Once Saved, Always Saved Results in Unsaved

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You may be asking yourself, “How can I be saved for all time and end up not saved at all?”  That’s a fair question, and the answer is that the “Once Saved, Always Saved” teaching is a lie. 

From this point I will write “once saved, always saved” as OSAS.

Here’s the reason why I say this: first off, I think we can agree that someone who doesn’t repent of their sins will continue to sin. And, as far as salvation is concerned, we all sin but those are unrepentant will not be able to be saved. The Bible is clear that God will not forgive someone who sins over and over because they choose to sin rather than to obey. 

Messiah died so that we can have a shot at salvation, and the first step in gaining salvation is to repent of our sins and desire to sin no more, which in Hebrew is called T’shuvah.  After we repent, if we haven’t already accepted Yeshua as our Messiah, that is the next step. The third step is to ask forgiveness in Yeshua’s name by means of his sacrifice, and the last step is to go forth from that point working out your salvation through learning God’s word (all of it- from Genesis to Revelation) and obeying it as best as you can. 

That’s how salvation is gained, in a nutshell.

OK, Steve- I get it. That’s how we are saved, but that doesn’t tell me why OSAS is a lie.  After all, that is what many Christians have been told is how it works. We have been told, “Yeshua died for your sins which were all nailed to the Cross” (Colossians 2:14), so why should I worry anymore? 

Here’s why: the sins that were nailed to the Cross were only the ones that you already had performed. In the days when crucifixion was the standard punishment, above the head of the one being crucified was a list of the crimes against them.  So, when your sins were nailed to the Execution Stake along with the Messiah, it was only those sins (crimes) that you had committed up to that point in time. The sins that you do AFTER your T’shuvah and AFTER you receive forgiveness are not automatically forgiven. That is the lie of OSAS.

Salvation is irrevocable, which means that no one can take it away but it does NOT mean that we can’t lose it by throwing it away ourselves.

If someone believes that their sins are automatically forgiven, which is the very foundation of OSAS, then when they sin (which we all do and cannot stop doing) they will believe these new sins are already forgiven. That is what OSAS tells us; however, the truth is that the sins we commit are being listed against us until such time as we ask forgiveness. And we must ask forgiveness for every sin we commit, which (as you may recall from earlier) starts with our T’shuvah.  And without T’shuvah, which is the first step in receiving forgiveness, there can be no forgiveness.

When someone believes that their sins are automatically forgiven, they will continue to act as they always have with no regrets, with no worries and thereby without repentance. We just go along on our merry way, doing whatever we do confident in knowing that when we screw up we are automatically forgiven. 

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the danger of the OSAS lie- it removes our accountability for having sinned, and thereby our responsibility to obey God.

Salvation must be worked through- it is a gift from God, it is his Grace to us, but just like any gift that is given we can lose it. If you believe that because Yeshua died for your sins you are automatically forgiven, you are in BIG trouble and need to get on your knees right this second and ask God for forgiveness. 

God understands that you have been taught by those you trust something that is wrong, but he has told all of us what he considers to be right, and just like when you tell a cop that you didn’t know what the speed limit was, when you tell God you didn’t know OSAS was a lie, you will get the same answer: ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.

The First Hurdle to Overcome When Talking to Jews About Yeshua

If you have ever tried to talk to a Jewish person about Jesus, you are already done. The moment you use the name “Jesus” pretty much any Jew you are talking to will be screaming, “Shields up, Scotty!!” because, to a Jew, Jesus is a Jew who betrayed Judaism and created his own religion, which has historically hated and persecuted Jews.

As I have talked about before (check out the blogs under the category “Jews and Jesus”), approaching a Jewish man or woman with the Good News is something that has to be done with total respect for, and only referencing, the Tanakh. Use “Yeshua” or “Messiah/Maschiach” when referencing Yeshua. Do not use the terms “Under the blood” or “Under the law” or even imply that Torah is not still valid and necessary, and do not, under any circumstances, use anything from the New Covenant writings to justify a position.

