Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Thoughts on the erroneous concept of the “Trinity”

Christians learn the doctrine of the “Trinity” which states there is one God who exists eternally in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To defend the concept of the Trinity they cite a number of scriptures from the Bible in an attempt to define how it is that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can be understood to be “persons”, with a mind, a will, emotions, a voice, etc. (Before I continue, let me clarify that my issue with “Trinity” is not with the word “persons” though I find the concept that God and the Holy Spirit could be “persons” a bit funny. Yeshua, on the other hand, was a person, a very special person, but that’s not my subject. My issue with “Trinity” is more fundamental.)

One article I read says “The concept of the Trinity is so basic that if you miss it, you miss all of Christianity. The doctrine of the Trinity is the great Christian distinctive. It separates Christianity from all other beliefs.” This article goes on to say that Christian faiths which do not hold to the doctrine of the Trinity are “aberrations from the faith”! As with all attempts to explain “Trinity”, this author, too, proceeds to try to convince the reader that the Holy Spirit is a “person”. Drawing on scriptures, the author attempts to show that the Holy Spirit speaks, is self-aware, has feelings and can be sad, loves, has a will, can be offended, and can be lied to. Thus the reader is to be convinced that the Holy Spirit has all these human characteristics, those characteristics of a physical person, therefore the Holy Spirit is also a person. QED.

But scripture says that God cannot be described or compared to anything! Isaiah 40:18 says: “With whom, then, will you compare God? By what standard will you evaluate him?” Saying “God is three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” is levying on God a comparison to a person! What an insult to God! But even that is not my central problem with the “Trinity”. My issue is much more involved:

Scripture right away reveals that God is Spirit! It is not a “new” concept to Christianity! Genesis 1:2 “and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the water”. The English phrase “Spirit of God” is from the Hebrew “Ruach Elohim”. Right away we have an understanding problem because in English the word “Spirit” carries a connotation not found in the Hebrew word “Ruach”. To an English speaker, the word “spirit” conveys a manifestation of the “soul” of a person and in Christianity a person’s “soul” or “spirit” is assumed to “live on” – as a person - after bodily death. So in English, “Spirit of God” immediately sounds like something entirely separate from God, a separate “entitiy”, thus, the phrase “Spirit of God” (and later, “Holy Spirit” found in most English Bibles) becomes mistakenly understood as a separate “form” of God.

But in Hebrew, the phrase “Ruach Elomin” was never intended to convey a separate “entity”! The Hebrew Ruach is a far more complex word than the English “spirit”! The depth of the meaning of “ruach” is determined by the thing it is associated with! In Genesis 6:17, for example, “ruach chay’im” is translated into English as “breath of life”, while the meaning of “ruach chay’im” is actually far deeper. The verse actually is saying that the flood would destroy those living things on the surface of the earth with (a) “ruach” – that is, the “essence” which makes it “alive” or more importantly, makes it “a life”, would be taken. So the English “breath” actually “dumbs-down” the significance of the Hebrew “ruach”. Similarly, in Genesis 8:1, “ruach” is translated into English as “wind”: “so God caused a wind to pass over the earth,...”. The scripture actually reads: “…vi’yah’aver Elohim Ruach ha’aretz…” or in English “…the Ruach of Elohim passed over the earth…”! It was not just “a wind”! It was the Ruach!

Yeshua did not “invent” or “reveal” an unknown 3rd person or entity when he said in John 14: “15. [Yeshua speaking] If you love me, keep my Commandments. 16. And I will ask of my Father and He will give you another Redeemer who will be with you forever.” (Some versions say “Counselor, the Spirit of Truth” here instead of “Redeemer”.) Yeshua simply informed the disciples of the pre-existence of “Spirit of Truth” (Holy Spirit) that would be made available to them so they could worship God spiritually and truly (John 4:23-24), provided they be the faithful obedient! In fact, Yeshua goes on to explain: “23…He who loves me keeps my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and we will make a dwelling with him. 24. But he who does not love me will not keep my word and this word that you hear is not mine; rather, it is of the Father who sent me. 25. These things I have spoken among you while I am with you. 26. But the Redeemer, the Ruach haKodesh, the One whom my Father will send in my name will teach you everything. And He will remind you of everything that I said to you.” The description uses personal pronouns to attempt to describe the presence of the Ruach in a person, but the pronouns do not imply a “person” called the Ruach! Remember Isaiah 40:18 - God can’t be described!

