Thousands of Years Old, Yet Still Fresh and New

No, I am not talking about myself.  (By the way, no video today.)

I am talking about the Bible, of course. I read a part of it every day. As I have often mentioned, I keep my Bible in the bathroom because that is where I am guaranteed to have some time alone every day; no one bothers me, no outside distractions, and I have all the time I want to read my Bible.

What I still find amazing, after having read the Bible over and over again for more than 20 years, is that I can read a passage that I have read scores of times and suddenly BAM!!!… I see an entirely new meaning, a deeper understanding of what God is saying through his word. Whether I am reading a direct quote from God or part of a letter Shaul wrote, or even just some historical event, an understanding comes to me through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and I am (again) amazed at just how fresh and wonderfully exciting that same old passage suddenly becomes.

The only “down-side” to this is that you can’t experience it unless you actually read your Bible. That’s right- you have to sit down somewhere (your bathroom is a good place!), open the book (to anywhere) and begin to read. It also helps with a short request to God to have the Ruach show you what he has in there for you.  I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for every single person in the world, and as such every single person in the world may read something in the Bible and get a totally different message from it. And each one of those different messages will be correct, for that person.

I am not saying that a passage or interpretation of a passage can’t be the same for multiple people, just that multiple people can read the same thing and get something different from it. There is no rule or mitzvot that states everything in the Bible can have only one meaning for everyone.

Oh, yes- for those of you who want to nit-pick and over-analyze everything, ‘do not kill’ means do not kill for everyone, and ‘do not worship other gods’ means no one should worship any god other than the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Let’s not strain out a gnat and swallow a camel- you know what I mean when I say God can have a different message for everyone.

So, nuWhy are you still sitting there? Grab your Bible, ask God to show you something new, open it up and start reading.

The Holy Spirit is God’s Modem to Humans

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

I am a retired IT Professional, and a life-long Nerd of the First Order, so I tend to see things in a technological way.

A Modem, as most of you already know, is a device that allows us to use the Internet. Modem is an acronym for Modulate-Demodulate, and the way it works is to change an analog signal to a digital signal and back again.

You may remember how in June of 2009 you were required to either get a new digital TV or get an adaptor so you could watch TV at all because all TV signals went to digital.

Now we all know that a Modem takes something which our devices cannot understand and translates it into something they can understand.

In 1 Corinthians 2:14 Shaul (Paul) is telling the people that without the Holy Spirit we cannot understand the things of the spirit, i.e. of God.  What he tells them is:

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

So what does the Holy Spirit do? Well, according to Shaul it acts as a means of interpreting the messages from God. In other words, it translates what we cannot understand into something we can understand.

Hey! Wait a minute! That’s what a modem does. Yes, that’s right- the Ruach HaKodesh is God’s modem for humans because when we have the Spirit we can understand the things of the Spirit. It translates what God is saying in “holy digital signal” into the “unspiritual analog signal” that we humans have to deal with until we are born again.

This is the basis for what I call the circular reasoning of faith: we need to have faith to accept the Spirit, which we need to help us understand what we are reading in the Bible but we need to understand the Bible to lead us to faith, which is what we need to accept the Spirit which we need to ….. well, you see what I mean.

If you don’t have your divine modem in operation it must be because you haven’t faithfully accepted Yeshua as the Messiah, as your Messiah and /or your faith in God is weak. If this is you, please read the Bible and accept, whether you believe it or not that God is real, that Yeshua is the Messiah and pray to God for help in believing. That’s how I started my road to salvation, and it has led me to a strong faith in God, salvation through my Messiah Yeshua and a good understanding of God’s word. Real faith is accepting without proof, and initially even without really believing but remaining open-minded.

The one best thing about God’s modem for humans is that when we use it to pray we never get this:

Parashot VayYakhel and Pekudey 2018 Exodus 35 – 40:38

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This Shabbat we have a double parashah, which brings us to the end of the book of Exodus.

Moses gathers all the people and asks that they voluntarily give the materials needed for the construction of the Tabernacle. The people give freely, and in fact, they give so much Moses has to tell them to stop bringing any more because there is too much for the work.  God appoints men with extraordinary skills to supervise the work and both men and women help. This is a totally united effort, and the chapters relate in great detail every single item, how it was all constructed in exacting detail and in perfect accordance to God’s commandments.

