The “Old” Heroes are Fallible but the “New” Heroes are Perfect.

What am I talking about when I say the “old” and the “new”?

I am talking about the Old Covenant, that “Jewish” Bible, and the New Covenant, the “Christian” Bible.

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For those of you who know me and are members of this ministry (thank you for subscribing and sharing), you know that I consider both of these to be one book, one Bible talking about one God who sent one Messiah. From Genesis through Revelation, it is all the same.

Except it isn’t, really, when we consider how the heroes in these different sections of the Bible are treated.

One thing I have seen repeated often in my studies (over the past 25 or more years) is that scholars state one way we can be certain of the truth of the Tanakh is that its heroes are not perfect.

What they mean is that if we really wanted to “sell” people on how wonderful it is when you worship God, then everyone would be like Superman- always truthful, always dependable, fighting for truth, justice, and God’s way.

But let’s look closer:

  • Adam and Eve both disobeyed God
  • Cain killed his brother
  • Noah got drunk and exposed himself
  • Abraham pimped his wife- twice! (Genesis 12 and 20)
  • Isaac pimped his wife once (Genesis 26)
  • Jacob took advantage of his brother to get his birthright
  • Jacob lied to his father, and it was his mother’s idea
  • The patriarchs of 11 of the 12 tribes of Israel tried to kill their brother
  • Moses tried to weasel out of accepting God’s calling
  • Jonah tried to avoid saving Nineveh
  • Esther didn’t want to approach the king for fear of her life (it wasn’t until Mordecai told her she wouldn’t escape the slaughter that she finally said she would approach the king)
  • David murdered his friend in order to steal his wife

And that’s just off the top of my head!

But, when we look in the New Covenant, we read that the Apostles are oh-so-perfect!

Well, OK, Judas Ischariot was the bad guy, but that’s it.

The other Apostles are treated like saints (pun intended). No one ever does anything wrong, no one ever makes a mistake, they are perfect in every way.

And when it comes to Shaul, gee…he starts off as a bad guy, then he does t’shuvah (turning from sin) and saves thousands of people by converting nearly all of the Middle East. What a man!

We know that each and every book in the Bible has been written by men and translated into hundreds of languages by men. If you ask me, of all the books in the Bible, the Torah (the first 5 books) is the most dependable of all as far as being close to what God actually said. In fact, this is the only place throughout the entire Bible where we are told that God told someone to tell the people what they must do.

But you might say “Wait a minute! He also did that with the Prophets.” And I would agree he did talk directly to the prophets, but he only told them to tell the people to return to doing what he already told us to do in the Torah. There were no new commandments or laws ever given to a Prophet.

My point in all this is to say that if the scholars are right (and I agree with them) in saying that one proof of the validity of the stories we read in the Bible is that the people we read about have human frailties and human desires, then there has to be some question as to the divine influence of the New Covenant writings. The only “bad” people in there are the ones who were against Yeshua or his disciples and followers. But everyone who believed in Yeshua was good, never sinning or making mistakes or even saying anything wrong.

Yeah, OK, except Judas- we already covered that.

I see the same thing in so many Christian churches, preaching about all God will do for you, and never talking about what you have to do for God. It’s a sugar-coated salvation, making it seem that heaven is a “Come-As-You-Are” party for anyone who believes in Jesus, is a “good” person (remember that Yeshua said the only one who is good is God-Mark 10:8), and who loves others as themselves.

Sorry, but that isn’t how it works.

Yes, salvation is free; and yes, salvation can’t be taken away from you (but you can throw it away); and yes, God loves you and is not just willing, but desires to forgive you (Ezekiel 18:23).

BUT– and this is a truth that you rarely hear from any church- salvation is hard to keep.

So, what am I saying about the New Covenant? I am saying that because there are no imperfect heroes that I believe it is not all divinely influenced.

I do accept that the New Covenant is a trustworthy narrative of the life of Yeshua, and that the letters written by the Apostles and the Book of Acts is also trustworthy as a historical record, and I believe the New Covenant (at least, parts of it) should be included in the Bible.

But it isn’t God’s direct word, dictated to a prophet or intermediary, changing anything he already said in the Tanakh. In fact, the only place we are told God speaks in the New Covenant is Matthew 17:5, the transformation on the mountain where all God said was “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”.

