Nazarene Israel Statement of Faith (Halachah)
by Norman B. Willis, Apostle, Nasi, Nazarene Israel
Version 6.0, dated 20-12-2019
Many times people want to read a summary of what an organization or ministry believes, to know if they want to belong to that ministry, or organization. Because Nazarene Israel seeks to re-establish the original first century faith, our summary is actually quite long (and can be a study in itself). Please feel free to download the .pdf file, if that serves you better. We are committed to re-establishing the faith once delivered to the saints, without compromise (Jude 3).
Because love is the heart of the Torah, it is also the heart of our statement of faith. Only, it cannot work to try to “walk in love” without obeying the Creator’s (God’s) rules. (To attempt to walk in “love without Law” only opens doors for the Adversary.)
Yeshua said that the time is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers would worship the Father both in Spirit (love) and in truth (i.e., Torah, instruction, law, rules).
Yochanan (John) 4:23-24
23 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
24 Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Clearly, while we need to walk in love, we also must obey Scripture’s rules. We explain our position on all these things in our studies. However, some people want a summary of what we believe those rules are, so they can decide whether to align with Nazarene Israel. This is that document.
This document is designed for those who want to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). There should be nothing in this document which conflicts with Scripture in any way. If you believe you have found something which conflicts with Scripture, please email us in love, email@example.com.
Section #1. Acts 15 and the Entry Requirements for Fellowship.
Lost Tribes. In Nazarene Israel and other studies, we show how Yeshua came to bring back the lost tribes of Israel (Matthew 15:24). In Acts 15 Order and other studies, we show how the so-called “Jerusalem Council” of Acts 15 sought to establish the minimum entry requirements for new converts, so that they could enter the Jewish synagogues. Yet, after the temple was destroyed the Nazarenes could no longer go into the Jewish synagogues, because Orthodox Judah began pronouncing a curse over Yeshua’s followers (called the Birkhat HaMinim, which is Article 12 of the weekday Amidah). Since the Nazarenes did not want to pronounce curses over themselves, they had to establish assemblies of their own. However, the same Scripture standards for entry are still binding.
Change of Priesthoods. In the first century, the Levitical (Rabbinical) order had left Yahweh’s Torah, to establish its own. Therefore Yahweh sent His Son Yeshua to establish a renewed order of Melchizedek, to take its place. That is why Hebrews 7:12 tells us there was a change in the Torah (Law). The Rabbinical (Levitical) order was de-commissioned, and Yeshua’s Melchizedekian order stepped up to take its place (Hebrews 7:12). (We explain this in “The Change of Priesthoods” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 4.) While the two priesthoods operate on the same precepts of Torah, they seek to apply the same precepts differently, because the two priesthoods have different missions.
No Death Penalty in the Dispersion. The purpose of the Levitical Torah is to unify the nation of Israel around a physical temple or tabernacle in the land of Israel. When the nation of Israel has a Torah-obedient government, the land is to be kept pure by the select application of the death penalty. This helps to make the land into a good place to live and raise children. In contrast, the purpose of the Melchizedekian Torah is to gather those who are already lost in the dispersion (and in the land). One of the punishments for being in the Dispersion is that we must obey the gentile governments placed over us (Romans 13:1-8). Because goy (gentile) governments do not permit the death penalty for breaking the Torah, we seek only to put those who do not obey Elohim’s rules outside of our assemblies (e.g., 1 Corinthians 5). This puts the evil out of the midst and maintains the sanctuary environment for our women and children.
Leading and Teaching by Example. Because our mission is to regather the lost tribes of Israel, and to win those of the nations, the leadership needs to lead by example (1 Peter 5:3). Priests, elders, and deacons are held to higher standards than the rest of the disciples and congregants. If the leadership does not lead by example, and seek to model Yeshua’s example, they need to step down from leadership (because they are no longer qualified). There can be no deviation from this principle.
Four (or Five) Minimum Requirements. It is not necessary to believe 100% of everything Nazarene Israel teaches to fellowship with us. To join fellowship, you only need to meet the four (or five) minimum requirements of Acts 15, and then learn and progress from there. However, we do not gather merely to worship Yeshua, and to learn about Him. Instead, we gather to learn to walk like Yeshua, and to help each other imitate His perfect example.
Acts 15 Ruling. In Acts 15, Yaakov (James) ruled that those gentiles (i.e., lost tribes) who were (re)turning to Elohim from out of the nations could come into the assemblies for fellowship, if they would abstain from four behaviors that the Torah says will get us cut off from the nation.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:19-21
19 “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are (re)turning to Elohim from among the gentiles,
20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.
21 “For Moshe from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
Context. In context, Yaakov is saying that those who already have Yeshua’s Spirit and want to learn to worship as He worshiped can enter the assemblies if they will abstain from four abominations that Yahweh says will get us cut off from the nation. Then they can enter and hear the Torah read on Sabbath.
A. Idolatry (i.e., spiritual adultery)
B. Sexual immorality (including wrongful divorce)
C. Strangled (or unclean) meats which are not drained of blood
There is some discussion as to what exactly these points mean (i.e., what they look like). Nazarene Israel defines these four things more leniently for new believers, and more stringently for leaders and teachers. Leaders and teachers are held to much higher standards because they serve as examples.
1a. No Idolatry. In “Forbidden Images” (in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 1), we show how certain common Christian and Jewish images are adopted from pagan worship and are associated with unclean spirits. (See also Come Out of Her, My People, by Dr. C.J. Koster, and Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons.) Please do not wear or display crosses, hexagrams (“Stars of David”), pentagrams (Satan’s star), the “menorah fish”, the Ankh, etc., in the assembly. (We advise that you not have them at home, either, because they are associated with certain unclean spirits.)
Yahweh is Jealous. Yahweh tells us He is a jealous Elohim (e.g., Exodus 34:14). By this He means He is jealous of our loyalties, and our inward attentions. He considers it idolatry if we take our inward focus off Him, to put it on any other spirit, person, place, or thing (including religious icons and images).
Worship and Service. In “About Service”, in The Torah Calendar, we show that Yahweh considers it service (or worship) when we consider any object, symbol, thought, concept, or thing to be worthy of our time, effort, energy, adoration, or attention. In other words, wherever our energies and attentions go, that is what we serve (or worship). Because He is jealous of our attentions, when we give our inward attentions to these other things, it takes our focus off Him, which decreases the essential life-giving connection. Therefore we avoid these kinds of distracting images.
