Sunday, September 30, 2018

Let’s discuss Romans 3:31

I was 44 years old and a "baby Christian" in a Baptist church, reading my way through the Bible for the first time ever, when I figured out that "something felt off" – partly, because my pastor kept sending me to the writings of Paul whenever I had questions. As you know, Paul seems to negate what God commanded and what Yeshua taught - even though, in all honesty, he NEVER negated anything; as a mere man, he didn’t have the right….

Anyway, everything changed for me the day I “happened upon” Romans 3:31. My pastor had recommended the NIV, and it was there I saw this … see if you can pick up on what it was that caught my eye:

Romans 3:31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

“We establish the Law.” We ESTABLISH the law! Did we nullify it? NO! May it never be!

It was right there, before my very eyes: God's "law" (which I eventually learned were His Divine Instructions in Righteousness, without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living, 1 John 3:4) still stands – and it pertains to everyone (EVERYONE!) who accepts YHWH as their God!

Well, so I asked my pastor, if it’s true that if the law was “established”, then why weren’t WE doing the Seventh Day Sabbath and the Feasts? His answer, as always: “That was only for the Jews. Everything changed after Jesus died.”

“Everything changed after Jesus died?” Why would God’s Divine Instructions to mankind be changed? Were they BAD instructions? Hmmm, they must have been because the pastor reminded me that that the law was a curse (Galatians 3:10)….

NO! SOMETHING WAS WRONG with the church teachings!

There I was, less than a year in a church, plagued by the gnawing feeling that “something was wrong – but what?” I clearly wasn’t going to find the answer by asking my pastor with his endless "Paul said" ideas, and so I decided to do my own research. What I found was, no matter which Bible version I checked, they ALL said that Torah (erroneously translated as "law") was NEVER nullified, negated, or abolished....


Romans 3: 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid*: yea, we establish the law. (KJV)

Romans 3: 31 Does it follow that we abolish Torah by this trusting? Heaven forbid! On the contrary, we confirm Torah. (CJB)

Romans 3:31 Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah. (ISR)

So - we ESTABLISH, CONFIRM Torah! Yet, somehow, my pastor and everyone I knew back then, believed Torah didn’t pertain to them; never mind that “God never changes” (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17) and that He has the same rules for ALL who accept Him (Numbers 15:13-16).

Through diligent study I learned that Torah was never meant to be “just for the Jews”; it was never something we were to "read" or "know" about and simply ignore as we made our way through the Bible. Its reason for existing has always been for ALL God's people to do what? To sh'ma - hear AND do; and to pass His Divine Instructions along to the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Numbers 15:13-16)!

Therefore, I surmised while I was still a “baby Christian,” that the death of Jesus could NOT have abolished Torah! His death abolished the need for mankind to kill innocent animals to atone for sin, period! (See Leviticus 17:11; 1 Peter2:24; and Revelation 5:12. And for those who insist “God never demanded human sacrifice,” note that Yeshua wasn’t “sacrificed”; he martyred himself, against which there is law. In biblical times, the Levite Priests atoned for sins: Exodus 28:36-38; Leviticus 6:25-27; and Leviticus 10:16-17.)

The pshat (plain meaning) along with simple Bible hermeneutics reveal that Torah rules have always been for ANYONE who accepts YHWH as their ELOHIM! Think about it: Adam and Eve weren’t Jews, and neither were Cain and Abel who made offerings to YHWH in Genesis 4. Noah wasn’t a Jew, and neither were our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There were no Jews until Jacob had a son named Yehudah (Judah, where the term “Jew” originated), whose offspring became the Tribe of Judah….

Yes, God commissioned the Tribe of Judah to safeguard and preserve the Torah when the tribes were scattered into the nations for their endless disobedience (Genesis 49:10, Micah 4:2); but “safeguarding” His Torah never meant that it was “just for the Jews!” And, let's not forget that YHWH caused Yeshua, His Divine Messiah – the Word, the living Torah, the branch, the arm (John 1:1, 14; Isaiah 11:1, 10; Isaiah 53:1-1; Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15; Zecheriah 3:8, 6:12) - to be born into the Tribe of Judah!

So … it was a really GOOD thing that I had a brain; a brain that told me “something was wrong” with my church’s teachings, which caused me to dig into Scripture like never before. Still, it took three and a half years before I found the answers to ALL my questions. This happened when YHWH caused me to end up in a Messianic Torah study where I discovered that what was missing in church was Torah – the “law” that the church had misunderstood to be a “curse” (which I will turn into a whole ‘nuther teaching)….

I didn’t mean to make this so long, but having said the above, I leave you with this passage to ponder, not through “Greek church eyes” but through Yeshua’s Hebrew mindset:

Romans 10: 4. For Mashiyach is the goal of Torah for righteousness to everyone that believes in him. 5. For Moshe describes the righteousness which is by Torah, this way: Whoever will do these things will live by them. 6. But the righteousness which is by faith, says thus: You will not say in your heart, Who ascends to heaven and brings Mashiyach down? 7. Or, Who descends to the abyss of Sheol and brings up Mashiyach from the house of the dead?

