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|If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!|
(Including a very brief summary of my personal spiritual quest)
During the Passover Seder, the youngest child always asks the “Four Questions” which prompt the leader of the Seder to explain the significance of Passover to God’s people. One of those Four Questions is, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” In a similar manner one might properly be led to ask of this teacher, “Why is this teaching different from all other teaching?”
And that is indeed a fair question. Every Believer has a divinely-appointed obligation to ask that question of every teacher, especially one who claims to be teaching the Word of God, when his teaching is in any way different from that which is considered the “standard” teaching of the family of Faith. (As one of my dear friends is fond of asking me, “Where did you get that from?”)
That questioning is not being at all unfair or disrespectful to the teacher; it is simply being true to the Great Teacher who through Rabbi Sha’ul (the Apostle Paul) commands us to “test everything — hold onto what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).
In order to adequately answer that question, I must first provide some brief information about my own spiritual quest, and how it was that I have come to this point in my walk with God that leads me to teach what may sound, at best, “unusual” to many Christians and Jews alike.
I was born in 1946 and received ADONAI Yeshua HaMashiach [He was then known to me as “the LORD Jesus Christ”] as my personal Lord and Savior in 1952. My father was an Elder in our church, First Christian Church of Parkersburg, West Virginia, which had been planted by a great-grand-uncle who was one of the earliest Restoration Movement missionaries to what was then the western part of Virginia. By the time I was about 10 years old, I was active in my Sunday school, helping to teach the “little kids.” It was about that time that my father began his many years of service as Pastor to a number of different Brotherhood churches in the Mid-Ohio Valley, the Carolinas, and Pennsylvania. As “the preacher’s kid” it fell to me to teach children’s Sunday school classes in every church where Dad served. When I was 16 I was selected by the elders of our home church to serve in the office of Junior Deacon. The responsibilities of the Junior Deacons included assisting the Deacons and Elders in all of their responsibilities, and to attend church Board meetings as representatives of the Youth Department. I also held a number of leadership positions in our Youth Department until the time I left home to join the Navy.
The Navy sent me to serve as a Hospital Corpsman at the U.S. Naval Hospital on Guam during the Viet Nam war. I immediately became active in the base chapel, and when I expressed concern to our agnostic Lutheran Chaplain that I didn’t feel the young people were being adequately ministered to, he appointed me as Youth Pastor, in which office I enthusiastically served for the remainder of my two-year tour of duty there.
While in the Navy I began to feel a general dissatisfaction with what I was finding in established “Christianity.” I became increasingly aware that what was being taught “in church” was decidedly different from what I was reading in the Bible, and so to obtain more information on the subject I enrolled in some correspondence work at Johnson Bible College in Knoxville, Tennessee, where my father was enrolled at the time for his formal training to enter full-time vocational pastoral ministry.
After being discharged from the Navy, I stayed in the San Francisco Bay Area where I met my bride. I earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Diablo Valley College and served as a part-time peace officer with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department for seven years (where I attained the rank of Sergeant), while working in a government “think tank,” and earning my B.A. degree in business and my M.B.A. in organizational management.
The thesis that I wrote for my M.B.A. degree involved the application of proven secular business principles and practices to the business administration of the local church. We were very active in the local Assembly of God church at the time, where I was serving as a Deacon, adult Sunday School teacher, assistant choir director, and Junior High Pastor. Just about the time that I was finishing my thesis, my pastors (there were three full-time pastors at that time) approached me and asked if I had ever considered entering pastoral ministry. With their encouragement and support, as soon as I finished my M.B.A. program I enrolled at Bay Cities Bible Institute (now Bay Cities Bible College) in Berkeley, California, in a program that would permit me to work on a Master of Arts degree in Bible Studies through evening and weekend classes that I could manage to schedule around both my occupation and my ministry activities at the church.
