F.A.Q

Q: What does the term Mshikhanim mean?
A: The term “Mshikhanim” is plural and means “The disciples of Mshikha” (as in Yeshua Mshikha or Jesus Christ). The singular form is “Mshikhani”.

Q: What does the term Mshikhanuth mean?
A: Mshikhanuth means the faith of the Mshikhanim or the faith of the gentile disciples of Yeshua Mshikha. The traditions authorized by Yeshua through his Apostles predates Christianity. Mshikhanuth is a restoration of that same tradition. Thus, we are a religious community returning to the original faith of the gentile disciples of Yeshua.

Q: Are Mshikhanim a sect of Judaism?
A: While the Mshikhanim love and respect our Torah observant brethren (specifically, the Netzarim) and all the children of the tribes of Israel, we embrace the teaching of Mar Ya’aqub ha’Tzaddik (St. James the Righteous) which he composed to the gentiles. The actual body of the letter can be found in the historical document most commonly known as “The Didache” or “Teaching of the Twelve”. We believe this is not only a letter on how gentile disciples are to live, but we believe that within it is a covenant between the Father and His children of non-Jewish origin, that any person who embraces this covenant and walks this path will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Q: Are Mshikhanim a sect of Christianity?
A: The original gentile disciples of Mshikha were obedient to the Jewish leaders (Netzarim) in Jerusalem instead of the Christian leaders in Rome. They were not obedient to the Pope of Rome but to the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the families of Mary, Joseph and the families of the original Apostles and disciples. It was taught by false religious leaders that Yeshua’s family all died out but this was not true. They relocated from Jerusalem into Mesopotamia after the fall of the second Temple. We believe some of the doctrines of Christianity are highly corrupted from the original teachings originally given by Yeshua and Mar Ya’aqub. We worship the one Almighty and Ever-preset Creator Yahweh and believe that His Son Yeshua is our Messiah. We do not believe any of the creeds or doctrines that are in opposition to the teachings of the Original Church apply to the Mshikhanim. It is our tradition that the Patriarch of the Netzarim excommunicated the Pope of Rome hundreds of years ago, in 318 C.E by Patriarch Yosip II, only seven years before the Council of Nicea. It is for this reason our canon and creeds differ substantially from mainstream Christianity. This does not mean that we do not believe there is no truth in Christianity. It means that we are not from the Christian church that was established after Rome’s excommunication, which includes all sects and denominations branching from Rome (Protestants).

Q: Are Mshikhanim Torah Observant?
A: While we highly respect all disciples of Yeshua who are Jewish and who observe the Torah (as they were taught to do), the Mshikhanim are rooted in the covenant of the Didache, and this covenant does not require its followers to embrace Judaism nor does it require them to become Torah Observant to qualify as disciples of Mshikha. We have sister communities in the Assembly of Jerusalem: The Netzarim (the non-selective Torah Observant community of Essenes), the St. Thomas Christian Community (who embrace the gradual learning of Torah in their lives), and others.

If being Jewish was what Yeshua had intended for all people in the world, he would have taught this to his followers. Yeshua initially came to restore the twelve tribes to the Torah of Moses in the blood of the Messiah (in the mind, heart, and spirit of the Messiah), not to create a new religion or bring everyone into the tribes of Israel. He offered a covenant to the gentiles who heard about him, his life, his gospel and for those who wished to follow him, he offered a covenant through his brother Ya’aqub in the form of the the Didache.

For the Mshikhanim the Didache is our Torah. It is the gentile Torah. That is the Mshikhani view.

Q: Do Mshikhanim reject the Torah of Moses?
A: No. We do not reject the Torah of Moses; on the contrary, we revere the Torah and believe it is vital to the tribes of Israel. However, as stated above, we do not believe it is required of gentile disciples of Yeshua. If you look at the precepts of the Didache carefully you will notice many of the commandments of Torah are already central to this Teaching. The person who loves the Heavenly Father and follows Mshikha and lives by the Didache will enter the Kingdom of Heaven one day. That is a promise.

Q:Who is Mar Melchizedek?
A: Mar Melchizedek is the earthly manifestation of the Father’s Word. Mar Melchizedek appeared in the world on February 21, 2012 in Nepal. He taught the communities of the Religion of Light for several years, revealing many things previously unknown to these many religious communities. He paved the way for the current generation of believers. Mshikhanim who follow Yeshua, honor Him in their obedience to the Melekh ha’Tzaddik in the form of Mar Melchizedek. A Mshikhani who cannot be obedient to Mar Melchizedek cannot be a Mshikhani in this final age.

Q: Is Melchizedek the same as Yeshua / Mar Melchizedek and Mir Izzgada ? Are they the same being in their manifestation ?
A:Yes. “Melchizedek” is the same being as Yeshua, as Mar Melchizedek, Mir Izgadda and other Divine Manifestations of the Miltha or Word from heaven (the word made flesh). Today we also know him as the Teacher of Righteousness.

The Word manifests in different times and places for different purposes. He manifested in First Century Judea to restore the twelve tribes of Israel to the Torah of Moses, by his teaching and through his sacrifice on the Cross, to open the doorway for souls of this world to leave purgatory and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mar Melchizedek’s mission is to awaken sleeping souls in the current age, to awaken the different covenanting faiths in the world to being part of one greater, universal religion devoted to the Divine Source: the Religion of Light, among many other things.

Q: Who is Mar Chayim bar Ya’aqub ha’Tzaddik?
A: He is the current Teacher of Righteousness — another title for Mar Melchizedek.

Q: Are Mar Melchizedek and Mar Chayim bar Ya’aqub the same person ?
A: The celestial Mar Melchizedek and the earthly Mar Chayim bar Ya’aqub are two separate individuals. It is our understanding through divine revelation that Mar Melchizedek is within Mar Chayim bar Ya’aqub, and thus only in this sense can both be considered as one. Mar Melchizedek is the incarnation of the Biblical Melchizedek who established and maintains the Melchizedek Priesthood, which few on this earth hold at this time.

Q: What does the term “Mar” mean, such as “Mar-Yah” or “Maran Yeshua”, and “Mar” before a person’s name?
A: The term “Mar” is an Aramaic word which literally means “lord” or “master.” However, the definition of “lord” can mean different things. The way you say “my lord” to a human dignitary would not be how you would say “my Lord” to a Divine Messenger and this would be very different from the way you refer to the Heavenly Father.

