Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Name of God, Pt. 3: Ineffable?


This is another good article by Micha'el on the name of G-d. Enjoy!

Blessings in Messiah

The Name of God, Pt. 3: Ineffable?

When I was growing up, I was told that the Name of God is ineffable--that is, unpronounceable--due to being written without any vowels. Of course, what the person telling me this didn't say (and probably didn't know) was that much of written Hebrew lacks vowels. That is to say, the vowels are inferred by the reader. The result is much the same as the way some people today write English in shorthand; for example:

My name is Michael, and I live in Atlanta.

My nm s Mchl, nd I lv n 'Tlnth.

More difficult to read, certainly, but hardly unpronounceable--though there might arise a debate about whether "Mchl" should be pronounced Michael, Machil, Mochul, etc. One might also debate whether the "y" in "my" is meant as a vowel (as indeed it is) or a consonant, so that the first word of the sentence could be rendered my, may, mya, etc.

The Masorites added vowel-marks to the text of the Tanakh in order to provide guides for those less familiar with the Biblical text than a native-born Hebrew speaker who grew up hearing the text read aloud, for which we owe them a tremendous thank-you. (However, it should be noted that because the vowel-marks are a late addition, as indeed are the spaces between the letters, we have to be careful in how we lean upon them.)

In any case, this shows that the lack of vowels would not make it impossible to correctly pronounce a word. Moreover, many Hebrew letters can be either a consonant or a vowel, and this is the case with all of the letters of the Name YHVH.

yod = either a y or an i
heh = a small breath, just like the name of the letter
vav = either a v (consonant) or a u or o (vowel)

We can be certain that the popular English pronunciation Jehovah is not correct. First of all, the yod is never pronounced like an English j. Secondly, this pronunciation came about because of the custom of substituting Adonai (Master, or Lord) for YHVH when reading the text aloud--the Masoretic scribes inserted the vowel-marks for Adonai (a-o-e) into the letters of YHVH, which resulted in an amalgamation of the two (YaHoVeH). Thirdly, Yahoveh in Hebrew would be broken into Yah and hoveh; the latter word means "a ruin" and "disaster" (Strong's #1943)--in other words, it's like saying "Yah is a ruin and disaster"!

The two most likely and popular pronunciations are Yahweh and Yahveh, the main point of contention being whether the vav should be pronounced as a consonant and a vowel. Proponents of the former view lean on Josephus, who stated that the Name written on the High Priest's turban was comprised of "four vowels" (Wars. 5:5:7, ref. Exo. 28:36-37). The early Church fathers seem to have preferred this reading:

It was in connection with magic that the Tetragrammaton was introduced into the magic papyri and, in all probability, into the writings of the Church Fathers, these two sources containing the following forms, written in Greek letters: (1) "Iaoouee," "Iaoue," "Iabe,"; (2) "Iao," "Iaho," "Iae"; (3) "Aia"; (4) "Ia." It is evident that (1) represents , (2) , (3) , and (4) . The three forms quoted under (1) are merely three ways of writing the same word, though "Iabe" is designated as the Samaritan pronunciation. (The Jewish Encyclopedia, Tetragrammaton)

The Samaritan pronunciation, mentioned above, favors the pronunciation as Yahveh, as a b-sound may be easily derived from an original v-sound. It has the advantage of having come from an area geographically and linguistically close to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the bulk of the early testimony and scholarly study is on the side of Yahweh. I myself am not 100% sure, though I tend to use Yahveh right now, with the slightest of skips, not quite a breath, on the first heh, making it Yah'veh. (A good friend has told me that his uncle, who is a native Aramaic speaker, also pronounces the first heh, saying, "The heh is the breath of life; it should be pronounced!")

This study has, of course, been extremely brief. Those readers interested in a more in-depth study will find a longer article and a link to an e-book here. I don't agree with all of its conclusions, but the chapters dealing with the pronunciation of the Name were of immense interest and help to me.

A final caveat, which has already been said, but bears repeating: We have to walk a tightrope here. We want God's Name to be known and used in proper reverence, but we never want it to become common. Nor do we want it to be a stumbling block for anyone. For this reason, Beth HaMashiach uses the traditional circumlocution ADONAI in prayer and liturgy, and even omits the vowels from L-rd and G-d, lest a Jewish visitor think we are being too light with the Name.

But at the same time, let us remember to bless the Name of YHVH.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Names of God, Pt. 2: The Reverence of God's Name


The 2nd part of Michaels article on the name of G-d.

The Names of God, Pt. 2: The Reverence of God's Name
If the Scriptures command us to "publish the name of YHVH," how then did the custom of avoiding it come about? It was not through some priestly conspiracy, as I've seen some suggest, but out of a deep sense of reverence.

First, let's step back from the speaking of God's Name to the writing of it. Why is it many observant Jews even refrain from writing "Lord" and "God," but render them "L-rd" and "G-d" instead? (I've even seen a few Messianics take this to an extreme, writing "M-ss--h" instead of Messiah.)

The answer is found in Deu. 12:2-4:

Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. Ye shall not do so unto YHVH your God.

To understand why a Jew will not write the Name, or even a title, of God, you have to look at this passage like a rabbi. Remember that the rabbis both seek to keep the most literal interpretation of a command possible as well as observe its drash. For example, when an Orthodox Jew wears teffilin (phylacteries) in prayer, it's to keep the command to wear God's Word on his hand and between his eyes literally (Deu. 6:8). Therefore, when they see a command to destroy the names of the pagan gods, but not to do the same to the Name of YHVH, the observant Jew likewise takes that command very literally. If you write YHVH--or indeed, any Name or title belonging to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--on a piece of paper, and then either erase the Name or allow the paper to be destroyed, to the Jew you are destroying the Name of God.

What then of speaking the Name of God? Forbidding this practice came out of two separate issues. The first is the command that he who blasphemes (slanders) the Name of YHVH must be put to death (Lev. 24:16). Again, think like a rabbi: The noblest pursuit in their minds is to put a fence around the Torah--that is, to erect commands beyond what the Torah commands so that one will not accidentally sin. For example, to create a specified "Sabbath's day journey" that one isn't supposed to walk beyond (about half a mile). If one were forced to walk just a little more than the prescribed journey, one wouldn't have sinned against the Sabbath by working. The same principle applies here: The simplest way to avoid accidentally blaspheming the Name is to avoid using it altogether.

The second issue is that the pagans in the first century (and the neo-pagans of today) used the names of their gods in magical rites, and the Jews didn't want them to use YHVH's Name the same way. This is why, for example, the book of Esther only contains the Name in four hidden acrostics, and then only in the original Hebrew: It was a safeguard against the Persians, among whom the book was published (likely in their own language) learning and misusing God's Name.

This resulted in an increasing sacredness in the use of the Name of YHVH. First, it was restricted from common use, with one substituting Adonai (Lord), Avinu (Our Father) and other circumlocutions instead. By about two centuries before Yeshua's birth, this practice had been enshrined in what some call the ineffable (Unspeakable) Name doctrine. The use of the Name became restricted to the priests, and then to the Cohen HaGadol (the High Priest), and then only on Yom Kippur. Edersheim notes that where once the practice was to say the Name aloud on Yom Kippur, when it became known that the Name was being used for magic, the Cohen HaGadol began muttering it under his breath, until the very pronunciation was lost from the common mind.

In my previous entry, I showed that the Bible does actually command us to make YHVH's Name known. This of course means more than just the syllables--it means His reputation, His honor, who He is--but it includes the syllables. But now I'm going to issue a caution: Yeshua and His Apostles were very careful about using YHVH's Name. Yeshua most commonly referred to Him as "My Father," and the NT uses Kurios (Lord) and Theos (God) rather than transliterating YHVH into Greek. Therefore, we too should exercise the greatest of caution in actually speaking God's Name, doing so only in worship, prayer, instruction, or another reverent context.

We want God's Name to be known, not for it to become common.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Names of God, Pt. 1: Can We Speak God's Name?


Michael wrote this excellent article on the name of G-d.

The Names of God, Pt. 1: Can We Speak God's Name?
This is a piece I've meant to do for a while, and it seems apropos to do it now as a follow-up to talking about the names we use for ourselves.

By now, readers may have noticed my tendency to use the KJV, but to usually replace "Jesus" with "Yeshua" and sometimes replace "the LORD" with "YHVH." The reason I prefer Yeshua to Jesus is very simple: First, it emphasizes His Jewishness. Second, "Yeshua" means "Salvation" in Hebrew, and the longer form, "Y'hoshua," means "Yah is Salvation." "Jesus" doesn't carry that meaning--or any meaning, for that matter--in any language, and I want to preserve the importance of the Messiah's Name. Thirdly, while there is nothing wrong, per se, with saying "Jesus"--God knows your heart, and He knows whose Name you're praying in--it's not a particularly good transliteration of our Master's Name either, having gone from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to German before reaching it's English form.

What about the proper Name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as He revealed it to Moshe, Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh (hereafter rendered as YHVH)? Should it be used, and if so, how should it be pronounced?

The Jewish tradition is to never pronounce the Tetragramaton--or rather, that only the High Priest may say it, and only then on Yom Kippur. I'll go into the origin of that tradition another time. For now, suffice to say that when a person reading from the Tanakh came to the Name, he would substitute "ADONAI" (Heb. for "Lord"), which is where our own custom of writing "the LORD" in place of God's Name in our English translations comes from. Some translations of the Tanakh, recognizing the link between YHVH and God's declaration to Moshe, "I AM that I AM" ("Ehyeh asher Ehyeh"), use "the Eternal" instead.

