Where It All Went Wrong

Do you know anything about construction? I was a Combat Engineer when I was in the Marine Corps, and we built stuff; bridges, buildings, roads, minefields, and the best part was that we also got to blow things up.

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One of the valuable lessons I learned about construction was that when you are making copies of something, such as cutting roof rafters, you always measure and cut succeeding rafters from the first one. The reason for this is that there is always some small change, an eighth of an inch here or a quarter of an inch there, which won’t really affect that one rafter so much. But, when you cut the second rafter, then the third is cut from the second, then the fourth is cut from the third, and so on, by the time you get to the 10th or 12th rafter, you are off by inches and the rafters will not fit the roof.

The same holds true for teaching. If someone teaches a lesson that makes sense which others like, they will copy that lesson exactly. But when somebody decides to tweak it a bit and teaches that, they are no longer cutting their rafter from the original.

God told Moses the Jewish people would be his priests to the world (Exodus 19:6), meaning that they would learn how to do what God said we should do, then teach the world how to do it, exactly the same way they learned it.

But something happened to disrupt that plan, and that something was human intervention.

This is where it started to all go wrong for the Jews: over the years, the leaders of Judaism decided that what God said wasn’t enough, so they enhanced our understanding (I’m being facetious) with their own interpretations of how to obey the instructions in the Torah, and that became the traditional or Oral Law, which we find in the Talmud.

When Yeshua (Jesus) came to earth one of the things he did was teach the spiritual meaning of what God taught the Jewish people in the Torah. Those teachings were to help us understand correctly what God wanted from us, meaning not just obedience to the letter of the law, but a heartfelt desire to do what is right in God’s eyes. Yeshua was helping to bring us back into alignment with the original rafter measurements.

But something happened to disrupt that plan, and that something was human intervention.

As more and more Gentiles were added to this Jewish movement, that’s where it all started to go wrong for the Gentiles. There was both a political reason and a social reason for this: politically, the Jews in Judea were rebelling against Roman rule and the Romans didn’t take very kindly to that, so the Gentiles (who never before had any problem with Rome) didn’t want to be associated with the Jewish population.

Socially, the change in lifestyle from a hedonistic pagan to a righteous God-fearing person was a real paradigm shift, and the Elders in Jerusalem knew this, which is why they sent a letter to the (now mostly) Gentile congregations forming throughout the Middle East and Asia, which gave them only 4 commandments to obey immediately (Acts 15.) The intention was to make it easier for these people to convert to a Godly lifestyle and it was expected they would eventually incorporate all of God’s instructions into their lives (if you have been taught differently, see Acts 15:21and adjust your rafter measurement.)

By separating the Yeshua-following Jews and Gentiles from the mainstream Jews, the leaders of this new movement created a rift that God and Yeshua never wanted to have. Believers in Yeshua’s teaching and that he was the Messiah were never supposed to become a separate religion, but (if anything) maybe another form of Judaism. Today within Judaism we have the Chasidic, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist sects of Judaism (I will also include Messianic Jews, although the other sects reject us.)

The letter the Elders sent was OK, but they should have specified more clearly that it was only temporary and the Gentiles accepting Yeshua were still required to learn all of the Torah and live it. The letters from Shaul (Paul) certainly did NOT help to get this idea across. Later, the Gentile leaders of this movement, which by the end of the First Century couldn’t be called Judaism anymore, changed the Sabbath day and when Constantine took it over, he created new holidays, doctrine, laws, commandments, traditions, and ended up with the religion we call Christianity.

The Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, was forgotten and a Gentile savior, Jesus Christ, was created, with his own religion called Christianity.

God never intended that Yeshua would start a new religion, and Yeshua never wanted that, either. When God gave his instructions to Moses, which outlines exactly how God wants us to worship him and treat each other, he wanted that to be a lifestyle, not a religion. God has no religion, and he doesn’t want his creation to have a religion: he wants us all to be as he says we should be. He is clear about that throughout the Torah and what he said through his prophets.

The Torah is like God’s first rafter: we are supposed to live exactly as he told us in the Torah, and the Torah was to be understood exactly as Yeshua taught.  Everyone should have been “cut” from that one rafter, but that didn’t happen.

The Jews neglected using the Torah and cut rafters from the Oral Laws, and when Yeshua came those rafters didn’t fit the house God had designed. Yeshua tried to get them back onto the correct measurements and gave us a perfectly cut rafter to use as our model, but the followers of Yeshua decided to change the angle and cut their rafters from the changed rules and now we have so many different forms of Judaism and Christianity that we can’t find any two rafters that fit the same roof.

It all went wrong at the very beginning, and it has been so wrong for so long that today we can’t fix it. But God can fix it, once and forever, and he has even told us how he will do that; those architectural specifications are found in Jeremiah 31:31. 

Messianic Moment is a teaching ministry, and I will never tell you what you must do, only what I believe God has told us we should do. The choice of what you do is yours, and yours alone, but that also means that when you have to face God and tell him why you did what you did, you won’t be able to blame anyone else. Whatever you do, however you live, no matter who told you what to do, you choose to obey someone. If it isn’t God, then you will be in trouble.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know, and check out my website and the books I have written. I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Those With Faith Have No Fear and Those With Fear Have No Faith

Do you think that fear is the lack of courage or is courage the lack of fear? I have always heard, and agree, that courage is when we overcome our fear.