This teaching within Judaism, that Jesus created Christianity, is the major hurdle preventing Jews from even wanting to listen to anything about Jesus. And what makes this even more potent, as a wedge between Jews and Christians, is that Christians believe it, too! The fact is that Jesus did NOT create Christianity as it is practiced today. He did not create anything new, all He did was better define the existing laws in the Torah. Yeshua (let’s practice not using “Jesus”) did not change or delete or teach against anything in the Torah. Christianity teaches that He was the living Torah, that the Word became flesh (the only “word” at that time was the Torah) and that Yeshua lived a perfectly sinless life, which is why He was an acceptable sacrifice for our sins. Christianity teaches and is based completely upon that truth: Yeshua was sinless. Yet, much of Christianity teaches that the Torah is no longer necessary; in other words, Christians are told to live and do what Yeshua did, but in the next breath they are told that they don’t have to obey Torah, which is what Yeshua did! Huh??  Do as Yeshua did, but don’t do what He did? The popular idea of living as Jesus did with the bracelet that has written on it, “WWJD?” (What Would Jesus Do) is creating a lie, because what Christianity teaches is “DDWJD” (Don’t Do What Jesus Did).

To be fair I should say, most of Christianity teaches this. There are the Messianic and Hebraic Roots Christian movements which are turning back to the roots of Christianity and accepting Yeshua as a Jew, and also accepting the Torah as a valid and necessary list of commandments that are, and always have been, as much a part of the New Covenant God made with us (through Yeshua) as the Old Covenant. Mosaic laws are still valid and need to be obeyed for blessings and to remain saved. Ignoring or rejecting Torah is rejecting God, and rejecting Messiah. We are told this in 1 John 2:4-6:

Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.  But if anyone obeys his word,love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

So, how do we overcome this hurdle? It ain’t gonna be easy, I can tell you that!

First, we should re-train the “Church” to recognize that being saved by Yeshua’s sacrifice does not mean they are no longer subject to the commandments in the Torah. We all need to recognize that the Torah is God’s commandments to the world, not just to Jews.

Second, the “Church” needs to understand that Constantine created modern day Christianity. Before then, there was growing political and social upheaval that caused the rift between Jews and followers of Messiah Yeshua (which was composed of Jews and Gentiles converting to Judaism.) Once the Christian world understands how and why the rift between Jews and Gentiles began, we can begin to overcome the wrongful, hateful and Satanic (yes, Satan is behind the split between Jews and Christians- no doubt about it!) teachings that came from the early “church elders.”

When I use the term “church elders” I am referring to Gentiles who took control of the early followers of Messiah. Even though there may have been thousands upon thousands of Jews that initially accepted Yeshua (and never, ever changed their Jewish lifestyle or worship), by the beginning of the Second Century people following “The Way” were being led by Gentile converts, and the majority of Messianic followers were Gentiles who had been converting from their pagan practices to Judaism. Those Gentile leaders did not want to get in any more trouble then they were already with Rome, so they began to separate themselves from the Jewish lifestyle and worship practices (if you read the letters from Shaul/Paul to his Messianic Communities, you can see between the lines that already they were beginning to fall away from Judaism in their worship and lifestyle, which is what he was trying to prevent.) In the same way Jeroboam separated Israel from Judea when he first took over the 10 Tribes that rebelled against Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, these elders became so passionate about no longer being associated with Judaism that they literally created a new religion, which Constantine made “official” at the Council of Nicene; those canon are the foundation for what we today call Christianity.

Finally, the third step in this process is to approach Jews with the truth about Yeshua: He was a Jew and is still a Jew, Torah is what He preached and followed and that He taught others to do so. His Disciples (use the term “Talmudim”, which means students) also lived a Jewish lifestyle, worshiped as Jews do, and taught others to do so. The early “church” was not a church at all, but made up of Messianic communities (use the term “Kehillot” (ka-hee-lote), which is Hebrew for communities) that were Jews who accepted Yeshua as their Messiah and pagans converting to Judaism.

God willing, once we can get past the wrongful teachings, which are from Satan’s desire to weaken God’s union of those who follow the Messiah, we may then have our Jewish Brothers and Sisters give the order to “lower shields”, and communication can begin.

