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Judges and Judicial Authority

Both Jewish and Christian organizations claim to hold judicial authority. The Papacy seeks to re-conquer all of Christendom via the Ecumenical Movement, and the Orthodox Jewish Sanhedrin also lays claim to judicial authority over Israel. However, as this study will show, their claims to authority are illegitimate, as these institutions were appointed not of Yahweh, but of man.

Further, this chapter will show why Nazarene Israel, as the true representative of the original apostolic faith, is the one institution that holds true Scriptural authority now.

The Offices of Authority, in Scripture

There is a lot of misunderstanding about how authority is properly designated in Scripture, so let us cover some of the more foundational principles here.

There are many offices in Scripture. The three main offices are those of the king, the priest, and the prophet, but there are others.

In the future, there will be an office called the Nasiy (נשיא) (e.g., Ezekiel 45:22). The King James Version (and most other subsequent English versions) translates this term as ‘prince,’ but this is not really correct. The term Nasiy really translates more to a president, or a prime minister. (The reason for the mistranslation is that back in King James’ time, the English had no concept of a president [or a prime minister] so the term ‘prince’ was used).

The Judge (שפט)

Another office that is not typically understood is that of the judge. Quite often, the judges are considered to be only a subclass of the prophets, but this is not really correct. Even though the duties of a judge frequently overlap with both the office of the king and the prophet, the job of a judge is a special one.

In Hebrew, the term for a judge is ‘shophet’ (שפט). The duties of a judge typically are:

  1. to lead the Nation of Israel; and/or
  2. to render judgments for the people.

Leading the Nation of Israel is oftentimes thought of as the exclusive domain of the king, but this is not really correct. In the period of the judges, there was no king; and as a consequence, everyone did what seemed right in his own eyes (rather than in Yahweh’s eyes):

Shophetim (Judges) 17:6
6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Although judges do not have executive powers as kings, judges nonetheless hold very real judicial authority; and their words are to be treated as law. This is because those judges that are appointed by Elohim (such as Moses and Samuel) serve as Elohim’s representatives here on earth. Even those judges that are appointed by the earthly kingship [e.g., Deuteronomy 16:18] (or by the Elohim-appointed judges) are supposed to be given due respect; and their words are to be treated as law.

If they serve only as military leaders, judges do not necessarily always hear the Still Small Voice. One example of an appointed leader who did not necessarily hear the Still Small Voice was Gideon:

Shophetim (Judges) 6:14
14 Then Yahweh turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites! Have I not sent you?”

A different example of a judge who not only led the Nation, but who also heard the Still Small Voice, and who served to judge the people, was Moshe HaNavi (Moses):

Shemote (Exodus) 18:13-16
13 And so it was, on the next day, that Moshe sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moshe from morning until evening.

If one thinks about it, the apostles were also judges, of sorts. Although they were not anointed as kings, they were directly appointed by Elohim (i.e., Yeshua); and part of their job was to hear the Still Small Voice, and then render the correct legal judgments for the people:

Ma’asim (Acts) 15:19-21
19 “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to Elohim [by telling them to keep the rabbinical procedure],
20 but that we write to them to [begin by] abstain[ing] from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

But most importantly, why would the Israelites come to a judge? And why would a judge’s word be law in Israel? It is because a judge’s words are not his own.

The Judge’s Role: Hearing and Hacking

While the judge does not necessarily need the Still Small Voice in order to lead the nation to war (as in the cases of Gideon and Samson), whenever the judge fulfills the role of actually judging the people (per se), or of binding what has already been bound in heaven (Matthew 16:19), hearing the Still Small Voice is a vital part of the job.

In Hebrew, the phrase, “As it is written…” is oftentimes used to express that something was written here on earth; but that it was given to men from heaven. When we say, “All Scripture is inspired of Elohim,” this is the concept we are speaking of.

