By Larry Scher
By Jay Scher
Do you know the way we should be called and the way we should be acting?
There are a few really popular terms out there that people like to call themselves and their Assemblies, Congregations or Churches.
Congregation of Yahweh,Yahuwah, Yahshua, Messiah, Assembly of the same or Church of¬¬¬¬¬¬¬_______. Synagogue or Synagogue of ____ You get the Idea.
This may be OK, but is it really what the Father is looking for in what we supposed to call ourselves?
When he addressed the Assemblies in Rev he called them by the city’s that they were in.
Rev 3:1 “And to the messenger of the assembly in Sardis write, ‘He who has the seven Spirits of Elohim and the seven stars, says this, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
Rev 3:7 “And to the messenger of the assembly in Philadelphia write, ‘He who is set-apart, He who is true, He who has the key of Dawiḏ, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens, says this:
Rev 3:14 “And to the messenger of the assembly in Laodikeia write, ‘The Amĕn, the Trustworthy and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of Elohim,1 says this:
a. The act of assembling.
b. The state of being assembled.
2. A group of persons gathered together for a common reason, as for a legislative, religious, educational, or social purpose.
So this still is not really what they called themselves.
The Ecclesia or the Greek Ekklesia; Ecclesia and Synagoga, meaning “Church and Synagogue”, are a pair of figures personifying the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish synagogue found in medieval Christian art. The coin phrase CHURCH is what they say it means. Is this really true?
It really means Assembly, Congregation or The called out ones. This is not bad, but again is this really the what defines us as followers of the true HaMashyach and one that guards all the commands of Father Yah? There are so many definitions for the name in so many languages.
Then we have the other two really popular terms that so many people like to use to define themselves as followers of the one true HaMashyach. They define themselves as Nazarene or Messianic.
Are these the terms that were used for Messiah and the 12?
The title “Nazarene” is first found in the Greek texts of the New Testament as an adjective, nazarenos, used as an adjectival form of the phrase apo Nazaret “from Nazareth.”
Let us see where we find the term in scripture:Mat 2:19 And Herodes having died, see, a messenger of יהוה appeared in a dream to Yosĕph in Mitsrayim,
Mat 2:20 saying, “Arise, and take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Yisra’ĕl, for those seeking the life of the Child are dead.”
Mat 2:21 And rising up, he took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Yisra’ĕl.
Mat 2:22 But hearing that Archelaos was reigning over Yehuḏah instead of his father Herodes, he was afraid to go there. And having been warned in a dream, he departed to the parts of Galil,
Mat 2:23 and came and dwelt in a city called Natsareth – thus to fill what was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Natsarene.”
The Sect of the Nazarenes (1st century)
Main articles: Book of Acts and Early Christianity
The name Nazaraios is the standard Greek spelling in the New Testament for a man from Nazareth, the plural Nazaraioi means “men from Nazareth” (see Nazarene (title)). The title Nazarenes, “men from Nazareth,” is first applied to the Christians by Tertullus (Acts 24:5 ), though Herod Agrippa II (Acts 26:28 ) uses the term “Christians” which had first been used at Antioch (Acts 11:26 ). The name used by Tertullus survives into Rabbinical and modern Hebrew as notzrim (נוצרים) a standard Hebrew term for “Christian”, and also into the Quran and modern Arabic as nasara (plural of nasrani “Christians”). The Arabic word nasara (نَصارى) comes from the Arabic root “n s r” (ن ص ر).
However, since “Christian” was the name the Christians accepted themselves, and is in 1 Peter, the term “Nazarene” used by Tertullus appears to have never been adopted by Christians. Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 220, Against Marcion, 4:8) records that the Jews called Christians “Nazarenes” from their false messiah being a man of Nazareth, though he also makes the connection with Nazarites in Lamentations 4:7 . Jerome too records that “Nazarenes” was employed of Christians in the synagogues. Eusebius, around 311 AD, records that the name “Nazarenes” had formerly been used of Christians. The use relating to a specific “sect” of Christians does not occur until Epiphanius. Epiphanius (see below) in discussing the 4th Century Nazarene sect claims pre-Christian origins for the sect, but there seems to be no evidence of the term prior to Tertullus, and no evidence for Epiphanius’ opinion. According to Ehrhardt, just as Antioch coined the term Christians, so Jerusalem coined the term Nazarenes, from Messiah of Nazareth. The term ‘Christians’ is derogatory, and was created by the Greek Romans to deride the new Gentile believers of the Way in the Hebrew Messiah. There is a word in Greek, Christos, used in various other literatures referring to some ‘god” or leader of people, used before Sha’ul’s time — which was then applied in a negative way to the non-Hebrew believers of the Way.
