Torah refers to the religious law that God gave to Moses. The written Torah is found in the Old Testament books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Most Jews also recognize an oral law, collected in works such as the Talmud.
In Christianity, there are diverse interpretations of the systems of religious laws (or covenants), given in the Bible, and how and to what extent they are to be applied in modern times. All or virtually all denominations would claim to avoid the extremes of being antinomian (against the law) or legalistic (attempting to earn God's favor by doing good deeds or emphasizing the letter of law over the spirit).
Although F. F. Bruce was fairly representative of an earlier epoch of biblical scholarship, there has been a general scholarly shift since the work of E. P. Sanders. The views of earlier Protestant Reformers as Martin Luther and John Calvin have had lasting influence.
- 1 Biblical words for "law"
- 2 Denominational views
- 2.1 The Roman Catholic view of the Mosaic Law
- 2.2 The Lutheran view
- 2.3 The Reformed/Covenant Theology view
- 2.4 The Dispensational view
- 2.5 The New Covenant Theology view
- 2.6 The Torah Submissive view
- 2.6.1 Observances
- 2.6.2 Interpreting Torah commands
- 2.6.3 History of Christian Torah-submission
- 2.6.4 Torah-submissive groups
- 2.6.5 Biblical Understanding
- 2.6.6 Objections to the Torah submissive view
- 2.7 Other views
- 2.8 Law-related passages with disputed interpretation
- 3 Recent scholarship
- 4 Further reading
- 5 See also
- 6 External links
- 7 See also
Biblical words for "law"
In the New Testament, the main Koine Greek (original language of the New Testament) word translated "law" is νόμος, nomos (Strong's G3551). κρίνω, krino (Strong's G2919) is another major term. In the Hebrew Bible ("Old Testament"), the תּוֹרָה, torah (Strong's H8451) refers to the law of Moses, or the first five books of the Bible (also known as the Pentateuch).
Traditional Christianity affirms that the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament (known as Torah in Judaism) is fully inspired by God. However, much of Christian tradition has historically denied that all of the laws of the Pentateuch apply directly to Christians. There are several different explanations within Christianity that endeavor to explain if and how the laws given by God through Moses apply to Christians.
The New Testament indicates that Jesus Christ established a new covenant relationship between God and his people (Jeremiah 31:31–34; Luke 22:20; 2 Corinthians2–3; Hebrews8–9). Christianity, almost without exception, understands this new covenant to be the instrument through which God offers mercy and atonement to mankind. However, the various views of the Old Testament Law in Christianity result from very different interpretations of what exactly this new covenant is and how it affects the validity of the Mosaic Law. These differences mainly result from attempts to harmonize Biblical statements that say that the Law is eternal with New Testament statements that suggest that it does not now apply at all, or at least does not fully apply. Most Biblical scholars admit the issue of the Law can be confusing and the topic of Paul and the Law is still frequently debated among New Testament scholars (for example, see New Perspective on Paul, Pauline Christianity); hence the various views.
Some conclude that none is applicable, some conclude that only parts are applicable, and some conclude that all is still applicable to believers in Jesus.
The Roman Catholic view of the Mosaic Law
See also Catechism of the Catholic Church
In the Law of Moses Roman Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas distinguished between three kinds of precepts: moral, ceremonial, and judicial. While the moral precepts, being part of the law of nature, held even before the Law of Moses, the others came into existence only through this positive legislation.
The ceremonial commands were “ordained to the Divine worship, for that particular time, and to the foreshadowing of Christ”. They ceased upon the coming of Christ, and to observe them now would, Aquinas thought, be equivalent to declaring falsely that Christ has not yet come, for Christians a mortal sin.
While what Aquinas called ceremonial precepts (dealing with forms of worshipping God and ritual cleanness) and those that he called judicial (such as those in Exodus 21) no longer hold, the Ten Commandments are seen as pertaining to the moral precepts of the Law and thus remain obligatory:
2068. The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: "The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments."
2070. The Ten Commandments belong to God's revelation. At the same time they teach us the true humanity of man. They bring to light the essential duties, and therefore, indirectly, the fundamental rights inherent in the nature of the human person. The Decalogue contains a privileged expression of the natural law: "From the beginning, God had implanted in the heart of man the precepts of the natural law. Then he was content to remind him of them. This was the Decalogue" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 15, 1: PG 7/1, 1012).
2072. Since they express man's fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbour, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Apostles instituted the religious celebration of Sunday, without transferring to it the ceremonial obligations associated with the Jewish Sabbath, though later some of these obligations became attached to Sunday, not without opposition within the Church. The Roman Catholic Church thus applies to Sunday, the Lord's Day, the Third Commandment about keeping a particular day holy.
The evangelical counsels, which, as the phrase itself indicates, are not precepts but counsels that Jesus gave in the Gospels, are unrelated to the distinction between the permanent moral and transient ceremonial and judicial precepts of the Law of Moses or to any distinction that may be made among its precepts. Not being part of the Law of Moses, they were not precepts of that Law, whether or not a distinction among its precepts is admitted.
Some who dispute the view that the moral precepts of the Law of Moses are permanent, while the ceremonial and judicial precepts were temporary, say that a division of the Law into moral, ceremonial and judicial precepts is nowhere explicitly mentioned in the Bible, which in their view says rather that the Law is indivisible; they also say that it would be practically impossible to sort its commands by these types. But in Colossians 2:16-17 Paul the Apostle speaks of commandments about food, drink, new moon festivals and sabbaths as having been merely a shadow of things to come, while elsewhere he speaks of commandments such as "Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment" as still valid (Romans 13:9). They also say that the Law is described in the Bible as "everlasting", and so, they say, none of it can terminate or expire, nor can anything that an unchanging God called "righteous" and "good" become sinful. But regarding sacrifices "offered according to the law", Hebrews 10:8-9 says Jesus "takes away the first, that he may establish the second", and Hebrews 7:12 says: "When there is a change of priesthood, there is necessarily a change of law as well."
