Not Just Another Church


Over 33,000 Different Sects and Denominations in Christiandom

Wikipedia (quoting Christianity Today) says there are "approximately 38,000" Christian denominations.

The World Christian Encyclopedia of 2001 counted 33,830. (For a breakdown of these numbers, see this Fact Sheet, which also pulls data from the World Christian Database. Here's a tidbit you'll find in the fact sheet: There are 242 Roman Catholic denominations! And another: It is estimated there will be 55,000 denominations by the year 2025, which does not say much for ecumenism.)

In our little town of Priest River, ID, we have 13 churches and in the immediate towns surrounding Priest River, ID we have over 40. Suffice it to say, we have many churches and denominations in not only Christendom, but also in this area that can minister to people of different persuasions: some with emphasis on baptism, some with emphasis on spiritual gifts, and others with emphasis in other areas.

But there's only one Messianic fellowship in the area, teaching Scripture from the Hebraic perspective and having a heart for outreach to Jewish people. [Yes, there ARE Jewish people in this area - albeit, few.]

That does not make them WRONG; just DIFFERENT!

We don't have a corner on all truth but neither do they. Yet, for all that, we are brethren!



What is Beth Yeshua???

Which brings me to the point of this message:

As a Messianic Fellowship, we are NOT just another "church."

[In all honesty, I don't like to refer to our little fellowship as a "church" - which I shall address in this message, nor do I refer to myself as being a "Christian." Instead, I call myself "Messianic."

The reasons are twofold:

We often have visitors who come from some of the 33,000 plus denominations and really enjoy the "Jewish" orientation of our small fellowship and sometimes they stay awhile.

To me, that is absolutely wonderful! As fellow believers in the faith, we should want to fellowship with the brethren even if their expression of faith is not quite the same a ours!

I have found this to be true:

We can agree (as believers in Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah/Christ) on over 90% of the essential doctrines and the way I see it, we should fellowship in the over 90% of what we agree with, rather than break fellowship over the relatively small number of things that we disagree with!

The problem originates when some (not all) of those who come want us to change what we do.

Now, I wouldn't dream of going into an Assemblies of God church (and I have spoken over the years at quite a number of them) and even gently saying to them, "You need to tone it down on the spiritual gifts, since you might turn off some of the more conservative brethren." -or- "You need to follow the Torah in your lives." That's not my place or calling.

Yet, some of those few folks (acting obviously with good intent, to give them the benefit of the doubt) suggest our incorporating into our fellowship some of the things they enjoyed from their own religious background:

The charismatics suggest: "Perhaps if there were more of the Holy Spirit" (spiritual gifts being exercised),

The non-formal believers suggest: "Maybe if you got rid of some of the liturgy"

Those who like the more formal service suggest: "You need more liturgy"

Some who come from backgrounds that frown on dancing in church say: "Do away with the Davidic Dance,"

Some who come from churches with long Song services say: "You need more Praise & Worship."

It can be frustrating as a Messianic leader - I know - I've been one for about 22 years.

We DO seek to find a balance in ALL of these areas, but, then again, we face things in our services that most other churches never deal with! How many churches conduct their services with even a little Hebrew? How many churches teach the Bible from a Hebraic perspective?

Come to think about it: If we did everything that people coming and joining with us want us to do, we would be doing everything everyone wanted, we would be standing for nothing, we would stilll be offending someone but what we do and furthermore, we would lose our focus on what's really important: the salvation of Jewish people too!

For more information on Beth Yeshua, I have written a book entitled, What is Beth Yeshua?


The Benefits to Gentile Believers of Evangelical Outreach to the Jewish People

What's the benefit of the salvation of Jewish people to Gentile believers? Let me give you a hint from Rabbi Sha'ul (apostle Paul - the apostle to the Gentiles) in Romans 11:

    12 Moreover, if their stumbling is bringing riches to the world - that is, if Isra'el's being placed temporarily in a condition less favored than that of the Gentiles is bringing riches to the latter - how much greater riches will Isra'el in its fullness bring them!

Let me paraphrase: "If YOU think you've been blessed by the Jewish people's stumbling with regard to who Jesus is, wait to see how you will be blessed when they come to faith in Him!"

In other words: "You think this faith and salvation is AWESOME??? You ain't seen NOTHING YET!"

Remember: It was Sha'ul (Paul), a Messianic Jew, who risked life and limb to go out to the Gentiles to bring them the Gospel message so that they might be saved and to bring them into covenant relationship with God as fellow citizens of the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2):

    11 Therefore, remember your former state: you Gentiles by birth - called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised - 12 at that time had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Isra'el. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God's promise. You were in this world without hope and without God. 13 But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah's blood. 14 For he himself is our shalom - he has made us both one and has broken down the m'chitzah which divided us 15 by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom, 16 and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus in himself killing that enmity. 17 Also, when he came, he announced as Good News shalom to you far off and shalom to those nearby, 18 news that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers. On the contrary, you are fellow-citizens with God's people and members of God's family. 20 You have been built on the foundation of the emissaries and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Yeshua the Messiah himself. 21 In union with him the whole building is held together, and it is growing into a holy temple in union with the Lord. 22 Yes, in union with him, you yourselves are being built together into a spiritual dwelling-place for God!

Let me summarize: Gentiles, you were lost as a people and going to eternal damnation. You had no covenant relationship with God. It was through the death of Yeshua (Jesus, a Jew) that you were brought into the commonwealth of Israel and made a partaker of the richness of the Olive Tree (Romans 11).

Isn't that a blessing?

Well, think about how much more a blessing it will be when Jewish people come to know Messiah Yeshua as their long-awaited Messiah! Don't you want to be a part of that? or Do you want to thwart God's purposes as the Church has done over the centuries?

Sadly, over the centuries since the church fell into Gentile hands, the church has thwarted outreach to the very people from whence it came: the Jewish people. Not my words, but the words of our Lord Himself (John 4:22)!

    You people don't know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews.

His words, not mine.


To the Jew first...

Romans 1:

    16 For I am not ashamed of the Good News, since it is God's powerful means of bringing salvation to everyone who keeps on trusting, to the Jew especially, but equally to the Gentile. 17 For in it is revealed how God makes people righteous in his sight; and from beginning to end it is through trust - as the Tanakh puts it, "But the person who is righteous will live his life by trust."

The focus of our outreach of faith at Beth Yeshua is "to the Jew first..."

That, unfortunately, is not the focus of evangelism to the majority of Christian churches throughout the world.

To most Christian churches and Christian organizations, their outreach is to the Gentile first: they send missionaries to Africa, Asia, South America and other foreign lands. Wycliffe Bible translators goes to remote parts of the world to create a Bible based upon the language and world-view of the natives.

Please understand: This is a good thing and I am not "knocking that."

BUT, it isn't the ONLY thing!

It fails to reach "Jerusalem!" Jewish people aren't being reached!

It is true that before the Lord returns the Gospel MUST go out to the remote parts of the world as our Lord said in Matthew 24:

    14 And this Good News about the Kingdom will be announced throughout the whole world as a witness to all the Goyim. It is then that the end will come.

However, the focus of the majority of Christian evangelical outreach is to the remote parts and not to where the Gospel started in the first place: Jerusalem!

