Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Teaching the plain and simple truth is not popular…

Some people seem to think I'm too rough and gruff and should show more compassion. While that may be true, the thing is, I can't and won't bring myself to ever promote an endless string of "feel-good" messages that veer from Scripture just to make people "feel good!"

I have been telling Biblical TRUTH ever since the day the Ruach opened my spiritual eyes, and I'm not going to change now, just to gain followers or popularity.

So, if you're looking for someone to lie to you concerning His Word, you've got the wrong person - because the truth is, contrary to popular belief, YHWH is NOT kidding around when it comes to His Divine Instructions to humanity!

To make memes that promise He "will bless you if you forward this post to 15 people within the next 10 minutes"; or "He will increase your wealth and bless you" if you tithe to some televangelist (or, like a Hebrew Roots pastor who insists God will bless you if you "give everything you have, even if it means reaching into your 401-K!"); or to promise that He will "protect you from Coronavirus" or any other disease or disaster - well, those are OUTRIGHT LIES originating in TWISTED Scripture!

DOES God bless and save people from disasters? Sure! At His own discretion and often for reasons known only to Him. While at the same time many believers and innocents (babies and young children) are NOT spared from disease or disaster! Many faithful have perished in disasters. How would you explain your fluffy, lying memes or messages to their families?

Have you ever noticed how many Christians and or Hebrew Roots and Messianics have NOT been blessed, and who HAVE succumbed to disease or disasters? Have you ever noticed how many innocent little babies are born with horrific birth defects or with cancer or some other disease?

Why didn't He bless THEM?

Hmmm. Perhaps there's more to "being blessed" and "being protected" than we know.... like, "OBEY Me and all will go well with you," and "curses on those" who blatantly refuse to obey!" Unfortunately nobody wants to hear that Old Testament stuff because, hey, we're all "under grace"!!!

Yes, of COURSE we're under grace - but that didn't remove the need for Believers to OBEY! That "OT stuff" contains ALL of God's original do's and don'ts, and - here's a real shocker - without the OT, the NEW Testament wouldn't even exist!

Here's just a small sampling of the scriptures most seem to ignore:

Deuteronomy 28:15 - "But if you refuse to pay attention to what ADONAI your God says, and do not observe and obey all his mitzvot and regulations which I am giving you today, then all the following curses will be yours in abundance....

Deuteronomy 28:9 - "ADONAI will establish you as a people separated out for himself, as he has sworn to you - IF you will observe the mitzvot of ADONAI your God and follow his ways.

Deuteronomy 29:9 - Therefore, observe the words of this covenant and obey them; SO THAT you can make everything you do prosper.

Deuteronomy 30:10 - "However, all this will happen ONLY IF you pay attention to what ADONAI your God says, so that you obey his mitzvot and regulations which are written in this book of the Torah, if you turn to ADONAI your God with all your heart and all your being.

Deuteronomy 30:16 - in that I am ordering you today to love ADONAI your God, to follow his ways, and to obey his mitzvot, regulations and rulings ; for IF you do, you will live and increase your numbers; and ADONAI your God will bless you in the land you are entering in order to take possession of it.

DO YOU GET THE PICTURE? There are literally hundreds of warnings about OBEDIENCE - yet hardly anyone wants to hear "the negative side" of their willful disobedience. They're all mired in "God loves me" and other "fluff" that leads to the false belief that nothing is required of us in return...

THAT is why I'm forever harping on STUDYING Scripture so we can all get ourselves RIGHT with YHWH, while there's still time. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be very popular, because actual study takes effort.

So, yeah - "fluff" makes one popular; the plain and simple Truth does not. Regardless, it's what I feel He wants me to preach, and I'm never going to stop until He tells me otherwise....

Remember libraries - the place where you could get solid and truthful information?

Remember libraries - the place where you could get solid and truthful information? Where you had to thumb through the card files and search myriad shelves to find what you were looking for? Where everyone was expected to be quiet? Where civility reigned and people respected each other's right to peace and solitude while doing their research or were simply relaxing with a good book or magazine full of stories written by actual published, educated authors who knew how to formulate a proper sentence?

People who frequented libraries learned a lot, including how to discern fantasy from reality, good from bad, truth from lies.

Compare that to today, where one no longer has to do a lot of thinking to find what they’re looking for. All it takes is a word or phrase typed into a search engine that will bring up every article and video pertaining to the subject you’re looking for – including all the trash written by lay persons who never met an actual, solid FACT, and who are busy espousing nothing more than personal opinions.

While the Internet is certainly a fantastic addition to our modern mindsets, the drawback is that we’ve been lulled into accepting the mediocre and the downright false, while “feeling educated” because “we’ve done our research and know the truth” – never even recognizing that much of that “truth” came from some unqualified lay person’s OPINION rather than actual knowledge, true research and facts.

It’s unfortunate that all the great technology at our fingertips has only served to “dumb down” civilized society; in part, because we no longer need to THINK. We no longer need to know how to use cursive to write a letter, nor use elementary arithmetic to balance our checkbooks because we have technology to do all the “thinking” for us….Why, while doing that “search” for whatever you are looking for, you don’t even need to know how to spell! The search engine corrects it for you!

Consequently, instead of progressing, we’re actually regressing. In the hustle and bustle of social media where everyone has a voice, there is no more “quiet” or respect for anyone.

We’re no longer inundated with truth, knowledge and wisdom because the writings of actual experts in various fields has been diluted and even drowned out with the ocean of thoughts and voices of those who were born and raised in a modern technological world where education has become unnecessary and even frowned upon; and where “social media” now serves as our “library” where people accept whatever “sounds good” to them.

Worse, people have now grown up lacking the skill to assess what they’re reading, and are, consequently no longer able to determine fact from fiction.

One has to wonder how much further we will regress before we finally destroy EVERYTHING we’ve managed to accomplish since the beginning of time….

Proverbs 8:11-12 For wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. (ESV)

Proverbs 1:7 Someone who is already wise will hear and learn still more; someone who already understands will gain the ability to counsel well; 6 he will understand proverbs, obscure expressions, the sayings and riddles of the wise. 7 The fear of Adonai is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (CJB)

Proverbs 16:16  How much better than gold it is to gain wisdom!  Yes, rather than money, choose to gain understanding. (CJB)

Proverbs 3:13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, (ESV)

Proverbs 4:7 “Let your heart treasure my words; keep my commands, and live; 5 gain wisdom, gain insight; don’t forget or turn from the words I am saying. 6 Don’t abandon [wisdom]; then she will preserve you; love her, and she will protect you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom! And along with all your getting, get insight! (CJB)

Ephesians 5:15-16 14. Therefore it is said: Awake you who are asleep and arise from the dead, and the Mashiyach will illuminate you.  15. See therefore, that you walk with spiritual knowledge; not like the simple,  16. But like the wise who purchase their opportunity; because the days are evil. (AENT)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

“Praying Psalm 91” for protection from COVID-19?

In these terrible, trying days it is absolutely imperative that we become very serious about turning to ADONAI. And as you’ve surely guessed by now, the time for any “lukewarm”, pew-warming behavior has come to a screeching halt.

Therefore, I’m going out on a limb to do what I always do: tell the plain Truth by allowing Scripture to speak for itself.

And here it is:

Simply “being a believer” or “praying Psalm 91” for protection from COVID-19 will do absolutely nothing for you UNLESS you are a wholehearted, obedient, Torah observant Believer. (Remember, Proverbs 28:9 says, “If a person will not listen to Torah, even his prayer is an abomination”….)

We see myriad examples about YHWH’s wrath against those who refuse to obey Him, in just those first five Books of the Bible (Torah). Contrary to popular belief, the commands to OBEY were NOT only for Israel; they were for ANYONE who accepted YHWH as their ELOHIM. (See Exodus 12:49, Numbers 15:13-16, Isaiah 56:6, and Romans 10:12-13.)

But for this article, let’s take a look at the whole chapter of Deuteronomy 6, where YHWH is perfectly clear about OBEDIENCE and what will happen to those who ignore Him.

Deuteronomy 6: 6 “Now this is the mitzvah, the laws and rulings which Adonai your God ordered me to teach you for you to obey in the land you are crossing over to possess, 2 so that you will fear Adonai your God and observe all his regulations and mitzvot that I am giving you — you, your child and your grandchild — as long as you live, and so that you will have long life. 3 Therefore listen, Isra’el, and take care to obey, so that things will go well with you, and so that you will increase greatly, as Adonai, the God of your ancestors, promised you by giving you a land flowing with milk and honey.

4 “Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear and Do, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]; 5 and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. 6 These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; 7 and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, 9 and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates.

10 “When Adonai your God has brought you into the land he swore to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov that he would give you — cities great and prosperous, which you didn’t build; 11 houses full of all sorts of good things, which you didn’t fill; water cisterns dug out, which you didn’t dig; vineyards and olive trees, which you didn’t plant — and you have eaten your fill; 12 then be careful not to forget Adonai, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves. 13 You are to fear Adonai your God, serve him and swear by his name.

14 You are not to follow other gods, chosen from the gods of the peoples around you; 15 because Adonai, your God, who is here with you, is a jealous God. If you do, the anger of Adonai your God will flare up against you and he will destroy you from the face of the earth. 16 Do not put Adonai your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah [Exodus 17:7]. 17 Observe diligently the mitzvot of Adonai your God, and his instructions and laws which he has given you. 18 You are to do what is right and good in the sight of Adonai, so that things will go well with you, and you will enter and possess the good land Adonai swore to your ancestors, 19 expelling all your enemies ahead of you, as Adonai said.

