Corner Tassel reader Barry Miller (no relation that we know of, but you know how those Millers are!) was the guy who kind of inspired me to ask the Four Questions, so it’s only right that he gets first dibs at responding. Here’s his response:
Just as you provided a bit of a bio, I will as well.
I am a Gentile, I see myself as a Gentile. Even though my Mother’s side of the family, the “Hersheys,” have a legend that they descended from believing Jews about 500 years ago. (In those days unfortunately it was called conversion)
I also agree with FFOZ on most things. Based on Acts 15 I agree that “Gentiles are not obligated to keep all aspects of the Torah, they certainly are encouraged to do so”.
To the rest of your phrase “ without usurping Jewish identity” I would also agree, however again from Acts 15, I see James excited about Gentiles coming to faith and rebuilding David’s tabernacle.
So for me as a Gentile I am looking for an opportunity to participate in rebuilding the ancient kingdom. The prophets give us many visions of how that will happen and I believe the New Testament must be interpreted parallel to or even deferential to the prophet’s visions. Thus I am what many call “Two House” however my dream is not Two House but One House under Jewish Davidic leadership and Levitical Priesthood.
So to your questions
- What do the various movements within Messianic Israel and Messianic Judaism need to agree on in order to be at peace and in good fellowship with each other?
“Righteousness by Grace through Faith” is the foundational principle, in other words “Righteousness by Grace through Faith” as described in Genesis 15:6 is first and all other Biblical instruction is of great value but follows this first and primary concept. Both Romans 4 and Galatians 3 read in this light should be the basis for our mutual understanding and fellowship.
- What can we agree to disagree about? In other words, what’s not essential?
We can agree to disagree about how Torah is applied. In other words we all hold Torah to be of great value and believe that it is and will be written on the hearts of New Covenant believers but we extend considerable grace as to specific individual application.
- What “terms” should be excluded from discussion that are offensive to each side or are considered inaccurate?
I would like to see the term “Replacement theology” excluded. Based on the below text from Jeremiah 31
35 This is what the Lord says,
he who appoints the sun
to shine by day,
who decrees the moon and stars
to shine by night,
who stirs up the sea
so that its waves roar—
the Lord Almighty is his name:
36 “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,”
declares the Lord,
“will Israel ever cease
being a nation before me.”
37 This is what the Lord says:
“Only if the heavens above can be measured
and the foundations of the earth below be searched out
will I reject all the descendants of Israel
because of all they have done,”
declares the Lord.
In no case is Israel replaced by anyone!
The below passage from Isaiah speaks of Jacob’s descendants embracing the name Jacob and the name Israel. One needs to ask why? Have these names been out of favor? Have many sons and daughters of Jacob denied their heritage? Is God doing a new thing and causing these names to become loved again? I believe the answer has to be yes, yes, yes.
New International Version (NIV)
44 “But now listen, Jacob, my servant,
Israel, whom I have chosen.
2 This is what the Lord says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
5 Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’;
others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
and will take the name Israel.
The Younger Brother of Luke 15 did not replace his Older Brother but his return did make the Older Brother angry. I contend the house of Judah is represented by the Older Brother and the House of Israel now Gentiles because of evil living are represented by the prodigal son.
Try to imagine what the Father wants to see happen. He wants to see the Older Brother welcome home his Younger Brother, He wants the Younger Brother to be teachable and take correction. He expects the Older Brother to take leadership in the home, teaching the Father’s ways to his Younger Son who has been gone so long that “the ancient paths are but a strange thing to him.”
- In what venues could we come together with mutual respect and not feel as if we were violating our consciences or contradicting ourselves?
The Three pilgrimage holidays or an event that explained more clearly how to celebrate the appointed times of Leviticus 23 and showed the shadows or outlines of Messiah.
These are the things Gentiles have really messed up and long to, or should long to return. They are also where the Jewish people have expertise and could be a great blessing to the whole household of faith.
I am calling for Messianic Jews to stand up and lead the whole household of faith!
I am calling for Believers from among the nations to humbly submit to Tribe of Judah leadership and Tribe of Levi priesthood in reversal of a very bad decision made about 2,900 years ago.
In doing so we will begin to fulfill Amos’ vision and James’ dream of rebuilding David’s tabernacle!