Why the Netzarim Should Never be Confused
There is never a reason for any of the Netzarim to be confused when it comes to studying our faith and practices.
In other religious traditions, a person may not know where to start in their studies. They are all over the map. Placing too much emphasis in some area, not enough in others.
Part of this error, as seen in the experience of some converts, is based on the Protestant concept of sola scriptura (meaning "scripture alone"), which is not Jewish concept. The idea being that "scripture alone" is the only justification for any action. But because of their canon of scripture, the translations used and the lack of any validation from Jews who originated many of the writings, this concept would be like thinking you could get a clear understanding of ancient Egyptian life simply by reading a modern day interpretation of hieroglyphics. It simply doesn't work that way.
When you hear someone say the phrase "all scripture is God breathed", this is predominately a Protestant ethos. The Netzarim do in fact believe that the Scriptures were written by the direction Elohim. Certain sections of Scripture are God speaking directly to us or sometimes to others. The Scriptures are holy but without an understanding of the context of the Scriptures, a person will overlook direct commandments and directions of Elohim that apply to everyone, and overemphasize statements that are directed to specific people at specific times. A person who confuses Psalms, for example, for a direct command from the God of the Universe or places a statement in an epistle on the same level as a clear direction from Rabbeinu Yehoshua or from Moreh ha'Tzedek (the Teacher of Righteousness), in doing this the individual can never have a clear understanding about what Elohim really wants of you in real time. Holy tradition and divine revelation spell out how to apply the Holy Scriptures but we will get to that in a moment.
For us, the most intriguing idea still must be in line with the families of Miriam and Yosef and the Netzarim way of life. This is where we find our relationship with Elohim - through Torah and Mashiach.
The religious beliefs of the Orthodox Netzarim are based upon what we refer to as three pillars: Scripture, tradition and revelation. The Holy Scriptures are both the holy and the sacred books of Elohim. Not just any scripture but those sanctioned by the Orthodox Netzarim and their interpretation must be within orthodoxy as well or they are of no value to us.
Because the Netzarim have a sitting council, then what books are allowed in the canon stays current, meaning if a sacred work is found to echo and state Netzarim beliefs perfectly, then is it permissible by the sitting council of senior elders to be permitted in the "canon." People who believe an ecumenical council received God's blessings to sanction some books and reject others is not part of the orthodox understanding of Netzarim who have their own books from the Tanakh and the teachings of Rabbeinu Yehoshua and the Teacher of Righteousness.
Holy tradition consists of the many rulings based on the Scriptures and divine revelation so this is not just any ruling or any tradition but orthodox tradition of Netzarim, and divine revelation is the real time influence of Elohim through Mashiach, His angels and saints in this era to direct those of the faith in the proper path. Not just any revelation of someone having a dream or vision or experience but the time honored tradition of the Biblical Prophets and sages of the Netzari faith that are always in harmony with the Holy Scriptures and our traditions.
So, when wanting to know where to start, the individual Netzari should begin with the Torah, followed by the teachings of Rabbeinu Yehoshua, including the third pillar messages from Rabbeinu Yehoshua.
While you study Torah weekly, as a Netzari, we strongly encourage you to read these sources of Rabbeinu Yehoshua's own words daily. Immerse yourselves in his thoughts and his directions. Whenever you feel compelled to act on what you read from his words, look to the Didache and the writings of the Teacher of Righteousness, to learn how to apply those words.
Another way of saying this would be - if you want to know what to do, listen to our Rabbeinu Yehoshua. If you want to know how to do it, listen to the Teacher of Righteousness. Certainly there will be those who would say "If you want to know how to apply the teaching of Jesus, look to Paul". This would not be the orthodox Netzarim saying this, however. There are a great many heartfelt and moving verses in the writings of Paul but they are not always doctrinal for the Netzarim.
You simply will not get confused if you get back to Rabbeinu Yehoshua's own words.
Some might argue that many of the texts we use are not ones they are used to, or they are not comfortable reading revelatory information from Rabbeinu Yehoshua. That is their choice, of course. But even if a person did not wish to immerse themselves in this fountain of spiritual knowledge, they can focus exclusively on the 2,000 year old teachings of Rabbeinu Yehoshua.
A Netzari needs to prioritize his or her studies, reading the Tanakh without living Yehoshua's message would be like a passenger of a flight thinking they could fly a plane simply by reading a flight manual. Without grounding and training in aviation, that trip could very well be a disaster, so too, the person who believes a casual reading of the beatitudes or a parable or two qualifies them for immersing themselves fully in Torah is only fooling themselves.
Rabbeinu Yehoshua will come for his sheep. He will not come for those who made a messiah in their own image, this happens when a person creates their own impression and concept of the Messiah as opposed to obeying the very real Mashiach. Removing oneself from the words of Rabbeinu Yehoshua is removing oneself from the revealed mind of God Himself.
Study the Torah and Rabbeinu Yehoshua's words daily. Study the Didache weekly. Live Rabbeinu Yehoshua's words daily by following the Teacher of Righteousness, every day laid out in his writings and in the Didache.
Here is a quick guideline to help you:
The Netzarim have an outline to always keep them moving in the right direction:
- The Books of Moses (the Torah)
- The Book of Matthew (teachings of Yehoshua)
- The Writings of the Teacher of Righteousness
Read the Torah weekly. For the Netzarim who need to live and breathe the teachings of Rabbeinu Yehoshua, Torah should be approached as Moses approached the burning bush, carefully and reverently and never like an automaton going through the motions. If you read Torah and your mind is not on Torah or as some people are prone to do, get lost in the syntax and "legalism" of Torah as opposed to hearing "Peshat", which means the clear, direct and obvious meaning, they should return to Rabbeinu Yehoshua's words and the guidance of the Teacher of Righteousness about those words. Apply the same approach to the words of Yehoshua. Do not get lost in reading the text in other languages other than your own. Rabbeinu Yehoshua's words are clear and very understandable. Being a Netzari is something you live, not something you argue or debate. It is not subscription service or a hobby. You live for Yehoshua as he lived for you.
Don't allow yourself to get confused, trust Rabbeinu Yehoshua fully. Not what others say about him but what he himself has said. How can a person seriously say they are waiting upon his coming with perfect faith while never taking any serious consideration to the directions that he has left us?
December 4, 2007; updated March 30, 2013