Just for the Lost Sheep of Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Where It All Went Wrong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Savior or Son: Why Did He Come?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oy!

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

The Truth About Mark 7 and Acts 10 as They Relate to the Laws of Kashrut (Kosher)

Let’s start with the Christian teaching that the Laws of Kashrut (Kosher laws in Leviticus 11) are not required for Christians. The two stories from the New Covenant most used to justify this are Mark 7:19 and Acts 10-11.  In Mark, which we discussed briefly in an earlier lesson, Yeshua was talking with the Pharisees about handwashing prior to eating, and how we will not make our food ceremoniously unclean if we don’t first wash our hands, which was a rabbinic (Talmudic) requirement. In this discussion, Mark states that Yeshua declared all food clean. This verse has been used to show that the kosher laws were overruled and abandoned by Yeshua. Nothing could be further from the truth: Yeshua wasn’t talking about clean and unclean as in what was allowed to be eaten, he was talking about a ceremony, a ritual. As far as declaring all food clean, what was “food” for a First Century Jew is not what the world considers food, today. In India, beef is not considered food; to some African tribes warm blood taken from a cow is considered food; to some other people, monkey brains are a delicacy. And for a Frist Century Jew, the items that are specified in Lev. 11 as forbidden are not “food.” So, all food being clean means that all those things which were allowed to be eaten were the food that was declared clean and, therefore, would not make us ceremoniously unclean if we did not first wash out hands before eating it.

The Book of Acts, Chapters 10 and 11 tells us about a dream (vision) that Kefa (Peter) had while sleeping. The vision had a sheet with all kinds of non-kosher animals on it, and a voice from heaven said to kill and eat. Kefa refused to do so, and each time he refused he heard the voice say, “Do not declare unclean that which I have made clean.” This happened three times. As soon as he awoke, there were three servants of a Roman Centurion named Cornelius at the door of the house, asking for Kefa to come to the Roman soldier’s house. This narrative is used to show that God told Kefa that it is now allowed to eat non-kosher animals. Again, nothing could be further from the truth: first of all, this is a vision and visions are usually interpretive and not to be taken literally. The narrative even tells us that Kefa didn’t understand the meaning of it. At that time, a Roman person’s house was an unclean place to a Jew, and to go into one would make one unclean. That means you would have to wash your body and clothes and would not be allowed into the Temple or even the Courts until after evening. But the true interpretation is that there were three times the sheets came down because there were three servants at the door, and that meant Kefa was to go with them. At the end of the chapter, we are told about the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) coming upon the Roman people in that house who accepted Yeshua as their Messiah. They were the “unclean” thing that God made clean because Romans (as I have said) were considered to be unclean people. And the fact that this had nothing to do with food is confirmed in Chapter 11 when the Elders, upon hearing what happened, didn’t say, “Yahoo!! Now we can go to Bob Evans for eggs and sausages!” but instead praised God that he made it possible for the Gentiles to be saved from their sins, as well as God’s chosen people, the Jews.

Yeshua: Rejected by Jews and Recreated by Christians

Pretty much everyone knows that when Yeshua walked the earth the Jewish population, for the most part, rejected him as the Messiah, although there were many who accepted him. After his resurrection, he was introduced to the Gentiles in the Middle East and Asia, and they much more readily accepted him as the son of God. By the end of the Third Century, the group called Christians far outnumbered the Jewish population, both in the land and within their own group and had separated themselves so much from how Jews lived and worshiped that they created an entirely new religion.

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By the end of the Second Millennia, Christianity had become so diversified that there are now dozens of Christian sects and religions, all purporting to worship the same God and believe Jesus Christ to be his son and the Messiah, yet their religious rites, doctrine and dogma are significantly different.

So, why do Jews, after all this time, still reject Jesus Christ as their Messiah?

The answer is simple, really: the guy that Christianity proposes to be the son of God and Messiah to the world not only has nothing to do with Judaism but has persecuted, murdered, and forced Jews to convert against their will since the 4th Century. PLUS…they have completely misconstrued and/or replaced what Yeshua taught when he walked the earth.

I mean, when you think about it, that’s a pretty good reason for Jews not wanting to have anything to do with this fair-skinned, blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan You-Know-What who hates their guts.

Yeshua was, still is, and always will be Jewish. He is the Messiah who was promised to be sent to the Jewish people to bring them back into communion with God and lead them in their own country. He lived in accordance with the laws that God gave to the Jewish people (he had to- otherwise he would have been a sinner and as such, his sacrifice would not have been acceptable) and he taught others to do the same as he did.

“Wait a minute!”, you say, “If he taught the same things that the Jews already knew, why didn’t they believe him?”

That’s the problem, isn’t it? Why didn’t they believe him?

