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Shalom and welcome.
New Covenant Congregation of Israel is happy that you have visited us and we are just as excited to see your interest in learning biblical theology from a Hebraic perspective. We are a Messianic Sinaitic congregation, a form of Messianic Judaism, and are happy and blessed that Yah (Ps. 68:4) has given us this revelation. This is the theology that was practiced by Yahoshua and the apostles in the first century under Nazarenism (Acts 24:5), and what today is called primitive Christianity (Acts 11:26; 26:28) by the proponents of modern Christianity (neo-Christianity), the Christianity that the world practices today.
We invite you to our FAQs section as well as our articles to become familiar with Messianic Sinaiticism and our organization in Messiah. We also have video lectures that can be viewed to further expound on our theology. Our objective as a Sinaitic ministry is to enlighten the minds of seekers and enrich the lives of believers through the gospel of the Old and New Testaments. God (Elohim) is the creator of all flesh (Acts 17:26) and seeks to save all flesh that comes to Him in truth and in righteousness (John 4:24; 17:17; 18:37; Eph. 4:21; Col. 1:5-6), in the faith of Yahoshua the Messiah (Ez. 18:27-32; 2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17), viz., through His laws and commandments (Rev. 12:17; 14:12-13) while acknowledging Yahoshua as the Son of God, Messiah, Intercessor, and Priest (1 John 2:1-2; Matt. 16:16; Rom. 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:25).
No, we do not believe in the Trinity. The Trinity is a second-century patristical concept sanctioned in the fourth century AD at the council of Nicaea. It is the belief that the Father (Yah) is a God revealed in three persons (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). We acknowledge the Father, or God, is one divine being who alone created the heavens and the earth. He alone is to be worshiped. Yahoshua clearly stated this in Luke 4:8. Yah said there was no other God but Him and we accept His word (Ex. 8:10; Deut. 4:35, 39; 32:39; Is. 43:10-13, Is. 44:6-8, Is. 45:5-6, Is. 45:12, Is. 45:14-15, Is. 45:18, Is. 45:21-22; Is. 46:3-5, Is. 46:9-10; Hos. 13:4; Joel 2:27; Ps. 86:10). The New Testament affirms what is written in the Old Testament, strongly ratifying God’s word (John 17:3; Mark 12:29,32). It is our belief, that to accept another being as God the Father, or equal to God the Father is blasphemous to the Father because it compromises his omnipotence and omniscience. No one possesses these traits other than the Almighty Father, Yah. This is the reason He is referred to as El Shaddai (God Almighty). If there are other gods or beings equal to Him, then He is not All Mighty (John 17:3).
Frend, W H C. The Rise of Christianity. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984.
George, Timothy. God the Holy Trinity: Reflections on Christian Faith and Practice. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006.
New Covenant Congregation of Israel is funded by freewill offerings, pledges, and donations. We augment our revenues with various types of fundraisers. We cannot ask for, command or receive tithes. Tithing is a theocratic ordinance assigned to the nation of Israel which is applicable only to the Levites for their service and the Aaronic priesthood for their services as priests, intercessors, judges, and mediators. Tithing was always given in the form of food. It was a dietary compensation first exhibited by Abraham to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:17-24; Heb. 7:1-10) and then for the Levites services (Num. 18:20-32; 2 Chr. 31:8-12; Neh. 13:1-12; Mal. 3:6-10). It remained as food in the New Testament (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42). Tithing was given in Jerusalem at the Temple to the Levites. If the journey was too far to transport one’s goods, Yah allowed the worshiper to convert their goods into money, and then to purchase whatever they desired to consume when they arrived at the temple. Tithes could also be eaten by the poor, strangers, fatherless, widows in the community (Deut. 14:22-29).
The congregants of the New Covenant assemblies gave free will offerings to support and sustain the ministry and the ministers, “if they elected to receive compensation” (Luke 10:7; Matt. 10:10; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 Cor. 9:1-18; 2 Cor. 9:6-15; Rom. 15:27). Tithing as a form of monetary compensation is a Catholic invention introduced at the Synod of Tours (AD 567) and the Synod of Macon (AD 585). Nowhere in the Bible does Yah, Yahoshua or the apostles command tithes to be given in the form of money or to anyone other than the Levites and priests. Like the ancient New Covenant assemblies, we are sustained from freewill offerings, and although it is difficult to do at times, it is the only form of financial support we can accept. If a church or a Hebraic organization requests or requires you to pay 10 percent of your earnings, they are doing so unbiblically, unrighteously in an ungodly manner, thereby, using Yah’s word deceitfully to enrich their ministry and themselves (2 Pet. 2:3; 2 Cor. 2:17; 4:2; 1 Thess. 2:5).
Babbs, Arthur V. The Law of the Tithe: as Set Forth in the Old Testament, Illustrated, Explained and Enforced from Biblical and from Extra-Biblical Sources (Classic Reprint). London, England: Forgotten Books, 2015.
Shaff, “New Religious Encyclopedia,” Art. “Tithes.” In the book by Arthur V. Babbs, The Law of the Tithe: as Set Forth in the Old Testament, Illustrated, Explained and Enforced from Biblical and from Extra-Biblical Sources (Classic Reprint). London England: Forgotten Books, 2015.
This is one of the most commonly asked questions because people are trying to observe halakha Sabbath in a Messianic frame. We observe the Messianic Sabbath by having our holy convocation and resting from servile and or occupational labor on the Sabbath as the law prescribes (Ex. 20:8-11; 31:12-18; Lev. 23:3; Deut. 5:14). The law forbids lighting a fire on the Sabbath as well because the task is arduous (Ex. 35:3). However, this is not the situation today for most modern homes. Today we turn on the heat by igniting the pilot light (fire) to heat water for warm baths on the Sabbath, we warm foods on the Sabbath, and we ignite engines in vehicles for transportation, etc. Those who attempt to observe the letter of this law normally fail by using modern conveniences. The Sabbath legislation has a dynamic attribute and a broader context.
Finally, as a Tabernacle, we serve food for fellowship on the Sabbath, as a part of our fundraising initiative to address the financial wellness of our institution. These fund-raising initiatives create funds to pay utilities, mortgage, evangelical expenses (print, publishing, presentations, recording, broadcasting, etc.), taxes and alms. Hence, we work on the Sabbath as the leaders of the synagogues, priests, and the Levites did in order to address the needs of the temple and the people who worshiped there. Yahoshua addressed what can be done on the Sabbath. He illustrated in the gospels that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, thus man is master of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28). People may work on the Sabbath to address their needs (policeman, medical professionals, utility repairmen, operators, store clerks, etc.) and we support them fully in Messiah. This was the purpose of the Messiah’s ministry, to show us how to live life in the Torah and serve Yah without hypocrisy. We understand that not everyone has knowledge of the Messianic Sabbath (how to keep the Sabbath as Yahoshua explained it see Matt. 12:1-4). Messianic Sinaiticism liberates all believers from the Pharisaical yoke of halakha, and allows us to practice the Sabbath by convocating on this day, resting on this day, and if necessary, working on this day. This is the tradition that the apostles passed to the believers and admonished them not to add to it (2 Thess. 2:15). Messianic Sinaiticism is the faith that was given by Yahoshua, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2).
Carson, D A., ed. From Sabbath to Lord's Day: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Investigation. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1999.
Cave, William. Primitive Christianity: Or the Religion of the Ancient Christians in the First Ages of the Gospel. London: Thomas Tegg, 1840.
We observe Passover based on the pre-exilic calculation revealed in Exodus (Ex. 9:31; 12:1-2; 13:4; 23:15; 34:18). It is a memorial celebrated on the 15th of Abib, which also memorializes the death and resurrection of Yahoshua (Lev. 23:5-6; Matt. 26:17-20). The Sacrament is a critical part of this celebration; the unleavened bread symbolizes the body of Yahoshua, and the wine (alcoholic) symbolizes the shedding of Yahoshua’s blood (Matt. 26:26-28; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Together they confirm the inauguration of the New Covenant that remits sins (Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 10:9-10,12-18). Those who partake in the Sacrament must be baptized in the name of Yahoshua, the Messiah, in the Messianic Sinaitic faith (or speak with the elder about prior baptisms), ceremonially clean (not menstruating or defiled with corpses or a running discharge through venereal diseases), and clean of heart (not having grudges or unreconciled issues with another), see "unclean" (Lev 11; 12; 13; 14; and 15) and clean of heart (1 Corinthians 11:28-32).
Blomberg, Craig L. 1 Corinthians (The NIV Application Commentary). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994.
Hawthorne, Gerald F, ed. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1993.
We realize that some Hebraic groups and other religious sects begin a day at sunrise. This is when a work day begins, but not the day cycle. We observe a full 24-hour day from evening to evening as the Bible specifically prescribes and describes (Gen. 1:5; Lev. 23:27,32). This question emerges because some believe that a day begins at dawn based upon John 11:9. “Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.’” Yahoshua is referring to twelve hours in a work day. The first half of the day begins at evening (night). The second half begins at dawn (day) both halves represent a full day or a day cycle previously mentioned.