8. But what says it? The thing is near to your mouth and to your heart: that is, the Word of Faith which we declare. 9. And if you will confess with your mouth our Master Y’shua, and will believe with your heart that Elohim has raised him from the dead, you will live. 10. For the heart that believes in him is made righteous; and the mouth that confess him is restored to life.

11. For the Scripture says: Everyone that believes in him will not be ashamed. 12. And in this, it discriminates neither Jews nor Gentiles. For there is one, Master YHWH, over them all, who is abundantly generous towards every one that calls on him. 13. For everyone that will call on the name of Master YHWH, will have life. 14. How then will they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or, how will they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? Or, how will they hear without a preacher? (AENT)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Shabbat readings until the end of Sukkot

Shabbat shalom in this middle of Sukkot.  There is no regular Torah portion this week; however, the readings for Sukkot include the following:

For the weekly Shabbat on Saturday, read  Exodus 33:12-34:26, Ezekiel 38:18-39:16, John 7:1-36

Next Tuesday, October 2 is the final High Shabbat of Sukkot (do no work). Read the following passages:

Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17, Num 29:35-30:1, 1 Kings 8:54-66; Parsha 54 (VeZot HaBrachah Torah): Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12; Haftarah: Joshua 1:1-18; Gospels and Emissaries: John 7:37-52 and Matthew 5:1-20; The Major Testimonies: Yehudah 1:8-9.


Democrats and liberals today….


Sheep’s clothing not required anymore…..


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sukkot is on the horizon!

Did you know that our Messiah was NOT born on December 25th? It's true! Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which falls in the September/October time frame on our Gregorian calendars, and circumcised on the 8th day. (The first and last days of Sukkot are High Holy Days.)

As a matter of fact, my husband discovered some time ago that the day of Yeshua's birth was 15 Tishri (September 13th (Gregorian proleptic)), 5 BCE, under the "sign" of a total lunar eclipse. For questions, you can either ask them here, or contact Bill at

This year, Sukkot starts at sunset on September 24; and the last day is October 2. For more, please check out our indepth article.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Moshe's fate - a warning that obedience and remembering WHO is in charge is the key to pleasing our Creator


Deuteronomy 32: 49 "Go up into the 'Avarim Range, to Mount N'vo, in the land of Mo'av across from Yericho; and look out over the land of Kena'an, which I am giving the people of Isra'el as a possession.

50 On the mountain you are ascending you will die and be gathered to your people, just as Aharon your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people.

51 The reason for this is that both of you broke faith with me there among the people of Isra'el at the M'rivat-Kadesh Spring, in the Tzin Desert; you failed to demonstrate my holiness there among the people of Isra'el. 52 So you will see the land from a distance, but you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Isra'el." (CJB)

I always cry when we read Deuteronomy 32, because in it, we see Moshe - the holiest man on earth at the time - being told, after everything he did for YHWH, he would die there and not get to see the Promised Land, because he was guilty of "failing to demonstrate my holiness among the people of Israel"...

What this shows me is that our ELOHIM is NOT kidding around when it comes to obedience; that this "prayer and repentance is all that God requires" and "we're under grace" stuff that many exclaim is NOT what Scripture teaches! For some reason today, both Jews and Christians alike are under the erroneous impression that God is this loving, forgiving entity who doesn't really mind that we humans tend to sin, even when we know better.

WRONG! The entire Torah is replete with examples of people who lost their life due to willful disobedience! Those who broke the Shabbat were stoned to death (Numbers 15: 32-36). The earth swallowed up Korach (who led a revolt against God’s divinely appointed leaders) along with all the people who had sided with Korach, and we are told they went down alive into Sh'ol (Numbers 16).

Deuteronomy 27:26 tells us, "'A curse on anyone who does not confirm the words of this Torah by putting them into practice. 'All the people are to say, 'Amen!'" When did that ever change? It didn't change when Y'shua died!

Nothing changed when Y'shua died, except the need to offer the blood of innocent animals to atone for our sins. Torah (God's Divine Instructions in Righteousness) have always remained the same. Yes, most of those original 613 "commands" were for the Levite priests. Some were only for men, while others were only for women. Some were only for a time; but some were meant for as long as humans exist on earth (i.e., the Seventh Day Sabbath and the Feasts, many of which contain words to the effect of,, "throughout your generations as a permanent regulation".......

Example - Seventh Day Sabbath:

Exodus 31:16 The people of Isra'el are to keep the Shabbat, to observe Shabbat through all their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the people of Isra'el forever; for in six days ADONAI made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and rested.'"

