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“JEWISH HISTORY AND THE DEITY OF YESHUA”.doc

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									                   “JEWISH HISTORY AND THE DEITY OF YESHUA”
                                  Elliot Klayman

                            A Response by Barry R. Leventhal, Ph.D.


        Generally speaking, Elliot Klayman’s paper on “Jewish History and the Deity of

Yeshua” is a fine historical survey of the subject at hand. Klayman’s basic outline is as

follows:1

          I.     An Introduction: Defining the Questions
         II.     The Monotheistic Understanding and Adherence among First Century
                 Jews
        III.     The Origins of the Deity of Yeshua
        IV.      The Evidence That the Disciples Recognized Yeshua as Deity
         V.      The Pre-Conditioning Aspects Contributing to Acceptance of Yeshua’s
                 Deity
        VI.      The Precipitating Cause of the “Turn”: The Resurrection and Post-
                 Resurrection Appearances
       VII.      The Contributing Causes to the Widening Schism throughout the Ages
                 Concerning the Deity of Yeshua
      VIII.      The Positive Recent Events That May Once Again Precondition Jewish
                 People to the Deityship [sic] of Messiah
        IX.      A Tentative Conclusion to the Matter.

        Having laid out Elliot Klayman’s outline of his essay on “Jewish History and the
Deity of Yeshua,” I will first describe some opening points of support on his essay, then
some concerns about his essay, and then finally, what I believe are the solutions at hand
on this timely subject.

                                          Opening Support

        Klayman is to be supported in many of his points, including the following four

matters dealing with Yeshua’s deity: The Historical Survey, The Disciples’ Recognition,

The Pre-Conditioning Aspects, and The Precipitating Cause.

                                        The Historical Survey




        1
         In my survey of Klayman’s basic outline, I have made the appropriate formatting corrections that
were required.
                                                                                                            2


         As mentioned above, Klayman’s historical survey of the Jewish people and the

deity of Yeshua is basically accurate. For the most part, he draws from reputable

scholarly sources to document his findings.2 Further, Klayman’s outline of his subject is

logical, balanced, and well argued.

                                      The Disciples’ Recognition

         Likewise, Klayman’s argument that the Lord Yeshua’s first disciples recognized

Him as God from the beginning is to the point, especially in regard to their recognition of

His divine honors, attributes, names, deeds, and seat (pp. 6-9).

         Of course this is in contrast to the often heard liberal argument that it was not

until the fourth century (and following) that the Gentile church councils formulated the

doctrine of the deity of Jesus. Since the deity of Yeshua is defined by His very nature and

not by some humanly devised council, it is better to affirm, as Hannah does, that

“Christianity was a Christ-centered faith right from the start. ‘Jesus is Lord’ was the

earliest, most basic confession. But that confession leaves unanswered some important

questions, and so over time the church’s thinkers worked out a sophisticated

understanding of the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ.”3

                                    The Pre-Conditioning Aspects

         Klayman also described four ancient Jewish concepts, each predating the first

century, which laid the mental and theological framework for the deity of Yeshua, at least

in the minds of His early Jewish disciples: hocham (wisdom), memra (logos), shekhina


         2
         For example (with appropriate spelling corrections to Klayman’s essay), H. H. Ben-Sasson, O.
Skarsuane, L. Hurtado, R. Bauckham, G. Boyd, P. Eddy, R. Bowman, E. Komoszewski, P. Copan, D.
Bock, M. Brown, A. Fruchtenbaum, G. Scholem, etc.
         3
         John D. Hannah, Our Legacy: The History of Christian Doctrine (Colorado Springs: NavPress,
2001), 111. For the apostolic affirmations of “Jesus is Lord,” see Acts 2:36; 4:33; 7:59-60; 19:5, 17; 20:21,
24, 35; Rom. 1:1-7; etc.
                                                                                                      3


([God’s] glory), and Malach Adonai (a theophany of the Angel of the Lord) [pp. 9-19]. In

a certain sense, these four Jewish concepts prepared the way for the coming of the divine

Messiah. In other words, the coming of the Lord Yeshua did not happen in a theological

vacuum. God went ahead of His incarnated Son in partial, but nevertheless real,

manifestations.

