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   “A Need to Separate,” though a negative concept in many ways, is actually a positive step in coming together with like minds in Spirit and in Truth.
One does not need to look very hard to see that there are many separate groups in religion. There are, as you know, Catholics, Orthodox Jews, Quakers, Methodists, Baptists, Messianic Jews, and Lutherans, to name just a few. And there are those that have even been called Separatists.
   There are a few that look at the Sacred Name groups (Assemblies) from the outside, and some even from within, wondering why there isn’t unity. Why are we all separated into different groups? Especially if we’re of the same Spiritual Body, the Body of Yahshua Messiah. We could ask, “Why is it that the scattered religious groups mentioned above are separated?” It’s due to the beliefs or doctrine that is held by each. Many, in fact, are infused with paganism, but don’t see it.
   Also, each one is different because of how they interpret the Word of Yahweh. Many do not go back to the originally inspired Word and end up getting lost in the translations of uninspired men. We must look carefully at the original wording and see what it says:
   For precept [must] be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little, Isaiah 28:10. (King James Version used throughout, unless otherwise noted) This is where the rubber meets the road – where one needs to study and make sure he’s not supporting impure doctrine. In 2 Timothy 2:15 we read, Study to shew thyself approved unto Elohim, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
   The Apostle Paul who was inspired to write that, also wrote this:
   For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you, 1 Corinthians 11:19.
   Did Paul know something we don’t? I ask this question more or less for those looking out, rather than those looking in. Nevertheless, it’s a question we all need to ask ourselves and meditate upon.
   As we continue, we are going to see the necessity at times, for individuals to separate from their present group or Assembly. We will see that at times, one will need to seek out another Assembly that teaches Truth, and the love described in the Bible.

What We Do Does Matter
   In overcoming all that is of the world – the opposite of being overcome by the world – Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, show attributes both individuals and Assemblies must have. In the end, if they do overcome, they might be awarded a crown and everlasting life (Rev. 2:7, 10, 11, 26, 3:5, 12, 21).
People both present, and from the past, as you know, will stand before the Throne in the light of His Word. People will be judged individually rather than collectively.
   When we repent of past sins, are baptized into Yahshua’s Name, and receive a portion of Yahweh’s Spirit (Acts 2:38, 8:17), we are entered into a period of judgment. Many fail to see this, but it’s clearly spoken by the Apostle Peter: For the time [is come]that judgment must begin at the house of Elohim: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the good news of Elohim? 1 Peter 4:17.
   It’s especially important that we who have been baptized into Yahshua’s Name know what His Word actually says, since we are being judged right now. We will be rewarded while walking correctly and overcoming in His Word – basically, walking in Yahshua’s footsteps and being conformed into His image. He is our Perfect example to emulate.
   Everything we do or say comes into play, and we either confirm our allegiance to Yahweh through Yahshua and walk according to the Word, or we don’t. If one doesn’t conform, then he or she will eventually drift away.
   An analogy can be made of our judgment by looking at two different books, one written before we were baptized and one that is written anew afterwards. Our former book with its sins written in ink, is ceremonially dipped in water which washes the ink clean so that the pages are blank. Then a new ink-filled pen is put to the new blank pages and the things we now do and say are entered thereon.
   Our High Priest Yahshua intercedes daily for us, but we must continually strive to do better and live accordingly, otherwise upon His return, we may be judged unacceptable (Matt. 7:21-23, 25:11-13) and therefore lose our part in the firstfruits resurrection. We will be judged innocent or guilty when Yahshua returns. It is that serious!

It’s a Social Thing
   A minister once proclaimed to his entire congregation, “If you’re here because it’s a social gathering, there’s the door!” In pointing to the exit, he had everyone’s attention. His point, as he further explained, was that we should not be coming to service because it’s some sort of social event; that is, a means to cultivate friendships or to play “church” under the pretense of “love.”
   “Oh, but that’s not what I do!” Are you sure? Do you believe that all the doctrine that is taught where you attend is correct? Have you proved it? Is there a potpourri (syncretism of false mixed with the truth) of doctrine where you are? Are you concerned about it? You should be! Bad character (or doctrine) can, and often does, effect negatively those around it.
   There doesn’t need to be a lot of differences to make certain ones stand out, but when the whole congregation is divided on certain doctrinal issues, how can that be right? You might say, “Yes, there are differences in belief, but we’re all of the same Body!” But note the Apostle Paul’s reply: “Is Messiah divided?” (1 Cor. 1:13).
   Understand that the Messiah Yahshua is NOT divided. That was Paul’s point! This particular Assembly he was addressing needed to shape up and get the doctrines straight, because they were not in line with the Scriptures, neither were they in line with Messiah who is the Head of the Body! They were divided, even though they professed themselves of the same Body. The Apostle Paul saw that they were very wrong in what they were doing. He knew there would be a separation, if the brethren did not come together in oneness with the Written Word. In other words, oneness of doctrine with love among the brethren is oneness with Messiah.
   Socialization in the Assembly should be primarily founded on the oneness of correct doctrine and true teaching of the Word, and not because of just wanting to “get together” at the expense of teaching or supporting false doctrine. There needs to be separation from false doctrine.
   Understand that Yahshua came in service to Yahweh. They are not divided, because they have the same mind and purpose (John 15:10, 17:16-26). But today, the Body is divided; it is divided because the teachings are divisive. The Word of Yahweh divides. It divides, unless you’re being just a loving, social kind of guy or gal.

