Another Name for Comfort Zone is Stagnation

Today I am going to present perhaps the most difficult to accept message I think I have ever preached.

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

The title pretty much says it all: too many people, mostly Christians but Jews, as well, are taking the easy path to salvation, which is the wrong way to go.

The traditional Christian teaching is that so long as you “believe in Jesus” (whatever that is supposed to mean) and are a good person, you will go to heaven.

In Judaism, we are taught from the moment we start to interact with Gentiles that Jesus was a traitor to Judaism and created a new religion that kills Jews. Our path to salvation is to be Torah observant and, especially in the Orthodox and Chasidic sects, to accept the Talmud (called the Oral law) as scripture and do what the Rabbi says, whether or not it is in the Torah.

Practicing Judaism is a much more difficult road to salvation than the one that Christianity has mapped out, but neither can get you there if you do not accept that Yeshua is the Messiah (that is for Jews) and that Jesus never said you don’t have to follow the Torah (that is for Christians.)

The fact that Yeshua said he did and said only what God told him to do and say, which is what God has always told us to do (in the Torah) shows that modern Christianity has nothing to do, whatsoever, with the things Yeshua taught.

Our comfort zone is where we love to be-it is easy to do since we have always done it, there is nothing we have to change or relearn, and when all is said and done, it is quite…. comfortable.

Who wants to be uncomfortable when you can be comfortable, right?

Or, we could say who wants to learn something new when everyone you trust and love has always told you you don’t need to?

Or, bottom line? Who wants to know the truth when the truth means everything you think you know is wrong?

And that’s what this ministry of mine is all about- trying to get you to realize that what you have been taught all your life may not be right!

I won’t tell you what to believe, but if you listen to me AND (now this is the important part) are willing to re-examine and verify your comfort zone, then I have done what I set out to do.

Look- staying where you are with regards to your knowledge of the Bible is fine if you have spent years reading the Bible and are very familiar with it. But if you haven’t read the Bible at least 5 or 6 times, all the way through- even the really boring parts- then you are in a comfort zone that might just give you a comfortable ride all the way to Sheol (that’s Hell, for those of you who are comfortable not knowing the Bible.)

And for anyone who thinks that just going to services and hearing the Rabbi or Priest, Minister, Pastor…whatever…tell you what you need to know to be saved, you are in a comfort zone that will ruin your eternity. Believe me!

Being comfortable when it comes to knowing God and what he wants from you is dangerous, and can only lead you to a very dissatisfying tour of eternity. So don’t hurt yourself by remaining blissfully ignorant of what God wants from you.

Here are two adages that everyone knows and no one argues against:

1. Anything worth having is worth working for; and
2. When you get something for free, you get only what you paid for.

These are especially important to remember when we are talking about salvation. Yes, it is a free gift from God but it is not easy to keep; it is going to take work, and although no one can take it away from you, you can certainly throw it away.

How? By remaining in your comfort zone, which never takes you where you need to be.

PLEASE!! Listen to me, hear what I am saying- if you are comfortable in your spiritual life, you need to get off your tuchas and do more. Read the Bible more, especially the first 5 books and start to do what God wants you to do.

Christianity teaches to ignore God’s instructions in the Torah, and that is way more comfortable than obeying God, but think about this: since God never said to change how to worship him, and Yeshua never said to ignore his father’s commandments, then the teaching that you can reject the Torah must be from a human source. And when you meet God at Judgment Day and say you followed what a human being told you to do instead of what God told you to do, how do you think he will react to that?

And, for any Jewish readers who still want to reject hearing anything about Yeshua, I ask you to please consider that people who told you to reject Yeshua are just repeating what they have been told. Being raised Jewish, myself, I know that even listening to someone talk about Yeshua being the Messiah feels like betraying Judaism, but it isn’t. It requires you to leave a comfort zone that has prevented you from knowing the truth. Hey, look- if this guy Yeshua (Jesus) isn’t the Messiah, then what harm can it do to learn about him? And if he is, then you might just realize you have been missing the boat to salvation. And the best part is…you do NOT have to become a Christian to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah. I am more “Jewish” since I accepted Yeshua as my Messiah than I ever was growing up rejecting him.

Everyone– read my latest book, “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews:
Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah” to learn how you
have been forced into a comfort zone that is killing you!

We can never be sinless, but we can always sin less. That is the constant challenge, and if you do so whole-heartedly, every day trying to be better than you were the previous day, you will never have to worry about being stuck in a comfort zone.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to this ministry on my website and my YouTube channel, as well. And I always welcome your comments.

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

Why There Has To Be Evil In The World

How many times have you heard someone ask, “How can a good God allow so much evil in the world?”

Maybe you have even asked this question, yourself?

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

Well, the answer is actually so simple it is hard to accept: there has to be evil in the world to allow us to be good.

Think about it…if there were no rules of moral conduct, which define the difference between evil and good, then everything is either evil or everything is good. You can’t have a one-sided coin; at least, not in this plane of existence.

Shaul, that nice Jewish tentmaker from Tarsus, said it well when he wrote to the Roman Believers telling them that without the Torah there could be no sin. In fact, he went as far as to say the Torah created sin! (Romans 5)

Shaul explained that sin existed long before God gave us the Torah, and what the Torah did was to define sin, so that now we had a baseline, so to speak, regarding what was proper and what wasn’t.

The world has a problem with evil and good, though, because the different societies in the world each define what is right and wrong. There is no standard set of rules for everyone (such as within the Torah), but instead, evil and good are defined by whatever that specific society determines is evil or good.