In my opinion, there are three reasons that the mainstream Jewish population has rejected Yeshua as their Messiah, despite his teachings and the miracles he performed. Two of them were present at the time he was actively teaching, and they were:

  1. The people were praying for a political Messiah, someone to free them from Roman rule and that was not why Yeshua came; and
  2. Jerusalem in the First Century had one of the most corrupt, if not the most corrupt, political and social environment ever within the history of the Jewish people. The king wasn’t a son of David, the Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) wasn’t a descendant of Aaron, and many of the members of the Sanhedrin throughout the land were political “hacks” and not truly Levites. The Pharisees and Sadducees, despite their differences, were a strong political and social power, and Yeshua’s teachings were exposing their hypocrisy and corruption. In essence, Yeshua’s influence on the people was a threat to the Jerusalem “Power Elite” and, as such, he had to be gotten rid of. The people would do what their leaders said to do, so they rejected him not on a personal basis, but as a result of being told that if they followed Yeshua they would be ostracized.

The third reason didn’t really come into play until nearly 60 years after his resurrection.

You see, as more and more Gentiles converted from their pagan religion to what was, essentially, Judaism, they had trouble making that paradigm shift from a religion centered on hedonistic pleasure to a religion centered on self-control, righteous living and respect for others. So, the original Disciples who were now the first leaders of the people who had accepted Yeshua were trying to make that conversion more palatable, if you will, by initially having only 4 requirements that had to be immediately followed (Acts 15.) The assumption was that the other instructions that are in the Torah, which is what Yeshua taught, would eventually be incorporated into their lives as they continued to practice Judaism.

And that’s where the whole thing fell apart.

You see, the Jewish population in the First Century was in rebellion against Roman rulership and were being politically persecuted. These neophyte Believers, composed of both Jews and Gentiles, were being persecuted by the mainstream Jews (under orders of the Power Elite) and the last thing they needed was the Romans on their backs, as well. So, what they did was separate themselves from the Jewish population to avoid Roman persecution.

Of course, that backfired because the Jews were allowed to worship their religion but Rome would not stand for any new religion forming in a land they ruled.

In order to separate from Judaism, these followers of “The Way” changed the Shabbat to Sunday, they did not continue to follow the Torah and even disowned their Jewish roots. After Emperor Constantine got involved (circa 325 AD), the people who professed to follow the teachings of Yeshua were a totally different religion than the one Yeshua taught about! Modern-day Christianity is what Constantine invented, as well as this guy Jesus Christ. Jesus is nothing like Yeshua, doesn’t worship God as Yeshua did, doesn’t teach what Yeshua taught, and hates Jews.

Can you see now why Jews rejected, and still do reject, Jesus Christ as their Savior?

So, nu? Now that we understand the problem, how do we solve it? I am sorry to say that I see no way for this problem to be resolved by human means. We can pray for individuals to find the truth about Yeshua, as I did, and for the Christian leadership to retrace their steps back to where the schism between Judaism and Christianity began, and heal that fissure so that we are all on the same path.

Yeah- like that’s gonna happen.

Those of us who know the truth about Yeshua have to be able to present him in a way that Jews will accept him, meaning teach what he taught and try to overcome the many centuries of wrongful teaching regarding Yeshua. We need to show Jews who Yeshua is, and help them to realize that Jesus Christ is NOT the one God sent or the one to believe in: they must know about Yeshua that he is the one to accept.

We also have to teach those practicing all forms of Christianity so they know that the Jesus Constantine created is not the Messiah God sent, and what they have been told Jesus Christ taught is not what Yeshua taught.

This will not happen easily or quickly and we will be fighting an uphill battle because, to be frank, Christianity is a lot easier than Judaism. Jews have the Torah commandments to live up to, but Christians are told Jesus died for their sins and as long as they are a “good person” they go to heaven. They don’t even care about the Acts 15 requirements anymore.

When Yeshua returns and God’s plan of salvation is completed, there won’t be different religions anymore: in truth, there won’t be any religions, only the one way of life that God gave us from the start. Judaism is called a religion, but that is not what God intended it to be: God gave us the instructions on how to worship him and how to live with each other in the Torah and he didn’t expect us to do anything else.

The Torah was never meant to be the rulebook for a religion, but to be the User Manual for how to live.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share these messages with others to help this ministry grow. I always welcome your comments and until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

 

Parashah Vayyechi 2020 (And he lived) Genesis 47:28 – 50:26

Jacob and his entire family are now in Goshen, and Jacob lived there for another 17 years. Joseph is told that his father is ill and he brings his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim to Jacob so that they can be blessed by him.

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Jacob makes Joseph swear to bury him with his fathers, and tells Joseph that he (Jacob) is adopting Joseph’s sons as tribes of Israel under Joseph’s inheritance. After this, Jacob blesses the sons of Joseph and places the younger over the elder (just as had happened with him and his brother, Esau.) After this, he blesses all his sons (although some of what he said doesn’t sound much like a blessing) and dies.

Joseph tells his brothers, who were worried that with Jacob dead Joseph may still yet take vengeance on them, that what they designed for evil God turned into good, saving their lives and many others, so he will always take care of them.

The parashah ends, as does this first book of the Torah, with Joseph’s death.

