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What Is the Oral Law?

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2023 5:10 pm

What Is the Oral Law?

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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March 16, 2023 5:10 pm

The Line of Fire Radio Broadcast for 03/16/23.


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So what do traditional Jews mean when they refer to the oral law? It's time for the line of fire with your host, biblical scholar and cultural commentator, Dr. Michael Brown. Your voice for moral sanity and spiritual clarity.

Call 866-34-TRUTH to get on the line of fire. And now here's your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Thank you so much for joining us on Thoroughly Jewish Thursday. Michael Brown, delighted to be with you.

Those who are watching will see these balloons in the background. You had the birthday balloons that the staff brought in for me. It is my 68th birthday. I had no idea 68 could feel so good. 68 could feel so young. I know some of you had real hard, tough lives in 68.

It's, oh man, long since time to retire and unwind. And may the Lord's grace be with you and may you renew your strength. But boy, am I blessed and thankful to God for health and vigor. I am deeply, deeply appreciative.

And thank you. All of you who pray for me regularly pray for our ministry. We are on the front lines and there's a lot of demonic attack and there's a lot of attack in the natural. But we are blessed. We're blessed as a team, as a staff. I'm blessed personally. Nancy and I are blessed.

We're not under this constant wave of oppression. And I know that a large part of it is that many of you pray for me. And you pray for us. So thank you that that carries us. That means the world to us. And of course, when you're doing what God called you to do, his grace is sufficient in the midst of the attack and trial and challenge.

All right. If you have a Jewish related question of any kind, Jewish related topic of any kind you want to talk to me about, be it regarding the Hebrew language, be it regarding messianic prophecy, the people of Israel today, Jewish identity, anything Judaism. Anything that's Jewish related, Jewish background to the New Testament, as long as it qualifies within those categories, we'll take your call today.

866-348-7884. Now, I'm going to get to the question in a moment about what traditional Jews mean by the oral law. But I've got two debates coming up.

I want to draw attention to them again. God willing, Monday night in London, debating the subject of whether Muhammad is prophesied in the Bible, in all candor, I believe it's a real mistake for Muslims to want to debate this. I did not initiate this. I was challenged to do this for a number of years by a Muslim apologist in England, finally had the opportunity being over there where I could extend my stay by an extra day to do this. So this is a challenge that's been given.

I feel it's a loss out of the store. It's not a good debate for them to take. But because I believe we can exalt Jesus, Yeshua, in the midst of it and tear down some wrong understanding and hopefully get our Muslim friends to rethink some aspects of their faith, because according to the Quran, Muhammad should be prophesied in the Bible, at least that's the way it's normally interpreted. So we're not debating Quran, we're not debating Islam, we're going to debate that subject.

If you're anywhere in the London area, would like to attend, it's going to be the University in London, but we've been asked not to post the information, maybe just because of crowds or I'm not really sure why. So if you're interested, just email info at, info at, do it as soon as you can, because this is Monday the 20th, and then we will privately shoot you a note. By all means, tell your friends, tell your believing friends, come out, tell your Muslim friends to come out, but the room itself is limited in size, the room that the Muslim organizers got for us, and God willing, everything's going to be videotaped and posted so you'll get to watch the entire debate. But I prepare for debates very seriously, I really go before the Lord, and I really study and think and look at the issues, so let's really pray that the Lord will be glorified. And then, a week from today, God willing, March 23rd, this will be live streamed, so I'll be in my office near North Carolina, and Ahazar from the Sicari who I'll be debating, I'm not sure exactly where he'll be, will be hosted by Berean TV, their YouTube channel, so we'll be sending out links, sending out information so you can watch live stream, but as much as the 12 Tribes Chart is completely bogus, and can be easily demonstrated as completely bogus. Yes, there are Jews from Africa, and there are African Jews in America, yes, yes, and there are Hispanic Jews in different parts of the world, yes, there are descendants of Lord Sephardic Jews, in any Hispanic, many of them were Hispanic Christian over the years, because they had come under pressure to convert to Catholicism, and outwardly converted, but secretly continued to maintain their Jewish practices, and some more of that is surfacing.

