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The Gospel According to Torah 

 


OIM is a Messianic educational ministry, which has been commissioned to reach, teach, encourage, and disciple those within the Commonwealth of Israel to return wholly to Him in spirit, soul, and body in the work of advancing His Kingdom until the Messianic restoration of all things.


 
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JULY 2014


In one week last month, I twice had the privilege of freely sharing some of the specific details of my personal salvation testimony to two pairs of listeners. Thankfully, both were genuinely curious about my description of what had transpired as I was being born again in 1978. In recalling the specific circumstances that led to my born again experience, I was reminded of two distinct activities that I believe were used by the Almighty to prepare my heart in order to receive the gospel of truth.

First, there was a community outreach that occurred in my neighborhood by some men from a nearby Methodist church. Two witnesses simply stopped by my house one Saturday afternoon, had a brief conversation about whether I was a Christian, asked me to come to their church for a visit, and left some written materials for me to read. While I never went to that particular church, I was not at all offended by their sincere offer. Instead, I simply read the pamphlets, which boldly presented the claims of Jesus, as the Christ. About that same time, there was an older woman at the place where I worked, who was a devout Christian lady, with a heart for lost souls. She knew I was not saved and told me a few times that she was praying for me, which at the moment, I just brushed off with a respectful thank you. But the Lord knew better. His time to bring me to faith was on the horizon, and these faithful souls handed me the Word and prayed me into the Kingdom of God!

I mention these two providential spiritual actions, because I believe the loving Lord used both of these events to bring me to faith in the Messiah of Israel over the next several months. In many regards, I was the beneficiary of some men replanting the Word of God with written materials, and a godly woman’s prayers for a lost soul. Ultimately, the Scriptures indicate that it is God who causes the increase or draws the soul into His Kingdom, but He uses individuals to plant and water the seeds of truth sown into the souls of those intended to be a part of God’s family. The Apostle Paul stated these truths in this manner:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor” (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).

I mention all of this because after considerable introspective reflection on my personal salvation experience, coupled with a recent congregational emphasis on sharing the gospel to the Jew first, I was prompted to write this month’s article entitled, "Witness of the Word." It describes the power of the Word to save, and our personal responsibility to share it with those when led by the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, you will be encouraged to not only keep the Word of God in your heart and mind—but be ready “in and out of season,” to share it with others as Divine appointment opportunities arise, and continue to pray for those who have had the seed sown into their hearts.

Additionally, we continue to need your support and prayers for the Theological Defense Trust, as well as the Prison Ministry Free Book Fund. The work of the Kingdom continues unabated!

Finally, we are praying for the trials and tribulation which are besetting the people living in Israel, who are contending with the rocket attacks and unwarranted condemnation from those around the world, who are at odds with what the Holy One is doing to restore His people to the Land of Israel. Through it all, it is our fervent prayer that in all of these difficult circumstances, there will be many in Israel and around the world who will call upon the Lord to be saved, just like I did years ago:

“As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me” (Psalm 55:16).

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem, and that prophesied day when all Israel will be saved, and we enter into the Messiah’s Kingdom!

Blessings in Him,

Mark Huey

 
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posted 19 August, 2014 to Facebook

The inclusion of those from the nations in the Body of Messiah, as noted by James the Just, was predicated on the basis of “the words of the Prophets agree” (Acts 15:15). While including the oracle of Amos 9:11-12 quoted thereafter (Acts 15:16-18), many more Tanach prophecies involving the nations turning to Israel’s God and people, had to have been in his mind. We see no forced Torah observance of the nations, as was sought by some (Acts 15:1, 5), because the course of prophecy instead needed to be fulfilled. This would have involved oracles like Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4, about the nations coming to Zion to be taught God’s Law. It surely involved Joel 2:28 and kol-basar... or “all flesh” (RSV) receiving God’s Spirit (Acts 2:17-21). Consequently, a major work of God’s Spirit is to supernaturally write His Instruction on the hearts and minds of His people, as part of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Hebrews 8:8-12; 10:16-17). No one, even Jewish Believers, needed to be forced to obey God’s Law—when the supernatural compulsion of His own Spirit can work absolute wonders. For, only the Spirit imbuing a heart and mind, can enable transformed men and women to truly have love for God and neighbor.

