How’d We Get to This?

In the beginning, there was God. Then he created the Earth and placed mankind in charge of it, and mankind screwed everything up to the point where God had to send the Flood. After the Flood, God chose a man, Abraham, to become the progenitor of a people God would make his own special people.

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Later on, God grew Abraham’s descendants from a family to a nation. Then, in order to train his chosen people how to become a nation of priests to the world (Ex. 19:6), he gave them instructions to teach them how to worship him and how to treat each other. This was the Torah, which if someone could live their lives in total and perfect accordance with all the 613 different “laws” that God gave, they would be righteous in God’s eyes.

But, as Shakespeare would say, “There’s the rub”: no one can live their life in perfect accordance with the Torah. For us sinful humans, it just ain’t gonna happen.

So, in order to ensure that God’s plan for his creation to be with him throughout eternity succeeds, he provided for us that which we could not provide for ourselves: a Savior, the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) who became the substitutionary sin sacrifice by voluntarily giving his physical life so that we could attain spiritual salvation.

Our part in this is to accept him as our Messiah and try to live as God said we should.

Yeshua was, and still is, the Messiah God promised to send, which he promised as far back as when he was talking to Abraham. When Yeshua sacrificed his life, he didn’t do away with the sacrificial system, he just substituted himself for the need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem. We still need to accept that we sin, repent in our hearts and ask forgiveness from God for each and every sin we commit; it is thanks to Yeshua that we don’t have to bring a sacrifice to the temple because as the Messiah, God’s savior to mankind, is it possible through Yeshua’s one-time sacrifice that everyone’s sins can be forgiven each time they ask for forgiveness.

Let’s review… God gave the Torah so that we could know what he wants from us, and because we always failed to meet all those requirements, God sent the Messiah to provide us the chance to be saved from ourselves.

Guess what happened next? After all that God did for us, someone threw a monkey wrench into the engine, and that was the Enemy; HaSatan, that old snake. When he realized that he lost the battle for people’s souls, he confused people about Yeshua’s message. The way he did that was as more and more Gentiles came to know God’s Grace through the Messiah, he created confusion and misinterpretation within the newly formed congregations of Gentiles who didn’t understand the Torah.

He sent agents of distraction into these neophytes to Judaism to confuse them so much that they ended up rejecting the very principles of salvation that Yeshua taught, which were from the Torah. The end product of this demonic counter-attack is what we see today: so many different Christian religions and sects that reject almost all of God’s commandments.

Yeshua talked against the man-made traditions of the Pharisees that were given precedence over God’s commandments, and yet Christianity is composed of nothing BUT man-made traditions, holidays, rites, rituals, and laws. They have rejected God’s commandments regarding food (Leviticus 11); they reject all 7 festivals that God said we must observe (Leviticus 23), which does include the Sabbath because they changed the date; they bury their dead under the very altar of God; they fill their houses of worship with statues and pictures of human beings before whom they prostrate themselves and pray to; they have rebranded the Torah observant Jewish Messiah into some Blue-eyed, blonde-haired Aryian who created his own religion which rejects the Torah and hates Jews, and they teach and do many other things that the Torah tells us are an abomination to the Lord, God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the father of the Messiah!

Another example is that today there are many Christian churches that not only condone homosexuality, but support it: some are even anointing as pastors and ministers people who are openly gay.

Now, this is not a homophobic thing with me, so any gay person reading this, please pull in your reins: all I am stating is that the Torah clearly says homosexuality is a sin and as such, no church or synagogue that professes to worship and obey God should be accepting of homosexuality. That’s all. Just like they shouldn’t accept as leaders adulterers, murderers, or anyone else who openly rejects God’s commands and rules.

Let’s get back on topic: don’t think I am excluding the Jews because I am Jewish- far be it for me to do that! When we place more emphasis and importance on Talmudic regulations than on God’s commandments, that is just as bad as rejecting God’s commands. For instance, the regulations within Judaism against eating meat and dairy together; did you know that the Ashkenazi Jews have different regulations than the Sephardic Jews about this? And why? Because one group likes milk with their after-dinner drink and another doesn’t, so they have different times for how long you have to wait after eating meat before you can have dairy. The entirety of Halacha is based on the idea of “putting fences around the law” to prevent us from accidentally trespassing the law, which in and of itself isn’t such a bad idea, but it has become so cumbersome that now the fences are more important than what they surround!

God chose a people to bring his instructions to the world, and he blessed the world through those people, the greatest blessing of all was to have his Messiah come from those people to bring the salvation that God had for them to everyone.

The Enemy of God stepped in and messed things up, and for the most part, people have gone along with the “easy salvation” that the Enemy created and those poor, misguided and delusional souls will be sorely surprised when they come before God.

I suggest you make sure you know what God wants from you, based on what he says, because despite what anyone tells you, it is what he says that counts.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages, subscribe to this ministry (I never ask for money, but if you want to buy my books that is fine with me), and I always welcome your comments.

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

The First and the Last- What Else Could it Mean?

The Alpha and the Omega, the Alef and the Tav, the First and the Last- all of these descriptions are made by God, the Father, about himself from Isaiah all the way through to Revelation.

But Yeshua, the son of God and the Messiah, also says that he is the First and the Last, so is he saying he is God, too? Or could he mean something else?

