Parashah Korach 2021 (Korach) Numbers 16 – 18

In this parashah, we read of the great rebellion, which Korach led along with Abiram and Dathan. Korach was a Levite and Abiram and Dathan were of the tribe of Reuben.

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We all know what happened: the 250 leading men of Israel whom Korach convinced to follow him, along with Korach were all destroyed when they took their censors to the Tent of Meeting, and Abiram and Dathan, with their family and possessions, were swallowed alive by the earth.

Then the people accused Moses and Aaron of killing God’s people, so God ordered that the 12 tribal leaders should put their staffs into the Tent of Meeting, and the one that has buds the next morning will be proof of who God wants to lead. Aaron’s staff not only had buds but flowered and also had ripened almonds.

One last thing that God ordered was that the Levites were to surround the Tent of Meeting so that no one may come close to it without proper authority.

There is so much to talk about here, but what I want to do is deal with is with one verse, one verse that represents the way Israel treats all people fairly and respects all life, even the lives of those that hate us.

In Numbers 16:21, God tells Moses that he will destroy the entire congregation, but Moses prays that God will only deal with the ones who are sinning. God relents and tells Moses to tell the people who are close to the tents of Abiram, Dathan, and Korach to move far away from them, for their own safety so that they will not be destroyed along with those sinners.

In other words, get away from where the battle is coming so you aren’t collateral damage.

In 1 Samuel 15:6, after God has Samuel tell Shaul that he must completely destroy the Amaleki for the evil they did against Israel, Shaul warns the Keni living with the Amaleki to go away from them or they will be destroyed along with the Amaleki.

In other words, get away from where the battle is coming so you aren’t collateral damage.

Just recently, Israel defended itself from further rocket attacks by bombing the tunnels that Hamas and PIJ used to launch rocket attacks at Israeli civilians. The Hamas / PIJ tunnels and military headquarters were placed in civilian areas, so Israel dropped millions of pamphlets and made millions of text messages and cell phone calls to the people living there, warning them of the coming attack and telling them to flee before Israel takes out these military targets.

In other words, get away from where the battle is coming so you aren’t collateral damage.

For the record, hundreds of Gaza Strip resident deaths were not caused by Israel but by the rockets that Hamas and PIJ launched falling short of their target; instead of killing Israeli civilians, Hamas and PIJ rockets fell right on the heads of their own people.

From the time of Moses, some 3500 years ago to this very day, God’s people have respected the lives of all people, treating them fairly and with compassion. Even our enemies have been given way more leeway to attack us before we take defensive actions. And all the attacks Israel has ever made against their neighbors, who refuse to just leave Israel alone because they say they won’t settle for anything but the total destruction of Israel, have been defensive.

The media wants to show Israel as an apartheid and invasive country, and the world seems to want to go along with that lie. The truth is that Israel takes up such a small percentage of the land that is Arab controlled and occupied that it is almost insignificant. Historically, before the state of Israel existed, the land Israel now occupies was wasteland-undeveloped, uncultured, uninhabited except by nomadic people who came and left as the fodder for their herds was used up.

The Jews, even though we are (still and forever) God’s people, have constantly done wrong throughout our long history, yet we have also constantly done right. God has punished us for our sins, and forgiven and saved us from our enemies when we do right. One thing the Bible shows we have always done right, and still do to this very day, is to respect the lives of others in accordance with God’s commandment in Leviticus 19:18.

In Israel, Arabs and Jews live and work together without animosity, each receiving equal pay, equal opportunity for advancement, and mutual respect for each other.

Can we, in the United States of America, make that claim? Does our history show racial equality and mutual respect between religions? Do women have the same opportunity as men? Do different races co-exist well together?

Korach and his followers were jealous of the authority God gave to Moses and Aaron, and I believe that the Arab people are no different. The Media and the United Nations, just like the 250 men who went along with Korach, because of their own sense of self-importance accept these lies and want, instead, to destroy the country that has shown itself superior in every way, especially in the arena of human rights.

