The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
ב״ה
“… 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, …”
 

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)

Like this page? Share it. MeWe Logo ParlerLogo WimKin Logo CloutHub Others:Bookmark and Share

Please Note: Nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church. I am not anti-anything or anyone. I am only pro-Torah, pro-Truth, and pro-Grace. Sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. Why isn’t my theology consistent throughout this website?

Mobile Users: The page will display properly if you hold your device in “landscape”
position and use your touch gesture to resize the page to fit your screen.

Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.”[GN]

[Explanations of rabbinic citations are HERE]

After you have read this page, it is recommended that
you begin your study of the science of theology HERE.

We are all on the path. We know Yeshua but we haven’t finished the course, we haven’t finished the race. We’re on the path and each person will be learning with a measure of the Spirit according to the grace that God has poured out on them. Let us not forget that just because we know the Truth — and we know it now — we are still growing. Though other people may not know, the grace of God is still pouring out on those who are living in ignorance.

Yeshua said, “… it has been given to you to know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it has not been given to them. (Matthew 13:11; cf. Luke 8:10)

The Need for a
Messianic Jewish
Systematic Theology

There are a number of related articles under “Messianic Issues.”

Christian theology tends to underplay or misrepresent Jewish phenomena. Jewish theology ignores the New Testament. Since any genuine reconciliation of the church and the Jewish people must conform to biblical truth, what is needed before any program of action can be designed is a thought framework that can do justice to both the Messianic and the Jewish elements of any theological topic. The name for such a thought framework is a Messianic Jewish systematic theology.[1]

As far as I have been able to determine after studying the issue for twenty years, within Messianic Judaism (or the “Torah-Pursuant Messianic Restoration Movement” for lack of better term, since those within the movement have numerous names by which they refer to themselves), little attention has been paid thus far to the development of a systematic theology. This is due, I believe, to three primary reasons:

  1. Messianic Judaism’s higher priority is to establish itself as a legitimate sect within greater Judaism
  2. Jewish theology is extremely difficult to “codify”[2]
  3. Histrically, Judaism (in general) considers itself an “ethical religion” and, as such, is far more concerned with how a person acts than with what a person believes.[3]

In Jewish thought, if your behavior is in general compliance with Rabbinic Tradition, what you believe is pretty much between you and HaShem.[GN] The Sages taught that mankind is created with two inclinations: the Yetzer Hara (evil inclination) and the Yetzer Hatov (good inclination). Though referred to as “evil,” the Yetzer Hara actually denotes physical appetites in general, aggressive emotions, and ambition. Although it can easily lead to wrongdoing, it really denotes more the propensity towards evil rather than something evil in itself.

The answer, according to the, Rabbis is the Torah. If one uses the mitzvot (instructions, commandments) of Torah to regulate one’s conduct, the Yetzer Hara will be kept in check.

While there are only seven or so major Jewish “denominations“ (Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Messianic, Reconstructionist, Renewal, and Humanist), it must be admitted by any serious student of theology that “systematic theology” is the primary reason that there are currently over 45,000 distinct Christian denominations (plus numerous pseudo-Christian cults) worldwide,[4] each one of which holding that their theology is correct and all the others are wrong. People obviously have many different opinions as to what comprises “Christian theology.” Thus, as we develop a systematic theolgy for Messianic Judaism, we must be extremely careful to avoid the same trap. Instead of being very dogmatic about any point of our theology we must be careful to preface our theolgy statements with “we think …” or “we believe …” and leave all the absolutes to God alone, and respect the valid interpretations of others as possible.

The modern Messianic Jewish Movement marks its beginning at approximately the same time as the Israeli Six-Day War in 1967. At the very time that Jerusalem was being liberated from Gentile domination for the first time since being overrun by the Romans in 70 CE, there arose almost simultaneously three centers of Messianic Jewish awareness in America: one in Florida; one in Ohio; one in the San Francisco Bay area. Since those early years the movement has been essentially preoccupied with defining itself and its relationship to both main-stream Judaism and Evangelical Christianity, as it is actually the “child” of each, but is a theological orphan accepted by neither.

To mainstream Judaism, the Messianic Movement is seen primarily as a new “sect” of Christianity whose goals are to evangelize and proselytize unwary Jews to Christianity. To Evangelical Christianity, the Messianic Movement is seen primarily as an attempt to “Judaize” unwary Christians and place them back under the “yoke of the Law.”

