Statement of Faith 1

Preamble—Ancient Christian Creeds

I agree with the Apostles' Creed (8th century A.D.), which is based on the Old Roman Symbol (2nd century A.D.) with the understanding that the words ‘conceived’, ‘communion’, and ‘saints’ are used as follows:

conceived: In this case, placed in the womb of the virgin, Miriam. Not meaning ‘fathered by’ or ‘created by’ the Holy Spirit.

communion: A shared life in Jesus Christ. The brotherhood/sisterhood that exists because of the common bond of God-worship that has been seeded into every God-worshiper, which creates a family between all who have experienced the love of God throughout the ages, as well as the family bond between us and God.

saints: All those who are being made holy in the process of sanctification through our relationship with the Father by our connection in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and thus part of the people of God, both living and dead; not just those who are ‘canonized’ by a particular church body.

Apostle’s Creed

Old Roman Symbol

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

I believe in God the Father Almighty;

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;

And in Christ Jesus, His only Son, our Lord

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary;

Who was born from the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary;

He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

Who under Pontius Pilate was crucified and buried,

He descended into hell. On the third day, He rose again.

On the third day He rose again from the dead,

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

Ascended to heaven, [and] sits at the right hand of the Father

He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Whence He will come to judge the living and the dead;

I believe in the Holy Spirit;

And in the Holy Spirit,

The Holy Catholic [universal] Church;

The Holy Church,

The communion of saints;


The forgiveness of sins;

The remission of sins,

The resurrection of the body;

The resurrection of the flesh,

And the life everlasting.

[And] the life everlasting.

Amen.


I further agree with the Nicene Creed of 325 A.D. with the understanding that the words ‘begotten’ and ‘substance’ are used as follows:

begotten: In this case, the state of incarnation through birth; not ‘created by’ or ‘fathered by’.

substance: With regard to God, eternal, uncreated self-existence.

Nicene Creed 325 A.D.

Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed 381 A.D.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God], Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (aeons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;

By whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth];

By whom all things were made;

Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and made man;

Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;

He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven;

He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father;

From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

From thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead;


Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And in the Holy Ghost.

And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets. In one Holy Catholic and apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

But to those who say: “There was a time when He was not;” and “He was not before He was made”; and “He was made out of nothing;” or “He is of another ‘substance’ or ‘essence’;” or “The Son of God is ‘created’, or ‘changeable’, or ‘alterable’—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.


I also agree with the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed additions of 381 A.D. in the same way as the Nicene Creed of 325 A.D. with the exception of the line, “we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins…” on two grounds:

  1. Water baptism is not for the remission of sins. Grace applied to us by faith is what saves us, not baptism. Baptism is a symbol of one’s public confession that they have been identified with Christ’s death and resurrection. If baptism was for the remission of sins, then Jesus would not be sinless; for He required John the Baptist to baptize him “in order to fulfill all righteousness.” Jewish water baptism is a ritual preparing one for service to God. It was the proper way for anyone desiring ministry to prepare (priests were baptized before their service in the Temple, according to the Law of Moses). This is why Jesus was baptized at the beginning of his ministry. Jewish baptism also signifies a separation to God from the pagan world, often referred to as being “born again” in rabbinical tradition, thus explaining why Jesus used this terminology when explaining both water and Spirit baptism to Nicodemus (John 3:1-8). These two concepts show why Judeo-Christians are baptized—to identify with Jesus’ death and resurrection, which declares us to be separate from the world and which authorizes us for ministry in the kingdom. Now for all of us who are not sinless, this identification and preparation for ministry involves our repentance from our sins, and this is where the mix-up comes in. This is why John’s baptism is often referred to as a “baptism of repentance.” It is not, however, a baptism for the remediation of our sins.

  2. The Bible distinctly speaks of three different baptisms in the New Testament, two of which are necessary for all God-worshipers to be properly equipped for ministry: water baptism and Spirit baptism. (The third baptism is the baptism of suffering, referred to by Jesus in Mark 10:38 and Luke 12:50; those who undergo this baptism are specially rewarded in Revelation 6:9-11 and also Revelation 20:4-7.) When the Scriptures say, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” they are referring to the symbolic destination of our baptisms—the kingdom of God, denoted by the name of Jesus. (John 3:3-5, Acts 19:5-6) Furthermore, the events of water baptism and and Spirit baptism, while they exist for separate purposes and are separate experiences, are meant to occur at the same moment in time (water baptism by immersion and Spirit baptism by the laying on of hands); it is possible that the authors of Scripture are also referring to these two baptisms as a concurrent experience.

The Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed of 325 A.D. summarize the New Covenant foundation of Judeo-Christian belief. It must be understood that these beliefs existed from the time of Jesus Himself; the creeds are simply a codification of these beliefs. Therefore, an adherence to these creeds does not necessarily constitute full agreement with all the decisions of the Church Councils that drafted them.

