As Jew growing up in West Texas life is a little different. It was dry. Not only were we short on water, but we were also short on Jews. Not that there are ever many Jewish people just walking around, unless you happen to be on a Hollywood Set, in Brooklyn or the Other Holy Land Israel. I have since lived all over the U.S. and other countries. From the North East to the Deep South. One thing has been made very clear. There aren’t many Jews in the Bible either. At least that is what you would think if you were to spend much time in your average protestant Church.
Sure you have the Israelites. Sure Charlton Heston lead them out of Egypt. But then Jesus came and started the Southern Baptist Convention right?!?! I don’t mean to pick on the Baptists. You can plug in what ever denomination you like and the analogy still fits. My point being that the vast majority of Churches look at the Bible with no contextual separation between their lives and the lives of the people who make an appearance in scripture. In other words, they (ok, lets drop the act, you I’m talking to you friend) you more often than not come to the Bible with understanding, seeking faith, not faith seeking understanding.
I frequently speak in Churches on various topics ranging from the Passover to defending our faith against secular atheism. Regardless of the topic I often tell this little analogy. Imagine you picked up a book detailing the daily life of an Amish person in rural Pennsylvania. Having never spent any time on a Pennsylvania Dutch farm you were unfamiliar with many of the terms being used. Terms like yoke(horse/ox collar), Dabber Spring (run fast), Denki (thank you), Fraa (mother), Gaul(horse). Names were also unfamiliar so you began to change the names so they were easier to remember. The descriptions of clothing articles were also foreign so these began to change to more familiar articles in your mind. Even the games being played didn’t make much sense, so these also found associations.
Upon your finishing of the book, a friend asks what it was about. You begin to retell the main bullet points in the book. However, you plug in all of your replacement terms, names, and descriptions so that your friend understands just what the heck you’re talking about. The problem being that your friend in the end has the view that the Amish are basically like him. When the truth is that they couldn’t be more different.
I hope you know where I am going with this, but just in case let me spell it out. Jesus is a Jew. His actual name is Yeshua. He was not a Southern Baptist; he wasn’t a Catholic. His last name isn’t “Christ”. He had more in common with the Sadducees and Pharisees than he did you or I. He was a Rabbi. Those who followed him did not “Convert” to Christianity. They didn’t pray a prayer to accept him into their hearts. They looked on Him and declared “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!
Let’s talk about Yeshua’s brother Jacob. No not James. Jacob. Yes, Jacob(Yacov) was his real name. Jacob interestingly enough was Yeshua’s brother. He didn’t believe that Yeshua was anything special while he was traveling around teaching, and performing miracles. He in fact did not believe that Yeshua was the Messiah. Yet something peculiar happened. After Yeshua was crucified his disciples doubled down on the belief that Yeshua had risen from death. This ultimately lead to their own martyrdom. Let me ask you a question. If you were a skeptic like Jacob before Yeshua was killed. Why would you suddenly change your mind about him being the Messiah? What event could declare to you beyond doubt that he in fact was who he claimed to be? For Jacob, Yeshua’s brother, it was this. That he had seen his brother tortured and murdered, and three days later alive again. The resurrection turned the tide in Jacob’s heart and mind so that it was now undeniable. . . .Yeshua was and is the promised Messiah to the Jewish people.
My purpose in writing this to you is to challenge you to re-think the context of what you believe. I challenge you to stop being lazy in your reading of the Holy Scriptures. I challenge you to read the Bible from a Jewish perspective and if you don’t know how to do that there are many great resources available to you by Jewish scholars such as Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum and Dr. Michael Brown. My friend you are missing so much. Stop forcing the Bible into the presupposition that its stories and characters happened in any-town USA. Begin an incredible journey into the history of the world and its future through the eyes of God’s chosen people, Israel.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this, please like and share!
Above is a picture of a guitar I built for a friend of mine. It consists of many parts and pieces. Some more critical to its function than others. It is built of exotic materials which are quite costly. I built it with care, to as high a level of precision as I could muster, though it has many flaws. If you spend over a year crafting one thing, you tend to know every millimeter of its being. After overcoming a few relatively drastic failures, it was final finished. I had strung it, set the action, and intonation (height of strings, and purity of note pitch). I set it on a stand and looked at the finished product. I was pleased. As a perfectionist, I wasn't entirely satisfied, but pleased none the less. There was however one thing missing. The guitarist. This is true with any instrument. It must have its musician. With out the force to pluck the strings, work the bow, or clash the symbols, the greatest of instruments are merely bits of organized matter. You must have the musician to begin the first note, and its successor's. To have a song you need multiple notes. To have even one chord, you need three notes played together. You must have a continual exertion of energy to keep the song going. If I pluck just one guitar string, it will quickly dissipate leaving nothing. The instrument, the music, needs a sustainer or else it ceases to exist. By the way the other picture above is a Jewish musician named Paul simon who you may have heard of. He is playing a James Olson guitar, who is one of the greatest Luthiers in the world and an inspiration to my own instruments. Do you know what happens when Paul stops playing his guitar? You guessed it. The Sound of Silence!
Upon an initial dive into the world of quantum physics one can get very very very overwhelmed. I know this is how I feel when I attempt to read even the most "accessible" work by physic's most renown P.H.D holders. However, at a broad look, physics is primarily focused on the nature of particles and how they interact with one another. Without getting too technical, so that I don't confuse myself, lets take a brief look at one law of physics. The Law of Causation says that for every effect, there must be a cause. So when we think of the music, we must work back and find a musician causing the music. The guitar, or violin are simply avenues for the music to be played. The universe where we find ourselves is no different. Even the smallest particles that we know of are moving, all be it unpredictably, still moving. So we have a "problem". Even the most inorganic, seemingly insignificant, beyond microscopic particles need a cause. They need a musician to get the song going. Beyond the fact that they first need to exist, they then have to be plucked, played, moved into action. However we can't stop there, because the Universe continues to be plucked, played, and moved into action. There is a sustainer, a conductor if you will, to the most beautiful of symphonies. This conductor also holds all the particles together, the notes if you will, so they don't go flying part from one another. So this is the unmoved mover. God himself. Ah but you say, "Well then who caused God?" Very good question. The Law of Causation applies to physical non-eternal things. Yes everything that has a beginning demands a beginner. However, God did not have a beginning, so He does not need a beginner. Again you may say "How convenient! Well, I just say that the Universe is eternal, therefore it doesn't need a cause." True, if the Universe is eternal, it does not need a cause, and God does not need to exist. However, it is an undisputed scientific truth held by the most respected scientists such as Stephen Hawking that the universe had a beginning. So one can believe that" Nothing" created something out of nothing. Or that "Something" created something out of nothing. Which is more reasonable to you?
If you enjoyed this please like and share. Others need to know that our faith is not based on fairy tales and wishful thinking, but on the firm foundation of evidence.