Thursday, January 31, 2019

Parashah 18: Mishpatim (Rulings) Exodus 21:1 through 24:18

Shabbat shalom, mishpocah/family/friends!  As always, a synopsis of this week's Torah portion (Parashah 18: Mishpatim (Rulings) Exodus 21:1 through 24:18) can be found on our website.

For those who have been Torah observant for awhile, they know that THEY, as grafted in believers, constitute "Israel" - halleluyah! Anyone who has accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is spiritually part of Israel! And that means what? Same God, same rules....

But the question remains: Are we really "set apart" today? Are the Jews "set apart"? No, because many (if not most) seem to be secular, not really serious about being Torah observant, and refusing to accept Yeshua as their Final Sin Offering. Many even participate in eating "unclean" things and are celebrating Christmas and Easter along with the rest of the world.

And as for Christians, many pastors teach that Torah (which they erroneously call "the law") is a curse and that all one has to do to be "saved" is to "believe in Jesus." Somehow, it has totally slipped past most that the death of Jesus never negated the need to obey God's "forever" commands!

Moving on to ourparashah, we find many things very hard to understand, and we at The Refiner's Fire can tell you from experience that atheists and the "lukewarm/half-hearted" have a field day with the chapters we have been reading lately! Even some believers have a hard time with some of the commands YHWH gave to Moshe - such as, Exodus 21:7, which says: "If a man sells his daughter as a slave, she is not to go free like the men-slaves." Or 22:1-2 which says: "If a thief caught in the act of breaking in is beaten to death, it is not murder; unless it happens after sunrise, in which case it is murder. Exodus 21:10 says: If he marries another wife, he is not to reduce her food, clothing or marital rights.

Some men have jumped on this particular bandwagon to prove that YHWH condones polygyny.  Unbelievers scoff and laugh at the idea of God because commands such as the above sound "crazy" and therefore, God and the Bible must surely "be a myth." Either that, or (as many atheists like to put it), "Your God is pure evil"....

But most believers recognize that customs some 3,000 years ago were a lot different from our customs today and that YHWH was providing many commands pertinent to that particular era - an era when selling one's self into slavery was common because it was the only way some were able to earn their living, and YHWH was forced to hand down certain rules to ensure fair treatment (even though they might sound very strange to our modern understanding).

Be that as it may, YHWH was adamant in handing down His Torah rules to mankind, and poor Moshe was caught in the middle, trying to please YHWH while dealing with approximately two million unruly people!

For more educational reading about this parashah, please click on the “parashah” link above.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

How can I hear God’s Voice?

READER QUESTION: I was curious to know if there are any scriptures relating to hearing YHWH's (Yahweh's) voice and distinguishing his voice from your own line of thinking. For some reason I struggle with that notion. How would I know if I am using my own line of thinking or God's?


GREAT QUESTION! There are actually several ways to "hear" God, with the main one being very simple: “Read the Bible” from cover to cover. And when you’re done, start all over again. The Bible (especially the Torah - the first five Books containing all the “Thus saith the Lord” verses) is our ONLY blueprint for moral, holy living!

Unlike in ancient times, people today have access to Bibles; and therefore, they don't really have an excuse to NOT know what it says. Unfortunately, many don't bother to read it, preferring to listen to a mixture of teachers and so-called "prophets" and their various teachings, whose messages consist of mainly personal opinions and interpretations that usually end up leading people astray. Consequently, many are lost and left in the dark about the real messages contained in the Word....

When we go back to the “beginning” of the Bible, we can see that ADONAI occasionally spoke with an audible voice:

Exodus 33:11 tells us that he spoke to Moshe (Moses) "face to face" (see, also, Numbers 12:7-8, Deuteronomy 34:10). He also spoke to Joshua (Joshua 1:1) and Samuel (1 Sam. 3:1-14). A voice from the heavens was heard when Yeshua was baptized by John (Matt. 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22) and from a cloud that appeared when Yeshua was transfigured on a high mountain (Matt. 17:5, Mark 9:7). And Paul and his traveling companions heard his voice when Paul was struck blind on his way to Damascus to murder Messianic believers (Acts 9:4).

People can also receive messages through the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) as YHWH speaks to us in various ways. Let’s take a look:

· Through the Bible: The Bible is YHWH's living word. Sometimes a passage "jumps out at us" which seems to be exactly "what we needed to hear" at a certain point in time. Often, particular verses come to mind while we read and/or pray, and God uses some of them to speak to us. Hebrews 4:12-13 reminds us that "the word of YHWH is alive" and "sharper than any double edged sword!" This suggests we must continually be reading the Bible if we are seeking God's wisdom and Will in our lives.

· Through prayer: YHWH's Voice is similar to the "voice" of our conscience. Over time we learn to recognize His Voice as He places thoughts into our minds. Of course, we must learn to weigh against the Scriptures whatever we think we might be "hearing"....

· Through others: ELOHIM often uses others either directly (by causing them to "hear" a message for us), or sometimes in more subtle ways such that they themselves are often unaware that they're being used. For instance, during the course of a conversation with someone, we "suddenly" recognize they gave us the answer to something we had been seeking. (Again, it is imperative to remember that whatever is said MUST be weighed against Scripture! For instance, if someone says, "God gave me a word for you: I think you should go ahead with that divorce of yours and not bother to try to reconcile with your spouse" - then you know that did NOT come from God, because YHWH says He HATES divorce (Malachi 2:16)!

· Through visions or dreams. Through the Ruach, God often gives us certain visions or dreams containing, perhaps just some words that "stick with us"; or entire scenarios that we "just know" were meant for us. Again, these visions/dreams MUST line up with the Bible!

It cannot be reiterated enough that, before relying on words, visions or dreams to guide or direct our lives, they should be carefully tested and clearly applicable. If you "hear" or "feel" a message from God, it HAS to line up 100 percent with what the Bible says. (For instance, if you "hear" or "dream" that you are supposed to murder your neighbor or seduce your neighbor's wife, that is obviously NOT a message from YHWH!)

The key is to “listen to the Ruach” and be VERY discerning.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

"What is the age of the Earth?" and other questions

The following was borrowed from our website article, What is the age of the earth?

We learn the following from Talmud (the “Oral Torah"- which is commentary on the first five books of the Bible):

Sanhedrin, Babylonian Talmud p. 97 a.: Rabbi Kattinna said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. [quotation from Isaiah chapter 2 verse 11].

Rabbi Abaye said: It will be desolate two thousand as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight [quoting from the prophet Hosea chapter 6 verse 2]. Two days meaning two thousand years according to Psalms 90 verse 4.

In other words, there will be:

Two thousand years of chaos (before Yahweh gave us His written Torah) when the world was steeped in paganism (that's why He destroyed the world by Flood - see Genesis 7 through 9; also read through Exodus 20 when The Ten Commandments were given at Mt. Sinai at a time when YHWH was in the process of trying to show His people how to BE set apart for Him).

NOTE: By the way, Torah has always been around. It is YHWH's Divine Instruction in Righteousness (outlined in the first five Books of the Bible) without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living. Cain and Abel knew to present animal sacrifices (Genesis 4); Noah knew the difference between "clean and unclean" animals (Gen. 7:1-3).

For those who insist Torah is just a "Jewish thing" you need to realize there we no "Jews" until our Third Patriarch, Jacob, fathered his son Yehudah/Judah, who headed the Tribe of Judah (where the term "Jew" originated) - and yet EVERYONE up until that time who believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was TORAH OBSERVANT....

Two thousand years of Torah and learning about Yahweh and studying His teachings of morality (which began with Abraham, who became a "Hebrew" when he physically and spiritually "crossed over"; and included not only the 613 commandments, but later the Ten Commandments given to Moshe/Moses).

Two thousand years of Messiah (which we are in now from the time that Yeshua walked the Earth and died as our Final SIN Sacrifice). And soon, as the Bible says, we will enter the Millenium with Yeshua as ruler of the earth for one thousand years, being taught personally by Him. After that, as the Bible tells us, there will be a "new heaven and a new earth."

Friday, January 25, 2019

Parashah 17: Yitro (Jethro) Exodus 18:1 through 20:23

Shabbat shalom, mishpocah!  As always, an synopsis of this week’s Torah portion can be found on our website.

In this parashah, we see the Israelites receiving the Ten Commandments! But first, we are told that Moshe's father-in-law, Yitro (whose wise counsel Moshe cherished) brought an offering (Exodus 18:12) - which once again shows that Torah has always existed, and that it existed before Moshe received the "Ten Commandments" and before the giving of those "613" Levitical commands found scattered throughout the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Note that Moshe was not a "Jew". (He was from the Tribe of Levi, not of Judah.) But the fact remains, he was Torah observant! All believers since the beginning of time obeyed YHWH's Torah; not just "the Jews" as many people suggest.