Brown, William. Antiquities of the Jews... Compiled from Authentic Sources. Philadelphia, PA: W. W. Woodward, 1823.
France, R. T. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2007.
We observe the conjunction moon (dark moon) as the beginning of the month based on Psalms 81:3 which associates the moon with darkness. It is then ratified by how the Essenes and Samaritans used the conjunction moon to create their calendar. Our practice is supported by scholars and extrabiblical sources such as the Targum and the Talmudic references. All identify the conjunction moon as the moon Israelites used during the pre-exilic era to introduce the beginning of the year, month, and Holydays. The Bible does not mention or intimate the use of a crescent moon or full moon as the beginning of the month as many have asserted from Genesis 1:14.
Spier, Arthur. The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar: Twentieth to Twenty-Second Century, 5660-5860, 1900-2100, 3rd ed. Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1986.
Wise, Michael Owen, ed. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Vol. 722, Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Khirbet Qumran Site: Present Realities and Future Prospects. New York, NY: New York Academy of Sciences, 1994.
We use an elided pronunciation for the Messiah, Yahshua, instead of the pronunciation Yeshua יֵשׁוּעַ for theophoric reasons. The Tiberian pronunciation for the Messiah is Yehoshua יְהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ. The Judean pronunciation for the Messiah is most probably Yahoshua יָהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ. The difference between the two names is the prefix where Yehoshua is written with the Masoretic vowel called the sheva and Yahoshua is written with the Masoretic vowel called the qamats. Most scholars would agree that the philological vocalization of these theophoric names began and terminated with "Yah" and "Yahu" prior to the Babylonian captivity, and prior to the invention of the niqqud vowel system.
The only difference between the two names is the English vowels "e" and "a". In the post-Babylonian era (post-exilic), the name Yeshua was used, which means he saves (1 Chr. 24:11; Ezra 2:2, Neh. 3:19). In the pre-exilic era (prior to the Babylonian captivity), the vocalization was Yehoshua or Yahoshua, meaning Yah saves. These two names represent the Tiberian and Judean vocalizations pronounced in northern and southern Israel. It is also the name(s) Yah uses when referencing people who carried these names (Zech. 6:11; Hag 1:1). We prefer to use the name that Yah most likely used when referring to His people. Yahshua is the elided pronunciation for Yahoshua due to ambiguity surrounding the wav holem and wav shureq vowels. Nevertheless, Yehoshua, Yahoshua and Yahshua means "Yah saves," and are the names we use to represent this action.
Ilan, Ṭal. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism. Vol.1, Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity: Palestine 330 Bce - 200 Ce. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002.
McCarter, P. Kyle. "'Yaw, Son of 'Omri': A Philological Note on Israelite Chronology." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 206 (December 1974): 5-7.
Skinner, Hubert Marshall. The Story of the Letters and Figures. Chicago, IL: Brewer Publishing Company, 1905.
No. Males in our organization do not wear head coverings as a religious edict. By law, the Aaronic priests were commanded to wear head coverings (Ex. 28:40; 29:9; Lev. 8:13), no one else. Males in most Hebraic congregations wear head coverings because they assume they are priests based on Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 61:6 and 1 Peter 2:9. Our assembly does not endorse such a premise due to the context of the passage. In the New Testament the Pharisees performed a priestly duty by evangelizing to Israelites (Matt. 23:15). The apostles and disciples continued in this priestly role by interceding on behalf of man, teaching, evangelizing, and overseeing the spiritual development of the community (Matt. 10:5-15; Acts 1:8; Eph. 4:11-12). These functions were without the title and ordinances given to the priests. In fact, none of the Pharisees, apostles, nor disciples were referred to as priests, but teachers, evangelists, prophets, and overseers. Therefore, there is no biblical premise to wear head coverings other than cultural wear. The idea of men wearing head coverings is a concept formulated by religious clerics in Judaism, who wear head coverings to symbolize that Yah watches over them. Most have merely adopted an ecclesiastical practice that is not applicable to them from a biblical perspective.
Eisenberg, Ronald L. The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions. JPS Guide. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2004.
Lynch, Annette, ed. Ethnic Dress in the United States: A Cultural Encyclopedia. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.
We prefer not to vocalize the Tetragrammaton because of its nebulousness and contention. We prefer to use the name Yah because David, as a prophet, commanded everyone to call upon this name (Ps. 68:4). Secondly, there are several variables to the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. The one most favored by tradition, and according to the historian Flavius Josephus, is Yehuah, Yahuah, Yehoah, or Yahoah, meaning "He Be" or "He Exists" (Josephus, Wars, V. 5.7). Yahwah seems plausible, based upon fifth-century theologian and biblical commentator Theodoret's interpretation, (Theodoret, The Library of Early Christianity, vol.1, The Questions On the Octateuch, 251). Grammatically, Yahayah or Yehayah (third person masculine singular) from Ehyeh or Ahayah (first person masculine singular) could also be a consideration based upon second century rabbinical theologian and student of Rabbi Akiva (50 – 135) Aquila's supposition (Norman Walker, "The Writing of the Divine Name in Aquila and the Ben Asher Text," 103-104).
The vocalization Ahyah is not God's name, the construct represents the origin of His name (Yah). As for Yahweh, it is an academic vocalization for the Tetragrammaton. Yehovah is a spurious vocalization created by scribes amongst several other vocalizations found in several Hebrew manuscripts. It is also the vocalization that engendered the Latin Jehovah which emerges from Yehovah. These three vocalizations are most spurious. We conclude that the most accurate and perhaps the most archaic vocalization for God's name is not the Tetragrammaton, but the Digrammaton, Yah, as David affirms.
Arnold, William R. "The Divine Name in Exodus 3:14". Journal of Biblical Literature 24.2 (1905): 107–165.
MacLaurin, E. C. B. "Yhwh, the Origin of the Tetragrammaton." Vetus Testamentum 12, no. 4 (Oct 1962): 439-63.
The law forbids women and men of wearing apparel not designed or created for them (Deut. 22:5). Simply put, cross-dressing is prohibited by Law, a woman is not to attire herself to appear as a man neither is a man to attire himself to appear as a woman. The law does not forbid women from wearing pants or shirts as many teach. A woman’s apparel should be modest, not revealing or exposing the “adorning” of the female. In addition, the law does not require women to have their heads covered; this is a cultural practice when attending the assembly, it is not required. Paul suggests that a woman wear her head covered when praying or prophesying (1 Cor. 11:5). Nevertheless, many of the women and girls, in our assembly wear head coverings in general, because it is a symbol of her operating under the authority of her parent, husband, partner or Yahoshua (1 Cor. 11:10).
Lamdan, Ruth. A Separate People: Jewish Women in Palestine, Syria, and Egypt in the Sixteenth Century. Leiden: BRILL, 2000.
Shalit, Wendy. A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2000.
Fringes are commanded to be upon outer garments that have a vent on both sides, thereby creating what are known as wings (Num. 15:38; Deut. 22:12). A fringe is to be tied to each wing, of the garment thus a total of 4 fringes. The garment was the simlah (Ex. 22:27) or salma (Ex. 22:26), meaning an outer garment. The simlah was used not only to cover one's self, but it was large and thick enough to serve as protection as one slept. In Hebrew, the simlah was worn over the kethōneth, which was the undergarment or tunic (Gen. 3:21,37:3). In Greek, it was called hēmätēon, referring to the upper or outer garment, the cloak or mantle, which was thrown over the inner garment called a tunic. The tunic is called the chitōna in Greek, and is also considered the shirt (Matt. 5:40; 10:10; Mark 6:9; Luke 6:29; 9:3).
The hēmätēon (cloak) was the costlier of the two garments. John writes, “When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also, his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom” (John 19:23). The soldiers took Yahoshua's himatia and parted it. This was his outer garment, the garment he wore his fringes upon (Matt. 9:20; 14:36; Mark 6:56; Luke 8:44). It was on this garment that the Pharisees enlarged their fringes to bring attention to themselves (Matt. 23:5), not the tunic or shirt called the chitōna. As a memorial of the commandment, but not by Torah command, many within the assembly will wear fringes upon anything that has four corners to commemorate this law. However, the immediate context for the law of fringes is, they are to be worn on the outer garment.
Block, Daniel. Deuteronomy (The NIV Application Commentary). Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Academic, 2012.
Gibson, John Monro. The Gospel of St. Matthew. New York: A.C Armstrong and Son, 1903.