There are no new commandments, and the ones we already have are still valid for everyone who accepts Yeshua as their Messiah and, as such, becomes grafted onto the Tree of Life and an adopted child of Abraham.

My opinion is that the majority of the New Covenant, because it was put together between 200 AD and sometime in the 5th Century, long after the gentile leadership had separated themselves from the Jewish forms of worship that Yeshua, his disciples, and the original Jewish and gentile believers in the First Century practiced, should be considered as one of the “writings” (Ketuvim in Hebrew), such as Esther, Psalms, Proverbs, Kings, Chronicles, and the other books of the Tanakh that are not directly the result of what God told someone to say.

I am probably pushing a lot of defensive buttons with this message, and I pray that it shocks some of you into thinking that maybe, just maybe, you should read the New Covenant (especially the Epistles) anew, with an open mind, not already knowing what they mean, to see if you might agree (at least, a little) with what I am saying.

I am not saying the New Covenant is untrustworthy or that is shouldn’t be part of the Bible, only that it should be read and understood for what it is- the writings of men relating the early history of the Messiah and the accomplishments of his Disciples.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to this ministry on both my website and YouTube channel and join my discussion group on Facebook called “Just God’s Word” (please make sure you read and click that you accept the rules).

If you want to know more about how Christianity has changed who the Messiah is, read my latest book, “The Good News of the Messiah for Jews: Debunking the Traditional Lies about the Jewish Messiah“. It’s available on Amazon and through my website.

And remember, I always welcome your comments.

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

Let’s Review “The Name”

Of course, I am talking about the name of the Lord, the one and only, the creator of the universe, the Almighty, our shield and savior, our father in heaven…you know, that guy.

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

I have talked about the name of God, and what the word “name” represents many times. Yet, to those who insist that we must pronounce the Tetragrammaton, the 4 letters that make up the name God told Moses at the burning bush, as often as possible, no matter what I say or how many Bible scholars agree with what I say, they will still call out and use the Holy Name.

And how do they pronounce it? Well, I have heard no less than three different pronunciations, but I won’t repeat them because being Jewish, we Jews don’t even try to pronounce those 4 letters.

Recently, I was able to have a nice discussion about the very passage where God gives Moses his “name”, which he said is “אהיה אשר אהיה” (ehyeh asheh ehyeh, which means I am that I am”, although some translate it to “I will be that which I will be”), adding that Moses should tell the Israelites that “I am” sent him to them.

Now, let’s forget everything we think we know about the name of God, and look at this passage: is “I am that I am” a name? No, not really; to me, it is more of a condition. God is not giving a name, like Tom, Dick, or Steven, but he is telling Moses that he is eternal: he is what he is. He never was anything else, and he never will be anything else, he just…is.

I think God did this because there isn’t any way for mortal minds to comprehend eternity, so instead of a name, as we know what a name is, this eternal, omniscient, omnipotent entity gave Moses a descriptive statement to help us know more of what he is than to tell us what to call him.

I just found an interesting note in the Tikkun when I was researching a reply to someone who commented on a video I had done called “What Constitutes Using God’s Name in Vain?”

What I found was that in Exodus 3:14-15, when God tells Moses that he will be known as “The God of your Fathers: the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”, and that this is how he wants to be remembered forever, the Hebrew word “forever” is spelled differently than other places it is used.

In Hebrew, forever is spelled לעולם, but in this passage it is spelled without the vav- לעלם, which is a different word that means “hide”. That is why Judaism doesn’t pronounce the name of God: the Rabbis say that based on this spelling in the Torah, God is saying that the Tetragrammaton is to remain hidden. That is why he said that the “forever” way to know him is as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

When we read in the Bible the term “call on the name of the Lord”, or any reference to “the name of the Lord”, when taken in proper context and historical usage of that term, the word “name” doesn’t mean the Tetragrammaton, but refers to the reputation and renown of the Lord.

If you ask me, even the word “God” doesn’t really count as a name, but more of a description. God our savior, God our shield, God our provider….none of these are names, they are descriptions of who he is and his relationship to us.

The only reason anyone or anything needs to have a name is to be able to identify it from other things that are the same.

For instance, if I have a cat, I can call it “cat”, which is a description of its specie. But, if I have two cats, I can’t call each one “cat” because they wouldn’t know which one of them I was referring to when I call for one.

