Installment 20

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In my journal, I continued my contemplation about ministry and what that meant. I continued praying for others, keeping their specific requests in my prayers. I kept meditating and praying about the direction of my life.

Mary continued having her dreams, like in one dream were her VW Passat rolled down a hill and ran into another vehicle. That never happened. Dreams are weird, and I can’t quite figure them out. But the Passat did develop an exhaust leak that was fixed under warranty. It was fixed under a warranty that was provided by the seller, because of the way they had it certified pre-owned. Talk about a blessing.

Back in Installment 17, I wrote that Mary and I thought that November 11 would hold something for us. Well, I didn’t make notes on that particular day, because she and I were at two different events. She went one direction. I went another, finding myself down on the south side of San Antonio.

I wrote the following on November 14, 2011:

I really wanted to write about these things as they happened, but perhaps it is best that it is now Monday, and I have had time [to reflect].

Ok here’s the deal. At some point, I don’t recall when, and I don’t feel like looking up the date right now, but Mary had a dream about eleven eleven, we took it to mean that on November 11, 2011 God would help us know something. …

…Mary learned that [a church] was holding a meeting about healing and she felt that since it started Friday night November 11 that she was to go to the event, and she did.

As for me, I was uncertain what November 11 meant in application for me. So, I just felt like I had to watch for indications (signs, if one will) about what to do. …

Friday November 11 arrived, so I watched. …

So Friday, I went home for lunch. And I looked to see if [my minister friend] had sent me an email. He did. I don’t know how, but I just knew that [he] would contact me on November 11. …[T]he big deal is that he received an email about Jewish believers early that morning November 11. He said… that when he saw [the email] he thought of me, so he sent it to me. …

So I did some research on that email and began thinking and wondering what it is about the Jewish believers that God wants of me in that setting. So Mary went to [that Friday night event] and the kids and I went to [the Messianic Synagogue]. I still did not know what to expect, but I kept my mind open and wanted to be alert to events.

That very evening, and it felt like [the Synagogue’s lead Rabbi] changed his mind about preaching during the praise time, he eventually announced that there was a guest speaker. So my mind stirred wondering if this was it. It wasn’t, but it was one of several steps that I needed to get to my destination.

The guest was [a lead spokesman] from Promise Keepers. His presentation was to pique our curiosity about the PK Israel event to be held [in south San Antonio]. He spoke about how PK grew and grew, but when they reached out to the Messianic Believers, PK numbers dropped. [PK was] warned about this from a Messianic Rabbi [not the Rabbi of this Messianic Synagogue], but PK believed that God wanted them to reach out to the Jewish believers.

So I went home uncertain about Saturday morning, but told Mary about the events of Friday evening. Woke up Saturday still not convinced I was to go. But as Mary was about to leave for [her event] I asked for the VW just in case. She left, and shortly after I started getting ready. I left just before 9am… .

[When I arrived the] speaker was talking about repentance…. But the presentation did not seem [to be] aimed at me. The next presenter, I believe, was the [spokesman I saw Friday night], I listened but did not feel that he presented anything new to me. But I felt like I was to talk with the [lead spokesman].

Just as I had done Friday night, I tried to get to where I could talk to the [lead spokesman], but it did not happen. So, I took it to mean that I was not to talk with him.

Lunch came/went. Somewhere in there, I sent Mary a text message sharing with her that I was wondering why I was there. She… encouraged me to hang out until the end and to see if I would find out. So I did.

So I observed another lesson…. But the final presentation was by [a Messianic] Rabbi…. There were two major things that I observed with his presentation. The listeners’ response to the deplorable attitude and actions of the Gentile church to the Jewish believers. … The second major thing that I observed was how much I felt like I identified with the Jew. He discussed [several things about his life], but his parents were more concerned about his faith in Yeshua than anything else. … [H]e was ostracized and basically hated because he believed in Yeshua. But the kicker was when he told a Christian he was a Jew, and the Christian responded, “No! You are no longer a Jew. You are a Christian.” He was rejected by his family and [his] faith. This hit home. My own journey resounded similar.

I sat in the balcony the entire time, but I made my way to the auditorium. This was the first time I had made my presence known in the auditorium proper. As I was in there, another Jewish believer asked one of the Promise Keeper officials if he would stay with the Jewish believer even if it cost him his life. He accepted a Yellow Davidic Star [sticker] and said, “Yes.”

The Yellow Davidic Star has been reassigned to a new duty with this event. The Yellow Davidic Star was used [in WW2] to assign the Jews to the concentration camps and the gas chambers. Talk about heart rending.

