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The Gospel According to Torah 

 


OIM is a Messianic educational ministry, which has been commissioned to reach, teach, encourage, and disciple those within the Commonwealth of Israel to return wholly to Him in spirit, soul, and body in the work of advancing His Kingdom until the Messianic restoration of all things.


 
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OCTOBER 2014


The recent season of repentance that includes the Hebrew month of Elul and the first ten days of Tishri, culminating with Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) on the tenth of Tishri, has provided another annual introspective search of the heart in order for us to draw closer to the Holy One of Israel. As the Lord would have it, He once again faithfully used His ineffable Word, to help distinguish between what is of the soul and what is of the spirit, as recognized in this descriptive text from the Epistle to the Hebrews:

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Providentially, in preparation for a Yom Kippur message focused on the Prophet Jonah, my research led me to a passage in Luke 11, where Yeshua mentions Jonah and reminded His audience that one “greater” than Jonah was in their midst, obviously referring to Himself. Then contextually, Yeshua, knowing that He is the Light to the world (John 8:12), linked sharing the brilliance of the light with others, as a testimony that the light or knowledge of the truth is within an individual’s heart. But, this included the caveat on how one is to “watch out” that the light within a person is not darkness:

“The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays” (Luke 11:32-36).

Upon reading and meditating on this passage, Yeshua’s admonition that His followers are to “watch out that the light in you is not darkness,” prompted me to take a closer look at the great gulf between light and darkness, resulting in this month’s lead article, Walking in the Light.” Hopefully, some of the verses discussed will have as much of an impact on the readers as it had on me during this time of reflection, repentance, and then season of joy, as we entered the Feast of Tabernacles.

Once again, we are genuinely thankful for your prayers and financial support of the Theological Defense Trust and the Free Book Prison Ministry Outreach. Your faithfulness to the Lord allows us to continue our efforts to produce materials that He can use to advance His Kingdom until the Messianic restoration of all things. May He bless you mightily for partnering with Outreach Israel and TNN Online!

Blessings and have a wonderful season of His joy,

Mark Huey

 
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posted 30 October, 2014 to Facebook

Tomorrow, 31 October, is Halloween. My family has not observed Halloween since the 1980s, being among those evangelical Christians who have rightly recognized it as glorifying death, demons, and the Devil. At the same time, in our Messianic pursuits, we have been careful to differentiate Halloween from Christmas and Easter, the latter two, while being non-Biblical holidays, cannot be described as entirely "pagan." In many Christians' estimation, rejecting Christmas and Easter as pagan, is like disparaging Yeshua's birth and resurrection. Some temperance is required.

The following article, "A Messianic Perspective on Halloween," should hopefully provide a rebalancing of how we approach the various days commemorated by others:

http://tnnonline.net/torah/A_Messianic_Perspective_on_Halloween_FALL.pdf



posted 29 October, 2014 to Facebook

This week for our Romans Bible study, we will begin a two-week segment on Acts 28:11-31, Paul's arrival in Rome. This is very important to consider, not only in terms of detecting themes of Paul's previously written letter in the narrative, but of evaluating Paul's ministry intent in going to Rome. Doubtlessly not to be overlooked, are how many think that Paul's arrival in Rome demonstrates a decisive shift in God's purposes from Jerusalem to Rome, and from the Jewish people to the nations. Others, and we should think rightly, detect how the Lord Yeshua is steadily encroaching on the Lord Caesar, and that Rome in one of many more pagan cities that needs the good news of Israel's Messiah.



posted 28 October, 2014 to Facebook

I have been in the steady process of reading through the file for Romans for the Practical Messianic. Romans 4:15 can really get some people caught off guard, if not at least read with Romans 4:14-16 in fuller view:

“For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:14-16).

The point made by Paul, is that if his fellow Jews want to look to their possession of the Torah to claim special privileges before God, or the Abrahamic blessing--they are instead going to find that it brings conscious condemnation of their transgressions of its statutes.

Paul does not demean the Torah as something less than of God here. Yet, those who might look to the Torah to claim special favors before Him, are instead focusedly-condemned by it. This is why all people can only claim the promise of Abraham, by having a faith-first and not a Torah-first spiritual framework.



posted 27 October, 2014 to Facebook

I (JKM) will infrequently be asked, normally by congregational leaders and teachers, what books have influenced me the most in my spiritual and theological experience. Unlike being able to rattle off a series of names or titles, I end up saying more generally that I am influenced by my family's shared Wesleyan and Reformed theological background--as well as our family background as military officers, professional educators, and ordained clergy--than anything else.

