Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee has written on Messianic theology and practice, including studies on Torah observance, the end-times, and commentaries that are helpful to those who have difficult questions to answer.
In the past, the big issue which has faced the Messianic movement has understandably been the Messiahship of Yeshua of Nazareth, widely connected to the purposes of Jewish evangelism. For the present, the big issue which is staring right at the broad Messianic movement—to which no congregation, fellowship, family, or individual is entirely immune—is how to approach the nature of Yeshua (Jesus). Is Yeshua the Messiah God, or is He a created being? While many affirm Yeshua of Nazareth to be the eternal, uncreated Son of God who is indeed God—there are many others who express various levels of doubt about this, and then others who think that Yeshua is a created being and not God. There are those who will affirm that Yeshua is a supernatural being to be sure—perhaps even the first created being in the cosmic order, pre-existent of our known universe—but nevertheless created and not God.
This publication, Salvation on the Line: The Nature of Yeshua and His Divinity, affirms a high Christology. Not only does it affirm a high Christology of Yeshua being God, it very much defends the view that while understanding all of the intricacies of Yeshua being God is not required for salvation, recognizing Yeshua as the Lord (YHWH/YHVH) of the Tanach Scriptures (Old Testament) most certainly is required for salvation (Romans 10:9, 13; cf. Joel 2:32).
This resource has consulted and engaged with a wide array of resources and perspectives across the Messianic movement, into the more independent sectors of the Hebrew/Hebraic Roots movement, the views expressed by various Christians labeling themselves “Biblical Unitarians,” and even those few theologians of note who hold to a low Christology. This involves an array of articles, books, commentaries, and even a few Bible versions. Most important, would be some of the excellent, thorough, and readable resources defending a high Christology, seen within the realm of broadly evangelical Christian theology.
The considerable bulk of Salvation on the Line, while defending a high Christology, is necessarily spent going to the text of the Holy Scriptures (Genesis-Revelation). This is not only because the Holy Scriptures are to be decisively regarded by God’s people to be the Word of Life, but also because this is the venue where the rise and fall of theological concepts are to be found. None of us wants to be found holding to a view of Yeshua being God simply because of some kind of fundamentalist dogma—where if we hold to a different view our name will somehow end up on a list or in a white paper as being stigmatized as some kind of “cultists.” We want to be found holding to a view of Yeshua being God, precisely because that is where the witness of Scripture directs us, it is the genuine testimony of the Messiah and His early followers, and because it is required for our redemption from sins as fallen human beings. The author firmly believes that such a principled case can be made in going to the text of Scripture, and that those who hold to a low Christology are decisively lacking in many areas.
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Introduction to Things Messianic
Are you new to the Messianic movement? Do you have questions about what the Messianic movement, lifestyle, and theologies are all about? Do you need answers on a wide variety of issues with some detailed information? If these are the questions you have been asking, then Introduction to Things Messianic is a book that will definitely benefit you.
Written to the new person investigating Messianic things, Introduction to Things Messianic is a compilation of articles that will inform the inquirer on a wide array of Messianic topics relevant to the current state and growth of our movement, including:
- Is “the Church” truly a new group of elect?
- Is the Torah or Law of Moses really relevant for Believers today?
- Who were the ancient Pharisees and what did they believe?
- What are the ancient civilizations relevant to the Bible?
- Am I required to keep the Sabbath?
- What are the Biblical festivals?
- Am I required to eat kosher?
- Why do many Messianics use the proper name of God?
- What do Messianics think about the end-times?
- How do I properly grow in this new walk of faith?
These questions, and many more, are discussed and detailed in Introduction to Things Messianic. This book builds on the foundational material in Hebraic Roots: An Introductory Study in a much more thorough way for those wanting an in-depth view of these basic issues. Introduction to Things Messianic can be used for a single person or a group Bible study, as study questions follow each chapter. This publication can also be used as an excellent primer to other publications available from Messianic Apologetics.
