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.
John Atkinson explores the nuanced similarities and differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
How are we to understand the differences and similarities between the two?
- Has one replaced the other completely?
- Are they the same but presented in a renewed form?
- What is the relationship between the two?
- Has the New Covenant come in all its fullness?
John demonstrates the importance of teaching the Scriptures with both hands!
In her first session Edith Sher looks at a covenant based on deception, how it brought about
one of the most amazing miracles in history, and what it shows us about the strength of covenant.
In her second talk Edith looks at a familiar story through fresh eyes, the offering up of Isaac,
known in Judaism as the Akedah. Christians glibly claim to be under the New Covenant
but the Akedah shows us that although grace is free, grace is also costly
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Dr Garth Gilmour is a well-known Biblical archaeologist and an outstanding communicator.
In this presentation he takes his audience through the history of the Philistines and links it to the Biblical record. He then looks at the significance of the recent discovery of the royal seal of King Hezekiah. Finally, he ties these two seemingly unrelated topics together in a fascinating way.
As you watch this presentation you will see Scripture come to life.
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.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).
When God created us in his image he had Jesus in mind. “His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance” (Heb. 1:3). John Atkinson looks at the implications for us of this mind-blowing truth.
Edith Sher teaches on chapter 5 of John’s Gospel and turns the traditional understanding of this story on its head.
Most of us are familiar with the account of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, a passage that mentions the Father fifteen times. But what is wrong with this story?
Why is the man lying there? What is this place where an angel stirs the water for healing? Since when, in the Bible, does an angel heal, or for that matter heal only on a first-come-first-served basis? Who is this wretched man whom Yeshua confronts? What is Yeshua trying to accomplish by approaching him? How does it all reflect on having a true understanding of God’s image?
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.
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.
Does Jesus hate religion?
“Jesus hates religion” has become a popular mantra in Christian circles. John Atkinson shows why this seemingly spiritual statement is unbiblical.
Edith Sher looks at religion and relationship in society at large, and why John Lennon’s famous song, “Imagine,” was so far off the mark. She also speaks on the cost of relationship in the light of Gethsemane.
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.
Has the Church overbalanced on grace?
John Atkinson gives an insightful teaching on how Torah and grace keep us from overbalancing into either of two extremes: legalism (law without grace) and licence (grace without law). The two together bring liberty.
Edith Sher looks at two Sabbath controversies between Yeshua and the Pharisees. If you think it was a case of law vs grace you could have the mindset of a Pharisee!
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.
John Atkinson shows that the chief characteristic of God is not love but holiness.
For such an essential element of our faith there is no shortage of questions.
What is holiness? What does the word holy mean?
What does it mean when we say that God is holy?
How do we serve a holy God?
How essential is it that we are holy?
What does holiness look like?
Is holiness a moral state or a spiritual experience?
How do we measure holiness?
Edith Sher looks at the spiritual significance of God’s holy day, the Sabbath
Many Christians believe that there was a great chasm between Jesus and his fellow Jews. This is far from the truth.
For many Christian Bible commentators, Jesus came to reject his Jewish heritage, the Torah, the Temple and the Synagogue. For them, Jesus is the replacement of a variety of other Jewish figures and institutions. What is wrong with this perspective?
John Atkinson demonstrates how the Gospels’ description of Yeshua’s relationship to the Synagogue contradicts the notion of replacement. Jesus’ exposition of Isaiah in the synagogue in his home town is just one example of his identification with the Jewish institutions of his day.
Edith Sher shows that as a Torah-observant Jew, Yeshua was fully part of his Jewish community, yet as God incarnate, he drew enmity from members of the religious and political establishment. The often misunderstood passage about old and new wineskins, and the healing of the man born blind shed new light on Yeshua’s relationship with the Synagogue.
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.
Well known academic and Messianic Jew, Dr Richard Harvey discusses the mission of the established Church, Israel and Messianic Jews.
