Sometimes people ask how to join Nazarene Israel. This is a very good question, and the answer is that when we accept Yeshua as our Messiah, we become Nazarenes at that time. When He calls us, and we respond to His call, that makes us Nazarenes. From there it is only a matter of being faithful to do everything He commands.
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.
[*For why we immerse only in Yeshua’s name, please see “Immersion in Yeshua’s Name Only,” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3.]
To do all that Yeshua commands is not easy, or simple, but it is what our Husband wants. As we show in our other studies, Yeshua said not to think He was sent to destroy the Torah (the Law of Moshe). Rather, Yeshua says we must obey the Torah better than the scribes (Karaites) and the Pharisees (Orthodox) do, or we will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:17-20
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Torah till all is fulfilled.
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
What does it mean to keep the Torah better than the scribes and the Pharisees? There are both material and spiritual requirements. In Matthew 23:23, Yeshua said it was right for the scribes and the Pharisees to pay their tithes according to the letter of the Torah, but they had neglected the weightier matters of Torah, including justice, mercy, and faith. Yeshua said it is good that the scribes and the Pharisees pay their tithes according to the letter of the Torah, but to do so in the right Spirit (His Spirit).
Mattityahu (Matthew) 23:23
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”
Tithes are essentially kingdom taxes, and they are used to expand and further Yeshua’s kingdom. The church says the letter is not important, so long as we believe on Him. However, that is not what Yeshua says. What Yeshua says is that both the Spirit and the letter matter.
But if there is no temple today, then why did Yeshua tell us that tithing was good? It is because the purpose of the tithe is to fund the Great Commission, the ultimate purpose of which is not just to bring the lost sheep of the house of Israel home, and not just to build a temple, but to expand the Melchizedekian order indefinitely, until it fills the whole earth. The reality is that such a spiritual war campaign takes funding, and we are the source.
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.
If paying our kingdom taxes to help establish a kingdom for Yeshua is a hard thing with us, then we do not know Yeshua, and the truth is not in us.
Yochanan Aleph (1 John) 2:3-6
3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of Elohim is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
Yet it is not as if Yeshua is greedy for money, for He said that the widow who put in the two mites gave more than all the rest, because she gave even despite her needs.
Marqaus (Mark) 12:43-44
43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;
44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
Yahweh does not need our money, or us. However, what He wants is to find a bride for His Son, who loves Him more than her own life. The way He does this is to test us, to know what is in our hearts, whether we will keep the commandments of Elohim or not.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 8:2
2 “And you shall remember that Yahweh your Elohim led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
Yeshua the Door, and His Standards
Yeshua says that He is the Door (Gate) of the sheepfold. That is why He gets to set the standards for entry into His assemblies—and as we already saw, the standard He set is that we must obey the letter of the Torah, with a heart that loves Him, and each other. If any man enters into fellowship and does not keep these standards, he is as a thief, and a robber, because he is there to take.
Yochanan (John) 10:1
1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the Door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
Our carnal fleshly nature is to see how much we can get, for how little. We all do this when shopping. However, when we apply this principle to Yeshua’s kingdom, we profane Yeshua’s kingdom (and insult Elohim) because we did not set His service apart from the world. Had we set His worship apart we would have been eager to pay our tithes, because we know how important the kingdom is to Yeshua, and the tithe is how His work gets funded.
When people come to fellowship but don’t tithe (or when they keep back part of the tithe), they qualify as thieves and robbers because it means the congregational elders no longer have the resources they need to do the work in their town. The carnally-minded one might think there is no problem, because there was a fellowship for them to come to, and they derived benefit from it. And this is precisely the problem. Because the carnally-minded one got good out of it, he sees no need to give back. He got what he wants—and he never thinks about what Yeshua wants.