As our Lord prepared to ascend into Heaven after His resurrection, He said to His disciples (as recorded in Acts 1)

    1 Dear Theophilos: In the first book, I wrote about everything Yeshua set out to do and teach, 2 until the day when, after giving instructions through the Ruach HaKodesh to the emissaries whom he had chosen, he was taken up into heaven. 3 After his death he showed himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. During a period of forty days they saw him, and he spoke with them about the Kingdom of God. 4 At one of these gatherings, he instructed them not to leave Yerushalayim but to wait for "what the Father promised, which you heard about from me. 5 For Yochanan used to immerse people in water; but in a few days, you will be immersed in the Ruach HaKodesh!" 6 When they were together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore self-rule to Isra'el?" 7 He answered, "You don't need to know the dates or the times; the Father has kept these under his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Ruach HaKodesh comes upon you; you will be my witnesses both in Yerushalayim and in all Y'hudah and Shomron, indeed to the ends of the earth!"

In short, the church has done a great job of evangelizing the world, but a abysmal job of evangelizing the Jewish people, from whence their very faith and salvation is obtained!

So, each group has its' calling and place. Ours is "to the Jew first."

However, our outreach to the Jew does not mean to the exclusion of non-Jewish people! On the contrary, we must reach out to ALL men, women and children with the message of the "Basora" ("Good news") of the Gospel!

We've learned that when we follow the biblical pattern of Romans 1:16, that not only are Jewish people saved, but many non-Jewish people are saved as well!

This is what Kefa (Peter) had to grasp and wrestle with back in the First Century.

Nevertheless, if there is a priority, it is "to the Jew first and also to the Gentile."

The "church" (as it is now called in English) has forgotten or neglected its priority and does not outreach "to the Jew first." It does not appeal to the Jewish people at large. It neither "looks Jewish," "acts Jewish," nor does it speak to the average Jewish person.

Overall, it does not understand the Bible from a Hebraic world-view. Instead, from the Greek world-view of the "Early Church Fathers" that followed after the death of the original Apostles. These Early Church Fathers incorporated into the formerly Hebraic faith of the First Century a Hellenistic world-view often in contradiction to the very Scripture itself. Study a bit of history and you will see that the church of today is nowhere close to that of the body of Messiah of the First Century!

Most Christians believe that the way that they worship now is modeled after that of the First Century form of worship. This is not true. I wrote a book on the subject entitled, What IF???How Did We Ever Get To The Way We Are Now?. What IF??? challenges the reader to consider what they perceive to be the truth. It should stand to reason that most "believers" believe that they do what they do because they believe they are living by biblical mandates, not by man-made traditions. What IF??? confronts that notion and attempts to convince the reader, in a non-evasive way, to reconsider their belief system based on the truth of the Scriptures, and not what they may have been taught solely by hearsay and allegorical methods of interpretation.

Now, a good book to read on the difference between the Hebrew and Greek world-views is Dr. Marvin Wilson's book, Our Father Abraham.



Sharing Your Faith in the Jewish Messiah with Jewish People

Many Christians just think that they can convey the message of the Good News to Jewish people just as they would to their non-Jewish friends and relatives but this is not so!

It is not that way with Jewish people any more than it is with sending missionaries to other lands unprepared to bring them to the knowledge of the Lord!

Think of it this way: When the church sends missionaries to foreign lands to evangelize the native peoples there, the missionaries are expected to learn the language of the natives they will minister to! They are expected to learn the "turn ons" and the "turn offs" of the people they are ministering to! They have to learn the world-view of the people they are ministering to! [I know aqbout this from a MK - "Missionary Kid" back in my first two years of Bible College.]

If this is true of missions to other countries of the world, it is also true of outreach to the Jewish people!

In other words the onus is on the missionaries (the more spiritual brother - we have the Holy Spirit as believers in Yeshua/Jesus, they don't) to learn these things BEFORE they go out on the mission field!

The same thing must happen when Christians want to share the Gospel with Jewish people: they need to learn the language, they need to know the "turn ons" and turn offs," they need to learn the world-view or else they are NOT communicating the Gospel with effect. Until Jewish people "hear" the Gospel aright, they will not come to faith in the Jewish Messiah.

Messianic Rabbi Barry Rubin wrote a book to help Christians share the Gospel with Jewish people entitled, You Bring the Bagels, I'll Bring the Gospel: Sharing the Messiah With Your Jewish Neighbor


Faith Comes from Hearing

    14 But how can they call on someone if they haven't trusted in him? And how can they trust in someone if they haven't heard about him? And how can they hear about someone if no one is proclaiming him? 15 And how can people proclaim him unless God sends them? - as the Tanakh puts it, "How beautiful are the feet of those announcing good news about good things!" 16 The problem is that they haven't all paid attention to the Good News and obeyed it. For Yesha'yahu says, "Adonai, who has trusted what he has heard from us?" 17

    So trust comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through a word proclaimed about the Messiah.

Just because we say something, it doesn't mean that those who hear our words understand them. If we don't communicate to them in a "language that they understand, then what emanates from our lips is just noise to them!

The original purpose of the gift of tonges, as stated in Acts 2, was to testify to these Jews and converts of the mighty deeds of God in their own languages on one of the three annual pilgrimage feast days (Shavuot/Weeks/Pentecost)!:

1The festival of Shavu'ot arrived, and the believers all gathered together in one place. 2 Suddenly there came a sound from the sky like the roar of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire, which separated and came to rest on each one of them. 4 They were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh and began to talk in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. 5 Now there were staying in Yerushalayim religious Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered; they were confused, because each one heard the believers speaking in his own language. 7 Totally amazed, they asked, "How is this possible? Aren't all these people who are speaking from the Galil? 8 How is it that we hear them speaking in our native languages? 9 We are Parthians, Medes, Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Y'hudah, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome; 11 Jews by birth and proselytes; Jews from Crete and from Arabia...! How is it that we hear them speaking in our own languages about the great things God has done?"

We need to speak the language of the recipient of our words; we need to know the world-view and the life of the recipient of our message.

To do otherwise shows utter disregard to the listener.

We should not expect the recipient of our message to come across to our language and world-view just so they could understand our words! Instead, the opposite is true!

Sha'ul spoke to his recipients (the Greeks) of his message about their "Unknown god" on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17)!

