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!

Your Comfort Zone is Your Coffin

Here’s a riddle for you:

What is it that makes you feel secure while putting your in life in danger?

Answer: Your comfort zone.

Here’s another riddle:

What do you call something that makes you breathe easier while it suffocates you?

Answer: Your comfort zone.

One more and then we’re done:

What do you believe can take you where you want to go, but in reality keeps you from ever going anywhere?

Answer: (c’mon, ya gotta know where I’m going with this by now!)

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

A comfort zone is that certain way of thinking, of acting, of eating, of doing things or believing something that you have always done, and so you feel secure and relaxed with it.

While some people may excuse staying in their comfort zone because it allows them to be efficient and to maintain a standard, the actual descriptive term for what they say helps them to maintain their standards is: stagnation.

The comfort zone most people have is what they were brought up with, it is all they know, and it is all they want to know.

Talk to a bigot who hates a certain class of person, even though they never knew anyone in that class, and you will see the epitome of a comfort zone.

People in a comfort zone are really just maintaining a certain level of ignorance.

For example, speaking religiously, people don’t want to hear that the holidays they celebrate aren’t the ones God told us to celebrate.

They don’t want to know that the commandments God gave about food are still valid for anyone who wants to please God.

Here’s something that’s really hard to understand: people stay in their comfort zone even when they know it is wrong!

In my lifetime, I have met many people who know that they should be doing something differently, yet when it comes down to it, they do what they have always done.

I read a book once that talked about people in a bad relationship, and it said that when one tries to change the relationship to make it better, the other goes out of their way to reestablish the bad one. Why would someone do something so damaging to themselves?

It’s that darn old comfort zone, again.

Here’s an example: let’s say I tell you that after decades of study, I have come to the conclusion that modern Christianity is based more on misinterpretations of what Paul said than anything Jesus ever said, and hearing this makes you feel really uncomfortable- well, that’s a good thing. If something someone says disrupts your comfort zone, then it is to your benefit to examine what was said.

The most dangerous thing about a comfort zone, if you ask me, is that it restricts you from growing in knowledge or ability, and as such leads you to a path of destruction more than a path of salvation.

I am very comfortable with my beliefs, but I still read what others say and verify for myself if what they say makes me uncomfortable that it is biblically valid. And yes- I have had to change things I believed, and when I do it is VERY uncomfortable.

But, it is also very uncomfortable taking yucky tasting medicine that cures my sickness, but I am going to take it because I know I have to on order to get better.

It is very uncomfortable for me to stretch before going on a bike ride, but I do it because I know it is important to be limber before an exercise.

It is very uncomfortable for me to eat only three or four crispy and spicy chicken wings, but that is better for me than eating eight or ten of them.

(OK, I confess, this is one comfort zone I usually stay in.)

The most dangerous comfort zone of all is our spiritual comfort zone.

It’s one thing to be taught all you need to do is be a good person and love each other and you get to go to heaven, and a totally different thing to hear no one goes to heaven. The Bible tells us that we who are saved stay on the new earth.

It is very uncomfortable to be told that our parents may not greet us after we die, or that our loved ones may not even be saved.

And it is totally uncomfortable to realize that we may be doing the wrong things in God’s eyes, even though everyone we ever respected and trusted has been telling us that what we do is fine with God.

So what’s today’s message all about?

It’s about getting a little less comfortable, and making sure that what you have been told is fine with God, really is fine with God.

And how can you know what is really fine with God? How can I be absolutely certain that what I am being told is really directly from God?

Go to where God tells you what is absolutely fine with him, and that is in the first 5 books of the Bible, which is called the Torah (the word “Torah” means learning, not law).

Truth be told, that is the ONLY place in the entire Bible where God (the father of the Messiah) tells us directly, with Moses taking dictation, exactly what he wants us to do: which Holy Days are the ones he says we have to celebrate (for the record, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate man-made holidays, just that those days God says we must, we must), how we should treat each other, how we should run a business, it has a penal code, we are told which animals are good for eating and which are bad, and many other things, to include the difference between sexually acceptable and sexually perverted relationships.

Your comfort zone just feels so nice: it is pleasant, it is easy to do, it satisfies your earthly desires, and you know what that sounds like?

That sounds like the definition of sin.

I’m sorry- does that make you feel uncomfortable? Good!

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to this ministry on my website and my YouTube channel, as well. Help it continue to grow by sharing these messages with everyone you know- let’s make them uncomfortable, too.

On my website buy my books, and on Facebook join my group called “Just God’s Word” (please read and agree to the rules).

