Without Law, There Is No Grace

I haven’t been posting for almost an entire week, and later I will tell you why.

When Shaul, that nice Jewish tentmaker from Tarsus, wrote to the Believers in Rome, he talked about Grace and obedience.

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Now, for most Christians, they have been (mis)taught this letter confirms that because Grace overcomes sin we are no longer under the law. Even though in Chapters 5 and 6 he specifically states that Grace doesn’t allow anyone to continue to sin, Christianity has taught that the law is irrelevant because we are under Grace.

Well, here’s the kicker, Folks: without the law, there is no Grace!

Shaul also tells us in this letter that the Torah created sin (Romans 5:13), in that if there is nothing officially stating what is right or wrong (so to speak), then there may be a cultural (de facto) understanding of what is okay and what isn’t, but there is no authoritative (de jure) way to enforce that understanding.

Many people have been (mis)informed through their Pastors, Ministers, or Priests that Yeshua did away with the law because we are now under Grace, but without the law, there is only lawlessness. That is an a priori fact of life: if there is no law, there is only lawlessness. There is no middle of the road here, no gray matter, no subtle hues of color. It’s black or white, right or wrong, truth or lies: Grace doesn’t exist if there is nothing to receive Grace from.

If you believe that you are under Grace, then you must also be under obedience to God. Shaul tells us this when he said in Romans 5 and 6 that you were slaves to sin, but now are slaves to righteousness. In other words, where Torah couldn’t save you, through Yeshua you can receive Grace, which does save you; but, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the law. Or, as Shaul puts it, continue to sin.

Look, it’s as simple as this: The Torah can’t save us, but not because following the Torah doesn’t make us righteous. The Torah can’t save us because we can’t follow it correctly- the fault doesn’t lie within the Torah, it lies within us, and it is called iniquity. And because God wants everyone to have eternal life (Ezekiel 18:23), he sent the Messiah to provide a way for us to overcome our iniquity: that doesn’t mean the Torah is done away with, but simply that where we fail to obey the Torah, Grace is provided through Messiah to allow us to be forgiven of that failure to obey.

God’s Grace only counts on the spiritual plane; in the real world, there are always consequences of sin. When someone breaks the law, the judge has the authority to deal out punishment as he or she sees fit, which is a form of Grace. As such, you may be given Community Service instead of jail time, but you will have to pay, one way or another.

However, just because the human legal system allows the judge to show leniency, that doesn’t mean that you can break the law, and it’s the same way with God’s Grace and Torah obedience.

God gave his instructions for worshiping him and treating each other to Moses to teach the Jewish people, who God says is his nation of priests (Exodus 19:6) and as such, they will teach the world how God wants us ALL to live. Yeshua did nothing to change that other than to teach us the deeper, spiritual meaning of the Torah commandments.

Grace is a wonderful thing but it isn’t the whole enchilada: when we faithfully do what we can to obey and please the Lord, as he said we should in the Torah, God promises we will receive blessings (Deuteronomy 28); and, thanks to Yeshua, when we fail to obey we can receive forgiveness, which is what we call Grace.

Thank you for being here and please like the Facebook page, share the messages and subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel so that you are contacted next time I post.

I didn’t post anything last week because my older sister was visiting from Austin, Texas for my birthday and we were busy every day. It was a great visit and we had a lot of fun.

Until next time, l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Better NOT Call Saul

One of the issues Yeshua had with the Pharisees and their teachings was that some of their man-made traditions were given precedence over what God said. These traditions have become part of Halacha, the Way to Walk, which is defined in the Talmud.

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Today, more often than not, religious Jews seek to get their answers from the Talmud before they look to the Torah or any other part of the Tanakh. This is, in my opinion, no different than the mistake of placing what men say over what God says that we made way back then, in the First Century.

But that’s what the Jews do, so what does this have to do with calling Saul, whose Greek name used in the New Covenant is Paul (get the reference in the title, now?)

Christians have based most of their beliefs and doctrines not on the Torah or the Gospels, but for the most part on the letters that Saul, and other people, wrote to the (mostly) Gentile congregations throughout the Middle East.

God told us exactly what he wanted from us in the Torah- that is the ONLY place in the entire Bible where we often read “And God said to Moses, ‘Tell the children of Israel (whatever the commandment was)'”.

What we read in the Torah isn’t divinely inspired, it is divinely dictated! It isn’t someone telling us what God told him, which could be subject to interpretation, but it is the very words God used.

