Although we may share certain beliefs and practices with Messianic believers, we are NOT part of the Messianic Jewish movement. Even though my wife and I are NOT Jewish, we were part of the Movement for a total of 10 years, including 3 months that we spent living in Jerusalem. After that time, I felt that we needed to separate ourselves from the Movement. As a result, we no longer identify ourselves as being “Messianic,” but as being WHOLE BIBLE BELIEVERS.
This is NOT because we are against the Jewish people in any way, nor do we hold any bad feelings towards any Messianic group or congregation, but it’s because we cannot identify ourselves with something that we do not fully agree with or support. Our points of disagreement or conflict are the following FIVE BELIEFS that are held in general by the Messianic Movement.
1. THEIR VIEW OF THE MOVEMENT AS BEING A STRICTLY “JEWISH” MOVEMENT.
Although the Messianic movement is comprised of both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), it is often strictly defined as a “Jewish movement,” with no mention of it being comprised of both “Jews AND Gentiles.” For example, on the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA) website, it defines “Messianic Judaism” as the following:
Messianic Judaism is a Biblically based movement of people who, as committed JEWS, believe in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Jewish Messiah of Israel of whom the Jewish Law and Prophets spoke.
My question is rather simple, “Where’s the mention of the committed Gentiles who are also part of this movement?” Particularly since in most Messianic congregations in the United States, most of the people who attend are actually Gentile, rather than Jewish, so then why aren’t they part of the definition?
2. THE USE OF ONLY “JEWISH WORSHIP” AND THE EXCLUSION OF “NON-JEWISH”
(OR CHRISTIAN) WORSHIP.
Another problem I see is the exclusion of any type of “Christian worship.” If we are all one in Messiah and there’s no difference between Jew and Gentile in the eyes of God, then why the exclusion? Why not use a mixture of both? The Christian songs wouldn’t have to be hymns, they could be Scriptural songs or contemporary songs. There’s a lot of good songs to choose from, and wouldn’t that reflect more accurately the mixed make-up of the congregation, rather than using strictly “Jewish worship”?
3. THEIR BELIEF THAT ONLY JEWS SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE
DECISIONS REGARDING THE MOVEMENT.
The third problem I have is that since the Messianic movement is considered to be a strictly “JEWISH MOVEMENT,” only Jews are allowed to make any major decisions (or have voting rights) within the movement. Again, I did not feel that this was fair to the non-Jewish part of the congregation or to the overall movement.
4. THEIR VIEW OF THE TORAH AS SIMPLY BEING A CULTURAL, RELIGIOUS PART
OF BEING A JEW, AND NOT SOMETHING THAT’S REQUIRED OF ALL PEOPLE.
The fourth problem I have is their reasoning of why they teach and observe the Torah (or the Pentateuch; the first five books of the Bible). They view the Torah as being a cultural, religious part of them being Jewish, and so by teaching and observing it, they are merely sharing and passing on their traditions, culture and religion (i.e., “they are just being Jews”). As far as Christian (or non-Jewish) members of the movement, there’s a lot of division and argument about how observant they should be. Therefore, let me share what I see taught within the Scriptures.
A. THE PENTATEUCH (TORAH) IS FOR ALL PEOPLE – JEW AND NON-JEW ALIKE
We believe that the teachings of the Pentateuch (or what is called the “Written Torah” among Jews), just like the rest of the Bible, is required of all believers, not just Jews. Why? Because God’s Law was given to a mixed group comprised of both Jews and non-Jews at Mt. Sinai. In Exodus 12:38, we learn that there was a “mixed multitude” (a group of non-Jews from different nations) who came out from Egypt with the children of Israel. They were also there, with the Israelites, when God spoke and gave to ALL His people, Jew and non-Jew alike, His instructions, laws, and commandments. And like the children of Israel, they likewise agreed to “observe all that God commanded.” Consequently, the teaching that God’s Law was ONLY given to the Jewish people is NOT biblically valid.
B. OBSERVANCE OF THE WRITTEN LAW DOES NOT MAKE ONE “JEWISH.”
Many Messianic Jews argue that continuing to observe the commandments in the Torah (God’s Law) is part of what makes them “Jewish.” But this to me is contradictory, since Rabbinic Judaism, and some Messianic Jews, teach the following Jewish Midrash:
The Torah was given in public for all to see, in the open. For if it had been given in the land of Israel, Israel would have said to the nations of the world, you have no share in it; therefore, the Torah was given in the wilderness, in public, for all to see, in the open, and EVERYONE WHO WISHES TO RECEIVE IT, LET THEM COME AND RECEIVE IT.
