Marketing the Mark of the Beast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Are Christians Better than Jews?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you — a wild olive — were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you.  So you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”  True, but so what? They were broken off because of their lack of trust. However, you keep your place only because of your trust. So don’t be arrogant; on the contrary, be terrified!  For if God did not spare the natural branches, he certainly won’t spare you!

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

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

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

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

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

Traditional Christianity teaches that the branch has replaced the root.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Religion is the True Parochet

The parochet, for those who aren’t familiar with the Hebrew word, is the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Tent of Meeting Moses had built in the desert, in accordance with the instructions God gave him.

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According to the Talmud, it is a sign of respect for the Torah scrolls kept inside the aron kodesh, the holy ark.

In the Tanakh (Exodus 40) we are told that after placing the tablets God gave Moses into the Ark, the curtain was placed between the Ark and the rest of the area.

In essence, the parochet is a type of barrier between God and the people.

When Yeshua gave up his spirit, which was the means for us to receive forgiveness of sins and, thereby, come closer to God, the parochet in Solomon’s temple was torn, from top to bottom, representing that now there was no barrier between us and God.

When the parochet was torn after Yeshua’s death, the Cohanim replaced it, but not too long after that a new parochet was created. This wasn’t one with blue and purple yarn, and it wasn’t one we could see or feel or smell, but it became a barrier between the people and God that is more difficult to pass through than any cloth curtain ever was.

This newer parochet, this invisible and impassable parochet, this impenetrable barrier between God and people is called…religion.

As I have said over and over, God has no religion. God gave instructions to Moses that were to be passed along and taught to the world. These instructions teach us how to worship God as he wants us to worship Him, and also how to treat each other as God wants us to treat each other. They are found in the Torah and we were specifically told that they are to be valid throughout our generations.

That means forever.

Religion, on the other hand, is the creation of mankind and its sole purpose is for people to have power over other people.

Every Judeo-Christian religious sect or denomination professes to worship the one, true God, whose name is spelled Y-H-V-H. And all these different religions agree that he is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow, never changing.

Yet, they all have different ways to worship him and different ways of following his instructions.

The one thing that all religions have in common is that they have developed their own rules, doctrines, laws, traditions, and rituals, most of which have no basis or requirement by God in his Torah, and many of which actually ignore God’s instructions in the Torah.

And what justification do they give for ignoring what God said to do? They blame it all on his son, the Messiah, who they claim told them they don’t have to obey God anymore.

This same son whose testimony throughout his ministry on earth was that he does only what his father in heaven tells him to do!

The Cohanim replaced the torn cloth parochet, but later men like Ignatius and Constantine, followed in turn by the Popes and organizers of new religions like Luther, Young, et.al. , created their own religions, which acts as a parochet separating those who followed them from God by replacing God’s instructions with their own.

So, what are we to do?

My suggestion is that you find out what God said you should do and compare it with what your religion tells you to do, then choose who you want to obey: God or men?

I might add one last thing: before you choose who to follow, you might want to consider that at the final judgment it won’t be the originator of your religion who will be sitting on the Throne of Judgment, it will be God, and he might be a little perturbed with anyone who chose to ignore his instructions.

Just a little something to think about while you still have the time.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share these messages out with others, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Shavuot Message 2020

Today is Shavuot, the second of the three pilgrimage festivals that God decreed we should celebrate. The instructions regarding this Holy Day can be found in Leviticus 23:15-21.

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There is a difference, in my opinion, between a Holy Day and a holiday; the former is decreed by God, and the latter is man-made. Shavuot (Hebrew meaning “weeks”) is a Holy Day, but the way Shavuot is celebrated today (and has been since around the Third Century C.E.) is really a holiday.

According to the information in “The Jewish Book of Why” (which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn about the Jewish lifestyle and Judaism in general), in the Talmud, Rabbi Eleazar said that we should celebrate this day as the giving of the Torah to Israel (Pesachim 68b), and from then on Shavuot was no longer a divinely decreed harvest festival but became a man-made holiday.  The justification for this change was that the country no longer was exclusively an agrarian economy and bringing the first fruit of the harvest to the temple was no longer something being done, so to keep the day alive in Jewish life, they made it into a celebration of the giving of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai.

