Passover 2019 Message

Tonight begins Pesach (Passover) and I am already busy preparing for the Seder. I have invited someone I knew in High School and haven’t been in touch with since then. We now live close to each other and it will be good to have her share this Seder with Donna and me.

The Passover is a very misunderstood festival. The traditional idea is that it is 7 days long, but that is not correct. Also, the teaching that HaBikkurim (First Fruits) is the first day after the beginning of Hag HaMatzot (Festival of Unleavened Bread) is not biblically accurate. The most incorrect belief about Passover of all is that the sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus) was that of the Passover lamb.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

Let’s start by reading from the Bible some of the passages that relate to Passover.

Leviticus 23:5-6 says:

The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast.

The Passover is really only from dusk on the 14th day of Nissan (then called Aviv) until midnight, which was when the angel of death passed over the houses of the Israelites. That means the passing over of the angel really occurred on the 15th of Nissan, since dusk on the 14th would have been the end of that day and after the sun had set it would then be the 15th. This is also the day on which the Seder is eaten; when we think about it, by the time the lamb was slaughtered at dusk, brought home, roasted over a fire, and everyone sat down to eat the sun would (probably) have already set, so the Seder is really eaten on the 15th of Nissan.

So, then, if Passover is really only from dusk to midnight, where did they get the idea it is for 7 days? It became confused with the next festival, Hag HaMatzot, which starts with the Seder. In Exodus 12:17-20 it says:

“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day.

I believe that because unleavened bread starts with the Seder, and the Seder is for Passover, people just assumed that Passover was for 7 days.

It isn’t.

As for HaBikkurim, this is also celebrated on a day which is not in accordance with when the Bible says we should.

In his letter to the Corinthians (15:23) Shaul, also called Paul, refers to Yeshua as the First Fruits. Traditionally, the celebration called HaBikkurim (First Fruits) is celebrated on the first day after the beginning of the festival of unleavened bread; this doesn’t coincide with the day Yeshua rose, which would have been three days after unleavened bread began. I believe because Shaul referred to Yeshua as the first fruits that Gentile Believers mistakenly associate Yeshua’s resurrection with HaBikkurim. It isn’t the same.

The Torah tells us that the first fruits are to be offered on the first day after the Sabbath of the harvest. Although the instructions regarding this festival come directly after the instructions regarding Passover and unleavened bread, the first fruits sheave to be waved is not dependent on Passover, but on when the crops are harvested.

Again, let’s go to the source, the Bible. In Leviticus 23:9-11 we read that:

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.”

The Torah says, clearly, that First Fruits is the day after the first Shabbat after the harvest. Despite the fact that the second day of Pesach and the last day of Hag HaMatzot are both Shabbat days, First Fruits celebration is NOT based on Pesach or Hag HaMatzot, but on the reaping of the harvest.

Lastly, let’s look at the traditional reference to Yeshua as the Pesach (Passover) Lamb. True, he was the “Lamb of God” in that he, like the lamb chosen to be sacrificed, died for our sins. And as such, he is the lamb of the sin sacrifice. But there’s a problem when we refer to him as the Pesach Lamb- the lamb sacrificed for Passover was NOT a sin sacrifice!

When we read the instructions regarding the different kinds of sacrifice within the sacrificial system God gave us (Leviticus, Chapters 1-7) we notice that for the grain, guilt, sin, and wholly burnt sacrifice that only the Cohen was to have a share of the item offered. It is only with the Thanksgiving sacrifice, also called a Peace Offering that the one bringing the sacrifice was allowed to partake of eating some of the meat.

The instructions for eating the Pesach sacrifice clearly shows that the meat is to be taken back to the house and roasted over a fire, then eaten that night. If any is left over, it is to be burned up completely.  This is in perfect concordance with the instructions for the thanksgiving sacrifice we read in Leviticus 7: 29:

When you sacrifice a thank offering to the LORD, offer it so that it may be acceptable on your behalf. It must be eaten that same day. Do not leave any of it until morning.

Because the Passover lamb sacrifice is one where the person bringing the lamb also may eat it, that means it is a Thanksgiving or Peace Offering. And when we review the different reasons to perform this sacrifice, one of them is to thank God for deliverance.

The proper timing for this season is that the Seder meal is eaten after the lamb is slaughtered at evening on the 14th of Nissan, which ends up not being until the 15th of the month, on which we also begin the festival of Unleavened Bread for the next 7 days. Originally, HaBikkurim would be a separate festival that began on the day after the first Shabbat, after the harvest. In truth, there was more than one HaBikkurim celebration since there were usually two harvest seasons: the barley harvest in the spring and the wheat harvest in the fall. Biblically, First Fruits really has nothing to do with Passover or Hag HaMatzot. The traditional celebration of it on the first day after Hag HaMatzot is a decision made by the rabbis of old. It is not unlike what happened with the celebration of Shavuot, considered to be a celebration of the giving of the Law to Moses which occurs 50 days after the first Shabbat after Pesach. When you study the timeline from when the Jews left Egypt to when Moses received the instructions at Sinai, it is not 50 days.  However, just like with Habikkurim and Pesach, Moses at Sanai and Shavuot have been associated for so long that now they are inseparable.