Notice that according to this Rabbinic Midrash that God did not give Israel the Torah to be their own exclusive property, but He intended it for ANYONE who would come to receive it, Jew or Non-Jew alike. Another Rabbinic teaching says that there were representatives of all the 70 nations there are the base of Mt. Sinai, so that when God spoke and gave His commandments, He was giving them to the whole world. Therefore, again, the Torah was intended for all nations, all people, Jew and non-Jew alike. Therefore, based on these teachings, my question would be, “How can observance of the Torah (God’s instructions, laws and commandments) make one ‘Jewish’ when it was given to both Jews and non-Jews alike?”
C. DOES THE BELIEF THAT THE TORAH (OR GOD’S LAW) IS FOR EVERYONE CONTRADICT THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL DECISION IN ACTS 15?
There are many Messianic groups, as well as mainstream Christianity, who would say “Yes” to this question, but we believe that they would be wrong. Why? Because we believe puts the commandments exactly where God intended them to be in the life of every believer.
According to Acts 15:1, the argument was that “Except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, YOU CANNOT BE SAVED.” Then when Paul and Barnabas, and others with them, go to Jerusalem for this meeting, we are told that the disciples are all excited about what God was doing through their ministry, until a certain group stood up.
But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was NEEDFUL to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. (Acts 15:5)
Why was it “NEEDFUL“? They believed that CIRCUMCISION and KEEPING THE LAW OF MOSES were NEEDED in order for these GENTILES (or NON-JEWS) to be SAVED (or “enter into covenant with God”). But as Paul points out in his epistles, Abraham entered into covenant with God BEFORE there was CIRCUMCISION or ANY COMMANDMENTS to be kept. In arguing this, Paul is pointing out that the RELATIONSHIP COVENANT of the Bible was not, in fact, the covenant at Sinai, but the covenant that God made with Abraham.
The Covenant given on Mt. Sinai formulated the people into a COMMUNITY, it did NOT establish their RELATIONSHIP with God. It should be remembered that God was already in a RELATIONSHIP with Israel while they were still in Egypt; in fact, in Exodus 3:7,10 –
And the LORD said, I have surely seem the affliction of MY PEOPLE, which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows… Come now therefore, and I will send you unto Pharaoh, that you may bring forth MY PEOPLE the children of Israel out of Egypt.
In both verses, God calls the children of Israel “MY PEOPLE.” They did not become God’s people at Mt. Sinai, they were already His people while they were still enslaved in Egypt. And even in the next chapter, God calls the children of Israel, “MY SON, EVEN MY FIRSTBORN” (Exodus 4:22). So if observing the commandments given at Sinai is what makes one “Jewish,” the “people of God,” then how could God call Israel “MY PEOPLE,” and “MY SON,” when they haven’t even received the Torah yet from God? What made them His people and His Son?
The point of the Torah (God’s Law) was not about forming their RELATIONSHIP with Him, but in forming them into “A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS AND A HOLY NATION” (Exodus 19:6). As a COMMUNITY, they were to represent Him, Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, and His KINGDOM (i.e., become His “model nation”) to the surrounding nations around them.
D. OBSERVANCE OF THE COMMANDMENTS IN THE PENTATEUCH (TORAH) IS
NOT ABOUT BEING “JEWISH,” BUT PART OF GOD’S KINGDOM.
Finally, our belief that we should observe the commandments found in the Pentateuch (or Written Torah) is not about being “Jewish” or “Jewish-wanna-be’s,” but about living a life in obedience to God and being part of His KINGDOM. As a WHOLE BIBLE BELIEVERS, we do not believe that ANY PART of the Bible has been “annulled,” “done away with,” “suspended,” or “nailed to the cross.” Instead, Jesus’ (Heb. Yeshua’s) death on the cross fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but it did NOT put an end to the covenant that God made with Moses on Mt. Sinai. What was nailed to the cross was our sins, the penalty of our sins, and the law of sin and death – NOT the Written Word of God.
THE HISTORY OF THE BUILDING OF GOD’S KINGDOM
God began the building of His KINGDOM with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And then through the 12 sons of Jacob, He developed it further by them growing into the 13 tribes. Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph’s sons, assuming his place among the tribes. But then while in Egypt, the children of Israel grew in population until they became an alleged threat to the Pharaoh, who enslaved them until the time of the Exodus.
