Why I Do This

There are times when I really do not feel like doing anything. Yet, I find myself feeling guilty when I do not post to this ministry.

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I started this over 7 years ago, and then I posted every day. Eventually, I found that I was burning myself out, and that the posts were forced, in a way, so I decided to post only two days of the week whatever message I felt was given to me, and on Friday to do a message on that Shabbat’s Torah reading.

After all, I am Jewish and this ministry is as much for Jews, if not more so, than for Christians.

Lately, I have stopped the Friday messages because I have given at least 4 messages on each of the 54 Torah readings (called a Parashah) and also have published my book, “Parashot Drashim” (available on Amazon and through my website), which is a commentary/Bible study/sermon on each of the parashot in the Torah. So, I figure, enough is enough; at least, for the time being. Maybe later I will start to do that again, but for now, I’m just plain tired.

But I feel called to continue.

So, today having nothing on my schedule to preach about, I thought I would explain why I do this.

So, is this ministry for Jews? Absolutely. Why? Because Jews have been taught nothing but lies about Jesus and have been refused the opportunity (mostly by Jews) to learn the truth about him, starting with his real name, Yeshua, and that he did not create the religion we know as Christianity.

Jews need to know that the Jesus we hear about through Christian friends is NOT the Messiah God sent to his people back in the First Century.

So, if this ministry is for Jews, what about Gentiles? Is there something here for them, too?

The answer is: Absolutely!

And why? Well, for the very same reason that it is here for Jews-Gentiles/Christians don’t know the real Messiah, Yeshua, any more than Jews do because the lies Jews have heard about him were developed by, and taught to, Christians throughout the centuries.

So, what makes me think I know the truth? Simple: I read the Bible. I do not accept what I have been told, but rather read the Bible and ask God for guidance in understanding it.

I compare what the Bible says to what I have heard from people, most of whom are totally ignorant of the Bible, from some extra-biblical readings, from historical documents, and after comparing and examining all of that I form my conclusions.

What I have concluded is that Christianity became polluted at the end of the First Century, and by the time Constantine got involved (circa 325 AD), it morphed into a totally different religion, based not on the Torah that Yeshua lived by and taught from, but rather from the misinterpretations and misuse of the letters Shaul (Paul) wrote to Pagan Gentiles learning how to become proper worshipers of God.

The truth is, as I see it, Christianity today should be called Paulism.

Therefore, I feel called to do this in order to teach people the truth, the proper interpretations, and the proper cultural understanding of what is in the Bible- the whole Bible, from Genesis through Revelation- so that they can make an informed decision about where they want to spend eternity.

Because that is why God put us here; yes, I have the answer to the age-old question of “Why are we here?” and that answer is this:

We are here in order to decide where we will spend eternity.

The good news is that you have your entire lifetime, right up to the last breath, to accept Yeshua as your Messiah and to ask (and receive) forgiveness through his sacrifice; the bad news is that you’ll never know when your time is up.

For Jews to do that, they first need to know who Yeshua really is, and for Gentiles to do that, they also need to know who Yeshua really is.

And knowing that, they will then know what God wants from them and know how different it is from what people have told them God wants from them.

One last thought, and this is another reason I am doing this, is that people need to understand this: God has no religion, he only has instructions for how to worship him and treat each other. Men (and in some cases, women) have created their own religions in order to have power over other people.

This is the reason that so many people follow human instructions instead of God’s instructions.

I believe many, many people who think they have been obeying God will have to go through the following scenario:

Standing before the Lord, God, Almighty, sitting on his throne of Judgement, and saying to him, “But I did what they told me I was supposed to do!” then hearing God say, “I understand that you did what they told you told you to do, but it is what I say that counts!”

I do this so that you can avoid that.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry continue to grow. Subscribe to both my ministry (there is a Subscribe button in the right-hand margin on the website) and my YouTube channel. Also, buy my books, and after reading them, share them.

I also invite you to join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word”, only I must insist that you read and agree to the rules.

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

I Am Not Religious

It may seem silly, my saying that I am not religious, when I read the Bible every day, pray constantly, and especially since I have this ministry.

But, yet, I tell you, here and now and with conviction, that I am not religious.

So, nu, if I’m not religious, then what am I?

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The way I prefer to identify myself is as a God-fearing man.

