Sermons Series 3:74, 20 January 2007
Circumcision and the Lord's Supper
Modern Controversy and the Apostolic Witness
A controversy has raged within the Messianic movement for a long time now as to whether circumcision is necessary any more or not. For the most part it has been Messianic Jews like David Stern who argue that whilst Jews must be circumcised and observe the whole of Torah, those who are non-Jewish (Gentile) converts don't have to because it's 'too heavy a burden' for them and only Jews can, and should, manage it, as though they were endowed with extra-human powers which inferior gentiles don't possess.
At the other extreme of the debate are many from the Two House Messianic Israel movement like who argue the exact opposite, namely, that non-Jews (Gentiles) must do exactly as Jewish converts do, and are expected to do, to be circumcised and observe all the Old Covenant Torah.
I would like to briefly look at the arguments being used and to explain our position as clearly as I can. I would prefer to be talking about other things but I am compelled to deal with controversies in the Body or Messiah as they arise, just as the early Messianic Community did in New Testament times.
One error that both of these Messianic proponents fall into is their belief that the restoration of the Republic of Israel is the end-time restoration of the Kingdom of Israel in some form or another, though (as a rule) both recognise that the government is not Yahweh's or theocratic. Both are Zionists and believe that true Christians and Messianics have a duty to support this secular state in the Middle East even though from a spiritual, moral and ethical point-of-view it makes no sense whatsoever. "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them", Paul said (Eph.5:11, NIV). The Israeli state is as wicked as any other state in the world, so why don't they expose it in the same way that they rip apart other governments? Why not expose the secular, atheistic base of this state? Why build a centre and name it after the founder of Zionism, Theordore Hertzl, as one Messianic Israelite group has done, when this man was an Illuminist? What is this ungodly love affair that these believers have with a state which hates their guts?
Our position has long been that the Israeli Republic is not Biblical Israel (it's certainly not Messianic Israel), that it is an Edomite-Khazar counterfeit created and controlled by the Illuminati, that less than 10% of those who call themselves 'Jews' have any connection to Abraham or to the biblical House of Israel at all, and that the vast majority of not only 10 tribe Israelites but true Judahites too have no connection to the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews of the world who are mostly descendants of Ashkenaz, a Japhethite (Gen.10:2-3).
We believe that nearly all Messianics have fallen for another Replacement Theology error like the Catholic one which claims that the (Catholic or Protestant) Church has 'replaced' Israel (even Seventh-Day Adventists have fallen for this one), only now it is a secular Japhethite-Edomite state that is 'replacing' true Israel. Our position is that all, irrespective of their racial or religious origin, who accept Yah'shua the Messiah, obey Torah and are overcomers like Jacob the Overcomer, are New Covenant Israel and a continuation of the Israel of David and Solomon under the Messianic King, Yah'shua, and that to be an Israelite in this dispensation does not require the restoration of a political entity in the Middle East. Furthermore, we affirm the teaching of Yah'shua who started this dispensation who declared unambiguously and emphatically that His Kingdom is not of this world system (Jn.18:36). The Israeli Republic is a part of the world system - Yah'shua was not and is not (Jn.8:23). And neither are we.
We reject the artificial division of 'Jews' and 'Gentiles' because in many cases, these so-called Gentiles are bona fide Israelites and the vast majority of Jews have no Israelite connections at all. In New Testament days it was easier to tell the difference outwardly. For 3,000 years the seed of Abraham - first the northern tribes of Israel and then the southern Judahite ones - had been dispersed and mixed with every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue in the world. True Israelites today cannot be recognised outwardly by skin-colour, ethnicity, cultural traditions, language or the like. Today an Israelite could as easily come out of Ethiopia as Sweden. Yahweh is literally breeding out true Israelites, and the proof that they are true Israelites lies in the fact that they choose to believe, obey and overcome. That means there are no Israelites who do not do these things even if they may have some genetic relationship to Abraham because Yahweh "has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26, NKJV). The only blood that counts in the New Covenant is that it must be human.
It is important to stress these things because most Messianics, and a lot of pro-Zionist Christians, are looking to events in the Middle East, and in particular in the Israeli Republic, for prophetic markers of the last days. They are looking for the restoration of an Orthodox Jewish Sanhedrin, the rebuilding of the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the appearance of an unblemished red heifer, and the like. And whilst there are true Judahites in the Israeli Republic who have accepted the Messiah, along with Palestinian Arabs who both have the same inheritance rights in Israel, they are a tiny minority and belong to no divinely-established state. They're exiles in Diaspora just as we are and have no particular advantage over us, nor we over them.
Neither do the authorities in the Israeli State - secular or religious - mean anything to Yahweh because they are nearly all, down to a man, antichrist. Paul warned us not to look to the political system of the world - it was the Maccabees and Zealots who did that, political movements which we have spoken much of recently, to whom the Judahites looked for liberation two millennia ago, while Yah'shua spoke instead of seeking an inner kingdom until He returns to set up his outer theocratic kingdom too. Believers today, like then, are still confusing dispensations. Paul emphatically said of Jerusalem:
"Now Hagar (the bond woman) stands for Mount Sinai (the Old Covenant) in Arabia and corresponds to the present (physical) city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the (New) Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother" (Gal.4:25-26, NIV).
If 2,000 years ago during the ministry of Paul, the physical city of Jerusalem had no further prophetic meaning in the New Covenant dispensation, why should it suddenly have a prophetic meaning now, or since 1948 when the Israeli State was formed? The prophecies in the Bible that have not yet been fulfilled which speak of the physical city of Jerusalem, besieging armies and the like, refer not to this age but to the end of the age to come, in other words, the conclusion of the Millennium (Rev.20:7-10) when there will be a Theocratic Nation of Messianic Israel - the city that Yahweh loves - which will become the object of unsaved and demonised men's hatred and their lust for its destruction, because it will be the capital and outer symbol of Yah'shua's Eternal Kingdom. Yah'shua does not dwell in the physical city of Jerusalem today. It is not His Temple. His Temple is for now only us.
