What We Believe About
The Miqra

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What We Believe About
The Miqra (Holy Community)

What We Believe About:
Authority in the Miqra
Leadership in the Miqra
Biblical Activities of the Miqra
   Immersion
   The Lord’s Seder
    Stewardship in the Miqra
The Miqra and Civil Government
Discipline in the Miqra
Missions and the Miqra
Denominationalism Within the Miqra
Please refer to our Constitution for additional clarification of our beliefs


We believe there is only one true and universal “Miqra” [the “Called Out” Holy Community, erroneously translated as “Church” in most English Bibles], which is the Body of Yeshua HaMashiach, that it is a spiritual organism, of which Yeshua is the Head, and that it is made up of all the redeemed [“born-again”] persons of all historical ages or epochs.

We believe that the establishment and continuity of local assemblies (also called congregations, synagogues, or “churches”) is clearly taught and defined in the Ketuvei HaShalichim [the Apostolic Writings, Brit Chadasha, or so-called “New Testament”], that the members of this one spiritual Body are directed by Adonai Yeshua to associate themselves together in local assemblies, which are to be true communities of believers, not just organizations, and that those local assemblies should willingly cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the true Faith, once for all delivered to the Saints.

We believe in the complete autonomy of the local assembly, composed solely of truly “born-again” believers, free from any external authority or control, with the right to be totally free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations outside of that local congregation.

We believe that each local assembly, through its Elders and their interpretation and application of the Scriptures, is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation with other congregations, as well being the sole judge of all matters of membership, policy, discipline, benevolence, and government (remembering that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation without the illumination of Ruach HaKodesh).

Yeshua said, “… on this rock I will build my miqra, and the gates of She'ol will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). When his words were translated into Greek, the word ekklesia was substituted for the Hebrew miqra that He actually spoke. A comparison of the two words will show the accuracy of that substitution. (Source: http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/)

ejkklhsi ekklesia
a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly

a. an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating

b. the assembly of the Israelites …

arqm miqra
convocation, convoking, reading, a calling together

a. convocation, sacred assembly

b. convoking

c. reading

The inaccuracy of the common interpretation in the modern “church” comes not in the translation from Hebrew miqra into Greek ekklesia, but rather in the later translation of the Greek word ekklesia into English. We do not object to the use of the word “church” when referring to Gentile Christian assemblies. They should be free to call themselves anything they choose, especially since by so doing they are choosing to identify with Roman paganism. However, it should be clearly understand that the use of the word “church” in the English “New Testament” has absolutely no valid linguistic reason or precedent beyond Gentile (specifically Roman Catholic) tradition. It is a mistranslation of the Greek word ekklesia, which is a valid translation of the Hebrew word miqra, and which should be translated as either “called out” or “called out ones,” “assembly,” or “community.”

The word arqm (miqra) is repeatedly used in the Tenakh [the Hebrew Bible, or erroneously-called “Old Testament”] to speak of the holy convocation or holy assembly of the faithful, particularly for the observance of the Feasts of ADONAI. The word is based on the root word arq (qara') which means to call and commission or endow, to be chosen, or to be called out, or to be named. It is specifically used of those who are “called by the name of YHWH (YHWH)” in 2 Ch 7:14, Isa 43:7, Daniel 9:19, Amos 9:12. We therefore conclude that Yeshua’s Miqra includes the faithful of Israel both before and after the Resurrection, into which holy assembly the believing Gentiles have been grafted or adopted.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you — a wild olive — were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you. So you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” True, but so what? They were broken off because of their lack of trust. However, you keep your place only because of your trust. So don’t be arrogant; on the contrary, be terrified! For if God did not spare the natural branches, he certainly won’t spare you! So take a good look at God’s kindness and his severity: on the one hand, severity toward those who fell off; but, on the other hand, God’s kindness toward you — provided you maintain yourself in that kindness! Otherwise, you too will be cut off! Moreover, the others, if they do not persist in their lack of trust, will be grafted in; because God is able to graft them back in. For if you were cut out of what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree! For, brothers, I want you to understand this truth which God formerly concealed but has now revealed, so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do. It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra'el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness; and that it is in this way that all Isra'el will be saved. As the Tanakh says, “Out of Tziyon will come the Redeemer; he will turn away ungodliness from Ya'akov and this will be my covenant with them, … when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:17-27 CJB)

