The world of fine woodworking is an expanse of techniques which deal with natural materials. There are countless circumstances where I know that if I do something one way, I will get good results. If I do something another way I will get bad results. One style of woodworking tradition is nearly void of bad results. That style is that of the Japanese.
Japan has one of the strongest and most skilled cultures of wood working mastery. Japan has buildings that were built over 1000 years ago, with stand countless earthquakes, and will continue to stand for another thousand years, and have not a single nail holding them together. They were built entirely with hand tools, and no YouTube for guidance! The Japanese have an amazing tradition of harvesting trees for Shoji screens. If you have ever seen a Shoji screen you will notice that they are made of a Conifer species (soft wood such as Fur, Cypress or Pine). Conifer species, as with many species of wood have specific difficulties which the craftsman has to be aware. One of these is the tendency to warp, twist or bend upon environmental changes. You may notice a door in your house that sticks in the summer and then in the winter suddenly stops sticking. This is do to humidity changes in your home. Thus the Shoji screen becomes even more challenging as the small pieces of wood which create the frame and grid pattern are made from a soft, warp prone wood. So how do the Japanese do it!?!?! They simply mark which way the tree was growing when they cut it down. The nature of the tree is to want to channel water from the roots up the trunk and into the outer extremities. If the craftsman were to cut the tree down, mill the lumber, and not keep track of which way the boards were naturally growing there would be trouble! Unfortunately, this technique of felling trees and marking how they grew is nearly a lost art.
You see the Japanese master craftsman makes sure that all the vertical Shoji screen grid muntons are placed so that they are running the same direction they were growing. They have a built in memory of sorts which by nature leads them in a certain direction. There is an absolute nature of each piece which if ignored leads to catastrophic failure. This I believe is where we get the term “ingrained”.
Such is the human being. Each human being has a nature, and it is not what the secular world says it is. We are not animals that learned how to make tools and thus are now the conquering species. We have a unique story, one that most ignore and call mythical. A story that a man named Moshe/Moses wrote down in the Torah. A story that begins all of our current nature with a story about two Humans being Naked and Ashamed.
On to a documentary called “First Contact: Lost Tribe of the Amazon”. In this documentary an anthropologist deep in the Amazon Jungle on the border of Brazil and Peru catches on film, for perhaps the first time in history, a lost tribe making first known contact with the outside world. This people group has a totally native language. It uses the most primitive of hunting techniques and tools. They wore nearly no clothing what so ever, just a small loin cloth. They emerged from the forest scared, and fleeing another group of people who were trying to kill them. The anthropologist and small village helped the tribe relocate there camp and ended up giving them clothing, utensils, plates, cups etc. The most amazing thing happened. Of all the technology and “modern implements” that the emerging tribe encountered the most important to these people were the clothes. They actually stole clothes from the villagers after they observed the villagers wearing them. When the anthropologist asked the tribe’s Chief if he would feel more comfortable going back to the way things were when they were naked. The man said “No, we don’t want to be naked anymore. We were naked and ashamed.”
This is a fascinating statement. Here is a group of people, with no previous connection to the outside world. They were even encouraged by the anthropologist to continue with their way of life, yet they eagerly desired to be clothed because in their own words were ashamed to be naked.
In the very nature of man, with no outside influence, we are naked and ashamed before our creator.
Genesis the 3rd chapter
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[b] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool[c] of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”[d] 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Who told the people of the isolated Amazon tribe they were naked? No one. They knew it intuitively. As humans who are uniquely made in the image of our creator, we know without being told, that something is wrong. That "something" is ourselves. We were originally created in a perfect world, without sin, and then chose to defy our creator and now suffer the consequences of that defiance. Yet there is hope. Our creator took it upon himself to redeem us back to himself. He became flesh and dwelt among us and paid for all the death and destruction which we humans willfully raged and continue to rage upon this earth. There is only one catch. We have to trust Him. We have to place our trust in the fact that He paid the penalty, and conquered death to bring salvation to each and every one of us, IF we accept it.
We are all Naked and Ashamed looking for someone to clothe us. Looking for purpose in life. There is only one source for meaning in life, and salvation from ourselves. Our creator and redeemer. Yeshua, Jesus our Messiah.
My father became a believer in Yeshua as the Messiah while attending Brigham Young University in Hawaii. Thats right, a Jew, attending a Mormon University. He loved to surf and sail and the North Shore of Oahu ain’t bad!
