Articles on Messianic Life Style

What is Torah?

It is a tree of life to those
who lay hold of it.
Its ways are ways of pleasantness
and all its paths are shalom.

Written by Glenn Kay

F  irst and foremost, the Torah is "God's teachings. "This is the primary meaning of the word - Torah. The word does not mean "law; it means "teaching." The root of the word can be traced to the Hebrew word "to throw" or even "to shoot an arrow." Hence we can say that "Torah" is God's teaching, hitting the mark of man's needs.

Torah is the teachings of Ha'Shem (God). His instructions to us. There is a mis-understanding of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments) of God that Torah Observant Jews and non-Jews follow.

First, it seems important to keep in mind that God has never been a racist, but has always adopted into His Jewish Family all who sincerely turned to Him from among the nations of the world, ...
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The Big Debate: Should Christians follow Torah?

Torah plainly states that there is one Torah for Israel and the Gentile who dwells with her - yet, many try to use Acts 15 as "proof" that Christians don't have to keep Torah. That is because they don't realize that Acts 15 is referring to man-made laws and not the Torah itself....

The "million dollar question" that has successfully split the Messianic movement today is: Are Gentiles required to keep Torah? And the answer is a resounding, "YES!"

God gave the Torah to His people Israel to tell them how to live their lives and how to relate to Him. Yeshua was Torah observant and neither He nor His disciples ever negated Torah in any way. Therefore, anyone who chooses to believe in Yeshua is obligated to follow Torah to the best of his abilities. It doesn't matter whether you are a Jew or Gentile; in order to please God, you must be Torah-observant.

Often, people try to use Acts 15 to show that Gentiles have a different calling from Jews. While this is true to a certain extent, the larger biblical picture demands that the Jewish People - Israel and anyone who chooses to attach themselves to Israel - remain a distinct people for the sake of the world. According to Messianic Jewish understanding, the destiny of the world depends on the ongoing vitality of the Jewish people because the Jewish people have always been and will always be a conduit of God's blessing to the entire world. Those who choose to be grafted in to the Olive Tree cannot go against God's original teachings. ...
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Is the Torah Only for Jews?

Written by YahChannah of Qumran Bet

What harm we may do sometimes with careless words. Before I give any scripture from the Tanakh, I would like to say that you are not constrained from Torah study, if fact just the opposite. We are to study, to obey, and to make Torah a part of us. We are to look to His Torah continuously.

When Avraham was called out of Ur of the Chaldees, there were no ‘Jews’, there were no ‘Rabbis’, there was only a man who listened to the Almighty when He spoke and a man who obeyed. When Moshe led the people put of Mitzrayim (Egypt), there came out with him a ‘mixed multitude’. When he came down from the mountain and began to share the ‘LAW’ with the people, he did not send away the ‘mixed multitude’ so they might not hear. Moshe’s wife Zipporah was a Midianite. When Yoseph lived in, born to him from a, wife were Efrayim and Mannasheh who were given tribes within the nation of Israel. Though half Mitzrayim (Egyptian) they were given equal status with the sons of Israel.

Shemot 12:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them, flocks, herds, and very many cattle.

The ‘stranger’ who dwelled among those who were by blood Israel were to be treated no differently, in fact they were to learn and obey the Law (Torah)

Shemot 12:48-49. And when a stranger shall dwell with you, and will keep the Pesach to YHWH, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is homeborn and to the stranger that dwells among you.
Bereshith 17:12-14 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of your seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with your money, must be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.

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THE TORAH IS NOT LAW

Written by Mark R. Ensign

The objective of this study is to help the reader to better understand both the L-rd our G-d, YHVH, our Creator and King of the Universe, who is also Abba, our Father, and the loving instructions he carefully revealed to his beloved children as recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

As you begin, I respectfully ask you to put aside, at least temporarily, the concepts and opinions you have formed or been taught throughout your life about the word of G-d, the Torah, that is commonly called "the Law." I ask you to start afresh and join me in building a new paradigm, a new way of thinking about the Torah. Of course, I want you to carefully consider what I offer to you in light of the totality of the Scriptures as you are led into the truth by the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit. Please do not accept what I say merely because I say it, but because the Ruach HaKodesh confirms it in your spirit as truth from YHVH.

If the Ruach HaKodesh confirms this new paradigm to you as truth, I believe that you will experience a heightened level of liberation, expanded dimensions of freedom to be what Abba has created you to be, one of his beloved children. He said, "I am YHVH your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. (Leviticus 26:13) Because G-d delivered his people from slavery, he gave them a Torah of deliverance, instructions about living in the new liberty....
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Why Stress Torah Observance?