You might ask how anyone who studies the Bible, especially Torah-observant Jews, would ever accept that redefinition of what God said we should do. It doesn’t even come close to what the Bible says, from the timeline in Exodus, because we are told in Exodus 19 that it was the first day of the third month when the Israelites arrived at the Sinai Desert.  Shavuot is 50 days after the first Shabbat after the Seder, and since that first Seder was while still in Egypt, there is no way that Shavuot could have been at the time they arrived at Sinai, which was nearly 90 days later.

But, the Rabbis won out and since that time, Jews have celebrated Shavuot as the giving of the law, and I believe most Jews today don’t even know that they are celebrating incorrectly.

This day is also known as Pentecost, which almost everyone believes to be a Christian holiday, even though the word Pentecost means 50 days. It is clearly a Jewish celebration, based on the counting of the Omer after Passover. In the Book of Acts, we are told there were thousands of Jews in Jerusalem, from all over the world, when the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) was given to them. The reason there were thousands of Jews in Jerusalem is that it was a pilgrimage Holy Day! Pentecost is a Jewish Holy Day that was renamed and re-branded to become a Christian holiday.

Seems that the Rabbis and the Church leaders had something in common- they thought they could remake what God said to do to be what they want it to be.

But, there is some good that comes from this. I think that the physical slavery to sin, which the Torah can free us from, and the spiritual freedom from sin, which the giving of the Ruach can lead us from, is a good thing to teach at this time of the year. The Torah teaches us how to live a life free from sin (as Shaul tells us in Romans) by defining sin, and the Ruach helps us to know what is right and lead us to righteousness. The law defines sin, and the Ruach leads our actions by giving us divine guidance to keep us from sinning.

Of course, the weak link in this whole process is that humans are self-serving and sinful by nature, but with knowing what the law says and listening to the Ruach, we can become greater than what we are.

I don’t like it when man-made creations overrule what God has decreed, but in the case of Shavuot being turned from a harvest festival to the celebration of the giving of the Torah, and how relating that with Pentecost can be used to bridge the gap between Jewish and Christian understanding of God and his Holy Spirit, well… I am OK with it.

Besides, with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, we can’t celebrate Shavuot as God decreed, just the same way we can’t celebrate Passover as he decreed, either. Yet, we DO celebrate Passover in our homes to keep the commandment as best as we can. I would think that to celebrate Shavuot in a different manner in order to fulfill the commandment as best as we can, just might be acceptable to God.

If you go to Shul on this day, keep the tradition of bringing a loaf of bread with you. This is one of those rare times when the bread being offered is baked with leavening, and enjoy this day because it is a joyful day.

We are not celebrating it exactly as God decreed, but we are celebrating the instructions God gave and are gratefully worshiping God, thankful and obedient to Torah as best fits the world today. Personally, I don’t think God will have a problem with that.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with others, and check out my books; if you like what you read in these messages you will like my books, as well. And remember that I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!

How to Interpret the Bible Correctly

Let me start off by saying I am not professing to be an expert on Biblical exegesis (although I do know some of the fancy words), and that I am not saying this is the absolute and only correct method of Bible interpretation, but I have seen and corrected many wrong interpretations and know that what I am going to talk about is valid and necessary.

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Something happened just recently which made me think it might be a good idea to (at least) give a small lesson on how to properly interpret what we read in the Bible.

Two methods I always incorporate when interpreting the Bible are PaRDeS and Hermeneutics. PaRDeS is a Jewish form of exegesis and is an acronym for the following:

P=P’shat, the literal meaning of the written word (i.e., what you read is what it means);

R=Remes, the deeper, more spiritual meaning (as Yeshua demonstrated in his Sermon on the Mount);

D= Drash, a story or lesson which has a spiritual meaning (such as the parables Yeshua told); and

S =Sud, a mystical meaning that no one can fully comprehend.

That is one method I use, and the other is Hermeneutics, which is defined as:

The purpose of Hermeneutics is to bridge the gap between our minds and the minds of the Biblical writers through a thorough knowledge of the original languages, ancient history and the comparison of Scripture with Scripture.

What that means, in simple language, is that we must have a thorough knowledge of the entire Bible, that is, Genesis through Revelation,  and that whatever is written in any part of the Bible should mean the same in any other part of the Bible.

Too often we read or hear someone who has taken a number of passages from the Bible and put them together to form an idea or interpretation. This is not wrong, per se’, unless the passages are taken out of context and used to create the interpretation someone has formed, instead of forming an interpretation from what is written.

