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Welcome to the Gates of Eden Blog ~ New posts weekly at 8PM following Shabbat

November 24, 2019

It is a Jewish custom to recite a psalm before saying grace after meals. On the six weekdays, Jews recite Psalm 137: "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged out harps upon the willows...How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?" On the Sabbath, a different psalm is recited, Psalm 126: "When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing..." These are two contrasting psalms. One describes the grief of the Jews who were carried away into the Babylonian Captivity, and the other

August 18, 2019

The word paradigm has been around for centuries, but it seems to have become something of a buzz-word in the world of academics and corporate business in just the last two decades or so. I think the first time I ever heard the word was in 1985 when I was in a linguistics course at a university. As the above dialog from the Dilbert cartoon illustrates, paradigm is one of those words that a lot of people use without really knowing exactly what it means. Often it is used in the phrase "a paradigm shift," which has become a buzz-phrase in its own right. A few years ago I was at an art gallery and saw a piece of art titled Paradigm Shift. It was a ceramic piece, a plain, smooth lump of clay that had been glazed and fired. On top of the lump of clay were two dimes, glued at the ends of two parallel grooves, which made it appear that the two dimes

July 28, 2019

Some people reject the idea of a divine Messiah, either because they do not believe in Yeshua (Jesus), or because they do not believe in the inspiration and authority of the New Testament. They say it is not enough that the New Testament declares the deity of Messiah; if the idea of a divine Messiah is to be accepted, it must also be declared, or at least hinted at, in Jewish writings. All the books of the New Testament, with the possible exception of Luke and Acts, were written by Jewish writers. Therefore the deity of Messiah is clearly declared in Jewish writings. Nonetheless, for those who do not recognize the inspiration and authority of the New Testament Jewish Scriptures, let's look at some other Jewish writings that declare the divine nature of the Messiah. Those who argue against the deity of Yeshua often quote Numbers

July 21, 2019

In the Messianic Community a lot of debate swirls around the subject of the Deity of Yeshua. Much of the debate and disagreement is a matter of semantics. Some people prefer the forthright, unambiguous "Yeshua is God." Others prefer more subtle wording, and opt for expressions like "divine nature," or "incarnation of the Word," or "manifestation of God," or "angel of the LORD," etc. Some people's attempts to answer the Deity question are so ambiguous that they sound like a denial of Yeshua's Deity. Unfortunately, some explanations do in fact amount to an unambiguous denial of Yeshua's Deity. There is no Bible verse that plainly says "Jesus is God," but there are plenty of verses that lead to that unavoidable conclusion. Space in this short article will not allow for a lengthy exposition of all the Bible passages, so I will mention just a few of the passages where Yeshua's Deity is very obvious.

June 23, 2019

Growing up as a kid in the 1950s and early 60s, I read a lot of superhero comic books. I even read the Letters pages, where readers sent comments and questions about the various characters. Some readers seemed to think of the superheroes as real people. I remember one reader wrote and asked if Superman believed in God. The editor answered Yes, Superman indeed believes in God. I was glad to learn that the Man of Steel was not an atheist. As a kid I knew very little about God, and virtually nothing about Jews and Judaism. In later years I learned that nearly all of the most popular superheroes were created by Jews, and that Jewish themes were often woven into many of the stories. I also learned about the original mythical Jewish superhero, the Golem. The legend of the Golem took place in 16th-century Prague. To defend the

June 2, 2019

In the early years of the twentieth century, God did an amazing thing. He poured out His Spirit in a mighty and marvelous way. All over the world, in Wales, in America, in India, in Africa, in Asia, all over the world, the Holy Spirit moved mightily. Great multitudes of people were awakened, converted, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Out of this world-wide revival emerged the Pentecostal Movement. The history of the Pentecostal Movement has been documented in books such as Vinson Synan's The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century (Eerdman's 1997), Walter Hollenweger's Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide

May 19, 2019

The modern Messianic Jewish Movement began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when great numbers of Jewish people came to the conclusion that Jesus (Yeshua) was the Messiah foretold by Moses and the Prophets. In previous centuries, a Jew who came to faith in Jesus was expected to assimilate, and he normally did. He abandoned Jewish forms of worship and lived like the Gentile Christians of whatever church he happened to join. Unlike Jewish believers of the past, Jewish believers in the 1970s desired to retain many of the Torah practices which Jewish believers of previous generations normally abandoned. In the 1970s many Jewish believers started meeting together to celebrate Shabbat and holy days in a Christ-centered (Messiah-centered) way, and to worship in a Jewish context.

March 17, 2019

It has been said that Martin Luther hated the Book of Esther, "a document which permits no Christological interpretation because it is a purely Jewish historical narrative."1 For those with ears to hear, the Book of Esther does have what could be called a "Christological interpretation," though it is an interpretation with which many Christians will not be happy. Martin Luther would certainly not like it, because it is an interpretation that speaks of the Church's shameful treatment of the Jewish people throughout history. THE PLAYERS & TYPES There are four main characters in the Book of Esther. First, there is King Ahasuerus, a king in search of a bride. Second, there is Esther the Jewess, chosen to be queen from among all the hopeful brides-to-be. Third, there is Mordecai, a proud

November 4, 2018

It is a Jewish custom to recite a psalm before saying grace after meals. On the six weekdays, Jews recite Psalm 137: "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged out harps upon the willows...How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?" On the Sabbath, a different psalm is recited, Psalm 126: "When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing..."

July 29, 2018

The word paradigm has been around for centuries, but it seems to have become something of a buzz-word in the world of academics and corporate business in just the last two decades or so. I think the first time I ever heard the word was in 1985 when I was in a linguistics course at a university. As the above dialog from the Dilbert cartoon illustrates, paradigm is one of those words that a lot of people use without really knowing exactly what it means. Often it is used in the phrase "a paradigm shift," which has become a buzz-phrase in its own right. A few years ago

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