Neither of those opinions could be further from the truth. Those within the Movement generally describe themselves as Jewish and non-Jewish followers of the Jewish Messiah Yeshua who desire to express their faith and practice in the same way the first- and second-century Believers in Yeshua did. They have united for the common purpose of breaking down the barriers which have so long divided the Body of Messiah. The Jewish members of the movement desire only to retain their precious Jewish heritage and traditions while embracing their Messiah; the non-Jewish members desire to claim their status as full members of the Commonwealth of Israel and the family of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya'akov into which they have been “grafted” and adopted by faith in Israel’s Messiah. (Rom. 11:17-24)

The Task of Developing a Messianic Systematic Theology

The ominous task of developing an “umbrella” Systematic Messianic Theology (if one is actually desired — or even possible) has necessarily been postponed due to the pressing need for the Movement to firmly and clearly identify and define itself, and to gain a measure of acceptance from both the wider Jewish and Christian communities. The task is also significantly hampered by numerous seemingly insurmountable factors, not the least of which is the need to “blend” all that is true in traditional Judaism with all that is true in evangelical Christianity, while at the same time discarding all that is “chaff” within both traditions. The fact that those in the Messianic Jewish Movement come from virtually all of the Jewish traditions and Christian denominations makes the task even more difficult, because of all of the “denominational baggage” and “sacred cows” that come from each of these numerous traditions. Jews can’t agree with other Jews about the major truths of Judaism, and Christians can’t agree with other Christians about the major truths of Christianity; how much more difficult it is to get Jews and Christians to agree with each other about the major truths of the true Biblical faith!

This fact is complicated ever further by the extreme “fringe” elements of the Movement that claim that they are the only “true” Messianic Judaism, but which are in actuality a whole new class of cult that has arisen with the “Messianic Awakening” and which teach abhorrent doctrines and outright heresies that have absolutely no basis in either Jewish or Christian tradition or in Scripture. Among these new cults I specifically identify the so-called “Two House/Two Stick Movement” (which is nothing but a re-emergence and re-stating of the Anglo-Israelism heresy taught by the Armstrongs and others) and the so-called “Sacred Namers” (who flagrantly violate Torah’s prohibition of misusing the Sacred Name and claim that in order to be “saved” one must adopt their particular spelling and pronunciation of the Names of HaShem and Yeshua HaMashiach). There are certainly other fringe elements, but these are the two most prominent of which I am aware at the time of this writing (2019).

Protestant Systematic Theology

One of the preliminary tasks in the development of a Messianic Jewish Systematic Theology is to identify the major divisions of that theology. In classical Protestant Systematic Theology there are eleven major divisions of study which include:

  1. Prolegomena: overview, summary statements, and methodology employed
  2. Bibliology: the theology of the Bible
  3. Theology Proper: the theology of God
  4. Christology: the theology of Christ
  5. Pneumatology: the theology of the Holy Spirit
  6. Angelology: the theology of angels and demons
  7. Anthropology: the theology of mankind
  8. Hamartiology: the theology of sin
  9. Soteriology: the theology of salvation
  10. Ecclesiology: the theology of the Church
  11. Eschatology: the theology of Future Things
Jewish Systematic Theology

Classical Jewish “systematic” theology (such as it is) is comprised of only six major themes or topics: (hyperlinks are to a series of lessons on “What Jews Believe: a Brief Introduction to Jewish Theology” at chabad.org).

  1. God: Who or what is God? How do we define the undefinable? Is there an intelligent way to speak of God? If so, what is it? First in a six-part course on core Jewish beliefs.
  2. Torah: What is Torah? What is a commandment? What is revelation? What happened at Sinai? In this second in a six-part course on core Jewish beliefs, we set out to understand how Judaism views the Torah as much more than a set of laws.
  3. The Jews: Why did God give the Torah to the Jews? What does God want from humanity as a whole? Why did He communicate with the Jewish people in a different way? Third in a six-part course on core Jewish beliefs.
  4. The World: Why did God create this physical universe? What role does it play in God’s plan? In this fourth of a six-part series on core Jewish beliefs, we discuss why God desires this lowly and crass world, and how the material can ultimately become more Godly than the spiritual.
  5. Free Choice: If we are part of God’s plan, then why did He give us the choice to deviate from the plan? To what extent do our choices really affect our lives? This fifth in a six-part series on core Jewish beliefs examines the importance of free will and its effect on our lives.
  6. Redemption: In this final class in a six-part series, we reach the culminating and most essential concept of Jewish belief — the belief in the perfection of this world. What is universal redemption? How does it come about? How is it connected to—and the fulfillment of—all of the other concepts we have learned about so far?
The Mindset of a Messianic Systematic Theology

After trying for many years to develop a working Messianic Jewish Systematic Theology within the traditional framework in which I was trained, I have finally discovered that it is quite impractical to do so, for a very obvious reason that has only recently occurred to me.

