God as Game Designer

February 11th, 2014

Arguments about the “nature of God” have divided men for millenia, often to the point of bloodshed, war, and inquisition.  And although Shaul (Paul) distinguished the Biblical Yahushua from “another Jesus, whom we have not preached” in epistles like that to the Galatians, disputes about whether He could be “fully God and fully man” still abound.  Finally, while this author is familiar with differential equations and integral calculus, the math behind “is three identically equal to one” is still beyond my understanding.   But I learned long ago not to ‘divide’ from those who follow Him just because we do the math differently!   At least I have a better grasp of what the Hebrew word “echad” (Deut. 6:4) means in context.

The problem seems to rest on the concept of metaphor.  Torah, or His instruction, includes stories and examples, as well as His “statutes, judgments, and commandments.”  Yahushua taught using parables, among other things.  YHVH is described in a number of ways that humans can relate to — King, Master, Father, Husband, Judge, Lawgiver, Savior, and Creator among them — but He is clearly more than even all of these.   “As the heavens are higher than the earth, My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” *

Some time ago, I came across another, more “modern” metaphor that many people have found helpful, perhaps because it helps avoid certain traditional stereotypes, and may even have some parallels to quantum physics, since most of us struggle with concepts like, “how can the Creator be outside space and even time?”

Consider a brand new computer video/interactive game, like Worlds of Warcraft or countless others.  How does the designer go about developing a whole new “fantasy world”?  There are literally many layers to the effort – from what kind of computer hardware and operating system will run it, to crafting the rules of the game, the types of characters who will inhabit it, and, of course, deciding the purpose of the game itself.**

What the designer does, up front, in other words, is to literally outline the “torah” for this virtual universe — the instruction, even the laws of nature and the rules for the inhabitants.

But more to the point, how does the creator of a world interact with his creation?  How does he test the game, and communicate with its inhabitants?  Does He talk to some of the people – say, from a burning bush or cloud – or does He speak with a voice that rattles the mountains?  Might He even choose to participate in the game in the same form as one of those within it, by literally becoming a player, entering His creation as a character within it, subject to the rules He Himself Wrote?

Think about the implications of the metaphor of YHVH as “Game Designer.”

What do those creatures inside the electronic universe think?  Can they even begin to conceive of how the very fabric of their entire world runs on a computer system that is utterly outside their ability to perceive?  And how much more so, then, the mind and capabilities of the Creator of that entire system?  (Could one even, “see His face and live?”  Certainly not in any way they could understand.)  Even their perception of time is utterly different from the Creator, who is “outside” their time reckoning.  (He can hit the pause button, for example — and they’d never know it.)

So, when the Creator chooses to enter that world as a participant — what is the nature of the entity those WITHIN that universe see?  Certainly an aspect of Him they can relate to.  And it is one which “does the will of the One Who sent Him,” too.  Literally, in the Hebraic meaning of the term, that person “comes in His Name,” and does exactly as He directs.

But, would they say that the representation of the Creator they see from their perspective is “identically equal” to the very person of the Creator ‘Himself’?  And does it really matter?

In THIS Universe, our own Creator has given us His instruction about how to “win the game.”  That instruction includes the fact that we must t’shuvah, or “return to Him,” and seek to obey Him, as we would a Father, King, or Master, so that we might dwell in His house forever.  He even says, “if you love Me, keep My commandments.”  But thankfully, He doesn’t require us to know exactly how His design works, or to understand His nature in full.

———————————–
*  Isaiah 55:9

**  How does one save the fairy princess, or liberate the forces of Good from the Dark Tower?  Are there angels and demons, evil armies, orcs, dwarves, and hobbits, or flying monkeys and dragons to lead or to fight?  What powers, capabilities, limitations, and authorities to each have, and so on, and so on.

The Coming Plagues are here

December 30th, 2013

For those with “eyes to see,” the season is unmistakeable:
“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”   (Rev. 18:4)

And the plagues — figurative and literal — are already visible, too.  Although the blatant manipulation of the “crooked casino” paper markets for precious metals continues,  more and more evidence from physical markets suggest that the day of reckoning is near, as does the dubious claim that the Federal Reserve has begun to “taper” its money-printing to infinity.  The yield on 10 year US Treasury notes has again peeked through the critical 3.0% mark.  How much longer can the “Almighty Dollar” remain the world reserve currency?  And will this fiat currency too expire with a whimper, or a bang?

In Texas, concern over the recent “swine flu” outbreak has reached a crescendo.  A number of people have already died as a result of what the medical community is calling everything from a “mystery illness” to an H1N1 ‘variant’ (because the initial “rapid test” results for the influenza seem to have a poor reliability rate).  Four states in the south have reached the “10-out-of-ten” level for infections, and now a number of cases are being reported from Chicago to Massachusetts.

