ABOUT US

Messianic Niagara is a grassroots movement of Gentile followers of Jesus. We are seeking to recover the theology and practice of the original first-century Jewish followers of Jesus.

We believe that education is the starting point. Without first knowing the Scriptures, there would be no way to know God and do what He expects of us. We study the Bible with a focus on the historical and linguistic context, recognizing the Scripture as inspired by God but still real, historical literature. By studying the Bible, we hope to be able to have a balanced grasp of what it means to be a believer.
 

 

 

OUR BELIEFS


The following is our current theological statement but we would like to first emphasize that the Scriptures consistently and constantly indicate that oneís actions indicate the condition of a personís heart, indicating whether they are devoted to God or are in rebellion. Therefore, we offer the following as a glimpse into our thinking with regard to theology and the basis for our actions, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. Additionally, we recognize that a personís or organizationís theological statement must remain flexible, since there is always the possibility that views will change through further study. Please contact us if you have any questions, comments, concerns or corrections.

 
 


Inspiration, Nature, and Authority of Scripture


The Bible is made up of 66 books according to the traditional Christian reckoning, consisting of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Torah, Prophets, and Writings; cf. Luke 24:44) and the Apostolic Scriptures (the Gospels, Epistles, and Revelation).

All Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, is inspired by God and authoritative over the lives of followers of Yeshua (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Scriptures are real literature and must be interpreted via the historical and grammatical method. Therefore our goal is to exegete the Scripture so that we discover the meaning the original author intended and the meaning the original reader would have understood.

We recognize the value of historic Jewish and Christian tradition and literature. All tradition, however, must be measured against the Scripture and anything that contradicts the Scripture should be rejected.


God

We believe that there is only one true God, the Father (Deuteronomy 4:39; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 17:3)

We believe human beings should be solely devoted to God, as the Shema states: ďHear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!Ē (Deuteronomy 6:4).

God has a personal name consisting of four Hebrew letters, however we maintain the Apostolic and historic Jewish tradition of substituting the name of God with circumlocutions (such as "LORD").

God is the creator of the universe (Genesis 1, cf. Exodus 20:11), and is sovereign over His creation. However, God's sovereignty is not one of meticulous control. Instead, God grants a great deal of autonomy to his creatures (both human and angelic) and this explains the existence of evil.

God is infinitely holy (Isaiah 6:3) and cannot dwell among uncleanness, both ritual uncleanness and moral uncleanness.

God is spirit (John 4:24), is invisible and intrinsically possesses immortality (1 Timothy 1:17, 6:16).

God interacts with His creation through His Holy Spirit, which is His presence and power. The Holy Spirit is very personal, but not a separate person from God Himself.

God is loving, gracious, merciful, just, truthful, and faithful (Exodus 34:6; cf. 1 John 4:8).

God desires all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4; cf. 2 Peter 3:9), and takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11).


Messiah

We believe Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.

Being the Messiah means Jesus is the anointed King of Israel, the promised son of David that is to reign over Israel and the nations in the Messianic era (2 Samuel 7:12-16, cf. Romans 1:3, Revelation 20:4, 6).

Jesus is the Son of God, meaning he was miraculously begotten by God in the womb of his mother Mary, a virgin (Luke 1:35, cf. Psalm 2:7, 2 Samuel 7:14).

Jesus lived a sinless life and, as much as a human being can, represents God to the world (John 14:9). The Messiah is the embodiment of Godís creative power and wisdom (Colossians 1:16-17, Hebrews 1:3) and is the word of God made flesh (John 1:14). 

We recognize that Jesus has not yet fulfilled many of the prophecies concerning his role as king (though he is now King in the lives of his followers). However, we believe that in his first coming he primarily came as a prophet. As a prophet, he was ultimately rejected and killed (though many in Israel did repent because of his teachings).

Jesus the Messiah is the only man to live a completely righteous life, therefore his death was counted as atonement for the sins of the world (Isaiah 53, cf. Genesis 3:15; Psalm 22; John 3:16).

Showing favour upon his life, God raised Jesus from the dead to live evermore, making Jesus the first-fruits of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Jesus, as the High Priest of the priesthood according to Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4), ascended to the heavens to present the offering of his own blood to God in the heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews 9:12) and currently makes intercession on behalf of the elect (Hebrews 7:25, Romans 8:34).

We understand Jesus to be the second or last Adam (Romans 5:15, 19, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45; cf. Luke 3:38). Though the first Adam sinned, causing his descendants to become a fallen creature, prone to death, Jesus, the second Adam, did not sin, causing those who identify with his death and resurrection to be given the promise of eternal life in the age to come via the resurrection.


The Nature and Condition of Man

We believe that the first man, Adam, was created from the dust of the ground, meaning man is made up of corporeal, physical material.

