Israel My Glory In Depth: Interview with Dan Price
As we welcome the Christmas season, many people’s minds are flooded with thoughts of the perfect Christmas present. But only one gift is eternally fulfilling, and it’s offered freely to everyone: Jesus! Because we are sinners, we can never keep God’s holy Law on our own. That’s why He sent His Son, Jesus, to make an end of the Law to offer us freedom and salvation from sin.
International Ministries director Dan Price teaches this invaluable truth from his Israel My Glory article “One Righteous Christmas Present!” on this week’s show. He explains the purpose of the Law of Moses, Christians’ relationship with it, and how Jesus freed us from the sin that once enslaved us. Dan’s insight into our relationships with Jesus and the Law is a welcome reminder of the incomparable blessings we have in Christ, the greatest gift we’ll ever receive!
Take a look at Dan’s recent Israel My Glory article: “One Righteous Christmas Present!”
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us for The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is Chris Katulka. We've created a special way for you to show your support for Israel in your neighborhood during the Hanukkah season. Visit foi.org/shine to learn more. Again, that's foi.org/shine. We'll have more to say about this special event later in the program.
Chris Katulka: Well, Steve, today is our Israel My Glory: In Depth episode where we look specifically at our most recent issue of Israel My Glory. And this issue is called Our Holy God: What Moses Can Teach Us Today. It's an awesome issue of Israel My Glory. And today, we're going to have Dan Price, the assistant director of International Ministries on to talk about his article, One Righteous Christmas Present. Also, you're going to want to stick around to find out how you can get a one-year free subscription to this award-winning Christian Magazine, Israel My Glory.
Steve Conover: But first in the news, the Israeli hostages released by Hamas in recent days describe their living conditions in confinement. They report they slept on plastic chairs. They were fed irregular meals of bread and rice. They waited hours to use the bathroom and they were probably held underground. The Times of Israel reports that most of the freed hostages appear to be in good physical condition, able to walk and speak normally.
Chris Katulka: Steve, we also know that those hostages have lost significant weight, which is very difficult to think about. They have maybe potential psychological issues and they're having a hard time adjusting to light. But here's my take. As Hamas is releasing innocent Israeli civilians, the elderly, children, women, Israel is releasing Palestinians in exchange who have committed acts of terror against Israelis in the past. The deal brokered by Qatar requires Israel to release 150 imprisoned Palestinians for 50 Israeli hostages held by Hamas. It's a lopsided deal that shows Israel will go to any length to retrieve their precious hostages.
Chris Katulka: Well, today is one of my favorite radio programs when we get an opportunity to talk about our Israel My Glory publication. We're going to be looking specifically at our latest issue, which is called Our Holy God. And we've got Dan Price with us who wrote the article, One Righteous Christmas Present. I couldn't think of a better article to look at this Christmas season. Dan, great to see you.
Dan Price: Thank you, Chris. It's great to be back.
Chris Katulka: Dan, you are the assistant director of International Ministries. And so before we dive into your article, I want to get some insights from you on what's going on in Israel with our colleagues. What's their wellbeing, what's their current situation, our Friends of Israel staff that are in Israel during the war right now?
Dan Price: Yes, absolutely. Thank you, Chris, for thinking of our folks over there. It's obviously been a very difficult time. We have several staff members that are in Israel right now, and all of them are impacted greatly by this war. And we have some staff members that are in the reserves themselves. We have some staff members that have family members that are on the front lines in some of this. And it's just been great to watch the FOI family rally around them in this process, supporting them, standing up for Jewish people especially.