Does any of this change what we are doing, or make it wrong? I don’t think so. God sees the heart, and I really doubt that he is so nit-picky that he will not accept our worship just because we celebrate first fruits on a calendar day instead of based on a physical harvest. Especially since we aren’t an agrarian society anymore.

So go ahead and celebrate Passover, keep that Chametz far away from your mouth for the week after the Seder, and find joy in knowing that Yeshua rose on the first day after the Pesach Shabbat and through that resurrection, we can find eternal joy in the presence of the Lord.

The fact that the current timing of these celebrations doesn’t match exactly when they are to occur according to the Torah is simply a result of the way the world has changed, and God understands that.

Thank you for being here and please share me out with those you know. I welcome comments and/or discussion and only ask that you be nice. Please click on the subscribe button in the right-hand margin, and also use the link above and subscribe to my YouTube channel, as well.

This Passover is special because it also falls on Shabbat, which we call a Shabbat Shabbaton (special Shabbat) so please enjoy it. Passover is a joyful celebration and I wish you all a very pleasant one.

L’hitraot, Pesach Sameach, and Baruch HaShem!!

By Direction of the Commanding Officer

For those who have served in the military, the signature line “By Direction of the Commanding Officer” should be very familiar. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it means that whatever has been written has been done so by someone under the authority of higher command and although the letter (or orders, whatever) come directly from the writer, they are done so as if the commanding officer had issued them, personally.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

For example, when I was in the Marine Corps I was a Company XO (Executive Officer), and as such, I had authority over 350 men and millions of dollars in equipment. What I said, went, but I was under the authority of the Company Commander. I was most often the one issuing commands, but when the CO (Commanding Officer) issued a command through me, written below my name was the signature line “ByDir“, which meant that what I said was an order directly from the Company Commander.

Yeshua is the Messiah God sent to the world: to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. What Yeshua told us about how to live, worship and treat each other was not just from his own authority as Messiah, but was “ByDir” of God.

And when Yeshua used “ByDir” it was from the universe’s Million-Star General, the Lord, God Almighty!

Many times Yeshua told us that he does only what his father in heaven tells him to do or to say. There are too many references in the Gospels to annotate each time this is done, but when you read the Gospels (especially in John) you see this often. We read how people say of Yeshua that he speaks as no one ever did and that his teachings have the tone of authority to them. Well, of course, they do! He is speaking ByDir of the Lord! Yeshua’s every teaching, parable, riddle or lesson was directly from Adonai.

When we consider the above, we have to ask this question:

“How can anyone say that Yeshua did away with the instructions God gave us in the Torah if he was always speaking “ByDir” from God?”

Anything Yeshua said that was not in accordance with the “commands” God had already given would be like disobeying a direct order, wouldn’t it? If God told us to eat certain foods, but Yeshua said we didn’t have to do that, then he would have been disobeying God, right? Or, if Yeshua had taught that the Sabbath was on the first day of the week and not the 7th, he would have been in a state of sin, wouldn’t he?

The fact is Yeshua never disobeyed God or taught anyone to do so. His authority was given to him directly from God and was evident in the miracles he performed. And when people praised him, Yeshua always gave the credit to that person’s faith in God and in Yeshua, who was only acting under the ByDir authority from God as God’s Messiah.

When people preach to us, they should be preaching not from their own authority but ByDir; however, too often they don’t. They preach what they want to, such as when the Shabbat day was changed, the kosher laws were said to be only for Jews, and the festivals God ordered to be celebrated should be replaced with man-made “Christian” celebrations. These, and many other unauthorized doctrines and teachings have polluted God’s word and his plans for humanity. The ByDir from God has been misused and abused by those who teach not to edify but to create and maintain power over others.

We all have the God-given right to choose what we will believe, and God has given us all the information we need to make a choice. He has instructed us how to live and how to worship and how to treat each other. And through the Prophets, he has advised us to choose life (meaning obedience) because the only other option is death.

Don’t find yourself in the Brig for all eternity by refusing to accept the ByDir of Yeshua. Always question what your religious leaders tell you God meant and read it for yourself in the Bible, asking God to show you what he really meant.

God is the ultimate power and authority in the Universe, and there have only been two XO’s God has assigned: Moses and Yeshua. Those two, and only those two had God’s ByDir authority Remember that when you are reading the New Covenant Epistles, so you can understand them correctly, or when you hear people telling you that you are saved by the “Blood of Jesus” and the Torah is just for Jews.

Those people do not have ByDir and you don’t have to listen to what they say.  You are responsible for what you do, and what you don’t do, so make sure you know exactly who gave what commands so you follow the ones that are under God’s ByDir.

If you like what you have read here please subscribe in the right-hand margin, and use the link above to go to my YouTube channel and subscribe there, as well. I welcome your comments and only ask that you be nice.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Is John 1 Talking About a Person or an Idea?

In the Gospel of John, we are told that the Word was with God and the Word was God (John 1-2). We are also told that the Word became a human being and lived with us (John 1:14.) This same “Word” was with God from the beginning and all things were made through him; in fact, nothing had any being without him.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

Spoiler alert!! Today’s message may be hard to understand so please try to stay with me.

The traditional understanding of this is that it is all about the Messiah, whose name is Yeshua (please don’t argue over the “real” name of the Messiah- it is not relevant to this discussion) and who was sent by God to bring the path to salvation to the world.

