The Torah And Serious Commitment To Application

As a student at Wheaton, I was able to study under the famous philosopher, Dr. Arthur Holmes.  He was fond of calling for us to engage in world viewish thinking.  This meant that the Bible provides us with the foundations for thinking about every sphere of life and engaging every academic discipline from a Biblical perspective.  To do this, we have to know the Bible and its theology well and what it teaches in every subject.  This includes our relationship to God first of all, but then marriage and family, neighbors, civic life, law and justice, the courts, artistry, social sciences, science, economics and much more.  Christian worldview thinking is not possible for people who think that Torah has been done away.  Much of what the Bible has to say on the different spheres of our existence is based in the Torah.  The disturbing thing is that most Christians do not think this way.  They think that the “Old Testament” is a past book.  It provides the predictions of Yeshua and some good devotions in the Psalms, but that is the end of it for them. They have no idea of the Torah being the foundation for justice issues and the key to our understanding and involvement in culture.

However, the problem is not only Christians, but Messianic Jews.  The professions of Torah loyalty are often merely a matter of commitment to aspects of Jewish specific law, circumcision, Sabbath, Feasts, foods, and often Rabbinic traditions.  These are important aspects of our covenant as Jews, however the universal is what Yeshua called the weightier matters of the Torah. Often the Messianic Jewish approach is shallow. Sometimes the Torah is compromised by Rabbinic approaches that do violate the heart intent of the Torah and like Yeshua said, “make void the world of God by traditions of men.”

The Barna organization estimates that only 7% of Christians have a worked-out world view. This is why our political and social disagreements are often based on surface arguments and do not get to the root of the issues.  I think when I have said that I vote for the leaders and party that take us more in the direction of God’s Law, I think that goes over the head of many.  The idea that the Torah will give us direction for the major issues of our time is not perceived.  Historically, many did believe this, from Arminian Methodists to Reformed Calvinists.  Brilliant scholars like Dr. Walter Kaiser, former President of Gordon Conwell still argue this.  I try to show this in my book, Social Justice.  But it is more than that issue.  The Bible gives us a framework for the purpose of art, literature, science, and so much more.  We have to study the Bible with an eye to its implication for all disciplines.  I think many are arguing over issues without the foundation first in place, a true and deep biblical understanding.  The lack of this understanding is why some of our young cannot address the movements of sexual liberation in our culture from a compassionate, but Torah based perspective.  It is why some are given to socialism.  Unless we discuss the foundations in the Bible we are only ships passing in the night in our interactions.  We do not really connect. Our Tikkun books, authored by Dr. Michael Rudolph, Torah in Messiah, provides a good beginning to see how Torah can be applied today.

The Devil’s War Against Creation Distinction

Because this is fresh in the news, and I wrote a book related to the God’s creation order, I write this article as God makes distinctions in creation for mutual blessing in an order of interdependence.  One of those wonderful distinctions are male and female that enrich our lives in so many ways.  Of course, we think about marriage as one of the highest expressions of mutual blessing and interdependence to come from the male and female distinction.  However, mutual blessing sometimes comes from the very different natures of male and female. They have different insights and operate in different ways.  It is sometimes difficult to define the differences with clear lines. Those who have studied the theory knowledge know that no definitions are airtight.  All definitions have fuzzy edges and have exceptions to the definitions or descriptions.  However, that does not mean that the general descriptions of differences are not legitimate.  Those descriptions should not preclude those who do not seem to fit the way of the general patterns of distinctions from fulfilling roles and directions that do not fit the general pattern.   And culture does have influence on how distinctions are presented.  However, there is a distinction between male and female that greatly enriches our lives.

Right now, we are seeing a war on sexual distinction, that God made us male and female.  Recently, the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops put out a statement warning about new policies by President Biden supporting radical abortion promotion and radical gender confusion.  They pointed to the creation order of male and female and said that this should be embraced by society. They were not speaking against basic civil rights for LGBTQ people but against the promotion of a way of life that does not embrace and promote the general truth of creation distinctions in sexuality and traditional marriage and family.  The Biden administration then put out an executive order that required girls and women’s sports teams to accept men who identify as females.  This is very destructive to women’s sports and all the gains women have made.  The Democratic House of Representatives now seeks to put out rules eliminating gender language and to replace them;  no more father, mother, brothers, sister, aunt or uncle, etc.!   One pundit joked that we can not celebrate the first female or woman Vice President!  We should not assert that she is a woman in a transgender world.  There are people who say we should drop the terms man and women.

