Friday, November 29, 2019
“What?” he said, gawking at me as if I had two heads. “… Is that like FOOD or something?”
“No,” I replied, “it’s a type of throat lozenge, designed to help prevent colds.”
“It’s a type of cough drop,” I finally said when I realized he had absolutely no idea what a “lozenge” was.
“Oh … well, I guess you could find that in the candy aisle,” he told me (which, of course, would not be true, but I was new to this huge mega-center, and had absolutely no idea where anything was).
Fortunately, another stock-boy standing nearby chimed in to point me in the right direction.
Shortly thereafter, in the tea and coffee aisle, I noticed two young men who appeared to be in their mid-twenties goofing around with a shopping cart. Their basket was loaded to the max, and one of the men (the guy who was pushing the cart) was trying to keep a rolled-up comforter perched on top of the load, from falling off, by sprawling the top half of his body across the comforter, while continuing to push the cart.
Well, his protruding rear end obviously had some kind of aphrodisiac effect on his friend, who brazenly walked up behind the sprawler (just a few feet in front of me) to push himself up against his him (laughing and saying something in a foreign language), and then began to gently and lovingly slap that rear end, while the sprawler giggled, stuck out his rear even further, and then playfully proceeded to run down the aisle with the shopping cart - with his friend in hot pursuit, continuing to slap him on the rear….
Why am I relating this story? I don't know. I guess, for no other reason than to simply get it off my chest - because every day, I am led to understand more and more what it means to be “not of this world.”
1 Peter 2: 11. My beloved, I entreat you as strangers and pilgrims, separate yourselves from all lusts of the body, for they war against the soul. 12. And let your behavior be honorable before all men; so that they who utter evil speeches against you, may see your good actions and may praise Elohim in the day of trial. (AENT)
1 John 2: 15. Love not the world nor anything in it; for whoever loves the world has not the love of the Father in him. 16. For all that is in the world is the lust of the body and the lust of the eyes and the pride of the world, which are not from the Father but from the world[*] itself. 17. And the world is passing away, (both) it and the lust thereof; but he that does the pleasure of Elohim abides for ever. (AENT)
*NOTE: “The world” refers to pagan, Torahless, humanistic, evolutionary, relativistic, materialistic, sensual, unrighteous lifestyles that haSatan used to seduce mankind away from YHWH. This certainly does not refer to the earth which YHWH made according to His good pleasure.
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Well, a supposed believer in our Torah-obedient/Messianic faith posted this meme on his FaceBook wall. I dared comment about the meme on his FaceBook page that it was lashon hara (gossip) and that, by posting it, he was complicit – something that is not appropriate for a believer!
What happened next?
We, at The Refiner’s Fire were summarily bashed mercilessly by this supposed godly man! Apparently, he was apparently so incensed at being told he was wrong, all he could do was turn his anger and very expressive vitriol on us … vitriol that included concocting outright LIES about us! Those lies apparently brought him a lot of attention and spawned much discussion by others who “jumped on his lashon hara band-wagon”….
Let’s discuss this meme further, and then you can judge for yourself
The meme is clearly lashon hara, because it not only states an obvious falsehood about the Washington Redskins, but it uses the falsehood to imply (and this is important) without firsthand knowledge, that Col Vindman is “dirty.” Expressing “gossip” or “hearsay” is lashon hara. Lashon hara is found in Leviticus 19:16; Psalm 34:14 - and is spoken against many times in Proverbs. Therefore, this meme is undeniably lashon hara.
Rather than accepting the rebuke and deleting the meme, this man proceeded to bash and harangue not just me, but both my wife as well on his multiple Facebook profile pages – all of which he uses to his advantage (pretending to be his “friend” who, naturally, supports everything he espouses.)
Was I right or wrong?
That’s actually irrelevant, in the grand scheme of things, because Scripture commands that brethren get along, and to reconcile disputes via the Matthew 18 method – which I employed by telling him directly that, according to Torah, he was committing a sin by perpetuating several things of which he had no first-hand knowledge.
Instead of trying to understand WHY I felt his meme was mere gossip, he proceeded to defend his stance by posting videos and articles by people making the allegation that Vindman had “lied”…. In other words, he failed to comprehend that my objection was to his own lashon hara, not about any of the proceedings in Congress….
We of the faith are told to correct our brothers when they stray:
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.” Leviticus 19:17
“Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” Proverbs 10:17
“Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.” Psalm 141:5
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love” Proverbs 27:5
There are many, many other verses, but this one was especially applicable:
“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Titus 3:10-11.
This guy…we had dealt with before, and so, we had warned him twice. Then we blocked him and washed our hands of him. Apparently, our blocking him was the trigger of his blind rage that went on for days – and the things he wrote are simply stunning … things that no TRUE man of God would ever say.
Thus, the purpose of this post: Teach the whole Bible? Prepare to be Bashed! It goes with the territory.
"If you keep any part of Torah, you have to keep all of it!" Not true! Matter of fact, that is totally bogus!
We've all heard people try to tell us that lie. Truth is, this statement is partially correct, in that people who belong to YHWH/Yeshua are obligated to obey His Torah (Exodus 12:49, Numbers 15:13-16, Isaiah 56:6, and Romans 10:12-13).
Whenever the statement above is made, the person saying it is MISQUOTING Paul while trying to tell us "...it's not possible to keep all of Torah; and therefore, we shouldn’t bother keeping any of it."
