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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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NOVEMBER 2014


At different times during our walk of faith serving the Holy One of Israel, we have been encouraged by a confluence of events that in many respects, confirm the path of ministry to the Lord we have chosen to pursue. Accordingly, we do not necessarily believe in the concept of “coincidences,” but rather the providential sovereign will of the Almighty One in our affairs. Hence, when we recognize significant correlations or “signposts” along what we have labeled to be our family’s “spiritual scavenger hunt,” we take notice and praise the Lord for reaffirming His will for us in this unique way. Such was the case over the recent weekend of October 31 to November 2, when we were blessed to participate in a Messianic conference in the DFW Metroplex.

Margaret, who has a knack for remembering anniversaries, birthdays, and noteworthy dates, did not at first realize the significance of the timing until late on Friday, October 31st, as we were about to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the birth of Outreach Israel Ministries the next day. For a number of reasons, it seemed like a twelve year long chapter of our life together was coming to a close. When November 1st arrived, we felt like Act I of a three-act play had ended. Now we were embarking on the next twelve year phase of our walk, in an atmosphere of genuine brotherly love among the Messianic Believers, who were gathered to worship and praise the Holy One of Israel. Appropriately, beyond the ambiance of unity and love, the theme of the “one new man (humanity)” written about by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:15 thematically permeated the weekend gathering. What a blessing to behold!

For the first time in too many years to count, we felt the unprejudiced love of the Messiah from both the Jewish and non-Jewish attendees at the convocation. What a delight to personally witness a fulfillment of the “new commandment” mentioned by Yeshua to His Disciples, during the discourse at the Last Supper:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Additionally, we were able to experience the joy of dwelling or communing together in unity, as best expressed in the opening verses of this Psalm, which is often quoted in the Messianic community of faith:

“A Song of Ascents, of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever” (Psalm 133:1-3).

With much of this on my heart and mind, I have been led to write this month’s lead article on The Blessing of Echad,” which will hopefully encourage others to practice love and seek unity among one another in these trying times. After all, whether these are the “days of Elijah”—as the popular Messianic song written by Robin Mark (a Methodist praise and worship leader) in 1994 reminds us—these are the days when many of the themes in that song are becoming a reality, especially among Messianic Believers. The return to the Spirit of the Word noted by Elijah, the righteousness expressed by Moses, the unity forecast by Ezekiel, the restoration and rebuilding of the tabernacle of praise during the reign of David—are all evident in so many ways among those seeking a Messianic lifestyle. Needless to say, our family members were all personally blessed, inspired, and recharged to carry on the work of the ministry that has consumed our lives, since Margaret and I went on a tour to Israel twenty years ago next month.

Additionally, we continue to provide books for the Free Book Prison Ministry Outreach, which needs your ongoing and continued support. Our Theological Defense Trust resources continue to undergird our needs, so that a critical tool like the Messianic Kosher Helper is now available, and the new Romans for the Practical Messianic commentary will be available next month. Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support for these, and many more ongoing projects!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, as you partner with us to advance His Kingdom, until the Messianic restoration of all things…

Mark Huey

 
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posted 20 November, 2014 to Facebook

This past Shabbat (15 Nov), I heard an excellent teaching on "Our Jewish Identity," at my local congregation. In the course of the message, the speaker--who was a Messianic Jew originally from Ukraine--spoke about the common, modern Jewish identity, being mainly, if not exclusively, tied up in the historical event of the Holocaust. While no one should ever forget the Holocaust as THE TRAGEDY of the Twentieth Century, the point was made how Ancient Israel and Yeshua's fellow First Century Jews had their identity rooted in the Exodus from Egypt. The only event in history, that may actually be regarded as being greater than the Exodus and Mount Sinai theophany--is in fact the Messiah event.

I have been emphasizing since my seminary days (2005-2008) that today's Messianic movement needs to understand the Messiah event--the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua of Nazareth--as the most important event in human history. Our identity as born again Believers, is to first and foremost be concentrated around what the Lord has done for us. Our natural differences and distinctions as people with unique backgrounds and worldviews, are to be employed not as barriers to one another--but instead as strengths and virtues by which we can collectively achieve the mission of God in the world, and be mutually blessed and edified.