We all have been given the gift of Free Will, the right to decide what we will do or won’t do. But in order for that opportunity to be exercised, we need to have options. The options God gave us are to do as he said to do or to reject what he said to do.

Doing what God says is good, and rejecting what God says is evil: pretty simple decision, right?

Wrong!

Why wrong? Because too many human beings have taught others to do what they believe you should do as being what God said you should do.

Example: God said to observe the Shabbat on the 7th day, which is Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, but the early Christian leaders (who, by the end of the 1st Century were mostly Gentiles) decided that they would celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday, which is the first day of the week.

Another example: God told us the Holy Days he requires us to observe and how to observe them in Leviticus 23 (note: Holy Days are not holidays, the former being God-ordained and the latter being man-made), but Christianity has rejected every single Holy Day God demands us to celebrate (they didn’t fully reject the Sabbath, but they did reject the day God said to celebrate it) and instead created their own holidays.

Now, it is OK to have a holiday to celebrate God and his Messiah, but it is NOT OK to reject the Holy Days God said we must observe.

I believe God allows evil because it is necessary to have evil if we want good to exist; that sounds like an oxymoron, but it is a fact of life in the physical world.

Perhaps, when Judgement Day is over, the new temple, new Jerusalem, and new earth are given to those who have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah and been faithfully obedient- obedient to God, not to men– there will be only righteous people and righteous acts.

Perhaps, in the eternal presence of God, we will be able to have that one-sided coin, the one where no evil exists.

To my flesh, that sounds a little dull, as in what fun is there in that? But, to my spirit, it sounds like eternal rest and joy.

I suppose when it happens, I will get used to it.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry grow. Subscribe to my website, YouTube channel, and join my Facebook discussion group, Just God’s Word.

And please remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

If It Isn’t in the Torah, Is It Forbidden?

Let me start off by saying that when Gentiles who have been raised with traditional Christian teachings which turned them away from the Torah, later in life come to realize the truth of what Yeshua taught and turn their hearts to God’s commandments, there is nothing that can be wrong about that.

Well, almost nothing.

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Over the years I have met and talked with many Gentiles who have rejected the traditional, anti-Torah teachings they were raised with and have come to know that the instructions God gave to everyone, in the Torah, are still valid for those who profess to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

However, there are those who go from “the Torah is just for Jews” to “the Torah is the absolute, total and definitive way to worship God, and if it ain’t in there, then I ain’t doin’ it!!”

Life teaches us that the far end of the pendulum swing is the wrong place to be.

The Torah is missing many vital things, and just because God doesn’t say “Do this, this way” does NOT mean that you can’t do something another way.

One example is that the Torah tells us which animals are acceptable as a sacrifice, and we are also told to treat animals humanely, but there is nothing anywhere in the Torah that tells us how to kill the sacrificial animal in a humane way.

Another example is the showbread, the 12 loaves that are baked and placed on the table in front of the altar and left there for a week. Even the Ramban didn’t have an explanation for that, other than he thought God decreed it just so that David and his men would have something to eat when they were running from Shaul in Samuel 21:6 (I am pretty sure it was the Ramban who came up with this- if anyone can correct or confirm this, I would appreciate it.)

The Torah was written by Moses and completed, most likely, by Joshua after Moses’ death. So, how could it include everything that God had planned for his people?

The Torah doesn’t include Purim, it doesn’t include Hanukkah, the Fast of the 9th Day of Av, Simchat Torah, Lag b’Omer, TuB’Shevat, Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron, and there are still other holidays we celebrate, all as either a memorial or to honor what God has done for his people. These are man-made holidays, but they all are designed to honor God.

There are so many holidays that are not in the Torah, but who can honestly say that celebrating them is wrong just because God didn’t tell us we have to?

Is God so self-centered and neurotic that he will punish us for celebrating him if he didn’t specifically tell us we must? Is God’s idea of worship more like a game of Simon Says?

“God says celebrate Shavuot”;
“God says celebrate Passover”;
“Celebrate Hanukkah…AHA!!! God didn’t say so: you’re out of the game and you have to go to hell.”

I don’t think so.

Let’s leave the Jewish holidays for a moment and open a new can of worms: you guessed it- we’re gonna talk about Christmas and Easter, the most famous, or should I say infamous, holidays. These are the ones that some Gentiles say are bad not only because they are not in the Torah, but because they were once pagan holidays. There are people who not only refuse to celebrate these holidays but call them pagan and sinful, despite the fact that they have been rebranded, so to speak, so that now they are a celebration of Yeshua (Jesus) instead of pagan gods.

I won’t say it is right or wrong to celebrate these two major Christian holidays. I can say there is no way they could have been in the Torah because the one they celebrate now (Yeshua) didn’t arrive for some 1500 years after Moses was given the Torah.

But I will say this: as far as I am concerned (and you can disagree), any celebration that gives glory to God can’t be wrong.

If it is one of the Torah commanded Holy Days, which we find in Leviticus 23, those we celebrate in order to be faithfully obedient. If it is a man-made celebration of God, such as the salvation of the Jewish people during the time of Mordecai and Esther, or the salvation of the Jewish people during the time of the Maccabee’s, or the salvation of not just the Jewish people, but the whole world that was made possible by God sending his Messiah, Yeshua, well…how can that be frowned upon by God?

Do you really think that God is upset by us deciding to honor him in a way that we created?