Elder clerics and Abbots etc., of the Religion of Light are given the title of “Mar” to convey the level of respect conferred upon that servant of the faith. When you see the word “Mir” this also means “Lord” but indicates a celestial servant of the faith who is serving in the similar capacity as that mortal cleric called by the name “Mar”.

The term “Maran” is Aramaic and means “our Lord”. So the title “Maran Yeshua Mshikha” means “Our Lord Yeshua Messiah.” Other times you may read the term “Mari” (which is not the same as the name “Mary” or “Maryam”). “Mari” can be translated as “My Lord”.

Mar Melchizedek is actually a “Mir” because He is a Divine Messenger. The term “Mar Melchizedek” was offered by the Tzaddik and it is one we have used ever since.

Q: What days of the week do Mshikhanim meet for worship?
A: Traditionally, Mshikhanim meet on three days of the week, ideally:

* Saturday (to commemorate the Sabbath),

* Sunday (to celebrate the risen Mshikha)

* and Tuesday (To celebrate Mar Melchizedek appearing in the world in the current age).

If a community can only gather on a couple of these days or only one, that is acceptable but they should combine these observances into one or two services. Religion is not about “one day a week”, it is a religious life. For those that can, meeting together for all three services is very auspicious.

Q: What do Mshikhanim believe about the practice of “speaking in tongues”?
A: The speaking of tongues is prominent in various Pentecostal and certain “charismatic” sects of Christianity. Those who worship Yahweh should abandon such practices immediately and avoid those who continue to practice them.

Q: Should believers worry about electronics (such as memory chips) for fear they are a sign of the devil?
A: This is a superstition that is based on misinterpretations of the Book of Revelation or the speculations of false teachers and doomsayers. This is a popular superstition as taught in some fringe Christian denominations, and accepted as fact by an alarming number of people.

Q: Would be it be inappropriate to attend the wedding of a Christian relative?
A: Mshikhanim may attend special events like baptisms, marriages, and funerals, but they are not to attend religious services and classes. For example, if a religious leader calls you to pray a prayer to a false god, you should offer your prayer to Yahweh instead, and so on. You should not actively seek to attend any religious worship service in Christian Churches (except where already stated). On the other hand, attending conferences that promote peace between various religions, without being involved with rituals, is acceptable.

Q: Can Mshikhanim intermarry outside their faith?
A: This is a complicated matter. Ideally, a Mshikhani should marry another Mshikhani if at all possible. If not, they may marry a believer of one of the other sects of the Assembly of Jerusalem, or one of the religious communities of the Religion of Light. Outside of this, we do not endorse intermarriage.

This does not apply to a person who is already married to someone of a different faith who then enters our faith.

If a person intends to marry a person outside the faith we will not prohibit this but we do not encourage it. Intermarriage with people who have no covenant with the Father or no discernible faith can lead to serious problems domestically further down the road, especially if the couple intends to have children and raise them in their faith. The wise Mshikhani, who is not currently married, will look for a partner among those who share their beliefs, or someone within the Religion of Light.

Q: Do Mshikhanim believe Muhammad was a prophet?
A: Mshikhanim do not believe Muhammad was one of the Father’s prophets.

Q: Do Mshikhanim believe Islam is a divinely revealed religion?
A: Mshikhanim do not believe Islam is a divinely revealed religion. We believe it was the result of corrupt teachings given by a wicked spirit combined with the beliefs of the individual himself. Mar Melchizedek has said of Islam:
“If permitted, the religion of war (Islam) will destroy a country like a bee that works for many hours to create a hole in the plank of wood and eventually how men destroy a forest with fire. Islam itself is a house of death, destruction and violence.”

Q: May Mshikhanim pray alongside Muslims or attend services in a mosque?
A: Mshikhanim are not permitted to pray alongside Muslims or attend services in mosques or other areas where Islamic worship takes place. That being said, Mar Melchizedek has said: “We respect our neighbors who follow Muhammad when they respect the fact that all humanity is equal before the Father and when they no longer desire to wage war against the innocent or those they perceive to be evil.” If Muslims live and let live, Mshikhanim have no problem with the Muslim community.

Q: “We live in a village where there are a lot of Moslems around us. If someday one of our neighbour commemorates their parents or their family who has died, they usually have festivity and prayers. We as their neighbour are invited. We have to come to keep peace. What then should we do?”
A: If it is a matter of keeping the peace, you may do this, but do not offer Muslim prayers. If you are forced to do so, offer your prayers to the Father, instead. You can avoid conflict and still remain faithful to your own religion.

Q: If there is a guest who wishes to spend the night at my home, and he or she is Moslem, when they want to pray, what should we do? May we permit him to pray in our house? (This question was sent from a member in Indonesia)
A: I would say, that you want to keep the peace as much as possible. I understand that in Indonesia it is very common to have family and friends who are Muslim and you do not want to cause unnecessary hostility with family and friends that would be against our faith (we need to be peace makers as much as possible.) So this is what I would recommend:
If you have visitors who are Muslim and they wish to pray according to the dictates of Islam, make a special place in your home for them to do this, but this should be separate from any place that you offer prayer to Yahweh. Do not permit them to pray in front of your home altar, for example. If you have a local facility for Mshikhani worship, do not allow Muslim worship in the congregation. You must keep the worship area free from unclean worship. We are taught that Islamic worship is impure. But, if you have family and friends who are staying at a Mshikhani home and you need to keep the peace, create an area where those family and friends can say their own prayers. Do not lecture or harass them about this. Allow them to say their prayers, and they should not prohibit you from offering your worship either.”

Q: There is an event after Idul fitri day for the Moslems, it is called syawalan. (We forgive each other). It is usually held in the yard or one of our neighbour’s house, not in the mosque, but in syawalan they read prayer according to their religion. After that, it is continued singing songs. What should we do?”
A: If it is customary in your local neighborhood for all people to participate, and it is seen as causing offense and conflict by not attending and this would cause conflict in your homes, I suggest: If you can avoid attending the Eid prayers, that would be the best, and then show up for general songs and festivities afterwards, that would work. If you cannot avoid attending the eid celebration without causing unrest socially, Mshikhanim should quietly recite Mshikhani prayers, where all others are offering Islamic prayers. When they bow down to allah, you bow down to the Creator instead (do not refer to our God Yahweh as “allah”). I only offer this if, by refraining from attendance, it causes unrest in families and among neighbors. If you can avoid Islamic religious services that would be best, but if not, there is a way to be present but not be participating in their prayers.

