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

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

Well, almost nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t think so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not to mention the requirement to be circumcised. Ouch!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

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

Enjoy your turkey and do give thanks, every day.

Baruch HaShem!

The Dual Purpose of God’s Punishment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God ALWAYS follows the rules he sets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I always welcome your comments.

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

Faith Isn’t Enough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both are wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Greatest Threat to Your Salvation

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

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

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

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

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

The greatest threat to your salvation is…RELIGION!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a load of drek!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where Yeshua Fits Into Forgiveness of Sin

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

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

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

Yes, it does.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now you have it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

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

Plugging My Books

I hope you don’t mind, but today I am going to take a total break from spiritual messages, even from a socially relevant message, and instead talk about something that is no more than pure, unadulterated self-interest.

If you prefer to watch me pitch my books in a video, click on this link:
Watch the spiel.

Well, maybe not all self-interest, since the books I have written over the past years are designed to spread not just God’s word, but who God is and what he wants from us, without the impurity of religion polluting the waters of life with their own man-made rites, holidays, rituals, and anti-Torah propaganda.

The first book I wrote is called “Back to Basics: God’s Word vs. Religion”.

This book discusses the differences between what God said we should do in the Torah and how religion (both Judaism and Christianity) has changed what God said to do, to what the religion wants to do. The book covers topics such as Kosher, celibacy, Holy Days or holidays, Tanakh or Talmud, and other topics where religion has added to or taken away from what God said in the Torah. It is an easy read, and the people who have given me feedback have found it interesting, to say the least; except for one rabbi who told me, “Well, you’re no Hemingway.”

The next book I wrote is called, “Prayer…What it Is and How It Works”.

The title is pretty much self-explanatory. I discuss the different ways people pray, the value of prayer, and what we can expect from it. Again, it is an easy read.

My third book is called “Parashot Drashim” and is subtitled “Commentary on the Weekly Torah Readings for Both Jews and Gentiles”.

For those of you who may not know this, the Torah is separated into 54 sections, called parashot, and these sections are read every Shabbat, sometimes with two parashot being read at the same time. It is all designed so that when we come to the eighth day after Shavuot, which is called Simchat Torah (Joy of Torah), every synagogue in the world is on the last lines of Deuteronomy and we all turn the Torah back to Genesis in order to start reading it all over again.

This book is my thickest book to date and is a compilation of the different parashot teachings I have been doing for over 7 years. I have combined, condensed, and edited the Shabbat teachings I have written and designed each one to show Jews and Christians who Yeshua really is and what he really taught. This book is not just a commentary, but also can be used for Bible studies.

My most recent book, just published a month ago, is called “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews“, and is subtitled “Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah“.

Even though this is directed to my Jewish brothers and sisters, it is also valuable to Gentiles because many of the Christians I have known don’t know who Yeshua really is any better than Jews do.

I feel that this book is the culmination of all I have learned in the past 25 or so years of being a Messianic Jew and a student of the Bible- that is, the entire Bible, Genesis through Revelation. I attack many of the lies that have been spread throughout both Judaism and Christianity, lies such as Jesus doing away with the Torah, believing in Jesus means you have to be a Christian, all sins are forgiven automatically (the “Once Saved, Always Saved” lie), that Paul converted to Christianity and other lies that have been promulgated by both Jews and Christians which have totally turned Jews away from their Messiah and Christians away from God. This book will change someone’s life, somewhere- maybe even yours?

All of my books are available on Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle format. I kept the pricing low so that they are affordable for everyone, even though I would like to get something for all the work I put into each one of them (after all, a worker is entitled to his wages, right?), but I don’t expect to see any of them on the Bestseller List anytime soon.

Who knows? Maybe Oprah will find one and then I’ll be set for life!

Nah! Not likely, but if even one of these books can help someone come closer to God, then it is all worthwhile.

So, nu? Why not try one or all of these books? I don’t have a bibliography in any of them because I only use the Bible as my source document, and reference where I get each and every verse I use to teach about God and his Messiah. After all, if the Bible isn’t a good enough source document, what else could be?

