The Patriarchal Imperative of
Messianic Israel - Part 1
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 9 April 2005
Years ago when I was attending a Baptist Church in Oxford, England, I was given this very colourful and attractive booklet by John Blanchard called Ultimate Questions produced by Evangelical Press. It is very readable and addresses the core issues of humanity, underlining the need for a personal relationship with God. It rightly points out that religion can never change a sinful man's nature however right it is to do 'religious' things like praying, reading the Bible, going to Church, and so on. As a book on what I call 'Alpha Salvation', it is superb, and just the kind of literature which, if believed and acted on, can bring a lost soul into a personal relationship with the Resurrected Messiah. In a word, it details the fundamentals of what one might call 'Evangelical Christianity'.
Those who have come from such a background are most certainly blessed because they have the correct foundational life - a life in Christ. But we can't stop there. Our Heavenly Father knows that having a 'relationship' isn't enough to ensure you stay on the right course. You also have so have directional relationship.
If you ever get the opportunity to read a recently released book by Ronald J. Sider called Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Like the Rest of the World?, you will get some idea of what I am driving at today. The Publishers Weekly, commenting on this book, says the following:
"Evangelical Christians, says Sider, are very much like their non-Christian neighbours in rates of divorce, premarital sex, domestic violence and use of pornography, and are actually more likely to hold racist views than other people. Why the discrepancy between American Christians' practices and what the Bible teaches? Sider decries the materialism of most churches, marshalling evidence to demonstrate that American Christians' charitable giving has decreased even while their income has risen. Although they are collectively the wealthiest Christians in the history of the world, they don't take care of the poor, he says. Sider reviews the New Testament to argue that Christians can't accept Jesus as their Saviour without also honouring him as their Lord and obeying his teachings. In the final chapters, he insists that Christians must strengthen their accountability to the church and "dethrone mammon" (money) as the real object of worship. Sider's issues are of course selective; despite careful attention to the subject of racial inequality, there is no mention of gender inequality, and Sider quotes no women alongside such heavyweights as Wesley and Bonhoeffer".
Strong words indeed. However, a Christian's attitude to money, gender and race - important though these are - are not the only problem facing Evangelicals. Mammon, feminism and nationalism are not the only idols of our modern world. The real problem is knowing what calling Yah'shua (Jesus) 'Lord' actually means. I think, therefore, we need to remind ourselves and our Evangelical Christian friends just what is meant when we declare with our mouth that Yah'shua (Jesus) is Lord. He says Himself:
"Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great" (Luke 6:46-49, NKJV).
This is a very well known parable to everyone, so well known that you probably don't give it a second thought. Nearly every Christian child is taught it. We have numerous cartoon films in our video library depicting it, some of them quite humorous. One that I like a lot from the film, The Miracle Maker , shows a man sweating his guts out with a pick axe chipping away at a rocky foundation on one side of a river. This goes on day after day, week after week, with no sign of a building structure. Meanwhile on the opposite side of the river is another man who immediately builds a luxurious palace for himself right on top of the sand. It is finished in no time and we are presented a picture of a wealthy man reclining on a velvet-covered couch happily drinking wine and eating grapes. He watches with amusement at the sweating man who has no visible sign that he has accomplished anything at all. There he is, digging deeper and deeper into the rock. Finally, long after the other man has finished his palace, a small but sturdy building appears on the hard, rocky basement. No sooner has he finished it than a storm comes and, as we all know, washes away the palace. The sturdy building is beaten upon by wind, rain and lightening but successfully withstands the force of the elements.
What Yah'shua (Jesus) means by this saying is that a person who really does have Him as 'Lord' or 'Master' does not start building upwards but starts digging downwards. The very first thing a new believer should be doing is looking at himself and getting himself straightened out. It is useless building yourself a spiritual house so long as sin and the demonic is resident in your system because so long as it is there, anything you build on top will be a complete waste of time. We can all build facades. We can all wear masks. How many times have you met new believers strutting around like peacocks declaring that they are not only saved but in the very Throne Room of God! Such people are building their spiritual foundation on sand.
The first obligation of a newly saved Christian is to get deliverance. He has got to unseat all the lies in his system and ensure that he is built on the rocky foundation of the truth and nothing but the truth. Both the men in this parable are believers. They both believe in God. Both are 'saved' in the basic sense of the word. Both, I am sure, believed they loved God in the same way. So what was missing in the life of the one who was washed away by the storm?