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When God refers to himself in this way, he is announcing his ultimate authority and eternal nature. He is the first, meaning that he created everything, and he is the last, meaning that when he is done judging the earth, there will be nothing afterward.

God is the only one, true God and there is no other besides him, which is how he declares himself when he states he is the first and the last. Unique, eternal, creator and finisher of everything there has been, is now, and ever will be.

But what does Yeshua mean when he says he is the first and the last?

Well, let’s look at these statements using the proper context.

In Isaiah 44 God is telling Israel, through Isaiah, that there are no other gods and their sins, which are from idol worship, will be forgiven them and they should look forward to that. But, in the meantime, God is declaring that he has been around forever, he knows all that will happen, and who else can do that?
In essence, he is declaring (as I have already said) that he is unique in all of creation- there is one, and only one, God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Now, Yeshua also declared that he is the beginning and the end, and he does so only in Revelation 22:12-13. Here is the only place where the context of the paragraph shows it is Yeshua saying he is the A and the Z, and he says so not in accordance with creation but with the forgiving of sins. He states he is the root of David, the Morning Star, and he will come soon with his rewards to give to each person according to what he has done. His description of himself is that of the Messiah, not of God.

Yeshua is not identifying himself as God but as the Messiah- the son of David, the Morning Star, and the one who will allow those who have accepted him to drink from the water of life.

Now, I don’t want this message to devolve into an argument about Trinity vs. Unity, PLEASE! That is not the point here. The traditional Christian thought is that where God, the Father is clearly talking about how he is the A and the Z, those statements are accredited to Jesus by those who believe he and God are the same entity. Fine, I don’t agree but whether or not this is true, it isn’t my point here.

My point is that when God, the Father, says he is the A and the Z he is saying he is the only God. When Yeshua refers to himself as the A and the Z, he is saying that he is the only Messiah. Both statements are absolutes, and each refers to a different issue: God is the A and Z of Creation and Yeshua is the A and Z of Forgiveness.

After the Temple was destroyed, there was no way for Jews to sacrifice and, therefore, no way to be cleansed of their sin, but with Yeshua, we were able to be cleansed because he replaced the need to bring an animal to the Temple, as Torah demanded. That is why he says he is the beginning (of forgiveness after the temple was destroyed), and because with him there is no need to sacrifice anymore, he is also the end (of forgiveness.)

There is only one God, and there is only one Messiah, and each one is unique: God as the eternal authority and power, and Yeshua as the only means of salvation.

Remember, also, that Yeshua warned us of false Messiahs, which is why he says he is the A and the Z: he is confirming that he is the one and only Messiah.

When either God or Yeshua makes the statement “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, it is a metaphor to mean there is no other like me! It identifies the eternal nature of God and the uniqueness of the Messiah, Yeshua. Only one God, only one Messiah: no other God and no other Messiah before, now, or ever again.

Next time you read the statement “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, when God says it he means he is the only true God who was, who is, and will ever be; and, when Yeshua says it, he means he is the first Messiah who ever was, is, and will ever be.

God is God and the Messiah is the Messiah, and each was, is, and always be the only one of their kind: the Alpha and the Omega.

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

That’s it for now; L’hitraot, and Baruch HaShem!

Legalism Resurrected

Today I want to talk about how Legalism is being resurrected within the current body of Gentile Believers.

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For the purpose of this discussion, let us define legalism as the proposition that for a Gentile to be fully incorporated into salvation through Messiah Yeshua, he or she must follow every Torah commandment (as if anyone could, right?) just as any natural-born Jewish person would be required to do, which includes (only for the men, of course), circumcision.

In the Book of Galatians, we read how Shaul (Paul) warned the Gentile Believers that trying to obey the Torah in order to achieve salvation was wrong and that it was their faith that mattered more than their strict observance of every, single Mosaic commandment. He never said the Torah was invalid for Gentile Believers, just that to obey (and this is VERY important to understand) as the means to gain salvation was not correct. To obey as the means to gain salvation is what I call performance-based salvation, which is not how we are saved (because no one can perfectly obey the Torah- the Bible is clear on that point); we are saved through faith-based salvation, and that faith is demonstrated by our desire and actions with regard to obeying the Torah.

In other words, if we faithfully accept that God exists, is who he says he is, that Yeshua is the Messiah God promised to send, and we accept that without facts or proof, that faith (as James says in his letter) will motivate us to want to obey what God says in the Torah.

I believe that legalistic, i.e., performance-based salvation, in the long run, is counter-productive.

Why? Because no one can be sinless, no one can be completely obedient to the Torah all the time, and when humans constantly fail to do something, eventually they tend to give up trying. And when you are raised as a Gentile, being taught that Yeshua did away with the Torah and you don’t have to do any of that “Jewish” stuff, when you try to do it and fail you go back to the incorrect teachings of Constantinian Christianity, which is “just be a good person and believe in Jesus (whatever that means) and you go to heaven.”

Gentiles are raised to pray to graven images of saints, ignore God’s commanded Holy Days, and instead follow man-made traditions which include holidays and religious ceremonies and rites, all the time telling Jews that Jesus said following man-made traditions is wrong! They ignore the Torah and act superior to Jews because Jews rejected Jesus and they didn’t, so they are really God’s chosen people now (this is called Replacement Theology), completely forgetting that Shaul warned his Gentile Believers not to brag or think they are better than the Jews.

