Towards the Millennial Culture
In considering and analysing the various systems and ideas of authority that exist, and have existed, in the world on both the religious and secular planes, I have been impressed by two seemingly mutual contradictions:
- (1) The need for community order and discipline, and
- (2) The need for individual expression.
Every human is unique, so much so that we say that every person has his or her own personality. No two people are alike in everything even though we may occasionally find people who have many points of similarity. The causes of these differences are complex and are a mixture of genetic propensity, education, cultural influences, and the choices we make in life. Added to this we as Messianic Evangelicals would add that the spirit which incarnates into our physical body at conception brings with it its own personal characteristics from a long forgotten pre-mortal life.
Anyone who has had children (and that is most of us) will know that when you bring unlike personalities together there is always potential conflict. Even a husband and wife who are very alike in nature, interests and personality, who bring up their children in exactly the same way, are surprised at how different their children can be, even though there may be said to be certain recognisable traits in all the family members that set them apart from other families. Maintaining order in conflict situations soon leads parents to formulate rules and regulations for the conduct of inter-personal relations; and even if they do not have a secular or a religious tradition from which to draw these rules, they are forced to develop their own.
There is no such thing as a totally individualistic society. It is impossible to have a group of people living together who all want to do their 'own thing'. Cultures over the centuries have evolved sometimes complex yet effective rules of conduct to ensure maximum harmony. Because they are invariably man-made they are constantly in flux, challenged by individuals who think they have found better rules and regulations. The laws of society are constantly changing.
I have recently been reading a fascinating book about Japanese culture by a Hungarian who migrated to England and has seen much of the world so I find his perspectives both interesting and humorous. It is said that a person cannot understand his own language until he has learned to speak a second one; and I believe it is equally true that a person cannot understand his own culture (both its strengths and weaknesses) until he has lived in another one for a reasonably long period of time. I have lived in three cultures -- Far Eastern (Malaysia) and West European (England, Norway and Sweden) and have visited many others. Each time I am enriched in my understanding of human nature and the forces which shape culture.
So I ask myself constantly: why are Norwegians or Swedes the way they are? Why are the British the way they are? Are they actually aware of their behaviour patterns? My answer is that by and large they are not. The way they behave is so deeply ingrained in them since birth that to behave in the way they do is as natural as breathing -- they don't give it a second thought.
To then find oneself transplanted into a foreign culture such as, for example, Japan, where all the assumptions about behaviour are completely different, can throw someone off balance completely. I was surprised to learn the other day of an American woman who came with her husband to live in Norway, was so adrift in a foreign culture, that she returned home to America after only a few months, unable to make the adjustment, even though she had many American neighbours. And this in a Western culture whose outlook, though different from America's, is nonetheless very similar. I hate to imagine what her reaction would have been living in Japan.
And yet I sympathise. When I was a boy of 9 years old I was sent to boarding school in England. Though brought up in an English home in the Far East, my outlook was so oriental that to me the English were 'foreign', no matter that they spoke the same language as I did. It took me years to adapt. Twenty or so years later I found myself in Scandinavia adapting to another set of cultural standards.
As Messianic Evangelicals we are very interested in culture indeed because our main calling has been to establish an alternative culture within the culture where we live. From the very beginning I realised that this change -- from the secular culture in which we live, to the Zionic/Messianic/Hebraic/Patriarchal one which will prevail in the Millennium -- would be a mammoth task, and not one achieved in a few months or even a few years. Since being involved in the task now for the last 30 years I see how little progress we have in fact made. We have progressed, to be sure, and have reached what I call the 'critical mass', the point at which great changes can begin. That is no mean feat. It took Moses 40 years and even then the Israelites soon adopted the ways of the pagan cultures surrounding them and never actually succeeded in creating the Zionic culture. What today is rather loosely termed 'Zionism' is actually a hotchpotch of many other cultures and is far removed from the Millennial one.
