There is no question that the “Messianic Movement” is… well messy. I have even seen others dub us as Messi-antics! How unfortunate! We should be shining brightly with HaShem’s Light. Instead, we often are the epitome of confusion and strife. This should not be so. If nothing else, this should cause us to pause and question our hearts and motives. Where are we going? Are we following the Master or have we veered off course? When did our focus shift from loving/serving YHVH ————- AND our brethren ————— to being “right”? Pride has entered the camp. Is there not a watchman in Israel?
This brief paper is a cry in the wilderness… for anyone willing to reason. One of the first things that always comes to my mind when confronted with one of the many contrary teachings in our movement is this: “Does this originate from a Hebrew mindset or a Greek mindset”? Those that may care to even read this article should know the difference to these diametrically opposed mentalities. If you don’t know, by all means stop here and search it out. My very premise rests on these differences.
Regardless of the issue (Sacred Names, Lunar Sabbath, Day Spring [day-start], beards, head-coverings, Liturgy, Calendars, Shavuot, New Moons, Jewish Tradition, End of Days, etc.), there are always some that turn their pet issue(s) into an all or nothing position. They isolate themselves, ridicule brethren, and desperately seek to disciple others after themselves.
Gal 4:16-17 So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? (17) They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them.
In all honesty, I don’t believe that most people do this consciously. I believe their initial intent is good. They, like we all do, search the Scriptures for Truth and Revelation. But, not all things are profitable. Not every conclusion we come to is of Elohim! If you think otherwise, be careful when you think you stand, lest you fall.
One consistent attitude in many of these variant “issues” is pride, followed quickly by strife and division. These traits are portrayed through the pen, in videos, or worse in person. They sneak up on you though. Usually everything starts out warm and fuzzy; only when you realize it’s too late does the venom begin to spew. These are works of the flesh, not the spirit. Upon disagreeing with one of these “teachers”, you automatically become an “enemy” to them. Where you once were a “brother/sister”, you are now equivalent to a heathen/pagan/hell-bound Jezebel. How many hurtful words have been spewed for the sake of a pet doctrine/teaching? What is more important: loving your interpretation of the Scriptures or your brother?
1Jn 3:14-16 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. (15) Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (16) We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
How many people do you know that would be willing to lay down their life for you? Real love is willing do so even for those in sin! Isn’t that what our Messiah did for us? How about that person that is constantly pushing you to “see” the Scripture “their” way? Are they willing to die for you? Or do their deeds betray them? Do they exhibit love or hate? This is something to think about.
Now, that being said, I completely understand and believe that a challenge to our faith and/or current beliefs is not always a “bad” thing. Many of us wouldn’t be where we are today without such “trials”, so I’m not shoving this all into one neat box. We must all exercise godly discernment. My alarm is that we are not doing this enough. We don’t want to accept “every wind of doctrine” just because someone is seemingly flawless at cutting and pasting scriptures together. My point is “test/prove ALL things”. Do this by reading BOTH sides of an issue, earnestly search the Scriptures, and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for wisdom.
I’ve often wondered why those returning to the Torah and holding to the testimony of Mashiach are plagued with so many divisions, fringe movements, and contrary teachings. To the outside world we must truly look messy. How does all this confusion portray the Light of Mashiach? How do we begin to rectify ourselves in the midst of the chaos? I have been pondering these questions as of late. One thing I know for sure: unless Mashiach returns very soon, we are NOT all going to think exactly the same way. We will always have differences and those that believe they’ve cornered the market on all truth. But things have always been this way. It doesn’t take a history buff to point this fact out.
Sadly, we have become the very thing most of us are striving to leave: Christianity. In a short time we have managed to create a myriad of names and labels for ourselves (essentially denominations), contrary doctrines/teachings, and mounds of hurt people in our quest. Are we hypocrites or lunatics? Again I say, where are the watchmen?
It’s almost as if we can’t see the forest for the trees. We have lost sight of something important. If we are “right” (as we all love to be), then why are we no different than Christianity when it comes to the three MAJOR flaws I mentioned above?
For what it’s worth, I offer you my humble opinion. I reserve the right to be wrong—– or right.
- Creating Denominations
I know some of you will never admit it, you’re pride won’t let you, but even though we never call our variant groups “denominations”, they are just that —– by their very nature. I fully realize the reason we do this. We want to distinguish ourselves from so-in-so’s group down the road who believe……. you fill in the blank. And I also see that this is in many cases absolutely necessary to protect the truth. YET… what are we missing? Are they really the enemy? Perhaps they are, but it is far more likely that they aren’t.