Interestingly, over time ADONAI became too holy to be used in anything but direct reading from the Scripture, and HaShem (the Name) was substituted instead. One wonders what will have to be substituted when HaShem becomes too holy. My siddur (Jewish prayer book) uses a double-yod in place of God's Name rather than write YHVH, Adonai, or HaShem.

But is there any Biblical basis for eschewing the Name of God? None at all. YHVH appears 6519 times in the Tanakh--many of them direct quotes from human beings. For example, shortly after the fall, Havah (Eve) says upon the birth of her son Cain, "I have gotten a man from YHVH" (Gen. 4:1). Moshe continually told Israel, "This is what YHVH has commanded . . ." David used YHVH's Name reapeatedly in his Psalms, which were meant to be sung aloud.

No, clearly Scripture permits saying God's proper Name, YHVH, provided that we do so with reverence. It is something greatly to be lamented, then, that both the Jewish and Christian communities have eschewed using it almost to the point of destroying it from history altogether.

I don't think that there's anything wrong with saying "God" and "the Lord" (any more than there was anything wrong with the Apostles writing "Theos" and "Kurios" in the NT) out of a sense of reverence. (For that matter, while I do not join in the custom, I have no problem with those who omit the vowels of L-rd and G-d for the sake of reverence.) My concern is that those terms have become so generalized today that one can never tell if someone means "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" when they say "God," or if they mean Allah, the Brahman, a deist god, or what. Many Christians sidestep this potential confusion or inaccuracy by saying "Jesus," but that risks confusing the Trinity. I would that we knew for certain how to pronounce YHVH and would do so--with all reverence and awe--even if there were no other reason.

Moreover, I think Scripture encourages, if not commands us, to make God's Name known:

Deuteronomy 32:3-4
Because I will publish the name of YHVH: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

2 Samuel 22:50
Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O YHVH, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.

Psalm 34:3
O magnify YHVH with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Over the next few articles, I'm going to discuss how the practice of never saying YHVH came about, whether we know the pronounciation today, and how we should avoid misusig it. Until then,


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Whats in a name?


Many in the Congregation have noticed that I am using Gavri'el (my hebrew name) more and in correspondence. You may be wondering why, so I thought it was appropriate to explain.

In English, a name is treated as merely a name, but in many cultures, a name is much more, it has meaning! For example, we use Yeshua instead of Jesus, why, because Yeshua was His original name and it means literally "Salvation"!

Taking from my Grandmothers heritage (Sephardic from Spain), Gavri'el is my given Hebrew name. Choosing to use Gavri'el reflects more than a "change of name", but a "change of identity". Why a change, because it correctly reflects the identity G-d revealed to me on our recent trip to Israel, and upon our return.

One personal note I would like to share. While we were in the Praise and Worship before going into the prison 3 weeks ago, G-d told me clearly in my Spirit, "you are Gavri'el". He repeated this 3 times. He has futher confirmed that by affirming my place amongst His people.

He has completed my identity!

Note:Gavri'el means messanger of G-d.

Banning Jews from believing in Messiah?


The council of Nicea II did just that!

Nicea II, in the eighth century, officially banned Jewish life in Jesus. All who continued to practice circumcision, Sabbath observance or other Hebrew rites were to be banned from the Church. Many think that the first Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. precluded Jews from Jewish life in Jesus. However, there is no canon of this council explicitly dealing with this issue. Apparently, many have confused Nicea I and Nicea II. Only universal councils were universally received and became binding to the whole Church. Regional councils, such as Toledo, Elvira, Antioch and Laodocia making such decisions against Jewish life in Yeshua had influence, but did not become universal law. Nicea II provides us with universal law. The text translated from the Latin follows:

"Because those from the Hebrew religion have been deceived, they seem to mock Christ as God, pretending to become Christians, but they deny him as they openly and secretly keep the Sabbath and follow other practices in the manner of the Jews. We determine that they are not to be received into communion, nor into prayer, nor in the Church, but the Hebrews are manifestly according to their own religion: their children are not to be baptized; nor is a slave to be purchased or acquired. But if anyone of them will convert out of a sincere faith and heart and will make a profession of faith with all his heart, disclosing their customs and practices so that others might be exposed and corrected, he is to be received and baptized, and also his children; but indeed we decree that they are to be observed so that they depart from Hebrew practices, otherwise they are not to be admitted at all."

Article excerpt from "Anti-Messianic Judaism in the Church", by Dan Juster, used by permission.

Who is a Jew


One question commonly asked is, Who is a Jew?

Obviously, this is a question that has been debated for centuries. One cannot be considered Jewish strictly on the basis of religion, because most Jewish people today are not religious. The same applies to any definition of a Jew based on culture, as well. According to Rabbinic Judaism, to be considered a Jew, one must have Jewish parents and in particular a Jewish mother.

This rabbinic definition is not Biblically correct. The Scriptural definition of a Jew is three-fold: First of all, we are a nation and a people; to be considered Jewish one must be a physical descendant of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob (Gen. 12:1-3). Secondly, the Biblical lineage is patrilineal, i.e. carried through the father, not matrilineal or carried through the mother (for example, Moses had a Gentile wife and King David’s great grandmother was Ruth, the Moabite, yet their children were all considered Jewish).

Finally, the Scriptures indicate that if either parent is Jewish or if a grandparent is Jewish (i.e., if there is a significant Jewish heritage), one can identify himself or herself as being Jewish and can claim himself as a part of God’s Chosen People.

Blessings Gavri'el

Monday, May 08, 2006

Pictures from the Holy Land (Israel)


We recently returned from a 15 day trip to the Holy Land. During that time we travelded the route of the Exodus, from Egypt, through the Sinai, to Jordan, finally arriving in Ertz Yisrael, the land of Israel. Pictures may be found at

What is the difference between Messianic Judaism and Rabbinic Judaism?


We often get asked What is the difference between Rabbinic (Talmudic) and Messianic Judaism.

Rabbinic Judaism is a Judaism centered around the teachings and writings of Rabbis. Its formation began over 1,900 years ago when the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Before then, "Judaism" was centered around the Temple and the sacrificial system according to the Torah (the Law or the five books of Moses). After the destruction of the Temple the Rabbis reorganized Judaism, adding many new laws, rules and traditions. Today, their writings and commentaries (Talmud, Midrash, ect) form the foundation of Rabbinic Judaism.

Rabbinic Judaism consists of several branches: Orthodox (very traditional), Chassidic (Ultra-Orthodox), Conservative (middle of the road), Reform (liberal) and Reconstructionist (very liberal). Some are still looking for the Messiah to come in the form of a Man, while others are looking for a Messianic Age.
Messianic Judaism differs in that we rely totally on the Scriptures. Our faith is the Judaism of the Bible (Biblical Judaism) and is centered around the Messiah. We in Messianic Judaism believe that Yeshua is the promised Messiah and that we don't have to go through the Sages or the Rabbis to know God. We have access to God because of the great atoning work of the Messiah Yeshua, who has fulfilled us as Jewish believers (Mt. 5:17-19).

Messianic Judaism formation began with around 30 AD with all of the first believers. All 12 of the first disciples where Jewish as well as Yeshua himself. This makes Messianic Judaism about 40 older than that of Rabbinic Judaism.


Israel's population surpasses 7 million


On the eve of Israel’s 58th Independence Day, figures were released showing that Israel’s population has surpassed the 7 million mark. At 7,026,000, the number of residents is 8.7 times larger than it was when the state was established. Israel had 806,000 citizens in 1948, and half of them still live here. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 80 percent of Israelis (5,639,000) are Jewish and 20 percent (1,387,000) are Arab.


Shabbat is the 4th Commandment.


We often get asked why we worship on Friday night & Saturday. Below sums it up nicely.

1. Shabbat is the 4th Commandment.
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Exodus 20:11

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.
Hebrews 4:9-11

We know that Yeshua celebrated Shabbat. Yeshua, speaking of himself said, "the son of man is Lord even of Shabbat." If Yeshua is your Lord, you should honor Shabbat and if you observe Shabbat, the Lord of Shabbat, Yeshua, should be your Lord.
Matthew 12:8

2. Shabbat is for the family
We believe it is important for families to celebrate Shabbat together and keep God at the center of their celebration. Children see their parents actively worshiping Adonai and ”Walking the Talk". It is important for children see their parents worship God, as they grow in their spiritual life as well. Use this as an opportunity to invite family and friends who want to know more about Shabbat.

Blessings in Messiah

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tefillin (Phylacteries) in Worship


Michael prepared a good article on Tefillin. Blessings

Compliments of Michael Bugg Assoc. Messianic Congregational Leader -

I got a question today about using tefillin, more commonly called (among Gentiles) phylacteries, in worship. Tefillin are the leather bands with small leather boxes which contain scrolls with passages from the Torah (most commonly Deu. 6:4) that Orthodox and Hasidic Jews wear in prayer.

There's nothing wrong with using tefillin in worship. Whlie Yeshua criticized those who made their tefillin over-large to show off their "piety" (Mat. 23:5), He did not condemn the practice itself and even paired it off with the Biblical practice of wearing tzitzit, or fringes.

The tradition comes from Deu. 6:6, 8, in which YHVH commands, "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart . . . And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes." Certainly, wearing tefillin is a very literal way of fulfilling this command. However, as I explained in the post on living a symbolic life, it's not the whole fulfillment.

In Exo. 13:16, YHVH commands Israel to keep the Passover every year, saying, "And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt." Therefore, we must interpret Deu. 6 in the light of the previous command in Exo. 13, and conclude that what God is saying that we must do symbollic acts ("bind them for a sign upon thine hand") and view symbollic things ("they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes") to remind us of God's commands and all that He in His boundless grace has done for us.

