Essays by Moses Mikheyev
Senior Editor, Snyder Bible
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell… It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the grounds of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
The classical Christian ‘orthodox’ view is that there originally was one pure, uncontaminated kērygma handed down from Yahshua ben Yehosef, to his disciples, his apostles, to his elders, and back to the crowd, which came to be known as (according to the Acts) the Assembly of Yahweh. Unfortunately, this view is seriously flawed (as we will see). First, we must attempt to isolate that single orthodox kērygma that many claim to have found (if, in fact, a single, pure teaching common to all the authors of the NT does exist).
According to tradition, we know that James the Just was the leader of the Jerusalem Ebionite community. During the reign of Caesar Claudius, James was executed. Shimeon Clopas was chosen as the successor of James, being Yahshua’s brother or cousin. Under the leadership of Shimeon Clopas, the Jerusalem Ebionim would have continued to practice the ‘Jerusalem form’ of Messianism: the Jewish, Torah-abiding Messianism.
Once a person recognizes that he or she is set-apart, holy, chosen, in-the-know, and carrying a Divine Spark, that person should try to become completely saturated in that Spark and completely one with it. Jesus said, “For this reason I say, if one is whole, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness” (Saying 61). We are not to run around from one master to the other, we are to remain with God and completely be inundated with His Light.
After my meeting with these “Christians,” I observed them in worship. They looked fairly sincere and I almost bought into their hype. I almost stepped into that form of worship that is rather emotional but so deprived of the fruit. These were the same people that would praise His Name today and lie tomorrow. Not just lie, but lie that others lie. These were the same people who would pray for two hours straight and later go and sin against Him. It disturbed me.
There is no time to spare with such message; we must act on what we know. Maybe our lives will be changed if we’d only realize how much we need and need each other; every one of us is going to be shaped by someone nearby. If our actions are really reactions, would not this lead us to examine the way others react to us and our own ‘actions’? Wouldn’t we start to examine things differently?
We have found mikvaot (plural for mikveh) dating back to the first century A.D. and have even found one such ritual bath at Masada; a fortress built on a plateau, a thousand feet up in the dry desert region near the Dead Sea. The ritual baths are, usually, taken in moving water. Only dry places, like Qumran and Masada, which have no access to moving or standing natural water, have these man-made baths.
I stood there looking at the pastors and I felt a sense of bitter shame. Maybe it was guilt, I do not know. I had stood by this crowd far too long. I had watched my people suffer beneath the horrible, overly religious traditions. I have seen them turn to find joy in foreign places: now there was no Elohim, there was only requirement; now there was no joy, people turned to stupid toys to soothe their souls. They had forgotten Elohim. Why talk about Elohim when He has turned His back on us?
Why Do We Suffer? “The darkness is too deep, the suffering too intense, the divine absence too palpable. During the time that it took for this Christmas Eve service to conclude, more than 700 children in the world would have died from hunger; 250 others from drinking unsafe water; and nearly 300 other people from malaria.
The startling Epistle to the Laodiceans, Chapter 8, translated from Russian.
And then will a stranger ask another stranger, “We have walked the earth, did you see peace anywhere?” And the other will answer, “Not in my homeland, not in a far-off place, not on land, not on mountains, not on sea, nowhere did I find rest.” And the one asking the question will sigh, lean on his staff and say, “Evaporating vapor is peace, escaping from the land to the sky.”
Today, 1 Enoch is not found in our Bibles, though it is included in the Ethiopian Church Canon (Prophet 9). Otherwise, it is generally considered pseudepigraphical, which means a book is written by someone else than it claims to be written by. The D.S.S. contained many manuscripts of “apocryphal” and “pseudopigraphal” writings. This fact alone shows the importance that “pseudopigraphal” books had among the original “owners” of the D.S.S. (Prophet 3).
The belief that modesty is a must for early Christianity is universally recognized by most, if not all, biblical scholars. The topic of modesty has been talked about by everyone from Paul to Clement to Tertullian to Commodianus to Cyprian. All said the same basic thing. So, in conclusion, early Christianity reserved make-up, jewelry, dyeing of the hair and what not all to those who were “outside” of the church. Even though such language comes across as harsh today, it is what Christianity taught for centuries.