The Church: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

This dependence upon the church system is very subtle and marketed as commitment and duty. The Church will not see true change until it untethers itself from its erroneous ideas of “the church house” and return to the actual house — the family.

The society in which we live, in the United States, can trace its roots to Greco-Roman culture–our government, religion, education, hierarchical ideals, architecture, economy, philosophy, sports, etc. Today: This is the source of much of the Church’s ideals, Church doctrine, structure, participation in government, and various practices.

  • It can explain why congregations have typically met in buildings of a particular architectural structure and leadership organization.
  • It can explain the leadership structure and power dynamic between minister and church-goer.
  • It can explain the relationship between churches and the government.
  • It is seen in the growth of mega-churches.

The evidence of Greco-Roman influence is still readily seen in the Christian Church today. But, where did it come from?

Yesterday

In the 4th century, Constantine, Rome’s first Christian emperor, legitimized and legalized the practices of early disciples of Messiah, which came to be known as Christianity and condemned to death those that wouldn’t follow it. He and other Roman emperors of that time harnessed control of the people through religion. He influenced the way in which believers walked out their faith. Interestingly enough, the religion he legitimized (as we knew it then and today) is not the way of life believers were walking during Jesus’ time or a couple hundred years after.

Essentially, Constantine made it legal to be Christian. Many theologians and Christians praise him for this. However, this praise may be given too swiftly. Emperor Constantine and other leaders helped propel the Church in a direction she is still reeling toward. He and others before and after him are responsible for:

  • Sunday being the preferred day of worship. There is significant evidence that for the first couple hundred years following the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah followers of Yeshua still kept the Sabbath and met on the Sabbath.
  • Christianity became a Roman-rooted religion and divorced itself from anything remotely Jewish or Hebrew (Even the Messiah took a hit with that one).
  • The legitimization of the Trinity doctrine.
  • Celebration of holidays that were originally in no way connected to the faith of the followers of Yeshua (Christmas, Easter, Lent, etc.) The first-century apostles were still keeping feasts and festivals of YAH (Leviticus 23). Check out Zachery Bauer’s video about this subject.
  • Belief that the Torah (first five books of the Bible) and law were done away with in Jesus.
  • Jewish observances (such as the Feast Days) and religious practices were banned and replaced.

Today

Christians and Christian churches have long been protected and “legitimized” in this country–similar to Rome. It is only a matter of time before the government attempts and succeeds at dictating what the Church and Christians can and cannot do to a far greater extent. From whom you are given freedom, with them lies the power to determine the extent to which you experience that freedom.

This is why the current model of the Church is ineffective. They operate tethered to society but desire to effect change in society. It has been neutralized.

Interestingly, the power and authority of their walk lies in the protection from their government. This means, Christians are legally allowed to exercise their faith in the United States and find a security in this.

The Church system has created a “law” of “going to church” for Christians. Christians find Scripture they believe support this practice in the way it’s been taught. This “law” is fostering a dependence upon a system. This dependence is very subtle and marketed as commitment and duty.

Take a look at the Catholic Church. The Pope told parishioners not to worry about coming to confessional amid pandemic — go directly to God. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, if there is no priest available (during moments of grave), a Catholic is to confess their sins to God directly and ask for a pardon from Him.

This emphasis on church has crippled the actual Body of Messiah.

What happens when you can’t assemble in a building as a government-protected assembly?

What happens to your faith when you don’t have a pastor elevated in a pulpit (Greco-Roman practice) bringing the Word?

What happens if the government removes the 501c-3 status of churches and requires they pay a tax? Are you going to call it persecution?

What happens when the government dictates how you will apply your faith?

What happens when the government enacts legislation that is in conflict with your doctrinal belief? What happens when they enforce it?

Tomorrow

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged Christians to consider their connection to church, government, and society. Many, in beautiful vulnerability, described a feeling of being displaced, confused, strange, and the like without having the regular practice of church-going.

Many have spoken up and expressed how the pandemic gave us the opportunity to reconnect with God and family in a fresh way. This is key!

Prior to the church becoming the center of discipline and life, it was the family. This is still God’s elected system. The Church will not see true change until it untethers itself from its erroneous ideas of “the church house” and return to the actual house — the family.

Some resources to review after reading this post:

How the Church Divorced Itself From Its Hebrew Roots: http://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2014/05/21/how-the-church-divorced-itself/

#God’sPlan

Wholeness is God’s highest call for us. The work He has begun is to that end.

