07:02 03Mar08 Apostle Amani Tshimenga -
I have read the point of view expressed above and I can agree with you on the
importance of appointing elder teachers in the ministry. It also depends on
the understanding of the term "elder teacher". An elder teacher doesn't
necessary mean a very aged person. You can read in Job chapter 33, where it is
said that no white hair are synonymous of wisdom; in a man the mature of spirit
is more important. So to be considered elder teachers the ones notwithstanding
their ages have been long in a church under the teaching of someone who is able
to assess their progress and find them mature to be appointed as ministers of
the gospel. This decison depends on the organization of the church. It is a
deep matter being at the roots of deviation.
If the responsible of the ministry himself were not taught according the
sound doctrine, all the teachers he will establish will be wrong. Hosea 4:6.
Most danger come from the kind of people you refer to in below text from your
message, the people not established by elders but who decid to direct a
ministry because they feel people can listen to them: "Non-accountable,
deceiving teachers can be found in both large ministries and also in little
Bible studies that split off from a congregation. This sometimes happens when
an articulate person but not a true elder gathers disciples unto himself and
away from a truly accountable community."
09:53 03Mar08 Tulita Owen -
Thank you for a much-needed article. I was not aware of the 'true Christians
being Ephraim' teaching. I am aware of the many false shepherds; they are truly
frightening in terms of the damage they can do, not only to the individuals
under their influence, but also to the term 'Christianity' in general.
12:14 03Mar08 Charlie Edwards -
Excellent and timely article, thank you. I have a question though. Dan stated
"I do not know of one peer reviewed scholar who teaches that the New Covenant
intends that Gentiles in general are called to keep the whole Torah".
I agree that the whole Torah is not applicable to gentiles, especially when it
addresses the work of the Levites and Cohanim, yet this statement leaves us
hanging without clarification as to what does or does not apply to gentiles.
Without clarification, the statement provides an avenue for mis-application to
avoid Torah altogether other than the Big 10, which I don't believe Dan
We know that Yeshua is the Torah that became flesh through John 1:14, and He
said "If you love me keep my commandments" in John 14:15. So where do we go to
find a general list of commandments that Yeshua intended for gentiles to
follow? Preferably one that is not so scholarly that the general population can
read it and understand it.
-- Dr Juster replies:
Probably after the teaching of Yeshua and the New Covenant which is an
application of the Torah on the universal, we should look at what Judaism
itself teaches. Generally, in the first century the idea of universal
parts of the Torah and the Jewish specific parts of the Torah are
distinguished by Hillel's brand of Judaism. This becomes the concept of
the Noachide laws. The seven are really a summary of all kinds of law
just as the ten are a summary in the same way. In my book Jewish Roots,
in the appendix, I distinguish Torah accordingly. I do not think it is
12:39 03Mar08 Michelle Kante -
Do you think that keeping God's calendar, not a "Jewish Calendar" but what the
Lord calls his appointed times and feasts should not be imposed upon "non
Jewish" Believers that are grafted in by their faith? Is His calendar a "Hebrew
calendar" or a timetable that heaven and earth moves in according to the Lord's
appointed times? I do not personally see a distinction scripturally between
Jews and Gentiles when it comes to recognizing, keeping and honoring the Lord's
feasts and heavenly appointed times.
-- Dr Juster replies:
It is much more complex that this indicates. The Lord's seasons are
called in relationship with covenants given to Israel so one must assume
a universality unless there is specific evidence of this responsibility.
It appears from the prophets that in the Millennial age Sabbath will be
more universal. However, Acts 15, Col. 2 and Gal. 5 truly trump the idea
that the words Lord's feasts (Jewish feasts in John's Gospel) are
Does God work around these Feasts? Yes! However, that is different than
saying that Gentiles should keep them as Sabbath days. There is no NT
evidence for this position. In Gentile lands this would be an impossible
hardship. That we are to recognize the seasons for teaching, for
appreciation of Jewish roots, OK. That is different than the
responsibility for keeping them as full Sabbath days. That includes Rosh
Hoshana and Yom Kippur, the first and seventh Day of Passover, and the
first day of Sukkot and the eight day of Shimini Atzeret. In Isarel with
civil support we can do this, but wow, in the nations in this Age?