No Deity Denial. Further, we consider it idolatry to teach against the virgin birth (e.g., Luke 1:27), or to teach that Yeshua is not Elohim (e.g., John 3:18, John 10:30). To deny that Yeshua is Elohim, or to deny the virgin birth is to deny whole sections of Scripture, which breaks Scripture. Those who are not yet convinced of Yeshua’s deity may enter the assemblies if they sincerely desire to learn, but they are never allowed to teach under any circumstances.
Only Yahweh’s Feasts. As we explain in The Torah Calendar, idolatry includes any deviation from the worship Yahweh commands. Because of this, we avoid Hanukkah and Purim, as these are not commanded in the Torah, but are man-made additions which Yeshua did not actually keep. (For details, see “Hanukkah Reconsidered” and “Purim Reconsidered” in The Torah Calendar.) Because leadership by example is the rule, priests, elders, and deacons should not keep or teach any non-commanded feast (including Thanksgiving). We also do not keep birthdays, as birthdays are the highest day on the Satanic Calendar (See “About Birthdays”, in The Torah Calendar). Disciples and above should not keep any feast day that Yeshua did not keep. However, visitors who are curious to learn can attend to learn, even if their lives do not yet conform to Yeshua’s example, so long as they do not attempt to teach.
Religious Images and Icons. Yahweh commands certain religious images in His temple or tabernacle. However, we are never told to make copies of these things for ourselves. Yahweh is invisible (e.g., Colossians 1:15-16), and He prohibits us from making visible objects of worship for ourselves (meaning apart from the ones He commands).
Shemote (Exodus) 20:4-6
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, Yahweh your Elohim, am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,
6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
The worship of images is an integral part of Satanism, paganism and Wicca (witchcraft). Satan wants us to take our focus off of the Creator, and adore created objects. Created objects such as the Cross (the symbol of Tammuz), the Star of David (the Hexagram/Star of Remphan / Kiyyun), the “Menorah-fish” (Dagon/Kiyyun), the Hamsa Hand (Kabbalah all-seeing-eye hand) and others distract us from focusing on our invisible Elohim.
Non-religious images such as schematics, wire diagrams, educational videos, children’s movies, and so forth, are not an issue, because these do not invoke feelings of reverence, praise, adoration, or worship. They simply convey information.
1b. No Sexual Immorality. The second prohibition of Acts 15 was against sexual immorality. Matters of sexual purity are extremely important to us as Israelites, whenever Israel is sexually immoral, Israel falls (e.g., Numbers 25:1). As we explain in “Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage“, in Covenant Relationships, the ideal marriage is that of one man taking one wife for life (e.g., Matthew 19:8-12). Both parties are to love each other at least as much as they love themselves (if not more so). The only right place to express sexuality is within the confines of such a loving, dedicated marriage, where any children will be raised in love, and with good examples. There should not be sexual relationships outside of a loving, committed marriage.
It may seem strange to people in Western cultures that we spend so much time on what might seem like esoteric matters. The reason we do so is that when we consider the global scope of our mission, we need to address points for converts in other cultures, and many cultures have these issues.
Yahweh wants monogamous marriages which last the life of both partners. This is the general rule for most Israelites. However, there are some legitimate exceptions, which we will explain briefly below (and for details see Covenant Relationships).
Yeshua was celibate (as was Shaul and Bar Naba [Barnabas], 1 Corinthians 9:5-6). This is therefore the ideal, but only for those who truly, genuinely feel called to this walk (Matthew 19:8-12). We only advocate celibacy for those who truly feel called to it.
While Israel had more than one wife, Yahweh only commands polygyny (polygamy) when brothers live together, and one of the brothers dies without having a male heir (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). In that circumstance, Yahweh commands the man to take his dead brother’s wife, and raise up a child to his name, so that the dead brother’s name might be kept alive. In Hebrew this is called yibbum (“yee-boom”), but in English it is called Levirate marriage. Yibbum is not an ideal, and we do not practice it in countries which allow only a single marriage license at a time. This is because part of the penalty for being in the dispersion is that we must obey the governments over us (Romans 13:1-8).
Polygyny (polygamy) is not the ideal. The third tithe is the only social support program given in the Torah. Because the third tithe is difficult, historically polygyny was used as a social support mechanism for widows. If you live in a country where polygyny is accepted and your wife did not forbid it in the ketubah, it is not wrong. However, the ideal remains that of “one wife for life.” We explain this in Covenant Relationships.
Yeshua’s servant-leaders should ideally have one original wife (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1), unless they find themselves in a yibbum situation (which is rare). Brothers who take a second wife for reasons other than lawful and legal yibbum should step down from leadership (as disobedience to Scripture is not a good example).
Ketubah. A ketubah is a written marriage contract. It serves as a witness of a marriage. A ketubah is not the marriage itself (but is only a written witness). A ketubah can follow a standard formula (and we provide one in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 4), or it can be custom made, but the terms of the ketubah are important. Both parties should review them carefully. Even though the Edenic ideal is that of one man and one woman together for life, men are not specifically prohibited from having more than one wife, unless this exclusion is specified in the ketubah (e.g., Genesis 31:50). However, if monogamy is specified (and most women will want this), then the woman is entitled to a monogamous marriage. (The only exception is yibbum, in countries where it is legal.) It also needs to be understood that in most Christian-heritage countries, monogamy is assumed, and if monogamy was assumed at the time of the marriage, then it is assumed to be part of the existing marriage contract (and husbands should never play games with this). A ketubah or other wedding certificate should be displayed prominently in the entry room of the house, so that visiting brethren can easily see it.
Marriage. As explained in “Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage” (in Covenant Relationships), Western Christian society has unwittingly adopted the Pharisaic understanding of marriage and divorce. Because of this, Yahweh’s rules for marriage and divorce are not well understood today. Marriage is not a two-way relationship between a man and his wife, but a three-way covenant relationship between Yahweh, a man, and a woman. Since it is a three-way covenant, men and women do not have the authority to terminate it without Yahweh’s permission (and He never gives this permission). Rather, it was truly said, what Elohim has united, man should not separate (Matthew 19:6).
