What does “Believe in Jesus” Mean?

Growing up Jewish, I was taught that any Jew who “believes in Jesus” is no longer a Jew, but now is Christian and a traitor to Judaism.

Listening to Christian missionaries, I am told we must “believe in Jesus” to be saved, and when we do we are no longer Jewish or have to obey the Jewish laws.

It seems the only thing Jews and Christians have in common is that believing in Jesus means you are no longer Jewish.

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But we know, based on James 2:19, that because the demons know God exists and is one, they must then also know Jesus who sits at the right hand of God, right? So, since the demons “believe in Jesus”, are they now saved?

I don’t think so!

It seems the term “believe in Jesus” has some meaning, but what is it, really?

NOTE: I will be using the name “Jesus” instead of Yeshua because it is more relevant to the topic, and so please don’t comment on or open a discussion about what the “real” name of the Messiah is because it is irrelevant to this lesson.

Frankly, if you ask me (and since this is my ministry, I will ask if you don’t) believing in Jesus doesn’t mean anything because we aren’t told just what we are believing in.

“Believe in Jesus” can mean anything from believing he existed to believe he is the Messiah, the son of God, and many Christians believe that Jesus is God, himself.

Many Jews believe in Jesus, but only to the point where they accept that he existed and was just a Rabbi; they believe this because his existence has been mentioned in the works of Josephus, a trusted and respected chronicler of history.

Muslims generally believe in Jesus in that they believe he existed and was a prophet, but not a Messiah or related to God other than being his prophet.

Then there are the atheists who don’t believe in God, at all, but might accept that Jesus existed, but only as a man with some historical significance.

And since the name “Jesus” has no etymology within Judaism, even the name is questionable to many as a valid identifier of the Messiah.

So, that brings me to the conclusion that to “believe in Jesus” essentially means nothing in particular because it can mean so many things.

Some Christians today are eager to learn about their Jewish roots and are beginning to recognize the importance of obedience to the commandments in the Torah, whereas most Christians want to believe only what they have been taught, which is that Jesus did away with all that “Jewish” stuff and all they need to do is believe in Jesus (there’s that term again), be a good person and love their neighbor and they will go to heaven when they die.

Yeah, well, that’s not really how it works, but it sounds good so just about everyone likes to accept that and won’t read the Bible for themselves.

If it was up to me, I would never use the term “Believe in Jesus” because it really means nothing- there is no substance to it and it doesn’t really tell anyone what encompasses that belief. Instead, I would say we need to accept that Jesus (but I would use his real, Hebrew name of Yeshua) is the Messiah God promised to send, and because of his sacrifice, we don’t need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem (which no longer exists) to be forgiven of our sins; that’s why he is now the ONLY means by which we can be forgiven of sin.

I think that is much more direct, making it clear why when we accept that Jesus is the Messiah we can receive salvation, other than just saying “believe in Jesus”.

Don’t you agree?

Thank you for being here: please subscribe, here and on my YouTube channel as well, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

What Is the New Wine Yeshua Talks About?

In the Gospel of Mark (2:21-22), Yeshua teaches the following:

No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old coat; if he does, the new patch tears away from the old cloth and leaves a worse hole. And no one puts new wine in old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine is for freshly prepared wineskins.

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The traditional Christian interpretation of this lesson is that Yeshua meant the old laws were no longer valid for those who follow him. In other words, they use this to justify sinning against God by ignoring what he said in the Torah.

Christianity has maintained that what Yeshua taught was the new wine, and those who accept Yeshua as the Messiah and follow his teachings, are the new wineskins. As such, what is in the Torah is the old wine and only valid for the old wineskins, i.e., the Jews.

Does this make sense? I mean, Yeshua is the Son of God, the Messiah, and throughout all the Gospels, especially in John, he constantly tells us he does and says only what his father in heaven tells him to do and say. He even prayed at the rock in the garden just before his crucifixion, confirming with God that HIS will be done, not Yeshua’s.

So, given that his entire time on earth was spent doing what God told him, does it seem likely that what he would have taught was to rebel against God? Did the Son of God tell those who accepted him as the Messiah that he did not come to reunite them with God (which is what the Messiah is to do), but instead to separate them from God by rejecting his commandments and follow a new set of laws, laws that Yeshua created?

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem right to me, at all!

What Yeshua taught was what is in the Torah, but instead of teaching just the plain language of the law (called the P’shat), he taught us the deeper, more spiritual understanding (called the Remes.) Haven’t you ever wondered why there are so many references in the Gospels about how people said no one has ever taught like Yeshua did? That’s because no one ever had- the Pharisees and Sadducees only taught the basic meaning of the law: do not murder, do not commit adultery, etc. But Yeshua taught us the spiritual understanding of the law: do not even hate in your heart, do not so much as lust with your eyes.