The affirmation of these creedal beliefs is absolutely critical for anyone who calls himself/herself by the name of Christ. Save the one line concerning baptism, I would apply this statement to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed as well. There are no theological issues with the Filioque of the 5th century (an addition to the 381 creed), which states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, because Jesus sent the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.

Points of Belief

  1. I believe in One God,2 YHVH,3 the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel),4 King of the Universe,5 who is the Maker of all things visible and invisible.6 He is omniscient,7 omnipresent,8 and omnipotent.9 He is uncreated, self-existent in substance, and exists eternally10 as a fusion of three persons (Trinity):11
    1. The Father12/Name,13 who is the origin of all of God’s thought and action; He is the seat of God’s character, nature, and personality. He is the embodiment of omniscience; He is the ‘who’ of the Trinity. In the human makeup (see point 4 below), the soul represents the Father/Name.
    2. The Son14/Word,15 who is the conduit between the Father and God’s creation. He is the tangible one, called Immanuel ‘God with us’.16 He is fully God and fully human in the person of haMaschiach Yeshua haNotzri (Jesus Christ of Nazareth) (see point 8F below).17 He is the embodiment of omnipresence; He is the ‘what’ of the Trinity. In the human makeup (see point 4 below), the body represents the Son/Word.
    3. The Holy Spirit18/Wisdom,19 who is the ‘do-er’, the enlightener, the enabler. He transmits the power and wisdom of God from the Father, through the Son, into God’s creation.20 He is the embodiment of omnipotence; He is the ‘how’ of the Trinity. In the human makeup (see point 4 below), the spirit represents the Holy Spirit/Wisdom.

  2. Everything that God does flows from the Father through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.21 All are present in God’s activity and exist as one being. Though they have chosen defined roles within the Trinity, each person of the Trinity is of equal ‘rank’, power, and glory; it is important to understand that the words ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ are in no way biological, but are relational in nature.22 God’s nature is absolute, self-sacrificial love (ahav in Hebrew, agape in Greek).23 In perpetual deference to one another, each person of the Trinity worships the other two.24 In this way, they are eternally reciprocal in giving and receiving love, though they are never looking for reciprocity. They simply give to one another in self-sacrificial love, because this is their nature.
  1. I believe that whereas the person of Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh,25 the protocanon of the Bible is God’s written Word.26 The two are one in message, not in substance. They mutually interpret each other and speak to us together as the very Word of God;27 as such, the Word is the supreme authority of doctrine, faith, and practice.
    1. The protocanon of the Bible is without error in the original languages in which its various parts were written: The Tanakh28 was primarily written in Hebrew, and the B’rit Chadashah29 was written primarily in Greek and Aramaic. It was written by the Holy Spirit through divinely inspired men.

      I believe that the protocanon of the Bible consists of the books listed below:

      Tanakh (First Covenant, Old Testament)

      B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant, New Testament)

      Torah

      Nevi'im (Prophets)

      Ketuvim (Writings)

      Genesis

      Joshua

      Psalms (1-150)

      Matthew

      Exodus

      Judges

      Proverbs

      Mark

      Leviticus

      1 Samuel (1 Kingdoms)

      Ecclesiastes

      Luke

      Numbers

      2 Samuel (2 Kingdoms)

      Song of Songs (Solomon)

      John

      Deuteronomy

      1 Kings (3 Kingdoms)

      Wisdom of Solomon

      Acts


      2 Kings (4 Kingdoms)

      Sirach

      Romans


      Isaiah

      Job

      1 Corinthians


      Jeremiah

      Ruth

      2 Corinthians


      Baruch (w/Letter of Jeremiah)

      Tobit

      Galatians


      Ezekiel

      Judith

      Ephesians


      Daniel (w/Greek)

      1 Chronicles

      Philippians


      Hosea

      2 Chronicles

      Colossians


      Joel

      Lamentations

      1 Thessalonians


      Amos

      Esther (w/Greek)

      2 Thessalonians


      Obadiah

      Ezra (2 Esdras*)

      1 Timothy


      Jonah

      Nehemiah (2 Esdras*)

      2 Timothy


      Micah

      1 Maccabees

      Titus


      Nahum

      2 Maccabees

      Philemon


      Habakkuk


      Hebrews


      Zephaniah


      James


      Haggai


      1 Peter


      Zechariah


      2 Peter


      Malachi


      1 John




      2 John




      3 John




      Jude




      Revelation


      *Combined in the Eastern Orthodox canon as 2 Esdras. See this table for how the various branches of the church treat the books attributed to Ezra.


