Messianic Judaism for All Nations
Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship is a family-based, Messianic community in Hudson, Wisconsin, committed to following Jesus of Nazareth, trusting in Him for salvation, and teaching Messianic Judaism for all nations. Messianic Judaism (Messianic Judaism = Judaism + Jesus) is the oldest form of Christianity.
The large majority of people in attendance at Beth Immanuel are not Jewish; most of us are Gentile Christians who have found spiritual significance in a traditional Jewish expression of our faith as we emulate the earliest form of Christianity. We follow the Jewish calendar, celebrate the weekly Sabbath, enjoy the Jewish holidays, and participate in the synagogue liturgical tradition. Like other Christians, we believe in the divine nature, virgin birth, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming of Jesus of Nazareth.
The earliest form of Christianity—the Christianity of the apostolic era—was a messianic sectarian movement within greater, first-century Judaism. More than one hundred years after the life of Yeshua of Nazareth, the explosive growth of Gentile Christianity eclipsed the early, messianic, sect of Judaism he had founded. Many Jewish and Gentile Christians discarded the distinctively Jewish practices of the Torah (Law) as they assimilated into the evolving Gentile religious environment. The original, biblical faith and practice of Yeshua and his first disciples faded into obscurity.
At Beth Immanuel, we are restoring the practice of early Messianic Judaism. In the days of the New Testament, Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus worshipped together as co-religionists, participating together in the prayers, rituals, expressions, and customs of daily Jewish life. They understood the person and teaching of Yeshua from within the context of Judaism and the Torah world-view. Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship exists to reconstruct and propagate that simple form of faith.
Our restoration of early Messianic Judaism does not mean we have anachronistically recreated the first-century expression of Judaism. Instead, we recognize that Jesus and the apostles after him practiced a form of Jewish expression consistent with the larger, contemporary Jewish community of their day. Likewise, as we re-engage in a Jewish expression of faith in Yeshua of Nazareth, we do so in continuity with contemporary Judaism as it has evolved over the last two millennia.
At Beth Immanuel, we believe that God’s Law (Torah) is still the binding and unchanging standard for the Jewish people. Jesus taught His disciples to keep even the least of the commandments of the Law (Matthew 5:19). According to the Apostles, Gentile believers are not required to keep the distinctive commandments of Jewish identity such as circumcision, Sabbath, the dietary laws, etc. Nevertheless, God-fearing Gentiles in fellowship with those Jewish believers naturally participated in the Sabbath, Synagogue, and Jewish-life along with the Jewish community of faith (Acts 15:19-21).
The restoration of Early Messianic Judaism has implications for everything we do at Beth Immanuel. We keep the Sabbath and biblical festivals according to God's prescription in Leviticus 23. We keep the Bible's dietary laws in keeping with the instructions in Leviticus 11. More than that, we endeavor to preserve a basic form of Jewish practice and tradition within our community.