ANTI-SEMITIC U.S. COURT

The following article will show that  Antisemitism IS ALIVE AND WELL  in America, and display the arrogance of people who favored that Law:

July 24, 2013 Wednesday 17 Av 5773 20:07 IST print gohome
jpost
US court: No ‘Israel’ on passports of American citizens born in Jerusalem
By MICHAEL WILNER AND REUTERS
23/07/2013
The US president – and not lawmakers – has the sole authority to say who controls Jerusalem, court rules.
WASHINGTON – A US federal appeals court on Tuesday invalidated a law that was designed to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel on their passports as their birthplace.The unanimous ruling by the three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholds a longstanding US foreign policy dictate that says that the president – and not lawmakers – has the sole authority to say who controls Jerusalem.

In the government, the president “exclusively holds the power to determine whether to recognize a foreign sovereign,” Judge Karen Henderson wrote for the panel.

Since the founding of Israel, US presidents have declined to state a position on the status of Jerusalem, leaving it as one of the thorniest issues to be resolved in possible future peace talks.

The US State Department, which issues passports and reports to the president, has declined to enforce the law passed by Congress in 2002, saying it violated the separation of executive and legislative powers laid out in the US Constitution.

When president George W. Bush signed the law, he said that, if construed as mandatory rather than advisory, it would “impermissibly interfere” with the president’s authority to speak for the country in international affairs.

Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, whose son Menachem was born in Jerusalem and is a US citizen, filed a lawsuit in 2003 demanding that the government enforce the law. Menachem’s passport lists the city of birth as Jerusalem and does not mention a country.

The issue reached the US Supreme Court last year on the preliminary question of whether it was so political that it did not belong in the courts. The high court ruled 8-1 that the case could proceed, setting up Tuesday’s ruling.

The Zivotofskys plan to ask for the Supreme Court’s opinion once again, their lawyer, Nathan Lewin, said on Tuesday.

“Today’s majority and concurring decisions acknowledge that the constitutional issue presented by this case is significant and calls for resolution by the Supreme Court,” Lewin said in a statement.

While Israel calls Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital, few other countries accept that status. Most, including the US, have their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv.

American Jewish organizations have been following the case closely, having lobbied Congress for the original legislation. After applying pressure on consecutive administrations, both Democrat and Republican, to recognize Jerusalem-born citizens as Israelis, the court decision represented a setback to their efforts.

“The core question is simply factual: Can somebody be born in a city that’s not part of a state?” Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told The Jerusalem Post.

“The court ruled on the constitutional issues, not on the substance. It’s not their prerogative to deal with the substance, so it’s not like it addresses the status of Jerusalem.”

The American Jewish Committee had submitted a brief in the case arguing the constitutionality of the law, and in a statement to the Post said that its leadership was “not pleased” with the decision to gut Section 214(d).

“The appellate court’s ruling that section 214(d) is unconstitutional is unfortunate, as it undermines the existing balance of power between the Congress and Executive branch in foreign policy,” said AJC General Counsel Marc Stern. “No one should be surprised if the Zivotofsky family petitions the US Supreme Court to hear their case again.”

An estimated 50,000 American citizens were born in Jerusalem and could have used the law, if it were enforced, to list Israel as their birthplace.

 

READ THIS ARTICLE:

‘Islamic Rights in Jerusalem’ Why No ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ Decision (VIDEO)

Published: July 24th, 2013
9-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky sued the U.S. government for refusing to include "Israel" alongside "Jerusalem" as his place of birth on his passport.
9-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky sued the U.S. government for refusing to include “Israel” alongside “Jerusalem” as his place of birth on his passport.

A federal court released its decision regarding whether it is permissible for the United States to refuse to enter “Jerusalem, Israel” on the passport of an American born in Jerusalem on Tuesday, July 23.  The result was not unexpected.  The court decided that a portion of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which congress enacted in order to allow Israel to appear alongside Jerusalem on such a passport, was an unconstitutional law.  The basis for that decision was that in enacting that law, congress had impermissibly intruded upon the exclusive power of the Executive branch to conduct diplomatic relations with foreign entities.

