Sunday, September 15, 2019

Ever wonder about that “camel through the eye of a needle” thing?

Ever wonder about that “camel through the eye of a needle” thing? Well, you’ll be surprised. Read on!

Matthew 19:21. 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* 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. (AENT)

Lluke 18:22. But when Y’shua heard these things, he said to him, One thing is lacking in you. Go sell everything that you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come after me. 23. But when he heard these things he was sad, for he was very wealthy. 24. And when Y’shua saw that he felt sad, he said, How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter into the Kingdom of Elohim! 25. Because it is easier for a rope* that it enter through the eye of a needle than a rich man enter into the Kingdom of Elohim. (AENT)

Okay, so let’s talk about that “rope for a moment.” (Christian versions of Scripture mistranslated the word “rope” into “camel” – which is wrong and makes absolutely NO sense, whatsoever!)

Anyway… the short response to explain the “rope” parable is simply to show that when YHWH blesses someone with wealth, He still expect His people to “love HIM” more than their wealth, and to be willing to give it all up if He asked them to.

The footnote in the Aramaic English New Testament tells us the Aramaic word, 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.

However, Y'shua is clearly not saying a rich man can't enter, or he would not "love" this one! The “heavy rope” lesson refers to the teaching 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; and the rich – like that rope – are obligated unto YHWH to be good stewards of their wealth and to how their wealth is acquired and dispersed.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Do YOU know for sure that your name is written in the Book of Life? It’s NOT if you’re “lukewarm” toward YHWH….

I passed several people during my two-mile walk this morning (which is my favorite "alone time" with Abba) and, as usual, most didn't return my "Hi!" or "Hello!" or even bother to look up and return my smile. And so, I started thinking that this seems to be how most people treat ELOHIM. He's forever trying to get our attention, yet most won't take the time to stop whatever they're doing to even notice He's there.

Oh sure, some might look up long enough to maybe wave from a distance; but it's a foreign concept for them to actually take the time to blow the dust off their Bibles (if they even own one), and sit down to read their way through it.  Yet, they will run to their synagogues on Saturday, or to church on Sunday to “do their duty” to God, and then go home to once again ignore Him for another week.

There are very few who actually “live” their faith and communicate with our Heavenly Father on a regular basis.  Very few.  It seems most don’t even realize that He strives to have both weekly (Shabbat) and yearly “dates” (Mo’edim/Appointed Times) with us! They’ve been busy slumbering, MAYBE reading their way through the Bible once in their life, if that much, or just picking their way through and relying on others to tell them what it says. I guess that’s why Scripture warns us that “most” will NOT be taking that narrow gate that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).

Below are some other pertinent scriptures that should serve as “wake-up calls” to those who are “lukewarm” and under the erroneous impression that “God is love and all we have to do is believe in Jesus so we can be forever forgiven.”

Matthew 7:18. A good tree is not able to bear evil fruit, and an evil tree cannot bear good fruit.  19. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut and thrown in the fire. (AENT)

(Please ask yourself, “Am I a fruit-bearing tree, or am I just a pretender?”)

Matthew 7:20. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.  21. It will not be that just anyone who says to me “My master, my master.” Will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  22. Many will say to me in that day, “My master, my master. By your name, have we not prophesied? And by you name have we cast out demons?  And by your name have we done many miracles?”  23. And then I will profess to them that from everlasting, I have not known you.  Depart from me, you workers of iniquity![1]  (AENT)

NOTE:  Psalm 6:8, 9   “workers of iniquity” is a common phrase in the Tanakh that refers to lawlessness (without Torah). “Horror has taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Your Torah.” (Psalm 119:53)  Yeshua’s every single teaching is based on Torah!  To be anti-Torah is to be anti-Messiah; therefore every “authority” will be judged according to whether they uphold Torah or not. According to Yeshua, Torah (which means “instruction in righteousness”) is “the will of My Father.” (Matthew 7:21;12:50) 

Luke 13:22 Yeshua continued traveling through town after town and village after village, teaching and making his way toward Yerushalayim. 23  Someone asked him, “Are only a few people being saved?” 24 He answered, “Struggle to get in through the narrow door, because — I’m telling you! — many will be demanding to get in and won’t be able to, 25 once the owner of the house has gotten up and shut the door. You will stand outside, knocking at the door and saying, ‘Lord! Open up for us!’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from!’  (CJB)

WOW!  “Many will be demanding to get in and won’t be able to”….  Why do you think that is?  The answer is: Because there will be NO “lukewarm” in Eternity with Him!

