A Life For God: A Rabbi’s Analysis Of Life, The Cross, And Eternity, by Rabbi Greg Hershberg
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I have read a lot of books written by messianic Jewish writers or for messianic audiences , something I feel slightly uncomfortable about under most experiences, not least because either too much credence is given to Jewish traditions in the Mishnah or Talmud or because the Jewishness seems inauthentic. That is not the case here. In this particular volume, what the reader finds is a book written by someone who appears to genuinely know their Bible and have a sound view on the role of Jesus Christ as a ransom or substitution for our sins. Not only that, but the author appears to have enough of a grasp on often neglected Jewish aspects of the sacrifices and their role as a model for Jesus’ own sacrifices that the book actually may inform many of its readers on the elements of biblical religion that tie together the new and old covenants together. This book sets a high standard and, even better, makes it likely that I would enjoy reading the author’s autobiography if it was available. Any book that makes me want to read more books is worthwhile in my own personal judgement.
In terms of its structure, this is a very efficiently written and well-organized book. In about 120 pages, the author gives six chapters after a brief introduction. The first chapter talks about our need to refocus, providing a look at eternal life and the perpetual offering of the old and new covenants. Chapter two examines the issue of trust and faith, as well as issues of covenant and messianic prophecy. The third chapter looks at the Levitical offering system, providing an excellent analysis of these particular and often-neglected aspects of biblical religion. The fourth chapter gives a remarkably through and more than slightly disturbing look at the various wounds suffered by Jesus Christ (consistently referred to in these pages as Yeshua, as is common in messianic circles) in the course of giving his sacrifice. The fifth chapter gives a moving examination of the height and depth of the Messiah’s love for us through the biblical descriptions of the agony of our Father and Elder Brother over the crucifixion. The sixth chapter closes with a thoughtful examination on how we are to live for God through obeying God and following the Greatest commandment expressed in the Shema. All in all this is an excellent book, and especially worthwhile as part of Passover preparation.
Admittedly, this book was a bit difficult to begin for me because I had a bit of concern about the approach the author would take. Once I began the book, though, I was very pleased to see how it went and it was a joy to read. The author manages to take a big and contentious subject, namely the biblical view of eternal life and the sacrifice necessary for us to have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and give a sound biblical discussion on it, all while being encouraging and gracious in his approach. The author appears to have learned something from his time in Judaism and has something to offer to a Christian audience that has little knowledge of the law and ordinances. Here is hoping that this book finds and appreciative audience that wants to look at what the sacrifice of Jesus Christ means, from the point of view of someone who is able to walk between the Jewish and Christian worlds that are so often pit against each other. If this book and this author can contribute to that, it would be a worthwhile achievement for a worthwhile book.
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