The Purpose of HaYesod
What is a Christian's connection to Israel? A Gentile Christian living in the Greek city of Corinth 1900 years ago would have replied, "I am a part of the greater people of Israel; I worship with God's people; the Jewish Messiah is my Messiah; the God of Israel is my God."
In those early years, being a Christian meant affinity with Israel. Today, Christianity accepts the God of Israel and proclaims Jesus as Savior of the world, but does not necessarily understand or foster its own connection to the Land, the People, and Scriptures of Israel.
The HaYesod discipleship program attempts to educate believers on their relationship with the promised land, the historic people of God, and the Scriptures of the Jewish people. Knowing the Jewish foundation of Christianity deepens the faith of the believer, clarifies the meaning of the Bible, and reveals God's purpose for all of his people.
All the lessons presented in HaYesod helps develop the believer's relationship to the Land, the People and Scriptures of Israel. Our goal is to bring clarity, understanding, and unity through these teachings to the body of Messiah as she recognizes her place and role within the greater community of Israel.
Land of Israel
The land of Israel is the physical stage on which the drama of the Bible was played out. Christians unfamiliar with the promised land find the Scriptures difficult to understand. God himself sanctified the land of Israel; that is why it is called the Holy Land. His glory resided in the Temple in Jerusalem, and he sent his Son to be born and to minister in the land. The land of Israel is at the center of biblical prophecies, including the return of the people of Israel, the return of the Messiah, the final wars of the Messianic Era, and the allotment of the land to God's people.
People of Israel
The people of Israel—the Jewish people—are the chosen people of God. The children of Israel are God's special portion, his prized possession, and the apple of his eye. Not all Jewish people acknowledge the Messiah; nevertheless, "as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers" (Romans 11:28). In every generation, a faithful spiritual remnant has existed among our people—the Jewish people.
Jesus, the apostles, and all the first followers of Jesus were Jewish. In every generation since the gospel was first proclaimed, there have been Jewish people who confessed Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. All believers in Jesus should find spiritual connection with this core remnant within Israel. Gentile believers in Jesus have not replaced the Jewish people; instead, they are grafted into Israel and made fellow citizens with Israel. For too long Christianity has been disconnected from Israel. It is time to renounce the theological anti-Semitism of the past and rediscover our connection with the people of Israel.
Scriptures of Israel
By "Scriptures of Israel," we mean the Bible. The Bible is a definitive collection of the Scriptures of Israel. Almost the entire Bible was written by Jewish people. The people of Israel received the Scriptures under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and since then the Jewish people have been the faithful custodians of the Old Testament while the Christian church has preserved the New Testament. Nevertheless, both the Old and New Testaments are Jewish writings. It is no exaggeration to call the Bible the "Scriptures of Israel."
Even though the Bible can be called the "Scriptures of Israel," those Scriptures have a universal message for all mankind. The Bible is for everyone. But when the Bible is read outside of a connection to the land and the people of Israel, its words are inevitably misunderstood. Historical Christianity has often strayed from the straight and narrow path of biblical revelation simply because we have failed to recognize the Bible as the Scriptures of Israel.
Message of Restoration
For almost two thousand years, Christianity has been disconnected from the Land, the People and Scriptures of Israel. Today, all of that is changing. An explosion of new scholarship about the origins of Christianity coupled with the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel has started a restoration and reformation of "biblical proportions."
After almost two thousand years, Jewish people are beginning to reconsider Jesus, and many are declaring him to be the Messiah. Christians are rediscovering their relationship to Israel and the Jewish people. New insights into the Bible are yielding rich results. God is on the move, and the wheels of biblical prophecy have begun to turn. This is one of the most exciting times in history to be alive, and HaYesod is your introduction to the excitement.
I love the HaYesod course. I have taken it twice, once with my congregation and once on my own. I like the way it is organized and builds on itself with each lesson. I have been a Christian for 45 years, but am new to the Messianic movement, so this course gave me a really good foundation. The only exception that I would take, if you will permit me, is the frequent reference to anti-semitism in Christianity. This has never been my experience. I now understand that you are mainly (although unfortunately not always) referring to the early Christian church. I appreciated learning how the great disconnect between Christian and Jew began. Thanks for doing what you do!— Karen Cahn