Where is the common ground? Where is the unity? Where is our LOVE?
Compromise, you say? That’s evil, you cry? I’ve heard (and even played) that broken record enough. Not all compromise is evil. Our hearts are more likely the evil we need to be dealing with. I mean do we ever REALLY ask ourselves what Yeshua would do? How would he treat and react to them or us for that matter? I dare say it wouldn’t be the way we’ve been treating one another. Again, where is the unity?
We can be united for the common purpose of worshipping the One true Elohim and Mashiach without fusing, mixing, or blending every little doctrine. We don’t have to be cookie-cutter images of one another in thought or appearance (even within our individual fellowships) in order to be united before YHVH.
However, if it really were that easy, wouldn’t we have done it by now? What are we missing? I have an idea (like it or not), but we will get to that later.
- Contrary Doctrines/Teachings
Again a topic that has been an “issue” since the beginning. This is due in large part to our nature. We do not all have the same ideologies. When it comes to the Scriptures, we don’t all study the same, have the same “knowledge”, or come to the same conclusions. Seeing this quandary, we often accuse any opposers of having a “Spirit-less” walk or something along those lines. After all, the Ruach HaKodesh is NOT the author of confusion. Perhaps, there are some that really are “wolves” or maybe they can’t “perceive” the Light. BUT, what if we’re wrong? How are we to treat these so-called “wayward” brethren? Do we LOVE them? Does Elohim love them? Does He love us?
Is there a simple solution to this insurmountable problem? No. And Yes. No, because many of us have deeply held convictions one way or the other. Most of us have these convictions because we have humbled ourselves (at least we believe we have) and have sought the Scriptures both written and Living (in Mashiach) for answers. We can’t simply shrug off what we believe to be divinely revealed truth. But, the REAL truth is that we aren’t right about everything no matter how deep our convictions may be.
In light of that fact, we must be gentle with one another. That’s where the “yes” to the above question comes into play. Can we exercise mercy with each other? Will the Judge of heaven and earth commend us for being “right” or for being “merciful”? As one friend put it: “Will Elohim punish us for granting too much mercy”? If we stop and consider this, we have no choice but to sheepishly reply: no.
Has our quest for the unadulterated truth left a wake of broken and battered people? Have we split and broke off from group to group? Have we even left our Christian friends and family in the pit without a rope? How far are we willing to go? How many people will we trample over in the name of truth? How is this any different than the Christian crusades and pogroms?
On the other hand, I do understand the need for sound doctrine and teaching. We can’t condone everything and anything. Darkness must be exposed and we cannot tolerate teaching that is obviously contrary to the primary truths of Scripture. However, I dare say that much of what we bicker and fight and split over is anything but the major issues. No, it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.
How do we come to at least a “basic” outline of so-called sound doctrine that allows for individual expression and convictions? Is this even possible? And whom if anybody would be the authority to which we are all accountable? It’s true we are all ultimately accountable to Elohim and His Word, but obviously we aren’t doing so well without a tangible Judge or King directly in our midst. Again, what are we missing?
- Causalities of Truth
Nearly every one of us that have returned to the Torah of Messiah has caused collateral damage along the way. Whether it is family, friends, or brethren, we have intentionally and/or unintentionally hurt other people. Sometimes this is unavoidable and is the choice of the other person and not our wishes. But we can’t claim innocence just because they wouldn’t “go our way”.
At what point does our quest for truth turn into persecution?
Where do we draw the line? How do we balance our zeal with godly mercy? How long do we “wait” on family, friends, and brethren to come to repentance and walk in truth? What if they never do? How far do we separate from them? Completely? Partially? Is this a one size fits all answer?
For example, most of us have family members that may be devout Christians. They live obedient to the light they have. Sure, they practice some paganism in ignorance. They may even believe we are lunatics, but they may be seeking after YHVH with their whole heart. (Who are we to judge their heart?) Can we still love them? I mean, considering they haven’t wrote us off. How far is too far? We can love them without celebrating pagan holidays with them. How do we love them? Does Elohim love them? Didn’t He love you when you were in their shoes? If the King of the Universe can have compassion, mercy, and act with long-suffering, why can’t we?
What kind of witness are we when we slaughter the little faith some people have left with our words or deeds? Will we be commended for this carnage? Are we displaying the image of the One true Elohim when we act with such pride and venom or are we displaying the image of someone else?
