Messiah 101
Foundational Principles of Messiah
R' Richard Pustelniak
November 19, 2000

Repentance from Deeds that Lead to Death
Faith toward G-d
Emunah, the Concept
Emunah, the Perspective
Emunah, the Need
Emunah, the Foundation
Emunah, a Gift of G-d
Emunah, the Gift that Grows
Emunah, an Invitation to Excel
Doctrine of Ceremonial Immersions
Laying On of Hands
Resurrection of the Dead
Eternal Judgment

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Warning: The truths contained in this teaching are not for the faint of heart, or the lukewarm! You can be sure that haSatan (the adversary) will do all he can to keep you from understanding and applying the concepts and truths contained herein, but it is our prayer that every one who receives these notes will carefully consider and apply the contents to their lives.

VII. Faith Toward G-d
bible icon...the foundation toward G-d (emunah b'El-him)... (Heb 6:1)
A. Biblical Terms
písteos épi Theón: literally meaning, "resting one's trust upon G-d and His provision and care"

pistós: literally meaning "trusting" (with the nuance of ‘obedient') and "trustworthy"

pístis: literally meaning "confidence," "trust," or "assurance"
  • Conduct is affected by such belief
  • Not necessarily denoting a relationship with G-d but actualizing it
It is by deeds, expressing the faith that is within, that the faith is manifested, and made palpable and tangible in the world.
bible iconNow faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)
bible iconBut someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (Jas 2:18)
emunáh: literally meaning, "belief" or "trust"

root : The original sense is to "array in a straight line" and is seen in such words as (aman, meaning "to tutor" or "train"), (omein, meaning a "tutor" or "teacher")

omnám: literally meaning, "in truth"

émet: literally meaning, "truth", derives from older form, "eménet"

ne-emán: literally meaning, "true to one's word," or "trustworthy"

ani ma'amin: literally meaning, "This is what I believe"

amein (generally: known as amen): literally meaning, "so may it be," "may it come to pass," or "I am in agreement"
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B. Emunah, the Concept

Believers in this age have bought into the modern culture, wherein, instant gratification, entertainment, and the magic bullet (the quick-fix) are sought for like the Holy Grail. Faith is shallow. Testimonies are lacking in the wonder of days gone by. We seem to have forgotten that the L-rd is our Rock, from whom all that we need flows. We don't stay in one place long enough for our faith to grow in depth and richness, which can only come through commitment and perseverance. In fact, one of the greatest fruits of true faith is perseverance and endurance.

bible iconMy brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have {its} perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (Jas 1:2-4)

Faith has become the Force, some impersonal energy source which, if tapped into successfully, can be used to effect great changes in the world and the various circumstances of life. This kind of belief system is nothing more that another form of witchcraft. Spiritual maturity is not measured by how much one can accomplish by mustering up a cone of power (faith). Rather, true spiritual maturity is measured in the ability of the disciple of the Messiah to receive life as from the hand of the Holy One, Blessed be He.

bible iconWho {is} he {who} speaks and it comes to pass, {when} the L-rd has not commanded {it?} {Is it} not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed? (Lam 3:37,38)
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C. Emunah, the Perspective
bible iconThis is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that G-d is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1Jn 1:5)
bible iconFor I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the L-rd, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11)

If we know that G-d is good, without even the hint of evil, and that He is omnipotent (He could do anything, or stop anything from happening), then we must know that all that He allows or does not allow in our lives is for our good. These things are also good for those around us as well. This belief can be one of the greatest sources of peace in our lives: that G-d loves us and has our best interests in mind.