Drawing from extensive research and a personal engagement with the issues, Richard deals systematically with key questions about mission. His definitions and explanations are easy to follow and shed light on what is often a confused picture. You will find this series of talks inspiring.
Although there are many who suppose that the New Testament abrogated the Torah, the New Testament explicitly states that it has itself been given as Torah. Obviously, if the New Testament is Torah, then the Torah has not been abrogated. Instead, the New Testament has been given the same status as the Torah of Moses; that is, it has come to have the highest authority there is, the authority that accompanies promulgation by God himself. One might say that Torah has been expanded – or, better, that Torah has been made more explicit.
According to 2 Tim. 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
If that’s true, why does so much of the Old Testament seem antiquated and irrelevant to today’s Christians? John Atkinson and Edith Sher unlock obscure, seemingly obsolete passages and show that the message they contain is as up-to-date as when they were first written. You will learn anew about God’s intimate care for your life.
When last did you hear a sermon on wisdom?
It is described in the New Testament as a gift of the Holy Spirit. The ancient Israelites prized it above riches yet in the Church today it seldom gets a mention. WISDOM is a neglected aspect of faith in the modern Church but the Scriptures consider wisdom as essential to faith.
John Atkinson explores what the Scriptures teach us about WISDOM from a Jewish perspective, while Edith Sher points us to the beginning of wisdom, i.e. the fear of God.
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.
Sometimes Christians are accused of being so heavenly-minded that they are of little earthly use.
Many Christians dream of a place far away on another plane and another universe. This is the approach of “Left behind” theology which confuses the Kingdom of Heaven with a place far away from earth where we spend eternity. The atheist writer Sam Harris asks a relevant question when he enquires: “Can people who believe in the imminent end of the world really be expected to work toward building a durable civilization?”
The Bible says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” Tikkun Olam means “repairing the world.” This Jewish idea is at the heart of the biblical message and it will transform the way we understand the Kingdom of God.
John Atkinson looks at this rabbinic concept and shows how God wants us to partner with him in bringing healing to a broken society.
Edith Sher asserts that the healing of relationships must begin within the family, and illustrates this claim by looking at the story of Joseph and his brothers.
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.
To what extent should Gentiles and Jewish believers be Torah observant today? What lessons can we learn from the first followers of Yeshua?
Wrongly translated ‘Law,’ the word ‘Torah’ actually means ‘instruction.’ John Atkinson explores how the gospel was taken to the Gentile community by the first Jewish believers in Yeshua. The Book of Acts shows the relationship between Gentiles and the Torah and how the early Jewish Church dealt with the matter.
Edith Sher addresses the issue of our attitude to the Torah. The traditional Christian view of Torah is a collection of laws that are impossible to keep. Edith demonstrates how the giving of the Torah is presented as a marriage covenant between God and Israel, then looks at the relationship between the Torah and the Holy Spirit. Are the two mutually exclusive?
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.
John Atkinson and Edith Sher examine the character of Moses and the complexity of this great servant of God.
A greater understanding of Moses will lead to a greater appreciation of Yeshua, the Prophet like Moses. Looking through the eyes of the ancient Jewish sages, John Atkinson explores some of the similarities and differences between these two pivotal characters.
The Gospel writers cast Jesus as the successor of Moses: the Deliverer who came to save his people. That’s why the five sections of his teaching in Matthew’s Gospel correspond to and fulfill the five books of the Torah revealed to Moses. Matthew depicts Jesus as the counterpart to Moses, not so much in revelation as in redemption. Yeshua is going to bring about the new exodus, not just to a Promised Land but to an Eternal Kingdom. In his second talk John shows how the transfiguration account explains the ancient rabbinic prophecy, “Just as there was a First Saviour (Moses) so there will be a Last (the Messiah).”
Edith Sher looks at the connection between the revelation of God’s Name to Moses at the burning bush, and the “I am” statements of Jesus. She compares Moses and Yeshua in the context of humility, and shows how God can even use an angry man.