God – YHWH Elohim, Creator of heaven and earth, is the Lawgiver, the final judge and authority over all people, places, and creatures. Although He is ultimately beyond our comprehension, YHWH presents many faces to the world to help us relate to and understand Him. There is only one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is not Allah or Krishna or any of the many false, pagan deities. He loves us and desires us to have close relationships with him, personally and corporately. He is the primary object of our prayers and worship.
Yeshua – Also known as Jesus, Yeshua is God in the flesh. He is the Word, the Firstborn Son, and the right hand of God, an extension of the Father into the world of men. Through Him the world was created, was redeemed, and will be judged. Although He existed before time, His physical body was conceived in a virgin through divine intervention. He grew from a boy to a man as the son and heir of Joseph and Mary in the house of David. He lived a perfectly sinless life, never deviating from obedience to Torah. He healed the sick and crippled, raised the dead, and cast out demons. He was crucified by both Jews and Gentiles according to the Father’s will and rose from the grave on the third day. He fulfilled many prophecies concerning the Messiah of Israel and will someday fulfill them all. He is the only mechanism by which a person can attain eternal life with the Father.
Holy Spirit – God the Holy Spirit, the Ruach Hakodesh, is the teacher, comforter, counselor, and nurturer of God’s people. He acts in the hearts and minds of His people to transform them into new creations suitable for receiving and walking out God’s Law. He enables us to hear and act on God’s will, to speak God’s words, and to be a light to the world around us.
The Trinity – The idea of the Trinity is not explicitly taught anywhere in Scripture, but I don’t believe it’s entirely incorrect. God is One, yet he interacts with humanity as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a manner that we perceive as three separate and independent entities. God is a spirit, yet he came in the flesh. God is both the Father and the Son. There is one Holy Spirit, yet there are seven Spirits of God. The Angel of YHWH talks about God, but also is God. We have a weak and incomplete conception of a mysterious and infinite being because it is all we are capable of in our present existence. Describing God as three persons in one is simplistic and probably inaccurate, but it is a reasonable attempt at describing the manifestations of an incomprehensible God in human terms.
Names – God’s True Name is not YHWH, Yahweh, Jehovah, Yahuah, Yeshua, Yahshua, Yehoshua, Ruach HaKodesh, Elohim, or any other collection of letters and sounds by which He has been addressed over the ages, even if those letters and sounds are names for God. Rather, the Name of God is the sum total of His character and reputation. He Is Who He Is and no mere man may label Him. The various names used for God in Scripture all have profound meaning, they are important, but they are not God. They are incomplete descriptors of aspects of who He is. Although the Hebrew names carry more inherent meaning, there is nothing especially wrong with using names that have been transliterated (or mis-transliterated) into other languages. “Jesus” might be an inferior substitute for “Yeshua,” but it is not an unacceptable one. In some contexts, it is preferable for the sake of effective communication. I use a variety of names for Father, Son, and Spirit as seems appropriate in context. (Video: What Is the True Name of the Messiah?)
Scripture – The sixty-six books of the commonly accepted Biblical canon are all inspired by God and a reliable record of His interactions with Israel and mankind. Millennia of transcribers and translators have introduced some minor errors, but their fundamental truths have been preserved intact. The Torah (first five books of the Bible) itself is virtually unchanged from the originals recorded by Moses. There might be other inspired scriptures and prophetic works, but they must all be measured against the Canon of the Bible. God does not change or contradict himself. Genesis is the foundation for all later scripture, laying out the basics of God’s identity, His covenants, and our relationship to Him. The remaining four books of the Torah build on Genesis, expanding on its themes and codifying God’s promises, His relationship with Israel, and the nature of the Messiah and the redemption He would bring. The Writings and Prophets are history, instruction, and divine commentary on Torah and God’s covenants as they are worked out in the context of His unfolding relationship with the world and Israel. The Apostolic scriptures are further history, instruction, and commentary on the Torah, Writings, and Prophets within the context of the revealed Messiah and the accomplished redemption. (Video: What Is the Canon and Why Is It Closed?)
Torah – The Torah (aka the Pentateuch, the Law of Moses, the first five books of the Bible) contains God’s written standards of behavior for His people. The Hebrew word torah more properly means “instruction,” and the rules it contains are mostly simple and easy to understand. However, Torah is multi-dimensional. Through allegory, example, and literary devices, it describes Yeshua’s role in our redemption as the Messiah, Highest Priest, and King of Kings. It is both life and death, blessing and cursing. We find life through obedience and death through disobedience or through attempted obedience with a wrong heart. If we are in a right relationship with God, the Torah is a tool that the Holy Spirit uses to help set us free from bondage to sin. If we are not in a right relationship with God, the Torah witnesses against us and we are under condemnation by it. When we repent from sin and place our faith in Yeshua for salvation, the Torah no longer holds authority over us to condemn us, but it still contains His standard of behavior. Although the Torah was ostensibly given by the Father, Yeshua said “I and my Father are one.” He also said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” We are free to obey God’s Torah out of love for our Creator and King instead of fear of condemnation.
