Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
             let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Psalm 95:1

   
 

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Our worship services take place in the Fellowship Hall
of Bethesda
Presbyterian Church
(entrance from the back)
located at
808 Red Lion Rd.
(between Bustleton Ave and Veree Rd.)

Fridays 8:00pm
(Fellowship and
dinner at 7:30)

We are very open to discussing any spiritual matters

or anything concerning Rock of Israel.

Below are some commonly asked questions,

or please Contact Us with your questions!



Some questions Jews ask us ...

Q. Aren't you claiming to be Christian and Jewish at the same time? Isn't that a

contradiction in terms?

Q. How can a Jew believe in Jesus when Christians persecuted Jews for

centuries?

Q. What evidence is there that Jesus is really the Messiah? We've had just as

much war and trouble in the last two thousand years as we ever have.

Q. If Jesus is really the Jewish Messiah, why haven't the rabbis believed in him?
Q. Why should Jewish people have to believe in Jesus? If we live a good life,

that will be good enough.

Some questions believers in Messiah ask us ...

Q. How can a congregation be Messianic and be Reformed at the same time?
Q. I have never heard of a Jew believing in Reformed Theology!
Q. Do you believe in the restoration of Israel as a believing nation,

distinguishable from believing Gentiles?

Q. How do you interpret "until the times of the gentiles be fulfilled" from

Romans 11?

Q. How do you understand the baptism of infants? Is there any connection to

circumcision?

Q. Do you still believe in the Abrahamic covenant?
Q. How can you say that the Jewish people are still God's "chosen" people?



Q. Aren't you claiming to be Christian and Jewish at the same time? Isn't that a contradiction in terms?

The word "Christian" came from a Greek word which was a simple translation of the Hebrew term "mashiach", or messiah, meaning one specially anointed by God. The early Christians were mostly Jews, and believed in Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of Israel. Through the first centuries of the Christian movement, many were Jewish and maintained a Jewish identity and lifestyle. However, there was much anti-Semitism in the ancient Roman empire, and gradually Christian leaders lost sight of the simple fact that Christianity is about a Jewish God, a Jewish Bible, and a Jewish Messiah, and tried to separate themselves from everything Jewish, and even began to excommunicate Jewish believers in Jesus who wanted to follow Jewish customs such as keeping Passover as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This was a great tragedy, and went directly against the teaching of the early leaders of the movement, such as Saul of Tarsus (called in Greek, Paul) who warned Gentile leaders of the church not to think they were somehow better than Jews. The Messianic movement has been a recovery of that simple truth: that the faith we call Christian is at root a Jewish faith, a completion of everything God promised to his chosen people. The word "Jew" means many things: a descendant of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob; a member of the ethnic group consisting of those descendents; a member of a nation -- the nation of Israel; a follower of the rabbis who led most Jews after the destruction of the temple. People do not usually distinguish between these things, because they usually come all wrapped up together, but today, as in Jesus' times, there is not one Judaism, but many different groups who call themselves Jewish, even though Reform Jews have more in common in their beliefs with Unitarians than with Orthodox Jews. We believe, simply, that Christianity properly understood is essentially Jewish, and that people of Jewish heritage can accept the truth that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah without giving up their Jewish identity. Many Jews who believe in Jesus the Messiah prefer to avoid calling themselves "Christians" because the word has come to carry all kinds of meanings that have little to do with what the Jews who wrote the New Testament had in mind.

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Q. How can a Jew believe in Jesus when Christians persecuted Jews for centuries?

Anti-Semitism is wickedness and a sin against God. It is a sin that many who called themselves Christians have committed, to their shame. But not all who call themselves Christians were following the teachings of the Messiah. Unfortunately, whatever their religion, whether Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or Christian, it is easy for people to twist their own beliefs and use them to justify persecuting people of other faiths. It came about because it was easier for people to listen to a lie, such as "Jews killed Christ" than to admit to the truth ... that Messiah died because of my sin and wickedness, and that I must forsake such wickedness and accept that salvation comes from the Jews, that is, from the Jewish Messiah, who taught that we must do good even to those who persecute us. The one who turned the other cheek when the Gentile soldiers of Rome nailed him to a cross, will never condone anyone taking his name as justification for persecuting his own people, whom the New Testament teaches are still beloved of God.

