Is it a sin for Christians to break the Torah?

Messianic blogger James Pyles comments on whether it’s a sin to break God’s commandments in the Torah:

The whole "is it a sin if..." vs. "is it holy" issue is really the key and kind of a sad commentary. It's like saying "I only stay faithful to my wife because I might get caught" or "I only refrain from committing murder because of the police". If you choose to obey certain of the mitzvot, you do it out of love, not because you *have* to.


  1. It's a good point. However, when asked with the right heart, I think it's still a fair question to ask...

  2. If that is a fair question, let's take it to its logical end.. or beginning. What is a Christian? I'm not trying to be clever, I'm asking and I think it is fair to ask. Is a Christian someone from the nations that commits to becoming a disciple of the Messiah of Israel? If so, what is a disciple? Is it one who seeks to obtain enlightenment by learning from (and emulating with exacting precision) the ways of his/her Master? The question would be better posed, is a Christian an actual disciple of the Messiah of Israel or merely a proponent of the Messiah of Israel?

  3. I think a sin is a sin, but I also think this is why we must rejoice that the Lord is the judge who truly, truly knows all things in God. He lays on you what he wills, wether that is written on your heart, or in your bible.

    It's a sin wether you know it or not in my opinion. But the mediator is fair and just and will know and understand everything that contributes to sin.

    I think the true question is who, WHO, wether Jew or gentile believed and cared enough to seek him out, and strive to serve, love, and please him, no matter what time period that person walked the Earth, or what cultural and social upbringing. Breaking out of your false upbringing through prayer and love for God is key.

    I believe that God would rather us do ignorant things erroneously the best we could out of love for him rather than do the right things out of a cultural hand-me-down just going through the motions. But when we find the right things we should be willing to lose all of our worldly things to move closer to him. That includes stepping out of an apostate church. This best captured by "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge". He called them his people.


  4. "The question would be better posed, is a Christian an actual disciple of the Messiah of Israel or merely a proponent of the Messiah of Israel?"

    The Master told one young rich ruler he loved to sell everything he owned and then come, follow him. Of course, Messiah didn't issue this same command to every disciple of his, because every command in the Torah is not applicable to all. Same for the Christian/Gentile and Jewish disciples of the Master - the commandments which each respective group is required to obey are optimally chosen to fit G-d's plan and purpose for each unique part of the Body. By learning about and through obeying the commandments specifically applicable to us, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, we become disciples of the Master and lovers of G-d.

  5. Your point is certainly true, Gene. And seriously, with much respect, let me ask you something; Bot first, that is not all Messiah said to the rich, young ruler. It's important to not pull one sentence out of a conversation. The ruler asked how he might have eternal life, to which, Yeshua responded that he should keep Torah. The ruler said that he had always kept it and then Yeshua told him to sell all he had.

    Yeshua started with the foundation given by G-d and then built upon it, customizing it to the ruler's particular weakness/challenge/sin/what have you. You are correct in stating that G-d does not require the same from all (for example, I am not a high priest, in the Land, and there currently is not a temple standing)but surely He has given us a standard of holiness (being called to Him, not sinless necessarily) that we are not free to cherry-pick from according to our preferences, ethnicity, or otherwise.

    Back to my initial question, if what I just said is not the case, where do we draw the line? Are gentiles to be disciples of Yeshua, or huge, huge fans?

  6. "Are gentiles to be disciples of Yeshua, or huge, huge fans?"

    Disciples, of course. Being "huge, huge fans" wouldn't hurt either:)

  7. Thanks for going easy, Gene. I respect you and know that you know what you're talking about (as I've read your blog for some time).

    You know all too well about the most dangerous misconception (or the 2nd most dangerous actually)..and that is what I'm trying to address here.

    To quote a wise man (You, actually) that commented on your blog:
    "Also, if one doesn’t read NT as a whole and ignores the rest of the Bible, it’s too easy to make a case that laws are indeed harmful, even extremely so, and have been replaced by the “law of Christ”. Sometimes I wish things were described a bit more, NO – a LOT MORE, clearly (that would have meant a much thicker NT, but who am I to question G-d?)."

    The 800 lb pontiff in the room is the utter need for recalibration on part of the Church. I have to admit, that when I hear someone ask something like "is it a sin for Christians to break Torah" I default to forcing them to define the terms. Sometimes it seems like the only way for them to realize how flawed their question is. I know that sounds awful, but I think that question is ridiculous (unless asked by a child or something).. I want to ask have you ever even read the words of Yeshua?

    Anyway, thanks again, Gene.

  8. Luke, I agree - the "church" will have a lot to repent for when the Master returns. I suspect that many Christians will have a hard time recognizing him when he finally touches down on the Mount of Olives in the Land that he loves, probably because his true Jewish self will conflict with the image they have set up of him in their minds.

  9. "It seems to me" that if one is not in-Covenant with the living Elohim of Covenants, then the question is a moot point. The lawless/Torahless are not included in the Kingdom, so the Sabbath desecrators and 'delicacies of the heathen' diners may as well be drinking in a bar Sunday AM and literally raising hell or whatever they wanna do which they think they can get away with in this life -- for it's all they'll have. ...Plus the resurrection-shock that Satan's ruse is such a slick con that his victims will not realize they were caught in his sting of death until it is too late. [ref Matthew 7:22-23; cf Luke 13:29]

    Or, it may be seen that those not in-Covenant are not under the Law, so since there is no sin where there is no Law [ref Romans 5:13b] they are technically not sinning... but no matter since they have chosen to despise the Law, they will not inherit the Kingdom anyway [ref Matthew 7:21]. i.e. The curse of (ignoring) the Law abides.

  10. I guess the answer would depend on what parts of the Torah Christians (that is, non-Jewish disciples of the Jewish Messiah) are obligated to perform. If we say that Christians are obligated to obey the command not to murder (Genesis 9:6, Exodus 20:13, Matthew 5:21-24) and a Christian commits a murder, then yes, it's a sin. If we say that a non-Jewish Christian is not obligated to wear tzitzit (Numbers 15:38) on the four corners of his garment and the Christian does not wear tzitzit, then he has not sinned.