I think one of the most incredible things to watch during this season, as difficult as it has been, has been seeing our staff step into ministry roles that they wouldn't have had otherwise, being able to care for orphans and widows, being able to take supplies to families in need, just caring for one another as the body of Christ in the midst of this crisis. They have stepped into some of those roles just in incredible ways.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, because when I look at our staff, they're not just colleagues that live far away, they're family members here at Friends of Israel. And they are actively serving, like you said, in the military, whether they're in reserves. We have colleagues whose children are in the IDF. They're in Gaza right now serving or on the border of Lebanon. And so we continue to lift them up in prayer. And thanks for the update, Dan. But I want to turn to your article, One Righteous Christmas Present. It certainly captures the attention with its intriguing title. I love it. We were talking about that earlier. As we approach the Christmas season, could you elaborate on the deeper significance of the core of your message here in the article?
Dan Price: Sure, sure, yeah. So I mean, at Christmas, it's so easy for us to kind of enjoy the traditions that are prominent during Christmas. We celebrate around the Nativity. We think about Jesus as a baby in a manger. It's a sweet, innocent, tranquil, almost sterile kind of version of Christmas that we sometimes celebrate, especially with our kids and things like that. So it's easy to forget in all of that, that there are these cosmically huge, incredible spiritual things that are shaking the foundation of the universe that are happening behind that little Nativity set. Like God becoming flesh, Isaiah's suffering, servant showing up, the fulfillment of prophecy, all of these incredible things, this plan of God emerging of how he's going to redeem all of creation.
And one of those incredible things that's taking place behind the picture is this present that God is offering to the world. Jesus who lived a perfect, righteous life offered to us as our means of being accepted by God. His righteousness given to us by faith, justifying us before God. He's the end of the law, and that means everyone's right relationship to God is wrapped up in this tiny, little, cuddly bundle.
Chris Katulka: That's a good way to put it. I love the idea of the cosmic Christmas because our mindset is to always go to Matthew or especially Luke, and we read about the physical birth of Jesus, but like you said, you don't realize the weight, the spiritual weight of what was going on during this time. When you see, when you kind of peel back from Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, you kind of get a behind the scenes of the spiritual battle that was going on in the heavenly places as Jesus was born, and then of course prophetic truth that would come from that in Revelation chapter 12.
And so I love what you're saying here. I love the idea that the one righteous Christmas present. It wasn't just something that appears in Bethlehem. John gives us even greater detail as to what was going on, that cosmic component to it of our salvation, the battle between good and evil, between God and Satan. All of these are taking place that morning. But in your article you mentioned that Jesus represents the end of the law. I thought you might speak into this. Could you clarify this concept for us? Specifically, how does this understanding impact us, the end of the law? What does the end of the law have to do with Christmas?
Dan Price: Right, of course, of course. So I mean, in Romans 10:4, it says, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." In the context, what Paul is talking about is his desire for his people, the Jewish people, Israel, to stop seeking or establish their own sense of righteousness and begin their righteousness based on the 613 laws in the Torah and trying to become righteous in that way, but instead to turn towards Jesus for their salvation, to accept God's righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus' death, burial and resurrection on their behalf.
What Paul is drawing attention to is the idea of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. And the beauty of it is in Ephesians 2, he tells us it's a gift. It's a gift of God. You can't work for it. You can't accomplish righteousness on your own. You aren't righteous. You can't be righteous. God's righteousness can only come by way of a gift, a Christmas gift. And that's kind of why I titled the article that way, but I love the idea that we are righteous not because of how well we can keep all the commandments in the Bible because we're covered rather, we're covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, God's righteousness through Christ that we have received through faith. And it's this beautiful thing that enters into the world, so to speak, at the Nativity.
Chris Katulka: Was there a concept among the Jewish people that the law would provide them righteousness? Was this a challenge to them to think that the law, you know, here's Paul, a Jewish guy that's telling other Jewish people, "You're not going to find your righteousness in the law. Your righteousness can only come through the finished work of Jesus Christ, the ultimate Christmas present." Did they have a misunderstanding of the law? Did God misrepresent it in the Old Testament? Can you maybe clarify that?