Luke 13:27. And he will say to you that, “I do not know you from where you are.  Depart from me workers of iniquity!”  28. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Awraham and Yitz’chak and Ya’akov and all the prophets in the Kingdom of Elohim, but you will be cast outside!   (AENT)

The good news is – those who were obedient servants, not just “hearing” but also “doing” His will, won’t have to worry about where they’re going to spend Eternity….

John 10:9. I am the Gate and if a man should enter by me he will live and will enter and go out and he will find pasture. (AENT)

Before you go, please take a good, hard look at the following passage:

Revelation 20: 11 Next I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done.

13 The sea gave up the dead in it; and Death and Sh’ol gave up the dead in them; and they were judged, each according to what he had done. 14 Then Death and Sh’ol were hurled into the lake of fire. This is the second death — the lake of fire. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was hurled into the lake of fire. (CJB)

Do YOU know for sure that your name is written in the Book of Life?  It’s NOT if you’re busy ignoring, or simply being “lukewarm” toward YHWH….

Oh, how I wish the people YHWH puts in my life would all learn to “get serious” about God, and to begin to understand their NEED to get INTO the Bible, to study it for themselves, from front to back, so they can finally KNOW His Truth … and the fact that He is NOT kidding around about who will get to spend Eternity with Him.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Would you like to learn how to challenge a false teacher who also happens to be raving Christian anti-Semite?

If you’ve never heard of the rabidly anti-Semitic ministry called Shepherd’s Chapel, then you’re about to learn a valuable lesson in TESTING everything you see, read or hear.  Allow me to provide a little background before presenting the challenge we at The Refiner’s Fire posed to one of their teachings about “The synagogue of Satan”…

Shepherd’s Chapel is a “Christian church and broadcast facility based in Gravette, Arkansas.” The church's founder was Arnold Benjamin Murray (April 20, 1929–February 12, 2014), who served as senior pastor until his death, when his son, David, took over to continue this world-wide ministry.

Shepherd’s Chapel founder, Arnold Benjamin Murray, makes claim that Cain was actually the son of Eve and Satan—the serpent seed doctrine. He ignored Genesis 4:1 which says, “Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man’” (Genesis 4:1). Adam was Cain’s father, and there is no reason to believe otherwise. Murray also connected the parable of the good and bad seed in Matthew 13 with God’s curse of the serpent in Genesis 3 despite nothing in the context to connect the two passages.

Murray taught that there will be no rapture, despite passages such as 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:51–52. As is all-too-common with Arnold Murray, he claimed that 95 percent of churches who teach the rapture will accept the Antichrist as their savior (from a November 1985 newsletter). In this way, Murray effectively denied the salvation of anyone who believes in the rapture. It is unsettling to hear a Bible teacher making such claims about those he disagrees with concerning a non-essential point of eschatology.

Murray also subscribed to the Christian Identity Movement, which teaches the British are the real descendants of the ancient Israelites. This movement has been the foundation, fuel, and ammunition for a great deal of racial bigotry. Murray denounced interracial marriages, an unbiblical position that itself wavers on the edge of racism.

Now – let’s examine just a FEW of the ways Murray’sSynagogue of Satanarticle is in error(Please read the article to get the full picture and to see if YOU can spot any blatant problems.)

To start with, the author completely discredits himself by arguing that Cain was the son of the Devil with the implication that Cain's descendants survived the flood. Both of those claims are the OPPOSITE of what scripture tells us. Noah (who was NOT related to Cain) and his family started the human race all over again after the flood. Cain and his descendants were DEAD, and there is NO scriptural evidence that the murderous, polygynist, Cain survived the flood!  YHWH was trying to start all over again, with OBEDIENT folks; not with criminals….

Prior to that, the author argues that in John 8:37 (“I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you”), that the word "know" here means "to appear, perceive" with the intent to argue that Jesus "perceived" the Jews he was addressing were actually not Abraham's seed.