Q: “In Mshikhanim we are taught to pray three times a day. Is it an obligation? Or are we free not to pray when we are not in the mood to do so?”
A: While it is not obligatory, it is highly encouraged for Mshikhanim to offer prayer morning, noon and night. Simply not being in the mood is not a fitting excuse for choosing not to offer prayer. But it is not obligatory. If something comes up and you are not able to offer prayer within a particular time frame, that is fine. But it should not be left up for Mshikhanim to arbitrarily decide whether or not they wish to pray, simply because they are not in the mood. That denotes spiritual immaturity and that is not good. The local congregation should be understanding if a person cannot offer daily prayer, but they should strongly encourage one another to offer regular prayers. With the exceptions being because someone is physically unable to do them, due to illness, or work or some other reasonable excuse. A Mshikhani should not look for reasons to avoid prayer, but on the contrary, look for reasons to offer prayer, whenever and wherever they can. It is a command and tradition in our religion, as shown in our Scriptures, to at least pray the Lord’s Prayer three times per day.

Q: “If anybody should ask me ‘Is Yeshua God?’ what answer should I give? Should we worship Yeshua as equal to Yahweh?”

A: Mshikhanim do not believe that Yeshua is equal to the Father Yahweh (Mar-Yah). As such, we do not worship Yeshua as Yahweh. Mainstream Christianity believes that Jesus as equal with Yahweh and worship Him as such, but Yeshua never taught such a doctrine and the apostles never worshiped him in that manner. While Yeshua and other beings in the Scriptures are referred to as “God”, this does not equate the Son with the Father.

Q: In Genesis 6:4 tells about the giants, sons of God and the daughters of men, who are they?
A: They are referred to as the Nefilim. The mortal women were raped by fallen angels. The result were these demonic creatures. We are told they did not look human at all. The closest description we could give is that they looked like very large, predatory beings, such as as the manner in which some dinosaurs might be depicted. We are told that many of the fossils of large predatory dinosaurs in museums in the world, are actually the remains of the Nefilim.

Q: If there is a pastor who wants to learn about Mshikhanuth (the religion of Mshikhanim), and wants to direct his congregation to the teachings of the Mshikhanim, is this allowed?
A: Any person can learn Mshikhanuth. If a Christian pastor wants to learn Mshikhanuth, and wants to become a Mshikhani, and wants to direct his congregation to do the same, this is all allowed. However, he should not teach Mshikhanuth if he is not a Mshikhani. He should become a Mshikhani, and then he will likely wish to engage in some form of outreach program and share the teachings of Yeshua with people. If his old congregation believes in Mshikhanuth and wants to live it, they should get baptized and make a profession of faith as we expect of all who enter the Assembly of the Mshikhanim.

Q: Are the ordinations of clerics in Roman Catholic accepted by Mshikhanim?
A: Mshikhanim do not accept the ordinations of any person in the Roman Catholic Church as valid. The reason is that the entire Roman Catholic Church and all its branches were officially excommunicated by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 318 A.D. by Patriarch Yosip II for disobedience and teaching false doctrines. No lineage of the Roman Creation (which includes Protestant and various other branches of Christianity), with the notable exception of those that enter the Religion of Light, are viewed as having the Holy Leaven and apostolic lineage. When they were excommunicated they no longer held an apostolic lineage.

Q: Where is the Ark of the Covenant at present?
A: It is no longer in this physical realm.

Q: If someone is told the rules or how to pray such we should bow down when the name of God mention in reciting Sh’ma, then he said : ahh…the important thing is our heart. Is it the right answer?
A: While the heart is important, the manifestation of our love for the heavenly Father is our obedience to Him. When we love Him enough, we want to approach Him reverently. If we do not care, that is not love. Adhering to the rules should be done with a heart devoted to the Creator. To abandon the structure, saying that it only matters if our heart is right, is simply an excuse for not paying attention to the guidelines that show reverence to our Father. If we love Him, we want to please Him. If we want to please Him we learn the best way to express this love and obedience. For this reason, the structure in offering prayer and worship are signs that we care.

Q: Can someone who has had an abortion in the past become a Mshikhani?
A: Abortion is a sin. In the teaching of Mar Ya’aqub to the gentiles, he states: “You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill a child that has been born.” Our Scriptures tell us: “You shall not murder a man, a woman or a child, neither shall you abort an infant; and you shall not commit to the unnecessary killing of any life including animals and plants.” Speaking of politics, our Lord says this about abortion: “If you vote for a political party that condones the practice of abortion, then the blood of the innocent is on your hands.” Thus, in Mshikhanuth, abortion is not an acceptable practice.

When a person enters the faith, they are humbling themselves before their Creator. If a person has committed this sin in their past, and they are repentant and are committed to living a religious life that does not condone the act of abortion, they can receive the Father’s forgiveness and they may be a Mshikhani.

No one is denied entry for their past sins. If they confess their sins, they repent and resolve to not live a sinful life anymore.

Q: Please let me know if someone in Mshikhanim is ill, and his/her friend who is Christian  says “I pray for you, you will be recover in the name of Jesus. Amen. So, what should she/he do? Say Amen or just keep silent?”
A: You can simply say, “Amen”. It is an act of kindness on their part. There are times to discuss theological and philosophical differences when someone is offering to pray for you or for someone you know or love, that is not one of them.

Q: In ablutions, do we also wash feet? Or only hands, arm, elbows and face?
A: Mshikhani ablutions are for the hands, forearms (up to the elbow), the face, top of the head and the neck. They do not require a washing of the feet.

Q: On the conversations between Maran Yeshua and Nicodemus, what does Maran Yeshua mean by being reborn with water and spirit?
A: The reference by Maran Yeshua is not literal. In Judaism, a ritual immersion in water is called a “Mikvah”. It is a traditional purification rite. This is where the concept of baptisms first derived. Notice it did not start with Yeshua. John the Baptizer was performing baptisms in the River Jordan with the people of Judea. They knew what it was because having mikvahs was an ancient practice in Judaism. So a mikvah, or baptism is a type of spiritual rebirth. Additionally, however, to receive the baptism of the Spirit of holiness, to have the presence of the Holy Spirit with a person is a spiritual rebirth as well. A person who has been baptised and the Spirit is with them, is considered spiritually reborn. If a disciple of Yeshua is baptized by someone who serves Yeshua Mshikha, and receives the Spirit of holiness, he or she is spiritually reborn.