And as we come to the end of a book of the Torah, we recite this saying:

Chazak! Chazak! V’nit Chazek!
(Strong, Strong, and let us be strengthened) 

 

When Jacob is blessing his sons, part of the blessing for Judah says (Genesis 49:10):

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, as long as men come to Shiloh; And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be. 

This verse has been considered for many centuries to mean that Judah will be in charge of the other tribes until such time as Shiloh comes, with “Shiloh” meaning the Messiah. This is a messianic interpretation that has been pretty much universally accepted by Christians and Messianic Jews, and pretty much universally rejected by mainstream Judaism.

I often use the 1965 Soncino edition of the Chumash, with commentary by Dr. J. H. Hertz, C.H. (the late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire) as reference material for these messages.  His insight and understanding of the Jewish mindset, as well as his scholarly knowledge of the writings of many other Jewish scholars, has been exceptionally helpful in my understanding of the text of the Torah and its meaning.

However, when it comes to messianic interpretations used by Christianity, he was just as prejudiced against Christianity as any other Jew I ever knew while I was growing up in a Reform Jewish household, or have met during my lifetime.

Let me show you what I mean: here are some excerpts from his notes on the Book of Genesis.

Regarding the use of Shiloh as the Messiah:

Despite the fact that nowhere in scripture is that term applied to the Messiah, Christian theologians assume that Shiloh is a name of the founder of Christianity. In this sense, ‘Till Shiloh come’ is a favorite text of Christian missionaries in attempting to convert illiterate Jews or those ignorant of scripture.

As he further discusses Christian misinterpretation of the Tanakh for missionary use, he brings up Isaiah 53, and with reference to that says:

For eighteen hundred years Christian theologians have passionately maintained that it is a prophetic anticipation of the founder of their faith. 

In his commentary on Jacob’s blessings, Dr. Hertz said that when Jacob referenced Reuben’s sleeping with one of Jacob’s concubines (Genesis 44:4), he suddenly started to talk in the third person instead of the second person because the event was so loathful to him. Yet, when Dr. Hertz refers to Yeshua, he doesn’t even use his proper name.

How hateful must someone be to not even use the name “Jesus Christ” when talking about him?

And did you notice that he refers to Yeshua as the “founder of their faith”? How could such an intelligent and knowledgeable scholar of the Bible not know that Christianity, as it existed in his time, was nothing like what Yeshua taught, but (in truth) the real founder of that religion was Constantine?

The answer is simple: he was never taught the truth about Yeshua because the bigotry between Christians and Jews was so solidified that no one cared about the truth, and believed only what they had been taught growing up.

I was taught the same thing that Dr. Hertz was taught, that Jesus Christ was a Jew who rebelled against Judaism and created his own religion, which hated and killed Jews.  Actually, that reference would be a lot more accurate if we applied it to Martin Luther, but it is not at all accurate or true with regard to Yeshua.

I hate the hatred between Jews and Christians that has been developed over the Millennia, and as much as I try to expose the truth in this ministry of mine, it will never have an impact except, God willing, on a few people who may be exposed to my messages and books. And that is fine with me; in fact, if I can help just one Jewish person (Gentiles would be OK, too) during my entire life to come to know the truth about Yeshua, then it will be worthwhile work.

The animosity between Christians and Jews is two-sided, and built upon ignorance, which is the foundation stone of bigotry; I am sorry to say it will not be alleviated (apologies to Dr. Hertz) until Shiloh comes, again. Once Messiah Yeshua returns in the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) and God’s plan will come to completion, then everyone will know the truth about who the Messiah really is, about who really created Christianity and that God really does exist and his word is absolutely truthful and trustworthy.

So, until that time arrives (which I believe is almost upon us), we will have to deal with defeating this age-old misunderstanding one person at a time.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, here and on the YouTube channel as well, and I always welcome comments.

Until next time, Shabbat Shalom and Baruch HaShem!

 

The Greatest Counterattack That Ever Succeeded

For those of you who may not know, I was a First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.  And, as such, I was very well trained in combat skills, including all types of attacks and counterattacks.  One thing I learned is that it is very important to pre-organize a counterattack because the best time to do so is immediately after you lose a battle. That is when the foe is the most vulnerable because they have just taken over your position and are trying to organize themselves.

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

The battle between God and Satan has been raging for quite a while. Like most wars, there are victories and losses on both sides, and often even after the war has been won, the winning battle is not the last skirmish.

When Yeshua rose from the dead, the war which Satan started against God was won, then and there, but the battles did not stop. Yeshua’s victory over death is complete, but there is still a lot of “mopping up” that needs to be done, and we know (from the vision given to John on Patmos) that there are more battles yet to come before this war is completely finished.

Satan was defeated with Yeshua’s victory, but he organized a counterattack that has been devastating to that victory. And what was that counterattack?

It was separating the Gentile Believers from Judaism, resulting in the creation of what we call Christianity.

