Shalom! If you have chosen to be Torah-observant in your home and in your homeschooling, you are obviously concerned about doctrine. It only makes sense that you would carefully weigh the doctrinal statement (halachah) of any curriculum you choose for your children’s education.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children” (Deuteronomy 4:9, ESV).
For this reason, we have tried to clarify the Scriptural views and teachings which we ourselves believe and which we use when teaching our own children and in the curriculum that we write.
The Foundation of the Scriptures
We believe in the authority and sufficiency of the Holy Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old Testament (Tanach) and New Testament (B’rit Chadashah), as originally written. We believe that the Scriptures were verbally and entirely inspired by YHWH and are the product of Spirit-controlled men; and therefore, they are absolutely trustworthy and without error in all matters of which they speak. We believe the Bible to be the true center of unity and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creed and opinions shall be tried.
We believe in an original Hebrew and Aramaic writing of the Tanach; we agree that the B’rit Chadashah appears to have an original Hebrew writing, but since not all of these Hebrew manuscripts are available, we continue to study and recommend the Greek manuscripts that are available to us.
We do not accept the Talmud, the Mishnah, Kabala, the Apocrypha, the Gnostic Gospels, the Didache, the Book of Jasher, the Book of Enoch, or any other extra-biblical books as Scripture. We may refer to them as historical texts, and we treat them with the same respect we would give to any other writing of man.
Our Rules of Interpretation
The following verse remains our standard:
“You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHWH your God that I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2).
Our main goal is to not add to nor subtract from any Words of YHWH! We may acknowledge the traditions of men. Traditions in our own home are inevitable as well. However, calling a tradition a “command of God” is sin, and we hope to avoid this. In addition, our hearts are deceitful and will often lead us to ignore commands which seem difficult or which do not appeal to our flesh. We are not perfect in this goal, but yet this remains our goal.
Therefore, this is not a “Hebrew Roots” curriculum, nor do we follow any particular denomination, including Messianic Judaism. While we may have practical “fences” around God’s laws in our own home, we do not believe in imposing “fences” on others and will seek to avoid them in this curriculum. We believe the best way to “guard” or “keep” God’s commands is simply to not add to it or subtract from it, to the best of our ability and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) forms the foundation of all Scriptures. If there appears to be a contradiction between two portions of Scripture, we use the Torah to define the meaning of the other. We also follow the principle of “first usage,” aiming to define terms by the first time they appear in Scriptures. However, we acknowledge that there is only an apparent contradiction because we are fallible humans with limited understanding and wisdom; the Scriptures cannot lie nor contradict themselves.
“…Just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
If the Bible is true in every way…
Then we are responsible to obey the truth it teaches — all 66 books! If it is just a good book, an historical classic, or a collection of myths and legends, then we can read it, admire it, agree with a few proverbs, and (yawn) put it back on the shelf. But — if it is true, then we must listen to it, obey it, and teach it to our children.
English Scripture Translations
- Use what you have! Our goal is to make this curriculum affordable for you. In addition, we hope that your children will each own their own copy of the Scriptures, will use their Bible daily, and will become very familiar with this most-important-of-all books.
- In our curriculum, we use Scripture translations that are in the public domain, because not having to pay royalties saves money (which we can pass on to you). Therefore, we use the King James Version, the World English Bible, and the English Standard Version (for which we have permission). We do not have permission to use the Scriptures (by Institute for Scripture Research) or other popular Messianic translations, but you should find it easy to adapt the curriculum to whatever translation your family prefers to use.
- In use of Scripture translations, we uphold the Sacred Names by changing the following:
- The name of “the LORD” to יְהֹוָה or “YHWH” in the Old Testament, or in quotations from the Old Testament which appear in the New Testament.
- The name of “Jesus” to “Yeshua.”
- The title of “Christ” to “Messiah.”
With the foundation of Scripture as our final authority, we believe the following:
Only One God
We believe there is one and only one living and true God, an infinite Spirit, the Maker and supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
Yeshua is Our Messiah and Savior
We believe that Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth, God’s Son, is the Messiah and Master. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life by full obedience to the Torah, died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins, rose from the dead after three days, ascended bodily into heaven, and is coming again to establish His eternal kingdom. We believe there is no other Messiah. We are His disciples, and we seek to follow Him in obedience.
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Yeshua the Messiah in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist… If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works” (2 John 1:7, 10-11).
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, equal with the Father and the Son and of the same nature. Among many purposes, the Holy Spirit desires to help us, teach us, sanctify us, comfort us, and lift up Yeshua the Messiah among us (John 14-17).
We do not believe the Spirit can ever lead us contrary to the written Word of God, nor can He lead us into sin as defined in the Scriptures. Therefore, if someone makes a prediction for the future which does not come true in every way, or if someone speaks against Yeshua the Messiah, we know that person is a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:17-22). In addition, if someone says, “The Spirit told me to…” and it is contrary to Scripture, we know that the Spirit was not truly speaking through that person (James 1:13-17).
