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Author Topic: Institute of Jewish-Christian Studies  (Read 2153 times)
Kings_kid
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« on: November 13, 2011, 08:57:00 PM »


I suppose this topic could go under theology, since it will likely raise theological issues sooner or later.  I'm finally getting around to taking some courses from Zola Levitt's (the late Messianic rabbi of tv fame) Institute.

I've been a fan of the ministry and an avid reader of their monthly newsletter.  Figured it was time to get a more in-depth understanding of their perspective.  The courses available are as follows:

1 ) Old Testament Survey — “Putting it all together” is the phrase that best describes this course. After mastering this study you will have an understanding of the background and chronology of the entire Old Testament.

2 ) New Testament Survey — The Old Testament teaches about the garden. This course will teach you about the flowers! Your understanding of the New Testament will blossom through the teaching of Dr. Levitt and Dr. Seif.

3 ) Jewish History — Not everyone loves history and not everyone loves Jewish people. But those who do will no doubt consider this one of the most fascinating courses in the series.

4 ) History of Modern Israel — The title pretty much speaks for itself. Here you will study one of the greatest miracles of modern times. This course will teach how Israel became a nation in the worst of global conditions.

5 ) Comparing and Contrasting Jewish and Christian Theology — Dr. Seif and Dr. Levitt examine key Scriptures and doctrines showing both the Jewish and Christian perspectives. This is an absorbing and highly educational study.

6 ) Messiah in the Law of Moses — In John 5:46, Jesus told the Pharisees, “…had you believed Moses, you would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” Where and how did Moses speak concerning Jesus? That is the question and this course will give the answers!

7 ) Messianic Prophecy — How does one know that Jesus really is the Messiah? Well, you have to know what the Old Testament reveals concerning the Messiah. After this course the student will be able to fully evaluate Jesus’ claim to be the Promised One of Israel.

8 ) Between the Testaments/Origins and Demise of the Pharisees — There was a 400-year gap between the close of the Old Testament and the opening of the New Testament. This course will examine what happened during the inter-testamental period. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn!

9 ) Judaism Today — Many folks don’t understand the Jewish people. This course will help you to better understand your Jewish friends, neighbors, etc. It’s an interesting, thought-provoking course of study.

10 ) The First-Century Church — Even a casual reader of the New Testament notices that it is a very Jewish story. The first church was a Jewish one. This course examines the demise of early Hebrew Christianity.

11 ) Church History and the Jews — Everyone will consider this one of the saddest courses he has ever undertaken; yet most will consider it one of the best. It’s a subject that needs to be understood.

12 ) Israel and End Time Events — Bible Prophecy is a fascinating subject. You have probably heard various teachings about End Time events. In this study, Zola and Jeff put the focus on the chronology of events related to the Rapture and beyond. A fitting conclusion to the series.

K_k:  I'll try to give more detailed summaries as i take the first few courses.  The general subjects are not new to me, but the Jewish viewpoint should be fascinating.  Has anyone else taken any of these?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 08:58:57 PM by Kings_kid » Logged
Lone Arranger
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2011, 07:48:14 AM »

Zola Levitt ministries is a great one, and they have good videos too.  Check out Zola's booklets.  He's the one that first wrote about the association between the gestation of a baby and the Jewish high holy days.  It's important for Christians to see Christianity from the Jewish viewpoint, having sprung from that; and Christian/Jewish ministries such as Zola Levitt's are an excellent place to start.   You might also check out Mark Blitz's ministry.  He's the one that noticed the correlation between the Jewish High Holy days and the eclipes.  You can see this on YouTube or Prophecy in the News if you don't know what I'm talking about.  Search on YouTube under "Blood Red Moon & End Time Events. 
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Kings_kid
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2011, 10:52:54 AM »


Thanks for the Blitz reference, i'll look into it.

One of the reasons i admire the Zola Levitt group is their bold stand for Israel and their strong usefulness in presenting the side of the news of the middle east that our press is either under-reporting or white-washing.  Well researched and presented.

For an example, here is their last monthly newsletter:

http://www.levitt.com/newsletters/2011-11.pdf
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Kings_kid
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2011, 06:08:37 PM »



While i wait for the course materials to come, i wanted to share a little chart from the ZLM newsletter by Myles Weiss, entitled "God Blesses Israel and the Church Concurrently".  (Oct, 2011)

He develops his concept of a connection between major blessings in Israel and major blessings in the Church, by giving the following comparison (originally in table form, i am having to type it in).

======
Israel
Late 1880's -- Theodor Herzl campaigns in Europe for the Jewish homeland to be re-established in the Biblical heartland.

