Tuesday, January 30, 2024

TRUE STORY: The day my eyes were truly opened to the fact that proper Sabbath keeping was very important

The following conversation actually took place one Saturday afternoon in 2008 when I found myself, as usual, at a restaurant, after the weekly Shabbat service, to have lunch with my Messianic Rabbi and other members of the congregation.

At one point, I said loudly, in front of everyone seated at the table, “Guys, I’m starting to feel really guilty about going out to eat in restaurants on Shabbat. I don’t think we’re supposed to be doing this!”

There was a pregnant silence as all eyes fell on me. Finally, the Rabbi, breaking into laughter, replied, “Aren’t we allowed to eat on Shabbat, Carmen?”

“Yes, of course,” I said, “but not in a restaurant. We are not supposed to commit commerce on Shabbat, or cause others work – which is exactly what we’re doing.”

He stared at me in disbelief for a long moment, then shook his head and emitted a little chuckle while pulling a credit card from his wallet to hold it up for all to see:

“Carmen, listen,” he said. “First of all, we’re not causing anyone to work – they’re here working today, anyway. And secondly, I’m not committing commerce because I’m using a credit card, which is basically not money; but rather, a PROMISE to pay.”

I heard some scattered giggles over the roaring in my ears as I felt my face flush. I wasn’t prepared for my leader’s responses back in those days, but I also knew I wasn’t wrong in this, because I had been diligently studying all the pertinent scriptures, and they were clear: no commerce nor work nor causing anyone to work on Shabbat...

When I finally found my voice, I reminded him that credit cards ARE immediate payment, which meant that this definitely WAS an act of commerce.

“Okay, okay, Carmen,” the Rabbi replied, raising his hand as if to shut me down. “Believe as you wish. But like I said, this restaurant is open on Saturdays, and people are obviously ‘working’ here because they’re not Torah observant, and so we are NOT ‘causing’ them work. They work here of their own accord – so where is the harm or the crime?”

I remember sitting there for some moments, while my mind scrambled to form a coherent response. Finally, I said, “Look, the fact of the matter is that while ‘they’ might not be Torah observant, WE are … and Scripture commands US to be holy and set apart, and to commit no commerce nor cause anyone to work on Shabbat.

"Even the farm animals are to rest on Shabbat. That’s in Exodus 20! Each one of us sitting here at this table proclaim to be Torah observant, yet we have just asked someone to COOK and SERVE the food and then to clean up after us. Can you really not understand what I’m getting at?”

The Rabbi stared at me for a long time, speechless, clearly perturbed. I had obviously hit upon something that had never occurred to him before, and he didn’t like it. “No,” he replied curtly. “I think you are reaching for straws here. But if you don’t want to join us for lunch on Shabbat anymore, that is up to you. It’s your choice.”

Recognizing I had “stirred up a hornet’s nest,” I stood and bent down to give the Rabbi a quick hug, and left the restaurant.

I breathed in the fresh mountain air as I walked to my car, smiling as the afternoon sun hit my face. In my heart, I knew I had said all the right things, and that made me happy. I also knew that my Shabbat lunches from now on would be a thing of the past...

Unless otherwise noted, the following references are from the Complete Jewish Bible:

Exodus 31:16 The people of Isra'el are to keep the Shabbat, to observe Shabbat through all their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the people of Isra'el forever; for in six days ADONAI made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and rested.'"

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

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

Nehemiah 10:31 "If the peoples of the lands bring merchandise or food to sell on Shabbat, we will not buy from them on Shabbat or on a holy day.

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

Jeremiah 17:21 Here is what ADONAI says: "If you value your lives, don't carry anything on Shabbat or bring it in through the gates of Yerushalayim; 22 don't carry anything out of your houses on Shabbat; and don't do any work. Instead, make Shabbat a holy day. I ordered your ancestors to do this, 23 but they neither listened nor paid attention; rather, they stiffened their necks, so that they wouldn't have to hear or receive instruction. 24 However, if you will pay careful heed to me," says ADONAI "and carry nothing through the gates of this city on Shabbat, but instead make Shabbat a day which is holy and not for doing work;

Mark 11: 15 And Y’shua entered the temple of Elohim and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple. And he overturned the tables of the money changers, and the seats of those who were selling doves. 16. And he would not allow anyone to carry possessions inside the temple. (AENT

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Some comments for those who refuse to believe that ALL must be Torah observant…

The following is meant for only those who refuse to believe in the whole Word of God (from cover to cover) – especially those who seek out Messianic/Hebrew Roots Facebook groups for the sole purpose of fighting and arguing their “NT-only” dogma.

