Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Think you've got it bad?

During their 40 years in the desert, YHWH’s people had no toilet paper. Come to think of it, they didn't even have toilets... No running water, either. Nor any houses. No electricity. No stoves, ovens or microwaves. No cars, no flatbed trucks to help move their camps and a Temple that required endless assembly and disassembly via hard labor.

Any dissension or chaos was quickly doused via the commanding leadership of an old man though whom YHWH spoke. Those who attempted to rebel were put to death (Deuteronomy 13:5; Proverbs 17:11; Psalm 68:6, etc.). Disease and pandemics often came as a direct result of disobedience (Numbers 12).

What most don’t seem to grasp is that, if it hadn’t been for rebellion (Numbers 13-15), Israel would only have had to wander in the desert for FOUR years. (The number 4 or any variant of 4 always depicts a “time of learning”….)

Because of their rebellion and gross disobedience YHWH multiplied that time of learning by 10. As a result, most of those original approximately 2 million people who came out of Egypt, did NOT get to see the Promised Land (Israel). Not even Moshe (the holiest man on earth at the time) got to enter the Promised Land (see the last few chapters of Deuteronomy).

Know why? Because he had, on a few occasions, taken glory unto himself instead of remembering that it was ALL about YHWH. (Exodus 17; Joshua 3; Numbers 20). Yes, YHWH loved Moshe, and there’s no doubt we WILL see Moshe in the Olam Haba (World to Come) because he was definitely a “believer.”

But at the time of his death, he knew, beyond that proverbial shadow of a doubt, why he wasn’t going into the Promised Land during his own lifetime….

The only original people of the Exodus to enter the Promised Land were Yehoshua (Joshua), son of Nun, who replaced Moshe as leader, and Caleb (Numbers 14:30).

What this historical record tells us is simply this:

We MUST take YHWH and His Divine Instructions seriously, as they are our ONLY blueprint for moral, holy living. He has constantly, since the very beginning, reached out to humanity – NOT to restrict our free will, but to show us HOW to receive Eternal Life in His Presence!

The fact that He ultimately sent us His Divine Messiah whose holy blood redeems those who “believe” AND repent AND turn from their sins to begin living a HOLY life, is PROOF that He wants to see as many as possible in the Olam Haba. (Study the Gospels through Hebrew, instead of Greek eyes! Example: https://www.therefinersfire.org/hebrew_mindset.htm)

If you haven’t done so, then please DO consider it, because – as you can surely see – some major Bible prophecies are unfolding before our very eyes. Hundreds of prophecies have already come true (see our article https://therefinersfire.org/accurate_messiah_prophecies.htm), but we are quickly approaching a time when they will ALL be fulfilled, and those who “missed the boat” as in Noah’s day, will simply be no more. (See Matthew 7:13-14.)

The naked truth is, humanity has had its chance to shine – and we blew it. Throughout history mankind has continuously reverted to the “sin nature” in this fallen world we inherited from Adam and Eve – who committed only ONE sin.

Please think about that as the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic continues its slow but unrelenting spread around the world. It is only the beginning of our human sorrows….

Sunday, March 29, 2020

On “using the Lord’s name in vain”

Maybe it's just me, but I can't stand it when someone says, "Halleluyah!" just for the heck of it, when they're not really talking to YHWH/Yeshua. A few years ago, while standing in line at a pharmacy, some people behind the counter were kidding around with each other, and one - to show agreement with another - shouted, "Well, halleluyah!" It literally made me cringe! To me, that's an example of "using the Lord's Name in vain."...YHWH's Name is HOLY and is to be treated with reverence and respect!

Psalm 8:1 O יהוה, our Master, how excellent is Your Name in all the earth, You who set Your splendour above the heavens! (ISR)

Psalm 111:9 He sent redemption to His people, He has commanded His covenant forever. Set-apart and awesome is His Name. 10 The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom, All those doing them have a good understanding. His praise is standing forever. (ISR)

Matthew 6: 9. Therefore, you pray like this: Our Father in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. 10. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. As in heaven so on earth. 11 Give us the bread of our need this day. 12. And forgive us our offences as we also have forgiven those who have offended us. 13. And not bring us into trial, but deliver us from the evil one, for Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. (AENT)

Philippians 2:9. Wherefore, also, Elohim has highly exalted him and given him a name [1] which is more excellent than all names; 10. that at the name of Y’shua every knee should bow, of (beings) in heaven and on earth and under the earth; 11. and that every tongue should confess that Y’shua the Mashiyach is YHWH [2], to the glory of Elohim his Father. (AENT)

Footnotes:

[1] More that 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).

