Did you know that there are nearly 34,000 (probably more) different Christian and Messianic DENOMINATIONS and CHURCHES in the world today and that they keep on growing in number? Confusing, isn't it, especially when you consider that "Elohim (God) is not the author of confusion" (1 Cor.14:33, NKJV)? So how can you know which one (if any) to join? is that even a valid question? Should we actually be 'joining' anything? Didn't Christ say:
Doesn't that mean we need to join His "church"? But what is a 'church'? Is it a building, a denomination, an organisation, a gathering, an assembly, or what?
"I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matt.16:18, NKJV)?
The responses Christians and Messianics give to this question and alarming statistic are usually one of the following:
The trouble with all of these answers is that there is some truth in them. A lot of these positions, though, come from ignorance of what the Scriptures actually teach because they are based on tradition rather than truth. Also, there is confusion between the King and the Kingdom. Protestants and Independents emphasise 'the King' (Yah'shua/Jesus), the "one-and-only-true-churchers" emphasise 'the Kingdom' (because they say they're 'it'), and the rest really aren't too sure.
- 1. "It doesn't matter so long as you believe in Christ - just pick a denomination (but we're the closest, we think, so join us, but it's ok-ish if you want to join another)" (most Protestants);
- 2. "Have nothing to do with denominations, they're all an abomination - just believe in Christ and join a 'Bible-believing' church (most Independents);
- 3. "There is only one true church and that's us - all the rest are an abomination and rejected by God - choose us and be saved, reject us and be damned" (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, Orthodox, and other "one-and-only-true-churchers" - Protestants call these 'cults');
- 4. "There's no such thing as a 'church', only Israel - that's a man-made idea. Believe in the Messiah (Christ), obey Torah and become a part of the Israelite nation" (most Messianics)
- 5. "Who knows. It's a mess. I can't figure it out so I'll keep to myself" (the rest)
B. Should We Even Be Looking for a "Church"?
The fact that the word 'church' or 'churches' appear in our New Testaments over 100 times doesn't mean it should be there. If you look up the Greek of this word in each of the 100+ references you will find it translating the word ekklesia (Strongs 1577) meaning 'those (people) who are called out' of the world system, whether on earth or in heaven. They are the 'separated ones', the 'holy ones' or the 'set-apart ones'. How are they 'separated' or 'set apart'? That is the question we need to be asking ourselves. But before we do, we need to understand where this English word 'church' comes from because it isn't scriptural.
The word 'church' comes from the Greek goddess (demon) 'Circe' who turned men into pigs from which we also get our word 'circus'. It was the Roman Catholics who co-opted this word and used it to denote their organisation as something separate from the only organisation Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, ever established, namely the Nation or Commonwealth of Israel. (The false doctrine that says 'the church' has replaced Israel is called Replacement Theology from which we get the unscriptural idea that Israel and 'the church' are two separate things and both of Yahweh). That nation or commonwealth is identified then, as it is today, but what do those who belong to it do? That nation is the Kingdom of Elohim (God). It is a country with citizens who live a particular lifestyle and join together with others for worship, study and prayer who do the same thing. (It is not, incidentally, the modern Republic of Israel, as many Messianics teach and as some Evangelicals wrongly believe). The King of that country is Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Any organisation apart from it is therefore false.
The next question is: where is this Messianic Kingdom of Israel to be found? And how does one become a part of it?
C. The King and the Kingdom
To belong to a Kingdom you must do two things:
To acknowledge the King as your Sovereign you have to pretty much do what the Evangelical Protestants have been saying for the last 500 years - you need to be saved by being born again by repenting of your sins and accepting Yah'shua (Jesus) as your Master (Lord) and Deliverer (Saviour). If you want to know how to be saved, then we recommend you take a look at these resources:
This is the most important step - in fact, it's essential. Without it, nothing else matters. If you look for the Kingdom without having the King firmly in your heart, you'll never find it. The Kingdom begins within. It has an inner (spiritual) and outer (physical) dimension. The spiritual is the most important. Until the Kingdom is planted within by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), any outward observance will be ritualistic or symbolic and of no spiritual value. The fruit of having Christ within (Col.1:27) is love leading to spontaneous obedience to the laws of the King.
