Parashah Re’eh (Behold) Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17

With this parashah we leave the First Discourse of Moses, the historical discourse,  and come into the Second Discourse of this book, which is the Rehearsal of the Code. Essentially, Moses reviews (as is pretty much what D’varim is- a review of all that has happened since leaving Egypt) the laws that God has given to the Israelites. These laws deal with religious institution and worship (although God doesn’t have any religion), criminal law, domestic life and concludes with tithing, first fruits and accompanying prayers.

The very first thing that God tells the people in this Parashah is that they have a choice, the freedom to choose for themselves, individually and corporately, whether or not they will obey the laws given to them. Obedience will bring blessings, and disobedience will bring curses. Seems easy enough, doesn’t it?

BTW…God doesn’t do bad things to people, but He does allow bad things to happen to those who reject His kippah (covering) of protection. God’s curses are not evil intentions designed to hurt us; those curses are actually self-inflicted. They are the direct result of “walking away” from God, which means leaving the protection He offers us from the world.

The world is a cursed place, full of evil and godlessness. When we obey God, it is like walking under an umbrella during a thunderstorm: we are protected from that which is all around us. Sure, our feet get wet, maybe from the knees down our pants are soaked, but overall we are not drenched by the rains. However, when we reject God’s laws, we are stepping away from the umbrella and showing that (to coin a phrase) we don’t have enough sense to get out of the rain.

The blessings are active actions, things God does on purpose to help and protect us. The curses are passive actions, things that happen to us when God is not protecting us. And it isn’t His choice to not protect us- we are the ones who choose to reject His protection.

Some may say, “Oh, yeah? Well, we aren’t really free, we don’t really have a choice because if we want the protection we have to do as God says.” That’s right- you do have to obey God to be protected. But the world has rules, too. Their rules are ones where you must conform, you must “take the mark” to be able to fit in with everyone else, and the world is not compassionate or understanding. If you screw up in the world, you’re dead meat.

God, however, is not like the world. If we should stumble and fall, He will move to cover us when we reach out to Him. He will bring the umbrella to where we are, lift us up, and let us come back under His protection. He will clean off the mud and the dirt and we will be able to keep walking with Him. Even when we totally walk away, we are always welcomed back when we realize our mistake and ask for His forgiveness and for His protection.

That ain’t happening in the real world.

So, yes- we do have a choice. As Yeshua said, we are all slaves to something, either to God or to sin. We choose, we decide, and we need to remember that to choose God is to choose a way that will  have us walking separately from the rest of the world, but under His kippah. If we choose the world, we will be uncovered in the storm. The problem is that once you get soaking wet, you don’t feel the rain anymore so you think you are OK. That’s how sin stays in our lives, and multiplies, until we get so soaked in disgusting things that the stench is no longer noticeable.

We do have a choice, we do have free will, and we do have the exact same options that the Israelites had some 3,500 years ago: we can choose blessings or curses, we can choose to obey or reject, we can choose life or death. And when we choose God, we choose His laws as He gave them- that means living within the rules of the Torah. The whole Torah, not just the parts we like.

The world will make you live with your choice, and God will always let you change your mind, either for the good or for the bad. His gift of blessings and salvation is irrevocable. That means it will not be taken back, but that doesn’t mean we can’t throw it away.

The choice is yours, so choose well and remember this: whichever choice you make, the longer you stay with it, the easier it becomes to stay with it.

Those that have ears, let them hear.

Why They Just Refuse to Believe

I’m no psychiatrist (although my going to one has been suggested) but I think I know, from personal experience, why so many people just refuse to accept the truth about salvation.

I think it’s from fear of loss. And what they fear losing is their freedom to sin.

No one will say that they want to sin. Well, maybe there are some who will admit it, but most people won’t say they want to sin, and being “saved” means they can’t, so they would rather reject God.

But I think that’s the real reason why they reject God.

I know when I was rejecting (and ridiculing) God and all who accepted Him and the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah He promised, I was afraid of having to become “holy”, meaning that I couldn’t joke around, drink, have sex without marriage, make dirty jokes, curse a blue streak when angry, etc. And yet, when I thought about it, I realized that these things aren’t the best parts of my humanity, but I still didn’t want to be ‘transformed’ into the image of Messiah.