Whether or not either of these situations rises to the level of a Biblical “plague”, the warnings from Scripture are consistent.  Although it is evidently very unpopular nowadays to point out what should be obvious, for reasons that are becoming as undeniable as their effects, YHVH promises that “it shall come to pass that if you…observe and DO” what He commands, blessings will “come upon you, and overtake you.”  Conversely, if we will not hearken to Him, and observe and do as He commands, there are curses which will just as surely “overtake you.”  While there are any number of His commandments which are routinely ignored, or deliberately violated, by much of the world at large, these two seem to stand out.

Why?  Because both have to do directly with replacement gods.  Because “In god we trust,” seems to mean the Federal Reserve instead of any “invisible hand.”  Because “modern medicine” has replaced “YHVH Rapha” (‘the LORD our Healer’).  (Gee — Who needs prayer when Obamacare offers so many miracles?   Like — if you like your insurance plan, or your doctor — you can keep them.  People who believed THAT are now realizing that Big Brother really IS watching, and listening, too — and that there IS no “economic recovery,” or job growth, and as for inflation — just wait a bit.)

No wonder so many people in ‘the church’ today seem to have become disillusioned.  Some, having lost jobs and houses, and having been lied to about a recovery that never came, and a rapture that hasn’t either, are beginning to question their faith in a government routinely that ignores its own “supreme law,” and in a licensed faith-based corporate church that excuses such lapses because, after all, ‘the law’ was done away with anyway.

It is only the Creator and Author of Scripture Himself, YHVH Elohim, who does not lie.  “Let Yah be true, and every man a liar.”  But re-read the story of the Exodus.  He allowed Pharaoh, who once asked Moses the fatal question, “Who is this YHVH?  I know him not,” to wallow in the stubbornness of his own heart — for a while.  But eventually, in His own time, YHVH showed him, and all of us, Who He Is, what He did, and — a vital understanding today — that what He has said He will do – HE WILL DO.

The ‘world’ would like to tell us that “all paths lead to god,” which is a lie from the pit of you-know-where.  Instead, Proverbs reminds us twice that, ”  “There is a way that seems right to a man,” but the end thereof is death.  The path truly is “narrow,” because most of the gods of this world are false, and seek to lead us into the ditches on either side of that narrow way.  Likewise, there are a legion of ways people are being deceived.  Perhaps the most obvious is to reject Him entirely, as seems to be the most popular delusion.  But the prominent choice among too many self-proclaimed “believers,” however, was explained by Yahushua in both Luke 6 and Mark 7:  “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”
So, “why do you call Me ‘Lord, lord,’ and not DO the things I say?”

In other words, it’s evidently pretty easy to pay mere “lip service” to “believing in God” or “believing in Jesus” and then pretending that He changed His mind, did away with His own “law,” and no longer expects that, “if you love Me, keep My commandments.”  (John 14:15)

We’ve all heard the excuses, and we’ll be hearing new variations as well, because ultimately there’s “nuthin’ new under the sun.”   If the illusory “pre-trib rapture” didn’t come, say many, “well, it’s too late to plan NOW.”  Such fear and fatalism definitely does NOT come from the Elohim of the Bible!  “After all, I guess there’s nothing I can do anyway.”

Not without repentance, certainly; ‘tshuvah’, turning AWAY from the way that once seemed right, but leads to death.  Because it is rebellion to YHVH.

And the biggest irony is that the most important first steps don’t require millions of dollars in supplies and planning, nor a concrete bunker on an isolated Pacific island.  They just require “coming out of her,” and NOT doing simple things He said not to do anyway.

Back to those two easy-to-spot coming plagues.

How many times did He promise that — IF you will obey My statutes, judgments, and commandments — that He would NOT visit the diseases upon His people that He brought upon Egypt?  But that, otherwise, diseases would only be the beginning the plagues to come  (Lev. 26, Deut. 28-29, and prophets galore).  Arguably it is no coincidence that it is yet another “swine flu” that is sweeping across the land.  Thousands of years ago, our Creator (who Wrote what might even be thought of as the “Owners’ Manual” for the bodies He gave us) told us what is food, and what is NOT (Lev. 11, Deut. 14).  Things like pigs and shellfish seem to be the “death eaters” and “garbage scavengers” of the land and sea, respectively.  So guess where the heavy metal and similar poisons show up first among sea creatures?   And why is it that science recently “discovered” that the DNA of porcine animals is such a close match to humans that the major pandemics in history always seem to originate there?