But the surprise, and the anger – for those who disagree with the decision – should be directed at the Executive branch for its long–held position that Jerusalem is not part of Israel.  And we learn in this Opinion, what is driving this long-held position. It is a fear of anger and violence if the U.S. does something to “undervalue” “Islamic rights in Jerusalem.”

Got that? The U.S. is afraid of undervaluing “Islamic rights in Jerusalem.” Perhaps the decision makers in the U.S. Department of State and all the Secretaries of State never had the opportunity to view the very important interview of Arabic Studies professor and scholar Mordechai Kedar gave to an Al Jazeera anchor.  See that interview at the end of this article.

Congress sought to correct what it viewed as an incorrect decision by the Executive branch. But the judiciary branch could not allow that.

BACKGROUND

Menachem Zivotofsky was born in Jerusalem to American parents.  Shortly after his birth, Zivotofsky’s parents applied for a passport for him.  In the application, Zivotofsky’s mother listed his birthplace as Jerusalem, Israel.

But the U.S. State Department issued the child’s passport listing only Jerusalem – no country was listed – as his place of birth.

That year, 2002, Zivotofsky’s parents filed a lawsuit against the State Department on their son’s behalf, seeking to have a passport issued to their son which would list, as requested in the original application, Jerusalem, Israel, as the child’s birthplace.

This case has traveled up and down the federal court system, stopping in some courts more than once.  It even reached the U.S. Supreme Court where a subsidiary issue was heard two years ago, before being sent back down the court system for further development.

The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declared unconstitutional a portion of the 2002 Foreign Relations Authorization Act which would permit a passport to be issued listing as the place of birth Jerusalem, Israel for  Zivotofsky and others in his position.

This is the relevant portion of the FRAA which the court declared unconstitutional:

(d) RECORD OF PLACE OF BIRTH AS ISRAEL FOR PASSPORT PURPOSES. For purposes of the registration of birth, certification of nationality, or issuance of a passport of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem, the Secretary shall, upon the request of the citizen’s legal guardian, record the place of birth as Israel.

What the court did was – not surprisingly, even if one disagrees with the result – rule that congress exceeded its powers by passing legislation which, the court found, wrongly interferes with matters over which it does not have ultimate authority. That exclusive authority instead rests with the Executive branch. The power to recognize the sovereignty of another country and to determine foreign policy, is one of the powers which the U.S. government’s separation of powers doctrine grants to the Executive branch.

What is significant about this case is not that the Court of Appeals has ruled that Jerusalem is not part of Israel.

The more interesting question is why the Executive branch is so set against even something so small as to allow a child’s passport to state that when a child was born in Jerusalem, he was also born in the country of Israel.

The D.C. court noted that it has always been the position of the Executive branch to remain neutral on the question of who has sovereignty over Jerusalem.  It quotes from the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual which was in effect in 2002, when Menachem Zivotofsky was born and when his parents sought to have his passport list Jerusalem, Israel as his birthplace.  The FAM explicitly states that, “for an applicant born in Jerusalem: ‘Do not write Israel or Jordan’ on his passport.”  It also states that “Israel ‘[d]oes not include Jerusalem.’”

SAME ISSUE AS IN THE JERUSALEM EMBASSY ACT

In Zivotofsky, the court treated the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, passed in 2002, the way the Jerusalem Embassy Act has been treated, in other words: “no dice.”

But what is perhaps the most interesting portion of the opinion – for people who like this kind of thing – is the court’s discussion of what was animating the passage of the Foreign Authorization Act, and then a peek into why congress believed it was forced into taking this action.

WHAT ANIMATES THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH’S HOSTILITY TO STATING JERUSALEM IS IN ISRAEL

“Our reading of section 214(d) as an attempted legislative articulation of foreign policy is consistent with the Congress’ characterization of the legislation,” the Opinion states.

Yes, that wily rogue congress was, through the FRAA, attempting to “alter United State policy toward Jerusalem.”  The Opinion quotes snippets of statements made by members of congress during the hearings on the legislation. Rep. Tom Lantos, Senator Jesse Helms, Rep. Diaz-Balart, and Rep. Henry Hyde all stated that the FRAA was an effort to force the United States to recognize that Jerusalem is part of Israel.