    16 While Sha'ul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit within him was disturbed at the sight of the city full of idols. 17 So he began holding discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and the "God-fearers," and in the market square every day with the people who happened to be there. 18 Also a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers started meeting with him. Some asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others, because he proclaimed the Good News about Yeshua and the resurrection, said, "He sounds like a propagandist for foreign gods." 19 They took and brought him before the High Council, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 Some of the things we are hearing from you strike us as strange, and we would like to know what they mean." 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners living there used to spend their spare time talking or hearing about the latest intellectual fads.) 22 Sha'ul stood up in the Council meeting and said, "Men of Athens: I see how very religious you are in every way! 23 For as I was walking around, looking at your shrines, I even found an altar which had been inscribed, 'To An Unknown God.' So, the one whom you are already worshipping in ignorance-this is the one I proclaim to you. 24 "The God who made the universe and everything in it, and who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in man-made temples; 25 nor is he served by human hands, as if he lacked something; since it is he himself who gives life and breath and everything to everyone. 26 "From one man he made every nation living on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the limits of their territories and the periods when they would flourish. 27 God did this so that people would look for him and perhaps reach out and find him although in fact, he is not far from each one of us, 28 'for in him we live and move and exist.' Indeed, as some of the poets among you have said, 'We are actually his children.' 29 So, since we are children of God, we shouldn't suppose that God's essence resembles gold, silver or stone shaped by human technique and imagination. 30 "In the past, God overlooked such ignorance; but now he is commanding all people everywhere to turn to him from their sins. 31 For he has set a Day when he will judge the inhabited world, and do it justly, by means of a man whom he has designated. And he has given public proof of it by resurrecting this man from the dead." 32 At the mention of a resurrection of dead people, some began to scoff; while others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." 33 So Sha'ul left the meeting. 34 But some men stayed with him and came to trust, including the High Council member Dionysius; there was also a woman named Damaris; and others came to trust along with them.

Notice that Paul did not quote the Bible to these Greeks. He didn't speak in biblical Hebrew to them: he used their language, their world-view, their poets, and their philosophers to bring the Good News of salvation to these Greeks so that they could be saved.

If Paul was willing to do this for the Gentiles to be saved and have a covenant relationship with the one true God, why should Gentile believers not be willing to do the same for Paul's brethren? Why shouldn't Gentile believers learn how to reach Jewish people? Why shouldn't Gentile believers have a sensitivity to the Lord's own brethren for their salvation?

After all, it is to THEIR BENEFIT that Jewish people are saved!

Outreach to the Jewish people is not as easy at it sounds. If it were, Jewish people would be breaking down the doors of churches to get in!

The problem is: Jewish people don't want what the church has to offer!

Sure the church has the Messiah, but in the Church the Jewish people don't see a Jewish Messiah!

They see a church that is anti-Torah ("Law") when the Messiah is supposed to give the Torah out of Zion (Isaiah 2:3 - "for the Law shall come forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem...") during the Messianic reign! How can that be when the church at large is overall so lawless?

In Christians, they see a church that observes pagan-originated "holy days" (Sun-day - sun worship; Christmas - sun worship; Easter - fertility goddess worship ) - instead of the ones that God set up in Leviticus 23 ( most of which are "forever" holy days). Why would Jewish people want that?

Wasn't the adoption of pagan practices into Judaism the reason why God scattered us in the first place? If God punished the Jewish people for doing that, why shouldn't He punish the Christians for doing exactly the same thing?

In addition, they see a Messiah whose followers are downright hostile to Jewish people having an arrogance and a latent anti-Semitism just under the surface. They see a Messiah who through the centuries has persecuted them (through His followers) and put them to death.

I wrote a book many years ago entitled, The Lie: Exposing the Satanic Plot Behind Anti-Semitism which goes into the subject in much more depth. Read it. It will open your eyes as to what the Church has done arrogantly through the centuries against the Jewish people!



Arrogance in the Church towards the Jewish People

It is eye-opening to see how the words of Paul written to the church at Rome predicted what would later produce centuries of Jewish persecution by the Church, lead initially by the Church of Rome (Roman Catholicism) and then to be taken up by her daughters (the Protestant Church):

Romans 11:

    16 Now if the hallah offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole loaf. And if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 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, 18 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. 19 So you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." 20 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! 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he certainly won't spare you! 22 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! 23 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. 24 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! 25 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; 26 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 27 and this will be my covenant with them, . . . when I take away their sins." 28 With respect to the Good News they are hated for your sake. But with respect to being chosen they are loved for the Patriarchs' sake, 29 for God's free gifts and his calling are irrevocable. 30 Just as you yourselves were disobedient to God before but have received mercy now because of Isra'el's disobedience; 31 so also Isra'el has been disobedient now, so that by your showing them the same mercy that God has shown you, they too may now receive God's mercy. 32 For God has shut up all mankind together in disobedience, in order that he might show mercy to all. 33 O the depth of the riches and the wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments! How unsearchable are his ways! 34 For, 'Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been his counselor?' 35 Or, 'Who has given him anything and made him pay it back?' 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

I want to bullet point some things directly from and in the Romans 11 verses to remember and consider carefully in light of this:



A Provocation to Jealousy

Romans 11

    1 "In that case, I say, isn't it that God has repudiated his people?" Heaven forbid! For I myself am a son of Isra'el, from the seed of Avraham, of the tribe of Binyamin. 2 God has not repudiated his people, whom he chose in advance. Or don't you know what the Tanakh says about Eliyahu? He pleads with God against Isra'el, 3 "ADONAI, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars, and I'm the only one left, and now they want to kill me too!" 4 But what is God's answer to him? "I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not knelt down to Ba'al." 5 It's the same way in the present age: there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 (Now if it is by grace, it is accordingly not based on legalistic works; if it were otherwise, grace would no longer be grace.) 7 What follows is that Isra'el has not attained the goal for which she is striving. The ones chosen have obtained it, but the rest have been made stonelike, 8 just as the Tanakh says, "God has given them a spirit of dullness eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear, right down to the present day." 9 And David says, "Let their dining table become for them a snare and a trap, a pitfall and a punishment. 10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they can't see, with their backs bent continually." 11 "In that case, I say, isn't it that they have stumbled with the result that they have permanently fallen away?" Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary, it is by means of their stumbling that the deliverance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Moreover, if their stumbling is bringing riches to the world - that is, if Isra'el's being placed temporarily in a condition less favored than that of the Gentiles is bringing riches to the latter - how much greater riches will Isra'el in its fullness bring them! 13 However, to those of you who are Gentiles I say this: since I myself am an emissary sent to the Gentiles, I make known the importance of my work 14 in the hope that somehow I may provoke some of my own people to jealousy and save some of them! 15

    For if their casting Yeshua aside means reconciliation for the world, what will their accepting him mean? It will be life from the dead!

No one is provoked to jealousy by someone having something that they Don't WANT! They are only provoked to jealousy by someone having something that they DO WANT! Jewish people won't be provoked to jealousy by a non-Torah observant group of people!

They are provoked to jealousy when true believers have a love for the Jewish people and are more zealous for the Torah than they are!

I wrote a book on the subject entitled A Provocation to Jealousy to help explain this in greater detail.

Here is the Apostle to the Gentiles, who longed for his people Israel to be saved! In fact, so much that he was willing to spend eternity in Hell if they would be saved! Romans 9:1-4:

    1 I am speaking the truth - as one who belongs to the Messiah, I do not lie; and also bearing witness is my conscience, governed by the Ruach HaKodesh: 2 my grief is so great, the pain in my heart so constant, 3 that I could wish myself actually under God's curse and separated from the Messiah, if it would help my brothers, my own flesh and blood, 4 the people of Isra'el!

Why doesn't the Church feel the way that this Jewish man, who came to them to proclaim the words of salvation, felt for his people?

The bottom line is: God wants to save his people Israel and we should want what God wants!

Somebody has to long for the salvation of and the ministering to Jewish people! That's what Messianic Congregations are for! That's why Satan is coming so strongly against Messianic congregations to DIVIDE them and cause them to close their doors. I have seen quite a few Messianic congregations over the last 26 years that have done that due to some divisive issue coming into their midst!

