Sid:  My guest Dr. Michael Brown he’s President of Fire School of Ministry, PhD in near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University, reads, writes and understands at least twelve Semitic languages; he’s considered by many, myself included the top scholar in the Messianic Jewish movement. I have to tell you Mike you provoke me such jealousy, you not only have a great deal of the Old Testament memorized. I mean you have it memorized, but you have it memorized in Hebrew.  I mean, I only have a five word Hebrew vocabulary, but answer this question, how did a LSD user, Jewish Rock drummer whose nickname was “Drug Bear”, become a believer in Jesus? The rabbinic answer by the way, “On one foot.”

Michael:  One foot, Jesus met me.

Sid:  Now, now, now that’s one toe.

Michael:  Okay, it was not a matter of intellectual persuasion, I was sixteen years old enjoying my drug life, enjoying playing drums in a Rock band, full of pride, full of rebellion, no interest in God, certainly no faith in Jesus, my two best friends Gentile friends started to get drawn into the Lord, they started go to a little Italian Pentecostal Church.  And let me tell you something, these people may not have been deep in all kinds of knowledge outside of the Word, but they knew God, they knew how to pray, they were filled with the joy of Lord, they had something real, they loved the word of God.  I went to the church to pull my friends out in 1971, these saintly folks began to pray for me, God began to convict me of my sin, I went back and God revealed to me, I just knew in my heart that Jesus really was the Messiah. When I cried out to God to show me how He felt about the lifestyle I was living He made it very clear.  On December 17, 1971 full of the joy of the Lord, I mean a joy that was so extraordinary it was on a different level than anything I’d ever experienced be it drugs, be it through music, be it through friendship, be it through friendship, be it just joy of life or whatever I realized this is something qualitatively different, this is from God.  And at that moment it hit me. “How can you live the way that you’re living, Jesus has washed you clean, changed you, how can you live the way that you’re living?”  And I just said, “That’s it I will never put a needle in my arm again, free from that day on, transformed, and it was after that that my dad said, “Great, glad to see you’re off drugs, glad to see you’re changed, now you need to come back to Judaism,” which then led me to meeting the Rabbi’s and talking and they saw the genuineness of my faith, but challenged my intellectual foundations.  And that’s what then led me to start studying Hebrew, ultimately getting a doctorate in Semitic languages because I knew that I knew my experience with God was real, I also knew if it’s real it has to be able to withstand every test, every objection.  When I take on Jewish objections I don’t just throw them aside as worthless, I feel the weight of them, I mediate on them, I try to understand the fullness of where these dear people are coming from that are missing the Messiah and then say “Okay God what does your word say?”  And I’ve had issues literally I’ve sat on for months, even years because I would not give a cheap answer. When it  became clear through the word it was one of those things that just shut every door and thankfully God’s truth will stand all scrutiny.  Paul wrote there’s nothing we can do against the truth.

Sid:  In their earlier years when some of these objections would literally rob a Christian of their faith, but of course the Rabbis’ don’t want a Gentile to come back to Judaism, they want a Messianic Jew to come back to what they believe is the truth.  But new believers would be staggered by some of their arguments, how did you hold on when you didn’t have answers on some of these very good arguments that aren’t good when you have the answer, but they’re good if you don’t have the answer?

Michael:  Well listen, it’s a great question.  Let me tell you it’s not just new believers that get thrown, I could guarantee a lot a seminary professors wouldn’t have solid answers for it because they’ve never been hit from this angle.

Sid:  Sure.

Michael:  Here’s what happened, I had such a solid relationship with the Lord. He had worked so mightily in my life, I had spent so many hours with him in my high school years alone with God in the Word and prayer and His grace was on me that really these arguments hit that would throw me, I mean I never heard that, or you know they’re challenging the very English translation I’m reading is being unreliable and on and on. Ultimately there were a few things that depth of my relationship with God even more that, the fact that He just kept working in me.  And then finally when I would really wrestle the Word was just too clear, I just could not deny that certain things were definite Messianic prophecies that could only be fulfilled in Yeshua.  So it wasn’t like I had some denial where I just closed my mind and said, “I’m going to walk away from this because I don’t have an answer, stick my head in the sand.”  No I faced the thing head on, and at one point even said, “God I don’t care where the truth leads me, I’m going to follow you, if it mean leaving my church and all my friends and then turning their backs on me, if it means the Jewish community turning their backs on me, I don’t care, I only care about what pleases You God, I want to be a loyal Jew, Your son and do what pleases You.  And at times like that the thing that spoke loudest of all was His Word, and I’m talking about the scriptures from our own Tenach, our own Hebrew scriptures spoke to me with undeniable clarity that I would have had to deny the truth in front of my eyes to deny God.

