What is the Holy Order?
Unveiling the Inner Fellowship
Established by Yah'shua the Messiah
Second Edition, 23 February 2017
The following article, originally a sermon, was prepared and delivered at the request of the Bergen (Norway) Branch of the forerunner of the New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh (NCAY), to a public meeting of members and investigators on Sunday 11 October 1992. With the changing rôle and function of the Chavurat Bekorot or 'Holy Order', NCAY's Priesthood organisation, over the course of a quarter of a century, a complete revision was made in 2017. Part A is a cosmetic update of the original sermon (using messianic terminology) and Part B, taking advantage of up-to-date scholarship, contains completely new sections, replacing much of the original but now outdated material.
What is the Holy Order?
The Holy Order or Chavurah Bekorot (to use its Hebrew equivalent) is another name for the better known Assembly of the Firstborn or the New Jerusalem described by the apostle Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews:
Finding the Roots of the Gospel
In this very profound discourse to the early Hebrew believers, Paul explains how the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) has become the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) of Israel through His death, atonement and resurrection, the "firstborn from the dead" (Col.1:18, AV). He explains how, in fulfilling the promises, shadows and types of the Old Covenant (Law of Moses), Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) becomes the eternal Cohen Gadol (High Priest) of a B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) (Heb.8). The old Priesthood of Israel, previously confined to the literal descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses (and called the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood after Aaron's tribe), is now a Universal Priesthood for all believers in Messiah irrespective of tribal or racial origin. The apostle Peter writes:
"But you [faithful believers] have come to Mount Zion, to the Heavenly Jerusalem, to the City of the Living Elohim (God). You have come to thousands upon thousands of malakim (angels) in joyful assembly, to the Assembly of the Firstborn, whose names are written in Heaven. You have come to Elohim (God), the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Yah'shua (Jesus) the mediator of the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant)..." (Heb.12:22-24, NIV)
The connection, or relationship between, the Old Israelite Covenant and the New Messianic or Christian Covenant is important to understand if we are to fathom what the Holy Order is. There are in the world hundreds of different Christian and Messianic traditions each stressing different aspects of the Besorah (Gospel). These groups sometimes espouse doctrines and practices that are non-Biblical. A great many of them -- the vast majority, in fact -- have embraced so many worldly ideas that, when comparing them with the descriptions of the Messianic Community (Church) reported in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament), are difficult to recognise. They have evolved into something quite unlike the communities of the first qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones).
"But you are a chosen people, a royal Priesthood, a qadosh (holy, set-apart) nation, a people belonging to Elohim (God), that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" (1 Pet.2:9, NIV).
There are many groups who have tried to return to the simple roots of the Christian faith to one degree or another, to faithfully restore, to the best of their ability based on the knowledge that was then at hand, the simple tavnith (pattern) lived by those early talmidim (disciples). Each has interpreted that pattern somewhat differently and over a period of time each has evolved into quite different doctrinal and denominational structures.
Some modern groups, like the one hundred or so Latter Day Saint denominations, have sought to resolve this disharmony by introducing more Scriptures to either clarify ambiguous passages in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) and Tanakh (Old Testament) or parts they didn't like. Unlike orthodox Christians who maintain that the Bible -- and the Bible alone -- is sufficient for believers to find salvation, Latter Day Saints (of whom the 'Mormons' are the largest and best known) maintain that the Scriptural Canon is open and that Elohim (God) continues to reveal Himself through more scriptures. Quite a few contemporary Messianic groups make similar claims and have added various pseudepigraphical books that better reflect their own doctrinal preconceptions.
The danger with such a position is that additional scriptures (assuming they are even genuine) are soon used not to 'supplement' the Bible but to 'supplant' it. Thus Mormons believe the Book of Mormon to be on a superior level to the Bible and, given a choice between the two, would choose it over the Bible which they believe, as an article of faith and like the Moslems, to have been corrupted by Catholic priests. The result has been the appearance and evolution of doctrines and practices that contradict Bible teachings as well as laying stress on areas of secondary importance to salvation.
Though Messianic Evangelicals accept the proposition that Elohim (God) can bring forth more scriptures if He chooses to, they do not believe that such scriptures can ever supplant the Bible or contradict it in any way. (The Book of Mormon and Quran, to name but two, contradict the Bible and therefore cannot be true). For this reason Messianic Evangelicals only use the Bible (Protestant canon) in the ministry for we believe it to be sufficient, in the hands of a spiritually mature ministry, to bring salvation to the world.
The Key: Spiritual Maturity
The key to effective and true Christian/Messianic ministry lies not in how many books of scriptures one possesses but in spiritual enlightenment, maturity and connectedness to Messiah. That is not to say that we are saved by knowledge (gnosticism) as the theosophists and gnostics would maintain, but that the Davar Elohim (Word of God) must be understood and applied through the ministry of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Thus the apostle Peter could write:
It is the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) which enlightens and experience matures. It was the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) which inspired men of old to write the Scriptures and it is the same Ruach (Spirit) which does so today (2 Tim.3:16). Indeed, it is worth remembering that the first believers had no New Testament at all but only the Tanakh (Old Testament) and a few circulating letters from the apostles, some of which (though not all) are in today's Messianic Scriptures (New Testament). The four gospels weren't available in written form until at least a decade after Messiah's death and resurrection. So what did the first believers live by? Quite simply, they lived by the Tanakh (Old Testament Scriptures), the apostolic testimony and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). We may say, therefore, that the living, active Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is superior to that which is written, for the written Davar (Word) is subject to such diverse interpretation without adequate guidance from the Ruach (Spirit).
"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the navi's (prophet's) own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from Elohim (God) as they were carried along by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit)" (2 Pet.1:20-21, NIV).
The first Messianic scriptures were not 'scriptures' at all but a living, oral testimony. This testimony was carried by the apostles, men who had either known Messiah when He was alive or had met the resurrected Master as Paul did. People were converted to Yah'shua (Jesus) by the testimony of the apostles and the power which they were endowed with -- a power which manifested itself in the form of divine ahavah (love), miraculous signs and spiritual enlightenment. What they did, however, always confirmed or illuminated the pre-existing written Scriptures, namely the Tanakh (Old Testament). No doctrine or practice ever contradicted the Torah (Law) of Moses or the witness of the patriarchs before that -- their doctrine was the natural, harmonious continuation of what had already been revealed.
Reaffirming the Torah
This is very important to underline. Just as the apostles were true and faithful to the revelation of the Torah or Law/Teaching of Moses, so modern-day believers must be true and faithful to the testimony of the apostles, because they were the authentic guardians and expositors of the New Covenant emunah (faith). Nothing that true Christianity/Messianism teaches should contradict the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the Torah (Law) of Moses. Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) Himself said that that though the Torah (Law) of Moses was incomplete (not filled up) it was not man-made or replacable either. No one had the right to 'replace' or 'supplant' it. He said:
Strong words indeed; but how many Christians pay attention to them? How many even believe them? Instead of seeing the New Covenant, or Christian/Messianic Covenant, as a "filling up" or "completing" of the Torah (Law) of Moses, most Christians regard it as having been 'replaced' or 'supplanted' and 'abolished'. But please note Yah'shua's (Jesus') own words -- the Torah (Law) of Moses remains in force UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS AWAY. Since heaven and earth are still here, so the Torah (Law) per force must remain too. Paul said that the purpose of the Master was to convict people of sin so they could repent and receive the grace or undeserved loving kindness of the Messiah which leads to a forgiveness of sins and a spiritual new birth.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Torah (Law) or the Nevi'im (Prophets); I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil (complete, fill) them. I tell you the emet (truth), until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of the pen, will by any means disappear from the Torah (Law) until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these mitzvot (commandments) and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these mitzvot (commandments) will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Prushim (Pharisees) and the teachers of the Torah (Law of Moses) (scribes), you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt.5:17-20, NIV).
