Friday, April 19, 2019

God’s Appointed Times, in a nutshell

For those who are new to the idea of Torah (God's Divine Instructions in Righteousness as outlined in the first five Books of the Bible), did you know that God's seven "feasts" were meant for ALL who accept Him? Did you know that each of those Appointed Times has significance in biblical history and in ADONAI’s grand plan ... AND did you know that Yeshua has so far fulfilled FOUR of those SEVEN Feasts?

Yes, we definitely are to celebrate those Feasts! Remember, in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), there is no Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, slave nor free (Galatians 3:28); as we are all ONE in Messiah (Romans 12:5 and John 17:21), which means, ALL are to follow the same rules.

While this may sound daunting, it's not. Once you grasp what Torah is, and begin to follow some of those "forever" rules (i.e., the yearly feasts and weekly Sabbaths), you'll discover what joy it is to DO something for our Creator. Those set-apart times are our weekly and yearly "dates" with Him. Halleluyah!

Please click on this link to find out more about each of God's Appointed Times.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Parashah 31: Emor (Speak); Leviticus 21:1 through 24:23

Shabbat shalom, mishpocah!  As always, a synopsis of this week’s Torah portion can be found on our website: Parashah 31: Emor [Speak]; Leviticus 21:1 through 24:23

This lesson is absolutely POWERFUL - with its basic messages being the holiness YHWH expected of His cohenim (priests); and the giving of YHWH's "designated times" - His Feasts - all of which bear the statement that they are to be observed "forever" and/or "throughout your generations."

Leviticus 21 starts out with YHWH commanding Moshe to tell the cohenim what they are to do to be considered holy in His eyes. We must remember that the office of cohen is an elevated position beyond compare. Cohenim were expected to be blemishless both on the exterior and on the interior - Not perfect (since no human is perfect), but blemishless and without defect whenever they came into His Presence, as they were the intermediaries between YHWH and His people. YHWH even expected His cohens to marry "unblemished" women:

Leviticus 21: "'A cohen is not to marry a woman who is a prostitute, who has been profaned or who has been divorced; because he is holy for his God.

The above brings to mind the Catholic "priests" who are forbidden to marry and who, in no way, resemble YHWH's cohens - who, incidentally, come only from the tribe of Levi. (One has to wonder from where the Catholics got most of their rules and regulations, because they certainly didn't come from Torah....)

For more, please read our synopsis, and be sure to read the actual Torah and related portions, as well.  Shabbat shalom!

Do you know an anti-Semite? Send them this article!

When we think of anti-Semitism, we automatically think of “Jews”. The truth is, “the Jews" has become a blanket description for all Israelites – but, in reality, only someone born into the Tribe of Judah can claim they are Jews.

Remember, “Israel” consists of 12 Tribes, Yehudah (Judah/"the Jews") is just one of them … and they happened to be the Tribe YHWH chose to safeguard His Torah when He banished His people into the nations for their constant disobedience (see Jeremiah 3).

Now – many Christians are under the erroneous impression that when God supposedly “divorced” Israel, it automatically made Christians His “chosen” because they’ve “accepted Jesus”. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Genesis 49: 10 The scepter will not pass from Y'hudah, nor the ruler's staff from between his legs, until he comes to whom [obedience] belongs; and it is he whom the peoples will obey. (CJB)

Genesis 49 is, of course, referring to Messiah Yeshua during his second coming, when EVERY knee will bow! (Philippians 2:10-11 and Romans 14:11. Remember, “every knee” didn’t bow the first time he was here - as a matter of fact, they killed him.) The crux of tis scripture is that “the scepter will NOT pass from Judah UNTIL that time. This means, no one is replacing the Jews as YHWH’s chosen…

Same with the following scriptures which refer to a FUTURE time when Yeshua returns as the Lion of Judah (Genesis 49:8-9) when he sits on his throne in the Temple (Zechariah 14:1-21).

Isaiah 11: 10 On that day the root of Yishai, which stands as a banner for the peoples - the Goyim will seek him out, and the place where he rests will be glorious. 11 On that day Adonai will raise his hand again, a second time, to reclaim the remnant of his people who remain from Ashur, Egypt, Patros, Ethiopia, 'Eilam, Shin'ar, Hamat and the islands in the sea. 12 He will hoist a banner for the Goyim, assemble the dispersed of Isra'el, and gather the scattered of Y'hudah from the four corners of the earth. (CJB)

Micah 4: 2 Many Gentiles will go and say, "Come, let's go up to the mountain of ADONAI, to the house of the God of Ya'akov (Yehudah's father)! He will teach us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim. (CJB)

Before we move on, let’s back up and talk about that “divorce” issue for a moment. In ancient Hebrew (Jewish) culture, a “certificate of divorce” was mandatory to terminate a marriage. Without it, the marriage remains. Thus, our first question should be: “Exactly, WHERE is the divorce certificate?” Answer: There isn’t one! Check it out:

Malachi 2:16 tells us that YHWH HATES divorce. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 tells us that a man CANNOT remarry his ex-wife. Matthew 5:31-32 says that one who puts away his wife (for some cause other than fornication) causes her to commit adultery....

There are tons of other scriptures concerning the "divorce" issue, but the question remains: Would YHWH really do that to His "bride"? Would He allow His Divine and Holy Son (His “arm” – Isaiah 53:1, and the Word, John 1:1,14) who will represent YHWH again upon his return to earth, to "marry" a divorced and defiled bride?

Isaiah 50:1  Thus says Yahweh: Where is your mother's writ of divorce by which I repudiated her? Or to which of my creditors have I sold you? Look, you have been sold for your own misdeeds, your mother was repudiated for your acts of rebellion. (NJB)

Notice the question “WHERE is the certificate of divorce?” in the first verse. That means ... THERE WASN'T ANY! YHWH never divorced either Judah or Ephraim, but He did "send them away" for a time. Since there was no writ of divorce to make the separation official, YHWH reserves the right to bring them back at any time - and He will! You'll see this as you read the passage AFTER Jeremiah 3:8, which is apparently overlooked by many.

So, if you go back to at least the beginning of Jeremiah 2, you find that Adonai is berating Israel for their backsliding and their crimes against Him. Jeremiah goes on at some length using metaphor about how Israel's behavior was like that of a prostitute.

Jeremiah 3:8: I saw that even though backsliding Isra'el had committed adultery, so that I had sent her away and given her a divorce document, unfaithful Y'hudah her sister was not moved to fear - instead she too went and prostituted herself. (CJB)

NOTE: Although it sounds like a divorce happened, it didn’t. It will become clear in a moment. Please keep reading:

Jeremiah 3: 12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north: '"Return, backsliding Isra'el," says ADONAI. "I will not frown on you, for I am merciful," says ADONAI. "I will not bear a grudge forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt, that you have committed crimes against ADONAI your God, that you were promiscuous with strangers under every green tree, and that you have not paid attention to my voice," says ADONAI. 14 "Return, backsliding children," says ADONAI; "for I am your master. I will take you, one from a city, two from a family, and bring you to Tziyon. (CJB)

Jeremiah 31:31 "Here, the days are coming," says ADONAI, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra'el and with the house of Y'hudah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated my covenant, even though I, for my part, was a husband to them," says ADONAI. 33 "For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra'el after those days," says ADONAI: "I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will any of them teach his fellow community member or his brother, 'Know ADONAI'; for all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest; because I will forgive their wickednesses and remember their sins no more." (CJB)

So, to reiterate, you can see in Jeremiah 3:8 YHWH threatened divorce but He also gave Israel a chance to repent. Apparently, somehow, Israel did repent, and if you will take a few minutes to read Isaiah 50, you’ll see it is writing about a future PAST the prophecy of Jeremiah 3, after Israel repented and got the promised forgiveness (i.e. that the threatened certificate of divorce was not given.) Otherwise, the Scripture is contradicting itself.

Also note Isaiah chapters 49-50 covered all 12 tribes. YHWH points out that they broke His covenant - "though I was espoused to them" (Jeremiah 3:14) - but He did NOT say in Jeremiah 31:31-34 or anywhere else that the infidelity actually resulted in divorce. People fail to see that the stick of Ezekiel 37:16-22 is in the hand of one shepherd who will rule over them all, one nation....