Using the biblical exegesis system called Circles of Context, let’s look at what was happening just before Yeshua talked about new wine and new wineskins.

This chapter in Mark begins with the Pharisees asking why Yeshua was saying he could forgive sins. Next, they asked why he ate with sinners and tax collectors. They then asked why his disciples didn’t fast as the Pharisee’s disciples did.

What do all these questions have in common? They are referencing rabbinical traditions that are not specified in, or have anything to do with the Torah.

I believe these traditions are what Yeshua was talking about when he talked of “old wine.” And the new wine is not different mitzvot from the Torah, but the spiritual understanding of the existing mitzvot!

The new wineskins are people that have not been so indoctrinated into the old wine that they can no longer accept the new understanding Yeshua was teaching.

Now, here is a sad and ironic reality: Christians who believe that Yeshua’s “new wine” is that all you need is to love each other and be a good person are now the old wine in old wineskins, refusing to accept that Yeshua did NOT do away with the Torah, but confirmed it!

More and more Christians who are seeking the real Messiah, the one who taught God’s word and never rebelled against the Torah, are the new wineskins who want to accept the new wine Yeshua taught, way back then.

During Yeshua’s ministry on the earth, the new wine was the spiritual understanding of the Torah, and NEVER anything against obedience to God’s commandments in the Torah. The new wineskins are his Disciples and all those Jews and Gentiles who followed him, still obedient to Torah.

Today, the new wine Yeshua taught is still new because early Christian leadership denounced the Torah- they rejected the new wine and watered it down with their own traditions, ruining the purity of Yeshua’s wine by blending it with old pagan traditions, holidays, and watering down (if not totally rejecting) anything dealing with the Torah, other than the 10 Commandments.

And they have even rejected and ignored some of those!

So, here is my understanding of the passage in Mark 2:21-22: the old wine is the rabbinic traditions that over-ruled God’s word or added to it, and the old wineskins, already stretched to their maximum, are those who rigidly maintain those traditions, unwilling to change or even listen to new ideas. The new wine is the Remes of the mitzvot, the spiritual understanding of the Torah, and those who overcame their desire to adhere to those man-made traditions and accepted the new wine Yeshua taught became new wineskins.

Today there are two old wines: the Christian old wine that Yeshua did away with the law, and the Jewish old wine that Yeshua is not the Messiah.

I used to be an old Jewish wineskin, but became a new wineskin about 25 years ago when I accepted Yeshua as my Messiah; I never converted from Judaism and, in truth, am now more “Jewish” than I ever was before.

So, nu? Which wine do you drink?

Thank you for being here and please subscribe here and on my YouTube channel, and share these messages with everyone. I also would love it if you would check out my books (on my website) and remember- I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for now, and probably for the week because my wife, Donna, is getting a shoulder replacement today (your prayers for a successful operation and speedy recovery are humbly requested) and I will be really busy from Thursday on preparing for the Pesach Seder, since she will not be able to help with the cooking or the preparation of the house.

That’s it for now…l’hitraot and (an early) Pesach Chag Sameach!

Parashah V’yikrah 2021 (And he called) Leviticus 1 – 5

We now enter into the Book of Leviticus.

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In this book are many of the laws, commandments, regulations, and ordinances that God gave to us through Moses, which define how we are to worship God and treat each other.

These laws have been split into two categories: ceremonial and moral. As far as I am concerned, it doesn’t matter how we wish to categorize them but only that they are what God said we should do. That’s enough for me.

Instead of going through the different types of sacrifices and regulations for each, which are contained in this parashah, I would like to talk, in general, about these instructions from God.

Christianity has spent two millennia trying to separate itself from the Jewish roots from which it sprouted, and has been very successful at doing that. It has managed to grow into any number of different religions and sects, none of which seem to have anything in common with the others other than they profess to worship God and that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah.

Oh, wait a minute….they also have this in common: they teach that the Son of God said whoever accepts him as their Savior doesn’t have to obey the commandments that God gave in the Torah.

Actually, they can’t reject all of them, of course: the “moral” commandments still are valid, such as don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, and don’t worship or bow down and pray to any graven image (the Roman Catholics still have a problem with this one.)

But what did Yeshua say, really?

In Matthew 5:17 (a favorite Christian verse to proclaim the Torah is null and void), Yeshua says he has come to fulfill the law, which (as I mentioned) Christianity loves to quote as their justification that having fulfilled it, he did away with it. But they ignore the first part of that sentence, where Yeshua says he did NOT come to change the law.

