OUR COMMISSION is to WORK for YESHUA, ACTING ON IT all of our Lives
I remember when I joined the US Navy on my seventeenth birthday; I took an oath that commissioned me to be a genuine Navy sailor and to serve as such during the specific time that I was contracted and commissioned to serve the country in that capacity during the Korean War. After taking the oath, I entered officially into the Navy and was promptly sent off to boot camp for a wrenching learning experience that changed my life. It was a time of refashioning me into a sailor Warrior trained to kill for America and to defend our Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. I have always held that commissioning moment of time as ironclad in obedience and unchangeable for as long as my life existed on planet earth.
The same ceremonial and dedicative principle applies to me and to all of us at the point of our salvation and entrance into the boot camp learning phase of our time of serving the Kingdom of YHWH God on earth. This also changes our life completely and much more profoundly, this time as a spiritually reborn child of the Almighty Elohim through Yeshua’s Grace. As all saved believers well know, we were immediately sent off to God’s boot camp to be transformed into new creatures in Yeshua Messiah. It was a joyful but wrenching time for us all and at some point in our training period, we were given our marching orders, our commission to serve if you will. This time, we were commanded to protect and preserve the BIBLE, God’s instructions for life, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. As our ancestors defended the Constitution against a foreign Sovereign, the British monarch, George; so we defend the Bible against a foreign princely ruler, HaSatan. In both instances, the Commission is absolute. The only difference is the timeframe set at the beginning of our contract. An earthly commission ends usually with a formal discharge document, at which time the commitment to serve comes to a formal end and one returns to a “normal” life.
The Commission to serve the Kingdom of God on Earth also comes to a formal end by the set apart servant’s first death and the admission of the faithful soul into the halls of Glory, there to dwell in joy unspeakable forever. While we remain on this ball of mud, the other party to our Commission, Yeshua, has given us a continuing task to perform and we are expected to ACT on it. Some believers go for it and do a credible and wonderful job as servants of the Most High, but unfortunately, most do not, but become pew sitters under the one man circus called the “church.”
Philippians 1: 1-8
“To: All God’s people united with the Messiah Yeshua and living in Philippi (and around the world in all the ages of Grace), along with the congregation leaders and shammashim (plural): Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
I thank my God every time I think of you. Whenever I pray for all of you I always pray with joy, because you have shared in proclaiming the Good News from the very first day until now, and I am sure of this: that the One who began a good work among you will keep it growing until it is completed on the Day of the Messiah Yeshua. It is right for me to think this way about you all, because I have you on my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and establishing the Good News, you are all sharing with me in this privileged work. God can testify how I long for all of you with the deep affection of the Messiah Yeshua.”
WHY does Christianity today fail to ‘turn the world upside down’ as the set apart emissary’s of the first three centuries did.’ They have gradually lapsed into Babylonian practices and false premises and the church has failed miserably to follow the biblical model of Yeshua’s days.
Ezekiel 33: 30-33 says:
“Now you, human being, your people are gathering and talking about you by the walls and in the doorways of houses. They’re saying to each other, each one telling his brother, ‘Come, let’s go and hear the latest word coming from Adonai.’ So then they come to you, as people do, sit in front of you as my people, and hear your words; but they don’t act on them. For with their mouths they flatter you, but their hearts are set on their own self-interest; so for them you are like a love-song sung by someone with a nice voice who can play an instrument well — they hear your words, but they don’t act on them. So when all this comes true, then, at last, they will realize that a prophet has been there with them.”
This is a part of that most effective model that so attracted millions to salvation and solid growth in the faith once delivered to the saints.
This is the ancient pathway of 10+ righteous men and women followed by Yeshua/Jesus, Sha’ul [Paul], the Talmudim [disciples] and the set-apart Emissaries [Apostles]. We also suggest following this ancient earthly model of teaching and worship ordained and blessed by the Almighty Ancient of Days in the first century.
Paul addressed the ‘shammashim’ in Philippians quoted above. Who are these persons and why are they so important to fulfilling the Great Commission?