Throughout His ministry, Yah'shua (Jesus) reformed or upgraded the Law of Moses. The basic morality and doctrines of the Law He did not change, however, but affirmed their divine origin and eternal nature. He upheld the marriage laws of the Torah (Law) of Moses; instead of repealing them He made them even stricter. Adultery, he said, wasn't just man sleeping with another man's wife, but simply lusting after such in one's heart constituted adultery too (Matt.5:28). He elevated the divorce laws of the Mosaic Torah (Law) (Deut.24:1ff) by saying that the only grounds for divorce were adultery (Mark 10:2-12; Matt.19:9). And even then He taught, through His actions, that forgiveness was the better path provided proper teshuvah (repentance) was made (John 8:3-11). But for the most part Yah'shua (Jesus) simply restated the Torah (Law) and reminded the people where they had become lax, particularly in regard to loving one's neighbour. Indeed, there was little that was what one might call 'new' in His teaching (other than to love ones enemies) -- He simply took Yahweh's Divine Torah (Law) and elevated it to a higher standard and level of consciousness so that it might become even more real and alive!
Yah'shua's (Jesus's) doctrines were not some collection of disjunctive New Age teachings that have become so popular these days and which totally contradict and belittle the Tanakh (Old Testament) and Bible in general, but were simply a reaffirmation of the Torah (Law). The Tanakh (Old) Testament was written over many hundreds of years when people were crude, idolatrous, and generally at a low level of spiritual awareness. People read the Tanakh (Old Testament) and are often revolted by it because of the crudity of life, the apparent disrespect for life, and its apparent 'primitiveness'. But it was not the Torah (Law) that was 'crude', 'disrespectful' or 'primitive', but the fallen human beings who attempted to live it within the framework alotted them. Elohim (God), throughout all ages, has adapted His torot (laws) and mitzvot (commandments) to the level of light and consciousness of a particular society, but those torot (laws) are, at their core, immutable, eternal, and divine.
Modern man likes to think of himself as being sophisticated and prides himself in that sophistication. The ancient Greek sophists thought the same of themselves. Yet at core he is made of the same flesh and passions as those who lived in Tanakh (Old Testament) days. The torot (laws) given to Moses, and refined by Christ, remain just as applicable to twenty-first century man as to man three or four thousand years ago. Modern man rejects the Tanakh (Old Testament) not necessarily because it is perceived by him to be 'crude' or 'barbaric' but because he is in rebellion against Elohim (God) and his torot (laws) and mitzvot (commandments), as the Israelites once were, to do whatever he pleases (Judg.17:6). As King Solomon wisely observed:
There are many things in the Torah (Law) of Moses which modern man doesn't much like. But Messiah affirmed them and said they were eternally valid. Only those rituals which were given to point people towards the coming and atonement of Christ, such as animal sacrifices, were done away with. Thus though the moral laws of the Tanakh (Old Testament) remain in force, most of the Levitical rituals and ordinances do not. The apostle Paul spends some time explaining why circumcision of the flesh is no longer required yet reminds them, as the other apostles did, that the Christians were a new nation or a New Israel. Indeed, the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant), or Messianmic/Christian Dispensation, not only is a more complete version of the Torah (Law) given to Moses, but is, in a way, the bridge that connects all dispensations together. The close identity between the Covenant of the Patriarchs, and particularly the Covenant of Abraham, is repeatedly stressed in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament). We even find Yah'shua (Jesus) telling the people to "do the works of Abraham" (John 8:39) and Paul using Abraham as the very epitome of every Christian/Messianic virtue, and particulartly emunah (faith)! His teachings repeatedly emphasise the close connection between the Abrahamic and Messianic Covenants. He points out that many of the burdensome rules and regulations of the Torah (Law) of Moses were "added because of transgressions", because of the hardness of the peoples' hearts (Mark 10:5).
"All man's ways seem right to him, but Yahweh weighs the heart" (Prov.21:2, NIV).
Between Old and New Covenants
So what, then, is the essential difference between the Old and the New Covenants? The prophet Jeremiah explains succinctly:
Please note these words very carefully -- and remember also that Yah'shua (Jesus) said that the words of the nevi'im (prophets) would not be fulfilled until "heaven and earth passed away" (Matt.5:17-20). Firstly, what is the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant)? Is it more scriptures? Is it a special organisation that Elohim (God) will restore? No, the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) is the Torah (Law, Teaching) of Moses put in men's minds and written on men's hearts. In other words, THE TORAH (LAW) BECOMES THEIR VERY NATURE! Will it happen immediately? No. Elohim (God) told Jeremiah that the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) will come to pass in its fullness when everyone knows Elohim (God), from the greatest to the least.
"'The time is coming,' declares Yahweh, 'when I will make a B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) with the House of Israel. It will not be like the Covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke My covenant, though I was a husband to them,' declares Yahweh. 'This is the [New] Covenant that I will make with the House of Israel, after that time,' declares Yahweh. 'I will put My Torah (Law, Teaching, Doctrine) in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their Elohim (God) and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know Yahweh', because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,' declares Yahweh. 'For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more'" (Jer.31:31-34, NIV).
There are two fundamentally important points here:
Let me restate these important keys in the prophecy of Jeremiah in a slightly different way:
(1) The B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant), at its heart - in its essence - is a spiritual condition, not just a list of laws and regulations;
(2) The B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) is not to be realised fully until everyone has entered into, and attainted to maturity, this spiritual condition.
These keys will help us understand, for example, why the old Levitical Priesthood ceased being an outer, tribal responsibility and was replaced by the Melchizedek Prietshood, the inner condition of all true believers. Priesthood, or the toqef (authority), with accountability, to act in the Name of Messiah, is ultimately in proportion to one's inner light. It is the Torah (Law) incarnated in a human life. Just as Messiah incarnated that Torah (Law) perfectly, being obedient to it without sin in every particular, so too do we become incarnations of that Torah (Law) through emunah (faith) in the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) - making sure the flesh is crucified and remains crucified - demonstrated by works of obedience. Unlike Yah'shua (Jesus), who was divine, we cannot live that Torah (Law) by our own strength, for as Yah'shua (Jesus) taught, if we live every mitzvah (commandment) and fail in just one, then we have broken the whole Torah (Law)! (James 2:10) So who can be saved? We are saved through emunah (faith, trusting) in Messiah, who supernaturally empowers us with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), who in turn puts the Torah (Law) in our minds and writes it in our hearts, until we become living manifestations of that Torah (Law). And what, did Yah'shua (Jesus) say the Torah (Law) was? He said it was righteous (1 Tim.1:8). Therefore we become righteous by trusting in the Righteous One (Messiah) which leads us to live the Torah (Law) of Righteousness. The Torah is the Constitution and Book of Laws of the Kingdom of whom Yah'shua (Jesus) is King.
