Note! I'm aware of some cultural differences between our church and many others. Being a messianic congregation, we use a lot of Hebrew at CBF and our people are generally familiar with the terms. For our brothers and sisters in other congregations, I've defined several critical terms at the bottom of the page.
Help with those whose denominations are debating homosexuality
Regrettably, several denominations have begun pushing homosexual activism on their people. Now the members, with little to no theological or hermeneutic training, are having to debate one of the most divisive issues of our times, often with no help from their pastor who has decided to toe the denominational line.
I've been receiving a number of questions from some very frustrated people, enough in my mind to warrant dedicating a page on my site where I'll put useful resources for them. If any of you are referred here and don't know who I am or what my motives are, allow me to make them clear.
I am not seeking to lead anyone to leave their church in order for them to attend mine. Each of you must determine the Lord's Will for your lives and be obedient.
I would like to reiterate that I love homosexual, lesbian, and transgendered people very much. I would have no problem inviting them to my house and eating with them. I would have no problem working with them. I don't view them as being "more sinful" than anyone else. I simply hold to what I believe is the clear teachings of the Holy Scriptures - that homosexual feelings, if acted upon, become sin much in the same way that heterosexual lust, if acted upon, becomes adulterous sin or fornication. If my friend was an adulterer, it would not change my love for him. However, if I am a true friend and I love him, I will oppose behavior that I feel is harmful to him for "Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good." (Romans 12:9)
I don't want to meddle in this issue. I have my own church and my own people to deal with. As the proverbs puts it: "A passerby who meddles in a quarrel that's not his is like one who grabs a dog by the ears." (Proverbs 26:17) Unfortunately, I don't seem to have a choice. I keep getting asked the questions. So, I'm obeying the Master's injunction to "be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks" me. (1 Peter 3:15)
Short (ish) answers to frequently asked questions
They say the Old Covenant no longer applies. I guess they don't agree with Jesus' categorical statement:
Matthew 5:17-22 HCSB "Don't assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (18) For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished. (19) Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (20) For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (21) "You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. (22) But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Fool!' will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, 'You moron!' will be subject to hellfire.
Notice that in every case Jesus not only did not abrogate the Law but actually raised the standard! Many well-meaning Christians view Paul’s statement “the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14) as a support for the view that we should completely dispense with the entire Sinaitic Law. However, they must ignore the previous verse that urges that we not use our new-found freedom in Christ as “an opportunity for the flesh”. Moreover, it must be noted that the historical context of this passage included Judaizers trying to get the Galatians to circumcise FOR SALVATION, not day to day practical holiness (sanctification).
For further, more detailed instruction on principles that govern what is and what is not fulfilled in the Old Covenant, see "Maleh" below.
They say that back when the Old Covenant was written the homosexual behavior it talks about was different. The burden of proof is on them, isn’t it? When it says “You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable” (Leviticus 18:22) or when the Sodomites yelled “"Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so we can have sex with them!" (Genesis 19:5) it’s not exactly like they’re using some technical term or anything.
These folk generally present not one hermeneutic principle to support their midrashim. Instead, with a peremptory slash, they excise whole passages and principles in order to support their arguments. I believe the best way to describe the principle fallacy I see represented in their arguments is "Straw Man". It would be nice if I could simply ignore or redefine every argument my opponent makes the way these people do with the Scriptures!
They say that the homosexual behavior the New Covenant talks about is different than what we deal with today. Again, the burden of proof is on them. It’s interesting to me that these people will casually say “Oh that doesn't mean a committed homosexual relationship. It means homosexual prostitution or forced sex” without a shred of historical, literary, or lexical evidence. Since when does “do not have sex with a man as you would a woman” mean any of these other things?
Romans 1:26-27 HCSB This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual intercourse for what is unnatural. (27) The males in the same way also left natural sexual intercourse with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty for their perversion.
