Something Else Jews and Christians Have In Common

I have written about Jews and Christians many times, almost always, but only now and then specifying things that we have in common. I usually spend most of my time pointing out all the things we do NOT have in common, and why it shouldn’t be that way.

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But today I want to point out something we have in common, something other than the obvious things, such as we both believe in God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

We both, for the most part, believe in the existence of Yeshua (Jesus), although where Christianity has accepted him as the Messiah God promised to send, mainstream Judaism has rejected him as such.

Now, here is the one thing that both Jews and Christians have in common, which is not a good thing:

Both Jews and Christians say that if you want to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, you can’t be Jewish anymore.

Now isn’t that amazing? And totally disappointing.

You see, most Christians have been taught that following the instructions in the Torah, which are often referred to as the Mosaic law, is something that Jews are required to do because they are still subject to the Torah, and that is because they have rejected Jesus. But Christians, because they accept Jesus, are under Grace and not under the law, which is what Paul said in his letter to the Romans .

What Paul was talking about was the teaching of the Pharisees, which was a performance-based salvation; in other words, the Jews were being taught that they had to perform righteously in order to be “saved.” Paul constantly reminded them that it isn’t performance, but faith which allows us to be seen as righteous, preaching a faith-based salvation.

But here’s the kicker: faith doesn’t mean disobedience. Paul often states this, saying that Grace trumps sin, but it isn’t a license to sin. And James also states that faith without works is dead, meaning faith encourages and motivates us to obey.

So, nu? Obey what? There are no commandments issued by God anywhere in the New Covenant writings. All of God’s instructions are in the Torah.

Yeshua said if we love him we will obey his commandments, so what are they? In truth, Yeshua gave no commandments, other than to love one another, because that is how people will know we are his talmudim (John 13:34); but, in reality, that wasn’t new: Yeshua was rephrasing Leviticus 19:18, which says love your neighbor as yourself.

So what Christianity has taught is lawlessness. Shaul (Paul) teaches in his letter to the Romans that the Torah created sin by identifying what is right and what is wrong. So, if you don’t have to obey the Torah, then you are by definition, sinning. And when we add to this another Christian teaching called “Once Saved, Always Saved”, not only are you sinning but you don’t even have to repent!

What about the Jewish side of this? Do they agree that when a Jew accepts Jesus they are free from obedience to the Torah? Not really: what Jews will tell you is that any Jew who accepts Yeshua as their Messiah is now a Christian! According to mainstream Judaism, no Jew who believes Yeshua is the Messiah is Jewish anymore. It doesn’t matter if they obey the Torah, go to shul on Shabbat, observe the Moedim of God, or do any other “Jewish” thing: as far as Jews are concerned, if you believe in Jesus you aren’t a Jew anymore.

You can be born Jewish and convert to any other non-Christian religion, and you will still be considered a Jew, just a Jew who is a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Hindu, but if you accept Jesus you aren’t a Jew.

How meshuggah is that?

The sad part of this, which is not just sad but destroys people’s chances of truly being saved, is that both sides are absolutely, 1000% WRONG!

Anyone who believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah God promised to send is, by definition, grafted into the Chosen people of God (Romans 11), who are, have been, and always will be…the Jews. No Christian who says he or she believes in Jesus is absolved of obedience to God, for God, himself, has said over and over throughout the Bible that anyone who joins with the Jewish people is to receive the same treatment under the law as the native-born. That means to be protected by it, as well as obligated to obey it.

As for the Jews who accept Yeshua, they are just as obligated to obey God now as they ever were, because accepting Yeshua as their Messiah completes them as a Jewish person: not only do they have God, and his Torah, but the Messiah, as well.

Yeshua said in Matthew 5:17 that he did not come to change the law and that nothing in the Torah will change until all things have come to pass. That means A-L-L things: Yeshua’s return, the Tribulation, the new heaven and earth, the temple lowered from heaven, the dead in Messiah risen, Satan and his demons in the lake of fire, etc., etc., etc.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any of these things here now.

Both sides agree believing in Yeshua as the Messiah means you can’t be a Jew anymore, and, according to what God, Yeshua, and even that little Jewish Pharisee tent-maker from Tarsus all say, both sides couldn’t be more wrong.

In fact, the most Jewish thing any Jew can do is to accept Yeshua as their Messiah, and Christians shouldn’t do as the “Church” teaches, but as Yeshua actually did, which was to live a Torah-observant life, motivated to obey Torah by his faith in, and love for, the Lord God.

It is clear from the Bible that to obey God’s instructions (which are in the Torah) is to accept him, and to refuse to do as God says is to reject him- there is no middle ground here. In the Gospels, Yeshua said he does and says only what God tells him to do and say, so Yeshua obeyed God by living in perfect accordance with the Torah; otherwise, he would not have been an acceptable sacrifice, So, nu! To live as Yeshua lived, to follow in his footsteps, to live up to the WWJD on those bracelets people wear, is to obey God’s instructions in the Torah.