Seven chapters later in the Gospel of Luke, Yah'shua (Jesus) continues with this theme in another way:
"And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, "Lord, are there few who are saved?" And He said to them, Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.' But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.' There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last" (Luke 13:22-31, NKJV).
It surprises many Evangelicals to learn that very few are saved. This parable is preceded by the parables about the mustard seed and the leaven. They speak of small things causing great changes, of tiny mustard seeds growing into enormous trees, and a speck of yeast completely transforming the dough to make it into a loaf of bread. They speak of what seem insignificant things actually having the most meaning contrary to what the carnal eye would tell us. Thus Paul would say:
"Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ's, let him again consider ..." (2 Cor.10:7, NKJV).
How do you measure your discipleship, your status with God? These days it is usually in terms of feelings - whether one feels good or not. In fact, people judge their relationship with God on the basis of emotions rather than in using any kind of practical measuring rod. If it feels good then it is good, is the clarion call of the New Age and the occult. But this is not how Yahweh has told us to measure our relationship with Him.
It is evident in reading the Gospels that Yah'shua (Jesus) was most concerned about the motives of those who called Him 'Lord'. Vast multitudes of His followers who had undoubtedly called Him this were to later abandon Him often over a 'hard saying' which to their carnal minds seemed outrageous. Do you remember the time when He told them that the only people who could be His disciples were those who were willing to eat His flesh and drink His blood? (Jn.6:53-59). Indeed, He said, these alone would possess spiritual life. In other words, to possess eternal life there must be not only a relationship but an intimate relationship that is build firmly and squarely on the kind of truth that revolts the carnal senses. And to be linked to Christ in that way means an intimacy that can only be described in terms of a marriage relationship. To be a Christian is to be part of an allegorical Bride. And to be a part of an allegorical Bride means that we must have a clear understanding of what family relationships consist of in the Kingdom of God.
It is at this point that Evangelical Christians and New Covenant Christians or Messianic Israelites part company and walk very different ways. To understand this difference we need to take a look at one more 'Lord' saying of Yah'shua (Jesus):
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matt.7:21-23, NKJV).
Now you all know this Scripture because I have cited it often enough but experience tells me that that it does not impact most believers in the way it was intended to. There are, Yah'shua (Jesus) tells us, two kinds of believer who say "Lord, Lord" - the ones who do not do their Heavenly Father's will and whom Yah'shua (Jesus) describes as "lawless" and those who do who may be said to be "lawful". What, in a Biblical context, is a lawless person? A lawless person is one who does not obey Yahweh's Law. A person who believes in Yahweh and trusts in Yah'shua (Jesus) as his Saviour obeys Yahweh's Torah. What is Torah? Torah is the teaching of the first Five Books of the Old Testament. It is the foundation of Gospel Truth. It is the rocky foundation on which the man built his sturdy house. Those who build on sand are lawless or 'without Torah' because they build on the traditions and philosophies of men which are never adequate to meet the storms of life and which will not, in any case, qualify them for the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever they build is eventually washed away for Yahweh uses the difficulties in this life to show us just what kind of foundation our spiritual house is built on.
The passage we have just cited fits your modern evangelical charismatic Christian to a tee. It describes what he focuses on the most. But these particular evangelicals, like their non-charismatic brethren, are not built on a foundation of Torah but on manmade tradition. Little wonder that books such as Ronald Sider's say that your modern Christian is little different from his pagan counterpart in morality. Simply saying 'Lord, Lord' isn't enough. There has to be a proper foundation.
So let's get down to the nuts-and-bolts of relationship building. Where are we supposed to learn about relationship building? Torah tells us in the home. We learn about relationships from observing our fathers and mothers, and if they do not have a godly relationship, then we will imitate their ungodly ways and grow up believing in false values. We learn by copying. All psychologists know this. So what we learn in the home forms us for life.
