Christianity -- Christian Living/Judaism and marriage
QUESTION: Mr. Gump, I loved your answer on salvation, so here goes a few more: I see you have studied Judaism. We have one expert on this site who seems to completely embrace this. This is a Christian site, so I don't know why he's on it. I asked him how in the world can Jews not know Jesus since there is so much proof of Him, and now I'll ask you that? And, for question 2,what do you think marriage really is? Here's a scenario; a "typical marriage" today where the couple just mouths the words to a preacher saying they believe God will lead this union (they don't mean it, i.o.w.),and then they get the "piece of paper", and scenario 2: two people meet in a nice place, and devote their entire union to God and devote their whole life to each other, and mean it, bt no "paper". Which one is really a marriage in God's eyes?
ANSWER: Hi Barney - thanks for the follow up and your kind words. Great questions! As for why Jews do not accept Jesus as Messiah, well that's a huge question with a great many possible answers. You could probably find many rationalizations and "proof texts" from the Jewish perspective on why Jesus is rejected as the messiah. Contrast these with the Christian perspective and you have quite the argument on your hands, that no one is going "win". In the simplest of terms from my perspective, God has placed "blinders" on the Jews that have prevented most from "seeing" the truth. That's not to say that some haven't come to know Jesus, many have (known as Messianic Jews), however most have not. Some say that Jews reject Him because he didn't fulfill messianic prophecy and bring ultimate and universal peace, etc. Well, the sad part for non-believeing Jews is that Jesus isn't "done" with his work yet! When He returns, and hopefully soon, he will indeed establish His millenial kingdom and there will be peace and tranquility on earth, thus fulfilling prophecy that the Jews believe He didn't do 2000 years ago. Because Jesus died on the cross they believe that he can't possibly be the messiah. Refusing to accept this atoning sacrifice could be (and I believe so) part of the reason why God has placed those blinders. However, since I do not pretend to have all the answers, I have to just trust God that He knows what He's doing and that there will come a time when Jews will indeed turn to Jesus en masse, but not yet. Do Jews need Jesus? Absolutely. There is no 2-pronged Gospel message, one for the Gentile and one for the Jew in the Bible. Jesus says himself, "No one comes to the Father except through me" in John's Gospel. No one means no one.
As for your marriage question, I believe that marriage in God's eyes is one in which a man and woman form a God-centered union, cleaving to one another (a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh... Gen 2:24-25). Purposeful commitment to one another, recognition and adherence to God's defined roles for each as husband and wife with devout focus on God as the head of their marriage is what I believe constitutes a God-ordained marriage. Why the "paper", well, not being a marriage scholar or historian, it likely stems from a long time ago when there were political or governmental reasons why there became this "legal" bond on top of the vow of marriage. But, since that is the law today, then God instructs us to follow the laws of the land in which we live (taxes, penal code, etc.) "Pay to Caesar what Caesar is due". Matt 22:21. So with your two examples of marriage, I'd have to go with #3 :-) --- Your #2 plus follow the law of the land which means a marriage certificate. The certificate makes it legal in man's eyes, the commitment to one another AND to abiding by the law of the land makes it right in God's eyes.
Not sure if this directly answered your questions, so feel free to follow up. Thanks Barney.
Grace & Truth
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Here's a follow up John based on your answer:Only two things bothered me a little from your original answer. You said you thought God blinded the Jews. I have always wondered about that, as the Bible talks about Him blinding several groups of people. Why do you think He does that? You would think he would give them a free will to decide rather than 'blinding" them and giving them no chance. That is similar to where he says He will curse generations to the 3rd and 4th because of sin (feel free to comment on this too).
As to marriage, I believe this is one of the most controversial subjects in the Bible. I have gotten several different answers from several "experts" on this. Here's my question: Your 1st statement on mariage starts out "I believe marriage in God's eyes is one in which a man and a woman form a God-centered union, cleaving to....". Well, to take that literally, then my #2 example would be allright. I realize an official marriage would be better, but you know in Jesus day even, many "common law" marriages existed and I believe Jesus was allright with it, as many had a hard time with getting an official marriage. Your thoughts please? As to you saying we're supposed to go by the laws of the land, there are some that God wants us not to adhere to. For example, there supposedly are hate crime laws now that says you shoudn't condemn homosexuality, or you could be jailed if you do. I don't think God wants us to adhere to that. Thanks
Hi Barney - thanks for the follow up. Sorry about the cloudiness on the marriage topic. Your first question about why God has placed blinders on the Jewish people, other than what I wrote in my previous response, I don't know why. No one does. I think there are ample clues in the bible, but to know all His ways isn't possible. As for free will, that's not been removed from them at all, in fact the number of messianic Jews is growing quite fast. In this fallen world of ours we are subject to our own pride and temptations daily and given the freedom to believe whatever we want (right or wrong). So, why do some come to Christ and others do not? A question for ages. The fact that God has not "disallowed" them from coming to Jesus is the key. Remember when Jesus died, the "veil was torn"? Well, this references the holy of holies from the OT, and Christ's death (and eventual ressurection) removed the veil allowing ALL to come freely to Him through Christ, the Jew and the Gentile. The hardness of heart of Jews who have not yet accepted Christ remains a mystery. It would be great to have a Messianic Jew chime in on this...why some do come to accept Jesus, and why others don't. In the end it's about sin that keeps so many from the truth.
On the marriage follow up, you're absolutely right, we certainly are not to follow the laws of the land that oppose God. I didn't call this out in my last post, but probably should have. I agree wholeheartedly. Love the sinner, hate the sin. As for whether or not Jesus was "alright" with common law marriage, I'm not sure. I can't recall any direct evidence of this. Kinda the same thing as having mistresses and slaves as told in the OT. Was God really "okay" with this? I doubt it, but he did permit it for whatever reason.