Messianic Apologetics
22 May, 2019

The Great Interest in Torah

In the past several decades, the numbers of today’s Messianic movement have grown because of an increased interest of non-Jewish Believers wanting to tangibly connect to their faith heritage in the Scriptures of Israel. Is the non-Jewish interest in the Torah, a modern manifestation of legalism and people trying to earn their salvation? Or, is it something to be legitimately anticipated as we get closer and closer to the Messiah’s return?

There should be no doubting the legitimacy of the original Messianic Jewish mission of Jewish evangelism, outreach, and solidarity with the State of Israel. This is based firmly on the Romans chs. 9, 10, 11 trajectory of salvation history. Yet it is also clear that a massive salvation of the Jewish people in the end-times, is hardly an isolated event—as it is something which affects the entire world. One of the most significant Tanach prophecies that will also be occurring en masse, in the Last Days, is the Torah going forth from Zion to the nations of Planet Earth, and the nations being instructed in Moses’ Teaching, resulting in worldwide peace. This is detailed in not one, but two, places in the Tanach: Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4. There are popular praise songs in today’s Messianic movement which invoke these prophecies, but even more so, these prophecies are recited in the traditional Shabbat service of the Jewish synagogue, when the Torah is removed from the ark before the weekly parashah is canted to the congregation.

“And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, ‘Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war” (Micah 4:1-3, NASU).

There is an eschatological expectation witnessed in the Prophets that the Torah will go forth from Zion, with the nations streaming to hear it. How does this affect the purpose and mission of today’s Messianic movement, and the role it is to play in the wider world? How are we to capture as much of the expectation of Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4 in our service for God’s Kingdom now, before Yeshua returns? It is safe to say that with many non-Jewish Believers genuinely called by the Lord into the Messianic movement, that a consideration of these prophecies needs to be regarded as something paralleling and locked to, the Romans chs. 9, 10, and 11 trajectory of Jewish salvation.

This prophetic oracle very much anticipates how the separation of the nations at Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) will be reversed. All nations and peoples will worship the One God of Israel, they will be taught from His Law, and true world peace will prevail. The Torah, while originally given to Israel, is something that is to not just affect Israel proper, but all of humanity.

We should expect Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4 to take on greater and more concentrated fulfillment in the future, but given the Apostolic Scriptures’ common emphasis of a realized eschatology—of Believers living and experiencing the life of the age to come now before it is fully manifest (cf. Galatians 1:4)—much of what has been foretold can already be enacted. The Last Days are a stage in history that started two millennia ago with the First Coming of the Messiah (Acts 2:17; Hebrews 1:2), although more is undoubtedly to be expected.

Throughout history, many faithful Christians have frequently looked to Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4 to emphasize “the word” as the gospel or good news going forth to the world, and born again Believers possessing peace in their hearts via the salvation they cherish in Yeshua the Messiah. Along with this have been those who have truly thought that the proclamation of the good news is to be attended with some kind of proclamation from God’s Law as a matter of proper conduct for the redeemed, certainly with principles such as the Ten Commandments guiding lives of holiness.

Understanding the value of God’s Torah begins with comprehending how it is to bring peace to His people. Even while some Messianics may criticize Christians today who widely cast aside the Law of Moses, there have been influential Protestant traditions in history (Calvinism, Wesleyanism) that have always upheld the Law as a source of piety and morality. They have expelled more concentrated effort to see the thrust of Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4 realized in the lives of people, perhaps more than anyone else since the First Century has. This has manifested not only in seeing people saved from sins, but also in wanting to help one’s fellow man via various humanitarian works (i.e., building hospitals, orphanages, schools, homeless shelters, relief missions to the third world). Today’s Messianic Believers stand in their debt, and have the responsibility to continue their positive work—especially now in reaching out to the Jewish people who do not yet know Yeshua!

Most importantly, the oracle of Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4 can only be fulfilled if an environment of peace can be created by leaders and teachers within the Body of Messiah. Sadly, this is the one area that is not accomplished too well by today’s independent Hebrew/Hebraic Roots movement. In fact, its popular teachers are among some of the most likely, in fact, to cause unnecessary divisions and discord. Those who promote some degree of a “restoration of Torah” are not always associated with a great, sizeable message on how we are to be about restoring human wholeness. Micah 4:6-8 specifies some of the disenfranchised groups who are to be immediately affected by Moses’ Teaching going forth to the world:

“‘In that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will assemble the lame and gather the outcasts, even those whom I have afflicted. I will make the lame a remnant and the outcasts a strong nation, and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever. As for you, tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you it will come—even the former dominion will come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem” (NASU).

If the “restoration of Torah” we hear so much about is not concerned with serving the needs of the lame and downtrodden—more than other areas of obedience—then what does that say?

While much more could be said on the changes that many people within the broad Messianic community need to make, when I read Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4 what immediately strikes me is how Yeshua emphasized “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9, NASU). If God’s Torah is to be declared to the nations, and is to result in peace—then anyone teaching it is to be a diligent peacemaker, wanting all to experience Divine blessing and harmony in their lives. Teachers are to desire the full realization of the Aaronic Benediction (Numbers 6:24-26), brought about by the indwelling presence of the Spirit (John 14:17), which can only result in people being edified (Romans 12:18; 14:19). When this becomes our vision for spiritual service—then we will truly make the sizable difference that the Lord wants us to make, culminating in the return of Yeshua and His Kingdom of total shalom.

In seeing the Torah go forth to the world, let us truly anticipate and look forward to the Messiah’s reign of peace!


FOR MORE INFORMATION

Micah 4:1-3; Isaiah 2:2-4: “The Torah Will Go Forth From Zion”

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