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.

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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.

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Understanding Galatians 3:24-25

Before we discuss this specific passage, let’s review what Galatians is all about.

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It is a letter written by Shaul (Paul) to a congregation of mostly Gentile Believers in Yeshua as the Messiah, and who were, essentially, converting from their pagan Roman religion to Judaism. These Gentiles were being harassed by Jewish Believers in Messiah who demanded that their conversion process be immediate and complete. Shaul was trying to maintain control of his fledgling congregation by keeping them on track with his slow introduction to the proper worship of God, and understanding of how Messiah Yeshua fit into God’s plan of redemption.

We can see this in all of Shaul’s letters to the different congregations he formed (there were no “churches” in the First Century), each battling with their own problems in keeping on the right track to developing proper worship. There was NEVER any condemnation of Torah or instructions to ignore or abandon Torah- there were slow, step-by-step instructions helping people to make a spiritual paradigm shift in both worship and lifestyle.

Now that we know the context of the letter to the Galatians, remembering that understanding the context is essential in any biblical study, we can take a look at the passage:

Accordingly, the Torah functioned as a guardian until the Messiah came, so that we might be declared righteous on the ground of trusting and being faithful.  But now that the time for this trusting faithfulness has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

We are all children of God, right? And anyone who has ever raised a child knows that the one thing children do, the moment they are able to understand boundaries, is to push the envelope of those boundaries. We, as parents, or should I say guardians, do all we can to allow them to explore their world while keeping them within the very boundaries they want to be free of. And when they cross those boundaries, we bring them back into righteousness through a time out, or grounding them, or sometimes a good slap on the tuchas.

Yet, even when understanding what will happen when they cross the boundary line, why do they continue to push those boundaries? If you’re asking me (and even if you’re not, I’m gonna tell you, anyway) it’s just basic human nature. We are always trying to push beyond whatever boundaries we are given.

We are bound by the sea below and the sky above: we can’t breathe underwater and we can’t fly, yet we pushed against those boundaries and eventually found ways in which we can now do both.

The Torah is a guardian that establishes boundaries; not natural boundaries like water and gravity, but moral ones. The Torah defines these boundaries, and human nature, being what it is, urges us to push those boundaries as far as we can to see where they break. That is who we are. The Torah accounts for this, in that not only does it establish the boundaries for proper living and worship, but as our guardian, it also provides the means for us to be brought back within those boundaries if, and when, we cross over them into sin.

When the Messiah came, he replaced a specific part of the Torah. It wasn’t the part that established the boundaries but the part that brought us back into righteousness when we crossed those boundaries. Yeshua’s sacrifice replaced the need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem, which is the requirement under the Torah in order to be forgiven. The Torah states that we must bring our sacrifice to the location where God places his name in order for the sacrifice to be accepted (Deuteronomy 12:11), so when the temple was destroyed in 73 AD, there was no means of attaining forgiveness of sin.

Now we come to the most misunderstood truth about the Messiah:

The sole purpose of the Messiah is to be the means through which people can be forgiven of their sins.

Yes, Yeshua taught the deeper, spiritual meaning of the Torah (in Jewish exegesis it is called the Remes), but that wasn’t why he came. He performed many miracles, but that wasn’t why he came- that was only to prove who he was. The one and the only reason he came here was to provide the means by which we can be forgiven.

Once we understand this essential truth, then we can understand what Shaul meant when he said with the coming of the Messiah we are no longer under the guardianship of the Torah. He wasn’t talking about the boundaries set by the Torah, he was talking about the means to be brought back within those boundaries.

Let’s get back to kids for a second: as their guardian, we teach them the way to act and we enforce those rules, but when they get old enough to be on their own, they are no longer under our guardianship. That doesn’t mean that what we taught them as their guardian is no longer valid and necessary; it simply means that they are now the ones who are responsible to enforce the rules. The way we do that is through self-discipline and being responsible adults.