When it comes down to it, I would humbly suggest that if you are unsure of what is right and wrong in God’s eyes, run it by these three rules:

  1. If the Torah says do it, then do it;
  2. If the Torah says don’t do it, then don’t do it;
  3. If it isn’t in the Torah but it was created in order to honor God or Messiah Yeshua, and you celebrate it that way, then go for it!

One of the defining characteristics of God is his willingness to forgive the past and give us a clean slate when we do T’shuvah (repent and turn from sin) and worship him as he says to do. So, despite a holiday being man-made or having pagan origins if it NOW is celebrated in order to honor God and give glory to him and/or his Messiah, then I would say it is acceptable to God.

In Ezekiel 18, God says that the sinful man who turns from sin will be saved, and even a righteous man who turns to sin will be guilty; in either case, their past will not be held against them. So, doesn’t it make sense that God might see holidays the same way? Sure, what we call Christmas and Easter used to be pagan holidays, but just as the sinner did T’shuvah and became acceptable to God, so, too, these holidays are being celebrated now as a way to honor God and Messiah must also be acceptable.

Look- if God can forgive you for the sins you have committed, then he certainly can accept when you celebrate a man-made holiday, no matter what its origins if you celebrate it to honor him.

Give God a break- he isn’t stupid and although I cannot speak for God, based on my understanding of him from what he tells us about himself, I believe that he isn’t so stuck-up that he will reject anyone who is celebrating his wonders, his works, and his salvation just because he didn’t specifically say we should in the Torah.

And certainly not because a holiday is man-made or created to replace a pagan holiday that was on the same day.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry grow. “Like” my Facebook page, subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel, buy my books and share them with people who want to know the difference between what God says and what religions teach, and join my Facebook discussion group, Just God’s Word.

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

Is James 2:17 Damage Control for Acts 15:20-28?

Right off the bat, let me wish everyone living in the United States a Happy Thanksgiving Day. Of course, given today is a national holiday to give thanks, you might expect a message about that.

Well, it ain’t gonna happen because everyone is already giving thanks, and I would be preaching to the choir, so we are going to have a really interesting discussion, instead.

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

You might be wondering what the heck the title of today’s message is all about? Let’s do a quick review: Acts 15:20-28 is the recommendation that James gives to the Council of Elders in Jerusalem that the Gentile Believers be required, at that time, to only follow four commands. Those requirements are: (1) not to eat anything sacrificed to idols, (2) not to eat things strangled; (3) not to eat the blood; and (4) to abstain from fornication.

James follows this up by stating that the laws of Moses (meaning the Torah commandments from God) would be heard by these neophyte Believers every Shabbat, implying that they would learn to obey the other Torah commandments as they matured in their knowledge and their spirit.

Later, James wrote his letter to the Believing Jews in the Diaspora.

If you are thinking, “No, it was to the Christian churches” you are wrong-
there were no Christian churches then, just Gentiles and Jews who accepted
Yeshua as the Messiah. If anything, these congregations would have
identified themselves not as a church, but as Kehillot (communities).

In that letter, written much later than the letter in Acts, James explains that when people say they have faith they must demonstrate it through their actions. James 2:17 plainly states that faith, without works, is dead.

Now, if you are wondering why am I thinking that the letter to these Believing Jews and Gentiles is damage control for what James suggested in Acts, I will explain.

The letter in Acts, which was written to new Gentile Believers, has traditionally been used to justify ignoring the Torah and that Christians need only follow JUST THOSE 4 REQUIREMENTS in order to be saved. This is absolutely NOT what the letter was meant to do: that letter was intended to help the formerly pagan people adjust slowly to this new religion.

In the book of Galatians, we learned that many Jewish Believers were forcing the Gentiles accepting Yeshua to convert to Judaism overnight. This was a paradigm shift in lifestyle, going from a hedonistic, sexually perverse polytheistic religion and way of life to one of righteousness, purity, and self-control.

Not to mention the requirement to be circumcised. Ouch!

I mean, really? Going from perversion to purity “cold turkey” (no, that is not a Thanksgiving Day reference) is just too much for most people, and if this was required of all newly Believing Gentiles, the Elders realized that they would lose too many, too quickly.

Remember the parable Yeshua told of the seed thrown on the ground, and how the weeds (worldly desires) choked much of the new growth?

So, to prevent too many Gentiles who were, for the most part, converting to a Jewish lifestyle and form of worship, the Elders said, “Take it one step at a time.”

But that letter, which was to become a stepping stone to righteousness, became a stumbling block, instead, when it was used to justify ignoring God’s commandments.

I believe (and you can agree or not- it is simply my belief) that many years after that letter, when James saw what was happening to the movement, he decided to get these people back on track by writing his letter to remind them that they must still obey the entire Torah. He decided to show them that they were being taught incorrectly when they were told that faith is all you need, and performance (ie., doing good works) is not necessary.

Faith demands good works, and when we say we have faith we need to show it by how we act. If we are faithful, truly faithful, then we will want to do as God said to do and not listen to men telling us we don’t need to.

Men do not have more authority than God, and God never said to stop obeying him. James knew this, and (again, it is my opinion) realized that what he wrote then to help people was now hurting people.

It was the right idea at that time, but it had been perverted from a slow learning process of how to obey God into a justification for totally rejecting God’s instructions.

So, that’s my thought. Do you think that James realized what he did had been turned against him? Or are you of the school that Christians do not have to do anything in the Torah, which are the direct commands from God, but instead can do what men who have run the “church” say you should do?