Isaiah 49:1 Coasts and islands, listen to me, pay attention, distant peoples. Yahweh called me when I was in the womb, before my birth he had pronounced my name. 2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword, he hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me into a sharpened arrow and concealed me in his quiver. 3 He said to me, 'Israel, you are my servant, through whom I shall manifest my glory.' (NJB)

The Covenant Promises YHWH made through Abraham are for the benefit of ALL nations (Genesis 17:7); and we are told that ALL who accept YHWH as their God are to do "exactly as" HIS people do, because the same law, "same Torah and standard of judgment will apply to both you and the foreigner living with you." (Numbers 15:13-16)

Messiah Yeshua is the "seed" who came to his own people to fulfill the Promise – to the Jews first and then the Gentiles (Romans 1:16, 2:9-10; Matthew 10:5, 6). We are all ONE IN MESSIAH! (Romans 12:5; Galatians 3:28). Same God, same rules!

It’s not good to bash either the Jews or the “religion” of Judaism. You see, Judaism took its cue from the Word of YHWH which has been around for as long as man has been alive - or at least 6,000 years. Granted, Judaism didn’t become known as a “religion” until after our third Patriarch, Jacob, had a son named Yehudah (Judah) who headed the Tribe of Yehudah, where the term “Judaism” originated.

Regardless, EVERYONE in those days who believed in YHWH – including Adam and Eve (who found out first-hand what happens to those who deliberately disobey ADONAI’s Divine Instructions in Righteousness, which is what is now known as Torah (first five Books of the Bible) – which pertain to ALL of us).

Catholicism and Christianity arrived on the scene approximately 1,900 years ago. Both "religions" borrowed Scriptures from the Torah, then twisted them and began insisting (thanks, in part, to the much-misunderstood writings of Paul), that Torah is a curse!

In the meantime, they changed the Name of our Savior along with the dates of His birth, death and resurrection and came up with their own "holy days" while negating His commanded Biblical Feasts and the Seventh Day Sabbath.

In view of the above, you can see, there is no way that Christians have replaced Jews as YHWH’s chosen! Something to keep in mind is this:

If it hadn't been for “the Jews” being scattered into the nations (Ezekiel 36:19) YHWH and His Son Yeshua would have remained the best-kept secret of tiny, little Israel, and the rest of the world would still be writhing in Paganism. One cannot condemn those Jews who are not yet Believers in the Messiah Yeshua because God hasn't yet opened their spiritual eyes. (Same with many Christians who are busy rejecting YHWH’s Torah….)

Jew-bashing is NOT the way to please God! The Bible tells us that anyone who goes up against them in any way will suffer His wrath:

Genesis 12:3  I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed. (CJB)

So, as you can surely see by now, to hate “the Jews” is a huge mistake in God’s eyes! Instead of trying to build yourself up to be “special” or “better than,” perhaps it’s time to simply be filled with joy that you are “grafted into Israel” through the blood of Messiah Yeshua.

Deuteronomy 7:6 For you are a people set apart as holy for ADONAI your God. ADONAI your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure. 7 ADONAI didn't set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people - on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 Rather, it was because ADONAI loved you, and because he wanted to keep the oath which he had sworn to your ancestors, that ADONAI brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from a life of slavery under the hand of Pharoah king of Egypt. (CJB)

Again, note that YHWH wasn't talking to only the Jews at that point; but, rather, to the 12 Tribes of Israel....He didn't give the Land only to "the Jews"; He gave it to the descendants of Abraham.

Genesis 15:18 That day ADONAI made a covenant with Avram: "I have given this land to your descendants - from the Vadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River - 19 the territory of the Keni, the K'nizi, the Kadmoni, 20 the Hitti, the P'rizi, the Refa'im, 21 the Emori, the Kena'ani, the Girgashi and the Y'vusi." (CJB)

Jeremiah 31:35-37: This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar- the LORD Almighty is his name: "Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the LORD, "will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me." This is what the LORD says: "Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done," declares the LORD. (ESV)

Romans 11:25 For, brothers, I want you to understand this truth which God formerly concealed but has now revealed, so that you won't imagine you know more than you actually do. It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra'el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness; 26 and that it is in this way that all Isra'el will be saved. As the Tanakh says, "Out of Tziyon will come the Redeemer; he will turn away ungodliness from Ya'akov 27 and this will be my covenant with them...when I take away their sins." (CJB)

IMPORTANT: Just because a Gentile has accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it doesn't mean they have replaced "the Jews". They are simply part of "Israel".

Romans 11: 25. (For I want you to know this) mystery, that blindness of heart has in some measure befallen Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles will come in: 26. And then will all Israel live. As it is written: A deliverer will come from Tsiyon and will turn away iniquity from Ya'akov. 27. And then will they have the covenant that proceed from me when I will have forgiven their sins.

28. Now, in the Good News, they are enemies for your sake; but in the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sake. 29. For Elohim is not changeable in his free gift and in his calling. 30. For as you too were formerly disobedient to Elohim and have now obtained mercy because of their disobedience; 31. So also are they now disobedient to the mercy, which is upon you, that there may be mercy on them likewise. 32. For Elohim has shut up all men in disobedience, that upon all men he might have mercy.

33. O the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of Elohim! For man has not searched out his judgments; and his ways are inscrutable. 34. For who has known the mind of Master YHWH? Or who has been a counselor to him? 35. Or who has first given to him and then received from him? 36. Because all is from him, and all by him, and all through him: to whom be praises and benedictions, for ever and ever: Amen. (AENT)

For clarification, "All Israel" refers to those souls who make Teshuva (turn to YHWH) and welcome the Spirit of Mashiyach. Rav Shaul (Paul) does not say or mean that every Jew or Israelite by race will enter into the Malchut Elohim (see Matt 22:2-14; 25:1-12).

In closing, if you are guilty of harboring resentment or arrogance toward “the Jews” then, hopefully, this article has served to help you better understand why an attitude adjustment is needed. Blessings on your as you continue to learn and grow!

This article has demonstrated that Gentiles (Christians) are part of Israel and it is important to embrace that and therefore no reason for anti-semitism. If your “anti-semitism”, on the other hand, is based on a hatred of Israel, then you need to sit down and figure out exactly why you feel that way.

Max Nordau, the great Jewish leader in the late 1800’s wrote: “The Jews are not hated because they have evil qualities; evil qualities are sought for in them because they are hated.”

If you study your inner-self and pray about the the reasons why you may hate Jews, perhaps Adonai will open your eyes and you can truly become the child of God He is desiring you to be.

Get a load of this screen shot below taken from "Jesus-rejecter" William Hall’s latest Facebook post. (Hall is a former Christian pastor turned Hebrew Roots, turned "Jesus rejecter" who now rubs elbows with the counter-missionary rabbis who use him to further their agenda of trying to show Christians why "Jesus is a myth"....)

Posts like this actually make me sad because they reveal that people like Mr. Hall never had a grasp of YHWH's Truth ... and he STILL doesn't!

Oh, if he had only ever opened his eyes instead of allowing himself to be led astray by the sweet-talkin' "Jesus-deniers", he would have learned that Yeshua wasn't a "sacrifice" per se, because nobody "sacrificed" him. (YHWH never demand human sacrifice!) Yeshua MARTYRED himself, against which there is NO law....

Here is my screen shot, followed by our response:

Okay, so let’s look at how much we can find wrong with the supposed “brilliance” in these statements:
“Christianity poses only a blood sacrifice by a human figure”.
Actually, no. Christianity recognizes the blood redemption for them by another. Completely permitted in Torah. While it is true that the word “sacrifice” is often misused, here it does not mean a “slaughter at the Temple”, rather, it means the Messiah’s voluntary death for us was “a” sacrifice, that is, he offered himself on our behalf.
“Humans are unclean by design as well as an abomination in relation to sacrifices”.
Realistically, humans were “clean” by design, then they sinned and became unclean. And of course, Elohim never asked for a “human sacrifice” (other than testing Abraham). But as stated above, the Messiah was not a “sacrifice.” And though Mr. Hall does not see it, the Messiah’s “humanity” was not the same as our “humanity”.
“Jesus, even though the new testament poses him as perfect, is still a human figure. Unclean and an abomination.”
Actually, no. The NT “poses” him as perfect because he was. The only “human figure” to achieve that. But Mr. Hall’s advanced intellect won’t let him see that. (I suspect Mr. Hall actually DOES see that, but he can’t bring himself to admit it. Thus, he only refers to the Messiah as “Jesus”, the godless, Torahless entity of Christianity, instead of “Yeshua” the Messiah. You see, Mr. Hall used to believe in Yeshua, then he was taken over to the “dark side” and he must now hide behind the lies he is now filled with.
“In addition, he was beaten beyond recognition. The Torah is very clear in that any animal sacrifice MUST be without blemish at the time of the sacrifice/death.”
ALL animal sacrifices, which started out “without blemish” were sliced with a knife, bled out, cut apart, body parts held in the air and tossed into a fire!
Thus EVERY animal sacrifice IMMEDIATELY lost its “unblemished” condition! How silly is this claim this attempts to hide behind! Fact is, Yeshua was “unblemished” when he was charged with crimes he did not commit, supported by the Jewish Sanhedrin which actively sought his death! In the record of the Messiah’s death, Mr. Hall, just who were the “unclean”? (Hint: You represent them today!)
“ALSO, he didn’t stay dead, therefore not a valid sacrifice.”
Here, Mr. Hall reveals his hypocrisy by admitting that Yeshua did not stay dead! Thus, Mr. Hall reveals that he truly does believe, but he is mired in his obligation to deny it! The whole point of the Messiah’s blood redemption for each of us (who accept it) was that WE are redeemed. If he stayed dead, then there would need to be another Messiah, and another, and another, ad infinitum, to repeat the redemption! (Curiously, endless animals affecting “purgation” at the Temple, remained dead and failed to actually “redeem”!)
Mr. Hall can’t seem to separate the purpose of the endless slaughter of animals which only provided a temporary atonement for the community’s sins, from the Messiah who provided a single and permanent, one-time atonement.
Mr. Hall also seems oblivious to the fact that Elohim gave ALL people of the era (and into the future), ONE GENERATION to “get it”, that is, when the Messiah became our redemption, the temple operated only ONE MORE GENERATION before it was destroyed! After that, the Jews and the Jew wannabes like Mr. Hall lost their chance at the one-time redemption offer. My goodness!
Elohim declared many times that He would be our redeemer (Isaiah 60:16, for example), yet Mr. Hall rejects that Elohim came through and provided for that promised redemption through his own Messiah! Elohim redeemed – as He said He would! But the Mr. Halls of the world reject it! No wonder Jews and Jew wannabes like Mr. Hall are called out in scripture as “stiff-necked people” (see Exodus 32:9, and others)!
If YOU are among those who is thinking of rejecting YHWH's Divine Messiah, please check out our articles BEFORE making the biggest mistake of your life!

Who does Yeshua say he is?

Mere men cannot atone? WRONG!

The Passover connection to Yeshua
   
YHWH/Yeshua relationship
 
Tanach DOES point to Yeshua!

Monday, April 15, 2019

What does the phrase, “not under Torah” mean?

Galatians 5:15. But if you bite and devour one another--beware!--or else you consume one another. 16. I say then: you should walk through the Spirit and the lust of the flesh will not subdue you. 17. For flesh desires a thing that is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires a thing that is against the flesh, and both of these are opposed to one another so that you are not able to do as you wish. 18. If, then, you are led by the Spirit, you are not under Torah… (AENT)

“Under the Torah” is simply an idiomatic expression that refers to a false teaching that has never been true. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm that this phrase “under the Torah” refers to strict religious halacha (“instruction” or “teaching,” which requires interpretation and application), not obedience to Torah itself.

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

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

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

We need to understand that Torah has not at any time “saved” anyone! YHWH saves when His people demonstrate a sincere obedience to His Righteous Instructions (Torah). Blind ritual (or religion) alone without the love of YHWH profits nothing. YHWH is “the Spirit” of the Renewed Covenant that “writes Torah upon the heart.”

For a deeper study, please see our website’s article: Understanding "under law"…

A word about the "final season of Game of Thrones!"

Lately, television news anchors have been excitedly advertising "the final season of Game of Thrones!" People seem to be going crazy over this show, some even dressing up like the characters of this fantasy set in Medieval times. There's a place in Ireland where you can even go to spend your money to live out the fantasy...

Well, as Believers, my husband and I couldn't even make it through the first half hour of the first show, because we were so appalled and disgusted by the blatant pornography, that we immediately deleted the series.

Sex today, in this fallen world of ours, seems to equate to nothing more than a handshake. It's turned into a type of idolatry from which there is no turning back. The proverbial genie has been let out of the bottle, and things began to "go downhill" back when movies began to show married couples sitting in the same bed....

Anyway, gratuitous sex scenes were apparently not enough for today's audience, which seems to be obsessed with watching others engaged in a most private act - something that ADONAI never meant to become a spectator sport...

Obviously, this is all part of the ends times scenario outlined in the Books of Daniel and Revelation.

Here are just a few of the myriad scriptures warning us to abstain from idolatry:

Colossians 3:5 5 Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature - sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry); 6 for it is because of these things that God's anger is coming on those who disobey him. (CJB)

1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

Galatians 5:19. For you know the works of the flesh, which are these: adultery, impurity and lasciviousness, 20. idolatry, witchcraft, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, stubbornness, treacheries, heresies, 21. Envy, murder, drunkenness, revelry and all like things. Those who do things like these, they will not inherit the Kingdom of Elohim. (AENT)

Jonah 2:8 8 "Those who worship vain idols give up their source of mercy… (CJB)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Can we really not call ourselves “Rabbi” or “Father”?

So many folks seem to have misunderstood Matthew 23:8-9 and will attempt to use it to show people they CANNOT call themselves “Rabbi” or “Father”….

Thing is, there is nothing wrong with calling yourself "Rabbi" if you've earned the yeshiva degree! It's no different than someone with a Doctorate calling themselves "Doctor." They have every right to do it.

The scripture verses that tell us not to call any man Rabbi or Father are there to show that men should not "exalt themselves" or "lord themselves" over anybody, just because they have the education or knowledge.

I mean, think about it realistically - if no one can use the term "Father" then every kid in the world is sinning whenever they call their Dad "Father"... NO! The term is simply not to be used to lord or exalt yourself over anybody.

Those in the Hebrow Roots movement calling themselves Rabbi when they haven't bothered to actually get their semicha from a yeshiva, are "exalting" themselves.... Same thing with most Christian pastors. They were "ordained" because someone laid hands on them and said, "I ordain" you. Never mind that they have never taken the classes to LEARN how to be a pastor...

Let’s talk about Mayor Budigieg’s blatant, “in-your-face” comment about his lifestyle, shall we?

As much as I try to stay away from politics, I can't keep this to myself. Today, the seemingly very popular Pete Budigieg (Mayor of South Bend, Indiana), who is running for President of the United States, made a comment that absolutely sticks in my craw.

Here's the comment he made just before he turned to kiss his "husband" and walk with him off-stage, hand-in-hand:

"If you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me -- your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."

Beside the fact that I truly loathed Budigieg's blatant, "in-your-face" display of arrogance, his comment left me wondering which Creator he's talking about, because the One I worship says that the homosexual lifestyle is an abomination!

Leviticus 18:22 - You are not to go to bed with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination. (CJB)

Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (CJB)

1 Corinthians 6:9. Or don't you know, that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of Elohim? 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)

Revelation 22:14 How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city! 15 Outside are the homosexuals, those who misuse drugs in connection with the occult, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (CJB)

Romans 1: 22 Claiming to be wise, they have become fools! 23 In fact, they have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for mere images, like a mortal human being, or like birds, animals or reptiles!

24 This is why God has given them up to the vileness of their hearts' lusts, to the shameful misuse of each other's bodies. 25 They have exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, by worshiping and serving created things, rather than the Creator - praised be he for ever. Amen.

26 This is why God has given them up to degrading passions; so that their women exchange natural sexual relations for unnatural; 27 and likewise the men, giving up natural relations with the opposite sex, burn with passion for one another, men committing shameful acts with other men and receiving in their own persons the penalty appropriate to their perversion. (CJB)

28 In other words, since they have not considered God worth knowing, God has given them up to worthless ways of thinking; so that they do improper things. 29 They are filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and vice; stuffed with jealousy, murder, quarreling, dishonesty and ill-will; they are gossips,

30 slanderers, haters of God; they are insolent, arrogant and boastful; they plan evil schemes; they disobey their parents; 31 they are brainless, faithless, heartless and ruthless. 32 They know well enough God's righteous decree that people who do such things deserve to die; yet not only do they keep doing them, but they applaud others who do the same. (CJB)

So, whoever Budigieg is worshiping, it CANNOT be YHWH or His Divine Messiah!

Yeshua was NOT a “sacrifice”….

The Jewish Jesus-rejecters and their converts constantly try to show us that Yeshua couldn't have been our "Passover sacrifice" because the Passover lambs weren't "sin sacrifices", etc.

Please pardon my "all caps" in places, as I'm trying to make a point here....

The thing is, the Passover lambs were SUBSTITUTES whose blood allowed the firstborn to live. Yeshua OFFERED himself as our substitute as well, allowing us (anyone who accepted him as YHWH's Divine Messiah) to not just "continue to live" here on earth, but to have eternal life!