Do you now see the logic and relationship between the Torah, Yeshua, and guardianship? A guardian defines our boundaries and is the one who brings us back into righteousness, and the Torah did both of these before Yeshua came; now, after Yeshua, the Torah still establishes the boundaries, Yeshua is the one who brings us back into righteousness, but we are each of us responsible to stay within the boundaries the Torah defines.

The boundaries are still valid, the means to be brought back within the boundaries is through Yeshua, but we are now our own guardians.

Thank you for being here, and please share these messages and subscribe to the website and the YouTube channel. And remember: I always welcome your comments.

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Yeshua Certainly Knew the Book of Proverbs

It is truly a shame that too many Christians are being taught mainly from the New Covenant writings while ignoring most everything in the Tanakh. The reason it is a shame is that Yeshua didn’t teach anything from the Epistles, and not just because they hadn’t been written, but because he tells us, over and over throughout all four gospels, that he does and says only what his Father in heaven has told him to do and say. And what God has said is only in the Tanakh.

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I have been reading Proverbs lately, and as I go through them I see so many that I immediately relate to some of the teachings that Yeshua gave. Here are just a few examples:

Proverbs 11:2- First comes pride, then disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Doesn’t Yeshua tell us that the meek will inherit the earth? (Matthew 5:5)

 Proverbs 11:4On the day of wrath, wealth doesn’t help; but righteousness rescues from death.

Doesn’t Yeshua tell us that we are to seek first the kingdom of God? (Matthew 6:33)

Proverbs 24:3By wisdom a house is built, by understanding it is made secure.

Didn’t Yeshua tell us that rejecting his wisdom is like a house built on sand? (Matthew 7:26)

Proverbs 25: 6,7Don’t put yourself forward in the king’s presence; don’t take a place among the great. For it is better to be told “Come up here,” than be degraded in the presence of a nobleman.

Didn’t Yeshua say that when you sit at a table, take the least important place? (Luke 14:10)

Proverbs 25:21– If someone who hates you is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

Didn’t Yeshua tell us to love our enemies? (Matthew 5:44)

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that what Yeshua taught is from the Tanakh, for that was the only word of God that existed then. The New Covenant hadn’t been written. So if Yeshua taught from the Tanakh, my question is why don’t the Christian churches teach from it, also? Why do they use, almost exclusively, the Gospels and the Epistles? In the Gospels, Yeshua teaches what the Tanakh says, and the Epistles were written by a man to the Gentiles in congregations he started and were not written to teach them anything new, but to remind them of what he already told them. Things that he already taught them that they were having trouble remembering and living by.

You’ve seen those bracelets that have “WWJD” written on them, right? I believe the people who wear them really want to do as Jesus did; the problem is that the Christian church teaches Constantinian doctrine and not what is in the Torah, which is what Jesus followed, so to do what Jesus did means to NOT do what (most of) Christianity teaches.

Jesus did not celebrate the Christian holidays, he celebrated the Holy Days that God commanded we celebrate in Leviticus 23.

Jesus did not eat many of the foods that Christians eat, he ate only what God said we should eat in Leviticus 11.

Jesus did not rest on Sunday, he rested from Friday night to Saturday night.

The point of today’s message is that if you really want to live “as Jesus lived”, you need to worship as he worshiped, eat as he ate, and celebrate as he celebrated.

Doesn’t that make sense?

It is truly a shame that this very sensible argument is lost on so many people; people who probably really want to please God and do as Jesus did, but refuse to because they would rather accept the easy way of life that is Constantinian Christianity.

What a terribly disappointing surprise they will have when they come before the Throne of Judgment.

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

 

 

Marketing the Mark of the Beast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please share these messages with others, subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Are Christians Better than Jews?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traditional Christianity teaches that the branch has replaced the root.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Religion is the True Parochet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That means forever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what are we to do?

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

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

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

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Shavuot Message 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!

How to Interpret the Bible Correctly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!