Well, let’s start with a little Hebrew lesson. First, adat is based on a Hebrew word for flock, as in a flock of sheep. It refers to a flock or congregation of people. Thus, the Hebrews who left Egypt are often referred to in Torah (the Five Books of Moses), as “Adat Yisrael,” the congregation of Israel. Likewise, Adat YESHUA means the Congregation of Yeshua.
So, this brings us to our second word, “Yeshua,” which is a Hebrew name meaning God’s salvation. This name appears in English as Joshua, one of the more popular Jewish names. 2000 years ago, when the Jews were dominated by Greek culture and language, the name was pronounced as Iesous, translated into English as Jesus. So Adat Yeshua means Congregation of Jesus.
Now, this leads to some more profound questions. What is a nice bunch of Jews doing in the Congregation of Jesus? And if you believe in Jesus, why don’t you call yourselves Christians, and go to a real Christian church somewhere? Could it be that you are trying to trick other Jews into believing your way, by disguising yourselves with Hebrew phrases and Jewish customs?
Good questions. To help answer them, let’s hear what Yeshua said about himself. He did not come to earth to start a new religion, in fact he lived out his life as a loyal Jew, obedient to Torah. He even told his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.”
– Matthew 5:17
Not only did Yeshua claim to be a loyal Jew who was faithful to Torah, but he also claimed to win other Jews back to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He said that he was sent first to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” – Jews who had strayed away from the teachings of Moses and the worship of God. In order to do this, he not only taught people, but he offered himself as a sacrifice to pay for their sins. Torah decrees that the people could not gain forgiveness from God by offering the sacrifice that he commanded. The Hebrew prophets wrote that the Messiah would offer himself as that sacrifice on behalf of all the people. They also predicted that the Messiah would rise again after offering himself. All these prophecies Yeshua fulfilled, just as he had told his disciples.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” – Luke 24:44-47
So, Yeshua was thoroughly Jewish and claimed to fulfill the Hebrew Scriptures. But, you might say, the great Rabbis and scholars of the Jewish people have rejected his claim to be Messiah. So why would a good Jew, or anyone else for that matter, worry about him? In fact, as many of us were told in our classes at Temple or Synagogue, the Christians who think that the Messiah has already come are obviously wrong, because there is still so much warfare and suffering in the world. We Jews have lots of different opinions about this Messiah, but we all agree that if he ever gets here, he will bring in an era of peace and justice for all mankind.
We who believe that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel really have the same hope held by religious Jews throughout the ages. We believe that someday Messiah will come to establish a reign of peace and justice over all the earth. Along with Jews of every age, we can recite the words Maimonides wrote a millennium ago – “I believe in perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and though he tary, I will wait daily for his coming.”
Unlike other Jews, though, we have something in addition to this hope for the Messianic kingdom to come. Since our Messiah has already come, he has already begun to establish his kingdom among those who believe in him. When we call ourselves Adat Yeshua, the congregation of Yeshua, we are saying that Yeshua is alive and active among us. He brings together Jews and Gentiles into a dynamic fellowship which worships the God of Israel. We see Yeshua actively involved in our midst to forgive the guilty, heal the sick, and comfort the depressed. We see him bringing spiritual reality and fulfillment to all who seek him. So we get a preview of the Messianic Kingdom here and now, the same kingdom which we are hoping for along with millions of Jews over the centuries.
Two final questions: How do we know that Yeshua is the Messiah? Why are we so confident about his claims? The preview of the kingdom is part of the answer. Because we see Yeshua already working in the hearts and lives of his people, it is easy to believe that he will return to establish his kingdom on earth. In addition, we believe the testimony of the Scriptures. Because Yeshua showed that his live fulfilled so many Scriptures, we can believe that he will yet fulfill the rest. As the prophet Isaiah wrote:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
– Isaiah 9:6-7
If you would like to know and experience this Messiah today, join us at Adat Yeshua as we serve him. Our fellowship is open to all, both Jew and Gentile, who desire to learn more of the Messiah of Israel. Our services are held on Friday evenings at 7:00 PM, and Saturday mornings at 10:30 AM, so for more information call our office. The number is 505.255.1988
Shalom U’vrachah b’shem Yeshua!
Peace and blessings in the name of Jesus!
Adat Yeshua Congregational Leader