Here’s an example of what I am talking about, which happened the other day:

I was reading an article someone posted about the use of the Hebrew word “Seraph” in the story of the snakes sent to punish the Israelites when they were in the desert (Numbers 21.) The writer wanted us to believe that the bronze statue Moses made wasn’t of a snake but of a seraph, an angelic being. This was confirmed when I looked in the Torah to see what word was used in the original Hebrew and saw that it was, indeed, the word seraph, which is what God told Moses to make an image of. The people asked Moses to pray for the removal of snakes (Hebrew word Nachush) and God told Moses to make an image of a seraph.

So, it looks like the writer was correct! But when we use hermeneutics to confirm the interpretation, we find out that this isn’t the case.

I looked at the different uses of the word seraph, to see if it was used anywhere else to represent a serpent, and did not find anything. I then looked through the Bible for other places where nachush was used and found another use in 2 Kings 18. 

In 2 Kings 18, we read how the serpent Moses made in the desert was being worshiped by the people, and they called it Nehushtan, which is a form of the Hebrew word for snake. This confirms that the bronze statue was not a celestial being but a snake, otherwise the people would not have named it “Snake.”

There have been many, MANY times I have corrected people’s attempts to make the Bible say what they wanted it to say, such as how the Kosher laws were removed, or how the Torah was done away with, or how the Jews have been replaced by Gentile Believers. All of these traditional Christian teachings are based on misinterpretation and taking passages out of context, stringing them together and making what appears to be a proper interpretation, but it is really nothing more than a lie.

We must take whatever God says and interpret it in relation to everything else God says, and if there seems to be a contradiction, then one or both interpretations are wrong. God does NOT contradict himself; likewise, what Yeshua taught he told us was only what God told him to say, and this is evident throughout the Gospels (especially in John), so any teachings that indicate Yeshua said something in the Old Covenant isn’t valid anymore is not hermeneutically valid.

What we read in the Epistles are not the words of God but the lessons that the Talmudim (disciples/students) of Yeshua were teaching to the Jewish and (mostly) Gentile Believers, more so to Gentiles who did not understand the instructions the Jews already knew. The letters from Paul to the congregations he started were not meant to change anything, but to teach these Gentile Believers how to live according to God’s instructions, a little bit at a time.

Of course, the Epistles are a totally different lesson, but it is important to know how they fit into today’s lesson because of all the misinterpretations within the Bible that I have seen over more than two decades, the majority of them come from the letters Paul wrote.

God has made his instructions to all the world, which we find in the Torah, pretty simple to understand, and what we can’t fathom we can study and try to understand; or, what I consider to be the better path, we can just accept that God knows best and follow the way of life that God has laid out for us.

Always use these two methods to objectively study the Bible, and when I say objectively, I mean to not just accept what someone tells you; rather, listen and then verify everything, especially before you repeat it to others.

Just like with Hebrew National hotdogs, teachers of God’s word are held to a higher standard, so make sure what you teach is biblically correct.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, check out my website, and share these messages with everyone you know (after verifying, of course, what I say is accurate and biblically correct.) And if you have a comment or correction, please do not hesitate to let me know: I welcome them all.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Just for the Lost Sheep of Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Where It All Went Wrong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Savior or Son: Why Did He Come?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oy!

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

Covenant Chronology

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

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

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

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

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

There are 5 covenants in the Bible:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Why Read The Torah?

Oops! Last week when I posted Parashah Shemini, I was a week too early. I missed the fact that on the Shabbat after Pesach (Passover) we read a different portion of the Torah, specifically for that Shabbat. So, that means I am a week ahead, and as such, I thought we could use this week to review the reason why reading the Torah portion (called a Parashah, the plural is Parashot) is so important, especially if you want to be able to understand what is in the New Covenant writings.

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

The Torah is the first five books of the Bible (most of you already know that) and they contain every, single instruction for how to worship God and how to treat each other that God wants us to know. In truth, it is really the only part of the Bible that is made up of the exact words God gave to us, with Moses taking dictation. Every single Torah is exactly the same as every other Torah- when the Scribes who are specially trained to write the Torah (called Sopherim) finish copying one Torah to another, they count every single letter to make sure there is nothing missing or added.

