Parashah Vayyiggash 2020 (He approached) Genesis 44:18 – 27

We left Benjamin being taken into life-long slavery for having stolen the cup from Joseph. This parashah begins with Judah coming to Joseph and explaining how very valuable Benjamin is to Jacob and begs Joseph to take him in place of Benjamin as his slave for life and release Benjamin back to his father; otherwise, Jacob will die of a broken heart.

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At this demonstration of brotherly love and devotion, Joseph can no longer contain himself, so glad that his brothers have shown they are no longer as they were when they sold him into slavery. He clears the Egyptians from his presence and reveals his true identity to his brothers. After a moment of disbelief, Joseph reunites with them. He tells them to bring Jacob and all they have into Egypt because the famine is not over yet and that he, Joseph, will take care of all their needs from now on.

Pharaoh hears that Joseph’s brothers are there and confirms Joseph’s request to bring the family into Egypt; not only that, but he also gives them wagons to carry everything.  The brothers return to Jacob and tell him about Joseph, and once he gets over the initial shock, he desires to go to Joseph just as fast as he can. On the way they come to Beersheba, where Jacob was raised, God confirms to Jacob he may go to Egypt.

Remember that Isaac wanted to go to Egypt when he was in the midst of a famine, but God forbade it (Genesis 26:2) so, naturally, Jacob wanted to have God’s approval before he went there, and the altar that Isaac set up at Beersheba was the perfect place to ask permission.

Upon arrival in Egypt, Pharaoh confirms (again) Joseph’s desire to have his family settle in Goshen, which seems to be the best land in Egypt. They settle in and the famine continues, although thanks to Joseph his family is well fed. The rest of Egypt, in the meantime, is starving and they run out of money to buy food, so Joseph trades their cattle for food. Eventually, Pharaoh owns all the cattle (although Joseph had the people care for the cattle) and the famine is still with them, so Joseph buys the land the people own and allows them to work it, giving Pharaoh a percentage of their crops in exchange for letting them work the land. By the end of the famine, Pharaoh owns everything in Egypt: the land, the cattle, and even the people.

Meanwhile, the children of Israel are growing stronger and multiplying like rabbits.

When I read this all I could think about was how amiable Pharaoh was to Joseph. He appreciated all that Joseph had done not just for him, but for his people, as well. He was kind to Joseph, and when Joseph brought his family down, even though (compared to the Egyptians) they were crude and their habits and lifestyle an abomination, Pharaoh gave them the best land to live on and even made them supervisors of his own cattle. The government appreciated what this lowly Jewish man had done for it.

Then I thought about the treatment of Jews today.

Do you have any idea of the technological advancements to make life better that have come out of Israel?

First off, consider that Jews make up less than 4/10’s of 1 percent of all the people in the world, which means that out of every 10,000 people only 4 of them are Jewish. Yet, even at that minuscule percentage, in the last century, nearly 22% of all Nobel prizes have been awarded to Jews.

As for technology, here are some examples (just a few of the many) of what Israel has contributed to the world:

  • the cell phone was a Motorola invention, but it was developed at their Israel R & D location;
  • an exoskeleton device to help paraplegics walk;
  • PillCam, which is a camera in a pill people can swallow for diagnosis of gastronomic illnesses;
  • a flexible stent for heart patients that has already saved millions of lives;
  • some of the most advanced firewall software available today;
  • the very first USB flash drive patent was from an Israeli;
  • Netafim is an advanced irrigation system;
  • Israel has invented a device for farming that can pull water directly from the air; and
  • the car camera system that makes driving safer? Israeli invention.

And these are just a few of the many inventions that Israel has not only developed, but shared with the world. They even share it with their neighbors, who refuse to accept what Israel can give them to make their lives better, Instead, they do all they can to completely destroy Israel.

Talk about killing the goose that lays the golden eggs!

The governments of the world, unlike that Pharaoh so many millennia ago, don’t appreciate a thing that Israel has done. In fact, instead of recognizing the benefits that Israel gives to the world and demanding that the Arab nations leave Israel alone, they side with the ones trying to destroy Israel. How blind can you be? How can the world not see that they are supporting the destruction of the one country that is doing more than anyone else to make their lives better?

