“It’s the Thought That Counts” is Very Biblical

There are so many different ideas about what we should do and what we don’t have to do within the multitude of Judeo-Christian religions that exist in the world today. Many of these traditional teachings are about “The Law”, which most understand to be the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.

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To begin with, the word “Torah” means “teaching”, not law- the Hebrew word for law is “mitzvah”, which (not coincidentally) can also mean performing a good deed, such as, “Did you see that boy help the old man carry his groceries? Oy, such a mitzvah!”

God has given us commandments, regulations, laws, and ordinances, all of which I prefer to call instructions, which tell us what God expects from us.

However, knowing (as we do) that because God is always the same his instructions are always the same, he also tells us that he is more interested in the attitude of our heart than he is in the performance of these instructions.

God does want us to obey the specific instructions he gave us, which tells us how to worship him and how to treat each other, and when we follow these instructions we will be able to live a long, happy, and productive life.  And because he loves us so much, he gets quite upset when we reject his good instructions. He stops protecting us and allows the evil in the world to come against us, in the hope that one day we will realize that our way isn’t better than God’s way. When that happens, which is much less frequently than one would think it should happen, we look to God and obey his instructions.

I can understand, having been one of the most sinful types for nearly 2/3 of my life, how people can ignore and outright reject God, but that only makes my T’shuvah (turning from sin) all the more potent. When we turn from sin to God, it is like people who smoked and then stopped. Ask any ex-smoker and they will tell you that now cigarette smoke is an anathema to them- they can’t stand the smell and hate to be near anyone who is smoking. That is how I feel about sin now that I have come to accept Yeshua as my Messiah and turned back to God.

So what does this all have to do with the thought being what counts?  Here are just a few examples of what God tells us how he feels when we go through the motions without really having the desire to please him as our true motivation:

Hosea 6:6

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Proverbs 21:3

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Isaiah 1:11

“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.

Psalm 50:8-9

Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me

Amos 5:21-24

“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.


These are taken somewhat out of context, but in all of them, the idea is that even when we do what God wants us to do, if we are doing it just to say “Look, I did what you wanted.” that will not please God. He doesn’t need animals, he doesn’t get any special reward from sacrifice…in fact, all the things God wants us to do are not for his sake at all. They are totally for our sake!

We don’t have to understand why these things are important, only that when God told us this is how we must live and worship him, he meant it. He makes the rules, and we are to follow them, BUT (and this is a really big “but”) if we do these things without joy or desire to make God happy, he will know.

We sin joyfully, we do wrong with pleasure, and then we think if we go to a Priest and confess it all, we are golden. Really? What about when we fast over Yom Kippur? While at shul all day, we think we are going to be good before the Lord, but if our hearts and minds are focused on waiting for this fast to end so I can go back to what I want to do, do you really think that will be acceptable?

Here’s an old joke that I think gets the point across:

A man is attending shul and the Rabbi is going over the Ten Commandments. When he comes to “Thou Shalt Not Steal”, he notices the man looking around at his feet and his face seems worried. Later, when the Rabbi comes to “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”, the man suddenly relaxes and looks relieved.

Afterward, the Rabbi asked him why he acted that way, and the man said, “When you said we shouldn’t steal, I noticed my briefcase wasn’t anywhere around me and I thought maybe someone took it.”

The Rabbi said, “Oh, well, I can understand your reaction. But why did you seem relaxed soon after?”

The man replied, “When you said we should not commit adultery, I remembered when I had left it.”

Obedience to the instructions God gave us is not a suggestion or optional, but it must be done with the intention and desire to please the Lord. God wants our obedience to be motivated by faithful appreciation and desire to please him, not as a fear-induced or coerced action. King David knew, and told us in Psalm 51, that a broken spirit and contrite heart is always acceptable to the Lord; in other words, truly feeling bad about our sins and desiring to now do what is right before the Lord is the most important thing to God.

Traditional teaching tells us that Abel sacrificed the best he had willingly and with joy, whereas Cain only gave what he didn’t want, which is why his sacrifice, although done properly, was unacceptable.

Let’s finish today’s message with a statement I am going to make that I am sure (at least) some of you will think “I can’t believe he just said that!”, but here we go, anyway:

If you aren’t obeying God’s instructions because you want to, then don’t waste your time or his. 

God wants us to obey him, no question about that, and he wants us to live and have happy lives (Ezekiel 18:23), but if you are doing just for the sake of doing, then as far as God is concerned (from what I understand him saying in the Bible), you haven’t done anything of value. Before you change your actions, change your attitude.

