What does “Believe in Jesus” Mean?

Growing up Jewish, I was taught that any Jew who “believes in Jesus” is no longer a Jew, but now is Christian and a traitor to Judaism.

Listening to Christian missionaries, I am told we must “believe in Jesus” to be saved, and when we do we are no longer Jewish or have to obey the Jewish laws.

It seems the only thing Jews and Christians have in common is that believing in Jesus means you are no longer Jewish.

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But we know, based on James 2:19, that because the demons know God exists and is one, they must then also know Jesus who sits at the right hand of God, right? So, since the demons “believe in Jesus”, are they now saved?

I don’t think so!

It seems the term “believe in Jesus” has some meaning, but what is it, really?

NOTE: I will be using the name “Jesus” instead of Yeshua because it is more relevant to the topic, and so please don’t comment on or open a discussion about what the “real” name of the Messiah is because it is irrelevant to this lesson.

Frankly, if you ask me (and since this is my ministry, I will ask if you don’t) believing in Jesus doesn’t mean anything because we aren’t told just what we are believing in.

“Believe in Jesus” can mean anything from believing he existed to believe he is the Messiah, the son of God, and many Christians believe that Jesus is God, himself.

Many Jews believe in Jesus, but only to the point where they accept that he existed and was just a Rabbi; they believe this because his existence has been mentioned in the works of Josephus, a trusted and respected chronicler of history.

Muslims generally believe in Jesus in that they believe he existed and was a prophet, but not a Messiah or related to God other than being his prophet.

Then there are the atheists who don’t believe in God, at all, but might accept that Jesus existed, but only as a man with some historical significance.

And since the name “Jesus” has no etymology within Judaism, even the name is questionable to many as a valid identifier of the Messiah.

So, that brings me to the conclusion that to “believe in Jesus” essentially means nothing in particular because it can mean so many things.

Some Christians today are eager to learn about their Jewish roots and are beginning to recognize the importance of obedience to the commandments in the Torah, whereas most Christians want to believe only what they have been taught, which is that Jesus did away with all that “Jewish” stuff and all they need to do is believe in Jesus (there’s that term again), be a good person and love their neighbor and they will go to heaven when they die.

Yeah, well, that’s not really how it works, but it sounds good so just about everyone likes to accept that and won’t read the Bible for themselves.

If it was up to me, I would never use the term “Believe in Jesus” because it really means nothing- there is no substance to it and it doesn’t really tell anyone what encompasses that belief. Instead, I would say we need to accept that Jesus (but I would use his real, Hebrew name of Yeshua) is the Messiah God promised to send, and because of his sacrifice, we don’t need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem (which no longer exists) to be forgiven of our sins; that’s why he is now the ONLY means by which we can be forgiven of sin.

I think that is much more direct, making it clear why when we accept that Jesus is the Messiah we can receive salvation, other than just saying “believe in Jesus”.

Don’t you agree?

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

What Is the New Wine Yeshua Talks About?

In the Gospel of Mark (2:21-22), Yeshua teaches the following:

No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old coat; if he does, the new patch tears away from the old cloth and leaves a worse hole. And no one puts new wine in old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine is for freshly prepared wineskins.

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The traditional Christian interpretation of this lesson is that Yeshua meant the old laws were no longer valid for those who follow him. In other words, they use this to justify sinning against God by ignoring what he said in the Torah.

Christianity has maintained that what Yeshua taught was the new wine, and those who accept Yeshua as the Messiah and follow his teachings, are the new wineskins. As such, what is in the Torah is the old wine and only valid for the old wineskins, i.e., the Jews.

Does this make sense? I mean, Yeshua is the Son of God, the Messiah, and throughout all the Gospels, especially in John, he constantly tells us he does and says only what his father in heaven tells him to do and say. He even prayed at the rock in the garden just before his crucifixion, confirming with God that HIS will be done, not Yeshua’s.

So, given that his entire time on earth was spent doing what God told him, does it seem likely that what he would have taught was to rebel against God? Did the Son of God tell those who accepted him as the Messiah that he did not come to reunite them with God (which is what the Messiah is to do), but instead to separate them from God by rejecting his commandments and follow a new set of laws, laws that Yeshua created?

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem right to me, at all!

What Yeshua taught was what is in the Torah, but instead of teaching just the plain language of the law (called the P’shat), he taught us the deeper, more spiritual understanding (called the Remes.) Haven’t you ever wondered why there are so many references in the Gospels about how people said no one has ever taught like Yeshua did? That’s because no one ever had- the Pharisees and Sadducees only taught the basic meaning of the law: do not murder, do not commit adultery, etc. But Yeshua taught us the spiritual understanding of the law: do not even hate in your heart, do not so much as lust with your eyes.

Using the biblical exegesis system called Circles of Context, let’s look at what was happening just before Yeshua talked about new wine and new wineskins.

This chapter in Mark begins with the Pharisees asking why Yeshua was saying he could forgive sins. Next, they asked why he ate with sinners and tax collectors. They then asked why his disciples didn’t fast as the Pharisee’s disciples did.

What do all these questions have in common? They are referencing rabbinical traditions that are not specified in, or have anything to do with the Torah.

I believe these traditions are what Yeshua was talking about when he talked of “old wine.” And the new wine is not different mitzvot from the Torah, but the spiritual understanding of the existing mitzvot!

The new wineskins are people that have not been so indoctrinated into the old wine that they can no longer accept the new understanding Yeshua was teaching.