Now, at that time in history, the usage of the word “fulfill” with regard to the Torah did not mean to perform but to interpret. Matthew 5:17 should really say that Yeshua came not to change the law but to interpret it correctly. This is confirmed with the Sermon on the Mount, where Yeshua “fulfilled the law” by teaching the deeper, spiritual meaning of it (called the Remes). He starts with “You have heard it said…” then tells the people the literal meaning of the law (called the P’shat), which was all the Pharisees had ever taught. And then he goes further, saying “But I tell you…” teaching them the deeper, spiritual meaning.

For instance, he said that we have been told not to murder, but if we hate in our heart, we have already committed murder. He taught that we have been told not to commit adultery, but if we lust in our heart, we already have. Can you see? He fulfilled the law because he taught us the spiritual meaning of it, which is why so often in the Gospels we read how people said that he taught as no one ever had before.

Christianity has also misinterpreted the statement made by a man, they call Paul, who told the Messianic congregation he started in Colussus that our sins were nailed to the cross with Yeshua. Within Christian teachings, they say that this means the law (Torah) was nailed to the cross, but that is just plain wrong. Read Colossians 2:13-14: Paul never said the law was nailed to the cross, only the sins we had committed.

The ongoing and (I believe) never-ending argument about are Christians subject to the laws in the Torah will never be settled until Messiah rules the world, at which time everyone will be forced to acknowledge that whatever Yeshua says we should do, we had better do.

But I would like to ask those who have been taught the Torah is only for Jews to consider the following:

  1. If Yeshua is the Son of God; and
  2. If disobedience to the laws in the Torah were, at the time Yeshua lived, a sin; and
  3. If Yeshua taught people to disobey his father and obey only him …

Then wouldn’t that make Yeshua a traitorous son and a disobedient, sinful Messiah?

Where else in the Bible does a son, a prince, try to overthrow his father’s kingdom and replace him as king? (I really shouldn’t have to tell you, should I?)

If Yeshua taught anything that was against the laws God had given to the people, then he would be in sin and a traitor to his own father. He would not have ever been an acceptable sacrifice, but since we know he WAS an acceptable sacrifice, then he (obviously) never did anything against his father or break the law, nor did he ever teach anyone else to break the law.

The only justification that Christianity has used to show where multiple times someone has taught that the Torah is not valid or necessary for Christians is from the letters of Paul to his congregations throughout the Middle East and Asia.

Paul was not a prophet, he was never contacted by God telling him, as God did with Moses or the Prophets of the Tanakh, to tell anyone anything. He was a missionary who said and did whatever he needed to in order to get people to listen to the Good News of the Messiah. He never converted to Christianity, he never changed his name from Shaul to Paul, and he never went exclusively to the Gentiles. In fact, he always went to teach in the synagogues first, then he went to the Gentiles.

And he never said that we could ignore the Torah, only that within the Gentile congregations who were having issues with their faith, that they should learn the Torah and obey it a little at a time and not have to become converts to Judaism all at once.

Just the same way that Isaiah told the people in the Northern tribes of Israel, who were constantly at odds with their faith, that they are so spiritually weak they need to learn God’s ways little by little and line by line (Isaiah 28:10.)

I don’t want to get into an argument about whether or not Shaul’s letters should be included in the Bible, or whether or not you have to obey the Torah- these are decisions that you have to make for yourself because no matter why you decide how you worship, when you meet God you will be held accountable for what you do or don’t do.

My advice to everyone is that you best make sure whichever way you chose to live your life and worship God be an informed decision based on your own research because, as I said, you WILL be held accountable for that choice.

If a cop wants to give you a speeding ticket and you say you didn’t know what the speed limit was, he will tell you that ignorance of the law is no excuse. I believe God will have the same attitude.

Thank you for being here and please don’t forget to subscribe here and on my YouTube channel, as well. I hope you will share these messages with everyone you know and remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

Faith Has To Be A Little Stubborn

Hebrews 11:1 says the following:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

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I was having a discussion with someone yesterday about faith. He asked questions about what is in the Bible and I would answer that this is what God told us. He kept pushing his point, “How do you know that?” My answer was that this is what we are told in the Bible, to which he replied, “The Bible was written by people, wasn’t it?”

This was not an argument, mind you, but a respectful exchange of Q & A, with him offering up the “Q” and me supplying the “A”. I know I didn’t change his mind, at all, which is fine since it isn’t my place to tell anyone what they should choose to believe in.