The holy Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin said that you should always strengthen yourself in your faith, and have trust in G-d and not let your heart fall from the vagaries of time and events. Through this nothing evil will be able to overcome you. The main principle of trust in G-d is to believe with complete faith that everything happens with His divine providence and therefore is certainly good. Whatever is not within the grasp of our understanding, there the goodness is just hidden, and is, without a doubt, good on an even deeper level. (Or ha-Ner #30)

The Baal Shem Tov: Whatever happens it should be all the same to you—whether people praise you or condemn you, and for all other things—in food, whether you eat delicacies or not—it should be equal in your eyes, since the yetzer ha-ra is removed from you completely. So for everything that happens to you say, "Is this not from Him, blessed be He? And if it is good in His eyes etc.* [it should certainly be so in mine]." And all your intention should be just for the sake of heaven—but for yourself it should not make any difference [whether you receive one thing or the other]. This is a very high spiritual level. (Tzavaat ha-Ribash, p. 2)

It is an important principle to: "Commit your deeds to the L-rd, and then your thoughts and plans will be established" [Proverbs 16:3] — that with everything that comes to you, you think that it is from Him, blessed be He. And you should see that you pray to G-d, blessed be He, that He always bring to you what He, blessed be He, knows is for your good, and not what seems to be so to men according to their understanding. For it is possible that what is good in your eyes is really bad for you. So cast everything, all your affairs and needs, on Him, blessed be He. (Tzavaat ha-Ribash, p. 2)

The Hafetz Hayim: When a person puts his prayer and request before G-d, he should not say, "Master of the World, give me this!" For a person cannot know [for certain] what is for his good...He should pray: "Master of the World, if this is good for me, give it to me, but if it is not, do not." (Michtivei Ha-Hafetz Hayim HaHadash, vol. 2, II, no. 5, p. 52)
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D. Emunah, the Need

Fear and faith are intimately intertwined. First, first-hand knowledge of the awesome holiness of G-d fills one with the fearful expectation of being consumed by it. While the knowledge of His infinite love for us balances our fear and quiets our spirits. At the same time, the Holy One, blessed be he, has endowed us with drives and desires which propel us to satisfy them. The yetzer ha-ra (inclination to do evil) takes opportunity by these drives to move us by fear, convincing us that G-d is not who He says that He is. The goal being to compel us to fulfill our needs in ways of our own creation, which, are outside the boundaries of righteousness (the right way to act and think). The result of missing the mark (sin), in this way, is separation from G-d (the true and ultimate meaning of death), and destruction of every aspect of our lives.

bible iconDelight yourself also in the L-rd, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the L-rd, trust also in Him, and He shall bring {it} to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the L-rd, and wait patiently for Him; not fret, {it} only {causes} harm. (Ps 37:4-8, NKJ)
bible iconTherefore take up the whole armor of G-d, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of G-d; (Eph 6:13-17)

Fear and worry are, at best, an utter waste of time and energy. They consume our lives, resources, and health, and destroy our peace and confidence. If all these, that are lost to this bottomless pit, are kept in their proper focus (upon G-d and His faithfulness), the reward is without measure.

bible iconTherefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if G-d so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, {will He} not much more {clothe} you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of G-d and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day {is} its own trouble. (Matt 6:25-34)
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E. Emunah, the Foundation

Emunah stands firmly on three legs. Without all three, it is not true emunah:

One becomes, or is made aware of, a promise or statement. Faith without this leg is no more than presumption.
bible iconSo then faith {comes} by hearing, and hearing by the word of G-d. (Rom 10:17)
One puts his trust in what is revealed. This is not a simple acknowledgment, but results in a change or readjustment in attitude and perspective.
bible iconFor what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed G-d, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." (Rom 4:3)
bible iconBut without faith {it is} impossible to please {Him,} for he who comes to G-d must believe that He is, and {that} He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Heb 11:6)
One acts upon what one has come to believe. True faith is accompanied by deeds, commensurate with the belief. Faith without this leg is dead (not really faith at all, for there is no life in it).
bible iconWhat {does it} profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what {does it} profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe, and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? (Jas 2:14-22)
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F. Emunah, a Gift of G-d