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The New Testament Validates Torah
The New Testament Validates Torah is a study that all Messianic Believers need, especially in the current season of considerable growth and expansion in which our broad faith community finds itself. On the whole, today’s Messianic movement holds that the Torah or the Law of Moses remains valid instruction for God’s people, and that Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) did not come to abolish or do away with it (Matthew 5:17-19). Yet throughout much of Christian history, many theologians have argued that the Law has been rendered inoperative, and/or that it was only to be followed by those in the pre-resurrection era. Many Messianics are incapable of responding to the common arguments delivered by their Christian family members, friends, acquaintances, or even various pastors and teachers that they know, who quote verses to them from the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) which supposedly prove that the Law has been “done away.”
Has Moses’ Teaching been abolished? This publication is a lengthy study that analyzes and critically examines, in detail, a wide number of New Testament passages that are commonly offered as proof texts to claim that the Torah is not to be followed by those in the post-resurrection era. Statements such as not being “under the Law” (Romans 6:14-15), “Christ is the end of the Law” (Romans 10:4), “All things are lawful” (1 Corinthians 6:12), “abolishing…the Law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:15), “having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14), and many more, are considered. Considerable attention is given to the Greek source text of the Apostolic Scriptures, and where translation errors into English appear to have been made by various modern versions. Cross-examination and discussion with a wide number of commentators have also been offered, as well as an exploration of important subjects present within today’s Biblical Studies.
The New Testament Validates Torah is an important apologetic study that will benefit Messianic Believers and evangelical Christians alike. There is literally nothing in today’s Messianic movement that has compiled as much information on Torah relevance for God’s people into a single book. Also, unlike some other publications issued on the message of Torah relevance, The New Testament Validates Torah is highly respectful to Christian voices over the centuries who have valued what they have considered to be the “moral law” of the Old Testament, and seeks to honor those who have preceded us in the faith.
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Torah In the Balance, Volume I
The Messianic movement largely advocates that the Torah or Pentateuch is relevant instruction for Believers today, and that modern Christianity has too often ignored God’s revelation in the Tanach or Old Testament—not benefiting from this dismissal. Yet the subject of “Torah observance” can often be a point of contention, not only between the Messianic and Christian communities, but even internally among Messianics. Why is this the case? Do we have to be negative about this? Is it possible that people claiming to be Torah observant do not often know why the Law of Moses is to instruct and teach today’s Believers? Have some Messianics simply lacked an appropriate perspective on how the work of the Holy Spirit is to guide God’s people into greater holiness and maturity, given the promises of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:26-27)? How are we to balance how following the Torah includes outward practices, but also includes a greater manifestation of God’s love and goodness to all we encounter?
Torah In the Balance, Volume I is a well needed resource for our time, as it addresses the main aspects of how to follow God’s Torah. Subjects addressed include: why Believers need the Torah, the Acts 15 Jerusalem Council, the foundational importance of the Ten Commandments, the role of the appointed times, and the dietary laws. While Messianic positions on these aspects of faith can often clash with those of our Christian brothers and sisters, they are considered in a fair and reasonable way that encourages positive solutions between all people who have called out to Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) for salvation. A large amount of scholastic engagement and support is offered for the validity of these aspects of faith on the part of today’s Believers.
This book is an important addition to any Messianic library, and should be read by those desiring not only a comprehensive understanding regarding what the Lord has started in this hour—but the great responsibility we have been endowed by Him. With everything we have been called to do, the transforming power of God’s love is emphasized above all! This resource encourages growth and maturity on the part of all of His people.