Only pride will cause us to act with a murderous attitude toward our neighbor. It may not be a physical murder, but isn’t a “spiritual” murder even worse? I recall a dear friend (who was broken like most of us) declare loudly that he was only required to love his neighbor. He didn’t take kindly to new people and usually reacted by slaying their new and tender hearts with machine gun like precision; bombarding them with questions and spewing scripture verses like bullets as he tore down each of their increasingly meek replies. My friend forgot that we are also told to love our enemies.
Sadly, these people weren’t enemies at all. They were seekers. They may have not known much, but it was in their heart to learn. I never saw many of them again. I often wonder if their experience with us caused them to question their new found love for the Torah. I wonder if they ever even celebrated one of YHVH’s moedim.
When our convictions are challenged, even by someone we know is weaker, too often pride swells in our hearts and we go on the defensive. Sure, we may know the Word, history, and even Hebrew far better than the challenger, but that in no way gives us the right to throw a watermelon at their head. In most cases, all they need is a little seed. They will choke on the whole watermelon. In the same way, we have to remember that not all seeds sprout at the same time. Some need to rest in the ground for a while. We are not the sower or the seed. We can’t “force” a seedling to sprout.
The bottom line is that we again need to exercise patience, love, and discernment. Without these fruits we will inevitably create casualties of truth and will give an account for each precious one.
My Two Shekels
These are thoughts; I’m not claiming any sort of absolute truth. But, it seems a large part of our problem is a lack of accountability and a skewed mindset. I’ll start with the latter. As I mentioned earlier, the Hebrew and Greek mind are diametrically opposed. To be concise, the Greek mind must have everything neatly arranged by logic. The computer I’m using to write this article is the Greek mind on super steroids. Everything has its own category and file location. It computes based on logic and facts. It cannot follow any path that is not preset from an already existing program. If one little line of code is not just so, then the whole program cannot function properly. Our idea, the Greek idea, of theology is a lot like my computer. And so is our western mindset. Hebrew logic just doesn’t “compute” with the reasoning we have all used our entire lives.
We almost have a need for things to come together nicely and logically in our minds and by extension in our theology. That’s why we have at the butt of so many of our quibbles the old, “if I’m right, you therefore, must be wrong” attitude. But, Hebraic thinking doesn’t function this way. I know many of you know this, but has it really sunk in? Our actions prove the contrary.
Two seemingly contradictory “ideas” CAN coexist in Hebraic thought without a loud “Does Not Compute” warning signal. The system doesn’t crash with conflicting thoughts or “programs”. Instead of “I’m right and your wrong”, it becomes “you’re both right or conversely perhaps you’re both wrong”. This is because our minds are finite, while HaShem’s is infinite!
When I survey the chilly climate of the Messianic Movement, I can see that many issues would simply disappear if we really started using Hebrew Block Logic. Instead of being right, we begin to see more and more possibilities and in turn the smallness of our own knowledge and significance. We are only a fraction of the whole. We need each other. Your light and my light together are far brighter than when we go it alone.
No longer do we need to stand on a soap box to convince everyone else that we have “arrived”. No more do we need to prove how smart we are. We each have gold bricks in our hands. But we can build nothing without each other’s contribution. Haven’t we heard this lesson before? How meticulously did HaShem give directions for building the Mishkan (Tabernacle)?
I no longer want to be a lunatic or show the appearance of one. I want to display mercy and exercise truth in love building upon one another instead of tearing down. Looking through the lens of Scripture, theology, and doctrines with Hebraic goggles is one way to keep me from thinking too highly of myself and my conclusions.
As to the lack of authority/accountability statement, many of you will profoundly disagree with my offering. And that’s fine by me, for I am a mere voice offering my opinion. I may be completely wrong.
Every year it saddens me that many of us are living by a plethora of different calendars. We have problems with how to observe the moedim even when we do agree on a date. We take issue with head coverings or lack thereof. We argue over when the day starts and when the real new moon is. Some fellowships are too Jewish (according to some) and some are too Christian. Heck, in recent years, some can’t even agree on when the weekly Sabbath actually is. There’s a new “revelation” or teaching on just about every subject and commandment in the Torah. Hence, the result has been an ever increasing problem with the three main flaws I mentioned earlier.
