Anti-Semitism

A Restoration of Israel–Without the Jews?

19 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

reproduced from the December 2016 issue of Outreach Israel News This month of December 2016, the Jewish and Messianic Jewish communities will be commemorating Chanukah or the Festival of Dedication. Chanukah is a very warm time for Jewish and Messianic Jewish families, mainly as they reflect back on different family memories, special times of fellowship, gift giving, and of course eating many specialty foods. In many Messianic congregations the world over, there will be dedicated times of reading from the Books of Maccabees, focusing on the ancient history of the Seleucid invasion of the Land of Israel, the resistance that opposed […]

Jewish Tradition

Biblically Kosher? Rabbinic Kosher?

12 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

There is little doubting that within the broad Messianic community, there can be huge debates over the application of the Torah’s dietary laws. Most frequently, as has been our family’s experience, the perspectives surrounding kashrut have been too quickly polarized into the realms of those who keep “Biblically kosher,” versus those who keep “Rabbinic kosher.” Those who keep “Biblically kosher,” are those who often have eliminated pork and shellfish from their diet, but at the same time will often buy commercially processed meat at the supermarket, will not look for a hechsher or approved Jewish seal on many food products, […]

Jewish Tradition

A Summarization of Jewish Kosher Traditions

12 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

Margaret McKee Huey and J.K. McKee reproduced from the Messianic Kosher Helper To most outsiders who encounter the Messianic Jewish movement, when hearing something about kosher or kashrut, what they mostly think about are instructions within the Torah or Law of Moses which prohibit the consumption of unclean meats such as pork or shellfish. Much of the Messianic community has promoted what it considers to be “Biblically kosher,” which primarily begins and ends at not eating pork and shellfish. In traditional Judaism, however, what it means to be kosher is much more involved than observant Jews not eating certain meats […]

Appointed Times

Today’s Messianic People and Shabbat: Moving Beyond “Saturday Church”

12 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

reproduced from the Messianic Sabbath Helper Most people who have been involved in some quarter of the Messianic movement, for some degree of time, are sure to have noticed a diversity of views and applications present regarding the Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 5:12).[1] For a wide variety of people, the seventh-day Sabbath or Shabbat is to be a time of rest, abstention from labors, and a time to do things differently than in the previous six days of work. Shabbat is not a time to go to the store and shop; Shabbat is a time to focus in on […]

Appointed Times

A Summarization of Jewish Shabbat Traditions

12 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

Margaret McKee Huey and J.K. McKee reproduced from the Messianic Sabbath Helper That the Jewish people have widely and faithfully observed the seventh-day Sabbath or Shabbat[1] throughout their history is a testament to God’s declaration in Exodus 31:16: ‘The Israelite people shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout the ages as a covenant for all time[2]” (NJPS). The view of a Conservative Jewish figure like Samuel H. Dresner, in his book The Sabbath, presses how “It is one of the basic institutions of humanity—an idea with infinite potentiality, infinite power, infinite hope, perhaps, as some claim, the single most […]

Appointed Times

A Summarization of Shavuot Traditions

9 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

Margaret McKee Huey and J.K. McKee reproduced from the Messianic Spring Holiday Helper Shavuot[1] is one of three pilgrimage festivals that is commanded in the Torah (Exodus 23:14-17; Deuteronomy 16:16). In Hebrew, its name means “weeks,” derived from the command in Deuteronomy 16:19, “You shall count seven weeks for yourself; you shall begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.” Many Christians know Shavuot from its Greek-derived name “Pentecost,” as Pentēkostē means “fiftieth,” indicative of the fifty days that are to be counted between Passover and this time. In Biblical […]

Appointed Times

A Summarization of Passover Traditions

9 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

Margaret McKee Huey and J.K. McKee reproduced from the Messianic Spring Holiday Helper The Spring festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread are an extremely important time of observance and reflection in Jewish communities all over the world. It is a time of both communal and family fellowship, where one often observes the Passover meal with a congregation or synagogue, in addition to extended family. This is the time when the Jewish people commemorate zeman heruteinu or the “Season of our freedom.” Every morning Exodus 20:2 is to be remembered, which admonishes us, “I am the Lord your God, who brought […]

