Teaching Every Believer to Bring His Kingdom
The Church – God's most ingenious invention or man's greatest achievement in the advancement of controlling humanity?
To begin answering this question, let's first fully understand it. It is no way meant to be anti-church or anti-denomination. It is intended to provoke you, even prod you into some self examination in reflection of Parts 1 & 2 of this series. In Parts 1 & 2 of this series, we examined the need to let Holy Spirit be Holy Spirit to every believer; that the context of scripture to those whom each book was written is an absolute necessity to know how to properly apply scripture to our lives today; that Yeshua/Jesus brought a Jewish Gospel to spread all over creation and why that is important; one example of how to rightly divide the Word of Truth by understanding writing style; that the Church has taken a broad sweeping Greek mindset and understanding of scripture which is counter productive; and much more. If you have not read them, it would be of benefit to do so in order to put this segment into proper context. Also, for a condensed audio version of Parts 3 & 4, I have included a link to our presentation of this material at our Passover Conference in Beijing, China. It covers most of the same material I will present here but lacks the depth due to a one hour time limit to present the material.
In Part 3, we will look at how the lack of understanding Hebraic concepts (introduced in Part 2) has made us less effective at understanding the ministry of Yeshua/Jesus; how a structure passed on to us from Constantine's religion has moved us away from Biblical examples and why that matters; how the Law of Acknowledgment (introduced in Part 2) is so vital at this hour of Heaven's Plans for the Church-Bride; and more. It may be necessary to move some of this to Part 4. That remains to be seen. There is a LOT of material yet to cover in order to adequately lay out a plan for every believer to operate in Acts Chapter 4 Greater Glory, thereby fulfilling Mark 16:17 & 18, and finally seeing (as the Bishop of our Licensing Organization, Bill Hamon would say) “the end of the one man show”.
In Part 2 we discussed the whole issue with not understanding Judaic roots and it's impact on our understanding of the entire New Testament. For shear lack of space, in order to keep that segment succinct, I was unable to give adequate example. Let's remedy that right now.
I used a very short discourse on the fact that “dispensationalism” and it's followers explain that the Old Testament was an “age of dispensation” in which the Covenant of Law and required strict adherence to it's rules and regulations and the the New Testament brought an “age of dispensation” of the new (replacement) and better Covenant of Grace. This theology (remember from the other segments that theology is what we think about God), was popularized in many ways with thanks to a series of famous “charts” by Clarence Larkin. In the charts Larkin divides the Ages of Dispensation (historic and futuristic) into segments which presumes to characterize each dispensation by isolated scriptures which have in many ways been taken out of context. The reason the pervasiveness of “Dispensationalism” in the modern church is so dangerous is that it excludes the possibility (which is the actual reality) that God (the Trinity) doesn't change and in Him there is no turning from one way to another. So it is heretical because it is a modern day Takannah – a teaching which has been accepted as “law” by those who promote it, which essentially changes the way scripture (as a whole) is interpreted!
Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. (BBE)
James 1:17 - Every good and true thing is given to us from heaven, coming from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change or any shade made by turning. (BBE)
So if, God is gracious in the New Testament, then He is also gracious in the Old. Let's examine this from the perspective presented in Part 2 and where I promised we'd go above. The idea that we have lost an ability to fully grasp the New Testament as long as we continue to try an interpret it without understanding Hebraic cultural context and that which can be understood from the context of to whom it was being written. I'd like to add one more category for the example I am about to give; that when it is a third party book (or written by an eye witness) about something someone said, it is commonly accepted practice to determine the motive of the individual speaking and why they would say what was said to the person they said it. Go back in time with me for a few moments. We are standing in a crowd shortly after the teaching of the Beatitutdes and Yeshua/Jesus has gone on to address some social concerns: divorce, lust, retaliation and more. He is further teaching how to apply the Beatitudes into one's life in a practical way. In attendance are many from the prevailing religious order(s) of the Second Temple era. Then He turns His attention specifically to a piece of scripture which has been used to “prove” dispensationalism in the minds of it's followers. Even though doing so negates the two scriptures above, which as we discussed in Part 2 would make all of scripture a lie because a partial truth, with even a very small bit of deception blended in, is a whole lie.
Matthew 5:38 - Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: (KJV)
Yeshua/Jesus goes on to teach about appropriate responses to various situations under “grace”, or so it is taught in “dispensantionalism”. Honestly this part is absolutely right, the error is in thinking it somehow replaces anything from Exodus, which is what Yeshua/Jesus was quoting.