Two years into my three-year M.A. program I was offered a faculty position at Spring Valley Bible College and Seminary (now Golden State School of Theology), also in the San Francisco Bay Area, with the promise of tuition assistance in exchange for my teaching and administrative services. I completed my Master of Theology (Systematic Theology), Doctor of Theology (Cults and Comparative Religion), and Doctor of Ministry (Bible College Administration and Curriculum Development) degrees (all summa cum laude and valedictorian) at that school, and served them for several years in various teaching and administrative roles, which included Professor of Theology, Assistant Dean of Directed Individualized Studies, and Vice President of Academic Affairs, and I taught classes in Systematic Theology, Cults and World Religions, and English Grammar and Composition to undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students. One of my major accomplishments at Spring Valley was the redefinition of their entire academic program and reorganizing the academic program from a semester system to a quarter system, which allowed the school to expose their students to 30% more information in the same period of time, and the total reorganization and redefining of the school as Golden State School of Theology.
During my tenure at Spring Valley/Golden State I also served two churches as a bi-vocational Associate Pastor. I later participated in the startup of Grace School of Theology and Ministry in Pleasant Hill, California, where I served for two years as Administrator, Registrar, Librarian, and Director of Information Services, with the primary responsibility of establishing the school with the state and federal governments as a nonprofit corporation, and obtaining from the California Department of Post-Secondary Education the necessary authorization for the granting of academic degrees, and assisting in the development of the school’s curriculum.
Over the next several years I served as Associate Pastor of several different Baptist churches, and was ordained in 1991 by a multi-denominational Ordination Council that including Pastors from Assembly of God, American Baptist, Southern Baptist, Conservative Baptist, Independent Baptist, and Independent non-denominational congregations. We moved to Knoxville in 1992 and joined Ridgeview Baptist Church, where I served as a teacher in the adult department, and from which I provided much pulpit supply to area churches over the next three years. We moved again to West Virginia in 1995, where I did some more pulpit supply for the Southern Baptist Convention before joining an independent church as Associate Pastor in 1996.
With a strong educational background in Systematic Theology and over 20 years (by that time) of bi-vocational pastoral ministry in a somewhat diverse group of denominations, I was left with the inescapable feeling that somehow there had to be “more” to true Biblical “religion” than is being taught in the churches. For nearly as long as I had been studying the Bible, I had felt that there was something terribly wrong with the rift between Christians and Jews. I simply could not understand why it was so difficult for Jews to understand that their Messiah has already come, just as the prophets said He would. I also found it very strange that Christians should have difficulty understanding that the true Yeshua ben Yosef (“Jesus”) of history was a Torah-observant Jewish Rabbi Who did not come to start another religion, but to show His Jewish brothers the correct way to have a relationship with God, and that “Christianity,” when correctly understood, is actually a branch of Judaism. It was also extremely difficult for me to clearly understand for many years why it was that the more I studied the Scriptures, the more I found myself thinking and feeling “Jewish.”
In 1985 my family was privileged to participate in a tour of Israel, and to my total amazement I found that for the first time in my life I felt truly at home—as though I had finally returned to the place for which I had been homesick my whole life. Even with the ever-present threat of terrorism, I felt more at peace and much safer on the streets of Jerusalem at two o’clock in the morning than I ever felt on the streets of San Francisco at two o’clock in the afternoon.
It was about that time that my mother, our family historian, discovered genealogical records of my father’s ancestors through his mother. My paternal grandmother had died while my father was in his early teens, and neither my father nor my grandfather had any detailed knowledge of her family roots. What my mother’s research uncovered was that my grandmother was a Jew whose ancestors all bore traditional Jewish names like Joseph, the son of Issacher, the son of Joseph, the son of Jacob, the son of Solomon, the son of John, the son of Israel, the son of John, and so on back to 1474. Their family name Levitt or Leavitt traces back to various spellings, all very similar in form to the name Levite, which was the name for the descendants of Levi who served in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. Unfortunately, documentation for my father’s father’s lineage is only traceable to his grandfather, who was adopted with no other family records. My mother was tracing her side of the family tree to see if additional Jewish roots can be found, but her work was interrupted by the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Can it be mere coincidence that I have for so long felt Jewish to the very depths of my soul? Is there some deep-rooted “racial memory” struggling to surface into my conscious mind? Can it be (God forbid!) that I am becoming “mystical” in my old age? Is this how people feel who believe they have been abducted by UFOs? Has the crew of a UFO abducted me in the middle of some starless night, and have little gray men implanted these feelings into my mind? Are there others somewhere in the world who share these same feelings, or are they mine alone? Or am I simply “weird”?
