Introduction to Things Messianic

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REVISED EDITION ORIGINALLY POSTED 30 DECEMBER, 2003

reproduced from Introduction to Things Messianic

In studying the Bible, many Christians unfortunately find themselves only reading the New Testament or the Apostolic Scriptures. Although these important Scriptures speak of the gospel message, testify to the works of our Lord Yeshua (Jesus), and speak of issues that the First Century Believers had to contend with, these writings comprise less than one-third of the Bible. Those whose focus is almost exclusively in this part of the Bible can have an unbalanced approach to our Creator and His plan for the ages.

Although the Messianic Scriptures were written in Greek,[1] their very nature is Hebraic. The man who authored more than half of these writings was the Apostle Paul, a Rabbinical scholar who studied with Gamaliel (Acts 22:3; Philippians 3:5), a revered sage of Judaism to this day (b.Megillah 21a).

Our Messiah Himself was a Hebrew, as are many of His expressions and sayings. Consider the following examples:

“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29).

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23).

The above quotations are just two examples of the Hebraic nature of our Savior’s teachings. In theological studies they are generally referred to as Hebraisms or Semitisms in the Biblical text. For centuries, scholars have debated verses such as those above. Many have been confused. Do they require such a literal viewpoint that demands a physical “plucking out of eyes”? Not at all. To a First Century Jew, the eye can mean more than just an organ with which one sees. It can be a person’s mind, emotions, will, or good sense, depending on the context. There can be a very deep meaning to Yeshua’s statements when one understands that there is an Hebraic nature behind them. This is where the Messianic movement steps in and where a First Century Jewish perspective of the Scriptures is crucial.

Although the Messianic movement is composed of people from many theological traditions: largely Conservative and Reform Judaism, and evangelical Christianity, the emphasis concerning the Hebraic Roots of our faith in the Messiah is very important concerning the times in which we live. Several decades ago, if one uttered the name “Yeshua,” very few would have known who, or for that matter, what the person was talking about. However, many Christians today are aware of the fact that Yeshua is the original Hebrew name of the Messiah.[2] Why has this come about? Because many now realize the fact that understanding the Hebraic Roots of our faith is important.

Why is it important to understand the distinctive Hebraic Roots of our relationship with God? Yeshua the Messiah is returning to Jerusalem and the gates of New Jerusalem are named after the Twelve Tribes of Israel (Revelation 21:10-12). The Apostle Paul himself says that if you are in the Messiah, you are a part of the Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-12) or the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16). Our faith in Messiah Yeshua is undeniably connected to Israel and to the Jewish people, because it did start as a sect of Second Temple Judaism (cf. Acts 24:14). Knowing about the origins of our faith is imperative if we are to return to truly having an “Apostolic” theology.

Knowing about “things Messianic” and distinctively Hebraic is the first step toward new enrichment of our faith from Genesis to Revelation. By understanding the Hebraic origins of our faith, many of the obscure parts of the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) begin to become clear and take on a new depth, as we consider their background and the lifestyle practices of the first Believers in Yeshua. They lived out the missional expectations of the Tanach or Old Testament in evangelizing the ancient world (Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 4:6; Isaiah 42:6; 49:6), something that we are to surely continue today.

“The Church” (Ekklesia)

Many Christians believe that “the Church” started at Pentecost following Yeshua’s ascension into Heaven. They believe that “the Church” is a group of chosen ones separate from Israel, and perhaps that it is not important to really study the Tanach or Old Testament, because it does not directly apply to “the Church.” The Biblical truth is that the called out body of God’s chosen existed long before this time.

The word “church” never appears in the Greek texts of Scripture. The word commonly translated as such comes from ekklēsia. LS defines ekklēsia as “an assembly of the citizens regularly summoned, the legislative assembly” and “in N.T. the Church, either the body, or the place.”[3] In the Apostolic Scriptures ekklēsia is used as a term to define the Body of Messiah, and thus by extension, is rendered as “church” in most English translations of the New Testament. TDNT remarks that “Since the NT uses a single term, translations should also try to do so, but this raises the question whether ‘church’ or ‘congregation’ is always suitable, especially in view of the OT use for Israel and the underlying Hebrew and Aramaic…‘Assembly,’ then, is perhaps the best single term, particularly as it has both a congregate and an abstract sense, i.e., for the assembling as well as the assembly.”[4] This Christian resource says that “assembly” would be the best, consistent translation for the word ekklēsia.

