Dr. Brown Answers Your Questions

Including: Textual Criticism of the New Testament; the Deity of Jesus; and Was Jesus into Kabbalah?

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62 Comments
  1. Dr. Brown;

    Regarding the Sinai covenant, do we not need to break it into subcategories? That is, does not the covenant have two parts, moral and ceremonial? Those moral laws that flow from God’s nature (e.g. honesty) are eternal (God can not go against His nature). The ceremonial laws do not seem to flow from God’s nature and thus are not eternal. If I understand this correctly, the ceremonial laws (animal sacrifice etc.) functioned to keep the Jewish people separate and pointed to Jesus who fulfilled their requirements as the ultimate sacrifice. So while the ceremonial laws in the old covenant were replaced in the new covenant, the moral laws of the old covenant persist (as the moral nature of God does not change). If this were not the case it seems that your teaching against homosexuality which you support with texts from the OT (as well as the NT) would be problematic.

    Further, it seems that Jesus’ greatest commandments (Mark 12:29-31… ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ) encompass most of the moral laws. If we go through the 10 commandments, it seems that they flow from the two greatest. For example, keeping the Sabbath (or the equivalent) to spend time honoring the LORD, is in keeping with Mark 12:30. Making graven images diminishes God by trying to circumscribe Him and thus does not show proper love for Him. Not bearing false witness flows from loving our neighbors etc.

    Dr. Brown, is my understanding correct? Are not the moral constructs of the OT permanent while the ceremonial parts replaced in the New Covenant as they have been fulfilled by Jesus?

  2. S. Johnson,

    Actually, the traditional Christian way of looking at the Sinai covenant in terms of moral, ceremonial, and civil can be practical in terms of understanding the different components of the Law, but it is misleading because: 1) Jews regarded the Torah as one coherent and inseparable whole; and 2) the various laws are often joined together in the same passage.

    In principle, I largely agree with your point, but I would say it needs be a bit more nuanced. I treat this as some length in vol. 4 of my series and then, in shorter form, in What Do Jewish People Think About Jesus?

  3. Dr. Brown,
    I started researching your above claim that Jesus’ teachings to love one another, etc, were not found in the antiquity of Judaism. This was not correct. The ‘Golden Rule’ (Matthew 7.12, Luke 6.31) is also found in Tobit 4.15 and Sirach 31.15. Also, the verse you refer to, John 13.34, is a simple derivation of Leviticus 19.18, however Jesus somewhat limits the target for this love as ‘one another’ seemingly only referring to the disciples and other believers.

    Dr. Brown, please clarify your claims.
    Thanks, Jeremy

  4. Jeremy,

    The Golden Rule is found in lots of other literature, including non-Jewish. It appears you misunderstood my point: Jesus calls us to love one another AS HE HIMSELF LOVED US. Until the cross, such an extraordinary revelation of selfless love had never been demonstrated, and so His teaching remains utterly unique.

    Jesus’ teachings in John are reiterated for all believers in John’s letters, so you cannot limit His words to the disciples alone.

    It’s really quite simple and clear.

  5. Jeremy,

    I just read through this whole blog. I appreciate your heart and your questions. Judging by your posts here, we seem to have a lot of ideas in common. We are having an intense multilogue on the dietary laws on the June 16, 2010 blog. It is titled “Does it matter to God of Christians keep the dietary laws?” You might like it. It would be a pleasure to have you join in.

    Keep pressing on toward the high calling in Messiah and keep pressing in to the truth in the scripture.

    Revelation 14
    12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

    Shalom

  6. Dr Brown,
    The statement in John 13 says ‘as I have loved you’ referring to something that has already been modeled for them, not something in the future. You also stated above that I should pay attention to the words of Jesus rather than anything else (i.e. how the disciples interpret/acted upon a command) so the reference to John’s epistles are irrelevant to what you have said in the past.

    Dangerous Bo,
    I limit my involvement for several reasons. I personally believe that the dietary laws apply and no law is to be replaced or canceled. That is one of the great sins of Christianity…even Jesus stated plainly:

    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5.17-19

    According to the dialogue above, since Jesus said it and it is plain and clear, there should be no controversy, however that is not the case. I guess being the least in the kingdom doesn’t matter to most people, they just want to get in (they better read verse 20 too). No matter how you want to interpret ‘fulfil’, verse 19 is quite clear and in context refers directly to the law. My question is: Why try to prove it is irrelevant? IF we love God, we should be willing to do anything…but that’s just me.

    Shalom
    Jeremy

  7. Jeremy,

    I agree with you. I just think that you will find the conversation stimulating. I hold the view that the law can’t change until heaven and earth pass away. You may be able to answer some of the arguments against the dietary laws still being in effect.

    Shalom

  8. Dr. Brown

    It is my pleasure to write to you about another subject, other then some I’ve heard of the radio show lately. I want your take on this issue I’ve been coming across, I, like you have a burning passion and love for the lord Yeshua/Jesus. But over time the Lord has shown me some truths that need looking into such as the problems with the bibles today.

    You may already have written on this subject, if you have please send me a link or refer me to some resources. To me, I try to obey as best I can to the Lords words, for they are life from the dead, and food to the spirit.

    Textus Receptus, is what I’m told is the the source from where the original king James version bible was written from.

    Vaticanus/Sinaiticus Texts, from what I read are the newer sources from where these newer bibles are translated from.

    It seems small at first, but there are very vast differences in between them..

    (NIV Bible)Isaiah 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

    (KJV Bible) Isaiah 14:12 Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

    I very much dislike that Lucifer is called the title of our coming king.

    I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
    Revelation 22:16

    And lastly, there is a problem with 1 John 5:7 in most of the bibles, in the KJV it declares Jesus deity and his relation to the father and the holy spirit. “For there are three that bear witness in Heaven, the Father, and the word and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one”

    But in these other version I find it simply saying, “There are three witnesses.”

    Dr. Brown I thank you for your patience with my long comment, and I ask ye be kind and over long my long windedness. ^^; But look and see, and tell me your thoughts on this.

    Your brother in Christ
    Henry

  9. I agree that Jesus applications of the two laws that he cited as vital to observance (One being the Golden Rule), were uniquely redefined in His personal application and sythesis given from them and eclipsing even these. James calls Love as I Have Loved the Royal Law. That would be of the King of the Kingdom! We anticipate a Kingdom come and in the meantime walk in its Ways.

  10. Dr. Brown
    I was so excited to speak with you on the air. I spoke to you about a Jewish co-worker, who knows nothing about her Jewish roots. She literally shivers and is so excited when I tell her about the covenants and the call of Abraham. She said she never heard anything like this in her entire life. Everything about the Jewish people is totally foreign to her. I don’t want to blow this opportunity, so I need your guidance on how to witness to her. The first time I tried before with someone else I was eaten alive. Presently, I concentrate on the promises. Are there any books that you can recommend? She said she wants to speak to you regarding some advise for her sons. Thanks.

  11. The Mosaic Covenant was a temporary covenant that WAS ABOLISHED. Anyone trying to put himself or others under Moses Covenant of bondage is fallen from grace and repeating the VERY SAME JUDAIZER HERESY Paul and the early church combatted and wrote against.

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