It started as soon as the people began referring to the Gentile converts to “the Way” as Christians. That separated them from the Jewish population by name. Then, in or around 98 CE, the early Gentile leaders of what was now being called Christianity declared Sunday to be the Sabbath for those who follow Christ. Later they also rejected the idea that Judaism and Christianity could be compatible. By the end of the Second Century, new Christians were almost exclusively Gentiles, and by the time of the Council of Nicene, the New Covenant was being composed by Gentiles. From that time forward, Christianity (in nearly all its forms) has ignored or rejected the Tanakh, teaching only from the New Covenant.

And by ignoring the Tanakh, they never learned about all the mistakes the Jewish people made; consequently, Christianity has made all those mistakes, all over again. And what is worse, they have added new ones to it.

In Romans 11:25, Shaul warns the Gentile Believers not to become proud simply because they are accepting Yeshua as the Messiah, whereas the mainstream Jewish population did not. He tells them that if God was willing to lop off the natural branches from the Tree of Life for lack of faith, how much more so will he lop off the unnatural branches that have been grafted on if they also lose faith?

Yet, despite this warning, Gentile Believers have, from the start, ignored the instructions God gave in the Torah, organized their own holidays, rituals, and soon after Constantine they actually began to persecute the Jewish people in order to separate them from Judaism, as well.

Christianity has not learned the lessons that God’s Chosen people learned. These lessons were learned when they were in the desert, and later when they were in Canaan, and later when their kingdom was divided; in fact, it is my opinion that we Jews still haven’t learned our lesson and are making mistakes, even today. I have heard or read of some synagogues that celebrate people or activities that are clearly identified as a sin in the Torah, but they do so in order to appear “politically correct”; in other words, they are seeking the approval of human beings instead of seeking the approval of God.

The “Church” has done even worse things than that! In the Catholic churches, there are statues that people bow before and pray to; in some non-Catholic sects they have gay ministers; in some other sects they celebrate Halloween. There are so many things that they do wrong, and I believe it is because they haven’t learned from their Jewish ancestors because the Enemy made it easy to sin by separating Christians from Jews.

I won’t even start with the generations of Christians who have been taught to ignore the Torah because of the misinterpretations of the letters that Paul wrote to his congregations, all of which were composed almost exclusively of Gentiles. He wrote to them in a way that would help them to slowly learn about God’s instructions by feeding them a little at a time and specifically telling each congregation only what they needed to hear to keep them on the right path. Unfortunately, since the Gentiles didn’t learn or want to deal with all of God’s instructions, Satan taught them that Jesus nailed the Torah to the Cross.

That’s right, that’s what I said…the idea that the Torah isn’t valid for Christians is a lie that comes straight out of the depths of hell!

So, nu? What do we do? How can we breach this 2,000-year-old gap between God’s instructions and Christianity that Satan has succeeded in creating?

Don’t look to me for an answer because I don’t know what can work.  Actually, I don’t think it will be possible for us to close this gap. God will have to do this on a case-by-case basis. I am doing what I can by having this ministry. This is a teaching ministry, and as the tag line at the bottom of my Home Page indicates, I am here trying to get the correct information to people so they can make an informed decision about how they will worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the truth about what the Messiah, Yeshua, taught.

Only after the Acharit HaYamim (The End Days) is upon us, the final battle is won, Yeshua is ruling the world and the new heavens and new earth are in place, will this gap be closed. But, I am sorry to say, I do not see it happening until then. Humans can’t close it, and I don’t think God wants to until it is time for all things to be completed.

Maybe this is what Yeshua was talking about when he told the parable about the and the tares and the wheat (Matthew 13.) The owner of the field planted wheat, but the enemy came in at night and planted tares. When they were growing together the owner said to leave them growing together and only after the harvest will they be separated. I think we are living this parable in real life.

The separation of Christianity from Judaism is the greatest counterattack that has ever succeeded. If you are a Christian who has been separated from your roots, you can still win your individual battle against the enemy of God by studying the Tanakh (Old Covenant) and re-reading the teachings of Yeshua that are in the first three Gospels. Ignore John and only concentrate on Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And forget about reading any of the Epistles by Shaul (Paul) until you have had a chance to get a Messianic Bible or Messianic Commentary on the New Covenant so you can see where he wasn’t really against following the instruction in the Torah, but was trying to spoon-feed it to his Gentile congregations. He did that because he knew it was very hard for these Gentiles to make the paradigm shift from a self-serving hedonistic lifestyle to one of selfless love for others and righteous living.

The war has been won, but there are still battles raging, and they will not stop until Yeshua returns to do a final mop-up of the mess the Enemy has created with his counterattack. Be prepared for that day by learning how God told us we should worship him and treat each other, which is in the Torah. Then decide for yourself what you will do.

When Yeshua returns and you face the Lord at his Judgement throne, whichever way you have decided to live is what you will be judged on. Make sure that what you choose to do it is your own decision and not just what someone else told you.

Think about this: God said not obeying the Torah was a sin, and Satan knows that sin separates people from God, so the best way to win souls for himself is to make sure that the Torah is ignored.