The hatred of the Moslems against the Israeli State has little to do with Christianity or Messianic Israelites but is primarily directed against orthodox Jews and Zionism which are both antichrist. Believers are getting caught up in a giant red herring and are looking at the wrong signs because both the Israeli Republic and the Islamic nations belong to the enemy - people around the world are being asked to support one or the other in a satanically orchestrated good cop/bad cop scenario. It doesn't matter that one is more democratic or 'Western' than the other because what has Yahweh to do with the world system anyway? Nothing! Yah'shua has already revealed His system but believers have been seduced by the Maccabee and Zealot mentality into thinking like Judas Iscariot. They are thinking carnally, not spiritually. The Israeli State was established by force of arms just like Maccabee Judah was!
One of the big stumbling stones of Messianics concerns latter-day temple prophecies, particularly those in the 12th and 13th chapters of Zechariah. Let's look at some key ones to get that issue resolved:
"This is the word of Yahweh concerning Israel. Yahweh, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: 'I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,' declares Yahweh. 'I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, 'The people of Jerusalem are strong, because Yahweh Almighty is their Elohim. On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a fire pot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place. Yahweh will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honour of the house of David and of Jerusalem's inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day Yahweh will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like Elohim, like the Angel of Yahweh going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem" (Zech.12:1-9, NIV).
In the Book of Revelation Yah'shua tells us that the besieging armies surround the city that Yahweh loves (Rev.20:9) which tells us that the Jerusalem being attacked is literally a HOLY or SET-APART city because the people there are living righteously. In fact, it is after this attack that Satan is thrown into the lake of fire along with Hades or hell, thus marking the end of the Millennium. Now in the passage by Zechariah, Jerusalem is having the same supernatural protection - it's clearly the same time frame as the passage from the Book of Revelation.
If you look at the modern city of Jerusalem, what do you see? It is a 'holy' or 'set-apart' city to Yahweh? It's all very well people calling it the 'Holy City' but giving it a label because of past associations and achievements doesn't make it holy today. Righteousness is rarely a static thing in human affairs - the Bible and history generally tell us that. The local city government of Jerusalem today is about as secular as you can get, very left wing, very liberal. Since 2002 it has financially supported an annual parade put on by a local organisation promoting homosexuality amongst Jerusalem Jews, Christians and Arabs. Prostitution is a major industry in the Israeli Republic, not much different from other Western countries. Witchcraft and atheism dominate the spiritual landscape along with antichrist Talmudic Judaism and Islam. The authorities use torture and know how to silence critics. The reputation of Mossad, the Israeli CIA or MI5, is well known. It's democracy is actually a sham (not that I think ours are a lot better). It isn't remotely a set-apart city honouring Yahweh. Modern Jerusalem is not holy and it isn't going to get any better before Yah'shua returns.
We must get the right focus. And that right focus - before we discuss the circumcision question again - is the fact that Yah'shua's Kingdom is not of this world but is spiritual. The physicality of the Kingdom extends no farther than our bodies, homes and - where these exist - Messianic communities. This does not mean I am saying that outer ordinances are not important but it does mean that ordinances belonging to a covenant that has passed away that have been replaced by a new one no longer having anything to do with us, not even in the Millennium to come.
In a recent article, Circumcision Liberty for New Covenant Believers, Moshe Koniuchowsky of YATI argues for physical New Covenant Circumcision by looking at the scriptural requirements to eat the Passover (Pesach) Meal. These consist of three things - as you consider them, remember that Koniuchowsky is a Zionist and believes that the Israeli Republic is the restoration of biblical Israel in the last days:
- 1. Both the Israelite and the ger or stranger (foreigner) must have the desire to remain or join permanently with Israel's people. "Both an Israelite [Judah and Ephraim after 921 B.C.] are required to stay put in the corporate body of Israel (Ex.12:48)", he writes;
- 2. "He must both kill and eat the Paschal Lamb for himself and his house, and must apply the blood to the door posts of his house"; and
- 3. All those who eat the Paschal Lamb must be circumcised. He writes: "Exodus 12:48 tells us that prior to receiving the Paschal Lamb and the deliverance deeded to a rightful heir in Israel, all males must have undergone a prior circumcision or Brit Milah".
Now the interesting thing about these three requirements is that none of them are liveable, or are commanded to be lived, in this dispensation. Let's look at each of these in turn and ask ourselves some questions:
- 1. What does it mean when we speak of Israel as being 'corporate'? Under the terms of the Torah, to be corporate means living in the land of Israel under an Israelite theocracy. This condition does not exist today and has not existed for over two and a half thousand years. Many Messianics teach you should you go and live in the Israeli Republic by making 'allyah' or immigrating, yet as we know the Israeli Republic refuses to accept any gentiles who have converted to Messianism, and almost no Jews who have become Messianics because the belief of both secular Jews and religious Jews is that if you are a Jew and convert to Yah'shua you stop being a Jew and are not eligible for citizenship; and a gentile can only become a Jew (and be eligible for immigration) if he does not convert to Yah'shua. It is illegal to try and convert a Jew to Christianity or Messianism in the Republic of Israel in the same way it is illegal for a Muslim to be converted to Christianity. The Jews have become like the Muslims they are waging a life-and-death war against.