There were no "Jews" until Jacob had fathered one of his 12 sons, Yehudah (Judah) who became one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Note that ALL believers up until then - including the Egyptian Gentiles who had followed Moshe out of Egypt - obeyed YHWH's Torah.

Remember, even Cain and Abel knew to present animal sacrifices (Genesis 4) and Noah knew the difference between "clean and unclean" animals (Gen. 7:1-3); and at the end of Genesis 4 we see that people had begun to "call on the Name of YHWH". The Tribe of Judah was chosen to teach the world about Torah (Genesis 49:10, Micah 4:2) and: YHWH caused Yeshua to be born into the Tribe of Yehudah/Judah....

Anyway, for a synopsis of this Torah portion, please click on this link to read the Parashah.

An explanation as to why Yeshua was not “God” nor an “idol”

Jewish "counter-missionaries" like to insist that "Jesus is an idol" and that belief in him is "idol worship."  Our article shows why they are dead wrong!

Actually, both Christianity and Judaism are incorrect in their assertions about Yeshua. He was NOT "God" as Christianity insists; he was the MESSIAH! YHWH alone is ELOHIM! But Yeshua also was NOT an "idol" as Jewish counter-missionaries insist - the same people who go around preaching that Yeshua wasn't even the Messiah!

Isaiah 45:21 Let them stand and present their case! Indeed, let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, announced it in times gone by? Wasn't it I, ADONAI? There is no other God besides me, a just God and a Savior; there is none besides me. 22 Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God; there is no other. (CJB)

BOTH sides need to re-read the entire Bible to see what it actually says about YHWH and His Divine Messiah.. (About "God" - see Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7; Isaiah 44:6, 45:5, 45:21.)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Yeshua is the Branch!

As you all know by now, many of "our" people are drawn to Judaism, which does not believe that Yeshua is the Messiah.  They insist that Yeshua's NAME is never mentioned in Tanach, and therefore, he is a fake.

Well, Scripture proves otherwise! Consider this:

We all know that Immanuel is a title - "El is with us" - which is a requirement of the Messiah. But Zechariah 6:12 makes it clear the actual "name of the branch" is YEHOSHUA, which 500 years later was truncated in Hebrew to Y'shua.

"In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up to David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety: and this is the name by which she shall be called, 'YHWH our righteousness' [YHWH Tzidqeinu]" (Jeremiah 33:15-16).

"Behold, the days come, saith YHWH, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice upon the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell in safety: and this is his name by which he shall be called, 'YHWH our righteousness'" (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

However, neither one of these verses reveals to us the name of the Branch. They merely state that the coming Messiah - known as the "Branch" - would be a righteous king, a descendant of King David, and that he would be the one responsible for bringing salvation to the Jews and to the rest of the tribes of Israel.

Now let us turn to a short account from Zechariah, in which YHWH instructs the prophet to crown the then current High Priest, Joshua.

"Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, who are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua [Yehoshua] the son of Josedech, the high priest; And speak to him, saying, Thus speaketh YHWH of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of YHWH: Even he shall build the temple of YHWH; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both" (Zechariah 6:10-13).

The word translated "Branch" in all these verses is the same Hebrew word, tzemach. Therefore, there is identity between the "Branch" in Jeremiah 23, Jeremiah 33 and Zechariah 6. In this short drama, we find Joshua (Yehoshua) the High Priest performing in the starring role of the Branch. Essentially the scripture is saying: "Look at the man (Yehoshua) whose name is the Branch." In other words, the current High Priest of Judah in the days of Zechariah, Joshua (Yehoshua), has the same name as the one who would become the "Branch."

In Zechariah 6:10-13, we also discover many very interesting prophecies about the Branch. The Branch will grow up out of his place. The Branch will build the temple of YHWH; the Branch will bear the glory; the Branch will sit and rule upon his throne; the Branch will be a priest upon his throne; and, the Branch will have a counsel of peace with YHWH.

Zechariah 6: 12 and tell him, 'YHWH-Tzva'ot says: "There is coming a man whose name is Tzemach [Sprout]. He will sprout up from his place and rebuild the temple of YHWH.

Most seem to be unaware of what YHWH said to the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 34:11-12: 11 For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: "I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness."

When YHWH says "when He is with them," in verse 12, He is saying, in essence, "I will be Immanuel," as the meaning of Immanuel is"YHWH is with us." And the only place we read that name Immanuel is in Isaiah 7!

(Written by Andrew Gabriel Roth)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A message for our Jewish friends

An organization called Jews for Jesus is telling Jews that they must ditch Torah in order to accept Jesus. That is a LIE!

The truth is, it would be spiritual suicide for a Jew (or anyone else who worships the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) to give up Torah! Anyone who has ever read the "Old Testament" can see that it's all about YHWH's people (Hebrews), and His attempts to get them away from the world and its pagan mindset.

How? By giving them Divine Rules to follow – which can be found in the first five Books that contain all the “thus saith the Lord” verses! These rules were called Torah, and He told them, over and over again in many different ways to OBEY them!

While most of those original "613" commands were meant for the Levite priests, some pertained only to men, while others were only for women; but some were meant to last "forever" or to be adhered to "throughout your generations."

So, why should Jews turn their backs on who they are, just to join some man-made religion that has changed the rules? Yeshua didn't come to bring the Torah-less Christianity, or any other man-made religion!

Furthermore, if people would READ the "thus saith the Lord" words contained in those first five Books of the Bible, they would begin to understand that He commanded ALL who accept Him as their God to do exactly as HIS people do. They would see the Truth and beauty of the indivisible YHWH/Yeshua/Torah...

By the way, all the above information is IN your Bible!  Please see our challenge to Jews for Jesus for more information.

Monday, January 21, 2019

A response to Jews for Jesus’ anti-Torah article

Someone recently brought to my attention a rabid anti-Torah article written by someone in the Jews for Jesus organization. Until then, I never realized that this organization is adamant that NO ONE needs to bother with ADONAI's Torah! This article not only rants against YHWH’s Torah, but also belittles anyone who is Torah observant.

That is NOT acceptable, and I intend to let them know it!

As a Messianic Jew, I take offense to this anti-Torah article by Rich Robinson at Jews for Jesus, and have posted on our website, The Refiner’s Fire, counter-arguments to many of his assertions

Friday, January 18, 2019

Parashah 16: B'shallach (After he had let go) Exodus 13:17 through 17:16

Shabbat shalom, mishpocah/friends/family!  As always, the weekly Torah portion can be found on our website.

In this parashah, we see YHWH bringing His People out of Egypt after 430 years of captivity! This was a significant/memorable event, just as YHWH said it would be in passages such as Exodus 13:3, 10 and 14.

And here is something to chew on concerning this mass exodus: The Children of Israel traveled on a Shabbat! Let's examine this:

YHWH is with them as a cloud by day and fire by night. If HE moves, they move - regardless of the day.

But consider this: There are about two million in this group of people traveling! In verses like Exodus 16:1 which says "They traveled on from Eilim, and the whole community of the people of Isra'el arrived at the Seen Desert, between Eilim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving the land of Egypt." - because of the sheer numbers of people, it cannot be taken literally that "ALL" people arrived on the 15th day.

Let's say the 2 million traveled, five families abreast, and that they could all walk briskly, 3 miles an hour. (Four miles per hour is a very fast pace, considerably faster than a normal walking speed, so 3 miles per hour is a more reasonable, yet "brisk" pace to use in this estimate.) Further, let's say the families are clustered together, rows of families 10 feet apart. So we have a line, 5 families wide; 120,000 families long, which stretches 227 miles!

At a brisk 3 miles per hour, when they stop for camp, the last row of families arrive at the camp a full 3 days after the first! So when we read in Exodus 16:1, that "the whole community of people arrived at the Seen Desert on the 15th", we must allow for a considerable range for the arrival of the entire community. It makes sense in verse 1 to say the "people arrived" based on the date when the first of them arrived (i.e. the 15th); but we simply must allow time for all the others to arrive. So Exodus 16:1 is really saying the people arrived on the 15th and they trickled in likely over the next 3 days to set up camp....

So....Not counting the "mixed crowd/multitude" (Exodus 12:38) who chose to follow Moshe and his people, approximately two million Israelis - if you count one wife and one child for each man - were brought out of Egypt! How do we know this? Last week's parashah in Exodus 12:37-38 told us the following, which was right after the last Plague, which was the killing of the firstborn!

For more, please click on this link.

If I ran America….

I’m beginning to wonder what children are learning in school today, because the “Nazi Salute” seems to be the “in” thing these days.

