Sunday, May 31, 2020

Whatever happened to common sense?

I’d like to know whatever happened to common sense. Let me give you some examples:

(1) About the death of George Floyd: While we weren’t privy to the origin of the incident, why did that cop have to press his knee into Floyd's neck until Floyd was dead? Common sense dictates that pressing your knee into someone's neck cuts off their air supply. The man was handcuffed on the ground, helpless as he was held down by at least TWO cops. We saw the video clips from several angles….

(2) Why did several people whip out their cellphones to video the incident; yet NOBODY bothered to charge that cop to knock him off of Floyd when it became clear that Floyd’s life was in danger? As far as we could tell from the various videoclips we’ve seen on the news, only one person (a woman) cried out to demand that the cop remove his knee from Floyd's neck; and she was ignored.

Why wouldn't the gathering crowd risk getting arrested for "assaulting a police officer" in order to help a man whose life was clearly in danger? IMO, everyone just standing there, WATCHING, was an accessory to murder!

(3) While Americans have every right to stage protests, WHY are some rioting, looting, stealing and basically destroying the lives and livelihoods of innocents who had nothing to do with the Floyd incident? It's one thing to "protest"; it's quite another to stage anarchy by allowing your animalistic, carnal nature to take over. We're supposed to be a CIVILIZED society!

(4) Another "black on white" case happened on February 23 when two white men attacked a black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery, just outside the port city of Brunswick, in order to supposedly make a "citizen's arrest" because they thought he “looked like” some guy who had been breaking into homes.

While struggling with this unarmed man who was being held at gunpoint, Arbery was shot dead. WHAT RIGHT do ordinary citizens have to make a "citizen's arrest" of someone jogging, whom they only “believe” resembles someone else? (It would have been a different story if they had caught Arbery IN THE ACT of stealing…but they still wouldn’t have had a right to shoot him to death….)

Americans truly need to snap out of it, back off and regroup, and start THINKING.  

"Thinking" would include NOT jumping to conclusions or formulating opinions about things you have only heard or read about, or saw on TV.  The viewing audience is not necessarily given all the facts.  YOU are not "judge and jury," so STAY OUT OF IT!  (If you are physically present to witness some terrible injustice – as in the case of George Floyd where it was clear he was about lose his life – by all means, take action.  But if you’re watching it on TV, don’t get mad and run outside to riot and burn down buildings in protest. That is just plain STUPID!)

Many (if not MOST) things we read and hear about are lies and conspiracy theories - so STOP rushing to jump on some bandwagon to trash the person who's being lied about.  Unless YOU personally witnessed something and have ALL the data and ALL the facts, you are NOT qualified to speak into, or take action on the situation; you aren’t even prepared to make "an informed opinion" about the situation….

While I’m at it, "thinking" would also include learning to keep your mouth SHUT when stopped by the police.  Don't argue, don't get physical - just shut up and be quiet, and don't resist arrest if, for some reason they want to arrest you.   Most of the time there is a valid reason for being stopped by an officer.  Just be quiet and COOPERATE!  

Most of the time (according to what we’ve seen on the evening news) it seems that people argue and/or become downright belligerent when approached by cops. They scream and holler, cause escalation, and draw all kinds of attention to themselves, all while yelling, “Police brutality!” when the cops attempt to subdue them….

Therefore, it’s no wonder people often end up hurt or shot (or even killed). (Whether or not "excessive force" was used by police is an entirely separate matter - but, while "excessive force" is certainly wrong, we also need to put ourselves in the policeman's place, having to deal with loud-mouthed, argumentative, rowdy and abusive types constantly…. ) 

This is a WESTERN country founded on biblical principles.  Let's put away our pride, prejudices and pre-conceived notions and all the things haShem hates, and start concentrating instead on leading people to the Truth of YHWH/Yeshua/Torah. 

Proverbs 6: 16 There are six things ADONAI hates, seven which he detests: 17 a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet swift in running to do evil, 19 a false witness who lies with every breath, and him who sows strife among brothers. (CJB)

Saturday, May 30, 2020

A mini-teaching about YHWH’s Promise to humankind



Genesis 9:8 God spoke to Noach and his sons with him; he said, 9 "As for me - I am herewith establishing my covenant with you, with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you - the birds, the livestock and every wild animal with you, all going out of the ark, every animal on earth.

11 I will establish my covenant with you that never again will all living beings be destroyed by the waters of a flood, and there will never again be a flood to destroy the earth."

12 God added, "Here is the sign of the covenant I am making between myself and you and every living creature with you, for all generations to come: 13 I am putting my rainbow in the cloud - it will be there as a sign of the covenant between myself and the earth.

