In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13
It has been said by some, “Since the new covenant has been instituted by Christ, the civil and ceremonial laws of the Mosaic covenant have been abolished.” Have they? That’s not what our text says. The apostle tells us the old covenant is obsolete. The English words “obsolete” and “old” are translated from the Greek root word παλαιοω (palaioo). This word means “worn out” or “declared to be obsolete.” It doesn’t mean it has been completely eliminated, abolished or replaced. To replace it altogether actually would be antinomianism, a false doctrine. If Jesus fulfilled the law by His perfect sacrifice (Heb 5:9) and by His perfect priesthood (Heb 7:28), the law is not eliminated it but elevated. Read More »
Yes, contemporary Western culture is a pagan culture. It is ruled by the gods of olden time, only with new names and different images. The first is the god of power – formerly known as Baal (literally: “owner”) – who sometimes appears in a slightly different form as Mammon, the god of money. Another such god is Ashtoreth (Astarte or Ishtar), the goddess of sex and fertility. In our time, though, it is no longer the goddess of fertility but only of pure sex.
Yet another god, perhaps promoted from a mere muse to a full-fledged deity, is Calliope, who is now the ruler of the craving for fame. People may want money in order to obtain material goods; they may want sex for amusement, sometimes even for procreation. But Fame is now a thing in itself; it is a certain addiction. What does the relatively new term “Celebrity” mean? It means that one is a well-known nothing. And the more one is well-known, the less people care who and what one is; it does not matter. Indeed, so many young girls and boys want to be film stars – not because they wish to be beautiful or powerful, but because they want to be known all over the world.
For those that are wondering what Rosh Hashanah is and how to observe it, I recommend this great resource from Hebrew4Christians.com
Rosh Hashanah – The Jewish New Year
In traditional Judaism, Rosh Hashanah (lit. “the head of the year”) is celebrated as Jewish New Years Day. The holiday is observed on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishri (i.e., the seventh “new moon”of the year), which usually falls in September or October, and marks the beginning of a ten-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance (aseret yemei teshuvah), which culminates on the fast day of Yom Kippur. These ten days are referred to as Yamim Norai’m (יָמִים נוֹרָאִים), the “Days of Awe,” or the High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah also commemorates the creation of the universe (בְּרִיאַת הָעוֹלָם) by God.
Nevertheless, as stated in the previous blog, there was a fundamental change after Acts 15, that permitted fellowship among believing Jews and Gentiles without the Gentiles being expected to follow all of the Torah. This was a revelation from God to the Apostles. Paul refers to the fact that the Nations are heirs together with Israel as a mystery in Ephesians 3.
With the coming of the New Covenant, there is a change of relationship between the circumcised and the uncircumcised. Since the New Testament teaches specifically on the relationship of Jew and Gentile in the new reality of the body of believers, we cannot simply transfer the practices of pre-Yeshua times into the New Covenant period. (Dr. Daniel C. Juster)
While I have fought long and hard against Replacement Theology (the Church is the New Israel), there were some changes between the Old and New Covenants. Under the Old Covenant non-Jews who wanted to be part of the people of Israel had to convert to Judaism. By the leading of the Holy Spirit, this was changed in Acts 10 and 15, and restated in Acts 21:
But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. (Acts 21:25, emphasis mine)
Let me state again, Gentiles believers are free to be circumcised, keep the feasts, keep kosher and embrace all 613 laws identified in traditional Judaism. (To be clear, many of the laws are impossible to keep today – such as laws for owning slaves or making sacrifices, laws for the Levites and priests, laws for making war, and ones that only apply to a Theocratic state, etc.) But once we start compelling non-Jewish believers to do such things as God’s perfect plan, we head off into error.
Read the entire article….
Having a deep interest in Judaism and Jewish thought, and the fact that I have a rather full beard, I offer this from Chabad.org….just as reflection.
What does the beard represent?
One of the greatest struggles in life is to live up to our ideals. Many of us know what is right in our minds, but find it difficult to apply that knowledge in our daily lives. Often we do things that we know are wrong, but feel we “couldn’t help ourselves”. For example, we know that it is wrong to lose our temper, but when we get annoyed at someone we find it impossible to control our anger. Or we may know that it is good to give charity, but never get around to actually giving.
Between theory and practice there is a huge gulf. It is one thing to have good intentions, but that is far from actually doing good. It is like realizing a dream; without diligence, determination and hard work, it will always remain just a dream.
The greatest step we can take in our personal growth is learning to bridge this gap and implement our good intentions.
This is what the beard represents. The beard is hair that grows down from the head to the rest of the body. It is the bridge between mind and heart, thoughts and actions, theory and practice, good intentions and good deeds.
So we don’t cut the beard, but rather let it flow freely, to open a direct flow from the ideals and philosophies of our minds into our everyday lifestyle.
I am one of those who believe in Israel’s restoration and conversion; who receive it as a future certainty, that all Israel shall be gathered, and that all Israel shall be saved. As I believe in Israel’s present degradation, so do I believe in Israel’s coming glory and preeminence. I believe that God’s purpose regarding our world can only be understood by understanding God’s purpose as to Israel. I believe that all human calculations as to the earth’s future, whether political or scientific, or philosophical or religious, must be failures, if not taking for their data or basis God’s great purpose regarding the latter-day standing of Israel. I believe that it is not possible to enter God’s mind regarding the destiny of man, without taking as our key or our guide His mind regarding the ancient nation—that nation whose history, so far from being ended, or nearly ended, is only about to begin. And if any one may superciliously ask, What can the Jews have to do with the world’s history?—may we not correctly philosophize on that coming history, and take the bearing of the world’s course, leaving Israel out of the consideration altogether? We say, nay; but O man, who art thou that repliest against God?
Art thou the framer of the earth’s strange annals, either past or future? Art thou the creator of those events which make up these annals, or the producer of those latent springs or seeds of which these arise? He only to whom the future belongs can reveal it. He only can announce the principles on which that future is to be developed. And if He set Israel as the great nation of the future, and Jerusalem as the great metropolis of earth, who are we, that, with our philosophy of science, we should set aside the divine arrangements, and substitute for them a theory of man?… I believe that the sons of Abraham are to re-inherit Palestine, and that the forfeited fertility will yet return to that land; that the wilderness and the solitary places shall be glad for them, and the desert will rejoice and blossom as the rose. I believe that, meanwhile, Israel shall not only be wanderers, but that everywhere only a remnant, a small remnant, shall be saved; and that it is for the gathering in of this remnant that our missionaries go forth.
I believe that these times of ours (as also all the times of the four monarchies [Dan 2]) are the times of the Gentiles; and that Jerusalem and Israel shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. I believe that, with the filling up of these times of the Gentile pre-eminence, and the completion of what the apostle calls the fullness of the Gentiles, will be the signal for the judgments which are to usher in the crisis of earth’s history, and the deliverance of Israel, and the long-expected kingdom.
How Jewish history shall once more emerge into its old place of grandeur and miracle, and how it shall unwind from itself the bright future of all nations, I know not. But so it is fore-written, “What shall be and miracle, and how it shall unwind from itself the bright future of all nations, I know not. But so it is fore-written, “What shall be the reconciling of them be, but life from the dead?” [Rom 11:15] “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” [Isa 27:6].13
Horner, Barry E. (2007-10-15). Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged: 3 (New American Commentary Studies in Bible and Theology) (p. 11). B&H Publishing.