Contract Law. A covenant is a very special type of contract, and according to the rules of contract law, a Scriptural marriage exists when both parties agree to marry, and then consummate the marriage by a physical union (even once). It does not matter if children are produced, the main thing is if there is a vow, and a consummation (i.e., an “exchange of consideration”). If there was no vow there is no marriage; yet if there was a vow and consummation there is a lawful marriage, even if there are no children, and even if there was never a ketubah (a written contract / piece of paper).
Divorce and Remarriage. As explained in “Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage” (in Covenant Relationships), the term “divorce” in Scripture does not mean anything like today’s divorce. Rather, the term “divorce” in Scripture corresponds more to today’s legal separation. When a woman remarries, it irrevocably severs her prior marital contracts. Once she has remarried, she may never remarry the same man. She can only remarry the same man if she has not married anyone else since her divorce. Nazarene Israel considers that a marriage exists when both parties take a vow of marriage unto Yahweh, and then consummate the marriage by a physical union (even once), whether children resulted or not. If there was no vow, there is no marriage; yet if there was a vow, there is a marriage, even if there was never any piece of paper.
Global Aspects of Polygyny. Since Nazarene Israel is a global movement, we must have an awareness of different cultures which do not come from a Judeo-Christian heritage. If a man converts to Nazarene Israel in a country where polygyny is lawful (say, a Muslim or animist country) and he already has multiple wives, and he feels called to serve, it is Nazarene Israel’s belief that he may serve in a leadership position without sending his other wives away, provided he does not advocate polygyny for others in leadership, or advocate polygyny as an ideal. (“Let each one remain in the calling in which he is called.”)
Global Reality of Polygyny. Yahweh requires men to live up to their words, and take full responsibility for their actions. Yet, polygyny is a difficult topic in western societies because of strong cultural biases, and hypocrisy. Consider, for example, that in many western countries a man can have children by several different women without marrying any of them, and there are no legal penalties. However, if the same man repents and marries these same women he can go to prison (even though this would not contradict Scripture). Further, in Western society a man can have a string of monogamous marriages and divorces (and have children by each wife) and he will not go to prison, even though Scripture considers this to be sexually immoral. So, we need wisdom and a good sense of perspective. For example, if Yaakov (Israel) or King David were to show up today, and feel called to serve in leadership, we would not put them outside the camp for having more than one wife. We also would not tell them to send their other wives and children away. Yet because we are in the dispersion, we also cannot advocate breaking the laws of the lands in which we live (Romans 13), even when they are contrary to Scripture. In practice what this means is that if a man repents, and suddenly finds himself in a situation where he has multiple marital responsibilities, even though he can only be legally married to one of these women, he should behave lawfully toward the other women, and consider that they also are his wives. (For a more detailed discussion, please see both “Polygyny, Concubines, and Kingship,” and “Abstinence, Celibacy, and Nazirites,” both of which are included in the Covenant Relationships collection.)
Full Wives, Prenuptials, and Concubines. Yahweh’s ideal continues to be “one wife for life”, but Scripture does assume differences in legal status between first wives, and then subsequent wives, and concubines. A first wife is a wife with full legal and marital rights, such that the man and his wife are truly considered one flesh. This is absolutely the Scriptural ideal. If the man takes more wives, the first wife (or, “the wife of his youth”) is never to be neglected in any way (either financially, or regarding intimacy). In contrast, a concubine is a wife with limited legal rights, as agreed at the time of the marriage (and as recorded in the ketubah). The modern prenuptial agreement gives a perfect example of this. A wife with a prenuptial has limited legal rights but is otherwise considered a “real” wife. No wife can ever be “bumped” to the concubine role, and no concubine (prenuptial wife) is to be put away (divorced) unless she is being sexually immoral (i.e., is committing adultery). It is unlawful to take “temporary wives”, as marriage is for life.
Divorce. As explained in “Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage,” the term “divorce” in Scripture is more like legal separation today. Yahweh considers divorce a temporary disciplinary condition, to be applied only to women who are being sexually immoral. Further, divorce (legal separation) is only supposed to last for as long as she is being sexually immoral. As soon as she stops behaving immorally, Yahweh’s example is to take her back. This is seen in the example of how Yahweh treats Ephraim, and how Yahweh told Hoshea (Hosea) to pursue his harlot wife Gomer. The only time marriage is truly severed is if the wife remarries. If she remarries the former husband after marrying another man, then the land becomes defiled (Deuteronomy 24:1-4).
Wrongful Divorce. As explained in “Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage,” if a man put his wife away when she is not actively committing adultery, that is sexual immorality. He may not enter any Nazarene Israel assembly until he repents and begins treating his wife correctly again. (The same holds true for concubines.)
Traditional Marriage. Scripture only approves of unions between a man and a woman (and ideally, just one man and just one woman). Because we believe Scripture, we are not able to recognize or perform any other kinds of marriages. Please do not take this as an excuse to persecute us.
Fellowship. No one who is mistreating his wife may enter a Nazarene Israel fellowship. It makes no sense to pretend there is shalom when brothers are mistreating their wives.
1c. No Strangled Meats. The third prohibition of Acts 15 is against strangled meats (including unclean meats). Nazarene Israel takes this at its face value, but with the additional understanding that unclean meats are also prohibited (as unclean meats are not considered food in Hebraic thought).
Not Rabbinic Kosher. There is an argument that Acts 15 prohibits non-rabbinic kosher meats. This is based on Talmud Tractate Chullin 18a, which tells us that if animals are not drained of blood in accordance with rabbinic kosher slaughter procedures, then “it is as if (the meat) had been strangled.” Nazarene Israel rejects this view, as it is lawful in Torah to eat hunted game, provided one bleeds the animal first (e.g., Genesis 25:28, 27:3, etc.). It seems unlikely the apostles would have set a standard different than the ones Yahweh gave in the Torah, as that would establish “another Torah” (which they would not have done). (Yet even if the apostles hypothetically did establish “another Torah” [Elohim forbid], it would not be lawfully binding, because the words of men have no authority to supersede or contradict Yahweh’s Torah.) Rabbinic Kosher is an example of “adding to the Torah”, which is prohibited by the Torah (e.g., Deuteronomy 12:32).
Pagan Practices Prohibited. Some hypothesize that eating meat from animals that had been strangled was a pagan ritual in the first century (like boiling a goat kid in its mother’s milk).