Sid:  Let me ask you a question that a lot of Christians wouldn’t have a clue about, but should understand; there is the written law, the Old Testament, the prophet’s and the Torah, but then there is something called the oral law and tell me a bit, what is the oral law and is it true as the Rabbis’ say that you need the oral law to understand the written law?

Michael:  Yeah, these are great questions and very important and I take them up in my new book that we’re discussing this week, “What do Jesus People think about Jesus, What is the Oral Law, What are the Contents of it?”  This is the traditional Jewish mentality, when God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai He gave him a written law that we now have written in the five books of Moses.  And He also gave him an oral law and this oral law gave the further explanations to the commandments, it gave principals of interpretation by which later generations could deduce these things from the scriptures.  And this oral law was then passed on allegedly Moses to Joshua to the elders, elders to the prophets, prophets to the men in Ezra’s day and so on right up through Jesus day.  And then after a certain period of time they ended up writing certain of these traditions down in things like the Talmud etcetera, and to this day tradition Jews believe you cannot read or understand the written law without the oral explanation.  For example, God said, “Keep the Sabbath, don’t work and if you work you’ll be put to death,” but nowhere did He describe what work meant and so on many other commandments.  So in the Jewish mind it’s impossible to follow the written word without this oral tradition and this is what’s sets Judaism apart; you know I’ve heard rabbis’ say to me “You cannot have a Christianity without a Christ.”  Well, that is not a negative to me, that’s true “You cannot not have Messianic Judaism without a Messiah.”  Agreed, but you can’t have a rabbinic Judaism without the Rabbis’; you can’t have a traditional Judaism without the traditions…

Sid:  Tradition!

Michael:  The simple answer is we can understand the written word without these oral traditions and in many cases the oral traditions contradict the written word.  In many places…

Sid:  And isn’t it true that Rabbis’ say the rabbis’ have authority even over everything?

Michael:  Well, here’s the deal if I am the interpreter and I can tell you what the text means then I have more authority then the text.  And for example a religious Jew gets up at a certain time in the morning and prays certain prayers and washes his hands a certain way and says certain ones, not an inch of that, not a word of that is found in the Torah.  Where did that come from, it comes from the rabbis’ it doesn’t mean it’s evil it just means it’s things that God never spoke or intended yet it becomes part of a whole religious system, and if you violate that or even deviate now you’re a sinner.

Sid:  You know Michael there’s so many wonderful things that we could talk about but that’s why you wrote your book.  But here’s my spin I believe there is such a heart, it’s as if God is directing Christianity home towards Israel, towards the Jew.   We’re getting ready for the return of the Messiah and so that’s a natural evolution that has occurred, but because this is occurring the devil is running parallel counterfeit things, and your book takes these things on, head on…. Someone could find themselves on the wrong side as Jesus talks about the separation of nations in the last days, goat nations and sheep nations.  This book is a mandatory book for most Christians because Christians have been robbed of their understanding of the Jewishness in the New Testament.

Michael:  And you know Sid you’re absolutely right that we tend to swing one way or another, so that the church in years past, centuries past swings in this anti-Israel way, and the way of replacement theology the church has replaced Israel, God’s finished with Israel, we take that up in my new book also.  So it swings that way and then it makes a course correction and it swings  back in terms of recognizing the importance of Israel, and then it swings off, it swings off to say that Jew’s don’t need Jesus, or it swings off to…

Sid:  Or you know what Mike it may not even say it but it implies it.   You’re actions speak louder than your words.

Michael:  Yeah, I mean look if all we’re suppose to do is work side by side and support the nation of Israel which is wonderful.  Listen, it’s awesome to see Christian leaders saying “We stand with Israel, we support Israel, we believe in God’s ongoing covenantal promises to Israel know that that some of church history or so called church history that’s awesome, that’s wonderful.  But the fact is when you just become a side by side friend and that Rabbi tells you look just don’t proselytize our people if you really love us leave us alone we have our Old Covenant with God and stay away from those Messianic Jews.  And Christian leaders do that, man that does speak louder than words.

Sid:  It’s unfortunate, maybe we’ll deal with this a little on tomorrows broadcast.

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