The truth WILL set you free, and it will also bring us into union as one new person, under Messiah, worshiping God and treating each other as God commanded us to do.

 

 

Expectation is Everything

I was in the Sales field for about 15 years, between 1992 and 2007, and the title of today’s message is one of the most important lessons I learned about being able to have a successful sales career. 

I am sure all of you reading this have found the most disappointing purchases you have ever made were the ones where what you got wasn’t anything at all like what you expected. That can be the fault of the salesperson, or yourself, or both- neither one really explaining or listening to the other, and ending up having an unrealistic expectation.

 This same thing has happened with Yeshua and the Jewish people, which started in the First Century and is still present, today. 

The Tanakh (Old Covenant) has very explicit expectations of what the Messiah will do. He will regather Israel (Ezekiel 38:16), He will restore the Temple service (Jeremiah 33:18), He will end wickedness and heresy (Zephaniah 3:13),  He will reestablish the religious courts (Isaiah 2:2-4), and He will be a son of David. With these, and the many other Messianic prophecies found in Tanakh, the Jewish people’s expectations for their Messiah, taught to them by their leaders, was for a political savior who would immediately restore the Davidic kingdom, and that it would be just like it was in David’s and Solomon’s times. 

And when you think about it, that expectation wasn’t really all that far-fetched. So, looking back, it is understandable (isn’t it?) that the Jewish people would have rejected Yeshua as their Messiah when He walked the earth because many of the biblical expectations were not met: there was still sin and heresy (in fact, at that time the Jewish political and judicial systems were probably the most corrupt ones we’ve ever had), the Ten tribes were still in the Diaspora, Temple service had not been interrupted (so He couldn’t reinstate it), and He died! Duh! How could this guy be the Messiah and have an eternal kingship if he’s dead?  

These unmet expectations are the reason so many Jews back then rejected Yeshua as their Messiah, and even to this day they are the basis for still rejecting Jesus as Messiah. When you add to that the last two Millennia of the treatment Jews have received at the hands of the “followers of Jesus Christ”, well, it’s no wonder we don’t want anything to do with this Jesus guy. After all, isn’t Jesus the reason for the Crusades, which resulted in thousands of Jews being slaughtered when they didn’t convert?  And wasn’t Jesus the reason for the expulsion of Jews from Spain and her territories, not to mention the torture and murder of thousands of Jews during the 300 hundred years (or so) of the Inquisition? And isn’t Jesus the guy the Nazi’s said was on their side?- the belt buckle of the Nazi uniform had the words, “Gott mit uns” (God is with us) engraved on them. Oh, and let’s not forget the Replacement Theologists who say that God, Himself, has rejected the Jewish people (because they rejected Jesus) and that the Born-Again Christians are now God’s Chosen people. 

Taken altogether- unmet expectations, wrongful teachings, mistreatment, bigotry, persecution- is it any wonder the Jewish people have nearly universally rejected as their Messiah this blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Aryan image of the Jesus Christ we know today? 

So…how do we get around this misunderstanding (and it is a misunderstanding) about who Yeshua is? We start by realizing, within Judaism and Christianity, that what we know today as Christianity, and who we think Jesus Christ is, is wrong. First off, Jesus did not create Christianity: Constantine did, at the Council of Nicene in the Third Century. Without going into an entire history lesson on what happened, let’s simply state that as more and more Gentiles (who were Pagans at that time) were accepting Yeshua (He wasn’t called Jesus until many, many years later) and, thereby, converting to Judaism, all the restrictions of the Torah were too much for them at the start. In Acts (15:29)  there were only 4 absolute “Must Stop Now” restrictions, but when you read the entire passage it is clear that the Elders expected these new converts to learn how to obey the entire Torah as they continued to attend the synagogues. But with the continuing rebellion of the Jewish community against Roman rule, being identified as a “Jew” was becoming more intolerable than being a follower of Yeshua, so those Gentiles who were converting started doing less “Jewish” stuff. As early as the First Century, what was now being called Christianity began to actively separate itself from the Tree of Life it had been grafted into. They changed the Shabbat, they ridiculed and insulted Judaic practices, and by the time Rome accepted Christianity as an approved religion, it had lost most of it’s attachment to Judaism. Then Constantine created Christmas and Easter as a means to make Christianity more “fun” and further separate it from the Holy Days God defined for us. 