Literally binding the tefillin to one's hand and head certainly qualifies as keeping this command in both a very literal and yet also a symbolic way. However, it is not the only, or even the primary, means by which we are to keep this commandment, nor should it be considered a requirement. When we keep the Passover, we keep the command. When we celebrate the Lord's Supper, we keep the command. When we put on a talit and look on the tzitzit, we keep the command. When we are baptized, we keep the command. All of these things involve doing and looking upon physical symbols of the spiritual reality that we are a part of, and serve to keep God's Word frontmost in our mind.

Therefore, while a Messianic Jew or former Gentile may use tefillin as a part of his (or her, but that's another subject) worship, he is not required to, nor should he do so simply to show off how holy or Torah-observant he is.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ancient Evidence of Messianic Jewish Beliefs


While doing some research I found some early quotes from Early Christian Leaders on Messianic Jews and thought I would share them.

Jerome (4th Cent CE.) - "...who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law." (Jerome; o­n. Is. 8:14).

Epiphanius (4th Cent CE.) - "But these sectarians... did not call themselves Christians--but "Nazarenes," ... However they are simply complete Jews. They use not o­nly the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do... They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion-- except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that G-d is one that his son is Y'shua the Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the entire Law, the Prophets, and the... Writings... are read in Hebrew, as they surely are by the Jews. They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, o­nly in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by the Law--circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest-- they are not in accord with Christians.... they are nothing but Jews.... They have the Goodnews according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet, as it was originally written.
(Epiphanius; Panarion 29)

Note some key points:
1. As late as the 4th century (and even later), Messianic Judaism was a valid form of belief. This dispels the idea that the Messianic movement is just a creation of the church to "trick" Jews.
2. Observance of the Torah (here called entire Law).
3. Attitude of Epiphanius towards Torah - He says fettered by the Law. The anti-Torah bias of the Church is that old.

As we can see, Messianic Judaism has existed from the beginning, and is clearly being practiced in the 4th century, as these writings show. While Messianic Jews will be persacuted by the Church, and by other Jews, for the next 1600 years, we now see G-d's plan unfolding with the reemergance of the Movement. No longer in hiding, but growing, Like Yochanan "one crying in the Wilderness...Make the way straight" for the L-rd is coming.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How did Rabbinic Judaism come into being?


Just how did Rabbinic Judaism, the current dominate for of Judaism, come into being? Is it the only form of Judaism today?

Judaism of the first century was expressed in many flavors, including that of the Tzadakim (centered on the Temple service), Pharisaic (centered around Halacha), Zealots (a Zionist movement wanting freedom from Rome), Messianic (believers that Yeshua of Nazareth is Messiah, and Essenes (an almost monastic sect, from whom we get the Dead Sea Scrolls). These and other sects lived and competed in Jewish culture during the 1st century until the destruction of the temple, and subsequent diaspora.

Three groups, the Tzadakim, Zealots & Essenes, ceased to be a force in Judaism after the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. This left 2 primary groups both of which succeeded in establishing themselves outside of Jerusalem, and subsequently being spared from destruction by the Romans. The Messianics, thorough a miracle of G-d (in my estimation), were able to escape Jerusalem (which later brought about accusations of being traitors by some Jewish authorities) when the Romans surrounding the city split their lines (recorded in Josephus). The Messianic’s heeding their Messiah’s words, fled the city. The Pharisee had significant numbers outside Jerusalem, and thus were able to continue on.

After the destruction of Jerusalem, the 2 groups grew increasingly apart, until, in 90 CE, at Yavneh, the Pharisee’s added the 19th benediction to the Amidah, forcing Messianics to curse themselves if they wished to stay in the Synagogue. The split continued, and was made greater in 132-135 CE in the 2nd revolt, where Rabbi Akiva names Simon bar Koshba to be Messiah. This resulted in a greater polarization. Messianics would, over the next 200 years become overshadowed as Gentiles came to dominate the movement.

Pharisee’s succeeded in evolving Judaism from a Temple based movement to a Synagogue based movement. Sacrifices were replaced with Prayer, Charity & Repentance. As the Diaspora grew, this system gained dominance. The Talmud, with the Oral Law and Rabbinic rulings (Halacha) were compiled and governance was established. The rulings of the Rabbi’s became supreme, to the point that Oral Torah and Rabbinic writings were treated on the level of Torah.

Great Sage’s like Rashi, RamBam, RamBan, etc. compiled volumes that added to the Rabbinic interpretation and strengthened what became Modern Judaism.

Is Rabbinic Judaism the only form today? Most certainly not, even with non-Messianic Judaism, there are groups like the Karaite who reject Oral Torah & the Talmud. The largest group of Jew’s today are not Orthodox, but secular, many atheist, who do not even believe in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. One of the fastest growing forms of Judaism is Messianic, Those who believe Yeshua is the Messiah. Currently Messianic Jews worldwide number about 500,000 or 2-3% of the total Jewish World population.

It is important to note that the Orthodox do not accept Messianic Jews as Jews. They also reject other expressions of faith such as the Karaites, and even Conservative and Reformed Jewish conversions are not recognized in Israel.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

When the Rabbi's stray from the truth


I'd like to begin by saying that I have great respect for the Rabbi's & Sage's of our people. Having said that, we must remember that they are men, not G-d, and are capable of error. While many in the Jewish community want to treat Rabbinical decisions as equal to the Word or G-d, we do not agree with that level of authority. We see the Rabbi's and Sages as learned, wise men, providing commentary on scripture. We also view the Oral Torah as Commentary, not having the weight of G-d breathed scripture. This is very similar to how Protestants view the Catacism.

Rabbinical statements which stray:
1. In 132 CE, Rabbi Akiva named Simon Bar Koshba (son of a liar) the Messiah, renaming him Bar Kochba (son of a star). The result, in 135 CE the revolt ended, 1000's were killed, Jerusalem was destroyed and rebuilt as a Pagan city.
2. RamBam in His 13 articles of Faith declared G-d yachid, not echad. Yachid means the only one, not one as scripture states. Why the big deal, this was done to counter the concept of Messiah as G-d. Echad means simple one, and is used in B'rsheet to say Adam & Eve became one. Thus two became one flesh.

Rabbinic statements have tremendous impact in the Jewish Community. We must be knowledable enough to know the origins of these statements, and show, using Hebrew texts, the problems they create.

Blessings in Messiah

Monday, April 10, 2006

Why was the Temple destroyed in 70 CE


While traveling in Israel, we had the privialge of visiting the "Rabbinic Tunnel" that runs under the Moslem Quarter, right next to the Temple mount. This is the same tunnel that sparked the intafada in the 90's when Moslem extremists claimed it had gone under the dome of the rock (it did not, as no part is under the Temple Mount).

During the tour, we were privilaged to see the closest spot to the Holy of Holies that Jews are allowed to visit. Our guide, a bright eyed young Israeli woman, explained that the Rabbi's taught the first Temple had been destroyed because of unjustice & idolitry. She proceeded to tell a story of why the second Temple was destroyed.

The paraphrased story is that a man held a huge feast, inviting everyone to come. His best friends invitation was mistakenly delivered to his enemy, who showed up at the feast. The man saw his enemy, and went to have him thrown out. The man, not wishing to be shamed, begged to not be thrown out, even offering to pay for the entire feast, but instaed he was shamed, and cast out. Thus hate was the cause of the destruction of the second Temple.

It is ironic that the Rabbi's have come up with an simple explanation for why the Temple was destroyed, ignoring the fact that the Talmud clearly teaches that the Yom Kippur sacrifices were not acepted by G-d for 40 years before the destruction (Yoma 39b). What happended 40 years before? The Messiah came, and offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice, thus a mere goat would no longer suffice.

It was not hate that destroyed the Temple, it was that it was not longer needed, as a more perfect sacrifice had been made.

Blessings in Messiah

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Mercy & Grace


I currently am reading "Rabbi & Redeemer" by David Mishkin (see to order). This walk through the book of John gives good insight on the Jewishness of the scriptures and explains the cultural and historical context of the writings. If als0 does an excellent job of helping us see Yeshua as He claimed to be, the Son of G-d.

One key point made is the difference between Grace & Mercy, I'd like to share this here:
Grace is getting what we do not deserve, namely eternal life, the ability to live according to Torah, and have G-d's Spirit dwelling inside of each of us granting the strength to overcome.
Mercy is not getting what we do deserve, punishment and eternal seperation from G-d.

Thus G-d, through mercy, forgives our sins, and through Grace gives us eternal life and the ability to walk according to His will.

What a beautiful concept, not only forgiveness, but tha ability to walk as "Children of the King". This is what was meant when G-d said He would give us a new heart, and write His Torah on our heart!


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Back From Israel!


My wife and I are now back from Israel. It was an excellent, inspiring trip as we traced the route our ancestors traveled from Egypt to the Promised land.

Several things struck me as we traveled: from how difficult the terrain was on the way to the promised land (not smooth desert as many imagine, but hills, rocky soil, and barren expanses), how lush the vegetation was in the Galilee region (truly a land flowing with milk and honey), and most of all, the pervasive sense of being home.

Over the next several weeks, we will be posting pictures and short video clips of our travels. For those who prayed for safe passage, and safety for our family while we were gone, you have our sincere thanks.

Blessings in Messiah

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Living a Prayerful Life

How many of us speak nary a word to God except for a mumbled prayer at bedtime? How long would your marriage last if that's all you spoke to your spouse?

Even if we have a personal prayer life, how many of us make the time to pray with our fellow believers? How long would your marriage last if you refused to relate to your spouse in public?

Prayer is the cornerpiece of a successful spiritual life. It is communion with God. In groups, it's communion through the Spirit with both the Father and each other. It is a powerful weapon: And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. (Eph. 6:17-18, MKJV). If the Word of God is our sword, prayer is our heavy artillery and our radio to receive backup.