                                      The Precipitating Cause

        More specifically, Klayman is correct in recognizing that the precipitating cause

of the disciples’ belief in Yeshua’s deity, what he calls “The Turn,” was Yeshua’s

resurrection and post-resurrection appearances to His disciples (pp. 19-21).4 Of course,

the preaching of the Lord Yeshua’s resurrection was actually the first precipitating factor

in the eventual split between the early messianic believers and the Jewish community.

First, the apostles were merely warned not to preach the resurrection of Yeshua (Acts

4:1-22ff.). Next the apostles were flogged and once again ordered not to preach the

resurrection of Yeshua (Acts 5:27-42). And finally, when the Jewish leadership was

“unable to deal with Stephen’s wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking” (Acts

6:10), they ordered him to appear before the Sanhedrin Council, in a mock trial based on

trumped-up charges, like the Lord Yeshua’s trial (Luke 23:2, 14; Acts 6:11—7:1).

        4
          On the apologetic value of proclaiming the absolutely unique resurrection of the Messiah,
especially from a Jewish perspective, see my “Why I Believe Jesus Is the Promised Messiah,” in Why I Am
a Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe, rev. ed., ed. Norman L. Geisler and Paul K.
Hoffman (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2001, 2006), 221-38; as well as my “The Holocaust and the Sacred
Romance: A Return to the Divine Reality (Implications for Jewish Evangelism),” in To the Jew First: The
Case for Jewish Evangelism in Scripture and History, ed. Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser (Grand Rapids:
Kregel Academic and Professional, 2008), 122-54; also Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have
Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004), esp. 327-54 (based on my testimony);
William Lane Craig, The Son Rises: The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (Eugene, OR:
Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2000); Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life
of Christ (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Co., 1996); Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The
Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2004); William Proctor, The
Resurrection Report (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998); and Lee Strobel, The Case for
Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998),
255-367.
                                                                                              4


Stephen’s defense proved to be his first and last, for he was stoned to death as the first

messianic martyr (Acts 7:2-60). Luke, the first messianic historian, described Stephen’s

death in messianic terms. Like the Lord Yeshua, he preached his last messianic sermon to

the same Jewish leadership (Luke 22:63—23:33 Acts 7:2-56). And like the Lord Yeshua,

he died a messianic death, praying for himself and for his enemies (Luke 23:34, 46; Acts

7:59-60). From this point on, Jerusalem, with its Jewish leadership, will be left behind for

its rightly deserved judgment, what we know in retrospect as A.D. 70 and the Roman

destruction of the city and the temple (cf. Luke 13:34-35; 19:41-44; 21:20-24; 23:26-31;

Acts 2:40; 3:23; etc.).

                                      Some Concerns

       Having described some opening points of support on Klayman’s essay, I will now

lay out some of my concerns about his essay, actually three major concerns. I believe

Klayman has sidestepped the major issue in Jewish unbelief in Yeshua’s deity, be it in the

first century, throughout church history, or in our own day as well. In order to do this, I

will let Scripture itself describe the heart of the matter in regard our Jewish people’s

rejection of Yeshua’s deity. Indeed, the Holy Scriptures speak of a threefold reason for

the Jewish rejection of the Lord Yeshua’s deity: Jewish unbelief, Jewish blindness, and

Jewish hardening.

                                      Jewish Unbelief

       First, the problem of Yeshua’s deity and the unbelieving Jewish community is not

related to the non-Jewish way(s) in which the historic Church has preached or

“christianized” Yeshua’s uniqueness or, for that matter, some kind of Gentile or Greek
                                                                                                             5


theological creedal statement (like the Nicene formula, etc.).5 We could throw up other

reasons why we think our Jewish people have rejected Yeshua’s deity, but the fact

remains, it has been, as it is now, Jewish unbelief that has brought on our people God’s

judgment, just as it is for all unbelievers:

         (16) For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
         whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (17) For God did
         not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be
         saved through Him. (18) He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not
         believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the
         only begotten Son of God. (19) This is the judgment, that the Light has come into
         the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were
         evil (John 3:16-19, NASB).6

         And it must be remembered that the Lord’s words here were not addressed to

some pagan Gentile, but to one of the most theologically articulate Jews of his day,

Nicodemus, “the teacher of Israel” (3:1, 10). I doubt we could find anyone today equal to

this rabbi’s theological stature. And yet, even Nicodemus needed to believe and to

therefore be born again (3:2-15)!

