Month 3:20, Week 3:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year:Day 5936:079 AM|
7 Sabbaths + Omer Count Day #12
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 8 June 2012
Explaining The Gospel Spectrum
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I was having an interesting discussion about the sabbath with evangelicals and messianics which, of course, got nowhere - the evangelicals insisting that it's all 'spiritual' now (and yet insisting on worshipping on Sunday) and the messianics insisting that sabbath worship was a creation commandment never abrogated by the New Covenant in Messiah (and insisting it was on Saturday). I try to steer clear of such discussions as a rule because they never get anywhere but then I shared what I believe using a practical illustration that in principle is applicable to anyone in order to try and find some common ground between the two opposing 'sides' because in reality the conflict is a clever illusion set up by the Enemy. So let me try and recreate what I said.
"To Him be glory in the messianic community (church) by Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus) to all generations, forever and ever" (Eph.3:21, NKJV).
Picture yourself as Yahweh reaching down to a lost soul, much as a father reaches out to a son, in order to bring that soul back into a saving relationship with Him. What is the first thing that He, as a Father, wants His son to know? That he is loved, of course. Ahavah or love is the first principle of the Good News which is the simplest and most profound emet (truth) in the Bible:
Until a person knows that His Heavenly Father loves him, nothing else will really matter...and certainly not theology. This is what attracts us to Yahweh in the first place - His ahavah (love). It's what attracts any child to his or her father.
"Elohim (God) is ahavah (love)" (1 John 4:16, NKJV)
I consider anyone who has encountered Elohim (God) like this to be of the same spiritual family as myself in the broadest sense of the word. That is my first common ground. He may not know Elohim's /God'd) true Name, he may simply call Him 'God' or by one of any other number of names or titles. And frankly Yahweh is not too concerned with names at this stage - He just wants people to know that He loves and cares about them.
One of the first consequences of encountering this avahah (love) is an awareness that we are dirty and unworthy of this ahavah (love) and that there is a need for inner change so that the vessel is properly cleansed to receive and hold it. This brings us into the realm of needing the saving grace of Yah'shua the Messsiah (Jesus Christ), of the importance of making a choice for Him, repenting of our sins, and receiving the new birth as we accept His sacrificial death.
All of this is standard Evangelical Christian teaching and is represented by the first three Annual Festivals of Yahweh: Pesach (Passover), Chag haMatzah (Festival of Unleavened Bread) and Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits). When Messianics celebrate these three festivals they are, without sometimes realising it, celebrating the basic tenets of Evangelical Christianity - of salvation by grace (not works), being born-again, and coming into a personal relationship with Yahweh the Father through Yah'shua (Jesus).
This is why I can call myself an evangelical Christian. It is why I could, without much difficulty, call myself a Baptist (with respect to these things) since the ordinance of baptism by complete immersion is the New Covenant ordinance of Yom haBikkurim. In the table below you will see the connection between the first festivals and Evangelical Christianity:
The difficulties arise as we look beyond these three festivals to the other four and what they represent. Beyond the basic truths of the Besorah (Gospel) contained within the first three festivals, evangelical Christianity, Protestantism and orthodox Christianity in general veer off into darkness, for the fourth stage, element or part of the Besorah (Gospel), represented by the festival of Shavu'ot or Pentecost, consists of two vitally improtant parts:
The Enemy attacks both of these by:
These attacks are conducted on multiple fronts by:
- 1. Counterfeiting the lifestyle and the mitzvot (commandments) that define it; and
- 2. Counterfeiting the Ruach (Spirit) with false spiritual infillings.
It is therefore at the Shavu'ot (Pentecost) stage that the greatest confusion reigns in Christendom because what results when you decouple Torah from the Ruach (Spirit) is a false dichotomy of Torah vs. Ruach or Law vs. Spirit when in truth they are two sides of the same coin. Adherence to Torah is the hedge of safety given by Yahweh to all believers but at the same time it is not possible to live by Torah unless you are endowed with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). The two are closely interlinked and, like the resurrection, they are in truth inseparable. In denying this dual nature of Shavu'ot the resurrection power itself is denied. By decoupling one from the other, the result is:
- 1. Encouraging believers to become antinomian or lawless, rejecting Torah and simply 'following the spirit'; and
- 2. By decoupling the spiritual life from the Torah by essentially encourging a feeling-based, instead of a truth-based, emunah (faith, trusting).
Perhaps the best examples of these are:
- 1. Dead, legalistic religion; and
- 2. Religion governed by false spirits.
I tried to explain this to an evangelical woman by means of an illustration. When you have received Yahweh's ahavah (love) and been born again, having confessed and forsaken your sins, what does Yahweh next want you to do? To fellowship with other believers. Shavu'ot (Pentecost) does, in fact, move the believer from the purely 1-to-1 covenant between believer and Elohim (God) to the communal covenant of believers united together as a single Body. In fact, it denotes maturity and the assumption of responsibility for others of the same Body or Community. Shavu'ot is a transitioning from the childish (egocentric) to the mature (serving others as family).
