Month 5:14, Week 2:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year 5935:128 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 13 August 2011
Every Believer's Commission to Study
Careful students of Scripture are never popular, at least not in those churches and assemblies which have already made up their minds - often centuries before - as to what they believe the 'correct interpretation' should be. In considering the attitudes of most Christians and Messianics towards doctrine and practice, today's scripture might well be re-written to read:
"Then [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, 'All that Yahweh has said we will do, and be obedient'" (Ex.24:7, NKJV).
We have a sacred responsibility to read the Scriptures often and carefully and to ensure that we understand what Yahweh requires of us, because we are under covenant to obey. Because the moment we say 'Yes' to Yah'shua (Jesus) as our Master (Lord) and Deliverer (Saviour), we enter into a covenant with Him to be obedient. The seal of this covenant is water baptism and later, as we mature, Bar/Mat Mitzvah or Confirmation. Moreover, Yahweh will hold us accountable to this covenant and every word that has proceeded from Yahweh's mouth and is recorded in the Bible for His people.
"Then the Pastor/Rabbi/Priest took the Constitution of the Church/Assembly/Denomination, and the creeds of the Church/Rabbinical fathers, and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, 'All that the Pastor/Rabbi/Priest has said we will do, and if we change our minds, we can always go and find another Church/Assembly/Denomination until we find one liberal enough to suit our changing fleshy desires. And if we can't, we'll stand alone as solo-believers and gradually lose our faith".
We therefore take a grave risk when we make the mistake of ancient Israel and choose intermediaries between us and Elohim (God). Everyone was supposed to be their own prophet (Num.11:29) and every man was designated as the pastor of his own family. That is how it is supposed to be in the authentic New Covenant of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) too with families voluntarily associating and assembling in congregations (assemblies/churches) for corporate worship, fellowship and instruction. However, the corporate worship of Messianic Israel was never intended to superceed the family! The family is not only the basic unit of society but of Messianic Israel too and its ultimate head is the husband/father under the allegorical Husband and Father, Yahweh-Elohim. Pastors/Rabbis/Priests can make judicial decisions as far as congregational membership is concerned but that must never step between a man and his family.
When the Children of Israel listened to Yahweh's word, it demanded a response, and that response was that they wanted to serve Him in His way and according to His tavnith. They were not to make up their own rules, creeds, practices and doctrines.
The response demanded by Yahweh concerning His Word exists on two levels:
The personal response is explained in the spring festivals (Pesach/Passover, Chag haMatzah/Unleavaned Bread and Yom haBikkurim/Firstfruits) and the corporate or communal response in the summer festival of Shavu'ot/Pentecost. Each soul must make a personal decision for Messiah (Christ) 1-to-1 but it does not end there, which is why Moses assembled all the tribes of Israel to make a coporate choice. That is why, preceeding this, he built an altar and twelve pillars:
- 1. The personal; and
- 2. The corporate.
We are still the Twelve Tribes of Israel, though now Twelve Messianic Tribes of Israel, even though we are scattered across the face of the world, and obviously we cannot yet assemble as a whole nation until Yah'shua (Jesus( returns. But we can, and must, assemble in groups or spiritual communities to affirm Yahweh's Word, and our committment to it, in each other's presence, in order to make our communal covenants valid. And though 'the more, the better', there should always be a minimum of two or three witnesses to make the covenant binding, just as in marriage covenants (2 Cor.13:1).
"So Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahweh and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, 'All the words which Yahweh has said we will do.' And Moses wrote all the words of Yahweh. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel" (Ex.24:3-4, NKJV).
The importance of public reading of the Scriptures with covenantal affirmation in saying 'Yes' or 'Amen' once it is understood by all, was recognised by the prophet Nehemiah (Neh.8:5,7-8). When the people heard the Word of Yahweh being read to them in his day, they wept because they realised that they had neglected Yahweh's Derech (Way) and their national covenant, and now wanted to turn back to Him.
Will you also approach the Bible in this way? This is what Yahweh expects of you. And if you do, He will reward and bless you richly! But you must not only be honest with what you read, and repent when necessary when your lifestyle and beliefs don't line up with the Word, but you must also we willing to work hard - no one else can do your studying for you.
Remember, Yahweh will hold you accountable for what is in His Word, so please, don't neglect it! Set aside time every day to prayerfully read and meditate on it, ideally morning, noon and night. Get into a system of regular, habitual study and you will be empowered as in no other way!