Friday, August 23, 2019

Our world needs a wake-up call....

In the wake of several mass shootings just over the last month, we’ve begun to see a rash of young men being arrested for planning mass murders, including one 15-year-old Florida boy who posted online in a video game chat room, that he "vowed to bring his fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum." 

When police came to his house to arrest him, his mother insisted he is 'just a little kid' making jokes …  playing video games.”  She also insisted that her son’s threatening words online were “normal.”

This is troubling on many fronts, because (1) this particular household actually IS in possession of a weapon such as the one described; (2) the mother (the adult) saw nothing wrong with even just the THREAT of the taking of human  lives – joking or otherwise; and (3) the teen’s Internet activities are clearly NOT being monitored nor restricted….

The reality is, a 15-year-old is NOT a “little boy” and this kind of behavior is NOT normal.  A 15-year-old should certainly have been taught the difference between “right and wrong”; but – judging from his mother’s reaction - he has been molded into simply another lost soul who receives no adult guidance or direction; and is consequently allowing himself to be influenced by others who have never had any proper guidance.
 
The reality is also that we live in mostly godless societies today where deviant behavior is actually encouraged; and where people are running amuck, doing whatever seems “right in their own eyes” – exactly as it has been since the very beginning where, already in Genesis 4, we see Cain killing Abel, and Lamech committing the first -known polygyny and telling his two wives he had killed someone. 

By the time we get to Genesis 6, we see YHWH being so fed up that He is planning to destroy the entire earth!  (See also Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1 and 21:25.)

YHWH gave mankind “free will” and we have continually abused that privilege by straying from His Torah!  THAT is the sole reason the world is in the mess it’s in…

Throughout Scripture, we see the penchant for men to sin and to “do their own thing.”  NOTHING has changed over the millennia, even though we are CONSTANTLY, THROUGHOUT Scripture, being warned to guard our mouths and our hearts, and even to take every thought captive - because actions always begin with THOUGHTS.  (See Psalm 141:3, Proverbs 21:23, 2 Corinthians 10:5, etc).

The reality is also this:  The proverbial snowball has not only been “rolling downhill” since the beginning of the creation of mankind; but it has picked up so much speed that NOTHING will stop it now, except for the return of Messiah Yeshua.  May he return SOON!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Parashas 51 and 52…

For those who are following our Weekly Torah studies, here’s this week's Shabbat treasure.  This week features another dual parashah:

Parashah 51: Nitzavim (Standing) - Deuteronomy 29:9(10) through 30:20 https://www.therefinersfire.org/parashah_51.htm

AND:

Parashah 52: Vayelekh (He went); Deuteronomy 31:1-30. https://www.therefinersfire.org/parashah_52.htm

These parashahs contain many nuggets,

This week's lesson in Parashah 51 is one of the most powerful in the entire Torah as YHWH once again drives home the importance of obedience, outlining the blessings for doing His will, and the curses for NOT doing His will. We DO/OBEY for the sake of fulfilling His desire! His desire is perfectly outlined, as you’ll see in Parashah 51.

Parashah 52 is another "tear jerker" for all those who love YHWH (Yahweh) because, for those who understand the words of this parashah, they reveal YHWH's words weren't meant only for the people of Moshe's (Moses) time, but that they have reverberated throughout the millennia to reveal that the state of the world today is a direct result of our disobedience to YHWH's Torah (divine instruction in righteousness)!

To get started with the readings, simply click on the links above to read our synopses, and then read all of the Torah, Haftarah and Brit Chadasha portions outlined in our articles.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sadly, “Neo-Nazism” is growing around the world

I’m truly distraught over the fact that “Neo-Nazism” is growing around the world – one of the latest signs is this video showing some California high school boys giving the Nazi Salute (https://abcnews.go.com/US/video-surfaces-showing-california-high-school-students-giving/story?id=65066289 ) and singing one of the favorite Third Reich marching songs, called “Erika” - https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2upq4e - which is about a blond woman (what else?) likened to a budding flower.