I don’t have an answer to that one, except maybe that Satan has so influenced the world leadership, meaning the United Nations, that the world is willing to drink the Kool-Aid (if you understand my reference.)

The worst part is that I know this will not get better, but in fact, it will get worse.  God’s plan for the redemption of his people has been done: we are gathered from the four corners of the earth and are back in our own land. Now comes the judgment of the nations, the Goyim, who will pay for their attempts to destroy God’s chosen people. But, as that judgment comes, Israel is still part of the world, they will also undergo suffering. Pray that during this suffering they come to recognize and accept the Messiah God already sent to them, Yeshua.

God has his plan for the world, which is outlined in the Bible books, especially the one called Revelation. It tells us how terrible it will be, and we can see the events beginning to unfold. Yes, there have been “doomsday sayers” for millennia, but I really think that we can count on it happening soon because the one definitive sign is that God will first regather his people, which he has done. That, and the inexplicable stupidity of the world, believing and supporting the PLO, who are liars and murderers, not just of Jews but of their own people, as well. And the UN is so blind that they are blaming Israel for all the problems that Israel’s neighbors are causing.

We can pray for Israel, and we should, but what we should pray for now is not a peace that comes from men, because history proves that peace men make is never more than temporary. We need to pray for the peace that God will bring, and that peace will not come (per God’s word) until after the Tribulation.

Pray for the Tribulation to come soon, and pass quickly.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share this ministry with others, and please remember that I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Until next time, Shabbat Shalom and Baruch HaShem!

Parashah Vayyishlach 2019 (He sent) Genesis 32:4 – 36

Jacob is on his way back to the land of his father and he hears that Esau is coming to meet him, with 400 men! Jacob assumes that Esau is still peeved about the firstborn rights thing, so he creates three groups of animals, each group separated from the other, to be a gift to Esau in the hope that it will appease his anger.

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Jacob comes to the Jabbok River, which is by Shechem in the Jordan Rift Valley, and everyone crosses over while Jacob remains as the last one to cross, making sure everyone is safely on the other side. As night comes, he wrestles with a man until the morning, when the man (who we learn is an angel) strikes Jacob in the hip, partially disabling him. Jacob holds on and the man asks to be released, but Jacob won’t release him until he blesses Jacob. The angel gives him a new name, Israel (one who wrestled with God.)

With Esau coming, Jacob sends his gifts and splits his camp into two, leading off with the handmaidens of his wives with their children, then Leah with her children, and in the rear, Rachel and Joseph.

Esau comes and they reconcile, with Esau going back to his land (Edom) and Jacob staying behind, settling in Shechem on a plot of land he buys from Hamor, the king of Shechem.

Later, after Jacob is settled, Shechem, the son of Hamor sees Jacob’s daughter Dinah alone and rapes her. Afterward, he falls in love with her and asks his father to get her to be his wife. Jacob and all the family, especially Levi and Shimon (who are her brothers by Leah) are disgusted by this vile act, but they agree to allow Dinah to become Shechem’s wife under one condition: all the men in the city must be circumcised. Hamor convinces the men to undergo this painful and debilitating operation (they didn’t have packages of frozen peas to act as a cold compress) because then all the possessions of Jacob will be theirs.  The men undergo the operation and on the third day, the most painful when they can’t even walk, Levi and Shimon attack the village and slaughter all the men, taking all their goods as booty.

Jacob is afraid the surrounding tribes will attack him for this evil act, and God tells him to go to Beth-El. On the way, Benjamin is born to Rachel, who dies in childbirth and is buried outside Bethlehem.

This parashah ends with the death of Isaac and the lineage of Esau.

So far in this book of the Torah, we know that Abraham purchased land in Hebron and that Jacob purchased land in Shechem (where, eventually, Joseph will be buried.) Did you know that these two places which are legally owned by the descendants of the Patriarchs (i.e., the Jewish people) are forbidden to Jews?

When I was in Israel in 2016, our guide told us that Jews going to the Cave of the Patriarchs was a dangerous trip, as it was surrounded by Arab towns and they have attacked Jews trying to visit the cave. As for Shechem, it is still under Arab control and here is the warning sign that is on the fence surrounding the territory:

If Jews want to visit the burial place of Joseph, they may be killed and there will be no legal action taken against the killers!