Appointed Times

A Summarization of Purim Traditions

9 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

Margaret McKee Huey and J.K. McKee reproduced from the Messianic Spring Holiday Helper The holiday of Purim is a relatively minor festival in the Tanach (Old Testament), yet it portrays a very important story that all of God’s people need to understand. Having been dispersed into Babylonian exile in 585 B.C.E., the Jewish people now find themselves under Persian rule. While many find their new Persian rulers more tolerant than the Babylonians, the Jews are still a minority and often find themselves subject to harassment and persecution. In the Book of Esther, King Ahasuerus’ (or Xerxes’) grand vizier, the evil […]

Chanukah

The Forgotten Past

9 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

reproduced from the December 2014 issue of Outreach Israel News 2014 is an important year for many across the world, as many people—principally in Europe, the United Kingdom, and British Commonwealth countries—are remembering the centennial or centenary of The Great War or World War I. Earlier this year, 888, 246 ceramic poppies, to commemorate the British and Empire war dead, were placed around the Tower of London. The Great War totally changed our world, not just in terms of the technology and tactics of warfare—but because when it started, four of the five empires who were belligerents were gone (Russian […]

Chanukah

Chanukah and Encountering Worldly Philosophies

9 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

reproduced from the Messianic Winter Holiday Helper One of the responsibilities of any Bible teacher is to bridge the gulf that exists between Scripture passages given in an ancient historical context, and providing practical application for those living in the Twenty-First Century. Human nature often remains the same between an ancient period and modern society: people still commit sin, people still need redemption, people still desire to be loved. Certainly as Messianic Believers, we learn and encounter many things that teach us about ourselves from the weekly Torah portions, from the Tanach, and from looking at the Apostolic Scriptures in […]

Chanukah

A Summarization of Chanukah Traditions

9 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

Margaret McKee Huey and J.K. McKee reproduced from the Messianic Winter Holiday Helper The holiday of Chanukah, or the Festival of Dedication, is full of many customs and traditions that give our celebration great life and depth. During this time of year, we have the awesome opportunity to commemorate the work of God from some 2,200 years ago during the time of the Maccabees. If they had not fought against the Seleucid invaders of Israel, the Jewish people would have either been destroyed through war, or would have disappeared via cultural assimilation. Chanukah, as attested in the historical record, was […]

Chanukah

The Importance of Chanukah

9 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

reproduced from the Messianic Winter Holiday Helper The subject of what Messianic Believers are to be doing for the Winter holiday season can be very controversial. On the one hand, Messianics should not really be celebrating Christmas, because it is non-Biblical and was created to be one replacement for observing the appointed times of Leviticus 23. On the other hand, should all Messianic Believers celebrate Chanukah, or the Feast of Dedication? Primarily the debate surrounds the fact that often the celebration of Chanukah can become a replacement for Christmas, and that Chanukah is not a Biblically-mandated holiday, as it is […]

Jewish Tradition

Being Realistic About Kosher

8 December, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

reproduced from the Messianic Kosher Helper The subject matter of the kosher dietary laws is one which, I have to admit, tends to bring about a wide degree of personal consternation within me when I see it discussed. I do not think that when the issue kashrut being valid for God’s people in the post-resurrection era is brought up by contemporary Messianics, it tends to be addressed that well. There are many passages of the Apostolic Scriptures or New Testament which remain quantitatively ignored by those of the pro-kosher side, or are at least addressed in a sub-standard manner, with […]