A Christian pastor who wasn’t Jewish began to share with him a few versus here and there about the Jewish Messiah from the Old Testament or as we would call it the Tenach “TNK”. From here my father began to ask questions and before long was convinced that the Bible was the truth, and that Jesus/Yeshua was the promised Messiah that the Jewish people have so awaited.
This pastor was doing something which is central to sharing the Gospel. He was provoking a Jew to jealousy. My father became jealous of this man’s love, his heart, his truth. So what about the title of this article? What is this so called missing link?
The fact is that the First Apologists were all Jews. Shaul was schooled in Philosophy, Pharisaic Law, and undoubtedly had the Torah memorized with most likely other books in the hebrew scriptures as well. The topic of discussion was not if God existed, but what the qualifications for the Messiah were, when he had to come, and if Yeshua was in fact the right guy.
Additionally Paul lays out an example of order to which the gospel is to be taken to the world. He first verbally writes this order down, and then provides a physical example by living out exactly what he teaches. Lets take a walk in his footsteps for a moment.
In Romans the 1st chapter verse 16 Paul writes. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes; to the Jew first and also the Greek.” This is a powerful statement which many argue was only meant for the first century. After all, one couldn’t be expected to take the Gospel to the Jewish people first and foremost in this day and age, that would be discriminatory!
Let us take a closer look at this verse. The two clauses in this passage are linked in the prophetic perfect tense. Which means the following. If the Gospel is REMAINS the power of God unto Salvation, than the Gospel REMAINS to the Jew first. Think about that for a moment. If your salvation is still bound in the power of the Gospel, than you should also be taking the Gospel to the Jewish people in what ever manner you are able.
Let us further examine the word for “first” in the Greek. It is the word Proton, which means first in order and first in importance. But why would this be? We must look at the origins of the promised New Covenant and the Messiah himself. You see in Jeremiah 31:31 a new everlasting covenant was promised. Promised to the nation of Israel, the Jewish people. The Messiah who is the physical embodiment of the Shekinah Glory of God, was promised to the Nation of Israel, a Son of David to reign on David’s throne forever and be the righteous remnant of ONE who would put an end to transgression. This is why the Gospel, the good news that the Jewish Messiah has come must go to the Jewish people first. Because HE is the Jewish messiah promised to the Jewish Nation of Israel.
When one reads through the book of Acts. At every single stop Paul makes, he first goes to the Jewish population. Even when he returns to a city such as Ephesus, he again goes first to reason with the Jews in the Synagogue, even though it was a place he had already been. All of this while Paul is an “Apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11).
Here are the references of Paul going first to the Jew.
Acts 13:4-5; 13:14; 14:1; 16:11; 17:1-4, 10-14, 16-17, 18:4, 18:19, 19:8
So the missing link in Apologetics is the ability to present the Jewish Messiah to the Jewish people. We have an overwhelming amount of material which argues for the existence of God from the cosmos, apparent design, complexity and fine tuning of the universe. We have amazing work done on scriptural reliability. We have scholars dedicated to the evidence of the resurrection of Yeshua. All great areas of study and reasons to believe, yet they over look one simple but crucial fact. It is estimated that less than .01 percent of all missions go to the Jewish people. Because of this very few Churches give to Jewish missions and certainly last on the list is training people to answer the objections of the Jewish people to the claims that Jesus is the Messiah. We have amazing work done by Jewish believers such as Dr. Michael Brown on the Jewish Objection to Jesus, yet few know of or care of such resources. To be frank, who needs such a resource when there is no desire to use it.
There is a great chasm between the world of Apologetics and the Mandate of taking the good news that the the Jewish Messiah has come to the nation of Israel, both as a people and a modern state. One does not have to feel called to give to Jewish Missions. One does not need to feel called go to the Jewish people. We have a mandate to go to the Jewish people with their Messiah, and where there is a mandate, no call is necessary.
Friends, the missing link exists, because the Gap is not recognized. Scripture is clear that some day the fullness of the Gentiles will come in and all Israel will be saved. You happy Goy, you gentiles who God graciously grafted into the saving work of the Jewish messiah have an incredible role to play. You are to provoke the Jewish people to jealously. A jealously of your love for them, for the Jewish Messiah, and the truth that He has come and will come again. Pray for the salvation of the Jewish people. Act on the mandate to take the good news to the Jewish people. Return the favor to a people who gave the scriptures and Messiah to the world.