Revelation About Revelation?

If you have been following my ministry, you know that I rarely talk about anything dealing with Eschatology, which in Hebrew we call the Acharit HaYamim (End Days.) Different narratives of this event are found throughout the writings of the Prophets in the Tanakh, and in the great detail in the Book of Revelation.

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But today I thought I might go a little far afield for me and discuss something that I was thinking about. I am not saying this is a definitive understanding or a new “revelation” regarding Revelation, but I think it is interesting.

We read about the 7 seals that are broken and the 7 bowls of God’s wrath which are released upon the earth and its inhabitants.  There is a pattern I noticed that we could use to ascertain if these seals and bowls are being put into practice at this time.

By the way, you don’t have to agree and can certainly disagree with whatever I am saying; I am no expert on this topic, by any stretch of the imagination. I welcome any comments or corrections from those who have made a deeper study of this topic.

The order of events with the seals is that there is an authority established throughout the world, perhaps meaning the one-world government? Next, there will be wars and the economy will suffer. This is followed by plagues and famine, and the 5th seal states those who have been martyred ask for justice, which they are told is coming soon. This might mean that the previous events will create an environment where the government declares martial rule, for the “protection of the people”, but in fact establishes a totalitarian state where people will be placed under arrest and incarcerated without due process, being denied justice by the government. Sounds reasonable, right?

The 6th seal results in ecological disasters and with the opening of the 7th seal, nearly 2/3 of the earth, plants, animals, and people are totally destroyed.

I don’t know about you, but that does not sound like fun to me. Not at all.

The bowls of wrath seem to be in a similar order, but they concentrate more on the ecology. First, there is disease released upon the people, which is followed by the oceans becoming polluted.  The 3rd bowl pollutes the freshwater sources, and this is interesting because the freshwater sources feed the oceans, not the other way around, yet in God’s plan it will be the oceans that are first affected.

The 4th bowl will burn people, and I think that might be caused by the loss of the Ozone layer around the earth, which would allow the sun’s damaging rays to penetrate our atmosphere. After these disasters, we read how the 5th bowl will affect the non-Believers worse, and with the 6th bowl the Middle East rivers, especially the Euphrates, will dry up completely.

Finally, there is a total ecological disaster, with the earth and everything in it being nearly totally destroyed.

In Revelation these seals and bowls appear to be released upon the earth in order, starting with the seals and ending with the bowls, with other events occurring between them. I am not sure, though, if the bowls and seals are different, or just another way of announcing within the vision what is to come. We have to remember that this is a vision, which means it isn’t literal all the time and also may not be in any chronological order.

I think the main thing to understand is that there will be a single authority established in the world, which should be the signal that these events will begin. These events will affect people, animals, and the environment. We will see our natural resources disappearing or becoming unusable, which will lead to disease, leading to unrest, leading to conflict for resources (wars), leading to government take-over, leading to rebellion, leading to destruction, death, and disorder on a worldwide scale. Eventually, given the destructive weaponry that nearly every country has available to them, the nearly total destruction of the earth and everything in it will be accomplished.

We read that God instructs the angels to release these terrible events upon the earth, but (again) this is a vision, and the angels may represent us! God promised Noah he would never again destroy the earth, but he never said he wouldn’t allow mankind to do it.

God allows sin to continue not because he is weak or unwilling to punish, but because he is giving us time to repent. Once we reach the limit of his allowance, he will act! We have seen this happen to the tribes that were outside Israel (Gad, Rueben, and Manasseh), later to Israel (the Northern kingdom), then to Judah (the Southern kingdom), to the enemies of God’s chosen people living in the Middle East (Assyrians, Babylonians, Philistines, etc.), to Spain after the Inquisition, and most recently to the Nazi’s. There are plenty of reasons to expect this will happen to all the nations of the earth, as well, once God decides to drop the hammer.

And given the rise in anti-Semitism that we are seeing throughout Europe lately, the red flags should be waving and the bells should be ringing.

I don’t know if what I am sharing with you today is anything new; most likely, my revelation about Revelation is no real revelation to anyone.  But I believe the logic behind the order of how things will be destroyed may help us to realize what is happening because once the fecal matter hits the air circulation unit, it will be very hard to stand back, observe, and reconcile what it all might mean because the world will be a total mishigas.

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Everyone Gets Rained On

During the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua tells the people that they should love their enemies and pray for them because that way they will become children of their father in heaven.

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He then tells them that God makes the sun to shine on good and bad people alike, as well as makes the rain to fall on the righteous and unrighteous, alike.

I have always thought this passage meant that God is such a loving God that even those who reject him and ignore his instructions will be able to receive goodness from him. The sunshine and the rains have always represented life to me, in as much as they both are necessary for growth, so when Yeshua said that God provides sun and rain even to the unrighteous, I felt that this was a good thing.

Recently, though, I have thought differently about this. I read Jeremiah 49 and I saw a totally different meaning to what Yeshua said.

In this chapter of Jeremiah, he is prophesying against the different nations surrounding Israel, and in his prophecy against Edom, he says this in Jeremiah 49:12 (CJB):

For this is what Adonai says: “Those who do not deserve to drink from this cup will have to drink it, anyway, so should you go unpunished? No, you will not go unpunished; you will certainly drink it.”

When I read that, even though it is in a distinctly different part of the Bible and is not the same subject matter as the Sermon on the Mount, I realized that what Yeshua said might be understood in a totally different light.

How many times have we heard people ask “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Now, after this revelation (if you will) of mine, I think one answer might be that it’s because they are “collateral damage.”