I don’t disagree with this at all; in fact, the entire Gospel of John tells us about the Messiah God sent, his life and his teachings.

What I want to talk about is the confusion over whether or not Yeshua was with God since the beginning. Because the entire Gospel of John is one long, on-going use of metaphor, I wonder if he was really referring to Yeshua the person or to the plan of God regarding a Messiah to come.

Here is what I am thinking: God knew his plan of salvation would involve a Messiah from the very start. He told Abraham this, in not so many words, when he said his descendants would be a blessing to the world. He told David, absolutely, that one of his descendants would have an everlasting kingdom. There are some 135 or more Messianic passages in the Tanakh, and everything we read in the Tanakh points to the coming of a Messiah to bring the Jewish people back into communion with God, who promises (through the Prophets) to regather his people, change our hearts and forgive us our sins.

Everything in the Tanakh is about the Messiah and God’s promise to “save” us from our sins.  The New Covenant (B’rit Chadashah) is the narrative about the Messiah who God promised to send. We are given the narrative of his life in the 4 Gospels, and the rest is about the influence his Disciples had in the world. The main thing about the writings in the New Covenant is that the salvation provided for by the Messiah has been expanded to the rest of the world, i.e. the Gentiles.

I do not know if Yeshua was a spiritual being from the beginning, which would then (by definition) equate him with God, or if his future existence was just part of the original plan God had for saving the human race from our own sinfulness.  If we take what John wrote, literally, then the Messiah either is God, or God is not unique, which he couldn’t be if another spiritual being was with him all the time.

I believe God has no beginning and no end, as he is described to us in the Torah, and that the Messiah had to have come later. As a person, the Messiah did not come until when we are told, in the New Covenant. As an idea, though, I believe the Messiah existed- in God’s mind- since the very first time God decided he would create the world and humans.

Therefore, what I believe John meant when he said the Word was with God and all things were made through him, is that God’s plan for humanity has always included the need for a Messiah, and as such everything that was created was done so with the Messiah in mind. Not the person of a Messiah, but the need of a Messiah, and when God knew the time for this Messiah to stop being a promise and become a living, flesh-and-blood entity, he created him through a virgin, in accordance with the prophecy he gave us through Isaiah.

This may seem somewhat radical to many, and I guess it is. I don’t believe Messiah is God, and I don’t believe he pre-existed himself. However, I don’t believe I am absolutely certain about that, either. Frankly, I don’t think it matters one iota if Yeshua pre-existed his human form or not.

We are not saved by belief in whether or not the Messiah had some form of pre-existence, or whether or not he, God and the Holy Spirit are one and the same entity, but only through faith in him as the Messiah who was born in the flesh, who walked the earth, died on an execution stake and was resurrected. If you can keep your focus on that, the other things become less important.

I will end with this other radical thought: personally, I think when people have to know absolutely everything about God, the Messiah and every single thing in the Bible, it will not result in holiness or be useful to save others, but it will feed one’s pridefulness. Being full of knowledge that has no practical use in saving people is just a form of Gnosticism which doesn’t feed the soul, it only enlarges the ego.

Here’s what you can do: write a long list of everything you want to know the answer to, and when you are in the presence of God and the Messiah you can ask them for the answers. I guarantee you that when you are there, in their presence, you will fold up your list and throw it away because you will realize the answers are important at all anymore.

If you like what you have read here, please subscribe and also share me out. I welcome comments just so long as you can be nice.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Another Day When I Have Nothing

Nada!

Nuttin, Honey!

Hello? McFly? Anyone home?

I have absolutely no message at all today; there’s no video to do with no message to give.

However, I do have this…Thank you.

Thank you for subscribing (if you haven’t, now would be a really good time to do so- click the subscribe button in the margin on the right) and thank you for your comments. Whether or not you agree, I appreciate your feedback, and any discussion can help to edify us, even if we present the wrong example.

For those that prefer the video, thank you for subscribing to my YouTube channel. I do not have a “Donate Here” button on my website, this is not a 501-C (Non-Profit organization) ministry, but if I get enough subscribers to my YouTube channel they will add advertising and I get some money from that. I use those funds to pay for shipping charges when I have people from Africa or India or any other third world country ask me if I can send them any of my books for their Bible study group. And I have sent books to these countries.

I also want to thank you for sharing me out, and helping this ministry to grow. I pray daily and always ask Adonai to send people to my website who need to hear what I say. I also have a very fervent prayer that whatever I say is always something that he approves of.

That is all for today; just a simple, plain-old, heartfelt “Thank you!

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

How to Deal with Being a Sinner

Like it or not, you are a sinner. I am a sinner, and we all are not only sinners but sinful, filled with the desire to sin (which is called “iniquity”.)

So, how do we deal with this? We do that by, well…dealing with it. We can’t escape it, we can’t stop it, but we can learn to control it better than we used to.

The best answer I can give you is what I always say:  We can never be sinless, but we can always sin less. 

(No video today.)

Grace is what we call forgiveness from the sins we commit, but it is on a spiritual level; in the physical realm, we will always have to suffer from the consequences of our sins. And even worse than that- many times it will be the innocent people who we care about that suffer, as well.