And we don’t obey Torah because we want to attain salvation by works, but because of our faithful loving obedience to our father in heaven, who only wants what is best for us. Obedience to the Torah is not how we are saved, but faith in God and Yeshua is meaningful and real only if you do as they say.

Not as Paul says, or as your Priest says, or as your Minister says, or as your Rabbi quoting from the Talmud says, but as God says.

Jews and Christians have to realize that accepting Yeshua as your Messiah doesn’t mean you are free from Torah, or that you are not Jewish, but that you are grafted onto the Tree of Life that God provided, and that tree’s roots are the Torah.

Thank you for being here and please LIKE, share and subscribe here and on my YouTube channel, as well. And remember that I always welcome your comments.

If you aren’t aware of it, I also have a Facebook discussion group called “Just God’s Word” (the avatar is a picture of the Torah), so please check that out and join in.

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

A Story of Undying Hatred

To overcome hatred we need to understand where it comes from.

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Many years ago, when I was working as IT Support for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, through a Jewish Community Center that was my account I was connected with (what we used to call) an Old Folks Home whose Chaplain was looking for someone to lead Friday Shabbat services. All the Rabbis she talked to were unavailable on Friday because they had their own congregations to tend to that night.

I met with the Chaplain and told her I was Messianic but never proselytize anyone and am happy to lead a totally “Jewish” service. I had put together a small Siddur (Jewish prayer book) and told her my plans for a simple, 30 minute or less service, and after she reviewed it she was OK with me leading the services. We had about 12-15 people show up each week, most of whom were Jewish but there were a few Gentiles, as well. The Chaplain made sure there was a loaf of Challah bread and grape juice for the Kiddush, which we did at the end.

This went on for about a year or so; she even asked me to put together a special High Holy Day service for those who couldn’t make it into the room where we did the Friday service, so I went to different parts of the building to do those services.

Everyone loved the service.

Then, one day, I was told to talk with the Chaplain and she said there was a woman who complained that I shouldn’t lead any Jewish service because I believed in Jesus and Jesus has nothing to do with anything Jewish. I thought she must be an Orthodox Jew, but lo and behold! She was raised Orthodox but many years earlier had converted to Quakerism! After talking with her and finding out she never even attended a service, we invited her to attend, which she did, and even after that, she insisted I be stopped.

I don’t what power she held over everyone else, but, unfortunately, the Chaplain told me that management wanted to stop for a while until things settled down.

Nothing ever settled down and because of this one, hateful woman, as well as (I believe) the cowardice of management and the Chaplain (who I liked and respected), the services stopped. And what is even worse, or just harder to believe, is that someone who completely rejected Judaism and converted to a Christian religion, decades later is still harboring the hatred Jews have for Jesus.

And where does that hatred come from? Well, maybe from the Crusades, where in the name of Jesus thousands upon thousands of Jews were slaughtered if they didn’t convert? Or maybe later, from the Inquisition, where thousands were tortured and killed if they didn’t convert, as well as every Jew in Spain being expelled from the country?

Or maybe from the Holocaust? You may be thinking that the Nazi’s had nothing to do with Christianity, which is true, but consider these two things: to a Jew, anyone not Jewish is a Gentile, ie., same as a Christian, and the belt buckle of the Nazi uniform had engraved on it these words: Gott mit uns (God is with us.)

Not only this, but the general attitude Christianity has had for Jews since the 2nd Century is that we killed God, we rejected the Messiah (their Messiah is more like how it feels to a Jew), and there has been an ongoing anti-Semitic,” we’re better than you” attitude that Gentiles have had towards Jews for millennia, mostly caused by the misinterpretations of the letters from Paul, who warned Gentiles against feeling this way (Romans 11.)

So, nu? This all makes sense now, why Jews have such an animosity against Christians that a woman raised Jewish, who rejected Judaism and converted to Quakerism so must, herself, accept Jesus as the Messiah, STILL hates the idea that anything having anything to do with Jesus is anathema to anything Jewish.

Now that I have gone through this, let me say, unequivocally, that this hatred is wrong because even with all that has happened, the past should not restrict us but be the motivation to help us move forward.

The past of that woman was fueling her current hatred, which was tangible, and instead of helping others find spiritual growth, restricted their connection to God. I really think she had to have been demonically influenced, since what she did, in her own mind being totally justified and believing she was doing right, was in fact destroying the communion between God’s people with him.

There is animosity on both sides. Jews have been taught Christians want only to convert them to deny “our” God and worship a different God named Jesus Christ, and Christians have been taught that the Jews have “missed the boat” and were wrong to reject Jesus, so now God has rejected them; worse than that, many believe that now only the “Born Again” Christians are the true Chosen people (which is called Replacement Theology.) As such, Christianity has “looked down” on Judaism as a second-class religion, and Jews see Christianity as a “holier than thou” religion.

