Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. (Proverbs 9:8)
This week my family returned from Texas, where we attended FFOZ’s timely “To Whom Shall We Go?” conference in the Dallas area. I don’t have time to go into any details regarding the conference, but let’s just say that this conference should be mandatory for everyone in the Torah movement. It would keep the vast majority of “walkers” from “jumping ship” in regard to Messiah.
Prior to the conference, my personal assessment of those who have left Messiah to pursue mainline Judaism was that they were leaving out of either one of two reasons (or both). It was due to ignorance and/or arrogance. This conference confirmed my thoughts on this subject.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying these people were unintelligent. In fact a good number of these people are highly intelligent. However, there is a great difference in being informed, uninformed (being “ignorant” does not equate to being “dumb”), or misinformed on a subject. In regard to Messiah in relationship to greater Judaism, most people who come into the Torah movement go straight from being uninformed (in the church) to being misinformed (via their limited contact with Judaism, especially from the non-orthodox varieties). We totally bypass the informed stage, which will preserve our faith in our Righteous Mashiach, Yeshua HaNotzri, HaTzeddik.
FFOZ did a great job at presenting the facts surrounding the primary polemics of the genuinely troubling Messiah issues, squeezing in as much information as possible their limited time.
The one thing I’m reminded of is that we cannot change people’s minds. Only they and the ruach can do that. However, we can lovingly present the facts and allow them to decide what they would do with it. Arguing will never change the course of anyone, and most of the time it even strengthens it, as Scripture tells us:
וַאֲנִי אֲחַזֵּ אֶת לִבּוֹ,
v’ani achazek et livo
“And I will strengthen his heart” (Exodus 4:21, et al.).
Hashem says of Pharaoh, “I will strengthen his heart.” This is much different than the classical interpretation of Christendom, which claims that Hashem “hardened” Pharaoh’s heart. The Hebrew behind this phrase tells the whole story. The word for “strengthened” is a form of the same words we shout upon the conclusion of reading a book of the Torah, “Chazak! Chazak! V’neitchazeik!” “Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!” It’s not that Hashem turned the heart of Pharaoh from its natural path. He only strengthened Pharaoh’s choices, as the Gemara teaches us, “In the path that one chooses to take, he is led” (Makkos 10b).
It’s human nature to want to blame shift. Either “G-d made me do it,” or “the devil made me do it.” However, this is not what Scripture teaches us. Therefore, let us return our gaze upon our Righteous Messiah, as the author of Hebrews admonishes us:
“Let us fix our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of G-d. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
L-rd willing, I will continue on this subject in the near future.
May the merits of the Righteous King be for us our shield and salvation.
Chazak! Chazak! V’neitchazeik!
ps. I have very sketchy notes (with several holes) from the conference I hope to post soon for anyone interested (10+ pages typed). Please pray I am able to flesh these out a bit soon.
- Chazak! Chazak! Venitchazeik!
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