When a judge sits in judgment of the people, his job is to hear the case (the earthly complaint), and then to hear what Yahweh wants. When he hears what Yahweh wants, then he is supposed to render his judgment.

The Hebrew verb that describes this action is a very interesting one. This verb is the Hebrew word ‘Chokek’ (חקק); and this is the verb from which the English word ‘to hack’ comes. The meaning of this verb is “to hack,” or “to chisel into stone,” the judgment given of Yahweh.

Since the idea behind hacking this judgment into stone also includes the idea of governing, judging, ruling, or giving laws, the translation of this word also includes the concept of being a lawgiver:

H2710 chaqaq (khaw-kak’); A primitive root; properly, “to hack,” (i.e. engrave in stone) (Judges 5:14, to be a scribe simply); by implication, to enact (laws being cut in stone or metal tablets in primitive times) or (gen.) prescribe:
-appoint, decree, governor, grave, lawgiver, note, portray, print, set.

What is so interesting, then, is that if we are willing to look at the greater overall progress of the Two House and the Nazarene movements over time, then we should be able to spot several trends that will confirm why Nazarene Israel is presently the one Yahweh has conferred this judicial authority upon, in today’s times.

חקק: The Portion of the Lawgiver

As explained in Nazarene Israel, the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel were dispersed from the land of Israel for idolatrous practices; and yet all of this was in order to fulfill numerous other prophecies in Scripture, some of which go as far back as the Book of Genesis.

At the close of the Book of Genesis, then, Israel (i.e., Jacob) tells each of the tribes of Israel what will befall them in the end times. Included in these prophecies is a special set of verses which tell us which of the tribes was to hold the portion of the ‘Lawgiver’ (חקק), and when. Of the Tribe of Judah, Israel prophesied:

B’reisheet (Genesis) 49:10
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver (ומחקק) from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

The root of this word ‘Lawgiver’ (ומחקק) is Khokek (חקק), the same word as we saw earlier. [Putting a Mem (מ) in front of it basically gives the verb an –er ending.] Thus, this verse could be understood:

B’reisheet (Genesis) 49:10
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a hacker (ומחקק) from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
[YBR paraphrase]

One of the reasons the Orthodox Jewish Sanhedrin lays claim to judicial authority in today’s times, is that they misunderstand this passage. Genesis 49:10 tells us that Judah would hold the scepter (i.e., have the kingship) until someone named ‘Shiloh’ came. It also tells us that Judah would continually give birth to lawgivers (i.e., rulers), until that time.

Both Ephraimites and Jews agree that ‘Shiloh’ means ‘Messiah,’ but since the Orthodox Jews do not believe that Yeshua was the Messiah, they do not understand that both the scepter and the portion of the Lawgiver have already departed from them.

Because the Orthodox (and typically also the Messianic) Jews misunderstand Genesis 49:10, they believe that Genesis 49:10 means:

10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet Until Shiloh comes;
And to him [the Tribe of Judah] shall [always] be the obedience of the people.
[Orthodox and Messianic Jewish misinterpretation]

Since the Orthodox Jews do not believe the Messiah has come yet, they still believe they hold the scepter (i.e., the right of kingship). They also believe that they are still the rightful lawgivers (i.e., judges) of the Nation of Israel.

Rightly Dividing Genesis 49:10

In the Nazarene Israel study, we explain why Yeshua is the prophesied Messiah of Daniel 9:26. Since we know that Yeshua is the Messiah, then, in order to understand why judicial authority presently rests with Nazarene Ephraim (and hence, Nazarene Israel), we must re-examine Genesis 49:10. Correctly interpreted, this prophecy reads:

B’reisheet (Genesis) 49:10
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver (ומחקק) from between his feet, Until Shiloh [meaning Messiah Yeshua] comes;
And to Him [first to Judah, and then to Yeshua] shall be the obedience of the people.