The Septuagint (LXX), the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, frequently translates the Hebrew word qahal, or assembly/congregation, as ekklēsia. Qahal is a Hebrew term for “assembly” or “congregation” used in the Tanach, which almost exclusively refers to Israel. TWOT tells us, “usually qāhāl is translated as ekklēsia in the LXX.”[5] When the Jewish Apostles used the Greek word ekklēsia, often rendered as “church” in our English Bibles, they did not see the ekklēsia as a separate assembly or group of people away from Israel. They considered the ekklēsia to be Israel, and the non-Jewish Believers to be “fellow heirs” (Ephesians 3:6) with them. It is not surprising by any means that one of the definitions given for the word ekklēsia does in fact include “Israel.” Thayer states that “in the Sept. [ekklēsia is] often equiv. to [qahal], the assembly of the Israelites.”[6] It is unfortunate that ekklēsia in most Bibles has been translated as “church,” whereas it would be best rendered as either “assembly” or “congregation.”[7]

It is important to know that the ekklēsia or assembly of God’s chosen has always existed. The Holy Spirit being poured out at Pentecost was a fulfillment of prophecy, recorded in both the Tanach (Old Testament) and the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament). But the events that occurred on this day did not start a “new group of elect.” Pentecost, in actuality Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks—one of the Biblical festivals specified in Leviticus 23—is one of the commanded times of ingathering in the Torah or Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 16:16). The Apostle Peter attested that what occurred when the Holy Spirit was poured out was a fulfillment of prophecy:

“[B]ut this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy. And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Acts 2:16-21).

The events at Pentecost/Shavuot were expected in Joel 2:28-32:

“It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.”[8]

So did the ekklēsia, or assembly of God’s elect, begin at Pentecost/Shavuot? All the Book of Acts says is that there was a fulfillment of prophecies in Joel that will be fully completed in the Last Days. Interestingly enough, the martyr Stephen tells us that “the Church” (meaning, God’s elect) actually existed much earlier at Mount Sinai. In the KJV, he is recorded as saying, “This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness[9] with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us” (Acts 7:37-38). The so-called “Church Age” did not begin in 30 C.E. Yeshua the Messiah only speaks of this age and the age to come (Matthew 12:32, 13:49; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30), meaning the future Messianic Kingdom.

In reference to the Hebraic Roots of our faith, it is important to remember that the Apostles and the early Believers in the Messiah were not at all foreign to the Hebrew Bible. Numerous references to “the Scriptures” in the Apostolic Writings (New Testament) are referring to the Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim—or the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings: the Tanach/Tanakh. The Gospels, Epistles, and many of the other Messianic Writings had yet to be canonized or even written when “the Scriptures” were referred to or appealed to by the Apostles.[10] When Paul wrote Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), it was the Tanach or Old Testament of which he was specifically speaking.[11]

As we have previously mentioned, Paul was a Rabbinical scholar fluent in the Tanach, and when witnessing to fellow Jews in the Synagogue he would have tried to show them how Yeshua fulfilled the prophecies and prophetic patterns seen in His life from the Hebrew Bible. Acts 17:2 records how it was Paul’s frequent ministry technique to reason with his Jewish brethren on the Sabbath, proving to them from the Scriptures that Yeshua was the Messiah: “And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.”