Fear is an instinct, it is designed to help us survive, but when we let our fear rule us that is when we have lost ourselves to the enemy.

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The enemy of God uses fear: fear of loss is the strongest of all fears, but there is also fear of pain, fear of death, fear of loneliness, fear of success, and there is even fear of being afraid. When your fears are controlling you, they are called phobias.

Courage is how we overcome the basic and instinctive fears that we have. There are different ways that people can find courage, and I believe the best way is through faith in God.

Humans want to be in control of themselves and what happens in their life, and I think when people don’t believe in God or believe he exists but they don’t think it is important to follow his instructions, they believe that way because they don’t want to cede control to him. They fear losing control and that fear is why they have no faith.

I also know people who say they believe in God and are faithful but go through life afraid of everything. They won’t drive on the highway, they won’t take a plane ride, and they won’t try to improve their condition or even try to do something different. These people are afraid of living.

And yet, they believe they are in control. Oy!

The Bible is rife with verses that should encourage us, meaning to literally put courage into us. Verses such as these:

Psalm 32:8I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Romans 8:31…What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Joshua 1:9…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Psalm 23:4…Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 27:1…The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

And this is just a small sampling.

To place our faith in God means, more than anything else, to accept his sovereignty and to trust him to always take care of us. That doesn’t mean we will never have tsouris in our lives: we need to have trials and tribulations because gold is only made pure after going through the fire. We can be anxious and even afraid of the suffering, but we must not be ruled by that fear. Again, fear is normal and we cannot help but feel it. That doesn’t mean we should be afraid of the fear or allow it to rule us: we gain the courage to overcome and control our fear through our through faith in God, knowing that even as we suffer he is working towards reducing or relieving that suffering.

Suffering, loss, and emotional trauma can, and often does, overwhelm people; we can find the strength to survive from our steadfast knowledge and faith in God, believing absolutely that he is always there to prevent our destruction.

Faith is not something that God will give us, and the kind of faith that comes from some miraculous event is fleeting, and (I believe) dangerous because a faith that is the result of a miracle is a faith that could be turned to Satan, who is capable of performing miracles. In fact, aren’t we told in Revelation that the prophets of Satan will perform many miracles and that many will be turned from the true faith?

Faith is a choice; it is a conscious decision to believe. It isn’t something we can see or feel (Hebrews 11:1), and our faith is strengthened when we follow the instructions God gave us in the Torah (James 2:14.)

When we choose to cede control of our lives to God and faithfully trust God to always take care of us, no matter what, we can be confident and encouraged because, well… who can beat up God?

(I just thought about something: when I said to “faithfully trust”, that’s actually redundant, isn’t it?)

Too many people today put their faith in technology or in someone in politics, or even in a sports figure or a newspaper. They trust quickly in what they hear and what they see, not thinking for a moment how easily those senses can be fooled.

Trust in God, choose to believe in what you will (probably) never see in this lifetime, and stick to that faith no matter what anyone else tells you. When you trust in God and demonstrate that trust through following his instructions, you will be given confirmation that your faith is well-founded.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share these messages with others. Check out the books I have written (available on Amazon or through my website) as well as some of the videos in my Picture Album of my vacations and other events in my life.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Parashah Bo 2020 (come) Exodus 10 – 13:16

God continues the plagues against Egypt, this time with locusts followed by the three days of complete darkness. Yet Pharaoh is still unmoved, although he has been asked by his officials to let the people go because Egypt is being destroyed.

Pharaoh tells Moses that the next time he sees his face, he will die, and Moses pretty much says “That’s fine with me.”

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The last plague now comes, the death of all the firstborn throughout Egypt. God gives Moses the instructions about how the Israelites are to protect themselves from the Destroyer coming at midnight, and also that this is now the first month of their year. He instructs them regarding the Passover lamb and the eating of unleavened bread for the week after the Seder.

Moses also has the people go to their Egyptian neighbors asking for what are essentially the spoils of war, and the Egyptians are happy to give all they have, all their valuables, in order to get these people out of their land.

Finally, after the firstborn of the royal family is dead, Pharaoh ejects the Israelites from the land, and they leave in such haste that they don’t even allow their dough to rise, so they have to bake the unrisen dough, which is what we call “matzo.”

Actually, they weren’t supposed to have any yeast in the dough, anyway.

The life of a thing is in the blood (Lev. 17:10); the blood that was brushed onto the lintels of the houses of the Israelites was life for them. God tells us many times throughout the Tanakh that it is by the life that is in the blood which provides us atonement for sin.

Blood is a double-edged sword because we need it to stay alive, but blood-borne diseases can kill us.  In today’s scientific world, we know that harmful germs and bacteria can be spread through the blood, just like Chametz (leavening) can spread through a batch of dough. So even though God tells us that blood is life, it may also cause death.

But how can that be? Blood is used to anoint and sanctify the holy items in the Tabernacle, which are used to worship God! If there is death in blood, how can it be used to sanctify?

