Q. A great many changes have taken place in NCAY over the past year including the adoption of the Hebrew Sabbath (initially the Jewish Saturday 'sabbath', only later the true Creation Calendar sabbath), observance of Israel's qadosh (holy, set-apart) festivals, and the use of the Divine Names. This has given cause for alarm amongst many of our friends in what one might loosely call 'gentile Christianity' who feel condemned by those in the Sacred Name Movement. Just what is NCAY's position towards those who do not espouse 'Hebrew Christianity'?
A. Yes, I am more than aware of the concerns and indeed am most concerned myself so I am glad for the opportunity to address these issues.
To begin with, NCAY is not a part of what one might call a 'movement', with one exception, namely, we are official members of the Messianic Israel Alliance (MIA). (Though in 2017 we are still officially members of MIA, in reality we have 'moved on' as part of our reformation or abandonment of the false practices of 'Messianic Judaism'). Whilst it is true we have adopted many practices of what broadly might be called 'Hebrew Christianity' and the 'Sacred Name Movement' we are not technically a part of any of them. They represent a broad spectrum of ideas and practices many of which we are most definitely not in agreement with.
Q. Are we, as many claim, Messianic Jews?
A. No, we are 'Messianic Israelites' which includes Messianic Jews who are one with our doctrines and practices. But we are also 'New Covenant Christians', a name designated by Elohim (God) for us in revelation (Olive Branch, N&C 293:16-17). (Though this is still an official designation, we are now more commonly known as 'Messianic Evangelicals'). Similarly, our community has two names, viz. the 'New Covenant Church of God' and 'B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh'. (These were later merged to 'New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh' or NCAY, the name we go by today).
Q. What about the Divine Names?
A. We reject entirely the claims by the more extreme wing of the Sacred Names Movement that those who use such words as 'Lord', 'God' and 'Jesus' are heathens. This is utter nonsense and the arguments advanced by such groups are weak in the extreem. A simple observation of what is happening in Christendom will reveal that Yahweh is actively at work amongst those whom many Messianic Jews would derogatorily call 'gentile Christians' whose Saviour is 'Jesus Christ'. There is no denying it. Those who say that those who use the English words 'God', 'Lord' and 'Jesus' are unsaved barbarians are to be pitied greatly - such people are legalists par excellence who, judging by their many writings, neither know what ahavah (love) is nor met the living Messiah. (See The True Names of Elohim: Exposing the Ultra-Messianics).
Q. So what exactly is our position?
A. Our position is that as Messianic Israelites we should certainly stop using wrongly translated Divine Names like 'Jehovah' (which is a blasphemous combination of 'Yah' = Yahweh and 'hovah' = perverse) and use the correct transliteration of 'Yahweh'. We should as Messianic Israelites, moreover, start using the proper Hebrew Name for Jesus which is Yah'shua (many use the Aramaic 'Yeshua' and a number of Hebrew variants are used like 'Yehoshua', 'Yahushua', etc.) whilst accepting that 'Jesus' is simply the anglicised Greek 'Iesou' and as such no more than a dialectic variant.
Q. So you reject the claim that 'Jesus' is actually 'Ye-Zeus'?
A. Absolutely. This is an utterly absurd argument. The fact is that both Yah'shua and Jesus/Iesou save because they are one and the same and have been doing so for two millennia. We absolutely refuse to put a stumbling block before people who know and feel comfortable with 'Jesus'. This is a habit we have had now for 2,000 years and it's not going to be an easy one to kick. Millions of Christians use the name as do millions of Bibles.
Q. In a previous statement I believe you said that eventually such names as 'Jesus' would be discarded?
A. Eventually, and almost certainly during the Millennium. For now we are happy to use both names.
Q. Isn't the present dual usage also because of the dual function of NCAY in uniting Ephraim and Judah?
A. Yes. Judah knows his Messiah as 'Yah'shua/Yeshua' and for the most part Ephraim as 'Jesus'. Similarly, Judah knows the 'Church' as the 'Assembly', 'God' as 'Yahweh' or 'Elohim', the 'New Covenant' as 'B'rit Chadashah', etc..
