EPISODE 3: Spiritual Citizenship
This week (April 28) on Shabbat Night Live, when we become a citizen of a different country, we are afforded the rights and freedoms of that country. We are also governed by its laws. So what happens when we become citizens spiritually?
Al McCarn helps us understand our spiritual citizenship in the commonwealth of Israel.
Watch the episode — included on this blog post.
While you watch, consider the questions below. The timeline for each discussion topic in the video is noted on each question. Post your answers in the comments section and let’s get some discussion going!
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 16:00) How does the “mixed multitude” referenced in Exodus 12:38 serve to presage the importance of the Hebrews as a blessing to all nations? How does this passage and that of Genesis 12:3 transcend the notion of a merely symbolic presence? Moreover, how does the resurgent anti-Semitism of today represent a refusal to acknowledge this divine sanction through misrepresentation?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 20:00) Similarly, how do such figures as King David’s Philistine guard, Uriah the Hittite, and the Samaritan woman remind today’s believers of the all-encompassing nature of the Hebrew ethos and its place in our search for salvation? How do their examples illustrate the complexity of engagement and the dangers of oversimplification for those who endeavor to learn its history?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 24:00) How does the blunt imagery of Jeremiah 32:41 reinforce the legitimacy of the Jewish homeland, one that surpasses the limitations of earthly geopolitics or power dynamics?Furthermore, how does present-day anti-Zionism reveal its weakness in the face of this prophecy through its expression in shrill rhetoric, petty vandalism, and personal assaults?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 28:00) How does Matthew’s statement of Herod’s massacre of the children of Bethlehem as a fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy (31:15) continue to resonate as a touchstone for fundamental evil in our culture, whether in the form of school shootings or abortion? How might the familiar calls for gun control or poverty programs as solutions be viewed as a disingenuous refusal to acknowledge human vulnerability toward the influence of Satan?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 32:00) How might the figure of King David be viewed by today’s believers as an increasingly important symbol of salvation? Aside from his reputation as an ancestor of Yeshua, how does his ambivalent, even contradictory identities – as shepherd, outlaw, mercenary, monarch, adulterer, and assassin – all serve to represent the range of choice that we must confront, as well as the favor with YeHoVaH that we must earn in the course of our lives?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 36:00) What is the likelihood of a new impulse toward ecumenism within the Christian world in an age of increasing division and hostility between divergent perspectives, whether in religion, politics, or social ethics? How might the growing presence of Israel as a resilient and prosperous nation serve to direct believers toward the example of Abraham as a spiritual patriarch?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 40:00) How have Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:8-10 been known to cause a measure of confusion and even conflict among believers, owing to its contrast between faith and works? Why has its more fundamental distinction between grace as a divine gift and man’s limited aspirations been less recognized as a cornerstone of belief and worship of YeHoVaH through Yeshua?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 44:00) Similarly, how can Paul’s reference to the “commonwealth of Israel” in Ephesians 2:12 be viewed as a deceptively figurative image that merely distinguishes between Jews and Gentiles? How could the enduring example of the Jewish return to their ancient homeland ultimately serve to align diverse believers throughout disparate nations in their pursuit of salvation?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 48:00) If indeed the “commonwealth of Israel” can be viewed as the extension of a prophecy, how can the faithful of today best exercise and manifest their identity as subjects or citizens? How does the ostensibly historical reference to Israel in countless hymns and holiday celebrations underscore the obligation of those who profess belief and seek to develop their faith to recognize and study the heritage of this image and its ongoing resonance?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 52:00) How has the potential common ground for unity among believers been undermined over the postwar period by denominational or evangelical attempts to appropriate the identity of Yeshua and reimagine him in a limited, earthly guise? What aspect of the fear of divine truth seems to motivate self-serving characterizations of him as a political activist or social justice warrior?