Prologue: Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled among us. The long night of the great apostasy is ending and the dawn of the restoration of the ancient sect of Nazarene Judaism is being fulfilled in our very days. This is a restoration that will reunite the two houses of Israel and a restoration of the Word of YHWH to His people! Do not just read this series, but share it with others. In our days YHWH is performing a "marvelous work and a wonder" (Is. 29:14) among us!
There is a lot of talk these days about getting back to the "New Testament Church." But the real truth is, there are two things the "New Testament Church" did not have: A "New Testament" and a "Church". The believers of the "New Testament Church" met in synagogues (Acts 15:21; James 1:1; 2:2) and had no book known as the "New Testament" because it had not been written and compiled yet. Thus when a believer from the "New Testament Church" referred to "The Scriptures" he was speaking of the Tanak ("Old Testament") for they were the only Scriptures he had. Thus when Paul wrote to Timothy:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished to all good works.
Paul was referring to the Tanak, the only Scriptures they had. Moreover when Paul spoke to the Bereans in Acts 17:11 we are told of them:
These were more noble than those at Thessalonica,
in that they received the word with all readiness of mind,
and searched the Scriptures daily,
whether those things were so.
Paul was saying that the Bereans were noble because they did not believe what Paul said simply on the authority of Paul. They were looking to see if what Paul was teaching could be found in the Scriptures. Remember, they were looking in the Tanak, the only Scriptures they had at the time. Paul said that it was noble of them to only accept his teaching if it lined up with the Tanak. That means that whenever we study the New Testament we should ask ourselves this question: "Can you get here from there?" (There being the Tanak). If you think you understand something in the New Testament in such a way that it contradicts the Tanak, then you need to realize that you are misunderstanding it.
Yeshua (Jesus of Nazareth) came to be the Jewish Messiah of Judaism and not to create a new religion. Now I know that within many Christian circles there is a teaching that says that originally Judaism was the true faith but that it has now been replaced by a new faith "Christianity" which is now the true faith. This theology is totally counter to the teachings of the "New Testament". The "New Testament" is plain in telling us that there is one true faith (Eph. 4:5) which was given once and for all time (Jude 1:3). This means that the theology that claims that Christianity is a true faith which has replaced Judaism which had been the previous true faith is absolutely false! There is, according to the "New Testament" itself ONE TRUE FAITH and it was ONLY GIVEN ONCE. Christianity is to young to be that ONE true faith that was ONCE given, that ONE true faith that was ONCE given therefore MUST be Judaism!
The original believers in Yeshua were a Jewish sect known as "Nazarenes" or in Hebrew "Netzarim" (Acts 24:5). The "church father" Jerome (4th Cent.) described these Nazarenes as those "...who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law." (Jerome; On. Is. 8:14).
Elsewhere he writes:
Today there still exists among the Jews in all the synagogues of the East a heresy which is called that of the Minæans,and which is still condemned by the Pharisees; [its followers] are ordinarily called 'Nazarenes'; they believe that Messiah, the son of God, was born of the Virgin Miriam, and they hold him to be the one who suffered under Pontius Pilate and ascended to heaven, and in whom we also believe."
(Jerome; Letter 75 Jerome to Augustine)
The fourth century "church father" Epiphanius gives a more detailed description:
But these sectarians... did not call themselves Christians--but "Nazarenes," ... However they are simply complete Jews. They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do... They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion-- except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that Elohim is one, and that his son is Yeshua the Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the entire Law, the Prophets, and the... Writings... are read in Hebrew, as they surely are by the Jews. They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, only in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by the Law--circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest-- they are not in accord with Christians.... they are nothing but Jews.... They have the Goodnews according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet, as it was originally written.
(Epiphanius; Panarion 29)
There has been a great deal of confusion over the years over what the "church" is. Some have taught that the Church is a new entity which replaces Israel. Others have taught that the Church is a new body which is totally independent of Israel. Still others have taught that the Church and Israel are two different but overlapping entities. With all of the misconceptions about the identity of the "Church" the time has come to set the story straight and reveal what the "Church" really is.
The English word "Church" comes originally from the Old English word KIRKE. The Old English word KIRKE was the word the Anglo-Saxons used to refer to their pagan places of worship. When they became Christianized the Anglo-Saxons continued to call their places of worship KIRKES and as the language evolved "Churches". You may have heard that the word "Church" originally referred to the people and later came to refer to the building. This is not true. The word "Church" originally referred to the building and later came to refer to the people. Moreover the word "church" is of pagan origin
Now if you look up the English word "Church" in Webster's dictionary you will find the following meanings:
1. a building set apart or consecrated for public worship, esp. one for Christian worship.
