Promise or Threat?

I once knew someone who saw the “If:Then” statement not as a conditional event, but as a threat. If you promised something good, that was always nice, but if the promise was conditional, then it was a threat. If I said I will do this if you do that, doing my side of the agreement was expected, but the idea that I would not do what I promised if the other side of the agreement was reneged on? What I heard was, “How dare you threaten me!”

God makes promises to us that are conditional. Even the promise of salvation is conditional: after all, don’t we have to ask for it? If we ask for it, He is good to grant it (all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved) but it takes more than that. Throughout the Manual we are told that it is by faith alone we are saved, but that also is conditional because Yacov (James) tells us that faith without works is dead. God’s promise of salvation is like a spiritual bank account: we don’t need to deposit a penny to open it up, we just need to ask for it, and whatever we put into it we are guaranteed to gain interest. When we appear before God at His Throne of Judgement, we turn in our bank book and receive what we are due: that’s when we receive God’s side of the promise. If our URA (Ultimate Retirement Account) has had many deposits placed into it, when we turn it back in to God we receive a tremendous return, just as He promised; however, if we have not made any deposits, it is no more valuable than what we originally paid into it: nothing! And that is exactly what we will receive. Make deposits, be told to enter into the joy; have an account with nothing in it, be turned away into the darkness where people wail and gnash their teeth.

That’s right- your salvation is guaranteed if, and only if, you meet your end of the promise, which is to produce good fruit, to make deposits, to have more to present back to God than what He gave you to start with.  In D’varim (Deuteronomy) 16, when we are told about how to appear before the Lord at the three festivals which are celebrated in Yerushalayim, we are told not to appear before the Lord empty handed. I believe this has a deeper meaning than just regarding the sacrifices: I believe that we are being told whenever we come before the Lord we should bring something with us to present to Him. And at the Last Days, the Final Judgement, when we come before the Lord, God expects us to present to Him our faithful fruit: the good works we have performed as a sign of our repentance and T’Shuvah. If we come empty handed, we will be turned away.

Face it, people: there is no free lunch, not even at God’s table! We are told by well-meaning religious leaders (probably because it sounds so attractive) only how salvation is a free and irrevocable gift. That’s true: when we confess our sins, ask for God’s forgiveness and accept Yeshua as our Messiah, we receive the gift of salvation from God. No one can take that from us- no one! But we can throw it away, and many do, I am sorry to say, without even realizing it. I think that’s because we understand “free” to mean unconditional, but that is wrong. We receive the gift, we are given a guaranteed place in heaven, but we still have to show up with our offering or we don’t get in. And that offering is the fruit of our salvation: our history of good works, the proof of our T’Shuvah. No fruit, no entry. He kept His promise but we reneged.

Instead of being told salvation is “free”, we really should be told salvation is “priceless”. We can’t buy it, we can’t earn it, we can only receive it by asking, but it isn’t “free” because we do have to do contribute into it for it to be redeemable.

Remember the parable about the Master who gives his three servants talents before he goes on a trip? The two returned more than he gave them and were welcomed into their Master’s joy, but the third did nothing with his talent, and returned only what he was given. He was thrown out into the darkness.

There’s also the parable about the fruit tree in the garden that was tended but gave no fruit. After a few years of fruitless existence, the owner of the garden said to uproot the tree and throw it out of the garden.

The parables Yeshua gave us about having to do something with the gift we receive are, to me, undeniable. Yes, salvation is free when we receive it, but unless we put something into it it will be worthless when we redeem it. And yes, it is irrevocable in that God gave it and no one can take it away, and God will not ask for us to return it, but He expects it to be returned to Him with interest. If we fail to water that tree and produce fruit, or we bury it and do nothing with it to make it worth more, we will reap what we have sown.

This is a hard word to hear, but it is the truth: salvation is free but it is conditional, and God’s promises are real and totally trustworthy but we have to live up to our side of the agreement to receive them.

The promise is eternal joy, and the condition is that we will be saved from our own sin if we (1) confess it, if we (2) accept Yeshua (Jesus) as our Messiah, and if we (3) do T’Shuvah (atonement) and live the rest of our lives producing fruit so we do not come empty handed before the Lord at the Final Judgement.

We are told that it is all just so easy- call on His name and be saved! Halleluya!! Well, that’s true, but that isn’t all of it: you need to change, you need to pay into your salvation, and God’s promise is worth exactly what you put into it, so when we keep our side he will keep His side. It’s that simple, it’s that plain, it’s that way.

The good news is that God always keeps His promises: the bad news is that we most often don’t.  I strongly urge all of us, me included, to make sure this is one time we don’t mess up.

Parashah Pesach (Exodus 12:21 – 12:51)

Weren’t we in the book of Leviticus last week? How’d we get back to Exodus?

Today, actually tonight, begins Passover (‘Pesach’, in Hebrew.) As such, this being one of the most important and happiest of all the Holy Days God gave us, we read this portion of the Torah and then get back to Vayikra next week.

Passover is a Holy Day that is somewhat misunderstood, by both Jews and Christians. If you ask most any Jewish person how long Passover lasts, I’ll bet the answer you get is “7 days”, but that’s wrong. “Passover” only lasts from evening until midnight, when the angel of death passed over Egypt. The 7 days that we fast (no leavened products, i.e.. nothing with yeast) is called Hag Ha Matzot. It is the Feast of Unleavened Bread that lasts 7 days. Another thing that is misunderstood is that Passover is when God said we should celebrate the new year; God never said that Rosh HaShannah is the Jewish new year. In Exodus God tells Moshe that this day (the day the Jews left Egypt) is to be the first day of your year. Rosh HaShannah, the Jewish New Year, is a Rabbinical holiday and not a God ordered Holy Day. The day that it is celebrated on is a God-ordered Holy Day, but that day is called (by God) Yom Teruah, or Day of Trumpets. It is a memorial day.

From the Christian viewpoint, because of the undeniable association of the sacrificial death of Yeshua (Jesus) on the day after Passover, leading to His resurrection on the third day (Sunday, the beginning of the Jewish week, as we are told in the Bible) the sacrifice of the Passover lamb is considered to be what Yeshua underwent, which was a sacrifice to absolve us of our sin. Especially since He is often referred to as the Lamb of God. Even the Jewish people, for the most part, believe that the Pesach lamb was a sin sacrifice.

Oh, oh…not so, oh no. The Passover lamb was sacrificed, yes, but it was a thanksgiving sacrifice, a peace offering, not a sin or guilt offering.

Go back and read the first chapters of Leviticus we just went through- it describes how the different sacrifices are to be administered by the Kohen. There is only one type where the person offering the sacrifice also partakes in the eating of the sacrifice, and that is the peace offering. God demands that the Passover lamb be roasted and eaten by those offering it, so that makes the Passover sacrifice a peace offering, not a sin offering.

But didn’t Yeshua offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin? Yes, He did. Well, when do the Jewish people offer their sin sacrifice? That’s on Yom Kippur.