Also, as a Jew, I was told that this Jesus guy was a Jew who started a new religion, and history can support the teaching I received, which was that Christianity hates Jews. I  will talk about why Jews reject Jesus in my Monday, 8/3 blog.

Yet, deep down, I did want to change. I didn’t like the cynical comments I made all the time, I didn’t like it when I hurt people (although I blamed them for being hurt) and I didn’t like embarrassing myself. I didn’t like some things about me and I did like other things about me, but being a “saved again Believer” seemed to require giving up everything.

Man, oh Manischevitz, am I glad I was wrong! I finally got sick and tired of not making a choice and when I did I found out that what I really wanted was to have God’s spirit in me to help me get rid of the dreck and improve what was left. I didn’t become a different me, just a better me. There is still plenty of “wrong” stuff to work on so that I am still the “me” I was before, but just with a lot less of the stuff I didn’t want.

I think most people don’t want to review their thoughts and beliefs about God and Messiah because they are comfortable where they are, even though they have a first class seat to Hell. They are enjoying the ride without any thoughts about the destination. That’s a shame, and it’s what the enemy can use to win souls to him, even when those souls have no idea what is happening.

What really frustrates me is when you meet that person who was raised a Gentile and has heard about Jesus all their life, and is comfortable with what their religious leader told them. Most are told either you are going to hell if you are a bad person and heaven if you are good, or that Jesus died for your sins so you are OK, don’t worry about that “Jewish” stuff in the Old Covenant and just be a good person. It’s all OK.

That teaching is a one-way ticket to the hottest spot in creation, and I’m not talking about a night club.

Do you know someone who says they believe in God, pretty much, and they know about Jesus (Yeshua is His real name, and the only name that has a meaning to it) but they don’t want to talk about the bible or God? They just want to go to church on Easter and Christmas and be left alone. If so, try to reach them by reassuring them that whatever changes they may have to make to live a more Godly life will be welcomed changes. Tell them that you changed and you now can look back and realize how much more blessed your life has been, how much happier you are and more calm and peaceful, even when you are in the midst of terrible times. Let them know that they will have to change some of their behavior, take time and make the effort to read the bible and get to know God’s word (which is the best and fastest way to get to know Him) but that with the Ruach HaKodesh helping and guiding them, this work will feel more like enjoyment. Basically, they can still have a really fun ride while also going to the right destination.

I know people, close to me, whom I love, who refuse to accept that they need to make a decision on their own and to face up to accept or reject. God is binomial- either you are with Him or you are against Him; there is no other choice. And yet, these people just want to stay where they are, lean on the broken stick that their religion taught them about salvation (just be a good person) and refuse, adamantly, to save themselves. It really hurts to watch people run to destruction.

If you are reading this and seeing yourself, please don’t be afraid of the change. You will be more peaceful and able to find that “calm in the midst of the storm” as you go through life when God is your pilot. Life is a storm, we get tossed about like leaves in a tornado sometimes, and there are things we can’t control. But God is in control of everything, and when you choose to be on His side, He will keep you safe. The changes you make will be at your speed because God won’t put on you more than you can take (Yeshua told us His yoke is easy and His burden is light) but you do have to work at it. You will need to live more and more in accordance with the Torah, which is God’s commandments to everyone who worships Him (God has no religion, remember?), but it isn’t hard.

Face up to the reality that you are on a trip to eternity, like it or not. You can choose what you do while traveling, and you can choose who you want to travel with, but the destination is coming and you never know when you will reach it. It may be years from now, it may be today. But you will reach it, it is going to come, and it will be where you remain for all eternity.

The trip is short, as James says, it is a mist that is here and then gone; think about how long it takes for something you really, really want to arrive, and when you look back how quickly the time seems to have passed. Stop thinking you have all the time in the universe, because you don’t. Your destination will be here before you know it, and when you have to get off the ride you will not have any choice.

Enjoy the ride, sure, but make sure that you are going to the right place first.

Jesus Did Not Take Away the Sins of the World

Whoa!! Slow down there, son! Of course Jesus took away the sins of the world- why, that’s what John the Baptist told us about him in John 1:29; he said, “Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”

Not. If Yeshua took away the sins of the world, why is there still so much sin left?

I know, it’s really a metaphor, but it is important, is it not, to know that what Yeshua did was to provide a means for each of us to be saved? I think it is more important for us to realize this is a personal thing, not a corporate thing.