Of course, we’re talking about cats, so they don’t care what I call them- they won’t come, anyway.

The point is, each cat would need to have a different name to identify one from the other.

When it comes to God, there is no other- he is totally unique. Separate, exclusive, different from anything or anyone else that exists, so there really isn’t even a need for him to have a name- “God” works as a descriptive identifier of him for all intents and purposes.

God is not his name, neither is HaShem (Hebrew for “the name”), neither is Adonai (Hebrew for “lord”, used as a title of authority), or Jehovah (which is the Tetragrammaton letters with the vowel points for the word Adonai added to create a specific pronunciation). Yahweh is another pronunciation that is essentially the same as Jehovah, only using the more ancient pronunciation of the vav (ו) as a “w” sound instead of a “v” sound.

So, if you write God as G-d, or G.d, I appreciate the fact that you are showing respect for his name, but God isn’t his name. I used to write G-d all the time, then I realized that writing G-o-d wasn’t in danger of using his name in vain because, well, G-o-d isn’t a name: it is a title. I do capitalize the “G” to differentiate him from false gods, which get a small case “g”. Other than that, even using the text shortcut “OMG” to mean “Oh my God”, I don’t see a real problem with that in that we are not using his name in vain. If you think it is wrong, it isn’t really your issue- that would be between them and God.

Besides, OMG could easily mean “Oh My Gosh”, or “Oh My Goodness’, depending on what the writer was thinking at the time they used it. If you see it, and don’t feel comfortable with the “Oh My God” version, then don’t read it that way and you will be “safe”.

So, I use “G-o-d” without fear of insulting or disrespecting he who is the God of my fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And let me tell you this: I am happy to use the word God because it is much easier to write than the entire description he gave Moses.

However, when I hear people throw God’s Holy Name around like they were drinking buddies, I do find that disrespectful.

Would you call the President by his first name if you met him? I certainly hope not because that would be disrespectful

Would you call your favorite teacher by his or her first name if you met them? Unless they told you you could, that would also be disrespectful.

Even though people wouldn’t address an important human using their first name, out of respect for them, they find no problem using God’s Holy Name so easily. And, more than that, many say God commanded them to do this!

I can’t tell you what to do, but for me, I will keep the Tetragrammaton hidden, as the Rabbis have said we should, and feel comfortable using God, or haShem, Adonai, or Lord (with a capital “L”) without restraint.

Maybe you agree, maybe you disagree, so I will leave you with this, my friends: we will all meet God one day, and when you do, do you want to have to explain why you used his Holy Name so easily?

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Also subscribe to this ministry on both my website and my YouTube channel. Please buy my books and I always welcome your comments.

Oh, yeah- next time you’re on Facebook (as if anyone ever really gets off of it), please join my discussion group called “Just God’s Word”, but make sure you read and agree to the rules.

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

PS: Happy 246th Birthday to my Unites States Marine Corps! Uh-Rah!

Earn a Blessed Day

“Wait a minute, Steve! Don’t you mean ‘Have a blessed day’?”

No, I don’t.

When I say to someone “have a blessed day”, that really doesn’t mean anything, since it is God who gives blessings, not me. I may wish them to have a blessed day, but I have no power to fulfill that wish.

But…if I say to earn a blessed day, I am reminding that person they have the power to make sure they receive a blessing.

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

“Wait a minute, Steve- again! Don’t you know that we can never earn salvation?”

Yes, I do, but I am not talking about salvation, I am talking about blessings.

True, salvation is the greatest blessing of them all, but what about all the other blessings God can give? Such as traveling mercies, good health for yourself, being able to have healthy children, financial stability, being in loving relationships, and protection from evil.

Did you know God tells us we can earn those blessings?

If you didn’t know that, then read Deuteronomy, Chapter 28.

Now, many Christians have been taught that they do not have to obey God’s Torah. That is not true, and not validated by anything in the Old or New Covenants; at least, not when the passages traditionally used to validate that lie are properly interpreted using Hermeneutics, Circles of Context, and cultural understanding of the way people communicated at that time.

(If you would like to learn more about how to properly interpret the Bible, I have done an entire teaching series on that topic; if you are interested, click on this link: How to Properly Interpret the Bible).

