Parashah Metzora 2019 (laws for the leper) Leviticus 14 – 15

These two chapters deal with the instructions for cleansing a person from the skin disease usually identified as leprosy (Tzara’at in Hebrew), as well as cleansing of the house if there is a form of Tzara’at (probably an infectious or dangerous mold) in the plaster of the house.  Chapter 15 deals with the instructions regarding any issuance of a bodily fluid.

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The prior chapters taught us how the Cohen (Priest) is to identify Tzara’at in a person and these chapters give God’s instructions for the cleansing, once it has been determined that the person is no longer unclean (or infectious.) Only after the person has been completely cleaned may they re-enter the camp and the Sanctuary.

The basic formula is to bring two animals for sacrifice: one is a sin sacrifice and the other a burnt offering. The sacrifices are performed in this order since the sin sacrifice cleanses the person (spiritually) and the burnt offering represents their rededication to total commitment in obeying God’s instructions.

What I would like to talk about is the instruction in Leviticus 14:14, which is the placing of some of the blood of the guilt offering on the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot.  This is the same procedure when anointing a Cohen.

This placing of the blood represents a consecration of the entire body. We know that placing the blood of the sacrifice on the horns of the altar, as well as sprinkling it on something, makes that thing holy. So, too, the placing of this blood on a person makes them holy, or more correctly in this case, re-consecrates them to the Lord.

The reason for placing it on the ear, thumb, and foot is explained in the Chumash this way: the priest must have his ears consecrated so that he will always be attentive to the commands of God; his hands are consecrated so that at all times he will do God’s will; and his feet consecrated to walk from that time on in holy ways.

When we review the anointing of the Cohanim and the cleansing of people from their sins, we see a pattern. We first ask for forgiveness through the sin and/or guilt sacrifice (this places us in a spiritually clean condition), followed by a burnt sacrifice which represents our total devotion to God. Finally, the blood which cleanses us from the sin is also used to anoint and consecrate us to doing as God instructs.

Only after we have been made “whole” again can we re-enter the camp (physical world), the community (spiritual world), and the Sanctuary (presence of God.)

Today, we don’t bring our sacrifice to the Temple in Jerusalem for two reasons: first, it isn’t there anymore (DUH!) and second, we don’t need to because the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua replaced that one part of the sacrificial system. Thanks to Yeshua, we can be forgiven of our sins right in the comfort of our own home. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t perform, at least in our hearts and minds, the placing of the blood on our ear, thumb, and foot! That action was very important because of what it symbolized, and if we forget about it (because we don’t really have any blood with us) we might neglect to mentally and spiritually rededicate ourselves.

You may ask, “Why do we have to rededicate ourselves at all?” The answer is because when we sin we separate ourselves from God: sin places us outside the camp of the Almighty. We are not under his wings, not in his presence, and thereby unable to properly serve him in whatever house of worship you go to.

This is a hard word to hear, but the Torah tells us it is a fact: when we sin, we are separated from God and outside of his presence. In order to reenter his presence, we must first be cleansed of that sin, then rededicate ourselves to hearing, doing and walking as God directs. Those directions are on the roadmap called the Torah.

So, the next time you ask for forgiveness in Yeshua’s name by means of his bloody sacrifice, don’t forget to place some of his blood on your right ear, thumb, and foot. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually present yourself before the Lord with a heartfelt desire to start all over again, but this time with an even stronger will to sin less than you had sinned before. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you won’t sin again- we all will. Sinning is something God expects of us, and he assumes it might be by accident. That is why he gave us instructions in Leviticus 5:17 specifically for sins we committed accidentally or didn’t know we had done.

Every time we sin we are in the same position Yeshua was just before he gave up his spirit and cried out:

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”)

He was forsaken, meaning ejected from God’s presence, the very moment he took on the sins of the world because sin separates us from God.

Don’t beat yourself up when you sin, but do make sure when you ask for forgiveness by means of the blood of the Messiah that you remember to place that blood on yourself; consecrate yourself to hear, work and walk in obedience to God’s instructions, and rededicate yourself to do better.

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This being Friday, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom and until next time, Baruch HaShem!

Salvation From Both a Jewish and Christian Perspective- Part 5

In part 4 of this series, we learned how these different perspectives evolved. Today we will look at ways that we can try to reconcile these vastly different ideologies to come to a singular, correct understanding of who the Messiah is and what we can expect from him.