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Torah In the Balance, Volume II
The views expressed and practices witnessed, regarding the place of God’s Torah in the life of contemporary Messianic Believers, are more likely to cause tension for far too many people—than facilitate any sense of spiritual fulfillment, much less relief. There is little doubting the fact that as a widely mixed group of people, from both Jewish and Christian backgrounds, that each man and woman within the Messianic community brings both positive and negative things into the assembly. When it comes to the issue of Torah observance, the spectrum of views and practices has been too often polarized between an Orthodox Jewish, hyper-traditional style—and some anti-traditional, quasi-Karaite style. Much of this has come about because there is an entire array of issues, which need some preliminary handling, and which has yet to receive it.
Torah In the Balance, Volume II is a book which recognizes that the Torah does regulate many physical actions to be performed by God’s people. Faith in the Lord is hardly just a series of abstract mental beliefs or doctrines; it is also something which is to be demonstrated in concrete works. But when we consider the importance of external works as a manifestation of our trust in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), what is some of the variance seen in on-the-ground Messianic settings? How do people keep the seventh-day Sabbath/Shabbat, eat kosher, or sanctify the appointed times? What about our physical dress and appearance? What about issues like circumcision or water immersion (baptism)? What about various religious symbols like the cross or Star of David? Even when Messianic people have been theologically convinced that Moses’ Teaching remains valid instruction for God’s people today, there is going to be variance, and even internal disagreement, about how it is to be implemented for those living in the Twenty-First Century.
This publication has been long anticipated in addressing some of the finer-issues of Torah observance witnessed within the Messianic movement. It takes into consideration the theological and spiritual developments of the 2000s-2010s to be sure, but more importantly tries to present the necessary third way which must emerge for our Torah observance. This is crucial, as we steadily develop into a force of holiness and righteousness in the world, and strive to commit ourselves to further obedience.
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When Will the Messiah Return?
For almost two millennia, multiplied millions of Believers in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) have eagerly anticipated His return. Many theories, doctrines, and creeds have been produced concerning the Second Coming, as well as an entire score of books. In today’s world, many Christians think that the Messiah can return at any moment in an event called the “pre-tribulation rapture.” Even among those who do not believe in this imminent rapture, are those who still think that the final days of humanity are upon us. Are they? Is absolutely everything in place for the Messiah to return quite soon? Or, are there some things that might be overlooked, regarding the Messiah’s return?
Before Yeshua was taken up into Heaven, the Apostles asked Him, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). The Apostles were eagerly awaiting the Messiah to restore Israel, but much work still had to be accomplished, as Yeshua commissioned them to go out into the greater world, and make disciples among all nations. In our era, much more has notably happened, most especially with the salvation of many Jewish people coming to Yeshua, but also with many non-Jewish Believers entering into the Messianic movement, embracing God’s Torah and their Hebraic Roots in a very tangible way. Something unique has undeniably started.
A major challenge is that far too many non-Jewish Believers in Yeshua do not understand who the Lord is actually returning for. They will often consider themselves part of a separate “Church,” with really no connection to Israel. Because of this, it is concluded that the Messiah can imminently come for “the Church,” to leave Israel behind to face the Tribulation period and the antichrist. Is this a valid teaching? Are Israel and “the Church” separate entities? If they are not, how would this change our perception of various aspects of the end-times?
When Will the Messiah Return? is a unique book addressing the end-times from a Messianic perspective. The Messiah stated plainly that He would gather the saints “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29). Discussed are common false understandings as they relate to “the Church” being taken to Heaven for the duration of the Tribulation period, and instead how all Believers in Messiah Yeshua get to participate in restoration of Israel’s Kingdom via His return. Some overlooked elements regarding what has been prophesied in Scripture, may hold some of the insight for today’s Believers evaluating why the Messiah has yet to return to Planet Earth.
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The Dangers of Pre-Tribulationism
The pre-tribulation rapture is an extremely popular doctrine, which advocates that Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) can unexpectedly come at any moment for the saints, gathering them into Heaven before the Tribulation period or Seventieth Week of Israel. Pre-tribulationism has sold many books, spawned numerous fiction series and movies, and has created a large financial market for prophecy materials. But in spite of its popularity in much of today’s evangelical Christianity, few question it. When presented with alternative points of view such as post-tribulationism, adherents of the popular pre-tribulational position can sometimes take strong offense, and they can be found to outright ignore Biblical passages that appear to contradict their position.