It is also important to note that prior to 70 C.E., the year the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, what we commonly call “Christianity” today was a legal religion in the Roman Empire as Rome considered it to be a sect of Judaism which was exempt from worshipping Caesar. However, as the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible explains, “Jewish Christians (Messianic believers) were considered to be a sect (Acts 24:5) of Judaism. But, after A.D. 70, all Christians were on their own; they were recognized as separate from Judaism.”[12] After that time, the assembly of Believers steadily distanced itself from its Hebraic Roots. Much of this was created by Roman anti-Semitism, and was coupled by the Synagogue authorities ejecting many Believers in Yeshua.[13]

What we know today as “Christianity” originated from First Century Judaism and has changed tremendously since then. Our faith in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) at its very core is Hebraic. The Messiah, Yeshua, is an Israelite and is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:4-5). He is coming to reign from Jerusalem, not Rome as some Catholics might believe or Salt Lake City as Mormons may espouse.

So why should we study the roots of our faith? You cannot have a house without a foundation. The foundations of the ekklēsia pre-Pentecost are definitively Hebraic. It is crucial to understand the worldview that Yeshua, the Apostles, and the early Believers in the Messiah had, so we can more fully understand Scripture as it was originally composed: God-inspired from an Hebraic world view.

The Jerusalem Council

In the very early days of the community of Believers following Pentecost or Shavuot, the vast majority of the Believers were Jewish. Later, however, the gospel message began to spread beyond the borders of the Land of Israel. Israel, of course, was to be a light to the nations, and God’s conduit by which He would save the world. Israel’s Kingdom could only be restored by the whole world knowing about the greatness of Israel’s God, and its Messiah, Yeshua.[14]

As many God-fearing non-Jews came to faith in the Messiah, things changed substantially. There was debate among many of the Jewish Believers whether these non-Jews had to be circumcised, becoming Jewish proselytes or converts, and then receive the Messiah (Acts 15:5)—or whether they could receive Him directly and then grow in their faith. It caused a great stir as many believed that circumcision and observance of the Torah or Law of Moses had to precede the salvation experience. Acts 15 records the decisions made by the Jerusalem Council as the goyim or ethnē, “the nations,” were coming to faith in the Messiah:

“The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, ‘Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?’” (Acts 15:6-10).

Before the Council issued its ruling, Peter restates what has occurred. Previously in Acts 10:9-16, the apostle was shown a vision of a sheet with animals on it considered unclean by the Torah’s standards. Peter is told three times to “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” (Acts 10:13), and he responds with, “No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean” (Acts 10:14, RSV). This passage is usually interpreted as meaning that God annulled the dietary requirements of the Torah or Law of Moses. However, Peter himself gives the appropriate interpretation of his vision that has nothing to do with meat:

“And he said to them, ‘You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man[15] unholy or unclean’” (Acts 10:28).[16]

In Acts 15:6-11, Peter testifies that the nations have been made clean by the blood of the Messiah, can receive the same Holy Spirit, and must come to redeeming faith in the same way as Jewish Believers. He also emphasizes that “a yoke…which…our fathers nor we were able to bear” (Acts 15:10, NIV) should not be put upon them, implying that legalistic or mandatory observance of the Law of Moses involving circumcision for salvation and/or for acceptance among the Believers was not necessary. James the Just, half-brother of Yeshua, issued the following ruling for the new-Jewish Believers:

“Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath” (Acts 15:19-21).

Four requirements were given to the new non-Jewish believers in order for them to congregate with Jewish Believers in the Messiah:

  1. Abstinence from pollutions of idols
  2. Abstinence from fornication
  3. Abstinence from things strangled
  4. Abstinence from blood

Briefly summarized, Believers from the nations were to avoid idols, fornication (sexual immorality), meats that were not butchered in a proper method (Deuteronomy 14:2-20), and blood (Deuteronomy 12:23-25).

Why were the non-Jews coming to faith told to observe these four things?

“For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath” (Acts 15:21).

The new, non-Jewish Believers, in observing the four stipulations, would be cut off from their old pagan spheres of influence—and find themselves a part of a community, along with their fellow Jewish Believers, where the declaration of the Law of Moses every week would be taking place. James recognized that the salvation of the nations was a major part of God’s restoration of the Tabernacle of David (Acts 15:15-18; cf. Amos 9:11-12, LXX). This would surely have to involve God writing His Torah onto the hearts of His people by His Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-27), something which could begin with the essentials that the Jerusalem Council ruled were necessary for the new, non-Jewish Believers (cf. Acts 15:23-29).