It is very hard to explain to someone who has only lived in one culture all their lives what it is Yahweh desires. They lack the contrast. To therefore follow a divinely revealed blueprint requires much faith and obedience. Without these the alternative culture can never be. The Israelites under Moses were essentially Egyptian in their cultural outlook and faced enormous changes not only in religious concepts but in domestic ones too. Egypt was a matriarchal culture (which is why Egyptian paganism is so popular amongst modern adherents of the New Age and feminism) and making the shift to patriarchal culture was extremely difficult. We see in the rebellion of Miriam an example of this clash, and the response Yahweh gave her when she was afflicted with leprosy for her rebellion.
Israel had been patriarchal before but their descent into a matriarchal culture caused a major cultural shift. Their sojourn in Egypt was very necessary for other reasons and it must be remembered that juxtaposed against the negative influence of Egyptian religion and family authority was the positive influence of an otherwise cultural and (for their time) scientific people. Though much of the positive side was lost over a generation of wandering, much survived. As any reputable scholar will tell you, many of the Laws given through Moses were, in fact, modified laws of surrounding nations. Much of the wisdom literature in the Bible, especially Proverbs, is Egyptian in origin.
It is very important to understand, therefore, that in the evolution of a culture there are both positive and negative aspects at work. This process has not stopped since Biblical times. Israel was artistically and musically a backward nation and it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that music reached its pinnacle in Europe. The development of science is very much a European achievement also, with mathematical development passing from Greece, to Arabia, and then back to Europe again. In the Far East music is poorly developed but art reached a high standard, especially in China. In Japan a real sense of the aesthetic has developed resulting in a people who consciously attempt to beautify everything they get their hands on. Typical of this mental attitude is a story I read of my friend, the Hungarian traveler, who was astonished to see the rubbish in a poor Japanese neighbourhood arranged into a work of art prior to its collection by the waste disposal men. Influenced as I am to a large degree by oriental attitudes, I sometimes surprise people in supermarkets when I arrange goods in a compact, geometrical fashion on the cashier's counter, since they will, moments later, be 'de-arranged' by the cashier. It is a habit of orderliness acquired from the east.
Christians -- and especially Messianic Evangelicals -- are curious about what the millennial culture will be like. To begin with, the millennial culture will be transformed no more quickly than the people themselves change. For the ideal millennial culture to therefore spread, a mini-culture has to be established which will then leaven the whole world. What will this Millennial culture be like? Will it be a restoration of the Biblical culture? Or what? I will attempt now to answer that most important question.
The Millennial Culture
To begin with, I must state categorically that there is no culture on the face of the whole earth -- now or in the past -- which resembles the 1,000 year culture that is to come. At the same time, almost every culture that exists has some of the ingredients of it.
So, is the millennial culture a mishmash of all cultures, past and present? No, it is not. You cannot pick bits of culture as you would different fruits and then mix them together to make a cultural fruit salad. Every culture that exists, and has existed, is the result of often long and slow development and cross-fertilisation with other cultures. You can no more create a potpourri culture than you can create a potpourri man. It must be evolved, over time, according to a divine tavnith or pattern.
Armies know how to mould men into disciplined fighting machines. I have been in the army and know something of their methods. By the external imposition of exercise, education and obedience they are able to make men efficient soldiers. Some work from the inside also, as fascists, communists and the new liberal totalitarians have done, through political indoctrination. The most reliable, able and efficient soldiers are always those who are fighting for a cause they passionately believe in.
The Christian/Messianic Besorah (Gospel) must work the other way round, from the inside outwards -- and by persuasion, not compulsion. You can bully and brainwash a man into becoming an efficient fighting machine. Armies have done that most effectively, and often destroyed the souls of men in the process. I know one young man who was spiritually destroyed by the army and by war. Like many of his and the previous generation, they hide out in the wilderness away from other human beings, afraid that they may harm people if they are anywhere near them. Many people who have had bad religious experiences are no different; brainwashed and turned into little more than robots, they lose their personalities and find it difficult to interact in the society they have been returned to.
