Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Do YOU know for sure that your name is written in the Book of Life? It’s NOT if you’re “lukewarm” toward YHWH….

I passed several people during my two-mile walk this morning (which is my favorite "alone time" with Abba) and, as usual, most didn't return my "Hi!" or "Hello!" or even bother to look up and return my smile. And so, I started thinking that this seems to be how most people treat ELOHIM. He's forever trying to get our attention, yet most won't take the time to stop whatever they're doing to even notice He's there.

Oh sure, some might look up long enough to maybe wave from a distance; but it's a foreign concept for them to actually take the time to blow the dust off their Bibles (if they even own one), and sit down to read their way through it.  Yet, they will run to their synagogues on Saturday, or to church on Sunday to “do their duty” to God, and then go home to once again ignore Him for another week.

There are very few who actually “live” their faith and communicate with our Heavenly Father on a regular basis.  Very few.  It seems most don’t even realize that He strives to have both weekly (Shabbat) and yearly “dates” (Mo’edim/Appointed Times) with us! They’ve been busy slumbering, MAYBE reading their way through the Bible once in their life, if that much, or just picking their way through and relying on others to tell them what it says. I guess that’s why Scripture warns us that “most” will NOT be taking that narrow gate that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).

Below are some other pertinent scriptures that should serve as “wake-up calls” to those who are “lukewarm” and under the erroneous impression that “God is love and all we have to do is believe in Jesus so we can be forever forgiven.”

Matthew 7:18. A good tree is not able to bear evil fruit, and an evil tree cannot bear good fruit.  19. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut and thrown in the fire. (AENT)

(Please ask yourself, “Am I a fruit-bearing tree, or am I just a pretender?”)

Matthew 7:20. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.  21. It will not be that just anyone who says to me “My master, my master.” Will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  22. Many will say to me in that day, “My master, my master. By your name, have we not prophesied? And by you name have we cast out demons?  And by your name have we done many miracles?”  23. And then I will profess to them that from everlasting, I have not known you.  Depart from me, you workers of iniquity![1]  (AENT)

NOTE:  Psalm 6:8, 9   “workers of iniquity” is a common phrase in the Tanakh that refers to lawlessness (without Torah). “Horror has taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Your Torah.” (Psalm 119:53)  Yeshua’s every single teaching is based on Torah!  To be anti-Torah is to be anti-Messiah; therefore every “authority” will be judged according to whether they uphold Torah or not. According to Yeshua, Torah (which means “instruction in righteousness”) is “the will of My Father.” (Matthew 7:21;12:50) 

Luke 13:22 Yeshua continued traveling through town after town and village after village, teaching and making his way toward Yerushalayim. 23  Someone asked him, “Are only a few people being saved?” 24 He answered, “Struggle to get in through the narrow door, because — I’m telling you! — many will be demanding to get in and won’t be able to, 25 once the owner of the house has gotten up and shut the door. You will stand outside, knocking at the door and saying, ‘Lord! Open up for us!’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from!’  (CJB)

WOW!  “Many will be demanding to get in and won’t be able to”….  Why do you think that is?  The answer is: Because there will be NO “lukewarm” in Eternity with Him!

Luke 13:27. And he will say to you that, “I do not know you from where you are.  Depart from me workers of iniquity!”  28. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Awraham and Yitz’chak and Ya’akov and all the prophets in the Kingdom of Elohim, but you will be cast outside!   (AENT)

The good news is – those who were obedient servants, not just “hearing” but also “doing” His will, won’t have to worry about where they’re going to spend Eternity….

John 10:9. I am the Gate and if a man should enter by me he will live and will enter and go out and he will find pasture. (AENT)

Before you go, please take a good, hard look at the following passage:

Revelation 20: 11 Next I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done.

13 The sea gave up the dead in it; and Death and Sh’ol gave up the dead in them; and they were judged, each according to what he had done. 14 Then Death and Sh’ol were hurled into the lake of fire. This is the second death — the lake of fire. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was hurled into the lake of fire. (CJB)

Do YOU know for sure that your name is written in the Book of Life?  It’s NOT if you’re busy ignoring, or simply being “lukewarm” toward YHWH….

Oh, how I wish the people YHWH puts in my life would all learn to “get serious” about God, and to begin to understand their NEED to get INTO the Bible, to study it for themselves, from front to back, so they can finally KNOW His Truth … and the fact that He is NOT kidding around about who will get to spend Eternity with Him.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Would you like to learn how to challenge a false teacher who also happens to be raving Christian anti-Semite?

If you’ve never heard of the rabidly anti-Semitic ministry called Shepherd’s Chapel, then you’re about to learn a valuable lesson in TESTING everything you see, read or hear.  Allow me to provide a little background before presenting the challenge we at The Refiner’s Fire posed to one of their teachings about “The synagogue of Satan”…

Shepherd’s Chapel is a “Christian church and broadcast facility based in Gravette, Arkansas.” The church's founder was Arnold Benjamin Murray (April 20, 1929–February 12, 2014), who served as senior pastor until his death, when his son, David, took over to continue this world-wide ministry.

Shepherd’s Chapel founder, Arnold Benjamin Murray, makes claim that Cain was actually the son of Eve and Satan—the serpent seed doctrine. He ignored Genesis 4:1 which says, “Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man’” (Genesis 4:1). Adam was Cain’s father, and there is no reason to believe otherwise. Murray also connected the parable of the good and bad seed in Matthew 13 with God’s curse of the serpent in Genesis 3 despite nothing in the context to connect the two passages.

Murray taught that there will be no rapture, despite passages such as 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:51–52. As is all-too-common with Arnold Murray, he claimed that 95 percent of churches who teach the rapture will accept the Antichrist as their savior (from a November 1985 newsletter). In this way, Murray effectively denied the salvation of anyone who believes in the rapture. It is unsettling to hear a Bible teacher making such claims about those he disagrees with concerning a non-essential point of eschatology.

Murray also subscribed to the Christian Identity Movement, which teaches the British are the real descendants of the ancient Israelites. This movement has been the foundation, fuel, and ammunition for a great deal of racial bigotry. Murray denounced interracial marriages, an unbiblical position that itself wavers on the edge of racism.

Now – let’s examine just a FEW of the ways Murray’sSynagogue of Satanarticle is in error(Please read the article to get the full picture and to see if YOU can spot any blatant problems.)

To start with, the author completely discredits himself by arguing that Cain was the son of the Devil with the implication that Cain's descendants survived the flood. Both of those claims are the OPPOSITE of what scripture tells us. Noah (who was NOT related to Cain) and his family started the human race all over again after the flood. Cain and his descendants were DEAD, and there is NO scriptural evidence that the murderous, polygynist, Cain survived the flood!  YHWH was trying to start all over again, with OBEDIENT folks; not with criminals….

Prior to that, the author argues that in John 8:37 (“I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you”), that the word "know" here means "to appear, perceive" with the intent to argue that Jesus "perceived" the Jews he was addressing were actually not Abraham's seed.

But, he quotes Strong's 1492, mistakenly saying that "know" came from Strong's 3708, only choosing a lesser used meaning "to appear, perceive", rather than the more common "to discern clearly", which is the same meaning of 1492 "see or aware", that is, Jesus only said "I see you are Abraham's seed" or "I am aware you are Abraham's seed"! But this guy made a poor attempt to argue that Jesus instead recognized that they were not Abraham's seed.

This misguided author makes MANY such twists in his long and rambling article. For example:

He also says "As documented, the word Kenite means children of Cain". As proof, he cites Strong's H7017, which says a Kenite is a member of the tribe of Kajin. So he looks up "Kajin", Strong's H7014 and concludes that "Kajin" is the name of the first child, "Cain".

The problem is, Strongs H7014 says "Kajin" can mean the name of the first child OR a place in Palestine, OR the name of an Oriental tribe. In other words, the meaning of "Kajin" depends on the context. It doesn't just simply mean "Cain" just because you see the word!

Moreover, Scripture tells us that when Yeshua returns he will separate the goats and the sheep (pro Israel or against). But look at what Murray’s says:

“A single nation has fulfilled this, but that nation is not Israel, they could never fulfill this promise by God. The nation named Israel is extremely small including its population and it does not possess the gate of its enemy, nor does it bless the nations of the earth.

“However, the Christian nations are a blessing to the world by sharing the Word of God and their charitable acts. In addition, The United States of America does possess the gate of its enemy. It would be this nation that ultimately fulfilled this promise. The truth is, the Christian nations are the true decedents of the twelve tribes”….

That statement is just plain IGNORANT!

First of all, America is mentioned NOWHERE in Scripture!  It is all about ISRAEL!  YES, the Christian nations HAVE been a blessing to the world as Christian missionaries have basically traveled all over the world to present Jesus and his Word. But they've also been a curse on some levels, for they have been guilty of forcefully converting and even killing many innocents in order to accomplish their agenda.

For instance, Jews were forced to convert to Christianity by the Crusaders in Lorraine, on the Lower Rhine, in Bavaria and Bohemia, in Mainz and in Worms, Germany. Pope Innocent III pronounced in 1201 that if one agreed to be baptized to avoid torture and intimidation, one nevertheless could be compelled to outwardly observe Christianity: And let's not forget that at least six million Jews died in Hitler's Holocaust in the Catholic and Protestant Europe....

It is totally bogus to suggest that "the Christian nations are ‘the true decedents’ of the twelve tribes," What planet is Mr. Murray on and where in Scripture can one verify that nonsense?

