Anthony, a young student at a Christian school, double-majoring in English and Film Production with a minor in Biblical Studies. He has recently begun studying Messianic Judaism through First Fruits of Zion while working for the kingdom in Cambodia. Although he is already at work on the mission field, Anthony now dreams of taking Torah and Messianic Jewish teaching back to the church. Anthony was kind enough to share his story and experiences with us in a brief interview.
I'm an English teacher for Kindergarteners, second-graders, and high schoolers. I'm also involved in evangelistic efforts in the Pnong villages.
The Pnong are a small group of native Cambodians who have been largely neglected by the larger Khmer population; they're sort of similar to aborigines in Australia. Before the Khmer moved into their territory only a few decades ago, rumor had it that they were so far back in the evolutionary process that they still had tails. Needless to say, there is still quite a bit of bigotry demonstrated toward them today. At our school, in fact, some of the Pnong students are called "monkeys" by their peers (correcting this behavior has been difficult). My friend and I also recently finished a ten-week sermon series on the separation between Heaven and Earth. To my knowledge, it's the first evangelistic series to be preached in this area.
When I was a Junior in high school, my aunt messaged me on Facebook and told me about a friend of hers who enjoyed studying the Bible. She recommended that I friend him and correspond with him a bit. I did, and my life changed forever. His name was Adam, and he challenged me on my assumption that the Ten Commandments are the only "eternal" part of the Torah.
"But," I objected, "the Ten Commandments were written on stone and put into the ark. The rest of the Torah was written on paper and put into the side of the ark!"
"What are the greatest commandments?" he asked.
"Umm ... 'Love the LORD your God' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' according to Jesus."
"Where are those commandments found?"
When I first thought about it, I didn't like the answer that popped into my head, so I looked it up in my Bible. And sure enough. "They're in Deuteronomy and Leviticus," I replied.
"Let's think about this logically,” Adam said. “If the most foundational and important commandments in the Bible are not in the Ten Commandments, how can the Ten Commandments be the only eternal commandments?"
Conversations like this one led me to study the issue intensely for myself. It didn't take long before I was convinced intellectually, but it took my coming here to Cambodia, three years after my initial exposure to the truth about the Torah before I could finally bring myself to decide that I was all in.
Right now, three other authors and I are writing a pamphlet to be entitled: The No Jot Pamphlet. We're writing the pamphlet and addressing it to our church. Our hope is to distribute it amongst the faculty and student body at our university and beyond, to generate a discussion about our theological framework concerning the Law. The pamphlet aims to offer a concise, convincing argument against the notion that the Torah has in any way been done away with while also maintaining an open-minded, evidence-based approach that is crucial for spurring further, deeper dialogue. We don't want the pamphlet to be read as propaganda or as bashing the church. On the contrary, we are writing the pamphlet with the assumption that the members of the church will be willing to follow the biblical evidence wherever it leads.
The more I study my Bible, the more important this topic reveals itself to be. The book of Revelation describes the people of God as "those who observe His commands and exercise Yeshua’s faithfulness." If we are to be such people, we need to have a correct understanding of God's commands as well as their continued applicability today.