James suggested the letter in Acts 15, and many believe it was the same James who wrote that letter to the Believers in the Diaspora, so if it was (and even if it wasn’t), I really believe that James 2:17 was written as “damage control” to get those people back on track who had been misled by the Gentile church leaders who perverted the Acts 15 letter.

What do you think?

That’s it for now, so please share these messages with everyone you know, subscribe to my website, YouTube channel, Facebook group (Just God’s Word), and check out my books. If you like what you get here, you will also like my books.

Enjoy your turkey and do give thanks, every day.

Baruch HaShem!

How Does God’s Punishment Help Us?

It is very hard to recognize the value of punishment when it is happening to you. Especially if that punishment is not one just designed to teach you a lesson, but the sort of vengeful punishment that human beings generally dish out to each other.

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God, on the other hand, punishes us without malice or anger, although we can tick him off now and then. When God punishes us, it is because we deserve it, yet he always tempers his temper, so to speak, with mercy.

“What’s so merciful about killing 250 high-ranking members of the tribes, as well as having the ground swallow Abiram and Datan, with their entire families, down to Sheol?” (Numbers 16)

“What’s so merciful about allowing the Philistines to constantly raid and harass the people all during the time of the Judges, and throughout the kingdoms that came afterward?”

“What’s so merciful about having the Assyrians kill thousands of Northern Kingdom people, destroy property, and sell survivors into slavery throughout the Diaspora?” (1 Chronicles 5)

“What’s so merciful about letting the Babylonians raze Jerusalem and destroy the temple while bringing hundreds or more of God’s people into slavery in a foreign land?” (2 Kings 25)

“What’s so merciful about allowing the Romans to not just totally destroy the temple and the walls protecting Jerusalem, but to rename Judea- the land God gave us- after our ancient enemies, the Philistines?” (Circa 70 CE)

“You call that ‘merciful’?”

Yes, I do.

“How can you say that is showing mercy?”

Simple: despite all that, we are still here.

And not just still here in the world, but now we are back in the Land, and we are not just surviving- we are thriving!

Have you ever been in a fight? Not a verbal battle, but a swing the fist, hit the body, and hurt someone fight? It isn’t like what you see in the movies, where the fighters hit each other, kick each other, throw each other around but constantly get up and continue.

That’s not real life. Let me tell you about real life, having been a student of martial arts for a number of years in my youth: all you need to make you think twice about fighting is to get the wind knocked out of you once. You can’t breathe, you can’t even stand, and while you are turning blue the only thought going through your mind is “Will I die?”

When God punishes us, it is so that we stop everything we are doing, stop thinking of whatever we were thinking of, and fall to our knees with the wind knocked out of us thinking only one thing: “Will I die?”

That is why when God has to resort to punishment, it can seem so terrible; you see, we make it necessary for him to do that because our stubborn, self-centered, and sinful desires are so strong that God needs to get our attention.

He will do so gently at first, giving us little hints, helping us to see the light, but when we refuse to accept what we are doing is wrong, he will turn up the juice. And, after he has given us all the time in the world to repent, that’s when God will drop the hammer.

And even then, he is merciful in that despite the pain we feel, it isn’t going to kill us.

Well, wait a minute… I stand corrected: there are many thousands who have died suffering from God’s punishment, as we have noted earlier, but their death isn’t necessarily eternal death. There have been many righteous people over the centuries who have died as collateral damage when God punished the nation, but dying to the world isn’t the death that we should be afraid of.

There is one thing I want to mention before finishing: too often I have heard people say they are under attack or being punished by God because things are going badly for them. Now, it may be true; the Enemy may be harassing you if you are doing something wonderful for God’s kingdom, or God may be making life difficult if you are on the wrong path (remember I said he starts off gently letting us know we are going the wrong way?), but in most cases, I believe people are just having a bad day or a bad week, and that is all there is to it.

God sees and knows all that we do, and he cares, but being in charge of everything doesn’t mean always doing everything. I believe many times God just lets things happen, and if I am right, I think that is a good thing.

It allows us to learn to use what God teaches us in the Bible and is a way we can test ourselves in how we handle tsouris, which is inevitable because we live in a cursed and fallen world.

So if you feel you are being punished by God, check yourself against the Torah and what Yeshua said about loving each other. Take a long look in the mirror and see who is looking back at you.

In Judaism, we say the Torah should be like a mirror: when you look into it, you see yourself. This is very much what Yeshua meant when he said that when we see him, we see the Father (John 14:9): this is too often misunderstood because Yeshua wasn’t saying he is God, he was saying he is the mirror image of God in that he did and said what God wanted him to do and say.

That is why God tells us to be holy, as he is holy- we can never be God, and we can never be as holy as God is, but we can be like God in how we treat others and by living in accordance with the instructions God gave us in the Torah.

We will all be punished, sooner or later, either for our own sins or as collateral damage to the nation. It is inevitable, but don’t let that bother you. Remember that what happens on the earth is temporary, and we who believe in God and accept Yeshua as our Messiah aren’t to worry about what happens temporarily because we are focused on eternity.

God’s punishment, even when mercifully administered, is terrible. But it is temporary, and so long as you do your best to worship and treat others as God said to do, then you can get through it and look forward to eternal peace.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know, subscribe to both my website and YouTube channels, buy my books, join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word”, and “Like” my Facebook page.

(That’s not too much to ask, is it?)

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

The Psalms Remind Us of God’s Faithfulness

Have you read the Book of Psalms?