But, he quotes Strong's 1492, mistakenly saying that "know" came from Strong's 3708, only choosing a lesser used meaning "to appear, perceive", rather than the more common "to discern clearly", which is the same meaning of 1492 "see or aware", that is, Jesus only said "I see you are Abraham's seed" or "I am aware you are Abraham's seed"! But this guy made a poor attempt to argue that Jesus instead recognized that they were not Abraham's seed.

This misguided author makes MANY such twists in his long and rambling article. For example:

He also says "As documented, the word Kenite means children of Cain". As proof, he cites Strong's H7017, which says a Kenite is a member of the tribe of Kajin. So he looks up "Kajin", Strong's H7014 and concludes that "Kajin" is the name of the first child, "Cain".

The problem is, Strongs H7014 says "Kajin" can mean the name of the first child OR a place in Palestine, OR the name of an Oriental tribe. In other words, the meaning of "Kajin" depends on the context. It doesn't just simply mean "Cain" just because you see the word!

Moreover, Scripture tells us that when Yeshua returns he will separate the goats and the sheep (pro Israel or against). But look at what Murray’s says:

“A single nation has fulfilled this, but that nation is not Israel, they could never fulfill this promise by God. The nation named Israel is extremely small including its population and it does not possess the gate of its enemy, nor does it bless the nations of the earth.

“However, the Christian nations are a blessing to the world by sharing the Word of God and their charitable acts. In addition, The United States of America does possess the gate of its enemy. It would be this nation that ultimately fulfilled this promise. The truth is, the Christian nations are the true decedents of the twelve tribes”….

That statement is just plain IGNORANT!

First of all, America is mentioned NOWHERE in Scripture!  It is all about ISRAEL!  YES, the Christian nations HAVE been a blessing to the world as Christian missionaries have basically traveled all over the world to present Jesus and his Word. But they've also been a curse on some levels, for they have been guilty of forcefully converting and even killing many innocents in order to accomplish their agenda.

For instance, Jews were forced to convert to Christianity by the Crusaders in Lorraine, on the Lower Rhine, in Bavaria and Bohemia, in Mainz and in Worms, Germany. Pope Innocent III pronounced in 1201 that if one agreed to be baptized to avoid torture and intimidation, one nevertheless could be compelled to outwardly observe Christianity: And let's not forget that at least six million Jews died in Hitler's Holocaust in the Catholic and Protestant Europe....

It is totally bogus to suggest that "the Christian nations are ‘the true decedents’ of the twelve tribes," What planet is Mr. Murray on and where in Scripture can one verify that nonsense?

One would have to KNOW the Torah to find out WHO were the forefathers of those 12 tribes standing at the foot of Mount Sinai to hear the giving of the Ten Commandments? (Yes, there were some "foreigners" mixed in (those who had followed Moshe out of Egypt when he liberated YHWH's people); but they were by NO MEANS the majority! They were simply hangers-on who were accepted by and absorbed into the tribes.)

To WHOM did YHWH give the command to safeguard and preserve His Torah just before they were scattered into the nations? The Tribe of JUDAH! (Genesis 49:10, Micah 4:2) The tribe that Yeshua was born into! Yes, Yeshua, the JEWISH Messiah that Murray seems to be attempting to rob of his tribal heritage in his attempt to build of “Christians”....

….Christians – those very people who have not only changed the name or our Messiah, but also changed the dates of his birth, death and resurrection and called his Torah a CURSE! While they claim that we are all "ONE in Christ," they've totally ignored the commanded Seventh Day Sabbath (which is a SIGN between YHWH and His people) along with His Feasts/Appointed Times, and instead, come up with their own, man-made "holy days" - both of which are steeped in paganism...And they're doing all that while chowing down on pork and shellfish, which God specifically said are NOT food….

Whoever was the author of this article at Shepherd’s Chapel, is at best a poor scholar, and at worst a false teacher.

God keeps His promises!

Something important to ponder:

We got goosebumps when we read the Torah portion this past Shabbat! YHWH’s love knows no bounds – and all He ever asks is our obedience and faithfulness. BUT ... there's more....

Deuteronomy 32:3 “For I will proclaim the name of ADONAI. Come, declare the greatness of our God! 4 The Rock! His work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A trustworthy God who does no wrong, he is righteous and straight.