You see, Yeshua is both sides of the coin, so to speak: His sacrifice to overcome our sin was on Passover, and the Passover sacrifice is a peace offering to God. When we think about it, isn’t the Messiah supposed to bring us all back into relationship with God?  So when He sacrificed Himself as a sin offering, didn’t that also allow us to come into relationship with God? Wasn’t the curtain torn from the top down? From God to us? When Yeshua died on that execution tree, His sacrifice was both the sin sacrifice that comes at Yom Kippur (the final one that will be at the End of Days) and the peace offering that brings us back into relationship with God. His sacrifice counted then as two- the sin sacrifice to cleanse us before God and the peace offering that will bring us into relationship with God. They may be a little backwards to us, since our time is linear, but God’s time is different. What Yeshua did back then was for then, and for now, and for the rest of time; one sacrifice to accomplish two things, from then until forever.

Isn’t God just amazing?!? It gives you goose-bumps. Now do you see the real association between Passover and Yom Kippur? We usually associate Passover with freedom from physical slavery and follow it up with Shavuot, the giving of the Law on Sinai as a “one-two punch” against sin. For those that accept Yeshua’s Messianic calling as true, these two Holy Days also represent the freedom from spiritual slavery and the giving of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, which only because of Yeshua’s sacrifice can now indwell forever. Prior to Yeshua the Ruach fell on the person, but was lifted up later. Only because of Yeshua can that Ruach now indwell and remain.

And there’s another misunderstanding- as nicely as this all fits, Passover is not really associated with Shavuot, but with Yom Kippur. Passover and Yom Kippur are the two sides of the same coin, sacrifice for sin to cleanse us and peace offering to bring us back into relationship with God. Again I ask, isn’t that what the Messiah is supposed to do?

I also do two things at once to my Christian friends at this time of the year: I teach them by kidding with them and rebuking them at the same time. I ask them if they ever considered that as they are celebrating and honoring the resurrection of Yeshua, they are eating something that He would find to be an abomination and an insult on His table?

Think about it before you buy that Easter ham. Also think about it when you have bread and cake all next week. Yeshua told his Talmudim (Disciples) to beware the Hametz (yeast) of the Pharisees;  Yeshua and all His followers fasted from yeast during the celebration of Hag ha Matzot. Do you want to do as Yeshua did? Do you really want to please God?

If you do not normally fast during the 7 days after passover, try it. I am sure there are many who fast from something for a day or a week to get closer to God. Don’t you think that fasting as God says you should would bring you that much closer to pleasing Him? To being in communion with Him?

Forget the ham- do a turkey or a chicken. No lamb- that is not allowed because the lamb is the demanded sacrifice and it must be done at the Temple, but the Temple doesn’t exist anymore so we don’t do lamb on Passover. Chicken, turkey, maybe a nice brisket, no bread- only matzah for the next week. No cakes, no nothing with any yeast in it at all.

Try it. Do what God says and He promises to bless you (read Deuteronomy 28.) Don’t get all caught up in that drek about obeying Torah means you aren’t under the blood- that’s nothing but a bunch of fertilizer taught by those who don’t understand and don’t want to obey God to those who don’t want to make their own decision about how to worship God.

Here are my two most favorite ways to eat matzah: spread butter lightly over it with salt (warm the butter a bit first or it will crack the matzah)- YUM!!! And for breakfast eat Matzah Brei: soak matzah in warm water, when it’s soft wring out the water (carefully) and then drench the matzah is an egg wash with a little milk (and cinnamon), then fry in a frying pan greased with butter. Serve hot with syrup or sugar. It’s sort of a Jewish french toast, and I cannot believe you won’t LOVE it!

Chag  Sameach!!

What Now?

This week I seem to be on a pathway leading to somewhere; where, I don’t know.

Monday I felt led to write about building our belief system  in something (hopefully God), and yesterday it was about telling people what our beliefs are without forcing it down their throat because, ultimately, it is between each one of us and God. So we have chosen what to believe, and we are open to telling others what we believe for their sakes, but respectfully remembering it is their choice.

I guess today the next thing to discuss is: what do we do when they don’t want to believe what we do? How do we live with this? How do we change their minds, for their sakes?

That’s an important point: it has to be for their sake, not for our pridefulness, that we talk to people. I know I am prideful- I confess it, I admit it, and I deserve to be (that last part is just a joke, really.) We need to put our own need to be believed and listened to behind us when we are talking about God because it is all about God and not about us; it is OK to present ourselves as an example of what we are talking about, but we shouldn’t be the main topic (especially not in our own minds.)

I have been “in charge” for a good part of my career, and now that I am approaching the age where social security is going to be more of an income producer than a salary reducer, I feel that even if I am not in charge, my experience is useful. As such, I will offer my advice now and then, especially when it is asked for.

BTW…your opinion may be of great intrinsic value, but it has no perceived value at all until someone asks for it.

What I have learned from being in management is that just because someone thinks they have a great idea, even if it is a great idea, it may not be appropriate to the situation. In many cases, the person offering the advice is not aware of all the factors, so even when what they offer is good it will not work because of things they are unaware of. Even so, often people will become upset or angry when they offer their advice and it is not taken. That is pridefulness, and actually disrespectful to the person who has to make the decision.

Yeshua said that we should always respect those in charge because God put them there. Even when the person in charge is a total jerk, and every good and appropriate piece of advice you give is ignored, it is that person’s responsibility to make the final decision. So, if you give really good advice and he or she ignores it, just wait. Sooner or later things that go around will come around, and sometimes God, in His infinite mercy, will actually let us see that happen.

Most of the time we don’t see it, but we can trust in the Lord that it will happen. Just like I talked about yesterday, everyone gets their comeuppance, good or bad.

This holds true when we give advice about salvation and talk about the Lord. We have formed our beliefs, and we have offered them to people to help that person come to the truth. After we have had our say, we wait to see if the seed of salvation is absorbed by good soil, or if it has no more effect than shouting into the wind.

Now comes the hard part- being totally ignored, maybe even having our beliefs insulted, and not being offended. We can be a little miffed if we are insulted, and if so, there is nothing wrong with gently saying, “I allow you to believe what you want to without insulting you, and if you can’t be as respectful to me as I have been to you, then I don’t want to talk to you anymore about this.” Let’s assume that we are talking with someone who is not insulting, just not accepting what we say as valid for them. It’s hard to see someone rush headlong into what we know, absolutely, is death and eternal suffering. It is much, much harder when it is someone we love or care about. But we have to hold firm; we have to respect their right to decide for themselves, and we have to show them in our compassionate reply that we are not Bible-thumpers who can only preach fire and brimstone. We need to say, gently, lovingly and painfully (without trying to lay some guilt trip on them) that we respect their right to choose, and we hope they don’t mind too much if we continue to pray for them.

I usually like to include in my discussion, somewhere, that I know why I believe what I do, but can they tell me why they believe what they do, and they cannot say it is because that’s what they’ve been told or “just because”- those are not acceptable reasons.

From years in the sales business I learned the best way to make someone change their mind is not to point out where they are wrong, but simply to get them to question themselves. People only believe half of what you tell them, but they believe 100% of what they say. When we ask the right questions, and they realize they don’t have a “real” answer, they start to doubt themselves. Questioning ourselves is the first step to coming to the truth. If what we believe stands up to our own cross-examination, we are standing on a solid foundation. If we can’t answer our own questions with certainty, then we need to re-evaluate what we believe.