And one last thing- remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

Ran Into Another Replacement Theologist

Ya know what? No matter how many times I hear people say that the Mosaic Covenant was done away with by Yeshua’s sacrifice and is no longer valid for Christians, I still can’t understand how people who say they read the Bible can believe that hooey.

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

Some may say that declaring the old covenant is done away with is not Replacement Theology because that states the Jews are no longer the chosen people of God. And they are right about one thing- Replacement Theology teaches that because the Jews rejected God’s son as their Messiah, God has now rejected them as his chosen people and replaced them with the Born Again Christians.

God gave the Torah to the Jewish people because he CHOSE them to bring the Torah to the world (Exodus 19:6), so when you say that covenant was broken, you are saying that the Torah is no longer required by God. And, if that is true, then the Jewish people are no longer required by God, as well, and that means they aren’t really the chosen ones any more.

Saying that the old covenant is broken, it’s Replacement Theology with a different spin, but the same drek any way you look at it.

Now, back to the idea the old covenant was broken.

There are actually 5 covenants that are in the “Jewish” Bible, so which is the “old” one? I mean, they’ all old!

My understanding is when people say the old covenant is broken they are referring to the Mosaic Covenant, which is also referred to as the Laws of Moses.

I’m sorry, but I have to say that’s another thing that so many people just don’t understand correctly: the “laws of Moses” are NOT Moses’ laws, they are God’s laws! God dictated to Moses, who wrote them down so we could know exactly what they are.

When a company CEO issues a new standard, he dictates it to his secretary who then types it up and distributes it throughout the corporation. So, when people read it, do they say it is from the secretary?

I don’t think so, and in the same way, what is called by both Jews and Christians the “Laws of Moses” are not from Moses.

They are from God, and people need to know this because God doesn’t change his mind or go back on his word.

Here is something that God told Isaiah to tell the Jewish people, and you find it in Chapter 54, verses 6-10, which is where God is telling the people about how he did abandon them, but not forever (Complete Jewish Bible):

For Adonai has called you back like a wife abandoned and grief-stricken;
“A wife married in her youth cannot be rejected,” says your God.
 “Briefly I abandoned you, but with great compassion I am taking you back.
 I was angry for a moment and hid my face from you; but with everlasting grace I will have compassion on you,” says Adonai your Redeemer.
 “For me this is like Noach’s flood. Just as I swore that no flood like Noach’s
would ever again cover the earth, so now I swear that never again
will I be angry with you or rebuke you. For the mountains may leave and the hills be removed, but my grace will never leave you, and my covenant of peace will not be removed,” says Adonai, who has compassion on you.

Clearly, God is telling the Jewish people, my people, that he did abandon them because of their sinfulness, and many Christians have been taught this means God divorced Israel. But abandonment is not divorce.

In the Torah (Deut. 24), it says once a man divorces his wife and she remarries, then later she is again divorced or becomes a widow, he cannot marry her again. This law has been used to justify that the covenant between God and Israel is forever broken, by God’s own law!

Through the Prophets God often accuses Israel of prostituting herself with other gods, but he didn’t say he ever divorced her.

But, in Jeremiah 3, God says he DID divorce the Northern Tribes of Israel, then he later divorced the Southern Tribes, as well, because they didn’t learn from their sister.

So, does that mean these people who say the covenant is broken are correct?

Well, it is undeniable that Israel (the wife) broke covenant with God- more than once, in fact- but before Jeremiah he never divorced us, just left us alone, as he says here in Isaiah. However, come the time of Jeremiah, when the Northern Kingdom is gone and Judea is on the verge of destruction, as well, does this truly mean the Jews have been divorced?

I’d have to say…Yes. I mean, God himself tells us that he divorced us, so how can that be questioned?

BUT…does that mean God cannot take us back and remarry us?

Well, the Torah says a divorced woman cannot remarry her first husband if she had been married to someone else, so the question of the covenant being forever broken or just “on hold” comes down to this: did Israel ever remarry?

Throughout the Prophets, God accuses us of prostituting ourselves with other gods, but there is nothing in the Bible that says Israel ever married, i.e., made a new covenant with any other gods.

So, does the Bible say it is OK to remarry a divorced wife who became a prostitute but never remarried?

Does the name Hosea ring a bell?

In fact, God not only told him to marry Gomer, who was already a prostitute, but when she abandoned him and went back to the streets, so to speak, he was told by God to take her back. The Bible doesn’t mention that they were ever divorced.

