Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Moses stood in the gap....

Read Exodus 32 to see for yourself how the Israelites disappointed YHWH by building a golden calf (and the priest, Aaron, was instrumental in carrying it out!)....By this time, YHWH's people had seen their God perform all kinds of miracles, including the ten plagues, the first "passover" and the parting of the sea to help them escape from Pharoah after 400 years of captivity. And yet here we see His people building a golden calf and in effect, worshiping "another god." Bottom line, YHWH became angry enough to want to destroy the Israelites (could you blame Him?), but Moshe "stood in the gap" - offered himself and thus spared them.

Exodus 32: 31 Moshe went back to ADONAI and said, "Please! These people have committed a terrible sin: they have made themselves a god out of gold.
32 Now, if you will just forgive their sin! But if you won't, then, I beg you, blot me out of your book which you have written!" 33 ADONAI answered Moshe, "Those who have sinned against me are the ones I will blot out of my book. 34 Now go and lead the people to the place I told you about; my angel will go ahead of you.  Nevertheless, the time for punishment will come; and then I will punish them for their sin." 35 ADONAI struck the people with a plague because they had made the calf, the one Aharon made.

Note Moshe's offer to be "blotted out of the book of life!" Well, our Divine Messiah, Yeshua went a step further and actually gave His life as our substitute! As we enter this Passover season, may we remember that it is not only a remembrance of the original Passover, when YHWH put into motion the events leading to the Exodus out of Egypt (Exodus 12:1-13), but of the love of YHWH who - despite our human tendencies to forget that we are to be holy and set apart - sent His only begotten son - who martyred Himself so that we could have everlasting life:

John 3:16. Thus, for Elohim loved the world so as he would give His Only-Begotten Son, that whoever would believe in him would not perish, but would have life that is eternal. 17. For Elohim did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to give life to the world through him. 18. He who does not believe in him is judged, and he who does not believe is already judged because he does not believe in his name, that of the Only-Begotten, the Son of Elohim. 19. Now this is the judgment: Because the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness more than the light, for their works are evil. 20. For everyone who does hateful things hates the light and does not come to the light, because his works will be hidden. 21. But he who does truthful things comes to the light that his may be known that they are done in Elohim. (AENT)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Have you ever been hurt by someone's words?

Have you ever been hurt by something someone on Facebook or other "social network" has said to you?  Have they managed to make you feel small and insignificant somehow?  Well, if you said “yes” then I can certainly empathize!  

Often, when we feel hurt from the barbs of others, it’s because we have issues from our past that need to be dealt with.  If you know this to be true, please seek professional help.  After all, if you break your arm or you have a kidney infection, you don’t try to hide it; you go to the hospital for help.  If your emotions are broken for some reason, you need to get to the bottom of the problem so that you can be whole again.  

The enemy knows what causes you pain, and he will constantly use your brokenness against you, goading you, pushing your buttons. But realize this: God cannot use “broken vessels!”  If you concentrate all your efforts and energy on the pain someone caused you, then your thoughts remain on YOU all day, instead of God!  How can you be "all you were meant to be" if you refuse to take charge of what's bothering you and move on so you can continue to learn and grow for YHWH?  Don’t allow someone to do this to you!  Break free!  (Please see our article which provides suggestions for healing broken emotions:  http://www.therefinersfire.org/healing_from_abuse.htm)

Scripture tells us who we are:

Psalm 139: 13 For you fashioned my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I thank you because I am awesomely made, wonderfully; your works are wonders -I know this very well. 15 My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed.

Jeremiah 29: 11 For I know what plans I have in mind for you,' says ADONAI,'plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future. 12 When you call to me and pray to me, I will listen to you. 13 When you seek me, you will find me, provided you seek for me wholeheartedly; 14 and I will let you find me,' says ADONAI. 'Then I will reverse your exile. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have driven you,' says ADONAI, 'and bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.'

Ephesians 1: 3. Blessed be Elohim, the Father of our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach who has blessed us with all blessings of the Spirit in heaven by the Mashiyach:  4. According as He had previously chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we might be Set Apart and without blame before Him; and, in love, as that before our beginnings for Himself;  5. And adopted us for sons, in Y’shua the Mashiyach as was agreeable to His will:  6. That the glory of His grace might be glorified which He poured upon us by his Beloved One;  7. By whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins by his blood, according to the riches of his grace  8. Which has abounded in us, in all wisdom and all spiritual understanding.  9. And he has made us know the mystery of his will, which he had before determined in himself to accomplish  

10. In the stewardship [1] of the fullness of times[2]; that all things might again be made new in the Mashiyach, things in heaven and (things) on earth.  11. And in him we are elected, according as that before our beginnings [3] and willed, who works all things according to the counsel of his desire;  12. That we should be they who first hoped in the Mashiyach, to the honor of his glory.  13. In whom you also have heard the Word of Truth which is the Good News of your life, and have believed in him; and have been sealed with the Ruach haKodesh who was promised;  14. Who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of them that are alive and for the praise of his glory. (AENT)

[1]  English versions insert “dispensation” here to bolster “dispensationalism” and “replacement” theologies which were invented by Christian theologians to syncretize Hellenism (cultural values of early Catholic church founders) into Paul’s letters.  In both Aramaic and Greek the correct term is stewardship.

[2]   Fullness of times or the completion of the acharit hayamim (the latter days) is a theme that Paul often visits (compare Romans 16:25; 1 Cor 7:26; 1 Thess. 5:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1).  The Shlichim assumed Y’shua would return as Mashiyach ben David, even in their lifetimes.

[3] Literally, “as that before our beginnings” rather than “predestined” which was inserted to bolster the “predestination theology” that some are created specifically for hell and others for heaven.  Paul is referring to the neshama (spirit of man) that is known of by YHWH from before the beginning of time; however, man’s spiritual “destiny” is also a matter of personal choice.  Joshua 24:20 “If you forsake YHWH, and serve strange elohim, then he will turn and do you hurt and consume you after that he has done you good.” Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The  son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”

Scripture tells us where our focus needs to be:

Philippians 4: 8. Finally, my Brothers, what things are true, and what things are honest, and what things are just, and what things are pure, and what things are beautiful, and what things are honorable in reporting, and deeds of praise and virtuousness; on these your thoughts should focus.  9. What things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, these do you: and the Elohim of peace will be with you.

Philippians 2: 1. If, therefore, you have consolation in the Mashiyach or if a blending of hearts in love or if a fellowship of the Spirit, or if compassions and sympathies;  2. make my joy perfected by having one agreement and one love and one soul and one mind.  3. And do nothing in strife or in vain glory; but, with humbleness of mind, let each regard his neighbor as better than himself.  4. And let not each be anxious (only) for himself, but everyone also for his neighbor.  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.