(I recognized the song because my mother, who hid her Jewishness throughout her childhood, used to sing it sometimes at home. It has a catchy tune, but I never really knew the hidden meaning behind it until today. You see, the name, Erika, is a feminine form of Erik, deriving from the Old Norse name EirĂ­kr - usually taken to mean "sole ruler, autocrat" or "eternal ruler, ever powerful"… Which, of course, is what Hitler attempted to portray.)

I’m distraught over the Neo-Nazi movement because these boys (and any other youths flashing the idiotic “Nazi salute”) surely do NOT understand the gravity of what they’re doing! I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone that Nazis were an evil, murderous, white-nationalist, “pure-race-seeking” regime led by a mentally unstable narcissistic megalomaniac who killed at least six million of YHWH’s Chosen people, and single-handedly caused the downfall of Germany….

These Neo-Nazi wannabe’s don’t realize that their ignorance will ultimately be THEIR downfall! (If you don’t know why, then please read the Bible from cover to cover and you’ll get the picture of what YHWH does to those who perpetrate evil.)

Unfortunately, sadly, “Neo-Nazism” is becoming popular today. For those who don’t know what it is, it “consists of post-World War II militant social or political movements seeking to revive and implement the ideology of Nazism. Neo-Nazis seek to employ this ideology to promote hatred and attack minorities, or in some cases to create a fascist political state.

“It is a global phenomenon, with organized representation in many countries and international networks, borrowing elements from Nazi doctrine, including ultranationalism, racism, xenophobia, etc.” – Source: Wikipedia

For an indepth look at the sordid history of Nazism: https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/nazi-party
1 Timothy 1: 5. Now the goal* of the command is love which is from a pure heart and from a good conscience and from true Faith. 6. But from these some have strayed and have turned aside to vain words; 7. because they wished to be teachers of Torah, while they understood not what they speak, nor the thing about which they contend.
8. Now we know, that Torah is a good thing if a man conduct himself in it according to Torah; 9. he knowing that Torah was not established for the righteous but for the evil and the rebellious, and those without Elohim, and the sinful, and the perverse and for the impure, and for smiters of their fathers and smiters of their mothers, and for murderers, 10. and for sexual sinners and for copulators with males, and for the stealers of free people, and for liars, and for violators of oaths, and for whatever is contrary to sound doctrine, (AENT)
*NOTE: Messiah is the goal of Torah, not its termination. Love is also the sakal (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.

Do you know someone who attempts to use Hebrews 8:13 to "prove" that Torah was "abolished at the cross?"

If you have a friend who attempts to use Hebrews 8:13 to "prove" that Torah was "abolished at the cross," please tell them this:

Hebrews 8:13 says: In that he said a Renewed (Covenant), he made the first old; and that which is old and decaying, is near to disappearing. (AENT)

The context of Hebrews 8:13 is actually Jeremiah 31:31-34:

31 "Here, the days are coming," says ADONAI, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra'el and with the house of Y'hudah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated my covenant, even though I, for my part, was a husband to them," says ADONAI.

33 "For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra'el after those days," says ADONAI: "I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will any of them teach his fellow community member or his brother, 'Know ADONAI'; for all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest; because I will forgive their wickednesses and remember their sins no more." (CJB)

Actually, YHWH’s Torah (Divine Instructions in Righteousness, without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living) can NEVER disappear. Why would they?

Without Torah, Jesus would have had nothing to preach about; he would have taught nothing but "believe in God to be saved. No rules to follow, just do your own thing."

More importantly, without YHWH's Word/Torah/Divine Instructions that Christians believe were somehow made null and void because Jesus died, Yeshua wouldn't have existed at all. If you ignore "the Word" then you're ignoring Yeshua. After all, he was and still is "the Word" (John 1:1, 14) and the "Arm of YHWH" (Isaiah 53:1) ....

BOTTOM LINE: What Hebrews 8 refers to … what is “near to disappearing” ... is the sinful nature of man that breaks Torah, NOT the standard of Torah! Remember that WE broke Torah, not YHWH. YHWH did not drop the standard of Torah because Israel chose disobedience; rather, He installed a Renewed Covenant to write Torah upon the heart through the work of the Ruach haKodesh, according to Mashiyach.

