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MESSIANIC CONGREGATION EXIST?

Since the Holocaust, when six million Jewish people were murdered, a growing number of Christian scholars, leaders, and people have been reconsidering what the Bible says about Israel. This has led many to deeper exploration of who Jesus is in His Jewish context. Interestingly, a growing number of Jewish scholars have been part of this historical exploration of Jesus in His Jewish enviroment.

We too are engaged as students of Jesus, the Jewish Rabbi who lived on earth in the 1st century as part of the Jewish People. To be very clear and up front. We firmly hold fast to the historic truth that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah, that He died for the sins of Israel and the world according to Israel's Bible, was buried, and literally was bodily resurrected from the dead on the third day according to Israel's Bible. We believe this was fully in accord with His covenant plan of love and faithfulness with the Jewish People and for the sake of the whole world.

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Something else we want to be clear about. We respect and honor the true, good, and beautiful in the history fo the Church. This is important to say before we bring up that fact that much evil has been done in history by the Church (evil deserving God's judgment). Yet similar to our parents who may have done wrong to us, we are still to have gratitude, honoring, and learning from them.

We are grieved by the incalculable harm done to the Jewish people in the Name of "Jesus Christ." One of the Ten Covenant Words given to Israel at Mt. Sinai was to not carry ADONAI's Name in an empty, worthless, vain, and false manner (unpacking the Hebrew a little more). His Name is not to be misused, falsely misrepresented in word or deed. And those who falsely misrepresent Him by doing evil in His Name, will not be left unpunished according to the Bible. The command to represent God's Name in Messiah Yeshua is deeply important for the Church. Those who have done evil in the Name of Jesus against the Jewish People have done a great evil in the LORD's Name. Most of the Church as yet to repent for the erroneous theological views that contributed to these great evils against the Jewish People. Many in different parts of the Church have begun this process of repentance toward God and the Jewish People, but much remains. The first major split in the People of God was between Jew and Gentile. When this is healed, we believe many other walls of divisions will come crashing down.

In the early centuries of the growing Church among the gentiles, something went seriously wrong with how many were reading the Bible concerning God's purposes for the Jewish People. There was a progressive de-contextualizing of the life of Yeshua. He was being torn away from His eternal Jewishness and His covenant fidelity to the Jewish People as the son of David and the Savior and Leader of His People. While the Church was vigorously retaining many truths about Him which we honor them for, Yeshua's everlasting identification with the people of Israel through the Incarnation in becoming a Jew was downplayed. Jesus' humanity was almost completely de-fleshed of ethnic distinction. He became in the eyes of many, and still today, a generic non-ethnic Man.

Instead of staying true to the Gospel truth that Messiah became a Servant to the circumcised as the son of Abraham and David, confirming God's truth, promise, and everlasting bond with His Covenant People Israel, Jesus was stripped of His dignified ethnic flesh that He took on by the Holy Spirit in His Incarnation.

The tragic historical consequences of His de-fleshing has been brought to new light by many post-Holocaust Christian inquiries and reflections  of New Covenant (Testament) writing. This is no mere reading things back into the text in light of the horrors done to the Jewish People, but more a veil coming off of many to see what it clearly in the text read in context. These refections were bolstered by the mass return of Jewish People into their ancient Homeland and the restoration of Jerusalem into Jewish hands.

What is God saying to the Church and the world about His Ancient People through these events of Father Providence? Is this Sovereign preservation of the Jewish People as a distinct People among the Peoples a witness to His covenant faithfulness to Israel? Is this unto them ultimately being brought to salvation in Messiah Yeshua, the Son of God? Did replacement theology really have anything to do with the Holocaust? In the post-Holocaust reflections of many Christians, pastors, theologicans, historians, and scholars, it has become increasingly clear that replacement theology was a highly flammable fuel for the Nazis fires of anti-semitism and the magnanimous evils that were committed against the Jews.

The fresh look at Jesus in His Jewish context is leading to fresh questions such as: does Jesus' everlasting Jewishness as the Anointed King of Israel matter to our faith in the Good News of salvation? Did Jesus or Paul ever intend to start a new religion? Does it matter if Jews stop living as Jews when they believe in Jesus in light of God's irrevocable calling on Israel and Jesus remaining a Jew forever?  Should gentiles Christians see themselves has having a special bond to the Jewish People because of their eternal union with the Divine Jewish Man? These and many more questions are being explored with fresh vigor with answers that are recovering the more positive views of the New Testament writings on the Jewish People's enduring significant in the plan of God. The best of these answers are deeply biblical and ground breaking in their implications for a fuller and truer theology and the reformation of the Church.  These insights and corrections need to reintegrated so that we are building on the good, true, and beautiful of the Church's heritage.