THE EXODUS OF GOD’S KINGDOM
It needs to be remembered that, according to the Bible, it was not just the children of Israel who came out of Egypt during the Exodus, but a “mixed multitude” came out with them. And by this “mixed group of nations” coming out of Egypt, being led through the Red Sea, and then to Mt. Sinai, they were being brought under the rule of the KINGDOM of God. As new citizens within His KINGDOM, they needed to understand the laws of His KINGDOM, which is what we see God doing in Exodus 19-32. And By them receiving His laws and commandments, they were agreeing to become a part of His KINGDOM, and to fulfill God’s calling on all those who are part of His KINGDOM, to become “a KINGDOM of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6); thereby, becoming His “model nation” to the surrounding nations, hoping that they too would want to become a part of God’s KINGDOM.
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land where you go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding IN THE SIGHT OF THE NATIONS, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this GREAT NATION is a WISE AND UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE. For what NATION is there so GREAT, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what NATION is there so GREAT, that has statutes and judgements so RIGHTEOUS as all this law, which I set before you this day? (Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Emphasis Mine)
The inference here seems obvious that God wanted to use Israel TO PROVOKE THE NATIONS TO JEALOUSY so that they would want the same relationship with God that Israel did. Not that the nations would want to become “Jewish,” but that they would want the same type of relationship with God and to follow the same laws that Israel did, so that they too could be a “WISE AND UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE.”
THERE WERE NON-JEWS LIVING WITH THE JEWS IN FOLLOWING THE TORAH IN THE PROMISED LAND?
As I mentioned earlier, there were non-Jews who joined Israel in their relationship to God and the observance of His laws, such as Rahab, Ruth, Doeg or Zabad and Jehozabad, the servants of King Joash. But nowhere, for example, in the Bible are Ruth, Doeg, Zabad, or Jehozabad ever called “a Jew,” but instead, they are each known by their nationality. For example, Ruth is called “a Moabitess” (Ruth 1:22; 2:2, 6, 21; 4:5, 10), Doeg is called “the Edomite” (I Samuel 21:7; 22:9, 18, 22; and in the title of Psalm 52), Zabad and Jehozabad are known by their mother’s nationality. Zabad is called “the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess” and Jehozabad is called “the son of Shimrith the Moabitess” (2 Chronicles 24:26). Making Ruth not the only Moabitess who was part of God’s KINGDOM people. Notice that none of their national identities changed because of their new relationship with God, or due to them living and working with the Israelites in the Promised Land, or with their observance of the commandments. They all became a part of God’s KINGDOM people, but they did not lose their national identity.
There’s even a dispute in regard to Caleb, because according to Numbers 32:11-12, Caleb was the son of a non-Jew:
Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; because they have not wholly followed Me: save [except] Caleb the son of JEPHUNNEH THE KENEZITE, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD.
Notice Caleb’s father was a KENEZITE and not one of the 13 tribes of Israel. The KENEZITES were one of the tribes of the Promised Land that God was going to judge and give their land to Israel. They are one of the tribes listed in Genesis 15:18-21,
In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “Unto your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenites, and the KENIZZITES, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaim, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Consequently, the words KENEZITE and KENEZZITES are merely differences in how the word is spelled, but they are the same group. So since the Bible is God’s Word, it seems God is making a distinction between those who are full-blooded Israelites, and those who were of mixed nationalities. For example, Zabad and Jehozabad’s mothers were not Israelites, and Caleb’s father was not an Israelite. They were half and half. But then, on the other hand, there were also those who were not Israelites at all living in and among them as part of God’s people, like Rahab, Ruth and Doeg. So to present the Old Testament as being only about the “Jews” (the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) is really to misrepresent what it portrays.
ONE LAW AND ONE MANNER OF LIFE?
And then, on top of that, of course, there’s the commandment given in Numbers 15:15-16?
One ordinance shall be BOTH FOR YOU of the congregation, AND ALSO FOR THE STRANGER (non-Jew) that SOJOURNS WITH YOU, and ordinance FOREVER in your generations: as YOU ARE, so shall the STRANGER (non-Jew) BE BEFORE THE LORD. ONE LAW and ONE MANNER [or WAY OF LIFE] shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourns with you.
Here God clearly distinguishes between the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the non-Jews who were sojourning [or traveling] with them. There were two groups, but BOTH GROUPS [Jew and non-Jews alike] were to follow and adhere to God’s commandments. So again, where do we get the idea that God gave His commandments only to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not to all people? And if God intended His laws and commandments to be lived by both Jews and non-Jews, how can observing them make one “Jewish”?
