Follow Yahshua, not Moshe or Yoneq
“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd…But do not be called teacher; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Messiah.” (John 10:16; Matthew 23:8-10)
How does the twelve tribe’s teachings stack up with these words of Messiah?
There are serious problems with some of the twelve tribes foundational teachings and practices because some of their teachings and practices go against what Yahshua teaches. This is happening because, like other bible-based religious groups, the people are listening to voices other than Yahshua to form and live out their faith.
The main error they (and all christian sects) are committing is that they are not building their faith on Yahshua and his teachings ALONE. Due to this most foundational error, they are caught up in ancillary errors of devotion to human leaders; religious self-righteousness which is manifested in a lack of compassion and mercy; and the traditions of men which nullify the Word of God who is Yahshua. Let us take a brief look at these problems in hopes of helping former twelve tribe members – and current twelve tribe members – find comfort in a heavenly Father who loves them very much. And equally importantly, help them be better acquainted with a gentle Master whose yoke they ought to take, but whose yoke they are not taking if they are following anyone else but Yahshua. Of course we can be only yoked to one true Master at a time, and we need to throw off all other yokes to exclusively take Messiah’s yoke or else we are not his followers.
Problem One: Devotion to Leaders Other than Messiah
This problem is not unique to the twelve tribes group. In fact, this error characterizes all religion based upon “the bible”, living or dead men’s teachings, or both. The twelve tribes beliefs regarding “the bible”, for all their judgment against non-Hebrew-emphasis religious groups, is not significantly different from the very “church” or “gentile” groups they condemn. The twelve tribes, like most versions of christianity (messianic or not), still believe the error that all of the bible is the infallible and inerrant “Word of God”. The reader should listen to Yahshua’s voice and ponder this article – The Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy: Is it Scriptural? – to help escape from the error of following “the bible” instead of Yahshua. For Yahshua clearly warns us:
“You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” (John 5:38-40)
A simple unavoidable truth is that neither Yahshua nor any other New Covenant author defines what we hold in our hands and call “the bible” as “the Word of God”. That truth should concern those seeking the truth as their leaders proclaim “the bible” as “the Word of God”. Once Messiah came, he spoke and he alone is The Word of God to men (John 5:22; 12:48) – and his Words, which will last forever, are preserved in the gospels and the first chapter of Acts ONLY. And yet the multitudes continue on in the very error Yahshua seeks to help us avoid, and that is seeking to know God through knowing “the bible” (John 5:38-39). This great error, combined with the error of trying to know God primarily through the intellect/mind instead of primarily through faith/heart, are the foundation of sand that bible/christian/messianic religion is based upon.
You can see how people are confused about these important truths since Yahshua’ Words are contained in the bible. But because his Words are contained in the bible does not mean that ALL of the bible is his Word, or the Father’s Word. This is a simple truth that people could grasp if they were not blinded by the lie that the whole bible is “God’s Word” [see The Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy: Is it Scriptural? ].
However, as you talk to people who proclaim to be following Yahshua, you will find very quickly that they are in fact listening to voices other than Yahshua on which to build their faith and practices. While they say they are following Yahshua, when you ask them why they believe or do certain things, they will say, ‘oh, because ‘the bible says’…(in truth what Shaul, or Moshe or Peter says). In the twelve tribes member’s case, they would also say, ‘because Yoneq or our leaders say so’. So, in truth, Yahshua’s Words are not treated as they ought to be. Instead the lie of “biblical inerrancy” and the error of making living men one’s shepherds, largely nullifies the Words of the Son as people pick and choose which person they want to follow to fit their desire to continue loving their life in the world (John 12:25). For those who love Hebrew stuff, it is primarily Moshe and their present leaders – in the twelve tribes case, specifically this is Yoneq and his underlings. For those who love gentile stuff, it is primarily Shaul and their present leaders – pastor or bishop or evangelist or prophet or apostles so-and-so. But both types of people miss the mark, for Yahshua plainly says he alone is to be one’s shepherd, leader, and teacher (Matt. 23:8-12).
Unfortunately, the error of basing one’s faith on the teachings of anyone other than Yahshua will lead people to base their faith, not only on other writers of the bible, but their living spiritual leaders as well. The argument goes, since the bible is all God’s Word, and Eph. 4:11 (or 1 Tim. 3 or Titus 1) says that there are to be human shepherds/pastors/elders, then I ought to follow pastor so-and-so or elders so-and-so or apostle so-and-so (in the TT case, Yoneq and his designees) or whomever. And so, Yahshua’s Words in John 10:16 are nullified where he says:
“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd (The Greek for the English word “shepherd” here is “poimen”, the same exact word that religious translators deceitfully translate “pastors” in Eph. 4:11).”