We acknowledge the Holy Spirit as Yah's emissary between man and Yah. From Genesis through Malachi, Yah has always used the Holy Spirit to relay His thoughts and plans, thus we acknowledge him as an angel who appears to man at Yah’s behest. He is a messenger sent by Yah to bestow gifts and messages to those who are appointed to evangelize Yah's word (John 3:34;1 Cor. 2:4-11; Acts 13:2). In these last days he operates by Yahoshua's direction as commanded by Yah (Rev. 1:1-2,10, 4:2; 22:8). We do not acknowledge him as Yah’s active force, energy etc. nor do we acknowledge him as Yah or being equal to Yah or Yahoshua. The Holy Spirit is an angel in his spiritual state sent to do the will of the Father.
Barker, Margaret. The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God. American ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992.
Rowland, Christopher, and Christopher R A. Morray-Jones. Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum Ad Novum Testamentum. Section Iii, Jewish Traditions in Early Christian Literature,. Vol. 12, The Mystery of God: Early Jewish Mysticism and the New Testament. Leiden: Brill, 2009.
The Bible does not suggest we should or command us to worship Yahoshua, only to acknowledge the authority given to him by Yah (Matt. 28:18; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:1-4). This acknowledgement demonstrates a form of worship deriving from the Old English word worðscip "worthyship," which is a condition of being worthy, dignity, glory, distinction, honor, renown, from weorð, meaning worthy and ship meaning quality, condition; act, power, skill; office, position. In this sense, Solomon was worshiped (1 Chr. 29:20), Peter was worshiped (Acts 10:25), and angels were worshiped (Rev. 22:8). Notice, the form of worship given to them was an acknowledgment of their position and power, not an acknowledgment of deity. They were given respect, reverence and honor (Rom. 13:7).
We acknowledge and bestow honor unto Yahoshua as King (Luke 23:3; Rev. 19:16), Priest (Heb. 7:15-17), Son of Elohim (Matt. 16:16), Messiah (Mark 8:29), Lord (John 13:13), Master Teacher (Matt. 23:10), Savior (John 3:17), Propitiator (1 John 2:2), Yah’s Messenger (Matt. 15:24; John 18:37), Prophet (Luke 7:16), Judge (John 5:30), Intercessor (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1), and Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). He died, was raised on the third day of his death (Matt. 16:21; 20:19; 27:63) and given a new spiritual body (Luke 24:39;1 Cor. 15: 45-46,). It is at this point that Thomas refers to Yahoshua as god in the sense of his authority and transformation (John 20:28), confirmed by his birth from the grave by Yah. Thus, we acknowledge him as son of God, Messiah, King, and god in the sense of the authority and power granted to him and reverence him as such.
Nowhere in the Bible does Yahoshua command believers to worship him. He commands believers to believe on him as a commandment that comes from the Father Yah (John 6:29; 1 John 3:23). The worship of Yahoshua as god begins in the second century AD by the patristics, and is still the practice today in modern Christianity, developed and argued by ambiguous Scriptures, Scriptural eisegesis, philosophy, and theories to support the practice. However, this completely violates the first two commandments of the Decalogue. We serve Yah, giving absolute and unadulterated worship to Yah, as Yah commanded.
Dunn, James D G. Did the First Christians Worship Jesus? The New Testament Evidence. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.
Hillar, Marian. From Logos to Trinity: The Evolution of Religious Beliefs from Pythagoras to Tertullian. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
The New Testament assembly, or church, called Nazarenes, or Christians, represented a new sect within Judaism (Acts 24:5; 11:26; 26:28). Sadly, the patristics (Church fathers) of the second century adopted both terms and changed the system to negate the Torah, and to elevate Yahoshua to the status of god; neither practice is Biblical, Messianic, or apostolic. We refer to our doctrine and theology as Messianic Sinaiticism, which is the doctrine of the New Testament. Yahoshua was a fundamental practitioner of the Torah and commanded all believers to practice it (Matt. 5:17-20; 7:21-23; 19:16-17). He was ordained to fulfill the sacrificial components of the Torah that addressed sin and reconciliation through the grace of Yah (Titus 2:11; Rom. 5:10-11), and to repel Yah's judgments (Rom. 5:1,9,16; 8:1).
So, Sinaiticism is a system of beliefs that emanates from Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:1). Sinaiticism adheres to the laws of Yah codified in the Torah without adding human traditions, such as halakha laws or ecclesiastical laws (Is. 8:20; Col. 2:8). Yahoshua rejected Pharisaical Judaism, which introduced halakha laws, and any form of Judaism that was outside of, or added to the Torah (Matt. 15:2-9; Luke 11:38). Thus, Messianic Sinaiticism is a system that practices the Torah without human traditions, including manmade holydays, such as Purim, Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah. Our system of belief and faith acknowledges Yahoshua as the author and perfecter of this faith (Heb. 12:2).
Davies, W. D. Christian Engagements with Judaism. Trinity Press: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1999.
Vermès, Géza. Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1981.
You are referring to Lashon Hakodesh or what the BHI (Black Hebrew Israelites) refer to as Lashawan Qadash “the holy language.” We ascribe to Lashon Hakodesh. We write, speak and read the northern Tiberian Masoretic Hebrew script, which is the common print language for the Masoretic text (MT). Others within the Hebraic community including scholars, rabbis, theologians etc. also read, write, speak, and teach from this text. The Tiberian Masoretic dialect (Tiberian Hebrew) was introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries AD through vowels and diacritic marks composed by the Masoretes to create a vocalization for ancient Hebrew words. Arguably, Tiberian Hebrew has been regarded by many researchers as the most precise reproduction of the original Semitic consonantal and vowel sounds of ancient Hebrew. There are many different dialects of Hebrew:
Lashawan Qadash is a language created in 1969 by the so-called Black Hebrew Israelites of Harlem New York. The school or congregation this language emerges from is the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge (ISUPK) also known as One West. This language is used by them and many of their splinters. It is not a real or authentic language and is even stated by some of their leaders to be a theory of how ancient Hebrew Israelites spoke, but there is no evidence to support this theory. The language is predicated upon one primary sound "ah" supposedly derived from the Assyrian or Aramaic lexical system regarded as the ancient paleo Hebrew. However, there is no evidence to support their premise other than showing the paleo script without vowels. There were no vowels though some of the consonants doubled as long vowels. With this ancient long vowel system there exists a minimum of three vowels a, i, and u. "The original vowels in Hebrew, as in the other Semitic tongues, are a, i, u. E and o always arise from an obscuring or contraction of these three pure sounds, viz. ĕ by modification from ı̆ or ă; short ŏ from ŭ; ê by contraction from ai (properly ay); and ô sometimes by modification (obscuring) from â, sometimes by contraction from au (properly aw)" (Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, 2nd ed., 39).
In Lashawan Qadash, many Hebrew words are vocalized by an "ah" sound underscored with additional consonants, dismissing the fact that there are two other vowels in ancient Semitic languages. For example. The Father's spurious name, Yahuah or Yahwah, becomes Yahawa. Yahudah (Judah) becomes Yahawadah. The Messiah's name or his predecessors with the same name Yahoshua becomes Yahawashi. The standard greeting shalom becomes shalawam, and the nation of Ysrael becomes Yasharahla. A simple todah (thank you) becomes tawadah. There are no biblical, historical, lexical, or cultural premises for these lexical constructs and vocalizations. There is no scholarship to Lashawan Qadash, nor any evidence of vocalization from any Semitic language tree, which makes this language false, and thus, we vehemently reject Lashawan Qadash because it is not an intelligible or functional language.
Pratico, Gary D., and Miles V. Van Pelt. Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009.
No, the KJV does not have a monopoly and exclusive revelation on Yah's word. This is propagated by King James onlyist, including BHI (Black Hebrew Israelites), but it was not the position of those who introduced the 1611 KJV version. The reality is that the KJV was good for its time, but contained a number of errors. The KJV translation was based upon the Bishops and Geneva Bible as the primary sources, then the Tyndale, Matthews, and Great Bible by direction and order of King James. The translators were not copying from the ancient manuscripts. They were copying from previously translated Bibles that contained errors and consulted manuscripts when the Bibles differed from one another (John Brown, The History of the English Bible, 104).
As scholars discovered older Greek manuscripts they revised the translations in order to come as close to the original sayings of the author. Newer manuscripts introduced newer Bible versions, or translations (NIV, NASB, ESV etc.), which differed drastically from the KJV in several places in the Bible. Subsequently, this radically changed the message of the author. For example, Mark’s gospel officially ends at Mark 16:8. Yet the KJV extends his gospel from verses 9-20. How do we know this? None of the earliest manuscripts have verses 9-20. Verses 9-20 are a later appendment to Mark's gospel. 1 John 5:7, should say "that there are three that testify" according to the oldest manuscripts. However, the KJV says that "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." This passage does not appear in the oldest Greek manuscript. Thus, scholars have concluded that this passage is an appendment by a neo-Christian scribe. Although the idea is interesting it does not represent truth nor John's thoughts. There is a myriad of examples that could be used to further illustrate this point. But the reality is the KJV is not the only bible that contains the word of Yah. Any good scholar and researcher will consult various translations when studying the "word of God," including Greek and Hebrew sources to understand Yah's word. Not the KJV only.
