The Assembly-Ekklesia, vs the Church
The subject in this document is not no an easy one to discuss, and there are some that may not like the opinions, based on Scripture, that are presented here. But, it is not our opinion that we are seeking, but the truth as presented in Scripture. We have a Creator who is the original-originator of order, and this order includes the whole orderly arrangement of all Creation, in other words, it includes the order of ALL things, "the system." It is logical to assume that our Almighty Soverign Creator has also provided for us His children, with a pattern to follow in order to maintain this same order in our own families, in our extended clans, and in our daily lives as well.
Note: We from the Assembly of Yahweh. Cascade, believe and accept for edification, knowledge, truth, and as authoritative, only the teachings recorded as having been spoken by the Prophet Yahshua as revealed to his followers, and as he taught them using the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures). We also accept as authoritative the writings preserved from the original Apostles. We do not accept the writings of the Pharisee Paul/Saul of Tarsus as reliable or authoritative for formulating doctrine, and we reject his written opinions where they do not follow or compliment the inspired Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) or those taught by the Prophet Yahshua or his chosen Apostles. The opinions herein that can be attributed to the writings of Paul/Saul should be considered only as his opinions, unless they can be supported by the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures). Most of the opinions of Paul/Saul should be understood in the light of the culture and customs of the people at that time.
The word Church
This word "church" is the word used in most English Bible versions as a rendering for the Greek word "Ekklesia." However, the Greek word "Ekklesia" means "out-calling," from ek = out (where we get the word exit), and kaleo = to call. This word also describes, in English, an "Assembly," "a meeting," or "an out-gathering." In Hebrew the word translated "congregation" or "Assembly" is qahal. In both the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) and also in the Greek writings (New Testament), the affairs of "State" or "Government" were equally as important to discuss in the Assembly as were the Religious affairs. Both subjects were debated and discussed during the gatherings, i.e. of the Assembly-Ekklesia.
To Summarize, the Greek word "Ekklesia" in the Greek writings -
- may mean a general Assembly, (I Cor. 14: 23).
- may refer to the collective "Body" of all true Believers, (Matt. 16: 18).
- may refer to the local Assembly, (I Cor. 1: 2).
- may refer to several regional Assemblies, (Acts 9: 31).
The origin of the word "church" is from kuriakon or kyriakon in Greek. It means a building (the house of Kurios, or house of the Lord). Pagan deities with names similar to "Lord" were "Larth, Loride, and Lordo." The "Church" which evolved after Constantine fused the Messianic Belief with Pagan Sun-worship, was very enthusiastic to secure as many followers as possible, even if meant to compromise Scripture or to assimilate pagans. In the modern Church, these things still continue to happen when Churches combine and tolerate pagan beliefs in order to become "all-inclusive" to all people. Churches do this by accepting and accommodating as members, people from various racial groups who have customs and cultures that are completely foreign to the Assembly-Ekklesia of True Israelite Believers, or who continue to eat foods that violate YHWH (Yahweh)'s Food Law.
Dictionaries give the origin of the English word "church" as having the Anglo-Saxon root "circe." Circe was the goddess-daughter of Helios, the Sun-deity. The word circe is related to "circus," "circle," "circuit," and "circulate." Circe was originally a Greek goddess whose name was written and pronounced as Kirke.
The word "church" is known in Scotland as "kirk," in Germany as "Kirche," and in the Netherlands as "kerk." It is important to recognize that the correct English word to use is Assembly (a gathering), or the Greek word Ekklesia (out calling). The collective Body of True Believers Assembled, should not be referred to as "The Church," since it is clear that the etymology of the word word "Church" is clearly of pagan origin.
Today the affairs of "State" have been separated out of many Churches because many modern Churches have become "State controlled" 501-C (3) Corporations. A Church that is formed under the permission of the State and thereby accepts State offered benefits for doing so, is no longer under the "headship" of Messiah, but has instead placed it's self under the sole authority of the State. A 501-C (3) Church or any Church formed by State permission under any "Corporate form" will no longer be permitted to discuss the affairs that may counter or oppose the rules or laws established by the State.
The State has established many rules and regulations for their "Government Churches" and it is illegal to violate or in any way actively oppose them. Government Churches are at the complete mercy of the State in all matters. Such Churches have to-date been given quite a bit of freedom so as not to raise concern, but this can change at any moment. The "Rights" protected under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution for the united States of America, do not apply to Government formed "Corporate Churches."
There are many instances where Yahshua countered and actively challenged the affairs of "State." It is the true Assembly that must always maintain righteousness and be completely free of the State to be able to counter un-righteousness within society. The Assembly of True Israel must never be formed under the permission of the State, or under the permission of any civil authority.
The organizational structure (as well as the dedicated building) under which many Churches now exist actually began during the rule of the Roman Emperor Constantine about 300 AD. It was his attempt to combine the various religious elements in his Empire (one of which was the early fragmented and often disagreeing version of "Christianity") and to develop a religious structure acceptable to all of the pagan and Christian factions. During this time many doctrines became solidified and established as an accepted "flavor of Christianity." Many of these doctrines still exist today along with the various "holidays" etc., even though they were derived completely from pagan origin and have no basis or foundation at all in Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) or in the Greek writings (New Testament). Many of the days appointed by YHWH (Yahweh), (like the seventh day Sabbath), or the Feasts days that we are clearly to observe, were ignored and replaced by the pagan "holidays." Most of these same holidays are still with us today.