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To truly understand the Messiah, we need to look at what we are told about him from the original source, which is the Tanakh (the “Jewish” Bible) and with a proper interpretation of the prophecies we find there. When I say a proper interpretation, I am referring to the dual prophecies regarding the salvation of Israel. In some of the Messianic prophecies, the rabbinical interpretation has been that the prophecy is about Israel, the nation and is not about the Messiah. However, this teaching (looking back in history) is only half-true.

Prophecy can be both spiritual and physical. For example, Isaiah 9:6 (about the child being born and the government on his shoulders) was referring to King Hezekiah- no doubt about that, but that was the physical interpretation. The spiritual interpretation was for the distant future and clearly points to the Messiah. The prophecy in Matthew 24:29 (actually this comes from Isaiah 34:4 and Haggai 2:6 and 2:21) physically means that Jerusalem will be destroyed by Rome, but spiritually refers to the final Tribulation when Messiah returns.

The “New Covenant”, which we find in Jeremiah 31:31, refers physically to the return to Jerusalem of the exiled Babylonian Jews under Cyrus, and the covenant that we can have through Yeshua ha Maschiach (physical return and spiritual salvation.)

One last example: In 2 Samuel 7:12-13, God tells David that he will establish his kingdom forever through one of his descendants who will build a house for his (God) name. The physical prophecy is about Solomon and the spiritual side is about Yeshua. The house Solomon build did not last forever, but the house Yeshua has built, the spiritual house, is an everlasting dominion.

Now that we have established prophecies can be dual, we need to first approach Jews who reject Jesus and Christianity with the truth about Yeshua and his teachings, as well as the truth about Christianity. The first rule of approaching a Jewish person with the Good News of Messiah is this: do NOT use anything from the New Covenant.

First off, Jews do not recognize it as scripture. To use verses from the New Covenant to convince a Jew about Jesus is no different than using verses from the Quran to convince a Jew Allah is their God. Ain’t gonna work:  no how, no way!

Next rule: do not use “Christian” terminology, especially the term “under the blood” because this is a filthy thing to the Jewish mindset. Do not use the name “Jesus Christ” because of what that name represents to Jews (as we discussed in Part 2 of this lesson.) Instead, use Yeshua ha Maschiach when you talk about the Messiah. And, again, use “Messiah” not “Savior” because Jesus Christ is a Savior, but Jews expect a Messiah. I know they mean the same thing, but Jews rarely use the term ‘Savior” so it will help them stay open to hearing you.

The most important thing is for you to know the prophecies about the Messiah that are in the Tanakh. If anything comes up from them about the New Covenant refer back to the original prophecy in the Tanakh.

You can also use extra-biblical writings to help. The works of Josephus are considered to be historically accurate and trustworthy, and he mentions in his history of the Jewish and Roman Wars about Yeshua (referred to as Jesus in some manuscripts) and even how he rose after the third day.

Most Jews, as we have discussed, expect one appearance of Messiah. To offset this we can use Isaiah 9:6 and Isaiah 53: Isaiah tells us the kingdom of the son of David will be established and rule forever, yet he later says that the Messiah will die. The only way to have a dead person rule forever is for that person to make two appearances, or (more accurately) to be resurrected.  We can also find this in Hosea 6:2-3, where Hosea prophecies that after being torn we will be healed and that after 3 days we will be raised up (physical Israel and spiritually the Messiah.) There are also the prophecies in Zachariah: Zachariah 9:9 tells of the king of Israel riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and Zachariah 14:4 tells us about the return of Messiah in the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) and how God will rescue his people. There is also the reference here of the humble king and the fierce king, which coincides with Talmudic prophecy.

In the Talmud, Succah 52a it says the Messiah is the son of Joseph who must be slain, which coincides with Daniel 9:26 declaring that the Messiah will come and be put to death. The Talmud, the Targum and even the Zohar (which Judaism considers heretical) all agree that the Messiah will be both a suffering servant and a conquering king. You cannot have one Messiah fulfilling two totally opposites roles at the same time, so there have to be two comings.

The last thing to cover today is to know the Jewish roots of Christianity so that you can show where today’s Christian thoughts and beliefs about Messiah are similar, if not the same, as the Jewish beliefs. Here are some of those similarities:

  • Through the work of the Messiah the people will be reconciled back to God by the forgiveness of their sins;
  • the miracles that the Messiah will perform;
  • the regathering of Israel in the End Days (use “Acharit HaYamim” and get some extra points!) and all will live in peace;
  • there will be a one-world government, a Theocracy, with Messiah as King over all the world;
  • death and sickness will be done away with; and
  • there will be a great battle that Messiah will win.

