The Truth Remains
Temple Sermon, Sunday 20 August 2000
"Let your love be sincere, clinging to the right with abhorrence of evil. Be joined together in a brotherhood of mutual ahavah (love), trying to outdo one another in showing respect, never slacking in interest, serving the Master, keeping spiritually aglow, joyfully hoping as you endure affliction, persistent in prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality" (Rom.12:9-13, RBV).
Brethren and sisters, for fourteen years we have preached faithful adherence to the Davar Elohim (God's Word) in matters of doctrine and practice and for fourteen years we have watched as one, then another, and then another, has veered off onto a path which they supposed would be easier for them. We have consistently taken the position that compromise with the Davar (Word) in any way is simply not worth it. How many times have people argued persistently, sometimes with great eloquence and persuasive powers, that they have been given a better way, even though that way flagrantly contradicts the Scriptures? And how many people have been enraged at us when, after they have waxed eloquent, we have quietly replied: "After all is said and done, the truth remains"?
Someone who is walking in the footsteps of the Master ought to be able to open his Bible at any time and at any place and be comfortable, peaceful and joyful at what he reads. Nothing in its pages ought to surprise us, jarr against our sensitivities, or awaken our prejudices. It should all be quite natural to us. Many, knowing that the Davar (Word) will condemn them again and again, have found the coward's way out of their dilemma - they simply don't open a Bible book they don't like, or simply don't open their Bible at all.
I knew a lady who believed in reincarnation. The Bible contradicted her over and over again, so she searched and searched for a Bible translation would agree with her belief. Finally she found one, called the "White Lodge Version", which had been specially doctored by occultists to "agree" with their doctrine without the slightest regard for the original manuscripts. She wouldn't touch any other version. I knew another lady who was so appalled by one Bible book that she glued its pages together so that her eyes might never by chance alight upon it. I know Christians who use only the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) who carry Bibles with no Tanakh (Old Testament). Others carry a little booklet with only the Acts of the Apostles. Yet others grab Bible versions which presume to delete verses not in certain manuscripts. Others, who don't like certain verses, find obscure renderings in minority manuscripts in order to confound the plain sense meaning. Denominations write their own versions to "fit" in with their theology.
And yet, when all's said and done, the emet (truth) remains. The eternal Davar Elohim (Word of God) cannot be erased by man. It will always survive someone to condemn those who presume to change what the Almighty has said. Sometimes translations are poor, to be sure, and we must dig a bit to get the original sense. Sometimes the odd verse is added to bolster a particular dogma, in which case we must carefully examine the manuscript evidence. But basically our Bibles are intact. There is no excuse for changing what Yahweh has revealed.
And therefore, as Messianic Evangelicals, we "cling to the right with abhorrence of evil" (Rom.12:9, RBV). We will not follow the pied-pipers of the Bible mutilators nor suppress the emet (truth) which is uncomfortable to the unrighteous. And as a result, we have probably won more enemies than friends. That is as it must be. We make it a matter of principle to respect what the Davar (Word) says in its entirety not because we are fanatics but because we know that one weak link in a theological chain can break the whole chain. Oh yes, I have met people who have been devoted talmidim (disciples) in Biblical emet (truth) until they have found one thing they simply refuse to accept, and then their whole spiritual edifice has come tumbling down. You can't, as I've said a thousand times, pick and choose. Either you accept it all or you'd better run.
The Scriptures are like a set of pearly-white teeth. Take one of those teeth out and what do you have when the person smiles? For perfection the whole set is necesary. Take an octave of piano keys. Remove one of those keys, and what do you have? What would happen if you removed the "C" pedal in the middle of a piano? How would some of the greater masterpieces sound? What would your speech be like if you were to suddenly drop the letter "A"?
When are people going to understand that the Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is like a set of pearly-white teeth, or the notes on a piano, or the letters of the alphabet? When are they going to understand that perfection can never be attained, and therefore Yah'shua (Jesus) never be fully understood, until the whole Besorah (Gospel) is in place in their lives? And then there are some who want to add things which aren't in the Besorah (Gospel) at all! Some of them "add" in a big way! I once knew a man with two sets of teeth. I've no doubt he could chew his food like no-one else, and yet imagine trying to brush them clean? Children were terrified of him whenever he opened his mouth. Can you imagine an octave with two or three extra notes - maybe consisting of non-existent semi-semitones? Or an extra letter in the alphabet which makes a grunting sound?
Hear all ye inhabitants of the earth! Whether you like it or not, the time has come when Yahweh is going to shake your false traditions like a gale screaming through a tree full of rotten fruit, to blow them off. You have cut off branches of emet (truth) and grafted on lies in their place to give a semblance of the emet (truth). But it will never do! Yahweh will not stand for it. Now is the time to repent or watch your house be blown over by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit).