The nature of the True Assembly, the Ekklesia
In order to establish the full implement, structure, and the intent of the Assembly-Ekklesia, the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) or in the Greek writings (New Testament) authors have put together several metaphorical descriptions that paint a picture of the True Assembly. Some of the "main ones" we see being used are:
"People of YHWH (Yahweh), Kingdom of YHWH (Yahweh), Tabernacle (Household) of YHWH (Yahweh), the Bride of Yahshua, and the Body of Yahshua."
(See Ex. 6: 6-7; 19: 5; Lev. 26: 9-14; Jer. 7:23; 30: 22; 32:37-40; Ezek. 11: 19-20; 36:22-28; Acts 15: 14; Rom. 12: 4,5; I Cor. 12: 12-20; 2 Cor. 6: 16; Eph. 1: 22,23; 1 Tim. Heb. 8:10-12; Rev. 21: 3; etc.). After a thorough review of these passages, we are led to see that the people of YHWH (Yahweh) (the Israelites) both of the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) or in the Greek writings (New Testament) responding to YHWH (Yahweh) by faith and trust, continue to remain the Assembly True Israel, the Assembly-Ekklesia of YHWH (Yahweh).
(See additional verses in footnotes).
Many modern Theologies prefer not to polarize the Assembly into the "the People of True Israel" vs. the indirect "Body of the Assembly" that they understand to be the all-inclusive Church. This is done in order to be "politically correct," and to make Scripture appear to be "all-inclusive" and therefore applicable to all people and races on the globe. But the truth is, that the very same Assembly of Israel formed by faith in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) still continues on as the Assembly in the Greek writings (New Testament) through their believing descendants. The people that form the Assembly of True Israel will always be the same Assembly-Ekklesia, i.e. the "People of YHWH (Yahweh)." This is quite clear in Acts 7:38, which is speaking of the Assembly (the Ekklesia) in the wilderness (while referring to Deut. 9:10). The Assembly of True Israel is NOT "all-inclusive," and does NOT include all people and all races of people on the face of the globe.
The present Assembly of True Israel is actually a continuation of the pre-existing Assembly that was formed in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures, that began in the Formation of the nation of Israel by YHWH (Yahweh) Himself from the literal descendants of Abraham through Isaac, and then through Jacob who YHWH (Yahweh) renamed Israel. (See Ex. 24: 40; Acts 7: 44; Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 21:11; cf. Eph. 1:3-14; etc.).
"True Israel" is always present in the "description" of the Assembly-Ekklesia, in the Greek writings (New Testament) as is proven by the many names for Israel used for the Assembly. Some of these descriptive names are:
"Israel" (Gal. 6:15-16; Eph. 2:12; Heb. 8:8-10; Rev. 2:14; etc.);
"A chosen people" (1 Pet. 2:9);
"the true circumcision" (Rom. 2: 28-29; Phil. 3: 3; Col. 2:11; etc.);
"Abraham's seed" (Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3: 29);
"the remnant" (Rom. 9:27; 11: 5-7);
"the elect" (Rom. 11:28; Eph. 1:4;
"the flock" (acts 20: 28; Heb. 13: 20; 1 Peter 5:2);
"Priest-hood" (1 Peter 2:9; Rev.1: 6; 5: 10).
The Assembly of True Israel of the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) is also the Assembly of True Israel of the Greek writings (New Testament) that is now incorporated into Yahshua Messiah as the figurative "Head," Yahshua the Messiah (anointed), King of the Assembly. Therefore, the Assembly-Ekklesia, is a progression of historical Israel now under the guidence of the Messiah, as it was under the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. This Covenant/contract, first found in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) is for the same Hebrew people, the Israelites, i.e. the descendants of Jacob/Israel.
The Assembly of True Israel of the Greek writings (New Testament), whereever they may gather, is still an Assembled group of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who are the ones "called out" of the corrupt religious system of their day. In the days of Peter this included converts from the Pharisaic, and Edomite influenced man-made Yahudi religion that was prevalent in Jerusalem, and those "called out" of the other pagan idolatrous systems of their day. In Acts 2:37-38, it is recorded that Peter insisted that before being added to the Ekklesia, individuals must "repent and be baptized." This ceremony of immersion symbolizes the "death" of the convert to their old way of living and believing, and of a re-birth into a lifestyle in accord with the parameters outlined in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) as was demonstrated by Yahshua himself. "True Believers" are immersed and Baptized, which becomes a witness by them to the whole Assembly of their commitment and re-birth to the Commandments and the covenant/contract with YHWH (Yahweh) their acknowledged Redeemer and Almighty Sovereign Creator.
