Friday, December 2, 2016

Let's discuss that "judge not" thing....



Many believe that it's bad to "correct" another who has fallen from grace ... that if they say anything to that person, they are "judging." But that is not true. Scripture commands us to help our brothers and sisters "get themselves right with YHWH/Yeshua" again, or else their blood will be on us! 

Ezekiel 3:18 If I say to a wicked person, 'You will certainly die'; and you fail to warn him, to speak and warn the wicked person to leave his wicked way and save his life; then that wicked person will die guilty; and I will hold you responsible for his death. 19 On the other hand, if you warn the wicked person, and he doesn't turn from his wickedness or his wicked way, then he will still die guilty; but you will have saved your own life.

20 Similarly, when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness, I will place a stumblingblock before him - he will die; because you failed to warn him, he will die in his sin; his righteous acts which he did will not be remembered; and I will hold you responsible for his death. 21 But if you warn the righteous person that a righteous person should not sin, and he doesn't sin; then he will certainly live, because he took the warning; and you too will have saved your life." (CJB)

If someone has "fallen from grace," it is your job to speak up and tell them how and why they're "off the mark." This holds true, even if the person happens to be a Hebrew Roots or Messianic "big wig" teacher.

So many of "our" teachers have "fallen from grace" over the years, yet people continue to promote, and even defend these teachers and their teachings. The truth is, Scripture reveals that "teachers" are held to a higher standard and should be as blameless before YHWH as is humanly possible because they should KNOW Scripture inside-out (James 3:1).

If they've committed sins against Him, it usually turns out to be a "deliberate" sin - for which there is no sin sacrifice! (Please see our article: https://www.therefinersfire.org/deliberate_sinning.htm) People who committed deliberate sins during Israel's 40 years in the wilderness, were killed because YHWH commanded that HIS people "rid themselves of such evil from among them."

Yet, today, we seem to be all about "forgiveness" of anything including deliberate sins. That is why churches and synagogues reek with "religiosity." Many insist on watering down the Word.

This "judge not" thing is a two-way street. YHWH's people are to be accountable not only for themselves but for each other. Truth remains to be Truth, no matter how many ways we humans attempt to twist it. When Y'shua returns, he will be vomiting from his mouth all those who are "lukewarm" (Revelation 3:16).

Many reading this will counter: "But scripture says 'Don't judge, so that you won't be judged'!", quoting Matthew 7:1. What they fail to see in that verse is that Matthew goes on.  Verse 2 says "For the way you judge others is how you will be judged..."  Judgment is always to be  made with Torah as the standard of judgment - not your own interpretation.  Torah is the only measure of sin.  So when you have pointed out a person's sin according to transgression of Torah, you are not judging, but you are judging righteously. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A word about all the Internet "teachers" and their "teachings"

A wonderful, Torah observant sister has written the following that I felt needed to be shared with the world.  It concerns all the self-proclaimed Internet "teachers" and "teachings" - many (if not most) of which are completely skewed and reeking of personal opinion instead of Scripture. She has voiced my sentiments exactly. Please take a couple of minutes to read her words of truth:

For the last few weeks I have just been watching and learning the mindset of those who are professing to be believers. I have come to the conclusion that we NOW need more qualified teachers more than ever.

The amount of disarray is unbelievable. Everyone seems to think they are the only ones with an answer, yet they have not studied enough to find the answer. Of course they have been of this understanding for an entire 6 months now. That seems to the line in the sand where supernatural understanding begins to take hold of some of these people.

The best examples I can offer is this: I have seem more people study more of the Satanic Bible than they are Scripture. More people are searching out pagan "stuff" more than studying Scripture. I see very obscure reasoning dealing with illusions instead of facts. There is a lack of cultural and diverse understanding of the times in which Scripture was written or even the players that are mentioned in Scripture. Some feel the need to seek out conspiracy stories instead of Scripture. Some have the idea of Elohim yet they don't really know Elohim, they just know about Him. Etc., etc.. The list is at a point of non ending.