But why is the Executive branch so dead set against recognizing that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel?  That question is answered in Tuesday’s Opinion, as well.  The Secretary of State responded to questioning during the discovery phase of the litigation. The Secretary addressed the reason the Foreign Affairs Manual is so explicit and so emphatic about not including Israel as the country in which Jerusalem is located:

Any unilateral action by the Untied States that would signal, symbolically or concretely, that it recognizes that Jerusalem is a city that is located within the sovereign territory of Israel would critically compromise the ability of the United States to work with Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region to further the peace process.

and

The Palestinians would view any United States change with respect to Jerusalem as an endorsement of Israel’s claim to Jerusalem and a rejection of their own. [emphasis added by the court] Thus, ‘within the framework of this highly sensitive, and potentially volatile mix of political, juridical and religious considerations, U.S. Presidents have consistently endeavored to maintain a strict policy of not prejudging the Jerusalem status issue and this not engaging in official actions that would recognize, or might be perceived as constituting a recognition of, Jerusalem as either the capital city of Israel, or as a city located within the sovereign territory of Israel.” [emphasis added by the court]

And just to be clear about which party is the one the Executive branch is fearful of offending, the court again quotes testimony provided by the Secretary of State at an earlier stage of the litigation, who reported that “various Palestinian groups issued statements asserting that Section 214(d) ‘undermined the role of the U.S. as a sponsor of the peace process,”undervalued … Palestinian, Arab and Islamic rights in Jerusalem” and”raised questions about the real position of the U.S. administration vis-à-vis Jerusalem.’

And with that, the court rejects the relevant portion of the FRAA as a conscious effort of the congress to usurp a “considered exercise of the Executive branch’s recognition power.”

International law expert and legal professor Eugene Kontorovich explained to The Jewish Press, “The response of the U.S. government to the Zivotofsky claims really presents a much larger problem, which is the complete refusal of the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel at all.  Even if this lawsuit was resolved satisfactorily for Zivotofsky, it still would not address that underlying problem.”

“The Jerusalem exception also illustrates the ease with which U.S. foreign policy can bend in the face if Islamic intimidation – even to the point of adopting a surreal and counterfactual policy,” Kontorovich continues. “Yet the possibility of peace with the Palestinians would depend on robust American guarantees to stand by Israel if the going got tough. The unwillingness to accede to reality on such a basic and longstanding truth does not auger well for this.”

 

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.

THE FATHER OF MESSIANIC JUDAISM

The following article will display how Messianic Judaism came  about  in the 20th Century .  It is a beautiful thing to be born a Jew and Die a Jew:

The Father of 20th Century Messianic Judaism

Ron Cantor —  July 21, 2013 — 2 Comments
Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 6.36.24 PM

2

Any student of Israel knows that Theodore Herzl is the father of modern Zionism. His book, The Jewish State, called for the creation of a Jewish homeland as the only safe haven for the Jewish people. Eliezer Ben Yehuda is considered the father of Modern Hebrew, a dead, unspoken language in 1880, now spoken by over 10 million people.

But equally impressive as the rebirth of the Jewish nation and the language of Hebrew is the rebirth of the Messianic Jew—the Jew who professes faith in Yeshua, and, like the first believers, continues to live as a Jew. There are many men and woman who were influential in the Messianic revival. Moishe Rosen birthed Jews for Jesus and raised up an army of Jewish emissaries. Joseph Rabinowitz started the First Assembly of the Israelites of the New Covenant in 1885. Our own Ari and Shira pioneered spirit-filled Messianic Judaism in Israel with their first house congregation in 1977 and then by birthing the first Hebrew only spirit-filled congregation in 1995. As far back as 1959, Victor Smadja started Keren Ahava Mishihit in Jerusalem. My spiritual father, Dan Juster has also played a major role in shaping Messianic Jewish expression through the Tikkun Network and the UMJC.

MARTIN CHERNOFF

Martin and Yohanna Chernoff

Martin and Yohanna Chernoff

However, if there is one figure who stands out as the father of Modern Messianic Judaism it would have to be Martin Chernoff. His father Solomon fled the Russian army in the early 1900s in order to give his family a better life in America. But, after arriving in Amsterdam, he was broke. For three years he worked and saved in order to buy tickets to cross the Atlantic. However, thinking he had arrived in New York, he was shocked to find himself in Argentina!