Today, Assembly of True Israel is still a group of True Believing Israelites who, like their believing ancestors, have answered the "call" to separate themselves and to "exit out" of the corrupt teachings of modern man-made religions, and who have begun to walk according to the standards of the pure Teachings of Moses, Yahshua, and the chosen Apostles, as they have instructed to them (and by extension to us) from the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures). It might also be well to note at this point, that Yahshua and his chosen Apostles were never Christians.
Organization and worship of the Assembly
The primary purposes of the Assembly is to worship YHWH (Yahweh) and to recognize Him as the only true Almighty Sovereign Creator, and Father of Israel. Although Scripture does not give us many specific extensive prescriptions for how to do this, we are still left with the heart-felt knowledge, that to truly worship YHWH (Yahweh) is to give to Him the supreme reverence that He as the Almighty Sovereign Creator of all truly deserves. There are several examples of Paul's opinions are found in the Greek writings (New Testament) I Cor. 14, as follows:
26 What is it then, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has another language, has an interpretation. Let all things be done to build each other up.It is not the intent of the structure of the Greek writings (New Testament) Assembly (according to I Cor. 14), that only one man is to assume the responsibility for all the prophecy (preaching) before the Assembly,
27 If any man speaks in another language, let it be two, or at the most three, and in turn; and let one interpret.
28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself, and to God.
29 Let the prophets [those that speak before the Assembly] speak, two or three, and let the others discern [help explain].
30 But if a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first keep silent.
31 For you all can prophesy [speak before the Assembly] one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted [lifted up, comforted].
32 The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets,
33 for G-d (Mighty One) is not a G-d (Mighty One) of confusion, but of peace. As in all the assemblies of the saints,
.... but that all may prophesy, one by one, "that all may learn." YHWH (Yahweh) has given a measure of his spirit to all members of the Assembly. If one man is permitted or encouraged as a Pastor or a preacher to be the only prophet in the Assembly, it will often result in corrupt teaching and follow with corrupt doctrine.
Time and places to Assemble
Israelites may "Assemble" at any time during the week, but are specifically instructed to hold a "Holy Assembly" on the Sabbath, the seventh day, which is the day of rest that YHWH (Yahweh) provided as the "Set-Apart" (Holy day) from labor. The Sabbath day is also the time for True Israelites to Assemble and worship YHWH (Yahweh). The Sabbath was always the "Set-Apart" day established by YHWH (Yahweh), and in ancient historical times it was Set-Apart for Israel. We find no evidence that this "Set-Apart" seventh day Sabbath was somehow changed by YHWH (Yahweh) or Yahshua.
The original location of the "Assembly Place" for Israel was the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. For the early Ekklesia - Assembly, the private house soon became the established place for Assembly and worship (Rom. 16: 15; Col. 4: 15; Philem. 2; 2 John 10: 3; John 1, 6: etc.). This is very likely because Assemblies of True Believers soon became a very unpopular threat to the corrupt Religious powers of the day, especially during the early years after Messiah's execution. Many followers of Yahshua Messiah had to flee for their very lives while the Religious authorities were hunting them. Many subsequently died for their belief in the teachings of the Messiah Yahshua.
As the local Ekklesia grew we find historical records of "Assembly Halls" being constructed, however, these structures were mostly simple and utilitarian. Their "grandness and splendor" was directly related to the economic level of the congregation it served. These structures were built from the voluntary contributions of the prosperity of the members just like the ancient Tabernacle in the Wilderness (Ex. 25:1-2; 35:5,20-35). Adornment by statues representing Biblical characters, various idols, pagan designs, and the contribution of pagan artifacts began appearing during the rule of the Roman Emperor Constantine and still continues today in many "Church" buldings. St. Peter's Cathedral in the Vatican is a good example of a religious structure fully adorned with a myriad of pagan symbols and idols.
It was David....Acts 7: 46,
Who found favor before Elohim, and desired to find a tabernacle for the Elohim of Jacob.
47 Yet Solomon built him an house.
48 Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith YHWH (Yahweh): or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? (Acts 7: 46-50)
The simple truth is this: YHWH (Yahweh) does not, and has never dwelt in buildings made with human hands (buildings made with "man formed" materials) made with sawn wood and hewn stone. His dwelling place is in the individual bodies (tabernacles) of True believers, those that make up the Assembly of the "called-out-ones," the Ekklesia. It was this house (household) made of "living stones" commonly called the body Believers, that Yahshua came to build. YHWH (Yahweh) doesn't live in a structure made by man, but in the hearts of the True believer. The building was more of a utilitarian device than a superstitious edifice as it is often regarded today. The Ancient Tabernacle (skinned-tent), that was was filled with the glory of the Sovereign Almighty Creator YHWH (Yahweh), was a structure made from skins. YHWH (Yahweh)'s glory never "dwelt" in a Temple made with "cut" stone. Only the Creator's name YHWH (Yahweh) was "associated" with the Ancient Temple structure.