    2. Despite an incredibly tumultuous history, the Bible has been faithfully preserved by God's people throughout time. There exists a class of Jewish writings of a Biblical nature, however, that cannot be admitted to the status of protocanon, yet are worthy of study. These books exhibit some or all of the following characteristics:
      1. Some of these works are referenced in the protocanon as being authoritative.
      2. Most of these books have been included by leaders in the Christian Church at least at some point in history, and many are still accepted as being divinely inspired today by segments of the Christian Church.
      3. Some of the writings were included as divinely inspired during the time of Jesus and the early church; however, the original language copies of these books have been lost in various tragedies including the Roman invasion of Israel in A.D. 70, and have not yet been completely recovered in the original languages in which they were written. Since these currently exist only in fragments or in second- or third-generation translations to unoriginal languages in their entirety, we cannot rely on these documents as completely inerrant until such time as the ‘originals’ are found and examined.
      4. Several of the texts, while not necessarily being divinely inspired from a theological point of view, describe event(s) that were actual history and may serve to explain segments of the Biblical story.
      5. A few of them contain content that may be considered divinely inspired, but also contain commentary or additions that were not part of the original document which are not divinely inspired.
      Biblical-era Jewish writings that meet these criteria are in a deuterocanonical state. Some of the particularly helpful deuterocanonical books to study are listed below:

      Name

      Comments

      Enoch

      Portion of history between Adam and Noah; answers questions and fills in information not mentioned in Genesis. Quoted directly by the New Covenant authors of 2 Peter and Jude; found Greek and Aramaic fragments in Dead Sea Scrolls; only in its entirety in Ethiopic (Ge'ez). Considered divinely inspired by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

      Jubilees

      a 'shorter' version of Genesis with expanded rabbinical commentary (often called the 'Little Genesis'). Fragments found among the Dead Sea Scrolls; exists in its entirety only in Ethiopic. Considered divinely inspired by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and by Ethiopian Jews.

      Psalm 151

      Seems to lack the character and quality of David's authorship, but is an accurate account of David's early life up to his fight with Goliath. Considered divinely inspired by the Eastern Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches.

      Prayer of Manasseh

      Historically accurate but not divinely inspired account of evil King Manasseh's prayer of repentance at the end of his life. Considered divinely inspired by the Eastern, Ethiopian, and Oriental Orthodox Churches.

      2 Ezra

      What I am calling 2 Ezra is 1 Esdras in the Eastern Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, and Catholic traditions. I use the term 2 Ezra because the protocanonical book of Ezra is obviously primary. Considered divinely inspired by all branches of the church except Roman Catholic and Protestant.

      Prophecies of Ezra

      Prophecies of Ezra is part of 3 Esdras (Eastern Orthodox); it is 4 Esdras from the Ethiopian Orthodox canon (and Roman Catholic deuterocanon). I use the term Prophecies of Ezra because the entirety of this volume is eschatological prophecy; also, because the numbering jumps around from canon to canon, I did not wish to call it '4 Ezra'.

      3 Maccabees

      A possibly somewhat embellished tale of the historical account of the persecution of the Jews of Alexandria by Ptolemy Philopator (circa 215 B.C.). The name of the book is misleading, as the events occurred before the Maccabean uprising against Antiochus IV 'Epiphanes'. Considered divinely inspired by the Eastern and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches.

      4 Maccabees

      This book is a rabbinical treatise on the value of good character and critical thinking. It is an independent work from 1 & 2 Maccabees, but uses stories from these works as examples. Considered divinely inspired by Eastern and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches.

      Testament ('Assumption') of Moses

      found in Greek and Latin fragments only--no complete copy has been found; quoted directly by New Covenant author of Jude in verse 9. Describes instructions given by Moses to Joshua before his death; after Moses' death, it gives the details of an argument between the archangel Michael and Satan over where to bury Moses' body (God had instructed Michael to bury Moses away from the view of the Israelites so they would not worship it as a god).

      The Didache (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles to the Nations)

      1st-century writing contemporary with the Book of Revelation. Served as an early Gentile church 'manual' of instruction. Debated by early Church Fathers as to canonicity; ultimately excluded from the canon except for a derivative work, Didascalia Apostolorum, which is in the 'broader canon' of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.



    3. I believe the Biblical Era closed with the death of the last persons who were eyewitnesses to the living Word, Jesus Christ. This means that no new Scriptures have been written since this time; the Bible is complete and serves as the written basis of truth when properly interpreted:
      1. The Bible was written by Jews to a mainly Jewish audience, whether Hebraic or Hellenistic; and thus, must be interpreted within their respective Jewish contexts according to the original languages, whether Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic.

      2. The Bible is not primarily a ‘living document’ in terms of having personal, ‘special’ or relative interpretation: in other words, where one simply flips to a section of Scripture and reads it like it was written directly to them. Particularly for the purposes of doctrine and instruction, this sort of relative interpretation has no place: we must view the Scriptures in context to derive the original meaning and application.