The Church
Late 1880's -- The first waves of the modern Pentecostal movement begin -- whether you are part of that stream or not, it represents a huge growth of the Body worldwide.
======
Israel
1904-1906 -- Britain offers Uganda as a Jewish home; Jews choose to wait for "Palestine" (Roman name for Israel)

The Church
1904-1906 -- Azusa Street and Welsh revivals sweep the world with conviction, repentance, and conversions.
======
Israel
1947-1948 -- The State of Israel is re-established, the land "smiles" according to local Arab proverbs!  Jews coming home continue to transform the disease-laden swamps into arable productive lands through their labor of love.

The Church
1947-1948 -- The Dead Sea Scrolls discovery provides archeological evidence of the inerrancy of Scripture; a fresh evangelistic movement launches Billy Graham and others, bringing thousands to Messiah.
======
Israel
1967 -- Jerusalem returns to the Jews through a miraculous Six-Day War victory against innumerable odds.

The Church
1967 -- The "charismatic" renewal transforms mainline denominations and stirs personal relationships with Yeshua within previously ritual-bound churches.
======
Israel
1973 -- God preserves the tiny nation again during the Yom Kippur War.

The Church
1973 -- The "Jesus People" see thousands saved, especially in the American West.  God raises many leaders of the modern Messianic Movement.  Moishe Rosen (Jews for Jesus) takes the Gospel to the streets, Zola Levitt takes it to the airwaves and to Israel itself.
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Kings_kid
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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2011, 06:44:25 PM »


Received the course materials, at last.  The first course, An Old Testament Survey comes with 2 cd's of lectures and a notebook with sections for an introduction, notes, charts, and tests.

One of the intro letters has an interesting statement about how hard the course is, or isn't...  (by Dr. Jeffrey Seif)

"I know with certainty that the tests will live up to our claims about them.  We debated over how difficult to make the final exam for each course.  I won't go so far as to say that the tests are "killers", but they certainly aren't far from that!  To put it bluntly, this program isn't just an adventure, it's a challenge! 

"Undertaking the course is one thing and surviving it is another!  A person who casually listens to the lecture and then goes right away and takes the test will be in for a rude awakening.  The exams are designed to be tough, but we think that you will do fine.  Rise to the challenge, Friends!  "Study to show thyself approved..." (2 Tim. 2:15).

"Did I scare you by telling you how difficult the tests will be?  Scaring students is one of the joys of teaching!  Pay close attention to the instructions and you will do quite well.  The tests will be graded on a curve.  You may think you have done poorly and then be thrilled to see that you have received an A or a B.

"Learning is fun, and you're going to have a good time with it here!"
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Kings_kid
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2011, 07:45:37 PM »


Here are the most important dates in OT history according to the course.


1446 BC - Exodus and wilderness wanderings

1011 BC - David rules

931 BC - Kingdom divided

722 BC - Assyria conquers Israel (Northern Kingdom)

586 BC - Babylon conquers Judah, Temple destroyed

515 BC - Temple rebuilt

K_k:  I would imagine that there has been some controversy regarding each of these dates.  Anyone got a favorite difference in dating from these?
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Joker
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 03:58:08 AM »

The dating of the Exodus is notoriously difficult because the archaeological evidence doesn't line up with the Biblical account.

Wikipedia article on the Exodus

Note that the accepted date in Rabbinic Judaism is 1313 BC.

Now, this guy prefers a 1552 BC date.
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ουτως γαρ ηγαπησεν ο θεος τον κοσμον οστε τον υιον αυτου τον μονογενη
εδωκεν ινα πας ο πιστευων εις αυτον μη αποληται αλλ εχη ζωην αιωνιον
Kings_kid
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2011, 10:23:16 AM »


The trouble with those kinds of articles, (the wiki one) and much other scholarly work, is that they can seem very intelligent and analytical and authoritative, and be just dumb guesses based on insufficient evidence.

And, of course, they disagree with Jesus Who took the OT as the actual Word of God, and He should know that better than scholars thousands of years later.  Exact dates, on the other hand, seem to be something God didn't think was important enough to include in His Autobiography.

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Kings_kid
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 05:55:15 PM »


Continuing into the course materials, the course stresses that the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament is the only Scripture that Jesus and the disciples and all of the early Church had, at least until some of the letters to the churches started to be written.  All too often, though, today the OT is seen as just a source of stories and some background info for understanding the NT.

Zola Levitt wrote a book "The Bible Jesus Read" with Dr. Tom McCall, in which he stresses that all of the original teachings and doctrines of the early Church were based on the Hebrew Bible.  "If Jesus were here today, He would say read what I read, and study what I studied."  Christ knew and loved the Older Testament as no other book, and He didn't reference or quote any other book, but He quoted it freely and accepted it as the authoritative Word of God.  He never questioned its truthfullness and considered every word, even every jot and tittle, to be of eternal significance.

