Sunday, April 11, 2010

New beginnings


I apologize for neglecting the Blog for so long. We have restarted out Conservative Messianic Judaism Blog (link: and are actively posting there. We will also try to regularly update this Blog also.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Is Yeshua Divine? - Clearing up confusion.

Is Yeshua Divine? - Clearing up confusion.

During some preparatory teachings prior to Mikha'el's recent debate on the Divinity of Yeshua, I made a statement that was misunderstood by several people. For this I would like to apologize; while I believed I said it correctly, it is the communicator's responsibility to make their message clear; this I apparently failed to do.

What we Teach and Believe about Yeshua

We believe that:

* Yeshua is the Messiah and is the Shekhinah of G-D and that His Spiritual nature is of the Divine essence (part of G-D).
* That Yeshua existed as the Shekhinah from the beginning and was not created but is part of G-D.
* His human body was miraculously conceived by G-D in the womb of the virgin Mariam.
* He lived a sinless life.
* He died as a sacrifice to redeem us from sin.
* He bodily was resurrected as proof the sacrifice was accepted.
* He ascended into Heaven.
* He will return to reclaim the Earth for Adonai.
* True faith in Him redeems a person from sin.

The root of the misunderstanding

Apparently where I failed to communicate properly was in explaining our belief that Scripture does not explicitly state a person must believe Messiah is Divine to be redeemed.

Several times in Scripture it says that we must believe that Yeshua was sent by G-D, died for our sins and was resurrected. Nowhere does the Tanakh or Brit Chadasha state we must believe He is part of G-D. It does say "sent by G-d" and "came from G-d."

What does it mean

We believe it is critical that a person understands the relationship of Yeshua to G-D, that His Spirit is the Shekhinah of G-D (part of G-D, the visible Presence of G-D) and that His body was born of woman and is human (though born without the sin nature). This is important because a man, no matter how perfect, could not by himself pay for all the sins of fallen humanity. That is where His divine nature comes in to play. By the fact of His Spirit and rightful honor being infinite, He was able to take all the shame for sin that we deserve.

Where we must be careful is that we do not add to G-D's Word when it comes to what is required for Redemption. Where Scripture does not explicitly state something is required for Salvation, I do not think we should add to it. Some examples:

* Is keeping Shabbat a requirement for Redemption? Scripture says a person who violates Shabbat is to be stoned and is cut-off from Israel.
* Is keeping Kosher? A person who eats pig and shrimp is unclean, does that mean they are not redeemed?
* What about drinking wine? Some denominations treat it as a serious sin.
* Smoking? We have had Christians tell people who smoke they could not be redeemed.
* Is a person who is sprinkled saved, when Scripture says to be immersed?

Only drinking & smoking are not explicitly discussed in scripture. Each of the others is clearly stated as required. Yet I know few who believe in Messiah who believe the person is not redeemed if they do (or don't do) those things. Even more telling are smoking and drinking, which clearly were man-made additions to what G-d calls sin. I do not know one serious student of Scripture that would say a person cannot be Redeemed because they drink or smoke--yet some people are spreading these falsehoods.

In the above examples we do not believe that Scripture teaches they are required for redemption (see Acts 15:13-21). Similarly we believe it would be improper to present them as required. Just as those examples above are not required for Redemption, we think it is unwise to add belief that Messiah is Divine to the requirement for Redemption when Scripture does not clearly state it is required.

In Summary

I hope from the above examples you can see why we stated we could not judge a person's salvation based on whether they believe Messiah is divine. Our Synagogue teaches, and leadership believes fully, He is of the Divine Essence (part of G-D). What I was trying to communicate (and failed to do clearly) is that we cannot say a person is not Redeemed if they do not believe Messiah is Divine. We too should neither add or take away from Scripture.

What we can and should do is lovingly try and help see the importance of Him being of the Divine Essence. I think Mikha'el did just that in the debates.

Rabbi Gavri'el

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sha'ul / Paul - The maligned, misunderstood, and misinterpreted Emissary

Sha'ul / Paul - The maligned, misunderstood, and misinterpreted Emissary

Probably no other person ever to live has been more maligned, misunderstood, and misinterpreted than Sha'ul / Paul.