People, believe me when I tell you, it really IS the thought that counts.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages, and I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

We’re Either Trusting or We’re Fearful

I am not going to quote verses from the Bible about how important it is for us to trust God. That would take up more time to go through than anyone reading this or watching the video would want to spend.

But what I will do is remind everyone of the last line of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), which says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

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Now, when we use the term “fear of the Lord” it doesn’t mean to be afraid of him, but to honor and worship him. And with proper worship of God comes trust and faith in him: trust that he is in charge and faith that he will care for you so long as you honor and worship him. For the past five millennia, he has proven we can depend on him.

So why is there so much fear in the world? For example, for the past 5 months, people have been frightened to death over a virus that is deadly to a very minuscule percent of the entire population. People are polarized over politics, much more so than usual, and people are afraid to say anything that represents a godly or worshipful attitude for fear of insulting someone else. It isn’t just your opinion is wrong, it has degraded to the point where now if your opinion is different from mine, you don’t have a right to it!

I believe this general feeling of fearfulness is because we have, as a nation, stopped fearing the Lord. With the loss of that fear, we have also lost wisdom, which is why people wear facemasks while alone in their car, why corporations are jumping on the fear bandwagon because they don’t want to appear to be unconcerned. It is like the story of the Emperor’s new clothes, except instead of the Emperor being naked, the little boy points out that the Emperor’s mask is not doing anything.

God has been kicked out of our schools and our courts, and even in our government, which was formed specifically in order to allow us the freedom to worship as we want to.

Fear of the Lord is gone, and we all know the adage “Nature hates a vacuum”, so when fear of the Lord, meaning to trust and have faith in him, is gone, that space is filled with fear, meaning to be afraid, of everything.

People are too fearful, and that fear grows within us. When we add the lack of control and sense of helplessness that is generated by the media reports, designed to infuriate and upset people, we become violent. The racism-based riots we have been suffering with recently, none of which are new or different from the ones in the 1960s, aren’t so much a result of the unfortunate killing of a man, but more so from being the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, i.e. there is so much repressed anger and fear from the pandemic, or I should say media coverage and leadership squabbling over the pandemic, that the white police action causing the death of a black man just caused it all to come out.

That is my opinion, of course, and you don’t have to agree with it, but there is so much repressed anger and a general fearfulness in this country that the people are a powder keg just waiting for a spark to set them off.

We need to remember that God is in charge, and even when bad things are happening, it doesn’t mean he isn’t in charge. It usually means that he is watching and waiting for the right moment to intervene. History shows that often, in truth almost always, it takes a terrible catastrophe to occur before people begin to see they are truly powerless and the only power they can rely on is God’s power to save.

That is the difference between being fearful and being fearless- we are always powerless and when you don’t have God watching your back, that powerlessness is frightening. But, when you know God is on your side, you don’t have to trust in your own power because in our weakness, his strength is made manifest (I can’t take credit for that statement- it was said by that nice, Jewish tentmaker from Tarsus.)

So when you see someone afraid of the pandemic, or the riots, or anything, ask them why they don’t trust in God to watch over them. I’ll bet the most fearful people are the least faithful ones, and the least fearful people are the most faithful.

The way to overcome fear is not trusting in your own strength and trusting in God. He WILL take care of you- you only need to ask him.

Even in the valley of the shadow of death, he is there to protect and care for you.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share this ministry with others.  I welcome your comments and want to remind you, again, that you will find comfort through believing God is always watching out for you.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Does “Once and For All Sacrifice” Have a Dual Meaning?

I’m sure we have all heard how Yeshua’s sacrifice was a once and for all sacrifice, right?  It’s right there, in Hebrews 10:10 where we are told:

It is in connection with this will that we have been separated for God and made holy, once and for all, through the offering of Yeshua the Messiah’s body.

So, there we have it. Yeshua made a once and for all sacrifice, and when we read chapters 9 and 10 together the meaning is that the old sacrificial system has been done away with.

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There has, however, arisen a problem with this statement, which is that too many people have taught, and been taught, that this “once and for all” sacrifice means that all our sins are forgiven, automatically.  This teaching is called “OSAS“, which stands for “Once Saved, Always Saved.” And that is NOT, definitely not, what the writer of Hebrews meant.

When Yeshua sacrificed himself, it wasn’t meant to replace the entire sacrificial system. It only replaced one part of that system.

Here are the different phases of the sacrificial system, as I understand it, though which we can have our sins forgiven:

  1. You have to sin (after all, to be forgiven you need something to be forgiven of);
  2. You have to recognize you have sinned and accept responsibility for it;
  3. You have to regret your sin, and through that regret do T’shuvah (turn from sin) and desire to be forgiven;
  4. You have to bring your sacrifice to the temple in Jerusalem and offer it to God;
  5. After the sacrifice has been offered, by means of the shedding of innocent blood you can ask God to forgive and remove the stain of sin from you.