Written by Dennis E. Green

The Messiah set us free from the yoke of bondage." "All we need is to love God and obey the teachings of the New Testament."

People often make statements very much like the ones written above when the topic of Torah observance is broached. With a less than adequate understanding of the nature and purpose of Torah, it is easy to arrive at similar conclusions. Depending upon the context in which the above statements are made, they could all be very accurate or far from the truth.

As a Messianic believer, one must be sure to have a proper understanding of the role Yahweh's Torah is to have in your life. With this proper understanding of our Fathers instructions, we will find peace and security in a lifestyle of yielded obedience. Likewise, if a believer has an improper balance in their doctrinal stance with regards to grace, Torah observance will inevitably lead to a life of struggle as one sees their own inadequacy to uphold an extensive list of do's and don'ts...
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We Stand For Torah Today

Written by David M. Hargis

We get many good comments and some opposition here about our stand on Torah (and, come to think of it, our stand on Yeshua as well).

There are three ways to view Torah:

1. Torah is past and over.
2. Torah is valid for the Jews only.
3. Torah is valid for all mankind today and always.

We stand on number three (3) "Torah is valid for all mankind today and always," because we believe there is no other biblical way to view it, for these reasons...
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Yeshua the Living Torah

Written by Luana Fabri

The book of Psalms begins with these words: "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law (Torah) of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night" Psalm 1:1,2.

The book of Psalms begins with these words: "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law (Torah) of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night" Psalm 1:1,2.

To king David, the Torah was the greatest gift God had given. In Psalm 19:7&8, David says of the Torah: "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes."
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What is the role of the Law in the life of a Messianic Jew?

Written by Michael Schiffman

The relationship between Messianic Jews and the law is an important issue in the Messianic Jewish movement. The law is not solely a theological issue to be debated. It is part of Jewish culture, heritage and worship. At the same time, Messianic believers recognize their relationship to the law is not the same as that of traditional Jews.

The center of a believer's life is not the law, but the Messiah. It is this shift in emphasis caused by the coming of the Messiah that raises the issue of what place the law occupies now that the Messiah has come.

It is important to understand Paul's teachings on the law. He addressed this issue directly in his writings. Unfortunately, many people have misunderstood what Paul said and assumed he was against the law. This misunderstanding had led to the idea that believers are to have nothing to do with the law. This became a sensitive issue for Jewish believers seeking to live a Jewish life-style while believing in Yeshua. A proper understanding of Paul's view of the place of the law is essential for understanding the place of the law for Jewish believers...
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Not Subject to the Law of God?

Christianity was founded upon, and maintains to this day, an erroneous view of what it calls "the Law." Because of this, false conclusions have been arrived at concerning the role of "the Law" in the life of a believer in the Messiah. This error has also caused errant theology regarding Israel, the Jews, and the Gentiles' relationship to G-d. The purpose of this document is to expose this error and help believers in Yeshua the Messiah, particularly Gentiles, find the correct application of "the Law" in their faith and lives.

The contemporary Christian mindset regarding what it calls "the Law," evolved from a Greek/Roman or "westernized" worldview and approach to studying the Bible. This was shaped by the early church fathers of the second to sixth centuries, and has been steadily reinforced since those times. When Christians hear or use the term "Law" in spiritual discussions, sermons, etc., they are thinking in a very "legal" sense, similar to how one would regard the laws we have in our secular society. Three particular ideas found in Christianity regarding "the Law," pertinent to this discussion, are:...
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Circling or Keeping the Commandments

Written by Mark Huey

Now this might sound silly, but the obvious fact that one cannot keep the commandments of God unless he or she knows the commandments seems fairly elementary. After all, how can a person keep God’s commandments if one does not know them, or for that matter, has never spent any time reading and studying them? This reality came into focus recently, while I was reviewing parts of the Epistle of 1 John. This letter includes the words of someone who was seriously concerned about the walk of a Believer with Messiah Yeshua.

In this first passage, the beloved John is simply trying to explain to his readers that truly knowing the Risen Savior will be evidenced by keeping commandments:

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:3-6).

The crux of these statements regarding keeping the commandments is whether one truly knows God, or does not truly know God. If a person knows God, or has come to know God but does not keep His commandments, then one of two things is missing. Either the person (1) does not really know God, or (2) he or she does not know the commandments. Consequently, if a person claims to know God, but does not keep His commandments, then John’s conclusions is that the person is a liar and the truth is not in him.