Thank you for letting me blow my own horn, as the expression goes, and even if you feel this isn’t an appropriate thing to do, please don’t let that stand in the way of you reading these books. I really do believe I was led by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) in writing these and guarantee that even if you disagree with what I write, you will find these books interesting and educational. Maybe even a little entertaining.

God bless you and thank you for subscribing.

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

My Beef With Christianity

Lately, I have had a few Christian Facebook friends chide me, so to speak (and nicely, too, which I appreciate) about my somewhat bigoted attitude towards Christianity and Christians.

Let me set the record straight- I am not against Christians, I am against Christianity.

It is sort of like the adage “Hate the sin but love the sinner.”

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

The one thing that has kept both Jews and Gentiles from knowing God and his Messiah, and has led millions wishing to worship God correctly down the path of destruction, has been Christianity.

The Jewish people have always tried to follow the Torah, which is the ONLY place throughout the entire Bible (that means Genesis through Revelation) where God, himself, tells us exactly what he wants us to do.

The Pharisees in the First Century taught the literal meaning, called the P’shat, and never went beyond that, using their influence and political power to rule over the Jews and creating many man-made rituals and rules (known today as Halacha) which have added much to the Torah’s requirements. In truth, this was a sinful thing to do because God told us, no less than twice, not to add or take away from anything in the Torah (Deut. 4:2 and 12:32).

Yeshua taught us the same things that the Pharisees did, but he deepened our knowledge of the laws by teaching the spiritual meaning, the Remes, through the use of Drashim (parables, or stories that have a moral lesson).

But that wasn’t the worse thing the Pharisees did: what was really terrible was the way they used their influence to steer people away from accepting Yeshua as the Messiah; they did this because as the Messiah, Yeshua would have replaced them as the social authority.

The letters Shaul (Paul) wrote only added to the confusion, and what happened was that by the end of the First Century, Yeshua was rebranded as a Gentile Savior, with many rules and rituals that had been created by men, such as changing the Sabbath day and rejecting much of what the Torah said.

By the time Constantine added his two shekels, what Yeshua taught was totally lost and a new religion, Christianity, was established.

But that isn’t the reason that Jews still reject him, today. Jews have, throughout the past two millennia, rejected Jesus as the Messiah because we have been taught that he created Christianity, and Christianity rejects the Torah and most everything that is Jewish.

And that has not just kept God’s chosen people, the ones the Messiah came for, from being able to know their Messiah but also millions upon millions of Gentiles who have been taught all the wrong things about the Jewish Messiah, now having been transformed (or should I say mutated) into a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Aryian godhead who forces people to convert to worshiping him (not God) and even proclaims itself as the only “true” religion.

There are even some sects of Christianity that proclaim the Jews have been rejected by God and that they, the Born Again Christians, are now the chosen people of God (this is called Replacement Theology).

Modern Christianity is not what Yeshua taught, and it is the major reason that Jews cannot be expected to accept their own Messiah, and Gentiles are rejecting God’s instructions.

This is my beef with Christianity.

I have nothing against Christians, and I know that all Christians are not the same, just as all Jews are not the same. I am Jewish, always have been and never will be anything else, but unlike most Jews, I know that Yeshua is the Messiah and I still live a Jewish life and worship as a Jew, in accordance with the way God said to in the Torah. I am the exception within Judaism.

I know many Christians who are the exception within Christianity; they know their Jewish Messiah and do not reject the Torah. Many live a Jewish lifestyle, many still observe the Christian holidays, and many demonstrate a sort of blending of the two.

My beef is with Christianity and the false teachings that it has promulgated over the centuries, which really has very little, if anything, to do with what Messiah Yeshua taught, and which, consequently, has prevented both Jews and Gentiles from knowing the real Messiah.

And if you profess to believe in God and that Yeshua (Jesus) is his Messiah, frankly speaking, you should have the same beef!

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know, subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel, and please remember that I always welcome your comments.

And check out my newest book, The Good News About the Messiah for Jews, Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah. It is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format, and you can get it easily by using the link on my website.

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

2021 Simchat Torah Message

Here we are, again, at the end of a Torah cycle.

