Wednesday, February 1, 2017

FINAL CHAPTER: Romans 16 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. Who was Phoebe, what do we know about her, and what do we know about the community at Cenchrea?

2. Who is Prisca (Priscilla) & Aquila, what do we know about them?

3. Describe how Paul uses the term Ekklesia from the Greek in vs. 5…

4. Who is Epaenetus, & Miriam what do we know about them?

5. How does Paul describe Andronicus and Junias, who are they?

6. Who are all the individuals mentioned in vs. 8-15, and what do we know about them all?

7. Describe the Biblical and cultural practice of the “Holy Kiss”, what does this mean?

8. What is the warning that Paul gives the congregation in Rome in this final chapter?  Describe what it is warning them (and us) about…

9. Who are those mentioned in vs. 21, what do we know of them?

10. Who was the scribe of this letter “Romans” and what do we know of him?

11. Who was Gaius, Erastus and Quartus?

12. In the doxology describe what is the “mystery” that Paul mentions and how is it revealed?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Romans 15 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. What does Paul mean when he says, “be like-minded” does that mean we have to agree on everything? If not, what does this really mean?

2. Describe “HOW” Messiah included the non-Jew into this covenant, what does Paul say to describe it here in Romans, and what other writings does he speak of the inclusion of non-Jews and “HOW” Messiah brought them in with Jewish believers?

3. Describe and explain the “priestly role” and authority, that Paul writes about himself; how does he see himself in this role and what does his priestly offerings consist of?

4. Describe the methods Paul uses to “bring about the obedience of the Gentiles” what are the characteristics of his ministry and what is his primary goal?

5. Why does Paul say he’s trying to get to Jerusalem, what is his purpose and how does this set a precedent for all “Congregations” in the Diaspora even to this present day?  Has the modern Church over its long history, followed Paul’s example in your assessment?

6. What exactly is the “collection” for and who is the collection that Paul is bringing to Jerusalem and why?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Romans 14 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

Romans 14 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
Unity in Community

1. What exactly is meant by “one who is weak in faith”, and how does this differ from those with “strong faith”?

2. What does vegetarianism and carnivores have to do with the issue of those whose faith is weak?  What is the rule that Paul introduces to Messianic believers regarding this issue?

3. Paul transitions into the illustration of “days” and distinguishing those who esteem certain days from others who judge every day alike.  What is he talking about here?  Is it strictly about “Sabbath” or could he be referencing other practices, what is said about this elsewhere in the Brit Chadasha?

4. What by “living” and “dying” for the Lord?  And what is meant by saying “none of us lives for himself”, and none of us dies for himself”?  Explain the meaning and give Scriptural and extra-biblical support for your answer…

5. Paul here tells us in vs. 10-12 not to judge our brother, yet in 1 Corinthians 6:3, he seems to tell us that we should judge because we will one day judge angels!  How do you justify this contradiction?  Explain…

6. Paul says that nothing is “unholy” in vs. 14.  Does that mean that the laws of kashrut are now nullified?  Explain how it is possible for God to sanctify something that is “unclean”?

7. Paul presents a difficult word in vs. 22, what does he mean by keeping your faith to yourself before God?  Does this mean we are not to share our faith?  Explain…

8. How is doubting self-condemning regarding eating and faith? Explain…

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Romans 13 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1. How is submission to authority both a Jewish core value in the 1st century, and how is this supported by the Tanakh (Old Testament)?  Give citations…

2. How does Paul describe those who resist authority and describe Shulam’s comments on “temporary submission”?

3. What does it mean to “carry or bear the sword”, give other examples from the Brit Chadasha (New Covenant)?...

4. What does Paul mean by “conscience” here in vs. 5, how is this a reason for submitting to authority, and where else does the Brit Chadasha bring up this topic of conscience?

5. Explain how the custom of collecting taxes were performed in Biblical times, what does the Brit Chadasha say about it, and feel free to cite other extra-biblical sources as well…

6. How does a person completely fulfill the Torah, what did the Messiah say about this and how is the Golden Rule also taught within Rabbinic Judaism?

