Where Paul Went Wrong

First off, let me state that I deeply respect Shaul of Tarsus (Paul) and what he did, all he suffered through, and his knowledge and understanding of the Word of God.

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That being said, I also think that none of the Epistles he wrote should be considered scripture or included in the Bible because although he often quotes from and refers to the Tanakh, his letters are written in order to micro-manage his congregations.

They are not missionary- they are managerial.

When he said he would go to the Gentiles from now on (Acts 18:6), he was talking to the people in that town, and only in that town. Shaul always went to the synagogues, bringing the Good News of the Messiah to the Jews first, then to the Gentiles; in other words, only after the Jews in a town rejected him did he then go to the Gentiles in that town.

He never stopped preaching to Jews. Ever.

What happened later was that his letters became a source of confusion because each one was written to a congregation that had specific problems, and Shaul dealt with each congregation differently. And when he wrote to a congregation, he “tweaked” the message about obedience to the Torah to meet their specific situation. This led to his letters being misused and misinterpreted to the point where modern-day Christianity is based almost exclusively on what he wrote instead of what God said, in the Torah.

Let’s not forget that Shaul was a Pharisee trained by Gamaliel, one of the greatest Jewish Torah scholars of all time, so, nu? … how could he have allowed this to happen? Where did he go wrong?

He tells us, himself, where he went wrong, and it’s here in 1 Corinthians 9: 19-22…

For although I am a free man, not bound to do anyone’s bidding, I have made myself a slave to all in order to win as many people as possible.  That is, with Jews, what I did was put myself in the position of a Jew, in order to win Jews. With people in subjection to a legalistic perversion of the Torah, I put myself in the position of someone under such legalism, in order to win those under this legalism, even though I myself am not in subjection to a legalistic perversion of the Torah.  With those who live outside the framework of Torah, I put myself in the position of someone outside the Torah in order to win those outside the Torah — although I myself am not outside the framework of God’s Torah but within the framework of Torah as upheld by the Messiah.  With the “weak” I became “weak,” in order to win the “weak.” With all kinds of people I have become all kinds of things, so that in all kinds of circumstances I might save at least some of them.

What Shaul is telling us is that he adjusted his message in order to meet the needs of his audience, instead of giving the exact same message to all the people. Now we know that God is never changing, and his word is never changing, but what Shaul did was to change Gods’ words in order to make them appealing to whomever he was talking to.

Add to that the fact that he talked using Jewish Logic and it becomes obvious why there is so much misunderstanding of what he wrote.

“Jewish Logic” is how Jews express their thoughts. Being Jewish, I know that a Jew will tell you everything that something isn’t before they tell you what it is. When you read Romans, you see a perfect example of what I am saying: Shaul goes through listing all the reasons that the Torah would be considered invalid, then comes back with “Heaven Forbid!” when he proposes that what he just said is true. That is why Romans has been used as a polemic against the Torah when it is, in fact, an apologetic FOR the Torah!

Shaul did what he considered the right thing to do in order to get the message about the Messiah out to as many people as possible. And, in fact, he did a great job of that. The problems came later when the letters he wrote to these different congregations, to help them manage themselves and stay on track, emphasized what each group needed to hear instead of sending the same exact message to everyone.

And that is where Shaul went wrong. Since then, his letters have been more of a stumbling block to the proper obedience to God, meaning worshiping and living the way God said we should, than almost anything else, other than (maybe) Constantine’s creation of modern-day Christianity.

Since we can’t get rid of these letters, when you read them please remember that Shaul was a Torah-observant Jewish man who was trying to do whatever he could to get both Jews and Gentiles to accept Yeshua as their Messiah. He said he wanted to get the message to as many people as possible in the hopes that some might be saved.

I think he assumed, as James did (in Acts 15:21) that all his new converts to Messiah would become more Torah observant as they grew spiritually.

Unfortunately, after Shaul’s death, the new leadership of these Gentile Believers decided they should break away from Judaism; that, however, is another story.

