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A Discussion of Messianic Judaism, the Emerging Messianic Jewish Paradigm, and Related Leadership Issues from the Preoccupied Mind of Rabbi Stuart Dauermann, PhD.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Seeds, Weeds, and Walking the High Wire: Discerning the Times

This posting is part of of a series on where the Messianic Jewish Movement needs to be heading and why.

Yeshua taught "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed." In every generation, God gives his servants mustard seed ideas with divine power to transform the landscape. In this extended series we will be examining two such seeds. Our job will then be to plant and tend them, while God gives the increase. We will also examine some "weeds" which hinder their growth, and then consider how these two seeds constitute moorings for a high wire which we must walk in faithfulness to God.

David Stern points us toward one mustard seed in his translation of Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 11:22: “By trusting, Yosef, near the end of his life, remembered about the Exodus of the people of Isra'el and gave instructions about what to do with his bones” [Heb 11:22, emphasis added]. Reflect for a moment. Joseph lived long before Moses, before any Hebrews were enslaved, centuries before the Exodus. How is it, then, that he “remembered about the Exodus?” This can only mean that he remembered what God had prophesied to his ancestor Abraham centuries earlier:

Know this for certain: your descendants will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs. They will be slaves and held in oppression there four hundred years. But I will also judge that nation, the one that makes them slaves. Afterwards, they will leave with many possessions. As for you, you will join your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. Only in the fourth generation will your descendants come back here, because only then will the Emori be ripe for punishment (Genesis 15).

On the basis of the prophetic word, Joseph remembered in advance the destiny of his people, coordinating plans and actions around a confident vision of things to come. Focused, united, and vigorous, we must also devise and accomplish strategic plans, anticipating and facilitating the foreordained destiny of Jacob’s children.

Ours is a kairos moment, a doorway of opportunity. Missiologists call this “adventus”—a time of divine in-breaking. We need to hear Paul addressing not others, but us, speaking not long ago, but now, chiding us: “You know at what point of history we stand; so it is high time for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; for the final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to trust.”

Do we know at what point of history we stand? Surely we cannot act for the progress of the Kingdom unless we discern the times in which we live. Like arrows finding their target, the Apostle’s words strike home to our hearts: “It is high time for us to rouse ourselves from sleep.” We must allow ourselves to wake up and then awaken many others to the challenges facing us in changing times. May everyone hear the Bridegroom’s voice!

We are being called to go beyond following the lead of our ancestors Joseph and Abraham. We must go beyond making preparations for anticipated end-time events. Such talk would be nothing new. For centuries, prophecy conferences and prophetic scenarios have defined, refined, and proclaimed prophetic scenarios. Messianic Judaism must go beyond such prophetic fascinations, furors, and fixations to meet the challenge of shaping proleptic communities and institutions embodying and serving Israel’s destiny.

Serving this destiny requires that we understand three key terms: prolepsis, zikkaron and anamnesis. These describe two reference points that plot out the pathway of faithfulness to our calling.

In our next posting, we will speak about prolepsis.

At 1/19/2007 9:30 AM, Blogger Derek Leman said...


I agree that we must be building communities now that reflect the community of Israel in the Age to Come. Yet I still believe the synthesis of prophetic texts into systems is valid and necessary, even more so that some other branches of theology.

I think we have a great future in our movement if we don't squander it. While many Jews will be attracted to big-box consumerist megachurches, that trend will come to an end. People more and more want community, authenticity, liturgy, and meaningful service to a dying world. Small communities such as ours will attract more and more Jews as time goes on and megachurches less and less.

Keys to catching the wave are: being biblical communities, being active in serving groups that need it such as elderly, children, and the poor, and forming communities that reflect the prophetic ideal of justice, devotion, and corporate shalom.

One more thing in our favor: Orthodox Judaism is bound to increase while the liberal branches decrease (higher number of children, lower assimilation). Mega Community Church is just not going to appeal, but Torah Faithful Messianic Congregation is.


At 1/20/2007 4:44 PM, Blogger jon cline said...

Thanks Stuart.

I love this concept of remembrance as it seems the only way to truly live out obedience with love.

Without the 'why', things get dry.

I also love it because it drives me deeper into HaShem's story and ties me to those who have gone before me.

May we build future memories in our families through experiencing the past again. Even if just a few to start.


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