14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth, and the rainbow is seen in the cloud; 15 I will remember my covenant which is between myself and you and every living creature of any kind; and the water will never again become a flood to destroy all living beings.

16 The rainbow will be in the cloud; so that when I look at it, I will remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of any kind on the earth." 17 God said to Noach, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between myself and every living creature on the earth." (CJB)

The rainbow is a beautiful sign from God! But have you ever thought about how a rainbow is formed? My husband, Bill Welker, explains, using a “double rainbow” we recently had the privilege of seeing with our own eyes:

Notice how bright the primary rainbow is. That's because those drops are all at just the right angle (42 deg) from the anti-solar point so that the ray of light reflects/refracts one time in the drop and almost all the light reaches your eye.

Then notice the secondary rainbow. Those drops are all at a higher angle (51 deg) from the anti-solar point, and the light in those drops reflect twice inside the drop so the part that comes out toward your eye is "weaker", so the secondary rainbow is always significantly darker than the primary rainbow.

Note also that the colors in the secondary rainbow are the reverse of the primary rainbow because the refraction is in the opposite direction in the secondary rainbow!

Then notice the "dark" area between the two rainbows. This is called "Alexander's dark band". It appears dark because all the raindrops in that gap are scattering the light AWAY from your eye.

Also notice the area below the primary rainbow - it is brighter! That's because all the raindrops in that area are scattering more light, but of all colors, toward your eye. Since it is all colors, it is seen a white light.

Everyone who sees a rainbow sees a different rainbow than everyone else. Each rainbow is unique to the observer. Each person actually sees two rainbows because a rainbow is formed by each eye. You can't perceive two rainbows because the raindrops are so far away from you that the two rainbows essentially "overlap".

Also, the rainbow is not really there! It is only seen by the eye, and the "bow" is actually a "cone". We can't perceive any "depth" to the rainbow, but the colors you see are actually formed all along a line from your eye to the raindrops at that particular angle.

Any raindrop just a few feet from you, to raindrops miles away are all contributing to the colors you see, as long as the drops are on the same line, and what you see is completely unique to your eyes!

Though it is difficult to see in the photo without enlarging it, running just inside the Primary rainbow is another, very faint rainbow. This is called a supernumerary rainbow and is caused by optical "interference" which we see as colored rings just inside the primary bow.

Supernumerary rainbows are more likely to be seen when the raindrops are mostly all the same size in the direction you are looking.

By describing the rainbow in this manner, I've probably spoiled the rainbow for many, but to me, knowing how it all happens is itself a beautiful thing that adds greatly to the simple beauty of the rainbow.

Friday, May 29, 2020

A mini-teaching on praying

Abba. thank you for blessing us with the privilege of coming to You in prayer - and being able to invoke the Name of Your Divine Messiah, who is the ONLY Heavenly Entity who has YOUR Name within his own!

(For those who didn't know this, to vocalize the Name of Y'shua (also written in English as Yeshua), is to acknowledge the power of YHWH to save us according to HIS Word!)

A mini-teaching on praying:

Matthew 6: 6. But when you pray enter your inner room and close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret[1] and your Father who sees in secret He will reward you in open.[2]

7. And when you pray, you should not be chatterers like the pagans, for they hope that by many words they will be heard. 8. Therefore, do not imitate them[3] for your Father knows what need you have before you ask Him.

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.[4] 11 Give us the bread of our need this day. 12. And forgive us our offenses as we also have forgiven those who have offended us. 13. And not bring us into trial,[5] but deliver us from the evil one, for Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. (AENT)

[1[ See Psalm 91.

[2] The Aramaic word for “open” is b’gelya, which means “to reveal” or “revelation”. Y’shua resided in the Galilee which literally means the “land of revelation”, he is the revealed light to the nations (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 8:23-9:2).

[3] Prayer is a dialogue with Heaven, not a monologue. Y’shua’s teaching stands as the demarcation between relationship with YHWH rather than a religion about Him. Prayer is meant to establish and maintain an intimate relationship, and accountability between each individual and YHWH.

[4] Heavens always come before the earth in terms of the creation order, importance and having heaven’s laws rule on earth (Job 38:31-33).

[5] YHWH does not lead His people into “temptation”, but He does test and prove them. Deut. 13:3; Job 1:7-12; James 1:14.

For a deeper study on this issue, please check out our article.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Responding to a reader question about the Omer Count

READER QUESTION:

Hello, Please may I ask a question about counting the omer as it's not clear to me.

