All Prayer is a Response
"Bereshit bara ha-d'var—In the beginning was the Word (Yeshua)." Yochanan/John 1:1
Where Creation is concerned all prayer is a response. We have not initiated a conversation with G-d, we have simply responded to a conversation G-d began with us long ago. "The Word was with G-d in the beginning and the Word was G-d Himself." When the Word came forth from within the mind of G-d He spoke a creative invitation to all. From the beginning the Father acted in holy perfection toward His creation in yet His creation was not a child to Him. The Word is begotten but creation was made. The Word is the conductor of conversation, the metaphorical sound-wave that holds the Universe together.
Without the Word conversation with G-d ceases to exist. In fact the Word—the only begotten Son of G-d—must acquire a home in me if I am to return the conversation to the Father as a son. For until the Word has residence in me I am created but I am not a child, I am a boarder in the house of G-d’s Universe but I am not a son.
In order to come to G-d we must first believe that He exists, at which point we call Him "G-d, Supreme Being" or some other generic term. But, only those to whom the Son reveals the Father will learn to call G-d "Abba—-Daddy." (Mattitiyahu/Matthew 11:27)
© 2013 Yaakov Brown
Shield of David
Often called the “Star of David,” Magen David translates into English as “Shield of David.”
Recently while reading a book on the subject of occult symbols I came across the “Shield of David” listed among the many other “Satanic” symbols. The author proposed the argument that this ancient symbol originated from Egypt and was used in the sacrificial worship of an Egyptian deity. This argument is of course the zealous step-brother to the argument that says Christians shouldn't celebrate Christmas on the date of 25 December; the same argue that we shouldn't celebrate G-d on any pagan day. I find this somewhat ignorant and extremely unconvincing, due to the fact that if we were to follow this logic we would also have to discontinue celebrating the Jewish festivals outlined in the Torah, many of which take place on ancient pagan days of worship, are they also illegitimate days of worship? Let us also say as some have said that “Sunday should not be held as a day of worship because it belongs to the worship of the sun.” What utter nonsense, do the days not belong to G-d? We call them Yom Rishon (day one), Yom sheni, Yom shlishi and so on, they are numbered after the days of His creating thus signifying that all days belong to Hashem—God. Is there then a day upon which it is an error to worship G-d? Absolutely not!
Let us return to the insanity of listing the “Shield of David” as an occult symbol. If we are to determine a symbol’s current meaning from its past, we must also list the “Cross” among the symbols of the occult/false religions, as it predates Christianity by approximately 1,600 years and was used in the worship of the Babylonian deity Tammuz.
In conclusion I will say this, our Rabbis teach us that Magen David is fashioned in the shape of David’s shield and is representative of the relationship between G-d and Israel, the triangle pointing upward symbolizing humanity and the triangle pointing downward symbolizing G-d, the unity of these triangles speaks of a right relationship between G-d and man. Surely as Messianic believers we can see a wonderful representation of the gospel of Messiah in this truly Jewish symbol of faith. In addition, Yeshua died on a cross, tree, pole; so why not use the cross as a symbol of His suffering, the empty cross as a symbol of His resurrection?
© 2013 Yaakov Brown
Two Titles, One Faith
Following a speaking engagement in Canada some years ago I was asked, “Are you a Jew or a Christian?” My response was measured and ambiguous—although perfectly clear to me—“Yes I am.” The questioner was perturbed to say the least; I was clearly being facetious and rude, after all an individual must choose one or the other, one can’t be both, right? False choices seem to have become the norm in a faith world that so closely mirrors the secular world that we can hardly be blamed for mistaking the two.
We glean the title Christian from the Greek for Christ, we come by the term Messianic from the Hebrew for Messiah. Both mean the same thing, neither discriminate, so what’s the problem? A Torah scroll is kosher in two languages, Hebrew and Greek, so to the Messianic’s I say, “Don’t be so pedantic about language.” Jesus is a Jew; cultural Jewish, physically Jewish, spiritually Jewish, so to the Gentile Christians I say, “Salvation comes from the Jews. Is an older son at fault for being born first?"
Regardless of the titles, labels or nomenclature we use to isolate one another the fact remains that spiritual relationship is not defined by any one word or set of words, we are not in search of the title, we are in search of the person. For the purposes of Beth Melek Congregation I may call myself “Pastor” but I am no more a pastor than I am a person in need of pastoral care. You will never know me by my title, I will become known to you and you to me only through relational spirituality in Messiah Yeshua unto Ha-Shem—G-d.
© 2013 Yaakov Brown
For many Messianic Jews life is best described using the colloquialism “between a rock and a hard place.” For me this has been specially true as I have journeyed first from darkness to the light of Messiah Yeshua and then from Baptist Church to Messianic Synagogue and finally to this small emergent—in the emerging sense rather than the theologically liberal sense—congregation which my wife Julia, my daughters Azariah and Bethany and I have recently planted together in our home. Our strong desire, a calling birthed deep within, is to return to our family the Russian Jewish Heritage of our forebears and to pass on to the next generation a relevant Messianic tradition of Jewish observance that accentuates positive tradition and the rhythms of God’s grace in Messiah Yeshua.
In defining tradition I will simply say this; that I believe positive tradition directs our gaze toward Messiah and so, to HaShem—G-d—while negative tradition draws our eyes away from Messiah and thus away from HaShem—G-d.
Beth Melek seeks to walk with Messiah in G-d in the positive traditions of our people and to teach in a holistic way the paths of righteousness. We do not discriminate between Jew and Gentile, nor do we consider ourselves isolated from the wider Church body of faith. We are unashamedly Jewish and passionately Messianic—followers of Mishiach Yeshua/Jesus the Christ.
It is unfortunate that over the last several decade’s traditions and tactile learning have been assimilated into the modern/postmodern hangover of western existence. I believe we are a part of a generation of truth seekers who are looking back, far back, beyond the revisionist near sightedness of our postmodern scholars to a tradition that is firmly planted in the soil of Israel, in the G-d of Israel, in the Messiah of Israel. We eagerly await a genuine and meaningful tradition that is filled with good religion and unified practice. We want to touch Yeshua, not just imagine Him. We want to take back what belongs to us, that which the adversary of G-d’s people has blinded us to. We want to return—tishuva—to the very real, tactile, gritty and yes, spiritual religion of our ancestors. In Judaism the number 40 is significant as both a number of completion and at the same time a number of new beginning. I have completed my wandering, I am ready to enter into the land and begin anew leaning on my hope in the resurrection of the body and the Olam haba—world to come—in Messiah Yeshua.
© 2013 Yaakov Brown
Founder of the Beth Melekh International Messiah Following Jewish Community,