We are getting close to the end of this lesson. The next time we get together for this we will continue to learn how to approach the Jewish people with the truth about Yeshua by debunking the many misinterpretations of New Covenant writings which have contributed to the rejection by Jews of anything Christian.

 

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Thank you for being here, please don’t hesitate to comment (just be nice) and until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Parashah V’Ayra 2018 (I appeared) Exodus 6:2 – 9

Moses goes back before Pharaoh to ask for the children of Israel to be freed to go into the desert and worship their God. Pharaoh continues to refuse, calling down on himself and all of Egypt the terrible plagues from God. This parasha describes the first 7 of these plagues, showing how they got more and more destructive as Pharaoh continued to pit himself against God.

And God tells Moses His name, but then again…what’s in a name?

 

To Torah, or Not to Torah: OY! What a Question!

I don’t know where to start on this one, or where it may end. I could probably write a book about this (hmmmm??), but I want to keep it simple, so here I go…

As I have said often, eating ham will not send me to Sheol (the Hebrew word for Hell), and not eating ham will not guarantee me a place in heaven. My sins are forgiven by the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua, so the Torah, which tells me what is a sin and what isn’t a sin (Shaul says in the book of Romans that the Torah actually created sin, in that it defined it) helps me to act in ways that please God, but no longer really keeps me from death because my sins have been, and will continually be, forgiven through Yeshua. Therefore, there is an argument that can be made that it is no longer absolutely necessary to keep the Torah.

BUT…just because we can make an argument doesn’t mean that the argument we make is valid.

The Torah is composed of many things: it has historical information, it has constitutional regulations, it establishes a system of societal laws and statutes that include torts resolution and a penal code, it outlines a health code, it is a marriage certificate between Jews and God, and it also outlines the procedures for how we are supposed to worship God. These laws, statutes, and regulations are commandments, not suggestions- they are direct and absolute requirements.

The justification (this term means, specifically, being forgiven of our sins) we receive through the sacrificial system defined in the Torah is no different that the justification we receive through the sacrifice of Yeshua. The process is still the same: sin, recognize and accept your sin, do T’shuvah (repentance), present your sacrifice to God and God will accept the blood of the innocent sacrifice (remember that the life is in the blood) as a substitution for your lifeblood. That is the process outlined in Torah, and never, ever did anyone think or say that because we could always sacrifice to be forgiven that the Torah isn’t that important. Never has any Jew ever thought that.

Yeshua’s sacrifice did not do away with the sacrificial system, He only replaced the part where we have to bring the sacrifice to the Temple in Jerusalem. Everything else is the same- we sin, we own up to our sin, we repent, we sacrifice (this is the part Yeshua has provided for us) and then we ask God to forgive us by means of substituting the sacrifice’s blood for our own.

So where did someone come up with the idea that because Yeshua’s sacrifice is the only sacrifice we need that we can now do away with Torah? God never said that we could do away with Torah, and Yeshua never said we could do away with Torah, and Shaul (Paul) never said we should do away with Torah. The sacrificial system that provides salvation from sin is no different after Yeshua than it was before Him- it’s just that Yeshua is the substitute we can use instead of bringing a lamb or pigeon to the Temple. No difference otherwise, so what was valid as the way to live before Yeshua came, died and was resurrected, is still valid as the way to live

Oh wait a minute!! Shaul certainly sounded like Torah wasn’t important. I believe that this is where the ‘No Need For Torah” idea started, as a misinterpretation of Shaul’s letters to (mostly) Gentile communities of Believers (there were no churches as we know them today in the First Century.) Shaul never once thought that Torah was unimportant, and he lived it as best as any human could his entire lifetime.  Despite what humans have entitled “Paul converts on the road to Damascus” that you read as the chapter title to Acts 9, Shaul never converted to anything.  When you read his letters you see he did, in fact, go to synagogues.  he did talk to Jews, but he made it his main ministry to go to the Gentiles. He established Gentile filled Messianic communities, and what he taught was what is in Torah. The misinterpretation is rooted in the fact that his main argument was never against observance of the Torah, it was against observance of the P’shat, the literal meaning of the words, in order to achieve salvation. Shaul was not against Torah, he was against the teaching that a legalistic observance would save one’s soul. That was what the Pharisees and most of the Jewish training and understanding of the Torah was at that time- if you do what it says in the Torah, just going through the motions (so to speak) then you can be saved. In fact, if we could perform all the laws and commandments in the Torah (as Yeshua did) then we would be saved: through perfect performance we can find salvation in Torah alone.