This passage tells us that the scepter would first rightly belong to the Jewish kings (such as David, King Solomon, and Hezekiah). However, after Yeshua’s First Coming and ministry (circa 26-30 CE), neither the scepter nor the portion of the Lawgiver were to remain with Judah. But where did the scepter and the portion of the Lawgiver go?

The answer to this question is not a direct one. To see it takes an ability to discern spiritual trends. Let us proceed.

After Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection, the scepter was taken from Judah, and was seized by the Roman Empire. That the scepter (the kingship) no longer remained with Judah after the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE is beyond question.

The scepter (basically, Elohim’s blessing of military power) was taken from Judah, and was given to the Romans. Then, after the Protestant breakaway from the Roman Empire, the scepter passed along the lines of Ephraimite influence, primarily to the British Isles, and then to the British Empire. Then, after World War Two, the scepter has basically shifted to America. Note, then, that the scepter (Elohim’s blessings of military power) has more or less followed the migration of prophetic Ephraim.

The migration of the portion of the Lawgiver follows similar, if not identical, lines. Yet, because it requires an ability to follow spiritual trends, not all may understand.

Portion of the Lawgiver (חקק) Hidden in Gad

To understand where the portion of the Lawgiver went, there is another special verse that we need to look at.

Near the very end of the Torah, Moshe HaNavi (Moses the Prophet) told our forefathers what would befall each of our tribes, in the latter days. If we read these verses carefully, we can see where the portion of the Lawgiver went.

Here is Moshe’s prophecy over the Tribe of Gad:

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 33:20-21
20 And of Gad he said:
“Blessed is he who enlarges Gad:
He dwells as a lioness;
He tears off the arm, and also the crown.
21 He chose the best part for himself,
For there the portion of the Lawgiver (מחקק) was hidden.
He came with the heads of the people.
The justice of Yahweh he did,
And His right-rulings with Israel.”

Deuteronomy 33:21, then, tells us that the portion of the Lawgiver was ‘hidden’ in Gad. But what does it mean, that the portion of the Lawgiver was ‘hidden’ in the Tribe of Gad?

Must Have Been a First Coming

The Orthodox Jews believe that the scepter still resides with them (Judah); and that when the Messiah comes, they will hand both the scepter and the portion of the Lawgiver (which they believe they still hold) directly to him. However, this theology does not work.

Since everyone agrees that Shiloh is the Messiah, and the Messiah is Jewish, then according to standard Jewish theological opinion (above), neither the scepter nor the portion of the Lawgiver can ever depart from Judah.

The problem, however, is that Deuteronomy 33:20-21 literally requires the portion of the Lawgiver to depart from the tribe of Judah, as it must be ‘hidden’ in the Tribe of Gad at some point in time. Therefore, the Orthodox Jewish interpretation cannot possibly be correct. It has a logical ‘fatal flaw.’

The reason the portion of the Lawgiver was ‘hidden’ in Gad, is that the Pharisees were blinded to who Yeshua was, at His First Coming. And, because they did not recognize Him, they continue to believe that they still hold both the scepter and the portion of the Lawgiver (meaning the right to judge, and to set the Halachah, which is what the Orthodox Jewish Sanhedrin seeks to do). However, their thesis is obviously incorrect.

What Does “Halachah” Mean?

The term ‘Halachah’ (הלכה) comes from the Hebrew word ‘Halakh’ (הלך), which means, basically, “to walk.” The term ‘Halachah’ (הלכה), then, means basically “customs, rulings, traditions, and laws (of His set-apart ones).”

As we explained above, the way these customs, rulings, traditions and laws are supposed to be made is for a judge to hear (shema) from Elohim, and then render his judgment. This is true whether the final ruling is hacked into stone (חקק), or is recorded on scrolls (as was the case in Acts Chapter Fifteen). Either way, the rulings come only as a result of hearing Yahweh’s voice.