Thus, this course will treat the OT as fact, not as mere symbolism or allegory.  Jesus thought it was fact.  And He used many references from it to explain and clarify His actions and teachings.  But oddly, His disciples today, those who claim to walk in His footsteps, don't seem to appreciate the OT as He did.  Many seem to see it as an outmoded, cryptic, closed book.   It is sometimes treated as confusing and even at variance with "authentic Christian teaching". 

Some churches seem to say that the OT was the Book of the Jews but for Christians the new Book is the NT.  Zola finds this to be crazy thinking.  The Creation story is not just for Jews, and the prophecies carry over into the NT and beyond.  So the course will help to counteract this trend.  The Architect of the one is the Architect of the other, and the two Books make a well-balanced structure.  From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible presents a consistent Message from God to a dark and blinded world.  The OT has been under strong attack and we need to be able to defend it when necessary, as the very Word of God.

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Kings_kid
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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2012, 07:19:14 PM »


Back to the course.  Nice to take a break.  Note that i am only summarizing some of the material in the course -- it would be good to take the actual courses themselves to get the full info.

The term Old Testament implies there is a new one, and orthodox Jews don't accept that.  It also implies it is outdated, written for Jews only, while the NT was written for the Church, but that isn't true. 

Paul himself was an orthodox rabbi, and he said to "study to show yourself approved, rightly dividing the Word of Truth", and he was referring to the OT.  When Peter and the other disciples quoted Scripture they were quoting the OT.  The first Christian missionaries had the Hebrew Scriptures only, since the Gospels and epistles hadn't been written yet.

In Christian Bibles, our OT has 39 books, but the Hebrew Scripture has only 24 books, due to combining several books like 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, 1&2 Samuel, etc.  The Jewish people called the OT the Tanakh, which is an acronym for: The Torah (meaning "Teaching", also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi'im (meaning "Prophets") and Ketuvim (meaning the "Writings")—hence TaNaKh. 

We have the exact same Scriptures as the Tanakh, although our order of books is different.  The English Bible uses these classifications:  The Law (first 5 books), then Histories (like 1&2 Kings), then books of poetry and wisdom (like Psalms, Proverbs), then the so-called major prophets (like Isaiah, Jeremiah), then the minor prophets (like Obadiah, Micah). 

Here we will study only 11 books which serve as the historical background for the entire Tanakh.  All of the prophets lived during this time.  They are, in order: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1st Sam, 2nd Sam, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah.

Approximate time periods of the writings: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers: 1450-1410 BC, Joshua: 1300-1370 BC, Judges: 1050-1000 BC, Samuel: 930 and later, Kings: 550 BC, Ezra: 456-444 BC, Nehemiah: 445-425 BC.

to be continued
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 07:26:04 PM by Kings_kid » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2012, 10:19:53 PM »

Quite interesting. Though i don't see much commentary from others on the forum. I wonder why that is.
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2012, 06:20:37 PM »


In the last post about the course above, we listed the approximate periods of the 11 main historical Books of the OT.  Now we break those time periods into 3 general time frames for the purpose of study:


Period 1:  Formation of Judaism - Creation to Promised Land;
(Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges)

Period 2:  Monarchy:
A United Monarchy:  1 & 2 Samuel
A Divided Monarchy: 1 & 2 Kings

Period 3:  Post-Babylonian-Exile:
Ezra and Nehemiah

Now we begin individual Book studies

Genesis (meaning Beginnings):  Beginnings of heavens and earth, beginnings of man and animals, plants, insects, beginnings of sin and redemption, the beginning of Israel.
Covers about 2,500 years.  The course takes the position that the days mentioned in the Genesis Creation account are literal days.

Key chapter is Genesis 12: God calls out Abram who is later renamed Abraham, to go to a land God would show to him. God promises to bless him and make of his offspring a great nation, and He would "bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee will all the families of the earth be blessed".  This is the beginning of "the Jews".

The first 11 chapters cover the Creation, the flood, etc, but from chapter 12 on to the end of the OT, the focus is on God's dealing with His people Israel.  I will give an overview of the rest of Genesis in the next post.
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dohwid
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2012, 07:36:30 PM »

Slight clarification, was not abraham strictly speaking an "iv'ri" (hebrew and or member of the family of "Ever")? were not the children of israel the first israelites? were not the decendants of judah the first true "jews"? is it not true that the...
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dohwid
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2012, 07:56:14 PM »

... ones we call "jews", or decendants of judah, are in fact mainly comprised of not one tribe but three? namely, judah, benjamin, and levi, who are the remnants of the old southern kingdom of judah? 
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2012, 04:53:25 AM »

I just now saw this thread. I am going to read it over...thanks for the info.
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