Dear Refiner's Fire...

Shalom,

I am a Senior in high school getting ready to to go to college for Biblical Studies. There's actually a couple of different things I would love to talk about so here I go...

About 3 years ago my youth pastor started keeping things in the old testament. I really got to talking with him about some of the things he was doing (wearing tassels, having beard, keeping festivals...etc). At first I was totally against it! I had grown up in a very conservative church and had always just believed that the new testament was the only thing we were suppose to follow. So I set out on a mission to prove my youth pastor wrong...but I actually started proving myself wrong! I found out that most of the passages that I used from Paul were really being taken out of context and that Paul was even Torah observant. Over the years I've been learning more about torah and my youth pastor has been a great help in this...but now he's actually not my youth pastor anymore. To make a long story short, the leaders ended up attacking him for what he believed and even called in a missionary (to the jewish people) that we support (who's actually good friends with Arnold Fruchtenbaum) from Chosen People ministries.

After the youth pastor was gone, one of the deacons came to me because he knew that I was good friends with him. He asked me what I thought, and I told him that I'm still studying it and thought it actually makes a lot of sense! Then he told me he wanted to talk to me about this stuff...I thought that maybe we could have a good conversation about the torah...but was I wrong! He took me in a room and told me how wrong I was for starting to believe those things and started pulling out scriptures to back up his point...but every time I tried to defend myself I got "shushed"!

This is why I am writing to you. I was hoping that if I had any questions that I would be able to come to you. I have still just been studying into all of this and I hope to find the answers before I go off to college. Oh and I noticed an article on the website challenging Arnold Fruchtenbaums article on sabbath observance. This is interesting because before I found you site, I had actually written an email to him asking questions about another article called "The law of Moses and the Law of Messiah" I'm not sure if you've read it or not, but I have added an attachment of the response that I got from him. If you have any comments about my situation or about the response from Fruchtenbaum I would greatly appreciate it, but I also know that you may be really busy. Thanks so much for your time!


Our Response....

The Refiner's Fire "Googled" Dr. Fruchtenbaum's teachings, and came to a unanimous agreement: While Dr. Fruchtenbaum is certainly a learned scholar to be admired, some of his theology is full of holes. The reason we say this is because of his teaching that Torah is null and void:

The Law is a unit comprised of 613 commandments, and all of it has been invalidated. There is no commandment that has continued beyond the cross of Christ. . . . It has completely ceased to function as an authority over individuals. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum. Hebrew Christianity: Its Theology, History, and Philosophy. Seventh Printing. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries Press, 1995), 86.

We highly suggest Dr. Fruchtenbaum read our article explaining Torah.

Without going into great detail, let's examine Dr. Fruchtenbaum's ideas, as evidenced by the attachment you sent. In his response to you he says covenants were made with the Jewish people. This is flaw number one. When the covenants were made under the chupah (the Mountain) it was ALL Israel, ALL 12 tribes who received and accepted them; not just Judah and Benjamin. This included the "foreigners" who had attached themselves to the Israelites and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:

Numbers 15: 13 "'Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 14 For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you do. 15 The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD: 16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.'"

"A lasting ordinance" is a lasting ordinance. It means "forever" and, as far as we can tell, "forever" hasn't ended yet....

Secondly, Dr. Fruchtenbaum made the correct statement to you that the Passover requires circumcision, but then he goes against his own theology by insisting that Galatians does not require circumcision - when, in reality, this is not what the letter of Galatians is teaching. Galatians is an argument between Paul and the Pharisees who made it a rule of their halacha that one had to be circumcised first before one could enter the covenants of Israel; and Paul correctly stated that circumcision was not required for salvation.

Thirdly Paul argues that, if a Jewish boy has a bar mitzvah and later does not keep the Torah, then what's the point of his circumcision seal? Paul says, if a Gentile was not to be circumcised but he obeys God then is he uncircumcision become circumcision. Paul never says circumcision was abolished! He would never dare make such a claim because Torah and the Abrahamic Covenant is still in force today. If there is no circumcision today then the Jews have no right to the land of Israel and should leave because the only thing that keeps them there is this promise to Abraham.

By the way, Paul NEVER spoke against Torah! As a matter of fact, he even said: "Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we ESTABLISH the Law" (Romans 3:31).

Dr. Fruchtenbaum is also mistaken in his assumption about Ephesians 2:11-12, when he said: "God then made a third new entity called the body, or the one new man, and the church and we are one in the Messiah which means we are obligated to keep the Law of the Messiah but not the Law of Moses which again was given only to Jews and not to Gentiles or the church." WHERE does the Bible tell us that "God made a new entity"? Must be in the same place where God negates His own original teaching and tells the world that Torah is now to be considered garbage and became defunct on the cross....(Torah, by the way, includes the Ten Commandments. Are they defunct? Can man today, because of the shed blood on the cross, murder, lie, steal, commit adultery, and have other gods?)