These aren’t the only places where Jews/Israeli’s are being kept from the land they legally own. The West Bank, which is really the section of Israel called Shomron (also known as Samaria) has historically been possessed by the Jewish people. Yet, the Jews that are now settled there and have built homes and cities are under attack by the Palestinian people, claiming that the land is their land and the Israeli’s are invaders!

For the record, there are no such people as the “Palestinian people”- this is a term that Yasser Arafat created and is propaganda. Before Israel was created in 1948, the North Syrian shepherds would often cross the boundary with their flocks and, after denuding the territory, return to their own country. That is the full extent of their “claim” to be inhabitants.  The only “real” Palestinian people, if we want to get technical, were the Jewish people living there after the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem in 73 AD and renamed Judea to Philistia (after the Philistines, the ancient enemy of the Jews.)

There was never any Arab interest in any part of the land that the Israeli’s have settled in until AFTER they were there and making the land economically feasible. There has never been a permanent Arab settlement in that part of the world. It wasn’t until after Israel was declared to be a separate state that the surrounding Arab nations made claims of ownership.

God promised that land to the descendants of Abraham, and he confirmed that promise to Isaac and Jacob. When God says something once, you can be pretty sure it will be. When he says it twice, there can be no doubt at all that it will happen that way. But if God says something three times, then you can bet your life on it! In fact, God repeats the promise to give the land to the descendants of Abraham to Moses, as well, and gives Joshua the boundary lines of each tribe and orders him to take the land from those who were already there (Joshua 15-20.)

The only way to be certain of the ownership of all the land which God promised to give to the children of Israel is to start with the belief that God exists, that he created everything in the universe, and that everything on, in, around, under, and above the earth belongs to God. When we accept that as truth, then ownership of the land cannot be contested. God gave that land to the descendants of Abraham through Isaac: this is an important point- God did not promise this land to the descendants of Ishmael but to the descendants of Isaac and Jacob. God told Moses that the all the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River belongs to the Children of Israel (Exodus 23:31.)

The British promised Israel almost all the land that God said we should have in their Balfour Declaration (1917) but by the time Israel actually got the land, the size was only a fraction of what had been promised to them. Yet, God has strengthened his people and they have expanded, taking back much of their ancient boundaries.

One day God will make sure that his promise is completely fulfilled, and when that day comes only those who have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah and have stood by Israel will be able to see God’s promise come to fruition.

Thank you, as always, for being here and please don’t hesitate to subscribe and make comments, if you want to.

I wish you all Shabbat shalom, and until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch Ha Shem!

This Speech is Worth Listening to

I received this through an email from the Israel Video Network and although it is almost 14 minutes long, I ask that you listen to it.

This woman is telling the United Nations the truth about Israel and Muslim tactics, which is not to destroy just Israel but to destroy Democracy and freedom throughout the Earth.

Brigitte Gabriel defends Jews in one of the best speeches the UN has ever heard

 

How Should We Really Pray for The Peace of Jerusalem?

In the Gospels, when Yeshua (Jesus) is in the garden praying to God, he asks if the cup can be passed from him. He was asking, “Lord? Do I really have to go through this? Isn’t there a Plan B?”

And the answer he gave himself was, “Thy will be done.”

Do you know where we commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem? Nowhere. There is nowhere in the Bible we are commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The Torah is where we find God’s instructions and there are none telling us we must pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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We are asked to pray for the peace of Jerusalem by King David in Psalm 122:5-6, where he says:

For there the thrones of judgment stand, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you prosper. May there be peace within your walls, and prosperity inside your fortresses.”

This psalm is asking that we pray for peace in Jerusalem so that there is peace in the house of David, and also in the house of Adonai.

Since its formation as a state in 1948, Israel (and Jerusalem as its capital) has been attacked daily by her enemies, which surround her on all sides. These attacks aren’t just military or terroristic; Israel is also being attacked economically, it is being lied about in the media, and it’s people are attacked throughout the European nations through anti-Semitic activities, such as in France and many former Soviet Union states, to name a few.