And that is the operative word: choose. Faith is not something that we can prove because, as we are told, it is something we choose to accept as truth. Faith is not just a feeling, it is a choice; and, because it is unproven, we need to be able to hold onto our faith in the face of arguments and persecution.

That is why faith has to be stubborn. Stubbornness is not changing your mind easily, or (in most cases) not ever changing it, and to maintain our faith we need to have that stubborn attitude that says, “I don’t care what you say, I believe what I believe.”

The problem is what about when we see someone whose faith is misguided? Like the many Jews and Gentiles who are being led into damnation by their leaders, who are repeating what they were told, from all the way back to the end of the First Century when Christianity separated itself from Judaism and the “mainstream” Jews refused to accept Yeshua as their Messiah.

How many “faithful” Roman Catholics do you know who bow down to statues (the Bible calls them graven images) and pray to them? How can someone maintain their choice to do this when the Bible clearly says not to? Even Yeshua, himself, said he was the only way to God (John 14:6) so why pray to saints to intercede with Yeshua?

I mean, from a strictly Jewish viewpoint, why buy retail when you can get it wholesale? In other words, why ask some saint to ask Yeshua to ask God, when you can go straight to God by simply dropping Yeshua’s name?

I am not necessarily picking on the RC’s, although they do make it really easy to do so, but on Christianity, in general. And I’m not “picking on them” as much as trying to show the incorrect interpretation and sinful (meaning anti-Biblical) teachings that have misdirected faithful people into performing lawlessness.

Not that my Jewish brothers and sisters who still reject Yeshua are any better off. They are the ones who should be the saddest because the Torah says we have no forgiveness unless we sacrifice where God has placed his name, which was the temple in Jerusalem, which doesn’t exist anymore!

Faith is what we choose to have. Even though we can’t prove what we believe in, we do have a foundation for our faith, which is (or, at least, should be) the Bible. First, we choose to believe there is a God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; next, we choose to believe what we read in the Bible is accurate and true. Finally, we choose to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah he promised to send.

We choose to believe that what we read in the Bible is factual. We can’t ever prove it because “proof” is the antithesis of faith, and it is only through faith that we can be saved.

In other words, we have to believe in God because we choose to, and not for any other reason. Not because we are told we have to (which is what both Judaism and Christianity force their kids to do) and not because we are promised riches or blessings if we do, but because we choose to.

And it doesn’t matter why we chose to, so long as once we make our choice, we stick by it through hell and high water.

(No, I am not going to tell the joke about the town being flooded and the Rabbi with the rowboat, the truck, and the helicopter.)

The idea that faith is nothing more than a choice is very hard for worldly people to understand. The world says, “Prove it!” and God says, “Believe it.” These are in complete opposition to each other, and I have found that those who ask for proof are generally unsure of everything.

It is sad, but in my experience, faithless people are afraid of everything, and can only see the worst case scenarios. They trust no one, especially themselves, and have a very sad future since they figure this life is all there is.

When you have nothing to look forward to except this life, then you try to fill this life with as much “fun” as you can, which usually translates into sinfulness. It is a sad paradox that the ones who do not believe in an afterlife are guaranteeing theirs to be terrible.

I have a very stubborn faith, but I still am open to hearing other people tell me about what they believe the Bible says. And when I hear someone tell me what I know to be worldly teaching, it only strengthens my faith in what I believe- no, in what I KNOW– to be the way God says it should be.

I rarely read extra-biblical books, although I do now and then (for instance, the ones I have written I can highly recommend to you) because the Bible is all I really need to know. I won’t read the Quran or the Apocrypha’s or the Books of Jasper, Judas, etc. because they are not scripture. I also don’t read or study the Talmud or the Septuagint, although I will check out things that are in there as subject matter for my messages.

Why won’t I read those? Simply because they do not have anything I need- all I need is the Bible. And I stubbornly, or should I say faithfully, reject anything else.

Look, faith is stubborn and needs to be stubborn in order to be maintained. I suggest you don’t keep an “open mind”, but that you ensure your faithfulness has a strong foundation from the Bible. And not from what people tell you is in the Bible or what your religious leaders tell you the Bible says, but what you read in there yourself.

In Matthew 15:14, Yeshua said when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into a hole, so don’t be led by the blind: chose your own path and stick to it no matter what. The world has nothing of value for you and the spiritual people you meet may only tend to confuse you, so choose what you will believe and hold onto it as if your very soul depends on it… because it does!

Thank you for being here. Please subscribe here and on my YouTube channel, as well, and share these messages with everyone you know. And remember: I always welcome your comments.

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

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!