Example - Sukkot/Tabernacles:

Leviticus 23:39-43: "'But on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered the produce of the land, you are to observe the festival of ADONAI seven days; the first day is to be a complete rest and the eighth day is to be a complete rest. On the first day you are to take choice fruit, palm fronds, thick branches and river-willows, and celebrate it in the presence of ADONAI your God for seven days. You are to observe it as a feast to ADONAI seven days in the year; it is a permanent regulation, generation after generation; keep it in the seventh month. You are to live in sukkot for seven days; every citizen of Isra'el is to live in a sukkah, so that generation after generation of you will know that I made the people of Isra'el live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am ADONAI your God.'"

Please take a minute to read Deuteronomy 28:1-15 to get a real sense that YHWH is not kidding around when it comes to obedience! If we proclaim to belong to YHWH, we cannot pick and choose what part of the Bible we wish to follow! Those who OBEY are blessed in every way, and those who do not, are cursed; it's as simple as that!

The above are just a few examples that reveal God is serious when it comes to obedience. Throughout Scripture we see that He expects love, respect and obedience from His people.

As a matter of fact, to please ADONAI, we must not only repent and turn from our sins, but from then on, we're also required to Sh'ma (hear AND obey)! Yeshua, in Mark 12:29 says: "The most important [mitzvah] is, "Sh'ma Yisra'el, ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad.'" Translated to English this becomes "Hear O Isra'el, the Lord our God, the Lord is One."

So, just how are you to "hear and do"? Well, Yeshua tells us,we are to "love ADONAI your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength." Note He did NOT say: "You are to abandon Adonai, and follow what your own understanding, do the best you can but don't worry about it because I'll love you no matter what."

Like any good parent, YHWH only wants the best for us. All of His Divine Rules are designed to help us be holy and to live set apart lives for Him.

Let Moshe's fate be a warning that obedience and remembering WHO is in charge is the key to pleasing our Creator. It isn't that hard to do. All we have to do is "hear AND do" as we continue to read and study the Word which shows us how to live and prepares us for the world to come.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Parashah 53: Ha'azinu (Hear) - Deuteronomy 32:1-52

Shabbat shalom, everyone! Another awesome Shabbat is here, and it's time to get serious about this week's Torah portion again. Parashah 53: Ha'azinu (Hear) - Deuteronomy 32:1-52 - can be found on our website.

This lesson starts with Moshe's song which summarizes the history of the Israelites - a song filled with pain after being told (in last week's parashah) that Moshe himself would die and not see the Promised land, and that - after all the teaching and prophesying he has done, YHWH's people would end up not obeying. Let's quickly take a look at what happened last week:

Deuteronomy 31: 16 ADONAI said to Moshe, "You are about to sleep with your ancestors. But this people will get up and offer themselves as prostitutes to the foreign gods of the land where they are going. When they are with those gods, they will abandon me and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then my anger will flare up, and I will abandon them and hide my face from them. They will be devoured, and many calamities and troubles will come upon them. Then they will ask, 'Haven't these calamities come upon us because our God isn't here with us?' 18 But I will be hiding my face from them because of all the evil they will have done in turning to other gods.

Then Moshe tells his people:

Deuteronomy 31: 24 Moshe kept writing the words of this Torah in a book until he was done. When he had finished, 25 Moshe gave these orders to the L'vi'im who carried the ark with the covenant of ADONAI: 26 "Take this book of the Torah and put it next to the ark with the covenant of ADONAI your God, so that it can be there to witness against you. 27 For I know how rebellious and stiffnecked you are! Here, even while I am still alive with you today, you have rebelled against ADONAI; so how much more will you do so after my death?

28 Assemble for me all the leaders of your tribes and your officials, so that I can say these things in their hearing, calling heaven and earth to witness against them - 29 because I know that after my death you will become very corrupt and turn aside from the way that I have ordered you, and that disaster will come upon you in the acharit-hayamim, because you will do what ADONAI sees as evil and provoke him by your deeds."

Click on the link above to find out what Moshe tells his people, beginning in this week's Torah portion!


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

2019 Calendar Craziness!!

Some have noticed, as they've looked ahead for the Passover and the Holy Feasts in 2019, that the 2019 calendar on The Refiner's Fire has Passover on March 21-22 while the traditional  Hebrew calendar found everywhere else has Passover on April 19-20! And few may have noticed that this happened just recently, in 2016 as well. What gives?