I’m positive, these kids don’t even know what a Nazi is! However, since it keeps happening, I think the ONLY solution is (1) special mandatory classes in every high school – complete with graphic photos of the horrific situations in some of the death camps; and (2) tough school rules put in place that include automatic STIFF fines, and/or permanent suspension of ANYONE participating in anything that the law says is a “hate crime.” 


Nothing in the Constitution says you have “a right” to do harm to others – and that is exactly what anti-Semitism and bigotry of ANY kind does!   If you can’t behave like a decent, civilized, person, then civilized society has no other recourse but to take the “kid gloves off” and start imposing  stiff and swift PUNISHMENT on anyone who refuses to obey simple rules designed to keep everyone safe. 

This “stiff” punishment needs to include the fact that you won’t get “free legal counsel.”  If you want counsel, YOU pay for it!  End of story.

Behavior in America has truly gotten out of hand, and it’s way past time to put an end to the buffoonery….

So, Young Person – if you believe you have a RIGHT to render the Nazi salute, here’s a wakeup call:  You’re not the only person on the planet, and YOUR “rights” end where MINE begin! 


Stop blaming your former pastor …

I truly wish the Hebrew Roots adherents and those who end up “leaving Jesus” to hang with mean-spirited, Jesus-bashing Jewish counter-missionaries, would quit insisting that they came out their churches “because they were LIED to.” Except in some cases, it is simply not true that every pastor on the planet is a lying ogre who purposely “kept you from knowing about Torah!”

If you were honest with yourself, it's more like that it was YOU kept yourself from knowing about Torah, because you “went to church” on Sundays to warm the pews, open the Bible to whatever passage the pastor told you to, and then you went home. For many (if not most) “church” is and was just a social event. They didn’t bother to actually READ and STUDY the Bible, where they could and would have discovered the need for Torah themselves.

Every Bible has the Torah - those first five Books of Moses that contain all the "thus saith the Lord" verses, which perfectly outline that ALL who accept the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are to do exactly as HIS people do....

So, if they had taken the time to read the Bible from the beginning, they could have started bugging their pastors about those "thus saith the Lord" verses and asking intelligent questions, such as, "since we're all one in Christ, aren't we all accountable for obeying some of those original commands that seem to pertain to everybody?" Or, "Since the Seventh Day Sabbath is a SIGN between God and his people, shouldn't we be keeping it, too? After all, we're His people, too, right?" (See Exodus 31:16-17; Ezekiel 20:11-12.)

Things might have turned out differently, if they had asked those questions of their pastors ... those men and women who had learned the “New Testament-only, grace-only” stuff in their seminaries where they typically had to sign a document before graduation that commanded them to never veer from the dogma of their respective denominations…. At least THAT could have opened a dialogue that caused YOU to learn and grow, and perhaps influence others.

But no – it seems many prefer to sit on their haunches now, to lament about the past and place all the blame their former pastors … people who simply didn’t KNOW that God’s people are to be Torah observant. How can you blame someone for not teaching something they don’t know? Furthermore, if coming into Torah suddenly made you THAT smart and "all-knowing," then you surely know that it's not nice to gossip and bad-mouth those who helped you grow during your spiritual "formative" years...

While there certainly ARE some weirdos and crooked “mega-pastors” and other hooligans in Christianity (what man-made religion DOESN’T have them?) whose only goal is to use the Word of God as a way to line their pockets, most pastors are sincere in their faith – a faith that led most of us “to Christ” at some point. THAT is what we need to concentrate on. NOT on what the pastors DIDN’T do.

We need to remember that “not knowing” something doesn't make pastors "bad" people. It just makes them "lost" people..

Here is the real crux of my little rant: It is lashon hara to go around insisting you were lied to in church and that your pastor deliberately led you astray! Honestly, if you HAVE to blame someone, blame yourself, chalk it up as "lesson learned," and move on.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Something to ponder concerning the idea of being "subject to the authorities"....

Romans 13:1. Let every soul be subject to the authorities of government[1]. For there is no authority which is not from Elohim: and the authorities which exist are established by Elohim.   2. He therefore who opposes the authority, opposes the establishment of Elohim; and they who oppose them will receive judgment. 3. For judges are not a menace to good deeds, but to evil deeds. Would you then not be afraid of the authority? Do good, and you will have praise from it. (AENT)


[1] The Church system twists this verse so that Christians will submit to the authority of false governments who in turn support the false religious hierarchies.

In reality, Paul makes this statement in the context of YHWH’s Commandments in Torah; “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt you answer in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment.” (Sh’mot/Exodus 23:2) If the “majority” allows evil men in “government” and within “the church” to go unpunished, the evil becomes punishable upon the majority.

For example, democracy is thought to work by majority vote, but in reality, democracies are easily manipulated by power hungry minorities who control media, ballot boxes, polls and “public opinion.” When the majority fails to act against evil, the hierarchy continues to further enslave its victims (citizens).

Many are discovering that what they believed to be a Democractic government is, in fact, an Oligarchy of organized criminals. The Church system and all false government thrives on “double think” by putting forth an archetype (religious tradition or legislation by “majority” that “sounds reasonable” but is certainly not truth) and markets its theologies and laws as though it is a collectively inherited or accepted ideal.

This is extremely high level rebellion against YHWH and must be prosecuted, or all of humanity will suffer. “You shall not answer in a cause to decline after many.” We must never fear evil men, decline to them, or pretend evil will go away on its own.

Pray, speak and act against all manner of evil. Mashiyach calls all souls everywhere to join together in righteousness and bring Peace, Justice and Equality to all peoples, of all religions and socio-economic situation. See Matt. 22:21.

Continuing with Romans:

Romans 13:4. For he is the minister of Elohim; but it is to you for good. But if you work evil, be afraid; for he is not girded with the sword in vain; for he is a minister of Elohim and an avenger of wrath to them that do evil things. 5. And therefore, it is necessary for us to be obedient, not only on account of wrath, but likewise on account of our consciences. 6. For this cause also you pay tribute money; for they are the ministers of Elohim, established for these same objects.

7. Render therefore to every one as is due to him; head tax, to whomever accounts for it; and duties to whomever collects taxes; and respect, to whom respect is due; and honor, to whom honor is due. 8. And owe nothing to anyone; but to love one another. For he that loves his neighbor, has properly understood Torah.

9. For this likewise, which it says: You will not kill; nor commit adultery; nor steal; nor covet; and if there is any other Commandment, it is completed in this sentence: You will love your neighbor as yourself.[2] 10. Love does no evil to one’s neighbor because love is the fulfillment of Torah.[3] (AENT)


[2] While Paul here is clearly showing that being obedient to the government and not causing chaos in the communities at large is a mitzvah or “good deed” consistent with Torah observance, the other side of the argument concerns what to do when the rules of man attempt to contradict, invalidate or overturn Torah requirements.

Paul’s answer for that issue is found in 1 Corinthians 10:14-33 which begins with the commandment, “Flee from idolatry” and continues on to admonish people to not participate in pagan festivals.

[3] Paul does not teach that Torah was not abolished because we love our neighbor. Greek translations have pleroma, which is translated as “fulfilled”. Popular Bible versions like the NIV recognize this thought is revisited in 13:9 which uses anakephalaiomai, which means “to accurately sum up or understand” the Torah. This is a type of a synonym for pleroma. If pleroma as translated as "fulfilled," there are numerous potential meanings.

One of these, according to Thayer and Smith's Bible Dictionary is: "to fulfil, i.e. to cause God's will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God's promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment.”

This definition mirrors the Aramaic term that is also usually translated as "fulfill," such as the line in Matthew 5:17 that is targummed, "for I have not come to unravel the Torah but to provide proper interpretation of it.”

This is also the true meaning of the Greek where it says "thus was fulfilled according to the prophet"; i.e., this is the intended meaning of the Scripture as applied to the NT.

Finally, one should look carefully at what both Aramaic and Greek use for the term "law". In each case, nomos/namusa allows for the targummming of the Word/Torah concept to mean "torah" with a small "t", or individual instruction from the overall covenant.

That being said, the other possible reading is that the true meaning of the relevant commandment is "fulfilled/understood" by loving one's neighbor and so on, which makes much more sense.

Therefore, if one is to read “fulfilled” here, then it must be understood that the correct interpretation of Torah is given according to what Mashiyach Y’shua elucidated. This can in no way be construed that Mashiyach brought an end to Torah.

Do you have a “Hollywood” relationship with God?

Ever notice that “celebrities” rarely ever mention “God”? If they do, it’s always some weird or flippant remark such as, “May you be richly blessed by whatever your concept of God is”; or Oprah’s nonsensical statement that “all paths lead to God.”

Judging by the bizarre movies about God and the Bible generated by Hollywood with its unabashed and flagrant use of “literary license,” they truly have NO clue! Every movie with a biblical theme is completely off the mark; and even documentaries about the Bible reek with rampant ignorance of Scripture.