In addition, we are not talking about celebrations that connect to
Biblical seasons. That is not what the Bible says, but it says these are
to be strickly kept Sabbath days.
Then the Bible does not tell us the calculation of the day. The Rabbis
say that the actual day is fixed by human (Rabbinic decision). So they
have added a month every few years to reconcile the lunar calendar with
The Christian Calendar already chose Passover season and Shavuot for
Church celebration by a calculation different than the Rabbis but may be
more often correct by the Bible.
12:46 03Mar08 Lori Thomas -
A very commendable article. We too have a deep desire to mobilize the church
to partner alongside Messianics for the salvation and love of the Jewish
people, and Israel. We have also been exposed to many of the troublesome
aberrant doctrines and practices that are not in teaching with the whole
counsel of the Word of God and His character. And of course the prosperity
"gospel" being exported out of the Western church is abhorrent to us!
12:47 03Mar08 Raziela Greenberg -
Hmm, I don't know ... I think we all need to be very humble here, not to judge
brothers and sisters who may be receiving insight into truths which have been
in secret for centuries. After all "Elijah will come and restore everything".
It is natural that there is some exaggeration and inbalanced teaching when you
are finding something new that Abba is revealing to you but if you stay humble,
everything will sooner or later fall into their right proportions. I certainly
do believe that the religion called Christianity has during centuries gone
astray in many ways. Time to find back home!
Those Yeshua-believers again who go as far as converting into Judaism and
become more Jewish than Jews themselves are probably often times in search of
an identity for one reason or another and are more or less confused until they
find a balance. Let's not be too harsh on them, ok! Many of them are after all
on the right track on their way of finding a deeper revelation of the roots of
their faith, they are just a little bewildered, so let's love them through
their search till they see clearly and the Lord Himself establishes them.
Personally I have not come into contact with really "dangerous" teachers, only
earnest truth-seekers. Here's a confession, if I may: I said to the Lord for a
few months ago that I want to know who Yeshua really is even if it's different
from what I've been taught or who I think he is and that I want to know the
whole truth of everything(Ephesians 4:13-15). He replied immediately and said:
"Ok, but that will mean persecution."
I believe the Body needs to let this movement of finding it's Hebrew roots go
on and remember that every movement of purification or restoration/finding
forgotten or new truths has faced massive opposition or persecution from the
established system. If you are not walking in the Spirit yourself it is very
easy to throw the baby with the bathwater. Right?
13:31 03Mar08 anonymous -
Unfortunately, the full extent of Yeshua's presence in some "Messianic" Jewish
congregations is the name, Yeshua, and His title, Messiah. His life, His
teachings, and Messianic scriptural studies are essentially absent. It is a
tragedy when the stumbling stone is a rock of offense in our own midst.
14:09 03Mar08 Roger Staley -
I just finished reading the book "The Mystery of the Gospel" by D. Thomas
Lancaster and for us non-Jews it is a refreshing look at Gentile inclusion in
Israel, the "mystery" of the Gospel.
16:25 03Mar08 Tom Dolph -
An important topic extremely well stated. Your comments regarding Authority &
Submission were especially welcome. I'm a "fan" of Watchman Nee's writings. He
composed a series of lessons as an in-depth study on the centrality of Authory
& Submission, but because it was meant as "classroom" study, no one ever
thought to publish it. To shorten this subject, Those lessons have finally been
compiled into a BOOK by that title and only now released. I have to consider it
one of his greatest works. I only "thought" I understood the concept! He
carries the basics into deep and subtle areas of practical application. I
highly recommend it to anyone. Thank you again for sharing your insights, I
found it very helpful.
