A Jewish Nun

Rosalind Moss is a woman I truly admire.  (You can read her testimony here.) Born to Jewish (Hungarian/Russian) parents, Rosalind grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Her family kept all of the traditions, attended synagogue and celebrated Passover. Every year they sang the traditional songs including Eliyahu Ha Navi (Elijah the Prophet) which is an invitation to the prophet to bring the Mashiac to the Seder feast. At Pesach a place is set for Elijah. If he does not show up then the family prays that he will come next year.

Rosalind, and her brother David, spent many years seeking after the LORD. They questioned, pondered and researched all that they were taught, or had read about their Jewish faith. One day, David found an article about a ministry called Jews for Jesus. He shared the article with his sister, but she was suspicious.

Rosalind told her brother, Jews do not believe in Jesus. That’s what it means to be a Jew. Jesus wasn’t Jewish. He was for the Gentiles. Anyway, if there are Jewish believers they must all be in California.

David, however, was intrigued and continued to do research. That there were Jewish believers in Jesus was simply unbelievable. Rosalind then came out to California on business. Walking through the campus of UCLA she spotted a young man wearing a T-shirt that was imprinted Jews for Jesus. Rosalind stopped and blinked her eyes.

“What,” she exclaimed, “there are Jewish believers in Jesus!?”

The young man gave her a tract which she graciously took for further study. Rosalind continued her studies with a group of Messianic Jews.

They taught me about our Jewish faith. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know about the Mosaic law. I didn’t know about the sacrificial system. I didn’t understand the shedding of blood. The Day of Atonement was a mystery. These things were not taught in synagogue. All I knew was that when Messiah came there would be peace. There is no peace so Messiah could not have come.

Beginning in the Torah, Rosalind learned the meaning of animal sacrifice. She now understood how the blood of an innocent lamb atoned for a person’s sin. Then, her Messianic teachers showed her John 1:29 where John the Baptist declared of Jesus, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! Rosalind said, That one verse shattered my world. I knew then that Jesus was the Messiah.

Rosalind’s mentor was an evangelical, ex-Catholic. The brand of Christianity that she was taught was virulently anti-Catholic. For the next 18 years she was on a mission to save Catholics from their false religion.

Two years after Rosalind accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, her brother David — believing that it was the true church of Christ — converted to Catholicism. This caused not an estrangement between the two of them, but it did motivate Rosalind to spend the next 16 years of her life trying to save her brother from what she thought was a satanic system.

David would not be swayed. He had experienced Judaism, agnosticism, atheism, Protestantism (Baptist), and was convinced that the Catholic Church was the New Testament church established by Jesus Christ.

Christmas Eve 1978, Rosalind attended Mass with David. She was struck by a sense of awe and reverence — of holiness and majesty. The service began with a solemn observance of God, the Creator of all things, and Rosalind said to her brother, This reminds me of synagogue with Christ. When the Eucharist was celebrated Rosalind felt a bolt of energy surge through her body and she said to David, This is the breaking of bread at Passover. They’re observing Passover!

[The Eucharist is condemned by Protestants as crucifying Christ all over again.  Seen through Jewish eyes it is a memorial observance of Pesach.]

In the summer of 1990, Rosalind began a soul-searching examination of the Catholic Church. She continued seeking until her conversion at the Easter Vigil in 1995.

But that isn’t the whole story.

Rosalind Moss, as a Protestant, earned a graduate degree from Talbot Theological Seminary. A Jewish girl turned evangelical Christian, who later converted to Catholicism, had only just begun her spiritual journey. Having once been on the staff of a Quaker Church she would later become a writer of Catholic apologetics defending the very doctrines that she condemned for 18 years.

It was a road to Damascus story.

On September 8, 2011, Rosalind became Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, Order of Saint Benedict. She can be heard daily on Immaculate Heart Radio.

The one issue that turned the hearts of Rosalind and David was that of church unity. They didn’t understand the tens of thousands of Protestant denominations. God is not the author of division and confusion.