I don’t want to say “a worshipful man” because that could be misunderstood, since there are so many wrong things in the world that people worship.

But religious? Nah- not a chance!

Why do I not want to be called religious, when so many people identify “religious” as a person who worships God?

It’s because most every Judeo-Christian religion I have ever encountered worships the religion more than it worships the one that religion was created to worship.

And, as I have said over and over, a million times: God has no religion!

Yeshua chided the Pharisees for creating man-made traditions that took precedence over what God commanded. Now, as I have said many times, this is not a condemnation of all traditions- no! It is condemning only those traditions which are treated as more important than what God said to do.

Religion, whether one of the plethora of Christian religions or one of the six different sects within Judaism, all pay more attention to their traditions, man-made rituals, man-made holidays, etc., than they do to what God said we should do.

Yes, even in Judaism, which is based on God’s Torah, we have many Talmudic traditions and regulations that far exceed what God, himself, said we should do and are considered as important as if God told it to Moses.

(Actually, the Talmud is considered to be the Oral Law, meaning commandments that God gave Moses but he did not write down, instead passing them down throughout the generations orally.)

For example, there is only a certain distance you can walk on the Shabbat.

There are two different sets of dishes, one for dairy and one for meat. And in some houses, there is a third set used solely for Pesach (Passover).

In some of the Orthodoxy, the husband and wife are separated in their bed by a sheet when performing intimate activities.

In Chasidic and Orthodox synagogues, the women sit in an upper chamber and the men in the lower chamber where the Torah is kept, or on different sides of the building, separated by a curtain.

And there are many other traditional requirements and even superstitions that are too many to list here.

Now, as for Christianity, I could on and on about their man-made holidays being celebrated while God-commanded Holy Days are totally ignored, or how the Torah is taught to be outdated, or many other things that are man-made commandments which totally ignore almost all of God’s commandments.

Not to mention there are dozens of Christian religions, all professing to worship the same God, but all with different ways to worship him.

So, am I “religious”, meaning to almost everyone that I follow the regulations and credos of a religion?

NO! I am NOT!

I worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and obey his instructions in the Torah to the best of my abilities. I am a God-fearing Jewish man, who if I have to identify my belief system, would call myself a Messianic Jew, but even within the Messianic Jewish community, there are some 5 different organizations, each with different ideas:

Chosen People Ministries; Messianic Jewish Alliance of America; Jews for Jesus; Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations; and Messianic Jewish Fellowship International.

Personally, I would not include Jews for Jesus because that is not a religious group, so to speak; it is actually a corporation with a corporate mission to introduce Yeshua to Jews.

So, if you believe that religion is more about itself than it is about God, then do as I do and stop saying you are “religious”.

When someone asks you what religion you are, say this:

I am a God-fearing person who worships and obeys the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah he promised to send.

Yeah, I know, it’s more of a mouthful than just saying “I’m religious”, but it is accurate and properly identifies who is most important to you.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books and share these messages with everyone you know. Next time you are on Facebook, join my group called “Just God’s Word” (please read and agree to the rules), and remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Some Rosh Hashanah Factoids

With the High Holy Days upon us, I thought I would go over some of the Jewish traditions regarding Rosh Hashanah.

Remember, even though Yeshua chided the Pharisees about man-made traditions, he wasn’t against all traditions- only those specific ones that were given precedence over what God said we should do. Not every tradition is bad, only those that men have created which are given more importance than the instructions God gave us.

There won’t be any video today, and I hope that you find this lesson interesting.

(I am getting most of todays information from a great 2-volume set that I recommend for anyone who wants to really get to know what being Jewish is all about, called “The Jewish Book of Why”, written by Alfred J. Kolatch.)

You may notice that I always specify “Holy Day” from “holiday”. This is because I differentiate between celebrations that God commanded from celebrations that are man-made.

The first thing I want to say, which is not from the book I referenced but from the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 23:23-25, is that the Holy Day we now call Rosh Hashanah is actually called Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) and is commanded to be observed by God in this manner (from the CJB):

Adonai said to Moshe,  “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar.  Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai.’”

This 10-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called the Ten Days of Awe, in which we look, introspectively, at ourselves to confess how short we have fallen from the way God wants us to live. It is a time to remember the past year, and prepare ourselves, emotionally ands spiritually, for Yom Kippur.

