Dear Tabernacle Family,
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17 NKJV
This is a provoking verse. It has serious implications on the way Christianity should conduct itself. This statement by Jesus has been studied, discussed, critiqued, applied, reinterpreted, reimagined in a different context, misunderstood and misapplied, judged, condemned, and even rejected. I could go in many directions with this verse today. The direction I would like to go is home, to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem-based Christianity: is it a controversial, revolutionary, reconstructionist, evangelical-zionist, revisionist, heretical, unorthodox alignment of our spirituality and faith? Or is it the fulfillment of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in the continuation of thousands of years of God’s Law and Prophets? In my humble opinion, and I am neither a sage nor a theologically-trained expert, these words of Jesus affirm, not deny, Jerusalem-based Christianity as the clearest revelation of God’s enduring covenant to His people.
Jesus, as the head of Church, stated he was the fulfillment and continuation of what God was doing; not the replacement or rejection of it. Since God established Jerusalem as His capital before Jesus’ time on earth, it was fulfilled in His life, death, and resurrection. The question I ask of each of us today is, “Do we still hold this to be true?” Have we, through schism, split, realignment, rejection, or even independence, left Jerusalem? Has Constantinople, Rome, Washington DC, New York City, or the corner of five roads in Orchard Park, New York become our home, our root system, from where our faith and spirituality is nurtured, tended to, and grown? If so, have we done what the Apostle Paul warned about in Romans 11? Are we, as branches grafted into the tree, boasting against the root system that supports us?
I believe that Bishop Robert’s leadership of The Tabernacle puts us firmly in Jerusalem. His life’s work of creating, promoting, and exemplifying dialogue with our Jewish brothers and sisters shows us that we are not exclusive in this faith from our Father, but interdependent. I would encourage you, if you have not yet, to listen and engage with Bishop Robert's new work, The Bishop and The Rabbi. I, personally, have been dramatically transformed in my thinking and understanding of the Word of God. Each week, a new Rabbi shows us the multifaceted and multi-generational living and active faith of the Jewish people. Their faith is deeply rooted in thousands of years of study, development, and growth that makes our sometimes decades-old doctrine, theology, or revelation seem shallow and lacking. As the current culture within the church and from outside continues to divide and isolate us on numerous and nuanced distinctions, I think it’s more important than ever before to position ourselves exactly where we should be, at home, in Jerusalem.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! Psalm 133:1 ESV Zion is calling, Pastor Joshua Ogle