So there's no denying that there are black Jews and Hispanic Jews, absolutely, just like there are white Jews, right, there's no denying that, and I have no debate with that, but the chart itself is completely bogus, is unhistorical, can easily be demolished based on scripture, based on language, based on history, but in preparing for this, I'm quite sure that Ahazar, who's looked at this for many, many years, will be quite prepared in his presentation. So in order to glorify the Lord, I want to do my best to demolish lies, to help people see through things, because there are many people, there's racism on all sides, we know that, right, there's racial hatred and prejudice on all sides, so those that would be in this camp, the Sicari camp, would largely look at me as some white Edomite devil, so they're so blinded by that bias, hatred, whatever it is, that deception, that even as I'm speaking truth, they won't hear it, so let's pray that hearts and minds would be open. Let's pray that this would be a time of awakening, let's even pray for Ahazar, if he's sincerely seeking to know God, and be right with God, I don't know if he has Jewish blood or not, don't know him personally, not trying to trace out his entire history, but for sure, let's pray that God would open his heart, his mind, and bring revelation, and bring insight, that's God's desire, that there would be true and real and wonderful conversion, let's see the Lord glorified in this, I have no desire to be mean spirit, I have no desire to mock people, I will, however, expose error, and some of that error is so egregious, I've been watching some of the presentations that have been given trying to justify the 12 tribe, and I'm thinking, there's no way they would come with that stuff in a formal debate, because it's so easily demolished, it's like saying that Santa Claus is actually a Tyrannosaurus Rex, it's like, you know, it's so bizarre and off, and easily, factually, refutable, so we shall see, but by God's grace, be fully prepared for the night, and we want the Lord to be glorified, okay, so, what do traditional Jews mean by the oral law, traditional Jews believe that on Mount Sinai, God not only gave Moses the written law, but the oral law as well, meaning, an interpretation of the written law, explanation of the written law, principles by which the written law could be interpreted by future generations, these were given to Moses on Mount Sinai, now there's some Jewish traditions that would indicate that everything that any Jewish student ever discovered, or anyone ever taught about the law of Moses was revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, others would say no, the principles by which these things were derived were revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, so examples would be for a traditional Jew, that the Torah says that you must observe the Sabbath and do no work, no avodah, no work on the Sabbath, but it doesn't tell you what work actually is, and yet there's a death penalty if you violate it, so there must have been further explanation given, so according to a traditional Jew on Mount Sinai, God gave Moses the explanations for what would be a violation of Torah, what would constitute work, and then principles of interpretation for future generations as well, or, for example, where God says that these shall be a frontlet between your eyes, these laws and commands, you'll have them on your heart, and you'll wear them on your forehead, that that was taken literally, not metaphorically, but no instructions were given as to how that was done, so at Mount Sinai, Halakhalu Moshe Missinai, a specific law given to Moses on Mount Sinai would be the exact dimensions of what we know as the phylacteries, the phylacteries, or the tfilim, so those would be, or the building of the sukkah, the building of the tabernacle, well, God said to build booths, but he didn't give you the exact specifications, and those were actually given to Moses in detail on Mount Sinai, so that in the wilderness, everyone built it exactly the same way, following those explicit descriptions. Now, I've written a whole volume, volume five of Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, where I make plain why there was no unbroken oral tradition going all the way back to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Certainly, traditions developed over the centuries, some good, some bad, sometimes the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible is telling our ancestors to follow the traditions of the fathers, and other times saying, don't listen to the fathers because they've gone astray, so tradition must be evaluated by scripture, not scripture by tradition, but that's the basic concept, that on the one hand, the foundations of the oral law were all given to Moses on Mount Sinai, on the other hand, the oral law will now develop in a living way through the generations, because each generation will now confront new legal situations, new practical situations, there will need to be new rulings, now these new rulings become part of the oral tradition that are passed on to the next generation, and many of them become binding as time goes on, so you could look at the oral law as kind of like a snowball getting bigger and bigger and bigger as it moves on, and then in the thought of Jewish tradition, at a certain point, it was too big to pass on orally, plus the situation for the Jewish people economically and through persecution was too difficult, and therefore, just to pass everything on by memory became increasingly hard, so it was then put in writing, beginning with the Mishnah, around 200-220 AD, so almost 200 years after the time of Jesus, and then the expansion of the Mishnah in various ways, and commentary on the Mishnah and tying things back into description, what's called the Talmud, the two Talmuds, the Babylonian Talmud, and the Jerusalem Talmud, so the Jerusalem Talmud coming first, finding its final completion around 400-500 AD, and then the Babylonian Talmud finding its final editing conclusions around 500-600 AD, that's the larger one, that's the one that is principally studied through the centuries, when you hear someone refer to the Talmud, that's what they're referring to, but just like if a Protestant talks to a Catholic, and says to a Catholic, well show me that in the Bible, and they say well we don't just have the Bible, we have the Bible and Church tradition, and the Church tradition is also inspired or given by God, and therefore we don't just look at the Bible, we look at the Bible and Church tradition, well even more for a Jewish person, if you say show me in the Bible, well certain things they will be able to show you, but other things they'll show you by way of tradition, and they believe that the tradition, as one of my Rabbi friends many years ago said to me, that's just like another book of the Bible for a traditional Jew, except you'd also want to say that to a traditional Jew you cannot understand the written word without the oral, it's the oral that gives you the key to understanding, and I would say if I can show you places where the oral tradition actually contradicts Scripture, or overrides Scripture, then we have to reject the tradition in favor of Scripture, but to a Jewish person, the law is a living thing in that regard, it's fixed, it's true, it's eternally given by God, but it is living in its application, and therefore it will grow in every single generation as it builds on previous generations, but the joining of the generations is obviously foundational, the concept of I learned this from my father, who learned it from his father, who passed it on from his father, all the way going back to Moses, that's what a traditional Jew believes, now with all respect I would differ with this going all the way back to Moses, but that's what a traditional Jew means and understands when they speak about the oral law, so there's Torah Shebich Tov, the Torah, the law that is in writing, and Torah Sheba Al Pey, the law, the teaching that is passed on orally, by mouth, so just a little intro, we've talked about these things before, I was thinking last night, what should we talk about, not major news I wanted to catch up on Israel, so a little primer here, I'm glad to take your questions on this as well when we come back, 866-34-TRUTH. Welcome, welcome to the line of fire, 866-348-7884, we've got some phone lines open, if you have a Jewish related question of any kind, now is the day to call, and for those who differ with me, for those who want to take issue with something, I know some of you listen after the show so you're listening by podcast or watching on YouTube or Facebook after the show so you can't call in live, I get that, and I'm so glad you listen, and I know for some you're at work and you can post something while listening but you can't make a call, I got that, but if you're able to call, especially if you differ with me, why not? Some have listened for years and post almost on a daily basis where they differ but never call, so you have my warm invitation to give me a call. 866-34-TRUTH, let us go to Stephan in Quebec, Canada, welcome to the line of fire. Hey Dr. Brown, I am not here to differ with you, first and foremost, I'd like to wish you a happy birthday. Thank you. I've been a great fan of yours, I love listening to you, and I believe you tell the truth, and that's why I keep coming back. Growing up as a First Nations Cree, I was always taught to honour and respect the Jewish people.