One of the things we do is to go to everyone who we think we may have transgressed against over the past year, and ask them for forgiveness. This may sound familiar, as Yeshua told us if a brother has anything against us, we should leave our offering at the altar and first go make things right with that person (Matthew 5:23-4).

Another tradition is a ceremony called Tashlich (casting off). This is performed when standing by fresh, running water; we throw a rock, or sometimes people throw bread crumbs, into the water praying that just as the rock sinks or the crumbs are carried away, so should our sins be taken away from us for this new year.

Even though this is considered the new year (Rosh Hashannah means “head of the year”), there are actually other new year days.

The “civil” new year is the first of Nissan, which back then was called Aviv. This is the day that God commanded should be the first day of the calendar (Exodus 12:2). Rosh Hashanah, the first day of Tishri, is considered the “religious” new year. Each of these two celebrations coincide with a harvest.

The Talmud refers to other new years, one for royalty (the first of Nissan); one for agriculture (the first of Tishri); one for the tithing of cattle (the first of Elul); and the fourth as a new year for trees (the first of Shevat).

The Bible calls for just one day of celebrating this Holy Day, but we now celebrate it or two days. The reason is because this is the only Holy Day that falls on a New Moon. The announcement of the new moon was based on three witnesses in Jerusalem seeing the moon, then messengers were sent to light signal fires to let the outer cities in Israel know the new moon has arrived. Sometimes these messengers were late, so it was decided that we would celebrate this day over a 2-day period, but consider it as one, long day.

The Rabbis did this a lot in the Talmud- they kinda made up their own rules.

The shofar is blown some 100 times on Rosh Hashannah. The Talmud gives a rather mystical reason, that by doing so we scare off Satan, so he won’t be able to bring any charges against the Jewish people before God on the Day of Atonement.

The traditional reading on this day is called the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac. This is Genesis, Chapter 22, and is considered to be one of the many messianic passages in the Torah.

Here is something I’m sure you will find interesting: Rosh Hashanah never falls on a Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday. The reason for this is that when the Jewish calendar was issued by Hillel II in 359 C.E., it was arranged so that the Holy Days would not interfere with the Shabbat observance, or vice-versa.

The reason we use a rams horn instead of a cow horn is to honor the ram that Abraham sacrificed on Mount Moriah after the angel stopped him from killing Isaac.

The shofar blasts are composed of three different notes called Tekia, Terua, and Shevarim. The Tekia is a single blast, the Terua is 9 staccato blasts, and the Shevarim (introduced in the Talmud in Rosh Hashanah 33b) is three undulating blasts. There is an additional blast, the Tekia Gedolah, which is a long, suspended note. There is a traditional sequence for sounding them, the entre sequence is done three times after a prayer is recited, and the prayer is recited three times during the service (which can last from a few hours to 7 hours, depending on the sect of Judaism).

The notes are sounded in this order:

tekia-shevarim-terua-tekia;

tekia-shevarim-tekia; and

tekia-terua-tekia.

With the final sequence, in some synagogues, they also sound the tekia gedolah.

The total number of shofar blasts is to be 100.

A white garment called a kittle is worn to represent humility and purity. We also wear this on Yom Kippur.

Some food is also specific to this day. The Challah bread, usually braided, is round to represent eternity, which has no beginning and no end. I t also represents the cyclic nature of life.

We serve carrot tzimmes, a sweet carrot and honey dish to represent the hopes for a sweet new year.

Another food to represent hopes for a sweet new year are apples dipped in honey and the serving of honey cake ( I LOVE honey cake!).

Finally, let’s do one more tradition: many Jews avoid eating nuts on this day. Why? Because of Jewish superstition (yes, there are many superstitions in Judaism). Hebrew letters also have a numerical value, so a Hebrew word can be given a number value, which is similar to Numerology. The Hebrew word for nut is “egoz“, which has the same numerical value as the Hebrew word chet, which is sin. Therefore, we do not want the new year to have any association with sin.

Nutty, isn’t it?

So there you have it! There are even more traditions regarding this Holy Day, but this is enough for now. You can get the book I told you about above and learn all about Jewish thought, superstition, traditions, and beliefs.

The Shabbat begins tonight, so Shabbat Shalom, and come Sunday night I wish you all:

Leshanah tovah tikatevu!