There are two things Jews and Christians have in common: one is their hatred for each other, and the other is that both say if you believe in Jesus you can’t be Jewish anymore.

This is what we have to overcome. It ain’t gonna be easy, and I believe it won’t happen until the Messiah returns, shows absolutely who he really is, and establishes his kingdom on Earth. That is when both Christians and Jews will know, absolutely, what God wants from us.

And if you ask me, it won’t be from the Talmud or from the Epistles, but from the Torah.

So the message today is simply this: forget what you have been told about Jews and Christians, read the Bible (the WHOLE Bible) and make your own decision.

The only thing that will ever defeat ignorance is knowledge, and if you let the past rule your future, you won’t have one.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe here on the website in the right-hand margin, and on my YouTube channel, as well (use the link above.) Please share these messages with everyone you know, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

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!

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!

The First and the Last- What Else Could it Mean?

The Alpha and the Omega, the Alef and the Tav, the First and the Last- all of these descriptions are made by God, the Father, about himself from Isaiah all the way through to Revelation.

But Yeshua, the son of God and the Messiah, also says that he is the First and the Last, so is he saying he is God, too? Or could he mean something else?

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When God refers to himself in this way, he is announcing his ultimate authority and eternal nature. He is the first, meaning that he created everything, and he is the last, meaning that when he is done judging the earth, there will be nothing afterward.

God is the only one, true God and there is no other besides him, which is how he declares himself when he states he is the first and the last. Unique, eternal, creator and finisher of everything there has been, is now, and ever will be.

But what does Yeshua mean when he says he is the first and the last?

Well, let’s look at these statements using the proper context.

In Isaiah 44 God is telling Israel, through Isaiah, that there are no other gods and their sins, which are from idol worship, will be forgiven them and they should look forward to that. But, in the meantime, God is declaring that he has been around forever, he knows all that will happen, and who else can do that?
In essence, he is declaring (as I have already said) that he is unique in all of creation- there is one, and only one, God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Now, Yeshua also declared that he is the beginning and the end, and he does so only in Revelation 22:12-13. Here is the only place where the context of the paragraph shows it is Yeshua saying he is the A and the Z, and he says so not in accordance with creation but with the forgiving of sins. He states he is the root of David, the Morning Star, and he will come soon with his rewards to give to each person according to what he has done. His description of himself is that of the Messiah, not of God.

Yeshua is not identifying himself as God but as the Messiah- the son of David, the Morning Star, and the one who will allow those who have accepted him to drink from the water of life.

Now, I don’t want this message to devolve into an argument about Trinity vs. Unity, PLEASE! That is not the point here. The traditional Christian thought is that where God, the Father is clearly talking about how he is the A and the Z, those statements are accredited to Jesus by those who believe he and God are the same entity. Fine, I don’t agree but whether or not this is true, it isn’t my point here.

My point is that when God, the Father, says he is the A and the Z he is saying he is the only God. When Yeshua refers to himself as the A and the Z, he is saying that he is the only Messiah. Both statements are absolutes, and each refers to a different issue: God is the A and Z of Creation and Yeshua is the A and Z of Forgiveness.

After the Temple was destroyed, there was no way for Jews to sacrifice and, therefore, no way to be cleansed of their sin, but with Yeshua, we were able to be cleansed because he replaced the need to bring an animal to the Temple, as Torah demanded. That is why he says he is the beginning (of forgiveness after the temple was destroyed), and because with him there is no need to sacrifice anymore, he is also the end (of forgiveness.)

There is only one God, and there is only one Messiah, and each one is unique: God as the eternal authority and power, and Yeshua as the only means of salvation.

Remember, also, that Yeshua warned us of false Messiahs, which is why he says he is the A and the Z: he is confirming that he is the one and only Messiah.

When either God or Yeshua makes the statement “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, it is a metaphor to mean there is no other like me! It identifies the eternal nature of God and the uniqueness of the Messiah, Yeshua. Only one God, only one Messiah: no other God and no other Messiah before, now, or ever again.

Next time you read the statement “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, when God says it he means he is the only true God who was, who is, and will ever be; and, when Yeshua says it, he means he is the first Messiah who ever was, is, and will ever be.

God is God and the Messiah is the Messiah, and each was, is, and always be the only one of their kind: the Alpha and the Omega.

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

That’s it for now; L’hitraot, and Baruch HaShem!

Why I Believe the Gospel of John Isn’t.

Isn’t what? Well, isn’t a Gospel, meaning a truthful description of who Yeshua was and of his ministry. I also don’t believe it was written by a Jew, or, at least, by a Jew who was writing to Jews.