I have spoken of soldiers who are conscripted and forced to train against their wills. But there are other armies who have professional soldiers who willingly submit to authority and discipline as part of their training. They come to know that this authority and discipline is essential for a soldier to function efficiently. The Communist Chinese discovered this too by going to the opposite extreme. There was a period in communist Chinese history where soldiers had no effective rank. So if a General gave an order, a private could, if he felt the order was wrong, challenge it. The result was chaos. Before long the traditional army power structure was restored.
At the conclusion of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian communists banned marriage. People were allowed to live as they wanted. The result was and escalation of criminality, homelessness and chaos, and it was not long before the institution of marriage was restored in the Soviet Union too.
During the French Revolution the 7-day week was replaced by a 10-day week. The result was fatigue and illness for both humans and animals. The 7-day week was eventually restored.
Through trial and error human beings have learned that there are certain natural laws which, if obeyed, bring prosperity and happiness, and which if disobeyed bring poverty and misery. Often -- far too often -- the same mistakes are made over and over again. Human memory is short. It is as though a part of the human soul doesn't want to know the truth or adapt to change. In the Bible this part is called the natural man, the fleshy man, the carnal man, the sensual man, and so on.
Whenever we are dealing with the problem of an ideal culture -- and in this case, the Millennialistic Christian/Messianic Culture -- we must never forget that there is a part of man which will always be opposed to it -- a rebellious, self-destructive 'other-side'. Even Christians who have been renewed by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) are fighting a constant warfare; the subjugation of the lower self is never, and rarely, instantaneous; like the evolution of music from primitive to sophisticated, the born-again Christian must likewise expect time in order for his lower, impulsive, rebellious and carnal nature to become subjected to his higher, Messiah-like one.
As every educator knows, some methods of teaching are more effective than others. As an educator, I have experimented with many techniques and am slowly evolving those which seem to me to be the most effective. Methods of building cars improve so that they are safer and more efficient. So it is in the Messianic Community (Christian Church). Indeed, some so-called Christian 'methods' are so unchristian and ungodly as to be more harmful than beneficial. Monasticism, for example, which is common in Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, has produced a mixed bag of fruits, good and bad (the idea was pagan in origin). In an attempt to solve the 'sexual question', celibate monasticism created more problems than it solved.
Christians have been experimenting over the last two thousand years. They have interpreted the Besorah (Gospel) in a thousand different ways and experimented with many different types of relationship between Church and State -- some being fusions, or neo-theocracies, and others being total separation (as is common today). None has survived, and all have evolved.
The culture we find in the Bible was in many ways primitive and undeveloped but the principles governing them are without question eternal. Yahweh's principles, taught across the Millennia, have proven ageless and timely in every situation. It may indeed be called the 'timeless wisdom'. Yahweh's torot (laws) are eternal and cannot be revoked, despite modern attempts to water them down and liberalize religion. Like the Russian communists who tried to abolish marriage, the French revolutionaries who tried to abolish the 7-day week, the Chinese communists to tried to abolish military rank, modern liberal 'Christian' ideas have failed, particularly in the realm of morality. Promiscuous sex, erosion of patriarchal values and respect for authority, and many other fundamental principles, have led to the irreversible decay of society in almost every culture.
It is no accident that the apostle Paul likens a true Christian to a soldier. He says:
And yet how many Christians "get involved in 'civilian' [read, 'worldly'] affairs" and forget to please their commanding officer, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)? Too many. And why? Because they don't want a commanding officer! And here we come to the crux of the 'modern problem' of man -- the obsessional love of 'self', the lack of respect for authority, and the desire to create his own rules. Without these, true Christianity is stone dead.
"Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Yah'shua the Messiah (Christ Jesus). No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs -- he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules....Reflect on what I am saying, for Yahweh will give you insight..." (2 Tim.2:3-5,7, NIV).
