Monday, January 26, 2015

Explaining "Holy Spirit"

Someone wrote to our website to ask us one simple question:  What is the Holy Spirit!

YIKES!  It would have been easier to explain the Pythagorean Theorem or the laws of quantum physics.....

Anyway, the short answer is:  The Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) is YHWH and YHWH’s breath of life, the power of life within us, that which comes straight from and is part of YHWH.  The longer answer is this:

As we see in Scripture, YHWH formed man from the dust of the ground, then breathed into man the breath of life, and man became a living soul.  (Soul is different from spirit.)
Genesis 2:7 Then ADONAI, God, formed a person [Hebrew: adam] from the dust of the ground [Hebrew: adamah] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being.

Notice that God did not GIVE man a soul ... he BECAME a soul once he had the “breath of life.” The word (in the original language) that is translated into our English word "soul" is "nephesh" and means "living creature". Also, the word for "breath of life" is translated from the Hebrew word "ruach", which means "wind, breath, spirit." It does not mean "soul" or some immortal immaterial ghost of the person.


As an aside, death is creation in reverse. Again the light bulb, when "death" happens, the power returns to the battery and the bulb is lifeless, and the light ceases to exist. The same is true with the soul as it is with the light. The power of life returns to God who gave it, and the soul ceases to exist; the body is lifeless.

Genesis 3:19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground - for you were taken out of it: you are dust, and you will return to dust."

Ecclesiastes 12:7 the dust returns to earth, as it was, and the spirit returns to God, who gave it!

At creation, we become a living soul. At death, we don't have a soul that departs from the body and goes to heaven or hell or anywhere. The breath of life (the power of life, the spirit) returns to God, and the body returns to dust. Creation in reverse.

The soul perishes. "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)  There is no consciousness in death.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; there is no longer any reward for them, because all memory of them is lost. 6 What they loved, what they hated and what they envied all disappeared long ago, and they no longer have a share in anything done under the sun.

Psalm 146:4 When they breathe their last, they return to dust; on that very day all their plans are gone.

As mentioned above, "soul" and "spirit" are two different things. Souls can die (Ezekiel 18:20). Genesis 2:17 tells us YHWH breathed into man a neshama (spirit). Here are some footnotes in the AENT that serve to clarify the difference:
(1) Footnote to John 6:37 - As in the context of Miltha (the Word) or the “Manifestation” or the “Will of” YHWH coming down from heaven to do the Will of YHWH upon earth; his Spirit is of YHWH but his nephesh (soul) and body are human and temporal.

(2) Footnote to John 10:33 - Y’shua states that the Ruach (Spirit) of YHWH is within him, (Isaiah 11:1-2, Zechariah 12:10). He taught that while his nefesh would die, YHWH would reanimate both his neshama (human spirit/ruach) and nefesh (soul). Y’shua never claimed his nefesh was anything other than human and that as such, it would die.

(3) Footnote to 1 John 4:2 - This refers to the neshama (spirit of man) being born from the beginning into the image of Elohim, which is evidenced by living a Set Apart life unto YHWH, having Torah written upon the heart and growing in the Attributes of Mashiyach as revealed in Isaiah 11:2.

(4) Footnote to Matthew 26:41 - The spirit of man is vested with power by the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit). By studying Torah and worshipping YHWH, the neshama (spirit of man) disciplines the mind and, in turn, the mind disciplines the body, providing lasting success. The lower level of consciousness “mind over matter” operates on willpower, which has many limitations.
Christians will try to tell you that the Holy Spirit is - a "divine person", a being with a mind, emotions, and a will.  But is this not exactly true – after all, how can a “person” get inside of us?  Let’s check it out:

In Acts 5:3-4 we see Peter confronting Ananias as to why he lied to the Holy Spirit and tells him that he had “not lied to men but “in the Presence of God.”

Acts 5:3. And Shimon said to him, “Khanan-Yah, why is it that the Adversary has filled your heart thus that you should lie in (the presence of) the Ruach haKodesh, and that you should hide that sum of the money of the proceeds of the field?  4. Was it not yours before it was sold?  And after it was sold, again you were in control over its proceeds.  Why have you placed in your heart to do this spectacle?  You have not lied (in the presence of) men, but in (the presence of) Elohim.” (AENT)

The Ruach possesses the characteristics of YHWH. For example, His omnipresence is seen in Psalm 139:7-8: 7 Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I climb up to heaven, you are there; if I lie down in Sh'ol, you are there.

Then in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, we see the characteristic of omniscience in the Ruach.

10. But Elohim has revealed it to us, by his Spirit; for the Spirit explores all things, even the profound things of Elohim.  11. For what man is there, who knows that which is in a man, except it be the spirit of the man, which is in him? So also, that which is in Elohim, no one knows, except the Spirit of Elohim.  12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from Elohim; that we might know the free gifts, which are given to us by Elohim.  13. Which things we also speak; not in the teaching of the words of man’s wisdom, but in the teaching of the spirit; and we teach spiritual matters to those with spiritual focus.  14. For a man in his natural self does not receive spiritual concepts; for they are foolishness to him. Neither can he know them; for they are discerned by the Spirit.  15. But he that is spiritual, judges of all things: and he is judged of by no one.  16. For who has known the mind of Master YHWH, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Mashiyach.  (AENT)

The Ruach can be grieved as we see in Ephesians 4:30 (Proving that the Ruach haKodesh is not a separate entity or a “person” as Christianity asserts, but simply another title for YHWH):  “And do not grieve the Ruach haKodesh of Elohim, whereby you are sealed for the day of redemption.”

The Spirit intercedes for us:

Romans 8: 26.  So also the Spirit aids our weakness. For we are not cognizant of what to pray for in a proper manner; but the Spirit prays for us with groans beyond description.  27. And the searcher of hearts, he knows what is the mind of the Spirit; because he prays for the Set Apart believers, agreeably to the will of Elohim.  28. And we know that he aids him in all things, for good, who love Elohim; them whom he called from before our beginnings according to his purpose.  29. And he knew them previously; and he sealed them with the likeness of the image of his Son; that He might be the first-born of many brothers.  30. And those whom he previously sealed, them he called: and those whom he called, them he made righteous: and those whom he made righteous, them he glorified.  (AENT)

The Spirit makes decisions according to YHWH’s will – AND reveals who Y’shua is…and much more!  Take a look:

1 Corinthians 12:3. I therefore explain to you, that there is no man that speaks by the Spirit of Elohim, who says that Y’shua is accursed: neither can a man say that Y’shua is Master YHWH, except by the Ruach haKodesh.[1]  4. Now there are many forms of gifts; but the Spirit is one.  5. And there are many forms of ministrations; but Master YHWH is one.[2]  6. And there are many forms of power; but Elohim, who works all in all men, is one.  7. And to each man, there is given a manifestation of the Spirit, that it may help him.  8. To one, by the Spirit, there is given a word of wisdom; and to another, by the same Spirit, there is given a word of knowledge:  9. To another, by the same Spirit, faith: to another, by the same Spirit, gifts of healing:  10. And to another, miracles: and to another, prophecy: and to another, the discerning of spirits: and to another, (diverse) kinds of tongues: and to another, the interpretation of tongues.  11. But all these works that one Spirit; and He distributes to everyone according to His will.  12. For as the body is one, and in it are many members; and all those members of the body, though many, are one body; so also is the Mashiyach.[3]  (AENT)

[1] Simple and beautiful, yet perhaps the most powerful statement of belief in all of Rav Shaul’s letters.  A declaration of such magnitude as this most certainly demands original Hebrew and Aramaic to comprehend the fullness of such a bold statement and revelation.

[2] “YHWH is one.” Rav Shaul reminds his readers: “Hear, O Israel: YHWH our Elohim is one YHWH” (Deuteronomy 6:4).  This verse is known as the Shema; it is the declaration of monotheism of all who believe and know the One Living Elohim. These ministrations are known as “Father,” “Son,” and “Ruach haKodesh,” all of whom are YHWH, but through different occurrences from His singular nature, or qnoma.  A qnoma is identical to a nature, except numerically.  Put another way, there is one human nature but six billion occurrences of that nature.  My occurrence of my humanity is identical to anyone else’s except, let’s say, that I have qnoma #36 and you have qnoma #37.  There is nothing in qnoma here that identifies one member of a kind from another.  Aspects like height, weight, hair color, etc., would all be parsopa, or persons.  The singular divine nature, however, has no separated “persons”; only that which is YHWH.