That is why today Christianity is not anything like what Christ preached or taught. We need to approach Jews with this information to destroy the expectation that by accepting  Jesus you have to reject Judaism. That is what Jews expect they have to do if they want to accept Jesus as their Messiah, and it is simply not true. 

Once we kill that first expectation of having to reject Judaism, we can then start to kill the next expectation, which is that Jesus taught against Torah. We need to educate people, both Jews and Christians, regarding the false teaching that Yeshua rejected Torah: that is a lie from the pit of Sheol! He not only taught to obey Torah, but He did so by teaching us the deeper meaning of it so we could live it more completely! And Shaul (Paul), John, Matthew and the rest of the gang all lived and taught obedience to Torah. Not as the means of salvation, which was the understanding of Torah then, but as a means of showing God our faithful belief that what He says to do is what is best for us, and to demonstrate our love and thanks to Him through obedience to His word.  

If you have gotten this far, having overcome thousands of years of wrong teaching and bigotry, now you have a chance to show how these expectations, which have resulted in such a massive rejection of Yeshua, are unreasonable. The prophecies were often dual-prophecies, meaning there was a current interpretation, and a future one, as well.  For instance, an argument against Isaiah 53 is that it was talking about Israel as a nation then and there, which could historically be shown, but it was also talking about Yeshua, which wouldn’t happen until far in the future. The expectations that the Jewish people had, and have, of Messiah were based on misunderstanding, not to mention the political and social pressures against accepting Him (back then) due to the corrupt individuals who would lose their power and standing if He had been universally accepted.

Today I can see the spirit of God moving- the regathering of Israel, the Hebraic Roots and Messianic Jewish movements gaining momentum, and the world getting worse and worse- all these point to the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) getting closer and closer. And that means we are getting closer to the return of Yeshua ha Maschiach!   Therefore, let’s educate in a way that edifies people, removing the unrealistic and improper expectations, showing the truth about who Yeshua is and what He teaches, and thereby making it possible for all people to hear the real Good News with unclogged ears and seeing eyes. 

Pet Peeves

Sometimes you just have to wonder how we ever got this far as a species.

I love the word puzzles in the morning- they get my brain started. Today a word puzzle had the answer , “Good mothers have sticky floors, dirty ovens and (happy kids).” Really? I thought the main thing a parent was to do was to prepare their children for independence, teach them to be able to care for themselves as well as their family. Good mothers don’t have to sacrifice cleanliness and respect for property just to have happy children, do they?

In a previous life I owned a 2-bedroom condo, and I asked who I was married to at that time to please clean it once a week (she stayed at home with our daughter, who was only 2 at the time) because the dog hairs would get all over my clothes (I was a Bank Officer, so dog hairs covering my legs was not acceptable.) That was it- please vacuum the 895 sq ft or so once a week. I was told (and I quote), “What do you want? A clean house or a wife that loves you?” I was amazed, because I never realized that these things were self-exclusionary! I can be loved or I can have a clean house, but not both.

We need to raise our children to be loving, competent, respectful, compassionate AND able to clean up after themselves! Cleanliness doesn’t have to be sacrificed to be a good parent or spouse. Proverbs says that if we raise a child in the way he should go he will return to it. And the bible does NOT say if we spare the rod we spoil the child: what Proverbs says is that if we do not discipline our children we condemn them to death! Good parents do not condemn their children to death.

Another thing- I saw an article the other day about alcoholism, but they don’t call it that anymore. Now it’s AUD – Alcohol Use Disorder. It’s not so much a disease (having a disease is bad), it’s really just a disorder. By softening the name of a thing it seems to make the thing less our fault. It’s all part of that “Not really my fault” attitude that makes our kids irresponsible and our lives less meaningful. When you think everything that happens to you is someone else’s fault, you are really telling yourself you have no control over your actions and that means you have no hope to be happy. Your problems are from someone else and so your happiness must, as well, come from someone else. You can’t be happy on your own. Hopeless, useless, just a leaf blowing in the wind. Not a good way to live, is it?

