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"It is better to take refuge in Adonai than to trust in human beings; better to take refuge in Adonai than to put one's trust in princes." -Tehilah 118:8-9

Barack Insane Obama, et al

Last Thursday, my local rag featured a front page pic gratis the AP of Barack Obama "saluting" a throng of German onlookers who, like him, were raising their right arms at a 45-degree angle, enamoured expressions pasted on their faces.

Yeah, creepy.

Why is a United States Presidential candidate campaigning all over Europe and the Middle East, anyway? The official line was that Obama was illustrating how he'd "repair America's image abroad." Shouldn't he care a bit more about what the actual voters think of him, as opposed to accusing the voters of being unpopular with crowds of people they don't hang with on a daily basis anyway?

Then again, Obama's thinking is screwed up in more ways than one. He also believes in linkage a theory that contends that if the "Israel problem" were solved, the Arabs would be happy and the world would be at peace. Since when did world peace depend on a group of disparate tribesmen who subscribe to a 7th-century religion created by a pederast that condemns as "death-worthy" the people and faith that formed the basic foundations of modern civilization? Forget Hussein-- Barack's middle name is Insane.

The mainstream media continues to shut McCain out--limiting airtime on coverage of his campaign as well as, in the case of the New York Times, refusing to print his rebuttal to an Obama op/ed. The mainstream media's bias is so evident it's downright boring. Can't they at least be a little more cleverly deceptive about it? Apparently, I'm not the only one who notices.

Jewish World News's Israel Update did a story this week on the continual arms buildup off the Lebanese/Israeli coastline. Hizbullah, thanks to Iran, is building up Lebanon's Navy (among other things) while Israel just contracted to buy updated naval technology from the U.S.

Building, building, building... it all keeps building up...

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posted by Shoshana @ 11:05 PM

Messianic Judaism in the Headlines

A new archaeological find, a stone tablet that is "said to bear Jewish
messianic messages from the first century B.C." has hit the press. Apparently owned by a private collector, the story of the tablet hit last Sunday's New York Times. The news wasn't so much the find in and of itself, but the issues it raises within the believing community, namely the origins of "Christianity" and the close ties between faith in a Messiah named Yeshua and Biblical Judaism. From the MSNBC article:
"...the front page of The New York Times on Sunday, in a story that quoted one professor as saying some Christians would "find it shocking" that Jewish scriptures prefigured Christian theology.

But Hershel Shanks, founder of the Biblical Archaeology Society and editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, said that such a linkage really isn't surprising, let alone shocking.

"The really unique thing about Christian theology is in the life of Jesus - but in the doctrines, when I was a kid, you had little stories about the Sermon on the Mount and the people listening to this saying, 'What is this man saying? I never heard anything like this! This is different,'" Shanks told me. "Today, this view is out. There are Jewish roots to almost everything in Christian experience."


"You have in Christian theology a very different kind of messiah, a messiah who's going to shed blood and atone for your sins," Shanks observed. "Where the hell did this come from, baby? Are there elements of this in Jewish messianism?"

The Dead Sea Scrolls have already shown that the idea of a suffering messiah was part of the cultural milieu back then. If the tablet's text and its three-day messianic interpretation are verified, it could shrink the theological gap between pre-Christian Judaism and early Christianity even further. But that shouldn't come as a shock, [Mark] Rose [Online Editor, Archaeology Magazine] said.

"Is this going to redefine the relationship between Judaism and Christianity? I don't think so," he said.
It never ceases to amaze me that Rabbinic Jews are willing to believe in a Messiah figure akin to that of a military general, who would face a bloody death on a battlefield in order to achieve the salvation of His people, yet they cannot fathom a Messiah, whose sacrifice was seen by Avraham Avinu and is directly foreshadowed by the Pesach account, who willingly sacrificed His own life in a bloody, deathly fashion in the middle of an complex ideological & spiritual battlefield known as first century Jerusalem. What, because Yeshua's experience didn't have enough horses, chariots, and battle sequences it isn't good enough to count? Is that it? Has the Messiah's gift of salvation been boiled down to rate against the plot of a blockbuster film? "It doesn't sell enough tickets--it can't be right," the minyan said. The theory has always been that the Jews run Hollywood; now I'm starting to think that Hollywood runs the Jews.

Despite the growing amount of evidence pointing to the fact that Christianity, as gentile and even secularized as it has become, is truly a Jewish faith, these "experts" are still unwilling to break down the walls between the faiths. Bizarre, yet understandable; much like the servants denying the fact that the Emporer has no clothes, these academics will walk around denying the facts placed before their eyes because if they dared to do any different, they'd be out of jobs. And so would the people who employ them. In fact, the entire cultural structure through which the Western world has been taught to view themselves and the world around them would literally crumble.