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

Using Shaul’s Letters as a Weapon Against the Torah

The New Covenant writings are the historical record of Yeshua’s ministry and teachings, as well as a narrative of the travels (and travails) of some of the Apostles. The majority of the New Covenant is made up of the Epistles (letters) written by Shaul (Paul) to the congregations of Messianic/Believing Gentiles that he founded throughout Asia.

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These letters have been used to form much of the doctrine of modern, or Constantinian Christianity, and are considered, by many Christian denominations, to be more important than God’s instructions in the Torah.

I liken it to Judaism and the Talmud: the Orthodox and Hasidic sects of Judaism will often go to the Talmud for spiritual guidance before they go to the Torah; in fact, the rabbinic doctrine in the Talmud is called Halacha- the Way to Walk. Most Jews live more in accordance with opinions from the great Rabbis written in the Talmud than they do to the instructions God gave us in the Torah.

The same thing has happened with the letters Shaul wrote, except for one major difference: the Talmud tells us how to live in accordance with the Torah, whereas each letter from Shaul addressed only specific problems within the congregation he wrote to. His references within his letters to the Mosaic Law were never intended to tell people they were no longer necessary or valid for Gentile Believers, but to explain that they are not the path to salvation (anti-legalism) but the result of a faithful desire to please the Lord.

The instructions Shaul gave to his congregations was supposed to be used as a weapon, loaded with bullets from the Torah to shoot down and kill the wrongful teachings and ideas that were infiltrating his congregations, such as Gnosticism, Legalism, incorrect understanding of the Kashrut instructions, and internal dissension caused by individual political agendas.

What happened was that the early “church” leaders took Shaul’s weapon, reloaded it with bullets of wrongful teachings and used it to murder the Torah!

We must read the letters from Shaul as what they were designed to be: not instructions establishing religious doctrine but condemnation for incorrect worship and personal relationships. These letters were addressing problems within the congregation, and instead of seeing them for what they are, Christianity has turned them inside-out and made them appear to be doctrinal commandments. That is why instead of doing what Shaul meant them to do, which was to help his Gentile Believers live in accordance to God’s instructions properly, they have been misused in order to deny the necessity of following the Torah.

It doesn’t help that it is very hard to understand much of what Shaul wrote because he used what I call “Jewish logic.” Jewish logic is how we Jews argue- we never tell you what something is until we first tell you everything that it isn’t. If you read Shaul’s letters carefully, parsing the sentences and separating thought by thought, you will see that he starts his discussion with the negative aspects (the “Anti” side) of the Torah, then he comes back to show how the things he just said might be true, aren’t.  This form of argument, as well as implied cultural and religious meanings which Jews would understand but the Gentiles couldn’t, is why it has been easy for Christian leadership to twist the intent of Shaul’s letters.

If you don’t believe me, just read the postings within Christian or Messianic discussion groups or talk to Gentiles who DO want to follow the Torah, and I will bet you dollars-to-donuts that the vast majority of passages they use to prove their doctrinal beliefs will be from the Epistles of Shaul! They won’t pull from where he quoted, the Torah, but they will use his letters as justification for what they say. When you talk to most any Christian about the Bible, they will quote exclusively from the New Covenant because most Christian teachings won’t even include the Tanakh.

When I do an Internet search for something I know is in the Torah, the majority of the “hits” I get are from the New Covenant, where the writer is quoting from the Torah but I won’t see the original passage from the Torah.

Going forward, if you have been able to see the truth in the letters Shaul wrote, that truth being confirmation of the Torah and not condemnation of it, then please help others (compassionately and with love) to see this truth, as well. And, if you are saying to yourself that what I have been saying here is a bunch of hooey, I would ask you to test my statements and read Galatians, or Romans, or any other Epistle and look specifically for the method of argument I said Shaul uses. If you are able to read these with an open mind and not-prejudging the outcome, I believe God will open your eyes to what I and many others believe is the true meaning of those letters.

Thank you for being here, and I do welcome comments and discussion- all I ask is that you be nice.