The simple answer is that the same thing that happened in 2016 is happening again. The traditional Hebrew calendar of today (which is the modern adaptation of the calendar established by Hillel II), rigidly applies the 19-year "Metonic Cycle" into the scheduling of which calendar years must include a "leap month" - and in 2019, the "leap month" we see in March in the traditional calendar is simply not needed.  If "calendar stuff" is not your bag and you don't want to continue reading to find out why the traditional calendar is wrong in 2019, suffice it good enough to know that the current Hebrew year, 5779, (2018-2019), is not the correct year for the intercalated month.  Passover falls in the proper time without the added month.  I already stated that the same problem happened in 2016 (see 2016 Calendar Craziness!, and it will happen again in 2024 as the traditional Jewish calendar falls more and more out-of-step with the actual sun and moon.) If you'd like to know more, please read on, but note that much of the explanation here is the same as from our 2016 article…

The way the Hebrew calendar works is that Passover must fall on  or near the day of the Vernal Equinox,  but not before the Vernal Equinox. This is primarily from Exodus 12:2 “You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you…” and Deuteronomy 16:1 “Observe the month of Aviv, and keep Pesach to Adonai your God; for in the month of Aviv, Adonai your God brought you out of Egypt at night.” Combined, these verses require that Passover be kept on or after the Vernal Equinox, so it is forever to be kept at the time the Hebrews were brought out of Egypt which was the “month of the abib”.  Most don’t realize it, but in these verses, YHWH anchored the day of Passover to the sun, not to the month of Abib (Nisan) to the sun, and that the calendar actually did not change, but only the counting of the months. 

So what happens in the Hebrew calendar (not unlike the civil Gregorian calendar), in order to keep Passover on or after the Vernal Equinox, periodically an extra month must be inserted.  In the Hebrew calendar, this extra month is inserted before the month of Adar so what would have been the month following Shevat becomes “Adar I” and what would have been Adar becomes “Adar II” for “Adar” must be the last month before Nisan. And that begs the question “How does today’s traditional calendar work?”

Today's traditional Hebrew calendar is often referred to as the "Hillel Calendar", but that is not quite fair to Hillel II for his recommendation in the 4th Century CE to adopt the Metonic Cycle is only part of the many problems with today's traditional Hebrew calendar which came to be over many centuries following Hillel II.  So, let's begin understanding the problem.  We must begin with how the "1st month" is determined, then address the need for the "leap year" and finally discuss the impact of the added month to the Feast dates for 2019.

How the "1st Month" is determined

The Hebrew calendar is a "lunar-solar" calendar which basically means the moon determines the months while the sun determines the year.  In Genesis, we are told that the sun, moon, and stars are for "signs, seasons, days and years" (Genesis 1:14).  Beyond that one verse there are no instructions in scripture for keeping the calendar.  We are only told later (Exodus 12) that the month of spring, Abib (today called Nisan), the month of the Exodus, would be the "first month of the year" and that Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are to be "at the time appointed in the month the abib [today’s Nisan]" (Exodus 23:15).  So how it the month of the abib established?

There are 12 lunar months in 1 solar year.  But the year (not the calendar month) is determined by the sun and stars. (If there were no moon at all, we would still have and know the "year").  And it is the sun which causes and determines the "seasons" (winter, summer, planting and harvest) not the "moedim").  It is the moon which determines the "calendar month" and the "season", i.e., the "appointed times", the moedim, that fall in any given month.  (Since the agricultural seasons are absolutely tied to the sun, and the "moedim" are tied to both the month, and the agricultural season of the year, the word "moed" has become largely confused and sometimes people think the "month" is tied to the agricultural "signs", i.e.,  the barley crop.  But go back and look at Genesis 1:11-18 and see that even though YHWH made the grasses and seed bearing plants first, before the sun, moon, and stars were "placed" (verse 17), it's only when the sun, moon, and stars were "placed" that "day and night" and the agricultural seasons began.  Had YHWH not placed the sun, moon, and stars as He did, the plants he created would have required some other annual schedule mechanism to grow and seed, for without the seasons created by the sun, plants would not have the life-cycles we have always known.  And note that verse 14 does not say: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and the ripening of the crops for the years".   Ripening crops is an earth sign, and no verse says any earth sign trumps a heaven sign.)

Man has known for thousands of years the "signs" in the sun and stars that identify one complete year.  There are four very clear "divisions" of the year, roughly 90 days or 3 months apart.  These divisions are the northernmost point of the sun which marks summer, the southernmost point of the sun which marks winter, the point when the sun is exactly due east as it is moving from south to north which marks spring, and the point when the sun is exactly due east as it is moving from north to south which marks the fall or autumn.   We know from Exodus that "Abib" was the "month of newly-ripened grain", (or the "month of spring") and that crops begin to ripen in the season of spring, and we know that the exodus began in spring, and that the night of the exodus (14-15 Abib), it was already spring AND that Abib had been determined by the calendar that existed before the moed of Pesach was created.  Therefore, the sun had already been at the point when "spring" begins and Abib was already established when the exodus began. (It's very important to understand that the crops ripen because of the month it is, not that crops determine what month it is.)  So the commandment to keep the feast "at the time appointed in the month Abib [Nisan]" (Exodus 23:15), means that the calendar must keep Abib as close as possible to spring (today we call it the "Vernal Equinox"), and then the moed of Pesach can happen.  Thus, the month of Abib is the month when Passover falls on or after the Vernal Equinox.  (In 2019, without adding the leap month, Passover falls just after the Vernal Equinox which is March 20th.  Therefore the "real" moon in early 2019 indicates no leap month is required.)