Stevens, Gerald L. New Testament Greek Intermediate: From Morphology to Translation. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2008.
Beacham, Roy E. and Kevin T. Bauder. One Bible Only? Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001.
No. We do not use the apocrypha or the pseudepigrapha (Book of Enoch, Jubilees, Jasher, Apocalypse of Abraham, Testament of Moses, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, etc.) as the inspired word of God. Josephus states that there were only 22 books in circulation in his era, (Against Apion 1.8) considered to be inspired. Although other books were written after them, they were not held in high esteem. This historical fact is also confirmed by Origen (184 - 253), one of the patristics of the second century. He writes, "Nor must we fail to observe that 'not without reason the canonical books are twenty-two, according to the Hebrew tradition, the same in number as the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. For as the twenty-two letters may be regarded as an introduction to the wisdom and the Divine doctrines given to men in those Characters, so the twenty-two inspired books are an alphabet of the wisdom of God and an introduction to the knowledge of realities’" (Smith, After Chapters and Verses: Engaging the Bible in the Coming, 64). Dr. Lee Martin McDonald, President Emeritus and Professor of New Testament Studies at Acadia Divinity School writes:
There are twenty-four books in the Jewish collection of Scriptures, but they are the same as the thirty-nine books that comprise the Old Testament in Protestant churches (though presented in a different sequence). This difference comes from the Jewish practice of combining several books together that the Christians have counted separately. For example, the Jewish Bible counts 1 and 2 Samuel as one book, but in the Christian Bible they are counted as two books. The same is true of the Kings and the Chronicles. Likewise, the books that we number individually and call the Minor Prophets—the collection of twelve smaller prophetic books—are counted by the Jews as one larger collection of smaller books that are regularly called the 'Twelve' or 'Book of the Twelve (McDonald, Formation of the Bible: The Story of the Church's Canon, 19).
The original KJV and its predecessors such as the Wycliffe Bible, Tyndale Bible, and Coverdale Bible (Miles Coverdale) published in 1535 and the Geneva Bible contained the apocrypha, but not without controversy. John Wycliffe declared in his Biblical translation written in 1382, that "whatever book is in the Old Testament besides these twenty-five shall be set among the apocrypha, that is, without authority or belief." Miles Coverdale said in his preface regarding the apocrypha "These books (good reader) which be called Apocrypha, are not judged among the doctors to be of like reputation with the other scripture…And the chief cause thereof is this: there be many places in them, that seem to be repugnant unto the open and manifest truth in the other books of the Bible." Coverdale acknowledges the inspiration of the apocrypha is questionable, and thus, is in conflict with the Law, Prophets and the New Testament. However, all these Bible translations contain them, some more than others. But the translators and authors of these Bibles agree with the Jews of the first century, Josephus and the author of 2 Ezra demonstrate that these extra canonical books were not given the same esteem as the inspired texts and were not regarded as the word of God. This explains why the Catholic Church did not regard them as authoritative until the council of Trent (1546).
The Geneva Bible was the most widely published and accepted Bible in 1560, 51 years prior to the KJV. The translators describe the apocrypha as "books which were not received by a common consent to be read and expounded publicly in the Church, neither yet served to prove any point of Christian religion save in so much as they had the consent of other scriptures called canonical to confirm the same" (Geneva Bible, preface). The 1611 KJV originally contained the apocrypha, but many do not realize that this was not King James’ preference. He says "As to the Apocriphe bookes, I omit them because I am no Papist (as I said before) & indeed some of them are as like the dietement of the Spirit of God, as an Egg is to an Oyster" (Basilicon Doron, I:13). The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, which established the doctrinal position of the Church of England in 1562 agreed, and denied the doctrinal authority of the apocryphal books. "And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following: The Third Book of Esdras, The rest of the Book of Esther, The Fourth Book of Esdras, The Book of Wisdom, The Book of Tobias, Jesus the Son of Sirach, The Book of Judith, Baruch the Prophet, The Song of the Three Children, The Prayer of Manasses, The Story of Susanna, The First Book of Maccabees, Of Bel and the Dragon, The Second Book of Maccabees" (Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, Article VI: Of the Sufficiency of the holy Scriptures for salvation, 1563).
The Old Testament begins with Genesis and ends with Malachi, and the New Testament begins with Matthew and ends with Revelation. The apocrypha is not acknowledged as a part of the Bible or Scripture, neither was it intended to be by the translators of the KJV. This is the reason The Westminster Confession (1646) states, "The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration are not part of the Canon of Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, or to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writing" (The Westminster Confession, Chapter I, 3). Apocryphal and pseudepigraphal books are usually good for historical data, and could reinforce the inspired texts, the Bible, but are not doctrine or inspiration. Yah commanded believers to seek Him, worship Him, and defend the integrity of His word from the book He spoke within. That would be the corpus of the Old and New Testaments (Is. 8:20). We honor Yah by following His instructions to read from the Law and Prophets and confirm those things that were written in the Law and Prophets with the New Testament. Extrabiblical books such as the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha in conjunction with Philo, Josephus, and the Talmud are the books we seek data from to confirm and affirm our doctrinal positions which we argue from the Bible.
Burke, David G, ed. The King James Version at 400: Assessing Its Genius as Bible Translation and Its Literary Influence. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013.
Brown, Raymond E., Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland E. Murphy, eds. The Jerome Biblical Commentary. Later ed. Prentice Hall, 1968.
No. We practice the holydays as given in Leviticus chapter 23: the weekly Sabbath (Lev. 23:1-3), first and seventh day Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:5-8), Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-21), Trumpets (Lev. 23:24-25), Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:26-32), and first and eighth day Tabernacles (Lev. 23:34-44). We also observe New Moons (Num. 10:10; 1 Sam. 20:5; Is. 66:23; Ez. 45:17; 46:1-3; Col. 2:16). Philo refers to New Moons as one of the feasts in Israel (Philo, Special Laws II, XXVI. 140).
Chanukah: We acknowledge that the purpose of Chanukah is to celebrate the cleansing and rededication of the Temple in the second century BC as documented in 1 Maccabees 4:36-59, and that Yahoshua was present at the celebration as an ecclesiastical Jewish holyday (John 10:22). However, it has not been commanded by Yah or Yahoshua. Thus, we acknowledge the fact that this is a man-made holyday for a temple that no longer stands, a temple that Yahoshua has replaced with the sacrifice of himself (Heb. 9:8-14), and a holyday that has changed in practice from its original state.
Purim: Purim is another holyday with noble intentions. It is a civil holyday decreed by queen Esther and Mordecai to celebrate the prevention of the extermination of the Israelites in the fifth century BC (Esther 9:20-32). Although the intent is noble, it is another man-made Jewish holiday that does not emanate from Sinai. Therefore, it is not a day that Yah has commanded for us to observe.
Rosh Hashanah: Finally, we do not celebrate Rosh Hashanah. The Bible has established Rosh Hashanah, meaning “head or beginning of the year” as March-April (Ex. 12:1-3). Later, rabbinic tradition decided to designate the seventh month as the beginning of the year, celebrated on the 1st and 2nd days of the month, in either September or October on the solar calendar. Jewish tradition states that this month (September-October) marks the anniversary of the day on which the world was created, or of the day on which humanity was created. Yet, some have postulated that the origin of this tradition may have been adopted from the Babylonians. Whatever the origin for this holiday, it is not biblical, thus, we reject it. But do not reject those who observe it. We do not celebrate these days, neither do we condemn or castigate those who do.
Axelrod, Matt. Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays: From Shofar to Seder. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.
Dosick, Wayne D. Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition, and Practice. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2005.
No. New Year’s Eve, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and Birthdays are all holidays designed to venerate pagan gods and goddesses in violation of Yah’s commandment (Ex. 20:1-5). This certainly applies to Christmas. Yahoshua did not command us to celebrate his birth, he commanded us to celebrate his death (Matt. 26:26-30; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:24-26). We assert the same premise for Easter from Eostre the pagan goddess of sunrise. The word Easter originally appears in the KJV, however, in Greek, it is pascha, the word for Passover (Acts 12:4), The pagan holiday was applied to the celebration of Passover. It is intended to recognize Yahohsua’s crucifixion and primarily his resurrection at sunrise (Mark 16:1-8). Easter celebration incorporates pagan rites, and, is thus, unholy to us.
Abram, Christopher. Myths of the Pagan North: The Gods of the Norsemen. London: Continuum, 2011.
Hyde, Walter Woodburn. Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2008.