16:46 Chris Batsikas -
Mr.Juster makes a good point! He mentioned that "unforgiveness and unhealed
hurt lead to bitterness," which in return affects the motive or inspiration of
selective doctrine in which they teach. The key element in this divine aspect
is the Spirit of Truth, Holy Spirit! The heart of the appointed and the
appointee must be aligned with the will of God. I also believe that one who is
ordained has to have been through a series of applications leading to TRUTH
lead by the HOLY SPIRIT. Intellect alone can not be an elders only
17:10 03Mar08 Zakar -
Amen Raziela! Those seeking the will of the Father should be allowed, within
the boundaries of Torah, to find and walk the path as the Ruach will lead them.
02:24 04Mar08 anonymous -
I have been getting your newletters for some time now, and always enjoy reading
them. I have encountered many people who feel that all believers should "keep
the Torah", both Gentile and Jew. What does this mean and what does it look
like? Another lingering question is what makes someone Jewish? What is the
difference between a Jew and a Gentile when we are both in Christ? If you have
any suggestions for reading that would be awesome.
-- Dr Juster replies:
There are three books that address this question. One is my book Jewish
Roots and especially the appendix on the 613 laws. The second is Marcus
Bachmuel, Jewish Law in Gentile Churches (former professor at Cambridge
and now at St. Andrews in Scotland) and the last, R. Kendall Soulen, The
God of Israel and Christian Theology.
In basic summary, the Hillel brand of Judaism in the first century
recognized a distinction between universal dimensions of Torah and Jewish
specific calling parts. They understood that the whole Torah was given
as one covenant to the Jewish people so that the question of Gentile
responsibility required application and was not a matter of just assuming
they do the same Torah. This became codified in the 2nd century with the
idea that the Gentiles are responsible to the Noachide commands which is
a summary but also that the teaching in Moses that would be a natural
application of the Noachide commands were for all. The New Covenant
Scriptures have the same view and may reflect the influence of Hillel on
Paul through his teacher Gamliel. The circumcision party may have been
closer to Shammai. So the Gentiles were exempted from circumcision and
hence the responsibility for the whole Torah as in Gal. 5 teaching. This
included keeping the feasts as full Sabbath days of rest and the seventh
day Sabbath. It is reflected in the teaching of Col. 2, Acts 15 and
Romans 14. On this basis we see Yeshua and the rest of the New Testament
emphasizing the applications of Torah that are universal.
God has created a variety of nations and it is not his purpose to
homogenize the nations. As Soulen says, the distinction of Israel and
the nations remains after the coming of Yeshua and proves that national
or ethnic identities are valued by God. There are still nations. Hence
Israel has its place as an elect nation and the Church as an elect
remnant from all nations. Israel is called to a complimentary and
parallel witness. Romans 9:1 makes it clear that the Covenants and
promises on distinct Jewish life remain and that includes the cultural
distinctiveness of language and land. See Ezekiel 36:24 ff. Gentile
believers are call to respect their Jewish Roots in Israel and can
participate as they are led.
Jewish people are national Israel is a cultural, ethnic, naitional,
religious peoplehood with physical roots. Physical roots are significant
but do not sufficiently describe a people who included some Gentiles who
came with them in history and those who converted to Judaism throughout
history. However, when we understand our status in Messiah, Gentile
conversion to Judaism is no longer fitting.
I hope this helps. The books I mentioned are also helpful. You may want
to look at my little book The Irrevocable Calling which includes
important information. It is published by Lederer-Messianic Jewish
04:45 05Mar08 Shannon -
I have personally experienced the pain and confusion that can come from false
teachers of the two house/ephraimite movement. It has destroyed the innocence
of the christian faith of many of my family members. When I read Dr. Juster's
articles I rejoice in the fact that I hear truth that benefits and feeds the
Body of Christ instead of dividing it. I believe God is moving in the hearts
of his people( Jew and Gentile) to unite.