The fruit of this Biblical study of Jesus in His historical, cultural, and covenant context has begun to help many put their Bible back together as one unified Story about God's eternal plan for Israel and the nations and His World. While there have been shining examples of those who saw this clearly in history, most have not. Replacement theology has had much dominion over the minds of theologians throughout much of Church history.

Replacement theology has many forms. None of them are good. Basically, replacement theology or supercessionism is the view that Christians have replaced Israel's as God's chosen people. It is wrongly assumed that since Jesus's historical death, burial, and resurrection or the destruction of the 2nd Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the Jewish People as a nation no longer have any unique role in God's covenant plan. So when a Jewish person believes that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah (Anointed One) of Israel, a lie as spread that their Jewishness loses significance, and they are assimilate into the Gentile church, leaving Jewishness and Judaism behind. The New Testament is a strong fortress against this lie, but many lies such as this one has crept over the walls of the New Testament and made it into an anti-semitic book.While we have a Merciful Savior, bearing false witness to His Covenant Keeping Character is to be taken with uttermost seriousness.

Many were taught in Church history and to this day that the preservation of Jewish identity for Yeshua-believing Jews is either evil, irrelevant, completely optional, or only minimally important. All these views are wrong, even if not all equally destructive.  The problem with all these Israel replacement views, is they assume that if all Jews believed in Jesus, it would be ok if they all left behind their Jewish identity. Think about it. What would the result be if this actually happened? Israel as a Jewish People would cease to exist! They would be completely assimilated into the Gentile Christian world. Is that ok with you? It is not with us. And it certainly violates the truth of God's covenant promises to the circumcsed confirmed in Jesus death, burial, and resurrection.  The view that Jesus came to eradicate the Jewish People and Jewish identity is a violation of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. How couldn't be? He is the eternal Jewish King, the son of David who has risen from the dead and is destined to rule over Jacob forever?

Another evil we oppose is forced conversions, which in the history of the Church, this is another stain against the Jewish People. While we do believe Yeshua is for the whole world, for Israel and the nations, faith cannot be forced or coerced. This is also doing evil in God's Name.We don't seek to force anybody to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah. To force people to believe in Yeshua is utter foolishness. It is against all good sense, wisdom, and compassion. Yet, in age when the supposedly most tolerant are the most intolerant, we do believe in the freedom of speech to persuade people of the truth that He is the Messiah, yet in such a way where people's dignity, choice, and conscience are to be respected. Not only are we free to do so, we have authorization from the Divine King to teach the Gospel to all people for their salvation. But this is a Gospel that brings forgiveness, acceptance, reconciliation, new life, new heart and spirit, new power, new love for Jews and Gentiles to live according to their respective callings in Messiah Yeshua.

The New Covenant Writings teach, presuppose, and promote the view that Jews and Gentiles who believe Jesus is the Messiah remain Jews and Gentiles.  Jewish identity within the genealogical nation of Israel is of eternal importance, taught in Scripture from beginning to end. One line of evidence that should be of utmost importance for Christians is that the Son of God who always participated in the identity of the One Creator God took on an Israelite Jewish human identity for ever in the Incarnation.

Unless Yeshua-believing Jews have congregations to live their Jewish faith in the Messiah, the Church is still living in replacement theology or supercessionism.  We are are Messianic Community where Jews and Gentiles can express relational oneness with distinction in Messiah Yeshua. We believe in the forgiveness of sins and justification by grace, reconciliation with the Father by grace, adoption into His family by grace, the gift of the Spirit by grace, walking in covenant keeping love by grace, the unity of Jew and Gentile in Messiah by grace, going to Heaven by grace, the resurrection of the dead by grace, and everlasting life by grace.

Jews and people from every nation, people, tribe, and language have equality of worth and value. In Messiah we are to accept one another even as He accepted us. For in believing Yeshua is the Messiah, we are made one family, in unity with distinctions - as a male and female, Jew and Gentile, multi-ethnic, multi-generational family. The redeemed of the nations are heirs together with saved Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Yeshua. But gender and ethnic distinctions are integrated into our identity in Messiah, not lost! All get to become who they were created to be!

