(For a complete background discussion, please refer to Acts 15 Order and Torah Government.)
The original Melchizedekian order was lost in the Great Falling Away into torahless Christianity, and in these last days we seek to restore it. Because we are scattered in the dispersion, we hope to use the internet to establish a virtual sanctuary, or an online space set-apart for the worship of Yeshua. That way, the remnant who wish to serve Yeshua according to His word can have a place where they and their families can meet with others of like mind, and then serve Him together.
In other places we explain that the body of disciples can be likened to a living temple, and also to an olive tree, where Yeshua is the root.
In order to establish a website we need to break this tree diagram down into several layers, corresponding to the many different levels of dedication, or set-apartness from the world. The blue sky represents believers who have no life-sustaining two-way relationship with the tree. This is also sometimes called the Mission Field.
Layer 0: Blue Sky. Believer who are not disciples (i.e., the “Mission Field”).
There is all the difference in the world between those who love Yeshua enough to make sacrifices to help build His kingdom, and the majority, who does not. As I show in many other places, those who do not care enough about Yeshua to help build His kingdom according to His instructions are not called disciples. Rather, they are called believers. These are represented in Scripture by the 4,000, the 5,000, the myriads, and the multitudes. Because they are not willing to give back to Yeshua, Yeshua does not treat them as He treated the 12 (who were an extreme minority). These are represented by the blue sky, which the olive tree (body) interacts with, but which is not part of the olive tree (body of disciples).
Believers may freely access all social media sites.
Believers may view the front page.
Believers may view the broadcast archive.
Believers may read all existing written studies (to verify that Nazarene Israel is the faith once delivered to the saints).
Believers may read all future studies intended for public consumption.
Believers may apply to become servants (disciples) through the discipleship interview (behind the Servant’s Entrance), and thus join the body of disciples.
The Discipleship Interview sits in between Layer 0 and Layer 1.
The Discipleship Interview is designed to act as a filter. The purpose of this filter is to separate (set apart) the remnant of disciples from the other believers. During the interview, data will be collected to identify who should be able to access what areas on the forums, and also what features of the website. As the final step in the interview process, it will ask the applicant to sit down and count the true cost of discipleship, in eternal terms.
It is not desirable that those who have no heart to serve Yeshua should be joined to the body of disciples. If a believer believes on Yeshua, and yet has no heart to make sacrifices to help build Yeshua’s kingdom, he will still be able to find plenty of things to consume for free on social media, without us having to give them access to the body. Yet because there are also many poor people in the world, and those who suffer true financial hardship, we will allow work-contribution in lieu of tithing. However, it must be a work contribution that represents a sacrifice, and which Yeshua’s kingdom can realistically use.
Further, because many people truly can afford to pay their due tithes and offerings to Yeshua (but simply don’t want to), the discipleship interview is an application process, and approval is at our discretion.
Because of the poor, we have set the minimum standard for contribution at the widow’s 2 mites every 6 months (literally $0.02 USD). Review will be after the spring and fall festival seasons. If there is no contribution every 6 months, further access to the website will be denied. (Alternately, some prefer to send the whole year’s tithes annually, to save on transfer or other fees). This is not intended to allow “gaming of the system” by those who truly can afford to pay tithes. Rather, it is intended to help the poor.
Those who belong to a local congregation will tithe to their local congregation, and then their congregational eldership will have the duty to pay a tithe of the tithe to the Nazarene Israel priesthood, to cover projects which help serve the whole body (such as the website, videos, teachings, mission efforts, etc.). The eldership will then need to confirm access for all persons each 6 months, so that their access to the website may continue without interruption.
Layer 1: Contributing Disciples (but not yet Tithing Disciples).
Contributing disciples who are making a contribution to Yeshua’s kingdom work at $0.02 USD or greater will have all permissions given to those in layer zero, plus:
They may enter the discipleship area (the body).
They may receive the newsletter and read the forums.
If they agree with the Forum Posting Agreement, they may post to the forums according to the traits that they indicated during the discipleship interview/ In other words, men may access male-oriented areas of the forums, women may access female-oriented areas of the forums, etc. Traits that need to be identified include: male, female, husband, wife, father, mother, male teen [post bar-mitzvah], female teen [post bat-mitzvah], boys [pre-bar-mitzvah], girls [pre-bat-mitzvah]. There will also be sections available for notices and business offers (no doctrinal materials), for sale, and interest groups, etc.
To lessen the workload on the paid administration staff, contributing disciples may become moderators on forums and social media sites of interest, if they agree to the rules for forum and social media moderators.
Contributing disciples may view all of the discipleship teachings posted inside the discipleship area. These will include many topics which may not be appropriate for the evangelical field (layer 0, blue sky).
Contributing disciples may post suggestions to the suggestion box.