20 “Some day your child will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of the instructions, laws and rulings which Adonai our God has laid down for you?’ 21 Then you will tell your child, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and Adonai brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand. 22 Adonai worked great and terrible signs and wonders against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household, before our very eyes.

23 He brought us out from there in order to bring us to the land he had sworn to our ancestors that he would give us. 24 Adonai ordered us to observe all these laws, to fear Adonai our God, always for our own good, so that he might keep us alive, as we are today. 25 It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to obey all these mitzvot before Adonai our God, just as he ordered us to do.’” (CJB)

BOTTOM LINE: Obey YHWH’s Divine Instructions in Righteousness, and do NOT put Him to the test. He IS with all true believers, and He KNOWS what we’re going through. He allowed it to happen. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear will recognize that trials and tribulations like this are simply the indicators of where our hearts truly are at any given point.

Monday, March 16, 2020

A quick message about Passover (which, this year, starts at sunset April 7)

Passover/Pesach (Nisan 14) celebrates the deliverance of the slaves from Egypt. It is the story of redemption by the killing of the Passover Lamb. The Israelites obeyed God by applying the blood of the Passover lamb to the doorposts of their houses so that their firstborn would be spared the Tenth Curse against Pharoah who refused to let God's enslaved Chosen People leave Egypt. When the Angel of Death passed through the land and saw the blood, he "passed over" those houses and spared the first born (Exodus 12:1-13).
This was a picture of Yeshua, God's "Passover Lamb" who willingly allowed His own blood to be shed on our behalf and thus became our redemption. The Messiah fulfilled this holiday when he was crucified! 
Please note: The lamb for the original Passover was NOT a sacrifice - and neither was Yeshua! The lamb was offered as a substitute, not as a "sacrifice"!  So, though not a "sin" sacrifice, the lamb's blood was offered as a substitute, giving the Hebrew first-born males the chance to live. This is the connection: Yeshua was our substitute - and by believing and following YHWH's Torah to help us to lower our tendency to sin, and do our best to NOT sin anymore, we have the chance for eternal life. And this, of course was the point: Eternal life.
Yeshua took our bitterness so that we might live the abundant life. We remember and identify with the bitterness of slavery by eating the bitter herbs and the matza (unleavened bread) on Passover. The innocent died for the guilty. Yeshua's willingness to "sacrifice" (offer) His life not only meant death - it also meant LIFE (Isaiah 53).
So - the prophetic fulfillment of Passover is clear: Redemption! Passover is a time to thank God for our freedom - and that covers several types of freedoms ... To be a free people, and to be free to worship God.  Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul) summed up this theme in his letter to the Corinthians in which he addressed moral problems within their membership. To solve this problem he drew upon a well-known analogy of Pesach:
1 Corinthians 5: 6. Your bragging is not praiseworthy. Don’t you know, that a little leaven leavens the whole mass?  7. Purge out from you the old leaven, that you may be a new mass, as you are unleavened. For our Passover is the Mashiyach, who was slain for us.  8. Therefore let us celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of wickedness and bitterness, but with the leaven of purity and sanctity.  (AENT)
Footnote: The word for “leaven” here is makhmae, the cognate in Hebrew of which is chometz.  Therefore, Rav Shaul is teaching the Corinthians by using Passover imagery, by commanding them to purge the chometz from the house of their hearts, so that they can be sanctified. Of course, the rest of this verse and the next proves this interpretation.
In 1 Corinthians 5 above, he was telling Believers to celebrate Passover and to have a Seder (Passover meal) that celebrates the deliverance from slavery and being a free people ... To set aside this day to thank, praise and worship God.
NOTE: In case anyone is interested, we offer a free downloadable haggadah (liturgy) for Pesach/Passover on our website. Just click on our Essays and Articles page, and scroll down until you see "Free calendars, Siddurs & Pesach Seder", and choose one of the final two links...

Be careful about believing conspiracy theories concerning COVID-19!

I find it truly mind-boggling to know that we have some HR teachers making disparaging and "conspiracy-theory" type of comments about COVID-19 designed to rile everybody up to make it look like "the government" or some "unknown enemy" is somehow behind the virus.

It's NOT a government conspiracy and this is not some scare tactic so that "the government" can take control of you! It's a slowly-but-surely spreading new virus - a pandemic - with nobody knowing exactly how it's spread, how to treat it, or how to keep it from spreading, or how to convince the billions on earth to cooperate with whatever measures need to be taken to save lives!

The governments of the world, and the medical communities, etc. are trying to handle the situation to the best of their knowledge. Nobody was prepared for something like this.

OUR responsibility is NOT to freak out and buy out the stores or fight each other for the last roll of toilet paper; it is to stay calm, prepare to the best of our ability (helping neighbors whenever needed), watch our own cleanliness, use some common sense, and just DEAL with whatever is on the horizon.

Getting stupid and crazy will only serve to hasten the breakdown of society that's beginning to happen because everybody's listening to and believing conspiracy theories.

This is THE TIME to turn to YHWH and His Word; to "get ourselves right with Him" and understand that these ARE the end times as outlined in Daniel and Revelation. It is a time to recognize that HE IS GIVING US A CHANCE to do that - so let's do it! TODAY!

This is only the first of many pandemics and bad times to come. Getting ourselves right with ADONAI is the first and BEST step toward handling the unfolding of His Plans. Ultimately, it's all for our own good, because it serves to prepare us for the Kingdom.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Let’s pray that this pandemic will serve as a real eye-opener for the entire world!

I believe this coronavirus is designed, in part, to help humanity see that there is a greater force than mankind, and that the most important thing we can all do is to start turning to ADONAI - because if we don't, He WILL hand us over to calamities.

Below is just one example:

2 Chronicles 24:20 24 Although the army of Aram attacked with only a small company of men, Adonai handed over a very great army to them, because they had abandoned Adonai the God of their ancestors. Thus they executed judgment against Yo’ash. (CJB)

Mankind, as a whole, has abandoned God. We're too busy being arrogant and relying on ourselves. I mean, most Believers can't even be bothered to keep His COMMANDED Seventh Day Sabbath Rest - so whom are they really worshiping?

People, He is giving us a chance to turn to Him, because - as we see in the Books of Daniel and Revelation - bad things ARE on the horizon! We NEED to be ready - both spiritually AND physically!

Instead of being in "panic mode" as so many are right now, common sense should have dictated that it would have been wise to keep a little extra canned goods and necessities in the house, in case of any emergencies.

Common sense should have dictated that we needed to use our credit cards wisely, instead of buying everything (with borrowed money) that we felt like buying. (Scripture warns us that the buyer is slave to the lender – Proverbs 22:7)

Common sense should have dictated the necessity to "tighten our belts" each month so that we could actually HAVE that little nest egg to fall back on during any emergencies.... (Financial guru Dave Ramsey has been teaching that for decades!)

Unfortunately, nobody today listens to reason. America, especially, is a spoiled, instant gratification, me-oriented nation where people need "cry-rooms" every time the slightest thing goes wrong in their life.

Instead of returning to BIBLICAL principles, we are doing exactly what the various kings of Yehudah did in ancient times by getting full of themselves and forgetting about YHWH and His Torah.

I'm praying that this pandemic will serve as a real eye-opener for the entire world!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Ready for a Messianic psycho-thriller?

"Satan just walked through the door!"

Those were Rebecca Ritter's initial thoughts when handsome rancher, R. B. "Rex" Lambert, first entered the Messianic synagogue!

And she was right. Not only did Rex end up wreaking havoc in the congregation, but he also devastated the leadership, caused some to lose their faith in God, and even managed to destroy the Rabbi's marriage.

Making matters worse, his very presence caused "flashbacks" for the forty-something Becca - flashbacks to a childhood fraught with unspeakable horrors at the hands of her demented father, Klaus-Dieter Behringer, a former prison guard at the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, who had a few sinister "skeletons in his closet."

Set in the beautiful countryside near Seymour, Missouri, "Destroyed from Within" is an intense, fast-moving psycho-thriller revealing how the "sins of the father" are passed along from generation to generation while depicting the many ways in which weak faith and poor leadership can lead people completely away from God.

Ready for this Messianic psycho-thriller? It's called, "Destroyed from Within" - and you can find it either at Amazon.com, or at this link where all of my books are displayed.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Jesus rendered the Old Covenant Torah Law obsolete!

READER COMMENT:

Folks that preach the Law tell us that we must 'walk as Yeshua walked', and tell us that means “walking in Torah observance.” Sounds plausible, until you consider that Jesus walked in Torah observance before the Work of the Cross, the Resurrection, and His Perfect, Permanent High Priesthood, which rendered the Old Covenant Torah Law obsolete!

OUR RESPONSE:
Please examine exactly “how” Yeshua walked before making those typical assumptions!

First of all, just because “Jesus walked in Torah observance” doesn’t release us from OUR responsibility to do so. His death didn’t negate the need to obey God; it removed our certificate of debt (Colossians 2:14)….

Remember that 1 John 2:6 says: He that says I am in him, is bound to walk according to his Halacha (literal reference, “walk according to his walking” and in both cases the word is halakh).

Let’s take a peek at that whole passage in its Hebraic and Aramaic context: 

1 John 2: 3. And by this we will be sensible that we know him, if we keep his Commandments.  4. For he that says I know him, and does not keep his Commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him.  5. But he that keeps his Word, in him is the Love of Elohim truly completed: for by this we know that we are in him. 