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John has long been recognized as being very different from the other Gospels; Matthew, Mark, and Luke are written as historical narratives that relate to the events in Yeshua’s life. John, on the other hand, while mentioning events in Yeshua’s life, is written as a spiritual revelation, and instead of plain language is full of overly spiritual double-talk:

I am he, and he is me; you see me, you see him, and I know him and he knows me but you don’t know me so you don’t know him, but if you knew him you would know me, yadda-yadda-yadda…

The thing about the Book of John that really gets my goat, and yes- this is a personal peeve– is that it seems to be written by a Gentile, to Gentiles, and has many subtle anti-Semitic undertones. And, frankly, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Only in the Gospel of John do we hear Yeshua refer to the Torah (when talking to the Pharisees in John 10:34) as “your law”. If Yeshua was the word come to life, then why would he differentiate himself from who and what he is? If Yeshua was a Jew, he would never say “your law” when referring to the Torah; he would say “the law” or “the Torah”, but not talk about it as if he had no relationship to it or that it had no meaning to him.

And in the other three gospels, the term “the Jews” is used about 16 times, total within all three, but in John, that term is used some 67 times! When you are talking about your own people, do you refer to them as “those (whatever) people”? Of course not- if you are Jewish, you say “my people” or “them”; if you are Italian and talking about other Italians, you don’t say “those Italians”, you say “them” or “us” or some other term that recognizes your attachment and solidarity with them. But we don’t see that in John- instead, we see Yeshua talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees about the people as if they are different from him.

In the other gospels, it is clear that the real enemies of Yeshua are the power elite, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, but in John, it seems that all the Judeans are against Yeshua.

One really big difference is that in the other three, Yeshua never makes the absolute claim that he is the Messiah, except to his Talmudim (Disciples), whereas in John, he says it outright to the Samaritan woman (John 4:26) and makes claim to being one with God multiple times, and also claims that he is the son of God, whereas in the other gospels he refers to himself as the Son of Man.

In my experience, John is the only gospel that is used when people try to justify that God, Yeshua, and the Ruach HaKodesh are all one-and-the-same entity.

One of the most valuable tools in biblical exegesis is called Hermeneutics, which is the idea that the Bible does not contradict itself. We all have been told, over and over, that God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow and many believe the Bible to be infallible, and the perfect word of God, directly from God.

For the record, I don’t buy that for a moment, but that’s a different message.

So, if the Bible is infallible and God’s word is perfect, then hermeneutically we can prove John’s gospel is not scripture because it is so different, and does contradict what we read in the other gospels. In John, Yeshua claims to be the Messiah to many people but not in any other gospel; in John, Yeshua’s ministry seems to be only one year but the other gospels make it about three years; in John, Yeshua is tried before the Pesach meal but in the other three, it is after; in John, Yeshua claims to be not just the son of God but God, himself, yet in the other gospels he calls himself the Son of Man.

John was most likely written at the end of the First Century when more Gentiles were converting to this new sect of Judaism than Jews who were accepting Yeshua as their Messiah. And when Jews did accept Yeshua as the Messiah, remember that this was not a conversion: there was no conversion of Jews to Christianity: the early “church” was a synagogue, and the Gentiles who accepted Yeshua as Messiah were learning how to live a Jewish lifestyle, just as Yeshua lived. The truth of the beginning of what we call Christianity today is that the only conversion was from paganism to Judaism, or at best, a sect of Judaism. From the turn of the first century until Constantine created modern Christianity (about 325 CE), there were Jews, those Jews and Gentiles who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah, and pagans. The Believing Gentiles were learning about the Torah and how to live as Yeshua did, although the Gentiles that were taking command of the movement began to leave Judaism and form different worship, such as changing the Shabbat to Sunday (Ignatius of Antioch in 98 CE) and misinterpreting the letter sent by the Elders (Acts 15) as meaning Gentile Believers were excluded from following Torah.

John was, in my opinion, either written by a Gentile using John’s name, or if John, a Jewish follower and Disciple of Yeshua, did write it, he wrote it so that Gentile Believers could separate themselves from Torah and worship Yeshua not just as the Messiah, but as God, as well. That opens the question of why a Disciple of Messiah would reject his own religion.

Many Christians I have known feel that John is the best Gospel, and when I was first open to learning about Yeshua, I was told to read John before any other gospel. Now, some 20 plus years after coming to accept Yeshua and knowing the entire Bible very well, I know that the Gospel of John is an anti-Semitic and separatist book designed so that Gentiles can feel comfortable rejecting the Torah and Judaism as separate from Yeshua, what he taught, and to worship Yeshua as God.

There are many out there who will find this message not just disturbing, but maybe even blasphemous, and that is too bad. I doubt many Gentile Believers who were raised Christian (any denomination) can understand how a Jewish person, Believer or not, feels reading this gospel. The other Gospels are fine because they don’t hate Jews, but the Gospel of John is full of subtle, Jew-hating terminology.

If it was up to me, I would throw the Gospel of John, along with nearly all the Epistles of Shaul (Paul) out of the New Covenant. I would keep Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, Hebrews, James, and Revelation, and deep-six the rest, or have them in a separate volume, like the Apocrypha.