Want to test the theory? Try telling one Catholic you know that they hold a Jewish faith-- not practice a Jewish religion, mind you, but hold a Jewish faith--a belief system that is inherently Hebrew, inherently Torah, inherently Israelite. Then, step back and watch that person who has spent a good few decades of their life attending mass every Saturday night and saying Hail Marys until the cows come home that, while their heart may be in the right place, they've essentially been doing it wrong all these years. Yeah. That's going to go over well. Then, watch how quickly they make donations to their church, and support societies like the B.A.S. and subscribe to publications like Archaeology Magazine that reinforce the same traditions and theories with which they were raised. Lies are self-predicating. Why? Because it's easier for a human being to go with the flow.

The real joke of it is that most believers would respond with, "Well, at least that Catholic is still a good person." Right. Okay. What does "good" mean? And who ever said they weren't? And who ever says they're a "bad person" anyway? In Hebrew, the commandments are called "mitzvot"--good deeds. "Good" isn't just some value-judgement we place based on how we "feel" about something; "good" is measured in direct correlation with the actions you take. How "good" is it to face the fact that your Messiah is a Jew; that His followers were all Jews; that the lessons He preached were inherently Jewish, including the one where He said: "I did not come to abolish the Torah [the covenant between G-d and His people, Israel] but to fulfill it"; the lessons His followers preached were about practicing a life in Messiah, a life guided by the same covenant their Messiah fulfilled and upheld. Tell me, what sounds good to you? Someone repeating actions not sanctioned, sometimes unfavorable [i.e.; eating pigs to honor Messiah's sacrifice], and almost wholly foreign in order to honor the G-d they claim to worship, or someone seeking to honor the G-d they worship the way He, the omnipotent, all-powerful, one and only G-d commanded?

FYI: Biblical Archaeology Review has put the stone's Hebrew text as well as the English translation thereof online.

Messianic Judaism has hit the Associated Press: Messianic Jews say they are persecuted in Israel [Jun 21, 08] mainly focuses on the story of Ami Ortiz, a 15 year old Israeli native who opened a package left on his doorstep one morning before Purim and lost two toes, some of his hearing, and still has safety pins and screws lodged in his body. The package--a bomb--was most likely left on his family's doorstep by ultra-Orthodox Jews because the Ortiz family dare to proclaim faith in Yeshua as the Messiah. While no arrests have been made, the Israeli police informed the family that no way was this a Palestinian attack-- the plastic explosives were far too advanced for rugrat terrorists. Hm. Guess that should make the average Israeli think twice the next time an old Orthodox Rabbi starts shaking a tzedekah tin in their face at the Kotel. My guess is at least some of those funds aren't going for textbooks at the Yeshiva. I wonder if events like these make pro-Talmud Messianic scholars think twice about Rabbi-nizing faith in Messiah. In a related note, one op-ed by a Rabbi printed in the Jerusalem Post on July 2, How to reply when the doorbell rings smacks of Orthodox Jewish anti-Yeshuaism (because that's what it is-- "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first" John 15:18) in the same paranoid, presumptuous, and bizarre fashion common among palestinians who claim that the IDF uses nude women soldiers to lure and trap young shahids in the making.

In the meantime, the JPost reported on June 25, in an article titled Messianic Jews to protest 'discrimination' that, "A contingent of about 300 Messianic Jews from the US will protest this weekend against what they call Israel's discriminatory immigration policy against Jews who believe that Jesus is the messiah." The article highlights three recent incidents of attack on the Messianic Jewish community in Israel: the Ami Ortiz bombing; the burning of several New Testaments distributed by Messianics in the town of Or Akiva; the attempt to disqualify a young Messianic contestant from participating in the annual Bible Quiz. All three incidents were [most likely, and in two cases, definitely] perpetrated by ultra-Orthodox Jews. "We are planning to call on the Israeli government to address the problem of discrimination against Messianic Jews who wish to make aliya," said Rabbi Russ Resnik, executive director of the US-based Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations."

Yeah, well, good luck with that, Rabbi Russ. It is true that Calev Myers of the Jerusalem Institute for Justice has scored some incredible court rulings regarding Messianics and aliyah. However, appealing to a government already embroiled in corruption and plagued by serious issues of war and public safety seems rather, well, moot at this point. Besides, if we believe in the authority of G-d, why are we seeking defense from a government of men? Men [and women] who are, mind you, not believers in Messiah anyway. The only reason the government would come to the Messianics' defense is if they found it politically or economically to their benefit. If believers start making appeals and deals of that nature, what does that say about the Messianic community? That's a scintillating testimony to share the next time you're sent out to knock on doors: We put our faith in Yeshua...and Tzipi Livni.

Interestingly, the JPost article uses a picture of MJAA members marching in last year's 40th Jerusalem Day parade. They are careful to note, however, that those photographed have nothing to do with the organization written about in the article. Or, do they? Is the UMJC's call for Israeli government action really meant to get the Knesset's attention, or are they using the Holy Land card to one-up a rival organization? In any case, the greatest part of the story comes not from the JPost article, but from the UMJC press release about the event, which opens by stating: "Meeting in Israel for their annual business meeting, June 26, representatives of the member congregations of the UMJC overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on the government of Israel to end discrimination against Messianic Jews under Israel's Law of Return." Right. A resolution. Was that passed before or after the resolution that Yeshua is the Messiah?

