History of Outreach Israel
To have arrived where we are today, we quite naturally have a definite history and trail that has been faithfully chronicled by our family. We often refer to our journey as a “spiritual scavenger hunt” and for good reasons. We, as a family, would not be doing what we are doing unless we had the faith to follow the cloud of the Lord’s leading. From point A, where we then received instructions on where to find point B, then from point B where we learned what we were supposed to learn and receive instructions on how to find point C, the “walk of faith”—as exemplified by our spiritual forebearers—has been both a unique and awesome experience for our entire family. Before sharing some of the details of where God has led us, I first would like to give Him all of the glory and honor for His mercy toward us, and His choice to consider using us as vessels in His Kingdom’s work. Without question, our family can testify that our immediate history is simply one of many similar accounts, which confirm that He is able to use anyone who is willing to seek His face and discern His voice.
Two Become One
Without going into the minutia of our respective backgrounds, I firmly believe that the union of Mark and Margaret Huey was ordained by the Lord. The challenge, when looking at our personal history, was ultimately getting us together so that we may now fulfill His purposes for our lives. Even though we had one brief encounter at our alma mater, Vanderbilt University, in October 1972, the timing for a union was delayed until nearly twenty-one years later in 1993. In that process, two separate families emerged in the 1970’s that had different spouses. Thankfully during that time, Mark in 1978 and Margaret in 1983, both had personal repentant salvation experiences before the Living God. The departure from darkness into light has never been questioned by either of us.
During this interim period, I (Mark) married and fathered two daughters, and Margaret married and had a son and two daughters. But it was not until the early 1990’s, when divorce and death altered the marital landscape for both of us, that we would reunite. In an almost premeditated fashion, my marriage succumbed to the ravages of an unwanted, lengthy divorce. Margaret’s husband, the father of John, Jane and Maggie McKee, contracted a fatal case of malignant melanoma. Within five months of Maggie’s birth, Margaret was a nursing widow at the graveside of her then, eleven-year old son, nine-year old daughter, and infant daughter’s father. As a widow at thirty-nine with three young children, Margaret thought that her life was temporarily over as she called out to God for sustenance. He mercifully gave her “a word,” which came from the Prophet Jeremiah:
“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
She clung to this Scripture and the infant child—who to her represented new life—and simply sought the Lord for His guidance and comfort.
While this was happening, I struggled for almost three years to avoid the inevitability of separation and divorce that my first wife instigated and pursued. My strategy was to continue changing attorneys and use other stalling tactics, in the hope that our marriage could be salvaged. But after depleting my financial and emotional capital, and living apart from my daughters Danielle and Marielle for almost two years, resignation came. By the spring of 1993, capitulating to the demands of the court only required a final signature for the divorce decree to be final. During this grueling ordeal, I found solace in the Savior. The brokenness of rejection and disdain channeled me into the crucified life that was my only way to cope with the pain. In a similar fashion to Margaret, I found comfort in the Scriptures and the Lord gave me a verse from the Apostle Paul that gave me hope and understanding about this era of my life:
“[T]hat I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10).
In a providential way, the Holy One allowed these two broken souls to become reacquainted at a college reunion on May 28, 1993. It took over a year, but with Divine confirmations from a series of unique circumstances, our decision to marry was realized on June 10, 1994. The previous hiatus of over twenty years was soon forgotten, as the union forged ahead when Margaret and the children were relocated from Northern Kentucky to my domicile in Dallas, where I could maintain close contact with my daughters.
A Time of Refreshing
After Margaret and I were married, our journey to where we are today began in earnest. The spiritual scavenger hunt—as we now commonly call it—began with our new family concluding that we knew there was more to God than what I had received with my Bible Church background, and Margaret had received with her Methodist background. Since we had both been avid readers of modern Christian literature, and active leaders/participants in our respective church settings, we were simply hungry for more of what God had for us as a couple. When you have witnessed His hand upon a variety of circumstances that have ultimately led you into a marriage dedicated to His service, you are open to His leading. As you pursue Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, He reveals more and more of Himself. Yet as we discovered, in our relative blindness we are not always sure what His communications necessarily mean at the time of reception.
