ORIGINALLY POSTED 01 FEBRUARY, 2005
The Messianic community today is in a very profound state of growth. Thousands of evangelical Christian Believers all over North America and the world are crying out to the Lord for more understanding and insight concerning the Scriptures, as they know internally that there is more to the Bible than what mainstream Christianity commonly presents. These Believers, praying diligently to our Heavenly Father, are being led into the Messianic movement and are being convicted by the Spirit that they need to live a life of Torah observance like Messiah Yeshua and His early followers. This is creating great change in the lives of these people, as they are growing like never before in their walk of faith, and are actually hearing the voice of the Lord and knowing Him unlike ever before.
This should be the testimony that we hear from many of those entering into the Messianic community, as we should be impacting others positively, and should be here to help and minister to people in their personal lives and walk of faith. When one understands much of our dual purpose as a faith community, in (1) seeing Jewish people brought to faith in Messiah Yeshua and (2) non-Jewish Believers appreciate their Hebraic Roots and faith heritage in Israel, there is significant spiritual power present that is going to be released. Sadly, this is not always the testimony that we hear or see. We do encounter individuals who rather than entering into the Messianic movement because they were convicted by the Word of God and verses of Scripture, were instead sensationalized by a book, an article, or a teaching—and are in our midst to do things other than grow and mature spiritually. The attitudes of such people often do not include critical Biblical concepts such as love, grace, and mercy—but many of them are mean-spirited, hateful, and resentful toward their Christian brothers and sisters who do not understand them, and they do not tend to exhibit a great deal of understanding toward Judaism or mainline Jewish tradition, either.
These negative attitudes will have to be contended with until the Messiah returns. But understanding the fact that the Messianic movement is going to continue to grow, we can learn from the mistakes of others, and we can commit ourselves to doing the right thing: helping people grow the right way. Yeshua’s parable of the sower has some very important lessons that we as the Messianic community need to learn, both about how what we are all about is received, and even more importantly, how it is presented to other people.
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.