Hebrew Roots 101

June 27th, 2012

Perhaps the most obvious, and frequently-asked, of all questions concerning the idea of what it means to “come out of” the world — and of the ‘Church’ of Babylon, or Egypt, or Washington, DC — has to do with what is DIFFERENT about following Him as a “Torah-Observant Believer”.  Isn’t it more than food, or keeping His Sabbath?  Are the differences significant ENOUGH that we might even refer to II Cor. 11:4 and suggest that some of those churches even preach “another ‘Jesus’, whom we have not preached“?*

Certainly we can suggest to people that our faith in YHVH must be built on the Rock that He has always said constitutes the foundation:  His instruction, aka “torah,” and the fact that He, without question or failure, always and absolutely keeps His Covenants.  Every bit of His teaching and instruction, literally from “Bereshiet (Genesis) to Maps,” tells an utterly consistent story.  But when it comes to any number of the ‘doctrines of men’,  most ‘Sunday churches’ still generally teach tradition rather than Scripture.  So to explain to a skeptical Christian what is different about following Him in obedience (and walking according to His commandments) ‘as Written‘ can be anything but a brief undertaking.

Is it possible to explain all of those differences in a short teaching?   Of course!  And the answer is amazingly simple.

Start the way He did!  The teaching known popularly as the “Sermon on the Mount”, contained in Matthew chapters 5 to 7, is a perfect introduction to what He did — because the Messiah Himself tells us what He came to do, as well as what He did NOT!  And it is easy to find, and remember, because it is essentially the very first major teaching He gave.

And remember who He was talking to!  For the most part, they were people who had some understanding of the Scriptures, but who had been deceived by teachers who had not been doing their jobs.  He would later call many of such unfaithful servants and blind guides things like “hypocrites”  — and worse — for exactly that reason!

These were people, however, who arguably had a better understanding of ‘the Torah’ than many in today’s churches do.  But, like those who have been deceived by the modern Pharisees, many in His audience had been misled to believe that their own, often pagan, tradition was what Scripture actually SAID (they may have even claimed it was ‘law’).

Yahushua started with things they knew, at least in part, because Scripture promises blessings for obedience to YHVH.  These include things like the beginning of Deuteronomy chapter 28, and culminate in the ultimate directive to “choose life!” of chapter 30, verse 19.  His introduction, therefore, is a reprise of the blessings YHVH bestows upon His children.  The first time He speaks directly of Himself and what He has come to do, however, it is about ‘torah’.  After all, He is the “Word Made Flesh”, and makes VERY clear right up front that He has NOT come to ‘destroy the torah‘ but to “fulfill”…literally to “fill up” His instruction, and the testimony of prophets who spoke of Him, with meaning that had not, until that time unfolded, been clear:

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.   (MatitYahu 5:17)

Furthermore, we can see that “heaven and earth” still exist.  And since even most children understand**  simple logic, the meaning of His next statement is undeniable — even if it conflicts with much doctrine of ‘the Church’:

“For assuredly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle will by any means pass from  the [torah] until all is fulfilled.  (v. 18)

Having established that He did not come to change His own Word, and warning against “teaching men so” besides, He proceeds to give just about the best point-by-point refutation of the ‘doctrine of the Pharisees’ — both of that time, and those that followed — that a new Believer will find.  It was His choice of repeated verbal ‘template’ and imagery that is so profound — and so VITAL for us to recognize!  Time and again, He makes the same point:  “You have heard it said”  illustrated by some example of a Biblical-sounding doctrine with a bit of a twist, followed by His own correction, “...but I TELL YOU.”  In every single case, what they had “heard it said” was wrong, as He patiently explained, and what He told them was EXACTLY WHAT WAS WRITTEN.  Why, because He was the “Word Made Flesh”, of course!

And what better introduction to the differences between what each of us has “heard it said” that He taught, or — well, SHOULD have taught, if only He understood whatever traditions and doctrines of fallen men are being promoted at the time — and what is actually Written than His very first sermon!  Yahushua, as opposed to “another ‘Jesus’ — who came to change His own instruction and thus make Himself out to be some type of false prophet,” makes perfectly clear the difference between what it means to BELIEVE Him, as opposed to merely believing IN Him.

No wonder the summary of that teaching ends with the observation that those who heard it “were astounded!

For he taught them as [one] having Authority.”  And why that is should be obvious!

The best way for us to explain the difference between the real Yahushua, who didn’t change the smallest part of His teaching and instruction, and “another Jesus, whom we have not preached,”  is to be able to do so exactly as He did:  What you have “heard it said” is NOT necessarily what “is Written!”