After another three years, he and his family took a train through South America to New York City. However, when he got off at the last stop he was in Toronto, Canada, missing New York for the third time! This time, Solomon settled his family in Toronto, as there were already 4,000 Russian Jewish immigrants living there, and continued his trade as a tailor.

A SECRET HE HELD TO THE GRAVE – ALMOST

One day Solomon heard a Jewish believer preaching. He sat down to listen and secretly professed faith in Yeshua. He knew this would send shockwaves through his orthodox Jewish family so he decided he would never tell a soul.

Many years later, their son Martin would make a similar decision, embracing Yeshua as His Messiah, but instead of keeping it to himself would seek to bring as many Jewish people as he could to faith in Yeshua. On his deathbed, his father confessed his secret faith to his son.

ASSIMILATION VS. JEWISH IDENTITY

Martin and his wife Yohanna worked for many years for an organization seeking to bring Jewish people to faith. He was constantly at odds with them, as he began to realize the need for Jewish believers to have their own meetings in a Jewish context. The organization emphasized winning Jewish people to the faith and then funneling them into local churches to be discipled (where they would often lose their Jewish identity).

Martin was told he was not qualified to disciple “Hebrew Christians,” as they were called then, and once, when he immersed several new Jewish believers in water at a conference, the leader of his organization saw red, as he rebuked Martin, telling him again that it was beyond his scope of authority.

THE JESUS REVOLUTION AND THE JEWS

The biography that Martin's wife, Yohanna, wrote.

The biography that Martin’s wife, Yohanna, wrote.

In the midst of a prayer meeting in 1963, just after the assassination of President Kennedy, Martin had the second of three visions. He saw, in addition to scores of Jewish people coming to faith (as in his first vision) a group of unkept and shabby young people – dressed in rags. He had no idea that the coming years would usher in the hippy phenomenon and that God would use his wife, Yohanna and him to bring many of these young Jewish people to Yeshua.

In addition to ushering in the sexual revolution, psychedelic rock and popularizing LSD usage, the hippie movement revealed a deep spiritual hunger inside that generation. In April 1966 Time Magazine ran the headline: Is God Dead? However, just five years later, after this massive revival, their headline in June 1971 was, The Jesus Revolution.

Scores of young Jewish people came to faith in Cincinnati forming the nucleus of the Chernoff’s home congregation. Thousands more Jews embraced Yeshua all across the U.S. as God raised up a leadership for a new thing he was about to do.

FROM HEBREW CHRISTIANITY BACK TO MESSIANIC JUDAISM

In 1970 Martin had his third open vision. “Two electrifying simple words stretched across the sky in the form of a banner.” He saw the words: Messianic Judaism.

This vision would define the rest of Martin’s life and his legacy. The small group of Jewish believers in Cincinnati confessed:

“We are Jewish believers in Yeshua as our Messiah. We have our own destiny in the Lord. We will no longer be assimilated into the Church and pretend to be non-Jews. If Yeshua Himself, His followers and the early Jewish believers tenaciously maintained their Jewish lifestyles, why was it right for them, but wrong now? Gentile converts are not expected to forsake their families, culture, holidays and traditions; nor shall we do so.”

No longer would they call themselves Hebrew Christians, but Messianic Jews.

Despite the fact they were seeing dozens of young Jewish people receive Yeshua, the leader of the organization who paid their salary gave them an ultimatum. Either disband their congregation, hand over the names to the organization (so these Jews could be placed in churches), or leave.

Marty had a major decision to make: Stay with the organization, get paid, disband their congregation and funnel new believers to churches or resign his position, officially birth congregation Beth Messiah, and trust God to provide for their needs. Other than a few isolated cases, there was no example of a self-sustained, independent Messianic Congregation. It was virgin territory.

After a lengthy discussion between the leaders and the congregants, it was decided that disbanding was not an option. Martin would become their rabbi and they would support Yohanna and him. Congregation Beth Messiah was birthed.