If we count the omer from the day after the first day of unleavened bread and Yeshua is first fruits, wouldn't He will still be in the grave still as He is the pesach lamb and 3 days and 3 nights wouldn't have passed yet?  Sorry if my question isn't very clear.

Thank you. 

QUR RESPONSE:

Thanks for asking.  It is a common misconception that Yeshua had to "rise" in Firstfruits and not just "be" Firstfruits.

There are many reasons for this misconception.

First, Christians have a long-held tradition that Yeshua rose on Sunday morning. But it is tradition only, based on an assumption and is not supported by scripture. Nevertheless, that perception led many to believe that Firstfruits is a Sunday, indeed, most all Christian denominations today observe Firstfruits on "Resurrection Sunday".

Second, the Jewish people can't agree on which day is the day of Firstfruits. The disagreement is so contentious that the differing groups in Yeshua's time (Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Essenes) actually observed Firstfruits on different days! That certainly contributed to the myth that Yeshua rose on Firstfruits since the Sadducees of his day observed Firstfruits on the first Sunday after Passover.

Third, most assume that the "shabbat" in Leviticus 23:11 must be the weekly Shabbat without realizing that the weekly Shabbat is set-apart as its own moed, and that the "shabbat" of Leviticus 23:11 is the shabbat of Leviticus 23:7 & 15.  The assumption that the "shabbat" of Leviticus 23:11 is the weekly Shabbat misleads many to conclude that Firstfruits is always a Sunday.

Fourth, many assume that the "week" count of Leviticus 23:15 is from Sunday to Saturday, and thus the "Count" must begin on a Sunday.  This, too, has misled many. But the command to count the Omer,  Leviticus 23:15-16, specifically commands the counting of days, until a period of 49 days has passed - the 50th day is the next High Holy day, and is the next firstfruits offering. The Hebrew word in Leviticus 23:15 translated into English as "weeks" is actually "shabbatot" which in the context of the verse is a "count of seven". (The root of the word "shabbat" is "sheva" which means seven.) If all we had to do was count 7 weekly Sabbaths, then there would have been no reason for the commandment have been to count days.  

Finally, Firstfruits don't "rise", they are "presented". Yeshua did not need to "rise" on the "day of firstfruits" to be the firstfruits.  And since there is no requirement that "Firstfruits be 3 days and three nights from Passover", we can see that the connection that Yeshua has to "rise" on Firstfruits is simply a human misconception about what firstfruits means. 

In all three of the annual "firstfruits" offerings (barley at Passover, wheat at Shavuot, and fruits at Sukkot) the important aspect is that before humans get to eat of the new crops of the year, YHWH is to be recognized by presenting Him with the "first" of the crop. But we humans have somehow concluded that Yeshua had to "rise" on firstfruits, and we at The Refiner’s Fire contend that is wrong.  Only Yeshua had to be "3 days and 3 nights" in the grave, then he "became" the firstfruits and was "presented" to YHWH.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Here's a little history lesson you can use against those who tell you they "hate the Jews!"

Tell them this:

If it hadn't been for Elohim's CHOSEN being scattered into the nations (Ezekiel 36:19) who were ultimately referred to as "Jews," ADONAI and His Son Yeshua would have remained the best-kept secret of tiny, little Israel, and the rest of the world would still be writhing in paganism.

One cannot condemn those Jews who are not yet Believers in the Mashiyach because God hasn't yet opened their spiritual eyes.

And, let's get realistic: traditional Jews have been pretty much frightened away by the prospect of this "Torah-less Christian "Jesus" who has been presented as "God in the Flesh" - who was born and died (which is something GOD cannot do!); who "brought grace" along with a new religion called Christianity that insists "the law (Torah - God's Divine Instructions in Righteousness) was abolished at the cross"....

Jews are, however, Torah observant believers in YHWH, which brings them a lot closer to Him than anyone who ignores God's original Divine Instruction in Righteousness (Torah) in favor of Sun-day worship and man-made "holidays" that are steeped in paganism..

Harsh words? Yes, but we are living in the end times as outlined in the Bible, and time is short. Jew-bashing is NOT the way to please God! The Bible tells us that anyone who goes up against them in any way will suffer His wrath:

Genesis 12: - 3 I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Note that YHWH wasn't talking to "the Jews" at that point; but, rather, to the first Patriarch, Abraham who "crossed over" (which is what the term "hebrew" means) both physically and spiritually when he accepted YHWH as his Elohim. There were no "Jews" until the third Patriarch, Ya'akov (Jacob) gave birth to Yehudah (Judah) whose offspring became one of the 12 Tribes of Israel....

