In Judaism Bar Mitzvah (for boys at 13) and Bat Mitzvah (for girls at 12) is a 'coming-of-age' or 'becoming responsible' time which may, or may not, be accompanied by a ceremony. And if so, this is usually on the first Shabbat after the birthday at which time the person will be expected to make a 'wise speech' on some Torah subject. At these ages they are expected to lay aside 'childish things' and are considered to be adults in the community. Accordingly, they begin to take on the responsibilities of adulthood.
Within Judaism and initially emerging out of the Reform movement, 'Confirmation' was introduced to replace Bar/Bat Mitzvah in which the bar of adulthood was moved forward to either 16 or 18.
In the Roman Catholic tradition, 'Confirmation' is a sacrament that today is regarded as a celebration of the Ruach (Spirit) and an affirmation of Baptism. In the early Catholic period, Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist were celebrated in the same ceremony by adult catechumens (investigators) at the Easter Vigil. The catechumens descended into a pool where they were baptised in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They ascended, were clothed with a white robe, and the bishop laid hands on them and anointed them with oil. They then proceeded to a place of honour among the community where they participated in the Eucharist for the first time. Initiation thus consisted of one event with several moments. The climax was the celebration of the Eucharist. In the Catholic system, Baptism was the sacrament of the initial gift of the Ruach (Spirit), while Confirmation was the sacrament of the fullness of the Ruach (Spirit) with the seven gifts. The understanding is that conversion to Messiah is a gradual process to which Confirmation gives added strength. The Anglican Church has a similar teaching.
There is no 'confirmation' ritual in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) which is why most Protestant denominations like the Baptists have none. Ultimately where we stand in relation to our maturity must be determined by each individual. He or she must determine the state of his/her soul based on several criteria. First, we are confirmed by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) who lives in our hearts.
When we accept Yah'shua (Jesus) as Master (Lord) and Deliverer (Saviour), the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) takes up residence in our hearts and gives us assurance that Elohim (God) is present and that we belong to Him, teaching and explaining spiritual things to us (1 Cor.2:13-14), thereby confirming that we are new creations in Messiah (2 Cor.5:17).
We are also confirmed in the emunah (faith) by the evidence of our salvation. 1 John 1:5-10 tells us that the evidence of our salvation is manifested in our lives: we walk in the Light, we do not lie, we confess our sin. James 2 makes it clear that the evidence of emunah (faith) is the works we do, whether they be of Torah or not. We are not saved by our works, but our works are the evidence of the saving emunah (faith) in us. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
The spiritual fruit produced in us by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) (Gal.5:22) is the confirmation that He lives within us. Therefore, we are told to:
In addition, Peter tells us to:
"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the emunah (faith); test yourselves. Do you not realize that Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Cor.13:5).
The final 'confirmation' of our salvation is, of course, in the future. Those who are true believers will persevere to the end:
"Make your calling and election sure" so that we will "receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Deliverer Yah'shua the messiah (Jesus Christ)" (2 Pet.1:10-11).
We are sealed by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) of promise:
"Eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), who will also confirm you to the end" (1 Cor.1:7-8, NKJV).
This, then, is the essential or spiritual meaning of 'confirmation' — salvation was purchased by the blood of Messiah in whom we have emunah (faith), it is evidenced by our walk with Him, and it is confirmed to us by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) within.
"Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are Elohim's (God's) possession — to the praise of His glory" (Eph.1:13-14).
Nevertheless both the Israelite Community, and the Messianic Israelite Community, had an outer, visible rite of passage both for children as well as for new converts or catechumens to confirm their status as adult members of that community worthy to partake of the regular weekly or monthly Master's (Lord's) Supper, Communion or Eucharist as well as the annual Pesach (Passover) meal which the Master's Supper is an extension of. Realising, as the post-apostolic fathers did, that a way was necessary to test the sincerity of new converts as well as to prevent unregenerated people gaining access to the community to be a potential instrument of spiritual destruction, Messianic Evangelicals arrived at much the same solution, though with a distinctly Torah flavouring.
From the age of 12 onwards born again, water-immersed (baptised) boys and girls in NCAY may, if they choose to, enter into covenants at Shavu'ot (Weeks, Pentecost) to obey the mitzvot (commandments) of Yahweh as recorded in New Covenant Torah. The ordinance of confirmation or chrism by the laying of hands is administered by the father, a near male relative or local branch Pastor or Bishop (Metropolitan Overseer) in token of reception of the gift of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) following baptism as evidenced by the fruit of the Ruach (Spirit) either before, during, or immediately after the ordinance (Gal.5:22-23). Immediately afterwards, boys receive their tzitzits or tassels which they are required to wear on their outer garments as a perpetual reminder of their covenant of submission to Yahweh's mitzvot (commandments) and girls their headcoverings (at the very minimum when they are praying or prophesying and preferably when they are in public) as a sign of their covenant to submit to their fathers (whilst unmarried) and husbands within the bounds of Torah (Eph.5:22-24) as well as being a sign to the malakim (angels). The covenant to walk the lifestyle of Messianic Israel in Torah obedience is renewed annually at Shavu'ot. They are thereafter entitled to partake of the Master's (Lord's) Supper after having been tested for their worthiness in accordance with Paul's apostolic instruction (1 Cor.11:23-32).
Men and women, who must be married, are additionally weighed annually each Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonements) if they subsequently enter priesthood orders (as Deacons/Deaconesses or Elders/Eldresses) after they have turned 30. Thus the talmid (disciple) passes through the ordinances and spiritual anointings in divine tavnith (pattern):
|Inner Reality/ Decision(s)
||Outward Ordinance/ Action(s)
||Corresponding to festival of|
|Decision for Messiah (Alef)
|Repenting of sins
|Born again, spiritual regeneration
||Baptism by immersion (at 8 years of age or older) into Messiah & Messianic Israel
|Full membership (Mem)
||Bar/Bat-Mitzvah Covenant to obey Torah (renewed annually) = Chrism or Confirmation (at 12 years of age or older), Master's Supper & Betrothal after a minimum of one year's probation following baptism
||Interview with Chavurat Bekorot
||Training, Ordination (at 30 years of age or older), Annual Weighing & Covenant renewal
|From Servant to Friend (Taw)
||Full HEM (Holy Echad Marriage) & eligibility to fully enter Holy Order