We believe that Judaism was the wellspring from which Christianity sprang.
Yeshua (Jesus) was a Jewish rabbi of the Pharisaic sect. In Mattityahu (Matthew) 23:1-3 He makes it clear that the Sofrim (Scribes) and the P'rushim (Pharisees) sat al Keesay Moshe (on the seat of Moses), giving them the authority to interpret Torah for the people of Israel. He mentions no other Jewish group as having this authority. Everything they were teaching at that time, said Messiah, (their halachah or Oral Torah) had to be kept by His Jewish followers--except for their hypocritical example! (The Scribes and Pharisees, by the way, were both part of the same sect.) If Yeshua did not Himself sit al Keesay Moshe (that is, if He were not a Pharisee) He could not have given such brilliant halachic (doctrinal) interpretations of Torah as those which appear in Mattityahu (Matthew) chapters five and six. In fact, what Christians call the Sermon on the Mount is Yeshua giving His Torah, His Divine Halachah (doctrine; literally "way to walk").
The Master's drashot (teachings), His diney Torah (opinions on rabbinic Law), and His meshalim (parables) were purely Jewish in essence. Purely Pharisaic. By learning to experience His halachah (way to walk) through the ears of first century Jews we can better understand the Jewish Roots of the Christian faith and more accurately apply Messiah's teachings to our lives.
We also believe that Rabban Sha'ul (the Apostle Paul) was a Pharisaic rabbi (Acts 23:6) and that his epistles to the Gentile k'hillot (churches) can be much more clearly understood by applying the same method of interpretation we apply to the drashot (teachings) of Yeshua.
HaMahkor Ministries, through books, recorded media (DVDs and CDs), and live teachings, presents the most unique, entertaining and enlightening curriculum now available to serious talmidim (students) of HaB'sorah (the Gospel), students who are ready to take their first steps into true Messianic Jewish hermeneutics.
Indeed, Messianic end-time science fiction is a real mouthful. But I was seeking accuracy in my effort to name the brand-new genre of fiction presented in my Late-Earth Chronicles tetralogy. (The fifth book is in the works as you're reading this.) Had I truly desired accuracy I should have added the word "retro". (The book-covers do proclaim: "Bible-based Retro Science Fiction.") For retro it is. With the L-rd's oversight and guidance I invented this genre in 1988 when I sat down to write Thy Kingdom Come on a portable Royal typewriter. (You remember typewriters, right? Or maybe you don't.) Anyway, Kingdom eventually became the fourth novel of the tetralogy.
When I mentioned to a brother at synagogue that I thought I was doing something totally unique, combining my two great loves: the Bible and sf (science fiction), he gloatingly informed me of The Siege of Dome, written in 1986 by Stephen R. Lawhead. He even loaned me a copy to make sure my bubble was fully burst. Well, G-d bless him. Friends really hate to see an author succeed; I don't know why. Oscar Wilde once quipped: 'Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success.'
Yet I must say (and it's not envy speaking) that I honestly felt Lawhead's book to be more fantasy than true sf. Not to criticize the author; Lawhead did a fine job at what he was intending to do. And he'd been published by Crossway Books, a real accomplishment for a Christian fabulist. But the only science fiction in his novel was the fact that it took place on another planet. The rest was sword-and-sorcery. If The Siege of Dome is true science fiction, the same could be said of John Carter of Mars.
As far as it being "Christian" science fiction, Lawhead's biblical content was not as bold and clear as what the L-rd was having me put into Thy Kingdom Come. It was subtly implied rather than outwardly proclaimed. If this was biblical content, the same could be said of Lord of the Rings.
But I was forced to concede that Christianity and sf had been combined in a novel published only two years before I'd begun Kingdom. Nevertheless, I was well aware that, with the help of HaShem (G-d), I was in the midst of creating something quite unique. First of all, my novel was creationist rather than evolutionary at its heart. Secondly, it was Messianic in approach. The main character was a Jewish man, a Hebrew Christian who desired to be fully Messianic (that is, a Torah-positive believer), but who was unable to embrace the faith of his Fathers because of his position as leader of the Christian Church Under Siege on Earth and his title as The Last Apostle to the Solar System. So my book was Messianic.