Matthew 5:5. Blessed are they who are meek because they will inherit the earth. (Psalm 37:11; 149:4) 6. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness because they will be satisfied. (Zephaniah 2:3; Psalm 11:3-7; Isaiah 66:11, 12)  7. Blessed are they who are merciful because mercies will be upon them. (Psalm 18:25; 2 Samuel 22:26)  8. Blessed are they who are pure in their hearts because they will see Elohim. (Psalm 24:4; 51:10; 15:1, 2)  9. Blessed are they who make peace because they will be called the sons of Elohim. Psalm 122:8, 9; Isaiah 26:12; Psalm 7:3

(Notice what the above verses do  NOT say?  They do NOT say, “Blessed are those who live to make you feel bad" or who like to tell you, you are dumb for not doing things their way.  They do not say "Blessed are those who reject YHWH, Torah or YHWH’s Divine Messiah!”)

Scripture tells us that those who live to put us down are not behaving in a godly manner:

James 4:11-12 11. Speak not against each other, my Brothers; for he that speaks against his brother, or judges his brother speaks against Torah and judges Torah. And if you judge Torah, you are not a doer of Torah, but its judge.[1]  12. There is one Torah-giver[2] and Judge who can make alive and (can) destroy: but who are you that you judge your neighbor? (AENT)  

[1]  If you add your own judgments to those already established in the Torah of YHWH, then you have judged Torah as insufficient, and are not allowing it to be your judge.

[2]  One Torah Giver who gives One Torah.  The halacha (way to observe Torah) is revealed by the Ruach haKodesh, and demonstrated in Mashiyach.  The concept of “two torahs”   one oral and one written   is the basis of authority on which the Rabbinate operates.  “The Rabbis” wrote their own “oral Torah” and give themselves the authority to interpret it; unfortunately, their oral Torah often speaks against both the Written Torah and haMashiyach.  On the other hand, Christian theologians have made up their own “New Testament” based on their own non-Torah cultural value systems which makes void Torah and diminishes the true goal of Mashiyach.

James 1:22. But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only; and do not deceive yourselves.  23. For if any man will be a hearer of the Word and not a doer of it, he will be like one who sees his face in a mirror:  24. for he sees himself and passes on and forgets what a man he was.  25. But everyone that looks upon the perfect Torah of liberty and lives fully in it, is not a hearer of something to be forgotten, but a doer[1] of the things; and he will be blessed in his work.  26. And if any one thinks that he worships Elohim and does not subdue his tongue, but his heart deceives him; his worship is desolate.  27. For the worship that is pure and Set Apart before Elohim the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction; and:  that one keep himself without blemish from the world. (AENT)

[1]  While there are two different Aramaic words for “hear” and “do” the word for “hear” in Aramaic also means “to do”; the Hebrew equivalent, shema, means the same.  Ya’akov’s Hebraic thought and intention are clearly represented in this verse.

Hebrews 13:1. Let love for the Brothers dwell among you.  2. And do not forget kindness to strangers; for by this some have been privileged to entertain Messengers without even knowing!

Scripture also tells us what WE need to do about those who have hurt us:

Romans 12: 17. And repay to no man evil for evil: but let it be your study to do good before all men.  18. And if possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with every man.  19. And be you not avengers of yourselves, my beloved: but give place to wrath. For it is written: If you do not execute judgment for yourself, I will execute judgment for you, says Elohim.[1]  20. And if your adversary be hungry, feed him: and if he be thirsty, give him drink. For if you do these things, you will heap coals of fire on his head.  21. Do not be overcome by evil; but overcome evil with good. (AENT)

[1] D’varim 32:35; Psalm 94:1; Prov. 20:22   There are no directives from B’resheet/Genesis to Revelation which counsels anyone to take vengeance upon their adversaries.  YHWH says, “vengeance belongs to Me”; He will judge and resolve all matters according to His Righteous Judgment.  The idea of taking vengeance upon others, as in jihad or holy war against the infidels, is rooted in fear and heathenism by those who put their faith in self rather than in Alaha (Elohim).

Here is what YHWH thinks of most “religious” types (including those who love to sit behind their keyboards to belittle you):

Isaiah 29: 13 Then Adonai said: "Because these people approach me with empty words, and the honor they bestow on me is mere lip-service; while in fact they have distanced their hearts from me, and their 'fear of me' is just a mitzvah of human origin 14 therefore, I will have to keep shocking these people with astounding and amazing things, until the 'wisdom' of their 'wise ones' vanishes, and the 'discernment' of their 'discerning ones' is hidden away."

1 John 4: 19. Let us, therefore, love Elohim; because he has first loved us.  20. And if any one will say, I love Elohim, and yet hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother who is visible, how can he love Elohim who is invisible?  21. And this command we have received from him, that whoever loves Elohim, must love also his brother.

So, fret no longer!  Don't allow ANYONE to make you feel inferior!  YHWH loves you, and He wants you to be whole for Him and whole-hearted towards Him.  Don't give mean people the power to take this away from you. YOU know who you are!

And honestly, what "they" think of you doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things....

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A quick message about Passover

Passover/Pesach (Nisan 14) celebrates the deliverance of the slaves from Egypt. It is the story of redemption by the killing of the Passover Lamb. The Israelites obeyed God by applying the blood of the Passover lamb to the doorposts of their houses so that their firstborn would be spared the Tenth Curse against Pharoah who refused to let God's enslaved Chosen People leave Egypt. When the Angel of Death passed through the land and saw the blood, he "passed over" those houses and spared the first born (Exodus 12:1-13).

This was a picture of Yeshua, God's "Passover Lamb" who willingly allowed His own blood to be shed on our behalf and thus became our redemption. The Messiah fulfilled this holiday when he was crucified! 

Please note:  The lamb for the original Passover was NOT a sacrifice - and neither was Yeshua! The lamb was offered as a substitute, not as a "sacrifice"!  So, though not a "sin" sacrifice, the lamb's blood was offered as a substitute, giving the Hebrew first-born males the chance to live. This is the connection: Yeshua was our substitute - and by believing and following YHWH's Torah to help us to lower our tendency to sin, and do our best to NOT sin anymore, we have the chance for eternal life. And this, of course was the point: Eternal life.

Yeshua took our bitterness so that we might live the abundant life. We remember and identify with the bitterness of slavery by eating the bitter herbs and the matza (unleavened bread) on Passover. The innocent died for the guilty. Yeshua's willingness to "sacrifice" (offer) His life not only meant death - it also meant LIFE (Isaiah 53).

So - the prophetic fulfillment of Passover is clear: Redemption! Passover is a time to thank God for our freedom - and that covers several types of freedoms ... To be a free people, and to be free to worship God.  Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul) summed up this theme in his letter to the Corinthians in which he addressed moral problems within their membership. To solve this problem he drew upon a well-known analogy of Pesach:

1 Corinthians 5:  6. Your bragging is not praiseworthy. Don’t you know, that a little leaven leavens the whole mass?  7. Purge out from you the old leaven, that you may be a new mass, as you are unleavened. For our Passover is the Mashiyach, who was slain for us.  8. Therefore let us celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of wickedness and bitterness, but with the leaven of purity and sanctity.  (AENT)

Footnote:  The word for “leaven” here is makhmae, the cognate in Hebrew of which is chometz.  Therefore, Rav Shaul is teaching the Corinthians by using Passover imagery, by commanding them to purge the chometz from the house of their hearts, so that they can be sanctified. Of course, the rest of this verse and the next proves this interpretation.

