Thursday, February 28, 2008

Torah & Salvation

Torah & Salvation

While we as a Congregation have a strong love and respect for the Torah, sometimes the role of the Torah creates confusion in our minds. To clarify this, let's discuss the role of the Torah, and the role of the Messiah.

The Torah is Adonai's perfect W-rd. We believe it was given directly by G-d (through Messiah) to Moshe. The Torah is a covenant, a wedding contract (Ketubah); it defines a way of life for us. This way of life defines how we interact with man and G-d. The Torah defines right and wrong. The Torah does not provide a way of obtaining salvation. No one (except Messiah) is able to keep every commandment perfectly. Thus when Rabbi Sha'ul (Paul) speaks of Torah showing us our sin, he specifically is saying that we cannot live Torah out in our own strength.

Messiah came to make the Torah understood, and to correct errors of teaching that had occurred. More than that though, He came to provide the Mercy & Grace needed for us to obtain a right standing with G-d. Many prayers, espically at Yom Kippur, state "we have no deeds that commend us to you (G-d)". Thus we can see that it is G-d himself that must provide the salvation, it cannot be earned by following Torah alone.

Some in the Messianic Movement get so enamored with traditional Judaism that they come to the point where Torah becomes more important than Messiah. We do not have that option. Torah will not save us. Only G-d can save us, and He has chosen Messiah to be the agent for that salvation.

We must learn to walk in the middle of the path G-d has called us to. Not going to the right or left. The right, Torah without Messiah will not save us. The left, Messiah without Torah, is not keeping with G-d's word as we are not abiding in Him, nor keeping His commands (1st John chapter 3).

In Summary

We are called to follow G-d and His Messiah, and to keep Torah. That is the way the Master told us to live, abiding in Him and His W-rd.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Olive Tree Theology

When people discuss Theology, many terms are used. Two of the most common are: Replacement Theology and Dispensation. These two Theologies reflect how the adherents view Adonai's working in the world.

Replacement Theology states that the Church has replaced Israel and G-d is no longer working with the Jewish nation. We totally reject this Theology considering it unBiblical and anti-Semitic.

Dispensation Theology states that G-d works differently through periods (dispensations) of mans development. Thus there are a number (3-7) of dispensations, from innocence (before sin) through Mosaic (the Torah) to Grace (Messiah). While this view does say G-d will again deal with national Israel, it fails to consider that G-d does not change. Thus we do not hold to this Theology.

So what Theology do we adhere to? The Olive Tree Theology. This view is well stated in David Sterns Messianic Manifesto. In a nut shell, it states all Gentiles who come to belief are grafted into Israel, not taking the place of Israel. This view is totally in agreement with Rabbi's Sha'ul's (Paul) statements in Romans.

So why do we view Olive Tree as superior to Replacement and Dispensational Theology? Primarily because too many times those adhering to either Replacement and Dispensational Theology are by deed (and sometimes word) rejecting the concept that they are grafted into Israel. Yet without being grafted in, from where does their nourishment and root come from?

In Summary

We adhere to the view that all Believers, Jew or former Gentile, are grafted into Israel. It is from the Forefathers and Prophets we gain our root; which ultimately ties us to Messiah and Adonai.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Apologies - sick


My Apologies, my family and I have had the Flu, so we are behind on posting.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Maturing in our walk

Maturing in our walk

Over the last month we have talked a lot about the Messianic Lifestyle and Discipleship. So to what purpose is all this discussion? Hopefully it will equip and encourage each of us to strive to walk closer to G-d and His Messiah.

This walking close is best shown in Rabbi Sha'uls statement about "renewing the mind". Renewing the mind is changing our focus on things of this world, and instead focusing on G-d and how He would have us act. At Beth Ha'Mashiach we have chosen to adopt many practices the Messiah utilized when He walked the earth to help us conform to this new image and renew our mind.

So what specifically does maturing in the faith mean, and how can the Synagogue help? The Synagogue strives to provide training, environment and opportunities for people to become Talmidim (Disciples) and grow in their walk. These (training, environment and opportunity) work together to help the individual mature. While some maturity can occur only utilizing 1 or 2 of the above methods, growth is best achieved by integrating all 3 aspects.

Let's look at what is available, and how it helps us grow.

* Weekly Services - provide growth and discipleship through allowing the teaching of key concepts, experiencing the festival cycle, hearing the word, corporate prayer and opportunity to serve others
* Feast Days - provide teachings about Adonai's great truths presented in those days and provides a rhythm and cycle revolving around Adonai for our lives
* Shabbat - provides a weekly reminder of Adonai's provision and stresses obedience to G-d over the world by ceasing work on one day a week.
* Lifecycle - stresses the life of each individual through many key events and how that life cycle is provided for by G-d for our blessings. Events like birth, circumcision & naming, Pidyon Haben, Bar / Bat Mitzvah, marriage, and even passing to the next world are all part of G-ds Plan.
* Synagogue Membership - Introduction to Messianic Beliefs - Membership entails commitment. Commitment is necessary for any real growth. We have all heard, "no pain, no gain". This is true in sports, life, and relationship to G-d. The requirement for the teaching CD's (and small test to make sure key beliefs are understood) becomes the foundation to build upon as we grow in knowledge and wisdom of Adonai.
* Bar / Bat Mitzvah & Discipleship Training - We now combine these as they naturally fit together. Where many Synagogues stress only memorizing Hebrew. We want both a knowledge of Hebrew and a solid understanding of Messianic Judaism, Jewish life cycles and principles to help us continue to grow.
* Yeshiva - the Yeshiva provides the opportunity for a well rounded understanding of beliefs and principles behind Messianic Judaism. 5 levels of teaching are provided from someone wanting to take one course (only certain courses apply), to those wanting to obtain 1 of 4 levels of training, including training required for ordination.
* Service - Service is a critical step in discipleship as all that we have learned gets focused outward to help the individual need and the needs of the Congregation / Community. Service is the fruit of all our discipleship efforts. There are many opportunities for service, all of them important to the body. All that is needed is a willing person who understands the need to mature into the position of service them aspire too.
* Conversion - I hesitate to put this in as it can cause controversy, yet I feel it is important to realize that conversion is a from of dicispleship. It is not for everyone, nor is it required; but for those choosing to do it, it is a definite commitment to a lifestyle of discipleship.

In Summary

Hopefully we can see that the Synagogue provides a comprehensive plan for members to grow in their walk with G-d. Each person is at a different place in their walk, so we are not to judge one-another on where we are. We are however to: encourage one-another on that walk, provide a path of growth in that walk, and to assist those on their walk with Adonai.

Rabbi Gavri'el