Now, here is a sad and ironic reality: Christians who believe that Yeshua’s “new wine” is that all you need is to love each other and be a good person are now the old wine in old wineskins, refusing to accept that Yeshua did NOT do away with the Torah, but confirmed it!

More and more Christians who are seeking the real Messiah, the one who taught God’s word and never rebelled against the Torah, are the new wineskins who want to accept the new wine Yeshua taught, way back then.

During Yeshua’s ministry on the earth, the new wine was the spiritual understanding of the Torah, and NEVER anything against obedience to God’s commandments in the Torah. The new wineskins are his Disciples and all those Jews and Gentiles who followed him, still obedient to Torah.

Today, the new wine Yeshua taught is still new because early Christian leadership denounced the Torah- they rejected the new wine and watered it down with their own traditions, ruining the purity of Yeshua’s wine by blending it with old pagan traditions, holidays, and watering down (if not totally rejecting) anything dealing with the Torah, other than the 10 Commandments.

And they have even rejected and ignored some of those!

So, here is my understanding of the passage in Mark 2:21-22: the old wine is the rabbinic traditions that over-ruled God’s word or added to it, and the old wineskins, already stretched to their maximum, are those who rigidly maintain those traditions, unwilling to change or even listen to new ideas. The new wine is the Remes of the mitzvot, the spiritual understanding of the Torah, and those who overcame their desire to adhere to those man-made traditions and accepted the new wine Yeshua taught became new wineskins.

Today there are two old wines: the Christian old wine that Yeshua did away with the law, and the Jewish old wine that Yeshua is not the Messiah.

I used to be an old Jewish wineskin, but became a new wineskin about 25 years ago when I accepted Yeshua as my Messiah; I never converted from Judaism and, in truth, am now more “Jewish” than I ever was before.

So, nu? Which wine do you drink?

Thank you for being here and please subscribe here and on my YouTube channel, and share these messages with everyone. I also would love it if you would check out my books (on my website) and remember- I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for now, and probably for the week because my wife, Donna, is getting a shoulder replacement today (your prayers for a successful operation and speedy recovery are humbly requested) and I will be really busy from Thursday on preparing for the Pesach Seder, since she will not be able to help with the cooking or the preparation of the house.

That’s it for now…l’hitraot and (an early) Pesach Chag Sameach!

Who Are We to Say?

Do you remember in the Book of Job what God said regarding all the advice that Job’s three friends gave him? God wasn’t very happy that they had been telling Job all about what God does, how he feels, and what he thinks. In fact, let’s see what happened, in Job 42:7 (CJB):

After ADONAI had spoken these words to Iyov, ADONAI said to Elifaz the Teimani, “My anger is blazing against you and your two friends, because, unlike my servant Iyov, you have not spoken rightly about me.

I bring this up because recently I have posted something that resulted in my being told I wasn’t really saved. And you know what? … this wasn’t the first time.

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So how does anyone know who is “saved”? What is salvation? Is it something we can touch? Is it something that we can see? Is it visible to others, like a certificate on my wall or a medal I can wear? Can anyone know someone is “saved” simply by what they write?

We are told we can tell righteous people by the fruits they produce (Matthew 7:16), but how can we really know their “fruit” if we only see what they post on social media? Or only hear what they say now and then?

On an apple tree you will find the occasional rotted or misshapen apple, so does that mean the tree, itself, is no good? Is every single grape in the vineyard perfectly formed and juicy? If a pear tree produces a few pears that are not tasty, should I destroy the tree?

I believe salvation is a spiritual relationship between the person and God, and the only ones who can truthfully say what the condition of that relationship is… is that person and God.

So, why is it, then, that there are people who think they know what that relationship is? I have been told, on more than one occasion, that I am not really saved because of what I have said in one of my ministry messages.

I have been told I don’t have a true relationship with Jesus because I believe the Torah is still valid. I have been told I am not really saved because I do not believe that most of the things written in the New Covenant writings are “God-breathed” divine instructions. I have been told I am not really saved because of my beliefs about certain holidays or my refusal to pronounce the Tetragrammaton.

Look…I accepted Yeshua as my Messiah many years ago, and the constant blessings in my life have confirmed that I am in good standing with him, as well as in good standing with God. I pray constantly, I fail constantly, and I ask for forgiveness constantly.

And not to brag, but for the record, I have had many people over the years confirm that I have a definite gift for teaching and understanding of God’s word, so when I get told I am not really saved, I tend to ignore it. However, I will listen, just in case, I have made a mistake. Despite praying every day to only say in this ministry what is right in God’s eyes, I can’t trust myself to always excise any personal feelings or not notice a personal peeve that might sneak its way in.

And when someone tells me I am not really saved (which, I am happy to say, rarely happens) I have to ask, “What makes them think they know?”

Are they God?

Do they have a Bat-phone connection with God where he confides in them who is in the Book of Life and who isn’t?

Can they see into my heart, as God does?

What divine power have they been given to discern the status of someone else’s personal relationship with the Almighty?

And most important of all, what makes them think they can speak for God?

Job’s friends thought they could speak for God. That didn’t work out very well for them, did it?

So here’s the message for today, from someone who may or may not be saved:
Don’t speak for God!

If you think someone is wrong, tell them why you think so with compassion and respect. Show the biblical justification for your opinion and where you believe their understanding has been misguided. But when it comes down to someone’s relationship with God, I strongly suggest you leave that between the person and God.