[3] One the clearest statements that debunk the idea of “Godhead” in the entire NT.  The relationship between YHWH and Y’shua is like that of the mind/head to a limb of the body. The arm is not a separate entity from the body, nor does it move in any way other than with the full power and intent of the mind.  Y’shua is literally the arm of YHWH in this manner (Exodus 6:6, 23:20-22, Isaiah 53:1).  This statement by Rav Shaul proves this idea is not some modernized Nazarene doctrine, but the original doctrine of Mashiyach which is founded in the Tanakh; not the expansion of this in verses 14-28.
As you can see, it is not easy to explain what/who the Holy Spirit is.  He is God, the "breath of God" and Comforter and Counselor…and much, much more!
John 14: 17. The Spirit of Truth, He who the world is not able to receive because it has not seen Him, nor does know Him.  But you know Him for He dwells with you and He is in you.  (AENT)

John 14: 26. But the Redeemer, the Ruach haKodesh, the One whom my Father will send in my name will teach you everything. And He will remind you of everything that I said to you. 

John 15: 26. But when the Redeemer comes, He Whom I will send to you from the presence of my Father, the Spirit of Truth, He Who proceeds from the presence of my Father will witness concerning me.  (AENT)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

College kids destroy two hotels....

Just some random thoughts: 

College kids just can’t seem to behave today!    It’s “mass hysteria.”  Once one person gets stupid, others gladly follow. 

Every time we turn around, we hear of mischief from college kids, so, perhaps  it’s time to disband ALL fraternities and sororities….Perhaps it’s time to stop handling these thugs with “kid gloves” and force them to personally pay for the damage they caused AND expel them from college.  Since they don’t respect themselves or the education they’re going into debt for (in most cases), or the institution they represent, kick them out and let them deal with a different future called “reality.”  In order words, GET TOUGH on criminals!

Check out this man's plight - he's surrounded by frat houses....

We’ve got “third-world” countries where people are dying of famine and disease and where women are forbidden to drive or get an education, who are being kidnaped and raped and rendered homeless and helpless by Muslim terrorists – while American youths are out there getting drunk and high and destroying hotels and private residences and engaging in all manner of weird behavior and self-centered, megalomaniac “stuff” that does nothing but bring shame on themselves and the entire USA….

I could go on, but surely you get the gist!

It’s not just college kids who are behaving badly.  We’ve had singers and actors and “stars” of all kinds behaving like a bunch of demons and tearing up their hotel rooms….Today, decadent behavior is an accepted norm.  Scripture told us this would happen!

2 Timothy 3: 1. But know this: That in the latter days hard times will come:  2. and men will be lovers of themselves and lovers of money, boasters, proud, revilers, unyielding towards their own people, deniers of grace, wicked,  3. unloving, addicted to irreconcilable malicious gossips, ferocious, haters of the good,  4. treacherous, rash, inflated, attached to pleasure more than to the love of Elohim,  5. having a form of respect for Elohim but wide from the power of Elohim. Them who are such, repel from you.  (AENT)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Christian anti-Torah challenges continue....

A Christian pastor challenged with these questions:

“So, what of the commands to sacrifice?” “What of the commands about a woman being unclean during her cycle?” “What about the commands against shaving?”

Well, let’s answer these one at a time.  First: 
“So, what of the commands to sacrifice?”

Here are some basics: It is true that Yeshua was our Final Sin Sacrifice; however, He did not remove the need for some of the other Temple sacrifices (offers of thanksgiving, burnt and guilt offerings, etc.). These sacrifices were stopped after the Second Temple was destroyed, only because YHWH requires a proper Temple for anything sacrificed to Him (Exodus 20:19-26; I Kings 6). That will change with the erection of the Third Temple in Jerusalem!

Revelation 11: 1. And a reed was given to me, like a rod; and the Messenger stood, saying, Arise and measure the temple of Elohim, and the altar, and them that worship inside it. 2. But the court which is without the temple, leave out, and measure it not, because it is given to the Gentiles; and they will tread down the Set Apart city forty and two months.

Let's ask ourselves this:
Since all believers are ONE in Messiah (Ephesians 3:5-6), why would there be Gentiles in heaven who have to remain outside the Temple proper?

Scripture tells us that there will be a literal Third Temple ON EARTH because sacrifices will be taking place prior to the second coming and even during the thousand year reign. For this to occur, there must be an altar and some sort of structure - be it a stone temple or a tent similar to Moses' or David's tabernacle. In the Scriptures below, we see that Ezekiel clearly describes a future physical temple (given to him in a vision from YHWH (Ezekiel 40:1-4) because, how else could we explain the fact that Levites and descendents of Aaron will be ministering there?

Ezekiel 40: 45 He said to me, "This room facing south is for the cohanim (priests) in charge of the house; 46 while the room facing north is for the cohanim in charge of the altar; these are the descendants of Tzadok, who are the descendants of Levi designated to approach ADONAI and serve him."

Ezekiel 43: 18 He said to me, "Human being, Adonai ELOHIM says, 'These are the regulations for the altar when the time comes to construct it, offer burnt offerings on it and splash the blood against it: 19 you are to give to the cohanim, who are L'vi'im descended from Tzadok and who approach to serve me,' says Adonai ELOHIM, 'a young bull as a sin offering. 20 You are to take its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar, on the four corners of the ledge and on the molding all the way around; this is how you will purify it and make atonement for it. 21 You are also to take the bull which is the sin offering and have it burned up at the designated place [on the grounds] of the house, outside the sanctuary. 22 On the second day you are to offer a male goat without defect as a sin offering, and they are to purify the altar as they purified it with the bull.

If the above describes a temple in heaven where there is no sun and moon, how could you calculate a "day"? How and why would the altar need purifying? Purifying from what? In heaven everything is pure!

In light of Yeshua being the Sin sacrifice and the Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm110:4, Hebrews 7:17), why bother reverting back to a priesthood based on the descendents of Aaron? Because it's the only way to interpret the verses that describe the Levitical priesthood ministering in the temple described by Ezekiel and Zechariah!

So, please don't discount the sacrifices or confuse them with the one Yeshua made.  YHWH hasn't forgotten about the rest....

The next question was:
“What of the commands about a woman being unclean during her cycle?”

SIGH! God expects us to use common sense. Back then, when that particular command was given, women had no way of keeping clean in her time of nidah. And no one, male or female, in a state of spiritual or physical uncleanness could approach the tabernacle/Temple where YHWH dwells! Today, women can remain "clean" in their cycle. Not to mention, we don’t live in “camps” where we can put women "outside the camp"….People need to start realizing that many of the "613" commands were for the priests of that day and some were only for men; some only for women (i.e., to sleep outside the camp whenever they had their periods - which made sense since in those days women had no way to keep clean during their menstrual cycle); some commands were only for a certain point in time or for a certain situation; and some were "forever" as indicated in the verses that say "do this forever" or "this is to be a permanent regulation".....

The main ones that were meant for everyone were the ones YHWH eventually spoke as the Ten Commandments - which all pointed back to the whole Torah. Yet, many Christians today believe they only have to bother with TWO Commandments (love God and love your neighbor as yourself) without ever connecting the fact that all Torah "hangs" on those two commands!
Matthew 22:36. "Teacher, which Commandment in Torah is the greatest?" 37. And Y'shua said to him, that "You should love Master YHWH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might and with all your mind." 38. This is the first and the greatest Commandment. 39. And the second is like it. That "You should love your neighbor as yourself." 40. On these two commandments hang Torah and the prophets.

Note, Torah HANGS on those two commandments. It doesn't say they REPLACED the Torah! Most Christians don't mind adhering to the Ten Commandments (even though they don't bother to keep even the Fourth Commandment concerning the seventh-day Sabbath) which are part of Torah, as well.