I just finished it, on my way through the Bible, and besides the beautiful poetry, the heartfelt yearning for God, both the pain and joy that the different psalmists felt (that’s right- King David wasn’t the only one writing psalms), one thing I am always reminded of when going through these emotional songs is how faithful God has been to his people.

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

I am not going to review each and every one of the 150 psalms, but challenge you to go through, picking one out every now and then, and you will psalms that both thank God for his blessings and protection, as well as pleading to God to provide the blessings and protection that he once did.

The psalms take us on a roller-coaster of emotions, from praising God for his protection to pleading for God for protection; from thanking God for his mighty victories to asking God why he no longer goes to battle before his people; from praising God for the love he has shown us to asking God when will his anger against his people ever cease?

The psalms were written by a number of different people, at different times during our history. Many were written by King David, but there are one or two from Solomon, Moses added a couple of his own, Asaf has written many, and we even find some from the sons of Korach. Yes, the very same Korach who rebelled against Moses and Aaron: although Korach and his followers were destroyed by God’s fire coming out from the Tabernacle, it was only the families of Datan and Abiram who were swallowed up by the earth.

The psalms are a historical narrative, as well, with David’s sad songs of betrayal while hiding from Saul or running from Absolem to songs of praise and joy at being placed in the kingship and for the many years of the military superiority he was given by Adonai.

The psalms of Asaf, however, are quite different in that they seem to have been written during those years when the Israelites were in exile. They reflect the sadness of feeling abandoned by God, even though we know that later God did return his chosen people to their land.

What demonstrates the faithfulness of God’s people is that despite their pleas for help, their questioning of why God has abandoned them, and their prayers for him to turn from his anger and redeem them, they always end with the hope and trust that one day God will again be as he once was to them.

And looking back in history, we see God’s faithfulness in that he did answer the prayers for the redemption of the communion his people once had with him. We know that God did relent from his punishment, God did return his people to their land, and he never truly abandoned them, only turned his face from them for the time they needed to be humbled.

In truth, God has never rejected the Jewish people, or for that matter, anyone who truly calls to him. When we, the Jewish people, turned from him, although he said he would hide his face and ignore our prayers, he still saw us and he still heard our prayers. He was just allowing us enough time to become truly humbled and repentant.

God always knows the exact right time to act on our prayers; he knows the difference between false humility and genuine repentance.

God never really abandons us, he just allows us to abandon him until we come back to our senses. And when we do, we will find him there, waiting with outstretched hand, to gather us under his wings, once again.

If you feel like you are abandoned or separated from God, you are probably right but don’t blame God for it: if you want to know why God isn’t with you, look in the mirror for the answer. God always wants to be with us, but when we reject his instructions we reject him, thereby separating ourselves from the blessings and protection of the Lord.

God never abandons us, he allows us to abandon him. And even when we do, he still watches out for us. He is always there, waiting for us to return, and strongly desiring to answer our repentant and heartfelt prayer for forgiveness with a “Yes, you are forgiven, and welcome back into the fold.”

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry grow. Subscribe to both my YouTube and Website ministry, “Like” my Facebook page, and join my Facebook discussion group called “Just God’s Word.”

And if you like what you get here, you will love my books, which are available from my website or on Amazon Books.

And one more thing: I always welcome your comments.

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

The Dual Purpose of God’s Punishment

How many times have you heard people ask why, if God is forgiving, loving, and compassionate, does he punish us?

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How many times have you heard people say that the God of the Old Covenant is harsh and cruel, but the God of the New Covenant is loving and forgiving?

Of course, that raises the question of which God is the real God?

The answer is, of course, there is only one God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the father of the Messiah, Yeshua. He is the same God in the Old Covenant as he is in the New Covenant, and if someone needs proof, just read Acts 5:1-11 and see how “forgiving” the God of the New Covenant really is.

God punishes the guilty, but not right away, well, usually not right away. He holds his punishment in order to give us time to repent and save our lives. God doesn’t want anyone to die and says so in Ezekiel 18:23.

In fact, God is not only willing to forgive, he strongly desires to forgive, but because he is also holy and trustworthy, he MUST punish the unrepentant for their sins.

God ALWAYS follows the rules he sets.

The punishment God metes out is designed to do two things:

  1. Punish the wicked for the sins they have committed, as he promised he would do; and
  2. Bring people into communion with God by having them turn to him so they can be saved.

That’s right! God will slam you down hard not because he is trying to hurt you, but because he is trying to save your life!

Humans punish and hurt each other in order to make themselves feel better. I know you are denying that is what YOU do, but the truth is we punish almost always, from anger. And that anger comes from being ignored, which comes from our pride and that is what causes us to lash out at others, even those we love.

When your children disobey you, do you allow them to continue their bad behavior, and only after a while punish them? If so, then you are the rare exception because almost everyone I have ever known with kids, myself included, punishes in one way or another the moment the kids misbehave.

If someone at work is performing under their required standard and you are their boss, do you allow it to continue? Do you wait for a while, hoping that they will come around and get better? Do you give them a bad review without ever having told them where they needed to improve?

I hope not. Having been in charge of people most of my career I have learned that when people don’t do a good job it is often because they haven’t been trained or supervised well. However, there are those who just refuse to do what they are supposed to do, and they receive punishment after they have been told how to do it correctly, but refuse to do so.

These examples are based on being in a finite world where the punishment can’t last longer than your life. God, on the other hand, is not finite and his punishment is designed to set us straight while we are still alive because the ultimate result of disobeying God is eternal suffering.

