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Showing posts from May, 2019

Jesus or Paul Part 5 (And Then Paul Changed Everything!)

Paul formed a community around his ideas and beliefs. In his community he was the only apostle, he preached a different gospel, and “righteousness had nothing to do with doing acts of tzedaqah.” The Epistle to the Romans clearly describes his new reality.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)
In Paul’s exclusive gospel, righteousness is not something people do – it is mysteriously revealed by faith to those who believe what Paul taught.
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. (Romans 3:21-22)
In Paul’s gospel, even though “works” and “righteousness” are unrelated. However, someth…

Jesus or Paul Part 4 (Only What People Do Counts)

Doing acts of tzedaqah are so much greater than just giving food, drink, clothes, etc. They were all done by one person for another person.
● Each act was a face-to-face experiencea personal expression of one’s concern for the shalom of the other. The giver “cared for” the receiver and the receiver felt “cared about” by the giver. The feelings of “being cared about” and “being able to care for someoneelse” are very valuable and powerful experiences.
● Each act was an act of acceptance – the giver “showed his or her acceptance of the receiver” and the receiver “felt the feeling of belonging.”
● Each act was an act of one community member for another community memberit was a demonstration of the values of their community. The receiver knew he or she was entitled to receive what was given and the giver knew it was his or her responsibility to give. The receiver knew he or she was not obligated to the giver in any way, but the receiver knew he or she was obligated to give what anothe…

Jesus or Paul? (Part 3: The Breaking of Shalom)

Jesus or Paul? Making People’s Lives Right or Making People’s Beliefs Right? Part 3

The Breaking of Shalom
Making the “right to live” a reality requires “loyalty to the community” by God and people. Leaders and members of the community are responsible for creating and maintaining that environment. We see this in the second definition above. The entire community is charged with the responsibility of “the elimination of anything breaking the shalom.” This is the cornerstone of human justice.
The primary mission of every follower of Jesus is the elimination of anything breaking the shalom!
In the teachings of Jesus, tzedaqah is linked to shalom. Isaiah 32:17 helps us see that link through the eyes of members of the Jewish culture:
The deed of tzedaqah shall be shalom and the labor of tzedaqah shall be tranquility and safety forever.

Shalom results from the deed of tzedaqah.” Now we must clearly understand what “shalom” meant to Jesus. In Hebrew: The Eternal Language by William Chomsky (p. 4) we …

Jesus or Paul? Part 2

Jesus or Paul? Making People’s Lives Right or Making People’s Beliefs Right? Part 2
The Hebrew Meaning of צדקה‎ (tzedaqah)
Jumping from back and forth from one language to another can be a little confusing. But, simply using the traditional translation of the Hebrew word above “righteousness,” may be more confusing. The word “righteousness” is code word – a religious word lots of people are familiar with but rarely, if ever, use in their daily conversations with friends or in commercial transactions. When was the last time you used it?
I will be using the transliteration of the Hebrew word above – tzedaqah – in this article. I am going to build its meaning from scratch for you so you can attach them to the Hebrew word. When you read an English translation of Jesus’s teachings and see the word “righteousness,” just remind yourself to think “tzedaqah” and what it means.
Our source for the meanings for tzedaqah comes from the Hebrew & Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament Volume 3 (p. 1006…

Jesus or Paul? Part 1

Jesus or Paul? Making People’s Lives Right or Making People’s Beliefs Right? Part 1
What difference does it make in the real world if Christians, non-Christians or anyone else follow the teachings of Jesus or Paul? This may be a confusing question for some, because for readers of English translations of Bibles, it appears that Jesus and Paul spend a lot of time teaching about the very same thing -- “righteousness.” For both Jesus and Paul “righteousness” is the essential requirement for inheriting the Kingdom of God and along with that – an afterlife. However they actually had two completely different meanings for the word “righteousness,” but readers of English translations do not seem to know it!
Jesus taught in the Hebrew language to Hebrew speaking Jewish audiences. The Hebrew word Jesus spoke was צדקה‎ -- tzedaqah. It was later translated into Greek and then into English as “righteousness.” Members of his Jewish audiences all belonged to the same culture – the Jewish culture Judea a…

Am I my brother’s keeper?

All of the Jewish Scriptures and the teachings of Yeshua (the real Jesus) focus on answering one question – “Am I my brother’s keeper?
I have spent a lot of time for over the past thirty years trying to understand those answers. For many of those years, Dr. Ike Tennison and Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor have been involved in that research with me. In this blog, I am going to give you a 21st century reconstruction of the story that is responsible for that famous question.
After Adam failed to guard and protect Eve’s life from a walking, talking religious snake in the Garden of Eden, God evicted them from their luxurious home -- which also cut them off from a life in which God provided everything for them. How many times sitting around the campfire times do you think Adam was reminded of how “he” really messed up a good thing!
Now Adam and Eve had to find water, grow crops, make clothing, find shelter and do all of the things required just to survive. But, somehow, in spite of all of their new r…