This is sort of like the red heifer thing (Numbers 19): everything associated with creating the water of sanctification from the ashes of the red heifer, which is used to cleanse us, caused the person performing the actions to become unclean.

I think this is all part of the universal balance God created when he created the universe. Blood is what transports life, and when we care for our blood by doing what God tells us to do, the blood remains free of death. But, when we disobey or reject God’s instructions, that which brings life will bring death.

For an example, let’s look at the Laws of Kashrut: the one main difference between kosher animal meat and the rest is that to prepare the meat, the animal is killed in a humane way (called the Shechita) which drains the blood quickly. Then the meat is salted to draw out any of the remaining blood. Once this is done, the meat is always cooked thoroughly.

You won’t find someone getting a bloody steak at a kosher restaurant.

This obedience to God’s instructions regarding the eating of blood is what keeps our blood free of pathogens. On the other hand, rejecting this ordinance will likely result (especially in the olden days, way before the USDA) in some form of infection.

Look at what is happening today: in China, they have long had to worry about SARS, but now this new virus, the Coronavirus is absolutely deadly. In Africa, the Bush Meat trade is what caused AIDS. And science shows that drinking clean blood can still lead to death.

Blood can be life-giving, or life-taking, depending on how you treat it. The same is true with the Torah: through obedience, we can achieve everlasting life, but rejection of God’s instructions will result in death. This is why Moses told the people (Deut. 30: 15-20) it is up to them to choose life (through obedience) or to choose death (through rejection) of the instructions God gave in the Torah.

There are many things in your life that will carry one result or another, and it is up to you to choose the right way. Argue with your boss or keep your job; argue with your spouse or sleep in the bed; drive safely or have your car in the shop; do as we are told to do in the Torah or spend eternity in suffering.

Last Minute Edit: I am not ignoring the Messiah and his sacrifice, or that it is through faith that we are saved. True faith in God and the Messiah must lead to Torah obedience. We can’t be saved by Torah alone, but Messiah’s sacrifice never did away with the requirement by God to obey his instructions.

Blood can provide life or death, depending on how we choose to treat it. The Torah is our spiritual blood, which provides eternal life when we obey it, and death by ignoring it.

Thank you for being here; please subscribe to this website and the YouTube channel (use the link above) and share this ministry with others.

Until next time, Shabbat Shalom and Baruch HaShem!

Do You Know Why You Believe?

Are you a Believer? Do you believe in God as the creator of the Universe and Judge of the world? Do you believe that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah God promised to send to the Jewish people, who also made salvation available to both Jews and Gentiles, alike? Do you believe that Yeshua is the son of God and that he will return to establish his kingdom and eternally rule over all the Earth?

You do? That’s good! Now for one more question…do you know why you believe this?

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Maybe I should start with an easier question? How about this: do you know why I am asking if you know why you believe?

I grew up believing Jesus Christ is not the Messiah the Jews have been waiting for, and that he was a traitor to Judaism and created Christianity, which either wants to convert Jews or kill them. And after believing this for more than 40 years of my life, when I started to question why I believed it the answer came to me.

I believed it because I was told to believe it.

I have met many Christians, both “Born Again” and mainstream, all of whom believe Jesus Christ is the son of God (Christianity seems to stay away from the title “Messiah”) and that if they are a good person they will get to go to heaven. When I have asked them why they believe this to be true, their answer often comes down to “because it’s true.”

Frankly, that’s not much of an answer, is it? That answer means they believe because they have been told to believe. They have not really accepted Jesus as their personal savior, or as the Messiah which he was sent to the Earth to be, or even as a real person. He is just “Jesus”, you know, that guy on the cross at the front of the church.  Many Believers (Born Again or not doesn’t matter) don’t know the Bible, they don’t know about Jesus’s Jewish roots, they don’t even know that he is not the one who created the dogma, tradition, holidays, doctrine or rhetoric that they have had forced down their gullet their whole lives!

They believe in Jesus as their savior because they have been raised to believe in Jesus as their savior, just as I was raised to reject Jesus as my savior.

So let’s go back to the original question: why do YOU believe?

Is it because you want to be in heaven? Not good enough- the Enemy will promise you heaven on earth, and ask you why wait until you are dead? If heaven is your reason for believing, then you will be turned from the truth.

Do you believe because your parents, grandparents, friends, and acquaintances all believe? Then you are just another sheep in the fold, following blindly and being led to slaughter.

Do you believe because you have read the Bible- the entire Bible from Genesis through Revelation- and after praying to God for guidance and discernment have come to your own conclusion that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah God promised to send to the Jews, DID send to the Jews and then through the Apostles was made available to the Gentiles? Is your belief based on your own choice, not dependent on anyone else’s choice?

If your answer is “Yes, I choose to believe in Jesus as my Messiah!” then you are in good shape. Your faith in him is firm and you will not easily be led astray because your faith is founded on your own choice.

My faith is strong because not only did I choose to accept Yeshua as my Messiah, but because I felt like I had to betray some 5,700+ years of Jewish ancestry to do it. My choice to accept Yeshua came before I even understood the truth of his teachings or the fact that modern Christianity is mostly from Constantine and Gentile misinterpretation. What I had always been told to believe was created by Jesus, when I decided to find out for myself, I found out that it wasn’t. And when I learned the truth, my choice to believe was confirmed, my feeling of betrayal was wiped away forever, and my faith has become rooted in cement.