For want of a better word, the Bible describes the foundation of all relationship-building as patriarchal or father-leadership. The Torah clearly states what this system consists of and the New Testament simply amplifies it. Because we do not have time to make an exhaustive study today, let me simply summarise these principles to you and we will talk more of them next time:
1. Yahweh is the Number #1 Being in our Lives, we are to serve Him and no one else, and are to love Him above all else. No person or thing can claim a prior allegiance. We are admonished by His Son Yah'shua (Jesus) to place His Kingdom first in our lives with the promise that everything else we need will follow on automatically if we do so;
2. The basic unit of society is the family and the absolute earthly head of that family is the father, just as our Heavenly Father, Yahweh, is each earthly father's absolute head. His wives and children are to obey him in "all things" that would not make them disobey Yahweh and Torah. The father's and husband's authority is total but not absolute - he is bound completely by Yahweh's Torah and cannot violate it or force his family to;
3. After the father comes the mother who is assigned by Yahweh and her husband the watch care over their children. However, it is the father who is responsible for bringing the children up by teaching them in the admonition of Yahweh. His wife is supposed to follow his commands in this matter and she is supposed to go to him for instruction.
4. Just as your earthly father belongs wholly and completely to Yahweh through Yah'shua (Jesus), so your earthly mother belongs to her husband. He owns her but only as he is owned by Yahweh. This ownership is eternal, intimate and therefore personal. Indeed, this is qualified by Yah'shua (Jesus) who says that the husband is to love his wife in the same way as he loves his own body and as Christ loves the Church. His ownership implies total connectedness - it is not something distant and partial. The relationship of husband to wife is to be of the same intensity, sensitivity and intimacy as the relationship of either to Yahweh Himself, which is why our relationship to Him, when it is true, is described as an Allegorical Marriage;
5. Our earthly children belong to their parents until the day they are married. When a son marries he becomes his own lord and master, and when his daughter marries, she belongs to her new husband;
6. When the father in the family dies, the widowed mother comes under the headship of the firstborn son, which is usually the eldest unless he has lost his birthright through unbelief or transgression (as Reuben did to Jacob in the family of Jacob). That means that a widow becomes subject to her eldest son. We recall that this is so when Yah'shua (Jesus) assigned the care of His mother Mary to the Apostle John whilst He was dying on the Cross, and not to one of His half-brothers - that was His right and authority;
7. Finally, because there are no orphans in the Kingdom of God, those who do not have spiritual fathers are supposed to be adopted into a family and get proper headship. This is necessary because when individuals convert it is not usual for whole families to convert, though this is, of course, the most desirable. Thus a convert may have a biological father who is not a believer and so he remains spiritually headless. Such should, if the Bible is being followed, be adopted. We find the same principle reflected in the salvation experience as we become adopted into Yahweh's Family - which is known as Israel - upon allying ourselves to Yah'shua (Jesus) and the Torah (Rom.11). The Book of Revelation makes it crystal clear that the true believers are those who are relying on Christ and obeying the commandments.
A true Christian believer is therefore an Israelite, and you can tell if he is an Israelite or not by His adherence to Torah. If he is not obeying Torah then he is not an Israelite. And if he is not an Israelite then he is not a part of the Bride of Christ. Indeed, he is not in a full and proper relationship with Yahweh because he is outside the Nation, which is the physical part of the heavenly Kingdom. An evangelical Christian would thererfore be one who is converted to Christ but who continues to live in Egypt after he has been commanded to move to the Promised Land.
All divine relationships are a family affair, and that family is described by Torah. Today Christians have 'rewritten' the family. Husbands and wives are supposedly 'coequal', children have a 'democratic vote', and so on. Families built on such a foundation are not solid. When the winds of trial and opposition come, they fall apart. Today 50% of all Christian marriages fail. Five centuries of lawlessness in Protestantism is bringing about a terrible harvest because the Reformation didn't go far enough - horrified by the Catholic abuse of law it swung in the opposite direction of grace-only and became anti-law instead of returning to Christianity's Hebraic foundations and rebuilding on Torah. Instead the Reformers attacked it!
Relationship-building is probably one of the most talked about, yet least understood, aspects of the Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Next week we shall look even more closely at the family and see how the Messianic Community or Church is, in fact, a family of families. If we are in true relationship with Yah'shua (Jesus) it will be reflected in our family life which is the visible revelation of the Light which shines in us. Amen.
Click here for Part 2
 This movie should be in every Christian video/DVD library - it's one of the best representations of the true spirit of the life of Christ that I have ever seen.
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