I Am A Mechanic: How Can We Fix People’s View of Messianic Judaism?

How Can We Fix People’s View of Messianic Judaism?

The Messianic Community and its Many Manifestations

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World Religions

The world’s primary religions fall into two categories: Abrahamic religions, such as  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; and Indian religions, which include HinduismBuddhismSikhism, and others. Of the world’s major religions, Christianity is the largest, with more than two billion followers. Now each of these religions each in turn have their varied sects, sub-sects and off-shoots. Some are considered, as being orthodox, while others are considered as heterodox and at time heretical and are rejected from the main religious group. For the purpose of this talk, Judaism and Christianity are the primary focus of this consideration.

Judaism is the oldest monotheistic faith––the belief in one God only in contrast to the polytheistic belief in many gods.

Christianity traces its early origins as one of the manifestations within Judaism and did not, nor could it stand alone as a separate faith. It was wholly dependent upon Second and Post Second Temple Judaism for its beliefs. It was in relationship to this early Judaism that the Messianic/ Christian faith developed. Two faith emerged from the one belief in Judaisms God––But why? Was this separation inevitable, part of the divine plan and unavoidable? Following the destruction of the Second Temple of the Jewish people by the Romans under Titus, Judaism and its many expressions faced an existential crisis that threatened its very future. What happened following this catastrophe is a fact of history and its outcome has fundamentally shaped the destiny of humanity. Judaism, A Short Introduction, by Norman Solomon, explains that as he puts it Christianity (the Older Sister), and Rabbinic Judaism (the younger sister), were both derived from Post Second Temple Judaism. Prior to the destruction of the Temple by the Romans under Titus (70 CE), Second Temple had many different sects and this included Jewish Christianity, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, Zealots, and the Essenes. The Pharisees emerged as the custodians of Judaism and at the Council of Javna, in 125 CE, Rabbinic Judaism was firmly established. If we follow Solomon’s chronology, then he is correct that Jewish Christianity is older.

Why the Split? There are numerous contributing factors that led to the split––firstly, Yeshua’s claims to be the Messiah, i.e. the Anointed One (Mashiach) and also the divine Son of God, was bound to cause a division among his contemporary Jews.

The Trilema––Lunatic,Liar or Lord: So which is it to be? Lunatic is a non––pc way of describing someone who is mentally ill or delusional. As C S Lewis puts it as on the level with someone who thinks that he is a poached egg. Liar, he knew that he was not the Messiah, but nonetheless, he still claimed to be one and was in fact demonically inspired. Lord, he is the Messiah as he claimed. There are equally three responses to be made to the Trilema––dismiss him as being a harmless fool, lock him up because he is dangerous due to his false claims, or fall at his feet as Lord and Messiah.

The Third Option––this third option needs further exploration: If he is Lord and Messiah then the Evidence Demands a Verdict (Josh McDowell). It is up to each individual. Now those first century Jews who embraced him became known as Jewish Christians. Initially they were tolerated as one of the various Jewish sects of late Second Temple Judaism. We are aware from Yeshua’s /Jesus contemporaries during his life time he received varied reactions––Pharisee, Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes and Gentile God-fearers each had different responses to his life and ministry.

The two strongest groups that opposed Jesus were the Sadducees that were made up of the High Priestly clan together with a number of Pharisees. Some of these people constituted the Sanhedrin or the Jewish Ruling Council and they were the official custodians of first century Jewry and are severely referred to as the Jerusalem Temple Leadership, and also the Judaean Leaders. The second and most powerful group of leaders were the Romans, and their puppet leaders––Pontus Pilat and the various Herods. They were subservient to Roman and were particularly responsible for law and order in the Galilee. The Romans focused their main attention on Judaean province because that included Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple. The High Priestly leadership were directly responsible to the Roman overall and they had to ensure that peace and stability was maintained among the various and at times very fractious Jewish sects. The followers of the Nazarene Jesus were a growing cause of concern and their presence was threatening the status quo. Things were rapidly escalating with Jesus and his followers making claims that he is Messiah, King of Israel and that the Kingdom of Heaven/God was at hand!

The Death of Yeshua: Following his crucifixion and burial surely that was the end of all those false claims? But, not so––Now his followers were claiming that he had risen and was alive! The Resurrection of Yeshua/Jesus became the cornerstone of the New Faith. Into this turbulent mix the numerous Jewish sects were getting more and more fractious and things were increasingly challenging Roman rule over this fractious Judaean province. Titus the Roman General was appointed by Rome to put things in order, and in the process the Jewish uprising resulted in the Romans destroying the Jewish Temple and ultimately any Jewish sovereignty over the Holy Land was ended. Jews were scattered far and wide and without the Jewish Temple the Rabbinic Council was convened at Javna in 125 CE under the leadership of Rabbi Johanan Ben Zakki.