God loves all people, even the ones who hate him, and even though he knows every hair on every person’s head (which, finally, I will be able to get cut this evening), when he judges a nation, it is the entire nation. How many times has he told us, through the Prophets, that Israel is his son? Israel is seen by God as a unique and singular entity, meaning that God sees all the people that live in Israel as one. And how many times do we hear the Prophets confess the guilt of the people? Not for an individual or a select few but it is always the “sins of our fathers” or “the sins of your people” that they reference when praying to God for forgiveness. And, again, not for the forgiveness of a person or persons, but of the nation.

I came to realize that when God gives sun and rain in abundance at the right times, which is his blessing to the righteous, the unrighteous will be collateral beneficiaries. But, too much sunshine with too little rain, or too much rain without enough sunny days and you don’t have a blessing, you have a curse. And when God sends his curses on the unrighteous, the righteous will be collateral damage.

In other words, we are sometimes guilty by association.  And perhaps that is why when God first gave us his instructions for how to live, he was very clear that those who were not clean were to be separated from the rest of the community and placed outside the camp. For example, in Numbers 16 before the ground swallowed up Dathan and Abiram, Moses told the people close by to separate themselves and get away from them, or they too would be swallowed up.

Too often things happen that we cannot explain, and when we look to God for answers, too often there are none to have. God is so far above us, and he doesn’t really care about our existence on Earth- he is focused on eternity. He is an eternal being, and although he can understand the finite, we, as finite beings, cannot understand the infinite. God has given us this life for one purpose, and one purpose only, which is to choose where we will spend eternity.

If a righteous person is taken from this life along with unrighteous people, then as sad as that may seem to us, it isn’t that bad for the righteous person taken because he or she is now in the eternal presence of the Lord. C’mon, really? What’s the downside of that? This existence is merely a wisp, a mist, and because we have only the amount of time God gives us, and we don’t know how long that is, it is best to make sure we are right with the Lord, first, then try to separate ourselves from evil and unrighteousness as much as possible.

I am not saying to cut off all relationships with non-Believers and run to the mountaintops, living as a hermit, but just to always try to be right with the Lord, and try to associate with the more righteous people as much as you can. It is a fallen and cursed world, and there are more evil and unrighteous people in it then righteous people, so you can never be fully separated from them. But when you know you are living as righteous a life as you can, then even if you end up as collateral damage, it won’t be so bad for you.

When you see good people suffer, it might be because they are collateral damage from someone close to them or something they were associated with. It doesn’t, by itself, means they were guilty of anything. Just like with Job, or the man born blind in John 9:3, whose blindness was not the result of anyone’s sin but so that God’s power and goodness could be made known, we can’t know why bad things happen to good people, nor should we feel it is unfair when bad people receive blessings because the one thing we can be sure of is that in the end, the good are rewarded and the bad receive their punishment.

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Just for the Lost Sheep of Israel

In the Gospel of Matthew, we read in Chapter 15, verses 21-28 about a Canaanite woman who asked Yeshua to heal her daughter. This is what he replied to her (CJB):

He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el.” But she came, fell at his feet and said, “Sir, help me!” He answered, “It is not right to take the children’s food and toss it to their pet dogs.” She said, “That is true, sir, but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their master’s table.” Then Yeshua answered her, “Lady, you are a person of great trust. Let your desire be granted.” And her daughter was healed at that very moment.

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More than any other misunderstanding within Christianity is the teaching that Jesus is their Savior. Most every Christian I have ever met has been taught that Jews rejected Jesus and so they can’t be saved; Jesus is now only a Christian savior, and to be saved you must be a Christian.

I believe the wrongful teachings and doctrines of Christianity were developed after the original Disciples and many of the Jews who accepted Yeshua when he was still teaching had all died. The Jewish population of Believers was far outpaced by the Gentile converts to this (now) new religion calling itself Christianity. And, by the time Constantine got his fingers in the pie, what was supposed to be a group of people looking for salvation through the sacrifice of the Messiah, Yeshua, had turned into a new religion that worshiped Jesus Christ, who died for their sins.

He didn’t die for the sins of Jews, but for the sins of Christians.

I have seen many postings and had discussions with Christians who have held to the belief that because the Jews rejected Jesus, God has rejected the Jews; this is called Replacement Theology. I have also heard people say that the only laws that apply to Gentiles are the 10 Commandments, and the rest of the Torah instructions are just for Jews.

The truth is there are many, MANY traditional Christian teachings that are totally created by people, and not in accordance with anything that God said.

So, where is all this leading to? It’s to remind the Gentiles who accept Yeshua as their savior that he is not a Savior for the Gentiles: he is the Messiah of and for the Jews. It wasn’t until AFTER Yeshua did what he was supposed to do as the Messiah, providing the pathway to salvation for the Jewish people, that the Gentiles were also allowed to enter.

I don’t mean this to sound as derogatory or insulting, but the fact is that Gentiles who accept Yeshua/Jesus as their savior are getting the scraps that fell off our Jewish table. You are allowed to walk the path of salvation that was created for the Jewish people and to enter salvation through the doorway made for the Jewish people. There has NEVER been a separate path or door for Gentiles.

As such, when you are walking the pathway made for Jews, you are expected to walk the same way the Jews walk.

God has no religion, he only has his instructions for the way we are to worship him and the way we are to treat each other. There is not one passage in the New Covenant that is a direct instruction from God; in fact, the only place that God says anything in the New Covenant is in the Gospels, right after Yeshua has the Ruach (Spirit) fall on him and at the transformation on the mountain.

The letters from Shaul (Paul) to the Gentile congregations he started are not divine instructions or even against the existing instructions in the Torah- they are Shaul’s teaching the Gentiles, who had no idea how to live as God wants them to, in a way that the Gentiles could accept. The letter to the new believers written by the Elders (Acts 15) was never meant to be interpreted as the only things new Believers (later all Christians) had to do. It was meant to be understood as these things must be done immediately, and the rest of the Torah they will learn eventually (Acts 15:21), clearly showing that the Elders expected the Gentiles who were following Yeshua to adopt the Torah.