Q. It sounds a bit confusing!
A. All change is confusing at first. In Scandinavia it is not uncommon for parents to be called by their first names by their children, a practice we have stopped in NCAY because it does not show proper respect. This was hard for the families who were accustomed to this practice. But change really isn't that hard. We were accustomed to calling Sunday the 'sabbath' and then suddenly we had to get used to the idea of 'Saturday' (and then by the proper Creation calendar designations). We sometimes slip into calling our Assembly Schools 'Sunday School' in our conversation instead of 'Sabbath School'. To be sure, some people make a big fuss over such change-overs but it is really not so hard. In the short space of under a year my family has made many such changes though I must admit some habits have not changed as fast as I would like!
Q. What is the policy in using Divine Names in meetings?
A. We try to habitualise the lay members with using them but apply no force of any kind. (17 years later, it is very rare to hear the old 'gentile' names used in our meetings any more). We expect Priesthood officers to set an example by using the correct names. Prayer life is perhaps the most difficult since the gentile names have become so familiar. I must admit I still find myself using both sets of Names.
Q. What do you answer to the critics who say that salvation is only in the correct Name of Deity and that if we use the Greek and other forms we are not saved?
A. I would say that the evidence of clearly saved lives totally contradicts such an absurd legalistic proposition but at the same time would add that it is only right that once informed of the correct Names we should, as a matter of respect, start using them. Many people are embarassed to use 'Yahweh' and 'Yah'shua' in the meetings of 'gentile' churches because of the strange looks that they get, or the evident disapproval. But I don't think we should be intimidated, especially when there can be several reasons for disapproval. (Our policy today, in 2017, is to use whatever enables communication and witness when outside our assemblies).
Q. How do you mean?
A. The Catholic Church started the anti-Hebraic trend in the Christian Church because they did not want to be associated with the Jews when the latter were being persecuted by the Roman State. They evolved various anti-Jewish (and utterly non-Biblical) doctrines such as 'Replacement Theology' in order to justify their anti-Hebraism, claiming that the 'Church' had replaced 'Israel' in the Tanakh (Old Testament) blessings to the latter (though conveniently leaving all the curses behind!). Thus for many the use of Hebrew names spells 'Judaism' or 'Judaising' (a heresy mentioned in the New Testament).
Q. So really the use of Hebrew terms is part of the process of reinstituting correct doctrines such as the observance of Torah?
A. I would say that is correct. We are returning to the Hebrew roots of the Besorah (Gospel) not because we want to start a new fad but because the Hellenising of the Besorah (Gospel) has distorted so many fundamental truths. The modern Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Churches are in so many ways radically different from the New Testament Community (Church).
Q. Can you give some examples?
A. They are legion. The Elohimhead (Godhead) doctrine, for one, which because of its early merger with neo-Platonism has led to many strange un-Hebrew concepts, including the suppression and removal of the female component of Deity. The replacement of the biblical holidays with pagan ones like 'Easter' and 'Christmas' which create a different spiritual rhythm or cycle is another example. The Messianic Fellowship, which was the True Israel in continuation, was hijacked and made into the 'Church' and Israel was discarded. Also the use of the term 'God' which is so general as to be applicable to any religion. By declaring that Yahweh is our Elohim (God) we are giving an unmistakable signal that the Creator is the Elohim (God) of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not the pagan 'Allah' of the Moslems, 'Krishna' of the Hindus, or all the other false gods. It has been my experience that using the nebulous 'God' in discussions with other religious groups creates an ecumenical atmosphere suggestive of our acceptance of their deities but that the use of Yahweh provokes anger and hatred. In a conversation with a Moslem friend I insisted on using 'Yahweh' in contradistinction to his 'Allah' so that there would be absolutely no way of confusing the two, reminding him that the Koran declares the Torah to be true.
Q. Why do you think using the correct Hebrew name for the Messiah is important?
A. Because it is a revelation of His origin: Yah'shua literally means 'Yah' or 'Yah[weh] saves'. The Anglo-Greek 'Jesus' has no meaning whatsoever and indeed has been hijacked by New Agers and Pagans who are quite happy to accept 'Jesus' into their pantheons. When people talk about 'Jesus' you can never be sure whether they are talking about the biblical Messiah or some New Age Ascended Master. 'Yah'shua' removes that ambiguity for the most part (not always, of course). In a world where Satan is trying to subvert our vocabulary by changing the meaning of biblical words and names, the use of the original Name is timely, helping us define the true Messiah to a world - and especially a 'Christian' world - which have all sorts of twisted ideas of who 'Jesus' is.