The terms “sect of the Nazarenes” and ” HaMashayach of Nazareth” both employ the adjective nasraya (ܕܢܨܪܝܐ) in the Syrian Aramaic Peshitta, from Nasrat (ܢܨܪܬ) for Nazareth.According to Epiphanius in his Panarion the 4th Century Nazarenes were originally Jewish converts of the Apostles who fled Jerusalem because of Jesus’ prophecy on its coming siege (during the Great Jewish Revolt in 70 AD). They fled to Pella, Peraea (northeast of Jerusalem), and eventually spread outwards to Beroea and Bashanitis, where they permanently settled.
The Nazarenes were an early Jewish Christian sect located in and about Jerusalem which proclaimed messiah of Nazareth was the promised Messiah and the Son of God. The deity of prosperity and money The Nazarenes were similar to the Ebionites, in that they considered themselves Jews, maintained an adherence to the Law of Moses, and used only the Aramaic Gospel of the Hebrews, rejecting all the Canonical gospels. However, unlike half of the Ebionites, they accepted the Virgin Birth.
Who are they really today?
About the Church of the Nazarene
GENERAL DESCRIPTION — The Church of the Nazarene is an international denomination of nearly one million members, about half of whom live in the United States. The largest of the churches that originated out of the American holiness revival of the 19th century, it was organized in 1908 through the merger of three regional holiness bodies. It is Wesleyan in doctrine and related theologically to the Free Methodists, the Wesleyans, the Salvation Army, and traditionalist sectors of the United Methodist Church. FOUNDERS — Key leaders in the 1908 merger were Phineas F. Bresee, co-founder in 1895 of a Pacific Coast-based church also known as the Church of the Nazarene; Hiram F. Reynolds, missionary secretary of the Northeastern-based Association of Pentecostal Churches of America (organized 1896 from antecedents dating from 1890 and 1895); and Charles B. Jernigan and Mary Lee Cagle of the Holiness Church of Christ, a Southern denomination (organized 1904 from antecedents dating from 1894 and 1901). All four were ordained ministers and had backgrounds in Methodism. Bresee and Reynolds were elected general superintendents of the new denomination. Bresee’s unique contribution was to shape the church’s frame of government, while Reynolds stamped it with a strong missionary emphasis.
Other key leaders include Roy T. Williams and James Blame Chapman, second generation leaders of the Board of General Superintendents. Benjamin F. Haynes was founding editor of the church paper Herald of Holiness. Aaron Merritt Hills (Fundamental Christian Theolog)’, 2 vols., 1931) and H. Orton Wiley (Christian Theology, 3 vols, 1941-43) were significant leaders in shaping early theological development.
DOCTRINES — The Church of the Nazarene is an orthodox Protestant body that adheres to the ecumenical creeds of the early Christian church. The theology of Methodist founder John Wesley (1703-91), who integrated the Protestant understanding of grace with the Catholic themes of holiness and love, is foundational for Nazarene doctrine. Nazarenes emphasize Christian conversion, sanctification or holiness, and the personal assurance of God’s grace – Wesleyan distinctives that point back to a deeper rootage in continental European pietism. Discipleship is a prominent concern. An emphasis on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit has generally prevented Nazarenes from slipping into the static Biblicism that sometimes affects other evangelical Protestants. The Church of the Nazarene recognizes two sacraments: Christian baptism and Holy Communion. Believers’ baptism and infant baptism are both allowed, though the former is most generally practiced.
So is this the term we really want to use to call ourselves, is this the label we are looking for? Is this how we are supposed to act, combining Protestantism with Catholicism? Is this how HaMashyach walked, blending religions and practicing things found nowhere in scripture?
