, the rituals and the sacrifices they performed [in the Temple] removed all . . . diseases from the world; now the Messiah removes them from the children of the world.’ ”

In addition to providing several rabbinic sources for this fundamental Jewish teaching, Dr. Brown details discussions from rabbinic literature associating the deaths of righteous people with atonement. Miriam and the sons of Aaron are examples.

These insights help to clarify the initially-opaque John 18:14, among other verses, which indicates that Caiphas, because he was “high priest that year,” explained the need for one person to die for the people — as the dark events surrounding Jesus’ illegal trials unfolded. While Caiphas undoubtedly had his own misguided reasons for citing this Jewish teaching in support of the outcome of the bogus hearing that was perfunctorily extended to Jesus, Caiphas’ doing so clearly reflects that an understanding of the power of the death of a single person to benefit all the people was present in Temple instruction.

Dr. Brown’s life-long focus on sacred content that matters is deeply appreciated. Its power to enlighten our understanding is considerable.


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July 18th, 2012 by Christine Colbert

Who has heard such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. (Isaiah 66:8)

 

This is what the Lord God says: Look, I will lift up My hand to the nations, and raise My banner to the peoples. They will bring your sons in their arms,
 and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders. (Isaiah 49:22)

 

They will bring all your brothers from all the nations as a gift to the Lord on horses and chariots, in litters, and on mules and camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the Israelites bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:20)

 

“However, take note! The days are coming”—the Lord’s declaration—“when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the Israelites from the land of Egypt,’ but rather, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the Israelis from the land of the north and from all the other lands where He had banished them.’ For I will return them to their land that I gave to their ancestors.” (Jeremiah 16:14,15)

 

“ . . . the nations will know that I am the Lord.  For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land.” (Ezekiel 36:23,24)

 

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach appeared recently on a Sid Roth television debate with Dr. Brown (Viewable at: http://www.sidroth.org/site/News2?news_iv_ctrl=-1&abbr=tv_&page=NewsArticle&id=11373&security=1041).

Shmuley recited a list of reasons that Jesus “can’t” be the Jewish Messiah that was, to say the least, less than persuasive. One of his “reasons” seemed particularly strange; Shmuley cited the “unfulfilled” Messianic prophecy that Israel’s Messiah would “restore the kingdom to Israel.” He asked, with his characteristically-intense, rising volume, pitch, and speed, whether anyone thought this prophecy has been fulfilled.

Surely Shmuley is aware of the massive return to Israel in recent decades of people of Jewish ancestry from Russia, Africa, the U.S., and other parts of the world. Christians (and perhaps other people of faith from around the world) have financially supported the return of those who couldn’t have “made aliyah” otherwise. Even if Shmuley refers to the restoration of military power and superiority to Israel, rather than the restoration of its lost tribes and scattered citizenry, these military objectives have also been accomplished by tiny Israel in recent decades!

Yes, Rabbi Shmuley, many viewers are absolutely certain that these amazing prophecies have been — and are still being — fulfilled before our eyes.

The prophetic verses above (and there are many more on this topic) become so powerful and precious in light of recent history, with regard to the return of the lost tribes or scattered citizenry of Israel. But the statement at the end of Isaiah 66:20, which is about Israel’s children being brought back to her in every possible type of conveyance, is deeply intriguing:  “as the Israelites bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.”

Could the “clean vessel” be a new Israel (“Messianic” Israelis), whose citizens’ eyes will increasingly be freed from the “scales” that have blinded them (also foretold in prophecy), and whose people will at long last see the One who has so long been obscured from her understanding and recognition — and finally requite to the Lord the offering of love and recognition that He so richly deserves?

May it increasingly come into manifestation before all rejoicing hearts. Maranatha!


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March 27th, 2012 by Christine Colbert

Zola Levitt taught that while the Book of Job tells the story of a man — his story parallels the larger story of the country of Israel.

We remember early glimmerings of the important ideas in Job. For example, its raising the question “Why do the righteous suffer?”

