Inspiration, Nature, and Authority of
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).
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.
We believe that there is only one true God, the
Father (Deuteronomy 4:39; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6;
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
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).
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
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).
We believe Jesus of Nazareth is the
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
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
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.
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
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
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 can be understood as God rescuing His
people from a situation in which they would
otherwise not be able to escape.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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).
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
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
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.
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,
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).
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
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).
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.