I hope that no one is offended, but I understand there might be a sense of wanting to defend this gospel because, well, you just need to! “Why?” “Because, that’s why!”

If that’s how you feel, maybe you should consider why you feel that way. I mean, really, if the Gospel of John is verifiable and hermeneutically validated as scripture, you wouldn’t need to say “because” as the reason to defend it, because “because” is not a reason. 

That’s my message for today. It is my opinion, you do not have to agree, but if you do agree, I would appreciate you letting me know with a “Like” or something similar, even a comment. And if you think I am out of my mind, please comment as well, but be nice.

In the meantime, thank you for being here; please share these messages (if you dare), and until the next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Hanukkah 2020 Message

חג שמח! Chag Sameach!

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate this joyous holiday.

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The Torah parashah for this Shabbat is called Vayeshev, which relates the story of Joseph. It begins with Israel giving him the coat of many colors, how he tells his brothers of his dreams showing he will rule over them one day which leads, along with other reasons, to his brother’s plot to destroy him, to him being sold into slavery in Egypt. While a slave, he is unjustly accused by his master’s wife, thrown into jail, and while there he interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh’s Baker and Cupbearer. The parashah ends with how the Cupbearer, after being restored to his post as Joseph saw in his dream, forgets to mention Joseph to the Pharaoh.

I think, though, instead of the parashah, I would like to talk with you about Hanukkah. After all, we all know the story of Joseph, but how many really know about Hanukkah?

You won’t find the story anywhere in the Tanakh, and it’s only mentioned, briefly, in the New Covenant. The places you will find the story of Hanukkah, which is told in the Books of the Maccabees (there were originally supposed to be five books, but they have been condensed into two), is in the Talmud, Septuagint, and the Apocrypha, and the only place you will find the Apocrypha included with scripture is in a Catholic Bible.

In the first book of the Maccabees, we are told how Antiochus IV Epiphanes was continuing the program called Hellenization, which was started about 1-1/2 Centuries earlier by Alexander the Great. Hellenization is the replacement of all cultures with that of the Greeks, and so in Judea, under Antiochus, circumcision and any other Jewish ritual or worship was strictly forbidden. He sacrificed pigs on the altar in the Temple of Solomon, which is the abomination that causes desecration Daniel prophesied about.

One of the generals, in a town called Modein, was enforcing these laws and as one of the priests of the town was converting to the Greek religion, the father of the Maccabees, Mattathias, became zealous for God and killed the priest, as well as the soldiers of the king. After this act of rebellion, he and his 5 sons hid in the desert, and as word got around he gained followers who wanted to rid Judea of the Seleucid rule.

Eventually, there was a full-out rebellion, and these Jewish farmers and shepherds, with little more than pitchforks, hoes, and other farming implements, fought against what was probably the best armed and most experienced professional army the world knew at that time. Imagine a man with a sharpened stick going against an elephant wearing armor plating on its body and archers sitting on its back. That would be like you or I standing in the way of an Abrams tank!

And the real miracle of Hanukkah doesn’t have to do with a lamp but is the fact that we won!

The temple was cleansed and ritual purification was to begin, with the relighting of the Ner Tamid, the Eternal Light that was never supposed to be extinguished.

Now, here is where the story is embellished with Jewish mythology from the Babylonian Talmud: there is no mention of oil lasting 8 days anywhere in the books of the Maccabees. According to legend, there was only one day’s worth of ritually purified oil for the Ner Tamid, but it miraculously burned for 8 days, which was just the right amount of time needed to produce more ritually pure oil. This is why we light the Hanukkiah (it is not a menorah) with a new candle every night during the 8 nights of Hanukkah. The ninth candle, which is called the Shamash (leader) is used to light the other candles as we recite the prayer for the Hanukkah candles:

Bah-rookh ah-tah ah-doh-noi, eh-loh-hay-noo meh-lekh hah-oh-lahm, ah-sher ki-deh-shah-noo beh-mitz-voh-tahv, veh-tzee-vah-noo, leh-hahd-lik nayr, shel kha-noo-kah
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

The second book of the Maccabees is a continuation of the story and outlines the events after the initial rebellion, the leadership by the oldest Maccabee, Judas, and how he restored Jewish rule and freedom of worship in Judea. It also tells of the eventual plots against the Maccabees, resulting in they’re being deposed by the very people they saved.

There are also a number of atrocities outlined in these books regarding the torture of the Jews who refused to accept the Greek religion. When Antiochus heard of a rebellion, his army slaughtered some 40,000 men, women, and children, and another 40,000 were enslaved.

One story from 2 Maccabees is about a woman with 7 sons. They were told they had to eat pork but each refused, being tortured to death, one-by-one, with their mother watching. As the last son refused, it is told how the general even begged the mother to tell her son to comply so she wouldn’t have to lose all her children. Instead of telling her son to eat the pork, she told him not to eat the pork so that the death of the other sons was not for nothing.