We believe that God created the universe, and this belief forms a very important basis of our curriculum. Therefore, we want to share that we specifically mean the following by the term “creation” (adapted from the doctrinal statement of Answers in Genesis):
- Scripture teaches a recent origin for man and the whole creation, spanning approximately 4,000 years from creation to Messiah.
- The days in Genesis do not correspond to geologic ages, but are six  consecutive twenty-four  hour days of creation.
- The Flood of Noah’s day was a worldwide, literal flood. It was a significant geological event and much (but not all) fossil sediment originated at that time.
- The gap theory has no basis in Scripture.
- The view, commonly used to evade the implications or the authority of biblical teaching, that knowledge and/or truth may be divided into secular and religious, is rejected.
- By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.
- Click here for what we teach about a flat earth.
If God created mankind and we didn’t come about “by chance,” then we are precious to Him and dearly loved. He created man in His image and wants to make us just like His Son, Yeshua.
In our curriculum, we acknowledge that we are made in the image of a Creator, and we hope to cultivate creativity in our children and constant appreciation of the created world. (We try to avoid the use of the word “nature,” choosing to use the word “creation” instead.) We seek to worship the Creator, rather than created things, in all that we do (Romans 1:18-32).
We believe the Scriptures teach that man was created by a direct act of God and not from a previously existing form of life. By voluntary transgression he fell from his state of innocence; consequently all men are now sinners by nature and by choice.
Please note that if children are born with a “sinful nature,” then we parents need to recognize that even a sweet little baby has the potential to do wrong things. It is the parents’ responsibility to train a child with loving nurture in obedience to YHWH and to his parents, and to show by their godly example how to live a set-apart life. We hope to guide you toward this goal in our curriculum.
We believe the Scriptures teach that salvation of sinners is divinely initiated, wholly of grace, and accomplished only through the work of the Son of God who mediates on our behalf.
We can only be saved from sin by grace because our hearts will never choose to walk in obedience without rebirth and a new Spirit indwelling us. We cannot ever stand before a righteous God and claim to have no sin (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is only by His graciousness and love for us that He sent His Son, Yeshua, to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross. We can only receive the gift of eternal life because of the sacrifice of Yeshua — not by our own good works.
Judgment and Resurrection
We believe the Scriptures teach the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust. Believers by faith in the Messiah will spend eternity in the presence of God, unbelievers in everlasting punishment.
We believe the Scriptures teach that every believer should be separated unto God and from worldliness, and by the aid of the Holy Spirit should walk in love and holiness, as defined in all of God’s Word. We believe that the commands of God, as given in the “Torah” (the first 5 books of the Bible), are God’s definition of holy behavior (1 John 5:2-3).
We believe the Scriptures teach the believer should be separated from apostasy as exemplified in ecclesiastic organizations which include liberals and those who sanction theological compromise (see definition in 1 John 4:1-6).
If we listen to the advice of “experts” who don’t follow God’s Word, then we allow bad information into our minds and homes. If we follow this advice, we (and our children) will have to pay the consequences. Only God’s Word will stand the test of time, and we can depend on His advice for us and our family.
Our curriculum seeks to maintain the highest standards of purity from idolatry and sin. We welcome you to contact us if you feel that we have not been consistent to this standard.
Some of Our Specific Teachings from Torah
We realize that just saying we are “Torah Observant” doesn’t tell you much. Therefore, we mention the following commands of Scripture and tell you our interpretation. However, we believe that love for others is the second greatest command (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:28-31); therefore, we will not argue with you or allow arguing among members in our online communities (Philippians 2:14). Friendly discussion, backed with Scriptural support is fine; unkind words, anger, slander, or gossip will not be permitted.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
Minimum Requirements for Fellowship
We believe that Acts 15 lays out the minimum requirements for fellowship among believers.
“Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues” (Acts 15:19-21).
In our curriculum, we teach that idolatry is the worship of any created thing in place of YHWH. In its purest sense, idolatry includes any deviation from any worship commanded in Scripture. Therefore, we will not practice or promote overtly Satanic, Wiccan, or pagan festival days (Spring and Fall equinoxes, Winter and Summer Solstices, Christmas, Easter, Sunday, Halloween, etc.). We try to avoid images and religious icons which play a part in the worship of false gods. However, especially in our history curriculum, we may mention these practices in the context of Scripture so that our children are aware of them. It is a fine line between teaching about idolatry and teaching idolatry. We may not always get it perfect, so we are open to input from you on these issues.
We teach that marriage is between one man and one woman for life. Hopefully these two will be believers in YHWH. However, we will not condone premarital sexual relations, adultery, divorce, or remarriage. We will seek to avoid the use of images that could lead us into temptation. We teach that those who have lived a previous life of sexual immorality should seek to restore all relationships with love and forgiveness, and “each person [should] lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him” (1 Corinthians 7:17).