So, now that we have gotten that straightened out, with me going just a wee bit off-topic, the legalism I see being proliferated today is no different than what the new Believers had to deal with in the First Century, except for one major difference: it is now the Gentiles who are demanding performance in order to be truly saved!

I have seen postings about how it is essential to use God’s name, and that there is only one correct name, yet there are many different ideas on what that name is. I see people posting about how there is only one correct calendar to use, or how only the Bible-defined Holy Days are to be celebrated, any other celebration is sinful.

In fact, they say that using any name for God other than the one they think is correct is praying to idols and pagan gods. Celebrating man-made holidays, even the Jewish ones, is a sin. Celebrating any Sabbath, even if the person is celebrating it in a way that God said to, i.e. resting and not doing their normal labor, is a sin if it isn’t Friday night to Saturday night.

None of these things have anything to do with faith. They are, clearly, legalistic because they demand performance in order to be able to have salvation.

If I do not celebrate a Holy Day as commanded in the Book of Leviticus, then I am disobeying God, and that is a sin. No question about it. But if I celebrate Christmas as the means for me to give thanks for the birth of the Messiah, that is not a sin. There is nothing at all anywhere in the Torah that says man-made traditions or celebrations are wrong just because God didn’t say we have to. If the celebration is a heartfelt desire to worship and glorify God, how can that be wrong?

But these legalistic ideas of needing to be exactly on the right day, using the exact name for God when praying, not doing anything that isn’t specifically commanded in the Torah, are all performance-based salvation teachings, and as such, are wrong!

Abraham was not considered righteous because he knew how to pronounce God’s name, or because he celebrated the proper holy days (they weren’t even invented yet), or because he was circumcised (he wasn’t at that time), or for any other performance-related activity.

Yes, he performed as God asked him to when he went from his father’s house into a strange land, but he didn’t do that because he was told he had to in order to be saved; he did it because he believed God when God said he would take him to a land which God will give him where his descendants could live, forever.

It was Abraham’s faith that motivated him to act; legalism doesn’t need faith or even care about it, and that is how you tell the difference between doing faithfully, and doing legalistically.

If you try to do what the Torah says to do because you want to obey God that is fine. If you try to do what the Torah says to do because you want to earn blessings that is fine, too; in truth, God tells us that when we do as he says he will bless us.

But…if you try to do anything that is considered obedient to the Torah because you want to ensure your salvation by not doing anything wrong, then you are being legalistic. You will ALWAYS do something wrong, that is why from the very beginning God knew he would have to send us a Messiah to provide the means to overcome our own inability to be holy.

If you got circumcised because you felt it was important to you to obey that commandment, that is OK; but, if you got circumcised because you knew it was a commandment and you wanted to be obedient so that you get points with God, then your circumcision is useless to you.

Doing something in order to be worthy of salvation or to be “right” is legalism: doing something because your faith in God motivates you to please him means you are on the right track, even if what you do is not specified in the Torah or you don’t do something exactly as it is specified in the Torah.

The key difference between performance-based and faith-based obedience is your motivation. If you do something to be “right” you are being legalistic, and if you do something to please God, you are demonstrating your faith.

Faith-based actions are things we do because we want to please the Lord, and legalistic actions are what we do to be “right.”

I know this is a difficult thing to comprehend, and I hope I have explained what I believe in a way that you can understand; ultimately, obedience in order just to be obedient is not faith.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone, buy my books, and check out my website. And I always welcome your comments, especially today- if you understand what I am saying and agree, and think you can express it in a better way, please do so.

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

Does the World Really Hate Jews?

You might think this a silly question, what with the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, the Palestinians, the KKK, and any number of United Nations countries which have been vilifying Israel while vindicating those who are really the trouble-makers in the Mideast.

I mean, c’mon! Really? It’s so obvious that the world hates Jews.

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But, still and all, I don’t think the world really hates Jews, I believe that they do hate the fact that the Jews have been so wonderfully blessed.

And what blessings do we have, you might ask?

Of all the Nobel prizes ever given out, Jews have been awarded nearly 28% of them, while representing less than .002% of the world’s population.

Israel leads the world in technology, from medical to technical to agricultural. In fact, according to the Bloomberg Tech Innovation Ranking (Brussels, Belgium), Israel is placed 5th worldwide, putting it ahead of both the United Kingdom and the United States. It would take too much time to list all the technological blessings that Israel has given to the world, but if you are interested, here is a link to the Wikipedia site that lists a number of them, in a number of different categories:
Israel Technological Achievements

The saddest thing about Antisemitism is that God said he would bless the world through the Jewish people (Genesis 22:18), so those who act against the Jewish people are actually, pardon the expression, killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Even here in America, Jewish people have been strengthening and helping this country since the colonial days. Did you know that it was Jewish financial aid to the colonial army that helped to keep them going? And what about Albert Einstein? Eddie Cantor and Bob Dylan? Ruth Ginsburg and Sammy Davis, Jr.? Alan Greenspan? There have been Jews in nearly every field that have contributed to America over the centuries.

Did you know that Spain used to be a world power because the Jewish bankers and businessmen were the foundation of their economy? After Queen Isabella deported all the Jews at the beginning of the Inquisition, Spain lost its standing in the world and has never recovered.