And that most-beautiful statement of faith that Job managed to voice in the midst of his grievous trials: “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

As we read to see if there was anything in Job that opened the door for dark experiences, we consider his realization “The things that I have greatly feared have come upon me.”

We might even have gone so far as to look deeply at why God, rejoicing in Job’s righteousness, more or less paraded Job before Satan for him to consider — and ultimately take aim at. We heard one analyst observe that God’s boasting over Job to Satan was done with the hope that after Satan had taken all of his best shots, God would then be able to bless Job even more. We appreciate this opinion, because it arrives at the same enormously-loving Father that Jesus “walked” before us.

But Zola’s teaching that in Job, as in other scriptural stories, there is a parallel between the central figure’s story and Israel’s story is particularly helpful.

God knew that while Satan’s worst arrows would bring Job — and Israel — very low, even close to despairing — that Job and the Jewish people would never turn their backs on God. He knew that the crusades, the pogroms, World War II — all the horrific anti-Semitic experiences — would leave Israel an emaciated, disenfranchised state of “dry bones.” But He also knew, and even prophesied for Satan to see, that the dry bones would come together again, the scales would fall from Israel’s eyes; that the second time Yeshua appears, His own beloved brethren would run to embrace Him. That like Job, God’s beloved Israel will finally come into her own.


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July 25th, 2011 by John Paul

The attempt to harm Israel through boycotts is nothing new.  Commenting on the BDS  (Boycotts, Divestment,and Sanctions) movement against Israel Shira Sorko-Ram writes

Although the Arab nations have not been able to destroy Israel militarily, they now believe they are finally on their way to success. By pouring billions of dollars yearly into public relations with governments, the media, universities and churches throughout the world, Palestinians feel certain they are winning the war by turning world opinion against the legitimacy of the nation of Israel.

The Palestinian public relations war is bearing much fruit, especially in the West. One of their tools is launching campaigns to boycott all Israeli products and apply sanctions against international companies that do business with Israel.

To highlight a recent specific attack on an Israeli company and possibly ‘coming to a shopping near you’ observe this video from Australia in ‘flash mob’ style.


[Link to Video]

The spurious mantra repeated in the video:

Standing on the side of freedom, justice

Tear down the apartheid wall

They’ve got blood on their hands

It’s not too late

To end support for the apartheid state

We will boycott Israel

One blaring hypocritical note is that a key component of the technology to produce that video is from Israel (i.e. Intel Pentium chip).

The action taken in Australia is modeled after an apparent ‘success’ from Ireland and Scotland where two malls removed kiosks representing an Israeli cosmetics company. As one activist gloated,

The products being sold on these stalls help to fund Israel’s war economy and their brutal and illegal military occupation of Palestine. It is also highly likely that these goods come from illegal settlements on Palestinian land, although it is routinely mislabelled as coming from within Israel’s borders.

These are typical statements made by young people at these proceedings, but can be demonstrated to be inaccurate and false.  The statement quoted above is simply ones perspective not fact.

Have you ever thought of the scope of products that have originated from Jews and Israel? In exposing the misguided intentions of these actions, David Brumer writes, in order for the  BDS crowd to be honest with themselves, this action

would include most computers, since Israel helped to develop the Intel Pentium chip, Windows MP, XP and Vista as well as Microsoft Office. They’d have to boycott Google and cell phones developed in Israel by Motorola, as well as voice mail and camera phones. Thousands of products that were developed through technological innovations in Israel, in agriculture, aerospace, energy, pharmaceuticals, and bio-medicine would also be off limits. But naturally, the self-righteous boycotters and their legions of supporters aren’t interested in such banalities.

I do not think anyone is giving up their computers or cell phones?  Anyone giving up their polio vaccine? This conversation is sad if it were not so absurd.  The world is again falling into the trap of lies and misinformation.  So has the church as Sorko-Ram continues from the opening article,

In the last couple of years, many liberal churches have initiated anti-Israel campaigns – that is, they have resolved to withdraw investments from companies owned by Israelis, or that even do business with Israeli companies, and these churches suggest that all of their members do the same.