6. He that says I am in him, is bound to walk according to his halacha.  7. My beloved, I write no new commandment to you, but the old Commandment which you had from the beginning; and the old Commandment is the Word which you have heard.[*] (AENT)

FOOTNOTE:

“Elohim is light”, (1 John 1:5); therefore, it can be argued that at Creation when YHWH said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), that He in effect brought a part of Himself out to accomplish the creative act. 

The “Word” does this same feat (Psalm 33:6; John 1:1). Note that few lines earlier we read the “Word of Life.” 

We have also seen before the direct linguistic relationship between the Hebrew and Aramaic roots for “Light” and “Torah” such as: “Your word (davar) is a lamp to my feet, a light (aur) to my path”  (Psalm 119:105).  “For the commandment is a lamp. The teaching is a light (aur), and the way to life is the rebuke that disciplines” (Proverbs 6:23).

What makes this citation in Proverbs most profound is the word mitzvah (commandment), since tradition commonly calls the revelation at Sinai the Ten Commandments when in fact the Tanakh uses davarim (words)! 

Keep this in mind while considering 1 John 2:4 - “He who says I know Him and does not keep His Commandments (poqadona) is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word (miltha) in him, verily is the love of Elohim perfected; hereby we know that we are in Him” (1 John 2:4). 

Aramaic could not make a more forceful point. The fact is, poqadona and miltha are exceedingly close matches for their Hebrew counterparts - mitzvah in Proverbs, and davar in Psalms. However, it is in this next passage that the full measure of John’s brilliance is shown:

“My beloved, I do not write a new commandment to you, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard from the beginning” (1 John 2:7). 

The Commandment is the Word, which comes from the beginning. We must now realize that to translate this as “his Commandments” is wrong, but “His Commandments” is correct.  “His Commandments” is the WORD which came from the very beginning of time!

Many fail to understand this truth:

It is impossible for Torah to have passed away during the lifetime of the Shlichim/Apostles if John himself writes about the Word they have heard from the beginning.  What else could this WORD be, except the living Torah! 

John is a native Aramaic speaker and follower of Y’shua who knows that the WORD (or the Torah of YHWH) comes from the “Light”; he states that Elohim is Light and that we abide in that Light when we do His Mitzvot/Poqadona/Commandments.

Furthermore, the interchanging of “Word” and “Commandment” simply does not happen in any other language except Hebrew and Aramaic, the “word that you have heard” is the Shema!

Don’t be afraid to challenge false teachers! Yeshua did….

There are LOTS of false teachings and pseudo-teachers on the Internet. While Believers are not to engage in endless silly arguments with those types, is imperative to remember that we ARE to expose false teachers and try to bring people back to YHWH: Romans 16:17-18, Ephesians 5:11, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, and many others - and most importantly: Ezekiel 33:7-9.

That is why we must not slumber! We MUST be aware of the garbage being passed around – and we do that by checking out the posts and videos of the known violators, so that we can KNOW first-hand, what they espouse.

Why? Well, so that we can properly counter their false assertions in the hopes of leading both the teacher and their followers back onto YHWH's Path!

You never when when “something will click” and either bring or return someone to the Truth. Perhaps YOU can be the one to do that!

Let's also remember that Yeshua exposed false teachers. Aren't we to walk as Yeshua walked, and follow in his footsteps? (1 John 2:3-7)

Monday, March 9, 2020

On intellect … a fading human attribute

When, exactly, did education, success and wealth become a "bad" thing? Somehow, somewhere that’s exactly what has happened over the last 20 or 30 years.

Don’t you find that a bit disturbing? I sure do!

I mean, I’m floored to see so many “armchair experts” spewing vitriol at the educated and education in general. For countless centuries, men have always striven to become educated and successful. But now? Now, it’s looked down upon and something to poke fun at.

And, have you ever noticed that the claws really come out if someone dares to actually use their earned title or – God forbid! – they dare mention that they have credentials! Matter of fact, in many Facebook groups, you risk becoming completely ostracized if you show ANY intellect, whatsoever!

What’s more, those same vicious know-nothing loudmouths who loathe intellect and education, will also berate those who have “made something” of themselves and become wealthy in the process.

(Yes – “being well-to-do” is ALSO “uncool” today!)

Instead of admiring and lauding those who have “made it to the top” via hard work, good choices and good stewardship of their finances, the “armchair experts” will verbally pummel them to pieces, level lies and baseless accusations at them, and generally tear them to shreds - all from the safety of their computer or cellphone keyboards (never mind that it never dawns on them that -unlike themselves - smart and successful people aren’t drowning in a sea of debt, begging the "government" to bail them out).

(As you probably already know, “armchair experts” aren’t necessarily bright enough to figure out THEY created their own problems. No - they will quickly place the blame on “the government” or the current President, or the “rotten economy” or anything else that deflects the blame from their own poor choices).

So, while my little rant might make me very unpopular, I HAVE to say it - that little adage I once saw somewhere:

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups!”

It's hard to escape them, and they seem to be taking over.

Stupidity, impertinence, arrogance, self-centeredness and callousness are the “in-thing” today! If you want to be accepted by the masses, you MUST drop your intellect, never mention your education level, loudly babble on and on about things you know nothing about, give all your money away and just generally pass yourself off as one of the “good ol’ boys or girls – like all those “armchair experts” who have never contributed anything worthwhile to society and see no problem letting the whole world know it….

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Isaiah 53 most certainly DOES refer to the Messiah!

Traditional (especially "counter-missionary") Jews will tell you Isaiah 53 is all about Israel. But let's examine that assertion, shall we?

The servant of Isaiah 53 is an innocent and guiltless sufferer.  Israel is never described as sinless. Isaiah 1:4 says of the nation: "Alas sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity. A brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters!" He then goes on in the same chapter to characterize Judah as Sodom,  Jerusalem as a harlot, and the people as those whose hands are stained  with blood (verses 10, 15, and 21). What a far cry from the innocent and  guiltless sufferer of Isaiah 53 who had "done no violence, nor was any  deceit in his mouth!"

The prophet said: "It pleased the LORD to bruise him." Has the awful  treatment of the Jewish people (so contrary, by the way, to the  teaching of Yeshua to love everyone) really been God's pleasure, as is  said of the suffering of the servant in Isaiah 53:10?

If, as some rabbis  contend, Isaiah 53 refers to the holocaust, can we really say of  Israel's suffering during that horrible period, "It pleased the LORD to  bruise him?" Yet it makes perfect sense to say that God was pleased to  have Messiah suffer and die as our sin offering to provide us  forgiveness and atonement. The person mentioned in this passage suffers silently and willingly. 

Yet all people, even Israelites, complain when they suffer! Brave  Jewish men and women fought in resistance movements against Hitler. Remember the Vilna Ghetto Uprising? Remember the Jewish men who fought  on the side of the allies? Can we really say Jewish suffering during the  holocaust and during the preceding centuries was done silently and  willingly?

The figure described in Isaiah 53 suffers, dies, and rises again to  atone for his people's sins. The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 53:10 for  "sin-offering" is "asham," which is a technical term meaning  "sin-offering." See how it is used in Leviticus chapters 5 and 6. Isaiah  53 describes a sinless and perfect sacrificial lamb who takes upon  himself the sins of others so that they might be forgiven. Can anyone  really claim that the terrible suffering of the Jewish people, however  undeserved and unjust, atones for the sins of the world?

Whoever Isaiah  53 speaks of, the figure described suffers and dies in order to provide a legal payment for sin so that others can be forgiven. This cannot be  true of the Jewish people as a whole, or of any other mere human! It is the prophet who is speaking in this passage. He says: "who has  believed our message." The term "message" usually refers to the  prophetic message, as it does in Jeremiah 49:14.

Also, when we  understand the Hebrew parallelism of verse 1, we see "Who has believed  our message" as parallel to "to whom has the arm of the Lord been  revealed." The "arm of the Lord" refers to God's powerful act of  salvation. So the message of the speaker is the message of a prophet  declaring what God has done to save his people.

The prophet speaking is Isaiah himself, who says the sufferer was  punished for "the transgression of my people," according to verse 8. Who  are the people of Isaiah? Israel. So the sufferer of Isaiah 53 suffered  for Israel. So how could he be Israel?

The figure of Isaiah 53 dies and is buried according to verses 8 and  9. The people of Israel have never died as a whole. They have been out  of the land on two occasions and have returned, but they have never  ceased to be among the living. Yet Yeshua died, was buried, and rose  again.

If Isaiah 53 cannot refer to Israel, how about Isaiah himself? But  Isaiah said he was a sinful man of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5-7). And  Isaiah did not die as an atonement for our sins. Could it have been  Jeremiah? Jeremiah 11:19 does echo the words of Isaiah 53.

Judah  rejected and despised the prophet for telling them the truth. Leaders of  Judah sought to kill Jeremiah, and so the prophet describes himself in  these terms. But they were not able to kill the prophet. Certainly  Jeremiah did not die to atone for the sins of his people.

What of Moses?  Could the prophet have been speaking of him? But Moses wasn't sinless  either. Moses sinned and was forbidden from entering the promised land  (Numbers 20:12). Moses indeed attempted to offer himself as a sacrifice in place of the nation, but God did not allow him to do so (Exodus 32:30-35).

Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah were all prophets who gave us a glimpse of what Messiah, the ultimate prophet, would be like, but none  of them quite fit Isaiah 53.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue

Did you know that prayer is a dialogue with Heaven; not a monologue? Prayer is meant to establish and maintain an intimate relationship, and accountability between each individual and YHWH. When we read Y’shua’s teachings in context, we can see that they amply reveal this fact! His teachings ALL stand as the demarcation between a true relationship with YHWH, as opposed to a “religion” about Him. Take, for example, this awesome passage where he explains “how to pray”…

Matthew 6: 5. And whenever you pray you should not be like the hypocrites that love to stand in the assemblies and on the corners of the marketplaces to pray that they be visible to the sons of men. And truly I say to you that they have received their reward.

6. But when you pray enter your inner room and close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret[1] and your Father who sees in secret He will reward you in open[2]. 7. And when you pray, you should not be chatterers like the pagans, for they hope that by many words they will be heard. 8. Therefore, do not imitate them for your Father knows what need you have before you ask Him.

9. Therefore, you pray like this: Our Father in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. 10. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. As in heaven so on earth.[3] 11 Give us the bread of our need this day. 12. And forgive us our offenses as we also have forgiven those who have offended us. 13. And not bring us into trial,[4] but deliver us from the evil one, for Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. (AENT)

NOTES:

[1] Psalm 91

[2] The Aramaic word for “open” is b’gelya, which means “to reveal” or “revelation”. Y’shua resided in the Galilee which literally means the “land of revelation”; he is the revealed light to the nations (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 8:23-9:2).

[3] Heavens always come before the earth in terms of the creation order, importance and having heaven’s laws rule on earth (Job 38:31-33).

[4] YHWH does not lead His people into “temptation”, but He does test and proves them. (Deut. 13:3; Job 1:7-12; James 1:14.)

In other words, it’s all about doing YHWH’s Will and pleasing HIM!

How can we do that?

Well, first, we must do an inventory of ourselves to make sure we are being the holy/set apart people He wants us to be – and repent, if we are not. This means not only loving Him with all our heart, being and resources (Deuteronomy 6:5) which means we should WANT to do His Will; but we must also be obedient to His Torah commands.

For instance, if we refuse to keep His commanded Seventh Day Sabbath or His mo’edim (Appointed Times), and are constantly shoveling “unclean” meats into our mouths, then exactly whom are we worshiping? Certainly not the One we think we’re praying to!

Next, we must make sure that our prayer will be geared toward HIS will in the matter for which we are praying. We can’t expect Him to, for instance, magically fix our broken marriages or financial situations, or to take away our drug or alcohol habit, or cause us to lose the extra 200 pounds we’ve gained over the years – UNLESS and UNTIL WE actively decide to make a change in our OWN habits.

WE have to be willing to start lining up our will with His! WE have to be willing to sit down and admit that WE didn’t handle our life’s affairs according to His Word, or that we weren’t good stewards of our money. We have to be willing to admit that we have anger or relationship issues; or that we have an over-eating, drug or alcohol problem. Recognizing and admitting these things is the first step toward change!

Most of all, we MUST remember that YHWH doesn’t even hear the prayers of those who refuse to obey His Torah:

Proverbs 28:9 If a person will not listen to Torah, even his prayer is an abomination. (CJB)

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or don't you know that your body is a temple for the Ruach HaKodesh who lives inside you, whom you received from God? The fact is, you don't belong to yourselves; 20 for you were bought at a price. So use your bodies to glorify God. (CJB)

1 Corinthians 3:12 Some will use gold, silver or precious stones in building on this foundation; while others will use wood, grass or straw. 13 But each one's work will be shown for what it is; the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire - the fire will test the quality of each one's work.

14 If the work someone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward; 15 if it is burned up, he will have to bear the loss: he will still escape with his life, but it will be like escaping through a fire. 16 Don't you know that you people are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17 So if anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you yourselves are that temple. (CJB)

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Day of Prayer and Fasting against the Coronavirus? How about a Day of Prayer and Fasting for people to repent for our sins against God, instead?

Some ministries are proposing "a day of prayer and fasting against the devastating Covid-19 virus".  While that might seem like a good idea on the surface, instead of praying against the virus, wouldn’t it make more sense to come together in repentance regarding OUR sins against YHWH in case the virus ends up becoming a plague?

I don’t think I need to go into detail about YHWH is justifiably upset with us; but the thing is, we cannot simply cite passages such as Joel 2:15-17 to suggest that all we have to do is come together and pray, and all will be well.  What about Joel 1:1-2:14, where we learn that it is YHWH's anger on His people which brings the darkness to those people? 

Instead of attempting to “pray away” the plague or any “bad times” it seems we should come together as a community far more concerned about what WE have done that CAUSED this plague, and pray for forgiveness of our unholiness and our actions!

Joel 2:12 says "turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and lamenting."  It does NOT say "Ask me to stop this virus while you do nothing, and continue living out your sins."

One ministry wrote:

"We want our prayers to rise like incense from the censer of the high priest Aaron who interposed between the living and the dead to stop the plague." 

Great idea but, unfortunately, the scripture was misquoted and misapplied! You see, this idea came from Numbers 16:47-48, where Korach and his followers had rebelled against Moshe and YHWH! (Numbers 16:1-3).  This was not a plague that simply "came upon" the people, that Aaron was required to stop; it came about BECAUSE of what the people had done – and Aaron atoned for them as an action to stop the plague (Numbers 16:47). 

We are not to ask OUR will of YHWH. Our responsibility is to seek HIS Will, and to be holy and set-apart for Him. 

Of course WE want the virus to stop – but what we need to do, if we are to participate in a world-wide day of prayer is to pray that YHWH would have mercy on his sin-filled people, AND for everyone to turn back to Him and to call on His Name so that maybe, just maybe, He would have mercy as in Joel 2:18-32.

YES, by all means, PRAY without ceasing! (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)  But remember that our prayers should never be geared toward “compassion for a purposely sinful people” who refuse to seek YHWH.

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.

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.

2 Peter 2: 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for a person is slave to whatever has defeated him. 20 Indeed, if they have once escaped the pollutions of the world through knowing our Lord and Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah, and then have again become entangled and defeated by them, their latter condition has become worse than their former. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the Way of righteousness than, fully knowing, to turn from the holy command delivered to them.

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.

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)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Some great questions from someone wishing to prevent a friend from “rejecting Jesus”….

READER QUESTION:

Your ministry was referred to me by a friend. A good friend of mine, Torah observant, has been listening to a teacher from Beit Tefillah productions on you tube. I don t know the teacher’s name, but the teaching she sent me is called “no messiah can die for your sins.”

Based on his teaching, my friend is deciding to deny Messiah and the entire apostolic scripture. He makes a very good case, but I think I could make a rebuttal for most of his points. But I may need help. His premise is that one person dying for another’s sin is not in Tenahk, and human sacrifice is an abomination.

Are you familiar with this teaching and do you have ideas to answer it? Any rebuttal must come only from Tenahk, which I believe can be done. I can answer the issues on human sacrifice , and the idea of one person atoning for another. He claims and proves blood is not required for forgiveness, etc. He does not take into account the covenant blood. Thanks in advance for any help

OUR RESPONSE:

Hello and thank you for writing to The Refiner's Fire!

It is admirable that you wish to keep your friend from making the biggest mistake of his life, but I can tell you from experience that, once someone has decided to "reject Jesus", there's nothing you can say or do to change their mind. They drank the proverbial Kool-Aid and became "star-struck" by the Jewish rabbis who have crawled out of the woodwork to "rub elbows" with the Gentiles to supposedly lead them to "G-d's Truth" (which, of course, means teaching them to toss out the entire New Testament).

These unsuspecting former Christians, Messianics or Hebrew Roots types don't recognize the hidden agenda of those rabbis and their converts, which is to get people to REJECT Messiah Y'shua and then begin to teach the rest of the world to do the same. (Ironically, once they've rejected him "Jesus" seems to be all the "Jesus rejecters" ever talk about!)

It's brilliant, really, the "reverse psychology" the rabbis and their converts employ: make your enemy into a friend and then use him to help you carry out your mission.

Doesn’t it sound familiar? If not, it should, because that's exactly how the serpent in Genesis 3:1-7 operated! That "serpent" and those two gullible humans who used poor judgment and strayed from YHWH's commands (like the entire world is doing today!) are THE reason we are IN a fallen world that is now in the process of collapsing!

Anyway, questions such as yours cannot be answered in one, neat and simple paragraph, so I will be referring you to some of our website's articles, where we have answered tons of "counter-missionary" questions.

So - getting to the point - I'm sure you know, anyone who teaches against YHWH's Divine Messiah is dead wrong. And they ALWAYS try to use the same ol' hackneyed excuses that, if it wasn't prophesied in Torah or Tanakh, then it is a myth. Realistically, if that's the case, then none of our forebears exist, either, because NONE of them were mentioned in Torah/Tanakh! George Washington was just another guy off the street, because Tanakh didn't prophesy him to become the first President of the United States. Same with Benjamin Netanyahu or any other world leader. Furthermore, the computers or cellphones we use today are also myths, as neither of those things were prophesied (along with multitudes of other modern inventions that make our life easier).

The thing is, Tanakh DOES reveal Messiah and his sufferings! I mean, who do you think Isaiah 53 is all about? Oh sure, those illustrious "counter-missionaries" (just like Christians, on the other side of the spectrum) apply plenty of Scripture twisting to force YHWH's Word to say what they WANT it to say; but ask yourself the following:

  • If Isaiah 53 is supposedly about Israel (as "they" insist) we must question whether Israel can DIE for Israel? (No, but Y’shua did! See Matthew 27.)
  • Can Israel be wounded for our transgressions? (No, but Y’shua was! See Matthew 27.)
  • Can people take Israel's garments and divide them? (No, but that certainly happened in Y’shua’s case! See John 19:23.)
  • WHEN was "Israel" wounded for our transgressions or crushed because of our iniquities?
  • Has the world been HEALED by "Israel"? Not hardly!