There are many traditional Christian teachings I passionately disagree with: I have issues with the letters Shaul wrote, about Christian denial of the validity of the “law”, about the “Once Saved, Always Saved” doctrine, and I definitely have major problems with the Replacement Theology lie. And it isn’t just Christianity- there are also many issues I have within Judaism regarding Talmudic regulations.

I have argued (nicely, for the most part) with people I like and respect about calendars, holidays, and other topics that aren’t necessarily salvation issues, but important, nonetheless.

However, no matter how heated these discussions have become, I have NEVER had the audacity to tell someone they aren’t really saved.

To those who feel they can tell someone whether or not they are saved, there is one, and only one, who can decide which of us is written in the Book of Life; and, if I may be so bold as to say, it ain’t you!

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know (saved or not), and if you like what you hear then please consider buying my books.

And remember: I always welcome your comments.

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

Where Paul Went Wrong

First off, let me state that I deeply respect Shaul of Tarsus (Paul) and what he did, all he suffered through, and his knowledge and understanding of the Word of God.

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That being said, I also think that none of the Epistles he wrote should be considered scripture or included in the Bible because although he often quotes from and refers to the Tanakh, his letters are written in order to micro-manage his congregations.

They are not missionary- they are managerial.

When he said he would go to the Gentiles from now on (Acts 18:6), he was talking to the people in that town, and only in that town. Shaul always went to the synagogues, bringing the Good News of the Messiah to the Jews first, then to the Gentiles; in other words, only after the Jews in a town rejected him did he then go to the Gentiles in that town.

He never stopped preaching to Jews. Ever.

What happened later was that his letters became a source of confusion because each one was written to a congregation that had specific problems, and Shaul dealt with each congregation differently. And when he wrote to a congregation, he “tweaked” the message about obedience to the Torah to meet their specific situation. This led to his letters being misused and misinterpreted to the point where modern-day Christianity is based almost exclusively on what he wrote instead of what God said, in the Torah.

Let’s not forget that Shaul was a Pharisee trained by Gamaliel, one of the greatest Jewish Torah scholars of all time, so, nu? … how could he have allowed this to happen? Where did he go wrong?

He tells us, himself, where he went wrong, and it’s here in 1 Corinthians 9: 19-22…

For although I am a free man, not bound to do anyone’s bidding, I have made myself a slave to all in order to win as many people as possible.  That is, with Jews, what I did was put myself in the position of a Jew, in order to win Jews. With people in subjection to a legalistic perversion of the Torah, I put myself in the position of someone under such legalism, in order to win those under this legalism, even though I myself am not in subjection to a legalistic perversion of the Torah.  With those who live outside the framework of Torah, I put myself in the position of someone outside the Torah in order to win those outside the Torah — although I myself am not outside the framework of God’s Torah but within the framework of Torah as upheld by the Messiah.  With the “weak” I became “weak,” in order to win the “weak.” With all kinds of people I have become all kinds of things, so that in all kinds of circumstances I might save at least some of them.

What Shaul is telling us is that he adjusted his message in order to meet the needs of his audience, instead of giving the exact same message to all the people. Now we know that God is never changing, and his word is never changing, but what Shaul did was to change Gods’ words in order to make them appealing to whomever he was talking to.

Add to that the fact that he talked using Jewish Logic and it becomes obvious why there is so much misunderstanding of what he wrote.

“Jewish Logic” is how Jews express their thoughts. Being Jewish, I know that a Jew will tell you everything that something isn’t before they tell you what it is. When you read Romans, you see a perfect example of what I am saying: Shaul goes through listing all the reasons that the Torah would be considered invalid, then comes back with “Heaven Forbid!” when he proposes that what he just said is true. That is why Romans has been used as a polemic against the Torah when it is, in fact, an apologetic FOR the Torah!

Shaul did what he considered the right thing to do in order to get the message about the Messiah out to as many people as possible. And, in fact, he did a great job of that. The problems came later when the letters he wrote to these different congregations, to help them manage themselves and stay on track, emphasized what each group needed to hear instead of sending the same exact message to everyone.

And that is where Shaul went wrong. Since then, his letters have been more of a stumbling block to the proper obedience to God, meaning worshiping and living the way God said we should, than almost anything else, other than (maybe) Constantine’s creation of modern-day Christianity.

Since we can’t get rid of these letters, when you read them please remember that Shaul was a Torah-observant Jewish man who was trying to do whatever he could to get both Jews and Gentiles to accept Yeshua as their Messiah. He said he wanted to get the message to as many people as possible in the hopes that some might be saved.

I think he assumed, as James did (in Acts 15:21) that all his new converts to Messiah would become more Torah observant as they grew spiritually.

Unfortunately, after Shaul’s death, the new leadership of these Gentile Believers decided they should break away from Judaism; that, however, is another story.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages to help this ministry grow, and also check out my books. And remember- I always welcome your comments.

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

Sorry to Disagree, But the Flesh is Strong

We read in the Gospels, such as in Matthew 26:40-42, that after their Passover Seder together, which is called the Last Supper, Yeshua asked some of his Talmudim to stay awake and pray with him in the garden, but each time they kept falling asleep.

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Yeshua commented that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, meaning that although they wanted to, they weren’t as strong as their desire to obey him and so they fell asleep.

I am the last person on earth to want to argue with Yeshua, but in this case, I have to say I disagree with him: the flesh isn’t weak, it is strong.