Well, first of all, YHWH never said "I give you these rules and you must keep all of them!" No, He said: "A curse on anyone who does not confirm the words of this Torah by putting them into practice." (Deut. 27:26)
We ARE to put Torah into practice in our daily lives! We must use also some common sense to discern what parts of Torah apply to us.
You see, of those original 613 (which were numbered by men), MOST were only for Levite Priests, some were for men only, some for women only, and some apply to everyone. "Keep the Sabbath", for example, applies to everyone.
See where this is going?
We could prevent these misunderstandings simply by digging into the Bible, diligently studying Scripture and learning to compare “Old Testament” with “New Testament” passages to figure out what certain passages mean. Why bother with the “OT” passages? Because everything in the “NT” points back to the OT where the actual passages all originated!
I promise you, Paul would be much less misunderstood and misinterpreted and accused of teaching against Torah - IF we actually did our homework, and identified which Old Testament scriptures he was talking about!
Galatians 3:10. For those who are servants of Torah are still under a curse, for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not act on all that is written in this book of Torah." 11. But that no man is made righteous by Torah before Elohim is evident, for it is written, "the righteous will live by faith". (AENT)
Where is this from? Paul is quoting Habakkuk 2:4 which says: "Look at the proud: he is inwardly not upright; but the righteous will attain life through trusting faithfulness." (CJB).
You see, Paul understood that Torah is good and just, but he also knew the Jewish leaders of his day (the Pharisees) were "requiring" obedience to Torah by their interpretation of Torah.
So, Paul is simply pointing out that one is not made righteous by their practice of Torah; rather, he says it clearly that "the righteous will live by faith". That, is, you have faith in the gift that you will live IF you obey YHWH.
No one "earns" their righteousness by "doing" Torah. Look at Deuteronomy 4:1, 5:33, 6:2, 8:1 for examples which all say "...take care to obey Torah so you will live". Obeying Torah is NOT therefore for "credit"; obeying Torah is the way YHWH asks His people to live! So you obey because you want to, and you want to live, and you desire things go well with you.
Let’s move on to verse 12: "Thus Torah is not made by faith, but whosoever will do the things that are written in it, will live in it."
Here Paul is quoting Leviticus 18:5 which says: "You are to observe my laws and rulings; if a person does them, he will have life through them; I am ADONAI." (CJB).
Something that YHWH said can't be "bad" for us, so obeying His laws and rulings is decidedly a good thing. In the verses following Galatians 3:12, Paul explains that Torah came about after the promise to Avraham because YHWH's people kept failing away from Him to go off and live unholy and unrighteous lives of the pagan nations.
In this way Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, compared Torah to the "false tutors" of his day - the Pharisees - who were demanding that the Gentile converts obey the oral traditions over Torah. Paul tried to explain that with the Messiah, all have life through faith, not just the Jews, and that only the righteous rulings of YHWH (Torah - the "true tutor") apply to ALL who choose the God of Avraham as their God, and not the "false teachings of the Pharisees". (See Galatians 1:7-10).
When Paul says "For those who are servants of Torah are still under a curse" he is referencing Deuteronomy, and in Deuteronomy 27 YHWH tells the people that they are to "... listen to what ADONAI your God says and obey his mitzvot and laws, which I am giving you today" (27:10, CJB).
Then YHWH goes on to list some example of how people are cursed if they don't obey! (See 27:15-25). If you keep reading into Deuteronomy 28, YHWH transitions to the blessings one will receive if they obey His Torah - see Deuteronomy 28:1-14! And, if that was not strong enough, Deuteronomy 28 continues after verse 14 with more curses if people don't obey!
So, you see, Torah is GOOD, and PEOPLE (not the Torah itself) are cursed IF they refuse to obey His commands for holy, righteous, set-apart living….
The key is always in the CONTEXT!
Monday, November 25, 2019
There seems to be an epidemic of God's people participating in vicious gossip. In Hebrew it's called lashon hara, which means "evil tongue."
What constitutes lashon hara? Lashon hara consists of the spreading of derogatory messages of any kind about another person; deliberately spreading falsehoods (or even things that may be true) in order to hurt someone's reputation without employing any attempts to first correct or improve a negative situation.
Exposing PUBLIC posts and the names of those who are speaking evil of some kind, or who are making disparaging comments about YHWH/Yeshua/Torah, or anything else visible in a “public venue” is NOT lashon hara. It only becomes lashon hara when we begin to attack that person’s character and make baseless accusations about them that we cannot back up with facts.
What is disturbing is that so many Believers are choosing to engage in this sinful activity! Facebook, for instance, hosts thousands who love to post Bible verses and come across as "holy/set apart" ambassadors for YHWH; while at the same time, they engage in the spreading of vicious gossip about another person, leader or organization.
It isn't "bad" to have an opinion about an organization, the government or a particular person or leader; what's "bad" is when something that person or leader may (or may not) have done is being used against him/her and ultimately "twisted into a lie" in hopes of making others believe the lie and come to hate that person BECAUSE YOU HAVE CAUSED them to believe the lie … the slander or libel (written slander).
Matthew 12:34 "Generation of vipers! How are you able to speak good things, you who are evil? For the mouth speaks from the fullness of the heart. 35. A good man brings forth good from his good treasures, and the evil man brings evil from his evil treasure. 36. I say to you for every vain word that the sons of men speak, they will give an account of it in the day of judgment. 37. For by your words you will be made righteous, and by your words you will be condemned." (AENT, See also Deut. 32:21)
There is no scripture commanding us to slander others with vicious gossip. We are to confront friends or acquaintances with whom we have a grievance and, if ultimately, they refuse to heed or reconcile, ignore them and put them out of our life, for they do NOT belong to Yahweh; they are working for the enemy..