We are “fearfully and wonderfully” made, with an incredible immune system, which DOES protect us from diseases, particularly if we treat it the way He told us to.  It has always been true that if we will walk in His ways, and eat what He says is food, that we will be healthier.  But it has arguably never been more IMPORTANT.

But the Bible seems to spend even more “ink” on instructions about economics than it does about food.  If we are to love our neighbor, and honor our contracts, honest weights and measures are essential.  Honest “money,” in other words.  So it is no coincidence that the Biblical Hebrew word “qesef” is synonymous with both “silver” AND “money” — just as the word for silver in so many other languages can mean money as well (ie, “plata” in Espanol, etc) while the US Constitution says that ONLY gold and silver qualify in that regard.

Once we understand that the dollar, and indeed every other paper currency on the planet as well, will ultimately be “worth-less,” can we continue to use it to buy and sell without consequences?  If Cyprus-like “bail-ins” are already being openly planned almost world-wide, and bank failures, currency controls, and outright confiscation of accounts are among the plagues in the pipeline, doesn’t a return to the true money of the Bible make sense?

And what better time to “come out of” a collapsing, dishonest banking scheme than when both silver and gold, in the real, hold-in-your-hand form, are at artificially-low prices we may never see again ?  It’s almost as if YHVH is using the manipulators to give His people one more chance to avoid the trap.

We have been warned.  Repeatedly.  And the plagues are not only coming, they are here.  But the answer has been here all along, too.  And YHVH has never changed His instruction for us.

The seasons DO change, however.  And there is a time to “come out of her,” quit partaking of the sins, and avoid those plagues.  It’s not enough to ‘believe in Him.’  If we believe Him, we will RETURN to Him, and obey.

“Whose are these?” — detailed audio teaching

December 26th, 2013

If the capsule summary of the “Whose are these?” teaching was of interest – or, perhaps especially if it didn’t quite seem complete – check out the in-depth audio teaching, and the background supporting material from current trends and history:

 

Mark Call teaching for ‘Vayechi’ – 14 December, 2013

Whose are these?

December 25th, 2013

The last story in the Book of Bereshiet, or Genesis, concerns the end of the lives of Jacob, and later Joseph, and his blessing of his sons.  Perhaps one of the more intriguing, and I will suggest, prophetic, questions in the Torah comes in Gen. 48:8.  And I’ll argue that his question is not only as vitally important now as it was then, but it might well serve as a summary of much of the history of mankind.

By the time that Yakov, or Jacob, adopts the two sons of his oldest son by his wife Rachel as his own, and then blesses them upon his deathbed, he has lived in the land of Egypt, and known the young men, for 17 years.  And yet, when he “beheld Joseph’s sons,” he said, “Whose are these?”   Because the next verse says that Israel’s “eyes were dim for age,” some will claim that he simply was unable to recognize his grandsons.  And yet that simple explanation falls short of the complete truth, for a number of reasons.  Among them is the Scripture’s use of the name Israel in this context, which often implies a larger truth than can be seen with physical eyes alone.  The subsequent detailed description of his having wittingly exchanged both his hands and the ‘blessing of the firstborn’, by putting the younger of the two sons, Ephraim, in first position, is telling as well.

It is the future history of the sons of Ephraim and Manasseh which shows that Jacob, speaking as Israel, saw far more clearly than what met the eye.  Joshua, who led the children of Israel into the promised land following the death of Moses, was of the tribe of Ephraim.  Following the split of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, the kings of Israel, beginning with Jeroboam, were also of the house of Ephraim.  And yet Israel, this time meaning the ten northern tribes, turned repeatedly to idolatry, and the worship of the false, pagan gods.  For this, exactly as prophesied, they were sent into exile, and even given the equivalent of a ‘certificate of divorce’ by YHVH.  Even today, they remain “scattered among the heathen,” throughout the world.

Unlike the other patriarchs, Scripture tells us very little about the character of the two sons of Joseph.  They were born of an Egyptian (Mitzraite) mother, and raised in a pagan culture, but by a father who clearly knew and worshipped the One Elohim of his fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  We also know the meaning of their names, which therefore is key to understanding their prophetic destinies.  Manasseh, the eldest, was given the name associated with the Hebrew word meaning ‘forget’, “for Elohim has made me forget all my toil, and ALL MY FATHER’S HOUSE.”  (Gen. 41:51)  It was the name of the second, Ephraim, which implies “fruitful,”  because, “Elohim has made my fruitful in the LAND of my AFFLICTION.” (v52)

Given that understanding, perhaps it becomes more clear why Jacob placed the importance of bearing fruit ahead of the concept of forgetting “all my Father’s house!”  Indeed, the seed of Joseph DID utterly forget the statutes, judgments, and commandments of all his Father’s house, and suffer the curses of exile as a direct consequence.  But the prophets tell us that Ephraim (and indeed, by prophetic implication, ALL of those who have been scattered, but who choose to “return to Me,” or make t’shuvah) will eventually be regathered as the prophet Jeremiah, (chapter 3) among multiple witnesses, makes clear.