- 1. Acknowledge the King as your Sovereign;
- 2. Receive citizenship and obey the Laws of the Kingdom.
Obeying the Laws of the Kingdom does not, however, meaning 'joining a church/circus/Circe'. It means becoming a part of Messianic Israel, entrance into which is by ordinance (water baptism) and covenant. Having received the Messiah (Christ) within, you must begin living the Kingdom lifestyle. For a summary of this process, please read The Way of Yahweh.
D. Practically-Speaking, What Next?
This means that both the Evangelicals and the Messianics are right: we need to receive Christ, the incarnate Elohim (God) as Master and Deliverer and we need to obey the commandments - the Torah. Does this mean we just need to find a Messianic congregation to assemble in? Unfortunately, no - the Messianic Movement is as divided and confused as the Evangelicals and many of them are teaching rank heresy. Some of them even deny the deity of Christ and are worse than antinomian (lawless) Christians. Most insist on circumcision which Paul says is useless. Many follow false rabbinical/Talmudic traditions. Many of them do not even know Christ - they have never been born again. So what must you do?
- 1. Remain IN Christ - cultivate your relationship with Him every day - there is nothing more important than this - it must come before everything else - be a good Evangelical;
- 2. Obey the commandments - the New Covenant mitzvot - be a good Messianic;
- 3. Study the Scriptures (Bible) daily like a good Berean (Ac.17:11) and stand on the Word;
- 4. Pray that Yahweh leads you to an assembly where He wants you to be and then obey Him - be true to His leading.
E. Which Assembly?
Messianic Israel is a country but it doesn't yet have any land - it's in dispersion (diaspora), spread around the globe in the nations. That nation will not be restored until Yah'shua (Jesus) comes back again to inaugurate the Millennial Kingdom. The landless nation of Messianic Israel consists of families (fathers, mothers, children), families of families (extended families and assemblies/congregations), families of families of families (clans - not very developped yet), and families of families of families of families (tribes - each born again believer belongs to one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel by descent or adoption), because we're scattered all over the place it doesn't look very orderly yet but Yahweh will bring it together in His own time.
Obviously, we (NCCG/MLT) believe ourselves to be the most correct doctrinally or we wouldn't bother to exist. We also have commissions from Yahweh common to all other true believers as well as some unique to ourselves. If you're called to be a part of what we're doing in the Kingdom, Yahweh will make that known to you by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). So ask Him, and He'll either say 'yes', 'no' or 'wait'. If not, we bless you wherever you may be sent by Him. If you feel called to this work, then please immerse yourself in this website and meet us in our discussion groups which you'll find advertised on the main page.
May Yahweh bless you as you get out of the confusion known as the 'circus' and into the true Kingdom of Messianic Israel.
Comments from Readers
 "Great Teaching but here is where I have problems as in your teaching you wrote...'Obviously, we (NCCG/MLT) believe ourselves to be the most correct doctrinally or we wouldn't bother to exist. We also have commissions from Yahweh common to all other true believers as well as some unique to ourselves.' Which puts you in with the other denominations of the world by seperating yourself from others as if you are more obedient then the others. I in my own belief, believe there is not one that has it all, but I believe there is Truth in every denomination as well as error. As a believer I glean from many teachings and sites and dont hold to one man as my Rabbi/Pastor (except Yeshua and the Rauch HaKodesh) with the standing on Yahuweh's Word. I really get alot of great understanding from you my Brother and your Ministry, but I dont agree with everything as it takes time to study and understand at the time Yah wants you to understand. I thank you for your wisdom and knowledge that keeps me growing. May Yahuweh continue to Bless you and your Ministry and show favor upon you and your family" (RH, USA, 22 February 2014).
Author's response: I appreciate your remarks. Belief that one's beliefs are the most correct doesn't necessarily make one the most obedient for obedience is also a function of character, and character is in constant formation. Plus there are different categories of obedience, and not just of the doctrinal and practical, but of the personal. So no superiority is implied, merely the conviction that in the area of doctrine and practice one is (as far as one knows, from moment to moment) the most correct. And sometimes one is surprised (pleasantly and unpleasantly) into discovering that one is not, and given the opportunity to repent and grow!
This page was created on 28 February 2008
Updated on 22 March 2014
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