This survey is thanks to Michael, a friend over at christianforums.com. I posted it on the Messianic Judaism forum therein, but felt as if it’d be an interesting read for anyone who wonders where I stand on some issues…
1 Do you believe that Jesus was fully God and fully human?
Yes. All of both.
2 Do you believe in the traditional trinitarian concept of “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?”
Yes- and I am willing to imagine G-d as even more complex than that since my human mind is trapped by limits and imperfection– while He is infinitely above whatever I can imagine, including any concept.
3 Do you believe Jesus did away with any part of the Torah?
No. But I do think he enhanced it by bringing us into spiritual communion with Him through His perfect sacrifice and calling. And he reminded us not to add or subtract from it (see his critiques of the pharisees’ man-made traditions that went against Torah)
4 Do you believe that the Torah (provided the mitsvah can still be performed) are still applicable today?
5 If so, do you believe that the Torah is obligatory ONLY for the Jewish people?
6 Do you believe that there is a God-given Torah She’bal Peh (Oral Torah)?
I take each extra-Biblical command one at a time. I cannot say at this time whether G-d gave a specific set of oral teachings at Sinai.
7 If so, do you believe it’s encoded in the Mishnah, redacted in the Talmud (with the Gemara), and expanded by later Rabbinic and Halachic treatises (i.e. Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, R’ Yosef Karo’s Shulchan Aruch, the Zohar, the Chafetz Chaim’s Mishnah Breura, etc.)?
Please see my above answer.
8 If not, do you believe there is any value in the works mentioned above (keep in mind those are major works, but no where encompasses the breadth of work in Jewish law and practice) or following their ordinances?
Oh yes I see much value in following many of the teachings I have encountered. I think they are valuable for learning, self-examination, and seeking G-d for His will in my life concerning the traditionsoutlined in those works. I do admit I have not read any of them completely. I am only dipping in bit by bit as time goes on.
9 Do you believe you can be saved by following the mitsvos of the Torah?
This is a funny question since I think seeking salvation from HaShem’s grace alone (through Yeshua HaMoshiach) is the goal of all of the mitzvot. However, must I trust in the mitzvot to save me? No! May it never be! I trust in G-d to save me and I follow His mitzvot because He saves me so that I may love Him freely and obey Him without fear of eternal punishment for breaking a mitzvah.
10 If not, what value do you perceive being in following the Torah mitsvos?
Value can be seen in many ways:
I am able to show love to HaShem through my obedience.
I am able to know how HaShem wishes me to live my daily life.
I believe and trust that here are this-life and eternal life blessings that come down upon us all (not just me) when we submit to HaShem through His mitzvot. HE blesses us because He loves us. He still loves me when I disobey, but I ache to know His joy when I obey with a full heart of love and faithfulness. It is this heart-state that matters the most.
I think the benefits can also be seen communally: If we follow Torah, our families stay together; our children thrive and are loved in our homes; the products of sin are not present; the community shows love, generosity, and righteous concern for each member… etc… Torah is all about community it seems.
11 Do you believe in the concept of rewards in heaven for our deeds (i.e. like following the Torah mitsvos)?
Yeshua taught us to store our treasures in Heaven with HaShem… for they will show where our heart is. Shaul also teaches that there are various crowns waiting for those who perservere, who have faith, who sacrifice all for Messiah, etc. And there also seems to be the theme of “greatest and least in the Kingdom” that Messiah spoke of often. In this way, perhaps those greater receive some reward… but truly, Messiah Himself is our only reward. He has gifted us with life– this life and eternal life out of Grace alone! How can I recieve a better reward? I deserve nothing. All my righteous deeds are filthy rags… which is why our crowns belong at His feet.
12 What do you think about Christians that actively oppose or find little value in the Torah AND their concept of “forcing one back under the Law?”
I feel sorry that they see G-d’s Holy Word as a burden or as “outdated”. I feel as if blinders remain over their eyes to the glory of true discipleship obedience out of love and passion for HaShem. I sometimes fall into negative feelings such as frustration, pride and anger, but I ache to only feel love, grace and compassion. For that is all I have received.
Like Tishri says often: all believers observe Torah in some way or another! Not all of them know it and not all of them want to do more.
13 What do you think about the phrase “curse of the Law?”
Is it not a curse to be be damned for breaking a mitzvah? Death is the curse– separation from G-d is the ultimate curse. But through the blood of Yeshua we are marked as redeemed from that curse! He is the Door and provides the blood of the lamb to be painted on the door! He paid it all. The curse is gone!
14 Do you believe in the concept of the “lost tribes of Israel?”
Lost? What if they are not lost at all? I will look for evidence in the Brit Hadasha of these “lost” tribes being present. I cannot say for sure what I think about this idea. However, I do trust that G-d has never let go of His chosen people, and that His New Covenant is with all of Israel, not just 10 tribes of it.
oh, here are some things:
In Luke 2:36 we read of Anna, “a Prophetess, . . . of the tribe of Aser,” while in Acts 4:36, “Barnabas . . . a Levite,” is mentioned, yet both of be these tribes are claimed to lost.
