DEREKH D’KEHILLA Translated from the Original Aramaic A First Century Manuscript of the Ancient and Holy Assembly of Jerusalem Note: The titles in bold above various passages are not a part of the original text.
On the Organisation of the Holy Assembly In every region, those in authority over you in Jerusalem shall appoint bishops, elders and deacons among you for the proper administration of the Church of Alaha throughout all the world. And let nothing take place without the notice and approval of the bishop appointed over your region. It is the duty of all those who profess faith in Yeshua Mshikha bar Alaha to come together on each Shabbat to hear the Torah for instruction in doing what Torah teaches the people of Alaha to do with their hands and with their hearts and their mouths. The congregation should read from Torah and the Prophets and the Besura and the letters we have sent, reading parts of the Scriptures in the morning and parts of the Scriptures after the morning [[in the afternoon]]. Beginning with the head of the year should the Scriptures begin to be read by the reader or by a scribe. At the completion of the year the congregation will have read from all the Books of Mosha. Each congregation shall have an appointed chief servant [[“rosh eved”]] among the people of the community who is trustworthy, who is not addicted to strong drink and who is not given over to the cravings of the world. The chief servant among the community of the faithful should appoint unto the congregation qualified readers, from among the brothers and the sisters, to read from the Scriptures. Let the brothers among you read from the Books of Mosha and the Besura and the sisters among you to read from the Prophets and the letters in which we have sent to you. The reading from the Scripture shall be in our [Aramaic/Hebrew] language and in the [local] language of the people of the congregation if they do not speak our language. And if it is seen appropriate, appoint also the children from among the sons to read. If there is a priest or a son of Aharon or the kins-people of Maran among you, let them come up first to read from Torah, but do not appoint a priest or son of Aharon or a brother or sister of Maran as a permanent reader among the people, lest pride be created within his heart and he begins to slumber in the faith and say that he is the sole teacher of the congregation. No brother shall ever claim superiority over another brother because of the colour of his skin, the tribe from which he originates, or because [the nation] of his father or his mother. On Converts If a man desires to enter into the community as a follower of Mshikha, let him first be examined as to his faith, and if found worthy of the Holy Bread, let him be baptised in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, according to the tradition you have been taught by Maran Yeshua. But take care that he is not an enemy in the skins of a sheep, walking within the congregation and devouring everyone he encounters. Take care that he is not appointed to the service of the congregation and its people too soon after his conversion lest he be filled with pride and lead the people astray by his actions. He must first be found worthy. If this man who has desired to enter into your community has not been found worthy of the Holy Bread, and lacks understanding, and is unable to bear the yoke of Torah upon him, let him sit and learn from what we have previously written to you, that is, the two ways, that which leads to life and that which leads to death. Let him partake of the bread of fellowship which has been set aside for the gentiles and for those who come to you who are hungry, but who are like little children, not able to partake of the full meal of Maran. Unity of Believers Be at peace with those among you who have come to believe in Mshikha, but who are unable to take upon themselves the full yoke of Torah, for what man is able to bear the full yoke and not sin? Let him therefore learn the faith of Mshikha and then let him learn of the Torah of Alaha. All those who have come to believe in Maran Yeshua Mshikha bar Alaha are united in one body and in one faith and are guided by Holy Spirit, and are all brethren in one fellowship. The Church which has been appointed at Jerusalem by the hand of Alaha is the foundation and pillar of the truth and those appointed to her care are guided by Holy Spirit and are able to lead you in the pathways of righteousness according to the way of Mshikha. Regularly Assembling Together It is written in the Scriptures that when you appear before Alaha for instruction in Torah you must assemble the men and the women and the children and the foreigner [[See Deuteronomy 31:9-13]]. These are each given their seats and places within the congregation. The men who are without wives do not sit with women and the women who are without husbands do not sit with men. And the women who are unclean due to the issue of blood must remain behind the veil with the other women who are without husbands. The Daily Declarations Brethren, let us be bold to proclaim these, our declarations* each day. When you come together you shall say: I declare myself to be a servant of Mar-Yah Alaha. I declare myself to be one who worships the one and only Mar-Yah Alaha who is Yeshua Mshikha. I declare myself to be one who guards our Most Holy Faith from any attack by its enemy. I declare my intentions