There exists within Christianity a very popular teaching (popular because it removes any feeling of guilt or responsibility) that says once we have asked forgiveness in Yeshua’s name, we are forgiven forever. The term used is OSAS (Once Saved, Always Saved), and it is a lie from the pit of Sheol.  It makes one feel good about sinning and removes any feelings of repentance.

How?  Simple: when we think no matter what we do, we are automatically forgiven then we don’t worry about what we do. This is NOT the way to deal with your sinfulness.

Oh, yes, there are some who will make the excuse that the Holy Spirit will guide us and prevent us from doing wrong; others will say the Torah was already written on our hearts the moment we accepted Jesus.  Both are wrong.  Salvation is not a momentary change of heart, it is a life-long process. The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) may warn us when we are about to sin, but if someone has been taught their sins are automatically forgiven why would they worry about listening to the little angel on their shoulder saying, “Uh, uh, uh- you really shouldn’t!”?  Especially when the little devil on the other shoulder is saying, “Don’t listen to that one- you are already saved by the blood of Christ! If you think you have to obey God to be saved, you are not under the blood but under the law!”

That’s the same guy who told Eve, “You certainly won’t die.”

What do you think? If I continue to sin because I think I am already saved, is God going to accept me into his presence? Will my ignorance be forgiven and my sinfulness ignored because the reason I rejected his instructions in the Torah was a result of someone telling me I didn’t have to obey them?

I don’t think so.

I can’t speak for God, but I’m pretty sure that if I came before him on Judgement Day and said, “I am sorry I rejected your instructions, but my (Priest/Minister/Pastor/whatever) told me I didn’t have to obey them”, he might say something like: “I understand, my child, that someone told you what to do, but it’s what I say that counts!”

What was “nailed to the cross”, as Shaul (Paul) tells us, was not every sin we will ever commit, but only every sin we have already committed. The past is forgiven, but the future remains open. We can continually work at being better or we can continue to sin and make excuses. This is a very important truth to understand or you cannot properly deal with your sinning.

Let me remind you of the main point in this message- we WILL continue to sin. One way or the other, we each have to deal with this.

When we face up to the fact that we are sinful, the way to deal with it is the way God tells us to in the Torah: obey the instructions he gave us and when we sin, repent and ask forgiveness through Yeshua’s sacrifice. When we do that we can trust his promise that we will have life, eternal.

God says in Ezekiel 18 and elsewhere, throughout the Tanakh, that if we obey we will have life, meaning life eternal. We still suffer from sins on earth, yet we will be forgiven in the resurrection. BUT..only if we remain repentant and continually ask for forgiveness, demonstrating the genuineness of our repentance by working, every day until we are dead, to sin less each day.

Most of Christianity teaches an easy path to salvation: trust in Jesus and you’re saved forever. That sounds nice, but you know the old saying: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Yeshua said that if we want to follow him, we must each of us pick up our execution stake and walk after him. If that sounds like a cake-walk to you, you have a real problem with comprehension!

And the Enemy? He wants you to believe that, and sometimes he will try to make you feel so bad about sinning that you might just think, “I can never stop sinning, no matter how hard I try! I might as well chuck it all and just enjoy myself. Why should I beat myself up any more for something I can’t control?”  It should be obvious this is not how to deal with your sin.

We are sinners, we always will be, and that’s not okay but it is the way things are. We deal with it, first of all, by taking possession of our own iniquity, owning up to our weaknesses, and asking God’s help to be obedient to his instructions.

Think about it: God created this game called “Life, Death, and Resurrection”, and he gave us the instructions telling us how to win it.  So, nu?  why would anyone want to ignore them?

Amen?….AMEN!!

Thank you for being here, and if you like what you have heard please share me out, and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE in the right-hand margin.

I welcome comments, just be nice, and until next time…L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Parashah Tazria 2019 (She conceives) Leviticus 12 – 13

This parashah deals exclusively with two forms of impurity; a woman’s impurity as a result of birth and the impurity of a skin disease, generally identified as leprosy.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

A woman is unclean after giving birth due to the bodily excretions that occur (which are discussed later in Chapter 18) and there is a specified time for her to remain in that state after the birth of a boy and another time period if the child is a girl; please don’t ask me why there is a different time for each because I have no idea. I just put it down to being a law that is considered Chukkim (laws which must be obeyed but we can’t understand why.)

There are also instructions regarding the breaking out of a skin disease, which (as I said before) is generally interpreted as leprosy. The Hebrew word used is T’zarat.

In both cases, since the person is unclean, they are removed from the camp for the specified time period. Once that time period is over they are to offer a sacrifice and then they can rejoin the camp.

In the case of T’zarat, the Cohen must examine the person to ensure that the breaking-out on the skin is not communicable.

The arguments made for these instructions deal on one of two sides: one argument is that they are given for health reasons, and the other is that they are strictly levitical, i.e. ceremonial/religious.

The health arguments are fairly simple to comprehend- if someone has a communicable disease, such as some forms of leprosy, then it makes sense to remove them from the general population. And with regards to the levitical reasons, the Torah is clear that no one in a state of uncleanliness or with physical deformities is allowed in the Sanctuary.

It should be noted that these impurities relate to the Sanctuary and not necessarily with everyday activities.