Unfortunately Satan takes this movement and twists its message to become hokey
to some and dangerous to others. It has been a slow and painful process to
undo what these false ministries have done to our family but Our Lord is
faithful and full of Mercy. Thank you to this ministry for being a light place
in dark times.
09:59 05Mar08 Lee Allen -
Thank you for your interesting article. Certainly scholarship is important to
reduce error, yet if I had to choose between the scholar and the fisherman who
had intimacy with Abba Father then I would chooose the fisherman. The most
offensive sin to Jesus was the scholarly Pharisees who had it all right; this
is a big problem in America where religious people have the truth in their head
but little intimacy with abba - I was there for many many years so I speak of
personal experience. Each day now I am growing in intimacy with my Abba Father
and this then flows through me in love to my family, my work, my community; it
is really good. Last night at an election caucus a stranger viciously attacked
me verbally - I could only love him and thank him for his son's service in the
military; a few years back without Abba's love I would have responded in the
same anger he gave me. May Israel receive Abba's love for them.
18:35 05Mar08 Ran Ricard -
I appreciate your sentiments here and agree with much of what you are saying.
It does appear however that I might be the only 'Two House' proponent to
comment. I take exception to your use of the word aberrant in relation to the
Two House Restoration teaching and in relation to the so called 'Galatian
error'. Weren't the Commandments of The Holy One of Israel given to ALL Israel
... all the tribes and those who sojourned and chose The Master of Legions as
-- Dr Juster replies:
That is the point. The Torah as a whole is a covenant with Israel and not
with the world. Part of that covenant is that the world is to be blessed
through Israel, but the Church is not the northern tribes of Israel,
otherwise circumcision would be the correct implication. Once you deal with
Paul's doctrine on Gentile believers and circumcision, you will find that if
this Law is not intended for Gentiles, it implies that many others are not
intended for their responsibility. With the coming of the New Covenant and
the acceptance of uncircumcised members as equal partners in the Body of
Believers, one needs to distinguish what in the Torah is universal in
principle and what is Jewish specific.
Why is that aberrant and your position that only Jews are to live in Torah not?
Are we (non-Jews) not allowed to live in and accept the joy and blessings that
living a Torah observant life brings? Are those promises only to the Jews? My
wife and I and many, many of our friends find it a great joy to live within the
framework of Torah. Would you deny us that because we are not Jews? Why is
that stance not aberrant?
-- Dr Juster replies:
The article did not say that Gentiles were not allowed to do this. Very
little is not allowed; circumcision mainly. The issue is the reason for
Gentiles embracing the Jewish parts of the Torah. It is not the superior
chosen life for all by God's design or the superior from of Church life.
Rather the reason for doing so is the leading of the Spirit and one desiring
life with and before the Jewish people as a special calling. If a Christian
finds it rich and fulfilling to live according to the Christian year, there
is no reason to disparage this so say that Jewish life is superior. Since we
have gentile members in our congregations, we obviously see that Jewish life
is an option for gentile believers.
I don't want to be argumentative and I am an admirer of your work, I truly am,
but it strikes me as somewhat selfish to say that the joy of living out our
Father's Torah is for the Jew only. Judah wasn't the only group that received
The Instructions and said they would obey. Why is it aberrant to want to
please our Heavenly Father by being obedient to Him. If we are not to follow
His instructions for our lives, then what 'rule' book do we follow?
-- Dr Juster replies:
Keep in mind that we say as did the ancient Rabbis that some parts of Moses
reflect God's universal standards for all. In that sense all are called to
Torah. And all are called to learn and understand from the Jewish specific
commands. However, circumcision and keeping all the Sabbath days and more
are not the responsibility of the Gentiles. You may find this enriching for
several reasons and I do not know which it might be.
You have liberty in the Messiah to embrace Jewish practices.
- Jewish life is rich.
- You may never have know the richness of the Christian traditions which
are also ancient and very wonderful.