Now the way Messianics wriggle out of the problem is by claiming that all you have to do is belong to a synagogue anywhere in the world. You become a part of corporate Israel by going through the ordinances and joining a local congregation in the same way that Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants join a local church or parish and become part of the 'Church Universal'. That, however, is the Roman way. Israel, in the fullest sense of the word, is a group of people subject to Torah living within defined borders under theocratic rule of Judges or a King. The truth is, no one lives under theocratic rule today, and won't until the Tribulation. The fact that we pay taxes to 'Caesar' and obey Caesar's Laws even in the Israeli Republic shows that we cannot meet the conditions required of Old Covenant Torah. We remain in Diaspora, spread out around the world, under the rule of gentile governments. Not until we gather to the 12 Cities of Refuge and obtain the full supernatural protection of Yahweh, as we're learning now, can we declare 'independence', as it were, and stop living man's laws or coming under his authority any longer. Then we will be 12 small islands in the world for seven years waiting for Yah'shua's return and our gathering to the Promised Land. But Koniuchowsky does not seem to see this.
- 2. When it comes to the second condition, Koniuchowsky correctly recognises that we do not need to apply the blood of the paschal lamb to the door posts of our homes because, as he writes: "In the context of the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant), of course, Israelites professing faith in Messiah Yah'shua must apply His covering of atoning blood, to the door posts of our hearts, which is the home where the indwelling Ruach Hakodesh actually and literally is said to reside". He understands that the outer ordinance is no longer required. And though we should eat lamb as a symbol of the Messiah, in the same way that we drink bread and wine, there is no need to either sprinkle our door posts with blood or even kill our own lamb because both these are covered by Yah'shua's atonement. We can kill it ourselves if we want to, but it isn't necessary.
- 3. And then, thirdly, Koniuchowsky tells us that if we are not physically circumcised that we are blaspheming Yahweh by calling Torah a 'burden' and contradicting scripture. He then resorts to Avi ben Mordechai's arguments that attempt to explain away Paul's clear statements that circumcision is now useless, as I have discussed elsewhere (1 Cor.7:19).
Kuniochowsky has scored 1 out of 3. To be consistent he should be accusing those who do not slaughter the Passover lamb themselves or sprinkle its blood on the door posts as viewing Torah as a 'burden' and our failure to comply with the Old Covenant statute as 'blaspheming' our Heavenly Father too. But then this is the whole point: he, like others, still hasn't let go of the Old Covenant entirely - they, like so many convert Jews, have added Yah'shua to the Old, like pouring new wine into an old wineskin, and then renaming it the 'renewed covenant' as though the Ruach haQodesh will ever agree to entering a corpse.
The Old Covenant is dead, finished, dismissed, over, fin, finito, kaput - it's time for Messianics to once and for all die to it and start properly living in Yah'shua - and Yah'shua alone! Yah'shua is not a tool for living Torah - Yah'shua is the Beginning and the End, the alef and tav, and alpha and omega, the A and Z. He is everything! He is the living Torah. Everything starts and ends with Him - He is the whole Way, the whole Truth, the whole Torah. To come to Him you not only have to abandon Talmudic traditions and Roman traditions but you have to abandon the Old Covenant forever and the Torah because the New Covenant Torah must be set in its proper context of Yah'shua - it must flow out of your relationship with Yah'shua as a new born spiritual babe growing in an entirely new kind of life. It's time to leave the "weak and miserable" ways behind (Gal.4:9, NIV).
Let me try to give you a mental picture to try and help you understand this. The foundation of the Torah was Moses - he was the man Israel was baptised into in the Sea of Reeds as a shadow if Messiah. On him and his prophetic successor was built the Torah - the walls - and the blood of animals was its covering or roof administered by the Levitical Priesthood. Let's call that the 'Old Covenant House'. Now you can't 'add' Yah'shua to a house whose foundation is Moses and whose walls are built on that foundation. To get Yah'shua as the foundation you have to dismantle the whole house down, dig up the old foundation, and build a new foundation which is Messiah Yah'shua. Then you have to take the bricks of Torah and rebuild the walls, discarding those bricks which aren't necessary any more and putting in some new ones, and then you put the blood covering of Yah'shua on the top administered by the Melchizedek Priesthood. This is the 'New Covenant House'. Apart from some bricks these two houses don't look remotely alike - these bricks being the 10 Commandments or Words, the 7 Festivals, and all those mitzvot that apply to the New Covenant plus the new bricks replacing the old ones. Admittedly this is a limited analogy - however, the point is that the top and bottom are completely different and there's a new set of bricks that resemble closely the former ones. This New Covenant House is permanent; the Old one was only temporary.
Circumcision belongs to an old covenant done away with completely. There is a new relationship now, not only between people and Yahweh, but between men and women too! Women are now expected to convert on their own - to make their own personal choices about whether they want to be in the New Covenant or not and must choose adult baptism like men when they are old enough to be able to make adult choices. The Old Covenant was one of compulsion - parents circumcised their babies without asking their babies if they wanted to be Israelites or not because that was the preparatory order, the shadow order, the one the Israelites themselves chose when they asked Moses to be their intermediary. Today both male and female must choose to be in the Kingdom under the terms of the New Covenant and the ordinance they must allow their children to freely choose when they are old enough (usually between 8 and 12, depending how mature they are, or older if necessary) is baptism by full immersion. No one is 'born' a New Covenant Israelite - one may be born under its protective wings but only until the time each child, male and female, must make a personal choice. Neither their fathers, mothers nor anyone else can compel them to be citizens of this Messianic Commonwealth. - it's their free choice, and that free choice is critical - it must be genuine or it's not valid. And that free choice is signified through adult baptism which replaces the compulsory ordinance of circumcision. In the New Jerusalem everyone is a living pillar (Rev.3:2).