- Firstly, the Besorah (Gospel) of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) in its prime essence is internal;
- Secondly, it is not complete until everyone actively believes.
Faith and Works
Our belief, or emunah (faith), however, is not to be passive but active - it is to be followed up or accompanied by good works. We are not just spirits but have physical bodies too. What we do inside must be manifested outwardly too. Anger in the heart manifests itself either in violent deeds or, if suppressed, in a sick body because we are trying to contain it by our own efforts. The apostle James said:
That is not to say that we cannot have emunah (faith) unless we do good deeds or works; but rather, good works or deeds flow out of true emunah (faith). And the two are so closely interconnected that in truth our finite human minds cannot discern when one or the other begins or ends, for they are echad or one. The fact that we do good works can either mean that our root motivation is ahavah (love) empowered by emunah (faith) in Messiah, or it can mean that our root motivation is greed and selfishness or a desire to earn salvation. Salvation is indeed ultimately revealed by works or good deeds (where these are actually possible), but only those deeds which first arise out of emunah (faith) in, and love of, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), without thought of self-reward.
"Emunah (faith) without works is dead" (James 2:20,26, KJV).
Clearly, since we are physical human beings, we still need to conduct ourselves in an outer, physical way. We need to have a job, get married, raise children, interact with other people, and so on. The Torah (Law), though at its root spiritual, must nevertheless manifest itself outwardly. It was not designed to be contained and restricted within. We weren't supposed to just think about it and feel good about it. It was designed to be practical because it was designed for life in this physical world. Indeed, its outward, visible manifestation is the acid test of whether it has taken invisible, spiritual root in our minds and hearts.
This is very fine theory - it's certainly pure biblical doctrine - but how does one make these things a reality? How does one receive Messiah by emunah (faith)? Is all the Torah (Law) instantly written in all its perfection in our minds and hearts when we receive Messiah as Saviour and Deliverer? It is there, as a seed, yes, but common sense and the experience of life should tell us that it is not mature; and even if we lack common sense and experience we can read in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) of the struggle the Christian/Messianic life it to make sure that seed is guarded and nourished. We just don't learn 'all in one go'. As human beings we don't seem to learn anything all in 'one go'. Life teaches us that growth is a process whether it's learning a language, a profession, or coming fully to Messiah. The Teacher may be present but the teaching has still to be taken onboard and woven into our living. There are concrete steps that must be taken to ensure that. Ahavah (love) has to be put into practoce to do its transforming work. Thus the apostle Paul reminds us that salvation is a maturation process when he writes:
Since our salvation needs to be "worked out", it follows that time, obedience, and experience is needed to see it manifested in, and integrated with, our very being. Salvation in its complete, biblical sense, consisting of numerous 'saving events', of which the first - the initial trusting - is the most important thing - is a process, not something instantly obtained by receiving Yah'shua (Jesus) as one's Saviour. That part of salvation which is the coming to a full knowledge of Elohim (God) (John 17:3) through living out the new life bequeathed by the Ruach (Spirit), takes constant application, perpetual motion along the Derech (Way) in the direction that is the fullness of Yah'shua (Jesus). It requires constant study, prayer, service, and a coming to experiential knowledge.
"Therefore, my beloved, as you 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 Elohim (God) who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil.2:12-13, NJKV).
Two Kinds of Salvation
I hope nobody here things that I am denying the doctrine of eternal security, for I am not. You don't have to have completed the journey to be sure that you are secure. At the same time, you can't just make a declaration for Yah'shua (Jesus) and then walk away, thinking that your membership card - that profession of emunah (faith) - will see you safely home even if you subsequently choose to live out the life of a devil. There is no such thing as 'Once Saved, Always Saved' - salvation is not so cheap. Salvation has many facets. The apostle Paul teaches that when you sincerely and genuinely receive Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) as your Saviour, then you are eternally secure provided you remain on the Derech (Way, Road) and are continuing to work out all the aspects of what being saved is! Once you trust in Him, believe in Him, and are manifesting that emunah (faith) by leading a life of Christian/Messianic discipleship by obedience to the mitzvot (commandments), then you are eternally secure and the devil cannot snatch you away from Yah'shua (Jesus), however many mistakes you may make along the way.
There are some who say that unless you do this of that - that you cannot be saved. That is not what I am saying. That is legalism and it is false. Too many cults teach this doctrine and reduce their people to nervous wrecks for they are never quite sure if they have 'made it' or not. They are constantly striving to be worthy of something they never could be worthy of. The ahavah (love) of Elohim (God) is unmerited, undeserved. That's grace. We are saved in the here-and-now by our emunah (faith) - our trusting - in the finished work of the Cross. That is salvation-present. We were saved when we first committed to Messiah, died to self and received the new life. But there yet remains salvation-future. What was received must be retained so that it may continue to mature us.
This is the teaching of this Messianic Evangelical fellowship and it is the doctrine of the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament). Salvation is not a question of Elohim (God) sitting down at the end of our life and adding up all our deeds to see if we have done enough good deeds to get into Heaven -- salvation is a question of being in Messiah at all times, living the victorious life in emunah (faith), and reaching out to bring the Besorah (Gospel) message to others. For as Yah'shua (Jesus) said in the Gospel of John, "judge not according to the apearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Only Elohim (God) is able to measure us - of ourselves we cannot. We know, from the Torah (Law), what is right and wrong (and if we are living in the light we will know also from a disturbed conscience if we wander into wrong thinking, feelings and deeds) in the most obvious areas, but not in all. It takes time to expose all our sinful nature so that we can repent, receive Messiah's (Christ's) forgiveness, and grow further in grace. We are shown this tavnith (pattern) of maturation in the divine moedim or appointments of Yahweh.
Interpreting the Bible
The Bible is a big book and it doesn't answer every question in black-and-white faced by the modern talmid (disciple). It reveals general principles. It doesn't tell us not to take cocaine but it does tell us to treat the body as a Temple of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), which taking cocaine would not be. Because everything is not spelled out as perhaps we might sometimes like, because we are too lazy to live out fully what we do now so that we may sufficiently walk in the Ruach (Spirit) in order to receive revelation for to answer every modern question, it is interpreted differently by Christians and Messianics today. Some groups say you can drink alcohol, others say you can't. Some say it dosn't matter so long as you do so in moderation. The majority say, because it has been done by their ancestors for so long, that we can celebrate pagan festivals like Christmas, some say you will go to hell if you do, and others say it doesn't matter what you celebrate. Some say marriage isn't necessary so long as couples are committed, others that it isn't proper marriage unless it is acknowledged by the state. Some teach that all governments are of the devil and we can ignore them, others that we must be scrupulously obedient to every law, no matter what, even if they're anti-biblical. Some say we should be pacificts, others that military service is acceptable. Some believe in capital punishment, and others don't. And so on. And each will justify his position from the Bible.
Why, if the Bible is self-sufficient, isn't there agreement? In some cases it is because men deliberately want to follow after their own teachings and couldn't care less what the Bible says. Many are sincere in wanting to be obedient to the Bible and simply interpret it differently because their spirits are muddied by an admixture of emet (truth) and lies, Ruach (Spirit) and flesh. Yet others say that Christianity was never intended to be a monochromatic religion but Elohim (God) has allowed for enormous diversity by permitting believers to mix the Besorah (Gospel) with their own cultures. So what is the emet (truth) of the matter?