The question is not what other people have done that is evil, but what you are going to do about the Messiah of Israel.

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Q. What evidence is there that Jesus is really the Messiah? We've had just as much war and trouble in the last two thousand years as we ever have.

There have been many who have claimed to be the Messiah over the centuries. But none of them fulfilled the Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures. Only Yeshua of Nazareth, born of the line of David, fulfilled them all, as can be shown if you study the scriptures in detail. We cannot prove that to you in a few lines on a web page, but he is the one whom the Prophet Isaiah wrote of, the suffering servant who would stand in Israel's place. Rabbis have read the same prophecies and come to the conclusion there are two messiahs: the Messiah who would suffer and die for his people, and the Messiah who would rule as king and throw down all evil and bring peace. We believe there is one Messiah: the one who came, and who died for his people, and will return to bring peace and the Kingdom of God on Earth.

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Q. If Jesus is really the Jewish Messiah, why haven't the rabbis believed in him?

Many have, starting with members of the Sanhedrin who did not agree that Jesus should be put to death. And their fate has universally been the same: they have been rejected by the other leaders, cast out of leadership, ostracized. At first this was because the leaders refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, because if they did, they feared that the Romans would do what they did a generation later: burn the city of Jerusalem to the ground and destroy the Temple. Later, it was because they had a position to uphold, having already rejected the claim that Yeshua of Nazareth is the Messiah. That is how we so often are, all of us: we hate to admit that we are wrong, and will go to great lengths to avoid admitting any mistake.

The question is not, why did the rabbis not believe, but why will you not believe? If he is the Savior of the World, wouldn't you want to know?

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Q. Why should Jewish people have to believe in Jesus? If we live a good life, that will be good enough.

That is a very popular idea, of course, because it is very comforting. But the Judaism of the Bible was not a comforting religion. The man who sinned, died. God provided sacrifices through the temple system to cover men's sins, so that they would not die. And it was the blood of the sacrifices that "atoned" or covered sin so that God could forgive it. In the first century A.D., everyone understood this was true. No one denied it. Then the Romans destroyed the temple, and the Rabbis of the day, who had rejected Yeshua as the Messiah, had to explain to their followers how they could stand before God without sacrifices to cover their sin. So they told them, just do good works and pray, and that will be a sacrifice. But God never said so. He had already made provision, before the Temple was destroyed, by sending the Messiah to be the permanent sacrifice for sin. And that is the true solution to the problem the Rabbis tried to cover over by promising their followers that prayer and good works were good enough to earn God's forgiveness.

If you think your life is "good enough" to please God, remember what the prophet Isaiah wrote: "All our righteousness is like dirty rags." If you have never had an evil desire, never wanted what was not yours, never lied, never been angry at someone, never cheated anyone in any way, always loved God before everything else -- maybe you, if you are such a paragon of virtue, can hope your life will be good enough to please God. But if you are a normal person like the rest of us, you should consider the claims of Jesus.

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Q. How can a congregation be Messianic and be Reformed at the same time? All the Messianic leaders I have heard hold views contrary to Reformed theology. I have been told that the roots of Reformed theology comes from the reformation against the Catholic church, but that it still retains a fundamental misunderstanding of Israel's place in the scriptures.

A. Unfortunately, this is the popular misunderstanding of the Reformed world view. See "To The Jew First: A Reformed Perspective," a speech given by Dr. Richard L. Pratt at last year's Chosen People Ministry conference in New York. Also, www.Chaim.org explains a lot about much about Reformed Theology in connection with Messianic Jews.