The Haftarah for these readings are from 1 Kings telling about all the work Hiram led in the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem and Solomon’s prayer.

After the Tabernacle is set up and anointed God’s presence fills it with a cloud so thick Moses cannot enter. This also happens in 1 Kings after the construction of the Temple is completed. In both these cases, the work was done in a whole-hearted way to honor God, and once completed as God ordered it was acknowledged by God as acceptable in a very visible manner with the indwelling of His Ruach (Spirit) in physical form.

Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 6:19:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 

We are also a temple when we invite the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to dwell in us. As such, are we constructing ourselves with as much fervor, love and obedience to detail that the people did in these readings? Do we voluntarily give of ourselves to others, and these people did to God? (That which you do tho these, my brethren, you do unto me-Matthew 25:40)

When we read these passages, it seems redundant and a little boring, if you will, because there is so much detailed minutia about every little thing. The reason for this is to show how all the people paid attention to what God told them to do. Now, it’s one thing to build a structure and another thing altogether to build up holiness in ourselves. Yet, the message is the same for both: when we do what God asks of us, as He asks us to do it, we will be successful and then God will bless our efforts with His presence.

When I first came to God I did so intellectually, and after three months or so of attending Messianic Shabbat services, I felt I wasn’t any different from before. That’s because I was still being an intellectual Believer, not a spiritually open Believer. It wasn’t until I was spiritually open and emotionally empty that I was able to receive an anointing from the Rabbi and then I felt the Ruach haKodesh enter my body. That was a moment that has lasted my entire lifetime. If you are interested in hearing it, you can go to this video: Steve Bruck Testimony

Over the years I am afraid I have become inured to that wonderful sensation of the Ruach filling my soul, and I miss it. I know that it’s my fault I don’t feel it as often as when I started to believe. In Psalm 51 King David asks God to “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;” : I also want to feel that joy again, that elation when I first felt the Ruach enter me.

My “temple” needs repair so that I am once more in accordance with God’s instructions. And those instructions aren’t as detailed as the ones we read this Shabbat; no, they are very much simpler. In fact, they are in Micah, 6:8:

And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

I want the Tabernacle of my body to be acceptable to the Ruach haKodesh, and to allow it to fill me so much that I can’t be inside it any more. We call that “Dying to Self” and it is the aim (or should be) of everyone who worships God. I am not confessing I have fallen from faith; no, not at all! It is my faith that makes me want to be better and be more acceptable to God than I am now. But I do confess I need to work at it more, just as Shaul told us in Philippians 2:12-13:

–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Let each of us, starting this very moment, renew the work on our own Tabernacle and continue to perform whatever maintenance we need to do so that we are always acceptable to God, so that His Ruach can fill us as He filled the Tabernacle in the desert and the Temple in Jerusalem.

This completes the book of Exodus (Sh’mot), and in accordance to tradition we cry:

                                                                                                            Hazak, hazak, v’nit’chazek!

                                                                                             Be strong, be strong, and be strengthened! 


Jesus Proves Salvation Comes From Torah

(If you would prefer to watch a video, please click on this linkGo to Video )

I know what you’re thinking…”Huh?!? We all know that salvation is from Messiah Yeshua and that we can’t be saved by Torah”

Or maybe you’re thinking that the “cross” is our salvation?

Or maybe you are thinking that salvation is through faith and not through works?

Or maybe you are thinking that Jesus did all we need when He died for us?

If you are thinking any of these, well…you’re right. We are saved by Messiah’s sacrifice, which was proven acceptable to God because He was resurrected.

And you’re right that faith and not works (alone) is the way we are saved, BUT we still need to be obedient. God told us in the Torah how we are to worship Him and treat each other, and we aren’t excused from obedience just because we accepted Yeshua as our Messiah.

So, nu? How does Jesus prove that we can be saved by Torah?

Simple- He was saved by Torah! 

