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Showing posts from August, 2018

Yeshua was a recognized Torah scholar by community leaders

Yeshua was a “Master Teacher of the Torah” and his followers knew it. In Yeshua’s world, the word “Torah” was used in two ways -- specifically to refer to the “Instructions of Moses” (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) and generally to refer to all of the Jewish Scriptures (the Tanakh for Jews and the Old Testament for Christians today).
Yeshua was not only recognized as a teacher of the Torah by his followers, but by community leaders and others who were not members of his group.
And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Shabbat he entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Mark 1:21-22)
And Yeshua returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of him went out through all the surrounding region. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (Luke 4:14-15)
And it happened on another Shabbat, also, that Yeshua entered the synagogue and t…

Transforming Belief Conflicts into Relationship Building Opportunities

When Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and I (Jim Myers) met, we were congregation leaders of two mutually exclusive monotheistic religions – Judaism and Christianity. We were separated by an unbridgeable belief gap. A person must either practice Judaism or Christianity – but not both. We wanted to learn how that gap developed, because we knew that both of our religions began as sects of another religion – Late Second Temple Period Judaism. We soon discovered that before Late Second Temple Period Judaism there were First Temple Israelite Religions and after the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE Judaism and Christianity separated and followed very different paths.
The primary challenge facing Christians and Jews -- as well as members of other religions, agnostics and atheists -- is not a lack of information about our histories. The primary challenge is getting new information past barriers created by our brains.
Living in the Information Age provides us with more information about the human brai…

Yeshua on the Afterlife

The defining belief – and “promise” of modern Christian religions -- is the afterlife -- Christians will spend eternity in Heaven with God living lives without problems and physical needs. This is often reinforced in almost every sermon and at funerals.
What are the requirements to live eternally? Over the past thousand years two options have dominated Christianity:
(1) Membership in the church (collective salvation in which only “the church” will be saved).
(2) Believing the right things (individual salvation).
The first option originated in the Roman Catholic Church in the 5th century CE and Martin Luther created the second in the 16th century -- after being excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church and thus outside of “collective salvation.” He created a doctrine that did not require a church.
As a pastor of a Protestant church (Luther’s version of salvation) I preached that message for many years and clearly understand the power of beliefs about the afterlife. The fact of death m…

How Yeshua Became Jesus

Many people are surprised to discover that Jesus wasn’t his name. How do we know? Well, to begin with there are two basic facts.
1. The word “Jesus” begins with the letter “J” and that letter did not enter the English language until the 16th century CE, over 1,500 years after he lived and taught in Galilee and Judea.
2. The English language first appeared centuries after he lived and taught in Galilee and Judea.
Jesus” is an English word so his name could not be “Jesus.” Now let’s find out what his name was and how it became “Jesus.
1. The history of the name begins in the Bible in Numbers 13:16 -- These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Yehoshua.
● There was a man named Hoshea; Oshea in some translations.
● Moses, for some unstated reason, decided to call him Yehoshua (“Joshua” in most English translations) – in Hebrew it isיְהוֹשֻׁעַ. He became known as Yehoshua son of Nun.
Yehoshuameans "Yahweh is Salvation,&…

The Essence of Religion

One of the amazing things for me is finding principles and values in the teachings of modern Judaism that the Real Yeshua taught – and that are found in the opening chapters of Genesis. Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins’ book The Wisdom of Judaism is a treasure chest of those ideas. I have no idea of what Rabbi Elkins thinks about Yeshua, but their teachings share a lot in common. The following is from his book, and in my opinion, it is sums up the foundational concepts of the Yeshua Movement.
The Torah begins and ends with acts of kindness. Sotah 14a
The Torah bases itself on two stories: in Genesis God clothes the naked — God covers Adam and Eve —and in Deuteronomy God buries Moses. (See a similar statement in Judaism’s early morning service -- These are the deeds that yield immediate harvest and continue to yield in future days…)
Clothing the naked and burying the dead are among the acts of kindness frequently mentioned when the ancient Rabbis discuss the daily acts of goodness that every huma…

Yeshua Master Teacher of the Jewish Scriptures

A very important piece of evidence that reveals insights about how Yeshua saw himself and what he intended to do has been lost to modern Bible readers because of 16th theological conflicts between Catholics and Protestants and the poor English translators of his words (this is from the New KJV).
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-18)
A key phrase in the translation above is “the Law and the Prophets.” The English word “Law” comes from the translation of the Greek word νόμος (nomos), which literally means “law.” However, since we know that Yeshua taught in Hebrew, not Greek, we look for the Hebrew word behind the Greek translation. When νόμος (nomos) appears with “the Prophets” it is clear that the actual Hebrew word Yeshua spoke was תּוֹרָה (Torah).
A Jewish audience,…