Or can it be that in these Last Days the LORD is calling out the remnant from the so-called “Lost Tribes” of Israel (those of Jewish heritage who, like me, have not know their ancestry and have thus been separated from their birthright) in preparation for the final restoration of His Kingdom on earth? Is there any Bible evidence to support such a notion? If so, am I one of those being called out? The answers to those questions are among the many issues that are addressed in great detail in the studies on this website.
It was my burning desire to find answers to those questions that started me on the quest for my “Jewish Roots.” How could I hang on to those beliefs I had developed over years of study, prayer, and meditation on God’s word, and yet be able to experience the “Jewishness” that my soul craved? I began searching the Internet for answers, looking for someone—anyone—who felt as I did.
I contacted Jews for Jesus seeking information on how I could learn about my lost Jewish heritage without giving up my Messiah. They told me that I should simply be satisfied that I was a Christian and let it go; I already had Jesus and didn’t need to know about anything Jewish. I contacted the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (my “own folks” at the time) because they have a website on which they talk about the necessity of “planting Messianic synagogues.” They told me that they couldn’t be bothered to help me in my quest, because “there aren’t enough Jews in West Virginia to make it worth our time.” [There are only an estimated 40 to 50 Jewish families in the six-county area where I live, and approximately 1000 people in the entire state of West Virginia who identify themselves as Jewish.] I contacted several other “Jewish outreach ministries” and they all seemed to be interested in only one thing: converting Jews into Gentile Christians. I didn’t feel like that would do me much good, because I already was one of those, and that was not what I wanted to be!
Then in early 2000 I came across an organization called “Messianic Bureau International,” which seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. The Director of the organization was a very personable gentleman who had a background very similar to my own. He had become a Messianic Rabbi, but was formerly a pastor with the Assemblies of God, and his grandparents were Jewish. He was most helpful, and the materials from his ministry have been excellent sources of information. Since becoming acquainted with MBI [the use of whose source materials I also gratefully acknowledge], I have met a number of other leaders in the “Messianic Movement,” and there seems to be a common trend among most of those with whom I have had contact: they have brought most of their denominational “sacred cows” into the Movement with them. The result is that within the Movement there seem to be approximately the same number of interpretations of Messianic Judaism as there are Christian Denominations and Jewish Sects from which these men came.
However, to my great relief I have discovered that I am not alone. There are literally hundreds of thousands, or perhaps even millions, of people just like me in their desire to worship Yeshua HaMashiach as He was worshipped in the first century, remembering that there were almost no Gentile believers in Messiah until well into the second century. At this writing (2009), according to one Internet source, there are an estimated three million people involved in various forms of Messianic Judaism worldwide, an estimated 350,000 or more — or about 10% — of which are ethnically Jewish (SOURCE).
So how did it come about that there are so many people with the same apparent “racial memories” and desires that have been plaguing me?
One intriguing theory (generally called the “two house” or “two stick” theory) goes this way:
After the death of King David, his son Solomon succeeded him with harsh policies that split the already fractured monarchy into the northern House of Israel (meaning “he will rule as God”) and the southern House of Judah (“to worship with outstretched hands”). These separate kingdoms co-existed for quite some time, but they were constantly in friction with one another, even to the point of war. The Bible refers to this time as the “enmity and vexation” between the tribe of the becor or birthright
(Ephraim),and the tribe of the shevet or scepter (Judah). Ephraim (“fruitless”) was the youngest son of Joseph (“increase”), from whom the first northern kings descended. According to Genesis 48:19, Ephraim’s descendants were destined to become the melo hagoyim or “fullness of the Gentiles.” Romans 11:25-26 states that when “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in … the Deliverer (Messiah) will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
How is it that the descendants of Jacob through Ephraim were to become “the fullness of the Gentiles” and how is it that when Messiah returns “the fullness of the Gentiles” will come in? And what is it that they are to “come in” to?
Through the prophet Hosea’s marriage to Gomer and their three children, God shows us a strange thing indeed. The House of Israel (the Ephraimites) in exile was given three new names:
• Yizre’el or Jezreel, a play on the name, “Israel,” which means “God will sow or scatter like seeds,”
• Lo-ruhamah, “without mercy” or “without covenant,” and
• Lo-Ammi, “not My people.”