Although it cannot be absolutely proven without a shadow of doubt, there is significant evidence to be found that the modern English word “church” is derived from the Middle English word chirche or kirke, which is related to “circle,” which is in turn related to the name of the false goddess Circe, and refers to the practice of worshipping Circe while standing in a “circle.” My personal research of the subject leads me to believe that in its later application during the centuries immediately before and after the birth of Messiah, the term also refers to the “inner circle” of priests of Roman form of the the Babylonian Mystery Religion, which was the “official” Roman state religion. When Emperor Constantine, pontifex maximus (“supreme bridge” or high priest) of the Babylonian Mystery Religion blended early fourth-century Messianic Judaism with the Babylonian Mystery Religion to form what he called “Christianity,” he named this “inner circle” of pagan priests as “bishops” over his unified apostate Roman religion. It is our considered opinion that this same group of pagan priests is now the College of Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church.

There are many within the Messianic Restoration (myself included) who object to the use of the word “church” when referring to true believers in Messiah for three primary reasons:

(1) there is absolutely no linguistic reason to have ever translated either the Hebrew word miqra or the Greek word ecclesia as “church” except in deference to the pagan Roman Church;

(2) because of the pagan origin of the word and what it originally represented; and

(3) because of the historical persecution of the Jews by the apostate Roman “Church” and its many descendants, which now number more than 41,000 denominations worldwide.

We also strongly object to the anti-Semitic practice of using the word “church” to  teach or support any form of “replacement theology” in which the Gentile believers in Yeshua either “replace” Israel in God’s Plan of Redemption, to teach any form of separation between Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Yeshua, or of artificially elevating Gentile believers to an imagined position that is superior to God’s elect people Israel.

We are firmly convinced that neither Yeshua HaMashiach nor the Shliachim intended to start a “new religion,” but rather only to fulfill, complete, and correct what was missing in Judaism. We therefore believe that the most valid form of worship is that practiced by Yeshua and His talmidim (disciples). We have therefore chosen to identify ourselves with that group of believers that is known variously as “the Messianic Movement,” “Messianic Judaism,“ or “Messianic Restoration.”

We further believe that much of the conflict that exists between Jewish believers in Mashiach and Gentile believers in Mashiach has been caused by anti-Semitic and anti-Gentile language that has crept into the household of faith. For example, the word “Jesus” is nothing but a compounding of errors. Nobody who every knew Yeshua in the flesh ever referred to Him by that word. In fact, it is grammatically impossible to say that word in either Hebrew or Aramaic, as neither language has the “jay” sound.

When His name was transliterated from the Hebrew of the original Apostolic Scriptures into Greek for transmission to the Gentile and Greek-speaking Jewish Messianic Believers in the Diaspora, the name was rendered in Greek as “Iesu.” When the “church” became centered in Rome and the Greek Scriptures were translated into Latin, the Romans added an "s" on the end of His name (because virtually all masculine Latin names end in "s") making it "Iesus." Then the Germans came along during the Reformation and changed the "I" to a "J" making the word "Jesus." And then the men who translated the Latin and German version of the Scriptures into English didn't bother to correct the error. In the meantime, as more and more Gentiles were brought into Nazarene Judaism, Yeshua became thought of less as the Jewish Messiah and more as the “Gentile God.”

As the Gentile “church” became more and more anti-Semitic and the persecutions “in the name of Jesus” became increasingly severe, Jews around the world began to hate that word more and more, and for good reason. But just stop and think how difficult that persecution would have been if the Gentiles had remembered that they were nothing more or less than “adopted” members of a distinctly Jewish sect. And how much more difficult it would have been to persecute Jews “in the name of” Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah. (See also our discussion on the word Jehovah.)

In an attempt to help "restore" the Biblical faith to that form practiced by Yeshua and the Talmidim, we have chosen to identify ourselves as a Messianic Jewish fellowship, refer to ourselves as either Miqra or Congregation instead of “church,” and are in the process of learning to follow the Jewish forms of worship.

What We Believe About Authority in the Miqra

We believe that the one and only supreme authority for the Miqra is ADONAI Yeshua HaMashiach, and that the order, discipline, and worship are appointed through His sovereignty. As we believe the Bible to be the literal written Word of God and the only true and reliable source of His revelation for His Miqra, we hold the Bible to be the ultimate and final source of authority for all matters of faith, practice, and polity.