One would have to KNOW the Torah to find out WHO were the forefathers of those 12 tribes standing at the foot of Mount Sinai to hear the giving of the Ten Commandments? (Yes, there were some "foreigners" mixed in (those who had followed Moshe out of Egypt when he liberated YHWH's people); but they were by NO MEANS the majority! They were simply hangers-on who were accepted by and absorbed into the tribes.)

To WHOM did YHWH give the command to safeguard and preserve His Torah just before they were scattered into the nations? The Tribe of JUDAH! (Genesis 49:10, Micah 4:2) The tribe that Yeshua was born into! Yes, Yeshua, the JEWISH Messiah that Murray seems to be attempting to rob of his tribal heritage in his attempt to build of “Christians”....

….Christians – those very people who have not only changed the name or our Messiah, but also changed the dates of his birth, death and resurrection and called his Torah a CURSE! While they claim that we are all "ONE in Christ," they've totally ignored the commanded Seventh Day Sabbath (which is a SIGN between YHWH and His people) along with His Feasts/Appointed Times, and instead, come up with their own, man-made "holy days" - both of which are steeped in paganism...And they're doing all that while chowing down on pork and shellfish, which God specifically said are NOT food….

Whoever was the author of this article at Shepherd’s Chapel, is at best a poor scholar, and at worst a false teacher.

God keeps His promises!

Something important to ponder:

We got goosebumps when we read the Torah portion this past Shabbat! YHWH’s love knows no bounds – and all He ever asks is our obedience and faithfulness. BUT ... there's more....

Deuteronomy 32:3 “For I will proclaim the name of ADONAI. Come, declare the greatness of our God! 4 The Rock! His work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A trustworthy God who does no wrong, he is righteous and straight.

5 “He is not corrupt; the defect is in his children, a crooked and perverted generation. 6 You foolish people, so lacking in wisdom, is this how you repay ADONAI? He is your father, who made you his! It was he who formed and prepared you! (CJB)

Now, here we see that YHWH cared and still cares about “the nations” as well, because He gave them each its heritage!

Deuteronomy 32:7 “Remember how the old days were; think of the years through all the ages. Ask your father — he will tell you; your leaders too — they will inform you. 8 “When ‘Elyon gave each nation its heritage, when he divided the human race, he assigned the boundaries of peoples according to Isra’el’s population; 9 but ADONAI’s share was his own people, Ya‘akov his allotted heritage.

10 “He found his people in desert country, in a howling, wasted wilderness. He protected him and cared for him, guarded him like the pupil of his eye, 11 like an eagle that stirs up her nest, hovers over her young, spreads out her wings, takes them and carries them as she flies.

12 “ADONAI alone led his people; no alien god was with him. 13 He made them ride on the heights of the earth. They ate the produce of the fields. He had them suck honey from the rocks and olive oil from the crags, 14 curds from the cows and milk from the sheep, with lamb fat, rams from Bashan and goats, with the finest wheat flour; and you drank sparkling wine from the blood of grapes. (CJB)

Now, take a look at the following and ask yourself how many times He has “aroused His peoples’ jealousy” by provoking them with “vile nations”. Matter of fact, it’s happening TODAY as well….

Deuteronomy 32: 19 “ADONAI saw and was filled with scorn at his sons’ and daughters’ provocation. 20 He said, ‘I will hide my face from them and see what will become of them; for they are a perverse generation, untrustworthy children. 21 They aroused my jealousy with a non-god and provoked me with their vanities; I will arouse their jealousy with a non-people and provoke them with a vile nation.

22 “‘For my anger has been fired up. It burns to the depths of Sh’ol, devouring the earth and its crops, kindling the very roots of the hills. 23 I will heap disasters on them and use up all my arrows against them. 24 “‘Fatigued by hunger, they will be consumed by fever and bitter defeat; I will send them the fangs of wild beasts, and the poison of reptiles crawling in the dust. 25 Outside, the sword makes parents childless; inside, there is panic, as young men and girls alike are slain, sucklings and graybeards together.

26 “‘I considered putting an end to them, erasing their memory from the human race; 27 but I feared the insolence of their enemy, feared that their foes would mistakenly think, “We ourselves accomplished this; ADONAI had nothing to do with it.” 28 “‘They are a nation without common sense, utterly lacking in discernment. 29 If they were wise they could figure it out and understand their destiny…. (CJB)

Take a really good look at this passage, beginning with verse 22. The world HAS been seeing plenty of disasters (and God only knows how much they've been multiplying over the years!), including hunger, diseases, defeat, wild animal attacks, etc. We are literally WITNESSING these events.

Time to get ourselves "right with God" is NOW!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

A valuable lesson that resonates into our own, modern lives:

1 Timothy 1:4 Have them stop devoting their attention to myths and never-ending genealogies; these divert people to speculating instead of doing God's work, which requires trust. 5 The purpose of this order is to promote love from a clean heart, from a good conscience and from sincere trust. 6 Some, by aiming amiss, have wandered off into fruitless discussion.

1:7 They want to be teachers of Torah, but they understand neither their own words nor the matters about which they make such emphatic pronouncements. 8 We know that the Torah is good, provided one uses it in the way the Torah itself intends.

9 We are aware that Torah is not for a person who is righteous, but for those who are heedless of Torah and rebellious, ungodly and sinful, wicked and worldly, for people who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral — both heterosexual and homosexual — slave dealers, liars, perjurers, and anyone who acts contrary to the sound teaching 11 that accords with the Good News of the glorious and blessed God... (ESV)

QUICK NOTE:

Messiah Yeshua was and is the goal of Torah, not its termination, as so many seem to believe! Love is also the goal of the commandment, not the termination. This is validated throughout Paul's writings in key places like Romans 3:31; 7:12; 10:4.

Responding to the “million dollar question” - Is Jesus God?

Before I cite the reasons why I don’t believe “Jesus is God in the Flesh,” I want to make sure you know that I totally believe Yeshua (his given name which means “Yahweh is Salvation”, while the name “Jesus” actually detracts from who he was), certainly was DEITY, perfect and sin-free - simply because of WHO he was, as he had no earthly father and came from YHWH Himself. (How many of us can make that claim?)

However, having been born of a woman denotes that he ALSO had HUMAN DNA, which meant a limited time on this world. Had he not been killed, he would have eventually DIED. That being the case, YHWH (the Name of ELOHIM as revealed to Moshe - Ex 3:13-15), our Creator, was NOT “eternal” as Scripture says; rather, He was just a mere man…

God created flesh which carried His blood, and that blood (required for redemption) could then be shed for all who simply accepted it. THAT is who Yeshua was – YHWH’s Divine MESSIAH – the human Messiah who was the Word (John 1:1, 14) and YHWH’s Arm (Isaiah 53:1) BEFORE he ever came to earth as a MAN)….

I also cannot get past the fact that so many people apparently see no problem that our HOLY God who HATES sin and who will NOT tolerate sin (Hab 1:13, Is 13:11 and 59:2, PS 5:4, etc.) would "empty Himself" into a human being (who surely would have been without sin, because we are born with a sinful nature and all sin at some point - not to mention that our deeds are like filthy menstrual rags (Is 64:6) ....

I have a hard time believing that GOD would decide to become a mere human (while at the same time, remaining somewhere in the Heavens to continue ruling the universe); then enter the world as a screaming baby who had to have his diapers changed by mere, sinful human beings … a God who – according to everyone who insists “Jesus is God in the Flesh - also prayed to “Himself” during his earthly ministry (Luke 23:34, Matt 27:46, Mark 15:34) and wouldn’t make a move unless His Father approved it.

I am well aware that many argue that Philippians 2:5-8 says God became flesh. One actually finds that these verses do NOT say that.  In most English versions, Philippians 2:6 reads: "though he was in the form of God" - obviously carrying the implication that Yeshua WAS God - but the older Aramaic reads "as he was in the likeness of Elohim..." - an entirely different meaning.

Indeed, Philippians 2 goes on to clarify that it was not that Yeshua was God; rather, that God "disinherited himself" so that a man could die and shed His blood.

We must recognize that as Part of ADONAI Himself (the Word, John 1:1, 14 and the Arm, Isaiah 53:1) we can certainly say Yeshua is ADONAI - but NOT while he was in human form with human frailties... (See Isaiah 53.)

But, YES, he was definitely “divine”:

More than his literal birth name Y'shua (which was and is a common Hebrew name), and more than the perfect reputation that his name represents, Y'shua bears the Name of YHWH, the "name above all names!" Y'shua has the Name and reputation of the Father YHWH in him (John 17:11) and the name means "YHWH is Salvation" (Matthew 1:21). (The angels, for instance, only have YHWH's title of ELOHIM within their names: GabriEL, MichaEL, RaphaEL....)

Monday, September 2, 2019

Readings for Shabbat of September 7, 2019

If you're "chomping at the bit" to start reading this week's Torah portion, you can find a synopsis on our website of: Parashah 53 (HaAzinu:Torah, Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52 ).

One of the things we absolutely MUST understand as we begin to read the two final Torah portions of the year, is that Moshe ordered the Torah he had written to be placed next to the ark (Deuteronomy 31:24-29) - which means it "crossed the Jordan" and went into the Promised Land with YHWH's people. We know this because of the following verses, and also because the Torah is IN our Bibles today!