    But like I said, it all hinges on what portions of the mitzvot to which you consider Christians obligated.

    On the other hand, Nietzsche said that what is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil. While I don't agree with Nietzsche, I do think that a non-Jewish disciple of the Jewish Messiah may take on additional commandments, not to fulfill them as such, but out of a sense of love and devotion to God. It is not a sin to fail to observe these commandments (tzitzit, laying tefillin, etc..) but it can be allowed under certain circumstances (my opinion).

  11. Good points, James, if I may say. Very good points and well stated.

    So is the question now what causes a gentile to desire to keep Torah out of love (if he is not obligated, so to speak) and what causes one to despise (or not keep) it? Is it only disinformation, errant teaching and ignorance, or is there something more? Does G-d operate in the heart of both of these very different individuals (observing gentile, in love vs. non-observing gentile, in something else) in different ways (because of what some believe, that they are "different parts of the body") or are some possibly allowing their flesh to quench the movement of the Spirit of G-d in their lives?

    I guess what I'm essentially asking is this, if gentile believers are not obligated to keep Torah (or some aspects of it), are they obligated (or commanded) to love the L-rd G-d so much that they would feel compelled (out of love, of course) to keep (at least some aspects of) it? Is only Israel commanded to love G-d with their entire heart, soul and strength?

  12. I guess what I'm essentially asking is this, if gentile believers are not obligated to keep Torah (or some aspects of it), are they obligated (or commanded) to love the L-rd G-d so much that they would feel compelled (out of love, of course) to keep (at least some aspects of) it?

    If God wanted to obligate us to love Him, He'd take away our free will, program us to "love" Him and that would be that. I don't think loving God is a matter of obligation anymore than loving your spouse is a matter of obligation. You either love or you don't. After all, it's said that "everything is in the hands of heaven except the fear of heaven (Yirat Shamayim)". God leaves our response to Him up to us. If we respond with love, then we know we truly do love God.

    Why are some non-Jewish believers drawn to the Torah and the mitzvot while others are not? For some, it might be exposure to the Torah, but plenty of Christians visit a traditional Jewish or Messianic Jewish synagogue once and never go back. In Judaism, Gentiles who are drawn to the Torah and especially those Gentiles who convert to Judaism are thought to have a jewish soul, but you may not accept that as an explanation.

    For whatever reason, some of us are just drawn to a Jewish expression of love and faith and desire to connect to God using those means. I write more about free will vs. choice on my blog (but I don't want to test Judah's patience by spamming him more than I already have). Hop on over and look for the post "Choices".

    Let me know what you think.

  13. Luke. I posted a comment answering yours hours ago. Guess it got caught in Blogger's spam filter. :(

  14. Ah, looks like my "lost" comment has been freed from the spam filter limbo. Thanks, Judah.

  15. I hath set it free from the Bayesian limbo from whence it came, never more shall its soul see spambox's yonder fiery flame.

  16. Woot - Hot topic! Thanks James. Ok, you said:

    "If God wanted to obligate us to love Him, He'd take away our free will, program us to "love" Him and that would be that. I don't think loving God is a matter of obligation anymore than loving your spouse is a matter of obligation. You either love or you don't... God leaves our response to Him up to us."

    But see, that's just it. He certainly leaves it up to us, of course. He leaves everything up to us, so to speak, but what are His requirements? I didn't say He forces us. G-d forbid. Perhaps the term "obligated" has certain connotations. Let's use the word "command". I just thought most folks would prefer "obligated" to "commanded" but here we go. I'll ask the question again, slightly differently, substituting the word "obligation" with "command". Does G-d command us to love Him? Now, that is much, much heavier than Him just causing us to feel that we should love Him, isn't it?. Nevertheless, I am asking if He commands us to do so.

    The answer is a resounding, "yes"! G-d commands us to love Him. Completely. In no uncertain terms we are commanded. A few examples (though, there are plenty) are found here: Deut. 11:13 & 22, Deut. 13:3, Joshua 22:5 (which is such a beautiful, no obligation passage) & Joshua 23:11

    Further, when Yeshua was asked what the greatest commandment was, what did He answer?

    And I don't know about anyone else, but when I married my wife, I vowed to cherish & love her in all kinds of situations until death, y'know? So, I am required to keep my word. That's what I vowed to do, so I will. It's nearly effortless because I love her so much, but I have an obligaaa... wait a minute, that can't be right.

    So the offer still stands. Any crazy gentiles out there wanna throw tradition out the window and vow to love your G-d with all your heart, soul and strength? C'mon!

    'Cause I'm pretty sure you have to.

  17. Mmmm...Bayesian limbo--sounds like my kinda party! :-P

  18. "Any crazy gentiles out there wanna throw tradition out the window and vow to love your G-d with all your heart, soul and strength? C'mon!"

    Luke, what or rather whose "tradition" should be thrown out?

  19. I'm sorry, Gene. I was intending that comment to be a bit more obvious. I was addressing gentiles there so, if I haven't already made it clear somewhere else, I believe the traditions of the Christian church that are contrary to (or even that merely prevent others from accurately approaching & understanding) the Word of G-d need to go. There should be no compromise on this point, whatsoever, in my opinion. That's not to say that all Christian tradition is anathema to G-d but those that are nothing more than vestiges of its Roman foundation ought to be obliterated from the practice, teaching and memory of those gentile believers that desire to call themselves His.

  20. This morning, Rabbi Stuart Dauermann posted an interesting article, titled "Inconvenient Truths: The One New Man".

    You can find it here:

    He touches on many issues relevant to this discussion, including the relationship between Christianity and the Messianic Jewish Movement.

  21. Rabbi Dauermann's is an excellent article and I'll be certain to re-read it again later and forward it to others. It is very well written (I could learn a lot from how effectively he communicates) and a terrific answer to Judah's original question - so it's inclusion here is more than appropriate (and pretty much threatens to end this fun thread).