The Lutheran view
See also Law and Gospel
The 1577 Lutheran Formula of Concord in Article V states: "We believe, teach, and confess that the distinction between the Law and the Gospel is to be maintained in the Church with great diligence. . ." Martin Luther wrote: "Hence, whoever knows well this art of distinguishing between Law and Gospel, him place at the head and call him a doctor of Holy Scripture." Throughout the Lutheran Age of Orthodoxy (1580–1713) this hermeneutical discipline was considered foundational and important by Lutheran theologians. Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther (1811–1887), who was the first (and third) president of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, renewed interest in and attention to this theological skill in his evening lectures at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis 1884–85.
The Reformed/Covenant Theology view
The Reformed, or Covenant Theology view is similar to the Roman Catholic view. It holds that under the new covenant, the Mosaic Law fundamentally continues, but that parts of it have "expired" and are no longer applicable. The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) divides the Mosaic laws into three categories: moral, civil, and ceremonial. In the view of the Westminster divines, only the moral laws of the Mosaic Law, which include the Ten Commandments and the commands repeated in the New Testament, directly apply to Christians today. Ceremonial laws, in this view, include the regulations pertaining to ceremonial cleanliness, festivals, diet, and the Levitical Priesthood.
While the view affirms the Sabbath in Christianity like the Roman Catholic view, some advocates hold that the Commandment concerning the Sabbath was redefined by Jesus (Matthew 12:1–13, Luke 13:10–17).
In a revival of ideas established in the Puritan period, starting in the 1970s and 1980s, a branch of Reformed theology known as Christian Reconstructionism argued that the civil laws as well as the moral laws should be applied in today's society (a position called Theonomy) as part of establishing a modern theonomic state.
Advocates of this Reformed view hold that, while not always easy to do and overlap between categories does occur, the divisions they make are possible and supported based on information contained in the commands themselves; specifically to whom they are addressed, whom or what they speak about, and their content. For example, a ceremonial law might be addressed to the Levites, speak of purification or holiness and have content that could be considered as a foreshadowing of some aspect of Christ's life or ministry. In keeping with this, most advocates also hold that when the Law is spoken of as everlasting, it is in reference to certain divisions of the Law. Some advocates, usually Theonomists, go further and embrace that idea that the whole Law continues to function, contending that the way in which Christians observe some commands has changed but not the content or meaning of the commands. (For example, they would say that the commands regarding Passover were looking forward to Christ's sacrifical death and the Communion mandate is looking back on it, the former is given to the Levitical priesthood and the latter is given to the priesthood of all believers, but both have the same content and meaning.)
Those in disagreement with this view claim that nowhere is a division of the Law mentioned in the Bible, but rather there is evidence that it is indivisible, and it would be practically impossible to sort commands by these types. Others in disagreement claim that the Law is described in various places as "everlasting" and none of it can terminate or expire.
The Dispensational view
The Dispensational view holds that under the new covenant, the Mosaic law has fundamentally been terminated, or abolished (antinomianism), because, in this view, Scripture never describes the Law as divisible — it is one unit (James 2:10–11). Therefore, because portions of New Testament Scripture (such as Heb. 8:13) are understood in this view to annul at least parts of the Law, then the whole Law must be terminated.
Furthermore, this view holds that the Mosaic laws and the penalties attached to the laws were limited to the particular historical and theological setting of the Old Testament, described in this view as a different “dispensation;” a stage of time in which God dealt with humanity in a fundamentally different way than he does now. We are now living in the “dispensation” of the church/grace, which is a “parenthesis” or “intercalation” in history that is outside of God’s over-arching plan for Israel, and thus the Law given to Israel doesn’t now apply.
Replacing the Mosaic Law is the “Law of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21), which holds definite similarities with the Mosaic Law in moral concerns, but is new and different, replacing the first Law. Despite this difference, Dispensationalists may seek to find moral and religious principles applicable for today in all parts of the Mosaic Law.
Those in disagreement with the Dispensational view point out that nowhere does the Bible define a series of “dispensations” that this theology propones, and point out that God said that he does not change. Furthermore, opponents point out that the Mosaic Law is described in various places as “everlasting” and must fundamentally continue in some form. Others hold that, for this same reason, none at all can terminate or expire.
The New Covenant Theology view
New Covenant Theology believes that God has maintained one eternal purpose in Christ, which has been expressed through a multiplicity of distinct historical covenants; that prominent among these are those designated the Old Covenant (also known as the Mosaic or First Covenant) and the New Covenant; that the former, confined to the people of Israel alone, was established while that nation was assembled before Mt. Sinai and was later made obsolete through its fulfillment by the life and death of Jesus the Messiah; that it was comprised largely of shadows pointing ultimately to Jesus and His body, the Church; and that, therefore, the age in which it remained operative was at all times a period of immaturity as compared to the age of fulfillment, which was inaugurated with Christ's first advent.
The Old Covenant, containing a single, unified law code, was a legal, conditional covenant requiring perfect and complete obedience of all those under it; that, on the one hand, it promised life to all who obeyed it, and, on the other hand, it pronounced a curse upon all its transgressors; that it, therefore, inescapably brought death to all who sought to be justified by it — not because of a deficiency in the law (itself "holy, just, and good"), but because of the sinful inability of those under its charge; and that, for this reason, it is variously described as a "killing letter," a "ministry of death,” and a "ministry of condemnation" — its distinct purpose being to illumine sin so as to make manifest the Israelites' and, by implication, all men's need for a redeemer.
In contrast to the Old Covenant, the New Covenant (by virtue of Christ's perfect obedience to the law, as well as His bearing of its curse) promises only blessing to all those who belong to it; and that this second covenant, the "everlasting covenant" enacted upon better promises, has thus brought to realization all that was anticipated in the covenants made with Abraham, Moses, and David.