(May you be inscribed for a good year)

God Doesn’t Change His Mind

We are told that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and that he never changes his mind.

Yet, we are also told that God wanted to destroy the Israelites for the sin of the Golden Calf but Moses made him change his mind (we’ll explain what really happened later), and what about the destruction God said (through Jonah) he would bring on Nineveh, but didn’t?

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In fact, there are a number of times in the Bible when we are told God changed his mind (Jeremiah 26:19, Amos 7:3, and 2 Samuel 24:16), but we are also told that God does not change his mind (Isaiah 31:2; and 1 Samuel 15:29).

So, which is it? How can we trust the Bible if there are places where it negates itself?

The answer is this: God does NOT change his mind, but when there is a change to the conditions for which he stated he would do something, then he adjusts his plan to fit the conditions.

For instance, God decreed the coming destruction to Nineveh because of all the evil they performed, which they did willingly and, most likely, enjoyed doing. He sent Jonah to give them a chance to repent, in other words, to change their condition.

And what happened was that they did repent, so God did not change his mind but adjusted his plan to fit the new conditions. God’s decree was that because of the evil they would be destroyed, but the evil stopped, so the decision to destroy them for their evil- which never changed- did not occur because there was no more evil.

Of course, later on, when they returned to their evil ways they were destroyed. So, you see, God never changed his mind about destroying them for their evil deeds: when they stopped doing evil, the reason for God’s destruction was no longer there, and when they returned to their evil ways, God’s original decision still stood against them, and what God said he would do, he did.

Let’s look at 1 Kings, Chapter 13.

God sent a prophet (he doesn’t even get to have his name mentioned) to Shomron to tell Yarov’am that his altar to Ba’al would be destroyed. God also told the prophet that he was to leave by a different route, not stop for anyone or drink or eat in Shomron.

When Yarov’am ordered to seize the prophet, God shriveled his hand. The king asked the prophet to pray for him, and God restored his hand.

That wasn’t God changing his mind, it was God forgiving the sin after the sinner repented and the condition for which he was punished also changed (although that didn’t last long).

Later the prophet was resting and another prophet lied to him and coerced him to go to his house to eat and drink with him. Because the prophet from the south disobeyed God, God had the northern prophet tell the man that he would be killed by a lion, which did happen.

So, even though the prophet was fooled, God did not change his mind about his warning not to eat or drink anything in Shomron.

And what about Moses after the sin of the Golden Calf?

In Exodus 32:9-10, after God tells Moses about the calf, he says this:

 “Adonai continued speaking to Moshe: ‘I have been watching these people; and you can see how stiffnecked they are.  Now leave me alone, so that my anger can blaze against them, and I can put an end to them! I will make a great nation out of you instead.‘”

But Moses pleads with God not to do that, and in Exodus 32:14 we read:

Adonai then changed his mind about the disaster he had planned for his people.

So, here the Bible is clearly saying that God changed his mind, but I disagree.

Why? Who, after all, do I think I am to disagree with the Torah?

I’m glad you asked.

First of all, for the record, I am nothing. I just try to teach God’s word so that people can make an informed decision about where they will spend eternity.

As for why I disagree, my reasoning is that God never really changed his mind because he never said that he was going to destroy the people; he asked Moses to “leave me alone”- in other words, do not interfere with me.

I believe what God really meant was this is what I would like to do and I need you, Moses, to not try to stop me. I believe this because God did not say he was going to do that but for Moses to leave him alone so his anger CAN blaze against the people, and he CAN put an end to them.

What I can do (if you don’t stop me) is not what I am going to do.

God is saying this is what he has in mind, but not what he is going to do.

Moses then came through and stopped God. In a way, he was being tested as God tested Abraham, and (like Abraham) Moses passed the test by standing in the breech, so to speak, between God and the people, interceding for them so that the thing God was thinking of doing, he did not do.

The standard translation we read in most Bibles at Exodus 32:14 says that God changed his mind, but in the Chumash it says that God “repented of the evil he said he would do”, and in my copy of the Tikkun, it says that God “reconsidered regarding the evil that he declared he would do.”

So, you see, it isn’t that God changes his mind (even if some translations use that terminology), but rather that God intends to do something based on the current situation, but is willing to delay or change his plan- which, unlike the 10 Commandments, is NOT written in stone at that time- if the conditions change.