    However, and I just want to make myself clear (because communication put forth and received correctly is a beautiful and rare thing online), I am not saying (and have not said) that Christians should become Israel in any way. G-d forbid.

    It seems that nearly every time I speak of the Church's need to re-evaluate its teachings, traditions, or its approach to scripture and Israel, someone cries replacement theology or something similar. That is not my view in the slightest. I just feel that disciples of Yeshua should be dedicated, loving and knowledgeable disciples of Yeshua. Jewish disciples should be Jewish disciples and Gentile disciples should be Gentile disciples, but they all must be determined and unwavering in living out the example that Yeshua, being the Word made flesh, put forth for us to emulate. This is a command. It is lived out differently among the two, but those would be identity (individual and communal) and stylistic choices - not doctrinal ones. That's what I'm trying to articulate here.

    This is not a "One New Man" argument. Scripture (and more recently, Rabbi Dauermann) has done an excellent job of explaining that concept. What I'm saying is that the Church must abandon, not it's identity as the Church, not it's identity as the nations (grafted in to the Commonwealth, if it even understands that principle), and not its practices, customs or traditions with which it understands, approaches and worships G-d. It desperately needs to abandon (and correct where possible) its centuries of errant teaching concerning G-d's Chosen People. It immediately needs to bridge the enormous, dreadful chasm between itself and Israel (not in a spirit of evangelical conquest, but in one of deep remorse and humility - which I honestly am not certain is even possible at this point - and finally, (but nowhere near the end of the enormous task in front of it) it needs to actually accomplish (or, at least, move in the direction of accomplishing) what was one of its main purposes from its creation, to worship G-d in a way that would provoke Israel to jealousy. It has never even come close to doing that. In essence, I think the Church needs to become what it was before it was the Church - a very close-knit, dedicated group of Gentile believers that loved and served the People Israel and that readily laid down its collective life rather than deny the G-d of Israel and His Messiah. I don't see the Church anywhere near what it should be at this point in history in terms of Gospel effectiveness or emulation of the life and love of Messiah Yeshua. I don't think that's even arguable.

    To reiterate, I place the blame directly on the commandeering and counterfeiting of the faith of the early Gentile believers by the Romans and the subsequent poisoning (to varying degrees) of every single faction, denomination and church that sprung forth from that heinous and completely satanic overtaking - as well as the myriad errant, anti-Semitic and generally lawless mindsets that we, tragically, must continue to wrestle against today , so many centuries, pogroms, inquisitions and supercessionists later.

  22. Luke, can't fault anything you said in your last comment. Cheers.

  23. I continue to ponder teachings like Dr Dauermann's and while he writes a good article and explains very well the need for the Jewish Messianics to be distinctly Jewish, I still have trouble understanding how or if he anticipates any sort of contact at all between Christian Gentiles and Messianic Jews. One of the primary reasons I'm formally leaving the movement in a couple of months (and there are other reasons) is because it's the only way I can give the "stricter" elements in Messianic Judaism what they want by not inserting my Gentile self into the Messianic pool. I'd rather go it alone than show up in a Messianic group and be avoided like a radioactive rattlesnake (actually, the vast majority of Jews in the movement, including present company, seem OK with me, but I still believe there are those MJs who are "purists" and who would rather Gentiles put away the tzitzit and siddurs and quietly go away).

    Keep in mind, I'm not disagreeing with the need for Jews to live a distinctly Jewish lifestyle. In considering my wife's journey of self-discovery in her own Judaism, I realize she absolutely must do what she is doing because she is a Jew. Even though she wasn't raised in a Jewish home, God triggered something inside her that resulted in her needing to embrace her Judaism through all available means.

    However, as her Gentile husband, I understand that there are some things I can't share with her or even really comprehend from her perspective. While we obviously can co-exist in a marriage, share a home, children, and a grandchild together, there's a line I can't cross in our relationship because I'm not Jewish.

    I suspect that's how MJ sees the difference between Jews and Gentiles who "share" the same Messiah and the same God.

  24. James, I think R. Dauermann accounts for Gentiles felloshipping with Jews. However, he also makes a point that a community of Gentile believers need not view itself as illegitimate on account of not having Torah observant Jews within its midst. A "community" of Jews and Gentiles need not mean just any one particular congregation where where Jewish and Gentile identities freely - instead, a community could mean a fellowship between various diverse congregations in a particular geographic area, i.e. Messianic Jewish synagogues and Christian churches.

    R. Dauermann writes:

    "Although the community of God’s people throughout the ages needs to be comprised of Jews living in covenantal community with other Jews and Gentiles glorifying God through the sanctification of their own cultures, this does not mean that every congregation must have some Jews as well as Gentiles to be legitimate."

  25. "where where Jewish and Gentile identities freely"

    I meant to say: "Jewish and Gentile identities mix freely" (that is where identities no longer matter).

  26. instead, a community could mean a fellowship between various diverse congregations in a particular geographic area, i.e. Messianic Jewish synagogues and Christian churches.

    Yes, but do they actually *talk* to each other? This actually does have something to do with Judah's original premise for this blog post. How we respond to God depends largely on how we perceive our responsibilities to God. I don't think anyone will argue that both Jews and Christians are commanded to love God, but just how we each understand the way that love is expressed can differ greatly, even within individual groups.

    Even within one church or one synagogue, you can have individual members who understand their responsibilities to God differently. In the congregation I attend, you have some Gentiles who believe it's appropriate to wear a tallit during worship and others who do not believe they are commanded to do so. Each of these people loves God and seek to do His will, but how they understand His will is different. In the local reform synagogue, there are some people who refuse to do commerce in any form on the Shabbat while others go out to brunch after services as long as they can have a tab at the restaurant. Same synagogue, both Jews, different understanding of the commandments relating to Shabbat.

