Rich Robinson | San Francisco

Scholar in Residence, Missionary

Rich has been on staff since 1978. He has served at several Jews for Jesus branches and was a pianist and songwriter with their music team, the Liberated Wailing Wall. He is now at the San Francisco headquarters, where he conducts research, writes and edits as the senior researcher. He is author of the books Christ in the Sabbath and The Day Jesus Did Tikkun Olam: Jewish Values and the New Testament, and co-author of Christ in the Feast of Pentecost. Rich received his M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1978 and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies and Hermeneutics from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1993.

Three Ways Every Christian Can Help Fight Anti-Semitism
November 12, 2018
Author: Rich Robinson

Here are three ideas to get you started on how to stand with the Jewish people against the scourge of anti-Semitism.

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The Messiah Would be God!
Author: Rich Robinson

The New Testament throughout shows that Jesus is indeed the “Mighty God” who has come among us as a human being. Jesus does things only God can do, such as forgive sins and command nature to obey him.

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Was Jesus the Founder of Christianity?
September 7, 2018
Author: Rich Robinson

Scholars and theologians debate the particular kind of Judaism Jesus represented, but it was Judaism nonetheless. There was, as yet, nothing called “Christianity.”

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A Tale of Two Rabbis
Author: Rich Robinson

Like other rabbis, Jesus taught the importance of Jewish core values. One such value is kibud av va’em, honor of parents.

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Healing, Health and the Ultimate Hope
Author: Rich Robinson

God brought us Messiah to restore things to the way they were meant to be. The time is coming when disease will no longer exist and all will be made new.

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Jews for Jesus Takeaways: a Companion to Barna’s Jewish Millennials —The Beliefs & Behaviors Shaping Young Jews in America
September 29, 2017
Author: Rich Robinson

Introduction This bonus chapter to Jewish Millennials: The Beliefs and Behaviors Shaping Young Jews in America is written for practitioners in the field of Jewish evangelism. Statistics and charts and analyses by demographers and academicians can only tell so much....

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Jesus’ References to Old Testament Scriptures
May 16, 2017
Author: Rich Robinson

The Torah is foundational to Judaism. That is why this article lists many references to the Old Testament found on the lips of Jesus in the Gospels.

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A Response to “Jesus Didn’t Eat A Seder Meal”
April 11, 2017
Topics: passover, seder
Author: Rich Robinson

It becomes rather moot, then, whether it is proper to describe Jesus’ Passover meal as a seder. It was a proto-seder, a pre-70 seder, a seder-in-formation; it was seder-like, it was seder-ish, it was kind-of-like-a-seder, it had elements of a seder—any way you put it, seder is the most relevant way to speak of it.

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jews and gender

When God Had Two Genders
Author: Rich Robinson

Humanity has brought sin into the world, resulting in estrangement from God, our own selves, one another and nature. We are no longer who God intended us to be—whether we identify as male, female, or one of Facebook’s 58 genders.

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Recipe: Award-Winning Potato Pancakes (Latkes)
Author: Melissa Moskowitz

I don’t like to brag, but I did win first place for this recipe at a Hanukkah party held by the Chicagoland-area Messianic community. What won the judges over? “We loved the onions,” they said. Latkes are traditionally eaten with homemade applesauce or sour cream, but...

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Death: How Do We Respond?
Author: Rich Robinson

This article is adapted from the original which appeared in the Winter 2012 print edition of Havurah. We are republishing it in this Tisha B’Av season. Tisha B’Av memorializes tragedies that befell the Jewish people as a nation. It is also an appropriate season to...

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Stories That Jews Tell (About Ourselves)
Author: Rich Robinson

We each have a paradigm through which we view our Jewish experience. What’s yours?

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Stories That Jews Tell (About Ourselves), Part Two
Author: Rich Robinson

We all bring certain assumptions to the paradigm through which we view our Jewish experience.

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Thank God for Chesed
October 28, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

What is God’s chesed and why should we remember it this Thanksgiving?

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Quick tips for exploring key words in the Bible
October 27, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

 Enrich your Bible study with a Bible dictionary and a concordance. If you are not acquainted with these resources, here is a quick overview.