One last piece of advice? The easiest road to travel leads to death.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to this website and my YouTube channel, as well. Share this out with everyone you know so they can also have a chance to be judged on their own decision instead of what someone else tells them.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Yom Kippur 2019 Message

Today I would like to share a message that I had given every Yom Kippur service when I was still living in Northeast Philadelphia and attending Beth Emmanuel Messianic Synagogue. For about 2 years we didn’t have a Rabbi and the Council members (of which I was one) kept the temple going, with me serving (pretty much) as Rabbi-pro-tem. The following is an updated version of the sermon I had been giving on this day.

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

There is an undeniable relationship between Yom Kippur and Passover, and together they provide total atonement which allows us to have life everlasting. Yeshua is called the Lamb of God, the Pesach Lamb, and by means of his death and the blood he shed, we can find atonement for our sins. But, it wasn’t just as the Passover lamb that He accomplished this.

It’s important to know that the sacrifice of the Passover lamb, as we read of it in Exodus, Chapter 12, was not a sin sacrifice: it was a thanksgiving sacrifice. And the blood was not a sin atonement, but rather a kippur, a covering, which was meant to identify the people of God. It was spread on the sides and over the doorway of the house and as the identification of God’s people, it protected those people from being killed by the angel of death.

The blood from the sacrificed lamb on Passover provided protection from physical death for the people of God, and today Yeshua’s blood not only identifies us as God’s people, but also protects us from spiritual death. Yeshua’s sacrificial death may have occurred on Passover but is actually what the sacrifice of the Yom Kippur goats is all about.

The Yom Kippur goats (the one killed and the one released) together provide for our atonement (Lev. 16:9-10.) The scapegoat (which is the one released into the desert) had the sins of all the people transferred to it before being released into the desert, or as the Bible tells us, to Azazel. Let’s take a moment and talk a little about Azazel:

  • The Talmud interprets this word to mean a steep mountain, and for many years the scapegoat was not released into the desert but instead was thrown off of a steep mountain;
  • In the Book of Enoch, Azazel is a fallen angel. Of course, it is unthinkable that we would be told by God to sacrifice a goat to a god-like satyr in the desert;
  • According to Rabbi Hertz, the Late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, in his 1965 edition of the Chumash, Azazel is a rare Hebrew noun that means “dismissal”, or “entire removal”. The transference of the sins of Israel by the Cohen HaGadol onto the goat released into the desert symbolized the total removal of sin from the community of God’s people.

I had always wondered why we needed two goats. If all the sins were removed by the scapegoat why kill another one? It’s because sin can only be forgiven by the shedding of blood (Leviticus 17:11) so the goat’s blood had to be shed.  That still leaves me with the question, what did the scapegoat represent?

The scapegoat released into the desert represents our T’ShuvahIt represents our willingness to let go of our sinful desires and remove them totally from our lives. That is why all the people were present when the goat was released. It meant that we all were giving up our sinful ways and desires.

Atonement is a five-step process:

  1.  You commit a sin (after all, without sin there is nothing to be forgiven for);
  2. Recognizing and taking responsibility for that sin;
  3. Doing T’shuvah (repentance);
  4.  Shedding innocent blood to atone for the sin, and finally
  5.  Asking forgiveness from God by means of the first four steps we took.

Yeshua’s sacrifice was more than just as the “Passover Lamb”; his death fulfilled the meaning of the two Holy Days most associated with freedom from both physical and spiritual death: Passover and Yom Kippur.

On the execution stake, Yeshua took upon himself all our sins just as the Yom Kippur scapegoat does, and when he died, just as the scapegoat sacrificed to Azazel, he carried them not just into the desert but beyond the grave. He also fulfilled the role of the goat sacrificed on the altar, the one whose blood atoned for the sins and made it possible for God to forgive us.

The blood of the Passover lamb gave protection from death and the Yom Kippur blood allows forgiveness of sin. Passover and Yom Kippur, although two separate Holy Days, through Yeshua have become spiritually one and the same thing.

In the Acharit HaYamim (the End Times) when Yeshua returns and we are all gathered up into the clouds with Him, then will the ultimate fulfillment of both of these festivals be realized. Yeshua is both the Passover Lamb and the Yom Kippur scapegoat. When He said He was the beginning and the end it meant more than just some timeline: he is the beginning of our eternal life and the end of our sin.

Praise God for his goodness and mercy, and give thanks to Yeshua, ha Maschiach for his sacrifice so that we could all be saved.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share me out to friends, family, and anyone seeking to know the Lord and Messiah better.

Until next time, L’hitraot and may you have an easy fast.

My Problem with the Gospel of John

In case you didn’t get the hint from the title, let me give a caveat to those reading this who are infatuated with the Gospel of John: you ain’t gonna like what I am about to say.

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

Before we begin I want to point out that many scholars doubt the authenticity of the author of pretty much every book in the Bible. From my research, it seems most scholars agree that the Gospels were not written by the ones they are named for, and the true writers of the Epistles in the New Covenant are also subject to doubt. We know for certain that scribes interpreted the Codex’s and letters they had been given when formulating the New Covenant and that men decided which books and letters should be included, and which should be excluded (meaning not a divinely-inspired item), and those men were mainly Gentiles who had accepted Yeshua. I have found anything to indicate that there was a single Jewish person who was part of the group that decided what would be included in the New Covenant.