Prayer is the incense which fills God's heavenly Temple with a sweet smell (Rev. 5:8). It is the channel through which the Spirit flows. Why then do we wonder why we don't see God moving when we have such anemic prayer lives?

And finally, the prayers of the righteous are powerful (Jas. 5:16), but the prayers of the wicked go unheard (Pro. 15:29). When there is unrepentant sin in our lives, how can we wonder why our prayers go unanswered?

Consider this a challenge, both to my Messianic brethren and to my Sunday Christian brethren as well: The hour is late, the night is growing darker, and we have a job to do. Let's take up the most important tool that God has given us, and make communion with Him the centerpiece of our lives and ministries.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Real Grace

A brother Christian who once said to me, "You know, I've gotten to the point where all I care about is God's grace." He explained that he's in a Bible study with a Messianic Rabbi, and every time he gets tied up in some detail or point, the rabbi "hits me with God's grace again."

I suspect that the rabbi in question is emphasizing ADONAI's grace so much to try to avoid the period of legalism that so many Messianics go through as we discover a zeal for the Torah. Even so, the student in this case has gotten a bit unbalanced on the other side; he even once said to me, "Well, doesn't it say, let's sin all the more so that grace may abound?" No! Just the opposite (see Rom. 6:1-2)!

You know what grace is? Grace is sinning, going to our Father, confessing it, and having Him say to us, "You're forgiven; go and sin no more, My child." And when we stumble again and commit the same sin, and confess it, He says, "You're forgiven; go and sin no more, My child." And when we sin for the 491st time that day in the same way, our Father still says, "You're forgiven; go and sin no more, My child."

Grace is the pardon from sin, not the pardon to sin. Grace is a Father who accepts us as we are, in all of our sin and uncleaness, but loves us too much to let us stay that way. Grace is a Father who disciplines us (and yes, His discipline is often exceedingly painful), but who never rejects us. The Father may take us to the woodshed and take off His belt, but He always welcomes us back into the house with a hug.

That's not an easy grace. It's a very hard grace, sometimes--but it's a transforming grace.

It's very easy for a Messianic to get frustrated with a Sunday Christian. But if we, knowing the requirements of God's Torah, still stumble on the road and even wander astray from it from time to time, have been shown and continue to be shown so great a grace in our Messiah Yeshua, then we need to be just as quick to show that grace to our brethren.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Symbols in Messianic Life


Below is a post from Michael's Blog on Symbols that enhance our walk with G-d. It is very well done.

Living a Symbolic Life

When Yeshua was asked what the greatest commandment was, He answered,
"The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, YHVH our God, YHVH is one. And you shall love YHVH your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment."
He is, of course, referring to the Sh'ma in Deu. 6, which continues:
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
What does it mean to bind God's words on our hands and as frontlets between our eyes?

To read the rest of the article, go to Symbolic Life"

Blessings in Messiah

Another "Jesus"


I had partially quoted a passge in earlier writtings concerning whether some churches were teaching another "Jesus", or Messiah. The question poised was if a church teaches a Jesus who violates Torah, says Jesus did away with Torah and that believers today should not follow Torah, are they preaching "another Jesus" that Jews are commanded not to follow. Here is the entire passage from D'varim (Duet.)

If a prophet rises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder which he foretold to you occurs, saying, "Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us serve them," you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For YHVH your God is testing you to know whether you love YHVH your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after YHVH your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. And that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken to turn you away from YHVH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slaves, to thrust you out of the way in which YHVH your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put the evil away from the midst of you. (Deu. 12:32-13:5)

So the command in scripture is clear, the false prophet is to be killed. We need to teach a scripturally correct Messiah, one who kept Torah, and commanded His followers to also. If Sha'ul (Paul) taught that the Torah was evil (He did not), then he would have been a false teacher.

Remember, G-d's word is consistant, and we must not pick or choose what we follow. Sha'ul himself said "all scripture is pofitable"; he was speaking of the Tanakh - Torah, Writings & Prophets, not only the "Newer or Renewed Coveneant" books which had yet to be written.

If teachings in the Renewed Covenant seem to contradict the Tanakh, we must not blindly accept them, but search how to understand them because G-d's word will not contradict itself.

Blessings in Messiah

Rabbinic Validation of Yeshua as Messiah


One of my favorite research activities is to study the Talmud & Rabbinic sources for clear validation that Yeshua is Messiah. I do this not only because I enjoy it, but following in the path of Dr. Michael Brown (writer of Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus Volumes 1-3), I believe it allows us to show Messiah from Scriptural & Rabbinic sources to our people.

Michael Bugg had this little tidbit on His blog, which I repost with His permission. These are fully verifiable.

Here is the excerpt:

The rabbis were not unfamiliar with exorcism. Their method was to command the demon in the Name of YHVH to give them its name; once they had the spirit's name, they were able to command it out with that name. (We see Yeshua using this method in the case of Legion; Luke 8:30ff.) However, in the case of a demon that kept its victim mute, they could not force it to give its name and therefore could not cast it out.

The amazing thing to them about Yeshua was not simply that He was casting out demons, but that He was doing so without involking the Name of YHVH, demonstrating that He had authority in and of Himself to command them. When He commanded out a demon of muteness, this was further proof that Yeshua is in fact the Messiah.

There were three miracles that had never been done before that the Rabbis expected the Messiah to do: Cast out a mute spirit, heal a man born blind (cf. John 9), and cure an Israelite with leprosy (up to this point, only Namaan the Syrian had been cured of that disease). Thus, the Pharisees could not have helped but know Yeshua was the Messiah, and had to willfully close their eyes by accusing Him of being possessed by the Adversary!

For the full text go to: B'rit Chadasha Blog

So we see that Rabbinic claims that Yeshua is not Messiah do not reflect all Rabbinic thinking, and even ignore some clear proofs in scripture, like the above miracles. We will discuss other proofs as we go along, Adonai willing.

Blessings in Messiah

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Unforgivable Sin

The Unpardonable Sin

There is alot of confusion, and frankly, bad teaching, about what the unforgivable sin is. Some say it is not accepting Messiah, some say it is not believing in gifts of the Ruach. Michael on His Blog had an excellent explanation that came from a converstaion we had earlier.

Here is an excerpt:

There's a lot of discussion about whether there is really an "unpardonable sin" in theological circles. According to Yeshua, there is:

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Ruach HaKodesh shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Ruach HaKodesh, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Mat. 12:31-32)

So what does that mean? Could someone have accidentally blasphemed the Holy Spirit and lost their salvation as a result? Not quite; as always, context is key.

The unpardonable sin isn't simply not to recognize the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit or Breath of God, but to attribute a work of the Spirit to the Adversary.

To read the entire article go to B'rit Chadasha Blogspot"

The unpardonable sin is real, from the context of the passage, we can clearly discern the issue is not the identification of Yeshua as Messiah, but attributing the healings and miracles of the Ruach HaKobesh (Holy Breath or Spirit) to Ha'Satan (the adversary.

The Pharisee in this case were saying the healings were of Ha'Satan, not from G-d.

Blessings in Messiah

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Thoughts - Opening a can of worms


This post I write with personal sadness. When we have to challenge someone on their path, or beliefs; it is easy to feel so inadequate.

One of the most unfortunate side effects of any movement away from "traditional" church beliefs is that there are some who stumble along the way. It seems that some go "Messianic" and then lose their way. Once in awhile you will see someone even go to the extreme and convert to Orthodox Judaism.

We see people who, like previous posts, fall away, for whatever reason. It seems that some people once open to challenging traditions, lose all sense of direction. They become like Sha'ul warned, ships without rudders, tossed to & fro by every wind of Doctrine.

We need to consider every move away from tradition with care, question all changes; to make sure we are not "throwing the baby out with the bath water", so to speak.

Does "opening the can of worms" have to mean rejecting core beliefs? Does seeing the value of Torah mean Messiah is no longer needed?

While we do not believe in the yin & yang of eastern religion, we do need to seek balance in our faith. When making the transition to Messianic, we need to be very careful to not forget the baby, as we stop celebrating Christmas. We need to remember the resurrection, even if we don't celebrate Easter.

Messianics can become "anti-Christian" very easily. We need to learn to speak against false teachings, without forgetting we all worship the same G-d. We agree on most tenets of the faith, even if those tenets are expressed differently. We believe Messiah is G-d, though we stress He is part of G-d (Echad). We believe the Ruach HaKodesh is G-d, but He is not seperate from G-d. We value Torah as showing how to live a Holy Life, but keeping Torah does not save us, G-d did that, by sacrificing Yeshua in our place.

We should not be "anti-Christian" anymore than we should be "anti-Judaism". We should not define ourselves by negatives, but by positives. We share much with both groups, and should able to fellowship in love with both.

Consistancy, accountability, sound doctrine are keys to living lives pleasing to G-d, and staying on the straight & narrow road.

Sometimes we realize how narrow that road can become and fewer than ever seem to be finding it.

Blessings in Messiah

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Life & Teachings of Yeshua Pt 4


The newest Audio has been posted on the Life & Teachings of Yeshua. This is Part 4 and covers the wedding at Kana, and the famous discussion with Nikodemus.

The link is Yeshua Ha'Mashiach Ministries

Blessings in Messiah

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hamas - "We Drink Jewish Blood"


The below excerpt is from a Hamas Website video, and shows the real intention of the Palestinians. This is sickening, when will we wake up and understand the truth.

