Over the last few days I have been reviewing and updating old articles I wrote 15-20 years ago. It's been interesting to see how Yahweh has led and matured this community of believers, to see how terminology has changed as we have adjusted our doctrinal and practical positions, and to better understand why it is unbelievers are so confused about the vast array of churches in the world. This world is for sure a confusing place!
Today I want us to ask ourselves the following question: Do believers belong to a Church, a Nation or to something else? What exactly is a community of Christians or Messianics? Reading the works of some Messianics you would think that Christians were aliens from another planet and their 'churches' something terrible. They often speak of themselves as a 'nation', Messianic Israel (or Messianic Judah if they are Messianic Jews). But apart from the way they dress, the type of music they play, the festivals they observe, the food they eat, the days they meet on, and the things they talk about, to all outward intents and purposes there is actually strikingly little difference between Messianic Assemblies and Christian Churches, in spite of the concerted attempt make themselves look different.
What do I mean by that? I mean, that no matter what we call ourselves or do, we are all basically sharing the same social and political matrix. Though Messianics call themselves a 'nation', the truth is they are not. To be a nation you have to have a country (land) and a government that has some kind of political (let alone religious) authority over you. Ancient Israel was a nation only when it crossed into to the Holy Land under Joshua. Before that the Israelites were nomads like today's Berbers wandering from one political domain (Egypt) to another (Canaan).
The Torah was given by Yahweh for the purpose of the establishment of a theocratic nation. In exile, the Israelites became a part of the countries that took them captive. Had passports existed back then, and Israelites not had the status of slaves, the northern tribes would have become Assyrian passport-holders and the Judahites Babylon passport-holders. And even when the Judahites went back to the land of Judah, they still carried Persian passports (since the Persians had conquered the Babylonians) and latterly Greek ones. Not until the Maccabee revolt was there an independent Judahite Nation again and Judahites carried Judahite passports...until the Romans conquered them and they got Roman passports...sort of (in fact they were not automatic Roman citizens as Paul was). Today you can get an Israeli passport (literally) but that does not make Israelis Israelites. And a Messianic migrating to the Israeli Republic doesn't suddenly belong to Yahweh's Theocratic Nation (assuming they'll even let him in since Messianics are not welcome in the Jewish State). 'Israel' is still a nation of the world run along worldly lines.
It should be patently obvious that as believers we are not members of a theocratic state and therefore we are not tecnically-speaking a 'nation'. We are a part of a group of people with a common identity who follow the same Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) and obey (more or less) the same Torah or Law and (more or less) live the same general kind of lifestyle...sort of. We gather in separate congregations in the nations whose passports we hold. Which is exactly what Christians do...more or less. A Roman Catholic and a Messianic obey the same national laws so they are more alike than either would probably care to admit.
Another way of looking at this situation is that we are a nation in exile. So was Judah when she was in Babylon. The trouble is, when she returned to the land (under Persian occupation, then Greek, then Roman, then Arab, then Turkish, then British, and then Israeli) she had changed. The rabbis has begun to change the religion, adding lots more rules and changing the times and seasons. Was Judah still a 'nation'? That's a hard one, but in reality no harder than the question as to whether Christians are a kind of 'nation' or not... in spite of changing the rules. Roman Catholics do, of course, belong (sort of) to a nation...a very tiny one called the Vatican...which has its own semi-independence though closely tied to Italy. It was not always so. The Vatican territory was once quite large and at an earlier time was a part of the German Nation, calling itself the Holy Roman Empire. And long before that, when Roman Christianity was a part of the state religion, it was integrated with the Roman Empire of Constantine and beyond.