The traditional calendar incorporates the leap month by a rigid schedule originating from the Metonic Cycle. During the 19 year Metonic Cycle, the leap month is added every 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th year.  But this is the problem with the traditional calendar!  Most times the Metonic Cycle is correct in which year the leap month should be added.  But sometimes, it schedules a leap month when it is not needed. And that is the problem in 2019, as it was in 2016 and will be again in 2024.  In fact, the traditional calendar is growing ever more erred from the real sun and moon with each passing century.  

The correct way to establish Passover

If Passover (the afternoon of the 14th of Abib [Nisan] were to fall BEFORE the Vernal Equinox, then a “month” must be inserted! It’s that simple and that is the purpose of the leap month – to keep Passover from happening before the Vernal Equinox.  Many will argue that there is nothing in scripture requiring Passover to fall on or after the Vernal Equinox.  While that is a true statement, there are also no scriptures requiring waiting for the barely crop to ripen to establish the month of Abib, nor are there any scriptures calling for the month to begin with the sighting of the crescent moon.  But the sages do interpret Deuteronomy 16:1 "Observe the month of Abib and offer a passover sacrifice to the LORD your God, for it was in the month of Abib, at night, that the LORD your God freed you from Egypt" (JPS) to mean spring must come first, then Passover.  That means that the "month of spring" is the month in which Passover is established immediately after spring has begun.  Again, the start of spring is determined by the sun, so the "month of spring" must be the new moon that places Passover in the “month of spring” which keeps the calendar in compliance with Exodus 12 and 23:15. No “rigid schedule”, no “barley”.

The need for the "leap year"

Just to be clear, a calendar year of 12 lunar months will often keep Passover after the Vernal Equinox without doing anything.  However, at the end of the 2nd or 3rd year, due to the fact that the lunar year, 354 days, (12 lunar months), is actually short of the solar year, 365 days, by about 11 days and Passover would sometimes fall before the Vernal Equinox.  In that case, since the new moon of Abib would happen too early, and Passover would fall before the Vernal Equinox, and not be "in" spring as set by the sun, an additional lunar month must be added.  Therefore in any year, if the new moon of Abib [Nisan] would cause Passover to fall before the Vernal Equinox, an extra month is added to the year coming to an end, therefore the year which is ending will have 13 months and is a "leap year" - the rabbis call it the "embolismic year".  The added month "moves" the month of Abib forward by one month, which then establishes Passover again at the right time, to fall on or after the Vernal Equinox, and the calendar is "good" for two or three more years until an embolismic year is required again.

How the Metonic Cycle came about

Astronomers of ancient Babylon discovered that in the span of 19 solar years, there were exactly 235 complete lunar months.  ("Exact" here means to within about 2 hours - pretty remarkable.)  If one counted 19 solar years and the "lunar years" of 12 months by counting new moons, they'd see that in "lunar years" 19 solar years is the same as 19 years (of 12 lunar months) plus 7 months by the moon.  The astronomer Meton, about 432 BCE wrote that if an intercalary month were added to the lunar calendar 7 times in 19 years, then at the end of the 19 solar years, the number of lunar years would exactly match - i.e., 19 solar years = 19 lunar years.  Meton laid out a "schedule" of when the additional month might be added.  He said the leap years would be years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19.  (You can see the sequence of years the extra month is added: 3, 3, 2, 2, 3, 3, 2.)

This is all well and good - mathematically.  But in reality, if you actually used the moon to indicate which year should be the leap year, the "schedule" of intercalary months may instead need to be (for example) years 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19.  The real moon simply does not follow a repeating 3, 3, 2, 2, 3, 3, 2 intercalation cycle.   And this is the problem with 2019 as it was in 2016.  According to the real moon, 2018-2019 (the current year) does not need to be a leap year, while the next Hebrew year (2019-2020) does need to be a leap year.   But the traditional Hebrew calendar, with its rigid, preplanned schedule of leap years, ignores the real moon and inserts the leap month of Adar I, by schedule, into the 2018-2019 calendar year when it is not needed. 

Impact to the 2019 calendar

Since the traditional Hebrew calendar inserts a month in early 2019, the whole calendar year from February, 2019 to February, 2020 makes every holiday observance a month late.  As a result, the traditional Hebrew calendar will not match the calendar of The Refiner's Fire the whole period.  So here are the dates of the Feasts in both calendars:



The rigid application of the Metonic cycle without regard to the "real" moon is the major problem with the 2019 traditional Hebrew calendar which applies an unnecessary leap month manifested in February, 2019.  That unnecessary month causes all the Holy Days for 2019 in the traditional calendar to be one month late.  The many other problems with the modern traditional calendar include the use of the "molad" of the moon, which is an "average" lunar month which sometimes causes the 1st of the month to be a day early or a day late, and the rules for "postponement" where the 1st of Tishri is held 1, 2, or 3 days so Yom Kippur will not fall on a Friday or a Sunday.  We believe the use of the "average moon" to calculate the 1st day of the month is wrong.  We also believe the "postponement" rules are wrong, as they are simply not scriptural.