Sha'ul is the brunt of resentment and outright hatred in some quarters. Many Jewish Groups see him as a Jew turned traitor, who converted to a foreign religion that has persecuted Jews for almost 2000 years. Some that believe in Yeshua as Messiah totally reject all of his writings based on their seemingly Anti-Torah basis (Ebonites to give an example).

While this view is one of the easiest to follow (maligning someone takes little effort or understanding), is it accurate?


"Paul left Judaism and became a Christian". This is a widely held belief, in both Judaism and Christianity. There is only one problem, it is not true. Paul, whose Hebrew name is Sha'ul, called himself a Jew and a Pharisee long after he began following Messiah Yeshua. Many do not realize he continued to go to the Temple and make sacrifice after he believed on Yeshua.

To claim Sha'ul the Jew became Paul the Christian is based on ignorance of his continued life as a Jew and is Scripturally and historically inaccurate. Sha'ul remained Sha'ul the Jew for his entire life. When dealing with Gentiles and introducing them to the G-d of Israel and His Messiah, he used Paul (his Roman name) as it was less foreign and more respected. Was he being two-faced then? G-d forbid! No, he was meeting the person where they were at, so they would be open to the message.


Sha'ul's (Paul's) writings cannot be interpreted correctly outside their cultural (Jewish) and historical context. Paul was so misinterpreted even in his own day that Kefa (Peter) said that 'his writings are difficult and hard to understand', and 'many are misusing them to their own destruction'. If Peter was saying Paul's writings were leading unstable people to destruction at the time of their writing; how much worse could it be today, almost 2000 years later.

Paul's writings are the basis for the antinomian (anti-Torah) basis for almost every group today. This leads to a real problem - If Messiah says to keep the commandments (Torah) and Paul says not too, who wins? Who will we listen to? More importantly, who has the Authority to make a ruling like that?

In Summary

Sha'ul (Paul), as we will learn during our new teaching series on Romans, was a Jew amongst Jews; who never stopped being a Jew. Nor did he found a new religion called Christianity. He was a Emissary of Yeshua sent out to bring the good news to the Gentile world. He never told Jews to stop circumcising, stop eating kosher, or stop keeping Shabbat; for he himself did all these things (see Timothy).

What he did do was uphold the teaching that a Gentile did not have to become a Jew to be saved.

Rabbi Gavri'el

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is "3 Persons" Accurate Scripturally?

Is describing G-d as 3 persons scripturally accurate?

We have been struggling with 1 key aspect of the Nicene Creed for several years now. This key aspect is referring to G-d as 3 persons.

What We Believe Before we are misunderstood, I would like to state for the record that we teach and believe: Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel, He was born of a virgin, was sinless, died on the execution stake, bodily resurrected, ascended to the Father and will return to establish His Fathers Throne on Earth. So please do not misunderstand nor misrepresent that we deny the Messiah or His divinity.

How the "3 person" wording came into widespread use When the early Church was being attacked by Gnosticism and other doctrines that either denied that Messiah was (part of) G-d, or that He was not human; the concept of the Trinity came into being. This doctrine attempted to address 2 key points made in scripture, that Messiah was of the same essence as G-d, and that the Ruach HaKpdesh was of the same essence of G-d. Both these teachings are fully reflected in the Renewed Covenant.

Issues with the "3 person" wording While the Trinity doctrine truly expressed Messiah and the Ruach being of a divine nature; it had one major drawback, it implied a separateness that does not exist in scripture.

The most important statement in scripture according to the Torah and the Messiah is "Hear oh Israel, the L-rd our G-d is one G-d". The Master (Messiah) repeated these very words. How then can there be 3 persons making up one G-d? If we study history, we will see this has been a major stumbling block to Jewish belief in Yeshua as Messiah. In fact, this view is seen by most Jews as Polytheism.

I think we would all agree that there are not 3 G-d's, only one. Furthermore, it is clear from scripture that neither Yeshua or the Ruach HaKodesh do anything apart from the Father. Yeshua Himself says He does nothing apart from the Father, and that He only does the will of the Father.