Clean Meats and Leviticus 11. In any dietary rulings, the clean and unclean meat laws of Leviticus 11 would also apply (because those are in Yahweh’s Torah).
Other Prohibited Meats. Scripture also prohibits animals that have already died, whether of natural causes, illness, cancer, or animals that have been torn by beasts (e.g., Exodus 22:31). Road-kill and German Bloodwurst (blood sausage) are also prohibited.
No GMOs, Preference for Natural and Organic. Nazarene Israel believes organic and natural foods are truer to the kinds of “clean foods” Yahweh wants us to fill our spiritual temples with. GMOs and other foods with modified DNA should be avoided.
1d. No Blood. The fourth prohibition of Acts 15 was against blood. We believe this is a prohibition against eating or drinking blood, and/or products made with blood (such as German Bloodwurst (blood sausage).
Niddah. There is a good argument that when Acts 15 mentions abstaining from blood as a requirement for entering the assemblies (Acts 15:20), that they were advocating what are called the Laws of Niddah (the Laws of Family Purity), which are found in Leviticus 15. This is a good argument in that Yahweh does want disciples to keep these laws, but it is a bad argument in that it cannot be a requirement for entering the assemblies, because the worshippers have to enter the assemblies to learn about the laws of Niddah.
Leviticus 15 and Segregation of the Genders. Among the requirements of Acts 15 is that men and women not sleep in the same bed when the wife is in her time of monthly cleansing. Also, in Hebrew society, men generally touch and associate with other men, while women generally touch and associate with other women. The handshakes, hugs, and “side hugs” that are common between the genders in Christian society are not done in Hebrew society. The requirements for ritual purity are less urgent in the dispersion than in the land, because the purpose of Leviticus 15 is so that Israel will not die in their uncleanness for defiling His tabernacle, but the precepts are the same, and should be respected.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 15:31
31 “Thus you shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness when they defile My tabernacle that is among them.”
Separation of the Genders in the Assembly. Males and females are opposites, and opposites attract. It is a good idea to maintain good separation and segregation between the genders whenever it is practical to do so. Traditionally, in the assembly, the men sit in one section, and women and children sit in another, so that the focus can remain on Elohim. Again, this is not as urgent in the dispersion, but the principles are still correct, and should be taught, and obeyed. (For more information, see “About Ritual Cleanness” in Nazarene Scripture Studies Volume 1.)
1e. Supporting the Leadership. In context, Acts 15 also says that those who abstain from the four abominations of Acts 15 may enter the synagogues, and hear those who preach the Torah of Moshe. This refers to the Torah Service, which is a formal event that is hosted by the elders of each city. This implies supporting the assembly eldership, so they can further the Great Commission in their city.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:19-21
19 “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are (re)turning to Elohim from among the gentiles,
20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.
21 “For Moshe from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
Discipleship. It is normal for newcomers to want to check things out for a while before deciding to commit. Traditionally, the normal period is three months. After three months, newcomers should have an idea if they want to contribute to Yeshua’s work, or not.
Section #2. Beyond Acts 15: Additional Theological Definitions
It is too easy to think we only need to agree on the four definitions of Acts 15, but in reality, we have a mission to establish a global spiritual government according to a single clean doctrine, and leadership must work from common definitions in order to be consistent. As it is said, “The one thing you do not want to do is to preach confusion from the pulpit” (or in our case, the bimah). That is why, in addition to clarifying the meanings of the four entry requirements of Acts 15, we also need to define the meanings of the Ten Commandments (the “Ten Things”), and some other points of halachah where there have been questions in the past. The purpose is to eliminate confusion, to make for a single clean doctrine.
2a. The Ten Commandments (The “Ten Things”).
1. Worship only Yahweh.
Shemote (Exodus) 20:1-3
1 Then Elohim spoke all these words, saying,
2 “I am Yahweh your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 You shall have no other Elohim before Me.”
The first command is not to worship any other elohim (mighty ones, gods). This means to avoid other religions, and any feast days that Yahweh does not command in His Torah. (For details, see, “About Service” in The Torah Calendar.)
2. No idol worship.
Shemote (Exodus) 20:4-6
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, Yahweh your Elohim, am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
As we explain in “About Service”, in The Torah Calendar, service and worship is when we give attention to anyone or anything. Any time we do anything, we have a reason for doing it, and that reasoning falls into the category of “service.” And, because Yahweh is a jealous Elohim, He is jealous of all our attentions and energies. He wants to be the sole reason we do anything. Therefore, any time we do anything that He has not commanded us to do, He considers that we are worshiping or serving some other elohim (mighty one, false god). This might seem unimportant to us as humans, but Yahweh takes notice. He wants His bride to pay spiritual attention to Him only.
3. Do Not Take His Name in Vain (including, do not misuse His name).
Shemote (Exodus) 20:7
7 “You shall not take the name of Yahweh your Elohim in vain, for Yahweh will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”
Vain. In Hebrew, the word “vain” is Strong’s Hebrew OT 723, shav. This word refers not only to misusing Yahweh’s name, but also letting it fall into disuse. Yahweh wants us to glorify His name, and this means both how we vocalize it, and how we behave.
Definition and Concept. The Hebrew concept of a name refers not only to the pronunciation, but it also refers to one’s reputation, and renown (e.g., Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches…). While we can discuss how to pronounce Yahweh’s name, it is important not to argue over it (because arguing over His name does not bring glory to His name).
Pronunciation. There is a lot of controversy over how to pronounce Yahweh’s name. This is at least partly because Hebrew vowels were not written down until the Middle Ages (as evidenced by the fact that the Dead Sea Scrolls have no vowel points). Because of this, no one can prove exactly how His name should be pronounced. Also, there is no commandment to condemn anyone for pronouncing His name wrong. Therefore, we believe everyone should pronounce the Hebraic form of Yahweh’s name as they feel convicted, whether Yahweh, Yahuweh, Yehovah, Yahuwah, etc., and whether Yeshua, Yahshua, Yahushua, etc. However, we reject the Anglicized forms “Jehovah” and “Jesus”, as there has never been any “J” sound in Hebrew. Further, as we show in “The Set-apart Names”, in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 1), the Hellenized names (e.g., God, Lord, Jesus, etc.) either derive from the names of pagan gods, or are almost certainly tainted by the names of pagan gods, and we are commanded not to call on the names of false gods (Deuteronomy 12:3-4). However, because so many believers have been saved and brought into relationship with Elohim (God) while calling on these Hellenized names, we allow newcomers to use these Hellenized forms, but also encourage them to use the Hebraic forms they feel best convicted of. Yet since leadership sets the example, they should never use the paganized forms (God, Lord, Jesus, etc.).
