Dear Natan: What should be our attitude toward the church?

Someone on this blog just asked the following question:

Has the church developed another religion?

Natan’s reponse:

Yes and no. To me, it’s over simplistic and unbiblical when people categorically say either yes or no. In so doing, it usually supports their biases and arrogant thinking.

To be sure, the mainstream church is spiritual Babylon. Babylon means “confusion or mixture.” It’s a mixture of truth and error, good and evil, precious or holy and profane or polluted. Since post-apostolic times, the church to one degree has been feeding from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet the people caught up in it are still YHVH’s (Yehovah’s) people. He says so in Revelation 18:4, when he urges, if not commands, his people to come out of spiritual Babylon. He calls them “my people.” So to parse this thing a bit further, the corporate, harlot church system is corrupt to one degree or another. Both good and evil have come from it, and YHVH’s people have been caught up on it unawares, and now he is urging them to come out of it.

Coming out is a process. None of us is out completely. Do we really even understand what it means to come “out”? For example, the Israelites came out of Egypt in a day, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of them and for YHVH to get them ready for the Promised Land. Similarly, we can can come out of the world, and even out the the harlot, corporate, mainstream, Christo-pagan (or whatever other term you choose) Babylonian church system, but it will doubtless take a while to get all of its leavening out of us. We’re all still a work in progress, and there for his grace go each of us.

We should never look disparagingly upon the people caught up in the church system. We were there once too, but YHVH called us out of it. Now he’s cleansing us and preparing us to be the bride of Yeshua. We should only be thankful that he has called us and is long-suffering toward us. There is no room here for pride on our part, or for looking down on those who haven’t been called out yet. Only thankfulness, gratitude and humility!

Thus says YHVH: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, that I am YHVH, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says YHVH. (Jer 9:23–24)

 For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” says YHVH. “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word. (Isa 66:2)


Who are the modern descendants of Ephraim?

Genesis 48:14 and 16, Jacob’s Prophecy Over Ephraim and Manasseh

While prophesying over Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob crossed his hands over their heads making the symbol of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav  (like the letter t or x in the alphabet), which resembles a cross and in that ancient Hebraic script and according to some Hebrew scholars pictographically means “sign of the covenant.” Jacob then spoke of the Heavenly Messenger (the Hebrew word malak mistranslated as “angel” in most Bibles) of YHVH (i.e. the preincarnate Yeshua) who had redeemed him from all evil (see Gen 31:11–13). Jacob then prophesied that the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would become like “fish in the midst of the land” (literal translation of Gen 48:14–16; see The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach).

In light of this prophetic symbolism, which present day religious group would qualify as having fulfilled Jacob’s prophecy as to who the descendents of Ephraim and Manasseh would be? Which religion on earth uses the fish as their symbol, speaks of a Messenger from YHVH as their Redeemer, and has the sign of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav, which looks like a cross? The Buddhists? The Moslems? The Hindus? Even the Jews? No! Only Christianity fits this enigmatic criteria. Many Christians are without Continue reading


Golden Calf Worship Among YHVH’s People Today

Are YHVH’s people still prone to golden calf worship today?

Some things never change, since human nature is still the same today as it was thousands of years ago when the children off Israel worshipped the golden calf.

So let’s explore this question.

Let’s look at the series of events that occurred as the children of Israel were leaving Egypt, which have major relevance to what is occurring in mainstream Christianity in our day. If we fail to learn the lessons of history, we’ll likely repeat the mistakes of history. It has to do with golden calf worship.

YHVH redeemed the children of Israel out of Egypt and set the slaves free. He blessed them not only by giving them their freedom, but by giving them the wealth (gold and silver) of Egypt as well. We read that the Israelites exited of Egypt with a high hand. They were victorious, free and wealthy.

YHVH led them into the wilderness en route to the Promised Land—normally an eleven day journey. They had some difficulties: Pharaoh tried to kill them at the Red Sea, they lacked clean drinking water, and they had food issues, but YHVH provided them deliverance from Pharaoh, gave them clean water, manna and meat, and they overcame these trials.

Next, YHVH led the Israelites to the foot of Mount Sinai, and on Shavuot he made a covenantal agreement with them and gave them his Torah as their national constitution. They agreed to obey him and to keep his commandments. He promised to bless them if they remained faithful to him.

Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah-covenant on two tablets of stone. While he was gone for 40 days, the people grew worried and anxious and become weary of waiting for Moses to return.  This was a test they had to pass of their faithfulness. Would they be faithful to YHVH and keep his commandments, or would they stray spiritually from the path of righteousness YHVH had given them and they had agreed to follow?

The Israelites got tired of waiting, and took the gold from Egypt and turned it into a golden calf, and then they rose up to play (to party). They even called their revelry a feast to YHVH! They used religious verbiage like “YHVH” and “feast” to add legitimacy to their Continue reading


From A.D. 70 to A.D. 135 — How the Church Became Divorced From Its Hebraic Roots

This is a long read—good for a Shabbat afternoon! But it’s important to know the historical facts. Knowing this truth will help us to better understand the background of the NT church and how the early second century church cut itself off from its Hebraic spiritual roots in so many way.— Natan

What is called Christianity today in many ways is very dissimilar, and in many respects, outright antagonistic to the religion of the first-century, book of Acts believers. How did this come to be?