(This does not necessarily apply to some stranger on Facebook who begins to harass you. If you ask them to stop and they don't, there's always the "block" button. You owe them nothing!)..
Matthew 18: 16. And if he does not listen to you, take with you one or two others, because of the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word is established. 17. And if he will also not listen to them, tell the congregation. And if he will also not listen to the congregation, let him be to you like a tax collector and like a heathen.
TO REITERATE: Whenever we see a brother/sister who is “off YHWH’s Path,” we are to "rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith" (Leviticus 19:17, Titus 1:13, 1 Timothy 5:20); we are to "warn a divisive person once, then a second time, and after that, have nothing more to do with him" (Titus 3:10); we are to "beware of" and "stand distant from" those who refuse to follow YHWH's commands (Romans 16:17-18) and we are to do the following:
2 Timothy 2:15 Do all you can to present yourself to Elohim as someone worthy of his approval, as a worker with no need to be ashamed, because he deals straightforwardly with the Word of the Truth. 16 But keep away from godless babbling, for those who engage in it will only become more ungodly, 17 and their teaching will eat away at people like gangrene. (CJB)
We are to turn godless people over to God; not become their judge and jury. Certainly, we can approach them with HIS Truth; but if they refuse, let them go and leave them alone. HE will deal with them in HIS timing! (See Matthew 12:36, 2 Peter 3:10-13, Romans 2:16, etc.) PRAY for them in hopes they will someday see YHWH's Truth; don't malign them; that's not your job!
People who deliberately commit gossip and run others down are NOT on God's Path; they are hypocrites, espousing God out of one side of their mouths while spewing evil out of the other. They get some kind of perverted joy out of putting others down:
Matthew 15:8 "This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is very far from me." 9. And they revere me in vain, while they teach the doctrines of the commandments of the sons of men. (AENT)
Romans 1:28 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)
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (AENT)
Ephesians 5:4 Neither obscenities nor words of foolishness, or of division, or of falsehood, which are not useful; but instead of these, thanksgiving. (AENT)
James 1:26 And if anyone thinks that he worships Elohim and does not subdue his tongue, but his heart deceives him; his worship is desolate. (AENT)
Titus 1:16 And they profess that they know Elohim, but in their works they deny him; and they are odious and disobedient and to every good work reprobates. (AENT)
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Truth is, there are NO commandments in the NT; rather, merely repetitions of the commandments found in the OT - specifically Torah (the first five Books of the Bible that contain the actual "thus saith the Lord" quotes.
In actuality, when someone attempts to tabulate those "1050" commandments, they find that there are many duplicates, reducing the number to no more than approximately 800. In all actuality, looking at the individual "commandments", one finds that they are not "commandments" at all, rather, they are just comments or statements.
(Example: Philippians 2:2 "Be one of accord". Hardly a commandment! It's simply a statement by Paul on the expected behavior of the believers. And, honestly, Paul had no authority to make any "commandments" anyway!)
Depending on the scholar, there are anywhere between 695 and 4100 separate quotations from the books of the Old Testament found in the New Testament. This makes absolute sense, because at the time of the NT writers, only the Tanakh (the OT) existed!
Unfortunately, the Christian community teaches that the "OT" (referring to the "Books of Moses"), are "obsolete"; yet the 5 "books of Moses" are directly quoted at least 245 times in the NT and referred to many more times than that! In fact, Paul quoted from the 5 books of Moses more than any other NT author!
This is why we, at The Refiner's Fire, spend so much time trying to reach people in a desperate attempt to show them why being "NT-only advocates" is a grave mistake; one that keeps you from knowing YHWH, HIS Word, and His Divine Messiah.
Truth is, without the OT, the NT has absolutely no meaning, whatsoever..
Folks, we live in precarious times where belief in YHWH/Yeshua/Torah is considered "weird" or a "bad thing." Take a look at what we believers will have to contend with one day:
Revelation 20:4. And I saw thrones, and (persons) sat on them, and judgment was given to them, and to the souls that were beheaded for the testimony of Y'shua and for the Word of Elohim: and these are they who had not worshiped the beast of prey nor its image; neither had they received the mark upon their forehead or on their hand; and they lived and reigned with their Mashiyach those thousand years. (AENT)
Notice the words, "the souls that were beheaded for the testimony of Y'shua AND for the Word of Elohim?"
What is the Word of Elohim? Torah! Those first five Books of the Bible that contain all of YHWH's Divine Instructions to HIS people. (Who are HIS people? ALL those who accept the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and His Divine Messiah! He has no "gray area." Scripture, read in context, reveals that you're either His, or not. Please think about that, because there will be no "lukewarm" or "fence-straddlers" in Eternity. See Rev. 3:16.)
The good news is that Scripture ALSO tells us that those who "endure to the end will be saved!"
Matthew 24:6 You will hear the noise of wars nearby and the news of wars far off; see to it that you don’t become frightened. Such things must happen, but the end is yet to come. 7 For peoples will fight each other, nations will fight each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various parts of the world; 8 all this is but the beginning of the ‘birth-pains.’
9 At that time you will be arrested and handed over to be punished and put to death, and all peoples will hate you because of me. 10 At that time many will be trapped into betraying and hating each other, 11 many false prophets will appear and fool many people; 12 and many people’s love will grow cold because of increased distance from Torah.