Numbers 23:19 discusses God’s essence by contrasting Him with mortal men: “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.” The Bible sometimes refers to God and the Ruach as if “He” has a body. This is called anthropomorphism - a way of describing God with anatomical or emotional terms so that humans can better understand. (See Isaiah 59:1 which mentions God’s “hand” and “ear”; 2 Chronicles 16:9 speaks of God’s “eyes”; Matthew 4:4 puts words in God’s “mouth.” In Deuteronomy 33:27 God has “arms.” Etc. NONE of these “qualities” make YHWH or the Ruach a “person”!

Indeed, when Yeshua says that He spoke the words of His Father, that this Ruach (Holy Spirit) which would be available to them, He just reconfirmed the entire Tanakh, which revealed that God is one, there is only ONE God, that He, God, is the savior and the redeemer! There was no such thing as the “Trinity” at this time when Yeshua was explaining these things to the disciples about the Ruach! There was only God, YHWH, who had said all along that HE would save and He would redeem! (Isaiah 49:26, Isiah 60:16, Isaiah 63:8, Hosea 13:4). How did Christianity turn this into “God in three persons”? It is GOD, it has always been GOD, and always will be GOD, not “God in three persons”!

So here is my “doctrine”:
  1. There is only one GOD, YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We are to have no other gods. (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 4:35, 5:7, and others).
  2. To live forever in the Kingdom, we must take YHWH as our God, and we must accept that Yeshua, the human (person), Messiah, with a divine qnoma/nature, was the blood substitute for our sins, died for us so we could be eligible for that eternal life. (John 17:2-3, and others).
  3. To receive the Holy Spirit (Ruach haKodesh) as Yeshua promised, to be taught everything, we must obey the commandments of God, as Yeshua said in John 14:15-26. (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
  4. If we don’t live by the commandments then we have “thrown away” this gift of eternal life, and the Ruach cannot teach us because the Ruach won’t reside within us if we choose to be “unclean” and live unclean lives. (Hebrews 10:26, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This is established by the fact that unclean people are not permitted in God’s presence. (For example: Leviticus 15:31, Numbers 19:20, 2 Chronicles 23:19).
  5. We remain responsible to “maintain” our worthiness to receive the promised everlasting life in the Kingdom. It is NOT a “given” as misunderstood by the isolated verse John 3:16! John goes on to say that: “3:18 Those who trust in him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the one who is God's only and unique Son. 19 ‘Now this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness rather than the light. Why? Because their actions were wicked.’” This “maintenance” is not “works”! We don’t “earn our way to the Kingdom”! (Romans 2:13-15). We express our love for YHWH through our obedience to His commandments. (James 2:17-18). Our obedience to YHWH’s commandments is the only way we have to become and remain holy people (1 Peter 1:16), and being holy is the only way to remain a worthy vessel in which the Ruach can reside. (Why would the Ruach Elohim want to dwell within a filthy human body?)
  6. How we are to live our lives is provided for us by Torah. Simple. Torah is not “Law” as many have been taught and living by Torah is not “legalism”. YHWH gave us good instruction (Torah) and we are not to forsake it. (Proverbs 4:2). (Many argue that no one can keep all of the Torah, saying therefore, none of it must be kept.  But I argue, not all of the Torah ever applied to me, and what applies to me, I most certainly can keep!)
Back to “Trinity”, the central doctrine of Christianity is that of “grace” and “once saved always saved” and (quoting John 14:16): “Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be with us forever” (forgetting that Jesus also said just moments earlier in the same chapter “If you love me, you will keep my commands”). Thus the idea of the “Trinity” actually waters-down scripture and hides what scripture actually says. What good does it do to run around, living one’s daily life shouting “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” when living carnally, denying that God’s commandments apply to you, daily negating the gift of the Son (can He die for you more than once?), and being so unclean the Holy Spirit can be found nowhere near you?