Fact is, none of them actually “know” יהוה (Yahweh) or His Divine Son, Yeshua who martyred himself and became our "blood redemption." If any of the Hollywood types (and those who idolize them) ever actually READ the Bible, they certainly didn’t “get” it.

Unfortunately, Hollywood has a huge impact on every facet of our society; and the undeniable truth is that Hollywood’s lukewarm, anemic, hypocritical concept of “God” has permeated the lives of many (if not most) who honestly feel that “belief in God” can be accomplished without the Bible and all its “archaic” rules, most of which they insist “pertain only to the Jews.”

A large majority of the people I have ever known (including most of the people I know today), were/are “lukewarm” toward God, with an irritating tendency to “put God in a box.” (Hollywood has done a great job of that!)

Truth be told, I never discerned any real difference between atheists, agnostics, humanists and those who claimed to be “Believers” (whether Jew or Gentile). They all (including the Believers who ran to church every Sunday) lived whatever lifestyle they wanted to live, doing whatever felt “right” in their own eyes.

Most of the Christians I knew, never mentioned God; and the very few who did, went overboard in their zeal to let me know I was going to Hell if I didn’t “believe in Jesus.” (While it’s true that the half-hearted and unbelievers are eternally separated from ADONAI, it makes NO sense to tell someone who is Bible illiterate, to “believe in” an entity they can’t see, feel or communicate with, who plans to HURT you if you DON’T believe in him…)

Anyway, because there was normally no discernible difference between the Christians and the “worldly” people I’d ever known, I decided I never wanted to be a Christian - because I just plain don’t like hypocrites.

Of all the Christians I had ever met until I was almost 30 years old, only one sticks out in my memory, because he actually LIVED his faith. I distinctly remember that he was a MAJOR pain in my backside … a well-meaning, Bible-thumping, tongue-talkin’ Sergeant I knew while stationed in Stuttgart, Germany with the US Army, who once gave me a “biblical concussion” that literally brought me out from behind my desk in a demonic rage that caused him to back out the door in fear for his life.

(I’m pretty sure he realized that day, that it’s not wise to employ pressure tactics on everyone you meet; and that it wasn’t “man” but the Ruach (Holy Spirit) who convicts someone about God! All the preaching and screaming, yelling and Bible pounding do no good UNLESS the Ruach opens one’s “spiritual eyes.”)

Be that as it may, I also recognized this particular man as being “different” BECAUSE he “lived his faith” - and it sowed a seed that left me wondering what it was that had attracted him to God so much that he felt compelled to constantly talk about Him....

The Ruach opened my “spiritual eyes” several years later, at the “ripe ol’ age” of 44. Unlike most who either grew up disillusioned by their respective faiths, or were somehow touched by the Hollywood idea of God, I was never confused by any particular theology, denominations or dogma.

Yahweh placed me in a tiny Baptist church where the “right pastor” at the “right time” who used the "right wording" and made the “right statements” that tore me out of my slumber and literally opened my eyes to a whole new world I never knew existed!

What I’m trying to say is that, unbeknownst to us, we all have that “little hole in our soul” that only God can fill. But, unless you are TRULY seeking Him, and until the Ruach opens your eyes, you CANNOT possibly understand – no matter how much some well-meaning person tries to make you understand.

You can even read the Bible a million times, but until the Ruach is actually present within you, it’s all just words on paper; stories that really make no sense, peppered with a string of endless commands from a seemingly “bossy” Creator who appears to expect people to perform impossible tasks.

The thing is that the Creator KNOWS who is serious and who isn’t. You can’t fool Him. He made you! He already knows whether or not you will accept Him; or whether you’re among the countless many who only want "a" god with no rules they can tell what to do, and whom they can “put in a box” and take out whenever they need something.

Make no mistake - He KNOWS whether you want HIM, or whether you're seeking the feel-good, nonsensical Hollywood “god”….

Matthew 7:7-8 tells us, "Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who keeps asking receives; he who keeps seeking finds; and to him who keeps knocking, the door will be opened." (CJB)

From what I can see in the “Hollywood-type” of worship around the globe, most seem to be “seeking in all the wrong places” – looking everywhere EXCEPT in the Bible where Yahweh’s TRUTH lies.

Where are YOU seeking?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Response to a Christian who attempts to use Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2 to prove that Sunday is the Sabbath Day

A Christian was recently trying to argue that Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2 reference Sunday ("First Day") meetings in the New Testament - that it was supposedly their habit to meet on the first day of the week...

He wrote: “In Acts 15, when the question of Gentiles following the Law came up, the Sabbath was not included in the list of things they had to follow. Sabbath observances is not
commanded anywhere in the New Testament. Colossians 2:16-17 says I shouldn't allow you to judge me for not keeping the Sabbath. “


That is absolutely NOT true! Christians have confused as "Sunday meetings" the Havdallah (end of Shabbat) services with Paul's continuing to teach through sunset (end of Shabbat), on into the "first day." God's Sabbath has ALWAYS been on the Seventh Day - and that never changed. Sunday is "the first day.". It was never considered "holy" or God's required "Day of Rest!"

Acts 20:7 says "And on the first day of the week, when we assembled to break bread, Paul spoke with them, because he was to depart the next day; and he continued his discussion till midnight." (AENT)

Since "Jesus" was a Jew who taught only from the Tanach - the "Old Testament" - the earliest "Christians" were taught by him to observe HIS Sabbath, which was the 7th day. A study of early Christian writers reveals that Sunday observance of a Sabbath was a second century invention, not around in Paul's time. No, we can be sure that when Acts mentions the "Sabbath day", it is the 7th day and not Sunday.

Also, 1 Corinthians 16 does NOT suggest that anyone taught on Sunday! Please take a look at Scripture through the Hebrew instead of the Greek mindset:

1 Corinthians 16:1. And as to the collection for the Set Apart believers, as I directed the assemblies of the Galatians, so do you. 2. On each first day of the week, let every one of you lay aside and preserve at home what he is able; that there may be no collections when I come.(AENT)

NOTE: Here the Christian myth of Sunday replacing Shabbat is fully exposed for what it is! The fact is that Rav Shaul (Paul) asks people to make preparations on “the first day,” i.e. work, proving that neither he nor the Corinthians viewed the first day of the week as a Shabbat (Sabbath).

The fact that Rav Shaul wants to make sure they don’t need to prepare when he comes, speaks volumes towards Shabbat observance on the Seventh Day Shabbat! Acts records 84 occasions when he met in the synagogues on Shabbat.

Paul does not want his hosts to break the Shabbat and he counsels them to make ready for him in advance. All early Netzarim (Nazarene) believers like Rav Shaul RESTED on the Seventh Day Shabbat in Mashiyach (Messiah).

Read Numbers 15-13-16 which shows why Christians ARE bound to the Sabbath laws....In that passage God says four times in a row that ALL who accept Him are to do exactly as HIS people do.....

It's quite true. Most all Christians think Acts 20:7 "proves" the Sabbath was changed to Sunday because of the way it reads: "On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread,..."

However, if you look at the Aramaic, the verse actually begins: "oov'yom'a, d'chad b'shab'a kad..." which means, roughly: "After one Sabbath day when" ...(we gathered to break bread).
This is clearly the evening after the Sabbath when they would be eating, and has absolutely nothing to do with "meeting on a Sunday".

In other words, the verse has nothing to do with "Sunday" becoming the Sabbath day; rather, the importance is that the Sabbath had ended, and the apostles were simply gathered to eat. The verse is just a reference to the "motza'ei Shabbat meal" (meal after the Sabbath) - a perfectly normal event.

Since, after sunset of the Sabbath, it becomes the next day, technically it was the "1st day of the week," as the day-count in Hebrew terms changes at sunset; but the typical English translations of the verse obscure that it is only the evening meal they are holding, not a "meeting on Sunday".

Friday, January 11, 2019

Parashah 15: Bo (Go) Exodus 10:1 through 13:16

Shabbat shalom, mishpocah/family/friends! As always, a synopsis of this week’s Torah portion (Parashah 15: Bo [Go] Exodus 10:1 through 13:16) can be found on our website.

Not only have we seen the Ten Plagues on Egypt in their entirety, but we also got to witness the Original Passover AND prophecy fulfilled in Exodus 11:2-3 which refers back to what YHWH told Abraham in Genesis 15:14:

Genesis 15: 13 ADONAI said to Avram, "Know this for certain: your descendants will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs. They will be slaves and held in oppression there four hundred years. 14 But I will also judge that nation, the one that makes them slaves. Afterwards, they will leave with many possessions.

Exodus 11: 2 Now tell the people that every man is to ask his neighbor and every woman her neighbor for gold and silver jewelry." 3 ADONAI made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people. Moreover, Moshe was regarded by Pharaoh's servants and the people as a very great man in the land of Egypt.