What’s next? Serial killers will say they have RMD (Random Murder Disorder)? Transsexuals will have NGSD (Native Gender Specific Disorder)?  Career criminals can say they suffer LPOD (Legal Property Ownership Disorder)? Those who are infected with the pandemic of not being politically correct, bigoted and ignorant can fall under the banner of suffering from SABD (Socially Acceptable Behavior Disorder)?

Let’s just call it what it is and face the music about what we do and say. Yeshua told us that our ‘yes’ should be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ should be ‘no’, because anything else is from the evil one. That’s a strong statement- if we don’t face the music and be honest with ourselves and others, we are essentially doing Satan’s work.

Does your company have quarterly “Kudos”? We do- every quarter the managers make up kudos about their people, and we also have attitude awards where you say I did something really special this time and next time I will say you did something really special. Forced recognition of others, just to say,  “Look at how wonderfully we treat our employees.”

I won’t say what that is called, but you can plant flowers in it.

I have been in management most of my life and understand the value of recognizing good work. I also understand how forcing people to say good things about others undervalues recognition. People today generally have this attitude of, “I show up every day, usually on time, I usually don’t leave early, and I do the minimum I am supposed to do, usually without problems. I deserve a merit raise!” Huh? It’s called a merit raise because it is supposed to be earned by doing meritorious work- that doesn’t mean just doing what you are supposed to do. That means regularly, and effectively, doing more than what is expected from you. Here’s what Yeshua says about meritorious raises for just doing what you are supposed to do (Luke 17:7-10):

Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’

If you want a raise then earn it- just like John Houseman said in the old Smith Barney commercials about how they make money: “We earn it!” If you want a raise or a promotion, then do more than anyone else does so you can earn it! It shouldn’t, and most of the time isn’t, just given out.  I am pretty sure everyone reading this (both of you) know people who have received a promotion by simply being around long enough to get it – do you really think they were qualified for it?

The only thing you can get without earning it (in fact, you can’t earn it) is salvation. And even salvation, free as it is, requires you to work for it to keep it (search this site for ‘losing salvation’ to see why I say that.)

There are so many social and political ills in the world, and America isn’t the only country with them. Every country, everywhere, has the same problems because we all have one thing in common that we cannot escape- we are all human. If we did what God wants from us things would be so much better, and even though we will fail at times, by trying and keeping at it we can be better. God has given us all the answers we need for anything and everything that we have to deal with in the world, and He also provided for us the means to have eternal joy after we leave this lousy place. But we need to take stock of ourselves, be honest with ourselves and others, let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ be ‘no’, and even more important than that, we need to know when to say yes and when to say no. To do that correctly, constantly, requires more insight and understanding than most humans have, inherently. That’s where the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) helps- it is our comforter because it guides us and helps us find the correct decisions to those hard questions. And, not only does it give us the strength to make them, but also the strength and perseverance to abide by them.

I am ranting here, and my rants may be a little under-researched, I may not understand completely the reasons for some of these things, and I may be way off the mark on others but I know, absolutely, that the bible has all the answers we need, and that faith in God will provide us the wisdom to accept what the proper answers are, and strengthen us to do what is right.

The world thinks it has all the answers, and it does- only it’s answers are wrong.

Parashah Mishpatim (Ordinances) Exodus 21 – 24

This parashah gives us many of the civil laws we are to follow, starting with laws regarding slaves/bondsmen. It is interesting to note that there is only one Hebrew word for both slave and bondsman, indicating that the system of slavery we think of (that within the Roman, Greek and American/European cultures) is not what slavery was to God, or for the Children of Israel. The system of slavery we know is based on the premise that the slave is property and can be treated (or mistreated) in any manner to which the owner wants to act. A Hebrew slave was a human being with rights, and the Hebrew who was purchased as a slave by another Hebrew was to be treated with respect and compassion. As with the other rules regarding the Shemitah year (the 7th year), a Hebrew who had been purchased as a slave was to be set free.

