As Devar Emet is a Jewish community which has been formed by a particular religious faith, it is essential that members agree wholeheartedly with the following statement of faith.
We affirm the following:
- There is one G-d, who has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Every divine action in the world is accomplished by the Father working through the Son and in the power of the Spirit. This G-d has revealed Himself in creation and in the history of Israel as transmitted in Scripture. (Gen. 1:1; I Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:4-6)
- G-d is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He created humanity in the divine image to serve as creation’s priest and ruler. G-d’s intention for creation involves an order of differentiation, interdependence, and mutual blessing. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15; Eph. 1:4-6)
- Through the exercise of free will, human beings disobeyed G-d, tarnished the divine image, and abandoned their privileged vocation. As a result, G-d’s consummating purpose for creation met with initial frustration, and all relationships within creation became subject to violence and disorder. (Gen. 4:8; 6:5-7; Rom. 8:20-22)
- G-d chose Israel, the Jewish people, and entered into an everlasting covenant with them so they might be the first fruits of a renewed humanity, who would mediate blessing and restoration to all the nations of the world. In gracious love, G-d gave to Israel the holy Torah as a covenantal way of life, and the holy Land of Israel as an inheritance and pledge of the blessing of the World to Come. (Gen. 12:1-3; Jer. 31:34-36, 35-37; Rom. 11:28-29)
- In the fullness of time, the Divine Son became a human being - Yeshua the Messiah, born of a Jewish virgin, a true and perfect Israelite, a fitting representative and one-man embodiment of the entire nation. He lived as a holy tzaddik, fulfilling without blemish the mitzvot of the Torah. He brings to perfection the human expression of the divine image (Isa. 7:14; John 1:14; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 1:1-4; 4:15)
- Yeshua died as an atonement for the sins of Israel and of the entire world. He was raised bodily from the dead, as the first fruits of the resurrection promised to Israel as its glorification. He ascended to heaven and was there enthroned at G-d’s right hand as Israel’s Messiah, with authority extending to the ends of creation. (Isa. 53:4-6; Ps. 110:1; Matt. 28:18; Mk. 14:61-62; I Cor. 15:3-8; Phil. 2-9-11)
- G-d poured out the Divine Spirit on the community of Yeshua’s followers, so that they might be joined intimately to the Messiah as His Body and become the preliminary representation of the New Covenant fullness promised to Israel. To this early Jewish community G-d added partners from among the nations, who heard the news of G-d’s work in Yeshua and responded to the good news with faith. (Isa. 66:20-21; Acts 2:1-21; 10:44-48; 15:8-9; Eph.1:13; 2:11-22)
- Messiah’s community is a single community expressed in diverse forms within the Jewish community and among the nations. All are called to a dedicated life of worship, neighborly service, and public testimony to Yeshua. Unity and love throughout the entire community confirm Yeshua’s role, as the One sent by the Father, and G-d’s purpose in Messiah for Israel and the Nations. (John 17:20-21; Acts 21:20; Gal. 2:7-8)
- Spiritual life is grounded in godly family units within the relational framework of congregations, whereby persons are to be encouraged, trained, and disciplined. Families in Messianic Jewish congregations should be strengthened and established in their Jewish calling to covenant life. Messianic Jewish congregations are called to connect in Messianic Jewish associations, where they will find mutual enrichment and accountability. (Matt. 18:15-18; Gal. 6:1-2; Rom. 9:1-5; I Cor.7:17-20)
- The Torah is G-d’s gift to Israel. It serves as the constitution of the Jewish people and thus also of the Messianic Jewish community, which comprises Israel’s eschatological first fruits. The Torah does not have the same role for Messianic communities from the nations, though it does provide spiritual nourishment as a witness to the Messiah. The Torah also provides universal norms of behavior and practical life teaching for all. The Torah is to be applied anew in every generation, and in this age as is fitting to the New Covenant order. (Matt. 5:17-20; II Tim. 3:16-17; I Cor. 7:17-20)
- Forgiveness of sins, spiritual renewal, union with Messiah, the empowering and sanctifying presence of the indwelling Ruach Ha Kodesh, and the confident hope of eternal life and a glorious resurrection are now available to all, Jews and Gentiles, who put their faith in Yeshua, the Risen Lord, and in obedience to His word are joined to Him and His Body through immersion and sustained in that union through Messiah’s remembrance meal. Yeshua is the Mediator between G-d and all creation, and no one can come to the Father except through Him. (Matt. 28:19-20; Lk. 24:46-48; Jn. 14:6; Rom. 6:22, 23; I Cor. 11:23-27)
- Messiah Yeshua will return to Jerusalem in glory at the end of this age, to rule forever on David’s throne. He will affect the restoration of Israel in fullness, raise the dead, save all who belong to Him, judge the wicked not written in the Book of Life who are separated from His presence, and accomplish the final Tikkun Olam in which Israel and the nations will be united under Messiah’s rule forever. This restoration will bring everlasting joy for those who belong to Him. They will live forever in an order of mutual blessing and fellowship with G-d, in a cosmos perfected beyond description. (Isa. 9:4-5/5-6; Rom. 8:18-19; Rev. 20:11-15; 21:1-4)
- The writings of Tanakh and Brit Chadashah are divinely inspired and fully trustworthy (true), a gift given by G-d to His people, provided to impart life and to form, nurture, and guide them in the ways of truth. They are of supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and practice. (II Tim. 3:16, 17; II Pet. 1:19-21)
- The Jewish tradition serves as the living link that connects us as contemporary Jews to our biblical past and provides resources needed to develop a Messianic Jewish way of life and thought. Furthermore, the Christian theological tradition offers riches of insight into the revelation of the Messiah and His will, and Messianic Jews need to draw upon this wealth. (I Thess. 2:15, Rom. 13:7; Jude 3)
Devar Emet has adopted this above Statement of Faith, which is the Statement of Faith of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, approved by the Delegates unanimously on July 19, 2012, as its own.