If Yeshua & the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Breath or Spirit) only do what they are commanded; how then are they separate persons?

One of the concepts of persons was derived from the fact the Spirit can be grieved; but is that not equally true if G-d is grieved through His Spirit?

An alternative wording A far more understandable wording of the nature of the Father, the Messiah, and the Ruach HaKodesh is: G-d, His Shekinah, and His Spirit. These concepts are all central to Jewish belief and both the Shekinah & Ruach are seen as being manifestations of one G-d.

The Shekinah is the visible presence of G-d, as Yeshua was when He was on earth. The Shekinah was also with the G-d from the beginning and is divine. This means that calling Yeshua the Shekinah of G-d is totally scriptural, as is the Ruach HaKodesh.

In Summary

The "3 persons" of the Nicene creed as a man made attempt to describe the nature of G-d and His Messiah. It served well when addressing Gnosticism; but failed when addressing Jewish thought on the nature of G-d.

By replacing the "3 person" reference with a much more scripturally accurate description of Shekinah & Ruach,; we can still fully acknowledge Messiah and the Ruach as being of the divine nature and part of G-d without presenting what most people see as 3 G-ds.

This is a small price to pay to remove a major stumbling block to our people; without denying the true nature of the Messiah as part of G-d.

Rabbi Gavri'el

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why is sacrifice required?

Why is sacrifice required?

Recently a friend asked me a very good question, one that I expect most of us have asked at one time or another - Why didn't Adonai just save everyone?

Why did our ancestors wander in the desert for 40 years, with all adults over 20 perishing except Joshua & Caleb.

Why did Messiah have to die for us?

I think the answer to this question revolves around a couple of key thoughts: Free Will and Sanctifying G-D's name.

Free Will

Adonai chose to create man with free will, the ability to choose right from wrong. At first the test was simple; "don't eat of the fruit of the Tree of knowledge (or good and evil). Our fore-father failed this test.

In the Exodus from Egypt, our Fore-Fathers had visible proof of Adonai's provision; yet they had Free-will and chose to not trust G-D.

Likewise we today have the Torah, and the Words of the Master (Yeshua); we also have free-will and most choose not to follow G-D.

G-D had a choice, He could create robots to praise Him; but what would that mean? Isn't His way better? He created man to have a choice. While most will choose not to follow Him, some will choose to. Thus by their free will they have chosen to love Adonai and to follow him.

Which would you prefer, a slave who has no choice but to serve you, or someone who serves and worships you out of Love and Trust. I think the choice is clear.

Sanctifying G-D's name

So now lets address Part Two - why a sacrifice was required.

G-D is a perfect balance of many attributes, of which Mercy and Justice are paramount. If Adonai does not punish sin, He is not Just. Who amongst us wants to see a child-molester or rapist go unpunished? I suspect we all believe justice demands punishment.

On the Mercy side, who here does not want mercy from G-D when He examines our sins? I suspect we all want mercy.

Scripture is clear, all have sinned, some more, some less, but all are stained by sin. So how can Adonai maintain the Justice His Character requires, and display Mercy to those who cry out to Him. That is the purpose of the sacrifice. The sacrifice takes the punishment Justice demands, allowing the mercy of G-D to then act.

Sacrifice of Messiah

So where does the Messiah's death fit into this? The Passover Lamb and the Scape-goat are the perfect picture of this. Just as the Passover lamb had to die to ransom (redeem, buy back) the first born from death; the Messiah had to die to ransom us from death.

In Messiah, the function of Passover & Yom Kippur merge as a ransom was paid to the Adversary to ransom us from him, and a sin offering was made to Adonai to satisfy His justice and allow His mercy to flow down on us.

Likewise, just as the scape goat had all the sins of Israel placed on it, and was then lead outside the camp. So to the Messiah had to have all the sins placed on Him to be lead outside the camp to die in our place.

It is key to note, in both Yom Kippur and Passover, an action was required on the part of the person receiving the ransom or forgiveness. They had to participate and accept that the sacrifice was for them.

It hasn't changed, G-D's plan is the same, we have to accept the sacrifice and trust G-D for Salvation through that sacrifice.

