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What's the Role of Torah for followers of Yeshua?

The Role of Torah

Articles from Hebrew for Christians

Pride and Paradox
Finding God in the Ego's Ashes...

It is relatively easy for human reason to concede awareness of a transcendental power that created the universe and who is the Source of Moral reality, but it cannot fathom how such Supreme Power could be made manifest in a state of weakness, identifying with what is most broken, most perverse, and most sick in the human soul and condition. The cross of Messiah is a scandal because human pride wants to deny the reality that humanity is incurably wounded, sick and without hope apart from divine intervention....

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Do we die to the Torah?
Thoughts on the word "law" in Galatians...

Commentators of the Book of Galatians often fail to make certain critical distinctions that often lead to exegetical errors and theological confusion. Perhaps the most serious of these errors is the failure to carefully distinguish between the idea of "law" and the idea of "covenant."  It is a source of confusion to say, for instance, that we have "died to the law" (νόμῳ ἀπέθανον) without qualifying the idea of "law" to explicitly and exclusively refer to the legal subset of the terms of the covenant given at Sinai...   Read more >

Why then the Law?
Further Thoughts on the "End of the Law"...

Since parashat Ki Teitzei contains more legal commandments than any other Torah portion, it is natural that we should revisit the question of whether we are obligated to follow the lawcode of Moses or not... In light of the salvation given in Yeshua, what is our relationship to the law? What is the goal or "end" of the Law that the Apostle Paul discussed in his letters?

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The Heart of the Law
And the Law of the Gospel...

Did Jesus want us to become followers of Moses?  Is the gospel message really a sort of "reformation" of Temple Judaism?  Did Jesus come to renew the covenant made with Israel at Sinai or did he come to give us a new covenant that would somehow supersede it? In this brief article, I look at some statements that indicate both continuity and discontinuity of the Law in the teaching of Jesus.

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Olam HaTorah
Justice and Mercy will kiss

This exploratory article raises some questions regarding whether the Torah of Moses is immutable (as is held by traditional Orthodox Judaism) or whether it is (itself) subject to overmastering purposes and plans of the Lord. In other words, is the word "Torah" to be linked to the covenant made with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai, or is it perhaps grounded in a deeper covenantal purpose of God that is intended to embrace all of humanity?

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The Most Important Mitzvah
The Centrality of the Gospel Message...

There are many false teachers at work today, including many who teach error in the name of the "Messianic movement." These teachers invariably claim that something more is needed than simple faith in the truth of the gospel message. This brief article is meant to appeal to those who are confused about the nature of salvation and to refute those who falsely claim that Christians are "under the law" of Moses rather than the law of the Messiah....

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Torah Observant Redux
Should Christians Follow the Law of Moses?

Since Jesus lived as an observant Jew, and since we're called to follow Him, shouldn't we live as observant Jews as well? This question is deceptively simple yet enormously complex, as most of you know. If it resolves to the question as to whether we should study and obey the Torah as Jesus did, then the answer is yes, though of course we must be clear exactly what this means, especially in light of the collective teaching of the New Testament.

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Taryag Mitzvot -
The 613 Commandments in Torah...

The Hebrew word mitzvah means "divine commandment" (mitzvot is the plural form). Although the word is sometimes used broadly to refer to Rabbinic (Talmudic) law, in its strictest sense the term refers to an explicit commandment given by the LORD in the Torah. In this article, I provide Rambam's list of 613 commandments, and offer New Testament correlations, when applicable.

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Paul's Allegory of
Hagar and Sarah...

Many traditional Christian commentators have used the allegory of Hagar and Sarah (Gal. 4:21-31) as a means of rejecting the importance of Torah study for the Christian. It is clear, however, that Paul uses a common midrashic technique to argue that the idea of salvation by the grace of God is in perfect harmony with the writings of Moses.