SO HERE IS A QUESTION FOR YOU TO PONDER:  Since you don’t believe in obeying God’s Holy Instructions in Righteousness found in the Torah – the first five Books of the Bible - then WHY do you keep entering Messianic groups?  Because you ENJOY fights and arguments? 

If that's the case, then remember that  God ALSO told us to NOT engage in verbal battles  (2 Tim 2:14-18) ...  which, as you can see, is from the last fourth of the Bible erroneously called the "New" Testament. 

2 Tim 2:14 Keep reminding people of this, and charge them solemnly before our Master (Y'shua) not to engage in word-battles. They accomplish nothing useful and are a catastrophe for the hearers! 15 Do all you can to present yourself to Elohim as someone worthy of his approval, as a worker with no need to be ashamed, because he deals straightforwardly with the Word of the Truth.  16 But keep away from godless babbling, for those who engage in it will only become more ungodly, 17 and their teaching will eat away at people like gangrene. (CJB)

You are picking and choosing, my friends!  Fights and arguments will resolve nothing, as each side will go away, still believing the same as they did before…

Please read Exodus 12:49, Numbers 15:13-16, Isaiah 56:6, Galatians 3:28 and Romans 10:12-13. These passages say "gentiles" are expected to keep Torah, so even if we didn't have Paul saying "were gentiles" (past tense) and talking about being grafted into the cultivated olive tree that is Israel, "gentiles" would STILL be required to keep Torah... so there is really no way around it.

I pray you will humble yourself enough to allow the following to sink in:

James 4: 1. From where is it, that there are among you arguments and conflicts? Is it not from the lusts which war in your members? 2. You covet but do not possess; and you kill and envy, and effect nothing: and you fight and make attacks; and you do not have, because you do not ask. 3. You ask, and do not receive because you ask wickedly, that you may feed your lusts. 4. You adulterers, don’t you know that the love of the world is hatred towards Elohim? He therefore who chooses to be a lover of this world is the enemy of Elohim.  (AENT)

Matthew 5: 17 Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah - not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot (words/commands) and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (CJB)

Has everything happened that must happen? Have heaven and earth passed away? If not, then it seems we are obliged to continue to obey Torah - our Creator's divine teachings/instruction! After all, He told us the following, FOUR TIMES IN A ROW:

Numbers 15: 13 "'Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 14 For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you do. 15 The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD: 16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.'" (CJB)

Romans 16: 17. And I plead with you, my Brothers, that you beware of them who cause divisions and stumblings apart from the doctrine which you have learned: and that you stand distant from them. 18. For they who are such do not serve our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach, but their own belly: and by bland speeches and good wishes, they deceive the hearts of the simple. (AENT)

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)

What is the "old Commandment which you had from the beginning?"  Torah - those first five Books of the Bible that contain all of God's original instructions to His people and those who chose to accept Him.

So, for those who insist it’s only all about “grace and mercy” because “Jesus” died, please re-read the entire Bible, where you will discover that "Grace" has ALWAYS been around, and it is given to those whom YHWH knows belong to Him (those who choose to be obedient to Him by keeping His Divine Instructions, without which we would have no blueprint for moral, holy living, and then doing His will).

God allowed Adam and Eve to LIVE after they sinned; when He could have killed them off.  He even allowed Abel to continue living after committing the first murder!  Noah did what God told him (as God already know Noah would), and consequently, He spared Noah and his family from the flood.  This was grace in action, from the very beginning!

He gave us Yeshua to teach mankind how to obey Torah and stop being legalistic and adding man-made rules; and then to ultimately give his own life on our behalf, as our Final SIN Sacrifice.  THAT was grace, too, because we no longer have to kill innocent animals to atone for sin. 

Grace was never designed to replace YHWH's Divine Instructions....

I leave you with this, and pray that the things I've written will fall on fertile soil:

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

May Yahweh bless you and open your eyes to HIS Truth … and may you be humble enough to accept it!