Saul was never given direct instructions from God, and when he talked of God’s commandments, he quoted from the Tanakh, but mostly what Saul told his congregations to do was from Saul.

Oh, yes, I know what you are saying: all those instructions were divinely inspired. Well, if they were, since God told Isaiah (Isaiah 55:11) that his word never returns void, then why is it that most of Christianity’s doctrines and dogma, based mostly on the Epistles of Saul, ignore God’s word? Isn’t that the epitome of God’s word returning void?

If someone said something that caused people to reject the Torah, how can that come from God? Didn’t God tell us the laws in the Torah are valid throughout our generations?

Oh, wait, I know- you are going to tell me that those laws are just for Jews, right? Well, think about this: throughout the Torah, God says there is just one law for both the Israelite and the foreigner joined with them and Saul says, in Romans 11:11, that when you accept Yeshua as your Messiah you are now grafted into Israel and an adopted child of Abraham. So, you are now an Israelite (spiritually, if not physically), and as such God says you are to be treated just as a native-born Jew, and like it or not, that means you are also subject to the same laws that Jews are, which is the Torah.

Perhaps that is why Saul also warns his Gentile converts to Judaism, which is what they were becoming when they accepted Yeshua, not to brag or feel superior to the Jews they were now joining.

Look, it isn’t Saul’s fault his letters, which he never intended to override God’s commandments, have been used that way. But what it comes down to is this: the complaint Yeshua had against the Pharisees for making man-made laws more important than God’s commandments has been repeated by Christianity. Instead of learning from the mistakes the Jews made, they not only made the same ones but made them even worse because:

Jews following Talmudic Halacha do not reject the Torah but Christianity misconstruing the Epistles Saul and others wrote, does reject the Torah.

And when you reject the Torah, you reject God. That may be a hard word to hear, and I am sure most Christians reading this right now are shaking their heads back and forth, saying to themselves, “No, no- he is just plain wrong: what about 2 Timothy 3:16-17 where we are told:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Well, you are right! All scripture IS God-breathed, but what was scripture then? It was the Tanakh!!! There was no other scripture, and the instructions from Saul were not some future prophecy or divinely inspired to also cover the not yet written New Covenant, which is (in fact) a bible put together by Gentiles who had already rejected any and everything Jewish.

NO! What Saul was talking about was the Tanakh, the “Jewish Bible” which was the only scripture he knew, and what was being taught to these neophyte Believers so that they could be thoroughly equipped for righteousness.

And that, my friends, means that if you are not following the scripture Saul meant, which is the Torah then, by definition, you are not being equipped for righteousness.

That should be a scary thought, and I pray that you are open to hearing what I am saying. Not because I am saying anything of my own, which I’m not, but because what I am saying is the same thing that God told Moses, that God told Isaiah, and what Saul really meant when he told Timothy how to teach the Gentile Believers under his authority.

God has no religion, but men created religion so that they could have power over other men. This is obvious just by looking at all the different religions, with different forms of worship, but all are supposed to worship the same God, who said he never changes. If he never changes, doesn’t that mean his instructions will never change? If he says everyone who sojourns with (i.e., is grafted into) his chosen people are to be subject to the same law as they must, doesn’t that mean they are also to obey the same laws?

We all have Free Will, and so we can each make our own choice of who to listen to regarding how we live which is, essentially, the way we worship God. For Jews, we can choose to follow Halacha from the Talmud or what God says in the Torah; and for Christians, they can choose to follow the doctrines and dogma created by Constantine (and any number of Popes over the centuries) based on letters from Saul and other men, or they can choose to follow what God says in the Torah.

To me, this is a no-brainer, but to the Jewish Orthodoxy and most Christians, it represents making a major paradigm shift in their lifestyle.

And we all know how people feel about change, even when it has eternal consequences.

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

Why The Judeans Didn’t Fight For Yeshua

When Yeshua was preaching in Jerusalem, thousands of people came to hear him, as did thousands when he was wandering from one Judean town to another.

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Yet, despite there being thousands who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah God promised to send, after the Sanhedrin found him guilty of a capital crime and the power elite in Jerusalem aroused the crowds to ask for his death, the people followed their lead and called for his crucifixion.

Have you ever asked yourself, “If they knew he was the Messiah, why didn’t they rebel against the Sanhedrin to save Yeshua’s life?”

