Sunday, January 14, 2018

Why God kept His people in the desert for 40 years

One has to wonder why YHWH keeps putting up with mankind. We see in so many Torah portions how YHWH’s people kept disappointing Him, over and over. If they weren’t whining and crying about having no meat or fish to eat, and feeling forced to survive on manna (Numbers 11:4-6), then we see them actually saying these very hurtful things that pushed YHWH over the edge and caused Him to decide to stretch the original FOUR years in the wilderness to FORTY (Numbers 14:34)!
Numbers 14: 2 … "We wish we had died in the land of Egypt! or that we had died here in the desert! 3 Why is ADONAI bringing us to this land, where we will die by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be taken as booty! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?" 4 And they said to each other, "Let's appoint a leader and return to Egypt!" (CJB)

Numbers 14: 32 But you, your carcasses will fall in this desert; 33 and your children will wander about in the desert for forty years bearing the consequences of your prostitutions until the desert eats up your carcasses. 34 It will be a year for every day you spent reconnoitering the land that you will bear the consequences of your offenses - forty days, forty years. Then you will know what it means to oppose me! 35 I, ADONAI, have spoken.' I will certainly do this to this whole evil community who have assembled together against me - they will be destroyed in this desert and die there." (CJB)

There were actually TEN TIMES in which the Israelites "tested" YHWH (Numbers 14:22). Take a look:

1. Lacking trust when at the Red Sea.

Exodus 14: 10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Isra'el looked up and saw the Egyptians right there, coming after them. In great fear the people of Isra'el cried out to ADONAI 11 and said to Moshe, "Was it because there weren't enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn't we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we'll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be the Egyptians' slaves than to die in the desert!" 13 Moshe answered the people, "Stop being so fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how ADONAI is going to save you. He will do it today - today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again!

2. Complaining about the bitter water at Marah.

Exodus 15: 23 They arrived at Marah but couldn't drink the water there, because it was bitter. This is why they called it Marah [bitterness]. 24 The people grumbled against Moshe and asked, "What are we to drink?"

3. Complaining of the lack of food in the Desert of Seen.

Exodus 16: 1 They traveled on from Eilim, and the whole community of the people of Isra'el arrived at the Seen Desert, between Eilim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving the land of Egypt. 2 There in the desert the whole community of the people of Isra'el grumbled against Moshe and Aharon. 3 The people of Isra'el said to them, "We wish ADONAI had used his own hand to kill us off in Egypt! There we used to sit around the pots with the meat boiling, and we had as much food as we wanted. But you have taken us out into this desert to let this whole assembly starve to death!"

4. Failing to trust that the next-day's manna would be there and keeping leftovers overnight.

Exodus 16: 19 Moshe told them, "No one is to leave any of it till morning." 20 But they didn't pay attention to Moshe, and some kept the leftovers until morning. It bred worms and rotted, which made Moshe angry at them. 21 So they gathered it morning after morning, each person according to his appetite; but as the sun grew hot, it melted.

5. Collecting Manna on the Sabbath.

Exodus 16: 26 Gather it six days, but the seventh day is the Shabbat - on that day there won't be any." 27 However, on the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather and found none. 28 ADONAI said to Moshe, "How long will you refuse to observe my mitzvot and teachings?

6. Complaining over lack of water at Rephidim.

Exodus 17: 1 The whole community of the people of Isra'el left the Seen Desert, traveling in stages, as ADONAI had ordered, and camped at Refidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarreled with Moshe, demanding, "Give us water to drink!" But Moshe replied, "Why pick a fight with me? Why are you testing ADONAI?" 3 However, the people were thirsty for water there and grumbled against Moshe, "For what did you bring us up from Egypt? To kill us, our children and our livestock with thirst?"

7. Building the Golden Calf to worship.

Exodus 32: 7 ADONAI said to Moshe, "Go down! Hurry! Your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have become corrupt! 8 So quickly they have turned aside from the way I ordered them to follow! They have cast a metal statue of a calf, worshipped it, sacrificed to it and said, 'Isra'el! Here is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!'" 9 ADONAI continued speaking to Moshe: "I have been watching these people; and you can see how stiffnecked they are. 10 Now leave me alone, so that my anger can blaze against them, and I can put an end to them! I will make a great nation out of you instead."

8. Complaining at Tav'erah.

Numbers 11: 1 But the people began complaining about their hardships to ADONAI. When ADONAI heard it, his anger flared up, so that fire from ADONAI broke out against them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried to Moshe, Moshe prayed to ADONAI, and the fire abated. 3 That place was called Tav'erah [burning] because ADONAI's fire broke out against them.

9. Complaining of no meat.

Numbers 11: 4 Next, the mixed crowd that was with them grew greedy for an easier life; while the people of Isra'el, for their part, also renewed their weeping and said, "If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt - it cost us nothing! -and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic! 6 But now we're withering away, we have nothing to look at but this man."