Y'shua has filled myriad Tanach prophecies - and people can reject it all they want, but they cannot CHANGE those facts! (And, by the way, NOTHING SAID that Y'shua would have to fulfill ALL the Tanach prophecies within his lifetime - which is another thing "they" attempt to use against him. (Please read our articles: Isaiah 53 and Yeshua   and Accurate Messiah Prophecies.)

All these so-called "learned rabbis" (and their blinded hangers-on) can't seem to see the supernatural events surrounding Mashiyach Y'shua. They have no problem believing that "G-d" (a Being they've never seen) created the universe and everything in it - but to cause His Divine Messiah to be supernaturally implanted into an almah (virgin)? - well, that's apparently too ridiculous and far-fetched!

YOU WROTE: "His premise is that one person dying for another's sin is not in Tenahk, and 'human sacrifice' is an abomination." He claims and proves blood is not required for forgiveness, etc. Are you familiar with this teaching and do you have ideas to answer it? Any rebuttal must come only from Tenahk, which I believe can be done."

OUR RESPONSE: Please read our blog article, "Mere men cannot atone? WRONG!"  Also see Judges 11 where Yiftach did sacrifice his daughter to fulfill the vow he made to YHWH. And let's not forget that Avraham was perfectly willing to sacrifice Yitzhak until YHWH provided a ram...

Today, many (if not most) Jews insist that prayer and repentance are all God requires of us to be forgiven. That is absolutely FALSE!  Please see our article on eternal life.

See also our article about the Passover connection to Y'shua - which shows that Y’shua wasn’t a “human sacrifice” because nobody sacrificed him. (Much like the Passover lambs that were NOT “sacrificed” either….)

Y'shua volunteered to substitute His nephesh for yours, and yet, today, many reject the offer. Y'shua, sinless because of who he was, MARTYRED himself, offering His blood for yours, against which there is NO Torah prohibition!

As mentioned above, I doubt your friend will listen to you, much less, bother to read our articles containing biblical proof, but we wish you well in this endeavor and pray YHWH's favor upon you both.

By the way, the website you were referring to belongs to Scott Shoob (who has various spellings of his last name, including Schubbe). Scott used to be a Messianic believer up until two or three years ago, when he suddenly "became enlightened".... His teachings are absolute POISON. And, of course, like the counter-missionary rabbis, Scott is also in it for the money. Controversy, after all, sells.   (And, as I mentioned before, just like all the others who reject YHWH's Messiah, how ironic that he just CAN'T seem to quit talking about him…)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A word about the Coronavirus

People, please don't listen to those who are either trying to be alarmists about the Coronavirus, or telling you there's nothing to worry about. Be proactive and prepare for the eventuality that you might have to stay at home as this thing continues to spread,, because it IS spreading across the US now! So far there have been 9 deaths in the US, but God only knows how many are infected.

This virus IS in every country around the world now, except for Antarctica. The worst outbreaks so far have been in China, S. Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy.

Be smart, employ plenty of common sense, prepare to be quarantined in your own homes with plenty of food and supplies - and stay informed! If, for some reason this thing somehow fizzles out on its own, then what have you really lost by buying extra non-perishable foods? Nothing!

Judging by everything going on in the world, we are IN the end times where bad things are going to happen - so just stay calm, stay in Scripture, get yourself right with ADONAI, and pray. The good news is - Believers KNOW where they will spend eternity, no matter WHAT happens - Halleluyah!

This website contains both maps of the infected countries around the world and in the United States….

Sunday, March 1, 2020

On forgiving and defending a known sinner….

Have you ever noticed how quickly people will rush to forgive known deceivers? I’m talking about deceivers who are busy cheating, lying, committing adultery; those who are abusive drunks or drug addicts, or who are purposely sinning in some other way, who were caught red-handed in their sin, after generally deceiving everyone into thinking they were “godly” men and women…

Unfortunately, most seem to be ready, willing and able to immediately "take them back" the moment they apologize - no matter WHAT they did!

Equally sad is that these same people rushing to forgive knowns sinners, will also quickly ostracize those who warn others about the sinner, and those who attempt to find two witnesses to help them confront the sinner in hopes of getting him/her back onto YHWH’s Path! (I know this from experience because I once attempted to lead a sister in our former congregation back onto YHWH’s Path, who was committing adultery. Things turned ugly when I approached the other Elders’ wives to help me confront and pray with that sister (whom I had actually already counseled in private). Ultimately, that whole congregation fell apart because the leaders had allowed “the enemy” to gain a foothold….)

People who are quick to forgive sinners (and judge YOU for attempting to step in), clearly don’t know that Scripture commands us to stay completely away from those who purposely sin and refuse correction. (See Deuteronomy 13:4-18; 24:7, to mention just a couple of passages.) Of course, today, we don’t have YHWH Himself commanding us to put the evil-doers to death. (If an evil-doer has been found guilty of a heinous crime, then the justice system will decide what to do with him or her.)

The thing is, we DO have scriptures that tell us to STAY AWAY from people who refuse to walk according to Torah – especially if they refuse any “Matthew 18” correction. We’re not to blindly “forgive and forget” just because they’ve apologized! This holds true especially if the perp was a Messianic or Hebrew Roots teacher. You don’t arbitrarily forgive those who purposely sinned and simply allow them to return to continue teaching, as if nothing ever happened! They’re no longer qualified to teach because they should have KNOWN better!

Matthew 18:15 And if your brother with you is at fault, go rebuke him, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 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. (AENT)

Oh sure, they’re “sorry” and asking for forgiveness – because they got caught! But what qualifies them to return to your “friends list” or congregation and expect to continue teaching and preaching to YOU? YHWH expects HIS people to be HOLY, set apart from the world. If you wish to forgive them and allow them to return to “your world,” fine – but they should NOT be allowed to even give the appearance of trying to “teach” anyone….

1 Corinthians 5: 11. But this is what I wrote to you, that you don't mix, if anyone is called a brother, and is a sexual sinner, or avaricious, or an idol-worshipper, or a charlatan, or a drunkard, or rapacious, with him who is such, not even to eat bread.[1] 12. For what business have I to judge them who are without? But those within the body, you judge, 13. and those without, Elohim judges; and remove you the wickedness from among you. (AENT)

NOTE: Breaking of bread, of course, is a timeworn Middle Eastern custom that is done only with family and friends. If you cannot eat with someone (as Peter tried to separate himself in Galatians 2:13), then you cannot associate with them at all. If the sinner was out of the assembly, you were not permitted to persecute them. However, you could, and in fact you must, demand that such a person put away detestable habits if they are to join the assembly and partake of the communal and havdilah meals that Y'shua and his disciples enjoyed.

Here is another dire warning for the “bleeding hearts” who don’t believe in holding people accountable for their actions:

Ezekiel 3:18 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)

If a brother or sister has "fallen from grace," it is our DUTY to speak up and tell them how and why they're "off the mark." This holds true, no matter WHO they are!

So many of "our" teachers have "fallen from grace" over the years, yet people continue to promote, and even defend these teachers and their teachings – and they will verbally blast anyone who attempts to tell them otherwise. The truth is, Scripture reveals that "teachers" are held to a higher standard and should be as blameless before YHWH as is humanly possible because they should KNOW Scripture inside-out (James 3:1).

If they've committed sins against Him, it usually turns out to be a "deliberate" sin - for which there is no sin sacrifice! (Please see our article on deliberate sinning.) People who committed deliberate sins during Israel's 40 years in the wilderness, were KILLED because YHWH commanded that HIS people to "rid themselves of such evil from among them."

Yet, today, we seem to be all about "forgiveness" of anything including deliberate sins. That is why churches and synagogues reek with "religiosity." Many insist on watering down the Word and immediately accuse us of “judging” if we dare attempt to rectify a situation.  (This kind of “upside-down” thinking is why humanity keeps getting worse and more vicious, violent and unruly; and why the world is in the bad shape it’s in….)

Many reading this will counter: "But scripture says 'Don't judge, so that you won't be judged'!", quoting Matthew 7:1.

What they fail to do is to continue reading verse 2 where Matthew goes on to say: "For the way you judge others is how you will be judged..."  Judgment is always to be made with Torah as the standard of judgment - not your own interpretation.  Torah is the only measure of sin.  So, when you have pointed out a person's sin according to transgression of Torah, you are not judging according to the world or your own standards; you are judging righteously!

Therefore, if you see a brother or sister who is about to “fall off a cliff” and out of YHWH’s grace – don’t be afraid to tell them, or to warn others whenever that particular sinner refuses correction….

You certainly don’t want to be guilty of having “their blood on your hands” come Judgment Day!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Two end times passages containing dire warnings

Here are two Scripture passages containing dire warnings for our “end times” scenario assuring us that, while some BAD things are ahead, there IS hope and a promise of “new heavens and a new earth.” However, there are also some strict things expected of us. Read on:

Isaiah 65: “For, look! I create new heavens and a new earth; past things will not be remembered, they will no more come to mind. 18 So be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for look! I am making Yerushalayim a joy, and her people a delight. 19 I will rejoice in Yerushalayim and take joy in my people. The sound of weeping will no longer be heard in it, no longer the sound of crying. 20 No more will babies die in infancy, no more will an old man die short of his days — he who dies at a hundred will be thought young, and at less than a hundred thought cursed.