In Ephesians 2:11-16, the Apostle Paul writes that non-Jews who come to faith in Yeshua have been made a part of the Commonwealth of Israel:

“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called ‘Uncircumcision’ by the so-called ‘Circumcision,’ which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in [dogma],[17] so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”

Paul says that those who were “separate from Messiah” were “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel” (Ephesians 2:12, RSV), but that through the sacrifice of the Messiah He will make the two into “one new humanity” (Ephesians 2:15, NRSV/CJB). Ephesians 2:15 tells us that “God through the cross… put to death the enmity,” or sin which has been atoned for through the sacrifice of the Messiah which once separated God the Father from humanity. All Believers in Yeshua are a part of the Commonwealth of Israel.

Believers from the nations were, however, warned by the Apostle Paul not to boast or speak against the Jewish people as the natural branches of Israel’s olive tree. As Paul attests, “do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either” (Romans 11:18-21). No one is to boast against the Jewish people, because if God can break off natural branches from Israel’s olive tree in order to save wild branches of the nations, He can certainly break off the wild branches. The Jewish people, as Paul is clear, have an irrevocable calling that must be honored (Romans 11:29).

The roots of our faith come from Israel and ultimately Yeshua, the Root. Non-Jewish Believers who had once been separate from Israel have nothing to boast about (Romans 11:17-22), but they need to respect those who hold the oracles of God (Romans 3:2). The Jerusalem Council ruled that there was no difference between Believers of different ethnic backgrounds in the Lord, as all are a part of the same body and must be welcome (cf. Galatians 3:28), showing mutual honor to one another. From that Israel comes our Divine Savior, the Messiah Yeshua.

Roman Catholicism Takes Its Toll

What we have described concerning the Jerusalem Council is somewhat different than what is often taught in mainstream Christianity. Born again Believers are a part of the community of Israel via their faith in Israel’s Messiah. It is important to note that there is no reference in Scripture that the First Century Believers dispensed with the Torah or Law of Moses, including the seventh-day Sabbath, the appointed times of Leviticus 23,[18] and the kosher dietary laws. Rather, in the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) it is made clear that legalistic observance of the Torah via a conversion to Judaism was not a salvation requirement, and that no person would gain salvation by keeping commandments. Yeshua does come first, with the Torah second as a part of following Him and growing in holiness.

But if the First Century ekklēsia was very Hebraic, how did we get to where we are today? Presumably, these Believers did not celebrate mainstream Christian practices such as “Sunday church” or the holidays of Christmas and Easter (at least as we currently know them).

History records that following the First Council of Nicea in 325 C.E., the institutional Church began passing legislation prohibiting the keeping of the Sabbath and the Biblical festivals.[19] (This is an indication that even up until the Fourth Century there were some pockets of Believers who were keeping, or at least nominally keeping, these practices.) When “Christianity” was made a legal religion in the Roman Empire by Constantine, syncretism was largely practiced by the clergy, meaning Biblical concepts were often merged with pagan customs. It ultimately resulted in the widescale merger of Church authority with political authority, and the Roman Catholic Church was formed as a consequence.

Following the fall of Rome in 476 C.E. to the Visigoths, the Dark Ages began. During this period, Europe experienced one of the worst times in human history, which the Roman Catholic Church dominated. One risked death by simply possessing a written copy of the Holy Scriptures, and disease and plague were rampant. Europeans were also some of the most uneducated people in the known world (especially when compared to Jews and Muslims) as the Roman Catholics held most Biblical, historical, and philosophical documents solely in their possession. Of everything that was taught and believed, the most dangerous was that the Catholic Church held that eternal life or salvation only came through participation in its sacraments. The pope was believed to have the authority on Earth to give people exemption from Divine punishment, or condemn them eternally.[20]

The Reformation

We should truly believe that the Reformation, which began in the early 1500s, was an act of God. German monk Martin Luther could not reconcile the Biblical concept of “the just shall live by faith” with the Roman Catholic teaching of salvation via the Church’s sacraments. History records that his Ninety-Five Theses or protests against the Catholic Church began the phenomenon we now call the Protestant Reformation. From that point onward men and women of God began to read their Bibles and question Roman Catholic tradition.