That is something that I have kept still to this day, I'm a man now, and it's something that I can't understand. Why is anti-Semitism on the rise, or why are the Jewish people hated? Yeah, well thank you for the question and thank you for the birthday wishes and for your own tribal background and tradition, that's great to know. Many times I've seen in Israel too an honouring of native peoples and kind of a shared sense of solidarity in different ways. But, to answer your question, number one, God chose the Jewish people for a purpose, and therefore Satan is going to mark the Jewish people. God chose us for a purpose, and through us the Messiah would come and redemption would come to the world. And therefore, as God's chosen people, we're going to be targeted especially by Satan.

That's one thing. A second thing is that as Israel is back in the land, now there can be more accusations about evil Israel. Instead of Israel being the persecuted minority, Israel is perceived as the bully. So there was much more sympathy for Israel right after the Holocaust, for the Jewish people, after the attempt to slaughter, outright slaughter of the Jewish people. After two out of every three European Jews were slaughtered in cold blood.

There was more sympathy. But the moment Israel, the Jewish people, are kind of on equal playing ground, then the hostility rises again. It's almost like default human nature to be hostile to the Jewish people. So that's the second thing, Israel backing the land. And the third thing would be as we get closer to the Lord's return, I don't know how close that is, as we get closer, you can expect another fresh attempt to wipe out the Jewish people, fresh hatred against the Jewish people, more lies about the Jewish people.

So those would be three key things. God's choosing Israel, therefore Satan hating them, the Jewish people being back in the land and being marked for attack, and us getting closer to the return of the Lord. The highest percentage of religious-based hate crimes in America are against Jews.

It's the most rapidly rising number in other parts of the world. For some years now, anti-Semitism has been on similar levels to where it was before the Holocaust, which is really shocking and painful to hear. That being said, there's another element, which is that as a people we rejected the Messiah, and therefore have been out from under the fullness of the blessing of God, and on some level under judgment of God, and when we're under judgment, we come under the scorn of our enemies as well.

So that's another dimension that we have to factor in. So when lies are told about the Jewish people, they're lies and they should be confronted. When people have murderous intentions against the Jewish people, they are murderous and they need to be called out. At the same time, we also recognize that as a people we've rejected the Messiah and rejected the law of the prophets because of which we've come under judgment, and part of that judgment is that we come under scorn.

