The Torah

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About the Torah (Summary)

We believe and teach that the whole Torah is but a single unit, consisting of both the TaNaKh (an acronym for Torah [Divine Instruction], Nevi'im [Prophets], K'tuvim [Writings]) and the Ketuvei HaShalichim (Apostolic Writings or Apostolic Scriptures), the three traditional divisions of the Hebrew Scrptures, and that it is the one and only inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God (Tehillim [Psalms] 119:89, Mishle [Proverbs] 30:5-6, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). The phrase “the Law and the Prophets” is a Hebrew idiom for the Tanakh, and is a reference to the whole of Hebrew Scripture.

Furthermore, we believe that to divide the Sacred Text into two “books” or “testaments” is error, and that the writings of the Shliachim should rightfully be included as an integral part of the K'tuvim. We object to the use of the terms “Old” and “New” Testament or Covenant, in that the word “old” suggests that which is obsolete or of less importance that it originally was, and the word “new” suggests that which supplants or has replaced something “old.” We believe that this vocabulary of “old” and “new” plays a major role in the division of God’s Elect into “church” and “synagogue” and is contrary to God’s will for His Elect.

We believe that the original autographs — those originally hand-written by the Shliachim [Apostles] and Nevi’im [Prophets] — are the literal written Word of HaShem, absolutely inerrant and infallible in relation to any subject with which they deal, and the Bible as defined herein is the only infallible and authoritative word of HaShem.

We believe in the verbal (all the words of the Bible) and plenary (all the parts of the Bible) inspiration, dual authorship (Ruach HaKodesh directing the writing of His human instrument down to the smallest stroke of the smallest letter), and protected transmission of all Scripture, so that in the Bible is to be found the full and sufficient source of all divine revelation. Therefore, no other writings, “prophecies,” or other supposed revelations, whether written or verbal and regardless of their source, are to be accepted as divinely inspired or authoritative. All teachings and all knowledge, whatever the source, are to be understood and interpreted in the light of the sacred Scriptures.

We believe that the Bible is to be properly interpreted only through the enlightenment of Ruach HaKodesh [the Holy Spirit] and is to be understood in its literal, natural, historical, grammatical, and intended sense; that in order to be correctly understood and interpreted, it must be understood and interpreted from the perspective of its original recipients; that since the original recipients of the Sacred Text were Jews living within Tabernacle/Temple/Synagogue milieu, it can be only correctly interpreted when viewed from the perspective of Tabernacle/Temple/Synagogue Judaism as it existed from the Exodus through the dispersal following the destruction of the Second Temple; and that it is to be accepted as the full and final authority over the Believer’s faith and conduct, including all matters of congregational polity, policy, and procedure (Deut. 6:4-9; Prov. 3:1-6; Ps. 119:89, 105; Isa. 48:12-16; Rom. 8:14-17; 2Tim. 2:15, 3:16-17)

A. Torah

We hold that the Creator has one, and only one, standard of righteousness, the Torah, by which the conduct of all humankind will be judged. Though God progressively revealed His will to mankind from Gan Eden to the end of the Apostolic Age (i.e., the death of Shliach Yochanan, ca 90 C.E.), we believe that He has now, and has always had, but one Torah (divine instruction) (Sh'mot [Exodus] 24:4) for all people of all time, and that it is the singular standard of righteousness by which all mankind will be judged. Adonai and His Word are eternal. That is: He, His Word, and His Will has always been, and will always be, the same. (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8; Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 1:1-3,14)

We believe the Scriptures when they say that Moshe Rabbeinu “wrote down all the words of Adonai” (Sh'mot [Exodus] 24:4). We therefore believe that the writings of the Sages (Talmud, Mishnah, Midrash Rabbah), while valuable for our understanding and application of the Torah to our daily walk, do not constitute a “Second Torah” or “Oral Torah,” and that they were not divinely inspired but rather are the product of men and represent the “case law” of Jewish religious jurisprudence; therefore, they do not have the authority of Torah (Mishle [Proverbs] 30:6, D'varim [Deuteronomy] 12:32.

The word “Torah” is best translated as “Divine Instruction” rather than “Law,” even though it contains both civil and ecclesiastical laws for the Commonwealth of Israel. The term “Torah” may refer to either the Five Books of Moses, the entire TaNaKh (Hebrew Scriptures), or the whole Bible (including the Ketuvei HaShalichim), depending on usage. Our use of the word “Torah” never refers to the Talmud (the “Oral Tradition” or “Oral Torah”) but, while we do not consider the Talmud or any other commentary on the Scriptures as the Word of God, we believe that the writings of Oral Tradition, such as the Talmud, the Mishnah, and the Midrash Rabbah, also contain further insight into the character of God and His dealings with His people.

In the Diaspora we do not practice those parts of Torah which require residence in the land, a theocratic civil government, and/or a consecrated Temple on Mount Moriah. We disagree with those who teach that obedience to Torah is required only for ethnic Jews, and we believe that HaShem has but one Standard of Righteousness by which every member of the human race will be judged — His Torah. We therefore believe that obedience to Torah, to the extent that obedience is possible, is incumbent upon all believers in Messiah, including “the Gentile Church.”

B. The Ketuvei HaShalichim

We believe that the Ketuvei HaShalichim (Apostolic Writings, commonly and erroneously known as the “New Testament”) were inspired by Ruach HaKodesh (see immediately above), written under the direction of Ruach HaKodesh by Torah-observant Jews, in the Jewish language (Hebrew and/or Aramaic), and were originally directed to an almost-exclusively Jewish audience. We believe that they were then translated into Koine (Common) Greek for transmission to the non-Jewish and Hellenized (Greek-speaking) Jewish Messianic Believers in the Diaspora, and that much of the error in modern translation and interpretation comes from the attempt to understand the Apostolic Writings with a Greek (or Western) mindset and ignore the clearly Hebraic (Eastern) nature of the original text. In order to correctly understand them, we must therefore interpret them from the perspective of the first-century Jewish audience to whom they were written.

Page last updated on Saturday, 27 August 2016 04:35 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes after May 3, 2015 are identified as "Revisions”)