[2] (The footnote suggest we read the whole appendix entitled, "Y'shua is YHWH" - however, to the sake of brevity, I'll only post the first few lines.)

The Spirit of YHWH, also known as the Ruach haKodesh, is both within Mashiyach and is YHWH; however, the nephesh (soul) of Y’shua is “the person” or vessel of Y’shua where the Spirit of YHWH dwells. The physical body of Y’shua and his soul are not YHWH, but Y’shua made himself subject to YHWH in all aspects.

Rabbis have long believed that Mashiyach existed before the material universe and that everything in time and space is subject to Mashiyach. That Mashiyach existed continuously from before creation indicates a very intimate spiritual connection to YHWH, which isn’t such a mystery when we consider our own spirit, soul and body.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Teaching the plain and simple truth is not popular…

Some people seem to think I'm too rough and gruff and should show more compassion. While that may be true, the thing is, I can't and won't bring myself to ever promote an endless string of "feel-good" messages that veer from Scripture just to make people "feel good!"

I have been telling Biblical TRUTH ever since the day the Ruach opened my spiritual eyes, and I'm not going to change now, just to gain followers or popularity.

So, if you're looking for someone to lie to you concerning His Word, you've got the wrong person - because the truth is, contrary to popular belief, YHWH is NOT kidding around when it comes to His Divine Instructions to humanity!

To make memes that promise He "will bless you if you forward this post to 15 people within the next 10 minutes"; or "He will increase your wealth and bless you" if you tithe to some televangelist (or, like a Hebrew Roots pastor who insists God will bless you if you "give everything you have, even if it means reaching into your 401-K!"); or to promise that He will "protect you from Coronavirus" or any other disease or disaster - well, those are OUTRIGHT LIES originating in TWISTED Scripture!

DOES God bless and save people from disasters? Sure! At His own discretion and often for reasons known only to Him. While at the same time many believers and innocents (babies and young children) are NOT spared from disease or disaster! Many faithful have perished in disasters. How would you explain your fluffy, lying memes or messages to their families?

Have you ever noticed how many Christians and or Hebrew Roots and Messianics have NOT been blessed, and who HAVE succumbed to disease or disasters? Have you ever noticed how many innocent little babies are born with horrific birth defects or with cancer or some other disease?

Why didn't He bless THEM?

Hmmm. Perhaps there's more to "being blessed" and "being protected" than we know.... like, "OBEY Me and all will go well with you," and "curses on those" who blatantly refuse to obey!" Unfortunately nobody wants to hear that Old Testament stuff because, hey, we're all "under grace"!!!

Yes, of COURSE we're under grace - but that didn't remove the need for Believers to OBEY! That "OT stuff" contains ALL of God's original do's and don'ts, and - here's a real shocker - without the OT, the NEW Testament wouldn't even exist!

Here's just a small sampling of the scriptures most seem to ignore:

Deuteronomy 28:15 - "But if you refuse to pay attention to what ADONAI your God says, and do not observe and obey all his mitzvot and regulations which I am giving you today, then all the following curses will be yours in abundance....

Deuteronomy 28:9 - "ADONAI will establish you as a people separated out for himself, as he has sworn to you - IF you will observe the mitzvot of ADONAI your God and follow his ways.

Deuteronomy 29:9 - Therefore, observe the words of this covenant and obey them; SO THAT you can make everything you do prosper.

Deuteronomy 30:10 - "However, all this will happen ONLY IF you pay attention to what ADONAI your God says, so that you obey his mitzvot and regulations which are written in this book of the Torah, if you turn to ADONAI your God with all your heart and all your being.