The other ordinances in this parashah create the basic penal system for the Israelites: it deals with restitution for theft, mistreatment of other’s property, marriage and dowry regulations, punishment for murder and punishment for manslaughter, restitution for accidental injury, kidnapping, matricide/patricide, witchcraft and moral offences.

We also hear from God how we are to act in accordance with testimony in court, the dispensing of  justice, and finally, as is done throughout the Tanakh, an exhortation to remember and obey these laws. If we remember to do as God tells us, and we do so in accordance with His commandments, God will bless us and protect us. If we fail to obey, well….not so good for us.

This parashah ends with Moses going up the mountain to meet with God and receive the Ten Commandments from God.

What can we say about the laws and regulations of the Torah that hasn’t been said already? How many times do we need to reflect on how the Torah established a system of laws and commandments that honored God and people, with truth, justice and (no, not the American Way)… reverence?

Yet, despite how we are told we must treat each other with respect and honor, we fail to do so. I guess that is because what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate as well into reality. The sinful nature of people, the lure of the worldly pleasures, and the influence of the enemy of God surround us: they are in the advertisements we see in all the media, the lies we are told by those we trust in positions of authority, and even in the relationships we form with family and friends.

I heard someone once say that humanity is a wonderful thing- it’s the people that screw it up.  How true.

Yeshua said that the most important commandments of all are to love the Lord your God and to love each other. On these two laws pivot the Prophets and all the other writings in the Torah.  This parashah is part of “all the other writings” that Yeshua referred to. When we think about it, the “Golden Rule” is all we really need to obey in order to follow the ordinances found in this parashah (for your edification, the Golden Rule is not from the New Covenant writings but is only referred to there- it is found in Leviticus 19:18.) If we love God we will want to do as He says out of love, not out of fear. We should treat others out of love, also: if we can’t do so because of our love for people then we should do so because of our love for God.

Personally, I really don’t like people. I do ministry, I teach others the Word of God, I am a member of the leadership where I worship, but I really don’t like people.

That doesn’t stop me from doing my very best to treat all people with respect and compassion because I want to honor and worship God (another item on my list of “To Be’s” – compassionate. Having compassion for others is hard for me to do.) My love of God forces me to love people. Begrudgingly, I confess, but God sees the heart and values what is in our heart as much, or more, than what we do. My heart needs work, and I think we all could confess to that one. So, I do what God wants me to do because God wants me to do it. One day, perhaps, the Ruach (Spirit) will so fill me that I will truly want to be loving to all people, as God wants us all to be. Maybe.

Until then, I will do as God says to the best of my abilities, and constantly try to make my “best” better. These laws and commandments are all part of the Torah that establishes a nation. The Torah is more than a book of history and commandments: it is a national constitution, a penal system, a Ketubah (marriage certificate) between God and His people. And the people God marries are not just the Jews- it is anyone who chooses to worship Him.

If you choose to worship God, and you accept His Messiah as your Messiah, then these laws are for you. The Torah is your constitution, it is your User Manual for how to worship God, directly and indirectly.

Remember what Yeshua told us in Mattitayu 25:40-45: whatever we do to others, we do to Him. David said in Psalm 51 that when he sinned against others he sinned first and foremost against God- in fact, his sin was against God, and God alone. If there is any message that we need to learn from this parashah, it might be this:

What we do unto others, we do unto God.

That one needs to sink in because it is really important to remember.

 

Truth is Simple

Walter Scott wrote a poem called Marmion and it was in that poem that he wrote, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!”  It shows the fruitlessness of lying, but more than that: it shows how convoluted things become when we leave the truth.

One of the country’s greatest writers and humorists, Mark Twain, said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

Let’s not forget what Yeshua said about the truth: the truth will set you free.

Truth is simple, and that’s the truth. Truth has no image to maintain, no “spin” is needed, but as with most things that are simple, the truth is often hard to take.

