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Hazak haYad: “Strengthen the Hand”

"It was as natural for Jews to construct a law-code on the basis of the indications given in the Pentateuch as it was for Christians to devise systematic theological statements in the Bible; both efforts refused to recognize that God could have done the work far better Himself, if that had been His purpose."

[H.L. Ellison, The Message of the Old Testament, p. 39]

This folder has materials of special interest to Messianic believers and disciples — that is, for Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Yeshua haMashiach.

The Hebrew phrase "strengthen the hand" is a metaphor for encouraging someone. It means giving them hope to carry on by raising their eyes on High, which gives enabling power to their weak feet, knees, hands, and spirits.

When Jonathan's father, Saul, was trying to kill David, Jonathan went to David and "encouraged him in God" [yechazzeq et yado bElohim] — literally, he strengthened his hand (1 Sam 23:16). It helped greatly. Later on "David strengthened himself in the LORD his God" [yitchazzeq bAdonai elohayv] (1 Sam 30:6).

Strength, when received, can and needs to be given to others.

As Was Their Custom: The Jewish Disciples in Scripture
This 7-part article provides that Yeshua's Jewish disciples retained their spiritual heritage with the Hebrew ancestors and with the Hebrew Scriptures. [4 HTML pages]

How Jewish is the Trinity? A Critique of a Messianic Document
This article answers a study written decades ago by Arnold Fruchtenbaum. [7 PDF pages]

Israeli Jews Say Yes to Yeshua
YouTube links to video life witness. [1 HTML page]

Kabbalah's Best Kept Secret?
Originally published by Jews For Jesus, this article is provided as an example of how ancient mystical, gnostic, or occultic Jewish materials are being misused by some Messianic Jewish scholars. [7 PDF pages]

A Messianic Kiddush
A Shabbat blessing that incorporates the traditional Kiddush with acknowledgment that Yeshua is the Light and Bread from God. (Contains Hebrew text, transliteration and English translation.) [2 HTML pages]

Messianic Shemas
Messianic believers need legitimate biblical summaries of their faith. Israel has long used the Shema of Deuteronomy 6 as her banner of faith. But the Shema is not "Messianic." It says nothing about the Messiah Yeshua. The NT contains passages which could be used as affirmations that link him to the faith of ancient Israel. This page lists six of them for consideration. [1 HTML page]

Messianics, Scripture and the Trinity
This long article frankly discusses what the real issues are. [14 HTML pages]

Modern Messianic Creeds
These excerpts from the creedal statements of several major Messianic organizations reveal their adherence to traditional orthodox (catholic) theology. [5 HTML pages]

The Myth of Jewish Rejection of Jesus
Israel was of divided, not one-sided, opinion about Jesus in his day. Thousands believed in him. The great historical myth of total Jewish Rejection is dismantled by the NT. And there are two prophecies in Isaiah that foretold the whole story. [8 HTML pages]

On the Floor Between Two Chairs (A Spiritual Journey)
How Paul Sumner left alien lands and traveled for the Hebrew Homeland and arrived at the place of waiting for "the City to come." [7 HTML pages]

Re-enthroning God, the Father
The God and Father of Yeshua is inextricably tied to the revelation of his Son Messiah. But too often in Christian teaching, the Av is eclipsed. This study focuses on restoring his place of honor. [7 HTML pages]

Messianic Realties

Messianic believers live in-between — between two worlds.

Their soul is pulled in opposite directions. One leads toward the peacefulness and enriching fellowship of Yeshua’s disciples, whether they’re Jewish or Gentile. The other is toward the familiar and deep homeyness of Jewish culture and ancient piety in which Yeshua grew up.

It’s tough living in-between. You experience the same discrimination, fears and hardships that each group experiences. When Christians are targets, you are a target; when Jews and Israelis are targets, you are not spared.

Painfully, the Christian and Jewish communities (there are exceptions) won't allow you to seek common refuge among them from all these spiritual and material wars. They''ll tolerate your presence, for a time. But you aren’t really one of their group. You’re an alien, a ger, a meshumad. You should go somewhere else.

But God created us all for kehilah, koinonia, community.

It is not good for any man or woman to be alone on this earth. We need people who understand our worldview, our sorrows and joys, who can pray with us, and who will welcome us to their table. We need intellectual and spiritual stimulation. target=_blank of us can go without a full of spectrum of food.

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Given these realities, there’s need for a place to write openly about insights, topics, and controversies that can’t be discussed elsewhere — without having to translate everything into the dee-cee (doctrinally correct) dialects of denominational churchanity or the code words used to conceal one’s identity in the shul or JCC.

We also need to move beyond lox-n-bagel parties, Israeli praise dancing, and concerts by Messianic musicians. We have urgent need to open ourselves to deep biblical truths that will erode our sandy foundations and force us to rebuild on rock.

Both the Synagogue and the Church have burdened us with centuries of misinterpretations of Scripture and filled our souls with emotional, cultural junk. Much of it has to be swept, washed, burned away, like dirt and weeds. Isn’t that what being a true disciple is about anyway? To be new people in the New Kingdom?

Messianic life is halutz life; it’s frontier work. Building spiritual kibbutzim and moshavim isn’t always safe or comfortable. It never was for Yeshua or for the first talmidim.

magen-yeshua

What we experience isn’t a new, “strange thing” (1 Peter 4:12). And of course none of it is a surprise to God. We’ll be better blessed if we remember that it’s always in the howling wilderness where God is most present. (Jeremiah described Israel’s sojourn in the Wilderness as their honeymoon with God; “I remember. . . the love of your betrothals”; 2:2.)

And out in the rocklands of the world, we ourselves can be oases for, and bridges between, people.

For we have a Message about the God who seeks and redeems human beings — Jewish or Gentile — through the One whom God sent to suffer, endure, atone, and come back to life. So that anyone who associates with the crucified Jew, the Son of Man, can be also raised with him, into fullness of life.

  1. As his followers, we can help Jews to not mistrust or hate Christians, and help them distinguish Yeshua from what Christianity has often done to the Jewish people in his name.

  2. We can help Christians by urging them to escape their denominationalism and embrace the Romans 11-Faith, which will melt their suspicion, resentment, and contempt toward Jews.

  3. We can also rescue Muslims by pointing them to the biblical Isa, the true peacemaker and sin-forgiver; the only one who is merciful to God’s enemies — including sinful, hate-filled Muslims themselves.

Of course, we also have a mandate to testify to God and to Messiah’s liberating atonement to everyone else. We keep in mind the prophecy that “people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” are invited (and many will come) into “the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah” (Revelation 5:9; 11:15).

If we accept the Scriptural charge that we are ambassadors in the Midbar to clear the way and rebuild the roads so people can return (or come for the first time) to Zion, let’s remember the Goal amid the heat and dust and isolation.

To be faithful to Messiah’s vigorous calling demands creative courage and confidence in the source of help that his first halutzim/disciples called upon in their day: “the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2 Timothy 4:17).

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