AND, to have that eternal life, we ALSO must repent and turn from our ways and obey YHWH's Torah. You don't continue to live as you always did and expect to enter Eternity! If you deliberately continue to sin, you WILL lose your salvation, because Yeshua's blood only covered your PAST sins.

Remember, while Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years, the priests constantly had to offer sin sacrifices, because humans tend to sin and need continuous forgiveness. Those who believe Yeshua's blood covered ALL their sins, present, past and future, are sorely mistaken. Why? Because (1) there is NO sin sacrifice for continuous, deliberate sinning; and (2) in order to remove your present sins, Yeshua would have to die all over again....

Be that as it may, nobody "sacrificed" the lambs; and nobody "sacrificed" Yeshua, either. He willingly martyred himself on our behalf. Like the little Passover lambs, he was KILLED, not sacrificed.

Acts 15, when read in context, reveals some hard facts

Every once in a while I come across someone who attempts to use Acts 15 as justification for not keeping Torah. But, when read in context, the bottom line is: Acts 15 is referring to man-made laws and NOT the Torah itself!

Why would ANY part of the Torah not pertain to ALL who have accepted YHWH as their ELOHIM? In Numbers 15:13-16 ADONAI said FOUR TIMES in a row, that ALL who accept Him are to do exactly as His people do; that there is no difference between His natural and adopted children, once someone accepts Him as their God.

And Galatians 3:28 tells us, "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all ONE in Messiah."

As "one" doesn't that imply "same God. same rules?" WHY would there be different rules? Did YHWH only expect Jews to be holy/set apart?

It is imperative to remember that once Gentiles accept the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they are no longer considered to be "Gentiles: as they become HEBREWS (like the pagan Chaldean Abraham did in Genesis 12). "Hebrew" in the Hebrew language means "to cross over".... If you've "crossed over" then shouldn't you begin to follow His Rules? If you don't, WHOM are you worshiping?

For more on this issue, I recommend reading our article, Acts 15: Does Torah pertain to Christians?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

What “food” was Yeshua referring to in John 4:31?

Here’s something interesting. Have you ever wondered what kind of “food” Yeshua was referring to in this passage?

John 4:31. And in the midst of these things his disciples were pleading with him and saying to him, “Our Master, eat.” 32. But he said to them, I have food to eat of which you do not know of. 33. The disciples said among themselves, “What person has brought him something to eat?” 34. Y’shua said to them, My food is that I do the will of Him who sent me, and that I complete His work.

35. Do you not say that after four months comes the harvest? Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and see the fields that are white and have ripened for the harvest already. 36. And he that reaps receives a wage and gathers fruit to life that is eternal. And the sower and the reaper together will rejoice.

37. For in this is an instance of truth, that one is sowing and the other one reaping. 38. I have sent you to reap the thing in which you had not done the labor. For others tired and you have entered into their labor. (AENT)

EXPLANATION: The harvest imagery is familiar; note the word “Kingdom” compare Matthew 9:35-38; 21:28-32 and consider how this verse about “food” relates to these two passages about the Kingdom of Elohim. Here lies an amazing implied wordplay just under the surface; such a phenomenon may appear subjective, but the fact is they are easy for native speakers to recognize.

For example, a sign advertising Ocean City, NJ reads “Come to Ocean City: It’s a Shore Thing.” The word shore (as in beach) is intended to remind the reader of similar sounding word, sure (certain).

In this phrase, “I have food to eat that you do not know about,” Y’shua uses the word makultha, but the Aramaic word for “food” is sevartha. Upon the first glance this appears awkward, as if to say, “let’s consume nutrients” rather than “let’s eat.” This odd statement is made to establish a vital spiritual point.

While makultha in this verse refers to “food”, malkutha means “kingdom” as in the phrase “Kingdom of Elohim”! The requirements for obtaining both “food” and the “kingdom” are similar: “To do the will of our Heavenly Father.” John almost verbatim copies the imagery of the harvest as used in Matthew!

Double portions for this coming Shabbat of April 13, 2019

Shabbat shalom, mishpocah!  This week once again features a double Torah portion:

Parashah 29: Acharai Mot (After death); Leviticus 16:1 through 18:30

Parashah 30: Kedoshim (Holy People); Leviticus 19:1 through 20:27

Both of these lessons are absolutely POWERFUL - and here is their basic message: The Book of Leviticus is not a "book of laws" as so many insist. It is our Creator asking us to be holy through obedience to HIS rules! In the Book of Leviticus we are told via many examples exactly how we can be "set apart" for Him - by not following the abominable ways of the other nations. He gives us a choice to follow Him, or not. Those who follow Him are blessed; those who don't are cut off. Simple as that. There is no gray area.

Over and over again we see YHWH saying in various ways: "Be holy because I am holy." How many times have we read His comments: "I am ADONAI (God)"....We are to "do" or "not do" because He said so! Paraphrased: "I am ADONAI! I am holy. If you want to belong to Me and be in MY holy Presence, then you will have to be holy."

And how does one know how to "be holy"? It was revealed to us in Leviticus 18:

Leviticus 18: 1 ADONAI said to Moshe, 2 "Speak to the people of Isra'el; tell them, 'I am ADONAI your God. 3 You are not to engage in the activities found in the land of Egypt, where you used to live; and you are not to engage in the activities found in the land of Kena'an, where I am bringing you; nor are you to live by their laws. 4 You are to obey my rulings and laws and live accordingly; I am ADONAI your God. 5 You are to observe my laws and rulings; if a person does them, he will have life through them; I am ADONAI.

Had YHWH never said another thing except what you can read in the above scripture, that should have been enough! How much clearer could He have been? Again, paraphrased: "I am God; I am holy. I have brought you out of the bondage of paganism, so stop living by THEIR laws and start obeying mine which are HOLY and through which you will gain eternal life!"

Yeshua, the Son of YHWH Himself (who had a Divine Qnoma/Nature) lived a holy, righteous life according to His Father's commands. He never veered from Torah! So, why should we? Without His Torah, we would have no way of measuring sin, because as we are told in 1 John 3:4, sin is transgression of Torah!

Parashah 30 goes on to reveal YHWH's grace and mercy as He shows us HOW to be holy!  Please take some time to click on the links above to view our synopses; and also to read both of those parashahs in your Bible.  Many blessings on your studies!

Does Scripture condone transgenderism?

The phenomenon of transgenderism seems to be a common thing today. “Trans” is an umbrella term that encompasses various meanings including people whose gender “identity” is the opposite of their assigned sex at birth (which consists ONLY of male or female). Some refer to themselves as “genderqueer” or “non-binary” and a host of other terms.

In this short article, however, I am going to concentrate on those who desire medical assistance to transition from one sex to another and to ask the main question that immediately pops into the mind of a Believer in YHWH/Yeshua/Torah: Is it biblical?

Well, unfortunately, as with same-sex marriages, today, no one bats an eye when a friend or family member announces they want to have a sex change. As you all know, what used to be considered taboo is now considered “normal”. EVERYTHING today is considered “normal” - except, of course, living the holy life outlined and mandated in Scripture, because “that ol’ stuff is way outdated and strange. After all, this is 2019!”

Regardless of what “the world” believes, Scripture tells us that YHWH – THE Creator of the universe and everything in it – is NOT pleased with “modern thinking.” And, the bottom line, according to Scripture, altering our Creator-assigned sex is taboo!

Let’s check it out:

Deuteronomy 23:1 "He that is crushed or maimed in his privy parts shall not enter the assembly of the Lord." (JPS)

Taking it even further, the passage goes on to say, "A mamzer (bastard) may not enter the assembly of ADONAI, nor may his descendants down to the tenth generation enter the assembly of ADONAI."

As you can see, even if a person isn’t at fault for his/her particular situation, YHWH demands that only perfection enter into His Presence. (This is, after all, why Yeshua shed his holy, divine blood for us – to give us all a chance to become clean and perfect enough. To truly grasp that concept, one MUST read and study the entire Bible!)

In other words, anyone with altered sexual organs (no matter what the reason) is no longer worthy of entering into YHWH's Presence.

Why? Because YHWH, who made man from the dust of the earth, and woman from his rib (Genesis 2:21-25) created sex organs - male and female - for the purpose of procreation. When we alter the organs, they can no longer do what they were designed to do….

Now, here's the kicker: Genesis 1 says we are made in His Image (meaning HOLY; not necessarily referring to a "human image")

Genesis 1: 27 So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them: God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. (CJB)

When we surgically alter our genitals, we are, in essence, destroying HIS IMAGE, because we can no longer procreate naturally!

THAT seems to be the bottom line, and there is no way around it.