Sadly, the Hebraic society is not a monolithic community. It is very much multifaceted and almost every group calculates their days differently (which should not be the case). Nevertheless, our holydays are predicated upon Abib, which is the moon that properly belongs to the ripening of the barley in Israel (Ex. 9:31; 12:1-2; 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; Deut. 16:1). However, other congregations:
Ask your assembly to show justification for their calculation of the beginning of the year, new months and the holydays in the Bible, then their secular and academic sources to support their practices. We have found solace in identifying our calendar with Abib. The Bible and our secular and academic sources support our calendar system.
Eliyahu Ki Ṭov, The Book of Our Heritage: The Jewish Year and Its Days of Significance, adapted and expanded ed. New York: Feldheim Publishers, 1997.
Spier, Arthur. The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar: Twentieth to Twenty-Second Century, 5660-5860, 1900-2100, 3rd ed. Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1986.
No. We do not blow the shofar on the New Moons or the Sabbath. We recognize that many Hebraic assemblies do, based upon the command that Yah gave to blow the trumpets in Numbers 10:1-10. However, Yah was very specific as to who should blow the trumpets, “Only the priests, Aaron’s descendants, are allowed to blow the trumpets. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation” (Num. 10:8, NLT). Many today may blow the trumpets as a memorial, not a commandment, so we do not castigate them for their zeal. However, those who argue that one should blow the trumpet by commandment have misapplied this precept. It is only applicable to the Aaronites by law.
Mitch, and Zhava Glaser. The Fall Feasts of Israel. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1987.
Terry, Michael, ed. Reader’s Guide to Judaism. London: Routledge, 2000.
A benediction is the bestowing of a blessing upon an assembly. It is a formal invocation of consecration that Yah required the priest to invoke upon the Israelites. Our Morei is a teacher and the Director/Overseer of our congregation. He is not a priest. Although he has a priestly function, as did the apostles and disciples, he cannot assume the ordinances assigned to the priests. The command many refer to is written in Numbers 6:22-27.
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ So, they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them” (ESV).
The specific priestly language of the benediction was given to Aaron and his sons only, not anyone else. We do not see the apostles giving this benediction to any of their assemblies, neither do we see Yahoshua offering this benediction. They did, however, pray on behalf of their congregants, they did intercede, and they did invoke a blessing upon the assembly with their own benedictions as we do today (Rom. 15:5-6,13; 1 Cor. 15:58; 2 Cor. 13:11,14; Gal. 6:18; Eph. 6:23-24).
Nitzan, Bilnah. Qumran Prayer and Religious Poetry (Studies On the Texts of the Desert of Judah). New York, NY: Brill, 1994.
Smoak, Jeremy D. The Priestly Blessing in Inscription and Scripture24-26: The Early History of Numbers 6. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2016.
We affirm our Israelite heritage by tradition, prophesy, and science attested by historians and anthropologists. We are not a part of the Black Hebrew Israelite (BHI) corpus. We do not advocate, promote or teach racism, hate, or Israelite exclusivity in terms of worship, praise and salvation. Doctrines of this nature are unbiblical and unrighteous, non-Messianic and non-apostolic, unholy and ungodly. We affirm that Yah is not partial to any particular nation or people (John 12:20; Acts 10:34-35; 13:47; 18:6; 28:28; 20:21; 26:20; Rom. 2:9-29; 11:11-24), and salvation is to all humanity regardless of one’s pigmentation, race, class, socioeconomic status and social blemishes (Acts 17:26-31; 2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17). Yah is the creator of all flesh, it is His desire to save all flesh that come to Him through the Torah and Yahoshua.
Parfitt, Tudor. Black Jews in Africa and the Americas. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012.
Santamaria, Ulysses. “Blacks Jews: The Religious Challenge or Politics Versus Religion.” European Journal of Sociology: Cambridge University Press 28, no. 2 (1987): 217-40.
Our doctrine affirms Paul’s position that even those who have not been exposed to the Torah can still receive eternal life. Not everyone has received the Torah, the instructions on how to serve Yah in holiness, righteousness, and truth. Yah only revealed these precepts to His people (Ps. 147:19-20; John 4:22). However, Yah has imputed the Adamic laws of morality, namely intrinsic laws of righteousness in man, and holds them accountable to these standards (Gen. 5:22-24; 6:9; 20:4; 26:5; Job 1:1). The reason Yah destroyed the antediluvians (people of the flood), Sodom and Gomorrah (Ez. 16:49-50), the Canaanites (Lev. 18:22-30; 20:22-27) and sought to destroy the Ninevites (Jon. 3:3-10), was due to the violation of the Adamic laws of righteous He imputed in them at creation (Is. 24:1-6; Rom. 1:17-20; 2:14). If the Gentiles do according to their nature the things contained in the Torah, they shall be judged by the Adamic law of righteousness and saved by Yah’s grace. If the Israelites and everyone who is in possession of the Bible do what is written in the Torah, they shall be judged by the Torah and saved by Yah’s grace (Acts 17:30-31; Rom. 2:10-29; Rev. 20:11-15).
Case, Shirley Jackson. “The Nature of Primitive Christianity.” The American Journal of Theology 17, no. 1 (Jan. 1913): 63-79.
Pressense, E. de. The Early Years of Christianity: a Comprehensive History of the First Three Centuries of the Christian Church; Heresy and Christian Doctrine V3. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007.
The Messiah said no man comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). However, not everyone has been exposed to or received proper knowledge of the Messiah from a biblical perspective (historical and salvific). Therefore, Yah shall judge them according to the works of Adamic righteousness, the intrinsic righteousness that has been imputed to all men (Rom. 2:10-29). We realize that there are doctrines that teach that everyone must believe in Christ in order to receive salvation. This premise is only true for those who have been enlightened and transformed by the Messiah and his teachings, which include the Torah, and belief in him as Yah’s propitiator and emissary. Those who have not may still receive eternal life if Yah finds them intrinsically righteous.
Bromiley, Geoffrey W. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume 4. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979.
Sanders, E P. Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion. American ed. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977.
No. We are not a part of the Messianic Jewish society (MJAA) or the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC). The MJAA and the UMJC affirm the Trinity or a concept of it, which is not biblical. They also maintain halakha laws that Yahoshua rebuffed. We are a Messianic Sinaitic assembly welcoming all who seek to practice the culture the way Yahoshua conveyed it to his disciples. The culture that was declared in the Sinai Peninsula.
Messianic Jewish Alliance Of America. "MJAA Statement of Faith." Accessed February 7, 2020.
Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. "On July 19, 2012, UMJC Delegates Unanimously Adopted the Following Statement of Faith." July 19, 2012.
This is a very good question and the answer to this question is, possibly. It depends on the intent. Cuss words are considered expletives (exclamatory words or phrases) and are a natural part of life. We often use them to express pain, shock, fear, disappointment, frustration, pleasure, or excitement. Often, we will use what is called minced oaths (frick, dang, fugg, Jeez, shucks, etc.) to avoid using what is called profane expletives. Yet, minced oaths can be just as offensive. The question is a matter of intent, not words. It is the spirit in which these words are conveyed. 1 Corinthians 6:10 is one of several passages that are used to suggest that using expletives are condemnable. Paul writes,
Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10, NLT) [emphasis added].
The key word in this passage is abusive. The Greek word for abusive is loidoroi λοίδοροι used twice in the New Testament, meaning to ruin one's name. It carries the act of reviling, that is to say, to regard or treat as vile by calling a person outside of their name or minimizing their being. The dictionary defines revile as, "to assail with contemptuous or opprobrious language; address or speak of abusively." Hence, the word is used of injuring another’s reputation or name by slandering, denigrating, or spewing abusive insults that causes contention, discomfort, and strife. Its design is to cause pain. The Hebrew equivalent, which may illustrate the force behind the word, and its subsequent judgment is miḏyānîm, מִדְיָנִ֗ים which means to create strife, contention, to revile (Prov. 18:19). It stems from the Hebrew word mädōhn מָדוֹן meaning to sow discord, to create contention, arguments, and strife. The Bible labels those who do such things as scorners (one who treats another with disrespect and contempt). The author of Proverbs writes, "A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech... with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore, calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing" (Prov. 6:12, 14-15) [emphasis added]. People who use words to create this type of dissension are not fit for the kingdom which is Paul’s argument.
If one’s purpose is to use expletives, or any form of speech to demean, marginalize, or debase another human being, thereby, stripping them of their godly image, then yes, you will most assuredly be condemned. But, if this is an expletive used to express a personal emotion, not directed to any particular person with malicious intent, then it is not an infraction against a brother or sister, thus, not an infraction against Yah. Nevertheless, this understanding should be used with discernment because not everyone has this type of biblical understanding (1 Cor. 8:1,11; 10:29-32; 1 Pet. 2:16). Choose and use your words carefully when you are in the midst of the imperceptive because you could cause them to stumble (1 Cor. 8:9,13), and never demean a human being in malice or anger by relegating them to something they are not (calling one outside of their name). This act is damnable.