2. All Christians as a whole.
3. A denomination of Christians.
In short a "church" is either a building or a group of Christians.
Now wherever we see the English word "church" in an English Bible we would expect the underlying Greek word would be a Greek word that also means "a group of Christians". Since the English uses such a technical theological term one would expect that the Greek has also used a technical theological term. But the reality is that the Greek word that appears wherever the English has "church" is not a technical theological term and DOES NOT mean "a group of Christians" at all. That’s right, a technical theological term of pagan origin meaning "a group of Christians" has been inserted in your English Bible despite the fact that the corresponding Greek word is not a technical theological term and does not mean the same thing as the word "Church".
The Greek word that appears where our English Bible's have "church" is EKKLESIA. EKKLESIA is just the Greek word for "assembly". Although it comes from a root meaning "to call out" there is no special theological significance to this word. In fact this is the same Greek word which was used for "assembly" by the classical Pagan Greek writers. Inscriptions in ancient Greek auditoriums where pagan ritual dramas were performed by the Bachus cult have the audience section inscribed with the sign "EKKLESIA". This same Greek word EKKLESIA is used throughout the Greek Septuagint translation of the Tanak as the word for "assembly". There are also many places where the Greek word EKKLESIA appears in the NT but which the KJV and other translators did NOT translate the word as "church". This same Greek word is even used in Acts 19:32-41 to describe an unruly mob, yet here the translators suddenly translate the word as "assembly" rather than "church".
There is therefore no such thing as the "church" because the Greek word translated "church" does not mean "church" at all but “assembly".
There are some who claim that the "Church" was a new entity born in Acts 2 at Pentecost of 32 C.E. . However if we examine the events of Acts 2 we find that at that event persons were "added to" the "church" (Acts 2:47) which means that the "church" had to have already existed at that time. If we turn to Acts 7:38 we see that it speaks of Moses as "he that was in the church in the wilderness". Certainly this "church" could not have been a new "New Testament" entity.
While the term "church" is a mistranslation for a word simply meaning "assembly", there is an entity which is commonly referred to as "The Assembly" in the New Testament. Let us examine the Scriptures and determine what the true identity of this "Assembly" is.
To begin with we must understand that this Assembly is also known as the "Body of Messiah" as we read:
"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
(Col. 1:18 - KJV)
"And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
(Eph. 1:22-23 - KJV)
Now one may ask what "Assembly" is the allegorical Messiah? To find the answer to that question lets look at Matthew 2:14-15:
"When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord
by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. "
(Matthew 2:14-15 - KJV)
Now here Matthew is citing a prophecy in Hosea 11:1 and applying it to Messiah. Now let us go back and look at this prophecy in Hosea 11:1 in context:
"When Israel was a child, then I loved him,
and called my son out of Egypt."
(Hosea 11:1 - KJV)
Here Hosea is referring to Israel as the son who is called out of Egypt. This points us back to a passage in the Torah:
"And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:
And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go,
behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn."
(Ex. 4:22-23 - KJV)
From these two passages we learn that Israel is the firstborn son of Elohim who is called out of Egypt. However in Matthew it is Yeshua the Messiah who is called up out of Egypt and in Col. 1:18 Messiah is the "firstborn". Moreover Hebrews speaks of the "church of the firstborn" (Heb. 12:23 - KJV).
Thus Israel is allegorically equivalent to the Messiah. There are some very important reasons for this allegorical relationship:
* Both are the "firstborn Son of Elohim".
* Both made a major impact on the world.
* Both were born through a biological miracle on their mother's womb.
* Both were taken into Egypt to save their lives.
* Both were called up out of Egypt.
* Both were despised and rejected by men.
* Rome attempted to destroy them both.
* Both are resurrected.
Thus Israel is the allegorical "Body of Messiah". Moreover in the Tanak, Israel is commonly called "The Assembly of Israel" and wherever the phrase "The Assembly of Israel" appears in the Tanak the Greek LXX has "EKKLESIA of Israel".
The so-called "church" which is the "Body of Messiah" is in reality "the Assembly of Israel". Yeshua did not come to create a new religion, but to be Messiah of the old one. Wherever your English New Testament refers to a "church" (i.e. a group of Christians) the Greek has "EKKLESIA a term which commonly refers to the "Assembly of Israel". The "Church" as most Christians have understood it never existed. All of the passage people have thought were talking about the "Church" were actually talking about the Assembly of Israel, not Christianity, but the Nazarene sect of Judaism.
(To be continued)
As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.
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