Shammash, also spelled shamash or shammas (Hebrew: “servant”), plural shammashim, shamashim, or shammasim, a servant (central Candle in the Menorah) and a salaried sexton in a synagogue whose duties now generally include secretarial work and assistance to the cantor, or chazzan, who directs the public synagogue meeting.
Most synagogues have at least one shamash, and Messianic synagogues are no exception. According to one online definition:
A shamash (שמש) is a person who assists in the running of a synagogue and ensures that its needs are met (for example, that the Jewish prayer services run smoothly). He may function as an assistant to a rabbi, or as the secretary or personal assistant to a Chassidic Rebbe). The role of the shamash crosses over to the responsibility of the Gabbai.
This definition of the role of a shamash is almost universally understood in Judaism, but shamashim of this kind are not found anywhere in Scripture. The role of a traditional shamash is akin to a church’s sexton, and it is an appointed rather than an ordained position.
Messianic shamashim are different in that they do derive their definition and function from Scripture –albeit the Greek New Covenant Scriptures –and they are ordained by the laying on of hands of the elders. Although we refer to them by the Hebrew word “shamash” for cultural reasons, they are more authentically described in America by the Greek word “diakoneo” or the English equivalent word “deacon.”
New covenant shamashim are very important in our communities, as they serve multiple roles in caring for both people and congregational property.
Acts 6:1-6 tells us the circumstances upon which shamashim were first ordained:
“Around this time, when the number of talmidim was growing, the Greek-speaking Jews began complaining against those who spoke Hebrew that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called a general meeting of the talmidim and said, ‘It isn’t appropriate that we should neglect the Word of God to serve tables. Brothers, choose seven men among yourselves who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will appoint them to be in charge of this important matter, but we ourselves will give our full attention to praying and to serving the Word.’ What they said was agreeable to the whole gathering. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Ruach HaKodesh, Philip, Prochoros, Nikanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas, who was a proselyte from Antioch. They presented these men to the emissaries, who prayed and laid their hands on them.”
Now it is true that the initial ordination of shamashim was sparked by the community’s need to see to a fair daily distribution for widows. However, we see how in many cases, shamashim such as Philip were used in ways that far exceeded serving tables and funding the poor and widows. (Acts 8:5-40)
Philip, in particular, was noted for his gift of evangelism in Acts 21:8
“On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.”
Even the Messianic woman shamash was recognized by Paul. In Romans 16:1-2 Paul says: “I am introducing to you our sister Phoebe, shammash of the congregation at Cenchrea, so that you may welcome her in the Lord, as God’s people should, and give her whatever assistance she may need from you; for she has been a big help to many people, including myself.”
The ministry of shamash must have been seen as spiritual and not merely mechanical, for in his letter to Timothy, right after listing the character requirements of eldership, Paul gives a similar list for the qualification of shamashim.
In 1 Timothy 3:8-13 Paul says:
“Likewise, the shammashim must be of good character, people whose word can be trusted. They must not give themselves to excessive drinking or be greedy for dishonest gain. They must possess the formerly hidden truth of the faith with a clean conscience. First, let them be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them be appointed as shammashim. Similarly, the wive’s must be of good character, not gossips, but temperate, faithful in everything. Let the shammashim each be faithful to his wife, managing his children and household well. For those who serve well as shammashim gain good standing for themselves and much boldness in the trust that comes through Yeshua the Messiah.”
This appointed office description is only one of the 10 plus leadership positions in a true early Messianic congregation and we follow this model as the early Apostles did.
