Sunday, May 31, 2015

A mini-lesson on Torah

Torah is simply God’s Divine Instructions in Righteousness without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living.  Adam and Eve were given Torah –Instructions, one of which they blatantly disobeyed which got them kicked out of the Garden of Eden! God has always been adamant about His Rules.  “Obey Me, or else!”  And so, the first sin sacrifice we see is in Genesis 3:21 when YHWH killed an innocent animal to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve.  The next time we hear about sacrifices is in the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, which shows that they somehow KNEW – obviously through their parents - that they had to present sacrifices!  When YHWH was getting ready to destroy the earth by Flood in Genesis 7, we see Noah knowing the difference between “clean and unclean” animals:

Genesis 7: “2 Of every clean animal you are to take seven couples, and of the animals that are not clean, one couple; 3 also of the birds in the air take seven couples - in order to preserve their species throughout the earth.”  And what do we see in Genesis 8:20?  “20 Noach built an altar to ADONAI. Then he took from every clean animal and every clean bird, and he offered burnt offerings on the altar.” 

God was clearly somehow getting His Divine message through to the people of the time! 

Okay.  So, as time went on and the world’s population grew, for a long period it was up to each man to offer his own sacrifices.  Well, after YHWH had Moses lead His people out of Egypt, He ultimately separated the Tribe of Levi as His Priests, who made all the offerings on behalf of everyone else.  At this point I want to mention something very important:  We need to remember that when YHWH gave the Ten Commandments, He wasn’t giving them only to the Jews – which is the excuse I hear from many Christians who insist those Old Testament rules weren’t for them.  But the Torah clearly says He gave His commandments to all 12 tribes AND the Gentiles who had joined Moses during the Exodus!  As a matter of fact, in Numbers 15:13-16 God said something profound that seems to be overlooked by many:

Numbers 15: 13 "'Every citizen is to do these things in this way when presenting an offering made by fire as a fragrant aroma for ADONAI. 14 If a foreigner stays with you - or whoever may be with you, through all your generations - and he wants to bring an offering made by fire as a fragrant aroma for ADONAI, he is to do the same as you. 15 For this community there will be the same law for you as for the foreigner living with you; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations; the foreigner is to be treated the same way before ADONAI as yourselves. 16 The same Torah and standard of judgment will apply to both you and the foreigner living with you.'"

Did you hear that?  Paraphrased it says any Torah-less non-Jew/Hebrew/Israelite who does not believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is an "alien"/a foreigner. However, if they do wish to accept Him, then they are to do exactly as those who are already belong to Him!

What we are seeing here is that ALL who accept YHWH as their God MUST be Torah observant, just like the Houses of Israel and Judah were with whom God made His New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:32)!  And note, He didn’t make His New Covenant with the Gentiles, but with the Torah observant Houses of Israel and Judah.

And then, in Romans 10:12-13 we read:  And in this, it discriminates neither Jews nor Gentiles. For there is one, Master YHWH, over them all, who is abundantly generous towards every one that calls on him. 13. For everyone that will call on the name of Master YHWH, will have life.


And here’s another shocker!  If you believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you are NO LONGER A GENTILE.  Like our forefather Abraham in Genesis 12 who became a Hebrew once he accepted YHWH as His God and obeyed the command to leave his homeland and go to the place YHWH commanded, YOU  automatically become a Hebrew – which is a Hebrew term which means, “To cross over.”

Y’shua never came to abolish Torah or even the animal sacrifices, which will actually be reinstituted when the Third Temple is rebuilt.  He even said so in Matthew 5:17-20!  But He was our final SIN Sacrifice/Offering and consequently we don’t need to kill innocent animals to atone for SIN any longer. He martyred Himself on our behalf.  But that never removed the need for HIS people to obey His Torah.

NOTE:  Our use of the term "martyr" is intentional because traditional Jews love to point out that  "G-d never required human sacrifice!"  Well, Y'shua wasn't a "human sacrifice" because nobody "sacrificed" Him.  He was a Divine Sacrifice who willingly went to the cross/stake.  As a human being, He had the choice to obey YHWH or not.  As we see time and time again, He CHOSE to obey.  He KNEW who He was....

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Have you noticed "the world" doesn't know that today is Shavuot? Too bad for them!

Chag sameach Shavuot, everyone!  Halleluyah!  Nearly 4,000 years ago today YHWH gave His people TORAH, without which, we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living. 

As is our Sunday custom, we watched the CBS news program "Sunday Morning" on TV, and we were very disappointed to discover that this High Holy Day of Shavuot never even got one mention in today's show (or anywhere else in TV Land).  But, that's "the world" for ya!  They have no clue.  YHWH's commanded Mo'edim (Appointed Times) mean absolutely NOTHING to the world - not even in any church, because they don't pay attention to "that Old Testament stuff!"

Anyway, "Sunday Morning" brought a segment about Ireland's "amazing and ground-breaking" decision to approve gay marriage by popular vote, with weirdly coiffed and painted types desperately trying to show the world they were NOT the sex they were assigned at birth, telling the Catholic church it's time modernize and change its collective thinking.  And they had the full support and backing of Ireland's leaders - who were clearly bucking for votes.

Yeah, sure, why not?  The Catholic Church has been caving in to demands for many years now.  One of Ireland's most senior Catholic clerics even called for the Church to take a "reality check" following the country's overwhelming vote in favor of same-sex marriage...

Yes, by all means, take God OUT of the church altogether!  He's clearly not been there, anyway, so go ahead and make those changes!  God won't care, because HE IS NOT THERE!  The Catholic church (along with most other churches of the nearly 40,000 different Christian "denominations" - and even many "Hebrew Roots/Messianic" congregations comprised of a bunch of pious people running around pretending to be holy - are based on MAN's ideas and opinions, not YHWH's commands!

Well, the bottom line is, Scripture tells us that these things would happen in the end times, and that YHWH's people would have to stand strong because "those who have patience to the end will have LIFE" (Matthew 24:13).

So, all we can really do is to make sure our own households are run according to Torah, and to be a light for whoever crosses our path.  We can't force anyone to find their way to YHWH/Y'shua; all we can do is "sow seeds" and hope they land on fertile soil.  The world is in total chaos right now, and it's only going to get worse - so hang onto your hats, everybody, and STAY STRONG IN THE WORD!

The following scriptures were borrowed from the Aramaic English New Testament:

John 4:23. But the hour is coming, and now is when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, indeed. For the Father, He seeks worshippers as these. 24. For Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship, they must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Colossians 3:15. And let the peace of the Mashiyach direct your hearts for to that you have been called, in one body; and be thankful to the Mashiyach. 16. And let his Word dwell in you richly in all wisdom. And teach and admonish yourselves by psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and with grace in your hearts sing you to Elohim. 17. And whatever you do in word or act, do it in the name of our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach, and give thanksgiving through him to Elohim the Father.

Matthew 4:. 8. Again the accuser took him to (a) mountain that (was) very high and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, 9. and said to him, “These all I will give to you if you will fall (and) worship me.” 10. Then Y’shua said to him Leave enemy, for it is written that you will worship Master YHWH your Elohim and Him alone you will serve.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

James was correct: Man IS "justified by works and not faith alone!"

Have you ever wondered about this verse - James 2:24?  “You see that by works a man is justified and not by faith alone.”

A Christian man argued:  “If you're going to use James 2 to support a faith + performance theology, then you have some issues to reconcile!”

Really?  Why?  The entire Torah (first five Books of the Bible) is all about YHWH’s grace and mercy as He continuously attempts to reach and teach mankind to follow HIS Divine Instructions in Righteousness (Torah)!  James is merely reiterating that fact.

Let’s read the footnote on this verse in the AENT: 

The Hebrew word for a righteous soul = tsadiq; righteousness = tsedeq; justified = tsadaq; notice they are the same word.  A soul without righteousness can never be “justified” regardless of what theologians claim.  The original root word for justified relates to righteous action.  However, mainstream Christianity teaches that a person is “justified” solely on the merits of belief in Y’shua, and that observing Torah is impossible.  Even in Ya’akov’s (James) day, some individuals wanted cerebral belief to “justify” themselves, which is impossible.

Y’shua’s person (example) and Spirit is meant to literally be imparted into us; this must be evidenced by our actions, otherwise we do not belong to him.  Theological, or cerebral “belief” without works, is dead religion; but active literal Faith comes to life in Mashiyach.  Torah Observance/obedience is clear evidence that we have passed from death to life.  See John 5:29, Matthew 7:23.

James’ words are easy to understand – IF you have An applied knowledge of Torah.

Gays Win!

This week in May, 2015, Ireland became the first nation in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote.   When the gay movement took steam a few decades back, this result was entirely predictable.  Myths tend to become fact given enough time.

Myth?  What myth would that be?  The myth that homosexuality is "okay"!  Of course I realize the world will approve gay marriage.  I know that.  Pandora's box is open.  Indeed the "world" does a lot of things which are not "okay" but simply condones it.   Much of what the world does, right or wrong, it does only because it has been embraced over time.

Face it.  Humans were the same in, say, 1950 as they are today.  Nothing has changed.  In 1950, homosexuality existed yet it was understood that it was an aberration and was condemned.   Homosexuality existed in Biblical times too, and was also condemned.   (The condemnation came from YHWH (God) Himself!) Yet now, in this decade, homosexuality is touted as "normal" and even a "right".  A "right"!  A couple of generations have now grown up constantly hearing this.  And that is precisely what changed.  It's absolutely true that when you hear something often enough, whether true or not, it becomes "fact".  Case in point:

Just before the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama changed his view of homosexuality based on the current "political wind" (i.e., he needed votes),  and announced his support of gay-marriage.  He said in an interview:  
"You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we're talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently.  It doesn't make sense to them and, frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective."
Do you see it?  It would not dawn on Malia and Sasha that somehow their friends' [gay] parents would be treated differently!  Why would it not dawn on them?  Because  Malia and Sasha grew up hearing it constantly that being gay is not different!  For 6000 years is was different, and now all the sudden it's not (Isaiah 5:20).  No wonder they don't see a problem with homosexuality!  When we, as a society, fail to teach expected human behavior by YHWH's rules, with YHWH as the authority, and instead man's rules and desires become the measure of authority, then the world descends into what we see today.  And it happened in our age! 

It wouldn't dawn on Malia and Sasha because you, Mr. President, instead of teaching Malia and Sasha the truth that GOD calls homosexuality an abonmination, decides instead that it "prompts a change in perspective."  And, Malia and Sasha did not learn the truth in school either, because in the United States, "God" has not been permitted in school since 1962! 

Now I am not "homophobic".  I'm not.  I feel bad for those who think sexual relations between same-sex partners could ever be "okay".  You see, no one who is immoral and unclean in the eyes of God can be in His presence.  No one. (Leviticus 22:3; Numbers 19:20; 2 Chronicles 23:19; Isaiah 35:8; 1 Corinthians 6:17; Revelation 21:17 just to name a few).  Even heterosexuals who embrace adultery, also forbidden by God, cannot be in His presence!  So it does not matter if the entire world approves of homosexuality and the entire world makes gay marriage legal.  It doesn't matter what "the Church" says as they race to embrace homosexuality, nor any Supreme Court of any land.  Homosexuals and heterosexuals alike can do as they wish to hide behind what they want to do and demand it be accepted as "normal" and expect YHWH to "love me just the way I am".  In the end, they are worm fodder because YHWH does not "love you just the way you are"!  He loves you enough to realize you are lost and in need of HIM.  After that, He expects you to follow HIS Divine Instructions! You are supposed to love YHWH enough to be set apart for HIM! (Deuteronomy 7:6).

Well, the world is free to embrace man's rules and man's laws all they wish.  But as for me and my household, we will serve YHWH!" (Joshua 24:15).

So no, I am not "homophobic"!  I am YAHphoric!

Ireland has kicked God in the face by voting to legalize "gay" marriage!

Ireland has vote to legalize "gay" marriage!  Keep your eye on Ireland now, to see what happens because, while "man" thinks he's being progressive and "open-minded" - our Creator thinks otherwise.  And if you go up against God, guess who's going to win!  (See our article on sexual immorality. )

Leviticus 18:22 - You are not to go to bed with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.

Revelation 22:14 How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city! 15 Outside are the homosexuals, those who misuse drugs in connection with the occult, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

 
Hebrews 10:26 For if we deliberately continue to sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but only the terrifying prospect of Judgment, or raging fire that will consume the enemies.


Hebrews 10:29 Think how much worse will be the punishment deserved by someone who has trampled underfoot the Son of God; who has treated as something common the blood of the covenant which made him holy; and who has insulted the Spirit, giver of God's grace! 30 For the One we know is the One who said, "Vengeance is my responsibility; I will repay," and then said, "ADONAI will judge his people." 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

 
Please re-read the above: If you are a born-again believer and you know what God considers "sin" but you continue sinning, anyway, then you do NOT have the Holy Spirit residing within, and you do NOT belong to God! This is not my "interpretation" of the Bible; it is what YHWH said and Yeshua and His Apostles continued to reiterate.


2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for a person is slave to whatever has defeated him. 20 Indeed, if they have once escaped the pollutions of the world through knowing our Lord and Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah, and then have again become entangled and defeated by them, their latter condition has become worse than their former. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the Way of righteousness than, fully knowing, to turn from the holy command delivered to them.

Matthew 23: (Yeshua said) 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A note for those who still insist Torah is a "curse"

1 John 2:3-6: The way we can be sure we know Him is if we are obeying His commands. Anyone who says, "I know Him," but isn't obeying His commands is a liar - the truth is not in him. But if someone keeps doing what he says, then truly love for God has been brought to its goal in him. This is how we are sure that we are united with Him. A person who claims to be continuing in union with Him ought to conduct his life the way He did.

So, how did Yeshua conduct His life? By obeying and carrying out His Father's Divine Instructions/Commands (Torah)!  Yeshua was completely Torah observant, as were all of His apostles and disciples throughout the entire First Century....so what would make someone believe THEY don't have to be? How did Yeshua's death on the stake negate His Father's Divine Instructions? How did YHWH's Divine Instructions get to be a "curse"? That doesn't even make sense!

That, in itself, reveals there must be more to God and the Bible than just "believing in Jesus" and it's way past time for mankind to realize this. We are in the end times as outlined in the Books of Daniel and Revelation, and it won't be much longer before Yeshua's return. Those who have chosen to ignore God's Torah are NOT worshiping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and will be very surprised to discover they were "left behind" on that fateful day because they were guilty of being "lukewarm." Many of our Christian brethren have already realized this and opted to leave the "milk" of the church in order to pursue a true relationship with their Creator because they've finally understood that Yeshua said He did NOT come to abolish or negate His Father's Commands:

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? Since when does the word "complete" (or "fulfill) mean "abolished"? Why would God abolish His own original divine teachings which He said were to last forever? Did Jesus come to make a liar out of YHWH, God the Father?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ever wondered about that "easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle" thing?

Matthew 19:16. A certain man came and drew near and said to him, “Good teacher, what is good that I should do that I should have eternal life?” 17. Then he said to him, Why do you call me good? There is none good except one Elohim? Now if you desire to enter into life, keep the Commandments. 18. He said to him, “Which ones?” Then Y’shua said to him, That you will not kill, and not commit adultery, and you will not steal, and you will not give false witness.[1] 19. And honor your father and mother,[2] and love your neighbor as yourself.[3] 20. That young man said to him, “All these things I have obeyed them from my youth. What do I lack?” 21. Y’shua said to him, If you desire to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give them to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come follow me. 22. And that young man heard this word and went away sad, for he had many possessions. 23. Y’shua then said to his disciples, Truly I say to you that it is difficult for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

24. And again I say to you that it is easier for a rope[4] to enter into the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Elohim. 25. And when the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed and were saying, “Who indeed is able to gain life?” 26. Y’shua looked at them and said to them, With men this is not possible, but with Elohim everything is possible. 27. Then answered Keefa and said to him, “Behold, we have left everything and have come to follow you. What indeed will we have?” 28. Y’shua said to them, Truly I say to you, that you who have come to follow me in this world, when the Son of man sits new upon the throne of his glory, you will also sit upon twelve seats, and you will judge the twelve tribes of Israel. 29. And anyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for the sake of my name, will receive one hundredfold and will inherent eternal life. 30. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
(Aramaic English New Testament [AENT] by Andrew Gabriel Roth)

Footnotes:

[1] Exodus 20:13-16; Deuteronomy 5:17-20

[2] Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16

[3] Leviticus 19:18

[4] Gamala refers to a “heavy rope” rather than a “camel” which is also spelled gimel-meem-lamed-alap. Greek scholars puzzled over a camel passing through the eye of a needle, which is a physical impossibility. Y'shua is clearly not saying a rich man can't enter, or he would not "love" this one! The “heavy rope” lesson teaches about a rich man entering into heaven, after he "unravels" his fortune strand by strand as Y'shua instructs. If his wealth was bound tightly and strong like a rope, it is to be unwound like threads which will pass through the eye of the needle! Careful attention is required to thread a needle; so are the rich obligated unto YHWH for how their wealth is acquired and dispersed. Theological attempts to "prove" the eye of the needle to be a geographical location have utterly failed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How can we be holy? Scripture explains!

Some quick thoughts for today:

Leviticus 20: 7 Therefore consecrate yourselves -you people must be holy, because I am ADONAI your God. 8 Observe my regulations, and obey them; I am ADONAI, who sets you apart to be holy. (CJB)

How can you be holy enough to belong to YHWH and receive eternal life? Let’s take a look at just these few scriptures:

John 3:36. He who believes in the Son has life that is eternal, and he who does not obey the Son will not see life, rather the wrath of Elohim will rise up against him. 
(AENT)
 
1 John 5: 11. And this is the testimony that Elohim has given to us life eternal, and this life is in his Son. 12. Everyone that takes hold of the Son takes hold of life; and everyone that takes not hold of the Son, has not life. 13. These things have I written to you that you may know that you have life eternal, you who believe in the name of the Son of Elohim. 14. And this is the confidence that we have towards him, that whatever we ask of him, agreeably to his will, he hears us. 
(AENT)
 
John 17: 1. Y’shua spoke these things and he lifted up his eyes to Heaven and said My Father the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that your Son might glorify you. 2. Just as you have given him authority over all flesh that whomever You have given him, he will give to him life that is eternal. 3. Now this is life that is eternal, that they might know You, that You are the Elohim of Truth, and he alone whom You have sent, the Mashiyach Y’shua. 
(AENT)

Matthew 22: 36. "Teacher, which Commandment in Torah is the greatest?" 37. And Y'shua said to him, that "You should love Master YHWH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might and with all your mind." 38. This is the first and the greatest Commandment. 39. And the second is like it. That "You should love your neighbor as yourself." 40. On these two commandments hang Torah and the prophets.
(AENT)

If you are among those who believe we only need to keep two commandments, please re-read verse 40 with the help of the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit). Does verse 40 imply that all of God's original instructions have been done away with? NO! The Torah and the Prophets HANG/ARE DEPENDENT ON those two commands! There's more to it than just "loving God and loving your neighbor!

The bottom line is: Belief in YHWH, and His "arm" (Isaiah 53:1), Messiah Y'shua = Eternal life. Torah = Holiness. The "arm" is not separate from the body! Y'shua is an extension of YHWH. He was sent as a human with a divine qnoma (nature), which made Him perfect enough to offer Himself on our behalf. The two go hand-in-hand! (Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31, Luke 10: 25-28, Luke 18:18-34)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Scripture is not served a la "Burger King"!

Our blog post on May 3, 2015 entitled "What does it mean to 'be holy'?" brought an admonishment from a well-meaning (I assume!) reader saying:
Ha! The jokes on you! Torah is a curse! Read Galatians 3:10!  And you can't keep all those 613 "laws" anyway!
We responded:

Thank you but you seem to think the Bible is "Burger King" and you can "have it your way", picking  and choosing scripture to agree or disagree with.  You cite Galatians 3:10, evidently with the intent to prove that you don't have to obey the Torah, and say "you can't keep all those 613 'laws' anyway" apparently to imply you don't have to obey any of them!

If you are going to cite Galatians 3:10, then why don't you try first to understand it?  It does not say "Torah is a curse"!  It says people are cursed if they don't live by Torah!  (The curses and blessings on the people are found in Deuteronomy 27:15 to 28:68.)  Please go back and look at how Paul says the same thing in Galatians 2:16 as he does in 3:10.  You see, if you'd only start reading Galatians from the beginning, you might come to understand who Paul is, and what he, himself is identifying as the problem in the congregations of Galatia (see Galatians 1:6 to 2:13). 

The Jews in the community were putting on the Gentiles, the same "mandates" they had learned and had grown up with.  These "mandates" meant that the Jews were insisting the Gentiles "live like Jews" (Galatians 2:14).  And the way Jews lived was by the requirements of the rabbis who mandated how they had to live to "be justified"!  In other words, though the Messiah had brought eternal life to ALL (Jew and Gentile alike) through faith, the Jews were still teaching that one must "do this and do that".  But Paul and all the apostles understood that Torah itself does not "justify", and that Torah is not meant to be a "must do this and must do that" sort of thing!

That "must do" mentality is called strict religious halakha.  You can study the meaning of halakha, but in a nutshell, it is from a Hebrew word that means "to walk" and what it means in the phrase "strict religious halakha" is that rather than simply obeying Torah because YHWH asked us to, (and doing so with the joy of our heart), your "walk" is instead burdened because obeying Torah had become a "you must to what the rabbis say" sort of thing.  Simple commands like "obey the Sabbath day" became instead a stressful thing because the rabbis declared what you could and could not do on the Sabbath! (Sabbath is suppose to be a Joy!)

So Paul is not condemning Torah! What he goes on to say is that if you have accepted the Messiah by faith, and have received the "Spirit", then your walk is by the Spirit, and you willingly follow YHWH's Torah, and you no longer want to be "your old self" when your life was dominated by the disgusting practices of the world and your old, gentile (pagan) ways.  What he is saying is that no "way of the Jew, prescribed by the rabbis" which, he knows is a problem, even for the Jew (Paul is a Jew), must be forced upon the Gentile.

We could go on here, but let us close with some final points.  If you insist on thinking that "Torah is a curse", and continue to get your verses from Burger King, then you need to sit down and reconcile why other scriptures in the New Testament, written by Paul and the other apostles, completely contradict your own conclusion.  Take for example James 2:17 which says: "faith by itself, unaccompanied by actions, is dead.Actions are what you do in your day-to-day life to demonstrate your love of YHWH!  And you should do something to demonstrate your love!  YHWH has offered you eternal life!  You certainly don't want to blow it!  In exchange, all you have to do is live your earth-bound life without sin, and honor YHWH!  But if you have dismissed Torah, then you have no way to measure if you have sinned!  You are wandering through life without a guide to what YHWH measures as sin - sin which which can negate your eternal life!

This is because sin is transgression of Torah (1 John 3:4), and without Torah all you have is YOUR definition of "sin", or someone else's!  But by offering you eternal life, YHWH did not at the same time give you or anyone else the authority to define sin.  If YHWH is your God, and Yeshua is your Messiah, and you have accepted what the Messiah did for you,  then you are obligated to define sin the way He does!  Indeed, John wrote earlier:  "And by this we will be sensible that we know him, if we keep his Commandments.  For he that says I know him [Messiah], and does not keep his Commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him.  But he that keeps his Word, in him is the Love of Elohim truly completed: for by this we know that we are in him.   He that says “I am in him” is bound to walk according to his [Messiah's] halakha." (1 John 2:3-6, AENT).  The Messiah's walk (halakha) was in Our Master YHWH's Torah!

And to your charge: "you can't keep all those 613 'laws' anyway!" - no one ever said you could or even had to! You only need to keep the commands that apply to you!  You can read which ones in the Old Testament, Genesis through Deuteronomy, they're pretty simple.   (They are also detailed in this article:  But, didn't Jesus abolish the Law and those 613 original commandments?)

There is a wonderful appendix in the Aramaic English New Testament that says: "For those who do not have a relationship with YHWH, Torah might be viewed as a book of do’s and don’ts, but in reality Torah is a love letter from a Father to his children that provides instruction and wisdom for life."

Maybe you'd do good to do some serious scripture study and learn what Torah is before you ever again call it a curse.   We believe you might even find it to be a blessing.

Is Shabbat "dawn to dawn"?

We receive the following study from a reader.   We though it worthwhile to post their study and our response here for all to see!
Reader: I have studied Genesis 1 and I find something interesting!  The Sabbath is from dawn to dawn!
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day." (Genesis 1:1-2, 4-5 ESV)
I see light came from darkness:  "from" darkness means between or in the midst.  Thus, light=Day, darkness=Night.

Then, reading on to verse 14: "And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so. And God made the two great lights--the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night--and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day." (Genesis 1:14-19 ESV)

"Signs" in Hebrew (Strongs 226) shows "owth" means "mark".  Now "dawn" is the time that marks the beginning of the twilight before sunrise. It is recognized by the presence of weak sunlight, while the Sun itself is still below the horizon. Dawn should not be confused with sunrise, which is the moment when the leading edge of the Sun itself appears above the horizon.   Thus, dawn is the time that marks the beginning of the twilight before sunrise.  Dawn is not sunrise. In the dictionary dawn means the first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise. Therefore the darkness is first, then the dawn, then sunlight.  So the "24 hour day" is dawn to dawn!   Amazing!
Our response:

Well,  I think you led yourself down a foxhole!  If I followed your logic, you concluded that "dawn to dawn" is the "24 hour day", rather than "sunset to sunset" or even "sunrise to sunrise".   Let me see if I can go through this and determine where you went astray.

First, you concluded that "light came from darkness: 'from' darkness means between or in the midst."  But you left out Genesis 1:3 in your scriptures:  "Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light." With verse 3 we see that "darkness" was first, and then God CREATED light!  So light did not "come from darkness"! Light and darkness were separated.

Second, you concluded that "day" means "light", and while this is true, just like the English word "day", the Hebrew word "יום" (yom) means "daytime" but also means a "whole 24 hour period".  In Genesis 1:5, the exact same word is used for both the "light of the day" and "the whole day".  Genesis 1:5 in Hebrew:
  ויקרא אלהים לאור יום ולחשׁך קרא לילה ויהי־ערב ויהי־בקר יום אחד׃
לאור יום =  la'or yom =  Literally "light day", i.e., "He called the light 'day'".
יום אחד=  yom echad =  Literally "day first", i.e., "the first day".

Since there are no vowels in ancient Hebrew, the context is important.  In Hebrew, the very fact that the "day" is called "echad", i.e., "one thing composed of parts", means the "day" is composed of parts - and it is - Night & Day!  Nevertheless, in the first part of the verse, the "daytime" part of the "day", i.e., the "light" is also called "day"!

So now let's move on to Genesis 1:14.  Here you have isolated אות  ('ôth, "sign") and concluded it means "mark".  But the word אות means "sign"!  "Mark" is only an example of the word "sign".  In your dictionary definition, other examples are: "a banner, remembrance, miraculous sign, omen, and warning"!  Anyway, the fact that "a mark" is also a "sign", does not change the meaning of  אות  ('ôth, "sign")  in Genesis 1:14.  In Genesis 1:14 the Hebrew word is לאתת (li'ôth't, "signs"), and in context the verse says that the sun, moon, and stars are FOR "signs, appointed times [moedim], days, and years".  It is the sign by these objects (the sun, moon and stars) that is important, not the affect or "mark" which is caused by the object.  "Daylight", for example, is caused by the sun but the light itself not the sign of the day! The sun is the sign!

If you change the meaning of "sign" to "mark", then Genesis 1:14 says that the sun, moon, and stars are FOR "marks, appointed times, days, and years", and the context is lost.  The sun, moon, and stars really are for "signs", rather than for "a mark".  The sun does "mark" sunset, because at that moment, the sun instantly changes from being visible to being invisible.  But sunset is actually "the sign" that the "period of light is changing to the period of dark" - the sign that the day has changed - just as Genesis 1:5 provides.  On the other hand, at dawn, as the sky is brightening, we are observing only the affect of the sun, with its light, separating the darkness for the daylight part of the day, again just as Genesis 1:5 provides.  

This idea of a "sign" is clearer in the case of the moon.  In the case of the moon, there is no visible "mark" of conjunction.  You don't see the sky change as the moon is nearing conjunction. On morning, the moon simply does not rise!  The moon is too close to the sun to be seen and is absent for many hours, up to 3 days!  But the "absence of the moon" is the "sign" that conjunction is happening and the month is changing from the old to the new month.  There is no "mark" of when the old moon becomes the new moon.  Conjunction, the absence of the moon, is a "sign" and not a "mark".

Returning to the sun, in English Bibles, the first use of the word "dawn" is found in Exodus 14:24 "Just before dawn, Adonai looked out..."  But the word translated as "dawn" here is the Hebrew word "הבקר" (ha'boker; morning), not "dawn"!   בקר (boker) properly means "break of day", which in English is close to the meaning of "dawn", but not in the Hebrew mindset of  "boker".  "Boker" therefore, means is associated with human activity - when the morning is becoming bright enough for human activity.  Even after sunrise is is still "boker".  In Hebrew, we say "boker tov", meaning "good morning", and that can be said any time in period before or after sunrise and before noon!  If you are up before sunrise, to go work in your field, you still say "boker bov".  You don't say "good dawn"!

Another example.  In Job 3:9 (3:8 in some versions), it says in most English translations: "may the stars of its twilight be dark, may it look for light but get none, may it never see the shimmer of dawn", we see again the English word "dawn".  But in the Hebrew the word is בעפעפי (b'af'ap'pei) and the word literally means in context, the "morning rays of sunlight", that is the way the "dawn" looks as the sun is about to rise.  But the English "dawn" simply does not convey that picture.

Actually, the first use of "dawn" in the Bible in Hebrew is in Genesis 19:15  which says: "When השׁחר  (ha'sha'char; dawn) came, the angels told Lot to hurry."  It would be wise to note that in Genesis 1, we find the day defined as an "echad" consisting of the ערב  (erev; evening, darkness) and בקר (boker; morning) and the "dawn", ha'sha'char, is not mentioned.


You conclude that the Sabbath is to be observed from "dawn to dawn".  I hope you can see that this conclusion was reached in error.  YHWH set apart the Sabbath as a holy day, a holy convocation, a day of rest.  It is clearly segregated as a complete day, its own special appointed time with YHWH, specifically cited in Leviticus 23:3. And the Hebrew day is very clearly sunset to sunset.  Nehemiah 13:19 is a clear example:  "It came about that just as it grew dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and that they should not open them until after the sabbath..."  (Recognize that in Hebrew, the late afternoon, in the time before sunset, it is known as the "first evening", and it is this time referred to in Nehemiah 13:19).  It was not "becoming light before the sabbath"!  And Yom Kippur is described as follows in Leviticus 23:32:

"It will be for you a Shabbat of complete rest, and you are to deny yourselves; you are to rest on your Shabbat from evening the ninth day of the month until the following evening."  

Here in English, the correct translation of this verse is made - evening to evening.  It does not say "morning to morning" or "dawn to dawn".

No.  The Shabbat is not "dawn to dawn"!  In fact, watching for sunrise for anything other than preparation for labors, is precariously close to idol worship, for YHWH says "For the same reason, do not look up at the sky, at the sun, moon, stars and everything in the sky, and be drawn away to worship and serve them; ADONAI your God has allotted these to all the peoples under the entire sky." (Deuteronomy 4:19, CJB)


Sunday, May 3, 2015

What does it mean to "be holy"?

If you browse the Internet you will find lots of explanations of what it means to "be holy", yet when you are done reading them, you still don't know what it means!  Most attempts to explain "holy" refer to the dictionary definition which is "dedicated or consecrated to God."  Some realize there is a component of "holiness" called "set apart" meaning that when you are holy, you don't participate in the "ways of the world".  One site sums it up with:  "To be holy means that all we are and all we have belongs to God, not ourselves, and that every aspect of our lives is to be shaped and directed toward God."

So where does this idea even come from?  Why do people even talk about "being holy"?  It comes from a verse in the Bible of course!  Well, it actually comes from MANY verses in the Bible, but the one referenced most often is Leviticus 19:2.  It states:

"Speak to the entire community of Isra'el; tell them, 'You people are to be holy because I, ADONAI your God, am holy.'" (CJB)

Well, that's not exactly what it says.  In Hebrew it says: 

  דבר אל־כל־עדת בני־ישׂראל ואמרת אלהם קדשׁים תהיו כי קדושׁ אני יהוה אלהיכם׃

Which more accurately translates to:

"Speak to all the assembly of the children of Israel and say become קדשׁים [kedoshim] for I am קדושׁ [kadosh], for I am יהוה  [YHWH] your אלהיכם [Elohech'im - God]."

I don't think it's nitpicking, because the verse does not say "you people are to be holy"!  It says "become KEDOSHIM [holy people] because I am KADOSH [holy]…"

If YHWH Himself is KADOSH, and He wants us to become KEDOSHIM, then "kadosh" (holy) MUST mean something much more than simply "set apart" or "dedicated or consecrated to God ".  God is "holy"!  Is God "dedicated or consecrated to God"?  No!  He is HOLY!

So really the correct question should be "How do we become KEDOSHIM - 'holy people'?"

The answer, it turns out, is RIGHT THERE in scripture!  How to become kedoshim is described in a "snapshot" of examples in the very next verses in Leviticus 19!  Let's go through them and see if we can come away from this exercise with a good idea of just what it means to be "kedoshim" (holy people). (All verses from the CJB):

Verse 3: "Every one of you is to revere his father and mother, and you are to keep my Shabbats; I am ADONAI your God."

Verse 4: "Do not turn to idols, and do not cast metal gods for yourselves; I am ADONAI your God."

Verse 5: "When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to ADONAI, offer it in a way that will make you accepted."

Verse 9: "'When you harvest the ripe crops produced in your land, don't harvest all the way to corners of your field, and don't gather the ears of grain left by the harvesters"

Verse 10: "Likewise, don't gather the grapes left on the vine or fallen on the ground after harvest; leave them for the poor and the foreigner; I am ADONAI your God."

Verse 11: "Do not steal from, defraud or lie to each other."

Verse 12:  "Do not swear by my name falsely, which would be profaning the name of your God; I am ADONAI."

Verse 13:  "Do not oppress or rob your neighbor; specifically, you are not to keep back the wages of a hired worker all night until morning."

Verse 14:  "Do not speak a curse against a deaf person or place an obstacle in the way of a blind person; rather, fear your God; I am ADONAI."

Verse 15: " 'Do not be unjust in judging - show neither partiality to the poor nor deference to the mighty, but with justice judge your neighbor"

Verse 16:  "'Do not go around spreading slander among your people, but also don't stand idly by when your neighbor's life is at stake; I am ADONAI."

Verse 17: " 'Do not hate your brother in your heart, but rebuke your neighbor frankly, so that you won't carry sin because of him."

Verse 18:  "Don't take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people; rather, love your neighbor as yourself; I am ADONAI."

Verse 19:  "'Observe my regulations."

Verse 26:  "'Do not eat anything with blood. Do not practice divination or fortune-telling."

Verse 27:  "Don't round your hair at the temples or mar the edges of your beard."

Verse 28:  "Don't cut gashes in your flesh when someone dies or tattoo yourselves; I am ADONAI."

Verse 29:  "Do not debase your daughter by making her a prostitute, so that the land will not fall into prostitution and become full of shame."

Verse 30:  "'Keep my Shabbats, and revere my sanctuary; I am ADONAI."

Verse 31:  "'Do not turn to spirit-mediums or sorcerers; don't seek them out, to be defiled by them; I am ADONAI your God."

Verse 32:  "'Stand up in the presence of a person with gray hair, show respect for the old; you are to fear your God; I am ADONAI."

Verse 33-34: " 'If a foreigner stays with you in your land, do not do him wrong.  Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you - you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am ADONAI your God."

Verse 35-36:  "'Don't be dishonest when measuring length, weight or capacity.  Rather, use an honest balance-scale, honest weights, an honest bushel dry-measure and an honest gallon liquid-measure; I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt."

Verse 37:  "Observe all my regulations and rulings, and do them; I am ADONAI."

Need I say more?  I called this a "snapshot" because clearly it is not a complete list of what we do to become kedoshim.  Rather, it is a list of examples.  Buried with each example is a "measure" of kadosh - "behaviors" that lead us to become holy!

Did you notice how the "snapshot" examples end? "Observe all my regulations and rulings, and do them!"

Torah is your way to Holy!  

So "What does it mean to be Holy?"  It means you live your life by Torah. Simply pick up your Bible and read the Torah.  Learn to become kedoshim.  Walk as the Messiah walked (1 John 2:6).

Friday, May 1, 2015

The "great deception" has not only started, but it's gaining speed!

This passage perfectly describes what is going on today!

2 Thess 2: 11. Therefore Elohim will send upon them the strength of a deception that they may believe a lie;[1]  12. and that they all may be condemned who believe not the truth but have pleasure in iniquity.  13. But we are bound to give thanks to Elohim always on your account, my Brothers, beloved of our Master (Y’shua), that Elohim has from the beginning chosen you to life through sanctification of the Spirit and through faith in the Truth[2].  14. For to these it was that Elohim called you by our preaching[3]; that ye might be the glory to our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach.  15. Therefore, my Brothers, be established and persevere in the Commandments which you have been taught, whether by word or by our epistle[4].  16. And may our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach himself, and Elohim our Father who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and a good hope through his grace,  17. comfort your hearts and establish in yourselves every good word and in every good work.  (AENT)


Footnotes:
 

[1]  The price for not receiving the “love of the truth” is to become overly self-confident in false religion.  The “love of the truth” is the spirit of truth which must be sanctified by thought and action.  One cannot “love the truth” and, at the same time, break the Commandments.

[2]  Very interesting varying readings.  Khabouris adds zebin as in “Elohim chose you from before time”.  However, 1905 and other Peshitta manuscripts read literally “Elohim chose you from apikon” which can mean “before your faces/presences,” paralleling similar language in Jeremiah 1:1-5.  1905 reading is retained in the Aramaic. 

[3]  The phrase “called you by our preaching” is another instance of the implied wordplay between “called” (qirakon) and the Hebrew name for the priestly book of Leviticus (Vayiqra), which is derived from the first words “and he called.” The same can be said of “preaching” which is once again being tapped by the Aramaic sebar (Good News/Hope).  The final repetition is also a favorite implied wordplay of Paul’s, with miltha “Word” being contrasted with “Commandments” which comes from the fact that the “Ten Commandments” are originally called “The Ten Words” YHWH spoke. One cannot also help but see the similarity with the use of “miltha” in the way John opens his Good News/Preaching; “the Miltha was with Elohim and the Miltha was Elohim.”  

 [4]  This idea is reinforced further with the phrase “from the beginning,” dovetailing with the title of the Book of Genesis, which is called B’resheet in Hebrew, and rendered min reshita here by Paul. The fact is, there is very little difference between the two terms, coming down to a small alteration in how prepositions are used between “in the beginning” and “from the beginning.” Either way, this revelation that Paul is addressing cannot be a “new commandment” but the one that has always been, calling Jew and Gentile alike into the righteousness of Torah through its foremost interpreter, who is Mashiyach.

The biggest misunderstanding of the Pauline Epistles is that Paul’s encouragements nullified or superseded Torah rather than complemented Torah, and most of this is due to erroneous Greek translations, such as in this verse which reads: “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the paradoesis (traditions) which you were taught, whether by word or epistle.” Paradoesis could mean “traditions” but may also be rendered “teachings” as in the NIV. However, there are BIG problems with both phrases as they imply a new “wisdom” has supplanted the Eternal Word.  Many theologians suggest that Paul the Jew is saying to the Gentiles, “Don’t concern yourself with Torah, it’s just a Jewish thing; just listen to me (Paul) and follow to the new teaching.”


However, Aramaic reads: “Henceforth, my brethren, stand fast and hold to the Commandments which you have been taught, either by word or by epistle.” (Lamsa)  The Aramaic porqadona, unlike the Greek paradoesis, can only mean “Commandments”. The question is then, what commandments?  According to Matthew 5:19, Y’shua taught Torah and the Commandments of YHWH from the very beginning of his ministry.  According to Matthew 15:3, Y’shua warned the Pharisees against making void the “Commandment of Elohim” by their traditions.  In Matthew 19:17 Y’shua spelled out the Commandments to the rich young ruler, teaching that “if you will enter into Life, keep the Commandments.”  The rich young ruler asked which ones?  Y’shua gave him Torah Commandments!


Being led by the Ruach haKodesh to observe YHWH’s Torah (instruction in righteousness) is a perquisite to entering the Malchut Elohim; in fact, Torah is magnified (made great) by Y’shua according to Yesha‘yahu/Isaiah 42:21. In 2 Peter 2:21, 22, Peter levies a sharp rebuke; “…it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after having known (it), to turn back from the Set Apart commandment that was delivered to them.” John teaches in 1 John 2:4; “For he that says I know him and does not keep his Commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  There can be NO doubt these are YHWH’s Commandments because John teaches in 1 John 3:22: “And whatever we ask, we receive from Him because we keep His (YHWH’s) Commandments and do acceptable things before Him.”


But some theologians teach that if you “love” you don’t need to keep any Commandments; however, this is the tradition of the Laodicean Church who interprets “love” according to religious tradition (see Definition of Love in Appendix).  “And the dragon was enraged against the woman; and he went to make war upon the residue of her seed who keep the Commandments of Elohim and have the testimony of Y’shua.” (Revelation 12:17).  The true remnant, the Israel of Elohim, keep the Commandments of Elohim and they know Y’shua is Mashiyach ben Yoseph.  The evidence supporting Torah Observance among Y’shua’s followers is overwhelming, but there are multitudes of doctrines and church traditions that make war against the Word of YHWH.  It’s one thing for a person to choose to disobey YHWH’s Commandments, but it’s quite another to teach others to also be disobedient.


Y’shua warns that it would be better for a millstone be hung around your neck and be sunk into the sea than to be guilty of causing one of his little ones to stumble (Matthew 18:6).  Paul and all of Y’shua’s disciples, even the Pharisees knew that the “Word of Elohim” can only mean Torah! Therefore, this verse clearly demonstrates that Paul is determined to bring everyone including the Gentiles, the Tribes of Israel, and all Jews into the Grace of Y’shua so they could have Torah written upon their hearts.  Grace is power given by YHWH to live as a Kedoshim (holy people).


Most Gentiles are unaware of the fervent debates between Netzarim Jews (Nazarenes) and traditional Jews regarding Y’shua being Mashiyach or his divinity. In particular, the issue that frequently comes up is the idea that Christians exalt a man as God. As we will see, part of the problem again lies with inaccurate Greek translations and, of course, there is a marked difference between Catholic, Protestant, “Messianic Jewish” and Netzarim beliefs. It is most intriguing that some traditional Jews would label Paul’s letters as pagan, given his admonition to a pagan audience:  “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come unless it is preceded by a rebellion, and the man of sin be revealed as the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called Elohim or that is reverenced; so that even in the Temple of Elohim, he sits as a god, and shows himself as though he were a god.”  2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (Lamsa).  The phrase “son of perdition” in Aramaic, breh d’abadana is the same as the Hebrew abaddon, meaning “destruction” and is torn from the pages of the Dead Sea Scrolls, alluding to sons of light and sons of darkness. Of course, such a metaphor makes little sense in Greek.


However, more pointed to our discussion is the fact that Paul is describing a great deception whereby “Christians” would be entrapped into worshipping a man!  “And with all deceitfulness of unrighteousness in those who perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved thereby. For this reason Elohim shall send them a strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that all who did not believe in truth but preferred unrighteousness might be damned.”  2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (Lamsa).  Since the Wicked One in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 is clearly a man sent from Satan, we can rightly infer that this sort of man-worship is heartily and forcefully condemned by the Shaliach/Apostle Paul. That being said, it is odd that his critics would continue to accuse him of being an idolater himself, when all evidence in Scripture points to his keeping Torah! Furthermore, if the heresy is as Paul says, “a strong delusion” it seems likely that it is a popular one as well!  Certainly this vision of the distant future from Paul’s era drives a spike in the coffin to Replacement Theology (Supercessionism) and Dispensationalism, which are as “fathers” to polytheistic Christianity.


In the end, the true Good News is linked inextricably to the Word that came before, while the “other Gospel” teaches Torah is done away with, and/or that paganism rules the day. As we will also see later on, since Paul condemned as heretical the “man-god” idea, it seems very unlikely that the Shaliach would simply substitute the agent of Satan with the Hellenized “Jesus” who essentially does the same thing. It was Paul who made statements as in 1 Corinthians 12:3 that “Y’shua is YHWH!” We must certainly differentiate between a man who would wrongly aspire to be YHWH, with a pure understanding of Aramaic/Hebrew and Torah that demonstrates how YHWH can take on any form He desires.  One is the age old pagan counterfeit from haSatan which entered the world by confusion in the Greek “New Testament” while the other is the ultimate understanding of Mashiyach as revealed in Torah and the prophets of YHWH as truth, and it’s Jewish to the very core.