For the week of April 3, 2004 / 12 Nisan 5764
Torah: Vayikra / Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36
Haftarah: Jeremiah 7:21 - 8:3, 9:22-23
Replaced by Malachi 3:4-24 (English 3:4 4:6)
Originally published the week of March 23, 2002 / 10 Nisan 5762

Turning Our Hearts Toward Each Other

See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse (Malachi 3:24 [English 4:6]).

I would like to share with you something that someone shared with me a couple of weeks ago. Referring to the above verse, this person said that he believed that in the days ahead we would see a turning of fathers to children and vice versa in a way that perhaps we would not normally predict.

One of the greatest tragedies in history is the great chasm that has existed between the Jewish People and Christianity. Divisions between peoples are always tragic, but this one is more so, because of the God-established ties between these two communities.

I think there are many people in the world today that would be surprised to hear me refer to any kind of ties between these two groups. The past two thousands years speak of anything but a close relationship. In fact much of the self-understanding of Jews and Christians has been in that they are mutually exclusive. Personally, as I grew up I had no idea that Judaism and Christianity had anything to with each other at all.

However, the reality is that Christianity is deeply rooted in Jewish life and beliefs. And it's not that the Christian faith started in Israel by a group of some misinformed ex-Jewish religious idealists, who broke away from their ancient heritage and started their own religion. The aspirations, understandings, and even customs of the early followers of Yeshua were Jewish through and through. And even though the Church in its development eventually took on more and more foreign customs, nothing can ever change that, in reality, it is deeply rooted in the heritage of the Jewish people and is destined to share a common future.

So back to what this person said to me the other day. He said that the day was coming when the hearts of the children , that is Christians, will turn to the hearts of the fathers - the Jewish people. After all this time Christians will finally fully comprehend that they are the spiritual descendants of the Jews. They will understand that the rich biblical inheritance enjoyed by faithful followers of the Messiah who are members of the nations of the world has been passed down to them by Jewish spiritual parents.

Interestingly, the passage quoted above mentions the hearts of the fathers turning to the children before the children's hearts to the fathers. While we cannot say for sure that the order is essential to what the prophet was saying, maybe it is. Just like it is a blessing for fathers to be appreciated by their children, especially if they have been estranged from each other, it would certainly be wonderful for Christians to acknowledge the precedence of the Jewish people in the outworking of God's plan of redemption. But in terms of the long term-benefits to everyone involved, it is essential that the fathers' hearts are turned to the children. Of course it is vital that all parties are reconciled to each other, but when fathers give loving attention to their children, it provides families with a long-term loving foundation on which relationships can truly be built.

So I am looking forward to that day, when we as Jewish people will turn our hearts to the Gentile followers of Yeshua and embrace them as our spiritual offspring. When this turning of hearts becomes a reality, God's blessings will be upon us all as never before.

If we focus on what is not God, no matter how much we determine otherwise, then those things will take over our lives. We cannot serve both God and idols. It's either one or the other.

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