Titus 3:9 but avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law, for they are unprofitable and vain.
PRE-AMBLE by Robert
There is a history of our assemblies and the buildings used to gather the flock for worship. As the Christian Church rests historically on the Jewish Church, so Christian worship and the congregational organization rest on that of the synagogue, and cannot be well understood without it.
The synagogue was and is still an institution of immense conservative power. It was the local centre of the religious and social life of the Jews, as the temple of Jerusalem was the centre of their national life. It was a school as well as a church, and the nursery and guardian of all that is peculiar in this peculiar people.
It dates probably from the age of the captivity and of Ezra. It was fully organized at the time of Christ and the apostles, and used by them as a basis of their public instruction. It survived the temple and continues to this day unaltered in its essential features, the chief nursery and protection of the Jewish nationality and religion.
The term “synagogue” (like our word church) signifies first the congregation, then also the building where the congregation meets for public worship. Every town, however small, had a synagogue, or at least a place of prayer in a private house or in the open air (usually near a river or the sea-shore, on account of the ceremonial washings). Ten men were sufficient to constitute a religious assembly. “Moses from generations of old hath in every city they that preach him, being The Jewish tradition traces it back to the schools of the prophets, and even to patriarchal times, by far-fetched interpretations of Gen. 25:27 Judges. 5:9; Isa. 1:13,
History of the Christian Church, Volume I: Apostolic Christianity. A.D. 1-100. ceased with its destruction; they were fulfilled in the eternal sacrifice on the cross. The prayers and songs were chiefly taken from the Psalter, which may be called the first liturgy and hymn book. The opening prayer was called the Shema or Keriath Shema and consisted of two introductory benedictions, the reading of the Ten Commandments (afterward abandoned) and several sections of the Pentateuch, namely, Deut. 6:4-9; 11:13-21; Num. 15:37-41. Then followed the eighteen prayers and benedictions (Berachoth).
This is one of them: “Bestow peace, happiness, blessing, grace, mercy, and compassion upon us and upon the whole of Israel, thy people. Our Father, bless us all unitedly with the light of thy countenance, for in the light of thy countenance didst thou give to us, O Lord our God, the law of life, lovingkindness, justice, blessing, compassion, life, and peace. May it please thee to bless thy people Israel at all times, and in every moment, with peace. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who blessest thy people Israel with peace.”
These benedictions are traced in the Mishna to the one hundred and twenty elders of the Great Synagogue. They were no doubt of gradual growth, some dating from the Maccabean struggles, some from the Roman ascendancy. The prayers were offered by a reader, and the congregation responded “Amen.”
This custom passed into the Christian church. The didactic and homiletical part of worship was based on the Hebrew Scriptures. A lesson from the Law (called parashah), and one from the Prophets (haphthara) were read in the original and followed by a paraphrase or commentary and homily (midrash) in the vernacular Aramaic or Greek.
Benediction and the “Amen” of the people closed the service. As there was no proper priesthood outside of Jerusalem, any Jew of age might get up to read the lessons, offer prayer, and address the congregation.
Jesus and the apostles availed themselves of this democratic privilege to preach the gospel, as the fulfilment of the law and the prophets. The strong didactic element which distinguished this service from all heathen forms of worship, had the effect of familiarizing the Jews of all grades, even down to the servant-girls, with their religion, and raising them far above the heathen.
At the same time, it attracted proselytes who longed for a purer and more spiritual worship. The days of public service were the Sabbath, Monday, and Thursday; the hours of prayer the third (9 a.m.), the sixth (noon), and the ninth (3 p.m.). The sexes were divided by a low wall or screen, the men on the one side, the women on the other, as they are still in the East (and in some parts of Europe).
The people stood during prayer with their faces turned to Jerusalem. 52. Christian Worship. 1 Cor. 14:16. The responsive element is the popular feature in liturgy and has been wisely preserved in the Anglican Church. The Torah was divided into 154 sections, and read through in three years, afterwards in 54 sections for one year. Then, Acts 13:15. Luke 4:17-20; 13:54; John 18:20; Acts 13:5, 15, 44; 14:1; 17:2-4, 10, 17; 18:4, 26; 19:8. Paul and Barnabas were requested by the rulers of the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia to speak after the reading of the law and the prophets (Acts 13:15). Comp. Ps. 55:18; Dan. 7:11; Acts 2:15; 3:1; 10:30. These hours of devotion are respectively called Shacharith, Minchah, and Arabith.
OPENING STATEMENT by Robert
This excerpt from the latest release “Half Victory For Carnal Believers!” Full Victory For Spiritual Believers!” published May 31, 2020. The past tradition was to assemble as a group to worship and honour the Lord. This tradition is now being challenged and, in some ways, being changed. The verse in Matthew is giving us a hint of how to adjust to the changes. The Commandment does not say we need to gather in a building to worship it says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.”
In their carnal wisdom, those who desire to limit religious ceremonies have afforded the venues for believers to gather in numbers to worship and honour our Lord. The current fiasco of the pandemic and political controls being fomented against believers are a call for the use of spiritual wisdom to be applied on how to honour and worship our Lord.
Can you imagine having, say, 100 to 150 individuals gathered at one of the essential venues in the name of Yeshua (Jesus Christ) to honour Him on personal levels? Perhaps sharing a testimony of how he has worked in their lives during the lockdown. Or as a group sending out prayer in His name for those in need of it. As believers, the Holy Spirit will guide each group.
Why give the history of the origin of where worship began in our churches? Some of the historical information shows where our traditions and service within the assembly originated from. Now with the perception and shut down of the congregations, new and innovative ways are needed to fulfill the 4th commandment, within the laws of the land.
I noted there were no spiritual leaders outside of Jerusalem and any Jew of age might get up to read the lessons, offer prayer, and address the congregation. Noting that the foundation of the Christian assemblies was based on the traditions and laws with the Jewish ‘Synagogues. Because of this new method of worship, spiritual leadership would be absent. During this period of time following the Jewish tradition, any Chrisitan of age being lead by the Holy Spirit would be able to share.
These gatherings at first may seem strange, but as I continued my research I found historical writings confirming that during the Roman persecutions of the early Christians, many used the catacombs and other groups pf believers used the wilderness within the hills surrounding Rome as meeting places.
Something to note: this form of the assembly will expose many in the darkness to the actual workings of our Lord while being praised by those who love and serve. Hymns are a powerful tool when used as a simple tool of worship, many services use various hymns to stir the human spirit to connect with the soul before the message is delivered.
Personal testimonies are another method of stirring the spirit before a message is delivered, some Assemblies use testimonies to verify their messages before delivered. In my estimation, the Lord is using this perception of His followers to bringing His message out into the open as a beacon of His light first hand instead of behind walls of a church. Maybe this is how He wants his church seen “For where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.”
Recognize, there is a purpose of the churches in their traditional following of the traditions of the synagogues. Our times are currently causing a forced change to how God’s flocks gather to fulfill the 4th commandment, God is filled with mysteries and as His children being lead by the Holy Spirit we must in situations like the current one use discernment to reason the wisdom being shared.
Please remember these articles are the work of a humble servant of Yeshua doing HIs bidding as a Watchmen sounding the Trumpet to warn of impending danger or shortfalls within the Assembly. May our Father abundantly bless each one of you with wisdom and discernment to go forward as “Modern Day Disciples.”
Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee, Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Yeshua is everlasting strength. (Isaiah 26:3-4)