And what changes the condition under which God plans his punishment?

Repentance.

And, even in some cases, repentance will not change God’s mind about punishment, but it may delay his action. On example the case of Manasseh causing God to think “לא עוד!” (“No more!”) and decide to punish Judea (2 Kings 21:10-15). Yet, even with the repentance of the people when, two kings later, Yoshiyahu was king, God did not change his mind about the punishment Judea would suffer, but he delayed it so that Yoshiyahu would not have to deal with it.

And why does God take so long to deal out his punishment? Because he is merciful and desires to forgive, so he waits as long as he deems possible in order for us to change the conditions of his decisions.

The good news is that we can save ourselves; the bad news is we never know when God will say “Times up!”

God does not change his mind, so if we sin and continue to sin, he will not allow us in his presence for all eternity. BUT- if we change the conditions under which that decision was made, repenting and asking forgiveness through Messiah Yeshua, we are creating a different set of conditions, and under that set of conditions we can be forgiven, and the punishment we would have received (had we remained under the previous conditions) would absolutely have been carried out against us.

God’s decisions are based on the condition of one’s life at any given time, therefore, make sure that you are always in the right condition.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to my ministry on my website and on my YouTube channel, as well. Join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please make sure to read and agree to the rules), and buy my books. If you like what you get here, you will like my books- guaranteed!

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

So, that’s it for this week: l’hitraot, and may I wish you all an early

שנה טובה שמח! (Happy New Year).

Let’s Talk About the Name of the Lord

We’ve been over this, again and again, so let’s go over it one more time.

The Tetragrammaton, the four-letter word that God told Moses, is God’s Holy Name, and how it is used in speech and prayer should honor God.

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

Yet, there are some who use his Holy Name as if it was just any ordinary name, like Tom or Dick or even Steve. They also condemn anyone who doesn’t use it.

They are called (and it probably isn’t the nicest appellation) “Holy Namers”, and that is because they constantly use the Hebrew name of God, those 4 Hebrew letters called the Tetragrammaton. That name is composed of the letters Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh (יהוה), and has been pronounced in any number of different ways.

And their justification for this is when the Bible uses the term “Call on the Name” or “The name of the Lord”, they take that out of context, both written and cultural, to mean using the Tetragrammaton.

Now, as a Jewish man I never even try to pronounce that name because it is God’s Holy Name, and Jews don’t pronounce it out of respect for God.

Many Christians, especially the Holy Namers, must think that they are on a first-name basis with the Lord, God, Almighty; addressing him as if he was one of their human friends.

If you met a world leader, would you call that person by their first name?

If you met the CEO of the company you work for, would you call him or her by their first name?

If you met a teacher that you highly respected from your past, would you call that person by their first name?

I hope not- that would be disrespectful, wouldn’t it?

So what makes anyone think they are on such a high, spiritual level that they can address God by his first name?

This is the very reason why Jews do not pronounce God’s name, but instead substitute Adonai (which means “Lord”), or HaShem (which means “the name), or Elohim or Shaddai (both different names for God, but not his actual name) whenever we come across the Tetragrammaton in the Tanakh.

We also feel that using God’s Holy Name is a violation of the 3rd Commandment.

Yet, despite these highly logical and respectful reasons for not pronouncing the Tetragrammaton, Holy Namers accuse us of being wrong by not pronouncing the name of God!

I think, and this is my own idea, that because Christians are brought up saying Jesus’s name all the time that they think it is also OK to use God’s Holy Name just as easily.

But, as for the term “the name of the Lord”, when used in the Bible almost always has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the Tetragrammaton.

The phrase “name of the Lord” refers to God’s reputation and his greatness. It represents his power, his goodness, his mercy, and everything else about God- everything, that is, but his actual name.

There are times when we do see his actual name being used, such as when Moses needed to use it to convince the people in Egypt that he was sent by God, but the need to pronounce the Tetragrammaton is rarely found in the Tanakh.

In the New Covenant it is almost completely missing, and the name that is referred to mostly is “Yeshua”. But even in the case where Yeshua says “in my name”, that doesn’t mean that we are to say “Yeshua”, or “Jesus” (which isn’t his name, to begin with) but to refer to his role as the Messiah.