Q: Does our faith believe in reincarnation? If yes, are there any signs when someone has been reincarnated?
A: In the Religion of Light, we teach that reincarnation is a reality. It is not the way it is described in some religious traditions in the world, however. There is no transmigration of souls between life forms such as plants, animals, humans etc., and it is not offered to all souls — only those who have turned to the Father at some point in their existence, who need to work through some attachments to the physical world. The Netzarim and Mshikhanim do not focus strongly on this doctrine so as not to confuse those who come from traditional Jewish and Christian backgrounds who would find such teachings confusing.

Regarding if there are any “signs” a person has been reincarnated, no, there are no outward physical signs of this. Mar Melchizedek once said (and can be found in our scriptures) that a person, when they die, loses all memory of their physical life. Because memory is tied to the brain and when the brain is gone, there is no more memory for that spirit. So people claiming to have past life memories are not being accurate or it is some type of spirit attachment they are picking up on (they are not their memories they are experiencing in that moment.) Mar Melchizedek has said the majority of souls incarnating in the world today are reincarnated souls working through attachment issues.

Q: What does our faith say about the rapture? Are our opinions the same as Christians?
A:The doctrine concerning a “rapture” is not part of our tradition, thus we do not share Christianity’s view on the topic.

Q: I want to ask about visions that the Christians usually say they see, for example, they see in their visions about heaven and hell and about meeting Jesus. What is the opinion of our faith about this? Do these visions come from the Father?
A: The matter of visions is an over used term in religion in general. Let’s begin with the definition of the word “vision”. It means: “An experience of seeing someone or something in a dream or trance, or as a supernatural apparition.” The experience is to either see a being, an object, a location or an event of some kind, either while you are:

1. Dreaming
2. In a trance
3. Experiencing a supernatural apparition of some kind.

Given the large numbers of people who use this word for an experience they have had, the number who have actually have experienced a supernatural apparition is relatively low. The greatest percentage of people who claim to have visions are either:

*Dreaming
*Daydreaming, fantasies (letting their imaginations wander)
*Meditating or in contemplation
*Or claiming to have had a vision when they have not
*Hallucinations brought on by intoxicants

Let’s omit the instances of daydreaming, false claims drug induced hallucinations and focus on the other two:

*Dreams
*Meditation (Contemplation)

*Mar Melchizedek has taught us that dreams are the mind flushing out the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the previous days or another time. Imagine you went to a farm during the day, and you saw some cattle. In your dream, you may find yourself in a similar setting and see cows. You might remember this when you wake up and think there is something important about the farm or cows, but in reality, it was only your mind flushing out the memories and experiences. Or maybe you saw a film that was about space. When you dream you have elements of your subjective experience of that dream in your mind and they show up in your dream. It is not a vision about space, but instead is your mind flushing out the data you perceived while conscious. A lot of dreams are simply the result of this flushing of data or processing various aspects of the experience while you were conscious.

*Meditation, however, is a different matter. If a person has a clear mind and they are not letting their minds wander or listening to their own internal voice (psychobabble), and images and thoughts come to them, there may be more going on than just a wandering mind or having delusions.

Not every one who is claiming to have had a vision has actually had a legitimate vision. Nor is every person who may have had some valid experience, recalling the experience with accuracy or interpreting it accurately, either.

Think of the dreams you have had that you can precisely remember every detail. Many people cannot remember their dreams at all. Some remember parts of them when they first wake up, but very quickly forget them (they cannot recall what exactly happened in context). As the day wears on, by recalling the experience, the imagination begins to fill in spots the individual has forgotten. The end result is no longer the dream, but a fabrication of the imagination. There may have been traces of the dream, but the majority is strictly a work of fiction made up by that person’s imagination.

We do not wish to discount the visions people have, but at the same time, we should not take every experience a person shares to be a legitimate vision, either. If a person fantasizes about meeting Yeshua a lot, and these desires show up in their dreams, they can misinterpret this as “having a vision of Yeshua” when the truth is, it was their mind flushing out the data they have store up through the day.

Be wary of people who speak of God speaking to them directly or that Yeshua or Mary appeared to them (check the details, what was exactly happening). In the Assembly of Jerusalem, there is a school of prophets who train from a very young age to receive and interpret dreams and actual visions. These experiences are corroborated with others to discern if there is some kind of divine message being relayed. We find that the Father rarely entrusts a random individual to relay important knowledge. To entrust a pure message to an imperfect vessel runs the risk of that information either getting lost or grossly distorted in some way.

Q: Why do Mshikhanim use the Yeshuan prayer* for meditation (“Maran Yeshua Mshikha bar Alaha, have mercy upon me.”)? Why do we pray to Yeshua, and not to the Father directly?
A: Prayer to the Ever-present Creator and meditating upon the Name of Yahweh is auspicious and is always encouraged. On the matter of the Yeshuan prayer, historically it is rooted in the Gospels, specifically, in the Book of Luke. It is a response to the parable of the publican and the sinner. (Luke 18:10-14) The publican humbly offers the prayer, “Lord have mercy upon me, a sinner.” A version of this prayer has been used by the Desert Fathers and is the basis of the story known as The Way of the Pilgrim, where the Christian wishes to learn to pray without ceasing. It is this prayer that is used quite frequently throughout the day, usually in a contemplative manner. This is one reason Mshikhanim are encouraged to use the Yeshuan Prayer.

We believe the Yeshua is a manifestation of the the Miltha (the Word from Heaven). As such, he is a faithful representative of the Father. While the Son is not the Father, the Son is the “image” of the Father and is how individuals may know the Father. None can come to the Father except by the Word. For these reasons, the Yeshuan prayer is a worthy prayer for Mshikhanim to use in worship, contemplation, and meditation.

Q: Muslims in Indonesia will celebrate Eid ul Adha soon.They have to slaughter cows & sheep or goats as sacrificial animals. They usually share or give them to other people.The question is: May we eat this sacrificial meat? It is offered to their god.