No Name Substitution. Nazarene Israel rejects the rabbinic tradition of substituting titles such as “Adonai” and “HaShem” for His name. In ancient times, Yahweh’s people used His name in everyday greetings and blessings (e.g., Numbers 6:24, Ruth 2:4), and we are told that His name is to be a memorial for all generations (e.g., Exodus 3:15). The patriarchs called on Yahweh’s name, and Yahweh tells us that He wants us to glorify His name to the nations. Substitutes do not do this.
4. Set the Sabbath Apart.
Shemote (Exodus) 20:8-11
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it set apart.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of Yahweh your Elohim; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
11 For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and set apart it apart.”
Nazarene Israel teaches the seventh-day Sabbath, which lasts from the evening ending the sixth day of the week (Fr-day night) to the evening ending the seventh day (Saturday night). As explained in “The Lunar Sabbath Error” and “The Equinox Error” (in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume Two), we utterly reject the so-called “Lunar Sabbath” and Equinox calendars, and we are unable to accommodate these calendars, as they meet on feast days Yahweh did not set.
Leviticus 23:3 calls the Sabbath a “set-apart convocation”, which refers to gathering. In Hebrew, the word is miqra (מִקְרָא). The root of the word is kara (קרא), which means “to call”, again referring to a public meeting. The prefix mem (מ) indicates “massing,” giving a picture of the nation publicly assembling for worship.
Not everyone has a local Nazarene Israel fellowship available, but if a local Nazarene Israel fellowship is available, it is better to meet, and practice friendship and fellowship. Friendship and fellowship are never easy, but ease of worship is not the point. Rather, the commandment is to love each other, and this takes practice, and work. (Also, in Hebrew there is no difference between the words like and love: they are the exact same word: ahava).
Yahweh wants us to gather, and worship Him, and learn to like and love the others he has chosen. This is extremely important, as it is a form of refinement. It pleases Him when we refine ourselves in this way.
Yeshua’s kingdom is a collection of many individual relationships. These relationships take work, and they must be as good and as loving as possible. This takes practice. The ultimate purpose is to host public meetings, to evangelize and serve our communities. This is also why the rest of the body has a duty to support the leadership as best they can. The leadership represents Yahweh and Yeshua to the world.
5. Honor Your Father and Mother.
Shemote (Exodus) 20:1-13
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which Yahweh your Elohim gives you.”
Some of us are blessed with parents who behave honorably, and some are not. Either way, this is one of the commandments that is “written in stone.” Even if our parents do not behave honorably, we still must honor them as best we can. However, there are many ways to do this, and we must apply wisdom when interpreting this rule. For example, Jonathan honored his father King Shaul, and even died while remaining loyal to him (1 Samuel 31). Nonetheless, Jonathan sided with David when he knew his father was in the wrong (e.g., 1 Samuel 19-20). Michal also lied to her father in order to save David’s life, when she knew David was blameless (1 Samuel 19:17). Similarly, Yeshua honored His father and mother, but He also knew that if His biological family failed to get involved in Yahweh’s work, then His greater loyalty needed to go to His spiritual brethren, who were seeking to do Yahweh’s work (e.g., Luke 18:19-21). This shows us that while we should honor our father and mother, if our biological family is not part of Yahweh’s spiritual family, then our priority must go to our spiritual family.
6. No Murder.
Shemote (Exodus) 20:13
13 “You shall not murder.”
There are many times that Israel is commanded to kill, yet Scripture prohibits killing without cause (i.e., murder). If a congregant commits murder (Yahweh forbid) and does not sincerely repent, he must be “put outside the camp.” However, if he does sincerely repent (which involves making restitution as he is able), he should be restored. However, he should not serve in leadership again unless deep repentance is witnessed; and even then, only after many years (perhaps 5) have elapsed from the point of repentance.
7. No Adultery.
Shemote (Exodus) 20:14
14 “You shall not commit adultery.”
This commandment illustrates the importance of promises and vows. Fornication is sex outside of marriage while one is not married. While this is condemned, it does not technically carry the death penalty. In contrast, adultery is defined as sex outside of marriage while one is married. This does carry the death penalty in Torah, because it involves breaking a covenant vow (or a promise). Yahweh considers covenant vows to be very sacred.
Any adultery or fornication should be addressed by leadership, meticulously following the Matthew 18 process, as explained in “The Matthew 18 Process”, and “Adultery and Matthew 18”, in the Covenant Relationships study. Any leader caught in adultery or in fornication should immediately step down from leadership, and may attend following thorough repentance, but should not serve in leadership again unless deep repentance is witnessed; and even then, only after many years (perhaps 5) have elapsed from the point of repentance.
8. No Stealing.
Shemote (Exodus) 20:15
15 “You shall not steal.”
Those who steal should be put outside of the congregation. This includes even “petty” infractions, because it indicates a wrong spirit, and wrong spirits are to be put outside of the sanctuary environment. This also includes stealing from the government, via tax evasion or tax fraud. If someone steals and sincerely repents, he should be let back inside of the congregation. However, he should not hold a leadership role again unless deep once repentance is witnessed, and even then, after many years (perhaps 5) have elapsed from the point of repentance.
9. No False Witness against your Neighbor.
Shemote (Exodus) 20:16
16 ” You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
The commandment to not bear false witness against our neighbors is more than a simple “do not lie”, and wisdom is needed to understand this commandment. In general, Yahweh hates a lying tongue (Proverbs 6:17), and in general, He hates lying. However, examples of “righteous lying” do exist in Scripture. For example, David feigned madness in order to save his own life (1 Samuel 21:14). Michal lied to her father King Shaul in order to save David’s life when she knew David was not at fault (1 Samuel 19:17). Ya’akov (Israel) deceived his father Isaac at his mother Rebecca’s request (Genesis 27:13). The midwives lied in Egypt, to save the male children from being born. This shows is that it is correct to tell a lie in order to save life or limb, or to avoid damaging Yeshua’s kingdom. However, such lying is very much the exception, rather than the rule. The standard by which lies are judged is whether they serve to advance Yeshua’s kingdom by otherwise righteous means (or not).