Let us take one example. There are many who teach that unless you are baptised you cannot be saved, and they are able to point to various passages in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) in support of their position. Others point out that baptism is just an outer ordinance, and that as the Besorah (Gospel) is essentially a condition of the mind and heart, so it doesn't really matter, and they admit people into fellowship just by a handshake or by a democratic show of hands. Or they might not bother to do any of these things. They might also give the example of a man who came to faith in Yah'shua (Jesus) in the middle of the Sahara desert who died before he could find water to be baptised in. Was he saved? Was he eternally damned? And others say that you cannot be saved unless you are baptised in their organisation.
So how do we resolve these doctrinal issues? Has Elohim (God) provided reliable answers to all these questions? The answer must be, of course, that He has, otherwise He would not be what He claims to be: all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving.
Inner and Outer
The first key we have already discussed briefly, and it is that man is essentially made of two parts -- an inner spirit and an outer body. We have also seen that the Old Covenant or Mosaic Torah (Law) was essentially an outer - or what we sometimes call an exoteric - religion. Outward compliance was what was primarily required. Eight year-old babies had to be circumcised, they were not asked when they were older. We have also seen that the fullness of the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) or Christian/Messianic Covenant, is essentially an inner, or what we sometimes call an esoteric faith. We have also seen that the fullness of the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) cannot be realised until all believe and all know Elohim (God) as He really is, which must be evidenced by genuine ahavah (love) and a unity of doctrine and practice. Paul, in his epistle to the Corinthians, says that the various spiritual gifts like prophecy and speaking in tongues are temporary expediencies until we come to the fullness of this Covenant, whence they will disappear (1 Cor.13). They are, if you like, gifts on loan until we don't need them anymore. He says that they are necessary until we come to a "unity of the emunah (faith)" (Eph.4:13) and our whole nature is suffused with the pure ahavah (love) of Messiah such that we will be like Him in nature when He returns (1 Jn.3:2). Indeed, he says that the only thing that we can take with us into heaven is this pure ahavah or agapé love. That means that such Christian and Messianic organisations as currently exist in the world today must be left behind too. There won't be any sectarians in either heaven or on the millennial earth. We will live in a unified theocratic nation with one Master, one emunah (faith) and one baptism.
Heavenly and Earthly Messianic Communities
I introduced my talk today by describing the Heavenly Jerusalem or the Assembly (Church, Community) of the Firstborn. That there is a Community or 'Church' of the Redeemed in heaven there can be no doubt of since an ekklesia or 'church' is a community of believers, not a building or a set of man-made rules. This Community, as we have seen, has a special name: it is called the Assembly of the Firstborn. Since the Bible says that its temple is Elohim (God) Himself and the Lamb (Rev.21:22), we can safely assume that it is perfect. There is, then, a perfect, flawless Community. It is a community of those redeemed of the Master, and they inhabit a Qadosh (Holy, Set-Apart) City in heaven called the New Jerusalem which is yet to come down to the Millennial Earth, replacing the current earthly city of Jerusalem, the City nof Hagar (Gal.4:25).
I want to underline the word community here. There are many who believe that Christianity is just a personal religion. It's not. In fact the Scriptures make it plain that at the last day we can't be saved in the fullest, most complete, sense of the word without each other - without the rest of the community of the redeemed. Thus if I intensely dislike a fellow believer here on earth I can't assume that I can forget all about him or my bad feelings toward him and hope we will be in different parts of heaven and never cross paths. The last chapter of the Book of Malachi says that all broken relationship have to be healed before the heavenly, millennial dispensation can begin (Mal.4:6). They are the last words of the Tanakh (Old Testament) in our Protestant Bibles (Messianic Bibles are arranged differently). Yes, every relationship must be healed. That is why Yah'shua (Jesus) stressed the importance of restoring relationships with everyone we have fallen out with, to the best of our ability. We are all one family, the 'good' and the 'bad' as we imagine them to be. But before we can do that, we must learn to live in right relationship with other Christians/Messianics who believe like we do. Just as a footballer cannot be a footballer without a football team, so the believer cannot be a Christian/Messianic without an Assembly, Fellowship or Church of which he is a comitted part. And just as there are good and bad football teams, so also there are good and bad Christian/Messianic congregations, and many shades inbetween.
The Old Covenant was, as I said, imposed from without. The summary rules were inscribed on stone or committed to memory until they were written down later on parchment. The pattern of the Israelite theocracy was given. The first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch) are extraordinarily detailed. Naturally, they were given in a particular social context when farmers used oxen and not tractors, for example. And though the concrete examples aren't always relevent to us (like how to treat slaves), the principles are the same.
The B'rit Chadashah or New Covenant, in its true essence, begins from within. And that is both its strength and its weakness. It draws its strength from this position because the true spiritual life always starts from within. It is exposed to weakness because whatever passes through the human mind and heart tends to become corrupted because of what the scriptures call "sin". The human soul is a bit like a filter but in the opposite way. We use filters to purify things such as coffee, or car exhaust fumes; the human soul is a kind of 'reverse-filter'; Yahweh sends down His pure Ruach (Spirit) and it passes through (or is often blocked by) the unsurrendered, uncrucified muck of the human mind and heart. Not only that, but the human mind and heart is so small compared with Elohim's (God's) that it cannot adequately contain the infinite anyway. We can only grasp a little. Yahweh said to the navi (prophet) Isaiah:
Every navi (prophet) does his best to convey what Elohim (God) tells him but is conscious of his own limitations, not least the limits of language. Words are of a lower order than mental concepts, and our human concepts are feeble indeed when compared to Elohim's (God's). So how does mortal man express the things of Elohim (God)?
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith Yahweh. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than you ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa.55:8-9, AV).
Yahweh's Spirit vs. Man's 'Spirit'
We find ourselves limited by words again. We are back to the old problem of the Scriptures and their interpretation. We remember Peter telling us that we of ourselves cannot prophetically interpret the Davar Elohim (Word of God) (2 Pet.1:20), but it must be Yahweh's Ruach (Spirit) that does the task. But then you read or hear of so many people saying that they have the 'Spirit' and have the correct interpretation. Since so many claim to have the 'Spirit' yet frequently disagree and contradict one another, then what 'Spirit' is it that interprets for them? Who, if any, is to be believed? And here we come to another thorny question: How do we recognise the true Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) when it works on us? So often people mistake the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) for their own weak, beggarly, fallible human thoughts and feelings. So often you will hear people saying such and such 'is of the devil' not because it is but because they are so insecure about what they believe, parrotting only what they have been taught by others, and are fearful that they might be wrong.
Well, the Scriptures actually tell us how to identify the Ruach (Spirit). There are numerous keys. Firstly, when we have the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) we feel nothing but ahavah, agapé or selfless love for all men and women, irrespective of whether they are good or bad, and that ahavah (love) will spontaneously translate into loving, Torah-compliant deeds. In a nutshell, we have the nature of Messiah. The apostle John said:
I meet so many people who are afraid of the emet (truth) because the emet (truth) contradicts their own religious upbringing or belief. They become afraid because of the possibility of punishment (such as reproach, ostracisation or exclusion) either from Elohim (God) or from their church leaders and community. But this is not the ahavah (love) of Messiah. One who abides in Messiah abides in the Divine Torah (Law, Teaching), and he knows what that Divine Torah (Law, Teaching) is! And how does he come to that knowledge? By Scripture study, personal application, prayer, service and heavenly-generated simcha (joy) in the heart.