Let me be honest with you: If Beth Yeshua were to become "just another church," I would resign immediately. My calling is not to be a pastor of "just another church." There are churches aplenty!

We are not another one of the over 33,000 sects and denominations of the Christian church. In fact, Messianic Judaism existed long before there were such things as denominations OR Christian churches! It is not a new movement of our faith in Yeshua/Jesus, but a restoration of the original movement started back in the First Century!

Furthermore, it was never really gone: the late Dr. Hugh Schoenfield wrote an excellent book on the History of Messianic Judaism entitled, The History of Jewish Christianity: From the First to the Twentieth Century



Of What Should Jewish People be Jealous?

Dr. David Stern, author of the Complete Jewish Bible writes in his book Jewish New Testament Commentary page 408 :

    Is there anything about Gentile Christians that would make non-Messianic Jews jealous of them? Throughout most of the last two-thousand years, the Church, to its great shame, not only has not provoked Jews to jealousy but has engendered repugnance and fear; so that Jewish people, instead of being drawn to love the Jewish Messiah Yeshua, have usually come to hate or ignore him, remaining convinced that their non-Messianic Judaism or secularism or agnosticism is superior to Christianity.

    If this seems harsh judgment, then let us hear of which Christians Jews are expected to be jealous. Of the "Christians" who trapped Jews in their synagogues and burned them alive (which happened when the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1099, as well as in several European cities? Of the "Christians" who forced Jews to hear conversionary sermons against their will and expelled from their country those who did not respond (which took place for centuries during the Middle Ages and the Inquisition)? Of the "Christians" who invented the "blood libel" that Jews murder a Christian child and use his blood in their Passover matzah? Of the cross-carrying "Christian" priests leading murderous mobs in pogroms? Of the "Christians" who remained silent while six million Jews perished in the Holocaust? Or perhaps the "Christians" who murdered them - including Hitler himself, who was never excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church? Of "Christian" members of the Ku Klux Klan and other white "Christian" supremacy gangs and their brutish demonstrations? Of "Christians" that support Palestinian organizations whose terrorists kill and maim Israeli Jewish children? Of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Capucci, convicted of gun-running for those same Palestinian terrorist organizations? (These horrific events are further chronicled by Messianic Jew Michael L. Brown in his book, Our Hands are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of "The Church" and the Jewish People, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania: Destiny Image Publishers, 1992). Of which of these "Christians" are we Jews supposed to be jealous? After such a recital, it is kinder not to dwell on what these people provoke us to - but jealousy it is not.

July 16 in History -- In 1099, Crusaders Herd Jerusalem Jews into Synagogue and Burn It Down singing "Christ we do all Adore Thee"

from Wikipedia:

    In the Middle Ages, religion played a major role in driving antisemitism. Though not part of Roman Catholic dogma, many Christians, including members of the clergy, have erroneously held the Jewish people collectively responsible for killing Jesus, through the so-called blood curse of Pontius Pilate in the Gospels, among other things.

    Jews were subject to a wide range of legal disabilities and restrictions throughout the Middle Ages, some of which lasted until the end of the 19th century. Jews were excluded from many trades, the occupations varying with place and time, and determined by the influence of various non-Jewish competing interests. Often Jews were barred from all occupations but money-lending and peddling, with even these at times forbidden. The number of Jews permitted to reside in different places was limited; they were concentrated in ghettos, and were not allowed to own land; they were subject to discriminatory taxes on entering cities or districts other than their own, were forced to swear special Jewish Oaths, and suffered a variety of other measures, including restrictions on dress. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 was the first to proclaim the requirement for Jews to wear something that distinguished them as Jews (and Muslims the same).

    On many occasions, Jews were accused of a blood libel, the supposed drinking of blood of Christian children in mockery of the Christian Eucharist.

This is a major reason why I don't wish to have the moniker "Christian" associated with me. Our "Christian" predecessors destroyed any good meaning of the word to Jewish people.

Our "Christian" predecessors made Jewish evangelism the difficult task it is today.

This is why there are verbal "Mine Fields" that Christians unknowingly walk into when they attempt to evangelize Jewish people.

Words such as "Cross," "Jesus," "Convert," "baptize," and other "Christianese" terms hold sinister meanings for Jews, thanks to their "Christian" predecessors in the faith.



The Rock of Stumbling - It Should Not be Us

    1 Now as for a person whose trust is weak, welcome him - but not to get into arguments over opinions. 2 One person has the trust that will allow him to eat anything, while another whose trust is weak eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats anything must not look down on the one who abstains; and the abstainer must not pass judgment on the one who eats anything, because God has accepted him - 4 who are you to pass judgment on someone else's servant? It is before his own master that he will stand or fall; and the fact is that he will stand, because the Lord is able to make him stand.

    5 One person considers some days more holy than others, while someone else regards them as being all alike. What is important is for each to be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes a day as special does so to honor the Lord. Also he who eats anything, eats to honor the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; likewise the abstainer abstains to honor the Lord, and he too gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives only in relation to himself, and none of us dies only in relation to himself; 8 for if we live, we live in relation to the Lord; and if we die, we die in relation to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord - 9 indeed, it was for this very reason that the Messiah died and came back to life, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You then, why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For all of us will stand before God's judgment seat; 11 since it is written in the Tanakh, "As I live, says Adonai, every knee will bend before me, and every tongue will publicly acknowledge God."

    12 So then, every one of us will have to give an account of himself to God.

    13 Therefore, let's stop passing judgment on each other! Instead, make this one judgment - not to put a stumbling block or a snare in a brother's way. 14 I know - that is, I have been persuaded by the Lord Yeshua the Messiah - that nothing is unclean in itself. But if a person considers something unclean, then for him it is unclean; 15 and if your brother is being upset by the food you eat, your life is no longer one of love. Do not, by your eating habits, destroy someone for whom the Messiah died! 16 Do not let what you know to be good, be spoken of as bad; 17 for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, shalom and joy in the Ruach HaKodesh. 18 Anyone who serves the Messiah in this fashion both pleases God and wins the approval of other people. 19 So then, let us pursue the things that make for shalom and mutual up building. 20 Don't tear down God's work for the sake of food. True enough, all things are clean; but it is wrong for anybody by his eating to cause someone to fall away. 21 What is good is not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The belief you hold about such things, keep between yourself and God. Happy the person who is free of self-condemnation when he approves of something! 23 But the doubter comes under condemnation if he eats, because his action is not based on trust. And anything not based on trust is a sin.

If this is true of food and drink, how much more is it of things we say or do?

What we often don't realize is that our evangelistic outreach can be seriously hampered by our words and actions. Especially with regard to offensive or divisive doctrines that creep into the Body of Messiah.

Yeshua (Jesus) ALONE is and should be the Rock of Offense:

(Isaiah 8:14-15; Matthew 21:42-44; Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Peter 2:7-8)

Jesus is called the Rock of Offense and although He is not offensive there are those who will be offended by Him. At the very beginning of Jesus' ministry He read from Isaiah and the hearers were so offended that they became outraged at the claims that He made about Himself that they dragged Him to the edge of a cliff and attempted to throw Him off it and kill Him.