So, Yahshua’s Words are nullified by Shaul’s religious system of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. Yahshua makes it very clear that he is to be the only Shepherd for those claiming to follow him or be his disciples. In addition to stating plainly in John 10:16 that there will be only “one shepherd” (himself, as he says that he alone is the good shepherd, and all others are hirelings or worse), he forbids all other spiritual leaders as well in Matt. 23:8-12 which says:
“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Messiah. “But the greatest among you shall be your servant. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Yahshua says “do not be called Rabbi (the Jewish title for spiritual/religious master) for One is your Teacher (Yahshua) and you are all brothers”. So Yahshua says to his followers, that none are to take the titles rabbi, master or teacher, for he is those things to his followers, and there are no disciples who are qualified to take a position of authority over other disciples.
“Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Messiah. But the greatest among you shall be your servant.”
These are some of the most ignored, twisted, perverted, and nullified Words of Messiah in all the gospels, for these Words destroy men’s religion, including the twelve tribes. Yahshua picks the most popular titles and positions of spiritual authority of his day, and says that those who follow him are to totally reject such titles and positions. And lest there be any confusion, he explicitly says that the greatest among you shall be your servant. Dear reader, servants do not have authority over anyone, and they simple look to serve by helping others in life’s struggles to overcome the world and the flesh. This service/help does NOT include “helping others” by making themselves to be people’s spiritual leaders, contrary to Yahshua’s commands.
Those looking to justify their religion and avoid Yahshua’s Words in Matt. 23:8-12 will say, “but Yahshua didn’t explicitly forbid the titles (and the associated power/authority) of apostles or prophets or evangelists or pastors…in fact, the bible (really Shaul) says they are O.K.” Well, Yahshua didn’t forbid “Pope” either, so is that O.K.? Yahshua didn’t forbid “Most Reverend”, so is that O.K.? The point is plain for those with hearts to receive Yahshua’s Words, for his Words are spirit and Life (John 6:63), not the legal-ese of men with all their loopholes.
We Are Not To Be Teachers?
We are not to take titles of “teacher”, nor are we to assume authority as “a teacher”. The disciples of Yahshua do the act of teaching, however, the only teaching that is to take place is by unspoken example first – live the faith out in front of and with other disciples. As we learn to walk in the true humility that Messiah teaches, we will be able to give gentle brotherly-sisterly reminders to other disciples of the Master Words when appropriate. Not as their leaders, teachers, masters, whatever – but as their fully equal lowest servant and brother-sister.
So, while religious leaders are masters at false humility with their quiet or gentle public countenance and outward appearances and mannerisms, what really matters is what they DO. And what they DO is to disobey Yahshua’s commands regarding leadership and authority. It doesn’t matter how “humble” they appear (although, if people had eyes to see, standing up on a stage behind a pedestal speaking down to the people conveys much in and of itself) – if they are allowing people to call them some title of spiritual authority, then they are against Messiah as clearly spoken by Messiah and are deceiving people for their own selfish ends. If they are allowing people to believe they are a Teacher, Master, Apostle or Pastor (while telling them in person not to call them the labels outwardly), then they are against Messiah as clearly spoken by Messiah and are deceiving people for their own selfish ends. Many can master appearing humble in public, but it is when they are alone with other disciples with no one watching, that the wolves ears will often poke out of the sheep’s skin.
Other’s are so heavily relying upon the words of other bible writers – and thus completely nullifying Yahshua’s Words in regard to leadership – that they are as outwardly arrogant as the world’s leaders. These have no trouble telling their followers that their followers need to submit to their authority or else they despise ‘God’s authority’. (Sadly, as they reject Yahshua’s Words as reviewed in this article, they can easily find someone like Shaul to justify their exercising authority over other disciples (contrast Messiah’s Words in Mark 10:42-45 to Shaul’s Words in 1 Cor. 4:8, 14 (“children”, making Shaul their spiritual father), 18-21 (threats to come with “a rod”).) Whether Shaul or Moshe, Peter or Isaiah, Yoneq or Pastor wonderful, people are listening to these voices instead of the Voice of God’s Messiah, Yahshua.