Dan Price: This concept of righteousness by the law. So it's interesting, the Old Testament often speaks about atonement in terms of the law and how God views their sin in the Old Testament. The word "atonement" just means covering over in Hebrew. And it's the idea that he doesn't see it anymore, but the idea that sin is forgiven, the idea that sin can be taken away was always a forward-looking element of the Mosaic Law. So everyone is saved the same way, and Romans tells us this, Galatians tells us this. Abraham's justification, even prior to the law, was because of his faith, his faith in God, that God would be the one who would provide that final and ultimate atonement. The Old Testament law covered over sin, always pointing people forward in faith to what the Messiah was going to do to take sin away and make us perfectly acceptable to God.
Chris Katulka: So the idea then of righteousness, that becomes important. I like what you said there, the idea of righteousness, but how we understand righteousness. It isn't actually bound up in what the law can do for us. It actually is even something that goes back to Abraham. It says that when Abraham believed in Genesis 15:6, that when he believed God accredited to him as righteousness, he became righteous because of his faith. Sometimes I think that's where we get confused, is that we think that the law was intended for salvation, but it really was never intended for salvation.
Dan Price: No.
Chris Katulka: And that becomes really important in our understanding of this amazing Christmas present that God's provided for us. Hey, listen, if you're just tuning in, we're speaking with Dan Price. He's the assistant director of International Ministries and also a regular contributor to our magazine, Israel My Glory. I just want to remind you that if you've never subscribed to Israel My Glory, you can get a one-year free subscription. Can you imagine that? One year free subscription to our award-winning Christian Magazine, Israel My Glory. All you have to do is go to foiradio.org and there you'll be able to subscribe. And like I said, if you've never subscribed before, you get that one year free subscription. And then on top of that, you have an option. You can either get the print edition right in your mailbox or you can subscribe to our digital edition of Israel My Glory, which will give you more than 40 years of Israel My Glory content right at your fingertips. So listen, when we come back in a moment, we're going to continue our conversation with Dan on his article, One Righteous Christmas Present. Stick around.
Steve Conover: In light of the recent violent attacks against Israel and increasing antisemitism across the United States, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry is calling on Christians nationwide to show their support for Israel and the Jewish people.
Chris Katulka: The Friends of Israel is requesting that Christians light a candle in their window at sundown on the first night of Hanukkah, December 7th, and keep it lit through sundown on December 15th to honor the Jewish community and to stand in solidarity with Israel during this time of crisis.
Steve Conover: A lit candle in every Christian home across America on December 7th through December 15th will send an unmistakable message of hope and support to Israel during these difficult times.
Chris Katulka: Downloadable and printable signs to affix to the window alongside the candle are available right now at foi.org/shine. We hope you'll join us and light a candle in your front window at sundown on December 7th through the end of Hanukkah to show your solidarity with Israel.
Steve Conover: Learn more at foi.org/shine. Text us a photo of your candle shining your support for the Jewish community at 805 779 1938. That's 805 779 1938.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back everyone. We're with Dan Price. He is the assistant director of International Ministries with The Friends of Israel. We're just talking about Christmas. Dan, are you ready for Christmas? That's my question. Are you ready?
Dan Price: Absolutely.
Chris Katulka: I mean, what I really mean is like, is your tree up? Are the lights up? That kind of thing.
Dan Price: They're up spiritually if they're not up physically by the time this airs. All year round, absolutely.
Chris Katulka: Well, after Thanksgiving, my wife made sure to get the Christmas tree out. She knew we needed to get moving right away, and it happens in piecemeal as we go. So we're getting ready for the Christmas season, and I hope our listeners are too. And we've been talking about Dan's article, One Righteous Christmas Present. And Dan, you mentioned that Jesus is the end of the law. So in light of this, could you shed some light on the original purpose of the law? This was presented in the Old Testament. And in this context, should the law be viewed negatively? Should we look at it as a bad thing or a good thing? I get confused sometimes.