FAQ

Tradition, Role that it plays

27 November, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

POSTED 26 DECEMBER, 2005 What role, if any, do you believe tradition should play in our examination and application of Scripture, particularly the Torah? There is a wide variance of opinion in the emerging Messianic movement relating to what role, if any, tradition should play as we study and apply the Bible in our daily lives. This is particularly true regarding our individual pursuits of a Torah obedient lifestyle. How we follow the commandments of the Torah is a huge issue, and often the Torah itself gives us no explanation(s) of how various commandments are to be kept. The two […]

FAQ

Talmud

27 November, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

UPDATED 21 AUGUST, 2006 What is your position concerning the Talmud? The two Talmuds, the Babylonian Talmud and the smaller Jerusalem Talmud, both compose several centuries of Rabbinic gemara or commentary on the Mishnah. The Mishnah was composed by approximately 200 C.E. and makes up what is considered to be the Oral Torah. According to Jewish tradition, two Torahs were given to Moses on Mount Sinai: the Written Torah (the Pentateuch or Chumash), as well as the Oral Torah or explanations on how to perform the Written Torah’s commandments. In Orthodox Judaism today, both the Written Torah and Oral Torah […]

FAQ

Sabbath, Jewish tradition

27 November, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

POSTED 16 FEBRUARY, 2006 To what extent, if any, do you believe that we should follow Jewish tradition in our Sabbath observance? Biblically, we are told that the Sabbath day is to be a time of rest for our bodies, and that we are to make it holy (Exodus 20:11; Deuteronomy 5:12). The Scriptures tell us that Shabbat is to be “a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:3). How we “fill in the details” of doing this requires us to examine instances in the Scriptures where the Sabbath is being kept and determine with accuracy the halachah that was practiced in the […]

Appointed Times

Rosh HaShanah

27 November, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

POSTED 22 SEPTEMBER, 2008 Why does the Jewish community call Yom Teruah “Rosh HaShanah”? I thought the Biblical New Year began in the Spring. For many people in the independent Messianic movement, Exodus 12:2 settles the matter: “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you,” speaking of the month of Aviv (Exodus 13:4). Thus it is said that the worldwide Jewish Synagogue has been in error for millennia about designating the festival commanded in Leviticus 23:23-25 and Numbers 29:1-6 as “Rosh HaShanah,” and remembering the first […]

FAQ

PaRDeS

27 November, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

UPDATED 09 AUGUST, 2011 Can you explain to me the four levels of Hebraic Scripture interpretation? While it is quite commonplace in many sectors of the broad Messianic community, to hear about PaRDeS—also referred to as something like the “four levels of Hebraic Scripture interpretation”—few Messianic people are likely to know what the origins of the PaRDeS hermeneutic actually are. The term pardes itself is a loan word from Persian, meaning “enclosure, park, pleasure garden” (Jastrow).[1] When one encounters the term PaRDeS used as a method for interpreting the Tanach Scriptures, it represents an acronym for: p’shat, drash, remez, and […]

FAQ

Liturgy, Hebrew

25 November, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

UPDATED 22 OCTOBER, 2008 What do you think about the use of Hebrew liturgy in Messianic congregations? There are generally two extremes that one encounters among Messianic congregations as it relates to Hebrew liturgy: (1) those who rely on liturgy exclusively, and (2) those who see no value in liturgy at all. Those who rely on liturgy exclusively for prayers and worship are those that often embrace a strictly Orthodox Jewish style of halachah, whereas those who often see no value in liturgy are largely influenced by charismatic and/or Pentecostal Christianity. Any cursory examination of Second Temple Judaism will reveal […]

FAQ

Leavening Agents

25 November, 2016 J.K. McKee 0

POSTED 14 APRIL, 2006 How can I determine what is, and what is not, kosher for the Passover season? One of the major Biblical injunctions concerning Passover is to eat unleavened bread for seven days, remembering the bread of haste that the Ancient Israelites had to eat as they left Egypt (Deuteronomy 16:3). By extension, not only does the command pertain to eating unleavened bread, but it is a week-long prohibition against eating anything with leavening agents. This has been interpreted and applied in different ways, with some divergent halachah, in the Jewish community over the centuries. The Talmud, for […]

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