In many ways Yeshua did and said things that offended and angered the religious leadership of His day. That still doesn't change the truth of His words. He is still the Messiah of Israel and He will return again to rule and reign over all the earth.

Let's stop our becoming "stones of stumbling" when it comes to the Gospel. This means that we should learn to change our vocabulary (as do missionaries), change our lifestyle (to a more biblical one, eh?) and live Holy lives we are called to!

We are called to a life of Holiness, because that is what God has called His people to be! Certainly all of us could use some improvement in that area. [I wrote a book on that subject many years ago as well entitled A Call to Holiness: A Cry for Believers in Jesus to Come Out of Harlot Babylon.]

Brothers! Let's stop causing DIVISION in the Body of Messiah. One day, we will ALL account for what we do!


Divisive Doctrines: The Sacred Name (not to mention many others)

Of ALL the divisive doctrines that have come against us over the years, there is none so divisive as the Sacred Name doctrine. Adherents of this doctrine are zealous to being messianic believers to their way of thinking. Sadly, the Messianic pastor or rabbi often invests years of teaching, love and time into the flock he is entrusted with only to see the "Sacred Namers" (as they are often called) come in and pull off many in the flock.

I know, it has happened only too often to congregations I have been entrusted to shepherd.

The last time, in 2011-2012, we had a split over this divisive issue and some of the other divisive issues that came against us. I have lost people I have grown to love dearly. It makes it very hard to want to start all over again.

It also makes it hard to have an attitude of good-will to those who come into the congregation holding on to such divisive doctrines. On the one hand, we want to show them the love of the Lord, so we make it clear that they are welcome provided that they don't use their version of the Name, or proselytize our people to their thinking.

Sadly, our good will is often met by divisive people taking advantage of the situation and on the sly, proselytizing our people. [By the way: I really DO appreciate our regular attendees telling me about someone doing that, so that I can warn them twice and upon failing to "get through to them", telling them not to come back.]

Now, after our last split, I didn't even want to advertise where we met, since I didn't want the "Sacred Namers" to find out where we were and start all over again! But then again: God loves ALL of us and sent His Son to die for all of us to reconcile us to Himself - and there is hope for ALL of us through Him!

So, who am I to slam the door shut even in the face of the Sacred Namers?

Yet, I DO believe Sha'ul's words about divisive people!

Regarding Divisive People

The Apostle Paul in Titus 3 warns:

    9 But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile. 10 Warn a divisive person once, then a second time; and after that, have nothing more to do with him. 11 You may be sure that such a person has been perverted and is sinning: he stands self-condemned.

So, I WILL warn the divisive person a second time and after that will tell them to leave.

Listen: there are lots of divisive doctrines floating about "out there" that for some reason the Messianic Movement (call it "Messy-anic") seems to attract.

One such divisive doctrine that seems to revisit us here at Beth Yeshua over and over again and which adversely affects us in potential Jewish evangelistic outreach is that of the Sacred Name doctrine.

I have interacted with Sacred Name proponents many times over the years that I have been in ministry. Congregations I have led have split three times over the issue. It IS a DIVISIVE doctrine!

In addition, I have seen many of those who have gone off into the tangent of the Sacred Name doctrine then go off into "Patriarchal Marriage (really polygamy - though they don't call it that)," "the Lunar Sabbath," "sacrificing animals on the holy days," and other strange practices.

God is NOT the author of confusion; the author of confusion is the Adversary, Satan.

My best guess as to why Satan comes against established Messianic congregations with these DIVISIVE doctrines is because we pose a threat to his plot to destroy the Jewish people and to insure that they are not saved!

Satan hates the Jewish people. He absolutely wants to see them destroyed and lost forever!

Why?

Because through them God brought the Messiah the First Time and it will be through them the Messiah will Return!

We read this in Revelation 12:

    1 Now a great sign was seen in heaven - a woman clothed with the sun, under her feet the moon, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was pregnant and about to give birth, and she screamed in the agony of labor. 3 Another sign was seen in heaven there was a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven royal crowns. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of heaven and threw them down to the earth. It stood in front of the woman about to give birth, so that it might devour the child the moment it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, the one who will rule all the nations with a staff of iron. But her child was snatched up to God and his throne; 6 and she fled into the desert, where she has a place prepared by God so that she can be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7 Next there was a battle in heaven - Mikha'el and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But it was not strong enough to win, so that there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 The great dragon was thrown out, that ancient serpent, also known as the Devil and Satan [the Adversary], the deceiver of the whole world. He was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, "Now have come God's victory, power and kingship, and the authority of his Messiah; because the Accuser of our brothers, who accuses them day and night before God, has been thrown out! 11 "They defeated him because of the Lamb's blood and because of the message of their witness. Even when facing death they did not cling to life. 12 "Therefore, rejoice, heaven and you who live there! But woe to you, land and sea, for the Adversary has come down to you, and he is very angry, because he knows that his time is short!" 13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled down to the earth, he went in pursuit of the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where she is taken care of for a season and two seasons and half a season, away from the serpent’s presence. 15 The serpent spewed water like a river out of its mouth after the woman, in order to sweep her away in the flood; 16 but the land came to her rescue - it opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon had spewed out of its mouth. 17 The dragon was infuriated over the woman and went off to fight the rest of her children, those who obey God's commands and bear witness to Yeshua. 18 Then the dragon stood on the seashore;

Why does Satan still want to destroy the Jewish people - long after the Messiah has come the First Time? Let me give you a little hint:

In Matthew 23, as Yeshua looks over the Kidron Valley from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, he said to her:

    37 "Yerushalayim! Yerushalayim! You kill the prophets! You stone those who are sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children, just as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you refused! 38 Look! God is abandoning your house to you, leaving it desolate. 39 For I tell you, from now on, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai.'"

Folks, He is speaking to Jewish people here; NOT Christians! Specifically, He is speaking to the Jewish people in JERUSALEM! NOT to Christians!

Are you getting the point?

Yeshua/Jesus is predicating His return upon THEM saying, "Baruch ha ba ba Shem Adonai!"

NOT upon Christians calling Him!

It won't be CHRISTIANS who call Him back! It will be the Jewish people from JERUSALEM!

Don't forget, Israel didn't become a nation under its own sovereignty again until 1948!

Now do you understand why Satan is still persecuting the Jewish people to this day? Do you understand the reason for Satan's instigation of the pogroms, the Holocaust, the expulsions, the blood libels, and all the other atrocities against the Jewish people? His time is short. He has much to do.

If there ARE NO Jewish people, there will be NO Jewish people to call Yeshua back to defeat Satan (Revelation 19 & 20)!

Get it???

Yeshua is not coming back at the beck and call of the Church. The Church has cried "Maranatha" for centuries! According to Yeshua Himself, He is coming back again when the Jewish people in Jerusalem call "Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord!"

For it is because when Jerusalem is surrounded by her enemies and about to be destroyed (Zechariah chapters 12-14) that she will cry out these words and they will see Him whom they pierced!

