Nazarene Space

Semikhah

Prophecy of Restoration
 
Despite all of the prophecies of a universal apostasy and their fulfillment, there are also prophecies of a great restoration in the last days.  An amazing time is at hand! Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled. A major prophetic event that the Scriptures state will occur before the return of Messiah, is just about ready to occur, in fact it is happening right now!  We read in the Book of Baruch (in the Apocrypha):

… but in the land of their captivities they shall remember themselves. And shall know that I am YHWH their Elohim: for I will give them a heart, and ears to hear: And they shall praise me in the land of their captivity, and think upon my name, And return from their stiff neck, and from their wicked deeds: for they shall remember the way of their fathers, which sinned before YHWH. And I will bring them again into the land which I promised with an oath unto their fathers, Avraham,
Yitzchak, and Ya'akov, and they shall be masters of it: and I will increase them, and they shall not be diminished. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them to be their Elohim, and they shall be my people: and I will no more drive my people of Israel out of the land that I have given them.
(Barukh (Baruch) 2:30-35)

Baruch tells us that while still in the land of our captivity Elohim’s people will have a great awakening.  Notice this happens shortly before YHWH brings them back into the Land, shortly before they are gathered together on the four winds and return to the Land (Is. 11:12; Deut. 30:4; Zech. 2:6) at the return of Messiah (Mt. 24:27-31).  This Last Days restoration of truth is also mentioned in the Book of Enoch:

And thereafter, in the Seventh Week, a perverse generation shall arise. And many shall be its misdeeds and all its doings shall be apostate. And at its close the elect shall be chosen, as witnesses to righteousness, from the eternal plant of
righteousness, to whom shall be given seven-fold wisdom and knowledge. And they will uproot the foundations of oppression, And the structure of falsehood therein to destroy it utterly.
(Enoch 93:9-11)

Yes, after the apostasy takes hold, then a restoration will take place.  This restoration will derive from the “plant of righteousness”, YHWH’s cultivated olive tree (see Romans 11) and have seven-fold wisdom and knowledge, a profound enlightenment in understanding the Word of Elohim and tear down the false doctrines and customs of the apostasy.


Restoration of Semikhah

Semikhah is derived from a Hebrew word which means to is a Hebrew word referring to the laying on of hands and which is commonly used to refer to “authority” or “ordination”. This word commonly refers to the ordination of a rabbi within Judaism. Smikhah is the transmission of rabbinic authority to give advice or judgment concerning the Torah and only someone who had semikhah was authorized to give religious and legal decisions (b.San. 5b).  Semikhah is a system of ordination that according to tradition, traces its line of authority back to Moses and the seventy elders.

According to the Torah, Moses ordained Joshua through semikhah:

15 And Moshe spoke unto YHWH, saying,
16 Let YHWH, the Elohim of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the assembly,
17 Who may go out before them, and who may come in before them, and who may lead them out, and who may bring them in: that the assembly of YHWH be not as sheep which have no shepherd.
18 And YHWH said unto Moshe: Take you Yahushua the son of Nun, a man in whom is spirit, and lay your hand upon him.
19 And set him before El’azar the cohen and before all the assembly, and give him a charge in their sight.
20 And you shall put of your honor upon him, that all the assembly of the children of Yisra’el may hearken.
21 And he shall stand before El’azar the cohen, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before YHWH. At his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in: both he, and all the children of Yisra’el with him, even all the assembly.
22 And Moshe did as YHWH commanded him. And he took Yahushua and set him before El’azar the cohen, and before all the assembly.
23 And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as YHWH spoke by the hand of Moshe.
(Num  27:15-23 HRV)

And Yahushua, the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moshe had laid his hands upon him. And the children of Yisra’el hearkened unto him, and did as YHWH commanded Moshe.
(Deuteronomy 34:9 HRV)

Moses also ordained the 70 elders (Num  11:16-25) And the elders later ordained their successors in the same way. Their successors in turn gave semikhah others. The chain of semikhah thru laying on of hands continued and at least until the time of Hillel II.

After the Bar Kokhba revolution was put down by Rome in 132–135 CE, and the emperor Hadrian sought to end to the Sanhedrin. According to the Talmud, Hadrian decreed that anyone giving or accepting semikhah was to be killed and the city in which the it took place would be destroyed, and all crops within a mile of the event  were to be destroyed.  The line of succession was saved by Rabbi Yehuda ben Bava's martyrdom: he took no other rabbis with him, and five students of the recently martyred Rabbi Akiva, to a mountain pass far from any settlement or farm, and this one Rabbi ordained all five students.