A: This answer was graciously supplied by His Holiness who has stated: “Adherents of the Religion of Light, regardless of the Spiritual Community, should not consume the meats, fruits, or vegetables sacrificed to any false god. The only time this would be acceptable is if the receiver was dying of hunger and was unable to obtain proper food elsewhere. Otherwise, individuals consuming such meats and/or foods are participating in an idolatrous act.”

Q:What about the use of tattoos among Mshikhanim? There are two kinds of tattoos, permanent and temporary like henna in India, or stickers. What about a person who has a permanent tattoo as a Mshikhani?
A: While Mshikhanim should abstain from getting permanent tattoos, no person would ever be denied entry into the Assembly of the Mshikhanim for having a tattoo or piercing of any kind. If the tattoo is offensive in some way, it should be covered or even removed if they can afford it (this is often an expensive and painful process). But if it is not specifically offensive, they are not required to remove it or cover it. Once a person becomes a Mshikhani, it would be wise not to seek getting a tattoo, however. In regard to temporary tattoos like henna or stickers, these are fine. Again, as long as the designs or images depicted are not offensive to others.

Q: Is there a redemption of the firstborn in Mshikhanim?
A: While the doctrine of the redemption of the first-born is scriptural, it applies to Yeshua’s Jewish followers (whether born Jewish or converted), and not an obligation upon his gentile disciples. Other sects of the Assembly of Jerusalem may have different instruction, but it is not required for Mshikhanim.

Q: Some of the Indonesian food contains shrimp, such as shrimp crackers, shrimp paste for making a sauce. Can we eat them as a Mshikhani?
A: A Mshikhani is not obligated to Torah’s dietary laws. Thus shrimp, shrimp paste, shrimp crackers, sambal, etc. are permissible for Mshikhanim. This does not mean, however, that Mshikhanim do not have dietary laws. For example, we fast on Wednesdays from dairy products and from meats on Fridays. This is in accordance with the Didache and Second Pillar. Additionally, we do not eat living creatures, that is, we do not consume the meat of an animal while it is still alive. The Teacher of Righteousness has also placed a prohibition on the killing and/or consumption of all endangered species.

Q: Can we use tea, syrup or another drink for Qurbana Qadisha instead of wine?
A: Ideally, if at all possible, wine should be used for Qurbana Qadisha. If no wine is available, you may use grape juice but this should only be if wine is nor available or if it not permitted by local laws. If wine or grape juice is not available, clean water is permitted, but an effort should be made, when possible, to obtain wine or grape juice.

Q: The theory about the earth being flat and round, is there any explanations about this in the faith?
A: While there were some people in the past who believed that the earth was flat (and there are even some small groups of people who believe this today), it has been abundantly clear that the Earth is, in fact, spherical or round. This has been proven by science. In Religion of Light writings, this is also validated.

There are those misguided people who look at the Bible and are overly literal about certain phrases like “Corners of the Earth” or “The ends of the Earth”. They mistake these terms to be literal and make the mistake of thinking the earth must have “edges” or “corners”, but that is a misunderstanding of the texts. This is how small minded people keep from growing spiritually, by taking the ancient allegories or ancient writers in a literal way.

All theories about the Earth being flat, are only that, the theories of misguided men. They are not reality.

Q: There is a passage that says, “No human being has ever seen the Great Father, but He makes Himself known through His Living Son who serves as a mirror of Yahweh. Humanity, in its fallen state, while in a shell is unable to see Yahweh without experiencing death.” The question is, what about Moses in Exodus 33:11? “Yahweh spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. He turned again into the camp, but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart out of the Tent”. How do we explain this to anybody who asks about this?
A: This can be understood by focusing on the word “presence”. You will find that we use this word very often in the Religion of Light. We refer to a Divine Messenger as “His Divine Presence”. The Father is not in the physical creation but the Living Son is. He is the reflection of His Father in the actual creation itself. Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, so too, the Son reflects the majesty of the Father inside the creation. When we are looking at a Divine Messenger, we are seeing the reflection of the Father (just not Yahweh Himself who exists outside of creation).

When we speak of the Father meeting Moses “face to face” this is metaphorical. It was not the literal face of the Creator Himself being in the proximity of the literal face of Moses. It meant the spirit of the Father was communicating with Moses. The Hebrew word for “face” and “presence” are often used synonymously in our scriptures.

Q: Is there any explanation in our faith about the human spirit while they sleep? Does the spirit roam around to another plane?
A: It is our understanding that the spirit does travel while the body is asleep. The spirit can receive instruction during this time, but I would say that it depends on the nature and development of that particular person. Most people cannot consciously recall what they experience during the time they are unconscious or at least, not very much, and not in context. This does not mean the spirit has not experienced anything during this period. Select individuals like saints, can and do recall these interactions more clearly. The same is true with prophets and prophetesses today.

In St. Sundar Singh’s books, you can read of events of this saint and his spiritual experiences while out of the body. Such events have been confirmed numerous times by Divine Revelation.

Q: When was the birth of Yeshua?
A: The birth of Yeshua is observed on the first of October on the modern calendar.

Q: If there is a person in our faith who committed an offense such as permitting a shaman to cast away a spirit in their house. What must a person do to be forgiven of such a sin?
A: The individual should make confession to the Bishop, and commit to not repeating the offense.

Q: Are Mshikhanim permitted to watch pornographic films or read pornographic literature?
A: On the matter of whether Mshikhanim may watch pornography, the answer is no, they should not. Viewing sexually explicit material like films or shows may incite the mind toward lustful desires, which are not spiritually beneficial. Lust is a serious obstacle for humanity to overcome because it is so prevalent in society, especially in the modern world.

In the Gospels, Maran Yeshua teaches the people of Jerusalem: “You have heard that it has been said, ‘You shall not commit adultery;’but I say to you that all who looks at a woman as lusting has immediately committed adultery in his heart.” Notice that Yeshua is saying that even to look upon someone in a lustful way (not speaking of married persons for one another), is comparable to committing adultery in the heart.

