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Find Your Place in the Body

In Torah Government and in other places we explain that we are not supposed to be following the Levitical Torah right now, because we are not in the land of Israel, and do not have a cleansed Levitical temple. Instead, we are supposed to be obeying the Torah for the order of Melchizedek, which is the Great Commission.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:19-20
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in [My name],
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amein.

[Note: to understand why we immerse in Yeshua’s name alone, see, “Immersion in Yeshua’s Name Alone”, which is part of Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume Three.]

In context, this calls for action. It calls for Yeshua’s saints to establish an ordered, organized global kingdom for Him, with zeal and singleness of purpose.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 9:7
7 “Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of hosts will perform this.”

There is also a great reward for getting active in raising up this global kingdom with zeal, as Daniel tells us that it will be Elohim’s saints (i.e., the Nazarene disciples) who will rule and reign over the nations (as His body). This is how all nations will serve Him.

Daniel 7:27
27 ‘Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’

But how can we rule and reign over the nations after Armageddon? The short answer is that Yeshua Himself commanded us to establish a global infrastructure (or a kingdom), which is based on speaking the truth in love, and then obeying it. This infrastructure is described in Ephesians 4, in what is often called the Fivefold Ministry.

Ephesim (Ephesians) 4:11-16
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Messiah,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Messiah —
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

What this says is that if we will organize the way Yeshua says, and speak the truth unto obedience, then we will no longer be a divided body. Rather, we will mature and grow up spiritually, until we become a literal kingdom, capable of ruling and reigning over the nations in love. And because the nations will see that our rule is of love, and of service, they will submit. Yet it must also be a government of personal and corporate discipline. This is why each and every part of the body needs to do its fair share, giving for the privilege of serving. This will be the government that Yahweh always intended (where the strong serve the weak, and not the other way around).

While Ephesians 4 likens Yeshua’s kingdom to a body, Ephesians 2 uses the analogy of a living temple, which is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets.

Ephesim (Ephesians) 2:19-22
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of Elohim,
20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua Messiah Himself being the chief cornerstone,
21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a set-apart temple in Yahweh,
22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of Elohim in the Spirit.

The reason the living temple is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets is that (by definition) these are the two gifts that (by definition) are able to hear and to speak according to His voice. Yet in addition to speaking by His voice they must also recognize the doctrine that Elohim intends, so that the rest of the building may stand.

Getting the order and organization correct is essential. The job before us is nothing less than restoring the fallen tabernacle of David, as the apostles began to do in the first century, before they were taken off course by the Great Falling Away into Rome.

Ma’asei (Acts) 15:16-17
16 “’After this I will return, And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up;
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek Yahweh, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says Yahweh who does all these things.’”

To establish a living temple, and to please Elohim, the stones cannot just be thrown together in some fashion that pleases us. Rather, they must be arranged skillfully, and according to the words of Elohim.

Shemote (Exodus) 26:30
30 “And you shall raise up the tabernacle according to its pattern which you were shown on the mountain.”

The idea is that the stronger stones form the foundation. This provides a stable base which can support the rest of the structure. And, if all of the other stones in the walls and the roof are placed correctly, it creates a space inside where the Spirit of Yeshua may dwell, and where worship may be conducted. Yet for it to be a righteous foundation (and not a false one), the foundation must be in true relationship with the Cornerstone, Yeshua. This means the members of the foundation (or the Beit Din Gadol) must conform their lives and their walks to His righteous example of service. If they do not walk as He walked, or conform themselves to His selfless example, or teach only His doctrines, the structure is a false one, and the whole house will fall, as if it was built on sand.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 7:24-27
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

And not only is Yeshua the Chief Cornerstone, and the Rock, but He also describes Himself as the Root of the Vine. And in this analogy, He tells us that each branch of the vine must remain in constant communion with Him, or it will become cast out as a branch, and become withered. Once it is withered, it is to be gathered and thrown into the fire and burned.

Yochanan (John) 15:4-6
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

So, if Yeshua says He is the Root, let us take a look at the analogy of Yeshua as the Root of the Olive Tree of Judah, into which the wild olive branches of the Tree of Ephraim must be joined.

Romim (Romans) 11:16-17
16 For if the firstfruit is set-apart, the lump is also set-apart; and if the root is set-apart, so are the branches.
17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree…

Ephraim is the younger son of Joseph, of whom Israel prophesied that his branches would “run over the wall.”

B’reisheet (Genesis) 49:22
22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall.”

Can we conceptualize Yeshua’s kingdom as an olive tree whose Root is Yeshua, and whose branches reach into all nations, providing organized places of worship for those in the nations who are being called back to the original faith in Yeshua?

In the above image, the blue sky represents those who are outside of the tree (and are therefore not part of Yeshua’s tree). The members (leaves) are in connection with the root because they give something back to the tree, even if it is not a full tithe, However, the disciples and the leadership have a better reward in that they do “all things” that Yeshua has commanded, including giving their fair share (meaning a tithe, Ephesians 4:16). But what does this tree structure look like in detail? (If this image is too small, double-click it on the website on a large screen.)