So, now you might be thinking “If I have been told I don’t have to obey God’s Torah, but God said if I don’t I will be cursed (you need to read the entire chapter), what should I do?”

Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that my recommendation is that you obey God and not what some religion tells you. Does this mean you have to convert to Judaism? No. It just means you have to obey God, which does mean you have to read the Torah to see how God wants you to worship him and treat others.

The Torah isn’t just commandments, it is a way of life. The New Covenant God promises (which is Jeremiah 31:31) is that he will place his Torah (which means learning) on our hearts, and that is what Yeshua (Jesus) was doing when he taught us the deeper, spiritual meaning of the laws.

The Pharisees were only teaching the literal meaning, or plain language of the law. They said don’t kill, but Yeshua said don’t even hate in your heart; they said don’t commit adultery, but Yeshua taught don’t even lust with your eyes.

Can you see now? Yeshua didn’t change the law- Yeshua changed our understanding of how to fulfill it.

So, it is up to you to decide if you will be more obedient to what God says, or to stay in your comfort zone and do what some religion tells you to do. And, since nearly every Christian denomination teaches its followers they don’t have to do what God says in the Torah, which is the same as rejecting God, you might want to consider how God feels about that.

And especially consider how Yeshua feels about it- imagine, teaching that the Son of God told people to ignore the laws of his Father in Heaven, essentially placing Yeshua in the same light as rebellious Absalom who tried to wrest the kingdom from his father.

So, I don’t know about you, but I am going to start to tell people to “Earn a blessed day”, and if they ask me what I mean, I’ll tell them about Deuteronomy 28.

Who knows- maybe I can help them receive more blessings than they ever could before?

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to my website (while you’re there, buy my books) and also to my YouTube channel. Next time you are on Facebook, join my group called “Just God’s Word” (but please read and make sure you agree to the rules).

And I always welcome your comments.

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

Ran Into Another Replacement Theologist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does the name Hosea ring a bell?

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

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

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

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

It means you’re dead wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Celebrate Yom Kippur If We Are Already Saved?

That’s a good question- why should we celebrate Yom Kippur when we have already been saved by the blood of Yeshua the Messiah?

Well, the obvious answer is…because God said we should. Duh!

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

Christianity has taught that salvation is something akin to a “Come as you are” party- all you have to do is believe in Jesus (whatever that is supposed to mean), love your neighbor (again- what’s that mean?) and be a good person (even Yeshua refused to be called “good”, so how can we be good?).

Do all that and you get to go to heaven.

However, the Bible doesn’t even confirm we go to heaven, since Revelation tells us we will be on the new Earth.

So, with all that Christianity has told us that we need to do, which the Bible doesn’t really confirm, if you want to do what pleases God then it makes sense the best thing to do is go back to the beginning and start all over again, correctly, by learning what God said he wants us to do, and then doing that.

And when you get to Leviticus Chapter 23, you will see that God demands we afflict our souls (generally believed to mean fasting) on the 10th of Tishri, which is from sundown to sundown.

Yes, it’s true, because of Yeshua’s sacrifice we can have our sins forgiven, which is (after all) what being “saved” means- we are saved from the eternal consequences of the sins we commit. Otherwise, come Judgement Day, we will be told we cannot be in God’s presence throughout eternity.

Whatever hell is, whether it is a hot place with little demons stabbing you in the tuchas with pitchforks, or a cold and dark place where people gnash their teeth, or having to sit in the US Senate during a filibuster, the bottom line is that hell is not the place you want to spend eternity.

Of course, Christianity has gone out of the way to reject every single one of God’s Holy Days, and replace them with man-made holidays that are pagan rituals rebranded to celebrate Yeshua instead of the pagan gods they originally were about.

And you now what? That’s OK, as far as I am concerned, because when something is recreated in a way that honors God or his Messiah, I figure that is acceptable. After all, weren’t we all sinners deserving of death?

Yet, when we accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as our Messiah, confessed and repented of our sins asking forgiveness by means of Yeshua’s sacrifice, weren’t we recreated as new beings?

Even though we are essentially the same person, physically, we are spiritually a new creation, right?

And, as a new creation, what we were before is no longer held against us. So, why not apply that same forgiveness and acceptance to holidays that used to be sinful, but are now recreated to be honoring God and Messiah?

