We come now to answer the first of three core questions about the paradigm we have been exploring: whether we Jewish believers in Yeshua (JBY) ought to concern ourselves with halachically informed Torah observance. (Readers: Please see the chain of postings beginning on November 4, that lays the groundwork for this one!)
Should we Jewish believers in Yeshua bother pursuing halachically informed Torah obedience?
Yes we should! “If not this, what? Will the best that God can do with his people Israel at the end of time be that vast numbers of Jews will become Baptists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Plymouth Brethren, Charistmatics, Romans Catholics, or what have you?” Is this the best that God can do with his people Israel? Or look at our congregations: will the best that God can do at the end of history be that he will increase the size of what we currently have and replicate it elsewhere? Think honestly about that! Is that the best God can do and is it what we have been led to believe He will be up to at the end of all things? Does not Scripture give us reason to expect an extraordinary renewal and culmination more intrinsic to Jewish life and on a much grander scale? Should we not expect a renewed and revivified Jewish religious communal life in continuity with and yet transcending all that went before? Should it not be something analogous to the first century congregation in Jerusalem where believers continued in religious life of the Jewish community, yet with something added that attracted thousands of others to join them? We cannot get back to the first century, nor should we naively imagine that we can, but we can, and I believe must get back to what they had: extraordinary transformation in the midst of religious continuity.
Yes we should because the prophetic word tells us this is what will be. It is our remnant responsibility to be an anticipatory eschatological community living as a sign, demonstration and catalyst of God’s consummating purposes for Israel.
Yes we should because otherwise our communal life becomes a repudiation of much that our people have regarded as holy for millennia. We will either mount a rejuvenation of Judaism or its repudiation. Which shall it be?
Yes we should because the people to whom we are called expect that God’s religion for them will be one that unites the Torah of Israel, the People of Israel, and the Land of Israel. To offer them anything else is to exclude from our audience the vast majority of those people to whom we are called to be a testifying remnant.
Yes we should because otherwise we are practicing our own own form of replacement theology: we are in our communal lives and as well as our message replacing the religion of the Jewish people with something which we are commending to them instead. And “instead” is just another word for “as a replacement.” Is it not far better for us to renew Judaism than to replace it, and this through Yeshua the Messiah and in the power of the Holy Spirit? Is this not what Scripture reminds us God is up to among our people?
Next posting we will focus on the “What” of halachically informed Torah obedience for Jewish believers in Yeshua. Come back!