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About us

Rehoboth is a Messianic Jewish congregation established by David and Ellie Sumner in May, 1997. Rehoboth literally "means wide open spaces" and comes from Genesis 26:22 stating:

He went away from there and dug another well, and over that one they didn't quarrel. So he called it Rechovot [wide open spaces] and said, "Because now ADONAI has made room for us, and we will be productive in the land."

A Messianic Jewish congregation is a community of Jewish and non-Jewish believers in the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) where the expression of that faith and worship is distinctly Jewish. Messianic Judaism is a resurrection of the first century expression of faith in Messiah Yeshua. Since the New Covenant was given in a Jewish context, it is best understood in that context. Rehoboth has congregants from a number of different religious backgrounds in addition to the main branches of Judaism.  Read our Statement of Faith here.

Messianic Jews?....It's a term that is being heard more and more these days.  Succinctly defined, we are Jews who believe that Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of the Jewish Scriptures.  Because we believe Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah, we also believe in maintaining a Jewish expression to our faith.  Hence, we celebrate all of the Biblical holidays (i.e. Passover, Succot, etc.) as well as many of the customs which are consistent with the Scriptures.

YOU CAN'T BE JEWISH AND BELIEVE IN YESHUA! . . . OR CAN YOU?

For much of history it has been assumed that Jewishness and Yeshua are mutually exclusive.  Of course, it's fine for any non-Jew to believe in Him but a Jew?  However, when one stops to study the actual history of this movement, it becomes clear that this assumption was not always the case. 

After all, this Messianic Movement did not originate in Rome or Athens, but started in the land of Israel in the midst of the Jewish people.  Most scholars agree that its Leader lived a lifestyle consistent with much of first century Judaism.  He worshipped on the Shabbat (Luke 4:16 ff), celebrated all the Jewish Holidays such as Passover and Chanukah (Matthew 26:17 ff.; John 10:22 ff.) and even wore the traditional "tzitzit" (Matthew 9:20).  Likewise, His Name "Yeshua" testifies to His Jewish identity, since it is Hebrew for "Salvation." 

Some people today can accept the total Jewishness of Yeshua but they feel that His early followers somehow changed this into a non-Jewish religion.  However, the "Brit Chadashah" (New Covenant) itself paints a different picture.  It describes this movement as containing tens of thousands of Jews who believed and yet remained "zealous for the Torah", that is, not converts to a Gentile religion but Jews who believed in Yeshua as our Messiah (Acts 21:20).  For them the times of the Messianic age had started, as it is written: 

"See, a time is coming -- declares the L.rd-when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, a covenant which they broke, so that I rejected them -- declares the L.rd. But such is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel after these days - declares the L.rd: I will put My Teaching into their inmost being and inscribe it upon their hearts.  Then I will be their G.d, and they shall be My people.  No longer will they need to teach one another and say to one another, "Heed the L.rd," for all of them, from the least of them to the greatest, shall heed Me -- declares the L.rd. For I will forgive their iniquities, and remember their sins no more" (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Jewish Publication Society.)

The early Jewish followers of Yeshua saw the perfect fulfillment of what Jeremiah and the Prophets had foretold. The New Covenant had been promised, the Messiah would be the mediator of this Covenant...and Yeshua of Nazareth fit the description.  It never occurred to them that they were not Jews anymore; indeed, they had come into the fullness of the Promised Covenant.  They were "Messianic Jews" in the true sense of the word!

A rather strange thing happened in the proceeding centuries however.  The Scriptures speak of this Messianic faith being taken to the non-Jewish nations as well.  It was wonderful that all peoples were invited by G.d to follow this Messiah.  And many responded.  Unfortunately, many either forgot the Jewishness of the faith or consciously turned from it.  Hence, today it sounds so shocking to many people that Jews can believe in Yeshua.  But many of these misunderstandings have been changing in recent years...

A RETURN TO OUR ROOTS

Starting in the late 1960's and continuing into today, there has been a dramatic move of G.d's Spirit.  As G.d was moving to restore His people physically back to the Land of Israel, so too He was moving spiritually in the hearts of many Jewish people.  Thousands have been coming to believe in Yeshua and even forming their own Congregations where both Jewish and non-Jewish can worship the Messiah in the fulfillment of their Jewish roots.  These "Messianic Congregations" are characterized by a number of distinctive elements: worship in the Shabbat and other Jewish Biblical holidays, joyful Davidic worship with dance and many other customs that are consistent with the Scriptures.  What a wonderful way this has been for both Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Yeshua to express their faith and heritage.  Many non-Jews have found special fulfillment in the Messianic Congregation, since they too are grafted into "the rich root of the olive tree" of this Jewish Biblical heritage (Romans 11:17 ff).  Together we are returning to our roots through Yeshua the Messiah.

THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION?

Many people today continue to ask the questions, "Can you still be Jewish and believe in Yeshua?"  But based upon a better understanding of the Scriptures, there should be little debate whether Jews can believe in Yeshua.  Many tens of thousands believed in First Century Israel and there are estimated of up to 100,000 who believe today.  There's actually a more fundamental question that many people need to ask themselves: "Is there a Messiah promised to Israel and how will we recognize Him?" 

Many of our people have simply given up any belief in a Messiah.  Some have accepted man-made tradition as a modern substitute.  But Messianic Jews say that there is indeed a Messiah promised to Israel and that we can recognize Him.  It is through the Tanach (Hebrew Scriptures) that we have read the description of Messiah.  It's simply a matter of studying the Scriptures to see what they actually say.  If Yeshua of Nazareth does not fit the description. Then we should not follow Him.  But if He does?  Read for yourself and decide!

SOME PREDICTIONS CONCERNING MESSIAH IN TANACH

Messiah to be born in Bethlehem

Micah 5:1 (5:2)
Matthew 2:5-6

Messiah to perform testifying miracles

Isaiah 53:3-4
Matthew 8:16-17

Messiah to be rejected by many and die a violent death

Isaiah 53:7-9
Matthew 27

Messiah to die before the destruction of the second Temple in 70 C.E.

Daniel 9:24-27
Matthew 24:1-2

Messiah to be resurrected from the dead

Psalm 16:10
Matthew 28

Messiah to set up His earthly Kingdom in the latter days

Isaiah 11
Acts 1:6-8