Tolerance – No one person has a perfect understanding of truth. We are all wrong about some things, and we must be willing to fellowship with people who hold different opinions than ours on important topics. Disfellowshipping (excommunicating) a brother because he sincerely interprets a verse or a book differently than we do is unscriptural and anti-Christ. We are one people, Christ’s only body, and we must not allow man to separate what God has joined together. The rule of thumb at American Torah is this: If a passage can be reasonably interpreted in a particular manner or if respected theologians have interpreted it in different ways, then we ought to be willing to discuss it and to disagree without hatred and name-calling.
Sin – Sin is the violation of God’s Law as defined by Torah (which is the Hebrew word usually translated into English as “law”), and all people have sinned. We are sinners by inheritance and inclination. Death, disease, and evil are the temporal consequences of sin. Separation from God and eventual destruction or banishment in an unquenchable fire are the eternal consequences of sin.
Salvation – Only blood can atone for (cover over) sin, and, while the blood of animals can provide a transient atonement, only God’s grace made manifest in the blood of a perfectly sinless man can permanently remove our sin from us. There has only ever been one such man: Yeshua, aka Jesus. No one in any age was ever saved from eternal damnation by sacrificing animals. Nor can we earn salvation through any other action of our own or adherence to any set of rules. Yeshua’s death provided a true atonement for sin for all people in all times, those who lived and died in millennia before the cross as well as those who have not yet been born. Anyone in any age and in any nation can gain salvation by acknowledging their need for a savior and appealing to God’s mercy and forgiveness. It is only by that divine Grace, enabled by the blood of Yeshua, that we can be saved. (Video: If We’re Still supposed to Keep the Law, Why Do We Need Jesus?)
The Messianic Kingdom – Yeshua will return to fulfill all remaining prophecies of the Messiah and will physically rule his people from Jerusalem. The nations will serve Him and be judged by Him. Believing gentiles who keep the commandments, particularly the Sabbath, will join the faithful remnant of Israel in the land, where they will inherit among the twelve tribes and be counted among the native-born.
Israel – All those who have joined in covenant with God, made possible through the blood of Yeshua, are grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel. We are made children of the King and citizens of His kingdom by His grace. There remains a distinction between three classes of the Promised children of Abraham: those former gentiles who profess faith in Yeshua, those who keep the commandments and the Sabbath, and the native born Israelite. That distinction is relatively small and completely unrelated to eternal salvation; God’s ultimate plan is to erase it altogether. We who have put our faith in Yeshua and keep the commandments are no longer foreigners, but true Israelites, destined to inherit equally alongside the native born. All laws, blessings, and curses of Torah apply equally to all of God’s people, but the blessings and curses are contingent upon one’s obedience or lack thereof. The physical descendants of Jacob require salvation just like anyone else. They have the benefit of having been given the Scriptures and having been born into Israel, but if they do not produce good fruit they will be cut off. (Video playlist: Who Is Israel?)
Jews – The Jewish people today are made up of a core of descendants of Roman province of Judea (mostly individuals from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, & Simeon, but also some from the other tribes and neighboring peoples) as well as many converts and adoptees into Judaism. The physical descendants of Israel are the recipients of irrevocable promises from God. They should be honored as His chosen people and respected for their role in history and God’s plan. For millennia, they have heard mainly lies about the identity and teachings of Yeshua. So far as they trust in God and His promised Messiah for their salvation and not in obedience to rules, God might save them by the blood of Yeshua whether they know his name and see through those inherited lies or not. That is his decision alone. I would like all people everywhere to know Yeshua, but I have no special drive to convert Jews to Christianity. My mission lies in another direction entirely.
Two House – The northern kingdom of Israel (aka Ephraim) was scattered across much of the known world by the Assyrian empire in the 8th century BC. Most of their descendants were assimilated into the nations to which they were scattered and forgot their identity. They did not become distinct nations such as various Germanic and Celtic tribes, but were absorbed into many other nations all over the world. When God regathers all of His people to the land, a remnant of both Ephraim and Judah will be called out of the nations and each will bring a mixed multitude with them. Ephraim and his companions will be joined with Judah and his companions under the banner of Messiah Yeshua. It doesn’t matter today whether anyone is a member of this or that tribe or an Ephraimite or a Jew. Such things are needlessly divisive and distracting. What matters is faith in Yeshua and obedience to Torah. (Video playlist: Who Is Israel?)