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one — as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me (John 17:21).

The Reformation — understood by Catholics to be the falling away — has wrought tens of thousands of churches that teach just as many interpretations. There is not universal agreement even on what Protestants call the essentials. Some might argue that the split between the Eastern Orthodox Church and Rome was also divisive, but in practicality it was mostly due to cultural and political differences (such as the authority of the Romish Pope).

Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself (Ephesians 2:20).

[The Catholic Church traces its roots back to the New Testament. Protestants trace their origins to the 16th century and after. This is not to suggest that the Church was without fault, but that correction should have been made internally.]

There are two Catholic churches in my neighborhood, and both conform to liturgical tradition. Conversely, there are a dozen Protestant churches nearby and none of them share the same doctrinal statement. In fact, a few require that a member be baptized according to their bylaws.

Brothers, we are not baptized into a denomination — but into the body of Christ. (I’ve already received two Protestant baptisms because of this errant teaching.)

Mother Miriam reflected on her journey:

I have always felt that I was made for another world and that I was a pilgrim in this one. Giving my life to God through Christ from my Jewish background changed my life forever. Coming further into the fullness of Christianity 18 years later in the Catholic Church deepened my relationship with God more than I knew was possible.

This is one person’s testimony. It is not intended to be a defense of Catholicism. The church of Jesus Christ is a spiritual body. It is not a building nor even a denomination. It is people of faith. Some are Catholic … some are Protestant … some attend a local parish while others meet in a private home … some are Pentecostal … some are Baptist … and there are still a few who insist that they are simply Christians.

“For a Jewish person to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is a difficult thing to understand,” said Rosalind.

But it truly is a coming home.

David

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

Yom Hashoah

tatoo

Chip owned the local deli in my neighborhood. He made the best sandwiches. Sometimes he would even slip in a piece of bacon. When he layered on the condiments you might catch a glimpse of the mark upon his left arm. As he rang up the sale and bagged your order it was clearly visible. It would never go away — nor the memories that haunted him night and day.

Auschwitz was the only concentration camp where prisoners received a tattoo. So many thousands died there that it became impossible to maintain identification records. The SS began tattooing prisoners in 1941 except those who were sent directly to the gas chambers.

Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) falls on the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. That corresponds to Monday, April 24, 2017.

Please take a moment to remember.

[Yad Vashem –The World Holocaust Remembrance Center]

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

Give Christmas Back to the Pagans

I am an ancient soul who doesn’t celebrate my birthday. Don’t misunderstand, I give thanks to the LORD always for the precious gift of life, and so I celebrate Him everyday. I am consciously aware when my birthday comes around, and I do give thanks to G-d for giving me another day … another year; but not with cake or presents. The simple joy of living is to be appreciated every day … giving thanks to the Creator always.

Sadly, I think people spend more time checking their text messages than giving thanks to the LORD.

Rabbi Benjamin Blech wrote an article, Jews and Birthdays, wherein he discusses why he doesn’t celebrate his birthday. In ancient Judaism, birthdays were not celebrated. It was a pagan tradition in which the Gentiles would offer gifts to their idols on the birthday of whatever false deity they worshipped.

Candlelit cakes would be offered to an idol as fire and smoke from the candles lifted the people’s wishes for safety and protection to the outer domain of the gods. This tradition was carried over to the celebration of an individual’s birthday who would blow out the candles and offer birthday wishes for their own personal safety.

In the Hebrew Bible there is only one mention of a birthday, and that was when Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker.

Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian, wrote in his polemic, Against Apion:

Nay, indeed, the law does not permit us to make festivals at the birth of our children, and thereby afford occasion of drinking to excess ( Book II, Chapter 26).

[Brief digression]

I confess … I am a prohibitionist. This past week two people in my community were killed by drunk drivers. The offenders, as is so often the case, walked away unharmed. One of them had five prior DUI convictions. If I could make the world dry with the snap of a finger but, alas, the Bible does not prohibit drinking.