If contributing disciples are volunteering services in lieu of a full tithe greater than 10 hours a week, they may also study the congregational deacon training materials, in the yeshiva.
If contributing disciples have a technical skill Yeshua’s body can realistically use, they may be hired as a helper or administrator, although all other things being equal, preference for hiring is given to those who are already tithing (as it shows a greater level of dedication, and preference is given to those whose hearts are already turned to serve our Master and King).
Administrators and Helpers: (Non-Priesthood):
Authority for administrators and helpers is given in 1 Corinthians 12:28. Administrators and helpers may be selected for their technical skills (rather than their theological skills), and therefore they are not necessarily held to the same theological standards for deacons in 1 Timothy 3 (although this is strongly encouraged).
Because disciples are supposed to have a heart to help Yeshua build His kingdom, one-time work parties should ideally be handled by (unpaid) volunteers. In contrast, the titles of Administrators and Helpers apply to repeat job duties, and work that is more than 10 hours a week, or which requires specialized training or continuity. Such regular or technical work should not be a means of gain (i.e., it should not “be a regular job”). However, it needs to be adequately compensated, so that the workers can support their families. Because of this, administrators and helpers should be paid “single honor”, meaning up to the industry standard wage for their specialties, as funds allow, and as the Spirit directs. Again this is not to enrich them, but to provide them the ability to continue in service without being distracted by the cares of this world.
Administrators and helpers serve and support the needs of the priesthood, and therefore they should behave and dress accordingly. Professions include administration, office managers, accountants, computer programmers, video professionals, translators, etc. (Compare to Department of Defense civilians, or support functions in the military.) Preference is given to those who are giving a full tithe, although those who are contributing may also apply.
Administrators and helpers may be assigned any specialized task that needs their specialty skills, as directed by either the lay or separated priesthood, as funds allow, and as the Spirit directs.
Administrators and helpers are not technically part of the priesthood, and therefore they may own houses and lands, etc. They may also pass an inheritance to their children.
Congregational administrators and helpers may be assigned accounting tasks, and may account for the tithes, and financial records. They may also confirm who in the congregation should have access to the Nazarene Israel website, as his congregational elders direct.
Congregational administrators and helpers may perform any other duties that the congregational elders or the priesthood directs in the Spirit.
If congregational administrators and helpers meet the qualifications of deacons, in certain cases they may also be assigned duties as deacons, provided they also pass certification and testing, and comply with the rules for congregational deacons (1 Timothy 3).
Layer 2: Tithing Disciples
For a full discussion of the tithe, see Torah Government.
By definition, tithing disciples give at least a first tithe. They should also pay a second tithe to their own account (for the festivals). However, this cannot be enforced in the dispersion due to questions over Genesis 28:22. (For details, see Torah Government.) A third tithe (for the poor) is correct, and also strongly encouraged, but it also cannot be enforced in the dispersion due to the same questions over Genesis 28:22. (For details, see Torah Government.)
Permissions for tithing disciples include everything in layer one, plus:
Tithing disciples may apply for counseling (marital or otherwise), as resources permit, and the Spirit allows.
Tithing disciples may stand up to read the Torah in front of the congregation, as directed by the congregational elders.
Tithing disciples may serve as a cantor.
Tithing disciples may study congregational deacon training materials.
Tithing disciples may apply for congregational deacon training and testing after three years of faithful tithing and service, if the witness of the Spirit is there. (The time limit may be waived only when the spirit clearly directs.)
Layer 3: Shammeshim / Congregational Deacons:
Shammeshim (congregational deacons, or servants) are part of the non-separated (lay) priesthood, and thus are held accountable to the standards in 1 Timothy 3.
Because it is a position of honor, shammeshim set an example for the people. Therefore, shammeshim must be successfully married in the faith to one woman, and his children must also be successfully raised in the faith and be giving a good witness (1 Timothy 3).
A deacon’s wife may serve as a deaconess. A deacon and his wife are considered a team. In occasional rare circumstances, a deaconess may have a husband who does not feel called or qualified as a deacon, yet the witness of the Spirit is with her. She may serve as a deaconess if her husband provides authority covering for her (as in the case of Priscilla and Aquila), and if this is approved by the congregational eldership. However, if her husband does not provide authority covering for her, she may not serve as a deaconess (but may still serve as a helper or administrator, if the eldership approves).
Before being assigned duties as a shammesh or shammesheet (female shammesh), a servant should both have the witness of the Spirit, and pass certification in the yeshiva. This ensures that error is not taught to the people.
Permissions for shammeshim include everything in layer two, plus:
A shammesh (servant) may serve the needs of the congregation however their congregational elders direct. They may lead groups or work parties.