Most people will say because they didn’t want to be thrown out of the temple or made into a social pariah. In fact, we read in the Gospels how many who followed Yeshua were doing so in secret because the people had been told that anyone following Yeshua would be excommunicated.

But there may have been a different reason.

In John 11:47 we read that the Cohen HaGadol, Caiaphas, suggested that Yeshua be killed in order to save the people. The leaders of Judea were deathly afraid that because of the commotion being stirred up in the city and around the Temple, Rome would come down hard on the people and possibly no longer allow them to practice Judaism. You see, Judea was a rare example of Rome allowing the inhabitants to maintain their religion; normally, when Rome took over, the populace was forced to practice the Roman paganist religion. There were Roman soldiers stationed throughout the land, and especially around the Temple, so any commotion or public unrest, such as Yeshua throwing out the money changers or the argumentation between people about accepting or rejecting him, could cause Rome to no longer allow Judaism to be practiced. Besides the obvious horror that would cause, it also would mean the members of all the Sanhedrins and the Temple officials (meaning all the Levites and Cohanim) would be out of a job.

Alright, then, that explains why the leadership wanted him dead, but that doesn’t fully answer why the people didn’t rebel against their leaders when they believed Yeshua to be the Messiah.

I believe the answer is in the Torah.

In the Book of Deuteronomy (D’varim), Chapter 17 is one of the places Moses is instructing the people about their need to rid Israel of anyone who is rejecting God’s instructions, laws, commandments, or regulations. He also states that any case which is too difficult for the local judges is to be brought before the Cohanim where God places his name, which (eventually) would be the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.

Now, here is where the answer to the question of why the people didn’t revolt against the Sanhedrin is found. In Deuteronomy 17: 12, Moses gives this command to the people:

Anyone presumptuous enough not to pay attention to the cohen appointed there to serve Adonai your God or to the judge — that person must die.


Wow! The Torah says that anyone who goes against the decision of the judges, which in this case is the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, is to be killed. Not just excommunicated, as the Gospels infer, but killed!

And Yeshua had just been tried and convicted by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, who were calling for his death.

No wonder there was no outcry of “Unjust!” or “Down with the Sanhedrin!” The Torah, itself, forbade anyone to rebel against the judgment of the court. Even though those courts were not really filled with Cohanim, who were Levites, but often enough with political “hacks” who were appointed by Herod, the least qualified king Israel ever saw. Herod was not a descendant of David, and many of the members of the Sanhedrin throughout the land were not Levites or Cohanim, but political appointees. In the writings of Josephus, he records that Caiaphas was made high priest by the Roman procurator Valerius Gratus after Simon ben Camithus had been deposed.

Maybe, now, we can better understand why there was no civil upheaval or rebellion against the Sanhedrin, and why the people were behind the call for Yeshua to be crucified.

The Judeans weren’t against Yeshua: they were obeying what is written in the Torah.

Talk about irony.

It was just the other day when I read that verse in Deuteronomy and the Ruach (Spirit) gave me this connection, and since then I am convinced that the people who did accept Yeshua as the Messiah were between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they knew he was sent by God and that rejecting him was tantamount to rejecting God; on the other hand, they knew that to disobey the Torah was also to reject God. There was no way they could win, so they went with what made the most sense at the time, and obeyed the Torah. This did, also, keep them from being socially ostracized and excommunicated from the temple.

Eventually, as we all know, the followers of Yeshua continued to grow, and as more Gentiles entered into salvation through Messiah Yeshua, the teachings of Yeshua became more polluted, misunderstood, and eventually mutated into the form of Christianity we have today, which is nothing like what Yeshua taught but what Constantine created in 325 C.E.

But that, my friends, is a different story.

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

Is Yeshua Really Our Savior?

Well, that’s an interesting question, isn’t it?

The obvious answer is: YES! Of course, he is- that’s what the Messiah is all about!

Didn’t you hear that he died for our sins?

Didn’t you read in Isaiah that he was wounded for our transgressions?

Didn’t he, himself, say that the only way to the Father is through him?

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Yes, I know all that, but let’s step back for a moment and let me ask you…who sent him? Is Yeshua really our savior or the tool of our true savior, God?

The Messiah is the one who brings us back into communion with God, who removes our sins so that we can come into the presence of the Lord, and he is the one God promised to send us throughout the Tanakh, in order to provide a means for us to have our sins forgiven.