In 1 Corinthians 5 above, he was telling Believers to celebrate Passover and to have a Seder (Passover meal) that celebrates the deliverance from slavery and being a free people ... To set aside this day to thank, praise and worship God. 

NOTE: In case anyone is interested, we offer a free downloadable haggadah (liturgy) for Pesach/Passover on our website. Just click on our Essays and Articles page, and scroll down until you see "Free calendars, Siddurs & Pesach Seder", and choose one of the final two links...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Impenetrable Brick Wall

The Refiner's Fire "gets it" from both sides!

Christians, who are taught and can only comprehend "grace" and "Jesus paid it all", attack us for trying to show them that nothing is further from the truth!  They claim "all you have to do is 'believe'" (citing John 3:16), while failing to understand what the Messiah actually taught.  "Jesus", (who is more properly known as "Yeshua", which actually means "Yah is Salvation"), never taught that his death would somehow negate the love of and obedience to the Father through Torah, and never taught that his death was a "get out of jail free" card covering all sins, present and future!  The New Testament actually describes that His death would only atone for your sins UP TO that point that you understand and accept what His death did for you!  After that, you become obligated, (as all mankind has been from the beginning), to be true to the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and to live righteously according to Torah while on earth!  Trying to teach misguided Christians to see the beauty and wisdom of the True meaning Torah and the New Testament has actually brought us threats! How dare we believe in the Torah of Yahweh! 

Jews, on the other hand, are out there simply denying that the promised Messiah might have already come and are literally trashing us for daring to believe in this mythical "Jesus" (they refuse to call Him "Yeshua"), and they will go to great lengths to deny what their own Tanakh says about the Messiah so they can stand behind their argument that He could not have possibly already come!  After all, the same New Testament scriptures which Christians misunderstand, they also misunderstand and quickly use to bolster their denial! For example, the "truth2u" Internet radio program recently has been literally making fools of themselves denying each and every scripture which Christians and even the Jewish Sages for centuries have accepted as Messianic prophecies, while naming us, as "fools" believing in "visions in clouds" or in "fairy tales"! How dare we believe in the Messiah of the Tanakh!

We are literally in the middle!

The two sides can't find REAL battles to pursue!  No! That would require resolve and courage.  Neither side is "out there" - for insanace -  defending GOD's view of love and marriage and standing firm against the world's embrace of homosexuality!  No! Instead, they attack The Refiner's Fire for our stance on the WHOLE of scripture.  They are not "out there" defending the One True God against the false god of Islam and the travesty of "ISIS"! Instead, they attack The Refiner's Fire for our stance on the WHOLE of scripture.  They are not "out there" attacking those nations who are against Israel!  Instead, they attack The Refiner's Fire ... for our stance on the WHOLE of scripture....

No.  Real-world attacks on the God of Israel don't matter.  They'd both rather attack us! To Christians, we are heretics because they think we want to "put them back under the law" (never mind they have no idea what "the law" is in the first place").  And to Jews, we are heretics because we dare see a Messiah who tried valiantly to reveal His Father's Torah to ALL, who demonstrated the meaning of everlasting life, and who gave of Himself so ALL could have that everlasting life if they only accepted the God of Israel as their God.  Instead, all they see (quite sadly) is a "human sacrifice" (clearly forbidden) and call us "idol worshipers" because they refuse to see that the Messiah did not "replace" God (as Christianity teaches) and since Christians (not us!) insist that "Jesus was God" while God Himself said to "have no other gods before Him" (Exodus 20:3)!

Here is something for both sides to ponder: To the Christians: "Jesus" was NOT God (he was divine because he had a divine nature, and he had the authority of God...but his body was human and he died).  And to the Jews: You have seriously erred in your own (mis)understanding of both the Tanakh and the Brit Chadashah in your rabid denial of the Messiah!

Could I ask something of both sides?  Please? Can we PLEASE start tearing down the brick wall?  Can we please cast aside our pride and start looking at Scripture for what it actually says?

It's hypocritical to "sell and then buy back" your leaven after Passover!

At Passover, we are to clean out our leavened products because leaven represents SIN.  Did you know that many traditional Jews, instead of actually getting rid of/using up their leavened products, will actually sell them to a non-Jew and then buy them back?  (See https://chabadorg.clhosting.org/holidays/passover/sell_chometz.htm ) 

Here is what they have written at Chabad.org:  "As you know, Passover is the holiday in which we eat matzah and refrain from eating or possessing any chametz (leavened bread). In the weeks preceding the holiday we clean our homes and rid them of all chametz. If, however, we still own any chametz -- whether food products or dishes -- that we'd like to use after Passover, we may designate a rabbi to sell it all for us to someone not Jewish so that we do not own it for the duration of Passover. After Passover the rabbi acquires it back for use."

Does anyone besides me view this as hypocritical?  I mean, you get rid of your leaven because it represents SIN.  Why would you want to buy it back????

Monday, March 23, 2015

Clearing up the confusion about "two Jewish new years"

This is the time of year when confusion happens about the “Jewish new year.”  There’s a wonderful article on our website that explains this issue: http://www.therefinersfire.org/two_new_years.htm

The thing is, there are "two" formal, "new years" in the Hebrew (Jewish Calendar).  The first is defined by Exodus 12:2 which says the month of the Exodus (today the month is called "Nisan"), is the "1st month of the year".  So it is okay to say "Happy New Year" on 1 Nisan, but it must be understood that it is the "New Feast Year", not the "new year" when the year is incremented in the Hebrew Calendar. 

The 2nd "new year" is the 1st of Tishri.  That date is Yom Teruah, and it is the 1st day of the new year, when the year number is incremented.  The reason for this is primarily from Exodus 34:22, which says to "observe the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year". 

The Festival of Ingathering is also known as Sukkot, and it is in the month of Tishri.  So, the 1st of Tishri is the "proper" time to say "Happy New Year", only because that is when the calendar year number increments.  Few people say "Happy New Year" on 1 Nisan because the year does not increment on that date.

This year, 2015 by the Gregorian Calendar, it was only coincidental that the Spring Equinox came as the 1st of Nisan began.  Since the month begins in the Hebrew Calendar by the day the New Moon happens, and the Spring Equinox is determined by the position of the sun, the 1st day of Nisan will typically NOT fall on the Spring Equinox. 

This year, both the traditional Jewish calendar, and the actual New Moon, said sunset, March 20th began the 1st of Nisan.  The fact that the Spring Equinox was also ON the 20th of March, is not important.  The important thing is that Passover is on or AFTER the Spring Equinox.  And Passover, you are correct, is the afternoon of the 14th of Nisan, but that is ALSO the afternoon of April 3rd!  It's the SAME day, just different calendars.  So you are not correct to say April 3rd has been "thrust onto us";  it's simply the proper day but by a different calendar.