Now another error that Koniuchowsky makes not only in his article but also in his translation of the Bible, (the RSTNE - Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition) is that he has not understood what le-olam-va-ed means. He translates this as 'eternal' and then reminds us that the requirements for the Passover Meal are le-olam-va-ed too. However, as we all now know, this is not what the term means, any more than the Greek aion means 'eternal'. The truth is the term means 'age-long' or 'dispensation-long' - these rules governed only the Old Covenant itself which itself was 'age-long' - it was not 'forever', no more than the Aaronic Priesthood was 'forever'. Do you see the numerous errors that spring from mistranslating this one concept? No wonder these people are driven to reinvent the New Covenant to try and force scripture to harmonise by calling it a 'Renewed Covenant', which it's not. It is 100%, totally and absolutely new! No wonder believers get duped into supporting Zionism.
Now he and other Messianics may read and speak Hebrew fluently and claim to have superior knowledge because of that but the things I have been teaching you come from others who know Hebrew and Latin fluently too. Just knowing a language doesn't make your theology perfect or the Pharisees and Torah-teachers in Yah'shua's day would have got it right first time round. Neither does having an intimate knowledge of the Talmud or Jewish culture make you doctrinally infallible - the chances are greater that you will be negatively influenced by them. Like it or not, they have to squeeze the scriptures to make them fit into their 'Renewed Covenant' and write long and convoluted books to 're-explain' Galatians as Avi ben Mordechai has done with his 500 pages-long tome. It was Yah'shua who revealed Torah to Moses under the terms of the Old Covenant on Mt. Sinai as the Malak (angel) of Yahweh's Presence and it was Yah'shua who brought it to completion as incarnated Deity.
It sounds awfully mean of me to say so but Messianics have got to get over the fact that the Old Covenant and Judaism are dead in Yahweh's eyes just as non-Messianics have got to get over their sentimental attachments to Christmas trees, chocolate bunnies at Easter, Trinities, Immaculate Conceptions, and other pagan notions. Get over it! Repent! Humble your hearts and let Yah'shua do a complete job. Let Him wash all of the old away and make a totally fresh New Covenant with you. Only then will it be safe or possible to restore New Covenant Torah and not slide back into old ways and into a spirit which no longer exists because it has been withdrawn. There is no Levitical Priesthood anymore, so stop mutilating (circumcising) yourselves for nothing or searching for stone temples or red heifers in a city that represents Hagar and not Sarah. Jerusalem today is just another city of the world with its own competing counterfeit religions, and will remain that way until Yah'shua returns. Not a building standing there will remain when He comes back! A New City built in Heaven will be descending onto the rubble of what you see today. Forget about the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, hidden Arks of the Covenant and get focussed on what really matters - the salvation of men's souls. All this other stuff is just a sentimental distraction to the past which is dead. Today we are concerned about our own bodies as the temple of the Ruach and our homes and soon the 12 Cities of Refuge. These are what matter, and the fellowship of these temples in the Temple of temples, Yah'shua the Messiah.
Is the Passover Celebration to be 'guarded forever' as Koniuchowsky claims? Well, that depends what you mean by 'forever' and also which Passover you are talking about. Are we to guard the Old Covenant Passover? No, that's gone - finished. We are to guard the New Covenant Passover. Are we to guard it 'forever'? No, Torah only passes away as a whole when heaven and earth pass away, which is at the end of the Millennium when the earth is glorified. We'll not be sitting around eating lamb then - we'll be with the Master le-olam-va-ed in the final, never ending 'dispensation' in the heavenly sphere fully incarnated on earth.
The Lord's Supper
Which brings me to an important question regarding the 'Lord's Supper'. You will find that most Messianics reject a weekly 'Lord's Supper' and celebrate only one at Pesach. And truly that is the main 'Lord's Supper' and is obligatory to all Messianic Israel (unless of course you're in a life-and-death situation and can't, just as the repentant thief on the cross was not able to avail himself of baptism).
As we have also seen, each week represents a mini cycle of the seven festivals of Israel so that every Yom Rishon (Saturday evening to Sunday evening) is a mini-Passover during which we can, if we want to, partake of a mini Passover or Lord's Supper! It's how we should actually be starting each new week, precisely in the same way that we start each New Year at the annual Passover! We should be doing this as families because the annual Passover Celebration is very much a family affair too and not usually celebrated in Assembly or 'church' (though it can be).
Actually, Yahweh gives us the liberty to take the Lord's Supper as often as we wish, as the Ruach guides, provided it is not thus cheapened by overindulgence or thereby becomes ritualistic. Like most churches, we also to partake of these emblems once a week each Sabbath day as instructed in the Olive Branch. This is usually done on the evening on Yom Shabbat or just before the morning services. It's up to the Pastorates of local assemblies to decide depending on their circumstances as some congregations will only be able to meet in afternoons if getting rented accommodation is difficult, for instance. But within firstborn communities and preparatory firstborn communities which are miniature 'Promised Lands', it is appropriate to take the mini Passover or Lord's Supper, in the form of bread and unfermented wine only, at the beginning of every Yom Rishon, preferably in the evening.