The fact of the matter is that in Mashiyach, YHWH raised the bar; He magnified Torah. (See Isaiah 42:21 which says: “ADONAI was pleased, for his righteousness' sake, to make the Torah great and glorious.”)

Because mankind broke Covenant, YHWH requires complete renovation on our part, not YHWH’s part of the Covenant. Hebrews 8:13 in its twisted form, became one of the “crown jewels” of Torahless Christianity which teaches that Torah is decaying and is near to disappearing, but nothing could be farther from the truth. See 2 Peter 3:16.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Reader question about the word “foreshadow”

READER QUESTION:

I have a question that I would like to  pass on to family members and that is what does being 'a shadow of things to come’? I also have wondered, especially recently, as I have been running into this passage.  I always value your expertise in the scriptures.

OUR RESPONSE:

Thank you for the question!  It's a GREAT question, and the simple answer is: "Foreshadowing" is a warning or indication of a future event. For instance, when God first commanded His feasts be observed (Leviticus 23:2-4), each event they foreshadowed was still in the future. Yeshua, has so far "fulfilled" (NOT "put an end to"; rather accomplished what was prophesied in the first four of the seven Feasts.)

A longer answer to your question can be found in a footnote to Colossians 2:17, which reads as follows:

Colossians 2:16. Let no (pagan) therefore judge you about food and drink, or about the distinctions of festivals and new moons and Shabbats  17. which were shadows of the things then future; but the body of Mashiyach. (AENT)

Footnote:

Compare this with Colossians 1:24.  Paul is stating that the “Body of Mashiyach” determines how to observe Torah, including Kashrut (religious dietary laws), Shabbats, Moedim (Feasts/Appointed Times) and Rosh Chodeshim (head of the new month, marked by the birth of the new moon); therefore, don’t let lawless pagans judge you; they have their own religious customs and way of doing things!

For example, many choose to attend “religious” meetings on Sun-Day, and they have sunrise services on Ishtar (Easter); then for December 25th, they put up a Tammuz (Christmas) tree that commemorates the rebirth of the Babylonian deity Tammuz.  And the gold and silver balls that Christians hang on their Christmas trees originally represented Tammuz’s testicles, as he was renowned for “pleasing the ladies.” 

Most Christians know full well that Y’shua was not born on December 25th, but the pagan celebrations have become such entrenched traditional rituals that truth has become an embarrassing inconvenience.  In other words, don’t let family, friends, pastors, or co-workers judge you for observing truthful Torah festivals, because their motive is for you to return to the pagan substitutes they themselves prefer. 

The Church today is following in the idolatrous footsteps of ancient and modern Israel according to Ezekiel 8:14 and Jeremiah 10 and 17.  The vast majority of Christians twist this verse to teach that Shabbat and the Feasts of YHWH “were fulfilled by Christ and are no longer necessary” which completely contradicts what Rav Shaul taught – that YHWH’s Feasts are a shadow of things to come; not to mention, they are rehearsals for the Bride of Mashiyach! 

End of footnote.

We hope this helps!  Thanks again for trusting us with an answer!

Challenging a "Jesus-rejecter" who insists there never was a virgin birth


Methinks it takes a special kind of dimwittery to make a statement like this, don't you? I mean, how can a "virgin birth" NOT be a sign from God? How many virgins - women who have never been with a man - have miraculously given birth to a baby boy ... a baby who:

-    had no earthly father because, as we see in Luke 1:26–38, was supernaturally placed in the womb by ADONAI Himself (YHWH, whose Word (John 1:1, 14) created the entire universe and everything in it, and who was certainly able to create His baby Messiah in the womb of a virgin) ...

-    was announced to the virgin Miriam by the Angel/Messenger Gabriel who was sent by YHWH to inform her that she would bear His Son (Exdus 13:2, Luke 1:26-38)…

-    was recognized as the Messiah by a man named Shimon who had been informed by the Ruach haKodesh that he would not see death until he saw the Mashiyach of Master YHWH (Isaiah 42:6, Luke 2:25–35)…

-    at the age of 12, was found in a discussion at the Temple where he amazed the elders with his vast knowledge (Luke 2:41–52) ...