Regarding Christian persecution of the Jewish people: Satan can and does use good people who love the Lord to do his bidding. Note Kefa (Peter) at Banais (Cesaraea Philippi) (Matthew 18):

    13 When Yeshua came into the territory around Caesarea Philippi, he asked his talmidim, "Who are people saying the Son of Man is?" 14 They said, "Well, some say Yochanan the Immerser, others Eliyahu, still others Yirmeyahu or one of the prophets." 15 "But you," he said to them, "who do you say I am?" 16 Shim'on Kefa answered, "You are the Mashiach, the Son of the living God." 17 "Shim'on Bar-Yochanan," Yeshua said to him, "how blessed you are! For no human being revealed this to you, no, it was my Father in heaven. 18 I also tell you this: you are Kefa," [which means 'Rock,'] "and on this rock I will build my Community, and the gates of Sh'ol will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven." 20 Then he warned the talmidim not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

    21 From that time on, Yeshua began making it clear to his talmidim that he had to go to Yerushalayim and endure much suffering at the hands of the elders, the head cohanim and the Torah-teachers; and that he had to be put to death; but that on the third day, he had to be raised to life. 22 Kefa took him aside and began rebuking him, "Heaven be merciful, Lord! By no means will this happen to you!" 23 But Yeshua turned his back on Kefa, saying, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because your thinking is from a human perspective, not from God's perspective!"

Peter loved the Lord. He was a good man. On the one hand, Simon Peter spoke words that could only have come from Heaven.

On the other hand, the words that obstructed the path of the Lord, the thoughts that came from a human perspective and not God's perspective came from the pit of Hell.

Thus, that which obstructs the Lord's path - in this instance - the salvation of his people Israel, is straight from the pit of Hell and the Sacred Name people, as did Peter, have fallen for Satan's tricks.

Peter had good intents to protect His Master, but BAD theology!

Such is also the case with the Sacred Name folks. Good intents; bad theology!

Whose agenda are you following?

I cannot know the hearts of the Sacred Name folks, but I DO know this: because of their divisiveness they are playing into Satan's hand by becoming a rock of offense to the salvation of Jewish people! It breaks my heart when I say: "I have seen it so many times. I have lost so many dear friends because of it."

They come to Messianic congregations and they insist upon us using the Sacred Name - however they think it is pronounced - in our fellowship. Speaking from first-hand experience, they have tried many times to force it upon us - even through good, well-intentioned people.

To prove their point they cite, among other Scriptures, Joel 2:

    "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls."

Acts 2:21

    And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

Romans 10:

    12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."

In brief, what the Sacred Name folks are really saying is that unless you actually say the Name correctly in calling upon the Lord - as they say it, then you are not saved!

from the Let Us Reason Together Ministries website regarding the Sacred Name Only Movement:

    According to sacred name groups unless one uses the Hebrew name and only the Hebrew name for God that person will be eternally damned. It should be noted that not all of the Sacred Name teachers are so dogmatic, but most are. This exclusive view is held by many Sacred Name groups, however they do not know the original pronunciation of the Name, they are in much disarray as well. This is admitted not by their own words but by the variety of different names that are used within their movement. God can be called Yah, Yahweh, Yahvah, Yahveh, Iahueh, and Yaohu. Jesus is agreed upon to be called Yahshua by most SN folks. But some call him Yasha, by others Yeshua, Yahushua, Yaohushua, Iahushua, YAHVAHSHUA, and Yhwhhoshua. Why such Confusion! Remember they teach you must be exact in your pronunciation. So which sacred name group is not going to hell for the correct pronunciation? There are dozens of different spellings and pronunciations of the names used by those who claim to have the correct name. All of them promote their particular name as the only one God approves of. So looking at this carefully one can say they are no better off than Christians who use the name of Jesus as the Messiahs name.

    Which name is it? Choose one, but you better be absolutely right. Is it -Yeshua, Yesha, Yeshuah, Yehshua, Yehshuah, YESHUAH, YEHSHUAH, YAHUSUHWA, YAHOOSHUA ,YHWHSOSANA, Yeshouah, Y'shua, Y'shuah, Yeshu, Yashua, Yashuah, Yahshua, Yehoshua, Yehooshuah, YHVHShua, YHVHShuah, Yhvhshua, Yhwhshua, Iahoshua, Iahoshuah, Iahushua, or Iahushuah YHWHShua, YHWHShuah, Yhvhshuah, Yhwhshuah, Yahvehshua, Yahwehshua, Yahvehshuah, Yahwehshuah, Yahushuah, Yaohushua, Yaohushuah? Or any other name one might add to the list since this is not current. I ASK you. Why do they all discover different names for the same Elohim of Scripture? And who is right?

    The main reason they are wrong is because no one knows how to correctly pronounce his name, this is why sacred name groups come to different conclusions and cannot agree among themselves. So if Jesus name is wrong so is theirs!

In fact, many of them will say that you are praying to another god if you don't call upon the exact Name of God! If you pray to Jesus, you are really praying to Zeus! Which means that most Christians and Jews are not saved because they are not calling upon the true Name of God!

When Yeshua told his followers to "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19) we see that from the "Sacred Namers" perspective, virtually no one has been saved in the last 2,000 years.

Why? Because the Gospel has been published in the native languages of each nation that has been targeted for the great evangel of the Lord - and apparently no one knew we had to be sure to speak the Lord's actual Hebrew name until this century, when we were blessed with the stellar scholarship of these Sacred Name "scholars."

I guess only the Sacred Name folks ARE SAVED then, because they call upon the true Name of God!

Really???

If indeed they believe that what they are pushing will "save" people, why is it that they are playing into the hands of Satan to slam the door shut on salvation on the very people they get their faith from in the first place: the Jewish people?

It doesn't make sense, but that is not how Satan works anyway!

There is much more that I have already written on the subject in a book that I wrote back in 2012: The Sacred name Controversy

On the Side: one must divide over absolute truth, but NOT for anything less.

Yeshua said (Matthew 10):

    34 "Don't suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Land. It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword! 35 For I have come to set 36 a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, so that a man's enemies will be the members of his own household."

He also said (John 14:6),

    "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

For Truth we must divide, but not for fiction and what the Sacred Name Only group offers is just that: fiction. But, as I will soon share, they don't know the name any more than the rest of us!


So, What IS the Sacred Name Doctrine???

There are some reading this who are asking, "What's this all about?"

Hopefully the following will provide some answers:

In Exodus 3, God gives Moses His Sacred Name:

    13 Moshe said to God, "Look, when I appear before the people of Isra'el and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you'; and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what am I to tell them?" 14 God said to Moshe, "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be]," and added, "Here is what to say to the people of Isra'el: 'Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.'" 15 God said further to Moshe, "Say this to the people of Isra'el: 'Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [ADONAI], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz'chak and the God of Ya'akov, has sent me to you.'This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation.

The thing to remember about the Hebrew language is that prior to the Masoretes, there were NO vowel points in the language. The ONLY WAY that one would know how to pronounce the Name (or any word for that matter) is from hearing it spoken!

Today, Jewish people do NOT pronounce the Name in any of its possible variants. One reason for this is out of reverence for the Name. The second reason is to prevent blasphemy of the Name by themselves or by others, particularly amongst the Gentile nations, who by and large think nothing about reverencing the Name and in fact when they stub their toe or hit their finger with a hammer will utter "G-d D-mn" or "Jesus Christ". Neither is good. The last reason is: They don't even know how it is pronounced, since it has been forgotten over the centuries!