We teach that clean animals, as defined in Leviticus 11:1-47, may be eaten as food, while unclean animals are not considered to be food for us by YHWH and should not be eaten. We do not necessarily believe that the “kosher” designation accurately describes the Scriptural standard. We do not believe that milk and meat must be prepared and eaten separately, as you will see in our recommended menus and recipes. We do not wish to make these things a point of contention; please adapt all recipes for use according to your own family’s standard.
We believe this is a prohibition against eating or drinking blood or products made with blood (such as German Bloodwurst).
Please note our views on the following, and use these as opportunities to “examine the Scriptures daily” with your children in discussion and application (Deuteronomy 6:7; Acts 17:11).
The Sacred Names
We uphold the Sacred Names by using the following:
- The name of יְהֹוָה or “YHWH” rather than “the LORD.”
- The name of “Yeshua” rather than “Jesus.”
- The title of “Messiah” rather than “Christ.”
We believe that we should pronounce His name as a command of Scripture; therefore, we do not substitute HaShem or Adonai for YHWH. In ancient times, YHWH’s people used His name in everyday greetings and blessings (e.g. Numbers 6:24, Ruth 2:4), and we are told that His name is to be a memorial for all generations (e.g. Exodus 3:15). The patriarchs called on YHWH’s name, and YHWH tells us that He wants us to glorify His name to the nations.
Our view on the vowel points used in the Sacred Name are in agreement with Keith Johnson (see here). However, we agree to disagree in love on issues of spelling and pronunciation of the Sacred Names.
You will find that we often use the titles God, Lord (Adonai and Master), Holy Spirit, etc. as commonly used in the English language, while sometimes substituting Hebrew terms instead (with definitions for our children where possible). We believe that all languages are filled with words whose roots are ultimately from Babel, so no matter what English words we substitute, they will still have their roots in Babel. For this reason, we do not have a problem using English words in their proper contexts.
“So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me” (1 Corinthians 14:9-11).
Sabbaths and Feasts
We teach that the seventh-day Sabbath lasts from sunset on the sixth day of the week (Friday evening) to sunset on the seventh day (Saturday evening). We believe that we are commanded to rest on the seventh day, which means that we are to refrain from working, preparing food, buying, or selling. We also believe we are commanded to assemble with other believers on the sabbath for fellowship, as we are able (Leviticus 23:3).
We teach that the feasts of Leviticus 23 are to be observed and remembered in all generations, and we teach about them in our curriculum. We attempt to not “add to or take from” the commands for these feasts, showing a difference between “commands of God” and “traditions of men” in our celebrations.
We teach a biblically-based calendar for determining the dates of the feasts. This means that we use the aviv barley and the crescent new moon (as seen in Jerusalem and reported online) to determine the start of the new year in the spring (rather than in the fall at Rosh Hoshanah) and to determine the beginning of each new month (Rosh Chodesh) and the dates of the festivals. We will announce these dates as possible in our curriculum, on our websites, and in our online community. For more about this calendar, please download our free e-book.
Our offices will not be open for business on biblical sabbaths nor during the weeks of Unleavened Bread (in the spring) or the Feast of Tabernacles (in the fall). However, we will seek to provide you with family-friendly resources to encourage your own celebration of these festivals. Someday we hope to celebrate them in Israel, and we invite you to join us in reaching this goal.
In our curriculum, we uphold a traditional “premillennial historicist” view of end times and use it to teach world history. You can learn more about this view here.
However, this is not an issue that we feel is worth separating from other believers over. While we do believe that our view of the future can affect our interpretation of Scripture and even our decision making, we believe that
“The purpose of prophecy is not to give Christians a crystal ball into future events. Its purpose, once what is prophesied has clearly been seen to come to pass, is to produce the conviction that the God of the Bible is God, thus inspiring repentance, and faith” (Christine Miller).
If your view of end times differs from ours, you should still feel comfortable knowing that the curriculum was designed to be easily adapted for any belief of Revelation or end times. Use our views as a way to start discussions with your children, and please refrain from being too dogmatic with other families in our online community.
We teach that God instituted three tithes for the nation of Israel. First, ten percent was to be given to the Levitical priesthood. A second ten percent was to be set apart for the celebration of the feasts. A third ten percent was to be given every third year to the poor (which works out to about 3% of our income).
Because there is no temple or Levitical priesthood today, we believe that we are currently under the Melchizedekian order, and we seek to follow the example of Abraham by giving 10% of our own income to our local congregation’s leadership, to use to further the gospel and work of the ministry. In addition, we seek to set aside 10% of our income for the celebration of the feasts, and we seek to give a minimum of 3% of our funds to the poor.
Any profit that we make from the sale of our curriculum or operation of our websites will be tithed upon in this manner. This is a for-profit business, yet we seek to run it with a ministry mindset, being generous “especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). If you find that you cannot afford our curriculum, please contact us and share your situation.
We have been asked to share our views on the Common Core State Standards. You can find our official position here.
Questions about our doctrinal statement? Need further clarification? Feel free to contact us.