When one is part of a crowd the individual disappears and becomes a part of the corporate identity. This is something that is both valuable and dangerous. Think of the term “Mob Mentality”, and how easy it was for the Nazi’s to do such horrible things, and Jim Jones, Charles Manson, and the other atrocoties done by people when they were part of a group.

The good side is that in Yeshua we are one, however, we are also separate in that each has been given different gifts to use for the glory of God. We aren’t stripped of our individuality, it is actually enhanced in that we become more of what we were, the good parts, and the bad parts are lessened.

I am still a sinner and I am still me, it’s just that since I was saved I have sinned less and I am a “better” me (I still have a long way to go, though.)

Yeshua didn’t take away the sins of the world- they are still here because so long as sinful people live, so will sin. What Yeshua did, what Yochanan was talking about, was the fact that Yeshua’s sacrifice would provide the opportunity for anyone and everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord, to be saved. Yeshua did not take away the sins of the world, He took away the Rabbinical legalistic requirement to be “Torah-perfect” in order to earn salvation.

The Torah’s meaning had been perverted to a system of legalistic actions, in that between the 613 commandments in Torah and the additional requirements that the Rabbis put on people, it is impossible to meet the requirement that anyone (born of human parents, that is) live in total accordance with Torah. What was supposed to be the road map to salvation became a maze of turns and corners that led to nowhere. The rules that Moses said were not too high or far, but right in front of us, became unreachable. That was the argument Yeshua had against the Pharisees, in that they  made what was supposed to lead us to God into something that kept us from approaching Him.

Torah is valid, Torah is right, and Torah is still something that everyone who worships the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob needs to know and obey, as best they can. Yeshua followed and taught the Torah, the Disciples followed and taught the Torah, and Shaul (Paul) also followed and taught the Torah. The entire book of Romans is all about how Torah is still valid, and because it is in the process of being replaced, as Shaul tells us, that doesn’t mean it is already done away with. Remember that Yeshua said nothing in Torah will change until all things have come to pass (Matthew 5:17), so unless you can show me the new Temple in the new Jerusalem, with a new Earth and new heavens, well…better stick with Torah.

Yeshua did not take away the sins of the world, He made it possible for us to be saved from our own sin. In that way, John was right: Yeshua made it possible to overcome our inability, individually, to live a Torah-observant life. Yeshua reminded us that Torah is a means to improve and become more holy, which was it’s original intent.

Religion is what changed the Torah from a rope that will help us climb up from humanity to a chain holding us back from salvation. It’s not the Torah that’s the problem, it’s religion. Judaism has, through Rabbinical Halakah, made living up to the Torah a burden that no one can carry, and Christianity, which originally was Judaism, rejected Torah for another religious set of rules, in many ways even more onerous than Torah!

It comes down to this: each of us must make up our own mind about salvation and Torah, and whether or not we do, we will all be held personally accountable for our actions, no matter who told us to do them.

Yeshua didn’t take away the sins of the world, but He did make it possible to take away my sins when I give them to him.

The reason I am stressing the individual’s part is because being part of a crowd doesn’t allow us to “own” our individuality, and what we don’t own we can’t give away. Therefore, if you want to give your sins to Yeshua, then you need to own (up to) them. Not as part of the world, or a church, or a synagogue, but as you, and you, alone.

Salvation is an individual thing, not a group activity. You need to first, and foremost, be saved from your own sins. Then, you will become a part of the group of Believers that are saved. Make sure you join the right group, the ones that understand Torah is still valid and worthy of obedience. Shaul told us that we are all one in Messiah, and he also pointed out that although we are one body, it is made up of separate parts, each doing what they were designed to do to keep the entire body healthy.

When we understand that each of us is responsible for our actions, then we can truly realize the impact that Yeshua’s sacrificial death has made: every single person on Earth can be saved.

Why Predestination Doesn’t Work

The answer is found in Ezekiel 33. This chapter, similar to Ezekiel 18, is where God tells Ezekiel that he, Ezekiel, is like a watchman on a tower. When God tells Ezekiel of upcoming doom for the sinful, like a watchman blowing the shofar to warn people when the enemy approaches , he is to tell them what God says so they have warning and time to turn from their sins. If Ezekiel warns them, he is free of their blood. Therefore, God is saying that people can choose to turn from their sin, or choose to die in it.