An important chapter, widely concluding my book The New Testament Validates Torah, addresses this:

"The Faithfulness of Yeshua the Messiah"
http://tnnonline.net/god-salvation/Faithfulness_of_Yeshua_the_Messiah_NTVT.pdf



posted 17 November, 2014 to Facebook

On Friday (14 Nov), I referenced an article from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, on the growing number of non-Jewish Americans frequenting Conservative and Reform synagogues. While there is tension in contemporary Messianic Judaism over non-Jewish Believers in their midst keeping God's Torah--is discouraging or turning people away the answer? They are likely to not go back to a Christian Church setting, but a non-Messianic synagogue.

There is a renewed appreciation, and a revival of sorts, taking place among non-religious Jews, in turning back to Jewish religious practice. There is also an appreciation by non-Jewish Believers in Israel's Messiah taking place for Judaism and the Torah. We should all rejoice that much of the anti-Semitism and pain of the past is now transitioning into something where the reconciliation of the natural and wild olive branches (Romans ch. 11) is being witnessed. The Messianic community has a vital part to play, as the Kingdom can only be restored to Israel (Acts 1:6) with Yeshua as its Sovereign!



posted 14 November, 2014 to Facebook

Have you checked out the newly re-tooled Bible Messages section of the TNN Online website? I (JKM) have--among my many things to do--set out to write summary articles on every book of the Bible. I only have about 21 or so left to go. When completed, these will be compiled into a Bible Messages for the Practical Messianic commentary, which should serve as a nice compliment to our two survey workbooks.

http://tnnonline.net/bible-messages/index.html



posted 13 November, 2014 to Facebook

Have you ever heard the thought from proponents of an original Aramaic New Testament that the Ethiopian of Acts 8:25-40 was not a "eunuch," but instead some kind of "believer"? It is commonly claimed on the basis of Deuteronomy 23:1.

Acts commentators are well aware of this issue, but take the Ethiopian's identity in another direction: associating the Isaiah 53:7-8 text he was examining with Isaiah 56:3-6.

The following FAQ on Acts 8:27, 36, 38 goes into greater detail on this:

http://tnnonline.net/faq/A/Acts_8_27_36_38.pdf



posted 12 November, 2014 to Facebook

Last week, we finished up all of the audio podcast lectures for our Romans Bible Study. Be expecting an announcement in December for the official release of the Romans for the Practical Messianic commentary in paperback and eBook!

The next study we will be conducting will be on 1 Corinthians, starting in mid-January. I have much to do to prepare for this, as I will be: writing commentary on Acts 18:1-18, an Introduction, and 1 Corinthians ch. 1.



posted 11 November, 2014 to Facebook

In an effort to avoid having to heed Moses’ Teaching, even sometimes to just read and study the Pentateuch as a matter of Biblical history, some like to quote Galatians 3:12a: “the Law is not of faith.” Does this actually mean that the Torah is of no relevance for Believers today who have faith in Messiah Yeshua? This statement must be counterbalanced with what the author of Hebrews communicates, as he says ���faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Likewise, it must also be counterbalanced with the fact that Paul himself further asserts, “we know that the Law is spiritual” (Romans 7:14). The Torah is not something that is inspired by mere mortals; its Author is God Himself. It is not to be dispensed with on a whim. We are to listen to its instruction.

Realize that the Torah or the Law of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, can be seen and touched and read. These five texts make up the foundation of all of Scripture. The Torah speaks of the experiences of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, and the trials that the Ancient Israelites endured. It teaches us valuable lessons that we need to know for our lives today (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:11). The Torah is surely of “the faith” in the sense that the Pentateuch is a critical part of the Bible, is Divinely inspired, and is to be highly valued by us. The Torah not “of faith” in that Scripture can only take us so far. Yeshua rebuked some of the religious leaders of His day, not because of their love for and study of the Scriptures—but because they failed to realize that the Scriptures were to point to Him:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).