We realize this issue will cause no end of concern, confusion, and argument and some will simply say "follow the accepted calendar for the sake of commonality".  We can't do that.  In the end though, we don't argue "which calendar" is better or "which calendar" should be used.  We believe it is far better to observe the Holy Days rather than not observe them, so we at The Refiner's Fire recommend you learn the meaning of the Holy Days, and observe them by whichever calendar you chose.  If you have a congregation celebrating by the traditional calculated calendar, then by all means, celebrate with them.  That beats the "rest of the world" which does not observe any of the commanded Holy Days in favor of "man-made" holidays which masquerade to be about God.

Monday, September 17, 2018

"Why Yom Kippur since Yeshua was our atonement?"

"Why Yom Kippur since Yeshua was our atonement?" Check out this great Yom Kippur teaching from my husband, Bill Welker, which serves to explain:

Most are familiar with the name Sandy Koufax. He was a left-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1955 to 1966. Truth be had, they were the Brooklyn Dodgers till they moved to Los Angeles in 1958. But for all practical purposes Sandy played for the Dodgers his whole baseball career despite the relocation of the team.

Sandy Koufax was a brilliant pitcher...amazing really. He would stretch out practically horizontal making his entire body a catapult which would cause his curve ball to be practically un-hittable! When he retired his record was 2,396 strikeouts in 2,324 1/3 innings. He was actually forced to retire because of damage he sustained due to the severe strain he would put on his left arm to pitch. Doctors said he might lose the arm if he continued pitching another season!

Well, Sandy is Jewish but not a particularly religious Jew. Like many of his birthright, he was not especially cognizant of or observant of his faith. But it happened that in 1965, The Dodgers reached the World Series and Sandy was scheduled to pitch the opening game. He refused.

You see the opening game of the 1965 World Series fell on Yom Kippur and it was that important to him that he not work that day.

Please click on this link for the rest of the story!

Fast on Yom Kippur or not?

Every year at Yom Kippur you'll see arguments about fasting. Many Hebrew Roots types seem to be teaching that we do NOT have to “fast” on Yom Kippur, insisting that fasting became a mere tradition, as the word in Hebrew is not to fast but to afflict or humble oneself; etc.

Well, call me crazy, but here are some scriptures that, for me, tie in that being "afflicted" on Yom Kippur includes fasting, because YHWH definitely afflicted His people when He brought them out of Egypt. For 40 years He "afflicted" them while He continuously taught them obedience to everything He ever commanded, including keeping all the Feasts/Appointed Times – each of which has a special meaning. All other Feast times are for celebrating, Yom Kippur is different, expecting us to "afflict" ourselves :

Deuteronomy 8:2 You are to remember everything of the way in which ADONAI led you these forty years in the desert, humbling and testing you in order to know what was in your heart - whether you would obey his mitzvot or not. 3 He humbled you, allowing you to become hungry, and then fed you with man, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever known, to make you understand that a person does not live on food alone but on everything that comes from the mouth of ADONAI. (CJB)

We also see in Isaiah 58:3. 'Why have we fasted, and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our beings, and You took no note?’" (ISR)

(Bear in mind the Hebrew has no punctuation, so this is not necessarily two sentences.) In Hebrew its "tzamnu" (fast) and "a'na'inu" (aflict) and "nefeshnu" (soul/being). This seems to clearly tie the idea of "aflict" is to "fast" and that the purpose of fasting is to "afflict the soul".)

Then, there is also Ezra 8:21: "I then proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahawa, to humble ourselves before our Elohim," (ISR)

Here "fast" is Hebrew "tzom"; Humble is Hebrew "l'hit'anot", from "anah", meaning afflict. Again, to fast is directly tied to "afflict".

And another! Psalm 35:13: "...I humbled my being with fastings;..." (ISR)

Again: "tzom" is to fast and "anah" is to afflict/humble.

And another: Isaiah 58:5: "Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his being?" (ISR)

Again, tzom (fast) is tied to "anah" (afflict). And then there is this thought: One of the human understandings of "soul" (Hebrew: nephesh), is to mean "appetite"...

See Proverbs 23:2-3: "If you have a big appetite [nephesh], put a knife to your throat!" (CJB)

And a second example, Psalm 107:9: "For He has satisfied a longing being [nephesh], And has filled the hungry being [nephesh] with goodness" (ISR)

So to "afflict your souls" (Leviticus 23:27) is literally to fast…

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A little lesson about wheat and tares

Here's an amazing little teaching about wheat and tares, by my Facebook friend, Shawn Wiggins:

I recently was at a Family Retreat where the speaker talked about the wheat and the tares!