The Torah then requires that you make a friendship or thanksgiving offering, as well, after the sin offering, which brings you back into communion with God.

Yeshua’s sacrifice did not do away with this system, but as we are told in Hebrews, replaced it with a new system. That new system is the same as the old system, except for Step 4- that is the part Yeshua’s sacrifice replaced. And it’s a good thing for us that he did; the Torah tells us in Deuteronomy 12:11 that any sacrifice must be made where God places his name, which was the temple in Jerusalem. After 73 AD, when Rome destroyed the temple, we had nowhere to bring a sacrifice and, thereby, couldn’t be forgiven. But Yeshua’s sacrifice replaced the need to bring an animal to the temple, so now we could receive forgiveness, through him, anywhere and anytime.

That was the only change to the sacrificial system. BUT, even with Yeshua’s sacrifice, forgiveness is not automatic. We still need to regret our sins, do T’shuvah, and ask for forgiveness; in other words, all the other steps in the process.

You see, when we believe “once saved, always saved” eventually we won’t even care if we sin because we know they will be forgiven. When that happens, we won’t regret sinning, we won’t care about what we do and we will apostatize without even realizing it because we think we have a permanent and automatic “Get Out of Jail Free” card in Yeshua.

Of course, that is not how it works- without T’shuvah, without regretting the sins you commit, and without asking each and every time for forgiveness, you will not receive forgiveness. Not at all. God will not forgive an impenitent heart.

Up to now we have covered the meaning of this statement with regards to not having to bring an animal to the temple, but I believe there is another meaning, and let’s explore that now.

Regarding Yeshua’s sacrifice, once and for all means it was a once done for all sins, sacrifice but it can also mean once done for all people. Yeshua’s sacrifice covers all the different sins we have and might (more likely, will) commit, and it also can cover the sins of all people, meaning everyone, no matter what religion they have been raised with. Once someone accepts Yeshua as their Messiah, which means they will convert to the way of life that God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob said we should live, the way Yeshua lived, then they will be included with those who now have the means to be forgiven.

What that means is that Constantinian dogma and doctrine, which is what modern Christianity is based on, is not how Yeshua lived his life, and is not, for the most part, how God said we should live. Forgiveness is still available, but those who follow Constantine aren’t living their lives as Yeshua did.

Yeshua’s sacrifice does more than cover all sins once and for all time: it is available to all people for all time. I think sometimes we get so focused on the aspect of forgiveness, we forget that when Yeshua walked the earth, he was here specifically and solely for the Jews. He said so, himself, in Matthew 15:24. It wasn’t until after his resurrection and ascendance to heaven that the Gentiles were given the opportunity to also be saved.

That is why I believe the saying “Once and For All” has a dual meaning: we are saved by his once and for all time sacrifice, which was done once for one specific group of people but is now available for all people.

To me, Hebrews 10:10 can now be read as not just saying once and for all, but instead as once and for all time, for all people.

Thank you for being here and please share and subscribe to this ministry. I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Who Do We Believe?

I don’t know who to believe anymore.

There are now just as many experts saying “Do this” as there are experts saying “Doing that is useless.”

I’m not talking today just about wearing masks or using some medicine, but who do we believe about anything?

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And, of course, this being a ministry, it’s time to segue into the next topic, which is if we can’t believe experts in medicine, how can we believe “experts” regarding God, the Messiah, and what’s in the Bible?

I believe (pardon the expression) the best answer I can give you is to start off not believing anyone…believe me when I say that.  By starting off with not believing anything you hear from anyone, at least you know that you won’t be fooled from the git-go.

But you can’t go through life never believing anything, so the next step is, after listening to what you have been told, ask the one telling you where they got their information from, and then go to that source and verify the information for yourself. If they say it is in the Bible, ask for the book, chapter, and verse. If they say they heard it, ask where they heard it. If they say they read it, ask where they read it.

And if they can’t answer any of these questions, then don’t accept what they say as truth until you can find the reference or source to ensure that what you are being told is correct.

It is hard enough to discern when someone is purposefully lying to you, but the hardest lie of all to recognize is the one which comes from someone who thinks they are telling you the truth.

That’s why no one uses lie detectors anymore; it’s because the lie detector doesn’t really identify a lie, it identifies when someone knows they are lying. So, if someone believes “Finders Keepers, Loser’s Weepers” is a truth, then in their mind, if they find your wallet which you left on your desk, and they take it, to them it is not stealing. Later, when asked if they stole your wallet during a lie detector test, they would say they didn’t, and it would register as the truth.