21 They will build houses and live in them, they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They will not build and others live there, they will not plant and others eat; for the days of my people will be like the days of a tree, and my chosen will themselves enjoy the use of what they make. 23 They will not toil in vain or raise children to be destroyed, for they are the seed blessed by Adonai; and their offspring with them. 24 Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion eat straw like an ox (but the serpent — its food will be dust). They will not hurt or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain,” says Adonai. (CJB)

NOTE: See also 2 Peter 3:8 Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:13 Isaiah 65:17; 66:22.

Now, let’s check out 2 Peter 3:

2 Peter 3: 1. This second letter, my beloved,[1] I now write to you; in (both of) which I stir up your honest mind by admonition: 2. that you may be mindful of the words which were formerly spoken by the Set Apart prophets, and of the commandment of our Master and Redeemer by the hand of the Shlichim (Apostles): 3. knowing this previously, that there will come in the last days scoffers who will scoff, walking according to their own lusts 4. and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, since our fathers fell asleep, everything remains just as from the beginning of the creation.

NOTE 1: While the beginning of this Epistle is not addressed to particular groups of people, the notation here indicates that Peter has sent it to the same groups that he mentioned in the previous letter, Galatia, Cappadocia and peoples in Asia.

2 Peter 3: 5. For this they willingly forget, that the heavens were of old; and the earth rose up from the waters, and by means of water, by the Word of Elohim. 6. (And), by means of these (waters), the world which then was, (being submerged) again perished in the waters. 7. And the heavens that now are, and the earth, are by His Word stored up, being reserved for the fire at the day of judgment and the perdition of wicked men. 8. And of this one thing, my beloved, be not forgetful: That one day to Master YHWH, is as a thousand years; and a thousand years, as one day.

2 Peter 3: 9. Master YHWH does not delay His promises as some estimate delay; but He is long suffering for your sakes, being not willing that any should perish, but that everyone should come to repentance. 10. And the day of Master YHWH will come like a thief; in which the heavens will suddenly pass away; and the elements, being ignited, will be dissolved; and the earth and the works in it will not be found. 11. As therefore all these things are to be dissolved, what persons should you be, in Set Apart conduct and in the Fear of Elohim, 12. expecting and desiring the coming of the day of Elohim in which the heavens being tried by fire will be dissolved and the elements being ignited will melt?[2]

NOTE 2: Complement to Matthew 5:17-20; the followers of Y’shua will continue to observe Torah as this great event transpires.

2 Peter 3: 13. But we, according to his promise, expect new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14. Therefore, my beloved, as you expect these things, strive that you may be found by him in peace, without spot and without blemish. 15. And account the long suffering of Master YHWH to be redemption; as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom conferred on him, wrote to you; 16. as also in all his letters speaking in them of these things in which there is something difficult to be understood; (and) which they who are ignorant and unstable pervert, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures,[3] to their own destruction.

NOTE 3: It’s rather shocking that Peter writes of how Paul’s letters had already been turned into a Torahless fiasco, even in Peter’s day! Certainly, it was not the Pharisees who were renouncing Torah Observance, but the humanist, pagan and materialist, “modernists” who operated under “Christian” labels.

2 Peter 3: 17. You therefore, my beloved, as you know (these things) beforehand, guard yourselves or else, by going after the error of the Torahless, you fall from your steadfastness. 18. But be you growing in grace[4] and in the knowledge of our Master and Redeemer Y’shua the Mashiyach (AENT)

NOTE 4: Grace is the opposite of torahlessness. The Renewed Covenant prescribes Torah written upon the hearts of YHWH’s people; therefore, when we allow Him to write Torah upon our hearts, we are receiving Torah by His Grace and entering into the Renewed Covenant.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

“Why are you guys so blunt and direct all the time? Whatever happened to “love, kindness and gentleness?”

Great question, and the answer is:  Because our time to “get ourselves right with God” is short and growing shorter by the day. People have had SO MANY warnings over the centuries, and ignored them. Therefore,, we at The Refiner’s Fire have decided to simply "brave" just "tell it like it is" – even SHOUT IT OUT - BECAUSE the time is NOW to get ourselves right with God.

Why?  Because terrible things are happening at a record pace, and nobody is guaranteed the next day….

Unfortunately, no one seems to be listening. If the world had actually been doing what YHWH has been commanding since the beginning of time, we wouldn't have rampant sinning!  We wouldn't have "gay marriage" shoved down our throats as "normal" today - even LEGALIZED to the point where if you speak out against it, you're guilty of "hate crimes!"

"“Love, kindness and gentleness” didn't work on that, did they? Instead, those "soft voices" warning about God "not liking" homosexuality, were ignored, His ample warnings AND His people have been verbally trampled to death!  What’s more, today we don't even GET a voice because it's now illegal to speak out against homosexuality!

THAT’S where “love, kindness and gentleness” got us….

Therefore, we are SHOUTING to the world: "WAKE UP!”

SOMEBODY has to say it loud enough to get people to pay attention. And if some people get their feelings hurt because of it, that's sad, but simply the way it is. The forcefulness wouldn't have been necessary IF people had paid attention all along. At least now, SOME will - if for no other reason than because they're mad at us for being “so blunt”....

The truth is, we can no longer be "mealy-mouthed" about YHWH's Truth. The world is in the awful mess it's in BECAUSE mankind continues to ignore Him. While "love and gentleness" are great qualities, we must ask ourselves a hard question: "Are they really working?"

Take a look around you. What do you see? A world that reeks of SIN - and is, consequently, reaping its rewards in spades! We've got endless fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamies, earthquakes and other natural disasters happening with more ferocity, intensity and frequency than ever before!

We've got so many natural disasters and diseases, etc. that we can't even finish cleaning up from one, before the NEXT one hits...

We've got diseases for which we have no cure - including the AIDS epidemic that started back in the mid-Seventies (thanks to homosexuality - which YHWH considers to be an ABOMINATION!) and was finally diagnosed in the early-to-mid-Eighties.

And in 2020, here's STILL no cure!  Know why? Because the ONLY cure is to live according to YHWH's holy Rules! The ONLY cure is to STOP the "abominable" practices!

But it's too late for that, isn't it? I mean, homosexuality is LEGAL today - and you, Mr. and Ms. Believer, will end up in prison if you dare say anything against it...

Be that as it may, every time we find a cure for one thing (or come close to finding one), something NEW comes along....It never ends!  And that’s because we are IN THE END TIMES as outlined in the Books of Daniel and Revelation!

We humans have dared to take on YHWH way too often – but guess who's going to win...

Ever feel the drive for revenge?

Admit it - we've all felt the drive for "revenge" against someone who has hurt us. (God only knows I have!) But did you know that Scripture commands us not to?

Proverbs 20:22 Don’t say, “I’ll pay back evil for evil”; wait for Adonai to save you. (CJB)

Proverbs 24:28 Don’t be a witness against your neighbor for no reason — would you use your lips to deceive? 29 Don’t say, “I’ll do to him what he did to me, I’ll pay him back what his deeds deserve.” (CJB)

Although "revenge" against the perpetrator would feel good, we are to let it go and give it all to YHWH, because HE will avenge us!

Romans 12:19. And be you not avengers of yourselves, my beloved: but give place to wrath. For it is written: If you do not execute judgment for yourself, I will execute judgment for you, says Elohim. 20. And if your adversary be hungry, feed him: and if he be thirsty, give him drink. For if you do these things, you will heap coals of fire on his head. 21. Do not be overcome by evil; but overcome evil with good. (AENT)

There are NO directives from Genesis to Revelation that counsel anyone to take vengeance upon their adversaries. YHWH says, "vengeance belongs to Me" (Deut. 32:35, 41; Psalm 94);

He will judge and resolve all matters according to His Righteous Judgment. The idea of taking vengeance upon others, as in jihad or holy war against the infidels is rooted in fear and heathenism by those who put their faith in self rather than in Elohim.

Romans 12:19 Never seek revenge, my friends; instead, leave that to God’s anger; for in the Tanakh it is written, “Adonai says, ‘Vengeance is my responsibility; I will repay.’” (CJB)

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Let’s discuss "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit"....

What do you think? Am I right or wrong?  I personally believe  that those who publicly ridicule and denounce Yeshua, are guilty of  committing the only "unforgivable sin" which is "blasphemy of the Holy  Spirit".... (Mark 3:22–30 and Matthew 12:22–32)

Let me explain:

In my opinion, the unpardonable sin  is the state of continued unbelief. (How can anyone NOT see that Isaiah 53 is all about YHWH's Divine Messiah?)

The Ruach (Holy Spirit) convicts the "unsaved" world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).  To resist that conviction and willfully remain unrepentant is to  “blaspheme” the Spirit.

Since Yeshua shed his divine blood, there is NO OTHER pardon, in this age or in the  age to come, for anyone who rejects the Spirit’s promptings to know, believe in, and trust that his blood atoned for our sins.

John 3:16.Thus, for Elohim loved the world so as he would give His Only-Begotten Son, that whoever would believe in him would not perish, but would have life that is eternal. 17. For Elohim did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to give life to the world through him. 18. He who does not believe in him is judged, and he who does not believe is already judged because he does not believe in his name, that of the Only-Begotten, the Son of Elohim. (AENT)

So, the choice is clear: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,  but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains  on him” (John 3:36).

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Some GREAT messages from the Apostle Paul

Rav Shaul (Rabbi Paul) wrote the following great message to Timothy that actually resonates into our modern day:

1 Timothy 1: 3. When I was going into Macedonia, I requested you to remain at Ephesus and to charge certain persons not to teach different doctrines, 4. and not to throw themselves into fables and stories about genealogies of which there is no end, which produce contention rather than edification in the Faith of Elohim.