According to Hosea’s prophecy, “God will scatter these people like seeds throughout the earth; they will no longer be called ‘My people’ and they will live without the covenant.” Scattered like seeds all over the world, the descendants of these exiles have since been totally assimilated into Gentile cultures. They have forgotten that they are children of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They no longer remember that they are Israelites. They deny their Israelite heritage and deny that they are part of God’s covenant people. True to God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3b to literally “graft” part of his seed into every family of the earth, the tribe of Ephraim in its assimilation may now very well comprise part of every race, ethnic group, and culture, or the “fullness of the Gentiles.”
Now, I want you to keep in mind that the Hebrew word goyim that is translated “Gentiles” is also translated as “nations.” An Orthodox Jewish Rabbi was being interviewed on the Zola Levitt television program in July 2001, and he pointed out that at that time the citizens of Israel come from over 108 different nations. There are Dutch Jews, German Jews, Russian Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Pakistani Jews, American Jews, Spanish Jews, and even some Chinese Jews. Each of these groups considers themselves to be Dutch, German, Russian, etc.; but yet they are first and foremost Jews. So Israel has literally become a “nation of nations” or a “nation of goyim.” Is it possible that Romans 11:25-26 should be interpreted to mean that when “the fullness of the nations has come in … the Deliverer (Messiah) will come from Zion” — that is, when at least some Jews have returned from each of the nations in which they now reside?
This theory is not without its significant problems, however; and what seems to be the opinion of a majority of its proponents is that everyone who has ever come into a covenant relationship with the Messiah has at least a drop or two of the blood of the Patriarchs flowing in their veins. That is, nobody who is totally Gentile has ever been “saved.”
Of significant concern to the Jewish community, and what makes this teaching actually anti-Semitic in the extreme, is that this movement makes out all Gentile Christians to be Jews, most of whom just don’t realize that they are Jews. [Read the refutation of this heretical theory.] It is an extreme example of Replacement Theology, in which Gentiles claim for themselves the covenant that God made exclusively with Israel.
This is, of course, an extremely valid concern. With all Jews in general, and the Nation of Israel in particular, fighting desperately to retain their right to exist as a nation and as an identifiable ethnic community, the threat of being “overrun” by millions of “Gentile want-to-be Jews” who are claiming to be the legitimate heirs to the Covenants and to the Land (Replacement Theology) is totally unacceptable. After all, that is precisely what Gentile Christianity has been claiming since 325 CE when Constantine declared “Christianity” to be the official religion of the Roman Empire, the hundreds of thousands of pagan Gentiles instantly became “Christian” [though most of them didn’t even know it], and Jewish believers in their Messiah were given the choice to either give up all aspects of their “Jewishness” or be either executed or “excommunicated” from what was what prior to that time an extensively Jewish, and originally an exclusively Jewish, branch of Judaism called “The Way.”
The International Messianic Jewish Alliance (IMJA) has published an excellent and scholarly refutation of the “Two-House” theory entitled “The Ephraimite Error” by Dr. Kay Silberling that may also be found mirrored here. The “Two-House” theory is rejected by all but the “extreme outer fringe” of Messianic Judaism. The conclusion of this Position Paper is as follows:
“The position of the I.M.J.A., then, is that the Ephraimite, or ‘Two House’ movement is in error for the following reasons:
1. flawed, unwarranted, and dangerous interpretation of scripture
2. inconsistent logic and contradictory positions
3. racist and race-based theology
4. supersessionist theology
5. historically inaccurate depiction of Israel
6. dangerous, false, and militant claims to the land which threaten the stability of the current State of Israel
It is not unusual for a group to construct a false genealogical myth, that is, one that is empirically unfounded, in order to create for itself a new story, a new mythic purpose in the world, a new ideology and sense of rootedness. It appears that this may be the impulse that gave birth to this teaching.” (page 38)
But whatever the truth of this “two house/two stick” theory —or portions of it — may or may not actually be, it is clearly evident that God is doing a work in the area of the Land that he promised to Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya`akov, and their descendants forever. In 1948 Israel again became a nation, dwelling within the borders of the Promised Land for the first time since the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in the year 70.
But in 1967 virtually the entire Islamic world attacked the little nation of Israel (Six-Day War). To put this in perspective, Israel consists of only 8,020 square miles with a 1990 population of approximately 5,749,760. By comparison, the little state of New Jersey has an area of 8,722 square miles and a 1990 population of 7,730,118. In just six days, out-gunned by nearly 24 to 1 (based on total estimated population of all countries, see table), tiny Israel had soundly defeated all her surrounding nations and nearly doubled her geographical area, having driven back her invaders far into their own countries.
