In our own spiritual journey, the Holy Spirit has led Peter and me to various congregations and ministries. Each new experience taught us something about living and functioning as members of the kingdom of YHVH. Although we fellowship with various groups and congregations, we continue our search for the one congregation where we are encouraged to put all the newly-acquired pieces together.
A brief summary of our journey may help to paint this picture more clearly. At one congregation, we learned to love each other unconditionally. However, the Spirit moved us on to another congregation to learn our Hebrew roots so that we might gain a more accurate knowledge of the history of our faith and acquire a better lens through which to understand both Old and New Testaments. Once again the Spirit moved us on to various ministries and congregations in order to understand better how we should be functioning in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. A separate ministry supplied us with a more mature understanding of our spiritual enemies and how to be delivered from bondage to the enemy. Interaction with various other ministries confirmed the message I had received from Father that we were to call Him by His name. While we are grateful for these congregations and ministries, we wonder why each group seems to have part of the truth, but not all of the truth. After meditating on Acts chapters 2 through 8, I began to realize just how fragmented the Bride of Messiah has become over the centuries.
The first eight chapters of the Book of Acts paints a very different picture of the living functioning Bride of Messiah. Yeshua’s followers lived together in close proximity to one another sharing all their belongings. As a unit they prayed, praised and worshipped, studied, healed, preached, taught, learned, and shared all their possessions (Acts 2:42-47). Today, we and many others must search from place to place to acquire what we need to be mature contributers to Yeshua’s Bride.
When did the fragmenting start? Right away, since the majority of Jewish leaders and many of their followers rejected Yeshua as their Messiah. Yeshua’s followers went to the Temple as YHVH commanded in the Torah, but they had to go outside the Temple parameters in order to learn about Yeshua. Although not perfect, the first generation of Yeshua’s followers provided a more complete picture of what the Bride should be. As time went on the Bride became further fragmented as the good news spread and Yeshua’s followers were scattered over several nations. Distance, persecution, poverty and other trials helped to foster misunderstanding, suspicion, and outright abuse or neglect of each other, especially dividing Jews from non-Jews. Constantine’s efforts to unite his massive empire mingled in pagan practices and beliefs, and at the same time sought to eliminate all ties to Jewish or Hebrew roots. Over time empty manmade rites and rituals increasingly replaced true relationship with YHVH.
At this time, YHVH seems to be restoring the Bride, perfecting her in anticipation of Yeshua’s return. Several congregations that we have met with locally are seeking to restore the missing pieces in their groups. Three Messianic congregations in India have demonstrated for us the most complete example thus far of how the Bride should function. These congregations function according to their Hebrew roots, actively preach and teach the good news of the Kingdom of YHVH, operate daily in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and call the Father by name. They do so in the midst of daily trials and persecution. What about each of us? How are we participating in YHVH”s work to restore the fragmented Bride?