Birth family loyalty is never an excuse to commit injustice before Yahweh. No false statement should ever be made if it would hinder or obstruct Yeshua’s kingdom. To tell even small lies for personal gain is a great sin, because to do anything for selfish reasons indicates a selfish (rather than a selfless) spirit. That kind of spirit is of Satan and needs to be put outside of the camp. It has no place in the sanctuary environment.
If someone is caught lying and sincerely repents, he should be allowed back inside the congregation. However, he should not hold a leadership role unless deep repentance is witnessed; and even then, not until many years (perhaps 5) have elapsed from the point of repentance.
Technically what Yahweh prohibits in the 9th commandment is giving false witness against your neighbor (i.e., against other Israelites) in a court of law, such as that coordinated by Queen Jezebel against Naboth in 1 Kings 21:10, or against Yeshua in Matthew 26:60-61.
While this commandment does not technically preclude giving false witness against Israel’s enemies in a court of law, it is best to be honest. This commandment is generally misinterpreted as the commandment to be honest, and since honesty is generally a good thing (and is favored by Yahweh), this misinterpretation has stuck. In general we agree with the idea that honesty is the best policy (although there are technically exceptions). (For example, if Nazis knock on your door and ask if you are hiding any Jews, it is better to lie, to protect Israelite lives, even though brother Judah does seek to convert us, or kill us.)
10. No Coveting.
Shemote (Exodus) 20:17
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
To not covet requires us to remember that Elohim is completely in charge of all things, and that He always gives us everything He wants us to have. If we want something, we only need to ask in prayer, keeping our focus on Him. However, when we covet, we take our focus off the Creator, and put it on part of the Creation (and usually it is something that Yahweh has given to our brother). This is a “slap in the face” to Yahweh, because it indicates that we want something more than He wants for us. It also indicates that we do not trust Him. It also effectively denies the extent of Yahweh’s power. All these are a “slap in the face” to Yahweh, and they indicate an unclean spirit.
2b. Other Issues.
Beyond the four entry requirements of Acts 15 and the Ten Commandments, there are several other issues that need to be defined, so that a body can be formed on one clean doctrine. Unless otherwise indicated, these are points of doctrine for Nazarene Israel, and leaders who disagree with these views should immediately step down from leadership, because it is not acceptable for leaders to preach contradictions from the bimah (pulpit).
There should be nothing in this statement which does not agree with Scripture. (The purpose is to summarize clearly what Scripture states.) If you feel there is any discrepancy between this document and Scripture, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Canon. Our canon consists of the 42 books of the Hebrew Tanach (“Old Testament”) and the 24 books of the Renewed Covenant (the “New” Testament). We do not accept the Talmud, Kabala, the Apocrypha, or the Gnostic Gospels. We find the Book of Jasher and the Book of Enoch interesting (as they are mentioned in Scripture), but we do not see them as Scripture, and they are not to be used for doctrine. We believe the Masoretic Text has been altered (see the Emendations of the Sopherim) but is generally reliable, with a few small exceptions. We believe the Greek texts are generally reliable, when understood in a Semitic (Hebrew or Aramaic) context.
2. Inspiration. Nazarene Israel believes the Brit Chadasha (Renewed Covenant) was originally inspired in Hebrew or Aramaic, with an early translation into Greek. We do not believe the Eastern Peshitta to be the original text, for reasons explained in “About the Peshitta” (in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3.) Nazarene Israel also rejects the Catholic doctrine that all of Scripture is “equally inspired.” Rather, in “About Inspiration and Scripture,” (in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 2) we explain that it is only the words of Elohim (Yahweh, Yeshua and the words of the prophets when they were prophesying) that are inspired. The rest of Scripture is very important, but the words of men can never supersede or compete with the words of Elohim. In other language, the words of the apostles are never “equal” to the words of Yahweh, and therefore the words of the apostles can never be used to “explain away” the words of Elohim. The words of Elohim are always highest authority, and the words of men only help to explain or clarify the words of Elohim. This is an important distinction, because if we understand this, we will not try to use the words of the Apostle Shaul (Paul) to overthrow the words of Yahweh or Yeshua (i.e., Elohim).
3. Yahweh. We believe that Yahweh Elohim is the Creator of heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. He is eternally pre-existent. It is our duty and privilege to praise Him, serve Him, and to purify ourselves by obeying His Instructions and His precepts (without alteration). Yahweh tells us to worship Him and Him alone (Exodus 20:1-2). He also says not to worship Him the way other false gods are worshiped (Deuteronomy 12:3-4). These are “salvation issues”, because He says He plans to destroy those who do not obey Him in this. Leaders who do not wholeheartedly agree with this should step down from leadership immediately (to save us the trouble of removing them).
4. Yeshua. We believe that Yeshua is the Son of the Living Elohim, born of the virgin Miriam (Mary) and the Ruach HaQodesh (the Set-apart Spirit). He is paradoxically both man and Divine. He is also manifestation of Yahweh Elohim. More details can be found in the study, “Yeshua: Manifestation of Yahweh,” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume One. Believers may enter our assemblies if they are seriously interested in learning more about how Yeshua is Elohim. However, if he does not agree after three months, he should not stay. Leaders who do not wholeheartedly agree that Yeshua is Divine, and born of a virgin, should step down from leadership immediately, because the job of a servant-leader is to give a correct example.
5. Predestination and Predetermination. Scripture is clear that our lives and our salvation are predestined (or predetermined). However, this does not mean we do not need to be zealous. On the contrary, it means we need to be as zealous as we can, for this kind of zeal pleases Him. (For details, see “About Predestination” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume One.)
6. Salvation is by Favor (Grace) Through Faith, not Works, Yet Good Works Are Evidence of True Salvation. We are saved by Yahweh’s unmerited favor (grace). He chose us first (while we were yet sinners), so that no man might boast (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:8-9). Because He chose us first, even our faith does not come from ourselves. Rather, He has placed it in us. Yet we still perform good works in order to please Him and become approved. This is just as any father loves his children whether they obey him or not, but he only approves of them (and might only give them an inheritance) if they eagerly obey and honor him.
