The Role of History in Messianic Biblical Interpretation

In the Messianic community today, we often hear a high emphasis placed on the need for us to follow the Hebraic lifestyle practices of our Messiah Yeshua. However, for many generations of Believers which have preceded us, this has not always been the case. Many who have gone before us in the faith have not seen the same things that we have. This has been the case for a variety of reasons, but most notably it has been because we have access to information today that the Reformers and some of the early Christians who settled America did not have. They did not have the benefit of archaeology, renewed contact with the lands of the Bible and the Middle East, and especially the excellent Jewish-Christian relations that we have today in the world of Biblical Studies. At most, what these people had access to were the classical works of Greece and Rome and the writings of the early Church. Today we have a much larger information base, including not only the classics and early Christian works, but also Jewish works.

Our call as Believers is to have an as accurate as possible view of the Bible and the world in which its events took place. The Prophet Jeremiah admonished those of his generation, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk in it”’” (Jeremiah 6:16). God wanted His people to remember the way things were before sin crept into the camp of Israel, and return to His blessings. The same is largely true for us today. The Lord wants us to remember how our goal as individuals is to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, and follow Him as the Apostles did. The challenge is that in order to do this we must “ask about the various paths of history” (ATS), and deal with a diverse array of Biblical and extra-Biblical literature spanning across three millennia or more. We have to put ourselves back into societies and cultures, which are largely foreign to us, and then be able to apply what we learn to our modern societies and cultures today.

These things are admittedly challenging to us as human beings. When we come to faith in Messiah Yeshua, we turn to Him because we know that we are sinners and are in need of reconciliation with God. We know that we need a heart change that will cause us to love Him and love others like never before. But once we receive a heart change we need to begin a life of consistently studying the Bible, God’s Instruction for us. As we study the Bible our minds are transformed, and hopefully we can begin to see the world from God’s point of view. As we continue in our study of the Bible, then God should supernaturally give us the ability to deal with increasingly more difficult ideas and concepts.

The existence of the Messianic movement today demonstrates that at least some people want to deal with some difficult theological concepts. Because we live in a time when Jewish-Christian relations and Christian support of Israel is at an all time high, we have a responsibility not just to ourselves, but also to posterity, to truly consider the historical context of the Scriptures. This presents many obstacles, not just in our understanding of the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament), but also of the Tanach (Old Testament). We have to come to grips with the fact that things may not be as simplistic as we want them to be, and not only will we have to deal with new information, but we will also have to, in the words of Hercule Poirot, “use our little gray cells.” This article will explore some of the key facets of examining the historical context of Scripture, and how it affects our emerging Messianic theology.

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reproduced from 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.

250 pages