And beyond that, my choice to believe has been confirmed by the many blessings I have received after I chose to believe, which I KNOW are from God and a reward for my faithfulness.

What you need to do, no matter how strong you believe your faith is in God and Jesus, is to look into the mirror and ask yourself, “Why do I believe in Jesus, really?”  Pretend someone is attacking your faith and you have to tell them why you accept Jesus as the Messiah. And if you can’t come up with justification you can show is based in the Bible, in your life experience, or in your own personal study, then you need to re-evaluate your faith. You need to realize that maybe, just maybe, you haven’t really chosen to accept Yeshua on your own. Maybe your acceptance is nothing more than just going along with the crowd and you don’t really know where you are going?

That is a dangerous position to be in. So please!- ask yourself why you believe, and if the answer is anything like “because” or “I guess I always have” or “I don’t know- I just do” then you are in trouble, and your salvation is unsure because your faith is not your own.

The only true faith is the one you choose to have, and if you haven’t made the choice to accept Yeshua/Jesus as your Messiah totally on your own, then you don’t really believe in anything.

Thank you for being here, please share me out to your friends and family and subscribe.

Also, please check out my Gofundme campaign to help send Bibles and prayer shawls to three rural Ugandan Messianic Synagogues. So far we have only raised $175 of the $650 we need- if everyone reading this message gave only $10 we would have enough money to help these Believers, who have chosen to believe despite the religious persecution in that country. Here is a link to that site:

Ugandan Messianic Synagogues

I will be out of the country on a family trip to Ireland all next week and will not be posting again until the end of this month, so until then L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

By Direction of the Commanding Officer

For those who have served in the military, the signature line “By Direction of the Commanding Officer” should be very familiar. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it means that whatever has been written has been done so by someone under the authority of higher command and although the letter (or orders, whatever) come directly from the writer, they are done so as if the commanding officer had issued them, personally.

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For example, when I was in the Marine Corps I was a Company XO (Executive Officer), and as such, I had authority over 350 men and millions of dollars in equipment. What I said, went, but I was under the authority of the Company Commander. I was most often the one issuing commands, but when the CO (Commanding Officer) issued a command through me, written below my name was the signature line “ByDir“, which meant that what I said was an order directly from the Company Commander.

Yeshua is the Messiah God sent to the world: to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. What Yeshua told us about how to live, worship and treat each other was not just from his own authority as Messiah, but was “ByDir” of God.

And when Yeshua used “ByDir” it was from the universe’s Million-Star General, the Lord, God Almighty!

Many times Yeshua told us that he does only what his father in heaven tells him to do or to say. There are too many references in the Gospels to annotate each time this is done, but when you read the Gospels (especially in John) you see this often. We read how people say of Yeshua that he speaks as no one ever did and that his teachings have the tone of authority to them. Well, of course, they do! He is speaking ByDir of the Lord! Yeshua’s every teaching, parable, riddle or lesson was directly from Adonai.

When we consider the above, we have to ask this question:

“How can anyone say that Yeshua did away with the instructions God gave us in the Torah if he was always speaking “ByDir” from God?”

Anything Yeshua said that was not in accordance with the “commands” God had already given would be like disobeying a direct order, wouldn’t it? If God told us to eat certain foods, but Yeshua said we didn’t have to do that, then he would have been disobeying God, right? Or, if Yeshua had taught that the Sabbath was on the first day of the week and not the 7th, he would have been in a state of sin, wouldn’t he?

The fact is Yeshua never disobeyed God or taught anyone to do so. His authority was given to him directly from God and was evident in the miracles he performed. And when people praised him, Yeshua always gave the credit to that person’s faith in God and in Yeshua, who was only acting under the ByDir authority from God as God’s Messiah.

When people preach to us, they should be preaching not from their own authority but ByDir; however, too often they don’t. They preach what they want to, such as when the Shabbat day was changed, the kosher laws were said to be only for Jews, and the festivals God ordered to be celebrated should be replaced with man-made “Christian” celebrations. These, and many other unauthorized doctrines and teachings have polluted God’s word and his plans for humanity. The ByDir from God has been misused and abused by those who teach not to edify but to create and maintain power over others.

We all have the God-given right to choose what we will believe, and God has given us all the information we need to make a choice. He has instructed us how to live and how to worship and how to treat each other. And through the Prophets, he has advised us to choose life (meaning obedience) because the only other option is death.

Don’t find yourself in the Brig for all eternity by refusing to accept the ByDir of Yeshua. Always question what your religious leaders tell you God meant and read it for yourself in the Bible, asking God to show you what he really meant.

God is the ultimate power and authority in the Universe, and there have only been two XO’s God has assigned: Moses and Yeshua. Those two, and only those two had God’s ByDir authority Remember that when you are reading the New Covenant Epistles, so you can understand them correctly, or when you hear people telling you that you are saved by the “Blood of Jesus” and the Torah is just for Jews.

