A true prophet only speaks when spoken to by God.
John Atkinson explains the role of the prophet in the Hebrew Scriptures. He addresses the problem of contemporary false prophets within the Christian community by comparing them to the false prophets who gained the attention of the Jewish people during the first temple period.
In John’s second address he deals with the ministry of Jesus (Yeshua) in the light of the prophetic model found in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Edith Sher focuses on the prophet Jonah and brings this deceptively simple story to life by exploring the subtleties of the Hebrew text. Jonah is regarded as one of the “minor prophets” yet within its four short chapters are hidden the voices of the other prophets. Jonah is usually regarded as little more than a children’s story about a man in a whale. Yet it is one of the most ingeniously constructed stories in the Bible. Was Jonah reluctant to go to Nineveh because he was a Jewish bigot? Why did the people of Nineveh repent so wholeheartedly at his message? The story poses many intriguing questions but also contains a serious warning for the church today.
John Atkinson gives two inspiring messages on Abraham, the father of the faithful and the friend of God. Edith Sher casts light on the character flaws of Isaac and Jacob.
Avraham Avinu (Our Father Abraham) is both the physical and spiritual father of the Jewish people and, according to the Brit Chadashah (New Testament), the spiritual father of those who have been grafted into the commonwealth of Israel. But is he the father of three Faiths or one? What does it actually mean to belong to Abraham and to be his progeny in faith?
In his second talk John Atkinson looks at the title, “The Friend of God,” which is applied to Abraham alone. Not even Moses or David are given this designation. What was it about Abraham that earned him this title? John looks at the place of awe, worship, obedience, and action in the life of Abraham.
Edith Sher puts the all-too human frailties of the patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob, under the microscope. Isaac, the man who loved food, and Jacob who projected his bad relationships with his male relatives onto his relationship with God. Isaac is determined to favour Esau over Jacob but it all goes awry thanks to the patriarch’s need for instant gratification. The result tears apart an already dysfunctional family. In the case of Jacob, he is a man on the run: on the run from his brother, his uncle, his God, and most of all, from himself. But Jacob cannot outrun God who teaches Jacob to face up to himself so that he can become Israel. The failings of the patriarchs should encourage us that God can use us warts and all to fulfil his eternal purposes.
Dr Garth Gilmour keeps his audience spellbound by relating new discoveries in Biblical archaeology.
Garth Gilmour is a biblical archaeologist based at Oxford in England. He studied at the University of Cape Town before obtaining an MA in Biblical Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a doctorate in the same subject at Oxford University.
In the first two of these illustrated talks he looks at several recent archaeological discoveries in Israel and considers how they cast light on our understanding of the biblical text. Israel as a land flowing with milk and honey is a description that appears more than 50 times in the Hebrew Bible, and yet only recently has archaeological evidence for the domestic production of honey been uncovered.
Secondly, from a remote fortress in southern Judah dated to the time of King David comes an inscription of such critical importance that it is challenging our understanding of the rise of the state in ancient Israel and the date and sophistication of the United Monarchy.
Finally, from an excavation in Jerusalem in the 1920s comes startling evidence of the worship of other gods in the First Temple Period, starkly illustrating the dramatic nature of Josiah’s reforms described in 2 Kings 23.
In the third talk Garth considers the Jewishness of Jesus as revealed in Luke’s gospel, showing how Luke has deliberately inserted references to the Hebrew Scriptures that would have been very significant to religious Jews of his time, but are all too easily lost in translation.
Christians often leap over the five books of Moses. But without a knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures we cannot have an accurate understanding of the New Testament.
The influence on the Early Church of Marcion and the Gnostics contributed to Christian antipathy towards the Hebrew Scriptures. John Atkinson identifies the negative portrayal of the Torah as a fundamental problem in the Church today, and looks at the false dichotomy between law and grace.
Edith Sher gives an out-of-the-box teaching on an unusual aspect of Torah – taxes! She demonstrates that far from being an irrelevant topic for today’s Christian, it has important lessons to teach us about the value God places on us. She examines several intriguing questions: Why was the temple tax described as atonement money? What part did it play in God’s goal of “getting Egypt out of the Israelites?” Why do symbolic acts have such great power? In the New Testament, taxes, more than anything else, symbolise the clash between the false god, Caesar, and the true God, Yeshua.