One prime example of this was when one day in hot pursuit of truth, the Lord impressed upon me some verses concerning the sons of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32). In this moment, I received in my mind’s eye an image of the valley of Megiddo from the heights of Mount Tabor. I was able to look at the Scriptures and understand many of the significant events that historically took place at this location, as well as the ones that are prophesied to occur. In an exuberant moment, I designed a silk screen image that was entitled “Issachar Warrior.” It was not until months later—when we were standing on the summit of Mount Tabor—that we were able to receive even more understanding as it related to the significance of Israel and what God is having us do today.
With seeking hearts, the Lord led us to a charismatic church in North Dallas to experience what was then being described as a “renewal” or “refreshing” (cf. Acts 3:19) in the Body of Christ. We were open to hearing His voice, but when the enthusiasm led to people making frequent treks to Toronto to “receive the blessing,” our spirits were admittedly troubled. It did not appear that all of the manifestations that we were witnessing were Biblically based.
One day as I was jogging and reflecting upon the concept of God pouring out His blessings on the world, I conversed with Him that led me to ask this question: “If God is pouring out His blessings all around the world, where in the world would you want to be to receive His blessings?” As I pondered that query, my response was almost levitating. I could not imagine a more perfect place to receive His blessings than in the streets of Jerusalem and in Israel. I concluded that God was indeed pouring out His Spirit for a time of refreshing, the city He has chosen as His own should be receiving an abundant amount of His anointing. Israel was where we should go, if He was indeed pouring out His blessings upon the Earth!
When I got home to tell Margaret about this encounter on the jogging trail, she was elated. After all, we both had innate love the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. We were both familiar with much of the Old Testament, and Margaret herself was very familiar with the Hebraic Roots of the faith as her late husband Kim McKee conducted Passover seders in various Methodist churches in Kentucky. We both appreciated the ministry of a Messianic Jew named Zola Levitt, who happened to be based in Dallas. So without any hesitation, we made reservations to join Zola on his next tour to Israel (1994).
On to Israel
When our Father gives you an invitation to visit Israel, I believe it is a special moment that all should cherish. We were only six months into our new marriage, and Margaret and I were euphoric. A few months earlier, during some deep prayer and meditation, the Lord had again given Margaret some Scriptures that she nurtured in her heart. She believed that these particular verses were going to be like a “roadmap” for our new life together. But there was one caveat: she could not be the one leading this, so I was going to have to confirm what was happening. To further complicate the matter, Margaret was not allowed to share with me the verses she was given. I also had to have the same powerful witness of the Spirit. I look back on this, and see that God was starting to teach us the necessity of having things confirmed by multiple witnesses.
You can imagine what a challenge this represented to two newlyweds. The pressure was on, and so I went to the Lord with what I thought was an impossible task. But in His inimical way, the Spirit directed me to Isaiah 43 as the Scriptures for our new life together. When I described this to Margaret, she said, “Yes, did you get the first twenty-one verses?” At that point I said, “No, we have the whole chapter!”
Even though we both believed that Isaiah 43 spoke to our life circumstances and what was ahead for us, we did not know how to interpret what it meant. So, we simply treasured these words in our hearts and looked forward to more times of intimate communion with Him.
Our trip to Israel was a pivotal moment in our lives. From the moment we landed on the tarmac in Tel Aviv to the departure some twelve days later, we felt the physical presence of the Spirit of God wherever we went. At times, His presence was so intense that we wept in joyful recognition that we were in the Promised Land on a tour that He was personally guiding by His Spirit. We had confirmation after confirmation that we were “home.” But neither one of us were Jewish, we were only sincere Believers in the Messiah of Israel. We simply loved the Lord with all our hearts, and wanted to serve Him to the best of our abilities.
Many wonderful things occurred on our trip to Israel in 1994 that are too many to elaborate. But one very dramatic thing that is better understood today—in light of our current work with Outreach Israel Ministries—should be mentioned. This incident occurred during our tour visit to the ruins at the fortress of Masada. After our Israeli guide gave a very emotional description of how the surviving Jewish residents of Jerusalem had made their last stand at Masada, following the Roman destruction of the city in 70 A.D., we were given some time to wander around the ruins for about thirty minutes before leaving. As Margaret and I walked around, we were led to a small enclosure that was located on the northern wall of the ancient structure. Inside was a small plaque that indicated that this was the former synagogue of the compound, where archaeologists had discovered some parchments from Ezekiel 37, a passage of Scripture describing the dry bones of Israel and their resurrection.