God tells us that He takes no pleasure in the death of a sinner while still in his sin:

11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

The gist of predestination is that the elect are chosen already, and we don’t have any choice. God has designed and determined everything that will happen. There are some things in the Bible that can be used to make this argument; for instance, God told Jeremiah he was chosen to be a prophet and that God knew Jeremiah when he was still in the womb, Moses being chosen, Gideon, Samson, and there are others. All of these Prophets, Judges, and Saviors of Israel (oh, yeah- don’t forget Esther, who was where she was “for such a time as this”) were determined by God to do His will.

Does that mean they didn’t have a choice? Jonah had a choice, and even though he did get a lot of “encouragement” to turn back to Nineveh when he ran away, he still could have fought off the calling. He probably would have died, and we would not read the Book of Jonah at Yom Kippur services; maybe it would be the Book of Bob, or the Megillah of Myron? In any event, if Jonah had turned from his calling, or Gideon, or even Moses (remember that God almost killed Moses as he was first going back to Egypt), God would have still raised someone up to do His bidding. Even Yeshua, when He was praying before capture, asked if the cup could pass from Him let that be so. Even the Messiah clearly could have changed His mind about what He was to do. That’s not predestination, that’s free will in action.

You can’t make an argument from nothing (this is a very important lesson to remember when interpreting the Bible) but we can never know how many babies were pulled form the Nile. Perhaps there were more than just one baby saved during the Pharaoh’s decree, so if Moses hadn’t chosen to fulfill the role God had for him, there might have been others available to God to serve His purpose.

Ezekiel isn’t the only place where we can see people have had choices, and God has given them that right. We do have free will, we do have the opportunity to chose God. Really, when you think about it (something most religions seem to want you to avoid doing), predestination can’t be God’s plan because if the Lord already chose what and who, then why bother allowing evil in the world? If God knows who will be in heaven, then why put billions of people through the Tribulation, or make innocent people die? Why even tell Ezekiel to warn the sinners? Why send the Prophets? If God has determined, ahead of time, who will live and who will die, why even give those destined to die life?

None of it makes any sense. Not that we can be expected to understand God, but really? God making billions of people go through life for what is, essentially, no reason other than to die is… ridiculous. That makes God out to be a young boy with a magnifying glass digging up ants just to incinerate them. Or creating the ants to watch them die (Oy- that’s even worse!)

God is the captain of our lives, and His ship will sail from Creation all the way to Salvation on Earth, a new Earth, where the people who have chosen to choose God (through Messiah Yeshua) will live in eternal joy and peace.

Those who have chosen to ignore God’s existence and choose sin will suffer eternal damnation.

The bottom line is that it is a choice, and it is our choice. It is your choice, and you are the only one responsible for that decision. You can’t blame your parents, your Priest, Rabbi or Pastor. You can’t say your favorite teacher taught you that God is dead, or that you just don’t know what to believe.

Not believing is a choice. And, take it from me, it’s the WRONG choice!!

Yeshua said that those who are not against Him are with Him. Not accepting or believing is being against Him.

Also, accepting what others say without confirming the truth for yourself is, well, it’s just plain stupid! You are going to have to answer to God, and He will not give you a break because you were too lazy to read the Bible and ask for the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to lead your understanding so that you can make up your own mind. And he won’t buy the, “But that’s what I was taught” line, either.

I will talk about God with anyone, believer or atheist, and if I don’t respect their choice, I respect their God-given right to make that choice.

Make your own choice, and do that with the knowledge that comes from reading the Bible for yourself. There are some parts that are boring and tough to get through, but get through it. Please- at least once in your life do this so that you  have a real chance at having life eternal. It may take a few days or weeks, or even months to get through it- the whole thing, from Genesis through to the end of Revelations. If you are Jewish, read the New Covenant writings, also (it will help if you get a Messianic version of the Bible) and if you are Gentile, read the Old Covenant writings first. You may be surprised at the fact that Jesus did not say anything new. Same thing for the Jewish readers of the B’rit Chadashah: Yeshua taught Judaism, He did NOT invent a new religion.

God has determined what will happen to mankind- no one who says the Bible is true can argue that point. However, because the fate of mankind is settled and already determined, that doesn’t mean the fate of any individual man (or woman) is already determined. The ship is sailing, it will reach it’s final port, and we all have the right and the freedom to decide if we will sail with this ship or not.

It is your choice, so make it a good one.