Let’s take this one step at a time:

  1. All mankind is born into the original sin of Adam and Eve.
    1. In Judaism we also believe this: Talmud tells us we are all born with the Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination.) When we are at the age we are able to study Talmud and Torah, we develop the Yetzer Tov (Good Inclination.)
  2. Mankind was given the Torah by God, through the Jewish people, so that they could act in accordance with God’s will, thus securing eternal life. To obey Torah is to remain sinless, and to do what is forbidden in Torah is to sin- that has never changed.
    1. God tells us throughout the Tanakh, especially by the Prophets, that He wants us to repent and turn from sin so that we can live. God isn’t all that interested with the finite, so when He says “live” He is talking about eternity.
  3. Yeshua was born of a virgin who was impregnated by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), so He was born sinless (not having the stain of original sin.)
  4. Because He was sinless when He died, Yeshua was resurrected by God to show that God’s promise of eternity with Him by obeying the Torah was true.
  5. Yeshua’s resurrection can mean only one thing: Yeshua received salvation because He lived His life completely obedient to the Torah.

It is only through Yeshua, because of His righteous life and acceptable sacrifice, that we also can achieve salvation. We cannot be saved by Torah ONLY BECAUSE WE CANNOT OBEY THE TORAH PERFECTLY. 

So you see, because Yeshua obeyed Torah perfectly He was resurrected to eternal life, which we call “salvation.” If He hadn’t obeyed Torah, if He had sinned, then His life would not have been acceptable as a sacrifice for us, just as a lamb with a blemish would not be an acceptable sacrifice. And if you are thinking, “Yeshua is the son of God- He would always have been able to return to God.”, then why bother living a sinless life?  In other words, if Yeshua did not give up His divinity and submit Himself to death (which the bible says He did), then He didn’t risk sinning. But Isaiah tells us (Chapter 53) that Messiah is a man of troubles, who knew illness and suffering- God is above all that.  You see, Yeshua had to be 100% human, with all the human weaknesses and frailties in order to prove that Torah was trustworthy.

In order to be a real sacrifice, He had to be able to die without a guarantee of resurrection.

The mission of the Messiah is to bring God’s people back into communion with God. To do that, because of our iniquity (desire to sin) we all need someone to bridge the gap between us and God. That is what Yeshua did, and He did it by showing us that the Torah is the roadmap to salvation. By living a Torah-perfect life, He was “saved”, and through His salvation we can all come into God’s kingdom.

So, nu?  Does that mean I can be saved by Torah alone? Yes, if you could live it perfectly, but since no one can… NO, it doesn’t mean you can be saved by Torah alone.

Does that mean I don’t need to obey Torah at all?  NO, it doesn’t- we all need to be obedient to the Torah because it is God’s commandment that we must, and to ignore or reject Torah is an unrepentant sin. Unrepentance is a wedge between us and God that even belief in Yeshua will not remove. No one who is unrepentant of their sin can be saved.

So then what is my point? It is this: Torah is still valid, it is still part of God’s plan of salvation, and it is what Yeshua taught us we should obey. We can’t do it as He did, but through His accepted sacrifice (which was because He lived Torah perfectly) we can still be saved even when we fail to obey Torah perfectly.

And through the indwelling of the Ruach haKodesh, we can be strengthened to overcome our iniquity and comforted when we fail to.

As I often say: we can never be sinless, but we can always sin less. Yeshua has saved the world from it’s iniquity, but we still have to have faith in Him and God, do T’shuvah (repent) and live as sinless a life as we can.

The instruction manual for living a sinless life is called the Torah.





Perfect Relationships That Aren’t Really Perfect

I have thanked Dear Abby many times for the fodder her column provides me for this blog. I am, once again, ready to deal with an issue that is so often found in the letters she receives.

If you have ever read any of the letters she is sent, I am sure you will notice, just as I have, that there are so many people who write in about their spouse, friend, or significant other and state that they are just so wonderful, so kind, such a good parent, B-U-T….

It’s the but” that gets me: but…they get really nasty when they drink and they drink every night, or but…they don’t ever take me out, or but….they work all the time and are rarely home, but, but, but

Some of these issue are relatively minor, just the kind of quirks that get on your nerves now and then and you learn to live with for the sake of the relationship. However, there are those issues that are, or should be, “deal-breakers’ within a relationship, and the writer of the letter doesn’t seem to realize how bad it is.