I am glad that God allowed the Gentiles, meaning everyone who is not Jewish by birth, to be saved. It was always his plan, which is why he told Abraham that his descendants will be a blessing to the whole world and told Moses that the Jewish people would be his (God’s) nation of priests.  It was always meant for the Gentiles to be given the opportunity to receive forgiveness of sins.

It was never meant that the Gentiles would create their own religion with different holidays, a different Sabbath day, and different doctrines. And God never wanted them to bow down and pray to statues or bury their dead under the Sanctuary floor, or teach each other that God’s instructions are not for them.

Shaul knew this and tried to warn the early congregations about this in Romans 11:17-18 where he says:

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you — a wild olive — were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you.

The fact is that Yeshua was sent only to, and only for, the Jewish people in order that God’s promises regarding the Messiah could be completed in Yeshua. Yeshua, himself, says this to the Canaanite woman. In other words, the Salvation Party was only for Jews, hosted by God, and paid for by a Jewish Messiah. Salvation has always been a Jewish event; when salvation was made possible for the Gentiles that was simply the after-party.

Anyone who accepts Yeshua as their Messiah and asks forgiveness for their sins through his sacrificial death will be saved, and once saved we are all in the body of Messiah, which means we are to try to live as he lived. And he lived according to God’s instructions in the Torah, where God told us how to worship him, which celebrations to observe, what to eat, how to treat each other, as well as many other instructions on how to live.

It comes down to this: you have to choose whether you will listen to what men say, or to what God says.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know, and check out my books. If you like what you hear in these messages, you will like my books, as well.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Is Tolerating the Same as Condoning?

When it comes to condoning something or tolerating it, we often use these terms interchangeably, but at the root of their meaning, they are different.

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Let’s see how the Internet dictionary defines them:

Condoneaccept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue.

Tolerateallow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference. 
They seem to be the same, don’t they? In both cases, we do not like what is being done, but the difference is that what we condone, we accept, but what we tolerate we don’t accept, but we do not interfere with it.
For example, I do not condone the traditional “church” teachings that the Torah is just for Jews and Christians only have to obey the Ten Commandments. I tolerate it because I cannot change 2000 years of Christian doctrine, but I do not condone, meaning I do not accept, that it is correct and I demonstrate that by arguing against the idea whenever I get the chance.
Now, let’s take today’s lesson to the next level.
I often see many arguments (which really should be discussions) between Believers about topics that are hot potatoes, such as the pronunciation of God’s Holy Name (called the Tetragrammaton), which calendar is correct, whether the Earth is flat or round, and the whole idea of the Trinity. And, not to be forgotten, the “Once Saved, Always Saved” teaching.
And let’s not forget what I already mentioned, the idea that the Mosaic Law is just for Jews.
Today, I am not going to discuss any of these topics, and if you comment about them I will not post or answer your comments because this message is not about these topics; it is about how we should react (or better yet, act) when we are in one of these discussions. I will tell you right now, absolutely, that you will never change anyone’s mind about any of these topics. Why do I say that? History. I have never seen, in many years of these discussions, anyone who said, “Gee! Now that you mention it, I think you are right!”
Maybe there are some rare instances where this happens, and I put that down to the old saying, “Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then” meaning that there are always exceptions.
As for me, I do not design my life around the exceptions – I concentrate on the 90%, not the 10%, and for that reason, I have pretty much stopped arguing these topics.
I am tolerating them, but I do not condone them; tolerating them means I won’t interfere in these discussions because the more people argue something that can never be answered, the more division within the body of the Messiah it causes. I will not be a part of that, so I leave those discussions alone.
I recommend you do the same because history shows that arguing your side of any topic with others who refuse to listen will not build but will tear down, and too often when people pridefully try to convince someone else that they are wrong, the discussion becomes an argument which quickly devolves into one or both attacking the other on a personal level.
This sort of activity doesn’t serve God, but it does do wonders for the devil. He loves to see Believers fight because, as the Messiah himself said, a house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:22.)
If you really know something to be true, but someone else disagrees with you, you owe it to them to show them the truth. Once, maybe even twice, you can argue, compassionately, respectfully, and intelligently for your side. However, if you have made two or three good points, and that person is just absolutely set that they are right and you are wrong, then LET IT GO!  Wake up! You’re throwing pearls before swine, and you need to follow Yeshua’s advice, which is to stop wasting your time (Matthew 10:14; Luke 9:5).

If you find yourself arguing with someone and you have attempted three times to show them the truth, as you know it, and you find their argument is not making any sense to you, then stop. Tell them you will have to agree to disagree, and if they also stop, then you have both done well. Neither one of you condone the other’s beliefs, but you are willing, for the sake of not “dividing the house”, to tolerate each other.

If either one of you cannot stop trying to convince the other, then it isn’t about the truth anymore, it is simply pridefulness. When someone cannot tolerate someone else disagreeing with them, they are not working for God’s kingdom by continuing to argue; what they have done is to switch masters and they are now working for Satan’s kingdom. When someone is causing division and strife within the body of Believers, they are not serving God or Messiah.
Listen to yourself when you are in a discussion with someone, and once you have failed to convince them three times, be willing to stop. If you continue to argue, you have crossed the line from teaching to pridefulness and you are causing division within the house of God.
Look, I know how hard it is to allow someone to continue to believe that which you know is wrong, but everyone has a right to decide for themselves what they will believe. God gave them that right, and so who are you to abrogate it? You are not condoning (meaning accepting as correct) sin or wrongful teaching when you tolerate someone else’s opinion. And, after they prove that they will not change their mind, you need to let them alone and pray that one day God will open their heart to hear the truth. In the meantime, keep yourself from falling into sin with them by continuing to argue and cause division.
Here’s today’s lesson in a nutshell: don’t beat your head against a wall because the wall will always win.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

America Today and Biblical Israel

I am not a prophet, nor do I pretend to be one.  Nor would I consider myself a futurist, but I am very good with patterns of behavior and this is what I see when I read the books of Kings and Chronicles, the Prophets, and then look at what America has become today.