Also, God promises a special blessing to non-Jews who embrace His covenant:
Also the sons of the stranger [non-Jews], that join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, everyone that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of My covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon My altar; for My House shall be called a House of Prayer for ALL PEOPLE. The LORD God which gathers the outcasts of Israel says, Yet will I gather others to Him, besides those that are gathered to Him. (Isaiah 56:6-8)
Notice this promise is to non-Jews who honor His Sabbath and take hold of His covenant, and that God is not only going to gather “the outcasts of Israel” but “others” [non-Jews] with them. So again, let me ask the question, where is it written that God intended His laws and commandments for ONLY the Jewish people?
THE KINGDOM’S GOLDEN ERA
This KINGDOM came into its “GOLDEN ERA” under Saul, David, and Solomon. However, under Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, the KINGDOM split into two kingdoms: The Kingdom of Israel (Northern Kingdom) and the Kingdom of Judah (Southern Kingdom). Eventually, the Assyrians came in and invaded the Northern Kingdom of Israel, took the majority of people captive and scattered them throughout the Assyrian empire. These people assimilated into the various areas and became known as “The Lost 10 Tribes.” Later, the Babylonians invaded the Southern Kingdom of Judah, destroying Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 B.C.E. The word “Jew” is an abbreviated form of “Judean” or “one from the Southern Kingdom of Judah,” and the Jews returned to the land in 50 to 70 years after the Babylonian invasion of 586 B.C.E, and began to rebuild under Ezra and Nehemiah.
THE PROMISE OF RESTORATION
In Jeremiah and Ezekiel, there are many promises made that God would RESTORE these TWO KINGDOMS again into ONE KINGDOM under ONE KING (MESSIAH). The restoration is NOT about a RELIGION, but about the RESTORATION OF A KINGDOM. For example,
For, lo, the days come, says the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of My people ISRAEL AND JUDAH (the TWO kingdoms), says the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. (Jeremiah 30:3; Emphasis Mine)
Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, wherever they have gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And I will make them ONE NATION in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and ONE KING shall be KING to them all: and they shall be NO MORE TWO NATIONS, neither shall they be divided into TWO KINGDOMS any more at all. (Ezekiel 37:21-22; Emphasis Mine)
And part of the promises of God restoring these TWO KINGDOMS into ONE KINGDOM again under ONE KING (Messiah) was the promise of a NEW COVENANT.
Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a NEW COVENANT with THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL (the Northern Kingdom) and THE HOUSE OF JUDAH (the Southern Kingdom) (Jeremiah 31:31)
This “NEW COVENANT” is what is translated as the “NEW TESTAMENT.” The New Testament is NOT “a different program” than what God had been working on in the Old Testament, but it is He working on parts that were not completed in the Old Testament, as well as bringing to pass all that He had promised in and through the Old Testament Prophets.
For example, Jesus spent His years of ministry proclaiming “the good news of the KINGDOM of God,” NOT the “good news of the RELIGION of God.” The “Good News of the KINGDOM” was that God was beginning the process of fulfilling His promises that He made to Israel, including the coming of the Messiah. Jesus came and taught us more about the KINGDOM, and to do what was needed (His death and resurrection) for God to fulfill His promises to His people.
I feel that Rabbinic Judaism, Messianic Judaism and Christianity have all committed the same two errors:
They took an intended KINGDOM, and they changed it into a RELIGION; and
They have either added and/or deleted from God’s commandments, in violation to Deuteronomy 4:2 and Deuteronomy 12:32.
For example, Rabbinic Jews have substituted the Talmud and Rabbinic teachings for God’s Torah in the Tanakh (Scriptures), just as many in Christianity has either added their own denominational teachings to the Bible or they’ve deleted all of the Law and/or substantial portions of the Old Testament (and some groups all of it) in the lives of its members.
THE SON OF MAN & THE FUTURE MESSIANIC KINGDOM?
And finally, the reason we believe that God’s KINGDOM and His KINGDOM LAWS were not meant just for the Jewish people is Daniel’s vision of the Son of man:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a KINGDOM, that ALL PEOPLE, NATIONS, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his KINGDOM that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14, Emphasis Mine)
Notice that this DOMINION and KINGDOM will not consist of only one nation, but ALL PEOPLE AND NATIONS AND LANGUAGES will be a part of this KINGDOM. This too reflects that God wants His KINGDOM to consist of all people and all nationalities, not that all nationalities become one nation, i.e., all “Jewish.”