Man has always liked to "pick and choose" when it comes to God's Word, but it's time to realize that seventh-day Sabbath command, along with His seven Biblical feasts were NEVER abolished - on the cross, or anywhere else! There were parts of Torah that God said would endure FOREVER - and the Seventh Day Sabbath and the Biblical Feasts are among them....

2 Timothy 3:16. All Scripture that was written by the Spirit is profitable for instruction and for decisive refutation, and for correction, and for deep extensive learning in righteousness; 17. that the man of Elohim may become perfect and complete for every good work.

The next question was:
“What about the commands against shaving?”

AENT author Andrew Gabriel Roth responds:

There are a few issues to look at here. First and foremost, we have the main argument that ALLOWS men to shave:

Genesis 41:14 - Shows context: So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When HE had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

Now, who is writing this narrative other than Moshe? Notice there is no rebuke for Joseph ("he") shaving. There is no indication that he was forced to either. I have read some very shoddy scholarship that suggested the Egyptians did not allow beards, but this is totally WRONG from evidence in their writings and on their tomb walls. Joseph would not have been required to shave against his will to meet pharaoh!

As for Vayikra, look at this:

Leviticus 21: 5 "'Priests must not shave their heads or shave off the edges of their beards or cut their bodies. 6 They must be holy to their Elohim and must not profane the name of their Elohim. Because they present the offerings made to YHWH by fire, the food of their Elohim, they are to be holy. 7 "'They must not marry women defiled by prostitution or divorced from their husbands, because priests are holy to their Elohim 8 Regard them as holy, because they offer up the food of your Elohim.

This instruction applies to cohenim (priests); not all of Israel, and Joseph was not a cohen. There are many requirements in Torah that apply to small groups only - such as the Nazirite vow and not to the rest of the nation. Other shaving rules apply to matters of cleanliness, against skin disease, when ending a period of uncleanness, and so on. Here is the clarifying passage in Devarim:

Deuteronomy 14: 1 You are the children of YHWH your Elohim. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead, 2 for you are a people holy to YHWH your Elohim. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, YHWH has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

See, this is NOT a prohibition against just shaving. This is a prohibition against shaving as part of a tatooing procedure for a pagan death ritual.

Now let's look at Leviticus 19:26-29:

26 "'Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. "'Do not practice divination or sorcery. 27 "'Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. 28 "'Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am YHWH. 29 "'Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.

See, the way the Hebrew reads, the WAW conjunction ("and") means BOTH conditions must be true and there is a conjunction between 27 and 28. So the commandment really is don't cut your beard WHILE doing this for the dead.

Let's see it again:

Deuteronomy 14: 1 You are the children of the Lord your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead, 2 for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

See, this is the clearer reading, and it actually also interprets the Leviticus one.
When you put this together with Devarim 14, it becomes clear that the shaving and the pagan ritual are a continual process together. The Hebrew reads to most scholars as linking the two, not separate and unrelated prohibitions.

In fact, the Jewish Publication Society 1917 and 1955 readings of this verse affirm that understanding, talking about "do not shave....EVEN as you...WHILE you...". In any case, this is my understanding, that a NON LEVITE member of Israel can shave. There are also medical exemptions that require shaving as well. I would rather though stand on what I began with, that if Moshe had a problem with shaving he would have mentioned it in connection with Joseph.

It is clear that everyone who is a KOHENIM must have a beard. For other "leaders" it is kind of optional but there is a traditional trending to beards.  But for 99.9 percent of men, Torah is actually neutral on the matter. The two key parts to understanding this are that Moses himself says that Joseph shaved before Pharaoh and doesn't criticize it. Joseph, I must emphasize, was NOT forced to shave or pressure to shave.

Egyptian culture had no problem with either slaves or nobility appearing before pharaohs with beards. We have tomb walls that prove that much and pharaohs themselves both were clean shaven and had beards, fake beards, and wigs. So if Joseph had no pressure to shave, and Moses himself doesn't criticize Joseph for shaving (quite the opposite) it is only logical to conclude that non-kohenim could keep their facial hair any way they wanted to or want to. I myself am clean shaven.

On the other hand, the commandment to not mar the corners of the beard is grossly misinterpreted. This becomes a SYAG or "fence" that basically says to play it safe it is NEVER problematic to have a beard, UNLESS you are completing a Nazirite vow or in some cases of skin infection or even in the case of mourning.

But, if someone disagrees with me, and thinks there is a general prohibition against cutting the CORNERS of the beard, then by that definition, a man can NOT have a goatee....

Do you believe we are NOT in the end times?

I always cringe when people downplay the weird events of this world and suggest the Bible is a farce and all its prophecies are "just coincidence" if they happen to come true!  Recently, I was talking to someone about contemporary issues at the gym, and he said to me:  "This is nothing new; these things have ALWAYS been going on!" 

Well, sure, there have always been terrible things happening in this ol' world - but never before has there been EVERYTHING AT ONCE: 

Strange weather patterns, fire, drought, famine, floods, heat waves, cold waves, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic activity, diseases we can hardly get under control, planes going down constantly (and even being shot down!), wars, “rumors of wars” (terrorism) , people out of control and behaving in demonic manners, mass kidnapings and murder sprees by Boko Haraam, public beheadings by the ISIS lunatics who want to take over the world, Al Qaida ordering the killings of those who practice "free speech", people forcing the Bible to say things it doesn’t (such as making homosexuality a GOOD thing!), religious fanatics (from all camps – Christian, Jewish and Muslim) twisting the word and causing many to “fall away”, deranged and murderous Muslims and their converts killing anyone who dares to dishonor their long dead "prophet" who spawned Islam (they never stop to think THEY dishonor the rest of the world by KILLING us!) , lunatics crawling out of the woodwork to kill innocent children in schools and movie goers, nut jobs in North Korea trying their level best to entice the USA into war just because their "leader" wants to….

There are some unbelievable things going on in EVERY part of the world now, both as far as the weather goes and in the way people are behaving towards each other.  Tell me when THAT has ever happened before – ALL AT ONCE!  It may have happened in Noah's day, or else YHWH wouldn't have destroyed the world by Flood...And we are there again.

If you don't believe we are experiencing the "end times" then please check out the following scriptures. The Bible speaks for itself:

Matthew 24:7. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and plagues and earthquakes in different places. 8. But all these things are only the beginning of sorrows. 9. Then they will deliver to afflictions and they will kill you and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. 10. Then many will stumble and will hate one another and will betray one another. 11. And many false prophets will arise and deceive many. 12. And because of the growth of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold. 13. But whoever has patience until the end, he will have life. 14. And this Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come....

Luke 21:22. Because these are the days of vengeance that might be fulfilled everything that is written. 23. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24. And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away to every land. And Urishlim will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. 25. And there will be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars. And on earth, distress of the nations and confusion from the roaring of the sound of the sea. 26. And upheaval that casts out life from men, because of fear of what is about to come upon the earth. And the powers of heaven will be shaken. 27. And then they will see the Son of man who will come in the clouds with much power and great glory. 28. But when these things begin to happen, have courage and lift up your heads, because your salvation draws near.

2 Thessalonians 2: - 9. For the coming of that (Evil One) is the working of haSatan with all power and signs and lying wonders 10. and with all the deceptiveness of iniquity in them that perish; because they did not receive the love of the truth by which they might have life. 11. Therefore Elohim will send upon them the strength of a deception that they may believe a lie; 12. and that they all may be condemned who believe not the truth but have pleasure in iniquity. (AENT)

And be sure to check these out:

Revelation 6:12. And I looked when he had opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black, like sackcloth of hair; and the whole moon became like blood. 13. And the stars of heaven fell on the earth as a fig-tree casts its unripe figs, when it is shaken by a strong wind. 14. And the heavens separated, as a scroll is rolled up: and all mountains and islands were removed out of their places. 15. And the kings of the earth, and the nobles, and the captains of thousands, and the rich men, and the men of valor, and every servant and free man hid themselves in caves, and in the clefts of the mountains; 16. and they said to the mountains and to the clefts, Fall over us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17. For the great day of their wrath is come; and who is able to stand?

Revelation 11:13. And in the same hour there was a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell: and the persons killed in the earthquake were seven thousand names: and they who remained were afraid and gave glory to Elohim.