Did you know that even today, an Israeli company (Sonovia) has developed a face mask that is guaranteed to kill the coronavirus? It is reusable and good for an entire year.

It isn’t really the world hating the Jews, as much as it is the Enemy of God leading the world into doing hateful things to the Jews. Let me explain…

The plagues God sent on Egypt were not mainly to destroy Egypt (which they did) but to show his superiority over the Egyptian gods (I have been discussing this lately on my Friday messages- check out the Parashot Teachings tab on the website.) In the same way that God showed he was more powerful than the Egyptian gods, Satan wants to do that by destroying the Jewish people because they are God’s chosen, and he promised to protect them. If Satan can destroy the Jews, then he can prove he is more worthy of worship than God, which has been his agenda since Day One.

Literally, Day One!

So, since we know that Satan was thrown to the earth (Revelation 12:7) and is the ruler of the air (Ephesians 2:2), he is the ruler of the earth, at least to the extent that God allows it, and Satan easily gets people to do as he wants.

And it isn’t just the non-Believers- many Christians also are easily duped by satanic propaganda, given out by the leaders of many Christian churches and sects.

“How can that be?” you may ask? It is through changing the Sabbath day, it is through teaching that the Torah is done away with, it is through ignoring God’s Holy Days, it is through teaching Replacement Theology, it is through…well, you get the idea.

As stated earlier, God told Abraham that his descendants would be a blessing to the world, and he later told Moses (Exodus 19:6) that the Jews will be his nation of priests, and since priests teach the people how to worship God, anything done against the Jews is against God. If Satan can make people reject the Jews, then they are rejecting God and thereby worshiping Satan because either you are with God or you are against God.

Like it or not, that’s the truth.

There are always people who really do hate others, Jewish or whatever, because they are ignorant and covetous sheep, easily led astray. Sometimes they are even following what they believe, in many cases, to be godly ways but in the long run, they are worshiping Satan.

Whether people know it or not, when they come against God’s chosen people they may not be doing it because they hate the Jews, they just don’t know that they are being led to love Satan.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages, subscribe, and check out my entire website.

L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

How Can Sinners be Allowed in Heaven?

During the Sermon on the Mount, as recalled in the Gospel of Matthew, (5:19) Yeshua says this (CJB):

So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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Some versions of the Bible say the Kingdom of God, but the terms “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven” are considered to be the same thing, which is where those who are saved by the Messiah will be when the Tribulation is over and the new earth and new heaven are formed.

In other words, eternity.

When I read this, I have to ask myself, how can someone who not only sins but teaches others to sin be called the least in heaven? I mean, if you are a sinner teaching others to sin, how can you even be allowed into God’s presence?

As far as I can see, this is the only place where Yeshua makes this statement in all of the Gospels.

So what does it mean? As with any interpretation, we can’t just look at the sentence, but at how that sentence fits into the general lesson or thought. Just before this, Yeshua talks about how he did not come to change the law and that not one of the even smallest elements of the law, i.e. commandments in the Torah, will be changed. Later, he warns everyone that if they aren’t more righteous than the Pharisees they will never enter the kingdom of heaven. We also have to take into account the constant complaint Yeshua had about the Pharisees, which was that they taught their own man-made traditions and laws superseded the mitzvot (laws) of God, as God gave them to us in the Torah.

So, when we look at all sides of this, we can see Yeshua wasn’t saying that anyone is able to enter heaven if they sin and teach others to sin, but that those who obey and teach that man-made regulations are more important than the law, while not directly breaking that law, are going to be least in the kingdom of heaven.

Placing the importance of a man-made tradition or ritual in lieu of what God said is a form of disobedience that isn’t, by definition, a sin because you aren’t really breaking the law, you are just obeying it in a different way than God said you should.

Okay, what the heck does that mean? Let’s look at the example Yeshua gave in Matthew 15:3-6 when he replied to the Pharisees accusing him of breaking the tradition of N’tilat Yadayim (handwashing before eating):

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?  For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father and mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition

The Pharisees said Yeshua was teaching his people to break the traditions, and by doing so were, in essence, accusing him of breaking the law. His reply indicated that they were the ones breaking the law, and not the law of men but the law of God, by teaching that the law of men was more important than the law of God.

Let’s try this again: a korban is something devoted or offered to God, such as one of the sacrifices in Leviticus 1-7, but in this case, Yeshua wasn’t talking about something that was associated with sin or guilt. And although there is no specific Torah statement that to not offer a korban is a sin, still and all, you don’t renege on that offer. For instance, Hannah prayed for a child and offered the child as a Nazir to God; after Samuel was born, if she hadn’t delivered Samuel to Eli, the Cohen HaGadol, that would have been a sin. But, if she had only asked for a child and never devoted it to God, raising Samuel herself would not have been a sin.

Now, the Pharisees taught that once you offered a korban to God you couldn’t then give it to your parents, even if they desperately needed it because that would be a sin. And what Yeshua said was if they refuse to give to their needy parents that which they offered as a korban to God, then they were violating the 5th commandment.

