12: The Union of Chanochian Netzarim Yisraelites
So back to Facebook it was with a mind that was in some ways more open, in others more closed, and in most, more confused and impatient. Being like the Ethiopian eunuch, before that fateful trip to Jerusalem, I fervently searched the Scriptures daily – but had no one to guide me through them.
The words of Theresa echoed in my mind. I had renounced her wacky group, and dismissed the concept that God’s main concern regarding our salvation was how good our spelling was. However it had brought to the forefront of my mind the importance of the Old Testament, and I began to notice more and more how many modern denominations seemed to forget that it even existed, and focus solely on the forgiveness and grace parts of the Gospels.
I began to search for a church that acknowledged the importance and relevance of the WHOLE Bible, both New and Old Testaments. And, as proved to be the usual manner of God’s humour during my Great Search, right when my mind was filled with these thoughts I received a message from a person who seemed to be very learned on the subject, and more than willing to help.
Ana was actually fluent in Biblical Hebrew, and was able to translate passages from the original text all by herself. She explained to me many finer points of seemingly insignificant verses – for example, when Jonah (who was actually “Yonah”) was about to be thrown overboard for bringing calamity on the vessel, even though verse 12 in popular translations has him bravely proclaiming
“Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me”
– apparently the original Hebrew text indicates that he was actually asking NOT to be thrown into the sea, even thought he knew he was the cause of the storm. What a revelation!
But what did it actually matter? Well, at that time I was so focused on the ONLY remnant of Truth available in the world today being the Bible, anything that indicated to me that my translations may not be 1,000,000% accurate had me packing my bags and heading for the hills. Luckily, I had Facebook, so I did not have to travel to Israel, where this lady currently was, to be able to study with her.
We conversed on many Old Testament subjects, such as Kosher food, Sabbath keeping, Temple practises and prescribed feasts and fasts. She reinforced to me the importance of following the Law of the Torah, as well as acknowledging that Jesus, or Ya’Shua or whatever you felt safe to call Him, was the promised and foretold Meshiah come into the world to save us from our sins. Only, unlike the simple Grace By Faith teachings of the Baptist and Methodist Churches, the True way to salvation was only to be found by following the WHOLE of God’s Word, not just the comfortable parts of the New Testament.
She sent me a link to her church’s website, the Union of Chanochian Netzarim Yisraelites. Over the next few weeks I read so much about Hebrew and Israel and the Law and the Prophets, that the Meshiah began to lose importance in the sea of feasts that needed to be observed and Laws that had to be obeyed. It wasn’t long before I began to doubt whether this Jesus was actually the real Messiah in the first place…which of course lead me to widen my Facebook Friends search to include those of the Jewish persuasion.
When I tried to do what I had termed “outsider research” (researching a religious group from the point of view of sceptics) on the CNYs, I found it extremely difficult to find anything at all. They appeared to be a worldwide group consisting of about 13 members. Although their wisdom seemed sound and their leaders seemed reverent, I was weary of following a tiny, breakaway cell who proclaimed that the Truth regarding God, the universe and salvation was held ONLY by them.
Part 13 will be published tomorrow.
Fr. John, I can’t stand it! This testimony is so fascinating and every day you leave me hanging from a cliff! I can’t wait until the whole thing is up. Thanks so much for your work at this site!