Another difference was that it presented the Gospel in clear terms rather than allegorically, as had Lawhead's. Souls were saved, haB'sorah shel Yeshua haMashiach (the Gospel of Jesus Christ ) was boldly preached, the Earth was warned of the coming Apocalypse, and all this was combined with spaceflight, wormholes, quantum physics, robotics, exobiology.....in other words, it was truly science fiction. And it was truly biblical.
Back when I discovered science fiction, at age 13, I became addicted to authors of pulp science fiction's Golden Age. Frankly, their novels were the only sf to be found in my small-town library. What was actually happening in the genre at that time (the early sixties) was being called the "New Wave". It was very hip, rebellious, and morally repugnant. And, of course, it had to "say something" about how evil the Western world is and how vital it is to "save the planet." The recent movie Avatar, good as it was in terms of cinematography, would have fit right in with the New Wave genre of the sixties. In that film, the humans from Earth, with their destructive technology and greed for mineral wealth, ride roughshod over a gentle, pantheistic alien society, much like the Native Americans in their outlook and lifestyle. The main character becomes so horrified by what his fellow humans are doing to these poor creatures that he turns traitor to his own race. He switches sides and becomes a highly-placed member of the alien tribe, worshiping trees that speak and other groovy hippie pagan stuff.
My town library had nothing from the New Wave. Its science fiction section was stuffed full of Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Simak, vanVogt--all "dinosaurs" of the pulp era. Morally clean stuff written originally by teenage boys who hadn't as yet discovered the mysteries of the female gender and who thus tended to leave the subject of women and sex in a galaxy far far away. No sex, no heathenism, no obscenity, just adventure based on science. True, the subject of religion was generally treated with disrespect by the pulp greats (except Simak). Atheism was a feature of sf that helped shape the philosophy I'd embrace up to age 27, when the L-rd suddenly introduced Himself to me on a Florida road called Alligator Alley. But it was that genre of sf that helped teach me to write, that captured my imagination, just as Burroughs' John Carter novels had inspired a young Robert Goddard and a young Carl Segan. (Not that I'm placing myself in such revered company.) I'm just trying to say that I'm not at all embarrassed about my retro inclination. In fact, I found the pulp style of sf, free of filth and obscenity, perfect for a fusion of sf with haEmet haTorah (the Truth of Scripture). Perfect not only for young believers, but for old timers too. There were so many Star Trek and Babylon V fans among the adults in my Messianic synagogue that I knew my books would be well received by young and old alike. And I wasn't disappointed. (Not much, anyway.) There was a strange twist to the demographic: While teen readers tended to love Thy Kingdom Come--even though it contained many stylistic references to a genre popular fifty years before they were born (references my own generation should have found nostalgic), the adults tended to prefer my second novel, The Storm (1988).
This was not as ironic as it first seemed. Although younger readers would totally miss the nostalgic references (the "retro" content, if you will), they, like myself as a young reader, were responding to a good action yarn set in outer space. My adult brethren seemed to believe that the retro spin was unpremeditated, the result of a new writer's pathetic attempts to produce a contemporary novel. They missed the nostalgia thing too! A few got it, but that was rare. One reader, Jennifer M., described Kingdom correctly as "a perfect synthesis of traditional 1950s and '60s [I was trying for '40s and '50s] science fiction and scripturally sound prophecy. All the conventional characters are here: a mad scientist, his stunning but innocent daughter, a robot with personality, a computer with staggering intelligence and unlimited powers, and a villain embodying the deepest evil in the universe. How they interact, in a context of beyond-the-bounds technology, makes a rousing good tale, which, into the bargain, explores the principles and eternal possibilities of biblical faith and personal relationship with the Creator of the cosmos."
That pretty much defines my intent in writing Thy Kingdom Come.