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Reaching a goal is always something to be thankful for

It took me 50 years but I finally made it- today is the day!

Actually, today is the last day- of working!

Starting tomorrow (although it is technically a “Floater Day” for me) I will be among the ranks of those that receive a payment from the United States government for doing little more than breathing.

I have changed careers often during my lifetime, and now that I change career paths one last time, from an IT career to a Nothing career, I am thankful to God for my having made it to here. He protected my life all these years, He kept me working, He made sure that our house is paid for (a super-blessing!) and He has blessed me with a wonderful wife who, despite the stereotypical joke about ending up having to kill me because I am going to be around her all day, I really, REALLY look forward to spending all my time with her because, when all is said and done, we honestly like being with each other.

And it is ALL because God has blessed us, so much more than I could even start to thank Him for. If I never received another blessing for the rest of my life, and lived as old as Methuselah did, I would still have received more blessings than I could ever count.

What are you looking forward to? What plans, what designs for your life do you have that you have’t yet reached? Whatever they are, God is there to help you get to them.

And if you are already there, be thankful to God for making it to the goal. If you are still working towards a goal, keep at it faithfully expecting and asking God to work with you. We are told in Philippians 3:14, and in 1 Corinthians 8, and even as far back in the Bible as Proverbs 4:25 (which is most likely where Shaul/Paul first learned this to repeat in his epistles to the new Believers) we should always keep our eyes on the prize and strive forward to reach the goal. That goal is, of course, living as God wants us to live to attain (and maintain) salvation. That’s an even better goal than retirement.

So be thankful. Be thankful for when things happen as you expect, and be thankful for when things blow-up in your face, because it is very likely that things are going “south” because you are getting off the path you need to be on. Always look for the blessing in the Tsouris, because all God wants to do is bless us, and when we feel we are under a curse it is almost always because we are the ones walking out from under God’s covering. When we walk with Him, He protects us from the world. Everyone eventually strays out from under God’s covering, and when we do we have problems; when we recognize that as the reason for the problems, then we can get back in line with God, and receive blessings. Do you see how that works? When bad things are happening, don’t blame Satan, and don’t blame God, just look at it positively and realize that somewhere you must have taken a wrong step. That’s all it is, and when you review your steps, you will see where you need to change course to get back on the path of righteousness again.

Look- sometimes it is Satan attacking you, sometimes it is God testing (and refining) you, but it is always something you can overcome and see as a blessing to strengthen you during your walk with God.

I am planning for many things during retirement, and I am still trusting in God to help me get those things done. I pray that He will continue to bless us both (Donna and I) with health and strength to do the things we want to do together, for a long, long time. I pray he keeps us financially stable, and that we grow even more faithful to Him.

I know what I plan to do, I have no idea what I will end up doing (that’s life, right?) but I will continue to work towards what I want to do, make the best of what I am doing, and always be watchful for missteps that take me off the path God wants me to be on.

It’s really pretty simple to stay in God’s will, when you think of it this way: when things are going well, you are doing right, and when things go wrong, retrace your steps.

It’s like spitting on a boat: if you’re facing to the stern, you stay dry, and if you spit towards the bow,  well … you will immediately know that you need to turn from your current direction.


Finally! The long awaited sequel is out, “Son of…..

If you are a Baby-Boomer like me, you remember the great movies that had sequels. For my younger readers, that’s when you find out what happened after what you are watching. Today they’re all about prequels, finding out what happened before what you are watching occurred.

We had “Son of Kong”, “Son of Paleface”, “Son of Zorn”, “Tarzan Finds a Son”…movies that took the popularity of the original and continued the story line.

To me, that’s exactly what the New Covenant writings are all about. Growing up Jewish, all I ever heard about Jesus and the New Covenant was that Jesus was Jewish, a Rabbi, and he started a new religion called Catholicism. I was also told that the New Covenant is their bible, not ours. Oh, yes- and all the other Gentile religions came out of Catholicism.

