Lately, I have been pondering anew my nationality, citizenship and Kingdom affiliation. Most would consider me an American citizen, of American descent, however, I do not. Yes, I was born here, to American citizens who come from families that arrived on this shore in the 1640s and 1740s, but I no longer consider this my home, or my nation.
In the very late 1980’s and early 1990’s I served in the US Army and was deployed both to Korea and Saudi Arabia/Iraq. I had previously lived for six years on the missionfield in Colombia, South America with my bush pilot father and midwife mother. The combination of the two experiences gave me a very different picture of the United States than the average nationalist. I saw things from an external vantage point that caused the patriotic patina to begin wearing off.
While I still appreciate this country and the blessings it affords, I have come to the very real conclusion that this is not my home. Christendom teaches rightly that we are citizens of a higher Kingdom and for years I sought to understand this, being forced to wait for something on the other side of the veil of death. Once I began to search the Scriptures from an Hebraic perspective, I learned several very important things:
- The Kingdom, to which Yeshua referred, is not some other-worldly, post Judgment/resurrection, ethereal heavenlies entity, though its fullness will be manifest after the final Judgment. Rather, The Kingdom is the much prophesied restoration of the tent of David with Him, the Son of David, seated on the throne, and that prior to Judgment Day.
- Being ‘grafted in,’ does not make me part of something other than Israel (the Church?), rather, it makes me part of Israel. (The Church hasn’t replaced Israel, rather, when Scripture is rightly understood, those coming to faith in Messiah are grafted into Israel.)
- Israel is composed of two distinct parts that are ‘echad,’ unified: The House of Israel and the House of Judah, the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, respectively, each with its own destiny/path toward the final restored Tent of David.
As I have continued to grow in understanding the plan of restoration and redemption as presented in Scripture, I have increasingly grown in understanding concerning my citizenship, nationality and purpose in this stage of the restoration of the Kingdom. If the restored Kingdom is a real physical Kingdom and I am a citizen thereof, then my every thought and action should be modified to that end. I should be focused on building and supporting the restored Kingdom, rather than supporting government, culture and policy that undermine The Kingdom.
Al McCarn’s Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell goes into a number of detailed actions that I along with like-minded believers should be pursuing. I recommend the book highly as a resource and action plan for the hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish Torah seekers like myself. Chiefly, we all need to be moving forward in action… Judah says, ‘Don’t tell me, show me!’ Common culture might quote, ‘a little less talk and a lot more action!!’
My recent frustration that has led me to pondering these subjects is the seeming reluctance of Messianic fellowships to encourage intermingling with other fellowships. THE Kingdom cannot be built when kingdoms protect their little respective cliches. As Messianics, we must think bigger and pursue interconnectedness. If we are truly serious about THE Kingdom, we will cease to be concerned with our own little kingdoms. We must be intentional about building bridges and connections across the Body. We must pool and share resources, support each other, and encourage a national identity. One way, the National Shabbat concept, introduced by Tzefanyah Pappas, is discussed on Hebrew Nation Radio. [Must hear show!!]
Our citizenship, when rightly understood, is in Greater Israel, the restored Tent of David. As such, we need to be taking active steps toward fostering and building national identity!! Much of that will begin to happen when we build bridges, intermingle and cease cloistering!!
I challenge all who read this to find ways in your region to actively build bridges and tear down walls. Citizenship, national identity and The Kingdom are the goal, and it requires that all of us get off our duffs and begin gathering!!
Not sure if you’re a fan of Bob Dylan or not, but this song … among others … speaks volumes.
We do have to change our way of thinking in so many areas. It is one thing to say that I will never call myself a “gentile Christian” again. It is something else to say that the USA is not my home.
“Stinkin’ Thinkin’ “, as I heard a pastor once say. We need to be “brain washed”!!! The Scriptures talk of having our minds renewed. That goes for so many areas of our lives … every area of our lives. Shalom to your hearts and home, Tom
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You have beautifully articulated the guiding principles that we are trying to live by – we are citizens of Y’shua’s Kingdom, subject to His rule, committed to building a national awareness with a sense of unity and purpose among those who identify themselves as Kingdom citizens. The National Shabbat is an idea whose time has come and epitomizes the attitude we all need to take – not questioning one another’s doctrine, but rather gladly joining in praise of our Creator as we seek to minister to one another’s needs. We are SO grateful for the dedicated and loving hearts who have been used of YHVH to implement this program!! More such efforts are needed and will materialize as the Ruach leads – we join you in prayer for their soon manifestation!
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Shalom To All. I am going to refute something Sue has said … but I am not picking on Sue!! It just so happens that I have heard this many times recently … too many times … and hers is the most recent. She … and others … have said “not questions one another’s doctrine”. I could probably write an epistle on this subject but I will try to keep it short.
When you say “not questioning one another’s doctrine” … and if you mean that we don’t need to get in to needless, fruitless (or maybe bad fruit) discussions (read arguments) about the lesser matters of the Scriptures, especially when the topic is not quite as point blank, black and white as some seem to think it is … I am right there with you. The topics of “how to pronounce the names … which calendar … local sighting, conjunction, etc.,” these are a couple that come to mind. For those of you who don’t know me really well, I usually stay away from those type of discussions and would rather spend time in praise. I probably will only jump in if I hear someone being rather adamant about their “doctrine”, only to show that the other people are not ignorant or rebellious, and that they may have a good reason for walking out their faith in this particular way, “halacha”.