A human being, however, can only live when the breath of God is imparted to him. Therefore, when God breathed the breath of life into Adam, he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

We believe a human being is a unified being, made up of body and breath (spirit) and this combination causes the person to become a living soul. Additionally, the soul of man can be understood as the personís life force, with that life force primarily found in the blood (Leviticus 17:11).

When the breath of life is taken from a person, the person ceases to have consciousness and returns to the dust of the earth (Psalm 146:4). In order words, death is the end of the entire person; there is no existence beyond death except for resurrection.

That man dies, however, is the consequence of Adam and Eveís disobedience to God (Genesis 3:19). Ideally, Adam and Eve should have partaken of the Tree of Life to live forever but because of their sin they were instead banished from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24).

Connected to this is manís separation from God relationally, meaning without Godís intervention to cleanse us of sin, our sin would prevent us from having communion with God. Left to ourselves, manís only inclination is to sin, making mankind totally depraved (Genesis 6:5). Without regeneration, that is, the giving of Godís Holy Spirit to us, becoming born again, mankind would remain ďdead in their sinsĒ (Ephesians 2:1-10, cf. John 3:3).


Salvation

Salvation can be understood as God rescuing His people from a situation in which they would otherwise not be able to escape.

For example, Israelís exodus from Egypt was completely due to Godís redemptive power, though the people of Israel had to trust in God and actively follow His instructions in order to be rescued.

Likewise, with regard to our separation from God, inclination to sin, and destiny to die, without Godís redemptive power, we could do nothing to effect salvation. God must first draw people to Himself, causing them to become aware of their sinfulness, and they must respond to Him in faith and repentance for salvation.

God empowers the individual by the giving of His Holy Spirit, which mirrors the giving of the breath of life in the original creation of man (cf. Genesis 2:7). With illumined eyes, the believer can repent of sin and devote their life to God and His ways.

This salvation would not be possible without the atoning death of the Messiah, which covers the sins of those who repent in faith.

Subsequent to the Messiahís death, Jesus was raised to immortality, a fate that God will grant all those identify Jesus as lord and saviour. Affirming Jesus as lord through a life of obedience to Godís commandments is an essential aspect of salvation because it confirms that a regenerative work of the Holy Spirit has occurred.

Those who persevere in faithfulness to God will have the hope of the resurrection to immortality and will live forever with the Messiah, first in the Messianic era and then in the New Jerusalem of eternity (Revelation 20:4, 22:5).

Salvation is a matter of Godís grace and does not depend upon a personís status in life, ethnicity, or good deeds (Ephesians 2:8-10). However, obedience to God's commandments is an essential part of living out the salvation God has graciously granted us (Romans 2:13; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:19).

The salvation that followers of Jesus experience was also experienced by all of the faithful previous to coming of the Messiah; their salvation was incumbent upon the Messiahís coming, whereas those since his coming look back at the work he accomplished.

Believers in all generations, including our own, however, look forward to the restoration of all things, where our salvation will be made complete.


The Commandments of God

The commandments of God are primarily found in the first five books of the Bible which are known as the Torah. The Torah is holy, righteous, good, and spiritual (Romans 7:12, 14).

The commandments of the Torah were given to Israel as a part of the covenant God made with them at Sinai.

Since this covenant is still in place, the Jewish people still have an obligation to keep the commandments of the Torah.

We believe that believing Gentiles also have an obligation to keep the commandments of the Torah that apply to all people. (Matthew 5:19-20, cf. Romans 3:31).

We recognize the Apostles ruled that Gentiles are not legally liable for breaking the commandments specifically given to Israel (Acts 15), and this provides Gentile believers with a certain amount of latitude to those commandments which were specifically given to Israel.

We believe Jesus the Messiah perfectly kept God's commandments, which is why he perfectly reflects God Himself. Therefore when both believing Jews and Gentiles keep the commandments, they are imitating God (cf. Ephesians 5:1).

The commandments regulate human behaviour and cause those who keep them to become different (holy), setting them apart from those who choose not to obey God.

Each commandment is expressive of God's own character and, when kept, displays godliness in the world. According to the Apostles, sin is defined as a transgression of the commandments of God (1 John 3:4, cf. Romans 7:7), therefore the keeping of God's commandments is the essence of repentance.


The Covenants and the Kingdom of God

In Genesis 9:9-11, God made a covenant with Noah and with all of his descendants, promising that he would never again flood the whole earth to destroy it.

Later, God made a covenant with Abraham, confirmed through Isaac and Jacob, promising that the people of Israel will dwell in the Land of Israel forever (Genesis 17:7-8).