    A large part of the reason we study, especially in groups, is to gain a closer understanding of who God is and who we are in Him. Jews had access to God directly in a covenant relationship a lot longer than non-Jews, so I suppose they have a leg up on the matter. Non-Jews were only able (without converting to Judaism) to enter into a covenant relationship with God when the Messiah came in human form to make it possible. Even then, the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in the Messianic movement barely got off the ground before it shattered into a billion pieces. There's no original "template" for how Gentiles are to obey God as established by Paul or a method of understanding how Jews and Gentiles are to interact within the Messianic framework.

    The real puzzle I continue to explore, is how Gentiles and Jews differ in our obligations to God through the Messiah. A "side effect" is trying to figure out, within the community of "believers" (and I mean that to include anyone who is a disciple of Yeshua, both Gentiles and Jews) how we're supposed to relate to each other. Yeshua gave his Jewish disciples a new command to love one another which I think can be applied to the Gentile disciples as well.

    Each individual and each group struggles to discover how to best serve God in the way God desires and we struggle with each other trying to avoid stepping on each other's toes with our differences of opinion and doctrine about how we are to serve God.

    In ancient times, Jews could give a sacrifice when they discovered they had unintentionally committed a sin. I suppose with Gentile Christians, we could have an imperfect understanding of the will of God and therefore we could be unintentionally sinning daily. Yet, with even the Bible giving mixed messages, how can we know if a Gentile wearing tzitzit is obeying God or disobeying God?

    I'm tempted to say that Jews have the better end of the deal since there is no ambiguity about your role and duties, but I supposed even that's too simplistic.

  27. James, I don't know your reasons for wanting to leave Messianic Judaism, but I have to say that, from what I've seen, those folks at your congregation are really missing out by not talking to you. It is abundantly clear that you are a super thoughtful person and that you have a ton of intelligent ideas to contribute to any conversation, no matter the topic.

    I wish you lived near me because you would never feel like an intruder at Beth Israel Messianic Synagogue (and I hope that most of us can say the same of our congregations).

    In my mind, there are few things more precious than a non-Jew being moved so powerfully by the Spirit of G-d to love Israel that they, against so many forces (seen and unseen), decide to pick up their tent and follow The Pillar of Cloud together with their Hebrew brothers and sisters. It is a shame that this sentiment is not wildfire where you currently worship and I apologize to you for their behavior. Please do not hold it against them. They really just don't understand.

    I pray you and your wife don't "go it alone" too long and eventually, in G-d's time and for His glory, you're able to find a congregation that is as loving and understanding as you are.

  28. Slight misunderstanding here, Luke.

    I feel perfectly welcome in my own congregation and am treated quite well there. I was discussing the more "strict" Bilateral Ecclesiology Messianic Jewish communities who believe that MJ congregations are primarily for Jews and that non-Jewish believers (i.e. Christians) would be better served in a more traditional church setting. This is really a subset of "Messianic Judaism" since there are probably more Gentiles worshiping in MJ as a whole than Jews at this point.

    The congregation where I worship is primarily "One Law". I've tried to introduce a more balanced approach, but even as a teacher and board member, I'm still just one person and, not being a dictator, I can't impose my personal beliefs on the group as a whole. When I say that I am leaving MJ in part because of some of the perspectives in MJ, it's with the understanding that I'm trying not to step in someone else's sheep pen, so to speak, by wearing a kippah and tallit and praying in Hebrew which some Jews in BE/MJ find offensive. I have no justification for "thumbing my nose" at these Jewish people and, from their point of view, pretending to be someone and something I'm not.

    Another big reason I need to leave MJ is for the sake of my wife. She's Jewish and not even slightly Messianic (she used to be, but that's a long story). Although she has not complained, I can only imagine she lives in fear of my "worship style" becoming known to the folks at the Chabad where she worships and studies. I would not be welcome at a traditional synagogue as a "Messianic" and she isn't about to come to my place of worship. The only chance of us ever worshiping together again is for me to leave the MJ world. Even that may not make her feel more comfortable with me worshiping with her, since I've got "a history", but I see no other viable options.

    I don't mean to make her sound like the "bad guy". She's actually tried to discourage me from quitting and has expressed concern for my well-being at not having a faith community.

    Also, I know when I "drop the bomb" at my congregation and hand in my resignation to the board, they are going to be upset. That leads to another reason I must leave since, having no formal education in divinity or theology, I can't hold myself up as any kind of teaching authority. I don't have all the answers. Increasingly, all I have are questions.

    There are other reasons, but this is a blog comment, not a blog post. I've discussed this on my blog in the past and probably will again when I actually resign. It's a difficult decision, but I can't continue to operate in my congregation as my viewpoint shifts away from some of their core values.

    What a way to enter the Shabbat.

  29. Observation: Bilateral Ecclesiology causes some people to leave the Messianic movement.

  30. Nice, Judah. I second that observation.

  31. "Observation: Bilateral Ecclesiology causes some people to leave the Messianic movement."

    Judah, spot on. I agree - and support this particular "wake-up" effect the BE may have on some folks. Especially if these "some people" are leaving the so called "One-Law" Movement (which appears to be mostly the case at this point) vs. the JEWISH Messianic Movement.

  32. James Pyles
    Ovadia (real name witheld here at his personal request)
    Seth Dralle

    They have all been exposed to Bilateral Ecclesiology, and have ended up leaving as a result.

    -Seth went back to the church.
    -Ovadia abandoned faith in Yeshua
    -James is leaving but doesn't know where he's heading.

    Judge this theology by its fruit.

    It's the most divisive, harmful theology to plague the Messianic movement.

  33. "It's the most divisive, harmful theology to plague the Messianic movement."

    If BE has had any measurable effect on anyone (lets suppose so for argument sake), it has been only positive - Gentiles leaving the "One-Law" Movement (with its identity confusion and bad, divisive theology) is a very good development for both Gentiles and Jews.

    Seth seem to be doing great in his new church (last time I checked his blog). Building beautiful relationships with brothers on whom much of the One-Law movement looks down with condemnation as steeped in "paganisn".

    As you may know Ovadia has left faith once before, - that before he was "exposed to be BE" - so to blame this second time around it on BE is stretching the facts to say the least. BE had nothing whatsoever to do with this. He's just a young man who is looking to find himself.