Elements and correct expressions for Scriptural Assembly
Much of worship system we find in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) revolved around the sacrificial system. Many of these rituals have been represented to hold much more of a superstitious practice than Scripture actually indicates. Most of the sacrifices mentioned in Scripture were not some sort of dark, bloody, or creepy rituals, but were simple banquets. Some were very elaborate feasts where the animals were slaughtered, prepared, roasted, and eaten by those Assembled. So, Even in the days of Moses and Aaron "potlucks" and banquets were common at many of the Assembled gatherings of Israel, which helped to develop a united people, kinship, and a civil and organized society.
Today the Ministry of the Assembly of True Israel centers on specific "spiritual" gifts or charismata, (a term from the Greek), the origin of the English word "charisma" which are given to Assembly believers by YHWH (Yahweh) for His glory, and to be used for the good and benefit of the whole Assembly, and for the good of others (Rom. 12:3; Eph. 4: 7; etc.). Some of these gifts like foretelling the future, or the gift of tongues (speaking in foreign languages unknown by the speaker) appear to have been only for the immature First Century Assembly. We are told these gifts would cease at the beginning of "completion," i.e. the end of the old "world" 70 AD; at the ushering in of the new Age, (1 Cor. 13: 10; Eph. 4: 13-15).
It is clear from the Greek writings, that every believer is given a gift from YHWH (Yahweh), (1 Cor. 12: 7; Eph. 4: 7; etc.), and that believers are to exercise these spiritual gifts in love (1 Cor. 12). It is also through this diversity of gifts, that the Assembly (the body of believers) will mature and become unified (Rom. 12: 4; 1 Cor. 12: 12-31; Eph. 4: 13-18).
YHWH (Yahweh) organized the Ancient congregation of Israel according to a divine plan which included elements that we would consider both religious and civil. All the men were commanded to serve no other "mighty one" (G-ds) but YHWH (Yahweh) alone. All Israelite men were regarded as lawfully being on an equal level with each other. There was no "hierarchical" system, no Pope, no Bishop, no Priest, no Father, no Rabbi, no Pastor, or any other figure of Religious authority above them. There were captains of tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands that held the position of the police, fire departments, judiciary, political representatives, and military leaders (Ex. 18). The Religious (spiritual) instruction for the "body" was the responsibility of the individual fathers and grandfathers, (Deut. 4: 8-12; 6:7; 11:18-21; 32:7).
The priesthood was established to perform and teach the more technical applications of the law. Their duties included the roles of medical physicians (Deut. 24:8, Num. 31: 23; Lev. 12-15) lawyers (Deut. 17: 8-11, Num. 27:2) scribes, recorders, accountants (Ex. 38: 21, Num. 31: 26-31), store keepers (Lev. 27:13,15,27,31, Num. 7:6), scientists (Num. 5:18,24, Num. 19 [soap making] Num. 31: 23-24), prison wardens over the cities of refuge (Num. 35), officers of weights and measures (Lev. 27), butchers (Lev. 17:1-5, teachers Deut. 17:11), musicians (I Chron. 15:16), and marriage and family planning counselors (Num. 5:11, Lev. 12). For this service to the people, the Priesthood was paid the "tenth." When the people prospered the Priests prospered, which was a great incentive for them to serve the people well. Unlike the corrupt arrangement we have today, the officers that serve the people in the Ancient Scriptural system were NOT able to establish their own wages, but depended fully on the prosperity of the people they served. What a novel idea for the public servants of our day!
In the early days of the First Century Ekklesia, the "priesthood" had been corrupted, and was teaching man-made religions in Jerusalem, which violated YHWH (Yahweh)'s law by their additions and "traditions." The Ekklesia was the "body" of believers that returned to the original order outlined by YHWH (Yahweh), and as taught by Yahshua. They used different terms so as not to be confused with the corrupt Pharisaical "priest-hood" of that day. The ancient captains of tens, etc., now became known as "Elders," (Tit. 1: 5-6) the "Priests and Levites" became known as "Bishops and Deacons." The early First Century offices according to Scripture, are really not comparable to the modern offices of corrupted church leadership we see today using the same terms.
One very clear difference the early First Century Assembly-Ekklesia had from that of the Modern Church, is that there was no "gap" between the so-called "clergy" and that of the so-called "laity." It is the purpose and calling of those with the gift of Prophecy (to preach) to "fully equip ALL the saints" for the work of the ministry of the Assembly (Eph. 4: 7-16), as well as to help equip the husbands to be the heads of their "own households." If this is not done, the sons of the Assembly cannot mature and rule, which is their ultimate calling on this globe. The clergy would be a complete failure if the families, households and clans are not equipped to be able to survive under each individual family "Headship."
The role of the Assembly Elders is NOT to "string along" the corporate body of the Assembly from now to sometime in the unknown future (as some Preachers do in modern Churches), but that ALL the male members of the Assembly will "become fully equipped" to be Elders in the Assembly. In this way, the whole Assembly is growing and the whole body of the Assembly of True Israel is developing into a mature body with Messiah as King. The Kingdom of YHWH (Yahweh) will continue to grow through the maturing of each new son who is likewise in their turn becoming "fully equipped" as an Elder of the Assembly.