How can these completely opposite opinions be reconciled? I believe the korban in this example that is being offered was not already offered but was intended to be offered. I justify this interpretation because most of the offerings made were of an animal or grain, so once given it was sacrificed, burnt upon the altar, and there was no way it could be retrieved; but, if someone tells their parents they can’t have something they need because it is devoted to God (or, more accurately, because I intend to devote it to God), that is where Yeshua said they break the law.

It is not a sin to intend to devote something to God, then change your mind because there is a greater need for it elsewhere. For instance, your parents.

So, what we have here is that this passage doesn’t imply when we sin and teach others to sin, we can still get into heaven. If someone does and teaches others that you can commit adultery, fornicate to your heart’s desire, totally disregard the Shabbat, or any such obvious disobedience to the laws God gave us in the Torah, they are not going to get a free pass to eternity in God’s presence. However, if someone is trying to obey and teach others to obey the law, but they are confused and teaching traditions of men instead of God’s way, which is what God-loving Christians have been doing for millennia, then they may still get into heaven, but they won’t be given front-row seats. Instead of a mansion, they may get a shack.

That reminds me of a story….

A Catholic Cardinal dies and goes to heaven. He is told he will be led to the place reserved for him, and as he is walking he sees beautiful mansions, and in one of them was someone he knew had been a New York City taxi driver.

As he is led, the mansions become houses, the houses become condos, and he is finally told, “This is for you.” In front of him is a small shack.

He asks the angel, “Are you sure? I devoted my life to God and was a Cardinal, so why am I in a shack and some hack from the Big Apple in a mansion?”

The angel said, “When you preached, people slept, but when he drove, people prayed.”

We should do what God said we should do, the way God said we should do it, and always teach others to obey what God says in the Torah. The New Covenant writings are not commandments from God, they are commentary by human beings, referencing what God said in the Torah. What Yeshua was warning the people about in Matthew 5:19 is that you can disobey a commandment by God by following a man-made tradition that is actually designed to fulfill a commandment.

And, for the record, Yeshua never said all man-made traditions are bad- only those that are given precedence over God’s commandments.

So, nu? How can I know which is the right one to obey? The answer is you need to know which commandments are from God, and which are man-made, and the only way you will know that, for certain, is to read the Torah.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know, subscribe to this ministry here and also on my YouTube channel (use the link above), and remember that I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Why I Believe the Gospel of John Isn’t.

Isn’t what? Well, isn’t a Gospel, meaning a truthful description of who Yeshua was and of his ministry. I also don’t believe it was written by a Jew, or, at least, by a Jew who was writing to Jews.

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John has long been recognized as being very different from the other Gospels; Matthew, Mark, and Luke are written as historical narratives that relate to the events in Yeshua’s life. John, on the other hand, while mentioning events in Yeshua’s life, is written as a spiritual revelation, and instead of plain language is full of overly spiritual double-talk:

I am he, and he is me; you see me, you see him, and I know him and he knows me but you don’t know me so you don’t know him, but if you knew him you would know me, yadda-yadda-yadda…

The thing about the Book of John that really gets my goat, and yes- this is a personal peeve– is that it seems to be written by a Gentile, to Gentiles, and has many subtle anti-Semitic undertones. And, frankly, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Only in the Gospel of John do we hear Yeshua refer to the Torah (when talking to the Pharisees in John 10:34) as “your law”. If Yeshua was the word come to life, then why would he differentiate himself from who and what he is? If Yeshua was a Jew, he would never say “your law” when referring to the Torah; he would say “the law” or “the Torah”, but not talk about it as if he had no relationship to it or that it had no meaning to him.

And in the other three gospels, the term “the Jews” is used about 16 times, total within all three, but in John, that term is used some 67 times! When you are talking about your own people, do you refer to them as “those (whatever) people”? Of course not- if you are Jewish, you say “my people” or “them”; if you are Italian and talking about other Italians, you don’t say “those Italians”, you say “them” or “us” or some other term that recognizes your attachment and solidarity with them. But we don’t see that in John- instead, we see Yeshua talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees about the people as if they are different from him.

In the other gospels, it is clear that the real enemies of Yeshua are the power elite, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, but in John, it seems that all the Judeans are against Yeshua.

One really big difference is that in the other three, Yeshua never makes the absolute claim that he is the Messiah, except to his Talmudim (Disciples), whereas in John, he says it outright to the Samaritan woman (John 4:26) and makes claim to being one with God multiple times, and also claims that he is the son of God, whereas in the other gospels he refers to himself as the Son of Man.

In my experience, John is the only gospel that is used when people try to justify that God, Yeshua, and the Ruach HaKodesh are all one-and-the-same entity.

One of the most valuable tools in biblical exegesis is called Hermeneutics, which is the idea that the Bible does not contradict itself. We all have been told, over and over, that God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow and many believe the Bible to be infallible, and the perfect word of God, directly from God.

For the record, I don’t buy that for a moment, but that’s a different message.

So, if the Bible is infallible and God’s word is perfect, then hermeneutically we can prove John’s gospel is not scripture because it is so different, and does contradict what we read in the other gospels. In John, Yeshua claims to be the Messiah to many people but not in any other gospel; in John, Yeshua’s ministry seems to be only one year but the other gospels make it about three years; in John, Yeshua is tried before the Pesach meal but in the other three, it is after; in John, Yeshua claims to be not just the son of God but God, himself, yet in the other gospels he calls himself the Son of Man.