“Yes, those pants make your butt look bigger.” That’s the truth, but if you speak it, the truth is that you will be sleeping on the couch.

In fact, humans (at least in our society, it seems) are so averse to hearing the truth that if you say something that is truthful, such as telling someone who is doing a poor job at something (even if you are their supervisor and it is your responsibility to do so), if you just come out and tell them they are doing a lousy job, you are in trouble with HR. Not them; you! Because you told the truth, but you didn’t think about their feelings. How can we think about someone’s feelings, in a society where we are all victims, and still tell the truth?

If we “sugarcoat” the truth so much that it tastes good, then how much “good” can it really do?

The bottom line about truth, which it seems no one wants to hear, is that we are not really in total control or complete charge of ourselves. We never have been and we never will be. We are all interrelated, we cannot be without each other, and we cannot survive totally on our own.

As Yeshua said, we are all a slave to something: either a slave to God or a slave to sin. The only real freedom we have is to choose what we will be a slave to.

People want to hear what they want to hear. The truth is not something they want to hear, so the world tells us lies and teaches us to be liars. If someone looks silly in the clothes they have on, don’t say they look silly, tell them they look fine. If someone doesn’t do the job the way they are supposed to, don’t tell them, don’t fire them or pay them less. And don’t “upset” the poor workers- give them a raise just like the good workers get. And when someone says God doesn’t exist, or that His laws are done away with, don’t disagree with them and don’t tell them you believe He does exist and that His laws are still valid because you shouldn’t upset them.

I am not saying that we should talk to each other in a totally callous and unfeeling way, but we need to be truthful. We need to be able to tell the truth compassionately. If someone looks silly we should say that we don’t think the clothes they are wearing look right, and they would look better if they wore something that matched better. We don’t have to say they look silly, but we should say they would look better because what they are wearing doesn’t do them justice. That’s telling the truth in a compassionate way, don’t you think?

If someone is not doing their job correctly, we need to tell them, and we can do that simply by telling the truth: there is an accepted way of doing this job and you haven’t been following that process. Here is the way this is to be done and you need to do it this way. If you think you have a better way, great- talk to me about it and we will see if it can work, but in the meantime, you need to do it this way.

The ultimate truth is that God is in charge, that we can’t understand His ways, and that we need to trust Him to do what is best. That same truth continues: we don’t have control over what we don’t have control over. People are, for the most part, cruel, self-centered and sinful. Sorry, that’s the truth- the Bible is pretty clear on that, as is our own life experience. We have our occasional good ones, and I hope you are one of those, but we are sinful and our nature is to sin: we are sinful sinners, and the more readily we accept that truth, the easier it is to see how much we need Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) to help us to overcome ourselves. That’s the only chance we have for being in God’s presence when all is done, and the best way to improve ourselves. You can’t change what you don’t know is wrong.

The ancient Greek aphorism, “Know thyself” is a call to truth. Know who you are, what you are capable of, and why you do what you do. I don’t think we need to go through years of psychoanalysis to do this, we just need to accept the truth unabashedly and with courage. Cowards hate the truth, hero’s seek it out. Which are you?

The truth is that the truth often sucks. That’s the way it is, and the truth is you can’t change that. To accept it is the first step on the path to peace, really. I am not saying to be apathetic, to be a fatalist and say that you can’t make any changes or do anything, or that everything happens because God is in charge and, thereby, blame the Lord for your own failures to act. I am asking you to remember that old adage about accepting what you can’t change, changing what you can, and knowing the difference.

Trying to do what we can’t do is frustrating and leads to anger and disappointment- those are the kinds of things that lead to the Dark Side. Anger, unforgiveness, frustration of wanting someone else to do what you think they should do and living with the fact that they won’t is the kind of mindset that will prevent you from doing what God wants, which is to forgive them and love them, anyway. When we learn to focus on what we can do and not obsess over what we can’t change we will be much happier, and set a better example of what God wants us to be.

The truth will set you free from frustration and disappointment, and when you are truthful in a compassionate way you can not only be free, but help others to be free, too.

And that, my friends, is the truth.

Truthful Liars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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