Revelation 16:17. And the seventh poured his cup on the air; and there issued a loud voice from the temple, from the throne, which said: It is done! 18. And there were flashes of lightning, and thunders, and voices; and there was a great earthquake, the like of which there was never, since men were on the earth, such an earthquake, and so great. 19. And the great city became three parts. And the city of the nations fell; and Babylon the great was remembered before Elohim, to give her the cup of the wine of the heat of his wrath. 20. And every island fled away; and the mountains were not found. 21. And a great hail, as it were of a talent weight, fell from heaven upon men: and the men blasphemed Elohim on account of the plague of hail; for the plague of it was very great.

Micah 4:1 But in the acharit-hayamim it will come about that the mountain of ADONAI's house will be established as the most important mountain. It will be regarded more highly than the other hills, and peoples will stream there. 2 Many Gentiles will go and say, "Come, let's go up to the mountain of ADONAI, to the house of the God of Ya'akov! He will teach us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim. 3 He will judge between many peoples and arbitrate for many nations far away. Then they will hammer their swords into plow-blades and their spears into pruning-knives; nations will not raise swords at each other, and they will no longer learn war. 4 Instead, each person will sit under his vine and fig tree, with no one to upset him, for the mouth of ADONAI-Tzva'ot has spoken. 5 For all the peoples will walk, each in the name of its god; but we will walk in the name of ADONAI our God forever and ever.

Read all of Zechariah 14 including this: 12 ADONAI will strike all the peoples who made war against Yerushalayim with a plague in which their flesh rots away while they are standing on their feet, their eyes rot away in their sockets, and their tongues rot away in their mouths. 13 When that day comes, there will be among them great panic, sent by ADONAI, so that everyone lays hands on his neighbor, who in turn attacks him. 14 Y'hudah too will fight against Yerushalayim; and the wealth of all the nations will be assembled - gold, silver and clothing in great abundance. 15 A plague like this plague will also affect the horses, mules, camels, donkeys and all the other animals in those camps. 16 Finally, everyone remaining from all the nations that came to attack Yerushalayim will go up every year to worship the king, ADONAI-Tzva'ot, and to keep the festival of Sukkot. 17 If any of the families of the earth does not go up to Yerushalayim to worship the king, ADONAI-Tzva'ot, no rain will fall on them.

Ecclesiastes 9:1 I applied myself to all of this, sifted through it and concluded that the righteous and the wise, along with their deeds, are in God's hands - a person cannot know whether these people and deeds will be rewarded with love or with hatred; all options are open. 2 Anything can happen to anyone; the same thing can happen to the righteous as to the wicked, to the good and clean and to the unclean, to someone who offers a sacrifice and to someone who doesn't offer a sacrifice; it is the same for a good person as for a sinner, for someone who takes an oath rashly as for someone who fears to take an oath.

3 This is another evil among all those done under the sun, that the same events can occur to anyone. Truly, the human mind is full of evil; and as long as people live, folly is in their hearts; after which they go to be with the dead. 4 For as long as a person is linked with the living, there is hope - better to be a living dog than a dead lion! 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; there is no longer any reward for them, because all memory of them is lost. 6 What they loved, what they hated and what they envied all disappeared long ago, and they no longer have a share in anything done under the sun. 7 So go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God has already accepted your deeds.

8 Let your clothing always be white, and never fail to perfume your head. 9 Enjoy life with the wife you have loved throughout your meaningless life that he has given you under the sun, all the days of your futility; for that is your allotted portion in life and in your labor that you work at under the sun. 10 Whatever task comes your way to do, do it with all your strength; because in Sh'ol, where you will go, there is neither working nor planning, neither knowledge nor wisdom. 11 Yet another thing I observed under the sun is that races aren't won by the swift or battles by the strong, and that food doesn't go to the wise or wealth to the intelligent or favor to the experts; rather, time and chance rule them all.

12 For people don't know when their time will come any more than fish taken in the fatal net or birds caught in a snare; similarly, people are snared at an unfortunate time, when suddenly it falls on them. 13 Here is something else I have seen as wisdom under the sun, and it seemed important to me: 14 there was a small town with few people in it; and a great king came to attack it; he surrounded it and built massive siege-works against it. 15 Now there was found in it a man who was poor but wise, and by his wisdom he saved the city; yet afterwards, nobody remembered that poor man. 16 So, although I say that wisdom is better than strength, nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised; nobody pays attention to what he says. 17 A wise man speaking quietly is more worth heeding than the shouts of a ruler commanding fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but a person who makes a mistake can destroy much good.

For more, please see our article on the end times....

Monday, January 19, 2015

Torah says we should stone disobedient children?

We at The Refiner’s Fire receive tons of emails and questions on a weekly basis – so much sometimes, we can hardly keep up.  Some questions are really good and thought provoking, causing us to do some real research that helps us to continue learning and growing.

One of the recurring questions refer to "Deuteronomy 21:18-21 which calls for stoning a disobedient child." People read this as if it says "You, parent, go stone you child because he's bad." But that is NOT at all what Scripture suggests!

Though it is a Torah command that YHWH's capital punishment includes "stoning" (as brutal as it sounds to us today), two points of clarification:

First, the commandment NEVER permitted us, on our own, to "stone" anyone! The commandment could only be ordered and fulfilled by the Cohen of the community, and only after the proper presentation of evidence to the community elders. (Not talking about our modern civil government here.)

Second, today, our laws for handling crime and punishment STILL are not OUR responsibility to handle ourselves. So, though the commandment that stoning is still a permitted capital punishment, the fact that it is not done, does not make us break Torah! We cannot "stone" if we wanted to, because no Cohen leads us, and we have no scriptural form of leadership set up in our communities.

Third, if you'd read closely the rules set out by YHWH, such as Deuteronomy 21:18-21, you'd see the process of disciplining and even capital punishment (if necessary) is not unlike that of our society today. We just have "different" rules and procedures for handling unruly children, unruly adults, and criminals, and different processes for meting out punishment.

Also, notice that YHWH's rules are for the civil and righteous conduct of a society in which all eyes were on Him. Many of His rules end with "do this to rid such wickedness from among you." In our society, instead we "slap wrists" and permit the children to take the parents to court! We don't come close to "ridding" our society of any wickedness.

So, no, you don't kill people or stone your children these days if they misbehave. You would be breaking the commandment, and ironically, you would be breaking a law of man as well....

A word about the Pope's response to a little girl's simple question

During the Pope's recent visit to the Philippines, a young girl in Manila asked him why God allows children to become prostitutes, and he suggested there is no answer!

Really? There’s no answer?

Well, if one has read the Bible from cover to cover and actually studied it with the help of the Holy Spirit, one finds that bad things happen because we are in a fallen world!   The Bible tells us that we inherited our sinfulness from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) and that, since then, God has constantly reached out to “fallen man” to show us how to become reconciled to Him via His Torah which tells us how to live holy and set apart lives – and that He even sent us His Divine Son who martyred Himself on our behalf to make it easy on us to become reconciled to God!

Yet, mankind continues to live in Sin and behave in unholy ways....

The Bible also tells us that YHWH does some of His best work in and through "broken vessels" - those who have suffered and grown stronger in their faith because of their suffering; and, that we must learn to recognize that "bad times" are part of our growing process. After all, where the sun always shines, there's a desert below....

What many don't seem to realize is that "God" is NOT causing all these things...but He does allow them, because He gives us all free will to do things His way, or not. Unfortunately those who are trying to live a holy life often CAN and WILL be affected by those who aren't. This won't change as long as there are human beings on earth who don't belong to Him...And the sad truth is, most don't. We will see just how small the number of believers is on the day Y'shua returns, as billions are "left behind." (See Revelation 3:16)

"The world" which consists mostly of godless people (and those who cling to "religion" instead of the Word of YHWH as seen in His Torah) has caused itself all the pain and heartache we see.  Please see our article about the end times.

THAT would have been a much better response to that little girl....

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Be careful not to "take the Lord's Name in vain!"

Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

This verse never meant that God’s people shouldn’t use His Name Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey (or YHWH) which He gave to Moshe (Exodus 3:13-15; see  the Third Commandment and also The Name of God).  It simply means don’t ascribe to YHWH something He didn’t do or say.