Even in the Congress of the United States, there is a New York Representative who is blatantly anti-Semitic! New York has always had a tremendously large Jewish population, yet here is a New Yorker who is obviously against Israel. Let’s not forget to mention there are some representatives from other states who also demonstrate a public persona that is anti-Semitic.

With regards to Jerusalem and Israel, we have prayed and prayed until our tallitot are frayed, and yet there is no peace. Is God ignoring his people? Does God want the enemies of the Jews to succeed?  Are we praying the wrong way?

I believe we are praying the wrong way, or maybe I should rephrase that: I believe we are praying for the wrong kind of peace.

First off, let’s all see if we can agree on this: whatever God wants to happen, will happen. Are we all OK with that? Good.

Next, let’s see what God intends for Jerusalem and Israel, so we know what he wants to happen:

Zechariah 12:3– On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.

Luke 21:24– Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Isaiah 34:1-2- For the Lord’s anger is against all the nations. And His anger is against all their armies. He has destroyed all of them. He has given them over to be killed.

Revelation 21:1-3– Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

 

These are just a few of the many verses telling about Jerusalem and Israel in the End Days, called the Acharit HaYamim.  God has punished Israel for her sins, and since the re-establishment of the State of Israel, the regathering promised throughout the Tanakh by nearly every prophet has been underway. The time of Israel’s punishment is over, and the time for the punishment of the nations is starting.

However, that doesn’t mean Israel is going to have peace- not yet.

God’s plan is that all the nations of the earth will come against Israel, and when the end of Israel seems to be certain, Messiah Yeshua will return, land on Mount Carmel and then (as we Marines say) he will kick butt and take names.

And when he kicks butt there won’t be any names left to take.

God’s plan for Israel is that it be attacked and decimated, nearly to the point of total destruction. We don’t have to like it, but that is what it is. He had the same plan for Messiah, who was insulted, beaten, whipped, tortured, and crucified. Israel will have to undergo the same treatment, and just like her Messiah, who rose triumphant and resurrected in a perfect body, Israel and Jerusalem will also be resurrected as a perfect place, and we will live in the presence of God, forever.

We should be following Yeshua’s example of praying, which means not praying for the avoidance of the terrible things to happen, but for God’s will to be done. We should not pray for the peace that men design, for we have seen throughout the history of Mankind that the peace men create is not lasting. Forget about peace with Jordan, or Syria, or any other nations. It ain’t in the cards!  Pray that the attacks against Israel and her people be ended by the return of Messiah.

That is the way I pray for the peace of Jerusalem: I pray that Messiah’s return happens swiftly because that is the only thing that will bring everlasting peace to Jerusalem.

We cannot go against the plan of God, and his plan is that Israel is attacked until it is nearly destroyed. We can’t stop that and we shouldn’t- it is what God wants, therefore I say we must not pray against it but for it to be done speedily so that the fewest number of people will have to suffer.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but not for a man-made peace, which is a waste of time. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem that God has planned for it by praying for the speedy return of Messiah Yeshua.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share this message to everyone you know who believes in God. I welcome your comments, just be nice, and until next time…L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Why There Will Not be Peace in the Middle East

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There will not be peace in the Middle East because God said it won’t happen.

Genesis 16 recalls the story of the birth of Ishmael. It tells us Sarai (not yet called Sarah) gave her slave girl, Hagar to Abram (not yet Abraham) so that she could have children through the slave girl. When Hagar became pregnant, instead of being joyful at this Sarai was jealous and began to mistreat Hagar. Hagar was fed-up with this and ran away, but God saw her and told her to return to Sarai.

Now here is the important thing for us to remember: when God told Hagar to return, he also promised her that she would have a son and be the mother of many, many descendants, but the most important thing he said, which seems to have been forgotten by people is found in Genesis 16:12 (CKB):

“He will be a wild donkey of a man, with his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, living his life at odds with all his kinsmen.”

I think we can all agree that when God says something is going to be a certain way, we can be sure that that certain thing will be exactly the way God said it will be. And God said that the Arab nations that are the descendants of Ishmael, who are all still living throughout the Middle East (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and the smaller countries) would always be in combat and against one another. Of course, Israel is right in the middle of all this, being also a kinsman to Ishmael.

And the history of that part of the world demonstrates that God wasn’t lying.