G-d called a people to Himself who are the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: the Jewish people. This special people, the Jewish people (also called Israel), were chosen by
G-d to be a holy nation and kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable despite her national rejection of Yeshua the Messiah. G-d will purge Israel of unbelief during the Great Tribulation, "the time of Jacob's trouble," ultimately resulting in her national acceptance of Yeshua as her true Messiah.
There is much discussion today about who is a Jew. For the purposes of Devar Emet and these By-Laws, a Jew is someone who is born of at least one Jewish parent, who was raised from childhood with at least a minimal understanding of their identity as a Jew and as a member of the Jewish community at large, and who has personally chosen to singularly identify as a member of the Jewish community.
Israel is distinct from the Body of Messiah (the worldwide community of believers in Messiah Yeshua, both Jewish and Gentile). Jewish believers, therefore, have a unique twofold identity: first, as the spiritual remnant of physical Israel and second, as members of the Body of Messiah.
G-d has made unconditional covenants with Israel that have remained unfulfilled, including the provisions of seed, land, and blessing. The seed aspect refers to a descendant who would come to redeem Israel. The land aspect of the covenant refers to the land of Israel.
The blessing aspect of the covenant refers to the blessings of the entire world through Israel and her Messiah. G-d intends to fulfill all His promises to Israel in a literal way, just as His warnings and judgments were fulfilled in a literal way. In the Messianic kingdom, the Jewish people will know G-d personally through Messiah Yeshua and will possess the entire land of Israel according to its biblical boundaries. Intermarriage typically leads to assimilation. For this reason, it is our conviction that non-Jews married to Jews should commit themselves to living as part of the Jewish people and to make their home unambiguously a Jewish home. At the same time, Jewish believers should encourage their children to seek out and marry other Jewish believers for the sake of Jewish continuity and Messianic Jewish witness. This Messianic Jewish Congregation shall always be a warm and accepting place for intermarried families to attend and grow both spiritually and personally in their faith in Messiah Yeshua. We believe that G-d gave the practices of the Torah (Mosaic Law) for moral instruction and as a body of cultural-national practices which would point forward to the Messiah's work.
The Torah is valid as a reflection of G-d's righteous standard and as a means of preserving a distinct nation Israel. Fulfillment by the work of Yeshua does not imply the abrogation of the Torah; therefore, within the universal Body of Messiah, Jewish people should maintain their distinctive biblical and cultural identity. The traditional Jewish applications of the teachings of Torah provide guidance for how to live out Jewish life, but they should not be understood as authoritative; Scripture is our authoritative standard for faith and life. Torah observances are not a means of justification; this is by faith alone. Neither are they to be a source of pride, resulting in the reinstitution of the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile. Rather, for Jewish believers, these observances are biblical expressions of a G-d-given Jewish identity and a means of fulfilling our covenant responsibility. They are also a testimony of G-d's faithfulness to the entire Body of Messiah and the non-believing world. (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:17-18; 17:6-9; Exodus 19:6; Numbers 24:9; Deuteronomy 7:6-9; 14:1-2; 29:1; 30:10; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Jeremiah 30:7; 31:31-37; Ezekiel 20:33-42; 36:25-28; Hosea 3:4-5; Amos 3:2; 9:8; Zechariah 12:10--13:9; Matthew 28:18-20; John 4:22; Acts 13:46; 21:24-26; Romans 1:16; 6:14; 8:2; 9:1-5; 10:1-4; 11:1-5, 25-29; 1 Corinthians 9:20; 2 Corinthians 3:1-11; Galatians 3:1-6, 11; Ephesians 2:14-16).
- The Role of Non-Jewish Believers in a Messianic Jewish Community When a Non-Jew becomes a Believer in Messiah Yeshua he is grafted into the “olive tree” whose root is the Patriarchs (Romans 11:17-24), and becomes with Jewish Believers part of the “one new man” in the Household of G-d”, having been brought near through the blood of Messiah Yeshua’s sacrifice (Ephesians 2:11-22). However, it is also clear from the New Testament Scripture that the Non-Jewish Believer does not become a Jew. He does not have the same role and responsibilities as a Jew, although by no means is he a second class citizen. As discussed above, G-d’s plan is for there to be one “called out Community of Believers”, consisting of both Jews and Gentiles.
Though this is spiritually true, the physical reality of this in our time is lacking as we can see by the plurality of congregations and denominations among believers today. Since the creation of a Messianic Jewish Congregation would not be this “ideal” community, therefore the role of a Gentile Believer who participates would also not be able to be the “ideal”. The goals of this unique community would begin to dictate the Gentile Believer’s role. Often the Gentile Believer would have more of a behind the scenes role, but nevertheless a valuable role useful for maintaining the “body”. Also, because of the special goals of this Messianic Jewish community, the membership and leadership should always be predominantly Jewish. If a spokesman for the community or a community spiritual leader is chosen, it would be consistent with the purpose of this congregation for that individual to be Jewish. In the realities of today’s imperfect world very few Gentiles would consider joining themselves to such a body. Yet G-d does burden those who do feel called to cast their lot with the Jewish people. These individuals should be willing to acculturate themselves by learning Jewish history, culture, and tradition. They should be willing to wrestle with and apply the full instruction of G-d found in the Scriptures, especially the Torah. They should realize that this is a “Messianic Jewish” congregation with a unique function and not just another “Christian” congregation. At no time is the purpose of this Synagogue to be a place where Gentile believers attend and join for the purpose of simply learning the Jewish roots of faith in Messiah Yeshua.