A shammesh (servant) may provide counseling, as the congregational elders direct. Men counsel men, and women counsel women. Husband and wife shammesh teams counsel husbands and wives. If a man needs to counsel a woman apart from her husband, this is best done by a husband-wife team. If this is not possible, then either there should be another witness present, or audio recordings of the sessions or copies of emails should be sent either to the woman’s husband, or to some other witness. This not only helps to protect reputations, and squelch rumors, but it can also lead to better resolutions for the counselee.
A shammesh (servant) may teach in the congregation, as the congregational elders direct.
A shammesh (servant) may collect and account for tithes, gifts, and offerings as the congregational elders direct. All funds are delivered to the congregational elders (who then pay his salary, as funding permits).
A shammesh (servant) may read and study training materials to become a congregational elder. He may apply for congregational elder training and testing after a total of five years faithful tithing and service. This time limit is only waived if the Spirit clearly directs.
A shammesh (servant) may also read training materials to become a separated priest (which is a separate track). He may apply for priesthood training and testing after a total of five years faithful tithing and service. This time limit is only waived if the Spirit clearly directs.
Deacons and deaconesses may be paid for their service as funding permits, and as the spirit directs, especially if they serve more than 10 hours per week. The rate of pay is single honor (i.e., the average wage for that city-state area). He may own houses, lands, etc., and he may pass an inheritance to his children.
A shammesh (servant) may be assigned to update his congregation’s tithing records and permissions on the Nazarene Israel website, as his congregational elders direct. He may also perform any other duties that his congregational elders direct in the Spirit.
Layer 4: Congregational Elders (Lay Priesthood)
Congregational elders are part of the lay priesthood, and as such they set an example for the people. As such, elders must be successfully married in the faith to one woman, and his children must be successfully raised in the faith. (1 Timothy 3.) The witness of the spirit should be there. Elders are considered as a husband-wife team.
Before an elder is recognized by the priesthood, he should pass certification in the Nazarene Israel yeshiva, to make sure that error is not taught.
Distinction needs to be made between the positions, and the gifts. Congregational eldership is a position. An elder may have any or all of the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers. If he has the gifts of an apostle he may lead a congregation alone, but ideally there should be a minimum of three elders for every congregation, to provide for accountability, and better decision-making. This also promotes humility. This kind of council is called a beit din, which translates to “house of judgment.” It is also called a court, or a council.
A congregational beit din accounts for all funds, and also decides how all funds collected are to be spent for the furtherance of the Great Commission in their area. They also encourage the third tithe, and distribute any third tithe funds as part of their duties. They send a tithe of the tithe to the separated priesthood, to support the global work.
Congregational elders may be paid up to double honor for their work (i.e., up to two times the average wage in that city-state area). They may own houses, lands, etc. They may also pass an inheritance to their children.
Zakanim (congregational elders) may appoint deacons (servants, shammeshim) to serve the needs of the congregation in keeping with 1 Timothy 3, and as led by the Spirit. They may either confirm who should have access to the Nazarene Israel website, or assign these duties to a shammesh, administrator, or helper, as led by the Spirit.
The most respected congregational elders who have the gifts of apostles or prophets may be invited to serve on the Beit Din Gadol (Big Court, Big Leadership Council), as directed by the Beit Din Gadol. This honor is given to those with the gifts of apostles and prophets, because by definition, apostles and prophets are able to hear in the Spirit.
Layer 5: Separated (Set-apart) Priesthood
By definition, separated priests have all of the spiritual gifts (of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers). That is why separated priests are also often called apostles (shaliachim). While women may serve in the kingship, or may have gifts as prophetesses, the priesthood has always been the exclusive domain of certain men. (For details, see Torah Government and “Junia: Courier or Woman Apostle?” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3.)
Separated priests (shaliachim) may be celibate, single, or married. However, they may not own any possessions (Luke 14:33). They also may not pass an inheritance to their children. This is like how the Levites were to have no inheritance in the land but were to stay focused on serving the Levitical ministry without having to divide their attentions with worldly concerns or getting involved in any conflict of interest (e.g., Leviticus 18). Because of this, the Melchizedekian order (as an institution) needs to have the necessary funds to supply them with room and board, and also to cover their necessary expenses, much like how any army supplies its soldiers with the things that they need in order to serve.
In the first century, the Melchizedekian order was not yet established as an institution, and there were not funds to support the Apostle Shaul as a missionary. Therefore, when the people did not support Shaul, he fell back on his tentmaking skills (to support the work). However, he also lovingly told them that it was wrong for them not to support him in the work, and that Yeshua would be much happier with them if they would help him and the other apostles to stay at Yeshua’s kingdom work full time. That is also why Shaul asked the people for support in almost every epistle he ever wrote.
