Messianic Apologetics

Addressing the Theological and Spiritual Issues of the Broad Messianic Movement

Ancient Near East

Torah observance is much more than just Shabbat, the festivals, and kosher. A great number of ethical and moral issues/commandments become significantly conscious to the Torah reader. Likewise, a person has to encounter a world going not only back some 3,300 years to the time of the Exodus, but multiplied millennia to the Creation of the cosmos itself. The questions and the controversies that the first five books of the Bible present to us, not just as students of God’s Word, but specifically as Messianic Believers—are quite significant. Many people do not know what to do when the social norms of the ancient period are different than those of today, and are often at a loss when reading the Torah. Not infrequently, such issues are just avoided or outright ignored in Messianic Torah study.

One of the most important Tanach narratives that deserves the attention of today’s Believers—particularly as it is employed later in the Apostolic Scriptures or New Testament— is the Flood of Genesis 6-8. We all know the story too well—as only Noah, his family, and two of every animal were spared. But what many do not know is that there are other Ancient Near Eastern accounts which portray a significant flood, somehow inflicting damage on the world—that may or may not parallel what we see in Genesis. What we are to do with these accounts, the role that they play in relationship to Genesis 6-8, and what they mean have baffled many interpreters. Some believe that the ANE myths appeared first, and were later adapted by the Ancient Hebrews in the compilation of the Torah. Others believe that the ANE myths are distorted forms of the true Biblical account. And others, not surprisingly, are confused and do not know what to believe, avoiding the subject altogether.

Today, many are wondering why there is a sector of individuals in the Messianic community who have denied Yeshua and either converted to Judaism, or their own primitive form of “Yahwism.” While the reasons vary, one thing that is occurring in our midst is that idle words have taken root in the hearts of people, which are now coming to full fruition. One of the statements that is made far too frequently among certain Messianics today is: “Christianity is pagan.” This statement, while often said “innocently” to describe the ills and some non-Biblical practices of mainstream Christianity, can cause the naïve and spiritually unstable person to begin to think that if the pagans believed something, it must therefore be rejected.

The problem with this line of reasoning is two-fold: (1) The problem is not with non-Biblical and questionable practices in contemporary Christianity; the problem is rather with the fact that all of us have strayed from God’s Word. God’s people have not widely made the Bible and being Scripturally compliant their top priority. (2) If you believe that the message of the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) is “pagan,” you must hold the Tanach (Old Testament) to the same standard. If you believe that the story of Yeshua the Messiah and His resurrection are copied off of pagan myths, then you also have to believe that the Bible stories of the Tanach are also borrowed or copied from the mythology of the Ancient Israelites’ neighbors.

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