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Congregation B'nai Maccabim: Getting to Know Us

Congregation B’nai Maccabim believes that…

The Scriptures (Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim, and Brit Chadashah) are inspired by G-d and are inerrant in the original manuscripts.  The Scriptures are our final authority concerning all issues of life and faith.  The inerrancy of Scripture was accomplished not by dictation, but by G-d superintending the human authors, using their individual personalities and backgrounds, to compose and record without error, G-d’s intended revelation to mankind.

 

Torah was given by G-d for personal and corporate instruction and as a body of cultural/ national practices.  Torah is valid as a reflection of    G-d’s standard of righteousness and as a means of preserving a distinct national Israel.

          The work of Yeshua the Messiah does not imply the abrogation of Torah.  Therefore, within the Body of Messiah, Jewish people can and should maintain the distinctive biblical and cultural identity G-d has called them to.  These observances are not, nor ever were, the means for attaining right standing with G-d, which is by trust in G-d alone.

          Non-Jewish believers who are part of the Messianic Jewish community are not obligated to observe Torah; they are nonetheless encouraged to learn and live a Torah life.  As such they are to be considered a Gehr or Gehrim.  While this does not make them Jewish it does publicly declare that they have identified themselves in life and faith with the teachings, traditions, and practices, of the Jewish people.

 

          G-d is one G-d.  He is the unchanging, eternal, benevolent, and righteous G-d.  He is not contained within the created world, yet fills with His presence both heaven and earth. 

          In special ways and circumstances G-d visited man to stir him toward redemption.

          The Ruach (Spirit) of G-d is not separate from G-d, but comes forth from G-d to do His work in the world.

          The Word of G-d (one of the names of the Messiah) is eternal.  The Word of G-d is not separate from G-d, but comes forth from G-d in an articulated, knowable form to teach man who G-d is and what He desires.

 

          The Messiah is prophetically described in the Tenach.  Being physically descending from David, he is the Son of David (the King of Israel), the Son of Abraham (the father of the Jewish people and the father of all who believe), and the Son of Adam (the first man).  The Messiah is greater than David, for he is the faithful, eternal King of Israel.  The Messiah is greater than Abraham for he embodies all that the Jewish people are called to be.  The Messiah is greater than Adam, for he is the exact image and likeness of G-d, the Word of G-d personified, made alive in human form.  He is Emanuel (G-d with us), the Son of G-d.  He gave himself to be put to death as a guilt offering, receiving the punishment and curse which were not due him, but due us for our transgression of G-d’s law and our inclination to do evil.  In so doing, he made atonement for us.  His sacrificial death also initiates the Brit Chadashah.  Having been raised from the dead by the power of the Ruach of G-d, he will return to restore the Davidic kingdom to Israel, and to judge all the nations.  He will rule over all the earth.

          Yeshua of Nazareth is the prophesied Messiah.  The Brit Chadashah begins with a genealogy in order to establish the qualifying identity of Yeshua.  The Jewishness of Yeshua in indispensable to his being the Messiah.  The birth, life, death and resurrection of Yeshua were prophesied in the Tenach, and demonstrate that he is the Messiah.  He will return to the Mount of Olives, as prophesied, to destroy the nations that are gathered against Jerusalem, and to establish the Messianic Kingdom.

          Further, we believe this personal and imminent return of Messiah Yeshua has a vital bearing on the life and service of the believer.

 

          Man was created in the image of G-d, but through Adam fell into sin and is therefore separated from G-d.  Only through renewal of the heart by Ruach haKodesh can spiritual live through Messiah Yeshua be obtained.

 

          The Redemption of mankind is wholly the work of G-d’s chesed through trust in the work of Messiah Yeshua.  By his kaporah he became our substitute, making full atonement for our sins and trespasses.  Through this substitutionary work his righteousness is imparted to us.  G-d gives assurance in his word and through his Ruach that what he began he will continue to perform until the day of its completion.

 

          Kiddush haShem should be an integral part of the lives of all believers.  Although we are forgiven we still have the capacity to sin.  In spite of this, G-d made full provision for believers to live in obedience to Him through identification with Messiah Yeshua, reliance upon Ruach haKodesh’s power, our knowledge of the scriptures and our decision to walk in the way G-d has commanded.

 

          The Universal Body of Messiah is made up of all believers, Jewish and non-Jewish, redeemed through trust in Yeshua, and renewed by G-d’s Ruach.  Membership in the universal Body of Messiah is not based on membership or affiliation with any earthly organization. 

          Upon redemption, G-d’s Ruach sovreignly imparts at least one spiritual gift to every believer for the purpose of building and equipping the Body of Messiah.  While these gifts are important they are not the focus of our lives or trust.  Rather, we are to seek to become spiritually mature men and women in order to serve G-d properly.

 

          The People of Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were chosen by G-d to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests.  The election of Israel is irrevocable.  We further believe that the land of Israel has been given by G-d to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob forever.

          Jewish believers have a unique identity as the spiritual remnant of physical Israel and as a part of the universal body of Messiah.  Non-Jewish believers also have an identity with Israel in the fact that they are engrafted into the root of Israel.  Through this engrafting they partake of the promises and covenants that were given to Israel, but this does not make them part of the physical people called the Jews.

 

Glossary:

  • Tenach – An acronym coming from the first letters of the Hebrew words Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim.  It is often used when speaking of all the Jewish Scriptures.
    • Torah – Means “instruction”.  Usually applied to the five books of Moses, but it can also apply to the whole of Scripture.
    • Nevi’im – the Prophetic books/writings of the Scripture
    • Ketuvim – The Wisdom and History books of the Scripture.
  • Brit Chadashah – The New or Renewed Covenant.  Sometimes applied to the texts making up the Scripture of the Newer Covenant.
  • Gehr or Gehrim – A person/people of non-Jewish descent who has chosen to join himself/herself to the Jewish people by accepting the G-d of Israel and the practices of the community as his/her own.
  • Almah – Virgin; young woman
  • Cohen haGadol – the High Priest
  • Melki-Tzedek – the King of Righteousness
  • Ruach – Spirit; also means breath or wind
  • Ruach haKodesh – Holy Spirit; the Spirit of Holiness; the Spirit of the Most Holy
  • Chesed – Grace; loving kindness
  • Kaporah – Covering; usually associated with a sacrificial death
  • Yeshua – The name of the Messiah of Israel
  • Kiddush haShem – Sanctification of the Name.  In practical terms it is whatever we do, say, or think that brings honor to the name of G-d.

 

(The use of the hyphen in the words G-d and L-rd is a sign of respect to the name of G-d.  If this document were to be destroyed, or defaced in some way this manner of writing G-d’s name ensures that it will not be defaced in the same way.  It is part of what we call Kiddush haShem.)

Congregation B’nai Maccabim believes that...

“Whenever a person goes to a new congregation, whether to visit or as a new attender, there is a period of adjustment. There are differences in how things are done, in every community, even within the same or similar denominations. This is especially true when you move cross culturally. For those of you who are considering B’nai Maccabim as your place of worship and teaching, we would like to help make your time on the learning curve a little easier. The document you are about to look at is meant to walk you through what you will see and/or experience if you attend Shabbat services at our congregation. I hope you enjoy what you read, and encourage you to contact me if you have any further questions.” – Rabbi Betzalel

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