The two primary goals of the Reformers were (1) to purge the Church of non-Biblical Roman Catholic practices, and (2) to present the general populace a copy of the Scriptures in their native languages. During this time famous English translations such as the 1599 Geneva Bible and 1611 King James Bible were produced. The Biblical realization that salvation came by grace through faith alone, and not by actions prescribed by the Roman Catholic Church, was also reestablished. Certainly, the Reformers did not agree on everything, and many different Protestant sects did arise. But, had it not been for what they did, we would certainly not be where we are today.

When we review the current Messianic movement, one must realize that the Reformation accomplished much, although there are still areas of Biblical theology that need to be reformed. The Reformation showed us that the practices of Roman Catholic ritual confession, praying to the saints, Mary veneration or worship, and belief in purgatory, were non-Biblical. A few in the Messianic movement believe that the Protestant Reformation was a failure because Protestants still observe some Roman Catholic practices. However, would we be better off if the Reformation had not occurred? Are we not building upon the theology of those who have gone before us—both Jewish rabbis and various Christian theologians? Today, we benefit from access to Jewish literature and resources that the early Reformers did not have access to.[21]

What has the Messianic movement today achieved?

The Messianic movement today was originally started by Jews who were Believers in Messiah Yeshua as an evangelistic outreach to fellow Jews. Many of today’s Messianic congregations, however, have a mixed group of constituents, including Jews who have received Yeshua as the Messiah, and others from diverse Christian backgrounds wanting to enrich their faith. Overall, the Messianic movement has been responsible for awakening many Christians to the truly Hebraic origins of their faith.

There are, however, distinctive differences between your average Messianic congregation and your standard church setting. Just as there are many types of evangelical Christian churches, there are a wide variety of Messianic congregations.

One of the most obvious differences between a Messianic congregation and your average church is that Messianics typically assemble or hold services on a Friday night or Saturday in remembrance of the Biblical Sabbath or Shabbat. Depending on what region of the world in which you live, a congregation can be very much like an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, or similar to a standard church setting, with all the variance you can imagine in between. (Most Messianic congregations are actually like a Conservative-Reform Jewish synagogue.) Use of traditional Hebrew liturgy is also not uncommon in Messianic settings. Some are more charismatic than others, and some are highly reserved. Again, depending on where you are and what congregation you are attending, can affect the degree of “Jewishness.”

The Messianic movement has been responsible for awakening many non-Jewish Believers to the Hebraic Roots of the faith, and continues to grow larger and larger every year. It is a signal that the return of the Messiah is drawing closer, as Jewish people come to saving faith in Yeshua in greater numbers, and many Christians are being convicted that they need to return to the lifestyle practices of the First Century saints (cf. Revelation 12:17; 14:12).

Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is returning to Jerusalem. He prophesied that His Twelve Disciples would “sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28). He says in Matthew 25:34-46 that people will be judged for how His Jewish brethren are treated. Yeshua adamantly states that those who treat the Jewish people badly or with malice shall go “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41, KJV). Isaiah 2:3 tells us that during the Millennium “from Zion the law will come forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (cf. Micah 2:4). Just knowing about these four things, is it important to understand Israel and the Hebraic Roots of our faith? Absolutely!

Each Believer’s goal should be to be as Biblically sound as humanly possible, Genesis-Revelation and not just Matthew-Revelation. Understanding the origins and roots of the relationship with our God, the Holy One of Israel, is a crucial part of attaining this goal. May you seek a firm foundation as you grow in your faith and examine His Word for answers!


NOTES

[1] There is the belief among some in the Messianic movement that the Apostolic Scriptures were written in Hebrew. This view, however, is not based in historical fact. For a further analysis, consult the author’s workbook A Survey of the Apostolic Scriptures for the Practical Messianic.