    James - he's not leaving the faith in Messiah, but he has many good reasons for leaving the One-Law movement.

  34. It's the most divisive, harmful theology to plague the Messianic movement

    @Judah. Precisely. As a simple recasting of the Galatians and Acts 15 disagreement (in the opposite way that BE sees it), it is a replay of the most destructive thing the followers of Messiah have experienced collectively. It will end very badly.

  35. "It's the most divisive, harmful theology to plague the Messianic movement."

    I personally know of WHOLE One-Law congregations closing doors to abandon Yeshua en mass. I've met their former leaders and their former members. The evidence is loud and clear - it's the One-Law Theology that has been the greatest plague and source of spiritual and identity confusion for the Gentiles who congregate under the "messianic" umbrella and it has also been a great distraction to the Jews in the Messianic Jewish Movement as well as an obstacle and a stumbling block to Jews outside of the Movement, not anything else out there.

  36. Apostasy comes in all shapes and all forms. It is present across the Jewish, Christian, and Messianic spectrums. It is not the fault of any one ideology, but rather a failure to place the work of Yeshua and His salvation as the centerpiece of one's spiritual life.

  37. "However, and I just want to make myself clear (because communication put forth and received correctly is a beautiful and rare thing online), I am not saying (and have not said) that Christians should become Israel in any way. G-d forbid."

    Well that does pose a problem doesn't it? Since Yeshua is the King of Israel. If you decide you are not a part, or bow to the pressure that says that you shouldn't be a part of Israel, then who is your King?

    Do those who think that they would be offending Jews by stating the obvious scriptural conclusion that they are very much a part of Israel have a plan B which allows the King of Israel to also be a King over their nation?

    Yes, Elohim is over all the nations (Gentiles)of the earth, but I remember reading that He will take His people out of those nations (Gentiles) and gather them to Himself in the Land promised to Israel.

    Really now, if Messiah did not provide a solution to this seemingly unending drama of who is a Jew and who isn't and what that really means, then why are we taught that He did? Scripture is clear to those believe and quite ambiguous to those who don't.

    And yes this all has to do with guarding the commands of YHWH and doing what pleases Him rather than trying to please man.

    Is there someone who is willing to judge my obedience? Willing to call into question my relationship with Messiah because of some fleshly distinctions? Tell me that I should break the commandments of my Father in Heaven because of my physical birth? And by saying that make light of the reality of my spiritual birth?

    This is not a debate. This is a battle between the children of the Spirit and the children of the flesh. It has always been this way and will continue to be this way until the end.

    So the real question is; which side are you on? Each has to answer on their own, to prove for themselves whether they be in the faith or not.


  38. I didn't know my comments were going to cast me as a "poster boy" for one cause or another. That's not what I was communicating.

    I can hardly say the exposure to BE all by itself has resulted in my decision to leave my congregation, but it certainly is one factor. It's more like looking at BE through the lens of my marriage to a Jewish woman that has helped me see things in different ways. I have seen, through her journey of discovery, how important it is for her to be Jewish and to live like a Jew. From her perspective, having a Gentile husband who is a Christian yet who prays with a siddur while wearing a tallit in a room of Jews and Gentiles must seem odd. She's never complained and has always supported my decision to worship where I choose, but she won't worship with me, either. We don't pray together. As it stands, our religious lives exist in isolation from each other. As long as I am affilated with a "Messianic" congregation (One Law or otherwise) we will always exist apart relative to our faiths.

    Although my wife has actually tried to talk me out of my decision to leave my congregation, and while I will miss the many good people who I have had the honor to worship with, I cannot continue to live a life that relegates my wife and I to different "silos" as far as our religious lives. I don't know if my decision will result in us being able to worship (eventually) as a couple again, but I have no choice but to make the effort.

    Best case scenario is that she eventually feels comfortable with me attending shul and classes with her. Worst case scenario, I pray, worship, and study as a single individual without a community.

    BE isn't making me do anything and I'm not saying they are forcing me out of my congregation. I'm not even saying my congregation is "bad". The people there are good people who have a great faith in God. They are honestly seeking to know him better and to serve people as God would have them do. If my wife and I attended together, I most likely would stay with my current congregation and continue to teach in a way that presents a more balanced approach of Jews and Gentiles in our relationship to the Torah and in relationship to each other. Perhaps if I worked long enough, I could help others share my perspective. I try to almost everytime I teach and it can be struggle, but these are good people and they're worth the effort.

    All that said, I cannot continue to worship God in a way that keeps my wife (at least as far as our religious observance) at arms length. Win, lose, or draw, I've got to try to make a change. Today being Yom HaShoah, I've been reading a number of the commentaries on the Jewish blogosphere. One "holocaust" that is being presented is intermarriage. One blogger even suggested a Holocaust Prevention Day where Jews are encouraged not to intermarry and to live observant Jewish lives. I have no intention of "unmarrying" my wife and I am completely supportive of her living a Jewish lifestyle. She is only one out of 5 siblings to do so and I don't want to stand in her way. I have only God to help me do what I need to do to help her. May God help us be together when we approach Him.

  39. James,

    You talk about your wife rejecting Yeshua as if that is not a problem.

    You speak as if you're the problem; you wonder how you can accommodate your wife, even though she has committed apostasy. You wonder how you can not get in the way or cause embarrassment or discomfort for your wife. You speak as if you're a second class citizen because you're not Jewish. It's why BE has had such an influence on you.

    I tell ya what, guys, it's time for Messiah's disciples to be bold, zealous, and unrepentant of our faith. I am tired of acting as though we play second fiddle to Judaism or Christianity. We don't. We are disciples of the only real Messiah, we are Torah observant, and we damn well shouldn't be apologetic about our hope in Yeshua.

  40. "I am tired of acting as though we play second fiddle to Judaism or Christianity. We don't."

    I don't know about you, but "Judaism" is my faith. Jews are not them, it's me/us.