Deuteronomy 30:16 - in that I am ordering you today to love ADONAI your God, to follow his ways, and to obey his mitzvot, regulations and rulings ; for IF you do, you will live and increase your numbers; and ADONAI your God will bless you in the land you are entering in order to take possession of it.

DO YOU GET THE PICTURE? There are literally hundreds of warnings about OBEDIENCE - yet hardly anyone wants to hear "the negative side" of their willful disobedience. They're all mired in "God loves me" and other "fluff" that leads to the false belief that nothing is required of us in return...

THAT is why I'm forever harping on STUDYING Scripture so we can all get ourselves RIGHT with YHWH, while there's still time. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be very popular, because actual study takes effort.

So, yeah - "fluff" makes one popular; the plain and simple Truth does not. Regardless, it's what I feel He wants me to preach, and I'm never going to stop until He tells me otherwise....

Remember libraries - the place where you could get solid and truthful information?

Remember libraries - the place where you could get solid and truthful information? Where you had to thumb through the card files and search myriad shelves to find what you were looking for? Where everyone was expected to be quiet? Where civility reigned and people respected each other's right to peace and solitude while doing their research or were simply relaxing with a good book or magazine full of stories written by actual published, educated authors who knew how to formulate a proper sentence?

People who frequented libraries learned a lot, including how to discern fantasy from reality, good from bad, truth from lies.

Compare that to today, where one no longer has to do a lot of thinking to find what they’re looking for. All it takes is a word or phrase typed into a search engine that will bring up every article and video pertaining to the subject you’re looking for – including all the trash written by lay persons who never met an actual, solid FACT, and who are busy espousing nothing more than personal opinions.

While the Internet is certainly a fantastic addition to our modern mindsets, the drawback is that we’ve been lulled into accepting the mediocre and the downright false, while “feeling educated” because “we’ve done our research and know the truth” – never even recognizing that much of that “truth” came from some unqualified lay person’s OPINION rather than actual knowledge, true research and facts.

It’s unfortunate that all the great technology at our fingertips has only served to “dumb down” civilized society; in part, because we no longer need to THINK. We no longer need to know how to use cursive to write a letter, nor use elementary arithmetic to balance our checkbooks because we have technology to do all the “thinking” for us….Why, while doing that “search” for whatever you are looking for, you don’t even need to know how to spell! The search engine corrects it for you!

Consequently, instead of progressing, we’re actually regressing. In the hustle and bustle of social media where everyone has a voice, there is no more “quiet” or respect for anyone.

We’re no longer inundated with truth, knowledge and wisdom because the writings of actual experts in various fields has been diluted and even drowned out with the ocean of thoughts and voices of those who were born and raised in a modern technological world where education has become unnecessary and even frowned upon; and where “social media” now serves as our “library” where people accept whatever “sounds good” to them.

Worse, people have now grown up lacking the skill to assess what they’re reading, and are, consequently no longer able to determine fact from fiction.

One has to wonder how much further we will regress before we finally destroy EVERYTHING we’ve managed to accomplish since the beginning of time….

Proverbs 8:11-12 For wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. (ESV)

Proverbs 1:7 Someone who is already wise will hear and learn still more; someone who already understands will gain the ability to counsel well; 6 he will understand proverbs, obscure expressions, the sayings and riddles of the wise. 7 The fear of Adonai is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (CJB)

Proverbs 16:16  How much better than gold it is to gain wisdom!  Yes, rather than money, choose to gain understanding. (CJB)

Proverbs 3:13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, (ESV)

Proverbs 4:7 “Let your heart treasure my words; keep my commands, and live; 5 gain wisdom, gain insight; don’t forget or turn from the words I am saying. 6 Don’t abandon [wisdom]; then she will preserve you; love her, and she will protect you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom! And along with all your getting, get insight! (CJB)

Ephesians 5:15-16 14. Therefore it is said: Awake you who are asleep and arise from the dead, and the Mashiyach will illuminate you.  15. See therefore, that you walk with spiritual knowledge; not like the simple,  16. But like the wise who purchase their opportunity; because the days are evil. (AENT)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

“Praying Psalm 91” for protection from COVID-19?