To run contrary to two thousand years of interpretation by hundreds of thousands of theologians, with no Scriptural evidence…that’s not something to undertake lightly. Unless…of course…you don’t believe in the inerrancy of the Scriptures. Ah! That’s the other issue isn’t it? So, the real issue is not homosexuality. Not really. The real issue is whether or not we should take the Scriptures seriously as God’s inerrant living Word. If they aren’t going to go for that, then you’ve got bigger fish to fry. You aren’t going to argue these folks into agreeing with you. They are not there to determine truth and change their lives thereby. They are there to browbeat others into their politically correct view and the Scriptures be damned! There comes a time when a person has to determine whether or not they should just cut bait.
They say that the word "homosexual" doesn't appear in the original language. To justify one’s self by saying that the specific English word “homosexual” or “homosexuality” is not in the original language is a fatuous argument. For that matter MOST of the words we use today do not have a one-to-one correlation in either Hebrew or Greek. However, the same could be said of many modern languages. Each language expresses its concepts in different ways depending on the world view of the culture that created it.
The word “cigarette” doesn’t appear in the Bible either – is that a valid argument to smoke cigarettes? Even when a word doesn’t appear specifically in the Scriptures, there are more than enough basic principles that will help us determine whether or not they are healthy practices.
Saying that “homosexuality” not appearing in the original is to reveal that one doesn’t have a grasp of the depths to which the scriptural authors held that particular sin in contempt. Modern languages have chosen to use a more neutral, latin based word which basically describes the act “homo- sexual” i.e. “sex with another like me”. This reveals our bias toward the sin.
The word/concept “homosexual” does in fact appear in the Bible in:
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 HCSB Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit God's kingdom? Do not be deceived: no sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, (10) thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers will inherit God's kingdom.
1 Timothy 1:9-11 HCSB We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, (10) for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching (11) based on the glorious gospel of the blessed God that was entrusted to me.
The word the Bible uses here is ἀρσενοκοίτης (Strong’s #733; pronounced arsenokoitase) and is defined as, “a male who engages in sexual activity with a person of his own sex.” The fact that it literally means “an abuser of themselves with men” is telling.
Compare that with the clear description in:
Romans 1:27 HCSB The males in the same way also left natural sexual intercourse with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty for their perversion.
The Bible clearly is indicating a “a male partner in homosexual intercourse – homosexual.” The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BDAG) says “…It is possible that ἀρσενοκοίτης in certain contexts refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse in contrast with μαλακός, the passive male partner.” The distinction being that having the sexual temptation may be understandable and forgivable. However, as with all other sins, being tempted and actively practicing the sin are two separate things. The NET Bible follows that distinction by adding the word “practicing” to homosexual in 1 Corinthians 6:9.
The Bible’s clear statement that any man who unrepentantly practices sex with another man, or a woman who unrepentantly practices sex with another woman will not inherit the kingdom of God simply cannot be gotten around – even if you could deny the argument presented by ἀρσενοκοίτης.
See also: Genesis 18:20-21; 19:4-5, 24-25; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Judges 19:22; Romans 1:18-32; 2 Peter 2:4-10; Jude 6-7
What in the Old Covenant still applies? The concept of Maleh
As expected, one of the primary arguments that has been given by the liberal side of this debate has been "the Old Testament no longer applies". If that were the case, it would be a terrible statement. Fully three quarters of the Bible would be immediately discounted.
Further, there are around 250 direct and complete quotes of the Old Covenant in the New and more than 1,000 if we consider the partial quotations or allusions. One New Covenant verse out of twenty-two is either fully or partially quoting the Old. The Apostle Paul, the great teacher of grace and Christian liberty, apparently thought the Old Covenant was still useful, having made 93 quotations.
However, Jesus did fulfill some of the Old Covenant's promises, moving those particular laws to the "maleh" category, the side that no longer directly applies to our day-to-day lives. But how do we determine which ones were fulfilled and which were not? Is it arbitrary and left entirely up to the judgment of the individual? No. Absolutely not. Our God is not a God of disorder and He has certainly not left us without a witness.