[2] The most public usage of the name “Yeshua” I have seen to date was during Pastor Rick Warren’s prayer at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, 20 January, 2009.

[3] H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), 239.

[4] K.L. Schmidt, “ekklēsía,” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abrid. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), 397.

[5] Jack P. Lewis, “qāhāl,” in R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), 2:790.

[6] Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003), 196.

[7] Two Christian translations that render ekklēsia as “assembly” include Young’s Literal Translation and the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible by Jay P. Green.

Do note that the English term “church,” while not being the best rendering for ekklēsia, is not a word of pagan origins. Consult the FAQ entry on the Messianic Apologetics website “Church, word of pagan origin.”

[8] There is still obviously future fulfillment to be expected with this prophecy. Consult the author’s article “What Happened to Our Eschatology?” appearing in When Will the Messiah Return?

[9] Grk. tē ekklēsia en tē erēmō.

[10] Acts 17:2, 11; 18:24, 28; Romans 15:4; 16:26; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

[11] Walter C. Kaiser considers this verse to be “One of the strongest statements on the authority and use of the Old Testament Scriptures” (The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008], 354).

[12] Spiros Zodhiates, ed., “Galatians,” in Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, NASB (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1994), 1548.

[13] Consult the benediction against heretics, actually seen in the Jewish siddur until this very day (Joseph H. Hertz, ed., The Authorised Daily Prayer Book, revised [New York: Bloch Publishing Company, 1960], 283; Nosson Scherman and Meir Zlotowitz, eds., Complete ArtScroll Siddur, Nusach Ashkenaz [Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1984], 107), and a summary of early Christian remarks toward the Jewish people seen in “Jew, Jews,” in David W. Bercot, ed., A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998), pp 374-378.

[14] “[I]t is clear that ‘Israel as a light to the nations’ is no peripheral theme within the canonical process. The nations are the matrix of Israel’s life, the raison d’être of her very existence” (Duane L. Christensen, “Nations,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., Anchor Bible Dictionary, 6 vols. [New York: Doubleday, 1992], 4:1037).

[15] Grk. mēdena…anthrōpon; or “any human being.”

[16] The Mishnah says in m.Ohalot 18:7, “Dwelling places of gentiles [in the Land of Israel] are unclean” (Jacob Neusner, trans., The Mishnah: A New Translation [New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988], 980), and as such Jews in the Second Temple period did not often voluntarily associate themselves with others.

The Greek term athemitos, used in Acts 10:28, in most Bibles is rendered as “unlawful.” It does not mean unlawful in the sense of something against the Torah. It pertains, rather, “to not being sanctioned, not allowed, forbidden” (Frederick William Danker, ed., et. al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, third edition [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000], 850), relating to custom or opinion, as opposed to something that is Biblical law.

[17] Grk. dogma; most likely relating to “something that is taught as an established tenet or statement of belief, doctrine, dogma” (BDAG, 254).

This is examined further in the author’s commentary Ephesians for the Practical Messianic, as “the religious Law of commandments in dogmas” is explained to actually be man-made regulations responsible for erecting the dividing wall in the Second Temple, contrary to the Temple being a place for all to come and commune with God (i.e., 1 Kings 8:41-43; Isaiah 56:6-7).

[18] Consult the author’s article “Does the New Testament Annul the Biblical Appointments?

[19] Council of Antioch (341 C.E.), Canon 1; Council of Laodicea (363 C.E.), Canon 29.

[20] The author recommends you consult Justo L. González, The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1 (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1984), and Dale T. Irvin and Scott W. Sunquist, History of the World Christian Movement, Vol. 1 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2001), for a fair analysis of early Church history.

[21] And for that same matter, access to the lands of the Bible, secondary historical data and resources, and disciplines like archaeology, largely arising in the mid-to-late Nineteenth Century.

Consult K.A. Kitchen, The Bible In Its World: The Bible & Archaeology Today (Exeter: Paternoster, 1977).

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