In my first marriage, in my previous life, I read a book called “The Dance of Anger” by Dr. Harriet Lerner, and this was written mainly for women but my relationship was so bad that I wanted to see what it said. The basic premise is that when two are in a bad relationship, it becomes comfortable. So much so, that when one person starts to work out the problems and make the relationship better, the other party will actually go out of his or her way to start arguments and bring the disharmony back. This is because the bad relationship is more comfortable than the new good one. It was an interesting lesson for life, not just for marriage. And the book rang true: the more I tried to work it out, the more she made things worse. I am sorry, yet relieved, that I had to stop dancing with that partner long ago.

So what does this have to do with God, the bible and salvation? Plenty! We are in multiple relationships while we are alive: we are in a relationship with the world, with our spouse, our friends, our workmates, with God, and with the enemy of God. Yes, we are in a relationship with the enemy, and it should be a very bad relationship, one where we never get along, and the more he tries to win us over to his side, the more we refuse and rebuke him.

The Devil is an adulterer: he wants to come between us and God.

Unlike the writers of these types of Dear Abby letters, where they are covering their eyes with blinders or putting on rose-colored glasses to make their relationship problems seem smaller than they are, we need to see with open eyes and use discernment instead of lying to ourselves. We need to recognize the issues within our relationships and correct them. If someone is sinning against us, we need to work it out, or get away. Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean standing there while someone hits you- it’s a metaphor. DUH! It means don’t return evil for evil- that is the message we see more than once throughout the bible. Turn the other cheek means forgive, accept differences, don’t allow evil but don’t hate the sinner (hate the sin, yes, but not the sinner.) That is turning the other cheek. And if someone actually does hit you, then let it go. If he or she tries to hit you again, avoid it as best as you can by ducking, blocking or running away. Always protect yourself when someone wants to hurt you, and don’t return the violence unless you have no other choice.

I think we all put on “blinders” now and then, especially when it involves someone close to us. They say love is blind, and it often is, but it doesn’t have to be stupid. If you love the Lord, then ask for His sight through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) so that you can see clearly.  Seeing the truth about someone doesn’t mean that you must leave the relationship if there are problems, it only means that you will be able to better see how to fix it. Hopefully, if your partner tries to “dance” you back into the bad relationship, you can sway this way and that, or change the dance altogether. In some cases, we need to “bite the bullet” and suffer the pain of getting a better partner (I am not condoning divorce- I am talking about any type of relationship between two or more people, not just marriage) and starting over again.

The most important relationship we can have is with God, through Messiah Yeshua and the Holy Spirit. God is eternal, God will always work with you, and God will never let you down. He is forgiving and compassionate, yet fair and just, so when we screw something up He will help get us back on the right path, even if it means a slap to the side of our head!  He is always willing to dance with us, and when we let Him lead, we can dance better than Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, put together!

When you feel in your spirit that your relationship, whatever type it is, has something amiss, then go to God and ask Him to open your eyes. The best standard you can use to measure the worth of your relationship is the bible- it tells us how we are to treat each other. If your relationship fits (now be firm with yourself when you look at your relationship, and do not put on blinders) the way we are to treat each other according to the bible, even with a glitch here and there, then you are OK. If it doesn’t seem that your partner is doing as he or she should, then consider changing it or leaving it.  Yeshua tells us He came to be a wedge between family and friends (Matthew 10:34; Luke 12:51) and that if we aren’t willing to give up family, friends and everything, we can’t be His disciples (Mark 10:29.) He isn’t telling us to dump everyone we ever knew, but He is saying that following God’s way is going to cause division in our relationships, and to be ready for it. On the other hand, following God’s ways can also make all our relationships better.

No two people will ever get along perfectly, and if anyone ever tells you they never argue or always have peace in their relationship, keep away from them! They ain’t human! Donna and I have fights, we do get angry with each other, and sometimes we get on each other’s nerves for no reason whatsoever. The worst time is when we are both in a snit, and thank God that most of the times when one of us is in a snit, the other isn’t, and can ignore the desire of the flesh to get back. The only reason I can brag about our marriage is because God has given us His blessings and helped us with the peace we receive from His Ruach HaKodesh.  As Shaul said, I am not bragging on myself, but I am bragging on the Lord and all He has done in our marriage and lives.