In an attempt to more fully understand what happened in these ruins millennia ago, I opened my Bible to the Ezekiel passage and began to read it aloud to Margaret. There just happened to be a few open stone window casings that looked out to a rocky valley to the north, so I positioned myself in front of one of the windows and started reading. Then as I read the words of Ezekiel, the Spirit seemed to take over my elucidation. All of a sudden, I was reading the text loud enough for most in the small sanctuary to clearly hear me. I remember reading the entire chapter and then sheepishly closing my Bible, and almost apologizing if I had disturbed anyone during the reading. Little did we know at that time—and did not realize it until years later—that I was reading one of the many texts that today has affected the growth and development of not just Outreach Israel Ministries, but also the Messianic community of faith.
Return to Reality
Prior to our return home, and even during the remaining days of our tour and the immediate days thereafter, we talked about how we could possibly make a trip to Israel every year. Certainly we believed we would have future opportunities to go back and experience more of the country. But then the reality of the responsibility for rearing five young children began to require our full attention. Prior to our marriage, I had been a successful commercial real estate broker with some residential development experience, consulting expertise in golf course and resort developments, and mergers and acquisitions of publicly traded corporations. Margaret had formed her own cross-stitch design business in 1985, and also had extensive business experience developing her accounting and marketing skills with various family-owned businesses. Since we were concerned about the future educational needs of our children, we decided that we would develop a business together that would allow us to work and spend time with one another, so we could recapture a part of the time we had lost during those twenty years apart.
This was a good plan, because as experienced entrepreneurs, we were both used to working for ourselves. Our financial obligations certainly gave us every incentive to work long and hard on the projects we developed. But one thing we learned along the road: our ways are not necessarily His ways. As the Prophet Isaiah puts it:
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Before long, our passion for truth and the experience of the tour to Israel got the better of us. By the time we were pushing into new business ventures, we were also eventually to a Messianic Jewish congregation in Dallas. By the Feast of Tabernacles in 1995, we were introduced to the Hebraic Roots of our faith on a weekly congregational level, and within a month we made the decision to drop our Sunday church attendance and become members of the synagogue. We took a new members course, studied introductory Hebrew, learned Davidic dances, and began singing the Shema and Messianic songs in Hebrew. This was coupled by us beginning a more consistent study of the Torah, we started to remember the weekly Shabbat (Sabbath), and we cleaned up our diet by eating kosher. We fully immersed our family in the culture that dominated the congregation. Once again, much like our experience when we traveled to Israel, we were very comfortable with the environment, the people we met, and the customs we began observing.
In our zeal for more knowledge, we even traveled the next summer (1996) to two Messianic Jewish conferences, representing the two major Messianic Jewish denominations (MJAA and UMJC). Like most non-Jewish Believers who have shared this experience, we were scouring over our ancestral trails to discover some Jewish Roots. And although not necessarily confirmable without a considerable amount of work, we realized that both of our backgrounds probably had some very limited Jewish ancestry. But in short order, as we continued to grow in our new Messianic faith, we were communicated the disparaging news that since we were not verifiably Jewish, then we were not allowed to be full-fledged members of either denomination. This did not make much sense to us, because after all, the words of a Jew named the Apostle Paul declared that because of one’s faith in Yeshua the Messiah, all are to be considered equal:
“[B]ecause as many of you as were immersed into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah, in whom there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor freeman, neither male nor female; for in union with the Messiah Yeshua, you are all one” (Galatians 3:27-28, CJB).
Something was just not right with some of claims that were made, limiting the participation of non-Jewish Believers in Messianic Judaism. But at the time we were very new to it to all, and we just kept quiet and continued searching for the answers to our questions.
It was not long into our initial time in Messianic Judaism that we were introduced to some individuals who were extremely conversant on end-time prophecy. They followed the geopolitical atmosphere of the Middle East peace process and Oslo accords from 1993 very closely. Some of these individuals in their eagerness to follow current events were expecting some prophetic occurrences to take place. Being somewhat new to the Messianic community at the time—as well as being naïve—we seriously considered some of the things being proposed. Over a series of several months, I took some of my coordination gifts to begin producing and directing a variety of prophecy related conferences in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. In due time, we were introduced to an even wider variety of teachers and preachers who claimed to have various bits and pieces of the “prophetic puzzle.”