    "I tell ya what, guys, it's time for Messiah's disciples to be bold, zealous, and unrepentant of our faith"

    Oh, but there's much for Messiah's disciples to be repentant about - misrepresenting Yeshua to the Jewish people comes to mind or little things like, ahem, "supersessionism". In fact, I would say that Jews, as a community, have represented Messiah through the ages far better than the disciples for whom Judaism is the religion of the "others". Time to repent has come indeed for Messiah's disciples.

  41. BE--A "Jewish Movement" who let Gentiles in because Scripture say so, and now are crying over spilled milk....

    One Law--Like the Man said....

    Shlomovich--you can take a man out of the Galut, but you cannot take the Galut out of a shmuck....

  42. Dan, grow up and wash your mouth! I gotta tell you - if it weren't for low class you wouldn't have class at all. For a guy who had willingly abandoned Israel to move to galut and stayed in galut for 40 some years, you're the one to talk! You've lived in galut longer than I have been alive:)

  43. Wowsers, is it hot in here?
    So much to say, but I haven't the time right now, unfortunately.

    I just wanted to tell Russ (Efrayim) that he completely misunderstood what I said. What's so ironic is that it is from part of my comment where I was talking about how difficult it is to effectively communicate online sometimes.

    Anyway, Russ, I agree with you completely about us becoming part of the Commonwealth of Israel through Yeshua. I don't see how anyone could not see that in scripture very plainly and I'm not sure how you could (or if you did) read the rest of my post and think I would believe otherwise. All I meant when I wrote that small piece you cut out was that Christians do not become Israel, in a replacement theology sense. That's all.

    If you like, read the post I put up today called "I do." on KOEOY. It runs my view on disciples in Yeshua keeping Torah into the ground (in a good way).

    Shalom to all you guys & don't return evil for evil (or be found with guile in your electronic mouth).

  44. You speak as if you're the problem; you wonder how you can accommodate your wife, even though she has committed apostasy. You wonder how you can not get in the way or cause embarrassment or discomfort for your wife. You speak as if you're a second class citizen because you're not Jewish.

    What would you have me do, Judah? Get in my wife's face and demand that she worship Yeshua? How many times across the long centuries have Christians demanded that Jews worship Jesus, often with force?

    Try to see this from my point of view. The vast majority of people in the Messianic movement have the same basic understanding of God and Yeshua as their spouses, at least those people who lead or teach. Of those that don't, one spouse is usually Messianic and the other is a more traditionally Christian. They can still share a basic religious life, though perhaps not in every single detail.

    My situation, as far as I know, is unique. I have no models or examples to draw from. Are you saying that I shouldn't be concerned about my wife's feelings? Are you saying I should completely disregard her Judaism and her need to be Jewish? That hardly seems likely.

    Oh, one of the other issues I haven't mentioned recently is the occasional impact on people who visit my congregation. Sooner or later, someone asks where my wife is. I'm not going to lie and say she's not feeling well or is visiting a relative. I tell them the truth and say that she is Jewish and chooses to worship with the Chabad. Having a teacher in a congregation who does not have unity in the faith with their spouse is definitely a stumbling block for some. Some people haven't come back as a result. We have one young couple who attends occasionally but who also attend a church so that they can be "under the authority" of a married couple in leadership.

    My wife isn't doing anything differently than Jews have done throughout the history of the Jewish people...she's being with her people, learning how to obey God as a Jew, and functioning as a part of her community. Yes, she has rejected Yeshua and yes that bothers me. But exactly what am I supposed to do about it and especially, how can I promote and maintain unity between us before God under these circumstances?

    I wish I had all the answers. God does, but He's not telling me what they are right now.

  45. "We have one young couple who attends occasionally but who also attend a church so that they can be "under the authority" of a married couple in leadership."

    Really?! They attend your congregation, but also a church - just so they can be "under the authority" of a married couple? Haven't heard that one before. You wouldn't get my wife and I in a church. I don't care how married their couples are.

    Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

  46. Luke, it's not all that unusual to have some Messianics also attend church. One of our board members has a Christian wife (he's Jewish) and they attend church on Sunday with their granddaughters. We have another couple who have been long time (Gentile) Messianics who also attend a church, but their reason is to maintain a pro-Jewish presence among Christianity.

    Christians aren't the enemy. People who attend church aren't evil. How can we maintain a relationship with the larger community of believers if we, as Messianics, circle the wagons, so to speak, and create a completely isolated environment?

    The couple who attend a church to have the authority of a married leadership are a young couple who have been married less than 2 years. They were both raised in a Messianic congregations near Chicago. They recently moved here and have no relatives in the areas. I suspect, since both of their families are in the mid-west, they wanted to have an older married couple in leadership from which to seek guidance and support.

    Frankly, I don't blame them. It is pretty unusual to not have a person who is in leadership in a congregation have a wife that actively attends another religious group. They're doing what they need to do as a couple and in relation to their faith.

  47. Woah, never said folks who go to church are evil or the enemy. C'mon, James, cut me some slack. My wife and I have a ton of friends who attend church (as does most of my wife's family).
    No problem with your friends, the other people, Mr. & Mrs. Grandfather or whoever doing whatever. Couldn't care less, actually.

    You said that they attend a church so that they can be under the authority of a married couple. I assumed (perhaps mistakenly, that was the only reason) and I just thought it was super odd that (1) there wasn't another married couple in your entire congregation they could sit under (2) that they would attend a church for solely for that reason. I assumed that was the only reason they were subjecting themselves to that.

    And yes, while not evil, attending the average church can be pretty difficult to endure. My wife and I have tried to appease some of her family members on several occasions, so I know what I'm talking about. Pardon me please.

    I, personally, would not sit under all the other authorities that exist in churches just to take advantage of some guidance in my marriage. I think that's unwise and I'm entitled to my opinion.