How has these actions effected Israel’s economy?  Commenting on the passing of a new law directed against the attacks of boycotts, Hanoch Daum states in a Ynet Opinion page,

After all, what’s really happening in Israel at this time? The unemployment rate is at a 20-year low, last month the number of tourists who arrived in Israel was the highest in more than a decade, and the personal security situation is the best we have seen here in the past 30 years or so.

Generally speaking, people no longer fear terrorism as they did in the past and they also do not feel that they are about to lose their jobs.Meanwhile, immense reforms are being undertaken in the transportation and education systems, and in the communication market as well.

 

For now it appears the BDS movement has had a real economic impact on Israel.  It is enjoying a sound economy and for that we are thankful.  However we need to be aware of the broader goal of these actions in making modern Israel an illegal, illegitimate nation.  This is the spiritual backdrop of the boycott Israel campaign.

For a resource on dealing with the BDS campaign visit http://www.stopbds.com/

 

John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.

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May 29th, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

Editor’s Note: Also published on Townhall.

Is there any subject more controversial than the question of the legitimacy of the modern State of Israel? Is it the eternal home of the Jewish people, promised to them by God Himself? Or is it the illegitimate home of violent Jewish occupiers, an apartheid state guilty of ethnic cleansing? Or is it something in between? In the midst of the often emotional arguments on both sides, it is helpful to review five simple truths about the Mideast conflict.

1. There is no such thing as a historic “Palestinian people” living in the Middle East. To be sure, there have been Arabs living in the land of Palestine for centuries. (The land of Israel was derisively renamed “Palestine” by the Romans in the second century A.D.). And it is true that some of these families have lived in Palestine without interruption for many generations. But at no time before 1967 did these Arabs identify themselves as “Palestinians,” nor did they seek to achieve any kind of statehood there. As expressed by former terrorist Walid Shoebat, “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?”

Before 1967, there was no such thing as Arab, Palestinian nationalism and no attempt to develop the territory as a homeland for the Arabs who lived there, and in 1936, when the Palestine Orchestra was formed, it was a Jewish orchestra. In fact, the original name of the Jerusalem Post, the flagship Jewish newspaper, was the Palestine Post.

There is no question that there are several million people who identify themselves as Palestinians today, and many of these people have suffered great hardship in recent years. Nonetheless, the concept of a Palestinian people is a modern invention, and it is part of the anti-Israel propaganda machine without any basis in fact. The recent comments of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, claiming a 9,000 year Palestinian pedigree, are purely fictional: “Oh, Netanyahu, you are incidental in history; we are the people of history. We are the owners of history.”

2. There were anti-Jewish intifadas in Palestine two decades before the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. We are often told that Jews and Arabs coexisted peacefully in Palestine prior to the formation of the Jewish state in 1948, or at least, prior to the rise of strong Jewish nationalism. In reality, as Jews began to return to their one and only ancestral homeland in the late 19th century, hostilities began to rise among their Arab neighbors, despite the fact that there was more than enough room for both.

By the 1920’s, radical Muslim leaders like Haj Amin Al-Husseini, later a confidant of Adolph Hitler, were organizing intifadas against the Jewish population, with many Jewish lives lost. And what helped fuel Al-Husseini’s Jew-hatred was the anti-Jewish sentiment found in the Koran and early Muslim traditions. Post-1948 Jew-hatred simply built on centuries of Islamic anti-Semitism.

3. Jewish refugees fleeing from Muslim and Arab countries were absorbed by Israel after 1948; Arab refugees fleeing from Israel after 1948 were not absorbed by Muslim and Arab countries. Despite the fact that the Muslim nations surrounding Israel are 650 times the size of this tiny state, they made no effort to absorb the approximately 600,000 Arab refugees who fled Israel in 1948 when war was declared on Israel by five neighboring Arab nations.

To this day, these refugees are not welcomed by other Arab states. As expressed more than 20 years ago by Ralph Galloway, former head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, “The Arab States do want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel.” Yet Israel absorbed roughly 800,000 Jewish refugees that had to flee from Muslim nations after 1948.

