We know from Part 5 that the Jewish people were expecting the Messiah, but what else were they expecting? Ezek 13.1-3 talks about false prophets who speak from their own hearts. In Ezek 13.9 is says these false prophets will have no place in the “council of my people.” The word for “council” there is the word “sowd” which normally menas “mystery, secret, hidden” but in this case means “council, assembly” and the word comes from “yasad” meaning “to lay a foundation.” It’s numerical value is 70, the same as wine (symbolic for teaching) and it is one of the four levels of interpretation. Rabbi’s were called “carpenters” because they were seen as “building” the congregation of the Lord (Zech 1.20). This “council” or “sowd” is the inner council of the Lord and it symbolizes the concealed innermost essence of foundational teaching. False prophets do not have access to this and what they prophesy is found only in their own speculations, a major problem today. In Psa 1.5 says that sinners will not be in the “assembly” (Hebrew “adat”) of the righteous.
There are several words in Hebrew for “congregation.” First we have the word “kahal” and that is the one that is used overall. The second is “Adat” and it means “witness or testimony” and it is related to the word “edut.” In the Shema in Deut 6.4, the last letter in “hear” (ayin) and “one” (dalet) is written in large letters. It forms the word “ed” which means “witness.” The next word for congregation is “sowd” and it means the “secret council” of the Lord. It is related to building and related carpentry. It is also related to the concept that the leaders would be the “eyes of the congregation.” This is what Paul had in mind in Eph 2.20; 1 Cor 3.10-12 and 2 Tim 2.19. The people had this expectation, that the Messiah would come and be empowered by the Ruach ha Kodesh and “build” the congregation. God was going to “lay a foundation” (sowd), a “kahal” (congregation), to be an “adat” (witness), and all these words are used for congregation.
In Matt 16. 13-20 we have Yeshua stating that he is going to build his kahal upon the confession that he is the Messiah, or the chief cornerstone. Now remember, the word “church” was not used in this passage, he would have used Kahal, adat or sowd because Yeshua spoke Hebrew. Which one he used, we don’t know, but any of them meant “congregation.” The Jewish people in the first century had an expectation that the Messiah would build his congregation when he came, so this was not a new concept. If it is true that the prophets “never saw the “church” (kahal), then why didn’t Peter and the rest of the talmidim ask “What’s a kahal?” Whatever word he used, they expected the Messiah to say it. They had an expectation of what the Messiah was to do, what he would be like and they had an expectation of what was going to happen in this congregation he was going to establish. Everything was fitting in.
What were they expecting? Joel 2.28 says “after this” which is “acharay” and it refers to the Messianic age. There are two Messianic ages, the Yom’ot Mashiach and the Atid Lavo. IN the Messianic age, they expected the following to happen: The Ruach ha Kodesh in power poured out on believers; sons and daughters would prophesy (Num 11); that all men would prophesy (Num 11.29); old men would see dreams and young men see visions. In Isa 59.20-21, we have a prophecy that the redeemer (Kinsman Redeemer=”Goel”) would pour out the Ruach upon his people. In Isa 32.15 it is clear that when the Messiah came, the people expected the Ruach to be poured out. They expected a congregation of the righteous to be established, a “kahal.” Believers today have no real concept of what this “eschatological congregation” is or what it should look like. We know what a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic or Assembly of God church looks like. We say “They didn’t know it was coming” and there is nothing about it in the “Old Testament” but there is nothing in the Gospels and Epistles that you are not going to find in the Tanach. Even what is said by Yeshua and the Apostles (Shaliachim) was said in the Tanach.
Yeshua was crucified on Passover, buried on Unleavened Bread and rose from the dead on First Fruits, which was Nisan 17 that year. In Acts 1.9 he ascends to heaven, but first he tells the talmidim to wait in Jerusalem till power (the Ruach) from on high comes upon them. Acts 2.1-2, the scene is the Temple. It is the festival of Shavuot, when the Lord gave the Torah on Mount Sinai. The Ruach descends upon the people and the believers are immersed in the mikva’ot around the Temple area (Acts 2.37-41). In Acts 2.42 we see that these believers were teaching, in fellowship, the breaking of bread and in prayer. A structure for “the faith” was already there. Remember, when the talmidim asked “teach us to pray” Yeshua taught them a Jewish prayer structure. The structure he taught was exactly what they were already praying. Yeshua didn’t institute the “Lord’s Supper” or “immersion” either. These were already in place, to teach about him.
The “church” has done what God told said not to do, and changed these things from his Word. Deut 4.2 and Rev 22.19 warn against this. We have the blueprint from the Lord now, and we should apply these things. In Acts 2.46 it says that the believers were “continuing in the Temple” and worshipping in the midst of the Temple services, the sacrifices, the prayers and were part of the expected congregation. This is awful strange behavior for people who have been taught that all of this was “done away with.” They either didn’t listen to Yeshua when he told them not participate in all the “Law” stuff, or he never said it to begin with. We think that the latter explanation is true, Yeshua never told his followers to stop obeying the Torah after he resurrected. If he did say that, than he was a false Messiah. In fact, they tried to find evidence that he did just that and couldn’t find any. The fact is, the current “we are free from the Law” teaching that is prevalent in Christianity today is a false doctrine and it violates what the Lord said in Deut 4.2 and Rev 22.19. In Part 7, we will pick up here and bring out more concepts related to the book of Joel.