In the Epistle of Mar Ya’aqub he says: “My child, do not be filled with lust, for lust leads to fornication, neither foul-speaking neither with uplifted eyes; for of all these things lead to unfaithfulness and are not becoming of a follower of Mshikha.” Mar Ya’aqub is saying that even if a person were to have lust within oneself that it is a slippery slope, that the person who allows themselves to entertain lustful thoughts and desires today, opens themselves up to sins rooted in those thoughts and desires tomorrow. So it is wise to avoid the temptation.

Mar Melkhizedek has said: “Never give up on the battlefield with the evil one. Once you give in to lust, the evil one has placed a claw within your side and has control of your very mind and it will be very difficult for you to escape.” His Divine Presence is teaching us that when we allow ourselves to give into sinful conduct such as lust, it makes it that much more difficult to be free of such desires that enslave the soul. It can be accomplished, but it takes great effort to do so. Again, the wise person avoids the temptation whenever possible.

In regard to pornography a person may not believe they are doing anything wrong but they are sowing the seeds for future problems in their lives. Some people develop strange ideas about something which should be a healthy practice among monogamous couples. Others develop addictions to pornography which are unhealthy, and then still others may even commit infidelity because they were incited by inappropriate materials and allowed themselves to dwell on them leading to inappropriate and sinful behavior. So, again, the answer is no, Mshikhanim should not watch pornography or read pornographic literature.

Q: As a Mshikhani, what may a young boy do when he is dating? When he goes with his girlfriend, can they hold hands for each other? Can they kiss each other? Please let me know in order we can give the advise to our sons or daughters what may they do when they are dating as Mshikhanim.
A: When Mshikhanim are dating, the traditional rules of propriety should apply, meaning that Mshikhanim who are dating can be affectionate toward one another. They can hold hands, they can kiss one another and so on. But beyond this, physical relations (i.e. sexual relations) should be reserved for after marriage.

Q: The verse in the Scriptures where Yeshua says, “I and my Father are one.” Some say this is proof that Christ is the same as Yahweh. Is this true?
A: In this verse, Yeshua is not saying that he and Yahweh are literally the same entity. To be one with someone does not mean to actually “be” that person, only that you are of one mind, one heart and one view with some one. For example, to come together as an assembly with unified beliefs, that makes us one with each other in spirit. It does not mean we are one physical being. Yeshua, as the Manifestation of the Word from heaven made flesh, is one with the mind of Yahweh.

Q: What about John 8:58, where Yeshua declared, “I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”? Some say that this proves the Christ is the same as the Father.
A: For Yeshua to say ‘Before Abraham, I was” is not saying he was Yahweh, only that he, as a living being, existed before the physical Abraham. In the Religion of Light we teach that Yeshua is the Manifestation of the Word from Heaven in the flesh. This Word from Heaven predates the world itself. So it is only natural that if Yeshua predates creation, then he would obviously predate Abraham.

There are a number of reasons people would have stoned a person in ancient times. The idea that the only reason they were attacking Yeshua was because He was implying He was Yahweh is quite a leap. If other people made the claim that they thought he was God, that is not the same thing as Yeshua, himself, making such a claim. The evil one wanted the message that Yeshua was teaching to end. The evil one’s desire was that if Yeshua was dead, it would put at least a temporary end to the plan of God. This is why the false leaders were stirred up in a way that they desired to stone Yeshua.

Q: What about in John 1:1 says that “the Word was God”? Also in John 1:14 it says that “the Word became flesh.”
A:The scriptural reference in John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” sounds as if the Word and God are one and the same but that is not what we believe. The Word of God is the Son, not the Father. It is the expression of God’s Will in Creation, not God itself. For example, if you shout, the sound that emanates from you, once it leaves you, is no longer you, it is sound. The Word, while emanating from the Father, is not the Father, but the Son.

This verse and others tell us that the Word pre-existed. The Divine Reflection of the Father existed with the Father before the creation of all that we know. This means that the Word was originally with the Father outside of the physical creation. The Son did not come into existence with the advent of the physical creation. He predated physical creation. Where was the Son at this point? In the Presence of the Father, outside of creation. So “The Word was with God”.

The part of the verse that says “the Word was God” has been debated by Christians and other religious persons for more than a thousand years. In the Religion of Light, we teach that the Son is the Reflection (image) of the Father, just as the light of the moon is the reflection of the light of the sun. The Son is the reflection of the Light of his Father in the physical creation. We only know of the Father through the Son (“No man comes to the Father but by Me”.) This means the Word in all its manifestations in Creation.

While this and other verses of the Scriptures refer to Yeshua with the title “God,” it is our understanding that the Word is the pure reflection of God in Creation, not that the Word was literally Yahweh. Because of this he is referred to as God. The Father has commanded that the angels worship Yeshua. The Father Himself refers to His Son as “God.” (Read Hebrews 1:6-10) Some verses in the Scriptures even say “Yeshua is Yahweh.” For example, we read: “Therefore I give you to understand that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Yeshua accursed: and that no man can say that Yeshua is Yahweh, except by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Another verse says: “If you shall confess with your mouth that Yeshua is Yahweh, and shalt believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be delivered.” We understand such phrases to mean that Yeshua is of Yahweh, meaning that he is from his Father. This is why we refer to Yeshua as a manifestation of the Word from Heaven. This does not mean that we believe Yeshua is to be equated with the Great Yahweh in the flesh, only that Yeshua was a manifestation of the Word in the flesh. Everything Yeshua Messiah does is according to the Will of his Father Yahweh, thus he is worthy of being referred to as God. If Yahweh refers to His own Son by the title of “God,” why shouldn’t we do the same?

Q: Are women who are experiencing their menstruation permitted to attend services for Qurbana? If so, should she sit behind a wall or partition?

A: Historically, Netzari women follow the laws of niddah (family purity) which relates to female disciples during their times of menstruation. However, this was not specifically outlined for the gentile women in the time of Yeshua Messiah. For this reason, Mshikhani women may receive Qurbana during their time of menstruation and they are not required to relocate in the worship hall during services. If a woman wishes to remain at home during the time of menstruation, this is permitted and she should not be judged. This is a private matter. She can receive Qurbana bread the next week or a family member may bring it to her.

Q: Would you mind giving the explanation about Didache 16:12?
A: The version you are referencing reads: “Then all created mankind shall come to the fire of testing, and many shall be offended and perish; 16:12 {but they that endure} in their faith {shall be saved} by the Curse Himself.” Another version of the Didache renders this verse in the following manner: “Then all humankind shall come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself.”