Wheat is heavy because it has nutrients and so bends over, almost bowing down. We want to be considered wheat because when the pressure comes, we have something substantial, and can feed those around us!

The tares are empty and mostly husk - they stand up straight and tall! They look impressive, but offer little good to anyone.

In the Field you can see them, growing - sometimes right next to each other ... The humble wheat bows down and the tare stands tall and proud!

Monday, September 10, 2018

A deep lesson from Y'shua

Matthew 13: 10. And his disciples approached and said to him, “Why do you speak in parables to them? 11. And he answered and said to them, To you it is given to know the mystery[*] of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them. 12. For to him who has, it will be given to him and it will increase to him, and to him who has not, even that which he has will be taken from him.

13. Because of this, I will speak in parables with them because they see, and they see not, and they hear and they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14. And is fulfilled in them the prophecy of Yesha’yahu which said that, “Hearing, and you will not understand what you will hear, and seeing you will see not know what you see.” (AENT)


Mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven is the spiritual nature of Mashiyach revealed throughout the Tanakh and NT, it relates to the spiritual man more than a consciousness of knowing about Heaven or salvation. In Proverbs it is revealed; “For the obstinate are an abomination to YHWH: but His secret (sod) is with the righteous” (Proverbs 3:32), the secret is the power of spiritual life within the Kingdom of Heaven. “Have you heard the mystery (sod) of Elohim?” (Job 15:8)

The mystery of Elohim denotes the nature of Mashiyach and righteousness within the inner man. “Surely Elohim YHWH will do nothing, but that He reveals His secret (sod) to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7); YHWH reveals future events from the spiritual to natural worlds with those who pursue righteousness. The mystery unfolds when one realizes that; “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create calamity: I YHWH do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).

The word “sod” is also repeatedly used by Paul through its Aramaic synonym and cognate araza (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:51). It is the highest level of interpretation of Scripture (PaRDeS). The word “pardes” literally means “paradise” or “orchard”; the latter harking back to the primordial Garden of Eden. But it also is an acrostic, meaning this word is derived from the first letters of each word in a phrase.

In this case PRDS comes from “pshat” (plain meanings of Scripture), “remez” (hints of deeper meanings in words of a scriptural passage), “drash” (comparisons of places in Scripture where the word/concept is used) and, of course, “sod”.

The idea is that if you can find and enter (apply) all the levels of meaning in Scripture you can attain Paradise. The believer understands that cerebral knowledge is nothing without applied faith as manifested through obedience and good works. By entering into Mashiyach and observing Torah the new spiritual man differentiates the things of the Kingdom of Heaven from the religious masks that obscure the hidden spirituality of Mashiyach.

Most importantly however is the absolute command that these steps be taken one at a time and in their proper order. If we “skip” a step or downplay intermediate steps in our studies, the end result will be confusion and error. This is why the Rabbis limited the study of the mystical traditions to those 40 years old and older, and even then, they were required to have special rabbinic training from a very young age to qualify.

Such also explains this warning from the Jewish historian Philo (ca. 20 BCE to 50 CE) who wrote: “The sacred and mystic statements about the one uncreated Being, and about his powers, ought to be kept secret; since it does not belong to everyone to keep the deposit of divine mysteries properly.”

Friday, September 7, 2018

Parashah 51: Nitzavim (Standing) Deuteronomy 29:9(10) through 30:20

Shabbat shalom, everyone! As we approach the exciting “Fall Festivals,” we are also winding down with our yearly Torah studies. This week’s teaching is Parashah 51, Nitzavim (Standing) – and as always, an easy-to-read synopsis can be found on our website.

This Torah portion is one of the most powerful in the entire Torah as YHWH once again drives home the importance of obedience, outlining the blessings for doing His will, and the curses for not doing His will. We DO/OBEY for the sake of fulfilling His desire -and His desire is perfectly outlined in scriptures such as the following:

Deuteronomy 30: 19 "I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants, 20 loving ADONAI your God, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him - for that is the purpose of your life! On this depends the length of time you will live in the land ADONAI swore he would give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov."

This is echoed in Ecclesiastes 12: 11 The sayings of the wise are as sharp as goads, and those given by leaders of assemblies are like well-fixed nails; [in this case,] they are presented by a single shepherd. 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.]

It's also echoed in 1 John 5: 1. Whoever believes that Y'shua is the Mashiyach, is born of Elohim. And whoever loves the begetter, loves him also that is begotten of him. 2. And by this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and follow his Commandments. 3. For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep his Commandments: and his Commandments are not burdensome. 4. Because, whoever is born of Elohim overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. 5. For who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Y'shua is the Son of Elohim?

