Q. One of the most often asked questions asked today by both members and investigators of NCAY alike concerns the gathering of the elect to a firstborn community called 'Kadesh'. People are particularly anxious to know what the conditions are for entry into Kadesh - who can come and who can not?
A. There are many conditions both formal (outer) as well as spiritual (inner). Those who are admitted to Kadesh are:
This means that those who are members of Kadesh are also members of both the 'inner' and 'outer' fellowships.
- (1) Baptised and confirmed members of their local (NCAY) assemblies in good standing;
- (2) Priesthood ordinands in the same local (NCAY) assemblies; and
- (3) Endowed members of the Chavurat Bekorot or Holy Order.
Q. How long would it take someone coming straight off the street into NCAY to be eligible for Kadesh?
A. That will, of course, depend on the spiritual qualities of the individual. Admission to Kadesh is not easy. Let us assume that our investigator is a consistent person making steady, uninterrupted progress in the BesorahGospel. Let us say that the Ruach (Spirit) converts him to Yah'shua (Jesus), regenerates him spiritually, and leads him to NCAY. Once convicted of sin, a candidate should be baptised as soon as he has passed through catechumenical school. By being baptised, the candidate is covenanting to Yahweh to be obedient to all His mitzvot (commandments) (Matt.28:19-20) even though he may, at this stage, know very little about them.
Before being admitted to the next stage he must be an active member of his local assembly for a minimum of one year. This is to make sure that his discipleship is consistent, that he is growing, and that he has a fixed and determined attitude to follow Yahweh in all things. If he is, he will be considered as a candidate for priesthood ordination.
Q. What happens to a priesthood ordinand?
A. The candidate will begin what is called 'Temple School' in his local colony in which he will receive intensive spiritual training. He will already have completed intense Bible training in his local assembly in the School of Goyim (Catechemens) and Israel (adult members) and will have completed the introductory course, Foundational Studies of the Bible. He will have shown a good understanding of this and have started the next Bible course called Intermediate Studies of the Bible which is required of the Sub-Deaconate.
Q. So while he is studying Intermediate Studies in his local colony he will be doing a parallel course in Temple School?
A. He will have completed, or will be in the process of completing, several courses. If he entered the covenant as an adult, he will complete the first series of Temple School Studies called The Ten Commandments which he will also do in the local assembly. This course is taught at all levels of NCAY, from the children up to the adults. Once it is clear that the candidate has a sound grasp of this course, and is living it, he will be called for further instruction.
Q. Are there two types of temple in the New Covenant? I was always led to believe there was only one?
A. There is only one temple proper but with different areas administered by the local assemblies and the Holy Order, respectively. The local assemblies administer the Temple School whereas the Holy Order administers the covenants.
Q. So, if I understand you correctly, the local assembly - NCAY - is responsible for education whilst the Holy Order - the Chavurat Bekorot - is responsible for the ordinances?
A. Broadly speaking, though there is some overlap. These things are explained more fully to candidates when they are called.
Q. What does 'Temple School' look like? I mean, do the members dress up in any special way?
A. No, it's exactly the same as local assembly meetings only they are not open to the public, even though the materials are available to the public and are published on our main website.
Q. So how long will this Temple School course on the Ten Commandments take?
A. That is entirely up to the individual. We reckon on about a year though some candidates have passed through it in three months. Again, it depends on their spiritual progress. I have known people who have taken several years on this course because they are not taking Yahweh's mitzvot (commandments) seriously.
Q. Are those who attend Temple School members of the Holy Order?
A. No, they are present merely by invitation. If they are not manifesting the proper spiritual keys then their enrollment in the School can be canceled by the teacher and they will be expected to continue their studies in the local Sabbath Schools.
Q. So far the candidate has been in NCAY about two years - one year fully engaged in the local Sabbath Schools, and one year in Temple School. What happens next?
A. If the candidate has demonstrated real progress in understanding and holiness, then he may, or may not, be called to a special interview by the Holy Order. Membership in the Order is not automatic upon completing certain courses but is also dependent upon revelation. If the Pastor of the local assembly, together with the Temple School teacher, feel that the candidate is ready to go further, then they will recommend the candidate for probationary membership in the Order.
Q. Does the candidate take any initiative in this?
A. We like callings in NCAY to be bi-directional, that is, we like callings to come both from the candidate as well as from those responsible making the calls. There must be a desire on the part of the candidate to proceed. If there isn't, he won't be called. So, yes, the candidate may take the initiative by asking his local Pastor and Temple School teacher for a recommendation for further training in the Order. Beyond that, he has no rights, but must wait patiently. His sincerity and humility will be tested to make sure his motives are pure. He has the right to ask up to three times. If he does not receive a call after three requests he may not ask again but must wait until the Order initiates his call.