We also need to understand that many people insist that Torah was "only for the Jews" - but this is not true, because, as we can see throughout the Torah, it was meant for all the 12 tribes AND the gentiles who had followed Moshe out of Egypt. (see Exodus 12:49 and Numbers 15:13-16.)

Remember that Cain and Abel provided sacrifices - and they weren't Jews! Neither was Noah, but he knew the difference between "clean and unclean" animals, birds and fish - and he wasn't a Jew, either...There were no Jews until Jacob had one of his 12 sons whom he named Yehudah [Judah] who started the Tribe of Judah, where the word "Jew" comes from. But yet, EVERYONE up until that time (except, of course, the pagans and heathens who were unbelievers or believers in other gods) was Torah observant!)

So, please keep those things in mind as you read the final two Torah portions of the year. To get started, simply click on the link above.

A word about the difference between "Sunday" and Shabbat - the "day of Rest"…

To put it bluntly, there’s nothing wrong with “Sunday worship.” We can “worship” on any day we want – as a matter of fact, we’re TOLD to be in constant worship. (Psalm 113:3, 72:15, 34:1; Hebrews 13:15; Revelation 4:8, etc.)

However, YHWH’s commanded Day of REST has always been the “7th Day” – which, on our Gregorian calendars – happens to fall on Saturday. It is the day He commanded us to take a break from our weekly work and just REST our weary bodies….

Take a look at how the following verses talk about REST, and not necessarily “worship” or congregating. (Yes, worshiping and congregating falls right in line with "Shabbat", but that doesn't mean we have the right to tell anyone to NOT “worship” on Sunday - which is what many Hebrew Rooters are posting in their attempts to lead Christians to the Truth of Torah. The simple fact is, while we are to REST one day a week, our "worship" of YHWH should never cease.)

Scripture explains that YHWH Himself “rested” on the 7th day….

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, along with everything in them. 2 On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce. (CJB)

And here we see YHWH telling HIS people that His Shabbats are not only a Day of REST, but a SIGN between Him and His people! (And by the way, if you're ignoring that "sign" then WHOM are you worshiping?)

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.'"

Exodus 20:8 "Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. 9 You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for ADONAI your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work -not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. 11 For in six days, ADONAI made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why ADONAI blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.

Ezekiel 20:11 I gave them my laws and showed them my rulings; if a person obeys them, he will have life through them. 12 I gave them my shabbats as a sign between me and them, so that they would know that I, ADONAI, am the one who makes them holy.

Isaiah 56: 2 Happy is the person who does this, anyone who grasps it firmly, who keeps Shabbat and does not profane it, and keeps himself from doing any evil. 3 A foreigner joining ADONAI should not say, "ADONAI will separate me from his people"; likewise the eunuch should not say, "I am only a dried-up tree."

4 For here is what ADONAI says: "As for the eunuchs who keep my Shabbats, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant: 5 in my house, within my walls, I will give them power and a name greater than sons and daughters; I will give him an everlasting name that will not be cut off.

6 "And the foreigners who join themselves to ADONAI to serve him, to love the name of ADONAI, and to be his workers, all who keep Shabbat and do not profane it, and hold fast to my covenant, 7 I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples."

Isaiah 58: 13 If you hold back your foot on Shabbat from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call Shabbat a delight, ADONAI'S holy day, worth honoring; then honor it by not doing your usual things or pursuing your interests or speaking about them. 14 If you do, you will find delight in ADONAI - I will make you ride on the heights of the land and feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Ya'akov, for the mouth of ADONAI has spoken."

There are many more scriptures like the above that describe YHWH’s Shabbat, but NONE of them suggest one cannot WORSHIP on “Sunday”…

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Tell me again how Jews and their "converts" don't proselytize!


Well, I was born Jewish, AND I am here to say, "YES, Yeshua was definitely greater than Moshe!"

I guess I failed, in Hall's eyes, eh? Too bad so sad. I live to please ELOHIM, not mere men like Hall...

Anyway, how many ways can YOU list to show that Yeshua was and is greater than Moshe? I'll start us off:

While Moshe was certainly great, he was also just a mere human...a human who had the privilege of "speaking face-to-face" with God Himself and who ultimately was responsible for approximately 2 million people. He never performed any miracles on his own; he did what YHWH told Him to. YHWH worked through him - and in the end, He didn't allow Moshe to enter the Promised Land because he failed at one point to give glory to YHWH in front of the people.

Moshe taught Torah to YHWH's people and those who followed Moshe out of Egypt (who were absorbed into the tribes).... a belief system commonly known today as Judaism. Anything that has been added to Judaism (i.e., all the rabbinical, man-made fences) were from the sages and rabbis who came AFTER Moshe.

Yeshua, on the other hand, was totally sinless because he was divine - placed by YHWH Himself into the womb of a virgin. (It would seem to me that when your Father is YHWH Himself, you're automatically "divine"....)

Yeshua worked many miracles (I'd say healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding the multitudes out of practically nothing, turning water into wine and walking on water rank as miracles....)

Once his human flesh died (an event the Jews kicked off in order to rid themselves of this "pest" who got into their faces and tried to get them to stop adding to YHWH's Divine Rules), he rose again to be seen by at least 500 before he was taken into the Heavens to sit at the right Hand of the Father. (That didn't happen to Moshe, or Torah would have mentioned it.)

There are approximately 2.4 billion Christians today, and myriad Messianics/Hebrew Roots adherents...all thanks to YESHUA who came to proclaim the KINGDOM OF YHWH and do everything His Father commanded ... perfectly.

Yeshua wins, hands-down!

Friday, August 30, 2019

The difference between “judging” and “exposing”….

Many people are quick to yell, "Don't judge me!" whenever someone attempts to tell them they are off the mark in some way.  Truth is,TORAH is our judge.  We're not "judging" anyone by telling them that they're going against Torah principles..
 
"Judging" refers to the attempts to correct others according to your own standard of iniquity.  When you do that, you condemn yourself.   When you "judge", you must do it SOLELY by the standard of truth, and that truth (which Paul  amply addressed in Romans 2:1-8) is Torah.

So, the bottom line is, when Torah observant Believers see, someone teaching "no need for Yeshua," for instance, or "no need for Torah," or anything else that is contrary to Scripture, we MUST rebuke them!  To sit idly by and say nothing is NOT an option, for if we don't help our brethren stay on the YHWH's Path, then WE will be held accountable!  (See Ezekiel 33, James 5:19, Matthew 18:6, Acts 20:28, etc.)

Also consider this:

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

What then are these “Jewish fables”?

“According to Charles Ryrie: Jewish myths; speculations of a Gnostic sort, supposedly based on OT scripture.  Ryrie Study Bible (NASB), p. 393.  The key is in the highlighted portion of the above passage, “they profess to know Elohim, but in works deny him” for by this very description,

Paul has named the heretical sect. “Gnosticism” is derived from the Greek gnosis, “to know.” What is often overlooked is that Gnosticism did not originate with Christianity, although later adopted by many Messianic themes.  Rather, it began as a Jewish sect with their own “myths and fables.” According to Professor Ryrie: The heresy of Gnosticism had begun to make inroads among churches in John’s day.

Among its teachings were: (1) knowledge is superior to virtue; (2) non-literal sense of Scripture is correct and can only be understood by a select few; (3) evil in the world precludes God being the only creator; (4) the incarnation is incredible because deity cannot unite itself with anything material such as a body (Docetism); and (5) there is no resurrection of the flesh. The ethical standards of the Gnostics were low… (Ryrie Study Bible (NASB), p. 440).

Is it any wonder then why Paul was upset at these false teachers? Even a conventional Pharisee would take great offense to such posturing, and they most certainly did with four of these five articles of belief. These false teachings are, of course, diametrically opposite to Paul’s own teaching as a “ringleader” of the Netzarim, so there should be no surprise when he takes these false teachings to task.

In any case, one can easily see how modern readers, divorced from the historical context, can easily draw the wrong conclusion and not take into account who the speaker is, and who the intended audience is.” (Source, AENT)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Jewish counter-missionaries erroneously believe it’s okay to mock those they don’t agree with–especially Yeshua….

Jewish counter-missionaries will say all kinds of nasty things about Yeshua - even mocking his name by calling our Messiah - among other things - "Jeebus Creepus" and "Stick-man"....

I personally would LOVE to be a little fly on the wall on Judgment Day when all the "Jesus rejecters" of the world will get to kneel before YHWH to explain themselves....

Anyway, here's one of the most recent comments made by someone who accuses "Jesus" of being a sinner and breaking the Sabbath, and a whole range of other false allegations.

He wrote: "Torah literally calls such a Jew who does that stuff a RASHA and we are allowed to mock them and bash them in rebuke."

(A "rasha" for those who don't know it, is either a wicked person, or someone convicted of wrongdoing - which Yeshua was NOT! - See John 18:28-38 and Mark 14:54-56.)

Here's my response to this "intellect" who clearly prides himself on rejecting YHWH's Messiah:

Nowhere are you told in the Hebrew scriptures that it is permissible to mock or attack PEOPLE or to poke fun at their supposed “lack of intellect” or anything else! Not in Torah, not in Talmud!

Here is the proof from the “Code of the Jewish Law” (the Shulchan Aruch), which clearly states it is permissible to mock IDOLATRY, but NOT the person you perceive to be an IDOLATOR….