5. Now the goal[1] of the command is love which is from a pure heart and from a good conscience and from true Faith. 6. But from these some have strayed and have turned aside to vain words; 7. because they wished to be teachers of Torah, while they understood not what they speak, nor the thing about which they contend.

(Note: Sound familiar? How many of "those types" do WE know!)

1 Timothy 1: 8. Now we know, that Torah is a good thing if a man conduct himself in it according to Torah; 9. he knowing that Torah was not established for the righteous but for the evil and the rebellious, and those without Elohim, and the sinful, and the perverse and for the impure, and for smiters of their fathers and smiters of their mothers, and for murderers, 10. and for sexual sinners and for copulators with males, and for the stealers of free people, and for liars, and for violators of oaths, and for whatever is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 (namely) that of the glorious Good News of the blessed Elohim with which I am entrusted.[2]  (AENT)

NOTES:

[1] Mashiyach/Messiah is the goal of Torah, not its termination (not "the end of the law" which some versions say.

Love is also the sakal(goal) of the commandment, not the termination. This is validated throughout Rav Shaul’s writings in key places like Romans 3:31; 7:12; 10:4.

[2] In other words, Torah was not made to confirm the righteousness of man, but to set the boundaries of the Kadosh (Set Apart) as good, and the profane as evil. It is only through the boundaries set by YHWH that the Good News can proceed into the hearts of those who seek the Kingdom of Elohim.

The Good News is the advancement of Torah, not its destruction as taught by the majority of Christian theologians.

Friday, February 21, 2020

What constitutes a “graven image?”

READER COMMENT:

Please explain what it means about making graven images like anything in heaven, on earth or under the earth.  Does this mean for bowing down to worship only or does it mean more than that, even if it is a picture?  I am talking to someone who thinks that since YHWH is in heaven that means Him, too.  You cannot make a likeness of Him since He is a Spirit.  Could you help me In this matter?  Thanks!

OUR RESPONSE:

You are talking about Exodus 20:4 or Deuteronomy 5:8.  The Hebrew word "פסל" [phe'sel] in these verses comes from the root word "פסל" [pa-sal, (spelled the same in Hebrew)], and "pa-sal" is a verb meaning "to carve".  So the word "phe'sel" is a Hebrew idiom for a "carved image".  (Many English translations use the word "graven image" since an antonym of "carve" is to "grave" (as in "dig/cut into" as in the word "engrave".)  A carved image in the Hebrew idiom is closest to an "idol" in English. 

So this commandment is to not make an "idol" of any god.  (The Hebrews had been brought out of Egypt and were headed to lands where there was enormous idol worship, and YHWH was admonishing them NOT to do that, and the people did not even see an image of YHWH on Mt. Sinai. 

Deuteronomy 4:14-19: "14 At that time Adonai ordered me to teach you laws and rulings, so that you would live by them in the land you are entering in order to take possession of it. 15  "Therefore, watch out for yourselves! Since you did not see a shape of any kind on the day Adonai spoke to you in Horev from the fire, 16  do not become corrupt and make yourselves a carved image having the shape of any figure - not a representation of a human being, male or female,

17  or a representation of any animal on earth, or a representation of any bird that flies in the air, 18 or a representation of anything that creeps along on the ground, or a representation of any fish in the water below the shoreline. 19  For the same reason, do not look up at the sky, at the sun, moon, stars and everything in the sky, and be drawn away to worship and serve them; Adonai your God has allotted these to all the peoples under the entire sky." (CJB)

So you have to be careful when you ask: "Does this mean for bowing down to worship only or does it mean more than that, even if it is a picture?" The No. 1 meaning in the Hebrew idiom "carved image" is that it is considered by the person to be "a god". So it's not that it must be "carved", for even a drawing or painting is "graven" for "graven" is an archaic term for an inscription or image on a surface.  So the English "graven image" comes pretty close to the meaning of the Hebrew idiom.  It's any image or shape considered a god, and that includes an image of YHWH!

But, found in scripture, there is a reference to an "idol" that is not a carved/graven image of a god! In 1 Samuel 19:13, we find that when Mihhal, David's wife took an "idol" and put it in David's bed as a dummy: "Mikhal took the household idol, laid it on the bed, put a goat's-hair quilt at its head and covered it with a cloth." 

But the word here is "teraphim" [תרפים], not "phe'sel" and means "healer". Consider Judges 17:5 "This man Mikhah owned a house of God; so he made a ritual vest and household gods [teraphim] and consecrated one of his sons, who became his cohen."  A teraphim seemed to have been a kind of "helper" or household charm for good luck,  or to help summon YHWH, rather than an object of worship. 

So a teraphim is not a false god [carved/graven image], rather it is a "prayer aid". These people had YHWH as their God but no King (Judges 17:6) so they were left on their own to try to worship YHWH as best they could. (Remember, no on in those days could read or had access to a Tanakh.

In fact all of Judges 17-18 is a very interesting read if one pays attention to this odd behavior of these leader-less people, and the difference between the phe'sel and the teraphim.  These people were truly struggling on their own.  There are other references of the use of teraphim, but I think you get the picture.)

Today, we tread on dangerous ground if we have phe'sel or teraphim in our presence. That's why I said you have to be careful thinking that Exodus 20:4 or Deuteronomy 5:8 might mean "bowing down to worship only".  A picture could be either a phe'sel or teraphim, and if it is a phe'sel, it should not be in the house, and if considered a teraphim, why have it? 

We, today can possess, read, and study the direct word of YHWH.  Why would we need or even desire a teraphim, "helper/healer" or prayer aid?  Our "helper/healer" is the Ruach HaChodesh who dwells in us provided we remain holy by our obedience to YHWH's Word. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

“The sins of the father” …. Do you know what that means?

The following is a graphic tale illustrating how “the sins of the father” (Exodus 34:7) are passed down through the generations.

For this lesson, I’m going to use my own family history, as it is replete with examples of how the "sins of the father" are passed down through the generations. (And while some may feel that this article is too graphic, we must remember that deliberate sins of ANY kind will seriously jeopardize our relationship with YHWH – and even result in the loss of our salvation - Numbers 15:30, Romans 1:18-32, and Hebrews 6:4-8).

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)

Truths such as these are necessary to remind us that YHWH considered “sin” to be heinous enough to warrant the killing an innocent animal whose blood was used to atone for our sins! He considered SIN so grave and urgent that He gave His one and only Son to shed his own divine blood on our behalf….)

So, in my lesson today, I will use the examples of two of my four “lost” (unsaved) half-brothers. I've tried to reach all of them over the years, to no avail. To this day, none of them have any clue as to how "lost" they are and, sadly, they’ve made it VERY clear that they don't wish to be "found".

The thing is, it’s not totally their fault; it’s a direct result of the "sins of the father" – the parents; the family of unbelievers into which they were born – with each generation becoming more “lost” and vile than the previous one.

Please pay special attention to the progression I’m trying to illustrate with the following real-life examples….

I’LL BEGIN THIS STORY WITH MY FIRST “AWAKENING” to this “sins of the father” dilemma that seems to have plagued my family for many generations. It happened when I was just 12 years old, when “Grandpa” - my abusive adoptive father’s 72-year-old father - came to live with us temporarily. Up until then, I figured “Daddy” (an American soldier who I first met at age 9 when he and my mother jerked me out of my happy foster home in Germany to live with them) was the only child molester in the world … because, back in my day, nobody ever talked about those things.

(By the way, my mother never knew about the sexual abuse because I was too terrified of her reaction, as she and I had no rapport, whatsoever. The only reason I was living with her now was because she had to take me back from my foster parents of 9 years, in order to leave Germany legally with her new, American soldier husband, who was – unbeknownst to her - a raving pedophile. A confused and godless woman who was forced to hide her Jewish heritage in post-War Germany (and forced into prostitution by her own, alcoholic mother!) she was a lost soul – always searching for, but never finding something to fill that little hole in her soul that only ADONAI can fill. She was married a total of 8 times, and died of colon cancer, alone and bitter at age 45 - leaving in her wake, five emotionally-scarred children, myself included…)

Please remember what I have related about my mother and adoptive father because, in the history of my immediate family, those two kicked off the series of events that absolutely ruined the lives of two of my younger brothers!  (It almost ruined mine, as well, but thankfully, I heeded YHWH’s call.)

BACK TO THE STORY: Grandpa’s arrival introduced me to the idea that Daddy’s sick desires for little girls seemed to have been inherited – because ol’ “Grandpa” didn’t hesitate to approach me at the first available opportunity.

The only difference between the old man and my adoptive father was that I knew I didn’t have to obey or please Grandpa in any way, because the roof over my head and the food in my mouth didn’t depend on him. And so, I didn’t hesitate to make it perfectly clear that his inappropriate touches were NOT welcome!

As time went on, I also saw that pedophile “gene” (for lack of a better term) exhibiting itself in “Daddy’s” natural son, my younger half-brother, whom I’ll call Terry. The difference between father and son, however, was that Terry eventually became a bisexual pedophile. NOT just your ordinary “garden variety” pedophile, but a BISEXUAL pedophile….

Can you already begin see the progression caused by the “sins of the father?”

Read on; I’m just getting started.