 Christian theology is based on a totally Western (“Greek”) way of looking at the universe. In order to be true to its Biblical origin, a working Messianic theology must be based on an Eastern (“Hebrew”) way of looking at ha'olam (the approximate Hebrew equivalent of “universe”).

Additionally, one of the major tenets of classic Christian theology is that “Israel” and “the Church” are two eternally separate entities. There is therefore no suitable division of traditional Christian theology in which to deal with the fact that “the called-out” Holy Community actually consists of all — both “Jew” and “non-Jew” — who have ever come into a covenant relationship with the Most High.

So far, I have developed a number of articles in an attempt to develop a comprehensive and systematic Messianic theology. I do not realistically expect this task to be completed by either myself or anyone else before Messiah returns in glory to then teach us His (the only true) theology. (But there are a few of us who are sure going to try!)

David Stern, the translator of the Complete Jewish Bible, suggests an excellent outline for a Messianic systematic theology:[5] I am working on reorganizing the Theology section of this website to address all of the concerns he raises.

Theology as Science

… the majority of Western Europeans and a large minority of Americans have already become effective atheists: they rarely if ever go to any church, and a belief in God plays no role in their daily lives. The evidence is clear and unequivocal: if scientists have no need for the God hypotheses, neither will anyone else. Were theologians to succeed in their attempt to strictly separate science and religion, they would kill religion. Theology simply must become a branch of physics if it is to survive. [his emphasis]

Tipler, Frank J. The Physics of Immortality.
New York: Doubleday, 1994, p. 10

FINALLY, a Disclaimer

As you read through the pages of this website, you will find inconsistencies in my theological position. I have been studying the Scriptures for over 60 years, and every time I open my Bible to study (with very rare exception), HaShem shows me something new. When He shows me something new, I have to adjust my understanding of theology to incorporate what He has just shown me, and it is physically impossible for me to go back to the website, find, and edit everything that needs to be changed to conform to my new understanding. I just have to catch them as I happen accross them. Additionally, the first version of this website was launched in 1995, and some of the original pages still exist in this version, and my theology has changed dramatically in those 26 years.

Under ConstructionIn This Section

I am currently working to develop this section. As pages become available, I will attach hyperlinks to the topics on this list.

A. Survey: an overview of what Torah[6] has to say about topics which cover multiple categories.

1. Theology 101: An Introduction to The Science of Theology

a. Lesson 1: First Things First

b. Lesson 2: Principles of Bible Interpretation

c. Lesson 3: Counterfeit Religion and the Last Days

d. Lesson 4: Getting Down to Basics

e. Lesson 5: A Brief Summary of Bible Doctrine

f. Lesson 6: Non-Biblical Practices of both the Gentile Christian Church and Rabbinical Judaism

2. The 613 Mitzvot

3. Errors of Christianity and Judaism

4. A Refutation of Dispensational Theology

5. Doctrinal Statements / Statements of Faith

a. A “Typical” Messianic Statement of Faith  

b. Center for Messianic Learning

c. B'nei HaMelech Fellowship: Doctrinal Summary  

d. Bible Gateway  

e. Coalition of Torah Observant Messianic Congregations  

f. Messianic Bureau International  

g. Metroplex Messianic Fellowship

h. United Messianic Jewish Alliance  

i. Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations  

j. Messianic Jewish Alliance of America  

k. First Fruits of Zion 

6. Basics of Messianic Judaism

7. Rambam’s Thirteen Principles

8. Messianic Thirteen Principles

B. Torah: the Inspiration and Authority of Scripture

1. What Constitutes God’s Word?

2. Inspiration and Authority of Scripture

a. Verbal Inspiration

b. Plenary Inspiration

3. The Jewishness of the “New Testament”

4. Antisemitism in the “New Testament”

5. Torah Keeping

a. Why Obey Torah?

b. Is Obedience to Torah for Today?

c. Torah and “Legalism

6. Hebrew Apostolic Scriptures?

a. Was the “New Testament” Written in Hebrew or Greek?

b. Scholars Who Support a Hebrew Origin of the Apostolic Writings

7. King James Version

8. The Church and Torah

9. Talmud

C. God: Theology Proper

1. God the Father

a. Atributes of God

b. Names of God

(1) Some Thoughts on the Sacred Name

(2) “Jehovah?

c. The Triunity of God

d. The Magen David

2. The Word

a. Logos=Torah=Mashiach

b. The Name That is Above Every Name

c. The Person of Mashiach

d. Yeshua’s True Birthday

e. Yeshua’s Tevilah

g. The Great “I AM”

h. The Angel of ADONAI

i. Theophany Defined

j. UMJC Statement on Yeshua

k. “Jesus Christ” — A False Prophet?

