Explore A Jewish Perspective
- Dare We Hope?
- Passover - Why Is This Night Different?
- The Yom Kippur Dilemma
- Sukkot: A Promise Of Living Water
- The Hanukkah Question
- The Final Encounter
- The Concept of Sin
- The Concept of Messiah
- The Promise of a Messiah
- Jewish Views of Jesus
- Major Prophecies About The Messiah
- Jewishness of the New Testament
- The Trinity: Jewish or Gentile-ish?
- Hitler’s Theologians: The Genesis of Genocide
- Jill Watt's Story
Dare We Hope?
Hope Seems Thin
These days it seems as though there is a conspiracy against hope. It's hard to look on the bright side of life when newscasters constantly tell us that we are in danger of destruction, when we have seen that a few people can put an end to life as we know it, when might seems to prevail over right. Is it reasonable to still have hope in the face of all this? Or is it only logical to resort to despair, disbelief, fear and cynicism?
The awareness of the overwhelming and irrepressible evil in our world can often cause people to abandon hope and faith in a God who cares. We need only look 70 years behind us, to the Holocaust, to find an example of evil so great that it led some to abandon their faith. As one survivor put it, "I lost my faith and stopped believing in God when I saw the Nazis take pious Jews out to the courtyard and butcher and slaughter them..." 1
A 21st Century Jew and His Experience with Jesus
By Steve Cohen, founder of The Apple of His Eye
I Write This with Thanks
Many flowery words would never adequately express the love I have for my father and mother, so I will simply say, "This is dedicated to dad and mom, Robert and Barbara Cohen. Mother, may you be comforted by God in your solitude after dad's death in 1990." I am eternally grateful to Alan and Kathy Rither. Because of their faithful prayers, testimony and witness, I have begun my spiritual journey in Y'shua.
Passover - Why Is This Night Different?
On the fourteenth day of the first month the Lord’s Passover is to be held. On the fifteenth day of this month there is to be a festival; for seven days eat bread made without yeast. -- Numbers 28:16 -17
Passover is one of the major Jewish festivals which occurs on the 14th of Nissan in the Jewish calendar. It begins at sundown as the family traditionally gathers from far and wide to sit together in the home after weeks of preparation to clean and remove all leaven from the house.
The Yom Kippur Dilemma
The Yom Kippur Dilemma
If you journeyed back in time 3,500 years and saw Jewish life as our forefathers lived it, you would be astounded at how vastly it differed from today's practices. Instead of synagogues and Jewish community centers, you would witness a tent-like tabernacle, or at a later date, Solomon's magnificent Temple. And whether it were Temple or tabernacle, you would find the "services" totally foreign. In place of a chanted liturgy centered in the weekly Torah reading, you would discover a world of worship where animal sacrifice was the focal point. No rabbi would preside. Instead a kohen, a priest, would be responsible for the ritual handling of the animals' brood.
Sukkot: A Promise Of Living Water
Fruit Harvest in Ancient Israel
When summer is gone, the final harvest is ready. Nimble fingers separate grapes from the vines. Some of the harvest is laid out for the sun to sweeten into delicious dried fruit: raisins. Huge quantities of grapes are crushed and their juice is stored in large earthen vats until the proper time for it to be poured into wineskins to complete the fermentation process. All look forward to the abundance of wine, which King David said, "gladdens the heart." (Psalm 104:15)
Each of the family joins in collecting the fruit of the land, the fruit God has provided for his people. Children scramble to fill oversized baskets with figs and dates which will be molded into cakes for a sweet confection to be used in the months ahead. Some dates will be made into a sweet syrup, date honey.
The Hanukkah Question
The Hanukkah Question: Was Jesus the Promised Messiah?
Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, is marked over the same eight days every year. Because the Jewish calendar is a lunar one, the dates seem to move relative to our Gregorian calendar. But Hanukkah is really on the same eight days each year.
Hanukkah is a minor Jewish festival (meaning that work is permitted throughout the festival.) The holiday originated when Judah the Maccabee and his followers were victorious in battle in the village of Modi’in, just outside of Jerusalem. They defeated the Syrian King Antiochus IV. Antiochus’ often eccentric behavior, capricious actions and even insanity led some of his contemporaries to call him Epimanes (“The Mad One”), a word play on his title Epiphanes (meaning God manifest).
The Final Encounter
Death: Our Universal Experience
Mankind has been confronted with the experience of death since the beginning of time, and yet there is hardly another subject about which we know so little. Modern man chooses to escape from the awesome awareness of his own mortality and seeks ways to isolate himself from those approaching death. Why is this?
The Concept of Sin
What Do Jewish Writings Say About Sin?
What do Jewish Scriptures and traditions say about sin and its consequence? Is there a permanent solution?