Note that YHWH made the heathen "favorably disposed" toward His people. It seems He is doing the same thing with "the world" today (especially in the US) by making our country "favorably disposed" towards Islam (and just about anything else)! The United States, it seems, has become "tolerant" of anything and everything, and has allowed all manner of false religion into our midst, which is in direct violation of YHWH's command to be set apart and NOT allow "other gods" to taint our lives..

This week’s parashah is chock full of great information, and by the time we get to the end of it, in Exodus 13, we are left with NO doubt as to how adamant YHWH is about the obedience to His TORAH!.

For more great informative and interesting reading, please click here.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Countering more nonsense espoused by those who have rejected Jesus to follow Jewish counter-missionaries

It’s absolutely amazing how far the Jewish “counter-missionaries” and their followers and converts will go to “disprove” ADONAI’s Messiah! The following is just a tiny sample of the slanted assertions and allegations they make about “Jesus. Carefully check out the below, and then be sure to read our responses:


According to the traditional Jewish definition of the term, the Messiah will make changes in the real world, changes that one can see and perceive and be able to prove, precisely because they take place in the real world. It is for this task that the Messiah has been anointed in the first place, hence the term, messiah -- one who is anointed. These perceptible changes include:

• The Messiah reestablishes the Davidic dynasty through his own children (Daniel 7:13-14). But Jesus had no children.

• The Messiah brings an eternal peace between all nations, all peoples, and all people (Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4; Ezekiel 39:9). Obviously there is no peace. Furthermore, Jesus said that his purpose in coming was to bring a sword, and not peace (see Matthew 10:34, as referenced above).

• The Messiah brings about the world-wide conversion of all peoples to Ethical Monotheism (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Zechariah 8:23; Isaiah 11:9; Zechariah 14:9,16). But the world remains steeped in idolatry.

• The Messiah brings about an end to all forms of idolatry (Zechariah 13:2). But the world remains steeped in idolatry.

• The Messiah brings about a universal recognition that the Jewish idea of Gd is Gd (Isaiah 11:9). But the world remains steeped in idolatry.

• The Messiah leads the world to become vegetarian (Isaiah 11:6-9).

• The Messiah gathers to Israel all of the twelve tribes (Ezekiel 36:24).

• The Messiah rebuilds the Temple (Isaiah 2:2; Ezekiel 37:26-28).

• After the Messiah comes, there will be no more famine (Ezekiel 36:29-30).

• After the Messiah comes, death will eventually cease (Isaiah 25:8).

• Eventually the dead will be resurrected (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Ezekiel 37:12-13; Isaiah 43:5-6).

• The nations of the earth will help the Jews materially (Isaiah 60:5-6; 60:10-12).

• The Jews will be sought out for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23).

• All weapons will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9,12).

• The Nile will run dry (Isaiah 11:15).

• Monthly, the trees of Israel will yield their fruit (Ezekiel 47:12).

• Each tribe of Israel will receive and settle their inherited land (Ezekiel 47:13-13).

• The nations of the earth will recognize that they have been in error, that the Jews had it right all along, and that the sins of the Gentile nations - their persecutions and the murders they committed - have been borne by the Jewish people (Isaiah 53).

These biblically-based changes in the world are very real, perceptible, noticeable, and knowable. The changes that Christianity claims were made by Jesus are not perceptible at all.

They must be accepted on faith, and faith alone. How can one establish that Jesus died for one's sins, except by faith? The changes made by the Messiah according to Judaism would be provable, but the changes made by the messiah according to Christianity can only be taken on faith.

Even Christians recognize that the changes the real Messiah will make, according to the Bible and Judaism, have not yet happened. This is why Christianity had to invent the idea of a Second Coming. And, by the way, the real Messiah has no need to come a second time to do those things -- he must do them the first time around in order to actually be the Messiah.


Those with actual discernment about Scripture are able to immediately recognize that whoever wrote the above, is simply grasping at straws. For instance, WHERE in Torah (or anywhere else in the Bible) does it say that the Messiah would HAVE to fulfill ALL the requirements in a certain timeframe? Answer: NOWHERE!

Truth is, MOST of the assertions in the charges above were already fulfilled! (See our article. )

Those that haven’t been, WILL be fulfilled upon Yeshua’s return, during his 1,000 year reign on earth! Some of those things couldn’t be accomplished until the earth and mankind have been “cleaned up” and culled, as outlined in the Books of Daniel and Revelation! See passages such as Deuteronomy 32:23-25; Jeremiah 16:3-5; Matthew 24:5-7; Mark 13:7-9; Luke 21:10-12; 2 Timothy 3: 1-2; Revelation 6:7-9 and 18:7-9, etc.

Things will change DRASTICALLY when Yeshua returns, not as a baby this time, but as The Lion of Judah (see Daniel 9:26; Revelation 19:11–16) when he will begin to fulfill the REST of those prophecies that counter-missionaries are all up in arms about!

Then and ONLY then will true peace on earth be established, and hunger and famine and illness, etc. will be wiped out, etc. Until Yeshua’s return, chaos will reign as it always has, because mere men, constantly straying from Torah, have never been able to build successful, lasting empires.

As for the silly assertion that "his own children" would “reestablish the Davidic Dynasty - WHERE in Daniel 7:13-14 does it suggest that? Let's take a look at that passage, shall we?

Daniel 7:13 I kept watching the night visions, when I saw, coming with the clouds of heaven, someone like a son of man. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14 To him was given rulership, glory and a kingdom, so that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His rulership is an eternal rulership that will not pass away; and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (CJB)

Not ONE THING about Messiah having his "own children!" Whoever wrote the above is doing a lot of assuming! Clearly, they can’t see any interpretation of the phrase “His rulership is an eternal rulership that will not pass away…” except as only being possible through offspring. Typical human mindset....

And for grins, here’s a second example of this person’s “scripture-twisting,” where they insist “The Messiah leads the world to become vegetarian (Isaiah 11:6-9).” Honestly, it is a real stretch to conclude that from Isaiah 11:6-9!

Scripture does NOT actually SAY that men would become vegetarians, anymore than it says that Messiah would be a mere man who would have children, or that he HAD to fulfill ALL the prophecies at once... Scripture also doesn't say that "The real Messiah has no need to come a second time to do those things -- he must do them the first time around in order to actually be the Messiah."

As for this person's comment that Yeshua said he would bring not peace but a sword, please see our article, which serves to explain the meaning of Messiah's words in Matthew 10:34.

Judging by the above, it appears that once someone "rejects Jesus," they become blind, gullible, hateful beings unable to discern the plain meaning of Scripture passages, while seemingly being driven to spend way too much time discussing the one they rejected!

What did Yeshua really mean by "eat my flesh and drink my blood?"

The plain and simple fact is, he certainly didn't mean it to be literal - yet,many are rejecting Messiah Yeshua and flocking to traditional Judaism because of this passage! Let's check it out:

John 6:53. And Y’shua said to them, Amen, amen I say to you, that unless you eat the body of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in Qnoma.[1] 54. And he who eats from my body and drinks from my blood has life that is everlasting, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55. For truly my body is food and truly my blood is drink.


[1] Qnoma, usually translated here as “you”, “self”, or “yourselves”, but literally means “Underlying substance.”. The body/blood imagery is metaphoric. Y’shua, of course, knows very well that it is an abomination to drink any kind of blood, let alone human blood (Leviticus 17:11).

Consuming human flesh is also an abomination that is strictly prohibited. Rabbis even suggest that part of the reason swine’s flesh is forbidden is because it resembles human skin.

There are two underlying parts:

Part 1 recalls the imagery of Ezekiel 3:1-15 where the prophet actually ate a Torah scroll; the imagery symbolizing the prophet being sustained by and proclaiming Torah, which is the essence of what Y’shua is teaching.

Y’shua’s example and teaching are to be part of our innermost being, literally taken in and ingested into our hearts. This imagery is also seen in Mark 7:19 which distinguishes between physical food and spiritual (heart) “food”, and Jeremiah 31:33 which speaks of writing Torah upon the heart.

Part 2 is the life which Y’shua refers to; it is not physicality, as “self”, but the core essence of being, literally of the neshama, (spirit of man).

Moving on to the next part of that particular passage, which Jewish counter-missionaries and their followers love to tout as a reason to "reject Jesus.":

John 6:56. He who eats my body and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. 57. As the Living Father has sent me, and I live because of the Father, and whoever eats of me he also will live because of me. 58. This is the Bread that has descended from Heaven. It is not as manna your forefathers ate and died. He who eats this Bread will live forever! [2] (AENT)


[2] Clear evidence that opposes the “communion” model of mainstream Christian institutions. Nothing is being eaten while Y’shua is making this statement; he had just levied a rebuke for their desire of physical rather than spiritual “bread.”