The problem is we can’t perform Torah perfectly, so to observe Torah as the means of our salvation, is a lost cause. That is the message Shaul was relating to the Gentiles who were under stress from their old life (to remain pagans) and also from their new life, from Jews who wanted them to do everything in the Torah because if they didn’t they couldn’t be saved.

This is the same drek I get today as a Messianic Jew: Christians who have been taught Torah isn’t needed now that they have Jesus tell me if I still live as a Jew I am not really saved because I am not “under the blood”, and Jews tell me if I believe in Jesus (their understanding is that I must have converted to Christianity) then I am not a Jew anymore. Both of these teachings are absolutely wrong- as a Jewish man who believes Yeshua is my Messiah, the one God promised my people since the beginning, then I am not a Christian, and I am more than just a Jew- I am a completed Jew, in that I have come full circle, from innocence in Eden to sinfulness in the world to Messianic forgiveness through Messiah, and thereby able to commune with God, again and forever more.

So, nu? What do we have? What we have is what we were given from the start- the Torah. The Torah is how God tells us to live, and defines right from wrong, righteousness from sinfulness, and provides the means by which we can be absolved of our sins in order to come into the presence of God. Yeshua is the Messiah God sent so that we can still find forgiveness after the Temple, which is where the Torah said we had to ask for forgiveness, was destroyed. No Temple, no forgiveness, but Yeshua took care of that by becoming the Temple, Himself,and providing the innocent blood (His own blood) for us. So, Torah is still valid, Torah is still necessary, and Torah is still God’s commandment to us all.

We should all try to follow Torah: not in order to be saved, but because it is what God tells us to do. We will receive blessings for obedience and we will not be blessed if we don’t (Deuteronomy 28.)  If we ignore Torah, we are ignoring God- like it or not, that is the truth. Do we need Torah to be saved- no. Do we need to obey Torah to be saved- no. Should we try to obey Torah, anyway- yes, absolutely. Why? Because it is what God tells us to do.

If God tells you do to something, what other reason do you need to do it?

Is there a Salvation gene?

If you are asking yourself, “What the heck is a ‘salvation gene?'”, I have to admit that I wonder about that, myself. And I’m the one who came up with the idea!

The other day I was thinking (yes, it hurts when I do that) about what it means to be made in God’s likeness, and how everyone has a soul. As I thought more on the matter, I wondered if the soul isn’t the only thing we get from God when He forms us in the womb: maybe being made in His image, whatever that entails, includes recognition, at the genetic level, of God. A gene that is a “salvation gene”- one designed to give us a subconscious, deep-in-the-bones knowledge of God’s existence: knowing God exists because it is something that we have built in to our physical make-up.

I thought of this when I was considering why so many people just hate to hear about God’s word. Especially those people who do not believe in God, or who constantly make up their own rules and “understanding” of God’s word (so that it fits into their lifestyle.) I wondered why they are so unwilling to even discuss it; after all, they are willing to argue, ad-infinitum, about politics, sports figures, or almost anything else, but talk about God?- the moment you start they raise shields faster than Captain Kirk seeing a Romulan war bird de-cloak in front of him!

Why? If they don’t believe in God, why be so adamant about not talking about Him? If they think that they are properly following God’s commands (mainly because they have been taught that), why be so afraid to hear a different viewpoint? The answer came to me that maybe, just maybe, it’s because we all have a little bit of God’s Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) in us from birth, even from the moment of conception! When we received a soul, we received also (in God’s image) an innate understanding and recognition of God’s presence in the universe, and what He wants from us.

I once read about what geneticists call a “Hidden Gene”- a gene that might have been active at one time, maybe elongating life, that a mutation reduced to being physically present but no longer functioning. It sits dormant and inert, waiting for a matching gene to find it or some mutative event to allow it to do what it is designed to do.

That is what I am calling the salvation gene. It is there, in our very DNA, recognizing God’s existence and making us know of Him, but it is not fully active. When we accept God’s Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus), and He delivers the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to us, that is the match, so to speak, for this gene to re-enable it. Our very DNA is changed so that the spiritual becomes more important to us than the worldly. We get more pleasure from doing what is right in God’s eyes, and we “mutate” into a better person, slowly, but surely.