Time to march the Torah around the neighborhood, with singing and shofar blowing. Then, after returning to the synagogue, we read the last lines of Deuteronomy and while the congregation sings and dances we roll back the Torah to the beginning and read the first lines of Genesis.

(Rolling the Torah back gives you forearms that look like Popeye’s!)

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

“Simchat Torah” means the Joy of Torah: the joyful part being the fact that we get to read it, all over again. The Torah is split into 54 separate readings, each reading is called a “parashah” and the weekly parashah is read at the Saturday morning Shabbat service. This is what we have done every Shabbat for millennia, even from before the time Yeshua walked the earth. These parashot (plural) are designed for an annual cycle, although in some synagogues they use a three-year cycle instead of the one-year cycle.

After the parashah is read, we read the Haftorah portion, which is from the other parts of the Tanakh and is relatable to the Torah portion. This is how it works: we read the Torah, which is the direct word of God telling us how we should live, worship, and treat each other, and then we read the Haftorah to see the practical application (or failure, thereof) of the Torah portion we just read which occurred during our history.

For example, Parashah Naso (Numbers 4:21 to the end of Chapter 7) includes the laws regarding the vow of the Nazirite. The Haftorah portion is from the Book of Judges 8:2-25, which is the story of the birth of Shimshon (Samson), who was to be a Nazirite from birth.

In some cases, there is a double parashot reading which is done to make sure the final reading comes out on the 8th day of Sukkot.

Yes, I know Sukkot is only 7 days, but the story goes that God so loved to be with his children that he extended it an extra day, which is called Shemini Atzeret (this is also Simchat Torah.)

It is very sad that so many Christians pretty much ignore the Torah. Not only is this sad because they can never really understand who Yeshua (Jesus) is if they don’t know his people’s history (he is, after all, Jewish) and they also can’t really fathom the depth of the lessons in Shaul’s (Paul) letters if they don’t know where he is “coming from”, meaning the mindset and beliefs of the Jewish people, which is given in the writings of the Torah.

They miss learning the wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs, and let’s not forget experiencing the beauty of the poetry in the Psalms; even though many churches do take from the Psalms, now and then. However, the full impact cannot be felt without knowing the history that motivated those songs.

And the worst part of all when Christians ignore reading the Torah is that they do not know what God said we should do, and no matter what their Priest, Minister, Pastor or whatever tells them Paul said, or John said, or even James said- it is what God said that counts!

Yeshua never taught anything different than what is in the Torah. Why people said he talked as no man has talked before is because he taught the spiritual understanding of God’s commandments. The Pharisees only taught the literal meaning, what we call the P’shat, but Yeshua went deeper than that and taught the Remes, the underlying spiritual meaning.

Here’s proof, which we get directly from Matthew 5 when we read the Sermon on the Mount: the Pharisees taught “Do not kill” but Yeshua said not to even so much as hate in our hearts; the Pharisees said “Do not commit adultery” but Yeshua said that wasn’t enough- you must not even lust with your eyes. Yeshua taught what God wanted us to know, which is not just the letter of the law but the very spirit of it.

If you aren’t that familiar with the Torah, please take it out and read it. Make it part of your daily reading. I keep my Bible in the bathroom because I know that every day I will have (at least) enough time alone and undisturbed to read a chapter or two. You will be surprised how quickly you get through the entire Bible that way. I start at Genesis and go all the way through to Revelation, then start all over again.

Of course, since I am reading much more than the Torah, alone, it takes me more than a year to go through the entire Bible, but doing it this way I have read the whole Bible many times over the past 25 or so years, and each time I get to start it over I am excited to do so.

Reading only the New Covenant is like building a house starting with the second floor. You may end up with something, but it will never be complete.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. The more people who hear these lessons, the more people who will know what God really says. The whole purpose of this ministry is to grow and teach people what they need to know so they can make an informed decision about where they want to spend eternity.

Also please subscribe here and only my YouTube channel as well (use the link above), and remember that I always welcome your comments; you can make them here or on my Facebook discussion group called Just God’s Word.

PS: I have finished the draft of my latest book, which is debunking the different lies that have been traditionally handed down, in both Christianity and Judaism, about Messiah Yeshua. I hope to have it self-published and available for purchase within the next month or so and will announce it on my website when it is ready.