Those people do not have ByDir and you don’t have to listen to what they say.  You are responsible for what you do, and what you don’t do, so make sure you know exactly who gave what commands so you follow the ones that are under God’s ByDir.

If you like what you have read here please subscribe in the right-hand margin, and use the link above to go to my YouTube channel and subscribe there, as well. I welcome your comments and only ask that you be nice.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Changing the Way I Talk About the Torah

The Torah is the first 5 books of the Bible, which most of you already know, and it contains all the commandments (also referred to as “laws”) God has given to us. The rest of the Old Covenant is more of a historical narration, which shows us how we have failed to live up to our side of the covenant God made with us, in which those laws reside.

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For Jews, there is no problem with the Torah being God’s laws because the Torah is all that almost every non-Messianic Jew in the world cares about, meaning they do not accept anything from the New Covenant as scripture or even valid.  So, for those Jews who do not accept Yeshua as their Messiah, law=Torah=commandments=regulations, and that is fine.

The problem I want to talk about today is that Christians, in general, have traditionally been taught that the Torah- in truth, the entire Tanakh- is just for Jews. Jews have the Torah and Christians have Jesus Christ.Add to that the traditional Christian teaching of the Epistles Shaul (Paul) wrote, which is that obedience to the ‘Law” is legalism and wrong because faith and love are all you need to be saved, and you have the incorrect belief that law=Torah and neither apply to Christians.

As a Messianic Jew, I understand the truth about the relationship between Yeshua (Jesus) and the Torah, in that Yeshua was (as John tells us in John 1) the living example of the way we are to live in accordance to the Torah. Not only did he NOT do away with Torah, but he confirmed it in everything he did and said.

Consequently, understanding the above I also know the truth about the letters Shaul wrote, which (again) did NOT deny the validity of the Torah, but confirmed it. Albeit, the way he did so was very convoluted and confusing to Gentiles who couldn’t grasp the underlying cultural and religious meanings of much of what he wrote.

So, what I have decided to do (which will take me a while to incorporate into my messages) is to not refer to the Torah as “law”, or “commandments” or even “regulations” (which, by the way, they are) but simply as God’s instructions to us.

When we look at how God tells us what we are to do, it isn’t so much a decree as a choice. There are way too many passages to quote, but I doubt that anyone with any knowledge or familiarity with the Bible will be surprised when I say God tells us (repeatedly) what we are to do and what will happen if we don’t. To some, this may be a decree or even seen as a threat, but to me, it is a choice.

Through all the Prophets, God constantly told his people that he wanted them to choose life so that they would live. When he says to choose life, he means to obey his instructions in the Torah. Yeshua did not give any new instructions: yes, I know he said: “I give this new command, to love one another” (John 13:34) but that really isn’t “new”- it is from Leviticus 19:18. Yeshua did not create a new religion (this is what Jews are taught), nor did he change any of the existing instructions from the Torah or do away with them (this is what Gentiles are taught), so since Torah and Law and commandments all have the same connotation to both Jews and Gentiles, I will use “instructions” because that won’t sound like the same rhetoric everyone has already heard.

Maybe, just maybe, if people take a new view of the Torah as just instruction, which we have the right to choose or refuse, then maybe they will begin to see the entire Bible in a different light, one that might shine the truth through the cloudy and darkened misinterpretations that both Jews and Gentiles have been force-fed for generations.

One last thing: there are probably some of you out there who are thinking that I am wrong to refer to God’s commandments as something that is not mandatory, and I can understand why you would feel that way.  After all, he is God, right? The Almighty! The Creator of the Universe! The holy I Am! And when God says we should do something, it isn’t a suggestion, so where do I get off saying we have a choice?  The reason I say we have a choice is, well…because God tells us we do. When God says we should “choose life” he is giving us an option. If God didn’t want us to have an option, he would have not told us we have a choice. And he would not have given us Free Will, either. But God doesn’t want automatons, and he won’t make us love him; the only thing we can give God that he doesn’t already have is our love. He wants our worship, obedience, and love for him to be our choice.

Following God’s instructions shouldn’t be done because you are afraid of punishment but as a love-response.

The Torah is God’s instructions to the world (not just the Jews) teaching us how to worship him and treat each other. It is like the instructions you get when you have to put a child’s toy together: you can do the usual manly thing and ignore them, or you can read them carefully and follow them. And for all of you (like me) who have tried to put something together without reading the instructions, you know how that almost always turns out.

The question I leave you with is this: knowing how the toy turns out when you don’t read and obey the instructions, do you want your eternal soul to end up the same way?

Thank you for being here, and if you like what you have read please share me out and help this ministry grow. Click on the SUBSCRIBE button in the right-hand margin and also use the link above to go to my Youtube channel and subscribe there, also.

I welcome comments and discussion, and all I ask is that you be nice.

I look forward to the next time we are together, and until then…L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Are Last Rites Valid for Jews?

There won’t be any video today.

I wrote this earlier this morning, and I planned to record the video after we took our cat, Shadow, for his two-week steroid shot, which he has been getting for 11 months due to him having cancer. He has been having trouble for the past week or so with urinating, and he has been uncomfortable and in pain. When we saw the Vet, she talked to us and we all knew, with her confirmation, that it was time to put him down.