But, then again, that’s a different message, so let’s get back to Yom Kippur.

I fast during this Holy Day (I define a Holy Day as one commanded by God, whereas a holiday is a man-made ceremony) and I read my machzor (special prayer book for the High Holy Day celebrations), I pray and I reflect.

I am not associated with any synagogue right now, so I do this on my own.

In case you didn’t know, Yom Kippur is not a pilgrimage celebration, so no one has to be in synagogue. Only Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot require us to be in a holy convocation at the place where God put his name. Of course, no one can go there now because the temple Solomon built is no longer there, and that is the last place God put his name.

To be honest, I do watch TV during the day while I am afflicting my soul. And let me tell you this, here and now- there is no greater affliction than watching TV while fasting because every other stinkin’ commercial is about food!

So, as always, I won’t tell you what you should do, and I can’t speak for God (Job’s friends learned how much God doesn’t like that), but I believe it is safe to say that God would much rather you do what he says than what some Pope or Rabbi or Minister tells you to do.

Fast, or don’t fast- it’s up to you. But if you decide not to fast, remember that one day you will have to explain to God why you rejected his commandment.

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

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

Oh, yes, I almost forgot to wish you the traditional Yom Kippur greeting…may you have an easy fast.

I Am Not Religious

It may seem silly, my saying that I am not religious, when I read the Bible every day, pray constantly, and especially since I have this ministry.

But, yet, I tell you, here and now and with conviction, that I am not religious.

So, nu, if I’m not religious, then what am I?

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

The way I prefer to identify myself is as a God-fearing man.

I don’t want to say “a worshipful man” because that could be misunderstood, since there are so many wrong things in the world that people worship.

But religious? Nah- not a chance!

Why do I not want to be called religious, when so many people identify “religious” as a person who worships God?

It’s because most every Judeo-Christian religion I have ever encountered worships the religion more than it worships the one that religion was created to worship.

And, as I have said over and over, a million times: God has no religion!

Yeshua chided the Pharisees for creating man-made traditions that took precedence over what God commanded. Now, as I have said many times, this is not a condemnation of all traditions- no! It is condemning only those traditions which are treated as more important than what God said to do.

Religion, whether one of the plethora of Christian religions or one of the six different sects within Judaism, all pay more attention to their traditions, man-made rituals, man-made holidays, etc., than they do to what God said we should do.

Yes, even in Judaism, which is based on God’s Torah, we have many Talmudic traditions and regulations that far exceed what God, himself, said we should do and are considered as important as if God told it to Moses.

(Actually, the Talmud is considered to be the Oral Law, meaning commandments that God gave Moses but he did not write down, instead passing them down throughout the generations orally.)

For example, there is only a certain distance you can walk on the Shabbat.

There are two different sets of dishes, one for dairy and one for meat. And in some houses, there is a third set used solely for Pesach (Passover).

In some of the Orthodoxy, the husband and wife are separated in their bed by a sheet when performing intimate activities.

In Chasidic and Orthodox synagogues, the women sit in an upper chamber and the men in the lower chamber where the Torah is kept, or on different sides of the building, separated by a curtain.

And there are many other traditional requirements and even superstitions that are too many to list here.

Now, as for Christianity, I could on and on about their man-made holidays being celebrated while God-commanded Holy Days are totally ignored, or how the Torah is taught to be outdated, or many other things that are man-made commandments which totally ignore almost all of God’s commandments.

Not to mention there are dozens of Christian religions, all professing to worship the same God, but all with different ways to worship him.

So, am I “religious”, meaning to almost everyone that I follow the regulations and credos of a religion?

NO! I am NOT!

I worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and obey his instructions in the Torah to the best of my abilities. I am a God-fearing Jewish man, who if I have to identify my belief system, would call myself a Messianic Jew, but even within the Messianic Jewish community, there are some 5 different organizations, each with different ideas:

Chosen People Ministries; Messianic Jewish Alliance of America; Jews for Jesus; Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations; and Messianic Jewish Fellowship International.

Personally, I would not include Jews for Jesus because that is not a religious group, so to speak; it is actually a corporation with a corporate mission to introduce Yeshua to Jews.

So, if you believe that religion is more about itself than it is about God, then do as I do and stop saying you are “religious”.

When someone asks you what religion you are, say this:

I am a God-fearing person who worships and obeys the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah he promised to send.