  48. Luke... many churches out there... and many congregations that label themselves Torah-observant/messianic. In my experience, your average church is far more stable theologically, far less weird, far less confused, far more friendly to other congregations around them, far more welcoming to the "unchurched" people in their communities, and gasp... far more OBSERVANT where it truly matters (i.e. loving your neighbor through visiting the imprisoned, the sick, feeding the hungry, providing for the disadvantaged kids in third world nations) than MOST of the "messianic", specifically One-Law congregations out there whose main reason for existence is self-determined pseudo-or-anti-Judaism "Torah-observance" and shared disdain for Christianity. Sad but true.

  49. Sad and false, actually.

    Most folks in One Law Messianic groups are just trying to keep God's commandments best they know how. It's a terrible shame that some people in the Bilateral Ecclesiology camp demonize their brothers in Messiah.

    Best we can do is keep working towards the goal and moving forward.

  50. Seriously? Is this even acceptable? Can we, as logical, fair adults, just throw around statements of Most-this and Less-that, without providing even a shred of statistical information and expect to be taken seriously?!
    On top of that, doing it all in the name of attacking other believers we talk with daily? How strange and immature.

    Gene, you must have some awesome churches where you live, because they're sure not like that around these parts.

  51. Gene,

    The galut is in your mind Moron...I was there when a nation was born, my family fauught for it, your family on the other hand decided to go to America and wash your hands from the Jewish struggle. You changed one Parits Goy with another more tolerant. So stop standing up for the Jews in the diaspora, you have an alternative, you are old enough to make Aliah and serve in the IDF. Otherwise your words ring hollow.

    I served, you did not, so put up or shut up. Oh, Yah, you are still a shmuck....LOL!

  52. Dan, I'm pretty sure I speak for everyone here when I ask that you please go write this stuff on Gene's blog instead, if you must. If you haven't noticed, we have a fairly lengthy, multi-dimensional discussion going on already without hosting an argument over who fought in the IDF, or not.

  53. I'm pretty sure I speak for everyone here

    LOL. Not me. I've known my Israeli friend Dan for many years, and I always like his chutzpah and his zeal for community.

  54. Luke,

    "Dan, I'm pretty sure I speak for everyone here..."

    But you are not completely sure, are you? Johanny come lately.....

  55. "Gene, you must have some awesome churches where you live, because they're sure not like that around these parts."

    Luke, indeed we do. There are plenty of good solid churches doing the things I described. I know many of the pastors, elders and congregants personally and the work they do. Yes, these Christians may celebrate Easter or Christmas (and I fully support them in this), but I have no doubt in my mind that these things they do for G-d and people is the only Torah that G-d requires of them, and the only one He will judge them by.

  56. Dan, I've been here since 2007, so who's late? And who is this Johann character?

    Gene, great to know you've got effective churches around you (and that you guys are all super chummy), but I must respectfully disagree with you concerning that silly stuff.

    How on earth can you say what "Torah" others will be judged by. Are we able to pick different Torahs? No one told me. Is the observing of Christmas and Easter the "instruction" given to Christians by G-d? If so, where do you draw the line? Or is there a line at all, once you've personally determined how G-d judges the nations? What do you think of the Catholics? How do they fare at the throne? They do a bunch of good stuff. Heck! they invented all those holidays you "fully support" Christians celebrating. They must pass with flying colors. What about Mormons? Buddhists? Lawyers?

    If community service = salvation, maybe you should probably let Christianity know.. cause all this time they've been telling folks that Judaism is a works based religion.

  57. Oh, and Rick! You weren't there when I was speaking for everybody, so if you show once everyone has been spoken for, you'll have to speak for yourself.

    PS. I think it odd how your pal, Dan, shows his "zeal for community". If that's his community outreach, I'd hate to see him disruptive and immature.

  58. Luke,

    What community are you speaking of, the BE bunch? I would not have been caught dead identifiying with them racists.

    God is the God of everyone despite what the Shlomivtches of the world think....Gene is a bomb thrower himself, but he does not like the bombs thrown on himself. Galut mentality.....

  59. "What community are you speaking of, the BE bunch? I would not have been caught dead identifiying with them racists."

    For the sake of truth and to correct gross slander of Jews everywhere on the part of Mr. Benzvi, Judaism and Jewishness is not based on race. Jews are a family and a people, first and foremost. Yes, most of us are descended from our Jewish forefathers, but Jews come in all shapes and colors. What's more, a person of any "race" can convert and become a "Jew". He won't convert to another race, because... again, being Jewish is not a racial category. Historically, there have been many Gentiles and today there are also many who have converted to Judaism. In the Messianic Jewish Movement there are many Gentiles who agree with the principals of Bilateral Ecclesiology and some converted to became Jews. So much for them "racists" Jews.

  60. And yes, while not evil, attending the average church can be pretty difficult to endure. My wife and I have tried to appease some of her family members on several occasions, so I know what I'm talking about. Pardon me please.

    Didn't mean to come on so strong, Luke. Sorry. It's just that among some congregations in the "Messianic" world, there can be a prejudice against churches. If this particular couple needs to have what they find in a church, I'm not going to say they shouldn't do it. We all choose the faith communities with which we associate based on what we think is right and what we believe we need. Given the various folks who comment here, I think we represent the statement that we don't all look for exactly the same things in a community. But despite that, we are all part of the larger community of the body of the Messiah, even though we give each other a hard time.

  61. Very true, James. And, of course, no apology necessary. It all comes with the territory here, apparently.

    But yeah, you're right. No one should be faulted for choosing things for themselves. I certainly don't enjoy being attacked for my choices. I have to walk my zealot every few hours.

  62. 1Jn 3:4 Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah — indeed, sin is violation of Torah.

  63. Jas 1:25 But if a person looks closely into the perfect Torah, which gives freedom, and continues, becoming not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work it requires, then he will be blessed in what he does.

  64. Heb 10:27 but only the terrifying prospect of Judgment, of raging fire that will consume the enemies.
    Heb 10:28 Someone who disregards the Torah of Moshe is put to death without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses.