It is hard to see those we love and care about walk headlong to destruction, smiling and joking all the way to the end of the cliff, along with all the other Lemmings. It hurts, and we just want to smack ’em upside their head…but we can’t. It won’t do any good to kick against the goads (as Yeshua said), or throw pearls before swine (He said that, too.) All we can do is make them question themselves, offer the answers we know are true, and let them decide what they will believe.  Oh, I almost forgot- we need to show them what we are talking about by demonstrating it in our life. It’s one thing to talk the talk, but if we don’t walk the walk they will not see any reason to change. It has to be “Do as I say, and watch me do as I say” or it means nothing. No one will go to a restaurant you recommend if you say you would never eat there, right?

I think I have come to the place I didn’t know where I was heading to when I started writing this morning.

Here is my “A-B-C’s” for missionary work:

A– form your belief system;

B– share your beliefs and why you believe, respectfully understanding everyone has a right to make their own choice; and

C– humbly allow others to ignore you, but continue to pray for them and let them see your belief system at work in you.

I think that’s all we need; at least, it’s a good start. Don’t you think so?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parasha Vayikra (He Called) Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26

This book is also known as the Torat Kohanim, or Laws of the Priests. It is all about the Priesthood, regulations for how they are to act, how they get paid and also how to identify clean from unclean. The 7th Sabbatical year known as the Jubilee Year, as well as rules on tithing and redemption of the first born, all are part of being holy unto the Lord and for being a priest.

Of course, it’s good to know stuff even if you aren’t a priest.

The most important parts of this book, to me, are Chapter 11 (Kosher regulations), Chapter 23 (God’s Festivals, or Holy Days) and verse 19:18 (love they neighbor as thyself.)

What is important about this book is that we can learn what God’s perspective is about things. Men have interpreted the word of God so differently for so long that now we have all these different religions and teachings, and His word has become so polluted that we have lost His perspective. Reading Leviticus will help us see what God wants us to do.

For instance, Chapter 11 does NOT tell us what foods are clean and what foods are not- it tells us what IS food. In other words, what God says is unclean is not even to be considered “food.” He uses the word “unclean”, but also “abomination” and “detestable” to describe what we are not to eat. The Hebrew word that identifies the beasts (not food, but beasts) that are unclean is the same Hebrew word used in Exodus in the story of the rape of Jacob’s daughter Dinah, where it said she had been violated by the son of the Hivite king. The word is used to mean eating these unclean things results in a total violation, physically and spiritually, of the person- eating an unclean thing is a violation of all that is holy, from God’s perspective. It is not food we are not supposed to eat- it is simply not “food” at all. This is important when we read in Mark when Yeshua declared all food clean- although the story has nothing to do with kosher laws (it was about a hand washing ceremony.) When Mark said Yeshua declared all food clean, he did not mean pork and shellfish. To a First Century Jew that was not “food”, because God says it is not “food” here in Leviticus. Without understanding God’s perspective correctly by understanding Leviticus, we can be misled and taught incorrectly  without even knowing it.

There is also a difference between holy days and a holiday- the former is what God says we should celebrate to honor Him and the latter are what humans made up to honor God. The 7 Holy Days in Leviticus (Chapter 23) are the ones, and the way, we should honor God as He said we should. Two of those have been altered by the Rabbi’s: Rosh Hashanah and Shavuot. Rosh Hashanah is not a Jewish New Year according to God. God said that Pesach (Passover) is the beginning of our year. Rosh Hashanah is, from God’s perspective, Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) and a memorial day. It is the beginning of the Ten Days of Awe during which we review our failure to do as God has commanded, in preparation for Yom Kippur. Also Shavuot is different- the traditional celebration is that of the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai, but God said it is to be a spring harvest festival and a presentation of the first fruits.

Hey- there’s nothing wrong with holidays (well, maybe Easter and Christmas need a strong review, but they have become so socialized and commercialized I don’t know if anyone really thinks they are religious anymore, except from a historical viewpoint), as long as we know which are the true Holy Days God wants us to celebrate, and we celebrate them as He said we should.

The Golden Rule is also found here, which is one of the two most important commandments that exist, according to Yeshua (and many of the great Jewish Rabbi’s, as well.) Even this simple and easy to understand rule has been attacked by Bible critics, stating that Hillel and Tobit stated the rule in a negative way (do not do unto others as you would not want them to do to you) but Jesus said it “correctly” by stating it in a positive way (do unto others as you would have them do unto you.) Horse apples! In the days when these arguments were made, it was considered the same to say it either way. People just have to screw up everything. Oy!

This book tells us how we should live- wholly holy, because our God is holy. How many times does God say that we should be holy because He is holy? I can’t even count that high. This book tells the Priests (Kohanim) how they should live and their duties as Priest, and since the nation of Israel is to be a nation of Priests to the world, this book is as important to know and follow to any member of the other 11 tribes as it is to the members of the Tribe of Levi. And it also applies to anyone who sojourns with the Jewish people (that means anyone who worships the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), whom God said is no different than a “natural born Jew” when it comes to both the rights under the Torah, as well as the obligations under the Torah.

That’s what makes it so hard for Christian-raised people who are trying to get back to their Hebraic roots (or become Messianic Jews)- they like being given the same rights under Torah that the Jewish people have always had, but they often balk when it comes to living under the same regulations that the Torah demands.

You can’t have one without the other, so if you want to worship God as He said to worship Him, you need to live by this book (remember- God has no religion, only His commandments, regulations and ordinances which He declared in the Torah.)

To worship God as He says we should, we must stop choosing and picking what are ceremonial laws (Mishpatim) from moral laws (mitzvot) from civil laws, from other laws we can’t understand (Hukkim), from whatever- whether moral, ceremonial or any other “type” of law, these are the ways God said we should live and how to worship Him. Anything else, ANYTHING ELSE, is not from God.

So, nu? Do you want to worship God as He said to, or not? What would…no, make that what did…. Jesus do?

Truthful Liars

In the early part of the 15th Century, if you asked a scientist about the world, he would have told you it was flat.

In the 18th Century if you asked a doctor how to cure diseases he would have told you to bleed the patient.

In the 19th Century, the US Government told the Native American’s they would be relocated and left alone forever.

For many centuries, many Christians have been teaching that Jesus fulfilled the law, thereby doing away with it.

Since the 2nd or 3rd Century Jewish teaching has been that Jesus created a new religion.

All lies. Every single one of them. But they were not told by liars; at least, not people who lied on purpose. They were told by people who believed what they said because this is what they had been taught by their professors and their religious leaders. Who learned it from their professors and religious leaders.

But that doesn’t change the truth that it’s a lie.

Today we all know the Earth is round, ultimately because we can view it from God’s perspective. It’s much easier to see how round the Earth is when you are above it. We also know that diseases are caused by germs because we have microscopes that let us see the teensy tiny little bugs that make us sick. Again, we can see it from God’s perspective.