So, look- if you want to call out the Holy Name of God, I won’t tell you it is wrong, and I never tell anyone what they should think, but I would ask you to consider what I have said about respecting God.

It isn’t a sin to respect God by referring to him as Lord or Sir (another usage of Adonai) or Elohim or Shaddai; but, it just may be disrespectful to address God as you would your drinking buddies.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages, subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books, and join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please make sure you read and agree to the rules).

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Do We Really Have to Pray Everything in Yeshua’s Name?

In the Gospel of John, specifically John 14:13, Yeshua tells his disciples that whatever they ask for, when they ask it in his name, he will do. He said this is the way he will glorify his Father.

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But does that mean every time we pray, no matter what the prayer, we have to do it in “the name of Yeshua”?

What about when we give thanks to God? Praying a thanksgiving prayer isn’t asking for anything, so I don’t reference Yeshua at all when I thank God for whatever I am being thankful for.

And that is usually everything- my marriage with Donna, my salvation through Messiah, the good health that Donna and I still have, financial comfort, a home, etc., ad infinitum.

And when I do ask for something important, such as forgiveness (which I do every day, whether I know I sinned or not, because I know I probably did sin, sometime), I ask by the blood of the Messiah, which is the means by which we receive forgiveness.

And if I am just talking with God (99.9% of the time I talk and he listens, but every now and then, I do get a message or an answer from him, which is always a quiet, still voice in the back of my head) I find no need to end it by referencing Yeshua.

And I do not pray to Yeshua. Even for those who believe he is also God, he is at this time sitting at God’s right hand and his role, in God’s own plan of salvation, is that of our Messiah. To pray to him is to ignore God, sitting to his left, and is, in truth, a form of idolatry.

Our salvation is not through Yeshua, but by means of the sacrifice he made: he is our Intercessor of prayer, not the Interceptor of it.

If you believe Yeshua, God, and the Holy Spirit are one-and-the-same entity, that doesn’t change the fact that Yeshua came to earth to be the Messiah- a separate being, and as such, to ignore his choice to be separate at this time is to ignore his sacrifice and, essentially, reject what he suffered through for you as Yeshua, the Messiah.

Think about that.

So, when you pray for something- and I don’t mean for nice weather or a new car, which is generally OK to pray for- and you want to pray “in Yeshua’s name” (which doesn’t mean to him, but to reference his sacrifice which made your salvation through forgiveness possible), then do so.

But if you are just thanking God, or talking with God, or having a drash with God over some biblical passage you can’t understand, don’t waste the power that Yeshua’s name has by using it when you don’t need to.

Use the power that Yeshua’s name gives you in prayer sparingly, respectfully, and effectively.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry grow. Subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books (available on my website and Amazon Books), and join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please make sure you read and agree to the rules).

And one last thing: remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Is the Akedah About Abrahams Faith or Isaac’s Obedience

We all know the story in Genesis 22, which we call the Akedah (binding), where Abraham obeys God’s demand that he sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah.

We also all know that this is all about testing Abraham’s faith.

Or, is it?

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I had recently posted a message regarding the way Christianity has misrepresented Yeshua (Jesus) as more of an Absalom, a son who defied his father’s authority and rebelled to have people follow him, than an Isaac who obeyed his father’s wishes, even unto death.

That is when it “hit” me: yes, the Akedah is certainly a story about the faith of Abraham, but isn’t it also a story about the obedience of Isaac?

It is considered a messianic passage by almost everyone, and as such, it isn’t just about the father willing to sacrifice his only son, but it is about the son, willing to be obedient to his father at all costs.

Just as Yeshua, the Messiah, was so obedient to his father, God, as to allow himself to be sacrificed.

It was, to me, a realization of a different aspect of the Akedah that, to my knowledge and from my experience, has not been addressed.

So, what do you think? I think there are two very important lessons from the Akedah:

  1. The standard lesson that Abraham’s faith was strong enough to let him sacrifice his son, just as God’s love for us was strong enough for him to sacrifice his son; and
  2. That Isaac’s obedience to his father was strong enough to allow him to let himself be sacrificed, and although he wasn’t, in Yeshua’s case he was.

That’s all I wanted to say (I know- who woddah ‘tought I could write such a short message?)