But it is painful to watch in any case. And, Sarah, I've got a question for you. What were your tribal traditions as far as the origins of your people? Well, always to honor your elders, honor the people and authority, and never to talk back. You're there to listen and to take in of the wisdom of the elders, and I remember I was told that, you know, the Jewish people are the chosen people, and always respect them. That's what I was told growing up, you know, and I still keep it. And I honor that.

I deeply appreciate that, sir. Were you ever told where your people came from? Were there stories about that? Was it always believed that you were there in that part of Canada? Or was there a story, a tradition that you migrated from somewhere?

Well, that's kind of a funny story. I think because my dad and I are going to do an investigation of where we really came from, because there is red hair in our family, and we believe that comes from Ireland, and we believe that our ancestry starts there. But we're still not certain, but we're going to do an investigation.

And are there any DNA tests that have been run about your tribal people with origins that you're aware of? That's what we need to do. Got it, got it. Yeah, when you do, just shoot us a note at our website or call in one day when you and your dad get your DNA testing.

I'd be curious to hear the results of that. Hey, thank you for the call and your graciousness. I really appreciate it. All right. Thank you, Dr. Brock. All right.

86634. Truth, right? We'll get to some more calls on the other side of the break.

So, Andrew, you're up next. So, what's interesting, and I'm curious about the origins issue, because on the 12 tribes chart, this chart that's used by the Saqqara Hebrew Israelites, it alleges that the Seminole Indians, certain Native Americans, go back to certain of the lost tribes of Israel. So, you had those myths in the earlier history of Israel. Of course, they're thoroughly debunked. They're debunked by history, by language, by archaeology, by DNA, et cetera. And there were Mormons, some of you listening in Utah right now, in Salt Lake City, you may know the name of Simon Southridge and others, that there were Mormon leaders who, when they did massive genetics study, realized, oh, my, this is completely bogus. And according to the Book of Mormon, the Native Americans go back to the 12 tribes, the certain origins there, et cetera, and then many of them wiped out, allegedly. But in any case, the whole thing's bogus.

And geneticists have indicated that the Native American peoples were there on the continent, in North America, even before Israel was formed as a nation, aside from other issues, in terms of where they came from and so on. So, it's very interesting. We shall see what gets presented in the debate. But that's why I asked that question, for that reason. All right.

866-348-7884 is the number two call. And we encourage your friends, again, if you're curious about something, this is a good way to set the record straight. There are a lot of myths out there. And I've watched some things in preparing, especially for the Hebrew-Israelite debate, think, no, there's no possible way they can argue this. No one could possibly believe that when it's just made-up stuff or thoroughly, easily refutable, thinking nobody could possibly believe that.

And yet people do. So, if you want to raise a specific thing or raise a question, I know it's easy to sit and type and blast and attack people and criticize and mock them. But if your argument is so strong, give us a call.

I would like nothing better than to have a civil-friendly conversation about some of our differences. We'll be right back. Don't go anywhere. It's The Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown.

Get on the line of fire by calling 866-344-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Yes, praise the Lord, all the nations. Michael Brown, welcome to Thoroughly Jewish Thursday. Let me encourage you to check out our Real Messiah website.

If you've never been there, If you have the Ask Dr. Brown app right there on the homepage, just scroll down, you'll see Real Messiah, click on it. You can watch whole debates I've had with rabbis for free. You can look at answers to the most common, 100 or so most common Jewish objections to Jesus. And then with those explanations, you can have them in video, you can read them as well, the answers to them. We've got a series on refuting counter missionaries beginning with our first dozen or so refuting the dangerous information, misinformation of Rabbi Tovia Singer.

If you've been influenced or confused by his stuff, it's all there. It's waiting for you free. So take advantage of that. And then on the website, if you click on shop, you'll find out what the latest special offers are. And if you go to our friends at, our sponsor, when you're there be sure to use the code BROWN25. And you can find out about different ways that we can contribute to your overall wellness, spirit, soul, body. 866-342-866-3487-884.

Let us go to Andrew in Minnesota. Welcome to the line of fire. Hey Dr. Brown, thank you so much for taking my call.

Sure thing. Yeah, my question is in regard to Israel being like the light to the other nations. And I guess I've always heard that, but I've always wondered how come in the New Testament there's a lot of Jews that criticize Jesus for like reaching out or speaking to Gentiles, if that's the case.