I knew Terry had some weird issues during childhood because, on one hand, he was Mother’s favorite – and she never once bothered to hide that fact; while on the other hand, his father seemed to resent and even outright HATE him. While “Daddy” was sexually abusing me (and “grooming” me for his sick purposes), he was downright evil to Terry, constantly berating him and letting him how stupid he was and how he would never amount to anything. That poor kid couldn’t do ANYTHING right in “Daddy’s” eyes! I can’t tell you how many times he was thumped in the forehead for not “holding his fork right” at the supper table….

But I didn’t discover just how disturbed Terry really was until decades later, after many years of separation. I nearly fell off my chair when he nonchalantly related that he was a bisexual who liked having sex with children - and that he had “always been into having sex with whomever, wherever and whenever.”

If that wasn’t surprising enough, he also dropped the bombshell that I – his “perfect big sister” (said sarcastically) – had NOT been the only victim of a pedophile in our family, because our mother had used him (Terry) for sex whenever she was in between boyfriends and/or husbands!

Terry emitted a raucous laugh when he saw the horrified look on my face; but assured me very matter-of-factly, that he hadn’t minded it all, because “Mother taught him a lot about sex.”

In other words, he truly couldn’t see anything wrong with that scenario! (And by the way, during this particular conversation, Terry propositioned me! “After all,” he insisted with a chuckle, “incest is best; it’s all relative.”

Anyway, remembering the endless abuse we had both endured at the hands of Terry’s mentally deranged and violent father, I discovered that my former sweet and shy little half-brother (now well over six feet tall) was a completely broken person who didn’t realize that, due to the abnormal, twisted lifestyles of our parents, he had become confused about his own sexuality!

From the casual way he was relating his experiences, he had clearly convinced himself that he “liked” having sex with our mother; and openly admitted that, as a young boy, desperate for his abusive father’s love, he had entertained sexual fantasies about him, because he didn’t know what else he could possibly do to please the man….

In other words, Terry didn’t know he was a completely BROKEN vessel, thanks to the “sins of BOTH his parents.” He still doesn’t – and, unfortunately, he cannot be persuaded otherwise. Believe me, I’ve tried. He’s convinced he’s a “loser” – he’s told me that several times – and he has certainly done everything in his power over the course of his life to live up to that low standard….

Terry’s whole life reflects self-imposed failure – and I say “self-imposed” because YHWH has given ALL of us the opportunity and ability to recognize the need for a CHANGE in our life. Terry (who’s now in his mid-sixties and completely disfigured from the horrible disease called Scleroderma), has CHOSEN to remain in that “rut” his parents built for him … a rut that he carefully tended and maintained over the years.

Growing up, he never knew what a “normal” and loving relationship was! That was because our mother was forever getting married and divorced. We were like gypsies, moving constantly. (I attended 14 different schools before I graduated from high school.) She could never find that elusive happiness she was seeking – and even when she had a “decent man” in her life, she inevitably found a reason to dump him.

You see, she “craved” unhappiness – because that’s what she was used to! She HAD to be unhappy to FEEL “happy”. “Unhappy” was her norm. (I know that feeling because, until YHWH came into my life, I always did the same thing!  Without realizing why, I always figured out ways to remain unhappy.)

So, it’s no wonder that Terry ended up going from one relationship to the next, in between his four or five marriages. In keeping with his “sex with whomever and whenever” lifestyle, he once got a 14-year-old girl pregnant when he was 29; and in the meantime, he had two daughters by two different women (neither of whom he helped raise).

One of his daughters is now serving time in prison for selling drugs…..

I lost all contact with Terry a couple decades ago, because – according to him – I “changed too much after becoming a Spirit-filled Believer” and, consequently, we no longer had anything “to talk about” and he wasn’t interested in my “holier-than-thou attitude,” as he put it - adding very dramatically that I needed to “come down off the cross, because somebody might need the wood.”

DO YOU SEE HOW TERRY CONTINUED IN HIS PARENTS’ FOOTSTEPS? He is exactly what his parents caused him to be! They dug that “rut” for him, and he remained in it – because he never realized he had been emotionally scarred. Subconsciously, he had to STAY in that rut, because it was “home”; it was “who he was,” and anything else would have “felt foreign.”

One of the saddest parts about Terry’s story is that he literally passed on his sick behaviors to our baby brother. Read on…

In order to explain the last couple of sentences, I will have to back up to my childhood again - to when I was 16 (and Terry was 11), when my mother (married to her fourth husband by then) gave birth to a little boy I’ll call “Tommy”.

Unfortunately, because I ran away from home and ultimately enlisted and made the US Army my career in order to “get away from it all” - poor little Tommy ended up being raised mainly by our alcoholic, mostly absentee mother … and by Terry … who, after I ran away from home, ended up becoming my mother’s main housekeeper and babysitter (and also her substitute sex partner).

(I have often regretted that I didn’t get to help raise Tommy, but I’m not sure my presence would have made much difference because my mother was an overpowering entity, and I was a “broken vessel” myself back then, just trying to survive on the mentoring I had received in high school from some great teachers. But, alas, by age 16, I was in a “fight or flight” situation to preserve my own sanity, because I felt my only other option was suicide….)

MOVING A FEW YEARS AHEAD WITH THE STORY, Tommy was 9 years old when our mother died, and he was forced to live with his natural father (who was actually a GOOD guy whom our mother had, unfortunately, vilified). Naturally, the child hated his father, and he literally spent all his time rebelling and making himself unlovable. (You see, “unhappiness” was Tommy’s norm, too. He learned that in spades during his early childhood.)

In short, Tommy turned into a hateful, spiteful, uncontrollable teenager who adopted unhealthy habits, such as engaging in witchcraft and “magic spells” as a way to “feel in control” of something in his life.

Like Terry, he never “made anything out of himself” either – he never had a real career or any ambition. He simply started roaming freely around the country, sponging off people. (He called me a couple times over the years, asking for financial help, because everything he did, fell through.) At one point, he joined the Army, and quickly deserted and disappeared for a whole year, after discovering he would be required to follow some rules….

Needless to say, he received a Dishonorable Discharge (which not only resulted in some prison time, but is was also pretty much a death knell for any future career plans), and so he spent most of his life doing odd jobs and simply “living with women” who were gullible enough to fall for his drop-dead gorgeous good looks … until they figured he out that he was a total deadbeat, and tossed him out on his ear.

Last year I reached out to Tommy (now in his mid-fifties), because he admitted on his Facebook page that he was living in his car, after yet another woman threw him out of her life. (Of course, according to him, none of these breakups were ever his fault…)

Unbeknownst to Tommy, he was exhibiting the same, exact habits as our mother and her “favorite son” Terry (who by the way, had even adopted a smidgeon of her German accent as a child, which he has kept it to this day – even though he was raised in the US).

Anyway, as always, my advice to Tommy, along with all attempts to help him come out of that lifelong rut he had continued to bury himself in, were met with an almost violent hostility that ultimately ended with me completely blocking him out of my life when (I guess, in hopes of hurting me) he publicly began berating and saying excruciatingly disparaging things about YHWH. (Many people, including ALL my half-brothers, HATE Believers!)

Like his half-brother Terry, Tommy has never exhibited ANY interest in turning his life around by simply accepting YHWH/Yeshua/Torah and repenting. He has always stayed in his rut because he is COMFORTABLE there! He doesn’t KNOW any different and therefore, he cannot bring himself to try “taking a different fork in the road!” He’s determined to take that same “road” over and over again, completely oblivious to the fact he’s like someone wearing the same old dirty clothes, and fooling himself into thinking his clothes are clean, because he regularly turns them inside-out and back again….

As a matter of fact, Tommy’s Facebook wall today shows that he is progressively and steadily heading “downhill” into the proverbial pits of Hell, as he proudly considers himself to be (among other things) a witch, a Satanist and a “pirate” – while also being a follower of several mythical gods.

NOW WATCH WHAT ELSE HAPPENED because of Tommy’s refusal to try to break that horrible cycle his parents and older brother caused him to be stuck in:

Tommy has never been married but, like Terry, he also has a couple of out-of-wedlock children he didn’t personally raise - a daughter (who, by some miracle, seems to be doing fairly well, and – a 31-year-old son who is – like his father, Tommy – serving prison time.

His son – a self-proclaimed "Neo-Nazi" and "White Supremacist" - received a many-years-long prison sentence in 2016 for “drug possession and distribution, first-degree robbery, armed criminal action, assault of a law enforcement officer, second-degree assault resulting in serious bodily injury, resisting arrest, and first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle….”

SO, DO YOU SEE HOW “sins of the father” (and mother) ARE passed down through the generations? Scripture tells us this could and would happen:

Exodus 34:5 Adonai descended in the cloud, stood with him there and pronounced the name of Adonai. 6 Adonai passed before him and proclaimed: “YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; 7 showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving offenses, crimes and sins; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative effects of the parents’ offenses to be experienced by their children and grandchildren, and even by the third and fourth generations.” (CJB)

THE GOOD NEWS IS, THIS CYCLE OF CURSES CAN BE BROKEN! It can be broken by the simple act of turning to YHWH for forgiveness, repenting and living a holy, set apart Torah life:

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked person abandon his way and the evil person his thoughts; let him return to Adonai, and he will have mercy on him; let him return to our God, for he will freely forgive. (CJB)

It’s not easy, and nothing can or will change “overnight”. Change takes time. Getting to know YHWH takes time. It’s an ongoing process….

The Torah (first five Books of the Bible) outlines exactly WHO God is, and what He expects of His people, and amply outlines, in excruciating detail, HOW to live a truly holy life – one that will give you inner peace and help you to recognize the beauty of TRUE happiness, stability and all-around shalom!

You CAN do it, IF you will learn to recognize that you may be in a “rut”….