So there you have it! We all want peace in the Middle East, but it’s just the same as when every beauty pageant candidate is asked what would be their fondest wish and they answer, “World peace.” Yeah, nice thought, but it ain’t gonna happen in this plane of existence.

Do you want peace in the Middle East? So do I, so do what I do to make it happen- pray for Messiah’s return. That’s the only way there will be peace in that part of the world; in fact, that is the only way there will be lasting peace anywhere in the world.

God’s Plan is Being Accomplished and We Are Complaining!

I am still a little under the weather so there will not be a video for this message.

 

I have been using Face Book as a means to advance this ministry, and I have many friends who I know personally outside the FB domain. I follow them and see all too often postings about how the media is attacking Israel, about how the UN is attacking Israel, or about how the Democrats here in the US are either attacking Israel or supporting Hamas and the enemies of Israel.

I also see this in discussion groups (Christian, Messianic and Hebraic Roots), all kvetching about how everyone is coming against Israel with lies and how the media and the world are accepting it as truth.

To all this I say….DUH!!  What did you expect? Isn’t this God’s plan? Isn’t this what the Prophets and Yeshua and John’s vision all tell us is going to happen?

In Matthew 16:21-23, when Yeshua was telling his Talmudim (Disciples) that he had to suffer and die, Kefa (Peter) said this should never happen. And what did Yeshua reply to him? He said:

But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.

Kefa was only seeing the worldly events that were to happen and did not recognize or accept that what was going to happen would result in the salvation of the world! He was all about the flesh and nothing about the spirit.

Earlier, Yeshua was telling a parable and when his Talmudim later asked him to explain it he said (Matthew 13:15-16):

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.…

He was, in a way, chiding them for not understanding or appreciating what was happening. Their eyes and ears were blessed because Yeshua was going to explain to them the meaning of his parables, but they were still as “thick” as everyone else.  They had the Messiah right there, in the very midst of them, and they couldn’t appreciate it.

Of course, they did later.

What I am complaining about is those people who are constantly complaining about the treatment Israel is getting from the world and want the world to change it’s attitude. This won’t happen, it shouldn’t happen, and in fact, we should not be kvetching about it! What we should be doing instead is praising God for his wonderful plan of salvation that we are blessed to see happening in our own lifetime!

Look…I hate seeing Israel under such pressure, and I look forward to the peace that God will bring, but it won’t come until after the Tribulation. That is God’s plan, we are aware of it and we are seeing it happen. Stop complaining about God’s plan coming to fruition and instead shout, “Halleluyah!! Come, Lord Yeshua!”

I am not happy seeing Israel and Believers all over the world being persecuted, but I am overjoyed that the plan of God is being realized and brought to it’s completion.

Aren’t you?

 

Parashah Bo 2018 (Go) Exodus 10 – 13:16

The plagues continue, starting with the eighth plague of locusts, followed by the days of darkness, and the final and ultimate plague: the death of the firstborn.

And with this last and terrible event, God’s plan of salvation for the Israelites is completed and they are sent out of Egypt.

In this reading we have the first, the original, Passover and we learn about the Passover Lamb.

We call Yeshua the “Passover Lamb”, but is that really what He is?

What Changed After Egypt?

When we read the 4th Commandment in Exodus 20, it reads this way:

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

But later on, after the Israelites have been in the desert for some 40 years and Moses is about to die, he reviews all that has happened, and when he repeats the 10 Commandments in Deuteronomy 5 , the 4th one changes:

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”

Do you see the change? The reason for celebrating the Shabbat has been changed! Initially, when the people were freed they were told that God rested on the Shabbat and so they should, also. These were a people that had been in slavery for 400 years and never had a single day’s rest. Slavery isn’t a 9 to 5 job, it is 24/7/365! If God was able to rest, so can they, and it was a totally new life style for them. But later, after 40 years of having a Shabbat, as they were about to enter the land, God changed the reason for celebrating.

They were about to take possession of a land in which, instead of being a slave, they will have slaves of their own. A land where there will be other people living with them who will be working for them instead of the other way around. So they will need to remember how they were slaves, that once they were mistreated and never had a single day’s rest until God provided it for them. Therefore, they were no longer to emulate God just by resting on Shabbat, but also by providing a Shabbat rest for others.

