Press-Republican

July 5, 2013

Texas theologian to speak about messiahship of Jesus

By ROBIN CAUDELL
Press-Republican

---- — CLINTONVILLE — Camp Shoshanah (Hebrew for “rose”) has instructed Jews and non-Jews about the messiahship of Jesus for 40 years.

The summer camp, located in Clintonville, is operated by Ariel Ministries, a Messianic Jewish organization directed by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum and based in San Antonio, Texas.

Daily through Saturday, Aug. 17, the public can attend the camp meetings and learn about the messiahship of Jesus. 

Fruchtenbaum also leads a conference on “Prophecy and the Jew Part II” Sundays in July at the Living Water Baptist Church in Champlain, where the Rev. Pat Huggins is pastor.

Fruchtenbaum was born in Siberia, Russia, after his parents’ release from a communist prison. As a young boy, he received Orthodox Jewish training. His family relocated to New York in 1951.

He trained in theology at Cedarville College and Dallas Theological Seminary. He holds a doctorate from New York University.

At the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he was studying Hebrew, archaeology and ancient history when the Six-Day War erupted between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria in June 1967.

“I was living in the city of Jerusalem in Israel and teaching a class, ‘The Life of the Messiah from a Jewish Perspective,’” Fruchtenbaum said. “Meanwhile, there was a lot of Jewish people coming to believe in the messiahship of Jesus. After the Six-Day War, it caused a lot of Jewish people to search for their Jewish identity and also look at the scripture and the New Testament.”

Ariel Ministries’ mission is twofold.

“To share the message of the Messiah with Jewish people, but secondly, teach the scriptures for Jewish and Gentile believers from a Jewish perspective. So that’s how this camp program began in the Adirondacks.”

Worldwide, a conservative estimate of Messianic Jews is 150,000. The United States has the majority of believers.

“There was a massive increase after the Six-Day War that I mentioned,” Fruchtenbaum said. “It has kind of leveled off here. There are still Jewish people coming into the faith, but not in the same numbers. When communism fell, that created the context for many Jewish people in the former Soviet Union and different countries to also come to believe in the messiahship of Jesus.”

The biggest obstacle for Jews was learning the Jewish background of Jesus Christ.

“Since the 4th century, 90 percent of Jews were persecuted in Jesus’s name. So, most Jewish people know nothing about the Jesus of scripture. They know only the Jesus of Jewish and church history,” he said.

The portrayal of Jesus in the New Testament Gospels as well as what he thought about Jews past, present and future is in a very Jewish context, Fruchtenbaum said.

“What the church (Roman Catholic Church) began teaching was quite the opposite: replacement theology, where the church replaces Israel as God’s people. The teaching of the church especially influenced Augustine, that God has no special ethnic future for the Jewish people, and therefore God has transferred all of his promises. He (Augustine) took the promise away from Israel and gave it to the church. It’s a theology based on anti-Semitism and not based on the teaching of actual scripture. The church made the radical change. There was always a line of church leaders that rejected that, but they were in the minority a long time,” he said.

Dispensational theology is the opposite of replacement theology. 

“Dispensational theology says what God promised to Israel, he will fulfill to Israel, and therefore dispensational theology sharply rejects replacement theology,” Fruchtenbaum said.

The key issue separating Messianic Jews and Orthodox Jews is the Messiah’s identity.

“We celebrate the same festivals as Orthodoxy in the same way. We also celebrate the Messiah. Passover for Orthodox Judaism is in remembrance of the exodus out of Egypt. We have an addition to the Seder service, the Passover service. We have the communion service because that came out of the Passover. When Jesus introduced the bread and the cup, it was in the context of the Passover,” he said.

In the Passover ceremony, there are three loaves of unleavened bread.

“The middle one represents his (Jesus’s) body,” Fruchtenbaum said. “Then, there are four cups of wine. The third cup represents his blood. That is one example how we celebrate from the Orthodox perspective and Messianic perspective.”

Email Robin Caudell:rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

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IF YOU GO

CAMP SHOSHANAH

WHAT: Daily meetings at Camp Shoshanah.

WHERE: 838 Trout Pond Road, Clintonville.

WHEN: 9 to 10 a.m., 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday through Saturday, Aug. 17.

CONTACT: For questions, call 834-6057.

CONFERENCE

WHAT: "Prophecy and the Jew Part II," presented by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, director of Ariel Ministries.

WHEN: "The Arab State in Prophecy" at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 7; "The Events Leading Up to the Tribulation I" at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 7; "The Events Leading Up to the Tribulation II" at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 14; "The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist" at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 21; and "The Final Restoration of Israel" at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 28.

WHERE: Living Water Baptist Church, 9 Locust St., Champlain. CONTACT: For questions, call 563-1901.