At first, God provided for the removal of sin through the sacrificial system, where an innocent animal is killed as a substitute for the death we deserve for having committed the sin. Innocent blood shed in placement of our blood, which should be shed.

When the animal is sacrificed, it has died for our sins; it was wounded for our transgressions, and by it’s stripes we are healed.

Sound familiar?

So, is that sheep our Savior? Do we call upon the name of the bull we killed when we ask for forgiveness?

Of course not- they are just sacrificial animals. So why, then, if they died for our sins do we not call them our savior? The truth is, they were- if not for that animals’ death, we would have to die.

So, nu? What makes Yeshua’s actions any different from these animals?

The difference is that the animal didn’t choose to die for us, and Yeshua did.

He had the opportunity to reject his role as the Messiah, just as Jonah (initially) rejected his calling to save Nineveh. Yeshua could have decided that he didn’t want to be the Messiah and simply live out his life as a normal, although highly spiritual, man. And I believe, if that had happened, God would simply have created another Messiah, in the same way that he would have saved the Jews in Shushan, as Mordecai told Esther in the Megillah of Hadassah 4:14:

For if you fail to speak up now, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from a different direction;

However, as we all know, Yeshua did not reject his calling to be the Messiah, the tool through which God provided the chance for everyone in the world to be saved from the eternal consequences of their sin.

So, the answer to my original question, “Is Yeshua really our savior?” is “Yes”… and “No.”

Yes- what he did allows us to be forgiven of our sins. He did this voluntarily and of his own free will, and since the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem he has become our only means of salvation, which (by definition) makes him our savior.

But the original provider of this means of salvation is God, who divinely created, sent and empowered Yeshua to be the Messiah, so the answer to the question is also “No”, because if not for God there would be no way to be forgiven of our sins, at all. In fact, God is really the only one who can forgive sin. Yes, Yeshua had that authority when he was performing his ministry on earth, but now that his role is to be our Intercessor, he doesn’t forgive us but asks his father to forgive us because we are his sheep, and because he shed his blood for us.

Yeshua doesn’t forgive our sins- only God does. And if you’re not sure about that, then find the biblical passage that says the Messiah sits on the Throne of Judgment in heaven.

Now, there, there…don’t get all confused, and don’t worry that you have to change your beliefs about Yeshua being the savior of the world, because he is. But God is the ultimate power and authority, to whom Yeshua humbly submits (which he made clear throughout the Gospels), therefore God is our Savior because he sent Yeshua, who gave his human life so we could have eternal life.

Yeshua saved us when he gave his life as a substitution for ours, providing the pathway to salvation, but this was only possible because God sent him, which means our real savior is God.

God is the ultimate Savior of the world, and when we individually accept Yeshua as our Messiah, he becomes our personal savior.

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

The Bible Confirms that the Torah Is Still Valid for Christians

I know, I know…so many of you are saying, “He’s wrong! Paul said that Jesus did away with the law, and the Elders in Jerusalem said Christians only had to do 4 things in their letter in Acts 15, and besides that, I have always been told that the Torah is just for Jews.”

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Well, that is what you have been told, but you have also been told there is an Easter Bunny, Santa Claus knows what you do better than Big Brother does and that someone from the government is here to help you.

First of all, Paul was a really important and influential man, but he wasn’t and still isn’t, God. Much of what is included in the New Covenant is not from God through Paul, but from Paul to the people in the congregations he started who were having interpersonal and spiritual problems. His letters are not so much divinely inspired instructions as they are his way of teaching ex-pagans how to live in accordance with God’s instructions in the Torah, which is how Paul lived his entire life. Paul sent them little bits and pieces of what they will eventually need to know.

And as for the letter from the Elders to the newly converting (to Judaism) Gentiles, in Acts 15:19-21, James suggested not to put too much of a burden on the Gentiles converting to Judaism and finishes his recommendation to send those 4 requirements with the statement that Moses has been read every Shabbat in the synagogues. That statement clearly means that these newly converting pagans are expected to be worshiping now with the Jews in the synagogues every Shabbat, and there they will learn the rest of the Torah. The 4 requirements were not the total of what Gentiles need to do, it was just the first steps.