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know, subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books, join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please read and agree to the rules), and remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Salvation Can Be Earned

I know, I know…you have always been taught that salvation is a free gift from God and cannot be bought or earned.

Now, the part about salvation being a free gift from God and impossible to be purchased is true; however, according to what God tells us, salvation can be earned!

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

How can I say salvation can be earned when all our religious leaders tell us it can’t? And even more than that, what justification do I have to claim that God, himself, tells us we can earn salvation?

I’m glad you asked.

God gave us the Torah, which tells us, in simple to understand language, what he wants us to do. And, if we do what he wants us to do, then we are righteous in his eyes. And, if we are righteous in his eyes, then we will be saved, i.e., we will not face the second death but instead be in God’s presence for all eternity.

I believe that is what we refer to as “salvation”, is it not?

And, if you need more proof, then I present to you the Messiah, Yeshua.

Here is a man, 100% human, who lived his entire life in perfect accordance with the Torah. And, after he died, he was resurrected and allowed into the presence of the Lord. In fact, more than just allowed to be there- he sits at God’s right hand!

For those of you who are members of this ministry, you will no doubt recall that when I refer to the Torah I rarely refer to it as commandments or law, but more often than not as God’s instructions.

The Torah was given to us by God (and I do not mean just us Jews, but to US: everyone throughout the world) so that we would know exactly how to worship him, how to treat each other, how to conduct business, how to punish those who do wrong, and how to conduct our interpersonal (intimate) relationships.

And in Deuteronomy 28, he tells us that when we do what he says, he will bless us; but, if we refuse to do as he says, we will suffer curses galore.

God also tells us, more than once, that we must not add to or take away from any of the instructions he gave us.

It is obvious that God gave us the Torah so we could know what he wants us to do in order to receive salvation.

So, nu? If this is true, then why have religious leaders told us for generations on end that no one can earn salvation?

I’m glad you asked.

The answer is simple: except for Yeshua, no one has been able to follow every instruction in the Torah because (as the Bible tells us, many, many times) we are all born sinners: we have, we do, and we always will sin.

It is this inability of humans to not sin that keeps us from being in accordance with the Torah, and as such, makes it impossible for us to earn the salvation that the Torah provides.

Maybe what they should be teaching is that salvation is possible if we live every day, for our entire lives, in perfect accord with the instructions God gave in the Torah, but so far (except for one, and we know who he is) no one has ever been able to do that because of our inescapable iniquity (the desire to sin).

God gave us his instructions on how we can earn salvation through sinless living, but he also knew that we wouldn’t be able to do that, so he took a lesson from school teachers…when a teacher has a course that is a very difficult subject to learn, but there has to be a test on it, the teacher will grade the test on a “curve”, which is sort of like a handicap in golf.

God gave us a difficult task, which is to obey his instructions, and he knew that it would be nearly impossible, so he grades us on a curve- that curve is the Messiah. By accepting Yeshua as your Messiah, STILL trying to live as God said to live, when you fail, the Messiah is your handicap, bringing you back to “par” with God.

BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO TRY TO LIVE AS GOD SAID YOU SHOULD!

Following standard Christian teaching that Yeshua did away with God’s instructions will not help at all, and the test paper you turn in will come back with a big, fat “F” on it!

And for us Jews, when we follow Talmudic Halacha as more important than God’s instructions (which is one of the things Yeshua chided the Pharisees about), we are adding to what he said, which is (by definition) a sin.

Accept Yeshua (Jesus) as your Messiah, then read what God says you should do- not what some human created religion tells you to do!

And you know what? You don’t even have to read the entire Torah: just read Leviticus and Deuteronomy and you will know all you need to know to take that salvation test and pass.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to this ministry on both my website and YouTube channels. Also join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word”, but please make sure you read and agree to the rules.

And if you like what you get here, you will like my books, as well, which are available in both paperback and digital formats: you can buy them through my website or go to Amazon books.

Well, that’s it for today so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

I Hate to Disagree, But the Flesh is Not Weak

We all know the narrative about when Yeshua was praying in the garden of Gethsemane, asking the three talmudim with him to stay awake while he prayed.

Of course, they were full of lamb and wine after the Pesach Seder, so they fell right off to sleep.

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

Yeshua came back to see them asleep, and after this happened twice, he said that the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.