7. Precepts and Torah. Yahweh seeks to establish the Kingdom of Elohim here on earth. He is conducting a spiritual military campaign to subdue the earth. There are many different phases to this operation, and the specific instructions (Torah) change in each phase. However, the precepts (i.e., establish Yeshua’s kingdom according to Elohim’s righteousness) remain forever the same. That is why there was a change in the Torah when the priesthoods were transposed (Hebrews 7:12). When the anointing passed from the Levitical order to the order of Melchizedek, the points of Torah also changed, but the precepts remained the same. For details see, “The Change in Priesthoods”, in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 4.
8. Fivefold Ministry. As we explain in Torah Government and Acts 15 Order, Yeshua Himself commanded a different organization for His order of Melchizedek. There are separated priests (who own nothing, Luke 14:33), and there are non-separated (or lay) priests, which include elders, deacons, and disciples. All of these are a nation of kings and priests, but because Yahweh is an Elohim of order, there must be order among them. In the Levitical order, the people would tithe to the Levites, and the Levites would tithe to the priests, and the priests would tithe to the high priest. In the Melchizedekian order the disciples tithe to the deacons, the deacons deliver the tithe to the elders, and the elders then tithe to the separated priesthood. (For details, see Acts 15 Order and Torah Government.)
9. One Body (No sectarianism). As we explain in Torah Government and Acts 15 Order, there is only one body of Messiah (1 Corinthians 12), just as there was only one nation of Israel in the wilderness. We are supposed to be organized, and highly coordinated, under the direction and leadership of the separated priesthood. This is proven in many places in Scripture (especially Acts 2, 4, 6, 15, and 21).
10. No Merchandising. Yeshua tells us that Yahweh’s house is not to be made a house of merchandise (John 2:16). Elohim says His word is to be given freely, without cost (Isaiah 55:1, Matthew 10:8, etc.). He wants all His ministers to work together at His ministry (according to the Fivefold Ministry model), rather than work their own personal ministries. When ministers buy and sell their insights, and keep the money for themselves, this fragments the leadership, and thus it fragments the body. It also leads people to mistakenly conclude that there is no need to give to Yeshua’s work, because they think they can just buy the books and videos that they want. But that is wrong.
11. Servant-Leaders Lead by Example. Yeshua is our Example, and He humbled Himself to become as a servant. We are to imitate Him. Therefore, leadership is by setting the example. Because of this, if any leader gives a bad example, and does not live up to the standards established in Scripture, he must step down from his position of servant-leadership. There can never be “tenure” in Nazarene Israel, or “tenure” in leadership. Leadership positions must be earned through service and setting the correct example each day.
12. Ordination. Ordination requirements are covered in the document, Ordination and Servant Leadership.
13. Circumcision. As we explain in the Nazarene Israel Passover Study, circumcision is one of at least three eternal signs of the Covenant (two others being Sabbath and the Passover). Those who are not physically circumcised may attend the assembly, but they may not keep the Passover until all males in their house are physically circumcised (Exodus 12:48). Circumcision is ideally performed on the eighth day of a male child’s life, when the immune system is at its peak. However, if it was not done then, it can be done at any other time. Further, as we explain in the chapter on “Ancient Circumcision” in the Nazarene Israel Passover Study, it is not necessary to remove the entire foreskin. Rather, all that is required is a cut “in the foreskin.” Beyond this, we reject the rabbinic requirement of “re-circumcision” for converts, as that is adding to the Torah.
14. Immersion (Baptism). Immersion (Baptism) is not necessary for salvation, but it is fitting to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). We immerse only in Yeshua’s name, for reasons explained in the study, “Immersion in Yeshua’s Name Alone”, contained in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3.
15. Calendar. Nazarene Israel follows the Torah Calendar (i.e., the Aviv Barley and crescent-new-moon calendar), as this is the calendar that was used in the days of Moshe (Moses), and in Yeshua’s time (in the first century). We do not use the rabbinical “Jewish” calendar, as even the rabbis agree it is not the calendar that Scripture commands. We also do not use the so-called “Lunar Sabbath” calendar, or the Equinox calendar, as they meet on different days. Further, there appear to be different spirits behind the use of these alternate calendars. For more details, see “The Lunar Sabbath Error” and “The Equinox Error” (in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume Two).
16. Titles. At Matthew 23:8, Yeshua tells us not to be called “rabbi” or “father”, so we do not use those titles. Further, we use ministry titles as descriptors, not as names. Yaakov (James) was the nasi (president, prime minister, prince) of the apostolic council (the Beit Din Gadol), but when addressing him, he was called Yaakov, not “Apostle Yaakov”). (If people find it helpful to go by titles, we do not stop it, but we also do not encourage it.)
17. Gender Roles. There are three classical offices in Scripture: the king, the priest, and the prophet (and the judge is a special combination of two or three). Scripture does give us examples of women judges (e.g., Deborah, Judges 4), and there were women kings (queens), but there are no Scriptural examples of women priests. As we show in “Junia: Courier or Woman Apostle?” (in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 4), there were no women apostles. We do have some examples of women teachers (e.g., Priscilla, Acts 18:26), but when women serve as teachers it must always be under the headship and accountability of her husband (who serves as her covering). For details, see “Gender Roles in the Kingdom”, in the Covenant Relationships study.
18. Tithes, Gifts and Offerings. As we explain in Torah Government, there are three tithes under the Levitical order. The first tithe is for the priesthood, the second tithe is for the feasts, and the third tithe (two years in seven) is for the poor. However, we are now under the Melchizedekian order, and while we believe the three tithes still apply, we cannot prove three tithes still apply. Rather, we can only prove that one tithe (for the priesthood) still applies (Genesis 14:20, 28:22). However, it also seems clear that rather than looking at specific percentages, Yahweh is looking to see how much we want to do for His Son, and if all we do is consume, and not give back, this does not please Yahweh, for Yahweh loves a cheerful giver to His Son’s cause (2 Corinthians 9:7).
19. Pro-Semites but Anti-Zionists. As explained in the Nazarene Israel study, we are a mix of Ephraimites and Jews. As such we are children of Israel. Therefore, anti-Semitism makes no sense. However, we are not Zionists, as Zionism is a political scheme designed to restore the Jewish people to the land of Israel without first submitting to Yeshua. For more details, see “Political Zionism Reconsidered”, in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3. (Even though they seek to exterminate us, we love our Orthodox Jewish brothers and sisters, and we pray for them.)