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

About that pesky word “fulfill”…

Let's employ some Bible hermeneutics by checking out the words of Yeshua himself.   (Yeshua is our Divine Messiah's given, Hebrew Name which means, "YAHWEH is Salvation" and his Name is written thusly in Hebrew: ישוע ). (By the way, the Father's Name as given to Moses in Exodus 3: 13-15 and looks like this in Hebrew via the letters Yud Hey Vav Hey - יהוה - and is transliterated into the English letters as YHWH, most likely pronounced "Yahway" ...)

Matthew 5: 17. Do not think that I have come to loosen the Torah or the Prophets. I have not come to loosen but to fulfill them through proper interpretation. (Aramaic English New Testament)

Folks - Yeshua at no time "loosened" either Torah or the Prophets! Why would he have, when Torah (erroneously mistranslated as "law" in most Bible versions) is our ONLY blueprint for moral, holy living? Torah consists of the first five Books of the Bible, containing ALL of ADONAI's original teachings and Instructions to His people.)

The prophetic Word YHWH gave to His prophets cannot be loosed or annulled, and neither can the Torah of YHWH. These are two witnesses that stand as One. The Word of YHWH is both Torah (instruction in righteousness) and Prophecy declaring, foretelling and revealing the Will of YHWH to each generation. See Deuteronomy 4:2; 13:1.

"Fulfill" means to carry out or to bring to realization, to perform or do, as in a person's duty; or to obey or follow the Commandments, as in satisfying the Commandments by obeying them (Isaiah 42:21 "YHWH is well pleased for His righteousness' sake; He will magnify Torah, and make him (it) honorable.")....

Let's take a look at the rest of the aforementioned passage in Matthew 5:

Matthew 5: 17 Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah – not until everything that must happen has happened.

19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven! (CJB)

The question we must ask ourselves is this: Has everything that "must happen" happened yet? Have "heaven and earth passed away? If not, then it seems believers are supposed to BE Torah observant today!

The verse in Matthew 5:17-20 that says: "So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven" is a major key, because it is talking about YHWH's commands!

What commands are they? TORAH commands - which still stand today ... and WE are obligated, as believers, to keep those that we can! We need to pay special attention to those that have the word "forever" or "throughout your generations" attached to them.

Why? Because "forever" hasn't ended yet! Not to mention, "fulfill" never meant "to put an end to." It means, Yeshua came to do His Father's will and to fulfill "the next thing on the agenda".....

"Fulfill", among other things, means to have proper understanding of a scriptural passage, such as recognizing a precise fulfillment of prophecy. Therefore, for instance, when Yeshua says, "This word is fulfilled in your hearing," he means that he is the goal or object of that prophecy and has now arrived on the scene to do his mission as specified according to prophecy.

Now, if the "fulfillment" has not happened yet, as is the case when Yeshua says, "All that is written in the Torah and Prophets must be fulfilled," then it means, quite obviously "kept", "vouchsafed" or "adhered to" – the exact opposite of passing away!

That is also why he says, "He who keeps (fulfills) my words shall not taste death!"

For a more indepth discussion on this issue, please read my article about the word “fulfill”

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Calendar Issues: “2024: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again”

Those who have been following our calendar at The Refiner’s Fire Ministry, know that the calendar of the Bible has been made a mess by man! Nowhere in scripture does YHWH tells us how the calendar is to be formulated, so it has become a "free-for-all" with nearly everyone saying their calendar is "THE calendar of God" or even "The Creator's Calendar!" 

The bottom line is that many of those calendars simply "don't hold water" when push comes to shove! Even the traditional (modern) Hebrew calendar is fraught with issues resulting in most of YHWH's appointed times celebrated on the wrong days! 

Our ministry, established in 2001, offers the FREE  2024 Eternal Torah Calendar  (simply click to view and/or download) which is based on the actual sun, moon, and stars; NOT the traditional Jewish calendar which is based on an "average moon", and rabbinical additions and changes. (For further explanation, please see our Basic Guide to the Original Biblical Calendar.) 

So, what do we mean by ""Déjà vu All Over Again” when it comes to the 2024 calendar? 

Similar to some other years 2024 is a Disruption Year, which is to say that, like 1970, 2016 and 2019 before it, 2024 will have the Rabbinic Calendar out of synch with the seasons by about a month, causing an enormous amount of confusion!

The following is an excerpt by author, Bible scholar and International speaker Andrew Gabriel Roth, who produces the Eternal Torah Calendar (gleaned from the expertise of the late Lt. Col (Ret) William "Bill" Welker, whose knowledge in astronomy, the sciences, computers and calendars were an invaluable asset).