To begin with, His “name” is NOT “God”’; it is YHWH.  “God” is His title.  He is our “God” – our ELOHIM.  He has only one Name and that is YHWH.  Secondly, “using his name in vain” would be, for instance, someone saying something like, “God told me to kill my ailing 90 year old mother.”   There is no way that could have come from God because “Do not murder” is one of the Ten Commandments!  “God” would NEVER tell you to do anything that would violate His Torah (Divine Instructions in Righteousness).

One real life example of misunderstanding the “do not use his name in vain” idea can be seen in some of the things espoused by comedian Steve Harvey concerning God and the Bible.   Don’t get me wrong – Steve Harvey is a VERY nice, hard-working guy; but he he has not yet grasped the gravity of what the Bible says about God and what He expects of HIS people – the crux of which is “holiness.”  (See Leviticus 20:26, 1 Peter 1:16 and a whole host of similar scriptures.)

In a recent CBS “Sunday Morning” segment about the host of “Family Feud”    he (Harvey) related that, at one point during his early years, while struggling to become a successful comedian, he made a pact with God, that if God would allow him to become successful at this “God-given gift” he would publicly give God the credit.  Said Harvey, “I told God if He’d let me make it, when I get there I’m gonna tell everybody it was You.”

And he did!  The twice-divorced Harvey kept his promise once television and radio opportunities came along to launch his career.  Toward the end of his interview, Harvey related, “I get slammed all the time for my walk, but…Look at me, look at my life, look at where I come from, look where I am.  Now, I don’t know what scriptures YOU use where YOU'RE at, but the one I use is working!”

…Well, two things here (three, if you count the fact that God hates divorce – Malachi 2:16): 

First, one should NEVER negotiate with YHWH! “God, if You do this for me, I will do that for You.”  "Lord, if you get me out of this mess, I promise I will start going to church regularly.”  Even if you mean it, the bottom line is, unless your desires line up with HIS will and HIS Torah, it’s not going to happen! Bargaining with God lowers Him to a mere human level and negates the TRUST we are to have in Him for everything in our life - good or bad – because everything in life is a learning experience that is supposed to lift us to a deeper understanding with our Creator (Proverbs 3:5-6). 

He’s not your genie-in-a-bottle or your “sugar Daddy” or the President of the “Make-A-Wish Foundation”; He is our Divine Creator.  You are to obey HIM, not the other way around!  If you bargain with Him and it doesn’t come to pass, you’ll only end up disappointed and angry with God!   Not to mention, you’ve totally misunderstood that a relationship with God means you are to supposed to learn about Him and do things according to His Torah; not use Him as someone to call on whenever you want something.  It’s not “about you” – it’s all about HIM!

Secondly:  The “scriptures” Harvey thinks he is using are in reality NOT responsible for his success!   He seems to have totally taken out of context the passages in Matthew 7:7-12 and Luke 11:9-13 (and various other scriptures which say basically the same thing and have spawned the basic tenets of the “prosperity gospel”).

Matthew 7: 7. Ask, and it will be given to you.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock, and it will be opened to you.  8. For anyone that asks will receive, and that seeks, will find.  And to him that knock, it will be opened to him.  9. Or whom among you fathers if his son asks of him for bread, why to him would hold out a rock?  10. And if he asks a fish of him, why to him would hold out a snake?  11. And if, therefore, you who are imperfect know to give good gifts to your sons, how so much more your Father who is in heaven will give good to those that ask Him.  12. All that which you desire that the sons of men should do for you, also like this you do to them.  This is for Torah and the prophets. (AENT)

While the above seems to suggest that God will give you anything you ask for…nothing could be further from the truth!  (Take a listen to Janice Joplin’s song, “Mercedez Benz” wherein she asks God to buy her a Benz, a color TV and a night on the town.)  The gifts YHWH gives to His children don’t necessarily include their desires of the heart such as money, power, romance, jobs, etc;  but rather, the gift of the Ruach haKodesh/Holy Spirit who helps you discern His will and teaches you to live a righteous, holy, set apart life.

The gifts include the list we see Galatians 5:22-23 which tells us that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control.  The Bible makes it clear that everyone receives the Holy Spirit the moment he or she believes that Y’shua is the Messiah (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13-14).

The fruit of the Ruach haKodesh is in direct contrast with the acts of the sinful nature in Galatians 5:19-21, “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.”  (AENT)

John 14: 12. Amen, amen I say to you that whoever believes in me, these works that I do, he will do also, and more than these he will do because I go to the Father.  13. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do for you that the Father might be glorified by His Son.  14. And if you ask of me, in my name, I will do it!  15. If you love me, keep my Commandments.

Notice that?  “If you love me, keep my Commandments.”  It doesn’t say, “If you love me, ask me to buy you a house or make your career flourish!”

Returning to Steve Harvey’s comments about how the scriptures he reads are “working for him” – Well, on the surface it appears to be true, but one must ask:  Would YHWH really allow someone’s career to flourish when it is built on cussing and making lewd comments about women’s anatomy, etc?   Can one go around and use dirty words and still be considered holy?  Let’s see what the Bible says:

Ephesians 4:29 tells us, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." First Peter 3:10 declares, "For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech." James 3 brings home the fact that our tongue can at once be a friend and enemy.”

James 3: 6. Now the tongue is a fire, and the world of sin is like a forest. And this tongue, which is one among our members, corrupts our whole body; and it inflames the series of our generations that roll on like a wheel; and it is itself on fire.  7. For all natures of beasts and birds and reptiles of the sea or land are dominated by the nature of man.  8. But the tongue has no one been able to tame: it is an evil thing, unruly and full of deadly poison.  9. For with it, we bless Master YHWH and Father; and with it we curse men who were made in the image of Elohim:  10. and from the same mouth issues forth curses and blessings. My Brothers, these things should not be.  11. Can there flow from the same fountain, sweet and bitter waters?  12. Or can the fig-tree, my Brothers, bear olives? or the vine, figs? So also salt waters cannot be made sweet.  13. Who is wise and instructed among you? Let him show his works in praiseworthy actions, with modest wisdom. (AENT)

Y’shua explained that what comes out of our mouths is that which fills our hearts.  Our speech will always indicate what is in our hearts. “From a good man the treasures that are in his good heart brings forth good things, and an evil man the evil treasures that are in his heart brings forth evil things. For the abundance of the heart speak the lips.” (Luke 6:45).

Why is it a sin to cuss /swear /curse?  Sin is a condition of the heart, the mind, and “the inner man” (Romans 7:22), which is manifested in our thoughts, actions and words. When we use “bad language”, we are giving evidence of the polluting sin in our hearts that must be confessed and repented of.  Thankfully, our ELOHIM is merciful and “faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)

The thing is, we cannot have the Holy Spirit within and continue to “live in the world” because to do so would be considered “deliberate sinning” – for which there is no sacrifice!

Hebrews 10: 26 For if we deliberately continue to sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but only the terrifying prospect of Judgment, or raging fire that will consume the enemies.

So you see, “using the Lord’s Name in vain” can be extremely dangerous.  Yes, He IS there and He WILL guide you and assist you along His Path.  But He will NEVER go against His Torah just to please your every desire.

So please be careful not to “use His Name in vain” which includes bargaining with Him.  Get into the Bible and find out Who He is and what He expects of YOU!

Gays are winning! Is it too early to shout "Hurrah"?

The US Supreme Court will soon (April 2015) hear a case seeking to make gay marriage authorized in all 50 states.  Example recent headlines:
(CNN) The U.S. Supreme Court decided Friday it will tackle the issue of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, or whether states are allowed to ban gay marriage.

(The Atlantic) The Supreme Court Will Decide If 'Gay Marriage' Is Just 'Marriage'

(Bloomberg Businessweek) The Five Things You Need to Know About the Supreme Court’s Gay-Marriage Case
It will happen.  Oh it will.  Not the court case, rather, gay marriage will be approved.  This immoral snowball has gained so much speed and so much mass it is unstoppable!

So I take it as a "given".  When a nation has turned from God as we have, this sort of thing is inevitable.  But my question is "What's next?"