13 But whoever holds out till the end will be delivered. 14 And this Good News about the Kingdom will be announced throughout the whole world as a witness to all the Goyim. It is then that the end will come.. (CJB)
I've personally been witnessing the love of many "growing cold" for various reasons. Things are NOT going to get any better. We have been steadily seeing increases in wars and "rumors of wars" (terrorism), along with an increase in fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunamies, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters and devastation of all kinds around the world. We have also been seeing an increase of "man's inhumanity toward man" on every level; along with many other things that leave us "shaking our heads in disbelief."
The only thing we can do is to pray and cling to HIS Word because ultimately, we are all destined for death, at some point - and our choices and behavior here on earth WILL be judged in a place where "tolerance" has never existed (1 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 20:11-15)....
Jude 1: 11. Woe to them; for they have gone in the way of Cain; and after the error of Balaam, they have lusted for gain; and in the rebellion of Korah, they have perished. 12. These are they who, in their feastings, riot while polluting themselves, feeding themselves without fear; clouds without rain, moved about by the winds; trees whose fruit has failed, and they are without fruit, twice dead, and uplifted from their root; 13. raging waves of the sea which, by their foam, manifest their confusion; shooting stars for which is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
14. And of them also prophesied Enoch who was the seventh from Adam when he said: Behold, Master YHWH comes with myriads of his Set Apart believers; 15 to execute judgment upon all and to convict all the wicked because of all the deeds they have wickedly committed; and because of all the hard speeches which they, sinners without Elohim, have uttered.
16. These are they who argue and complain of everything while they walk according to their lusts; and their mouth speaks shocking things; and they flatter people for the sake of gain.
17. But do you, my beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the Shlichim of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach; 18. because they told you that in the end of the times there would be scoffers going after wickedness according to their lusts.
19. These are they that separate (themselves), sensual persons, not having the Spirit. 20. But, my beloved, you be newly strengthened in your Set Apart faith through the Ruach haKodesh, while you pray. 21. And let us keep ourselves in the love of Elohim while we wait for the mercy of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach to our eternal life. (AENT)
Saturday, November 23, 2019
WOW, this is so good! It’s a great passage to digest and heed.
25 Adonai is good to those waiting for him,
to those who are seeking him out.
26 It is good to wait patiently
for the saving help of Adonai.
27 It is good for a man
to bear the yoke from his youth.
28 Let him sit alone in silence
when he has laid it on him.
29 Let him submit absolutely;
there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to the one who strikes it,
and receive his fill of insults.
31 For rejection by Adonai
does not last forever.
32 He may cause grief, but he will take pity,
in keeping with the greatness of his grace.
33 For he does not arbitrarily torment
or punish human beings. (CJB)
Friday, November 22, 2019
Folks, here is an example of some of the false teachings within the “Hebrew Roots” and “Messianic” circles. It reveals that one cannot be too careful about whom they follow! This person, Daniel, made several errors here.
First, let’s address "baptism". Here, Daniel applies only the modern concept of baptism for use as a background to complain about. He is assuming that since the purpose of baptism today is to "cleanse one of sin" (which is modern Christian thought), that somehow the baptism by John the Baptist was the same. But, that is not true….
Sure, there are verses such as Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24, and 19:4 which state baptism is for the repentance and forgiveness of sin. But Daniel uses sophistry to make his point which scripture itself negates. His argument is that "since baptism is to cleanse a person of their sin then the Messiah must have sinned." But Matthew 3:5-17 reveals the following:
Matthew 3:5 People went out to him from Yerushalayim, from all Y'hudah, and from the whole region around the Yarden. 6 Confessing their sins, they were immersed by him in the Yarden River. 7 But when Yochanan saw many of the P'rushim and Tz'dukim coming to be immersed by him, he said to them, "You snakes! Who warned you to escape the coming punishment? 8 If you have really turned from your sins to God, produce fruit that will prove it!
9 And don't suppose you can comfort yourselves by saying, 'Avraham is our father'! For I tell you that God can raise up for Avraham sons from these stones! 10 Already the axe is at the root of the trees, ready to strike; every tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown in the fire!
11 It's true that I am immersing you in water so that you might turn from sin to God; but the one coming after me is more powerful than I — I'm not worthy even to carry his sandals — and he will immerse you in the Ruach HaKodesh and in fire. 12 He has with him his winnowing fork; and he will clear out his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn but burning up the straw with unquenchable fire!"
13 Then Yeshua came from the Galil to the Yarden to be immersed by Yochanan. 14 But Yochanan tried to stop him. "You are coming to me? I ought to be immersed by you!" 15 However, Yeshua answered him, "Let it be this way now, because we should do everything righteousness requires." Then Yochanan let him.
16 As soon as Yeshua had been immersed, he came up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, he saw the Spirit of God coming down upon him like a dove, 17 and a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; I am well pleased with him."
Take note: In verse 6 we find a confirmation that people were being immersed to confess their sins. So far, Daniel is correct. And in verse 11 we find that, indeed, people were being immersed for to demonstrate their repentance. Again, Daniel is correct! However, in reading further, we find the Messiah's arrival. Here things change which Daniel seems to have overlooked.
In Matthew 3:13-14 we find that the Messiah came to be immersed, yet John tried to stop him! John said "You are coming to me? I ought to be immersed by you!" Clearly, John recognized that the Messiah did not need immersion! (While Yeshua was certainly a MAN, he was also divine, and therefore, completely different from “regular humans.”) But the Messiah insisted – and in the next 2 verses, we learn why.
For the Messiah, his immersion was NOT for the cleansing of sin as Daniel assumed; rather it was for the Messiah to receive the Ruach haKodesh/Holy Spirit.