The Word Guides and Divides
   Yahshua said, Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword, Matthew 10:34. This is speaking of those who would deny the Messiah and even His saving Name, Yahshua. But there is another lesson to be learned and a principle that applies to us. The sword that Yahshua speaks of is, quite literally, the Word of Yahweh (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12). It can, and does, divide those who follow Him and for the reason that the Apostle Paul observed, “that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Cor. 11:19).
   Know, however, we can’t just obey the laws alone and figure all will be well. Remember the Assembly of Ephesus, in Revelation chapter 2? Evidently, they left off doing good works of serving and loving one another. They were told to repent, and return to the works they had started.
   We all desire to do what we can to serve when we first come to an understanding of the truth, right? Ephesus knew how to keep false doctrine out, but lost or rather, as stated, they left the first love they once had. We need to strive to have both pure doctrine and love, as evidently the Assembly of Philadelphia of Revelation 3 had. If we have pure doctrine, then love should be evident. And, vice-versa, if you have continuing agape love then the doctrine should be pure. This is what we strive for, to be Philadelphian, in both word and action.
   Though we are not judged collectively, the Bible makes it clear that bad company corrupts good character: Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals, 1 Corinthians 15:33, NASB. If this is the case, then individuality could very well be affected adversely. That makes it important to separate and be with others of the right heart and mind. Then the question arises; “There are different Assemblies, so of which one should we be a part?” And, “How does one know?”
   Before we answer these and other questions, it should be noted that since we’re at different levels of understanding, we sometimes need guidance from those that are older. Elders in the Assembly have many years of studying and other life experiences under their belt and can help one study into a matter to prove a subject one way or the other, and the Bible is the final authority (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

A Study of The Word
   In the patriarchs’ time, when they bridled a horse, they did so as we do today, with a bit in the mouth. It is, in fact, the most important part of equestrian equipment, as it guides the horse. Without it, the horse cannot be directed! Do you know what bridles us? Isn’t it the Word? Certainly, if we’ve taken the proper steps, Yahweh’s Spirit gives us understanding and brings to remembrance His Word (John 14:26), but we need to study to find out just what that Word says.
   Considering further the bit in the horse’s mouth, take note what is written: For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same [is] a perfect man, [and] able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body, James 3:2-3. Clearly, we are turned and led by the Word as it is instructions for life – thoughts, speech, and deeds that preclude following our own desires.
We are admonished to live by the Word. Yahshua Himself said, It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Yahweh,” Matthew 4:4 (see also Luke 4:4; Deut. 8:3). We find, that the Word Incarnate is Yahshua (John 1:1-2) and that He is in complete agreement with the Father (John 5:30) even unto death (Matt. 26:39).
   Let us embark upon an interesting word study, from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, both in the Hebrew and Greek lexicon. In the Old Testament, H.3050 is “Yahh” yaw meaning, “the shortened independent form of the divine name, Yah, occurs primarily in poetry and in the exclamation, Hallelu-yah, praise Yahweh. It serves also as a terminal element in proper nouns like Elijah: ‘eliya (or ‘eliyahu),’ ‘[El] (is) Yahweh, Theological Word Study of the Old Testament.
   Strong’s G.3050 in the New Testament, log-ik-os’, from the root, log’-os, meaning the Word. Moreover, from The Scriptures, Explanatory Notes, we find the following elaboration: “Yahshua is the Word, the embodiment of the Word, for the Word became flesh. He also said that the Words He spoke are Spirit and they are life (John 6:63).”
   The same reference also says, “‘word’ and ‘command’ and ‘teaching’ are often used synonymously.” And is it any wonder? Yahweh’s Word has His Name written all over it, i.e., every single word of the Bible, both Old Testament and New (Tanakh and B’rit Hadasha).
   But what does this all mean? It means we need to study and know what the whole Word says, and then separate the Truth from the error out of our lives. Does this mean we need to separate from brethren? It means we cannot support an Assembly teaching major error. It’s one thing to have some differences in opinion, and another to be teaching outright heresies. If that means separating ourselves from others, then that is what we must do. It means choosing an Assembly that is fixed in the Word; that has retained their first love and is not willing to compromise. It’s not to say that new understandings can’t come, but it is unlikely anything fundamentally known (e.g., 7th Day Sabbath, Yahweh and Yahshua’s Names, Seven Annual Feasts, Clean and Unclean Food Laws, etc.) would change. Fundamentals of Faith, are just that: Fundamentally understood and known by everyone to be true and necessary for salvation.