I believe what we should take away from this parashah is that God has his reasons for giving us the instructions in the Torah, and we don’t need to know why. I have made this argument many times during the life of this ministry of mine, and will (no doubt) repeat it again, and often.

As the line from the famous poem, “Charge of Light Brigade” goes, “Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die;…” Now, I am not suggesting that we should either obey the Torah or cash in our chips, but I do believe we are to obey not because we understanding God’s reasons but only because God said we should. He tells us over and over (and over) again throughout the Bible that when we obey him, we will live. That doesn’t mean just live now but live eternally.

Maybe we shouldn’t have sexual relations with a woman during her time of Niddah (again, this is in Chapter 18) because some studies show that Jewish women (who follow this instruction) have a lower incidence of cervical cancer. That’s good news, and certainly good reason for obedience to that instruction. But what if there was no study? What if there was no relationship, in the health arena, for this particular abstinence? Does that mean we should say God made a mistake?

Of course not. God doesn’t make mistakes, but we sure do. And the biggest mistake we make, in my opinion, is trying to understand why God gives us these instructions.

Human beings have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, which (in and of itself) is a good thing; but, just like too much of any good thing is not good, when we begin to pridefully believe we now understand why he gave them we are asking for trouble. Here’s my reason for saying this: based on my experience and understanding of human nature, once we think we know the reason for being told to do something if we do not really want to do that something, we rationalize reasons for ignoring that rule.

In other words, if I really don’t want to, I will make an excuse why I don’t have to, and knowing the “why” for the rule makes it easier to create that excuse.

The bottom line is this: there are health-related and levitical justifications for the instructions God gives dealing with impurity. And the truth is that if someone doesn’t want to obey, any excuse is just as good as any other excuse.

We have a choice- we can obey and choose life, or we can disobey and choose death. God has given us the right to decide where we spend eternity, and whether we understand his reasons for giving any specific instruction, or not, doesn’t matter to God. He knows what is in our hearts and minds, so say what you want and make any excuse you want; it can be logically, medically or legally justified, but it won’t make any difference to God.

Thank you for being here, and if you like what you have heard please share me out and help this humble ministry to grow. Please also don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE in the right-hand margin, and use the link above to subscribe to my YouTube channel, as well. If I get enough subscribers to YouTube I will be paid a small amount of advertising money, which I use to send my books to foreign countries.

Your comments are always welcomed, just be nice.

This being Friday, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom, and until next time L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Mercy Isn’t Amnesty

The Bible is rife with passages that talk about the forgiveness, compassion, and mercy that we can expect from God. He (usually) waits a long time before issuing his punishment only because he is giving us that amount of time to repent, and even when he does punish (which is often terrible to endure), he does so with mercy.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

There are too many houses of worship (meaning all religions) that teach only about the love and mercy of God, up to the point where people begin to believe that because God is merciful they will not have to suffer for their sins once they repent and ask for forgiveness.

Let’s get real people- that ain’t how it works.

God does not desire that anyone, at any time, should ever die in their sin. He says so, twice, in the Book of Ezekiel alone; the first time in Ezekiel 18:23 and then again in Ezekiel 33:11. He tells us he gets no pleasure at all from someone who dies in their sin, and that he would rather they turn from that sin, and live.

He also tells us that a righteous person who begins to sin will be guilty and die in their sin, yet a guilty (sinful) person who repents and does what is right will be forgiven and live (eternally.)

There are always consequences to sin, and more often than not, the innocent are the ones that suffer as a result of these sins. I am sure we all have seen people who are sinful and evil, yet it appears they go free, untouched by the legal authorities and blessed with wealth, success and what the world sees as rewards. That may be, but in the end, they will come before the Judge of the World and there won’t be any high-priced shyster to defend them.

For the purposes of this discussion, I would like to define “sin” as mindfully rejecting God’s  instructions and being unrepentant about it, whether that unrepentance is because you choose to not care, or because you have been taught it is acceptable (i.e., the Once-Saved; Always-Saved teaching of many Christian religions.)

Too many religions teach that because God is merciful we can be forgiven of our sins, which is accomplished through faith in Yeshua Ha Mashiach (most know him as Jesus Christ); although this is correct, the implied lesson is that once forgiven, we are “off the hook.” Well, the Bible shows us this is not the case.

David was a person after God’s own heart, yet when he sinned with Bathsheba the child born of that sin was taken by God as punishment; Aaron’s sons were not unrighteous, but when they sinned by offering unknown fire they were killed immediately; Dathan and Abiram were leaders and important men within the community, yet when they were unrepentant of their rebellion against Moses (who was doing God’s will) they were swallowed up by the earth; and we can even include the fig tree Yeshua cursed (Matthew 21:18)  in this list.

In case you are wondering how a tree can sin, the cursing of the fig tree was to demonstrate that someone who pretends to be righteous but is faking it will be judged correctly and suffer for their deception.

Sin always comes at a price that the sinner must pay in this world. The forgiveness we receive from God through Yeshua is only found in the spiritual realm, reserved for the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) where we spend eternity in God’s presence. The horrible truth of the matter is that the forgiveness we receive through Yeshua is not going to grant us amnesty from the consequence of that sin while still living on the earth. This is a hard word to hear, but it is one that we must accept because when we do, we will be less likely to sin again.