Once upon a time in ancient Israel, the "Name" would be used as a greeting or in every day conversation. Over the years however, due to abuse and misuse of the Name, the priests of Israel began to protect it until, historically, by the time of Yeshua in the First Century only the priests knew how the Name was truly pronounced and when they pronounced the Aaronic Benediction upon the people on Yom Kippur, they would do it in a subdued voice that the people could not hear.

The priests knew the pronunciation of the Name because it would be passed down from father to son, to son, to son...

I have numerous friends and scholars in the Messianic movement some who are descendants of the priestly line stemming from Aaron, the brother of Moses and when I ask them if they know how to pronounce the Name, they tell me "no."

I believe them.

I believe them because in Revelation 19 (as alluded to already) the Scripture says (speaking of our Lord Yeshua):

    11 Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle. 12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many royal crowns. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself.

It is necessary for me to state all this, since average Christians are unaware of this: it is now offensive to Jews to say the Sacred Name of God and to hear it pronounced from the lips of the unlearned is considered blasphemy. In fact, this has been so for centuries and the Jewish people no longer know how to pronounce it.

Christians, on the other hand, don't really care one way or the other. They will use the name "Yahweh" (which the word YAH is indeed the correct way of pronouncing the first syllable of the Name). They will use the name Jehovah, not realizing that there is no "J" sound in the Hebrew language.

This is proof that non-Jewish Christians overall have lost a sensitivity toward the salvation of Jewish people. It does not matter to them that even their words will be an offense to Jewish people and keep Jewish people from coming to their own Messiah.

For some reason, though, the Sacred Name adherents know what the Name is really pronounced like. It seems they have an inside track to God on the pronunciation. [Tongue in cheek]

More than one Sacred Name proponent has said to me that God told them how His Name is pronounced. [Well, that would be the only way that they would know a pronunciation of a word- to actually hear it! But are they really hearing the word???]

The reason I ask that is because I have heard this same story from many Sacred Name folks, but they have different pronunciations of the Name! In my research for the book I wrote on the subject, I discovered that among Sacred Name adherents, there is over 200 different pronunciations of the Name!

This leads me to ask:

If the former is true, then we should all be VERY FRIGHTENED, since it is quite evident that with all the different pronunciations of the Name amongst Sacred name adherents that God doesn't remember His own Name. Perhaps He is getting senile? [NOT!]

If the latter is true (and since there is such a wide variation of pronunciations of the Name amongst the Sacred Name adherents, I suspect it is!) this means that they are no closer to knowing the pronunciation of the Name than the rest of us! [Some Sacred Name folks pronounce anathema upon the others who don't pronounce the Name as they do! See, the issue divides even Sacred Name folks! That in and of itself should be a strong warning bell going off in your head.]

Since coming into Messianic Judaism in the late 80s, I have come to recognize (along with many other Messianic leaders in established Messianic congregations) that the Sacred Name Movement is simply a fringe movement that views itself as Messianic. Most are not mainstream Messianic, nor do they represent the Messianic movement at large.

In fact, most Sacred Name folks are ACTUALLY Christians in "Jewish garb."

There are exceptions: one such being a fellow Messianic leader named Dr. Daniel Botkin, who leads a congregation back east and who also is an illustrator for Petach Tikvah magazine put out by Dr. Rick Chamberlain, a fellow Messianic leader and friend. Dr. Botkin uses the Sacred Name in his congregation and wrote a good article on the subject some time back, Linguistic Superstition And The Sacred Name Only Movement .

One particular paragraph of his article stands out:

    In these Sacred Name Only groups (hereafter SNO), I have witnessed some adherents using the Name in a lighthearted manner in casual conversation, even while joking around. However, my main complaint against the SNO movement is not the use or non-use of the Name per se, but the fact that their linguistic superstition about "God" and "Lord" unnecessarily separates brethren from one another. Their linguistic superstition discredits SNO advocates and gives Christians and Jews an excuse to reject everything else that is being restored through the Messianic movement--the Sabbath, the Feasts, the dietary laws, etc. Paul warned Timothy about teachers who are continually "doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings [suspicions]" (I Timothy 6:4). I cannot think of a more accurate description of the SNO movement which has been driven by linguistic superstition since its inception.

If you're into the Sacred Name movement you need to read this article from one who uses the Sacred Name. It just might open your eyes to the truth.

In a true Messianic fellowship, we need to have this sensitivity to get to the real Rock of Offense - not ourselves: but our Lord Yeshua.

In our Statement of Faith, we make it quite clear and upfront that we are not a Sacred Name congregation. I guess that makes us a target for the rabid Sacred Name adherents and Satan.

It is NOT that I DON'T believe in "the Name," It is just that I am convinced that at this time NO ONE knows the Name -except the Lord, Himself!

And when He returns, He will bring His Name with Him Revelation 19 -

    11 Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle. 12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many royal crowns. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself.

When He returns, we will ALL know His Name - and how it is pronounced. Until then, I will NOT be compelled by any Sacred Name person to go in that direction.

Folks, we all have to grow up and realize that this faith isn't all about us and what we want.

It is about Him and what He wants and He wants His Jewish people to be saved! We want to see Jewish people saved!

We could either fight God and continue to do our own thing (wrong or not), or we could work with Him in bringing His will about.

It's our choice brothers and sisters.

The time for playing games is over (and with all the divisiveness that this doctrine causes - Satan is having a "field day" in causing it to divide congregations. [I suspect that he would rather have us fight among ourselves over silly things than for us to work together to fight him. Don't you think?]


The Jewish Roots: Seeking a First Century Expression of Our Faith

When Sha'ul (Paul) returned to Jerusalem after his third and final missionary trip (Acts 21):

    17 In Yerushalayim, the brothers received us warmly. 18 The next day Sha'ul and the rest of us went in to Ya'akov, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, Sha'ul described in detail each of the things God had done among the Gentiles through his efforts. 20 On hearing it, they praised God; but they also said to him, "You see, brother, how many tens of thousands of believers there are among the Judeans, and they are all zealots for the Torah. 21 Now what they have been told about you is that you are teaching all the Jews living among the Goyim to apostatize from Moshe, telling them not to have a b'rit-milah for their sons and not to follow the traditions."

By this time in the First Century, there were tens of thousands of Messianic Jews! (and who said that Jews cannot believe in Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah?) They were zealous for the Torah! They worshipped in the synagogues! They oriented around a Hebraic world-view! There was no paganism in the Body of Messiah: no Christmas, no Easter, no Sunday! Their faith was Hebraic! It was more homogenous, because the people were more homogenous!

There weren't over 30,000 different sects and denominations of Messianic Judaism or even non-Messianic Judaism! There aren't today! There was just one Messianic faith in the First Century!

In addition, there were thousands of non-Jewish men, women and children who came into that one faith! Those were exciting times! Well brothers and sisters! Today, we have come full circle! Christians are hungering for their "Jewish Roots!" Jewish people are coming to faith in Yeshua as their Messiah!

Whereas, when I started in Messianic ministry in 1988 there were roughly 250 Messianic congregations world-wide, today in Israel alone there are over 150. World-wide, more than 500. Think about it: if you are a part of the Last-Days Messianic Movement of God among the Jewish people, you are a part of the last-Days revival of God!