So you may ask “Why baptize in the ‘Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’ ”? (Matthew 28:19). Well, it’s not to glorify the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as 3 individuals!  It is to imbue the recipient of the baptism with the knowledge that the Father is their God – there is no other; that their life has been redeemed by the shed blood of the Son on their behalf (washing them of their sins to that point in their lives – a gift not to be trifled); and now, living holy lives without willful sin, the Holy Spirit (the Ruach actually) can reside within them continually teaching them.

So that is why I can’t accept the “Trinity” as a doctrine. It literally denies that there is ONE GOD, implies there are “3 persons of God” (therefore limiting God) and leads to a denial of individual responsibility to live a holy life worthy of the gift of eternal life and worthy of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to receive the education Yeshua promised.

I believe that contrary to the idea that the “doctrine of the Trinity is the great Christian distinctive”, I find instead that the doctrine of the Trinity, has for countless millions, for hundreds of years, obscured the true understanding of God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit with a misleading message.

20 comments:

  1. Over a year ago, I was led by our Father to 'question' then know the truths about his name Yahweh and his son Yeshua; that the trinity was a wrong concept; to give up manmade holidays and start attending Yahweh's commanded feasts. I am so blessed to have found out in time.
    However, I don't understand why I still read this title 'God' in some of the mix of things.

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    1. Thanks for your great comments, Anonymous! The reason you still find "God" in some of the "mix of things" is because that is YHWH's title in English. Contrary to popular belief among those who find "paganism" around every corner, every language has its title for The Creator whose NAME is YHWH. Furthermore, our ministry is geared toward people from all walks of life, including Christians who know the term "God"....

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    2. Yes, Anonymous. "God" is the title understood in Christianity. When writing to an audience which will have large numbers of Christians it is best to use the terms "God" and "Jesus" since that is typically all they know or have heard. They're very likely unaware of "Yahweh" or "Yeshua". Similarly, it is not at all uncommon for Christians who are aware, when they write knowing Messianics will be in their audience to use the Holy Names for the sake of their audience!

      Paul faced the same challenge. See 1 Corinthians 9:16-23.

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    3. Thank you for these awesome scriptures, it explains my situation. I began to feel out of place at a weekly bible study, because I'm the only one who started using the 'names'- and explained why. Since we each have different bible versions anyway, we agreed on acceptance to move forward.

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    4. You're so right, Anonymous. Sometimes, all you can do is agree to disagree and hope there are no hard feelings. The bottom line is, it's all about YHWH/Yeshua/Torah, not us or our feelings. In the meantime, we can only hope and pray that He would open the eyes of all those who are His, so we can all "see" the Truth and learn to separate it from man-made dogma.

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  2. Liam - outstanding! Thank you!

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  3. 1. So, you cannot compare God with humans, but God Himself uses anthropomorphisms to explain Himself? Could it be that God is pointing to His Image in human beings, which is a (dim) reflection of His character and nature?

    2. "If you love me, keep my Commandments. And I will ask of my Father and He will give you another Redeemer who will be with you forever." If God and the Spirit are the same, is He sending Himself? What about the word "another?" Aren't there three in this verse? I (Jesus), my Father, and "another Redeemer" (in context, the Holy Spirit.