So is the Bible the exact word of God? Is it God-inspired teaching? Or is it the work of men writing what they think God meant? The answer is this: each of us must choose what we will believe.

Let me tell you a little something about me, so you know where I am coming from.

I was brought up in a Jewish home, am Jewish by descent, and over 20 years ago I accepted Yeshua as the Messiah God promised to send to the Jews, and then to the world.  I have been studying the Bible ever since; I have a Certificate of Messianic Studies and have served in two separate houses of worship (a Messianic synagogue and a Hebraic Roots church) on their Counsel and as one of the leaders of the Shabbat services. I say this to establish that I do believe in Yeshua (Jesus) and have a good, working knowledge and understanding of the entire Bible, which has been independently confirmed to me by more than just a handful of spiritually mature people.

Now, let’s talk a bit about the Bible so we are all on the same page.

The Torah (first 5 books) is more than just a set of laws: it is a historical narrative that tells us how God created everything, made mankind to be a steward of the world he created, and gave us free will so we could choose to love and worship him. He chose a man (Abraham) and told him his descendants would become a nation (“The Jews”) and be a blessing to the world (Genesis 22:18), and God told Moses that the Jews are to be his nation of priests to the world (Ex. 19:6.) For that to happen, God gave Moses the Torah, which is the instructions from God telling us how we are to worship him and how we are to treat each other; Moses was to teach the Torah to the Jewish people so they could teach it to the world.

Before Moses dies he tells us of one who will come to lead the people and will be a prophet like him, and throughout the books of the Prophets we read of God’s continual confirmation of this promise to send us a Messiah, who will gather the Jews back into their nation and, with them, all the Goyim (the other nations) into eternal communion with God.

The Old Covenant, which is misnamed “The Jewish Bible”, ends about 400 years before the coming of Yeshua, with the rebuilding of the Temple and the wall surrounding Jerusalem. The New Covenant is the continuation of this narrative, which begins with the Gospels, telling of the arrival of Yeshua, his ministry, teachings, death and resurrection which (along with the miracles he performed during his ministry) prove that he is the Messiah God promised to send.

The rest of the New Covenant is composed of one book telling of the events that occurred during the early years of the acceptance of Yeshua as the Messiah (Acts), followed by the letters written by Shaul (Paul) to the congregations of Messianic Gentiles he formed throughout Asia and the Middle East, as well as letters which were written by other disciples to both Believing Gentiles and Believing Jews. It ends with (in my opinion) the almost impossible to interpret or understand Book of Revelation, the spiritual vision given to John on Patmos of the End Times, known in Judaism as the Acharit HaYamim.

Now let’s get into the main point of today’s rather long message, and thank you for staying with me this far.

The first three Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are called the Synoptic Gospels because they are fairly straight-forward in their style and writing. Matthew is the most “Jewish” identifying Yeshua as King (some 35 times), Mark identifies him as a servant, and Luke identifies him as the Savior. All three are written in a way that is easy to follow.

Now we come to the Gospel of John, called the Spiritual Gospel. It is anything but easy to follow, using many series of verses that are so circular that by the time one is done reading it one forgets what the point was. Another difference is that the other three show Yeshua to be human endowed with power from God, but in John, we are told that Yeshua and God are one. This is a significant difference between John and the other Gospels and has been misinterpreted (or purposefully misused?) to provide the basis for forming the Doctrine of Trinity.

John isn’t just different from the other three Gospels, it is in opposition to them; let me give you some examples.

In the three, Yeshua does not make public the fact that he is the Messiah.

After cleansing men of their diseases:

Mark 1:43-44Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

Matthew 8:4…Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 

After exorcising demons:

Mark 1:23-25… Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!”

Luke 4:41...Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

After Kefa (Peter) proclaims he is the Messiah:

Matthew 16:20…Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

However, in John Yeshua publically announces he is the Messiah on more than one occasion:

With the woman at the well:

John 4:25-26The woman said, “I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

In the synagogue:

John 5:46…If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.

At the temple in Jerusalem:

John 7:28-29Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”

One exception is in Luke 4 when we read how Yeshua, after reading from the scroll of Isaiah about the Messiah, tells the people there that what he read to them is now fulfilled.

One other major difference between the three and John is that in the three, Yeshua never claimed to be divine, yet in John, he constantly claims to be one with the Father, implying he is the father. In the three, here are examples of where he talks of the father as a separate entity:

Matthew 11:27…All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Matthew 26:39…Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Luke 23:34…Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Matthew 18:14…In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Yet in John, Yeshua constantly claims he is divine and that he the Father are the same:

John 10:30…I and the Father are one.”

John 8:58Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!
                    (In Judaism, God is often referred to as “the great I am!”)

