Are “Jews for Jesus” and Messianic Judaism one and the same?
No. "Jews for Jesus" is not Messianic Judaism, this is a misconception among Jews and Christians alike. Jews for Jesus is a Christian evangelical organization which actively seeks to convert Jews to Christianity. Messianic Judaism holds to the biblical belief that none of the first century believers in Yeshua the Messiah ever converted. They held whole-heartedly to their Hebraic/Jewish worldview. They kept biblical kosher, observed the feasts, and sacrificed at the Temple. Belief in a Jewish Messiah should lead one closer to a Torah lifestyle, not further away.
Can a Gentile attend a Messianic congregation/synagogue?
Yes. Jews and Gentiles are welcome in a Messianic congregation, just as they are in a traditional Jewish synagogue. A Messianic congregation provides a community where Jew and Gentile alike can together worship the God of the Bible, Yeshua the Messiah, and uphold and practice the teachings of the Torah and the Brit Hadashah (Old and New Testament) from a Hebrew perspective.
What is the difference between a tithe and an offering?
The ancient concept of tithing comes from the Hebrew word ma'aser which finds its root in the word a'aser, which means: Ten, to take the tenth, to give the tenth part/portion. The practice of tithing is written throughout the Bible, and is viewed as a holy and righteous act of obedience to our Creator.
"Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand. Then Abram gave him a tenth (ma'aser) of everything." - Gen. 14:18 - 20.
In the ancient Temple services, the tithe was not counted as part of the sin sacrifices or the thanksgiving offerings; those were given above and beyond the ma'aser.
There are some common misconceptions today about tithing. Some would say: "I give of my time and service as a tithe." This is a misunderstanding of the whole concept of giving a tenth of the fruit of your labor. Time is not a byproduct of our labor; time is required to perform the labor necessary to obtain the "fruit" that is given back to God.
At House of Covenant we bring forward our tithes and offerings during praise and worship. In ancient times the Hebrews would sing and dance around the walls of Jerusalem seven times and bring their tithes to the High Priest. This was done because our tithes are considered an act of praise and worship to the Most High.
Who is a Jew?
A Jew is someone who is descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who is born of a Jewish father and/or a Jewish mother. One who has formally converted is also considered Jewish. The Jewish people are part of an ethnic group originating in the Israelite's or Hebrew people of the ancient Middle East.