It is replacing my Noahide Nazarene blog.
The blog you are currently reading will now be focusing more on politics and general info while the new blog (jewtoo) will focus more on my Messianic Jewish writings. I hope you will join me there as well!
Part of what the new blog will include will be the course work for the free online Yeshiva Rebbe Larry Levine and I are now creating. Yeshiva Beth HaShem is still in its infancy and we are now accepting talmidim (students). If you have ever wondered what authentic Messianic Judaism is, here's your chance to find out!
You are invited to read our studies as they are being produced and posted, and if you are interested, to join the Yeshiva. We will be offering two certificate programs and two levels of ordination. The classes will go from the basics to advanced knowledge: from Seeker to Messianic Rabbi.
I have also created a new website (online soon) http://JewToo.org
Following is Lesson 1 of course 1.
For more information on Yeshiva Beth HaShem or to become a student go to: http://templebethhashem.org/yeshiva
If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to contact me.
~ Messianic Rabbi Yochanan
Yeshiva Beth HaShem
Lesson 1:1: Messianic Judaism.
Welcome to Yeshiva Beth HaShem!
This Yeshiva offers instruction in Messianic Judaism.
Like most theological terms, "Messianic Judaism" means different things to different people. We use the term in a very specific way here, and as a member of this yeshiva it is important to understand how this term is used.
- We believe Y'shua the Nazarene (commonly referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth") was and is the Messiah of Israel. We affirm that his name in Hebrew is not Jesus but Y'shua (Yeshua). This is confirmed by the following verse:
Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means `ADONAI saves,'] because he will save his people from their sins."
Throughout these lessons we will refer to the God of Israel as HaShem (The KING/the Name) and Adonai (The LORD). As HaShem He is King of kings. As Adonai He is Lord of lords (compare Psalm 82).
The Messiah (or "Moshiach" in Hebrew) is the man prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures (the "Old Testament" or "Tanakh") who will one day restore the Kingdom of Israel, free the Jewish people and our gentile brothers and sisters from all forms of bondage. He will restore the proper worship of the God of Israel under a righteous theocratic (God directed) kingdom. The word Moshiach means "the anointed." HaShem has anointed him to do these things. Many people are referred to in Scripture as "anointed" but only one will be the Moshiach. One of the critical prophecies about Moshiach is:
Isaiah 11:1 But a branch will emerge from the trunk of Yishai, a shoot will grow from his roots.
2 The Spirit of ADONAI will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and fearing ADONAI
3 he will be inspired by fearing ADONAI. He will not judge by what his eyes see or decide by what his ears hear,
4 but he will judge the impoverished justly; he will decide fairly for the humble of the land. He will strike the land with a rod from his mouth and slay the wicked with a breath from his lips.
5 Justice will be the belt around his waist, faithfulness the sash around his hips.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb; the leopard lie down with the kid; calf, young lion and fattened lamb together, with a little child to lead them.
7 Cow and bear will feed together, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 An infant will play on a cobra's hole, a toddler put his hand in a viper's nest.
9 They will not hurt or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain, for the earth will be as full of the knowledge of ADONAI as water covering the sea.
10 On that day the root of Yishai, which stands as a banner for the peoples - the Goyim will seek him out, and the place where he rests will be glorious.
11 On that day Adonai will raise his hand again, a second time, to reclaim the remnant of his people who remain from Ashur, Egypt, Patros, Ethiopia, 'Eilam, Shin'ar, Hamat and the islands in the sea.
12 He will hoist a banner for the Goyim, assemble the dispersed of Isra'el, and gather the scattered of Y'hudah from the four corners of the earth.
Please carefully read the entire eleventh chapter of Isaiah for more understanding.
This word "branch" (11:1) in Hebrew is netser. For this reason he is called Y'shua the Nazarene ("Y'shua the Branch," i.e. the Messiah). This is the same root word used in the city name: Nazareth, and so we also sometimes refer to him as Y'shua of Nazareth. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (#H5342) defines netser this way:
netser: (nay'-tser) in the sense of greenness as a striking color; a shoot; figuratively, a descendant: - branch.
Our adon (master) is therefore referred to as Y'shua the Nazarene because it is he of whom this important prophecy speaks. He is also call Y'shua of Nazareth because he lived there as a child. Both are appropriate.
As the excellent Jewish web resource Judaism 101 affirms, Isaiah chapter 11 is a messianic prophecy. Of course they do not regard Y'shua as Moshiach.
Did Y'shua fulfill all of the conditions in this prophecy? No. He clearly did not. This is one reason why most Jews do not accept him as Moshiach. Moshiach must fulfill all of the messianic prophecies, this is why they were revealed by the Ruach HaKodesh (the Presence of HaShem), so we could identify him when he came.
Part of being a Messianic Jew is the understanding that while we refer to him as Y'shua HaMoshiach (Y'shua the Messiah) he has not yet fulfilled all of the Messianic prophecies. We call him this because we have faith that one day he will take up the mantle of Moshiach. Like other Jews, we await the coming of Moshiach. Unlike other Jews, we believe he has already come and fulfilled the first part of his task. He will complete the rest when he returns. We will focus on this matter in much greater detail in future lessons.
- Judaism refers to the religion and culture of the House of Judah. For our present purposes, the Jewish people can be considered synonymous with the people known in the Bible as the Israelites (also called Am Israel: "People Israel"). There is more to it than this but for now this will suffice. We will have much more to share about Jewish history, culture and religion in due course.
Simply stated Judaism is the religion established by the One True God at Mount Sinai. The Jews became a people with father Avraham (Abraham) and a religion with Moshe (Moses). We will have more to say on this later as well. Judaism is not a static religion!