What is particularly difficult for me, in trying to clamp down a few books or influential figures, is that half of my work day is spent writing a Bible commentary. Because the commentator has to deal with the text first, I identify with the Bible commentator far more than the popular names of Jewish or Christian writing. The commentator has to weigh the text in its (presumed) original setting, evaluate translations into English, consider the thoughts and proposals of other commentators, and ultimate provide a degree of contemporary application

I suppose I am just "wired" a little differently, as the work I do serves a unique purpose...



posted 21 October, 2014 to Facebook

This evening's audio podcast on Romans 16:8-27 will formally close the analysis of Paul's letter to the Romans. We have come a long way in just over a year, considering perspectives and viewpoints which will hopefully stimulate Messianic thought and inquiry for some time to come!

Next week will begin a two-week segment closing up our study, on Acts 28:11-31: Paul's Arrival in Rome.



posted 20 October, 2014 to Facebook

The instruction of Deuteronomy 4:2, "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you," is commonly used by non-Jewish people in today's independent Hebrew/Hebraic Roots movement to dismiss the significance of a wide array of mainline Jewish traditions and customs. However, the basis for most of the mainline Jewish traditions and Torah interpretations is found within what is stated later in Deuteronomy 17:8-11 and the rulings issued by Ancient Israel's leaders:

"If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, and between one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the LORD your God chooses. So you shall come to the Levitical priest or the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall inquire of them and they will declare to you the verdict in the case. You shall do according to the terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which the LORD chooses; and you shall be careful to observe according to all that they teach you. According to the terms of the law which they teach you, and according to the verdict which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left."

Finding a fair solution is not going to be easy, in the short term, for today's Messianic people. Among the resources we have produced, the following FAQ on "Torah, Command not to 'Add to'":

http://tnnonline.net/faq/T/Torah_Command_not_to_Add_to.pdf



posted 17 October, 2014 to Facebook

The spirituality of much of today's Messianic movement is challenged when the textual witnesses of Revelation 22:14 are evaluated.

As this verse appears from the younger Textus Receptus:

"Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city" (NKJV).

As this verse appears in older, more critical Greek sources:

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city" (NASU).

Which is the correct one? Which ultimately allows a person entry into the Kingdom? Having oneself washed clean by the blood of the Messiah.

How did these textual differences come about? We have an important FAQ entry on Revelation 22:14:

http://tnnonline.net/faq/R/Revelation_22_14.pdf



posted 16 October, 2014 to Facebook

Today's Messianic movement, even with much of its internal diversity, does on the whole have a very positive orientation toward being guided by and keeping the commandments of the Torah or Law of Moses in the post-resurrection era. Our own ministry, Outreach Israel and TNN Online, can hardly be labeled as anti-Torah, especially with massive resources like The New Testament Validates Torah in our arsenal of publications.

As positive an orientation as a ministry like ours has toward God's Torah, the Biblical reality is that the central source of our life is to be Yeshua the Messiah (Colossians 3:4). A verse which has confused many Messianic people, and Christians for that matter, is Leviticus 18:5, "So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD." This does not present the possibility of earning eternal life by keeping commandments; it presents the opportunity of a blessed and high quality of life on Earth for those who keep the commandments.

We have a detailed FAQ entry available, discussing Leviticus 18:5 and how it is specifically used in the Apostolic Scriptures (Luke 10:28; Galatians 3:12; Romans 10:5):

http://tnnonline.net/faq/L/Leviticus_18_5.pdf



posted 15 October, 2014 to Facebook

This week and next week will be the final two podcasts for the Romans part of our Romans Bible study. I (JKM) feel a unique connection with Romans ch. 16, as I gave an oral presentation on the demographics of this chapter (particularly the debate over the female apostle Junia) in my last class at Asbury Theological Seminary in the Fall semester of 2008. Romans ch. 16, and the people who are issued greetings by Paul, give readers many details about the Jews, Greeks, Romans, slaves, free, and both males and females who were active in the service of the First Century Body of Messiah.



posted 14 October, 2014 to Facebook

Yesterday, with a study which began just over a year ago, I finished writing the commentary on Romans 16. There are still a few more things left in this Romans study. I have to write an Epilogue today. There is an appendix on Acts 28:11-31, "Paul's Arrival in Rome," also to be written. But, the Romans part of the Romans for the Practical Messianic commentary is by-and-large finished.