Maleh (mah-LEH – Strong’s #4390) means “to fill, or be full; to be fulfilled.” Mahleh has both an adjectival and a verbal sense. It is the verb that means “fill” or “fill up,” as well as “fulfill”. As an adjective it means “full” and occurs about sixty times in the Scriptures. Though its primary sense is literal fullness in a quantitative sense, it can also be used metaphorically with reference to non-tangible phenomena – for example, wisdom (Ezekiel 28:12); divine blessing (Deuteronomy 33:23); God’s wrath (Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:20; Jeremiah 6:11); justice (Isaiah 1:21); and lies (Nahum 3:1). Deuteronomy 34:9 refers to Joshua being “full of the Spirit of God.”
We refer to ourselves as "Adonaic" Christians in order to distinguish ourselves from the cultural Christianity that unfortunately pervades the American church. Adonai is the name of God that means "Lord", so we are saying that we look to God not only as our Savior but as our Lord and King. He's not a "get out of jail free" card that allows us to do whatever we want and still slide into heaven. In Adonaism, we also use the term "maleh" to refer to those laws and regulations that have been fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18) and no longer are required though not necessarily forbidden. Allow me to share six broad, general principles of interpretation and application that Adonaic Christians follow.
Directly defined maleh. Anything directly fulfilled in the New Covenant and defined as no longer applicable may include:
a. Vegetarianism (Genesis 1:29-30; 2:16 cp 9:3-4);
b. Circumcision. The directive to circumcise all believing males (Genesis 17:9-14; Leviticus 12:1-3) has been specifically cancelled. (Acts 15:5-6, 19-20)
c. Observance of special holy days (Colossians 2:16) with the exception of Passover. (Exodus 12:14, 17, 24, 42; Matthew 26:17-18; Mark 14:12-14; Luke 2:41-42; 22:7-8; John 2:13; 1 Corinthians 5:8; Hebrews 11:28)
d. The wearing of tefillin. (Numbers 15:38-39 cp Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:26-27; Jeremiah 31:31-34)
e. The command to make tzitzit on the corners of the tallits. (Numbers 15:38-40 cp Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:26-27; Jeremiah 31:31-34)
If in an effort to:
build in reminders of God’s goodness;
build structures designed to perpetuate the knowledge of God’s deliverance and expectations;
create opportunities for God’s people to fellowship while remaining focused on biblical truths rather than Lowlander culture;
or to live more healthful lives;
…we decide to follow some of these practices – we may. However, we may NOT regard them as sources of salvation. We may NOT require them as universal religious observances. They may at most be kabalah, traditions as passed on by our teachers, or minhag, customs or community practices that are not directly commanded by God but that have been found to be useful to tzaddikim.
Salvation. Anything directly involving sacrifice for salvation (Exodus 30:10) has been fulfilled in the one-time perfect sacrifice of the Messiah made for all (Ephesians 2:8-10; Hebrews 10:4, 10-12). Therefore, the laws on sacrifices for sins, though still instructive, do not apply to us.
Temple worship. Anything directly involved with the ritualistic worship that was part and parcel with the Tabernacle or the Temple are not required – there IS no Temple at this time. They will become relevant at some point in the future when the Temple is rebuilt, but not at this time. This is consistent with the laws that have always been on the books that a believer who was traveling out of country was not obliged to routinely go to the Temple for worship.
Distinguishing Jews from Gentiles. Anything designed to identify the differences between genetic Jews and genetic Goyim is no longer relevant because the Lord is presently attempting to make of the two one people (Ephesians 2:11-19 cp Colossians 3:11; Galatians 3:28). Besides, even if that separation were to still apply, it would not affect Goyim once they have committed themselves to worshipping Yahweh. (Exodus 12:48-49; Leviticus 19:34; 24:22; Numbers 9:14; 15:30; Ezekiel 47:22)
Land laws. Those Laws uniquely tied to the land of Israel e.g.
Levirate marriages (Hebrew yibbum); (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; the provision known as halizah (Deuteronomy 25:9-10) enables either party to avoid the levirate marriage.)