So why is this happening?  It is because Satan hates God and his creation.  His creation distinctions enrich life and bring joy to God Himself.  Satan seeks a leveling and destruction of the creation order itself.  His followers especially are part of the thrust in destroying monogamous heterosexual marriage and family.  Radicals have historically seen the traditional family as a barrier to an equal and socialistic society.

What is our response?  It is to be zealous to preach the Gospel and to proclaim the truth of the Law of God and his creation order, and to not back down.  Hope it motivates you to get my book!   

Powers Of Light And Darkness

Angels, Demons and Spiritual Warfare, What the Bible Really Says

There are so many practices in spiritual warfare that are practiced by some segments of the Christian and Messianic Jewish Communities.  Some claim Scriptural warrant, but when you look at the texts in context, they do not mean what is being extracted from them.  Some of the interpretations are what we call isagesis, reading in, verses exegesis, explaining what is really in the text.  Some practices claim to be based in the leading of the Spirit.  Our book seeks to understand both what the Bible really says and what can be credibly claimed as being led by the Spirit.

To answer our questions, we have to first survey the Bible and present that it says on angels, demons and spiritual warfare.  Spiritual warfare is important in gaining ground for the Kingdom of God.  What are the most important biblical on angels and demons. What do they do?  What is their power?  How do we best oppose them on the basis of biblical teaching.

In addition, we have the testimony of leaders from various nations that engaged in operations that seemed to have a major effect in rolling back the forces of darkness, including commanding those forces to let go.  I have been in prayer meetings where people addressed the principality over city, sometimes by name.  At other times they have addressed the Prince of Persia or other demonic ruling powers.  Should people be doing this?

We hope that this book is enlightening and brings biblical balance and advance to the issue of spiritual warfare.    

The Most Important Questions

Sometimes we try to convince people of the way of the Gospel by showing them that those who live according to the Bible live the most fulfilling lives.  I think this is true.  I believe that sociological studies that would follow people over a long period of time would find this to be definitely true.  However, the standard for such a study would be solidly committed believers with clear markers of commitment.  This would not work if nominal believers were part of the study.  Some years ago, Redbook Magazine did a study of sexual fulfillment and found to their astonishment that those in committed traditional marriages had by far more fulfillment than others.   However, it is quite amazing that the Bible does not much appeal to this argument for faith.  Yes, there are verses that say a better life ensues when we are submitted to God and follow Yeshua.  “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”  (John 10:10b)

The biblical arguments are stark. First, it argues that we did not create ourselves. We find ourselves in a world where we are taught standards of right and wrong and know that we have violated those standards.  The idea of being in danger from the judgment of the creator is a foundational biblical theme.   If there is life after death, how can we assure a positive after life destiny.  It would seem that the possibility of everlasting life is so serous a matter that resolving whether or not we believe in life after death and where we will end up in that state would be the most important question that we can ask.  The New Covenant Scriptures promise the most positive destiny for those who find love and forgiveness of sins through Yeshua’s sacrifice.  The promise of the Bible is resurrection life in the Age to Come on a renewed earth.  It is quite contrasting to the nebulous hope of Hinduism (and more popular Buddhism) and its escape from karma.  It is closer to the hope in primitive religions that present a more concrete hope.  The famous mathematician Blaise Pascal was famous for his argument for faith called, “The Wager.”  Pascal argued that one should wager on the biblical faith being true and commit one’s life to it.  If one is wrong and there is nothing after, one has lost nothing, but if the Gospel is true, then the loss is total and terrible.  There is merit to this wager.  Indeed, there is no more concrete hope and evidence than for Biblical faith so wagering for it is a better bet than for other religions.  Settling the question of our eternal destiny is the very most important issue. There was some level of the fear of God in the culture which made this argument more persuasive.