The “flesh” is our humanity, our iniquity (the innate desire to sin), and our egocentric personality. Egocentric doesn’t mean we think we are better than anyone else, it means we see ourselves as the center of the universe, not caring that much for anyone else but concentrating only our our own needs and feelings.

For example, I know some people who seem to be so nice, offering their help and offering to give things to others but after a while, I can see that they are doing this not from a legitimate desire to be of service but to generate compliments for themselves and to hear people tell them how wonderful they are. The conversations they are involved in always seem to come around back to them, what they have done, what they know, etc. This doesn’t make them “bad” people, just egocentric.

In all fairness to the Disciples who were in the garden with Yeshua, they just finished a large meal with a lot of wine. Anyone who has been to a Seder knows there are 4 glasses of wine each person drinks during the meal; not only that but between reading the Hagaddah and eating in the middle of the narrative, these meals can take a few hours. So, naturally, full of lamb and wine, staying awake while sitting in a dark garden would be a real challenge to anyone.

With their flesh just dying to sleep, even though their spirit desired to pray along with Yeshua, their flesh was stronger.

If the flesh was truly weak, then we would be able to overcome it, wouldn’t we? Sin would be an easy thing to control and do away with, yet the facts of life show us, conclusively, that this is NOT the case. The flesh, the Yetzer Hara (evil inclination), the desire to do that which is pleasurable and easy is obviously stronger; otherwise, we wouldn’t really need the Messiah, would we? No, if the flesh was weak, we would be able to overcome our sinful desires and allow the Ruach (spirit) to control what we do and say.

But, as I have already pointed out, that isn’t how it is in real life. Why do you think Yeshua says the road less travelled and the narrow gate is the pathway to salvation?

So, all I am saying is it seems to me that the flesh is not really weak, but strong enough that we find great difficulty in overcoming it.

Again, far be it for me to argue with the Messiah, but in this case, I would change that statement in Matthew to read “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is strong and difficult for people to overcome.” Then I might follow that up with a statement Yeshua made earlier to his Talmudim (Matthew 19:26), where he says: “…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

So if you want your spirit to be stronger than your flesh, you need to strengthen it with spiritual exercise. The way to do that is to pray, read the Bible, and obey the instructions God gave us in the Torah, which is the ONLY place where God tells us how he wants us to act.

And like any good exercise program, you must do this on a regular basis.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages, and I always welcome your comments.

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

Faith Has To Be A Little Stubborn

Hebrews 11:1 says the following:

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

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I was having a discussion with someone yesterday about faith. He asked questions about what is in the Bible and I would answer that this is what God told us. He kept pushing his point, “How do you know that?” My answer was that this is what we are told in the Bible, to which he replied, “The Bible was written by people, wasn’t it?”

This was not an argument, mind you, but a respectful exchange of Q & A, with him offering up the “Q” and me supplying the “A”. I know I didn’t change his mind, at all, which is fine since it isn’t my place to tell anyone what they should choose to believe in.

And that is the operative word: choose. Faith is not something that we can prove because, as we are told, it is something we choose to accept as truth. Faith is not just a feeling, it is a choice; and, because it is unproven, we need to be able to hold onto our faith in the face of arguments and persecution.

That is why faith has to be stubborn. Stubbornness is not changing your mind easily, or (in most cases) not ever changing it, and to maintain our faith we need to have that stubborn attitude that says, “I don’t care what you say, I believe what I believe.”

The problem is what about when we see someone whose faith is misguided? Like the many Jews and Gentiles who are being led into damnation by their leaders, who are repeating what they were told, from all the way back to the end of the First Century when Christianity separated itself from Judaism and the “mainstream” Jews refused to accept Yeshua as their Messiah.

How many “faithful” Roman Catholics do you know who bow down to statues (the Bible calls them graven images) and pray to them? How can someone maintain their choice to do this when the Bible clearly says not to? Even Yeshua, himself, said he was the only way to God (John 14:6) so why pray to saints to intercede with Yeshua?

I mean, from a strictly Jewish viewpoint, why buy retail when you can get it wholesale? In other words, why ask some saint to ask Yeshua to ask God, when you can go straight to God by simply dropping Yeshua’s name?

I am not necessarily picking on the RC’s, although they do make it really easy to do so, but on Christianity, in general. And I’m not “picking on them” as much as trying to show the incorrect interpretation and sinful (meaning anti-Biblical) teachings that have misdirected faithful people into performing lawlessness.

Not that my Jewish brothers and sisters who still reject Yeshua are any better off. They are the ones who should be the saddest because the Torah says we have no forgiveness unless we sacrifice where God has placed his name, which was the temple in Jerusalem, which doesn’t exist anymore!

Faith is what we choose to have. Even though we can’t prove what we believe in, we do have a foundation for our faith, which is (or, at least, should be) the Bible. First, we choose to believe there is a God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; next, we choose to believe what we read in the Bible is accurate and true. Finally, we choose to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah he promised to send.

We choose to believe that what we read in the Bible is factual. We can’t ever prove it because “proof” is the antithesis of faith, and it is only through faith that we can be saved.

In other words, we have to believe in God because we choose to, and not for any other reason. Not because we are told we have to (which is what both Judaism and Christianity force their kids to do) and not because we are promised riches or blessings if we do, but because we choose to.

And it doesn’t matter why we chose to, so long as once we make our choice, we stick by it through hell and high water.

(No, I am not going to tell the joke about the town being flooded and the Rabbi with the rowboat, the truck, and the helicopter.)

