very well said Bro Marcus! i dont feel i follow a religion...i just follow what the Bible says. as i have mentioned before, when a label is needed, i refer to myself as a Bible Christian. as a Christian is "one who follows Christ" or "Christlike". However, i keep the Moral Law, Dietary Law, the Lord's Feasts, & the Cleanliness Laws. Jesus did all these things and instructed us to do this for salvation and righteousness. so i dont feel a label is needed.
Jews = a group of people
Judaism = a religion commonly practiced by Jews
* There are non-practicing Jews
Israelites = a nationality
Christianity, Judaism, Islam = religions commonly practiced by Israelites
* There are Israelites who practice none of these religions
The question you are probably wondering is "how is it possible to follow G-d without subscribing to a religion? Don't you NEED a religion?"
I think James said it best. See, the problem is that we have defined religion based on man-made organizations that have used this word to describe themselves. However, James had this definition:
Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. - World English Bible
Your religion should be your way of life, not a weekend club that you go to, sit in a pew, and listen to someone tell you what to think and believe. But that is not the modern use of the word religion and so we must reject this word since it does not describe our way of life. All religions promote a lifestyle. However, in doing so they also promote themselves and they do not necessarily conform to word and will of G-d.
I don't care what you call yourself. We should be conforming to the word and will of G-d.
There are Israelites who follow man-made religions and others, like myself, who do not. There are Israelites who like to pretend that they haven't made a church that is "religious" just like Christianity, telling Israelites what to think and believe. There are Israelites who are in religious cults and most of those groups have names. And I don't have any problems with the existence of "sects". But the point is not to repeat the same man-made, man-focused, man-approved way of leading other people that other religions have seemed to master over the years. Being an Israelite should be about moving beyond those artificial walls and barriers and just getting back to following YHWH. We burden YHWH and his people with all these artificial complexities; saying "you have to agree with us before you can be a true member of OUR group." Yes, to be a part of YOUR group I have to conform to YOUR ways.
What group did YHWH start?
YHWH started a nation, not a religion. We are to conform to the pattern of belief and practice that he set for the nation. This trickles down into the community and into the family and into the individual. This nation is not limited or restricted to any human definition. ANYONE, no matter where they are from, or what their past is, or how straight or kinky their hair is, can be part of this nation which is ultimately simply the model and prototype for YHWH's family. That's why he called Israel his "son".
People get confused when they hear Israelites because they are not used to a whole nationality basing their existence and lifestyle upon the word of YAH. And they WANT it to be a religion so that they can quantify it based on their religion. Where was Christianity in the book of Exodus? Where was Judaism? Where was Islam? Israelites are a people that existed before these religions so Israelites cannot become a religion. If I have 12 children our family does not become a religion. We're a family. We might even one day grow into a nation but we can only a nation first, not a religion. We can CHOOSE a religion, but why would we need to when we were following YAH before religions were ever organized?
People have been deceived into thinking that they MUST copy someone else: copy their beliefs, copy their practices, copy their organization, and then make it a religion. Yeshua did not create a religion. People tell you that to give what THEY have created validity. Everyone wants to pretend that they are the legacy of Yeshua. Yeshua's legacy however is not a religion. Prophecy states, and NT backs it up, that Yeshua was to be the vine or branch through which the world would be reached and have the opportunity to join into the same family. He didn't start the family but he was a branch of the family tree that everyone could be grafted into. And what he said was that everyone who does the will of G-d, that's who his family is.
So while one person is busy trying to be a Christian in order to be included they get deceived into doing things completely contrary to the will of G-d because they have been deceived by NAME RECOGNITION, the same thing that happens in politics. But this religion has more to do with men seeking power and control than it has to do with the man they have named it after. If you want to be included with the messiah there is no other way than to be LIKE the messiah. Believe what he said and do what he did. Because you allow it to be complicated that's why you get into a matrix system that can control you and steer you contrary to what Yeshua taught.
Not one time did Yeshua ever say "Christian" or "Christianity". And he was a prophet so if he wanted to talk about something in the future he could have easily done it. But he never mentioned such a thing; only that there would be people claiming to follow him but who he would say he doesn't know because they are workers of iniquity and not part of his family. If you were in his family then he would know you. If you were doing YAH's will then he would know you because he already identified this group as his brothers, sisters, and mothers. To not be in this group is to not be doing the will of G-d. And how interesting is it that this group will contain those who BELIEVE they are following "Christ" but who are not doing the will of G-d?
There are many fake and false Israelites out there. And they call themselves whatever they want to. But a true Israelite is one who has the heart of an Israelite which is a child of YAH. He or she does the will of G-d and keep his commandments, abstaining from iniquity (unspotted from the world), because they love him. That's not a religion. That is the FAMILY of YHWH which is a nation.
You shall tell Pharaoh, 'Thus says Yahweh, Israel is my son, my firstborn,
- World English Bible
You have just confirmed what I was trying to articulate a while back.
Another Sister suggested that we try to find some common ground and build from there. But no matter how one might try to find this common ground, the "in your face obey the commandments and obey the Torah" is the "dead horse" that is dredged up for a beat down from both sides.
sista sista o'my sista, the scripture's host the "in your face obey the commandments and obey the Torah" this is the whole duty of man, if we do or know nothing we gotta know that. plus it is the beginning of real true to life knowledge