Are religious institutions modern day temples of worship, or are they just glorified social clubs, fraternities and sororities for grown men and women who need a retreat, a safe place to feel special and important in an increasily secularized world? "Business meetings"? "Resolutions"? Isn't the business of a group of believers to worship G-d in Spirit and in Truth? Shouldn't their resolve be focused on faithfully living out the calling given to us by our Messiah, a calling that established us as a nation on Mt. Sinai? Why do believers continually seek secular solutions to spiritual problems? In the case of Israeli believers, discrimination isn't the business; Yeshua is the business, the rest is just paperwork. Messianics love to tout that they've got an identity, a lifestyle--not a Sunday religion. But they don't-- not as long as they resolve to petition secular governments for protection.

I spent the first 20 years of my life in the believing world--Christian churches and Messianic synagogues alike--and the next 7 in the secular world. In the believing world there is this stigma associated with questioning authority and tradition; you just don't do it. In the secular world, especially the young, postmodern portion thereof, everything is under scrutiny. Every tradition, every idea, every thought, every person is held under a magnifying glass and virtually ripped apart. People like to argue that the reason Christians avoid the "Old Testament" is because they can't handle the idea of a harsh, punishing, warrior G-d of judgement. Yet believers, no matter how they culturally identify themselves, all manage to skip over the harsh judgements cast by Yeshua, especially when it came to the so-called religious and political authorities who surrounded Him. Yeshua was all about questioning human decision-making in all its forms because He operated on the Torah principle: "If you fear Me and My armies, you need fear nothing else." Believers are trained to think that if you question leadership, you're questioning the Leader-- when, in reality, you're only questioning the human government over your own head.

As believers in Messiah, we should always feel free to question the human authorities around us. We are equipped to do so-- "what is in Yeshua is truth" [Ephesians 4:21] therefore, if we know Yeshua, we know truth. If we fear G-d, we need fear nothing and no one else. Hold the tenents, the traditions, and the teachers and leaders up to the test. Use the discernment of the Ruach. If enough of us do, we will be operating in unity because we will no longer rely on the resolutions of others, but on the simple Truth of G-d.

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posted by Shoshana @ 6:21 PM

Dropping the Bomb

Today, Iran tested 9 Shihab medium-to-long range missiles that could easily be equipped with nuclear material (for peaceful purposes). CNN was all over the story. During the noon-time report, Ben Wedeman, the Senior Jerusalem Correspondent, made a special point of "putting things in perspective" by noting that 2 of the prime-time news broadcasts in Israel did NOT carry the Iran missile test as their lead story. See? The Jews aren't worried, so why should the US care?

Somewhere over an ear piece I can hear a CNN producer screaming, "Because it makes for good ratings, Ben. Hello? The reason we're on-air 24-7 and charge ridiculous advertising rates to stay that way, maybe?"

If anything is more pre-fabbed than the media coverage of the Obama campaign (Access Hollywood, anyone? That's right, let's give them the real hard-hitting Maria Menounos to dish out some of those tough, still-unanswered questions about healthcare reform, the future of Social Security, the failing economy, diplomacy with Iran, and where Michelle finds such cute evening wear!) it's their sweeping, hard-hitting, rip-your-guts-out-with-a-Pulitzer coverage of the nuttiest guy in a monotone wardrobe since Hitler, aka, Ahmadinnerjacket. (I don't have to spell his name correctly, not because I'm an ignorant American, but because he's an idiot.) What a joke. Casually ignore all of his mega-televised speeches rife with Holocaust denial and proclamations about wiping Israel and America off the map, then get all blitzed over his soldiers test-firing missles that have been around since 2004. Thank G-d the prophets had a better source than Ted Turner.

And the whole "will they or won't they" endless barrage that has taken a nose-dive into the blogosphere regarding whether or not Israel will bomb Iran (or, shall I say, whether or not America will "permit" Israel to bomb Iran) has a drama-quotient that is truly Brangelina-worthy. America "permit" Israel-- to bomb a nation-- that seeks her destruction-- and happens to be rather nearby? Wait, no. Let me reason this out even more succinctly-- America PERMIT Israel? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's cute. You just watch-- one day, you'll turn on the news and Ben Wedemen will be diving for cover, because suddenly, without warning, Iran's nuclear facilities will be blasted to allah and all he'll be able to get for the story is a rousing "No comment" from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Sheeba Farms to Elat. The US will go crazy with paranoia. The Arab nations will be enraged. Ahmadinnerjacket will be holed up somewhere in a spider-hole tighter than Saddam's. And a year later, the CIA will issue a benignly-worded press release giving Israel the credit for it all. And what will Israel say? Tell me, what's Hebrew for, "Duh"?

Why do I know this? Why am I so confident? Why do I not shake in the face of missile tests? See ref. note under "Elijah" that reads: Our G-d Always Wins.

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posted by Shoshana @ 6:18 PM