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Shavuot – What’s Your Connection?
May 18, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, comes with many traditions. For example, tradition tells us: that on this holiday, God gave the Torah to Israel…

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All about rain
January 21, 2015
Author: Rich Robinson

Into every life rain must fall, but what does the Bible say about it?

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A Portrait of Messianic Jews
Author: Rich Robinson

Someone once perceptively said, “Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off.”

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Insights into giving thanks
October 1, 2014
Author: Rich Robinson

This chart takes a look at thanksgiving from the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, and in Jewish tradition.

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A Kosher Christmas?
Author: Rich Robinson

If Jesus is the Messiah, maybe instead of Chinese food and comedy, we should think about celebrating his birth in Jewish style.

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Saturday the Rabbi Read the New Testament
Author: Rich Robinson

The New Testament should resonate with us Jews, not least because it reflects Jewish core values that are part of Jewish life to this day.

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Jewish Core Values, Jesus and You: Part Six
September 4, 2013
Author: Rich Robinson

Jewish Core Values, Jesus and You, Part Six Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 Jewish Core Value Redeeming Captives — Pidyon Shvuyim (rhymes with “mid-phone, blue team”). According to this core value, it is worth it to pay a ransom for the...

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Jewish Core Values, Jesus and You, Part Five
May 30, 2013
Author: Rich Robinson

Redeeming Captives — Pidyon Shvuyim (rhymes with “mid-phone, blue team”). According to this core value, it is worth it to pay a ransom for the life of a hostage.

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How Do I Love the Omer? … Let Me Count the Ways
April 11, 2013
Author: Rich Robinson

Currently, the Jewish community is in the midst of the 49-day period known as “counting the omer.” This tradition originates from two verses in Leviticus: From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven...

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Jewish Deli

If St. Patrick Had Been Jewish…
March 13, 2013
Author: Rich Robinson

People would be standing in line for corned beef and cabbage on rye.
The national flag of Israel would have been white and green…

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Wailing Wall with a dove

So Why’d You Switch Teams?
Author: Rich Robinson

I’m Jewish and I believe in Jesus. So I’ve often been asked: So … why’d you switch teams? You belonged to the Jewish people, you had a great thing going for you — why did you go over to the “other side”? The side of the Christians,...

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Jewish Core Values, Jesus and You Part Four
January 31, 2013
Author: Rich Robinson

Jewish Core Values, Jesus and You, Part Four Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 Jewish Core Value Honor of parents, called kibud av va’em (“honor of father and mother”) Old Testament Basis The commandment to honor* one’s...

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Jewish Core Values, Jesus and You, Part Three
August 7, 2012
Author: Rich Robinson

Jewish Core Values, Jesus and You, Part Three Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 Jewish Core Value Do not oppress the stranger, orphan, and widow. Or phrased more positively, to extend help to the vulnerable of society. In Traditional Jewish Life...

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A Passover Reflection on the Four Questions
April 3, 2012
Author: Rich Robinson

At every Passover seder, one of the more dramatic moments is when the family recites the Ten Plagues that God sent against Egypt. Together everybody names each plague and pours out a drop from the aptly-named Cup of Plagues, the second cup of the evening. The idea is...

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Overview of the Minor Prophets: How Well Do You Know the Jewish Bible?
March 6, 2011
Author: Rich Robinson

Overview of the Minor Prophets: How Well Do You Know the Jewish Bible? or click here for major prophets chart Minor Prophets* dates of ministry 1 Number of chapters Theme Points of Interest New Testament Connection Hosea 760-722 B.C. 14 God’s love for Israel in the...

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Biblical Locales, Then and Now
January 1, 2011
Author: Rich Robinson

Biblical Locales, Then and Now Facts Then Today Words and Incidents Nazareth Facts: Located in a high valley with a mild climate. Name may derive from natzerat, watchtower” or netzer, “branch.” Not mentioned in the Old Testament or anywhere outside of the New...