Steven was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home. He went to Hebrew school, had his bar mitzvah and observed the holidays. Yet when he turned 15, his parents began to experiment with a more liberal Jewish lifestyle. Perhaps it was an act of rebellion against her own mother, but Steven's mother began making pork chops, a food previously forbidden from the family menu and alien to their palates. At the same time, and seemingly unrelated at first, his father bought a smoke alarm. In case of fire, they would be ready! But as it happened, whenever the mother made pork chops, the alarm would start to blast. Its piercing warning would upset the otherwise peaceful household. Sometimes there was even smoke accompanying the alarm. Steven's father quipped that maybe God was trying to tell them something--namely that they shouldn't eat pork. The rest of the family shrugged off the remark as a joke and the culinary experiments continued. Still, whenever pork was cooked, the alarm sounded. Eventually, Steven's father took the obvious solution. He got rid of the smoke alarm!
The Concept of Messiah
Messiah: The Anointed One
If you ask three Jewish people about the Messiah, you will get five opinions! There is little consensus in the Jewish community except for saying, “He hasn’t come yet. We are still waiting for Messiah! Jesus is not the Messiah.”
I grew up in the Reform Branch of Judaism. My family was not looking for a personal Messiah but for a messianic age, a time in which this world would be different... “The lion would lay down with the lamb, swords beaten into plow shares” based on what we do in making this world better.
The Promise of a Messiah
Prophecy and the Birth of a Messiah
Each December at the Hanukkah and Christmas season, we find a fresh opportunity to review God’s great promises concerning the Messiah who would come to save us from our sins.
The very first Messianic prophecy is found in Genesis 3:12-15 following the fall of mankind:
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Jewish Views of Jesus
A Brief Survey of Jewish Views of Jesus
My wife and I were talking the other night. I asked her (yes, she is Jewish), “What do Jewish people think of Jesus?” Without batting an eyelash, her response was, “Jewish people do not think of Jesus!” Generally Jesus is given little to no thought.
Throughout the ages, the question of who Y’shua (Jesus) is has encountered a full spectrum of reactions ranging from He is a myth, fable and the New Testament is merely an assemblage of narishkeit (Yiddish for foolishness)... all the way to He is the promised Messiah, God incarnate who died for our sins and rose from the dead. Quite a spectrum, indeed.
Major Prophecies About The Messiah
Knowing the Messiah
Often I’ve asked Jewish people this question, “When the Jewish Messiah comes, how you will know? How will you be able to identify the true Jewish Messiah from many over the centuries who have claimed to be Messiah, but weren’t?”
Most Jewish people today don’t know how they will identify the Messiah of Israel. They typically respond, “Well, when He comes, we will just know it.” Others say, “Our Rabbi will be sure to tell us when the Jewish Messiah is here, but we know He hasn’t come yet.”
Jewishness of the New Testament
A Forgotten Book
Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein was curious when he observed one of the teachers in his school reading a book printed in German. Asking the teacher what he was reading, the book was passed to him. He leafed casually through the pages until his eye fell upon the name, "Jesus Christ." Realizing that the little book was a New Testament, he sternly rebuked the teacher for having it in his possession. He furiously cast the book across the room. It fell behind some other books on a shelf and lay forgotten for nearly 30 years.
The Trinity: Jewish or Gentile-ish?
The Lord is One
"Hear, O Israel, Adonai Eloheinu Adonai is one. These three are one. How can the three Names be one? Only through the perception of faith; in the vision of the Holy Spirit, in the beholding of the hidden eye alone.…So it is with the mystery of the threefold Divine manifestations designated by Adonai Eloheinu Adonai—three modes which yet form one unity." 
A Christian quote? Hardly. The above is taken from the Zohar, an ancient book of Jewish mysticism. The Zohar is somewhat esoteric and most contemporary Jews don't study it, but there are other Jewish books that refer to God's plurality as well.
Hitler’s Theologians: The Genesis of Genocide
For almost twenty centuries…the church was the archenemy of the Jews—our most powerful and relentless oppressor and the worlds’ greatest force for the dissemination of Anti-Semitic beliefs and the instigation of the acts of hatred. Many of the same people who operated the gas chambers worshiped in Christian churches on Sunday…The question of the complicity of the church in the murder of the Jews is a living one. We must understand the truths of our history.—Abraham Foxman, Anti-Defamation League 1
Was Hitler Following the Teachings of Jesus?
Most Christians would say that Adolf Hitler was not a Christian because he did not follow the teachings of Jesus nor did he understand the meaning of the New Testament writings. Yet, in his own way, perverse though it was, he saw the genocide of the Jewish people as a “sacred” mission. Writing in Mein Kampf, Hitler said: “Today, I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord” [italics in the original].” In addition, there are those who would allege that it was not only Hitler’s personal “theology” but also two thousand years of anti-Semitism by the church in the name of Jesus that laid the foundation for the Holocaust.