No one looks forward more to the completion of a Bible study than I do! What it means is that I get to start thinking about the next study very soon!!



posted 13 Ocotober, 2014 to Facebook

It can be disturbing at times for Messianic people to read a blog post or an op-ed piece of writing by a Messianic leader or teacher, where an obvious agenda is being pushed. I have had more than a few encounters with congregational leaders who look upset and embarrassed when the latest organizational "white paper" gets released.

Suffice it to say, when you look at many congregational, on-the-ground situations, there is a rather widespread, silent majority of people which believes:

1. Yeshua the Messiah is God and is not a created being.

2. Salvation only comes through Yeshua of Nazareth, and a recognition of Him as the prophesied Messiah.

3. The Holy Scriptures, including the Greek Apostolic Writings, are inspired of God and are reliable.

4. While the Messianic movement doubtlessly has a mission to proclaim Yeshua to the Jewish people, anyone who God directs to a Messianic congregation should be welcome regardless of background.

5. All of the people in a Messianic congregation should be encouraged to use their gifts, talents, and skills for the mutual benefit of others.



posted 10 October, 2014 to Facebook

It is hardly a surprise, that at the present moment, the Messianic world is abuzz over a great deal of potential prophetic speculation. The most recent example has been the widescale attention given to presumed "blood red moons." I think it will be very obvious once these different eclipses have passed, that this is not at all what is anticipated in Revelation 6:12. Nor, do I think, that theories espoused by popular books like The Harbinger, and now Shemitah, are going to prove particularly solvent.

I (JKM) am hardly someone who ignores the prophetic message of Scripture. The single issue that got me involved in writing theology back in 1999 was the infamous pre- versus post-trib rapture debate--with me decisively taking the post-trib side, the worst case scenario to be sure! I, do, however, have a very different orientation than many others in terms of my approach toward the end-times. The focal point of the end-times is the restoration of Israel and God's Kingdom; it is not the rise of the beast and the establishment of some New World Order.

I have heard many theories over the past two decades, none of which have come to fruition. It might be time for some re-orientation of how we view the end-times.

I highly recommend reviewing the summary provided in "Are We Really Ready for the End-Times?", offered in the newly re-worked Theology Articles section of the TNN Online website:

http://tnnonline.net/articles.html#Eschatology-End-Time-Prophecy



posted 08 October, 2014 to Facebook

Per the update that I posted from Monday, I spent three hours yesterday afternoon, allowing two techs from SpyHunter to finally figure out what my "Ads from Webprotect" problem was. After prodding around my system and scanning it with many different tools, we found the real culprit: a script of HTML code that embedded itself into the header of the TNN Online website. Once found, it took mere seconds to remove.

The object lesson is quite obvious: how many of us have spiritual, emotional, or ideological challenges in our lives--which are right in front of us? How many of us think that something deep and hidden is hampering our relationship with the Lord, when only removing a small layer might be all that is necessary to resolve a situation?



posted 07 October, 2014 to Facebook

During the recent commemoration of Yom Kippur over the weekend, I heard a very important message about forgiveness, with some necessary emphases placed on admonitions of Yeshua (i.e., Matthew 6:12, 14-15; 18:21). I was certainly led to think back on how I was wronged this past year by a number of acquaintances, whether or not I have truly forgiven them, and how I was going to move forward. Yet, I was then naturally led to consider the applicability of forgiveness in the theological climate of today's Messianic world.

Any of you who have read my (JKM) writings know that there are most certainly disagreements that I have with a wide sector of today's Messianic movement. While there are Messianic people who disagree with Christianity, Judaism, or other Messianics--something to be expected--is it a disagreement out of spite, or out of reasoned conviction? Is a theological position held because of what the text of Scripture is believed to genuinely communicate--or because of an individual's presumed "rightness"?