Under the New Covenant, God's people, having entered the age of fulfillment, now stand as mature sons; that having been set free from the tutelage and bondage of the law code written upon tablets of stone, they have subsequently been placed under the Spirit's management — having the new and greater Lawgiver's own law now written upon their hearts.
As a result, though many of the individual commandments given in the decalogue and the eternal principles upon which the Mosaic Covenant was founded still apply to those under the New Covenant, God's people are now totally free from the Old Covenant as a covenant; that the usefulness of the Mosaic commands is not therefore to be denied, only that these are now understood to come to us through Christ, the mediator of the New Covenant; and that, in particular, with the obsolescence of the Old Covenant, the fourth commandment, the seventh day Sabbath observance, is no longer obligatory — its relevance now pointing to that rest enjoyed by all those in Christ.
The Torah Submissive view
One of the views of the Mosaic Law/Torah in Christianity is that it remains valid and applicable for Christians under the new covenant (see also Christian view of the Law). This view largely sources from the view that Jesus, as the Son of God and Messiah, could not and did not change the standard of Godly obedience, but rather affirmed both the "weightier" and "lesser" matters of Torah for those who have put their faith in him (Matthew 23:23, e.g. See also Biblical Understanding below). Adherents of this view pursue a lifestyle that is both fully dedicated to Jesus Christ and also submitted to obeying God’s commands found in the Torah (which includes the Law of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai). There are both ethnically Jewish and Gentile Torah-submissive Christians.
Most of what traditional Christianity upholds as moral behavior, including worship of One God, loving one’s neighbor and avoiding sexual immorality are concepts found in the Torah and are highly emphasized by Torah-submissive Christians, both because of their view of Torah and their faith in Jesus.
However, because of the view that the whole Torah applies, there are also several other observances that have not popularly been observed by traditional Christianity.
Main article Sabbath in Christianity
Torah-submissive Christians observe the Sabbath (Shabbat in Judaism) on Saturday, as the day of rest commanded by God, with most of them currently regarding it as being invariably from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. In accordance with the Torah, they try not to work at all on this day and try not to make others work for them, which prohibits most forms of commerce. Many assemble together as a community, some reading the weekly Torah-portion (parsha) together. The other specifics mentioned in the Torah are also upheld, such as refraining from kindling a fire or carrying a heavy load.
To Torah-submissive Christians, the Sabbath is not only a day on which to relax, it is a piece of the Kingdom of God and teaches them about how they are to work to prepare during the week (life) in order to enjoy the perfect rest (treasure in heaven) that comes afterward (the kingdom of heaven) (Hebrews 4:9–11).
See also Ital
Dietary laws are upheld by Torah-submissive Christians, who try to abstain from unclean flesh, such as pork, shellfish, catfish, and anything else prohibited in the Torah (Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14). Since “without blood” is not strictly defined Biblically, some hold to "kashrut" kosher standards, while others allow thorough cooking to suffice as fulfilling this command. Many do not adhere to the separation of meat and dairy prescribed by Jewish tradition since it is seen as not strictly Biblical in origin.
While dietary instructions are upheld by Torah-submissive Christians solely because of their status as Godly commands, there is also medical evidence that living a lifestyle according to Torah is generally healthier and prevents various kinds of diseases and disease symptoms. In Acts 10:9-16, the apostle Peter had a vision in which all sorts of animals, including four-footed animals, reptiles, and birds were included. When Peter refused to eat, He spoke to Peter and said,"Do not call anything impure that God has made clean"(Acts 10:15 NIV)This passage upholds the fact that God has created and purified everything to eat. As for those who have weakness to this, Paul speaks in Romans 14:1-4 about others' dietary discernments, stating that,"For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord."(Romans 14:7-8 NIV)
In the Torah, God described seven holidays, “feasts,” or festivals to be celebrated each year, each festival having its own observances (Leviticus 23). The festivals are:
- Passover (Pesach)
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matzah) (to Jews, this is the same festival as Pesach)
- The Feast of First Fruits (to Jews, this is the same festival as Shavuot)
- The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot/Pentecost)
- The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)
- The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
- The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)
Many of the specific commands regarding the festivals cannot be observed today. For example, one cannot go visit the Temple in Jerusalem, because there is currently no Temple in Jerusalem. However, the days are still honored, and an attempt is made to follow those commands that can be observed.
These festivals, calculated according to the Hebrew calendar, are seen as significant dates on which several closely related events have taken place repeatedly. For example, Israel was redeemed from the bondage of Egypt and Jesus redeemed humanity from bondage of sin on the festival of Passover. Similarly, powerful events of renewal and peace are all understood to have taken place on the Feast of First fruits throughout history: Noah's ark rested on the mountains of Ararat, Israel crossed the Red Sea, Israel ate of the first fruits of the promised land, Haman (a Hitler-like figure) was defeated, and Jesus rose from the dead . All of these festivals are seen as powerful teaching tools about the character of God, about the identity and validity of Jesus as the Messiah, and about future events that have not yet come to pass.
Other Torah observances may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Tzitzit — Tassels worn on garments with the intention of reminding one of God's commands. (Numbers 15:37–41)
- Mixing — The abstention from various kinds of mixing, including cloths (shatnez) and plants (Leviticus 19:19)
- Mildew — Cleansing from and avoidance of mildew (Leviticus 13:47–59, Leviticus 14:33-57)
- Facial hair — The abstention from shaving the "corners" of one's beard or one's temple (Leviticus 19:27)
- Mezuzot — Seen by some as a fulfillment of the command to write God's commands on one's doorposts (Deuteronomy 6:1–9)
- Niddah — The abstention from sexual relations for seven days following a woman's monthly cycle. (Leviticus 15:19–30)
- Tattooing — The abstention from having tattoos placed on one's body (Leviticus 19:28)
- Rosh Chodesh — Acknowedgement of the new moon (Numbers 10:10)
- Phylacteries — Seen by some as a fulfillment of the command to tie God's words on the hands and forehead (Deuteronomy 6:8, Deuteronomy 11:18)
Interpreting Torah commands
As with Christianity and Judaism as a whole, there are various interpretations on how specific details of these commands should be observed.