How many traditional Christian and Jewish teachings have we heard that are untrue? Jews teach that Yeshua is not the Messiah and Christians teach that Yeshua did away with the Torah.  Both are untrue but have been taught as truth for millennia, and because these lies come from people who believe them, we believe them, too. We are being lied to by people who are credentialed, knowledgeable, generally trustworthy, and honest.  We believe them because they believe themselves; there’s another term for this type of event, and it is “the blind leading the blind.”

So, nu? Who do we believe?

We believe no one; at least, not right away. We listen, we observe, and then we verify. And if you can’t verify it, then you consider how truthful it might be based on what you already know. And if none of that works, then, well…go with your gut feeling. That’s right, I said go with your gut feeling. Remember that even Mr. Spock told Captain Kirk there are times when logic won’t help.

I believe we are all created in God’s image, and despite the fact that I am not positive what that means (although I did post a message about this recently- you can find it clicking on this link…LINK), I think there is some inherent, instinctive sense of God in everyone, which we call our “gut” feeling.

It always comes down to this: we have to choose what we will believe in. We learn from reading and listening to others, and those who have experience, credentials, and knowledge are worth listening to. We should give more credence to experienced and knowledgeable people, and remember that emotional appeal is a dangerous thing because our emotions are hard to control and often go against our better judgment.  We should trust, to some extent, our instincts, but temper them with knowledge and maturity.

Here is the scary thing: no matter why you believe something, you are going to be held accountable for that belief and how you live in accordance with that belief. What that means, in simple language, is that you can’t blame anyone else for how you live your life.

Let’s finish up by again asking “How do we know what or who to believe?” The answer is to believe whatever you choose to believe.  You can base that choice on any number of things, but the bottom line is that you must choose and you will be the only one held accountable for making that choice.

So, choose carefully, choose wisely, and do not be lazy about this choice because you will have to live with it; not just for the rest of your life, but throughout eternity.

Thank you for being here; please share these messages with others and don’t forget to subscribe to both my website and my YouTube channel.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Marketing the Mark of the Beast

We all know that the Devil is a liar. In fact, he is the father of all lies, and when he wants to destroy your soul for all eternity, I can guarantee that he will NOT come up to you and say:

 “Hi, there. I’m Satan, nice to meet you. I am here to condemn you to eternal damnation, so just sign here and we can get started.”

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 Nope, it ain’t gonna go that way. What he will do is market himself as someone who is here to help everyone, especially you. He will entice you with health, or wealth, or whatever your heart desires which is tied to earthly things. He doesn’t know our minds, but he does know our iniquities, and what human hearts desire, and that is how he can turn us from godly to satanic, in a heartbeat.

And if you are thinking, “Oh, no. Not me! I will resist the Devil!” you might be one of the first ones to accept that mark.  We have to realize that we aren’t smarter or more cunning than Satan, so we have to always be aware of our weaknesses in order to stay alert. False confidence is a tool for the Devil to use against us.

The concentration camps of the Nazis had a saying over the entry gate which was “Arbeit Macht Frei”, which means “Freedom through work”. The Jews that were selected for the showers thought that they were getting cleaned, which was probably welcomed since the traveling arrangements were disgusting. Yet, what they thought was something being done for them, was actually something being done to them. It was known as The Final Solution.

The Enemy of God will also make us think he is here to help. We are told he is a false prophet, and that he and his minions will have supernatural power which will cause many people to fall away from the faith. And let me tell you this- it will be easy for him (or maybe, her?) to do.

Don’t think so?  Well, just look at how easily people today are being controlled by the media. Look at how easily the anarchy which is growing in America is not only allowed, but encouraged by many of our leaders.  Look at the level of deep-seated resentment there still is between the races. I believe the really racist people, of whatever color, are the minority, but this country has been appeasing the noisy minority for decades now, while the silent majority allows it to go on.

The mark of the beast may not be a physical thing on our foreheads and hands, or it may be, who knows? It doesn’t really matter because the reason we take the mark will have nothing to do with what it is, but with what we are promised. We will be promised peace, racial equality, subsistence payments, free health care, and any number of earthly things that appeal to our financial and emotional senses.

There are some saying wearing a face mask is like accepting the mark of the beast. Well, I think that is a little over the top, but there is something to what they say regarding accepting something we are told to do without taking the time to verify whether or not it is really effective or necessary.

The current pandemic is more dangerous than just catching a sickness: the real danger is how easily people are being frightened and how polarizing the effect has been on the populace. There is no middle ground and no acceptance of individual rights: we are being told to wear a mask to protect others, appealing to our desire to help each other, when it may be that all we are really doing is learning to do what we are told to do. I am not talking about wearing masks being good or bad, I am talking about people being controlled by fear, and falling for the line that “Do this to show you care.”

