The early followers of Yeshua were passionate and joyous in their worship, said Robert Heidler in his book, “Messianic Church Arising.” While much of this passion and joy has returned to worship today, first century worship will not be fully restored until ring dancing is added. Giving Biblical evidence of the early Believers’ jubilant worship practices, Heidler explained how it disappeared as the Greek philosophies of stoicism and asceticism took hold. The result was a religion that saw poverty and suffering as virtues and expressions of passion as evil. In recent years, the yoke of Greek philosophy has broken off and the joy has been returning to the Body.
When Christianity was cut off from its Jewish roots nearly 1,700 years ago, it lost some key components. Over the past few decades several of these roots have been restored, including circle dancing as a form of joyous Biblical worship, about which I have previously written in this space. Another Jewish root that G-d is in the process of restoring is the universal knowledge of His written Word.
In Biblical times, Jewish children learned to read Hebrew by studying the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. Then they memorized it by putting melodies to the words and chanting them. By the time they were young teenagers, they had the Torah committed to memory.
Each year, on Yom Kippur, the High Priest of Israel made atonement for the nation, enabling G-d’s presence to live in their midst so enemies couldn’t attack, crops would be plentiful, joy would abound, people would stay healthy, and justice would prevail.
At the heart of the atoning process was a ritual involving two goats, described in Leviticus 16. One goat was sacrificed in the Temple to atone for the nation’s sin and/or transgressions. The second, called the scapegoat, was sent into the wilderness to atone for iniquity, or the carnal nature.
Most people who read about the scapegoat in the Bible think it was the fortunate goat. However, Jewish sources explain that this goat was not so fortunate. Instead of being humanely sacrificed, it was pushed off a high cliff and died a painful death. Of all the sacrifices in the Bible, it was the only inhumane one and the only sacrifice made for iniquity, showing that, in G-d’s economy, iniquity required a greater price than sin or transgression.