The role of the woman in the Assembly
Scripture is not written to be "politically" correct, and we will not try to make it that way. We will say it like it is said in Scripture, then, if there is anyone to be blamed it will fall on YHWH (Yahweh) Himself. Sometimes things do not appear to be fair by man's standards, and sometimes Governments through their civil authorities will attempt to correct what is felt to be injustice exercised by a Creator who appears to be nothing more than a bigot by the standards set by men. Yet the truth revealed in Scripture is very different. YHWH (Yahweh) is no bigot, and His order has a very specific purpose. When man tries to correct YHWH (Yahweh), inevitable disarray will soon be the result. It is not possible for man to correct the wisdom of YHWH (Yahweh)'s arrangement.
As to the role of the woman in the Assembly, even from the beginning outlined in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) we find the patriarchal system in Scripture, which in our age is considered very "controversial" because of the "woman's liberation" movement. In the following paragraphs we will only scratch the surface so-to-speak for the woman's role in the Assembly, because this remains a complicated issue.
In the account of the "formation" of Adam (Gen. 2: 7), it is said that YHWH (Yahweh) Elohim formed man first, and that the woman was formed from Adam after no other suitable companions were found (Gen. 2: 18-23). The woman was formed as a "suitable helper" to the man in YHWH (Yahweh)'s ultimate design, apparently as a subordinate in some respects. Through the deception of the Nachash (the one also called serpent), the woman was coaxed to disobey YHWH (Yahweh), and in turn, also her husband. This resulted in a curse that increases the woman's pain in child bearing, with the addition that "your desire shall be for your husband, and he will rule over you." (Gen. 3:16).
Some will see in this account of Genesis, the development of a hierarchy in what was first a harmonious relationship between the man and his woman. Others will see the beginning of authority and submission correlating "to loving and to cherishing." But, despite many current religious misconceptions, the "ideal" woman of Ancient times can still appear to be a rather modern equivalent, even by today's standards, (See Prov. 31: 10-31).
In the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures), women were not permitted to be a Priest, but they did on occasion hold other offices of authority. Deborah was a Judge (a political leader of her day). Others were Prophetesses. One woman, in Judges 9:53, helped in defense during battle. She could not never been an official soldier, but she helped defend by taking up her own "particular arms" when necessary. Most of these however, were exceptions rather than OT rule, for the Ancient culture was overwhelmingly patriarchal. Women were valued most for their role as wives and mothers, and as the bearers and the raisers of children.
"Head Coverings" -
The importance of a woman's "covering" is clearly outlined in Num. 30, but many religions mistakenly require their women to wear some sort of "head covering" when the Hebrew idiom of a "covering" primarily relates to one "taking responsibility" for their actions.An Israelite woman could lawfully enter into business transactions, as well as speak and "affirm" on behalf of her Husband, or if unmarried her Father. Her transactions could only be made invalid by the immediate veto of her husband or father. In other words, as long as a daughter or wife was at harmony (under the Headship) with her father or if married, her husband, she could speak, contract, and address the Assembly just as any man. In the case of a widowed or divorced women, Num. 30 gives them the authority to speak for themselves, and does not require them to have "a covering." For widows (older than 60) with no family to provide for them, Scripture provides for the Assembly body to meet their physical needs, and provide for their emotional security.
The hierarchy of the "Headship" of the Assembly-Ekklesia, is clearly established (according to Paul) from top to bottom as: YHWH (Yahweh), Yahshua, man, and then woman. "Headship" is consistently used as a context for the seat of responsibility, and thus authority (Eph. 5: 21-25; Col. 1: 18; 2: 10, 19). From this several rules can be isolated:
- A man may pray in public, as long as he has taken responsibility for the physical and spiritual feeding of himself and his family, and takes full responsibility for his own actions, and those of those over whom he is responsible, (thus his head is not covered).
- A woman may pray and prophesy in public, as long she is in harmony with, and submissive to her husband, or father if not married, (1 Cor. 11: 5-6).
- Disrespect to others may hinder prayer (1 Peter 3: 7).
- A woman may win over her husband to Yahshua, with her outward gentleness and submission to her husband (1 Peter 3: 1-6).
- Women should dress to show modesty and respect to their covering and local custom
In 1 Cor. 11: 3-16, Paul tells women that they are to cover their heads with veils, or long hair as a sign of respect to their spiritual headship. This was no doubt a result of that culture, which often associated the woman's outward appearance with misleading sexual impropriety, a point which can also be made in our times. In Corinth, prostitutes would often shave their heads bald or have very short hair. When some of these prostitutes became converted within the new Ekklesia they may still have had the appearance of prostitutes. Paul suggested that they wear a veil or physical "head covering" until their hair grew to a length that would distinguish them from the local prostitutes. Never-the-less, Paul also emphasizes in vs. 8-9, "man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man."
When it comes to a specific "dress code," there is very little scriptural information. Men and women are to wear gender appropriate clothing, but in the days of Abraham and Sarah they all wore apparel that looked like "dresses." Men wore masculine dresses, and women wore feminine dresses. The "gender" of the individual wearing the clothing was never obscured or miss-represented by their apparel. There are brief indications of the importance of modesty, but very little detail is given as to what this specifically is. This meant that dress was most likely dependent upon the culture of the time.