The results of that war were without question by far the biggest upset since David killed Goliath (a truly fitting and prophetic picture). And little Israel’s victory would have been absolutely impossible without the direct intervention of the hand of God.
When Israel regained control of Jerusalem and won such an incredibly improbable victory in the Six Day War, a great number of Jews recognized this event as a partial fulfillment of prophecies in both the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible, or so-called “Old Testament”) and the Apostolic Writings (so-called “New Testament”) that speak of Messiah’s imminent return to establish the Kingdom. And as the Apostolic Writings specifically point to Yeshua of Natzeret (“Jesus” of Nazareth) as the Messiah, they were spiritually awakened to acknowledge Him as such. As their ancestors did in the first century, these “completed Jews” have rightfully elected to retain their Jewish identity, and have incorporated the worship of Yeshua HaMashiach (Yeshua the Messiah) into their traditional form of worship.
Shortly after the end of the Six-Day War, there occurred a thing unheard of in the history of civilization. The nations of the world rose up against tiny Israel who had so courageously defended herself against an invasion of overwhelming odds, and demanded that the big bully nation of Israel give back all the land she had conquered from her poor, defenseless invaders. Unfortunately for Israel, the world’s last superpower, the United States, supposedly the last remaining “Christian” nation on earth, has also taken a stand against Israel in this issue (more unfortunate for the U.S. than for Israel), apparently forgetting the warning of the prophets:
“No weapon that is formed against you [Israel] will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD. [Isa 54:17 (NAS) - Show Context]
In spite of the stand that all the nations of the world (the goyim) have taken against Israel, in the relatively few years since that war an amazing phenomenon has developed: people from all over the world, people of faith from all nationalities, from all ethnic groups, from all the various branches and denominations of Judaism and Christianity, people literally by the hundreds of thousands, are suddenly displaying a marked interest in this new form of Judaism. Christians who once said, “the Jews killed our Jesus,” and Jews who once said, “Jesus was the bastard son of a Roman soldier and a Jewish whore,” are suddenly coming together in a united faith.
This new movement of Jews and Gentiles toward each other and toward a common form of faith has many faces and many names. It is referred to variously as Messianic Judaism, Messianic Restoration, Messianic Orthodoxy, the Messianic Movement, Messianic Israel, and other names and descriptive titles. And it apparently takes as many varied forms as the background of those people who are involved. But there is a very strong common denominator. All of the estimated three million people of faith who are now involved in this Movement worldwide appear to have at least these twelve essential beliefs in common:
1. The divine inspiration and infallibility of Scripture, both the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible or so-called “Old Covenant” or “Old Testament”) and Apostolic Writings (B'rit Chadasha, Renewed Covenant, or so-called “New Testament”).
2. The absolute oneness of God.
3. The compound unity (echad) of God as expressed in the aspects of Abba [the Father], Yeshua [literally “Salvation,” the Son, Messiah ben David] and Ruach HaKodesh [the Holy Spirit/Breath].
4. The eternalness and unchangeableness of God and His Word.
5. The uniqueness and holiness of Shabbat
[Sabbath], the seventh day of the week, as a sign of
6. Yeshua of Natzeret as the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the world, the King of kings and LORD of lords. He is YHWH who appeared among mankind in the flesh, and now is glorified with all power in Heaven and in Earth, at the right hand of Abba.
7. Messiah Yeshua is the ultimate and final Passover Lamb required for the removal of sins. He was executed as a criminal and rose from the dead three days afterward. All who repent of their sins, and trust that Yeshua is the Messiah, who died as our Passover Lamb and rose again, are forgiven their sins and come into a renewed covenant with ADONAI through Him, and therefore become inheritors of all the promises ADONAI made with Abraham and Israel.
8. The B'rit Chadasha [Renewed Covenant] in Messiah Yeshua brings with it a new creation of the human spirit. The Torah [Divine Instruction] of ADONAI is planted inside so that Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) may indwell there. An external immersion in water (mikvah) is performed to declare that this has taken place.