10. Failing to trust YHWH's promise to enter the promised land after the bad report from the spies.

Numbers 14: 1 At this all the people of Isra'el cried out in dismay and wept all night long. 2 Moreover, all the people of Isra'el began grumbling against Moshe and Aharon; the whole community told them, "We wish we had died in the land of Egypt! or that we had died here in the desert! 3 Why is ADONAI bringing us to this land, where we will die by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be taken as booty! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?" 4 And they said to each other, "Let's appoint a leader and return to Egypt!"

Yes, it is definitely NOT wise to oppose YHWH!

1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them as prefigurative historical events, and they were written down as a warning to us who are living in the acharit-hayamim. 12 Therefore, let anyone who thinks he is standing up be careful not to fall! 13 No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and God can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure.

(The above can also be found in Torah portion 37. )

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Discussing Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness

READER QUESTION:

Just wondering – in the original writings of the Tanach, whenever it says YHWH "made someone hard-hearted" I’m guessing the content of the original word did not mean "forced them to be hard-hearted" but, rather, "allowed their hard-heartedness and turned them over to their own desires."

Am I right, or just shooting in the dark? I mean, if He FORCED them to be hard-hearted, then that would mean we don’t have personal choices and are "pre-destined"....

OUR RESPONSE:

In this particular case it seems that Pharaoh's free will was taken away because YHWH did “chazak” (strengthen, harden, reinforce) Pharaoh's heart. One has to wonder why, and the bottom line is, YHWH already knew that Pharaoh wasn’t His, and never would be – and so He “used” him.

The answer is that YHWH specifically said He had already set aside Egypt for judgment. He decided He would "bring judgment on the GODS of Egypt." Pharaoh was thought to be a god in Egyptian theology, so YHWH was determined to show His glory over pharaoh. You see, if YHWH shows that He has control over pharaoh, the elements - nature, and so on - then each part of Egyptian life that the natives thought their ruler controlled, is overturned.

So, did Pharaoh have a choice and could he have repented? Yes, if he had renounced his crown and the spiritual claims that came with it!

Remember, the Egyptians were warned BEFORE Moses not to mess with the Israelites. An earlier pharaoh had taken Abraham's wife Sarah, although Abraham didn't admit openly she was his wife. But that didn't matter. That pharaoh, when he found out that YHWH was angry, he immediately released Sarah with extra gifts for Abraham's “inconvenience.” His question to Abraham is most interesting as it was part apology and part "why the heck didn't you tell me?"

Now when Exodus opens, we are told that as long as Egypt "remembered Joseph" all would be well for them and for Israel. But then "a king arose who did not know Joseph". The Egyptians, in essence, forgot their own history and hence forgot the warning.

Then YHWH, who had left them alone, seemed to have lost his patience and basically said, "Okay, you guys were warned, you didn't listen, now you're gonna get it." So, when YHWH's patience ran out, “NO, there is no more free will for whom judgment has come. You have your free will only until you become hopeless!”

Pharaoh and his ancestors had free will until they incurred divine wrath.

The Tanakh is clear: You either learn the lesson or you become one for others.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Parashah 14: Va'era (I appeared) Exodus 6:2 through 9:35

It’s Shabbat time again and a synopsis of this week’s Torah portion can be found here on our website. (Please take time to read and study all the mentioned readings.) This Torah portion is awesome on many fronts because it reveals the raw power of our God!

To begin with, in Exodus 6:2, we see YHWH giving His Name to Moshe (Moses): I am ADONAI. 3 I appeared to Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov as El Shaddai, although I did not make myself known to them by my name, clip_image002.

The tetragrammaton, Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, consists basically these letters in English: YHWH (which is most likely pronounced “Yahway”). So, God Himself revealed His Name to us, and man has had access to it all along as we saw in Genesis 4:26, yet actually only knowing Him up until then as El Shaddai, the God who performs hidden miracles and exercises mastery over Nature (Exodus 6:3)!

As the story continues, we are allowed to witness the tug-of-war between YHWH and man, when Pharaoh (who views himself as God) attempts to fight THE Creator! To find out what happened, please click on the link above.  Shabbat shalom, mishpocah!


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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A snapshot of some Jews who clearly don’t know who they are!

Well, here’s something that will blow your hair back! It’s a slap in the face of YHWH. Held in San Francisco recently, a foundational myth of American Reform Judaism was memorialized, deconstructed — and then eaten. Yes, EATEN, at the “Trefa Banquet 2.0,” a delicious spread of treyf (nonkosher food) made by local Jewish chefs and served up with a side of Jewish learning and — get this! — a communal bracha (blessing) for treyf led by Rabbi Camille Angel (formerly of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, San Francisco’s historically gay synagogue), who proudly identifies as a “second-generation lobster-eating rabbi.”

All I can say is, forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do! But if they DO know, then perhaps they should read the Bible to learn what happens when you try to take on God Almighty!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Oprah for President? May it NEVER be!

The "New Age, all paths lead to God" billionaire, Oprah, for President? I don't think so! Our country's been messed up enough over the last 30 years by various unsavory characters, including the "Ah never had sex with that woe-man" lying adulterer. I really couldn't stand to see the "First Shack-Up" in the White House! I don't care HOW long she and Stedman have been a "couple"....

What are her qualifications for this office?  She’s never held ANY government positions.  She’s just another actor and talk-show host.  HOW does that qualify anyone for the highest office in the United States? She has spent at least a quarter of a century tossing liberal tidbits at people, parading herself off as some kind of a special spiritual guru, perverting Scripture into “all paths lead to God” and seemingly pushing for a “one world, one size fits all” religion… 

Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

What spirit does Oprah have?  She proclaims to be a Christian, yet she never mentions the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  She makes blanket and carefully-worded statements such as this:

“Originally our goal [with the show] was to uplift, enlighten, encourage, and entertain through the medium of television. Now our mission...is to use television to transform people’s lives, to make viewers see themselves differently, and to bring happiness and a sense of fulfillment into every home. I am talking about each individual coming to the awareness that, ‘I am Creation’s son. I am Creation’s daughter. I am more than my physical self. I am more than this job that I do. I am more than the external definitions I have given myself...Those roles are all extensions of who I define myself to be, but ultimately I am Spirit come from the greatest Spirit. I am Spirit.”

She says all the “right” things for those who are seeking “ear tickling” promises.  She gives away gifts because she can, and it makes her popular because people LOVE free stuff and to have their egos stroked and be “mothered.” 

Face it:  She’s charismatic and simply knows how to push all the right buttons. If she runs against Trump in 2020, she will most likely win by a landslide – NOT because she’s qualified, but because she’s Oprah. And because much of America is just plain ignorant and liberal to the core.

But then, that’s our world today. God help us all.

A sample of what Hollywood hypocrites look like….

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

A wonderful mini-lesson on 1 Timothy 6

What an awesome passage! What an awesome message....

1 Timothy 6:3. But if there be anyone, who teaches a different doctrine and does not agree to the foundational Words of our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach and to the doctrine of the Fear of Elohim,[1] 4. he is one that exalts himself while he knows nothing; and he languishes in the search and inquiry about words from which come envy and contention and railing and evil suspicions 5. and the constant arguing of men whose minds are corrupt and devoid of the truth, and who suppose that gain is without Elohim. But from these stand away.

6. But great is our gain which is the Fear of Elohim, with the use of our competence. 7. For we brought nothing into the world; and we know that we can carry nothing out of it. 8. Therefore, food and clothing satisfy us. 9. But they who desire to become rich fall into temptations and into snares and into many lusts which are foolish and hurtful and which drown men in destruction and destruction: 10. for the love of money is the root of all these evils. And there are some who, coveting it, have erred from the faith and brought themselves into many sorrows.

11. But you, O man of Elohim, flee from these things and follow after righteousness and rectitude, and faith and love, and patience and humility. 12. And contend in the good contest of faith; and lay hold of life eternal to which you are called and (of which) you have confessed a good confession before many witnesses. (AENT)

A footnote in the AENT explains the deeper meaning:

Isaiah 11:2-3 “And the Spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the Yirah (Fear) of YHWH; And shall make him of quick understanding in the Yirah (Fear) of YHWH:” A picture of the Menorah is seen here with its seven branches.

The center is the Spirit of YHWH while the six other attributes are joined into the center pillar. These seven Spirits also signify perfection or completeness. The Fear of YHWH Elohim is a “Spirit” of YHWH; it is a vital spiritual quality for Life in Mashiyach. The Fear of YHWH is a personal guide; Hebrew yirah means fear, as in fear/awesome/terrifying contrary to Christian teaching that the Fear of YHWH is not really “fear” but love and respect.

Isaiah 29:13 reveals how “the Fear of YHWH is taught by the commandment of men”; in other words, man’s religious theology and tradition has made void the Fear of YHWH. Many Christians prefer the term “reverence” over “fear”; Christians also use a title of “Reverend” for their clergymen and ministers; therefore, the term “Fear of YHWH” was first negated and then given a theological/semantic twist to apply to their own leadership, as in the case of “reverend.”

The Fear of YHWH is noted throughout Scripture; B’resheet/Genesis 20:11; 42:18; Shemot/Exodus 9:30; 18:21; Vayikra/Leviticus 25:17; D’varim/Deuteronomy 10:12 and in more than a hundred places. Without the Spirit of the Fear of YHWH, people will fear man, materialism, relativism and all form of idols, including their religious leaders.