Well, we have looked today at two issues in the Messianic movement, but to conclude I would like to address an issue that includes both of these and addresses the whole emphasis of the Gospel. As we study Scripture, and in particular the New Testament, we need to be asking some important question as to what the central message of the Gospel is. Over the past few years I have studied a large number of Messianic web sites and most of them contain a lot of valuable information about Torah as it should, or should not, be observed in the New Covenant. The more I read Messianic web sites and the more I listen to Messianic preachers, the more I see a common pattern: I see an emphasis on Torah that is nowhere to be found in the New Testament. And I don't just mean the theological treatises of Paul - what I am interested in is what the first believers actually did and preached. Even before Paul came onto the scene with his message to the Gentiles, who were not Torah-observant at first, there are very clear emphases: the message preached by the apostles before Paul to fellow Hebrews was essentially the same as the message preached by Paul to the Gentiles in a non-Hebrew context. And whilst there are, of course, plenty of references to commandment-keeping and Torah-observance this is not the main thing they were preaching about. In the first eight chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, before the apostle Paul was called, we find that bthese are the elements of the apostolic message:
- 1. Yah'shua was a man attested by Yahweh viâ miracles and signs (Acts 2.22);
- 2. Yah'shua was delivered by Yahweh into the hands of those who crucified Him (2.23; 3.15; 4.10; 5.30; 7.52), both Jews and Gentiles (4.28);
- 3. Yahweh raised Yah'shua from the dead (2.24, 32; 3.15; 4.10; 5.30)
- 4. Yah'shua was the Davidic descendant of the prophetic Old Testament (2.29-31)
- 5. Yah'shua ascended to heaven, to the right hand of Yahweh (2.33-34; 5.31; 7.56)
- 6. Yah'shua is both Messiah AND "Lord" -- (2.36; 5.42) [Notice that the two terms are NOT interchangeable -- 'Lord' is a much more exalted term/title than Messiah (i.e. implicit "more-than-man" due to divine sonship), although the implications of this would not be worked out for a while.]
- 7. Yah'shua had authority to receive and pour out the Ruach haQodesh (2.33)
- 8. The offer was specifically for forgiveness of sins (2.38; 3.19; 5.31)
- 9. Proper response was a change of mind (i.e. repentance) and sometimes baptism (2.38; 3.19; 8.12).
- 10. This offer of forgiveness is for a wider group of Jews than just those at Shavu'ot (Pentecost) (2.39), and extending beyond the Jew (but 'first' to the Jew, 3.26).
- 11. Yah'shua was gloried by the Covenant Yahweh (3.13)
- 12. Yah'shua is called the Holy One (3.14f), the Righteous One (3.14-15; 7.52), the Prince of Life (3.14-15), the Prophet-like-Moses (3.22; 7.37), the fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant (3.25), the Stone of Stumbling in Psalm 118.22 (4.11), the fulfilment of Psalm 2 (4.25), the Holy Servant (4.28-30), a Prince and Saviour (5.31), the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 (8.35)
- 13. Healing and power came through faith in the name of Yah'shua (3.16; 4.10)
- 14. The sufferings of Messiah were foretold by ALL the Old Testament prophets and fulfilled in the life of Yah'shua (3.18, 24; 7.52; 8.35)
- 15. Acceptance of Yah'shua by Israel at that time would have resulted in the return of Messiah to fulfil the OTHER prophecies in the Old Testament, of the full restoration of Israel and the world (3.20-21)
- 16. He is the exclusive means of salvation (4.12)
- 17. Yah'shua had authority in heaven to 'receive souls' (as His Father did His own on the Cross). [7.59]
- 18. The kingdom of Yahweh and the Name of Yah'shua the Messiah (8.12)
- 19. One of the benefits of the Messiah would be 'fewer sins' (3.26).
- 20. This outpouring of the Ruach at Shavu'ot (Pentecost) was prophesied in fulfilment of the promise (connected with the New Covenant in the Tanakh) in Joel 2 (2.16).
In other words, what the apostles were preaching and witnessing is essentially what evangelical Protestants have been doing for centuries! These men were Torah-observing Judahites preaching an evangelical Protestant message to other Torah-observant Judahites. Notice the total lack of reference to the Torah and especially to circumcision. We can summarise the message of the pre-Pauline Messianic Community as follows:
- 1. Yah'shua being prophesied about by ALL the Old Testament prophets;
- 2. Yah'shua being crucified, raised, and exalted by the Covenant Yahweh of Israel -- in accordance with the long-term plan of Yahweh;
- 3. Yah'shua being the fulfilment of the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenant promises;
- 4. Yah'shua being an absolutely unique figure (2nd Moses, Suffering Servant, intersection of all messianic strains, at the Right Hand of Yahweh!);
- 5. Yah'shua's superhuman aspects (e.g. "Lord", receiver of souls, pouring out of Ruach haQodesh, the Right Hand of Yahweh, the Holy One, etc.)
Now is any of this different from what Paul preached to the Gentiles after his conversion? Not at all. Paul preached the same message. Read the rest of the Acts of the Apostles and his epistles. If this is what the first believers were principally interested in, then it's what we should be principally interested in too. This is where our witness must begin and end. What we do not want to do, as most Messianics seem to, is spend our entire Scripture study year reading just the Torah and adding a few references from the Nevi'im (prophets) and the B'rit Chadashah (New Testament) Scriptures because this seems to be a symptom of the 'Renewed Covenant Gospel' which in my view dilutes the True Gospel down to a tepid mix of Old and New Covenants. The 'pride and place' of Yah'shua as the Foundation Stone then gets shunted to one side and the focus shifts to ceremonies, rituals, shofars, fancy clothing, Hebrew prayers (which most people can't understand) and a drowning in the very Jewish culture that kept the first century Judahites bound to tradition and caused them to reject Yah'shua. In short, the error of the Messianic Movement has been a considerable de-emphasis of the Gospel we find related in Acts for the sake of Jewish 'cult-ure'.
Our course, as I have previously stated, is crystal clear - we are steering a path midway between evangelical Protestantism and Messianism. The first lacks Torah and includes paganism and the second has drowned us out with extra things we don't need and given us a wrong emphasis. This means that the evangelical elements that I have described to you must be our first priority and in that respect we need to acknowledge the fantastic work done by evangelical Protestants over the centuries and embrace it even more firmly. I will go so far as to say that the first Christians were Torah-observant evangelicals.