The idea that faith is nothing more than a choice is very hard for worldly people to understand. The world says, “Prove it!” and God says, “Believe it.” These are in complete opposition to each other, and I have found that those who ask for proof are generally unsure of everything.

It is sad, but in my experience, faithless people are afraid of everything, and can only see the worst case scenarios. They trust no one, especially themselves, and have a very sad future since they figure this life is all there is.

When you have nothing to look forward to except this life, then you try to fill this life with as much “fun” as you can, which usually translates into sinfulness. It is a sad paradox that the ones who do not believe in an afterlife are guaranteeing theirs to be terrible.

I have a very stubborn faith, but I still am open to hearing other people tell me about what they believe the Bible says. And when I hear someone tell me what I know to be worldly teaching, it only strengthens my faith in what I believe- no, in what I KNOW– to be the way God says it should be.

I rarely read extra-biblical books, although I do now and then (for instance, the ones I have written I can highly recommend to you) because the Bible is all I really need to know. I won’t read the Quran or the Apocrypha’s or the Books of Jasper, Judas, etc. because they are not scripture. I also don’t read or study the Talmud or the Septuagint, although I will check out things that are in there as subject matter for my messages.

Why won’t I read those? Simply because they do not have anything I need- all I need is the Bible. And I stubbornly, or should I say faithfully, reject anything else.

Look, faith is stubborn and needs to be stubborn in order to be maintained. I suggest you don’t keep an “open mind”, but that you ensure your faithfulness has a strong foundation from the Bible. And not from what people tell you is in the Bible or what your religious leaders tell you the Bible says, but what you read in there yourself.

In Matthew 15:14, Yeshua said when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into a hole, so don’t be led by the blind: chose your own path and stick to it no matter what. The world has nothing of value for you and the spiritual people you meet may only tend to confuse you, so choose what you will believe and hold onto it as if your very soul depends on it… because it does!

Thank you for being here. Please subscribe here and on my YouTube channel, as well, and share these messages with everyone you know. And remember: I always welcome your comments.

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

How’d We Get to This?

In the beginning, there was God. Then he created the Earth and placed mankind in charge of it, and mankind screwed everything up to the point where God had to send the Flood. After the Flood, God chose a man, Abraham, to become the progenitor of a people God would make his own special people.

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Later on, God grew Abraham’s descendants from a family to a nation. Then, in order to train his chosen people how to become a nation of priests to the world (Ex. 19:6), he gave them instructions to teach them how to worship him and how to treat each other. This was the Torah, which if someone could live their lives in total and perfect accordance with all the 613 different “laws” that God gave, they would be righteous in God’s eyes.

But, as Shakespeare would say, “There’s the rub”: no one can live their life in perfect accordance with the Torah. For us sinful humans, it just ain’t gonna happen.

So, in order to ensure that God’s plan for his creation to be with him throughout eternity succeeds, he provided for us that which we could not provide for ourselves: a Savior, the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) who became the substitutionary sin sacrifice by voluntarily giving his physical life so that we could attain spiritual salvation.

Our part in this is to accept him as our Messiah and try to live as God said we should.

Yeshua was, and still is, the Messiah God promised to send, which he promised as far back as when he was talking to Abraham. When Yeshua sacrificed his life, he didn’t do away with the sacrificial system, he just substituted himself for the need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem. We still need to accept that we sin, repent in our hearts and ask forgiveness from God for each and every sin we commit; it is thanks to Yeshua that we don’t have to bring a sacrifice to the temple because as the Messiah, God’s savior to mankind, is it possible through Yeshua’s one-time sacrifice that everyone’s sins can be forgiven each time they ask for forgiveness.

Let’s review… God gave the Torah so that we could know what he wants from us, and because we always failed to meet all those requirements, God sent the Messiah to provide us the chance to be saved from ourselves.

Guess what happened next? After all that God did for us, someone threw a monkey wrench into the engine, and that was the Enemy; HaSatan, that old snake. When he realized that he lost the battle for people’s souls, he confused people about Yeshua’s message. The way he did that was as more and more Gentiles came to know God’s Grace through the Messiah, he created confusion and misinterpretation within the newly formed congregations of Gentiles who didn’t understand the Torah.

He sent agents of distraction into these neophytes to Judaism to confuse them so much that they ended up rejecting the very principles of salvation that Yeshua taught, which were from the Torah. The end product of this demonic counter-attack is what we see today: so many different Christian religions and sects that reject almost all of God’s commandments.

Yeshua talked against the man-made traditions of the Pharisees that were given precedence over God’s commandments, and yet Christianity is composed of nothing BUT man-made traditions, holidays, rites, rituals, and laws. They have rejected God’s commandments regarding food (Leviticus 11); they reject all 7 festivals that God said we must observe (Leviticus 23), which does include the Sabbath because they changed the date; they bury their dead under the very altar of God; they fill their houses of worship with statues and pictures of human beings before whom they prostrate themselves and pray to; they have rebranded the Torah observant Jewish Messiah into some Blue-eyed, blonde-haired Aryian who created his own religion which rejects the Torah and hates Jews, and they teach and do many other things that the Torah tells us are an abomination to the Lord, God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the father of the Messiah!

Another example is that today there are many Christian churches that not only condone homosexuality, but support it: some are even anointing as pastors and ministers people who are openly gay.

Now, this is not a homophobic thing with me, so any gay person reading this, please pull in your reins: all I am stating is that the Torah clearly says homosexuality is a sin and as such, no church or synagogue that professes to worship and obey God should be accepting of homosexuality. That’s all. Just like they shouldn’t accept as leaders adulterers, murderers, or anyone else who openly rejects God’s commands and rules.