      3. Given that the protocanon of the Bible and Jesus' life are mutually interpretive (point 3 above), and given that the New Covenant overlays, interprets, and augments the First Covenant (point 8G below), the Bible must be read with the following premise in mind: the Tanakh gives the B'rit Chadashah its context, and the B'rit Chadashah is the final interpretation of the Tanakh. Furthermore, as the Living Word, the words, spirit, and life of Jesus are paramount over all.
  1. I believe that YHVH created the world in six literal days according to the Scriptures.30 During these six days, God created everything visible and invisible;31 the final creation being man, both male and female.32 Man, both male and female, was created in God’s image, with a soul (the mind-heart, logic-emotion connection), a body, and a spirit—three separate parts fused together in one being.33 In this way, man reflects the eternal fusion of the Trinity and the glory of God. God called all parts of His creation very good;34 thus no evil [sin, self-worship, and the effects thereof] existed on earth at this time. All creatures lived in a continual state of God-worship.35 God rested on the seventh day, modeling Shabbat for us.36

  2. I believe that Satan,37originally an archangel named Lucifer who was in charge of worship in heaven,38 rebelled against God along with many other angels by turning to self-worship.39 They were cast out of God’s presence;40 and though they were eternally defeated from the beginning, they created a kingdom of darkness, evil, and self-worship with Satan as their leader,41 because their nature became self-worship. This kingdom has a hierarchy as follows:
    1. Archdemons:42 These were once powerful archangels in heaven that are now in charge of orchestrating Satan’s plan to frustrate the success of God’s kingdom
    2. Principalities:43 These are evil spirits that are assigned to a particular locality or person
    3. Powers:44 These are evil spirits that are the embodiment of a particular sin or malady

    These three categories of spirits work together to oppose the rule and reign of God over the earth and over humanity.

  3. I believe that God entrusted the perfectly good earth to mankind according to the Scriptures.45 The kingdom of darkness desired to claim that portion of God’s kingdom which God entrusted to man because of the dark angels’ nature of self-worship; therefore, Satan tempted Eve into capitulating to the nature of self-worship. She enticed Adam to do the same, and he decided to follow her in the disobedience of self-worship in rebellion against God.46 This gave Satan and his angels access to God’s good creation, which became corrupted by and subject to the laws of self-worship (otherwise known as sin),47 the consequences of which are complete separation from relationship with God, and everything evil that one can experience,48 resulting in physical and spiritual death.49 All human beings are now born corrupted with and enslaved to the sin nature of self-worship.50

  4. I believe that God foreknew these events as a possible scenario of history, and decided to send His Son even before the foundation of the world in the event this scenario occurred because of His great love for us.51 Yeshua (Jesus) the Son would be incarnated as man52 in order to represent man53 for the purpose of serving as both the complete payment for the actions of the sin nature (as the Passover Lamb)54 and the means of re-connection to God (as the Eternal High Priest of the New Covenant).55 In this way, God would reclaim His kingdom over humanity, rescuing all those who would accept it.56
  1. I believe that while God could have simply destroyed Satan’s kingdom with a word, reclaiming God’s rule by force, God chose to reveal Himself through His everlasting covenants with the people of Israel to His glory because of His love for us57 for two purposes: as a testimony for those who will accept God’s offer in worship,58 and as a testimony against those who will reject God’s offer of citizenship in God’s Kingdom.59 Rather than being forced to obey God or be simply annihilated for God to start over, mankind was given free will for the purpose of having true relationship with God;60 therefore, it is by man’s free will choice that he/she accepts or rejects the offer of citizenship.61
    1. The First Covenant was made with Abraham by faith and was carried through Isaac and Jacob (Israel) to his descendants;62 Moses became the arbiter of this covenant.63 In it, the promise was made to Abraham that:
      1. All the land from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River was given to Israel as its permanent possession.64
      2. All the nations of the world would be blessed through Abraham and his Seed (Jesus).65
      3. Whoever blesses Israel will be blessed by God, and whoever curses Israel will be cursed by God66
      4. Israel would grow to become a nation under the yoke of slavery to Egypt, but that God would deliver them and bring them out to reclaim the land.67

    2. When Israel did become a nation, God delivered Israel from Egypt through the blood of the Passover Lamb,68 which He commanded them to place on the doorposts of their homes.69 This represents the blood of Jesus, who later would save the people from their sins.70 To the whole nation of Israel through Moses, God proclaimed that:
      1. Although the whole earth belongs to God, the people of Israel would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. This means that the kingdom of God is expressed in the relationship between the King of the Universe and His kingdom people.71
      2. Whenever Israel did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, they would retain their land. But if they abandoned the covenant, God would remove them from the land until such time as they repented from their sin.72

    3. God’s desire was that the people come to Him directly and worship. The people were afraid to go, however;73 and so God instituted the Law of Moses for three reasons:
      1. To point toward Jesus’ ultimate redemption and provide an eschatological roadmap of God’s battle strategy in His reclaiming of us for His kingdom. He did this through the symbolism of the Levitical Feasts and the sacrifices therein.74
      2. To provide a means of communication by blood sacrifice despite the self-worship nature of man. This was done in the institution of the priesthood through the line of Aaron. This portion of the Law is called the priestly Law.75
      3. To provide a description of God’s holy nature of self-sacrificial love. This description is also a standard of behavior and call to worship for all those who would call themselves citizens of the kingdom, part of the people of God. This portion of the Law is called the moral Law.76

