The Third Temple  The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!
If you don’t believe Genesis 1:1-11:32, how can you possibly believe John 3:16?
“Indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted.” (2Tim 3:12)
It is what you actually believe that determines how you walk out your faith, “but avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile.” (Titus 3:9)

Please Note: Absolutely nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church or anti-Rabbinic. I am not anti-anything or anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth (see “Philosophy”), but sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. I know it certainly upset mine! For example, see “Why Isn’t My Theology Consistent Throughout the Website?”

About the Author[1]

Rav Ari benLeviOld English capital letter SShalom mishpocha. My full “diaspora” name is Rickard Leavitt Sawyer and my shem kodesh (Hebrew “religious” name) is Ari Levitt or ארו בנ-לוי, Ari ben-Levi.[2] It has been my distinct privilege to have served as Professor of Systematic Theology and Comparative Religion, Instructor in English Grammar and Composition, Assistant Dean of Directed Individualized Studies, and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at Spring Valley Bible College and Seminary in Alameda, California. After that I served as Professor of Systematic Theology and Comparative Religion, Academic Dean, and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Golden State School of Theology in Oakland, California, and finally as dministrator, Chairman of Curriculum Development, and Cataloging Librarian at Grace School of Theology and Ministry in Pleasant Hill, California. I have also conducted numerous graduate and postgraduate courses and seminars in Bible doctrine, church administration, comparative religion, and the cults since 1983.

As for my education, I hold a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Biblical Studies, a Master of Theology (Th.M.) in Systematic Theology, a Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) in Cults and Comparative Religion, a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) in Bible College Administration and Curriculum Development, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Business and Organizational Management, a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in Church Administration (all summa cum laude), an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice (magna cum laude), and completed the didactic portion of a Doctor of Naturopathy (N.D.) program. (Some people collect stamps; I collect diplomas.) On October 28, 2022, I was accepted as a member of the Society for Post-Supersessionist Theology.

Since 1965 I have served in numerous congregational leadership positions at a variety of churches including Pastor, Associate Pastor, Youth Pastor, Teaching Elder, Director of Education, Church Chairman/Administrator, Deacon, Adult Education Chairman, and Christian Education Chairman, and founded Family Bible Church on February 1, 1997. I was first licensed as a Minister of the Gospel in March of 1988, ordained through the Conservative Baptist Association in October of 1991, credentialed as a Messianic  Minister (MMin) by the Messianic Bureau International in June of 2002 and currently serve as Founder and Resident Theologian of the Center for Messianic Learning.[3]

I have authored numerous briefs and papers on Christian and Messianic Jewish theology, church administration, world religions, the cults, and the occult (most of which are posted on this web site), as well as a church management handbook which has been used successfully by numerous churches as a guide to reorganization for increased effectiveness and efficiency of ministry. I have been an active Bible teacher in local congregations for over 50 years, and offered ministry consultation services from 1983 until 1994.

My Spiritual Journey

I have known Adonai Yeshua HaMashiach[4] as my personal Lord and Savior since 1953. I was five years old when I made my public confession of faith and was immersed.

In 1999 HaShem[GN] laid it upon my heart to seek out my Jewish “roots,” as I am a physical descendant of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya'akov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), my ancestral name (Levitt/Leavitt) suggesting probable relationship to the tribe of Levi. In the course of that quest the Holy Spirit led me to discover the Messianic Restoration Movement, a rapidly growing body of Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Yeshua HaMashiach who believe that God’s Elect, whether Jew or Gentile, living before or after “the Cross,” are all one in the Body of Yeshua, and are the true Commonwealth of Israel. [Much more detail about that journey HERE.]

This position is in conflict with the traditional Christian doctrine that “the Church” is separate and distinct from Israel, and consists of all believers in “Jesus Christ” from the Day of Pentecost until the Rapture. This traditional position is the one that I held and taught for over 40 years. However, the word “churchper se never actually appears in Scripture. I now believe that the word is actually an unfortunate translation error that has caused much of the rift between Jews and Gentiles for the past 1,800 years.[5]

The Messianic Restoration Movement

The overarching goal of the Messianic Restoration Movement is to reunite Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua HaMashiach into one Holy Family, and to offer to all who so desire, both Jew and non-Jew, the opportunity to return to the style of worship that was actually practiced by the Nazarene sect of Judaism, or “The Way” (Hebrew Ha Derek),[6] as the followers of Yeshua were called until well into the fourth century of the Common Era. It is our belief that true Biblical faith is properly best understood as a completed and “corrected” form of Judaism, and that “true Judaism” is that which recognizes King Yeshua HaMashiach as Israel’s Messiah. This makes perfect sense if one stops for just a moment to consider a few basic points:

Detailed Ministry HistoryFull Autobiography

  1. This page was originally written in the grammatical third person (“Dr. Sawyer, “he,” etc.”), but when I was reading it over this evening it sounded really “stilted” to my ear, and I was not pleased with what I was hearing. I have had a significant number of people tell me that this website is easy for them to understand because of the conversational style in which most of the pages have been written. It is my earnest desire that you, the reader, would feel as if you and I were sitting in a warm and cozy den somewhere, chatting about the things of the Kingdom. So this evening, Monday, 13 March 2023, I am rewriting the page in hopes of capturing that more conversational feeling. [BACK]

 2. To be a bit more accurate, Ari ben Levi is the short form of my shem kodesh. My full and proper name is Ari ben Gavriel ha Levi, or Rick son of William the Levite. [BACK]

 3. This present ministry originally began as Family Bible Church, an independent “Baptistic” congregation. In about 1999 I becan to be aware of the Messianic Restoration Movement and in 2000 the assembly was renamed Family Bible Messianic Ministries. In about 2019 the current name began to seem more appropriate. Since my retirement in 2008 the Center for Messianic Learning has consisted only of this website. [BACK]

 4. Messiah’s name and title as it would have been expressed in His native language, Hebrew. Adonai is “Lord.” Yeshua means “salvation” and is the name He was given by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:30-33). HaMashiach is “the Messiah. Those who did not know Him as Messiah would have known Him as Yeshua ben Yosef. [BACK]

 5. It is impossible to determine whether the error was intentionally or unintentionally anti-Semitic, but more likely the work of HaSatan to divide the Holy Community into “us” and “them” and thereby weaken the work of HaShem’s Elect. The Greek word translated as “church” in the Apostolic Writings (the so-called “New Testament”) is ecclesia, which literally means “called out” and is used in the Septuagint (the first Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) to refer to Jewish congregations or assemblies, or to the holy convocations of Israel. It is my opinion (as always, please feel free to disagree) that the word carried exactly the same meaning in the Apostolic Writings and did not refer to a “new religion.”  (See also “Where Did the Word ‘Church’ Come From?”) [BACK]

 6. The way to properly live out the Torah in daily life. [BACK]

Page revised on Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Page revised on Monday, 13 March 2023

Page last updated on Friday, 29 September 2023 11:49 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return

Blue Letter Bible Search Tool

Range Options:

e.g. Gen;Psa-Mal;Rom 3-9