OK, so let’s get to what the Bible says to prove that the Torah is still valid, which means be obeyed to the best of one’s abilities, for Christians as well as Jews. In fact, these instructions are for anyone who professes to believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and who has accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah. And before anyone argues that no one can do everything in the Torah, let’s all agree that this is true. And even more, there are some requirements in the Torah only appropriate for a select class, such as women or farmers, or priests. When I say “obey the Torah”, I mean whatever instructions are appropriate for you.

What I am going to do is to take things that God said, as well as what some of the Disciples said, and put them together to form this proof. Before anyone accuses me of taking things out of context in order to create my own interpretation, these sentences will be pulled out of their paragraph, but their intent and meaning are not going to be any different than the original context.

We start with Genesis 22:18, where God told Abraham- “And through your offspring all nations of the earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Later, In Exodus 19:5-7 God tells Moses this about the Israelites, the descendants of Abraham- “Now if you will pay careful attention to what I say and keep my covenant, then you will be my own treasure from among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you will be a kingdom of cohanim (Ed.-priests) for me, a nation set apart.’

Before we go on, let’s clarify something. When God said that the Jews (that’s easier to type than Israelites) were to be a nation of priests, what is it that the priest does? This is essential to understand because the priest, rabbi, minister, whatever does more than just run the weekly service or visit the sick. The priest is the intercessor between us and God, in that he or she serves God by learning what it is that God wants from us and teaching their flock how to live their lives, through example (hopefully), in the way that God wants them to live. The priest is God’s representative on earth to the people and is required to lead us to the proper worship and lifestyle God demands.

Okay, so where were we? Oh, yeah- so far God has told Abraham that his descendants, or even better, let’s say children (here’s the spoiler alert- that includes adopted children) will be a blessing to the world, and he told Moses that the Jews would be God’s nation of priests.

Next, in Deuteronomy 28, the entire chapter is devoted to detailing all the blessings the people who obey God’s instructions, i.e. what is in the Torah, will receive for obedience. It also defines what happens to those who don’t obey, and I’ll tell you this- it ain’t good.

What we have up to now is that God told Abraham his children will be a blessing to the world and told Moses that these children are to be a nation of priests (to the world) and that when they obey God they will receive blessings. This means as priests they will learn to live as God says (in the Torah) and when, as priests, they teach others to do so they all receive blessings.

God says in Exodus 12:49– “The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.” which indicates that those who choose to be part of the Nation of Israel, either spiritually or geographically, will be treated just as a native-born, which means protected by the law and, conversely, required to obey that same law.

And now we tie this all together with what Shaul says in Galatians 3:29– “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Let’s put this all together:

  1. The children of Abraham will be a blessing to the world;
  2. The children of Abraham will be God’s nation of priests to the world;
  3. Those who obey the Torah will be blessed;
  4. Anyone who lives with the Jews is expected to obey the Torah (same law for all);
  5. Anyone who belongs to Messiah Yeshua is an adopted child of Abraham.

There you have it! Anyone who professes to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah is grafted into the nation of Israel and an adopted son or daughter of Abraham. As such, God has stated that that person is to be required to obey the law the same as a native-born Jew, and is also a priest to the world, who is expected by God to live and teach others to live in accordance with the instructions God gave to us through Moses, which are in the Torah.

And when that person, now an adopted child of Abraham and a priest to the world, obeys God and teaches others to do so, they will all receive blessings and be a blessing to the world.

However, as the later part of Deuteronomy 28 states, if that person rejects God’s instructions they will be cut off from their people and cursed.

If you profess to accept Yeshua as your Messiah, then you are, as stated in the Bible, an adopted child of Abraham and a priest to the world, required by God to live in accordance with his instructions in the Torah and to teach others to do so.

If you reject the Torah then you have rejected God, and by doing so you will be cut off from your people, which translates to having thrown away the gift of salvation you received when you said you accepted Yeshua.

I am not making this stuff up-it is all here in the Bible! So please!- reconsider whatever lies you may have been told that absolve you from obeying the Torah. They are from people who most likely didn’t know they were leading you down the path of destruction; these traditional Christian teachings are the blind leading the blind and have been passed down, generation to generation, for millennia.

Now you have good sound biblical reasons to question them.

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

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.

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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!

Forgiveness of Sin Requires More Than Just a Sacrifice

The Sacrificial System was designed by God. In Leviticus, Chapters 1 through 7, he tells us the different types of sacrifices and how each is to be performed. Throughout the Torah, God tells us other aspects of the sacrifices, and unless someone reads the first 7 chapters of Leviticus, as well as the places in Numbers where God reviews how sacrifices are to be made, you cannot fully understand how forgiveness of sin is accomplished.