It is Faith in Y’shua as Mashiyach which causes a person to “eat the flesh and drink the blood.” The “wafer” (transubstitution) is a Pagan adulteration against Y’shua’s teaching.

Y’shua observed Torah to perfection; his perfect atoning sacrifice would be remembered specifically on the Moedim (YHWH’s feasts) as the Word of YHWH instructs.


The wine and wafer custom used in communion is "pagan" because it represents Yeshua's blood and body - a thing that is considered cannibalism in Scripture, which is a terrible evil. God commands His people NOT drink blood or eat human flesh:

Genesis 9:4 only flesh with its life, which is its blood, you are not to eat. 5 I will certainly demand an accounting for the blood of your lives: I will demand it from every animal and from every human being. I will demand from every human being an accounting for the life of his fellow human being. 6 Whoever sheds human blood, by a human being will his own blood be shed; for God made human beings in his image. (CJB)

The bottom line is that Yeshua was simply using a metaphor! And in case you’re wondering about the verse in the NT that says the Messiah is the Torah made flesh, there is a great explanation about this passage in the Aramaic English New Testament.

Let's check it out:

John 1:1. In the beginning[1] was the Miltha.[2] And that Miltha was with Elohim. And Elohim was that Miltha. 2. This was with Elohim in the beginning.[3]

John 1: 14. And the Miltha[4] became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw his glory,[5] the glory as the Only-Begotten[6] who is from the Father who is full of grace and truth. (AENT)


[1] The phrase B’resheet aytohi hwa miltha breaks a most basic rule of Aramaic grammar by combining a feminine noun (miltha) with two masculine verbs for “to be” (aytohi, hwa). This is unheard of in Aramaic literature other than right here in this passage and in 1 John.

This shows YHWH has male and female “images/spirits” even though YHWH remains a He. It may also be a midrash on Isaiah 11:1-2, which describes the Spirit of YHWH descending on Mashiyach using both masculine and feminine suffixes. This is not something easily translated, let alone when it occurs within the first four words.

[2] Miltha has no direct English equivalent. It can mean ‘Word’, ‘Manifestation’, ‘Instance’ or ‘Substance’ among other things. In this context, it may best be left untranslated.

[3] Fulfilling Messianic prophecy: Mashiyach (ruler of Israel) to have origins of the ancient past Micah 5:2; Isaiah 48:16. Bear in mind that Micah is referring to the spiritual “Israel of Elohim,” those of the Kingdom of Heaven according to the circumcision of heart.

[4] Miltha refers to the “Manifestation” of the Ruach haKodesh within Mashiyach. The physical body of Mashiyach is not the Word of YHWH, but his words and actions demonstrate the Will and Word of YHWH, which upholds observance of Torah.

However, Christo-Pagans like Marcion and Constantine taught that Y’shua’s body and spirit manifest a different “word” that did away with Torah. The Word of YHWH was substituted with dispensational and replacement “theologies,” which are very popular among Christians.

[5]  Isaiah 42:8; 48:11

[6]  Ekhadaya is a beautiful term used among Eastern theologians and poets; it literally means “THE ONE”

It is a real shame that many people – including some learned Jewish Rabbis! – cannot see the Hebraic context in the passages of the New Testament!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

If it takes a wall to stop illegal immigration, let’s DO it!

I'm a first-generation American who came to the United States with my mother who married an American soldier. I became a citizen at the age of 14, joined the US Army at age 18, and graciously served the United States until my "retirement" at age 40. The United States has afforded me numerous opportunities I would never have had in Germany – and for that I will be eternally grateful.

It seems people like me - who know where they came from and appreciate where they are now – are much more aware of the need for “border security” than most natural-born citizens who have no clue and take our country for granted, and ignorantly see nothing wrong with people FORCING their way across our borders, DEMANDING to be taken care of by the US government.

Much of my awareness came from my 22 years in the Army where (through the many classes and schools that were required for advancement to higher ranks), I learned the importance of a smoothly-running government and well-secured borders.

The reasons include not only the prevention of the illegal movement of weapons, drugs, contraband, and people; but also hinder the potential spread of infectious diseases and to deter the influx of another country’s thugs – the “bad guys” (i.e., terrorists who wish to harm America).

And let's not forget that is is is IMPERATIVE to control the influx of people who are perpetually in need of welfare services! It seems that many liberal Americans cannot understand that open borders place a strain on limited public resources such as medical services, schools, and the criminal justice system!!

The bottom line is that we have enough problems of our own, without being forced to take in or take on a yearly influx of millions of “hard-luck” cases from other countries.

Protecting our borders is imperative for the lawful and process of immigration and the promotion lawful trade and travel, and is essential for economic prosperity, and national sovereignty. If it takes a "wall" then let's do it and stop all the bickering!


Monday, January 7, 2019

Answering another Yeshua-rejecter



Here Miriam is referring to Matthew 2:23 "And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, 'He shall be called a Nazarene.' " and lamenting (whining actually) that there is no Tanakh verse that says this!

Of course, many fall into this trap and it's a shame that counter-missionaries/Yeshua rejecters like Miriam are so determined to deny the Messiah that they won't take the time to figure this out. Well, here's the deal:

The RSV is English, originating from the Greek and the Greek for Matthew 2:23 has the plural "prophets" in the verse. But in the Aramaic, the word for "prophet" is the same in the singular or the plural.

Hebrew has a distinct form of "prophet" for the singular from the plural, but not Aramaic. So the Greek translators, since no particular prophet was named in Matthew 2:23 (unlike Matthew 2:17, and 4:14, for example), chose "prophets" instead of "prophet".

They should have said "prophet"! There is only one prophet who refers to the Messiah as a "netzer" or "sprout/twig", and that is Isaiah. See Isaiah 11:1 "And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a twig [netzer] shall grow forth out of his roots." (JPS).

Other prophets also reveal the Messiah as the "branch" but use the word "tzemach". Thus there is nothing "fabricated" about Matthew 2:23 and shame on ANYONE who won't take the time to study this - and study it without bias!


Miriam cites Hebrews 8:13 from the RSV which reads: "In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (How childish then to say "...what does that mean? Pesach drops down from 7 days, to 6, to 5...?" That's truly shameful.)

So she cited a heavily biased version of the Bible, the RSV. If she'd take her time and also compare what the RSV says in the Tanakh, she'd soon realize that the RSV is not exactly the document to use to "bash" the idea of the Messiah.

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

If the reader would simply go back to at least verse 8, they'd come to see that from the context (Miriam has a demonstrated difficulty with context), which is Jeremiah 31:31-34, what is “near to disappearing” is the sinful predisposition of man that breaks Torah, not the standard of Torah.

It's humans who broke Torah, not Adonai, so from verse Hebrews 8:10 we learn that with Torah written on our hearts, we would no longer sin and what is "old" and near vanishing is our old nature, and what is "new" is our new nature, with a heart-felt desire to live by Torah.

Admittedly, most Christians, along with Miriam, read and understand Hebrews 8:13 wrong, but that's their fault, not the scripture.

Yes, “God is love,” but there are some people He cannot stand!

There are several types of people ADONAI cannot stand. Among them liars, thieves, fornicators, adulterers, and several others whom, we are told, will never see the Kingdom:

1 Corinthians 6: 9. Or don’t you know, that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of Elohim?[1] Make no mistake! Neither sexual sinners, nor idol-worshippers, nor adulterers, nor the corrupt, nor men who lay down with other men, 10. Nor the oppressors, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of Elohim. (AENT)

NOTE: Compare this to Matthew 5:17-20, where we are told that breaking the least commandment of Torah and teaching others to do the same makes a person “least in the kingdom” but they still get in. Y’shua implies that those with more serious sins won’t make it in: “Depart from me, workers of iniquity, I never knew you”; but here, Rav Shaul gives a more specific list of what will keep them out.

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

So, for those who are under the erroneous impression that “God is love” and He only exists to “forgive” and cater to our every desire, I would urge you to start reading the Bible for the “whole picture.” No one lives forever, and there IS a Judgment Day! (See Isaiah 13:6,9; Jeremiah 46:10; Joel 1:15; 2:11; Amos 5:18; Obadiah 1:15)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

That pesky “narrow gate”….

That narrow gate of Matthew 7:13-14 is narrower than we know. Most aren't taking it because, it seems (dare I say it?), they are ... lukewarm. It's easier to go around insisting "God knows my heart"; "my church doesn't require that"; or "that Torah stuff is only for the Jews," while purposely ignoring the fact that ALL who accept the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are part of Israel, and thus, they're viewed as equals in the eyes of ELOHIM. He made that fact perfectly clear in passages such as this:

Numbers 15:13 "'Every citizen is to do these things in this way when presenting an offering made by fire as a fragrant aroma for ADONAI. 14 If a foreigner stays with you - or whoever may be with you, through all your generations - and he wants to bring an offering made by fire as a fragrant aroma for ADONAI, he is to do the same as you.