By early 1997, we officially named our prophecy conference enterprise: The Remnant Exchange. Before long we were broadcasting a weekly radio program on shortwave under the name “The Remnant Report.” As I undertook these responsibilities, one of the “calls” to enter the ministry came without much notice. An opportunity arose to help with Christian shortwave radio. As I felt the Lord ask me one day: “Are you willing to uproot yourself from the comforts of America, and come follow Me to Central America?” After a long and agonizing period of prayer and deep reflection, the answer finally came when a Messianic Jewish brother from Hawaii asked me to seriously consider the cost. Then he reminded me of these critical verses that Yeshua stated when He declared, “Follow Me!” They will forever be lodged in my mind:
“And He said to another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But He said to him, ‘Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.’ Another also said, ‘I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.’ But Yeshua said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:59-62).
By Fall 1997, I made the decision to put “my hand to the plow.” As the conferences wound down, I got involved in an attempt to build a shortwave radio station that was to be located in the central highlands of Honduras. Ironically, the location where the station was to be built was equidistant from the northernmost part of North America and the southernmost part of South America. If we had been successful, we would have been able to broadcast the gospel to the north in English and to the south in Spanish, covering the entire Western Hemisphere. But once we got to Honduras we found out that this enterprise was not to be. Having sold most of our assets in the U.S., we struggled for direction. The Lord never told me that when I put the hand to the plow, that I would encounter some rocks and immovable roots that would bring the plow to a grinding halt.
When we arrived in Honduras, we had shipped our belongings to the small island of Roatan, off the north coast. While there, having seen our initial commitments faltered, we half-heartedly pursued some ministry, and even business options, in our desire to be productive. I certainly wondered if I had heard God accurately.
In retrospect, I saw the hand of our Father move through a variety of situations, which continue to confirm in my heart that I had indeed heard from Him on the move. But ironically, the most vivid memories we cherish from our stay in Honduras were not some relaxing or exuberant times we had on an exotic Caribbean island—but instead the family time when we gathered on Shabbat reading and studying the Torah. For whatever reasons, this discipline gave us a weekly activity of bonding and interspection.
As we came to the end of the hurricane season in 1998, the Lord demonstrated how He can protect anyone from whatever natural disasters may show themselves. Hurricane Mitch was a Class 5 storm that ripped in to the Caribbean Basin and devastated much of the island, being responsible for the deaths of over 10,000 Hondurans. While “marooned” on the island of Roatan, living in a sea level rental home during this massive storm, we and our belongings were never threatened by the 150+ mph winds or the surging seas. The promises of Isaiah 43, for God to be with us and protect us during torrential waters, flooding rivers, and even fires, confirmed in our hearts that His promises were without revocation:
“When you pass through water, I am with you; through rivers, they will not wash you away; when you walk through fire, you will not be singed, and no flame will burn you” (Isaiah 43:2).
The experiences of our trek to Honduras prepared us for the next stop on our spiritual scavenger hunt. We learned what we needed to learn and met whom we needed to meet on our sojourn. We had our cross cultural experience. As the waters were receding from the battered mainland, I was off to visit my daughters in Texas just before Thanksgiving. During the weeklong visit, I took a short day trip up to Oklahoma to visit with a Messianic Jewish friend who had a ministry that we had helped over the years.
After he heard my testimony about our recent experiences in Hurricane Mitch, he offered me a consulting job to return to the States and come work with his ministry. I told him that I would pray about the offer, and let him know after I had returned to Roatan and discussed and prayed about it with Margaret. Well, needless to say, when I mentioned the opportunity, the unanimous chorus coming from Margaret and the three children did not warrant a long drawn out prayer. Within a few weeks, we—and our two containers and two cars—were back on a freighter heading north to Tampa, Florida. Our business as “ministry consultants,” which had an inauspicious start, was now going to be paid a sorely needed monthly fee.
Back to the States
Once back in the United States, our family was able to return to a routine of life that was not typical on a small island. Our children, who had bounced from Christian schools to secular schools to home schooling while we followed the cloud, were now back into a regular routine in an environment that was comfortable for them. In spite of some of the educational challenges, none of the children missed a beat in their pursuit of academics. Our son, John McKee, one of Margaret’s the three children who I adopted in 1994, was accepted to the University of Oklahoma while we were living in Norman.