“2024: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again”

The year 2024 is a Disruption Year, which is to say that, like 1970, 2016 and 2019 before it, 2024 will have the Rabbinic Calendar out of synch with the seasons by about a month. This is dangerous to agriculture in Israel. ETC correctly picks Tuesday, March 26th as the ideal time to
have the barley in Aviv. The barley begins ripening the early days of March.

Unlike the misconceptions of the Karaites, it is not the case that barley must be in Aviv at Abib New Moon; but rather only by the 16th of that month. The barley season then has the crop ripen gradually throughout the Israel over the next three weeks, so by March 24th, almost all of Israel
has barley that either is or has just been in green ears. By contrast the Rabbinic Calendar will have its “firstfruits” only on April 24th, by which time the barley is definitely no longer freshly ripe. In fact, late April to early May is more consistent with the timing of the first fruit of the grain, not the barley. So if we throw off the timing for barley it also negatively impacts that of the wheat and other critical harvests throughout the agricultural year in Israel.

The other thing that 2024 shows us is the extent and seriousness of the disruption away from the tropical year for the Rabbinic Calendar. As we have also mentioned before, I found no evidence of any problem with the Rabbinic Calendar prior to 1970, when the last day of Pesach fell on April 27th. You may also recall that I said no part of Pesach can ever touch any part of May; if it does the rest of the harvests are put at far greater risk at not being in synch with the feasts that are supposed to align with them (Deuteronomy 16:1).

But I also said the error on the RC side was a cumulative math one, and that it would inevitably get worse over time. New calculations have confirmed that as a mathematical certainty. In 2016, the first Disruption Year since 1970, the last day of Pesach hit even later, on April 29th! Then in 2019 a slightly less serious disruption put that occasion on April 26th . But here in 2024 we have the most disastrous timing ever recorded, with the last day of Pesach being April 30th; in fact but for the arrangement of the days of the week, we could have hit May this year. Also, if the ETC dated feast timings locally rather than centralizing it over Jerusalem skies, some parts of the world also would have had the last day of Pesach hit May.

We simply cannot allow that to happen—ever—so I am sounding the alarm now. The Rabbis may have to make a change to their calendar even sooner than I anticipated initially. If they do, all they have to do to fix it forever, meaning never losing a day as they are now, is to apply Rule 1 of the ETC that Abib must be the New Moon nearest the Vernal Equinox, either before or after.

They are more than welcome to keep all of their other traditions intact, including the Metonic Cycle barring when it gets a wrong result, and other traditions that I personally disagree with but will nevertheless be fixed with the adoption of this one simple rule. Otherwise my hope is that 2024 represents the latest possible timing of the end of Pesach on the rabbinic calendar, for the next one in 2030 is more moderate, ending on April 24th. On the other hand, cumulative is as cumulative does, and that has been the pattern up until now

In a sense, these oddities in 2024 are a continuation of the rare timings we saw in 2023, which had five consecutive 30-day months and triggered a claw-back contingency where the sun prevented the moon from having a 31-day month. In this case, 2023 was actually very helpful because its circumstances forced me to issue better descriptions of my calendar rules. In other respects though 2024 is a pretty stable year. Their order of month lengths for thirteen months beginning with January 11th is: Tevet (29), Shevat (30), Adar (29), Abib (30), Iyar (29), Sivan (29), Tammuz (29), Av (29), Elul (30). Tishri (29). Cheshvan (30), Kislev (30), Tevet (29) or seven 30-day months and six 29 day months.

This is almost an ideal arrangement, generally alternating between the two lengths, except for two consecutive 29 day months (Tammuz and Elul) and two consecutive 30 day months (Cheshvan and Kislev), each one balancing out the other pair. But what is stable on ETC in 2024 is chaotic on the RC side, unfortunately.

On the other hand, the years 2025-2029 will once again be times of great agreement and alignment between the two calendars, which means 2030, the 2,000th anniversary of the resurrection, will once again be a Disruption Year, though not nearly as bad as what we have on tap now. 2024 is, by far, the most disruptive year that is harmful to the rabbinic calendar that I have ever tracked.

(Andrew Gabriel Roth Andrew has become an international speaker having taught in Israel, Canada, South Africa and across the United States and may be contacted for speaking engagements at: onefaithandrew@gmail.com)