R. Aha the son of Raba, asked R. Ashi: Is ordination effected by the literal laying on of hands? — [No,] he answered; it is by the conferring of the degree: He is designated by the title of Rabbi and granted the authority to adjudicate cases of kenas.

Cannot one man alone ordain? Did not Rab Judah say in Rab's name: ‘May this man indeed be remembered for blessing — his name is R. Judah b. Baba; were it not for him, the laws of kenas would have been forgotten in Israel.’ Forgotten? Then they could have been learned. But (13b) these laws might have been abolished; because once the wicked Government [Hadrian], decreed that whoever performed an ordination should be put to death, and whoever received ordination should he put to death, the city in which the ordination took place demolished, and the boundaries wherein it had been performed, uprooted. What did R. Judah b. Baba do? He went and sat between two great mountains, [that lay] between two large cities; between the Sabbath boundaries of the cities of Usha and Shefaram and there ordained five elders: viz., R. Meir, R. Judah, R. Simeon, R. Jose and R. Eliezer b. Shamua’. R. Awia adds also R. Nehemia in the list. As soon as their enemies discovered them he [R.J.b.B.] urged them: ‘My children, flee.’ They said to him, ‘What will become of thee, Rabbi?’ ‘I lie before them like a stone which none [is concerned to] overturn,’ he replied. It was said that the enemy did not stir from the spot until they had driven three hundred iron spear-heads into his body, making it like a sieve. — With R. Judah b. Baba were in fact some others, but in honour to him, they were not mentioned.
(b.San. 13b)

We do in fact see this doctrine represented among the ancient Nazarenes.  Paul advises Timothy “Do not quickly lay a hand upon a man” (1Tim. 5:22).

This discussion is not complete without mentioning an incident in which Yeshua was questioned about His authority.  This was his reply:

23 And when He had come to the Temple, the Chief Cohenim and the elders of the people approached Him as He was teaching, saying, By what authority do you these things? And who gave you this authority?
24 And Yeshua answered and said to them: I also will ask you this thing, which if you tell me, I in like wise will tell you, by what means I do what I am doing.
25 The immersion of Yochanan--of where was it: of Heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves and said, If we shall say, Of Heaven, He will say to us, Why did you not believe him?
26 But if we shall say, Of men, we fear the crowd: for Yochanan was in the eyes of all as a prophet.
27 And they answered and said to Yeshua, We know not. And He also said to them: And neither tell I you, by what means I do these things.
(Matt. 21:23-27 HRV)

The Pharisees challenge Yeshua as to where his semikhah, or authority comes from.  Yeshua responds by asking them about where Yochanan’s authority came from.  Yeshua was not evading their question.  Yeshua was raising this point because Yeshua’s earthly authority (semikhah) came from Yochanan (Jn. 1:6-8, 15, 26-27, 29-37) and Yochanan’s authority was from an Esseness rather than a Pharisaic source.  Thus Yeshua’s semikhah traced back through Yochanan to the Essene line of semikhah.  Yeshua was putting the Pharisses in the position of either acknowledging Essene Halachic authority or declaring it to be false.  It would appear that the Pharisees were hesitant to question the semikhah of a sect that was known for being even stricter on observance than they were.

This doctrine parallels the Catholic doctrine of “Apostolic Succession” which teaches that they have a succession of authority from the first century to the present day.  This Apostolic Authority was the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that was supposedly passed by succession and conferred upon them through the Apostles, who in turn received their spiritual authority from Messiah.   The Catholic and Apostolic Churches are the predominant proponents of this doctrine, claiming to have an unbroken chain of ordinations stemming from the Apostles.