Jewish Christians were rejected as Jews. This was due to the fact that they persisted in their claims that Jesus is the Messiah who they claimed is alive. Additionally, the Gentile mission began to flourish, particularly under the Apostle Paul’s ministry. Paul insisted, that while Jews who followed Yeshua should remain Jewish, Gentiles no longer were required to observe aspects of the Torah/Law. This made the separation between the two faith final.

Is there any Good News? It would appear that the last remnants of Jewish Christianity survived up until the tenth century and evidence of this was traced to modern day Iraq in Mosul. So how can Jewish people claim to be Messianic Jews if in fact the sect disappeared in the tenth century?

What’s in a Name? Christian Jews, Jewish Christians, Hebrew Christians and Hebrew Catholics are some of the names that Jewish followers of Yeshua call themselves, and latterly, the term Messianic Jews has become popular.

Some explain the fundamental differences between being called a Hebrew Christian and Messianic Jews is more than simple semantics. In English usage and grammar we have the adjective and the noun. With Hebrew Christian––”Hebrew” is the adjective and “Christian” is the noun. By referring to oneself as a Messianic Jew––”Messianic” is the adjective and “Jew” is the noun. This change in usage is much more important than an issue of a grammatical construction, it is a different way of looking the world and also forces people to sit up and take note when a Jesus believing Jew calls him or her self a Messianic Jew. It can be referred to as cognitive dissonance.

Uncomfortable, conflicting beliefs and certainly mental discomfort are not wholly undesirable–the term Messianic Jew certainly makes people sit up and take note.

What are Messianic Jews saying?

We are here and as much as many would want us to disappear as the tenth century Jewish Christians of Mosul, Iraq did––its is not going to happen.

By God’s grace we are growing as a movement with more and more Jewish people making the discovery that Yeshua is their Messiah and Lord.

This increase is due to numerous mitigating factors –– There is greater Jewish pluralism with Jewish people no longer feeling bound to remain loyal to former religious classifications, and also the willingness to move beyond the narrow confines of the so–called tribal boundaries. Many Jews have ‘married out,’ which does not automatically mean that their Jewish heritage is no longer important to them. This particular group of people are often more open to exploring alternatives to faith––this makes the Messianic Jewish expression of the faith particularly attractive. This is particularly the case if it is an inter-faith marriage of a Jew and Catholic or Protestant. Increasingly there are Jewish families who know of one or more relative who is a Jesus-believing-Jew. Personally, I have had family members who have wanted to know about my faith in Yeshua. The questions have come from them, rather than I attempting to share my faith with them, that all too often can lead to accusations of one trying to proselytise. It is quite different if the questions come from them.

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Elisheva’s Biblical Perspectives: “Theology for Everyone”

Elisheva’s Biblical Perspectives

Part 1

Welcome to my new blog: “Theology for Everyone”

Thanks to Roni for inviting me to share some thoughts with you about my faith. I would also like to introduce myself and tell you about the two books that I have written. I came to faith in Jesus the Messiah when I was in my late teens and have been travelling this journey ever since then.

A pathway to knowing God

Studying the Bible provides us with a pathway to knowing God. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life.

Elisheva Mechanic

I spent time ministering among the Marwari Bheel tribes in Pakistan and found them so eager to learn about the Word of God. Listen further to the audio programme about my experience in teaching them in Pakistan.

Marwari Bheels
Elisheva with Victor and Theresa Donna in Wa, Ghana

Even children are keen to ask questions about God. In studying theology we learn more about the Christian faith and discover more about God at the same time.

Details about my book Getting to Know God: An Introduction to Christian Theology.

Getting to Know God: An Introduction to Christian Theology, by Elisheva Mechanic. Resource Publications, Wipf and Stock Publishers. Paperback ISBN: 978-1-6667-0946-9 Hardback ISBN: 978-1-6667-0947-6 Ebook ISBN:978-1-6667-0948-3 Available from Amazon or directly from the Publisher, Wipf and Stock: https://wipfandstock.com

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I Am A Mechanic: With God’s Help I Can Fix It

What is in a name?

Механик = 
Mechanic
механик means
mechanic, 
fitter, 
engineer, 
mechanician, 
machinist, 
operator
"Mekhanik" 
in English is "Mechanic"

How did you land up with a name like “Mechanic?” It is of Russian Jewish origin, and in the Russian language Mechanic means a technician or mechanic. My younger brother and I are the two most technically, practically and mechanically minded of our direct family. As far as I can tell all those who bear this surname are of eastern European origin.