God saves sinners by His grace through His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit through the hearing and believing of the Good News! The Good News that Yeshua is the Messiah who brings salvation is fully connected to the Biblical Story of Israel for the sake of world.  In a post-replacement theology understanding of the story of Israel, the story of Israel doesn't terminate in Yeshua the Messiah's death, burial, and resurrection. Many have taught this view. They says the Story of Israel was a means to an end to get us to Jesus and that Story was brought to a dramatic end in the destruction of the 2nd Jewish Temple in 70 AD. This my friends is replacement theology. It is bearing false witness against God.

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Yeshua didn't come to terminate the purpose of Israel, but to bring Israel to the fullness of her purpose in relation to the nations and creation itself.  According to God's promises to Israel and for the nations, the Eternal Son of God who shares fully in the identity of the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob became a Jewish man and dwelt among Israel as Immanuel, God with His People. As the Son whom the Father delighted in, He was Anointed by the Ruach ha Kodesh and power. God's Torah was revealed in and through Him as the Word of God made flesh. As Israel's representative, He embodied the Kingdom promised to Israel showing that God's rule of salvation had arrived for His People. As God dwelt with Israel in the Tabernacle and Temple, God's Presence was intensified with Israel in a unique way in person of Yeshua. As Heaven and Earth were connected in the Temple, so it was connected in Messiah Yeshua who revealed the glory of ADONAI.

Yeshua declared that God's liberating reign and rule of salvation arrived in His own life, ministry, and mission. He came as the Promised Servant, Anointed by the Spirit to seek and save Israel and the nations. They were need release from the guilt, bondage, and punishment of sin. The Savior came showing His care for His People in works of mercy and justice to the poor, the hurting, the sick, economically destitute, and socially alienated.  He did not come without confrontation however. He went to war with satan and the power of darkness.  He also challenged His beloved People Israel, especially the establishment. He invited them to turn back to the Father's love and the way of righteousness according to His Teaching of their Scriptures. He demonstrated rescuing and restoring  power of the Age to Come. He did with this credible signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit. These showed God's power was truly operating through Him. He liberated people from sin, sickness, disease, demonic oppression, even death. This was all a taste of the Age to Come.

When the Kingdom arrives in fullness at His second coming, He will fulfill all the promises to Israel and for the nations. God's Name will be sanctified through Israel before all nations. Yet the Kingdom really did arrive in His first coming. Through Messiah's life, suffering, death for Israel and the nations sin, burial, bodily resurrection on the third day, and bodily ascension into Heaven Messiah has been enthroned as LORD of the Cosmos over Israel and the nations, all people can enter the this new life. They can do this by turning from sin to God for mercy bringing salvation unto acceptance in the Beloved and Spirit wrought faithfulness to the Covenant Teachings of Scripture. This is all by grace.  This is the work of the His life given to us in causing us to be born anew by the Spirit and Gospel.

This new life in Yeshua the Messiah is for the Jewish People but equally for the Nations, to all those who are called, repent, and believe that He is the Messiah. All who believe in this Good News-Story of King Yeshua and confess their sincere allegiance to Him enter into this new life and are promises that they will be resurrected on the Last Day.

The Good News is for Israel and the nations which brings salvation for Israel and the nations by grace into the forgiveness of sin, new life, justification, adoption, and Spirit wrought sanctification unto covenantal keeping! This work of salvation by grace and God's covenant faithfulness will ultimately bring everything on earth and in heaven to liberated, purified, and reconciled in Jesus the Messiah, the Jewish Man who is LORD of all. All evil will be defeated, including satan and all those who hate God and don't want to receive His love and gift of eternal life for them. When Jesus comes He will bring to fullness His saving purposes for Israel and the nations.  He will reign from Jerusalem. Israel will dwell securely in their land. The nations will be joined to ADONAI and be blessed with Israel as His People, in unity with distinction through the grace and truth of God leading to their covenant keeping, with the glory of God covering the earth.

how can you be

PART OF THIS STORY?

It depends, but consider these initial thoughts. If you are Christian and have held to replacement theology, you would be wise to soberly test your assumptions against the word of God. If you find you have been in error, which we hope you will see, you need to respond faithfully to God and confess your sins, renounce them, turn away from them, and return and be restored to the truth of the word of God on this vital dimension of God's plan. You may want to begin by asking the Father in the Name of the Son to make you feel the truth of your very special bond with Your Savior's genealogical family, the Jewish People. Remember, He Yeshua is eternally Jewish, ever since His Incarnation. This affectionate bond created by the Holy Spirit and truth of the word of God is to extend to all Jews who believe in the Messiah and to the many Jewish People who do not yet recognize Him as such.

