Why do we meet on Saturday?
Saturday, or Shabbat, is the day of the corporate gathering set forth in the Torah (first five books of the Bible). We believe that God gave to us Shabbat as a continuing sign of His covenant promises (Gen. 2:1-2; Exo. 20:8-11; 31:12-17; 35:1-3) and His love for us. As we keep Shabbat, we remember that it is a reminder of the spiritual rest we have through Yeshua’s (Jesus’) work on our behalf, and a foreshadowing of the eternal rest we will enjoy in the world to come.
Shabbat begins Friday evening at sunset and ends Saturday at sunset. Traditionally, a special Friday evening meal marks the beginning of Shabbat (called “Erev Shabbat”) and a ceremony called Havdalah (Hebrew meaning “divide”) marks Shabbat’s end. Many of us at The Harvest have both Erev Shabbat and Havdalah in our homes. These ceremonies were brought into the homes after the temple’s destruction so that the children could learn more about Shabbat.
Why do we call Jesus “Yeshua”?
Yeshua is the Hebrew name of Jesus. Hebrew names have meanings that reveal the character/purposes and or significant events surrounding a person’s life. For instance, Yeshua means “salvation.” The angel told Miriam (Mary) to name her child “Yeshua” for He would save His people from their sins. The meaning of His name revealed His character, purpose, and mission in life. He was and forever will be Yahweh’s Salvation offered to all humanity!
Why do people sometimes use the name “Yahweh” during certain parts of the service?
The particular pronunciation is derived from the tetragrammaton (YHWH), as found in scripture some 6000 times. Although there are various pronunciations that people will use, Yahweh is the most common. Sadly, most English translations refuse to translate the tetragrammaton and instead choose to replace it with other words like Adonai, and Lord. Adonai and Lord communicate distinctly different ideas than does the tetragrammaton. The revelation contained in and associated with the tetragrammaton is so much more than what Adonai and Lord could ever communicate. Note what is made clear in the revelation of His name as found in Exo. 3:13-16 and Exo. 34:5-7 (you will have to read Yahweh where you see Lord in these passages). Adonai and Lord communicate something quite different than his name Yahweh. In fact one is a name and the other two are titles. While we don’t mandate that anyone use or pronounce this name, neither do we forbid it. We simply welcome, and encourage everyone to celebrate the revelation and meaning of His name (however that may be pronounced), as reflected in the tetragrammaton (YHWH).
Why do some men wear caps?
These caps, or Kippot (Kippah, singular—the Yiddish term is Yarmulkah) are a traditional mark of Judaism for males. Whether Jew or non-Jew, a kippah is required attire at all holy sites in Jerusalem (such as the Western Wall). At Kehilat T’nuvah, the kippah is optional, but any male who wishes to wear one, may. We wear them because they are symbols reminding us of our need for atonement and specifically that Yeshua is our only atonement. In addition, we wear them to maintain our connection with our Jewish brothers and to be identified with biblical forms of Judaism.
Some may question whether this contradicts the teaching of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. If this passage is studied closely, however, it can be seen that Paul is concerned with how one wears his hair or covering. Paul’s point in this passage is that he wants men and women to be distinguished, and not to wear their hair or covering in a manner that would culturally convey some unwholesome aspect.
Some of the congregants wear fringes at their waist. What are these?
These are tzit-tzit, the fringes God commanded to be worn (Num. 15:37-41) as a constant reminder of our great redemption by His grace and mercy, and the commandments that He has given to us. The only details we are given in regard to the fringes is that there be a cord of blue, and that they are placed on the four edges, hems, or corners of your garments (Deut. 22:12). We believe in being creative and using a variety of colors and tying them in unique ways.
Why do some women wear head coverings?
We believe the scriptures point to women’s headcovering in 1 Corinthians 11. Paul teaches that there is a authoritative structure for submission: God>Yeshua (Jesus)>Man>Woman. By covering her head, a woman is showing her submission to God’s design of authority over her. All of us (men and women) are called to be in submission. A woman’s head covering is one outward symbol of her celebration of God’s design of creation.
Why are many Hebrew words used?
Hebrew words are rich in their meaning. By using and understanding some of the Hebrew words, we believe we get more revelation of what the text is really saying. You don’t have to speak Hebrew to become a part of our community, but it’s a blessing to speak some of the words the same way our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob spoke. (And to know that Yeshua spoke them, as well!)
How do we know what part of the Torah to read each Shabbat?