Yeshua taught from the Torah. That was the only scripture that existed. Of course, there were many traditional teachings, which became the Mishna and the Gomorrah (together they make up the Talmud.) But as for the written word of God, when Yeshua was teaching, he was teaching from the only scripture there was, and that was the Torah. And as far as Yeshua being the spotless lamb of God, i.e. a sinless person, he was sinless because he did everything that God instructed us all to do, which (again) is found in the Torah.

My point is that to understand what Yeshua taught, we need to first know what is in the Torah. Shaul (Paul) also taught only from the Torah; in fact, being a Pharisee trained by one of the greatest Rabbis in Jewish history, Gamaliel, he was a Torah expert.

The New Covenant writings have absolutely nothing in them that is “new.” I know, I know…you are going to quote from Ecclesiastes and tell me there is nothing new under the sun, and (of course) I will agree with you, which also proves my point about the New Covenant. Yeshua taught from the Torah, the Disciples of Yeshua taught what they learned from Yeshua, which was from the Torah, and Shaul taught what he knew from the Torah.

Let’s take a break for a minute and go over something important to know. In the letters from Shaul to the congregations of (almost exclusively) Gentile Believers he formed, he gave them a lot of leeway in how strictly they followed the Torah because they needed that. He was against requiring Gentiles to make a complete and immediate conversion to Judaism because he knew that paradigm shift in lifestyle would be too difficult and he would lose a lot of them. That is the same conclusion the Elders in Jerusalem came to, which you can read about in Acts 15. They gave only 4 immediate requirements, and that was never meant to be the only thing Gentiles had to do, just all they had to do for now. It was assumed (and you can see that plainly in Acts 15:21) they would eventually learn all the commandments in the Torah. This discussion, however, is for another time.

If you wanted to build a house, you wouldn’t start with the roof or the second floor, would you? In fact, you wouldn’t even start with the main floor until you had laid the foundation. The Torah is the foundation for the Tanakh, which is what many consider to be the “Jewish Bible”.  The books that come after Deuteronomy are either of historical nature (such as Joshua, Kings 1 and 2, Chronicles 1 and 2, Ruth, Esther, etc.) or they are prophetic books. But they all have one thing in common, and that is that they show us how well, or more often how poorly, the Chosen people lived within the covenant they had made with God. They also show how God always kept his side of the covenant, even when we kept breaking our side of it. And how willing God was, and still is, to forgive us when we repent.

The New Covenant writings start with the Gospels, which are the narrative of all the messianic prophecies we read throughout the Tanakh coming to fruition in Messiah Yeshua. His teachings, which we read in the Gospels, are all from the Torah, but what was different was not what he taught about the commandments, but what he taught about how we are to follow the commandments.

The Pharisees were teaching performance-based salvation, i.e. what we call in Judaism the P’shat, the plain language of the Torah. For example, when they taught do not murder, they meant to not kill someone on purpose, and that was all. Yeshua taught the Remes, the deeper, spiritual meaning of the law, so he said we know not to murder, but if we hate in our heart, that is murder.

If you aren’t familiar with the terms P’shat or Remes, look up the Jewish form of biblical exegesis called PaRDeS.

In order to understand what Yeshua taught, we need to know what the Pharisees taught so we can see the difference. Only reading the New Covenant is like reading the second book of a two-book story, without ever having read the first book. You might get some of the story-line, and may understand a lot of what is happening, but without knowing the background you will never really understand the characters or the way things got to where you “came in” to the narrative.

This is why it is important for anyone and everyone who professes to want to follow Yeshua to know what he knew- the Torah. After all, didn’t John say the Word of God became flesh and walked among us? He was talking about Yeshua, and the only Word of God (as we learned earlier) that existed then was the Torah, so Yeshua is the living Torah. That is why he could never preach anything against the Torah, because if he did then he would be a house divided against itself, and we all know what he said about that.

If you are a Believer and have not read the Torah, then you are cheating yourself out of knowing your Messiah. You cannot understand the depth of what Yeshua taught or understand anything in the letters Paul wrote if you do not know the Torah and, in fact, you really need to know the entire Tanakh. That was what they taught from, and that is where we learn about God, the Messiah and God’s plan for mankind.

It comes down to this: if you don’t know the Torah, you can’t really know Yeshua.

Thank you for being here; please subscribe and share these messages with others. I always welcome your comments, and next Friday we will be back on schedule with the Parashah readings.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!