- 1. Some kinds of heretical Messianism (principally, but also even Orthodox Christianity) wherein Torah-obedience (or any system of commandments, true or false) is promoted without the believing having actually been born again; and
- 2. Charismatic Christianity wherein any and all spirits are attracted because there no sound vessel of emet (truth) as defined by Yahweh's own Torah or Law.
Assembling together for worship is a commandment. Worship is not only individual (beteen the believer and his Elohim/God) but it is also communal because each individual believer is part of an allegorical 'wife', the Bride of Messiah. That Bride comes to Him together at Sukkot (Tabernacles) or not at all. In other words, our spiritual journey begins at Pesach when we decide to believe in Yahweh through Yah'shua (Jesus) His Son and ends in Sukkot as a uniplural unit - an echad or oneness between these individually saved believers. Salvation begins as personal and ends as communal. It is both. having alef (alpha) and taw (omega) ends with a spectrum inbetween.
Final salvation is not about 'me and my special relationship with Christ' - it's about living together as a community by a single standard as a single nation known as Israel - and specifically in the New Covenant, Messianic Israel. It's a communal lifestyle goverened by a code of behaviour progressively worked into us - written on our lev (heart) by the Ruach (Spirit) - by progressive yielding and surrendering of our own wills and independence to our allegorical Husband, Yah'shua (Jesus).
There aren't multiple denominations in the Kingdom of Heaven because there are no denominations at all in Yahweh's eyes. There's only a single NATION governed by a single LAW given by the LAW-GIVER (Yahweh) and presided over by a representative KING (Yah'shua/Jesus). There are no man-made pagan observations (like Christmas, Easter, etc.) and there are no man-made doctrines (like the 'church' replacing Israel or Israel being a nation like other nations in the world system).
The great division occurs at Shavu'ot because of the lie of Satan that inner and outer don't need to be echad (one). He splits the Body into a kind of schizophrenic at war with himself.
So let us continue with the illustration. The Ruach (Spirit) tells the born-again believer that he needs to fellowship. Like a log that falls out of the fire, the believer without fellowship soon burns out...unless he is exceptionally strong in Yah'shua (Jesus). The first believers spontaneously fellowshipepd every day, eating together, worshipping together because of their great ahavah (love) for one another. But in addition they also met on the Sabbath. But when was that sabbath they assembled on by commandment of Yahweh? (This wasn't an option - it was required of them).
Now clearly knowing the ahavah (love) of Elohim (God) through spiritual regeneration is more important than assembling together. Likewise, assembling together is more important than assembling on Sunday, Saturday or some other day. There are priorities - Pesach always comes before Shavu'ot - we are first evangelical and then messianic. However, assembling on Yahweh's set-apart times (or moedim) is also important. Not surprisingly, the Enemy, knowing how important this is, has deliberately messed up the 'times and seasons', altering the calendar. In fact, Yahweh's Day of Rest is neither Sunday nor Saturday - it's the 7th Biblical Day of the Creation Calendar, not the 7th or 1st Roman day of the modern Gregorian Calendar or the eight-day Julian one before it (where Saturday was the first day of the week and Sunday the second...that was the one the Romans used when the first Christians lived).
Now what happens when man is carnal is that he repuidiates all believers who are not doing exactly as he is doing. Thus Creation Calendar Sabbatarians reject Saturday-worshippers just as Saturday-worshippers reject Sunday-worshippers just as Sunday-worshippers reject those who don't have a day of rest at all. They do this because they view the Besorah (Gospel) upside down, forgetting that we all start somewhere and that we are all somewhere in our spiritual journey. Yahweh is far more generous in accepting His children than most believers are in accepting one another.
Messianic Evangelicals accept people where they are on different parts of the spiritual growth spectrum based on their spiritual age and choices (see opposite). That is why we hold fellowship with those who have been born again but do not know Torah and why we do not hold fellowship with those Messianics (or anyone else, including Jews) who obey Torah but who have never been spiritually regenerated in Messiah. We look for the fruits - ahavah (love) for Yahweh and love for people (for the two are always linked) - and we patiently teach just as we ourselves were (and are still being) patiently taught by Yahweh and others. None of us 'get there' in one go but by a process and we cannot expect people to be where we are (or they, us) anymore than we can expect a child thrown into the world system, with poor guidance, to mature into an adult overnight. We must be as patient with others struggling to work out their salvation as Yahweh is with us.
While we do not compromise or dilute the emet (truth), we welcome honest seekers after emet (truth) wherever they may be on their spiritual journey. We appreciate that there is a lot to learn, that there are so many lies in Christianity and Messianism to be exposed, and that we can only cope with so much at any one time. There is a lot on our website. So we try to extend grace, encourage people to stay where they are in their beliefs and practices until they are 100% sure about some new challenging teaching, and do not pressurise them to change or join us. We welcome you into our fellowship, online as well as on the ground if you would like to walk with us - you are heartily welcome.