What Yeshua wants is that we all pay our tithes, so that the elders have the funds to missionize their town, and also to support the separated priesthood in their work for Him. But when people say, “I got what I wanted, I don’t see any need to tithe,” they are robbing Elohim’s elders and the separated priesthood of the funding they need to carry out Yeshua’s work. That is why Yahweh calls not tithing, “robbing Elohim.”
8 “Will a man rob Elohim? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.”
The tithe and the offering are Yahweh’s spiritual taxes. These taxes pay for the day to day operations of our global spiritual government, which Ephesians 2:19-22 calls the foundation of apostles and prophets. It is made up of apostles and prophets (who can hear in the Spirit.)
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.
As we show in other places, the foundation of apostles and prophets is called the council of apostles and elders in Acts 15.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:6
6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.
As we show in Torah Government, Acts 15 was where the senior apostles and senior congregational elders all gathered to decide a question of doctrine, so that there would be a single clean doctrine. This was necessary, if the body was not to split. The reason they were able to meet in the first place is that the people were supporting the work. Had the people not been supporting the work then the apostolic foundation would not have been able to meet, and the body would have split right there in the first century (as true unity can only take place around a single clean doctrine).
Carnality vs. Spirituality
When we are spiritual, and pay our tithes, then the body can afford to host a meeting of its leaders, and doctrinal differences can be worked out. This costs money, and it is not easy, but it glorifies Yeshua greatly, because it is obvious to all that the reason we all pay money to bring our spiritual gifts to the spiritual warfare is because we love Yeshua (and Yahweh knows this).
If, however, we are carnal, division does not bother us, because so long as we are getting what we want, it does not matter to us that Yeshua is not getting what He wants.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 3:1-4
1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Messiah.
2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;
3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
4 For when one says, “I am of Shaul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?
There are also carnally-minded ministers. These are not willing to discipline themselves to obey Yeshua’s words either. Isaiah likens them to dumb greedy dogs which cannot bark to warn the people about the dangers of independent ministers. Perhaps the reason they cannot bark is that they are too busy making a profit? Yahweh tells us that all such greedy, unrighteous, self-serving ministers shall die.
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 56:9-11
9 “All you beasts of the field, come to devour, All you beasts in the forest.
10 His watchmen are blind, They are all ignorant; They are all dumb dogs, They cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
11 Yes, they are greedy dogs Which never have enough. And they are shepherds Who cannot understand; They all look to their own way, Every one for his own gain, From his own territory.”
Kepha (Peter) tells us that these kinds of teachers lead those who have escaped the lusts of the flesh back into error, by speaking great swelling words of emptiness that do not lead to the fulfillment of Yeshua’s will.
Kepha Bet (2 Peter) 2:18-22
18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Master and Savior Yeshua Messiah, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the set-apart commandment delivered to them.
22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
Enter by the Narrow Gate
Yeshua tells us that most of those who believe on Him will find a broad, easy pathway that leads to destruction (and most of them would go that way). There would also be a narrow and afflicted pathway that leads to life, yet few would find it.
Matityahu (Matthew) 7:13-14
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
We cannot overcome these afflictions in the flesh. The only way to walk this pathway is to die to our ourselves and the desires of our flesh, to be filled with His Spirit, and to allow His Spirit to move us about.
Romim (Romans) 8:11
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Yeshua from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Messiah from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
When we die to our flesh, and are filled with His Spirit, His Spirit dwelling in us unquenched is what leads to eternal life.
Yochanan (John) 12:24-25
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.
25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
As long as we live in these bodies of flesh, Satan gives us opportunities to settle for less than what Yeshua wants. When we know this, we must take heed to our spirits, and not our flesh. When we realize that our eternal lives are what is at stake, the only reasonable response is to lay down the rest of our lives in humble and joyful service.
Romim (Romans) 12:1-2
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Elohim, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, set-apart, acceptable to Elohim, which is your reasonable service.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of Elohim.
Unless our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees because of our love for Yeshua and our zeal to obey His every word, we will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:20
20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
He who has ears, let him hear.