Hamas suicide bombers' videotape: 'We drink Jews' blood'

By Nadav Shragai

A Hamas Web site recently published the videotape wills of two suicide bombers, with two main messages: One is directed to the Jews whose blood Hamas pledges to drink until they flee from the land of the Muslims, and the other is devoted to a mother who helps her son plan a suicide attack, according to Palestinian Media Watch, which presents the video shown on the Hamas site after its victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections.

The video shows Idham Ahmed Majila and Maumin Rajab Rajab, who blew themselves up at the Karni crossing at the end of 2004. "My message to the hated Jews: There is no God but Allah," Majala says. "We will hunt you everywhere, when you wake and when you sleep. We are a blood-drinking people and we know that there is no better blood than Jewish blood.

For the rest of the article go to

Blessings Gavri'el

New Websites Launched


I'm pleased to say the new web sites have been launched. While they are still very simple and need more work, they are beginning to take shape.

Here is the list:
1. End Anti-Semitism Now! shows past anti-semitic activities and alerts to rising anti-semitism. Designed to counter the denial & lies being told today by those who wish to once again kill our people.

2. Hebrew Root & Root of Faith provide education for Christians on the Jewish Root of the Scriptures, Adonai and Messiah Yeshua. Scripture takes on a totally fresh meaning when understood from it's proper Jewish Context.

3. Jewish Root provides education & provocative thought on non-Messianic Jewish interpretation of scripture. Questions Rabbinic teachings that contradict scripture, while attempting to open minds to a better interpretaion.

4. Cyber Synagogue provides Messianic teachings & synagogue services to persons who cannot attend a local congregation, or live in areas without solid Messianic teaching organizations.

We praise Adonai for providing these new openings to minister His message.

We believe this is a significant path to embark on, and ask for your prayers. It is expected to take several months for these new sites to mature, but Adonai willing, they will grow and produce good fruit.

Blessings Gavri'el

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Shabbat or Sabbath - rest


I found the below Blog entry by our Teen Leader Michael Bugg to be a good read, please enjoy.

I got asked a couple of questions the other day about the Sabbath, and I think they do a good job of illustrating the differences between following the Torah and keeping the Torah legalistically, i.e., after the manner instructed in the Talmud. The first had to do with my assertion that the Biblical Sabbath never changed from the seventh to the first day:

Would this make keeping the Sabbath on Sunday wrong or sinful?

Insofar as we define sin as "missing the mark" (the literal translation of both the Greek and Hebrew word), yes: It misses the mark of correct Biblical understanding.

Fortunately, it's not the unforgiveable sin, and we are saved by God's grace, received in trusting Yeshua the Messiah, not by keeping all of God's Appointed Times in just such-and-such a way. I don't generally make it an issue except with two groups of Christians:

1) Those who want to rag on me for supposedly following rabbinical traditions instead of the Bible--my point to them is that if they're going to follow church tradition where it does conflict with Scripture, they shouldn't hassel me about following Jewish traditions in instances where they don't.

2) Those claiming that their denominations traditions are the original apostolic church, e.g., Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. My point to them is that a) God rates obedience over lineage, and b) the Apostles were Torah-observant Jews (cf. Acts 21:20ff), not Roman Catholics.

To which she followed up by asking, Do you mind telling me how you keep it? That is, do you keep it more or less in the manner it was kept during the time of Jesus?

Oh, most certainly not!

Understand, at the time of Yeshua, the rabbis had added so many rules to define just what constituted "work" that they had literally turned not working into a heavy burden. It was so bad that when Yeshua miraculously healed people on the Sabbath, they accused Him of sinning!

I have no desire to return to that.

I strive to keep Sabbath after the simplicity taught by our Lord. I never do overtime on the Sabbath (thankfully, God has given me a job where I can control my hours), nor do I try to catch up on any of my chores around the house. Laundry can wait another day. :)

I go to synagogue, i.e. church. Since God has not granted that I live close by, that means about a 20-30 minute drive. That would definitely be frowned upon by the Orthodox, but in this case, I have to go by the Lord's take that "it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

Thus, when I preach in prison or teach the youth group on the Sabbath, even if it means being on the road for 30-90 minutes, I don't see myself violating God's command any more than a priest ministering in the Temple (Mat. 12:5) or a rabbi circumcising a child (John 7:22).

Other than that, I relax, I read, I visit with friends. I'll occassionally chat with friends on FR and elsewhere online, but I make it a general rule not to let debates carry over into the Sabbath; they too can wait another day.

Yeshua teaches us that, "The Sabbath came into being for man's sake, and not man for the sabbath's sake" (Mark 2:27). That is, the Sabbath, a day to set apart from the pace of the rest of the week, a day to sleep in, to relax, and to be with God and your family and friends, is a blessing, not a burdensome religious duty.


To read other writtings by Michael, go to L'chaim B'Yeshua Blog

Blessings Gavri'el

Friday, February 10, 2006

Why Former Gentile?

Why Former Gentile?

Using the term former Gentile has created its share of controversy. Even amongst some of my closest friends and members of the Congregation. So, why do we use the term “Former Gentile”?

Referring to someone who is not ethnically Jewish as a Messianic Jew is incorrect. While many in the Church, out of ignorance, say all believers are Messianic Jews, that is not the case. Jewishness comes from linage, either Father (Biblically), or mother (Rabbinically). Thus we only refer to a person as Jewish if they have Jewish ancestry (conversion is a topic for another time).

Referring to someone as a Gentile is also problematic if they are a believer in Messiah and especially if they are a Messianic believer. Gentile comes from the Hebrew Goyim, which is used as nations in scripture. Unfortunately it also has the meaning of pagan, as in someone who does not follow the G-d of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. Once a person believes, they certainly are no longer pagan! Also, since believers are grated in to (not replacing) Israel (similar to the Former Gentile Caleb, who with Joshua lead the children of Israel into the promised land!), the term Gentile is in my opinion, improper.

Thus a new term was required to identify non-Jewish, grafted into Israel, believers. The term we chose is “former gentile”, as it celebrates G-d’s miraculous change He has made in their heart. That is why we say “former gentile”.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

What Do Messianic or Messianic Jews Believe?

What Do Messianic or Messianic Jews Believe?

The Messianic faith takes several forms and as a journey, begins in different places for those choosing to follow “the narrow road”. I’d like to define what Messianic beliefs are:
1. G-d is Echad (one), for in scripture Moshe states “Hear of Israel, the L-rd is one G-d”
2. The Patriarchs are the forefathers of all we believe
3. The Torah (first 5 books of scripture) are the basis (foundation) for all other scripture, and the commandments given in the Torah are the basis for a life pleasing to G-d
4. Yeshua is the Messiah and creator of everything,
5. Yeshua and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Breath) are part of the one G-d. Yeshua is the physical incarnation of G-d in a human body, and is called Ha’Davar – The Word of G-d.
6. The Ruach Ha’Kodesh is the Holy Breath of G-d.
7. The promises to Israel still are in effect, and will be fulfilled
8. That former gentile believers are grafted into the Common Wealth of Israel.
9. That Yeshua did not do away with the observance of Torah.

The role of the Torah is clearly the what differentiates Messianics from most Churches. Whereas belief in Yeshua as Messiah is clearly what differentiates us from most Synagogues.

For more information go to Beth Ha'Mashiach


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Why be Messianic or Messianic Jewish?

So why are we Messianic?

Reasons for being Messianic or Messianic Jewish vary from person to person and can generally be summed up into 5 groupings:
1. Former Gentiles who have a passion for Israel and the Jewish people and want to involved in supporting both.
2. Former Gentiles who hunger for truth, who have become convinced that there are significant doctrinal issues in the Church, such as Shabbat and the role of Torah.
3. Former Gentiles who want more out of their relationship with G-d.
4. Jewish Believer who have come to see Yeshua as Messiah, and want to worship Him while maintaining their Jewishness.
5. Interfaith couples seeking a place to worship together where both are comfortable, and a place to raise children who will have both a Jewish upbringing, and knowledge of Messiah Yeshua.

Most are self explanatory, as above, but I wanted to delve a little deeper into 2 specific groups: Jewish Believers in Messiah and Former Gentiles.

Jewish Believers – When a Jew believes in Yeshua as Messiah, your life can take a radical turn of events. Families may react strongly; employment and friendships can be affected. A large change, depending on where you come from as religious background, might be in practice of faith. Imagine giving up all you hold familiar, to practice a “foreign religion”. The first thing many Churches do is invite you to a pork barbeque. Almost all readings from the Tankh are expunged for readings from the New Testament, and the Torah is now obsolete. Is this what G-d intended?

For Jews entering a Messianic Community, the culture shock is not as severe. Pork is not on the menu, the Torah is proudly displayed (and followed), and over 50% of the study is from the Tankh. The weekly parsha readings are the same. Thus you are not adopting a “foreign religion”, but following a path within a Jewish framework. Children are still circumcised, marriages are under the Chuppah and all the feasts are still celebrated. You are free to develop an understanding of Messiah, without cultural bigotry and Anti-Semitic elements clouding the path.

Former Gentile Believers – For former Gentiles beginning a Messianic Life is almost as traumatic as for the Jew. While family & friends might not be as openingly hostile, they will question you. The questions (and acquisitions) may be that: your legalistic, or that you think “everyone else is going to Hell” but you. Simple things like going shopping will be affected, as you now go on Sunday, instead of Saturday may get you labeled as not believing (since “Christians” go to church on Sunday, thus you must not believe if you are not in church).

Most Former Gentiles begin adopting a Messianic lifestyle due to issues they have with church practices & teachings. Many times it is over changes beginning in the 3rd century going through to the reformation that make Christianity less “Jewish”. It might have been the addition of pagan worship days to replace the feasts of G-d. These doctrinal issues will be explained as many past teachings are challenged. The role of Torah, the feasts, corporate prayer and a much heavier emphasis on the “rest of scripture” will challenge, and hopefully delight you.