The bottom line is: This year April 3rd = 14 Nisan.  (All you have to do is remember that the Hebrew Calendar date simply begins at the previous sunset by the Gregorian Calendar date because the Hebrew day begins at sunset.)
So you should have all the leaven removed from your home by early afternoon of April 3rd at the latest.  The Passover meal, late that afternoon, is supposed to include matzah (unleavened bread), Exodus 12:18.

With Passover just around the corner, the rabbis are scrambling to tell the world it's got nothing to do with "Jesus"

Well, Passover is just around the corner, and OF COURSE the rabbis are doing their best to make sure the world knows Passover had NOTHING to do with “Jesus.” 

Under the comments section at one of his endless radio tirades against “Jesus”  - Australian radio host Jono Vandor wrote:  “The writer of Matthew clearly wants to depict Jesus as some sort of god-man, a demigod not unique from other such myths. The writer rips Isaiah 7:14 from it’s context and totally misrepresents it, applying a different meaning altogether. In doing so the writer makes Jesus’ geneology entirely irrelevant. In anycase, which ever way you choose, Matthew’s or Luke’s geneologies (they are different), or the “virgin birth” story, disqualifies Jesus as a messianic candidate. In fact, even if your theory were correct, you still have to choose one of two geneologies, neither of which will prove legitimate. You might find the last 14 minutes of this program of interest: http://www.truth2u.org/2013/12/rabbi-tovia-singer-who-is-the-prince-in-ezekiel.html

SIGH!  If they would only READ the Bible for it actually SAYS they would see their “two genealogies of Jesus” totally debunked!  The following are a few notes borrowed from an appendix in the AENT:

We must trace Mary's line through Matthew Chapter 1, and not Luke Chapter 3. When tracing Yeshua's genealogy in Matthew, the author refers to three sets of 14, or 42 generations until Yeshua. However, if we add up the generations, there are only 41. There is an explanation for this: The Joseph mentioned in Matthew 1:16 is the father of Mary, not the husband. Thus, Matthew Chapter 1 is actually describing Mary's lineage, and not Joseph's. This provides us with 42 generations.

Matthew 1:16 states, "Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary"...." Matthew 1:18-19 similarly provides, "Because Joseph her (Mary's) husband was a righteous man..." Based on this language, it appears the text is describing the same Joseph. This contention is reinforced by the Greek translation, where the word "aner" is used to describe Joseph in both contexts. However, when one examines the Aramaic version of Matthew, the Joseph mentioned in 1:16 is described as "gowra," a word used elsewhere in Matthew to signify "father". For example, the Greek translation of Matthew 7:9 provides, "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?". The Aramaic reads "which father (gowra) among you...."

The counter-argument is that Matthew was written in Greek and not Aramaic, thus, the point is moot. Historical evidence does not support this position. Papias, the Greek church leader who composed the earliest known information on the gospels, states that, "Matthew composed his history in the Hebrew dialect, and every one translated it as he was able." It is crucial to point out that Papias refers to the Hebrew dialect, and not the Hebrew language. The Hebrew dialect of the time was Aramaic.

Papias' contention is reinforced in Book V, Chapter 10 of his work, which discusses an Egyptian father named Pataneus who lived in the second century.The section provides: Pataneus went as far as India, where he appears to have found that Matthew's Gospel had arrived before him and was in the hands of some there who had come to know Christ. Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them and had left behind Matthew's account in the actual Aramaic characters, and it was preserved till the time of Pantaenus's mission.

The words "gowra" (Matt 1:16) and "baa'la" (Matthew 1:19) can both mean man or husband. Gowra, however, also means father (it is derived from a root word meaning strong one or protector). The question becomes, "Why would the author call the same Joseph a "gowra" in Matt: 1:6, and a "baa'la" in Matt: 1:9? The obvious answer is the author was speaking of two different men.

Oh...In addition, to throwing at us the "Jesus has two fathers" nonsense, they also attempt to toss in "the curse of Jeconiah" that supposedly negates "Jesus" ... Please see our article refuting this!

The problem with the argument is that since even the rabbis agree that the Messiah (whom they say is yet to come) must be of the bloodline of Solomon, if they argue Shealtiel and Zerubbabel disqualify any progenitor, then there can't be a Messiah! Period! So there must be a reason why the curses on Shealtiel and Zerubbabel don't affect the outcome. And there is...

Let's look at the actual curse:

"As I live" says the Lord, "even if you Coniah (meaning Jehoiachin; Coniah and Jeconiah are his cursed names) the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a signet upon My right hand, I would tear you off. And I will give you to the hand of those who seek your life, and to the hand of those whose face you fear, to the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and to the hand of the Chaldeans. And I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, to another country, where you were not born; and there shall you die. But to the land to which they desire to return, there shall they not return. Is this man Coniah a despised broken vessel? An object that no one cares for? Why are they cast out, he and his seed, and banished to a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord." Thus says the Lord: "Inscribe this man childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah."(Jeremiah 22:24-30)

What are the conditions listed in the curse?

Signet is removed as a sign of authority being taken away (he is no longer King of Judah).

His name is changed.

He will be childless.

He would not prosper in his days.

None of his offspring will prosper.

None of his offspring would sit on the throne.

None of his offspring would rule in Judah.

To evaluate the curse placed on Jeconiah, we must consider the different renditions of his name throughout the text. That is, cursed names are derogatory, by reversal and by shortening. Righteous men in the Tanach commonly have their names lengthened. The first time Jeconiah is mentioned is in the book of Kings which deals with his ascension while he was still righteous. His birth name is used in these verses (Jehoachin). (2nd Kings 24:6, 24:8, 24:12) In 24:15 the curse begins, and it is the last time we see this king's name mentioned or called by his birth name.

Moving forward, while the book of Kings speaks about this king using his birth name, the book of Jeremiah uses the shortened form of his name - Coniah. Jeremiah isn't discussing his ascension to the throne, he is discussing his exile. In these verses, which speak of the curse, the shortened forms of his name are used.

As we read in Jeremiah, the prophet never once calls him by his birth name except once - at the very end of his prophecy. The Torah tells us that we have a choice. A choice is given between life and death, good and evil. Hashem begs us to choose life. We see throughout the books of the Tanach that a negative prophecy can always be reversed through repentance.

The book of Jonah is the best example of this, where a cursed city repents after hearing the negative prophecy spoken against it. The curse is removed, not because God changed his mind, but rather because Ninveh chooses life. God puts the choice in front of us. A prophecy of good will not come to pass if those to whom it was given perform wickedly. God keeps his promises; He promised if we chose life, it will be good with us in our days.

Jeconiah languished in a dungeon in Babylon all the days of Nebuchadnezzer. He was imprisoned for 37 years. However, Jeconiah repented during that time according to Tanach, and according to the Jewish sages:

"And it came to pass in the thirty seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin King of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the twenty fifth day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin King of Judah, and brought him out of prison, and spoke kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings who were with him in Babylon, and changed his prison garments; and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life. And for his allowance, there was a continual allowance given him by the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life." (Jeremiah 52:31-34.)