What of Paul's Gentile converts? They were the same as the Judahite converts of Peter, James and John, though they started with a minimum of Torah, as defined by the Council of Jerusalem, so that the essential message would not become diluted and the foundation would not be unnaturally shifted back to an Old Covenant one. In the New Covenant Yah'shua is the central figure, not Moses who, like John the Baptist, was obliged to 'decline' as Yah'shua 'increased' (Jn.3:30). Whereas Torah was the cake of the Old Covenant, it is today the icing of the New. First comes Yah'shua, then comes Torah once the foundation is secure.
I myself was not converted by the Torah. I was converted on 30 March 1977 when I accepted Yah'shua as my Master and Deliverer and was born again of the Ruach haQodesh. That is where I began and that is where I shall end. Yah'shua is Rishon and Shabbat, the beginning and the conclusion. The Torah is my fence and my measuring stick and defines the lifestyle I live, with Yah'shua as everything in it, above it, around it and under it. Even the bricks of Torah are His since He was the One who originally gave the schoolmaster gospel to Moses. Therefore we declare the total sufficiency of Messiah, without apology and without regret. Therefore, ultimately, that's all we preach about, knowing that in doing so we bring glory and honour to El Elyon, the Almighty One, Yahweh our Father. All glory be to His Name. Amen.
- The Christian Thinktank, Are the Nazarenes and Ebionites the Only TRUE 'Christians'?
|Glossary of MLT Hebraic, Greek and English Terms |
For other terms and full details please see the Micropedia
AGlossary Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved
Adon(ai) = Master, a pagan fertility god, Adonis; used by many Messianics but not MLT
(a)eon(ian) = 7 dispensation- or age-long time periods, not forever (see le-olam-va-ed)
Alef-Tav = Alpha-Omega, A-Z, first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet = Yah'shua
Amen = truly, let it be so, written Amein by some Messianics
Apocrypha = Hebraic Scriptures not a part of the Protestant canon (e.g. Baruch)
Anti-Messiah = Hebraic term for the end-time Antichrist or anyone opposed to the Messiah
antinomian = lawless Christian who disregards all or part of Torah/commandments
Ashkenazi Jew = East European Jew descended from the Turkic-Japhethite Khazars
Assembly = church, congregation, ekklesia, community, fellowship, koinonia, gathering
Azazel = the Yom Kippur scapegoat
Baal, Ba'al = any other master than Yahweh, usually demonic in MLT terminology
Bachor(im) = firstborn son(s)
Bar/Bat Mitzvah = Son/Daughter of Commandment, covenant to obey Torah at age 12
being = soul, the whole person (spirit and body), e.g. "my whole being"
Beit, bet, beth = house, e.g. Beit Yisrael (House of Israel), Beth Lechem (House of Bread)
Beit haMikdash = Yahweh's Temple in Yerushalayim
B'rit Chadashah = the New Covenant; B'rit Chadashah Scriptures = New Testament
B'rit Milah = circumcision - abolished in the B'rit Chadashah, replaced by Mikvah
canon = authoritative Scripture (Heb. qaneh, Gk. kanŰn = measuring instrument)
Catechumen = a serious, covenanted investigator seeking Mikvah or Baptism in MLT
Chag haMatzah = Feast of Unleavened Bread, second of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Chavurat Bekorot = MLT's Priesthood Order, Holy Order and Assembly of the Firstborn
Cohen = priest; Cohen Gadol = High Priest (also spelled Kohen)
Council of Yah's elohim = the heavenly Assembly of the Firstborn or Chavurat Bekorot
demon = fallen malek or angel in rebellion against Yahweh (Heb. shad; see l-Shaddai)
derech = the Way, Path or Road - Yah'shua and the Gospel are the Way
Drash = moral or homiletic interpretation of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Echad = One, Union of two or more in one (as opposed to Yachid) - see Elohim
Echad Godhead Doctrine = Father Yahweh, Son Yah'shua and Sevenfold Ruach (Mother)
Êl, Eloah, Elah = God the Father, Yahweh
Êl-Elyon = Most High God, Yahweh
Êl-Shaddai = Master/Lord over all shads or demons
Elohim = God, the Godhead (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), lit. 'Mighty One(s)', 'Ruler(s)'
elohim = Israelite judges, rulers, angels or gods (false deities, idols, demons)
emunah = faith, actively trusting, clinging or adhering to (especially Yahweh or Yah'shua)
emet = truth, Yah'shua is the Emet
Ephraimite = descendant of the patriarch Ephraim and head of Messsianic Israel
Feasts of Yahweh = the 7 annual Moedim (Pesach, Chag haMatzah, Yom haBikkurim, Shavu'ot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot)
Gan-Eden = Garden of Eden, Paradise and state of the purified heart in Messiah
goy(im) = nation(s), Israelites or gentiles not born in or converted to the Covenant
hallelu-Yah = praise Yah(weh)!