The Melchizedekian order is to hold all funds, houses, lands, and possessions of the order as an institution (i.e., as an internationally sovereign organization), and provide its spiritual soldiers with a room, board, and the necessary operating expenses. There is also to be an accounting for all expenditures, to make sure Yeshua’s people’s tithes and offerings are used in an appropriate and wise way. This is overseen by the Beit Din Gadol.
Melchizedekian priests should be supported by the order as long as they are actively serving honorably, and to the utmost of their abilities. However, if the Beit Din Gadol finds that they have fallen into any kind of financial or sexual scandal, they are to be dismissed without any further compensation, to maintain Yeshua’s body pure.
Separated priests appoint (or recognize) congregational elders within their jurisdictions, as the Spirit leads (Titus 1:5). The Beit Din Gadol may also supervise or review these appointments, to keep Yeshua’s body pure.
Layer 6: Beit Din Gadol (aka Apostolic Foundation, Council of Apostles and Elders, Council of Apostles and Prophets).
Scriptural authority for the Beit Din Gadol is found in Acts Chapter 15, Acts Chapter 21, and first century Judaism.
In Judaism, leadership was by a beit din (court, house of judgment, council). A minimum size for a beit din was 3, and their authority was limited to local matters (i.e., for matters in a town). A larger (regional) beit din was comprised of 23 elders and was called a Beit Din Ketana (Small Beit Din). The beit din for the nation was called a Beit Din Gadol (Big Beit Din), and it was comprised of 71 of the most respected elders. This was taken from the idea of Moshe HaNavi (Moses the Prophet) and the 70 elders (Numbers 11). We see this kind of a beit din in Acts 15 and Acts 21, where the apostles and elders are convened to rule on matters involving the nation of Nazarene Israel (for details, see Torah Government).
While traditional Judaism works on majority rule, it is not to be so with us. The example in Acts 15 calls for hearing the voice of the Spirit. This is also how the Judges ruled (in the book of Judges and 1 & 2 Samuel). Because of this, Nazarene Israel only invites those with the gifts of apostles and prophets to sit on the Beit Din Gadol. This is because by definition, apostles and prophets are able to hear the voice of the Spirit, and speak according to it. Yet because none of us hears or speaks perfectly, it is still necessary to have accountability among others. This promotes humility, and accountability, which are never pleasant, but which are ultimately necessary if we are to hear Yahweh’s voice, and act according to His will. (For more information, see “About Speaking in Tongues,” and also “Judges and Judicial Authority,” in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 1.)
For Nazarene Israel, the Beit Din Gadol is composed of only the most senior and qualified apostles and elders. Apostles and elders have different duties, and different roles to play in the body. The elders serve the needs of the congregations, while the apostles serve the needs of the body globally. Yet in order to do their jobs effectively they need to work together, as led by the Spirit. It is not clear how many seats there were in the first century beit din gadol, or what the ratio of apostles to elders was. This may be established at some future point as our body continues to grow, but one might suppose a 50% balance would be ideal. The beit din gadol is headed by the Nasi (President, reminiscent of Moshe HaNavi). In the first century the Apostle Yaakov filled this role.
Because rulings need to be made by hearing in the Spirit (rather than majority rule), seats are better left unfilled, than filled by those who are unqualified, or who are not willing to submit to the Spirit. All positions and seats are considered temporary, as led by the Spirit.
Level Seven is Yahweh-Yeshua Elohim.
Yeshua is our perfect Example. He is the Cornerstone of the Apostolic Foundation (Ephesians 2:20). This means everything should always be done to please Him and should also be in keeping with His perfect example. However, it also needs to be understood that Yeshua came in a prophetic-apostolic role during his ministry, and that in contrast He appointed his apostles to build a renewed priestly order of Melchizedek, (and the rules and roles for the Melchizedekian order are different than the rules and roles for prophets).
The forum should initially serve the following categories, and only those who meet the criteria should be able to enter these forum areas:
Men, women, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, male teens [post bar-mitzvah], female teens [post bat-mitzvah], boys [pre-bar-mitzvah], girls [pre-bat-mitzvah]. There may also be a forum section for interest groups, notices, business offers (but no doctrinal materials), wanted, and for sale.
There may also be separate sections for administrators, helpers, congregational deacons, deacon’s wives, congregational elders, elder’s wives, apostles, apostle’s wives, yeshiva teachers, cantors, etc.
We do not plan a “singles” category at this time. Singles seeking marriage are advised to pray, and then to participate in those activities they feel the Spirit leading them toward, and let Yahweh bring them the spouse of His choice. This is much better than making decisions ourselves. It also promotes getting to know people first, rather than looking for a spouse first.
It is hoped that this new website structure will help to establish a virtual set-apart space for the disciples, who want to come together to help build Yeshua’s kingdom, in keeping with His word.