John was most likely written at the end of the First Century when more Gentiles were converting to this new sect of Judaism than Jews who were accepting Yeshua as their Messiah. And when Jews did accept Yeshua as the Messiah, remember that this was not a conversion: there was no conversion of Jews to Christianity: the early “church” was a synagogue, and the Gentiles who accepted Yeshua as Messiah were learning how to live a Jewish lifestyle, just as Yeshua lived. The truth of the beginning of what we call Christianity today is that the only conversion was from paganism to Judaism, or at best, a sect of Judaism. From the turn of the first century until Constantine created modern Christianity (about 325 CE), there were Jews, those Jews and Gentiles who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah, and pagans. The Believing Gentiles were learning about the Torah and how to live as Yeshua did, although the Gentiles that were taking command of the movement began to leave Judaism and form different worship, such as changing the Shabbat to Sunday (Ignatius of Antioch in 98 CE) and misinterpreting the letter sent by the Elders (Acts 15) as meaning Gentile Believers were excluded from following Torah.

John was, in my opinion, either written by a Gentile using John’s name, or if John, a Jewish follower and Disciple of Yeshua, did write it, he wrote it so that Gentile Believers could separate themselves from Torah and worship Yeshua not just as the Messiah, but as God, as well. That opens the question of why a Disciple of Messiah would reject his own religion.

Many Christians I have known feel that John is the best Gospel, and when I was first open to learning about Yeshua, I was told to read John before any other gospel. Now, some 20 plus years after coming to accept Yeshua and knowing the entire Bible very well, I know that the Gospel of John is an anti-Semitic and separatist book designed so that Gentiles can feel comfortable rejecting the Torah and Judaism as separate from Yeshua, what he taught, and to worship Yeshua as God.

There are many out there who will find this message not just disturbing, but maybe even blasphemous, and that is too bad. I doubt many Gentile Believers who were raised Christian (any denomination) can understand how a Jewish person, Believer or not, feels reading this gospel. The other Gospels are fine because they don’t hate Jews, but the Gospel of John is full of subtle, Jew-hating terminology.

If it was up to me, I would throw the Gospel of John, along with nearly all the Epistles of Shaul (Paul) out of the New Covenant. I would keep Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, Hebrews, James, and Revelation, and deep-six the rest, or have them in a separate volume, like the Apocrypha.

I hope that no one is offended, but I understand there might be a sense of wanting to defend this gospel because, well, you just need to! “Why?” “Because, that’s why!”

If that’s how you feel, maybe you should consider why you feel that way. I mean, really, if the Gospel of John is verifiable and hermeneutically validated as scripture, you wouldn’t need to say “because” as the reason to defend it, because “because” is not a reason. 

That’s my message for today. It is my opinion, you do not have to agree, but if you do agree, I would appreciate you letting me know with a “Like” or something similar, even a comment. And if you think I am out of my mind, please comment as well, but be nice.

In the meantime, thank you for being here; please share these messages (if you dare), and until the next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Hanukkah 2020 Message

חג שמח! Chag Sameach!

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate this joyous holiday.

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The Torah parashah for this Shabbat is called Vayeshev, which relates the story of Joseph. It begins with Israel giving him the coat of many colors, how he tells his brothers of his dreams showing he will rule over them one day which leads, along with other reasons, to his brother’s plot to destroy him, to him being sold into slavery in Egypt. While a slave, he is unjustly accused by his master’s wife, thrown into jail, and while there he interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh’s Baker and Cupbearer. The parashah ends with how the Cupbearer, after being restored to his post as Joseph saw in his dream, forgets to mention Joseph to the Pharaoh.

I think, though, instead of the parashah, I would like to talk with you about Hanukkah. After all, we all know the story of Joseph, but how many really know about Hanukkah?

You won’t find the story anywhere in the Tanakh, and it’s only mentioned, briefly, in the New Covenant. The places you will find the story of Hanukkah, which is told in the Books of the Maccabees (there were originally supposed to be five books, but they have been condensed into two), is in the Talmud, Septuagint, and the Apocrypha, and the only place you will find the Apocrypha included with scripture is in a Catholic Bible.

In the first book of the Maccabees, we are told how Antiochus IV Epiphanes was continuing the program called Hellenization, which was started about 1-1/2 Centuries earlier by Alexander the Great. Hellenization is the replacement of all cultures with that of the Greeks, and so in Judea, under Antiochus, circumcision and any other Jewish ritual or worship was strictly forbidden. He sacrificed pigs on the altar in the Temple of Solomon, which is the abomination that causes desecration Daniel prophesied about.

One of the generals, in a town called Modein, was enforcing these laws and as one of the priests of the town was converting to the Greek religion, the father of the Maccabees, Mattathias, became zealous for God and killed the priest, as well as the soldiers of the king. After this act of rebellion, he and his 5 sons hid in the desert, and as word got around he gained followers who wanted to rid Judea of the Seleucid rule.

Eventually, there was a full-out rebellion, and these Jewish farmers and shepherds, with little more than pitchforks, hoes, and other farming implements, fought against what was probably the best armed and most experienced professional army the world knew at that time. Imagine a man with a sharpened stick going against an elephant wearing armor plating on its body and archers sitting on its back. That would be like you or I standing in the way of an Abrams tank!