Other stories of torture include ripping pregnant women apart, sliding men down a ramp with sharp knives along the way, whippings, cutting out of tongues, hands being cut off, and roasting people alive on a metal pan over a burning hot fire.

Ouch!

But, despite the torture, the desire by the populace to do what is right in God’s eyes, even to the point of death, is what the Greeks faced, although there were many who turned from the faith. Eventually, God came to the aid of his people when they rebelled against this evil.

There are some who refuse to celebrate Hanukkah simply because it isn’t commanded in the Tanakh, even though they recognize it is meant to glorify God. That is their choice, and I suspect they don’t celebrate Purim or Simchat Torah, either, since neither of those holidays are commanded. And, again, I don’t want to originate a discussion about whether or not you should celebrate Hanukkah or Purim or Christmas or Easter, or whatever- frankly, if it isn’t commanded to be celebrated, then it is a personal choice.

Today we see a similar sort of evil in America: not that there is a king taking away our ritual worship and torturing people, but there is a growing societal conversion from morality and righteousness to selfishness and the condoning, actually more than that, the enthusiastic supporting of sinfulness.

Have you noticed that in family-oriented commercials now there is almost always a same-sex couple? Have you heard about how already there are some states that don’t just allow abortion, but now they are able to kill the child after it has been born if the abortion failed!

Hello, Molech- welcome back!

The recent pandemic has been turned into a political weapon, and instead of helping people cope with it, many of our country’s leaders are using it to shut down businesses and cause fear, with which they can control the populace.

There is no temple in Jerusalem suffering the abomination that causes desecration, but we can see it in our society! I won’t go off on a rampage here, and I don’t want to initiate any political battles, but it is clear to anyone who knows anything about the Lord, God that our society is not all that far away from what Antiochus was trying to do some 200 or so years before the Messiah came, which was to remove all God-fearing worship and lifestyle from the society.

Hanukkah is a joyous celebration of the miraculous overthrow by God-fearing people of a corrupted and evil government, and I have to wonder: couldn’t we use a Mattathias or a Judas Maccabee, today?

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

Understanding Galatians 3:24-25

Before we discuss this specific passage, let’s review what Galatians is all about.

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It is a letter written by Shaul (Paul) to a congregation of mostly Gentile Believers in Yeshua as the Messiah, and who were, essentially, converting from their pagan Roman religion to Judaism. These Gentiles were being harassed by Jewish Believers in Messiah who demanded that their conversion process be immediate and complete. Shaul was trying to maintain control of his fledgling congregation by keeping them on track with his slow introduction to the proper worship of God, and understanding of how Messiah Yeshua fit into God’s plan of redemption.

We can see this in all of Shaul’s letters to the different congregations he formed (there were no “churches” in the First Century), each battling with their own problems in keeping on the right track to developing proper worship. There was NEVER any condemnation of Torah or instructions to ignore or abandon Torah- there were slow, step-by-step instructions helping people to make a spiritual paradigm shift in both worship and lifestyle.

Now that we know the context of the letter to the Galatians, remembering that understanding the context is essential in any biblical study, we can take a look at the passage:

Accordingly, the Torah functioned as a guardian until the Messiah came, so that we might be declared righteous on the ground of trusting and being faithful.  But now that the time for this trusting faithfulness has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

We are all children of God, right? And anyone who has ever raised a child knows that the one thing children do, the moment they are able to understand boundaries, is to push the envelope of those boundaries. We, as parents, or should I say guardians, do all we can to allow them to explore their world while keeping them within the very boundaries they want to be free of. And when they cross those boundaries, we bring them back into righteousness through a time out, or grounding them, or sometimes a good slap on the tuchas.

Yet, even when understanding what will happen when they cross the boundary line, why do they continue to push those boundaries? If you’re asking me (and even if you’re not, I’m gonna tell you, anyway) it’s just basic human nature. We are always trying to push beyond whatever boundaries we are given.

We are bound by the sea below and the sky above: we can’t breathe underwater and we can’t fly, yet we pushed against those boundaries and eventually found ways in which we can now do both.

The Torah is a guardian that establishes boundaries; not natural boundaries like water and gravity, but moral ones. The Torah defines these boundaries, and human nature, being what it is, urges us to push those boundaries as far as we can to see where they break. That is who we are. The Torah accounts for this, in that not only does it establish the boundaries for proper living and worship, but as our guardian, it also provides the means for us to be brought back within those boundaries if, and when, we cross over them into sin.

When the Messiah came, he replaced a specific part of the Torah. It wasn’t the part that established the boundaries but the part that brought us back into righteousness when we crossed those boundaries. Yeshua’s sacrifice replaced the need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem, which is the requirement under the Torah in order to be forgiven. The Torah states that we must bring our sacrifice to the location where God places his name in order for the sacrifice to be accepted (Deuteronomy 12:11), so when the temple was destroyed in 73 AD, there was no means of attaining forgiveness of sin.