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

2021 Sukkot Message

Here we are at Sukkot, again, which this year happens exactly on the first day of Fall.

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

Sukkot is, traditionally, believed to be the time when Messiah Yeshua was born, and this is verified by the timeline in the Gospel of Luke, with regards to when Zachariah (Yochanon the Immerser’s father) served in the temple, saw the angel, Miryam visited Elizabeth, etc.

The Torah commands us to live in Sukkot, which are tabernacles, or tents, with an open-top. The Sukkot are decorated with fruits and branches, which would be consistent with what materials would have been available to the Jews living in the desert. The commandment is also to live in the Sukkah (singular form) for 7 days, as a memorial to how the Israelites lived for 40 years.

In modern days, we build a Sukkah but for most people, it is in the backyard (if they have the space) and maybe the kids sleep in it, but for the most part, they will have dinner in it but sleep in the house.

When I was attending a Messianic synagogue back in Northeast Philadelphia, I built a Sukkah using PVC pipes so that it could be used, then reused, over and over again. It lasted for many years. We performed the shaking of the Lulav with the 4 Species in it, and it was fun to erect, decorate and then tear it all down when the week of Sukkot was over.

The message I have for us today is this tabernacle represents how God cared for his people, and whether or not you build a physical Sukkah, the tabernacle I believe God desires to share with us, more than anything else, is the tabernacle of our hearts.

When we read about God and his relationship with his people, we are told that he knows the mind. We read in the Gospels that Yeshua (through the power of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit) knew men’s minds. But we do not read about God seeking our mind: what we do read is that God seeks our heart.

When I like to check traditional Jewish thoughts, I go to one of two sources, neither of which has ever let me down: one is the book called “The Jewish Book of Why” (there are two volumes) and the other is the Chabad website. In this case, to share with you the Judaic belief about the relationship between the mind and the heart, I am paraphrasing what I saw on the Chabad website.

According to Chabad, there are two hearts and one mind. There is an outer and an inner heart; the outer heart reacts to the world, what we would call the “flesh” and the inner heart is purer and what we would call our spiritual side. The mind is the pathway to the inner heart, being able to overcome the fleshly desires of the outer heart and direct us to what is good and holy.

When I read this I thought immediately of Freudian analysis, the Id, Ego, and Super-ego.

Monsters from the Id! Monsters from the Id! Morbius didn’t think about the monsters from the Id!
(If you don’t recognize this reference, watch “Forbidden Planet”)

Freudian psychoanalysis identifies the Id as the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories, the super-ego operates as a moral conscience, and the ego is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego. I am sure you can now see the clear relationship of the Id (outer heart), the Super-ego (the inner heart), and the Ego (the mind). I wouldn’t be surprised if Freud, being Jewish, knew about the two hearts and the mind and used that as the basis for his system.

In any event, God seeks the heart, which is clearly the inner heart, and through prayer, we can have a sort of Sukkot every day of the year.

And unlike this week, the weather has no influence on our ability to tabernacle with God through prayer.

So enjoy this most festive Holy Day, which is really a Holy Week, and look forward to Shemini Atzeret, also called Simchat Torah (the Joy of Torah) which starts next Monday night The traditional thought is that even though the Torah says Sukkot is 7 days, God so enjoyed being with us in the tabernacles that he extended it for an extra day. On Simchat Torah, we turn the Torah back to the very beginning to start the annual reading cycle all over again, which is the joyful part.

(If I may, I will take this time to plug my book, "Parashot Drashim" which is a commentary/Bible study of each of the 54 Torah readings (called Parashah).  I believe you will find it very useful to see Yeshua in the Torah, as well as better understanding the Jewish mindset. It is available in paperback and Kindle; there are links to it on my website and it is available directly on Amazon.)

Sukkot is a time of celebration that, unlike most Holy Days, allows us to get closer to God not just spiritually, but physically, and I will finish today’s message with this one thought: God is never any further away than the length of our arms, yet no matter how close we get to him we can always get closer.

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

That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Chag Sameach!