When people get into theological turf wars, it is then that the issues of Biblical examination get replaced with human agenda, offensiveness, and inevitably unforgiveness and bitter hatred. Issues of theological disagreement need to instead be predicated upon true philosophical or ideological incompatibility, and tempered--no matter how difficult--with some degree of respect.



posted 06 October, 2014 to Facebook

Like many people who observed Yom Kippur this past Friday-Saturday, there were many traditional liturgies and prayers I recited, in order to reflect upon one's sins and various shortcomings. My local congregation here in Dallas was actually quite blessed to have Greg Silverman come and direct the Kol Nidre, and give a concert on Saturday night. I actually missed this concert, because of the one problem that can often come up, once a major project (like the Messianic Kosher Helper) is completed: a "technology problem."

My computer became infected with "Ad by Webprotect" banners, when I would access the TNN Online website--which has NO ADVERTISING. This kind of infection really annoys me, because it can be a challenge to remove, and seems relatively innocuous.

As things stand right now, I suspect that this spyware is deep in my system, but that the right tech out there will be able to fix it. Then, normal productivity should resume.

This has forced me to think about something: What, seemingly insignificant attitude, idea, or concept, might any of us have deep in our hearts and minds, which is preventing any of us from being fully productive in God's Kingdom? What have any of us inappropriately tolerated or turned a blind eye to?



posted 02 October, 2014 to Facebook

Before traveling to Rome, with an intention of reaching Spain (Romans 15:25-27), the Apostle Paul first must go to Jerusalem, to present a financial offering he has been collecting from the congregations in the Eastern Mediterranean. He details, “Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord's people there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord's people in Jerusalem” (Romans 15:25-26, TNIV). Born again Believers are supposed to give toward those in need, out of the generosity of their hearts, as Paul testified in 2 Corinthians 9:2, “for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, namely, that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them.” The Corinthians were very eager to contribute, with such commitment positively affecting others. As Paul will detail to the Romans following, non-Jewish Believers in Israel’s Messiah have a responsibility to materially bless their fellow Jewish Believers—and by extension to the Jewish people—because of being blessed by salvation. Yet, Paul does not at all view material blessing toward the poor of Jerusalem a one-way street; the material blessing of the nations toward these Jewish Believers is a natural reciprocation for the blessing of having received Israel’s Messiah from them. In 2 Corinthians 8:13-14 Paul sees the relationship of Jewish and non-Jewish people in the community of God, as one of mutual blessing and equality:

“For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality—at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality” (2 Corinthians 8:13-14).

Paul describes to the Roman Believers, of the Believers in Macedonia and Achaia, that “they were pleased to do it, and indeed they are in debt to them, for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings” (Romans 15:27, RSV). Here, because a financial collection is the subject, it is appropriate to render opheiletai eisin autōn as “their debtors they are” (American Standard Version).

There is a legitimate form of Jewish ministry, from Believers of the nations, which involves financial resources being collected to support either Jewish Believers and/or the Jewish poor. Paul’s intention of going throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, colleting a financial offering from non-Jewish Believers, should not, however, be thought in terms of monies somehow wanting to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy for Messiah faith (Romans 11:11, 14). Instead, the offering Paul was collecting was to serve as a means to promote unity, harmony, and the interdependence of Believers one to another. Helping those in need was to be a sure manifestation of love toward one another.

adapted from the forthcoming commentary Romans for the Practical Messianic



posted 29 September, 2014 to Facebook

I recently watched two video presentations (referenced below) given by Dr. Hugh Ross of the Creation ministry Reasons to Believe (reasons.org), at a church here in the DFW Metroplex. In these Q&A sessions, Dr. Ross talked about the difference between skeptics and cynics. Skeptics are those who are always open to being persuaded by (new) evidence and a reasoned case. Cynics are those, who when presented with evidence and a reasoned case, will then often reject it for some illogical or subjective reason.

Unfortunately, in too much of my (JKM) experience, a wide sector of today's broad Messianic community, tends to be populated with cynics...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tng_vUJfeQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xWf_tP6v3s



posted 26 September, 2014 to Facebook

I (JKM) am very blessed this Fall High Holiday season 2014! This is the first time in perhaps five to six years when I have not entered into this season, with some sense of unease or anxiety. I've graduated from seminary (2009), we finally moved back to Texas (2010-2012), we have transitioned into our new surroundings quite nicely! The future is the Lord's!!

L'shanah tovah!



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