"There is no fear in ahavah (love). But perfect ahavah (love) drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in ahavah (love)" (1 John 4:18, NIV).
But there are counterfeit joys too -- a man can be 'happy' in sin, at least for a short while. Or he can be 'happy' in the delusion of a lie, at least for a period of time, because it confers a sense of artificial security or release from responsibility and obligation. Most people are afraid because they are inwardly insecure. And they are inwardly insecure because they have not met the living Messiah but only know a set of religious propositions. They believe in books, doctrines, and church leaders before they believe in Messiah. How can you tell if they have Messiah or not? Take away the books, doctrines, church leaders, and churches, and then you will see whether they have Messiah or not. Now I'm not saying these things aren't necessary, only that Messiah must come first.
Are you afraid of the emet (truth)? Are you afraid that the emet (truth) might upset or overturn cherished beliefs, threaten a relationship with someone who won't believe the emet (truth) as you want to, like a spouse? You cannot dwell in Messiah in that frame of mind. The emet (truth) requires your total allegiance and obedience. And it alone is capable to setting you free. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
Friends, what use is it trying to please your own desires, or the desires of a loved one, or your own false belief system for a short period of so-called 'peace', 'security', and 'happiness' if at the end of the day you're going to lose everything? Are you hesitating following Yah'shua (Jesus) because of some vice that is binding you down? Are you hestitating because you might lose your job or your family? I tell you most soberly that if it's a troubled mind, insecurity, and unhappiness that you want, you'd better not listen to me further, because today -- and every other day you listen to me -- I'm going to challenge you to choose. It's not that I want to make life difficult for you for it is your long-term spiritual welfare and happiness that concerns me. As the Scriptures say:
"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it" (Matt.16:24-25, NIV).
You don't have to die thus. Yes, you must die to self in order to become alive in Messiah, but you do not have to perish in your sins. But if you choose not to die in your sins, you must die to your flesh and your stubborn self-will. Either way, there is some unpleasant though infinitely rewarding dying to be done! It can't be avoided! Yah'shua (Jesus) has prepared the true Derech (Way) for us, and if we will walk on it, we may indeed live - possessing eternal chayim (life) - forever. I know it is so because I have striven to walk this path for the last 40 years. Yah'shua (Jesus) offers you a path of chayim (life) -- a path of living, of being in right relationship with Him and enjoying the fullness of his ahavah (love), shalom (peace) and simcha (joy).
"There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Prov.14:12).
Making a Commitment
The commitment I am challenging you to make is not just a one-off commitment, like the man who says he'll do good at Christmas and then goes on sinning as usual after the festivities are over. And I'm not calling for a casual, insincere New Year's Resolution without any kind accountability to anyone except your fickle self. What I an calling you to make is a Life-Long Covenant to accept Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as your personal Saviour and to commit to obey all His mitzvot (commandments) - in short, to live a life of holiness.
Having hopefully faced our sinful condition and accepted Yah'shua (Jesus) as Master (Lord) and Deliverer (Saviour), we are still faced with the problem of which church or fellowship to be a part of. There are far too many denominations to study (about 34,000 of them) - you don't have time anyway. To study all of them would take a lifetime. The best you can do is follow the leadings of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). That requires, of course, that you are honest, and that might not be easy especially as the Scriptures say that often Elohim (God) wants to take us along a path we don't want to go so that our soul may be saved. That was what Yah'shua (Jesus) prophesied to Peter (Jn.21:18). So watch out for your feelings! For the Besorah (Gospel) path that I am here to preach to you will demand everything of you, not just that which is 'convenient'. I have come here today to introduce people to an ancient biblical path revealed from Heaven simply called 'the New Covenant' and to offer it to you should you choose to follow its way. You must pray to Yahweh and ask Him if this is where He wants you to be, laying aside all your pride, fear, and misconceptions if you have any. It maybe that He wants you elsewhere or that He wants you to remain where you are now in your particular assembly or church. Whatever, you must answer to your conscience. And perhaps you should consider whether your presence here is just an accident or whether divine providence has ordered it that you have come to hear me speak or to read this article later. What prompted you to come? How do you happen to find yourself reading this website? What sequence of events led you here?
An Historical Perspective
The First Holy Order Communities
Messianic Evangelicals believe that the first community and fellowship of true Yahweh-believers that existed on the earth was known as the Assembly of the Firstborn. According to the writer of Hebrews it is still called that today and has its counterpart in Heaven:
This passage contains a dense cluster of terms and concepts that most believers are probably not typically familiar with, particularly if they have read this passage from a Protestant translation of which the following is typical:
"But you (believers) have drawn near to Mount Tsiyon and to the City of the Living Elohim (God), to the Heavenly Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), to myriads of messengers (malakim, angels), to the entire Gathering and Assembly (Congregation) of the Firstborn having been enrolled in Heaven, and to Elohim (God) the Judge of all, and to the ruachot (spirits) of righteous men made perfect, and to Yah'shua (Jesus) the Mediator of a B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant)..." (Heb.12:22-24a, ISRV-2009)
The locus of the community is heavenly, the one that will come down to earth for the Millennium as the New Jerusalem, with which we identify and have our connection by virtue of our being supernaturally "enrolled" or "registered" in the invisible world. The members of this community are known as the "first-born" as distinct from other believers whom we may, with scriptural justification as we shall see, call "second-born". How are the two finally distinguished and separated? By the Mishpat of Judgment of Yahweh that divides believers into two groups, one of which inherits the "first resurrection" at the beginning of the Millennium and the other the "second resurrection" at the end of the Millennium, even as it is written:
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant..." (Heb.12:21-24a, NKJV).
These two communities of believers - the one obedient and the other disobedient - may rightly be called the 'Assembly of the First-born' and the 'Assembly of the Second-born', respectively. They are both saved but have different destinies and rewards. They are 'born' or usshered, as it were, into two different resurrections but only the fomer enjoy the fullness of the blessings described in the passage we read in Hebrews 12:21-24a. The third category - the unbelievers - likewise have a different fate to the previous two but that is not a part of our subject material today. These three correspond to the three degrees of resurrection glory spoken of by Paul:
"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Yah'shua (Jesus) and because of the Davar Elohim (Word of God). They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Messiah a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and qadosh (holy, set-apart) are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be cohenim (priests) of Elohim (God) and of Messiah and will reign with Him for a thousand years" (Rev.20:4-6, NIV).
Most Christians make no distinction between the first and second categories and it is assumed by them that such a separation does not exist in the eternities. The Scriptures contradict them. It therefore becomes important to know what specifically it is that separates these two and how not to miss out on the highest blessings, though our chief motivation should not be with an eye to rewards but solely with the desire to serve and please our Heavenly Father out of ahavah (love) for, anmd grattitude to, Him for the sacrifice of His Son in our behalf.
"There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead" (1 Cor.15:41-42, NKJV).
The principle distinguishing feature of the two communities is faithfulness and obedience, or a lack thereof. The Community of the Firstborn that exists in Heaven is filled with the souls of the faithful and obedient stretching back to the very first humans. Its members are from every dispensation - Patriarchal, Mosaic and New Covenant. They are a single Body who are completely echad or one with Elohim (God) and with one another. Both the living and the dead - those currently on earth and those who once lived here - who were, and are, true, are registered or enrolled in this Community.
