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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Esther, Ruth, Israel and the Church, 15 July 2007
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ruth & Esther: Shadows of Our Future (Paperback)
This interesting book explores the significance of two scriptural figures - Ruth and Esther. The author first explains the different layers of meaning in the Bible according to Rabbinical tradition. The literal or face value interpretation is called Parshat. Remez means "hint" and is the implied meaning. Drash meaning "search" is the allegorical or typological appoach, whilst Sod is the hidden or secret meaning of the text.

The identity of Israel today and in the past is then investigated. There were two kingdoms, Israel (Ephraim) in the north and Judah in the south. The northern people were uprooted by the Assyrians in 722 BC whilst Judah later went into a 70-year captivity in Babylon. The meaning of the scriptural Olive Tree with its root and branches is investigated here in the text and by means of an illustration.

Admitting that it is speculative, the author seems to imply that the lost ten tribes of legend did not all become a part of Judah but were scattered among the nations. Needless to say, this idea has often led to theological error and is still being used by various cults and sects for their own purposes. Until there is plenty of hard genetic evidence, this mystery will remain unsolved and is perhaps best avoided.

To date, very good genetic information on the Jewish people is available in the book DNA and Tradition: The Genetic Link to the Ancient Hebrews by Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman. See especially Chapter 9: Abraham's Chromosone? which reveals that the Abrahamic Genetic Signature as primary Y-Marker has a high frequency amongst Arabs, Lebanese, Syrians, Druze, Iraqi Kurds, Southern and Central Italians, Hungarians and Armenians.

To his credit Morgan emphasizes that membership in the Commonwealth of Israel is not primarily determined by human bloodlines, but by belief in our Redeemer, Messiah Yeshua and His blood shed for us. As far as I understand the author, New Covenant Israel thus consists of the Jewish people on the one hand, and believers from the House of Ephraim plus Gentile believers on the other. Perhaps it is best to ignore genetic speculation and just consider the wild olive branch as one: Christians who love Israel and are thus spiritual children of Abraham.

Part 2 deals with the stories of Esther and of Ruth, a gentile who clung to her Israelite mother-in-law Naomi, was redeemed by Boaz and became an ancestor of Jesus Christ. It includes the entire Book of Ruth, a prophetic pointer to those Christians who will cling to Israel/their Jewish kin to the very end and the return of Messiah. I found the prophetic interpretations fascinating, like for example the meaning of the hem of the garment of Boaz that was spread over Ruth when she slept at his feet.

Chapters 8, 9 and 10 is an exegesis of Esther and includes the full text of the Book of Esther. God's sacred name is hidden in the text as an embedded acrostic. The characters are interpreted by Morgan as follows: King Ahasveros represents the Lord, Esther the House of Judah, Mordechai the Messianic Jews of today and The Feast of Purim as a model of the Great Tribulation.

There are amazing insights in the text, for example the meaning of the names of the two doorkeepers who were planning to murder the Persian king: Teresh means "strictness" and Bigthan means "in the winepress." The one lays heavy burdens of laws upon the people whilst the other denies the relevance of the Torah. The author considers these names to have religious significance for our day. In this regard, see also Christian Anti-Semitism: A History of Hate by William Nicholls.

Finally the author look at Exodus 17: 8 - 16 and the sign of YHVH Nissi (God is my banner). Aaron and Hur were supporting Moses who was sitting on a stone, by holding his hands to the rod above his head. By the end of the day Moses' head was hanging in exhaustion. This, according to Morgan, depicts our Messiah on the cross. The stone ("Eben" in Hebrew) means Father (Ab) and Son (Ben). There is an illustration. There is also the comforting song Jehovah by Anjani Thomas, which mentions Jehovah Nissi, on her devotional album The Sacred Names.

In conclusion, the stories of Ruth and Esther are summed up thus: the two Houses of Israel need one another. Judah needs to get to know the Messiah whilst Ephraim (The Church) needs to cling to Judah through thick and thin. Prophetically, Messianic believers (Mordechai) will be embraced by their Jewish kin, whilst true Christians (Ruth) will respect the Torah. Together, these two will nourish Israel in the difficult days to come.

Obviously, mainstream Christianity will not like this exegesis, especially those who still cling to the heresy of replacement theology. I find the arguments quite compelling and worthy of profound meditation. Many esoteric messages in the Bible are revealed in this remarkable book. It concludes with a bibliography, maps, tables, a glossary and a biography of the author.

Those who appreciate this book will find Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support Israel by David Brog most illuminating as it considers the Judeo-Christian alliance from a Jewish perspective. And, lest the reader become too somber amidst all this gravitas, A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews, Christian Zionists, and One Man's Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance by Jewish author Zev Chafets is an irreverent and entertaining look at how Christians and Jews are reaching out to one another in support of Israel.
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Ruth & Esther: Shadows of Our Future
Ruth & Esther: Shadows of Our Future by Frank Morgan (Paperback - 1 May 2006)
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