NATIONAL INFLUENCE

Soon Martin was elected to be president of the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America. More and more Jewish believers were calling themselves Messianic Jews instead of Hebrew Christians. The moniker Hebrew Christian emphasized that the believer was of Jewish background, whileMessianic Jew, emphasized that the believers continued to live as Jews, after believing in Yeshua.

However, changing the name of the HCAA would not be easy. Many old-timers strongly objected to the new Messianic theme and Jewish identity. They didn’t like the dancing or the singing of Klezmer (Yiddish sounding) songs with Messianic lyrics. The first vote was defeated, but not without controversy. Rather than fighting, Martin wisely put the issue to rest, realizing that it was only a matter of time.

Two years later the young hippie believers far outnumbered the old guard and the name was changed to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA).

BETH YESHUA IN PHILADELPHIA

Eventually the Chernoffs would move to Philadelphia and take over the “Fink Zoo”—a group of young Jewish believers who met in the home of Joe and Debbie Finklestein. They called their new congregation Beth Yeshua.

When I first heard of Messianic Jews in 1984, the orthodox community had declared war on Beth Yeshua and they were fighting for their survival. By 1985 they were calling for a nationwide protest – with the goal of destroying the Messianic Jewish movement. Jews from all over were bussed in to protest and Beth Yeshua was their target. If Beth Yeshua could be toppled, then maybe they could crush the whole movement.

I drove right by Philadelphia during Hurricane Gloria just before this mass demonstration, as my Long Island-based Bible School released us for our own safety. The folks at Beth Yeshua were hoping that Gloria would ruin the planned protest. However, Pat Robertson rebuked the storm just before it hit his Virginia Beach-based CBN and Gloria headed out to sea. Pat was happy; the Messianics in Philadelphia were dismayed.

However, when Beth Yeshua took their worship team outside in the midst of the anti-Messianic demonstration, the entire protest was diffused. Some protesters ended up actually dancing with the Beth Yeshua congregants. After a short time, leaders called off the protests and fled.

LEGACY

So many leaders that lead congregations today were discipled by Martin Chernoff. His legacy lives on in these many men and women, not to mention his own children Joel, David and Hope, all leaders in the Messianic Movement today.

(All quotes are taken from Born a Jew, Die a Jew, the biography of Martin Chernoff, written by his wife Yohanna.)

THE “WORD” CAN CHANGE THE WORLD

Dedicated Bible Students are well aware of the power of Yahweh’s “WORD” and you will really enjoy this article:

Video & text of Epicenter Conference message now online: “The Power of the Word To Change The World.”

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2013 at 8:06 am

epicenterconf-logo1THE POWER OF THE WORD TO CHANGE THE WORLD

Joel C. Rosenberg

2013 Epicenter Conference — Jerusalem, Israel — July 5, 2013

>> To watch the video of this message online, please click here

———

Text as prepared for delivery:

We have considered the power of the Word to change a leader. We have considered the power of the Word to change a nation. Let us now consider the power of the Word to change the world – because “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” so to preach the Word is to preach Jesus.

The Beginning

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel of John. We’ll read verses one through fourteen.

John 1:1-3 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”

What’s striking about John’s Gospel account is how different it begins from the others.

Matthew begins with “the record of a genealogy of Jesus the Messiah.”(1:1) He begins with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and traces the royal lineage from through King David, and right on to Jesus. Why? Because Matthew’s mission is to portray Jesus to the Jews as the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies, and thus the true Anointed One — the Messiah, the King.

Mark doesn’t use a genealogy at all. Why not? Because he is portraying Jesus to mankind as the Suffering Servant, and servants don’t need genealogies.

  • “For…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (10:45)
  • “And [Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” (8:31)

Luke provides a genealogy, but he doesn’t merely trace Jesus’ lineage back to Abraham. Rather, he goes all the way back to “Adam, the son of God.” (3:38) Why? Because Luke is portraying Jesus to the Greco-Roman world as the ultimate, perfect, sinless man.

John, however, is writing the last of the four Gospels. He is writing somewhere between 85 and 95 A.D. It is a time of danger and tumult, a time of great attack on the believers. It is a time not just of physical persecution, but one in which the very authority and reliability of the Bible and the Gospel message was under great attack. Satan had unleashed false teachers and they were everywhere, trying to undermine both the divinity of Jesus, and His humanity.