Everything is Wonderful, Everything is Great, It’s Just That….

Do you read “Ann Landers?” “Dear Abby?” Maybe, “Ask Amy?” I do: not so much for the gossipy kind of stuff you get, or to take pleasure in hearing about other people’s problems (making mine seem less),  but as fodder for this ministry blog.

If you do read these columns, even only once in a while, I hope you also think, “How can they say that?”  They say they have a wonderful spouse with wonderful children and a wonderful marriage of x-number of years, then say that they think their husband is having an affair, or their kids are on drugs, or their spouse is excluding them for no reason!

Or any other number of serious problems. And how often are they the real problem, but they fail to face it?

I appreciate the difficulty of writing a column like that, although the one thing you never have to worry about is, “Gee- will I have enough mail from people with problems to write a full column today?” That is the easy part- there will be plenty of mail if you offer to answer people’s problems. The hard part is being correct in determining what they should do.

These “advice columns”, as they are called, are to me a clear and present example of just how many lost sheep there are in the world, with no shepherd because they haven’t turned to God. The world is a godless place not because God isn’t present, but because the world refuses to seek Him out.

Maybe if God was to write to Dear Abby,  it would read something like this:

I have a wonderful relationship with many of my children, which has lasted since I created them, and I have had a lot of kids, but there are so many of them that just won’t listen to me. I have given them life, food, water, and shelter; I have told them and showed them how much I love them, and yet most of them look to others for love. They sell their souls to my worst enemy because he offers them the things I know are bad for them. I just feel like they don’t love me anymore, and it was so nice in the beginning. All I want is for them to have a wonderful and joyous existence, but they just don’t want to listen to me. What can I do? I even sacrificed my first born son so they can have these things, but they reject Him, too. Here I have given them the opportunity to have total joy and peace, forever, and they choose something that feels nice for a moment but will lead to eternal pain! Help me, Abby! What can I do or say that I haven’t done already to make them listen to me?

That’s a tough one. I don’t know if Abby can handle this one: I know I have no “pat” answer. I guess the only answer one could offer is that this is how some people are- they just refuse to listen, to do what is best. Maybe God needs a bit of a wake-up call, i.e., maybe we need to suggest to God that when He gave us free will He set Himself up for heartache. If we, as humans, can make our own choices about what we want to do, then there will be those that will choose the wrong things.  And God, since you did give those kids their own choice, knowing that their hearts are sinful and self-absorbed, why would you be surprised when they choose the enemy’s choice tidbits and immediate rewards instead of the hard road that You offer? True, Your Son Yeshua went through a lot to make it possible for your children to find their way home again, but that path is hard because it goes against the world’s desires. You offer them the best that there could ever be, but not when they want it, and not the way they like it.

That’s true, isn’t it? God offers us eternal joy and peace, but not the way we want it, and not when we want it. Maybe God knows better than we do?  Maybe God knows something we don’t? Maybe this life isn’t all there is, and maybe this life wasn’t meant to be all we have?

Maybe, just maybe, this life is nothing more than preschool for eternity? Really! In preschool we learn to develop our muscles and motor skills, we develop our social skills, we learn to play with others, we learn how to speak better, to do things better, and we even get sick faster, which gives us anti-bodies which make us stronger and healthier when we grow up.

Preschool is how we learn to survive in the world, and life is what we are given to make our choice where we will spend eternity.

Maybe the answer to the question I hypothesize above is simply that God knew what He was doing when He created us, and when He gave us free will, and He has done all that He can do. Just keep loving us, and be happy for the ones that choose Him over the world and the enemy. He has made salvation available to all His children, but only a very few, a remnant, will choose life.

This past weekend we were reminded of the choice that Yeshua made for all of us: He chose to do His Father’s will. It cost Him a lot at the moment, but He gained everything that there ever will be that is truly wonderful. And He gained it not just for Himself, but for every one of us. All we need to do is accept it.