5 “He is not corrupt; the defect is in his children, a crooked and perverted generation. 6 You foolish people, so lacking in wisdom, is this how you repay ADONAI? He is your father, who made you his! It was he who formed and prepared you! (CJB)

Now, here we see that YHWH cared and still cares about “the nations” as well, because He gave them each its heritage!

Deuteronomy 32:7 “Remember how the old days were; think of the years through all the ages. Ask your father — he will tell you; your leaders too — they will inform you. 8 “When ‘Elyon gave each nation its heritage, when he divided the human race, he assigned the boundaries of peoples according to Isra’el’s population; 9 but ADONAI’s share was his own people, Ya‘akov his allotted heritage.

10 “He found his people in desert country, in a howling, wasted wilderness. He protected him and cared for him, guarded him like the pupil of his eye, 11 like an eagle that stirs up her nest, hovers over her young, spreads out her wings, takes them and carries them as she flies.

12 “ADONAI alone led his people; no alien god was with him. 13 He made them ride on the heights of the earth. They ate the produce of the fields. He had them suck honey from the rocks and olive oil from the crags, 14 curds from the cows and milk from the sheep, with lamb fat, rams from Bashan and goats, with the finest wheat flour; and you drank sparkling wine from the blood of grapes. (CJB)

Now, take a look at the following and ask yourself how many times He has “aroused His peoples’ jealousy” by provoking them with “vile nations”. Matter of fact, it’s happening TODAY as well….

Deuteronomy 32: 19 “ADONAI saw and was filled with scorn at his sons’ and daughters’ provocation. 20 He said, ‘I will hide my face from them and see what will become of them; for they are a perverse generation, untrustworthy children. 21 They aroused my jealousy with a non-god and provoked me with their vanities; I will arouse their jealousy with a non-people and provoke them with a vile nation.

22 “‘For my anger has been fired up. It burns to the depths of Sh’ol, devouring the earth and its crops, kindling the very roots of the hills. 23 I will heap disasters on them and use up all my arrows against them. 24 “‘Fatigued by hunger, they will be consumed by fever and bitter defeat; I will send them the fangs of wild beasts, and the poison of reptiles crawling in the dust. 25 Outside, the sword makes parents childless; inside, there is panic, as young men and girls alike are slain, sucklings and graybeards together.

26 “‘I considered putting an end to them, erasing their memory from the human race; 27 but I feared the insolence of their enemy, feared that their foes would mistakenly think, “We ourselves accomplished this; ADONAI had nothing to do with it.” 28 “‘They are a nation without common sense, utterly lacking in discernment. 29 If they were wise they could figure it out and understand their destiny…. (CJB)

Take a really good look at this passage, beginning with verse 22. The world HAS been seeing plenty of disasters (and God only knows how much they've been multiplying over the years!), including hunger, diseases, defeat, wild animal attacks, etc. We are literally WITNESSING these events.

Time to get ourselves "right with God" is NOW!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

A valuable lesson that resonates into our own, modern lives:

1 Timothy 1:4 Have them stop devoting their attention to myths and never-ending genealogies; these divert people to speculating instead of doing God's work, which requires trust. 5 The purpose of this order is to promote love from a clean heart, from a good conscience and from sincere trust. 6 Some, by aiming amiss, have wandered off into fruitless discussion.

1:7 They want to be teachers of Torah, but they understand neither their own words nor the matters about which they make such emphatic pronouncements. 8 We know that the Torah is good, provided one uses it in the way the Torah itself intends.

9 We are aware that Torah is not for a person who is righteous, but for those who are heedless of Torah and rebellious, ungodly and sinful, wicked and worldly, for people who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral — both heterosexual and homosexual — slave dealers, liars, perjurers, and anyone who acts contrary to the sound teaching 11 that accords with the Good News of the glorious and blessed God... (ESV)

QUICK NOTE:

Messiah Yeshua was and is the goal of Torah, not its termination, as so many seem to believe! Love is also the goal of the commandment, not the termination. This is validated throughout Paul's writings in key places like Romans 3:31; 7:12; 10:4.

Responding to the “million dollar question” - Is Jesus God?