The idea that forgiveness through Yeshua means amnesty from the consequence of sin is traditional Christian teaching; I say this because I have never heard this teaching in any synagogue or read it in any Jewish theology book, but I see it all over the Internet and from many Gentiles (Believing Gentiles, too) whom I have met.  This teaching is nothing more than a lie from the pit of Sheol and is setting us up for death. We must always remember that sin is hurtful to us and to others, usually the ones we love.

Don’t be fooled by those who seem to escape the consequence of their sins in this world- you can be sure they will suffer in the next. As for me, I would rather take my medicine now and get it over with, and know that when I repent of my sin and ask forgiveness through Yeshua I will have eternal peace and joy.

If you like what you have heard here please share me out, and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE in the right-hand margin so you will be notified when I post my next message. Also, please use the link above and subscribe to my YouTube channel as well.

I welcome comments and only ask that you be nice.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

We Can’t Reject Our Cake and Eat It, Too.

No video for this one, but please take a minute or two to read it.

This message came to me in the middle of the night, and I couldn’t sleep until I shared it with you.

There was once a small town in a valley that was protected by a dam. In this town, there was a man of God who constantly professed faith in the Lord.

One day the dam began to fail and the townspeople had to be evacuated. The man of God ran around warning people to leave. The water level was up to his knees and he was wading through it when a truck came by and the driver said for the man of God to get on so he could be taken to safety.

The man replied, “God will protect me and save me- go save someone else.”

The water was now up to his waist and climbing quickly, and a rowboat came by. The people asked the man to get in, but he replied, “God will protect me and save me- go save someone else.”

Now the water was up to his neck and he was half-walking/half-swimming when a helicopter came overhead and through a loudspeaker, the pilot said, “Man of God- get on because the dam is about to burst!”

The man replied, “God will protect me and save me- go save someone else.”

Finally, the dam burst and the man of God was drowned.

In the heavens, the man saw God and said to him, “Why did you let me drown? I told all those people you would save me and you didn’t!”

God replied, “What are you talking about? I sent you a truck, then I sent you a rowboat. I even sent you a helicopter!”

Remember this story- we will return to it soon.

Yeshua told us in Matthew 5:17 that he did not come to change the law.  He also told us, in John 13:20 that whoever accepts someone he sends, accepts him, and whoever accepts him accepts the one who sent him. And in Luke 10:16 he tells us the converse is true, which is that whoever rejects him (Yeshua) rejects the one who sent him (God.)

One more verse- John 1:14 tells us the Word (meaning the Word of God, which is the Torah) became flesh and dwelt among us, who was Yeshua.

Putting these together, we see that the written Torah is from God, Yeshua (also from God) is the living Torah, so they are one and the same thing. Yeshua said he did not come to change anything in or about the Torah, and that when we accept him we accept God but if we reject him we also reject God.

Everybody with me so far?

Shaul said in Colossians 2:14 that the crimes against us were nailed to the cross with Yeshua, which is true, but those were only our own sins which we had already committed. Traditional Christian teaching is that this means the Law (Torah) was nailed to the cross and through faith in Yeshua we don’t need the law anymore. In other words, once saved, always saved and the need to obey the Torah was done away with.

This is the exact same thing that the snake said to Eve when he told her it was okay to eat the apple because she wouldn’t really die.

You cannot accept Yeshua as your Messiah and reject the instructions God gave us in the Torah because they are both one and the same thing. 

Now we can see the true meaning of the story: God has been telling us, first through Moses (the truck), then through the Prophets (the rowboat) and finally through Yeshua (the helicopter) that people who are trusting traditional Christian rhetoric to save them are really rejecting the salvation God has provided and will end up drowning.

For those who profess faith in God and Yeshua, but reject the Torah, they will be in the same situation as the ones we are told about in Matthew 7:21-23:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

How can anyone say that the law was done away with and not admit that they are practicing lawlessness?

Faith is how we are saved, and genuine faith will motivate us to obedience. You can’t have one without the other- they are both sides of the same coin. It is a never-ending circle of righteousness: faith generates obedience, obedience brings blessings, blessings confirm faith, faith generates obedience, ad infinitum…

Let go of the comfort zone that Christian teaching has provided by telling you that all you need is “faith in Jesus”! Yes, you need to have faith in Yeshua as the Messiah, but that doesn’t replace faith in God, and true faith (as James says in James 2:14) is shown through good works, meaning obedience to the instructions God gave us how to worship him and how to treat each other- which are found in the Torah!

You can’t accept the living Torah and reject the written Torah at the same time.

 

Zealousness Misdirected

To be zealous means to have an overriding desire for something. You could be zealous for a sports team, collecting paraphernalia until you have a roomful of it. You could be zealous for work, staying late and starting early every day of the week and never going on vacation. You could be zealous for the Lord- worshiping daily, attending every community function that your house of worship holds, being on every committee, and talking about God and his plan of salvation to everyone and anyone you can.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

We are told that zealousness for the Lord is good. David talks about it in the Psalms 69 and 119; Isaiah mentions it in his writings (Isaiah 37, 59 and 63); and Pinchus was rewarded for his zealousness for the Lord in Numbers 25:11-13.

Now, as wonderful as it may be to be zealous for something, when that zealousness is misdirected whatever good may have come from it will be turned to evil.