The second most important issue is how we should live this life in this world.  After devotion to God and his people, the most important matter is to pursue justice motivated by love for others.  This is the continued theme of the prophets.  The pursuit of justice is the pursuit of the order in society of the greatest destiny fulfillment for the greatest number.  However, the first justice issue, that often not recognized, is the presentation of the Gospel with power.  The Gospel itself is the “power of unto salvation,” and has the power to lift people out of their bondage and the systems of injustice.  Salvation includes that wonderful after death existence but is also includes a purposeful life in this present life  Hence Luke 4 and Yeshua’s announcement of the Good News as providing liberty for the captives, the great reversal.   Economic issues and other social disparities in our society are important but of much lesser importance than providing the Gospel.   Pursuing justice therefore is first of all to bring people to the knowledge of the truth and the unlimited power of God to lift people out of their negative circumstances.  

The other matters of justice are also important; economic opportunity, educational opportunity, equal treatment under the law, religious feedom, and overcoming all racism.   A follower of Yeshua pursues all of these matters but pursues the spread of Gospel above all.

Heaven, Hell and the After Life, What the Bible Really Says

This book is part of a series of three on what the Bible really says. The others are on prosperity and spiritual warfare.

In recent times there has been a push by some who came from the Evangelical world to promote a new universalism.  Generally, those who argue for this view argue that eventually all will be saved.  They also credit the idea of purgatory as the judgment, but it is temporary.  Will Hitler be saved?  One responded, “Yes, but it will take a very long time in purgatory.”  This is not a new view but is being repackaged.

My book addresses the destiny of those who are saved.  Some readers might be surprised to find out that the destiny of the saved resurrected is a restored earth.  Heaven is a wonderful holding place until that time of renewal.  It also addresses the destiny of the lost.  Yes, there are those who will be saved and those who will be eternally lost despite the arguments of the universalists.  The universalists simply do not take into account all the relevant texts.  I seek to provide clarity on the question of who is to be ultimately saved and who will be lost forever.

The book also deals with the evidence of those who have died and been revived (Near Death Experiences) and interprets that these experiences tell us.  The book has been endorsed by leading scholars from the Evangelical and Messianic Jewish worlds.

I trust that this book will be helpful to you.  Do sign up for our newsletter as well when you order this book.


Should We Indoctrinate our Children?

The way this question is phrased is already assuming that we should not because indoctrination is a negative word today.  One young adult objected to teaching our children biblical perspectives as indoctrination.  Rather we should ask, should we disciple our children?  And of course, my answer is certainly, for Deuteronomy 6:4 ff. commands us to teach the words of God diligently to our children. We are to talk of them when we walk by the way and when we lie down and rise up.  

I am the product of a Jewish and Norwegian marriage.  My mother and father agreed to not teach us either in the religion of Judaism or Christianity but to allow us to choose our own path when we got older.  This seemed very enlightened but was mistaken.  Nevertheless, God called me to Himself when I was 12 ½.   When we do not disciple our children, we leave a vacuum.  They will then be indoctrinated by the larger culture around them, the schools, the internet, and social media.  We desire that parents would be in control of those sources of indoctrination.  

However, it is not like we desire to produce young adults who cannot think for themselves in dependence on the Spirit.   As children are young, they learn basic biblical truths, the memorization of Scripture, Bible stories, and great stories of those in missions.  As they enter young adulthood we need to deal with difficult questions, the problem of evil and suffering, other religions, the secular world, the nature of justice, and even economics.  If parents are not capable of such a dialogue, they need their young people to be connected to those who can deal with such issues.  In addition, they need to be able to understand both sides of an issue, even the arguments of those who are against biblical faith.  The young adult learns then to engage in such a way that they are able both to see the other side and not be taken in by it. They can weigh arguments and are not merely indoctrinated.  However, walking in the Holy Spirit will be a key to not going too fast beyond the capability of the young person to absorb and deal with the issues. Seeing mature, discipled and educated young adults should be our goal. 