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT OBSERVING THE TORAH
Therefore, as a Christian (a non-Jewish believer), in accordance to the clear teachings of the Bible, as I have shown, my wife and I have been provoked to jealousy by the people of Israel through the biblical writers, as God intended, and as a result, we have chosen to place our faith and trust in the God of Israel, and in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Promised Messiah. And it is BECAUSE OF THIS RELATIONSHIP, that we have grabbed hold of His covenant, His Sabbath and feasts, and His promise of blessing non-Jews who grab hold of the covenant in Isaiah, as well as His promises in the rest of the Bible, and we are convinced that all of His Words are true and that they belong to us as well.
As a result, the teachings and elements of the covenant are not just for Israel, but they are for all NON-JEWS to enjoy as well. This DOES NOT make my wife and I “Jewish” or “Jewish-wanna-be’s,” but it makes each of us a STRANGER [a non-Jew], like Caleb, Rahab, Ruth, Doeg, Zabad, and Jehozabad, and many others, who chose to sojourn with the believing remnant of Israel, and to live our lives dedicated to loving and serving God and the Lord Jesus Christ, by sharing our faith and trust in Him, and by living in obedience to God’s laws and His commandments found throughout the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation.
5. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE HEBREW LANGUAGE IS THE ONLY DIVINE LANGUAGE
Another reason we are not “Messianic” is that we do not believe that Hebrew is the ONLY Divine language of God, and that if something is truly from God, then it will be written in Hebrew. Not all Messianics believe this, but there are many that do. We personally find this belief self-contradictory, since there are rabbis who taught that when God came down on Mt. Sinai, He came down speaking in all the languages of the world so that all of humanity could hear Him speak, because after all, it was the Creator who was speaking. So if He gave the “10 Commandments” (literally “the 10 Words”) in all the world’s languages, then why do so many Jews, and even Messianics, restrict His linguistic abilities to only Hebrew?
Also if they believe Hebrew is the Divine language because the Tanakh [“Old Testament”] was written in Hebrew, then by that logic, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek should all be considered Divine languages because all three languages were used in the writing of the Bible. Personally, I try and study the biblical languages, not because I believe they are in some way “DIVINE,” but so that I can better understand the Bible and what it says.
We believe God used the languages that He did, NOT because they’re Divine, but because those were the languages the majority of Jews spoke at the time. For example, prior to the Babylonian exile, the people spoke Hebrew, but then, during and after the Babylonian exile, they spoke a combination of Hebrew and Aramaic, which we see reflected within the books written during that time period. Then by the time of the New Testament, 98% of Jews lived outside of the land of Israel and spoke Greek, and some still spoke Aramaic, so God gave two New Testaments: the Greek New Testament (used by the Western Church) and the Aramaic New Testament, called the Peshitta (used by the Eastern Church). And we personally believe that if God were going to give us more Scripture today, it would be in English, since most Jews today read and speak English. Therefore, since we don’t buy into this idea that Hebrew alone is more Divine than any other language in the world, this is just another reason why we prefer to self-identify ourselves as a WHOLE BIBLE BELIEVERS, rather than as “Messianics.”
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE LAW IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?
One major problem that Christianity has traditionally had through its history is in understanding the wide diverse usage of the Hebrew word Torah. It is translated in our English Bibles as the word “law,” which comes from the Greek word nomos. But the problem is that the Hebrew word Torah does not mean “law,” but “instructions,” “teachings,” “guidelines,” and/or “directives.” The Greek word didaskalia (Strong’s #1319), would’ve been the best equivalent for the word Torah since didaskalia, also means “instruction, learning, and teaching.”
So if the Greek word didaskalia would’ve been the best choice to communicate the meaning of the Hebrew word Torah, then when and why was nomos (“law”) chosen? The Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek between 250-299 years before the conception and birth of Christ by Jewish scholars for the Jewish community in Alexandria, Egypt. As a result of the conquest of the known world by Alexander the Great, Greek had become the common parlance of the time, and the Jews there were now speaking Greek. There were other Jewish communities too outside of the land of Israel that spoke Greek, and they also needed a Greek copy of the Scriptures for them to read and understand. So a group of 70 Jewish scholars, according to tradition, were sent from Israel to Alexandria and translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek.