Let’s get back on topic: don’t think I am excluding the Jews because I am Jewish- far be it for me to do that! When we place more emphasis and importance on Talmudic regulations than on God’s commandments, that is just as bad as rejecting God’s commands. For instance, the regulations within Judaism against eating meat and dairy together; did you know that the Ashkenazi Jews have different regulations than the Sephardic Jews about this? And why? Because one group likes milk with their after-dinner drink and another doesn’t, so they have different times for how long you have to wait after eating meat before you can have dairy. The entirety of Halacha is based on the idea of “putting fences around the law” to prevent us from accidentally trespassing the law, which in and of itself isn’t such a bad idea, but it has become so cumbersome that now the fences are more important than what they surround!

God chose a people to bring his instructions to the world, and he blessed the world through those people, the greatest blessing of all was to have his Messiah come from those people to bring the salvation that God had for them to everyone.

The Enemy of God stepped in and messed things up, and for the most part, people have gone along with the “easy salvation” that the Enemy created and those poor, misguided and delusional souls will be sorely surprised when they come before God.

I suggest you make sure you know what God wants from you, based on what he says, because despite what anyone tells you, it is what he says that counts.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages, subscribe to this ministry (I never ask for money, but if you want to buy my books that is fine with me), and I always welcome your comments.

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

God Empowers; He Doesn’t Enable.

We are to ask God for whatever we need, and never stop praying. When we ask of God, invoking the name of the Messiah, his son, Yeshua, we will receive that which we ask for.

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This is a promise we have been given by Yeshua, himself, and it is trustworthy, so why is it that not everything we ask for is received?

Did Yeshua lie? Does God reject prayers in his son’s name haphazardly?

Of course not!

Often we pray for things we don’t really need but we want, stemming from worldly desire and not from wanting to better serve God. In other words, pray all you want to to win the lottery or for a new car because you’re bored with the one you have, but those aren’t the types of prayers God will honor.

Well, probably not: truthfully, I can’t speak for God, but I believe the types of prayers Yeshua was talking about are those in which we can do more for God’s work in the world. If you pray for money so that you can continue to run a ministry, that is more likely to be answered than asking for money so you can get a new lawnmower.

And any righteous prayer you make is heard, but God will not always do all you ask. More often than not, at least in my personal experience, God expects you to make an effort to achieve that which you are praying about.

If you are suffering from some disease and pray for healing, God will hear you but I think he will expect you to continue to take your medicine, listen to the doctors, and work towards getting better.

If you are having financial difficulties and need to find a better job, pray to God for help, but don’t expect to get a phone call out of the blue offering you a job. You need to write that updated resume and get it out there so that God can then make sure the right people see it.

Our God is a God of action, not a God of sitting around waiting for it to happen.

Abraham is a great example of what I am talking about: maybe you haven’t thought about it, but Abraham was in his late 90s and Sarah in her early 90s when God said he would have a son through Sarah. Abraham believed him, so what do you think he must have done that night, and for a number of nights after that? Uh-huh, that’s right, even though they were both way past the age for doing that. Abraham knew that God would empower him but not do it all for him.

When God told the Prophets to take his word to the people, except for Jonah (at first), they immediately told the people what God told them to say, despite the “flak” they took for speaking it, especially Jeremiah!

In my own life, if I may share this with you, I asked God repeatedly to help me see people as he sees them and not the way TV and marketing companies have taught me to see people, which is as sexually attractive things. Let’s face it: we are indoctrinated by TV and the media to identify people by their sexual attractiveness or by some other physical attribute. I mean, how many ugly people do you see on the TV or in magazines drinking Pepsi or driving a new model car?

Back to the point: I asked God, and still do, to simply excise this part of my brain and you know what he told me? He said it doesn’t work that way: I have to take charge of myself and try to control what I do, remembering what it is that he wants from me. But he hasn’t left me alone: he does help me.

For instance, if I look at a cute woman jogging and think she is attractive, even though it isn’t lustful, just seeing her as a sexual entity instead of as a person is what I have asked God to help me stop doing, or when I have arguments in my head that I have asked him to help me overcome (I have posted in the past about how wrong it is to rehearse our anger), I find that something happens to take my mind off those thoughts. Most of the time this happens when I am driving somewhere, and as I start to do what is wrong, all of a sudden the car ahead of me will hit the brakes for no observable reason, shocking me back into reality. Or I will bite my tongue or something unusual will take my mind away from what I am doing.

It took me a while to realize that these weren’t coincidences, they were God answering my prayer by empowering me to overcome that which I asked him to take away from me. You see, by having things take my mind off what I am thinking, he is taking me off the wrong path and allowing me to get back onto the right path. It’s like we are working together, and you know what? It’s kind of cool being able to team up with God.

So here is the point: pray for what you need and not just for what you want, pray for that which helps you to do more for God, and then get off your tuchas and do what needs to be done, as if you have ready been answered.

Now, that doesn’t mean pray for a new job then go quit- no, that isn’t smart. And don’t pray for something in order to test God- he doesn’t really like it when we do that, and that prayer probably won’t be answered.

Pray to God, ask for what you believe you need to be a better and more obedient servant to God, and then trust in God to answer. The answer may not come right away, and the answer may not be what you expect or ask for, exactly, but it will be for what you need. And the answer may also be…No! No, not never, or no, not just yet, but that doesn’t mean your prayer isn’t going to have results. Maybe God is saying “No” because he needs you to reevaluate what you are asking about.