The previous version makes it difficult for the average person to understand, whereas the Mshikhani edition is very clear. Those who endure in their faith shall be delivered from under the curse itself. In the context of the Didache, the Way of Death is called evil and accursed. Therefore, the person who endures in their faith shall be free from the curse of the way of death. Certain editions of the Didache make it appear the curse to be the evil one as opposed to the way of death.

Q: I have read on Facebook where someone said that “Ahayah” is the true God and he said that Yahweh is the name of God, is it right?
A: “Ahayah” is an ancient name for Yahweh used in the Hebrew Scriptures. Sometimes you will hear brothers and sisters pray with the name “Yah Ahayah”. This is still referring to the same God Yahweh or Mar-Yah.

Q: Are we permitted to speak a lie in order to keep peace?
A: The Didachce states; “My child, do not speak lies, since lying leads to theft, neither greedy neither boastful; for all of these things lead to theft and are not becoming of a follower of Messiah.” Our Scriptures state that one of the ways of death is to love the lie (in other words to love telling lies or being deceitful or untruthful). Our Scriptures also say: “Enthusiasm accompanied by words of a lie does not make those words true — no matter how zealous you are for the lie. It is still a lie … Some people will believe every lie they hear and are always ready to exchange the truth for those lies.”

As we can see, our Scriptures tell us that the truth is the best policy, that lies and deceit are not only not encouraged, but is very dangerous. Thus, there are better ways to keep the peace in a community that do not require lying.

Q: What can you say of a congregation member who borrows money from other members, but does not return the loan. How should we deal with such a person?
A: For this answer, it is helpful to look at the scriptural verses in context. In the Gospels, in the Sermon on the Mount says: “He that asks you to give to him, you should not deny him who desires to borrow from you.” However, in the Tanakh, the Scriptures say: “If a man borrows anything of his neighbour’s, and it (such as livestock) is injured, or dies, its owner not being with it, he shall surely make restitution.” In the Psalms it says of borrowing: “The wicked borrows, and pays not again; but the righteous shows mercy, and gives.” (Psalm 37:21)

The ideal for a believer is to be able to offer when asked with no thought of repayment ideally. However, at the very same time, a believer is not permitted to borrow with no intention of paying back what they have borrowed (which is the equivalent of stealing, at that point).

If you have members who are seeking to borrow money from the local congregation, first, they should not be borrowing any money that is set aside for tithes or alms. Second, the local board of elders should meet to determine if the request is legitimate and if the person is honorable and has the means to repay what was borrowed.

Keep in mind that if a person is borrowing from another individual, that individual determines if they will seek repayment. However, for an entire community, you need to consider the welfare of the entire community, not only a single individual. If a person is borrowing money from the congregation and is in the habit of not paying it back (going into debt), they should not be permitted to borrow any more funds until they have made restitution to the local community. If they simply do not have the means to pay it back, possibly discuss that person working off their debt to the local community by helping out in the local congregation as needed (just a suggestion, however.)

Overall, it might help to remember that a saint would not withhold what was asked, but at the same time, a saint would not think to borrow without repaying what was borrowed, either. So a person who makes a habit of borrowing without repayment is preying upon the goodwill of their brethren and this should not be encouraged.

Q:In the Acts of Mar Tuma (Acts of Thomas) what are the months DIUS and XANTHICUS?
A: Dius is referenced in the Church history of Eusebius as being roughly equivalent to the month of December. Xanthicus is the name of the month that corresponds to the Jewish month of Nisan (April). It is referenced in 2 Maccabees.

Q:What is the meaning compassionate mother in the text below? Which mother? And mother of seven houses?
A: The reference to the Compassionate Mother in the Acts of Thomas Ch.2, is a term that was used for Wisdom (Sophia). That is how the term is being used in this context. Commentaries on the Acts of Thomas state that the reference to seven houses means seven planets. The eighth house is the place above the planets, where the Father dwells. Dwelling in the 9th house is the same as being perfect.

Q: Why do Jewish people call use the word “Hashem” instead of the Name Yahweh?
Rabbinic Judaism refers to Hashem as “The Name” as in the name of the Creator. The use of the name of the Father, in speech or casual writing, was thought to be so sacred that some communities chose to simply use the term Hashem, or sometimes “Adonai” (Lord) as opposed to using the actual Name of God. We know the Name in some of our communities as Yahweh. We do not believe it is disrespectful to use His Name if we honor it properly. It is why most of our communities do not use the term “Hashem”, but the Name Yahweh or Mar-Yah. However, with that being said, there is nothing wrong with using the term “Hashem”, but Mshikhanim should not insist on using that term over the actual Name of our God.

Q: What is the meaning of the terms: “Brith Chadasha”, “Beit Hillel” and “Beit Shammai”?
A: The word “Brith” in Hebrew and Aramaic means “covenant.” The word “chadashah” means “new”. So, together the term “Brith Chadashah” is the Hebrew term for the New Covenant, often referring to the New Testament Scriptures, or what we often call the Peshitta New Testament.

The two main rabbinical schools in First Century Judea were: Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. The word “beit” means “house” (also can be used to mean school among other things). Thus, Beit Hillel means “House or School of Hillel” named after the Rabbinical scholar Hillel. Beit Shammai means “House or School of Shammai”, named after the Rabbinical scholar Shammai.

What distinguishes these two rabbinical schools is that where the Beit Shammai would place great emphasis on the rabbinical teachings of Babylonia, placing these teachings on the same level as the Torah of Moses itself, the Beit Hillel was more focused on the Torah of Moses and not placing such an emphasis on the Jewish people following every non-essential rule of these rabbinical scholars. In other words, to the Beit Hillel it was more important to live according to the spirit of the Torah of Moses than to follow every rabbinical ruling (many of which were never instructed or insisted upon by the Father.)

In Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin of the city was determined by the people. Sometimes the Sanhedrin was overseen by Beit Hillel, at other times it was overseen by Beit Shammai. The two houses did not see things the same way and did not get along very well. The Netzarim/Essenes (including the families of Yeshua, John the Baptizer, and the Apostles) were from families that supported Beit Hillel.