In Summary

While I realize this is a simple explanation, I hope it helps. I stumble and struggle with these same issues that each of you do. So when I believe G-D has shown me a way to understand it, I like to pass it along hoping it helps someone else.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Celebrating Passover

Celebrating Passover

The importance of Passover is often lost on many believers. There seems to be a general misunderstanding of this celebration. Often it is classified as a "Jewish Holiday". Many grafted-in believers see no reason to celebrate this special season.

This attitude is sadly the majority view. Few realize this attitude grew out of history and unfortunately bad teachings & Antisemitism of the 1st-4th century. Let's look at the History and the reasons for keeping Passover.


Passover was celebrated by the Messiah during His earthly life. His followers continued observing Passover for decades with many continuing several centuries. With the influx of large numbers of Gentiles and the Jewish revolts, most Congregations became Gentile lead by the second century. Gentile Bishops like Ignatius advocated moving Gentiles away from any Jewish Practices (including Shabbat).

By the mid to late second century, men like Marcion actively tried to separate the Faith in Messiah from the G-d of the "Old Testament" (Tanakh). While he was later declared a heretic, neo-Marcionism is still influencing the Church today. Gentile leaders, facing persecution from Rome, moved practices away from Judaism in an effort to avoid persecution being experienced by the Jews. This practice and separation culminated in 325 CE with Constantine forever altering the celebration of the resurrection from aligning with Passover. Additionally ordnances were passed in the Church forbidding believers from celebrating Passover.

The Joy and reason for Passover:

Passover is a celebration of G-d's deliverance of Israel from slavery. For a grafted-in believer Passover is not only deliverance from Egypt (through our spiritual father Abraham and his descendants), but also deliverance from the Slavery of Sin and Death. We have every reason to celebrate Passover: because Messiah did, because He commands us to, because we are grafted into Israel, and because of the freedom from sin that was brought forth on that day.

In Summary

People rejoice of Resurrection Day, as they should, for He is risen, thus proving Adonai accepted the perfect sacrifice. We should also celebrate on Passover, for on that day our people were redeemed from Egypt; but even more importantly, we were freed from sin.

There is no Resurrection Day without Passover. It was on Passover that His blood was shed, it was on Passover that we where redeemed.

For Passover is even greater than Resurrection day, for it was on Passover that we became reconciled to G-d and the Adversary lost his claim to us.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Celebrating the Resurrection

Celebrating the Resurrection

With our Sunday brothers concentrating on celebrating Resurrection Day in 2 weeks, it may not be clear as to why we do not celebrate Resurrection day on the same day, and why we do not call it "Easter".

First let's discuss the timing so we as a Synagogue can better explain to those who ask.

Just as we believe the Shabbat is important; we believe all of Adonai's Moed'im (appointed times) are important. The Resurrection occurred on Nissan 17 the year our Messiah died for our sins. This Day, exactly 3 days after Passover, was forever linked to the Passover. For at Passover our Messiah died for us, and on Nissan 17, He was resurrected to show G-d had accepted the perfect sacrifice.

Furthermore, Nissan 17 is the Feast of First Fruits by one of the 2 traditions held on when First Fruits is to be celebrated (we follow this interpretation). Thus G-d chose First Fruits to bring forth His First Fruits of the promised resurrection.

That being the case, we feel very strongly that just as man does not have the authority to change Shabbat; man does not have the authority to change Passover or First Fruits. Thus we celebrate these 2 critical events according to G-d's calendar as stated in scripture.

As for using the term Resurrection Day vs Easter. Many today are switching to the term Resurrection Day to better identify the reason for the celebration. The origins of the word Easter have nothing to do with our Messiah and may have pagan meanings. We believe this is a very positive move as we are to have nothing to do with any form or practice which distracts from the Messiah.

So what about Easter Eggs & Bunnies. Each person must decide for themselves. We do not subscribe to those as a Synagogue as they have a mixed history and clearly do not point to the Messiah.

In Summary

We are called to follow G-d and His Messiah. We believe that includes following His appointed times and seasons. So if your friends ask about Easter, explain lovingly we celebrate Resurrection Day on the day G-d appointed it to happen over 3500 years ago.