I might lose my job if I continually ignore my boss, but I will be forever in torment if I continually ignore God.

God punishes us because he has to: he said he will and that is all there is to it. He waits for us to repent, and when he has waited long enough (which is entirely up to his timetable, not yours) the punishment for your crimes against God will first be to slam you down so hard that you have to look up to look down.

And that brings us to the second purpose for his punishment, to leave you no option other than to look up… up to God!

God’s punishment is designed to force you to realize that your way will not work, is not going to be acceptable anymore, and if you want to have joy and peace you had better get your head out of your southern-most orifice and get with the game.

God tells us exactly how he wants us to worship him and how to treat each other- that is found in the Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible. In fact, that is the ONLY place where God, himself, dictates to Moses the way he wants us all to act. There is no place, anywhere else, throughout the entire Bible, Old and New, where God gives direct instructions on what we are to do.

As you read in the letter to the Romans, God has always been to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. The Torah was given to the Jewish people to learn, and then as God’s nation of priests (Exodus 19:6) to bring it to the world.

Humans punish almost exclusively as a result of their anger at being ignored, or at seeing someone doing wrong to others. God is the same way, in that he becomes angry with those who disobey him, but God’s anger is not a fit of selfish, prideful anger like a human being feels.

This is my belief: God’s anger is not based so much on people ignoring him, but on people spiritually killing themselves after he has done so much to provide eternal joy for us. Whereas we become angry for selfish reasons, God becomes angry for selfless reasons- he hates to see us hurt ourselves.

That is why I believe his punishment is not just to keep his word, but to bring us back into communion with him by making us realize that we cannot be successful by looking only to our own power. We need to realize the best path to success in this life, and eternal joy in the next life is through the power of God.

God makes us eat crow to teach us humility; when we accept his sovereignty, humble ourselves, and obey him, he then provides a feast of wonderful delicacies which we can enjoy for all time.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to both my YouTube channel and website, “Like” my Facebook page, and join my Facebook discussion group, Just God’s Word.

While on my website, check it out and you can order any of my 4 books from the links you will find there.

And I always welcome your comments.

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

Faith Isn’t Enough

We all have been taught that we are saved by faith, not works, but that isn’t the whole story.

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Faith is not something that we are born with, and it is not something we can earn or purchase: faith is a choice. Faith is a decision to believe, without any proof to justify that belief.

The letter to the Messianic Jews, supposedly written by Shaul (Paul), says it best in Hebrews 11:1:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

In other words, any absolute proof of God or that Yeshua is the Messiah is the antithesis of faith because Abraham, the “Poster Child” for faith, never had any proof of God’s existence or trustworthiness, yet when he heard from God, he believed. That is why in Christianity they say only by faith are we saved, not by works, because (this is their favorite verse) in Romans 4 we are told that Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (which Shaul quoted from Genesis 15:6).

But to say that faith is all we need is wrong, as stated by James in James 2:14, where he says that faith without works is dead.

So, nu? Who’s right? Shaul says through faith we are saved, and James says without works we are dead: someone has to be wrong, right?

The answer is they are both correct: the missing part that brings these two seemingly opposite statements into concordance is understanding what God said is the real reason Abraham was considered righteous.

Let’s back up for a minute: people have, for centuries, been taught that faith brings salvation, but it doesn’t: salvation only comes from forgiveness of sin. A sinful person cannot be in the presence of God, no matter how strongly they believe in him.

The general understanding of “works” is strict obedience to the commandments God gave in the Torah. Before Yeshua’s ministry, the Pharisees taught only the literal value or written word (called the P’shat) of the Torah commandments, and that only through obedience can we be forgiven, accompanied by the appropriate sacrifice. This is what I call “performance-based salvation”: they placed works over faith.

Yeshua taught us that we needed more than just a literal understanding, we need to know the deeper, spiritual meaning of God’s commandments (called the Remes). This was a totally new way to see the commandments, yet Yeshua never taught to ignore the commandments; obedience was still necessary, with the proper sacrifice brought to the temple in Jerusalem, in order to be forgiven of sin. The only thing that changed was after Yeshua’s sacrifice and resurrection, there was no longer a need to bring an animal to the temple, which was destroyed leaving Yeshua as the only means to attain forgiveness of sin.

By the end of the First Century, when the number of Gentiles joining the “Way” began to vastly outnumber the Jews, they began to separate themselves from the Jewish population (which was in big trouble with Rome) and started to change things around, such as a different day for the Sabbath, rejecting some of the basic Torah commandments, and totally ignoring the rabbinic (later to be Talmudic) additional requirements that the Pharisees demanded. By the end of the Third Century, Christianity had become a totally different religion, and the teaching that faith is all we need not only took precedence over obedience but was used to justify ignoring God’s Torah!

The Pharisees taught performance-based salvation over faith, and Christianity taught faith-based salvation over obedience.

Both are wrong.

Now we can get back to what God tells us is his reason for crediting Abraham as righteous, which had seemingly been lost to everyone, except to James.

In my 67+ years of experience with Christians, I have never heard any of them quote Genesis 26:5; that is where God confirms the promise he made with Abraham to Isaac and says the reason is:


because that Abraham hearkened to My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws. (JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh)

When God said that Abraham hearkened to his voice, he meant that Abraham believed him, but that wasn’t all. God said Abraham did more than just believe him, he did everything that God told him to do!

What God is saying is that faith isn’t enough for him! Abraham was righteous because he believed AND DID what God told him to do!