We believe that the Biblically-designated shepherds serving immediately under Yeshua and directly over the congregation are called Rabbis, Elders, Overseers, or Pastors, and that these four titles are properly used interchangeably. We understand that the term “Elder” refers to the man’s spiritual maturity and position within the family of God; “Overseer” refers to his responsibility and God-ordained authority to rule benevolently over the family of God; “Pastor” refers to his shepherding responsibility to lead, guide, feed, protect, and care for the well-being of the children of God, to whom ADONAI Yeshua referred as His “sheep”; and the term “Rabbi” refers to an Elder who is biologically Jewish, whose primary spiritual gift is the gift of teaching, and who has been specifically trained to guide the congregation in issues related to halakha. We believe that all Elders are called, ordained, and specially equipped by God for His ministry, and that they are spiritual gifts given by God to the Miqra.

What We Believe About Leadership in the Miqra

We specifically reject any idea of apostolic or prophetic succession through which the offices of Apostle and Prophet are present in the Miqra today in the technical sense of those titles. We do, however believe in the continuance of all four functions fulfilled by the Elders as recorded in Ephesians 4:11, namely:

  • Apostle (in the generic sense), which we understand to refer to a Traveling Elder, those Elders whom God has called to travel from place to place as messengers or missionaries;

  • Prophet (also in the generic sense), or Preaching Elder, whom God has called to specialize in preaching the Word of God;

  • Evangelist, an Elder who has been called to specialize in presenting the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of ADONAI Yeshua) to the unsaved; and

  • Pastor/Teacher/Rabbi, an Elder whom God has called to fulfill a shepherding ministry over a local assembly of believers, also called Shepherding Elder, Ruling Elder, or Teaching Elder.

We believe that the pattern clearly established in the Bible is that there are to be multiple Elders in every local congregation. The number of Elders in not specified in Scripture, but we believe that there should be a sufficient number of Elders to effectively meet the spiritual needs of the congregation and to efficiently conduct the ministry of the Miqra. As the first-century synagogue, from which we are descended, had as their rule a minimum of three Rabbis to serve as “beit din” (literally, house of judgment; those who had to make halachic and legal decisions for their community), we believe that three should be the minimum number of Elders for each local assembly. We believe that the duties of the Elders include, but are not limited to, the following activities defined in Scripture:

  • Their primary duty is to give themselves fully to study, prayer, and the ministry of God’s word (that is, as their full-time occupation whenever possible).

  • They are to lead God’s people by their example in word, conduct, love, spirit, faith, and purity.

  • They are to benevolently rule over the local congregation of Believers and, when necessary, they are to rebuke and exhort with all authority.

  • They are not to be dictatorial in their leadership, but are to be to the congregation as a loving father is to his family.

  • They are to equip the saints to do the work of ministry.

  • They are to pray for the sick and visit those in their time of need.

  • They are to oversee the entire ministry, willingly and eagerly, knowing that when Messiah the chief Shepherd appears they shall receive a “crown of glory that does not fade away.”

We believe that all Elders must initially meet and then maintain rigid spiritual qualifications, and that God will hold them strictly accountable for both their actions and their attitudes as leaders over His Miqra.

Elders are called and specifically gifted by God (Eph. 4:11-13) for a lifetime of service to Him and to His people (Rom. 11:29).

They are to be appointed for the congregation by the other Elders (Titus 1:5), and not elected by the congregation.

If a spiritually qualified man, believing that He has been called by God, expresses his desire (1 Tim. 3:1) to commit himself to a lifetime of service as an Elder, his abilities, qualifications, and knowledge of the Apostles’ doctrine (1 Tim. 3:2-7; Titus 1:5-9), as well as the fact of his calling, must be carefully examined by the Elders. After careful examination of the candidate, extensive prayer, and thorough deliberation by the Elders (1 Tim. 5:22), having determined the candidate’s call, willingness, and ability to enter a lifetime of service to Messiah and to the Miqra, the Elders may appoint and ordain the candidate as an Elder, thus providing confirmation to both the local congregation and to the Miqra at large of ADONAI’s ordination of the new Elder.

What We Believe About the Activities of the Miqra

We believe that the four essential continual activities of the community of faith are to be:

1. Devotion to the apostles’ teaching,

2. Constant fellowship both at and away from the meeting place,

3. The breaking of bread (frequent communal fellowship meals), and

4. Prayer without ceasing (Acts 2:42).

We believe that personal evangelism and spiritual and numerical growth of the assembly will be the inescapable result of these activities.

We believe that Messiah has established two memorial ordinances which are to be faithfully observed by the Miqra until His bodily return: water baptism by immersion (mikvah) and the Passover Seder.

