We believe that God made an everlasting and irrevocable covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen 12:1-3; 15:9-21; 17:1-8). It includes the unconditional election of Israel as God’s chosen people, the gift of the land of Israel, and the promise of the Messiah through whom all the families of the earth will be blessed (2 Sam 7:6-16; Jer 31:23-40; Romans 9-11; Gal 3:6-4:7).
We believe Jesus the Messiah revealed the mind of God (Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22-24; Matt 13:57; John 1:18; Heb 1:1-4), offered Himself once and for all as the only atoning, substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of humanity (Heb 4:4:14-5:10; 7:1-3; 9:6-10:18; 1 John 2:2; Rev 1:5), and continues to intercede for His people (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25; 9:24). As the risen Messiah, He exercises divine authority from God’s right hand and will return to reign (2 Sam 7:12-16; Matt 2:1-11; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 2:30-36).
We believe that salvation for both Jews and Gentiles is available only through Jesus and His finished work (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). This salvation is a gift from God, received through faith alone and not by works (John 10:28-30; Rom 8:28-30; Eph 2:8-9; Rom 3;21-4:25; Heb 13:5)). True believers in Messiah are sealed by the Spirit for the day of redemption (Eph 1:13-14).
We believe that the Church is comprised of both Jews and Gentiles who have accepted Jesus as the promised deliverer (Eph 2:11-3:6). Gentiles who have come to faith in Messiah Jesus are fellow heirs in the kingdom of God with Jewish believers (Eph 3:6; Gal 3:1-4:6). This belief in the universal body of Messiah encourages both Jews and Gentiles to live together in unity (Acts 14:23; 15:24-28; Rom 14:1-15:21; Col. 2:16-23; Heb 10:24-25). We also affirm the right of individual congregations to express their cultural diversity and the importance of Gentiles reaching out to Jewish people in evangelism as part of their call from God (I Cor 9:20-21).
We believe that Messiah will return to earth to reign from Israel over the millennial kingdom (Dan 9:27; Matt 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-27; 1 Thess 1:10; 2 Thess 2; Rev 20:1-6). When all His enemies are put under his feet, He will hand over the Kingdom to the Father (1 Cor 15:20-28).
We approach the restoration of Israel and the Nations with great faith and expectation:
“For if their (Israel’s) being cast away is reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be, but life from the dead?” Romans 11:15
In order for Israel to be fully restored, it must ultimately be reconciled with Jesus Christ as the prophesied Messiah and King. Israel’s acceptance of Jesus Christ is a key factor in bringing about His return and the resurrection of the dead.
“And so all Israel will be saved” Romans 11:26
We believe that a great revival will take place in this nation before the Second Coming. That revival cannot take place without the prayers and support of the Body of Messiah around the world.
- We are called and commanded to pray for the salvation of all Israel
“My heart’s desire and pray to God is that Israel would be saved” Romans 10:1
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, 7 And give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” Isaiah 62:6-7
- We are called and commanded to preach the gospel to the Jew first!
Romans 1:16 (ESV), “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Romans 9:1–5 (ESV), “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.”
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)
- We are called and commanded to bless Israel, both with our lips and our actions!
(Note: we do not bless or condone any of Israel’s actions that are against the direct commands of God in Scripture. We stand for God’s purposes and plans for Israel)
Genesis 12:1–3 (ESV), “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they prosper who love you.” (Ps. 122:6)
“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land.” (Joel 3:1-2)
“Do not remove the ancient landmark, nor enter the fields of the fatherless;” (Prov. 23:10)
Biblical Theology Regarding the Law and the Spirit
In Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus says,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The expression ‘do not think’ suggests that Jesus is countering a suspicion that he is attempting to set aside God’s former revelation of the Old Testament Scriptures with his announcement of the arrival of the kingdom of God. So Jesus makes clear at the beginning of his teaching ministry that the arrival of the kingdom does not do away with God’s prior revelation through the Law and the Prophets. The expression the ‘Law and the Prophets’ (Matt. 7:12, 11:13, 22;40, Rom 3:21) is a way of referring to the entire Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus emphatically affirms the lasting validity of the “Law” as the revealed will of God for his people until the end of the age brings a consummation of all that God has purposed. Here are some basic principles that can be suggested:
The law is the revelation of God’s will for humanity. It reveals a standard of God’s perfect righteousness. We trifle with God’s will if we set aside some aspects of his Word. For example it is commendable to oppose abortions, but when anti-abortion activists resort to violence and murder, they have set aside God’s commands. We need to understand God’s purpose for giving his law if we are to rightly understand the law itself. The law had several purposes. It was designed to instruct God’s people in his will so that they might fulfill his purpose for them as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Ex. 19:6). However they were not to rely on its requirements as the means of finding forgiveness (Ps. 51:14-17). The law was given to point out humanity’s sinfulness and need for God (Rom. 7:7) and to lead humanity to Christ, by whom they will be justified by grace, through faith (Gal. 3:24).
When reading the Gospels in general and the antitheses in particular (Matt. 5:21-48), we must keep in mind that Jesus is here objecting to misinterpretations of the law, not the law itself. A tendency existed in Pharisaic Judaism to make their interpretations and traditions just as binding as the law itself. Jesus rejected their practices, not the law. He continued to uphold the law as the will of God. Jesus fulfilled the law and proved to be the perfect God-man, who is therefore able to become the means of our justification or right standing with God (Matt. 5:17-20, Rom. 5:18-21, Heb. 5:7-10). Therefore, we are not under the law as a means of gaining salvation.