There is no easy answer to why prayers are answered sometimes and why they aren’t other times, but the idea is to keep praying and keep asking, just as in the parable Yeshua told about the woman asking the unfair judge for justice. She became such a nudge that the judge finally gave her justice just to get her off his back.

God already wants to do good things for you and he knows what is best for you; he will answer your prayers but he won’t do it all for you because he empowers us but he won’t enable us.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages and I always welcome your comments.

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

Does the Real Messiah Reject God?

I’ll bet you are thinking, “Now, what kind of a stupid question is that? How can the Messiah, the son of God, the servant of God, the savior of the world, possibly reject God?”

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Frankly, I don’t see how that is possible, but, then again, Christianity has been teaching that for millennia.

“What do you mean, Steve? When did Christianity teach that the Messiah rejected God?”

When it told people that the Torah is no longer valid or necessary for salvation.

“But, wait a minute…isn’t legalism wrong? Isn’t it true that we are saved by faith? “

Yes, we are saved by faith, but only the right kind of faith.


Faith is, in its basic form, the result of a choice we each make to believe in something. When it comes to Yeshua (Jesus) and God, Christianity pretty much says believe that God exists and that Jesus is the Messiah and you can be saved. But that isn’t the kind of faith that will save you, because, even as we are told in the Bible, Satan and every demon in hell believes that God exists and that Jesus is his Messiah. Not only are they not saved, but they have already been thrown out of heaven and doomed to eternal damnation.

So what good is their faithful belief in God and Yeshua?

And as for Torah observance, that isn’t going to do you any good, either, not if you depend on performance being able to save you. No one can be in total accordance with the Torah, ever. That is why we need a Messiah, DUH!

And if you say you have faithful obedience to the Torah, if your faith is not heartfelt and internal, such as with David, then your obedience will also be useless. Saul sacrificed to God but for the wrong reasons and it cost him his kingship, and through the Prophets, God told us, more than once, that he doesn’t care about our going through the motions- he wants us to be obedient because we want to be obedient to demonstrate our love and respect for him.

So how does this come together to be the right kind of faith?

First, we must understand that belief in God and Yeshua as the Messiah is not the guarantee of salvation, it is just the beginning of being saved.

Second, we have to understand the difference between legalism and Torah observance: legalism is the belief in performance-based salvation, meaning that salvation comes only through the performance of everything that is written in the Torah. Torah observance can be faith-based salvation when that observance is the result of wanting to obey the Torah as the means of showing God we respect and trust him, and because when you love someone you want to do what pleases them.

So, we know legalism is useless, faith has to be more than accepting the existence of God and Messiah, and that Torah observance is not wrong so long as it is based on wanting to please God.

And now, we learn from James the final part of this lesson about correct faith (James 2:14-17):

What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no actions to prove it? Is such “faith” able to save him?  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, and someone says to him, “Shalom! Keep warm and eat hearty!” without giving him what he needs, what good does it do? Thus, faith by itself, unaccompanied by actions, is dead.

The “actions” James talks about are what we call mitzvot, which means both “laws” and “good deeds”, and what deeds are better than those that God tells us to perform, which (by the way) are also laws?

So, let’s make certain we are all on the same page: legalism is performance-based salvation and useless while faith-based salvation (which is how we are saved) must be more than just accepting the truth that God is God and Yeshua is the Messiah. And, the way we demonstrate this proper faith is through doing good works, which is the same as obeying what is in the Torah.

Yeshua the Messiah clearly did many good works, and he also told us that he only does and says what his father in heaven tells him to do and say, meaning that he obeyed everything in the Torah.

So, back to the original question: does the real Messiah reject God?

Of course not, and this is how we know Yeshua is the real Messiah, or better yet, how we can know who is NOT the real Messiah.

Now, here comes the kicker, Folks: the “Jesus” that Christianity presents as the Messiah, the one who says love is all you need and who teaches that the Torah is no longer necessary, is NOT THE REAL MESSIAH!

I know that because when you teach to reject the Torah, you are teaching to reject God. And this wrongful teaching, which has been taught throughout the millennia, telling people that ANY Torah observance is legalism and thereby useless to them, is how this false Messiah has gotten people to sin while thinking they are actually being saved.

The Torah has the only direct-from-God instructions on how to worship him and treat each other, and he tells us that is all we need to know. It defines sin and tells us the rewards we receive for obedience and the consequences of disobedience (Deuteronomy 28).

Yeshua lived in perfect accordance with the Torah because he was the only one who could, and because of his perfect obedience he was able to receive salvation, and as such, become the sin sacrifice for everyone. His Torah observance was not from trying to earn salvation, but from being trustfully and lovingly obedient to his father.

That is the type of Torah observance I try to maintain, and constantly fail to do. Thank God for Yeshua! Without him, none of us would have any chance of being saved from ourselves. Being obedient to God is what God requires of us: not just for salvation but also to receive blessings, which we CAN earn!

Here is all you need to know to be saved: salvation must be based on faith, and that faith must be the correct kind of faith, the one that results in wanting to do good works, which is (here we are again!) those things that God tells us to do in the Torah.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone, and check out my website and the books I have written.

And please remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for this week- I have new sliding glass doors being installed all day tomorrow so I will be skipping my usual Friday Torah parashah message.