20. Respect for Government. We are told to obey the governments established over us (Romans 13:1-8, 1 Peter 2:13-17, Titus 3:1-8), insofar as they do not lead to the death of other Israelites, or prevent us from witnessing our faith in Yeshua. It is only when the governments of men ask us to stand by while other Israelites die, and when they tell us not to witness our faith in Yeshua that we must disobey them (Acts 4:19-20, Daniel 3:12, etc.). (For details, see “Obedience to Government, v2.0” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 1.) Nazarene Israel does not support or condone tax evasion, or anti-government activities in any form (Romans 13:1-8, 1 Peter 2:13-17, Titus 3:1-8).
21. Tzitzit. Scripture commands us to wear tassels (tzitzit, plural tzitziyot) in the four corners of the garments with which we cover ourselves, so that we may look upon them, and remember to perform all of Elohim’s commandments (Deuteronomy 22:12, Numbers 15:38). According to Torah, these tassels must have a thread of blue. While archaeologists have found blue sea snail dye of the Murex Trunculus sea snail on the Temple Mount, we do not believe Israel could have found sea snail dye in sufficient quantities in the wilderness, as it was too rare (and sea snails are not found in the desert). Instead, word studies indicate that it may have been natural indigo dye, and natural indigo dye was commonly traded in that area, at that time. (For details, see “About Tassels (Tzitzit)” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 2.) Because there is no conclusive proof, we accept any blue dye. We also follow the Sephardic tradition of requiring tzitzit only on the tallit (and not on all clothing), as the prophets used to go naked (e.g., 1 Samuel 19:24, Isaiah 20:2-3), and were not breaking the Torah when they did so.
22. Mixing Fibers. Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:9-11 tell us not to mix fibers in clothing. While these passages are translated into English in various ways, it seems clear that Yahweh does not like mixing. Nazarene Israel recommends (but does not require) that people wear pure fibers (i.e., 100% linen, 100% cotton, 100% wool, etc.). However, this is not mandatory, just strongly advised and encouraged, but it is required for the priesthood.
23. Head Coverings for Men. Head coverings for men are well understood, due to mistranslations of 1 Corinthians 11:4. The church teaches that 1 Corinthians 11:4 says that men are not to cover their heads while praying or prophesying, but this is contrary to the Torah, and Hebraic context. When we analyze the Greek, what it really says is that men are not to decorate their hair (as women do). Further, Exodus 39 tells us that the Levitical priests were to wear a uniform when on duty, and this uniform included two head coverings (Exodus 39:28). Many men dislike this idea, because head coverings are not comfortable, and are not always fashionable. However, it should be clear that serving Yahweh is not about our comfort. We should also realize that the priesthood was commanded to leave their priestly garments (including the head coverings) inside the physical Temple when they were off duty (Leviticus 16:23). Yet while there is no written command for the Melchizedekian order to cover the head, it seems likely that Yeshua covered His head, because He was a Middle Easterner, and a Hebrew, and a Jew, and a Priest. It also seems that in the future, when the Levitical and Melchizedekian orders are merged and the temple is rebuilt, that the renewed priesthood will also likely wear two head coverings. (For details, see “Head Coverings in Scripture, v2.0” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 1.) Nazarene Israel believes the priesthood should cover its head while on duty (and priests are always on duty). However, there is no written requirement for elders, deacons, and disciples to cover their heads (just the priesthood).
24. Head Coverings for Women. While it is true that there is no “thus sayeth Yahweh” command for women to cover their heads, Israel is a highly traditional people, and the Middle Eastern and Hebraic tradition is for married women to cover their heads whenever they leave home (to conceal their beauty from all but their husbands). Not only does this indicate that they are married, but it also helps the men stay focused on Yahweh (and not be distracted by their beauty). Single women (who are available for marriage) may leave their hair uncovered when they go out, to advertise their marital status. However, all women (whether married or not) should cover their heads in the assembly, so as not to distract the men (and especially the ministers [often translated as messengers, angels, 1 Corinthians 11:10]). Some women dislike covering the head, because it is not comfortable, but again, service to Yahweh is not about our comfort, but about righteousness. It is true that the only “thus sayeth Yahweh” command for women to cover their heads is found in the Torah of the Jealous Husband (Numbers 5), where a jealous man’s wife’s head is uncovered as part of the ritual. Clearly, if her head is uncovered, then it must be covered before it can be uncovered. Therefore, as a minimum, women should cover their heads in a worship environment, and Shaul tells us that women are to cover their heads whenever praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5). This is not always popular, but the truth is that it does help the men stay focused on Yahweh when women conceal their beauty in a modest way. (For more details, see “Head Coverings in Scripture v2.0,” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 1.)
25. Ethnobotanicals. Nazarene Israel believes in obeying the laws of the lands where we live (Romans 13:1-8). We also believe in behaving wisely. However, that said, Yahweh allows us to consume all plants bearing seed (Genesis 1:29). Further, as we explain in “Cannabis and the Bible” (in Spiritual Health and Healing), when we read in the Hebrew, one of the ingredients of the priestly anointing oil was kaneh bosem (cannabis, Exodus 30:23). Kaneh bosem was also freely traded in ancient Israel (Isaiah 43:24, Jeremiah 6:20, Ezekiel 27:19). Further, when we read the Hebrew for the priestly anointing oil, almost all the ingredients are psychoactive, and psychoactive plant substances are mentioned many times in Scripture (frankincense, myrrh, spikenard, calamus, cinnamon, cassia, etc.). Modern medicine is also discovering that these substances have medical benefits and can cure various diseases. If these naturally occurring plant substances are legal (according to man’s law), then they are lawful to use (according to Yahweh’s law), but only if they are used wisely, and with discretion. The main thing is to listen to the Spirit, and obey what it says. (For details, see “Cannabis and the Bible,” in Spiritual Health and Healing.)
26. Yahweh’s Word is the Final Authority. It is the duty of all Israel to read and study Yahweh’s word for themselves. This is a living document. If at any time we become convinced that a point of doctrine should be updated to make it more Scriptural, we will do so. Yahweh’s Word is always more important than man’s.
May Yahweh lead us to walk in His truth, according to His Son’s Spirit.
Norman B. Willis
Nasi, Nazarene Israel