9. The people of ADONAI are a holy Miqra [Called Out/Ecclesia] congregation, which is not of the world, in order to gather and celebrate Him at His appointed holy Feasts, and to shine as lights of truth in the darkness, and to be a royal priesthood that praises His Name.
10. The promise of a continually faithful trust in Yeshua, while walking according to the will of ADONAI, is resurrection from the dead, eternal life, and ruling with Yeshua forever in the place where His Kingdom will rule. He will yet rule in Jerusalem/Zion, and finally in New Jerusalem in the New Creation forever.
11. Yeshua will judge all mankind of all acts and words ever committed. He will decide the sentence for punishment, and all those not meeting His standard will be sent away from His presence, into outer darkness and eternal punishment of the sin. (Some believe in destruction rather than punishment.)
12. The final Divine plan for Israel is to bring the remnant of Judah and the remnant of the so-called “Lost Tribes” back together and, united with the Gentile believers in Messiah, into one holy nation of Israel under one Shepherd, namely Yeshua HaMashiach.
This last item may be worded differently in the different groups, but the fact upon which they all agree is that God is going to unite all of His people into a united Kingdom under Yeshua HaMashiach, and that the united Israel will include all the descendants of all the Twelve Tribes, plus all the Elect Gentiles who serve the God of Avraham, Yitz'chak, and Ya'akov, and are therefore “adopted” into Israel.
I believe that this Movement is in direct fulfillment of the beginning of “the restoration of all things spoken by the prophets” (Acts 3:21), and that God is even now preparing Jew and Gentile alike to serve Him as a united people.
Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; and it will come about that, in the place where it is said to them, “You are not My people,” it will be said to them, “you are the sons of the living God.” And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint for themselves one leader, and they will go up from the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel. (Hosea 1:10-11 NAS)
“And it will come about in that day,” declares the LORD, “That you will call me Ishi [a man, as a male person; Yeshua??] and will no longer call me Baali [“my Master”]. … And I will sow her for myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘[You are] my God!’” (Hosea 2:16, 23 NAS)
And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’ And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.” And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for the LORD will execute His word upon the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” (Rom 9:23-28 NAS)
Who, then, are the people who are involved in this Movement? As nearly as I can determine, they fall into three classes:
1. There are ethnic Jews who want the freedom to worship Yeshua HaMashiach as ADONAI without being forced to give up their Jewishness.
2. There are the descendants of Jewish ancestors who have been totally assimilated into the Gentile nations, who have become “not My people,” living as though they are Gentiles, who want to re-establish their identity as “My people.” I believe that this is the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecies listed immediately above, which will be completely fulfilled in the Kingdom Age.
3. There are Gentile Believers in Messiah who wish to honor the Jewish “roots” of Biblical faith and worship the way that their spiritual ancestors worshipped in the first and second centuries, when the Messianic faith was predominantly Jewish. I believe that this also is the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecies in Zechariah chapters 6 and 9 concerning the Gentiles who will worship alongside the Jews in the Temple of ADONAI, which will be completely fulfilled in the Kingdom Age.
“Then say to him, ‘Thus says ADONAI of hosts, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of ADONAI. Yes, it is He who will build the temple of ADONAI, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices. Now the crown will become a reminder in the temple of ADONAI to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. Those who are far off will come and build the temple of ADONAI.” Then you will know that ADONAI of hosts has sent me to you. And it will take place if you completely obey ADONAIyour God. (Zech. 6: 12-15 NAS)
Then the word of ADONAI of hosts came, saying, “Thus says ADONAI of hosts, ‘I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her.’ Thus says ADONAI, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of ADONAI of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’ Thus says ADONAI of hosts, ‘Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.’ Thus says ADONAI of hosts, ‘If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?’ declares ADONAI of hosts. Thus says ADONAI of hosts, ‘Behold, I am going to save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; and I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.’ … Thus says ADONAI of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of ADONAI, and to seek ADONAI of hosts; I will also go.” So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek ADONAI of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of ADONAI.’ Thus says ADONAI of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’” (Zech. 8:1-8;20-23 NAS)
And so even now we are seeing the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy. ADONAI is now in the process of redeeming large numbers of ethnic Jews (the “remnant of this people” and those who are “My people”). He is bringing Jews “back into the land” both physically through alia—immigration of Jews out of the nations and back to Eretz Yisrael—and spiritually by restoring them back into “true Israel” through faith in Yeshua HaMashiach (see Rom. 9:6-8). These people are drawn to the Messianic Restoration (my personal favorite term for this Movement) because here we can worship Yeshua without being forced to give up our ethnic distinctive.