Marriage – “Marriage” is an English word, and there is no direct equivalent in the Hebrew scriptures. However, the concept that the word represents is solidly founded in the very first chapters of Genesis and reinforced throughout all the other books in the Bible. Marriage is a shadow of our relationship with God, and it is vital to the continued health of civilization. No government of man has authority to approve, disapprove, make, or unmake any marriage that meets God’s standards. Marriage licenses are an attempt to take authority where none is possible. They are meaningless before God except as a statement of rebellion against Him. A marriage is between one man and one woman. “Gay marriage” is nothing but a self-indulgent, self-destructive fantasy in which two people and their associates engage in activity for which God has said they should be killed and then pretend it’s perfectly normal and God-approved.
Polygamy – In a perfect world, polygamy would likely not exist or be extremely rare, but we don’t live in a perfect world. God allows a man to have multiple wives simultaneously. It is not a sin, and it is sometimes even necessary. Like death and divorce, it can be a part of a remedy for situations that are not well resolved in any other way. However, I strongly advise against it for most men in most circumstances. Most men in most times will have only one wife by mathematical inevitability, and most men, including me, are not capable of being an adequate husband to multiple women. God does not allow a woman to have multiple husbands.
Still Learning – There are many things that I don’t know or about which I am uncertain. I might have opinions or theories, but I readily acknowledge that I could be mistaken. I am certain to teach error at times and likely to change my opinions over time.
P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, anniversaries from American history, and links to interesting, enlightening, and useful stuff from around the Internet. If you have sincere questions, you can contact me here: jay at american torah dot com.
15 Replies to “Statement of Faith”
I’m interested in the teaching that is currently closed to enrollment, please notify me when it opens. Thank you.
Hi Jackie! I sent you an email.
My question is about the two house testament of faith. Do you have good resources to learn more about that? Just running aross your page today. Looking to learn more.
Hi Kristina. There’s a pretty wide range of Two House Theology, and I don’t know their technical names, if they have them, but I think these three descriptions cover the most common ones:
Type 1: The belief that certain national groups of people (such as various nations of Northern Europe or ancient Celtic tribes) are literally the lost northern tribes of Israel. I think this is historically, logically, and biblically absurd. They might or might not believe that today’s Jews are the physical descendants of the southern kingdom, primarily the tribe of Judah.
Type 2: The belief that the northern tribes of Israel were scattered among all the nations of the world and that those people who come to faith in Jesus (or Yeshua and who keep Torah, depending on who you ask) are literally the physical descendants of Israel who are re-awakening to their genetic legacy. This seems a little bizarre to me too, since it doesn’t account for their unbelieving children, parents, or grandparents. Genes don’t entirely skip a generation. You are either descended from a particular person or you are not. They usually also believe that today’s Jews are the physical descendants of the southern kingdom, primarily the tribe of Judah.
Type 3: The belief that Judah (the southern kingdom) and Ephraim (the northern kingdom) were both scattered in the nations, but that they might return to God by different routes. Judah primarily self identifies as Jews, Judaism, etc. On the other hand, Ephraim almost completely lost her identity as Israel and is slowly returning to God primarily through Jesus/Yeshua. Both Judah and Ephraim are natural descendants of Israel combined with a great mixed multitude of former gentiles who have been grafted into Israel by adoption or by the divine action of Yeshua. This is essentially where I fall. Watch my “Who Is Israel?” video series for more info.
Since Two-House Theology seems to exist on a spectrum, probably everyone who reads this will think I’ve mischaracterized it in some way. It’s the nature of the beast. 🙂
Commenting again 🙂 i really appreciate your honesty in this statement of faith. I appreciate the honest and genuine discussion of such things. Wondering what your “statement” of faith is on the gospel ?
Also, sorry to comment again lol but your two house version, while I don’t agree, is the most sane of all the ones and still puts the emphasis on Jesus which I feel the others tend to not. I appreciate that. I’ll add that there’s one that involves the divorce and remarriage of God/Jesus, depending on who you ask… usually that’s mixed in any one of the ones you describe. Also black Israelites believe in two house but believe that African Americans (sometimes black and brown People in general) are the true Jews/Israelites. But what do you make of Ephraim not listed in Rev as a tribe gate? We see a number of different lists in the Bible but the one in Rev doesn’t include Ephraim or Dan.
Out of curiosity, while I find the two house theology one of major significance in scripture and a major reason as to why many have the end times wrong, why is it you don’t agree?