    3. My friend, please let me try to explain the meaning of the word "person." It does not mean "human," but refers to the self-awareness of a mind, will and emotions. Please see my blog post: http://odegardonline.blogspot.com/2017/05/is-holy-spirit-person.html

    The concept of the Trinity is not something that was cooked up over dinner one evening. It has been carefully taken from Scriptural facts about who God has revealed Himself to be - nothing like the men He created, but One who stands above creation, incomprehensible, unimaginable, but revealing Himself through the Bible He gifted to us so that we might believe in Him.

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    1. Thanks Jeff. As you know, within just a few decades after Jesus' time on earth, much dissent emerged about just who He was. Man? God? God as a man? Created or did He always exist with God? Divine? Etc. Much debate raged over both Jesus and the Spirit. It is recorded in Matthew that Jesus Himself warned of the dissent which would follow Him and Paul, Timothy, Peter, and John all echoed the warning.

      Yes, the idea of "Trinity" emerged slowly, as you have indicated, through great debate and ultimately was "accepted" as doctrine late in the 4th Century, where it actually became a mandated belief of the Church. Here we are, centuries later and the idea is so ingrained in the Church that today, it is still taught as an "absolute" and that disagreement with the doctrine labels one as a heretic!

      I guess I'm a heretic then because I absolutely don't find the concept of "Trinity" in scripture so I have a problem with the Church's edict that the doctrine be considered sacrosanct.

      Anyway, we don't have to argue about it. I think we know each other's positions.

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    2. Jeff, thanks for your response. Here are my answers to your questions, one at a time:

      YOU WROTE: So, you cannot compare God with humans, but God Himself uses anthropomorphisms to explain Himself? Could it be that God is pointing to His Image in human beings, which is a (dim) reflection of His character and nature?

      MY RESPONSE: Firstly, YHWH’s “image” refers to His holiness; not to our outward appearance – and certainly not to our fallen, sinful natures. (Contrary to what that tongue babbling Kenneth Copeland once said, YHWH is NOT “6 feet tall and looks like us!”)

      Scripture uses many anthropomorphisms to explain God and many other things:

      Isaiah 55:12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

      Psalm 98: Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy;

      Here’s different example:

      John 6:53-56 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

      Anyone who isn’t saved cannot possibly know that this isn’t to be done literally!

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    3. YOU WROTE: "If you love me, keep my Commandments. And I will ask of my Father and He will give you another Redeemer who will be with you forever." If God and the Spirit are the same, is He sending Himself? What about the word "another?" Aren't there three in this verse? I (Jesus), my Father, and "another Redeemer" (in context, the Holy Spirit.

      MY RESPONSE: He certainly didn’t send Himself; He sent His “son” – who is the ONLY “person” in the whole “God” scenario. Yeshua was the “arm of YHWH” (Isaiah 53:1). He had a divine qnoma/nature which is why he was able to be and do exactly what he was sent for.

      Mainstream Christianity insists "Jesus" preached the Gospel - the Good News about the Messiah's death, burial, and resurrection - which is all Christians tend to focus on. But Scripture, read in context, reveals He did NOT preach those things at all; rather, He preached the Kingdom of YHWH (Yahweh)!

      Luke 4: 43 "But he (Yeshua/Jesus) said, "I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent."

      Luke 8: 1. And it happened after these things that Y'shua was going around in the cities and in the villages and was preaching and declaring the Kingdom of Elohim.

      Acts 28: 23 "From morning till evening the Apostle Paul explained and declared the Kingdom of God and tried to convince people about Yeshua from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets."

      Acts 24: 14. But this indeed I (Paul) acknowledge, that in that same doctrine of which they speak, I do serve the Elohim of my fathers, believing all the things written in Torah and in the prophets.

      So, while His death, burial, and resurrection are an important part of the Good News, it's not the whole story! God isn't just in the business of "saving" people. As Creator and law giver, He is in the business of teaching us how to be good subjects in His Kingdom to come!