The Assemblies
   In looking at the different Assemblies of today one could look at the Assemblies of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 and say there are parallels in today’s Assemblies that hold to fore-mentioned foundational teachings.
   The right Assembly will have Love. It should be noted that love is defined by the following: And this is love, that we walk after His commandments. This is the commandment, that, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it, 2 John 1:6 (see also John 14:15; 1 John 5:3).
   Of course, there is more to love than obedience to the letter of “from the beginning” the law. Compassionate, or fervent love, toward one another is actually the by-product of coming together in obedience to Yahweh’s Word, or should be, if we keep our first love intact. Plus, we need to remember the new command of loving as Yahshua loved us (John 13:34), following His example of even laying down our own lives for one another (1 John 3:16).
   The Elders and Deacons of the assemblies are responsible for maintaining order and not allow false doctrine (under cover of Truth) to find admittance. The Apostle Paul said that false doctrine is like gangrene (or cancer). Such a thing is to be avoided and cut off if necessary. Their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and thus they upset the faith of some, 2 Timothy 2:17-18 NASB.
   For the sake of love for others, and for the love of Yahweh, at times separation must take place. This is the loyalty and love of which the Bible speaks. We must serve Yahweh and neighbor, but not at the expense of promoting or allowing false doctrine to be taught or followed.

An Oxymoron: “We’re of Messiah, not an Assembly”
   There seems to be confusion, and some personal ideas, on how one should worship today. Some think that all one should do is stay home, study and pray, either because they think that’s all they need to do or they don’t feel very capable and wouldn’t be of much help in a gathering anyway.
   However, Paul says all members are important. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you;” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary, 1 Corinthians 12:21-22 NASB.
   For some, it’s only when the appointed times of Yahweh come that they look for an Assembly to attend, and even then, they sometimes decide to stay home. Is that what the Bible tells us to do? Some haven’t considered that the weekly Sabbath is one of the appointed times (Lev. 23:2-3), a commanded and holy convocation or gathering. Thank Yahweh for live services, since many of us are far from the Assembly and can’t always make it in person.
   But, when we have good health and the financial means, we need to ask, “Is being in an Assembly working together, the right thing to do?” The answer is, that the assembling of brethren in an organized and structured manner is indeed the example given to us.
   The “Pastoral Epistles” (letters), as they began to be called around the 18th century, were clearly written to help structure some working, viable, and healthy Assemblies. Paul directed Timothy and Titus in personal letters to look for individuals that had certain qualifications, who would be good servants, and overseers of each Assembly that he had established.
   Paul had given Timothy and Titus the authority to appoint and anoint those that were needed in the Assemblies (1 Tim. 1:18, 5:22; Titus 1:5). In Acts, Chapter 14, we read that the Apostle Paul and his companion Barnabas journeyed throughout Asia Minor confirming and exhorting the disciples and anointing elders in every city where they had established Assemblies (Acts 14:20-28).
   Be encouraged to read through all three of these letters, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus, seeing as you proceed, the emphasis to keep pure doctrine and good works. In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us, Titus 2:7-8, NASB.
   The Pastoral Letters clearly show organized Assemblies are, in part, purposed for teaching pure doctrine to those that had, and have, ears to hear. Titus was even told, “speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1 NASB).
   Though there are different scattered Assemblies, claiming salvation can only come through one Assembly fails to recognize the different Assemblies mentioned in the Bible and the diverse giftings of ministries in those Assemblies (1 Cor. 12). Though there are many Assemblies, yet is there but one Body; one Spirit; one hope of our calling; one Master; one faith; one baptism, and one Elohim and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in all (Eph. 4:4-6).
   Praise be to Yahweh through Yahshua Messiah for Assemblies that teach the same true doctrine as we do. That is only possible through Yahweh’s Spirit.
The Apostle Paul gives credit to Elohim, I have planted, Apollos watered; but Elohim gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but Elohim that giveth the increase, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7.