Besides not being taught explicitly in scripture, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can exist in the absence of the idea of trinity, meaning: any usefulness of the term being outweighed by the observed “side effects”. To wit: since we have three persons, it necessarily follows that we can have prayer to all three persons of the Godhead; a step beyond not explicitly taught, prayer to the Holy Spirit is nonexistent in scripture. Yet we commonly hear in Christian congregations: “Come, Holy Spirit”. If such a request is not an extrapolation resulting from trinitarian thought, then the Holy Spirit of God is obtained by that method or “how much more is the Father willing to give His spirit to them that ask Him?” or perhaps both…except that evidence of such a request to [the third? person of?] the trinity remains nonexistent. If nonexistent, then the idea looms as an extrapolation, and therefore one of which to be wary.
So God is, and remains, one. Thus, we might ask: “So who out there is telling us He’s two…five…seventeen, or any other number than one?”
So God is, and remains, one.
Then notice something additionally: Judaism can’t object on this point.
Just happened to come across one of your videos on Youtube…I was looking for the meaning of Joshua 5: 13-15 because I wanted to give a correct answer to an SDA who believes that Michael the arcangel is Yeshua…
Anyway, I have two questions…after reading your “statement of faith” I was kind of surprised on your response to polygamy…so then you believe that in this day and age it’s ok for a man to have multiple wives…
And about the drinking of wine and strong drink…I drink wine about four nights a week and have 1 strong drink…Yeshua helped me to quit smoking cigarettes in ’03 and pot in ’09…I know He helped me because after smoking cigs for 33 years and pot for 39 years, it wasn’t that hard…after about 2 weeks I was good…now with alcohol…there is no Scriptures that say that drinking alcohol is a sin or the breaking of a covenant and Yeshua turned water into a very fine wine at the wedding in Cana..and at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Isaiah 25: 6) we will eat “fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat thing full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined”…God doesn’t do things half way…”wine that cheers the heart of God and man”…Deuteronomy 14: 22-26…interesting…I could go on and on…what it comes down to I would like your own opinion on this matter because I want to be pleasing to God first and foremost…personally I feel that just like the food He supplies for us wine is a blessing from God as well…they called Yeshua a glutton and a winebibber, so He drank wine to as well as His disciples….in Acts 2 when the apostles where speaking in tongues and the men there said they must be drunk on wine and Peter said to them “for these are not drunken, as ye suppose,seeing it is but the third hour of the day”…that to me sounds like later on maybe they where feeling “merry” from the effects of their wine and having eaten their dinner…don’t know but that’s what it sounds like to me…not trying to condone this, just wondered about your thoughts and beliefs on this matter.
oh and I’m going to look into this ministry more…
Hi Isabelle. I’m so glad to hear about the great things that God has done in your life! It sounds like he has truly worked miracles for you.
I don’t believe that God’s standards of behavior change, so what was a sin in 2000 BC is still a sin today and what wasn’t a sin in 2000 BC is still not a sin today. Since He gave instructions for how a man is to treat a second wife, He didn’t give any commands against it, and He gave David multiple wives, I believe it would be adding to His Torah to say that it is a sin. On the other hand, I certainly don’t encourage it. “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful.”
I take essentially the same stance with alcohol. Since God gave explicit permission to drink alcohol–even encouraging it during Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles)–there is no sin in it. On the other hand, be cautious. Like money, alcohol is easy to abuse. A person who has trouble controlling himself should probably avoid it altogether. Moderation is key.
Jay, your mother sent me. 😁. I am in intercessory prayer on Thursday mornings with her at Church on the Green. She hears the Hebrew words I use there so she sent me here. I am a member of El Shaddai Ministry, located in WA. Of course I only go on line now. Mark Biltz is our pastor. I haven’t read a lot of your site yet but, so far so good. Sounds very familiar to me. I will keep looking into your site, I’m pleased to meet you.
Hi Phyllis! Thanks for stopping by. It’s a small world, isn’t it? I sometimes watch El Shaddai Ministries’ videos on Youtube.
I’m new to this site. Yeshua led me into Torah 20 some years ago. There is no Torah founded group near us, so we (my husband and myself) are prayerfully going to start a weekly Bible study. I’m here to learn. Thank you.
Shalom! I am a member of a Free Church in Southern Oregon. I love my home church. They are great people. Nobody speaks of my headcovering or not eating pork. I have had conversations about it, though. There are two other brothers, as well as my husband…who is still not fully convinced, but honors me, that are in my congregation. One even blows shofar! Neither are of the mind that we should ACTUALLY follow what is currently followable. Neither understands how pork is still a sin, though we are saved by Yeshua, or why Shabbat is necessary…though we have salvation. Please, is there any help you can give?
Nothing ever catches YAHWEH by surprise, when you are completely worn out and your strength is gone, YAHWEH’s grace will indeed take over for you. YAHWEH is a way maker for you so you can make it.
Your teachings about Tzitzit it’s nice and interested to me. Hand of fellowship in kenya.