Why Didn’t Yeshua Read All of Isaiah 61?

In Luke 4 we read of Yeshua teaching at a synagogue and reading from Isaiah. He reads a few passages from the scroll, folds it up and tells the people that He is the one talked about in that scroll.

But He didn’t read the entire scroll- in fact, He left out the part about salvation and resurrection of Israel and the Jewish people.



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.

hebraic roots and messianic judaism: two sides of the same coin?

I am a Jewish man. I was born a Jew, from Jewish parents of Russian descent. I was raised in a Reform Jewish environment, and since neither of my parents ever really embraced being Jewish, my B’rit Milah (circumcision) and Bar Mitzvah were as much a “This is what we do” thing as it was a spiritual acknowledgement of my covenant with God. When I grew older I forgot about religious observance, and always felt distant from God yet desiring to be closer. What kept me away was my desire to sin, which constantly overcame my desire to know the Lord for some 40-odd years. It was a series of traumatic events that led to my desire to know God, and a determination to finally either know Him or reject the whole thing, once and for all. Thankfully, I did get to know God, and then I also needed to know the truth about this guy Jesus, who most of my life I was told was Jewish but started His own religion and was someone we Jews killed.

Now I know who Jesus really is: a Jewish man named Yeshua ben Yosef, who is in truth the Messiah God promised would come, who was born Jewish, lived a Jewish life and died Jewish. He was still Jewish when he was resurrected. During His life He observed the Torah and never-ever started a new religion (for the record, modern day Christianity is from Constantine, not Yeshua.) So, now that I am still Jewish (I am not a Christian, a Christian-Jew, a Hebrew-Christian or anything other than a Jew) but have accepted Yeshua as my Messiah and recognize that He is the son of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that means I am no longer just a Jewish man, but I am a Messianic Jewish man.

Messianic Judaism is not Jews for Jesus. Jews for Jesus is an organization, a non-profit company with a “religious” mandate to bring the truth of the Messiah to Jewish people. One of the things that I wish they would do is stop sending Jews willing to know Yeshua to Christian churches. Not that Christian churches are a bad place, but most Christian churches are not Hebraic Roots churches (Oy! Another label!) and many, many Christian churches have a “don’t need Torah” attitude, and (worse than that) some are Replacement Theologists.

The Hebraic Roots Movement is similar to Messianic Judaism in that Messianic Judaism is for Jews (and Christians, too- most Messianic congregations I have known actually have more Gentiles than Jews) who accept Jesus (Yeshua is the preferred name) as the Messiah, but still maintain the Jewish lifestyle and worship rooted in observance and obedience to the Torah. Hebraic roots congregations are Christians (and some Messianic Jews, like me) who desire to get to know and worship the Lord as Yeshua did, worshiping as they did in the First Century.

Essentially, if a person is someone who has accepted that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah, and worships as the followers of Yeshua did in the First Century when He walked the earth (and for about two centuries after that), then they are either Messianic Jews (if they are Jewish by birth) or Hebraic Roots Christians (if they are Gentile by birth.)

Same coin, different sides.

By the way- this is obviously a very simplistic explanation. I am hoping that it is effective in getting across the idea that anyone who worships the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who accepts that Yeshua was born a man by Divine conception, who believes He was and still is the Messiah God promised in the Old Covenant writings, is thereby one in the body of Messiah. And, whether or not they were born Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, whatever- when they accept Yeshua as their Messiah, they also accept His lifestyle. Which was, as we would label it today, Judaism. In fact, more similar to Orthodox Judaism than any other sect within Judaism.

I worship at a Hebraic Roots church (zionistrevivalcenter.org) and am one of only maybe 3 or 4 Jewish-born members. We are very small, no more than 15-20 or so “regulars” but we will, with God’s blessings, grow. I believe there is a growing desire in the Christian world to get closer to Jesus, since most of what He really is and what He really taught has been thrown out and replaced with Christian rhetoric, ritual and Anti-Semitic diatribe (such as the Replacement Theology claim that God has rejected the Jews for rejecting Yeshua, and Christians are now the “Chosen people.” Really? I don’t think so- God is pretty clear about His devotion and love for the Jewish people throughout the Bible.)