With The Storm I was trying for something more modern, more literary, although it also harked back to earlier sf tales such as "Dolphin's Way" by Gordon R. Dickson (1964). The Storm was in demand among adult Messianics. I sold enough copies that I decided to put out a second edition, produced, for the first time, on a computer, using a word processing app.
After The Storm I tried again for the pulp sf feel, with a novel entitled Machines of Loving Grace (1989), after the title of a poem by Richard Brautigan. The story took place on Mars, where human colonists had built great domed cities, all of them like pieces of computer hardware controlled by a massive mainframe monstrosity called The Motherbrain. Again, there was adventure, spaceflight, killer robots with death-rays, rolling roads--all components drawn from pulp sf--combined with a clear, undiluted presentation of haB'sorah (the Gospel).
The only aspect of my work that was not retro was the science content, which I endeavored to keep up to date with the latest discoveries. Mars did not have canals built by some dying civilization; Venus did not have dinosaur-infested rainforests. The planets were depicted as they actually are. And the scientific concepts (computer theory, black holes, gravity theory, etc.) were up to date. One reader, Ron W., called Thy Kingdom Come "a most masterful blend of quantum mechanics, cybernetics, exobiology, the latest Voyager discoveries from our solar system, and end-time prophecies no scientist or layman should miss reading--a serious but fun-filled adventure loaded with humor and cybernetic fantasy! His vast understanding of these fields makes even science fiction seem real--I just simply enjoyed reading it! [He's] boldly gone where no science fiction writer has gone before! I can't wait to read more!"
All this being said, my true purpose in creating this new genre is reflected in a critique of Thy Kingdom Come by Michael G.: 'I'll readily admit to having fairly demanding criteria for what makes good reading: timely subject-matter, well researched, with characters that spring to life in front of me...real people with virtues and hang-ups, who have to figure things out like I do'one step at a time. Sometimes their decisions'their adventures'take them to far-away places, and take me with them. Thy Kingdom Come is just such a book. It's bold and creative...combining sci-fi with biblical prophecy; featuring great heroes, disgustingly real villains, stooges, and pawns, and a 'curve ball'...This is a book I just couldn't put down! If you love a good story, Thy Kingdom Come is for you. Just make sure you buckle up'it's a wild, wonderful ride you won't soon forget!'
Of the entire series, Glenn T. wrote: "This is sf like no other. The stark realism of it lends an unprecedented dimension and feel to the narrative. It is fiction based on sound biblical fact and woven in an imaginative and dramatic way that transports the reader as if beamed into the setting itself...This is sf fine-tuned to the Late-Earth chronicles, which rides the Scriptures like a spacecraft through modern time."
I'm currently at work on the fifth and final novel of the Late-Earth Chronicles, Warriors of Eden. This book is as retro as it gets, full of unrelenting action, malevolent powers, noble heroes, space-elevators, holographic internet-wristlets, spaceships, talking tanks, and our planet's last devastating battles fought by people who have known nothing but peace for a thousand years -- battles fought to assure the ultimate victory of Messiah Yeshua and His eternal Kingdom! (May HaShem assist me in completing it.)
Keep your pressure-suit tight, and walk in the light.
Isaac Israel was trained for his barmitzvah in a little Orthodox synagogue in Massachusetts. When the late sixties came along he grew his hair out like a Chia Pet and joined a rock'n'roll band. He played rock drums for ten years and drifted into a life of drugs and alcohol.
Hitchhiking down Alligator Alley on his way to Key West, Isaac accepted the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ). He returned home with haB'sorah (the Good News), which was immediately rejected by family and friends.
He moved to Florida's west coast, where, in 1988, he sat down at a portable typewriter and began to innovate a brand-new literary genre: Messianic end-time science fiction. He also started teaching the Jewish roots of Christianity and hosting a weekly Messianic radio broadcast.
Isaac now lives in the Appalachian Mountains with his wife, Henaynei. He teaches Jewish Roots in a local church and is currently at work on the fifth and final novel of the Late-Earth Chronicles, Warriors of Eden.