    Judah, YHWH is gathering Israel or the "Melo Hagoyim" (Gen 48:19, Amos 9:9, Acts 15:16) from all the nations, those who truly follow him are awakening to His Word the Torah! Those who are not listening are not his followers or even "born again" His sheep listen to his voice John 10:27 Rev 18:4

    Thanks - Jesse

  65. Judah,
    I like your blog and all, and have learned a few good things however from time to time it just digresses into pure nastiness. I go to a very stable Baptist church where the fruits of the spirit are evident we have a deep love for Israel, the Jewish people and each other. What do you have to offer that would better my life as a disciple of Christ? Seriously all I see is fighting and division Paul warns harshly to expel those who cause division..

    Also why are some people on this forum so vile? I noticed in the disagreement between Gene and Dan Dan calling Gene a Shmuck? (a word I found out means penis in Yiddish) is this what your idea of serving Christ looks like? Out of the mouth the heart speaks.
    I think for now I will just stick with my church it's stable, dynamic and we are all trying to serve Christ the best we know how. I feel much safer there.

    Brother in Christ.

  66. Dear "Brother in Christ".

    It's probably fair to let you know that a group of us is discussing how to best respond to your comments in a subsequent blog post.

  67. IMHO:

    What's with all the cheerleading and praise (in these comments) for the popish mainline Christianity with all of it's vain traditions of men that are exponentially worse than for what the Pharisees were chastised for doing? At least the Pharisees kept the Sabbath (albeit a bit too stringently) which is a major sign between the living Elohim of Israel and His people.

    What seal [ref Ezekiel 9:4; Revelation 7:3; 9:4] or mark [ref Revelation 13-16, 19-20] do Anon's Baptists (or any Sunday-Christmas-Easter pig gourmand) have?!

    Synergism didn't work for the Israelites when they made a gold calf, didn't work for the northern tribes or the Samaritans, and it won't work today. Will it?!

    The bottom line is that there is NO gentile covenant for Salvation. The ONLY Salvation Covenant is with true and faithful Israel, natural-born or grafted-in. i.e. There is no way to eternal Life in the Kingdom of YHWH without repentance to the Way of YHWH and of His Messiah [ref Luke 13:3, 5]. If one is not in-Covenant, what hope does one have? (I ask rhetorically, because I do not find any examples of Covenant rejectors being touted as destined for the Kingdom as promised for the Patriarchs, Prophets, Saints, and Apostles.) And mainliners do not even know, cannot teach, what the Salvation Covenant is - and it is not ~just believe~ nor is it the feel-good "assurance" verses (e.g. John 3:16; Romans 10:13; cf James 2:19; Matthew 7:21].

    Try, 1 John 2:5  But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

    Anon, come on back and learn the Truth [ref Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4] by testing all things and cleaving to what is good.

  68. Wow, what a comments!
    I would put it in another way: is it a mitswa for Christians to fulfill the Torah?

  69. I would put it in another way: is it a mitswa for Christians to fulfill the Torah?

    That's certainly one way to bring the conversation back to the original topic. The answer depends on whether Gentile Christians have the ability to actually fulfill all of the Torah commandments (mitzvot). How you consider the answer depends on your viewpoint. Does that mean we're back to square one?

  70. In my viewpoint you (gentile and Jew) don't have the ability the fulfill all the mitswot. That doesn't mean that you don't have to do any mitswa.

    It rather points to the Messiah Jesus who was already, and fulfilled and established and finished the Torah perfectly. In that perspective the Torah is made complete and perfect. It can not be broken again.

  71. @faithbasedworks. The Messiah's return and many end time things are prophesied in the Torah, Including the destruction of the earth! This has not been fulfilled yet! The Torah is not 100% fulfilled. Yeshua (Jesus) said ...
    "Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened."


    Shalom - Jesse

  72. Said more on this on my blog here

    @Jesse: thanks

    shalom, Jos

  73. Believers in Yeshua are they who live according to Torah and the writings of the Believers. Yeshua the Messiah made a way for each one to receive the anointing of the Ruach HaKodesh (Set-Apart Spirit) and learn His Word according to the Tanach, (Torah -instructions in righteousness; Neviim -prophets; Ketuvim -writings) and writings of the believers. We observe Torah as did Yeshua and His disciples. Believers come from all manner of Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Eastern etc religious backgrounds to live according to the faith of Yeshua. We follow an ancient and future calendar based on Torah. Torah (instruction in righteousness) is the authoritative Word of YHWH. For believers the Good News or Gospel is the entire Bible. We regard Yeshua as Lawgiver and Teacher of all Righteousness.
    We know Yeshua as the Arm of YHWH revealed, YHWH Tsidkenu, (Yahweh our Righteousness). Believing leaders are diligent followers, and are qualified according to Yeshua's standards, not theological credentials or popularity contests. Leadership and authority is established by YHWH through a Beit Din (house of counsel/judges) comprised of three or more spiritually mature men in Yeshua who are equally vested in the believing community. The believing in Yeshua fellowship does not follow the hierarchical model of head rabbi or pastor, each soul in the congregation is considered as equal, not on "levels" but each one walks according to their gifts and anointing of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy or Set-Apart Spirit). Yeshua instructed all men to not let themselves be called "leaders", Matthew 23:10, clearly there are multitudes of religious "leaders" who are in willful violation.
    Believers take care of our bodies as the "Temple of the Living Elohim" and do not make a habit of eating foods of Babylon. Believers are not dismayed or confounded with the world’s commercial system, or entertainment, or diversions into paganism. As Torah is written upon the hearts each one can differentiate between what right and wrong and become transformed, old things have passed away behold all things are become new. We study the Scriptures which directs us according to the Ancient Path and prophetic revelation for the days ahead. We trust in what Messiah Yeshua has done for us, His sacrifice makes atonement for transgression confessed before Him with a humble and contrite heart.
    Believers do not emphasize theology or doctrine as the standard of "Faith", but righteous character and the action of true Faith. Torah observance by faith is action demonstrating the anointing of the Ruach HaKodesh (Set Apart Spirit). If one says they have faith, but has no love for Torah, their faith is vanity. The believers, the "Netzarim" originates in Isaiah 11, the "netzer" or "sprout" which refers to the Kingdom of Elohim in Messiah.