to be steadfast in the belief of One Alaha who is made known through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three aspects in One Supreme Alahota. I declare my belief in the Son of Alaha, Yeshua Mshikha, the only Son of Alaha. I declare my belief in the prophecy of Mosha and the truth of Torah given through him. I declare my belief in the written Word of Alaha the Scriptures given to Mosha and to the Prophets and in the Gospel of Yeshua Mshikha bar Alaha. I declare my belief in the Fire of the Word of Alaha. I declare that I will resolutely never permit the Fire entrusted to me as a servant of Alaha to be extinguished as long as there is breath within my body. I declare my rejection of those who encroach upon all that is sacred in the Holy Land. I declare that the traditions and teachings given to us (through the Chosen Twelve)** shall always be within my heart and on my lips, for it was they who gave us, through Maran Yeshua: baptism, confession to Alaha and to man, the doctrine (of the Twelve)**, the sacred ministry, anointing by the sacred oil of Mar-Yah, the gathering together to break the Holy Bread of the Presence, raising up of the Cross before my eyes and before the peoples, assistance and prayer with anointing with oil of those who fall into illness, and observance of and devotion to the Word of Fire of Alaha. I declare my belief in the peaceful life, and I will not take up the sword against my brother. I declare my belief in the Revelation of Alaha through His servants the angels and spirits for the good of all mankind and in the progress to the Great Light of Alaha. I declare my belief in observing Torah given to Mosha and ratified by being sealed in the blood of the Lamb. I declare that I will resolutely honour and defend the Chair of Mosha (and the Throne of Ya’aqub and the Presence of the Archangel Michael through the continuation of the Twelve Holy Apostles who are always with us)**. Concerning Death (Note, the questions are not a part of the original text; the original text here is from Derekh d’Kehilla in a section on mourning of lost loved ones and was composed by +Mar Ya’aqub ha’Tzadik; it was copied into Sefer Avkadmonim by +Mar Yusef I in 216 CE) What happens to those who die without knowing the Truth about Yeshua and His Way? The souls of those who have not yet been purified by the Word before the passing of their body into death, shall go into Sheol for further purification and instruction in the Way. How long does this take? For some this will be a period of time consisting of twelve months. After receiving divine instruction from their Lord on matters in which they were either ignorant or refused in their former time on this earth, they shall enter into the joy of their Lord Yeshua and continually be within his light. When this occurs the soul is released from the bondage of the prison chambers of Sheol and the soul, being a flame originating from Alaha, will enter into Paradise for four months after which they will enter into Olam ha’Ba. Can we help our relatives get into Paradise or into Olam ha’Ba? Man is unable to assist the souls of the sinners who have entered into Sheol or Paradise. They may pray for Alaha to send his holy angels to instruct them, but there is nothing that may be affected in the other world by human hands in this world. What happens to those who refuse Alaha even after being taught by the angels? There are those who will refuse the light, and by their own choosing do they enter deeper into the darkness of Sheol and eventually, if they refuse the light of Alaha, they will run deep into the bowels of Gehenna. All those who have refused to accept the light … shall be utterly destroyed, for it was by their own choosing that they remained in the dark prison chambers. In this they sin against Holy Spirit because it was the Spirit that was teaching them. On the Order of Melkhitzadik The order of Melkitzadik is that better order which has been ordained by Alaha to raise up a high priest, as in the case of Yeshua Mshikha bar Alaha, or a priest in general within the church of the living Alaha, and has been put into place by the hand of Alaha to remove an evil priest after the order the Aharon. This Melkhitzadik, neither being a man or an angel by the common understanding of the term, is a creation of Alaha, the king of righteousness and of peace, who remains forever in the heavens, coming down by the power of the Holy Comforter, in the form of a man, residing with the spiritual father of the Church, and guides the Church in all righteousness with the assembly of the elders of the house of Maran’s kinsmen. This same one was he whom Yeshua came after, and was in his likeness. Alaha is the same always, and His Torah never changes. For Alaha is the author of Torah and it is within His right to appoint a priest above that of Aharon, for it was Melkhitzadik who existed before Aharon, and he is the priest of Alaha Elyon [[Most High]]. ————– * This is one of the earliest creeds of the Church of Yerushalayim. It was composed during the first century before the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem in 135 C.E. There is a marginal note in the Annals that says it was taught by the scribes after the first century Apostles to be read before morning prayers and before Holy Qurbana by the head of the household or congregation. ** This phrase was added to the text before the Bar Kokhba rebellion.