We know the answer to this question, a big fat NO.
This is really not the label we want to be calling ourselves either it does not say who or what we stand for.
How about Messianic, should we be calling ourselves this? Is this what Messiah called himself or the 12, did they go around telling everyone this is what they were?
Messianic primarily means ‘of the Messiah’. A psychological state of mind is what you really are when you say you are Messianic. However so many groups call themselves Messianic, but they are so different from one group to the next. Their beliefs are so different. There is no consistency with them.
What Messiah are we talking about that they are of? There are so many false Messiahs, how do we know that we are talking about the true messiah that we are really supposed to be following? Mat 24:24 “For false messiahs and false prophets shall arise, and they shall show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones.
Mat 24:25 “See, I have forewarned you.
Is this the messiah that tells us to keep all the man-made pagan holidays and birth days, are we or are you of this Messiah?
Is your messiah the one who tells you it is OK to go off of the Talmud, to still call each other Rabbi and has schools where you can become a Rabbi? Mat_23:8 “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ for One is your Teacher, the Messiah, and you are all brothers. Are you of this Messiah? Do you think this is the true HaMashyach we are to be following?
How about the Elohim of the pre-messiah time, that was the word that became flesh and tells us to keep Torah, teach Torah and all of scripture. Is this the Messiah we are talking about, who did not tell his 12 to call themselves messianic? So do see here, saying you are Messianic really does not tell me or anyone else that studies scripture, other messianic groups or history that much at all. I only mentioned a few types of Messianic for you to get the point of how important this is. There are so many more. For sake of time I am not going to mention all of them. It would fill up many pages if I was to do so.
Let us go and find the term in scripture:
1Pe 4:14 If you are reproached for the Name of Messiah, you are blessed, because the Spirit of esteem and of Elohim rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is praised.
1Pe 4:15 For do not let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or doer of evil, or as a meddler.
1Pe 4:16 But if one suffers being Messianic, let him not be ashamed, but let him esteem Elohim in this matter.
1Pe 4:17 Because it is time for judgment to begin from the House of Elohim. And if firstly from us, what is the end of those who do not obey the Good News of Elohim?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where shall the wicked and the sinner appear?
1Pe 4:19 So then, those who suffer according to the desire of Elohim should commit their lives to a trustworthy Creator, in doing good.
The Term Messianic is not used throughout scripture. It is not used as the term to say who HaMashyach and the 12 apostles really were. Should we not be using the term they used if we really want to be like Messiah, to walk like he walked? Are we not told to walk as he walked?
1Jn 2:5 But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected1 in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
1Jn 2:6 The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.
Did they use a term that was used before Messiah came into the picture that was not Messianic or Nazarene?
Gen 18:16 And the men rose up from there and looked toward Seḏom, and Aḇraham went with them to send them away.
Gen 18:17 And יהוה said, “Shall I hide from Aḇraham what I am doing,
Gen 18:18 since Aḇraham is certainly going to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
Gen 18:19 “For I have known him, so that he commands his children and his household after him, to guard the Way of יהוה, to do righteousness and right-ruling, so that יהוה brings to Aḇraham what He has spoken to him.”
The W is capitalized in different scriptures, as to show us the difference between the Way and the other word the way. So now you should start to get the idea of what this is all about. Not all scriptures have been translated properly and have it in them so you can clearly see this has been there from Gen. I will share a few other examples of it so you can get a better idea of what the importance of this is.
Mal 2:5 “My covenant with him was life and peace, and I gave them to him, to fear. And he feared Me, and stood in awe of My Name.
Mal 2:6 “The Torah of truth1 was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and straightness, and turned many away from crookedness.
Mal 2:7 “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and they seek the Torah from his mouth, for he is the messenger of יהוה of hosts.
Mal 2:8 “But you, you have turned from the Way, you have caused many to stumble in the Torah. You have corrupted the covenant of Lĕwi,” said יהוה of hosts.
This is a really good example of it right here in Mal 2:8. Once you know about it you will start to see it in many places throughout scripture.