      (to be continued)

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    4. If "Jesus abolished Torah at the cross" then why was EVERY believer completely Torah observant for one hundred years after Yeshua's death, including the Apostle Paul who was "caught" being Torah observant 29 years after Yeshua's death (Acts 21:23-24)! Was Paul a hypocrite, saying one thing and doing another; or were his teachings, perhaps, misunderstood?
      YHWH said HE would send a prophet who was to do everything He ordered him to do:

      Deuteronomy 18: 15 "ADONAI will raise up for you a prophet like me from among yourselves, from your own kinsmen. You are to pay attention to him, 16 just as when you were assembled at Horev and requested ADONAI your God, 'Don't let me hear the voice of ADONAI my God any more, or let me see this great fire ever again; if I do, I will die!' 17 On that occasion ADONAI said to me, 'They are right in what they are saying. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kinsmen. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I order him.

      Yeshua Himself said He came to do HIS FATHER's will; not His own! As a human being, he didn't have the RIGHT to change his Father's Divine Rules! He himself was the WORD (not his human self, but the Spirit part that came from YHWH....

      John 6: 35. Y'shua said to them, I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will not hunger. And whoever believes in me will not ever thirst. 36. But I have said to you that you have seen me, and you do not believe. 37. All who my Father has given to me will come, and whoever comes not to me I will cast outside! 38. For I came down from heaven,[1] not to do my will, but to do the will of Him who sent me. 39. And this is His will, that of Him who sent me, that all that He has given to me I do not lose even one. 40. For this is the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in Him, will have life that is eternal. And I will raise him up on the last day. (AENT)

      [1] As in the context of Miltha (the Word) or the "Manifestation" or the "Will of" YHWH coming down from heaven to do the Will of YHWH upon earth; his Spirit is of YHWH but his nephesh (soul) and body are human and temporal. This shows that Yeshua was NOT in charge; HIS FATHER WAS!

      Yeshua came to proclaim the Kingdom of YHWH and to do everything His Father commanded. He tore down the fences of man's legalism. Neither He nor His Apostles ever advocated against Torah!

      (continued below)

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    5. John 12: 44. But Y'shua cried out and said, He who believes in me, it is not in me he does believe, but in Him who sent me. [1] 45. And he who sees me sees Him who sent me! 46. I have come as the light into this world that all who believe in me might not remain in the darkness! 47. And he who hears my words, yet does not keep them, I do not judge him, for I have not come to judge the world but to give life[2] to the world. 48. He who rejects me and does not receive my words, there is something that judges him. The word that I have spoken, it will judge him on the last day. 49. For I have not spoken from my soul, but the Father who sent me. He gave a Commandment to me what I should say and what I should speak. 50. And I know that His commands are eternal life. [3] Therefore, these things that I speak just as my Father told me, thus I speak.[4] (AENT)

      [1] Y'shua does not bring a new Faith, but reveals the original Faith of YHWH the Father.

      [2] Y'shua proclaims that he came to give life, then he declares that His father's Commands are eternal life! The Father's "Commands" are instruction in righteousness; this is Torah which contains Commandments, Judgments, Testimony and Witness regarding the Kingdom of Elohim. Those who enter into Covenant with Mashiyach are entering into Covenant with his Father YHWH; therefore, it is evil - an outright lie - to teach that Torah is done away with and replaced by a new theology!

      [3] The Commands of YHWH bring eternal life. YHWH's "Commands" refers to all of His Commandments; these are one and the same as every Word that proceeds out of the Mouth of Elohim. These are not Commands only between Y'shua and His Father but they are universal for all souls who will enter into the Malchut Elohim.

      [4] Y'shua speaks the Word of YHWH, not his own words; therefore, he conveys the revelation of YHWH according to the Ruach haKodesh without the baggage of man's religious tradition. Religion has a propensity to reinvent or interpret the Word of YHWH to make it "acceptable" to man's standards; whereas Mashiyach came not to please men, but to honor and bring Glory to his Father.