Now I know the truth is very, very different. Nearly 20 years ago, when I first started to look for God and wanted to finally decide about what relationship, if any, I was going to have with Him, I researched for myself; I read the New Covenant (a Messianic version, which bold printed everything that was directly from the Old Covenant, so nearly every page had 1/3-1/2 of it bold printed), I talked to mature Christians who were open and knowledgeable about their Hebraic roots (thank the Lord He directed them to me), and eventually (after I decided to believe before I actually did believe) I learned the truth about who Jesus (His real name is Yeshua) was, and is, and who is the real creator of modern day Christianity.

Oh, in case you’re interested, Christianity as it is known and practiced today did not come from Jesus- it came from Constantine and the Council of Nicene.

The Old Covenant is all about God, really. Yes, we learn of the Jewish people, their good times and their bad; we also learn of the other people of those days. We read about the events that happened to both Jews and Gentiles, the destruction of the Northern kingdom of Shomron (Israel), the destruction of the first temple, exile to Babylon and the last king, Zedekiah, which was about 570 some-odd years before Yeshua. After him the only other major event, before the New Covenant events, was the Maccabees and the story of Hanukkah, about 400 years before Yeshua. This is where the OC ends, still waiting for the Messiah to come.

Despite all the events, peoples and kings, the one character in the Old Covenant that is steadily seen and heard throughout the book, who is the progenitor, hero, and star of the show, is God.

The New Covenant also mentions God throughout it, but the real star is Yeshua. Therefore, we could call the Old Covenant the “Story of God” and the New Covenant, “Son of God.”

Now the title to today’s post seems to make sense, doesn’t it?

Just like the old sequels, the first book introduces the hero and leaves us with a promise of more to come. The Messiah never appeared, although He had been mentioned and prophesied about throughout the book. With the NC, we have a culmination of writings about this guy Jesus who claimed to be the Messiah, and also said He was the Son of God.

And if you ask me, He did a pretty good job of proving that what He said was true!

“Jesus” was used for His name because the Greek’s had no reference for a name which meant “God’s salvation”, so they used Jesu, which means nothing in and of itself, but sounds like “Yeshua.” That’s right- “Jesus” is a Latin-ized version of a transliteration that has no etymological root.

The OC promised a Messiah to bring the Jewish people back to God, and also that the Jewish people would be a blessing to the world; eventually, the final promise is of paradise with all the nations of the world worshiping God. That is, worshiping God as He told us we should in the Torah. The NC is the continuation of that story, introducing the promised Messiah, showing how He proved who He was/is, and ending with a number of epilogues (the Epistles) that showed how the truth of Messiah was spread throughout the world. This book has no sequel because the end is eternity with God and Yeshua. All the bad guys are destroyed, the world is created anew, and those that have been faithful to the King have been rewarded with eternal peace and life forever in the presence of the King.

Nice ending; nice “Son of” sequel; all-around nice story. The best part of the whole thing is that it is real-life, and those who accept the truth of it are also part of the story, along with the Father and the Son, and we all end up in Paradise together.



The 3 Biggest Lies about Jesus

Third Biggest Lie: If you are Jewish and you believe Jesus is the Messiah then you can’t be Jewish anymore.

That’s what I have been told, and not just by Jews but the Christian world teaches that, also. They don’t come right out and say it, but the teachings are based on misunderstanding of the letters from Paul (Shaul) to the Romans and Galatians, which have been used as a polemic against following the Torah when they are really an apologetic explaining why it is still absolutely necessary to follow the Torah. There are also many subtle anti-Semitic terms in the New Covenant writings, no matter whether it is King James, NIV, or whatever. Unless you have a Messianic New Covenant, the First Century Jews and Pagans who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah God promised are called the “Church”- that is just not right. There was no “church”, at least not as we know the word to be used today. There were Jews and pagans becoming Jews. They met in groups and homes, and if we need to label them in any way, the best term would be Kahillot, the plural of the Hebrew word Kahal, which means congregation. The first century Jews who accepted Yeshua to be the true Messiah remained (and worshiped as) Jews. The pagans who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah of the Jews began to become Jewish, since there were no other religions. You were either a pagan of one sort or another, or a Jew. When you stopped being a pagan, you had no choice but to be a Jew. Duh! So, where did we go wrong? When did accepting the Jewish Messiah require converting to Christianity?  Sometime around the time when the second biggest lie started.