In these terrible, trying days it is absolutely imperative that we become very serious about turning to ADONAI. And as you’ve surely guessed by now, the time for any “lukewarm”, pew-warming behavior has come to a screeching halt.

Therefore, I’m going out on a limb to do what I always do: tell the plain Truth by allowing Scripture to speak for itself.

And here it is:

Simply “being a believer” or “praying Psalm 91” for protection from COVID-19 will do absolutely nothing for you UNLESS you are a wholehearted, obedient, Torah observant Believer. (Remember, Proverbs 28:9 says, “If a person will not listen to Torah, even his prayer is an abomination”….)

We see myriad examples about YHWH’s wrath against those who refuse to obey Him, in just those first five Books of the Bible (Torah). Contrary to popular belief, the commands to OBEY were NOT only for Israel; they were for ANYONE who accepted YHWH as their ELOHIM. (See Exodus 12:49, Numbers 15:13-16, Isaiah 56:6, and Romans 10:12-13.)

But for this article, let’s take a look at the whole chapter of Deuteronomy 6, where YHWH is perfectly clear about OBEDIENCE and what will happen to those who ignore Him.

Deuteronomy 6: 6 “Now this is the mitzvah, the laws and rulings which Adonai your God ordered me to teach you for you to obey in the land you are crossing over to possess, 2 so that you will fear Adonai your God and observe all his regulations and mitzvot that I am giving you — you, your child and your grandchild — as long as you live, and so that you will have long life. 3 Therefore listen, Isra’el, and take care to obey, so that things will go well with you, and so that you will increase greatly, as Adonai, the God of your ancestors, promised you by giving you a land flowing with milk and honey.

4 “Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear and Do, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]; 5 and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. 6 These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; 7 and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, 9 and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates.

10 “When Adonai your God has brought you into the land he swore to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov that he would give you — cities great and prosperous, which you didn’t build; 11 houses full of all sorts of good things, which you didn’t fill; water cisterns dug out, which you didn’t dig; vineyards and olive trees, which you didn’t plant — and you have eaten your fill; 12 then be careful not to forget Adonai, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves. 13 You are to fear Adonai your God, serve him and swear by his name.

14 You are not to follow other gods, chosen from the gods of the peoples around you; 15 because Adonai, your God, who is here with you, is a jealous God. If you do, the anger of Adonai your God will flare up against you and he will destroy you from the face of the earth. 16 Do not put Adonai your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah [Exodus 17:7]. 17 Observe diligently the mitzvot of Adonai your God, and his instructions and laws which he has given you. 18 You are to do what is right and good in the sight of Adonai, so that things will go well with you, and you will enter and possess the good land Adonai swore to your ancestors, 19 expelling all your enemies ahead of you, as Adonai said.

20 “Some day your child will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of the instructions, laws and rulings which Adonai our God has laid down for you?’ 21 Then you will tell your child, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and Adonai brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand. 22 Adonai worked great and terrible signs and wonders against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household, before our very eyes.

23 He brought us out from there in order to bring us to the land he had sworn to our ancestors that he would give us. 24 Adonai ordered us to observe all these laws, to fear Adonai our God, always for our own good, so that he might keep us alive, as we are today. 25 It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to obey all these mitzvot before Adonai our God, just as he ordered us to do.’” (CJB)

BOTTOM LINE: Obey YHWH’s Divine Instructions in Righteousness, and do NOT put Him to the test. He IS with all true believers, and He KNOWS what we’re going through. He allowed it to happen. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear will recognize that trials and tribulations like this are simply the indicators of where our hearts truly are at any given point.

