PROSPERITY — In a modest white building on U.S. 76 in Prosperity, there are between 25 and 60 people who come to dig a little deeper into the Bible each Saturday while they fellowship together.
Davar Chaim — which means Word of Life — is a Messianic fellowship group that was originally formed in the late 1980s under Earl Jernnigen who originally decided to form an Assembly of God church.
The building used to be a bar, according to Pete Rambo, a member of Davar Chaim.
“In 1998, we started to see inconsistencies in scripture and resources and came to a conclusion that people are trying to be receptive to what it means to be a first century Messianic, what’s practiced of the apostles and why and how did it change in the fourth century,” said Rambo.
The group is now an “intersection between Judaism and Christianity,” said Rambo.
In the practice of the early church, the group meets on the Sabbath which is Saturday. He explains that the Bible says in Genesis 2 that the seventh day is Sabbath.
“There are seven different times in the Bible we are told explicitly the seventh day is Sabbath. In Isaiah 56, that is the day of rest in the millennial,” said Rambo.
“We believe in Jesus or Yeshua the Messiah and we believe in keeping His commandments as given at Mt. Sinai. We do learn a lot of Hebrew words. You’ll hear Hebraism — an idiomatic expression in Hebrew culture — but we speak English. It helps us connect to the fact — Ephesians 2…Our practice is Judaism flavor but not Jewish.”
Rambo asks this question in regard to people who might have questions about the Messianic fellowship, “What was His walk and practice? Did Yeshua come to start a new religion or continue the old religion? Are there things we need to come back to?”
Paulette Lindler has been involved with the fellowship for about three years and came upon wanting to dig even deeper into the Bible.
“I was a devoted Lutheran and there were questions about the truth and I got to reading (the Bible more). We (the Christian church overall) have abandoned a lot of Christianity,” said Lindler.
“We do have folks that come from all (denominations) including Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc. These are the people that are really active and seek and knock. That’s when you follow love and find a true way to worship,” said Lindler.
“Once you open up and seek the truth, you see repetitions over and over,” she explained.
Lindler said that going to Israel on mission trips has also deepened her relationship with God more.
“I understand from Genesis to Revelation better. There’s no disconnect. If you don’t want to hear the truth, you won’t hear it. If you ask, the Holy Spirit will reveal,” said Lindler.
“I’ve been to Israel three times. In 2011 on my last mission trip, I met a Holocaust survivor. We also worked with the poor. You can easily understand what God chose,” said Lindler.
The fellowship meets to dig deeper and get closer to God. As Rambo said, “It’s not about me or us. We’re just a part of something much larger.”
While they are a bit different than the traditional church, Rambo said that one thing they do like most fellowships is finish their worship and message with a meal.
“We start with praise and worship then meet and then we fellowship,” said Rambo.
However, when it comes to holidays, Rambo explains, “We do keep the feasts but we don’t recognize Pagan influenced holidays. What we celebrate is what scripture mentions.”
As for the music, the fellowship relies on Messianic artists such as Ted Pierce, Lenny Varda, Marty Goez, Karen Davis and others, Rambo said.
“We rely on tithes and donations,” said Rambo about funding, “Very little expenses are needed to keep the building. We do take offering and help others.”
As for the people involved in the fellowship, there are a mix of children to adults.
“We have a great mix in fellowship,” said Rambo, who mentions there is no Sunday school.
“These kids sit through with their parents,” said Rambo, explaining that Sunday school didn’t come around until the 1870s. “The lessons are geared so that kids and parents can understand. We find that kids mature faster in the Word.”
“My granddaughter, now 6, went to another fellowship and I was amazed by what she remembered in Hebrew words. One of the main things they learn is how to behave and become more disciplined,” said Lindler.
There are six other Messianic fellowships like Davar Chaim in South Carolina, said Rambo. They include Columbia, North Augusta, Summerville, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Greenville.
For more information about Davar Chaim, visit www.davarchaim.org. The fellowship worships at 2 p.m. Saturday at 8608 U.S. 76, Prosperity. They also have a Wednesday night Torah study at 7 p.m.