So, let’s put this together: the Torah states it is unlawful for a man to remarry his “ex” if she had been married AFTER the divorce, and became single again. Israel never remarried– there is no biblical evidence that Israel ever re-covenanted with anyone or any other god. Ever.

Yes, we broke covenant with the one, true God, and often, but we never made a covenant with anyone else, which means we never remarried.

Do you know what that means, you who say God divorced Israel so the covenant is no longer valid?

It means you’re dead wrong.

Yes, we broke our side, and yes, God divorced us, but we never remarried, and God never broke his side of the covenant, so what had been broken was repaired when we repented and God took us back in, just as Hosea took Gomer back in.

Yes, God abandoned us to our own sins as often as we deserved, but there was never any rejection of us as God’s chosen people; yes, God divorced us at one time but since we never remarried, there is no Torah law preventing God from remarrying us; and there was never any dissolution of the covenant God made with us.

One last point: because each successive covenant was built upon and included the previous one, the most recent covenant God made with the Jewish people contains all the covenants God made with the Jewish people, so what would that mean if God’s covenant with the Jewish people was broken completely?

It means the Torah is obsolete for everyone, including the Jews, so for some 2000 years what we have been doing we didn’t have to.

It also means God has no nation of priests, so the world has no intermediary with God, and that includes Yeshua.

It includes Yeshua because God’s promise to send a Messiah is part of the covenant he made with us, and that means no covenant, no Messiah.

Finally, if the covenant between God and the Jews is broken, that means there is no “New” covenant, which God made with the Jewish people through Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31), a covenant that Christianity says it is based upon.

In other words, if the covenant between God and the Jewish people is truly broken, there is no salvation.

Fortunately, God never broke covenant with us, so all of this is not a concern: the Torah is still valid for anyone who worships God and wants to follow in Yeshua’s footsteps.

Israel, although once divorced, is remarried to God, who through the Prophets has always promised that no matter how mad he gets at us, which we always deserve, he will always take us back (as he said he would through Isaiah).

And it means that anyone who says God has rejected the Jewish people and the covenants he made with them, is calling God a liar.

And I don’t think that will go over too well with the Big Guy upstairs.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to this ministry on both my website and YouTube channel. Share these messages with everyone you know to help this international ministry continue to grow, and do not hesitate to comment on what I have teach.

And if you agree with, or find interesting that which I teach, then please buy my books- you will certainly like them, too.

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

Why Can’t Holidays be Forgiven Like Sinners?

As we come near to the major Christian holiday of Christmas, I expect to see a plethora of postings from Christians who have become so zealous for doing what God said over what men have said that they reject every man-made Christian holiday because it was once a pagan celebration.

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

Now, it is true that Christmas was created by men. Basically, the early Christians, who by the end of the First Century were mostly ex-pagans, were following the teachings of men; men who misinterpreted and misused the writings of the Apostles (and especially Shaul) to teach these new Believers that they must reject anything Jewish.

In fact, they were so adamant about separating themselves from their Jewish roots they ended up creating a different religion, nothing like what Yeshua or his disciples practiced or taught, and which Constantine legalized in the Third Century.

The religion they created is known today as Christianity.

Now that they had their own religion, with man-made tenets, dogma, and rituals, all they needed were their own holidays. So, they took the old pagan holidays of the winter celebration of Saturnalia and the spring fertility celebration of Ishtar, which everyone was used to celebrating, and rebranded them to be Christmas, celebrating the birth of the Messiah, and Easter, celebrating the resurrection of the Messiah.

Man-made holidays originally celebrating the pagan gods, now rebranded (or should I say, reborn?) as Christian celebrations of the Messiah.

So, what about the many Christians who used to celebrate them with gusto and joy, who now reject them with a passionate hatred and demean anyone who still celebrates them? Are they right to do so?

First of all, in my opinion, what is important is not what we think but what God thinks, and no one can say they know what God thinks. Job’s friends tried to do that, and we are told that God didn’t like that- no, not one, little bit.

But, we can know that God has shown us he knows the hearts and minds of everyone. So, then, what if I am celebrating the Messiah though the man-made holiday called Christmas, which is celebrated at the same time as a pagan holiday was? When I am decorating my Christmas tree with ornaments that represent memories of times gone by with family and friends, does God think I am adorning an idol? Or when I go to church and sing praises to him, does he think I really am singing to Saturn?

I don’t think so. I think because God knows our hearts and minds, when I believe I am doing something to honor God and his messiah, God will accept that.