But we still think that the Old Covenant is for Jews and the New Covenant is for Christians. We still believe, in some circles, that the Jews have been rejected by God because they rejected Yeshua, and we still believe that if you are a Jew and believe Yeshua is the Messiah, then you can’t be a Jew, anymore.

Lies! Untruths! Dreck! In fact, if you collected these various teachings, from both Jews and Christians, you could fertilize a rose garden the size of Texas!

Jesus Christ is NOT a name- it is a bad translation of a worse transliteration.  Here’s the etymology of this made-up name, in a nutshell: Yeshua ha Mashiach means the salvation of the Lord, the Messiah. Jesus was never called “Jesus” when He walked the earth, or for a few centuries after that. His name was, and still is, Yeshua. When the first Gospels were written for distribution, the language of the world was Greek, but there is no Greek word for “God’s Salvation.” It didn’t exist, culturally or religiously, so they made up a word that sounded like Yeshua to identify the person. A word that sounds like another word is a transliteration, and for “Yeshua” it was “Jesu”. Jesu, in and of itself, has no meaning. When the Greek was translated into Latin, Jesu was made into Jesus. Maschiach, the Anointed One, also had no Greek counterpart, so the term Cristos was used. This represented rubbing oil on a shield, which is what the Greek soldiers did to keep their leather shields supple. As with Jesu, when Latinized Cristos became Christ.

We have all been taught that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Messiah, but the truth is that “Jesus Christ” is a false name;  Yeshua ha Mashiach is our Saviour. Yeshua is the name above all names, and the only name that saves.

But don’t blame these people for the way they have misled us, for they have also been misled. The most difficult lie to ferret out is the one from someone who believes what they are saying is the truth. That’s why they are truthful liars. And these lies have become the truth to so many people, and for so long a time, that it is almost impossible for anyone now to accept the truth that they are lies.

So, how do you know the truth from a lie? Well, we know about the earth and about disease because, as I say above, today we can see them from God’s perspective. The logical course to take if you want to know the truth about Yeshua, what He taught, and what and who He is is to see Him from God’s perspective. We all have that ability and that opportunity, because God gave it to us.

It’s called the Tanakh, and (yes, my Jewish non-believing brothers and sisters), the New Covenant,too. Together they make up the entire Bible.

The Tanakh is the God-inspired writings of eye-witness accounts by Jewish men and women of their interactions with God. From Moses writing what God told him to write, to the history of the kings of Israel and Judea, to the warnings of the Prophets, the Megillot (writings, scrolls) of the people who had individual encounters with God and whose story demonstrates God’s influence and power, to the end of Jewish occupation of their Homeland, taken away captive by Babylonia and still waiting for their promised Messiah.  The New Covenant is the God-inspired writings of the eye-witness accounts of Jewish men and women who wrote down the history of their encounters with God, and with one man who proved Himself to be the Messiah through His miraculous works and His resurrection. The same thing is true of both these books- they are God-inspired, they are written by Jews, about Jews, and for Jews. They are about God and His Messiah, and the New Covenant takes up where the Old Covenant left off. Additionally, the New Covenant takes us to the End of Days, just as the Old Covenant did. Except the New is more detailed.

But it is all one story, one beginning and one end; one God, one Messiah, Jews and Gentiles being saved by God’s love and forgiveness. All the same.

God gave us the Torah, God inspired the writings of the rest of the Tanakh, and God inspired the writings of the B’rit Chadashah (Gospels), as well. Jewish men and women, even as children, are taught the New Covenant is a lie, Jesus was Jewish but created a new religion and, thereby, isn’t Jewish anymore, and if you are a Jew and even think about believing in Jesus, you can’t be a Jew.

Christians also teach that Jesus was a Jewish man, but after He was resurrected He did away with the law (Torah) and that it is only for Jews, because they rejected Jesus. There are “right-wing” Christians, called Replacement Theologists, who go as far as to say that God has now rejected the Jews and that they, the Christians, are the “new” Jews, the Israel of God that Shaul talks about in Galatians. They also say that for a Jew to believe in Jesus that person can’t be a Jew, anymore.

Lies. Lies from the very pit of Sheol. Lies designed to keep those seeking the true Messiah from finding Him, and those who think they are saved from really being saved because they do not follow God’s laws and commandments so they can’t produce any fruit.

Look at this from God’s perspective- He gave it to us. It’s called the Bible- the ENTIRE Bible, which is Genesis through Revelations. Even if you don’t believe Jesus (Yeshua) is your Messiah, read about Him. What can it hurt? He lived His life as a Jewish man, He died for all of us, Jews and Gentiles, and His resurrection was as a Jewish man. He never said a single word against the Torah; in truth, He taught from Torah! There was no other scripture, so if He taught from Torah, then it is logical that He supports Torah. I mean, let’s get real, people: Yeshua taught from the Torah, He supported Torah, his Father told Moshe to write the Torah down, Yeshua did His Father’s will (He says that many times) so He had to teach Torah was right and valid. He even says, in Matthew 5:17, he didn’t come to change anything in the Torah.  The other writings, mostly by Shaul (Paul) all uphold and support the Torah, as well. How could any of the disciples or followers of Yeshua teach anything but what Yeshua taught? Didn’t Yeshua say that a student is not greater than his teacher? Therefor, what the students (Talmudim) of Yeshua taught had to be Torah!

John says the Torah became flesh, that Yeshua was the living Torah! How could Yeshua teach against Himself?

That’s why if you want to know the truth, from God’s perspective, you need to read the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, and back again. Over and over, and to ask God to lead you with His Ruach (Spirit) to see the truth about Him, His Messiah, and the entire plan of creation.

That’s the only way you can know the real truth.

Don’t accept what anyone tells you, not me, not your Rabbi, not your Pastor or Priest, not no one, not no how. Listen to them, sure- they deserve your respect, but respect for them doesn’t mean you should blindly accept from them.

Truthful liars are everywhere: in your family, in your schools, in your government, in your Shul or Church, and they can be anyone. Anyone at all. The only way you can know the truth is to determine it for yourself. And realize that you may be lying to yourself, even now. These people are lying to themselves, but they don’t realize it.

Yeshua tells us that teachers have an extra responsibility, and that when the blind lead the blind they both fall into a hole. Even worse, He says that those that sin and teach others to sin will be least in the kingdom of heaven. There is a promise in that, since He says they will be least, but still, in heaven. However, if you are taught that Jesus isn’t the Messiah, or that the Torah is just for Jews, or that because you are saved by the blood that is all you need, or that as long as you are a “good” person you go to heaven, then you are not being taught the path to salvation; in truth, you are being led to destruction and eternal damnation.

But, don’t take my word for it. Go ahead- read about it yourself in your Bible. I suppose you have one, somewhere. If not, go to Barnes and Noble and get one. If I may, stay away from the King James version- too anti-Semitic for my tastes. Try to find a Messianic version, like the David Stern “Complete Jewish Bible”, especially if you are Jewish. Get to know who Yeshua is, and forget this “Jesus” guy that is some blond haired, blue-eyed Westernized version of the truth. Get to know the real Messiah, whose name is Yeshua, who was born and died a Jewish man teaching the truth about God’s Word, not creating anything new but simply helping us to understand the true meaning of what God tells us in the Torah.