From the Talmud, Megillah 25b:

"Similarly, Rav Naḥman said: All mockery and obscenity is forbidden except for mockery of idol worship, which is permitted, as it is written: 'Bel bows down, Nevo stoops' (Isaiah 46:1). The prophet mocks these idols by describing them as crouching in order to defecate.

Additionally, it is written: 'They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden' (Isaiah 46:2). Rabbi Yannai said: This principle that one is permitted to mock idol worship is derived from here: 'The inhabitants of Samaria shall be in dread for the calves of Beth-aven; for its people shall mourn over it, and its priests shall tremble for it, for its glory, because it is departed from it' (Hosea 10:5). Do not read it is as 'its glory [kevodo],' rather read it as its burden [keveido], meaning that it is unable to restrain itself from defecating."

Here, again, we see that the sages said the idol is mocked, not the person. ("Bel" and "Nevo" were idols.)

The counter-missionaries, mistake "Jesus" as an idol and deny he is the Messiah. Therefore, they claim people who believe in Jesus are idol-worshipers - mocking them. Sadly, the counter-missionary is lost and they don't know they idolize each other in their zealousness to "hate Jesus" and hate those who believe in Jesus. As they they romp in the mud, just read how they idolize each other and their derogatory comments about believers. It is so sad ...

Mesillat Yesharim, chapter 5, says:

"There are three factors which cause loss of and distancing from 'watchfulness'. The first is involvement and preoccupation in worldly affairs. The second is laughter and levity. The third is bad company. ... Behold, the prophet Isaiah would 'scream like a crane' for he saw that this was what left no room for his rebukes to make an impression thus ruining all hope for the sinners. This is what he said: 'And now do not be mockers lest your afflictions be strengthened' (Isaiah 28:22)."

It seems most of the counter-missionaries suffer all three maladies:

involvement and preoccupation in worldly affairs; laughter and levity; and bad company! Thus their afflictions are strengthened!

So, there you have it. Proof that the counter-missionaries who LOVE to mock those of us who "believe in Yeshua," are going against those very sages that they idolize, and whose word they take OVER AND ABOVE Torah itself!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Torah reading for Shabbat, August 31, 2019

For those who are following the calendar at our website, The Refiner’s Fire, there will be no weekly Torah portion for the Shabbat of August 31, 2019, because it’s a High Holy day.  Sunset on Friday, August 30, kicks off Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanna:

It’s a High Shabbat (no work to be done).

Torah reading:  Leviticus 23:23-25 and Numbers 29:1-6.

Brit Chadasha reading: Read Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thes 4:16-17; Revelation 11:15

If you are new to Torah, here is a quick explanation of what Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanna is all about:

Yom Teruah (Trumpets)/Rosh Hashana (A Shabbat/Holy Day): This Feast on Tishri 1, falls in the September/October timeframe.

Leviticus 23:23-25 tells us: ADONAI said to Moshe, "Tell the people of Isra'el, 'In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar. Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI.'"

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 a rehearsal for the day when the bridegroom will come to claim us, his bride, who are betrothed to Him.

Rosh Hashanah is celebrated not with fireworks and champagne but with family meals and introspection. During this Festival, the blowing of shofars (rams' horns) signifies the bringing together of God's people, warning them to repent during the coming "days of awe" (the 10 days between Trumpets and the Day of Atonement).

According to tradition, during this time YHWH's people are to concentrate all their efforts into making amends with their brethren and apologizing for past offenses. However, what most traditional Jews do not yet realize is that this Feast is the next one to be fulfilled by Yeshua, because when the trumpets will sound and the true believers in Messiah Yeshua will be gathered/resurrected (I Thess. 4:13-18, I Cor. 15:50-54).

This Feast also signals the call for repentance, for the time is short and Judgment is coming upon the Earth - whether people are read, or not! (See the Book of Revelation.)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

God and Moses tried to warn us….

MOSHE SPEAKS about the importance of learning and doing Torah:

Deuteronomy 31: 12 Assemble the people-the men, the women, the little ones and the foreigners you have in your towns - so that they can hear, learn, fear ADONAI your God and take care to obey all the words of this Torah; 13 and so that their children, who have not known, can hear and learn to fear ADONAI your God, for as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Yarden to possess." (CJB)

ADONAI SPEAKS – making a prediction that His people would continue to stray, as they always have.

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.” (CJB)

SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO PONDER: What constituted “this people”? Not just “the Jews” who made up only one-twelfth or the tribes of Israel; but the second generation of ALL the tribes (Exodus 24) AND the children of the pagan “foreigners” (the "mixed multitude" in Exodus 12:38) who had followed Moshe out of Egypt during the Exodus, and had been absorbed into one of the tribes – who had been told by God Himself that they were expected to do EXACTLY as “HIS PEOPLE” did! (Exodus 12:49; Numbers 15:13-16).

As you can see, it wasn’t just “the Jews” who strayed (as some anti-Semitic types like to insist); but peoples from ALL tribes AND those who had been absorbed into the tribes, AND those who came to accept YHWH as their God on down through the centuries.

We’re ALL guilty, and that is why Yeshua was sent, and why he chose to martyr himself. Mankind has never been able to remain completely faithful to YHWH; choosing instead to come up with their own rules and religions and denominations….

This won’t change until Yeshua returns to put an end to man’s incessant nonsense during his millennial reign. (Psalm 2:6-9, 47, 110, 132:13-18; 9:6-7, 11:3-9, 24:21-23; Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:6-18; Daniel 7:13-14,18,27; Zechariah 2:10-13, 6:12-13, 8:2-3, 9:10, 14:1-9; Revelation 3:21 and myriad other passages….)

Friday, August 23, 2019

A great reader question about Mark 4:12

READER QUESTION:

I have a question about this passage taken from the King James translation:

"That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them"

Specifically the part in bold.  I am trying to understand why it is said this way. I understand the first part, but as you read the second part in bold letters it is really a confusion to me. Christ came to save and if I take this at face value it says that he didn't want the people he is talking about to understand salvation or to be saved. Is this a misinterpretation or a wrong choice  of the correct English word? I know that the translators of the King James had less documents to translate from than there is today. So I bring this question to you. As always thank you for your time and effort to answer my questions I appreciate it more than you will ever know or I have words to express.

OUR RESPONSE:

Yes, these verses in Mark 4 do pose a conundrum, but I think the scripture itself does a pretty good job of explaining just what Yeshua meant. If read, in context from the beginning of chapter 4, we learn that it is not that Yeshua "didn't want the people he is talking about to understand salvation or to be saved"; rather, he wanted them to "want it" or "desire it" so they'd make an effort.  This is the meaning of verse 12 that has you scratching your head:

"That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

Here, I've underlined some key words. The fact that the people see and not perceive, and hear yet not understand points to the word "lest" which means "for fear that", or in this case, that the people who see and hear (the message), but don't dare make any effort of their own to comprehend means they miss their chance to be saved. So, these people dismiss the message and go on with their lives without knowing what they gave up.  This understanding becomes clear in vs 13-23.  See how Yeshua explains that because they made no effort themselves to want to understand, it left them open to the adversary (v 15), or troubles or persecution (v 17), or the worries of the world or their own desires (v 19) such that the "message" was lost as a seed is lost in poor soil.  

I've always understood that Yeshua brought nothing new except that he offered his blood to redeem us. To have salvation takes BOTH the acceptance that Yeshua's blood redeemed us, AND that we must live our lives as free of sin as possible by our obedience (be holy).  I see this clearly in John 17:3.  Yeshua says that "eternal life" is KNOWING YHWH and the Messiah.  We "know" by experiencing and living YHWH's Word.

Hope this helps!  Thank you for writing to The Refiner’s Fire!

Our world needs a wake-up call....

In the wake of several mass shootings just over the last month, we’ve begun to see a rash of young men being arrested for planning mass murders, including one 15-year-old Florida boy who posted online in a video game chat room, that he "vowed to bring his fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum." 

When police came to his house to arrest him, his mother insisted he is 'just a little kid' making jokes …  playing video games.”  She also insisted that her son’s threatening words online were “normal.”

This is troubling on many fronts, because (1) this particular household actually IS in possession of a weapon such as the one described; (2) the mother (the adult) saw nothing wrong with even just the THREAT of the taking of human  lives – joking or otherwise; and (3) the teen’s Internet activities are clearly NOT being monitored nor restricted….

The reality is, a 15-year-old is NOT a “little boy” and this kind of behavior is NOT normal.  A 15-year-old should certainly have been taught the difference between “right and wrong”; but – judging from his mother’s reaction - he has been molded into simply another lost soul who receives no adult guidance or direction; and is consequently allowing himself to be influenced by others who have never had any proper guidance.
 
The reality is also that we live in mostly godless societies today where deviant behavior is actually encouraged; and where people are running amuck, doing whatever seems “right in their own eyes” – exactly as it has been since the very beginning where, already in Genesis 4, we see Cain killing Abel, and Lamech committing the first -known polygyny and telling his two wives he had killed someone. 

By the time we get to Genesis 6, we see YHWH being so fed up that He is planning to destroy the entire earth!  (See also Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1 and 21:25.)

YHWH gave mankind “free will” and we have continually abused that privilege by straying from His Torah!  THAT is the sole reason the world is in the mess it’s in…

Throughout Scripture, we see the penchant for men to sin and to “do their own thing.”  NOTHING has changed over the millennia, even though we are CONSTANTLY, THROUGHOUT Scripture, being warned to guard our mouths and our hearts, and even to take every thought captive - because actions always begin with THOUGHTS.  (See Psalm 141:3, Proverbs 21:23, 2 Corinthians 10:5, etc).