Non-Messianic Rabbi Tovia Singer (Jews for Judaism, Outreach Judaism) has made the comment that "more Jews have come to believe Jesus is the Messiah in the past 19 years than in the past 1900 years."

Baruch ha Shem! (Bless the Lord!)

Truly this is a movement of God in these last-days!

Not only will those who are part of this be blessed, as we read Paul earlier in Romans 11:

    12 Moreover, if their stumbling is bringing riches to the world - that is, if Isra'el's being placed temporarily in a condition less favored than that of the Gentiles is bringing riches to the latter - how much greater riches will Isra'el in its fullness bring them!

If you are not Jewish and are a part of the "Messianic Movement" God is going to bless you immensely as you join with others in this Last-Days ministry to introduce Jewish people to their Messiah!


Conclusion

While there is so much more that I can write, I must end somewhere.

At Beth Yeshua, we are seeking the First Century model of the Body of Messiah.

They had no issue with the Sacred Name. It wasn't spoken amongst the community then, nor in the Messianic congregation. Only the priests knew how it was pronounced.

So, What IS Important?

How DO we (or should we) Call Upon God?

How about that we call God by what he loves to be called? "Daddy!"

Romans 8:15

    For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you back again into fear; on the contrary, you received the Spirit, who makes us sons and by whose power we cry out, "Abba!"

Galatians 4:6

    Now because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of his Son, the Spirit who cries out, "Abba!"

In the Lord's Prayer, our Lord Yeshua taught us to pray, "Avinu, sheba shamayim" ( "Our Father Who art in Heaven...")

Yeshua/Jesus didn't teach His followers to pray using the Sacred Name of God, He taught us to pray "Our Father!"

A dear brother who lives quite a distance from our fellowship here in Priest River, yet comes on occasion wrote this about his encounter with a Sacred Namer and the Sacred Name itself:

    "However, there was one man who followed Moses who did know... He knew! And we do have an extensive amount of information from this man. His name was Yeshua and we all know Him as Jesus. The information we have is known as the New Testament... and this one man who absolutely knew beyond any doubt how to correctly pronounce His Fathers "sacred name" never once used it! It is not recorded in so much as one single prayer that Yeshua prayed! Not one single teaching... Not one! And, He knew His Father's name as well as you and I know our names! Yet, Yeshua never once used it. Instead, He used the term "Abba" or "Daddy" as we would say it in English. When his disciples even asked Him directly, "How should we pray?" Again, He used the term "Abba!" Why? Why would Yeshua ignore something as critically important as "the sacred name?"

    I then asked them, "How is it that the Father answered His Son's prayers? Again, Yeshua (Jesus) never once used "the sacred name." And, consider this... apparently Yeshua did not want the Father to hear any of our prayers either! After all, He never told us the correct pronunciation of the Fathers sacred name! Or at least, this is what you must conclude based on this "sacred name" teaching. This teaching sounds pretty good until you start testing it. Then it falls apart very quickly. To me, this "teaching" seems to be another of what I would call: "The Genie the Bottle." Just say the magic word (The Sacred Name in this case) and... "Shazzam! Request granted!" Is it any wonder that Yeshua never spoke the name that He loved most and was so very, very precious to Him. Yeshua's desire for us far exceeded that of telling us how to correctly pronounce His Father's name. His desire was for us to know Him as He knew Him... He wanted us to know him simply and lovingly as our... "Abba" or "Daddy!"

    Now, should we study the Hebrew texts in the original language? Yes... absolutely! But, not because it is a sacred language and God will only listen to Hebrew! (and, this is where the "sacred name" teaching is leading.) We should study the Hebrew language to more fully understand God's meaning and to begin to understand the New Testament correctly!

    Since that discussion with those men I have considered this issue even more. I have six children. If one of my children were to addresses me by my God given name (Michael) I would wonder what had happened that had ruined our relationship? And, why my child now viewed me as being of no relation to him? If one of my six children were to call me "father," again I would wonder what had distanced them from me. But, when my boys call me Dad... and when my girls call me Daddy... I am bonded and joined to them in love. This is what Yeshua wanted for us!

Friends: The Tanakh uses the name "Adonai" for the true God. It uses "Elohim" for the true God. Both are used sufficiently in Scripture that if we don't know the true pronunciation of the Sacred Name YHVH, we can still address Him correctly! He knows our hearts! He knows who we are addressing when we call upon Him! Better yet: Let's say, "Avinu (our Father)..."

We need to get past our own selfishness and personal preferences to get on with the work of our Lord. We are a part of a great last Days revival which is an exciting thing to behold!

It won't be the use of the "Sacred Name" that brings Jewish people to faith in the Messiah Yeshua. It will be because true belikevers in Yeshua will be walking out the Torah, as did Yeshua when He walked on this earth 91 John 2:1-8).

Hopefully, you can see that there is a lot to talk about. Obviously, we are not "just another church."

Our orientation is Hebraic. Our service is "Jewish." We speak the language. (Perhaps you can pick up a few words in Hebrew and Yiddish, Nu?) We believe the Torah is for ALL of God's people - Jew and non-Jew. We want to see Jewish people come to know the Lord just as much as we want non-Jewish people to come to know Him!

In our Points of Order section of our Statement of Faith we say:

    We have had, on occasion, those who come into our Congregation with the intent to be contentious and attempt to cause division by proselytizing our congregants. Our desire in publishing these Points of Order is NOT to turn people away at the door simply because they may disagree with us on any of these points. It is simply to clarify to those who come to our Congregation with the intent to cause division in any of these Points that they are published. Such divisiveness will not be tolerated.

    Rabbi Shaul (Apostle Paul) in Titus 3:10 tells us, "10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned."

    No doubt, there are points of belief and practice that we may disagree with in the Messianic Movement alone, not including those of Christendom and Judaism, yet, we can still find fellowship together as brethren. If our intent is to be divisive when we fellowship with the brethren, then that is unacceptable behavior and we should be shunned.

    For example, though I disagree with the Church at large on their position on the Torah in the lives of believers, I would not go to their congregations and cause division by attempting to proselytize their members to my point of view. Neither would I try to impose my practice upon the believers in that congregation. When I go into the Church, I fellowship with the brethren there and focus on the commonality of the faith we all hold to and can generally agree with. It is in that spirit that we would hope that those who join with us during our services would likewise observe.

    We welcome all who would join with us to worship the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and put aside their personal preferences and differences as we join together in the commonality of our mutual faith in Him.

    What you do at home when you worship God is your own business; what you do when you come into our "house" of worship is ours. If you believe in using the Sacred Name in addressing the Most High God, please refrain from doing it in congregational activities. Also, we would ask that you do NOT proselytize the people of our fellowship.

    Sacred Namer: You want a Sacred Name fellowship? Start from scratch. Just as we have in planting our Messianic Fellowship. Don't start one on the backs of labor from leaders of Messianic congregations. Don't come here seeking to proselytize!

    We don't go out to churches causing division and gathering them to form our congregations!

    We have a group of awesome, loving people in our fellowship who will love you and who want to be a part of your lives.

    Hine ma tov umanaim, Shevet achim gam yachad ("Behold how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in Unity").

Please come and join us.