John 1:1…In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

I am sure we can find more such examples within the Gospels, but I am not trying to overload people with biblical quotes, only to show the difference in the intent of these Gospels: the first three show Yeshua to be a man empowered by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and who tells no one (except his Disciples) that he is the Messiah, and never claims to be God. Whereas in John’s Gospel, Yeshua constantly makes a public announcement that he is the Messiah and claims to be equal with God.

How much more in opposition can you get?

A more subtle issue I have with John is John 8:17, where Yeshua is arguing with the Pharisees and says, “In your own Law (some versions have Torah) it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true.” Now, at the very beginning of this Gospel John tells us that Yeshua is the Torah come to life (John 1:14) so why then does Yeshua say “your law”? Why didn’t he say “in the law”? Or better yet, because he is Jewish, say “in our law”? The way this verse is worded is a subtle implication that separates Yeshua from the Law (Torah), which became one of the foundation stones on which the early “church” built the teaching that Yeshua and Christians are separate from Judaism, altogether.

And THAT is my major problem with the Gospel of John – its wording and the constant reference to Yeshua and God as one entity is so far afield of Judaic thought that I cannot believe it was written by a Jewish follower of Yeshua.

We also have to consider that it is the youngest of the four Gospels, written probably at the very end of the First Century, certainly not by the same John that lived with Yeshua, and during a time when the (now called) Christians, composed mainly of Gentiles, began to separate themselves from the mainstream Jewish population. John was written around the same time Ignatius of Antioch proclaimed Sunday as the Sabbath and that Christians and Jews cannot possibly be together.

These were the days when the Gentile Messianic congregations, who were initially converting to Judaism (since there was no other religion except the Roman one) wanted to be seen as separate from the Jews in Judea. They didn’t want Rome to come after them like they were going after the non-believing Jewish population, which was in a political rebellion.

The separation between followers of Yeshua and Judaism was made complete at the Council of Nicene when Emperor Constantine created the dogma, traditions, holidays, and doctrine that is modern Christianity.

My opinion is that the Gospel of John was written by Gentile Believers who wanted to turn followers of Yeshua away from Judaism.

If it was up to me, I would take the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, the Book of Acts and the Book of Revelation, add them to the Tanakh and that would make the Bible complete. It would be a homogeneous narrative of God and his works, from creation through mankind, their failures and their successes, the Messiah coming and the final Judgement.

The letters from Shaul and the other items aren’t really necessary for the completion of the narrative God gave us through Moses and the Prophets.  The letters from the apostles were all written mostly to Gentiles converting to a form of Judaism who were confused and having troubles within their congregations. These letters speak of God and his laws, and of Yeshua and his teachings, but they have nothing “new” in them. And because Gentiles back then didn’t understand the cultural nuances and forms of argumentation that Jews use, and also (as I mentioned earlier) because they wanted to separate themselves from the Jews Rome was persecuting, they misinterpreted these letters and  have taught this wrongful understanding throughout the centuries, so that today Christians believe the Jews have their Torah and Christians have Jesus.

I don’t think the letters of the Apostles are valid as scripture and I would get rid of the Gospel of John, too, which (from my experience) many Christians I have known find to be the “best” Gospel for new Believers to read. And I can see why- it confirms Trinitarianism and separates Jesus from Jews. Add to that the traditional Christian misinterpretations of the Epistles and you come up with the “Jesus nailed the Law to the Cross” and the “Once saved, always saved” lies, leading people away from God’s instructions and into lawlessness.

So there you have it! Label me a heretic!

You have to decide if you think I have a valid point or not, and if you want to discuss it I am open to discussion, but I can tell you right now that you will not change my mind about this. I have prayed an awful lot on it, and if I am doing John, God or Yeshua an injustice, then that will be between them and me.

Today I wanted to share with you my misgivings about the Gospels of John, and that is what I have done.

Thank you for being here and especially for staying through this message, one of the longest I have ever given through this ministry.

If you appreciate what you have read today, please subscribe to this ministry and also use the link above to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

 

 

Christian or Constantinian?

Wait a minute! Isn’t Constantine the guy who ran the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, where some of the modern Christian doctrines were first formalized?  Didn’t they say Christ was divine there? Didn’t they set up the Christian holidays, such as Easter?

(Actually, they had Easter but couldn’t decide what day to celebrate it.)

So if we are asking whether someone is Christian or Constantinian, isn’t that the same thing?

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

To answer this, let’s go to the Cloud and ask Wikipedia.

Here is what it says about Constantine (I have condensed this to save space):

Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Although he lived much of his life as a pagan, and later as a catechumen, he joined the Christian faith on his deathbed, being baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed. He has historically been referred to as the “First Christian Emperor”, and he did heavily promote the Christian Church.

As for the definition of Christianity, Wikipedia says:

Christianity is divided between Eastern and Western theology. In these two divisions, there are six branches: Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Assyrians. Restorationism is sometimes considered the seventh branch.

To add to what Wikipedia says, within these major divisions there are many sects, such as Amish, Mennonites, Anabaptists, etc.  In all, there are over a dozen different religions that call themselves “Christian”, even though some Christian religions have beliefs in opposition to other Christian religious beliefs.