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Torah Sheb'al Peh
The Oral Torah and Jewish Tradition

During Shavuot we revisit the miracle of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, but you might be surprised to know that Rabbinical Judaism believes that two Torahs were given to Moses at that time -- the written Torah and the oral Torah (in Kabbalistic traditions there is even a third or "hidden" Torah as revealed in the Zohar). This brief essay considers some aspects of the oral Torah and its significance to us as followers of Jesus.

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A Taste of Pirke Avot
Finding Wisdom in the Mishnah

Since I recently wrote about the role of oral Torah in Jewish thinking, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at Pirke Avot ("The Chapters of the Fathers"), a popular collection of ethical maxims found in the Mishnah (i.e., the core text of the Talmud). Though it is found in part of Seder Nezikin (a section of the Mishnah concerned with legal liabilities), some scholars believe Pirke Avot originally was intended to be a summary of the entire Mishnah itself.

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Spiritual Acoustics
Avoiding Esoteric Nonsense...

Over the past few years there has been an increased interest in the Proto-Canaanite cuneiform that is surmised to predate and underlie ancient Hebrew. Is there any value in studying these ancient Proto-Canaanite symbols? Can we find "deep" or "esoteric" meaning in the Hebrew Scriptures by studying the Hebrew pictographs? In this brief article, I survey some of the linguistic and exegetical issues....

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Torah, no Torah?
Getting down to business...

Some people tend to find nuanced distinctions abhorrent and seek "either/or" answers to complex questions. Unfortunately, it's just not that simple when it comes to understanding the role of Torah in our lives as Messianic Jews and Christians...

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So you want to be
Torah Observant?

Within the Messianic Community at large, there is a lot of discussion as to whether a follower of the LORD Jesus should be "Torah Observant" -- that is, obligated to follow the various mitzvot stipulated in the Sinai Covenant. In this brief essay, I look at the meaning of the word "Torah" and try to show that it is a function of (or response to) something more basic, namely, the covenantal acts of the LORD God of Israel.

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Torah Awareness
Why Christians Should Study Torah

Often Christians think that the "Old Testament" is virtually irrelevant today, since the doctrines of the Church are made explicit in the New Testament writings. However, this is a serious mistake, as the following short article will demonstrate.

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The Problem of Torah
Searching for the ideal in the desert of the real

All-to-human idealizations, whether they take the religious or humanistic form, are nothing but trash talk when it comes to understanding a divine love that reaches down in compassion to heal and save those who are shattered by life in its concreteness.

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Lulav makes me happy

The Jewish New Testament
And the meaning of "under the law"

Recently someone asked me about Dr. David Stern's Jewish New Testament translation (which was later appended to the older JPS translation of the Tanakh (1917) to form the "Complete Jewish Bible"). Is it a good translation?  Do I recommend it?

Lulav makes me happy

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The Seventy Faces
of Torah...

Shiv'im Panim laTorah: "The Torah has 70 faces." This phrase is used to indicate different "levels" of interpretation for each pasuk (verse) of the Torah. This brief article explains the meaning behind the dictum and an overview of basic Jewish exegesis.

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The Shadow Law
and Old Wine

An article written by Dean VanDruff concerning the popular drift among some Christians to embrace legalistic "Torah Observance" as a supposed step of spiritual maturity. Worth your consideration, especially if you are a Messianic.

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Shadow and Substance

Should a Christian
be Circumcised?

Traditional Judaism regards circumcision as a "rite of passage" into covenant relationship with the LORD, a type of "giving birth" to a member of Israel, the very family of God. Indeed, according to some of the Jewish sages, being born and circumcised a Jew is sufficient to warrant a place in the world to come. But should a follower of Jesus the Messiah undergo ritual circumcision?

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Compare the Covenants
New Wine and Old Wineskins...

If you're a follower of the Messiah Yeshua struggling with the question of whether to become "Torah observant," it is essential for you to seriously consider some of the contrasts between the "old" and "new" covenants as described in the New Testament. By doing so, you will better appreciate the life-transforming differences between the Torah of the New Covenant (given at Zion) with the Torah of the older Covenant (given at Sinai).

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New Wine

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