Deuteronomy 7:6-8: For you are a people set apart as holy for ADONAI your God. ADONAI your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure. 7 ADONAI didn't set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people - on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples.

8 Rather, it was because ADONAI loved you, and because he wanted to keep the oath which he had sworn to your ancestors, that ADONAI brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from a life of slavery under the hand of Pharoah king of Egypt. (CJB)

Again, note that YHWH wasn't talking to "the Jews" at that point; but, rather, to the 12 Tribes of Israel....He didn't give the Land to just "the Jews"; He gave it to the descendants of Abraham. That is who the Land belongs to.

Genesis 15: 18 On that day YHWH made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates...."

Ezekiel 37: 21 Then say to them that Adonai Elohim says: 'I will take the people of Isra'el from among the nations where they have gone and gather them from every side and bring them back to their own land.

No tribe or race in history has remained a distinct people group outside of a national homeland for thousands of years like the Jewish people. No people on earth have ever been repatriated after dozens of generations had forgotten their distinct language. No people, that is, except for Yahweh's people.

The Land belongs to Yahweh's Chosen People. God gave the Land to Abraham and his descendants (not "the Jews" per se) in Genesis 15:18-19. Abraham bought a large burial site at Hebron (Genesis 23:1-20); David bought the Temple Mount (1 Chronicles 21:25).

And who was the Land ever sold to? NOBODY! Only in recent years has anyone even been able to TAKE it from the Jews forcefully, thanks to "the world" (including the United States which sticks its collective nose into everything) insisting on dividing Israel!

But, unless the Muslims are willing to buy the Land (which, as it happens, is not for sale!) then NOBODY has a right to it except for "the Jews"!

Genesis 15: 18 That day ADONAI made a covenant with Avram: "I have given this land to your descendants - from the Vadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River - 19 the territory of the Keni, the K'nizi, the Kadmoni, 20 the Hitti, the P'rizi, the Refa'im, 21 the Emori, the Kena'ani, the Girgashi and the Y'vusi."

Leviticus 25: 23 "The land is not to be sold in perpetuity, because the land belongs to me -you are only foreigners and temporary residents with me.

How YHWH feels about Israel:

"I will make Yerushalayim a cup that will stagger the surrounding peoples. Even Y'hudah will be caught up in the siege against Yerushalayim. When that day comes, I will make Yerushalayim a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who try to lift it will hurt themselves, and all the earth's nations will be massed against her. (Zecheriah 12:2-3).

All the nations of the Earth will take up arms against Israel, and YHWH's chosen people will be surrounded. But He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep, (Psalm 121:4) and HE will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:3)

The final battle in the Age of Man will be for control of Jerusalem, a place no one wanted until YHWH chose it as His own. (2 Chronicles 6:5-6). Since then the forces opposed to Him have ceaselessly tried to take it from Him, for in the spiritual realm control of Jerusalem signifies victory over ELOHIM.

Israel is quite simply the most important piece of Real Estate in the entire Universe - and for all those who would seek to divide it or give it to someone else or even "internationalize" it, be advised He still wants it.

He said, "Human being, this is the place for my throne, the place for the soles of my feet, where I will live among the people of Isra'el forever. The house of Isra'el, both they and their kings, will never again defile my holy name by their prostitution, by [burying] the corpses of their kings [on] their high places." (Ezekiel 43:7)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A musar (supplementary) prayer for our times…

Just sharing a beautiful prayer from Professor Rabbi Brian Tice, Messianic Jewish Rabbinate.  It is a musar (supplementary) prayer for our times, distributed by Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

We cannot merely pray to You, O G-d, to end war: for we know that You have made the world in a way so that all of us must find our own path to peace, within ourselves and with our neighbors.

We cannot merely pray to You, O G-d, to end starvation; for You have already given us the resources with which to feed the entire world, if we would only use them wisely.

We cannot merely pray to You, O G-d, to root out our prejudice; for You have already given us eyes with which to see the good in all people, if we would only use them rightly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O G-d, to end despair; for you have already given us the power to clear away slums and to give hope, if only we would use our power justly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O G-d, to end disease; for you have already given us great minds with which to search our cures and healing, if we could only use them constructively.

Therefore, we pray to You instead, O G-d, for strength, determination, and courage, to do instead of just pray, to become instead of merely to wish.

Praised are You, O G-d, You bless our people Israel, and all peoples with peace.

Please feel free to share this prayer, as it is exactly the type of message ADONAI has been trying to teach mankind since the very beginning. He gave us the intellect, wisdom and the tools to accomplish “set apart” living according to His Torah!

