Messianic Apologetics

Addressing the Theological and Spiritual Issues of the Broad Messianic Movement

Torah (Pentateuch)

One area that receives some discussion, in various parts of the Messianic movement, is whether or not the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)—which we usually refer to as the Torah—should ever be called the Law. A statement that can be heard from time to time in our Messianic faith community, is: The Torah is teaching. The Torah is not the law. It is said that Torah just means Teaching or Instruction, and should never be referred to by the term law.

Torah observance is much more than just Shabbat, the festivals, and kosher. A great number of ethical and moral issues/commandments become significantly conscious to the Torah reader. Likewise, a person has to encounter a world going not only back some 3,300 years to the time of the Exodus, but multiplied millennia to the Creation of the cosmos itself. The questions and the controversies that the first five books of the Bible present to us, not just as students of God’s Word, but specifically as Messianic Believers—are quite significant. Many people do not know what to do when the social norms of the ancient period are different than those of today, and are often at a loss when reading the Torah. Not infrequently, such issues are just avoided or outright ignored in Messianic Torah study.

Perhaps the most shocking trend present today in the Messianic movement, is witnessing a return of many evangelical Believers to the foundations of our faith. This is best exemplified by many individuals studying the Torah on a consistent basis. The Torah is the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, also commonly called the Law of Moses or Pentateuch.

Today’s Messianic community generally believes in the validity of the Torah, in the post-resurrection era. But there are levels of agreement and disagreement, when it comes to how Jewish and non-Jewish Believers should keep, or not keep, the Torah. In an as-fair-and-reasonable way as possible, John McKee directs us through how we need to focus on what we agree on first—agreeing to carefully work through those areas where not all Messianic people are presently in agreement.

Many people within today’s Messianic sphere of influence recognize the need to interpret the letters of the Apostle Paul from the vantage point of their First Century recipients in the Mediterranean. Yet, many of the same are unwilling to read the Torah from the vantage point of its original Ancient Israelite recipients in the Ancient Near East.

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