3 persons or more fill this Pastoral office, allowing the Bet Din to minister the Word unhindered by administrative work: Parnassim (Pastor), 1 Tim.3:12-13; Eph.4:7-13; Peter 2:22-25 is the social worker along with 2 or more women (Ohana, Shammashim, Rebbetzin) and together they are Deacon and/or Deaconess in modern church terminology. They care for the poor, are in charge of the Mikvah [Immersion], the administration of funds, buildings, equipment, visiting the sick, attending to orphans and widows and operate the “Burial Society”. The Shamash (Servant candle) announces the Shabbat by blowing 6 blasts on the Shofar. He is the Ba’al Shofar (Sounder of the Shofar). They also perform the modern office duties of President, Secretary and Treasurer. These are a part of the 10 righteous ones required to fill all ‘church’ offices.
The TRUE ‘church’ of Yeshua is NOT a ‘one man show’! True Christianity is a participatory entity, and not a group of pew sitters led by a pulpiteer. The church today has strayed far from the biblical model, thereby choking its membership into silence and sleep. Much has been said and written on the ‘commission’ given to the church 2 thousand years ago, to ‘go ye into all the world’, and the church has done so successfully until lately. The last couple of centuries have seen a steady decline in Christianity as the Christian church has cut itself adrift from its ancient Hebrew Roots. The ‘new way of doing church’ so sought after by terrified Pastors losing their congregations is nothing but pure paganism dressed in church rhetoric and PC worded sermons. The reasons for this suicide of faith are many, but Yeshua’s words and teachings are our only reliable witness to this entropic slide into irrelevance and spiritual decay sneaking into the little flock of Messiah.
The PARABLE of the TALENTS in Matthew 25, a bitter lesson
“So stay alert, because you know neither the day nor the hour. “For it will be like a man about to leave home for a while, who entrusted his possessions to his servants. To one he gave five talents [equivalent to a hundred years’ wages]; to another, two talents; and to another, one talent — to each according to his ability. Then he left. The one who had received five talents immediately went out, invested it and earned another five. Similarly, the one given two earned another two. But the one given one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
“After a long time, the master of those servants returned to settle accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the other five and said, ‘Sir, you gave me five talents; here, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Excellent! You are a good and trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with a small amount, so I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and join in your master’s happiness!’ Also the one who had received two came forward and said, ‘Sir, you gave me two talents; here, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Excellent! You are a good and trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with a small amount, so I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and join in your master’s happiness!’
“Now the one who had received one talent came forward and said, ‘I knew you were a hard man. You harvest where you didn’t plant and gather where you didn’t sow seed. I was afraid, so I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here! Take what belongs to you!’ ‘You wicked, lazy servant!’ said his master, ‘So you knew, did you, that I harvest where I haven’t planted? And that I gather where I didn’t sow seed? Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, so that when I returned, I would at least have gotten back interest with my capital! Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten.For everyone who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has nothing, even what he does have will be taken away. As for this worthless servant, throw him out in the dark, where people will wail and grind their teeth!’
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, accompanied by all the angels, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. The ‘sheep’ he will place at his right hand and the ‘goats’ at his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest, I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the people who have done what God wants will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you our guest, or needing clothes and provide them? When did we see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ The King will say to them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me!’
“Then he will also speak to those on his left, saying, ‘Get away from me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, a stranger and you did not welcome me, needing clothes and you did not give them to me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, needing clothes, sick or in prison, and not take care of you?’ And he will answer them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you refused to do it for the least important of these people, you refused to do it for me!’ They will go off to eternal punishment, but those who have done what God wants will go to eternal life.”
Our individual commissions and the ‘Great Commission’ that is so forgotten of late by the Laodicean Church members can only be restored by the same members recommitting themselves fully to their assigned Holy tasks. The world is destined for dissolution and decay. What is to become of the lukewarm Christian? The obvious pathway of the lazy pew sitter is only leading downward into eternal irrelevance along with the lazy and irrelevant church and its destination is the lake of fire referenced by Yeshua in the quote above from Matthew.
Please, believer, act upon this warning! The world church holds no water and is a Broken Cistern. Leave it and seek a better way outlined for you by Yeshua who is pleading before the Throne of Heaven for you and for your Commission.
Walking on the road to Emmaus,
Rabbi James Talbott,
Yeshua HaTikvah Yisrael Ministry