What We Believe About Tevilah (Immersion in Water)

Inasmuch as we believe that the clear teaching of Scripture is that salvation is by grace through faith apart from any form of works, we therefore believe that the act of baptism or tevilah (immersion in water) is in no way a condition of salvation, nor any part of the salvation process. We believe that immersion is an outward demonstration of the inner change (the irrevocably positioning of the believer by Ruach HaKodesh [the Holy Spirit] into the mystical Body of Messiah with its resultant salvation and positional justification) that has already taken place in the life and heart of the new Believer in Messiah. It is a demonstration of Ruach HaKodesh’s immersion of the believer into the Body of Mashiach, which results in salvation and positional justification. In its form, it is a graphic picture of Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection, and expresses the Believer’s identification with Mashiach. We believe that a desire for immersion in water (tevilah) should be the immediate response of all those who have been truly “saved” (Acts 2:37-41; 8:12; 8:35-38; 9:11-18; 22:16; 10:47-48; 16:14-15; 16:25-34; 18:8; 19:1-5). For this reason, it is also called “Believer’s Baptism.”

As to form, we prefer the traditional Jewish method of self-immersion as it was practiced in the first century, with the participant immersing him/herself and the Elder merely observing and lightly assisting if the self-immersion is not total.

Just as the Scriptures clearly teach that it was (and still is) faith and not circumcision which brings salvation to the sons of Israel, so it is faith and neither the water itself or the act of immersion which brings salvation to the Believer in Mashiach. However, just as circumcision is the sign of Israel’s participation in the Original Covenant, so tevilah is the sign that the Believer in Mashiach participates in the “Renewed Covenant.” The “traditional” Jewish community had (and has) the right to assume that all male Jews would submit to the rite of circumcision as a sign of identification with that community. In the same way, we believe that the community of Messianic Believers has the same right to assume that all Believers will submit to the rite of tevilah as a sign of identification with our community.

In the Levitical system established by God for the spiritual leadership of Israel, all priests were “ordained” to their office at the age of 30 by immersing themselves in water in a special ceremonial pool of “living water” called a mikvah. This process was itself therefore also sometimes referred to as mikvah, and was performed under the authority of God’s prophet in office at the time. When Messiah Yeshua was 30 years of age he approached the only living prophet of God at the time, his cousin Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist), to serve as the witness of His tevilah for His formal entrance into the priesthood (Matthew 3:13-15.)

Messiah has established His Body as a Royal Priesthood and has commanded that all members of that priesthood should undergo their own tevilah for entrance into that priesthood. It is the responsibility of all His people to be obedient to His command.

We recognize the right of each Believer under grace to disagree with us on any doctrine that is not essential to salvation and, having defined tevilah as not essential to salvation, we defend the right and responsibility of each Believer to decide for him/herself whether to be obedient to that ordinance. Therefore, any blood-bought child of God who disagrees on this point is certainly welcome to fellowship with this congregation.

Nevertheless, since we believe that this tevilah is to be the newly-born-again Believer’s first public act of obedience to the Lord Yeshua, and since evidence of a life of obedience is a responsibility of membership in this fellowship, we therefore require obedience in this matter to be a prerequisite to full membership in this congregation.

We further urge in the strongest possible terms that all Believers in Mashiach who have not previously done so observe this tevilah in obedience to the Lord.

Click here for a complete 4-lesson Bible study on the subject of baptism.

 

What We Believe About “The Lord’s Seder”

We believe that the so-called “Lord’s Supper” — more accurately “the Lord’s Seder” — is a memorial activity in which the Miqra shares symbolically in the body and blood of Mashiach, and that it is an integral part of the annual Passover Seder, as instructed by Yeshua HaMashiach.

In ancient Biblical tradition, it is the date of a person’s death that is memorialized rather than the birthday. We believe that the so-called “Lord’s Supper” or “Communion” as practiced in the Protestant Church only pays homage to the Eucharist of the Roman Catholic mass and is probably inappropriate for Messianic believers.

As the Master was sharing his final Passover Seder with his Talmidim, He instructed that they were to “Do this as a memorial to Me” (1 Cor. 11:24-25). We believe that He was referring to the entire Seder, not just the loaf and cup alone. We therefore believe that all Messianic Believers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have an obligation to observe Passover in its Messianic context. We believe it is appropriate to observe the Jewish tradition of partaking of wine and bread each Shabbat, both at home and in the assembly, and that is should should be accompanied by the appropriate Hebrew b'rakhot [blessings] over the wine and bread. It would be quite difficult, indeed, for a believer in Messiah to not be cognizant of the parallel of this practice to the Passover memorial of Yeshua.

