A growing movement—with perhaps a quarter million members in the U.S., and 10% that number in Israel—is proclaiming that the path to Christian spirituality is through embracing the Jewishness of the early church. They aim to keep the Sabbath, obey Torah, observe the Old Testament festivals, use Hebrew and Aramaic words, call their leaders rabbi, and much more. They lament that so few believers have studied the Old Testament.
We applaud the Messianics for their emphasis on the Old Testament. They're right: We need to study Torah if we are to grasp the message of the whole Bible (both covenants), view the world through Jesus’s eyes, appreciate prophecy and fulfillment, and much more. They rightly reject common Protestant claims that the O.T. Law was the root of legalism, or was opposed to grace, or only superficially reflects God’s character.
The Messianics seem to see themselves as a bridge between evangelical Christianity and the Jews, whom they expect to come to Christ in large numbers at the end of the age. And yet, although they claim to be 100% Christian and 100% Jewish, few Christians—and hardly any Jews—accept them as representing their historic faiths. (Why is that?) Invest a few minutes each week so that you can assess this important movement. You will also boost your grasp of the Old Testament.
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Talks in this series. Titles and topics provisional. (Each talk comes with brief notes and key scriptures.)
- 1 — Why focus on this movement? (link above)
- 2 — Roots: the 1st century, the 19th-century / Terminology
- 3 — Is the Torah really for Today?
- 4 — Jesus fulfills the Law. How? — accessible 8 July
- 5 — Is the Old Covenant still in effect? — accessible 8 July
- 6 — Does Israel still have a place in God's sovereign plan? — 15 July
- 7 — The early church and the rejection of Israel — 15 July
- 8 — Romans 9-11 / End-times conversion of the Jews? — 15 July
- 9 — Is Sabbath for today? / The 10 Commandments — 22 July
- 10 — Circumcision? Third Temple? N.T. (originally) in Hebrew? — 22 July
- 11 – Galatians & the Jew-Gentile Controversy / The Israel of God — 22 July
- 12 — Shadow vs. Substance / Resources / Conclusion — 22 July
Principal N.T. materials addressing the issues and concerns of Messianic Judaism:Galatians, Romans, Hebrews, + parts of Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians, and 1 Timothy (and, indirectly, Matthew)
Relevant materials elsewhere at this website
- Questions about Modern Israel (15-minute podcast, with notes)
- An Imminent Mass Conversion of Israel? (41 minutes, with notes)
- Romans A-Z (subscription required for later lessons)
- iFaith messages on Romans and Galatians and Hebrews. (Click and scroll down.)
- The name of Jesus. How “Jewish” should we try to sound?
- A separate covenant for the Gentiles?
- Sabbath – Should we follow this OT ordinance?
- Why We’re not Under the Mosaic Law, by Amy Kall
- Holiness – supplement to the Sabbath study
- Rob Bell (a review of Velvet Elvis and "In His Dust")
- Ron Moseley (a review of The Real Jesus)
- Ran vander Laan (a review of Follow the Rabbi)