Please notice that we are to love YHWH, pay attention to what He says and cling to Him! THAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE! For some reason many believers don't "get" this. They keep insisting we don't have to bother obeying because, since "Jesus" died, all we have to do is to "believe and walk by faith." That is a HUGE misconception, and one that can make us guilty of being "lukewarm"....

Walking by faith means we cling to the One in whom we believe - the One who came to earth to show mankind personally who God is, how to worship Him and how to please Him through obedience.

For more, please click o the link above! And may your Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShana be filled with much joy and many blessings.


A few notes on Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShana

How exciting that we’re once again approaching Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShana (which, this year, starts sunset on Sept. 10th)! This particular mo’ed (festival/appointed time) serves several purposes: It is the Jewish Civil New Year; the creation of the world, according to tradition; the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve and their first actions toward the realization of man's role in the world; of the first sin that was committed and resulting repentance; a day when YHWH takes stock of all of His Creation, which includes all of humanity.

It's also a rehearsal for the day when the bridegroom will come to claim us, his bride, who are betrothed to Him. (For those new to Torah and YHWH’s Appointed Times, we offer this short article that briefly outlines each of the Feasts.)

By the way, for those who have been wondering “why there are two Jewish New Years” - weell, the answer is actually very simple, as explained in an article on our website.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A short explanation of what "under the law" means

For those who are having difficulty understanding what "under the law" means, here's a quick explanation:

When Paul speaks of being "under the law" or the "works of the law", he is speaking against legalism, and not against the Torah. There is no Hebrew word for the concept of "legalism" or "legalist" so Paul was hindered in his attempt to explain to the Gentiles that legalism was not what God intended.

Paul was not teaching against Torah observance by believers of Yeshua; rather, he was being careful in his language to make it clear that Torah was not given by God to be used in a legalistic manner.

Some people insist that there is no explicit text in the New Testament that commands us to "walk in Torah" or in any way continue to adhere to any of the commands of the old covenant. However, Romans 3:31 clearly says: 31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law....


Our country keeps sinking to newer lows, thanks to its love for money (1 Timothy 6:10). Right now, I’m referring specifically to Nike who recently hired that knee-taking traitor Kaepernick to be the new “face of Nike.”

My husband and I are both 20-year veterans of the US military and we believe it’s high time to stop buying Nike products! Nike has, in effect, by hiring Kaepernick, kicked every veteran in the face.

For the folks who don’t know it, it’s not those who make their living by acting, singing, or playing GAMES; but ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY and VETERANS who are THE REASON WE HAVE MANAGED TO KEEP THE RIGHTS this country was founded on … the very rights that many liberals  are abusing to suit their own personal agendas!

SHAME ON ALL the ridiculously rich Hollywood types and the NFL and all those who ABUSE their “power” and their respective platforms to make their personal statements!  And SHAME ON corporations such as NIKE for promoting rich, spoiled, loud-mouthed brats who abuse their “rights” by squashing the voices of those who actually EARNED this country’s rights!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

About the blessings and the curses…

If you read this week's Torah portion, you surely saw the "curses" and the "blessings" in Deuteronomy 27. The bottom line is that you are blessed if you obey YHWH, and cursed if you don't. There is no gray area! Verse 26 sums it all up:

"'A curse on anyone who does not confirm the words of this Torah by putting them into practice. 'All the people are to say, 'Amen!'"

Could it be ANY clearer? Torah is not "a curse" as Christianity teaches. One is cursed if they refuse to obey Torah! Torah obedience is not that hard! How hard would it be for you to keep the commanded Seventh Day Sabbath REST (our "weekly date" with God)? How hard would it be to keep His commanded seven Feasts/Festivals (our "yearly dates" with Him)? How hard would it be to remember to NOT eat "unclean" foods (pork and shellfish or carnivorous birds)?

Well, that last one might be hard at first, but you'll get used to it! Truth is, all these things are pleasing to God and designed to bring us CLOSER to Him! Yes, it's an effort to DO something for God, but oh, the blessings you will receive by your willingness to obey!

So many are under the erroneous impression that Torah observance was "Old Testament stuff meant only for Moses and his people" - but that is totally NOT true! We need to remember there were 12 Tribes camped around Mt. Sinai when the Torah was handed down (not just the Jews) AND the "foreigners who had followed Moses out of Egypt! (Please read Numbers 15:13-16 where God tells Israel that ALL who accept Him are to do exactly the same as HIS people....)

Unfortunately, hardly anyone stops to think that today's decadent and fallen society is a direct result of our disobedience! Religions and religiosity aren't going to bring anyone into the Kingdom. The ONLY way is belief in YHWH, His Divine Messiah and His Torah! The Bible says so.

Please take a minute to read Deuteronomy 28:1-15 to get a real sense that YHWH is NOT kidding around! We cannot pick and choose what to or whom to follow! Those who OBEY are blessed in every way, and those who do not, are cursed; simple as that!

What will YOU choose?