And the real miracle of Hanukkah doesn’t have to do with a lamp but is the fact that we won!

The temple was cleansed and ritual purification was to begin, with the relighting of the Ner Tamid, the Eternal Light that was never supposed to be extinguished.

Now, here is where the story is embellished with Jewish mythology from the Babylonian Talmud: there is no mention of oil lasting 8 days anywhere in the books of the Maccabees. According to legend, there was only one day’s worth of ritually purified oil for the Ner Tamid, but it miraculously burned for 8 days, which was just the right amount of time needed to produce more ritually pure oil. This is why we light the Hanukkiah (it is not a menorah) with a new candle every night during the 8 nights of Hanukkah. The ninth candle, which is called the Shamash (leader) is used to light the other candles as we recite the prayer for the Hanukkah candles:

Bah-rookh ah-tah ah-doh-noi, eh-loh-hay-noo meh-lekh hah-oh-lahm, ah-sher ki-deh-shah-noo beh-mitz-voh-tahv, veh-tzee-vah-noo, leh-hahd-lik nayr, shel kha-noo-kah
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

The second book of the Maccabees is a continuation of the story and outlines the events after the initial rebellion, the leadership by the oldest Maccabee, Judas, and how he restored Jewish rule and freedom of worship in Judea. It also tells of the eventual plots against the Maccabees, resulting in they’re being deposed by the very people they saved.

There are also a number of atrocities outlined in these books regarding the torture of the Jews who refused to accept the Greek religion. When Antiochus heard of a rebellion, his army slaughtered some 40,000 men, women, and children, and another 40,000 were enslaved.

One story from 2 Maccabees is about a woman with 7 sons. They were told they had to eat pork but each refused, being tortured to death, one-by-one, with their mother watching. As the last son refused, it is told how the general even begged the mother to tell her son to comply so she wouldn’t have to lose all her children. Instead of telling her son to eat the pork, she told him not to eat the pork so that the death of the other sons was not for nothing.

Other stories of torture include ripping pregnant women apart, sliding men down a ramp with sharp knives along the way, whippings, cutting out of tongues, hands being cut off, and roasting people alive on a metal pan over a burning hot fire.

Ouch!

But, despite the torture, the desire by the populace to do what is right in God’s eyes, even to the point of death, is what the Greeks faced, although there were many who turned from the faith. Eventually, God came to the aid of his people when they rebelled against this evil.

There are some who refuse to celebrate Hanukkah simply because it isn’t commanded in the Tanakh, even though they recognize it is meant to glorify God. That is their choice, and I suspect they don’t celebrate Purim or Simchat Torah, either, since neither of those holidays are commanded. And, again, I don’t want to originate a discussion about whether or not you should celebrate Hanukkah or Purim or Christmas or Easter, or whatever- frankly, if it isn’t commanded to be celebrated, then it is a personal choice.

Today we see a similar sort of evil in America: not that there is a king taking away our ritual worship and torturing people, but there is a growing societal conversion from morality and righteousness to selfishness and the condoning, actually more than that, the enthusiastic supporting of sinfulness.

Have you noticed that in family-oriented commercials now there is almost always a same-sex couple? Have you heard about how already there are some states that don’t just allow abortion, but now they are able to kill the child after it has been born if the abortion failed!

Hello, Molech- welcome back!

The recent pandemic has been turned into a political weapon, and instead of helping people cope with it, many of our country’s leaders are using it to shut down businesses and cause fear, with which they can control the populace.

There is no temple in Jerusalem suffering the abomination that causes desecration, but we can see it in our society! I won’t go off on a rampage here, and I don’t want to initiate any political battles, but it is clear to anyone who knows anything about the Lord, God that our society is not all that far away from what Antiochus was trying to do some 200 or so years before the Messiah came, which was to remove all God-fearing worship and lifestyle from the society.

Hanukkah is a joyous celebration of the miraculous overthrow by God-fearing people of a corrupted and evil government, and I have to wonder: couldn’t we use a Mattathias or a Judas Maccabee, today?

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

Yom Kippur 2020 Message

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 the Lamb of God, the Pesach Lamb. His death was the atonement for our sins, but it wasn’t just as the Passover lamb that he accomplished this.

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If we read Exodus, Chapter 12 we see that the Passover lamb’s blood was not a sin atonement- it was the identification of and covering (a “Kippur”) to identify us as God’s people and protect us from the Angel of Death.

The blood of the Passover Lamb provided life for the people of God.

Yeshua’s sacrificial death as the atonement for our sins may have occurred at Passover but it was the fulfillment of what the Yom Kippur goats do for us. The Yom Kippur goats (the one killed and the one released) are the blood sacrifices that provide for our atonement (Lev. 16:9-10). The scapegoat had the sins of all the people transferred to it before being released into the desert, or as the Bible tells us, to Azazel.

The Talmud interpreted this word to mean a steep mountain, and for many years the scapegoat was thrown off of a steep mountain in order to fulfill this requirement.

Another interpretation (from the Book of Enoch) is that 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 us.

Have you ever wondered why we needed two goats? If all the sins were removed by the scapegoat why kill another one? We know sin can only be forgiven by the shedding of blood and that God is the only one who can forgive and remove sin, so if the killed goat is for sin forgiveness, what does the scapegoat represent?