Jeremiah restored his birth name. No longer is the cursed name used as in every other chapter of Jeremiah. Jehoiachin is forgiven. Let's examine those conditions of the curse discussed earlier to see if they still apply:

1.  REVERSED - He is once again called King of Judah, and his throne is set above the kings of all the other kings in the Empire. The signet ring is restored to his grandson upon return to the land of Israel. (Haggai 2:23)

2.  REVERSED - His name is restored to Jehoiachin.

3.  REVERSED - He does in fact have children. (1 Chronicles 3:16-17) His son's name is Shealtiel. Shealtiel means, "I asked of God." Jewish sages understand that Jehoiachin asked God to forgive him while in prison and that God indicated his forgiveness by annulling his curse and giving him sons. The Jewish sages also suggest that Zerubavel, his grandson, will be the progenitor of the Messiah.

4.  REVERSED - It is evident from 2nd Kings 25 and Jeremiah 52 that he did in fact prosper in his days.

5.  REVERSED - See No. 7.

6.  REVERSED - See No. 7.

7.  REVERSED - His grandson Zerubavel did in fact rule in Judah, and did prosper, and did sit on a throne, as is clear in the book of Zechariah. Zerubavel returned to Judah, and the captives who returned with him appointed him leader. Do you think that such great sages and prophets as Ezra, Zechariah, Haggai, and Daniel would forget about this curse and appoint a person who could never rule in Judah?

Jewish anti-missionaries and those who have rejected "Jesus" will go to any lengths to "disprove" Yeshua as Messiah. They attack everything from Yeshua's genealogy to the virgin birth and whatever else the can think of.

Here is one more example:

A friend of The Refiner's Fire, Stephen Otto responded to some of Rabbi Singer's assertions thusly.  Otto wrote the following on his Facebook blog, "Let's Get Scriptural”:  

On March 20, 2014  Rabbi Tovia Singer, an anti-missionary, addressed New Testament "contradictions" on Truth 2U Radio with Jono Vandor. Singer stated, "John has Jesus crucified the day before the synoptics do. There is just no way out of that. And no one has addressed it because it is unaddressable."

What Mr. Singer is saying is that John has Yeshua crucified on Passover (John 19:31), while Matthew, Mark, and Luke have Him crucified on the first day of Unleavened Bread. Mr, Singer's claim that this contradiction is unaddressable seems to be disingenuous, for the Jews themselves provide the answer to this claim! The Encyclopaedia Judaica states, "The Feast of the Passover consists of two parts: The Passover ceremony and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed separately; but at the beginning of the [Babylonian] exile they were combined," Vol. 13, p. 169.

It is undeniable that this practice continued into the New Testament times. Notice the following Scriptures:

Matthew 26:17 states, Luke 22:1,"Now, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, drew near."

Mark 14:1 states, "The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were two days away...."

Mark 14:12 states, "On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover, His disciples asked Him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare that You may eat the Passover?”

Luke 22:1 states, "Now, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, drew near."

Luke 22:7 states, "Then, the day of Unleavened Bread came, on which the Passover must be sacrificed."

If Mr. Singer is so uninformed about the details of his own faith, why would we believe him regarding the details of our faith?

A note to those thinking of rejecting Yeshua

Many who have found their way to Torah end up coming to the conclusion that "they were duped in church" because church didn't teach them about Torah, and therefore, the whole New Testament MUST be a myth!  People, THINK!  Just because you finally realized there's more to God and the Bible, it does not mean you should lose your mind entirely and decide to reject Yeshua! There is plenty of evidence FOR Yeshua in the "Old Testament" (i.e., Isaiah 53 and the Feasts). Don't be fooled by the "cool sounding revelations" presented by the rabbis or some smooth-talking former Christian/former Messianic radio host who has rejected Yeshua and now spends their every waking hour trying to "debunk Jesus" and the NT! 

If you are a believer in YHWH/Yeshua/Torah, you HAVE found the WHOLE Truth! Don't allow someone to twist your thought processes and sow seeds of doubt into YHWH's Truth! Anyone who honestly believes that Yeshua did NOT martyr Himself (against which there is NO law!) to redeem you, and who believes that prayer and repentance is ALL that is required for a proper relationship with God, needs to re-read the ENTIRE BIBLE, unceasingly begging God for HIS understanding!  When you decide to reject Yeshua and turn to traditional Judaism, you are merely exchanging one RELIGION for another!

Here is a perfect example of someone who thinks they now know "The Truth." The things this person wrote indicate they NEVER understood the Bible, in the first place....They're out there, "religion hopping" and allowing themselves to be pulled into what sounds to them like "sound doctrine."

Comments from a Yeshua-Denier:

- In the past, no amount of words [sic] would convince me that Jesus / Yeshua was not the Messiah. That was until I was completely honest with myself and realized that the NT is merely a Greek (many gods) addition to the completed Hebrew Tanakh (Singular God).

(Our comment: Even with the erroneous "trinity" concept pushed by many churches, someone who has READ and UNDERSTOOD the Bible would know for a fact that the NT does NOT promote "many gods!")

Deu 4:2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHVH your God that I command you.

– The fact that so many Christians / Messianics place so much energy into defending Jesus / Yeshua instead of our Maker, His Torah, and His people, illustrates that they are worshiping another god whether they profess Jesus / Yeshua is god our not.

(Our comment: Ironically, Messiah-Deniers like this love to make these finger-pointing statements, yet they see nothing wrong with certain rabbis and radio hosts spending enormous amounts of time and energy into DEBUNKING "Jesus" - the One who died for them! Isaiah 53:1 reveals that Messiah is an ARM of YHWH, which makes Him ONE with the Father, not some separate "god." But the Jews have twisted Isaiah 53 into being all about Israel. And people are falling for that nonsense...)

Exo 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

– I believe that when the Messiah comes a book or books would not have to be written about him, the entire world would no [sic] without a doubt that he has come, as the services for the Kingdom of our Maker will be in place.

(Our comment: Unfortunately, because you have rejected YHWH's Messiah, you won't be able to recognize Him when He returns! You have blasphemed the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29) and are now on your own....And oh, by the way, your comment could also refer to YHWH, our ELOHIM. Why did He cause Moshe to write the Torah? By your logic, shouldn't we "just know" about God? Why is there ANYTHING written about Him? Hmmmmm.....)

Jer 33:17,18 “For thus says YHVH: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”

(Our comment:  Hebrews 6:4. But they who have once descended to immersion and have tasted the gift from heaven and have received the Ruach haKodesh  5. and have tasted the good Word of Elohim and the power of the world to come,  6. cannot again sin and a second time be renewed to repentance; or a second time execute him on a stake and insult the Son of Elohim. (AENT))

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The age of nonsense...

I can't tell you how many "tweets" and e-mails have come to The Refiner's Fire in recent days because so many have heard of the "total solar eclipse" which will happen on March 20th, and then a "total lunar eclipse", a "dreaded blood moon", will happen on the 4th of April, and they regurgitate Acts 2:19-20 as if these "heavenly" events must mean something.  Oh my! Gloom and doom!