At the same time, Jesus is the interpreter of the law, showing what is binding principle and what is temporary symbolic ritual (Matt 12:1-8, Heb. 9:11-10:13). We should seek Christ’s mind for a proper interpretation and application of the law and understand the Old Testament in the light of the new covenant he inaugurates. He emphasized that ultimately the law was given to aid humans to live life the way God intended it to be lived, not to keep us under a binding set of religious rules (Matt. 12:3-5, 9-14). As Jesus gives his interpretation of the law, he reveals its intent and motive that were lost behind the external legalism of the scribes and Pharisees. He then demonstrates how principles of the law are valid guidelines to show God’s will for his people (Matt. 5:21-48).
Jesus demonstrates that the entire Old Testament hangs on love for God and neighbor (Matt. 22:38-39), which truly brings to fulfillment, all of the Law. The “law of love” becomes an important key to determine how the Christian is to live out the will of God (Matt 5:21, 27, 38, etc). Jesus ended the cleanliness and food laws. He described all foods clean (Mark 7:19, and Acts 10:9-16). He touched lepers and dead bodies and was not made unclean by doing so. He spoke of his body as the true temple and his death as the ultimate sacrifice for sins (John 2:21 and Mark 14:36). His death opened the way for us to approach God, making OT regulations concerning the temple and its sacrificial system obsolete. Through his sinless life, Jesus fully embodied all the moral requirements of the law. Through union with him, ‘the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us’ as we live by the power of the Spirit (Romans 8:4). It is in this way that we are able to live lives of love, which is precisely what the moral laws of the OT were pointing to (Rom. 13:8). In order to unpack for us what it means for us to live in love many of the moral commandments are restated in the New.
“In short, the coming of Christ changed how we worship, but not how we live. The moral law outlines God’s own character—his integrity, love, and faithfulness. And so everything the Old Testament says about loving our neighbor, caring for the poor, generosity with our possessions, social relationships, and commitment to our family is still in force. The NT continues to forbid killing or committing adultery, and all the sex ethic of the OT is re-stated throughout the New Testament (Matt 5:27-30, I Cor. 6:9-20, I Tim. 1:8-11). If the NT has reaffirmed a commandment, then it is still I force for us today.”—Tim Keller
Sabbath Laws and Feast Days
Jesus came to bring rest to those who take on his yoke of discipleship, (Matt. 11:28-30), the kind of true rest to which the Sabbath rest was designed to point. The intent of the law is to serve God’s people not for God’s people to serve the law. God in his great mercy has given the Sabbath to give to his people relief from daily burden, not so that people would perform weekly sacrifice (Matt. 12:1-12). The higher principle is not simply abstaining from activity on the Sabbath but doing good on the Sabbath (12:2). Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.
Every day to the believer is one of Sabbath rest, since we have ceased from our spiritual labor and are resting in the salvation of the Lord (Hebrews 4:9-11). We follow the principle of the Sabbath, taking a day of rest each week as God rested from his labors, Gen. 2:3. In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul explicitly refers to the Sabbath as a shadow of Christ, which is no longer binding since the substance (Christ) has come. It is quite clear in those verses that the weekly Sabbath is in view. The phrase “a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day” refers to the annual, monthly, and weekly holy days and feasts of the Jewish calendar (cf. 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 2:4; 31:3; Ezekiel 45:17; Hosea 2:11). The New Testament never commands Christians to observe the Sabbath. The apostle Paul warned the Gentiles about many different sins in his epistles, but breaking the Sabbath was never one of them. In Galatians 4:10-11, Paul rebukes the Galatians for thinking God expected them to observe special days (including the Sabbath). In Romans 14:5, Paul forbids those who observe the Sabbath (these were no doubt Jewish believers) to condemn those who do not (Gentile believers).
Festivals, new moons and Sabbaths are shadows pointing to the reality, which is Christ (Colossians 2:17). The tabernacle and laws of sacrifices were also shadows (Hebrews 8:5;10:1). All these things had symbolic significance, but Christ fulfilled the symbolism of the old covenant rites. Just as in the case of circumcision, when we have been given the spiritual reality, we are not bound by physical worship rules. Although Christians may observe the festivals (feasts) as celebrations and remembrances of various aspects of salvation, nothing in the New Testament says that they are required. In Colossians 2:16, the old covenant festivals are placed in the same category as new moon observances. Christ does not require us to observe them, nor does he forbid us to observe them. Festivals can be helpful if they emphasize what Christ has done for us!
Jesus commanded a commemoration of his death (Lord’s supper), but he otherwise did not command Christians to observe any festivals. Likewise, Paul did not command Gentiles to keep the festivals. In referring to the Festival of Unleavened Bread (I Cor. 5:7), he spiritualized it, saying that Christians were to rejoice in sincerity and truth. The reality to which the feasts pointed had come. They are meaningful, but that does not mean that observance is required.
However, we certainly encourage believers to celebrate the feasts to remember the biblical story, honor our Jewish roots, renew hope, reflect on Christ, and pray for the salvation of Israel!