Understandably, I am not in the mood to talk to anyone about anything right now, so since this was already written I will post it. I am sure you all feel for us, and Donna and I thank you for your compassion.

 

I was reading Dear Abby this morning and there was a Reform Jewish man who wrote about his wife, who had converted to Judaism and on her deathbed (she was comatose) her family asked if they could have a Priest administer the Last Rites of the Roman Catholic church. The man agreed as a way to be kind to the family, but now is having second thoughts about it.

Abby, in her usual politically correct answer, said the woman was comatose and whatever was said didn’t matter to her, so it was OK and he shouldn’t feel guilty.

I thought about this, as my initial response was, “No! You didn’t do that, did you, Mister?”, but I didn’t want to be unfair. After all, Abby is right that the woman didn’t have any idea what was going on. But, then again, when administering the Last Rites to an unconscious person are the statements the person is supposed to make made for them? I know when a baby is baptized, the godparents speak on behalf of the baby, so if a person is being given Last Rites, and they cannot speak for themselves, will the Priest intercede on their behalf?

I researched Last Rites and it reads like Tax form instructions. There are actually three different rites or sacraments that are given, and part of the rite is to have the person repeat the Apostolic Creed, which is this:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.

If the person cannot do so because they are unconscious, then (from what I have read) they can either receive a Plenary Indulgence or a partial indulgence, which is essentially saying that they will be given a “bye” on the consequences of their sins since they cannot ask for forgiveness.

Overall, I think when the husband allowed his Jewish wife to have someone say the Last Rites over her, he did the wrong thing. I see this as just another example of the typical Roman Catholic stance that Jews are wrong and they need to be converted. This was, maybe (a BIG maybe) asked by the family because they truly were concerned for the soul of their “lost” family member, but it still is disrespectful to her. She chose to convert to Judaism, and the Catholic family members should have respected that.

But Catholicism has never really respected Judaism, or any other religion (for that matter), and I believe in this case they wanted the nearly dead person to come back to Christ before it was “too late.”

People have a right to choose what they will believe in, and whether or not we like their choice, we must respect it. I think this request by the family to have Last Rites administered is not just disrespectful, but an abomination- a sad attempt to convert someone who has already made her choice but is now unable to fight them. And to request this from a man who is watching his wife dying, and probably not fully able to make decisions due to his grief, is just disgusting.

I can understand that the family may have been doing what they thought was best for the woman, but it is just another example of Roman Catholic disrespect for any beliefs other than what they believe. I think the Priest that administered the Last Rites was also at fault- he, of all people, should have respected the choice of the comatose woman and said that no one can accept Yeshua by proxy.
Oh, wait- that is what the Roman Catholic Church does, isn’t it?  The baptism ceremony has the godparents accepting Jesus for the baby. Later, at the Confirmation ceremony (the child is 7 or 8 years of age), they perform the catechism now (supposedly) the child now speaking for him or herself accepting Jesus as their “Lord.”

I asked my wife, who was raised Roman Catholic and went to a Catholic school if she knew anyone that refused to go to Confirmation, and she said of course not. In Catholic school, you do it, period. Between the Nuns and your parents, you really have no choice. The Church tells you this is what you must do.

This is the attitude of the “Church”, in general, whether Roman Catholic, Protestant or whatever other denomination of Christian there is. They see Jews and other religions as inferior and feel the need to convert them, misinterpreting the statement Yeshua made in Matthew 28:19 when he was ascending to heaven and told the Talmudim (Disciples) to make disciples of everyone.

I think it should be understood since he also told them (Matthew 10:14) to wipe the dust from their sandals if they were rejected, that to make disciples doesn’t mean to force people to be a disciple, but to give them the opportunity to choose to be a disciple.

Unfortunately, from my experience, the only religion of the “Big Three” that does not actively try to convert everyone is Judaism.  We do not try to make Jews out of everyone, and I don’t believe that is what Yeshua meant when he said to make disciples out of everyone. I believe, based on his being Jewish, that he meant to spread the word to Jews (remember- he came only for the House of Israel) about their Messiah. Not to actively convert the Gentiles. However, God did allow the salvation of those Gentiles who CHOSE to accept Yeshua and, thereby CHOSE to convert to Judaism. Christianity, as we know it today, didn’t come about until Constantine in the Third Century. Back in Yeshua’s day, and for the next hundred years or so, accepting Yeshua meant becoming a Jew.

In conclusion, there may be some reading this who feel I am being unfair and coming down on the Roman Catholic’s too hard, and maybe I am. As a Jewish man brought up being called “Christ Killer” and other such insults, I may be a little extra sensitive when I see any Christian forcing their beliefs on someone else.

But that doesn’t mean that what they are doing is acceptable. We each have to choose God and Messiah on our own, without coercion or threat, and I truly believe that any form of conversion which is not our own, free will choice will not be acceptable to God.