15 For this community there will be the same law for you as for the foreigner living with you; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations; the foreigner is to be treated the same way before ADONAI as yourselves. 16 The same Torah and standard of judgment will apply to both you and the foreigner living with you.'" (CJB)

And here we see Paul reiterating these pearls:

Romans 10: 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. (AENT)

Acts 24: 14. But this indeed I (Paul) acknowledge, that in that same doctrine of which they speak, I do serve the Elohim of my fathers, believing all the things written in Torah and in the prophets.

Acts 28: 23 "From morning till evening the Apostle Paul explained and declared the Kingdom of God and tried to convince people about Yeshua from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets."

The thing about "lukewarm" people is that they are not taking seriously the fact that both YHWH and Yeshua said that people would be REJECTED for their unwillingness to live their faith!

Isaiah 29:13 Then Adonai said: "Because these people approach me with empty words, and the honor they bestow on me is mere lip-service; while in fact they have distanced their hearts from me, and their 'fear of me' is just a mitzvah of human origin

14 therefore, I will have to keep shocking these people with astounding and amazing things, until the 'wisdom' of their 'wise ones' vanishes, and the 'discernment' of their 'discerning ones' is hidden away." (CJB)

Revelation 3: 16 So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth! 17 For you keep saying, 'I am rich, I have gotten rich, I don't need a thing!' You don't know that you are the one who is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked!

18 My advice to you is to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be dressed and not have to be ashamed of your nakedness; and eyesalve to rub on your eyes, so that you may see. 19 As for me, I rebuke and discipline everyone I love; so exert yourselves, and turn from your sins!

20 Here, I'm standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me. 21 I will let him who wins the victory sit with me on my throne, just as I myself also won the victory and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities."'" (CJB)

If Yeshua rejects you, then where do you think you'll be spending eternity?

Friday, January 4, 2019

A word about the "blood moon" hype

As you’ve probably heard, there’s yet another “Supermoon Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse” coming up on January 20th, and Hebrew Roots Facebook “experts” are yet again gearing up for this “sign” that will supposedly hold some kind of significance for Israel.

If there’s one thing my avid astronomer husband, Bill Welker loathes, it is ordinary total lunar eclipses being referred to as “blood moons” along with the usual hype and sensationalism that "something is going to happen" during this time.

Most don’t seem to realize that the term “blood moon” in this context is relatively new. It was applied by people like Pastors Hagee and Biltz who, in circa 2014 published and hawked their books about the “lunar tetrad” of 2014-2015, coining the term “blood moon” from scripture, with the media immediately adopting the term, and the hype so that we appear to now be stuck with it forever…

Sadly, with the term “blood moon” - so deeply misused now - few will come to know that there is only one, true blood moon and it will be a biblical event – NOT an ordinary lunar eclipse.

That is not to say that an ordinary eclipse can’t have significance. As Bill’s article shows, a truly significant event that has happened in Israel during a total lunar eclipse was the one that was FULLY VISIBLE to Israel and marked the birth of Yeshua!  Please check out our article in which Bill wrote the following:

"On the night of Sep 13th, 5 BCE, there was a well-placed total Lunar Eclipse. By 'well placed', we mean that the moon rose that night, well before Jupiter, and was of course, nearly full. The eclipse began at about 8:30 PM, with the moon 35 degrees high – perfectly placed from Jerusalem to see the entire eclipse."

Now THAT was a sign! (But it was NOT a “blood moon.”)

Parashah 14: Va'era (I appeared) Exodus 6:2 through 9:35

Shabbat shalom, mishpocah/family/friends!  As always, a synopsis of this week’s Torah portion can be found on our website. This particular Torah portion truly reveals the raw power of our ELOHIM!

First, in Exodus 6:2, we see YHWH giving His Name to Moshe (Moses): "I am ADONAI. 3 I appeared to Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov as El Shaddai, although I did not make myself known to them by my name, .

The tetragrammaton, Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, consists basically these letters in English: YHWH (most likely pronounced Yahweh/Yahway).

So, God Himself revealed His Name to us, and man has had access to it all along as we saw in Genesis 4:26, yet actually only knowing Him up until then as El Shaddai, the God who performs hidden miracles and exercises mastery over Nature (Exodus 6:3)! Ironically, traditional Jews refuse to utter his Name for fear of mispronouncing it or misspelling it, etc., and on the other end of the spectrum, you'll never hear the Father's Name in most Christian churches as they are all concentrating on "Jesus" whom they believe came to abolish the Torah (YHWH's divine Instruction in Righteousness)....

Moving on to Exodus 6:6-7, we see haShem making a wonderful promise to His people:

Exodus 6: 6 "Therefore, say to the people of Isra'el: 'I am ADONAI. I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians, rescue you from their oppression, and redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am ADONAI your God, who freed you from the forced labor of the Egyptians.

The word "redeem" stands out because it basically means "to free from captivity by payment of ransom." The Israelites couldn't extricate themselves from the Egyptians; they were held captive under hideous, deplorable conditions - and YHWH Himself promised to "redeem" them.

Two thousand years ago, He sent His Son Y'shua to redeem the whole world from "Egypt" (paganism, sin, a life of separation from YHWH). How awesome for the Creator to bother with a creation that has been disobeying and disappointing Him since the very beginning!

For more, please click this link to view the latest Torah portion.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

The name of the “one true Elohim” is YHWH, not Yeshua

At the risk of being pummeled to death verbally, I am going to post something I need to get off my chest. Someone recently sent me in an email that started off with the following: "Please join with us to give thanks raising up the NAME of the ONE true Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Y'shua our Moshiyach, by the power of the Ruach haKodesh!"

While this person clearly "loves God," I believe he is incorrect. According to Scripture, the ONE true NAME of ELOHIM is the tetragrammaton (YHWH יהוה), not Y'shua!  Y'shua is YHWH’s Divine MESSIAH!  Y’shua is the "arm" of YHWH (Isaiah 53:1), the Son (John 20:30-31), the Word (John 1:1, 14; John 14:9).

Let's look at what the Torah says:

Exodus 3: 13 And Mosheh said to Elohim, “See, when I come to the children of Yisra’ĕl and say to them, ‘The Elohim of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His Name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 And Elohim said to Mosheh, “I am that which I am.”1 And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” 15 And Elohim said further to Mosheh, “Thus you are to say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘יהוה Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Aḇraham, the Elohim of Yitsḥaq, and the Elohim of Yaʽaqoḇ, has sent me to you. This is My Name forever, and this is My remembrance to all generations.’ (ISR)


The Heḇrew text reads: ’eyeh ’asher ’eyeh, the word ’eyeh being derived from hayah which means to be, to exist, but the Aramaic text here in v. 14 reads: ayah ashar ayah. This is not His Name, but it is an explanation that leads up to the revelation of His Name in v. 15, namely: יהוה.

Now, check out what the New Testament reveals about the Son:

John 1: 1. In the beginning[1] was the Miltha[2]. And that Miltha was with Elohim. And Elohim was that Miltha. 2. This was with Elohim in the beginning. 3. Everything existed through His hands,[3] and without Him, not even one thing existed of the things which have existed. 4. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5. And that light shines in the darkness,[4] and the darkness did not overtake it. (AENT)


[1] The phrase B’resheet aytohi hwa miltha breaks a most basic rule of Aramaic grammar by combining a feminine noun (miltha) with two masculine verbs for “to be” (aytohi, hwa). This is unheard of in Aramaic literature other than right here in this passage and in 1 John. This shows YHWH has male and female “images/spirits” even though YHWH remains a He.

It may also be a midrash on Isaiah 11:1-2, which describes the Spirit of YHWH descending on Mashiyach using both masculine and feminine suffixes. This is not something easily translated, let alone when it occurs within the first four words.

[2] Miltha has no direct English equivalent. It can mean ‘Word’, ‘Manifestation’, ‘Instance’ or ‘Substance’ among other things. In this context, it may best be left untranslated.

[3] Literal Aramaic reading; “through his hands” indicates the Word as a creative force, like a sculptor working under the orders of a king. See Psalm 33:6; Isaiah 44:24; 66:1, 2.

[4] Aramaic wordplay. Nohra b’nshokha menhar (light in the darkness that shines) is a deliberate mirror-reversal of menhar-nohra (menorah), which marks the conception of the light of the world at Hanukkah. This puts the birth of Mashiyach nine months from Hanukkah, during the fall feasts; many point to the first day of Feast of Tabernacles for the date of Y’shua’s birth.