Bergen, Benjamin K. What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2016.
Lund, John M. "Fear of an Oath: Piety, hypocrisy, and the dilemma of puritan identity." ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst. (1-1-2001): 8-9.
No. We do not believe that there will be a so-called rapture to heaven, neither the Old nor New Testaments introduce this idea. The concept is a postulation formed from an eisegetical interpretation of texts that have introduced theories about a heavenly ascension. The word rapture is a term derived from the Latin translation of the Greek word harpagisometha. In Latin, it is translated rapiemur "we are caught up" or "we are taken away" from the Latin verb rapio meaning "to catch up" or "take away." The rapture doctrine emerges from a bad interpretation of the Enochian translation narrative (Gen. 5:22-24; Heb. 11:5,13), Elijah’s supposed ascension to heaven narrative (2 Kin. 2:11), Christ’s taken narrative (Matt. 24:36-40), and Paul’s caught up and absent body narrative to name a few (1 Thess. 4:16-18; 2 Cor. 5:8).
Some scholars trace this idea from charismatic utterances of Margaret MacDonald (1815-1840), through a vision she had in 1830, (though it appears to be more of a post-tribulation vision). Others reject this premise and assert that it is an assumption by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), who advocated for pre-tribulation. However, a number of scholars believe "that the doctrine of the pretribulation Rapture was 'in the air in the 1820s and 1830s among eager students of unfulfilled prophecy.'" This idea emerged in Scotland amongst the Holiness denomination and began to be propagated in America by another Holiness participant, Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899), founder of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. This eschatological theory would be embraced and taught by Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843 - 1921), American theologian, minister, and author of one of the best-selling annotated Bibles, the Scofield Study Bible. Section labels in his Bible helped to perpetuate the pre-tribulation rapture theory. The doctrine would also be promoted and propagated by Dallas Theological Seminary, which requires their faculty to affirm this proposition for employment.
As you can see, this idea emerged in the nineteenth century from theologians who used several biblical passages to develop this doctrine, including John 14:1-3, but primarily, Paul's epistle to the Thessalonians. It appears to some that he is speaking of Yahshua's return, and his taking people away when he comes so they will avoid the Great Tribulation. Yet, the text does not infer this proposition, and all texts submitted herein to affirm such a position lack validity when examined lexically, textually, and culturally. The problem with this doctrine is that it is not biblical and is a young theology that was absent from the mind of the apostles and the patristical churches for 1,800 years. The Bible speaks of living, dying, burying, then resurrection at the judgment for all human beings (John 5:26-29; Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20:11-15). This is the position we embrace.
Witherington, Ben. The Problem with Evangelical Theology: Testing the Exegetical Foundations of Calvinism, Dispensationalism, and Wesleyanism. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2005.
Wright, N. T. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2008.
We affirm that a person is saved by works as a demonstration of their faith under the ultimate grace of Yah. Hence, grace, faith, and works work together as the formula to receive eternal life. Noah was saved by Yah's grace, but what precipitated this grace that saved him, and not the rest of world? It was his righteousness induced by his faith in God. Noah and the rest of the antediluvians lived together, but the antediluvians focused upon self-interests and wickedness (Gen. 6:5-6). Noah was different, he worshiped Yah by doing his very best to walk in His code of ethics as Enoch did (Gen. 5:22-24). The author of Genesis writes, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God" (Gen. 6:8-9, KJV). When it was time to judge man for their crimes, Noah was spared. Yah bestowed upon him grace because of his righteousness, precipitated by his faith in Elohim. This supposition is affirmed by Yah in Ezekiel.
And the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD (Ez. 14:12-14, ESV).
In the New Testament, James argues that one demonstrates their faith by works (James 2:18-26). In such a case, since it is a Jewish audience he is speaking to, it would be works explicated by the Torah. So, we conclude that the matrix of salvation is faith first. It is faith in Yah as our God, Father, Creator, Savior, and architect of salvation (Is. 25:9, NIV; Ps. 20:7; 56:3; 91:1-2; 143:8; Prov. 3:5-6). It is in Yahoshua as the propitiator for past sins, and the advocate and intercessor for present and future sins (1 John 2:1-2; Rom. 3:25). Secondly, demonstrating that faith by observing the Torah to reveal the righteousness of God through our deeds (Matt. 5:19-20; Luke 1:5-6). Finally, acknowledging our gift of salvation derives from Yah as the essence of His love, which engenders His grace; it is ultimately by His grace that we are granted salvation (Ps. 130:3; Eph. 2:8-9). This is the matrix of salvation that is monitored by the metrics of the law we embrace. Hence, Paul concludes with the following, "Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law" (Rom. 3:31).
Meyer, Jason C. The End of the Law. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2009.
Schreiner, Thomas R. 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2010.
First, we will refer to White people as Anglos (Europeans) and Black people as African Americans (from Iraq to the southern tip of Africa). Most Anglo people do not despise African Americans; this is a myth. This perception comes from Anglos who are in power; those that have the ability to affect change yet do not, because it is not profitable. To bring change would be an admission of guilt and crimes committed against another human being. So, while some white people despise African Americans, this cannot be said of all so-called White people. But, to answer your question, we must revisit a classical myth that became the impetus for racist sentiments towards African Americans. One source of racist views towards African Americans might have stemmed from a misreading of an Armenian pseudepigraphal text called the "Adam-books," dated about the sixth century AD. This work made its way into the Syriac Christian texts, the Talmud, and then to the synagogues and pulpits of churches, lasting for some 1,600 years. From the section entitled "The History of Cain and Abel, the Sons of Adam," the text reads, "And the Lord was wroth with Cain. . . He beat Cain's face with hail, which blackened like coal, and thus he remained with a black face." Dr. David Goldenberg, Associate Director of the Annenberg Research Institute for Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, states that this is not the correct understanding of the text. He writes, "And Cain was greatly saddened (or, distressed), and his face fell [wa-yihar le-qayin meHod wa-yipelu panaw]." 'Saddened (or distressed)' is the correct translation for the Hebrew wa-yihar le-, as several scholars have shown."
A Midrashic comment to the verse may have exacerbated this misinterpretation of the Cain narrative by saying that Cain's face became like an ember, which implies a burned black.
Goldenberg writes, "In general, the Armenian Adam-books 'inherited a wealth of elements of tradition, which were widespread in Jewish and Christian literature, from pre-Christian times into the Middle Ages,' and ours, according to them, is one example of the Jewish bequest." African Americans being the offspring of Cain, was a common supposition up to the twentieth century, which gave a license to other nations to mistreat black people and African Americans, even to the point of enslaving them.
This myth was then exacerbated with the "Curse of Ham" mythos derived from Genesis 9:20-25. Ham has been propagated as the progenitor of the Negro races. He looked upon Noah's nakedness; thus, he and all his progeny were cursed to be slaves. Goldenberg writes:
There are a number of difficulties with this story as the Bible has it, the most obvious being that Ham sinned, but Canaan was punished. Despite the inherent problems, this text has, for centuries, provided divine justification for the enslavement of black Africans, the so-called Curse of Ham. As an American proslavery writer, J. J. Flournoy, declared in 1838: 'The blacks were originally designed to vassalage by the Patriarch Noah.' Of course, the biblical text does not describe anyone as Black. Nonetheless, everyone assumed that Ham was Black and that he was somehow affected by the curse of slavery. It didn't matter whether one supported the institution of Black slavery or not, or whether one was Black or not; everyone in nineteenth-century America seemed to believe in the truth of Ham's blackness.
The Cain and Ham theory was published by synagogues, churches, and practically every religious institution that held the Bible in esteem. Subsequently, this Cain and Ham myth became the staple for how other ethnicities began to view Africans and African Americans. They were viewed with vitriol by many within the Anglo and Jewish communities. Comments by many of the scholars support this supposition.
Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, also known as Maimonides (1135 - 1204), a well-known, revered and respected Ashkenazi Jew amongst Ashkenazi Jews says, "Those who are incapable of attaining supreme religious values include the black colored people and those who resemble them in their climates. Their nature is like the mute animals. Their level among existing things is below that of a man and above that of a monkey" (The Guide for the Perplexed) [emphasis added]. Maimonides disparages Ethiopians, Sudanese, Nubians, Kenyans, so-called negroes below the Sahara, mulattoes, and any other colored, Negro, or black. Maimonides's position has been shared by many Jews for hundreds of years, and with some, the view represents modern sentiment. Maimonides's view is not isolated within the Jewish clergy and people. Neither is it isolated amongst the English. Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711 - 1776) says:
I am apt to suspect the Negroes and, in general, all the other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the Whites, such as the ancient Germans, the present Tartars, have still something eminent about them, in their valor, form of government, or some other particular, such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of whom none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; though low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In Jamaica, indeed, they talk of one Negro as a man of parts and learning; but it is likely he is admired for slender accomplishments, like a parrot who speaks a few words plainly.