So why am I Messianic – very simply, because I wish to be as close to G-d as possible, living by His entire revealed word, not just selected parts. I want to be like my Great Rabbi, Yeshua! To walk as He walked, to talk as He talked, and do the works He showed us to do.


For more information on living a Messianic lifestyle

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Life & Teachings of Messiah Part 2


We have just posted the 2nd part of a new teaching series on the Life & Teachings of Messiah that we wanted to share with you. This teaching covers the birth, circumcision & Pidyon Haben (redemption) of Yeshua the Messiah. The Previous teachings can be found online, or in past Blog entries.

Teh teachings are based on a harmonized Gospel, so elements of all 4 books are covered in a cohesive, linear approach that offers a fresh prospective on the Messiah's life (while on earth). The teaching specifically addresses the correct historical and Jewish cultural elements presented in the Gospels, and removes man-made anti-semitic interpetations added by later translators.

The Life & Teachings of Messiah Part 2

I hope you enjoy this fresh look at scripture. This series will most likely last through Passover.

Blessings - Gavri'el

Monday, February 06, 2006

Torah Reading Beshalach - בשלח : “When he sent”

Parashat Hashavuah

Beshalach - בשלח : “When he sent”
Torah: Exodus 13:17-17:16
Haftarah: Judges 4:4-5:31
Gospel: Mark 6

A Memorial

Thought for the Week:

Chassidic discourse teaches that the Spirit of Messiah is more exalted than that of Moses. Whereas Moses is depicted being drawn out from the water and dividing the sea, walking through the water, Messiah is depicted above the water. In the beginning of Genesis it says, “and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water.” The Sages teach, “This is the Spirit of Messiah.” In the gospels, Messiah walks over the surface of the water.


In the traditional Jewish telling of the crossing of the Red Sea, Nachshon ben Amminadab, the prince over the tribe of Judah, plays an important role. Who is Nachshon? His name is mentioned six times in the Torah. To believers his name is familiar from the genealogies of the Master in Matthew 1 and Luke 3. Nachshon was one of the ancestors of Yeshua. The Torah refers to him as the prince over the tribe of Judah.

To read the rest of the Torah Reading

Friday, February 03, 2006

Are many Churches preaching “Another Jesus”?

Are many Churches preaching “Another Jesus”?

In the posting on “Are the Rabbi’s right to not believe in “Jesus” as Messiah”, we discussed some fundamental issues regarding the nature of the Messiah. The main issue was the passage in the Torah that specifically states - if a prophet comes doing great signs & wonders, and denies or tries to eliminate the Torah, the person is to be killed (as a false prophet). We also noted that in the B’rit Chadasha (Newer Testament) the sign of the anti-Messiah is he will try to change “times and seasons” (Shabbat & Feasts), and be the “lawless one” (without Torah).

So if the scriptures specifically say that changing or eliminating Torah (translated poorly as Law) is forbidden, than how can many denominations say the Torah is done away with. The answer is many groups obsession with Paul. Paul, known more correctly to his Hebrew audience as Rabbi Sha’ul, as the “Apostle to the Gentiles” is seen as the final authority by many in the church. It was noted in Derek Leman’s fine book, Paul didn’t eat Pork (, that 90% of sermons at a large church of one major denomination where from the Letters of Paul (an Epistle is a letter).

So most Churches get the majority of their teachings from letters Paul wrote. There are many points we need to consider:
1. Several groups did not recognize the authority of Paul, this includes entire church bodies such as the Ethiopian Church & the Ebonite’s. While we are not suggesting removing Paul’s letter from Cannon, we do need to understand they are not universally accepted.
2. Kefa (Peter) himself, as 1 of the 3 Elders forming the ruling council of Apostles, said Paul’s letters were hard to understand, and were used by many to their own destruction.
3. The letters of Paul are just that, letters, giving ½ of the conversation. Mark Nanos & Derek Leman have both written excellent works on these letters and how the Church has failed to interpret them correctly. We must understand who is being addressed, who the participants in the discussion are, and the historical and cultural background to rightly interpret his words.
4. Paul’s letters, when incorrectly understood, directly contradict Yeshua’s teachings, as well as the other Apostles. For instance, if Paul really is speaking of the Torah being a curse (as opposed to the true meaning of the passage, the curses of the Torah, i.e. the curses for failing to keep Torah), he would be directly contradicting 1 John 3 where John speaks of keeping Torah to have a proper relationship with G-d.

In effect the church is tossing out 90% of all scripture, which Sha’ul himself said was good for doctrine, reproof, teaching, etc. and getting it’s doctrine from only 10% of the Bible!

If Sha’ul is teaching people to do away with Torah, then, by definition, he is a false prophet as seen in the passage in Deuteronomy!

We do not believe Paul was a false prophet, but that his writings have been terribly mistranslated, interpreted and taught for over 1800 years. See for more information on correctly understanding Paul.

What then of Churches and Denominations that teach Yeshua (Jesus) did away with the Law (Torah), or that Paul renounced the Torah? The answer is simply this, they are teaching another Jesus! They are not teaching the G-d of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. They have fallen into one of the first Heresies the early believers faced, Marcionism & Gnosticism.

This leaves one question unanswered. Who do you follow?


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Are the Rabbi’s right to not believe in “Jesus” as Messiah?

Are the Rabbi’s right to not believe in “Jesus” as Messiah?


This issue has been on my heart as it directly impacts how Jewish people see Yeshua as Messiah. The Rabbi’s and most Jewish people will not seriously consider Yeshua as the Messiah due to 3 issues: 1. Messiah was to bring peace, 2. the role of the church in anti-semiticism, and 3. The many churches teaching that the Torah is no longer valid.

I would like to discuss the last item; the Torah is no longer valid. Many denominations in the church today teach that the Torah has been “nailed to the cross”, and is no longer valid, but what does scripture really teach, and how can the teachings of the “New Testament” be reconciled to the Tanakh (Older Testament).

In the Torah, G-d says that if a prophet comes doing great signs & wonders, and denies or tries to eliminate the Torah, the person is to be killed. In the Newer Testament the sign of the anti-Messiah is he will try to change “times and seasons” (Shabbat & Feasts), and be the “lawless one” (without Torah).

Let’s examine what Messiah Yeshua’s position on the Torah was.
1. We know (though some in the Church deny it), that Yeshua was 100% Torah observant.
2. We also know He never said one word against the keeping of Torah (the law as translated in many Bibles, from the Greek nomos, which in the Septuagint is always translated Torah).
3. We know He said “not one yod or tittle” would pass away until the end of the age.
4. We know in fact that He said, “if you love me, keep my commands (Torah)”

Please understand – “Had Yeshua taught against Torah, He would not be Messiah, and would have rightfully been condemned to death, per G-d’s own word”. Thus our Messiah never did away with Torah, or told us to not keep Torah.

So the Rabbi’s are right in questioning anyone who says “Jesus is the Christ” and that He did away with the Torah. Even by the “New Testament” that many denominations fixate on to the exclusion of all else (some will not even open the Older Testament), Messiah Yeshua would not be the Messiah by the scriptures stated above.

Let us realize that the Rabbi’s are much wiser than most give them credit for. Unless the church stops pushing a Torah eliminating Messiah, the Jewish people are right to not give credence to the arguments presented for Messiah Yeshua.

Blessings – Gavri’el

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Using Pagan names for the one true G-d

Using Pagan names for the one true G-d


We recently went to see End of the Spear, a story about the 5 missionaries killed in Ecuador by an unreached people group during the 1950’s. While approaching the tribe, the missionaries used the tribal name for a god for the one true G-d. During our stay in the Middle East, we also noticed the use of Allah for the one true G-d.

My concern is, is it alright to use a pagan name for the one true G-d? Rabbi Sha’ul, when in Athens, talked about the memorial to ‘the unnamed god’, and used it to relate to the one true G-d, but he did not use Jupiter, Zeus, or other pagan deity.

The Jewish people have protected the Holy Name of G-d for 3500 years, even to the point where it is not used in the book of Esther. My concern is, is it right for “Christians” to use a pagan deities name in place of G-d’s true name?

Many pagan names are associated with demons, more than the true G-d. What does darkness have to do with light? Are we serving these people by compromising G-d’s name in order to relate to them? Allah comes from the moon god worshipped by Mohammed’s father, using that name as equal to the true G-d, are we now calling YHVH a moon G-d?

We know the church has replaced the true name of G-d with a mistranslated Jehovah (compliments of a 16th century monks mistranslation) instead of His most holy name YHVH. Now in a zeal to reach unbelievers (a laudable goal), we are using other names for Him also.

Is this G-d’s will or another compromise made in the name of spreading the Gospel and making it “palatable” to others? How many compromises can be made before we are no longer preaching the truth, and instead are spreading a lie?

Blessings in Messiah – Gavri’el

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pesach - Passover Celebration Dates


Many have inquired about Passover Dates. The tentative dates are:
- April 12, 2006 (Wednesday) Congregation Family Passover for members & regular attendees of Congregation Beth Ha'Mashiach. Informal gathering with limited music & Messianic Dance.
- April 15, 2006 (Saturday) Joint Congregation Guest Passover. More formal gathering with music & Messianic Dance. Cost is estimated to be 25-30 for adults. Nursery will be available.

For more information and updates, go to our website at . If you plan to attend, please RSVP well in advance as we will be holding the Guest Passover with Beth Adonai and seating will be limited.