This Community has been called by many names over the aeons of time such as the Holy Order, the Chavurat Bekorot (which in Hebrew means 'fellowship of the firstborn'), the Patriarchal Order, the Melchizedek Order and, in the Christian/Messianic era, the New Covenant Assembly of the Firstborn. It was originally organised by Father Adam for his family and their posterity and has been re-instituted in various ages and spiritual dispensations following numerous falling aways, corruptions and apostacies. It is a Community of Cohenim (Priests), those servants of Yahweh wholly consecrated or dedicated to Him. It has no nominal or unrepentant backslidden members.
As we have seen, this community is partly (mostly, in fact) in Heaven and partly on earth, its full compliment being 144,000 souls or families. Those of these, foreknown by Yahweh as overcomers, living in mortality on earth are struggling to work out their salvation still. Those in Heaven have already overcome the flesh and are at complete rest in the presence of their Maker. The firstborn on the earth have internal shalom (peace) whilst outwardly experiencing trial and tribulation in the world system. The world is their refining fire.
Because the earthly Community of believers consists of those struggling at different stages of overcoming, with some more comitted and obedient than others, it will inevitably be an admixture of both the first-born and the second-born. Satan will use the second-born (since he has been presented with open doors by them on account of their lawlessness) - those rebellious and disobedient - to tempt and try to overwhelm the first-born. Satan's goal is twofold:
To make the task harder for Satan, the true religion of Yahweh has always been organised wherein both the first-born and the second-born (at any one particular point in time) serve together as a single community. The first-born constitute the 'inner core' and are a congregation's Priesthood or Ministers consisting of Elders, Eldresses, Deacons and Deaconesses. The remainder, though all called, are of two kinds:
- 1. To overwhelm the first-born, by destroying or expelling the first-born from the assemblies, so as to handicap and neutralise such congregations or churches; and ultimately,
- 2. To completely overwhelm the second-born as well, ensuring that such congregations conform to the world system and so become a part of it.
There is nothing 'permanent' in this separation so long as the parties still have breath. Those serving in Priesthood may as easily fall out of their Priesthood as those who are old enough may arise into that Priesthood. This is not a caste system because it is fluid. So long as there is life, men and women may choose. A man or woman may as easily arise or fall, even if Yahweh (alone) foreknows who will choose what. The final division is not determined or effected until death takes a soul out of this sphere and into the spiritual realm of the 'dead'.
- 1. Those who are either not yet mature enough for Priesthood service (which begins at the age of 30), some of whom are first-born elect (by Yahweh's foreknowledge) and others second-born (also by Yahweh's foreknowledge). All are called but few are chosen (Mt.20:16; 22:14) because of the choices they make; and
- 2. Those who are old enough to serve in the Priesthood, who are also called, but who, for various reasons, do not rise up into their calling because of a refusal to overcome their lawlessness. These are, for the time-being, the second-born.
There are therefore two communities mingling and serving together at any one time. This mixture we call the 'Outer Community' and in this ministry goes under the designation, the New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh (NCAY). Just as there is no such thing as 'once saved, always saved' in this community, so also there is no such thing as 'once ordained, always ordained' either. Priesthood stewardships are a year long and once a year, just before Yom haKippurim (Day os Atonements), during the Season of Teshuvah (Repentance), every elder, eldress, deacon and deconess is weighed to determine whether they are worthy to carry the stewardship for another year. The criteria are laid out in the Constitution of the New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh.
There is also an 'intermediary' state between the Priesthood and the rest of the membership known as the Order of Sub-Deacons and Sub-Deaconesses where prospective Priesthood may be trained from the time that a brother or sister has become a Son or Daughter of Covenant.
The Priesthood organisation of the New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh is known as the Chavurat Bekorot and, when functioning as it ought to (the responsibility for which rests with the Patriarchate and Apostolate), is the equivalent of the heavenly "Assembly (Congregation) of the Firstborn" described by the writer of Hebrews.
THIS IS THE DIVINE DYNAMIC AND TAVNITH (PATTERN) OF THIS WORK OF ELOHIM (GOD).
We can only guess at the operating details of Holy Order in ages past. We know almost nothing about the ante-diluvian or pre-flood era with hints only in Genesis up to the time of Moses. We do know that it was then called the Melchizedek Order, as it is again called now in the B'rit Chadashah or New Covenant. Accordingly, this ministry has had to rely on a great deal of revelation, received over a 30 year period, for the restoration of the end-time Chavurat Bekorot.
Inward and Outward
In the very beginning there was no separate inner and outer system that we know of because that world was laregly without corruption. Only as sin and wickedness spread and progressively more doors were opened to demonic activity was there a need to establish a dual system such as obtains in NCAY today. The very first Holy Order was a single family entity governed by the Patriarchs, much as it is now. The first of these Patriarchs was Adam who presided over a theocratic society that existed around the whole earth wherever true believers were to be found. The effects of the Fall in the Garden of Eden had repercussions for the whole planet which began its slow but persistent entropic decay. The first murder, comitted by Adam's son Cain, marked not only the beginning of the end of the Holy Order as a worldwide theocratic society but the beginning of a progressive invasion of the earth by invisible, satannic powers.
Evil Powers Corrupt the First Order
Once these evil forces found their way into the Holy Order, corruption spread rapidly. Not only did the descendants of Adam begin to enter into corrupt and secret evil Orders, which was the original basis of occultism, but the whole of nature itself became further corrupted, as the land became more cursed by sin, and warfare became established as the norm of men and beasts.
As more men and women rebelled against the Holy Order, so that Order shrunk in size. With nature more and more corrupted it became necessary to build structures to isolate the effect of the worldwide fall and provide sancturies of holiness and purity. These structures were the small communities at the centres of which were the first temples.
Various rites and ordinances were instituted by Yahweh to point the people towards Messiah whom the nevi'im (prophets) said would come in the meridian of time to reverse the effects of the fall in both men and nature as a whole. Amongst these rites were circumcision and animal sacrifice for the atonement of sins. The faithful were also taught concerning the ways of Yahweh and how to get into right relationship with Him.
Occultic Orders Rule the Earth
Whilst the Holy Order battled to survive, rival evil, occultic Orders arose around these ever shrinking pockets of righteousness. These evil Orders, out of which grew the pagan religions of the past and present, served only to hasten the decay of nature and of man's spiritual and physical corruption. Through satannic rites of occult magic, channels were opened to allow the invasion of the earth by demonic spirits who had been denied independent incarnation by Elohim (God) into physical bodies like other men and women because of their earlier rebellion in heaven. You can read about this in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation (Rev.12:3-4,7-9). To placate and control (as they supposed) these evil spirits, as well as to empower themselves for personal gain, the counterfeit, occultic orders organised ritual murder and sexual depravity as part of their temple ordinances. Most of the world religions can be traced back to these counterfeit orders and many modern occultic organisations and pagan religions are their direct descendants.