These Jewish scholars chose the Greek word nomos (“law”), rather than didaskalia (“instruction” or “teaching”), in order to protect the Scriptures from misuse from a growing foreign religious group, known as the Gnostics. Their name comes from the Greek word gnosis (or “knowledge”). At their core, they shared the Hindu belief that God was already in every person, but those who were not “enlightened” didn’t know it, but with the right “teacher” and the right “instruction” or “teaching,” one could come to the knowledge of that “truth” and experience “salvation.” In other words, “salvation,” they taught, was found in “inner knowledge,” and NOT in a relationship with the one true God who lived outside of oneself. This group took the “teachings” of different religions and wove them together, along with this “core belief,” to formulate their own ideas and doctrines, much like the Hippies did during the 1960’s and ’70’s.
To protect the Torah from being used by them, the Jewish scholars purposely chose the Greek word nomos (“law”) to translate Torah, rather than the Greek word didaskalia since the Torah did include laws as well. The Gnostics would later misuse the teachings of Christianity for their own purposes, like in the writings of “The Gospel of Thomas,” “The Gospel of Judas,” and the “Gospel of Mary Magdalene,” which were the basis of the modern novel and movie, The DaVinci Code.
The word Torah (God’s instructions), though, in contrast to our concept of “law,” has an extremely wide and diverse usage. It can be used to refer to a single verse, a passage, a chapter, a selection of passages, a biblical book, several books, the first five books, all the books of the prophets, all the Old Testament, or all the Old Testament and the New Testament. Consequently, since all of the Bible contains God’s instructions, then all of the Bible is Torah (or what’s translated as “law”). So then, how can any Christian not be under Torah (or “under the law”) since all of the Bible can be defined as Torah? Do you see the problem here?
Also, the idea that God’s Torah (or “Instructions” or “Teachings”) in some way ended at the cross is based on erroneous beliefs and assumptions that cannot be proven or substantiated under closer examination. Nor can we find actual evidence that there’s a conflict between God’s law and grace, since again, this “alleged” conflict is based on erroneous beliefs and assumptions that cannot be proven or substantiated under closer examination, including the few Pauline passages that supposedly “prove” that God’s law had in some way been “annulled,” “done away with,” or “ended at the cross.” What was nailed to the cross was our sins, our penalty of sins, and the law of sin and death – NOT the Word of God.
Consequently, many of Christianity’s views on the law are actually based on misinterpretation, misunderstanding, error or just not having chosen the right English word to translate the Greek text. For example, consider Romans 10:4,
For Christ is the END of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.
The English word “END” here was chosen to translate the Greek word telos, which actually means “goal, purpose or aim.” It does NOT mean “terminate.” Most people when they read this verse, they think it is saying that “Christ is the termination of the law,” which is NOT at all what it’s saying. What it’s saying is that “Christ is the goal, the purpose, and even the aim of the law,” BUT NOT its termination. So here is an example of a poor word choice that was used to translate this particular Greek word.
WE NEED TO ADOPT A WHOLE BIBLE PERSPECTIVE
Therefore, as a result of the above reasons, we choose NOT to identify ourselves as “Messianic believers” or as part of the Messianic Jewish Movement. Instead, we would like to see more and more Christians adopt a WHOLE BIBLE PERSPECTIVE, which includes not only God’s law, but also the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. In essence, anything taught within the Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22: 21.
Also, we believe that we should consistently base our doctrines on what we see God repeatedly teach throughout ALL the Bible, NOT just a single passage, or a single chapter, or even in just the New Testament alone, since God says in His Word, “out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, a thing is established.”
The traditional approach of dividing up the Bible, and viewing each part as two separate “revelations” was originally devised for political reasons (for the non-Jewish Christians to separate themselves from the nation of Israel and to present themselves as “good Roman citizens” to Caesar, so they could avoid persecution), and along with this, there were many erroneous interpretations and teachings that came into the church early on. In fact, Paul warned them against this, for “three years” prior to his imprisonment and death (Acts 20:28-31).
So as WHOLE BIBLE BELIEVERS, my wife and I, often wonder: How can one properly understand 100% of the Bible, if you only read, study, and practice the last 40% of it (the New Testament), while totally ignoring the first 60% of it (the Old Testament)? That is like watching the last 40% of a movie or playing the last 40% of a video game, and then claiming you understand 100% of all that’s in them. The claim is illogical and invalid.
I hope this explains, “WHY WE ARE NOT MESSIANIC” as well as why we believe in taking a WHOLE BIBLE PERSPECTIVE when it comes to the Bible. As you continue to read and study our materials, we pray that God will bless you and enhance your depth of understanding of both God and His Word.