This is the single most important error that leads people away from Yahshua and towards men. For the ‘messianic’ versions of christianity, it typically leads them heavily towards Moshe and their current living leaders – in the twelve tribes case, that is Yoneq or Eugene Spriggs. When one believes that every word in the bible is given by God without any error…all inspired by His Holy Spirit…then people are going to have a tough time understanding how all the conflicting teachings in the bible (truth) don’t conflict (false). And who do you think the people turn to in order to understand “the bible” and resolve these conflicts? Is it Yahshua? No. It is their religious leaders who are physically in front of them and for whom they don’t need any faith to see or hear. To read about the error of nullifying Messiah’s teachings using Moshe to do so, please read the article, Follow Yahshua, Not Moshe! (the favorite of Hebrew loving groups is to say that Matt. 5:17ff requires people to pay heed to Moshe).
As one is taught that the entire bible is God’s Word which all should be obeyed, and which contains no contradictions, that person will start down the road of rejecting the Truth (Yahshua plainly says he is the Truth, meaning he defines the all spiritual truth regarding God and the Kingdom of God) and thus come into confusion and error. The bible is a big book with many conflicting beliefs (As an example, contrast the “God inspired” words of David in Psalm 139:22, “I hate them with the utmost hatred”; with Yahshua’s words in Matt. 5:44, “love your enemies”), and so it is natural for a new disciple of Yahshua to turn to current leaders who claim to understand the “best way” to understand the bible. As they do this, they start on the road to spiritual death, as they have turned away from Yahshua and are now looking to men to understand how to follow Yahshua instead of looking to Yahshua on how to follow Yahshua.
Problem 2: Religious Self-Righteousness
Unfortunately, a very evident fruit of the twelve tribes teachings is a religious self-righteousness. They, like so many other groups who don’t understand Yahshua’s teachings – particularly on humility and condemning – believe that because of their religious distinctives (the outward stuff of what and how to wear cloths, eat food, sing, gather, live together, spend money, observe various days, etc.), they are not only better than other groups, but in fact are THE one true expression of the “body” of Messiah on the earth at this time. No doubt the TT members have a great deal of sincerity in trying to live out what they believe…unfortunately, some of their core or foundational beliefs are contrary to what Yahshua teaches as we have already seen.
Here are a few teachings of Messiah in this regard, that they either avoid or distort:
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
The TT members have no problem condemning all who have encountered their group and their teachings and yet don’t join their group as “not being saved” (and thus headed for hell). It matters not what kind of life a person is living, for they don’t know the people who have not yet joined their group, nor sadly to they care. They are just taught that the TT is the only true body of Messiah on the earth, and that if people outside their group know about them, or encounter them and their teachings – and yet don’t join them – then they cannot possibly be followers of Messiah. This is no different than hundreds of religious groups before them – in fact the Roman Catholic religious system had this belief not too long ago. They misquote many scriptures to hold to this sad teaching of collective self-righteousness. (Interesting that Messiah mentions nothing of “his body” on this earth, in regard to the collective disciples. That is entirely a teaching of Shaul.)
But if we listen to Yahshua, we will avoid this error:
“John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49-50)
“For he who is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:40)
The twelve tribes say that whoever is not with us is against us, or more specifically, against Messiah. This is the opposite of what Messiah teaches in these verses. The context of these statements is doing good things in Yahshua’s name. The important thing to notice about the Luke 9 version is that the object or subject of Yahshua’s Words is “you”, his disciples, not Yahshua. He says that whomever is not against YOU, my disciple, is for YOU. That is a gracious position he wants us to take. He does NOT say here that whoever is against you is against ME. Yahshua knows how easily we err in judgment about such things.
Yahshua does not mix a disciple’s opinion of other disciples, with opinions about himself in these verses. In Mark, he uses the collective “us”, again, making the same point that whatever group is not against us is for us. Again, the context is doing good things in Yahshua’s name. And again, Yahshua is plainly teaching that if other disciples are not against YOU, then we ought to consider them actually for me/us. The twelve tribes and so many other religious sects insist on twisting Yahshua’s words to make him say, “whoever is not with you is against me”…But Yahshua nowhere teaches such a thing and in fact teaches the opposite.
Yahshua does say in a different context, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30) This statement in Matt. is first, a statement about an individual’s heart and faith and the context is salvation. Yahshua is the one who judges an individual regarding this aspect of a person’s faith in him, as his Words in Matt. 7:1-5 and Luke 6:36-37 make very clear and plain. But those who walk in self-righteousness are not concerned about these distinctions because they love to judge self-righteously and condemn.