4. Only one side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is truly committed to peaceful co-existence. It is often stated that if the Palestinians put down their weapons, there would be no more war but if the Israelis put down their weapons, there would be no more Israel. This is not to say that all Palestinians are warmongers and all Israelis are doves. But the vast majority of Israelis are not driven by a radical ideology that calls for the extermination of their Arab neighbors, nor are they teaching their children songs about the virtues of religious martyrdom.

Israel does not relish spending a major portion of its budget on defense, nor does it relish sending its sons and daughters into military service. It simply will not surrender Jerusalem, its historic and religious capital, and it will not commit regional suicide by retreating to indefensible borders. In return it simply asks the Palestinians to say, “We embrace your right to exist.”

5. The current uprisings throughout the Muslim and Arab world today remind us that Israel cannot fairly be blamed for all the tension and conflicts in the region. The nation of Israel is obviously not faultless in the current conflict, but it is ludicrous to think that without the presence of this supposed evil nation in the Middle East, all would be well. There have been constant disputes between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and in 1980, Abd Alhalim Khaddam, then Syria’s Foreign Minister, admitted, “If we look at a map of the Arab Homeland, we can hardly find two countries without conflict. . . . We can hardly find two countries which are not either in a state of war or on the road to war.”

Certainly, there are many obstacles that stand in the way of a true peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and the road ahead is fraught with uncertainty, but it would be a good starting point if we replaced myths and emotional arguments with facts.

 

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

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April 13th, 2011 by John Paul

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”. Matthew 5:10 (NKJ).

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you”.  Luke 6:27-28 (NKJ).

These commands were put into practice recently in Israel at a hearing of accused attacker Jack Teitel.  Many are familiar with how Ami Ortiz nearly lost his life opening a Purim package in March 2008.  The Ortiz family was targeted because of their open faith in Messiah Yeshua.  The current legal proceedings are to determine if Teitel  is ‘legally competent’ to stand trial.  Almost 3 years to the month of the attack, Ami was in the court room for these hearings for first time face to face encounter.  Leah Ortiz writes about the account that

There were several recesses during the long hours, when Teitel was taken out of the courtroom and then returned, hands and feet shackled, and surrounded by guards. We were forewarned not to approach him or talk to him. When he would come out, we would go near to the door of the courtroom, and Ami would sit on a barrier which is used to keep the media separated from the prisoners, which is in itself pretty high. When he sat on it, his head nearly touched the ceiling, and from that perch and vantage point, he watched Teitel. Ami remained very calm, and took seeing Teitel for the first time in person very well. He said that he felt OK, and it didn’t seem to throw him off his equilibrium to see his attacker.

Suddenly, a recess was called, and Teitel and the guards came out, and proceeded to walk in our direction. I looked at him directly in his face, and for the first time he made eye contact with me. His eyes searched my face for my reaction to him. I just looked at him, and he saw no hate in my face, because I refuse to hate, even though my poor son has suffered and continues to suffer from his hatred and violence. He looked at David the same way, searching his face for a reaction. Then Chaim called out to him, “How did it feel to see Ami Ortiz in Court today?” Chaim said that Teitel turned around and looked at him with a demonic look that chilled him to the bone. He said he had never experienced anything like that stare before.

The impact of this demonstration of the character of Messiah by the Ortiz family hopefully will be realized in all of Israel.  Opportunity for Israelis to see the transforming power of the message of Yeshua exists as this case unfolds.  This case and others that involve ‘harassment’ of individual citizens of Israel by the hands of anti-missionaries has come to the attention of the local secular news.  On the Maoz Ministry blog a 3-part video series has been posted showing the local news segments.  (The Ortiz story is on part 2).    It is encouraging to see the secular station actually use the Maoz film footage.  So not only does following the words of Yeshua get media coverage but a Messianic congregation is seen as a legitimate positive expression of one’s Jewishness.  The conversation of religious tolerance and freedom is disclosed benignly for the Messianic community and malevolently for the anti-missionary establishment.  This is a diametric shift in the spiritual atmosphere in the modern Jewish State witnessed in this generation.  This is new territory for the gospel in Israel.   Moving forward, we can expect to see deeper restoration for the nation as promised in Scripture (Ezekiel 37:26-28), albeit she faces an existential threat from her enemies.  Below is the video mentioned:


[Link to Video]


It is typical for this writer to pray that the Jewish people see their Messiah in the Biblical feasts, particularly Pesach (Passover) and Yom Kippur.   With an increasing volume the light of Israel’s Redeemer will be shown through the believers in ‘erets’ Israel (land of Israel).