The truth is, water baptism is merely an outward expression that one has accepted Yeshua as Messiah (which means they have also accepted YHWH as their ELOHIM). Water baptism is an act of obedience that follows conversion to portray symbolically the washing away of our sins (which was done the moment we accepted YHWH as our God and Yeshua as His Divine Messiah who died on our behalf.
And by the way, the baptism itself does not bring salvation; salvation inspires the water baptism. It should be the first thing we do after we are "born again." Those who have become believers in Messiah Yeshua should desire to follow Him in this ordinance.
The bottom line is this: If Yeshua had been "just another man" who was "prone to sin," that would mean the One who placed the embryo into the womb of a virgin was flawed - since Yeshua has his Father's "DNA" so to speak.
And (2) if he had EVER sinned, he would have been a flawed vessel who could NOT have been perfect ... perfect enough to martyr himself on the stake and take away the sins of the world. Animal "sin sacrifices" throughout history, HAD to be flawless!
BTW, although we call Yeshua our "perfect Sin Sacrifice", he wasn't actually sacrificed, as nobody sacrificed him; and YHWH never expected "human sacrifice." Yeshua was DIVINE because his Father was ELOHIM. Yeshua was the the "Arm" (Isaiah 53) and The Word (John 1:1, 14), who was always echad (ONE) with YHWH. To suggest he had to be cleansed from sin (especially by a mere man who baptized him) is blasphemy.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
At our house, we will be celebrating Hannukah beginning at sunset on November 21, 2019. (Yes, I know we are a month ahead of everyone else, but as you know, Bill and I don’t do the rabbinic calendar. ) Regardless, if you’re new to Torah and wish to participate in the tradition of Hanukkah, the Season of Miracles (in whichever calendar you decide to follow), then simply read our articles of explanation about Hannukah, which include the words of the traditional blessing before lighting the candles on your Hannukiyah each night.
It is important to note that the Hannukiyah (Hannukah menorah) is different from the "daily" menorah in that it features a 9-branch menorah. The tradition is that we are to set our hanukkiah in a window where everyone can see it; and for consecutive eight days at sunset, we light the chamash (servant candle which is in the center of the hanukkiah) and use it to light the other candles.
In other words, on the first day we light the chamash with a match/lighter and then use that candle to light the first candle (beginning at the far RIGHT and working to the LEFT as the days go by). On the first day we have the chamash and one candle lit. On the second day, we take a new chamash and use it to light TWO candles (again beginning at the far right, meaning a total of three candles lit - the chamash and two candles)...repeating this for all 8 days when all the candles are lit. Each time we allow the candles to burn all the way down and replace them; each night we use a new chamash candle.
Hanukkah is a great witnessing tool, one of those wonderful holidays where we can show the world we are "different." When family members or neighbors see the Hannukiyah in our windows, they automatically think, "Hmm, Jewish." In some cases, it can lead them to question exactly what it means, and some will be curious enough to either ask us about it, or research it on their own - which might just lead them to wonder what else this "Jewish religion" contains. What they will find is that our Torah observant faith is not a “Jewish religion”; it is simply a wonderful belief system that follows God’s commands as outlined in His Torah (first five Books of the Bible that contains all of His do’s and don’ts).
By the way, Yeshua our Messiah - the "Light of the World" was conceived during "The Festival of Lights" and he participated in the feast of Dedication! (You can count exactly nine months from Hanukkah to Sukkot!)
John 10: 22 Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, 23 and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo's Colonnade. 24 So the Judeans surrounded him and said to him, "How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us publicly!" 25 Yeshua answered them, "I have already told you, and you don't trust me. The works I do in my Father's name testify on my behalf, 26 but the reason you don't trust is that you are not included among my sheep.
27 My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, 28 and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. 29 My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the Father's hands. 30 I and the Father are one."
31 Once again the Judeans picked up rocks in order to stone him. 32 Yeshua answered them, "You have seen me do many good deeds that reflect the Father's power; for which one of these deeds are you stoning me?" 33 The Judeans replied, "We are not stoning you for any good deed, but for blasphemy -- because you, who are only a man, are making yourself out to be God [Hebrew: Elohim]." 34 Yeshua answered them, "Isn't it written in your Torah, `I have said, "You people are Elohim?'"
35 If he called `elohim' the people to whom the word of Elohim was addressed (and the Torah cannot be broken), 36 then are you telling the one whom the Father set apart as holy and sent into the world, `You are committing blasphemy,' just because I said, `I am a son of Elohim'? 37 "If I am not doing deeds that reflect my Father's power, don't trust me. 38 But if I am, then, even if you don't trust me, trust the deeds; so that you may understand once and for all that the Father is united with me, and I am united with the Father." (CJB)
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
TWO THOUGHTS TO PONDER:
Every once in a while, someone suggests that the “two witnesses” of Revelation 11:1-14 are (and I quote) "Judah and Israel/Ephraim".
FIRST, in my opinion, those two witnesses could NOT be any of the “tribes” (why would they?) because "tribes" consist of fallible, mortal people who live and die and decay. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the “witnesses” to be the Torah and the Prophecies? Unlike “tribes” which have undergone some rearranging over the millennia, neither Torah nor the Prophetic Words of YHWH can ever be changed, ignored or annulled.
They ARE the two ACTUAL witnesses that stand as One. The Word of YHWH is both Torah (instruction in righteousness) and Prophecy declaring, foretelling and revealing the Will of YHWH to each generation. (See Deuteronomy 4:2; 13:1.)