-    eventually, after starting his three year ministry ((Luke 3:23) healed the sick (Matthew 8:14-16), raised the dead (John 11:1–44), turned water into wine (John 2:1-11) and supernaturally fed the multitudes (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-14)...

-    knew that his life would end at the hands of his enemies, and that his shed blood would serve to redeem a deaf, dumb, and dying humanity that kept straying from ELOHIM (Isaiah 53, Luke 18:32, John 18:37, 1 John 3:16)…

-    said, "I am the resurrection and the Life.  He who believes yet in me will never die! " John 11:25-26)

-    And YHWH was well pleased with him (Luke 3:23)

As for William Hall's comment that "there never was a virgin birth prophecy,” I suggest he read Genesis 3:15, which promised that "the seed of woman" would be the victor over the adversary and sin; along with Isaiah 7:14 which says: " 14 Therefore Adonai himself will give you people a sign: the young woman will become pregnant, bear a son and name him 'Immanu El [God is with us]. " (CJB).

According to Matthew 1:22-23, this prophecy was fulfilled in Miriam who was called a "virgin" in Luke 1:27.  (Actually, the term was "almah"  - which certainly means  more than "young woman" as shown in our article: https://www.therefinersfire.org/almah.htm).  Miriam did not conceive through ordinary means, but through the Ruach haKodesh/Holy Spirit.


What are we allowed to do on Shabbat?

Okay, there are so many arguments about what we can and can't do on Shabbat. Let me just throw a few things out there, from my perspective:

Torah sometimes isn't specific on some things, and ELOHIM just expects us to use some common sense. I mean, He was perfectly clear about His people NOT committing work or commerce, or causing anyone else to "work" on Shabbat. (Work refers to anything we do on a regular basis to earn money and make it through life's every day necessities.)

"Work" doesn't prohibit us from brushing our teeth, changing our babies' diapers, keeping our children entertained and occupied, or "having fun" and just relaxing and enjoying ourselves. Contrary to popular belief, He never said we couldn't "push a button" on our apartment complex's elevator. (It's a whole lot more tiring to run up and down 30 flights of stairs than it is to just push a button on the elevator....)

People throughout the millennia have read WAY too much into this issue!

YHWH is clear that His Shabbat is about RESTING from the "daily grind" and keeping this day "holy" for Him - doing Torah studies and praising Him at some point during Shabbat. After all, it's our "weekly date with God!" But this never meant that we cannot do anything else! It never meant that we are to sit in our living rooms to read the BIble all day long!

"Resting" our bodies from the work week includes just relaxing and having fun - which means if you want to do it while riding your bike or taking a walk, that would be fine! After all, you're NOT riding that bike to make a living/earn money; you're taking care of your temple (body) and can ride through the country-side with YHWH on your mind, praising Him for all the beauty passing by....

Right?

Sex on Shabbat, howewver - contrary to what many are teaching - is NOT a good idea! Why? Well, first of all, it totally takes our minds OFF of YHWH and places it onto our carnal selves.... Having sex, according to Torah, makes one unclean because we emit bodily fluids, meaning we cannot "enter the Temple" after the sex act until we're "clean" again. (Yes, there is no Temple today, but our bodies ARE the temples right now, and if you've had sex, you're "unclean" and cannot come before YHWH again. By having sex, you've broken that cycle of intimacy with HIM on your "date" with HIM....)

So, yes, ride your bike, take a walk, play games with your children - whatever you need to do that doesn’t comprise “working to expand your domain.” But ALSO make sure you do the Torah studies with the family – because it’s everybody's DATE with God! If you and your family have accepted YHWH and His Messiah, then you are obligated to continue fostering your relationship with Him.  Keeping His Shabbat holy is a COMMAND, not a suggestion!

For those who have a congregation to attend on Shabbat, you are blessed, because you're getting the best of all worlds - praise and worship, Bible study and fellowship! Afterwards, go ride that bike or take a walk or play with the kids! Just don't commit commerce of ANY kind on Shabbat. (Unless, of course, you have an emergency situation of some kind that cannot wait until sundown.)

For those who are interested, we feature an article on our website on how to keep the Shabbat without all the man-made "fences"….