         Further, Jewish unbelief is not bound up with theological ignorance, but with

personal volition. Our Lord’s words went right to the heart of the matter. When Yeshua

described the coming judgment on Jerusalem for Israel’s national rejection of His

messiahship, His lament over the capital of our nation sounded forth down through the

centuries with these verbal tears:

         (37) “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent
         to her! How I often wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen
         gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. (38) Behold, your

         5
          Of course, that is not to say that we, as messianic believers and theologians, do not have the right
and the responsibility to restate or redefine Yeshua’s deity in our own Hebraic wording and in light of our
Jewish people’s theological sensitivities.
         6
        All scriptural references from this point, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the New
American Standard Bible.
                                                                                              6


       house [the temple] is being left to you desolate! (39) For I say to you, from now
       on you will not see7 Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of
       the LORD!’” (Matt. 23:37-39; cf. Luke 13:34-35).

       Our Lord in no uncertain terms, with a play-on-words of the verb “to want,”8 laid

the fault at the volitional choice of our people: He “wanted” to intimately gather us to

Himself, but we “did not want” Him as our own (cf. John 1:10-13). Throughout the

earliest preaching of the gospel to our people, the end result, for the most part, was, “We

don’t want Him!” Stephan’s martyrdom was regularly played out, if not in act, certainly

in attitude, both in the land of Israel (Acts 4—7; 9; 12; 21:15—25: 11) and in the

Diaspora (cf. Acts 9:19-25; 13:44-52; 14:1-7, 19-20; 17:1-17; 18:1-28; 28:16-31).

                                         Jewish Blindness

       Second, what the Bible describes as Jewish unbelief, is also described as Jewish

blindness. For example, Paul’s own blindness was prototypical of Israel’s blindness (Acts

9:1-22). Likewise, what is described of Paul’s blindness in a positive sense (that he

became a believer), is also described in a negative sense of a Jewish magician, a false

prophet named Bar-Jesus [a false “son of Jesus”], also named Elymas [“Sorcerer”] (Acts

13:4-12; cf. Rom. 2:19).

       It was the apostle Paul himself who described this Jewish blindness with words

full of insight and pathos:

       (12) Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, (13) and
       are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel
       would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. (14) But their minds
       were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same
       veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in the Messiah. (15) But to this day
       whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; (16) but whenever a person
       turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (17) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and

       7
        An emphatic double negative [ou mē], “you will in no way see Me until . . .”
       8
        The Greek verbal word play is thelō: “to want, wish, desire.”
                                                                                                         7


       where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (18) But we all, with unveiled face,
       beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the
       same glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (1) Therefore, since we have this
       ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, (2) but we have renounced
       the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the
       word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every
       man’s conscience in the sight of God. (3) And even if our gospel is veiled, it is
       veiled to those who are perishing, (4) in whose case the god of this world has
       blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the
       gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (5) For we do not preach
       ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bondservants for Jesus’
       sake. (6) For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who
       has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in
       the face of the Messiah (2 Cor. 3:12—4:6).

       In a certain sense, Jewish blindness is mirrored in Gentile blindness as well

(compare the veil in 3:14-16 with the veiling in 4:3-4). For the blinded, unbelieving

Jewish person the veil is removed when he “turns to the Lord” [the Messiah] (3:14-16).9

For the blinded, unbelieving Gentile the veiling is removed when he hears and believes

the gospel preached and commended to his conscience (4:2-5). In both cases, when the

blinded Jew and the blinded Gentile turn to the Lord and believe the gospel, they begin a

journey of personal liberty, messianic transformation, and spiritual intimacy with God—a

journey into the very “Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of the

Messiah.”

                                         Jewish Hardening

       And third, Jewish unbelief and Jewish blindness both yield to the more difficult

judgment of “hardening.” Again, it was the apostle Paul who delineated this concept:

       (5) In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant
       according to God’s gracious choice. (6) But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the
       basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. (7) What then? What Israel is
       seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest
       were hardened; (8) just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to
       see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day” [Deut. 29:4; Isa. 29:10]. (9)
       9
        This “turning to the Lord” is an expression reflecting the Hebrew form of “repentance” (shuv).
                                                                                                        8


        And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, and a stumbling
        block and a retribution to them. (10) Let their eyes be darkened to see not, and
        bend their backs forever” (Rom. 11:5-10).