Second Biggest Lie: Jesus founded Christianity.

Jesus never founded Christianity. He preached only to Jews and used Torah as His only source. After the resurrection and the inclusion of the Gentiles into salvation (Acts 10) , as more and more Gentiles joined the movement it became (I believe) less and less attractive to the “everyday” Jewish person. After the suppression by Emperor Hadrian of the Bar Kochba revolt (132-136 AD) being Jewish meant being subject to persecution. If you were a Jew who accepted Yeshua or a Gentile who did the same thing, it was less “dangerous” to be Christian than Jewish.  Frankly speaking, the more Gentiles that accepted Yeshua the less appealing it became to Jews (my opinion) and the further from Torah they traveled (historical fact.) By the Third Century when Emperor Constantine had “legitimatized” Christianity (as it was being called then) and began to form doctrine and canon at the Council of Nicene, the schism was complete and Christianity was totally different from Judaism. The apple had fallen far from the tree.

Biggest Lie about Jesus: If you are a Christian the Torah is not applicable to you.

Acts, Galatians, and Romans are the three Epistles that (I believe) have damaged the truth about being a follower of Yeshua with regard to being responsible to follow the commandments and regulations found in the Torah. As we saw in the lie above, as more and more Gentiles entered the group of Jewish Believers, the Mosaic law became not a means of worshiping but a stumbling block. I mean, really- I want to be saved by this Yeshua you have told me about, but I have to let you cut what off my what? I would certainly have to think twice about that one. Especially because no one had invented Novocaine yet! Also, I have been eating anything I wanted to eat, and now I can’t eat any shellfish or pork?

I separate biblical Kosher from Rabbinical- biblical Kosher, as I call it, means essentially no pork or shellfish, but Rabbinical Kosher is keeping in alignment with what the Rabbi’s say: different dishes, no meat and dairy at all, and an entire host of rules and regulations that are hard and complicated to follow, even back then.

Even to be biblically Kosher was a big move and (again, this is just what I believe) these requirements were, for many, a deal-breaker. Clearly, strict and immediate adherence to Torah was a significant barrier, which is why in Acts 15 they reduced the requirements to be a new Believer to just the 4 rules about food and fornication. What people miss, though, is that they say these are just the initial requirements, and the next sentence states that they will be seeing the laws of Moses every day in the Temple. The clear meaning of that is that Torah will be taught to them, eventually. The “Christian world” has conveniently failed to mention that part.  Yeshua said, in Matthew 5:17, he did not come to change the laws. And when He said He came to fulfill them that meant, in the language of the day, that He was interpreting them correctly. Fulfilling a law doesn’t mean doing away with it: if that was true, when you next come to a stop sign or a red light and the car ahead of you comes to a full stop, you don’t need to. That car fulfilled the law so it is no longer valid.

Yeah, right- try that one on the cop when he is writing the ticket.

The truth is simple: Jesus, Yeshua, was Jewish and lived a Jewish lifestyle. In fact, His “claim to fame” is that He lived Torah exactly, perfectly, and as the sinless Lamb of God was acceptable as the sacrifice for sin for all mankind. If Yeshua did not live Torah perfectly, He was not sinless and was not an acceptable sacrifice. Simple. However, since He was raised, then He did live Torah perfectly.

The Christian world asks that the followers of Jesus live as Jesus lived and do as Jesus did. Then they tell you that Torah is only for Jews because Christians have Grace. Grace came from Torah, so without Torah there can be no Grace- that is the message Shaul was trying to get across in Romans.

What Jesus taught was to worship God not just in action but in mind and heart. Jesus was the living Word, and the only word was Torah- reject the Torah and you reject Jesus.

Stop living a lie and get with the program.