There are many examples in Scripture of judges taking time to hear Yahweh’s voice, so as to know how to command the faithful:

Bemidbar (Numbers) 9:8
8 And Moshe said to them, “Stand still, that I may hear what Yahweh will command concerning you.”

Setting Halachah is clearly a function of hearing the Still Small Voice (and not quenching it). Only a judge who hears (and does not quench) the Still Small Voice has the right to set Halachah.

However, Prophecy also tells us that it is Nazarene Gad whom He has chosen to bear the portion of the Lawgiver in this day and time. Nazarene Gad is part of Nazarene Ephraim, which is part of Nazarene Israel.

Portion of the Lawgiver (חקק) Hidden in Gad

It was Yeshua (Shiloh) who originally gave the Law to Moshe; and so when His ministry began on earth, the portion of the Lawgiver was His. Then in Matthew 28, Yeshua gave the Nazarenes a Great Commission; and at that time, the portion of the Lawgiver was given to them.

It is this same portion of the Lawgiver that gave the apostles the right to set the Halachah (הלכה) for Ephraimite Return at Acts Chapter Fifteen (reference the Nazarene Israel study). It was this same portion of the Lawgiver that the Apostle Shaul (Paul) relied upon, when he instructed the Nazarenes in Thessalonica how they should walk.

Thessaloniqim Bet (2 Thess) 3:6
6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Adon Yeshua Messiah, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly, and not according to the tradition which he received from us.

Let us acknowledge that the apostles are commanding something here, and it has nothing to do with one’s physical gait.

It makes sense that the apostles received the portion of the Lawgiver (and the right to set Halacha). But how did this right get passed to the Nazarenes of the modern day? Did this right just suddenly disappear, and then reappear? Or was it mysteriously passed along certain lines of Ephraimite influence, being hidden as it was in the Tribe of Gad? It may be difficult to see, and even more difficult for some to accept, but as the Church began to eclipse the Nazarenes (and especially after it finally exterminated them), the Church became the foremost advocates of belief in the Messiah Yeshua.

It is true that the Roman Church’s seizure of power was illegitimate, and it is also true that their version of the worship is entirely corrupt; however, as explained in the Nazarene Israel study, this is also what had to happen, in order for the Good News to spread.

As we hope to explain in the study Migrations: the Lost Ten Tribes, the ten tribes of Ephraim did not move north and west (to what later became Protestant Northwestern Europe) all at once. They did not simply ‘saddle up their horses and ride.’ Rather, they migrated slowly, over hundreds of years, intermixing and interbreeding with the people of other empires. It was as much a spiritual (or a prophetic) migration as it was anything else; and yet, this is how the migration of the house of Ephraim to Northwestern Europe took place.

This is a difficult concept for many to accept, but when the Roman Empire crushed the Jews in 70 CE (and destroyed the Temple), the scepter passed to them. Then, when Rome also destroyed the Nazarenes, the portion of the Lawgiver was also usurped.

When the Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, the Roman Empire then became the foremost proponent of belief in the Messiah in the world. Although other groups much purer than the Roman Church may have survived on the fringes of Roman society (or perhaps were driven underground), the prophetic need of the moment was for the Roman Church to spread the sugar-coated ‘Christian’ version of the Good News to the far reaches of its empire. For this reason, the Roman Church held the portion of the Lawgiver at that time. Although the version of the worship that they taught was not pure, Elohim nonetheless blessed them with the ability to rule, and to set the Halachah (as they were the foremost proponent of the belief in that time).

When the 1260 years of Daniel 7:25 had finally ended and the Protestants broke away from the Roman Church (the ‘Little Horn’), they began a long process of slowly purifying the Christian faith. Although Protestantism is not nearly as pure as Nazarene Israel, it was (and is) much purer than Catholicism; and for almost five hundred years, the portion of the Lawgiver rested with them.