So what DID Israel see as he “beheld Joseph’s sons,” that caused him to ask the insightful question, “Whose are these?”  Could he have been referring to the idols that would eventually replace the God of Israel in the hearts of his childrens’ childrens’ childrens’ children?  Or — more directly — could he have been asking the question which resonates so perfectly today:

Whose are THESE!!?”   Whose people are these?  Do they belong to YHVH, the Creator, the Author of His Word, and Eternal King?  Or to the only alternative…false gods, paganism, the prince of this world?

Can we tell by their fruit?

Every year, as the Xmas season approaches, many lament the “commercialization” of a “holy-day” which NEVER really had anything to do with the True King of Kings, Messiah, and Son of Yah.  Priests and pastors almost all know the truth, but refuse to admit it to their misled flocks:  the ‘Mass’ was fabricated out of whole cloth to mix pagan sun-god traditions of Mithraism and rationalize the pagan celebration of a winter solstice ‘birth’ instead of His.  Depression, suicide, failed expectations, and the inevitable letdown of December 26th tell only part of the story.  The irony of the current “tradition” is lost on them:  there never WAS a true “christ” in “christ-mass”.   Scriptures like Jeremiah chapter 10,  Deuteronomy chapters 7, 12, 13, and many others tell us why.  Yahuah  does not tolerate any other gods “before His face,” and hates such “abomination.”   Since we understand that, “to whom much is given, much is expected,” it should be increasingly obvious why we should examine our own houses, and ask, “Whose are these?”  If we find idols which He says offend Him, they don’t belong there.

But, arguably even more importantly, the question must be asked about ourselves.  I will suggest that Israel was asking the question about ALL of his sons – and that includes each of us!  Many of us, whether we know it or not, are potential descendents of the “lost tribes of Israel,” collectively of the House of Ephraim.  And whether we are or not, or even if we are of Judah, or simply want to be “grafted in” to the coming Kingdom of Israel, as YHVH regathers His people — the lesson remains the same:

Whose are WE?

The choice, and the implications, have never been more important.

Shemot – the Book of Exodus – and modern slavery

December 23rd, 2013

This week’s Torah portion begins the Book of Exodus (aka “Shemot” in the Hebrew).

 

It is a story of deliverance from bondage, and — most importantly — Who does it.

 

Mark’s teaching on the topic, and the connections to what is happening today, and what must be understood about it, is one of the most “NOT Politically-correct”, and most important, that you may hear:

 

MGC Shemot teaching for 21 Dec 2013

 

 

Audio teaching: Parsha Vayishlach – Yakov, Israel, double-mindedness, and…

November 25th, 2013

the BATTLE we face RIGHT NOW!

 

 

Audio link to Parsha Vayishlach, 16 November, 2013.

Why bother with the “OLD” Testament?

November 11th, 2013

 

Recently I was asked a question that sounded so ridiculous that I thought at first it must be a joke.  But then I heard it again – and again – and realized there really ARE a lot of “Christians” who are serious when they ask it:

“WHAT?  Why (oh, why) do you teach from the OLD Testament?”

As if it no longer matters, now that we have something “new”.  And as if the very foundations upon which ALL of Scripture rests don’t matter any more either!

But the more I thought about the question, and realized just how many self-professed “Christians” seem to think that it’s ever-so-reasonable to ASK, the more I realized what be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you really meant.   (I Peter 3:15)  Shouldn’t we able to do that?  As it turns out, it’s not only easy, but so obvious that it is impossible to deny.  And it’s incredibly important, as well.

After all, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”  (Psalm 11:3; old – but still True)  And didn’t the Messiah Himself say that we should build not upon sand, but upon the rock?  How can anyone who professes to believe Him, and His Word, think that He would come “in the flesh” just to do AWAY with everything He Wrote, and all of the very teachings which establish Who He Is?  Just ask any mathematician how credible he would be trying to “prove” some theorem by denying all of the foundational postulates that SUPPORT the proof!  Would you buy a product from a salesman who denies his own product halfway through the sales pitch?

Do we really think the Creator of the Universe and Author of Scripture can’t do at LEAST as well?