Never mind that the total solar eclipse will be seen by practically no one on earth, except those who happen to be in the far, far northern latitudes of the earth, especially along the Faroe Islands and Svalbard (Norway).  No one in Israel will even know the eclipse has happened unless they specifically knew to look for the PARTIAL eclipse, and no one else on earth will know it happened except for the news media.  Some sign.

And the total lunar eclipse will only be seen in its full extent if you live in the Pacific ocean, or in Eastern Australia, or Alaska, Hawaii, or the Russian Kamchatka.  Some sign.

Call me cynical, but in my mind, a "sign" of Acts 2 is going to at least be seen in Israel!  Acts 2:17-20 says:

"Elohim said, In later days it will be (that) I will pour out my Ruach upon all flesh, and your sons will prophesy and your daughters and your young men will see visions, and your elders will dream dreams.   And upon my servants and upon handmaids I will pour out my Ruach in those days.  And they will prophesy.  And I will cause signs in heaven and mighty deeds upon the earth: blood, and fire, and columns of smoke,  the sun will be changed into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of Master YHWH.  And it will be (that) all who call (on) the name of Master YHWH will be saved." (AENT)

These verses are not talking about a single solar eclipse, visible only above 77 degrees North latitude, or a single lunar eclipse not visible to Israel AT ALL! This prophecy is of an amazing time, when the sun is darkened and the moon turned to blood FOR THE WHOLE WORLD!

And I hate to break it to you but a lunar eclipse is NOT a "blood moon" no matter how much hype Mark Biltz and John Hagee make of them to sell their books!  A total lunar eclipse is only called a "blood moon" by the popular media and ONLY because of the hype of same!  A lunar eclipse can be any shade of red from a bright peach, to a very dark, hard to see "rust". But no one in history has ever described all total lunar eclipses as "blood moons" until the present brain-dead generation!

A lunar eclipse is not a "blood moon"!  Get over it!  A lunar eclipse is a lunar eclipse and that is all!  And the fact that we can see a lunar eclipse and that this current series of four successive lunar eclipses over 2 years are each "total", MEANS NOTHING!   The prophecies of Acts and Daniel will be extraordinary events, not routine lunar and solar eclipses, and especially lunar and solar eclipses which will not even be visible to Israel!

Anyway, you should be paying attention to that last verse, and not to the solar eclipse you won't see or the lunar eclipse you will not know happened because you were asleep.

Good grief.  People will believe any piece of hype....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Let's talk about the "Day"

The idea that the "day" should be counted at sunset as in the Hebrew calendar is considered by some as "preposterous" on two basic grounds:  First, they don't "buy" the argument that in Genesis 1, where it refers to "thus it was evening and morning, 1 day" to imply the solar "day" should end and begin at sunset, that is, the idea that darkness is first followed by daylight is just not palatable to them; and second, some argue that the day ending at sunset is a is only a "Babylonian" influence, thus -pagan - and should hold no merit.
Let's discuss this a bit.

It is certainly true that the Bible does not actually "say" that the day ends and begins at sunset.  (Neither does the Bible say you must "sight a crescent moon" for the beginning of the month, or that "you have to wait for the abib barley for the 1st month" - but these are not our present topic.)  And granted,  history does seem to confirm that the Hebrew calendar was probably influenced by Babylonian thinking at least in the period of Jewish exile in the 6th century BCE.  Indeed, the Babylonian calendar was a luni-solar calendar, as is the Hebrew calendar, and the names of the months in today's Hebrew calendar, for example, can be linked to Babylonian names.  But ancient ties to the Babylonian calendar is no reason to argue against the authority of Hebrew calendar by citing a "pagan origin" any more than we should deny the authority of our modern Gregorian calendar because of its ancient ties to the Roman empire!  After all, some of the month names in our modern calendar are named after Roman emperors!  For example, Quintilis was renamed as "Iulius" (July) in honor of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, and Sextilis was renamed "Augustus" (August) in 8 BC!  Yet, no one is running around denying the authority of the Gregorian calendar! 

So let's stop looking at the sketchy history and just look at the "visual" or "observable" facts that give us a calendar.  After all, everyone worldwide sees sunrise and sunset, sees the moon throughout the month, and can see the motion of both the sun and the moon against the background of stars.  So it seems reasonable that everyone on earth, if faced with developing a calendar from scratch, all have the same original observables and no "outside" influence is needed!  The only problem comes in how those observations are interpreted.  The Babylonians clearly thought their "gods" influenced the sun, moon and stars, therefore there's a lot of "deity" and pagan influence in their calendar!  But if you separate the "deity" and "myth" influence from the sun, moon, and stars, we all have the same tools - the same observables with which to derive a calendar.

The 24-hour "day"
While the topic at hand is to discuss why or how it is that the Hebrew calendar day ends and begins at sunset, we find few arguing that our modern Gregorian calendar day which begins, oddly, at midnight should be questioned! Have you ever wondered what AM and PM mean in reference to clock time?  Just before midnight the time is called 11:59:59 PM, then all the sudden it is 12:00:01 AM.  Similarly, 11:59:59 AM just before noon all the sudden becomes 12:01:01 PM.  What does this mean?

It comes from ancient Rome!  When the sun rose each day making its way across the sky, every day it crossed a point in the sky exactly between the eastern horizon and the western horizon. The sun was, for a moment, exactly on the "middle line" between the east and west, that is, on the "meridian".  The meridian is the imaginary line running through the sky from due north to straight south which naturally divides the east from the west.  So when the sun was "on" the meridian, it was unquestionably mid-day.  The sun on the meridian therefore represents mid-day. If the sun had not yet reached mid-day the sun was said to be ante-meridian meaning before the meridian.  Similarly, when the sun had moved past mid-day it was said to be post-meridian meaning after the meridian. This is where "AM" and "PM" comes from!  Therefore the time of day was referred to in ancient Rome as the position of the sun "before or after meridian".   In those days "3 AM" meant the sun was "3 hours before mid-day", but now, in our day, "3 AM" means it is "3 hours after midnight" and "2 PM" means it is two hours after noon. 

Without going into detail, perhaps now you understand why midnight became the time when our modern calendar increments the date.  If mid-day is noon, from its Roman origins, then it follows that mid-night must be simultaneously the end of the old day, and the beginning of the new day.  Thus the date "naturally" changes at midnight because mid-day was identified as the "middle" of the day! 

But think about this a minute.  Even if you decide that noon is the exact middle of the whole day, if you did not have a clock by which you could tell when it was "midnight", how would you have any idea when the time of midnight came?  You wouldn't!  All you can do, which is the same thing man has been able to do from the beginning of humanity, is watch the visible signs!  And until clocks came along, there were no good* "signs" of midnight!  Without clocks, the only visible sign of "what time is it" are these:  sunrise, sunset, and mid-day.  Truly, think about this.  If you did not have any knowledge of a "clock" to show you the "time of day", then you'd have absolutely no idea in what part of the night "midnight" actually happened.  If midnight marks the change of date but you don't know when midnight is, then you don't know when the date changed!  Thus, if you were establishing "when" your day should end and begin, you would not "choose" midnight as the determinant! 