Today prostitutes are scantily clad in a very provocative manner, But in ancient times prostitutes would often be covered from head to toe, and wearing a veil, while common farm-girls might wear a short tunic. Contrary to a great deal of modern man-made religious teaching, there are very few specifics given for what is appropriate and what is not. Today, as in the days of our forefathers, a woman can take comfort and security in the opinions and feelings of her father, or if married, her husband, with regards to her dress and overall appearance.
Restrictions on Leadership
The area which is probably the most controversial for the Assembly in our day, is the area of Leadership. This is an area that has become very divisive with the advent and the emphasis on women's liberation, woman's suffrage, new privileges, freedoms, and of course civil equality under the law, enforced by governmental authorities.
First Century teaching specifically places certain limits on women in Assembly positions, which the feminist, even within the Christian community will continually challenge. The First Century passages that deal with these specifics, are thought as being out-dated, or as simply the opinions of Paul, having no foundation in the modern "Church." In 1 Cor. 14: 33b-38, Paul tells women to be silent in the Assembly, which may not be an absolute prohibition in light of 11: 5, but his rational is based in the law (vs. 34). However, the only law that is related to this practice is Num. 30. In Cor. 14 Paul is likely referring to a woman speaking without being in harmony or under the covering of her husband or father, thus making her comments "out of order." There is no scriptural law which unilaterally suggests women should not speak in the Assembly.
The text which is most often the subject of contest within the Assembly, is probably 1 Tim. 2: 8-15. This is where Paul forbids woman to teach or to hold authority over a man in the Assembly (vs. 12). But this may not be absolute if we read Acts 18: 26. It is most unlikely that Paul is prohibiting "authoritative" teaching, viewed in light of the fact that there are both male and female deacons, and that there were surely both male and female service providers. Yet, Paul still provides as his reason, the order of Creation, (1 Tim. 2:13).
According to I Cor. 11, one man is not to place himself in a position of authority between another man and YHWH (Yahweh); it is also inappropriate for a woman to do the same. In the case of the "judges" or "captains" one man might exercise leadership, but this is on a very limited level.
Although various Assemblies consider themselves to be following the Scriptural mandates for proper organization, there will doubtless continue to be divisions on the proper role of women, now also in the home as well as in the Assembly. Scriptural history is not always conclusive in this matter. Still, we as believers seeking to follow what we feel is the truth, should not be caught in the tide even though public opinion is against us. We should seek solid ground, and then stand firm on the view which we feel follow the best possible available understanding of Scripture.
In the Assembly, as well as in the relationship between the Scriptural mandate for the husband with his wife, the husband must seek the well-being of his wife and the wife must acknowledge the "Headship" of her husband. In this way, with each in the appointed role, harmony can be maintained. A woman's place in the Assembly is then more of a matter of the harmony within the Assembly, and in the home, and not so much a matter of being or not being "politically correct".
Miscellaneous Assembly Items
The Cross " T " symbol is pure Pagan
The words "cross" and "crucify" are miss-translations, a "later rendering," of the Greek words stauros and stauroo. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, STAUROS denotes, primarily, an upright pole or stake. The shape of the two-beamed cross had its origin in ancient Chaldea and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz. In the third century AD, pagans were received into the apostate ecclesiastical system and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols.
According to The Companion Bible, crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian Sun-god. The Messiah was put to death upon an upright stake, not on two pieces of timber placed at an angle.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, in the Egyptian churches the cross was a pagan symbol of life borrowed by the Christians and interpreted in the pagan manner.
According to Greek dictionaries and lexicons, the primary meaning of stauros is an upright pale, pole, or stake. The secondary meaning of "cross" is admitted to be a "later" rendering. In spite of the evidence, almost all-common versions of the Scriptures persist with the Latin Vulgate's crux (meaning cross) as the rendering of the Greek stauros.
The most accepted reason for the "cross" being brought into Messianic worship is Constantine's famous vision of "the cross superimposed on the sun" in AD 312. What he saw is nowhere to be found in Scripture. Even after his so-called "conversion," his coins showed an even-armed cross as a symbol for the Sun-god. Many scholars have doubted the "conversion" of Constantine because of the wicked deeds that he did afterwards.
After Constantine had the "vision of the cross," he promoted another variety of the cross, the Chi-Rho or Labarum. This has been explained as representing the first letters of the name Christos (CH and R, or, in Greek, X and P). The identical symbols were found as inscriptions on rock, dating from ca. 2500 BC, being interpreted as "a combination of the two Sun-symbols." Another proof of its pagan origin is that the identical symbol was found on a coin of Ptolemeus III from 247-222 BC.
According to An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols, the labarum was also an emblem of the Chaldean sky-god. Emperor Constantine adopted the labarum as the imperial ensign. According to Dictionary of Mythology Folklore and Symbols, the symbol was in use long before Christianity. Chi probably stood for Great Fire or Sun. Rho probably stood for Pater or Patah (Father). The word labarum yields "everlasting Father Sun."