The problem, as I have seen it, is that we are using the phrase “not questioning one another’s doctrine”, to mean that we can not question one another’s doctrine! If you do a quick word search for the word “doctrine”, you will find it in the Torah, Deuteronomy 32:2 … in the prophets, Nevi’im, Isaiah 28:9 and 29:24, along with the writings, Ketuvim, Job 11:4 and Proverbs 4:2 … and all through out the “Messianic Writings”, or whatever we want to call those books from Matthew to Revelations.
Doctrine is important … doctrine is crucial … not because I say so, but because the Scriptures say so. For example, years ago, we had a man come to our fellowship with his wife and children. Come to find out he was a white supremacist. He called himself a “separatist” but I have never met a separatist who is not a racist also. His doctrine was that the real Israelites were dispersed through the Caucus mountains and on through western Europe and most of them ended up in the USA. If you weren’t “white” like him, you could not be part of Israel. You see, it was very important for me to “question his doctrine”. We can put up with a lot of strange doctrines, but there are some that are unacceptable. Racism is one of those for me.
Do I want to come to a monthly meeting where all we do is sit around and “midrash”? Heaven forbid. YHWH bless you all, but I’m not coming. But do we swing the pendulum and forbid anyone to question one another’s doctrine? Heaven forbid. Please hear me clearly, I am not looking to question one another’s doctrine. I can say in all honesty that I can not remember the last time I started a discussion about doctrine … it is usually in response to someone else asking me a question about something that they are wondering about or something that has come across their plate. But we have to have the liberty to question. In some situations, we have the responsibility to question. It does not have to be an “either/or”. We should still have an attitude of “gladly joining in praise of our Creator as we seek to minister to one another’s needs” … but we also need to make sure that people are not teaching, or living with, erroneous doctrine. Shalom to your hearts and homes, Tom
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We’ve been working toward this same thing here. The Spirit is moving across the body to understand unity in the lack of uniformity. Might get a bit bloody and sweaty at times but at the end of the day we will be echad. I too would echo the sentiment toward Judah that this piece claimed g Judah has toward Ephraim. Both sides of this equation will have to ditch the traditions that have separated us from ourselves and Yehovah. Only then will one-ness be possible.
Isaiah 11:13 And the envy of Ephraim shall turn off; and Judah’s foes shall be cut off. Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not trouble Ephraim.
At the end of the day it’s about being Israel, not wondering who is or isn’t.
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I just want to echo what Tom has said and re-clarify the intent of the B’ney Yosef National Shabbat. First, gray areas of Scripture should never become doctrines, but we know they do. Some even fail to see that they are making a gray area a doctrine. If you cannot explicitly show that it is a Truth, then it is a gray area like the calendar, pronunciation of YHWH/YHVH, etc. These we avoid like the plague at the National Shabbat. These discussion do not edify or encourage anyone. If someone attempts a discussion like this with someone, then, they do not understand the National Shabbat’s purpose. However, we do NOT want to encourage anyone who is walking defiantly against the Word of YHWH. Tom’s example, for instance, is a good one. I am sure all of you can think of other examples as well. I believe Sue understood what I was talking about based on previous conversations she had with my wife Reyyna.
There are Truths that we hold as self evident (to borrow a term used from a famous document). 🙂 Let us now through love serve another and come together as Yisrael!
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Preach it, my Brother!!! Very well stated!
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Ecclesiastes 12:10 The Preacher sought to find out words of delight, and words of truth written on uprightness.
11 The words of the wise are as goads; yea, as nails driven by the masters of collections, they are given from one Shepherd.
12 And more than these, my son, be warned: The making of many books has no end, and much study is the weariness of the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear The Elohim, and keep His commandments; for this applies to every man.
14 For The Elohim shall bring every work into judgment, with all that is hidden, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.
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It’s important to understand where our “True Citizenship” lies, it is NOT in this current corrupt system/govt/society. It is not in “broad way, wide road” leading to destruction, knowing that many are on it current (speaking of christendom and all of their false teachings and pagan traditions, being taught as teachings of Messiah).
Moshiach/Messiah told us specifically to “come out of her my people” GilYaahna/Rev 18:4-10. In this alone I would think to mean to completely unplug, disconnect from all things dealing with this society…i.e. DL, SSN’s and the like (taking no more of what govt is offering, for there are always strings attached)….returning to self-sufficiency, growing one’s own food, doing for oneself. Our rights come from our Abba Yahuah, and Him alone, not from man or govt, who change those rights into crimes, taking bribes coerced and turned into privileges which then can be revoked at any time, for any reason (this is s.a.tan’s system, he being the father of lies as well as all his associates…govt: Yochanan 8:44)
We are in this world, but we’re not suppose to be of it: Yochanan 17, Yochanan Alef 2:15-18. If we are truly followers of Moshiach/Messiah, then we really need to obey all that bot He and His Abba, our Elohim, put in front of us to observe an obey, live by. It is true that everyone has their own preconceived ideas of scripture, their own understanding, but we are to be one as He and Yahuah are one in everything, true unity, being of one mind, one belief under the one and only Messiah Yahusha, our Malkitsedeq Choehen HaGodal/High Priest….also being joint heirs to the promises of and to Avraham Beresheeth/Gen 12, 15, Tehhillim 110:4, Kepha Alef/I Pet 2:9, 10, Ivrim/Heb 7, 8…….~SELAH~ Pause and Think Shalom
I am grafted in, I am citizen of Israel
The thought of being part of something larger than ourselves is paradyme shifting. We are use to becoming ‘members’ yet that is not what this is. We are sons and daughters of The King. Thus where ever we are we represent not just ourselves but the King and His Kingdom.
The National Shabbat’s truly become family reunions. Some one you have not met is there and you need to not only meet, but relate. When we relate to each other we begin to love deeply and see the workings of our Father around us.
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Amein!! Well said!