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A laundry list of the sins committed by Israel (the Northern Kingdom) can be found in 1 Kings 17; in that chapter, we are told that Israel feared other gods, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, sacrificed their children, and rejected God’s laws.

Despite being warned by the prophets, over and over again, about the results of these sins, they continued to do evil.

In the Southern Kingdom of Judea, Solomon set the stage for Judea to suffer as Israel would by marrying women for political reasons, women who were still practicing the pagan religions of the Semitic tribes surrounding Israel (which was still one kingdom at that time), and in his last days, he even set up standing stones, performed child sacrifice and worshiped other gods with his wives.

After Solomon died and the kingdom was split, the Northern Kingdom (Israel, later called Shomron) continued to worship the Golden Calf and never stepped one foot back to proper worship. Eventually, they were destroyed by the Assyrians, and when the Southern Kingdom (Judea) didn’t learn from Israel’s fate, doing the same as Israel did, they, too, were destroyed, but they were destroyed by the Babylonians.

Now let’s look at America. I am not going to make this a textbook lesson, citing the time and day for the following actions because I am sure you all are very aware of what I am about to point out.

America has long worshiped other gods: gold, silver, sports stars, celebrities, cars, and pretty much anyone who is popular. People spend thousands of dollars to get season tickets, but won’t tithe at their house of worship, if they even go to one.  They spend hours waiting on a line to get into the movie theater to see their Hollywood idol’s newest show, or to wait to get the newest version of the smartphone they love, or concert tickets, but will they spend an hour volunteering with a charity to help the poor or feed the hungry?

As for soothsaying and witchcraft, just look at any newspaper and there will be a section for horoscopes.

We don’t burn babies at the altar of Molech anymore, but we legalized abortions. If you don’t think that getting an abortion is tantamount to child sacrifice, then you haven’t ever seen or read about how they are done, and you certainly have no understanding of God’s hatred of killing innocent children for personal gain, which is why people sacrificed their children to Molech. Today, children are sacrificed because (other than for medical reasons) the mother doesn’t want the child to interfere with her life.

And if you want to talk about rejecting God’s laws, we have kicked him out of our courts. We don’t allow prayer in schools, we don’t accept that it is okay for a child to pray on his own, in private, and we reject the idea that we can worship the way we want to, for fear of “offending” someone else.

The governments at both state and federal levels have endorsed gay marriage, and there are even gay and lesbian churches. Not to mention how many “mainstream” churches and synagogues are supporting these laws so that they are politically correct, even though you would think they should know that by doing so they reject God’s commandments. It is obvious that many of our religious leaders are more concerned with pleasing people instead of pleasing God.

Our politicians are so focused on destroying each other that they are taking the entire country down with them. Remember what the Bible says in 1 Kings 15:30, with reference to the destruction of the family of Jeroboam, the first king of Israel:

This happened because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and had caused Israel to commit, and because he aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel.

Throughout 1 and 2 Kings, we read how every succeeding king of the Northern Kingdom continued to sin, always referring back to the sins of Jeroboam, who caused all Israel to sin. Our leaders are sinning, and really sinning a lot, and because of this the entire country is suffering, and will eventually come to ruin.

We no longer care about doing what we know is morally right but instead, we ignore our sense of righteousness in order to be politically correct. We reject our God so that people who worship a different god aren’t offended. Some of our leaders prostitute themselves to invading foreigners in order to win their approval, just the same way that the prophets accused Israel and Judea of doing with the Philistines, Egyptians, and Babylonians.

Today we are seeing biblical prophecy come to fruition: God’s chosen people are being regathered to Israel from all four corners of the world and Israel is becoming the oasis that God said it would become, again. We also see the world (i.e., the United Nations) coming against Israel, economically and politically. We see the world rejecting God and a new world order coming into existence, a Muslim world order that will soon overtake the indigenous population of many European countries. There will be one world religion, one world economy, and one world ruler, and I can tell you now, it ain’t gonna be a God-fearing person.

America began as Israel did under King David, a God-fearing land whose people worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and set their government up asking for God’s guidance and blessings. But today, America is a land of sinfulness. We kill our children, we worship other gods, gods of money and of popularity, and we have leaders who are more concerned with destroying their political opponents than to work with them to better the lives of their populace.

God gave Israel and Judea more than enough time and warning to get back on track with him before he took action, but once God decided that enough was enough, he dropped the hammer. I believe that America is in the same place Israel and Judea were just before they were destroyed: we have sinned too much for too long to be saved anymore, and now it is just a matter of time before God drops his hammer on us.

I was in the Marine Corps and although I didn’t see any action, I was willing to die to uphold and protect the freedom that America offered to its citizens. But today, well…I just don’t know. I see so little of the “America” I knew when I was a child that I don’t think it is the same country anymore. We want to change history by removing the reminders of it, which can only lead to teaching our children propaganda instead of facts, and we reject what is right for what is popular. America used to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, but today many of our freedoms have been taken away from us, and why? Because we are afraid. We are afraid of getting sick, we are afraid of offending a people who have proven all they want to do is kill us, and we are afraid of standing up for God. We are no longer a home for the free, and our people are cowards.

The Bible tells us of how the chosen people of God have been judged, and today they are being regathered as we enter the End Days, which means that the judgment coming will now be on the nations, and America is placing itself at the front of that line.