Right, great question. So first, the general understanding of Israel being a light to the nations, the way a Jewish person would see it, would be that as they follow the laws and the commandments, worship one God and one God only, live by the ethical principles of the Torah, live as a separate nation whose moral standards are higher than other nations, people who've got rid of idolatry and other base practices, that by living that out and by practicing that, that the world would be drawn to the God of Israel. Right, in Deuteronomy, you know, what nation is there that has such laws like you or a God so near that he went to another country and pulled the people out.

So those would be some of the ways that that would be understood. And then Israel would pray for the nations. But although there are passages about proclaim his glory to the nations in the Psalms, that was not the major way that Jewish people saw themselves being a light. There were some movements, it seems, of going out and trying to proselytize Gentiles, even at the time of Jesus. Jesus references in Matthew 23 that some of the Pharisees would go overboard to try to get one convert. But generally speaking, the concept was, Exodus 19, you'll be a priestly nation. And by you worshipping the one true God and by showing forth his standards that that's how Israel would be a light to the nations.

Right, that's the first thing. The second thing is, it's more in the book of Acts that Paul really gets attacked for saying God called him to the Gentiles. For example, when he gives his speech in Acts, the 22nd chapter, and there's this uproar when he gets to the point that he was sent to the Gentiles. There's a lot of dispute about Peter going to the Gentiles, that's even within the church. But by that time, there was a lot of tension between the Jewish world and Rome.

And things were really on a knife's edge in certain ways. So, Gentiles, it was much more of a hostile mentality. They were held in a more hostile view.

In other words, it's not like, hey, these nations are out there, let's reach them with the good news as much as these are our mortal enemies and we're fighting for our own survival. Now, I'm not justifying the attitude, I'm not saying it was right, but that's part of what was happening. And in the ministry of Jesus, I would say it also exposed some degree of racial bias or prejudice. That there were some who thought, hey, this is for us, and you're for us, and why are you going to them? So, I'm sure some of that got exposed as well. So, the threefold answer, one, the concept of being a light to the nations was a little different than we might think of it as a missionary people. You know, as followers of Jesus. Secondly, some of it has a lot more conflict where there is hostility to the Gentile world and the idea of going to the Gentiles is almost like a traitor.

And then three, it did expose some anti-Gentile biases among the Jewish people and judgmentalism and that's part of what gets revealed in the ministry of Jesus and in others in the book of Acts. Awesome, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much.

You are very welcome. 866-34-TRUTH, we go to Robert in Charleston, South Carolina. Welcome to the line of fire. Hello, Robert, are you there? Oh, we go ahead. Go ahead, sir. Hello? Yeah, yeah, go ahead, Robert.

Hello? Yeah, yeah, go for it. Okay, yeah, all right. When do you come to Charleston, South Carolina to do a workshop?

Not sure when I get an invitation and it fits my schedule, but not at the moment, yeah, or even just for vacation, not at the moment, but I know it's a nice place to visit. Yeah, it is, okay. My question is, in 70 AD, were there still Jews living in Jerusalem around 70 AD after the temple was destroyed? Because if I read, in 135 AD, there's another rebellion that broke out amongst the Jews.

Yes, absolutely. Even though there were large numbers of casualties, and in the Jewish war, Josephus puts the number at a million Jews who were killed by the Romans. Now, most other historians look at that as an exaggerated number, but certainly, it was a terrible time of devastation for the Jewish people in that revolt. But absolutely, there were Jews that remained in Jerusalem and Jewish pilgrims that would come to Jerusalem every year until the second revolt, the Bar Kochba revolt, where he was proclaimed as the Messiah, 132-135. It was at that point that the Roman Empire banished Jews from Jerusalem, and then basically turned it into a pagan capital. Now, in the centuries that followed, of course, Jews made their way back to Jerusalem, and there have almost always been small communities of Jewish people that are living through the centuries. But immediately after 135, they were banished from Jerusalem.

Before that, after the year 70, they were there in good presence until they were banished. Okay. Thank you so much. You are very welcome. Alright, 866-348-7884. Should I dig a little deeper here?

Okay, let's do it. Let's go back to the subject of oral law. Now, even though traditional Jews will freely talk about oral law, so written law, oral law, they'll freely talk about those things, they would often point out that the word Torah in and of itself means teaching or instruction more than law. Now, when translated into the Greek, it's translated as nomos, which can have more of a legal sense, and hence someone is an anti-nomian.

They are against law, right? So that's where you see that word coming out. But in point of fact, the word can be used for a specific teaching, like this is the Torah concerning this, this is the law concerning this. But it is law in that it is binding teaching.

It is law in that it is binding authority. So it is instruction that is divine instruction, do it like this, like this, like this, like this. But to a Jewish person, it's not just law, it is divine revelation.