So, yes, we SHOULD be able to make a very clear case for His Truth, from Scripture, because that is EXACTLY what His Written Word does for us!  If it is NOT True, and not consistent, then why would ANYONE “believe?”  But that is also exactly what some in the so-called “New Testament Churches” try to push.  If the “God of the Bible” cannot be trusted to tell the Truth until the Book of Matthew, or — worse still — not until John 1:1, then what did Paul mean by “let God be True, but every man a liar“?

The simple fact is that Scripture IS consistent, and that His word IS True, from “Genesis to Maps.”  How can anyone believe that He is the “same, yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) but deny that YHVH told the prophet Malachi the same thing in the “old” testament?  And, of course, it is the very ESSENCE of what He proved to Moses!

Most people seeking to regain a “first century understanding” of what the Messiah did will remember what He said in His first “public address”, in Matthew 5:17, that He did NOT come to “destroy the torah or the prophets,” and would not change “one yod or tiddle” of it (ie, even the smallest part of His Word — which, at that time, was obviously ONLY the “old” testament!) so long as heaven and earth still existed.  But there is FAR more, just to prove the obvious point.   Why would Yahushua quote those same texts literally dozens of times, saying, “It is Written,” if He didn’t mean that was important?  And how would Peter, or anyone else, have known Who He was, if not for the witness of the “old” Scriptures that they already knew?

The apostle Shaul, or Paul, wrote in his second letter to Timothy  (II Tim 3:16) that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;”  but too many new-testament-ONLY types conveniently overlook the glaring inconsistency of their folly:   Paul was talking about what THEY knew “from childhood” to be the ONLY Scriptures they had when he wrote that letter!  And even if he might have known that SOMEDAY some of his own letters would be called that as well, was he lying then, or only later, if all that “old” stuff is now no LONGER “given by inspiration of God,” and is no longer worthwhile for “doctrine, reproof, correction, or instruction?

And when that same man wrote to convince others of what he knew to be true — that the promised Messiah had come in the flesh, and fulfilled the promises of that “old” testament; when he said “let us reason together,” what text was he reasoning FROM?  Every proof, every evidence, every argument that he, and every other witness, made to that effect was based directly and specifically on the “torah, writings, and the prophets” that constitute that “old” Testament.

Those who claim that “Jesus” somehow “did away with the law” may have a good reason for denying that the “old testament” still matters:  it reveals their lie.  Take a look at Deuteronomy chapter 13, and the warnings against false prophets.  Had He done anything of  the sort, then He could NOT have been Who He WAS!  Furthermore,  Yahushua certainly understood His own Word better than those who claim that it has now been “replaced”.  In John 5:31, He makes that clear:

“If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

Instead, He turned to other witnesses, and — most importantly — to “the Father Himself,  Who sent me, and has borne witness of me.”  …ALL of which was confirmed because “It was Written” in Scripture – in the “old testament”.

Those who would claim that all of that “old” stuff is “done away with,” no longer relevant, and should not be taught, are performing the logical equivalent of taking aim at their own foot, and pulling the trigger.  They shoot out their own legs, and then wonder why they fall over.

What did John confirm that Yahushua advised, then?  “Search the scriptures;  for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.  And if THAT wasn’t clear enough, He continued, looking directly to the “Torah of Moses:”
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.”

Why do we teach from the “old” testament?  Why do we begin – as He did – in the Beginning?  Because His Truth has not changed.  Because His Word — ALL of it, FROM the Beginning — is the foundation:
“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Indeed, as the “new” testament simply confirms, His torah, His INSTRUCTION, is how we know Who He Is, and what righteousness” is.

WHY the “Law” is NOT “done away with”, nor is “Jesus” the ONLY one who can keep it!

October 30th, 2013

Here is the teaching for Deuteronomy 30 from Mark Call, which answers that particular Big Lie:

 

Deuteronomy 30

Legal standards in the Bible

October 30th, 2013

This week’s Torah portion, entitled “Chayei Sarah,” or “The life of Sarah”  is really about a whole lot of important legal issues, which formed the basis for British and American “common law” – back when we HAD “law”.

 

From contracts, to “agency” and the concept of “power of attorney”, to why no man of Yah in Scripture EVER got a “marriage license” – this is the first major detailed outline of real Law in Scripture:

 Chayei Sarah

 

Yom Kippur 2013 – why we MUST keep His feasts – NOW!

September 16th, 2013

Here is the recorded teaching and news summary from Mark Call for Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship on 13 September, 2013:

 

 

Yom Teruah 2013

 

The regular Shabbat teaching for TalkingTorah is also available on-line here as well:

Yom Teruah teaching from Talking Torah