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Shavuot Among Ashkenazi and Sephardic/Mizrahi Jews
May 1, 2010
Author: Rich Robinson

Shavuot Among Ashkenazi and Sephardic/Mizrahi Jews Ashkenazi Jews* Sephardic/Mizrahi* Jews (often varies country to country). For convenience, both are referred to here as Sephardic. Pronunciation of the holiday Shavuos (to rhyme with “ya knew us”) Shavuot (to rhyme...

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The Sabbath: A Look Back, A Look Forward
August 1, 2009
Author: Rich Robinson

Most of our summer outreaches are over, and our campus outreach, High Holiday services and Fall Ingatherings are yet to come. Many people on our missionaries’ case loads are away for summer vacations. We are still continuing to do the work this month, but for many...

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Fifty Years On?. Herman Wouk’s This Is My God Revisited
February 4, 2009
Author: Rich Robinson

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Herman Wouk’s classic précis of Orthodox Judaism and personal statement of his faith, This Is My God. I have just pulled my dog-eared copy, probably handed down by my grandfather or father, from the shelves, and over the past several days I have read, or possibly re-read, it. I have little recollection of having gone through it as a child, though I may well have done so.

As of this writing, Wouk is still living, having been honored by a lifetime achievement award in 2008 at age 93. There is also a follow-up volume, The Will to Live On, which saw the light of day in the year 2000, but I have not yet obtained a copy. It would be interesting to see how his views have or have not changed over the past forty years, the span of a biblical generation.

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Two Types of Biblical Offerings
November 1, 2008
Author: Rich Robinson

With the Day of Atonement just last month, and with many of us thinking of Thanksgiving this month, we wanted to present a biblical look at sacrifices for sin, as well as for giving...

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Adding a few more questions to the mix this Passover
Author: Rich Robinson

The number four plays a significant role in Judaism. There are the four species of plants for Sukkot; four kingdoms in the book of Daniel; four Torah portions in the tefillin; four Matriarchs in the book of Genesis. At Passover, we find this number in abundance. In the course of the seder we have four sons, four cups of wine, four expressions of redemption (Exodus 6:6-7) and perhaps the most famous “four” of all—the Ma Nishtana, known in English as the Four Questions…

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Yeshua or Yeshu – What does it mean?
March 1, 2008
Author: Rich Robinson

Get an in-depth look at the name of Jesus, in our article “An Introduction to the Names Yehoshua/Joshua, Yeshua, Jesus and Yeshu” by Kai Kjµr-Hansen Ask any Israeli how to say “Jesus” in Hebrew, and you’ll invariably hear the response: Yeshu (pronounced Yay shoo). Yet...

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An Ashkenazic Look at Sephardic Sukkot Customs (What one Reform Jew from Brooklyn learned)
September 1, 2007
Author: Rich Robinson

An Ashkenazic Look at Sephardic Sukkot Customs (What one Reform Jew from Brooklyn learned) I come from an Ashkenazic family, which means we have an Eastern European Jewish background. Sephardic Jews come from Spain, Portugal, the Mediterranean, North Africa and Iraq....

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Everything* You Always Wanted to Know About The Three Branches of Judaism
August 1, 2007
Author: Rich Robinson

Everything* You Always Wanted to Know About The Three Branches of Judaism * OK so maybe it's just a few things but it's all we could fit on two pages! Names of the branches ORTHODOX CONSERVATIVE(in North America; called Masorti elsewhere) REFORM(called Liberal Judaism...

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Einstein: A Reflection
May 22, 2007
Author: Rich Robinson

The April issue of TIME magazine featured a book excerpt (last accessed 4/13/07) from the forthcoming Einstein by Walter Isaacson. Titled “Einstein and Faith,” the excerpt clarifies the nature of Einstein’s belief in God as well as his relation to...

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Three Days and Three Nights
March 30, 2007
Author: Rich Robinson

As Resurrection Sunday approaches, many Christians will wrestle with the following question: Matthew 12:40 states that Jesus would be in the ground “three days and three nights.” Doesn’t that make it impossible for Jesus to have been crucified on Friday and raised on...