As I approached my new position, I knew in my heart that we would not be staying in this place for much longer than a year. Rather than looking to purchase a home, we simply signed a one-year lease on a small house in a nice neighborhood. The Year 2000, or Y2K, was on the horizon, and I believed that my ministry consulting skills were only needed for a one-year window of time. As it turned out, my premonition was correct. But during our tenure in Norman, we did begin networking with a variety of other Messianics who were experiencing a surge in the swelling numbers of non-Jewish Believers who were attracted to a Torah observant lifestyle. This was becoming a major issue for the Messianic community to deal with.
In June 1999, I helped coordinate a meeting of ministry leaders who came together in Norman to organize a conference that was to be held in Orlando over Labor Day weekend. Since I had extensive experience putting on conferences and seminars, and my client in Norman recognized this ability, he sent Margaret and me to Orlando in July 1999 to meet the local team of conference participants and see if we could be used in helping to facilitate some of the conference administration and coordination. This we did. After a very successful conference, it became apparent to me that our abilities to administer the growing needs of the emerging organization were a natural fit. When Y2K came and my services were no longer needed in Norman, I was offered a position as the administrator for an emerging group of Messianic congregations, fellowships, and ministries.
We then moved to Kissimmee, Florida and for three years worked diligently to build a harmonious group of Messianic Believers into a cohesive organization. But as a result of some differences of direction, opinions on how to operate the alliance, and some conflicts of theology, the owner of the alliance decided to terminate our position as consultants. By Fall 2002, we were challenged by our circumstances to once again ask the Lord what He would have us do.
I was already writing weekly Torah commentaries and Hue and Cry opinion articles. We had established ourselves as successful conference producers and directors. Our ability to network and connect with other Messianics was already proven. Margaret had used her business skills to handle all of the accounting and ordering needs for the organization, and her spiritual gifting and life experience was proving invaluable in ministering to the needs of the hurting, who were simply seeking love and acceptance in the Messianic community of faith. Our son John, a prolific writer and Messianic apologist, was in his last year at OU. We were already handling his book sales generated from the TNN Online website he had first developed in 1997 (now Messianic Apologetics).
As we prayed about our situation and implored the Father for direction, it became very clear that He had called us unto His service years earlier. Our slow, but steady desire to serve others was now being altered so that He could commission the work He now has for us with Outreach Israel Ministries.
Our Official Launch
In November 2002, we officially launched Outreach Israel Ministries and have never looked back. During our first full year (2003), our faith was tested in a variety of ways. There is no doubt that when you step out in faith to work in the Father’s fields, just about everything you can imagine will work against you to thwart your Divine commissioning. But we were not swayed from the path we have been on. From our previous experiences, we learned what we needed to learn and met whom we needed to meet. Today, this has given us a confidence that His will is going to be accomplished for our lives and that we will make a difference in the lives of His people.
Throughout our experience, we had been exposed to a great deal among many in leadership positions throughout the Messianic movement. Having started out in full time ministry, none of us were operating in a vacuum of knowledge. Our experience and acquaintance with many in the movement was first hand, and in many cases involved close personal interaction. We understood through many of the trials we have had to endure that God is very concerned about the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:19-24), a sizeable part of which is the development and maturation of the Messianic movement.
Spending only a handful of years in the Messianic community, it was plain to us that balanced and scholastic educational materials are critical for developing solid Messianics who would not be negatively influenced by every wind of doctrine that blew into the camp. In order to help out in this area, we continued in our work to produce written materials on a wide variety of issues.
I diligently and consistently produced weekly TorahScope commentaries that encouraged the Messianic community to return to the foundation of our Torah-based walk with the Lord. I likewise continued to write timely editorials under the Hue and Cry byline. Added to this in 2003 was the monthly publication Outreach Israel News.
The addition of John McKee to our team in 2003 has been quite a blessing. After graduating from college, he brought his energy and writing skills to compliment what we were already doing. During our first year of operation, we were able to add his existing books, finish a few others through perseverance, and also produce some collaborative efforts. He started to guide the production of our Messianic books and other materials. John definitely takes a theological approach that is quite unique compared to a variety of Messianic teachers.
We all believe that Yeshua is our King and Redeemer, and that the rest of us as His followers are called to emulate Him. In His governmental structure, He is at the bottom of the inverted pyramid holding all of us up by resting the apex of the pyramid on His shoulders. As His model suggests, the more your serve, the lower you descend on the pyramid. Thus, the primary goal of Outreach Israel Ministries is to serve you and encourage you in your Messianic walk of faith. It is our purpose to reach out and address the issues that face us day in and day out, and look ahead toward the future and the challenges that are awaiting us on the horizon.