If one wishes to be aware of the trend, one can further see how the portion of the Lawgiver migrated from group to group: from Catholicism, to Lutheranism, to Seventh Day Adventism, to the World Wide Church of God, to the Messianic Israel Alliance, and finally resting in Nazarene Israel, which is finally restoring the original apostolic faith without compromise.

At each juncture, the reason the portion of the Lawgiver moved was that a cleaner version of the original faith had been started. As a cleaner and purer organization was started, the Portion of the Lawgiver migrated there. Since Nazarene Israel is working to establish the true original faith of the apostles without compromise, if Elohim wills, there is no need for further migration. At this point the only migration that is needed is for the original faith of the apostles to be re-established in the land of Israel.

Deuteronomy 33:20-21: Elohim’s Pun

The patriarch Ya’akov (or Jacob) played tricks upon people in order to accomplish the Father’s will. Since each and every action gives rise to an equal but opposite reaction, tricks were also played upon Jacob, and upon His descendants.

Scripture is also full of plays on words, both within Hebrew, and across language barriers. What do we mean by this?

When the Protestant Reformation took place and the Germanic-language nations of northwestern Europe finally broke away from the Catholic Church, the portion of the Lawgiver then passed from the Catholics to the Protestants. Because Protestant doctrines teach the need to establish a personal one-on-one relationship with Yahweh, the average Protestant hears the Still Small Voice much more reliably than the Catholics do.

The Protestants of the Germanic language block of Northwestern European descent all basically worship Elohim by the false name of ‘God’ (or Gott). Even though this is clearly a false term for Elohim, there is still a divine joke, and a play on words contained in this.

According to most research done on the migrations of the Lost Ten Tribes (Davidi, Collins, White, et al), when the descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes finally arrived in Protestant Northwestern Europe, the Tribe of Gad settled primarily in Sweden, Norway, and the Germanic lowlands south of the Baltic Sea (North Germany, Holland, and etcetera). In other words, one might say that the Tribe of Gad settled in what later became known as ‘Gothic’ (or the ‘Gott-ic’) areas. This is a divine play on words.

While Protestantism began in Germany (with Martin Luther), the real impetus of the Protestant Movement soon shifted to the British Empire, which in turn was populated primarily by the descendants of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) (Davidi, Collins, et al).

Then, after the American colonies broke away from England, the real leadership of the Protestant Reformation again shifted, this time to America. Again this took place because of a purer form of the worship being set up.

America’s initial settlers were Protestant refugees. These sought to escape persecution from the state-owned religions. In particular, the Amish sought to escape from the Gothic (Gott-ic) areas, and many British settlers sought to escape from the Anglican Church (which in many ways still resembles the Catholic Church).

As we explain in Nazarene Israel, it was spiritual Ephraim (America) who is the younger brother of spiritual Manasseh (England); and the younger brother is the greater of the two. However, at the same time, this spiritual Ephraim (America) is also heavily populated by the descendants of the Germanic (Gothic/Gadite) people.

What Deuteronomy 33:20-21 gives us, then, is just one more of Elohim’s many Divine Puns, or plays on words.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 33:20-21
20 And of Gad he said:
“Blessed is he who enlarges Gad:
He dwells as a lioness;
He tears off the arm, and also the crown.
21 He chose the best part for himself,
For there the portion of the Lawgiver (מחקק) was hidden.
He came with the heads of the people.
The justice of Yahweh he did,
And His right-rulings with Israel.”

This passage well describes first the Roman Empire, and then the British Empire, and now finally, the American Empire. Each in their turn (the Romans, the British, and now the Americans) have been blessed in their imperial actions (enlarging Gad), because each in their own turn has held the scepter; and each has chosen the best part for themselves.

Thus, it is the ‘people of God’ who have been the spiritual Gadites. It is they who have been blessed with enlarged empires, with the scepter, and with the portion of the ‘Lawgiver.’ At the same time Yahweh also used them to promote the cleanest and purest version of the belief in Yeshua in their own time, thus setting the halachah.

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