Now, does that mean someone who has changed their sex cannot enter into Eternity with YHWH?

That depends upon whether they had their sex changed before or after they became a Believer. Once the Holy Spirit has been “invited into your heart,” you become a changed person - someone who is to live a holy/set apart life and does ADONAI’s Will instead of their own.

Going against God’s Will – especially when going so far as to have one’s sex changed surgically – is deliberate SIN, for which there is no sin sacrifice:

Numbers 15: 30 "'But an individual who does something wrong intentionally, whether a citizen or a foreigner, is blaspheming ADONAI. That person will be cut off from his people. (CJB)

Hebrews 6: 4. But they who have once descended to immersion and have tasted the gift from heaven and have received the Ruach haKodesh 5. and have tasted the good Word of Elohim and the power of the world to come, 6. cannot again sin and a second time be renewed to repentance; or a second time execute him on a stake and insult the Son of Elohim. 7. For the earth that drinks the rain which comes often upon it and produces the herb that is of use to those for whom it is cultivated, receives a blessing from Elohim. 8. But if it should put forth thorns and briers, it would be discarded and be approaching closely to a curse, and its end would be a conflagration. (AENT)

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

Leviticus 26:23 If, in spite of all this, you refuse my correction and still go against me; then I too will go against you; and I, yes I, will strike you seven times over for your sins. (CJB)

1 Corinthians 6: 9. Or don't you know, that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of Elohim?* 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)

* 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. Yeshua 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 (Paul) gives a more specific list of what will keep them out.

1 Corinthians 6: 17. But he that joins himself to our Master (Y'shua), is with him one spirit. 18. Flee from sexual sin. For every (other) sin which a man commits, is external to his body; but he that commits sexual sin, sins against his own body. (AENT)

NOTE Sexual sin goes deeper than the body - because the Image of Elohim is both male and female (B'resheet/Gen. 1:27)... and when violating someone sexually, we are distorting that Image and basically spurning the One who created male and female according to His own Image! But the other point is also that a sexual sinner brings sin upon himself rather than his partner, and vice versa, unless rape or abuse is involved.

It is important to remember that it is not sin per se that causes a person who professes to be a believer to be eternally estranged from YHWH but, rather, it is our surrender to sin which causes our faith and faithfulness to dim or completely die out. We flirt with spiritual disaster if we - by our thoughts, words, and conduct - deny Messiah, reject grace, spurn redemption, and push away the Holy Spirit.

So, “the world” can do whatever it wishes, as it does not belong to YHWH. Unbelievers are doomed to simply “be no more.” (Romans 12:1-2; John 15:19 and 18:36; 1 John 2:15, etc.) But those who do belong to Him, MUST adhere to HIS Divine Instructions. Scripture amply reiterates this; there is no gray area.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

If Yeshua kept Torah how did he touch a leper? Or the dead?

Someone recently posed a great question.  He said:  "I was talking to a friend from church as he disagrees with Torah observation. He said if Yeshua kept Torah how did he touch a leper? Or the dead?"

OUR RESPONSE:

Yeshua could touch a leper because he was the Messiah and could heal anyone he chose to heal. We must remember not to confuse the rules of tum'a (uncleanness) with "violation" of Torah by Yeshua, and assuming that Torah must not have applied, since we seem to read f events in the New Testament which appear to violate Torah.

For example, anyone touching a corpse simply is made "unclean" for a time (usually till sunset). But a Levite Priest was forbidden to make himself unclean in this manner due to his role in leadership. But Yeshua was not a Levite Priest! He was of the tribe of Judah, not Levi!

In Luke 7, Yeshua did not make himself unclean when he revived a dead man. Yeshua touched the coffin, not the dead body and simply "spoke" the man alive (Luke 7:14).

In Matthew 8 when Yeshua healed the leper, it is just as likely that the leper was healed and made clean *before* Yeshua touched the man! For in Matthew 8:16 we read: "...they brought him many possessed and he cast out their demons 'by a Word', and all of those that were badly afflicted he healed them."

In other words, it is wrong of us to place our limited understanding of the rules of tum'a (uncleanness) and how those rules apply to us and expect them to apply to Yeshua. We can rightfully assume that Yeshua knew *exactly* what he could do or not do to remain within Torah! Indeed, that would have to be, or he could not have been the Messiah!

You see, we are filthy. When WE touch an uncleanness, we become unclean. But Yeshua, having the holy qnoma (soul) he had, could never become unclean. He had the power to remove the uncleanness from a person and not "take on" that uncleanness to himself.

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating birthdays…

For some reason, once people find their way to Torah, they fall under the erroneous impression that birthdays are “pagan”.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

Birthdays are simply a commemoration of the day YHWH chose to give us life. There is nothing wrong with celebrating that, and nowhere does Scripture prohibit the celebration of birthdays.

As a matter of fact, check this out:

Psalm 27:4 "One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life…”  The days you dwell with the LORD begin on your birthday.

Proverbs 9:11 "For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life" … Years are counted from the day of your birth!

Psalm 90:12 "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" … We number our days from the day of our birth.

We could go on, but surely, you get the gist:  There's nothing wrong with celebrating the anniversary of the day we were born, as long as we remember to use some common sense and not “go overboard” by going into debt, etc. 

The main thing to keep in mind is that it's not “about us” but all about YHWH.  He should be in the middle of EVERYTHING in our life - and if He isn't, then we need to do a 'reset' and get re-centered.

Monday, April 8, 2019

The weather’s getting warmer - please don’t leave your pets in hot cars!

While "mall-crawling" today (a warm and beautiful sunny day, for a change, baruch haShem YHWH!) I happened upon a barking dog trapped in a hot car.

While the windows were cracked, I could literally feel the hot air coming out of those cracks, and I felt sorry for the poor, long-haired Cocker Spaniel inside - and was once again left quite bewildered and angry and wondering why some pet owners are totally brainless....

Anyway, the dog was panting like crazy and clearly distraught - barking furiously, but apparently, not at me. He was simply barking in a tone that made me realize he was trying to solicit my help. It was kind of desperate barking, which actually increased as I walked away.

Feeling sorry for him, I returned to the vehicle, feeling helpless and not knowing what to do (as I knew from experience that 911 doesn't respond to calls about animals in distress, and will only give you the number for animal control - who may or may not bother to come)....

Now, don't get me wrong - if I had seen the dog pass out or laying there motionless, I probably would have broken a window to get in, but he still seemed to be okay at that point. Just very hot and distressed and unhappy.

Anyway, after a few agonizing minutes, I left the dog for the second time, and by the time I got to one of the mall entrances, his barking had actually become even more frantic, and so I decided I HAD to do something. I absolutely CANNOT stand to see an animal in distress!

So, I approached a mall cop about the situation and he followed me outside where he could see the car in the distance, and hear the dog's frantic barking - and, to my relief, he called his boss, and assured me they would figure out a way to help the dog.

And so I left to grab some lunch - but unable to get the poor trapped dog off my mind, I later went back outside to see if they really HAD done something about the situation. (I just don't trust people completely...)  To my delight, I discovered the dog and the car were gone.

Well, the same mall cop happened to see me as I re-entered, and he let me know that his boss had somehow managed to do something to find the dog's owner (I think he said they somehow found her via her license plate number), and that she had been given a stern talking to...

GOOD! I hope that woman was embarrassed to pieces! She deserved it!

In all honesty, I personally think people who leave their pets in hot cars for hours while they're shopping, should be sentenced by the police to two hours of being locked in a hot car, so they can see for themselves what it's like to overheat in 130-degree temps, feeling trapped and helpless and terrified!

In Genesis 1:26-30 we find that man is given dominion over the animal kingdom. YHWH created man in His image, and man's responsibilities were clearly outlined as He gave us the gift of dominion, which sets us apart from the animals. He never said we had a right to hurt or abuse animals!  Just like us, they are living souls, and we have a duty to take proper care of them.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

This is why we at The Refiner’s Fire are into Messianic Apologetics!




We never cease to be amazed over the arrogance of counter-missionaries (those who have rejected Yeshua as Messiah and are busy bashing him every chance they get)!