Scripture does, however, speak rather clearly on the evils of alcohol; and that drunkards will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.

And Bathsheba warned her son, Solomon (Lemuel), that kings should not drink wine, or crave strong drink.

In the B’rit Chadasha, Shaul admonished the Ephesians to not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.

Christian, why do you drink? Or, in this day and age I might ask, why do you smoke dope?

Well, it’s legal and natural. G-d wouldn’t have made it if we weren’t supposed to use it.

So, Eve took a bite of the apple because she saw it was good to eat … I see. That tipsy feeling is not the Spirit of God, but intoxication.

I remember turning 21, and how it was a rite of passage to celebrate by getting drunk. How stupid is that? My peers had been drinking, dropping acid and getting stoned since Junior High so it was sort of anticlimactic, but now they could drink legally. I didn’t do anything on my 21st birthday. Hoorah.

By the way, Jesus turned water into unfermented wine so let’s not go there as I have discussed that on another post.

The Bible is very keen on sobriety. Parties afford tempting opportunities for excess and while ancient Jews did not celebrate birthdays they did celebrate a person’s life upon death.

[End digression]

Now, let’s understand ancient Jewish tradition with regards to the birth and death of the Messiah. The disciples of Jesus did not celebrate his birth. Indeed, the secular version of Christ’s birthday has sold many holiday cards, but it is a fabrication.

There were not three wise men. Most likely it was a caravan of hundreds which is why Herod was so distraught when they arrived in Jerusalem looking for the King of the Jews. King Herod feared an insurrection which is why he ordered the death of all Jewish babies (boys) under the age of two.

The wise men, who most likely were Jewish descendants of the Babylonian exile, found Mary and her child not in a manger, but a house. Orthodox teaching is that the wise men were Gentiles from the East. Why do I say they were Jewish? Recall the Babylonian exile about five centuries before Christ (BC). Ezekiel and Daniel were among the thousands deported. Remember that Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and was made Prime Minister of the province (and chief over all the wise men).

Most of the Jews who were exiled remained in Babylon where they received prophetic revelation from Daniel particularly with reference to the 70 weeks, or 490 years to the coming of the Mashiac.

The wise men, Jewish disciples of the prophet Daniel, embarked on a momentous journey based on the revelation of G-d of the impending birth of Messiah whose star charted a course to the Holy Land.

In Judaism, as Rabbi Blech notes, people have more than one birthday — the day they are born, and the day they become righteous. The second birth is more significant — profoundly so.

What did Jesus tell Nicodemus?

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

Is this all starting to make sense?

Jewish disciples of Christ did not celebrate his birthday for the reasons so noted. It wasn’t until the 4th century when Emperor Constantine celebrated the first Christmas on December 25, 336 AD. Shortly, thereafter, Pope Julius I made it an official church holy day.

I mentioned earlier that ancient Jews did celebrate a person’s life at death. How did Jesus ask us to remember him?

In his letter to the assembly at Corinth, Shaul wrote of the Lord’s Supper:

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me. In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

Video of our community holiday parade is posted on the YouTube channel, and the organizers have pretty much succeeded in taking Christ out of Christmas. Only two local churches participated — the Lutheran, and Episcopalian (whose pastor grabbed the microphone and sang Joy to the World which, by the way, is not a song about Christ’s birth, but his Second Coming).

Oh, how the traditions of men defile everything that is holy and true. It doesn’t help that Christians (who don’t know the Hebrew roots of their faith) have taken the Jew out of Jesus.

I don’t get caught up in the perennial debate — taking Christ out of Christmas — when the Yule season was a pagan celebration long before Messiah was born. If anything, Christmas adopted the bacchanal celebration of the winter festival; and it has, for centuries, brought reproach and contempt to that which a Christian should be remembering, and that is the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua HaMashiach.

All else is vanity, my brothers.

Copyright © 2016 Messiah Gate