I thank you for being here, and today I will also say I am sorry to bring this bad news to you. If you have never shared anything before, and never intend to, at least please share this message with everyone you know. The destruction is coming, but people can still get themselves right with God before that happens.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Are You Giving Up Now So You Feel Better Later?

Are you wondering what the title means? Are you asking yourself, “How can I feel better about something that I give up on? Giving up is failing, it is quitting, so how can anyone feel better about doing that?”

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Well, giving up could be okay to do if we were talking about a sport or a very challenging class at school. In my case, I often think of giving up golf, but then I get a par and think, “That wasn’t so hard…I bet I can do that more often.”  Foolish me.

But no, I am not talking about something as menial as a sport or a class, I am talking about life. And this is not about giving up on life, itself- we are not discussing suicide; this is about giving up on relationships in your life.

How many people do you know who are afraid to get close to someone because they have lost loved ones and feel that if they don’t get really close to someone, then when that person dies they won’t feel such a tremendous loss? They rationalize their fear of loss, which turns into a fear of intimacy by telling themselves that this way they won’t have to suffer as they did before when their parent or sibling, friend, or pet died.

They give up intimacy now so that they won’t have to feel bad later.

What they are really doing is ignoring the fact that they are going to feel bad, anyway. They think giving up on closeness now will make them feel better later. But they are wrong, and when they realize that because they stayed emotionally distant then, they don’t have the kind of beautiful memories they could have now, they feel even worse. And to throw salt on their wounds, they can never recover that lost opportunity.

The same thing happens when we don’t want to work on our relationship with God. We take God for granted. We go to services, we do what we think is okay, based on what our religious leaders tell us, and we send cards to friends and family for the holidays. But we never really try to get to know God on an intimate, personal level, which can only be done through reading the Bible. And when we don’t get close to God, we lose out on that wonderful, peaceful feeling he gives us through his Spirit. And we also lose out on the blessings he has for us, which we can only receive through following his instructions. Not what a Rabbi or Priest or Minister says, but what God says, and you know what God wants only when you have an intimate relationship with him.

So many of us think we have the time to get to things later but the truth is we never know when we will be facing God. And just like losing the chance to be close to people now who we are afraid of losing later, we lose all the blessings that God has for us right now when we put off strengthening our relationship with him.

I used to sell Revocable Living Trusts as part of someone’s estate plan, and when people told me that they liked the idea and would call me when they needed to set up their estate, I would reply with this:

“That’s smart. Why spend money for the Trust until you have to. It takes us about 6 weeks to get the Trust set up for you, so (taking out my calendar) let me know when you are going to die and I will set an appointment for us 6 weeks before then.”

That was a very powerful closing line, and I am sure you can see why.

If you have lost loved ones and decided that you will never get that close to anyone again so you will never have to feel that much pain, again, please reconsider. Especially when it comes to God, who (unfortunately) too many people blame for the pain they feel when they lose a loved one. Death is part of life, and we all have to deal with it. What matters is not what we lose when someone dies, but the quality of the time we had with them while they were still here.

You will always have to suffer the loss of a loved one, but what is worse than having someone taken from you is when you reject them while they are still here.

Thank you for being here; please subscribe and share these messages with others to help this ministry grow. I don’t ask for money and I will never tell people what they have to do or think, I only want to make sure that whatever decision they make about their relationship with God is based on what he says and not what some religion tells them.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Where It All Went Wrong

Do you know anything about construction? I was a Combat Engineer when I was in the Marine Corps, and we built stuff; bridges, buildings, roads, minefields, and the best part was that we also got to blow things up.

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

One of the valuable lessons I learned about construction was that when you are making copies of something, such as cutting roof rafters, you always measure and cut succeeding rafters from the first one. The reason for this is that there is always some small change, an eighth of an inch here or a quarter of an inch there, which won’t really affect that one rafter so much. But, when you cut the second rafter, then the third is cut from the second, then the fourth is cut from the third, and so on, by the time you get to the 10th or 12th rafter, you are off by inches and the rafters will not fit the roof.

The same holds true for teaching. If someone teaches a lesson that makes sense which others like, they will copy that lesson exactly. But when somebody decides to tweak it a bit and teaches that, they are no longer cutting their rafter from the original.

God told Moses the Jewish people would be his priests to the world (Exodus 19:6), meaning that they would learn how to do what God said we should do, then teach the world how to do it, exactly the same way they learned it.

But something happened to disrupt that plan, and that something was human intervention.

This is where it started to all go wrong for the Jews: over the years, the leaders of Judaism decided that what God said wasn’t enough, so they enhanced our understanding (I’m being facetious) with their own interpretations of how to obey the instructions in the Torah, and that became the traditional or Oral Law, which we find in the Talmud.

When Yeshua (Jesus) came to earth one of the things he did was teach the spiritual meaning of what God taught the Jewish people in the Torah. Those teachings were to help us understand correctly what God wanted from us, meaning not just obedience to the letter of the law, but a heartfelt desire to do what is right in God’s eyes. Yeshua was helping to bring us back into alignment with the original rafter measurements.

But something happened to disrupt that plan, and that something was human intervention.

As more and more Gentiles were added to this Jewish movement, that’s where it all started to go wrong for the Gentiles. There was both a political reason and a social reason for this: politically, the Jews in Judea were rebelling against Roman rule and the Romans didn’t take very kindly to that, so the Gentiles (who never before had any problem with Rome) didn’t want to be associated with the Jewish population.