The sad fact is that Israel, being accused by the world of being a violator of human rights, is the only country in the world today that truly treats all people in the country with the same rights and privileges, just as God said they should way back when he first gave us the Torah (Exodus 12:49.)

The next time you hear some idiot say that Israel is unfair to the Palestinian people (who aren’t really a people, but a propaganda creation of Yasser Arafat), please correct them with the truth. There are no “Palestinian people”; Hamas and PIJ have hidden behind women and children to attack Israel’s women and children; Israel has always tried to defend only against military targets (which the Arabs hide among schools, hospitals, and civilian homes), and that when Israel takes action, before doing so they do something NO ONE does or ever did- they warn the innocents to get out of the way!

God’s people have made many mistakes, but we have always come back to God and done many of the things God wants us to do, and that is why we are still here; for nearly 6, 000 years everyone in the world has tried to destroy us, but they can’t because God protects us, and through Israel the world is blessed.

One day Yeshua will rule from Jerusalem, the truth will come out, and the world will be ashamed.

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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

Yeshua, Moses, and Absalom.

It’s easy to see the relationship between Yeshua and Moses, right?

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Moses was sent and empowered by God with supernatural authority in order to free God’s chosen people, the Israelites, from slavery to Pharaoh. He was also given instructions by God teaching us how to worship God the way God wants us to and how to treat each other the way God wants us to, which Moses taught to the people.

Yeshua was sent by God, empowered by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to free everyone, Jews and (eventually) Gentiles, from slavery to sin. He taught the spiritual meaning of the laws and commandments that Moses taught so that people’s hearts could be changed, in order that they would be more receptive to the New Covenant God was making through Yeshua, which we read about in Jeremiah 31:31.

Now, what about Absalom?

We read about Absalom in 2 Samuel, Chapters 13-19. We see he was prideful and also very deceitful, killing his own brother.

In 2 Samuel 15, we read how Absalom had conspired to steal the throne from his father, David. He would greet people coming into the city and befriend them, telling them the King didn’t appoint anyone to hear their case but if they followed him, Absalom would give them justice. He would be friendly and kiss them, stealing their hearts and making himself popular among the people while intimating that King David didn’t really care for them as much.

When he had won enough of the popular vote, so to speak, he defied his father and proclaimed himself king.

Eventually, he found himself hung on a tree (by his hair) and when discovered there, he was killed by the kings’ general and David regained his throne, at the loss of his son.

So, nu? What does Absalom have in common with Yeshua, other than being the son of the king?

Actually, nothing, But Christianity has created a “son of the king”, their Savior, who defies his father by telling people they should follow him and reject his father’s rule (which we call the Torah) so that they can be given justice, i.e. salvation.

WOW! That’s a hard word to hear and at first, it sounds so wrong, doesn’t it? I mean, Yeshua the Messiah as a rebellious son who is acting like Lucifer, trying to wrest the kingdom from God? C’mon- du bist meshuggah!!

Truth be told, I am not crazy. Think about it: by using, or should I say mis-using, the letters from Shaul (Paul) addressed to the Gentile Believers who were first learning about God, Yeshua and the Torah, Christianity has separated itself from Judaism and the ways God taught us to live and worship him. Christianity, over the millennia, has taught that the Jewish people are no longer God’s chosen (misusing Galatians 6:16, which provides the foundation for Replacement Theology); that the Kosher laws were done away with (misusing Mark 7:19 and Acts 10); that obedience to the Torah has been replaced by Grace (misusing Romans 6:14); and that Yeshua is God, himself (misusing the Gospel of John.)

Every single one of these theological beliefs screams rebellion against the Father.

When Yeshua said that he would be raised up like the snake in the desert (John 3:14), he wasn’t talking only about being crucified: he was also saying that he would be idolized and worshiped instead of God. That is exactly what happened to the metal snake Moses made; at first, it was a symbol of God’s salvation (from dying by snakebite) but later was turned by people into a god, replacing the true God and being worshiped (Numbers 21:8 and 2 Kings 18:4).

Yeshua is the Messiah God sent, and he is, by divine conception, God’s son. Everything he did and said was meant to glorify God, his father, and he was so humble that he even refused to be called “good” saying that the only one who is “good” is his father in heaven (Mark 10:18). Yeshua taught the spiritual meaning of the laws and commandments that God gave to Moses. Moses, as the Pharisees had been doing, taught only the literal meaning, called the P’shat, so “Do Not Murder” means just that- don’t kill anyone.

But Yeshua taught us the spiritual meaning, called the Remes, so “Do Not Murder” became more than just don’t kill anyone- it became do not even hate people in your heart!

Yeshua did nothing against God, and everything for God, even to tell people that he only does and says what God tells him to do and say, which is why when we see him we see God. That wasn’t mean to say Yeshua is God, which is what Christianity’s Trinity Theology proclaims, but simply that because Yeshua is doing only what God tells him to do and saying only what God tells him to say, in him we see an exact image of God, but he is not God, himself.

So whereas Yeshua is the prophet which Moses said God would send (Deuteronomy 18:5), Christianity has replaced Yeshua’s role as Messiah with that of Absalom, a son who rebels against his father and tries to take the kingship away from him by endearing himself to the people, which has been accomplished through the teaching of Christianity that no one who follows Jesus Christ has to obey any of those “Jewish” holidays or laws.

God gave Moses those laws to teach to the Israelites for them to teach to the world; God said that the Jewish people are to be his nation of priests to the world (Exodus 19:6), meaning to teach the world (Jews and Gentiles) how to worship God and how to treat each other.

Yeshua is the epitome of that commission, and he NEVER did, said, or taught anyone, ever, to disobey the Torah or to worship him.

So, if you are a follower of any of the Christian teachings I specified above, please reconsider what you are doing and re-read the Gospels- forget about the Epistles for a moment- and find out what Yeshua said. After all, he is the one God sent as the Messiah: not Paul, not James, not John, or Mark, or Luke. Not Matthew, and not Peter.

Yeshua is the Messiah, Yeshua is the one who we should listen to and obey, and Yeshua never taught anything but to follow God’s instructions in the Torah. Not as the means of salvation, because faith is how we are saved, but as the means to please God and remain free of sin.

This is how salvation works: we are saved by faith in God and Yeshua as his Messiah. The Torah has God’s instructions on how we should live, Yeshua is the means for us to be forgiven of the sins we accidentally commit when we violate the laws in the Torah, and of which we repent, and Grace is God’s forgiveness which he is willing to give when we accept Yeshua as our Messiah.

The Torah was never done away with and God promised that we would be blessed when we obey the Torah (Deuteronomy 28), which is exclusively what Yeshua taught us to do.

God is still the King of the Universe, and even when Yeshua is king of the world, he will still report to his father, whom he loves and obeys.

Yeshua is the prophet Moses talked of, and not the Absalom which Christianity has turned him into.

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Until next time, l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

God’s Accounting System Uses LIFO

If you are not familiar with accounting processes, there are two systems for calculating net profit from the goods your company sells, and these are founded on the cost of manufacturing the goods, known as the COGS (Cost of Goods Sold.)

These cost calculating systems are called LIFO and FIFO, which stands for Last In, First Out and First In, First Out.

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The way it works is that when calculating your profit, using FIFO your COGS is going to be what it cost you to manufacturer the goods that are the oldest in the inventory (first ones there) against what you sold them for now. If the manufacturing costs have risen since those older items were made, then the profit margin will be higher using FIFO.

On the other hand, if manufacturing cost has decreased, then calculating your profit based on the most recent items made will give you a higher profit, so you would want to use LIFO.

So, nu? What’s any of this have to do with God or salvation?

Plenty!

In Ezekiel 18:21-24 we are told this:

However, if the wicked person repents of all the sins he committed, keeps my laws and does what is lawful and right; then he will certainly live, he will not die.  None of the transgressions he has committed will be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done, he will live. 

Do I take any pleasure at all in having the wicked person die?” asks Adonai Elohim. “Wouldn’t I prefer that he turn from his ways and live?

On the other hand, when the righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness by acting in accordance with all the disgusting practices that the wicked person does, will he live? None of the righteous deeds he has done will be remembered; for the trespasses and sins he has committed, he will die.

What God is saying is this: whatever type of person we are when we die, that is how we will be judged.

It doesn’t matter how wicked we had been in our past life – or, let’s say how many sins we have in our inventory- because when we repent and ask forgiveness through Yeshua ha Maschiach (Yeshua the Messiah, also known as Jesus Christ), since God uses LIFO those sins will not be used in calculating our spiritual worth.

The righteous acts we now are storing away are the ones that God will use when judging us, or better yet, let’s call it calculating our spiritual profit margin. This is such good news that it should make one jump up and down, like a newborn calf (remember that Psalm?) because there is no way for us to ever make up the profit lost through sinfulness.

What God does is to allow us to change our accounting system, so that when we do face him, it is only the recent COGS that he sees, which are the righteous acts we have committed since we repented and accepted Yeshua as our spiritual CFO.

Thank God for his merciful nature, and especially for his (not just) willingness to forgive, but desire to forgive us for the sins we commit against him; when King David wrote Psalm 51, he knew that every sin we commit, no matter what it is or who we hurt, is first and foremost against God.

So if you are reading this and haven’t yet repented or accepted Yeshua as the Messiah God sent, for you and for me, then please consider that you can change your accounting system before God holds his final audit, but you never know when that will be, so the best time to do that is NOW! Repent, accept Yeshua as your Messiah and ask God to forgive you for your sins, and change the accounting system he will use to judge you when you come before him.

Then start to build your inventory of righteousness.

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Parashah Shelach Lecha 2021 (Send out) Numbers 13-15

At the beginning of this parashah, the Israelites have come to the border of Cana’an, and 12 men, one prince from each tribe, are sent into the Land to reconnoiter and bring back a report.

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The 12 men, of whom Joshua and Caleb are members, spend 40 days in the Land. Upon their return, they all say how wonderful the land is; Caleb and Joshua are ready and eager to go in and take possession. But, the other 10 princes say they see the giant Anakim there and that the cities are well fortified and protected. They say if the people try to conquer the land they will all be destroyed and their children taken as slaves.

The people are utterly demoralized, and as their fear overtakes them they again complain against Moses and Aaron, whining like they always have about why he ever took them from Egypt to die in the desert. They are so upset they talk about choosing a new leader and returning to Egypt.

God tells Moses that he is fed up with these people and will destroy them and make a new nation from Moses. Moses, interceding on their behalf, reminds God (using the same argument he used at the sin of the Golden Calf) that if God did that, then the nations who are in awe of God now will say that God wasn’t able to deliver on his promises. He asks God to show the forgiveness and mercy that he declared about himself earlier (Exodus 34:6-7), and God says he will do as Moses asks.

However, the guilty will be punished and the people will spend one year in the desert for each day they were in the land until the entire generation that defied God and rebelled against his order to possess the land is dead. The children they said would be slaves in the land will, instead, be the ones to inherit and own the land.

After Moses tells them what God has decreed, the people feel even worse and in their desire to make atonement, they again rebel against God and decide that they will go in and take possession. Moses warns them not to go because God is not with them, but they fail to listen. Again. So, when they attack they are routed and completely defeated (which is why the place they were defeated is called Hormah, which means “utterly destroyed”.)

God sends them into the desert and instructs Moses to remind them of the things they must do with regard to sacrifices and first fruits when they do enter the land.

This parashah ends with the story of a man who was caught collecting sticks during the Shabbat, and upon asking God what is to be done, God says the man must be stoned to death. God also commands that thereafter, every man is to wear tzitzit, the fringes around their clothes, in order that each one will see the tzitzit of the other and by seeing that, remember to obey God.

One of the most important things that God says in this parashah, which he says continually throughout his instructions to us, is in Numbers 15:15-16 (CJB):

For this community there will be the same law for you as for the foreigner living with you; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations; the foreigner is to be treated the same way before Adonai as yourselves. The same Torah and standard of judgment will apply to both you and the foreigner living with you.

In our modern world, the idea of “sojourning” is pretty archaic, and we would more likely say that someone has converted instead of saying they sojourn. A very (pardon my saying it this way) Christian term, that many are more comfortable and familiar with, is to say that one is “grafted in”, which is, in essence, the same thing as sojourning. Whatever label you wish to put on it, the idea is the same: someone has decided that they would rather be associated with and part of one organization than another, whether the defining difference is religion, geography, or lifestyle.

The Pharisee living in the First Century called Shaul, that nice tentmaker from Tarsus, talked a lot about grafting in, specifically the Gentile ex-pagans he helped become grafted onto the Tree of Life, which is the Messiah. He talks often of Grace being given to these Gentiles who can now receive it as the result of their decision to spiritually sojourn with the Jewish people (I say spiritually sojourn with them because they were already living with them.)

But what has happened to his teachings is that they have been twisted around, and instead of the Grace he was talking about, Grace has been made into a system by which people are allowed to reject the Torah! Modern Christianity has turned Grace from being received for joining the Jewish people and accepting their Messiah to rejecting the Jewish people and using God’s Grace as an excuse to reject the Torah.

Don’t they know that by rejecting the Torah they are rejecting God?

I have, for years, heard people preach against the Torah in favor of Grace, making it seem that Torah and Grace are exclusive of each other: in other words, you can’t have obedience to the Torah and receive Grace. You are either under Grace or under Torah, also called being under the law.

Hmmm…well, if I am not under the law that means, by definition, I am above the law. So, nu? do you think that you are above the law? Does God’s Grace give you the authority to reject God’s instructions, the ones he gave, which are the ones Yeshua taught regarding how we are to live and worship?

I have heard often how Shaul (supposedly) says Believers are under Grace and don’t have to obey the Torah, and how people have taken that to wrongly equate obedience to the Torah with Legalism, but let’s see what God says. And guess what? God tells us exactly how he feels about those who reject the Torah, right in this parashah, Numbers 15: 30-31 (CJB):

But an individual who does something wrong intentionally, whether a citizen or a foreigner, is blaspheming Adonai. That person will be cut off from his people. Because he has had contempt for the word of Adonai and has disobeyed his command, that person will be cut off completely; his offense will remain with him.

This is what God says about anyone who disobeys the Torah commandments, whether they think they are allowed to or not. He doesn’t say those who do something wrong because they think they are allowed to are fine: no, God says that those who disobey on purpose will be cut off from his people. And this command is also addressed, just before this verse, to both the native-born and the foreigner who sojourns with (is grafted into) the society of the chosen people of God.

And that means anyone who receives Yeshua as their Messiah; period, end of line, discussion over: shut the door on your way out!

Like it or not, if you profess to believe in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah and the son of God, then you are grafted in, i.e. an adopted son or daughter of Abraham and thereby (at least) spiritually one of the chosen people of God.

And that means you are subject to the same rules as the chosen people of God because God said so!

Being under the law is not a bad thing; in fact, it is the best thing that can happen to anyone because God promises, in Deuteronomy 28, that when you obey his instructions you will be bountifully blessed!

Obedience to the Torah is basically from one of two motivations: you either obey because you are trying to earn something or you obey as a result of your love and respect for God. Obedience to the Torah that stems from trying to earn salvation is called Legalism; obedience to the Torah because you love the Lord and want to please him, the same way you would do what your father or mother tells you out of respect and knowing that they only want the best for you, is called faithful obedience.

And God tells us that obedience to the Torah pleases him in Ezekiel 18:23.

Grace and Torah are not exclusive, they are inclusive. As we can see from Numbers 15:30, God says anyone who disobeys his instructions on purpose will be cut off, i.e. not accepted into God’s presence. Even if you profess to believe in Messiah, try to live a righteous life, but do so expecting that Grace is all you need, you are fooling yourself.

Grace cannot be given to someone who rejects God, and when you disobey the instructions that God gave, you are rejecting God.

Obey the Torah not to earn anything but to show God that you respect his authority, love him, and want to do only that which pleases him; when you do, you will receive from God all that God can give you.

However, if you like the idea that you don’t have to do what God says because of what men tell you, then expect only that which men can give you.

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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

What Commandments Did Yeshua Ever Give?

I have read that Yeshua gave 6 commandments, and we read about them in Mark 10:17-20 when Yeshua relates a story about when a young man asks what he has to do in order to be saved. Yeshua answers that he has to follow the commandments, and the six he gave were:

Do not kill,
Do not commit adultery,
Do not steal,
Do not bear false witness,
Do not defraud,
Honor thy father and mother.

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I found this on the umass.edu website, and that article states these 6 commandments are the only ones people have to follow, essentially replacing the original 10 Commandments, as well as everything else in the Torah. Of course, that idea is just plain ridiculous, if for no other reason why would Yeshua, the son of God, not consider it important that we acknowledge there is only one God and that we should not bow down or worship other gods?

I also found on the Internet from the “Institute in Basic Life Principles” (some title, huh?) a list of commandments that Yeshua gave that is quite extensive. Some examples are: to go the extra mile, give charity in secret, beware of false prophets, repent, follow me, keep your word, do not lust, and many other things, all of which are from the Torah. I don’t see these as being new or unique commandments, but repetition of what God already told us to do in the Torah.

The only place I can find where Yeshua, himself, says he is giving a commandment is in John 15:12 (CJB) where Yeshua says to his Talmudim right after the last Pesach Seder:

This is my command: that you keep on loving each other just as I have loved you.

And that is not new: it is found in Leviticus 19:18.

Yeshua did not give any new commandments. In fact, he stated clearly in Matthew 5:17 that he is not changing anything that is already in the Torah. Now, we have to remember that “Torah” does not mean “law”, but “instruction” or “teachings”, and that being said, what Yeshua did was not give any commandments but teach the spiritual meaning of the existing commandments.

Yeshua didn’t change the Torah: he changed the understanding of the Torah.

I believe it is very dangerous when Christianity teaches that we should obey Yeshua’s commandments. The danger is that by even implying Yeshua gave commandments to us which are different from God’s commandments and that those are the ones we must follow, it means Yeshua placed himself above God. If Yeshua had ever said that we must do what he says and not what God said, that would be rebellion against God and, as such, a sin!

Do you recall that one of the issues Yeshua had with the Pharisees was that they considered some of their man-made traditions more important than the commandments God gave? If he had a problem with that, how could he possibly go even further astray from proper worship and teach that we should obey him and could ignore God’s commandments?

You know what they call that? Rebellion!

No, the truth is that Yeshua never did anything to override or ignore what God taught us to do in the Torah; he simply taught the spiritual meaning of those commandments. That is the only thing that is “new” in the New Covenant.

Yeshua is the Messiah, and as such he is to be listened to, respected, and acknowledged as God’s true representative on earth. He now sits at the right hand of God and when he returns, he will then be recognized as King Messiah, ruling the entire earth. He would be the first person to tell you not to worship him but to give your worship to his father in heaven, just as he told the young man in Mark 10:17.

The Torah is where God tells us how we should worship him and treat each other, and everything Yeshua taught was from and about the Torah. He did not give any new commandments or instructions, only the deeper, spiritual understanding of what people already had been taught.

Think of it this way…First Century Judea was the place where people could go to attend Salvation University, and both the Pharisees and Yeshua taught there, using the same textbook, the Torah. The Pharisees taught the Undergraduate level and Yeshua taught the advanced Ph.D. course.

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That’s it for today so l’hitraot and Baruch Ha Shem!