While there is every indication in the Messianic Scriptures, that the Apostles believed that the righteous from the nations were participants in Israel’s restoration along with them—there is no indication that the nations could participate in every single aspect of such restoration. They were part of an enlarged Kingdom realm of Israel, with a restored Twelve Tribes at its center, and with the borders of Israel expanding themselves, as envisioned by the Tabernacle of David oracle appealed to by James the Just (Amos 9:11-12). Those of the nations would doubtlessly be welcome to visit the Land of Israel and express honor and respect to different sites of importance—but the territory of Israel’s twelve tribes for permanent residence, was largely to be reserved for ethnic Israelites alone. While the new, non-Jewish Believers in the First Century would have to be purged of their paganism, there would still remain ethnic distinctions between Jewish, Greek, and Roman Believers. There would also still remain various cultural distinctions, simply by virtue of Greek and Roman Believers being conditioned by the geography and climate of diverse areas outside of the Land of Israel. While certainly needing to be reformed and influenced by a Biblical ethos, various types of clothing, cuisine, music, artwork, entertainment, architecture, and even literature, would certainly not all be synthesized to look and feel like First Century Israel or Second Temple Judaism.

excerpted from Are Non-Jewish Believers Really a Part of Israel?, pp 218-219

     


posted 18 August, 2014 to Facebook

While Torah readers should not think that the native Israelite and ger/sojourner were exactly the same—the native Israelite and sojourner had far more in common than not. R.J.D. Knauth astutely observes how “The resident alien in pentateuchal law would seem generally to be envisioned to be subject to Israelite law, just as a native Israelite would be....[O]ne gains the distinct general impression that resident aliens were envisioned as being accorded equal treatment [by] the law (Lev 19:33-34; cf. Deut 24:14-15, 17-18), with only a few exceptions.”.... ( “Alien, Foreign Resident,” in Dictionary of the Old Testament Pentateuch, pp 30, 31).

There is not an exactness between the ger/sojourner and ezrach/native, but there is an approximate equivalence for these groups within Ancient Israel. The ger/sojourner ≠ ezrach/native Israelite, but the ger/sojourner ≈ ezrach/native Israelite. The ger/sojourner, who entered into Ancient Israel, was to take steady instruction from the Torah, to the point where he could be circumcised, keep the Passover, and be regarded as a native. Yet, the ger/sojourner entering into the community, even going through circumcision, could never totally be the same as the ezrach/native. Only a native born into Israel could legitimately claim the story of the Exodus and wilderness journey not just as a part of his spiritual heritage, but also his ethnic and cultural heritage. And, even though it is most obvious, the native, who was raised in a culture and environment of Torah adherence his entire life, had definite advantages over a sojourner who entered into the community of Israel in later life.

excerpted from One Law for All: From the Mosaic Texts to the Work of the Holy Spirit, pp 45, 46-47

    


posted 15 August, 2014 to Facebook

There is little doubting the fact that the various promises and prophecies of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-27) involve the restoration of Israel's Kingdom and a massive return of physical descendants of Israel home to the Promised Land. This has not happened fully in history. Yet if should be clear enough how the Apostolic Writings appeal to these words (Hebrews 8:7-13; 10:14-18; cf. Romans 8:1-4; Titus 2:14; et. al.) to emphasize the present availability of permanent atonement, forgiveness, and a supernatural transcription of God's Torah onto the hearts and minds of redeemed human beings.

Some people have issues not fully understanding the concept of realized eschatology: realities of the future age to come, breaking into the present evil age via the gospel. The essential core of the New Covenant is operative NOW; more is still on the agenda of salvation history.

Some people have issues of soteriology. They may think that the entirety of the New Covenant is future, including the promises of forgiveness and a supernatural transcription of God's Law--because they have never experienced it themselves!

What is the bigger issue? Needing some theological fine-tuning? Or, truly needing to experience the power of salvation manifested in the New Covenant promises?



posted 14 August, 2014 to Facebook

Why is there so much internal strife and consternation in the broad Messianic world? Consider the stakes of what our faith community stands for! The trajectory we are aiming for is: "all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:26). This involves a massive salvation of Jewish people turning to faith in Yeshua--AND the Second Coming of the Messiah Himself AND the consummation of the Messianic Age AND complete fulfillment of many, many prophecies. The enemy knows this, and wants to get us off on as many tangents as possible, away from the critical work of God's Kingdom.


posted 13 August, 2014 to Facebook

Was Paul's writing to the Romans principally a theological treatise about his beliefs, or was it a letter both telling an audience about who he was *and* admonishing them for some of their issues? When the material of Romans ch 13 and submitting to the government is viewed with the latter in mind, then Paul addressing the Roman Believers potentially caught up in various, ancient taxation controversies, sheds some appropriate light on how this part of his letter has been misapplied in past history.