Hume dismisses the fact that the Egyptians, Nubians, Sudanese, and Ethiopians classified as Cushites built ancient Babylon and ruled Arabia, Iraq, Palestine, and ancient Greece for hundreds of years, creating the foundation for European invaders to build from. The Reverend, Dr. Archibald Sayce (1845-1933), Professor of Assyriology at the University of Oxford, says, "We are all familiar with the fact that mankind is divided into races. Modern literature is full of allusions to the Anglo-Saxon race, the Keltic race, the Latin race, and the like. We cannot look at a negro without feeling that he belongs to a different species of humanity from ourselves, to a different race, in fact" [emphasis added]. He continues, "The negro, in fact, stands almost as much below the European as he stands above the orang-outang. . . Prominent jaws imply the development of physical strength and appetite at the expense of the intellectual faculties. A race which is characterized by prognathism may be expected to be characterized also by powerful appetites, muscular vigor, and poverty of thought and imagination" (Races of the Old Testament: 30). In other words, the negro can be considered, in this realm of anthropology and ethnology to be Neolithic.
This rhetoric, as one can see, became a prominent discourse in the synagogue, the church, schools, and government. Churches would propagate this myth from their pulpit, and both the educated and uneducated, but especially, uneducated illiterate white people would embrace it because they trusted the clergy, their scholars, and their politicians. Hence, Anglos, Caucasians, and contingent whites (southern Italians, Greeks, and Ashkenazi Jews) would continue to teach that Africans and African Americans were inferior people, dumb, ignorant, violent and unproductive. Parishioners believed their pastors who were, for the most part, part of academia and local government working in tandem to disparage, debase, and disenfranchise another race of people. The government would write laws to separate Anglos from African Americans after concluding (based upon a myth) that African Americans were an inferior race of people because they were descendants of Cain or Ham, some even postulated that they were the descendants of the Canaanites. Hence, this myth justified their enslavement, mistreatment, and murder.
These racist sentiments exist today, both consciously and subconsciously, interwoven in the fabric of the world, but especially in America. Beginning with its religion, neo-Christianity (Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelicals, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Adventists, etc.), reinforced by its academic institutions (universities, high school, middle school, elementary school), disseminated in homes, and finally, ratified by government policies, this racist mythological view has been able to pass generationally to all people, but mostly Anglos (whites) who have profited the most from it. America and the world are sick with racial views that developed from a misreading of a fable, and an eisegetical reading of the Ham narrative. Dr. Stephen R. Haynes concurs with this position and understands that by the 1670s, the "curse of Ham" narrative became doctrine to Jews, Christians and Muslims. It was employed as a sanction for Black enslavement, which in turn relegated Black people to things, instead of human beings with souls, goals, aspirations, and feelings like all other human beings have.
America was built upon racism, and many of its Anglo citizens have enjoyed the fruits of what racism has been able to produce. However, many Anglos can see past this myth because of their intrinsic righteousness and call for human justice. They view Africans and African Americans, not as inferior or superior beings, but as people, human beings granted the same inalienable rights Yah has granted to all human beings whom He has created in His image (Acts 17:26). Many Anglos have tried to bring a balance in society by attempting to undo what the founding fathers of America have done; built an empire off of racism through the denigration, marginalization, and disenfranchisement of Africans and African Americans. So, to answer the question, not all Anglos despise African Americans and Africans, only some, who are still a part of this white racist ideology, interwoven in the spiritual fabric of this country are, precipitated by the Cain-Ham myth.
Goldenberg, David M. The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003.
Haynes, Stephen R. Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery (Religion in America). Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Sayce, A H. The Races of the Old Testament, Volume ed. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2004.
This is an excellent question and one that ministers have not been very honest in answering. Typically, one will hear from a minister, that an unborn or stillborn child is in heaven, or a child that died between the ages of 1 and 13 is in heaven. Sadly, the Bible will not sustain these responses. First, no one goes to heaven. That is not the gift or reward promised to man. We pray for heaven to come to earth. This is the blessing that has been bestowed upon the righteous and humble (Ps. 37:11; 37:9; Is. 60:21; Matt. 5:5; 6:10; Rev. 21:1-27). The idea of a person dying and going to heaven is not a biblical concept; it is a neo-Christian concept.
The purpose of the resurrection is to give the gift of immortality to those who have been faithful to Yah and condemnation to those who have not. This is to say, that those who have lived up to His expectations, according to His righteousness, will receive eternal life, and those who have violated the Adamic code or Sinaitic code of righteousness will be condemned (Ez. 18:4-20; Is. 24:5-6). The author of Hebrews then writes, "And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment" (Heb. 9:27, NLT). Yahoshua says, "Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28-29, ESV) [emphasis added]. What is of special interest here is the fact that Yahoshua's references those who are dead, or lie in the grave. These alone will come forth, and he qualifies who they are. He says those who will appear in the resurrection are (1) those who have done good to the resurrection of life and (2) those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
Those who have died will appear in the resurrection to give an account for both the good and bad they have done in their lifetime. This would exclude children and mentally handicapped people because they cannot adequately differentiate between right or wrong, good or bad. This position is upheld in the Torah, Deuteronomy, which says, "And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil..." (Deut. 1:39, ESV) [emphasis added]. Isaiah says, "By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey" (Is. 7:15, NLT). [emphasis added]. The author of Hebrews writes, "for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil" (Heb. 5:13-14, ESV), and Elohim says to Jonah "In that city of Nineveh there are more than 120,000 people who cannot tell right from wrong, and many cattle are also there. Don't you think I should be concerned about that big city" (Jon. 4:11, CEV).
Elohim appears to be speaking about children who cannot adequately differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad. Elohim spared them in conjunction with those who could discern between right and wrong, good and bad, and ultimately chose to do what was right in order to be spared from Yah's judgement (Jon. 3:5-10). The resurrection of the dead is for those who were able to choose between right and wrong. It is not for those who cannot choose. Children that are not able to discern right from wrong, good or bad will not emerge in the resurrection. The same applies to those who are mentally handicapped. The Bible does not indicate what age a child is held accountable, just when they are able to discern Yah's will from their own.
MacArthur, John F. Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven About the Death of a Child.
Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003. Nash, Ronald H. When a Baby Dies. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999.
No. It is not necessary to engage in infant baptisms called paedobaptism or pedobaptisms, from the Greek word pais, meaning a child. Israelites did not baptize infants. Israelites baptized people who were able to recognize the fact that they needed Yah, had sinned against Yah and wanted absolution from these sins (Acts 2:38; 1 John 1:9). Many religious organizations cite passages such as Luke, which says, "People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it'" (Luke 18:15-17, NIV). This passage has become the impetus for the Catholic church, and many others to practice infant baptism. Yet, it does not state that the children who came to Yahoshua were baptized, only that Yahoshua laid hands upon them.
Another passage that is used to argue for infant baptisms is found in Acts. "Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself'" (Acts 2:37-39). The promise of the spirit was given to Israel and their children, not baptism. The text focuses upon baptism, a requirement of adults who would then receive the gift of the Spirit to evangelize the gospel.
Many patristics endorsed infant baptisms by using ambiguous language in the Bible. For example. Origen (184-253) writes, "The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of the divine sacraments, knew there are in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit" (Commentaries on Romans 5:9). Origen makes this claim but does not demonstrate it biblically. He then goes on to say that "Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin... In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and, according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants. If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous" (Homilies on Leviticus 8:3).
Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and the protestants, such as the Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Reformed denominations, Methodists, and some Christian Nazarenes, practice this rite. Yet, this was not, and is not a biblical practice. Baptism is not just for the removal of impurities, it follows an acknowledgment of engaging in sin, which is transgressing Yah's laws, a confession of faith, and recognizing the need to have an intercessor to advocate on one's behalf for any future sins. Hence, baptism requires one to proceed with knowledge of who Yah is and what Yah expects of every disciple, pre and post baptism. Children and infants have no knowledge of these expectations; adults do.
Aland, Kurt. Did the Early Church Baptize Infants? (The Library of History and Doctrine). Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2004.
Jeremias, Joachim. Infant Baptism in the First Four Centuries. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1960.
The title, "Hebrew Israelism" is a designation created by researchers, and primarily assigned to several racist radical Black Hebrew Israelite groups. Originally known as the Seven Heads, the Israelite School Universal Practical Knowledge (ISUPK), is the most widely recognized. This group later splintered into the Israelite Church of Universal Practical Knowledge (ICUPK), Israel United In Christ (IUIC), and the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ (ICGJC) taking the hate teaching and speeches with them. Some groups would later tone down their divisive, racist rhetoric like the Gathering of Christ Church (GOCC) which splintered from the Light and Body Church (LBC). They are inclusive of Anglos (Caucasians), whom they erroneously refer to as Esau, but teach that the Anglos will be in a submissive role, rather than equal heirs, and rulers in the kingdom of God (Is. 14:2; 49:23; 60:14; 61:6). There are others who continue to split from these groups to form their own assemblies, yet the core teaching remains the same. In many cases these groups believe in:
Radical Black Hebrew Israelite groups have been identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a potential threat to law enforcement, Anglos and Jews, because of their vile, vitriolic rhetoric, and confrontational behavior towards other ethnicities, at times, their own ethnicity (Poject Megiddo analysis).