It was the men that followed behind, not immediately behind, but a few centuries later that screwed it all up. Just like in the book of Judges, those that knew Him not did not follow Him correctly. Except for in the book of Judges, God continually forgave the Jewish people when they did T’Shuvah and called to Him for help, but in the B’rit Chadashah we do not see the salvation come over and over. We see now the final salvation, the one that saves all for all time, and what will happen when God finally drops the other shoe.

They are so alike, the Old and the New Covenants. Both tell of God’s works, both tell of a Messiah, both tell of the forgiveness of God, and both tell that there will be a time when all will be judged and only those that have accepted their Messiah will survive the second death. And they both tell us exactly what to look for to know the Messiah.

For over two Millennia we have constantly screwed this up. The Jews saw God on the mountain and saw His miraculous salvation, from Egypt, from their enemies, and yet they still rebelled and only a remnant followed Him as He said they should. The Jews also saw Yeshua, and many, many thousands of Jews recognized Him because they knew their Torah, they knew the Prophets and they could see the truth. Then “mankind” stepped in, restructuring, retelling , retwisting the truth and now we have how many Christian religions?  Just like what we did with the Old Covenant, we have done with the new one. Really- there is no difference, is there? We screwed them both up the exact same way, by interjecting our own rules and placing God’s mitzvot second to Man’s traditions.

Do you get it yet? You have to make up your own mind, and you can’t do that intelligently by just taking what you have been told as the absolute truth. I mean, really? If what you have been told is true, how can there be so many sides to the same story?

Make a decision, and make it an informed decision. All the information you need is in the entire Bible, so read the whole thing. Half-read is half-informed, and you have too much to risk to go into this half-way.

Happy Purim!! Chag S’Meach!! Yom Tov!!

This is one of the happiest festivals we have. Fairs, games, reading the book of Esther (Hadassah) with groggers and shouting.

For those that don’t know the way we read this book in the Synagogue, groggers (noisemakers) are handed out to everyone, adults and children. When we read the book (it’s short) every time the name of Hamen is said, we use the groggers because his name should be blotted out from memory (he who shall not be named!) When the name of Esther is read, we all say, “aaaahhhhhh” because she was so beautiful, and when Mordecai’s name comes up we all shout, “Yay!!” because he’s the hero.

There is a traditional belief that during the celebration of Purim we are to imbibe so much that we get too drunk to know Mordecai from Hamen, and the favorite food of the night is Hamentashen, a cookie that is shaped like a three-cornered hat (which Hamen is supposed to have worn) and the center is filled with prune (traditional filling), or other fruit jellies, such as apricot or cherry, or even poppy-seed.

One of the more interesting facts about the book of Hadassah (I prefer not to use Esther, because even though that is today considered a “Jewish” name, it is actually a form of the Semitic goddess of fertility, Asherah) is that the name of the Lord is not mentioned anywhere in the book. Not even once. The closest we come to even mentioning there is a God is when Mordecai tells Hadassah, who is trying to avoid going to the king, that if she doesn’t stand up for the people, help will come from another place (implying the Lord.) That’s as close as we get to hearing about God.

I have read that this was done because the book was written in Shushan, and as a form of respect to the royalty they left any specific mention of God out of it. I hope that is wrong; Yeshua told us that if we are ashamed of Him then He will be ashamed of us, and I can’t see someone as fearless as Mordecai, who refused to bow before Hamen, worrying that he might upset the king if he mentions God. I think this lack of God’s name or mention is one mystery that we may never solve.

Another thing I speak out about is that Hadassah, who I have always been taught was brave, wasn’t so brave. When Mordecai asked her to intervene on behalf of the Jewish people the first thing she said was no. True, she didn’t come right out and say, “Hey, Unc: I got mine, so tough for the rest of you.” but she used the excuse that if she went before the king, without being called for, she might die. It was only after Mordecai told her just because she is the queen she won’t escape the fate of the other Jews that she relented. I wonder, reading between the lines, if Mordecai wasn’t saying that somewhere, someone (I don’t think it would ever have been him) who knew Hadassah was a Jew would rat her out in order to try to save their own life. From my perspective, Hadassah had to be coerced into saving her people. That doesn’t detract from the fact that she did risk her life, but she clearly wasn’t up to it without a “push” from good old Uncle Mordecai.

And she isn’t alone. Moses needed more than push, Jonah almost had to drown, and Gideon tested the Lord with sheepskin and morning dew. Twice! Not all the great heros of the Bible were heros right from the start. It reminds me of the parable Yeshua tells of the two sons (it’s in Mattitayu.) The one who first said no but changed his mind is the one that actually did what the father wanted, while the other immediately said he would do as asked, but he never did. The first son, who initially was rebellious and disrespectful, was the one who ended up being the more obedient.

Being a godly person isn’t easy, and often we may find ourselves looking for ways to avoid what God calls us to do. If you see this in yourself, there is no need to berate yourself or feel low, so long as you are working towards obedience. In the end, God wants obedience, and He is more than willing (and He shows this to us throughout the Bible) to overlook any initial reluctance. In the end, it is what we do that counts.

How many times do we read in the Tanakh that God is not pleased with the blood of bulls and rams, but desires obedience over everything else? The answer is: a lot.

When I was in sales I learned that people don’t mean what they say, the mean what they do. God wants us to do, and if we say we don’t want to, so what?  I also know that even when I don’t want to do something I know God wants me to do, and even if I do it kvetching and arguing and whining about it, so long as I do it I am pleasing the Lord.

Of course, it would be even more pleasing to Him if I just did it without all the drama. Or better yet, if I did it willingly and cheerfully. Now that, in my case, would be a miracle!

Enjoy this wonderful holiday, and remember what we Jews always like to say as a “short and sweet” condensing of our history:

They tried to kill us, we killed them. Let’s eat!

Take comfort in knowing that the hero’s in the Bible didn’t always start out that way, just as we didn’t start out as Believers. It isn’t what we say, or even what we want, but what we do that will determine our future.

So, nu? What are you doing to determine your future?

God’s Mercy in Action

Do you recall what happened when Joshua first attacked Ai?

They had just come from a great triumph at Jericho, defeating the fortified town and destroying all the people and all the booty, just as God commanded.

Oh, but wait! Someone didn’t destroy all the booty, did he? Achan kept some of the spoils, against the commandment of God, and because of that the entire community (God sees the Children of Israel as a single entity) suffered defeat when they attacked Ai. Only a handful of the inhabitants routed the army of 3,000 Israelites, and could have damaged, if not destroyed, the fierce reputation that Israel was beginning to generate.

After the sin was atoned for (at the cost of the life of Achan, his entire family and all their possessions), the next attack at Ai was totally successful.

Here’s the part where, after such a harsh punishment, we see God’s mercy: God told Joshua that after destroying the town and people of Ai, the Israelites could keep the spoils. Achan paid the price for his disobedience, but God saw the weakness of the people, and instead of testing them further He mercifully relented and allowed them to keep the spoils, knowing that they were unable to control themselves.