No one really cares or they would have been wearing masks long before Covid-19. Any flu or even a common cold is potentially deadly to the high-risk group that today everyone is concerned about. And what will happen after there is a vaccine? We know from experience that vaccines do not eliminate a virus, so even after there is a vaccine will we wear masks to keep someone from getting sick? If there’s a vaccine, is it then OK to take off the mask and let them get sick? What if they can’t get to the vaccine? What if they can’t afford it? What if they are asymptomatic but sick, and by the time they show symptoms it will be too late?

All of these questions are valid, so why don’t we just decide to wear the mask from now on? Anyone who currently wears a mask to prevent others from getting sick, if you ever take it off then you must not really care but are doing it because you have been told you have to.

And that is how it will be with the mark of the beast. People will be suckered into a false sense of doing good for others, and that is when they will accept the mark, whatever it is.

You have to think about what you do, and not trust anything you hear from any media, whether news or social. People are liars when they know they are lying, and even worse liars when they think they are telling the truth.

Here’s the message for you today: always use discernment and seek the truth. NEVER accept anything you hear from anyone, and I mean A-N-Y-O-N-E! Not from friends, not from family members, not from your doctor, not what the politicians say (oy, never from politicians!), and not from your Pastor, Priest, or Rabbi.  Don’t believe anything from anyone until you have verified it for yourself, or you may just find yourself wearing a mark you never knew you accepted.

Remember: the devil won’t tell you that you are taking the mark of the beast; he will lie through his teeth in order to get you to accept whatever it is that he is offering which he tells you is to help you.

If you disagree with anything or everything I have said here today, please consider this one last thing: the Enemy of God will make you fall from Grace by convincing you that what you are doing is the right thing.

Thank you for being here, and please don’t believe anything I have said until you verify for yourself that it makes sense according to what you read in the Bible.

Please share these messages with others, subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Is God a Racist?

In a manner of speaking, yes, he is.

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When the daughters of Zelophehad asked for a judgment from Moses about inheriting their father’s land, God told them they are to marry within their own tribe (Numbers 36:6.) God also said that when dealing with other peoples, the children of Israel are not to intermarry, and repeats this constantly throughout the Bible (Deut. 7:3; Joshua 23:12; 1 Kings 11:12, just to name a few places.)

So it is pretty clear that God is a racist, wanting to maintain a pure-blooded nation to serve him; in other words, there are to be no Mudbloods (for you Harry Potter fans) within the children of Israel.

Even Yeshua tells the Samaritan woman that he has come only for the lost sheep of Israel, going as far as to imply she and her people were like dogs ( Matthew 15:26).

Yet, we know that God is a God of love and compassion for all people. He has told us that he doesn’t want any sinner to die (Ezekiel 18:23), which includes Gentiles. So how can he love everyone yet tell his chosen people to be racist?

Well, the answer is fairly simple: God is not a physical racist, he is a spiritual purist, meaning he doesn’t want anyone to worship other gods. He wants spiritual purity, not racial purity.

We can see this throughout the Bible. For example, Rahab was a Canaanite, but she was accepted and adopted as a member of the people of Israel when she converted. Moses’s wife, Zipporah, was raised as a Midianite and her father was a chief and priest of Midian, yet when she married Moses she converted to his form of worship. And when Ruth converted from her Moabite paganism, not only was she accepted by God, but he made her an ancestor of the Messiah!

Many times in the Torah we read how God commands that any person who sojourns with his chosen people, meaning converts to worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and lives by God’s instructions, is to be considered as much a child of Israel as a native-born.

People who are racists hate those who are of different skin color or nationality or religion; they judge by what they see. However, as we are often told, God doesn’t judge as people do because he sees the heart and mind. Yes, God is a racist, in a way, but not based on the color of their skin or the place they were born- God judges based on what they worship, how they live, and how they treat others.

If we want to label the type of racism God demonstrates, it is the type where he is against all who worship any other god or thing than himself and reject his instructions on how we should live and treat others.

God isn’t concerned about marrying out of your religion or someone of different skin color; what God is concerned about is that you both believe in him, accept Yeshua as your Messiah and Savior, and live your lives in obedience to the instructions he gave us as best you can.

I am Jewish, my wife was raised Catholic, so within Judaism, I was wrong to marry her, but we both believe in God and Yeshua and try to live as God wants us to live. And, yes, there are some things that are different: we have different levels of spiritual maturity, we aren’t both exactly on the same page when it comes to Kashrut, and we differ in passion for reading the Bible, but what is important is that we both worship God and accept Yeshua as our Messiah; the rest of the stuff we are constantly working on, as is everyone else.