Some Christians believe that Christmas and Easter are pagan festivals that have no place in the Church.
John Atkinson challenges this view in the light of Scripture. After calling for unity in the Body of Messiah he examines the methods generally used to “prove” the pagan origins of Christmas and Easter. He then looks at the disturbing conclusions the same critique would produce if used against the Biblical Festivals of Pesach, Shavu’ot and Sukkot. He concludes with a call to take back the Christian festivals for the sake of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
You will find this talk both challenging and informative.
Edith Sher gives a fascinating teaching on the story of Ruth, the amazing way the book has been structured, and the vital truth it teaches: that as a nation and as individuals, we can redeem our past.
Why do Jesus’ parables have such a deep impact on us to this day?
John Atkinson asks the question, “Where did Jesus get his parables and the parabolic method of teaching?” Did he simply copy the traditions of rabbinic literature? To answer these questions John looks at two parables with which most Bible readers have difficulty. Even many scholars have drawn contradictory conclusions. These two parables are found in Luke’s gospel (Luke 11:5 8: “The Friend at Midnight”; and Luke 18:1 8: “The Unjust Judge”).
In her two sessions, Edith Sher unpacks the parable of the Prodigal son by setting it in its Jewish context. She believes that the focus of the parable is not on the lost son or the loving father but on how we perceive our Heavenly Father. An obscure passage in Deuteronomy provides the key to the drama. She looks at what the parable would have meant to its original hearers and then applies it to the followers of Yeshua today.
No event in modern history has so adversely affected the way that Jewish people perceive the Gentile world. How should Christians respond? With antisemitism on the rise as never before, the answer to this question is crucial.
David Pileggi, who earned his MA in Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University, grew up in Tampa Florida before moving to Israel in 1980. He first worked as a journalist before joining CMJ Israel as the Director of Shoresh Tours. He has conducted several tours of Poland focusing on the Jewish community before and during the Holocaust.
In 2008 David was appointed Rector of Christ Church, the oldest Protestant church in Jerusalem.
In these powerful DVDs, he brings his extensive knowledge and experience to bear on the all-important topic of Christian witness to the Jewish people in an age where a second Holocaust seems imminent.
Discipleship today resembles a Greek master/student relationship based on information rather than the Jewish emphasis on formation.
By looking at what it meant for a disciple in first century Israel to follow his rabbi, John Atkinson shows how far we have strayed from the true meaning discipleship. He contrasts the discipleship methods commonly used in the Church today with the discipleship of Jesus’ time, and demonstrates the true cost of serving our Rabbi Jesus.
Edith Sher compares the first century rabbi-disciple relationship to a father/son relationship. She points out that the model for this was the relationship between Elijah & Elisha. Edith also looks at the nature of the clash between Yeshua and the religious leaders of his day. The way most Christians view that conflict adversely affects the Church’s relationship with the Jewish people to this day.
It is often said that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah. Did Jesus himself believe he was the Divine Messiah? What does the evidence show?
John Atkinson examines the extent to which Jesus was personally aware of his messianic identity. John begins by asking what Jesus would have learned from his family about the events and proclamations that accompanied his birth. John then analyses Jesus’ words and actions later in his ministry to answer the question, “Does Yeshua display a self-concept of a divine Messiahship or just an earthly one?”
Edith Sher focuses on two incidents in the Gospels that cast light on the kind of Messiah Yeshua would prove to be: the calling of Nathaniel and the wedding at Cana.
Why it is so important to understand Jesus in his Jewish context?
John Atkinson gives a vital teaching on why we need to know the Jewish Jesus instead of making a Jesus in our own image. He argues that a de-judaised Jesus can be co-opted for every cause and purpose, both godly and ungodly!
John also explores the multi-layered approach of the synoptic Gospels. He demonstrates how the very structure of the Gospels parallels the disciples’ growing understanding of who Jesus is.
It is commonly taught in the Church that first century Jews were expecting a military Messiah who would free them from Roman rule. Edith Sher introduces a very different kind of Messiah awaited by the Jews of his day, namely the Leper Messiah. This suffering, outcast Messiah has been lost to modern Judaism. Yet he mirrors and represents the outcast nation. In her second talk she focuses on how the Leper Messiah, our sin-bearer, overcame death. This is marvellously foreshadowed in the three instances where he raised the dead