Yeah, I know, it’s more of a mouthful than just saying “I’m religious”, but it is accurate and properly identifies who is most important to you.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books and share these messages with everyone you know. Next time you are on Facebook, join my group called “Just God’s Word” (please read and agree to the rules), and remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

Some Rosh Hashanah Factoids

With the High Holy Days upon us, I thought I would go over some of the Jewish traditions regarding Rosh Hashanah.

Remember, even though Yeshua chided the Pharisees about man-made traditions, he wasn’t against all traditions- only those specific ones that were given precedence over what God said we should do. Not every tradition is bad, only those that men have created which are given more importance than the instructions God gave us.

There won’t be any video today, and I hope that you find this lesson interesting.

(I am getting most of todays information from a great 2-volume set that I recommend for anyone who wants to really get to know what being Jewish is all about, called “The Jewish Book of Why”, written by Alfred J. Kolatch.)

You may notice that I always specify “Holy Day” from “holiday”. This is because I differentiate between celebrations that God commanded from celebrations that are man-made.

The first thing I want to say, which is not from the book I referenced but from the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 23:23-25, is that the Holy Day we now call Rosh Hashanah is actually called Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) and is commanded to be observed by God in this manner (from the CJB):

Adonai said to Moshe,  “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar.  Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai.’”

This 10-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called the Ten Days of Awe, in which we look, introspectively, at ourselves to confess how short we have fallen from the way God wants us to live. It is a time to remember the past year, and prepare ourselves, emotionally ands spiritually, for Yom Kippur.

One of the things we do is to go to everyone who we think we may have transgressed against over the past year, and ask them for forgiveness. This may sound familiar, as Yeshua told us if a brother has anything against us, we should leave our offering at the altar and first go make things right with that person (Matthew 5:23-4).

Another tradition is a ceremony called Tashlich (casting off). This is performed when standing by fresh, running water; we throw a rock, or sometimes people throw bread crumbs, into the water praying that just as the rock sinks or the crumbs are carried away, so should our sins be taken away from us for this new year.

Even though this is considered the new year (Rosh Hashannah means “head of the year”), there are actually other new year days.

The “civil” new year is the first of Nissan, which back then was called Aviv. This is the day that God commanded should be the first day of the calendar (Exodus 12:2). Rosh Hashanah, the first day of Tishri, is considered the “religious” new year. Each of these two celebrations coincide with a harvest.

The Talmud refers to other new years, one for royalty (the first of Nissan); one for agriculture (the first of Tishri); one for the tithing of cattle (the first of Elul); and the fourth as a new year for trees (the first of Shevat).

The Bible calls for just one day of celebrating this Holy Day, but we now celebrate it or two days. The reason is because this is the only Holy Day that falls on a New Moon. The announcement of the new moon was based on three witnesses in Jerusalem seeing the moon, then messengers were sent to light signal fires to let the outer cities in Israel know the new moon has arrived. Sometimes these messengers were late, so it was decided that we would celebrate this day over a 2-day period, but consider it as one, long day.

The Rabbis did this a lot in the Talmud- they kinda made up their own rules.

The shofar is blown some 100 times on Rosh Hashannah. The Talmud gives a rather mystical reason, that by doing so we scare off Satan, so he won’t be able to bring any charges against the Jewish people before God on the Day of Atonement.

The traditional reading on this day is called the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac. This is Genesis, Chapter 22, and is considered to be one of the many messianic passages in the Torah.

Here is something I’m sure you will find interesting: Rosh Hashanah never falls on a Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday. The reason for this is that when the Jewish calendar was issued by Hillel II in 359 C.E., it was arranged so that the Holy Days would not interfere with the Shabbat observance, or vice-versa.

The reason we use a rams horn instead of a cow horn is to honor the ram that Abraham sacrificed on Mount Moriah after the angel stopped him from killing Isaac.

The shofar blasts are composed of three different notes called Tekia, Terua, and Shevarim. The Tekia is a single blast, the Terua is 9 staccato blasts, and the Shevarim (introduced in the Talmud in Rosh Hashanah 33b) is three undulating blasts. There is an additional blast, the Tekia Gedolah, which is a long, suspended note. There is a traditional sequence for sounding them, the entre sequence is done three times after a prayer is recited, and the prayer is recited three times during the service (which can last from a few hours to 7 hours, depending on the sect of Judaism).