The reality is also this:  The proverbial snowball has not only been “rolling downhill” since the beginning of the creation of mankind; but it has picked up so much speed that NOTHING will stop it now, except for the return of Messiah Yeshua.  May he return SOON!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Parashas 51 and 52…

For those who are following our Weekly Torah studies, here’s this week's Shabbat treasure.  This week features another dual parashah:

Parashah 51: Nitzavim (Standing) - Deuteronomy 29:9(10) through 30:20 https://www.therefinersfire.org/parashah_51.htm

AND:

Parashah 52: Vayelekh (He went); Deuteronomy 31:1-30. https://www.therefinersfire.org/parashah_52.htm

These parashahs contain many nuggets,

This week's lesson in Parashah 51 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! His desire is perfectly outlined, as you’ll see in Parashah 51.

Parashah 52 is another "tear jerker" for all those who love YHWH (Yahweh) because, for those who understand the words of this parashah, they reveal YHWH's words weren't meant only for the people of Moshe's (Moses) time, but that they have reverberated throughout the millennia to reveal that the state of the world today is a direct result of our disobedience to YHWH's Torah (divine instruction in righteousness)!

To get started with the readings, simply click on the links above to read our synopses, and then read all of the Torah, Haftarah and Brit Chadasha portions outlined in our articles.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sadly, “Neo-Nazism” is growing around the world

I’m truly distraught over the fact that “Neo-Nazism” is growing around the world – one of the latest signs is this video showing some California high school boys giving the Nazi Salute (https://abcnews.go.com/US/video-surfaces-showing-california-high-school-students-giving/story?id=65066289 ) and singing one of the favorite Third Reich marching songs, called “Erika” - https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2upq4e - which is about a blond woman (what else?) likened to a budding flower.

(I recognized the song because my mother, who hid her Jewishness throughout her childhood, used to sing it sometimes at home. It has a catchy tune, but I never really knew the hidden meaning behind it until today. You see, the name, Erika, is a feminine form of Erik, deriving from the Old Norse name Eiríkr - usually taken to mean "sole ruler, autocrat" or "eternal ruler, ever powerful"… Which, of course, is what Hitler attempted to portray.)

I’m distraught over the Neo-Nazi movement because these boys (and any other youths flashing the idiotic “Nazi salute”) surely do NOT understand the gravity of what they’re doing! I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone that Nazis were an evil, murderous, white-nationalist, “pure-race-seeking” regime led by a mentally unstable narcissistic megalomaniac who killed at least six million of YHWH’s Chosen people, and single-handedly caused the downfall of Germany….

These Neo-Nazi wannabe’s don’t realize that their ignorance will ultimately be THEIR downfall! (If you don’t know why, then please read the Bible from cover to cover and you’ll get the picture of what YHWH does to those who perpetrate evil.)

Unfortunately, sadly, “Neo-Nazism” is becoming popular today. For those who don’t know what it is, it “consists of post-World War II militant social or political movements seeking to revive and implement the ideology of Nazism. Neo-Nazis seek to employ this ideology to promote hatred and attack minorities, or in some cases to create a fascist political state.

“It is a global phenomenon, with organized representation in many countries and international networks, borrowing elements from Nazi doctrine, including ultranationalism, racism, xenophobia, etc.” – Source: Wikipedia

For an indepth look at the sordid history of Nazism: https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/nazi-party
1 Timothy 1: 5. Now the goal* of the command is love which is from a pure heart and from a good conscience and from true Faith. 6. But from these some have strayed and have turned aside to vain words; 7. because they wished to be teachers of Torah, while they understood not what they speak, nor the thing about which they contend.
8. Now we know, that Torah is a good thing if a man conduct himself in it according to Torah; 9. he knowing that Torah was not established for the righteous but for the evil and the rebellious, and those without Elohim, and the sinful, and the perverse and for the impure, and for smiters of their fathers and smiters of their mothers, and for murderers, 10. and for sexual sinners and for copulators with males, and for the stealers of free people, and for liars, and for violators of oaths, and for whatever is contrary to sound doctrine, (AENT)
*NOTE: Messiah is the goal of Torah, not its termination. Love is also the sakal (goal) of the commandment, not the termination. This is validated throughout Paul's writings in key places like Romans 3:31; 7:12; 10:4.

Do you know someone who attempts to use Hebrews 8:13 to "prove" that Torah was "abolished at the cross?"

If you have a friend who attempts to use Hebrews 8:13 to "prove" that Torah was "abolished at the cross," please tell them this:

Hebrews 8:13 says: In that he said a Renewed (Covenant), he made the first old; and that which is old and decaying, is near to disappearing. (AENT)

The context of Hebrews 8:13 is actually Jeremiah 31:31-34:

31 "Here, the days are coming," says ADONAI, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra'el and with the house of Y'hudah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated my covenant, even though I, for my part, was a husband to them," says ADONAI.

33 "For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra'el after those days," says ADONAI: "I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will any of them teach his fellow community member or his brother, 'Know ADONAI'; for all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest; because I will forgive their wickednesses and remember their sins no more." (CJB)

Actually, YHWH’s Torah (Divine Instructions in Righteousness, without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living) can NEVER disappear. Why would they?

Without Torah, Jesus would have had nothing to preach about; he would have taught nothing but "believe in God to be saved. No rules to follow, just do your own thing."

More importantly, without YHWH's Word/Torah/Divine Instructions that Christians believe were somehow made null and void because Jesus died, Yeshua wouldn't have existed at all. If you ignore "the Word" then you're ignoring Yeshua. After all, he was and still is "the Word" (John 1:1, 14) and the "Arm of YHWH" (Isaiah 53:1) ....

BOTTOM LINE: What Hebrews 8 refers to … what is “near to disappearing” ... is the sinful nature of man that breaks Torah, NOT the standard of Torah! Remember that WE broke Torah, not YHWH. YHWH did not drop the standard of Torah because Israel chose disobedience; rather, He installed a Renewed Covenant to write Torah upon the heart through the work of the Ruach haKodesh, according to Mashiyach.

The fact of the matter is that in Mashiyach, YHWH raised the bar; He magnified Torah. (See Isaiah 42:21 which says: “ADONAI was pleased, for his righteousness' sake, to make the Torah great and glorious.”)

Because mankind broke Covenant, YHWH requires complete renovation on our part, not YHWH’s part of the Covenant. Hebrews 8:13 in its twisted form, became one of the “crown jewels” of Torahless Christianity which teaches that Torah is decaying and is near to disappearing, but nothing could be farther from the truth. See 2 Peter 3:16.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Reader question about the word “foreshadow”

READER QUESTION:

I have a question that I would like to  pass on to family members and that is what does being 'a shadow of things to come’? I also have wondered, especially recently, as I have been running into this passage.  I always value your expertise in the scriptures.

OUR RESPONSE:

Thank you for the question!  It's a GREAT question, and the simple answer is: "Foreshadowing" is a warning or indication of a future event. For instance, when God first commanded His feasts be observed (Leviticus 23:2-4), each event they foreshadowed was still in the future. Yeshua, has so far "fulfilled" (NOT "put an end to"; rather accomplished what was prophesied in the first four of the seven Feasts.)

A longer answer to your question can be found in a footnote to Colossians 2:17, which reads as follows:

Colossians 2:16. Let no (pagan) therefore judge you about food and drink, or about the distinctions of festivals and new moons and Shabbats  17. which were shadows of the things then future; but the body of Mashiyach. (AENT)

Footnote:

Compare this with Colossians 1:24.  Paul is stating that the “Body of Mashiyach” determines how to observe Torah, including Kashrut (religious dietary laws), Shabbats, Moedim (Feasts/Appointed Times) and Rosh Chodeshim (head of the new month, marked by the birth of the new moon); therefore, don’t let lawless pagans judge you; they have their own religious customs and way of doing things!

For example, many choose to attend “religious” meetings on Sun-Day, and they have sunrise services on Ishtar (Easter); then for December 25th, they put up a Tammuz (Christmas) tree that commemorates the rebirth of the Babylonian deity Tammuz.  And the gold and silver balls that Christians hang on their Christmas trees originally represented Tammuz’s testicles, as he was renowned for “pleasing the ladies.” 

Most Christians know full well that Y’shua was not born on December 25th, but the pagan celebrations have become such entrenched traditional rituals that truth has become an embarrassing inconvenience.  In other words, don’t let family, friends, pastors, or co-workers judge you for observing truthful Torah festivals, because their motive is for you to return to the pagan substitutes they themselves prefer. 

The Church today is following in the idolatrous footsteps of ancient and modern Israel according to Ezekiel 8:14 and Jeremiah 10 and 17.  The vast majority of Christians twist this verse to teach that Shabbat and the Feasts of YHWH “were fulfilled by Christ and are no longer necessary” which completely contradicts what Rav Shaul taught – that YHWH’s Feasts are a shadow of things to come; not to mention, they are rehearsals for the Bride of Mashiyach! 

End of footnote.

We hope this helps!  Thanks again for trusting us with an answer!

