One Torah is a ministry of reconciliation between Jewish and Gentile believers in the God of Israel. One Torah believes that there is one law, one faith, one body, one Messiah, and one God.
Believers demonstrate this by loving God and loving one another; and He defines what love is in His law–the Torah.
We believe that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew)–this is God’s love toward us. But after we are saved, we show our love to God through obedience, which results in abundant life and blessings for us and our families (although this does not preclude persecution and suffering which seem to be the norm for those who are obedient).
The church has the Messiah but has forgotten the Torah. The Jewish people have the Torah but have forgotten the Messiah. Only when this dilemma has been reconciled will we truly be the One people of the God of the Bible.
One law for Jews & Gentiles + One faith in Yeshua the Messiah = One people.
For the congregation there shall be one rule for the native-born and for the resident foreigner who is living among you; it is an eternal rule throughout your generations. There will be one torah and one rule for you and the resident foreigner who is living among you.
Numbers (Bamidbar) 15:15-16
Christianity or Judaism?
Neither. We seek to follow the Scriptures as best we can, without additional man-made commandments and traditions. Tradition in and of itself is not necessarily bad. In fact, it’s impossible to keep the commandments without coming up with some traditions because there are many instances where we’re simply not given enough detail in the Bible.
This is one of the main reasons Judaism insists on the Oral Law. They argue that YHWH gave the outline in the written Torah, and the details in the Oral Torah. They say that you cannot know how to keep Torah without the oral Torah i.e. the traditions of the rabbis. However, we would argue that while it’s true that the Scriptures often lack specificity, it is very likely that YHWH intentionally chose to do so.
It makes perfect sense that if you are going to preserve a record of your instructions for your people, and that those people are going to live in a period of time spanning thousands of years with many languages and cultures and customs, that you would only give the essential principals and not get bogged down in unnecessary details that are adaptable over time and culture. Otherwise what you would need is a document that would cover every single instance of every possible scenario in every land and language and culture.
It would yield a massive, unmanageable body of words that until the time of the printing press would be nearly impossible to reproduce, and even if you could, few could afford it, let alone be able to read through all of it in order to apply it. In fact, it would look a lot like the volumes and volumes of rabbinic literature and rulings we have today.
And we do not say that to be in any way offensive toward our rabbinic Jewish brothers (and as opposed to our Karaite Jewish brothers who only follow the written Torah). We are very thankful for the diligent work that our Jewish forefathers put forth to record and preserve not only the Scriptures, but also works like the Mishnah that give us glimpses of possible historical realities and understandings of the Second Temple period.
No, our issue—whether with traditional Christianity or rabbinic Judaism—is twofold:
(1) We reject any instance where tradition contradicts the written Scriptures. For example, rabbinic Judaism forbids the mixing of meat and dairy based upon three verses that say that you can’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk. And it’s tradition within Christianity to have ham on Easter (a double “No!”). But we are fine with traditions that are in agreement with or are neutral with respect to the Bible e.g. celebrating Thanksgiving or Independence Day.
(2) We reject any attempt to make the traditions of man binding upon any believer or group of believers. As we’ve said, filling in some of the blanks with tradition if fine and sometimes necessary. But enforcing your traditions on others and demanding adherence to them is something we categorically reject. We will not take the yoke of man. We will only accept the yoke of the Torah (both the written and the living Torah i.e. Yeshua, the Word made flesh).
The irony is of course that no one agrees with one another, be it Christians or Jews. Catholics don’t agree with Protestants and Protestants don’t agree with one another. And the same is true within Judaism and Hebrew Roots. So everyone wants their version of the “correct” traditions to be binding on everyone else, but no one even agrees among their own groups!
So here’s another option: Why don’t you keep the traditions you want to keep and let others do the same? Instead of bashing one another and causing division, why not agree to disagree? If it turns out that you’re right and everyone else is wrong, that’s ok. Our Father is more than capable of defending Himself and disciplining His children and separating truth from error and defending His great name. He does not need any of us to “straighten out” everyone else for Him. Really, He doesn’t.
If your congregation wants to pronounce the sacred names in a particular way, awesome! If you want to not speak or write the names at all like within Judaism, great! If you want to wear a kippah or a tallit during services, wonderful! But why do so many insist that everyone must do it their way?
First, it’s never going to happen. Second, was the “correct” way you’re doing it now wrong before you started doing it, or is it wrong now? In other words, for however many years before you decided it was the only way to do it, was what you now believe and teach error? And if so, how can you be 100% sure that you are not in error now? Just a thought. And if you or us are right about something now, how about a little grace and patience for those who are still where we were a few years ago? Did YHWH really open our eyes and ears and hearts to the truth of His Torah so that we could relentlessly bash one another or those who are still in the church? Is that really how we’re going to convince them? Why don’t we lead by example instead?
Most if not nearly all of us came out of “the church.” That is where we were redeemed, and it was almost certainly in the name of “Jesus.” Our ministry seeks to reach folks who are still in that system in a way that they can understand, and without being unnecessarily hostile toward them. We seek to be peacemakers whenever possible. There was a time when none of us knew about pagan traditions in the institutional church or anything about Torah. So we try to write teachings that someone still in that situation can understand, and do so in a way that is agreeable.