That is what James was saying- faith without obedience to what God tells us to do will not save us. We must do as God said Abraham did: we must be more than faithful, we must be obedient.

The early Christians wanted to separate themselves from the Jewish people because of the political strife between the Judeans and Rome, and they succeeded so well they also separated themselves from God by teaching those who had faith in Yeshua did not have to obey the Torah.

And the only place (how many times do I have to say this before people realize it?) that God tells us what he wants us to do is in the Torah! Nowhere else, people- only in those first five books will you find God saying, “Tell the children of Israel this is what the Lord, God says to do…”.

Read Genesis 26:5 for yourself- make sure that what I am telling you is true. Abraham was considered righteous, which is why he received the promises from God, because he did more than just faithfully believe: he also did everything God told him to do.

It has never been either faith or works, it has always been both. If your faith doesn’t motivate you to be obedient to God’s instructions, then you do not have the kind of faith that results in forgiveness of sin, which is the only way we are saved.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone, “Like” my Facebook page, join my discussion group (Just God’s Word), buy my books, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

The Greatest Threat to Your Salvation

You may be thinking that salvation is a gift from God that no one can have taken from them.

And you are right- no one can take our God-given salvation from us, but we can certainly throw it away.

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We are warned against apostasy, but that isn’t the threat I am talking about.

We are warned about how the Enemy can confuse and mislead us, which is a definite threat, but I don’t believe it is as big as the one I want to tell you about.

The greatest threat to your salvation is…RELIGION!

When we ask God, through Messiah Yeshua, to forgive our sins and take us into his presence, we will be “saved” from the spiritual and eternal consequences of our sins. But that is just the first step: the road leading to that salvation still lays before us and it is a long and treacherous one.

The guide taking us down that road, which almost everyone who worships God in one way or another is led by, is a religion. It may be Judaism, it may be Catholicism; you might be a Protestant or maybe even a Mennonite. There are some 6 sects with Judaism and dozens of Christian religions and sects.

Here is why I say religion is the greatest threat to your salvation: religion is not from God. God tells us exactly what he wants from us regarding how to worship him and how to treat each other, in the Torah. There is no other place, anywhere, in the Bible where God gives us a direct commandment regarding these things.

Religion is the creation of people who want to have power over other people. Religion tells you what you can and cannot do, and also tells you that this is what God really wants. Some religions tell you to ignore the Holy Days that God told us to celebrate, but if you don’t celebrate their man-made holidays, then you will go to hell.

Religions tell you what you want to hear so that their leaders can control you. God has told us all how he wants us to act, but religion tells you it is OK to ignore some of the things God says and do what the religion says you should do. What is worse is that they say it’s OK to ignore the Torah commandments because you believe in Jesus!

For the record, Yeshua (Jesus) NEVER told anyone to do anything other than what his father, God, said to do! And religion tells us that Yeshua is our savior, but that is wrong! We can have our sins forgiven through Yeshua’s sacrifice, but he is NOT our savior- God is.

We are saved because of what Yeshua did but it is God who is our savior because he is the one who forgives us!

Yeshua replaced the need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem, which was the way we used to be forgiven under the sacrificial system. God would forgive our sins by means of the shed innocent blood of the sacrifice, but did anyone ever say that the goat or the bull or the lamb was their savior? Of course not- the sacrifice is not the savior, it is the thing which makes forgiveness possible, and that forgiveness is what saves us, and that forgiveness comes from GOD!

And let’s not forget that it was God who provided the Messiah in the first place!

Religions also attract people, especially today’s Mega-churches, by appealing to their comfort zone. Religion is the greatest threat to your salvation, and next in line after that is your comfort zone.

People love to hear that if they are a good person and believe in Jesus, they will be saved and get to go to heaven.

Anyone who really knows the Bible should immediately realize both of those statements are wrong. First off, no one is good- even Yeshua refused to be called “good” when someone addressed him that way, rebuking them and telling them that only God is good (Mark 10:18). And Revelation 21 tells us that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, so if everyone goes to heaven, why do we need a new earth?

The answer is that no one goes to heaven- that is where God and the angelic beings live. We live on earth. And we can confirm that from the prophecy of Micah, in Micah 4:4 where he says in the Acharit-Hayamim (End Days, meaning after the Messiah has come and is ruling the world) that each man will sit under his own fig tree and drink wine from his own vineyard without fear. Not in heaven, but here on earth (well, the new earth).

Religion teaches you what is OK with God based on what that religions’ originator believed (and NO- Yeshua did not create Christianity, men did). And one of the biggest comfort zone appeals I have heard all my life from religion is that when you die, if you have done what your religion has told you to do, you get to go to heaven and you will see all your loved ones there, waiting for you.

What a load of drek!

C’mon, people- get real! Do you really believe that everyone you have loved is in heaven? What about people who you may have loved who had a different religion? Doesn’t your religion teach you that it is the ONLY way to be saved? Doesn’t a Catholic Priest say a Protestant is doomed? Doesn’t a Rabbi say that a Mennonite isn’t worshipping God correctly? Don’t the Jehovah’s Witnesses tell you that all but 144,000 people will be in hell?

I’m Jewish, and I can tell you from personal experience that the Chasidic Jews call the Reform Jews “Goyim” (meaning “Gentile”), and because I believe Yeshua is the Messiah they say I am not Jewish anymore but a Christian!

Let me throw a plug for myself in here quickly: my latest book, “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews, Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah” is all about how religions have misled people about what the Messiah really taught, and what religions have said about him that isn’t true. You should seriously consider reading it if you want to know whether or not your religion has guided you to salvation or sin.