As is the case with Orthodox Judaism, capital punishment and sacrifice are not practiced because there are very strict Biblical conditions on how these are to be properly practiced that are not in place today (which include the Temple and its judicial body).
Unlike Orthodox Judaism, most segments of Torah-submissive Christianity do not consider the Talmud an authoritative guide on how to interpret the Torah, upholding only the Bible as a standard. This is due in large part to Biblical passages such as Mark 7:9–13 and the principle of sola scriptura, a major philosophy of the Protestant Reformation. Although this is the case, Jewish tradition is not usually seen as irrelevant when considering Torah commands and some segments of Torah-submissive Christianity consult Jewish writings for insight into the Torah and halakha ("walking out" obedience).
In its view of the Talmud, much of the Torah-submissive Christian movement bears similarity to Karaite Judaism, which also does not consider Jewish Oral Law legally binding. Because of this differing view of Oral Law, the interpretation and practices of Torah-submissive Christianity and Orthodox Judaism have the potential to vary significantly.
History of Christian Torah-submission
Throughout Christian history, there have been followers of Jesus who have sought to obey the commands of the Torah even while fully affirming the salvation by grace through faith that is described in the New Testament (Ephesians 2). These Christians base their views, among other things, on their understanding of the teaching and actions of the earliest church.
See also Early Christianity
There is evidence that Jewish Christians observed the commands of the Torah. Acts 10:14 records that the apostle Peter, well after the events recorded in Mark 7 (in which some have interpreted that Jesus permitted the consumption of any kind of meat), still had not eaten of anything unclean and still considered unclean flesh unclean. It is also not said that after his vision he considered such meat clean. At the Council of Jerusalem, the apostles and elders decided upon three dietary prohibitions for non-Jews: food sacrificed to idols, things strangled, and blood. The reason given was: "For from early generations Moses has had in every city those who preach him, for he is read every sabbath in the synagogues" (Acts 15:21), which has been interpreted in different ways. They stated that these were the only prohibitions that they asked the non-Jewish Christians to observe, adding: "If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well" (Acts 15:28-29).
Acts 21:17–26 records that the Jewish Paul the Apostle participated in a purification rite at the Temple in Jerusalem, which would have required animal sacrifice, a ceremonial command of the Law. His purpose was to prove baseless the belief that he was teaching "all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs" (Acts 21:21), and to show that, while the Gentile Christians had been asked to observe the prohibitions already mentioned, he himself "live(d) in observance of the law" (Acts 21:24-25).
Christian feasts such as Easter and Pentecost have always been associated with the Jewish feasts, and some Christians continued to observe Jewish law and customs, in spite of the reproaches of Church Fathers against this practice.
The departure from Torah began slowly, but was later legislated. In the first century AD, even before the Romans persecuted the Christians as Christians, the Romans persecuted the Jews as a result of Jewish rebellions against the empire. At that time, even the Gentile Christians were persecuted along with Jews because they worshiped with Jews and like Jews. Then, after Christians refused to rally behind a false Messiah named Bar-Kochba in a new rebellion, non-believing Jews expelled all Christians from their synagogues (see alsoCouncil of Jamnia). Ironically, Christians who had been persecuted by the Romans for being viewed as Jewish were then rejected by the Jewish establishment (see Early Christian Persecution). Despite the fact that Christianity began as a sect of Judaism that believed Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah, this turn of events forced Christians to view themselves as separate from the mainstream Jewish establishment (see also Rejection of Jesus). Some Gentile factions in the church used this expulsion to justify distancing themselves from Torah-related practice, which identified them with Jews, though this opened them yet more to persecution by the Roman authorities. By the second century, celebrating Easter on a day other than Sunday, in order to make it coincide with the day on which the Jewish Passover was celebrated, was considered a fault serious enough to warrant excommunication; yet celebrating Christian Passover on Sunday instead of the day on which the Jewish Passover was celebrated, was considered opposed to scriptural and apostolic teachings by those in Asia Minor.(see Quartodecimanism).
Throughout the second century, Christian leaders such as Polycarp of Smyrna (Letter to the Philippians), Melito of Sardis (A Discourse Which Was in the Presence of Antoninus Caesar), and Theophilus of Antioch (To Autolycus) advocated Christian obligations of the law such as keeping the ten commandments and observing Passover on the 14th. Yet at this time, Irenaeus of Lyon noted that the ten commandments and other obligations were opposed by Marcion (considered to have been a heretic by most scholars). Also the law was opposed by Justin. In the early third century, Christian obligation to observe at least the ten commandment portion of the law was advocated by Clement of Alexandria]] (Stromata).
Constantine I became the first Christian emperor in the early 4th century. He embraced some elements of Christianity early in his reign (see Constantine I and Christianity), and his views evolved throughout his life; he never persecuted paganism. Under Constantine, the First Council of Nicaea decreed that all Christians should observe Jesus’ resurrection separately from Passover, and declared: "It is unbecoming that on the holiest of festivals that we should follow the customs of the Jews; henchforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people". Shortly afterward, under the Christian empire, the church Council of Laodicea strictly prohibited Christians from observing the Sabbath as described in the Torah and Constantine made Sunday a civil holiday.
In the view of James Carroll, "it took the order of Constantine […] and decrees of the fourth-century Church councils to draw fast distinctions between Jewish and Christian observances, but the purpose of such decrees was to clarify the minds of Christians who continued to think of themselves as Jewish."