Assemblies built by Apostles and Elders
   Some come to an Assembly with, or eventually get the idea, “Can’t I establish my own Assembly?” They think that somehow, they have that authority, similar to Simon the Sorcerer:
   And when Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this Power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit,” Acts 8:18-19.
   Simon was neither learned in the Scriptures, nor had the right attitude. In the same way, some who desire to set up an Assembly are also neither learned in the Scriptures, nor have the right attitude. They think, “Hey, there’s no Assembly in this area, so I’ll start one.” But, with process there is order.
   As we’ve seen in the Pastoral Letters, only one who has the authority – either an Apostle or an Elder – can establish or direct another to establish an Assembly. One credential of an Apostle, by the way, is having seen the risen Messiah (1 Cor. 9:1; Acts 1:22). That would leave Elders to direct Assemblies today.
   Some are obstinate like Diotrephes who would not listen to those over him. John, his Elder and the Apostle, wrote, “but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say” (3 John 1:9 NASB). There are, sad to say, parallels today of this type of “little Caesar,” as Herbert Lockyer refers to in his book, All the Men of the Bible.

One Man Show?
   Paul tells us that the Body is a functioning, active Body and if something is missing, then it’s not going to be as vital and viable as it could be. Some, unauthorized and unblessed, would conduct a one man show, teaching things they ought not, beginning with various so-called Sacred Names.
   Since the inception of the Internet, there is literally no end to various pronunciations and other false teachings accompanying them.
   Be aware of false teachers. Some, even now using the correct Names, proclaim six billion people will die this year, 2021. It is just a regurgitation of past-failed personal prophecies and private interpretations with no inspiration at all. One would think people would stop following such individuals parading as “Prophets of the Most High!” But it appears more are showing up in these end times, even confessing themselves to be the Messiah (Matt. 24:4-5).
   False prophets aside, concerning those actually in the Body of Messiah, the Apostle Paul helps us to understand how It should function, saying, The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the Body of Messiah. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into Messiah’s Body by one Spirit, and we have all received the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? Suppose the whole body were an eye – then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything? But Elohim made our bodies with many parts, and He has put each part just where He wants it. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you,” 1 Corinthians 12:12-21 NLT.
   Can one man working alone, or someone not given authority by an Elder today, establish a working Assembly? Can such an individual be a vital part of the Body? Don’t get me wrong, such an individual may be part of the Body. However, such an individual has not received a “blessing” to do what he is doing.

   This is not our way, but rather Yahweh’s Way. And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Messiah, Ephesians 4:11-12 (see also 1 Cor 12:28). These gifts, if you will, are for the building up of something already in place. Paul says, “for the edifying of the Body of Messiah.”
   The Body of Messiah works in the form of Assemblies today as it was in the New Testament times, some of whom you do not want to support, as already pointed out. That’s right, that you do “NOT” want to support! Revelation 3:14-16 says, And unto the angel of the Assembly of the Laodiceans write; “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of Elohim; ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.’”
   So, should ours be a Laodicean attitude? Should we support false doctrine, or an Assembly that lacks its first love? Of course not, this is why there needs to be a separation from what is not pure. Support what is right, and your reward will be great. Support false doctrine, or be lukewarm, and Yahshua will give you a just recompence for your error.
   Neither are we to support “spiritual” dictatorships. The Assembly serves Yahweh through Yahshua. A board of Elders (and even deacons, for physical matters) is structured to prevent “one-man rules.” Acts 15 gives clear indication Elders are set in place to work together, overseeing the teaching of doctrine and the settling of spiritual issues. They are anointed with oil for those positions, while deacons are appointed by the laying on of hands and prayer.
   The Navy Seals provide us with an example of how Ministry should work. They are renowned for the hard tasks they undertake, together supporting and helping one another as a team, each member doing his part toward getting the job done.
   We are in a spiritual war ourselves, and we need to come together as a working Body in Messiah to fight the good fight. Our job is twofold: (1) To present the Good News of the coming Kingdom and the Messiah Yahshua who will be ruling in that Kingdom (Mark 16:15), and (2) To baptize (Matt 28:19) them whom Yahweh calls and Yahshua chooses, like He chose His first disciples (John 6:70).
   We do not claim to be “IT” when it comes to being the only Assembly doing this work. Neither do we claim to be the “Philadelphian” Assembly. Only Yahweh and Yahshua can really say who that is today. We are in fact but one assembly, trying to do the work as best we know.
   If someone feels we are in error in our teaching, or if one has come up with some new “truth,” we insist it not be spread among the brethren. Instead, we ask that this be written and submitted to the Elders on the Standing Committee for Doctrinal Review for study and evaluation with a decision subsequently provided the submitter. If what is considered is believed a valid doctrine, it should be taught to the entire assembly, not just a few.
   Finally, brethren and friends, if we strive to do what is right, Yahweh through Yahshua will help us. We must never give up, nor compromise.
   All should seek Yahweh’s will, but not all do. If you learn that what you thought was correct, is in fact incorrect, then start doing what is right in Yahweh’s sight. Study, seek out and prove Yahweh’s will!
   And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching, Hebrews 10:24-25.
   Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward [is] with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done, Revelation 22:12 NASB.

-Elder David Brett

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