The appellation, "Hebrew Israelism," is perhaps not the best designation for radical Hebrew Israelites. The entire Hebraic society (nonradical and all-inclusive of people) promotes itself as the progeny of biblical Hebrew Israelites who practice some form of "Hebrew Israelism," so-to-speak. This would be inclusive of, the Lemba community mainly in South Africa, the Falasha community in Ethiopia and Israel, the Igbo community chiefly in southeastern Nigeria Africa, the Israelite community in Dimona Israel, and hundreds of thousands of so-called African American Jews (Black Jews) throughout the country who have nothing to do with the radical Black Hebrew Israelites. The doctrines and teachings of many Black Hebraic assemblies and groups far predates the origins of the radical groups. The designation "Hebrew Israelism" is really designed to separate and disparage Black Jews from the common and more accepted white Ashkenazi Jew, and disparage so-called Black Judaism as a whole, unless it is under an Ashkenazi umbrella.
Most people do not castigate Christianity because of the doctrine and actions of so-called Christians who enticed their congregants to commit mass suicide, attack the government, terrorize, and murder innocent people. When speaking about Christians, such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, Anders Behring Breivik, James Kopp, Eric Rudolph, Peter James Knight or radical Christian groups such as the Army of God (AOG), and Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan), we refer to them by name, not by their Christian theology or denomination.
There has been no terroristic religion, which has fostered terrorist doctrines and denominations like neo-Christianity, which emerged in the second century. Yet, as a society, we look past the tyranny, terrorism, and oppression dealt at the hands of the Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, and Methodist churches that spawned the Holiness and Pentecostal churches as well as Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses. All of these groups participated in some of the most vile and inhumane treatment of human beings that was advocated by their doctrines and denominations. Sadly, the spirit of division, marginalization, and racism still abides in these denominations and religion as a whole. Nevertheless, "we have been trained and programmed to look pass this history". Sadly, we are often reminded by some of these neo-Christian denominations that, even today, racism remains the undertone of their faith. Again, we identify the individual church propagating un-Christian messages and or the person and rebuke them, not the entire religion.
So, the term "Hebrew Israelism", in theory, is designed to highlight the radical fringe elements within the Hebraic community. However, some Anglos (white people) apply it to all Black Jews or so call Black Judaism that is averse to traditional Ashkenazi Judaism. Thus, the term "Hebrew Israelism" serves as a subtle way of disparaging Africans and African Americans who practices Judaism outside of the Ashkenazi or Sephardic framework. It is a sophisticated way of continuing with a racist sentiment embedded in the minds of many Anglos since the tenth century to slight Africans, but mainly African Americans who practice some form of Judaism. With that said, we are not a part of that society, as it is academically and socially defined. Our community has never been racist, violent, or subversive in any form. We are a part of the Messianic Sinaitic society, which operates within a Hebraic frame that is inclusive of all races, ethnicities, and socio-economic classes. Salvation is promised to all men, all who come to Yah in reverence, love, faith, and righteousness (Acts 10:34-35).
Kestenbaum, Sam. "Who Are the Black Israelites at the Center of the Viral Standoff at the Lincoln Memorial?" The Washington Post. January 22, 2019.
Southern Poverty Law Center. "History of Hebrew." Accessed February 7, 2020.
NCCI does not use midrashic methodologies to exegete biblical passages. We identify what a midrash is in the Bible to help articulate the message the author is intending to convey through his midrash. Deploying midrash methodologies into the exegesis of a biblical passage is extremely dangerous because one could be adding to a biblical passage or taking away from it (eisegesis). So, we encourage congregants to understand what midrash is, so one can recognize when a writer is using it. This will help the reader better understand the author’s message and provide the proper interpretation. Nevertheless, for those who do not know what midrash is, the following abstract should help those who are seeking an understanding of the term and its methodology.
The Hebrew word midrash is derived from the root of the verb darash (דָּרַשׁ), which means “resort to, seek, seek with care, enquire, require.” Various forms of midrash appear frequently in the Bible. Midrash is often looked at as a genre first (i.e., form of rabbinical literature) and then as a form of exegesis (Jewish interpretation) that is manipulated to make an argument more palatable for a writer to convey a message to an audience. When someone cites verses from the Torah, they do so for authoritative purposes to bring validity and clarity to their argument. Most of the New Testament writings are disseminated in some form of midrash, such as interpretations of OT Scripture by Yahshua and the Apostles. This is important to know to properly understand the New Testament discourses and teachings.
There are different types of midrashim (plural), referred to as PaRDeS (PRDS). There are also different categories and sub-categories of midrashim. The types are like the “what”, meaning what is being looked for, that is, “is there a deeper meaning in a biblical passage.” The categories and subcategories are like the “how”, meaning, how or what method is being used to get to the deeper meaning. Examples of the word “midrash” used in the bible, for historical and cultural references can be found in 2 Chronicles 13:22 and 24:27. The word in the English KJV is “story” but when reading Hebrew, the Hebrew word for story is “midrash.” Hence, the use of this term demonstrates that Hebrew authors were deploying interpretive methodologies of the OT as early as the fifth century BC that escalated in the NT.
PaRDeS (PRDS) refers to (types of) approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism or to interpretation of text in Torah study. The term, sometimes also rendered PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the initials of the following four approaches:
In all cases of midrash, the peshat/clear meaning must remain. The Exegete (biblical expositor) can extract any additional meanings that are embedded in the passage without compromising the literal meaning of it. This means never compromising the authorial intent of the text simply to support a supposition. The historical and cultural context must ring true. Any type above can be applicable in each midrash category/subcategory (Haggadah, Paronomasia, Pesher, Halakah and Qal Va Homer).
Midrash Categories and Subcategories
Midrash has two categorical methods of interpreting: Haggadah (typically general cultural topics) and Halakah (topics pertaining to the law). Within those categories fall the subcategories seen below.
Midrash Haggadah - Is ancient rabbinic interpretation of Scripture. Aggadah (Hebrew: אגדה) is rabbinic narrative. The two terms are, however, often used interchangeably to refer to those many aspects of rabbinic literature that are not related to Jewish behavior or law, “halakha” (Hebrew: הלכה). Typologies, metaphor, allegories, poetic speech all fall under Haggadah (Gal 4:22).
Midrash Paronomasia – Is a pun (exploiting different meanings of words) or play on words (using a word or phrase so that more than one meaning is suggested. It’s used to make readers think more deeply about a particular situation and the words used in it. Hence, two words that sound similar or the same used interchangeably) – In John 19:37 John changes “Me” to him, from Zech. 12:10, where Yah speaks of Himself as the one, they will look to, applying the verse to Yahshua whom they shall look upon (not to) after piercing him.
Midrash Pesher - Pesher – The word itself means “interpretation” and is a form of biblical exegesis which seeks to determine the significance of an already existing prophetic text by pointing to its fulfillment in persons and events belonging to the age of the interpreter. It can be summarized by word manipulation.
Midrash Halakah - The halakhaism (Jewish traditional laws) resulted in laws of tradition appended to Yah's laws. These halakha laws were argued against by Yahshua and nullified upon his death. Midrash halakha attempts to clarify, specify, or extend a law beyond its obvious reference points.
Midrash Qal Va Homer – Is the formal argument of midrash that applies a law from its intended meaning, “light to a more principled meaning, heavy.” Whatever applies to the smaller or lighter also applies to the greater and heavier by way of inference. This technique is typically used with law but can also fall under pesher as well. Paul argues that ministers of the gospel should be compensated by the people they are ministering to. To support his argument, he cites Deut. 25:4 which is applicable to the care of oxen and applies it to ministers of the gospel in 1 Cor 9:9. Paul has taken the literal component of the law and extracted a principle from it. Hence, he has ranged the law beyond its intended meaning to make his argument persuasive.
Understanding the purpose and usages and types of midrashim is important for our biblical understanding so we can better disseminate the gospel messages throughout Scripture. Many students of the Bible attempt to midrash biblical passages by asserting that a biblical passage is conveying more to the reader than it is. Usually, this is an error and introduces a bad interpretation of a biblical passage. In other words, such an attempt should be avoided unless one is skilled enough to identify where such a passage has undergone a midrashic interpretation by another biblical author.
Evans, C. A. “Midrash,” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, eds. Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I Howard Marshall. Downers Grove: IVP, 1992.
Porton, Gary. “Midrash,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman, 4 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
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For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.