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Jeremiah tells us that our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful.
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 17:9
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
Our flesh wants to do its desire, rather than obey Elohim. This is why so many churches get away with preaching a torahless Jesus and a variation of the Great Commission that looks nothing like the one Yahweh prescribed. Modern “praise and worship” and sermons often gratify our flesh, but they are of little to no value to Yahweh. Believers who practice such things never undergo the kind of radical spiritual transformation that is required to be a disciple.
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.
While it is good to be a believer, if we want to be His disciples, then we need to obey His commands (because that is how He knows we love Him).
Yochanan (John) 14:15
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Although some Christians are very disciplined in what they do, Scripture does not consider them to be disciples of Yeshua, because they do not obey His commands.
Yochanan Aleph (1 John) 5:2-4
2 By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and keep His commandments.
3 For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
4 For whatever is born of Elohim overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.
Earlier we saw that Yeshua came to gather the children of Elohim who did not realize that they are Israelites.
Yochanan (John) 11:51-52
51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Yeshua would die for the nation,
52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of Elohim who were scattered abroad.
Since Yeshua knew He was not going to be here on earth while the Great Commission was being fulfilled, He trained His disciples to do the work while He was gone. The Great Commission is a test to see who loves Yeshua enough to lay down their lives in the world to work for Him, and who does not. And when Yeshua returns to receive an already-spiritually-subdued earth, He will in turn hand the earth over to His Father (and receive His just reward).
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 15:24-28
24 Then comes the end, when [Yeshua] delivers the kingdom to Elohim the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He [Yahweh] who put all things under Him is excepted.
28 Now when all things are made subject to Him [Yeshua], then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him [Yahweh], that Elohim may be all in all.
Then Yeshua will reward His bride, who helped him fulfill His Father’s work.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 22:12
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”
If we love our children, shouldn’t we encourage them to do all they can for the Great Commission, so that they also can receive the reward of a faithful bride?
Mishle (Proverbs) 22:6
6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
We should teach our children what Scripture says, and be a good example to them, obeying the Torah as much as we can at this point in time.
No matter who we are, or which role we fill, volunteerism has always been at the heart of our worship and service.
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 6:8
8 Also I heard the voice of Yahweh, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
The pattern is that Elohim calls, and his disciples not only believe on Him, and read about Him, but they answer the call by volunteering to serve. That is why, when the priesthood of the firstborn failed to restrain the people, Moshe said that everyone whose heart was for Yahweh should come to him.
Shemote (Exodus) 32:25-29
25 Now when Moshe saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aharon had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies),
26 then Moshe stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on Yahweh’s side — come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.
27 And he said to them, “Thus says Yahweh Elohim of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.'”
28 So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moshe. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.
29 Then Moshe said, “Set yourselves apart today unto Yahweh, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother.”
When Yeshua called His disciples, they immediately abandoned all, started following Him, and began helping Him maximize His ministry.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 4:18-22
18 And Yeshua, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Shimon called Kepha, and Andrei his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them,
22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
Later, Yeshua told His disciples that those who follow Him (i.e., become like Him), would need to meet several very stringent criteria. The first was that blood ties were to mean nothing to them. Second, they would have to bear their burdens. And finally, they would have to forsake all physical possessions.
Luqa (Luke) 14:26-33
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
27 And whoever does not bear his cross [stake] and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it —
29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
First, disciples must “hate” their biological family. This is similar to how Yahweh chose the Levites because they opposed their brothers after the sin regarding the golden calf.
Shemote (Exodus) 32:29
29 Then Moshe said, “Set yourselves apart today to Yahweh, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother.”
Second, a disciple must bear his spiritual burden. This is similar to how the Levitical priests were to bear the guilt of the congregation.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 10:17
17 “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a set apart place, since it is most set apart, and Elohim has given it to you to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before Yahweh?”