It may seem the reason for celebrating the Shabbat had changed drastically, but there is a common element between the two: whether they were resting as God rested, or providing others rest as God provided for them, they were still emulating God. At first they were told to rest because God rested, and that was something they needed to learn how to do. By the time they were ready to enter the Land the Shabbat had become a regular part of their lifestyle, and the next step was to learn how to allow others to rest from their work with them, just as God had them rest when He did.

From this point in the bible forward, the Shabbat is (almost always) commanded to be observed because we were once slaves in Egypt and now we are free. In fact, if you really look at it, from the time we entered the Promised Land onward, the impetus for the people to emulate God was in that they were once slaves and now they are free. This is the founding principle of God’s plan of salvation: those who were slaves are now free. First we were slaves to Pharaoh, and God freed us through wondrous miracles. He gave us the Torah, which defined, absolutely, sin from righteousness, and so we were able (as Shaul tells us) to identify sinfulness from sinlessness. With Torah we understood that instead of being slaves to a political system, we were still slaves to a spiritual system; more than that, we understood that the freedom to this spiritual system was also provided by God, through Messiah Yeshua.

What changed between Egypt and the Promised Land was not just the reason for celebrating the Shabbat, but our understanding of God’s plan of salvation. It is all about freedom: freedom from a political system, then freedom from a spiritual system, and ultimately freedom from this plane of existence, itself. Whether we are saved by Messiah or still slave to the world system, we are always going to be enslaved by our physicality, our mortality and our flesh. This will not change until we are resurrected into spiritual beings, and then God’s plan of salvation will be completed.

The good news is that for those that have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah, we are already 2/3’s of the way home! Freed from slavery to a world system, freed from slavery to sin, and now just waiting for our resurrected bodies.

I can hardly wait!

Repentance Without Change is Nothing

How often do we hear preachers tell us that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved? How many times have you heard missionaries tell you that Jesus died for your sins and once you accept Him, your sins are forever forgiven? How many people believe that by asking for forgiveness they are now set to go to heaven?

How many of you out there believe that anything I said above is true? If you do, please sit back, open your heart to the Holy Spirit and read on….WARNING: your comfort zone is about to be attacked.

Calling on the name of the Lord, accepting Yeshua (Jesus) and asking forgiveness from your sins in His name, repenting of sin (which is what this is all based on) is totally useless if you, yourself, do not change how you act from that moment onwards. You cannot be forgiven for sinning if you do not repent of sinning, and repentance means that you stop doing what you have been doing. That means changing how you act, changing what you think, and changing how you live your life.

Think about it: What if I stole from you, and then said I was sorry and won’t do it again? Later, I steal from you. Do you think that I really meant what I said when I promised not to steal anymore? If I continue to steal from you, then what you finally realize is that I am NOT repentant, that I am NOT sorry I stole, and that I am playing you for a sap.

God is not a sap. God is forgiving and compassionate and patient, but He is not stupid or easily (actually, I should say ever) fooled. He knows our heart, He knows out very essence, and when we ask for forgiveness, if we really don’t mean it, if we are just trying to get away with something, then He will know and He will not forgive.

Read the writings of the Prophets and see how God continually challenged the Children of Israel, in both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, to truly repent, to change their ways. Read the book of Jonah- Nineveh did a real T’shuvah (turning from sin) and God recognized that, so they were not destroyed. Later, they went back to their sinful ways and eventually were used by God to punish the Northern Kingdom (who never even tried to repent), then they were also destroyed.

The way many missionaries and preachers gain congregants, and how they keep them, is to tell them what sounds good: “God will forgive you and God loves you just as you are.” Although these statements are true, they aren’t complete.

God does love you just as you are, but that doesn’t mean that He wants you to stay that way.

James tells us faith without works is dead, and that goes hand-in-hand with what I learned when I was a salesman, which is: people don’t mean what they say; they mean what they do. When we ask God to forgive us our sins, He is willing and desiring to do so, but He requires T’shuvah, which is demonstrated only through a change in our actions. Yes, God can see our heart, but that isn’t enough.