Socially, the change in lifestyle from a hedonistic pagan to a righteous God-fearing person was a real paradigm shift, and the Elders in Jerusalem knew this, which is why they sent a letter to the (now mostly) Gentile congregations forming throughout the Middle East and Asia, which gave them only 4 commandments to obey immediately (Acts 15.) The intention was to make it easier for these people to convert to a Godly lifestyle and it was expected they would eventually incorporate all of God’s instructions into their lives (if you have been taught differently, see Acts 15:21and adjust your rafter measurement.)

By separating the Yeshua-following Jews and Gentiles from the mainstream Jews, the leaders of this new movement created a rift that God and Yeshua never wanted to have. Believers in Yeshua’s teaching and that he was the Messiah were never supposed to become a separate religion, but (if anything) maybe another form of Judaism. Today within Judaism we have the Chasidic, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist sects of Judaism (I will also include Messianic Jews, although the other sects reject us.)

The letter the Elders sent was OK, but they should have specified more clearly that it was only temporary and the Gentiles accepting Yeshua were still required to learn all of the Torah and live it. The letters from Shaul (Paul) certainly did NOT help to get this idea across. Later, the Gentile leaders of this movement, which by the end of the First Century couldn’t be called Judaism anymore, changed the Sabbath day and when Constantine took it over, he created new holidays, doctrine, laws, commandments, traditions, and ended up with the religion we call Christianity.

The Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, was forgotten and a Gentile savior, Jesus Christ, was created, with his own religion called Christianity.

God never intended that Yeshua would start a new religion, and Yeshua never wanted that, either. When God gave his instructions to Moses, which outlines exactly how God wants us to worship him and treat each other, he wanted that to be a lifestyle, not a religion. God has no religion, and he doesn’t want his creation to have a religion: he wants us all to be as he says we should be. He is clear about that throughout the Torah and what he said through his prophets.

The Torah is like God’s first rafter: we are supposed to live exactly as he told us in the Torah, and the Torah was to be understood exactly as Yeshua taught.  Everyone should have been “cut” from that one rafter, but that didn’t happen.

The Jews neglected using the Torah and cut rafters from the Oral Laws, and when Yeshua came those rafters didn’t fit the house God had designed. Yeshua tried to get them back onto the correct measurements and gave us a perfectly cut rafter to use as our model, but the followers of Yeshua decided to change the angle and cut their rafters from the changed rules and now we have so many different forms of Judaism and Christianity that we can’t find any two rafters that fit the same roof.

It all went wrong at the very beginning, and it has been so wrong for so long that today we can’t fix it. But God can fix it, once and forever, and he has even told us how he will do that; those architectural specifications are found in Jeremiah 31:31. 

Messianic Moment is a teaching ministry, and I will never tell you what you must do, only what I believe God has told us we should do. The choice of what you do is yours, and yours alone, but that also means that when you have to face God and tell him why you did what you did, you won’t be able to blame anyone else. Whatever you do, however you live, no matter who told you what to do, you choose to obey someone. If it isn’t God, then you will be in trouble.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know, and check out my website and the books I have written. I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Savior or Son: Why Did He Come?

I wrote a teaching series (it is available through my website) on the differences between the Jewish and Christian expectations of the Messiah. One main difference is that in Judaism, the Messiah is seen as a national savior, whereas Christianity sees him as much more of a personal savior.

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

In the Gospel of Matthew, considered by many to be the most “Jewish” of the four, Yeshua is referred to as King and Messiah many more times than in the Gospel of John, unquestionably the most spiritually written and metaphoric of the four, who constantly refers to Yeshua as the Son of God, and (in my opinion) where the idea of the Trinity originated from.

According to the NIV Study Bible, Matthew was written in the 70s, Mark in the mid-60s, Luke around 60, and John probably between 80 and 95, making John the last and oldest of the Gospels. Matthew was written to the Jewish Believers, Luke (most likely) to any Believer, Mark to the Gentile Believers in Rome and John to Gentile Believers.

When Yeshua came to earth and started his ministry, the Jewish population was looking for a political savior which is part of the reason that he wasn’t accepted by the majority, who were more interested in being freed from Roman authority than they were being freed from spiritual slavery.  The Gentiles who accepted Yeshua, on the other hand, did not have any political agenda for their savior; in truth, they never even considered salvation because their culture and religion never had need of a savior.

This difference in the description of the Messiah, along with the political environment at that time, led to a distinctly different approach with the Gospels, which led to the separation between the “mainstream” Jews, the Jewish Believers, and the Gentile Believers.

When Matthew wrote his gospel, the majority of Believers were Jews who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah God promised, but by the time John was penning his narrative, he was writing to Gentiles who did not have any real idea of the traditional, Jewish understanding of who and what the Messiah would be. John identified Yeshua almost exclusively throughout his gospel as the son of God, which is a description the Gentiles would easily identify with since so many Roman gods and goddesses had children. These Gentiles were experiencing a religious and lifestyle paradigm shift, and that is why the Elders in Jerusalem did not require them to make a total conversion to Judaism, which is what they were learning about, all at once. We read about this in Acts 15, and too many times people totally miss Acts 15:21, where James states these newly converted Gentiles would learn the Torah when they went to Shabbat services and, eventually, become Torah observant.

The Messiah, in Judaic thought, was to regather the people to the Land (Israel), reconstruct the Temple and reinstitute the sacrificial system so that we would be able to receive forgiveness of sin (which is impossible when there is no temple) and thereby once more be in communion with God. In the times of Yeshua, because the temple still existed, they expected the Messiah to free them from the Roman rule so that all the Jews in the Diaspora would be able to return.

The Gentiles had no such expectation or desire, and their main reason for accepting Yeshua was to receive an eternal existence in heaven.  The approach to the Gentiles was rejecting paganism and accepting Yeshua, as the son of God who would be able to grant them eternal joy.