Heylel = proper name of Satan or haSatan = the Adversary, the devil
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Hochmah = Wisdom, title of the 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
IDL = International Date Line, false man-made time division in Pacific Ocean
IDL Zone = Area between the true Divine Date Line (Lake Van/Eden) and the false one
Israeli = citizen of the modern Edomite-Khazar Republic of Israel (not Biblical Israel)
Israelite = citizen of biblical state of Israel or a modern follower of the Messiah
Jew = post-biblical term describing descendants of Edomite and Khazar converts to Judaism
Johannine = pertaining to the Apostle Yochanan (e.g. Gospel of John)
Josephite = descendant of the patriarch Joseph, the head of Messianic Israel
Judahite = a person in direct descent from the patriarch Judah, forefather of the Messiah
Judaism = a Talmudic-based religion rejecting Yah'shua the Messiah
Judean = a citizen of the Kingdom or Province of Judah until the 2nd Century diaspora
Kadosh la Yahweh = set-apart or dedicated to Yahweh, 'Holiness to the Lord', MLT motto
Karaites = Jews (from 700 AD) who reject the Talmud and accept only the Tanakh
kashrut = keeping kosher, food laws of Yahweh and correspinding lifestyle
Ketuvim = Writings or Hagiographa of the Tanakh
Khazar = a Turkic convert to Judaism ~700 AD forming the Ashkenazi Jewish community
kosher = clean foods authorised by Yahweh for human consumption
Lashon Hara = evil-speaking, gossip or slander
legalism = false route to salvation through works (self-salvation)
le-olam-va-ed = dispensation- or age-long, aeonian, not eternal, forever or for eternity
Lev = heart, as in Lev-Tsiyon = heart of Zion
Lev-Tsiyon = Heart of the Fortress [of Yahweh], Hebrew name of MLT's founder
Master = Lord, Sir, Adon(ai) - (one in authority, a ruler - a king, husband, prophet, judge)
Malak(im) = Angel(s), heavenly supernatural messenger(s)
manna = wafers of honey, bread from heaven (lit. 'what is this?')
matzah = unleavened bread, see Chag haMatzah
Menorah = 7-armed candlearbra = the 7 annual Moedim and 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
Messiah = Christ; Anti-Messiah = Antichrist
Messianic Community = Body of Christ, sum total of all true believers; all true fellowships
Messianic Israel = all who worship Yahweh, trust in Yah'shua, obey Torah and overcome
Messianic Jew = Messianic convert from Judaism still clinging to Talmudic traditions
Midrash = aggadic interpretation of scripture vi‚ Drash, a scriptural discussion
Mikvah = baptism by immersion of convert into Yah'shua or of wife into husband
Mishpachah = family: nuclear, congregational, tribal or the whole of Messianic Israel
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon = family of the heart of the fortress [of Yahweh]
Mishpat = right-ruling or judgement
mitzvah/mitzvot = commandment(s)
moed(im) = appointment(s) of Yahweh, 7 Annual Feasts, Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh
Nefilim, Nephilim = giant offspring of materialised demons and human women
Nevi'im = prophetic writings of the Old Testament or Tanakh
New Birth = spiritual conversion in the Ruach haRishon, being 'born again' with new heart
Nidah = a woman's menstruation period during which no intercourse is permitted
Olive Branch = collection of revelations, prophecies and visions published by MLT
Paraclete = Comforter, Advocate (NEB), Counsellor, Ruach haQodesh (Gk. paraklÍtos)
PaRDeS = method of textual interpretation (homiletics) - see P'shat, Remez, Drash, Sod
Patriarch = a father who is head of his family, clan or tribe (lit. 'father-ruler')
Pentateuch = first five books of the Tanakh (Genesis-Deuteronomy), also called Torah
peribolaion = headcovering worn by daughters/wives in submission to fathers/husbands
Pesach = Passover, first of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Peshitta = an Aramaic version of the Bible
Prototrinitarianism = early, simplified MLT formulation of the Echad Godhead Doctrine
Prush(im) = Pharisee(s)
Pseudepigrapha = Non-canonical Hebrew writings additional to the Apocrypha
P'shat = literal, contextual, philological, exoteric, outer meaning of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Qadosh Qadoshim = Holy of Holies, most sacred set-apart room of the Beit haMikdash
Qodesh, Kodesh = set-apart, holy (see Ruach haQodesh)
Rabbi = Teacher, term used by Messianic Jews and some Messianic Israelites = Pastor
Refuge, the 12 Cities of = divinely protected MLT fortresses during the 7-year Tribulation
Remez = hint or allegorical level of Hebraic understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Rosh Chodesh = monthly New Moon appointment of Yahweh
ruach = spirit of a person (lit.'breath')
Ruach Elohim = Spirit of God (the Spirit of the collective Godhead or Elohim)
Ruach haChamashee = 5th Ruach presides over Yom Teruah and Yom Chamashee
Ruach haQodesh = the Sevenfold Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (lit. 'Set-Apart Breath')
Ruach haRevee = 4th Ruach presides over Shavu'ot, Yom Revee and Bar Mitzvah
Ruach haRishon = 1st Ruach presides over Pesach, Yom Rishon and the New Birth
Ruach haShanee = 2nd Ruach presides over Chag haMatzah and Yom Shanee
Ruach haSheshi = 6th Ruach presides over Yom Kippur and Yom Sheshi
Ruach haShleshi = 3rd Ruach presides over Yom haBikkurim, Yom Shleshi and Mikvah
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Satan = rebel archangel Heylel, father of lies, devil, chief demon (lit.'Adversary')
Sephardic Jew = West European Jew of mixed blood containing many Judahites
Septuagint = Greek translation of the Tanakh, LXX
Shegal haShabbat = 7th Ruach (Sabbath Queen) presides over Sukkot and Yom Shabbat
Shekinah = Divine Presence and Glory of Yahweh-Elohim
Set-apart = holy, sanctified, consecrated, dedicated, separated (to and by Yahweh)
Shabbat-Shabbaton = High Sabbath (e.g. Yom Kippur)
Shalom = heavenly peace, standard Hebraic greeting invoking Yahweh's peace
Shamash(im) = servant(s), deacon(s), attendant(s)