Christian Social Justice Movements

I have had dialogue with many due to the election controversy on the larger issue of how much a priority we should make of seeking justice in the society. I wanted to make a few comments on this. First of all, we should note that the historic position of Protestant Christianity was that we should seek justice and righteousness in society. Before the Dispensational Movement that only wanted to save souls and then escape before the tribulation, this was a general consensus. The great revivalists were very committed to seeking social justice as the outworking of revival and as part of their revival emphasis. Certainly, this was true of Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finny, and Jonathan Blanchard, the founding President of Wheaton, who said that his vision was to see Wheaton College used so that the Law of God would become the law of the land. They meant this with the qualification of applying it judiciously in our age and in the New Covenant period. The great social movements against slavery and against child labor and the oppression of the poor came from the revivals. The great thinker/Prime Minister of Holland, Abraham Kuyper (120 years ago) almost said the same words as Blanchard. The Pilgrims and the Puritans, of course, settled New England with this very vision in mind. This produced a unique accommodation to Christianity in America. For example, there are two aspects that I would point to. First, Church properties and income is tax-free. Why? Not only because the view was that Christian institutions benefit society and are a key foundation, but there was another reason. That is true. However, it is also that the Church is its own government sphere apart from the government sphere of the state and the state has no claim on money that belongs to God’s sphere. So it is not a special grant from the state, but rather a matter of a foundational principle of understanding Church and state. This was a key to the United States being a society that was the most favorable to world missions that had ever been seen. So when Christians are pushing back against the darkness they see coming from the left, it is that they do not want to see the death of this special situation unlike any other where religious freedom was so fostered. Cancel culture really sees Christianity and its teaching on sin and salvation as hate speech. So the mass mobilization of prayer for the present situation is a right thing and as we have connected to the many streams of prayer: the cry for mercy, repentance, and revival has been very strong. We have not before seen such a mobilization for national and world prayer for the Church and the country. 

However, one friend who has written us has pushed back against this saying that the emphasis on the U. S. and righteousness is not balanced. He believes that in the present state of the Church, the focus on righteousness in the nation is not right. The Church is in decline in discipleship and is not growing and going forward. Certainly, he is right about the analysis of the churches today. Indeed, without a revival and turn around in the churches, the efforts for biblical social justice will fail. So this has to be the top focus for prayer and effort, revival, and reformation in the churches. Having said that, we do not know that God can not bring both together. Only our discernment in the Spirit can answer this question. 

Another friend thinks that the quest for national righteousness is wrong for he discerns that we are entering the tribulation and that the time for this effort is passed. Now is the time to prepare for the persecution and the Anti-Christ. What can I say? So often it has seemed so to past generations. We can not know that there will not be revival and delay in the return of the Lord and more Gospel progress first. Again, we have to be led by prayer and discernment. I have constantly taught that we both need to be ready for his near return and to act for the possible delay, which would lead to seeking revival and social justice.

The Gospel and Hate Speech 

I believe that we will soon see the more radical left attacked churches and religious institutions as purveyors of hate or at least hate speech.  Already former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke called for removing the 501C3 non-profit status of all religious bodies who do not profess support for the LGBTQ agenda.  Another called for Christian Colleges to lose their accreditation.   This movement against Christianity, and we could add Orthodox Judaism and Islam (though the last is given a pass due to more anti-Christian orientations of the radical left) requires changing the definition of words.  Hate is now defined as disagreeing with a behavior.  Phobia as well is defined as disagreeing with a behavior, not as really being afraid of.  Maybe some are afraid of what the LGBTQ agenda will do to society, but most Christians are compassionate toward LGBTQ people. 


The central problem with the Gospel for the folks who will reject it as hate is that the Gospel requires repentance from sin.  Only when a person realizes that he or she has violated God’s Law which defines sin and are thus in danger of eternal Hell, do they realize that they are in need of the atonement of Yeshua.  Classical preaching of the Gospel brilliantly put forth the Law of God, described sin, the danger of Hell, and then called for people to repent and receive the atonement of Yeshua and submit to the Lordship of Yeshua.  This is fully in accord with the teaching of Yeshua in John 15 where He said that the Spirit would convict the world of sin, righteousness and Judgment.  Only when such conviction comes, does the person submit to the righteousness of Yeshua and have a sound conversion.  


