As I have mentioned before, I am reading/enjoying/re-reading J. K. McKee’s The New Testament Validates Torah. Frankly, this is the single best systematic addressing of Torah for the Messianic. I believe more and broader scholarly works will emerge as time passes, but it will be hard to top this 400+ page work! EVERY Messianic believer needs this on their shelf, and any pastor wanting to understand or get a comprehensive look needs to read this book.
Advertisement aside, there are so many terrific quotes on every page. I want to share three from pages 91-93. The first two are cites of other authors and the last is his.
Take the time to read and ponder each! I’ll list the original sources from McKee’s footnotes.
What would we think of a presidential candidate who assured his voters that he would only UPHOLD the requirements and FULFILL the goals of the Constitution and never ABOLISH our country’s customs and laws, yet two years after his election, plunged the country into complete anarchy? Would this be FULFILLMENT of the Constitution of ABOLITION of the Constitution? It is the same with the Law of God. If Jesus promised to fulfill it but instead abolished it, then He would be a liar and not the Son of God.
Do you know this is one of the greatest objections to the gospel that religious Jews have had? If Jesus was truly the Messiah, why did He do away with the Law?
Brown, Michael. Our Hands Are Stained With Blood. (Shippensburg, PA:Destiny Image. 1990) p.82
Besides the near prophetic sound (notice, this was written in 1990) for current politics, this is a fantastic example with particularly serious implications. I want to read this book… I agree with the title and the premise. The behavior of the Christian church and our denial of the Messiah’s commandments and how He desires for us to live has caused US, – you, me,- to be guilty of the blood of many, many Torah observant Jews. See my articles titled RT:Antisemitism and Jesus. False Messiah. for more thoughts on our blood-guilt and my role in it.
The second quote, with part of McKee’s introduction,
Various Jewish Rabbis of the past century, as a result of interreligious dialogue, have certainly been able to examine the New Testament as a valuable historical and philosophical text. Many have properly recognized, at least from a factual perspective, that Jesus did not abolish the Torah. Alfred J. Kolatch states the following in The Second Jewish Book of Why:
“During his career as preacher to his fellow Jews in Palestine, Jesus was careful to point out that he had no intention of promoting the idea that observance of Jewish law should be abandoned. The Synoptic Books of the Bible (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) portray Jesus as a practicing Jew… Given Jesus’ portrayal as an observant Jew in the Synoptic Gospels, the total abandonment of Jewish ritual by the Christian Church seems strange. It is explained as an attempt by Church Fathers to draw a sharp distinction between Jew and Christian and thereby strengthen the Church. The abandonment is also the result of the great resistance encountered by Paul (and others) in his missionary activity among the Gentile population outside of Palestine. Paul found himself unable to win converts to Christianity when he insisted on adherence to biblical laws such as those pertaining to the Sabbath, family, purity and especially circumcision.”
To Kolatch and many other Jewish teachers and researchers, their problem is not with Jesus and His Torah observance.Rather, their problem is with Paul…. [bold is mine]
Kolatch, Alfred J., The Second Jewish Book of Why (Middle Village, NY: Jonathan David Publishers, 1985) pp. 80-81
McKee goes on to explain that if truth is to emerge, we have to address and answer the hard sayings of Paul. Some are simple answers that require pages of background to begin to untangle the Gordian Knot of near two millennia worth of Christian tradition, dogma and false presuppositions.
McKee encapsulates the process in a couple sentences,
We are not to interpret what Yeshua says about the Torah in light of what we think Paul might say. Rather, we are to interpret and examine the Apostle Paul’s words through the lens of what Yeshua the Messiah says! Paul himself would agree with us. He wrote his disciple Timothy that Yeshua’s revelation and words on matters remain primary, and that one’s doctrine must be in alignment with Messiah’s doctrine:
3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5) [bold/italics in original]
The point is that too often in Christian theology, Paul gets set against Yeshua and Yeshua gets set against the Word of the Lord in the Old Testament. And, precisely because we misinterpret Paul leading to the error of lawless men, we twist all of Scripture to our own detriment and potential destruction! (I’ll quit before I get my soapbox out!)
My biggest desire is for those who claim a love of and faith in the Messiah to take a deep breath and dig into the Scriptures, NOT looking for a way to justify their current beliefs, but to ask hard questions: Are we truly walking in the faith of the First century believers? Did Paul really ‘do away with‘ or declare Yeshua ‘did away with’ certain laws? OR, have we been misled by a long history of intentional antisemitism and false presuppositions?