Certain inheritance laws; as in the inheritance is not to pass from tribe to tribe, (Numbers 36:7, 9, 12) and daughters are to marry only within their own tribe. (Numbers 36:5-12)
3. The land must not be sold permanently. (Leviticus 25:23) 4. The priests and Levites must be given cities to live in. (Numbers 35:2-5) 5. Do not sell the land belonging to the priests and Levites. (Leviticus 25:34) 6. Do not neglect the priests and Levites. (Deuteronomy 12:19)
…cannot be applied since we do not live in Israel and even if we did, the land is not presently divided by tribes, clans, and families.
Dina d’malchuta dina. Those parts that would cause us to contradict the laws of the land in which we live. An important Hebrew concept that applies in this particular instance is “Dina d’malchuta dina”– which literally means “the law of the land is law.” This phrase is a guide to elders as they try to apply Scripture to day to day ethical, spiritual, and legal conundrums. For instance, Halakha states that witches should be killed. However, we are also told to “keep faith with the country in which we are resident aliens” (Genesis 21:23), “render to Caesar what is due Caesar” (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25), to respectfully pray for and obey the head of government. (Romans 13:1-7 cp 1 Peter 2:13, 17)
In this society in which we temporarily reside, it is against the law to stone witches. Therefore dina d’malchuta dina applies. The law of the land in which we live rules us as long as it does not ask us to deny God. We may act within the law as citizens, trying to bring about justice and national health, but it is not allowed to break the law in order to enforce what we feel is right – again, as long as the law is not causing us to deny God or to commit injustices (as in 1930s Germany’s demands to persecute Jews). For instance, as long as society limits its demands to the toleration of occult practitioners, that is one thing. If it dares demand we BECOME occult practitioners, that is an entirely different kettle of fish.
These and many other basic principles must be taken into consideration as we interpret the Old Covenant. This is not to say that these passages are to be ignored. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable…” (1 Timothy 3:16). They simply must be applied in a more subtle way than the standard hyper-fundamental, over simplistic literalism that unfortunately often rules the “anti-gay” side of the debate.God loves justice.
God loves ethical behavior. God loves practical holiness (Psalm 82:3-4; Proverbs 24:10-12; Isaiah 1:16-18; 58:6-12; Micah 6:8; James 1:27). Too many of the Messiah’s disciples have allowed their liberty to become an excuse to do whatever they like. That is not freedom. That is anarchy.
What does the Bible have to say about homosexuality anyway?
Below you will find a link to a document that clearly spells out what I've found in the Scriptures on the matter. Before you read it however, allow me to explain my view of homosexual people.
I love them. I have friends who are homosexual and our friendship has continued nevertheless. I want my friends to be around for a long time and I don't want any harm to come to them. Because I love them, I hate whatever may harm them. Clearly, homosexuality, if practiced, is a dangerous thing.
Let’s stick to the US statistics alone, shall we? While 9% of homosexual men have AIDS, only .03% of heterosexual men have AIDS. You are 300 times more likely to have AIDS if you engage in homosexual behavior. If we agree with the generally accepted statistics that approximately 2%-4% of American males are homosexual, then they account for:
They are five times more likely to be infected with an incurable sexually transmitted disease linked to cancer. Contrary to popular opinion they have been found to be 50,000 times more likely to be the victim of physical abuse – not from bigoted heterosexuals but from their own homosexual partners! Battering occurs in 39% of gay male couples: 22% are physically abused by their partner and 5% are sexually abused by their partner.
Our message to young men must be “you can love men and be healthy and manly.” Our message to homosexuals must be “We love you and thus hate whatever threatens you. Your behavior threatens you so don’t ask us to love it.”
 Based on AIDS statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2001, vol. 13, no.2, 14 Edward O. Laumann, The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States cited by the US Supreme Court in legal brief 02-102 Lawrence v. Texas  Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2001 Supplement: Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project (GISP) Annual Report  Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Update: A Glance at the HIV Epidemic  HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2001  Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Tracking the Hidden Epidemics: Trends in STDs in the United States in 2000  R. Dotinga, “US: 1 in 3 Gay Men have Incurable STD”, March 6, 2002  Gary Glenn, “Homosexual ‘Love Crimes’ Pose 50,000% Higher Risk of Violence than ‘Hate Crimes’”; March 15, 2001  Gregory L. Greenwood; “Battering Vicimization Among a Probability-Based Sample of Men Who Have Sex With Men”; AM J Public Health 92, no. 12 (2002)
On arguing with fools endlessly without a point
Obviously, homosexuality is a big issue in culturally Christian churches. It's one of the reasons I'm almost leery of referring to myself as a Christian anymore. I love Jesus - I'm just not so sure I want to identify myself with a lot of what claims to be Christian anymore.