This report is an expanded edition of one of our most controversial articles. It answers the top reasons why people believe in the pre-tribulation rapture from a Messianic post-tribulational perspective. It considers whether or not various pre-tribulationists have employed tactics of fear and faithlessness, and whether or not their ideology of escapism can be supported by a fair reading of the Holy Scriptures. Are God’s people able to be protected by Him–or not–during the end-times? Specifically considered and responded to are fifty reasons given in support of the pre-tribulation rapture by former Dallas Theological Seminary chancellor John F. Walvoord. Above all, a fairness that is not always given to post-tribulationists is demonstrated to pre-tribulationists.
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Israel in Future Prophecy
In too many Messianic settings, when questions are asked about Biblical passages like Isaiah 11:12-16; Jeremiah 31:6-10; Ezekiel 37:15-28; and Zechariah 10:6-10, among others, polarized extremes are likely to be witnessed. One side makes these kinds of verses a central part of its spiritual identity—even more important than faith in the Messiah. Another side, when encountering past abuses, tends to totally dismiss legitimate questions and expectations that such passages pose. How can Bible readers have a mature approach to a larger restoration of Israel, prophesied in the Holy Writ, which is able to navigate through much of the immaturity detectable?
A significant question asked by the Apostles, before Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) ascended into Heaven, was, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Recognizing the restoration of Israel as a critical part of the Apostles own expectations of the Last Days—might there be any aspects of the restoration of Israel, beyond the rebirth of the State of Israel and many Jewish people coming to faith in Messiah Yeshua, that any of us have missed? Is there possibly more to be anticipated in future salvation history, as it concerns the emergence of the Messianic movement, non-Jewish Believers embracing their Hebraic Roots in a very tangible way, and many turning to the truths of God’s Torah?
Israel in Future Prophecy: Is There a Larger Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel? addresses some of the controversies and problems that have been caused, by what is commonly known as the Two-House movement/sub-movement. This book attempts to sort through much of the religious politics and abuse that one commonly encounters when poignant questions are asked about what is happening in today’s Messianic community. It intends to provide some preliminary resolution to the issues which are Biblically-rooted, and are engaged with contemporary Jewish and Christian scholarship, providing some viable alternatives to the posturing more likely to be encountered. Above all, this publication directly takes on over-statements, exaggerations, and sound bytes offered by prominent advocates within the Two-House sub-movement, providing more Scriptural answers to welcoming in the many masses of people from the nations, as a part of the Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-13) or the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).
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John Kimball McKee is an integral part of Outreach Israel Ministries, and serves as the editor of Messianic Apologetics, an Internet website that specializes in a wide variety of Biblical topics. He has grown up in a family which has been in constant pursuit of God’s truth, and has been exposed to things of the Lord since infancy. Since 1995 he came to the realization of the post-tribulational return of the Messiah for His own and the importance of the Jewish and Hebraic Roots of our faith. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma (Class of 2003) with a B.A. in political science, and holds an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary (Class of 2009). He is a 2009 recipient of the Zondervan Biblical Languages Award for Greek. John has held memberships in the Evangelical Theological Society, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, and Christians for Biblical Equality, and is a longtime supporter of the perspectives and views of the Creationist ministry of Reasons to Believe.
John is an apologist for the Creator God and in helping people understand their faith heritage in Ancient Israel and Second Temple Judaism. Much of his ministry in the past has been campus based to the multitudes in evangelical Christianity who are associated with a wide variety of Protestant denominations and persuasions. John has introduced college students to things that are Messianic such as the original Hebrew name of our Savior, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah), a name that he has known since 1983.