Many, many people, and most of the ones I know and love in my own circle of friends and family, have chosen to accept only what they want to accept, even when (I think) in their heart of hearts they know they have chosen what is easy and not really what they need to choose. It is easier to think that all I need to be is a “good person” and I will go to heaven, which is what many people are taught. If that is true, then why did Yeshua have to die? What is “good”, after all? Is it “good” according to the world or “good” according to God? If God is the judge, then shouldn’t you be doing what He considers “good?” He tells us what He considers “good”- doing everything in the Torah. It’s that simple- live your life in total accordance with the Torah and you will be “good” according to God’s definition. Well, “good” luck with that! No one ever has (except Yeshua, of course), and even though it isn’t all that hard, we just can’t do it. Not every minute of every day. So what is left? Yeshua’s sacrificial death, that’s what: and that is why being “good” isn’t going to be “good” enough! So wake up, people! Get with the program! You need to accept Yeshua as your Messiah AND you need to accept your own sinfulness. You’re NOT a good person; at least, not in comparison with God’s definition. That’s OK- it doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it just means you are a human being.

Accept who you are and what you are so that you can accept Him. Being baptised when you aren’t even old enough to know your right hand from your left isn’t going to make any difference, and going through some religious ceremony (when you are told by parents and religious leaders alike that you have to do this ) won’t make any difference, either. Catechism, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Baptism, Confirmation: none of it matters if you did it because you were told you had to, and not because you wanted to choose God. That’s a hard word to hear, but it is one that will set your feet on the path to life, so take the carrots out of your ears and hear! As Yeshua said, “Let him who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

I am saddened when I read about these poor lost souls who need to get personal and spiritual guidance from a newspaper. Nothing against the people writing these columns, but really? A total stranger in a cubicle somewhere is telling me how to be loved and how to treat others? Isn’t all that in the Bible? Didn’t God tell us how to live, how to treat others and how they should treat us? Can an advice columnist give me eternal joy? Can a newspaper be as influential as the Bible? Is the Op-Ed better for me than the Word of God?

Go to the source, read the ultimate User’s Manual, and get your head on straight! This past weekend we have seen and heard of God’s deliverance; from Egypt, from sin, and from destruction of our very souls! Are you listening out there? If you are, and if you have made the choice Yeshua made, which was and is to do God’s will, then go out there and show people. Let your light shine on their darkness, and let them see what a difference God has made in your life.

I confess I am no better at demonstrating all the wonderful things God has done for me than anyone else. I ask you to be better than me at showing what God has done for you, so that maybe through you someone else will make the right choice.

One less letter to the newspapers, and one more soul in heaven. That’s a trade-off I can live with!

Beware of Advice: Part 2

Yesterday we talked about how just because something seems to be alright or feels “right”, that doesn’t make it right.

We need to know what God tells us is right, and what God tells us is wrong. I do believe that “going with your gut feeling” is often the right thing to do, but only when our “guts” are in the right frame of mind.

What I mean is this: if I was someone who had a moral foundation, a conscience, and a sense of right from wrong according to normal societal mores and biblical beliefs, then my “gut” would be trustworthy. On the other hand, if I was immoral, hedonistic, and did not know or care what happened to others, my “gut” should be the last thing I listen to.

The problem, as you most likely already know, is that the people with the least trustworthy guts are the ones that believe their guts are fine. Too often we have the inmates running the asylum instead of the other way around.

There will come a time in everyone’s death (not during their lifetime, only after) when they will be in THE court- God’s courtroom. God will be sitting on His Throne of Judgement, and on one side will be the prosecution (HaSatan, the Devil, himself) and the other side will be the Defence Attorney. Satan, which means the Accuser, all throughout your life has been trying to tell you that God is a liar; he accuses God of not telling you the truth. He started that way in Eden, telling Eve that she wouldn’t die if she ate the apple (effectively saying God lied to her, right?) Now, when you need him most, he will accuse you– he will accuse you of failing to do as God commanded. And if you say that he was the one who told you to “go with your feelings”, that “if it feels good, do it”, or that you don’t need to obey the Torah because the law was done away with when Yeshua was resurrected, God will say something like, “I understand, but what he told you is not what I told you, and what I say counts!” At that  point you’re only chance to escape damnation is the argument from your defence attorney.

But wait! Where’s the defence attorney? In the courts that men run, a defence attorney is appointed to you if you don’t have one of your own, but God’s court is not like man’s court- if you don’t have a defence attorney, you are defending yourself. And if you have to defend yourself against God’s Torah, and His judgement of how well you have obeyed Torah….OY! You’re in hot water now, Baby!

However, if you have accepted Yeshua as your Messiah and asked Him to be your Saviour, you have the best defence lawyer there is, ever has been, or ever will. He makes Darrow look like a dork, Dershkowitz look like a dweeb,  and Webster look like a wimp.  Yeshua has only one argument for the defence, and it is all He needs. He says, “Father, this one is mine.”