We see this in the letter Shaul (Paul) wrote to the Galatians. This letter was written to protect the Messianic community in Galatia, which Shaul founded, from the Messianic Jews who were not trying to dissuade them from following Yeshua but to burden them with wrongful teaching about the necessity of following the Torah. This is what we have come to call “legalism”, which is the idea that without exact and literal obedience to the instructions in the Torah, we cannot be saved. Whereas it is true that we should do everything we can to obey the Torah instructions, it is not the path to salvation. Shaul was writing to remind the Galatians that faith comes before obedience, and obedience then comes as a result of that faith.

In Galatians 4:17-18 he says the following:

True, these teachers are zealous for you, but their motives are not good. They want to separate you from us so that you will become zealous for them. To be zealous is good, provided always that the cause is good. 

The issue of legalism that was a problem to these early Messianic Gentile communities has been replaced with the doctrine of Constantinian Christianity, created at the Council of Nicene in the year 325 C.E. From then on, legalism no longer mattered because by that time Christianity had become so separated from its’ Jewish roots that it was a totally different religion, which pretty much rejected the instructions in the Torah, altogether.

You would think that that would be the end of legalism, but it wasn’t. Today, Gentile Believers who want to worship as Messiah did, and want to go back to their Jewish roots, have resurrected legalism.

They aren’t so worried about following the Torah as they are about the minutia within the Torah.  For example, we see many arguments about something that would never even be a consideration for a Jewish Believer, or even a “mainstream” Jew, which is the way to pronounce God’s holy name, the Tetragrammaton. I have seen so many arguments about the difference between the Paleo-Hebraic spelling (Y-H-W-H) and the modern Hebrew spelling (Y-H-V-H) that I wonder if they even realize that none of the early Messianic communities ever pronounced that name, at all? Jews do not use that name because we respect it, yet Gentiles who suddenly feel the need to get back to their Jewish roots show no respect at all for God’s name. They misinterpret the use of “the name of the Lord” that is in the Tanakh to justify pronouncing the Tetragrammaton: their zealousness to know God better is misdirected and becomes disrespectful to God, and also to all the Jewish Believers who are told they are wrong not to pronounce God’s holy name.
I’m sorry, but we have been the chosen people for nearly Six Thousand years: not to sound self-centered, but maybe Gentiles should consider we know what we are doing?

I also see so many arguments about when the festivals start. The modern Jewish calendar is accepted by almost every Jew in the world and yet, Gentiles who are just beginning to observe God’s commanded festivals (which is a good thing) are now arguing over when they really start (which is a legalistic thing.)

I am saying “Gentiles” but I am sure there are Jews within these groups also who are of the same mindset, but from my experience, it is almost exclusively Gentile Believers who are arguing for this modern form of legalism.

For instance, Rosh Chodesh is the celebration of the new month, which begins with the sighting of the moon in the new moon phase. Today we have science to show us exactly when this happens, unlike the ancient days when it was required to have three witnesses agree that the moon is in phase. Yet, I see so many people argue over when it really is a new moon, and when that festival really begins.  OY!!

Don’t they know that in the olden days, which they are trying to legalistic recreate, the new moon and festival beginnings had a “grace period” of some three days?  There might have been clouds in the sky obscuring the view or it could have been raining, in either case, the moon could not be seen. Once the ones responsible for officially stating when a festival began (who were in Jerusalem) agreed it was time, they would light signal fires on mountaintops throughout the land of Israel to announce the beginning of that festival. This means that the exact phase of the moon wasn’t really as important as everyone celebrating at the same time.

Think of the harvest festivals- no harvest is at the exact same day as the prior year. Shavuot is one of the most important holy days of the year, one of the three pilgrimage holy days requiring us to go to the Temple in Jerusalem. It begins 50 days after Habikkurim (First Fruits), yet first fruits depended on when the harvest was done, which was never the exact same time every year. Today we celebrate Pesach, Habikkurim, and Shavuot based on the calendar days and not on any harvest. That means that no one who uses the Jewish calendar is exactly right about when First Fruits and Shavuot begin. So, nu? Do you think that God is going to send every person who observes his festivals based on the Jewish calendar to Sheol?

Here’s the problem with this modern form of legalism: it is misdirected zealousness. The zealousness to be obedient to the Torah has been perverted to obedience for the sake of obedience, which leads to faithlessness. I believe this to be true, and just as Shaul told the Galatians that they were being made zealous for someone else, the Enemy of the Lord wants to make us zealous for him. And how can he do that to faithful Believers? By separating them from God through misdirected zealousness.

When we are arguing amongst ourselves over things that have no relationship to our salvation, such as exactly when the moon is in a certain phase, or how to pronounce a name, or when a festival begins we separate ourselves from each other. Haven’t you ever heard the term “divide and conquer”? Well, that is what this legalism is doing within the Messianic and Christian Believing communities.

It is good to be zealous for proper worship, which I define as worship the way God said to do so. He gave us a User Manual to teach us how to worship him properly, which is called the Torah. All we need to do is follow the instructions as best as we can. I cannot speak for God, but since he constantly tells us throughout the Tanakh that he is not interested in the blood of bulls or sheep (meaning obedience for the sake of being obedient) and that he sees the heart, I think it is safe to say as long as your heart is zealous for God he will understand and forgive you if you celebrate a festival day early or a day late. To be safe, just use the same calendar that every other Jew in the world uses.

