Question:

I'm a Messianic Jew. We believe the Jerusalem church is ours of course in conjunction with Acts 2. Yet the Church of Christ is so similiar to our beliefs in the Torah of God. (Torah meaning God breathed). Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.

What relation is there of the Church of Christ to us?


Answer:

The churches of Christ are Christians dedicated to living only by the commands of God found in the Bible. We have no creed, statement of faith, or other defining document to "tailor" the teachings of God. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10).

Where your particular group adheres to the teachings of the Bible, it naturally follows that you would find commonality. But the church is not Jewish as the Messianic Jews wish to define it as such.

While the first church, or congregation, was located in Jerusalem, this church belonged to Christ and not Messianic Jews, as did all churches (Matthew 16:18). Churches were not divided by heritage. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Because it was located in Jerusalem, this particular congregation did have a large number of members who were Israelites by birth, but it wasn't exclusively Jewish. While in Jerusalem, some 14 years after his conversion, Paul noted, "Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised" (Galatians 2:3). In regards to following the Old Law, this church sent a letter that read in part, "Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law" --to whom we gave no such commandment" (Acts 15:24). Thus, the church in Jerusalem knew that Christians did not need to follow the Law of Moses to be saved, something the Messianic Jews have not accepted. As Paul stated, "Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:2-4).

"Torah" means "teaching or learning" in the Hebrew language. It is frequently used by the Jews to refer to the first five books of the Old Testament, though it sometimes is used in a broader sense to include all of the Old Testament books.

Torah is God breathed. Just as I spoke about in the email. The teaching of God the Father who gave his glorious plan, Yeshua his only begotten son executing the plan and the Ruach Ha Kodesh organizing the complete revelation teaching (Torah of God). No further revelation other than the Bible. (II Timothy 3:16-17).

There are many groups of Messianic Jews. We as Messianic Jews believe we are to earnestly contend forthe faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).

Can one be saved that is not baptized? We believe one must fully submit to Yeshua by faith, repentance, confession, and baptized for the remission of your sins and live a faithful life in Yeshua Ha Maschiach. (Romans 10:17; Luke 13:3; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:38).

We have no creed either or statement of faith. Just God's Torah, the Bible only. Now you probably believe we are not brothers correct? But, I believe we are.

Was Yeshua Jewish?

The fact that there is a wide variation in the beliefs of the Messianic Jews only means that I must approach the subject of what you as an individual believe in general terms. Based on the references you make, it appears you are not among the majority who reject Paul's writings as being inspired. But you do want to keep your religion mysterious to others by hiding key terms under Hebrew terms: Torah (teachings), Yeshua (Jesus), Yeshua Ha Maschiach (Jesus the Christ), Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit). Yes, Jesus was born an Israelite, spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, but the Holy Spirit delivered the Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2) in Greek. Insisting on using Hebrew names regarding Greek writings while conversing with an English speaker is not productive. "So also you, unless you uttered by the tongue words easy to understand, how would it be known what is spoken? For you would be speaking into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of sounds in the world, and none of them is without meaning. If then I don't know the meaning of the sound, I would be to him who speaks a foreigner, and he who speaks would be a foreigner to me" (I Corinthians 14:9-11).

Jesus taught that there can be large difference between what a person claims and what he actually does. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23). Just because a group teaches correctly regarding some matters, it doesn't imply that they are teaching correctly in regards to all matters.

In particular, Messianic Jews are well known for insisting that both the Old Law and the New Law are simultaneously in effect -- something that you have hinted at repeatedly. Most go so far as to claim that Jewish Christians are covenantly bound by the Old Law and learn from the New Law while Gentiles are covenantly bound by the New Law and learn from the Old Law. For example, would you agree that following statement of Paul's applies to all Christians? "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:1-4). That is that no one, whether Jew or Gentile by heritage, is required to be circumcised? "As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation" (Galatians 6:12-15).

The problem Messianic Jews have is accepting that "In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete" (Hebrews 8:13) applies to everyone because we are no longer separate people. "For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity" (Ephesians 2:14-16). Thus, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

Messianic Jews typically teach a form of premillennialism, something not supported in the Bible. See "Articles on Premillennialism" for more details.