Dan Price: Right. Yeah. So one thing I think that's kind of important when we're talking about this is to define what we mean by the word law because it could be viewed through a couple of different lenses. Like, are we talking about Torah? Are we saying the first five books of the Bible are the law, or are we talking about the Old Testament as a whole, all of the Tanakh, according to Jewish understanding? Or are we talking about like Hebrews uses the phrase, “the old covenant?” So what are we referring to when we say the word, the law, and specifically, especially in Romans 10, where it's talking about Jesus being the end of the law, what he's talking about there is the Mosaic Law that was given as a part of God's covenant with Israel to establish his relationship with them as his flagship nation, so to speak, his kingdom of priests.
Exodus 19 says that they would be set apart, called to be a nation that points all other nations toward God. So he's setting up this special relationship with Israel. And so as part of that Mosaic Covenant, he offers this law as well, that would have several different purposes, but the idea is it has a context. It's for a people, it's for a time, it's for a place. Hebrews tells us that since Jesus has come, the Mosaic law is now, and it uses these words in Hebrews, the Mosaic law is obsolete, it's vanishing away, it's annulled because it didn't make anyone perfect or righteous. And then Galatians tells us that the law was always meant to be temporary. It was supposed to be like a school master that points people towards faith ultimately in Jesus.
Even under the law, under the Mosaic Law, Romans 4 and 5 teaches us, like we said earlier, that justification was always by faith through what Jesus was going to do. Now, we are not currently under the Mosaic Law. So that's why it's important to define what we mean when we say the word law, but that doesn't mean the law is bad. The law had lots of different purposes. Obviously, it had civil, legal, and religious aspects. It was all rules for conduct for the nation that God was building in that time and place. It showed people how holy God was, the kind of righteousness needed to relate to him. And it still does some of these things. It shows our true sinful condition and our need for grace. It also gives us a recognition of the fact that our sinfulness, when we see it, when we understand it, Paul talks about in Romans 7 that sometimes it even makes us sin more. And ultimately that it's supposed to be a guardian and a tutor.
So there's lots of different purposes, and no, the law is not bad. The law is still good. It still has the wisdom of God, and it still can be used by Christians in order to understand all of these truths that are wrapped up in who God is. But we're not under that law anymore. We are not subject and obligated to it.
Chris Katulka: Yeah. Paul still calls the law holy.
Dan Price: Absolutely.
Chris Katulka: He still considers it something of great value.
Dan Price: Yes.
Chris Katulka: And of course, there was a pastor at one point that said that as Christians, we should be unhitching ourselves from the Old Testament. We're not saying that either, but what we are saying is that when Jesus came in the flesh, John 1:14, that His appearance is grace upon grace, that it's more than what the law could provide, but that doesn't mean the law is of no value to us in the Old Testament. It actually still is. Paul says it still has value. It shouldn't be viewed as negatively, but the revelation of God for that time, and now God is speaking through His Son, as the writer of Hebrews says. But in your article, you stated that Jesus kept the law perfectly for us then he became our final sacrifice for sin, arose from the dead and, I love this, set us free. With freedom as a central theme of your article, could you elaborate on what freedom from the law actually looks like practically when we're set free from it?
Dan Price: Yeah. So a habit of mine, and maybe it's not always a good habit, but one habit of mine is kind of seeing myself, putting myself in the place of different normal characters throughout the Bible's stories, especially in the gospels. This is a helpful exercise in this particular area in a couple of different ways. Imagine for just a second that you're the woman in Luke chapter 8 who has been bleeding for 12 years. According to the law, aside from the fact that she had spent everything she had on doctors and treatments and everything like that, according to the law, that means that she was constantly ritually impure. So she couldn't hold her husband or her children without spreading that impurity to them. What must that feel like? The law is teaching you that you are the source of impurity for all the people around you. Never enter into worship with her family, couldn't go into the temple.