Q. What about the use of the word 'Christ'?
A.'Christ' is the anglicised version of the Greek 'Christos' meaning 'Messiah' (from the Hebrew Mashiach). I am not so bothered about using the two terms interchangeably since neither is a proper Name but a title. Added to this is the problem that the New Agers and pagans (not to mention non-messianic Jews) use both 'Christ' and 'Messiah' for their false saviours and there really isn't a substitute we can use for them to distinguish the true Messiah from the many false ones.
Q. I wonder if you could clearly distinguish between a Messianic Jew and a Messianic Israelite for us?
A. Most Messianic Jews regard themselves as Israel because they believe the northern tribes are permanently lost but that otherwise sufficient numbers of them are genetically mixed in with them so that they can represent all 12 tribes and so call themselves 'Israel'. Messianic Israelites believe that a small portion of Messianic Jews are just one (or two if you count the Benjamites who remained in the southern Kingdom) of the 12 Christianised Israelite tribes and that the other tribes, whilst well mixed with the gentile tribes, are nevertheless being manifested by their conversion to Messiah. Thus the Messianic Jews are, in reality, a small fraction of 'Messianic Judah' (see Are All the Jews in Israel True Jews?) and the truly born-again Christians are Messianic Ephraim (northern Ten Tribes) either directly or by adoption. They remain separated, in part, because of Ephraim's paganised version of Christianity and Messianic Judaism's paganisation of Torah. Many Christian Ephraimites have joined Messianic Jewish congregations in their bid to get back to their Hebrew roots and have, to all intents and purposes, placed themselves under claimed Jewish 'authority'. Messianic Israelites like ourselves believe that whilst this is indeed an option what Yahweh actually wants is Christian Ephraim to return to his Hebrew roots on his own and to then work with Messianic Judah towards a reunification.
Q. This would seem a tall order considering the diversity amongst Messianic Jews...
A. Indeed, for Messianic Jews, like their Ephraimitish brethren, have accrued many false traditions themselves, largely from Talmudic Judaism. For Messianic Israel to become one, not only must the Christian Ephraimites discard all their pagan traditions and doctrines but Messianic Jews must discard all the false doctrines and practices they have inherited from their rabbidly antichristian Talmudic Jewish forefathers. There is apostacy on both sides of the North-South (Israel-Judah) divide and repentance to be done by both 'kingdoms'.
Q. Won't there be considerable resistance - not to mention resentment - by Messianic Jews to hear what you have just said about them?
A. Inevitably. However, we are all in need of correction, and those who resist it may be said not to love their souls very much. Like it or not, we have two basic 'Christianities' - Ephraimite and Judahite (Jewish) both of which are saturated with falsehood. For the worldwide Assembly of Yahweh to be one, reformation must take place in both camps.
Q. And that is where NCAY comes in?
A. We believe so. However, these are early days and we are still going through our own cleansing process. We've come a long way - especially in the last year - but there is still more that needs doing.
NCAY will see an end to the Messianic Ephraimite-Jewish division for we are creating a third Order - Messianic Israelism.
Q. These have been times of rapid change for NCAY - how much more do you think needs to be done? And when will we practically see Ephraim and Judah coming together? What are the main obstacles?
A. We have no idea how or when Yahweh will do it though there are even now both Messianic Ephraimite and Jewish congregations forming associations with us. NCAY possesses the blueprint for this reunification, revealed to us for over a decade. In time Messianic Ephraimite and Jewish congregations will understand just what our task is and, we believe, seek membership within our tent. When this will start is hard to say. The obstacles we face are numerous, not least Satan himself who hates and detests Israel with all his soul and would rather see her divided still. Then there are the churches who will cling tenaciously to their traditions and continue to claim the rights of Israel to themselves.
Q. Does this mean that united Christian Israel will one day move to the Holy Land? And if so, won't that country be too small?
A. Yes, the destiny of Messianic Israel is the Promised Land - absolutely - though administrators will, during the Millennium, be sent to govern the nations and the provinces. As to the land of Israel being too small, if you mean the modern Republic of Israel in her current borders, then yes, it is far too small. However, the Bible prophesies the Millennial Israel as stretching from the Euphrates to the Nile, making it many times larger than the present nation-state.
Q. Finally, do you think you will see all this take place in your life-time?
A. No, definitely not, but I do hope and expect to see its beginning in some concrete way with the NCAY launching into its mission. The next generation - our sons and daughters - will see this work come to full fruition.
Q. Do you believe that all true Mesianic Ephraimites and Jews will come to NCAY?
A. Possibly, I don't know. Our main mission is the gathering of the remnant of the 144,000. Only Yahweh knows the answer to that question!