At the time John wrote his Gospel, the Romans were persecuting the Jews because they were revolting against Roman rule. It had always been okay with Rome to allow the Jews to continue to practice their religion, but when it came to kicking Rome out of Israel, that’s where the Romans drew the line.  So, because the Jews were on the Roman hit list, these Gentiles (who were Roman citizens) didn’t want to be associated with the Jews, which is why they didn’t rush into converting to Judaism. Besides that, by the time John wrote his gospel, there were many more Gentiles in this (what had been a) Jewish movement than Jews, and they weren’t in any rush to get in trouble with Rome. So, they started to separate themselves by changing the Sabbath, not requiring more than what the Elders stated in their letter, and trying to stay under the radar with Rome.

This eventually backfired on them, because the only thing Rome hated as much as a rebellion was the establishment of a new religion under their rule.

Eventually, as we know, once Constantine got his hand in it, Christianity, as we know it today, was created with a different Sabbath and man-made holidays to replace the ones God told us we should celebrate.

Since then, Christians and Jews have been at odds with each other, Christians trying to convert Jews and Jews hating Christians for trying to do it. The separation between Jews and Christians has been greatly enhanced because of the difference between how Yeshua is described in the gospels of Matthew and John. I believe this was intentional but never designed to have the destructive influence and results that it has.

The Messiah came to fulfill God’s plan to reconnect with his chosen people, and to also extend grace and salvation to the Gentiles. The Messiah, Yeshua, did that, and once his role as Messiah was completed, he was returned to heaven to sit at the right hand of God. One day, soon (God willing!) he will return as King Messiah, ruling the earth, defeating once and for all the Enemy of God, and completing God’s plan for humanity. At that time, both Jews and Gentiles will see Yeshua for who and what he truly is, both Messiah and son of God, but mainly the Messiah.

Yeshua came to earth to be the Messiah, and being the son of God was not required for that. Instead of identifying him as God’s Messiah, by the time John’s gospel was written and soon after that, men screwed it all up by presenting him in a way that was attractive to Gentiles and not as God intended.

Messiah was to be a stumbling block to those who rejected him, but instead because of what men did he became a stumbling block to the people he was sent to help.

Oy!

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share these messages with everyone you know. I welcome your comments and look forward to the next time we are together; until then, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Covenant Chronology

When we think of the word “chronology”, we think of a linear timeline, meaning something happening in a particular order. And that is fine, but for the purposes of this message we will discuss more than just the order of the covenants, we will also look at the priority of order within the covenants.

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

Let’s start with a basic introduction to what a covenant is, sort of a Covenant 101 Class:

A covenant is, essentially, a contract. Like contracts, there has to be a promise by one party to deliver some action to another party. There are two ways to make a contract, which are orally and written, and they are either unilateral or bilateral. The unilateral contract is a promise by one person with no requirements on the other party in order to receive the promised action, and a bilateral contract is two-way: A promises B to do something so long as B performs some service.

With regard to the covenants God made, the unilateral covenant is called unconditional, and the bilateral covenant is called conditional.

There are 5 covenants in the Bible:

  1. The Noahic Covenant (Genesis 8:21-22);
  2. The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12-17);
  3. The Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19-24);
  4. the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7); and
  5. The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31).

Here is one of the most important things you must understand about the covenants which God has made with humanity: they are not exclusionary, they are complementary.

That means that the newer covenant does not replace or supersede the previous covenant, but adds to it, confirming and increasing the scope to include the newer elements. For example, when God made his covenant with Abraham, he didn’t stop placing the rainbow in the sky. When he made the covenant with the Jewish people through Moses, he didn’t say circumcision wasn’t necessary anymore.

And when he promised all humanity he would make a New Covenant, it is based entirely on the prior covenant with King David to make one of his descendants the Messiah.

There are only two of the five covenants God made with us that are unconditional: the Noahic and the New. These are promises by God that do not require us to do anything in order to receive them. The other covenants are conditional. Circumcision was conditional for the Abrahamic, circumcision plus obedience to the instructions God gave Moses, and the line of kings under David must also remain obedient to the Torah for David’s descendants to remain on the throne.

The New Covenant, according to Christian theology, was made by Jesus at the Last Supper, but that is not true. God already told us what he would do way back in Jeremiah. And this New Covenant was unconditional because God said we can’t accomplish it, ourselves.

Now, one might say the New Covenant is conditional because we have to accept Yeshua as our Messiah in order to be saved, but technically, that is not really necessary. Although I have run into some who claim they are sinless and we all can be, despite what the Tanakh tells us, most people believe humans cannot live a sinless life. But, if we did, in other words, if we were able to obey every commandment in the Torah every moment of our life, then we would be righteous in God’s eyes and there would be no need for us to be saved by Messiah’s sacrifice.

I believe living a sinless existence is not possible for humans, which is why we need the Messiah, and since God did send the Messiah, it seems he agrees with me.

The last lesson for today is about the priority of order within the covenants; in other words, who does what, first.

Too many churches, especially the mega-churches with thousands of people, always prioritize their “spiel” about God with all the things God will do for you. And they finish with all you have to do is be a “good” person, loving each other and not doing anything bad. They teach that when you accept Jesus then God will give you blessings. They teach your only requirement is to accept Jesus as your Savior and you get blessings.

That’s not how it works, and besides that, it is also in the wrong order.

It isn’t about what God will do for us, but what we are to do for God. It’s true that God wants to bless us, but the blessings are not given until they are earned. The priority within these covenants is that we are to obey God’s instructions, i.e., do as he says we should, and then in return, he will be our God and we will receive the blessings he promises.

Jews have always known the proper priority because, well, we’re the ones through whom God set up this system. We understand that it is about what we are to do for God and not about what he will do for us. We serve God, not the other way around, and that means the priority, the proper “chronology” of actions within each conditional covenant, is that we must FIRST do our part, which is to follow the instructions God gave us, then he will do his part and deliver blessings to us.