God is not a racist like we understand racism, and he is not a bigot as we understand bigotry, but he is absolutely determined that everyone should worship him and live their lives as he has instructed us. If that is racism, well, so be it!

Here’s the difference: human racism condemns the racist to hell, whereas God’s form of racism saves their life and brings them into eternal joy.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share. I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Stress Management 101

The world is quite stressed-out right now.

(There won’t be any video today. )

Whether you believe Covid-19 is a deadly disease and we all should be in isolation wearing a mask, or you believe we should all live like always because the Covid-19 isn’t any worse than any other flu, maybe just more contagious, everyone is stressed-out by this pandemic.

Whether orchestrated by China, encouraged by politics, both or neither, the economy is suffering, people are scared, the media is doing their usual fear-mongering, and the numbers we depend on have proven, to any reasonable person, that they are totally undependable.

So, nu? What to do?

My suggestion is that we all take a ride in Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine.

Go back to the last time we had a serious scare from a disease, such as H1N1, or the Asian Flu, but don’t go back so far that medical technology was non-existent, or (at least) much less developed than it is today. Let’s go back as far as, say, Legionnaires Disease. We survived all those diseases, and there were thousands upon thousands who died. And we did it without shutting the country down.

We survived the ridiculous gas prices in the 70s that caused so much stress; we survived the Cuban Missle Crisis, although to be fair, most of us didn’t know what was happening until it was nearly over. We survived the credit crunch of the early 80s.

And we will survive this.

The riots and lootings are, in my opinion, less a result of racism (although it is a catalyst) than it is of the stress that the country is under. When stressed out and frustrated, we get angry, and when we cannot contain our anger, we lash out. Unfortunately, racism is a very real and sinful part of America, and when you take that constant burning ember and throw the fuel of frightened people, misleading reports, lost jobs, lost income, forced isolation, and loss of personal rights, well…you get what is happening today.

So here’s the reason we went back in time: we need to remember that this is all the same stuff, different day, and we WILL get through it so long as we don’t give in to it.

For those who believe in God: keep the faith, Baby! God is in control, even when everything else is out of control, and what we are going through may be nothing more than God sitting back and saying to himself, “OK. Let’s see what they have learned.”

Look to God for the strength to maintain your faith and be faithfully patient for this to all blow over. Sooner or later the people will be tired of being lied to and controlled- Americans today may be weak and gullible, much more so than when I was a kid, but we are still full of attitude. Sooner or later, Americans- yes, even the ones that are easily fooled- will open their eyes, and then they will be really mad, but this time at the right people.

It IS frustrating to have vacations and family events canceled because of a political agenda, but think about what it was like for the first century Judeans under Roman rule, or even further back- the exiles living in Babylon. Think of the Jews in Sushan when Haman declared they are all to be killed. They were scared and frustrated, but they maintained their faith and God brought them through it.

He will do the same for those who believe in him. It may be the Acharit HaYamim, the End Days, are upon us. If that is the case, then all this mishigas is just the start, and it will get much worse. If that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it is, and so long as we maintain faith, we will be OK. Maybe not in this plane of existence, but this life isn’t what’s important- the next life is what we need to plan for.

Keep your eyes on the prize, don’t be turned from the pathway to salvation, and gird yourself for trouble. You will be going through hell, but you won’t be stopping there, and the other side is where God is waiting for you.

Thank you for being here and please remember to subscribe and share these messages. I also always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Literal or Figurative?

When you read the Bible, do you believe that every, single reference to every single thing is meant to be taken literally?

When God said he created the entire universe in 6 days, is that literal?

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When we are told that the original 10 Commandments were written with the finger of God, did he really use his finger? Does a spiritual being even have fingers?

When Yeshua told Kefa (Peter) to feed his flock, did he really mean that Kefa was to give food to every, single Believer following Yeshua?

And what about Revelation? Is everything in there going to happen exactly the way John saw it?

The Bible is, first and foremost, subject to the personal knowledge and biases of the interpreter, and no matter how hard they try to make their interpretation as accurate and honest as they can, it is always subject to their abilities and knowledge.

Try this experiment next time you are at a party or gathering (assuming after this Coronavirus mishigas, we will be able to have parties again): tell a joke, a simple one, and let it circulate through the guests. Later, ask someone who didn’t hear you tell the joke to tell it to you, and I’ll bet you will be amazed at how much it has changed.

And let’s not forget that there are dozens of different versions of the Bible, each one must, by copyright law, be significantly different from all other versions.