Mal 2:9 “And I also, I shall make you despised and low before all the people, because you are not guarding My ways, and are showing partiality in the Torah.”
Act 9:1 But Sha’ul, still breathing threats and murder against the taught ones of the Master, having come to the high priest,
Act 9:2 asked from him letters to the congregations of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, to bring them bound to Yerushalayim.
Now we start to get a really good description of what we should really be calling ourselves from what they were truly called.
Act 9:3 And it came to be, that as he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light flashed around him from the heaven.
Act 9:4 And he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Sha’ul, Sha’ul, why do you persecute Me?”
Act 9:5 And he said, “Who are You, Master?” And the Master said, “I am יהושע, whom you persecute. It is hard for you to kick against the prods.”
Act 9:6 Both trembling, and being astonished, he said, “Master, what do You wish me to do?” And the Master said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you shall be told what you have to do.”
Act 18:25 This one had been instructed in the way of the Master. And being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching the matters about the Master exactly, though he knew only the immersion of Yoḥanan.
Act 19:7 And all the men were about twelve.
Act 19:8 And having gone into the congregation he spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the reign of Elohim.
Act 19:9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, speaking evil of the Way before the crowd, he withdrew from them and
(Here we see evil was being spoken about “of the Way”, not Messianic or of the Nazarene. We don’t see those names or labels even used here. Why do you think that is?)
separated the taught ones, reasoning daily in the school of Turannos.
Act 19:10 And this took place for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Master יהושע, both Yehuḏim and Greeks.
Act 19:11 And Elohim worked unusual miracles through the hands of Sha’ul,
Act 19:12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the wicked spirits went out of them.
Act 19:23 And about that time there came to be a great commotion about the Way.
(We see it again here. Now the Way is more than just what they called themselves, it is also what they called their teaching. It is all encompassing, something that the shoes of the terms Messianic and Nazarene could never fill. We will talk more about this shortly)
Act 24:8 commanding his accusers to come to you. And by examining him yourself you shall be able to know all these matters of which we accuse him.”
Act 24:9 And the Yehuḏim also agreed, maintaining that these matters were so.
Act 24:10 And when the governor had motioned him to speak, Sha’ul answered, “Knowing that for many years you have been a judge of this nation, I gladly defend myself,
Act 24:11 seeing you are able to know that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to Yerushalayim to worship.
Act 24:12 “And they neither found me in the Set-apart Place disputing with anyone nor stirring up the crowd, either in the congregations or in the city.
Act 24:13 “Nor are they able to prove the charges of which they now accuse me.
Act 24:14 “And this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the Elohim of my fathers, believing all that has been written in the Torah and in the Prophets,
This is a great verse for all those Paul/Sha’ul haters that say he was against Torah and didn’t believe in it. Sha’ul defines what those in the Way believe here and says that in the way that those call a sect. He was trying to put it in their terms, so he used the term sect just as we try to do with people sometimes these days. People always want to know what and who we are. It can be hard to explain, because people always want a label that is easy to understand. Nondenominational just doesn’t cut it for them. You believe in messiah, but you keep the Sabbath and the other commands? Hebrew Roots still doesn’t mean much, because so many people lean so far to the left and want to try and be really Jewish, taking on many of their man made customs. People that come into this walk out of Christianity think they need to be really Jewish and that is not the case at all. We don’t need to be really Jewish at all. In fact we need to stay far away from the majority of what they do. I could go on and on with all the things they do that we shouldn’t do, but I am just going to focus on one really important one. We don’t observe the Feast days the way the Jewish people do. They do postponements when they keep the feast days. This means they will never have a Feast day and a Sabbath back to back, because they have added things to the Sabbath from Talmud that make the Sabbath a burden, when it should be a delight. No place in scripture have they been given the Authority to do this “add in postponements”. This is just as bad as changing the Sabbath, the 7th day of the week to the 1st day of the week. There is no difference. Moses warned the Israelites before he died about this.
Deu 8:11 “Be on guard, lest you forget יהוה your Elohim by not guarding His commands, and His right-rulings, and His laws which I command you today,
We know Jeremiah prophesied that people would the Fathers true name for that of Baal=L-rd and they also have forgotten it for the generic title g-d that has no meaning. There are thousands of g-d’s what one are they talking about. Just like what messiah are people taking about as we have already gone over.