People are all over the gambit with their ideas of who they are and what rights they have. Scripture is being twisted to a new paramount to suit the person doing the twisting. Not only are some twisting Scripture, they have no idea what Scripture really is. The PC crowd now declares they have a "right" to state their teachings as true because they have just found out they are "Israel" which somehow gives them supernatural knowledge that no one else seems able to attain.

My question is: Where is this all coming from? Since when does Scripture defy the need for a qualified teacher? Since when does Scripture allocate a "personal" right to anything? Since when does the Ruach speak conflicting words that do not line up with Scripture? So many talk about the knowledge that abounds in our day and time. To that I have to ask...What knowledge is being referred to by that statement.

I would rather see a person find one subject in Scripture and study every lead possible to fully understand it than to see all the half truths bouncing off of walls in every direction, At least the person will have a good understanding of that subject instead of only superficial understanding.

If we pick a subject to study, study all of it. Don't just study what you believe, study the flip side of that also. Study all of the pros and cons of a subject, whether you agree or not. Unless we know both sides, inside and out, we really do not know that subject. We only have an illusion of knowing it.

This is the first time I can truly say, though observation, that people are being destroyed by their own faulty reasoning and lack of knowledge. The really sad part is, those same people are dragging down others with them.

Please, take time and really study Scripture from all angles, don't throw out the need for a good and qualified teacher. We all need a teacher and that is the core of community that is so prevalent in Scripture. Let us try to return some sanity to what we do, the outside world is watching us and so far we are not doing a good job of representing our Elohim.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Does the Bible Require a Flat Earth?

In a word: No.

The Bible makes a number of statements about the view of the earth as seen from our human, on-the-surface-of-the-earth perspective which can naively be misunderstood to imply the earth must be flat.  Yes, the Bible says the “sun moves” – but that IS what it looks like to us from the ground!  It does “look like” the sun moves and the earth does not!  Yes, the Bible does say the earth is immovable – but it is true that no human can move the earth!

Let’s look at a few scriptures and discuss the common errors in interpretation. And let me note, up front:  I am NOT going to cover every scripture that people misunderstand/misinterpret to conclude the earth is flat:

Here’s the “biggie” used by flat earthers all over the globe to argue the earth is flat:

Job 26:10-11 “He fixed a circle on the surface of the water, defining the boundary between light and dark.”

Flat earther: “That clearly means the earth is flat!”

Truth:  No, it means no matter where you stand, all around you is the “circle” of the horizon.  Our horizon defines the boundary between day and night.  Watch the sun set.  The sky gradually gets dark. If the earth were flat, the sky would get dark very quickly (not quite “suddenly”, but more rapidly), for everyone on earth at the same time.

Measure the time from sunset to dark in the summer and in the winter.  You’ll find darkness comes more slowly in the summer for a person in the Northern Hemisphere.  That is because the sun appears to pass over and set at a higher latitude so it takes longer to “sink” or “descend” lower below the horizon. At the same time of year, for a person in the Southern Hemisphere, darkness comes more quickly!  If the earth were flat, that would not happen! In the verse, "circle" (Hebrew: chug) means “the visible expanse as seen by a person standing on a high place”, i.e., the horizon. It does not require a flat earth!

Here’s something you can do to prove whether or not your understanding of the shape of the earth is wrong. Right at the time of sunset, from wherever you are, call someone very far to your West and ask them if the sun is setting.  For example, if you are in the Eastern time zone of the US, at the moment of sunset where you are, call someone in the Pacific time zone and ask them where the sun is in the sky! You’ll find they will say the sun is not setting at that same moment where they are, for they see the sun considerably higher in the sky, some time yet before it sets!

That tells you the earth is not flat! (If the earth were flat - no matter how far the sun is from the earth - then everyone, all over the earth would see the sun rise and set at the same time. (If the earth were flat, and the sun were simply close to the earth, then yes, throughout the daylight hours people would see the sun at varying altitudes in the sky, but no matter the sun’s distance from the earth, everyone, all over the world would see the same moment of sunset (or sunrise)!)  But you can prove to yourself that people all over the world see a different time of sunset! You possess the technology, and it’s easy to do!  Call somebody and ask!)