As you look at the bounaries between some states and their churches, they can be quite hazy. Believers are, whether Christian or Messianic, not strictly speaking a 'nation' - at least not a visible nation - because we all owe allegiance to earthly nations in the absence of the Theocratic State of Israel which we do not expect until the Millennium. We can call ourselves a 'nation' in an abstract sort of way but reality dictates the truth to us that we are not really one. Messianics are not united - they are as polarised by denominationalism as Christians are and given enough centuries would generate as many Messianic denominations as there are Christian ones today. To claim that Messianic Israel exists as a 'nation' is therefore pure myth. We're all, objectively-speaking, just congregations or churches. And that's the way it's going to be until the Messiah returns. Anyone who claims otherwise is living in cloud-cuckooland. (And this will certainly upset any Messianic cult claiming to exclusively be 'Israel').
There is no doubt that as believers we are all destined to become the Nation of Messianic Israel located in the Holy land with the New Jerusalem as capital, but this nation will not be made by man (thank goodness - just look at all the oppressive and murderous theocratic experiments of the past). I can't wait for the day when we become a nation. However I cannot afford to live in a fantasy world of waving a magic Torah wand saying, 'Hocus Pocus, we are now a nation'. There are Messianic groups doing this and they are all heading towards the dangerous waters of cultism, even if that is not their plan or objective. The totalitarian temptation ever looms over us and it is one we must vigorously resist. For one thing, the Beast Powers that rule this world will never allow it again, because they want total control over us. Besides there is no uninhabited land without a flag or a national name left to be claimed - the Mormons tried that and ended up in the United States - unless Atlantis resurfaces, of course, in which case some countriy's military will be in there like a flash raising its own flag. Unless you want to start on the moon or Mars though I think you'll find there are already other claimants there already - not that you have the zillions of dollars to establish a colony there anyway.
The reality, my friends, is that we are all - Christian and Messianic - a part of political entities owned by the Beast and will remain so such until the faithful remnant is called supernaturally (and you'll have no doubts about that when you see it) for the Final Gathering. Until then we are all effectively either going it alone or are parts of 'churches' (Christians and Messianics alike). We can call them something else if we want to (assemblies, kehilim congregations, colonies, wards, branches, groups, etc.) but they are all essentially the same kind of entity.
We must not drift into unrealism or pretend to be anything we are not. Bible believers must always be realists. Before too long we'll be going underground anyway so that even the traditional sense of 'church' will cease to be meaningful to all but those who decide to become a part of the Beast's One World Religion. Indeed, those accustomed to 'church' or 'congregational' ways need to rapidly start transitioning into house churches, groups or cells because that is how true believers will meet and worship in the closing years of this dispensation. Please see our revelation on this important subject whether you are Christian or Messianic.
I realise that believers grow very attached to their churches and messianic synagogues but they need to get ready for the smaller units that will characterise the days of persecition and tribulation and to prepare for the cities of refuge if they are willing to fully yield to all of Yahweh's ways...a far better choice than staying behind to suffer with the rest of wicked, enslaved mankind, even as Yah'shua warned:
May the Master of the Way lead and prepare you for the big changes that are coming!
"...the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!' Then they will begin 'to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"'" (Luke 23:29-31, NKJV).
Comments from Readers
"We are emissaries of the righteous nation not yet seen in the earth. And if we are looking for one built only for a specific generation of living men we would be following the strong delusion and actually be looking for a false king. We are of the unseen but 'seen' the way our savior said and doing His work outside the gate now said as that is mentioned in Hebrews. Though now if we are hearing what is going on we must be prepared to declare the Supreme Authority of Rev 14:7 and not lose our salvation to the 'beast' when they reveal themselves. Once revealed it will be like Lot coming out of Sodom and Gomorrah, no turning back even though seeing what has been going on for so many long years is as diabolical as could ever be thought of. Thankfully we are of the Supreme Authority His Name and the most wonderful plan ever thought of. His way of getting out of the Dust is so 'awesome' to say and we'll meet Him face to face on that day. And when the true kingdom comes it will include those of what the desolate can not. Abraham, Issac, and Jacob will be in that one as well as the whole family Alive of All generations of Adam. See if the liars can pull that off!!" (RDR, USA, 1 February 2011)