        The divine “hardening” Paul speaks about clearly merges with the divine

judgment of blindness and deafness (Rom. 11:8, 10; cf. 2 Cor. 3:14). But, of course,

while this was true of all of us in our unbelieving condition, the grace of God has

triumphed over judgment, for there is a believing Jewish remnant (Rom. 11:5-6; cf. 9:27-

29; also 5:20-21; James 2:12-13). As long as Israel continues to pursue a works-

righteousness (a self-righteousness), rather than a faith-righteousness, she will stumble

over the messianic stumbling stone and will continue to be condemned under the just

judgment of a holy and righteous God (cf. Rom. 9:30-33; 10:5-7, 21; Matt. 23:1-39ff.; 1

Thess. 2:13-16; etc.).

        In sum, our Jewish people have not only wandered away from their own

Scriptures that clearly predict both the divine and human natures of the Messiah (Isa. 9:6-

7),10 but also, through their continued unbelief, they have placed themselves under the

just judgment of God, a judgment reserved for all who reject the good news of the gospel.

In speaking of the Jewish Scriptures that our people have so distorted, the Lord Yeshua

made it abundantly clear that they spoke of Him. He affirmed this when He concluded

one of His most famous stories, “The Rich Man and Lazarus” (Luke 16:19-31). He closed

with these haunting words, “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the

Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead’” (Luke 16:31;

cf. 6:20-25). In the final analysis, the major problem with our Jewish people is not with


        10
          On the anti-divine, messianic accentuation in the Masoretic text of Isaiah 9:6; see John H.
Sailhamer, Introduction to Old Testament Theology: A Canonical Approach (Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Publishing House, 1995), 204-05, 218-24, esp. 221; also Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the
Prophecies of Isaiah (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., repr. 1969), 1:249.
                                                                                             9


the deity of Yeshua per se. Rather, their major problem is with Moses and the Prophets,

for they both speak clearly and definitively about the Lord Yeshua (cf. Luke 24:44-48;

John 5:39-47; etc.). That is why the Lord Yeshua could say to the Jewish leaders of His

own day, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going,

you cannot come. . . . Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you

believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:21, 24).

       In fact, our Jewish people do not even worship the same God of the Scriptures,

including their own Hebrew Bible. For the Messiah Himself made this startling claim,

“He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23b).

That is why the Son also made this further staggering claim, “I am the way, and the truth,

and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6; cf. Acts 4:12; 1

Tim. 2:3-6). Yeshua’s first followers were so convinced of these claims, that they could

make similar claims, “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who

confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23). “Anyone who goes too far and does

not abide in the teaching of the Messiah, does not have God; the one who abides in the

teaching, he has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). In other words, one’s

relationship to the Son determines His relationship to the Father, the only true God of the

Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua (cf. Eph. 1:3; etc.).

                                           Conclusion

       So what is the ultimate solution for this total disconnect between the deity of

Yeshua and the Jewish community? I am not convinced that Klayman’s naïve solutions

are valid, especially his references to specific bibliographic texts.11 I would rather see

those of us who claim to be messianic believers (the current believing remnant of Israel),
       11
         See pages 30-35 of Klayman’s essay. On his recommended texts, see pages 32-33.
                                                                                                       10


along with those in messianic missions and congregations pursue the following four

steps.

         First, since the problems described above12 are confirmed by the Lord Yeshua’s

words in John 16:7-11 (i.e., the problems of sin, righteousness, and judgment), we must

trust the Holy Spirit to “convict the world” regarding these core human issues. The

“convicting” work of the Spirit is vital to any kind of apologetic and evangelistic

outreach to our Jewish friends and family members.13 Whatever resources or strategies

we use, we must rest assured that they will ultimately fail if the Holy Spirit is not at work

in “convicting the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”

         Second, since any genuine witness concerning the deity of Yeshua and the Jewish

community is dependent upon the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, we must devote

ourselves to concerted prayer. The only time that the New Testament letters record that

the apostle Paul prayed for unbelievers, it is for his Jewish brothers and sisters:

         Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them [i.e., our Jewish
         people] is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for
         God, but not in accordance with [full] knowledge. For not knowing about God’s
         righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves
         to the righteousness of God. For the Messiah is the end [i.e., goal] of the law for
         righteousness to everyone who believes (Rom. 10:1-4; cf. Col. 4:2-6; Acts 4:23-31
         [the only extended prayer in the Book of Acts]; etc.).