SECONDLY, why do we keep seeing people posting “Israel/Ephraim” as if it’s one entity? They make it seem as if all of Israel consists only of Ephraim - which was simply a tribe of lesser importance ... matter of fact, it was actually just a HALF-tribe!
As I wrote above, there have been some changes made in certain tribes since we first saw the original 12 outlined in passages such as Genesis 35 and Deuteronomy 27:12–13.
But Revelation 7:1-8 lists the actual twelve tribes whose names are written on the City Gates of the New Jerusalem. And from what I can see, there is NO “Ephraim” gate!
Take a look at Revelation 7:1-8 ….
We see the other "half-tribe" of Manasseh included there, but the other "half-tribe", Ephraim, is nowhere to be found in that list...
Monday, November 18, 2019
Did you know that Jeremiah 31 says that ADONAI would give a new covenant to the Houses of Israel and Judah? It was never meant for anyone else!
The good news is: If you belong to YHWH/Yeshua, you are spiritually part of Israel - and as "grafted in" YHWH sees you in the same light as His "natural" children! (See Numbers 15:13-16 where He says it FOUR TIMES in a row....)
Once you have accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you are not even a "Gentile" anymore - you are a HEBREW (which, in Hebrew means, "to cross over"). You have "crossed over" spiritually, and belong to HIM! Halleluyah!
Now, let's check out Jeremiah 31....
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."
Many don't seem to realize that Jeremiah 31:30-34 is NOT talking about "Gentiles" or "Christians"; it says God is going to make a "new covenant" with the Torah observant Houses of Israel and Judah! So, where are "Christians" in this? As "grafted in to the Olive Tree" Christians are "one in Messiah" (Galatians 3:28)...But that never meant Gentiles would get to change the rules or live under separate rules. YHWH was clear about that:
Numbers 15: 13 "'Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 14 For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you do.
15 The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD: 16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.'" (CJB)
Please re-read the above in case you missed it: Any Torah-less non-Jew/Hebrew/Israelite who does not yet believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is an "alien"/foreigner. However, if they do wish to accept Him, then they are to do exactly as those who are already belong to Him!
"Living among" means not necessarily physically, but rather, it refers to all those who have accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They MUST be Torah observant, just like the Houses of Israel and Judah were with whom God made His New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:32)!
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)
Thursday, November 14, 2019
BOTTOM LINE: Our world is sick, and getting sicker by the day!
Something has happened over even just the last 20 years – and, honestly, I believe one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) contributors to this travesty is Hollywood … that satanic industry that has been instrumental in making the “F word” dominant in the English vocabulary, and helped turn our young folks into selfish, me-oriented “binge watchers” of R-rated films that, in the not-so-distant past, would have been considered pornography.
Hollywood is a pawn of satan, rabidly influencing "good" to appear "bad" and "evil" to appear “normal” or even "righteous". (Please humor me as I continue generalizing my way through this rant….)
Satanic Hollywood has been stealing the minds of generations of children and turning them into mindless, disrespectful and even hateful zombies who trudge through life without any real work ethics or ambition (except perhaps to influence them into the pipe-dream of becoming singers, actors, entertainers or ballplayers - because, after all, that’s where the REALLY big money is).
Many live in their parents’ basement, rent-free, playing video games (or even becoming “gamers” because real jobs are just … er… “too hard” to find….) and expect to be taken care of till the end of time because … well, because they feel entitled to do so. And don’t even think of asking them to help around the house or even take out the trash because that’s their parents’ job. It’s THEIR house, after all….
If today’s young folks attend college at all, many are somehow led to believe and/or feel entitled to enter the work world, starting “at the top.” (I use the term, “attended” lightly, because colleges today seem to be nothing more than big party places, from which many graduate being able to tick off the names of every ballplayer since the beginning time, and they can recite the lyrics of every “rap” song; but they have NO CLUE about how to reconcile their checkbooks; nor can they tell you how many moons the earth has. You ask them that, and their eyes glaze over.)
One of the biggest reasons as to “who they are and HOW they are” today is because THAT is what they learned from watching the “boob tube” and the “big screen” where they, since early childhood, watched unsupervised, whatever they wanted while Mom and Dad were out making a living (to keep up with those pesky Joneses) or were out, partying somewhere.
I’ve LIVED through it all, and WITNESSED the changes happening before my very eyes! I even saw it in my own, unbelievably dysfunctional childhood home (another term I use loosely!) where I was raised with an iron hand (more like an iron fist) not being allowed to attend high school ballgames, dances or other activities, while expected to be a “little housewife” and babysitter for my partying mother who provided me with “kid brothers” to take care of.
By the time my baby brother came along, she was “too tired” to care what he ate, drank, thought or did, and he was allowed to do “whatever”, whenever he wished - and she loudly admonished anyone who tried to stop him. Today, he’s a middle-aged “has-been” who was kicked out of the Army for desertion (because he never learned nor accepted any discipline); never bothered to keep a real job because he was forever seeking “his destiny” - and has spent most of his life living with women gullible enough to take him in, until they figured him out – basically living from hand-to-mouth … ALL BECAUSE HE WAS TAUGHT to be that way! He was RUINED by “bad parenting” and Hollywood….
My baby brother was born in the mid-Sixties, after God had been kicked out of schools and government buildings; and sex, drugs and rock and roll became the “in thing” … around the time when famous liberals like Timothy Leary urged people to "turn on, tune in, drop out."