When my wife and I visited Auschwitz in September 2021, Poland, in the hall that has the record of over 4,000,000 Jews that perished due to the Nazi genocide there were at least 25 Jewish name called “Mechanik or “Mechanic” or similar spelling.

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What needs fixing?

That is an important question to ask. For as some great philosopher said, “The Universe is broken!”

space shattering

Brokenness can be expressed in many different ways:

While there is scientific and physical evidence of brokenness, I am particularly concerned about the spiritual state of humankind. Everywhere we care to look we not that things are out of order and lay broken to some extent.

According to the Scriptures:

The Hebrew Scriptures and equally the New Testament Scriptures testify to the human condition. It was not always like that, but the more people turned away from God’s design for humankind the worse things got. In the beginning our common ancestors Adam and Eve lived in harmony with their creator and enjoyed fellowship with him. It was not God’s designer intention that humans should be like robots or puppets on a string. He gave us free will and the ability to choose between good and evil. According to Judaism we are given two inclinations––nefesh ha tov and nefesh ha rah. According to St Augustine in his attempt to explain the condition of human nature and the subsequent fall, as “original sin.” In contrast Judaism teaches that babies are born innocent, but as they grow mature they must begin to make moral choices that will lead in them either becoming good or bad people.

How are we to choose to live? According to Judaism to gain God’s favour it is an issue to which of the two inclinations that we yield to––the choice is unto us individually. If we want to be good then we should pay attention to the study of the Torah. In addition one must seek to keep the mitzvoth––commandments, show acts of mercy to our fellow human beings and practice tesuvah––repentance for our wrong doing. According to the Messianic/Christian faith, all of humankind have failed to live righteously and fall short of the glory of God. Salvation or deliverance is only possible through trusting in the ‘finished work of Messiah Yeshua,’ when he died on the Cursed Tree (Cross). All human virtue however good we may be, does not fulfil God’s way of making atonement. We cannot save ourselves!

God’s Part verse Our Part

We are the weaker and He is the stronger and we depend upon him to do his work in the world. In helping to play our part in Tikun Olam––Repairing the World, a partnership needs to be developed, a plan devised and then action begin to be taken.

As we face the New Year let us go forth with courage and hope trusting in God’s unending love.

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MaxRon Discussions: A Very Jewish Jesus

A Very Jewish Jesus

Yeshua the Light of the World…”

Yeshua said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of people!”

What is a Jewish view of Jesus?

What is a Gentile view of Jesus?

* A Jewish perspective – then and now. * A Gentile perspective – then and now. * Exploring how perceptions are changing for the better.

The question what it means to be members of the One Body – Where there is neither Jew or Greek (Gentile)? Our present reality and future hope!

Yeshua said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of people!”

“A Very Jewish Jesus!” * Yeshua lived as a Jew and how that should impact upon our faith? 

Compassion between then and now – many attempts are made by well meaning people to recreate what the earliest manifestation of belief and faith was like in the first two centuries of the common era – is this an impossible dream or can it be achieved?

* A Jewish perspective – then and now. * A Gentile perspectivethen and now.

* Exploring how perceptions are changing for the better. The question what it means to be members of the One Body – Where there is neither Jew or Greek (Gentile)?Our present reality and future hope!  What kinds of congregation are we desiring to develop and how do these reflect the one universal body of Messiah Yeshua?Unity with diversity — the significance of difference without division?

What does it mean to become a “fisher of people?” How do we share the Good News of Yeshua in a culturally appropriate way?

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Catholic––Jewish Reconciliation

Catholic––Jewish Reconciliation

Roni at the entrance to the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Roni interviewing Sylvia about Catholic––Jewish Reconciliation

Recently Roni and his wife Elisheva visited Cracow, Poland and in the Old Town they met a Catholic lady by the name of Sylvia at the Franciscan Convent – Sylvia is involved in an institute that fosters Catholic––Jewish dialogue and reconciliation.

Roni interviewed Sylvia in which they discussed a number of topics of mutual interest, including the Catholic Charismatic Movement that has lead to a number of “Born Again” Catholics who are helping to bring spiritual renewal within the Catholic Church.

Poland––Suffering and Tears through thorns and thistles

There are a number of Bishops, and Catholic priests that actively are encouraging this renewal. Including many lay people of whom Sylvia is one. WWII deaths caused by the occupying Nazis equally cause immense suffering to Poles as well of Jews. One in ten Polish people were Jewish before the Holocaust.Today only a fraction of that number remains. They also discussed “Victimhood,” who suffered more Jews of Gentiles in Poland? The ultimate goal is that Jews and Catholics may be reconciled.

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Charitable Donation to Support Shalom Radio UK’s Running Costs

This is to enable you the listener to express your thanks and help me expand the work of Shalom Radio UK by making a donation

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(E.G. £10.00)

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