For the record, Judaism isn’t too far behind, with Chasidic, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Messianic (although the other sects of Judaism would not recognize Messianic Jews as being Jews.)

Getting back to the original question, let me set some ground rules. Christianity is, for the purposes of this discussion, following the teachings of Jesus Christ, who is Yeshua ha Mashiach. A Constantinian is someone who follows the doctrines of “The Church”, meaning the doctrines established at the Council of Nicaea and at Ecumenical councils since then. A Constantinian is someone who celebrates Christmas, Easter, Sunday Sabbath, ignores the Torah because it is just for Jews, fasts during Lent, obeys the 8th-day baptism, goes through Catechism, etc., and so forth.

Now we need to identify what is different, if anything, from the teachings of Yeshua and the doctrines of the “Church”, which I will refer to as Constantinian doctrine.

(Yes, I know Constantine did not create all the doctrines of the modern church, but for the purposes of this discussion we will use the term “Constantinian” to refer to modern church doctrine.)

Well, this is actually pretty simple to understand. If Christianity is following the teaching of Yeshua, then whatever is in the Old Covenant is Christianity because Yeshua didn’t teach anything else. In truth, there was nothing else to teach from- even the Talmud wasn’t written down in its complete form at that time. The Talmud is composed of the Mishna and the Gemara; the Mishna was written in 200 CE and the Gemara in 500 CE.

Everything in the New Covenant was not written until well after Yeshua was resurrected and raised back into the heavens; the earliest versions of the Gospels and letters from Shaul (Paul) to his newly formed Messianic congregations throughout the Middle East and Asia were not written until sometime around 50-60 CE. So, because there was no New Covenant, Yeshua could not have taught anything from it.

You might be thinking, “Well, DUH! Steve. Of course, he didn’t teach from the New Covenant, because what he taught became the New Covenant.”  I would say that makes sense, except for one thing- it is wrong.

Within the New Covenant, we have the Gospels, which are eye-witness accounts of the life and ministry of Yeshua, and the letters that were written by the Apostles, ending with John’s Revelation. Nearly 2/3 of the entire N.C. is made up of the letters from Shaul to the congregations he formed, and their intent was to help these newly converted Believers to stay on the course he set them upon, with regards to learning how to follow the teachings of Yeshua, which (as I stated earlier) are the instructions in the Torah.

The major source of confusion between Christianity (following Yeshua) and modern church doctrine (Constantinian) is that Shaul’s letters were not written to become doctrine, but were only meant to help guide these neophyte Believers in learning how to go from the gluttonous, sinful, sexually perverted lifestyle that they lived their whole lives as worshipers of paganistic gods to righteous, humble and self-controlled followers of God and Messiah. That’s quite a paradigm shift, and no one could do that “cold turkey.”  Shaul’s letters were never meant to be absolute and permanent doctrine but instead just “stepping stones”, designed to help get his congregations past their immediate problems and further along the pathway to living (what we would call today) a Jewish lifestyle.

When we compartmentalize God’s instructions in the Torah as “Jewish worship” we are restricting what God wanted to give the whole world to only about one-fourth of one percent of it. The Torah was given to the Jewish people to learn so that they, as a nation of priests to the world (Exodus 19:6) could bring it to everyone.

God has no religion, only those instructions for how to worship him and how to treat each other, and that is what Yeshua taught. The Pharisees had been teaching only the written word or the literal meaning of the Torah (called the P’ shat) but Yeshua taught us the spiritual meaning (called the Remes) so that we would know not just what God wanted us to do, but why we should be doing it.

For me, the answer to the original question is that “true” Christianity is the religion which follows what Yeshua taught, which means following the instructions found in the Torah, which the world would call Judaism.

That means Christianity is Judaism, but with one difference: Christians accept that Yeshua is the Messiah God promised to send, and the “mainstream” Jews do not. Given how many doctrinal differences there are just between Orthodox and Reform Jews, one would think that this difference (Yeshua being the Messiah) would not keep us that far apart, but it does. The reason is because of how Constantinian doctrine has become known as Christianity, which separated itself from Judaism so much that they became totally different religions.

If you call yourself a Christian but ignore the instructions in the Torah, you are a Constantinian. If you are a Gentile who accepts Yeshua as your Messiah and lives according to the Torah (i.e., a “Jewish” lifestyle and worship), you can call yourself a Hebraic Roots follower, a Messianic Gentile, or a Christian, but you are not a Constantinian. And, if you are Jewish (by blood), live according to the Torah and believe Yeshua is the Messiah, you are not a Christian or a Constantinian- you are a Messianic Jew, which means you are still a Jew.

There you have it.  A Constantinian will follow the modern day Christian doctrines, but a “true” Christian will follow the Torah. Also, a “true” Christian and a Jew should worship and live the same way, and only disagree on the matter of Yeshua.

One day, when the Messiah comes to straighten this whole “religion” thing out once and for all, we will have no more religions, no more doctrines, no more confusion, and no more hatred and bigotry. We will only have God, Messiah, and eternal peace.

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!