Finally, disciples are to have no physical possessions. That is, they take a vow of poverty. Their only source of income is to be the tithe and the offering. (Anything they get above that goes to the treasury, so the disciple has to depend on Yahweh to sustain him through the people’s tithes, just as the Levitical priests did.)
Bemidbar (Numbers) 18:20-21
20 Then Yahweh said to Aharon: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.
21 Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.”
[In later chapters we will see how the Babylonian church has sought to replace Yeshua’s rules with different ones, so as to make Yeshua’s priesthood of no effect—yet this only underscores the importance of obeying the original rules.]
In Nazarene Israel (v4 and later) we discuss the law of first mention. Briefly, the law of first mention tells us that the first time a commandment is given (or a concept is introduced), it sets a precedent for all other occurrences. For example, Yeshua is the first internal Melchizedekian priest, therefore He sets the standard for all those who want to come after Him.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 11:1
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Messiah.
Notice also that Elohim obeys all of his own standards. Although Yeshua clearly loved his mother, He placed service to Elohim and His spiritual family above service to His biological family. (That is, He placed the nation first.)
Mattityahu (Matthew) 12:46-50
46 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him.
47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”
48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”
49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!
50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
Second, He bore His burden (in many ways).
Luqa (Luke) 9:23-25
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross [stake] daily, and follow Me.
24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”
Third, we see that Yeshua had no personal possessions.
Luqa (Luke) 9:57-58
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Adonai, I will follow You wherever You go.”
58 And Yeshua said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
[See the chapter entitled “Yeshua the Celibate Nazirite” in Nazarene Scripture Studies Volume One, for more details.]
When the rich young ruler asked Yeshua what he had to do to obtain eternal life, Yeshua told him to keep the commandments. (That is, he had to place the spiritual world above the carnal world.)
Mattityahu (Matthew) 19:16-30
16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, Elohim. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?” Yeshua said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’
19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Yeshua said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Elohim.”
25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
26 But Yeshua looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with Elohim all things are possible.”
27 Then Kepha answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”
28 So Yeshua said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Although Yeshua’s priests don’t own anything beyond their clothes, that does not mean they do not need tools and other resources with which to do Elohim’s work. It is similar to joining an earthly army. You arrive at your duty station and are assigned to a specific unit and specific job. This job will require equipment which you take responsibility for. If you are a commander, you might have many millions of dollars of equipment and buildings under your command, yet they don’t belong to you. Rather, they are given into your care and stewardship for as long as you have the privilege of serving your people in that role. Then when you move on to your next assignment, they will assign you a different batch of equipment.
The analogy breaks down when it comes to drawing a paycheck, because while government officials draw a salary, the Melchizedekian order does not. They should simply have the tools they need to further the Great Commission.
Ma’asei (Acts) 4:34-35
34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,
35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
While we don’t know the exact circumstances, it was probably excess possessions and lands the believers sold in Acts 4, as most families would still need a place to live. This may be why the early disciple Mnason still owned a house, and was able to provide lodging to the other apostles.
Ma’asei (Acts) 21:16
16 Also some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and brought with them a certain Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge.
Questions arise because Joseph of Arimathea was rich, and yet he was still named as a disciple.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 27:57
57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Yeshua.
So how can we understand this apparent contradiction to Yeshua’s words, that a disciple must forsake all he has, when neither Mnason nor Joseph of Arimathea gave up their possessions? Yeshua held His original twelve disciples to the full standard for the priesthood, because they would later serve as priests. In contrast, neither Joseph of Aramathea nor Mnason had to give up their inheritance, because they were not called to serve as priests (and become the servants of all).
Marqaus (Mark) 9:35
35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Realistically, only a small number are called to serve in the priesthood. More are called to serve their brethren as elders, and servants. Still more are called to serve with a ministry of helps.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 12:28-31
28 And Elohim has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
We are to pray (asking Yahweh to show us our faults), and then listen for His voice which will tell us where He wants us and our children to contribute to His Son’s Great Commission. Then we should use the time, talents, and funds that Yahweh has given us to fulfill that calling.