He is also calling forth out of the Gentile Nations those descendants of Israelites who have lost their identity as Jews through assimilation (those who were “formerly Gentiles” and “not My people”). These people are drawn to this Movement because it allows them to regain their lost ethnic and religious heritage.
He is also calling out of the Nations (and out of “the Church”) those Gentiles who recognize that true Biblical Faith is not “another religion” or “the Church” (as it now exists), but actually only the “true form” of Judaism that honors ADONAI Yeshua HaMashiach (the LORD Jesus Christ) as HaShem (literally, “the Name” — that Name that is too holy to pronounce by which He revealed Himself to His servants Avraham [Abraham], Yitz'chak [Isaac], Ya'akov [Jacob], and Moshe [Moses]). These people are drawn to the Movement because it is they who are even now “grasp[ing] the garment [literally, the tzitzit] of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”
“Why is this teaching different from all other teaching?” Because the “teaching” on this website is not going to be a “teaching” at all in the normal sense of that term, but rather it is going to be a mutual exploration of much of the available materials concerning the relationship of Jews and Gentiles to each other, and the relationship of Jews and Gentiles to God, and the relationship of Jews and Gentiles to the Bible’s Covenants, and the relationship of Jews and Gentiles to God’s Torah. We will be studying together and evaluating the documents from the extremely conservative end of the Messianic Restoration Movement as well as from the middle and the extremely liberal end of that spectrum. We will be studying and evaluating the documents from the charismatic and from the non-charismatic elements of the Movement. We will be looking at the Movement from the perspective of Conservative, Reformed, and Orthodox Judaism, as well as from the perspective of a number of different traditional Christian denominations, both charismatic and non-charismatic, Sabbatarian and non-Sabbatarian.
But most important of all, we will be comparing all these opinions and all these viewpoints under the microscope of the Scriptures, as they are understood through a systematic, literal, grammatical, and historical interpretative methodology. We will not be arriving at any conclusions based on the direction of some outside “authority,” but based solely on the conviction of our own hearts and minds as Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) leads us in our studies.
It is my sincere prayer that the Most High be glorified and that His people be edified though this process.
For additional information on how I arrived at my present theological position, please refer to my in-process book, The Model for the Messianic Community.
1. This document is directed primarily to answer the questions of Gentile Christians with a traditional “denominational” church background, and was originally written as a handout for the introductory session of a home Bible study. The author believes that Jewish/Hebrew/Israelite Believers in Messiah will either understand, or will have an entirely different set of questions about this teaching. [RETURN]
2. I now understand that the reasons Jewish people cannot accept the “Gentile God Jesus” as Messiah is because they are being faithful to the Torah, which teaches that the distorted caricature that the Church presents as “Jesus Christ” is, in fact, a false prophet! [MORE] [RETURN]
3. That His primary mission on earth was to provide Himself as the Atonement for sinful humanity should go without saying. [RETURN]
4. “The English-Speaking Peoples Today Descend from the Tribe of Joseph; the USA is Manasseh; ‘Machir’ first-born son of Manasseh gave his name to ‘America’ (‘Ha-Macheri’ in Hebrew) and this name means Capitalism; ‘Manasseh’ means Responsible Representation; Ephraim is Britain along with the overseas ‘daughters’ of Britain. Other Israelite Tribes gave rise to elements within Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Wales, France, Holland, and Belgium. The present-day Jews descend mainly from Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, plus representatives portions of all the other Tribes. The Tribe of Dan is to be found amongst part of the Danish, Irish, and Welsh.” (www.britam.org) [RETURN]
6. With a very few “ultra-Orthodox” exceptions, the ultimate goal of the Messianic Restoration movement seems to be the reunification of the twelve tribes of Israel into a single nation which recognizes Yeshua as Messiah and King, with those who wish to do so living securely within the borders of her original land grant from God, and for non-Jewish Believers in Mashiach to join with them as a unified Body of Mashiach. [RETURN]
7. I have taken the liberty of rendering the Sacred Name [YHWH] as ADONAI rather than as LORD. [RETURN]