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Lessons from Leaven
March 1, 2007
Topics: charts, purim
Author: Rich Robinson

Lessons from Leaven Next month is Passover, which lasts for one night and is immediately followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts for seven. In preparation for these holidays, we have an in-depth look at leaven. The word “leaven” (chametz, חָמֵץ)...

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The New Testament: Contradictory or Consistent?
Author: Rich Robinson

Some efforts to resolve various difficulties the Bible presents have been simplistic, naive or sometimes even seemingly desperate.

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About Torah Observance
Author: Rich Robinson

It’s been a long time coming but The Messianic Movement: A Field Guide for Evangelical Christians from Jews for Jesus is finally in print. One of the eleven chapters explores Torah observance among Jewish believers in Jesus. (We’ve slightly abbreviated it...

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Two Levitical Offerings and Their Meaning to Us Today
November 1, 2005
Author: Rich Robinson

The Burnt Offering Hebrew Term OLAH, literally ascending,” that is, the sacrifice “ascends” to God. It is translated as “burnt offering” or “whole offering.” Description of the Ritual The actual ritual was divided between the...

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Why Passover and Easter are a Month Apart This Year
April 1, 2005
Author: Rich Robinson

To paraphrase the First Question asked each year at Passover: Why is this year different from all other years?” Or most other years, anyway. Answer: in most other years, Passover and Easter fall within close proximity of each other, but in 2005 they fall a month...

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Rich Robinson: Coming In Through the Back Door
January 1, 2005
Author: Rich Robinson

Rich Robinson: Coming In Through the Back Door Like many Jewish people, I was raised in a home where Jewishness was more cultural than religious. Our family celebrated Passover and Hanukkah at our home in Brooklyn, we went to the Temple on the High Holy Days, and...

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Tough Jews: Hanukkah, Heroism and the Identity of the Messiah
Author: Rich Robinson

There is more than one way to view strength when it comes to the Jewish people and the Jewish Messiah.

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Prominent Titles of Jesus
December 1, 2004
Topics: charts
Author: Rich Robinson

Prominent Titles of Jesus Title Selected NT Passages OT Background Remarks God John 1:1; 20:28 1 John 5:20 Disputed as to correct manuscript reading: John 1:18 Disputed as to correct translation: Romans 9:5; Tit. 2:13 Isaiah 9:6 is the classic OT verse on the deity of...

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Firstfruits Then and Now
April 1, 2004
Author: Rich Robinson

This is not an exhaustive study on the meaning of firstfruits, but we hope it will whet your appetite and tempt you to open your concordance (or computer Bible...

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Did Jesus teach his disciples to hate their parents?
January 1, 2000
Author: Rich Robinson

Some claim that Jesus taught his followers to hate their mother and father. If true, that would obviously make Jesus an immoral and unethical teacher, since one of the Ten Commandments is to honor one’s parents. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you,” the Torah says in Exodus 20:12.

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First Fruits in the Bible: What Does it Have to Do with Resurrection from the Dead?
March 1, 1997
Author: Rich Robinson

Explore the literal, spritual and prophetic aspects of “first fruits” in the Bible, as well as how this concept can apply to your faith today.

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Old Testament Word Study on Humility
March 1, 1996
Author: Rich Robinson

Three main words or word groups are used to describe humility: First, the related words ‘ani and ‘anav; second, the word shaphel; third, the word kana’. 1. The most common group uses the related words ‘ani and ‘anav. ‘Ani usually...

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Old Testament Word Study on Humility (Chart)
Author: Rich Robinson

[They] cast their crowns before the throne, saying: You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:10b,11 ‘ani ‘anav shaphel kana’ Describes...

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Jewish Buddhists: A Meld of Mezuzahs and Mantra?
Author: Rich Robinson

A challenge to Rodger Kamenetz’s idea of the “JUBU,” Jewish Buddhists.

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Tisha B’Av and Related Mourning Times
August 1, 1995
Author: Rich Robinson

These days are observed only by traditional Orthodox Jews. Some non-Orthodox Jews tend to recognize them as important in Jewish tradition but do not encourage traditional observance. Sheva Asar be-Tammuz Meaning of Name: The 17th of Tammuz English Name: The Fast of...