Statues, of Mary, of J-sus, of Apostles etc.,
Statues (idols) of J-sus hanging on a cross, Mary, Apostles, and painted pictures of J-sus, Mary, and other symbols or statues of any kind, especially like those usually prominent in most all Roman Catholic Churches, and other Churches, that are used for adoration, praise, worship, etc., are evil, and violate the 2nd Commandment." These items are strictly forbidden by YHWH (Yahweh).
2 "I am YHWH (Yahweh) your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 "You shall have no other gods before My face.
4 "You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image (or likeness) of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, YHWH (Yahweh) your God, am a jealous Mighty One, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Christmas is not to be observed -
Christmas is not in the Bible, and we are not commanded to celebrate the Savior's birth in all of Scripture. The Messiah was not born on or near December 25. He was born sometime in late September (most likely Sept. 29) or early October during the Feast of Tabernacles, but no one can be sure of the exact day. If the Almighty YHWH (Yahweh), wanted us to celebrate it, He would have told us the exact date as He did with all His other Set-Apart Feast Days in Lev. 23.
December 25th was celebrated by the pagan sun-worshippers of Mithraism as the "birthday of the invincible sun"; because on that day the sun began its return to northern skies, the winter solstice. And so, the sun, and the Son, have become a deliberate pagan mix. Tammuz, the Babylonian pagan sun deity, was also the first counterfeit savior. The Bible in Ezekiel 8:14-18 condemns ancient Israel for adopting worship of the pagan god Tammuz, which included sun worship and the Asherah (phallic symbol).
December 25th was also the date of the pagan Brumalia (winter) festival in Rome. It was preceded by the Saturnalia festival Dec. 17-24 - in honor of the Roman god Saturn, as a period of unrestrained merriment in celebration of the winter solstice.
The Saturnalia and Brumalia festivals were so popular among the heathen and so deeply entrenched in their customs, that rather than attempt to reform the pagan populous the Roman Church during the Emperor Constantine, chose to absorb their festivities into the Roman Church. This corrupted form of Christianity continues to be with us today.
Christmas trees, Yule logs, Christmas candles, bells, mistletoe, holly, wreaths, ham, tinsel, lights, balls, eggs, Santa Claus, and the typical cross symbol, have nothing to do with the Savior's birth, or Christianity. They each have a non-Biblical pagan source. Most are rooted in fertility rites, pagan symbols, or in sun worship from a pagan past and were grafted into the "church" during and after the third to the fourth century.
Notice what the prophet Jeremiah wrote in connection with tree-idol worship: "thus says YHWH (Yahweh), learn not the way of the heathen . . . for the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not; they must needs be borne, because they cannot go." (Jer. 10:2-5). This is a complete description of the pagan Christmas tree!
Titles, positions permitted in the Assembly
Many Assemblies use titles to designate duties for recognized Assembly service. The several titles that are acceptable and that fall in the Scripturally permitted category are: Elders = Captains (male leaders) of the Assembly; Bishop(s) = male overseers (helping with the spiritual needs) of the Assembly; deacons = males or females of the Assembly charged with specific duties for service to the Assembly, i.e. benevolence, managing of funds, physical needs, etc.; Prophets (preachers) = "before speakers" (in place, not in time), those that speak "before" the Assembly using "Scripture" Forbidden are "Prophets" speaking (in time, not in place) that attempt to predict the future.
Titles Not permitted in the Assembly, according to Scripture:
"Rabbi" - "But don't you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, the Anointed, and all of you are brothers. (Matt. 23: 8).As a summary, some Basic points to Remember:
"Father" - "And call no man your Father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. (Mt 23:9). (referring the "Title of Father," not to someone's biological father).
"Master" - "Neither be called Masters, for one is your master, the Anointed. (Matt. 2: 10).
"Priest" - There is only One Priest over the "household" (Assembly) of YHWH (Yahweh), that one is Yahshua Messiah. 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. 10: 21).
But, even with all this in mind, we should NOT force our particular understanding of Scripture on others, but we should always be ready when given the opportunity, to give an answer to every man that asks...
- The word "Church" is not representative of the Assembly, the Ekklesia
- The "Church" is not the physical structure, but is the body (gathered Assembly) and "houshold" of True Israel
- The First Century Assembly is a continuation of the Ancient Hebrew (Israelite) body of believers
- The purpose of the "Elders" in the Assembly is to "equip" the body
- There should not be a void between the so-called "clergy" and the "laity"
- There are specific roles for men, and for women in the Assembly, based on Scripture
- We should stand firm on the best possible understanding of Scripture
- We should not let changing morals or customs influence us from Scriptural mandates
- We should continue in our understanding, and seek additional revelation
- The Cross symbol is Pagan, the first letter of the name of the Pagan god tammuz
- Certain "Titles," like Rabbi, Father, Master, Priest, are NOT permitted
- Christmas is pagan, and is not to be observed by True Believers
- An Assembly of "True Believers" must not be formed as a Government 501-C (3) Corporation or any other Corporation or Government approved entity14 But and if you suffer for righteousness sake, happy are you: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify YHWH (Yahweh) in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil-doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Messiah.