7. What is the “armor of light” where else is this described in Scripture?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Romans 12 אגרת פולוס השליח אל-הרומיים

1.  What is the definition of λογικός logikós, and how does Paul use this word inverse one?

2. How does one begin to "renew ones mind", according to Paul?

3.  What character trait does Paul now instruct his readers to develop using his apostolic authority, and what extra-biblical texts can we use to support this same character trait?

4.  Describe Paul's analogy of the "body", and what scripture specifically from the old testament can be used as proof text to support his midrashic interpretation?

5. What is the difference between teaching and exhortation?

6.  What does Paul mean when he says love without hypocrisy?

7. What mitzvah of the Torah does Paul refer to in verse 10, by saying outdo one another in giving honor?

8. Explain all the characteristics listed in versus 12 and 13 and how they are all related to each other.

9. Explain verse 15 how rejoicing and weeping are appropriate at certain times, and how is this a Jewish trait?

10. Paul teaches his readers to "be at peace with all men", how is this a Jewish quarter value?

11. Heaping coals of fire upon your enemies head, where have we heard this before in scripture?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

From the Soles of His Shoes: Obama's Hostility Toward Israel

From the Soles of His Shoes: Obama's Hostility Toward Israel: Hanukkah reminds us that even Obama's final and most severe attempt to harm Israel will ultimately fail

As 2016 comes to a close, and as we observe the Festival of Hanukkah, and prepare for a political transition here in the U.S., we have received this unfortunate news of yet another U.N. sanction against the State of Israel.  Now some of you maybe asking these questions...

Why is this happening at this time?

How did this vote of the U.N. hurt Israel?

What did the U.S. do or "fail to do" to stand with Israel?

Let me help unpack this for you a little bit by summarizing in simple form.  This proposed resolution in the U.N. was introduced by Egypt’s President al-Sissi, on behalf of the Palestinians.  It accuses Israel of  “illegal” settlement activities in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.

Keep in mind, this area is Israel's "Sovereign Land" afforded to Israel by this same body "U.N." This ridiculous proposed resolution would be the same as condemning the United States for building housing in Washington D.C.  According to our contacts in Israel (as we do not rely on CNN or Fox, for the truth of what is really going on there): "According to international law, Israel has every right to settle all the land west of the Jordan River. This was approved by the League of Nations, then passed on in the Palestinian Mandate that Great Britain was supposed to implement – but didn’t – and then accepted in total into the newly formed UN Charter after WW II. Yet Israel today is seen as breaking international law, when in fact, it is the UN and all nations that view this land as “occupied” who are doing that and they are also blaspheming God"  (IFI, Jerusalem).

The problem that occurred is that the Obama administration apparently decided to abstain from voting – which is the same as voting “yes”.   They did not "veto" this proposed measure.  Our Government which traditionally stands with our only ally in the Middle East, this time decided to just "say nothing", and allow Israel to get thrown under the bus.

This UNSC resolution is legally binding and has placed Israel into a very tough spot internationally.

Friends, as this article so accurately points out, I do not think it is any accident that these political activities are happening right at the beginning of the season of Hanukkah.

Throughout the Bible, from the Exodus, all the way through the prophecies of Revelation, the same theme is found over and over again, and most exemplified as well in the story of Israel's Deliverance of Hanukkah in 165 BCE; and that is: "Adonai, delivers the strong into the hands of the weak, He delivers the numerous into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the ungodly into the hands of the Godly.

The God of Israel has made a Name for Himself in this world.  Make no mistake, He will defend His Name, His Honor, His People and His Land.

The Promise he made our father Abraham in Genesis 12 remains solid and sure.  "I will Bless those who Bless you, and I will Curse those who Curse you".