    4. Collectively, these three purposes serve(d) to drive a true God-worshiper to seek God by faith for salvation from sin.77 Obedience to the Law cannot justify one in the eyes of God;78 it is rather the evidence that we already have been justified by faith.79 This is true of the Law in both covenants.80

    5. It was God’s intent that Israel would take the First Covenant outward in ministry as a light to the Gentiles.81 While there certainly were those who upheld this mandate, Israel as a whole not only failed to keep the covenant, but deliberately abandoned the covenant on numerous occasions through direct idolatry.82 This was expected by God; He had designed Israel as a living picture—a microcosm of the rest of humanity.83 God loved Israel so much that He pursued her again and again, as he does with all of humanity.84 Each time Israel rejected God, God pointed toward the New Covenant in a different way:
      1. When the priests of Israel became corrupt (essentially rejecting the holy standard God had set for the priesthood), God rejected the Aaronic priesthood and said that He would raise up for Himself a Priest (Jesus).85
      2. When the people rejected God’s direct rule over them as king and requested a human king, God acquiesced to their request, but with a warning: that He would raise up for them a King that would rule over them whether they wanted Him or not.86 God established the throne of David forever by promising that the Messiah would be a Davidic king, because David was a true God-worshiper. The New Covenant would be established through David’s seed just as through Abraham’s seed.87
      3. When the kings rejected God’s prophets through continued idol worship, God finally acted on His part of the First Covenant by nearly annihilating the kingdom of Israel through Assyria,88 and by sending the kingdom of Judah into exile in Babylon.89 God said that He would raise up a Prophet—and more than a prophet—His Son, the Messiah.90 He also promised a New Covenant (the word ‘new’ meaning ‘repaired’, ‘refurbished’, ‘rebuilt’, or ‘renewed’—NOT a ‘replacement’) with the people of Israel.91

    6. At the promised time,92 the New Covenant was put into effect when God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world, shedding His blood to the point of death on a Roman cross.93 He was incarnated through the power of the Holy Spirit94 and was conceived in the womb of Miriam (Mary), a Jewish virgin, who was both a descendant of Abraham and David.95 In this process, the deity of the Son/Word was infused with the humanity of the line of David [the ancient view of miaphysitism, not monophysitism nor dyophysitism]. As such, Jesus is fully God and fully man in one person.96 The Messiah had to be fully God in order to be born without self-worship; and He remained sinless throughout His earthly life.97 He also had to be fully human in order to represent mankind.98 These two requirements were perfectly met in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah to serve as the perfect Passover Lamb sacrifice in fulfillment of the Passover (Pesach),99 atoning for the sins (acts of self-worship) of those who would accept that sacrifice on their behalf.100 His blood was shed as the inauguration of the New Covenant101 when he suffered under Pontius Pilate,102 was crucified,103 died,104 and was buried105 according to the Scriptures. The Messiah also fulfilled (and continues to fulfill) three offices in His person:
      1. As a prophet,106 He preached that the kingdom of God was near at hand.107 He spoke the intentions of the Father for rescuing the lost.108 He proclaimed the eschatological plan for Israel and humanity.109 He performed miracles as a testimony to His message,110 healing the sick,111 casting out demons,112 raising the dead,113 and preaching the good news of salvation.114
      2. As a priest,115 Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist as required by the Law of Moses as the proper way to begin the ministry of the priesthood.116 117 After fulfilling all of the requirements of the priestly Law through His own sacrifice,118 He was bodily resurrected on the third day by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of the Feast of Firstfruits (Reshit Katzir),119 and ascended to the right hand of the Father in glory as the holy firstfruits in victory over death.120 He remains forever our Eternal High Priest and arbiter of the New Covenant.121
      3. As the King of Kings,122 Jesus demonstrated His superior authority over the kingdom of darkness123and over the laws of nature.124 Upon His resurrection, He delegated this authority to His disciples and subsequently to His church;125 upon His ascension, the name of Jesus was exalted above every other name by the Father.126 Jesus inaugurated the rescue of mankind and creation itself under God’s Lordship.