So, under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John begins his Gospel account by tracing Jesus’ lineage further back than any of the others — “In the beginning….” John makes is crystal clear that “in the beginning”:

  • Jesus was with God.
  • Jesus was God.
  • Jesus is God.
  • Jesus created all things.
  • Nothing that was made was made without Him.
  • He was not made.
  • He was eternally pre-existent as the second Member of the Trinity.

John leaves no room to say that:

  • Jesus was “just a good man” but not the Messiah;
  • or Jesus was “just the Messiah,” but not the Son of God;
  • or Jesus was just the “Son of God,” but not fully God Himself, God the Eternal One, God the Creator.

John begins his Gospel with bold, direct clarity that Jesus is absolutely Divine. John declares that Jesus is the very God of very God.

What’s more, John ends his Gospel the exact same way. “ These things have been written,” he concludes in John 20:31, “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ [Messiah], the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

This is John’s goal – to be clear about who Jesus is.

  • he tells you what he’s going to say
  • then he says it
  • then he tells you what he just said
  • because he does not want you to miss the point

The Word

But John doesn’t simply want us to understand that Jesus is God. John also wants us to know that Jesus is the “Logos” — The Word.

Why didn’t John start with, “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God”? Wouldn’t that be true? Absolutely. Then why not just write it that way?

Because John is an evangelist – he is building a case – and he is appealing to the Jew first, and then the Greek.

  • By opening his account with a focus on “The Word,” he is certainly appealing to the minds and hearts of the Greek-speaking Gentile world.
  • “Logos” — The Word — was a powerful and enduring concept in Greek philosophy.
  • In 500 B.C., the father of Greek philosophy – Heraclitus –first used the term “Logos” to describe the divine thought, or the divine plan, that governs a changing universe.
  • Heraclitus taught that before the world came into being was the “Logos” – the thought, the idea, the plan.
  • He didn’t think of it as person, and certainly not as a singular God. The Greeks were polytheists. But he did believe the world began and was guided by a central cosmic thought, “the Word.”
  • And he deeply influenced the writings of the leading philosophers to come, including Plato and Aristotle.

So the Holy Spirit directed John to explain what the “Logos” really is:

  • not just a thought, but The Thinker
  • not just a plan, but The Planner
  • not just a philosophy, but a Person – the One True God

So this preamble to John’s Gospel would have really caught the ear and the imagination of the Greek-speaking Gentile world of the Roman Empire.

But John wasn’t simply appealing to the Greeks. He was also most definitely appealing to the Jews.

  • The concept of “the word” is central to the Tanakh (Old Testament).
  • 244 times the phrase “the word of the Lord” or “the word of God” is used in the Tanakh.
  • What’s fascinating to me – and what many people don’t realize – is that the specific expression “The Word” as a descriptor of the Lord God Himself was a term very familiar to Jews in the first century.
  • Why? Because when the Hebrew Scriptures were ready every Sabbath in the synagogues, what was also read – verse by verse – was the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible known as the “Targum.” But a Targum was not simply a direct translation of the Scriptures but rather an “amplified version” – not a commentary, per se, but a version designed to help the average Jewish person understand what the text was really saying.
  • And what’s remarkable is that beginning a few centuries before Jesus – and occurring for centuries after Jesus — the Targum often replaced the term “Jehovah” or “the Lord” with the term, “The Word.”

 

Example from Genesis 17:7

  •  NASB — “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you, throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.”
  • Targum Neofiti — “And I will establish my covenant between my Word and you, and your descendants after you, throughout their generations, for an eternal covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.”

Example from Deuteronomy 32:43

  • NASB — “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and He will render vengeance on His adversaries, and will atone for His land and His people.”
  • Targum Pseudo-Jonathan — “….by His Word He will make atonement for His land and His people.”

Example from Isaiah 55:3

  • NASB — Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you according to the faithful mercies shown to David.”
  • Targum Neofiti — “Incline your ear and receive My Word…..”

So this preamble to John’s Gospel would also have really caught the ear and the imagination of the Aramaic-speaking Jewish world of ancient Palestine.

