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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.

All Contents ©2004-2007 Stuart Dauermann - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Mission Statement of Ahavat Zion and The Prophecies of Balaam

For a more detailed treatment of this topic, see the full article here.

At Ahavat Zion, we have recently streamlined our mission statement to read as follows:

We are a West Side Jewish congregation passing on to the next generation our commitment to:

* Torah living
* Jewish unity
* Spiritual renewal
* The Land of Israel
* Yeshua the Messiah

Ahavat Zion is affiliated with the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations and the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council.

In large measure, this mission statement is based on future perfect paradigm. This metaphor, developed by Futurist Stanley Davis, advocates planning backwards from te future to the present. To the degree that you know or envision a desirable future, you then seek to plan from here to get there.

Ezekiel 37 is one of the passages that portrays where God is leading the people of Israel. But does this crop up elsewhere in Scripture? Surely it does, and the prophecies of Balaam are one place where that happens.

At 6/30/2007 8:05 PM, Blogger jon cline said...

Thank you Stuart for your investment here. What amazes me most about these prophetic words is not only are they profound and far reaching, but they facilitate a deliverance for Israel in seclusion. Israel has no idea (from the text) that these conversations are going on.

Some commentaries on this parsha mention this as well and it brings to mind how often God still performs acts such as this for us, seeking to enable, strengthen, and encourage our pursuit of "dwelling apart", even in the diaspora.

At 7/13/2007 9:36 AM, Blogger melanie.vliet said...

In the second line of the penultimate paragraph, the "h" is missing from "the."

More importantly, however, is the misguidedness of points of your mission statement. The first is inappropriate, as Yeshua fulfilled the Law, which we could never do. The last is the most important/central--the basis of our very lives and afterlives--and as such should have first place in the list.

At 7/13/2007 9:49 AM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

Ms Vliet,

Thank you for your comments.

Yeshua's fulfilling of the law is variously understood. Most properly it involves his bringing the Law to its perfect expression--to clarity, but not the Torah's abolition. For example, he makes clear in Matthew 7 that not one jot or tittle of this Law will pass away until all is accomplished, and also says that whoever teaches anyone to do less than full obedience to this Law will be least in the Kingdom of Heaven. In other words, while I agree that Yeshua fulfilled the Law (Torah), I do not agree that renders the Law vestigial or Torah obedience merely a nice option for Jews, rather than God's mandates for our community.

As for Yeshua being last on the list, this list is based on Ezekiel 37:21 ff, which presents a picture of God's consummating purpses for Israel. Notice where "David" is mentioned there.

Finally, last on a list does not mean lowest priority. Paul says in 1 Cor, "Therefore, these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is (. . . you guessed it) love. Rhetorical analysis and communications theory tells us that the first and last items on a list are most remembered by an audience or reader. And since Yeshua is the validation not the abolishment of the other items on the list, his position in this list is most apropos.


At 8/18/2007 7:30 PM, Blogger Zahava Pasternak said...

Rashi makes clear this passage:

17. I see it, but not now; I behold it, but not soon. A star has gone forth from Jacob, and a staff will arise from Israel which will crush the princes of Moab and uproot all the sons of Seth.

I see it:
I see that prominence and greatness of Jacob, but it is not at present, only at a later time.
A star has gone forth As the Targum [Onkelos] renders, an expression similar to“He has bent (דָּר‏ַ) his bow” (Lam. 2:4), for a star shoots out like an arrow; in old French, destent, as if to say, his good fortune shall rise [prosper].
and a staff will arise A king who rules dominantly.

which will crush the princes of Moab

This refers to David, of whom it says,“he laid them on the ground and measured two cord-lengths to put to death…” (II Sam. 8:2). - [Mid. Aggadah]
and uproot Heb. וְקַרְקַר is a term denoting ‘digging’ as in,“I dug (קַרְתִּי) ” (II Kings 19:24);“to the hole of the pit from which you were dug out (נֻקַּרְתֶּם) ” (Is. 51:1);“may the ravens of the valley pick it out (יִקְּרוּהָ) ” (Prov. 30:17); in French, forer.
all the sons of Seth All the nations, for they are all descended from Seth, the son of Adam [lit., the first man].
18. Edom shall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, and Israel shall triumph.
and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies For his enemy, Israel.
19. A ruler shall come out of Jacob, and destroy the remnant of the city."
A ruler shall come out of Jacob There will be another ruler from Jacob.
and destroy the remnant of the city Of the most prominent [city] of Edom, that is, Rome. He says this regarding the King Messiah, of whom it says, “and may he reign from sea to sea,” (Ps. 72:8),“ and the house of Esau shall have no survivors” (Obad. 1:18). - [Mid. Aggadah]

At 8/18/2007 8:12 PM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

Ms, Pasternak,

It is good that you showed how Rashi concurs that the Ruler who will ultimately accomplish victories for Jacob is King Messiah.

Thanks for the excellent scholarly corroboration.



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