So, to finish- if you are having relationship problems, go to God with it. Ask Him to open both sets of eyes to the truth, and to give both hearts a spirit of forgiveness and compassion. Overall, your relationship with God is the most important one in your life, and when you maintain that relationship all your other relationships will be more pleasant and rewarding.


Do you recognize the title as the Campbell Soup campaign slogan? One of the reasons their soup is so good is because it is filled with so many good things.

So, nu? Why am I talking about soup? Allow me to digress for a moment…..last week when my wife, Donna, and I were taking a morning stroll, I was talking about how I love it when something I have read in the bible dozens of times before suddenly has a totally new meaning to me: a new and clearer understanding of what God wants me to know. I know that you have had that same experience, too…haven’t you?

The word of God has different levels, called the Pardes: the P’shat (literal meaning), Remez (symbolic meaning), Drash (spiritual or comparative meaning) and the Sod (deep mystical understanding.)  When we read any passage from the bible, we first understand the P’shat, and after we learn more about God and have the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) lead our understanding, we learn the “hidden” messages God has for us.

Yeshua taught the underlying messages, the Remez and the Drash, whereas the Pharisee’s concentrated on the P’shat; they taught the Jews they could be saved by Torah as long as they obeyed the literal meaning of the commandments. We are told that many said Yeshua taught with authority, which (I think) is because He taught the deeper and more spiritual meaning of the Torah that the Pharisees ignored.

OK, now back to the soup…when we look at a bowl of soup, we see mostly just the broth, which covers all the stuff that is underneath. That broth smells good, and tastes great, but when you begin to stir the soup, suddenly all these other wonderful things begin to appear from underneath; the meat, the carrots, the onions, celery and (maybe) even a noodle or two. YUM!!  So even though the broth was satisfying, and could fill your stomach with life-saving nourishment, when you go deeper and begin to stir things up to see what is underneath, you find even more goodness and flavor and usefulness from that soup than just what the broth can supply.

The bible is like a big bowl of soup: it has nourishment on top (P’shat), and better things underneath (Remez and Drash)  you will discover as you get closer and closer to the bottom of the bowl (Sod.)

Maybe that’s why in Psalm 34:9 (JPS Tanakh) King David said:

Taste and see how good the Lord is; happy the man who takes refuge in Him!


Have you had your soup today?

Let’s Talk Trinity

Get your fishing rod because I am about to open a can of worms. Hopefully I can do this without insulting or degrading anyone’s beliefs, which may or may not agree with mine.

Since this is my blog, I get to say what I want. Please do not hesitate to comment if you feel there is something you want to add- the comment field is below the blog entry, so just scroll on down and write away! Be aware that I am not going to confirm what I believe with verses from the bible as you can look them all up on your own. I am not doing this because I am lazy, but as a means to force you, the reader, to confirm what I say for yourself. One of the reasons so many people have so many wrong ideas is because they are too lazy to confirm what they are told by looking it up in the bible. This is what Yeshua called the blind leading the blind, and He tells us what happens to them: they both fall into a hole.

Ready? OK, then, here we go…

I believe that Yeshua was originally eternal and divine, equatable to, if not actually the same entity, as God the Father (hereafter to be referred to simply as God.) I am not sure if there was a Trinity before human existence, and after humans were created and living on the earth I believe Yeshua did visit the earth and interact with humans, but as a divine being in human form. I also believe that God would occasionally send His spirit (as a form of supernatural empowering) to humans as it fit His purposes, but that Spirit was not indwelling- power by the Spirit was given to the person, and when the action God wanted was completed, He took His spirit back again.