God is compassionate and understanding, right? Isn’t it true that he loves each and every one of us beyond our human ability to comprehend the vastness of that love? And doesn’t he tell us in Ezekiel 18:23 that he is not just willing to forgive us, but that he desires to do so?

When I put all that together, it adds up to celebrating Christmas as a means of being grateful for the birth of the messiah is fine with God. And, if I celebrate Easter to be grateful that the messiah was resurrected, God doesn’t have a problem with that.

Do you agree that we were all sinners, but because we are reborn through the Messiah we can be forgiven and those sins are now as far from us as the East is from the West? Even though we all have the same sinful origins we had before? Even though we still have the same birthday? The same parents? The same history?

Do you believe that even though we are the same entity as we always have been, that through the Messiah we can be forgiven and now acceptable before God?

Well, if your answer to that question is “Yes”, then why do you say that a holiday cannot be acceptable before God if it is “reborn” and is now celebrating the Messiah?

If someone born on a certain day who was a sinner and rejected God, but now through Messiah Yeshua can be acceptable to God, then why can’t a celebration that has the same “birthday” as a pagan holiday, but is now celebrating the Messiah, be treated the same way?

If you used to be a sinner and now are acceptable to God through the messiah, but celebrating the messiah through Christmas and Easter is unacceptable to God because they once were pagan holidays, well…if you ask me, I call that hypocrisy.

If I was a sinner who is now saved because I accepted Yeshua as my messiah and changed who I worship from sin to God, then why can’t a holiday that once celebrated a pagan god but now is dedicated to the one, true God and his messiah be given the same consideration?

I am Jewish, so I never celebrated either of these Christian holidays, but my wife grew up with them and still likes to decorate the house at Christmas time. To us, it awakens memories of the good times in the past with family and friends, and is dedicated to God and Yeshua.

And, based on what God tells us about himself in the Bible, I believe he has no problem with this.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books, and join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (but please ensure you read and agree to the rules).

And one more thing: remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

Long Term Progress is Never a Straight Line

I am going to do something so rare, this may actually be the very first time I have ever done this- I am going to post something that will not have any biblical reference, and will not have a video, and even rarer than that- it will be short.

If you prefer to watch a video, I just told you there ain’t gonna be one today, so don’t look for “click on this link”.

OK, so why do I say long term progress is not a straight line?

The answer, in a word, is… backsliding. No human is ever going to do something right and never, ever do it wrong again.

If we look at a timeline of some growth activity, such as a record of one’s weight while on a diet, we do not see a straight line going up, or down, but rather more of a sine wave, like a wave in the ocean: up, then down, then up, then down, continually. Like this:

If it stays constant, never gradually going up or down, in science we call that stasis; but, in the case of personal or spiritual growth, the more appropriate word is stagnation, or some sensitive people would prefer to hear it called “staying in one’s comfort zone”.

Call it what you will, it still means there is no growth.

Our attempts at improvement will always will have that waviness, but it will be steadily going either up or down, depending on which way represents progress.

So what does this have to do with salvation, or God, or anything spiritual?

It is an important thing to know because this is the way we change, emotionally and spiritually.

As we learn more about the Bible we will show an upward swing, and if we forget some of what we learned there will be a downward swing, but so long as we don’t forget all we learned the wave will slowly go up.

The same is true with learning how to control our sinful nature (in Hebrew called the Yetzer Hara), how to learn to forgive, the proper way to worship, and learning to get along with others.

Today’s message is simple:

Don’t give up when you screw up!

You WILL screw up, sooner or later, and you will always screw up, now and then. If you allow these occasional dips in your spiritual sine wave to discourage you, well, that is exactly what the Enemy wants to happen.

Don’t give in to him.

And that is it for today (see! I told you it would be short). Know that you will make mistakes, that you will backslide, but always keep this in mind:

Three steps forward and two steps backward is not a failure:

it is a step forward.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry grow. Subscribe to my website and also to my YouTube channel (Youtube.com/messianicmoment).

I have written 4 books, and if you like what you get here you will like them, as well; they are in paperback and digital format, and available from my website and on Amazon Books.

I also have a Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” that you are invited to join, just please read and agree to the rules.

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

PS: I am having an operation on my back today to relieve my constant pain from lumbar spinal stenosis, so please send up a prayer for me.

Isaiah 29 Defines Religion

I took off a couple of weeks- did anyone miss me?

I was reading Isaiah 29 the other day, and when I came to verses 13-14, I had a bit of an epiphany, suddenly seeing in those few sentences the true definition of what religion is.