So, I'm not saying the debate is not an important one. I'm just saying that the issue is peripheral to the more pertinent questions of "is the Bible true in its entirety" and "are we going to obey God or not?" We should not pay any attention to those who debate over foolish peripheral matters. Those kinds of discussions are “fruitless” and motivated by pride.
1 Timothy 1:3-7 HCSB As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach other doctrine 4 or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These promote empty speculations rather than God's plan, which operates by faith. 5 Now the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. 6 Some have deviated from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, although they don't understand what they are saying or what they are insisting on.
2 Timothy 2:14-17 HCSB Remind them of these things, charging them before God not to fight about words; this is in no way profitable and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn't need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness. 17 And their word will spread like gangrene, among whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus.
2 Timothy 2:22-23 HCSB Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels.
Paul, a master debater and evangelist says we need to understand the following about wrangling over mere words, splitting hairs, delighting in casuistry, sophistry, or polemics:
It is useless.
It leads to the ruin of those who listen to it.
It leads to the furtherance of ungodliness.
It ends up spreading like gangrene.
It will produce quarrels.
Christians should actually avoid controversies over foolish matters, because they realize they are “unprofitable”, “worthless”, and give credence to those who say that Christians are constantly fighting and forming splits.
Titus 3:9-11 HCSB But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a person is perverted and sins, being self-condemned.
A person who is“factious” is addicted to forming cliques, groups, or parties (as in political parties – not the fun kind). They are seditious, divisive, and characterized by contentiousness, self-seeking, and reckless of the common good. They have a party spirit (divisive) and seem to delight in argument for argument’s sake. They foment intrigue and are marked by irreconcilable conflicts that are unrelated to sound doctrine, logic, or even common sense. It may take a time or two before you realize what kind of person you are dealing with, but once you have, you are commanded to have nothing more to do with their games. You do not want to participate in or encourage their sin.
Christians should not keep arguing with fools once they identify them as such.
Proverbs 12:15 HCSB A fool's way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.
Proverbs 14:7 HCSB Stay away from a foolish man; you will gain no knowledge from his speech.
Proverbs 18:2 HCSB A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.
Proverbs 20:3 HCSB It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute, but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.
Proverbs 23:9 HCSB Don't speak to a fool, for he will despise the insight of your words.
Proverbs 26:4-5 HCSB Don't answer a fool according to his foolishness, or you'll be like him yourself. (5) Answer a fool according to his foolishness, or he'll become wise in his own eyes.
These last two verses seems to contradict the each other, but Solomon is making a play upon the little word ki, here rendered “according to”. In verse 4 it means “in harmony with”. To enter into discussion with a fool within the terms of his folly is to lower oneself to his level and to accept his outlook upon life as one worthy of consideration. In verse 5 “according to” means “as it deserves”. Answer a fool so that the foolishness of the proposition is revealed to those who listen and to the fool himself. Thus, he may come to realize that he is far from wise and may seek to become so. It can also be taken to mean answer the fool once so that he is publicly rebuked for his stupidity but don't keep messing with him, lest he think he's an important part of a great debate.
Proverbs 27:22 HCSB Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with grain, you will not separate his foolishness from him.
Once you identify someone as a fool, don’t waste your time trying to teach them. Only God has any hope of breaking them of their foolishness and even He is doubtful. Or, as the Master colorfully put it:
Matthew 7:6 HCSB Don't give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.