    7. The New Covenant did not nullify the First Covenant; rather, it overlays, interprets, and supersedes the First Covenant, differing from it in the following ways:127
      1. The moral Law of Moses becomes engraved (that is, internalized) in the hearts and minds of His people by the Holy Spirit, who now lives in us and moves us to obey His Law.128 Thus, obedience to the moral Law of Moses becomes the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit’s work in us as we actively yield to His work.129
      2. Jesus changed the Law of Moses by fulfilling its priestly requirements,130 thus effectively abolishing them for the New Covenant citizen.131 No more sacrifice or sentence for sin is necessary, because “…the LORD has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.”132
      3. However, the moral Law is still in effect for the New Covenant citizen until heaven and earth pass away.133 Jesus summarized the fulfillment of the Law in the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and the ordinance in Leviticus 17:18-19 as being the two greatest commandments.134 In this way, God’s nature of self-sacrificial love for God and others is the driving force and final interpretation of the moral Law of Moses.
      4. The New Covenant is established as the means of claiming citizenship in the kingdom of God as His people; there is no other means of salvation from sin than by accepting Jesus’ offer in the New Covenant.135
      5. There is no longer a priesthood between God and His people except the High Priesthood of Jesus;136 all have equal and complete access to intimacy with God,137 and all have the same access to knowledge of God.138 In the First Covenant, worshipers could only worship at a distance;139 in the New Covenant, worshipers are embraced as reconciled sons and daughters.140
      6. The eternal consequences of our sin nature are immediately and permanently erased upon our acceptance of God’s New Covenant;141 as we walk out our journey with God in the process of sanctification, the sin nature itself is increasingly removed from us by the indwelling Holy Spirit as we partner with Him in obedience to God;142 see point 9 below.
      7. Both the First and New Covenants were made with the people of Israel (and Judah).143 In the First Covenant, God-worshipping Gentiles gained salvation as a result of their faith; through circumcision they were attached to Israel, but were not allowed to be full participants in the covenant.144 In the New Covenant, however, God-worshipping Gentiles have been grafted like branches into the people of Israel as adopted sons and daughters of Abraham and can expect a full share of the inheritance of the Land, of God’s blessing, and eternal covenant relationship.145
      8. God has promised to physically return the people of Israel to their land and allow them to reign over the nations there forever.146

  1. I believe that the Holy Spirit was poured out, that is, made available, to all humanity in fulfillment of the Levitical Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot).147 The Law of Moses was given on the first Pentecost to define holiness;148 the Holy Spirit was given at the fulfillment of Pentecost to produce holiness in the life of the true God-worshiper.149 Moreover, the Holy Spirit releases the power and wisdom of God to us through our connection to God in Jesus Christ.150 This power is given in order to make us agents of kingdom restoration: first, as a deposit guaranteeing the inheritance of our salvation, a position from which the Spirit acts in us for personal regeneration into God’s nature;151 second, as witnesses of the New Covenant—proclaimers of the kingdom of God;152 third, as demonstrators of the kingdom of God through the release of God’s power to others as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation;153 fourthly, to provide the community of the Spirit in the fullness of God’s people, the assembly.154

  2. I believe that the assembly (also known as the church, Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the citizens of the kingdom, the people of God, or the family of God) is an organism composed of all those who have been connected to God and to each other through the shared life recieved in Jesus Christ by trusting in His sacrifice for sin/self-worship, renouncing self-worship ['dying' to a self-directed life], yielding to His Lordship [being 'resurrected' to a God-controlled life],155 and who are empowered by the Holy Spirit, both Jew and Gentile.156 The physical ordinances God has prescribed in the New Covenant to accompany this transformation are water baptism/baptism in the Holy Spirit (see the note on baptisms in the Preamble to this Statement), and the LORD's Supper (which was derived from the Jewish celebrations of Passover [the Afikomen and the third cup] and Shabbat kiddush).157 The assembly is the agent through which God is restoring His kingdom to earth until He returns.158
    1. The assembly has its roots in the family-nation of Israel; and as such, it is meant to be a familial organism as opposed to an institution or organization such as a business.159 While there are certainly individual components of our relationship to God, the Judeo-Christian life is meant to be a communal, family experience rather than solely an individual experience.160
    2. The Holy Spirit has released particular gifts to individuals within the Body for the purposes of raising up, equipping, edifying, and ministering to (blessing) its members and through its members to the world for the advancement of the kingdom of God. These gifts are available to all members of the assembly and are released when the Holy Spirit determines they are needed. Some examples are prophecy, healing, service, mercy, administration, giving, encouragement, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues.161

    3. However, God has placed a life calling on some individuals who tend to express certain giftings, being particularly strong in a particular area for their use by the LORD as lifelong servants. Together, they are known as the five-fold ministry of the Spirit:162
      1. Apostle: the Greek word simply means ‘one who is sent’. An apostle is one who is chosen by the Holy Spirit as an assembly planter or missionary—to go where there is currently no work of God in a region and plant a local assembly.
      2. Prophet:A prophet is a person who is called by God to deliver His message to the assembly—often, this is a singular, directional message that is continuous over the lifetime of the prophet. This is different than the gift of prophecy: All prophets prophesy, but not all who prophesy are prophets. The biggest difference is a life calling. One who is expressing the gift of prophecy hears the Lord give a specific message that is most often only applicable to the recipient for a specific purpose, whereas the prophet typically has more of a long-term, consistent message to a larger group of people.
      3. Evangelist: one who brings good news’ This is obviously a person who is gifted to present the Gospel in such a powerful way that they win massive amounts of people to Christ.
      4. Pastor: The Greek word for ‘shepherd’ is where we get both our English words pastor and pasture. A pastor is one who intimately nurtures people and helps them to grow in Christ. True pastors are people persons: they love to get down and dirty, rubbing shoulders with people, building relationships with people and mentoring them.
      5. Teacher: A person who can rightly divide the doctrine of the Word of God and easily explain it to others in a way they can understand it.