It is the essence of who God is revealed. And in traditional Judaism, although the entire Hebrew Bible is inspired, the five books of Moses are at a higher level of inspiration, and many traditional Jews believe that Moses dictated the Torah, excuse me, that the Lord dictated the Torah to Moses, who then wrote it out verbatim. Now some might accept that there are later editions here and there that were equally inspired, others would say no, Moses wrote it all, but if a little word for word among traditional Jews. Conservative Reform Jews, they would look at it very differently, much like critical Christian scholars and question whether Moses wrote this or whether this is authentic or historic.

But a traditional Jew reads it, it's written, they may understand it in a way that is not as literal in certain ways as a Christian reader, but they would say it's inspired, it's true, it's recorded, it really happened. Alright, so there are a couple of different streams of Jewish tradition and part of the Torah Sheba Al Pey, the oral tradition, the oral law. One is halacha, which is law, legal rulings, the other is haggadah, or midrash, which is homiletical application, spiritual edifying stories, but not legal rulings.

The Mishnah is basically filled with halacha, it is devoted to this ruling on this and this ruling on this and this dispute on this ruling with some stories interspersed, but it is basically a book of halacha and it's in six different orders and then coming together as one, 63 tractates, like we have 66 books in the Bible, you have 63 tractates in the Mishnah. When you get to the Talmud, the Talmud is halacha and haggadah. The Talmud has lots and lots of stories, lots and lots of midrash, which would be biblical interpretation, some of it is legal interpretation, that scripture says this and based on that we derive this teaching, no, we understand the scripture to mean this, based on that we derive that teaching. So you have a lot of that back and forth, but in the traditional Jewish mind, this is all part of the story, all part of the narrative. And then much of it is just simply storytelling, folklore, different accounts, different biblical figures now that more background is painted in, a lot of it very fancifully, but in an edifying and interesting way. It's just like you've got, say, the chosen series, so this multi-episode TV or online series about Jesus, etc., his disciples, so you're going to fill in all kinds of blanks in creative ways and some love the way the producers and writers do it and some don't like it, but you're going to fill in the blanks, so rabbinic literature is constantly filling in the blanks. Here and there, there are traditions that were passed on accurately in many cases, such as fanciful interpretation or a creation of stories to illustrate certain points, but it's all woven together. The Talmud is really different than any book you'll study. The nature of it, the difficulty of trying to work through it as an outsider without really understanding how it works from the inside and with someone to help guide you, it's very challenging in that regard, very unique. But over the centuries, you have these two streams now, Halakhah and Haggadah.

So Halakhah, the legal stream, Haggadah, the homiletical stream, the interpretive stream that's not so much legally based, and that develops into law codes, that develops into commentaries, and the work still goes on to this day. All right, we'll be right back. Let us declare the goodness and mercy and kindness of the Lord, morning, noon, and night. Michael Brown, welcome back to Thoroughly Jewish Thursday. Again, thanks for praying for me for this trip in London. God willing, Saturday during a Messianic Jewish event all day in London, then traveling over to Manchester a few hours with the team doing an event in Manchester on Sunday.

So Saturday, London, Sunday, Manchester, and then Monday night for the Islamic debate back in London. So thanks for prayers, for travel both ways, and for fruitful ministry while there. Okay, 86634truth. So I just got an email from a colleague, lived in Israel for years, taught minister in Israel for years. He's a Gentile believer who speaks Hebrew ten times better than I speak it, and with all of his years living there and reaching Israelis. I'm far better in biblical Hebrew than modern Hebrew. In any case, he was reading in the Real Culture of Jesus where I mentioned that Jesus was the first one called Rabbi. Now, it depends how you're going to argue it chronologically. Is it John the Immerser, John the Baptist who's called Rabbi first, right? Think of that.

It's a little different than what we're used to. We think of John the Baptist, how about Rabbi Yohanan Hamad Biel? Rabbi John the Immerser, right? Rabbi Yohanan the Immerser. But he's called Rabbi Jesus in the New Testament, Yeshua's called Rabbi. And he said, are you serious? They were the first ones called Rabbi?

Yes, the first ones recorded. There's no reference to calling someone Rabbi in the Dead Sea Scrolls before the time of Jesus. The earlier leaders like Hillel and Shammai were just called by that name. They weren't called Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shammai.

So they're older contemporaries of Jesus. The term Rabbi then, Rabbi, would have just been an honorific, something that was given to a respected teacher or a charismatic leader of some kind in the Jewish community. And then after the year 70, from what we can tell, that's when official ordination came in in the Land of Israel. You'd be called Rabbi outside Rav, but in the Land of Israel you'd be called Rabbi, so that became a formal title after the time of Jesus.