Often I heard it said that God will never test us beyond our measure, and I believe that. However, I also see in the Bible that God will, initially at least, test us to the full extent of our self-control and obedience.  The man who collected sticks on the Sabbath (in B’midbar/Numbers) was killed for his sin, yet those that collected extra manna were not killed for their sin (to God, sin is sin- there is no little sin or partial sin, so collecting extra manna when told not to is no different than collecting sticks on the Sabbath.) All that happened to them was that the manna did not survive longer than the regular manna.

God showed His mercy to the children of Israel in the desert. How many times did He want to destroy them for their sins? He sent birds to give them meat, but they suffered a plague from it which Aaron stopped. He sent poisonous snakes to kill them, but then he mercifully allowed those bitten to live; I am sure that many died before Moses made the brass snake that kept people alive. He sent a plague against them that Pinchus stopped, He sent a plague against them when David sinned with the census, but then withheld His hand. He was even merciful to Ba’alam by not killing him on the road to curse the Jewish people (Ba’alam got his later, though, for the sin of telling Bilam how to entice the Jewish men into sin.)

God starts out with His laws and commandments, and the first ones to disobey usually are the ones who end up showing that God is serious. The first to disobey get the worst of it, but it seems, as I read the Manual, that God’s mercy will intervene after that and even though others may sin, their punishment is less severe.  God is our King, but His mercy allows us to survive our own disobedience, as a people. Individuals will suffer, but the people will go on. God told Moshe (Exodus 33) that He will show mercy to those whom He will show mercy, and have compassion for those whom He will have compassion for.

Basically, God says that He will choose who gets the full monty and who doesn’t. It’s not our choice, so, in essence, you pays your money and you takes your chances. If we choose to sin, we may get away with our lives, we can be forgiven, but we may end up destroyed in a heartbeat, too.

Do you really want to take that chance? Is the reward we get from any sin worth our life? Our eternal soul? Achan, Saphira, Ananias, the guy who collected sticks- they all died in their sin.

God is King, Judge, and merciful Father. All in one. He will decide what the outcome of a sin is, and we have to decide to try to keep from sinning. He will forgive those who seek forgiveness, over and over. We see that throughout the Tanakh- no matter how often Israel sinned against the Lord, when they did T’Shuvah and cried out to Him, even though they fully deserved their punishment and the suffering they were undergoing, His mercy came forth upon them and He sent them a saviour. The Book of Judges shows this happening, over and over.

Trust God to be merciful, but never, never, NEVER expect Him to be merciful when you want Him to be. It’s His choice, not yours. The best thing to do is be as obedient as you can. God has set the rules and it is up to us to follow them. If  we fail to obey by accident He has shown He is willing , even desiring, to forgive when we come before Him asking forgiveness. However, if we disobey purposefully, well…you are taking your chances with His mercy. Personally, I don’t think there is anything on Earth that is worth having if it means taking a chance on God’s mercy. Therefore, as for me and my family, we choose the Lord and His ways.

I know, because of my sinful nature, I will fail to obey at some point in my life. Probably more than just once, too. Because my heart wishes to obey, I have hope from knowing how God has been merciful, and I pray that God will be merciful in His judgement of my actions. I pray that I will be one of those sinners He chooses to have mercy on and compassion for.

Some of you may be feeling uncomfortable with the idea that God may not be merciful, because the usual teaching is all about God’s mercy and compassion, His love, His son’s love, forgiveness of sins, take you as you are, unconditional salvation, happy-happy-happy, yadda-yadda-yadda. All that is true, but we have to also remember that He is holy, the Holy of Holies, and sin is an anathema to Him. It is a stench in His nostrils and He has no desire to be anywhere near sin. We are told that we should not test the Lord, our God, but if we sin and expect Him to be merciful every single time we sin, we are really telling God what to do, aren’t we? He says it is His choice, and He is, after all, the one who makes the rules. He invented this game called life; He made the rules, He set the board, He determines what is a good roll and what is a bad roll, and He has the final say and judgment on everything that happens while you are playing. Don’t even think of expecting His mercy when you intend to sin; if you sin by accident, if you sin before you realize what you are doing, be penitent, ask forgiveness and pray for His mercy. Don’t expect it, don’t demand it, but plead for it in earnest and heartfelt prayer, with a broken spirit and a contrite heart. David knew how to ask for forgiveness, and he was a man after God’s own heart, so do as David did.

God is merciful, He loves every single one of us, and He wants us to have eternal life. He isn’t just willing to forgive- He wants to forgive. BUT…He is God, He is holy, and He will judge. He didn’t make the rules just so we could break them, and He made the rules for everyone. It’s not what we want the rules to mean, it’s what He says the rules mean, and that will count for us or against us. That’s why you need to read the Bible and see what God says, then measure it against what your ‘religion’ tells you, because ultimately you will stand before Him and you will have no one to blame but yourself.

Yes, we are saved by the sacrificial death of Yeshua, and His life, His death and His resurrection is proof that He is Messiah. And yes, He will stand at our side when we are before the Lord on Judgement Day and speak for us. It is His righteousness that saves us, not our own. Yet we still want to be honored, don’t we? Dont’ you want God to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when you are before Him?  I certainly wouldn’t want to hear God say, “Okay, you’re in, but you barely made it; you did a lousy job when you were alive, so you can clean the toilets and dust the stars. And don’t think even think of eating at the adult’s table!”

God is good, all the time. God is righteous and holy, all the time. God is merciful, NOT all the time. God told us this about Himself, so remember that the next time the little red guy with the horns on your shoulder tells you it’s okay to do something because God is merciful. Don’t test God and don’t take His mercy for granted. Do what is right and let righteousness guide your way.

Covenants Don’t Change, and They Don’t Go Away

There are 5 Covenants that God made with us. The first was the Noahide Covenant, then the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic. Finally, there is the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31).

The usual Christian teaching is that the New Covenant did away with most of the previous 4 covenants, leaving only what they (ridiculously) call either “moral” or “ceremonial” laws. The teaching is that the ceremonial laws (which I think are whatever they don’t want to follow) are still valid for Jews but not for Christians.

There are some 613 commandments (as told in Jewish teachings) in the Torah; about 1/3 have to do with the sacrificial system. These laws are not done away with, but they are impossible to obey because they deal with the sacrifices that are to be made at the Temple, and the Temple doesn’t exist anymore. There are a whole bunch of sermons in that fact, alone, but we aren’t going there today.

The other laws are not ceremonial- do you consider commandments about having fair weights and lending at interest “ceremonial”? Do you think that helping your neighbor is “ceremonial”. No? Oh, no- clearly, helping a neighbor is a moral law. Is it? Which is moral and which is not? Who’s to say: you? Me?

God made covenants and these covenants are not exclusionary. In other words, the Abrahamic Covenant did not override or overturn the Noahide Covenant. It added to it, it supplemented it, it complemented it. Same with the others.