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To understand why a sacrifice isn’t enough, we first need to understand the different sacrifices.

There are 4 main types of sacrifice: a sacrifice for sin, one for guilt, one that is a wholly burned sacrifice, and the Fellowship, or Thanksgiving sacrifice. I am not going to do a treatise on these today, but suffice it to say that these are the main types, and the only one of these where the person bringing the sacrifice gets to eat of it is the Thanksgiving sacrifice.

In fact, that is how the archaeologists knew they had found the place in Shiloh where the Tent of Meeting Moses constructed had been kept. I was told this by the guide who took us to Shiloh when I was there in 2016: they found a high spot that was devoid of any relics, but all around it there were hundreds of broken shards of plates. That indicated this is where the Sanctuary was because when you brought the Thanksgiving sacrifice you were required to eat of it there, in front of the altar and because the food was holy, the plates used became holy. As such, they were not allowed to be used with the common foods again, so the people broke them after eating the holy food.

The sin and guilt sacrifices required more than just a single animal sacrifice. There are a few places in the Torah where we are told that forgiveness comes from the sin offering, but there is also the requirement for a burnt offering and a Thanksgiving offering, which is the final act and represents communion with God, sort of like inviting him to dinner. That is why it is eaten by the Cohen and the one offering it, at the front of the Sanctuary to represent it is done in God’s presence.

The forgiveness of sin is a 5 step process:

  1. You must commit a sin. After all, what’s to be forgiven if you’ve done nothing wrong?
  2. You must acknowledge you have sinned. I have known of too many people who are sinning and refuse to admit it. You can never be forgiven of a sin if you don’t ask, and if you tell yourself you haven’t sinned, well, obviously you won’t feel any need to ask for forgiveness.
  3. You must repent of that sin and do T’shuvah, which means to turn away from the desire to sin. I have known too many people who sin, know that they are sinning, but make excuses. It is as I have often said: I used to be a sinner who rationalized my sins, but now I am a sinner who regrets my sins. God will not forgive a sinner who doesn’t repent of their sins.
  4. You bring a sacrifice to the place where God put his name, which was the temple in Jerusalem, place your hands upon the sacrifice and confess your sins, which by doing so transfers them onto the animal, which is then ritually slaughtered and by the shedding of that innocent blood you are then cleansed of your sin.
  5. You ask for forgiveness. That’s right- you still need to ask to be forgiven, by reason of the innocent blood that was shed on your behalf.

When Yeshua sacrificed himself, he didn’t do away with this process, but he did change it somewhat: Yeshua’s sacrifice replaced the 4th step, which is the need to bring an animal to be sacrificed on the altar at the temple. And good thing that he did, too, because the temple was destroyed in 73 AD and from that point on, without Yeshua we would have no means to be forgiven of our sins.

So you see, to be forgiven of sin requires more than just a sacrifice. We must first and foremost acknowledge and repent of the sin, we must also do T’shuvah, which was represented by the burnt offering, and then we must ask forgiveness, now not by means of a animal sacrifice but through the shed blood of the Messiah, Yeshua.

We can’t perform the burnt or Thanksgiving sacrifices, but that is not a sin because it isn’t our fault: there is no temple to bring the sacrifice to. But, then again, Yeshua’s sacrifice is not just for sin but is also a thanksgiving sacrifice because when we accept him as our Messiah we can come back into communion with God.

To be forgiven of sin is more than just believing in Yeshua or asking to be forgiven: you must also repent in your heart, do T’shuvah in your heart and actions, and rededicate yourself to obeying God with each and every sin you ask forgiveness from.

The animal sacrifice is just one part of the process of being forgiven for the sins we commit. The sacrifice Yeshua made is of no use to anyone if it isn’t accompanied with confession of one’s sins, repentance, and a heartfelt and honest rededication to obeying God’s instructions for how we are to worship him and treat each other.

And those instructions aren’t in the New Covenant, they are in the Torah.

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That’s it for now, 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.

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

What does “Believe in Jesus” Mean?

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

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

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

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

I don’t think so!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t you agree?

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

What Is the New Wine Yeshua Talks About?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they have even rejected and ignored some of those!

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

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

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

So, nu? Which wine do you drink?

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

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

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