New Teaching Series - The Life & Teachings of Messiah


We just began a new teaching series on the Life & Teachings of Messiah that we wanted to share with you. It uses a harmonized Gospel, so elements of all 4 books are covered in a cohesive, linear approach that offers a fresh prospective on the Messiah's life (while on earth). The teaching specifically addresses the correct historical and Jewish cultural elements presented in the Gospels, and removes man-made anti-semitic interpetations added by later translators.

The Life & Teachings of Messiah Part 1

I hope you enjoy this fresh look at scripture. This series will most likely last through Passover.

Blessings - Gavri'el

Torah Reading - Bo - בא : “Come”


Here is the Torah Readings from (Feb 4 - 10) this week , it is the story of the Exodus, which I hope will inspire you. For a list of other weeks Torah portions, go to Weekly Torah Readings & Commentary

Parashat Hashavuah

Bo - בא : “Come”
Torah : Exodus 10:1–13:16
Haftarah : Jeremiah 46:13–28
Gospel : Mark 4–5

A Memorial

Thought for the Week:

The rituals of the feast find their fulfillment in Yeshua because He fills them full of meaning. Our hearts burn with longing as we read His words, “I will not eat this Pesach again… I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29) With all certainty, we agree with the Apostle Paul, saying, “Messiah our Passover lamb also has been sacrificed,” (1 Corinthians 5:7) and we keep the festival in remembrance of Him.

Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. (Exodus 12:14)

God rescued Israel from Egypt and told her people to keep the festival as a remembrance of their salvation from bondage and slavery. But it was more than just a remembrance. It was also a rehearsal for something wonderful to come, an appointed time on God’s calendar.

Fourteen hundred years after the exodus from Egypt, Yeshua went to Jerusalem with His disciples to keep the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. He always kept the Father’s appointed times.

In Jerusalem, He kept the seder meal with His disciples. He took the unleavened bread and the customary Passover cup and instructed His disciples to do so henceforth in remembrance of Him. According to John’s chronology, on the day of the slaughter of the Passover lambs, He became the Passover Lamb. At the time when Israel slaughtered their Passover lambs in remembrance of their great salvation from Egypt, Yeshua was crucified, and His blood was applied as a mark of salvation on all who would believe in Him. Therefore, when believers keep Passover, we have two things to remember. We remember the historic salvation from Egypt as the Torah commands us. But we also remember the salvation granted us through the sacrifice of Yeshua. The two remembrances are not mutually exclusive. They naturally complement one another.

Every year we keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in remembrance of Yeshua. After all, Messiah Himself told us to keep the festival in remembrance of Him.

Was it just breaking bread and drinking the fruit of the vine that He had in mind? No. There was a specific context, and the context was Passover. In Luke He said, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover (pesach) with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15–16)

The commandment to do “this” in remembrance of Yeshua is not a commandment just to take a cup and some bread. The specific “this” to which Yeshua referred was the Passover seder meal. What could be more appropriate for a disciple of Yeshua to do than to keep the festival of Passover in remembrance of Him, just as He told His disciples?

Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
All Torah portions are compliments of First Fruits of Zion and are reproduced by permmission.

Blessings - Gavri'el

Torah Reading - Va’era - וארא: “And I appeared”


Here is the Torah Readings from (Jan 28-Feb 3) 1 week ago, it is the story of the Exodus, which I hope will inspire you. All Torah portions are compliments of First Fruits of Zion and are reproduced by permmission.

Parashat Hashavuah

Va’era - וארא: “And I appeared”
Torah : Exodus 6:2–9:35
Haftarah : Ezekiel 28:25–29:21
Gospel : Mark 3

A Matter of Reputation

Thought for the Week:

In every generation it is incumbent upon the people of God to tell and retell the story of the exodus from Egypt. As followers of the Messiah, we often speak of the appointment of Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread as being fulfilled in Messiah’s first coming. Yeshua came to us like a second Moses, bringing deliverance not from Egypt, but from bondage to sin and death.


In the book of Exodus, God is on the move in human events. He used Egypt as a theater for His great debut. Through the events of the Exodus story, He made His entrance onto the stage of world history and established His Name in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of Israel, and in the eyes of Egypt. He told Pharaoh, “For this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.” (Exodus 9:16)

The Exodus from Egypt was God’s opportunity to “proclaim His Name.” In the Semitic sense, to proclaiming one’s name means to broadcast a person’s fame and reputation. It has nothing to do with pronouncing or not pronouncing the Name of God, it has everything to do with revealing God to the world. Too declare His Name is to reveal God.

The LORD used the redemption of Israel to establish His reputation.

The plagues, the signs, the wonders and the great display of power, even the entire contest and redemption of Israel was only to show His power and in order to proclaim His Name through all the earth—a demonstration of His sovereignty. In redeeming Israel, God sent a clear message to the whole world, “I exist, I am God, there is none like Me!” He demonstrated that He alone is God, and there is none other. Israel is the trophy of His victory.

The demonstration was a success. The decimation of Egypt made an impact on the world, and the Name of the LORD has never since been forgotten. The Canaanites were still talking about it in Jericho forty years later. (Joshua 2:10) The Philistines were still talking about it two hundred years later (1 Samuel 4:8). We are still talking about it today.

Perhaps the individual Hebrew slave in the middle of the unfolding drama, concerned only with his own little life, his own personal redemption and his own personal salvation, did not see the bigger picture of what was happening around him. He might not have ever stopped to ask himself, “Why should God Almighty care to redeem us from Egypt anyway? We’ve done nothing to merit His grace and favor. And why should He do it in this manner? Why the plagues? Why the gratuitous display of power?” Though he, as a mere escaping slave, might not have had the wherewithal to ask these questions, we should. Salvation is a matter of reputation. God’s reputation.

We, the redeemed, are tokens of His victory.

Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!

For a list of other weeks Torah portions, go to Weekly Torah Readings & Commentary

Blessings - Gavri'el

Torah Reading - Shemot - שמות : “Names”


Here is the Torah Readings from (Jan 21-27) 2 weeks ago, it is the story of the Exodus, which I hope will inspire you. All Torah portions are compliments of First Fruits of Zion and are reproduced by permmission.

Parashat Hashavuah

Shemot - שמות : “Names”
Torah : Exodus 1:1–6:1
Haftarah : Isaiah 27:6–28:13; 29:22–23
Gospel : Mark 1–2

The Good Shepherd

Thought for the Week:

Moses our teacher, peace be upon him, was tending the flock of Jethro in the wilderness when a little kid escaped from him. He ran after it until it reached a shady place … and the kid stopped to drink. When Moses approached it, he said, “I did not know you ran away because of thirst, you must be weary.” So he placed the kid on his shoulder and walked away. Thereupon God said: “Because you have mercy in leading the flock of a mortal, you will surely tend my flock, Israel.” (Shemot Rabbah 2:2)

After fleeing Egypt, Moses spent 40 years shepherding sheep. His years of shepherding sheep prepared him for the task of shepherding God’s people.

Throughout the Bible, Israel is compared to a flock. She is the flock of the LORD. Her leaders are her shepherds, appointed by her ultimate Shepherd, the LORD Himself. Israel’s greatest leaders were shepherds. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were men with flocks. Jacob worked as a shepherd for Laban. David was shepherd over his father’s flocks. Moses shepherded Jethro’s flocks. It is no surprise then that the Messiah of Israel refers to Himself as “the good shepherd.” (John 10:11)

Yeshua saw Himself, like Moses, as the Good Shepherd over the flock of Israel. He was on a mission seeking the lost sheep of Israel: the sinners and backslidden among the Jewish people of His day. In Luke 15:4-6, He says, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’”

In the parables of John 10, Yeshua further illustrates the concept of His shepherd-ship over Israel. He is the shepherd, and Israel is the flock. He speaks of guarding the flock, leading the flock and even laying His life down for the flock. He is speaking of His relationship to His people Israel.

In John 10:16, He introduces sheep from another flock. He says, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” The sheep being gathered and joined to the already existing flock under one Shepherd are Gentiles. They are sheep that are not part of the flock of Israel and not from the sheep pen (the land) of Israel. Notice that the Master does not say, “There shall be two flocks.” Rather, there will be one flock, and it is the Gentiles who are joined to the flock of Israel, not vice versa. In this parable, Yeshua leads the Gentiles into the flock of Israel.

In 1 Peter 2:25, the disciple Peter writes to his non-Jewish readers, saying, “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” The Shepherd and Guardian of our souls so loved us that He left the other 99, picked up each of us individually and carried us to join His flock: Israel.

Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!

For a list of other weeks Torah portions, go to Weekly Torah Readings & Commentary

Blessings - Gavri'el

Sunday, January 29, 2006

G-d's Plan for Humanity - Updated


I must apologize for the lateness for this post. Many have asked about the G-d's plan for Humanity teaching. All 3 are now on-line. Teaching 1 has no audio, due to a cd recorder failure, but does have extensive notes. Teachings 2 & 3 have audio and notes. The links are:
- G-d's Plan for Humanity Part 1
- G-d's Plan for Humanity Part 2
- G-d's Plan for Humanity Part 3

I hope yoou enjoy!

More audio teachings are available at Congregation Beth Ha'Mashiach Audio Teachings


Thursday, January 26, 2006

The need for Discipleship


I promised to address the need for discipleship.

First, what is discipleship?

Discipleship – is the need to follow a consistent teaching and mentor for a period of time, to get well grounded in the beliefs and doctrines of the faith. The majority of errors of today and in the past can be tied to this lack of discipleship.

Why is it important?