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Q. The reason I am asking you these things is that I have heard the perspectives of Messianic Jews who are NOT Reformed, and gentiles who are Reformed and don't really understand or have a heart for the Messianic movement. But I have never heard of a Jew believing in Reformed Theology!

A. In our humble opinion, Reformed theology (not Replacement theology - there is a big difference!) is the theology of Paul the Jew! The links given in answer to the question just above this one will provide a lot of fascinating information that was not revealed to you by the Messianic leaders you mentioned.

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Q. Do you believe in the restoration of Israel as a believing nation, distinguishable from, but not better than, believing Gentiles?

A. Sure! Paul does, so do we. See "How can you say that the Jewish people are still God's "chosen" people?"

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Q. How do you interpret "until the times of the gentiles be fulfilled" from Romans 11?

A. Not sure. God is probably talking about the current season of gentiles being open to the gospel.

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Q. How do you understand the baptism of infants? Is there any connection to circumcision?

A. Circumcision is not replaced by baptism, but rather it runs parallel to it. For gentiles it is a replacement, for the Jews it is an addition.

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Q. Do you still believe in the Abrahamic covenant?

A. How can you not believe in the Abrahamic covenant!?

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Q. How can you say that the Jewish people are still God's "chosen" people?

As I read my Bible, God's chosen people were chosen to take the Word of God to the World. Israel took a wrong view of that obligation and understood the "Chosen" element as making them above others. The only advantage they had was the Word of God, which they frequently rejected for inferior religions, and chose falsehood over truth. The Israel of God has always been and always will be those who come to God by faith, and are thus the spiritual seed of Abraham, and long before the first century A.D. there were Gentiles who came to faith in God and were included among God's people, including such biblical characters as Ruth and Rahab the prostitute. The death and resurrection of the Messiah, by making permanent provision to cover our sins, opened the doors for Gentiles to be included among God's people without having to become part of the physical nation of Israel. Yet the basic situation did not change: those who were born of the physical seed of Abraham, but who did not believe, had the opportunity to claim God's promises but did not, while those who came to God by faith were justified by that faith. Some from theological viewpoints other than Reformed, have mistakenly assumed that unbelieving Jews are still "Chosen" and rate higher with God than others. This cannot be supported from Scripture. The people whom God has elected to receive salvation are those who put their faith in Jesus the Messiah and his saving work. All God's people belong to one body, the body of those he has chosen to be his remnant, doing his work in the world.

However, we believe there is a mysterious sense in which the Jewish people are still God's "chosen" people, even though most do not follow Messiah Jesus. As stated in Romans 11:28 (NIV):

"As far as the gospel in concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election [ten eklogen in the original Greek text, meaning 'choice', 'the act of picking out', 'choosing'] is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable."

Does this mean that there is an alternate method for Jews to be saved, outside the saving work of Messiah (as many dispensationalists would say)? We don't think so. Does this mean that the Jews as a people rate higher than other people groups in God's eyes (as some Jews themselves would say, and then anti-Semites react to this)? We don't think so. Do they have a head start with God? They might have a "head start" to a fuller understanding of Messiah if they understand the Old Testament well. Even Jesus told the teacher of the law "You are not far from the kingdom of God" (Mark 12:34). But this doesn't mean that the teacher was saved.

We believe that God has decided to preserve the Jews as a distinct people, distinct from Edomites, Romans, Franks, Visigoths, Russians, Americans, and all the other people groups who have become or will be extinct one day. And Paul says that the time will come when all Israel will be saved, and that when it is, that acceptance will be "like life from the dead".

We think it is within the realm of Reformed understanding of the book of Romans to see that God has special plans for the Jewish nation, plans for a future which involves Jesus the Messiah at the center, and will fulfill their original calling to be a people chosen and dedicated to him. But it is our desire above all these issues of interpretation to see many Jewish people come to saving faith in their Messiah.

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