Jer 23:25 “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsehood in My Name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’
Jer 23:26 “Till when shall it be in the heart of the prophets? – the prophets of falsehood and prophets of the deceit of their own heart, Jer 23:27 who try to make My people forget My Name by their dreams which everyone relates to his neighbour, as their fathers forgot My Name for Baʽal.
Getting back to Acts where we left off.
Act 24:15 having an expectation in Elohim, which they themselves also wait for, that there is to be a resurrection of the dead, both of the righteous and the unrighteous.
Act 24:16 “And in this I exercise myself to have a clear conscience toward Elohim and men always.
Act 24:17 “And after many years I came to bring kind deeds to my nation and offerings,
Act 24:18 at which time certain Yehuḏim from Asia found me cleansed in the Set-apart Place, neither with a crowd nor with disturbance,
Act 24:19 who ought to be present before you to bring charges if they have any matter against me.
Act 24:20 “Or else let these themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council,
Act 24:21 other than for this one declaration which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you today.’ ”
Act 24:22 And having heard this, having known more exactly about the Way, Felix put them off, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I shall decide your case.”
Here we read that that Felix now knows more about the Way and does not want to decide the case against Sha’ul. He realizes how much there is to the Way and does not feel qualified to judge the case. We see here though that the Way is mentioned in such a manner that it has its own identity and is not just a saying, but what they were called.
Act 24:23 And he ordered the captain to keep Sha’ul and to have ease, and not to forbid any of his friends to attend to him.
Act 24:24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a female Yehuḏite, he sent for Sha’ul and heard him concerning the belief in Messiah.
Joh_14:6 יהושע said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
If we are of the way, then we are of the true Messiah because he is the Way. If we are of the true Mashyach, then we have the truth that the rest of the world does not have. Then we are part of the body of Mashayach also. If we have the truth then we can enter in through the narrow gate and we have the ability to stay on the narrow path. We have can have life, “eternal life”. If we are of him we are also of the Father. We can’t get to the Father except through HaMashach. By saying we are of the Way or in the Way, it means so much more than just those three words. It is all encompassing of what we really are and what we should really be calling ourselves as an Identity. Everyone wants to label us, but they don’t know what to call us. Now let us read that again.
Joh_14:6 יהושע said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Can you see the deeper meaning in this?
Now we are told to walk as he walked are we not?
1Jn 2:5 But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected1 in him. By this we know that we are in Him
1Jn 2:6 The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.
How did he walk? He kept the Torah, he taught the Torah, and he referred to himself as the Way, just as it is written throughout scripture. He walked in the Way. He was part of the Way. He was the word that became flesh. So how should we refer to ourselves? Are we of the Way or in the Way? What is the Way, do we know what the Way is?
Being of the Way is more than just getting baptized. You join covenant relationship with the Father and Messiah, to become a living sacrifice for them. You are no longer living for you. As part of the covenant you agree to keep the 7th Day Sabbath, all the other Feast days of Yah, the clean food laws, share the gospel, share the good news of the Kingdom to come, you bear the testimony of HaMashyach, that he lived, died, rose again, explain how he will return again, explain the resurrection of the dead to people, you are to have the spirit of prophecy and keep the rest of the commands in scripture that apply to you. Now this does not mean that you will not sin, but you are to repent right away and not live in sin or you fall out of the covenant relationship. You fall out of the Way. You keep this Way of life and prepare yourself to be the bride of HaMashyach, a first fruit. It is Faith, Grace and Works, not just Faith or grace. All three go together. It is not like most pastors or priests teach it. They do not teach what the scriptures really say.
This is how the true disciples or the 12 of the true Messiah were described as, those that were of the Way. Can you see it? So do we want people to know of us as true disciples of HaMashyach, those who guard the Way? Those who are truly in the body of Messiah and not in a pagan church or calling themselves a name that really has no meaning. Can you see the difference?
Do you want to walk as he walked? Do you want to be of the Way?
I hope we all do!
I hope this was a blessing to you!
With brotherly love from one of the Way, Brother Jay