Many of the earliest errors in the Church can be tied to lack of discipleship. How so, consider that all early believers were Jews, fully grasping the Torah and teachings of the prophets & elders. As Gentiles joined, most at first were G-d-fearers, also grasping the Torah & teachings. Next came a mass influx of former pagan Gentiles. At first they learned from Jews & G-d-fearers, but as rebellions, expulsions, and time took it’s course, these Gentiles were no longer discipled as Jews or G-d-fearers, but were left to be taught by other Gentiles who did not have a understanding of Torah or the teachings of the prophets & elders. Because of this lack of discipleship, error & paganism began to come into the assembly of believers. Customs like Christmas & Easter replaces the Feasts of G-d, and Torah became evil, as did the Jewish people. Many of these beliefs persist even today.

Some people get confused over the statement of Sha’ul (Paul), that one plants, another waters. This statement in context is referring to bringing a person to a saving knowledge of G-d through Messiah, not discipleship. Imagine how confused a person would be come if they were to study under an Orthodox Rabbi, a Baptist Minister, and a Pentecostal Preacher? What would the person understand; would they ever get a complete view from any side? This is a real problem in todays, shop a different synagogue or church a week, world view.

How should a believer be discipled?

The true picture of what G-d teaches is a disciple is the Jewish talmidim. The talmidim is the Hebrew word corresponding to disciple. Many Rabbis’ of Messiahs time had students who went with them, and learned from them. These talmidim did not switch Rabbi’s weekly, monthly, or even yearly, but sat under the Rabbi’s teaching, often for several years. Messiah had many talmidim (not just 12), of which the 12 (and more) where considered emissaries. The talmidim of the Rabbis’ (and the Great Rabbi Messiah) went everywhere their rabbi went, they learned what their rabbi taught, and they did what their rabbi did. Thus a Rabbi was a teacher and mentor rolled into one.

In reading the 4 accounts of the ministry of Messiah Yeshua, we see this very picture. These talmidim walked with Yeshua for 3 or more years. They taught as He taught, they did the works He did, they slept where He slept, and ate what He ate. These men and women, after the resurrection, lived a life exemplified by Messiah, and changed the world.

Now no mere human Rabbi or Pastor can compare to Messiah, but they are given the task of “making disciples of the whole world”. As such, those wishing to follow the Messiah should be willing to invest the time to be discipled. This discipling should be with one person or group who hold like beliefs so a comprehensive Theology can emerge. If the person being discipled goes to question what is being taught, then those questions should be raised (respectfully of course). If the questions are not addressed, and the person then feels they are not learning, growing, or following the right doctrine, then they are free to seek another person to disciple them.

The fact is, every believer should be a disciple, and a discipler. We are all called to fulfill the great commandment of our Master – “Go and make disciples of the whole world”. Note, He did not say believers, He said disciples!


Spiritual Arrogance, Need for Discipleship & Accountability


The directions of the posts are becoming considerably more personal as we discuss issues & concerns in the body of believers. These issues create divisiveness and can grieve the Holy Breath (Spirit).

I’d like to address 3 related items:
- Spiritual Arrogance
- Need for Discipleship
- Accountability.

The three areas are often intertwined, and error in one, is often compounded or expanded by the others.

Spiritual arrogance - is believing the person is the sole hearer of G-d. It manifests itself in an aura of superiority about scripture knowledge, hearing G-d, and believing better of ones-self than others. It is destructive in nature, and totally contrary to the teachings of Messiah & scripture.

Need for Discipleship – is the need to follow a consistent teaching and mentor for a period of time, to get well grounded in the beliefs and doctrines of the faith. The majority of errors of today and in the past can be tied to this lack of discipleship. Discipleship will be addressed more fully in another post.

Accountability – No man (or woman) is an island. It is not G-d’s plan for “lone ranger” believers. The need for the assembly, and accountability are to ensure the proper walk of the believer. We all need G-dly men and women to hold us accountable: doctrinally, financially, spiritually and physically.

We all have probably seen examples of Spiritual Arrogance; we all may have even been guilty of it from time to time. Some of the primary factors in Spiritual Arrogance are lack of accountability & limited or no mentoring or discipleship. At YHMM (Yeshua Ha’Mashiach Ministries) & CBHM (Congregation Beth Ha’Mashiach), we have 2 official levels or accountability (the Board of Directors & MAMA - The Messianic Alliance of Metro Atlanta) & one unofficial (personal mentors) level. Persons without mentors, accountability and discipleship are easy targets for Ha-Satan (the adversary). As the person becomes convinced they “hear from G-d” more clearly than others, it creates a breeding ground for pride and divisive or false doctrine. Since they have limited or no accountability, there is no one to question their direction or hearing, thus error can manifest itself, and go unchecked. These beliefs can then result in issues of authority and submission.

Many local assemblies have been split or destroyed by Spiritual Arrogance. We have personally spoken to many leaders who can each relate personal incidences of being involved in splits or worse, all due to a person with the body becoming Spiritually Arrogant and believing they had a “better word from G-d” than the leader of the assembly. In every sense, this is Rebellion, and by definition, is contrary to G-d.

Guard your hearts beloved, for Ha-Satan is waiting to devour!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tossed To & Fro


I have been noticing how many people are unstable in their beliefs. Being Messianic often means attracting many Gentiles who do not identifiy with mainline Protestant or Catholic beliefs. These people generally fall into 2 groups:
1. individuals who have legitimate concerns, seeing doctrinal error and elements of pagan practices in both groups. This group legitimately moves out from under those teachings, and seeks a place where they can go to find a closer relationship to G-d.
2. individuals who seem to be doctrinally lost or confused, and like Rabbi Sha'ul (Paul) stated, are "being tossed to & fro".

We have seen many who come seeking abstract or esooteric expressions of faith. Examples include:
- those who have been seduced by the so called "Black Hebrew Movement", who claim black American slaves are the real Jews and that the Jewish people are not Jewish at all (easily disproved as these groups follow racist teaching and focus only on European Jews and do not address the Sephardic Jews).
- those who have been enticed by personal "Angels", who teach them to worship the Angel under the guise of worshipping G-d (scripture makes clear we are to worship G-d alone, and that no Angel apart from the Angel of the L-rd accepts worship if they are of G-d).
- those Gentiles who want to become Jewish, feeling it makes them more worthy before G-d.
- those who are unable to submit to any spiritual accountability.
- those who are lost in doctrinal dispute and unable to determine a path.
- those actually wanting to convert to classical Judaism (which in effect, renounces Yeshua as Messiah).

The above is just a sample of the people that come and go. Some have become friends, and it is very difficult to see them move down a path, often towards destruction, and those who care trying desperately to change their path.

The Messianic Movement is not about doctrinal strife, esoteric worship, or lack of accountability. It isn't about requiriing someone to become Jewish. It is a movement that seeks to:
- worship and follow after G-d in a clearly Biblically centered approach.
- Practice as the first followers of Messiah practiced.
- Restore the centraility of Torah as G-d's perfect will for how we conduct or lives.
- Restore the Feasts of the L-rd.
- eliminate pagan practices, rituals & beliefs.

Beloved, guard your hearts, for Ha-Satan is like a lion walking about seeing who he may devour.

If you haven't seen any of the above issues, great, if on the other hand you are struggling with some of those same problems, seek counsel, before it is too late.

Blessings - Gavri'el

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The trials of Messianic Ministry


This post is on a more personal note. One of the trials of being a leader in the Messianic Movement is the instability of many believers coming & going in the movement.

Messianic Congregations by definition seems to attract very diverse groups:

1. The curious visitor - come out of curiousity, attend 1-4 services, and never return. Generally attend regularly at a Sunday Church, want to see what the movement is about. Comment - This group is attempting to understand the "root of their faith", so whatever they learned will probably bear some fruit.

2. The wilting visitor - start attending, get rapidly "on fire", want to put the ministry on radio & TV, only to disappear after several weeks. I liken this group to the "seeds amongst rocky soil" in Yeshua's parable of the sower. Comment - this group seems to flit from new doctrine to new doctrine. They are the group of souls that Sha'ul refers to concerning "being tossed about by waves, to and fro". Generally, I have not seen any positive fruit from this group.

3. The "for a season" group - usually Believers who where Gentile, come for a season, learn, and then move on. Comments - generally stay for 6 months to a couple years, this group learns the root, and generally seems to apply it. They usually bring forth fruit.

4. The Adopt the lifestyle group - Believers who where Gentile, come, learn, and adopt the lifestyle. These former Gentiles (we refer to these as Messinaic Hebrews)become fully united to the Messianic Jew and become G-dfearers much as seen in the book of Acts. Comment - along with the Messianic Jews, are the backbone of the movement. They understand that they are there to serve and worship G-d, not only to be ministered too.

5. The Messianic Jew - Jewish Believers in Messiah who are strongly commited to the movement and seek to maintain the the beliefs and culture. Comment - along with the Messianic Hebrews, are the backbone of the movement. They understand that they are there to serve and worship G-d, not only to be ministered too.

6. The assimulating Jew - Jewish Believers in Messiah that seek a Messianic Congregation to reattach to their Jewishness, but later drift away, most often to return to a Sunday Church. Comment - often, but not always part of a interfaith marriage. This group often ceases being Jewish, and is fully assimulated into the gentile culture within 2 generations.

The two groups that create the most concern for me are the wilting visitor & the assimulating Jew:
1. The wilting visitor, because they are seeking emotional highs, not the living G-d. They have no root, often falling away or turning to cults.
2. The assimulating Jew because as they are assimulated, they are not fulfilling G-d's desire for His Chosen people. Over 60% of all Jewish Children are not being raised as Jew's. Do the math, in only 2-3 generations, assimulation will do what Hitler could not, rid the world of G-d's Chosen people.

We believe the Church has not replaced Israel as G-d's chosen. The Church has been grafted into Israel. If the Chosen people of G-d cease to exist, it will be the greatess loss since man fell into sin.

Blessings in Messiah