Let’s bring this to a close…look, I can’t speak for God and would never even think of doing so. And, I won’t tell you what you should believe. But, on the other hand, what I know about God- based on what he tells us about himself and what he wants from us- is that when we meet him at Judgement Day (which we will all do), it may go something like this:

You: “I did everything that my religious leaders told me to do.”

God: “My child, I understand that you did what they told you to do, but it’s what I say that counts.”

Now, if that doesn’t rattle your comfort zone, I don’t know what will.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to my website, to my YouTube channel, “Like” my Facebook page, and join my Facebook discussion group called Just God’s Word.

Oh, yeah- it wouldn’t hurt to buy and read my books, either.

I’m done for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Where Yeshua Fits Into Forgiveness of Sin

When we read the Bible, we know that God is a loving, compassionate, and forgiving God. We also know that he promises to punish the guilty, guilty being anyone who purposefully rejects and ignores God’s instructions.

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“So when I disobey God, does that make me a guilty person, deserving of punishment?”

Yes, it does.

“But, but, but…wait a minute! I am a Believer: I accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as my savior, so I can’t be guilty because he forgives my sins.”

Well, actually, no- that’s not accurate. Only God forgives sins; yes, Yeshua did say that he was authorized when he walked the earth to forgive sins, but that was only to prove he was (and still is) the Messiah. Believing in Yeshua as the Messiah does not automatically cleanse you of sin.

“So, then my religious leaders lied to me?”

Yes, and no, because they were only telling you what they had been told.

Why do you think Yeshua had to die? It was so that by his sacrifice we could be forgiven by God, in accordance with the sacrificial system God defined in Leviticus. Yeshua replaced the need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem, that’s all. We still need to confess our sins, repent of them, and ask God to forgive us in Yeshua’s name, i.e. by means of his sacrifice on our behalf.

“OK, so when I sin, I am guilty, and still need to confess, repent, and ask God to forgive me, which he will do because I have accepted Yeshua as my Messiah and ask forgiveness by means of his sacrifice. Is that right?”

Now you have it!

Sin is something no one can escape or completely overcome, even if the sins we commit are accidental. Before Yeshua, when the temple existed, we could sacrifice there to be forgiven, but only there- God commanded a sacrifice had to be made only where he placed his name (Exodus 20:24). When the temple was utterly destroyed (around 70 CE) there was no place we could go to be forgiven. This is where Yeshua’s sacrifice comes into play: as the Messiah, God’s anointed, his sacrifice replaced the animal sacrifice that had to be made at the temple. Yeshua’s sacrifice is acceptable to God anywhere, anytime, for all time.

“So what about the Jews? I know the Messianic Jews have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah, but what all the other Jews?”

Yes, that’s a problem. The mainstream Jewish population rejects Yeshua as the Messiah God promised to send because, for no other reason, they have been taught to reject him. It’s not really that much different than with most Christians, who have been taught they can reject the Torah commandments.

Jews aren’t the only ones left out of salvation by rejecting Yeshua; many, many Christians who believe they are saved are not because they have been taught to reject God’s commandments, or that they do not have to confess and repent of their sins because they are automatically saved by believing in Jesus.

It seems they don’t realize that believing Jesus is the Messiah isn’t enough. C’mon, people! Every demon in hell believes Jesus is the Messiah!

The sacrificial system requires confession of sin (once you have been made aware of it), repentance (you have to feel bad about having committed that sin), and the shedding of innocent blood to cleanse the sin (Hebrews 9:22.) When the temple existed, that is where the sacrifice had to be performed. As I explained, Yeshua’s sacrifice replaced the animal sacrifice and, as the Messiah, his sacrifice is acceptable anywhere, anytime.

After the destruction of the temple, in accordance with the Torah (do you hear this, my Jewish brothers and sisters?) forgiveness of sin can only be accomplished through Yeshua, the Messiah.

The teachings of Yeshua are, of course, also very important, and what he taught was exclusively from and about the Torah laws. He did not change or replace a single stroke of the pen, but what he did do was to explain the spiritual meaning of the laws, which is called the Remes.

Before Yeshua, the Pharisees only taught the plain language or literal meaning of the law, which is called the P’shat. In other words, the Pharisees taught performance-based salvation: do exactly what the law says to do and that is all you need. Yeshua taught the deeper, spiritual understanding of the law: just doing the right thing wasn’t enough, you had to feel it in your heart!

Just like God said in Jeremiah 31:33, the New Covenant will be written on our hearts.

The Torah teaches us what we must know to do, and Yeshua taught us what we must feel in our hearts. The Torah says do not kill, Yeshua says do not even hate; the Torah says do not commit adultery, Yeshua says do not even lust with your eyes.

Can you see? Yeshua didn’t just teach us what the Torah says, but what the Torah means!

This is why Yeshua came the first time: to teach us more than just what to do, but how to feel, and to replace the need to bring an animal to the temple for forgiveness.

The next time Yeshua comes will be to complete God’s plan for the redemption of his people, all those who have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah and been faithfully obedient (as best as we can) to God’s instructions in the Torah.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to both my website and YouTube channel, like my FaceBook page, and join my discussion group called Just God’s Word.

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

I have written 4 books regarding God, religion, prayer, and (most recently) debunking the traditional lies about Yeshua that both Judaism and Christianity have proliferated over the millennia, so please consider getting these for yourself. They are available on Amazon Books or use the links on my website.

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