You may have seen many captioning their photos and videos on social media with “God’s Plan” from Drake’s hit song by the same name. Many use it to announce certain milestones, fulfilled dreams, and accomplished goals. For example, “First one to graduate college! #GodsPlan” or “Got married to my soulmate! #GodsPlan”

It’s not bad to believe YAH (a shortened name for the original Hebrew name for God) is a part of good things that happen to or for us. For YAH desires good for us. However, even higher than that, YAH desires wholeness for us–completeness.

Wholeness is God’s highest call for us. The work He has begun is to that end. We see evidence of this desire for wholeness in quite a few places:

being persuaded of this, that He who has begun a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of יהושע Messiah” (Philippians 1:6).

“And let endurance have a perfect work, so that you be perfect and complete, lacking in naught” (James 1:4).

Oftentimes, due to the fallacies taught in religion, we believe this wholeness has only to do with us. Sermons taught on Joseph become about our dreams and promotions. David and Goliath becomes another story about knocking down your haters. Jesus and Judas becomes about snakes in the grass (or whatever a lot of these rap songs talk about).

When we remove these accounts of true events from the overall scope of the Bible and Yah’s plan for humanity, we lose the power therein–the reality of the Gospel (Good News). We cannot compromise the integrity of the Gospel. It needs to be pure for, “it is the power of Elohim for deliverance to everyone who believes, to the Yehudi (Jew) first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16b).

We must read and interpret them within the context of the entire Bible. When we do this, we see each one as part of this exhilarating account of the exchange between Yah and mankind.

It’s about more than just me. It’s about more than just you.

then יהוה your Elohim shall turn back your captivity, and shall have compassion on you, and He shall turn back and gather you from all the peoples where יהוה your Elohim has scattered you. “If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under the heavens, from there יהוה your Elohim does gather you, and from there He does take you (Deuteronomy 30:3-4).
“But now in Messiah יהושע you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our peace, who has made both one, and having broken down the partition of the barrier (Ephesians 2:13-14).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a renewed creature – the old matters have passed away, see, all matters have become renewed! And all matters are from Elohim, who has restored us to favour with Himself through יהושע Messiah, and has given us the service of restoration to favour, that is, that Elohim was in Messiah restoring the world to favour unto Himself, not reckoning their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of restoration to favour” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).
From these verses alone, we begin to see a pattern. God really DOES have a plan. The difference, for some of us, is that it’s not all about us in the way that we thought.

There is a “me-centered” gospel and perspective that has circulated for far too long. “God sent His Son to die for me.” He did–but not just for you. Why is it important for us to understand the distinction? What’s wrong with making what God has done for all about me? Quite a bit. It removes what He’s done from the proper context and renders the reality of it ineffective.

You must understand where you fall within the unveiling account of Yah’s relationship with mankind. Otherwise, you have not believed the true Gospel–Messiah. He is the Good News!

“And daily in the Set-apart Place, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and bringing the Good News: יהושע the Messiah!” (Acts 5:42)

YAH isn’t just out to make you whole. As an individual, you are a tiny (significant, yes; in that He cares for you) piece of His plan for wholeness in His kingdom.

We’ve heard this term, the “kingdom of heaven” and understood it to mean “the rule and reign of Yah.” This is correct. However, the way it’s been taught in Christianity limits the scope.

It’s not about God having authority and reign over you as an individual (though that’s included). It’s about the rule of Yah’s Son (a King) over the nation of Israel–original and grafted (Romans 11).

We’ve long understood that this term “kingdom of heaven” was not talking about a physical place but a people–those who are in Covenant relationship with Him. A king is not king but over his own people.

“For this is the covenant I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, declares יהוה: I shall put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people”  (Jeremiah 31:33).

This has been #God’sPlan from the beginning–that we know Him as our Elohim (power) and be His people. Through the life and sacrifice of His Son, we no longer are slaves to sin (Romans 6). Through the coming of His Spirit (Acts 1-2), we have been empowered to live according to the Spirit and not the flesh. The Set-Apart (Holy) Spirit teaches us and empowers us to be Yah’s people (John 14:26).

We now have the “want to.” We now have the “how to.” We now have the “why to.” Messiah (Jesus) came to bring wholeness and a proper perspective of the how, what, and why of being Yah’s people.

Every move that Yah makes is to bring His people into true healing–wholeness. Knowing this, we can look at what we often call bad and be assured that #God’sPlan will prevail.