Today was the day I entered the City of Jerusalem, went into the Old City and walked around in the Jewish Quarter.
This is one of the highlights of my life, as I always wanted to visit Israel, and being in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, where David walked 3,000 years ago, was great. Of course, it looks a little different today than it did then, but the walls that David knew are still there, today. The original have had to be rebuilt, of course, and that was done in a wonderful way: by using the same rocks that the Romans left lying around when they destroyed it, which makes it look today almost exactly as it did then.
I am not surprised that the Jews won so many battles and were so tough- these streets are murder! If any of you reading this have been here, you know what I mean. Up the steps, down the steps, up the street (steeply angled street, that is) and then up the steps. I think now I really know why we say go “up” to Jerusalem- that’s the only direction there is here. Oy!
We had an interesting discussion at dinner: it started with some of the God-loving Christians (no doubt about that with this group) admitting that they never realized how poorly Christianity has been treating the Jews, the very source of their salvation. They wanted to know which is the “correct” day for the Shabbat, and do Christians need to follow the Torah, and even why don’t Jews accept Messiah Yeshua? After all, it was pointed out that God says “we” often throughout the bible. If He says we, He must mean Him and His son, Jesus-right?
I can easily answer that from a Jewish point of view- maybe God was speaking about Him and His Messiah, but even so, that doesn’t mean it was Jesus He was talking to.
Personally, I believe that God has no gender or physical presence- He is spirit, and only spirit. Any physical presence He may need, such as for talking with Abraham or saving Daniel from the lions, can be made as He needs it. And who we call His son, Jesus (or Yeshua, if you want His real name) may not be a ‘who’ but a ‘what’- a manifestation of God in the flesh, but still God, even though He was 100% human. Maybe, and I think this is the case, the whole Trinity thing is for our benefit, so that it is understandable to us 3-dimensional humans, living in a physical plane. After all, you can’t really expect someone living 5,000 years ago to understand physics, let alone metaphysics, such as String Theory, to explain how God can talk things into existence. Heck- we don’t understand that, today!
Another question was whether or not Christians are accountable for following the Torah, such as with Shabbat and the Festivals. Although Gary Cristafaro, my friend and the senior-most Pastor on the tour (and the one who organized it) was answering, he let me take this one. My answer was that the laws God gave about the festivals, as with all his laws, are for all our generations. God also said that anyone who sojourns with His people Israel (which means they live with them and accept the Jewish God as their God) must be treated the same as any other Jew. In other words, when someone connects themself to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they are sojourning with the Jews, and have all the rights under the law that the natural-born Jews have. That also means they have the same obligations and are subject to the same commandments the Jews are, as well. Therefore, any Christian who has been grafted into the tree is subject to the same laws the natural branches are subject to. Add to that the fact that Yeshua said He isn’t changing anything (Matthew 5:17), and the answer is: Christians are accountable to God, just as the Jews are, to obey the Torah.
This discussion also included that we shouldn’t obey for personal gain or just to go through the motions, but as a love response to what God has requested of us, as a love response to wanting to please Him, and as a love response to show Him we love Him.
It is all about the heart’s intent and not about the body’s action.
Friday I will try to get a blog out. We are leaving very early from the hotel to go home, so I will probably work on it on the plane and post it later in the day. I don’t think I will be doing a Parashah teaching, but will instead review what we have leaned on our tour, for your information and edification.
It has been educational, believe me. Yosi our guide is a wonderful example of the practical exercising of God’s word in someone’s life. We get too spiritual, and spirit is fine….if you’re a spirit, that is. We are not spirit, we are flesh, and our example to the world should be a practical demonstration of God’s word. Walking the walk, not just talking the talk.
We’ll be talking about that talking thing in the next blog.