He even warned us about the blessings for obedience, and the curses for disobedience! (See Deuteronomy 27 and 28.) How much clearer could He have been? Yet, mankind has always managed to disappoint Him because we have continued to “put Him in a box” and make up our own rules, while viewing ourselves as “holy”.

Monday, May 25, 2020

To belong to YHWH/Yeshua, we must be able to “see the whole picture” and “be all we were created to be”….

EXAMPLE #1: Knowledge, wisdom and faith are nothing without love, 1 Corinthians 13:

1 Corinthians 13:1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body [a]to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (CJB)

EXAMPLE #2: Faith without works is dead, James 2:

James 2:14. What is the use, my Brothers, if a man say, I have faith; and he has no works? Can his faith resurrect him?[1] 15. Or if a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16. and one of you say to them, “Go in peace, warm yourselves, and be full;” and you do not give them the necessities of the body, what is the use? 17. So also faith alone, without works, is dead.

NOTE 1: Literally “restore life”, not “save” as often translated.

James 2 (continued):

James 2:18. For a man may say, you have faith and I have works; show to me your faith that is without works and I will show to you my faith by my works. 19. You believe that there is one Elohim; you do well; the demons also believe and tremble. 20. Would you know, O weak man, that faith without works is dead? 21. Awraham our father, was not he justified by works[2] in offering his son Yitz’chak upon the altar?

NOTE 2:

Some theologians allege this teaching to be opposite of the Pauline Epistles, such as Galatians. The reality is that Paul was grossly misquoted whereas Ya’akov (James) was not. Rav Shaul (Paul) did not accept empty ritual devoid of proper spiritual focus. He was Torah Observant; he kept the Moedim (feast days), the Shabbat, and took one or more Nazirite vows; he fasted on Yom Kippur, ate “clean” food and lived a Set Apart life in Mashiyach Y’shua. The fact is that Romans 7:12 totally harmonizes Galatians with, and complements, Galatians and Ya’akov.

James 2 (continued)

James 2: 22. Do you realize that his faith aided his works, and that by the works his faith was rendered complete? 23. And the Scripture was fulfilled which says: Awraham believed in Elohim, and it was credited to him for righteousness and he was called the Friend of Elohim.

24. You see that by works a man is justified[3] and not by faith alone. 25. So also Rahab the harlot, was she not justified by works when she entertained the spies and sent them forth by another way? 26. As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (AENT)

NOTE 3: The Hebrew word for a righteous soul = tsadiq; righteousness = tsedeq; justified = tsadaq; notice they are the same word. A soul without righteousness can never be “justified” regardless of what theologians claim. The original root word for justified relates to righteous action.

However, mainstream Christianity teaches that a person is “justified” solely on the merits of belief in Y’shua, and that observing Torah is impossible. Even in Ya’akov’s (James’) day, some individuals wanted cerebral belief to “justify” themselves, which is impossible.

Y’shua’s person (example) and Spirit is meant to literally be imparted into us; this must be evidenced by our actions, otherwise we do not belong to him. Theological, or cerebral “belief” without works, is dead religion; but active literal Faith comes to life in Mashiyach. Torah Observance/obedience is clear evidence that we have passed from death to life. See John 5:29, Matthew 7:23.

EXAMPLE #3: Fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:

Galatians 5:19. For you know the works of the flesh, which are these: adultery, impurity and lasciviousness, 20. idolatry, witchcraft, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, stubbornness, treacheries, heresies, 21. Envy, murder, drunkenness, revelry and all like things. Those who do things like these, they will not inherit the Kingdom of Elohim. 22. The fruits then of the Spirit are these: Love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faith, 23. meekness, self-control. Against these there is no instruction(4) put in place.

24. And those who are of Mashiyach have put to death their flesh with all its passions and lusts. 25. Let us therefore live by the Spirit and surrender to the Spirit. 26. And let us not be of vacant glories that cause us to ridicule one another and envy one another. (AENT)

NOTE 4: In this context, namusa, the Aramaic cognate for torah, is better understood at its root level, meaning “to instruct,” rather than as a formalized title. Otherwise, Rav Shaul might be construed as saying that these “Fruits of the Spirit” are not taught in Torah, when (the fact is) they are. His point is that there is no instruction against fulfilling these fruits of the spirit.

CONCLUSION:

After reading just these few scriptures, it is evident that it’s not only “all about love”; rather, the “whole package all rolled into one.” YHWH expects a lot out of His people – and ultimately, it’s all about learning how to be good subjects in the Kingdom.