    4. Just as a family is governed by parents and grandparents, God designed for the assembly to be governed by those who show maturity in their relationship with God.163 There are three offices that God has ordained for this purpose:
      1. Bishop: a regional overseer who serves in a mainly advisory role. He settles any disputes that cannot be resolved by the elders in a given assembly under his authority; he sets the tone and direction for his bishopric, and helps to shepherd the body of elders in the assemblies under his guidance. A bishop is selected out of the body of elders in a region and may be a “retiring” apostle.
      2. Elder: one of many persons within a local assembly that is responsible for the day-to-day governance of that particular body. They are the ones who provide jurisprudence for matters within the assembly; some examples would be the treasury, electing the deaconry, appropriating membership, settling disputes and arguments among the members of the assembly, etc. In the beginning of an assembly’s life, elders are chosen by the apostolic team who is planting the assembly; after the assembly is healthy and stable, the elders are nominated by the current body of elders and chosen by the entire congregation.
      3. Deacon: a hands-on, servant-leader of a ministry of the assembly, particularly outreach ministry. This person is entrusted with that portion of the budget allocated for that ministry; this is why it says in I Tim. 3 that deacons “must be tested—then, if they can prove faithful, they can serve as deacons.”

  3. I believe that Jesus Christ will physically return to the earth to reign for 1000 years according to the Scriptures.164 Immediately prior to Jesus’ return, God will pour out His wrath on all those who reject Him,164 while gathering the citizens of His kingdom to His side in fulfillment of the Levitical Feast of Yom Teruah (popularly known as Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets).166

  4. I believe that God will bodily resurrect every human being that has ever been created and will judge them according to their deeds as stated in the Scriptures in fulfillment of the Levitical Feast of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement). Atonement will be applied to those under the Lordship of Jesus Christ; all self-worship will be eternally burned in the lake of fire along with Satan, the kingdom of darkness, and all humans who chose to reject God’s offer of citizenship in His Kingdom.167

  5. I believe that following the judgment of Yom Kippur, God will dwell eternally with His people in fulfillment of the Levitical Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. Heaven and earth will be joined by the New Jerusalem, which is a city made by the living stones of God’s people. It will be a place of eternal paradise forever.168

1 Note: The Scripture references contained in this statement are by no means exhaustive; there may be many more references pertaining to an individual statement. However, in the interest of space, I have limited each point to one reference as much as possible, only using more than one reference for emphasis or explanation.