Challenging a "Jesus-rejecter" who insists there never was a virgin birth


Methinks it takes a special kind of dimwittery to make a statement like this, don't you? I mean, how can a "virgin birth" NOT be a sign from God? How many virgins - women who have never been with a man - have miraculously given birth to a baby boy ... a baby who:

-    had no earthly father because, as we see in Luke 1:26–38, was supernaturally placed in the womb by ADONAI Himself (YHWH, whose Word (John 1:1, 14) created the entire universe and everything in it, and who was certainly able to create His baby Messiah in the womb of a virgin) ...

-    was announced to the virgin Miriam by the Angel/Messenger Gabriel who was sent by YHWH to inform her that she would bear His Son (Exdus 13:2, Luke 1:26-38)…

-    was recognized as the Messiah by a man named Shimon who had been informed by the Ruach haKodesh that he would not see death until he saw the Mashiyach of Master YHWH (Isaiah 42:6, Luke 2:25–35)…

-    at the age of 12, was found in a discussion at the Temple where he amazed the elders with his vast knowledge (Luke 2:41–52) ...

-    eventually, after starting his three year ministry ((Luke 3:23) healed the sick (Matthew 8:14-16), raised the dead (John 11:1–44), turned water into wine (John 2:1-11) and supernaturally fed the multitudes (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-14)...

-    knew that his life would end at the hands of his enemies, and that his shed blood would serve to redeem a deaf, dumb, and dying humanity that kept straying from ELOHIM (Isaiah 53, Luke 18:32, John 18:37, 1 John 3:16)…

-    said, "I am the resurrection and the Life.  He who believes yet in me will never die! " John 11:25-26)

-    And YHWH was well pleased with him (Luke 3:23)

As for William Hall's comment that "there never was a virgin birth prophecy,” I suggest he read Genesis 3:15, which promised that "the seed of woman" would be the victor over the adversary and sin; along with Isaiah 7:14 which says: " 14 Therefore Adonai himself will give you people a sign: the young woman will become pregnant, bear a son and name him 'Immanu El [God is with us]. " (CJB).

According to Matthew 1:22-23, this prophecy was fulfilled in Miriam who was called a "virgin" in Luke 1:27.  (Actually, the term was "almah"  - which certainly means  more than "young woman" as shown in our article: https://www.therefinersfire.org/almah.htm).  Miriam did not conceive through ordinary means, but through the Ruach haKodesh/Holy Spirit.


What are we allowed to do on Shabbat?

Okay, there are so many arguments about what we can and can't do on Shabbat. Let me just throw a few things out there, from my perspective:

Torah sometimes isn't specific on some things, and ELOHIM just expects us to use some common sense. I mean, He was perfectly clear about His people NOT committing work or commerce, or causing anyone else to "work" on Shabbat. (Work refers to anything we do on a regular basis to earn money and make it through life's every day necessities.)

"Work" doesn't prohibit us from brushing our teeth, changing our babies' diapers, keeping our children entertained and occupied, or "having fun" and just relaxing and enjoying ourselves. Contrary to popular belief, He never said we couldn't "push a button" on our apartment complex's elevator. (It's a whole lot more tiring to run up and down 30 flights of stairs than it is to just push a button on the elevator....)

People throughout the millennia have read WAY too much into this issue!

YHWH is clear that His Shabbat is about RESTING from the "daily grind" and keeping this day "holy" for Him - doing Torah studies and praising Him at some point during Shabbat. After all, it's our "weekly date with God!" But this never meant that we cannot do anything else! It never meant that we are to sit in our living rooms to read the BIble all day long!

"Resting" our bodies from the work week includes just relaxing and having fun - which means if you want to do it while riding your bike or taking a walk, that would be fine! After all, you're NOT riding that bike to make a living/earn money; you're taking care of your temple (body) and can ride through the country-side with YHWH on your mind, praising Him for all the beauty passing by....

Right?

Sex on Shabbat, howewver - contrary to what many are teaching - is NOT a good idea! Why? Well, first of all, it totally takes our minds OFF of YHWH and places it onto our carnal selves.... Having sex, according to Torah, makes one unclean because we emit bodily fluids, meaning we cannot "enter the Temple" after the sex act until we're "clean" again. (Yes, there is no Temple today, but our bodies ARE the temples right now, and if you've had sex, you're "unclean" and cannot come before YHWH again. By having sex, you've broken that cycle of intimacy with HIM on your "date" with HIM....)

So, yes, ride your bike, take a walk, play games with your children - whatever you need to do that doesn’t comprise “working to expand your domain.” But ALSO make sure you do the Torah studies with the family – because it’s everybody's DATE with God! If you and your family have accepted YHWH and His Messiah, then you are obligated to continue fostering your relationship with Him.  Keeping His Shabbat holy is a COMMAND, not a suggestion!

For those who have a congregation to attend on Shabbat, you are blessed, because you're getting the best of all worlds - praise and worship, Bible study and fellowship! Afterwards, go ride that bike or take a walk or play with the kids! Just don't commit commerce of ANY kind on Shabbat. (Unless, of course, you have an emergency situation of some kind that cannot wait until sundown.)

For those who are interested, we feature an article on our website on how to keep the Shabbat without all the man-made "fences"….

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Parashah 50: Ki Tavo (When you come) Deuteronomy 26:1 through 29:8

If you're "chomping at the bit" to start reading this week's Torah portion, you can find a synopsis of Parashah 50: Ki Tavo (When you come) on our website.

For those who have already read and understood the words of this parashah at the "gut level" it was obvious that YHWH's words through Moshe (Moses) have reverberated throughout the millennia to reveal that the state of the world today is a direct result of our disobedience to Torah (YHWH's Divine Instruction in Righteousness)! Please allow His words to speak to your heart as you follow along with this study, beginning with Deuteronomy 26:16-19, where we discover what it takes to be a holy people for ADONAI:

Deuteronomy 26: 16 "Today ADONAI your God orders you to obey these laws and rulings. Therefore, you are to observe and obey them with all your heart and all your being. 17 You are agreeing today that ADONAI is your God and that you will follow his ways; observe his laws, mitzvot and rulings; and do what he says. 18 In turn ADONAI is agreeing today that you are his own unique treasure, as he promised you; that you are to observe all his mitzvot; 19 and that he will raise you high above all the nations he has made, in praise, reputation and glory; and that, as he said, you will be a holy people for ADONAI your God."

How could ANY believer who reads the above miss the very clear message that YHWH's people (which includes all who accept the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!) are to OBEY His mitzvot (words/commands), which is WHAT MAKES THEM HOLY? YHWH's people are not about "religion"; they are all about HIM!

But today, how many actually know what it means to "be holy?" For many of the Hollywood types and our government officials, for instance, "being holy" means occasionally attending, and being seen, at their respective churches of whatever religion they adhere to, or the wearing of huge crosses around their necks to show the world how "holy" they are. Do they even realize that the "cross" was a Roman DEATH device?

Yes, Y'shua died on a thing similar to "a cross" but why would anyone want to wear it around their neck? (It's a good thing Y'shua wasn't hanged, or else they would all be wearing nooses around their necks....) How many truly "godly" actors, singers or dancers and government officials do we know? How many have given themselves to YHWH and actually bother to obey His Torah?

To read the rest of our synopsis, simply click on the link above to read our synopsis, and then read all of the Torah, Haftarah and Brit Chadasha portions outlined in our article.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Let’s do a little indepth study of Mark 16:16-18…

Mark 16: 16. Whoever believes and is immersed will live, and whoever does not believe will be condemned.  17. These signs will follow those who believe in my name: they will cast out demons and they will speak in new tongues, 18.  And they will handle serpents, and if they should drink a deadly poison, it will not harm them.  And they will place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.  (AENT)

Cool, huh?  We can now cast out demons and handle poisonous snakes, just because we’re believers.

Or can we?

Let’s study this a little more, using the “Hebrew mindset.”

The reason I say “Hebrew mindset,” is because I know from experience that a “Greek” mindset  reading this passage (Mark 16:16-18) would immediately tend to view it at the “pshat” level, or “plain meaning” which seems to suggest that, just because we “believe”, we are automatically imbued with special magical powers!  (There are some cults that believe this and, as a result, some have died while handling poisonous snakes.)

The truth is, to properly understand Scripture, we must always remember to use some common sense – especially when it comes to the more hard-to-understand passages. 

Here’s what I mean:

First of all, we must realize that WE aren’t like the Apostles in Yeshua’s time who were granted some special “gifts” and “authority”.  (Remember, already before the Holy Spirit was given, the apostles received “power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease” (Matthew 10:1, Mark 3:15, Luke 9:1).  Then later, in Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8 we see after Yeshua’s ascension, the promise of being endued with power from on high via the Ruach haKodesh/Holy Spirit….)

Returning to the subject passage, YES, by all means, we MUST “believe and be immersed” … but we must also be careful to NOT become sucked into “religiosity” in passages such as this, which SEEM to suggest that, just because we ordinary folks “believe” we now have some special powers and can actually “handle” poisonous serpents and “cast out demons” all by ourselves. 

NO!  Not even Yeshua in his human body dared taunt satan while being “tempted”  (Matthew 4:1-11).

What the above passage means for “ordinary folks” like you and me is that we, by being Believers in YHWH/Yeshua/Torah have the privilege of calling on YHWH/Yeshua to handle the situation for us!  (“In the mighty Name of Yeshua, demons GET OUT of my house!”) 

But don’t try this with a poison snake!  (For instance, don’t be presumptuous enough to mess with one and then command YHWH to tell it not to bite you.  That would be stupid – especially since normal people don’t have any reason to fiddle around with poison snakes!  Furthermore, Mark 16:16-18 does NOT tell you to do that….)