What We Believe About Stewardship

We believe that the rule for giving the in Miqra is twofold:

  1. That the work of the ministry be adequately supported; and

  2. That the needy be provided for.

We believe that giving within the Body of Messiah is therefore to be done:

   1. Cheerfully;

  2. In proportion to God’s prospering;

  3. Into a private fund (“put aside”) at home from which fund the Believer makes distributions according to the direct leading of Ruach HaKodesh; and

  4. Presented to the Elders regularly when the congregation meets to celebrate Shabbat.

Every Believer should be a faithful steward of all his resources (time, talent, Spiritual gifts, finances, and other material possessions) for the support of the local assembly and the furtherance of the Gospel at home and abroad. We believe that the example established in the Apostolic Writings and that we are to follow is that the congregation is to deliver their gifts to the Elders for distribution according to the direction of the Lord. We further believe that a Believer relinquishes all rights to direct the use of the tithe or offering once the gift has been made.

Inasmuch as the primary responsibility of the Elders is to give themselves fully to study, prayer, and the ministry of God’s word, we believe that it is God’s plan for them to earn their living from that activity (Luke 10:7-8; 1 Cor. 9:14; 1 Tim. 5:17-18) to the fullest extent that the congregation is able to provide.

What We Believe About the Miqra and Civil Government

We believe that God has ordained all authority consisting of three basic institutions: (1) the home; (2) the Miqra (Holy Community); and (3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the Miqra, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblical spheres of responsibility under God.

We categorically reject as totally unbiblical — and demonic in origin — the totally false and arbitrary concept which is commonly referred to as “the separation of Church and state” as it is commonly interpreted by our federal, state, and local governments.

We believe that the only true form of government that is acceptable to God is a Theocracy. We embrace the literal and historical interpretation of the founding documents of the United States of America, and the obvious intention of the founders of this country, that the only valid government is that government whose God is ADONAI — the God of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya'akov. Further, we reject as totally false and Satan-inspired the interpretation of the Second Amendment by the United States Supreme Court that there is to be a “wall of separation between the Church and the State,” and we support the obvious intention of the literal wording of that Amendment which provides for the protection of the Miqra of Yeshua HaMashiach from any interference by secular government.

We therefore believe that the Miqra of Yeshua HaMashiach owes allegiance to the civil government in all areas except those which infringe upon our allegiance to our Savior and only Sovereign Lord, Yeshua HaMashiach, and to our obedience to His clear commands, precepts, and principles.

What We Believe About Discipline in The Miqra

We believe that the Bible requires the Elders of the Miqra to lovingly discipline the children of God for the purpose of their instruction and restoration to full fellowship. We also believe that the Scriptures clearly teach that the Elders are to stand firm against all forms of false doctrine and to firmly rebuke those who would lead the Elect astray.

What We Believe About Missions and the Miqra

We believe that God has given the Miqra a Great Commission to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe in the LORD Yeshua HaMashiach. As ambassadors of Messiah we must use all available means to go both to this nation and to the foreign nations with the Gospel of Yeshua HaMashiach.

What We Believe About Denominationalism Within the Miqra

We believe that there is only one true and universal Miqra of Yeshua HaMashiach. We believe that within the Body of Messiah there is room for differences of opinion concerning nonessential doctrines and congregational polity, and that Messianic Believers of similar preferences in the nonessential areas should fellowship together. We further believe that it is altogether fitting and proper for these independent congregations to come together to form associations of like-minded fellowships for mutual support and encouragement, and for the training and ordination of Rabbis and Pastors. However, we also believe that every Messianic Congregation should be totally independent of outside control, and subject only to its own Elders as they are led by Ruach HaKodesh, so that these associations do not exercise any kind of authority or control over the local assembly of Believers.

However, we are firmly convinced that any form of strife, jealousy, or spirit of unhealthy competition, or any form of divisiveness either within or between any congregations of ADONAI’s Elect is an abomination before ADONAI. Further, we firmly believe that the splintering of the Body of Messiah into over 41,000 “Christian” denominations is the work of HaSatan, perhaps some of his best work.

Revised Wednesday, 02 December 2015
(Minor text revisions and new content added)

Page last updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 11:32 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes after May 3, 2015 are identified as "Revisions”)