Once God decided it was time for Yeshua to go to earth and perform His duty as Messiah, in order that Yeshua be subject to temptation, illness, all the weaknesses of human nature, and be able to die, Yeshua had to voluntarily strip off His divinity so that He could take on a mantle of flesh. Consequently, He was born 100% human to a human woman, and lived a totally human existence except for the fact that being fathered by God’s Holy Spirit, Yeshua was born without the stain of Original Sin upon Him. Other than that, He was a human being. His power and authority was not of His own, but that which was given to Him by God through the Holy Spirit. He confirms this often enough throughout the Gospels, telling us that He does only what God tells Him to do, and says only what God tells Him to say. He also said that those following Him would perform the same, and even greater miracles, which leaves us with the question how can humans do more than God? As such, Yeshua on earth was a mirror image of God in the flesh. When Yeshua said He and the Father are one, He meant that being an exact human representation of God’s actions and thoughts, they were essentially the same. Not the exact same; since Yeshua did and said only what God told Him to do and say, He was the prefect representation of God in the flesh, but He was not God, Himself.

Yeshua, being totally human, allows Himself to be killed. When He was dead, he had no ability to do anything. God resurrected Him, in the same body that He died with. We know this because we read in the Gospel of John that Thomas put his hand in the hole in Yeshua’s chest and his fingers through the holes in Yeshua’s feet and hands. A new, resurrected body wouldn’t come with holes in it, would it?  Therefore, Yeshua is still in a physical form, but having been resurrected by God He is again eternal, but still separate.

Every letter Shaul writes to the Messianic Communities he founded starts with greetings from God and the Messiah, Yeshua. From God, and the son, the Messiah, Yeshua- Shaul knew that God and Yeshua were separate and different entities. In the Gospels, as I mentioned above, Yeshua told us He and the Father are One because Yeshua is doing and saying only that which God tells Him to do and say. The book of Hebrews also identifies Yeshua as a totally separate entity from God. Acts tells us when Stephen was just about to die, he saw Yeshua sitting at the right hand of God; at His trial Yeshua told the Cohen Gadol that He would be sitting at the right hand of God. We have heard that someone may be so angry that they are said to be “beside themselves”, but that doesn’t really happen, so if Yeshua, the Apostles, Stephen, and all the other writers of the B’rit Chadasha ( New Covenant) state that Yeshua is a separate entity from God, and they refer to the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) in the same manner, then from the point of Yeshua’s birth up to the present day, Yeshua is eternal, but not totally divine because He is still acting as Cohen Gadol for all humanity; He is sitting at the right hand of God but He is not God.  He cannot be God: if He is God then there is no High Priest, if he is God then He is not a Cohen Gadol to be compared with Melchizedek. That would mean the Messianic prophecies about Him are untrue, or that He isn’t really the Messiah God promised in the Tanakh.

But, He IS the Messiah God promised in the Tanakh, and He IS a Cohen Gadol to be compared with Melchizedek, and He IS our Intercessor who sits at the right hand of God. He is not to be worshiped in lieu of God, although He is our Lord (meaning that He has authority over us- Yeshua is our Lord, but not the LORD) and as such He is worthy of worship on His own merits. He is the one who carries our prayers to God, but He is not the one we should be praying to. Yeshua told us that in order to receive from prayer we needed to pray IN HIS NAME- that doesn’t mean pray to Yeshua, it means pray to God while invoking Yeshua’s name as the authority by which we present our prayer. We could say that His name serves to confirm our prayer, His name grants us access to the Holy of Holies, and that His name (as Shaul says) gives us the authority to march right up to the throne of God and present our petition directly to Him.

Lastly, Yeshua will return to earth as the conquering King; He will rule the entire earth until the Adversary is released and the final battle is completed. Then, and only then, will things change. The Torah will be written on our hearts, there will be a new earth and a new Jerusalem, where spirit and physical form are on the same plane of existence, and then…well, who knows? Will Yeshua then leave the right hand of God and be reabsorbed (for lack of a better word) into the Father? Will the Holy Spirit also disappear as a separate entity? Will the Trinity that has to exist at this time for God’s plan to be fulfilled no longer be needed once that plan is complete?

I don’t know, and I don’t believe anyone can be absolutely positive about what will happen once everything we know will happen has happened.

I will finish with this: maybe Yeshua is God, maybe He is not God, and maybe He is something totally different. Maybe the Holy Spirit is in the same boat. I am humble enough to confess that I really don’t know: for those that I hear tell me they are absolutely sure, well, maybe they need more humility or maybe God has singled them out with this knowledge. Generally, what I hear from people who want to express their belief as absolutely correct is that they have “received this knowledge from the Ruach HaKodesh.”  Maybe they have been blessed to have God grant them this special knowledge, maybe they are just saying that so we have to believe them. For me, it doesn’t matter.