So now, having said the above, let’s take another look at that passage with our “new mindsets”….

Mark 16: 16. Whoever believes and is immersed will live, and whoever does not believe will be condemned.  17. These signs will follow those who believe in my name: they will cast out demons and they will speak in new tongues, 18.  And they will handle serpents, and if they should drink a deadly poison it will not harm them.  And they will place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.  (AENT)

Many fail to notice that the imagery in that passage is from Psalm 91:13 which relates to our faith in YHWH that overcomes the obstacles of the world. 

Psalm 91: 13 Also keep your servant from presumptuous sins, so that they won't control me. Then I will be blameless and free of great offense. (ISR)

You see, “presumptuousness” can be an absolute death knell.  You don’t go around “testing” YHWH!  Even Messiah Y'shua told haSatan, "you shall not test Master YHWH your Elohim" … In view of that, shouldn’t we assume that it is safe to say this admonition also applies to his followers?

As for that “snake handling” thing, yes, Paul recovered from a poisonous snakebite (Acts 28:3-6), and so did many Israelites who looked to the “fiery serpent” on the pole (Numbers 21:8, 9) – but NOT as “testing” of YHWH; but simply an exercising their Faith according to His will.

I hope this little mini-study has helped you to understand that the Word is “deeper” than we know….

Monday, August 12, 2019

The great "falling away" is here....

Scripture tells us that in the end times there would be a “falling away” – and, folks, it has started, and it is happening in droves!

I’m seeing it place especially within the ranks of those who have a habit of “religion hopping” – those Christians who found their way to Torah and became Torah observant believers in Y’shua … and then, after grazing around on Facebook or somewhere, they got hooked into traditional Judaism by other “religion hoppers” who had found “real rabbis” who make their living drawing people into traditional Judaism....

But that’s how it all starts, and what’s sad is that these new “unbelievers” fool themselves into believing they are “thinking for themselves” while singing the praises of atheists and pantheists and agnostics and generally those who haven’t got a clue about God and the Bible but yet have the audacity to proclaim themselves to be “experts”!

So, in essence, these newly-deceived people are willing to believe the messages of MAN, but not God Himself.  It makes absolutely NO sense!

Regardless, the Bible did warn us that these things would happen.  Let’s take a look at just one of the pertinent passages in the Aramaic English New Testament, with footnotes:

2 Thessalonians 2:9. For the coming of that (Evil One) is the working of haSatan with all power and signs and lying wonders  10. and with all the deceptiveness of iniquity in them that perish; because they did not receive the love of the truth by which they might have life.  11. Therefore Elohim will send upon them the strength of a deception that they may believe a lie;[1]  12. and that they all may be condemned who believe not the truth but have pleasure in iniquity.

13. But we are bound to give thanks to Elohim always on your account, my Brothers, beloved of our Master (Y’shua), that Elohim has from the beginning chosen you to life through sanctification of the Spirit and through faith in the Truth.  14. For to these it was that Elohim called you by our preaching;[2] that ye might be the glory to our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach.

5. Therefore, my Brothers, be established and persevere in the Commandments[3] which you have been taught, whether by word or by our epistle.[4]  16. And may our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach himself, and Elohim our Father who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and a good hope through his grace,  17. comfort your hearts and establish in yourselves every good word and in every good work. (AENT)

FOOTNOTES:

[1]  The price for not receiving the “love of the truth” is to become overly self-confident in false religion.  The “love of the truth” is the spirit of truth which must be sanctified by thought and action.  One cannot “love the truth” and, at the same time, break the Commandments.

[2]  The phrase “called you by our preaching” is another instance of the implied wordplay between “called” (qirakon) and the Hebrew name for the priestly book of Leviticus (Vayiqra), which is derived from the first words “and he called.” The same can be said of “preaching” which is once again being tapped by the Aramaic sebar (Good News/Hope).  The final repetition is also a favorite implied wordplay of Paul’s, with miltha “Word” being contrasted with “Commandments” which comes from the fact that the “Ten Commandments” are originally called “The Ten Words” YHWH spoke. One cannot also help but see the similarity with the use of “miltha” in the way John opens his Good News/Preaching; “the Miltha was with Elohim and the Miltha was Elohim.”

This idea is reinforced further with the phrase “from the beginning,” dovetailing with the title of the Book of Genesis, which is called B’resheet in Hebrew, and rendered min reshita here by Paul. The fact is, there is very little difference between the two terms, coming down to a small alteration in how prepositions are used between “in the beginning” and “from the beginning.” Either way, this revelation that Paul is addressing cannot be a “new commandment” but the one that has always been, calling Jew and Gentile alike into the righteousness of Torah through its foremost interpreter, who is Mashiyach.

[3] The biggest misunderstanding of the Pauline Epistles is that Paul’s encouragements nullified or superseded Torah rather than complemented Torah, and most of this is due to erroneous Greek translations, such as in this verse which reads: “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the paradoesis (traditions) which you were taught, whether by word or epistle.” Paradoesis could mean “traditions” but may also be rendered “teachings” as in the NIV. However, there are BIG problems with both phrases as they imply a new “wisdom” has supplanted the Eternal Word.

Many theologians suggest that Paul the Jew is saying to the Gentiles, “Don’t concern yourself with Torah, it’s just a Jewish thing; just listen to me (Paul) and follow to the new teaching.”  However, Aramaic reads: “Henceforth, my brethren, stand fast and hold to the Commandments which you have been taught, either by word or by epistle.” (Lamsa)  The Aramaic porqadona, unlike the Greek paradoesis, can only mean “Commandments”. The question is then, what commandments?

According to Matthew 5:19, Y’shua taught Torah and the Commandments of YHWH from the very beginning of his ministry.  According to Matthew 15:3, Y’shua warned the Pharisees against making void the “Commandment of Elohim” by their traditions.  In Matthew 19:17 Y’shua spelled out the Commandments to the rich young ruler, teaching that “if you will enter into Life, keep the Commandments.”  The rich young ruler asked which ones?  Y’shua gave him Torah Commandments!

Being led by the Ruach haKodesh to observe YHWH’s Torah (instruction in righteousness) is a perquisite to entering the Malchut Elohim; in fact, Torah is magnified (made great) by Y’shua according to Yesha‘yahu/Isaiah 42:21. In 2 Peter 2:21, 22, Peter levies a sharp rebuke; “…it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after having known (it), to turn back from the Set Apart commandment that was delivered to them.”

John teaches in 1 John 2:4; “For he that says I know him and does not keep his Commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  There can be NO doubt these are YHWH’s Commandments because John teaches in 1 John 3:22: “And whatever we ask, we receive from Him because we keep His (YHWH’s) Commandments and do acceptable things before Him.”  But some theologians teach that if you “love” you don’t need to keep any Commandments; however, this is the tradition of the Laodicean Church who interprets “love” according to religious tradition (see Definition of Love in Appendix).

“And the dragon was enraged against the woman; and he went to make war upon the residue of her seed who keep the Commandments of Elohim and have the testimony of Y’shua.” (Revelation 12:17).  The true remnant, the Israel of Elohim, keep the Commandments of Elohim and they know Y’shua is Mashiyach ben Yoseph.

The evidence supporting Torah Observance among Y’shua’s followers is overwhelming, but there are multitudes of doctrines and church traditions that make war against the Word of YHWH.  It’s one thing for a person to choose to disobey YHWH’s Commandments, but it’s quite another to teach others to also be disobedient.  Y’shua warns that it would be better for a millstone be hung around your neck and be sunk into the sea than to be guilty of causing one of his little ones to stumble (Matthew 18:6).

Paul and all of Y’shua’s disciples, even the Pharisees knew that the “Word of Elohim” can only mean Torah! Therefore, this verse clearly demonstrates that Paul is determined to bring everyone including the Gentiles, the Tribes of Israel, and all Jews into the Grace of Y’shua so they could have Torah written upon their hearts.  Grace is power given by YHWH to live as a Kedoshim (holy people).

[4] Most Gentiles are unaware of the fervent debates between Netzarim Jews (Nazarenes) and traditional Jews regarding Y’shua being Mashiyach or his divinity. In particular, the issue that frequently comes up is the idea that Christians exalt a man as God. As we will see, part of the problem again lies with inaccurate Greek translations and, of course, there is a marked difference between Catholic, Protestant, “Messianic Jewish” and Netzarim beliefs.

It is most intriguing that some traditional Jews would label Paul’s letters as pagan, given his admonition to a pagan audience:  “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come unless it is preceded by a rebellion, and the man of sin be revealed as the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called Elohim or that is reverenced; so that even in the Temple of Elohim, he sits as a god, and shows himself as though he were a god.”  2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (Lamsa).

The phrase “son of perdition” in Aramaic, breh d’abadana is the same as the Hebrew abaddon, meaning “destruction” and is torn from the pages of the Dead Sea Scrolls, alluding to sons of light and sons of darkness. Of course, such a metaphor makes little sense in Greek. However, more pointed to our discussion is the fact that Paul is describing a great deception whereby “Christians” would be entrapped into worshipping a man!  “And with all deceitfulness of unrighteousness in those who perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved thereby. For this reason Elohim shall send them a strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that all who did not believe in truth but preferred unrighteousness might be damned.”  2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (Lamsa).