This evening's Wednesday Night Bible Study podcast will finish off our examination of Romans ch. 13!



posted 12 August to Facebook

The 2000s witnessed between three to five popular books, which were "carpet bombed" across the wide Messianic movement, espousing a One Law/One Torah ideology. While these publications did a degree of good, especially in exposing many non-Jewish Believers to their Hebraic Roots and Messianic Jews with some approaches of how to handle the mixed demographics of our faith community--these publications came up short as well.

Why did some of these publications come up short? It was not so much what they said, as much as what they did not say. Does advocating that non-Jewish Believers should keep God's Torah too, mean that they should live as culturally Jewish in all aspects of their lives? What about issues like what to do when served unclean things at a friends house? What if a job requires one to work on the Sabbath from time to time? Suffice it to say, many details surrounding what a One Law/One Torah approach would mean, in on-the-ground circumstances in the Twenty-First Century, never went through any sizable degree of troubleshooting.

This is a major reason why there is so much tension present today, in the Messianic community of the 2010s, when the issue of Jewish people, those from the nations, and the Torah come up. A third way to the issues that face us, where a wide degree of troubleshooting and exploration of details, has been conducted, is imperative.



posted 11 August 2014 to Facebook

The following is excerpted from the analysis of Acts 15:19-21 from the forthcoming
Messianic Kosher Helper by TNN Press:

The place and intention of Acts 15:21 in the narrative of the Jerusalem Council convening, has certainly caused a great stir in the contemporary Messianic movement. There has frequently been too much rhetoric and posturing demonstrated, without enough probing of the Biblical text, the intention of the Apostolic decree, and the wider implications of Tanach prophecy being in play. There has been enough written on the Jerusalem Council and Apostolic decree, though, to discern that there are three general approaches to James’ word, “For Moshe from generations of old has in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues every Shabbat” (HNV):

SUBSTANTIVE: the intention of the Apostolic decree was to only remind the new, non-Jewish Believers that both Jewish Believers and non-Believers hear the Torah of Moses taught every Sabbath in the synagogue, and that in order to fellowship with them, not being an unnecessary offense, some basic guidelines based in such a Torah needed to be followed

PRESCRIPTIVE/RESULTATIVE: the effect of the Apostolic decree, in issuing prohibitions to the new, non-Jewish Believers, was to not just stop such people from practicing things which the Jewish community would find offensive, but would naturally result in them seeking further instruction in the Torah, as the four requirements (15:20, 29) serve as gateways to understanding many of the Torah’s other commandments; some sort of synagogue attendance and involvement would be necessary in order to access the Scriptures of Israel

IMPERATIVE-DIRECTIVE: the intention of the Apostolic decree was to state that not only were the four prohibitions based in the Torah of Moses, but that once adhered to, the new, non-Jewish Believers must go to the local synagogue for further instruction and direction



posted 08 August, 2014 to Facebook

There is a huge amount of debate in contemporary Messianic Judaism over 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, and over whether a vocational calling of one’s status in life, or a calling by God to salvation and sanctification, is principally in view. The linguistic connections between the Greek of 1 Corinthians 7:20 (
en tē klēsei hē eklēthē) and Ephesians 4:1 (tēs klēseōs hēs eklēthēte), should point one in the direction of the calling or klēsis being a calling to salvation and sanctification (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2). The orientation of this passage is also affected by rendering the verb menō as either a static “remain,” or a more flexible “abide.”

For a further examination, consult the FAQ on the TNN website, "1 Corinthians 7:17-24
."



posted 07 August, 2014 to Facebook

The statement made by the Apostle Paul, as it appears in a variety of English Bibles, to the non-Jews in Galatia contemplating ritual proselyte circumcision, is
:

"And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law" (Galatians 5:3, NASU).

For many, this statement seems straightforward: only natural born Jews and proselytes are expected or supposed to keep the whole Torah.

The challenge is, if this were the real gist of the verse, then why does the action of circumcision merit some kind of falling away from grace?

"You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:4).

Might anything be changed if the Greek
opheiletēs is rendered more literally as "debtor" (KJV/NKJV, American Standard Version)? Would not a proselyte going through traditional conversion be required to submit to curses and penalties of Torah breaking--curses and penalties from which Yeshua the Messiah has redeemed those who trust in Him (Galatians 3:13)? To become "a debtor to do the whole law" (YLT) is something very negative, and widely reflects a pre-salvation condition.

