THE 13 PRINCIPLES OF THE FAITH, BY RAMBAM (A Midrash)
These are the 13 Principles or “I believe” of the Judeo- Christian faith that the famous Jewish philosopher, Torah scholar, and physician composed over 800 years ago. His full name was Moses Ben Maimon, or commonly known as “Maimonides” or “Rambam. He was born in Spain in 1135 and died in Egypt in the year 1205. His tomb is located in Tiberias, Israel. It is an interesting place to visit. I was there in 2015 and saw his tomb. The reason I say, “Judeo-Christian” is because the articles/statements of beliefs pertain to both the Jewish and the Christian faiths. If it weren’t for Judaism, Christianity would be non-existent. Yeshua/Jesus is the realization and fulfillment of the Jewish faith, So, I would like to look at these articles and comment on them. Are these what we as born-again believers believe? Or are there variations of these statements? Let’s just read them and see what they are all about.
1. I believe by complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is the Creator and Guide for all created beings. He alone made, makes, and will make all that is created.
We can agree pretty much with this principle. He created “Bara” since the beginning as stated by the very first verse in God’s Word; “B’Reisheet Bara Elohim ET HaShamayim v’ET HaAretz” (In the beginning, Elohim created the Heavens and the earth). The word “Bara” in the original Hebrew means “to make or bring into being something without any previous material” If we say, “something comes from nothing” it is a true statement as that happened only once in history, way back in Genesis. All things that were created “Bara” were created by His Word. Yeshua was part of Elohim and had everything to do with the original creation, as He was and Is the Living Word (John 1:1). Adonai “spoke” all things into existence, yet man was “made” (Asah) from the earth, which was already created “bara” All original flora and fauna were “created” in those 6 literal days, but afterwards, they were “made” from the parent plants and animals, so as to reproduce. HE made, makes, and will make, or “bring into being” (Asah, not Bara) all that lives, yet all that lives and will live is affected and will be affected by the original sin, so all things that live are tainted by sin. The day will come when Yeshua returns to re-make the earth and all will revert back to the original form and plan of perfection. May that day come soon.
2. I believe by complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is a Unity, and there is no union in any way like Him. He alone is our God who was, is, and who is to be.
Every morning, many of us get up from our beds and recite the “Shema” from Deuteronomy 6:4; “Shema Israel, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad!” (Hear O Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai is ONE). Many times, we might refer to God as being the “Trinity” or “Tri-Unity” yet those words are not in the Bible. The words that express God as a Unity are; “Elohim” and “Echad.” The plural masculine ending “im” tells us that Adonai is plural, yet He is still ONE. The word “Echad” means the “unity of ONE” When we look at the gematria for the word “Echad” we get “13” There is the number 1 and 3. “Elohim” can be considered as “3” being “Av’ (father) “Ben” (son), and the “Ruach” (Spirit), yet they are still considered as “1” (one). God is Spirit without physical form yet in order to pay the price of sin, He saw it necessary to come down to earth in human form as “The Second Adam” to die for the sins of all humankind. Therefore, one of Yeshua’s titles is; “Yeshua, Son of Man (Adam), or Yeshua, the Second Adam. Sin came into the world via a man, so a “perfect” man had to pay the price of sin. The only way possible would be that the “man” be also “God.” “There is no union in any way like Him” True, there is no union like Adonai-Echad, one can say that “Adonai Echad is “Yachid” (unique) There are unions, like marriages, contracts, etc…yet a “perfect” union where there is no sin at all, and where holiness only exists, can be found only in the “Echad” of “Elohim”. Here is another interesting fact. The first letter in “Elohim” is the “Aleph”. The “Aleph” in gematria is the number “1”. When we spell out “Aleph” we get; “Aleph, Lamed, and Peh.” When we add those letters in accordance to their gematric value, we get 1 + 30 + 80 = 111. Here we have the three in one. 1+1+1=3, yet even better; 1x1x1=1. So, Adonai-Elohim is “Echad’ (One) and none like him, who was, is, and will be; “Haya, Hoveh, Yiyah” all words have the same letters, Y H and V, and those letters make up the great and infallible name of YHVH.
3. “I believe by complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is not a body, and is not affected by physical matter, and nothing whatsoever can compare to Him (or be compared with Him)”
What can we, as believers, say about this statement? Adonai in His natural and eternal state is Spirit, Yes indeed, yet as Yeshua, He DID have a body. It was a human body that was subject to cold, heat, pain, and suffering. Yeshua, in his resurrected body, was NOT affected by physical matter. Remember that he just “appeared” to his disciples without knocking on the door. He walked with the two who were discussing his death on the road to Emmaus when he “broke bread” and then simply “vanished” I would imagine that someday, we will all have eternal bodies which will not be affected by physical matter, bodies such as the resurrected body of Yeshua. That would be great, no more colds, sniffles, stomachaches, headaches, backaches, etc…If we want to travel to someplace, no need for airplanes, just “wish I was there” and “boom” I’m already there! (nice thought).