And, of course, there were movies where outlaws and criminals were “cool” – outlaws making the idea of running from the law a GOOD thing – to wit, Henry Fonda’s “Easy Rider”. Yes, Hollywood showed my brother that it was “okay” to be a good-looking loner, loser, an outlaw … the “runnin’ kind” whose every front door found him hopin' he would find the back door open, because there just had to be an exit for the runnin' kind… (Lyrics from Merle Haggard’s song, “Running Kind”.)
Oh, people, I’ve been watching YHWH’s adversary influencing every single aspect of our lives! I’ve seen the Hollywood influence over and over again as the years went by. I watched the world slowly morphing from a time where no bad language or behavior was tolerated in public or in schools; where girls were expected to “dress decently” in skirts and dresses that had to at least hit the top of your kneecaps; and where teachers were allowed to smack unruly children with a ruler … into a time where EVERYTHING started being “against the law” and you couldn’t slap your own out-of-control teenager for punching a hole in the wall - because he saw on TV or heard on the radio that he had “rights” and was able to call the police to have you arrested for child abuse!
Even over just the last 20 years (actually since April 1997, when Ellen “came out of the closet” – which, at first, destroyed her career…), I’ve watched that mythical “frog” (the dumbed-down, dead-from-the-neck-up viewing audience) being tossed into cold water, with the heat slowly being turned up to where he never even noticed that he was about to be blissfully boiled to death, as homosexuality was introduced and quickly turned into a “new normal” – a point where sexual identity is now “fluid” and no one bats an eye over the fact that little Johnny and Janie have “two mommies” or “two daddies” ….
We live in a time where all THAT’s perfectly okay, and if you have a problem with it, YOU are WEIRD and “intolerant”. Matter of fact, if you dare say anything - you intolerant pig! - YOU can be taken to court for harassment, prejudice or discrimination. Hey – even men today can’t look at a woman without being accused of sexual harassment – no matter if she’s dressed like a hooker, wearing a skirt so short you can see what she had for breakfast.
SHE has a “right” to look and dress like a whore, but MEN better NOT dare look or get turned on, because THAT can be viewed as a crime! (And yes, I realize that’s not always the case, but come on! The “Me Too” nonsense has gotten out of hand with women crawling out of the woodwork to make accusations about someone supposedly did something 50 years ago … never mind that, oops! – yeah, okay, they DID voluntarily go to the guy’s hotel room….)
In my humble opinion, ALL of that is a direct result of Hollywood’s influence! Stupid is “in” today, common sense is dead, “wrong” is now “right” and the godly and decent are “out”.
That’s what the world wants us to think – and ONLY the strong will survive the onslaught of the lunatics who have been taking over the proverbial asylum, in a world that has completely lost its way!
Matthew 24:10 At that time many will be trapped into betraying and hating each other, 11 many false prophets will appear and fool many people; 12 and many people's love will grow cold because of increased distance from Torah. 13 But whoever holds out till the end will be delivered. (CJB)
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
I just sit and shake my head whenever someone tries to tell me they have “a word from God” for me, and then proceed to cite via fluffy “King James English” terms how much God loves me – “I the Lord God say to thee, I love thee and thy family.”
Honestly – did YHWH, Y’shua or any of the Apostles speak in King James English? King James did some major damage in his “version” because he mistranslated and twisted some MAJOR concepts that made YHWH appear to have contradicted Himself!
Check out, for instance, passages like Leviticus 12:8, 15:29 and Numbers 6:10 where KJV mistranslated the SLANG word "turtles" - meaning "TURTLE DOVES" - supposedly being used as sin sacrifices. The problem is "turtles" could NOT POSSIBLY be used as sin sacrifices because they're not kosher!
And here’s a shocker: King James perpetuated the “trinity” concept. Yes, it's true! Nowhere in Scripture do we ever see our ELOHIM referred to as a “trinity” or the Holy Spirit called a “person.” (Being “saved” in a Baptist church in January 1995, I always wondered how the heck a person would get inside another person to guide their life….) Let’s see what happened:
I John 5: 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (KJV)
So, what's wrong with it? Well, the undiluted truth is: King James added the line! He worded it to make it seem as though John was defining the Father, Son and Spirit as three separate beings in one.
And oddly, all the other "versions" completely omit everything after the word "heaven" in verse 7! For instance the NIV says: “For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.” This is TOTALLY different from the KJV! (Knowing this, and realizing all the various versions added, omitted and mistranslated, is it any wonder why we have nearly 40,000 different Christian "denominations"?)
Here is a footnote from the NIV referencing 1 John 5:7-8:
"Late manuscripts of the Vulgate testify in heaven, the Father, the Word and Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify in earth--not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century."
This shows that both verses are late additions. Obviously, 5:7 is an addition post-397 CE, after the Council of Carthage and 5:8 is so late as to be meaningless. This is true because trinity was never, and is not, an original Biblical doctrine! It was a formulation of Constantine, Eusebius and others.
Here is the passage as seen in the Aramaic English New Testament:
I John 5: 6. This is he who came by the water and the blood. Y'shua the Mashiyach; not by the water only, but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit testifies; because the Spirit is truth. 7. (Verse 7 is nonexistent in the Eastern Peshitta!) 8. And there are three witnesses, the Spirit and the water, and the blood: and these three are in union. (AENT)
Disheartening, isn't it? It would be great if we could all read the original manuscripts...but that's just not possible. All we can really do is to possess several different Bible versions for comparison purposes - and constantly seek the guidance of the Ruach haKodesh/Holy Spirit to help us discern the REAL meaning of Scripture.
