Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4 both contain a very important prophecy, speaking of the significant influence of Israel in the “end-times,” and how the nations are to be instructed from God Himself in the ways of peace. Both of these passages feature prominently within the Jewish liturgical tradition, but they have had significantly more influence in motivating faithful Jews and Christians to be active in social justice, humanitarian efforts, and in helping to foster world peace. Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4 are very well known to Jewish and Christian philosophy, even though in today’s Messianic community these passages are probably not probed as much as they should be for their theological, spiritual, and missional significance. This prophecy, delivered via two prophets, anticipates great changes that will affect the entire world, directly involving God’s Torah.
One area that receives some discussion, in various parts of the Messianic movement, is whether or not the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)—which we usually refer to as the Torah—should ever be called the Law. A statement that can be heard from time to time in our Messianic faith community, is: The Torah is teaching. The Torah is not the law. It is said that Torah just means Teaching or Instruction, and should never be referred to by the term law.
In Deuteronomy 4:2 we are told not to add commandments to those of the Torah, yet in Judaism, and in the Messianic movement today, we have many people who follow traditions of men that some claim are “commanded,” or at least authorized by God. I am confused.
Messianic people all claim to have a Torah foundation. Yet when confronted with difficult issues such as slavery, the ethics of lying, or the presence of animal sacrifices–gloss over these matters in the Pentateuch. How do we approach issues such as these?
How do modern Believers approach the Torah for the post-resurrection era? Significant Torah issues, with lasting effects on society at large–involve our approach to humans made in the image of God, and the Torah penalties for murder.
When you read through the Torah, do you have difficulty determining what commandments can actually be followed today in the Twenty-First Century? When you look at various instructions to Ancient Israel, how are you supposed to consider their importance as a modern person? Are there actually commandments that appear in the Torah, which are only situational to persons who lived in the Ancient Near East?
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?