The Life and The Light

John 1:4-9 – “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.”

The Apostle John is steadily building his case, brick by brick, verse by verse.

  • That Jesus is “The Word.”
  • That The Word is God.
  • That The Word is the Divine Creator.
  • Thus, Jesus is God and He is the Divine Creator.

But then the Apostle goes further. He makes the case that Jesus is not a God that simply set the universe into motion and then sits back and takes no interest in the affairs of men. On the contrary, the Apostle makes the case that:

  • Jesus is actively involved in the affairs of men.
  • Jesus is not only the Creator of physical life, but in Him is spiritual life – He can give true and eternal life to those who are perishing in their sins.
  • What’s more, Jesus is the Light of the world – He can give true Light to people lost in the darkness.

Here’s one way Jesus did that – He chose and sent a man named John ahead of Him

  • to be His witness
  • to testify to the truth
  • to point people to the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  • to point people to the Light
  •  John wasn’t the Life – he pointed to Life.
  •  John wasn’t the Light – he pointed to the Light.
  •  John wasn’t the Prophet – he pointed to the Prophet.
  •  John wasn’t the Messiah – he pointed to the Messiah.

We should note here that the Apostle John is not referring to himself here. Rather, he is referring to John the Baptist. Indeed, whenever the Apostle, mentions the word “John” in his Gospel account, he is referring to John the Baptist. He never refers to himself by name. He doesn’t want to draw attention to himself. As a disciple of John the Baptist, who then became a disciple of Jesus, and then one of our Lord’s most trusted Apostles, John only wants to point to Jesus, never himself.

What I love is that as the Apostle builds his case verse by verse, chapter by chapter, he uses statements from Jesus and actions by Jesus to prove his initial point that Jesus is God, and Jesus is Life, and Jesus is Light.

  • In John 3, Jesus explains to a Jewish leader how to find eternal life by becoming born again. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (3:16)
  • In John 5, Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and [yet] you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” (5:39-40)
  • In John 8, Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (8:12)
  • In John 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (11:25-26)
  • In John 14, Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (14:6)

I could go on, but I think the point has been made – the Apostle states the intention of his Gospel account in the very first chapter, and then he carefully, methodically builds his case.

  • he describes seven miracles performed by Jesus.
  • he relates seven times that Jesus says, “I am….”
  • he quotes the testimony of seven eyewitnesses who said Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (beginning with John the Baptist)

But the Apostle is also honest that not everyone will receive the truth about Jesus.

The Choice

John 1:10-13 – “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.”

Are there any verses in all of the New Testament sadder than these?

Jesus physically created the world by the power of the Word (He spoke, and the world came into being) – yet the world rejected Him.

Jesus physically created the nations of the world – yet the people of the nations (that is, the Greek-speaking Roman world) did not know who He was or receive Him as Messiah, Savior, Lord and King.

Jesus physically created “His own” – the Jewish people, the “chosen people” – yet by and large the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, did not receive Him either. They didn’t understand He had fulfilled their own prophecies. They didn’t understand He had come to bring them abundant life and eternal life. They were walking in darkness. They were not reading the Word. Or understanding the Word. They weren’t connecting the dots. And they missed Him.

And yet….not everyone missed Him. In His grace, God opened the eyes of a handful of people – men and women – so they could suddenly see the Light. They could suddenly see the Truth. They suddenly experienced the Life.

And to as many as received him, only handful of people at first, to them Jesus gave the right (power, authority, ability) to be born again, to be born from above into the very family of God. Not by their own will, or brilliance, or insight, or intuition – but by the will of God, by the power of God. And this is the good news — this is the great hope – this is the power of the Word to change the world

The Gospel

John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

This is the Gospel, the good news:

  • that Jesus is the “Logos”
  • Jesus is The Word
  • Jesus is God
  • Jesus is the Creator
  • Jesus is Life
  • Jesus is Light
  • Jesus is God who became flesh and dwelt among us
  • He “tabernacled” or “tented” or “camped” among us.
  • He was fully God.
  • He was fully man.
  • Not everyone will understand this.
  • Not everyone will receive this.
  • But if you do – Jew or Gentile – and if you repent and receive Him, Jesus will save you.
  • If you repent of your sins and receive Him for who He really is, Jesus will adopt you into His family, and you will become a child of the Living God.
  • You will experience His grace.
  • You will experience His truth.
  • You will see His glory.
  • You will live with Him forever.