The same writer attributes to anti-Judaism this distancing of Christianity from Jewish practices, already evident, as seen above, in the second century, and in support of his view quotes John Chrysostom (349– ca. 407) as saying: "I know that many people hold a high regard for the Jew, and consider their way of life worthy of respect at the present time. This is why I am hurrying to pull up this fatal notion by the roots…A place where a whore stands on display is a whorehouse. What is more, the synagogue is not only a whorehouse and a theater; it is also a den of thieves and a haunt of wild animals… No better disposed than pigs or goats, [the Jews] live by the rule of debauchery and inordinate gluttony. Only one thing they understand: to gorge themselves and to get drunk." He also says that a desire to conform Christianity to paganism, to make it more palatable to the Roman public, has been suggested.
After this church legislation, there were large sects, such as the disciples of James (including Ebionites and Nazarenes), that resisted this official change, continuing for hundreds of years longer to celebrate commands such as Passover and Sabbath as the early church had.
Several preserved documents of Church history (which some have described as anti-Jewish) reveal the need for the Church to continue to enforce the division between what it had ruled (in the aforementioned Councils) to be "Christian" and "Jewish" observances. In one example from 826 AD, a French archbishop, Agobard of Lyon, wrote to Holy Roman Emperor Louis the Pious:
- . . . matters have reached the point where the ignorant Christians claim that the Jews preach better than our own priests.
- Some Christians even celebrate the Sabbath with the Jews and violate the blessed day of rest [Sunday]
This shows that in ninth-century France some Christians were attracted by Jewish preaching and observed the Sabbath with the Jews, rather than Sunday.
During the time of the Renaissance, in the late 1400s and into the early 1500s, a movement of Christian humanists including Johann Reuchlin and Desiderius Erasmus advocated liberty of thought, speech, and press. As scholars of the Renaissance rediscovered classic Greek and Latin texts and Christian Scholastics sought to explain and rationally justify the decisions of Church history, Christian humanists rediscovered and studied Biblical and Jewish texts in their original languages, questioning the dominance and doctrine of the Catholic Church. Reuchlin, among others, studied the Hebrew language and Jewish literature and a wide interest was revived in the Jewish roots of Christianity and the relevance of Jewish texts to Biblical interpretation; a movement later called Christian Hebraism. (When the Holy Roman Emperor ordered Reuchlin to help burn Jewish literature including the Talmud, Reuchlin resisted and authored a series of tracts defending such literature.)
The philosophy and literature of Christian humanists helped to set the stage for the Protestant Reformation, which began in 1517. This movement, sparked primarily by Martin Luther sought to rid the Church of non-Biblical trappings, returning to a purer, Biblical, worship of Jesus. During this time, some Christians returned to the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, building on the foundation of the Christian humanists. While Martin Luther was a primary influence in this reformation, he also authored some pieces of literature that were hostile towards Jews and towards Christians who did things he considered Jewish, effectively quelling much of the not very great momentum to return to the Jewish roots of Christianity.
Despite these events, historical documents describe a continuation of Christian Torah-submission in certain areas and religious movements. One sect of Christianity in Transylvania (modern-day Hungary and Romania) retained its Torah-submissive practices from the 1500s at least through 1945. They observed the Sabbath on Saturday, fasted from leaven at Passover, and adhered to dietary restrictions. They even translated Jewish prayer books and wrote their own hymnals. Male leaders also wore beards out of regard for the Torah. While they were persecuted (even imprisoned) by the Catholic and Protestant churches of the region, they took measures to retain what they saw as Biblical and Godly practices. Some cite historical evidence that Sabbatarianism (with adherence to dietary prohibitions) also emerged and continued from the Reformation in England in the 16th century.
The modern Sabbatarian movement primarily traces its history to the Adventist movement sparked by Baptist layman William Miller in the early 1800s; a movement that was characterized by questioning traditional Biblical interpretation. An Adventist preacher, Gilbert Cranmer, started preaching that the Sabbath was on the seventh-day (Saturday), and eventually published a paper in order to advance these teachings.
The modern Messianic Movement, a similar, but separate movement from Seventh-day Adventism, evolved in the 1970s out of Jewish Christian organizations that had existed since the early Nineteenth Century, when the Holy Roman Emperor legalized Judaism as a religion within the empire. While purely Jewish in origin, increasing numbers of non-Jews have become a part of the Messianic movement.
Today, there are Christians in many facets of the Christian church who consider the Torah applicable and attempt to honor its commands, but are not part of a distinct group that, as a whole, holds this view.
There are also several Christian groups today that can be generally characterized by Torah-submission, or at least major elements of this practice.
- Messianic Judaism
- Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Ethiopian Orthodox Church
- Worldwide Church of God
- United Church of God
- Living Church of God
- Philadelphia Church of God
- Church of God International (USA)
Some Christian theology holds that the Torah is fundamentally eternal and valid under the new covenant, but certain parts have "expired" and are not applicable now. Other Christian theology holds that the Torah is inseparable, but has been "terminated" or "abrogated" and replaced by God with a different, but similar Law. Torah-submissive Christians uphold what they view as the most Scripturally sound points of each of these widely accepted views. They interpret the Bible to say that the Torah is an inseparable whole, and that as a whole, it fundamentally continues under the new covenant.
The Torah-submissive view affirms that, as Paul wrote, spiritual salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus. It does not hold that any works are a way to achieve justification and hence salvation, so-called Legalism theology, but rather a way of more fully obeying and imitating God as He intended. They see the Torah as a way of more fully showing love to a merciful God that deserves to be served. This is the same reason most Christians obey other, traditionally accepted, commands.