And then when she sees Jesus, she believes Malachi 4:2, that the Messiah will heal me and make me pure. So she grabs a hold of Jesus. And I imagine Jesus looking at her in this moment and seeing the weight of that law on her life for 12 years. And what does he say? "Your faith is what's healed you." Imagine also, maybe imagine under the law, okay, kind of living with that, imagine the man who was lame for 38 years, and finally Jesus comes along and heals him, brings him to a place where he can walk and he gets up and he takes his mat and he runs off into the streets and immediately he gets confronted by the Pharisees. You say, "Hey, wait a second. You're breaking the law. You're carrying your mat on a Sabbath." And the only thing he had as far as a defense was to say, "Well, Jesus told me to do it." I mean, imagine that, living under that type of load, that type of weight from the law's provisions. It was good, it was intended for good, but it was also a weight.
Now, imagine living your whole life, being told that every time you sin, you better look out because God's angry at you, and He's going to get you. Constantly struggling and failing to obey Scripture, thinking that it will make God love you more if you're able to obey better and better and better. Until one day you hear the truth of the gospel. We are loved, we're accepted, we're justified before God, not because we're really good at obeying, but rather we're loved forever, accepted forever, justified perfectly before God. Because when God sees us, He sees Jesus' perfect righteousness covering us. That's freedom. That's freedom.
Chris Katulka: Dan, as we're wrapping up here, I can't help but think, you said this is an amazing gift. Freedom is an amazing gift. As Christians are entering into the Christmas season, I'm sure the last thing they've ever thought about is the law, but now you're urging them to think deeper theologically and biblically about the coming of Christ. So what is a Christian's relationship with the law today?
Dan Price: Sure, yeah. So as we've said, Christians are not obligated to keep the Mosaic Law. The New Testament makes it clear to us that Jesus did that in our place. He's lived the perfect life and His righteousness is given now to us as well. However, that doesn't mean that Christians are not under obligation to obey anything. The New Testament makes it clear to us that we are under the obligation to obey the Law of Messiah or the Law of Christ, as it's called in different passages. Galatians 6:2 being one of them.
This law is not for salvation. It's the life of a follower of Christ who's already been justified and given the Holy Spirit in his power and his grace to be able to follow after Jesus. Some of the laws that were in the Mosaic Law are also reiterated in the Law of Christ in the New Testament, but some are not. Like, for example, Sabbath isn't, the Levitical feasts aren't, things like that. We're not obligated to keep those things, but we are obligated to, as Jesus said in the Great Commission, obey everything that He has commanded as His disciples. Either way, we obey the law of Messiah, not for salvation, but for joy and gratitude at the magnificent Christmas gift that God has given us, Jesus.
Chris Katulka: I can't help but think the letter brings death, but the Spirit brings life. And I always think it's amazing that the Spirit gives us the capacity to live out the Law of Christ, as you said, the Law of the Messiah. When we yield ourselves to the Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit are us literally living out the law of Christ, to love one another and to love the Lord. So it's just an amazing gift that God has given to us.
Listen, if you'd like to read Dan's article yourself, to get your hands on a copy of Israel My Glory magazine, if you've never subscribed before, be sure to go to foiradio.org and there you can get your one-year free subscription. Dan, thanks so much for being with us.
Dan Price: Absolutely, Chris. Thank you.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us for today's episode of The Friends of Israel Today. A reminder to visit foi.org/shine today to join us in showing support to Israel in your neighborhood. You can download signs for your window at foi.org/shine.
Chris Katulka: Steve, next week, we're going to have Pastor Kai Hess. He's a pastor in Germany whose family was actually Nazis, and today he pastors an evangelical church several decades later, of course, who now support Israel and the Jewish people. It's an amazing story, and I can't wait to have a conversation with Pastor Kai about it.
Steve Conover: We look forward to it. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, edited by Jeremy Strong, who also composed and performs our theme music. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Our web address is foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
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