By the days of Noah the Holy Order was all but extinct, save for eight souls (Gen.6ff). With humanity in such a depraved condition where child-sacrifice, murder and sodomy were routine daily occurences in every stratum of society and in everty habitation of man, divine intervention and judgment, in the form of a worldwide flood, was inevitable, and Yahweh sent a watery deluge both to preserve the genetically uncorrupted messianic line through Noah as well as to preserve those billions of pre-existent spirits, as yet unincarnated, from hopeless misery with no possibility of salvation, and to ensure the continuation of the messianic line until the time ordained for Mesiah's first coming.
Moses and the Patriarchs
The post-Diluvian world saw the reintroduction of the Holy Melchizedek Order through the Patriarchs (principally Shem, who was Melchizedek) and then a lower Levitical or Aaronic Order Moses and successors. Best known of the Patriarchs was Abraham whose Order this Chavurat Bekorot has received a considerable amount of in-depth revelation. A counterfeit Order was established by Nimrod and the brutal and satannic practices of the pre-Diluvian era were restored through him that were to wreck havoc on the earth once again.
The dispersal of the human family after the tower of Babel incident saw many Holy Orders established across the planet with numerous counter-orders. The stories of these Orders are told in numerous accounts recently restored through, and held by, the modern Holy Order.
Desirous to recover as many of His disobedient and rebellious children as would listen to Him and subject themselves to His torot (laws), Elohim (God) raised up nevi'im (prophets) to minister different degrees of light to differrnt segments of society according to their individual willingness to respond.
The Order of Moses
One of the best known outer orders or covenants raised up by Elohim (God) was the [Levitical] Order of Moses established amongst the descendants of Noah and Abraham to be especial witnesses of divine providence and the coming of the Messiah. By the standards of the Melchizedek Order it was a relatively harsh religion but adequate for its purpose. Anything more potent, in the form of another Holy Melchizedek Order, would not have succeeded among such an unsanctified, materialistic and idolatrous people. Thus an outer or incomplete Torah (Law) was given to the nation of Israel so that the long process of raising the level of human consciousness would prepare men and women for the coming of the Son of Man.
Yah'shua (Jesus), the Firstborn
The coming of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), one of whose titles is the "Firstborn" (as we have seen - e.g. Rev.1:5; Rom.8:29; Col.1:15,18), was the turning point in world history. His death and atonement at Calvary whereby our own sins were paid for us by Him, unleashed a power which up to this time had never been available to mankind before, for which the righteous had earnestly longed, but could only await and hope for. Chained by the Torah (Law) of Justice because of the works of Satan, mankind was now offered grace -- the undeserved loving kindness of Yahweh-Elohim. This grace which before had only been promised, now became available on the earth in a new way. The living and the dead could avail themselves of it through emunah (faith) in the resurrection of the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Those who had died in the flood in the days of Noah, who had since renounced their evil disposition, sought salvation and heard Messiah preach to them in the world of spirits whilst His mortal body was in the tomb. This story you can read in the third chapter of the first letter of the apostle Peter (1 Pet.3:18-19).
Before Messiah's death on the Cross, Satan was the undisputed master of the planet. The only real hope of the righteous was the inward promise of Elohim (God) of salvation through emunah (faith) and obedience (Rom.4ff) and the possibility of translation to another more peaceful world away from the ravages of the earth. In those days the Holy Order devoted much of its energy towards seeking Yahweh's Face and were translated -- several communities of the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) were wholly removed from the earth, without tasting death, such as those led by Melchizedek and Enoch (Gen.5:24), many of whom now serve as ministers in the heavenlies.
Not only did the coming of Yah'shua (Jesus) bring about the defeat of Satan as far as the final outcome of history was concerned (with the redemption of nature and the resurrection of mankind assured at the end of the dispensation) but it also brought spiritual salvation, or the forgiveness of sin and the wiping away of guilt brought about by that sin. The crude and comparatively harsh ordinances of the Mosaic law were fulfilled in the person of Messiah and, along with the penalties thereof, forever nailed to the Cross (Col.2:14); upgrading the dispensation of Torah (Law) to the dispensation of Grace.
Preparatory Ordinances Superceeded
The whole thrust of not only the outer Order of Moses (now called the Messianic Community) but also the inner priestly Community of the Firstborn or Holy Order was changed by the act of redemption of Yahweh's Son. There was no longer any need to look forward to the coming of a Saviour through the ritual enactment of ordinances such as animal sacrifice, for Messiah had already come and atoned. Thus it became a question of applying that grace made newly available to repentant sinners.
Yah'shua Establishes Two Communities
Yah'shua (Jesus) re-established the dual system of an 'inner' and 'outer' pair of communities identical to the one pursued by NCAY. The principal calling of the outer community was to convit men and women of their sins and bring them to Messiah for their salvation. Membership in this outer fellowship was by water-baptism. The earthly head of this organisation was Peter who is often depicted in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) as the seniormost of the apostles. This 'outer' community was primarily responsible for administering what Paul calls the "milk" or preparatory Besorah (Gospel) (Heb.5:12-14) whose primary scriptural writings were the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), the pastoral epistles and various other letters and discourses not found in the modern Messianic Scriptures (New Testament).
The Community of the Firstborn, or Holy Order, was the inner, priestly fellowship of the Assemblies of Yahweh whose function was, in addition to discipling the 'outer' community, to also administer the "meat" Besorah (Gospel) to those who were firmly established in Messiah. The inner core or circle of this fellowship consisted of Peter, James and John who were separated out from the other apostles and talmidim (disciples) and were witnesses of both Messiah in His glory as well as of the appearance of Moses and Elijah, representing the Torah (Law) and the Nevi'im (Prophets), respectively, on the Mount of Transfiguration.
So who exactly are these 'firstbotn' qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones)? Why were they selected thus and why must they again be selected in this manner today?
The firstborn are so gifted because they are willing to give their all to the King and the Kingdom. There is no half-heartedness in them, no disposition to rebellion and lawlessness, but complete and utterv dedication. In the New Testament Community, as today, the principal scriptures of this Body were the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation. This Community of the Firstborn was presided over by John and James (the half-brother of Yah'shua/Jesus). The existence of a higher authority than the Community presided over by Peter explains why at the Council of Jerusalem James overrode Peter in authority.
"For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more" (Luke 12:48, NKJV).
Both these interlocking Communities were short-lived. Apostacy swept away the purity of the original faith leaving a Community factionalised by false doctrines and religious syncretism. Both the inner and outer Communities were swamped by pagan philosophies and religious practices after the death of the apostles -- the outer by Greek Platonism and the inner by the teachings of various mystery cults ranging from Zoroastrianism in the East to Greek pantheism in the West. The two bodies eventually diverged completely into orthodox and gnostic 'Christianity', respectively, and were to contend amongst themselves for supremacy in the Christian world. The more militant orthodoxy, backed by the political might of the Roman Empire, would eventually prevail over Gnosticosm. Thus the seeds of the Dark Ages were sown.
The Protestant Reformation Leads the Way
The Protestant Reformation marked a vital axis in turning the back tide of the Dark Ages and beginning of new cycle of spiritual awakening. Various groups have tried to restore the outer and inner Communities, the most determined effort being made in America in the 19th century, but these and other later movements were corrupted by freemasonry and occultism. Not until the 1980's were the first steps taken to make a fresh restoration of these two Communities by NCAY, this time in Europe, the home of the original Reformation.
No one person, group or organisation since the Reformation may be said to be solely responsible for the restoration of the Holy Order, that no man may take the glory, but Yahweh alone.