It’s mind-boggling that they have a total comprehension problem when it comes to Yeshua and the New Testament; yet, they blindly believe everything written in the Tanach!  We would truly love to have a Jesus-rejecter explain the following: How can you make a vile, ignorant, moronic and disgusting comment such as the one in this screen shot above, while at the same time believe that:
1. God created the entire universe and everything in it, including man whom He made from the dust of earth.
2. God flooded the earth, killing everybody except Noah and his family – who started mankind all over again.
3. God sent ten plagues who show Pharoah who was boss; and then he caused the sea to part, allowing only the Israelites to pass through, while basically wiping out all the Egyptians who followed in hot pursuit.
4. God supernaturally clothed and fed six million people wandering in the wilderness for 40 years – all while leading them via pillars of cloud and fire. How was THAT possible?
5. God saved from a fiery furnace thee men who went INTO the furnace (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and a fourth person “who looked like the son of man”)…
6. Elijah ran faster than a chariot and was fed by Ravens. How was that kosher?
7. Jonah spend the night in a whale’s stomach and lived.
Surely, you get the gist….

But, please don't patronize us by trying to suggest that you KNOW those things are true because "they were passed down to you by the Rabbis and sages!" Sorry, but that doesn't hold water! The Rabbis and sages were mere men who - like YOU - weren't personally present at Mt. Sinai, so ALL we really have is FAITH and hearsay!

Notice, I said FAITH? That's what believers in Yeshua have!

It is beyond sad, and extremely childish, evil and sickening for ANYONE to make comments such as the ones made by William Hall in this screen shot. This reveals that - unlike some Jewish Rabbis and scholars - this guy doesn’t even believe that Yeshua existed at all. (Even MUSLIMS believe that he did!)

SHAME on William Hall and all who participated in his sickening tirade to bash the One who shed his blood on our behalf. It is a kick in YHWH’s Face! And SHAME on all the Rabbis who allow themselves to be interviewed by someone as vile as he is! What he wrote truly shows how far he is willing to go to gain followers and get "likes"....

One last thing….

Unless William Hall is an expert on the analogy of crucifixions, he has NO RIGHT to suggest what Yeshua went through before he died, or how long it took him to die. I guess it's never occurred to Hall that perhaps ADONAI Himself spared His own SON from anymore agony than was necessary? Here is what the Aramaic says:

Matthew 27:46. And about the ninth hour, Y’shua cried out with a loud voice and said, My El! My El! [Lemana shabakthani] Why have you spared me?[1] 47. And some of those men who were standing there when they heard it were saying, “This man calls to Eliyahu.” 

48. And immediately, one of them ran and took a sponge and filled it with vinegar and put it on a reed, and was offering a drink to him.[2] 49. But the rest were saying, “Let him be. Let us see if Eliyahu comes to save him.” 

50. Then again Y’shua cried out with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. 51. And immediately, the curtains at the door of the temple were torn in two from the top to the bottom. And the earth was shaken and the rocks were split. 

52. And the tombs were opened and many bodies of the Set Apart believers[3] who were asleep arose, 53. And went out. And after his resurrection, they entered into the Set Apart city and were seen by many. (AENT)

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Y’shua was not necessarily quoting Psalm 22, although the imagery of the Psalm is certainly intended by Matthew. Greek is transliterated Eli, Eli lama sabacthani, but Peshitta and Psalm 22 read: Eli, Eli lama azbatani. Many Bibles read “forsaken” from which came a false teaching that the Father left Y’shua destitute (Marcionite thinking).

Isaiah 53:4 indicates that “we” reckoned him smitten of Elohim, but it is not YHWH who tortured His own son, but men motivated by religious tradition. Psalm 22 references those who scorned Y’shua for his Faith in YHWH and called him a worm (detested), but Father YHWH does not forsake the righteous, nor does He at any time “forsake” His own Son – see Psalm 9:9, 10; 37:25; 71:11; Isaiah 49:14-16. Y'shua says "Eli" (my El). He is in great physical pain after being brutally tortured; those around him were confused about whether he was saying "Eli-yah" or "Eliyahu".

If Hebrew eyewitnesses were not sure of what he was saying, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Greek transliteration was also wrong, putting "lama sabacthani" rather than "lemana shabakthani". Perhaps the reason Y’shua says "why are you sparing me" is because he has proven his commitment by laying down his life and has already endured about six hours of the execution!

So, it’s not a matter of being "forsaken" but that he literally means, "Father, I'm ready, why can’t we finish this?" In a matter of moments from saying this, he dies, which fully supports this interpretation.

[2] Psalm 69:21,22

[3] Being “Set Apart” unto YHWH, means to be led by the Ruach haKodesh to keep the Commandments of YHWH. Belief in itself does not make one Set Apart; even the demons “believe” in YHWH and His Mashiyach (Ya’akov [James] 2:19).

Why isn’t God healing me?

READER QUESTION TO OUR WEBSITE:

Why doesn’t God heal everybody who asks?  Why are babies born with defects or diseases and dying?  I’ve been a “good” person all my life, yet today I am suffering with many problems.  God promises, “Ask and ye shall receive” and Isaiah 53 says that we are healed by his stripes!  Well, I’ve been asking for years, but I’m not receiving healing.  Makes me wonder if he even exists!

OUR RESPONSE:

The short answer to your question is:  (1)  He heals whomever He chooses to heal (see Matthew 8); and (2)  unless one is on His Path, obeying His Torah, He doesn’t even hear their prayers (Proverbs 28:9).  See also 1 John 5:13-21.

The longer response:

Yes, Isaiah 53:5 tells us that “by his stripes we are healed.”  But this refers not to physical health; rather, to the state of our souls, as human beings cannot be the Presence of ADONAI unless their souls are cleansed from the inside-out.  Yeshua’s divine blood did that for us.  Believers will get to live with YHWH forever in Eternity, where there is no sickness nor death….

As for physical healing, it’s all up to Him.  While our bodies are certainly prone to sickness and disease, we must also ask ourselves whether WE caused our own problems.  For instance, did we take care of our temples, or did we abuse them with food, drugs or alcohol?   Were we monogamous, or did we “sleep around” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)?  Let’s be realistic:  If, after a lifetime of sinning and doing whatever we wanted, will He be willing to “suddenly heal us” overnight, just because we are now Believers?   Can the damage of a lifetime be reversed, simply because we ask?

We must remember that, although healing may not happen immediately upon asking, it is imperative to understand haShem’s “bigger perspective of our lives.” It could be that, rather than to heal us, He might choose to use the particular malady and struggles of a true and obedient Believer as an example of true faith and loyalty for others to see….

We are in a fallen world and bad things can happen to anybody. The key is how we react to both, the good and the bad times/situations. Do we immediately whine and cry and blame God whenever things are bad? Or do we act like mature believers who realize we are in a "fallen world" where "stuff happens" and that, no matter what, a better life awaits us in Eternity? Your reactions to life's situations will help YHWH separate the sheep from the goats on Judgment Day....

So, yes, bad things happen to us in this fallen world!  But, the truth is, there no easy answer as to why God allows "bad things to happen to good people!"  If nothing else, we MUST try to remember that YHWH does some of His best work in and through "broken vessels" - those who have suffered and grown stronger in their faith because of their suffering. We must learn to recognize that "bad times" are all part of our growing process. After all, where the sun always shines, there's a desert below....

So, keep the faith, and keep your eyes on the end goal, which is Eternity with our Creator.  In the end, nothing else really matters.

Double parashas this Shabbat! Parashas

Shabbat shalom, mishpocah/family/friends! As always, a synopsis of the week’s Torah portion can be found on our website. This week features a double parasha:

Parasha 27: Tazria (She conceives) Leviticus 12:1 through 13:59.

Parasha 28: M'tzora (Person afflicted with tzara'at) Leviticus 14:1 through 15:33:

These Torah portions may seem very strange to us, because they discuss undesirable subjects such as menstrual cycles, seminal and other bodily discharges, Leprosy and disease. Upon closer inspection, however, the discerning could easily recognize that the underlying message was obedience to YHWH's commands, totally reliance on Him, and the need to return to holiness once a crisis was over.

We must remember that, back then, YHWH's people were living in tents in the desert, subjected to all kinds of dirt, germs and disease. There were no doctors or medicines, and the people had no choice but to rely on HIM for their every need.

For more, please click on the links above to read our synopses – and don’t forget to read the entire parashas yourself.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Responding to the counter-missionaries’ (supposedly) “unanswerable” question: Is John the Baptist Elijah?

The initial response, of course is:  NO!

I once had a long email dialogue with Rabbi (Dr.) Akiva Gamliel Belk, dean of Jewish Studies at the B'nai Noach Torah Institute, who surreptitiously (without first seeking my permission to include my full name and email address) used our private emails as a teaching tool for his yeshiva students, with the intention of showing them the supposedly “inadequate and insignificant ways a missionary responds” to Jewish counter-missionary challenges.

Fortunately for me, one of his students informed me of his antics, and that is when my eyes first began to be opened to the deceitful tactics and gymnastics many counter-missionaries tend to employ.