Noah basically was told by God He wouldn’t destroy the Earth by flood. The rainbow was the sign and the blood of the millions of dead people was how the covenant was sealed (all covenants are sealed by blood.) Then the Abrahamic Covenant, which added by saying all the people that God won’t destroy will be led into righteousness by a Nation of Priests God will raise up through the seed of Abraham, who will be a blessing to the world.  The Mosaic Covenant then added the rules by which that nation will live. The Davidic added that the ultimate Kohen Gadol (High Priest) would be a descendant of David and also be a king with an everlasting kingdom. Lastly the New Covenant, the final promise, which says:

(1) all the people whom God won’t destroy;

(2) who are blessed by the seed of Abraham;

(3) who live by the codes and laws given to Moses;

(4) who are led to salvation and ruled by the eternal king from David’s descendants (who is the Messiah);

(5) will then be given, permanently, the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit).

And, with the Ruach to help them, they will be able to produce the good fruit they are required to produce which demonstrates their T’Shuvah (turning from sin) during their lives, and which they can present to God at Judgement Day,

Each covenant builds on the previous one- there is no overturning or doing away with, at all. God’s covenants are eternal; as long as He is alive and one human is still alive, every covenant, every condition of the covenants, is valid, real, and still in effect.

Don’t let anyone fool you or tell you that some laws aren’t valid anymore, that some are ceremonial and not required, or that some are done away with, altogether. Yeshua didn’t come to change the law but interpret it correctly and show us all how to live it. That’s what He says in Matthew 5:17. Read the entire verse; in fact, don’t stop there but read the whole chapter. The covenants of God are eternal and valid, true and necessary.

What God has said is not subject to human intervention, human denial, or human interpretation. The covenants are not delivered as a vision or need to be interpreted- they are clear as glass. There is nothing any human should do except obey them as best as he or she can. ALL of them!

The greatest victory the Enemy has won is that he managed to separate those seeking the Messiah from those finding the Messiah. The way he did it was the usual method for the Enemy: he just let mankind do their own thing, subtly leading them to think it is okay to identify God’s laws and commandments as necessary or unnecessary, ceremonial or moral.

At first we had those who believed in the one, true God and all the rest were pagans. Then we had Jews and pagans; then we had Jews who believed in Yeshua and Jews who didn’t, pagans who believed and were becoming Jewish, and all those other pagans. Then we had Jews, Christians, and a few pagans still hanging around. Now we have 6 sects of Jews (Hasidic, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Messianic), any number of Christian sects (Catholic, Western Orthodox, Lutheran, Protestant, Baptist, with all their subdivisions, Amish, and many, many more) all of whom have their own ideas of how to worship God. Oh yes- believe it or not, we still have pagans hanging around.

As I read it in the Manual, God doesn’t have ceremonial or moral laws, He doesn’t say these laws are for the Jews, these are for the Catholics, these for Mennonites. etc., and He is absolutely clear that these laws and commandments are to be observed throughout all our generations. No end-point, no “up until…”, but forever!

God has no religion, so anyone who believes in God shouldn’t have a religion, either. Period, end of statement, das ist alles, shut the door on your way out!

You want to make it easy, you want to know what to do and how to do it, then read the Bible and just simply follow what God says. Yeshua and the Rabbis of old knew there were just 2 commandments that needed to be followed in order for all the rest to be easily observed: love God and love each other.  If you do that, it doesn’t make the others unnecessary, just easier to obey.

You have your choice to make: follow the laws and commandments in the Torah or try to obey the plethora of laws, regulations and traditions that we find in every religion, which have very little to do with God and everything to do with people enforcing their own will on others in the name of the Lord. That’s the difference between God’s Word and religion: God tells us how to follow Him to lead us to salvation, and religion tells us we must obey human laws and traditions over God’s word in order to allow other humans to rule over us.

The Bible is clear in more than one place that we should never add to or detract from the commandments that God has given us. If we have been following that, then where did all these different religions come from? Read my book and see where there are differences, or just read the Bible and don’t allow yourself to have preconceptions of the meaning of what you read. Let the Ruach lead you to understanding.

God has no religion, and we shouldn’t either. We should have only God. Really: if we have God, what else do we need?

Jewish or Jesus: Why Not Have Both?

In the Seventies, the big spiritual saying was, “I found it!”, meaning (of course) Jesus. There was also at that time a big resurrection (no pun intended) of Messianic Judaism, which has continued to grow. At that time, being Jewish, not caring, but still having been brought up being taught Jesus is a Jew-hater that started a new religion and Jews are Christ-killers, my response to “I’ve found it!” was: “I’m Jewish- I never lost it!”

That’s true, in a sense- you can only lose what you once had. I never had my Messiah, I never had the understanding about who Jesus was (Jesus Christ is not a name- we’ll get to that in a moment) and I never really had even a chance of getting to know the truth about the New Covenant writings because they were an anathema, forbidden and any thoughts about even wondering who Jesus is was traitorous!

About “Jesus Christ”: Yeshua ben Yosef was the name Jesus was given, lived with, and was called by all who knew Him or heard of Him for the first century or two since His birth. Yeshua is Hebrew and means, essentially, the salvation of God, or God’s salvation (ben Yosef is ‘son of Joseph’.) When the B’rit Chadashah (Good News) books about Yeshua were being written, except for Mattitayu (Matthew) which was most likely written in Hebrew (some scholars say), the other New Covenant writings were in Greek, the language of the world back then. There is no Greek word for Yeshua, since both culturally and religiously there was no Greek reference for God’s salvation, or for Messiah (Anointed One.) So, they did what we usually do when we have a word with no translation- we use a transliteration, a word that sounds like the meaning. For the Greeks, Yeshua sounded like a Greek man’s name, Jesu. As for Maschiach (Messiah/ anointed one) they used Cristos. That was a method of rubbing oil on a shield to keep the leather supple. When Jesu Cristos was Latinized, it became Jesus Christ. So, the etymology of “Jesus Christ” is a Latinized translation of a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name/title Yeshua Ha Mashiach.

Before Yeshua was born, the Septuagint was written. This was a Greek translation of the Tanakh and was distributed throughout the Diaspora for the Jews living there. As with Yeshua’s name, there were many words and ideas that had no relationship with Greek culture or religion, so the authors created a kind of Greek-Hebrew language. If you ask Greek speakers who read the Septuagint, they will tell you that there are words that have absolutely no meaning in the Greek language. Shaul (Paul) used some of these terms when writing his letters to the Messianic Congregations (there were no churches in the First Century CE) that he established. I think that is why some of his writings have been historically misunderstood, and used as a polemic against the Jewish people. And as such, have created the subtle but conscious anti-Semitic interpretations in the New Covenant.

Jesus was Jewish, He lived a Jewish lifestyle (more so than anyone ever did, and especially much more than any Jew I have ever known!) and when He was resurrected, He didn’t come back from the dead as a Christian. He also didn’t preach anything, not one thing, different from or against the Torah. If you read the Gospels you will see that His teachings defined the true meaning of the Torah. In Mattitayu 5:17 He insists that He did not come to change the law, but fulfill it. The anti-Semitic usage over the centuries of that statement has been to tell Christians that having fulfilled the Law, it was done away with. NOT!!! In First Century Rabbi-speak, to fulfill the law meant to interpret it correctly.  Read the New Covenant writings- Yeshua tells us how to follow the Torah, not how to ignore it.