For our present purposes, people become Jews in two ways. There are those who are born of Jewish mothers and there are those who convert into Judaism. Both types of people are fully Jewish.
Jewish denominations are known as Movements. The principle Jewish Movements are as follows:
Orthodox Judaism: In Israel this is by far the largest movement. In other countries such as the USA it is not. Orthodox Judaism is the most Torah observant and Torah based of the movements. It includes groups like Hasidic Judaism (including Chabad), and other Torah observant groups. By far, the Orthodox wield the most authority. Orthodox Judaism only accepts their own converts as being Jewish (unless they meet strict requirements). The vast majority of converts to Judaism in the West are not accepted as Jews by the Orthodox.
Conservative Judaism: A mixture of traditional and modern ideas, leans towards tradition.
Reform Judaism: A mixture of traditional and modern ideas, leans towards modern ideas.
Reconstructionist Judaism: Does not practice Torah observance or most traditions and is essentially universalist minded.
Independent Judaism: This is a growing movement outside of Israel. It is shul (local temple) based and varies in its Torah observance etc.
Messianic Judaism: Arguably more closely aligned with Orthodox Judaism than the other movements. Unfortunately because we accept the reforms of Rebbe Y'shua none of the Jewish movements accept Messianic Judaism.
Be aware: Not everyone using the term Messianic Judaism is practicing "the Way" as taught by Y'shua. Many are Evangelical Christians hoping to make Christianity appear biblical. These missionaries merely co-opt Jewish garb, seeking to convert Jews to Christianity. This is a very common and serious misdirection that should be avoided at all cost (Genesis 12:1-3).
The above movements are all "rabbinical": They emerged from the Judaism of the "P'rushim" (or Pharisee) sect mentioned in the New Testament scriptures (or "B'rit Hadashah" in Hebrew) as well as in the two non-biblical books of the Maccabees. The P'rushim came to be known as the Rabbis.
There also exists the Karaite Jews (Karaism). This Jewish sect emerged from the Tz'dukim (Sadducees), also referenced in the New Testament (B'rit Hadashah).
To be a Messianic Jew is to be a Jew who embraces the Messiah: Y'shua HaMoshiach. The Hebrew word "Moshiach" is commonly translated into English as "Messiah." Both terms are appropriate: Y'shua HaMoshiach and Y'shua the Messiah.
All who accept the B'rit Hadashah (New Covenant) given by HaShem through Y'shua are "grafted into" or "adopted into" Am Israel as Messianic Jews (Romans 11). Y'shua never established nor practiced any religion other than Judaism and neither do his talmidim (students/disciples). So-called "replacement theology," the belief that the Church has replaced Israel as the Elect of HaShem is a heresy that must be soundly rejected by all who love Y'shua. He was very clear on this point when he told the woman of Samaria:
John 4:22 You people don't know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews.
In later lessons we will discuss the history of the religion of Christianity. For now it is important to understand that the religion of Y'shua is Judaism, not Christianity. As his students ("talmidim" in Hebrew) we are most accurately termed: Messianic Jews.
Notes for this study:
- All Bible quotes are from the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Glossary and terms for this study (our compete glossary of terms):Adonai: The LORD -- Lord of lords
Am Israel: "People Israel."
Avraham: Also known as Abraham.
Beth HaShem: House of God
B'rit Hadashah: 1). The New Covenant, 2). the Books of the New Testament.
Eretz Israel: The Land of Israel.
Gentile: A non-Jew.
Ger: A non-Jew
Ger Tzadik: A righteous non-Jew
Goy: Yiddish: A non-Jew (plural goyim)
HaShem: The KING/the Name -- King of kings
Hasidic Judaism: A branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularization and internalization of Jewish mysticism.
Israeli: A Jew who lives in the Land of Israel.
Israelite: One lives in the Land of Israel.
Jesus (Greek: Iesous/Iesus): "Beloved of Zeus." Rebbe Y'shua was renamed this by the Catholic Church as part of its "anti-judaizing" campaigns.
Jew: One whose mother is Jewish (one whose father is Jewish according to Karaite Judaism) or one who has converted into Judaism.
Judah: One of the 12 House of Israel.
Judaism: The religion and culture of the Jews, of the House of Judah; biblical religion.
Messiah: English for Moshiach.
Moshe: Also known as Moses
Moshiach: Anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king or priest); specifically the Messiah.
Nazarenes: Many early Messianic Jews were called Nazarenes.
(The) Nazarene: A title of Y'shua.
Netser: branch, a messianic title based on Isaiah 11: root of Nazarene, Nazareth.
P'rushim: The Pharisee sect of Judaism. Today known as Rabbinic Judaism ("the Judaism of the rabbis).
Tanakh: The Hebrew Bible, commonly referred to the Old Testament. The term "Old Testament" should be avoided due to the false implication that the "New Testament" has superseded it.
Torah: 1). The five books of Moses: Genesis - Deuteronomy. 2). The Will/Wisdom of HaShem.
Tz'dukim: The Sadducee sect of Judaism. Along with other sects they became Karaite Judaism.
Rabbi: A teacher of the Written and Oral Torah; a leader of a Jewish congregation or other ministry.
Rebbe: Used in different ways, from the same root as rabbi: An especially honored rabbi, a teacher of rabbis, the spiritual leader of a Hasidic fellowship.
Ruach HaKodesh: The Spirit Presence of HaShem. HaShem is One. The Ruach Hakodesh is not an entity apart from Him. It is the Presence of God.
Y'shua: the real name of "Jesus"
(The) Way: A name used for early Messianic Judaism.