Yah'shua (Jesus) "must remain in heaven until the time comes for Elohim (God) to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His qadosh (holy, set-apart) nevi'im (prophets)" (Acts 3:21, NIV). Mark that well. Christians pray for the return of Christ but do they pray for the restoration of everything that will premark that return? How many believers are sitting with their Bibles and saying: "I will forget all the traditions I have been taught and see what Yahweh says about the things I have for so long believed in"?
Year after year Yahweh has told this community - "You have been wrong about this or that. Now change it." A year rarely passes when we do not find something that needs changing. Bit by bit He has been knocking us about, chipping this off, putting that on, smoothing here and there. The other day I was archiving some of our old materials from 1986 when we began, and whilst the moving Ruach (Spirit) of holiness that started us is exactly the same as it is today, I noticed that there have been enormous changes in doctrine and practice. In fact, we're almost unrecognisable today. Even in the last two years we have made enormous changes as we have rejected the watered-down gentile form of Christianity and returned to our Hebrew roots...as we always said we would. We have become Sabbatarians, observe all the Holy Days ordained by Yahweh as an everlasting memorial, use the Divine Names, practice the Hebrew forms of financial stewardship, diet and marriage, and live the United Order like the Jerusalem Assembly. We have moved away from synagogue/chapel-type worship to house worship. And there has been much more too. We have interfaced with the Body of Christ more as an invisible presence than as a "denomination". Indeed, our whole concept of "Church" has changed from something rigid and structural to a living organism that moves around and interpenetrates the Body everywhere. Whilst we are, of course, a "Church" in the traditional sense of the word, it has a very low profile indeed today, for the Ruach (Spirit) has led us more to influence existing churches to make changes within their own structures than to exist as a "competitive" denominational body. Thus the concept of an "outer church" has virtually disappeared - for now, at least - as we exert our influence in other ways. Though organised, we are virtually invisible, and much of what we have been given in terms of an organised body is clearly more for the future than for the immediate present. The "future" may, of course, become "present" tomorrow, and we are prepared for that, but in the meantime we have much work to do of a different nature.
Time and experience have taught us that reformations such as descended upon the world in the 16th century under Luther do not usually happen very often because they tend to provoke a backlash of violence from anti-christ forces. True Christianity will always be persecuted but Yahweh must be very careful that His remnant is not exterminated through having too high a profile in the beginning. There is an historical unfolding process which the Body must move along. It must often restrain itself to enable the weak who are being saved to "catch up". There are seasons for the stragglers, as it were, but their times are affixed. Yahweh exposes long forgotten or neglected truths like the Sabbath, divine Names, holy echad marriage, and financial stewardship so that the Christian world can get used to them and they can become "mainstream". There is a season of grace for the Body as a whole to struggle with difficult truths and adjust to them, even if they don't always accept them readily. The latter part of the 20th century was undoubedly the time for exposing Christians with the Hebrew Besorah (Gospel). This 21st century will witness its consolidation and expansion. The 1990's saw the re-introduction of Christian plural marriage which has caused no small stirr. It will grow and grow until mainstream Christianity cannot ignore it any more and must either embrace or persecute it. This, together with many other restored Besorah (Gospel) principles, will see the beginning of the end of the denominations which have always been resistant to change since they are themselves crystalisations of earlier reformations. The old must give way to the new. The house church movement will now grow and grow and become the real place where the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) is working in a dramatic way. The old wineskins of gentile Christianity will just not hold what Yahweh is restoring.
So if you are looking for a manifestation of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) in this new century, don't go to the big mass meetings - that's where all the counterfeit manifestations are going to be, where Satan can indulge his appetite for the theatrical and spectacular. Yahweh's end-time Body is going to be found dotted around in small house fellowships. What Paul wrote to the Roman Christians applies today to the small house fellowships:
"Live in harmony with others; do not aspire to eminence, but associate yourselves with humble people, do not be conceited" (Rom.12:15, RBV).
The humble house church, quietly meeting behind the scenes without great flurries of theatrical posturing, prepared for the persecutions that are coming to true believers everywhere. This is where the serious seeker after emet (truth) must ultimately go. Here the old New Testament Besorah (Gospel) will arise again and in spite of the posturing and showiness of the large denominations, this is where the emet (truth) will be found. Here the individual will be able to seek the Davar (Word) in freedom and not be bludgeoned to spiritual death by the enforced dogmas of the whited sepulchre-churches. The sepulchre-churches will wax eloquent in showy yet deceptive words but still the emet (truth) will remain, untroubled by their flowery speeches and the intellectual accolades of the spiritual mortuary.
When all has been said and done, the emet (truth) will still remain.
This page was created on 7 February 2001
Last updated on 24 January 2017
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