Protestants take a very different approach to the “authority of the Church”, generally taking the view that their authority is derived not by succession from Moses of the Apostles, but from the Bible.  The Reformer Calvin expresses this view plainly:

"This, then, is the difference. Our opponents (speaking of the Roman Catholic Church) locate the authority of the Church outside God's Word, that is, outside of Scripture and Scripture alone. But we insist that it be attached to the Word and to not allow it to be separated from it. And what wonder if Christ's bride and pupil be subject to her spouse and teacher so that she pays constant and careful attention to His words. For this is the arrangement of a well-governed house. The wife obeys the husband's authority. This is the plan of a well-ordered school, that there the teaching of the schoolmaster alone should be heard. For this reason the Church should not be wise of itself, should not devise anything of itself but should set the limit of its own wisdom where Christ has made an end of speaking. In this way the Church will distrust all the devisings of its own reason. But in those things where it rests upon God's Word the Church will not waiver with any distrust or doubting but will repose in great assurance and firm constancy."
(Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volume 1, Chapter VIII)

The problem with Protestantism is that they cannot quite point to where the Bible actually gives them “the authority of the Church”, they simply point to the Scriptures in general and not to a specific passage that gave them authority.  

Now the original authority of Nazarene Judaism was the Assembly of Elders and Emissaries (Acts 15) which had received its authority from Yeshua (Matt. 16:17-19; 18:15-20).  However this Assembly disappeared around the fourth century with the passing of organized Nazarene Judaism.  

If prophecy is fulfilled and there is to be a restoration from the great apostasy, there must of necessity be a restoration of semikhah as well.  Elohim’s Assembly cannot be in chaos.  YHWH is not an author of confusion (1Cor. 14:33) that He desires that everything be done on a decent and orderly manner (1Cor. 14:40).  How then, in the restoration, is the authority to govern the Assembly of Yahweh restored?  How is SEMIKHAH restored to the earth?

The answer is to be found in the Torah itself.  As Nazarene Judaism was reorganized and restored, and non-selective Torah Observance implemented among the restored Nazarene Community, the International Nazarene Beit Din was established in obedience to the Torah:

Judges and officers shall you make you in all your gates, which YHWH your Elohim gives you, tribe by tribe. And they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.
(Deut. 16:18)

In 1996 prophecy was fulfilled and SEMIKHAH was restored with the re-establishment of the International Nazarene Beit Din.  It is important to note that establishing the International Nazarene Beit Din was not optional, it was in obedience to the Torah.  Nazarene Judaism did not choose to establish an International Nazarene Beit Din, Nazarene Judaism was required by Torah, in the absence of such a governing body, to re-establish it to the earth.  The Scripture was the authority, and specifically Deut. 16:18 was the authority and according to the Mishna and Talmud, SEMIKAH can be given by a Beit Din of a minimum of three Elders (m.Sanhedrin 1:3; b.San. 13b).


The fact that SEMIKHAH was to be taken from the earth as the apostasy progressed and that of necessity it would have to be restored so that the Assembly could be restored can be clearly shown from the Scriptures.

The authority to administer the Assembly in the Name of Yahweh is operative today in the International Nazarene Beit Din today and this authority or SEMIKHAH was confered upon the first officers of the International Nazarene Beit Din by the Torah itself.  

The restoration of this authority is essential to restoring the Assembly. As Paul writes:

3 And be diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of shalom:
4 That you be one body and one spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling...
11 And He gave some: emissaries, and some prophets, and some proclaimers, and some pastors, and some teachers,
12 For the perfecting of the Set-Apart-Ones: for the work of the service; for the edification of the body of the Messiah,
13 Until all of us become one and the same, in the Trust and in the knowledge of the Son of Eloah: and one complete man, according to the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Messiah.
14 And we should not be infants, who are shaken and turned about by every wind of the deceitful teachings of the sons of men, who by their craftiness are plotting to deceive:
(Eph. 4:3-4, 11-14 HRV)

The world as been "shaken and turned about by every wind of the deceitful teachings of the sons of men, who by their craftiness are plotting to deceive" (Eph. 4:14).  This was the result of the apostasy.

The officers of YHWH's Assembly were called by YHWH to maintain the Unity of the Body so that it should not be "shaken and turned about by every wind of the deceitful teachings." (Eph. 4:14).  In fact we are specifically told to disfellowship those who “cause divisions” from the Assembly:

Now I beseech you, brothers, mark them which cause divisions
and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned;
and avoid them.
(Rom. 16:17 HRV)

But Matthew 18:15-20 makes it clear that disfellowshipment can only occur after a process which involves bringing witnesses before the Beit Din. The logic is inescapable. Endeavoring to the unity of the Assembly sometimes requires the unpleasant task of disfellowshiping those who engage in the sin of sectarianism. Disfellowshiping such persons requires a Matthew 18:15-20 process. And a Matthew 18:15-20 process requires leadership structure, an Assembly of Elders with the power to bind and loose.

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