Many things in the Bible are, obviously, to be taken literally, such as “Do not lie” or “Do not murder.” And then there are the obvious metaphors, although whereas they seem obvious to many, to others they aren’t. Such as the “lights in the sky” God created, as stated in Genesis.

Believe it or not, I have read postings from intelligent people who, in their desire to accept every word of the Bible as the absolute truth, state that the moon creates its own light and is, in fact, transparent. They also say the earth is flat. Their reasons for this? Well, that’s the way they interpret what the Bible says. And when shown scientific proof against that belief, they say that the proof is fabricated.

There is the story in Acts 10 about the sheet lowered three times onto the roof, and Kefa is told to eat unclean foods. He refuses each time, and each time God says not to call unclean that which he makes clean. This has historically been misinterpreted to mean the laws of Kashrut (Kosher) are no longer valid, but, in fact, it was never meant to be taken literally because it was a metaphor. God wasn’t talking about food, he was talking about the three Roman visitors (who Jews considered to be unclean) who came to bring Kefa to the house of Cornelius. It was all about giving the Holy Spirit (a spiritual cleaning) to the unclean Gentiles, and nothing to do with food or Kashrut.

Here is another example in Jeremiah 1:11-12:

And the word of the Lord came to me, asking, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree”, I replied. You have observed correctly,” said the LORD, “for I am watching over my word to accomplish it.”…

In the Hebrew,  Jeremiah replies using the word “shaked”, meaning almond tree, but when God answers him, he uses “shoked”, meaning watching. So, although Jeremiah sees an almond tree branch, God’s meaning is that he is watching his word to make sure it is accomplished and had nothing to do with trees or branches.

We see this also in Amos, Chapter 8 where Amos sees a basket with summer fruit (in Hebrew, kayitz) but God says the end (ketz) has come for his people.

Just as with Jeremiah, God is using a play on words, shaked vs. shoked and kayitz vs. ketz, which proves that not everything we read in the Bible is to be taken literally.

Visions are almost always a form of metaphor or figurative and are not to be taken literally.

The hard question for all of us is: “When it is literal and when is it figurative?”  

The only answer I can give is that we have to consider a few different things when trying to answer that question.  One thing to consider is does it make sense, both within the physical world and hermeneutically?  We next ask whether or not this is a vision or dream, or is it happening in the “real” world?

And finally, we should ask God to guide our understanding through his Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, to show us what he wants us to know.

The Bible is the word of God, at least, that is what I have heard it called all my life. Probably because that is what people have called it since it was first given to us by God. And it IS his word, but for the most part, it is his word translated or interpreted by people with personal bias, limited understanding, and (all too often) a personal agenda.

And let me add, as for the Talmud, also known as The Oral Law, well…if you did the experiment I suggested above, imagine that not just being done by a handful of people at a party, but by many people over thousands of years.

Read the Bible and trust in what God says, but also realize that what you are reading is not always exactly what God said. You must not just accept anything and everything in the Bible literally: you need to use ein bisschen seykhl (a little common sense) when you study the Bible, as well as becoming familiar and comfortable using Bible study tools, such as hermeneutics, Circles of Context, a concordance, the Interlinear  Bible, a Hebrew version of the Tanakh, and a good Hebrew-English dictionary (unless you happen to be fluent in Hebrew).

Don’t take anything at face value, even within the Bible, and always question everything.

Let me finish with this last piece of advice: asking God to give you the understanding he wants you to have is the best way to make sure that when you read God’s word, you will understand what God meant.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with others, and if you aren’t familiar with the Bible study tools I mentioned, please comment to let me know and I will tell you what and where to get them.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!


Are Christians Better than Jews?

I know you’re thinking, “What a silly question! What Christian would consider themselves better than a Jewish person?”

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And you would be right in thinking that, but as a Jewish man who is also a Messianic Jew, I have been exposed to both Jews and Christians my entire life, and have experienced from both sides subtle, and not so subtle, prejudice.

To a “mainstream” Jew, I have to be a Christian because I “believe in Jesus Christ” and to many Christians, because I never rejected Judaism, I am not really “saved” because I still do all that Jewish stuff that Jesus did away with; they say because I try to obey the Torah, I am under the law and not under Grace.

The truth is that Jews have no idea who the real Messiah is because they only know the Constantinian form of Christianity which was supposedly created by that blonde-haired, blue-eyed European called Jesus. And the Christians? Most of them have no idea who Yeshua is or how their “Savior” really lived and worshiped, knowing (just as the Jews) nothing more than the Constantinian form of Christianity.