The Torah is viewed as a source of blessing and as an instruction manual on every aspect of life, written by the Creator of life and everything that is in it. Not only is it understood to help God's people to avert physical and emotional harm, but it is also seen as a way to constantly turn his followers' hearts and minds back towards him as they are reminded of him by their actions. In the same way, the Torah is seen as a teaching tool to understanding Jesus the Messiah, also Biblically called "master". Jesus is seen not only to have taught and interpreted the Torah, for example see Sermon on the Mount, but also to have lived it perfectly. Therefore, it is understood in this movement that living the Torah teaches believers more fully about the things Jesus said and did, and considering the things that Jesus said and did teaches believers more about the things in the Torah. In fact, Torah-submissive Christians see this as the meaning of Jesus' parable about the teacher of the Law in Matthew 13:52, where Jesus says, "Every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."
Torah Under the New Covenant
The New Testament indicates that Jesus Christ established a new covenant relationship between God and his people (Jeremiah 31:31–34, Luke 22:20, 2 Corinthians 2–3, Hebrews 8–9). Christianity, almost without exception, understands this new covenant to be the instrument through which God offers mercy and atonement that is necessary for all mankind. Torah-submissive Christians hold that a major function of the new covenant is also to write the Torah — by the same Biblical definition it has always held — upon the heart of anyone who trusts in Jesus (Jeremiah 31:31–33, Ezekiel 36:26,27). Therefore, while there is variance in individual interpretations and the way commands are followed, Torah-submissive Christians share these fundamental views regarding the applicability of Torah.
- The Torah is applicable to all followers of God, even under the new covenant
- The Torah is a blessing, it is useful, and it is enlightening
- Jesus and the New Testament writers reaffirmed the Torah as a whole
They derive these views from the Bible, citing passages in which the Bible that call God's commands as everlasting and good.
- Psalm 119:152 NIV: “Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.”
- Psalm 119:160 NIV: “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”
- Exodus 12:24 NIV: “Obey these instructions [re: Passover] as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.”
- Exodus 29:9b NIV: “The priesthood is theirs by a lasting ordinance. In this way you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.”
- Leviticus 16:29 NIV: "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or an alien living among you.”
- Deuteronomy 4:5–6 NIV: “See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'"
- Nehemiah 9:13 NIV: “You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good."
- Psalm 19:7 NIV: "The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple."
- Psalm 19:8 NIV: "The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes."
- Psalm 119:39 NIV: “Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good.”
- Proverbs 28:7 NIV: "He who keeps the law [Torah] is a discerning son."
While there are New Testament passages that have been interpreted to describe a change or abolishment of the Mosaic Law, Torah-submissive Christians find insufficient evidence in the New Testament to invalidate this weight of evidence that the Law is both eternal and good and that an unchanging God (Numbers 23:19) would change his standard for humanity. They hold different interpretations of the New Testament passages that have traditionally been understood to say that the Law has changed, and they consider these interpretations to be accurate, based on the whole Bible, sensitive to literary and historical contexts, and understanding of the original languages.
They see these interpretations strengthened by the evidence in the New Testament scriptures that the Mosaic Law is, in fact, upheld under the new covenant.
- Matthew 5:17–19 NIV: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
- Matthew 23:1–3 NIV: “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
- Matthew 23:23 NIV: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
- Romans 3:31 NIV: “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”
- Romans 7:7 NIV: “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law…”
- Romans 7:12 NIV: “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.”
- Romans 6:1,2 NIV: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!”
- Romans 6:15 NIV: “Shall we sin because we are not under Law but under grace? By no means!”
- Romans 7:22 NIV: “For in my inner being, I delight in God’s Law.”
- Romans 8:7 NIV: “The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s Law, nor can it do so.”
- Zechariah 14:3–4,16–17 NIV: "Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. [...] Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain."
- Isaiah 66:15–17 NIV as commentary on Revelation 19:11–15 NIV:
- "See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD. Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things—they will meet their end together,' declares the LORD."
- "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty."
- Isaiah 2:2–3 NIV: "In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.' The law [Torah] will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."
- Ezekiel 40–48 describes festival, Sabbath, and New Moon observance and a revived Temple with its Levitical priesthood.
Understanding of "Israel"
Some traditional Christian theologies have seen aspects of the Torah as irrelevant because of their understanding of who "Israel" is. Some hold that Christians are under a different "theological covenant" than Israel, who was given the Torah, and through the new covenant have become a "spiritual Israel." Others hold that God deals with the world in very distinct "dispensations" and that the era of the church (now) is a "parenthesis" or "intercalation" in history, where God has suspended his dealing with the Jewish people for a time. This issue is still widely debated among Biblical scholars today. (See Supersessionism and Dispensationalism.)
Most Torah-submissive Christians hold to what some have called "Olive-tree Theology" with regards to Israel, based on Romans 11. In this view, believers in Jesus are grafted into the root of this tree, which is Israel, when they come to faith in Messiah. In doing so, they join believing Jews who are the natural branches. The view holds that this tree in Paul's analogy is the Israel that has faith in God, fulfilling God's truest intention for his holy nation.
In this view, the fact that everyone in this olive tree has faith in Jesus and "branches" that do not have faith are removed, however, does not nullify the status of non-believing Jews as "Israel" as well. In other places, Paul continues to call ethnic Jews, "Jews" or "Israel," and about physical Jews, Paul says, "God's gifts and his call are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29). Therefore, in this view, physical Jews who do not have faith in Jesus retain their identity as Israel and God's promises to Israel (the return to the land of Israel, e.g.) still very much apply to them. The promises that do not automatically apply are those which are spiritual and conditional upon faith in Messiah, namely spiritual salvation (John 14:6,e.g.).
Because Christians, in this view, have become a part of Israel, then Christians find their identity in Jesus within the identity of Israel and God's revelation to and through Israel; this includes the Torah.
Understanding of “Judaizers”
Some have considered Torah-submissive Christians “Judaizers,” after those mentioned by Paul in book of Galatians and elsewhere, because they believe that Judaizers are those that taught that the Law of Moses is applicable to Christians. However, Torah-submissive Christians uphold all writings of Paul, and yet do not consider themselves guilty of Judaizing.