The Torah (first five books of the Bible) has been divided into sections for reading on each Shabbat. In the time of Yeshua, the divisions were such that it took 3 years to completely read through the sections, one section each Shabbat. In the latter centuries the sections were redivided so that the cycle could be completed in one year. We use this one-year cycle at Kehilat T’nuvah. A list of the sections is available on the Hospitality Table in the foyer.
Why do we avoid using the terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament”?
We avoid these terms because they often communicate ideas which we feel are in error. For instance, “old” usually means “worn out,” “out of date,” “used up,” and “new” often connotes “contemporary,” “fresh,” “unused,” or “up-to-date.” We believe that all of the Scriptures are profitable for our growth in Yeshua, and that the Scriptures written by the Apostles do not contradict the Scriptures written by Moses and the Prophets. Therefore, we often use the terms Yeshua employed: “The Torah, Prophets and Psalms” (or “Writings”) or the “Hebrew Scriptures” to denote what is usually called the “Old Testament.” The traditional abbreviation for “Torah, Prophets, and Writings” is Tanakh, taking the letter from each of the Hebrew terms Torah (Law), Nevim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). We use the term “Apostolic Scriptures” to denote what is usually called the “New Testament.” Some people use the term “Brit Hadasha,” but this is actually just the Hebrew translation of “New Testament,” which we would prefer not to use.
Is The Harvest a synagogue or a church?
The term “synagogue” is used in the Apostolic scriptures (called the New Testament) in James 2:2 (although most modern translations substitute other terms, such as “assembly” or “meeting”) which simply means a “gathering” or “congregation.” The word ekklesia (usually translated “church”) was used by the early Messianic Jews to designate their meetings as part of the congregation of Israel. So referring to our congregation as a synagogue takes us back to our very roots. Many times we will simply use the term “congregation” to refer to our community. Ultimately, we recognize that Yeshua’s kehilat (congregation) consists of people, not buildings, and so as a congregation we constitute one visible manifestation of Yeshua’s body.
Is The Harvest associated with any larger denomination of churches or synagogues?
The Harvest is an autonomous community based congregation. However, we do desire to unite with other congregations in the messianic movement without losing our local autonomy. Currently we are affiliated with the UMJC.
Do you use the title “Rabbi” in this congregation?
We do not use or encourage the use of “Rabbi” in this congregation for the same reason we do not use the titles, “Lord,” “Father,” or “Reverend” when referring to our under-shepherds. These terms have become highly exalted titles that we feel would be inappropriate, arrogant, and possibly deceptive for any of our people to use, or have bestowed upon them. We are not judging those outside our congregation who are using these titles, but we will not permit our leaders to use them when referring to themselves, especially if one does not have the proper training, credentials, and appropriate religious institutional ordination.
We train, license, and ordain people in various ministerial capacities, none of which falls in the category of “Rabbi” (my master), “Lord,” “Father,” or “Reverend.”
Who is the senior pastor of The Harvest?
In the Apostolic scriptures, it is clarified that Yeshua the Messiah is the “Head Pastor” (chief shepherd, 1 Peter 5:4) of the universal church. The Harvest is only one local manifestation of this universal church. The senior pastor of this local church is an under-shepherd of Yeshua the Chief Shepherd. The congregation finds its headship, under Yeshua the Messiah, in its senior pastor. The senior pastor is under the authority of the Bylaws of this congregation and held accountable to the Bylaws by the Board of Directors, the Elders, and an outside Arbiter. He is held accountable in 4 main areas:
3. Unethical Financial Activities, and
4. Gross incompetence
The senior pastor is bound to the Bylaws of this congregation like any and all other members. Our current senior pastor is Mark McLellan and our current Arbiter is Rabbi Chaim Urbach of Yeshuat Tsion.
Do You License/Ordain And Oversee Others Outside Of Your Community?
No. We do not currently license/ordain anyone outside of The Harvest Community.
At The Harvest, are Jews more important than non-Jews?
Absolutely not. We also hope that we never give this impression in any way. All who have come to faith in Yeshua have been grafted in (the natural branches have been re-grafted, the wild branches have been grafted, Romans 11:11-24) and together may call Abraham their father (Romans 4:11). While there are cultural distinctions (there are both Jews and non-Jews in the body of Yeshua), as far as being saved or serving Yeshua is concerned “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there are neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua” (Gal. 3:28).
Why do people follow the “food laws”?
In regards to the food laws serving as a biblical diet to help ensure our health and sanctification, we believe they are of utmost relevance to all people. We therefore encourage everyone to prayerfully consider appropriating this diet into their lifestyle as the Holy Spirit leads them (Lev. 11; Deut. 14).