FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Who is Beth Yeshua?
Beth Yeshua is a Messianic Jewish synagogue. Beth Yeshua literally means "House of Yeshua" (translates to English: "House of Jesus").
2. What is a Messianic Jewish synagogue?
A Messianic Jewish synagogue is a community of Jewish and non-Jewish believers in the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) where the expression of that faith and worship is distinctly Jewish.
3. What is Messianic Judaism?
Messianic Judaism is a resurrection of the first century expression of faith in Messiah Yeshua. Since the New Covenant was given in a Jewish context, it is best understood in that context. Beth Yeshua has members from a number of different religious backgrounds in addition to Judaism.
4. What exactly is a "Messianic Jew?"
A "Messianic Jew" is both a physical and spiritual (Romans 2:28-29) descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who is joined by faith to Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel. An individual who is a believer in Yeshua (Jesus) but does not have a DNA Jewish lineage (through father or mother) is not Jewish, nor a "Messianic Jew." However, they are grafted into Israel (Ephesians 2:11-19)! They are partakers of the covenants of promise through the Messiah and are fellow citizens: "Israelites"!
In fact, since the first mention of a "B'rit Chadasha" ("New" or "Renewed Covenant") in Scripture is found in Jeremiah 31:30-33, we find that in this passage that the "New Covenant" is only made with the "house of Israel" and the "house of Judah."
31 "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah..."
In short, if you are not a part of the House of Israel (ALL the Tribes, including Judah (Jews) PLUS the sojourners that have joined themselves to Israel) or the House of Judah (Jews), you have NO part of the "New Covenant" ("New Testament")! God did NOT make an open-ended Covenant with ALL the Nations, such as He did with the descendants of Noah in Genesis 9! This "New Covenant" is made ONLY with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. Period.
Non-Jews are made a part of the "House of Israel" (as sojourners like Rahab, Ruth, and etc.) and its covenants through the blood of Yeshua (Jesus) - Ephesians 2 and Romans 11.
They become subject to the same laws and privileges as the native Israelite! (Just as a non-citizen of the United States of America becomes subject to the same laws as a native when they become citizens of the United States of America)
5. Does Beth Yeshua try to make everyone a Jew?
No. Absolutely not. It must be understood, however, from Ephesians 2 that non-DNA Jewish believers in Yeshua, who were "formerly far off" (verse 13) and estranged "from the national life of Israel," (verse 12) are now "fellow-citizens with the people of God" (Israel)(verse 19). In other words, they are now a "grafted-in" part of the people of Israel (both physical and spiritual (Romans 11)), but they are not "Jews" (meaning: from Judah, a specific tribe of Israel).
It is also understood that, given the calling of God upon Beth Yeshua to a distinctly Jewish expression, those committed to this congregation should have a desire to live out their lives in a manner keeping with that calling. This is implied in Acts 15:21, where the new non-Jewish believers would congregate in the synagogues on the Sabbath and hear Moshe (Law).
6. Is it only for Jewish people? Are non-Jewish believers in the Messiah Yeshua welcome?
ABSOLUTELY! Beth Yeshua Messianic Congregation is a house of worship for Jewish and non-Jewish people alike. Jewish and non-Jewish people are equally in need of God's one provision of atonement in the Messiah Yeshua. In the Messiah, both are equally a part of the Body of Messiah and are beloved of God. All are welcome.
7. Since Jewish and non-Jewish believers are equal before God, why then have a distinctly Jewish-oriented congregation?
Because there is a need for it. It is a historical reality that people assemble with others of like culture, language and tradition. Rather than assimilating into the Gentile-dominated churches the Jewish believer can worship God and practice his Messiah-centered faith in a context that respects Jewish life and tradition. Unlike the Gentile Church our congregants can bar-mitzvah their children, observe the Jewish life-cycle events and biblical holy days, follow the weekly Torah readings, etc. Maintaining ones Jewish heritage is a distinct calling not to be cast off when becoming a follower of Yeshua. Messiah does not ask us to stop being male or female, black or white, Jewish or Gentile, etc. The New Covenant refers to Messianic Jews as a "remnant" within Israel who are "chosen by grace" (Rom. 11:5). As such we must maintain that Jewish identity.