Tim Hegg, in his book, Fellow Heirs, explains that the issue of the Judaizers that Paul condemned was only that of circumcision and not of Mosaic Law. He writes that the Jewish tradition at the time (and now) taught that anyone who was to enter into the covenant promises of Abraham, which the New Testament equates with salvation (Romans 14:13–16, Galatians 3:26–29) had to convert to Judaism by becoming Jewish. However, Paul taught that Gentiles coming to faith do not have to convert formally to Judaism by traditional standards in order to be saved, but rather have to be circumcised of heart (Romans 2:28–29) by the Holy Spirit of God, which signifies their acceptance by God. Once saved, circumcision becomes simply a matter of obedience – not a requirement for salvation or acceptance by God.
Other Torah-submissive Christians hold that, because circumcision is a sign of the covenant of salvation (as mentioned above), physical circumcision by the hands of men is not required because it was a sign for that which the Spirit would do — bring life by the circumcision of the heart. Therefore, Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 7:18 prohibiting a change in the status of circumcision should be held to strictly. They hold that the only command given to Moses regarding circumcision regards infant-circumcision (Leviticus 12:3), and this should be upheld, but that circumcision upon conversion is not a matter of obedience to the Law of Moses.
The Torah-submissive view holds that by either interpretation, the writings of Paul that condemn the circumcision that the Judaizers required for salvation (Acts 15:1, Acts 15:11) are upheld as valid, while the Torah is equally upheld as a positive standard once one comes to salvation.
Understanding of “Legalism”
See also Legalism (theology)
Some critics of Christian Torah-submission have accused Torah-submissive Christians of legalism. However, Torah-submissive Christians hold that all of God's commands are good and that motivation alone determines if one obeys any Biblical command (even those traditionally accepted) out of a sense of self-righteous entitlement or out of a sense of obedient humility and gratitude to God.
In his book, Restoration, Bible teacher Daniel Thomas Lancaster describes a distinction in the definitions of the term, "legalism." He gives the conventional definition of a legalist as, "One who compels Christians to live by a certain standard or commandment of Scripture that is no longer generally practiced in the church." He then gives the theological definition (derived from scripture): "One who attempts to earn salvation through obedience to the law."
Torah-submissive Christians fundamentally and emphatically reject the behavior described in the theological definition, affirming that the acceptance of God — salvation — is based only on God's grace through faith. However, they do not view the encouragement to obey Biblical commands as a negative thing if the behavior is encouraged for the sake of holiness and done with the motivation of true faith and not conditional acceptance, citing verses such as John 14:21, 1 John 5:3, and James 2:14–2:26, which emphasize the value of good works and obedience for the Christian.
In holding this view, Torah-submissive Christians see themselves following the pattern of David, who the Bible describes as both deeply loving the entire Torah (Psalm 119) and finding forgiveness through faith and repentance (Romans 4:1–8) and not works.
Objections to the Torah submissive view
There are several other theological systems that seek to explain how the Torah applies under the new covenant, such as Dispensationalism and Reformed theology that do not advocate obedience to the entire Torah. Their objections to Torah-submission are that Jesus terminated the Mosaic law, replacing it with the Law of Christ, or that only the “moral” portions of the Mosaic law continue after the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Often, New Testament verses are used to show that the applicability of the Torah in the old covenant has been modified or abrogated by the new covenant. Such verses include Mark 7:14–19, Acts 10:9–13, Romans 10:4, Ephesians 2:14–15, and Colossians 2:13–14. See also Mark 2:19.
Objecting views can also vary from the belief that being Torah-submissive is beneficial, but not intended by God, to the belief that anyone who continues to follow the “ceremonial” law is committing “mortal sin.”
Orthodox Judaism continues to believe that it's followers are the only ones who are expected to follow the Torah and the Talmud, while non-Jews are expected to follow the Seven Laws of Noah. See also Jewish Encyclopedia: Gentiles: Gentiles May Not Be Taught the Torah.
As far as the Ten Commandments, some believe Jesus rejected four of the Ten Commandments and endorsed only Six , citing Mark 10:17–22 and the parallels Matthew 19:16–22 and Luke 18:18–23. (cf. Cafeteria Christianity)
While some Christians from time to time have deduced from statements about the law in the writings of the Apostle Paul that Christians are under grace to the exclusion of all law (see antinomianism, hyperdispensationalism, Christian anarchism), this is not the usual viewpoint of Christians.
The Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament describes a conflict among the first Christians as to the necessity of following all the laws of the Torah to the letter, see Council of Jerusalem.
Some have interpreted Mark's statement: "Thus he declared all foods clean" (Mark 7:19) to mean that Jesus taught that the pentateuchal food laws were no longer applicable to his followers, see also Antinomianism in the New Testament. However, the statement is not found in the Matthean parallel Matthew 15:15–20 and is also a disputed translation: the Scholars Version has: "This is how everything we eat is purified", Gaus' Unvarnished New Testament has: "purging all that is eaten." See also Strong's G2511.
Others note that Peter had never eaten anything that was not kosher many years after Acts 2 (Pentecost). To the heavenly vision he announced: "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean." (Acts 10:14) Therefore, Peter was unaware that Jesus had changed the Mosaic food laws. In Mark 7, Jesus may have been just referring to a tradition of the Pharisees about eating with unwashed hands. The expression "purging all meats" may have meant the digestion and elimination of food from the body rather than the declaration that all foods were kosher. The confusion primarily centers around the participle used in the original Greek for "purging". Some scholars believe it agrees with the word for Jesus, which is nearly 40 words away from the participle. If this is the case, then it would mean that Jesus himself is the one doing the purifying. In New Testament Greek, however, the participle is rarely that far away from the noun it modifies, and many scholars agree that it is far more likely that the participle is modifying the digestive process (literally: the latrine), which is only two words away. The writer of Hebrews indicates that the sacrifices and the Levitical priesthood foreshadowed Jesus Christ's offering of himself as the sacrifice for sin on the Cross, and many have interpreted this to mean that once the reality of Christ has come, the shadows of the ritual laws cease to be obligatory (Heb 8:5; 9:23–26; 10:1). On the other hand, the New Testament repeats and applies to Christians a number of Old Testament laws, including "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18; cf. Golden Rule, Mark 12:31), "Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and strength" (Deuteronomy 6:4–5, the Shema, Mark 12:29–30).