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If you are Jewish by birth and don't believe in Yeshua at this time, your Jewish identity matters to Your Creator! God loves you! We would would encourage you to seek your Creator in prayer and by reading the Tanack and the New Testament. Seek the truth from God if Yeshua is the Messiah. We are available to you if you have any questions.

If you are Jewish and already believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, your Jewish identity still matters to God. He gave this identity to you as Your Father in Heaven. It also matters to the your life in the Body of Messiah, made up of Jews and Gentiles. You are part of the saved remnant of Israel. It is so important that you know that Jesus the LORD preserves Jewish identity in the remnant of Israel within His one international, multiethnic Ekklesia (Congregation). Isn't His Jewish identity preserved as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root and Offspring of David? It most definitely is. If it is not God's will to preserve a distinct Jewish People in the Body of Messiah, how can we say, Jesus loves the Jewish People as Jews? We couldn't. It is a logical contradiction.  Your Jewish identity is loved by Yeshua! It is part of who you are!

So if you are Jewish or Gentile believer in Messiah, and you were taught that the Jewish identity of Jews who believe in Jesus is not important, you were taught replacement theology. We think it is wrong, and at best unintentionally anti-semitic. People can hate their gender, and people can hate their ethnicity. This can also happen with being Jewish, especially since they have been a target of so much hatred throughout human history. But a major problem with rejecting the enduring importance of Jewish identity is it's anti-Gospel and anti-biblical. For the gospel that is revealed in the bible makes the nations heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Yeshua.  It doesn't eradicate the Jewish People as Jewish People! Let us mention again. Jesus was, is, and will forever be Jewish.

His Name is in Hebrew Yeshua. His mothers name was Miriam (Mary). He was born a Jew, circumcised as a Jew on the 8th day, dedicated in the Jerusalem Temple as a Jew, raised in a Jewish family, in a Jewish town, went to a Jewish Synagogue, lived as a Jewish Rabbi, taught the Torah faithfully, did miracles by the power of the God of Israel, suffered in love for His own Jewish People, and died to redeem Israel and the nations from sin and death for true freedom according to God's promise to Abraham for a Community of Peoples that would be blessed. He was buried as a Jew and rose bodily from the dead as a Jew. He ascended as Jew from the Mount of Olives into the invisible Heaven of heavens to God's right hand.  When He returns He will return as the promised Jewish descendant of David who is destined to rule over Jacob, a Jewish People forever!

Even the New Jerusalem that will ultimately come down from Heaven to earth has twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel on it. This shows the enduring set apartness of Israel in God's plan. The foundations of this City have the names of the twelve Jewish apostles of the Lamb on it. So very clearly, and indisputably, Jewish identity is part of God's eternal plan. It is not a mere means to an end. That is a destructive replacement theological idea.

This a Good News for all peoples! If you are a gentile from any people group in the world, your identity matters to! The identity of every nation, people, tribe, and language is of eternal significance in God's Kingdom. If God bestows an identity on us, should we repudiate it? No! Is it ethical to reject the gift of our identity given to us by a wise, thoughtful, benevolent Creator? No! Shouldn't we be who God created us to be as human image bearers of equal worth, whether Jewish or Gentile, male or female and see our identity fully expressed through God's redemption plan in the Messiah for Israel and the world? Yes!

If you're a Christian who is part of a church, and you're excited about what we are doing, don't assume you're supposed to leave your church. All truth belongs to the whole People of God. So what we are talking about is not only a Kingdom Living Messianic Congregation thing, it is a God thing, a Bible thing, a Gospel thing, and family of God thing.  It is movement of relational unity that honors the created distinctions God has given Humanity to be ordered and governed by covenant keeping love and faithfulness in the Presence of God. Together we proclaim salvation by God's covenant faithfulness, by grace, through faith in Messiah Yeshua to God's glory, leading to lives of Gospel based faithfulness, love, obedience, unity, and good works as we wait for the fullness of our redemption when Messiah comes again!

So be a part of this, beginning where you are! We are also happy to talk with anyone, including your pastors or leaders.  Above all, follow the LORD according to His revelation in the Bible and in Jesus the Messiah. And be humble. Don't be puffed up with knowledge. Don't be ungrateful for all the Church has done well, taught well, and given us up to this point in history. There are many things we need to learn from the historical Church. Yes, grieve her evils, especially against God and the Jewish People.  We need to turn back to truth, but in the process we can't turn our backs on the Bride Yeshua is preparing for Himself!