Forgiveness of sin is something that says more about God than it does about us, namely that He is wonderful, compassionate and forgiving, and when we talk about how Yeshua died so we can have a chance to live eternally in God’s presence, we are glorifying both Yeshua and God. And that is why we need to change what we do- repentance of our sins has to be shown by a change in our actions which glorifies the Lord.

We naturally will do and act the way we want to, so to change how we act we need to change who we are. People can’t do that, which is why we need the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh, to indwell in us. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit we can change our words, thoughts and actions. That is what we mean when we say “die to self.”

I once read a self-help book that made a lot of sense to me: the basic premise is that we cannot change how we react to things, but we can change how we act. I was not a Believer then and was thinking simply in humanistic ways, but now that I understand better I see that this is how the Ruach can help. I am sinful from birth, and iniquity (tendency to sin) is something that is part of me- I cannot just make it go away. BUT- I can control it, and I can act in a way that will allow me to overrule my desire to sin. The Ruach is how I do that, and that is what you need to do, as well.

What I mean is this: I can never be sinless, but I can always sin less. I can sin less tomorrow than I did today, and I can do that through repentance (true repentance) by asking the Ruach to help me. And by surrendering to it. When I put my pride and stubborn heart in subjection to the Holy Spirit, then I will have a change of heart, and I will act differently. And my change will demonstrate not to God, but to the world, the truth of my repentance. Our repentance must be obvious to the world in order to glorify the Lord.

That is the essence of today’s message. When we repent and mean it, we will have to change how we act and what we say because the repentance must be obvious to the world- what we do and say as Believers is not to reflect on us, it is to reflect on God and glorify Him.

When we change our words and thoughts, we show the world that our repentance is genuine and that glorifies God. If we tell people we are saved but they see us acting the same way we always have, what are they going to think? I’ll tell what they are going to think- they are going to think that whole “God thing” is a bunch of hooey! We will not only have lied to God but will have defamed Him, trampled the blood of Messiah into the dirt, and possibly prevented someone from being saved from their sin.

That is not a good thing to do.

So, remember what David said in Psalm 51: “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit in me.

And while we’re at it, my personal prayer is from Psalm 19: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

Repentance must be real, it must be demonstrated through a change in your words and your actions.

Repentance that doesn’t change you is not repentance, and without repentance of sin there will not be forgiveness of sin.

Parashah Shoftim (Judges) Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9

There are some very important practices outlined in this parashah.

First off, judges must not allow a person’s social status to influence their decision. Any crime deserving of capital punishment must be substantiated by no less than 2 or 3 witnesses, and to ensure those witnesses realize the seriousness of their accusations, they are to be the first ones to lay hands on and stone the guilty.  For criminal cases that are too hard for the local judge to adjudicate, those cases are to be brought to the Levites in the location where where God places His name; God just created the first Supreme Court.

It talks about when the people want a king that the king must read and obey the Torah daily, and that he must not bring the people out of the land or have too many horses or wives; too many horses represents faithlessness in God as their protector, and too many wives will be a lure to idolatry (as Solomon proved true.)

What is interesting is that after establishing the rules for having a king, Moses tells the people that God will send a prophet to let them know what He wants of them. The reason I find this interesting is that the prophet was supposed to be in place of the king, yet the rulings for how the king is to act came before Moses talked about the prophet.  Perhaps this is to emphasize that the king is also required to listen to the prophet God sends, which (for the good kings) did happen. As for the bad kings who rejected the prophets warnings, well… we know where they ended up.

The other regulations in this parashah deal with which men shall be free of military obligation, establishing cities of refuge and what I want to talk about today- offering peace with slavery or total destruction to the cities the people would encounter when conquering the land.

Deuteronomy 20: 10-18 states that when coming to a city which is not one within the land that God is giving as an inheritance, they are to approach it and offer a peaceful takeover. The city that accepts will be required to pay tribute but will remain unmolested. If the city refuses, then all the men are to be killed and the woman, children and possessions are to be taken. However, for those people living in the land that God is giving as the inheritance (the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites), the people, all the animals and their possessions are to be completely destroyed. Nothing is to be kept by the Israelites.