Unfortunately most of Christendom has been influenced by the liberal heresy that Yah'shua (Jesus) is "meek and mild" and nothing else. But He is also a commanding officer. Paul says: "Reflect on what I am saying, and Yahweh will give you INSIGHT". So I ask you to think soberly and ask yourself: Is Yah'shua (Jesus) your commanding officer?
Yesterday I came across a copy of a letter which I had written some years ago in response to a Christian who had major problems with a Christ who was both "meek and mild" as well as a "military commander." She said: "I am not the type to follow obediently without questioning". And that's the problem -- people want to question everything. There is, I agree, a certain legitimacy in this sentiment in the secular sphere where human rules and regulations are usually uncritically accepted as 'gospel' by the broad masses, but this is absolutely unacceptable in the religious sphere where Yahweh has established timeless torot (laws) for the safety of mankind.
The 'military'-type attitude has, of course, been greatly abused by religionists too who have forgotten the Yah'shua (Jesus) "meek and mild", which brings us to a cardinal concept in understanding the government of the Millennial world, namely balance.
A casual glance at nature will at once reveal a balance of mutually dependent opposites -- protons and electrons, black and white, male and female, etc.. "In Yahweh...woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman" (1 Cor.11:11, NIV), the apostle Paul writes (putting pay to monasticism, by the way). "For as woman came from man, so also is man born of woman. But everything comes from Elohim (God)" (v.12) (putting pay to male chauvinism and feminism). At the same time Paul reminded the Christians that there was also a natural order which must be respected: "I do not permit a wife to...have toqef (authority) over her husband..." (1 Tim.2:12, author's trans.) and "...the head of every man is Messiah, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim (God) [the Father]" (1 Cor.11:3, NIV).
This is an astonishing mitzvah (commandment) for our liberal, permissive and promiscuous early 21st century Western culture and yet it is almost universally misunderstood. The scriptures also tell us that Elohim (God) the Father (Yahweh) and Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) are echad (one) in all things, and that this is the ideal for all Christians (John 17:22). Yet Elohim (God) is the head of Messiah. Did Yah'shua (Jesus) ever dare contradict His Father Yahweh? Did he ever challenge or contradict Him? Never! Because they were one in ahavah (love) and purpose. Therefore Yah'shua (Jesus) obeyed Yahweh as His military commander, knowing that His Head was supremely righteous. Similarly, a husband and wife are to be one in ahavah (love) and purpose, and she is to obey her husband as her military commander, as also should the Messianic Community (Church) be one in love and purpose and obey Messiah as its military commander.
This is what is meant by patriarchal law -- not unrighteous, egotistical male chauvinist dictatorship, but righteous dominion. This is the Torah (Law) of Zion, and this will be the Rule of the Millennial Kingdom.
To appreciate it and understand it, all the old (once 'new') male-female, God-man stereotypes created by rebellious liberals have to be rejected, because the professed end of liberalism is man's dominion over everything, and especially HIMSELF. To the liberal humanist and New Ager, man is his own god who can establish his own rules, but this is antithetical to the Kingdom of Elohim (God).
Three of the great virtues of pre-war German and Japanese society were the love of order, discipline and obedience. But they were also their undoing because they lacked their counterpart. Three of the great virtues of pre-war American society were freedom of speech, the equality before the law, and the freedom of thought. But they were also their undoing because they lacked their counterparts.
The 'German-Japanese' side of the balance may in some ways be likened (in a crude way) to the old Law of Moses, and the 'American' side to the new Law of Messiah. The great error of Christianity has been the failure to understand that the two are inextricably bound -- that Messiah did not come to abolish the Torah (Law) but to bring it to completion (Matt.5:17). The Torah (Law) of Moses is eternal because it is brought to completion by the Torah (Law) of Messiah. But Christianity tried to abolish the Torah (Law) of Moses and so leave a Yah'shua (Jesus) "meek and mild" devoid of any real authority. That is why every Christian culture has ultimately failed. Or else it has swung from one extreme to the other.