Sin is defined by the Torah (I John 3:4).   The presentation of the Gospel includes the call to repent of sexual sin.  The teaching of Yeshua on lust in the heart (Matthew 5) and on the inviolability of monogamous heterosexual marriage as the only now God-ordained order for sexual relationships, sets the Gospel squarely against the libertine views of sexuality in our culture.  When one says that all unbiblical sexual relationships are sin, must be repented of, and then avoided by the power of new life in Yeshua, this places the one submitted to the Bible’s teaching squarely against the politically correct acceptance of all alternative sexual lifestyles including pre-marital sex.  This is the center of battle right now.  Of course, Scripture says much about greed, hardness of heart to the poor, lying, taking God’s name in vain, and idolatry of every kind.  


The question is, will Yeshua/believers shrink back against presenting the Gospel due to their being subject to much rejection in today’s culture.   We cannot but to declare what constitutes sin according to the Bible.  We declare from Romans, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” and “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Yeshua HaMashiach our Lord.”  Romans 3:23, 6:23.  We have to reveal both what God declares as sin leading to death and the remedy in the atonement of Yeshua. 

Restoring Jewish Roots to the church

I have been a shepherd in the Messianic Jewish world for 48 1/2 years now.  The primary focus of the Messianic Jewish movement was and should be winning and discipling Jewish people.  However, there is a second and important purpose.  Our existence raises questions that give us an opportunity to restore Jewish roots to the churches.  And what did we mean by that?  First of all, it was to see the churches, first with its leaders, to understand the Bible in its original Jewish context.  This meant that “replacement theology” the doctrine that the Church had replaced Israel and was the new and true Israel would be rejected and secondly that the election of the Jewish people/Israel would be solidly embraced.  This as well would lead to a much better reading of Scripture.  We also intended that the Church would embrace the foundational stand of the Messianic Jewish congregations, that Jews who come to faith in Yeshua are called to identify and live as Jews.  The Messianic Jewish movement was not against the Protestant Evangelical heritage but affirmed it.  We wanted to add understanding to it.  Restoring Jewish Roots did not mean destroying the Christian heritage, whether holidays, worship on Sunday, Christmas carols and other Church practices, hymns, liturgy, and holidays which were not contrary to the Bible.   


However, some years later, in the 1980s a Jewish Roots Movement began that was apart from the Messianic Jewish world.  Some teachers were solid, with very good teaching and some took wrong turns that brought us great concern.  At its worst, some promoting Jewish roots taught that Christians, the churches, were responsible to keep the Sabbath and  Jewish Feasts according to the Biblical calendar and more.  This came close to what we dubbed “One Law Movements,” which the Messianic Jewish movement worldwide largely rejected.  What then do we think restoring Jewish roots should entail.  I outline here the first two categories which we desire and then two further categories which we think violates the teaching of Galatians and Colossians 2 and Romans 14.  


  1. We desire that the Bible be understood in its original Jewish/biblical context.  This means that we study the whole Bible.  As part of this, we desire that the churches and its leaders would understand the weekly Sabbath and the Feast of Israel including:  a. their historical meaning in ancient Israel and the historical events connected to them, b. their ancient agricultural meaning, c. how they were brought to fullness in the first coming of Yeshua and finally, d. how they will yet be fulfilled and are prophetic of the last of the last days and the Age to Come.   The patterns of life given in the Bible for Israel have universal meaning that all are called to understand.  
  2. We desire that the Church would understand its own heritage in its connection to Jewish roots.  The Church celebrates Good Friday as the recognition of the death of Yeshua as the atonement for all.  Good Friday is rooted in and participates in Passover meanings and this should be taught and understood by the Church.  It is especially fitting that it be taught on Good Friday to bring out the fullness of Yeshua’s sacrifice.  Also, Pentecost is celebrated as the anniversary of the outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2).  The Jewish Feast should be understood as its background and why God chose this Feast for the outpouring with all of its harvest meanings  

These first two points are explained in my books Jewish Roots, and Israel, the church and the Last Days.  We think it is appropriate and fitting for the churches to pray and be led by the Spirit to join with Messianic Jews during the seasons of the Feasts for celebrations near the days of the Feasts. But this has to be by the Spirit and not by any enjoined rule or sense that it would be superior to others that do not so embrace such celebrations. For us the Fall Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) which Zechariah 14 denotes as the international celebration of the Kingdom of God could be a special time together. On the Saturday night during Sukkot week, we used to have a great interchurch celebration.