8. Why would a non-Jewish believer want to be involved with a Messianic Jewish synagogue?
Non-Jewish followers of Messiah join for various reasons, including: To stand with Israel, to embrace the Jewish roots of the New Covenant, and to show their love for Israel and the Jewish people. Some join because they have a "Ruth calling" in which they feel that God wants them to live as Jews, while some simply find great fulfillment and personal enrichment by observing things such as Sabbath and biblical holidays.
9. Why do you have services on Saturday?
Since we are followers of Yeshua it should be natural for all believers in Him to want to walk the walk of Yeshua. The seventh-day Sabbath was given to Israel as a perpetual observance - a day to rest on in the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 31:16-17). In Luke 4:16, the Scripture says it was Yeshuas' "custom" to be in the synagogue on the Biblical Sabbath (Saturday). If a person is a follower (disciple) of Yeshua (Jesus) then they would want to do what He did (1 John 2:1-6). He observed the biblical Sabbath.
Hence, meeting together on the biblical Sabbath (as Yeshua did) meant meeting generally on Saturday - of course the biblical Sabbath goes from Friday night at sunset to Saturday night at sunset. All believers in Him should want to do what He did, too! As is phrased in the Christian vernacular: "WWJD?" Well then, if you are His disciple, "Do What Jesus Did!"
What would they be doing there? They would be reading from the Scriptures, praying and worshipping - as is done in the synagogue today. Though Scripture does not specify a "day of worship" (you could worship every day of the week if you could afford to), it does specify which day one rests - i.e. the seventh day of the week and gathers together in a "holy convocation" (Leviticus 23:3). Since most of the people in Yeshuas' day could only afford to worship on the Biblical day of rest, it became a custom to worship and attend synagogue services on the seventh day of the week.
[If one honestly studies Scripture and church history, the biblical Sabbath day was NOT changed by Yeshua or His original Apostles. The change to "Sunday" came later in the church by the non-Jewish "Early Church Fathers." The term used in Scripture "the first day of the week" was moved from the Jewish context to a non-Jewish context by these men. The "first day of the week" actually begins after sundown Saturday night, since the biblical day begins in the evening at sunset (see Genesis 1).
Therefore, when Scripture speaks of the early believers meeting on the "first day of the week" it is speaking of Saturday night after sunset, after they met at the synagogues (Acts 15) and went to other homes to continue fellowship and breaking of bread together.]
10. What are the worship services like?
Services begin at 3:00 p.m. and usually last until about 5:00 p.m. The services begin with praise and worship. The worship time is spent in prayer, praise, singing, dance and/or various traditional liturgical chants (It is thought that much of the liturgy began during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah - see Nehemiah 8:1-8 - and was used as the basis of the Temple service and today's synagogue liturgy) and readings. Songs and liturgy are in both Hebrew and English and displayed on an overhead projector. Most often an abbreviated Torah service then takes place, with readings and teachings on the weekly portion. The last hour is devoted to teaching and proclamation of Scripture by either the congregational leader or others in leadership. Services often conclude with the Kiddush, the Aaronic Benediction, and a song. A meal or light refreshments (Oneg Shabbat) may also be served following the service.
11. What is Oneg Shabbat & Kiddush?
Oneg Shabbat mean "delight of the Sabbath." At Beth Yeshua it is a special time of food and fellowship. Visitors are welcome to participate in this time of meeting new people and being encouraged in your faith by other believers. The food for the Oneg must be kosher (clean) by biblical standards (Leviticus 11); therefore, pork products, shellfish and anything containing animal fat or lard are not allowed.
12. How is Beth Yeshua governed?
Beth Yeshua is governed by its local Board of Elders, one of whom is the Congregational Leader. The Congregational Leader carries the primary responsibility for teaching and daily ministry needs. The Elders share in responsibility as overseers of the congregations finances, general spiritual life, and administrative affairs. The Leadership Board: deacons, ministry leaders and others share in carrying out the work of ministry as is delegated to them. In matters affecting the community as a whole, congregational meetings are held (once a year) to give financial reports, current state of affairs, and address any issues as needed. Though this is not a voting congregation, any person is free to present their ideas, concerns, or questions to leadership on a regular basis. Beth Yeshua is affiliated with United Messianic Jewish Assembly. As such, we are accountable to them.