         Prayer and even fasting are absolutely fundamental to any kind of messianic

witness, especially for our Jewish friends and family members.




         12
           See the pages 4-9 above of my response.
         13
           Rogers and Rogers explain this “convicting” work of the Holy Spirit in the following words:
[elegchō:] “to expose, to convict, to cross-examine for the purpose of convincing or refuting an opponent;
especially used of legal proceedings” (Cleon L. Rogers Jr. and Cleon L. Rogers III, The New Linguistic and
Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998], 219).
                                                                                              11


       Third, for our prayers to be effective, they must be fortified by a renewed

commitment to sacrificial love and service toward our Jewish brothers and sisters. Again,

it was the apostle Paul who articulated this commitment so well:

       I am telling the truth in the Messiah, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with
       me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.
       For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from the Messiah for the
       sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, . . .
       (Rom. 9:1-4a).

       For most of us Paul’s statement seems like a radical overstatement; that, if it were

possible (and of course, it is not), he would actually be willing to go to hell forever for

the sake of his Jewish brothers and sisters! Of course, this is a corollary to the Lord

Yeshua radical New Covenant command, “A new commandment I give to you, that you

love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all

men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-

35). Not only did the Lord command this, but He also prayed for it as well in His high

priestly prayer, “I do not ask on behalf of these [apostles] alone, but for those also who

believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in

Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent

Me” (John 17:20-21). This was the living apologetic that so transformed the early

messianic community, as well as impressing the unbelieving world (cf. Acts 2:41-47;

4:32-37; 11:19-30; 2 Cor. 16:1-4; 8:1—9:15; 1 Tim. 6:6-10, 17-19; etc.).

       And fourth, if we are going to make an impact on the Jewish community, be it in

regard to Yeshua’s deity or in regard to any other of His messianic claims, we must

recommit ourselves to a loving boldness. This is what the New Covenant is supposed to
                                                                                                       12


be about: a boldness that is Holy Spirit motivated and energized, in a context of

sacrificial ministry (cf. 2 Cor. 3:1—4:12).

       This is the kind of boldness for which the early messianic believers prayed and

God answered their prayer in such a dramatic way that their whole lives and witness were

shook to the very core, even in the face of the worst kinds of rejection and persecution,

“‘And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak

Your word with all confidence, . . .’ And when they had prayed, the place where they had

gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to

speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29, 31).14 In the spiritual warfare of his

own day, the apostle Paul made boldness one of his primary prayer requests, “With all

prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert

with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance

may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the

mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I

may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Eph. 6:18-20).

       We must never, under any circumstances, surrender our messianic calling to be a

witness to our Jewish people (cf. Rom. 1:14-16). The apostle Paul’s messianic

commitment is contained in his three “I am’s” of Romans 1:14-16: (1) his motive for

messianic ministry: obligation, “For I am under obligation both to Greeks and to

barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish”; (2) his medium for messianic ministry:

preaching, “So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in

Rome”; and (3) his message for messianic ministry: the gospel, “For I am not ashamed of


       14
         See also Acts 4:13; 9:23-30; 13:44-52; 14:1-7; 18:24-28; 19:8-10; Phil. 1:12-21; 1 Thess. 2:1-2;
etc.
                                                                                                      13


the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew

first and also to the Greek.” The great apostle committed his life and ministry to this end,

and in the end, he gave his life for it as well (cf. 2 Tim. 4:5-8).

        We must never camouflage, sidestep, or soft peddle the gospel behind any kind of

smoke screen, especially for some kind of reacceptance into the Jewish community. We

must always face the real issues head on, especially the deity of Yeshua, never

compromising the gospel. For only the true gospel, which we declare with a loving

boldness, can demolish the real barriers and bring about real transformation (cf. 2 Cor.