Wow! Our loving, compassionate and merciful God wants total annihilation of people- men, women and children, as well as the animals!  Is this the same God who chided Jonah for wanting Nineveh destroyed? Is this the same God who gave us commandments regarding proper treatment of all people and animals? Is this the same God who gave us Messiah so that we can have eternal life? Is this the same God who has Ezekiel tell us (Chapter 18) that He doesn’t like to see anyone die, but would rather that the sinner turn from his sin, and live?

If God is willing to let the other pagan peoples remain alive as slaves, why not these that live in the land already?

The answer is simple, yet hard for humans to accept- the people living in the land that God is giving to the Israelites have sinned so terribly that their time for forgiveness has passed and the time for judgment has come. Remember how Moses told the people that they are not being given the land because they deserve it, but because of the promise God made to their fathers (Deuteronomy 9:5)?  Moses also told the people the reason the existing peoples are being ejected from the land is because they have so polluted it that the land, itself, is vomiting them out of it (Leviticus 18:28), and if the Israelites do not destroy them completely then they will become a snare for them and cause them to fall into the same sin, resulting in Israel being vomited out of the land, as well. Which, of course, eventually happened just as Moses warned them it would happen.

God is loving and compassionate and caring, but he is also God, which means that He judges fairly. He sets the rules, and He holds Himself accountable to them. I think this is why people can’t figure God out- it’s because we are weak and easily influenced by our emotions, and God isn’t. We have rules and regulations but we do not always hold ourselves up to our own standards.

God is not like that- God makes the rules for us, but He also follows those rules Himself. One of the reasons God is able to judge fairly is because He not only can see the heart, but because He will not allow Himself to break His own rules. Since He is God, if He wanted to break His own rules, who could stop Him? Who can hold God accountable? No one, of course, except God, and He does exactly that- God holds Himself accountable to follow His own rules.

We do not know if God sent prophets to these people, or if He made Himself known to them as He did to the Israelites, but we do know that the people in the land were aware of who God was. The story of what God did to Egypt was known throughout that area. God also said He would put the fear of the Israelites into the peoples, which was evident. Once Joshua was in the land, Rahab (Joshua 2) knew about them, and there is the story of the city of Gibeon (Joshua 9) that fooled Joshua by sending envoys pretending they came from a far distance in order to make peace with him. So there was no excuse for these people to have not done T’shuvah and save themselves.

Purging of sin and sinful people from the world is a cruel thing, because sin is a cruel thing. You cannot put out a fire with gasoline or by throwing wood on it- you have to kill the fire by taking it’s life. You do that by suffocating it with water or chemicals. Sin is like fire- it destroys anything and everything in it’s path, and someone who has come into close contact with it will wear the scars of that experience forever. Through Messiah we are saved from the fire, and when we receive our resurrected bodies the scars of that fire will be gone. In the meantime, we go on and let those scars remind us of how terrible sin is. Yeshua is the balm, the covering and the relief from the sin we have scarred ourselves with by playing with fire.

What we learn from this parashah is that God is fair, just and will hold Himself accountable to His own commandments and regulations. He wants everyone to live, but when people reject Him (and He gives them plenty of chances to change their mind) eventually the deadline for T’shuvah (repentance) runs out, and the judgment follows. America is coming into judgment, as is the rest of the world. In fact, we can see it has already started. Terrorism is a cruel, heartless and destructive thing that cares not for men,women, children ,animals, or possessions; I believe it is the sword of Adonai. God used His people, Israel, to mete out His righteous judgment against the Canaanites and other peoples that had polluted the land God allowed them to live in, and today judgment is coming on the nations just as it did then. God is using terrorism as His sword of justice. Why do I say this? Because what the terrorists are doing is no similar to what the Israelites did- destruction of the social, financial and political systems of the people they were sent to destroy.  The only difference is in the procedure: in Joshua’s day the destruction was through direct warfare, whereas today it is through terrorism; terrorism is slower and less direct, but it is just as destructive and cruel, with the same final results. The people are destroyed without pity, without recourse and without warning. Just look at how terrorism is spreading throughout Europe and America. Even those Arab countries that are attacking Israel to this day are tearing themselves apart, internally.

Judgement is here, God is working His will throughout the world, and it will only get worse. We need to steel ourselves against turning from the faith in order to avoid the terror- it won’t work, anyway, The terror is coming, and no one can do anything about it. We just need to make sure we are on the wining side.