13. Apart from the Jewish elements, what are some of the goals and objectives of Beth Yeshua
We seek to be a congregational home for both Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua who are called into covenant community with one another, seeking to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven locally, in Israel and to the nations, within the framework of Messianic Judaism (Ephesians 2:11-3:7; Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37; Matthew 26:26-29; Jeremiah 31:31-37; Romans 11:11-36; Acts 21:20; Luke 4:42-44; Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 28:19-20). We also believe in promoting biblical worship, prayer, covenant relationships, and personal holiness.
14. Why do some of the men wear head-coverings and prayer-shawls?
These are traditional items of Jewish life, history and worship. The shawl is called a "tallit" and the small round cap is called a "kippah" (Hebrew for "covering") or "yarmulke" (Yiddish for "reverence the king"). The kippah is not a requirement of the Torah or any part of the Hebrew Scripture for that matter. The kippah is a tradition that allows the men of the synagogue to cover their head as one would have done in the past when coming into the presence of a king. Since we are coming into the presence of the king when we worship it is traditional for men to cover their head as a symbol of respect for God. Many wear the kippah as a way of identifying with the Jewish people and as a sign of respect when entering the synagogue.
All males worshipping with Beth Yeshua are encouraged to wear one or both of these items, but the conscience of each individual is respected in this matter. (Again the kippah is not a requirement and is therefore an optional item of apparel.)
Women, likewise, may use or not use appropriate head-coverings (scarfs, veils - no kippahs or men's tallits, please) as conscience allows.
15. Does Beth Yeshua practice water baptism (mikveh)?
Yes. Immersion in water is practiced as a sign of one's beginning a new life of devotion to Messiah. Water Baptism (t'villah) has its roots in the Jewish rite of the "mikveh" (ceremonial washing).
17. What distinctly Jewish elements are incorporated into congregational life and worship?
Just to mention a few: Shabbat observance, kashrut (keeping Mosaic dietary laws), identification with Israel as the Jewish homeland, Jewish liturgical worship, Jewish dance, use of the Hebrew language, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, traditional dress (kippahs and tallits), and observing the Jewish holy days.
18. Do you pass a collection plate?
Money is rarely stressed during services and no "collection plate" is passed. An offering box is located in the back of the sanctuary for the reception of tithes and offerings similar to the days of the Second Temple.
19. What is Beth Yeshua's attitude toward other congregations or churches?
"There is one Lord, one faith, one immersion" and "one body" (Eph 4:4,5). Beth Yeshua cooperates with other congregations who share faith in the Messiah Yeshua. We seek to build bridges between churches and the Jewish people, fostering love for Israel, repudiating anti-Semitism, educating churches about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith and being a resource to that end.
20. Other than Shabbat services, what are some of the other services/gatherings that Beth Yeshua has?
a) Corporate prayer gatherings
b) Bible studies (Torah Study - Wednesday Evening - 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.)
c) Special services are held for both Biblical and traditional Jewish holidays, e.g. Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost), Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), Hannukah (Feast of Dedication) and Purim (Feast of Esther).
21. Does Beth Yeshua offer Bar/Bat Mitzvah for the children?
Yes. Bar and Bat Mitzvah (Son of/Daughter of the Commandment) is available. This ceremony recognizes the time of life when a boy (age 13) or girl (age 12) becomes responsible to follow God and obey the commandments. Children begin to prepare approximately one year prior to their respective birthdays. Training is centered around learning God's Word as it pertains to a personal relationship with Him through the Messiah Yeshua. Also included is training in Hebrew language, liturgy, and chants for Scripture portions as well as various aspects of Jewish history and tradition.
22. How does one learn the special dances of the Shabbat service?
Davidic worship dance classes are offered periodically. Those wishing to participate should contact the synagogue office (208-448-0527) and talk to Rachael Mills, our Dance Leader.
23. How long has Beth Yeshua and Messianic Judaism been around?
For hundreds of years after Messiah came, there were many Jewish Christians, called Nazarenes, but the movement slowly diminished and disappeared. In the late 19th century there again arose a small number of these believers, who were called Hebrew Christians during that era. In the late 1960's and 70's the movement exploded, leading to the formation of congregations and institutions.
In May, 2003 Beth Yeshua was established.