The aim of this blog-ministry of mine is to help people understand that God doesn’t have any religion, just rules. His rules were given to us in the Torah and the Torah is meant for everyone. It is not, and was never meant to be, exclusive to Jews. It was given to the Jews to bring to the world.

Whatever belief system you have now, does it respect the Torah? Do you believe (or have you been told to believe) that the Torah is valid for everyone? Do you believe that God still expects you to obey the laws of Kashrut outlined in Leviticus 11? Do you honor God by celebrating the festivals God said we are to celebrate and in the manner He described in Leviticus 23?

Or- do you believe (or have been told) that the Torah is only for Jews? Were you taught that Jews receive their salvation from Torah but Christians are saved by the Blood of Christ? Do you believe that the only things in the Old Covenant that are valid for you are the “moral laws” that God gave the Jews? If so, you have a very rude awakening coming to you.

Here’s the truth- the biblical truth that you can verify in the bible- Yeshua lived and worshiped as a Jew. The Disciples lived and worshiped as Jews. Shaul (Paul) never “converted” to Christianity- it didn’t even exist then! The followers of Yeshua were Jews who met in the synagogue or, if under social or political attack, met in their homes but NEVER stopped worshiping as Jews. There was no “church” in the first century- the “church” (as we know it today) was formed by Constantine and the Council of Nicene a couple of centuries after Yeshua walked the earth. The truth, my friends, is that if you believe Jesus is the Son of God and you claim to worship Him, than you should be worshiping God, not Jesus, and worshiping God as Jesus did.

I see bracelets with “WWJD” on them, and hear all the time that Christians should do as Jesus did and walk as Jesus walked, yet the Christian world teaches (for the most part) to do nothing like what Jesus did, and to walk a path Jesus would never have even thought of walking! Consider this: the world is about to celebrate the birth of the Messiah and enjoy a holiday feast in His honor with food that He would have considered an abomination to see on His dinner table! I am talking about the traditional Christmas Ham, of course. When you think about it, eating ham on a day designed to celebrate Jesus’s birth is, in fact, disrespectful to God and to Jesus.

The end is always coming closer. That is just simple math- our timeline moves in one direction, and the end is at, well…the end, so every day, every hour, every breath brings us all closer to the final judgement. And the real kicker is that we don’t know when the end is! Bummer! That means that the best possible time to get yourself right in accordance with God (through Yeshua) is now. Right now. And that means if you haven’t accepted your own sinfulness, now’s the time to get with the program. We all hear about asking for forgiveness, but the truth is until you accept your own sinfulness and inability to overcome it, there’s no desire to ask anyone for forgiveness. So, first and foremost, we have to accept and “own” our sinful nature as being against God and we have to want to change it, to do T’Shuvah. Then, and only then, will our request for forgiveness through Yeshua’s sacrificial death on our behalf, be honest.

Next, accept that the truth that God’s will is for us to live as He said we should, which is defined and outlined in the Torah. Yeshua taught nothing but what is in the Torah- He respected it, He observed it perfectly, and he taught others to do so. He never, never, never taught anything against or outside the Torah. What really happened is God gave the Torah to Moses, the people added too many rules and regulations on their own and when Yeshua came to earth to teach the truth, He upset the “religious” authority by telling people that it is God’s authority that counts. We were only looking at the words of the Torah, and Yeshua taught us the spirit of the Torah. And He was all about the Torah and all about God.

If you want to  worship God in a way that will please God, then doesn’t it just make sense to worship God as He said to worship Him? To live your life in the manner He said to live it?





Where’d we go wrong?

Before we can answer where we went wrong, we need to understand what is wrong.

What is wrong is that Christianity, for the most part, isn’t following Christ. It is following Constantine. The majority of the Christian world knows the Torah saves the Jews and the Blood of Christ saves the Christians. These two are as separate from each other as East is from the West, yet the entire basis of what Jesus taught was wholly and exclusively in the Torah. What Paul wrote in Romans has always been used as a polemic against the Torah, but it is the exact opposite: it is an apologetic for the Torah. Every place that Paul talks about the Torah failing to save people (because of the Rabbinic use of a strictly legalistic interpretation) he asks if that means that the Torah is dead or no longer valid. He answers that question, in every case, with a very enthusiastic, “God forbid!”

