Monday, April 24, 2017

Why "Faith Beyond The Letter"?

Well, I promised you all a post about why I decided to move Parashah Messiah over to Faith Beyond The Letter (and why I created FBTL in the first place). Here it is. Finally.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Parashah Messiah has Moved!

Parashah Messiah has moved! You can continue to follow by going over to

Things are pretty busy right now and there's a few things that are still up in the air, but hopefully I'll be able to post more details soon on the future on The Hopeful Heretic and the launch of Faith Beyond The Letter.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Parashah Messiah: From Power to Liberty

Haftarah Portion: Mishpatim (Jeremiah 34:8-22, 33:25-26)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 18
Commentary by: Matthew Day

The Gospel brings freedom. But we, as human beings, have a way of creating bondage. Somewhere in the command to rule and subdue the earth, our thirst for power took on a life of its own. Instead of leading and creating after God's example, we conquered and destroyed, treading down upon any other semblance of free will. We yearn for control and will take any chance we get to experience that feeling.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Parashah Messiah: Unworthy

Haftarah Portion: Yitro (Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6)
Gospel Reading: John 12:37-41, Matthew 23:11-13
Commentary by: Chris Knight
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.’ Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’ Isaiah 6:1-8 (NKJV)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Parashah Messiah: Trust and See

Haftarah Portion: Beshalach (Judges 4:4-5:31)
Gospel Reading: John 6: 28-33
Commentary by: Daniel Clayton

In whom do we place our trust? It is a fair question, and is one that applies today just as much as it did several thousand years ago in the time of the book of Judges, specifically in this instance in Judges 4. D’vorah the prophetess has been raised up as Israel’s judge, and she summons Barak to tell him that The Almighty has handed Yavin’s commander, Sisra, into his hands.
Barak answered her: “If you go with me , I’ll go; but if you won’t go with me, I won’t go.” She replied, “Yes, I will gladly go with you; but the way you are doing it will bring you no glory; because Adonai will hand Sisra over to a woman. (Judges 4: 8-9)
We can only speculate exactly what D’vorah means by saying, “The way you’re doing ‘it,’” but it is a common belief, and what I believe to be a fair one, that Barak may be putting his trust in D’vorah more than God, thinking that he won’t succeed unless D’vorah goes with him. It’s possible that he’s putting his trust in the messenger rather than the One the message came from.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Parashah Messiah: Daddy's Hands

Haftarah Portion: Bo (Jeremiah 46:13-28)
Gospel Reading: John 10:27-30
Commentary by: Brian Serrano

The role of a father can sometimes be a perplexing one. On the one hand, a father is to be a comfort in times of sadness or distress. On the other hand, he must be firm in discipline. Daddy’s hands are to be both soft and gentle, yet firm and strong.

From our portion in Jeremiah I think we can clearly see this rings true about our Heavenly Father.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Parashah Messiah: Stop Trusting in Egypt

Haftarah Reading: Va’era (Ezekiel 28:25-29:21)
Gospel Reading: John 6:22-40
Commentary by: David Wilber

The Haftarah reading this week consists of several prophecies against Egypt. The Lord declared through the prophet Ezekiel that He would bring the land to desolation and scatter the Egyptians among the nations. Then, after forty years, He would regather them and establish them as a lowly kingdom.

Why does God punish Egypt in this passage? There are two reasons given: First, Egypt’s arrogance. The Pharaoh king of Egypt, who is called the great crocodile (29:3), said, “The Nile is mine, and I made it” (29:3, 9). The Nile is a symbol of the riches and prosperity of Egypt. Thus, God punished them for boasting in their own strength. Second, Egypt’s unreliability. Israel had an alliance with Egypt, yet Egypt was “a staff of reed” to Israel, which broke when Israel tried to lean upon it (29:6-7). God punished Egypt for being a fickle friend to Israel.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Parashah Messiah: Fruitful Seeds

Haftarah Portion: Shemot (Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:3-30, 36-43
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

The flying seeds land in the soft soil. With sunlight and rain, the seeds send out spidery roots that push their way through the yielding yet anchoring earth. Green heads spring up, gaining strength as the roots dig deeper and deeper. After a long season of growth, the thick, healthy stalks of wheat hang their heavy heads. Their task is over; their fruit is ready; all that remains is for the farmer to come and reap . . .
In the days to come Jacob will take root,
Israel will blossom and sprout,
And they will fill the whole world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6, NASB)
In that day the Lord will start His threshing from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt, and you will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. (Isaiah 27:12)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Parashah Messiah: Death Defeated

Haftarah Portion: Vayechi (1 Kings 2:1-12)
Gospel Reading: Acts 2
Commentary by: Matthew Day

If there was anytime in which we were close to the Messianic age, it was during the reigns of David and Solomon. The Scriptures describe this as a time when the sons of Israel had multiplied like stars and like the sands of the sea (1 Kings 4:20). They lived in peace and security, "every man under his vine and under his fig tree" (1 Kings 4:25 ESV). This was the height of Israel's reign, the fulfillment of all the promises contained in the Torah. From here, the Torah should have gone forth from Zion, the nations should have come up to Jerusalem, and the world should have entered an unending golden age of peace. The Messianic era should have descended upon man. God should have looked down upon our faithfulness and swept away sorrow and death forever. What happened?

David died.