Debate for debate’s sake
It’s not uncommon for folks on Facebook and other forums to post comments disagreeing with our teachings or correcting us on our theology literally without having actually read our teachings! Based solely on the title of a teaching or the first couple of sentences we post with the link to the actual teaching, people will stop what they’re doing to post a comment against our teaching. Seriously. They didn’t click on the link to the teaching to read it and then decide if they feel like they should comment on it. They just assume what we’re teaching and then disagree with it. I recently had to politely explain to a brother that our teaching agreed with what he was saying after he commented contradicting a position we don’t hold or teach. He didn’t know that we were in agreement with him because he didn’t read the teaching, he just assumed.
We’re not saying that healthy debates about Scripture and doctrine are bad. We’re simply noticing that some within the Messianic movement seem to have an unhealthy fixation on picking a fight with everyone they can over every issue, whether small or great. They seem to lose sight of the bigger picture:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! Matthew 23:23–24
It makes us question what the goal really is for these brothers. Are they trying to encourage and edify the body and speak the truth in love? Or are they the sole keepers of the truth that YHWH needs in order to advance His kingdom? You can be right and still be wrong.
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:45–51
I hope the Master finds us all feeding His household when He returns instead of beating our fellow servants!
The real danger with binding traditions
I wish every believer coming into the Messianic way would read this and take it to heart. Far too many times we have witnessed believers coming out of institutional Christianity and going right into rabbinic Judaism. They exchange one set of man-made binding traditions for another. And even worse, some end up denying Yeshua. We’ve personally seen it happen. It’s tragic.
Discovering the Hebrew roots of our faith is very exciting. It is by YHWH’s grace that our eyes have been opened to the truth of His whole word. And we are startled to learn that so much of what we’ve been practicing previously has its origins in paganism. So it’s only natural to want to get as far away from those things as possible. And it makes perfect sense that since Yeshua and all of His disciples and apostles were Jewish, that we would want to know a lot more about the Jewish context of the Second Temple period in which He lived and taught. And we completely agree.
But that is altogether different than saying or thinking or teaching that the religion that developed and became known as Judaism is the same as the Israelite or Hebrew religion of the Bible. As is the case with Christianity, rabbinic Judaism is a mixture of Biblical truth and man-made doctrines and traditions. The rabbis no more have the corner on all truth than does the pope or priest or pastor. And to assume that they do just because they revere and seek to keep the Torah is faulty reasoning.
We hope you can see by now that we love both our Christian and Jewish brothers, and we long for the day when the House of Israel and the House of Judah is fully and finally reunited. But in the meantime, we strongly caution you to avoid the mistake of going from one religion into another, and especially caution you not to forsake Yeshua, your first love.
For us, we try to keep this list at a minimum. We recognize there are various views and positions on nearly every possible issue. Good people who love YHWH and love Yeshua and love the Scriptures simply disagree. And that’s fine.
Our position is that we are experiencing the consequences of being in exile for the disobedience and unbelief of our forefathers and for our own sins. When Messiah Yeshua returns, He will straighten out all of the doctrinal confusion and remove sin and rebellion from the camp once and for all. And then we will indeed keep Torah. Until then, we are only pursuing Torah as best we can and as best we know how. So there’s no point being hostile and unkind to fellow believers.
One law for Jews & Gentiles:
As we’ve stated many times throughout our website and teachings, we believe that the written Torah (the Bible, the Scriptures, the Tanakh) is for all people who serve and worship YHWH the God of Israel. We do not believe that Gentile believers are only obligated to keep the so-called Noahide laws as Judaism teaches.
We do not believe that all of YHWH’s eternal commandments, statutes, regulations, and instructions—that He gave to His people to be a blessing if they would keep them—were done away with by Yeshua. We believe that Yeshua as the Word made flesh was the perfect example of obedience that we should walk in; and that what He did away with is the curse of the law, which is death as the consequence for sin. Non-binding traditions that do not contradict Scripture are a matter of choice for the believer and the congregation.
One Faith in Yeshua the Messiah of Israel:
We believe that Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth is the prophesied Messiah (anointed one, christos) of Israel. We believe the Scriptures teach that He is the living Torah, the eternal Word made flesh. He is the physical manifestation of YHWH (who is spirit and cannot be seen in His full glory by humans). Yeshua is the “word” of YHWH, the “hand” of YHWH, the “name” (ha shem) of YHWH, the “angel” (messenger) of YHWH,” the “wisdom” of YHWH, the “presence” of YHWH, and the “glory” of YHWH.
We, therefore, reject the view held by some within the Messianic community that Yeshua was only a man, chosen by YHWH to be the Messiah. Instead, we maintain that He is the physical manifestation of YHWH and, therefore, we accept a complex monotheism which was commonly held within Judaism until the second century C.E.
YHWH is unique, uncreated, eternal, and the Most High. Statements about His “oneness” are referring to these attributes of His character, not in how He chooses to manifest Himself to His creation. We agree with the Jewish Publication Society’s own translation of the Shema:
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. Deuteronomy (Devarim) 6:4 JPS Tanakh 1985
YHWH indeed is our God, YHWH alone is our God!
If you enjoyed this post, please take a second to share it by clicking on the below social media or email buttons. And we always welcome your comments!