The assembly leadership branches are on the right side. They look smaller in the diagram, but in reality they are much larger, because the majority of people are to be found in the assemblies (and they only look smaller because there are less offices).

Each language group or region is served by a Beit Din Katan (small council or small court), which is made up of the most respected priests and elders in that language group or region. Their needs are served by a Beit Din Gadol (big council or big court), which is headed by the Nasi (President or Prince), who in the first century was Yaakov.

The priesthood is responsible for connecting all of the assemblies, and also for creating training and testing materials that benefit everyone, and also for certifying leadership. Because of this there is an administration section (on the left in the image above). The admin section publishes the doctrinal, training, and testing materials that serve the body as a whole, as directed by the Nasi of the Beit Din Gadol.

Yeshua’s ordered kingdom is to be funded by the tithe. As we explain in Torah Government, Yaakov (Israel) vowed that if Yahweh would be with him, and keep him in the Way, and give him food to eat and clothing to wear, that he would surely give a tenth back to Elohim. And Israel’s vow also pertains to us.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 28:20-22
20 Then Yaakov made a vow, saying, “If Elohim will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on,
21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then Yahweh shall be my Elohim.
22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be Elohim’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

(There is a strong argument to be made for the three-tithe system, and we believe this, but we cannot prove conclusively that it applies in the Dispersion. However, at least one tithe can be proven in the Melchizedekian order, based on Yaakov’s vow, above.)

In Hebrew, a member of the body is called a chaver (member, or friend). A believer can become a member of the body (and a disciple of sorts) by making any contribution to the body, but to be a true disciple (and to please Yeshua), we need to do everything Yeshua said to do, and the tithe is the standard for “doing our share.”

Ephesim (Ephesians) 4:16
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Some believers hate the thought of tithing, but when we love Yeshua, it is not a burden to help build His kingdom (especially since our children will be the ones to rule over it). Rather, it is a joy to be able to give something back to our Husband, because we know it pleases Him. And this is also how Elohim knows who loves Him and who does not, because those who love Him are eager to do the things that He asks. We find it a joy to joy to give something back to the One who gave everything for us.

Yochanan (John) 14:15
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Some ministers preach alternate means of organization, such that Yeshua’s kingdom is not built according to the word. Others fund their operations by selling books. Many more teach Prosperity Doctrine, having set their minds on earthly things. Shaul says that these kinds of ministers do not love Elohim, but their own bellies.

Philippians 3:17-19
17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.
18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross [or stake] of Messiah:
19 whose end is destruction, whose elohim is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things.

There is a difference between congregational elders and the priesthood. The deacons should be paid the average wage in their area (i.e., single honor), and the elders should be paid up to double honor, but beyond this they should give everything else to the work.

TimaTheus Aleph (1 Timothy) 5:17
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

Yet the priests should give as much as they can and take only as much as they need. In my case, I receive a medical pension from an injury I received in the service, and I give everything to the work. I put the whole thing in, and take only what I need to live (which is far less than what I put in). The rest goes to fund the ministry work, and the growing administration section, so we can spread the Good News in all nations and languages. Yet no matter how hard I work, or how little I take for myself, I cannot possibly fund everything by myself (but I need help). And thanks to Yahweh, He has raised up a small number of faithful disciples and other friends of the body (chaverim, members) who also contribute to His Son’s kingdom work, either with their funds, or with their skilled labors, or both. And because they contribute, they are also part of the tree. This means they are connected with the Root, Yeshua, and are pleasing to Him.

I am glad to work as hard as I can for Yeshua, because I know He lives, and I take His cause seriously. I know we are called to be good soldiers of Yeshua Messiah.

TimaTheus Bet (2 Timothy) 2:3-5
3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Yeshua Messiah.
4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

I am trying to do all I can for Him. Here is an excerpt from a letter from a disciple who has worked with me in the past.

I have seen you work. I know you work hard. I have seen you fall asleep behind the keyboard from exhaustion.

I am blessed to be able to do all that I can for Him, and to give all that I have to His cause. And this is why I don’t really understand when other people don’t want to give Him 10%. If we think about it, Elohim is the One who gives us 100% of everything, and He lets us most people keep 90% for themselves. So what is the complaint?

I am blessed to work as hard as I can, and take as little as I can, and offer you the word of Elohim for free. It is a blessing and a privilege beyond anything I deserve, that Elohim allows me to do so. And yet it is also my job to teach those with ears to hear that Yahweh will not give anyone a reward if he does not help build His Son’s kingdom according to His word.

Is there some reason He should?

Many are called, but few of us will be chosen. There are many alternative ministries that will be happy to teach you an alternative to the full truth, but don’t fall for it.

If you realize that what I am saying is correct, then be wise, and sit down and count the cost of discipleship. And once you have counted the cost, do yourself a favor, and make a commitment to help me build our Husband the kingdom He says He wants, the way He says He wants it.

You will be glad you did.

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