Faith is a gift of G-d, a gift of His divine Grace. Grace is known as ‘unmerited favor,' and so it is. However, more generally, when the word grace is used referenced, its meaning is more correctly, G-d's overcoming power in our lives, motivating and enabling us to do His will. Without the grace of G-d working in our lives, it would be impossible to truly understand or to believe.

bible iconFor by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; {it is} the gift of G-d, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Y'Shua for good works, which G-d prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)
bible iconTherefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares {us,} and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Y'Shua, the author and finisher of {our} faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of G-d. (Heb 12:1,2)

Now what G-d provides, G-d requires...

bible iconWoe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier {matters} of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! (Matt 23:23,24)

And what G-d provides and requires, He subjects to testing, as one tests metal. This is to reveal any flaws or weaknesses which need further work, so that the final product is able to stand up to all the trials and tests of life.

bible iconLikewise, when the L-rd sent you from Kadesh Barnea, saying, "Go up and possess the land which I have given you,' then you rebelled against the commandment of the L-rd your G-d, and you did not believe Him nor obey His voice. You have been rebellious against the L-rd from the day that I knew you. (Deut 9:23,24)
bible iconMy brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have {its} perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (Jas 1:2-4)
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G. Emunah, the Gift That Grows

G-d's holy gift of emunah is very much like a muscle. When exercised and challenged, it grows in strength and ability. When neglected and allowed to lie dormant, it atrophies, growing weaker.

In a general sense, one's faith in one's self is challenged and grown while in military basic training. The training instructors know the capacities and capabilities of young men. These same young men have generally never been tested to reveal their true metal, and it is the job of the instructor to cultivate and reveal it. These young men will be continuously asked to perform tasks and produce endurance beyond what they believe they are capable of, but with the passage of time they begin to comprehend that the instructors just may know, more than they do, what they are capable of.

So it is with G-d. We will be continuously asked, by G-d, to endure or perform things which we believe are beyond us. If we will trust enough to obey, we will discover that we are truly capable of abundantly more than we believe ourselves to be. Spiritual growth, indicated and gauged by our trust in G-d, is often very costly, but worth every bit of effort and price paid.

bible iconBut you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of G-d, looking for the mercy of our L-rd Y'shua the Messiah unto eternal life. (Jude 20,21)
bible iconAnd let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Gal 6:9)
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H. Emunah, an Invitation to Excel

Contrary to what our senses tell us, the world we know so well is but a shadow of the true world, the world of the spirit. If we could see all what is going on all around us, in the realm of the spirit, what we would see would be well beyond what we would be able to tolerate. Therefore, the lack of this ability to see beyond the mere physical is also a great gift. Because of our partial blindness, we need a guide who can see it all. The Holy One, blessed be He, is the best guide there is for our lives, and worthy of our trust (emunah). The best part is that He offers His guidance to any who will but ask and act upon it.

bible iconTrust in the L-rd with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Prov 3:5,6)

Many of the large ski resorts provide an amazing service: Ski instruction and guidance for the blind (!?!). As amazing as it may sound, it is the truth. First, the prospective skiers are given preliminary instruction, being given the audible commands and signals that the skier needs to understand and respond to, in order to safely negotiate a ski run. The skier must respond immediately, without hesitation, otherwise...disaster. The skier must trust his guide explicitly. His life depends on it. However, if the skier will fully trust and act, eventually, he will be enabled to enjoy the unbelievable thrill of a black diamond run, an extremely fast and challenging run, available only to the most skilled and accomplished skiers. In the same way, the Holy One, blessed be He, desires to take us on the black diamond run of life. We cannot imagine the lives we could have, and the things that could be accomplished, if only we would trust G-d with all our hearts and lives.

bible iconFor the eyes of the L-rd run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of {them} whose heart {is} perfect toward him. (2Chr 16:9, KJV)
1 Yitzhak Buxbaum, Jewish Spiritual Practices (New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 1990) pp. 209-213

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