The so-called 'Old Covenant [Torah]' and the 'New Covenant [Torah]' are not, however, two legs or two arms on one body. True Christianity is not being 'meek and mild' with one hand one moment and then 'authoritarian and dictatorial' with the other hand the next moment. But that is, unfortunately, how some Christians have viewed the difference between the Old and the New. The 'Old' is, in reality, an incomplete 'New', and the 'New' is a completed 'Old'. The B'rit Chadashah or 'New Covenant', better called the 'Whole' or 'Complete Covenant' is both 'meek and mild' and 'authoritative' at the same time. It is both Messiah the Meek Lamb (John 1:29,36) and Messiah the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev.5:5) and true believers sing both the Song of the Lamb and of Moses (Rev.15:3).
The world has experienced the evils of unrighteous authoritarianism in a spate of dictatorships that have plunged the world into disastrous wars. The reaction, understandably, has been away from authoritarianism and to liberalism. But what the liberals have failed to understand is that man is created to serve under, respect and honour authority, and so he has turned to substitutes in the form of pop star worship, guru-worship, etc.. The mushrooming of authoritarian cults and sects is the natural product of this western, liberalistic attitude.
What man desperately seeks is righteous dominion -- he desperately craves in his heart to serve an authority he can trust. He has come to distrust the One he should trust because He has been misused by unscrupulous or misguided men who have misunderstood, or deliberately abused, the true nature of Elohim (God). It is not therefore surprising that Christians have preferred the 'Jesus meek and mild' to the authoritative Elohim (God) of power of the Tanakh (Old Testament) -- yet the fact of the matter is that the New Testament is not just 'meek and mild' but a perfect balance of authority (justice) and mildness (mercy), because it is indeed the completion of the Tanakh (Old Testament). Theologians like Marian Eigels (a Romanian Christian Jew living in Norway) are therefore absolutely right when they insist that "a Christ without the Old Testament is unbiblical" (Dagen, Wednesday 10 August, 1994, p.13).
The New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh therefore take the position that where Elohim (God) has spoken authoritatively in the Bible, the debate is over. It also takes the position that when Yahweh's apostles speak in Yahweh's Name, then the debate is over also provided what they say absolutely squares 100% with the Davar Elohim's (Word of God). If not, they are to be disregarded. They are not loud dictators screaming commands and demanding blind obedience to unscriptural dogmas, but meek and mild witnesses who expect to be obeyed as military commanders, even as they obey Messiah as their military commander. The Messianic Community (Church) is a place of open discussion in a spirit of ahavah (love) (Acts 17), and apostles who do not speak the emet (truth) may be freely rebuked by other apostles as Paul rebuked Peter (Gal.2:11). Yet when an apostolic decision is reached, and the consent of the Messianic Community is given, it is obeyed (Acts 15:13ff).
The New Testament Messianic Community (Church) was not attempting to build an alternative culture in itself -- its main focus was almost entirely evangelistic, though it did try to influence the cultures it operated in. That is still a vital rôle of the Messianic Community/Christian Church in these the last days, and is central to the work of the Local Assemblies (Branches) of NCAY. Its non-public side, the Holy Melchizedek Order, is more concerned about building up the alternative culture, because most modern cultures have, we believe, disintegrated into virtual anarchy and have passed the point of no restoration. They have "ripened in iniquity" like a bad apple that is no longer edible.
To do this, it seeks as its base the theocratic culture that was ancient Israel, for the New Israel, as it shall be in the Millennium, will be both spiritual as well as temporal. The Holy Melchizedek Order has as its commission to build 12 end-time gathering places cities of refuge around the world in which the Millennial Culture is to be planted and nurtured. This culture, revealed through the Patriarchs of the Order, is implemented to be in degrees in the midst of different world cultures where, extracting the best from the worldly cultures, then grafts it on to the skeletal Biblical one.