Outreach Israel Ministries is constantly in a state of development. We are always going where few Messianic ministries or theological think tanks have been able to go. In following the Lord, we believe that He has given us a great Divine mandate, and a sacred trust, to reach out and proclaim the good news, being a blessing to others (Genesis 12:3; Deuteronomy 4:6; Galatians 3:8), encouraging others to obey God’s commandments so they too can be a blessing. As our mission statement summarizes it:
OIM is a Messianic educational ministry, which has been commissioned to reach, teach, encourage, and disciple those within the Commonwealth of Israel to return wholly to Him in spirit, soul, and body in the work of advancing His Kingdom until the Messianic restoration of all things.
Until the restoration of all things…
William Mark Huey
The goal and purpose of Outreach Israel Ministries and Messianic Apologetics is to gain a fully Biblical and Messiah-like approach toward our faith, life, and position in the world that desperately needs the good news of salvation in Messiah Yeshua.
We fully affirm that the Holy Scriptures or Bible (Genesis—Revelation) comprise the inspired, infallible Word of God as revealed in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. We believe that it is the final authority for faith and practice (Deuteronomy 30:14-16; Psalm 103:20; 105:8; 119:11, 28, 38, 105, 133, 160, 172; Proverbs 30:5; Romans 9:28; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 6:17; Philippians 2:16; 2 Timothy 3:16; 4:2; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:22-23; 1 Peter 1:25; 1 John 2:5, 14;).
While we certainly employ English Bible translations in our examinations of the Scriptures, these translations are subject to the theological presuppositions of their translators. We believe that a literal, or literal-free translation, is the best method of translation, as opposed to dynamic equivalence which can sometimes skew the text. Ultimately though, final authority rests with the Hebrew and Greek texts. We also affirm the importance and necessity of reading Scripture in its original historical and cultural context.
THE PLURALITY OF GOD
We affirm a belief in one Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, and that He has primarily revealed Himself to humanity in three separate, but unified co-existent manifestations: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). We emphasize that as mortals we cannot fully comprehend the Godhead and how He chooses to manifest Himself to us, although it is evident that God is a plurality. This is clear as the Hebrew word for “God,” Elohim, is plural; and that He is one or echad, denoting a composite, not absolute unity.
We fully affirm the complete Divinity of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), that Yeshua pre-existed the universe and created the universe (John 1:1-3; Philippians 2:5-7; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2-3), that Yeshua is to be worshipped (Mark 5:6-7; Matthew 2:2, 8, 11; Matthew 14:32-33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38; Hebrews 1:6), and even though in Yeshua’s human Incarnation the Father is greater than the Son (John 14:28), that the Son is genuinely God (John 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1). We believe that acknowledging Yeshua as Lord, meaning YHWH/YHVH, is mandatory for salvation (Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:10-11). We believe that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 20, 23, 25; Luke 1:26-33), and that He is the prophesied Messiah of Israel (John 1:45).
While on Planet Earth Yeshua observed the Torah or Law of Moses perfectly (Matthew 5:17; 22:36-40) becoming our blameless Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). We believe that through His sacrifice He took away the curse of the Law, or eternal damnation, for humanity (Galatians 3:13), thus atoning for all sin. We believe that the Messiah was resurrected on the third day (Matthew 28:6-7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:34; 2 Timothy 2:8), that He ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:9-11), is presently sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us (Psalm 110:1; Mark 16:19; Luke 20:42; 22:69; Acts 2:25, 33-44; 5:31; 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22), and is awaiting His return to rule for a thousand years from Jerusalem (Matthew 24:29-31; 26:34; Mark 12:36; 13:24-27; 14:62; Revelation 20:4; 6).
We affirm that salvation is a free gift of God available through acknowledging Yeshua the Messiah as Lord (Romans 10:9) through repentance and confession of sin (Luke 5:32; Acts 5:31; Romans 2:4; 10:10; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; 2 Timothy 2:25; 2 Peter 3:9), which results in a person being born again (John 3:3, 7; 1 Peter 1:3, 23) or regenerated by an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Salvation does not come via human action or obeying commandments (Matthew 5:20; John 1:17; Romans 2:12-13, 25; 3:20, 27; 4:14; 8:3; 10:5; Galatians 2:16, 21; 3:2, 11, 21; 5:4; 6:13; Philippians 3:9), but if one is of the faith, then he or she will have “works” (James 2:14-16). The commandments of Scripture define sin (Romans 3:31; 5:13; 6:15; 7:7-9, 12; 8:2; 10:4; Galatians 3:24; Hebrews 7:19; 10:28; James 2:9) and therefore define every person’s guilt.