Viewing things with our Hebraic goggles will help us to be more merciful and might even temper our tempers, but some of these issues are just too big for us to just “all get along”. The fact is if we are on different Shabbats, Months, and Feast Days, we aren’t fellowshipping together anyhow. We aren’t building at all. We are destroying. I know we all mean well. I can hear the common cry: “I just want to do what the Word of Elohim says”. “I want to be obedient”. “The Ruach revealed these truths to me because I sought Him will my whole heart. I humbled myself and this is what He showed me. Maybe you’re not ‘there’ yet, but I am and I’m going to do what He says”. “I love Elohim more than tradition or man or history or you”.
All that sounds so wonderful, so righteous, so lofty, so…………….. much of a cop-out. I can say that because I have said most of those things and I’m finally after eight years beginning to see the ineffectiveness of it —————————— because it’s never handled in a godly way. There is no accountability. You can kick and scream that you are accountable to Yah (and you are), but the plain truth is that He is not going to tell us all different things/truths to follow. That’s confusion! I’m big enough to admit that I do not have all knowledge. Are you? Is there even a possibility you might have something wrong? Only self-righteousness and pride would cause you to answer in the negative. And if that’s the case, it’s safe to assume you are wrong.
Who do we look to? In the Torah, we would take these issues to the heads and leaders or even Moses. Later, we would go to a judge or a king. We can say all day that YHVH/Yeshua is our King, BUT He’s not handing out contradictory judgments. So, we are missing something or we are missing Him.
This where my suggestions will become controversial. I believe that Judah holds the scepter as Genesis 49:10 attests. While I realize that the ultimate fulfillment of this verse is fulfilled in Yeshua the Messiah, I also understand that that does not negate the lesser fulfillments. Judah is still our elder brother. We cannot ignore their wisdom or mindlessly trample their tradition. We mustn’t forget that we both only see in part.
If this is true, then much of our quibbles could be solved by submitting to Judah’s judgment on the matter. I know this won’t solve everything, but many petty issues could be laid to rest. Yes, I know they aren’t right about everything and that many of their judgments are just plain wrong. Nevertheless, whether we like it or not, as a general rule, Abba has left them in the seat of authority.
Sadly, there is still a very strong anti-Semitic spirit among those returning to the Torah and holding to the testimony of Yeshua. I believe this is for two reasons. The first reason is fear. Many have been touched by families that have grown close to Judah or Rabbinic Judaism only later to see them reject Messiah. This is tragic, but should in no way cause us to walk in fear of Judah, Judaism, or Rabbinic Judaism. We are to fear YHWH alone, not circumstances of man. Yet, ungodly fear still causes those affected to vehemently guard against anything that smacks of Jewish tradition. Obviously, a reaction of fear is an affront to the very power of YHWH to preserve us and see us through to the end.
The second reason I believe to be pride. Since their beginning, the northern tribes have had an inferiority complex. The negative side of pride is manifested in insecurity. Was this not the sin of the 10 tribe’s father, Jeroboam? It was both fear and pride that caused him to declare anti-Jewish practices like NOT worshipping in Jerusalem. He rejected Judah’s G-d given leadership for the same reasons. So he changed the place of worship to Dan and Bethel; he appointed lay people as priests————- rejecting YHWH’s Levitical priesthood; and he changed the moedim (appointed times). All this to keep the people away from Judah!
Think about that for a moment. I expect many of my readers will be very familiar with this biblical story. But, I doubt very many have looked at Jeroboam’s sin from this perspective. The way I see it, we have many in our midst that are still following after Jeroboam. Oh, they may have seen the error of changing the place of worship from Jerusalem to Dan and Bethel, and they may realize the egregious error of changing HaShem’s feast times and the paganism that ensues. But have we considered the effect of cutting ourselves off from Judah?
2Ch. 13:5 “Do you not know that YHWH God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?
All of Jeroboam’s tactics sound peculiarly familiar to the attitude of modern (10-Israel) Messianics who reject the leadership of Judah and insist on having their own Bet Din’s, their own temples distinctly separated from Judah, their own ‘corrected’ Bible Calendar, and their own appointed teachers and priests.
Before I offend you, please understand that I’m not suggesting that all these efforts are done in vain or that YHWH doesn’t use us in some of these roles and capacities to minister. After all, we see these ministrations take place in the Brit Chadashah among believers no matter their ethnicity. Nonetheless, if we are honest and we look closely, those “leaders/teachers/apostles/” in the Brit Chadashah in no way disparaged or usurped the God given authority of Judah when it came to the calendar, Temple services, synagogue leadership, or the like. Even though most of the Jerusalem leadership didn’t believe Yeshua was the Messiah!