If the TT would receive these teachings of Yahshua, they would not believe that they are the only true disciples of Yahshua on the earth. Instead, they would not be against others who are doing good things in Yahshua’s name. Of course, they twist and pervert truth by saying that anyone who has encountered them or their teachings and yet does not join them is against them. And they play the hypocrite by having no problem condemning these individuals yet they get upset when someone compares their teachings to Yahshua’s teachings and finds the TT’s teachings at variance with Yahshua’s teachings as this author has done.
They seek to avoid conveying the “we are the only ones” belief to those outside their group as they understand at some level that people have valid reasons for rejecting such a belief. Of course the most important reason to reject that self-righteous error is that Yahshua never said that one must become part of a particular sect or group in order to follow him and be his disciple. In fact, Yahshua taught against the concept of religious groups based on human authority and teachings (Matt. 23:8-12; John 10:16; Mark 10:42-45). And so, far from endorsing groups like the twelve tribes, Yahshua taught against groups like the TT. The confusion comes in because the TT are doing some things right – in fact better than other groups. Yet they are majoring in the minors as Yahshua warned against in Matt. 23 where he said, “You tithe your mint and dill and cummin…and neglect justice, mercy and faithfulness”.
How do the TT neglect justice? By condemning those people that have encountered them and their teachings yet they don’t even know personally. That is a very unjust practice. Yahshua didn’t do that. In fact, he didn’t even condemn those caught in adultery (John 8:11) let alone those he didn’t know (Luke 9:49-50).
How do they neglect mercy? By condemning individuals in their midst who need help, but who can’t or won’t believe some of their religious teachings or submit to their authority or their traditions. Instead of extending compassion to those struggling, they use fear and the threat of rejection to keep people part of their group, when those struggling also question any of their beliefs.
How do they neglect faithfulness? By rejecting those who find they don’t fit into their group; who they promised they would care for; and for many, who gave up much to go join the TT. In this manner, the TT is just like the unjust and faithful husband who promises to care for his wife, but abuses her and shows no true compassion, and when she leaves, he gives her no provisions and comfort for her journey, but only condemns her.
The difficulty with seeing this truth – that the TT is just another self-righteous religious sect – is because of the error in christian religion in general. In comparison to the average christian religious group, the twelve tribes do look much better. There is so much error and confusion in christian religion that it is refreshing to at least see groups who are trying to follow what they say they believe (the bible) in a more sincere way. And the TT definitely qualify for a group who is very sincere and diligent in their efforts to follow “the bible” and Yahshua to some extent. No doubt there are sincere disciples of Yahshua amidst their numbers, at least the ones who are away from the leaders and who approach their faith in true humility and simplicity. But these facts do not disqualify the TT from being just another messianic sect to flash on the screen for a brief time during this short portion of God’s redemptive history. But according to their leaders, they are the one true body of Messiah on earth, and through their efforts, they will hasten or usher in the return of Messiah. And so their hope is in their efforts to bring Messiah back, instead of in Messiah and his Father. How do we know this? Because they do not submit to all of Yahshua’s teachings, but rather covet power and authority and promote themselves like all the other religious groups on the planet.
Problem 3: The Twelve Tribe’s Traditions of Men
Yahshua very plainly warned his followers about receiving and living by the traditions of men and substituting those traditions for a living faith in the Most High God (Mark 7). Sadly, the twelve tribes have built their sect largely on this error. They have all kinds of unique little practices that they engage in and live by, which practices Yahshua did not give. Things like men with beards (Moshe, not Yahshua), women with long hair and/or head coverings (Shaul, not Yahshua), levitical diet practices (Moshe, not Yahshua), unique songs (not Yahshua), worship dances (not Yahshua), Hebrew names (not Yahshua), observing the sabbath (not Yahshua) and a myriad of other outward practices which outwardly sets them apart from many other religious sects, and thus makes them attractive to those ignorant of Messiah’s teachings.
But perhaps the thing that sets them apart the most is their practice of communal living. This is not only very attractive to people who are looking to belong to some sort of community or family (of which there is great and growing need in the cold cultures of the ‘industrialized nations’), it is also consistent with Yahshua’s commands regarding his disciples sharing all things. However, the TT turn what should be a love motivated act into yet another of their authoritative laws/traditions of men. People who want to join the twelve tribes must give all their possessions to the TT when formally joining, in spite of “the bible” saying this is not necessary (Acts 5:4). Yahshua no where says that his disciples must give all their possessions to some group who says it represents his kingdom. Rather, he says, “sell your possessions and give to the needy” (Luke 12:33). He does not say, “sell (or give) all your possessions to a religious sect who says it represents me”. And as you look at the material wealth the twelve tribes are accumulating, they can hardly be described as “needy” or “poor” in comparison to the tens of thousands of children and adults dying each day due to lack of basic food, shelter and clothing.