One of the most remarkable things about God is that even though we have broken the conditional covenants over and over, and over again, God has not exercised his moral and legal right to renege on his part. Even better, God gave us an escape clause: not to escape the covenant, but to escape the consequences of breaking the covenant, and that is the sacrificial system. When the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed that made forgiveness impossible, but through the Davidic covenant, which is accomplished through Yeshua, we can find redemption, which is why without Yeshua we have no hope of salvation.

What I am hoping you get out of today’s message is this: the covenants God made do not remove or do away with any of his previous covenants, they are all found in the Tanakh, and the most important lesson today is that we are the ones who do for God, not the other way around. When we do as God wants, we will receive his blessings, but he has no obligation to do anything for anyone of us until we show him we have met the conditions of his covenant.

God is the most wonderful partner anyone can have in any covenant because he so desires to bless us, that even though we continuously break the covenant, he allows us to come back into that covenant.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share out these messages, buy my books, wash your hands and I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Why Did I Come in Here?

When I am riding my bike or alone in my car driving somewhere, I always start out with prayer. And it is when I am praying, and my mind wanders off on a topic, I find my inspiration for many of the messages I post on this ministry. When an idea hits me, I try to quickly make a calendar entry so I don’t forget what I wanted to talk about.

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

I went to see what was on the calendar for today and all I saw was “Yes, go ahead and save that.”, which was what I told my Google assistant to do after I had asked “her” to make a calendar entry to remind me what I wanted to talk about today.

And, of course, I don’t recall what the heck it was, and thought this problem might be more of an age-related issue than one of misusing technology.

Now that I think about it, though, there is a spiritual message in here, and that spiritual element is the danger of forgetfulness; not of why you came in the room, or what you wanted to talk about, or the names of people you have known for a long time.

What we need to be careful about never forgetting is God and the way he wants us to live our life.

An example of this is Shlomo, otherwise known as Solomon. Despite his extraordinary wisdom, later in his life, he forgot about God and the promises he made to God and started to worship other, false gods (1 Kings 11:4).

You may ask how someone who had always been so worshipful and dedicated to God, with so much sekel (Hebrew for understanding or insight), could have done that, and the answer is that he was influenced by his wives (he had about 700), many of whom were from the people that God said we shouldn’t have any dealings or relationships with because they would (as in Shlomo’s case) turn us away from our God.

So what does a failing memory have to do with apostasy? Everything.

Even though Shlomo’s problem wasn’t so much memory loss, as what we old folks experience, the memory loss we can all fall victim to is losing the memory of what is right and wrong.  As we get older, and I can verify this from experience, your priorities change, and it becomes more difficult to exercise the self-discipline you used to have. The discipline to go places when you are tired, the discipline to keep in touch with people, the discipline to read when you can more easily watch TV.  Even personal hygiene becomes a burden, especially if you live alone, for many older people. All of these disciplines, which we take for granted when we are young, become difficult when we get older.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I am not ready for the Old Folks Home, not by a long shot, but I can see patterns forming, and I can see how I used to be and how I am now.

I used to send cards to everyone for their birthdays and holidays, but for years now I don’t bother. It isn’t so much the cost of greeting cards (which is, by the way, ridiculously high) but I simply don’t feel like doing it, anymore. No offense to my friends and family, I still love you all but it is just too much effort for too little reward.  And I also feel that way about finding a place to worship. I went to a Hebraic Roots church for a few years after moving here, but after they had to close their doors (the Senior Pastor had a full-time job and was starting a Master’s program so he didn’t have time to be a full-time Pastor, and there was no one else to run it) I just didn’t feel like looking around for someplace else. And I still don’t want to, even though there are so many houses of worship here that on a windy day you can spit in any direction and hit a church.

You don’t have to be old to forget about God; you can be any age and lose focus or forget about proper worship and lifestyle. It can happen as you get more involved with your job, or with family problems, or even with outside activities. When we have many worldly things on our mind we tend to become forgetful about spiritual things that take effort, such as reading the Bible every day.

If you are a Believer and have many friends (like I do) who are not Believers, you expose yourself to forgetting about God, just as Shlomo did when he married foreign wives with foreign gods. Their influence can become a trap for you, tying you to worldly things instead of to God.

On the other hand, we are to be a light to the nations and we can’t shine if we never interact with non-Believers. In fact, we should be out there among the non-Believers as a symbol and example of how God’s grace and Holy Spirit gives us peace and the ability to remain calm in the midst of troubles. That’s why I am concerned for myself, because as I get older and things become more difficult, it may be easier for me to not “fight” with those who don’t worship God, and simply let them alone or, worse, give in to them just because I don’t have the strength to argue.

Don’t worry- I doubt that will happen to me, but being aware of the fact it might is what keeps me properly focused.

I may not remember why I came into the room this morning, or even what I wanted to say when I started to write this, but I do remember that God has instructions for me to follow and because I forget things more easily now, I must remember one thing if nothing else, and that is to fear the Lord, God. If I can remember that one thing, nothing else will be that important.

That’s the reason I keep my Bible in the bathroom- I know no matter how forgetful I become, I will always remember where the bathroom is. And, when I get there, I see the Bible; since I will have a few minutes while I am there, I might as well read a chapter or two.

That’s one way I remember to stay in touch with God, and (frankly) I don’t worry too much about what else I have to remember, except, maybe, to take my pills in the morning.

Thank you for remembering to be here today, and please don’t forget to subscribe so if you forget to look for a message on my website, you will be notified by email that I have posted. You can also “like” my Facebook page and that way you will know when I post.

I always welcome your comments and I try to remember to reply.

Until next time (assuming I don’t forget to write), L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!