2 Deuteronomy 4:35

3 Exodus 3:13-15a

4 Exodus 3:6

5 Psalm 95:3

6 Genesis 1:31

7 Psalm 147:5

8 Psalm 139:7-12

9 Numbers 11:23

10 Isaiah 40:28

11 Psalm 90:2, Isaiah 48:16

12 John 14:16-17, John 14:26

13 Psalm 89:26

14 Psalm 2:7, Luke 1:35

15 John 1:1-18

16 Isaiah 9:6-7; 18

17 John 20:28, 1 John 4:2

18 2 Corinthians 3:16

19 Wisdom 1:6-7, Ephesians 1:17, John 14:26

20 Acts 1:8

21 John 15:26

22 Matthew 28:19, 1 John 5:6-8 (late manuscripts say “…in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth…”)

23 1 John 4:8

24 Philippians 2:9, John 20:17, Matthew 12:32, Mark 12:36, John 17, John 16:14

25 John 1:14, Revelation 19:11-13

26 2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Peter 1:21

27 John 5:38-40, Luke 24:27

28 The Hebrew Scriptures (Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvi’im) a.k.a. the ‘Old’ Testament

29 The New Covenant a.k.a. the New Testament

30 Genesis 1-2

31 Ibid.

32 Ibid.

33 Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:7, Deuteronomy 6:4-5

34 Genesis 1-2

35 In contrast, Romans 8:18-22

36 Genesis 2:2, Exodus 20:8-11

37 Job 1:6

38 Ezekiel 28:13 (dual reference to Satan and the king of Tyre)

39 Revelation 12:7-9, Enoch 7:1-8:9

40 Ibid.

41 Luke 11:14-28

42 Romans 8:38 (NASB)

43 Ibid.

44 Ibid.

45 Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:15

46 Genesis 3

47 1 John 5:19

48 Romans 1:18-32

49 Romans 6:23

50 Romans 3:23, Psalm 51:5 (NASB)

51 John 3:16 1 Peter 1:19-20, Revelation 13:8

52 Philippians 2:5-8

53 Romans 5:19

54 1 Corinthians 5:7

55 Hebrews 2:17-18

56 John 3:16, Revelation 11:15

57 Genesis 12:3, Exodus 6:2-8, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:22-36

58 1 John 5:9-11

59 Mark 6:11

60 Revelation 3:20, John 15, Philemon v.14

61 Deuteronomy 30:19, Hebrews 3:15

62 Exodus 6:2-8

63 Deuteronomy 5:28-31

64 Genesis 15:18-20

65 Genesis 12:3, Genesis 12:21, Galatians 3:16

66 Genesis 12:3

67 Genesis 15:13-16

68 Exodus 12:7, 23

69 Ibid.

70 1 Corinthians 5:7

71 Exodus 19:3-6

72 Exodus 28-30

73 Exodus 20:18-21, Deuteronomy 5:28-31

74 Hebrews 8:4-6, Colossians 2:16-17

75 Hebrews 9:1-10

76 Psalm 119:1, Matthew 5:17-20, Matthew 22:34-37

77 Galatians 3:24

78 Romans 3:20

79 James 2:14-26

80 Hebrews 11

81 Isaiah 49:6, Acts 13:47

82 Ezekiel 16, Jeremiah 3

83 Deuteronomy 31:16-21

84 Jeremiah 31:3

85 1 Samuel 2:27-36

86 1 Samuel 8

87 2 Samuel 7:8-29

88 2 Kings 17

89 2 Kings 24-25

90 Isaiah 52:13-53:12

91 Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:22-38

92 Daniel 9:24-26a

93 Luke 22:20, Philippians 2:5-11

94 Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2, Isaiah 9:6-7, John 1, Philippians 2:5-11

95 Ibid.

96 Ibid.

97 Hebrews 4:14-15

98 Hebrews 2:14-18

99 Matthew 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-26, Luke 22:14-22, John 13-17, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

100 John 3:16

101 Luke 22:20

102 Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19

103 Ibid.

104 Ibid.

105 Ibid.

106 Luke 4:24

107 Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15, Luke 4:43

108 Luke 19:10

109 Isaiah 61, Luke 4:16-23

110 Matthew 11:4-6

111 Ibid.

112 Ibid.

113 Ibid.

114 Ibid.

115 Hebrews 4:14-10:18

116 Exodus 29:4, Exodus 30:17-20, Matthew 3:13-17

117 Leviticus 23:6-8—this was also a fulfillment of the Levitical Feast of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMotzi) by nature of consecration.

118 Matthew 5:17-20, Ephesians 2:15

119 Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

120 Daniel 7:13-14, Ephesians 1:20, 1 Corinthians 15:54-55, Revelation 1:9-20

121 Hebrews 7-9

122 Revelation 19:16

123 Luke 4:41

124 Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 6:45-56

125 Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-18, Acts 1:8

126 Philippians 2:9-11

127 Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:-22-36, Matthew 5:17-20, Romans 9-11, Hebrews 7

128 Jeremiah 31:31-34

129 Galatians 5:22-23

130 Hebrews 7:12, Matthew 5:17-20

131 Ephesians 2:15

132 Hebrews 10, Isaiah 53:5-7

133 Matthew 5:17-20

134 Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Leviticus 17:18-19, Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-37

135 John 14:6

136 Hebrews 7:22-28, Hebrews 10:12

137 John 15, Revelation 3:20

138 Jeremiah 31:34

139 Exodus 33:20

140 Luke 15:11-32, James 4:8

141 Jeremiah 31:34, Ezekiel 36:25

142 Ezekiel 36:27, Romans 8:1-17, Galatians 6:8-9

143 Genesis 12:3, Jeremiah 31:31-34

144 Job 1:1 (Job was a Gentile), Exodus 12:48, Leviticus 19:33-34, Deuteronomy 10:17-19, 2 Chronicles 3-6 (the outer court was for Gentiles; their prayers were heard, but they could not experience the depth of God’s presence that a Jew could receive), Ephesians 2:11-12

145 Romans 11, Ephesians 2:11-22

146 Ezekiel 36:22-38, Isaiah 11:11-12, Jeremiah 31, Micah 5, Revelation 20:1-6

147 Acts 2:1-41

148 Romans 7:7

149 Romans 8:26-30, Galatians 5:22

150 John 16:13-15, Acts 1:8a

151 Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:14, 2 Corinthians 1:22

152 Acts 1:8b

153 Exodus 19:3-6, Isaiah 61, Luke 4:14-21, Matthew 11:4-5, Luke 10:1-23, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-8, 1 Peter 2:9

154 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

155 Romans 6, Romans 8:17, 2 Corinthians 5:17

156 Jeremiah 31:31-34, Matthew 3:11, Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:7-23, John 3:3-5, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:36-39, Acts 8:14-19, Acts 10:47-48, Acts 18:24-19:6, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

157 Ephesians 3:1-6

158 Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:16-20

159 Galatians 3:26-29, Ephesians 3:14, 1 Corinthians 4:14-17, Hebrews 2:10-12

160 Acts 2:42-47

161 Romans 12:1-7, 1 Corinthians 12

162 Ephesians 4:11-13

163 Acts 14:23, Acts 15, Acts 16:4, 1 Timothy 3:1-12, 1 Timothy 4:14, 1 Timothy 5:17, Titus 1:5, James 5:14

164 Revelation 20:1-6

165 Revelation 6-19

166 1 Corinthians 15:50-57, Revelation 10:7

167 Daniel 7:9-10, Revelation 20:11-15

168 Isaiah 65:17-25, 1 Peter 2:5, Revelation 21-22