Granted, back in 2006 although I was no novice to YHWH/Yeshua/Torah, I still had a lot to learn. Still, my responses at the time weren’t too shabby, because ADONAI had given me the gift of knowledge and discernment.  He has caused me to grow exponentially since then, and so I would like to take this opportunity to re-visit the question of whether “John the Baptist is Elijah.”

Below is Rabbi Belk’s challenge concerning John 1:19-23 and Matthew 17:10–13.

“John said, ‘I am not {Elijah the Prophet}.’ John also said for the record that he was not even a prophet. He was just a voice crying in the wilderness... Jesus said, Elias {Elijah the Prophet} is come already. Jesus' disciples understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist.

“Are you aware of the fact that most Christian theologians date the writings of Matthew between 50 C.E. and 70 C.E. and the writings of John after 85 C.E. Why do you think John contradicted what is written in Matthew? Was it because John was the only member and witness to what actually happened said exactly what he remembered? How do you explain this?”

Here is how I would respond to Rabbi Belk today:

The problem is, people tend to misinterpret what Yeshua said about Elijah having already come. Yeshua is saying that Elijah and all the prophets before John (and including John), were the "spokesmen of God" and that the "spirit of prophecy" is Yeshua, and that they had killed and rejected all of the previous prophets, foretelling of the coming of the Messiah as the Lamb of God, and the Pharisees had rejected them all.

Yochanan the Immerser knew that the first coming of Messiah would be as the Lamb of God, but that there would be an end of days where Elijah would return again right before the “Day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5-6). Counter-missionaries continue to misinterpret the two comings of Messiah in Scripture.

Both are preceded by the "spirit of prophecy" represented by Elijah. The rabbis were looking for the coming of Messiah as the King who would judge the world and destroy Israel's enemies, but this doesn't happen until Yeshua returns the second time, so they errantly misinterpret the pertinent passages because they are viewing them "out of context."

Let’s dig a little deeper.  (On second thought, let’s dig a LOT deeper!)

In Matthew 11:7–14 we see the following:

Matthew 11:7. And when they left, Y’shua started to speak to the crowds concerning Yochanan, What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A reed that was shaken by the wind? 8. And if not, what did you go out to see? A man that was wearing soft robes? Behold, those that are wearing soft things are among kings. 9. And if not, what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes! I say to you, and more than a prophet.

10. For this is about whom it is written that “Behold I send my Messenger before your face that he might establish the way before you.”[1] 11. Truly I say to you that not before has anyone born of a woman been greater than Yochanan the Immerser, but even the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. 12. From the days of Yochanan the Immerser until now, the Kingdom has suffered violence, and the violent are robbing it[2]. 13. For all the prophets and Torah have prophesied until[3] Yochanan. 14. And if you desire, accept that this is Eliyahu who was to come.[4] (AENT)

[1] Malachi 3:1. (See further explanation beneath the footnotes.)

[2] “The violent are robbing it,” simply means that people are making up and promoting counterfeit “kingdoms.”

[3] Neither Torah nor the Prophets have ceased prophesying, therefore “until” here simply refers until this time, not to the end of the prophetic time clock. Shem Tob reads לא “concerning” rather than אמדע “until”, as the Aramaic text does here. The fulfillment of Y’shua’s first coming as Mashiyach ben Yoseph has far fewer verses allotted than Y’shua’s second coming as Mashiyach ben David.

Now, returning to Yeshua’s reference to Malachi 3:

In Matthew 11:10, above, we see Yeshua quoting from Malachi 3:1, where the messenger seems to be a prophetic figure who is going to appear. We find in Malachi 4:5, that this messenger is “the prophet Elijah,” identified by Yeshua as Yochanan the Baptizer. This does NOT mean that Jochanan was Elijah reincarnated!

Neither Yeshua’s original hearers (nor Matthew’s original readers) would have assumed that Yeshua’s words referred to reincarnation. Furthermore, Elijah did not die; he was taken to heaven in a whirlwind as he rode in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11). So, arguing for a reincarnation (or a resurrection) of Elijah totally misses the point because the prophecy of the Elijah who is “to come” would have been viewed as Elijah’s physical return to earth from heaven.

Scripture is quite clear that Yochanan is called “Elijah” because he came in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17), NOT because he was Elijah in a literal sense!  Yochanan is the forerunner of the Brit Chadashah who points the way to the arrival of Yeshua, just as Elijah filled that role in the Tanach (and might again in the future—see Revelation 11).

Elijah himself appears with Moshe at Yeshua’s transfiguration after the death of Yochanan – something that would not have happened if Elijah had changed his identity into that of Yochanan(Matthew 17:11–12).

Mark 6:14–16 and 8:28 show that both the people and Herod distinguished between Yochanan and Elijah.

Proof that Yochanan was not Elijah “resurrected” or “reincarnated” comes from John himself. In the first chapter of John, Yochanan identifies himself as the messenger of Isaiah 40:3, NOT as the Elijah of Malachi 3:1. Yochanan even specifically DENIED that he was Elijah (John 1:19–23).

Yochanan did for Yeshua what Elijah was to have done for the coming of Mashiyach Yeshua, but he was NOT Elijah reincarnated. Yeshua identified Yochanan as Elijah, while Yochanan rejected that identification.

How can we reconcile these two seemingly differing teachings? Well, there is a key phrase in Yeshua’s identification of Yochanan that must not be overlooked. “If you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah.” In other words, Yochanan’s identification as Elijah was not predicated upon his being the actual Elijah, but upon people’s response to his role! To those who were willing to believe in Yeshua, Yochanan functioned as Elijah, for they believed in Yeshua as YHWH’s Divine Messiah. To the religious leaders who rejected Yeshua, Yochanan did not perform this function….

Let’s dig even deeper, starting with John 1 with footnotes from the Aramaic English New Testament:

John 1:14. And the Miltha[1] 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. 15. Yochanan witnessed concerning him and cried out and said, “This is he whom I said would come after me, and yet be before me because he was earlier than me.”

FOOTNOTES:

[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, 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.

[2] Isaiah 42:8; 48:11

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

John 1:16. And from his fullness we all have received grace on account of grace; 17. Because Torah was given through Moshe, but truth[4] and grace[5] through Y’shua who is the Mashiyach[6]. 18. Man has not ever seen Elohim. The Only Begotten of Elohim, he who is in the bosom of his Father, he has declared Him. 19. And this is the witness of Yochanan when the Yehudeans from Urishlim sent priests and Levites to inquire of him, “Who are you?” 20. And he confessed and did not deny and did not declare, “I am the Mashiyach.”

FOOTNOTES:

[4] Shemot/Ex. 34:5, 6; D’varim/Deut. 32:4; Psalm 25:10; 31:5; 119:142, 151; 146:5, 6; Isaiah 65:16; Jer. 4:1, 2; John 17:17.

[5] Genesis 6:8; Shemot/Ex. 33:12-17; Psalm 84:11; Jeremiah 31:1-3; see footnote 1 Peter 5:10.

[6] The Torah of Moshe is the Word of YHWH, but grace and truth revealed in Y’shua are the impelling forces that uphold all righteousness and keep the Word of YHWH (Torah) positioned in our hearts; these are complimentary, not opposites. It is according to the Grace of the Father YHWH that Mashiyach is revealed in a person’s heart; see John 17:9, 10.

John 1:21. And they asked him again, “Who therefore? Are you Eliyahu?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he said, “No!” 22. And they said to him, “And then, who are you that we might give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say concerning yourself?” 23. He said: “I am the voice of the crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of Master YHWH.’ As Yesha’yahu the prophet had said.” [7] 24. And those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25. And they inquired of him and said to him, “Why therefore do you immerse? You are not the Mashiyach nor Eliyahu nor the Prophet.

FOOTNOTE:

[7] Isaiah 40:3

26. Yochanan answered and said to them, “I immerse with water among you, but he stands, him who you do not know. 27. This is he who will come after me, yet is before me. I am not worthy to loosen the straps of his sandals.” 28. These things occurred in Beth-Anya at the crossing of the Yordanan where Yochanan was immersing.

John 1:29. And on the day that followed, Yochanan saw Y’shua who was coming towards him, and said, “Behold the Lamb[8] of Elohim, He who takes away the sins of the world. 30. This is he whom I spoke concerning that, ‘After me will come a man, yet he was before me because he is earlier than me.’ 31. And I did not know him except that he be made known first to Yisrael. Because of this, I have come that I might immerse with water 32. And bear witness.”

