Friday, 14 January 2022
So Rabbi, what changes in the dispensation of grace? I'm glad you asked. It's not the Law itself (which is God's eternal righteous standard), but our approach to the Law. At Sinai, (Mt. Sinai is where the Torah was given) we learned (the Torah itself explains) that our approach to the Law is by the Levitical priesthood.
I have to stop here for a moment to address a frequently heard objection to Yeshua offered by Jewish people. My rabbi taught me when I was young, that Jews, unlike gentiles, don't need a mediator between God and man. He said that Jews pray directly to God. While that is partly true, it's also partly not true. Jews do pray directly to God, but so do gentiles who believe in Yeshua. The other part that is not true is that Jews don't need a mediator. The Levitical priesthood was always the mediator between the people and God.
Which brings me to what changes in the dispensation of grace. ACCESS!!! Through grace we now have access to God through His Son, Yeshua. Ephesians 2:14-15 For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility - the law code of mitzvot contained in regulations. He did this in order to create within Himself one new man from the two groups, making shalom.
What is changed, is circumcision. It was in the flesh, but now circumcision is of the heart. Notice we're still in Ephesians 2. Ephesians 2:11-13 Therefore, keep in mind that once you - Gentiles in the flesh - were called "uncircumcision" by those called "circumcision" (which is performed on flesh by hand). At that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.
This is huge! Yeshua shed His blood so that we could all (both Jews and Gentiles now be included in the commonwealth of Israel) be brought near. Romans 2:28-29 For one is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision something visible in the flesh. Rather, the Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart - in Spirit not in letter. His praise is not from men, but from God. This is not "Replacement Theology," it is "Inclusive Theology." The followers of Yeshua do not replace Israel, the followers of Yeshua are included with Israel.
One more comment and I'll wrap it up for today. In general, I don't like the word "dispensation." It tends to connote a dispensing of one so it can be replaced by the institution of another. The Bible is one story of connected history. Revelation is progressive. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lead us to Moses, who leads us to Yeshua. We find the heroes of the Hebrew Scriptures valued in the New Covenant, not as historical relics, but as partakers, participants and examples of faithfulness. The reality is a connectedness that strict dispensationalists do not allow.
Maybe next time I'll build on this and provide some examples. Hate to leave you hanging, but I've got to go.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,