4. “I believe by complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is the first and the last.”
Absolutely, Adonai-Elohim IS the first and the last. He is the “Alfa and Omega” the “Aleph and the Tav” Scripture says; “Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE FIRST AND THE LAST, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:12) Scripture also says; “In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with God, and God was the WORD” the WORD is just anther title for Mashiach, He is the “Living Word.” Adonai existed in eternity past, He exists in the present, and will exist in eternity future. The Hebrew word “ET” consists of only two Hebrew letters, the “Aleph and the Tav.” We see this word throughout the whole Torah, it is placed before word-nouns which have great importance. This word always reminds us that Adonai-Elohim is the first and last in all things. The ancient Hebrew significance of these two letters is; “The God of the Covenant”
5. “I believe by complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, to Him alone is it fitting to make prayer and to another, prayer shall not be made.”
Absolutely, Yeshua says in John 14:6; “I AM the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, no one comes to the Father but by ME.” We must understand that “another” would be a person outside of “Elohim.” Some religions pray to the saints believing that they are closer to God than we are, and think that they stand a better chance if they go through them, yet Adonai listens to ALL prayers. He wants to hear from you.
6. “I believe by complete faith that all the words of the prophets are true.”
Absolutely! 2 Timothy 3:16 reads; “All scripture is G-d-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living, thus anyone who belongs to G-d may be fully equipped for every good work” (Jewish New Testament). Who is considered a prophet? Anyone who receives revelation from G-d and conveys it to others. All revelation from Adonai has been written down in the “whole Torah” (all 66 books of the Bible). Those who wrote down the Words of Adonai were inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit) and Yeshua is the greatest prophet of all.
7. “I believe by complete faith that the prophecy of Moses our teacher (Moshe Rabeinu) may peace rest upon him, was true and that he was the father of all prophets that preceded him as well as all that came after him.”
Moshe (Moses) received the words of Adonai at the foot of Mr. Sinai and revealed those words to the people of Israel. All the words which Adonai spoke were written down by Moshe in the 5 first books of the Torah, with of course, the last part of Deuteronomy, which were written down after his death. All the words which came from Adonai were and are indeed the truth, as well as the prophets which came after him.
8. “I believe by complete faith that the whole Torah now found in our hands was the exact same one given to Moshe, may peace rest upon him.” What does Rambam mean when he states; “the exact same one?” We can say that the Hebrew words are the same, yet the Torah has been translated into different languages, and with translations, the words might change and with those changes, the meanings may differ. That is a problem we face when reading the Bible in different versions. To better understand G-d’s Holy Writ, it is always best to go back to the original Hebrew and understand the meaning of the original Hebrew words in correct context. This is why it is so important to have a fundamental knowledge of the Hebrew language.
9. “I believe by complete faith that this is the Torah, and it shall not be changed and it shall not be replaced with another from the Creator, blessed be His name.”
Absolutely! We believe and serve an unchangeable G-d, He is the same before, now, and forever more. His Holy Word is true and does not change and cannot and will not be replaced by another. Unfortunately, there are perversions of the Bible in which the publishers will take out, add, or replace some key words which will back-up their erroneous beliefs, therefore, again, it is important to recognize those errors by knowing and understanding the original Hebrew, and in the case of the New Testament, the original Greek translations.
10. “I believe by complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, knows every action done by each human being as well as all their thoughts, as it was said, ‘It is He that fashions their hearts together and He ponders all their deeds’ (Psalm 33:15)
Absolutely! We serve and believe in an ‘all-knowing’ G-d who sees into our hearts, souls, and thoughts. Just knowing this should scare us. When we think we are alone, we really are not alone, nor ever alone. Our heavenly Father is looking straight inside us. King David, speaking to his son Solomon said; “As for you my son Solomon, know the G-d of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the L-RD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of thoughts…” (1 Chronicles 28:9). Rav Shaul (Apostle Paul) writes; “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Sprit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of G-d.” (Romans 8:27). There are times when inner prayers are answered because He already knows our needs. Adonai knows all things, nothing is hidden from Him!
11. “I believe by complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, rewards all who keep the commandments and punishes all those who transgress His commandments.”