Yeshua’s further statement is “
if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me” (John 5:46), as Moses’ Teaching is to reveal who the Messiah is. Any claim that the Torah is not of “the faith”—meaning as valuable instruction for the community of God’s people—is to be rejected as utterly false. But it is quite true that the Torah, or for that matter all of Holy Scripture, does not
teach God’s people how to handle all aspects and circumstances of their lives. It is a reality that we are going to encounter things in our lives that the Torah, Prophets, Writings, Gospels, Epistles, etc., do not specifically address. The Bible surely informs us as to what God’s character is, or would/should be in various matters, yet it is imperative that we have a vibrant relationship with Him. We need assurance to make the right choices in life, especially regarding those things where even an extra-Biblical tradition, Biblical commentary, or books on various subject matters may be relatively silent. This is where the Lord’s presence residing within our hearts, and the faith we place in Him and the communion we have with Him, are definitely to come into play.

The Torah is not “of faith” only in the sense that there are things that it does not address, that we must by necessity seek the Lord about. But that does not mean that we ignore the Torah’s direction, because the Torah does tell us what God considers acceptable and unacceptable, and how we are to properly conduct ourselves in holiness. Following the Torah will keep us on the narrow road, so that we can truly reach toward those things of faith: those things that are truly unseen in life and require us to place ourselves entirely in our Heavenly Father’s care.

excerpted from The New Testament Validates Torah, pp 74-75




posted 10 November, 2014 to Facebook

A huge amount of confusion and difficulty arises among today's Messianic people over a verse like 1 Corinthians 6:12: "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything" (NASU). Few are aware of not only the translation issue of the verb exesti as "lawful" instead of "permitted," but even more so how "Everything is permitted for me" (TLV) appears in quotation marks in a variety of versions (i.e., RSV/NRSV/ESV, NIV/TNIV, HCSB), reflecting the widespread opinion that this is an errant slogan held by various Corinthians--that Paul is responding to--not that these are the actual thoughts of the Apostle himself!

The following FAQ on 1 Corinthians 6:12 should help those of you who have ever been confused about this verse:

http://tnnonline.net/faq/C/1_Corinthians_6_12.pdf



posted 07 November, 2014 to Facebook

A huge verse of difficulty for today's kosher-friendly Messianics is Genesis 9:3: "Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant." Many, especially those who are kosher-negative for Believers in the post-resurrection era, hold to the position that Noah could eat all manner of meat, both clean and unclean. But, what if the creatures classified as remes are not a blanket statement on every manner of moving animal or beast, but are more restricted? The following analysis on Genesis 9:3-7, "Why Meat?", is excerpted from the Messianic Kosher Helper, and should offer you some useful, alternative thoughts:

http://tnnonline.net/torah/Genesis_9_3-7_KOSHER.pdf



posted 06 November, 2014 to Facebook

Several weeks ago, I heard a Messianic teaching on the Epistle of James, with a slight detour on James 1:1: "James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings." The speaker used this to rightfully address the issue of replacement theology, as though James was writing to "the twelve tribes" as the new "Church." Yet, contrary to this, it was pretty much asserted that James' audience was exclusively Jewish.

No examiner I have ever read denies a Jewish audience of James. But, James himself says more about the people of God in Acts 15:15-18, recognizing the restoration of David's Tabernacle as a restored Twelve Tribes at the center, and enlarged borders to incorporate the nations (Amos 9:11-12, LXX). A mixed audience for the Epistle of James is by no means impossible, when the many classical parallels with his statements are properly weighed with the Rabbinic parallels.



posted 05 November, 2014 to Facebook

Today, the final audio broadcast on our lengthy Romans study, on Acts 28:21-31, will be posted. Discussed will be the errant view of how many feel that the attention of God has shifted from Jerusalem to Rome, and permanently away from the Jewish people to the nations.

While this audio podcast completes an extensive examination, taking just over 14 months, the next study on 1 Corinthians has already begun! I have started compiling the commentary, just this week, for Acts 18:1-18, Paul's visit to Corinth, which will begin our 1 Corinthians study, sometime this coming January. More updates, on the completion of the 1 Corinthians Introduction, and 1 Corinthians ch. 1, will be forthcoming.



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



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Last Updated 19 November, 2014