- You may have a special call to the Jewish people.
09:22 06Mar08 Saji Chelengra -
Can you provide me with more information on eldership ...
-- Dr Juster replies:
Well, the best thing to do is to begin reading I Timothy 3, Titus 1 and
I Peter 5. Many books deal with this. I have a section in my books
Relational Leadership and in Due Process, both available from internet
02:12 11Mar08 Donald Rogan -
I sense a feeling of alienation from the apostles and Yeshua. After reading
this article today which I received by mail, I felt a sense of concern and
pain. I want to be a part of a congregation that is closer to the actual
teachings of the apostles and Yeshua. One that expresses its life more in
keeping with the life that they lived. The gentile church seems to be sort
clueless as to how far away from our roots we really are. They teach what they
were taught, and if they weren't taught really well, then they do the same.
This modalism heresy is of them. I really don't see how dispensationalism is
taught today, pre-trib rapture, tithing to a church pastor/minister, or things
like Sunday school, etc. Things like Sunday School promote foreign teachings to
the disciples of the Lord. At least I know it's foreign. I could stay home, but
is that best? There really are no sound churches in town. And what impact does
Tim Hegg's article on the Noachide Laws have on your thoughts? In other words,
where has Hegg gone astray?
-- Dr Juster replies:
Congregational life in the Southern Hemisphere is so much closer to
original Biblical faith. We are able to use all kinds of modern methods
to deceive ourselves when we are not producing Kingdom fruit. Yet the
fellowship of believers in the Spirit is not a option and eldership is
not an option. So here are some choices:
We are never powerless or victims in Yeshua. There is a way for you.
- Find the best congregation you can and give yourself to prayer
that they can be all they can. Humbly serve and build trust until
you can positively be an influence.
- Find something like a house church movement congregation in your
- Train in some kind of an association and become ordained and sent
to start something.
11:05 13Mar08 Jill Allerton -
Thank you for this article. I believe there is so much deception in these
(last) days. It's so easy to get caught up in legalism and lose freedom in
16:30 13Mar08 Bruce Kelso -
I agree about the elder teachers. This seems to be what the Lord is bringing
about in our congregation. But where are the prophets and apostles? Is a pastor
always an elder? As an elder I belive my non-verbal teaching is probably more
important than the verbal. That is, my attitude toward others, the way I live
concerning family, work, finances, fellowship times, non-believers etc. - Can I
honestly say with Paul,"follow my example."?
Has anyone at your ministry ever read the works of Fredrich Neumann? He was a
Jewish believer who, I believe, was way ahead of his time. He died in 1967
after a 40+ year walk with his Messiah. His vision for a church in Israel and
all his work lead one to the praise of the glory of God. A few of his gems can
be found on certain Christian internet sites. Shalom.
-- Dr Juster replies:
I am sorry that I did not know Mr. Newman. We do believe in all five
gift ministries and as we said, the importance of character is key for
all. All elders need to be able to convey biblical truth, not
necessarily pulpit teaching. Modeling the life of Yeshua is central
17:03 05Apr08 Martin F. -
Very interesting! It seems to me that the expressed solution to error is better
leadership. Is this Yeshua's model for dealing with erroring leadership? It
does in fact seem that Yeshua was turning people a way from seeking leadership
roles, as there was an inherit conflict with their grow in His Kingdom. Don't
your think that focusing on better leadership would in fact help foster the
probably of creating atomshere of inhibits true spiritual growth. In all the
Messianic congregation I have attended there was a greater focus on developing
leaders rather than disciples.
Secondly, any young budding leader may one day have an opportunity to rub
elbows with the likes of Coach McCartney or some other famous leader. Does
this not also feed in the same type condition that can produce a failure to
grow spiritually as Yeshua warned against?
