In all three Bney Yosef National congresses, in 2015, 2016, and 2018, mention was made of the need to transition Hebrew Roots congregations into communities. Between then and now there has been much discussion on this important issue, but with the action mostly still pending… Nevertheless, such a transition is a fundamental step for Israel's scattered sheep in their process of ingathering and preparation in the wilderness, so that the eventual reunification and return to the land can take place. Like most moves of the Spirit, so it is in this case, the reconstitution of our national identity as Israel and all that it involves, including righteous living - YHVH has to sovereignly create the need for changes, both on an individual and corporate basis. Indeed, it seems that He has… as the present conditions and world circumstances are all but secure, predictable, and positive.
In the last two Torah portions, Moses lays out very important instructions regarding the preparation for entering the land. He is impressing upon the nation the need to implement the Torah requirements before crossing the Jordan. But Moses, having been with these stiff-necked people for an extended time period has learned his lesson quite well, and has no illusion as to what would happen to them as a result of their heart condition.
Yet Moses' prophecy in Deuteronomy 4:23-40 does not pertain to his contemporaries only, but also to a remnant in our generation. Standing by the Jordan River and about to cross into the land, our ancestors were told by their leader what would happen to them in the land. He predicted that their continual rebellion would result in their dispersion among many nations. The conditions for the return of present and future generations are the same as those that were placed upon the ones who were standing at that time with Moses and Joshua.
YHVH gave the instructions in the wilderness expecting the Israelites to keep them, before coming into the land. This is a principle that we too should be aware of. If that were not the case, He would not have given the Torah during the wilderness sojourn. Nor would John write in Revelation about the remnant that “keep the commandments and the testimony of Yeshua" (Rev. 12:17).
For us to keep YHVH's commandments in our wilderness conditions by necessity also includes the "testimony of Yeshua". Obviously, most of us are already living in mixed communities in the world, with a few like-minded folks (if you’re fortunate), who take seriously the Torah’s commandments, statutes, and ordinances. At the same time, for the most part (in our diaspora locations) we, the Israelites, have been quite comfortable living out in the wilderness of the nations. But as of late, circumstances are becoming a little more unstable. As mentioned above, this instability is getting us to think more about preparing for community living. Such 'arrangement', however, would compromise our privacy and customary individualism. One of the main reasons for staying in congregations that gather occasionally for study and worship is that we may be absolved from too much exposure, possible uncomfortable intimacy, and even occasional unpleasantness. But if we truly understand communing (community) we will embrace the need to partake in one another’s lives. What does partaking in each other's lives in the Messianic body mean?
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul addresses a very important issue, concerning the redeemed Israelite body of Yeshua. I take that to mean that we, the believers, are the body of Messiah that Paul is referring to and that this body is as bread that has been leavened by His life. Let us read the following scripture through this lens: "Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Messiah? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 emphasis added). Paul is not talking about Constantinian communion (no offense, I hope you know what I mean…). He is referring specifically to those believers whose lives are in Messiah and have His life in them. “That which you have done to the least of these my brethren you have done it to Me”, is how Yeshua defines it (Matthew 25:45). "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:27-28). “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves that Yeshua the Messiah is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). If we fail this test we are partaking of His body and life/blood in an unworthy manner (expressed in our relationship with one another). We are Yeshua’s vessel/cup. The Messiah poured out His blood/life so that He can fill us. If there is a cup of iniquity, certainly there is also a cup for His righteousness.
“For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world" (1 Corinthians 11:29-32).
When we come together, whether it be two or more, in the body of Messiah, think about the reality of 'eating' and 'drinking' one another. Just as Yeshua said, "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever" (John 6:58). He was referring to a statement that He had made just previously, resulting in many turning away from following Him: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:53-56). Today, as long as we are His flesh and blood representatives in this world, we have to be ready to be blessed by Him and then broken and given out, until all twelve baskets/tribes are full.
Desiring that "community". Missing the land and wondering when He will call me back. Shabbat Shalom SusanReplyDelete
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"Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Yeshua. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold..." (Acts of the Holy Spirit 4:32-34)ReplyDelete
Only new creations in Messiah, crucified with Him (the old sinful, self-centered nature), and raised and alive in Him (and He in them through the Spirit of Holiness) could become such a 'first-fruits' community. This may well be the pattern that Yeshua brings to fruition in the 'latter-fruits' community in eretz Yisrael.
I'm not sure I am ready to truly give my life (flesh and blood) as a living sacrifice for His Body to eat and drink of... but I so long to be.
"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this worlds's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart fom him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3"16-17)
Let's continue to pray for one a other, especially for the 'revealing of sons of God'. (Romans 8:-19-)