Adonaism - Adonai is a Hebrew name of God that literally means “Lord.” Yahweh is considered not only “Lord” but actually “Adonai adonaim” or “Lord of lords.” Adonaism emphasizes the Sovereignty and Lordship of the Master Lord Yeshua. It makes Him King and firmly establishes Him on the throne. It places a high value on demonstrating one’s love and gratitude for salvation by humbly obeying His commands. So Adonaism takes its name from its emphasis on this lordship of God.
Adonaists believe that what is important is neither intellectual methodology, nor external rites, nor hierarchical ecclesiology nor ecstatic experience. We believe that nothing is more important than a person’s redemption from the consequences of sin and the restoration of the human/divine relationship. Adonaists believe that this redemption is dependent on our humble acquiescence to the sovereignty of God in our lives.
Adonaists claim the carpenter, Yeshua of Nazareth, was the only begotten Son of God, God in Flesh. As such He is our Messiah and rightful King.
Dina d’malch’uta dina – (dee-NAH duh-mahl-koo-TAH dee-NAH); Lit., “the law of the land is law.” This phrase is a guide to elders as they try to apply Scripture to day to day ethical, spiritual, and legal conundrums. For instance, OT law states that witches should be killed. However, we are told to “render to Caesar what is due Caesar” and to “honor the magistrate.” In this society in which we temporarily reside, it is against the law to stone witches. Therefore dina d’malch’uta dina applies. The law of the land in which we live rules us as long as it does not ask us to deny God. (Genesis 21:23; Matthew 21:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25; Acts 25:8)
Ezrach’ – (ehz-RAKH) The term ezrach’ is Hebrew for citizen. Adonaists believe that because of Hashem’s grace and mercy we can become His people; His family; citizens of a higher country. We believe that someone who takes the Messiah not only as Savior but as Sovereign King a Jew. This the way it always was. Those who chose to worship God were to be treated as native Jews. (Leviticus 19:34 cp Romans 2:27-29 and Galatians 3:6-9, 28-29; Ephesians 2:11-19) Those who refused to follow God were cut off from the People (Numbers 15:30).
Goy – (GOY; the singular form); (Strong’s #1471) גּוֹי — (Plural גּוֹיִם, “goyim”; GOY-eem); It is the biblical term meaning “nation” or “people” used to indicate Gentiles. Unlike the word “gentile”, goy is often used disparagingly by Jews. See Gentile and Ezrach’
Mahleh– (mah-LEH) – (Strong’s #4390) To fill, or be full; to be fulfilled. Mahleh has both an adjectival and a verbal sense. The verb means “rill” or “fill up,” as well as “fulfill”. As an adjective it means “full” and occurs about sixty times. Though its primary sense is literal fullness in a quantitative sense, it can also be used metaphorically with reference to non-tangible phenomena – for example, wisdom (Ezekiel 28:12); divine blessing (Deuteronomy 33:23); God’s wrath (Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:20; Jeremiah 6:11); justice (Isaiah 1:21); and lies (Nahum 3:1). Deuteronomy 34:9 refers to Joshua being “full of the Spirit of God.”
In Adonaism we also use it to refer to those laws and regulations that have been fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18) and no longer are required though not necessarily forbidden. Allow me to share six broad, general principles of interpretation and application that Adonaic Christians follow.
(1) Anything directly fulfilled in the New Covenant needn’t concern us. For example the directive to circumcise all believing males (Genesis 17:9-14; Leviticus 12:1-3) has been specifically cancelled (Acts 15:6-21).
(2) Anything directly involving sacrifice for salvation (Exodus 30:10) has been fulfilled in the one-time perfect sacrifice of the Messiah made for all (Hebrews 10:10-12). Therefore the laws on sacrifices for sins, though still instructive, do not apply to us.
(3) Anything directly involved with the ritualistic worship that was part and parcel with the Tabernacle or the Temple are not required – there IS no Temple at this time. They will become relevant at some point in the future when the Temple is rebuilt, but not at this time. This is consistent with the laws that have always been on the books that a believer who was traveling out of country was not obliged to routinely go to the Temple for worship.
(4) Anything designed to identify the differences between genetic Jews and genetic Goyim is no longer relevant because the Lord is presently attempting to make of the two one people (Ephesians 2:11-19).