Until next week, then…l’hitraot, Baruch HaShem and an early Shabbat Shalom!

Oy Vey!! I almost forgot to say Chag Sameach because tomorrow is Purim! I am taking my first try at making hamantashen today, so wish me luck!


Different Religion: Same Mistakes

I have always been so disappointed when I think about all the different Judeo-Christian religious doctrines.

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Don’t we have only one God, one God who is the same today, as he was yesterday, and will never change throughout eternity?

Didn’t this one God give us just one set of rules and send only one Messiah?

You say “Yes”? Then why are there scores of different religions, each one professing to worship this one unchanging God, but they all have different ways to do that, with different rites, ceremonies, holidays, and traditions?

I am Jewish, born and raised, and what is even cooler is that I recently found out that I have the genetic marker of the Levite! But I was raised Reform, and when I was a child I recall some Orthodox Jew calling me a “Goy.”

The Hebrew word “Goyim” means “nations”, as in everyone else except the Jewish people, and the term “Goy” has come to be a derogatory expletive within Judaism for any Gentile.

And when I was a child, my Catholic friends, well…they accused me of killing God.

Judaism isn’t really, in my opinion, a religion as much as it is a lifestyle. God gave us, through Moses, instructions on how to worship him and how to treat each other, and God also gave us a mandate, which is to be a nation of priests to the world (Genesis 19:6), which means that we are to teach everyone else how to live in accordance with God’s instructions. And despite having these instructions written down, we failed to comply with them, over and over.

Let’s review just some of the mistakes that we Jews made since receiving the Torah:

  • We created an idol (the Golden Calf);
  • We failed to obey the Sabbath rule regarding resting of the land (which is why we had to spend 70 years in Babylon);
  • We rejected God’s authority through his prophets and demanded a king;
  • Our rabbis have added many difficult traditions to the relatively simple rules God gave us in the Torah by creating Halacha (the Walk) in the Talmud; and
  • We have rejected Yeshua as the Messiah (this was a BIG mistake!)

These are just a few of the main ones. So, if you were creating your own religion from Judaism (since that was the original and only religion that worshiped Adonai, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), wouldn’t you avoid all those mistakes, mistakes which the Tanakh had identified and which you could see, over the centuries before Messiah came, resulted in disaster and destruction for the Jews?

Don’t you think that someone creating their own religion would do everything they could not to make those same boo-boos?

Apparently not.

Let’s look at Christianity (this includes all forms of it):

  • They created an idol: just walk into any church and see a graven image on a cross, or statues of saints all over that people bow and pray to;
  • They created holidays that God never gave us, which by itself may not be so bad, but they totally ignore the ones God commanded us to observe;
  • They not only changed the day we observe the Sabbath, but they totally changed the rules about how to observe it;
  • They reject most of God’s instructions which he gave in the Torah;
  • They created their own king and call him the Pope; and
  • They rebranded the Messiah as an ex-Jew who negated his father’s laws and created his own religion, in which he is God!

WOW! I mean, really? Just make up whatever rules you want to, ignore the ones you don’t like, and keep only what you don’t mind doing. Label some commandments ceremonial and therefore, unimportant, even though God told us to do them! Wouldn’t that imply it is important to him?

And, in my opinion, what is worse of all is that traditional Christianity ignores most of what truly came directly from God (the Torah and the books of the Prophets) and teaches almost exclusively a misinterpretation of the letters from a man who wasn’t receiving what he wrote from God, but was micro-managing congregations of Gentiles learning to be Jewish.

That’s right- I am talking about the Epistles of Paul. Everything he wrote was to congregations of Gentiles that he formed, who were learning how to live a “Jewish” lifestyle instead of the pagan lifestyle they had lived, previously. What he wrote was not a direct commandment from God, like what Moses and the prophets received, but letters to micro-manage the internal, interpersonal problems that his congregations were facing.

Paul never taught to ignore the Torah: he was teaching how to obey it, but little-by-little, line-by-line, precept-by-precept.

If that sounds vaguely familiar, you can find it in Isaiah 28:10 when he was chiding the Israelites about how they were ignoring and disobeying God and how they had to learn like children.

As we can now see, the Christian religions, as well as within the different sects of Judaism (we’re still making mistakes!), have all made their own sets of rules, ceremonies, rites, and holidays that are different from what God commanded us to do. So, nu? What do we do now?

The obvious answer is to get back on the program. But that will never happen, I am sorry to say, simply because we have been doing this for so long that the people are comfortable with what they have learned and refuse to change. Humans, in general, hate change; if you don’t believe that, at your workplace try to institute a different procedure- any procedure- and see how willing people are to do it.

No, these tares have already been growing with the wheat for so long that there’s nothing left to do now but wait for the harvest (Matthew 13).

The good news is that until the harvest comes, those tares have a chance to become wheat!

This is what I believe (in a nutshell): the Torah is still valid, Yeshua is the Messiah God promised and through our repentance and by means of Yeshua’s sacrifice, we can be forgiven of our sins.

I am not preaching performance-based salvation (you might know it as “legalism”) but faith-based salvation, remembering that in James 2:14 we are told faith without works (meaning obedience to the Torah) is dead. No one can be sinless, but we all can sin less by not trusting only in our religious leaders but verifying what they tell us by reading the Bible and asking the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide us in our understanding of what God wants from us.

God has wonderful blessings for us, but we won’t get them by making up our own rules, so STOP making the same mistakes we have all, always made and get with the program GOD laid out for you.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry grow, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

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