Footnote: Appended text: (For there are three that testify in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Ruach haKodesh: and these three are one.), which is why Murdock puts the brackets and adds: “This verse is not wanting in most MSS., and is omitted in the edit. London, 1826.” The fact is that this line was inserted under the authority of Constantine to promote the Trinity doctrine.
It does not exist in the Peshitta nor the oldest Greek manuscripts of Aleph, A, B and the Vulgate. Christo-Paganism which originated before Constantine taught that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are numerically three separate beings, but yet “all the same” is a blatant violation of the First and Second Commandments (see Sh’mot/Exodus 20:1-6).
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Here’s something really interesting that many have never realized before:
1 Timothy 6: 3. But if there be anyone, who teaches a different doctrine and does not agree to the foundational Words of our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach and to the doctrine of the Fear of Elohim,[*] 4. he is one that exalts himself while he knows nothing; and he languishes in the search and inquiry about words from which come envy and contention and railing and evil suspicions 5. and the constant arguing of men whose minds are corrupt and devoid of the truth, and who suppose that gain is without Elohim. But from these stand away. (AENT)
First - that term, “Fear of Elohim” - did you know that a picture of the Menorah is seen here with its seven branches? Let’s examine this from a Hebraic/Aramaic viewpoint:
Isaiah 11:2-3 “And the Spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the Yirah (Fear) of YHWH; And shall make him of quick understanding in the Yirah (Fear) of YHWH”….
The center is the Spirit of YHWH while the six other attributes are joined into the center pillar. These seven Spirits also signify perfection or completeness. The Fear of YHWH Elohim is a “Spirit” of YHWH; it is a vital spiritual quality for Life in Messiah!
The Fear of YHWH is a personal guide for us; Hebrew “yirah” means fear, as in fear/awesome/terrifying, contrary to the teachings that the Fear of YHWH is not really “fear” but rather, “love and respect.” (Isaiah 29:13 reveals how “the Fear of YHWH is taught by the commandment of men.”)
In other words, man’s religious theology and tradition has made void the FEAR of YHWH!
As a matter of fact, many (if not most) Greek versions suggest “reverence” over “fear”. Consequently, titles such as “Reverend” for clergymen and ministers, for instance, totally negate the term “Fear of YHWH, because they were given a theological/semantic twist to apply to their own leadership, as in the case of “reverend.”
The bottom line is: The Fear of YHWH is noted throughout Scripture: Genesis 20:11; 42:18; Exodus 9:30; 18:21; Leviticus 25:17; Deuteronomy 10:12, and in more than a hundred other places. Without the Spirit of “the Fear” of YHWH, people will fear man, materialism, relativism and all form of idols, including their religious leaders.
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
A STERN WORD for those who choose to "look the other way" and admonish others to do so, when they see evil being perpetrated:
You're going against Scripture, which commands us to DO something about those types of people! If we don't, then we will be held responsible! Take a look:
Ezekiel 3:16 After seven days the word of Adonai came to me: 17 “Human being, I have appointed you to be a watchman for the house of Isra’el. When you hear a word from my mouth, you are to warn them for me.
18 If I say to a wicked person, ‘You will certainly die’; and you fail to warn him, to speak and warn the wicked person to leave his wicked way and save his life; then that wicked person will die guilty; and I will hold you responsible for his death.
19 On the other hand, if you warn the wicked person, and he doesn’t turn from his wickedness or his wicked way, then he will still die guilty; but you will have saved your own life.
20 Similarly, when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness, I will place a stumblingblock before him — he will die; because you failed to warn him, he will die in his sin; his righteous acts which he did will not be remembered; and I will hold you responsible for his death.
21 But if you warn the righteous person that a righteous person should not sin, and he doesn’t sin; then he will certainly live, because he took the warning; and you too will have saved your life.” (CJB)
A READER ASKED:
I have always thought these scriptures were in reference to the prophet Ezekiel. A better understanding might help me be more bold in doing the right thing. Do you have an article on this?
We have referred to Ezekiel 3 (and Ezekiel 33) in several articles, yet have not addressed whether or not the words to Ezekiel apply to us as you seem to be questioning. This message came to Ezekiel twice - first in Ezekiel 3:17-21 and the second in Ezekiel 33:2-9. The revelation in Ezekiel 33, (the verses mentioned above), begin in verse 2 where we learn that we all are the "watchmen" over Israel, so the vision did not apply only to Ezekiel. The watchman is responsible to warn citizens. The citizen is responsible for heeding the warning.
Note that Ezekiel is called "ben a'dam" - son of man. The sages interpret it to denote mankind generally, that is, not a deity. So Ezekiel is called a "son of man", not so much being addressed only to him, or that he is something special above the rest of us, rather, because he is a righteous human in the position to speak for YHWH - because he was righteous.
The sages say the the time of prophecy is past. That means that there are no more "Ezekiels" for our time. And if that is true, then who is to fulfill Ezekiel's role to warn those who are sinning against YHWH if not us?
Further, Ezekiel (as are we supposed to be), was living righteously because he obeyed Torah. Torah commands us all to rebuke our brothers so we don't carry sin because of them. (Leviticus 19:17). This command is the origin of YHWH's pronouncement to Ezekiel to warn those who were sinning. The only difference in Ezekiel is that in Ezekiel's case, YHWH is talking about people who are about to lose their eternal lives due to their behavior and that is so serious that if WE know they are heading down that path, and WE don't warn them, then YHWH's message is that their blood is on our hands!
So yes, the words spoken to Ezekiel to warn those who are sinning and teaching falsely most certainly applies to us.