Q: What is Talmud?
A: In Judaism, of its central texts, there is the Torah and the Talmud. Torah, is used a number of ways: Sometimes it refers specifically to the 613 Commandments in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible, i.e. the Old Testament), sometimes it is used to refer to the five books of Moses and still other times it is used to mean the entire Tanakh.

The Talmud is a large body of Jewish religious law. Ideally, the rulings of the Talmud are based on the Commandments of Torah. However, there are rulings that are far removed from the original intent of the Torah. There are two main compilations of Talmud: The more well known is the Babylonian Talmud (the Jewish legal rulings compiled during the time when the Jewish people were in captivity after the time of Nebuchadnezzar and the fall of the first Temple). The other Talmud is called “Jerusalem Talmud” and is the rulings of Jewish scholars of Judea. It does not call the people to observe nearly as many of the scholarly rulings. Claims that the two are identical are erroneous.

Q: Is Antichrist going to be born? already born or will it ever exist in human form?
A: We are told that “antichrist” is not a person but a spirit instead. A person may have the spirit of the antichrist (there could be more than one). Our tradition teaches that the term “antichrist” refers to anyone or any religious organization or group that reject all values and teachings of Messiah. For example, Messiah teaches worshiping the Father and loving ones neighbor as one’s self. Someone exhibiting the spirit of an antichrist would teach people to not worship the Creator and to hate your neighbor.

Q: What will happen when the Messiah manifests himself again in this world?
A: Briefly put, we are taught that Yeshua will unite all believers and eventually take them into the Kingdom of Heaven. The Father will set His Son as King in Jerusalem. For the rest, they will be left to experience the dissolution of this world. There is much more information on this subject that can be supplied in a simple question and answer section. This subject should be explored with the Scriptures and supporting study materials.

Q: Will the extinction of humanity be an event of great suffering?
A: Without any divine intervention in the world, the earth’s population will experience indescribable suffering before the end of this world.

Q: What will happen to well-meaning people who live under the deceit of false religions?
A: It really depends. Just because a person leaves the flesh does not make them automatically enlightened or more attuned to the Divine Authority. There are many spirits who cross over and do not see the Father because He exists outside of creation and the temporal heavens are still within the creation; these resort to the old atheistic ways and reject the fact that there is a Creator. If a spirit does not embrace the Father, even after being taught by the angels, they walk away into the darkness, eventually experiencing the dissolution of conscious and no longer existing. If, however, a well meaning person, even having been part of a false religion in the world, after they die, is receptive to the ministrations of the heavenly angels and will freely turn to Yahweh, they may enter the Kingdom of Heaven one day. So, just because a person was in a false religion in the world, does not mean the will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. If a person comes to know the truth of the Scriptures, and rejects false religion, they are accountable for maintaining their faith and walking the narrow path. Those who have come to know the truth are held to a higher standard than those who are ignorant when they die.

Q: Was King Solomon a servant of Yahweh? Is it true that he corrupted himself by becoming a wizard or magician?
A: This appears to be a fusion of teachings between Christianity, Islam and the occult. Islam speaks of Solomon having communed with spirits but this is not a belief among the Jewish believers, among the Essenes or among the Mshikhanim. Solomon did fall from the path of righteousness and he did end up worshiping the false goddess Ashtoreth (see 1 Kings 11:5). His demise is then is followed by a series of corrupt kings over Judea before the fall of the First Temple. Solomon was not a wizard or magician.

Q: In the Acts of Mar Tuma Chapter 4: Who is the manifestation of the horse?
A: The text reads: “I am of that stock that served Balaam, and your Lord also and teacher sat* upon one that appertained to me by race. And I also have now been sent to give you rest by your sitting upon me: and also, so that I may receive faith, and to me may be added that portion which now I shall receive in this service to you; and when I have ministered to you, it shall be taken from me.”
*(This is in reference to Lord Yeshua Mshikha riding into Jerusalem on a donkey).

The reference to Balaam comes from the Book of Numbers Ch. 22 where the angels make the donkey of Balaam speak to him. The horse is not a manifestation of any person. To be of the stock of same animals means that those animals were of the same type used in these other religious experiences.

Q: What is the meaning of this sentence “keeping us and resting in alien bodies!” What is alien bodies here?
A: The apostle is saying the the spirit is not naturally at home in the flesh. That it is not a permanent state, therefore, it is “alien” in that sense. The term “alien” is used in the sense of “foreign”.

Q: What is the core reading of the Acts of Mar Tuma chapter 4?
A: The core reading is about the taking colt, how Mar Tuma’s mission is of divine origin as reflected in this miracle. That the experience had both the elements of the story of Balaam and Yeshua’s entry into Jerusalem, that Tuma’s mission in India is divinely inspired (and overseen). The death of the colt should not be perceived as evil but that the creature had fulfilled its purpose in the sight of Yahweh and was blessed.

Q: Could you explain to me about the rule of the marriage among Mshikhanim? What type of marriage is prohibited? For example: inbreeding marriage?
A: A Mshikhani is not permitted to marry: a child, or their own parents or siblings (which is incest) or their aunts or uncles or grandparents.

Mshikhanim are not permitted to be married to more than one person. There are extenuating circumstances for those who have more than one spouse from a religious background that permitted this, but they have left this religion. They are not required to abandon their other spouses, they are just not permitted to marry additional spouses from the time they enter the faith onward.

Mshikhanim are not permitted to marry their own grandparents, their own step-parents, or their own step-children. They are not permitted to marry their own nephews or nieces. They are not permitted to marry their own grand children. They are not permitted to marry their own sons or daughters in law, or their own half-sister, their full or half-brother’s wife (divorced or widowed). An unmarried man whose brother passed away is permitted to marry his deceased brother’s wife, especially in the case of young children being left behind and being in need of support. While this is a law in the Scriptures that is observed by Netzarim (Essenes), it is not incumbent upon Mshikhanim and is a practice that should not be enforced upon the congregation. Cousins may marry but it is wise for health reasons that they be distant cousins.

Mshikhanim are not permitted to marry anyone who has committed adultery.

Q: What was the language spoken by Yeshua’s followers at Galilee in his time?
A: Yeshua and his family were Essenes and their primary language of communication among one another was Aramaic. They also knew Hebrew but this was of taught in the Temple (more of a written language, than the language of the people) and in the synagogue. There was some Greek but this was not the language of of Yeshua or the primary one used by his apostles and disciples.