John’s testimony before his Christian friends at college challenged much of their previous thinking about the whole of the Holy Scriptures and the need to follow the commandments of the Most High. His college peers asked him many varied questions: Why do you not believe in the pre-trib rapture? What do you think of the Left Behind books? Why do you observe the seventh-day Sabbath? Why do you eat kosher? Why do you wear a beard? Why do you celebrate the feasts of Israel? Why will you use a tallit and wrap tefillin/phylacteries during private prayer? Why do you consult original Hebrew and Greek language texts of the Bible? Why don’t you come to church with us on Sunday? This led John into Messianic apologetics and the defense of our faith. John strives to be one who is committed to a life of holiness and methodical Bible study, as a person who has a testimony of being born again and who sincerely desires to obey the Lord.
Since the 1990s, John’s ministry has capitalized on the Internet’s ability to reach people all over this planet. He has spoken with challenging, probing, and apologetic articles to a wide Messianic audience, and those Christians who are interested in Messianic beliefs. In the past decade (2005-2014), John has positioned himself as a well-needed, moderate and Centrist voice, in a Messianic movement which is trying to determine its purpose, relevance, and mission to modern society—a voice striving to sit above much of the posturing, maneuvering, and religious politics of the broad Messianic spectrum. Given his generational family background in evangelical Christian ministry, as well as in academics and the military, John carries a strong burden to assist in the development and maturation of our emerging Messianic theology and spirituality, so that we might truly know the mission of God. John has had the profound opportunity since 1997 to engage many in dialogue, so that they will consider the questions he postulates, as his only agenda is to be as Scripturally sound as possible. John believes in demonstrating a great deal of honor and respect to both his evangelical Christian, Wesleyan and Reformed heritage, as well as to the Jewish Synagogue, and together allowing the strengths and virtues of both Judaism and Christianity to be employed for the Lord’s plan for the Messianic movement in the long term future.
J.K. McKee is author of numerous books, dealing with a wide range of topics that are important for today’s Messianic Believers. He has also written many articles on theological issues, and is presently focusing his attention on Messianic commentaries of various books of the Bible.
J.K. McKee is the son of the late K. Kimball McKee (1951-1992) and Margaret Jeffries McKee Huey (1953-), and stepson of William Mark Huey (1951-), who married his mother in 1994, and is the executive director of Outreach Israel Ministries.
John has a very strong appreciation for those who have preceded him. His father, Kimball McKee, was a licensed lay minister in the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church, and was a very strong evangelical Christian, most appreciable of the Jewish and Hebraic Roots of the faith. Among his many ministry pursuits, Kim brought the Passover seder to Christ United Methodist Church in Florence, KY, was a Sunday school teacher, and was extremely active in the Walk to Emmaus, leading the first men’s walk in Madras, India in 1991. John is the grandson of the late William W. Jeffries (1914-1989), who served as a professor at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD from 1942-1989, notably as the museum director and founder of what is now the William W. Jeffries Memorial Archives in the Nimitz Library. John is the great-grandson of Bishop Marvin A. Franklin (1894-1972), who served as a minister and bishop of the Methodist Church, throughout his ministry serving churches in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Bishop Franklin was President of the Council of Bishops from 1959-1960. John is also the first cousin twice removed of the late Charles L. Allen (1913-2005), formerly the senior pastor of Grace Methodist Church of Atlanta, GA and First Methodist Church of Houston, TX, and author of numerous books, notably including God’s Psychiatry. Among all of his forbearers, though, he considers his personality to be most derived from his late paternal grandfather, George Kenneth McKee (1903-1978), and his maternal grandmother, Mary Ruth Franklin Jeffries (1919-).
J.K. McKee is a native of the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati, OH area. He has also lived in Dallas, TX, Norman, OK, Kissimmee-St. Cloud, FL, and Roatán, Honduras, Central America. He presently resides in Dallas, TX, and is a member in good standing at Eitz Chaim Messianic Jewish Synagogue.