Now we come to the most misunderstood truth about the Messiah:

The sole purpose of the Messiah is to be the means through which people can be forgiven of their sins.

Yes, Yeshua taught the deeper, spiritual meaning of the Torah (in Jewish exegesis it is called the Remes), but that wasn’t why he came. He performed many miracles, but that wasn’t why he came- that was only to prove who he was. The one and the only reason he came here was to provide the means by which we can be forgiven.

Once we understand this essential truth, then we can understand what Shaul meant when he said with the coming of the Messiah we are no longer under the guardianship of the Torah. He wasn’t talking about the boundaries set by the Torah, he was talking about the means to be brought back within those boundaries.

Let’s get back to kids for a second: as their guardian, we teach them the way to act and we enforce those rules, but when they get old enough to be on their own, they are no longer under our guardianship. That doesn’t mean that what we taught them as their guardian is no longer valid and necessary; it simply means that they are now the ones who are responsible to enforce the rules. The way we do that is through self-discipline and being responsible adults.

Do you now see the logic and relationship between the Torah, Yeshua, and guardianship? A guardian defines our boundaries and is the one who brings us back into righteousness, and the Torah did both of these before Yeshua came; now, after Yeshua, the Torah still establishes the boundaries, Yeshua is the one who brings us back into righteousness, but we are each of us responsible to stay within the boundaries the Torah defines.

The boundaries are still valid, the means to be brought back within the boundaries is through Yeshua, but we are now our own guardians.

Thank you for being here, and please share these messages and subscribe to the website and the YouTube channel. And remember: I always welcome your comments.

Please also check out and join my new discussion group, Just God’s Word (there are a few groups with this name, and mine is the one with the Torah as the cover photo.)

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Yeshua Certainly Knew the Book of Proverbs

It is truly a shame that too many Christians are being taught mainly from the New Covenant writings while ignoring most everything in the Tanakh. The reason it is a shame is that Yeshua didn’t teach anything from the Epistles, and not just because they hadn’t been written, but because he tells us, over and over throughout all four gospels, that he does and says only what his Father in heaven has told him to do and say. And what God has said is only in the Tanakh.

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I have been reading Proverbs lately, and as I go through them I see so many that I immediately relate to some of the teachings that Yeshua gave. Here are just a few examples:

Proverbs 11:2- First comes pride, then disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Doesn’t Yeshua tell us that the meek will inherit the earth? (Matthew 5:5)

 Proverbs 11:4On the day of wrath, wealth doesn’t help; but righteousness rescues from death.

Doesn’t Yeshua tell us that we are to seek first the kingdom of God? (Matthew 6:33)

Proverbs 24:3By wisdom a house is built, by understanding it is made secure.

Didn’t Yeshua tell us that rejecting his wisdom is like a house built on sand? (Matthew 7:26)

Proverbs 25: 6,7Don’t put yourself forward in the king’s presence; don’t take a place among the great. For it is better to be told “Come up here,” than be degraded in the presence of a nobleman.

Didn’t Yeshua say that when you sit at a table, take the least important place? (Luke 14:10)

Proverbs 25:21– If someone who hates you is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

Didn’t Yeshua tell us to love our enemies? (Matthew 5:44)

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that what Yeshua taught is from the Tanakh, for that was the only word of God that existed then. The New Covenant hadn’t been written. So if Yeshua taught from the Tanakh, my question is why don’t the Christian churches teach from it, also? Why do they use, almost exclusively, the Gospels and the Epistles? In the Gospels, Yeshua teaches what the Tanakh says, and the Epistles were written by a man to the Gentiles in congregations he started and were not written to teach them anything new, but to remind them of what he already told them. Things that he already taught them that they were having trouble remembering and living by.

You’ve seen those bracelets that have “WWJD” written on them, right? I believe the people who wear them really want to do as Jesus did; the problem is that the Christian church teaches Constantinian doctrine and not what is in the Torah, which is what Jesus followed, so to do what Jesus did means to NOT do what (most of) Christianity teaches.

Jesus did not celebrate the Christian holidays, he celebrated the Holy Days that God commanded we celebrate in Leviticus 23.

Jesus did not eat many of the foods that Christians eat, he ate only what God said we should eat in Leviticus 11.

Jesus did not rest on Sunday, he rested from Friday night to Saturday night.

The point of today’s message is that if you really want to live “as Jesus lived”, you need to worship as he worshiped, eat as he ate, and celebrate as he celebrated.

Doesn’t that make sense?

It is truly a shame that this very sensible argument is lost on so many people; people who probably really want to please God and do as Jesus did, but refuse to because they would rather accept the easy way of life that is Constantinian Christianity.

What a terribly disappointing surprise they will have when they come before the Throne of Judgment.