Many modern Christian churches prides themselves on being “a New Testament church,” yet what they practice and believe is often very different from and even opposed to the teaching and practices of the apostles and primitive, first century church. For example, life for the apostolic believers in Jerusalem revolved around the temple (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:19-21; 5:42; Acts 21:26; 22:17; 24:18; 25:8; 26:21), and for those outside of the land of Israel, on most Sabbaths, they attended the local synagogue (Acts 13:14; 14:1; 17:1–2; 18:4, 7, 8, 19, 26; 19:8). Not only did the first apostles and early believers not celebrate any pagan influenced holidays such as Easter, Christmas, Halloween, Lent, and the rest, but they adhered to the Torah or law of Moses (see references below). The Book of Acts record is also clear that early believers kept the Bible festivals (as outlined in Lev 23; Acts 2:1; 18:21; Acts 27:9; 1 Cor 5:8; Jude 12) of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Day of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and the Eighth Day.

What’s more, the book of Acts records that both Stephen and Paul were falsely accused of teaching that the laws and customs of Moses were nullified, and, as a result of this false accusation, both lost their lives defending Torah-obedience.

A hundred other examples could easily be given showing how the Christian church has veered away from the Hebrew or Jewish roots of its faith, but hopefully, the reader gets the point.

So what happened to cause Christianity to veer so widely from the Hebrew or Jewish roots of its faith and to arrive at the place where it hardly resembles that religious faith from which it sprang? This is not an easy question to answer since one must look back nearly 2000 years and attempt to reconstruct the times in which our spiritual forefathers lived. Moreover, we must understand what was transpiring politically, religiously, and socially at the time to answer this question properly. It is also imperative that we understand the contextual social and linguistic fabric, the backdrop of history, and the parade of political Continue reading


A Word About President Donald J. Trump and the Spiritual State of America—2/2017

What follows is one of the most important statements I have ever made on this blog. Please read it and pass it on. — Natan Lawrence

This is what YHVH Elohim has to say about those who are on the right (i.e. conservatives) versus those who are on the left (i.e. leftists, socialists or “progressives”) morally and spiritually.

A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left. Even when a fool walks along the way, he lacks wisdom, and he shows everyone that he is a fool. (Eccl 10:2–3)

Donald J. Trump is likely the most controversial and polarizing presidents in recent American history. There are those who love him, those who hate him and those who are undecided and confused. This was the case with Obama, and to some degree with all newly elected presidents, but the vitrol and hatred demonstrated against President Trump by the leftists and the left-leaning establishment media is unparalleled in my lifetime. The hatred against him including calls for his assassination is unprecedented in US history.

For many years—nearly my entire lifetime—the socialistic leftists with little interruption have seen their agendas in the US through rulings, laws and policies from the judicial, legislative and executive branches of our government being implemented one after another. This agenda has been diametrically opposed to the traditional Judeo-Christian values that made our nation great and the envy of the world. This tidal wave of evil likely started in 1962 when prayer in school was banned in New York state. Then in 1973, abortion was legalized and our nation has been sliding downhill morally and spiritually ever since with a steady stream of ungodly and unbiblical laws and agendas being foisted upon the American people.

When Donald Trump was running for president, he was an enigma to many people including me. He was a Democrat turned Republican with no track record of advocating social or morally conservative values. As such, most the Democrats hated him and the many Republicans at best disowned him and at worst despised him as well. On my part, I kept an open mind, while holding my nose. Trump made a lot of conservative-sounding campaign promises, but because of his reputation as a bombastic talker who often speaks rashly in self-exalting hyperbole and half-truths, I didn’t know whether to take him seriously or not.

Now that he is the president, we sit back and watch to see what his track will be, and what his true colors will be. So far, I have been very pleased by what I see. What righteous person couldn’t be overjoyed with the public defunding of abortion providers, the appointment of committed conservative Christians to high governmental positions, protecting our borders from terrorists and the list goes on.

For the record, I’m on no one’s side—only YHVH’s side; I am on the side of truth and righteousness as defined by the Bible. I’m totally independent of and outside partisan Continue reading


Elohim hates contention and strife!

Mark 9:38–41, Yeshua forbids sectarianism. Though someone may not be in our spiritual camp, if they are doing good and are not against us, we’re to give them credit of the good they are doing. This is the high road of love, mercy and grace that Yeshua expects his disciples to follow in regards to those of other congregations, denominations or ministries.

Mark 9:38–50, Avoid strife and contention. This is a very enigmatic passage that commentators struggle with trying to explain, since Yeshua links together so many seemingly disparate concepts. I say “seemingly,” since there is nothing average about the Master’s intellect, or his knowledge of spiritual truth. Our inability to comprehend his sayings should only spur us onward to dig all the more into their heights and depths of meaning, thus uncovering the nuggets of truth from within the transcendent intellect of our Master and Creator!