Q. Let us assume that he is called. What is the next step?
A. He will be interviewed by the Holy Order as a double-check to again make sure that his motives are spiritual and not something else. If he passes this interview he will be admitted to a temple, to what we call the 'outer court'. This may, or may not, be a proper temple; very often it will be a consecrated room in someone's home or in the temple portion of an local chapel. There he will pass through another year's training in what is known as the House of Pethach. Here he will be taught the fundamentals of what the Holy Order is and what is expected of him. He will be placed under covenants and weighed for his faithfulness each time he comes to a meeting. If he proves unfaithful, he will drop out of Pethach and be returned to the local Sabbath School, or out of NCAY altogether, depending what his conduct has been like.
Q. So at this point is gets really tough?
A. Yes, but it is only the beginning. It is most important that people understand that the Holy Order is no game - its purpose is extremely serious, a matter of spiritual life or death. Impostors do not get through the covenant net.
If after his year's training in Pethach (the degree or school connected with the Ten Commandments) the candidate proves faithful, he will be considered as a probationary member of the Order...
Q. You mean, he isn't even a 'probationary' member yet?
A. No, not yet. He has no rights in the Order, and indeed won't for another two years.
Q. That's a terribly long time - that's five years altogether so far!
A. I told you, the Holy Order is a serious business - it's a Holy Order, not just a club for curiosity seekers. One's whole life is involved.
Q. What else happens in this period?
A. The first year of Priesthood training is undoubtedly the hardest and is called the House of Tabal, and belongs to the Holy Order's Deaconate. Someone has called this year's period a 'spiritual spring-cleaning'. The soul is forced to confront itself in every respect - all concealed sins are exposed and faced. It is most unusual for a person to complete Tabal in one year -- the majority take two or three.
Once the candidate has passed through Tabal, he is admitted to the House of Qum, which is the Holy Order's Eldership. Whereas in Tabal he is forced to deal with his own personal relationship to Elohim (God), in Qum he must deal with all inter-personal relationships. It is at this time that a candidate learns to selflessly dedicate himself to a community of believers, becoming 'one Body' in reality...
Q. As Paul taught...?
A. Yes, this is the reality of what Paul taught. Christians glibly talk about being "One Body" when their inter-personal relationships are extremely weak. In Qum the candidate learns to forget himself completely and to dedicate his life to serving his brothers and sisters in a totally selfless way.
It is in the House of Qum that the candidate is admitted in the second stage as a probationary member of the Holy Order.
Q. Can he attend the Holy Order yet?
A. He cannot live in a Holy Order but may attend for longer periods of time. Those who have passed through Tabal may visit Firstborn Communities from time to time, for weekends or the odd week; those who have passed through Qum may live for several weeks or months at a time, becoming more and more experienced in Holy Order community life.
Q. What happens if a candidate fails to complete Qum?
A. If he fails he will be told to return to the beginning the course again, or even start at Tabal or earlier if he has not made real progress. If he succeeds, he will then be admitted into the House of Dabar. This is an important cross-roads for him. Once admitted into the House of Dabar is is virtually a full member of the Order, and will probably start making practical plans to start moving to a firstborn community.
Q. So up to 5 years may have passed...can nobody enter Kadesh who has not gone through this procedure?
A. No. At any rate, not adults. Children, under the age of 17, may accompany their parents to Kadesh but must leave it between the ages 16 and 18, depending on their attitude and spirituality if they have not qualified for the Order like their parents.
Q. So children pass through the Temple too?
A. Oh yes, if they want to and are called, and if they have their parents' or guardians' permission. They may start the Temple School as early as 12 years old. Instruction in Temple School is deliberately given in very simple language so that children can understand it. By the time children are 16 then it is usually clear whether or not they are eligible to remain in Kadesh or not, if that is where they were born and raised. Children in the local assemblies may also be admitted to Temple School if they show spiritual maturity, but such is rare.
Q. So there are no automatic rights for children whose parents are a part of Kadesh?
A. None at all. However, it is important to point out that members of proto-Firstborn Colonies (like Kadesh-biyqah) - are often divided into three different areas adapted to situations where families have children who are showing no interest in Yahweh's ways.
Q. What if the family has, for example, a really rebellious, worldly teenager who isn't interested in religion at all? Do the parents just throw him out?