Exodus 21:23-27 - And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye's sake. And if he smite out his manservant's tooth, or his maidservant's tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake. (KJV)
This passage from Exodus has NEVER been taught in Judaism as a case for anything other than equality and grace under the law. In other words, a standard for punishment for those who commit such crimes, and the payment for such crimes to those committed against people in servitude. But by stopping at verse 25, it would seem that there was no grace in the Torah. Clearly there is and rarely will dispensational teaching include verse 26 and 27 because it dispels the “myth” that the God of the Old Testament was vengeful and fearsome. Perhaps He was those things at appropriate times, but He is also a God of order who “does not change”! So if He is teaching that a servant should be freed because of an injury, He is pointing the people toward a path they have NEVER known in the lawlessness of their pagan background. This people coming out of Egypt would have never thought of releasing a slave, because they themselves would not have been released if they were injured. In fact, they were so completely sold out to a slave mentality that they repeatedly wanted to return to the certainty of servitude rather than living in freedom by trusting God. Now, going back to Yeshua/Jesus' reference to this scripture. As the teaching in Matthew 5 continues, Yeshua/Jesus tells them:
Matthew 5:43,44 & 48 -Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (KJV)
He continues in this teaching to explain that there is a better way than just equality under Torah. He was explaining that it is better to love everyone equally and then no crime would be committed. So be “perfect (in loving others) even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”. But due to our having been preconditioned to interpret scripture without any Hebraic context, it is easy to simply believe the party line of our particular denomination or leadership. This however is the very essence of Philippians 2:12,13
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (KJV)
This should give you a good perspective of understanding context, but this does not cover understanding the underlying mission that Yeshua/Jesus carried out; the doing away with the Takanot. So next we will look at a discourse in which we can better understand the cultural relevance and His mission to do away with Takanot, not Torah or it's 613 Commandments (Reference Site).
Matthew 5:17-20 - Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (KJV)
NOTE: See Part 2 for a detailed explanation of “fulfill” in the scripture reference above.
In Matthew chapter 15 and Mark chapter 7 we find a discussion Yeshua/Jesus had with the Pharisees about a command found in Exodus 30:19-21:
For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations. (KJV)
By the time of Second Temple Judaism, this simple command for priests had become a Takannah expected of everyone, instead of for the Priests while in Ministry to the LORD. So we find in the examples above that the “traditions of the elders” was viewed as important as the “statute” God had given only to the priests. To this day the tradition is heavily maintained as if it were a command from God. It is however just as the Pharisees said it in Mark chapter 7 a tradition of the elders, also known as the sages. Before we go to Mark 7 let's take a closer look at the modern usage of this tradition/takannah.Washing of Hands
Daily Prayer – it is recommended that all in Judaism use this format to recite blessings and thanksgiving at least 100 times daily. In and of itself, this “Blessing and Thanksgiving” format is not bad and makes for great daily confessions. But the content must not be in relation to traditions of men, but rather focused on the commandments and promises off scripture and used after research to determine the appropriate context.
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al netilat yadayim.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with commandments, and commanded us to wash hands.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְותָיו
וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת-יָדָיִם.
Taken in proper context (since God Himself gave the commands) from the 613 “Laws” or “Commands” in the Torah, we find a different picture altogether.
Washing of Hands
Exodus 30:19 - For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat (KJV)
Hebrews* – explaining that in the “new” or second half of the Covenant (as outlined in Part 2) we need not wash because we are a Priestly Kings/Queens sanctified by the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross (detailed in Part 1)
*8:6 - But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. (KJV
*10:10-12 - By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (KJV)
1 Peter 2:5,9 - Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (KJV)
Clearly we have a different role under the completed Covenant than we had in the first half. Think of it like this. In the first half, a select group of persons were chosen to be mediators between God and man. Now in the completed Covenant, Yeshua/Jesus is our High Priest and mediator and EVERY believer is a Royal Priest.
So when we overlay Mark 7 on top of this precept of the priesthood of all believers, it becomes clear that Yeshua was doing exactly as He set out to. Not to do away with Torah or Mitzvot (Commands), but rather to do away with the Takkanah. Let's look:
Mark 7:1-5 - Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? (KJV)
Yeshua/Jesus' reply verse 6-9 - He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.(KJV bold added)
We could continue going on in Mark 7, but I think this is sufficient to make the point.
Now that we have fully established (with the first 3 parts of this series) the importance of understanding context as it pertains to cultural relevance, the intended audience, rightly dividing the Word for modern application, the need to get rid of any un-biblical man-made additions to scripture and the like; may we now take a look at how every believer can begin to find freedom to operate in Heaven's Agenda on a daily basis?
In Part 4 we will do exactly that. In an exciting conclusion to this series, Part 4 will uncover the need for us to take a serious look at how we structure local assemblies to determine if we are following the First Century Church Model or a model created by men; further empowering the few and taking authority from the average believer. Do we need to care about such things? The First Century Church did; Shaul (Paul) established some battle strategies which God has provided the means for us to use, but are often overlooked. A way to be "in the world but not of it" without it simply being a spiritual catch phrase and making it a mantra of Warriors who purposefully and methodically drive the authority of Principalities and Powers right out of their thrones. In doing so we can and will see His Kingdom Come and His Will Done in every society impacted by these strategies. We will also examine how Gideon speaks to us of this strategy which our Heavenly Abba has left to us. Further, we will bring activation into the life of every believer who is ready to walk in Mark 16:17 & 18 every day of their lives!