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

As those of you who are regular subscribers, or dare I say members of my congregation (?), you know that I am totally against religion. God’s instructions to us are a lifestyle and not just some set of activities you perform when you go to shul or church. In fact, God has no religion; religion is the invention of people who want to have power over other people.

Isaiah was a prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judea, and he was trying to get them to return to God’s way of life as they had corrupted themselves with the religions of the surrounding Semitic peoples.

Before we go any further, let me clearly state this caveat: pulling one or two sentences from the Bible is always a dangerous thing to do because it can lead to misunderstanding. I believe that, in this case, I am not misleading you or misinterpreting what God meant when he told Isaiah what to say, and I leave it up to you to judge for yourself whether or not I have.

That being said, let’s see what God told Isaiah to tell the people (this is from the Complete Jewish Bible):

Then Adonai said: “Because these people approach me with empty words, and the honor they bestow on me is mere lip-service; while in fact they have distanced their hearts from me, and their ‘fear of me’ is just a mitzvah of human origin therefore, I will have to keep shocking these people with astounding and amazing things, until the ‘wisdom’ of their ‘wise ones’ vanishes, and the ‘discernment’ of their ‘discerning ones’ is hidden away.”

To put this in words that reflect my understanding, God is saying that even though the people are going through the motions of proper worship, it is not something that they do because their hearts tell them to do it, but rather because they have been told by men what they should do.

And this opinion of mine seems to be confirmed because God says that their fear of him, which back then meant the form of worship, is just a mitzvah (law) of human origin.

God is saying that the form of worship they were practicing was not from God, but from men.

Now isn’t that exactly what religion is? A set of rules, a form of worship, “fearing” God by performing rites, rituals, and celebrating him with holidays that are all man-made?

I mean, how many different religions do we have that all profess to worship the one God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who is the father of the Messiah (who we believe to be Yeshua), the same God who never changes?

If God never changes, then what he says he wants us to do never changes, which means that there should not be different forms of worship or different rules, different celebrations, or different days of rest.

Am I right?

So, through Isaiah God is saying that when we practice a set of rules that are man-made, i.e. follow a specific religion, then he will show us just how wrong we are with shocking and amazing things to demonstrate to all that the wisdom of our wise people will vanish and their discernment will be hidden away, meaning there will be no discernment.

Have we seen any of this?

Well, what about the revelation of child abuse in the Catholic Church?

Well, what about the Televangelist who embezzled from his congregation?

Well, what about the Televangelist who had been associating with prostitutes?

Well, what about the New Jersey Rabbi who had an adulterous affair that led to murder?

Well, what about the…well, you get the point.

And these people, as well as many others that we have heard about in the news or, even worse, don’t yet now about, all have one thing in common: they are worshippers of man-made religions.

Yes, even Judaism, which should be the purest form of what God said he wanted us to do, has been corrupted by Talmudic requirements called Halacha, which overrule and sometimes even replace some of the instructions that God gave us, adding so much more to what God said we need to do (which, for the record, is a sin based on Deuteronomy 4:2).

So, nu? What can we do about people who are so fully immersed in a religion that they discount everything I just said as so much tripe and nonsense?

We can try to show them what God says: which, for Jews, means to get their head out of the Talmud, and for Christians, to get their head into the Torah.

And if we can ever get the Jews out of the Talmud and back to the Torah, and get the Christians out of the New Covenant letters and into the Torah, the next step would be to teach them both the truth about who Yeshua is and what he really taught.

And then, maybe, with God’s help, we can teach all these different Judeo-Christian religion followers to fear the Lord the way the Lord said to fear him.

That would be the fulfillment of God’s New Covenant, given through Jeremiah 31:31, which says that God’s Torah will be written on our hearts.

But, to be honest, I fear this will not be accomplished on a large level, and that is because I know what Yeshua said about salvation: it is the path less followed, and the narrow gate that few people will go through.

I pray that if you are one who follows a religion, you will consider what God told Isaiah about the way He feels about religion, and worship God -starting today- the way God said he wants you to.

Look- you don’t have to totally reject your religion: just know which part is obeying what God said to do, which part is rejecting what God said to do, which part is man-made but not rejecting what God said to do, and choose which part you will do.

One last thing: I sincerely ask you to consider how God will feel about your choice.

Thank you for being here. Please share these messages with everyone you know and subscribe to this ministry on my website, and also on my YouTube channel. I have a Facebook page (please “Like” it) and a Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” that you are invited to join- just please make sure you read and agree to the rules.

If you like what you get here, you will also like my books, which you can get through my website or on Amazon, in either paperback or digital form.

And remember: I always welcome your comments.

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