Monday, March 16, 2020

A quick message about Passover (which, this year, starts at sunset April 7)

Passover/Pesach (Nisan 14) celebrates the deliverance of the slaves from Egypt. It is the story of redemption by the killing of the Passover Lamb. The Israelites obeyed God by applying the blood of the Passover lamb to the doorposts of their houses so that their firstborn would be spared the Tenth Curse against Pharoah who refused to let God's enslaved Chosen People leave Egypt. When the Angel of Death passed through the land and saw the blood, he "passed over" those houses and spared the first born (Exodus 12:1-13).
This was a picture of Yeshua, God's "Passover Lamb" who willingly allowed His own blood to be shed on our behalf and thus became our redemption. The Messiah fulfilled this holiday when he was crucified! 
Please note: The lamb for the original Passover was NOT a sacrifice - and neither was Yeshua! The lamb was offered as a substitute, not as a "sacrifice"!  So, though not a "sin" sacrifice, the lamb's blood was offered as a substitute, giving the Hebrew first-born males the chance to live. This is the connection: Yeshua was our substitute - and by believing and following YHWH's Torah to help us to lower our tendency to sin, and do our best to NOT sin anymore, we have the chance for eternal life. And this, of course was the point: Eternal life.
Yeshua took our bitterness so that we might live the abundant life. We remember and identify with the bitterness of slavery by eating the bitter herbs and the matza (unleavened bread) on Passover. The innocent died for the guilty. Yeshua's willingness to "sacrifice" (offer) His life not only meant death - it also meant LIFE (Isaiah 53).
So - the prophetic fulfillment of Passover is clear: Redemption! Passover is a time to thank God for our freedom - and that covers several types of freedoms ... To be a free people, and to be free to worship God.  Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul) summed up this theme in his letter to the Corinthians in which he addressed moral problems within their membership. To solve this problem he drew upon a well-known analogy of Pesach:
1 Corinthians 5: 6. Your bragging is not praiseworthy. Don’t you know, that a little leaven leavens the whole mass?  7. Purge out from you the old leaven, that you may be a new mass, as you are unleavened. For our Passover is the Mashiyach, who was slain for us.  8. Therefore let us celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of wickedness and bitterness, but with the leaven of purity and sanctity.  (AENT)
Footnote: The word for “leaven” here is makhmae, the cognate in Hebrew of which is chometz.  Therefore, Rav Shaul is teaching the Corinthians by using Passover imagery, by commanding them to purge the chometz from the house of their hearts, so that they can be sanctified. Of course, the rest of this verse and the next proves this interpretation.
In 1 Corinthians 5 above, he was telling Believers to celebrate Passover and to have a Seder (Passover meal) that celebrates the deliverance from slavery and being a free people ... To set aside this day to thank, praise and worship God.
NOTE: In case anyone is interested, we offer a free downloadable haggadah (liturgy) for Pesach/Passover on our website. Just click on our Essays and Articles page, and scroll down until you see "Free calendars, Siddurs & Pesach Seder", and choose one of the final two links...

Be careful about believing conspiracy theories concerning COVID-19!

I find it truly mind-boggling to know that we have some HR teachers making disparaging and "conspiracy-theory" type of comments about COVID-19 designed to rile everybody up to make it look like "the government" or some "unknown enemy" is somehow behind the virus.

It's NOT a government conspiracy and this is not some scare tactic so that "the government" can take control of you! It's a slowly-but-surely spreading new virus - a pandemic - with nobody knowing exactly how it's spread, how to treat it, or how to keep it from spreading, or how to convince the billions on earth to cooperate with whatever measures need to be taken to save lives!

The governments of the world, and the medical communities, etc. are trying to handle the situation to the best of their knowledge. Nobody was prepared for something like this.

OUR responsibility is NOT to freak out and buy out the stores or fight each other for the last roll of toilet paper; it is to stay calm, prepare to the best of our ability (helping neighbors whenever needed), watch our own cleanliness, use some common sense, and just DEAL with whatever is on the horizon.

Getting stupid and crazy will only serve to hasten the breakdown of society that's beginning to happen because everybody's listening to and believing conspiracy theories.

This is THE TIME to turn to YHWH and His Word; to "get ourselves right with Him" and understand that these ARE the end times as outlined in Daniel and Revelation. It is a time to recognize that HE IS GIVING US A CHANCE to do that - so let's do it! TODAY!

This is only the first of many pandemics and bad times to come. Getting ourselves right with ADONAI is the first and BEST step toward handling the unfolding of His Plans. Ultimately, it's all for our own good, because it serves to prepare us for the Kingdom.