Just as God told us He would do, it literally writes His Torah on our hearts.

Doesn’t that make sense? Doesn’t that explain why everyone has some sense of God, even if he or she is absolutely confident, sometimes zealous, that God doesn’t exist? It would explain why people who do not have the Holy Spirit hate to talk about God. They know, deep in their DNA, in their very essence, that God does exist and that they are in rebellion and fighting a lost battle- not a losing battle, not a battle that they have any chance of winning, but a lost battle where their loss is devastating.  I believe that everyone knows when you fight against God, you have no chance of winning. Consequently, they don’t want to hear about their sinfulness and how they are killing themselves; they don’t want to hear about a better way because they know, intrinsically, that it means they have to give up their sin; they don’t want to discuss anything that is different than what they are used to, or what they have convinced themselves is all they need to do, because it means they have to leave their comfort zone.

They are being led by blind leaders who are walking not into a hole, but directly to the edge of a high cliff over a deep ravine!

So, what do we do? Those of us who have the completed gene, we are the ones God wants to save these people. But, we can’t do it by directly telling them how much trouble they are getting themselves into because that won’t work. When I was in sales I learned that people believe no more than half of what you will say, but they believe everything they say: the trick is to get them to say what you want them to say so they will believe it. You can’t do that by telling them what they know is wrong, you do it by asking them questions that will make them doubt their own position.

In other words, ask them the questions they should be asking you, and gently and calmly point out to them that their answers make no sense. Before they will start to hear the truth of what you say, you need to get them to doubt what they are saying.

Maybe this entire lesson is baseless- maybe there isn’t any such thing as a “salvation gene”; maybe what I am thinking is wrong or just fantasy. Then again, maybe it isn’t. Does it really matter?

If you know people who have rejected God and/or Yeshua, whether Jewish or Gentile, or (even worse) people who have been raised as Christians and think they are saved (but have never really accepted Jesus on their own), then it is up to you to try to get them to realize that what they think is the truth is not the truth. You have to try because we who have heard God’s true word are obligated to spread that word. God constantly told the Prophets that if they did not spread His word to the people then the blood of the sinners would be on the Prophet’s head; but, after preaching His message, if the sinner still rejected it then their blood would be on their own head, and the Prophet would be held blameless for their death.

I don’t want to have anyone’s blood on my hands when I meet the Lord- do you?

Freedom Costs Lives

The traditional belief is that after the Fall in the garden of Eden, God sacrificed animals to atone for the sin of Adam and Eve, and that is where He got the animal skins from which He made their clothes. The bible is clear, God is clear- the only way to atone for sin is by the blood of an innocent. The cost of the freedom from sin is an innocent life.

The cost of political freedom is high, too. We who have served in the military, whether in a war zone or not, know that our lives are on the line, every day, because you never know when you will be called. It’s sort of like being a Believer, never knowing when Yeshua (Jesus) will come back. Or, in a more “day-to-day” setting, never knowing when you might be called to serve God’s purpose. It may be to help someone find his or her Messiah, it may be to help an old person carry groceries, it may be to feed a homeless and hungry person.

It may be to give your life for a friend- Yeshua said that there is no greater love than that. It may also be to stand for what is right and Godly in a world that is wrong and satanic.

God has blessed Donna and I very much. Although there is Tsouris in our lives, and we have things go wrong, we are truly blessed. We own our home, we have no debt, and when I can get SSI next year we can afford to let me retire at 62. God willing that things in the world don’t get worse.

Frankly, as much as I appreciate what God has done, and all the wonderful things we plan, I am prepared to live in poverty and distress as the times of the Tribulation grow closer. I am certain that we are close, and although the part of me that always sees the other side says that for thousands of years people have felt this way, I still look forward to the return of Messiah, even though what it means is nearly the total destruction of everything I hold dear and everything I have now. Remember, He isn’t coming back when the trouble starts. It won’t be until it all seems lost, which means that we will all be at the end of our ropes- no money, no homes, destitute, under persecution. It won’t be like sitting in the green room with tea and scones waiting to be called on stage.

The freedom to live under the rule of Messiah will first cost us many lives. Many of those lives will be of Believers who stood fast in the path of evil, who refused to be moved, to take the mark, and who will be killed for their faithfulness.