Before I cite the reasons why I don’t believe “Jesus is God in the Flesh,” I want to make sure you know that I totally believe Yeshua (his given name which means “Yahweh is Salvation”, while the name “Jesus” actually detracts from who he was), certainly was DEITY, perfect and sin-free - simply because of WHO he was, as he had no earthly father and came from YHWH Himself. (How many of us can make that claim?)

However, having been born of a woman denotes that he ALSO had HUMAN DNA, which meant a limited time on this world. Had he not been killed, he would have eventually DIED. That being the case, YHWH (the Name of ELOHIM as revealed to Moshe - Ex 3:13-15), our Creator, was NOT “eternal” as Scripture says; rather, He was just a mere man…

God created flesh which carried His blood, and that blood (required for redemption) could then be shed for all who simply accepted it. THAT is who Yeshua was – YHWH’s Divine MESSIAH – the human Messiah who was the Word (John 1:1, 14) and YHWH’s Arm (Isaiah 53:1) BEFORE he ever came to earth as a MAN)….

I also cannot get past the fact that so many people apparently see no problem that our HOLY God who HATES sin and who will NOT tolerate sin (Hab 1:13, Is 13:11 and 59:2, PS 5:4, etc.) would "empty Himself" into a human being (who surely would have been without sin, because we are born with a sinful nature and all sin at some point - not to mention that our deeds are like filthy menstrual rags (Is 64:6) ....

I have a hard time believing that GOD would decide to become a mere human (while at the same time, remaining somewhere in the Heavens to continue ruling the universe); then enter the world as a screaming baby who had to have his diapers changed by mere, sinful human beings … a God who – according to everyone who insists “Jesus is God in the Flesh - also prayed to “Himself” during his earthly ministry (Luke 23:34, Matt 27:46, Mark 15:34) and wouldn’t make a move unless His Father approved it.

I am well aware that many argue that Philippians 2:5-8 says God became flesh. One actually finds that these verses do NOT say that.  In most English versions, Philippians 2:6 reads: "though he was in the form of God" - obviously carrying the implication that Yeshua WAS God - but the older Aramaic reads "as he was in the likeness of Elohim..." - an entirely different meaning.

Indeed, Philippians 2 goes on to clarify that it was not that Yeshua was God; rather, that God "disinherited himself" so that a man could die and shed His blood.

We must recognize that as Part of ADONAI Himself (the Word, John 1:1, 14 and the Arm, Isaiah 53:1) we can certainly say Yeshua is ADONAI - but NOT while he was in human form with human frailties... (See Isaiah 53.)

But, YES, he was definitely “divine”:

More than his literal birth name Y'shua (which was and is a common Hebrew name), and more than the perfect reputation that his name represents, Y'shua bears the Name of YHWH, the "name above all names!" Y'shua has the Name and reputation of the Father YHWH in him (John 17:11) and the name means "YHWH is Salvation" (Matthew 1:21). (The angels, for instance, only have YHWH's title of ELOHIM within their names: GabriEL, MichaEL, RaphaEL....)

Monday, September 2, 2019

Readings for Shabbat of September 7, 2019

If you're "chomping at the bit" to start reading this week's Torah portion, you can find a synopsis on our website of: Parashah 53 (HaAzinu:Torah, Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52 ).

One of the things we absolutely MUST understand as we begin to read the two final Torah portions of the year, is that Moshe ordered the Torah he had written to be placed next to the ark (Deuteronomy 31:24-29) - which means it "crossed the Jordan" and went into the Promised Land with YHWH's people. We know this because of the following verses, and also because the Torah is IN our Bibles today!

We also need to understand that many people insist that Torah was "only for the Jews" - but this is not true, because, as we can see throughout the Torah, it was meant for all the 12 tribes AND the gentiles who had followed Moshe out of Egypt. (see Exodus 12:49 and Numbers 15:13-16.)

Remember that Cain and Abel provided sacrifices - and they weren't Jews! Neither was Noah, but he knew the difference between "clean and unclean" animals, birds and fish - and he wasn't a Jew, either...There were no Jews until Jacob had one of his 12 sons whom he named Yehudah [Judah] who started the Tribe of Judah, where the word "Jew" comes from. But yet, EVERYONE up until that time (except, of course, the pagans and heathens who were unbelievers or believers in other gods) was Torah observant!)

So, please keep those things in mind as you read the final two Torah portions of the year. To get started, simply click on the link above.