(*Truth be had, one can use the stars to tell the time of midnight, but since the stars move across the sky, moving "ahead" at the same time each night roughly 4 minutes per day, you need to be a pretty astute observer to use the stars for telling time and thus discern midnight. So technically the stars do provide a sign of midnight, but not a good one for common use.)

So it is not "natural" to conclude the "date changes at midnight".  Without a clock, you really have no idea when midnight happened, so by using the available visual signs, you'd never "choose" to have the day-count change at midnight.  That leaves only sunrise, sunset, or possibly "mid-day" as the potential "observables" to decide when the day should change.  What do we do next?

Let's whittle it down! 

Let's next take mid-day as the potential "event" when the day count would change in our calendar and rule it out.  It does not work for the following two reasons:  First, the "moment" when the sun crosses the local meridian is not directly observable, that is, without some sort of instrument it is very hard to tell the moment when that happens.  So we are left again with the need for a clock or a fixed gnomon to tell when "mid-day", or "noon", happens and we are trying to comprehend this in an era when clocks did not exist.  Second, even if we "solve the problem" of knowing when the sun has reached the meridian, thus making "the moment" known, it would be very awkward, in any society, ancient or present, to change the "date" at that moment!  Think about that for a minute!  If we changed the date at what we know today as "noon", it would wreak havoc!  So we can eliminate mid-day, or "noon" as a candidate for when our calendar date should change.  A society simply would not do that.

That leaves only sunrise or sunset.  We have ample evidence that several ancient societies have sided with one or the other.  Some would call "sunrise" the new day, while some would call "sunset" the new day.  The reason sunrise is chosen in some societies is beyond the scope of this article, but usually, a "deity" or myth enters into the decision.  Ignoring such outside influence, what could be the difference between sunrise and sunset which might help us understand which might be the "right" choice, and to understand the Hebrew calendar without "dismissing" it as of "pagan origin"? 

The simple answer is found by continuing our look at the visual signs.

We must now look at the nature and the meaning of the "month".  Again, without going into much detail, the very origin of the word month is from the time it takes the moon to complete one cycle of its circuit around the earth.  There is no question about this.  By simply watching the moon, day after day, year after year, you will unavoidably conclude that the moon returns to the same measurable phase in almost exactly 29.5 days.  This is why any calendar which uses the moon to define the "month" will alternate months between 29 and 30 days in length as the natural way to handle the month as "whole days".  And please note that all I am talking about are the visual sign of the month, available to anyone worldwide, and it has nothing to do with "gods" or constellations, or "condition of green crops", or any "pagan" meaning.  Simply look up, watch the moon, and your "month" must be 29 or 30 days.  It can't be avoided.  

Now, match the moon observations to the position of the sun compared to the background stars, and your "year" must be "12 months" because you will find that you see the moon renew itself 12 times each solar year.  (The only problem you must deal with is that you would find the 12th month always ends "too early", that is, as the twelfth month ends there are still several days left before the year ends!  You "balance" this problem by noting that you must "add" a 13th month once and a while to keep the sun, moon, and stars "in-sync".  Explaining the need for and repetition of the 13th intercalary month is beyond the scope of this discussion).  No "gods" or "pagan" festivals are needed to discover there are 12 months in the typical year, with a 13th month added every once and a while.

So now that we understand the month, let's zero-in on which is the proper visual sign to determine if the new day should be at sunrise or sunset.

If you have digested that all you need to do is watch the moon to determine the month, and you actually started watching the moon, you would quickly realize that the moon is always visible sometime during the day or night with one exception.  That exception is that period of the month when the moon is very near the sun and is thus not visible, but is instead considered "in darkness".  Of course "in darkness" is only a figure of speech.  The only reason you can't still see the moon at that time is simply because it is too close to the sun and the sun is too bright!  So the moon is actually "bathed in light", but you can see why it is considered "in darkness", after all, you can't see it!  Nevertheless, that time when the moon is no longer visible, it turns out, is a quite natural discriminator of when the month can be said to have ended and the new month has begun. 

You see, just as the Romans came to realize that the sun, at "mid-day" could be viewed as the exact 1/2 way point of the whole day and thus, "mid-night" defines the end and beginning of the day, the same observation is seen in the moon!  Full Moon is the very visible, very obvious, very clear middle of the month, and that time when the moon is "in darkness" is the equivalent of "mid-night" for the sun, so very obviously, the time of  the moon's "darkness", i.e., conjunction, MUST be when the month is both ending and being renewed! The new month ends and begins at conjunction!  The moon itself says so!

It actually makes complete sense!  Full moon is the middle of the moon's month, and conjunction is clearly the end and renewal of the moon's month.  Many say that conjunction can't be used as the "sign" because it is not a "visible sign", insisting that a "sign" must be visible!  In general, yes, a "sign" is something that you would expect to be visible, but in the case of the moon, its very absence is a powerful and obvious sign by the fact that it is NOT visible at that time!  You may need to think hard about this!  Remember, the moon is always visible sometime throughout each day, even if you must find it in the daylight, unless it is in the period of conjunction, thus the missing moon is the sign!

The argument against using conjunction as the time of the moon's renewal continues by saying "you can't know when conjunction happens".  Honestly, the only people saying that are simply parroting what they've read or been told because all it takes to know when conjunction happened is to simply watch the moon and learn its signs!  The moon tells you when it will be in conjunction. That phase called "conjunction", can be estimated pretty accurately by simply watching and recording when it is last seen and when it reappears and building knowledge month after month of what the moon shows you as the old month is ending.  Also, you don't need to know the exact time of conjunction, rather, all you need to know is on what day conjunction happened.  A skilled observer can look at the last crescent moon of the old month and tell you, without error, on which day conjunction will be!  After conjunction, the moon itself is obviously "renewed", and now all you have to to is assign the correct "day" to your calendar.

But we are still working to decide which is the correct "event" to demark the "day", i.e., sunrise or sunset.  There is one more key observation to make.  Can you guess when the "renewed moon" first becomes visible?

The renewed moon is first visible at sunset!  In fact, it is impossible to see the renewed moon at sunrise for a number of reasons.  Therefore, it becomes a natural consequence of simply watching the sun, moon, and stars that you will make sunset the beginning of the new day since it is the ONLY time when an observation of the sun and the moon can be used to "mark" the same point in time - new day, new month!  You can use the moon itself to confirm that the new month has begun, and you "confirm" that at sunset! (Don't get ahead of me - I am not talking about "sighting the new crescent".)

Though the moment of conjunction is in darkness and we agree you can't see it, you can know when it happened because, after all, you've been carefully watching the moon every day for centuries, and you can know which sunset after conjunction will be the "1st" sunset of the renewed moon.  Since your current calendar month is ending with either the 29th or the 30th day (remember, you knew from the last, old crescent you saw if the current month needed a 30th day), that sunset after conjunction is the natural "right time" to watch for the sign of the renewed moon which will confirm the month.