John 1:14 14. And the Miltha[1] (Word) became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw His glory[2] the glory as the Only-Begotten[3] who is from the Father who is full of grace and truth.


[1] Miltha refers to the “Manifestation” of the Ruach haKodesh within Mashiyach. The physical body of Mashiyach is not the Word of YHWH, but his words and actions demonstrate the Will and Word of YHWH, which upholds observance of Torah. However, Christo-Pagans like Marcion and Constantine taught that Y’shua’s body and spirit manifest a different “word” that did away with Torah. The Word of YHWH was substituted with dispensational and replacement “theologies,” which is very popular in Christianity.

[2] Isaiah 42:8; 48:11

[3] Ekhadaya is a beautiful term used among Eastern theologians and poets; it literally means “THE ONE”

Ephesians 2: 13. But now, by Y’shua the Mashiyach, you who before were afar off, have been brought near by the blood of the Mashiyach. 14. He is himself our peace, who has made the two (become) one, and has demolished the wall[1] which stood in the midst, and the enmity, by his flesh; 15. And in his flesh (the) enmity and regulations of commands (contained) in his commandments are abolished[2] (so) that in himself (an occurrence of the divine nature, or qnoma),[3] he might make the two into one, establishing peace. 16. And has reconciled both with Elohim in one body and has slain the enmity by his stake (of execution).

17. And he came and proclaimed peace to you afar off, and to those near: 18. Because by him there is access for us both, by one Spirit, to the Father. 19. Wherefore you are not strangers nor sojourners, but you are fellow-citizens with the Set Apart believers and of the household of Elohim. 20. And you are built upon the foundations of the Shlichim and the prophets; and Y’shua the Mashiyach has become the head of the corner in the edifice. 21. And in him all the edifice is framed together and grows into a Set Apart temple in Master YHWH; 22. While you also are built in him for a habitation of Elohim through the Spirit. (AENT)


[1] Aramaic for wall is syaga. Ironically, this exact term was picked up by the Talmudic rabbis in Pirkei Avot (Sayings of the Fathers) 1:1 that commanded, “make a fence around the Torah.” Y’shua specifically warned against this activity in Matthew 15, rebuking the Pharisees in the process. Later on, Y’shua said he was the “door/gate” using a synonym for syaga, known as taarea, which is a homonym “torah” and “teachers,” meaning the Pharisees. So while the Pharisees are busy erecting their fence, Y’shua is pulling it down, allowing everyone access!

[2] The grammatical structure here fully guarantees that namusa is referring to “customs” as in the traditions of the Pharisees, not Torah itself. Mashiyach abolishes the “enmity” (hatred or animosity) that has been brought against YHWH by religious tradition and false interpretations of Torah, which was a heavy burden that people could not bear. Christian theologians, however, twist this verse and teach that it was YHWH’s Torah that brought the hatred and that Mashiyach did away with Torah, which is a very reckless and evil theology. Mashiyach sent the Ruach haKodesh to write YHWH’s Torah upon the hearts of his people, not abolish it. .

[3] Qnoma can mean “core substance” or “occurrence.” Although Greek reads “self” Aramaic does not; “self” leads to assumptions of “personhood” which breeds idolatry.

We must always remember that while YHWH and Y'shua are ONE, Y'shua - as a human being with a divine qnoma/nature, sent by YHWH - never replaced YHWH as ELOHIM. YHWH Himself was never a human being! No one can look upon YHWH and live - He told Moshe this just before putting Moshe in a rock cleft to protect him (Exodus 33:19-22). Even the Seraphim in Isaiah 6 “covered their faces.”

Exodus 33:19 And He said, “I shall cause all My goodness to pass before you, and I shall proclaim the Name of יהוה before you. And I shall favour him whom I favour, and shall have compassion on him whom I have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You are unable to see My face, for no man does see Me and live.” 21 And יהוה said, “See, there is a place with Me! And you shall stand on the rock. 22 “And it shall be, while My esteem passes by, that I shall put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 “Then I shall take away My hand and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.” (ISR)

We see something in Philippians 2:5-11 that makes us realize YHWH and Y'shua ARE "One" but we must remember that their "one-ness" is something the human mind cannot thoroughly comprehend:

Philippians 2:5 And think you so in yourselves, as Y'shua the Mashiyach also thought; 6. who, as he was in the likeness of Elohim, did not regard it sinful to be the coequal of Elohim; 7. yet disinherited himself and assumed the likeness of a servant, and was in the likeness of men and was found in fashion as a man; 8. and he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the stake. (NOTE: Remember, GOD cannot be born or die!)

9. Wherefore, also, Elohim has highly exalted him and given him a name which is more excellent than all names; 10. that at the name of Y'shua every knee should bow, of (beings) in heaven and on earth and under the earth; 11. and that every tongue should confess that YHWH is Y'shua the Mashiyach[1], to the glory of Elohim his Father. (AENT)

FOOTNOTE: "Name" in verse 9 is 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 (reveals) 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).

We must be very careful to make a distinction between YHWH "the Father" and Y'shua the "Son." Mankind HAS seen Y'shua because he came as a human being. However, mankind has never and will not see YHWH Himself until we are out of our earthly bodies to stand before Him to see the actual face of ELOHIM."

Revelation 22:4 And they shall see His face, and His Name shall be upon their foreheads. (ISR)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A plea to perfume and cologne wearers…

Oh, people I HAVE to rant – and truly I had to wait for an hour after I got home from a grocery store today, to post this! It’s a rant most can’t understand or care to hear, because it’s about perfumes and colognes.

Do you realize that “fragrance” is the new “second-hand smoke!? Don’t laugh! It’s true! Someone once ignorantly told me, “Well I wear perfume to keep from stinking!”

Excuse me? If you stink, then take a bath! Being clean and smelling great should never mean using manufactured, toxic substances that you will inhale and absorb into your bodies - much less, impose on others!

Let me be perfectly honest here: If you’re a perfume/cologne wearer, you are a walking toxic dump, because your favorite fragrance can be deadly for people with asthma or chemical sensitivities, or what I have – something my allergist calls, “chemical-induced asthma!”

This is no joke. There are literally millions of people with “multiple chemical sensitivities.” Everyday products from cleaning supplies to perfumes trigger health problems in an estimated 55 million Americans, according to a new study into an admittedly disputed condition known as “Multiple Chemical Sensitivities” (MCS).

One in four Americans report being sensitive to household chemicals, according to research conducted by organizations such as the University of Melbourne, Australia. Of those studied, almost half were diagnosed with MCS: an umbrella term used to describe patients who say their lives are impacted by low-level exposure to chemicals.

In my case, in the 30 years I worked in various offices on two continents, I was forced to deal with second-smoke. Finally, approximately 10 years before I retired from public life, the American government outlawed indoor smoking. FINALLY! After YEARS of being forced to inhale the end product of someone else’s “right” to smoke…

And now that fragrances have gotten out of hand – guess what! The nightmare for millions has started all over again!

PLEASE think about being considerate the next time you appear in public. REMEMBER that it’s bad enough that you’ve showered with scented soap and shampoo and conditioner, and used your favorite scented hairspray and deodorant. Do you REALLY need to slosh on your favorite perfume ON TOP of that?


God hates “haughty looks” and arrogant behavior!


Haughty eyes, haughty looks – you’ve all seen them; you all know someone who is haughty, proud, arrogant. Many celebrities are prime examples. However, I’m not referring to just “celebrities”; but also people we know personally, or deal with here on Facebook. (For instance, the Hebrew Roots movement has, as a whole, become VERY haughty lately….)

The dictionary defines haughty as someone who is “blatantly and disdainfully proud: having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior.”

Did you know that haShem HATES haughty eyes, looks or behavior? Remember, Moshe (Moses) didn't get into the promised land because he became "haughty" and full of himself ... he actually took some glory for himself and disobeyed a couple commands (see our article.)

Take a look at these scriptures that mention the word "haughty"":

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

Proverbs 21:4 Haughty looks, a proud heart -what the wicked plow is sin.

Psalm 18:27 People afflicted, you save; but haughty eyes, you humble.

Psalm 101:5 If someone slanders another in secret, I will cut him off. Haughty eyes and proud hearts I cannot abide.

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

There are many more scriptures that discuss “haughtiness” and “arrogance”; but you get the gist. If you know people like this personally (or here on Facebook), gently remind them that haughtiness is NOT a nice trait. If they ask for clarification, be bold and explain.

If they refuse your gentle nudge, or become belligerent, just let them be. Disassociate yourself and shake the dust from your sandals. Turn them over to ADONAI and keep them in your prayers. They’re not your problem.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

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 readers 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), by the moon 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 remembered 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 “leap day”), 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 final month of the year 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.)

However, 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 decade.  

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.