Not guilty by means of the sacrifice; case closed (gavel slams and shofar blows); who’s next on the docket?

Here is good advice you can trust: Yeshua really is the Messiah God promised all those many, many years ago. I know if you are Jewish this is a hard word to accept, but please take it from me, a Jew who didn’t even care for most of my life, it is the truth. We have been told a lie since we were born, by people we trusted, who were told the same lie by people they trusted since they were born, back and back and back, all the way to somewhere around 100 CE. That’s my guess when the “Christian” religions started being developed by men, and Judaism and Christianity began to separate.

It went from: Jews who accepted Yeshua as Messiah and Jews who didn’t, the rest being Gentiles who were pagans;

to: Jews, Jews and Gentiles who believed in Jesus but were being separated from Torah by religion, and the Gentiles who were still pagans.

And the enemy has been trying to widen that gap ever since. He has been very successful at keeping both Gentiles and Jews from the truth, which makes his “kingdom” grow, meaning that there are more and more people being led away from God, and thereby, worshipping what the enemy stands for instead of what God stands for.

That’s how this works: there is no “middle ground”, there are no minor sins and major sins, there is only God’s way or the hell-way. The enemy doesn’t have to make you worship him, he only has to make you disobey God. It isn’t a choice to be bad, it’s only the choice not to do as God says. You can be a “good person” as far as the World is concerned: a loving parent, a faithful friend, go to worship every weekend, and even tithe. In fact, you can believe in Jesus, too! All of this won’t save you if you disobey God and ignore His commandments.

It takes more than just saying you believe. You need to want to do as God says, you need to provide good fruit, and you really, really need to read the Bible (the whole Bible) and accept that what God said is the way to be is as valid now as it always has been.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, any individual human being can do to save him or her self from the sin we are born into, and from our sinful nature. On our own we have no defence before the Lord. But when we have Yeshua as our defence attorney, it is His actions that save us. But we need to have him in our corner, and the way to do that is to accept His messianic calling as true, to accept we are sinners who can’t stop and ask forgiveness in Yeshua’s name (because we have no righteousness on our own), and to do T’Shuvah (to turn) from our sinfulness and live our lives as best we can doing what God said we should do.

And I mean what God said we should do, not what the Rabbi, Priest or Pastor tells you. Not what your “whatever” guru says, not what Cosmo recommends and certainly not what any other, non-Believing person tells you is alright to do.

You need to read the Bible and believe that God is in charge, Yeshua will stand for you if you stand for Him, and the enemy will do whatever he can to get you to ignore God’s commandments.

When I used to sell siding and window replacements, off telemarketed leads, often I was stopped at the front door and told that no matter what I said that person was not buying anything from me, so if I was going to try to sell him something (it was always the man who said this) I might as well leave right now. My answer was to ask him a question: “When you buy something, do you do it with no information at all about the product or do you want to know what you are buying?” The answer was, as I designed the question to elicit, always that they bought something they knew about. That was my lead to then say, “Of course you do- that’s the sensible way to buy. So, you do whatever you want to do- it’s not my decision and I won’t tell you how to spend your money. All I ask is that you let me give you the information you need to make a wise buying decision when you are ready. Is that OK?”

More often than not, the more obstinate someone was about not buying that day, the more likely I was going to make a sale.

The enemy is a better salesman than I ever was. I sold windows, I sold siding, I sold insurance, I sold estate planning, I sold advertising…all the things I sold were good products that helped people. The enemy sells pleasure, he sells ease, he sells hedonistic rewards and he sells sin, which is what we are made up of. What he sells looks like fun, it seems to be okay to have, it feels good, tastes good, and we want it. But what he is really selling is death and damnation.

God doesn’t sell anything- He is giving it away. But it costs you- you need to separate yourself from the world, you need to obey, you need to let go of friendships and family, you need to be alone in many ways from those you know and work with. The free gift of salvation is very costly in human terms; whereas the enemy sells you something that looks good but kills you, God gives you something that is hard to accept and costly in human terms, but will result in everlasting joy.

Tough call; yes, it is. It goes against our nature, but it is essential for us to make that choice. That’s why you need to know about what you are buying.

There is death for sale and salvation for the taking: learn about each so you can choose well.