And what is one of the foundational teachings of Constantinian Christianity? It is that the Jews rejected Jesus and so those Gentiles who accepted him are not just saved, but because they recognized and accepted Yeshua as the Messiah, they are better than the Jews. Some take that to an extreme, which is called Replacement Theology. Replacement Theology states that the Jews, having rejected Jesus, are now rejected by God and that Christians are now God’s chosen people.  Yeah, right. There will be a big surprise (and it won’t be pleasant) when they come before God and try to tell him they are his chosen people.

If you were brought up in one of those rare, yes rare, Christian churches that understand who Yeshua was and is, and do not accept that the Torah and all that “Jewish stuff” was done away with, then you probably will find what I am saying either hard to believe or maybe even a little insulting. If you are one of these (please believe me when I say) rare Christians, this next statement and the object of this message is not about you.

For the rest of the Christians, those who have been taught and believe that the Torah doesn’t apply to you and that Jesus did away with the law, let me remind you of what Shaul (Paul) said to the newly “saved” Gentiles in Romans 11:17-21 (CJB):

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.  So you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”  True, but so what? They were broken off because of their lack of trust. However, you keep your place only because of your trust. So don’t be arrogant; on the contrary, be terrified!  For if God did not spare the natural branches, he certainly won’t spare you!

Too often Christians have been taught that they are better than the Jews because they accepted Jesus. Maybe not in those words, but in their attitude towards the Torah and Jews, in general. That is why, I believe, they have no problem rejecting God’s word in the Torah- it’s because that “better than thou” attitude has been conditioned through the subtle prejudice and anti-semitic teachings that have infiltrated Christianity since the first century.  How else could one justify the historic hatred Christianity has shown towards the Jews?

What hatred, you ask? Ever hear of the Crusades? What about the Inquisition? Heck, even the Nazi’s had “Gott mit uns” (God is with us) imprinted on their belt buckles. And if you want to excuse them as not really Christians, to a Jew any non-Jew is a Gentile (the Hebrew word Goyim means “nations”, i.e. everyone else) and Gentiles have always killed Jews.

The sad truth is that Christians feel, whether they recognize it or not, that they are better than Jews, and even those that I deal with daily through discussion groups have demonstrated this by insisting on rejecting, and even decrying, traditional Judaic thought and actions, even when they are not in any way in opposition to God’s word. Things such as rejecting the standard Jewish calendar, or insisting on constantly using God’s Holy Name, even though Jews don’t use it simply out of respect. Too many Christians, mostly the “Holy Namers”, not only insist on pronouncing the Tetragrammaton, but insult and deride anyone who doesn’t. They say substituting “Adonai” (Lord) or “HaShem” (the name) for the Holy name (Y-H-V-H) is tantamount to praying to Ba’al! Ridiculous!

There is only one word that describes that attitude: disrespect. And disrespect is a form of boasting because you don’t disrespect those who you don’t feel superior to.

The really silly thing is that not only is this feeling within Christianity that they are better than the Jews, but within Christianity, they feel superior to each other, as well! Imagine: I am a grafted in branch, and I am better than those other grafted in branches who are newer to the tree than I am. Not only that, but now that I am grafted onto the tree, the tree now lives off of me.

Traditional Christianity teaches that the branch has replaced the root.

No one is any better than anyone else in God’s eyes, except maybe those who live their lives trying to please God by doing what he said we should. I am not proclaiming that strict adherence to the Torah is the only way to be saved, but I am saying that trying to do as God said is what God expects of us, and those who do more of what God says will receive more of God’s blessings. He told us that’s how it works in Deuteronomy 28.

Yeshua said a house built on sand will fall and one built on a rock will stand. The foundational tenets of Judaism are what our rock, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Y-H-V-H, gave us through Moses. That is the foundation God said to build upon. Modern Christianity has rejected, for the most part, what God said and instead built their house on sand, the sand that Constantine gave them in the third century, and the sand that the early Christian fathers taught by misinterpreting what Shaul wrote.

How can anyone obey what men say over what God says and think they are right?

Most Jews did reject Yeshua, and they still do, for the same stupid reason that so many Christians think they are better than Jews: ignorance. Both Judaism and Christianity have, for centuries, been based on the idea they are superior because that is what religion is: a system designed to give some people power over other people.  God’s instructions are not a religion, they are a way of life designed not to make anyone superior to anyone else, but simply to please God and, thereby, receive blessings and eternal life.

Religion teaches us that some are superior to others, and God teaches us that the proud will fall and the humble will be raised up, so you need to decide which you would rather be: superior in your own mind or raised up by God?

Thank you for being here. Please subscribe to this ministry and share these messages with others. And remember that I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!