It’s happening already in many third world countries.

Most everyone accepts that the freedom to live in a free country, like America, costs the lives of some of it’s inhabitants. I think most people know enough about the bible to know that the cost of freedom from sin is innocent blood, but that is of animals, right? Sheep, goats, bulls, cows….right? God created those animals, separated them (in Leviticus 11) as clean and therefore, eligible for sacrifice. Maybe that’s why the bible also tells us to care for our animals and treat them well- after all, if they aren’t perfect specimens they can’t be used as a sacrifice, and that is not good for the sinner.

Believers have accepted that the sacrifice Yeshua made is the one last and ultimate sacrifice for sin, but you still have to be nice to animals, even if you don’t need their innocent blood anymore.

I was talking about the sacrificial system to someone the other day, and simplifying the process to when someone does a bad thing, to be forgiven an innocent life must be sacrificed so the bad person can now be a good person. That does over-simplify the process, but the one I was talking with said, “That doesn’t seem right.” And you know what? I agree. It doesn’t seem right: if I kill someone why should I get away with it, so to speak, if I kill an innocent animal and sacrifice it to God? If I kill an animal for my own needs, isn’t that just as much murdering as killing a human who got me angry?  Animals aren’t human, but isn’t killing bad, at any time? Of any living thing?

Here’s the difference: the atonement for sin that an innocent’s blood makes for us isn’t in this life, but in the afterlife. So far as this plane of existence goes, if we do something sinful and wrong, we will suffer for it. Sooner or later, we will. And the bible stipulates the punishment for sinfulness while in this world.

The sad truth is that the sin we commit usually is also felt by others, by innocents, who suffer from our sinfulness. Just as innocent blood is needed to atone for sin on the spiritual level, there is a lot of innocent blood being spilt in the real world, today, as a result of sin. And much of it isn’t a sacrifice for the sinner. It’s just a waste of innocent blood.

Martyrs pay for their faithfulness with their lives, many other faithful Believers pay for the freedom to worship God as He says to with their their jobs, their friends, even their family. Freedom, whether political or spiritual, costs lives.

I am saying this, which is probably pretty obvious to most of you already, to remind you that when you read about or know of someone who is an innocent that has suffered from the sin of another, don’t blame God or think they weren’t so innocent (like Job’s friends),  and accept that this is how it works. We don’t understand why, and we don’t have to- it’s just the way it works.

And sometimes bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. We can’t understand it, and we don’t need to. We need to keep focused on what we do in service to God.

This life is short and meant for only one thing- to prepare us for eternity.  We never know when we will leave this existence: no one knows when they will die, so we have to be prepared. And no one knows when the Messiah will return, but the signs are pretty clear lately, so if you have been on the fence about really getting to know God, about finally coming to a decision about will you do as the bible says or as your religion has told you, don’t wait anymore. And know that what you decide will be what you will be judged on.

And we will all face the Judge. The only thing that stands between you and eternal suffering is how good your lawyer is.

As for me, well….I have the best lawyer there is: Yeshua. And what’s even better?- he’s a Jewish lawyer.

Who is your lawyer?

How Do You Use Your Gift?

If we look for verses in the Manual which talk to us about “gifts” we can find a number of them. There is the gift of prophecy, of teaching, the gift of Grace, and many others.

1 Peter 4:10 tells us that the gifts we receive we should use to help each other, and James 1:17 reminds us that every good gift comes from God.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26 exhorts us to use our gifts collectively, that no one gift is above any other, but we all are given gifts to be used collectively as in the body, meaning as one group working together to serve the Lord.

Exodus 35:30-35 tells us that Bezalel and Oholiab were given the gift of skills in all types of artistry to allow them to serve God by managing the construction of the Tabernacle.

One thing that I have noticed about gifts, which is the same (to me) as the use and administration of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) is that prior to Messiah Yeshua fulfilling His role as the final sacrifice for sin, the gifts and spirit were given to people as needed, but then revoked. The Spirit fell on Shimson (Samson) and it fell on Elijah, as well as other prophets and the heroes in the Book of Judges, but that Spirit was lifted up, again, and returned to God. It was a gift that was revocable.

However, after Messiah Yeshua gave up His Spirit, that same spirit was given to all who believe and accept Him as their Messiah as a gift that is irrevocable. God will send the Comforter to all who Believe and ask for it, and it will not come and go anymore: it will dwell within, for as long as we allow it to remain.