But is this a reflection on people who are ignorant of God’s commandments, and do not have a fuller picture of them—or people who claim to know God but have no desire to obey Him?

John’s conclusion could be a very strong indictment against those who simply believe that keeping God’s commandments begins and ends with love for Him and neighbor. Yeshua did list these as the greatest of the commandments (Matthew 22:35-39). This is not in dispute. But few really try to comprehend what He means by “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40).

Many faithful Christians believe that they are keeping God’s Law, because they love Him and strive to love their neighbors. This is good. The problem is that too many preachers and teachers have told them over the years that these are the only two commandments that matter. Too few are aware of how they are derived directly from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18), and not enough try to understand them as they were originally given to Ancient Israel.


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Is Messiah the Termination of the Torah?

Written by J.K. McKee

Afoundational principle of Christianity is supposed to be “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).1 In theory, most evangelical conservative Christians claim to honor the Bible as if all of it is the inspired, inerrant Word of the Lord. However, in practice, the same cannot often be said, especially when it comes to many Christians’ attitude concerning their approach to the Law of Moses, or the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy).2

The Psalmist declares, “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8), and “If Your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction” (Psalm 119:92). Yeshua (Jesus) tells us in Matthew 19:17, “if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” These concepts are admittedly hard to understand for many of today’s Christians. They show us that God’s Law is to play some role of importance in the lives of His people.

Have we not also been taught, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8), and “if righteousness comes through the Law, then Messiah died needlessly” (Galatians 2:21)? These too are important concepts of our faith not to be disregarded.3

The Apostle Paul writes, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling4 the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We are to be very careful when handling Holy Scripture, especially if one claims that certain parts of it, such as the Law of Moses, are no longer relevant for today’s Believers. As Yeshua warns, “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).

What is the average Christian to do about what can appear to be contradictions in the pages of the Bible? From one perspective, we could argue that the Torah is not for Believers today, whereas from another we could come to the conclusion that Believers must and should be observing God’s commands, with His judgment ready to strike the disobedient at a moment’s notice. Rather than be dogmatic about a particular persuasion, let Biblical continuance be our quest. Let us understand that the Bible has no contradictions regarding God’s purpose and plan for His people—and that it is our job to seek what is true above all else—even our own opinions. We must synthesize what appear to be opposing viewpoints among Scriptural passages.

Through the advent of the Messianic movement and Believers embracing the Hebraic Roots of their faith, many have been convicted to study and keep God’s Torah. But at the same time, there are concerns that exist, the first one often being, “you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Letting the whole of Scripture be our guide, we will attempt to set straight many of Christianity’s misconceptions of the Law in this article, as “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). As Yeshua told a group of Pharisees, “if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me” (John 5:46), as they seemingly forgot to read what the Torah said of Him. Have we made the same mistake, failing to see Yeshua for who He is in the Torah of Moses?

How much do today’s Christians not understand human sin, and the Savior who came to redeem them, because they do not study God’s Torah (cf. Galatians 3:24; Romans 3:20)?


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Davdic Worship

Written by Diane W. Kay

T

he term Davidic Dance is now becoming well known throughout the Messianic community. In the Messianic Movement, Davidic dance is becoming an accepted way to worship. Is this a new form of worship? The psalmist said, over 2500 years ago, "Praise Him in the dance." (Ps.149:3) As Israel gathered together at every battle or feast day dancing was present. When David returned from battle (I Sam. 18:6) the women came from all the towns of Israel to meet him and King Saul with dancing and singing. Israel has always been a dancing nation.

In most of society dance is considered a non-religious activity, and many may raise an eyebrow at the idea of dance being used in the congregation. Webster's dictionary describes dance as "moving rhythmically as in time to music".

We as Messianic believers use dance in our services as an outward manifestation of an inward emotion. Just as King David danced before the Lord with all his might as he saw the ark of God arriving in Jerusalem (II Sam. 6:14), so do we feel the need to express this love and joy in the dance.

It does not seem out of place while at a sporting event to raise your hands, jump up and down, or make a "wave", at an exciting moment. Certainly some of these actions would seem out of place in a congregation. But shouldn't we get even more excited about the Lord? Dance is a scriptural way to express our joy to the Lord. In Psalm 150:4, it reads, "Praise Him with the timbrel and dance."...
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