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

 

 

Just for the Lost Sheep of Israel

In the Gospel of Matthew, we read in Chapter 15, verses 21-28 about a Canaanite woman who asked Yeshua to heal her daughter. This is what he replied to her (CJB):

He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el.” But she came, fell at his feet and said, “Sir, help me!” He answered, “It is not right to take the children’s food and toss it to their pet dogs.” She said, “That is true, sir, but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their master’s table.” Then Yeshua answered her, “Lady, you are a person of great trust. Let your desire be granted.” And her daughter was healed at that very moment.

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More than any other misunderstanding within Christianity is the teaching that Jesus is their Savior. Most every Christian I have ever met has been taught that Jews rejected Jesus and so they can’t be saved; Jesus is now only a Christian savior, and to be saved you must be a Christian.

I believe the wrongful teachings and doctrines of Christianity were developed after the original Disciples and many of the Jews who accepted Yeshua when he was still teaching had all died. The Jewish population of Believers was far outpaced by the Gentile converts to this (now) new religion calling itself Christianity. And, by the time Constantine got his fingers in the pie, what was supposed to be a group of people looking for salvation through the sacrifice of the Messiah, Yeshua, had turned into a new religion that worshiped Jesus Christ, who died for their sins.

He didn’t die for the sins of Jews, but for the sins of Christians.

I have seen many postings and had discussions with Christians who have held to the belief that because the Jews rejected Jesus, God has rejected the Jews; this is called Replacement Theology. I have also heard people say that the only laws that apply to Gentiles are the 10 Commandments, and the rest of the Torah instructions are just for Jews.

The truth is there are many, MANY traditional Christian teachings that are totally created by people, and not in accordance with anything that God said.

So, where is all this leading to? It’s to remind the Gentiles who accept Yeshua as their savior that he is not a Savior for the Gentiles: he is the Messiah of and for the Jews. It wasn’t until AFTER Yeshua did what he was supposed to do as the Messiah, providing the pathway to salvation for the Jewish people, that the Gentiles were also allowed to enter.

I don’t mean this to sound as derogatory or insulting, but the fact is that Gentiles who accept Yeshua/Jesus as their savior are getting the scraps that fell off our Jewish table. You are allowed to walk the path of salvation that was created for the Jewish people and to enter salvation through the doorway made for the Jewish people. There has NEVER been a separate path or door for Gentiles.

As such, when you are walking the pathway made for Jews, you are expected to walk the same way the Jews walk.

God has no religion, he only has his instructions for the way we are to worship him and the way we are to treat each other. There is not one passage in the New Covenant that is a direct instruction from God; in fact, the only place that God says anything in the New Covenant is in the Gospels, right after Yeshua has the Ruach (Spirit) fall on him and at the transformation on the mountain.

The letters from Shaul (Paul) to the Gentile congregations he started are not divine instructions or even against the existing instructions in the Torah- they are Shaul’s teaching the Gentiles, who had no idea how to live as God wants them to, in a way that the Gentiles could accept. The letter to the new believers written by the Elders (Acts 15) was never meant to be interpreted as the only things new Believers (later all Christians) had to do. It was meant to be understood as these things must be done immediately, and the rest of the Torah they will learn eventually (Acts 15:21), clearly showing that the Elders expected the Gentiles who were following Yeshua to adopt the Torah.

I am glad that God allowed the Gentiles, meaning everyone who is not Jewish by birth, to be saved. It was always his plan, which is why he told Abraham that his descendants will be a blessing to the whole world and told Moses that the Jewish people would be his (God’s) nation of priests.  It was always meant for the Gentiles to be given the opportunity to receive forgiveness of sins.

It was never meant that the Gentiles would create their own religion with different holidays, a different Sabbath day, and different doctrines. And God never wanted them to bow down and pray to statues or bury their dead under the Sanctuary floor, or teach each other that God’s instructions are not for them.

Shaul knew this and tried to warn the early congregations about this in Romans 11:17-18 where he says:

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you — a wild olive — were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you.

The fact is that Yeshua was sent only to, and only for, the Jewish people in order that God’s promises regarding the Messiah could be completed in Yeshua. Yeshua, himself, says this to the Canaanite woman. In other words, the Salvation Party was only for Jews, hosted by God, and paid for by a Jewish Messiah. Salvation has always been a Jewish event; when salvation was made possible for the Gentiles that was simply the after-party.

Anyone who accepts Yeshua as their Messiah and asks forgiveness for their sins through his sacrificial death will be saved, and once saved we are all in the body of Messiah, which means we are to try to live as he lived. And he lived according to God’s instructions in the Torah, where God told us how to worship him, which celebrations to observe, what to eat, how to treat each other, as well as many other instructions on how to live.

It comes down to this: you have to choose whether you will listen to what men say, or to what God says.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know, and check out my books. If you like what you hear in these messages, you will like my books, as well.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!