FOOTNOTE:

[8] This “Lamb” harkens back to the Akeida (binding of Isaac) when Isaac showed his willful obedience to lay down his life at the command of his father Avraham. Avraham and Isaac did not know then that YHWH would provide the ram caught in the thicket. Yitzak (Isaac) the son of Avraham and Sarah foreshadows Mashiyach ben Yoseph (the Son of YHWH via Yoseph and Miriam).

YHWH provided Himself a “seh” lamb for the Perfect and complete sacrifice, not as the “ayil” (ram) caught in the thicket, but through the Lamb of YHWH, His only “begotten” Son Y’shua. that was in the place of Yitzhak’s, as seen in the sin sacrifices in the temple system, “A life for a life.”

And now Matthew:

Matthew 17:9. And while they were descending from the mountain, Y’shua commanded them and said to them, Do not speak about this vision in the presence of anyone until the Son of man arises from the dead.[9] 10. And his disciples asked him and said, “Why then do the scribes say that Eliyahu must come first?” 11. Y’shua answered and said, Eliyahu will come first, so that all things might be fulfilled. 12. But I say to you that behold Eliyahu has come, and they did not know him. And they did to him all that they desired. Likewise also the Son of man must suffer from them. 13. Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them about Yochanan the Immerser. (AENT)

[9] Psalms 16:10-11; Job 33:30.

Let’s do this again, from another angle, to give the counter-missionaries a truly THOROUGH response to their challenge on whether or not John the Baptist was Elijah.

The bottom line is, to answer the question in the affirmative, we would have to believe in reincarnation since John had a normal type of birth. For Elijah to be John he would either have to be reincarnated into Elizabeth's womb, or he would have had to appear on the scene as an adult. Therefore, the statement that John is Elijah needs to have another explanation that I believe is stated by Gabriel when he speaks to John's father Zechariah.

So now our question is, in what sense is John the Baptist to be identified with or as Elijah"?

The angel Gabriel announced to Zechariah, John's father, that his son's name would be called 'John' in Luke 1:13. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.”

He goes on to say in verse 15 that he will be great in the sight of the Lord and "shall drink no wine or strong drink and will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb.'  Verse 17 says that, "he will also go before Him (referring to the Lord Himself) in the spirit and power of Elijah, which is a ministry of reconciliation, the hearts of the fathers turned to the children and children turning to their fathers."

Notice that the angel identified John and his future ministry among the people as "in the spirit and power of Elijah!"

In Matthew 11:13, Yeshua states: 'For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John." (Yeshua calls him "John" not 'Elijah", who is included as part of all the prophets.) In verse 14, Yeshua says "and if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come." Yeshua pointed to John the Baptist as the fulfillment of Elijah's coming but he was not a reincarnation. This is proven in John 1:20 when the Jews sent out the priests and Levites to investigate John's ministry. They ask him if he is the Messiah. He states emphatically 'No !' They ask him again if he is Elijah and John answers "I am not."

This was not a temporary memory loss for John that Yeshua had to correct later! In verse 25, John the Baptist is asked ‘Why do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the prophet?’ In verses 25-27 John points to the Messiah who is coming after him. He states that it is he who is the forerunner of Malachi 3:1.

In Luke 1:76, we see that John's father, Zechariah, is filled with the Holy Spirit and says that his child will be called the prophet of the highest and will "go before the face of the Lord and prepare His ways again." "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS;"

This relates John's ministry to Malachi 3, and Luke 1:17. John labored in the spirit and power of the former prophet by calling people to repentance and preparing them for the salvation that Messiah would bring.

Let's now sum up. It's obvious that when Yeshua spoke in Matt. 11:13-14 concerning John being "Elijah who is to come" He was not speaking in a solid, literal sense. Yeshua was metaphorically comparing two different things that also shared some similarities and functions. The Jewish scriptures always taught resurrection, not reincarnation.

Each person is given one body to live in and will be reunited with that same body in the resurrection. When one takes the whole body of scripture instead of isolating verses, we find the consistent teaching that refutes any concept of Elijah becoming John the Baptist and then becoming Elijah again.

In John 1:19-23, John the Baptist is representing himself exactly as such, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: make straight the way of the Lord." (Isaiah 40:3) The Pharisees were astounded when John the Baptist came on the scene because they were sadly aware that the Voice of God through the prophets had been taken away over the last 400 years. Look at Amos 8:11-12 "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God, that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it."

Why did God send a famine of His Word upon the land? One would think that any Torah Teacher would surely know his own books in the Tanach, but this is obviously not the case with these modern day Pharisees, as it was in the days of Yeshua. God revised His covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah because of their great apostasy and rebellion against God, because they had broken their covenant with God, and this is what Amos 8:11-12 speaks to.

You never see these so called Torah teachers of today acknowledge these things, because it would mean they would have to repent, which in turn means they would have to confess their depravity and the need for a Savior to be an atoning sacrifice in their place (the Lamb of God), because they can never reach God on their on merit. This is the essence of the Gospel and this is precisely what the Pharisees of old and of today refuse to accept!

This is what John the Baptist was trying to get them to do: REPENT! Look at Matthew 3:7-11: "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducess coming to his baptism, he said to them, Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worth of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, we have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

John was trying to get the religious leaders to repent, but the voice of prophecy that spoke through him knew they wouldn't repent, this is why John called them a "brood of vipers", the same language Yeshua would use against them later (Matthew 12:34).

So where did that leave mankind?  One could say mankind was "up the creek without a paddle." The Pharisees of Yeshua's day could not even recognize their own poverty of spirit, that they had reject the Voice of God!  His prophets done so, so many times that He took His Voice away.

What was the cause of the Diaspora in the 7th Century B.C? Ten of the 12 Tribes would be totally carried off and swallowed up into the gentile nations. Look at the Babylonian captivity of Judah. However, God would preserve a faithful remnant to himself.

ADONAI did something that totally blew the mind of all creation; He would restore His Covenant with His people through His own Son, Yeshua!  Mankind had blown it, so God had to provide the sacrificial Lamb as He had foreshadowed with Abraham being tested by God to offer his son as a sacrifice to God.

In Matthew 17:11-12, "Jesus answered them and said to them, Indeed Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands."

Yeshua is speaking of two comings of Elijah!  The first would precede the coming of the suffering Messiah (Isaiah 58 and Psalm 22), and the second would precede the righteous judge who would judge the world and set up His Kingdom with power (Zechariah 14).

In Matthew 17, verse 11, Yeshua speaks of Elijah coming in the future tense, who correlates to Malachi 4:5-6. Then in verse 12, He speaks of Elijah having come already, in reference to John the Baptist, but Yeshua is speaking in regard to the "voice of prophecy."

Yeshua is trying to point out in verse 12, that the Prophet Elijah, the "voice of prophecy" already came, and it culminated in final fulfillment with John the Baptist, who the religious leaders rejected as they had all of God's previous prophets, who foretold the coming of the "suffering Messiah".

In John 1:21, John simply records the response of John the Baptist to the Pharisees: "And they asked him, what then? Are you Elijah? He said, I am not. Are you the Prophet? And he answered, no."

The Pharisees were asking John the Baptist if he was the Elijah of Malachi 4:5-6, and John the Baptist correctly answered them and stated that he was not. Then in verse 22, the Pharisees probed further: "Then they said to him, who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" He answers them in verse 23 with, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said."

John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt (the belt just as Elijah is described in 2 Kings 1:8). John the Baptist had been given Elijah's mantel just as Elijah had given it to Elisha, and so it was passed down to the Lord's last prophet prior to the coming of the suffering Messiah. John the Baptist represented the culmination of the first coming of Elijah.

Furthermore, the religious leaders of Yeshua’s time were looking for the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1 "Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts."; and Malachi 4:5-6 as speaking to the same Elijah, but in fact Malachi 3:1 speaks to all of the prophets up until Yeshua, and Malachi 4:5-6 speaks of the "spirit of prophecy" up until Elijah returns in bodily form prior to the great and terrible day of the Lord following the Abomination that causes Desolation spoken of in Daniel and Revelation….

The Pharisees miss the distinction between the two comings of Elijah, just as they missed the distinction between the "suffering Messiah", and the "judging Messiah". So the Pharisees misinterpret this and claim that the writings of John contradict Matthew. This is nonsense.

So if the modern day Pharisees refuse to acknowledge the prophecy already given to them in Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, and others, about the "suffering Messiah" who makes atonement for mankind's sin, then they will never correctly interpret the above passages.

If they acknowledged the "suffering Messiah", then they would look at the rest of John 1, where John the Baptist calls Yeshua "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29; or that he saw "the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him." John 1:32, or that Yeshua is "He who will baptizes with the Holy Spirit." John 1:33.

And they therefore are blinded to the connection to Joel 2:28 "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days."