Well, as much as I hate to disagree with my Messiah, I would prefer that he said the spirit is willing, but the flesh is too strong!

As I see it, it isn’t our spirit that gets us in trouble, but our flesh does.

Throughout the Bible we are told that everyone sins, and in modern terms, sinfulness is built into our DNA. That is a fact of life.

However, it doesn’t excuse sin, and it can be overcome with the help of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit. But, that is very hard to do.

And when I say it is hard to overcome sin, that is a statement I am sure you all can relate to.

When I used to preach about sin, I would tell my congregation that I am an expert on sin: not because I have overcome it, but because of how often I do it; and, as they say, practice makes perfect.

Our flesh is what we have to live in for the time being, and its influence on us is extremely strong. If we think otherwise, it will overcome us and we will apostatize without even realizing that we have done so!

For example, have you ever rationalized doing something that your spirit tells you that you really shouldn’t do? I have, and I confess that I still argue with that little guy on my shoulder in the white robe with the harp.

The other guy, the red-suited fellow with the horns, doesn’t win as often as he used to, but he still makes what sounds like a convincing argument, using biblical passages (or should I say, misusing them) to justify his arguments.

And you know what? That is what “religion” has been doing for centuries on end.

So, the bottom line is that Yeshua was not incorrect when he said his talmudim wanted to stay awake with him, but I have to disagree that their flesh was weak, because it was their flesh that overcame their spiritual desire to stay awake.

Your flesh is strong, my flesh is strong, and we need to admit that to ourselves if we want to overcome it.

Ignoring the potential for your flesh to overpower your spiritual desire to be obedient is foolish, and might result in your straying off the path of righteousness without ever knowing you did!

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to both my website ministry and my YouTube channel. I have a Facebook discussion group called “Just God’s Word” and I would love it if you joined that- I only need you to read and agree to the rules.

I have written a few books and if you like what you get here, you will like the books, as well. They are available on Amazon or through the links on my website, and they come in in both paperback and digital formats, the digital ones costing just a couple of bucks… vot a deal!

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Baruch haShem!

Discuss, Debate, Disagree, Demean

I’ve been on a three day high school reunion- our 50th, but now I am back and ready to preach!

We all know the Bible…well, actually, we all THINK we know the Bible.

We think we know what God wants, but in reality most people only know what they have been told God wants.

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

I am not going to discuss what God wants, but rather what happens when people start to talk to each other about what God wants.

My experience, after some 25 plus years of being a Believer, is that people start out easily talking about God, and soon they find there are some things in which they have a slightly different understanding.

This then becomes a discussion that turns into a bit of a debate, in that each side wants to explain their side and challenge the other side to disprove them.

And this is the place where one of two things happen: the two people respectfully agree to disagree, or the conversation takes a nosedive from nice to nasty, and I have identified this change from edifying each other to demeaning each other happening in four, distinct stages.

Stage 1: we start by talking about God and begin to discuss a specific topic about God, or what God wants.

Stage 2: as we continue with the discussion, a different understanding of that topic emerges, and now we debate what God really said or what he really meant.

Stage 3: we realize that we actually disagree.

Stage 4: one or both stop attacking the argument and begin to attack the person.

This is not the result of a godly call to help someone know God better: it is nothing more than pridefulness rearing itself up and changing the dynamic from trying to determine God’s truth to working for the Enemy of God to cause dissension.

If the people involved are spiritually and/or emotionally mature, they can respect each other’s right to their opinion and agree to disagree.

However, way too often, one or more of those involved begin demeaning the other because they will not change their mind.

There is no reason or justification, EVER, for demeaning or insulting anyone just because they disagree with you.

When you find yourself in a discussion that has turned the corner from mature argumentation to personal insult, you have only one option: get out of it.

No matter how passionate you may be about helping someone to know God better, when the talk has gone from explaining to insulting, it is time to go home.

They say the three topics you should never bring up in a conversation are family, politics, and religion. I think there is a lot of truth to that, but it should not stop you from trying.

The trick is knowing when to stop; it is as simple as that, and that is all I wanted to talk about today.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel as well. By the way, when you are on the website, please buy my books- if you like what you get here, you will like my books.

And join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word”- please make sure you read and agree to the rules.

So, until next time, l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!