(5) Those parts that deal with the separation of the Jews from the Gentiles (Colossians 3:11; Galatians 3:28). Besides even if that separation were to still apply, it would not affect we Goyim.
(6) Those parts that would cause us to contradict the laws of the land in which we live. An important Hebrew concept that applies in this particular instance is “Dina d’malchuta dina”– which literally means “the law of the land is law.” This phrase is a guide to elders as they try to apply Scripture to day to day ethical, spiritual and legal conundrums. For instance, OT law states that witches should be killed. However, we are told to “render to Caesar what is due Caesar” (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25), to respectfully pray for and obey the head of government (Romans 13:1-7 cp 1 Peter 2:13, 17). In this society in which we temporarily reside, it is against the law to stone witches. Therefore dina d’malchuta dina applies. The law of the land in which we live rules us as long as it does not ask us to deny God. We may act within the law as citizens, trying to bring about justice and national health, but it is not allowed to believers to break the law in order to enforce what we feel is right – again, as long as the law is not causing us to deny God or to commit injustices (as in 1930s Germany’s demands to persecute Jews).
Meforshim – (meh-fore-SHEEM); Meforshim are answers to biblical questions which are topical in nature. Thus meforshim are commentaries on the Scriptures as a body. The term is often used to describe answers to she’eilot regarding theological (as opposed to ethical) questions. For instance, the answer to “must I reveal all I know about a product in a sales transaction” would fall under Responsa. The answer to “can the devil read our thoughts” would fall under meforshim. The answer to “what did God mean when He said we are created in His image” would also fall under meforshim. Obviously, it is impossible to adequately answer the ethical issues raised in Responsa without addressing the Scriptures, and many meforshim contain ethical injunctions. Therefore, there will be some overlap.
Midrash(pl. Midrashim) – (MID-rahsh; plural is midrashim, MID-rah-SHEEM); Midrash literally means to study or an inquiry or investigation. Technically however, midrashim are answers to exegetical questions. Midrashim is the plural form and midrash is the singular form. It comes from the word darash, "to inquire, deduce or interpret" whence it comes to mean “exposition” (of scripture). The word occurs in 2 Chronicles 24:27, where it is translated “commentary.” When used as a verb “midrash” refers to a form of Biblical exegesis; explaining a Scripture passage’s simple meaning (peshat), its application (derash) and possibly its deeper, symbolic or metaphorical meaning (sod).
The term is also used in the sense of a healthy devotion to study or the ability to discern the proper use and application of Scripture. For example one could say “He has great midrash” which (depending on the context) would either mean he’s an avid student or has developed some pretty serious study skills.
Usually however, it is used of written interpretations or explanations of Scripture. The term can also be applied to a collection of such expositions or, capitalized, to the whole midrashic literature written during the first millennium A.D. Literary Midrash may focus either on halakha, directing believers to specific patterns of religious practice, or on (h)aggada, dealing with theological ideas, ethical teachings, popular philosophy, imaginative exposition, legend, allegory, animal fables—that is, whatever is not halakha.
Shayla – (SHAY-lah); A religious question. A question that deals with the practical application of the Word to our lives. The plural is she’eilot.
Talith (pl. Talithoth) – A prayer shawl. See Numbers 15:37-41. All talithoth have fringes called “tzit tzit” at the corners based on the command in Numbers 15:38 and Deuteronomy 22:12 that men wear Tzitzit on their garments. The prayer shawl is a rabbinic compromise to this law since a tallit isn't quite a garment, but it does contain tzitzit.It is traditional for the male to be buried in his tallit, but without its fringes.
Tefillin – The Hebrew word for the Greek phylactery. A small box containing a portion of Scripture (e.g., Exodus 13.1-10, 11-16; Deuteronomy 6.4-9; 11.13-21) that is ceremonially tied to the observant Judaizers head. For a discussion on why Adonaists do not, as a habit, wear these, see the shayla “Why do you not wear phylacteries?”
Tzit tzit – Fringes on the corners of the tallith. Specifically the knots in the corners.