But yes, that is absolutely true. One other thing just to get back to about Jewish understanding of things. Remember, Judaism is multi-generational. Judaism has a concept of we go back to Abraham. Judaism has a concept of we were all there spiritually at Mount Sinai.

Judaism has a concept of we keep the holy days, not just to honor God, but to remember the past and to memorialize the past and to honor God in the past. So there's the joining of the generations. So it would be considered ludicrous for a Jew today to study scripture without the insight of the previous generations. And for me, as someone who, as a new believer, didn't know Hebrew at all, basically, and only reading the Bible in English, and I'm going to tell these Rabbis what they should believe. Like, who are you? You may be a sincere young kid, but who are you? So instead of being young, it's like, who are you?

Even if you're old, why should we listen to you? So in the traditional Jewish view, we stand on the shoulders of the previous generations and they were all closer to the Sinai revelation, so the further back we go, the more authority they have. So one Talmudic saying says, if the previous generation was angels, then we're mere men.

If it was men, we're donkeys. So when a traditional Jew studies the Hebrew Bible, I've even put this online in a show of pictures sometimes, but when they're studying the Bible, they don't just have the Hebrew Bible in their hands, okay? Instead, they have what would be called Mikraot Kedolot, multi-volume, it literally means big scriptures, and it's multi-volume commentary.

So you open it up, and on the right side, because the first page opens right, left, as opposed to left, right. So first, and you read from right to left, the first page, in the right hand corner will be the scripture verses, the text, in big print. Hence, Mikraot Kedolot, big scriptures.

And then next to that, the Aramaic target, the Aramaic translation. And for the Pentateuch, for the Torah, you can have several of those. There's one that's more authoritative than others. And then you have the major commentaries, be it Rashi, or be it Ibn Ezra, or be it Radak, or be it Sforno, or be it Rambam, or be it Bala Turem, or whoever it is, or Bacchia, etc., or Ralbog, these various Jewish commentaries, and then sometimes even commentaries on commentary, especially commentaries on Rashi. But when you're reading, what does it mean, what you do is you immediately go look at the commentaries. We say, no, no, just rely on the text. Well, why should you rely on the text, the Jewish mentality, when we have the interpretation of our elders, who had so much wisdom, and whom we respect, and who have earned our respect by being established as authorities in our communities, you see? So even there, as someone is thinking and putting great intellect and study into it, you have to say, hey, are you studying the text through the traditions? What if the traditions are wrong?

Now, you're presupposing they're right, but what if they're wrong? So just like a Christian could use a study Bible and rely on the notes too much, right, the study notes, because they carry a lot of weight in a study Bible. You have to remember, wait, wait, wait, that's supplementary.

Well, in the Jewish mind, that's not just supplementary, that's part of our tradition, that's part of our heritage. And they may differ with each other, right? But let's use them to understand. So that's why I'll often quote what the commentaries say in interaction with traditional Jews, not because I find them binding, but to say, hey, you think I just made up this interpretation, this passage has nothing to do with Messiah, but actually look at what this traditional Jewish commentary says. Or actually, they agree with my point of view on this, so don't just write me off. Or hey, here's what they say, but here's why I differ.

So that's why we bring those things in. All right, back to the phones. Burt in Muncie, Indiana, welcome to The Line of Fire. Yeah, hi Dr. Brown.

Hey. Hey, I've had a question about, you know, in the Bible and in history there's a lot of fighting and there's a lot of war. Is there any time that it's okay to fight or to defend yourself? Or is it totally banned from any kind of violence or Biden? So Christians today, you mean?

Yes, yes, right now, today. Right, so certainly in the Old Testament there are many wars ordained by God. Even 1 Chronicles 5, there's a reference to many fell down slain in the battle because the war was of the Lord. So many times this was God's way of executing righteousness, executing judgment.

Just like World War II, part of it brought down the Nazi regime and the dangerous Japanese regime. And you could say these were acts of judgment against human pride and aggression. So certainly we agree in the Old Testament that there were just wars, that there were wars that God sent his people out to fight, that there were times when it was right to destroy the wicked in a war. As for us today, the concept that I agree with and developed I think especially among Catholic theologians is the concept of a just war.

That there are times when war is justified and it is the right thing to do. Remember, the New Testament still recognizes levels of governmental authority. And it says in Romans the 13th chapter that those in authority have been given the sword. And that's to enforce judgment against the wicked and to protect the righteous.