The TT would likely respond that Yahshua’s commands to love one another “mandates” giving all one’s material things to the group. That is their opinion only, and not Yahshua’s teaching. It is true that Yahshua’s disciples should share all their material things with other disciples. But a willful sharing out of love for other disciples is quite different from a legal/coercive rule (set by a groups religious leaders who themselves are breaking Yahshua’s commands just by virtue of their power lust) to give all one’s possessions to a religious group in order to gain membership status, or salvation in the twelve tribes case. The former is of the Lord and his Father’s Kingdom. The latter is of men and their power-hungry traditions.
The twelve tribes twisting of these commands of Yahshua in the name of “love” is tragic indeed, and in fact ensnares many into the group. The truth is that love is first and foremost an attitude of the heart. There is nothing that can substitute for true love of the heart. Yahshua teaches that this love of God is first and foremost, inward and not outward. True, this love will deeply affect the living of one’s life, which manifestations will be primarily compassion or mercy towards others, personal righteousness (not self-righteousness), humility and graciousness. These are the marks of a disciple of Yahshua, not what the housing situation is. There are many who are selfless with material things, yet have not the love of God in their heart, but personal gain or ambitions. God’s best is to have His love in our hearts, and to let that love lead us to a life of compassionate selflessness motivated by a love for God which makes us hate our life in this world (John 12:25) and thus want to be with the Father.
This author could spend many pages researching and listing the words of the twelve tribes and their leaders and writers in order to prove the contradictions with Yahshua’s teachings. However, this author has found that if a person will not listen to the Words of Yahshua that were repeated in this article (and see the plain contradictions with the basic beliefs of the TTs), then more intellectual facts will not a make a difference. This author’s desire is to see people set free to follow Yahshua the Way Yahshua defines it (John 8:31-32). All a person needs to follow Yahshua and avoid the error of the traditions of men, is to read, receive, and do HIS Words in the gospels – in child-like faith.
For those who have escaped the snare of the TT, I encourage you to just sit at Messiah’s feet and learn from him, for he is meek and lowly of heart (quite a contrast to the TTs authoritative junk). If you do this, you will find rest for your souls. I have seen that many who have come out of the TT are mired in bitterness and confusion. This is very sad, for they apparently cannot help but think that God is somehow responsible for their troubles and pain. Those who are mired in bitterness, probably have never truly become disciples of Yahshua, and this is why they were deceived by the TT in the first place. Or perhaps they were newly born again, and entered the TT in ignorance, and have badly hurt their faith, even as God mercifully brought them out.
Whatever the case, the solution to find peace and rest for your soul is right in front of you. Yahshua says,
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Dear reader, the sooner you will DO this, the sooner you will come to the truth that Yoneq and the twelve tribes DO NOT represent Yahshua. To find Yahshua’s peace you must come to this understanding, for the Father has given only the Son the power to provide this peace.
If you will do what Yahshua says, then you will be on the road to healing, and will be able to start to truly live for Yahshua the Way he defines it.
It will be difficult for former TT member to sort out the half-truths of the TT unless they do what Yahshua says here:
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple…So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple“. (Luke 14:26, 33)
“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” (John 12:25)
If you are a former TT member, you were probably beat over the head with these commands, and probably shrink from them due to your not experiencing them through your own faith, but rather through the self-seeking words of TT leaders and their followers. This will be the most difficult part for a former TT member. You see, if you didn’t love your life in this world, you would not have joined the TT with the reasons’ you did. You probably joined the TT to somehow better your life in this world (having friends who seem to care about you; security of belonging to a group; material security, etc.). But Yahshua says we must hate our life in this world. In other words, we ought to long to be Home with our Father, and we go through this life not holding onto anything in this world, for we know that this world and the things of this world are against our Father, His Messiah and their Kingdom. We also know that the world hates our Master, and will reject us (John 15:18-20). This is the cost of following Yahshua and few will walk on that Way. Messiah plainly says that HE (the Person of the living God’s Son, the Word of God, the world’s rejected Messiah) is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that TRUTH excludes all other’s who claim the same or any part of that, including the Twelve Tribes.
It would be this author’s blessing to help in any way we can, those who have come out of the TT and who still want to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.