Go on- read it for yourself! The Christian world only reads the part where he says Torah fails, it never talks about the rest of that statement where Paul confirms Torah is valid and necessary and what we should observe.

That is what has gone wrong. I liken this to the Looney Tunes cartoon where Elmer chases Bugs into a tree, and Bugs is sitting out on a branch. Elmer takes a saw, and sitting on the junction of the branch to the bole, he saws through the outer part of the branch so that Bugs will fall. However, after he cuts through, the branch miraculously stays up by itself, and the tree holding Elmer falls. This is exactly what the Christian teachings are expecting you to believe- that you can cut yourself off totally from the root of salvation, i.e. Torah, and not be affected by that.

Christianity went wrong in the Third century when Constantine decided Christianity was OK, and as a (now) reformed pagan, he commercialized Jesus (that hasn’t changed much, has it?) by changing all the major pagan holidays into Christian holidays, and by separating Christianity from Judaism, once and for all.

A little history prior to this: Rome expelled Jews for their rebellious attitude after Yeshua’s (Jesus’s real name) resurrection, and later around 132-135 CE under the Bar Kochba rebellion, Rome destroyed the Jews (580,000 dead, 50 fortified towns and 986 villages razed- it was a massive defeat.) They totaled the Temple and even renamed Judea to Philistia (Palestine) as a final insult, sort of like throwing salt in the wound as they were kicking them laying on the ground.

NOTE: Philistia, or Palestine, was the Roman equivalent of Philistine- they renamed the land God gave to His people after the historic enemies of God’s people.

Now when Constantine “converted”, being Christian went from meaning “lion’s diet” to “government approved”, but Judaism was still on the “Least Wanted List” to Rome, so as more and more Gentiles accepted Yeshua (now being called Jesus more often than His given Hebrew name, Yeshua) and being recognized as “Christians” instead of as converted pagans (converted to Judaism), Judaism was becoming something that you did not want to be associated with. So, when Constantine and the Council of Nicene (of course there wasn’t one Jew on the Council) created what is the foundation of today’s ecumenical laws and church canon, the total schism of Jews and Christians was completed.

The Council of Nicene is, to me, the “where” of where we went wrong.

So, the question now is, what do we do about it?

For the majority of the Christian world, the answer is: nothing. Why change it?

I can understand their desire to leave it as it is; after all, most people don’t like change, and especially when change means accepting that the teachings you have had, from people you trust and admire and (even) love, have been sending you father away from God than closer to Him. And, like it or not, that is what any teaching which identifies the Torah as not valid does- the Torah is God’s word to mankind. It isn’t just for Jews: it was given to the Jews to bring to everyone else.

That is what being the “Chosen” people means- chosen to bring Torah to the world.

My answer to what do we do now is what I am doing- getting the truth about Torah, about Christianity, about Judaism, and about God to you, to the person next to you, to everyone and anyone who will listen, and yes- especially to those who don’t want to hear about it! Like that nice Jewish boy from Tarsus- you know, the one who makes those beautiful tents- said: those who know Messiah have the smell of death to those who don’t accept Him.

The church I worship at is not a Messianic synagogue, it is a Hebraic roots church, For my money, these are two different terms for the same thing. We represent the “One Man” ideal- Jew and Gentile together worshiping God as He said we should, honoring Torah and knowing that what Torah cannot do for us (only because of our nature preventing us from living Torah perfectly), Yeshua has covered through His blood sacrifice.

The Christian world teaches that because Yeshua died you can be saved, and that is correct, but they teach it in a way that doesn’t give freedom from sin but gives license to sin! They teach that you are OK, that Yeshua made it all OK, and you can live your life pretty much anyway you want to, so long as you don’t murder or steal, because Jesus has got your back. They say Torah is no longer valid if you accept Jesus (which is the exact opposite of what Jesus and all His disciples taught) and what is even crazier is that, back then, if you were Gentile and accepted Yeshua, you were converting to Judaism because that’s all there was then-pagan or Jew. Today, if a Jewish person wants to accept Jesus, they are told they have to reject Judaism and convert to Christianity.  If Jesus was here in the flesh, I can only imagine what He would be telling the Popes and the Bishops and the Pastors and the A of G and WCC and all the other “Christian” organizations about what they are teaching.

And I am sure He would have a few choice words for the Jewish equivalents of those organizations,too.

What went wrong was separating Jesus from Torah, and where we went wrong was the Council of Nicene. The path to true worship of God is through obedience to the Torah and acceptance of Yeshua ha Maschiach as the Messiah.

In a nutshell: God gave the Torah to the nation of Israel and assigned them the job of Levite to the world. They were to show everyone else how to live within the laws and guidelines of Torah. Because mankind is sinful by nature, the Torah, in and of itself, was too much for us to obey perfectly, so God provided for us a second option: Yeshua the Messiah. His death was the ultimate sacrifice for sin and His resurrection the proof that His sacrifice was accepted. When we accept that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah God promised to send, and by accepting Him we worship God in accordance with God’s instruction in the Torah (to the best of our ability), we have Yeshua’s sacrifice to “fill in” where we fail to meet Torah’s guidelines.

The truth is that Yeshua’s sacrifice was not a replacement of Torah but only an addendum to it. The “New Covenant” (found in Jeremiah 31:31) did not replace the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law); it simply added to it. The covenants from God have never been exclusive of each other- they are inclusive and each new covenant from God is built on the prior covenant, confirming and expanding it. From Noah to Abraham to Moses to David to final fulfillment in Yeshua- every new covenant has been built upon and contains all the prior covenants.

Yeshua is the word of God in the flesh, and the word of God is the Torah. How could Yeshua, in any way at all, preach against Himself?

You need to decide, for yourself, what is the right path for you. I hope you see the truth in what I am saying here, which is only what God, Jesus and all His Disciples (the ones that were with Him) have said- obey Torah, worship God and accept the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah.

Ask for the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide you to know the truth and use the gifts God gave you to glorify Him in all that you say and do. I pray for you all, that God will open your eyes to what He has for you, and what He asks of you.



How many times do we find ourselves looking back at a situation and thinking, “Why did I get so upset?” I know I do, and then I add to that, “And what was I thinking (or not thinking) when I said/wrote that?”

It’s funny how we always blow everything up from manageable to unmanageable. You know what I mean? We get to a new job, we settle in a little and see everyone running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and we think to ourselves, “What’s the big deal? This isn’t so bad.” Then, a few months later, once we are fully settled in and as emotionally invested (so to speak) as everyone else, we are the ones running around and the new guy is thinking to himself, “What’s all the hubbub about? This isn’t so bad.”

Give it a few months, buddy, just give it a few months.

By now you are thinking, “Yeah, I know what you mean, but what the heck does that have to do with SWISH?”

I’m glad you asked.

So What, I‘m Saved…Hallelujah! That’s what SWISH is- keeping things in control, not going crazy, or getting upset, or allowing our self-absorbed ego’s to make us so frustrated that we say or do things we shouldn’t. SWISH is how we say, “Stand at ease!!” to ourselves.

The server is down and the clients are screaming they can’t work…SWISH.

I’m late and the car won’t start…SWISH.

My kids are driving me crazy and I need to get all this housework done, with no one helping me…SWISH

I’m broke, the bills are piling up and my marriage is falling apart…SWISH  (if you can SWISH with all that going on, you are a pro at it.)

This is hard to do, but we can all get there if we try hard enough and pray often enough.

SWISH isn’t to be used in a negative way, meaning we shouldn’t be apathetic, unconcerned or uncooperative. It is a way for us to be able to go through what is happening now without having to experience the emotional upheaval we feel at this moment (check out this post: https://messianicmoment.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/see-today-through-tomorrows-eyes/). It’s a way to keep things in perspective, to maintain control of ourselves and our feelings, and to demonstrate what it really means to be filled with the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh, by keeping our heads on when everyone else is running around with their heads, well, somewhere other than between their shoulders.

It’s really easy to understand, but intensely hard to do. It takes practice (believe me, I am a novice at this myself) and dedication. And it takes more than human dedication- it takes a divine dedication, like when we first were imbued with His spirit, like when we came to salvation, like the first moment we felt His presence. Doesn’t it make you feel relaxed and joyful just thinking about that moment?

That’s SWISH. When you find yourself in the middle of “This is all wrong” or “All this bad stuff is happening” and you are thinking, “The world is falling in all around me: even Job had it better than I do!” When you get there (and we all do, sooner or later) just think for a second how it will all seem so insignificant when you are in your resurrected body, living in the New Creation and constantly in the presence of God. Imagine how silly you will think you acted when you look back at this very moment and remember what it was like to be human, as you sit in judgement over the Nations.

Have you experienced the overwhelming joy and total relaxation of  being held in the arms of the Lord of lords and King of kings?

Can you remember that feeling? Can you feel it? Right now?

That, my friends, is what SWISH is all about.

Why Die Young?

We read about it every day in the paper, or hear it on the news: someone who is young and helpful, a real angel (so to speak) and he or she has died.

Don’t we ask ourselves, “Why? Why, Lord, did you take this wonderful person away from their family and loved ones? And away from all the good they were doing? Why?”

I wish I had an answer. I am thinking about this because I saw one of these stories in the paper the other day. A beautiful, young woman with young children who left them a video of herself while she was still lucid and healthy looking. A few weeks later she was dead.

It started me thinking about God’s plans and purposes. I think of all the prophets and could-have-been heroes that are not in the Bible because they didn’t heed God’s call to them. I always say you can’t make an argument from nothing, and you may say, “Steve- if these people aren’t in the Bible how can you say they didn’t heed the call? If there’s nothing about them, you can’t talk about them.” But there are some mentions in the Bible about people that didn’t heed God’s call, or tried not to. Jonah almost made the list of not-knowns, but he changed his mind and did as God asked. Moshe almost made the list, but God sent him Aaron and was very convincing (although Moshe almost caused God to kill him for disobedience on the way to Egypt.) There are some people we hear mention of in the Gospels; the man who wanted to follow Yeshua but wouldn’t give up his wealth, and the other guy who Yeshua asked to follow him but he said he needed to bury his father first. The event about the person is talked about, but the person is on the list of not-knowns.

There is another list, and one that is closer to finding an answer to why people die young. That’s the list of those God took for (apparently) no reason. Miryam (Miriam, Moshe’s sister) died and was buried in the desert. No reason, she just up and died. Aaron was gathered to his people, too, but there was no reason. No mention of sickness, no reminder of the sin he committed at Mt. Horeb, just, “Time to go, Big Bro: Bye-bye.” Moshe also was gathered to his people, even though he was still as sharp as a tack and in good health (the Bible tells us this.) Although here we pretty much know why Moshe was called home- the people were ready to enter the land and Moshe was not allowed to go, so God decided to call Moshe home instead of leaving Him alone in the desert. Moshe was called home because his service to the Lord was at an end.

Hey- maybe that’s the answer? When what the Lord has called us to do is at an end, he will take us home. That’s why Miryam and Aaron were gathered without any obvious or stated reason. That might be true also of Enoch, who walked with God and then just wasn’t there anymore. And Elisha, who was taken into heaven by the chariot of God.

Oh, wait- Elisha didn’t see death. Hmmm….oh, I get it! Elisha was done on Earth but not done, totaly. He had to return to foretell the coming of Messiah, so he was taken from life but not gathered to his people. Not yet, sort of an in-between.

We also have the stories of children that died and were brought back to life- Elijah, Yeshua, Shaul all brought children back to life. Perhaps the kids died so that God’s purpose could be fulfilled, not because their job on Earth was done but because their job was to die to show God’s power by bringing them back.

I think we’re on to something here. Maybe the reason people die, what seems to us uselessly, is planned by God because either they had served their purpose for him , or their death will serve a purpose for Him. The Bible does show us that the death of some people was related to their service to God. Moshe died when his service was done, the boy that Elijah revived and returned to his mother served God in that the mother said, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.” And Yeshua even tells us that the death of Lazarus was determined and had a purpose (“This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”)

Going forward, I think I will stop asking “Why?” when I read about “untimely” deaths and accept that they are, in fact, good things because it is in someway serving God’s purpose. Perhaps the young woman that died had served a purpose that glorified God, or that the results of her death will glorify God in the future.

I remember hearing, when I was very young (just after the Earth cooled) someone explaining that when a wonderful person died that it was because God needed another angel in heaven. I like that- it’s a little sappy, I agree, but it may be closer to the truth than we realize. Maybe He is not calling someone to be an angel, but recalling an angel He sent here to help someone? How many times have we read of God using human beings to accomplish His plans?

I started out without an answer to the question I posed in the title, but now I think I have come up with a good possibility. Why die young? Maybe because the death we don’t understand is related to a purpose that God has had all along. The person has completed what God has called them to do, or their death will result in some action that will glorify God.

I like this answer much better than what could be another valid answer: we live in a cursed world and sometimes bad things just happen. There’s a lot of truth to that, too.

Nah…I like the serving God’s purpose reason better. Don’t you?

There is a downside, though: if you feel you are performing a purpose that glorifies God, you may think that completing that task will result in your death. I mean, if there is any validity to my postulation, serving God’s purpose on Earth will get us killed! On the other hand, we could refuse God’s call to us and end up on that list of not-knowns.  Life is not like salvation: God grants us both, but whereas God will not take back the gift of salvation, He certainly can, and will, take back the gift of life if it serves His purpose.

Let’s also remember that it is much, much better to be in God’s presence than on Earth (at least, I think so) so, overall, serving God is the highest calling anyone on Earth can have, and since we don’t know how much God wants us to do, or how long it will take, might just a s well do as He calls us to do and not worry about what happens when it’s over.

Live your life to glorify God, do as He calls you to do, and you will live a blessed life. Then, when God is ready for you to come home, it will be peaceful and glorious.

It’s Not Where It Is That Matters: It’s What It Says

How many people do you know that can quote chapter and verse from the Bible? In fact, can’t we all? Isn’t one of the basic training exercises for Bible study to remember a favorite quote or story, and where to find it?

If you read this blog regularly (and thank you, if you do!) you know that I rarely tell you where something is. That’s not because I don’t know, its because I believe two things:

1. Everyone needs to read the Bible, but the way it is taught is to tell you where the quote is from. Now why bother reading it, right? Telling you where to find it almost prevents you from looking for it, which keeps you away from the Bible. Making you look for it brings you closer to the Bible, and what God has for you in there won’t be found by someone else telling you what it says; and

2. It doesn’t matter where it says something in the Bible- what matters is that you know what God wants you to know.

Have you ever had a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness? If you want to talk to someone who knows where nearly every word of the Bible can be found, that’s the person you want to go to. Unfortunately, the ones I have talked to (even before I knew God) have little or no understanding of what they are quoting. If you ask them about it, they will tell you another quote. If you question them, they will tell you another quote. But they don’t understand the meaning.

I don’t want to insult any JW’s out there, but this is my experience, as well as the experience of other people, knowledgeable of the Bible, who I have talked to about this.

The blood of bulls and sheep is not what God wants. He doesn’t want the circumcision of the flesh without the circumcision of the heart. Yeshua did not teach anything new; in fact, as you have read and heard me say many times, there is nothing new in the New Covenant writings. Yeshua interpreted the Word correctly, which is why it was so powerful. He didn’t tell us where God’s messages and commandments were found, He told us what they really mean. He went beyond just repeating what God says, and transformed our understanding.

Yeshua showed us that performance of God’s commandments is necessary, but living them is what we should be doing. In other words, don’t just repeat what is in the Bible but live it.

That’s all I want to say. I know I usually ramble on a little more, but what else is there, really, to say?

Live the Word of God. The Word became flesh so we can know God better, and so we can be with God in the Olam Haba (World to Come.) God has something in His Word just for you, but if you don’t look for it you will never find it. Seek, and you shall find, and what you find will change your life and the life of others.

You can make a change in people’s lives, as well as your own, but not by sitting still and listening- you need to get off your tuchas and DO something! Reading the Bible is an easy way to start, and the best way.

So go read something now!