Why do we meet on Saturday?
From sundown on Friday until Saturday at sunset is the Sabbath (Shabbat in Hebrew). It is the day of the corporate gathering set forth in the Bible. We believe that Yahweh (God) gave to us the Sabbath 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 the Sabbath, we remember that it is a call to a holy convocation of meeting together with other Believers on this day. It is also a call for us to rest and is a reminder of the spiritual rest we have through Yeshua’s (Jesus’) work on our behalf. Finally, it is a foreshadowing of the eternal rest we will enjoy in the world to come.

What is a “Messianic” congregation?
Sometimes there is a significant amount of misunderstanding even among “Messianic” believers. Congregations or Synagogues who call themselves “Messianic” do so for a variety of reasons. The term “Messianic” is derived from the Hebrew word “Mashiach” from which we get the English word, “Messiah.” The related term “Messianic” was later applied to the 1st century movement of Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth. A number of Jewish and non-Jewish scholars have correctly labeled this 1st century movement “Messianic Judaism.” Our basic understanding of a Messianic congregation is that it is one which focuses on Yeshua as the divine Messiah who atones for the sins of those who put their faith in Him as a primary focus. Secondarily, there is the corporate understanding and practice of the torah as relevant in a Believer’s life. This would involve, at its most basic level, the observance of the Sabbath and the feast days in the life of a local community.

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). Also, all the priests serving in the temple were mandated by God to have their heads covered. At The Lighthouse, male headcoverings are optional, but any male who wishes to wear one, may. These headcoverings 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. One of Paul’s point in this passage is that he wants men and women to be distinguished from each other, and not to wear their hair or covering in a manner that would culturally convey some unwholesome aspect.

Why do some women wear head coverings?
A woman’s headcovering is traditional within many forms of Judaism. Also, some believe the scriptures point to women’s head covering in 1 Corinthians 11. With this understanding, by covering her head, a woman is showing her submission to Yahweh’s design of authority—her head covering is one outward symbol of her celebration of Yahweh’s design of creation. All of us (men and women) are called to be submitted to God and His design of authority

Why do some people wear prayer shawls?
The prayer shawl (tallit), with the fringes (tzit-tzit), is traditionally in many Jewish contexts worn at all daily services, and reminds the worshiper that he or she is approaching the Most High God, Who is Himself wrapped in a cloud of glory (Ps. 104:1,2). It also allows the individual worshiper to concentrate by pulling the tallis over the head and thus blocking out distractions.

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 people use the name “Yahweh” (YHWH) for God?
We use this name because God revealed to us through Moses that this is His name forever. It is one of the ways He desires to be addressed. It is His memorial name to each and every generation (Exo. 3:13-15). It is found 6000+ places in the sacred text. This name conveys the concept that God is forever and always present with us, His people. Theologically, speaking it simply but profoundly means “Faithful Presence.” Is it any wonder that He would want us to know His name?
We do not mandate that anyone use or pronounce this name, but neither do we forbid it. In fact, we welcome, encourage and celebrate the revelation and meaning of His name.

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 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!)

Where can I find more details about what The Lighthouse believes?
Ask one of the Greeters for our Essential Statement of Faith. Or, if you wish greater detail, one of the pastors would be happy to get you a Membership Information packet which includes our By-Laws, Articles of Membership and Tenets of Faith. These will give you a detailed description of who we are and what we believe.

How do we know what part of the Torah to read each Sabbath?
The Torah (first five books of the Bible) has been divided into sections for reading on each Sabbath. 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 The Lighthouse. A list of the readings is available on the Hospitality Table in the foyer.

Why do we use other terms for “Old Testament” and “New Testament”?
We don’t exclusively use 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 also use the term “Apostolic Scriptures” to denote what is usually called the “New Testament.” Some people use the term “Brit Hadasha”. This is actually just the Hebrew translation of “New Testament,” which we do not use as often.

Is The Lighthouse a synagogue or a church?
The term “synagogue” is used in the Apostolic Scriptures 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.

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 exalted titles that we feel would be inappropriate for our people to use, or have bestowed upon them. We are not judging those outside our congregation who are using these titles, but we do not have our leaders refer to themselves in this way, especially if one does not have the proper training, credentials, and appropriate religious institutional ordination.

Who is the pastor of The Lighthouse?
In the Apostolic Scriptures, the pattern for the congregation is laid out. Here, the regular example is that of plural leadership, that is, one man is not designated as “the only pastor” or “the only leader.” In fact, Yeshua is the “Head Pastor” (chief shepherd, 1 Peter 5:4) of the congregation. A team of elders, (presently Peder Olsen and Bart Ford) jointly determine policy that affects the congregation. Peder Olsen is the Senior Pastor (also referred to as Lead Pastor), which means he makes the final decision regarding the governing of the congregation and implementation of the policy determined by the elders.

Why does the Lead Pastor not speak every week?
We desire to have a number of leadership voices speaking consistently to the community each week on Sabbath. We do this as one way to help raise up and recognize effective teacher/leaders within the community. We also do this to help minimize an unhealthy primary reliance on just one primary leader within the congregation. Our desire is to effectively raise up a diverse leadership team that can speak to the issues within the congregation. Finally, we do this so that our Lead Pastor can focus additional energy into other needed areas within the community and that the congregation sees Sabbath public speaking as only one part of a diverse job description.

What is your view on women’s role in ministry?
We believe that women are called to serve, lead, and speak in a variety of ways within the congregation. The one primary area that we believe the Bible restricts women from being involved in is as a governmental elder within the congregation. We do believe that qualified women are able to teach in the community but believe the bible would restrict them from teaching “authoritatively” in a way that would be reserved for the office of an elder. Please contact us if you would like more detail regarding the Lighthouse view on women’s role in the congregation.

At The Lighthouse, are Jews more important than non-Jews?
No! Absolutely not, and we hope that we never give this impression. 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”?
We believe the food laws serve 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).


Note: Thanks to Kehilat T’nuvah (graftedin.com) for allowing us to use the bulk of their “Question” document as the template for our own.