17 For it is better, if the will of YHWH (Yahweh) be so, that you suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. (1 Peter 4: 14-17).
"That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of YHWH (Yahweh), without rebuke, in the middle of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (Phil. 2:15).
Footnotes (More Scriptures referring to the Assembly)
I. Names and figures used to describe the Assembly
A. Body of Anointed - Eph. 1:22, And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the Assembly, 23, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Rom. 12:3, - For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as YHWH (Yahweh) has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4, For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, (See I Cor. 12:12-20).
B. Household of YHWH (Yahweh) - I Tim. 3:15, but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of YHWH (Yahweh), which is the Assembly of the living Elohim, the pillar and support of the truth.
C. House (temple) of the Master - Heb. 3:6, but Anointed was faithful as a Son over His house--whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
1. I Cor. 3:16, Do you not know that you are the temple of YHWH (Yahweh) and that the Spirit of YHWH (Yahweh) dwells in you?
2. II Cor. 6:16, for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.D. Sanctuary - Heb. 8:2, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Master pitched, not man.
3. Eph. 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy house in the Master,
E. The tabernacle - Heb. 13:10, We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
F. House of prayer -Luke 19:46, saying to them, "It is written, 'AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,' but you have made it a ROBBERS' DEN."
G. Temple of the Holy Spirit - I Cor. 3:9,16,17; Heb. 3:5,6; I Pet. 2:4,5
H. Vineyard - Luke 20:9-18.
I. Assembly of the saints - Ps. 89:7; James 2: 2, For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes,
J. Light - Matt. 5:14-16; Luke 16:8; John 12:36.
K. Teaching and fellowship - John 6:45; Acts 2:42, They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (See also I Cor. 4:17, 12:28; Col. 1:28).
L. Bride of Anointed - 2 Cor. 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Anointed I might present you as a pure virgin. (See also Eph 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7, 21:9).
M. Assembly of YHWH (Yahweh) - I Cor. 11:16; 2 Cor. 1:1, Paul, an apostle of Anointed Yahshua by the will of YHWH (Yahweh), and Timothy our brother, To the Assembly of YHWH (Yahweh) which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia: (See also I Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1)
N. Family in heaven and earth - Eph. 3:15, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
O. Flock of Father - Isaiah 40:10, 11; 49:9; Luke 12: 32, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
P. Flock of one Shepherd (the Anointed) - John 10:16 "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
Q. General assembly of the Firstborn - Heb. 12: 23, to the general assembly and Assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to YHWH (Yahweh), the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
R. Golden lampstand - Rev. 1:12, Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands...
S. YHWH (Yahweh)'s building - I Cor. 3:10-15, 10, According to the grace of YHWH (Yahweh) which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.
T. YHWH (Yahweh)'s husbandry (Farm) - Matt. 13:19-23; 37-43; Mark 4:14-20; Jn. 15:1-8.
U. YHWH (Yahweh)'s heritage - Eph. 1: 11, also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
V. Dwelling of YHWH (Yahweh) - Eph. 2: 22, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of YHWH (Yahweh) in the Spirit.
W. Assembly of Anointed - Romans 16:16
X. Kingdom of YHWH (Yahweh) - Matt. 6:33; Mark 1:14,15; Luke 10:9-11; Jn. 3:3f
Y. Pillar and support of truth - I Tim. 3:15, but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of YHWH (Yahweh), which is the Assembly of the living Elohim, the pillar and support of the truth.
Z. Spiritual house - I Peter 2:5, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to YHWH (Yahweh) through Yahshua Anointed.
II. The Assembly is the body of Anointed
A. Ephesians 1:22, And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the assembly, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
B. Colossians 1:18, He is also head of the body, the assembly; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
C. There are no spiritual blessings outside of the assembly (the Body of Believers).
1. Ephesians 1: 3, Blessed be the Elohim and Father of our Master Yahshua Anointed, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Anointed,D. All the delivered are in the (body) of the assembly.
Acts 2: 47, praising YHWH (Yahweh) and having favor with all the people. And the Master was adding to their number day by day those who were being delivered.E. The Assembly was purchased by the obedience of Yahshua.
Acts 20:28, "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Assembly of YHWH (Yahweh) which He purchased with His own blood.F. Our attitude toward the Assembly reflects our attitude toward Yahshua.
Acts 9:1, Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Master, went to the high priest,1. The assembly is the "household" of Yahweh, being built by Yahshua, sometimes referred to as the body of Yahshuaa. The assembly is made up of all the people of Israel who are saved - Acts 2: 47; I Pet. 2: 5, 9.
b. When Saul persecuted the disciples, he was persecuting the assembly.
2. When Saul persecuted the disciples (the assembly), he persecuted Yahshua, who represented YHWH (Yahweh) on earth.
3. Our attitude toward the Assembly is also our attitude toward Yahshua, YHWH's (Yahweh's) representative.
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Assembly of Yahweh, Cascade: E-mail
Mount Vernon, WA 98274