The notes are sounded in this order:


tekia-shevarim-tekia; and


With the final sequence, in some synagogues, they also sound the tekia gedolah.

The total number of shofar blasts is to be 100.

A white garment called a kittle is worn to represent humility and purity. We also wear this on Yom Kippur.

Some food is also specific to this day. The Challah bread, usually braided, is round to represent eternity, which has no beginning and no end. I t also represents the cyclic nature of life.

We serve carrot tzimmes, a sweet carrot and honey dish to represent the hopes for a sweet new year.

Another food to represent hopes for a sweet new year are apples dipped in honey and the serving of honey cake ( I LOVE honey cake!).

Finally, let’s do one more tradition: many Jews avoid eating nuts on this day. Why? Because of Jewish superstition (yes, there are many superstitions in Judaism). Hebrew letters also have a numerical value, so a Hebrew word can be given a number value, which is similar to Numerology. The Hebrew word for nut is “egoz“, which has the same numerical value as the Hebrew word chet, which is sin. Therefore, we do not want the new year to have any association with sin.

Nutty, isn’t it?

So there you have it! There are even more traditions regarding this Holy Day, but this is enough for now. You can get the book I told you about above and learn all about Jewish thought, superstition, traditions, and beliefs.

The Shabbat begins tonight, so Shabbat Shalom, and come Sunday night I wish you all:

Leshanah tovah tikatevu!

(May you be inscribed for a good year)

Let’s Talk About the Name of the Lord

We’ve been over this, again and again, so let’s go over it one more time.

The Tetragrammaton, the four-letter word that God told Moses, is God’s Holy Name, and how it is used in speech and prayer should honor God.

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

Yet, there are some who use his Holy Name as if it was just any ordinary name, like Tom or Dick or even Steve. They also condemn anyone who doesn’t use it.

They are called (and it probably isn’t the nicest appellation) “Holy Namers”, and that is because they constantly use the Hebrew name of God, those 4 Hebrew letters called the Tetragrammaton. That name is composed of the letters Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh (יהוה), and has been pronounced in any number of different ways.

And their justification for this is when the Bible uses the term “Call on the Name” or “The name of the Lord”, they take that out of context, both written and cultural, to mean using the Tetragrammaton.

Now, as a Jewish man I never even try to pronounce that name because it is God’s Holy Name, and Jews don’t pronounce it out of respect for God.

Many Christians, especially the Holy Namers, must think that they are on a first-name basis with the Lord, God, Almighty; addressing him as if he was one of their human friends.

If you met a world leader, would you call that person by their first name?

If you met the CEO of the company you work for, would you call him or her by their first name?

If you met a teacher that you highly respected from your past, would you call that person by their first name?

I hope not- that would be disrespectful, wouldn’t it?

So what makes anyone think they are on such a high, spiritual level that they can address God by his first name?

This is the very reason why Jews do not pronounce God’s name, but instead substitute Adonai (which means “Lord”), or HaShem (which means “the name), or Elohim or Shaddai (both different names for God, but not his actual name) whenever we come across the Tetragrammaton in the Tanakh.

We also feel that using God’s Holy Name is a violation of the 3rd Commandment.

Yet, despite these highly logical and respectful reasons for not pronouncing the Tetragrammaton, Holy Namers accuse us of being wrong by not pronouncing the name of God!

I think, and this is my own idea, that because Christians are brought up saying Jesus’s name all the time that they think it is also OK to use God’s Holy Name just as easily.

But, as for the term “the name of the Lord”, when used in the Bible almost always has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the Tetragrammaton.

The phrase “name of the Lord” refers to God’s reputation and his greatness. It represents his power, his goodness, his mercy, and everything else about God- everything, that is, but his actual name.

There are times when we do see his actual name being used, such as when Moses needed to use it to convince the people in Egypt that he was sent by God, but the need to pronounce the Tetragrammaton is rarely found in the Tanakh.

In the New Covenant it is almost completely missing, and the name that is referred to mostly is “Yeshua”. But even in the case where Yeshua says “in my name”, that doesn’t mean that we are to say “Yeshua”, or “Jesus” (which isn’t his name, to begin with) but to refer to his role as the Messiah.