15 Do you believe in the concept of “Two House” theology? That is, the concept that the body of Christian (at times, specifically Messianic) are physical descendents of the so-called “lost tribes of Israel?”
I am not comfortable with any Two-House theology. I never have been. I don’t think G-d cares what our cultural background is. I bet I am not drawn to Torah and HaShem because of my genes. How can anyone claim that because they gravitate towards “Jewish culture and practices” that they belong physically to any tribes? I am not a Jew and I am just fine not being a Jew. Gentiles are equal children of G-d and are called according to His purpose! Being Gentile does not mean that you cannot partake in HaShem’s love and abundance.
16 Do you believe the State of Israel is a fulfillment of a biblical prophesy (i.e. the ingathering of the exiles)?
No clue, but I think it’s awesome that Israel has the land. It is promised to them and it should be theirs. I don’t know much more about it honestly. I learn a lot from reading the many, many Zionist posts here in the MJF though :)
17 How do you view the Palestinian people?
They need the Messiah just as much as I do! He is the Messiah for all peoples who are all sinners, Palestinian, Jew, American, Djiboutian… all are sinners and all need the blood of the Lamb to cover their sins and lead them into total discipleship obedience to G-d. Palestinians come in all kinds of varieties and I don’t wish to lump them all together as if there are no believers or no peaceful individuals. Just like I don’t want to group all Jews together and call them all perfect and faultless as I see many do. None of us are. And we are all called to come before the Throne as individuals. We will not be judged on our group-think, our genetics, or our affiliations. We will be judged by our hearts and actions.
18 Do you believe that a third Temple shall be built and sacrifices will be reinstituted?
Yes. This is another “I’m still learning and open to hearing more” kind of topic for me.
19 Do you believe in a literal rapture?
No, not the definition of rapture I’m familiar with at least.
20 If so, do you hold to a traditional form of eschatological (i.e. dispensationalist, pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, amillenialism, etc.) belief?
21 Do you believe in a literal “false man?” (i.e. antichrist or antimessiah)
Like many Scriptures, they could be taken both literally and metaphorically. I am open to both.
22 If so, who do you think he’ll be?
He (it) will be someone (or something) that leads us away from Torah. I defer to the many Scriptures about this “false man”.
24 If not, do you believe in a “remnant” of Israel being saved?
I don’t know if I’ve thought this through. I’m curious to see others’ opinions and insights.
25 Do you believe that “God-fearing” Jews (i.e. the Orthodox and other “true-believers”) COULD be saved even if they reject Jesus?
Reject Yeshua? No! Yeshua said plainly what he thinks about those that reject Him. (ex: “no one comes to the Father but by me.”) However, I wonder how Yeshua will present himself to those who have never heard of him… perhaps there will be a day when all will hear Yeshua proclaim His Kingship and they will be given a chance to accept him then. Just a theory.
26 Do you believe that lack of observance in Torah (i.e. Christians that find it to be done away with) in anyway affects salvation?
As I said earlier, all believers observe parts of Torah. Even knowing G-d is the True G-d is a mitzvah! And as I also said above, it is the heart and the actions which shall be judged before G-d. Yeshua said:
Mt 5:19 -“So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
So I think that even if Christians say “The Torah was nailed to the cross! It has no authority over us!” they still seem to be in the Kingdom, but are the least in the Kingdom.
27 Is there a Messianic organization (i.e. UMJC, MJAA, FFOZ, etc.) or congregation that you identify with or agree with on principle?
First Fruits of Zion. Yep. I love it.
28 List some of your favorite Messianic and/or Christian Zionist websites
29 List some of your favorite Messianic and/or Christian musicians
Want a long list? here’s a short version:
Kirk Franklin, Tree63, Jars of Clay, Third Day, Five Iron Frenzy, Relient K, Aviad Cohen/ 50 Shekel, Vineyard publishing (praise songs), Kierra Sheard, Randall Goodgame, Caedmon’s Call, Anberlin, Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, Casting Crowns, Charlie Hall, Grits, David Crowder Band, Delirious, John Reuben, Monk & Neagle, Passion, POD, Skillet, Rita Springer, Roper, Salvador, Sanctus Real, Supertones, Tonex, DC Talk, WWMT…..
30 List some of your favorite Messianic and/or Christian books
(titles only here, sorry!) Our Father Abraham, Kingdom of the Cults, Holy Cow! Does G-d Care About What We Eat?, The Complete Jewish Bible, Blessed Child, Safely Home, The Calling, Blink, This Present Darkness, The Cost Of Discipleship, Life Together, My Utmost for His Highest, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, Sex for Christians, A Simple Path, No Greater Love, The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul… the list goes on!
31 Lastly, can you read, write (print or cursive), speak, or understand Hebrew?
No. However, I truly do desire these skills!