Since the Wicked One in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 is clearly a man sent from Satan, we can rightly infer that this sort of man-worship is heartily and forcefully condemned by the Shaliach/Apostle Paul. That being said, it is odd that his critics would continue to accuse him of being an idolater himself, when all evidence in Scripture points to his keeping Torah! Furthermore, if the heresy is as Paul says, “a strong delusion” it seems likely that it is a popular one as well!  Certainly this vision of the distant future from Paul’s era drives a spike in the coffin to Replacement Theology (Supercessionism) and Dispensationalism, which are as “fathers” to polytheistic Christianity.

In the end, the true Good News is linked inextricably to the Word that came before, while the “other Gospel” teaches Torah is done away with, and/or that paganism rules the day. As we will also see later on, since Paul condemned as heretical the “man-god” idea, it seems very unlikely that the Shaliach would simply substitute the agent of Satan with the Hellenized “Jesus” who essentially does the same thing.

It was Paul who made statements as in 1 Corinthians 12:3 that “Y’shua is YHWH!” We must certainly differentiate between a man who would wrongly aspire to be YHWH, with a pure understanding of Aramaic/Hebrew and Torah that demonstrates how YHWH can take on any form He desires.  One is the age old pagan counterfeit from haSatan which entered the world by confusion in the Greek “New Testament” while the other is the ultimate understanding of Mashiyach as revealed in Torah and the prophets of YHWH as truth, and it’s Jewish to the very core.

So this "falling away" (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3) is being manifested in our time! Sure, we still have no idea of the ultimate unfolding of events, but the signs are unmistakable!

The bottom line is, those who have left “God” by rejecting either YHWH or His Son, and spoken against His Word, they are guilty of "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" – which is an unforgivable sin!

Matthew 12: 30. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever did not gather with me, scatters. 31. Because of this I say to you that all sins and blasphemies will be forgiven to the sons of men, but blasphemy that is against the Spirit will not be forgiven to the sons of men. 32. And anyone who says a word against the Son of man, he will be forgiven, But anyone who will speak against the Ruach haKodesh, he will not be forgiven - not in this world or in the world that is to come. (AENT)

If a person committed one of the capital offenses that are mentioned in Torah, but confessed and pleaded for forgiveness, there were ways to receive atonement. But those who blaspheme against the Spirit of YHWH have no way to make atonement for themselves, nor can they make an appeal in the name of Yeshua. See also Acts 5:1-11 and Hebrews 10:28-30.

Matthew 13: 32. And anyone who says a word against the Son of man, he will be forgiven, But anyone who will speak against the Ruach haKodesh,[1] he will not be forgiven – not in this world or in the world that is to come.

It is "defiant irreverence" - a term that can be applied to such sins as cursing Yahweh or willfully degrading things relating to Him, or attributing some evil to Him, or denying Him some good that should be attributed to Him. For instance, in Matthew 12:31-32, the Pharisees, having witnessed irrefutable proof that Yeshua was working miracles in the power of the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit), claimed instead that He was possessed by the demon "Beelzebub" (Matthew 12:24).

Mark 3: 28. Truly I say to you, that all sins and blasphemies that the sons of man will blaspheme will be forgiven them. 29. But he who blasphemes against the Ruach haKodesh has no forgiveness ever, rather he is guilty before the eternal judgment. 30. This is because they were saying that an unclean spirit is in him.

Hebrews 10: 28. For if he who transgressed the Torah of Moshe, died without mercies at the mouth of two or three witnesses; 29. how much more, do you think, will he receive capital punishment who has trodden upon the Son of Elohim and has accounted the blood of his covenant by which he is sanctified, as the blood of all men and has treated the Spirit of grace in an insulting manner?

Acts 5: 32 And we are witnesses of these words and the Ruach haKodesh; He Who Elohim gives to those who obey Him.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Let’s discuss 2 Corinthians 3 in context

The Brit Chadasha readings for Parsha 21 (Ki Tissa) was 2 Corinthians 3:1-8, which is often used by Christians to show that Torah was “abolished at the cross”; and by Jewish “counter-missionaries” and their adherents to “prove” that the New Testament is full of myths and anti-Torah rhetoric, and that Y’shua couldn’t possibly be the Messiah.

Yet, the astute person who is able to view this chapter in context, recognizes that Paul constantly refers to YHWH’s Torah (Divine Instruction in Righteousness without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living!).

It’s truly way past time for both Christians and Jews to start recognizing that maybe – just MAYBE – they have misunderstood the writings of Paul!  Contrary to popular belief, Paul – a mere human - didn’t “change” YHWH’s Torah or attempt to negate the teachings of Mashyiach Y’shua! He merely tried to interpret into plain language the deep and often hard-to-understand Hebrew mindset and concepts.

Unfortunately, he didn’t always succeed. Peter even warned of this (2 Peter 3:15-16) by explaining that Paul’s letters had already been turned into a Torahless fiasco, even in Peter’s day! Certainly it was not the Pharisees who were renouncing Torah Observance, but the humanist, pagan and materialistic “modernists” who operated under “Christian” labels…

Having said that, let’s check out 2 Corinthians 3 in context:

2 Corinthians 3:1. Do we begin again to show you who we are? Or do we need, like others, that letters of recommendation from us should be written to you? Or, that you should write recommendations of us? 2. You are our epistles, written on our hearts and known and read by every man. 3. For you know that you are an epistle of the Mashiyach, ministered by us; not written with ink, but by the Spirit of the Living Elohim; not on tablets of stone, but on the tablets of the heart of flesh.[1]

NOTE 1: Paul is clearly referencing Jeremiah 31:33, indicating Torah is being written upon the heart. See also Ezekiel 18:31; 36:26-28.

2 Corinthians 3:4. And such confidence we have in the Mashiyach towards Elohim; 5. Not that we are sufficient to think anything, as of ourselves; but our efficiency is from Elohim: 6. Who has fitted us to be ministers of the Renewed Covenant[2] not in the letter, but in the Spirit; for the letter kills[3] but the Spirit gives life. 7. Now if the ministration of death was engraved upon stones in writing, and was so glorious that the children of Israel could not look on the face of Moshe[4] on account of the glory upon his face which vanished away; 8. How then will not the ministration of the Spirit be still more glorious?

NOTE 2: Again, a reference to Jeremiah 31:33. See also Matthew 26:28.

NOTE 3: The “letter” and “Spirit” are not opposites. In verse 1 Rav Shaul begins by explaining how a “letter” in itself is not sufficient for his purposes, and how those in Corinth are not epistles written with ink, but in the Spirit of Elohim. The letter points out flaws. When we study the letter, sins of the weak flesh are exposed; our “natural” man is condemned to death to create a new birth according to YHWH’s Spirit.

Christian theology, however, teaches the “letter” refers to Torah, and that Torah is contrary to the spiritual man (which is a rather evil theology considering that mainstream Christians are already keeping over 60 percent of Torah)! Torah contains righteous directives of how to live and love, as well as the Covenant of promise that necessitates Mashiyach.

In this discourse Rav Shaul is juxtaposing condemnation as a function of the letter; he is most certainly not discrediting the Torah of YHWH as it pertains to the Spiritual Man (Romans 7:14; 8:4). Torah is the Word of YHWH: “For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this WORD you shall prolong your days in the land.” Deuteronomy 32:47

NOTE 4: Shemot/Exodus 34:29 “And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses knew not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.”

2 Corinthians 3:9. For if there was glory in the ministration of condemnation[5], how much more will the ministration of righteousness excel in glory? 10. For that which was glorious was as if not glorious in comparison with this which excels in glory. 11. For if that (condemnation) which is abolished[6] was glorious, much more must, that which abides be glorious.

NOTE 5: Ministration of death is also the ministration of condemnation which comes against the sins of the carnal man. If a man steals he is condemned; if he commits adultery or lies, he is condemned when he reads the Letter.

NOTE 6: Condemnation is abolished when the Ruach haKodesh writes Torah upon the heart, which brings the end of breaking Torah! However, Christian theologians twist this verse to teach that Paul brought an end to Torah itself.

2 Corinthians 3:12. Seeing therefore we have this hope, we the more, speak with boldness; 13. And are not like Moshe, who threw a veil over his face that the children of Israel might not behold the termination of that (condemnation) which was abolished. 14. But they were blinded in their understanding because until this day, when the Ancient Covenant is read, the same veil rests upon them; nor is it manifest (to them), that it (condemnation) is abolished by the Mashiyach.

15. And to this day, when Moshe is read, a veil is thrown upon their hearts. 16. But when any of them is turned to Master YHWH, the veil is taken from him[7]. 17. Now Master YHWH Himself is the Spirit. And where the Spirit of Master YHWH is, there is freedom. 18. And we all, with uncovered faces, behold as in a mirror the glory of Master YHWH; and are transformed into the same likeness, from glory to glory, as by Master YHWH the Spirit. (AENT)

NOTE 7: The reading of Torah does not blind, nor does the reading of the “Renewed Covenant” bring Grace: but in each, one must “turn to Master YHWH with their hearts” to remove the veil. MarYah/YHWH is used here, rather than Y’shua.

Rather than people turning to Y’shua as the deciding factor, the point is that both Jews and Gentiles must be truthful, and not just use prayers or Scripture readings as some sort of magical incantation, but to turn their hearts to YHWH. In many places Y’shua teaches that he came to bring Glory to the Father, and to turn hearts unto YHWH.