A. I am surprised at such a question -- we are a Christian/Messianic society, you know, not some cult that ignores or shuns its wayward children. In such a spiritually healthy environment as Kadesh such cases are extremely rare. If there is a child whose presence is disrupting the colony then it may be that the family will have to temporarily leave the community until the boy has either made up his mind to follow an accepted standard of behaviour or is old enough to make his own way in the world. 18 years old is the absolute deadline though anywhere between 16 and 18 years is a possible decision time for the youth. They must have absolutely made their minds up by the time they are 20, the biblical age of adulthood.
There is, however, another way. A family need not necessarily leave Kadesh at all. The community is divided basically into three areas, sometimes four. The community is adapted to many kinds of people, and especially those who are the children of members who have not chosen the Path of Yahweh. We believe in the sanctifying influence of the family and that everything possible should be done to help our children.
Q. Could you explain what these areas are?
A. Firstly, there is the holiest area, called the Temple Area which contains the Temple and Temple Gardens. Only full members of the Order are admitted there...
Q. Presumably meaning that unendowed children cannot enter it?
Q. What happens if one spouse is not a member of the Order and another one is?
A. I'll come to that in a minute, if I may.
Q. So there is the temple area, which presumably non-members cannot enter at all. Does that go for local assembly members also?
A. Local NCAY members who are not members of the Holy Order, those not of the New Covenant at all, and unbelievers, may not enter this area - ever. It is qadosh (holy, set-apart) to Yahweh. Neither may they enter the second area which is called the Temple Residential Area. This is the area where families living the covenants and mitzvot (commandments) live, in close proximity to the temple. Those with spouses who are not members would not be allowed to live here, or with teenagers who are not walking in the paths of Yahweh.
Q. They would live in the third area?
A. Yes. Beyond the Temple Area and Temple Residential Area (which we also call the 'Enochian area') is the remainder of the community. This is sometimes called the Local Assembly Area because visitors are frequently invited here for short periods of time - local community members, friends of NCAY, relatives, etc.. This area contains more residential areas, sometimes a farm, home industries, etc.. There is a chapel or conference centre here also plus various communal facilities. This part also contains recreational areas.
Q. And presumably it is here where the 'difficult cases' are worked with?
A. Exactly. There may even be a fourth area for those who wish to live nearby the Order for various reasons...
Q. Such as...?
A. Such as an older teenager who is unworthy to be in the other three areas but doesn't want to break complete contact with the community and his family.
Q. Will he be banned from the other areas?
A. Quite likely. These special cases are dealt with by the Patriarchate on their individual merits. There are no universal rules for every situation.
Q. You have painted quite a clear picture. I have another question: What if a member of a local assembly is walking on the spiritual path to Zion (Kadesh), falls away from NCAY, is away for a few months or years, and desires to resume his pilgrimage? Let's say he left NCAY when he was in the House of Tabal. Can he start where he left off?
A. Absolutely not. He must start at the beginning again. There are no exceptions. He may, of course, progress very rapidly, but that will be up to him.
Q. Is it possible, then, that such a person could qualify for Kadesh in under five years?
A. Certainly. This will, however, very much depend on his reasons for leaving NCAY. He may, if his problems are great, take considerably longer. He may, like many members, never be called to Kadesh at all.
Q. Is that a real possibility?
A. The majority of people coming to this work will almost certainly never be called to the Chavurat Bekorot. Many kinds of people are attracted to this work. Some come as 'caterpillars' -- wanting only to take, whether it be fellowship, knowledge, or whatever. Then there are the 'butterflies' -- those who want to give. Only the 'butterflies' come to the Chavurat Bekorot. Then there are those who only want to give what they want to give -- they are caterpillars masquerading as butterflies.
Q. Kadesh sounds a pretty uniform society.
A. There is only one Master, one Emunah (Faith), and one Baptism (Eph.4:6). There is only one Derech (Way), one Emet (Truth), and one Chayim (Life) (John 14:6). We walk a uniform way, Yahwehs's way. Yet there is tremendous variety amongst the people, like the multicoloured wings of a butterfly. There are many different skills and gifts, different personalities...
Q. You mean that personality is not lost in walking this path?
A. Good heavens, no! We are not New Agers who want to erase every last vestige of personality in order to make people conform like robots. Messianic Evangelicals - and particularly Holy Order members -- are free agents who have voluntarily limited themselves for the sake of community. There is certainly a change in personality, from the carnal to the spiritual, but no loss. We will always be identified as individuals. Yet we are also individuals bound by close community.