The one thing I feel confident we all can agree on is this: as long as we accept Yeshua as our Messiah, constantly repent of our sins and ask forgiveness through the sacrificial death of Yeshua, and trusting in God faithfully try to be what He said He wants us to be, then this whole Trinity “thing” won’t matter as far as our salvation is concerned. Our salvation comes through confessing our sins before God and faithfully believing Yeshua is the Messiah whose sacrificial death enables us to receive forgiveness of sin. Our salvation is not based on whether Yeshua is God or is separate from God; salvation is based on faithfully believing Yeshua did exist, He did sacrifice His life, He did rise from the dead and He is still working on our behalf to help us be cleansed of our sins so we can be resurrected through Him and live eternal lives in God’s presence.

What we all should do is stay focused on what affects our salvation, and not let impotent discussion pull us off-course from that destination.

Parashah Naso (Take) Numbers 4:21 – 7

We continue with the census of the tribe of Levi, which is where we left off from the previous parashah.

Next, God gives the commandments regarding how to tell if a woman has been unfaithful when there is nothing to go on other than the suspicion of the husband, and laws regarding restitution of property, which (I believe) would be equivalent to a “Tort” in today’s penal system.

The last part of this parashah records the gifts that the leaders of the twelve tribes gave to the Sanctuary for the service, therein. Each tribe gave the exact same number and weight of the exact same items to show complete unity, in that no one tribe was over any of the other tribes. The Midrash accounts for the sum of all the gifts in this way:

the 12 chargers given correspond to the 12 constellations;

the 12 bowls to the 12 months;

the 12 spoons to the 12 guides to men (heart, kidneys, mouth, palate, windpipe, esophagus, lungs (2), liver, spleen, crop and stomach);

all the silver weighed 2,400 shekels, which corresponded to the number of years since the creation of the world to Moses’ 40th year,

all the gold of the spoons weighed 120 shekels, the length of Moses’ life.

The part of today’s Torah portion that I want to talk about is Number 6:23-27, which is known as the Aaronic Benediction (also called the Priestly Blessing.) This is the blessing that God specifically told Aaron and Moses to use when blessing His people. You are probably familiar with it, as I have heard it used not just in Jewish places of worship, but in Christian churches, as well:

The Lord bless thee and keep thee;

The Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious to thee;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

The final part of God’s command regarding this blessing is that this is the way we shall put His name upon the people, and thereby God will bless them.

The simplicity of this prayer is what impresses me: God is telling us that all we need is His blessing, His countenance and His peace. His blessing will result in health, life and prosperity. In the bible light represents happiness, purity, and friendship, so to cause His face to shine upon us is saying that we would have His divine love and salvation. It can also represent, as the Rabbis have said, the spiritual gifts of knowledge and moral insight.

Peace, the final blessing, is considered a pillar of the world, and there cannot be any level of social order without it. We are not only to receive the peace of God, but we are to employ it and make peace with others. Most every synagogue ends their prayers with, “May He who makes peace in His high places, make peace upon us and upon all Israel.”

It is the the burden of the people of God to make peace in their hearts, and then extend that peace to others, in order to help them find the same peace we have. Peace starts internally, and that comes from being able to commune with God, which comes from the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit); this is the same spirit that Yeshua (Jesus) said He would send to His followers and which He called “The Comforter”, because that is what it does.

If anyone reading this has ever felt a sensation of complete rest, total peace of spirit, and a tingling feeling throughout your body that makes you cry for joy, then you know the peace of the Lord that His Ruach can bring. I have felt that, more than once, yet due to the hardness of my heart I haven’t felt it as much in the last couple of years. I know it is my fault, and I constantly pray for the Spirit to come upon me again. Sometimes it does, often it doesn’t, and (again) it is because I am not opening my heart. Still and all, every now and then, when I am in the proper condition of worship… BAM!! His presence is felt mightily. What a great feeling!