You see, the practice of our faith in this country is protected by the US Constitution.  It is!  Here is the complete wording:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 
But if you look for anything in the US Constitution which guarantees the right of gays to marry you will currently find....nothing.

Yet, how many times have you heard it said "...but it is my constitutional right to marry..." and then they go on to cite the "equal protection" clause of the 14th Amendment.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but the equal protection clause is not intended to provide "equality" among individuals or classes but only "equal application" of the laws.  So to shout "equal protection" as if there is a law protecting your immorality, you would be wrong.  Ironically, this is not unlike gun advocates who cite the 2nd Amendment as their "right" to own an AK-47, without realizing that the 2nd Amendment provides no such protection.  But I digress.

So let me get to the root of the problem.

The US Supreme Court will approve "gay marriage".  This I can say with some degree of confidence.   But under whose authority will they argue this?  Well, clearly they will argue their own authority! Man's! The problem is, we can have as many "men" (or women) on the Supreme Court as we see fit, so all we really need to do is arrange the Supreme Court to our liking and we can get the "rulings" we want!  This is true!

The U.S. Constitution established the Supreme Court.  It left it to Congress to decide how many justices it should maintain. The Judiciary Act of 1789 set the number at six. In 1807, Congress increased the number of justices to seven. In 1837, the number was increased to nine; and in 1863, it rose to ten! In 1866, Congress passed the Judicial Circuits Act, which restored the number to seven and prevented President Andrew Johnson from appointing anyone new to the court. But... Three years later, in 1869, Congress raised the number of justices to nine, where it today remains.

So the issue of gay marriage for the entire country will be determined by "9" people who have "our authority" to decide!  How fortunate for the gays that 9 will decide!  Maybe 7 would rule differently!  Maybe it should be 15!

And therein lies the problem.

A random nine humans from all of humanity will decide EVERYONE's position on the "right" of gays to marry.  Notice, there is nothing in the Justice's charter to refer to any higher authorityThe authority is theirs and theirs alone.

We gave them that authority.  We did.  Just like we did in 1962 when we allowed the Supreme Court to remove a higher authority from our schools and simple prayer was banned.  We know the true authority, but we have decided instead to give all authority to nine humans.  Good thing for gays, bad thing for the US.

So let's look beyond what we know is coming.  When gay marriage is approved, we can expect a very, very bad result.  I cannot say "what", as I an no prophet.  But read Deuteronomy 28:15, then keep reading.   

"Yep, son, we have met the enemy and he is us".  (Pogo, 1971)

Challenging the traditional Jewish ideas about the "Nazarene"

Traditional Jews love to negate “Jesus” (they don’t like to use His given name’ of Y’shua!) by shouting out, “Where in Scripture do we see that the prophets suggest the Messiah was from Nazareth, or that he would be called a Nazarene?  Nowhere!  You’re grasping at straws!”

Really?  Well, not so fast, there, Hoss!  Matthew 2:23 tells us He would be called “Nazarene” – and Isaiah 11 gives us a hint.

Isaiah 11:1 But a branch will emerge from the trunk of Yishai, a shoot will grow from his roots.

“Baloney!” the traditional Jew will say. “Isaiah does NOT give us any hint of Jesus, and don’t even bother giving us New Testament Scripture, because the New Testament is a MYTH!”

Okay, fine, then let’s allow Scripture to explain itself with the help of Aramaic scholar and author Andrew Gabriel Roth who takes us back to the original language - which reveals that the word netzer is Hebrew for “young shoot” or “sprout” – which has a direct correlation to Machiyach Y’shua.  Roth wrote: 

"Only one prophet, Isaiah (Isaiah 11:1), refers to Mashiyach as a netzer which is Hebrew for “young shoot” or “sprout.”  Plus, a closer look at Isaiah 11:1-4 reveals the “spiritual branches” of the Menorah as attributes of Mashiyach.”
To see what Roth is talking about, we must first take a look at Matthew 2 from, for the instance, the King James Version:

Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Roth explains: 

This is an example of singular plural confusion in Greek. In Aramaic, “prophet” is spelled the same in both singular and plural forms, whereas Hebrew has distinct forms. Greek translators chose to translate this as “prophets” but only one prophet, Isaiah 11:1, refers to Mashiyach as a netzer which is Hebrew for “young shoot” or “sprout.”  Here is what the Aramaic actually says:

Matthew 2:23. And he came and dwelled in the city that is called Nasrath, so that might be fulfilled the thing which was spoken by the prophet that “He will be called a Nasraya.”  (AENT)
Moving on, a closer look at Isaiah 11:1-4 reveals the “spiritual branches” of the Menorah as attributes of Mashiyach. Roth explains: 
Netzer is the basis for the name Nazareth, which at that time was a very small village in the Land of Israel.  Other prophets reveal Mashiyach as the “Branch” but use the Hebrew tzemach, thus eliminating the obvious wordplay here by Matthew.  The prophet Daniel also uses the word netzer, but not in the context of Messianic prophecy. 
Here is what Roth is referring to:

Isaiah 11:1 But a branch will emerge from the trunk of Yishai, a shoot will grow from his roots. 2 The Spirit of ADONAI will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and fearing ADONAI 3 he will be inspired by fearing ADONAI. He will not judge by what his eyes see or decide by what his ears hear, 4 but he will judge the impoverished justly; he will decide fairly for the humble of the land. He will strike the land with a rod from his mouth and slay the wicked with a breath from his lips.  (CJB)

Roth goes on to tell us the following:

“Netzer is the basis for the name Nazareth, which at that time (i.e., time of Matthew) was a very small village in the Land of Israel.  Other prophets reveal Mashiyach as the “Branch” but use the Hebrew tzemach, thus eliminating the obvious wordplay here by Matthew.  The prophet Daniel also uses the word netzer, but not in the context of Messianic prophecy." 
Get the picture?  To properly understand that our Messiah has already come, one cannot pick and choose what they wish to believe of the Word…..

We find a longer, more indepth explanation at the ChaimbenTorah website  which says, in part:

The name for the town of Nazareth may have come from the Semitic root nzr which means to keep watch, or to protect.  There are some who claim that this may have been the home of a particular Jewish sect called the Nazarites who took on a vow to live a life of separation as nzr also means to consecrate and make separate.  They would not cut their hair or drink wine.  Some feel that Jesus Himself was a Nazarite which could be.  There are a lot of uncertainties here.  But one thing is for certain, the Hebrew Bible makes no mention of the town of Nazareth or that the Messiah would be a Nazarene.  Or does it?

The Pershitta or Aramaic Bible shows something very curious that you would not pick up on in your Greek New Testament. The Aramaic word for Nazarite is spelled Nun, Tsade, and Resh, where the Hebrew word for Nazarite is spelled Nun, Zayin, and Resh.  There appears to be a Semitic play on words here as the Tsade and the Zayin both make a z sound.  We distinguish between the two by showing the Tsade as a ts and the Zayin as a z.

The Hebrew verb nazar  means to take a vow or to consecrate.  Examples of a Nazarite in the Old Testament would be Samuel and Samson.   Today in the Assyrian Church the order of the Nazarites is preserved.   Such individuals will not cut their hair, marry or use alcohol.  Yet, there are many who do not take a Nazarite vow in that culture, yet they will still seek to live a separated life. Such individuals are called a Nazarene as an Aramaic figure of speech.

It is possible the writer of the Gospel meant this as a figure of speech playing on the Hebrew word nazar, that Jesus lived a consecrated life and was called a Nazarene, not only because he came for Nazareth but that he lived a nazar life.

Still, that does not answer the question as to where in Scripture does it say that the prophets would say the Messiah was from Nazareth and would be called a Nazarene.  The town of Nazareth really did not exist during the time of the prophets. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Talmud makes no reference to it in the 63 towns of Galilee that it mentions.  Josephus mentions 45 cities of Galilee and none are called Nazareth.  No trade routes ran through the city so it was isolated which brought about the saying, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Archaeologist have uncovered evidence of a town in the area but have no idea when it started to be called Nazareth.

What is very likely is that the writer of Matthew was making a Semitic play on the word ntsr. The ancient Persians used the word ntsr to express the idea of a green plant. The Aramaic word ntsr with the Sade means a branch.