Yeshua the Master begins his discourse by discouraging sectarianism. “Those who aren’t against us are for us.” He then promises rewards to those who are kind to his disciples, implying that his disciples should in turn be kind to others who, though they may not be a part of your particular group, they may not necessarily be working against you, for they may also be kingdom workers but with a different assignment than yours (vv. 38–41).

Next, our Master warns against offense—especially those who offend (or cause to stumble) the little ones who are still young and tender in their faith. Linked with the preceding thought, the implication may be that Yeshua’s servants need to beware of not offending any of his kingdom workers whether they are part of “our group” or not. Only the Almighty sees the larger picture much as a general oversees his troops. The individual soldier knows his own marching orders, and may be oblivious to the orders of other soldier’s elsewhere, and is thus in no position to judge another soldier who has other marching orders.

Yeshua then issues a strong warning against any actions (the hand), or any directions of our lives (the foot), or any perspective (the eye) that may lead us to sin in causing one of YHVH’s kingdom workers elsewhere to stumble spiritually. Such an offense may bring us under the severe and unquenchable fires of YHVH’s eternal judgment. In other words, when we, through offensive actions and perspectives, cause one of YHVH’s kingdom workers who is operating outside of our limited view of things to stumble, we may be doing irreparable damage to the advancement of the kingdom, thus risk bringing the wrath of Elohim squarely down upon us (vv. 42–48).

Yeshua concludes his discourse with an even more mysterious statement that commingles a variety of biblical concepts. Many biblical commentators admit the difficulty of understanding this passage (e.g. Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, Beale and Carson). He indicates that his disciples, as living sacrifices (Rom 12:1), must allow themselves to be laid on the altar of YHVH’s service like the animal sacrifices of old. As these sacrifices went through the sprinkling of salt (Lev 2:13; Ezek 43:24) and the burning of fire on the altar of sacrifice, even so, as living sacrifices doing YHVH’s kingdom work, Yeshua’s disciples must be willing to endure the fires of trials and adversity. Fire both consumes and purifies, while salt both preserves and seasons—two activities that are continually needed in the disciple’s life as part of their spiritual refinement in order for them to become perfect and sin-free like their Master.

Yeshua ends with the admonition to be salty or spicy (in our words and actions) as we advance his kingdom. But we mustn’t be offensive in our demeanor such that it causes others to stumble, thus breaking the peace between our fellow coworkers, since we are all working together for the same Master. No matter what, maintain peace one with another (vv. 49–50)!

This final admonition brings us full circle back to Yeshua’s initial point in his instructions to his disciple to avoid sectarianism and to be a peacemaker among spiritual brethren. YHVH hates division and strife within the congregation of the righteous and calls it an abomination (Prov 6:16–19). Those who cause it are to be avoided (Rom 16:17; 2 Thess 3:6) if not excommunicated (Tit 3:10)!


What is the real meaning of “the Church”?


Matthew 16:18, The church. This is the first place the word church is found in the Testimony of Yeshua. This causes us to ask several questions. Did the first-century followers of Yeshua call themselves a church or meet in a church? Emphatically, no! In the Testimony of Yeshua, the Greek word translated in our English Bibles as church is the word ecclesia which means “a gathering of people called out from their homes to either a secular or a religious gathering in a public place.” It does not mean “a building,” but rather “a group of people.” So accordingly, the saints don’t meet in a church or go to church—they are the church!

In our modern vernacular, the word church not only refers to the building where the saints meet, but to the group of saints that meets in the building. The first definition is biblically incorrect, while the second definition is biblically correct.

But even the modern term church, while referring to a group of people has, by in large, lost its spiritual potency. It now simply means a group of religious people—normally Christians—that have formed a social clique.

What’s really behind our English word church and is this a term saints should be applying to themselves? The Greek word for church is ecclesia meaning “the called out ones.” Called out from what? The saints are called by Elohim out from the world and a secular or heathen lifestyle. Sadly, most church-goers while failing to understand the true meaning of the word also fail to live up to its stringent definition—to come out spiritually and to be separate themselves from the pagan culture around them and to adopt a biblical congruent world view and lifestyle.

Even the derivation of English word church is antithetical to how the term ecclesia is used in the Testimony of Yeshua. Ironically, according to the dictionary the word church originates from the German word kirche and the Old English word circe. Circe is of Greek origination and is the name of the sorceress and enchantress goddess daughter of Sol or Helios, the pagan sun god. Some historians claim that Circe and Kirche are the same individual who was the Babylonian moon goddess. The word circe is related to the common words circle, circus and circumference. Just as the sun is circular, and the Romans worshipped their sun-god in circular arenas called circuses where horse races and other athletic competitions occurred in honor of the sun god, so today many well-meaning individuals worship today in churches on Sun-day. (Information sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, eleventh edition; The Final Restoration, by C.J. Koster; Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Random House, 1983.)