While a forcefully debated theological issue, we believe that God gives each one of us a free will and choice whether to choose or reject His salvation and to serve Him (Joshua 24:15). All Believers are required to “work out” their salvation (Philippians 2:12), meaning not taking it for granted, and we should all be actively maturing in our walk of faith. We do believe that a person can lose his or her salvation (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-27), but that God is the only One who can make the ultimate determination regarding the eternal destiny of anyone.
We believe that those who receive Yeshua as their personal Savior will spend eternity with Him, whether in Heaven, during His Millennial reign on Planet Earth, or in the New Heavens and the New Earth.
We fully affirm that those who do not repent of their sins and receive Yeshua will spend a conscious eternity in Hell (Deuteronomy 32:22; Job 11:8; 24:19; Psalm 116:3; Isaiah 14:9; Jonah 2:2; Luke 12:5, 16:19-31) and ultimately the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10; 15). We totally disavow the belief of an annihilation of the condemned and believe that such a concept is misguided, allowing the unrighteous to experience no sustainable consequence for their sin. Hell and the Lake of Fire must constitute an ongoing, eternal punishment for the damned (Revelation 20:10), not extinction. It is possible, though, that a metaphorical view of eternal punishment more fairly deals with descriptions of both fire and outer darkness (cf. Matthew 8:11-12; 13:41-42; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30). This means that eternal punishment may ultimately be considered never-ending banishment, separation, and exile from the presence of the Creator.
We fully recognize that Yeshua must have observed the Torah or Law of Moses contained in Genesis—Deuteronomy perfectly to be the prophesied Messiah and be sinless (Matthew 5:17; 22:36-40). We believe that through His sacrifice, the Messiah has filled the Torah with His Spirit (Matthew 5:17-20), not annulled it, and has given it greater understanding.
We do not believe that meticulous observance of the Torah is mandatory for salvation (Matthew 5:20; John 1:17; Romans 2:12-13, 25; 3:20, 27; 4:14; 8:3; 10:5; Galatians 2:21; 3:2, 11, 21; 5:4; 6:13; Philippians 3:9), but rather that it is the Torah which has defined sin for humanity (James 2:9; Romans 3:31; 5:13; 6:15; 7:7-9, 12; 8:2; 10:4; Galatians 3:24; Hebrews 7:19; 10:28). By further studying the Torah we can better understand what the Messiah died for and therefore we can enhance our spiritual walk. After salvation, via the enacting of the New Covenant in our lives, with the Holy Spirit supernaturally writing the commandments onto the heart (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-27), we should want to not knowingly break God’s commandments and we should naturally be led into greater obedience (Psalm 1:2; 40:8; 119:92, 174; Romans 7:12; 8:4; 1 Timothy 1:8). The Torah forms the foundation of the entire Bible, and is necessary to understand for properly understanding and interpreting the Prophets, Writings, and Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament). The Torah helps us to understand God’s holiness and character, and thus how we too can be holy (Exodus 19:6; Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:26; Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2; 26:19; Isaiah 8:3; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
We encourage Believers to obey God as they are legitimately able, but most especially as they are genuinely led by His Spirit. For those who make up today’s Messianic community, this is likely to include remembering the seventh-day Sabbath, the appointed times of Leviticus 23, and eating kosher, among other things. But, many of those who make a point to call themselves “Torah observant” are not, in fact, genuinely led by the Holy Spirit, being quite legalistic and inflexible, and are not too tempered by the critical commands of love of God and neighbor (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18; cf. Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). This is something we do not encourage.
THE NAME OF GOD
We affirm that the Almighty God of the Universe has a proper name which in Hebrew is hwhy or YHWH/YHVH (Exodus 3:15; 6:3; 1 Samuel 24:21; 2 Kings 21:4, 7; 2 Chronicles 33:4; Isaiah 42:8; 52:6; Malachi 1:11, 14), commonly rendered in most English Bibles as “the LORD.” We believe that its exact pronunciation has been lost to antiquity.