Even the Talmud in Sanhedrin 43a recognizes Isaiah 11:1 as a prophecy of the Messiah and renders the word ntsr as a branch.  In other words the writer was making a play on the word and the use of the Sade in Aramaic and the Zayin in Hebrew to express two thoughts.  One is that Jesus was the ntsr spoken of in Isaiah 11:1 and that he also came from the town of nzr.  That he was also one who was consecrated for a special task.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Don’t believe Yeshua was divine? The Bible itself proves it!

Did you know that even satan and his demons knew who Yeshua was?  Take a look!

Mark 1: 23. And there was a man in their assembly in whom was an unclean spirit, and he cried out, 24. And said, What have we to do with you Y'shua the Nasraya? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, you are the Set Apart One of Elohim. 25. And Y'shua rebuked him and said, Shut your mouth and come out from him! 26. And the unclean spirit threw him down and cried out in a loud voice and came out of him. (AENT)

There are at least 6 direct mentions in the "New Testament" to show that YHWH and Yeshua are ONE. Yeshua is divine/has a divine nature because of His undeniable relationship with YHWH, and because of His divine qnoma (Aramaic for “nature”).  Plus, the term  “MarYAH” in Aramaic, can only mean YHWH.

Some key verses:

Luke 2: 11. For today is born to you in the city of Dawid the Savior who is Master YHWH, the Mashiyach.

One of the most powerful statements about YHWH and His Mashiyach in the entire Aramaic NT!  YHWH is the real Mashiyach, who chose the vessel of Y'shua the man. However, within Y'shua the man is an occurrence of the One Divine Nature of YHWH, also known as the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit). This is the literal meaning of the fullness of YHWH dwelling inside Mashiyach, and in accordance with Tanakh prophecy (Isaiah 53:1, Zechariah 12:10). The divine and human natures exist separately yet side-by-side within Y'shua.

1 Corinthians 12: 3. I therefore explain to you, that there is no man that speaks by the Spirit of Elohim, who says that Y'shua is accursed: neither can a man say that Y'shua is Master YHWH, except by the Ruach haKodesh.

Simple and beautiful, yet perhaps the most powerful statement of belief in all of Rav Shaul's letters.  A declaration of such magnitude as this most certainly demands original Hebrew and Aramaic to comprehend the fullness of such a bold statement and revelation.

Philippians 2:5 And think you so in yourselves, as Y'shua the Mashiyach also thought; 6. who, as he was in the likeness of Elohim, did not regard it sinful to be the coequal of Elohim; 7. yet disinherited himself and assumed the likeness of a servant, and was in the likeness of men and was found in fashion as a man; 8. and he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the stake. 9. Wherefore, also, Elohim has highly exalted him and given him a name 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, to the glory of Elohim his Father. (AENT)

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....)

There is a wonderful footnote
in the Aramaic English New Testament in 1 Thessalonians 4, which  explains how Y’shua is “divine.”

Qnoma is a very important term that has been greatly diluted and misunderstood over the centuries. Through an exceedingly complex linguistic chain of events this word, meaning “an occurrence of a nature” got morphed and perverted into “person” in Greek. As a result, the One Elohim (YHWH) is represented in a pagan manner in the Greek New Testament as a “person” distinct and equal with “Elohim the Son” and “Elohim the Ruach haKodesh.” Instead, it is the oneness of YHWH that manifests in Mashiyach, not that Mashiyach’s divinity is separate from his Father’s.

However, in this case we are talking about humanity and not YHWH, and both of them have “natures” that cannot be seen, and yet are a root part of their being. Or, to put it another way, a “nature” is like a body hidden behind a curtain. For those in the audience, nothing of that nature can be seen. Then, all of a sudden, a hand and part of an arm appears through the veil. While we know there is a body attached to that limb, the limb is all we see. Furthermore, that arm moves with full force, will and agreement of the mind that controls the body. For the viewers, the arm appearing out of the curtain is the qnoma (occurrence) and the hidden mind behind that limb’s movement is its kyanna (nature).

As the centuries moved along, the ancient meaning of qnoma as “occurrence of a nature” devolved by Aramaic assemblies who compromised with the Byzantine Empire. Gradually, “core substance” became the common definition; at first it closely paralleled its Greek counterpart, hypostasis. More time passed and Greek redactors changed the meaning of hypostasi, taking it further from the original definition of qnoma. Qnoma/hypostasis became equivalent to “person” to line up with Greek passages that used this meaning in the form of the word prospon.

In Greek, “person” implies a physical presence as opposed to Aramaic where body metaphors like “I will set my face towards” are very common. The revision began at the beginning of the Third Century when these same “westernized” Aramaic Christians began to proffer up readings in their “Peshitt-o” versions of Acts 20:28 and Hebrews 2:9 that were meant to align with the Byzantine majority Greek. However, the original eastern “Peshitt-a” escaped these revisions as it was in the rival Persian Empire. Aramaic, as in this verse, retains the original meaning of qnoma. It is NOT the external “person” that teaches someone about Elohim, but the Ruach working through their “inner being.” The idea of “person” in Greek, unfortunately, does not address the neshama (spirit) of a person as the likeness or “image of Elohim.”
Also, please see our article on this issue:  Yeshua in a nutshell.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The perils of "religiosity"

You won’t find anyone more “rabid” than religious folks.  We have various Muslim factions out there beheading, shooting and torturing anyone and everyone who gets in the way of their attempt to take over the world; we have Christians who will absolutely wish you in hell for desiring to be Torah observant; and we have traditional Jews going up against both Christians and Messianic believers in the most vicious and sarcastic ways you could imagine in order to convince the world that Yeshua and the New Testament are myths.

The most vicious of them all (outside of the Muslims who actually kill physically instead of just verbally) are the “converts” – either to Christianity or Judaism -  who know just enough about God and the Bible to, as the saying goes, “be dangerous.”  Just this morning we awoke to find a recent convert to Judaism attempting to post on our blog, using all the “proofs” he could possibly muster, which he gleaned from his newly-found traditional Jewish “friends” who have clearly impressed him with their knowledge of Torah and the Hebrew language.

How easily man can be deceived! 

Ecclesiastes 12:  12 In addition, my son, take heed: one can write many books - there's no end to it; and one can study so much that it wearies the flesh. 13 Here is the final conclusion, now that you have heard everything: fear God, and keep his mitzvot; this is what being human is all about. 14 For God will bring to judgment everything we do, including every secret, whether good or bad. [Here is the final conclusion, now that you have heard everything: fear God, and keep his mitzvot; this is what being human is all about.]  (CJB)

Yes, they study and study and wear themselves out, but they never grasp the WHOLE of GOD’s Truth because they listen to MAN instead of God!

Luke 11:52   "Woe to you Torah experts! For you have taken away the key of knowledge!  Not only did you yourselves not go in, you also have stopped those who were trying to enter!”

Matthew 23: 23. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees! Hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and you overlook the weightiest things of Torah: Judgment and Mercy and Faith. And these things were necessary for you to have done, and these things you should not have forgotten. 24. Blind guides who strain at gnats and swallow camels. 25. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees! Hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate but inside they are full of extortion and iniquity. 26. Blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of the cup and of the plate, Then the outside will be clean also. 27. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees! Hypocrites! For you are like white tombs that appear beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are filled with the bones and all the corruption of the dead. 28. Thus you also appear on the outside as righteous men to the sons of men. On the inside you are filled with iniquity and hypocrisy. 29. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and you adorn the sepulchers of the righteous. (AENT)

FOOTNOTE: A “marketing strategy” of the Pharisees is to posture themselves as being obedient to YHWH’s Prophets, and thus appear to legitimize their authority regarding Torah and the Prophets. A similar strategy is adopted by Christians who posture themselves as authorities on the Jewish Mashiyach, but who instead promote pagan religious traditions; these “crucify” Mashiyach daily by choosing to willfully neglect the Word of YHWH.

Titus 1:  13. And this testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith  14. and may not throw themselves into Jewish fables and into the precepts of men who hate the Truth.  15. For to the pure, everything is pure; but to them who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but their understanding is defiled, and their conscience.  16 And they profess that they know Elohim, but in their works they deny him; and they are odious and disobedient and to every good work reprobates.