As Messianic Believers, we must always stand with Israel, no matter what any government does in the lands we find ourselves in.  We must be informed and wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  We cannot afford to put our heads in the sand and ignore politics.  Being a Believer who stands with Israel, does not give us the luxury of remaining "apolitical".  Daniel had to resist bowing to an idol, and so too, there are times like these when the boundaries of allegiances and alliances are challenged for us, because there is no such thing as a complete "separation of church and state".  That my friends is a fallacy.  We are "in" the world, while we are not "of" it.  And by this fact, we must deal and operate and maneuver ever so slyly with all wisdom and discernment living in lands that are NOT our own, serving gods that are NOT our God, and NOT being afraid the speak the truth.

Perhaps the U.S. will one day choose to "speak" instead of remaining silent when the Anti-Semitic nations of the world want to raise their voices against Israel again; but we as individuals must never "remain silent".  As Edmund Burke famously said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Happy Hanukkah,

Rabbi Eric

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hanukkah: The Festival of "Lights"

John 10: 22 Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Yeshua was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade.

Here we see that Yeshua observed this holiday.  Therefore, we Messianic Jews do as well.
But the Messiah had a lot to say about the message of this season, and he embodied this message in Himself.

I. Light in the Beginning

The very first thing G-d created was the light.  The Torah says that G-d spoke, “Let there be Light”.
There is much commentary on these 4 short words, and I believe it has a lot more to do with truth than simply the absence of darkness.  Literal light is used figuratively in the Scripture as equating to truth and the knowledge of G-d. It is more than just the existence of “daylight”. Darkness on the other hand refers not only to the absence of light, but it translates in scripture as lies, and evil. One commentator of the Torah was John, he expanded the knowledge of G-d and light in creation when he wrote by the inspiration of the Ruach Hakodesh:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. 6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. 

A couple of things to take notice here.

John says that the Word of G-d is G-d, all is created through Him and by Him, and in Him is life.  G-d is the source of all life, right? Now an important statement, that: “life, was the light of all men”. And it shines in the darkness. Important fact: men need light.  The light is the true life.  We have physical life here on earth, but earth is filled with darkness.  Remember what I said earlier, darkness is more than just the absence of daylight, it refers to evil & sin. We are living in a "dark" world.

The Bible says that G-d created light and that light is the life for all men. John says that the darkness does not understand the light. Until you come and receive the light from G-d, you do not understand the light, because you are in darkness. Now John, the Apostle, is now speaking about John the Immerser  in vs. 7....

7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

Who was coming into the world? The Messiah…

Look at the next verse…

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

II. Messiah Yeshua is the Light

John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

Remember how I said darkness is symbolism for evil, and light is the symbol of truth?  In Yeshua there is light, therefore in Yeshua there is truth.  He is the truth.  He is the way the truth and the life.

Yeshua told us this about himself…

John 8:12 When Yeshua spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Hanukkah is the Festival of Light, and we have to know what light really is, and we have to know what Light G-d intended to create and illuminate our lives with.

John 9:4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Yeshua warned his disciples that there is a time that is coming when darkness will rule, and while it is day, while he is with them he was about his Father’s business.  But notice he said while he was in the world, he was the light of the world. What happened to the light when he left this world.  He did leave this world, he ascended to the Father, so what of the light of the world?

III. You are the Light of the World

Matthew 5:14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Just as we light the Menorah and put it out where everyone can see it, so too does Messiah tell us that we are like these candles. Now we need to recognize that a lone candle is not very bright.  Each of us is a lone candle and we have the light of Messiah in us by faith. The Bible says that that faith in Messiah is the light and that light is the life that all men need. Just as this candle is used to ignite the others on the Menorah, so too are we to be a candle that illuminates the light into the life of others.
So even though we alone are not very bright, together if we form a Menorah, our light becomes very brilliant.  In the illustration of the Menorah, Yeshua is The Shammas Candle (i.e. "the Servant Candle")…and He lights us with His light...

Matthew 23:11
The greatest among you will be your servant.

May the One who came to bring the Light of Life into this dark world, illuminate your hearts and homes this Hanukkah, and may we all rededicate ourselves to Him in the new year of 2017.

Happy Hanukkah,

Rabbi Eric D. Lakatos