There is only ONE entity: Israel! It's all about Israel! "The church" borrowed the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and turned Yeshua into Jesus, and put Him in a box that made Him out to be a blond, blue-eyed Torah-less Adonis. But, God Himself did not decide that there would be factions of people, and that the Jews should behave in one way while the rest of the believers could do whatever they wanted! Jews (used as a blanket term here) are to be a "light to the nations". How can they accomplish that? By keeping Torah!

Dr. Fruchtenbaum's assertion: As for Matthew 5:17-18 (as so many people do, you do not seem to cite verse 19) is in the context when he distinguishes between his interpretation of the Law and the Pharisaic interpretation of the Law and his point is simply that he did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. He did fulfill it by his perfect keeping of the Law and then took upon Himself the penalty of the Law and then He rendered the Law inoperative.

WOW! Torah goes all the way back to Adam and Eve who only had one commandment to follow (and they couldn't even keep that one!). And Dr. Fruchtenbaum suggests basically that "Jesus nailed everything to the cross that God ever commanded before Yeshua died"? How can he not see the difference between God's Torah and the rabbinical teachings (which is what Yeshua wanted to abolish)?

If, as Dr. Fruchtenbaum suggests, Christians don't have to be Torah-observant, then WHO will make the traditional Jews jealous (Romans 10:19; 11:11, 11:14; John 1:11-12, Acts 15:14)? (Please check out our article on what Acts 15 really says!) Torah-observant believers are part of Israel and thus required to "do exactly as the Hebrews" (Numbers 15:14-15). It's not just any Gentile Christian that will make the Jews jealous, because most Christians erroneously denounce Torah - but it is those believers who realize that Torah's "forever" commands pertain to EVERY believer and are Torah observant believers in Christ! Those are the ones who will ultimately "make the Jews jealous"....

Dr. Fruchtenbaum's analogy of Matthew 5:17-18 is way off the mark. How can a scholar like him miss the obvious and decide that Yeshua rendered Torah - His own original teaching and instruction - "inoperative"? What He "rendered inoperative" were the rabbinical, man-made ideas, not GOD'S commands! Fruchtenbaum must be siding with the idea that the Torah was a curse....(Perhaps someone should draw his attention to the fact that attempting to gain salvation by following the Torah on your own without faith, and inevitably failing at some point, is the "curse of the Law" - not the Torah itself.)

Matthew 5: 17 Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah – not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot (words/commands) and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Reality check: Read Matthew 5:7-20 thoroughly and with the help of the Holy Spirit; and then ask yourself, "Has everything happened that must happen? Have heaven and earth passed away yet?" If not, then WHY IS DR. FRUCHTENBAUM TELLING THE WORLD THAT TORAH IS DEFUNCT? (He apparently has overlooked verse 19!) Is it suddenly okay to ignore the seventh day Sabbath and the Biblical feasts, ALL of which foreshadow Yeshua? They're part of Torah, too. Yeshua has three more to fulfill, and the next one will be the "rapture". Or has that become defunct since "Torah is abolished" according to Fruchtenbaum?

And by the way, the Bible tells us that God's people are those who observe his command AND have the testimony of Christ:

Revelation 12: 17 "The dragon was infuriated over the woman and went off to fight the rest of her children, those who obey God's commands and bear witness to Yeshua."

Revelation 14: 12 "This is when perseverance is needed on the part of God's people, those who observe his commands and exercise Yeshua's faithfulness."

Please note, the above Scriptures don't mention the "Ten Commandments". They simply refer to "the Commands" or "the Commandments", depending on which Bible version you use....God warns us in Proverbs 4:2 - "I give you good instruction: Do not forsake my Torah."

The term "katargeo", if we apply it like he suggests does not always mean "inoperative". Context determines what it means. Now, I am not sure what verse he is referencing, maybe Matthew 5:17-19, but the word is not used there. Here is the flaw - Please read very carefully:

Romans 3: 3 For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? [the last word is the Greek katargeo]

Let's demonstrate.....

Romans 3: 3 For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God INOPERATIVE?

I Corinthians 6: 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

I Corinthians 6: 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall [MAKE INOPERATIVE] both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

Romans 3: 31: "Do we then make void (Greek katargeo, meaning to "destroy" or "abolish") the law through faith? Certainly not!

Galatians 3: 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect (katargeo).

Galatians 3: 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise INOPERATIVE.

As you can see, applying his hermaneutic to the word makes no sense because in different areas it is translated differently. This is what Paul says himself, yet Dr. Fruchtenbaum wants to make this word "abolish" stick....

Why would Paul, some 25 years after Yeshua's ascention claim in the book of Acts to be foolishly keeping not only the Torah but also the Temple rules (Acts 25:8), some of which were man-created, while defending himself in Acts 24:14?

In all honesty, asking people of non-Jewish origin to break the law of Yahweh is a gross sin!

Hopefully, this clears things up for you. This is precisely why we always urge people to study the Bible for themselves. Never take somebody's interpretation as Gospel, because their interpretation might be dead wrong.

For more information, we suggest you purchase a copy of Carmen Welker's easy to read book, Should Christians be Torah Observant?