Titus 3:  9 But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile. 10 Warn a divisive person once, then a second time; and after that, have nothing more to do with him. 11 You may be sure that such a person has been perverted and is sinning: he stands self-condemned.

Pay VERY close attention to this one:

2 John:  5. And now I beg you, Kuria, (I write no new commandment to you but that which was with us from the beginning) that we should love one another.  6. And this is love, that we walk according to the Commandment.  This is the Commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that we should walk in it.  7. Because many seducers have gone forth into the world who do not confess that Y’shua the Mashiyach has come in the flesh. This is a seducer and antiChristos.  8. Take heed to yourselves that you do not lose what you have gained; but that you may be recompensed with a full reward.  9. Everyone who transgresses and does not abide in the teaching of the Mashiyach, Elohim is not in him. And he who abides in his doctrine, he has the Father and the Son.  10. If anyone comes to you and does not possess this doctrine, neither entertain him in your house nor say to him, Joy to you:  11. For he that says to him, Joy to you, is a participator in his evil deeds.  (AENT)

Let’s quickly examine the types of things traditional Jews espouse that lead believers in Yeshua astray.  Here are but a few examples:

To the Christians here, I realize that you believe you are right and that you want to help people to find G-d. Your intentions are good. Jews, B”H, know G-d. We have a personal relationship with Him, which began with the patriarchs. He spoke directly to our ancestors at Sinai — 3 million of them. We don’t believe because of some stories we have heard, or some book we have read. We believe because our own fathers were there, witnessed Him and have passed the information to us from one generation to the next. . . l’dor v’dor. . .

If you listen to Rabbi Skobac you will see that he is not “anti” Christianity. He is explaining the verse in the Jewish bible and then explaining how it was misquoted, or mistranslated — or simply misunderstood. Don’t take his word for it. . . research it for yourself. Better yet, learn Hebrew and discover it for yourself!
 While there is no doubt about Rabbi Skobac’s scholarship and knowledge of Torah, he is just “explaining how it was misquoted, or mistranslated”  - according to his own biased, anti-Yeshua understanding!  Anyone can say anything about God and the Bible and make it sound believable as they post the scriptures that best represent THEIR respective views!
“G-d describes avodah zarah (idolatry — literally “strange worship”) in D’varim / Deuteronomy 13:7-9 – and it is the death knell to Christianity – even to those who do not “worship” Jesus but claim to only “pray in his name.”
[This is what you must do] if your blood brother, your son, your daughter, your bosom wife, or your closest friend secretly tries to act as a missionary among you, and says, ‘Let us go worship a new god. LET US HAVE A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN BY YOU OR YOUR FATHER.’ 13:8 [He may be enticing you with] the gods of the nations around you, far or near, or those that are found at one end of the world or another. 13:9 Do not agree with him, and do not listen to him.” D’varim / Deuteronomy 13:7-9
The key phrase here is LET US HAVE A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN BY YOU OR YOUR FATHER…. Praying to or “through” Jesus was not a spiritual experience known to our ancestors at Mount Sinai – hence it is obviously idolatry.   When did “our fathers”, present at Sinai, have a spiritual experience with Jesus? Was Jesus “known” to them? Did they pray to Jesus or through Jesus? Of course not! Jesus was unknown to them.    

Ergo G-d warned us against both Christianity and Islam — any spiritual experience not known to us at Mount Sinai is false. It is not the Rabbis who have “changed” or turned to avodah zarah — it is those apostate Jews who pray to or through a man and put that man above the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Notice the clever deception?  “Our ancestors did not pray to Jesus and therefore he is a farce…” (paraphrased).  Do they ever stop to ponder "what IF he really is the Son of God?" or wonder who Jacob was wrestling with in Genesis 32:22-23?  (For the answer, see our blog post )  And who were the “three men” Abraham saw at the Oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18)?  And honestly, Isaiah 53 is all about ISRAEL?  Really?  Can Israel be wounded for our transgressions?  (No, but Y’shua was! See Matthew 27.) Can people take Israel's garments and divide them? (No, but that certainly happened in Y’shua’s case! See John 19:23.) WHEN was "Israel" wounded for our transgressions or crushed because of our iniquities? Has the world been HEALED by "Israel"? Not hardly! 

Y'shua has filled myriad Tanach prophecies - and people can reject it all they want, but they cannot CHANGE those facts! (For more on this, please check out our blog article:, and also and )

There are many, many more quotes in the Jewish bible which re-enforce the very clear message given in D’varim / Deuteronomy 13. . . Remember the first things of old, that I am G-d and there is no other; I am G-d and there is none like Me. Isaiah 46:9.   There is none like Him. There is NO OTHER.  (Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 42:7, Deuteronomy 4:35)
In other words, this traditional Jew insists that believing in “Jesus” (they can never bring themselves to use His REAL Name!) is nothing more than an IDOL!  (Please see our response to that nonsense: and

One must ask: Isn’t it “idolatry” to hang onto every word the “rabbis” say?  Isn’t it “idolatry to place the writings in the Talmud above the Torah? Isn't hypocritical that same Jews will DENY their own sages whenever it suits their respective purposes in order to attack someone's character – as can be seen in the actions of the Jewish terror group Yad L’Achim in Israel, who actually resort to violence against Christians and Messianic believers!  

We have a personal relationship with Him, which began with the patriarchs. He spoke directly to our ancestors at Sinai — 3 million of them."  ...The virgin birth is a "whopper of a lie!"....
Well now!  "The Jews" have the testimony of 3 million on Mt. Sinai (albeit, no actual proof; just "word of mouth"!), whereas those who believe in "Jesus" (they don't like to use His REAL Name!) believe in a myth.  To them it doesn't matter that First Corinthians 15 tells us that more than 500 people saw Y'shua after His death, including Peter, Paul and all the Schlichim....To them, it doesn't matter that millions have had "supernatural experiences" because of their belief in "Jesus."  After all, the New Testament is a MYTH! 
This is actually the same reasoning atheists use:  We don't "believe" and therefore it ain't true!

Ironically, traditional Jews adhere to the man-made Talmud and other extra-biblical writings, and they believe everything in the Torah and Tanach is true - going on nothing more than their FAITH in God!  (Apparently THEIR faith is "better" than our faith....)

The thing is, if you want to get right down to it, and if you want to turn things around on them, they have ZERO proof that God made a man out of dirt, or a woman out of Adam's rib, or that Cain killed Abel or that God destroyed the earth by flood, or that Moshe wrote the Torah!  They don’t know for a FACT that Moshe parted the sea, and neither do we have video proof that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego went into the fire and came out unscathed!

They cannot prove anything that happened before man started documenting history in writing.  ALL THEY HAVE is “word of mouth – and we all know what happens when people do that.  (Somewhere along the line someone always skews the picture!)  Sure, “millions” of people stood on Mt. Sinai to witness God speaking … but guess what – there was no video of it, no recording, NOTHING.  All ANY OF US really have is “word of mouth” and FAITH in God - and faith that what actually was written is true!

But “their faith” doesn’t negate OUR faith!  And that is what the gullible fail to understand.

HOWEVER, we are also of the opinion that those who once believed in Y’shua and turned their backs on Him because they were gullible enough to believe people like the person above who was massaging the ego of a new convert –  have not only blasphemed the Holy Spirit, but YHWH has turned His back on THEM as well, and that is why they can no longer see the WHOLE Truth!  It’s impossible to argue with those types; all we can do is to keep them in our prayers.

So while we appreciate the zeal of the “anti-missionaries”, the bottom line is this:  Everything that is espoused on both sides of the fence is the result of our personal understanding and interpretation of Scripture.  We at The Refiner’s Fire believe that the eyes of some Jews have simply not yet been opened to the WHOLE of God’s Truth and that one day He will open their eyes. 

BOTTOM LINE:  Anti-missionaries are busier than ever these days - and their tactics have now turned from simply defending themselves by using Scripture, to luring the most gullible Christians and Messianic/HR believers into their web and using THEM against us.  What a brilliant tactic! 

Does it remind you of anyone?