  1. The third category is that it is better and so much richer if the churches give up their Christian Holy Days, and embrace instead the Biblical Holy Days since they are the Feasts of the Lord.   (On the contrary we believe that embracing such Holy Days is a matter of freedom and the leading of the Spirit.)  Teaching a superior tradition for the churches in our view goes over the line of the clear warnings of Colossians and Galatians.  These days are a shadow, and no one is to judge for the way gentiles embrace these celebrations or do not.  Even the Sabbath is taught as principle (Heb. 4) but is never enjoined as something that should be kept for gentiles during this transitional age. 


  1. The fourth category is a more serious violation of Scripture when some teach that all Christians should keep the Torah in the same way that Jews do.  Hence Jewish Roots is defined as keeping the Feasts, the Sabbath, and the food laws.   Jewish roots is said to be thus restored.  Scripture is explicit that this is wrong and that those who are not Jewish and circumcised are not responsible to keep the whole Law but only universal law.  Of course, the details of this false view are problematic. What days do we keep?  According to the Rabbinic Lunar calendar which we use in Israel?  Most scholars today think that the Biblical calendar was a solar calendar and sometimes the Church Feast Days are closer to the Biblical days than the Jewish calendar.  It is interesting that there is not one New Testament verse that exhorts gentiles to keep the seventh-day sabbath or the Biblical Feasts according to Biblical dating.  


The Jewish Roots movement becomes a source of division rather than enrichment when it goes over the line to #3 and #4.  


ON FAIRY STORIES: A Little Piece for Chanukah and Christmas

During graduate school, I was fascinated by a presentation by the famous apologist, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, on J. R. R. Tolkien’s essay On Fairy Stories. Tolkien argued that all great fairy stories, and often great literary classics presented a general pattern that fit the Biblical narrative.  Things start well, but then something happens whereby things go terribly wrong with great trials and suffering, but then there is redemption and victory for the good people, and they live happily every after.  This, is, of course referring to the Biblical account where the human beginning is in the paradise of the Garden of Eden, but then things went terribly wrong through the temptation of the Serpent.  Human life often became a trial of suffering.  However, there are harbingers of the ultimate redemption and the great turn around in Israel’s escape from Egypt and entering into the promised land.  Then there is the promise of the coming of the Messiah who will bring final deliverance for Israel and the healing of the nations.  All will live in peace and joy under the rule of the Messiah.  It is the great reversal. The coming of Yeshua began the process that will lead to the completion of redemption and to the “happily ever after.”  So many sense that they are made for the happy ever after end. 

Tolkien’s masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, is one of the greatest fairy stories.  Tolkien was firm on his exhortation that we should not see the novel as an allegory of the Gospel.  However, that does not mean that it does not generally participate in a Biblical orientation because all great fairy stories do so.  Only recently was I able to obtain a copy of this essay which I had read over 50 years ago. 

My favorite Christmas Story is It’s a Wonderful Life. In this great classic we find that every good life touches many people, but we don’t often see it.  When one life influences for good, that person touches others who touch others. The great thing about this story is that the lead character does find out that his life has been a wonderful one.  Of course, he lives happily ever after. Now one does not really ever live happy for forever in this present life.  Rather, he lives happy forever only in after the consummation and the return of Yeshua. 

Chanukah is a preparatory story, a fairy tale in real life, real history.  It tells us how Israel was delivered and re-attained their independence as a nation after terrible oppression under the Syrian Greeks.  Without Chanukah there is no coming of Yeshua to a Jewish living nation in the first century. Chanukah tells a proximate fairy tale for the happy forever does not last.  Alas, the descendants of the Maccabees become corrupt.  Then the nation was then conquered by Rome.  Eventually the Romans destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary.  The Christmas story brings the most amazing tale of the incarnation of Yeshua that leads to the amazing victory of the death and resurrection of Yeshua.  But this is not the end of the story.  That ending, the final happy ever after ending, comes about only in his Second Coming.  We are in the middle of this greatest of all fairy stories, spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom, suffering, rejoicing, and onward until the final victory.  That is the ultimate happy ending forever.