In Second Temple Judaism, the verbalization of the name YHWH was reserved only for the high priest on Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement (m.Yoma 6:2), and it was not used as a common name. It became common to refer to YHWH by terms such as the Almighty, the Power of Heaven, the Temple, the Kingdom, HaShem (meaning “the Name”), and the ever-common Adonai (Lord) or Elohim (God). It was considered blasphemous in Second Temple times to speak the name YHWH, and it was punishable by death (b.Sanhedrin 56a). We can find no objective evidence in the Apostolic Scriptures that the Messiah or the Apostles ever used the name YHWH, as these writings use the Greek terms Kurios (Lord) and Theos (God), which were employed by the Septuagint translators who rendered the Hebrew Bible into Greek approximately three centuries before Yeshua.
The Third Commandment tells us that we are not to bring God’s name to nothingness, or use it in a profane way (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11). We recognize that there are many Messianics who are discovering that the God of Creation indeed has a proper name, but do not believe that we should use His name casually in respect for Jewish tradition and the fact that we do not know exactly how to say it. We believe that the name YHWH can be used in a scholastic sense, but should not be spoken aloud frequently. We certainly do not believe that it is necessary that one know the name YHWH to be saved, as the God of the Universe looks at the heart of one who is seeking salvation, not whether or not such a person knows how to pronounce His proper name correctly.
We also recognize that the Messiah was fully Hebrew in a First Century context, and that His original name was Yeshua meaning “He saves” or “Savior/Salvation” (Matthew 1:21). The Greek transliteration of Yeshua was Iēsous, originating with the Septuagint Rabbis, and appears as the title for the Book of Joshua in the LXX. The name Iēsous is the name from which the English name Jesus is derived. We totally reject the concept that the Messiah’s English name “Jesus Christ” is pagan because of its Greek linguistic origins. While we encourage use of the Messiah’s original Hebrew name Yeshua, we recognize that many have come to faith through His English name Jesus.
THE PEOPLE OF GOD
We affirm that there exists a universal body of Believers (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 12:12-13; Ephesians 4:4). The redeemed in Israel’s Messiah compose the Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-12) or Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), which incorporates together the physical descendants of the Biblical Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel, today’s Jewish people, and those from the nations. Those who are not physical descendants of Abraham, can claim his promises through faith in Yeshua (Galatians 3:8-9, 16). We certainly believe that God’s promises to Ancient Israel and the contemporary Jewish people are valid and remain in force—including the existence of the State of Israel in fulfillment of Bible prophecy (Isaiah 66:8)—but also that non-Jewish Believers by their faith in the Jewish Messiah are to be regarded as “grafted in” to Israel’s olive tree (Romans 11:17-18). Jewish and non-Jewish Believers in Yeshua are to constitute a “one new humanity” (Ephesians 2:15).
While Jewish and non-Jewish Believers do have their distinctions and differences, they also have far more in common than not. Per the prophesied restoration of David’s Tabernacle (Amos 9:11-12; Acts 15:15-18), the reconstituted Twelve Tribes of Israel will be at the center of this Commonwealth of Israel, yet with enlarged borders and a farther reaching rule to welcome in the righteous of the nations. Non-Jewish Believers in today’s Messianic community, need to be especially called into this unique faith community, in its present phase of development, as they should not only be concerned with being enriched from their faith heritage in Israel’s Scriptures, but to be actively participating in Jewish outreach and evangelism (Romans 11:11, 30-31).
THE LAST DAYS
While recognizing that eschatology is not a salvation issue, we hold to eschatological views consistent with historical pre-millennialism, and we do not hold to amillennial, post-millennial, or preterist eschatology.
We believe that the Messiah will physically return to Earth following the last seven years of Tribulation more accurately called the Seventieth Week of Israel (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19). We believe that during this final time period that a world leader known as the antichrist/antimessiah will arise (Daniel 7:15; Revelation 17:11; 17:13), will demand worship (Revelation 13:15), and will require everyone to receive his mark to conduct trade and commerce (Revelation 13:16-17). We believe that during this time period, the final judgments of God will be poured out on humanity.
We fully affirm in a gathering of the saints into the clouds to meet the Lord (Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:26-27; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and that Believers will be spared from the wrath of God (Romans 1:18; 2:5, 8; Ephesians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 16:1). However, we believe that the wrath of God is poured out on a literal Day of the Lord, promoting the idea of a pre-wrath/post-tribulational gathering of the elect, and that ultimately the “wrath” of God is eternal condemnation in the Lake of Fire reserved for the condemned.