That's the way it's supposed to operate. So let's just say that your country was being threatened by terrorist invaders who wanted to rape all the women and steal and kidnap all the children and kill all the men. If you had the ability to defend yourselves and stop them, that would be a righteous good thing to do. You are stopping the slaughter of the innocent. You are stopping the kidnapping and raping of the innocent.

That is a good and righteous thing. That is different from personal vengeance, right? I'm going to go out and be a vigilante and take people out because they hurt me. The New Testament is clearly against that spirit. And it's against just trying to get personal retribution.

You hurt me, I want to hurt you in court. That's where Jesus talks about turning the other cheek. But if it's a matter of self-defense, if it's a matter of protecting your family in an attack in the middle of the night, it's a good and righteous thing to do. It would be a good and righteous thing if there was a father and someone broke in through the window and they were going to kill the man, kill the woman after raping her, and kidnap the children and sexually abuse them. It would be a good and righteous thing if that father was able to subdue that person.

And if the only way to do it was by force, even lethal force, that would be a good and righteous thing to do. Okay, I appreciate that. Thank you for the insight. You are very welcome.

All right, let me grab a couple of quick YouTube questions. What do you think of the view that the book of Esther isn't from God because the word God isn't in it? It's a complete misunderstanding of the book.

Yes, it's true that it wasn't found among fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it's not explicitly quoted in the New Testament, but within the Jewish, traditional Jewish canon, there hasn't been dispute about its presence. It's one of the great lessons about God working even when he's not seen, that he's ever-present there, but he's not actually seen or spoken of. So this is how God works in history. You're not reading the name God on the headlines of the newspapers, and yet he's working in the midst of history.

Let's see, thanks for the birthday wishes. Jeremiah 20, when Jeremiah says God deceived him, what does that mean? Ezekiel 14, 2 is similar.

So I focused on it at length in my commentary on Jeremiah in the 20th chapter there. He means that you basically tricked me. He's accusing God, you tricked me into this prophetic work. Yeah, yeah, you told me. You told me I was going to have opposition. But you never told me I was going to be able to marry, that I'd suffered what I suffered or have to bring the words that I bring.

And here I'm just a young person, just a youth, just an hour. And you're a prophet to the nations. How can I not go along with that? So you tricked me. It's almost as if you seduced me with the prophetic calling and I went along with that. I didn't know everything that was going to be involved in it.

You warned me some, but I didn't know everything that was going to be involved. Alright, how would the early Jewish believers communicate the word church in their language as Jesus did? In Hebrew it would be kahal. Aramaic would be a cognate of that.

Ekklesia was just a Greek word, nothing mystical about it. Back with you tomorrow. Bring the gain down. Is that any better? Down more. Down more.

I'll just keep talking. Do a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Is that any better?

We good? It's better. Keep going down. It's going to be at zero.

Is that any better? That's at zero? Are you adjusting on zoom or are you adjusting on your little board there? Are you adjusting on zoom or on the board? On the board. What's the zoom? Did you check the zoom and make sure the settings are right there?

Those are going to be all the way up. I don't hear any difference with what you're sending me. He's literally at zero volume right now. The problem there is... You want me to move my mic away? Is that any better?

No, it's not changing anything. That's what you have to figure out. You know what? I bet it's pulling from the wrong mic. I bet that's what it is.

Hang on, Steve. Is this really loud? Yes, and really distorted. He said yes, right?

Yeah, he did. That would make sense. Here, you put these on and you talk to him so he can... Weird. That's so weird. Bizarro. Land.

Go click on the apps at the top. How about that? How's that? That's better.

Let's try the sound test again. Is that any better? Yeah, but now you're really distant. Now I'm really distant.

How about now? Is that any better? It's a little better.

You want me to bring this up a little closer? That didn't make a difference. Okay, that didn't make a difference. Did he bring the level back up?

Because he had it all the way down. Did you bring the level back up? No, he said that you need to bring the level back up a little bit. Pardon me.

I'm sneezing today. How's that? Is that any better? That's a little better.

I'm going to need Josh to go in the other room and listen. Okay. You're not going to be able to... I don't know.

You're going to assume apps. You think it would be... Let's left sidebar. That's weird.

Did you click zoom apps? Beneath it? So they're not all the way done with us. He's working on something on there and on some other problem.

So just be ready. You cleared them. They're still there.

That's really annoying. You broke it. Good job, Josh. Hey, Sam? Yeah? So that Thursday when I come to town?

Yes. I mean, I can drive down there early. I have to be set up by four. They open the doors for the exhibit hall at five and I'm speaking at four. So I really got to be... Yeah, no, that's great. Another program powered by the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-16 20:51:06 / 2023-03-16 21:10:36 / 20

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