Genesis 1:6 “Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so…” (KJV)

Flat earther: “That means the earth is flat! Otherwise how can the firmament separate the waters?”

Truth:  No, it is prose attempting to move quickly from the formation of the earth to the next important topic – not meant to be scientifically accurate!  Is not the dry land a “firmament” which separates you from the vast oceans? Is not the “firmament” also the air above?  In the Hebrew “raqia” is used for both the vault/dome of the sky and the body of the earth/water below. No matter where you live, are not there “waters in the firmament” (i.e. rain) separated from the oceans?  (This is “waters divided from waters”). The “firmament” is the land, oceans, and the air above, and the land is the same no matter where anyone lives on the earth – round or flat.  This verse does not require or even suggest the earth must be flat!

Job 9:6 "He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble.”  (NIV)

(See also Job 26:11, Psalms 75:3, 1 Samuel 2:8).

Flat earther: “That means the earth is flat! It could only be flat on pillars!”

Truth:  No, Job is “prose and poetry”.  In prose and poetry, what is physical is converted to analogy, example, and idealized narration.  (Sorry, I don’t speak in the language of prose and poetry.)  In its simplest terms these verses are simply saying that the mass of the earth below you, unseen is “holding up the ground you are standing on”. It can be described as “pillars” holding up something like a ceiling because absolutely no one in ancient times knew or understood otherwise.

In no way do the verses mean the earth is actually held up by pillars, nor do they imply a flat earth!  If you were writing about the “feeling” of an earthquake wouldn’t you describe it today as if the ground were held up by pillars and that the pillars shook resulting in the ground motion? Admit it! You have absolutely no idea how earthquakes propagate destruction to the surface!

Job 37:3 “He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)

Flat earther: “For the earth to have ‘ends’ it must be flat!”

Truth:  No, can we learn anything from the purpose of “prose and poetry”?  In the Hebrew, the word translated as “ends” is “chana’pah” and means “an edge or extremity” and in-context means “all” or “whole”! So the verse only means that nowhere on earth are people safe from the threat of lightning! It would be true that the polar regions would be relatively safe from lightning as there are fewer storms there, but the verse holds no bearing on the claim that the earth is flat!

And another favorite of the flat earther:  Isaiah 40:22 “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.  He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” (NIV)

Flat earther: “It is quite clear that the above Biblical Verses suggest and claim that the Earth is flat, [and with other verses] has Edges, has Four Corners, has Pillars, and has Foundations.  No unbiased person would deny the straight forward quotes above.  Only the desperate biased Jews and Christians would. Some desperate Christians have gone as far as presenting Isaiah 40:22 to try to prove that the Bible claims that the earth is round.”

Truth:  No, this verse [and the others not presented] only mean that English simply does not convey the original meaning, the essence of the verses, expressed in the original Hebrew! In this case, again, the word in English translated as “circle” is “chug” and in-context only means that no matter how high a person stands on or above the earth, YHWH is above that!  People are described as grasshoppers to make it clear! It makes perfect sense that the earth, as clearly viewed from a high place, would be described by a human as a “circle” because even from the top of Mt. Everest, the horizon extends in the distance all around and is seen as a “circle”!

You can stretch out your arm and point and circumscribe a circle with you finger as you point all around you!  That in no way requires the earth to be flat or spherical! In fact, the word translated into English as “canopy” is actually “cha’dok” in Hebrew and  means “something crumbling, that is, fine (as a thin cloth): a curtain.”   I hear no flat earther or spherical earther claiming that the sky is crumbling!  No, in context, the verse is simply describing that the heavens encompass everything around us.  The verse does not require a flat or a round earth!

Also, described as a “canopy”, does not the sky extend over you as would a “canopy” so great that no matter where you live it extends above you? Just because heaven is described as a “canopy” does not imply it is over a flat earth!

And regarding the flat earther insisting the earth must be stationary:

I Chronicles 16:30: "He has fixed the earth firm, immovable".

Flat earther: “That clearly means the earth is not moving!”

Truth:  No, it means no human can move the earth.  The Hebrew word translated into English as “immovable” in the verse is “timot” which means “to waiver” or to “be cast out of course”.  If the earth is moving, no human can make it change, stop or “be cast out of course”.  If the earth is not moving, no human can make it move! The verse cannot be used to defend a non-moving earth for it means the same, whether the earth is moving or not!

Flat earther: “The sun rotates over the earth. The fact that the sun is the one that moves is mentioned 67 times. How many times does the Bible say the earth moves? Never!  Scripture says:

I Chronicles 16:30: ‘He has fixed the earth firm, immovable’.
Psalm 93:1: ‘Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm...’Psalm 96:10: ‘He has fixed the earth firm, immovable...’
Psalm 104:5: ‘Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.’
Isaiah 45:18: ‘...who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself fixed it fast...’


Flat earther continues: But we continue to say no matter, we're keeping the spinning Greek ball.”

Truth: Misunderstanding in every verse! By the way, all 67 scriptures you claim say the sun “moves” and not the earth say no such thing!  Example: Genesis 15:12: “…and when the sun was going down…” Wow! That clearly means the sun is moving and the earth is not! (Hear my sarcasm?)

Actually, we even say that same thing today!  In the late afternoon, we say “sun is going down”.  That is, after all, what it looks like to us on the earth.  (By the way, if the earth were rotating and the sun not moving (which it is, but we didn’t know it) it would look the same and be described the same way!) Your 67 verses do not prove the sun goes around the earth!

1 Chronicles has already been addressed.  In Every Psalm please look at the context! 93:1: Adonai has established the earth, we puny humans cannot change it!  96:10: the verse again recognizes that humans are minor – they can’t do what Adonai has done.  104:5: begin at verse 1! The psalm is simply giving enormous glory to Adonai for His power!  Verse 5 is no more justification of an “immovable” earth as verse 3 really means literally “His palace is on the oceans”.  It’s poetry people!

Flat earthers are fond to laud their superiority over you!  They say things like Pretending you have never heard of a globe or even a flat earth before, let’s just allow the Bible to speak for itself. Read them over a couple of times, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what they mean. Without forcing an interpretation based on preconceived notions, meditate on them and ask yourself, ‘What is the Bible really showing me concerning the nature of the heavens, the earth, the sun, moon and stars?’ 

Sure!  Read your English-only Bible and apply your English-only understanding and interpretation of words like “circle”, “dome”, “pillar”, “firmament”, “foundation”, “stretched out”, etc. and and you’ll fall for the conclusion that the Bible speaks of and requires a flat earth! Ignore the context, and ignore the original Hebrew to stay locked in the 3rd Century BCE! (Yes, mankind has known the earth was a sphere since Eratosthenes who lived circa 276-194 BCE!)

Knowing that virtually no one in ancient times understood the earth was round, can you at least realize that when scripture was written (most of which was written before that era) it would describe things in terms that humans of the era perceived?  Can you imagine if scripture used actual descriptions of the physical reality of the spherical, rotating earth, orbiting the sun, with the moon in orbit around the earth and a “speed of light” and vast distances to the sun, moon, planets and stars?! All of scripture would have been dismissed as blasphemous! No scripture would have been canonized!

We are actually quite blessed, today, that scripture was written at the time it was! It was truth then (for it did not say one way or the other that the earth was round or flat), and it’s completely valid today, even though today we know the truth! Amazing!

I’ve only scratched the surface of the many scriptures misused by the flat earthers to substantiate their claims.  But there is a truth in physics: A single counterexample disproves a theory.  I’ve countered several scriptures cited by flat earthers to defend their belief.  I’ve shown that not only do the scriptures not defend a flat earth, but they also don’t deny reality – that the earth is round, rotating, and in orbit around the sun!

The point is: IT DIDN’T MATTER THEN AND IT DOESN’T MATTER NOW!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Reader question: Impressed with your website but still wondering....


READER QUESTION:

I was quite impressed whilst browsing your site and some of the interpretations were closely relevant to my church and I just wanted a few answers.

What is the difference between the 10 commandments (written by God's finger on two stone tablets) and the Mosaic Law regarding the feasts and the sacrificial system.

Why is there a distinction between the two sets of laws? 10 were written on stone tablets by God himself and the other 600+ laws were written by Moses who was guided by God.

What is your ministry's view on the relevance of the temple curtain being torn in two from top to bottom at the exact time of Jesus' death at the cross? Matthew 27.

What does this represent in light of the holy and most holy places of the temple?

Doesn't it mean that at that precise moment, the sacrificial system of feasts and keeping of special sabbaths which foreshadowed the messiah was null and void? This supernatural event had to have some significant meaning concerning the future of the earthly temple/sanctuary.

RESPONSE FROM THE REFINER'S FIRE:

Thank you for writing to The Refiner's Fire. Let's get right to your questions:

YOU SAID: What is the difference between the 10 commandments (written by God's finger on two stone tablets) and the Mosaic Law regarding the feasts and the sacrificial system.

OUR RESPONSE: Absolutely nothing. The Ten Commandments were a condensed version of the 613 which are "forever" commandments directed at every believer. The Ten Commandments - which are a part of Torah - in no way negated the Torah nor did they abolish the feasts or the sacrificial system. As a matter of fact, the Ten Commandments came way before Yeshua did, and so the sacrificial system was still in effect then.

YOU SAID: Why is there a distinction between the two sets of laws? 10 were written on stone tablets by God himself and the other 600+ laws were written by Moses who was guided by God.

OUR RESPONSE: There really is no distinctionTorah - God's original teaching and instruction - has been in effect since Adam and Eve and is still in effect today. The rules given to Moshe were COMMANDED (not guided) by God and most of them were for the priests and kings of the day; some were for men; some for women. Some were FOREVER laws - i.e., the seventh day Sabbath and feasts, kosher, etc.  There was no point in YHWH speaking ALL His rules when he spoke directly to the people (Exodus 20), so what you see recorded is simply YHWH's overview!  Only Christianity has interpreted the Ten Commandments as somehow separate from Torah, but all of Torah is contained in this "overview" which was, heard by those present at that time.  See the end of Exodus 20, vs 6: "...displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot." That "obey my mitzvot" part is ALL of Torah!

Think of it this way:  If you were presenting the rules of baseball to a group of kids, you'd provide a summary of the essential rules to get them started - the essence of the game, if you will.  But you would not provide ALL the rules of the game at that time, because it would take lots of time.  But what you told the kids would not mean that the rules you spoke, negated the whole list of baseball rules in the "official" rulebook! 

YOU SAID: What is this ministry's view on the relevance of the temple curtain being torn in two from top to bottom at the exact time of Jesus' death at the cross? Matthew 27.

OUR RESPONSE: The renting ("tearing") of clothing or curtains has many meanings.  It was done to express strong emotion, such as shame, anger, or mourning.  Could we assume that this supernatural event (marked also with earthquakes) was YHWH's anger or emotion released?  Note that YHWH gave mankind exactly ONE GENERATION to humanity to accept His gift of salvation before He destroyed the Temple.  So perhaps the renting of the temple curtain was YHWH's enormous mourning over most of humanity, most of whom would turn from Him?  Yeshua's death on the cross marked the end of the need for SIN SACRIFICES, nothing else. It did NOT render void God's original teaching/instruction (Torah). Yeshua, was the Final Sin Sacrifice who said He came not to abolish but to fulfill:

Matthew 5: 17 Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah – not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot (words/commands) and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Has everything happened that must happen? Have heaven and earth passed away yet? If not, then Torah is still valid. When Yeshua said He came to "complete"; it did NOT mean "put an end to"....

YOU SAID: What does this represent in light of the holy and most holy places of the temple? Doesn't it mean that at that precise moment, the sacrificial system of feasts and keeping of special sabbaths which foreshadowed the messiah was null and void? This supernatural event had to have some significant meaning concerning the future of the earthly temple/sanctuary.

OUR RESPONSE: In a word: NO! If Yeshua was undoubtedly our FINAL SIN SACRIFICE, how does that render null and void God's original teachings, without which, the world would have no blueprint for moral and Godly living? Please read the following articles which provide in-depth answers to all your questions:





Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Some “unscripted lines” for the cast of Hamilton....

Recently, we learned that the cast of Hamilton had some “unscripted lines” for  Vice President-Elect Pence.  Well, I have some “unscripted lines” for the cast of Hamilton:  What gives “actors” the right to abuse their public venue to make political statements designed to ruin an “evening out” for the Vice-President elect  – especially when your comments consisted of nothing but conjecture and opinion? 

Actors and singers and “rappers” and other “entertainers” do this kind of thing routinely, just because they happen to have the public eye – and their “platforms” are ALWAYS bleeding-heart liberal, anti-God, “worldly” views – everything God HATES!

Actors, you need to realize Trump and Pence were elected – deal with it like normal adults in a country with a representative democracy!  The winners haven’t taken office yet, so there’s no use for you to make any “statements” about what you THINK they are or aren’t going to do!  If you don’t like the status quo, get yourself the proper education, a job that actually benefits people, and then become a politician yourself so you can try YOUR hand at running our country.  But don’t stand there on your “high and mighty” ENTERTAINMENT platform to make UNFOUNDED allegations against people who haven’t even yet been sworn into office!

What do I mean by “unfounded”?  Well, you accused the upcoming administration of not “protecting and defending” your inalienable rights” and your “American values.”  I’m guessing those “inalienable rights and American values” refer to your liberal desires to maintain the dung heap known as Hollywood which praises lewdness and filth of every kind? 

Or perhaps you’re referring to the dung heap of liberal “I’m entitled” and “let’s all sit at home and draw welfare” ideas that that Obama promoted?  …You know, the guy who has knocked himself out to fan the flames of prejudice and has never, in eight years, bothered to act like a REAL President who would condemn WRONG – such the horrific and senseless rioting that broke out after the election results came in; that guy who made abortion into a GOOD thing and thus helped you ACTORS to start forcing homosexuality into our living rooms at prime time so that the few GOD-FEARING people who reside in America would learn to realize that “being gay” is suddenly totally “normal” just because that is what the majority thinks.

Well, newsflash!  Just because the majority thinks something doesn’t make it “right”….

“Values” is a relative term.  I’m a million percent positive that YOUR values are NOT the same as the values God expects to see in HIS people!  Your “values” include turning into a positive thing everything God ever considered “bad”!  Your values and ideas consist of giving people “time off work” and the formation of “cry rooms” because their favorite candidate didn’t win.  Liberals seem to consist of spoiled brats who have never recognized that normal people don’t need to see a psychiatrist every time something doesn’t go their way…. And what’s really sad is, when things DON’T go their way, they not only form “protests” but they immediately resort to violence, rioting and looting – obviously, because they view it as a “value” and their “inalienable right!”

Yeah, Hamilton cast, do tell us about  your “American values” and  ”inalienable rights” that  have been twisted to mean “inalienable desires” – the desires to disrespect and fight the law at every turn because today’s Americans don’t appreciate  rules or law enforcement of ANY kind …especially when they are caught in the act of committing a CRIME!  

QUESTION FOR ALL ENTERTAINERS:  Since when does YOUR “right” override anyone else’s?  It’s time people like you - who rake in the “big bucks” from a sinking, amoral society that has gone into enormous debt because too many simply aren’t smart enough to curb their “want-itis” – learned that actual RIGHTS include your “right” to behave as decent, moral human beings who are willing to defend morality instead of doing your level best to force criminal behavior and all manner of decadence into becoming the across-the-board norm….

From now on, I suggest you “Hollywood” types (some of whom clearly view themselves as little gods) remember that not everyone idolizes you and your chosen profession - and we are repulsed by the fact that you think yourself to be important enough to use your public venue to voice your illustrious, liberal, self-aggrandizing OPINIONS.    YOUR ILK after all, helped America get to where it is today:  Down the tubes, into the bog of decadence and  immorality where people wallow in everything our Creator HATES!