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Thank you for your interest, and please don’t hesitate to make comments or suggestions- just be nice.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Parashah Bo 2019 (Come) Exodus 10 – 13:16

We continue with the plagues God is sending on Egypt, yet sparing the Israelites in Goshen. Finally, the 10th plague, the death of the firstborn comes and God tells Moses how to protect his people living in Goshen from this plague. After such a terrible loss of life, including Pharaoh’s own son, the people are told to leave. They take many gifts (spoil) from the Egyptians, who are more than happy to give them anything to get out of Egypt, and God institutes the Passover and states this shall be the beginning of our year.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

The parashah ends with the commandment that every firstborn, whether human or animal, belongs to God as the substitution for the firstborn God took from the Egyptians.

There is a term used during the narrative of the 10 plagues that comes up very often; actually, two terms which appear no less than some 19 times. One is that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (9 times) and the other is that Pharaoh hardened his heart (10 times.) Now, for God to purposefully harden someone’s heart so that they sinned, then punish them for that sin is obviously unfair and sinful, in and of itself, so how could a sinless and perfectly holy God do that? The answer is: he didn’t.

First off, we must understand that in the biblical days, everything that happened was ascribed to God. God has a plan for the universe, and whether things happen as a direct result of Divine intervention, or just unfold as God knew they would, in the Bible it is considered a direct result of God’s will. So, even if someone does something entirely on their own, it is (in the Bible) considered to be a direct act of God.  This is not meant to blame God, it is just the cultural understanding of that time.

We all have the freedom to decide if we will obey God or not. There can be a million and one reasons why we shouldn’t, and really only one reason why we should. That one reason is simple: He is God and we are not. As for why we shouldn’t, or don’t have to (anymore), people can rationalize any desire to be justified, at least in their own mind. What happens is this: we make up our own reason for disobedience, and repeat it to ourselves. Once we succumb to sin, it gets easier and easier to continue to sin, and harder and harder to overcome it. I learned from many years as a Salesman that the more you tell someone something, even if it is ridiculous, they will eventually believe it. God knew about Pharaoh from the start, and the warning to all of us is the same warning he gave to Cain in Genesis. 4:7

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.

The first response Pharaoh had to Moses was in Exodus 5:2, where he said, “Who is Adonai, that I should obey when he says to let Israel go? I don’t know Adonai, and I also will not let Israel go.” Pharaoh had the opportunity to obey God, and he chose to reject God’s command. God knew this would happen, as he told Moses in Chapter 3 (Ex. 3:19- “I know that the king of Egypt will not let you leave unless he is forced to do so.”), so the first “hardening” came from Pharaoh. And as I stated earlier, because the Bible states everything is from God, when it continues from this point on to say “God hardened his heart:” that is not an actual accusation but an expression. Pharaoh was the sole cause for the plagues coming upon the Egyptians, and Pharaoh had the opportunity to obey God every step of the way, but HE chose not to.

We have the same freedom to choose that Pharaoh had, and we have sin crouching at our door, just like Cain did. I remember the comedian Flip Wilson, and his character Geraldine always said, The Devil made me do it!” That was funny, but in truth, the Devil can’t make us do anything- we do it. Old Nick may provide opportunity and even give us a strong incentive to do evil, but in the end, it is our choice.

You have no one to blame but yourself for what you do.

God is in control of everything, but that doesn’t mean he does control everything. God allows us to make up our own minds, and to choose whether we accept or reject him. And don’t think for a moment there is a middle-of-the-road position with God- he is totally binomial. It is or it isn’t, right or wrong, black or white, you is or you isn’t. Period.

Moving forward, next time you think the Enemy is attacking you, or that God is punishing you, think again. Think about what choices you have made recently, and make sure that if you really are under a curse that you didn’t bring it on yourself. Thank God that when we do screw up, we have forgiveness available to us through Messiah Yeshua. Do Teshuva (repentance), ask forgiveness in Yeshua’s name and make a better decision in the future.

If you ask me, this is the pathway we must walk. We will always sin, and as long as we continue to repent, ask God for forgiveness through Messiah and also through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) guidance and the strength to improve our ability to resist sin, working to sin less and less every day, we will be walking the path of salvation.

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Tonight begins the Sabbath, so Shabbat Shalom, and may you have a blessed weekend.

The Meaning of Life in a Nutshell

There won’t be a video today because coming off a cruise Donna and I were on last week we both got sick, which has left me voiceless. Apparently an answer to someone’s prayer.

 

Today I would like to talk about something that seems complex but is really quite simple: the meaning of life.

This is what we call the “Eternal Question,” one that people have always wondered about and no one has really ever answered to everyone’s satisfaction.

My answer is simple and it is based on my understanding of the instructions God gave to us in the Torah. I also have considered the writings of Moses, the Prophets and especially the teachings of Yeshua. I have studied and thought about these with my focus on what the future holds.

And what the future holds is destruction on a universal scale. It started with the iniquity of Mankind destroying the ideal world God created. He chose the descendants of Abraham (through Isaac, the son of the Promise) to bring order back into the world, but they failed to do the job well. Ultimately, it resulted in the dispersion of God’s people throughout the world. God sent his Messiah to bring us back into communion with him, but (again) people screwed that up and it resulted in man’s creation of many different religions, most of them losing sight of the original instructions God gave us. We are now at the point where the next major step will be the end of everything through the Tribulation, which I believe we are seeing come to fruition today.