Are there any verses in all the Bible more wonderful then these?

This good news is for Jews. But it is not for Jews alone. “But as many as received Him….” This good news is for Arabs, Bedouins, Druze, and Persians. This is good news for all peoples, tribes and tongues. Anyone who hears the Word, and believes, and repents of their sins, and receives Jesus as Messiah, Lord and Master can and will be saved.

This is very good news. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” We are not living in darkness. We are not alone without God and His wisdom. God came in person to tell us how to have life and peace. He came in personal to show us to live and how to love. And then He gave us the Word of God in the form of a book. It is called the Bible. It is the only book inspired by God Himself. It is the only book that is a “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” (Psalm 119:105) It is the only book that is full of the “word of life.” (I John 1:1)

The Challenge

I believe this is the great challenge of our time: to help the Church rediscover the power of the Word, and to recommit ourselves to proclaim the Word – all of it, from Genesis to Revelation – without fear, without apology, but with authority and great urgency.

The Lord said through the Hebrew prophet Isaiah, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

The Lord said through the writer of Hebrews, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The Lord said through the Apostle Paul, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

We need more people in the Church today who truly believe in the power of the Word to save souls and transform lives.

We need to freshly commit ourselves – as those who teach the Word and who train others to teach the Word –  to follow the Great Commission and teach people to obey all that Christ commanded us.(Matthew 28:19)

Let us be able to say what the Apostle Paul told the church in Ephesus, “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)

In our closing panel, we will discuss with these dear pastors how they approach teaching the Word, and what kind of fruit they have seen from teaching the “whole counsel of God” with thoroughness and vigor.But as I close this message, let me share with you a personal testimony of how I came to really discover power of the Word in my own life. [brief testimony]

EXCELLENT BIBLE STUDY SOURCE

For those who want to dig deeper in their Bible Study, the following source will be the answer:

matthew.gif (5610 bytes)


INTRODUCTION

This book of Matthew study is an Introductory Level Study and is our recommended starting point for learning about Torah-based Messianic Bible study.

The book of Matthew is our first in a series of Bible studies. Each of these studies is designed for students to reach greater depths of understanding the Hebrew Scriptures.

The other studies are:

Materials we will be using for this Matthew study include:

  • “Dead Sea Scrolls” Bible
  • “DuTillet” and Shem Tob Hebrew versions of Matthew
  • Jewish New Testament & Commentary
  • Syriac Peshito (Murdock) version of the New Testament
  • Talmud, Midrash Rabbah, Zohar, and other Jewish source material

The King James version will be the primary text presented in this study for no other reason than it is popular and well-recognized. If another version is used, it will be cited. In each section, the text of the chapter will be shown in full, followed by commentary on selected verses. In some cases there may be multiple verses that are not discussed. In others, a single verse (or even a single word) may merit a great deal of study.

The purpose of this study is not to repeat what has already been presented in other works. Rather, we hope to bring fresh insight into the Scriptures from a Torah-based perspective.

Before starting on chapter one, please read the following introductory material:

Following this preliminary information, we have divided the study into ten sections:

  1. Section I – chapters 1-4 - Introduction to Messiah
  2. Section II – chapters 5-7 - A Midrash on Torah Observance
  3. Section III – chapters 8-9 - Messiah’s Miracles
  4. Section IV – chapters 10-12 - Messiah’s Teachings
  5. Section V – chapter 13 - the Kingdom Parables
  6. Section VI – chapters 14-17 - Teachings and Miracles
  7. Section VII – chapters 18-20 - Teachings on the Kingdom
  8. Section VIII – chapters 21-23 - Reproof and Rebuke
  9. Section IX – chapters 24-25 - Teachings on the End Times
  10. Section X – chapters 26-28 - Conclusion of Earthly Ministry

You are encouraged to follow along, to submit ideas and to ask questions.


RETURN TO THE STUDIES INDEX PAGE  |   GO TO THE YASHANET HOME PAGE