It represents our Teshuvah. It 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 represented all of us giving up our sinful ways and desires.

Atonement comes from three things:

  1. Recognizing and taking responsibility for our sins;
  2. Our desire and willingness to do Teshuvah and remove sin from our lives; and
  3. The asking of forgiveness from God once we have done the first two things.

When we accept Yeshua as our Messiah, the blood he shed as the Passover Lamb is the thanksgiving sacrifice, bringing us into communion with God. Yeshua’s death also served as the sin sacrifice which, through his shed blood, we can receive atonement for our sins, just as with the Yom Kippur goat which was killed. And, as the Yom Kippur scapegoat, Yeshua took upon himself all our sins carrying them forever to a place we would never see them again- not just into the desert but beyond the grave.

His death shows us that Passover and Yom Kippur, although two separate events in the real world, are spiritually one and the same thing. Redemption saves us from sin and allows us to be with the Lord forever. The Passover blood represents protection from death and the Yom Kippur blood is our forgiveness from sin. Together these two things provide our salvation, both being accomplished by Yeshua.

In the Acharit HaYamim (the End Days), 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 the Lamb of God and the Yom Kippur scapegoat for the world.  When he said he was the beginning and the end it represents more than just a timeline; he is the beginning of our eternal life and the end of our sin.

Praise God and praise His son, Yeshua Ha Meshiach, for His goodness, mercy, and ability to save.

Thank you for being here and please share these message, subscribe, and I welcome any comments you may want to add to this message.

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

Free Will is a Spiritual Wormhole

In these modern times, when science fiction is almost a prophecy of reality, the Wormhole Theory is still unproven, but so popular with TV shows and movies that most people probably think they do exist.

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A wormhole is a break, so to speak, within the space-time continuum. In other words, it is a connection between two locations that can be crossed without traveling the distance.

Let’s see how this works: Say you are at the beginning of a 100-mile long road. This road has a large hinge in the middle that allows it to fold up, in just one second, so that both ends are touching each other. Now, you are standing at the beginning of the road, and when the road bends in half, with one step you are now at the end of the road, which extends itself to its original position. What has just happened is that you traveled 100 miles with just one step, in a matter of two to three seconds.

So, nu? What does this have to do with God or the Bible? It actually has a lot to do with it, if you will allow me to explain.

We all are given Free Will, the opportunity and right to choose what we will do, say, and who we will be. As God told Cain, sin is always crouching at our door, and it is up to us to conquer it or fall victim to it. Either way, it is our choice no matter why we choose it, and we will be held accountable for the choices we make.

When we are old enough to know right from wrong, we begin walking on a road. We have no choice but to walk this road, but the road extends into infinity, in many directions. The problem is that there is no visible connection or bridge between these roads. However, as you walk along the road there are doors on either side, and they are labeled; some are labeled “To Desires of the Flesh” and others are labeled “To Sacrifice and Self-Discipline.”

It appears to most people that as they walk on their chosen path through life, once they have traveled on that road there is no going back or changing. Along the road, on both sides, is a bottomless chasm. However, the doors are always there, and even though there is nothing on the other side, these doors are spiritual wormholes that can take us to a totally different road.

All we have to do is chose one, walk through it, and in one simple step, we are walking on a totally different road.

That is how Free Will, our gift from God, can save us…or destroy us.

This is really good news if you are living a sinful life because it means no matter how long you have walked this sinful road, you can change the path you are taking to another one. But it is a double-edged sword, for those who are walking the path of righteousness can just as easily lose their way by going through the wrong door. In the end, every road we take leads to the Throne of Judgment.

This is what we are told in Ezekiel 18:21-24:

However, if the wicked person repents of all the sins he committed, keeps my laws and does what is lawful and right; then he will certainly live, he will not die. None of the transgressions he has committed will be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done, he will live. 

“Do I take any pleasure at all in having the wicked person die?” asks Adonai Elohim. “Wouldn’t I prefer that he turn from his ways and live?”

On the other hand, when the righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness by acting in accordance with all the disgusting practices that the wicked person does, will he live? None of the righteous deeds he has done will be remembered; for the trespasses and sins he has committed, he will die.

This is God’s confirmation to us that no matter how many miles we have walked in sin, one step through the door and we are on the path of righteousness- no longer walking to certain death. And the same goes for people who change their route from righteousness to sinfulness.

The doors that we pass during our lifetime are all spiritual wormholes that can transport us from Sheol to heaven or in the other direction; all we have to do is step through them.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But the problem is that it isn’t easy. In fact, it can often be very difficult, and too often simply because people don’t realize the doors are wormholes. They think they are just cosmetic because when we open the door, we can’t see where it leads to.

We have to take a step of faith when we go through one of those doors.

If you are on a pathway that you chose before you knew better and feel that you can’t change your direction, you are most certainly mistaken. You have the opportunity to change lanes, to get off this highway, and to travel to a better destination any time you want to. And if you don’t see any doors right now, ask God to provide one for you. It may happen immediately, or you may have to wait a bit, but look for the door! It will be there.

But be warned- the Enemy of God, HaSatan, also knows how to make a door, so before walking through any door, always read the label.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages to help this ministry grow. I never ask for money, but it would be nice if you bought some of the books I have written. And please subscribe so you will be notified the next time I post a message.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!