Think about this for a minute: Yochanan (John) tells us in His Gospel that there was the Word (i.e., Torah) and that the Word became flesh (i.e., Yeshua), and Yeshua tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand but that His Kingdom will stand forever, so….if Yeshua is the Living Torah, and His kingdom will stand forever, and a house divided against itself cannot stand, then for Yeshua to say anything against the Torah is a house divided against itself (since He is teaching contrary to who and what He is) and thereby, based on His own words, His kingdom will not last forever. If that is so, then when He said His kingdom will last forever, He lied. And, if Yeshua lied, He isn’t the sinless Lamb of God, His resurrection must be false and we have no salvation.

Ergo: if you believe that Yeshua did away with Torah, then you have no salvation.

This seems like a good argument for a Jewish person to use against believing in Yeshua except for one thing: it is a false argument based on a false assumption. Yeshua did not lie because He did not teach against the Torah; in fact, He upheld every Torah commandment as necessary. He worshipped Adonai, and He did the will of Adonai. The same is true about Shaul- even though his writings are a little convoluted. However, when you carefully dissect what he says (he talks like a real Jew!) he is always upholding the Torah as a valid set of rules and laws. He talks about the future often, and when the New Covenant writings talk about the future they often foretell the end of Torah, which is no different than what we read in the Torah, itself. The End Days (Acharit HaYamim) will see a new heaven and a new earth, and a new temple with God living amongst us (read Ezekiel.)  I don’t think anyone can actually say what rules or laws we will be living with: Jeremiah 31:31 (THE New Covenant) says that God will change our hearts, and Joel tells us the same, so what will happen is that (according to the Tanakh) we will have hearts of flesh and the Torah will be written on them. In other words, we will also be living Torahs. If you are a living Torah, do you still need a written Torah to tell you how to act?

I don’t think anyone can tell us what it will be like after all is done. But the important thing is that we are on our way, and not only are we getting closer to the end, we are picking up speed!

If you aren’t right with God, better get a move on. If you are Jewish, better take a new look at this Yeshua guy. Forget the Westernized, blue-eyed, blonde-haired Aryan Jesus of the Christian right-wingers, and ignore (I know it’s hard, but you have to try) the bigotry from both the Jewish and Christian worlds about Jews believing in Yeshua and still being Jewish, and make up your own mind. The Jews say you can’t be Jewish if you believe in Jesus, and the Christians say if you believe in Jesus you have to stop being Jewish. Weird! They finally agree on something, and it is the absolutely wrong thing to believe.

Listen: there is nothing more Jewish than believing in the Messiah, and the truth is Yeshua is the Messiah God promised us throughout the Tanakh. He is the Jewish Saviour to the Jewish people, who has made it possible for Gentiles to be saved, as well. In the time Yeshua lived and afterwards (for about 200 years), when a Gentile was “saved” by accepting Yeshua as their Messiah, they were becoming Jewish simply because that was all they could be. There were only Jews and Pagans: accepting Yeshua meant they were adopting a Jewish way of life. Nowadays, the Christian world says that if you want to be “saved” by accepting Yeshua, you have to stop being Jewish!

OY! Dey’s all Meshuggah!

Look, it’s simple: God said He would send a Messiah and Yeshua is that Messiah. Don’t take my word for it, and don’t accept anything anyone else tells you. Read the Tanakh so you know what to expect, then read the Gospels to see it come to fruition. Forget the other New Covenant books for awhile- stick to the Gospels until you decide yea or nay about Yeshua. If you decide nay, it’s your right to make that choice- you will regret it. If you decide yea about Yeshua, then before you read further in the Bible, pray to God (not to Yeshua- He isn’t God the Father and He is the means to your salvation, not the giver of it. That has always been, and still is, only God the Father) and confess your acceptance that you are a sinner, that you are unable to overcome your sinful nature, and that you wish to accept the salvation offered by God through the sacrificial death that Yeshua underwent. Accept Yeshua as your Messiah, and ask that God send to you the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, to guide you in doing T’Shuvah (turning from your sin) so you can do what God told His people to do: “Be thou holy, for I am holy” (that’s all Old Covenant stuff, Folks!)

Then wait for it. The Apostles waited 50 days for the Ruach, I waited about 3 months after accepting Yeshua before I received the Spirit. Once you have the Spirit to guide your understanding, hit the rest of the New Covenant.

You can see my testimony here: http://www.jacobshope.com/pages/video3.php

If you are Christian and you have been raised believing in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, you probably should review this, too. I know many, many Christians who ‘believe’ for no other reason than they have been told they believe. Their belief is not heartfelt- it is rote. And they easily and completely accept the lies the “Church” has told them: they only need to be good people to go to heaven, that they have the spirit of God in them because they could correctly answer a few questions, and that they are the new Chosen people since the Jews rejected Christ so God has rejected the Jews. And the BIG one: the Torah is just for Jews because Jesus did away with it and when you follow Jesus you don’t have to follow the Torah.

All lies, all misdirected teachings over millennia, all from the Enemy of God, and sending all who accept those lies blindly into the pit of Sheol.

Make up your own mind. I like “The Matrix” Trilogy- have you seen it? The Oracle constantly tells Neo (the Messiah) that he needs to make up his own mind about what he is, and Morpheus (sort of a John the Baptist figure) tells someone who says to him, “Not everyone believes as you do” that “My faith doesn’t require you to believe.” That’s powerful- we don’t need others to believe something for us to believe it. You shouldn’t accept anything as truth except what you, yourself, have found to be true.

Jewish or Jesus? Here’s the truth- they are both the same! Now go and verify it for yourself.

Two Taboos Too Many

What are the two taboos? Never discuss religion and politics, right? That’s what we are told, and it’s good advice.

The reason I say they are two too many is because when God created everything, His original plan was that there would be only one, non-taboo discussion: Him. The governmental system in the garden was God, the religion was God. That was it. A perfectly run, perfect example of Theocracy.

The de-evolution of this perfect government started with the invention of other gods (man-made, of course) which is what religion has become.

God has no religion. Gee…where have I heard that before?

Then the gods were not enough, so the system split into gods (religion) and human rulership, aka kings (politics), which further devolved the governmental system into the two taboos of today.

We will eventually get back to the perfect Theocracy that God intended, but that will have to wait until Yeshua returns and the Apocalypse is completed.

As the world falls deeper and deeper into revolution, disruption and civil disorder, helped by human intervention with the destruction of our ecosystem and habitats, I can only smile. Not that I enjoy the tsouris, but that I look forward to His return. And I know that won’t happen until things look their worst.

I hope anyone reading this, who is not absolutely sure where you will be after God drops the other shoe, will read some of the older entries in this ministry blog. Go to Category and (especially if you are Jewish) read some of the Jews and Jesus posts, then the Messianic 101 posts. I think that should give you some level of comfort when thinking about who Yeshua, the real Messiah of Israel is (vice that Aryan-looking guy with the blond hair, blue eyes and whose kingdom has been hell-bent on killing the Jews), and help you to understand how things got so separated.

I recommend that we stick to the two taboos, for the time being, and wait until they are one again. Then we won’t need to talk about politics and religion because, well…they won’t exist anymore. It will be just God.

I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait.