Sunday, October 25, 2015

Challenging the assertions of an anti-missionary rabbi

All of us need to be constantly aware of  the assertions espoused by our “religious” leaders, verifying in Scripture everything we read or hear, or even see – because oftentimes perception can get in the way of reality.  Christian pastors have twisted Scripture to suit their purposes for the last two thousand years – but Jewish rabbis aren’t all that innocent, either; especially those whose goal is to “debunk Jesus and the New Testament.”  Sure, we all know why the rabbis have reason to strike back at Christianity; but one has to wonder – do two wrongs make a right?  Is it really a good idea to not only attempt to prove biblically why Christianity is off the mark, but to then also go after Christians to take them completely away from “Jesus” (and consequently the John 14:6 warning) and the NT, and bring them into Judaism which does not acknowledge Y’shua as Messiah?

Teachers/pastors/rabbis with an agenda can be very dangerous, as they can often do more harm than good.  Their assertions usually carry just enough truth to sound plausible, but ultimately, the end result can be devastating for those whose lives they touch.  Such is the case with the anti-missionaries (rabbis, teachers, or those who have decided to “leave Jesus” and are on the Internet to verbally clobber everyone who refuses to follow suit).  Usually, the rabbis don't personally engage Christians or Messianic/HR types; they usually stay behind the scenes and allow everyone else to do it for them; especially their "converts"....

One such rabbi is Tovia Singer who spends enormous energy leading Christians and Messianic/HR types away from “Jesus”…Take a look at this article on his website and you’ll see he has just enough “truth” in his comments to make some people start wondering if Judaism and “rejecting Jesus” isn’t the way to REAL salvation.

Singer “thinks” he knows all about Christianity and the New Testament, but folks, THINKING something doesn’t necessarily make someone’s thoughts or personal opinions fact, nor does it make one an expert, as some of his comments and assertions reveal! 

Here are just a few excerpts from his web page, above.  Be sure to notice the “hidden agenda” here, which seems to be, “I’m just innocently writing this, but down deep I know that, thanks to my teachings, Christians are finally learning how deceived they’ve been and how we Jews have ALL the Truth!”

SINGER:  I always wondered why Christians have a visceral reaction when the core principles of their faith are questioned. They might laugh off annoying atheists, but they glower at former Christians who urge them to choose the Jewish faith. I thought about this conundrum for the past 30 years. I cannot count the number of people that I watched return to God during this time. Hashem redeemed so many from the Church in recent years. As it turns out, I have never been a Christian. As such, I studied this phenomenon as a detached observer. This, I believe, has been to my advantage.

RESPONSE:  “Detached” a little much, perhaps, because Rabbi Singer has completely missed that G-d DOES talk about His Messiah throughout the Tanach.  But instead of seeing scriptures such as, for instance, Isaiah 53 for what they say, he has over-analyzed and over-Hebraicized and forced certain scriptures into meaning something completely different than their plain meaning.  One has to wonder how Isaiah 53 could possibly be “about Israel” as Singer and other scholars proclaim.  After all, can Israel DIE for Israel? (No, but Y’shua did! See Matthew 27.) Can Israel be wounded for our transgressions? (No, but Y’shua was! See Matthew 27.) Can people take Israel's garments and divide them? (No, but that certainly happened in Y’shua’s case! See John 19:23.) WHEN was "Israel" wounded for our transgressions or crushed because of our iniquities? Has the world been HEALED by "Israel"? Not hardly! Y'shua has filled myriad Tanach prophecies - and people can reject it all they want, but they cannot CHANGE the facts!  For more on this, please check out our blog article The suffering servant of Isaiah 53 cannot possibly be about Israel

And the reason we “glower at former Christians who urge us to choose the Jewish faith” is because (1) they simply traded one “religion” for another just because someone came along who sounded completely different from their pastors, impressing them with his vast knowledge of Hebrew and the “Old Testament” (which is basically ignored in every church).  (2)  Those who have rejected “Jesus” basically become the “mouthpieces” for the anti-missionary rabbis whose goal seems to be to “use” former Christians against each other; after all, who better to reach to “lost” than a “formerly lost person” who is now “found” and has been learning from the anti-missionary rabbis?

SINGER:  Frequently, this informal investigation and probing begins by calling into question the long-enduring doctrine of the Trinity. Their departure from the church spirals from there. As time moves on, Christians eventually discover that the authors of the NT may have quoted the Jewish scriptures dishonestly. I mean dishonestly here; I don’t mean incorrectly. They grasp that the authors of the NT may have done their work in a nefarious manner. Christians could live with mistakes in the NT. After all, some scribe may have copied something wrong. Mistakes happen. No one leaves Christianity because there is a mistake in the New Testament. But they cannot abide by lying.

OUR RESPONSE:  How sneaky and arrogant can you get – to suggest the authors of the New Testament LIED!  Notice how Singer goes right into an actual false church teaching to hook the gullible and make them think that, not only did their PASTORS mislead them, but the Apostles were a bunch of liars who wanted to lead people away from YHWH! 

Singer is correct – there is no such thing as “trinity!”  Trinity was an invention of King James.  Perhaps King James might have done this to be “dishonest” but that doesn’t mean that all “the authors of the NT may have quoted the Jewish scriptures dishonestly.”  That is simply PERSONAL OPINION!  The New Testament – when read in context through Hebraic eyes, perfectly lines up with Torah and Tanach!  Sure, it’s easy to say (as anti-missionaries love to do), “No, that’s NOT what it says.  The Hebrew word actually means such-and-such, and if you knew some Hebrew, you would be able to grasp the REAL meaning of that passage!”  Well, yeah, but what they DON'T tell you is that Hebrew words usually have multiple meanings, and these "scholars" have picked the one that lined up with their respective train of thought....

SINGER:  Finally,--and this is big--they are shocked by the vacant, unsatisfying answers they receive from their pastors and church elders about these inconsistencies. They are appalled by the fuming reaction they often encounter from their coreligionists. They don't know what happened to the "love."

OUR RESPONSE:   Anyone with two brain cells to rub together should be able to see through Singer’s charade!  He goes in for the kill with some truths, rubs them in, and makes people who have been “wondering” what’s wrong in their churches, “suddenly realize” that their pastors are ignorant of Scripture, and bam! – “Gosh, I’ve been duped!  This rabbi is showing me the way to God’s Truth, so I need to go and check out his teachings.  He might be right.  If my pastor is wrong about the Trinity, then he must also be wrong about this Jesus character. Oh my gosh, I wonder if the whole New Testament is a myth?  Wow - I HAVE BEEN LIED TO!”

As for “what happened to the love?”  I’ll tell you what happened to it.  Once people “leave Jesus” they tend to turn into emotional terrorists, verbally berating Christians and Messianic/Hebrew Roots types, and forcing their new-found knowledge down our collective throat in the most vile ways they possibly can!  Check out Facebook groups such as this one, and you’ll see what I mean! Be sure and read every comment and check out the photo-shopped memes and ask yourself if people with the Holy Spirit within can possible behave like that - whatever their twisted justification!

SINGER:  None of what I stated has ever crossed the mind of a Christian. Nothing. Are Christians therefore stupid? Are they unable to process such unambiguous teachings? We know the answer: they were deprived of the tools to discover this on their own. As such, they imitate the scandalous methods of the New Testament writers and impose Jesus onto the Jewish Scriptures, an Oracle they cannot read and know too little about.

OUR RESPONSE:  In other words, ONLY Judaism provides the way to God. Never mind that there is a “rest of the story” contained in the New Testament that reveals the WHOLE Truth all plainly there for anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear!  Yes, Torah IS THE "God-breathed Word" - but guess what:  He didn't stop "breathing" once the Torah or the Tanach were written.  There IS a "rest of the story" that perfectly lines up with Torah and the rest of the Tanach.  Christians can see "the rest of the story" (for those who know how to read Scripture in context!), but they fully miss the all-important first Two-Thirds; while Jews are missing the key elements of the final Third - that being that our Creator has already sent His Messiah!

Folks, we must be very careful to “read between the lines” when it comes to the teachings of the anti-missionaries whose goal is to take you away from the WHOLE Truth and bring you into theirs. NOBODY has the market cornered on YHWH’s Truth.  We are all just trying to learn.  Unfortunately, we are constantly being pulled apart by those who claim to “know it all” – when, in reality, their teachings don’t necessarily line up with Scripture.  To see how you can refute many of the anti-missionary assertions, we invite you to check out our Countering Jewish Anti-Missionaries page. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Are you a "cracked pot"?


2 Corinthians 2:14. But thanks be to Elohim, who always brings about to us a victory in the Mashiyach, and manifests by us the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place.  15. For through the Mashiyach, we are to Elohim a sweet aroma in them that live and in them that perish:  16. To these, an aroma of death to death; and to those, an aroma of life to life. And who is adequate to these things!  17. For we are not like others who water down the Words of Elohim; but as of the truth, and as of Elohim, we speak in the Mashiyach before Elohim.  (AENT)

I remember reading a story once about a man from long ago  (and I'm paraphrasing because I can't remember exactly how it went) who fetched the family’s water at a well at the top of a hill, using two clay pots fastened on either side of a big branch across his shoulders. One of the pots was cracked and usually, by the time he returned to his house, the leaky pot would be half empty.  Being poor, he couldn’t afford to buy another pot, and so, grumbling and lamenting over the wasted water, he kept using that broken pot because it was better than nothing.

Then one day, he noticed something:  Flowers were blooming all along the trail on the side where the cracked pot had been leaking the water on his trek down the hill.  He smiled when he realized the water had not gone to waste after all; that it had been used by Elohim to beautify the otherwise dull hillside to bring smiles and fill the air with wonderful fragrances!

Believers who have “passed through the fire” of this world and ended up with bruises and broken hearts and minds  are like that cracked pot - because, at some point, once they have been refined through their experiences, the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) is bound to “leak out” and fill the air with the holy fragrance of YHWH, to nudge others.  These people exude a certain air that is filled with the shalom (peace) that only YHWH can provide! 

YHWH is able to better utilize as witnesses people who are “cracked pots” because they have the best testimonies!  They are able to pass on the knowledge and wisdom gained through their trials and tribulations; whereas those born with the proverbial “silver spoons in their mouths”, who have warmed church pews all their lives and never endured any real hardships and have had everything handed to them, have nothing tangible to share and rarely reflect Messiah within themselves. 

They’ve had no need to cling to the Savior or cry out in anguish to Him, because they were never thrust into real hardships.  They have never had to deal with gut-wrenching pain or adversity so, when something bad finally does happen to them, they fall apart and end up in the clutches of “the world” (i.e., they might end up as drug addicts or alcoholics, seeking help from psychiatrists or counselors with no knowledge of God or the Bible). They are basically babes who have never had a chance to learn and grow to be what YHWH needed them to be in preparation for the world to come. Consequently, they’re like lumps of coal with no holy reflection....

Zechariah 13:2 But who can endure the day when he comes? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire, like the soapmaker's lye. 3 He will sit, testing and purifying the silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold and silver, so that they can bring offerings to ADONAI uprightly. (CJB)

Zechariah 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on My Name, and I will answer them; I will say, It is My people; and they shall say, Yahweh my Elohim is my Elohim. (CJB)

Malachi 3:2 But who can endure the day when he comes? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire, like the soapmaker's lye. 3 He will sit, testing and purifying the silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold and silver, so that they can bring offerings to ADONAI uprightly. (CJB)

Isaiah 48:10 "Look, I have refined you, but not [as severely] as silver; [rather] I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
(CJB)

Job 23:10 Yet he knows the way I take; when he has tested me, I will come out like gold. (CJB)

Job 23:10 Yet he knows the way I take; when he has tested me, I will come out like gold. 11 My feet have stayed in his footsteps; I keep to his way without turning aside. 12 I don't withdraw from his lips' command; I treasure his words more than my daily food. (CJB)

As YHWH's Creations, most of us have gone through "fire" in one way or another and, hopefully, we learned from the experience. Through our trials and tribulations, rough edges were smoothed and sharp edges were sluffed off, until we more closely resembled what we were meant to be.

God allows us to go through hard times so that we may grow and become smooth and shiny. His goal is for us to become a reflection of Him that not only He can see, but also so others can see Him in us.

The sooner we realize that, the quicker we become a valuable member of the Family of God, ready and willing to sow seeds and even water them, whenever the opportunity presents itself!

A mini-teaching on Paul's writings

A mini-teaching for your enjoyment:

Did Rav Sha’ul (Paul) suggest that we are to follow man-made “religions” or governments? No, he didn’t! Let’s examine the context of his words:

Romans 13: 1. Let every soul be subject to the authorities of government.[1] For there is no authority which is not from Elohim: and the authorities which exist are established by Elohim. 2. He therefore who opposes the authority, opposes the establishment of Elohim; and they who oppose them will receive judgment. 3. For judges are not a menace to good deeds, but to evil deeds. Would you then not be afraid of the authority? Do good, and you will have praise from it. 4. For he is the minister of Elohim; but it is to you for good. But if you work evil, be afraid; for he is not girded with the sword in vain; for he is a minister of Elohim and an avenger of wrath to them that do evil things.
(AENT)

FOOTNOTE: The Church system twists this verse so that Christians will submit to the authority of false governments who in turn support the false religious hierarchies. In reality, Paul makes this statement in the context of YHWH’s Commandments in Torah; “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt you answer in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment.” (Sh’mot/Exodus 23:2)

If the “majority” allows evil men in “government” and within “the church” to go unpunished, the evil becomes punishable upon the majority. For example, democracy is thought to work by majority vote, but in reality, democracies are easily manipulated by power hungry minorities who control media, ballot boxes, polls and “public opinion.” When the majority fails to act against evil, the hierarchy continues to further enslave its victims (citizens).

Many are discovering that what they believed to be a Democractic government is in fact an Oligarchy or organized criminals. The man-made Church system and all false government thrives on “double think” by putting forth an archetype (religious tradition or legislation by “majority” that “sounds reasonable” but is certainly not truth) and markets its theologies and laws as though it is a collectively inherited or accepted ideal. This is extremely high level rebellion against YHWH and must be prosecuted or all of humanity will suffer.

“You shall not answer in a cause to decline after many.” We must never fear evil men, defer to them, or pretend evil will go away on its own. Pray, speak and act against all manner of evil. Mashiyach calls all souls everywhere to join together in righteousness and bring Peace, Justice and Equality to all peoples, of all religions and socio-economic situation. See Matt. 22:21.

Did Rav Sha’ul (Paul) teach that Torah was abolished?  No, he didn’t!  Let’s examine the context of his words:

Romans 13: 5. And therefore, it is necessary for us to be obedient, not only on account of wrath, but likewise on account of our consciences.  6. For this cause also you pay tribute money; for they are the ministers of Elohim, established for these same objects.  7. Render therefore to every one as is due to him; head tax, to whomever accounts for it; and duties to whomever collects taxes; and respect, to whom respect is due; and honor, to whom honor is due.  8. And owe nothing to anyone; but to love[1] one another. For he that loves his neighbor, has properly understood Torah.  9. For this likewise, which it says: You will not kill; nor commit adultery; nor steal; nor covet; and if there is any other Commandment, it is completed in this sentence: You will love your neighbor as yourself.  10. Love does no evil to one’s neighbor because love is the fulfillment of Torah.[2]  (AENT)

Paul further admonishes:

Romans 13: 11. And this also know you, that it is the time and the hour that we should therefore awaken from our sleep. For now our life has come nearer to us than when we believed.  12. The night now passes away, and the day draws near. Let us therefore cast from us the works of darkness; and let us put on the armor of light.  13. And let us walk decorously, as in daylight; not in merriment, nor in drunkenness, nor in impurity of the bed, nor in envy and strife.  14. But clothe yourselves with our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach: and pay no concern about your flesh for the indulgence of appetites. (AENT)

FOOTNOTES:

[1]  A very clear Aramaic wordplay at the root level between khob (owe) and khab (love).

[2]  Paul does NOT teach that Torah was not abolished because we love our neighbor.  Greek translations have pleroma, which is translated as “fulfilled”. Popular Bible versions like the NIV recognize this thought is revisited in 13:9 which uses anakephalaiomai, which means “to accurately sum up or understand” the Torah. This is a type of a synonym for pleroma.  If pleroma is translated as "fulfilled," there are numerous potential meanings.  One of these, according to Thayer and Smith's Bible Dictionary is:  "to fulfil, i.e. to cause God's will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God's promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment.” 

This definition mirrors the Aramaic term that is also usually translated as "fulfill," such as the line in Matthew 5:17 that is targummed, "for I have not come to unravel the Torah but to provide proper interpretation of it.”  This is also the true meaning of the Greek where it says "thus was fulfilled according to the prophet"; i.e., this is the intended meaning of the Scripture as applied to the NT. 

Finally, one should look carefully at what both Aramaic and Greek use for the term "law".  In each case, nomos/namusa allows for the targumming of the Word/Torah concept to mean "torah" with a small "t", or individual instruction from the overall covenant.  That being said, the other possible reading is that the true meaning of the relevant commandment is "fulfilled/understood" by loving one's neighbor and so on, which makes much more sense. Therefore, if one is to read “fulfilled” here, then it must be understood that the correct interpretation of Torah is given according to what Mashiyach Y’shua elucidated.  This can in no way be construed that Mashiyach brought an end to Torah!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A word about "Torah terrorists" and "Pagan police"

I would love to know what it is that causes people who find their way to Torah to become radical Torah terrorists.  My goodness, I understand how exuberant one can be when their eyes are finally opened to the whole Truth, but instead of embracing this newly-discovered Truth and continuously learning, some get stuck on the disappointment they felt about having “been deceived” in their grace-only churches; and instead of acting all “grown-up” about it, they decide to retaliate by going on an angry rampages to give all their Christian friends a Torah concussion, sending to hell anyone who dares use the English titles of “Lord” or “God” and freaking out over the use of  “Jesus” – literally going into crazed verbal tirades about how these things are supposedly “pagan.”

I’m sorry, but I have come to the conclusion that people who do these things have a screw loose.  I encountered one of “them” recently when she sent me a friend request on Facebook – and she lasted all of maybe five minutes before I blocked her!

I absolutely couldn’t handle the flogging she gave me for using the term “God”. (I only did it because she admitted to having been Torah observant for only two years.  Whenever I talk to anyone, I always assess “where they are” when it comes to “God and the Bible” and try to use terms they are familiar with.)  Anyway, she illuminated me to the idea that “God” refers to a Norse god whose name was God, and that Grace, Hope and Charity are Roman goddesses - and so if I used any of these terms I was calling on pagan deities...

Well, this very short and tense conversation quickly disgusted me and I told her I was sorry that the “Pagan Police” had obviously gotten a hold of her...and of course, she felt compelled to share that it wasn’t the “Pagan Police” but that the BIBLE says we cannot use the term “God.”

The Bible says that?  Really?  The Bible tells us we cannot use the English term for ELOHIM (God) or ADONAI (Lord)?  POPPYCOCK!

Okay, so I wished her well and immediately blocked her, because I know from experience that you cannot carry on a rational conversation with a “pagan police” lunatic.  This woman – like many who find their way to Torah – was so arrogant and so full of herself, NO amount of explanation would have sufficed. I'm sure she will argue with Y'shua some day when she sees him! There’s a wonderful old adage that fits her well:  “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.”

Anyway, it truly bugs me that some people feel compelled to put others down, and basically lord themselves (oops, am I going to hell now???) over others!  Scripture commands us to be firm yet gentle with those who are learning (i.e, Titus 3:2, 1 Peter 3:15, 2 Timothy 2:24-26, etc). 

How can you witness to someone if you’re berating or “yelling” at them or – as in the case of some Hebrew Roots types who like to throw around Hebrew terms to make themselves sound like they are brilliant - speaking a foreign language?  That kind of stuff is fine when you’re around others who understand what you’re saying, but what good does it do a newcomer to Torah who has just begun to learn that Jesus’ real Name is Yeshua and that YHWH’s people are supposed to keep the Seventh Day holy?  You might as well start talking about the Pythagorean Theorem or quantum physics!

Anyway, I said all this because I am truly sick to death of the “Torah terrorists” and the “pagan police” and all those who like to lord themselves (oops, I used that word “lord” again – shame on me!) over others.  I especially cannot stand it when those who are new to Torah suddenly think they have the market cornered on YHWH’s Truth and they feel automatically qualified to teach others by shoving their "exalted" OPINIONS down the world's collective throat!

1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
(ESV)

2 Timothy 2:14 Keep reminding people of this, and charge them solemnly before our Master (Y'shua) not to engage in word-battles. They accomplish nothing useful and are a catastrophe for the hearers! 15 Do all you can to present yourself to Elohim as someone worthy of his approval, as a worker with no need to be ashamed, because he deals straightforwardly with the Word of the Truth.  16 But keep away from godless babbling, for those who engage in it will only become more ungodly, 17 and their teaching will eat away at people like gangrene. (CJB)

2 Timothy 2:23. Avoid those foolish discussions which afford no instruction; for you know that they generate arguments.  24. And a servant of our Master (Y’shua) you should not contend with, but to be mild towards everyone and instructive and patient; 25. that with mildness he may enlighten those who dispute against him if perhaps Elohim may give them repentance and they may acknowledge the truth,  26 and may recollect themselves and may escape out of the snare of Satan, at whose pleasure they have been held ensnared. (AENT)

2 Timothy 3:1. But know this: That in the latter days hard times will come:  2. and men will be lovers of themselves and lovers of money, boasters, proud, revilers, unyielding towards their own people, deniers of grace, wicked,  3. unloving, addicted to irreconcilable malicious gossips, ferocious, haters of the good,  4. treacherous, rash, inflated, attached to pleasure more than to the love of Elohim,  5. having a form of respect for Elohim but wide from the power of Elohim. Them who are such, repel from you.  6. For of them are they who creep into this and that house and captivate the women who are plunged in sins and led away by divers lusts,  7. who are always learning, and can never come to the knowledge of the truth. (AENT)

Romans 13:12. The night now passes away, and the day draws near. Let us therefore cast from us the works of darkness; and let us put on the armor of light.  13. And let us walk decorously, as in daylight; not in merriment, nor in drunkenness, nor in impurity of the bed, nor in envy and strife.  14. But clothe yourselves with our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach: and pay no concern about your flesh for the indulgence of appetites.  (AENT)

Romans 14:  19  So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. (CJB)


So here is the scoop, just in case someone still doesn't get it:

"God" is simply the English translation for ELOHIM.  There is nothing "pagan" about that.  In German the word is "Gott."  It STILL refers to YHWH as the TITLE of YHWH.  I don't understand what is so hard about understanding that there are different languages on earth, and the word for His TITLE is absolutely NOT pagan.

He has ONE NAME and that is YHWH.  Anything else is a TITLE!   When I say I love God, He knows who I am referring to.  When I say "God" (His TITLE) I am certainly NOT calling on Zeus, Baal, Allah, Visnu or George or John or Harriet)....Please see our article that explains that "Jesus" NEVER came from anything pagan - that idea was made up by thick-headed people who have a comprehension problem and like to push conspiracy theories! 

I was "saved" "in the Name of Jesus"...He drew me to Himself when I only knew Him as "Jesus."  If it had been "pagan" then He would NEVER have done that!  I use the proper Names, but sometimes - when speaking to Christians - I use the TITLE of God, because that is what they are familiar with.  I will NOT be verbally beaten to a pulp for that.  If someone doesn't like it, they can simply "unfriend" me!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Since Paul said that the Torah "is spiritual" does that mean we don't have to bother keeping the Feasts?

We don't often post reader comments to The Refiner's Fire on this blog, but this one may be of interest to many!

READER COMMENT:

Hello again! I think you probably have an article that will refute this, but I can't find it.

A friend sent (this link:  http://www.thepathoftruth.com/falsehood-exposed/feast-keeping-that-is-sin.htm) and stated that because we are not living in the land of Israel, we are not to observe the Feasts, that to attempt do so without doing it to a "T" as stated in the Torah, in other words, to try to observe a Feast and not sacrifice animals and things like that, we are disobeying and sinning against God because we are not doing it exactly His way.

That even though Paul and the believers did continue to go to the Temple and do sacrifices (not the one that Jesus fulfilled) and other things, that they couldn't do any of them after the Temple was destroyed, so no one is supposed to be doing them in part, because they are to be done EXACTLY as stated in the Torah, IN the land of Israel, or it is disobedience/sin. She said "the Jews were not required to observe them while in captivity in Babylon--and we find ourselves again in captivity now. It was forbidden in Bethel and Dan and it is forbidden in the US and anywhere else. We keep the Feasts in reality...removing leaven from our hearts....".

Didn't Paul say the Torah IS spiritual. I understand that we are to worship in Spirit and Truth and that the Feasts are a shadow, but they are still spiritual, right?

She believes in keeping Sabbath, but not the Feasts. How can I refute this?  Thanks!

OUR RESPONSE:

You may not be able to "refute" the argument, because as the old saying goes: "One convinced against their will is of the same opinion still."

Part of the problem is that there are many articles just like the one your friend sent you, each denying simple obedience to Torah, each taking scripture out of context, drawing their own conclusions, while at the same time there are many which dispute these claims!  Which site/article to believe? (The owners of the site/link you were given do not like our ministry at all, even listing us in their long list of "False Teachers".  It seems that simply teaching straight from scripture makes us "false"!  As a "false teacher" (at least as declared by the esteemed "The Path of Truth"), your friend certainly won't be inclined to believe us!) 

Sadly, few actually read scripture cover-to-cover to find out what IT says!  So what does scripture say about the feast? It says they are "permanent" ("forever" or "never ending") observances!  If they are "never ending", then one cannot logically conclude observing them today somehow constitutes a "sin"!

Here are the permanent appointments with YHWH:

  • Weekly Shabbat: Exodus 31:13-17
  • Pesach: Exodus 12:14; 12:24
  • First Fruits: Leviticus 23:10; 23:14
  • Feast of Unleavened Bread: Exodus 12:15-20
  • Shavuot: Leviticus 23:21
  • Yom Teruah/Yom Kippur/Sukkot: Leviticus 16:29-31; 16:34; 23:31; Leviticus 23:41

So what are these Feasts? Should we not observe them because 1) we don't live in Israel and 2) there is no Temple? (This is what your friend is arguing.)  Let's look at the Feasts/Moed, and their purposes, and decide if we can observe them or not:

Weekly Moed of Shabbat:

What's it for? A day set-apart for YHWH (Exodus 20:8). It is a day when our labors cease and we spend a holy day with YHWH (Exodus 20:10-11; 31:14-16).

Can we observe the weekly Shabbat?  Most certainly, and wherever we live.

Pesach:

What's it for? It is a remembrance of the exodus, and what YHWH did for His people. Exodus 12:14: "This will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to Adonai; from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation." And Exodus 12:27: "It is the sacrifice of Adonai's Pesach , because [Adonai] passed over the houses of the people of Isra'el in Egypt, when he killed the Egyptians but spared our houses."

Can we observe Pesach? Yes, anywhere we live. The original pass-over was a "one time" event.  From then on, it is a "remembrance", a celebration.  No Temple required, and you don't have to live in Israel. (While Deuteronomy 16:2-6 calls for a "sacrifice" of the Pesach offering "in the place where YHWH will choose to have his name live" and that is understood to be Jerusalem, that is the only part of the annual remembrance which cannot be done today because the Temple is gone, but that part of the observance only applied when the Temple existed, and for those who lived in Jerusalem or could travel to Jerusalem for the annual celebration. But for those who live far away from Jerusalem, they simply observe Pesach without a formal "sacrifice" for their meal.) Saying one need not celebrate or remember Pesach because it "can't be observed to the 'T', is simply folly!

Then there is the direct tie and symbology of the substitution of the Messiah's blood for us as our "sacrifice" which was at Pesach.  We cannot expect to deny the celebration of Pesach, or we deny what YHWH did for us, just as a Israeli in Biblical times would have been denying what YHWH did for them by the blood substitution which saved their lives.

First Fruits:

What is it for?  Presentation of the first of the annual crops to YHWH; a celebration of the beginning of the early spring (barley) harvest (Exodus 23:15; Leviticus 23:4–14).

Can we observe it today?  Well, not in the sense of actually taking a sheaf of our barley to the Temple for the Priest to waive before YHWH!  But let's look at what the Messiah did for us.  He died for us, being our substitution of blood so we could have life that is eternal.  All of us who die now, with His sacrifice for us, follow Him to the Kingdom.  So He was the "first fruits" of the crop! (Note, "first fruits" don't "rise", so insisting that the Messiah "rose on First Fruits" is incorrect.  First Fruits are "presented" before YHWH, and that is what the Messiah did as first fruits.)  So we certainly  can celebrate First Fruits - a remembrance of the Messiah's gift.  And that certainly does not make our observance a "sin".

Feast of Unleavened Bread:

What is it for? It is also a remembrance of the Exodus, for YHWH had them move in such haste that they did not have time to make bread. (Exodus 12:17; 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:3).  Can we observe it today?  Most certainly!  How hard is it to remove chametz from one's home (chametz represents sin), and spend the week eating matzah with our meals in remembrance of the exodus and of YHWH's importance in our lives?  How hard is it to have a holy day, an assembly on the 1st and 7th days of the Feast? (Leviticus 23:7-8; Deuteronomy 16:8).  Why on earth would such a beautiful symbol of our history be a "sin" by our simply observing it?

Shavuot:

What is it for? Celebration of the late spring (wheat) harvest (Exodus 23:16; 34:22). Can we observe it today?  Absolutely!  The day of Shavuot is rich in meaning and symbology! It is not only the celebration of the late spring harvest, but is exactly the day on which, after the exodus began, that YHWH spoke to all the people and gave them the Torah.  And it is the day the Ruach Hachodesh descended on believers (Acts 2:1-4).  My goodness!  Why would we NOT want to celebrate Shavuot!  And how hard is it to have a holy convocation that day, cease our work, and celebrate?

Yom Teruah:

What is it for? One of the unique things about Yom Teruah is that the Torah does not clearly identify what the purpose of this holy day is! On Yom Teruah we are to have a holy convocation, rest, remember and blow the shofar (Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 29:1). Since it is the only Holy observance at the beginning of the month, and it is the 7th month, the last month of the annual cycle of the designated times.   

Can we observe it today?  Most certainly! There is a huge connection to the annual agricultural cycle give to us by YHWH, and the dates of the annual feasts, and the events of the life of the Messiah.  Something of the Messiah's gift for us is seen in every feast!  When He returns, it will be with the sound of a great shofar (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).  Since there are no instructions for the observance and celebration of Yom Teruah, we most certainly can celebrate with joy that day, and not be concerned that we are somehow "sinning"!

Yom Kippur:

What is it for? It is a most special, holy day of fasting and atoning before YHWH. (Leviticus 23:27-28). Can we observe it today? Certainly! It calls for a day of ceasing one's labors, having a holy convocation, fasting, and spending the day with YHWH to express our desire to be in YHWH's good graces, and blowing the shofar (Leviticus 23:27-32; 25:9).

Sukkot:

What is it for? It is a joyous celebration of YHWH's gift of produce (Leviticus 23:39; Deuteronomy 16:13-15), and a remembrance of the 40 years in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:41-43).

Can we observe it today? Why wouldn't we? Can we not celebrate as YHWH asked of us?  What's so hard about holding the holy convocations on the 1st and last day of Sukkot, and dwelling in Sukkahs for the week to remember and be grateful for our bounty?  We also celebrate the birth of the Messiah which was on Sukkot.  Sure, observing the festival in Israel, in Jerusalem would be wonderful, but simply because we don't live there is absolutely no reason to deny that the celebration applies to us!

You friend says: "The Jews were not required to observe them while in captivity in Babylon"  Not true! The people were captive because of their failure to know YHWH and to live by His commandments.  It is not that they "were not required"; rather they could not!  They were oppressed. Yet many managed to hold dear what the Babylonians tried to take away and they continued to do the best they could to accept their condition and obey to the best of their ability.  Jews in concentration camps in WWII were also prevented from their Holy observances, but they did the best they could.

Your friend went on: "We keep the Feasts in reality...removing leaven from our hearts....".  Oh really?  Assuming she understands that leaven (chametz) represents "sin", just how is she "keeping the Feasts in reality" by saying she is removing the leaven from her heart?  How does she measure leaven (sin)?  Is "sin" what SHE defines it to be?  If so, she is wrong because sin is transgression of Torah.  Period. (1 John 3:4). So if you deny the Feasts, and you deny the other parts of the Torah which still apply to you, then you have no measure of "sin".  One's own definition of "sin" won't cut it.

And one more point to make: Your friend, and these horrible websites which deny our responsibility to obey Torah today, have simply not understood the simplicity of all that YHWH asks of us.  Please read the following verses: 

"So now, Isra'el, all that Adonai your God asks from you is to fear Adonai your God, follow all his ways, love him and serve Adonai your God with all your heart and all your being; to obey, for your own good, the mitzvot and regulations of Adonai which I am giving you today. See, the sky, the heaven beyond the sky, the earth and everything on it all belong to Adonai your God. Only Adonai took enough pleasure in your ancestors to love them and choose their descendants after them — yourselves — above all peoples, as he still does today." 

That's Deuteronomy 10:12-14.  Do not we live on the earth, which belongs to YHWH?  Ask your friend, how is denying the Feasts on grounds that "we can't observe them to a "T", "following all his ways, loving him and serving Adonai with all your heart and all your being"?  I suspect she won't be able to answer.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

There were lots of "firsts" in the first Torah portion of the new year!

For those who studied the first Torah portion of the new year (Genesis 1:1 – 6:8), you surely noticed that it covered a LOT of territory!  Did you notice all the “firsts”?  Besides the Creation of the Universe and everything in it including mankind, we had:
*  The first Torah rules given (Genesis 2:16-17 )
*  The first act of deceit/two-facedness (Genesis 3:1-5)
*  The first act of disobedience to YHWH’s Torah  (Genesis 3:6-7 )

*  The first “blame game” (Genesis 3:8-13 )

*  The first time we see YHWH express anger  (Genesis 3:14-24)
*  The first blood sacrifice to atone for sin (Genesis 3:21)
*  The first known offering/sacrifice by mankind (Genesis 4:3-7)
*  The first killing/murder  (Genesis 4:8 )
*  The first act of adultery (by a man who was a descendant of the murderer Cain) (Genesis 4:19 )
*  The second murder in the history of mankind by one of Cain’s descendants (Genesis 4:23-24)
*  The first record of man “calling on the NAME of God” -  יהוה (YHWH!) (Genesis 4:26 )

    Wednesday, October 7, 2015

    Challenging the idea that YHWH cannot have a Son with a human woman

    ANTI-MISSIONARY COMMENT:  “When a girl who is a maiden is engaged to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and shall stone them to death with stones, the girl because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he has humbled his neighbour’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from your midst.”  (Deuteronomy 22:23-24) 

    This is a pretty clear cut command from God.  But a person is expected to believe that if God "overshadows" her – as in your fake Josef and Mary story - it's ok?  Why would a Holy and just God go against his own command???  Lots of folks dance around this one but I just cannot.

    AUTHOR AND ARAMAIC SCHOLAR Andrew Gabriel Roth responds:

    Well Maryam wasn't raped as the Talmud falsely alleges.  There was no Roman soldier named Pandira here okay?  Toldot Yeshu is way too late to be of value.  You elevate it while you deny 1st century evidence about the importance of the Gospels and their original Aramaic versions?  Have you read Josephus? He mentions Y'shua--and NOT just in the "Testimonium" which I agree has problems.  He mentions "Ya'akkov (James) the brother of Yeshua who was called the Mashiyach" being killed in the year 62. You should focus on primary sources from the period and see what they say. 

    Again, Maryam was NOT raped.  There was nothing to cry out from.  She said, "I am Thy handmaiden. LET IT BE DONE ACCORDING TO THY WORD."  What WORD?  Not just YHWH speaking thru the malak Gavriel.  According to TNK, you say?  Let's look at TNK.  There is nothing miraculous about a young woman conceiving (Is 7:14) and what Rabbinics never deal with is the fact that every single pre-common era translation of the Hebrew (LXX and Aramaic, yes there was an Aramaic Tanakh and I don't mean the Targumim) interpreted ALMAH there as VIRGIN. It's only AFTER the controversy that the truth was downplayed.  So you talk about what we don't deal with? Why not deal with THAT?  Rivka is called an ALMAH in Genesis and was a virgin.

    But beyond that you have forgotten Zechariah.  In chapter 3 he tells us Yehoshua ben Yehozadak and his men are symbols of people and things to come.  In 6:12 we are told Yehoshua is the man "whose name is the Branch (compare to Jeremiah 23:5-6, Isaiah 11:1-2), and in 12:9, YHWH is clearly speaking and in the next verse says "They will look on...ET ASHER DAKARU" (towards Me have pierced they)" but they mourn FOR HIM, "as a YACHID son"--only begotten.  YHWH is not pierced and does not die on a cross or any other way. He doesn't bleed either.  But He has SHARED HIS ONE NATURE with His Son and ONLY His Son who is His Arm (Ex. 6:6, Is 53:1) AND HAS HIS NAME IN HIM TO FORGIVE SIN (Ex 23:20-22). 

    I can tell you virtually the entire story of Y'shua without touching the NT even once.  YHWH is ONE. We do not bow down to "god men" in our faith.  Y'shua taught the Shema and died for Torah and Israel. He said, "If you believed Moshe, you would believe me".

    The bottom line is this:  YHWH predicted Maryam would be overshadowed in the same breath that he predicted Isaiah would have a son.  This is an embedded prophecy with a short branch of 65 years and a much longer branch that goes into our time.  That however is a long story….

    And finally, you can trace the proof of this to Genesis 3:15.  It is THE SEED OF THE WOMAN  who crushes the serpent's head, meaning that the man's seed is NOT involved with he who crushes that serpent. ONLY THE WOMAN. ONLY A VIRGIN. ONLY BY YHWH's direct prophecy.

    Blessed be the Torah through whose promises we have been given Y'shua our Master. Baruch hashem YHWH!

    Friday, October 2, 2015

    Did Jesus ever say He was the Messiah?

    Yes, He did!

    Many, including many anti-missionaries will say that Jesus (Y'shua) never said He was the Messiah and they use that claim in their many and falacious arguments that he was not the long-awaited Messiah.  Why it is so hard for so many to believe that Y'shua was the Messiah is very hard for me to comprehend.  He taught nothing but the Word of YHWH, and He did what He said He came for:  to preach the Kingdom of Elohim. (Luke 4:43).

    But for a man to say He was the Messiah in the early 1st Century CE is exactly like a Jew (or even a Christian) today in ISIS-held part of Iraq.  If a Jew were to stand up today in a crowd of ISIS or ISIS supporters, it would mean certain death!  Yet for some reason, the conditions at the time of Y'shua's ministry are not considered.  The anti-missionaries and Messiah-deniers like to say: "He never said he was the Messiah!" as part of their unjustified reason not to believe in Him.

    The problem is, He did say He was the Messiah!

    Turn to Mark, Chapter 14.  (I am using the AENT).  Y'shua had conducted Himself rather clandestinely for about 3 years, teaching the Word.  His clandestine teaching was in the open, yet not overt, for the very reason mentioned above!  Yet His reputation was now "out" and He was betrayed and arrested.  In Mark 14, verse 53 we find: "Then they took Y’shua to Qayapa the high priest and the chief priests and scribes and elders were all were gathered with him."  In verses 60-61 we read: "And the high priest arose in the midst and questioned Y’shua and said, 'Why do you not answer the accusation they are testifying these things against you?'  But he was silent and did not answer him anything.  And again the high priest asked him and said, 'Are you the Mashiyach, the Son of the Blessed One?'"

    Pay close attention to Y'shua's response, verse 62: "I am.  And you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming upon the clouds of heaven."

    "I AM", He said!  That statement valid in any court of law, even today!  And take a look at this::

    In Matthew 16:15-17, He acknowledged the question: " 'But you,' he said to them, 'who do you say I am?' Shim`on Kefa answered, 'You are the Mashiach, the Son of the living God.' 'Shim`on Bar-Yochanan,' Yeshua said to him, 'how blessed you are! For no human being revealed this to you, no, it was my Father in heaven.' "

    In John 4:19-26 A woman addresses Him saying she knew the Messiah was coming and Jesus responded, "I am he."

    In John 10, a whole angry mob was wanting to stone him and in verses 34-36 He he explains and concludes "then are you telling the one whom the Father set apart as holy and sent into the world, 'You are committing blasphemy,' just because I said, 'I am a son of Elohim'?"


    Y'shua is the Messiah, and He said so!  But the Jewish leadership refused to believe it, and handed Him over to Peelatos.  You know the rest of the story if you bothered to read it.  Peelatos, the prefect of the Roman province of Judaea at the time, found no fault in Y'shua (John 19:6).  But the Jewish leadership, threatened so by Him, had Him executed.

    I find it ironic, that still today, 2000 years later, most of Jewish leadership still continues to execute Him.