I want to see this wonderful, overwhelming peacefulness come on my wife, on my children, on friends and family and even acquaintances. I want this to come over my enemies (I don’t have any enemies, but suspect that some consider me their enemy) and everyone who doesn’t know the Lord. Even if they could feel it for just a second, it could change their life.

God has so much for every single person on earth, and He is just waiting for us to ask Him for it. That is the saddest thing I have come to realize as I become more and more familiar with God’s ways: He is so anxious for each one of us to come to Him for wonderful blessings and for total peace of mind and spirit, but so few of us do. And some of those that do often abuse it, thinking that they can continue to act as they want because God is forgiving, so as long as they say they are sorry they will  be OK. We all stubbornly want to have things our way, and the history of mankind proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we do not know what is best for us.

God knows what is best for us, and has constantly told us, but have we listened? Are you listening right now?

If you haven’t known the peace that God’s spirit can bring through His blessings, you still have hope for it. If you really, really want to know the Lord, He is just dying to get to know you (pun intended), and all you need to do is admit you need Him, choose to change from ignoring Him to following His commands, and confess you believe Yeshua is the Messiah God promised who died for you- yes, just for you- and you want to be forgiven by means of that sacrifice.  That’s all you need to do- perform T’shuvah (turning) from sin in your heart, confess Yeshua is Messiah (this is very hard for Jews but should be easy for Gentiles), and ask God to send His Ruach to indwell and lead you for the rest of your life. This will bring you peace of heart, spirit and mind, and you will then be able to share that peace with all whom you love and care about.

You won’t be free of trouble and strife, for that is inescapable when living in a cursed and fallen world, but the Ruach (Spirit) is like a nice, cleansing hot shower after a long, dirty and sweaty day of hard work.


Yeshua’s Death on a Stake: Was it Murder or Suicide?

I had a radical thought the other day- since Yeshua knew that going to Jerusalem on that fateful Passover would result in His death, was He actually murdered or, because He allowed Himself to be killed without protecting or defending Himself in any way, did He really commit suicide?

I thought this was an interesting question, especially when we consider that most Judeo-Christian religious beliefs state that suicide is a sin.

So, nu? What do you think?

Yeshua did say that there is no greater love than that one give up his life for a friend (John 15:13), and the shepherd will give his (or her) life to protect the flock (John 10:11), so if we do something to save others, something that we know might cause our own death, is that heroics or suicide? What about military actions that are called “suicide missions”, which offer little or no chance of the participant’s survival but are necessary to help the overall victory? If you volunteer for that mission and die, is that suicide?

The answer is: I’m not sure I know. If it is considered suicide, and suicide is a sin, then Yeshua sinned! Oy! But he couldn’t have sinned, otherwise He would not have been an acceptable sacrifice, right? Isn’t that what we have always been told? Yet, He took on the sin of the world, so if He was taking on the sin of the world, every sin that everyone did and ever will do, then really? what’s one more sin going to matter?

You know, now that I am discussing it with you, I may have an answer. My answer is the difference between sinful suicide and doing something that will result in your death is the reason why you are doing it: are you taking your life or giving it away?

If I do something that I know will lead to my death, and I do it in a state of emotional depression or to avoid facing the consequences of something I have done, that suicide is sinful. It is trying to escape from something that is part of living. However, if I do something that I know may result in my death, but the reason is to save someone else’s life or to accomplish a greater good for others, then I am giving up my life for the benefit of someone else.

For example: if I shoot myself, I have taken my life, but if I am helping someone to escape a firefight, get shot and die, I have given my life for another. The former is sinful, the latter is sacrificial and godly.

Therefore, given this difference between sinful and righteous ways to lose one’s life, it is clear that Yeshua did not commit a sinful suicide: He sacrificed His life so that giving up His life could save everyone else’s life.

We can give our life without losing it, by sacrificing our time, finances, possessions and energy in ways that will honor God’s Word (Torah), and to teach others how to do so through our example. And maybe, as the End of Days gets closer and the enemy rules the world, we will have to sacrifice our very life. Maybe, maybe not, but if we do, at least that will be a godly sacrifice.

Here’s a godly sacrifice you can do that won’t cost you your life: die to self so that there is more room for the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) to live within you. Then you can be filled with God’s power and righteousness.