There has always been the belief of “rewards and punishments” for deeds or for lacking deeds in almost all religions of the world. Many religions base their belief system on how many “good deeds” a person can do in order to gain acceptance by G-d, or whatever god they might believe in. Yet in Judeo-Christianity, or in Messianic Judaism, we indeed have commandments to follow (Mitzvoth) yet our obedience to those commandments, at least those that can be followed today, have NOTHING to do with our salvation experience. We are accepted totally by Adonai by our trusting and believing in the sacrifice of Yeshua on the Cross of Calvary. Our salvation is therefore a done deal. No works required, no commandments to be followed to gain salvation, only our faith and trust in our Messiah Yeshua. Yet now, as “family members” of the great I AM, there are commandments to be followed and/or lived by, as born-again believers. A Holy Life-style unto G-d. Just as there are rewards and consequences in following the rules and regulations of, let’s say, city ordinances, stopping at red lights, going on green lights, etc…We also reap rewards or consequences in following G-d’s commandments. He gave them to us for “right-living” (righteousness) yet not to be confused with our salvation experience, in that we are made “righteous” through the blood of Yeshua. There is “righteous” salvation, and “righteous” living, the first leads to the next, not the other way around. In the world to come, there is the “Bema Judgment seat of Messiah” in which all believers will present their works, and will receive rewards or lose rewards. Perhaps some might think of the “loss of rewards” a kind of punishment. Perhaps some rewards for our obedience to His Torah will be received on earth, while other rewards will be received in Heaven. But the question is; do we support Rambam’s statement about rewards and punishments for either fulfilling or transgressing G-d’s commandments? I believe we can say yes to that. Even Moshe (Moses) supports that by saying; “See, I am putting before you this day a blessing and a curse, the blessing when you obey the commands of Adonai your Elohim, which I command you this day, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of Adonai your Elohim, but turn aside from “The Way” which I command you today…” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). I guess one could translate “blessing and curse” to “reward and punishment” It is interesting that one of the titles of Yeshua is “The Way.” Another interesting fact is that Moshe writes in the singular; “B’rakhah v’ K’lalah” (a blessing and a curse) why would he write in the singular “blessing and curse?” why not “Blessings and curses?” Perhaps we can say that Moshe uses the singular because “Am Israel” (The People of Israel) is united as ONE people, who would follow ONE Torah. So, we could say; “B’rakhah K’lalah, Israel Echad, Torah Echad” (A blessing and a curse for Israel who is ONE in unity, who choses to follow (or reject) the ONE Torah. What then is the punishment for transgressing His Torah? The worse punishment for rejecting the one and only all-sufficient sacrifice for sin through Yeshua is eternal separation from G-d, living for all eternity in the Lake of Fire. What could be worse than that?
12. I believe by complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he tarry in waiting, in spite of that, I will still wait expectantly for him each day that he will come.
Absolutely! we believe that the Messiah, who is Yeshua, will come AGAIN someday in the future to put an end to sin, to set up his millennial kingdom, unit ALL of his people from all corners of the world, to imprison Satan, to make this world anew, and usher in eternity future. Sadly, a great part of our Jewish people still refuses to accept Yeshua as the Messiah. Yes, they believe that the “Messiah” will come in the future, but, the real fact is the HE, the MESSIAH has already COME. The prophet Daniel predicted the year pretty much accurately when Messiah would come and would be “cut-off” from the land of the living; (Daniel 9:24-26). The way one should live today is; plan our days as if he tarries many years more, but be prepared as if he would come today. He came, lived, died for our sins, and will return in the future. Those are the facts!
13. I believe by complete faith that there will be a resurrection of the dead at the time that will be pleasing before the Creator, blessed be His name, and the remembrance of Him will be exalted forever and for all eternity.
Absolutely! We believe in complete faith that there will be, not one, but TWO resurrections of the dead in the near future. In the book of Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul writes about the “sounding of the shofar” and the resurrection of the dead in Mashiach and “we” who are still alive, will follow those who have gone on before us. We could say that this is the “resurrection of the “Kadoshim” (The saints). At the end of the one-thousand-year reign of Messiah Yeshua on earth, there will be the second resurrection, that of the lost! They will all appear before the “Great White Throne” of judgment, where Messiah Yeshua will be sitting. This will be a very sad day indeed, to see the thousands upon thousands of souls who rejected the free gift of “Yeshuah” by “Yeshua” himself. They will all be judged guilty and sentenced to eternity in the Lake of Fire, without hope, banished from all loved-ones, never to get a second chance. Many might say; “And what about those who never heard the name Jesus/Yeshua? It seems unfair to send them to hell if they never heard of Him.” I would say that all persons will be judged according to what they knew, or what they were told. We can not put ourselves in the feet of our Messiah and try to think what He might or might not do. All the more reason to tell the world of the complete work of redemption through Messiah Yeshua.