The PK official then asked all the Jewish believers to come down and stand in front of the stage. There must have been 20 or 30 Jewish believers there. The officials then asked the [believing] Gentiles who would stand with the Jewish believer, to stand, come down and state it to [a] Jewish believer. Many went, but on the side of the auditorium I was on, I was the first to reach a [Jewish] brother and told him I would stand with him. He then gave me a star [sticker].

As the auditorium moved forward to do the same, I was handed a stack of Yellow Davidic Star stickers, and I was encouraged to hand them out. I didn’t feel right to do so, but I handed out two or three and then turned to the Jewish brother I spoke to, and told him I can’t steal his glory, and then made my way to the back of the auditorium.

All I can tell myself and others is that I have never been to an event like this. Even during the event, preachers asked the church to commit to Bible study, to listen to their pastors, but I felt no need to comment to those things. I have been to other church events, come forward for this, come forward for that, I have never accepted, submitted to any request [like this]. …

Afterwards, I went [outside]… and cried pretty heartily….

That event affected me in ways that is difficult to adequately express. I know that there is a tremendous argument about the Law of Moses and its role, if any, in the church.

But here is fact, absolute historical fact, the first believers were Jewish men and women. As the church made its way into what the Jews call the Diaspora, the Gentile believers wrestled greatly not only with the Law of Moses but also with the traditions and customs of the Jewish believers.

But there is another fact. The Jewish believers called a church council (Acts 15). That all Jewish council determined, with Holy Spirit approval, that the Gentile believers do not have to be circumcised or “keep” the Law of Moses to be saved.

Those Jewish believers reasoned that the Jews and the Gentiles both are saved by faith (Acts 15.7-9). So that is where salvation is the same for both Jew and Gentile. Yet a truth remains – God never told the Jews to stop being Jewish and God never told the Gentiles to stop being Gentiles.

The Jewish Council placed only four requirements on the Gentile believers (Acts 15.20) which was written in a letter to the Gentiles (Acts 15.23-29). But there was one other understood stipulation – the Gentiles were to continue studying and learning from the Law of Moses (Acts 15.21).

So here is the interesting thing. The earliest Gentile believers gathered with the Jewish believers in synagogues and studied from the Law of Moses (e.g. Acts 14.1, 15.21, 17.1-4, 18.1-4). That is a historical fact long forgotten by many.

I am not here to completely resolve the tension that exists, but those are the pages of the New Testament, and those NT pages never command a Jew is to forsake the Law of Moses nor do those NT pages command a Jew to forsake their customs. Yet, it is commonly taught that the Apostle Paul affirmed the annulment of the Law of Moses. HOWEVER, the pages of Acts do not support such a claim.

Consider that James, the brother of Jesus, is recorded as telling Paul that thousands of Jews believed in Jesus *and* were zealous of the Law of Moses, but those Jews had been improperly informed about Paul teaching all Jews to forsake Moses.

As such, James ordered (take note of that, a non-apostle ORDERED) an apostle to make a vow and perform a ceremony at the Temple to *prove* that Paul followed the Law of Moses walking orderly, all in order to prove that Paul obeyed the Law of Moses, even though he preached Jesus to the Gentiles.

Doubt me? Read Acts 21.17-25.

That passage is unmistakably clear, the Jews were never told to forsake Moses, and the Gentiles were never told to do those things, in essence the Gentiles “observe no such thing” regarding the Law of Moses.

The pages of the NT confirm this. I will not deny it. No more than I would expect myself to deny my Savior.

Years prior to the PK Israel event, I had learned of these truths, and those NT truths are part of the reason I stopped preaching, because the church didn’t want to hear that truth. But it was not until I participated in that PK Israel event that I saw and felt the damage and the hurtful practices that believers have done to Jews who want to believe.

Jesus teaches us to love others. To love the Jewish believers means not only permitting them, but encouraging them to be faithful to the Law of Moses, in Messiah Yeshua [Jesus]. Yes, debates will continue about the Law of Moses and to what extent. So what! It doesn’t matter, especially when the passage of Acts 21 confirms that Jews are not required to forsake Moses.

While I cannot change the history of the church, I can change my part of history in the church. PK Israel, the event where I locked arms of brotherhood with my fellow Jewish believers. I will forever support them.

Blessings and Shalom

2016.02.23

P.S. NOTE for further information regarding some of my 2011 thoughts regarding the relationship of the Law of Moses to the New Covenant, please see Installment 20 Appendix: Theology, which contains several journal entries that I recorded during the days that followed the PK Israel event.

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