Still others believe a partial list of the commandments was merely an abbreviation that stood for all the commandments because Jesus prefaced his statement to the rich young ruler with the statement: "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments". Some people claim that since Jesus did not qualify his pronouncement, that he meant all the commandments. The rich young ruler asked "which" commandments. Jesus gave him a partial list from the second table. The first set of commandments deal with a relationship to God. The second set of commandments deal with a relationship to men. No doubt Jesus considered the relationship to God important, but Jesus may have considered that the young man was perhaps lacking in this second set, which made him obligated to men. (This is inferred by his statement that to be perfect he should sell his goods, give them to the poor and come and follow Jesus — thereby opening to him a place in the coming Kingdom.)
Several times Paul mentioned adhering to "the Law", such as Romans 2:12–16, Romans 3:31, Romans 7:12, Romans 8:7–8, Galatians 5:3, Acts 24:14, Acts 25:8 and preached about Ten Commandment topics such as idolatry (1 Corinthians 5:11, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, 1 Corinthians 10:7, 1 Corinthians 10:14, Galatians 5:19–21, Ephesians 5:5, Colossians 3:5, Acts 17:16–21, Acts 19:23–41). Many Christians believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a form of commentary on the Ten Commandments. In the Expounding of the Law, Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it; while in Marcion's version of Luke 23:2 we find the extension: "We found this fellow perverting the nation and destroying the law and the prophets". See also Adherence to the Law and Antithesis of the Law.
Leading scholar F. F. Bruce was typical of most scholars of his generation. Unlike his denominational affiliation, he did not support dispensationalism. Other recent scholars influential in the debate regarding the law include Rudolf Bultmann, Heikki Räisänen, Klyne Snodgrass, C. E. B. Cranfield and others, as well as those involved with the New Perspectives movement (see below).
Krister Stendahl argued in "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West" that since Augustine, Western commentators have misunderstood Paul, due to an overly active conscience.
New Perspective on Paul
Main article New Perspective on Paul The "New Perspective on Paul" is a controversial and substantial shift in New Testament scholarship within Protestantism, particularly regarding Paul's writings on Judaism, justification by faith, and imputed righteousness. It become prominent with the work of E. P. Sanders, particularly in Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977), and has also been described as the "Sanders Revolution". It claims that Protestants have read Paul and Judaism in the light of sixteenth-century Catholic-Protestant debates. It claims Judaism is not a religion of self-righteousness whereby humankind seeks to merit salvation before God, and that Paul's argument with the Judaizers was not about Christian grace versus Jewish legalism.
James Dunn and N. T. Wright are two of the leading supporters. It is opposed by John Piper, Don Carson and many other theologians.
N. T. Wright believes the Reformed (Calvinistic) tradition is more faithful to Paul than the Lutheran tradition, and does consider himself to be legitimately within the Reformed tradition.
- Gundry, ed., Five Views on Law and Gospel. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993. ISBN 0310212715
On Torah-submissive view
- Lancaster, D. Thomas. Restoration: Returning the Torah of God to the Disciples of Jesus. Littleton: First Fruits of Zion, 2005. ISBN 1892124211
- Berkowitz, Ariel and D'vorah. Torah Rediscovered. 4th ed. Shoreshim Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0-9752914-0-8
- Egan, Hope. Holy Cow! Does God Care About What We Eat? First Fruits of Zion. 2005. ISBN 189212419X
- Hegg, Tim. Fellow Heirs. First Fruits of Zion, 2003. ISBN 1892124068
- Chumney, Edward. The Seven Festivals of the Messiah. Treasure House, 1994. ISBN 1560437677
- Howard, Kevin. The Feasts Of The Lord God's Prophetic Calendar From Calvary To The Kingdom. Nelson Books, 1997. ISBN 0785275185
- Religious law
- Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Tanakh
- Ten Commandments
- Sermon on the Mount, Expounding of the Law, The Law of Christ
- Law and Gospel
- Covenant Theology, Covenant (biblical), New Covenant, New Testament
- Christianity and Judaism, Judeo-Christian, Jewish Christians, Messianic Judaism, Christian Torah-submission, Judaizers
- Dispensationalism, New Perspective on Paul, Antinomianism, New Covenant Theology
- Cultural and historical background of Jesus
- Sabbath in Christianity, Circumcision in the Bible
- Legalism (theology)
- Canon law
- The Fig Tree
- "New Testament": For and Against the Law in the Jewish Encyclopedia
- "Jesus": Attitude Toward the Law in the Jewish Encyclopedia
- "Saul of Tarsus": Paul's Opposition to the Law in the Jewish Encyclopedia
On Torah-submissive view
- What did the early Christian church teach about the ten commandments?. Biblical and historical quotes.
- TNN Online. Messianic apologetics.
- First Fruits of Zion. An organization dedicated to proclaiming the Torah and its way of life, fully centered on Messiah, to today's people of God.
- Hebraic Heritage Christian Center. A Hebraic model for Christian education online.
- Menorah — online Torah True community. A Torah true community, forums, discussions, opinion articles.
- Torah Resource
- Olam HaTorah (especially, "Conclusion")
- Should Christians Be Torah Observant?
- Taryag Mitzvot (especially, "A Closing Thought")
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