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The Chosen People
April 1, 1995
Author: Rich Robinson

Some disdain the term Chosen People as implying superiority or arrogance. But it is a biblical term, found in both the Old Testament (Isaiah 43:20) and in the New Testament (1 Peter 2:9). Chosen ones” and “my chosen ones” occur even more frequently....

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Weak on the Feast of Weeks or Whatever Happened to Shavuot?
Author: Rich Robinson

The meaning behind Shavuot, an overlooked-but-major Jewish holiday and its fulfillment.

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The Message of the Mezuzah
January 1, 1994
Author: Rich Robinson

Visit the home of an observant Jew, and as you enter, you will notice a small rectangular box attached to the outer doorpost. This object is a meZUzah (plural, mezuZOTE). Though it is small, it carries a big message. The Word Mezuzah In Bible times, mezuzah was simply...

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The Tallit and Tzitzit
Author: Rich Robinson

Learn about the history, significance and traditions of the Jewish prayer shawl.

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Book Excerpt from Jehiel Lichtenstein’s Hebrew Commentary on the New Testament by One of His Students
September 1, 1993
Author: Rich Robinson

(in German; Leipzig, 1895). Out of print, but available at some large libraries or through inter-library loan. One of the most intriguing eras in Messianic Jewish history is the 19th century, and one of its more fascinating characters was Jehiel Lichtenstein...

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Who’s Angry at Who?
Author: Rich Robinson

Steve was a good accountant, but it was hard to sit in front of a video display screen all day with nothing but numbers before his eyes. One day, when he was particularly tense and squinting, Steve stood up to take a break. He walked over to the water cooler—which was...

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Will the Real Messiah…
Author: Rich Robinson

When Messiah comes!” That phrase has often been the catch-all answer to the troublesome questions of life. When the Messiah comes there will be peace; or, Messiah himself will bring peace; or, Messiah will come when all Israel observes one Sabbath together. The...

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The Mission of Israel in the Old Testament
June 1, 1991
Author: Rich Robinson

God destined Israel to be a nation with a mission, to be a blessing to all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:1-3). For Israel to fulfill that mission, she had to: Repudiate all that was contrary to God’s truth; Remember that she had embarked on a new life...

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Jewish Revival: Where To From Here?
Author: Rich Robinson

Secularization” is defined as the process in which those things religious transfer to nonreligious use, possession or control. To say that something is “secular” means that it is without religion or religious significance. Secularization has become a...

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Monotheism of the Ancient Hebrews: Evolved, Invented, Stolen or Revealed?
Author: Rich Robinson

Whatever else may be in question, we all agree that in the Jewish religion there is only one God. Yet there is disagreement as to the origin of Jewish monotheism.

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Russian Ministry
May 1, 1986
Author: Rich Robinson

In our daily work among the Jewish people of New York City we spend a great deal of our time in Manhattan itself. There we usually encounter business people, college students and upscale” Yuppies. While these people comprise one segment of Jewish life, I...

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The White Crucifixion by Marc Chagall

Jesus in Jewish Art
Author: Rich Robinson

It has become fashionable among the modern day Jewish historians to present that controversial Jew, Jesus, in a favorable light. Yet, depictions of Jesus in Jewish art and literature remain rare. To be sure, Jewish literature has portrayed the encounter between Jews...

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Akedah
Author: Rich Robinson

In the painting of The Sacrifice of Isaac, Marc Chagall draws a parallel between the story of Isaac and that of Yeshua. In doing so, he is going back to the biblical account which has occupied a substantial place in Jewish thought: the Akedah, or Binding of Isaac. In...

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The Yom Kippur Dilemma
Author: Rich Robinson

If you journeyed back in time 3,500 years and saw Jewish life as our forefathers lived it, you would be astounded at how vastly it differed from today’s practices. Instead of synagogues and Jewish community centers, you would witness a tent-like tabernacle, or...

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Passover: Why is this night different since Yeshua observed it?
Author: Rich Robinson

Just as the Israelites were redeemed from Egyptian slavery by an unblemished lamb, now men could be freed from slavery to sin by the Messiah, the Lamb of God.

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