 

John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.

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April 6th, 2011 by John Paul

The push for a new state for the Arab Palestinians may be attained by September of this year.  The way this could be achieved is outside of the current peace process and could lead to negative results.  A lengthy article has been written by David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post  explaning how this could come about.  In essence if the UN Security Council reaches an impasse on its ability to maintain order and stability, the process can then go to General Assembly where resolutions are passed via two-thirds majority.  Although non-binding, this “Unity for Peace” Resolution has been used before where the dynamics on the ground affected the related parties (for example, boycotts and sanctions).  The article states,  

The Palestinian leadership, that is, anticipating that the US will veto its unilateral bid for statehood at the Security Council, will take the matter to the General Assembly. There it will push for the necessary two-thirds GA support for recognizing “Palestine,” presumably along the pre-1967 lines and with a “right of return” for refugees, under a “Uniting for Peace” resolution to ensure global action.

If this were to transpire,  critical issues that normally are solved through consensus could become flash points of contention and further world condemnation.  Horovitz adds

Most Israelis may well believe that the failure to make progress in negotiations with the Palestinians stems from the other side’s refusal to take positions that would guarantee Israel’s physical and demographic security alongside the proposed Palestine. Most Israelis may well believe that the Palestinian leadership has neither encouraged its people to accept the Jewish right to statehood, nor accepted this right itself, and has maintained an environment in which terrorists who target Israelis are regarded as role models.

But the sad fact is that most of the international diplomatic community simply doesn’t accept this narrative, and tends increasingly to blame strong, sovereign Israel for failing to grant independence to the weak, stateless Palestinians. Rocket attacks from Gaza, bombings at bus stops in Jerusalem, even horrific murders of fathers, mothers, children and babies in their homes, are evaluated in that context.

So there is certainly no automatic, or even readily attainable, blocking vote in the Security Council for the Palestinians’ demand for statehood, even if the establishment of that “state” is being sought while the core issues of dispute with neighboring Israel remain unresolved.

No Jews were allowed in Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967 while the region was under Jordanian control.  Currently there are many established Jewish communities in this same region.  What would happen as result of this machination to these communities?  Do any of the recent terror attacks give us a clue as to the attitude of some Palestinians?

Another area of incitement being reviewed is the attitude to peace: “They say that Jews have no right to be in this region, Jews have no right to be here. This is especially noticeable in school text books, where Israeli presence isn’t even mentioned. There are no maps with Israel. (Ynet News).

If such an event were to occur the security of an estimated 200,000 Jews  would be of immediate concern.  Just as a point of fact, other items that have been in negotiation are water, refugees, and the status of Jerusalem.

It is unclear what the position of the US is in this regard.  With the recent vote on the settlements, it was stated that the US ‘ was “very, very close” to not vetoing the anti-settlement resolution’. 

The manner in which this Administration has conducted its foreign policy over the past few years, allowing others to take the lead in domestic and international affairs, may pave the way for this potentially historic event in September.

 

John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.

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October 8th, 2010 by M. French

Dr. Brown is quoted in a Charisma Magazine article from Troy Anderson entitled A Jewish Awakening? Below is a section from the article that includes the quote:

Michael L. Brown, president of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, N.C., says what is happening today among Jewish youth in Israel is similar to what occurred among Jewish young people in the U.S. during the Jesus movement. “There are now Israeli youth rallies for Jewish believers in Jesus that can draw 1,000 people or more,” says Brown, who is Jewish. “That is unprecedented.”

You can read the article by clicking here: A Jewish Awakening?


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August 15th, 2010 by M. French

Can a Jew Believe in Jesus?