3. Ruach HaKodesh

a. Ruach HaKodesh and “Tongues”

D. Spirit Beings

1. Holy Angels

a. 14 Facts About Angels

b. Angelic Appearances

c. The Angel of ADONAI

2. Fallen Angels

a. HaSatan (The Adversary)

b. Demons

3. Nephilim

E. Humanity: Sin, Atonement, Faith Works

  1. Man in the image of God

  2. Sin

  3. Redemption

  4. Repentance, Atonement, Forgiveness

  5. Election

  6. Free Will

  7. Man’s Moral Duty

  8. Faith and Works

  9. Securty of the Believer

10. Eternal Life

F. The People of God: Covenants, Corporateness, Primise and the Gospel

1. Covenants

a. All Five Covenants Remain in Force Today

b. Has the “Old” Covenant Been Abolished by the “New”? (Heb 8:13)

2. Corporate Aspects of the Gospel

3. Yeshua is Identified with the People of Israel

4. God Will Fulfill His Promises to the Jewish People

a. The New Testament Proves It

b. The Tanakh Proves It

c. Refutation of Arguments that God is Finished with the Jews (2Cor 1:20; Matt 5:17)

5. The Promise of the Land

6. The Promise of the Kingdom

7. Conclusion

G. The Future

 1. Rabbinic Eschatology

 2. Six Epoch of the Future

 3. Three Views of the Millennium

 4. Soul Sleep

 5. The Third Temple

 a. Sacrifices In The Third Temple

 6. The Twelfth Imam

 7. Is the “Rapture” for Real?

 8. Resurrection and Judgment

 9. Is “Heaven” for Real?

10. Messiah’s Return

11. Reward and Punishment

12. End-Time Prophecy


After you have read this page, it is recommended that
you begin your study of the science of theology HERE
.

____________

   1. David H. Stern. Messianic Jewish Manifesto. Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1988, p. 85. [RETURN]

   2. “There is no established formulation of principles of faith that are recognized by all branches of Judaism. Central authority in Judaism is not vested in any one person or group — although the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish religious court, would fulfill this role if it is re-established - but rather in Judaism's sacred writings, laws, and traditions.” (“Jewish principles of faith,” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_principles_of_faith, accessed August 9, 2019)

Moses Maimonides (Moses Ben Maimon, also called Rambam) was born March 30, 1135, in Córdoba, Spain and died in Egypt December 13, 1204. He was a Jewish philosopher, jurist, and physician, the foremost intellectual figure of medieval Judaism. His first major work, begun at age 23 and completed 10 years later, was a commentary on the Mishna, the collected Jewish oral laws. His Thirteen Principles of Faith were written in his introduction to the tenth chapter of Talmud Samhedrin. These have been modified for Messianic believers in Thirteen Messianic Principles of Faith.

It may well turn out that the effort to develop an effective Systematic Messianic Theology is an exercise in futility, since the entire concept of Systematic Theology follows a Greek, not a Hebrew, mindset. This video poses some very interesting discussion points in this regard. [RETURN]

  3. “Why are there no orderly attempts in the Talmud to expound the beliefs of Judaism? In a certain sense, the question is anachronistic. We raise the question, I think, more because Islam and Christianity are characterized by repeated attempts to expound their theologies systematically, than because such an approach to theology is intrinsic to monotheistic faith.” (Menachem Kellner, “The Emergence of Jewish Dogma.” myjewishlearning.com/ article/the-emergence-of-jewish-dogma/, accessed 7 August 2019.) [RETURN]

  4. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary estimated 34,000 denominations in 2000, rising to an estimated 43,000 in 2012. These numbers have exploded from 1,600 in the year 1900. As of 2019 this number has increased to over 45,000. [RETURN]

  5. Stern, op.cit., pp. 193-195. [RETURN]

 6. Here I am using the word Torah in the wider sense of including everything in the Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings [RETURN] 

Page originally posted Tuesday, 09 November 2021

Page last updated on Tuesday, 22 March 2022 06:43 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!

Blue Letter Bible Search Tool

Range Options:

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