Let me give you some examples. I have mentioned the Japanese impulse to beautify everything around them. This principle, only partially developed in other cultures, therefore becomes one of the cultural principles of Zion. The 12 colonies, by virtue of their location and the different temperaments of their people gathering there out of the world, then cross-fertilize one another, the long developed Western tendency to tenderness being exported east and 'exchanged', as it were, for the long developed oriental tendency for aesthetic beauty. This 'cross-fertilization' is achieved in two ways: (1) By Japanese members, for example, coming to a European colony for a period of time to endue Scandinavians, for example, with order, discipline and aesthetic beauty, and (2) By the Holy Order itself inculcating these principles in temple education.
This process is a complex and highly delicate one that is carried out by a spiritually mature Patriarchate, consisting of patriarchs and matriarchs, over a long period of time. Through a gradual process of education and practical application, the people of firstborn colonies (as they are called) gradually change in their perceptions, ways of thinking and feeling, and behaviour. Each colony progress, because of genetic and cultural backgrounds, somewhat differently though all have the same goal: the New Christian Society.
Unlike other Millennialist movements, who have sometimes tried to impose their culture on the prevailing culture (e.g. the Mormons), Messianic Evangelicals do not believe that they will inaugurate the Millennium, but that Messiah will do this personally and supernaturally by intervening in power in human affairs. NCAY is, if you like, 'waiting in the wings' to be called by Messiah to establish nuclei of these communities around the world which will then, gradually, over the 1,000 year kingdom, leaven the whole world and provide the officers for the theocratic government that will be established. It is not therefore a 'militaristic' movement like the Mormons (with the 'Deseret Kingdom') or Anabaptists (with the 'Münster Kingdom') for it does not seek to compete for geographical space with other cultures. Though it will exist geographically in twelve locations, it will be too small to be of threat to worldly governments, but will be hidden away and supernaturally protected in remote places. This is contrasted by the Mormons' 'Deseret Kingdom', which occupied vast areas of land in Utah, Nevada, and other states, which was bound, by its sheer size, to come into eventual conflict with the US government. Deseret, as a theocratic state, has gone, and the Mormon Church, with its millions of members, has become a highly secularized institution.
By contrast, the Holy Melchizedek Order is not expected to consist of more than about 3,000 souls at any one time, the remainder of the 144,000 firstborn sons and daughters of Elohim (God) still upon the earth, or who are about to be born onto it in the last days. These will be divided between the 12 colonies scattered throughout the continents, each consisting of no more than 200-300 souls. The capital colony, located in Scandinavia, will coordinate all the others, the leading position being conceded to the New Jerusalem in the Millennium.
The membership of the Local Assemblies (Branches) of NCAY will be considerably larger, of unknown number.
This is the calling of NCAY to which all who have been led by the Ruach (Spirit) are called. It is an exciting and richly fulfilling work requiring much ahavah (love), patience and self-discipline. Its fruits are too wonderful to adequately describe -- great inner shalom (peace), knowledge unobtainable anywhere else, and above all, a close, personal and abiding relationship with the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus) Christ, who it its Head. Its spiritual standards and expectations are high -- very high -- but the path to its goal is variously adapted to those struggling (as we all do) with various personal problems.
The Holy Melchizedek Order is currently has a proto-colony called Kadesh-biyqah, the fruit of nearly 20 years' sacrifice, hard work and patient waiting, and the fulfilment of multiple prophecies. It has been guided by revelation throughout. It has experienced great hardship, losses and persecution but also great rewards and blessings.
If the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) has testified to you of the emet (truth) of this pioneer work, and your calling to contribute to it - if it resonates with your soul - or if you would just like more information, please contact us right away. May Yahweh bless you as you seek His will in these last days. Amen.
This page was created on 30 December 1997
Updated on 24 December 2016
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