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    6. YOU WROTE: My friend, please let me try to explain the meaning of the word "person." It does not mean "human," but refers to the self-awareness of a mind, will and emotions. Please see my blog post: http://odegardonline.blogspot.com/2017/05/is-holy-spirit-person.html

      MY RESPONSE: The thing is, most people view “person” in human terms, and so the Holy Spirit suddenly has eyes, ears, arms and legs. Nowhere in Scripture do we see that YHWH is a “person" in that sense of the word. We don't DIE when looking upon "persons" - but Scripture is clear that we WILL die if we look upon YHWH....

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    7. Nowhere in Scripture do we ever see our ELOHIM referred to as a “trinity” or the Holy Spirit called a “person.” Where did this come from? King James added a line!

      I John 5: 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (KJV)
      James worded it to make it seem as though John was defining the Father, Son and Spirit as three separate beings in one.

      And oddly, all the other "versions" completely omit everything after the word "heaven" in verse 7! For instance the NIV says: “For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.” This is TOTALLY different from the KJV! (Knowing this, and realizing all the various versions added, omitted and mistranslated, is it any wonder why we have nearly 40,000 different Christian "denominations"?)

      Here is a footnote from the NIV referencing 1 John 5:7-8:

      "Late manuscripts of the Vulgate testify in heaven, the Father, the Word and Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify in earth--not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century."

      This shows that both verses are late additions. Obviously, 5:7 is an addition post-397 CE, after the Council of Carthage and 5:8 is so late as to be meaningless. This is true because trinity was never, and is not, an original Biblical doctrine! It was a formulation of Constantine, Eusebius and others.

      Here is the passage as seen in Andrew Gabriel Roth’s Aramaic English New Testament:

      I John 5: 6. This is he who came by the water and the blood. Y'shua the Mashiyach; not by the water only, but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit testifies; because the Spirit is truth. 7. (Verse 7 is nonexistent in the Eastern Peshitta!) 8. And there are three witnesses, the Spirit and the water, and the blood: and these three are in union. (AENT)

      Footnote: Appended text: (For there are three that testify in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Ruach haKodesh: and these three are one.), which is why Murdock puts the brackets and adds: “This verse is not wanting in most MSS., and is omitted in the edit. London, 1826.” The fact is that this line was inserted under the authority of Constantine to promote the Trinity doctrine. It does not exist in the Peshitta nor the oldest Greek manuscripts of Aleph, A, B and the Vulgate. Christo-Paganism which originated before Constantine taught that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are numerically three separate beings, but yet “all the same” is a blatant violation of the First and Second Commandments (see Sh’mot/Exodus 20:1-6).

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  4. From my personal experience, I found out this 'third person' concept a deception. Because a friend 'appeared' more enlightened than me, I followed and attended a series of teachings on it, to the point of waking and saying good morning to this 'Holy Spirit Person'. After spending much time and offerings$$$, I didn't feel anymore mature in my walk, and felt even despair because I thought it was me.
    But I see now, that YHWH let me stay long enough, to teach me to beware of deception.
    Now that my Father has led me to truth, He has Redeemed my time, because once I let go of 'man traditions' and obey His instructions/Torah, my understanding of the Word had accelerated beyond my thoughts.
    It's not by my 'works' that I get it, but by His grace that He allows me to get it right.

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    1. RIGHT ON, Anonymous! Thank you for your input!

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  5. Thank you for sharing this to us Sister Shali. We'd been under the impression the "Trinity" is a real doctrine but the "truth" cannot be hidden especially in the last days.
    Shalom, and may YAHWEH bless you and your family.

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  6. I appreciate you and your ministry. You give well-reasoned counsel and fresh food for thought.
    Thank you for explaining these concepts in such an articulate fashion!

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    1. THANK YOU, C'est l'abeille! We appreciate you dropping by!

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