After bringing the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, God gave the Torah to Israel and made a covenant with the nation, promising blessing if they kept His commandments and punishment if they disobeyed His commandments (Deuteronomy 28).

Sadly, history has shown that there has never been a generation in which Israel has been faithful to this covenant as a nation (though there is always a remnant; cf. Romans 11:1-5). To this day, the majority of Israel is exiled from the land of Israel and many Jewish people identify themselves as non-religious.

God, however, will see to it that His people will become faithful. He has chosen to accomplish this through His anointed King, the son of David promised through a covenant made with David in 2 Samuel 7:12-16.

The Hebrew Scriptures promise that God will make a new covenant with Israel, one where the Torah will be written on their hearts and their sins will be forgiven, making the entire nation faithful to God (Jeremiah 31:31-34, cf. Ezekiel 36:22-38).

We believe that this new covenant will perfectly satisfy all previous covenants God made and that this will be fulfilled when the Messiah returns to restore the kingdom to Israel (cf. Acts 1:6-7).

The covenant made with Noah will be satisfied since there will be peace on earth (Isaiah 2:4). The covenant made with Abraham will be satisfied because his descendants will be in the land promised to him and they will be blessed and be a blessing (Jeremiah 32:37-41). The covenant made with Israel at Sinai will finally be perfectly kept by the entire nation of Israel (Ezekiel 36:27). The covenant with David will be fulfilled because the son of David, Jesus the Messiah, will return, oversee the resurrection of the faithful, gather Israel and the elect of the nations to the Land of Israel, and reign as ruler over Israel and the nations for a thousand years (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Jeremiah 23:3-8, Revelation 20:4-6).

We believe that people can now begin to experience life under this new covenant, that is, the life of the Messianic era, through faith and repentance in the king; this, we believe, is the gospel message itself (Matthew 4:17).


Israel

The nation of Israel, comprised of the historical descendants of Jacob, was, and is Godís chosen covenant nation.

Through the people of Israel, God revealed the Scriptures, and through Israel, God brought forth the Messiah.

We believe that God expects all Jewish people to repent from sin and turn back to God in covenant faithfulness, which includes recognizing the prophet like Moses, Jesus of Nazareth (Deuteronomy 18:18-19), and submitting themselves to the commandments of the Torah as interpreted by the Messiah, his apostles, and normative Jewish tradition.

We believe that being Jewish is advantageous because the Jewish people are privileged to be the custodians of Scripture and the only people that have consistently maintained a Torah-based lifestyle (Romans 3:1-2, 9:4-5).

We encourage all Jewish people to take hold of their rich heritage and become zealous for the Torah like the Jewish followers of Jesus of the first century CE (Acts 21:20).


Believing Gentiles

Believing Gentiles are spiritually united with believing Jews and this group of believers are the Messiahís assembly, also metaphorically called the body of the Messiah (1 Corinthians 12:27).

This assembly does not replace Israel as a nation but is simply a way Jesus and the Apostles referred to the community of the faithful remnant of Israel and those elect from the nations (Matthew 16:18).

By becoming a believer, a Gentile does not become Jewish. In fact, the Apostolic Scriptures declare that God has granted repentance unto life to Gentiles in addition to Israel (Acts 11:18, cf. Acts 15:11).

The Apostle Paul taught that believing Gentiles, through their faith in Messiah, are now a part of the commonwealth of Israel and now have a share in the covenants of the promise (Ephesians 2:11-13).

Gentile believers are united with Jewish believers and are both spiritually blessed from the same source (Romans 11:17).

However, Paul also warned that the Gentile believers should not become arrogant (Romans 11:18); Gentile believers should be grateful that God has allowed them the privilege of salvation and the life of faith that flows from it.

Both Jewish and Gentile believers should recognize that all authority, including halachic authority, has been given to the Messiah (Matthew 28:18), who conferred that authority upon his Apostles (Matthew 18:18-20).

Since the Apostles ruled that Gentiles who come to faith do not have to come under the authority of the legal Jewish community by becoming proselytes, believing Gentiles have a great deal of leeway when it comes to how they observe God's commandments.

However, we contend that the Apostles did not envision Gentile believers forming a separate group apart from the Jewish community (Acts 15:21), so Gentile believers should honour long-standing Jewish interpretations and traditions, especially in situations where there is a mixed group of Jews and Gentiles, so long as those interpretations and traditions do not contradict the Scriptures.
 

 

 

Please email us at contact@messianicniagara.com

Daniel Calcagno, Messiah, Moshiach, Mashiach, Yeshua, Jesus, Torah, Bible, Judaism, Messianic Judaism, Jewish, Jew, Christian, Christianity, Christ, Paul, Tanakh, New Testament, Apostles, Bible Study, Mitzvot, Mitzvah

 
 
 
 

"...do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..."