That’s right- I said for as long as we allow it to remain. Irrevocable means it won’t be taken back, but we can give it away, or more correctly, we can throw it away. That’s the thing about a gift: once given, it belongs to the one who possesses it, to do with it as they please. In my case, I try to use and listen to the Ruach all the time, but I am still learning and maturing in the Spirit. There are those that have accepted the Spirit but it proves too much for them to handle, so they ignore it or just throw it away, they become apostatized, and even the Bible tells us that once we have known the Ruach, known Messiah and then rejected Him, we have trampled His blood into the dirt (Hebrews 10:26-31.)

To know best how to use your gift, I guess you first need to know what it is. Yes, I believe there may be many who are not really sure what their gift is. We humans are easily led astray, and I do not doubt for a second that there are many who are trying to use what they believe to be their gift, which is really no more than a gift they want to have. As such, they are blinding themselves to their true gift. If you’re thinking you don’t feel quite right about what you think your gift is, talk with other Believers who know you and ask them to tell you, honestly, what they think your gift is. Nothing wrong with getting confirmation from those who have spiritual maturity.

Once you are sure about your gift, use it to please the Lord. The answer to the question, “How should I use my gift?” is given to you: read Colossians 3:17.

God has many gifts to give, and every gift He gives to us is precious and is to be used to honor Him. It’s all about God.

Regarding your gift: find it, know it, develop it and use it to help others in order to honor the Lord.

Remember what Yeshua told us: that which we do the these, even the least of His brethren, we do unto Him.

Many are Called, Few are Chosen, but Who Chooses Whom?

You probably know the parable about the king and the wedding guests, If not, go to Matthew 22.

To understand what I am going to talk about, you need to know about the cultural norm of the day. When people were invited to a wedding, the Semitic custom was for the host to provide proper clothing for the guests when they arrived. The guest would then use those clothes and in this way everyone was properly dressed. Although it is not specifically stated here, since the people were invited to come from the streets, the alleys, wherever the servants could find them, how could they have all had proper clothing unless the custom of providing the clothes was in effect?

The one man who did not have the proper clothing was singled out because to be there with the wrong clothes meant that he had refused to accept the clothing he was given. He did not “put on the Lord”, as the saying goes. As such, having refused to accept the “terms” of the invitation, he was rejected.

So…did the host reject the man, or did the man reject the host?

We are all called by God to accept His Grace, the gift of salvation. Whether Christian, Messianic, Jewish, or just plain confused we all are called by God, to God. That’s because God wants all His children saved. In Ezekiel God says that the death of a sinner does not please Him, rather that He would see the sinner do T’Shuvah (turn) and live. That’s why the parable states that all people, good and bad, were invited. Those that came were then offered the clothing that was appropriate for them to wear at the wedding. In real terms, that means we need to strip ourselves of our own clothing (sinful nature) so that we can put on the new clothing, i.e. we need to be “covered” by the sacrificial death of the Messiah, who is Yeshua (Jesus). Or, as the Christian world likes to say, we need to be covered by the blood of Jesus.

I know Jewish people don’t like that saying, being “covered by the blood”, and I think the main reason is because they don’t really know the Torah. When Moshe anointed Aaron as Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) he sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on him. Same for Pinchus, and all the priests after that. The sprinkling of the blood of the sacrifice upon something is what made that thing holy, whether it was a person, the altar, or the Tent of Meeting. It is totally “Jewish” to be sprinkled or covered with the blood of a sacrifice to make one holy.

The people who were called and accepted the “clothing” of the host represent (today) those who accept Yeshua as their Messiah and make a commitment to change their lives to live in accordance with God’s way. That means living in accordance with Torah, since that is the only “way” God has told us to live. Yeshua lived according to Torah, so if you are being told to do as Yeshua did, well, guess what that means?

The man who was not wearing the proper clothing represents those who reject God’s call. You may have been taught that it is the Jews, but after reading a couple of different commentaries about this, the general consensus is that it is about Jews and Gentiles, anyone who rejects God’s call to holiness.

So next time you meet someone who says that God rejects the Jews and references this parable, please set him or her straight. And remember to always think of the cultural environment at the time when trying to understand what the Bible is saying( go to the Search button at the bottom of this page and search for Circles of Context to learn about this.)

God has already invited you to join Him in eternal joy; it is up to you to choose Him.