We must be very careful in the way that we worship YHWH, treat our neighbour, and how we treat our elder brother, Judah. The last thing we would desire is to still be following the error of Jeroboam.
1Ki. 12:16 When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; To your tents, O Israel! Now look after your own house, David!” So Israel departed to their tents. 1Ki. 12:19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
We do not want to be in rebellion. Yet, I also know many will disagree with my conclusions. But Yeshua hasn’t yet come as Mashiach Ben David or restored the Kingdom to Israel. Clearly the Kingdom has not been established yet. It is in preparation, sure! Souls are being spiritually molded and prepared to rule with Him in His Kingdom, but they are not doing so yet.
Ps. 110:1 “Sit Thou at My Right Hand until I have made Thine enemies Thy footstool.”
Yeshua is still at the right hand of the Father; He is not ruling over His enemies yet. The Marriage of the Lamb – the King taking His Bride – which will happen at His Coming—– is yet future. So, if you want to declare that we are operating under a different priesthood and walking in the Kingdom (Come), according to Scripture, we have a problem.
These things WILL happen, but not yet. In any country, kingdom or domain, there has to be a legal judicial body. In the Kingdom of YHWH on earth, it is Judah. In the future Kingdom it will be His elect, under direct leadership and guidance of Messiah (God) Himself.
This is in NO way diminishes the role or purpose of Messiah’s first coming, His power, His glory, or His authority. He has provided the Way of Salvation through His sacrifice and Blood for this restoration and our salvation to take place. This is the role of the suffering servant, Mashiach Ben Yoseph (Joseph). But, we are still looking for the fulfilment of the fall moedim (feasts) in Yeshua’s return as Mashiach Ben David.
I think it is time to re-evaluate our perception of Judah and Judaism. We ought not think too highly of ourselves. We each have gifts and callings on our lives, but those gifts and callings will in no way abrogate YHWH’s “forever” earthly covenants with Judah or Levi. (King and Priesthood).
Num. 18:19 “All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to YHWH, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before YHWH to you and your descendants with you.”
2Ch. 13:5 “Do you not know that YHWH God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?
Many of us are looking forward to the reunification of Judah and Israel. I think we need to be working toward that unity…now. We can do this by submitting to the authority that is above us in our homes and assemblies. Moreover, we cannot ignore the vital role of our elder brother Judah (and the Levites in their midst). Our current leadership must submit to their judgments if we are to walk in unity and shalom. This isn’t a matter of who’s right and who’s wrong. Two wrong’s really don’t make a “right”.
Dt. 16:18 “You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which YHWH your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.
Judah is accountable to HaShem as an authority. Judah will answer for Judah; especially any unrighteous judgments. We will answer for ourselves. What will you say when Mashiach asks you why you ignored His judges? What will be more important then, being right on scripture interpretation or being submissive to Elohim? Will He reward our insolence to Judah or Christians for that matter? Will He be proud of the myriad of sacred name pronunciations? Will He commend you for your obscure calendar that was more “biblically” correct than the masses? Will He reward your countless Facebook debates or online chats where you rip through people like tissue paper with your superior Hebraic knowledge?
Will He punish you for being a peace maker or exercising great mercy? My hope is that that last question will be our legacy.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Mat 5:9)
 PLEASE feel free to pick your favorite label or non-label. I chose “Messianic Movement” as a broad generalization and because it parallels with Messi-antics.
 There is NO WAY to please everyone with the use or nonuse of Sacred Names. No doubt my choices will be scrutinized by some. I apologize upfront if my choices offend you. But then, if you find yourself “offended” perhaps you should keep reading. (:
 1 Cor. 10:23. Yep, I’m quoting from the Brit Chadashah, Don’t worry, Tanakh verses are forth-coming.
 1 Cor. 10:12
 Eph. 4:14
 1 Th. 5:21
 To those who aren’t privy, this has nothing to do with “leaving Messiah” or denying “Messiah”. I’m speaking of the religious institution of Christianity, not the Messiah or His true followers.
 Spell it how ever you wish. But do not judge me for my well thought out and studied conclusion just because your’s is different.
 Song of Solomon 2:15
 Mt. 5:44; Lk. 6:35
 This is Hebraic thinking, not Greek/western thinking.
 Romans 11. Israel consists of both Judah and Ephraim and all those joined/grafted into the natural olive tree.
 2 Chron. 11:16; read whole chapter for context.
 Referring to those that are Two-House, Messianic Israel, or any people that believe in some way that they have joined with Israel through Yeshua HaMashiach.
 Ezek. 37