Q. What are the financial rules governing Kadesh?
A. Kadesh is a United Order, meaning that all things are held in common. Nobody owns anything. Everything belongs to the community. People are assigned stewardships when they move in - in other words, they are given property to be responsible for. They are given what they need.
Q. How is fairness ensured? What of family keep-sakes?
A. It is not communism. It is not arbitrary but intelligent and compassionate. Obviously things like photograph albums, personal diaries, mementos, etc., will automatically be returned to the owner. But something like a Porsche racing car will not because it is superfluous. It would be sold. The Patriarchate will interview candidates coming into Kadesh and do its best to arrive at a consensus with the candidate, so that the candidate can see the wisdom and ahavah (love) behind the redistribution of wealth and property. The Firstborn Community is intensely practical. So someone with a huge and expensive collection of rare fish would be told, lovingly, that such an economic burden was not commensurate with the Order, however lovely the fish may be. Personal idols will always be identified and dealt with usually well before a gathering to a Community takes place.
People are expected to be mature. The childish who will not grow up are unlikely to come anyway. If a lady is unwilling to surrender her huge teddy-bear collection which she has had all her life then clearly something is wrong. (She could, of course, give it away to someone outside the Order). But a widow, for whom a marriage ring holds special memories, would not be expected to surrender such a memento unless her motive was financial and selfish.
Zion is intelligent and loving, not arbitrary and cruel. Sudden confiscation of property does not take place. When people receive property in Zion it is deeded to them, to take care of, as a personal stewardship. Good stewards will, obviously, be more favoured than bad stewards. Someone who does not take care of books, for example, will not be given the responsibility of looking after them. That responsibility will be given to those who know how to take care of things, if (for example) there is no communal library.
Q. So presumably the Order will be very interested to see how people look after their possessions before admitting them to Kadesh?
A. Very much so. People who cannot take care of things are spiritually lacking somewhere and need training. The Order exists to help them better order and discipline their lives.
Q. What of someone leaving the Order? Do they leave penniless?
A. As I have said elsewhere, people take out what they bring in, no more, and no less (unless they want to donate things they brought in). No-one ever leaves penniless or with less than what they brought in, unless they choose to.
Q. Would you ever force those leaving to take their things with them?
A. An interesting question. We would rather people leaving took the things they brought with them so that we not accused later of withholding their property. We don't force anything to do anything against their will. If in doubt, we would insist they took their possessions. Besides, people rarely leave such a society for good reasons, unless they are sincerely convinced that they are moving to a better Besorah (Gospel) life and a greater light in another organisation. Such we would bless on their way.
Q. What of homes and land? Could those leaving sell these?
A. The land belongs to the Order, as do all the properties. Those coming to Kadesh receive the stewardship of a plot of land and a house - to beautify, maintain, cultivate and generally take care of. These do not belong to anybody coming to Kadesh.
Q. What if someone lives in the Temple Residential Area and doesn't live up to the standards? What happens to them?
A. They will be given a home and a plot of land in the third area and be required to yield their stewardship in the Temple Residential Area.
Q. What might the grounds be?
A. Breaking covenant, of course. Failing to live the mitzvot (commandments) without immediate repentance. Letting their home fall into disrepair, not taking care of it adequately. There are many possibilities which are codified in the Community's rules.
However, you are dwelling too much on the negative, I feel. Kadesh is a positive community of mutual help and support. People are not left alone to struggle with problems. Everyone is in it together.
I should point out that what we are talking about today is not the final Kadesh-Ephraim but the intermediary Kadesh-biyqah, and other proto-firstborn colonies like it.
Q. What's the difference?
A. Kadesh-Ephraim is firstborn throughout -- there will be no 'local colonial' or 'third' or 'fourth' areas. Kadesh-Ephraim is a tribulation settlement for the Remnant, totally cut off from the world. Kadesh-biyqah, which was founded by the grace of God in 1997, is a pre-tribulation settlement which interacts with the wider world. The next generation will build the main Kadesh, the Kadesh in the mountains.
Q. It sounds an exciting adventure...
A. It is -- terribly exciting as well as challenging. A person walking this path will never be the same again. We have already tasted the fruits as we have prepared to gather. The spirit of Zion is already a firmly established fact - this first colony, Kadesh-biyqah, is here, though it is only in its birth stages. We know there are going to be difficulties, as there have been up to now, but we welcome these as opportunities for spiritual growth. There has already been much persecution and suffering, but Yahweh has taken care of us. Whatever difficulties there may be, we know that they will be far outweighed by the blessings.