Also, if you want to get back to your Jewish roots, don’t reinvent the wheel by doing what Jews don’t do, such as pronouncing the holy name of the Lord. Use Adonai, Lord, God, Elohim, HaShem or some other biblical name for God. And, for Pete’s sake, don’t use transliteration spellings that are wrong, like Quodash or Alohim- OY!! If you use a transliteration, use the ones Jews use because they are based on the Hebrew spelling, which is the correct pronunciation.

Legalism is trying to do things exactly as instructed for the sake of being correct. God really doesn’t care about performance, he cares about the reasons for that performance. If your desire to be obedient is zealousness for God as a direct result of faithfulness, then that is good. You don’t have to be perfect, just willing to try from a heartfelt desire to show God you love him.

If your zealousness for God leads you to obedience for the sake of obedience, that is legalism and zealousness misdirected.

If you like what you have read, please share me out and help this ministry to grow. Click on the SUBSCRIBE button in the right-hand margin and also go back to the YouTube channel (use the link above) and subscribe there, as well.

I welcome comments, just be nice, and until the next time…L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Using Shaul’s Letters as a Weapon Against the Torah

The New Covenant writings are the historical record of Yeshua’s ministry and teachings, as well as a narrative of the travels (and travails) of some of the Apostles. The majority of the New Covenant is made up of the Epistles (letters) written by Shaul (Paul) to the congregations of Messianic/Believing Gentiles that he founded throughout Asia.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

These letters have been used to form much of the doctrine of modern, or Constantinian Christianity, and are considered, by many Christian denominations, to be more important than God’s instructions in the Torah.

I liken it to Judaism and the Talmud: the Orthodox and Hasidic sects of Judaism will often go to the Talmud for spiritual guidance before they go to the Torah; in fact, the rabbinic doctrine in the Talmud is called Halacha- the Way to Walk. Most Jews live more in accordance with opinions from the great Rabbis written in the Talmud than they do to the instructions God gave us in the Torah.

The same thing has happened with the letters Shaul wrote, except for one major difference: the Talmud tells us how to live in accordance with the Torah, whereas each letter from Shaul addressed only specific problems within the congregation he wrote to. His references within his letters to the Mosaic Law were never intended to tell people they were no longer necessary or valid for Gentile Believers, but to explain that they are not the path to salvation (anti-legalism) but the result of a faithful desire to please the Lord.

The instructions Shaul gave to his congregations was supposed to be used as a weapon, loaded with bullets from the Torah to shoot down and kill the wrongful teachings and ideas that were infiltrating his congregations, such as Gnosticism, Legalism, incorrect understanding of the Kashrut instructions, and internal dissension caused by individual political agendas.

What happened was that the early “church” leaders took Shaul’s weapon, reloaded it with bullets of wrongful teachings and used it to murder the Torah!

We must read the letters from Shaul as what they were designed to be: not instructions establishing religious doctrine but condemnation for incorrect worship and personal relationships. These letters were addressing problems within the congregation, and instead of seeing them for what they are, Christianity has turned them inside-out and made them appear to be doctrinal commandments. That is why instead of doing what Shaul meant them to do, which was to help his Gentile Believers live in accordance to God’s instructions properly, they have been misused in order to deny the necessity of following the Torah.

It doesn’t help that it is very hard to understand much of what Shaul wrote because he used what I call “Jewish logic.” Jewish logic is how we Jews argue- we never tell you what something is until we first tell you everything that it isn’t. If you read Shaul’s letters carefully, parsing the sentences and separating thought by thought, you will see that he starts his discussion with the negative aspects (the “Anti” side) of the Torah, then he comes back to show how the things he just said might be true, aren’t.  This form of argument, as well as implied cultural and religious meanings which Jews would understand but the Gentiles couldn’t, is why it has been easy for Christian leadership to twist the intent of Shaul’s letters.

If you don’t believe me, just read the postings within Christian or Messianic discussion groups or talk to Gentiles who DO want to follow the Torah, and I will bet you dollars-to-donuts that the vast majority of passages they use to prove their doctrinal beliefs will be from the Epistles of Shaul! They won’t pull from where he quoted, the Torah, but they will use his letters as justification for what they say. When you talk to most any Christian about the Bible, they will quote exclusively from the New Covenant because most Christian teachings won’t even include the Tanakh.

When I do an Internet search for something I know is in the Torah, the majority of the “hits” I get are from the New Covenant, where the writer is quoting from the Torah but I won’t see the original passage from the Torah.

Going forward, if you have been able to see the truth in the letters Shaul wrote, that truth being confirmation of the Torah and not condemnation of it, then please help others (compassionately and with love) to see this truth, as well. And, if you are saying to yourself that what I have been saying here is a bunch of hooey, I would ask you to test my statements and read Galatians, or Romans, or any other Epistle and look specifically for the method of argument I said Shaul uses. If you are able to read these with an open mind and not-prejudging the outcome, I believe God will open your eyes to what I and many others believe is the true meaning of those letters.

Thank you for being here, and I do welcome comments and discussion- all I ask is that you be nice.

Please don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE and do so also (using the link above) to my Youtube channel.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!