As the time of the End fast approaches, so, under the anointing of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), there shall be a convergence around twelve apostles each arising from a different place and tradition and each representing one of the Twelve Tribes of Messianic Israel under the overall headship of Joseph-Ephraim. This will be an organic, free-will melding, supernaturally led and empowered, with signs attending as of old, per pro Isaiah 4 and the New Testament Messianic Community, so none will be in any doubt that the Hand of Yahweh is mightily upon them. Those who are not of the Twelve will be required to lay down their ministries and leadership and place themselves under the appropriate apostolic authority at the final Gathering of Apostles.
"For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little"
(Isa 28:10, NKJV).
This Restoration cannot be, and will not be, according to the flesh and be quite unlike the various counterfeits (like Mormonism) operating under false priesthoods. Disputes by insiders and outsiders alike will be settled, once and for all, in exactly the same way as the Rebellion of Korah was put down by the mighty Hand of Yahweh when the toqef (authority) of Moses and Aaron were challenged by rebels. The same challenge will be made against the Price of Israel of the House of Joseph and his brethren and will be settled permanently in a similar way. The ground will once again swallow up the wicked.
Every false contender is to be swept away by the Mishpatim (Judgments) of Yahweh and every false or corrupted community will either voluntarily dissolve, its members moving over to the Chavurat Bekorot, or be swallowed up by the Anti-Messiah (Antichrist) religion. Every leader must be willing to lay aside his crown before he can be called up into this work.
The Final Gathering of the apostles and the Community of the Firstborn will take place in the second - and last - generation of this work. This author's generation must first pass away, like that of Moses'. We are but forerunners of the derech (way), gathering the materials ready for the final assembly by the last generation.
Since this gathering of apostles has not yet taken place, we can only speak for this House of Ephraim gathering in northern Europe and those from other tribes coming to us for instruction. Our journey has been long and hard, Yahweh has had to dissolve us and rebuild us many times in order to purge the world and false traditions out of us, and to get our hearts right. We are still being purged, still being remade. There is so much to unlearn and so much new to learn.
The New Covenant Assembly of the Firstborn is a new restoration of the Holy Order established by Yah'shua (Jesus) and continued principally through the apostle John. It functions in the midst of an ocean of counterfeit Holy Orders patterned after the old Nimrodic system in various degrees of refinement and crudity. The numerous oriental and (now) occidental occult movements, which are coming together as one massive apostate organism known as the New Age Movement, are to the modern Holy Order what the Nimrodian and other occultic orders were to the Holy Order in the days of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
The Holy Order is a non-public organisation that instructs faithful talmidim (disciples) of the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) into the deeper mysteries of the emunah (faith) and prepares them for active priesthood service in the local assemblies worldwide. After His resurrection, the Yah'shua (Jesus) re-appeared to His disciples and taught them further. It is written in the Book of Acts:
Little is written about what the Saviour taught in this period. His instruction was solely for the inner circle of His apostles and others totally dedicated to the establishment of His Kingdom. Whereas when He was in His mortal flesh He spoke publically (John 18:20), now in His resurrected body he spoke mostly in private.
"After His suffering, [Yah'shua/Jesus] showed Himself to the and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of Elohim (God)" (Acts 1:3).
The Apostolate: Divisions of Responsibility
The apostles formed the core of the Holy Order and were led by Peter, James, and John, each having different responsibilties. John presided over the highest degree and James over the lowest degree of inner Holy Order whereas Peter presided over the outer Community. You have only to read the Gospel of John to see that it is of a much deeper and more profound nature than the other Gospels. Most Christians, and even some non-Christians, acknowledge that there is something 'extra special' about John's writings. And so there is. Most Christians acknowledge that Peter had a special position in the Messianic Community (Church) but are at a loss to explain why James and John were, with Peter, singled out for special attention in the transfiguration experience (Mark 9:2). To my knowledge, only this New Covenant Order has ben able to explain why.
A Non-Public Order
The idea of there being a non-public Holy Order is scorned by most Christians and Messianics who do not see a need for one. But that is why they lack genuine apostles (despite many groups like the 'New Apostolic Church', the 'Latter Day Saint' denominations, and some charismatic groups) and the keys of light that this fellowship has been given. They say we should be open about everything. But this is not what the scriptures teach. We are instructed by Yah'shua (Jesus) not to "cast pearls before swine" nor "give that which is qadosh (holy, set-apart) to dogs" (Matt.7:6). For this reason Yah'shua (Jesus) spoke publically in parables so that only the elect -- those who were seeking for the Kingdom with pure motives -- would understand. Often we see Yah'shua (Jesus) taking certain individuals aside to instruct them in some finer point of the Besorah (Gospel) out of earshot of the others. It was to John that Yah'shua (Jesus) confided who it was that was to betray Him for John was spiritually the most mature even though he was the youngest of the apostles. He even earned himself the nickname of the "beloved talmid (disciple)" (John 18:23).
That is not to say He privately taught anything that was disjunctive with His public teachings, only that He went into things more deeply and more personally. Married persons are likewise not supposed to publically display the private aspects of their lives. Some things are simply too sacred and personal. However, this is very different from occult practices, like the Freemasons, for example, who, like all cults, teach one thing in public (in order to deceive) and totally contradictory things in private. Most low-level freemasons have no idea of the satannic practices that take place in the upper echelons.
We have certainly been falsely accused of having two sets of opposing doctrines, which we do not. However, there is nothing new taught in the Holy Order that is not already taught in the outer Community of NCAY in at least outline form life as, for example, our belief in pre-existence and the nature of the Elohim/Godhead. Indeed, nearly all our early Holy Order materials are now published online for instructional purposes, of which this talk is the first of many.
The Holy Order was fully organised by Yah'shua (Jesus) after His resurrection. He gave the apostles important spiritual keys of knowledge (James 3:13) and told them to prepare for a pentecostal-type endowment of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) after He had ascended to heaven (Acts 1:4-5). Equipped with the Davar (Word) and with spiritual fire, the apostles went and conquered the known world for Messiah. Today we are waiting for a new spiritual endowment - the Sukkot Anointing - like that of the first Messianic Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost') and are gathering for that at the appointed places.
Pearls of the Holy Order
The Holy Order exists to do the same thing today with its primary function that of training up the NCAY ministers - pastors, patresses, zaqqenim (elders and eldresses) and shammashim (deacons and deaconesses) and holding them to strict accountability. Nearly all the materials are being published online as they are completed because nearly all training is done long-distance for now. But the Order does more than that. It has been given in-depth revelation about the Theocratic Kingdom of Yahweh for the Millennium, some of which is written, most of which is oral, which must be implemented by the Remnant in the places of gathering before the Final or Second Exodus of the Twelve Tribes back to the Promised Land is undertaken.
We at the Chavurat Bekorot exist to do two principle things:
If you would like to know more, you are invited to get in contact.
- 1. To call all unbelievers to receive Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as their personal Saviour, repent of their sins and walk in holiness before Elohim (God) by living the Torah lifestyle;
- 2. To call the elect - the firstborn - into the Chavurat Bekorot and to prepare them for the marriage supper of the Master and the Heavenly Assembly of the Firstborn, the New Jerusalem, which shall one day return to the earth along with all those translated souls who were removed because the earth could not contain them.
First created on 10 August 1997
Last updated on 24 February 2017
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