Friday, May 30, 2008


... kai apostolikan... and shlichut Part 1
Today at 2:00pm | Edit Note | Delete
This note is a special theological reflection about the peculiar situation of "ministering" in Israel. I will be deveoloped in several parts/notes.

"I believe in one (mian), Holy (hagian) Catholic (Katholikan) and apostolic (Apostolikan) Ekklesian/qahal rav (קהל רב)" is at the heart of the Christian Creed. I include the Hebrew expression "Qahal rav = great, total assembly) because it is the original word "to call" which was then translated into Greek "ekklesia, Latin ecclesia" to determine that the Church gathers in those called by God and who respond positively, with conscience and awareness as far as it is possible.The Christian Creed of course refers to those who believe in Jesus Christ as "God born of God, Light born of Light... homoousous/of the same substance as the Father".

It is evident that the Body of Jesus of Nazareth insofar constitutes the unique Church of Jesus Christ. The problems that we have to face at the present and that developed all through history, is the systematic and progressive process of divisions from the One Church of Jerusalem till the numerous fragmented entities that claim to be the true "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Ekklesia". Full unity and agreement between the believers in the very town of Jerusalem has merely been a short reality. Clashes existed from the very beginning in the Holy City and we have the accounts of believers who would trust a episkopos or a presbyteros at a time and then turn to another if not many others for various reasons. Unity around the Apostles did not last. "Those who had adhered to the faith were one heart (Acts of the Apostles 4:32-35)". The decision taken at the first (real but not counted as such) synod of Jerusalem (49-52 AD) was pronounced by James, "ho adelphotheos - brother of God" who was ehading the Ekklesia in chapter 15 of the Acts of the Apostles. Speaking as a Hebrew bishop of the Early Church that was not separated de facto or de jure from official Judaism, he defined how the Gentiles should be accepted as members of the Church of the Risen Lord. He basically insists on the fact that they should observe the Noahide laws and men were not obliged to be circumcised. The same problems are pending until today as who and how individuals or groups can duly be considered as Christians or not. This is a major element of reflection in the process of "announcing the Word of God to alla the Nations". Until the baptism of Kornelios (Acts 10, which is very late), all the disciples and apostles were Jews, still connecting with the Mother Qahal. This is a very important factor in the constitution of the Early Church. Jews decided who could join the Church from the Gentility, not from Judaism because the process was substantially evident (mamash\ממש). They were not ehtnical Jews but born as Jews by faith in the community of Israel. This naturally opened the way to their "natural/substantial, native-like" adherence to the Faith as a full part of Israel's expectations. Saint Paul is saved because of his creed in the resurrection of the dead that is at the core or the Pharisees' faith.(Acts of the Apostles 23:6, 24:15).

There was no reason to impose circumcision for the Gentiles because it is an innate sign of Judaism and not faith in Jesus as the Messiah for the non-Jews. This is not often taken into consideration. Whatever circumstances, Jesus is indeed a Son of the Covenant (Galatians 4:4). Gentiles enter the Covenant = ekklesia = Qahal rav through adoption. This movement should be noted and duly understood: "mission" came from Judaism that added some then more and more Gentiles. To begin with, "mission" is Jewish in the embryo of the Early Christian communties/ekklesias.

The interesting point is that "mission" remains a Jewish specific spiritual or technical daily action. "apostolos = the one who is "post-ed, envoy" juste and the "shaliah - שליח " is the disciple who is sent form the time of the first centuries, through the ages and until now in the Jewish structure of authority in order to check that things are done, in th communities, according to rules and the Commandments. We must understand that the whole of the hierachy or structure of service in the Early Church is a simple copy of the then-existing pattern that government the functions in the Jewish communities. "Proestos/ presbyteros = kohen, sacrificial priest"; "episkopos = mevaker = overseer"; "diakonos = server = shamash (samas in Arabic). In his book "Al Murshid - The Guide", Ibn al Jarir sowed that thie structure of authority is similar to all the levels of angels and archangels who serve God from the high down to earth. I showed also that during my long years of teaching about "Laying of the Hand for priest in Judaism and Christianity, the Royal Gates, in French and Italian).

The real function of an "apostolos" deeply evolved from the time of Paul of Tarsus who claimed to be one of them (Romans 11:13; 1 Corinthians 9:1). The Twelve apostles (apostoloi) are duly posted to announce, firstly as disciples, that they believe that "sins are remitted" as "flesh has been resurrected and eternal life is real (end of the Creed verse about the Church).

Today, in the State of Israel - whatever problems encountered as the definition of the State as being the "State of the Jews - der Judenstaat", governed by the Jewish traditional written and oral Laws, there are also "shluchim" = the same word and of the same root in Hebrew as "apostles" in the Churches. They will check that food and products are kosher nd attest that all procedures conveyed in the name of the Jewish faith in the Living Lord are correct and not erroneous. They will check, in Israel and also in the world, that the teachings of the whole Jewish way of living and Mitzvot are sources of sanctification and well-implemented.

The Christian world - as the Jewish world - is definitely not aware of such a situation because of the estrangered ways to exert this control and "life-sustaining" service for the sake of God. This is a major problem of ignorance that is mutual and will not be resolved in the way it would have been cleared in the diasporas.

Indeed, in the diasporas, the Jews lived under often strict Christian regulations. At the present, all Christian denominations are placed under the administration of the Israeli civilian Law. This new situation has never existed before. This is totally unexpected for both the Jews and the Churches. But this should also allow them considering how far they resemble and not only - in many ways - dissemble or appear to be different.

(to be continued)

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