Thirdly, what if current leadership within Messianic Jewish circles are
producing a culture of leadership ranking that is continuing the leadership
weakness rather than healing it, because the case in point is that young people
will be called into roles of ministry before their charactor is fully
developed. It would be a deception for them to think that they are "approved"
or "good" when they are simply just "called".
Fourthly, Does not Gal. 5 discribe heresies as work of the flesh. Greater
spiritual maturity in the Lord will work well in keeping the individuals
addicted to the need for heresies.
Conclusion: Doesn't a continual focus on developing better leadership keep the
focus on the wrong things; wouldn't producing better disciples of Yeshua do
more in serving the Congregation. You cannot honor the instruction of "Not
many of you should presume to be teachers" if you are continuely focused on
-- Dr Juster replies:
I do not see an either/or re: developing leadership and developing
disciples. To make disciples is our first charge, but Yeshua gave
himself to both disciple and then to develop the 12 into leadership.
Paul charges Timothy and Titus to raise leaders, and in Timothy, those
leaders need to be able to raise other leaders who can teach and
disciple. Because leadership and servanthood are one in the New
Covenant, the only real issue here is humility. The result of Yeshua's
ministry was better leadership! This leadership changed the world.
09:51 07Jul08 Ron Robinette -
A quote from your article above states "I do not know of one peer reviewed
scholar who teaches that the New Covenant intends that Gentiles in general are
called to keep the whole Torah." How do peer review scholars interpret Acts
15:20-21? These verses seem to say that Gentile believers are to keep the
essentials of Moses teachings as well as open themselves up to further
instruction from Moses by hearing Moses preached and read in synagogues "every
Sabbath." How do these verses fit into the daily life of a Gentile believer?
-- Dr Juster replies:
Of course the key is the word "whole." There is even long Christian
tradition that Gentiles are to keep the universal commands of the Torah
as reflected in the teaching of Yeshua. Acts 15 on Moses being read
every week in the synagogues is interpreted by some scholars to mean that
there is ethical instruction on the universal in the synagogues and on
how to have fellowship with Jews (what is the minimum necessary) not as
how to live in the same way as Jews. Of course, Gentiles are not
precluded from the celebrations of the Feasts, but it is as they are led
by the Spirit. One needs also to look at Acts 21 where the New King
James rightly translates that regarding keeping the whole Torah, James
says they have written to the Gentiles to observe no such thing.
23:41 09Feb10 David Niles -
I have been a believer for only ten years now, and was apart of the
Messianic/Hebrew Roots movement for several years. The things I heard and saw
under the guise of "Torah observance" was truly appalling. Yeshua said that
false prophets and false doctrines would be rampant in the Last Days before he
would return. While I learned a lot by "seeing Jesus" in the Feasts and within
the Torah, I did also see what can only be desribed as a"infatuation" with
Rabbinic/Orthodox Judaism and Kabbalah. I have since "returned" to evangelicial
Christianity, and found it to be one the best things I ever did. Yeshua alone
is our Rightousness, and he must be our everything. Sadly, false teaching is
found elsewhere in the Body of Messiah, not just Messianic Judaism. I pray we,
as Jesus said, "could be one, as he and the Father are one" (John 17).
14:23 15Aug10 Michael Sanders -
Good words! I have to give a hearty amen to your reference to elders needing
to be, "healed from past wounds," and "find their meaning in relationships
rather than in ministry."
Most of us look at the character and educational qualifications for an Elder
and think, "yeah, duh!" but we forget that we all have wounds and if those
wounds are not healed they can turn toxic. In true "fellowship" -
relationships are critical. A Shepherd will always smell like his sheep
because he's always in and amongst them. As a Teaching elder who is relatively
new to the Hebraic Roots movement I exercise great caution and do quite a bit
of praying as I prepare to teach and guide.
We do need a clear picture of what "balance' looks like. There is a
regretable division growing between Jew and Gentile as they follow Yeshua.
What does the destruction of the dividing wall of antagonism look like. Why do
we make physical heritage a measure of fellowship and ministry?