God's Torah is not supposed to be a debt performed by any of those in Messiah. As Paul himself would later say, "the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:4), as the Holy Spirit is to compel obedience to His Instruction.

For a further examination, consult the FAQ on the TNN website, "Galatians 5:2-3."




posted 06 August, 2014 to Facebook

One of the most contentious, and misunderstood issues, in Paul's letter to the Romans, is his direction in ch 13 about submission to the government. Many throughout history have abused Paul's message to the point of where governmental laws in flat defiance to God's Law must be obeyed as obedience to God! A more targeted, contextual examination of ch 13, is going to be offered during the next two weeks, in terms of Ancient Roman taxation issues causing various challenges for the Believers.

Be sure to tune in to tonight's Wednesday Night Bible Study podcast on Romans 13:1-5!



posted 05 August, 2014 to Facebook

There are legitimate questions to be raised from Holy Scripture about the Divided Kingdom era in Ancient Israel, and the dispersions of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. There are a series of yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies, involving the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel as participants, still to be realized in future history (Isaiah 11:12-16; Jeremiah 31:6-10; Ezekiel 37:15-28; and Zechariah 10:6-10).

A few would consider those who think that a prophecy like the two-stick oracle of Ezekiel 37:15-28 is unfulfilled to be "Two-House." Others would consider it to just be eschatology, considering "Two-House" to instead be those who advocate that just about every non-Jewish Messianic is a descendant of the Ten Lost Tribes, and who generally has a negative disposition toward both Judaism and Christianity.

This is an issue on which the bulk of today's Messianic community, has not been able to avoid extremes. Resolution is going to be needed, which is fair to the text, and can avoid unnecessary and unprofitable speculation.

Be sure to get a copy of the TNN Press publication
Israel in Future Prophecy, for a candid and open discussion about this issue:

  


posted 04 August, 2014 to Facebook

There are a variety of Torah passages that use terms like "one law" or "one statute" applying (i.e.,
Exodus 12:48-49; Leviticus 7:7; 24:22; Numbers 9:14; 15:15-16, 29-30), in certain circumstances, for the native and sojourner in Ancient Israel. These are supportive of an ideology, whereby all of God's people today should be submissive to His Instruction.

A majority in the One Law/One Torah sub-movement would say that God's Torah is a Covenant Obligation for all of His people. A ministry like Outreach Israel and TNN Online would say that as a part of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon "all flesh" (Joel 2:28), that the Spirit will supernaturally transcribe the commandments onto the hearts and minds of the redeemed, as a part of the promised New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-27). This would be a model considered to be Supernatural Compulsion.

What this can mean, however, is that the pace of the Holy Spirit imbuing a Torah ethic upon redeemed men and women, will be faster for some, and slower for others. Far from any of us trying to "be" the Holy Spirit, we instead have the responsibility to facilitate Messianic fellowships where people can grow in the Lord, and where all are loved and honored.

Some might say that this is a modification of the One Law ideology popularized in the 2000s. Some might say that this is a "One Law lite" way of looking at things. And, some might say that a Supernatural Compulsion ideology--while friendly to some One Law principles--should stand out as different.

Many of these, and related issues, are addressed in the
Messianic Torah Helper (550 pages) by TNN Press:

 


posted 01 August, 2014 to Facebook

Not too infrequently, outsiders looking at Outreach Israel Ministries and TNN Online will say that we are "This Label" or "That Label." Usually, this is intended to be pejorative--and may even take place without any consultation with our Statement of Faith, much less any of our other materials.

If our ministry choice is at all to be honored by others in the Messianic world of ideas, we would consider ourselves an
egalitarian Messianic ministry, promoting an inclusive and welcoming faith community. We are a ministry which regards both Jewish and non-Jewish Believers in Messiah Yeshua to be a part of the Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-13, 19; 3:6), and which advocates a mutual submission ideology (Ephesians 5:21; Philippians 2:3-4). We fully affirm that all Messianic Believers, Jewish and non-Jewish, male and female--are complete equals in the eyes of the Lord (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 2:11)--and should be encouraged to develop all of their gifts, talents, and skills as is proper in Him. We also believe that the Messianic movement's shared spiritual and theological heritage in the Jewish Synagogue and Christian Church, must be steadfastly honored.



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Last Updated 19 August, 2014