So you watch at sunset at the end of the last day of the month, and watch for the new moon to reappear to confirm your calendar is correct.  If you don't see the new crescent moon, at that last sunset of the current month, no problem, because you know - from centuries of observation - that sometimes the tiny crescent is "too new", too small, too faint to be visible as the sun sets on the last day of the old month and the new month begins.  Nevertheless, if the crescent is not visible that sunset, the new crescent WILL be visible the next sunset as the 1st day of the new month ends.  Thus, seeing the new crescent only confirms the new month!  And, the size, shape and altitude of the new crescent at sunset when you do see it, reveals its "age", and you have validated your calendar!

If, on the other hand, you have decided to use sunrise as the demark of the calendar day, since it is impossible to see the new crescent moon as the sun rises, there is no "measure" for you to use to validate your calendar!  How can the moon's reappearance at sunset (since you can't see the new moon at sunrise) mark the new month, when your "day" by a sunrise-day is already 1/2 over when you get your first chance to confirm if the moon has declared the new month?  Using sunrise to mark the new day forces you to require some other mechanism to determine the month, but there is no other observable to provide any information about the month except the moon!  Thus, you should now understand that in a lunar-solar calendar, sunrise is not a natural or wise choice to demark the day.
Our modern, civil calendar ignores the moon altogether, and the day is determined by neither sunset nor sunrise but by midnight as measured by a clock, and the months have a fixed number of days as determined long ago by the Roman emperors.  None of our modern timekeeping alters the fact that when there were no clocks, and no Romans, the sun, moon and stars naturally divided the calendar into the day kept by the sun and months kept by the moon.  And together, the moon and sun provided the natural choice of sunset as the demark of the day. 

And notice how that does match Genesis 1.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Falling for Nonsense

For the coming of that (Evil One) is the working of haSatan with all power and signs and lying wonders 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.  Therefore Elohim will send upon them the strength of a deception that they may believe a lie; and that they all may be condemned who believe not the truth but have pleasure in iniquity. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 AENT)
There is an old saying "People will believe what they want to believe".  I have come to the conclusion that, while recognizing this will offend many, a more correct way of saying this is "People are not smart enough to determine what to believe." 

Example:  During the winter of 2013-2014 there was a flurry (no pun intended) of "news" stories about "fake snow" across the east and southeast United States.  People were demonstrating in YouTube videos they could pick up a handful of freshly fallen snow, and holding the flame from a cigarette lighter against the snow, they would observe "no melting" and the unmelted snow would turn black!  Thus many concluded the "evil" government was somehow dumping "fake snow" from "chemtrails" all over us for who knows what diabolical reason!  Even more YouTube videos appeared "proving" that the government was behind it!
I was on FaceBook at that time, and I tried, in vain, to explain the physics of this nonsense, how the dirty flame of the cigarette lighter itself was leaving the "black soot" on the still frozen ice (as it would on any object if the object itself did not yet reach the temperature to melt or combust), and how any melting from the heat of the flame produced water which was simply being "wicked" into the handful of snow explaining why the snow gave the appearance of "not melting". (I have since, thankfully, left the cesspool called "FaceBook".)

But instead of being thanked for the sound explanation, I was, more often than not, verbally attacked for clearly I was the one who did not know what I was talking about, and that they KNEW the government was behind it!

People will believe what they want to believe. Yet the "fake snow" thing is a perfectly good example of my version:  "People are not smart enough to determine what to believe."  Honestly, those who believed in the "fake snow" mania simply were not smart enough to properly assess the problem, and determine the ruse. 

Which brings me to the reason I am writing this blog about "falling for nonsense"

This week, the first week in March, 2015, brought Israel  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US to speak to the US Congress on the dangers of a nuclear Iran.  Wouldn't you know it, in the week or two before Netanyahu's speech, the former "World Net Daily", now simply called WND.COM posted a sensational article called "Last days? Heavenly signs abound during Netanyahu speech" which was promptly picked up by all the other content-farm websites all over the world.

The premise of the article is that because the speech was being given at a time when solar and lunar eclipses are happening on the Jewish High Holy Days, we must all be leery and fearful of an impending "judgment".  

The article specifically cited the "total solar eclipse of March 20" and the "blood moon" of April 3rd as "signs" of the sure judgment ahead!  Of course, the sensationalized article had to quote Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries because, after all, he is the world's foremost expert on these "heavenly signs" since he wrote a book about it!  The article was careful to state that "Biltz points out that the Bible says in Genesis that the sun, moon and stars were created specifically as signs for mankind"!  Well!  Guess we should watch for these signs!  After all, Mark Biltz said an eclipse, even one few will see, and no one in Israel will see, must be a sign!

To see the March 20 total solar eclipse, you will need to be on the far northern Norwegian archipelago of  Svalbard because nowhere else on earth will see the total eclipse from land.  It will be seen as a partial eclipse in Europe, but completely invisible unless you know of it and have made an effort to view it safely.  And to see the April 4th total Lunar Eclipse you will need to be in anywhere in the Pacific Ocean to see the whole eclipse, but don't plan on being in the Holy Land or anywhere in Europe or Africa because there will be no evidence whatsoever there that an eclipse even happened! 

Which brings me to my point.

The current series of eclipses mean nothing.  When God said in Genesis 1:14 that the sun and the moon and stars were for "for signs, seasons, days and years", He most certainly did not mean the "sign" would only be visible only to the far northern Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard to have any meaning, and He certainly did not mean that a lunar eclipse visible only in the Pacific Ocean area and not at all to His Israel would have any significance.  Astronomical signs would be, should be, visible from the Land to have any significance.  Come on! In Biblical times, if an eclipse was not visible to the land of Israel, as far as they were concerned, it simply did not happen!  It does not matter now that we are in an "age" where regardless of where these events are visible, we know about them and they must have some meaning to Israel!

I'm happy Mark Biltz and John Hagee have books about the eclipses, and I'm happy they have opinions that the eclipses might mean something.  I'm only sorry for those people who buy and read these books and conclude there is any merit to what they say since most simply do not have the knowledge to discern the nonsense from the facts.  It does not take a series of eclipses not visible from the Holy Land for us to conclude that we are, indeed, seeing "end times" events come to pass.  But God's timing is God's timing, and it is not up to us to sensationalize and prophesy about things which we truly are not privy. 

The only thing we, as individuals CAN do, is get ourselves right with God.  Blood moons or no blood moons, if you really want to get ready in these end times, you might want to read instead "War in Heaven!: Surviving the End Times".

By the way, the September 13, 2015 Solar Eclipse will be visible only from the southern tip of Africa and parts of Antarctica; and the September 27/28 final Total Lunar Eclipse of the current tetrad will be visible from the Atlantic and the lands surrounding the Atlantic, while Israel will see the eclipse begin, then the sun rises soon after the moon has gone into totality and the moon sets while still eclipsed.

For grins, here are some other good quotes about the state of man:

“Humans see what they want to see.” - Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.” - Thomas A. Edison

“People are stupid. They will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true.” - Terry Goodkind, Wizard's First Rule

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” - Benjamin Franklin