What the future holds is death and destruction like no one has ever seen before, not even those in the Flood, which will result with the end of humanity as we know it.

Not too happy a prospect, is it? Well, it’s not my idea- that’s what we are told to expect. So we may also ask what meaning can life have if everything we do is going to be for nothing?

The answer is: we aren’t doing it for this life!

From birth through death the existence we all suffer through is only a “Waiting Room.”

The meaning of life is this: we are given this life to decide where we want to live for eternity. 

That’s it! Like I said from the beginning, it’s simple- what we do while we are alive in this physical plane of existence is going to determine where we spend eternity. God gives us two lives: the one we live for a short period of time and the one we live forever.  What we do during this short life God has given us will determine where we will live for all eternity.

Now all that is left for each of us to ask ourselves is this: Where do I want to spend eternity? The good news is that you have the right to choose: the bad news is you don’t know how much time you are given to make that choice.

My advice is don’t waste whatever time you have thinking about it.

 

Parashah Re’eh (See) Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17

Moses continues to review all the commandments that God has given to the Israelites over the past 40 years. He tells them that as soon as they cross over the Jordan and enter the land He has given to them they are to place the blessing for obedience on Mt. Gerezim, and the curse for disobedience on Mt. Ebal.

Interesting note: these are called the “Shoulder Mountains” because they are across from each other, like a pair of shoulders, and below them is the Valley of Shechem. When all the people, split between the two mountainsides, repeat the blessings and curses aloud, all the inhabitants of the valley below them will hear it.

Moses orders that all pagan memorials and standing stones, idols, etc. be completely destroyed and that Israel is never to do any of the things these pagans did. The people are also told that God will choose a place for His name, meaning a single location where sacrifices to Him will be performed. He orders that no one is to sacrifice just anywhere, but only where God tells them they can. If the tithe to be brought is too much to carry to where the Temple is, it can be converted to money, then when the person gets to the location he can buy the items from someone else.

Another interesting note: One of the reasons Yeshua (Jesus) turned over the money changing tables and threw the merchants out of the Temple courts when He came into Jerusalem (John 2:15) was because the animals they sold to the people for sacrifice were way overpriced, and many were not fit to be a sacrifice.

Moses reviews the laws of Kashrut (Kosher) and the regulations regarding the Festivals of the Lord. He gives the regulations regarding the Shemittah, which is the release of debt every 7 years, and warns against any one who is trying to seduce people to worship other gods, whether a prophet or a family member, decreeing they should be put to death.

Throughout this book Moses keeps telling the people that they are to choose which way they will live: in accordance with God’s laws or in accordance with the pagan practices of the people surrounding them. Even though God ordered every vestige of the pagan practices and people to be be utterly destroyed, He knew that there would always be a remnant of evil left behind.

Seems whether of good or evil, there is always a remnant, somewhere.

The bible verifies God gave us Free Will to choose our path. Too often I hear people make excuses for their actions, blaming the enemy or someone else, or just saying that “God is forgiving so I’ll be OK”, as if God will automatically forgive us for sinning against Him even if we don’t really repent of it. This is one of the wrong teachings of Christianity over the centuries, i.e. that because Yeshua died for our sins we are automatically forgiven.

We are NOT automatically forgiven! Everything in the bible tells us that, and although we do have forgiveness through Yeshua’s sacrifice, it is not automatic. Think about it: if we were automatically forgiven, then what is the use of Free Will? If we are automatically forgiven, then the need to choose right over wrong becomes unnecessary, because no matter what we do we will be forgiven. Automatic forgiveness is, effectively, saying that we don’t even have to do T’shuvah (repent) from our sin.

How many of you out there really think that God will forgive an unrepentant sinner? If you raised your hand, you are way off base and will be very, VERY disappointed at Judgement Day.

God holds us responsible for everything we do and say. Us, me, you- the excuse “But that’s what they told me” is not acceptable at God’s Throne of Judgement. Moses repeats the commandments from God to the people many times so that it will, hopefully, sink in! I think Moses knows what is going to happen; I believe that when God showed Moses the Promised Land He also showed Moses the future. When we read the passionate plea of Moses as he reviews the laws and warns the people against rejecting their God for the gods of the Canaanites, you can hear his heart breaking as he tells them what will happen when (he doesn’t always use the word “if”, and often uses the word “when”) they reject God by rejecting His commandments.

The Torah is not just for Jews and the Blood of Christ is not just for Gentiles; there is not one bible for Jews and one bible for Gentiles. The Torah is for everyone, and the bible is one book- the first part (Tanakh) telling us how we got here and that a Messiah will come, and the second part telling us about that Messiah and letting us know what will happen in the end. One God for everyone, one Messiah for everyone, one set of rules for everyone, and one choice for everyone: joyful life eternal or eternal suffering.

It’s your choice- no one can make it for you and God will not allow you to let someone else take the blame for what you end up doing. No matter what you are told by humans, God says that He, Himself, is going to hold you individually and completely responsible for what you do during your lifetime on earth.

You may be thinking you can change later, or will think about it at some other time, but here’s the problem with that: you will never know when you’re out of time!