Shavu'ot = Pentecost or Weeks, fourth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Sheol = grave or pit, euphamism for Hades or hell - also see Tartarus
shofar = ram's horn, blown during Yahweh's Moedim
simcha = joy, keynote of Sukkot
Sod = mystical, anagogic, inner or esoteric understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Sukkot = Tabernacles or Booths, seventh of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Synagogue = Greek word used by Jews and Messianics (but not MLT) for a meeting house
talmid(a) = male/female disciple or student
Talmud = scriptures, teachings and commentaries belonging to non-Messianic Judaism
Tanakh = acronym for Old Testament Scriptures - Torah, Nevi'im & Ketuvim
Tartarus = place of imprisonment under the earth for rebellious angels and Nephilim
teshuvah = repentance, remorse and contrition leading back to Torah obedience
Torah = Yahweh's teachings or Law; New Covenant Torah includes Yah'shua's teachings
Tribulation, the Great = the final 7 years of the present aeon when Anti-Messiah rules
Trinity = Catholic Godhead formula - see Echad Godhead Doctrine and Prototrinitarianism
Tsiyon = Zion, a fortress, a name of Jerusalem and a prominent hill
Tzitzit/Tizitziyot = tassel(s) worn by men in remembrance of Torah
Universalism = salvation of all at the cosmic Yovel, with different rewards and punishments
Yachid = one, single person or item, as opposed to Echad (many in one, unity)
Yah'shua the Messiah = Jesus Christ (the Son)
Yahudah = Judah - see Judahite
Yahweh, Yah, YHWH = the true Name of our Heavenly Father, also carried by Yah'shua
Yahweh-Elohim = LORD God (the Father, Yahweh as Head of the Godhead or Elohim)
Yahweh haQatan = the sent Yahweh = Yah(weh)'shua, Malak of Yahweh's Presence
Yam Suf = Sea of Reeds, the true Israelite Exodus water crossing, not the Red Sea
Yarden = Jordan River (lit. 'meanderer')
Yerushalayim = Jerusalem
Yisrael = Israel (lit. 'ruling with l') = true believers under the New Covenant
Yom Chamashee = 5th day of the week (Thursday, Friday in IDL Zone)
Yom Din, Yom haDin = (the) Day of Judgement
Yom haBikkurim = Feast of Firstfruits, third of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Revee = 4th day of the week (Wednesday, Thursday in IDL Zone)
Yom Rishon = 1st day of the week (Sunday, Monday in IDL Zone)
Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement, sixth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Shabbat = 7th day of the week and Sabbath Rest (Saturday, Sunday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shanee = 2nd day of the week (Monday, Tuesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Sheshi = 6th day of the week (Friday, Saturday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shleshi = 3rd day of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Teruah = Day of Trumpets, fifth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yosef = Joseph - see Josephite
Yovel = Jubilee or Year of Jubilee
Zaqen(im) = elder(s) of an assembly or congregation, or senior members of a community
ZoŽ Life = Greek term for spiritual life in the Messiah
Commonly Used MLT Abbreviations
For additional abbreviations and explanations,
please see the Micropedia
Amp.V(er). = Amplified Version of the Bible
Aram. = Aramaic
AV = Authorised Version of the Bible - see KJV
BCAY = B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh - see NCCG
BoA = Books of Abraham (e.g. 1Abr., 2Abr., etc.)
cp, cf = compare with
CB(Q) = Chavurat Bekorot
CEV = Contemporary English Version of the Bible
ch. = chapter
CJB = Complete Jewish Bible
CLNT = Concordant Literal New Testament
CYe = Council of Yah's elohim
Eng. = English
ff. = and onwards/forwards
fn = footnote
Gk. = Greek
GNB = Good News Bible - see TEV
Heb. = Hebrew, Hebraic
HEM = Holy Echad Marriage, eternal marriage
HO = Holy Order - see Chavurat Bekorot
HOC = Holy Order Collection of revelations - see OB
HRV = Hebraic-Roots Version of the Bible
ibid. = ibidem (lit. 'in the same place'), referring to a book previously cited
ICJC = Independent Church of Jesus Christ, earlier name of NCCF
ISRV = Institute for Scripture Research Version of the Bible
JB = Jerusalem Bible
JBP/Phillips = J.B.Phillips translation of the New Testament
JNT = Jewish New Testament
KJV = King James Version of the Bible - see AV
LB = Living Bible
lit. = literally or literature
LXX = Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon
Moff. = Moffatt translation of the Bible
MRC = Messianic Renewed Covenant Version of the NT
MS(S) = Manuscript(s)
NASB, NASV = New American Standard Bible/Version
NC&C = New Covenants & Commandments - see OB
NCCF = New Covenant Christian Fellowship, earlier name of NCCG
NCCG = New Covenant Church of God, earlier name of MLT - see BCAY
NCP = New Covenant Press, publishing arm of MLT
NCW = New Covenant Witness, MLT magazine
NEB = New English Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible
NKJV = New King James Version of the Bible
Nor. = Norwegian
NT = New Testament, B'rit Chadashah
NWT = New World Translation of the Bible, unreliable Jehovah's Witness version
OB = Olive Branch - see NC&C
op.cit. = opere citato (lit. in the work cited)
OT = Old Testament, Tanakh
p(p). = page(s)
pl. = plural - see s.
PWNC = Prophetic Words of the New Covenant, revelation cataloging system - see OB
QED = quod erat demonstrandum (lit. which was shown to be proved)
RCF = Restoration Christian Fellowship, earlier name of ICJC
RhQ = Ruach haQodesh, Holy Spirit
RSTNE = Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition of the Bible
RSV = Revised Standard Version of the Bible
RV = Revised Version of the Bible
s. = singular - see pl.
S&G = Smith & Goodspeed Version of the Bible
TEV = Today's English Version of the Bible - see GNB
Vulg. = Biblia Vulgata, Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible
WEB = World English Bible
This page was first created on 20 March 2007
Last updated on 20 March 2007
Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved