Sometimes We Could Use Some Spiritual Remodeling

My house was built in 1989, and Donna and I have been here for almost 10 years. The master bathroom has a walk-in shower, and we recently noted that the back wall is a little bit wobbly.

Oy! That’s not good.

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

Consequently, we are getting an entirely new shower. The Demo Team was in here yesterday, and when they took off the tiles and wall we found not just a little water damage, but a lot of water damage, as well as some mold (not the bad kind).

So, nu? What does this have to do with God, the Messiah, or anything spiritual?

I’m glad you asked.

I have had some experience with home remodeling, from both the sales and construction end, and have found that when people remodel their homes they often find things they never knew were there because they were hidden behind something we believed was correct.

On a spiritual level, when we test our beliefs against the Bible, often people find that what they thought was a belief system built upon a strong biblical foundation isn’t always as well-founded as they thought.

I have many congregants in this ministry who were brought up with traditional Christian teachings who, at some point in their life, decided to test those beliefs because they were exposed to a different way of looking at them.

After verifying what they had been told their whole life against the Bible, they tore down the wall, exposed the foundation, and found that they needed some serious remodeling done.

I often say that it is necessary to read the Bible, especially the Epistles in the New Covenant, with a open mind; what I mean by that is to read those passages as if you never read or heard them before.

When you read the Bible without already knowing what it is about, you will be surprised how much mold and water damage you may find hidden behind your current understanding.

You see, when we are brought up being taught this letter means this, and that verse means that, we become conditioned, and eventually we think what we have been taught is the truth. We believe it, not because we came to that conclusion on our own, but because we have been TOLD to believe it by people we trust!

What I am talking about is religion.

God has no religion; God has rules for how to worship him and treat each other. Men created religion so that they can have power over other men.

So, I challenge you all to remodel your belief system: test it out against the Bible by reading the Bible. Find your favorite verses in the Bible and read everything that comes before them, and after them, to see if what you have been told they mean works when taken (correctly) in context with the entire thought, and the entire chapter, and the entire book.

If you are interested, I have written an entire teaching series on how to properly interpret the Bible, so click here and you can go through it.

There are a couple of books about Jewish people coming to accept Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah, which goes against everything that Jews (such as I) are brought up believing. In these books, the one who didn’t want to believe was challenged to use the Bible to prove that Yeshua was NOT the Messiah.

Guess what happened?

That’s right! When using the Bible to show Yeshua was not the Messiah, that person actually got to know what the Bible said and came to the conclusion that Yeshua is the Messiah.

So, here’s what I want you to do: IF you have been taught that the Mosaic law is just for Jews, or that Jesus did away with the law, or that as a Christian all you have to do is be a good person (I’ll give you a hint for this- check out Mark 10:18) and love each other and you get to go to heaven, or that you get to go to heaven, at all, or anything that indicates the Torah is not valid for you as a Christian…then I challenge you to prove any of that to be true by finding where that is said in the Bible.

But, you have to use the entire Bible- from Genesis through Revelation- or you are cheating.

This ministry is never, ever going to tell you what you have to believe, but only what I believe and why; it is your responsibility to choose what you will believe.

My responsibility is to make sure that you have what you need to make an informed decision about where you will spend eternity, because that is the bottom line, my friend.

Let me end with why this is so very, very important a challenge for you to take: if what you know is God’s truth, then it will stand up to any test, but if not, you had better make sure that what you think you know is what God says it is.

I can’t speak for the Big Guy in the Sky, but I believe that when you come before God, which we all will have to do, and tell him that you did what you did because that is what they told you to do, he might say something like this:

I understand, my child, you did what they told you to do, but it’s what I say that counts.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to both my website and YouTube channel, share these messages with everyone you know, join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please make sure that you click to agree to the rules), and buy my books.

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

When the Covenants End

There have been many times I have heard people tell me that because of Yeshua, the covenants God made with Israel do not apply to those who believe in Yeshua and follow him. Some even go as far as to say that Yeshua did away with the “law”.

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

I have also heard many Christians tell me they were told that the only requirements for a believer in Christ to follow are the 4 commands from the Elders that they sent in a letter to the churches throughout the Middle East (Acts 15:23-30).

Before we go any further, let’s get something straight right off the bat: there were no churches in the First Century. There were congregations, called Kihilot, composed of believing Jews and gentiles, and many of those congregations were mostly, if not completely, made up only of gentiles who had been practicing pagan religions but were being taught how to convert to the proper worship of Adonai, the God of the Jews.

God made a total of 5 covenants, and the newer covenant included and built upon the prior one. These covenants are known as:

  1. The Noahdic Covenant
  2. The Abrahamic Covenant
  3. The Mosaic Covenant (this is generally referred to as the Torah, or the Mosaic Law)
  4. The Davidic Covenant
  5. The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31)

Each covenant was made between God and mankind.

You may be thinking that these covenants, because they are all in the Tanakh (the “Jewish Bible”) are only between God and the Jews because God made these with the Jewish people.

BUT…God decreed the Jewish people were to be his nation of priests (Exodus 19:6), and as priests they would not be administering to themselves, but to the goyim (nations), i.e. the world.

The Jews are God’s chosen people- chosen to be his priests to the world to teach everyone how to attain eternal life through obedience to God’s instructions. When the world, starting with us Jews, continually failed to do as God said, he sent the Messiah- again, through the Jews to the world- so that when they did t’shuvah (repentance), through Messiah Yeshua’s sacrifice they could find forgiveness.

So, let’s forget about Christian teachings that the covenants are at an end, and see what God says about that.

In Jeremiah 33:17-22, God tells us exactly when his covenant with the Jewish people (which, as I have already shown, is his covenant with the world) will end (CJB):

For this is what Adonai says: “There will never be cut off from David a man to occupy the throne of the house of Isra’el. Nor will there ever be cut off from the cohanim who are L’vi’im a man before me to offer burnt offerings, burn grain offerings and offer sacrifices every day.” This word of Adonai came to Yirmeyahu:  “Here is what Adonai says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that daytime and nighttime no longer come when they are supposed to, then my covenant with my servant David also can be broken, so that he will not have a descendant to reign from his throne or L’vi’im who are cohanim to minister to me. To the degree that the armies of heaven are past counting and the sand by the sea past measuring,
I will increase the descendants of my servant David and the L’vi’im ministering to me.’”

And Yeshua tells us, in Matthew 5:18 the following about the laws he followed and taught:

 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened.

And there is one more place, in Revelation 21:5, where we are told exactly when the covenants end.

In the vision of the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) that was given to John while exiled on the island of Patmos, God reveals that after he has destroyed nearly the entire earth, the Enemy has been conquered and all those sentenced to suffer the second death have been sent there, this is what will happen:

 Then the One sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” ”

So, you can choose to believe what religion tells you about God and his promises, the covenants, etc. being done away with, although, God tells us when that will happen and, for the record, it hasn’t happened yet.

You can accept that Christianity is telling you to worship Jesus instead of God and pray to graven images of human beings that are dead, and that’s all OK to do because it isn’t idolatry, despite what God says in the 2nd Commandment and in the Torah that Necromancy (talking with the dead) is a sin.

You can buy into Replacement Theology, which says God has rejected the Jews, and is calling God a liar because in the Bible, many, many times God says he will never reject the Jewish people.

Yeah, he has punished us, and he has destroyed many, but he always promises to leave a remnant and to return us to the land, where we will live in peace, forever.

If you want to, you can ignore every law and commandment God ever gave and think if you are just a good person, believe in Jesus, and love others you will go to heaven. But, consider this: In Mark 10:18, Yeshua said no one is good except God, every demon in hell believes in Jesus, and every demon in hell loves each other, so do you think they go to heaven? Besides that, the Bible never says any of us go to heaven.

Think about what your religion has told you, and compare it to what God says in the Bible, then choose who to believe.

As for me and my house, we choose to follow the Lord.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to this ministry on both my website and YouTube channel, buy my books and share them with others, and join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please be sure to read the rules and click on the “I Agree” button).

And remember- I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for this week, so Happy Thanksgiving to you all, l’hitraot and Baruch Ha Shem!

The “Old” Heroes are Fallible but the “New” Heroes are Perfect.

What am I talking about when I say the “old” and the “new”?

I am talking about the Old Covenant, that “Jewish” Bible, and the New Covenant, the “Christian” Bible.

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

For those of you who know me and are members of this ministry (thank you for subscribing and sharing), you know that I consider both of these to be one book, one Bible talking about one God who sent one Messiah. From Genesis through Revelation, it is all the same.

Except it isn’t, really, when we consider how the heroes in these different sections of the Bible are treated.

One thing I have seen repeated often in my studies (over the past 25 or more years) is that scholars state one way we can be certain of the truth of the Tanakh is that its heroes are not perfect.

What they mean is that if we really wanted to “sell” people on how wonderful it is when you worship God, then everyone would be like Superman- always truthful, always dependable, fighting for truth, justice, and God’s way.

But let’s look closer:

  • Adam and Eve both disobeyed God
  • Cain killed his brother
  • Noah got drunk and exposed himself
  • Abraham pimped his wife- twice! (Genesis 12 and 20)
  • Isaac pimped his wife once (Genesis 26)
  • Jacob took advantage of his brother to get his birthright
  • Jacob lied to his father, and it was his mother’s idea
  • The patriarchs of 11 of the 12 tribes of Israel tried to kill their brother
  • Moses tried to weasel out of accepting God’s calling
  • Jonah tried to avoid saving Nineveh
  • Esther didn’t want to approach the king for fear of her life (it wasn’t until Mordecai told her she wouldn’t escape the slaughter that she finally said she would approach the king)
  • David murdered his friend in order to steal his wife

And that’s just off the top of my head!

But, when we look in the New Covenant, we read that the Apostles are oh-so-perfect!

Well, OK, Judas Ischariot was the bad guy, but that’s it.

The other Apostles are treated like saints (pun intended). No one ever does anything wrong, no one ever makes a mistake, they are perfect in every way.

And when it comes to Shaul, gee…he starts off as a bad guy, then he does t’shuvah (turning from sin) and saves thousands of people by converting nearly all of the Middle East. What a man!

We know that each and every book in the Bible has been written by men and translated into hundreds of languages by men. If you ask me, of all the books in the Bible, the Torah (the first 5 books) is the most dependable of all as far as being close to what God actually said. In fact, this is the only place throughout the entire Bible where we are told that God told someone to tell the people what they must do.

But you might say “Wait a minute! He also did that with the Prophets.” And I would agree he did talk directly to the prophets, but he only told them to tell the people to return to doing what he already told us to do in the Torah. There were no new commandments or laws ever given to a Prophet.

My point in all this is to say that if the scholars are right (and I agree with them) in saying that one proof of the validity of the stories we read in the Bible is that the people we read about have human frailties and human desires, then there has to be some question as to the divine influence of the New Covenant writings. The only “bad” people in there are the ones who were against Yeshua or his disciples and followers. But everyone who believed in Yeshua was good, never sinning or making mistakes or even saying anything wrong.

Yeah, OK, except Judas- we already covered that.

I see the same thing in so many Christian churches, preaching about all God will do for you, and never talking about what you have to do for God. It’s a sugar-coated salvation, making it seem that heaven is a “Come-As-You-Are” party for anyone who believes in Jesus, is a “good” person (remember that Yeshua said the only one who is good is God-Mark 10:8), and who loves others as themselves.

Sorry, but that isn’t how it works.

Yes, salvation is free; and yes, salvation can’t be taken away from you (but you can throw it away); and yes, God loves you and is not just willing, but desires to forgive you (Ezekiel 18:23).

BUT– and this is a truth that you rarely hear from any church- salvation is hard to keep.

So, what am I saying about the New Covenant? I am saying that because there are no imperfect heroes that I believe it is not all divinely influenced.

I do accept that the New Covenant is a trustworthy narrative of the life of Yeshua, and that the letters written by the Apostles and the Book of Acts is also trustworthy as a historical record, and I believe the New Covenant (at least, parts of it) should be included in the Bible.

But it isn’t God’s direct word, dictated to a prophet or intermediary, changing anything he already said in the Tanakh. In fact, the only place we are told God speaks in the New Covenant is Matthew 17:5, the transformation on the mountain where all God said was “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”.

There are no new commandments, and the ones we already have are still valid for everyone who accepts Yeshua as their Messiah and, as such, becomes grafted onto the Tree of Life and an adopted child of Abraham.

My opinion is that the majority of the New Covenant, because it was put together between 200 AD and sometime in the 5th Century, long after the gentile leadership had separated themselves from the Jewish forms of worship that Yeshua, his disciples, and the original Jewish and gentile believers in the First Century practiced, should be considered as one of the “writings” (Ketuvim in Hebrew), such as Esther, Psalms, Proverbs, Kings, Chronicles, and the other books of the Tanakh that are not directly the result of what God told someone to say.

I am probably pushing a lot of defensive buttons with this message, and I pray that it shocks some of you into thinking that maybe, just maybe, you should read the New Covenant (especially the Epistles) anew, with an open mind, not already knowing what they mean, to see if you might agree (at least, a little) with what I am saying.

I am not saying the New Covenant is untrustworthy or that is shouldn’t be part of the Bible, only that it should be read and understood for what it is- the writings of men relating the early history of the Messiah and the accomplishments of his Disciples.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to this ministry on both my website and YouTube channel and join my discussion group on Facebook called “Just God’s Word” (please make sure you read and click that you accept the rules).

If you want to know more about how Christianity has changed who the Messiah is, read my latest book, “The Good News of the Messiah for Jews: Debunking the Traditional Lies about the Jewish Messiah“. It’s available on Amazon and through my website.

And remember, I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Let’s Review “The Name”

Of course, I am talking about the name of the Lord, the one and only, the creator of the universe, the Almighty, our shield and savior, our father in heaven…you know, that guy.

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

I have talked about the name of God, and what the word “name” represents many times. Yet, to those who insist that we must pronounce the Tetragrammaton, the 4 letters that make up the name God told Moses at the burning bush, as often as possible, no matter what I say or how many Bible scholars agree with what I say, they will still call out and use the Holy Name.

And how do they pronounce it? Well, I have heard no less than three different pronunciations, but I won’t repeat them because being Jewish, we Jews don’t even try to pronounce those 4 letters.

Recently, I was able to have a nice discussion about the very passage where God gives Moses his “name”, which he said is “אהיה אשר אהיה” (ehyeh asheh ehyeh, which means I am that I am”, although some translate it to “I will be that which I will be”), adding that Moses should tell the Israelites that “I am” sent him to them.

Now, let’s forget everything we think we know about the name of God, and look at this passage: is “I am that I am” a name? No, not really; to me, it is more of a condition. God is not giving a name, like Tom, Dick, or Steven, but he is telling Moses that he is eternal: he is what he is. He never was anything else, and he never will be anything else, he just…is.

I think God did this because there isn’t any way for mortal minds to comprehend eternity, so instead of a name, as we know what a name is, this eternal, omniscient, omnipotent entity gave Moses a descriptive statement to help us know more of what he is than to tell us what to call him.

I just found an interesting note in the Tikkun when I was researching a reply to someone who commented on a video I had done called “What Constitutes Using God’s Name in Vain?”

What I found was that in Exodus 3:14-15, when God tells Moses that he will be known as “The God of your Fathers: the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”, and that this is how he wants to be remembered forever, the Hebrew word “forever” is spelled differently than other places it is used.

In Hebrew, forever is spelled לעולם, but in this passage it is spelled without the vav- לעלם, which is a different word that means “hide”. That is why Judaism doesn’t pronounce the name of God: the Rabbis say that based on this spelling in the Torah, God is saying that the Tetragrammaton is to remain hidden. That is why he said that the “forever” way to know him is as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

When we read in the Bible the term “call on the name of the Lord”, or any reference to “the name of the Lord”, when taken in proper context and historical usage of that term, the word “name” doesn’t mean the Tetragrammaton, but refers to the reputation and renown of the Lord.

If you ask me, even the word “God” doesn’t really count as a name, but more of a description. God our savior, God our shield, God our provider….none of these are names, they are descriptions of who he is and his relationship to us.

The only reason anyone or anything needs to have a name is to be able to identify it from other things that are the same.

For instance, if I have a cat, I can call it “cat”, which is a description of its specie. But, if I have two cats, I can’t call each one “cat” because they wouldn’t know which one of them I was referring to when I call for one.

Of course, we’re talking about cats, so they don’t care what I call them- they won’t come, anyway.

The point is, each cat would need to have a different name to identify one from the other.

When it comes to God, there is no other- he is totally unique. Separate, exclusive, different from anything or anyone else that exists, so there really isn’t even a need for him to have a name- “God” works as a descriptive identifier of him for all intents and purposes.

God is not his name, neither is HaShem (Hebrew for “the name”), neither is Adonai (Hebrew for “lord”, used as a title of authority), or Jehovah (which is the Tetragrammaton letters with the vowel points for the word Adonai added to create a specific pronunciation). Yahweh is another pronunciation that is essentially the same as Jehovah, only using the more ancient pronunciation of the vav (ו) as a “w” sound instead of a “v” sound.

So, if you write God as G-d, or G.d, I appreciate the fact that you are showing respect for his name, but God isn’t his name. I used to write G-d all the time, then I realized that writing G-o-d wasn’t in danger of using his name in vain because, well, G-o-d isn’t a name: it is a title. I do capitalize the “G” to differentiate him from false gods, which get a small case “g”. Other than that, even using the text shortcut “OMG” to mean “Oh my God”, I don’t see a real problem with that in that we are not using his name in vain. If you think it is wrong, it isn’t really your issue- that would be between them and God.

Besides, OMG could easily mean “Oh My Gosh”, or “Oh My Goodness’, depending on what the writer was thinking at the time they used it. If you see it, and don’t feel comfortable with the “Oh My God” version, then don’t read it that way and you will be “safe”.

So, I use “G-o-d” without fear of insulting or disrespecting he who is the God of my fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And let me tell you this: I am happy to use the word God because it is much easier to write than the entire description he gave Moses.

However, when I hear people throw God’s Holy Name around like they were drinking buddies, I do find that disrespectful.

Would you call the President by his first name if you met him? I certainly hope not because that would be disrespectful

Would you call your favorite teacher by his or her first name if you met them? Unless they told you you could, that would also be disrespectful.

Even though people wouldn’t address an important human using their first name, out of respect for them, they find no problem using God’s Holy Name so easily. And, more than that, many say God commanded them to do this!

I can’t tell you what to do, but for me, I will keep the Tetragrammaton hidden, as the Rabbis have said we should, and feel comfortable using God, or haShem, Adonai, or Lord (with a capital “L”) without restraint.

Maybe you agree, maybe you disagree, so I will leave you with this, my friends: we will all meet God one day, and when you do, do you want to have to explain why you used his Holy Name so easily?

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Also subscribe to this ministry on both my website and my YouTube channel. Please buy my books and I always welcome your comments.

Oh, yeah- next time you’re on Facebook (as if anyone ever really gets off of it), please join my discussion group called “Just God’s Word”, but make sure you read and agree to the rules.

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

PS: Happy 246th Birthday to my Unites States Marine Corps! Uh-Rah!

Earn a Blessed Day

“Wait a minute, Steve! Don’t you mean ‘Have a blessed day’?”

No, I don’t.

When I say to someone “have a blessed day”, that really doesn’t mean anything, since it is God who gives blessings, not me. I may wish them to have a blessed day, but I have no power to fulfill that wish.

But…if I say to earn a blessed day, I am reminding that person they have the power to make sure they receive a blessing.

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

“Wait a minute, Steve- again! Don’t you know that we can never earn salvation?”

Yes, I do, but I am not talking about salvation, I am talking about blessings.

True, salvation is the greatest blessing of them all, but what about all the other blessings God can give? Such as traveling mercies, good health for yourself, being able to have healthy children, financial stability, being in loving relationships, and protection from evil.

Did you know God tells us we can earn those blessings?

If you didn’t know that, then read Deuteronomy, Chapter 28.

Now, many Christians have been taught that they do not have to obey God’s Torah. That is not true, and not validated by anything in the Old or New Covenants; at least, not when the passages traditionally used to validate that lie are properly interpreted using Hermeneutics, Circles of Context, and cultural understanding of the way people communicated at that time.

(If you would like to learn more about how to properly interpret the Bible, I have done an entire teaching series on that topic; if you are interested, click on this link: How to Properly Interpret the Bible).

So, now you might be thinking “If I have been told I don’t have to obey God’s Torah, but God said if I don’t I will be cursed (you need to read the entire chapter), what should I do?”

Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that my recommendation is that you obey God and not what some religion tells you. Does this mean you have to convert to Judaism? No. It just means you have to obey God, which does mean you have to read the Torah to see how God wants you to worship him and treat others.

The Torah isn’t just commandments, it is a way of life. The New Covenant God promises (which is Jeremiah 31:31) is that he will place his Torah (which means learning) on our hearts, and that is what Yeshua (Jesus) was doing when he taught us the deeper, spiritual meaning of the laws.

The Pharisees were only teaching the literal meaning, or plain language of the law. They said don’t kill, but Yeshua said don’t even hate in your heart; they said don’t commit adultery, but Yeshua taught don’t even lust with your eyes.

Can you see now? Yeshua didn’t change the law- Yeshua changed our understanding of how to fulfill it.

So, it is up to you to decide if you will be more obedient to what God says, or to stay in your comfort zone and do what some religion tells you to do. And, since nearly every Christian denomination teaches its followers they don’t have to do what God says in the Torah, which is the same as rejecting God, you might want to consider how God feels about that.

And especially consider how Yeshua feels about it- imagine, teaching that the Son of God told people to ignore the laws of his Father in Heaven, essentially placing Yeshua in the same light as rebellious Absalom who tried to wrest the kingdom from his father.

So, I don’t know about you, but I am going to start to tell people to “Earn a blessed day”, and if they ask me what I mean, I’ll tell them about Deuteronomy 28.

Who knows- maybe I can help them receive more blessings than they ever could before?

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to my website (while you’re there, buy my books) and also to my YouTube channel. Next time you are on Facebook, join my group called “Just God’s Word” (but please read and make sure you agree to the rules).

And I always welcome your comments.

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