10:1-6). We must never be accused of what some of the early messianic believers were

found guilty, “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in [Yeshua], but because of

the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the

synagogue; for they loved the approval men rather than the approval of God” (John

12:42-43).15

        Like our forefather Moses, we are not fear-driven—we are faith-driven (cf. Heb.

11:24-28). No wonder that the apostle Paul’s commitment to the saving gospel of grace

so puts us to shame, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving

to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of the

Messiah” (Gal. 1:10). This same kind of commitment also grounded Paul’s messianic,

ministry teams, “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the

gospel, so we speak not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts” (1 Thess.

2:4).

        So in concluding, rather than recommending Klayman’s list of so-called


        15
          The Greek of John 12:43 reads, “for they loved [agapaō] the glory [doxa] of men rather than the
glory [doxa] of God.”
                                                                                       14


“Scholarly Pursuits,” which for the most part seem compromising, I would recommend

the following list:


Brown, Michael L. Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus. 5 Volumes. Grand Rapids:
      Baker Books, 2000-2010.

______. What Do Jewish People Think about Jesus? And Other Questions Christians Ask
      about Jewish Beliefs, Practices and History. Grand Rapids: Chosen Books, 2007.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Jesus Was a Jew. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press, 1981.

Goldberg, Louis. Our Jewish Friends. Rev. ed. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1977,
      1983.

Jocz, Jakob. The Jewish People and Jesus Christ: The Relationship between Church and
        Synagogue, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1949, 1979.

______. The Jewish People and Jesus Christ after Auschwitz: A Study in the Controversy
      between Church and Synagogue, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House,
      1949, 1979.

Kac, Arthur, ed. The Messiahship of Jesus: Are Jews Changing Their Attitude Toward
       Jesus? Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980.

Robinson, Richard A., ed. God, Torah, and Messiah: The Messianic Theology of Dr.
      Louis Goldberg. San Francisco: Purple Pomegranate Productions, 2009.

To the Jew First: The Case for Jewish Evangelism in Scripture and History. Edited by
       Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic and
       Professional, 2008.
                                                                                         15


                                        Addendum

        In light of a few negative (aggressive) responses to my response to Elliot’s paper,
it seems appropriate for me to add this addendum. I guess being attacked as “an
evangelical” is a kind of backhanded compliment. After all, doesn’t being an evangelical
mean one is committed to “the evangel,” or the “good news”? If so, than I have been
proven guilty on all accounts. So let it be written, so let it be done!
        But more to the point, after reviewing the Bible’s portrayal of the final judgment
of all unbelievers (John 5:22-30; Thess. 1:5-12; Rev. 20:11-15; etc.), I noticed once again
a few shocking realities, First, in each and every passage dealing with this final judgment
of nonbelievers, there is no mention of any distinction between Jews and Gentiles.
Second, there is no mention of Nicaea, the Council of Nicaea, or the Nicene Creed.
Third, there is no mention of anti-Semitism. In fact, there are no excuses at all, no “buts”
whatsoever. You know, “But Lord, you know how the Church treated me!” “But Lord,
you know how anti-Semitic the Church has always been!” But Lord, you know how the
Church destroyed Your Hebraic way of explaining things, by their whole way
Hellenizing the truth!” “But Lord, . . !” “But Lord, . . !” “But . . !” “But . . !”
        But on the other hand, the Lord’s sobering words will be, “Show Me your
works!” “Show Me your works!” “But your name is not written in the Lamb’s book of
life!” “But you never believed!”
        So maybe some of us are missing the point all together. Rather than debating over
how much of the gospel we can leave out and still be accepted back into the Jewish
community, maybe we ought to be out sharing the good news with the lost, especially our
lost Jewish loved ones. Maybe we ought to be on our knees, addressing our prayers to
God for our Jewish people, rather than standing toe to toe arguing over how pitiful a
condition the so-called Church has left for us. Maybe we can agree, at a minimum, on
this divine calling, a calling that I had always assumed was also for the messianic
community. What do you think?
        And finally, please forgive me for using the Bible, the Holy Scriptures. I had
assumed that the Word of God was our final authority for truth and life, even in the
messianic community. Maybe I made a mistake about this. What do you think?

								
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