In the last issue of Kesher, Winter / Spring 2022, we considered “Tomorrow Together,” possibilities for a thriving Messianic Jewish future, drawing upon lessons from the past and present. This issue continues the discussion of communal vitality with two major articles by veteran Messianic Jewish leaders.
David Rudolph leads off with “Toward Paul’s Ephesians 2 Vision of the One New Man: Navigating Around Hebrew Roots and Replacement Theologies.” Dr. Rudolph articulates the parameters of Messianic Jewish communal life in contrast with Hebrew Roots teaching and replacement theologies that would dismantle those boundaries from opposite directions. As Dr. Rudolph writes, these theologies depart from Paul’s Ephesians 2 vision in opposite directions, with one resulting in the One New Jew and the other in One New Gentile. In contrast with both, he presents One New Man made up of Jews and Gentiles in Messiah, who affirm each other in their respective identities and in a shared life in the Lord.
In “What is Our Message?” Rachel Wolf addresses the vitality of the Messianic Jewish community from a different angle, namely its relationship with the wider Jewish community, and particularly its message to that community. Wolf argues that this message needs to engage not only Jewish individuals who may be attracted to Yeshua, but the Jewish community as a whole. She argues that the Messianic Jewish community needs to demonstrate the kingdom of God in ways that astound, amaze, and challenge the rest of the Jewish community.
Our third major article, “Presence and Involvement: The Pre-incarnate Messiah in the History of Israel” by Edjan Westerman, is the second in a trilogy that began in Kesher 38 (Winter/Spring 2021) with “For Better and For Worse: The Faithfulness of God through the Exile and Return of the Shekhinah.” The concluding article, on “Suffering Israel,” is planned for our next issue, Winter/Spring 2023. In tracing Israel’s journey through exile and suffering, Westerman discovers unrecognized aspects of the relationship between God, Messiah, and the Jewish people that have profound implications for Messianic Jewish communal life today.
A series of shorter, but equally insightful, articles round out this issue. All deal in one way or another with supersessionism and alternative approaches to this challenging perspective. In “The Woman, Her Male Child, the Dragon, and the Rest of Her Offspring,” Dr. Boyd Luter and Sarah Sanders of The King’s University provide a detailed exegesis of Revelation 12 to present a non-supersessionist reading of this crucial chapter. Doctoral student Etienne Jodar provides an equally detailed analysis of the writings and influence of the church father Augustine, along with some unexpected insights, in “Law-Observance Among Jewish Christians: Benefiting from Augustine’s View.” Another graduate student, Justin Wheaton, provides a look at “Supersessionist Teachings in Children’s Biblical Literature.” We conclude with Jason Moraff’s review of the recently released Finding Messiah: A Journey into the Jewishness of the Gospel, by Jennifer M. Rosner.
Taken together, these articles help clarify the boundaries of the Messianic Jewish community and provide a vision for expanding those boundaries in the years ahead.
—Rabbi Russ Resnik