Rabbi Shmuley vs Dr. Michael Brown

Debate after the 2010 National Apologetics Conference

October 15-16 Charlotte, NC

Michael Brown Rabbi Shmuley

Dr. Michael Brown vs          Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is considered “the most famous rabbi in America” by Newsweek magazine and is the international best-selling author of 23 books. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, was a spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson, and has his own take on spirituality and religion (see biography here).

As a Jewish believer in Jesus, Dr. Michael Brown is active in Jewish evangelism, debating rabbis on radio, TV, and college campuses. He is a radio show host, author, seminary professor, and ministry leader. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from New York University (see biography here)

Join us for a stimulating debate on issues of Jesus, Judaism, Christianity, and religion.

[CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION]


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June 5th, 2010 by David Harwood

Our nation is in need of help concerning our relationship with Israel. You may be very familiar with the following passage, but carefully read the following:

I am speaking the truth in Christ- I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit-  that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 9:1-5 )

If left to my own reasoning I might think Paul misspoke. Surely he should have said, “belonged,” yet the text says, “belongs.” Let us quickly review the seminal oracle which established this reality.

Now the LORD said to Abram, “… I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1a-3)

If the promises belong (Present-Tense) to Israel, then certainly the genesis and source of both covenants and promises are valid today. This foundation, Genesis 12:1-3, supports the promises. The English Standard Version correctly translates Genesis 12:3 – “…and him who dishonors you I will curse…” When one makes light of God’s choice one is making light of the God who chose.

In the light of this promise, please consider this: President Obama, in an over the top display of apparently reflexive reverence, symbolically abased the United States as he paid obeisance to the Saudi monarch. Within a year’s time he displayed a dishonoring dismissal of Israel in the person of Benjamin Netanyahu. Although our uniquely obsequious Chief Executive had no problem being photographed kowtowing to the brutal tyrant of China apparently he had issues about being captured in the same lens as the prime minister of Israel. Surely, if there was ever an example of personal (Obama) and institutional (President) dishonor of Israel, this would qualify. This incident illustrates and encapsulates the official attitude of the current administration.

However, (please read this carefully) President Obama is not the primary reason our nation is having a problem with Israel. In fact, it seems to me that it is a miracle our nation recognized Israel in the first place. From the inception of Israel’s founding, our State Department has been averse to the existence of the Jewish State and they are joined by many top-level military strategists and intelligence officers who have been ambivalent, at best. State Department career employees remain in place from presidential administration to administration. Our current administration’s actions and words, led by President Obama, exemplify a long term attitude of these bureaucrats and manifest already established policy.

President G. W. Bush modified the official stance, but recently, President Obama’s administration pressed the “reset” button and seized upon an excuse to reveal and run with our nation’s official outlook. At this time our President and State Department are united in their adversity to Israel. It is reported that earlier this year our Commander in Chief was enraged with Israel and subsequently our Secretary of State went to war with words, putting down the building up of Jerusalem, Israel’s capitol. Then General Petraeus stirred up pre-existing flames of fiery opposition to our alliance with Israel. Unlike NSA advisor General James Jones’ foray into comedic propaganda, this is no joke.

These official forces are joined by our news media, the arts and academia as they participate in an ongoing onslaught of slanted information aimed at our nation’s populace. However, despite this barrage, two thirds of our nation currently remain supportive of maintaining a strong relationship with Israel. Think about it. This is a strange phenomenon. It is a manifestation of mercy. We need to stand in the gap that this mercy might increase. Why? Please consider Psalm 122:6 –Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you!“” In the light of this verse a question begs to be asked, “If they don’t love Jerusalem, how secure will they be?”

Let us pray for the overthrow of longstanding policy in our State Department. Let us pray for the thwarting of the current administration’s antipathy towards Israel. Let us pray for our nation and our leaders. Let us pray that our government would honor God’s purposes.

Within two weeks we’ll post some heart qualifications for effective intercession for our nation.

Here are two articles that may help us focus our prayers:

From May 2008:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/06/AR2008050602447.html

From March 2010

http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/14/the_petraeus_briefing_biden_s_embarrassment_is_not_the_whole_story

Blessings,

David Harwood


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