Some in-depth discussion of Reformed, Covenant Theology and Israel/Church identity over at James’ blog.

The best way I’m able to reconcile it in my head, as someone from a legal background, is to think of the arrangement as a third-party beneficiary relationship.  The New Covenant was made with Israel, but Gentiles can–and eventually the whole world will–become beneficiaries of this “contract”.  The get all the benefits of this renewed arrangement with Israel without having to perform the specific terms of the contract (i.e. the Torah mitzvot) as Israel has to.  This may be a good way of thinking of the Church/Israel relationship, even if somewhat imprecise.  Christians have no problem saying “Jesus paid it all”, but it may be helpful to conceptualize it as Yeshua as Israel, or Israel in the person of Yeshua making the payment.

R. Dr. Warren Goldstein on Parsha Ki Tisa, and the glow:

Given Moses' greatness, his glow was no ordinary glow. The rays of light shining from his face were so awe-inspiring that the people were too intimidated to approach him. The Netziv (d. 1893) explains that Moses' face was glowing because he had just come down from Mount Sinai after having spent forty days learning the Oral Torah with the Almighty in order to be able to transmit it to the nation. Moses' face was beaming from the spirituality that comes from the connection with the Divine through the power of learning Torah.

I can personally attest to–among certain holy, righteous people I’ve known–a certain “glow” to their face, something beyond mere human charisma.

(תודה to George Eroes for this link)

R. Stuart Dauermann on immersion and communal identity.

My understanding is that, in the early Yeshua community, baptism was considered the main action that initiated you into the community.  The Didache (chap. 9), similar to typical high church tradition, states that no one was allowed to have communion unless they have been baptized, with a reference to Yeshua’s teaching at Matt 7:6, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs.” The irony is that, back then, the rite would have been universally understood as a initiation into deeper Jewish observance and identification.  The phrases “dogs” and “swine”  in Apostolic parlance were associated with pagan/gentile identity and activity. One of the understood functions of the immersion was a mikveh cleansing of the tumah of an non-Torah observant life.  It’s not inconceivable that, for a 1st Century Jew, hearing the Yeshua Gospel and choosing to get immersed, it may have been the most observantly “Jewish” thing they’ve ever done in their life. 

I don’t know if this is common knowledge, but the TLV version of the Bible is now available for free on BibleGateway.

So far, I’ve been very impressed with this translation of the Bible. Recently, I read the book of Job with the TLV and found that it had the best flow, meter and word choice of any version of Job out there. It’s a good choice for someone who wants something more literal and with less Hebraisms than the CJB. (However, the CJB has the best rendering of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, though.)