So, look- if you want to call out the Holy Name of God, I won’t tell you it is wrong, and I never tell anyone what they should think, but I would ask you to consider what I have said about respecting God.

It isn’t a sin to respect God by referring to him as Lord or Sir (another usage of Adonai) or Elohim or Shaddai; but, it just may be disrespectful to address God as you would your drinking buddies.

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

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

Do We Really Have to Pray Everything in Yeshua’s Name?

In the Gospel of John, specifically John 14:13, Yeshua tells his disciples that whatever they ask for, when they ask it in his name, he will do. He said this is the way he will glorify his Father.

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

But does that mean every time we pray, no matter what the prayer, we have to do it in “the name of Yeshua”?

What about when we give thanks to God? Praying a thanksgiving prayer isn’t asking for anything, so I don’t reference Yeshua at all when I thank God for whatever I am being thankful for.

And that is usually everything- my marriage with Donna, my salvation through Messiah, the good health that Donna and I still have, financial comfort, a home, etc., ad infinitum.

And when I do ask for something important, such as forgiveness (which I do every day, whether I know I sinned or not, because I know I probably did sin, sometime), I ask by the blood of the Messiah, which is the means by which we receive forgiveness.

And if I am just talking with God (99.9% of the time I talk and he listens, but every now and then, I do get a message or an answer from him, which is always a quiet, still voice in the back of my head) I find no need to end it by referencing Yeshua.

And I do not pray to Yeshua. Even for those who believe he is also God, he is at this time sitting at God’s right hand and his role, in God’s own plan of salvation, is that of our Messiah. To pray to him is to ignore God, sitting to his left, and is, in truth, a form of idolatry.

Our salvation is not through Yeshua, but by means of the sacrifice he made: he is our Intercessor of prayer, not the Interceptor of it.

If you believe Yeshua, God, and the Holy Spirit are one-and-the-same entity, that doesn’t change the fact that Yeshua came to earth to be the Messiah- a separate being, and as such, to ignore his choice to be separate at this time is to ignore his sacrifice and, essentially, reject what he suffered through for you as Yeshua, the Messiah.

Think about that.

So, when you pray for something- and I don’t mean for nice weather or a new car, which is generally OK to pray for- and you want to pray “in Yeshua’s name” (which doesn’t mean to him, but to reference his sacrifice which made your salvation through forgiveness possible), then do so.

But if you are just thanking God, or talking with God, or having a drash with God over some biblical passage you can’t understand, don’t waste the power that Yeshua’s name has by using it when you don’t need to.

Use the power that Yeshua’s name gives you in prayer sparingly, respectfully, and effectively.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry grow. Subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books (available on my website and Amazon Books), and join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please make sure you read and agree to the rules).

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

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

Is the Akedah About Abrahams Faith or Isaac’s Obedience

We all know the story in Genesis 22, which we call the Akedah (binding), where Abraham obeys God’s demand that he sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah.

We also all know that this is all about testing Abraham’s faith.

Or, is it?

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

I had recently posted a message regarding the way Christianity has misrepresented Yeshua (Jesus) as more of an Absalom, a son who defied his father’s authority and rebelled to have people follow him, than an Isaac who obeyed his father’s wishes, even unto death.

That is when it “hit” me: yes, the Akedah is certainly a story about the faith of Abraham, but isn’t it also a story about the obedience of Isaac?

It is considered a messianic passage by almost everyone, and as such, it isn’t just about the father willing to sacrifice his only son, but it is about the son, willing to be obedient to his father at all costs.

Just as Yeshua, the Messiah, was so obedient to his father, God, as to allow himself to be sacrificed.

It was, to me, a realization of a different aspect of the Akedah that, to my knowledge and from my experience, has not been addressed.

So, what do you think? I think there are two very important lessons from the Akedah:

  1. The standard lesson that Abraham’s faith was strong enough to let him sacrifice his son, just as God’s love for us was strong enough for him to sacrifice his son; and
  2. That Isaac’s obedience to his father was strong enough to allow him to let himself be sacrificed, and although he wasn’t, in Yeshua’s case he was.

That’s all I wanted to say (I know- who woddah ‘tought I could write such a short message?)

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know, subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books, join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please read and agree to the rules), and remember that I always welcome your comments.

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