——————————————-
*  II Cor. 11:4

** Case in point:  When a father tells his son that — if he expects to earn some desired reward  — but not “until you clean this room” and wait “until after supper”, it means BOTH conditions must be met.  Those with seminary degrees who claim that the “law (meaning His Torah) is done away with” because “all” has somehow been fulfilled need to understand simple logic as well as a child.

Who Ya gonna believe – Me, or your lyin’ eyes?

June 24th, 2012

Even though by now it probably shouldn’t, it still amazes me just how utterly relevant the weekly Torah portion (parsha) so often is.  Not only are we seeing so much of prophecy fulfilled (admittedly, perhaps not for the first time!) before our eyes, but the lessons for what we should DO in response are just as vital now as they were to those who lived it the first time.

The story of the ‘spies’ in Numbers chapters 15 and 16 is a perfect example when it comes to current events.  Not only is it the “first recorded vote” in all of Scripture, but it teaches the timeless lesson that when it comes to the choice between “believing Him” and accepting appearances, which “look correct” to us, there is no contest.  Even the Hebrew word “tur” — a root verb meaning “to spy out,” seek, or explore (think “tourist”)  —  is revealing,  and the use of the very same word at the end of the portion points to a wonderful solution as well.

The story starts out by making sure that we know exactly who the players were.  Each of the representatives of their respective tribes, “every one a leader among them,” was recorded by name.  And Moses gave clear instructions, (Num. 13:17-20) telling them to observe the people, the land, and what type of cities they dwelt in, but with the proviso, “Kazakh,” in the Hebrew , to “be strong and of good courage!

Yet the vast majority* returned bearing not only the incredible fruit of the promised land, but an ‘evil report’.   They failed utterly to “see” beyond the surface, as they had been directed, and were instead deceived by appearances, and their own preconceptions.  Caleb and Joshua — alone — saw the Truth, and recognized that the land was “an exceedingly good land,” exactly as YHVH had promised.

And while there are many wonderful lessons which can be drawn from the story,  it is the question of “what do we choose to believe” that I find particularly interesting.  Yes, there were giants in the land, but Numbers 13:33 gives us more information than might be obvious at first glance; read it carefully:
“…and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Imagine that!  The men of the land managed to see the ‘grasshoppers’ exactly as they saw themselves.   Joshua and Caleb, however, realized (Num. 14:9) that “their defense has been removed from them,” and not only should they not be feared, but (in the equivalent Hebrew idiom) ‘we will eat their lunch!’  So, we should go now, Caleb urged.  As it turned out, the “whole congregation” turned on the two of them, rejected the promises of YHVH, and all of those adults ended up not going at ALL.  Every one of them died in the wilderness, because they “despised” YHVH (Num. 14:11) by their failure to believe His promises, given all that they had already SEEN!

And just Who do we believe today?  We have a world economy based on dishonest weights and measures — which He calls “abomination” — and it is nearing worldwide collapse.  A debt which is mathematically impossible to ever “repay” is taking down the PIIGS dominoes (Greece, then Spain) first, but portends a plague of truly Biblical proportions.  Unrest, riots, famine, and war will follow – as they always do, and just as Scripture warns.

And what of the governments…all of whom arguably now serve the “prince of this world”?  There, too, both Scripture and the news give the same answer:  Tyranny.  “Capital controls” and other draconian population control measures have already been implemented across Europe, to prevent people from escaping the economic meltdown, or preserving their wealth.  Cameras, airport searches, and internet spyware have long ago made the concept of ‘privacy’ laughable.  In the United States, tens of thousands of drones are not only already being openly admitted to perform aerial spying, but now to being armed…with everything from Tasers and rubber bullets to machine guns and missiles.

People have even begun to bring an “evil report”:  The “New World Order” is too strong to resist.  Big Brother really IS watching you…and X-raying, and groping.  And, just like the Borg of Star Trek, “resistance is futile”.  It truly sounds bleak…at least to those without “eyes to see” His Truth.

Is what we face today really so different from the “giants in the land” that so terrified a mixed multitude who ended up dying in the wilderness?
Does the commandment to “Fear Not!” still apply?  If we allow ourselves to be propagandized into seeing ourselves as the blind “tur-ists” did — grasshoppers in our OWN sight — is it so hard to see how that story would end?

And why does He end the lesson associated with the spies, and immediately the man who rebelled against His Sabbath, the way He does?

Part of the solution is in fact as simple as Scripture lays it out for us:  “Choose this day Whom you will serve…serve YHVH…and Him alone.”  Believe His promises.  Fear Not.  Seek Him…and “He will direct your paths.”

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  (Luke 21:36)

There is no question that this is a time for prayer.  But is there something else — practical and effective, and maybe even relatively EASY to do — that might help us learn to “walk that path”?

Yes.  And it is at the end of that same Torah portion (Numbers 15:38-40).  It even uses the same Hebrew word —  “tur” again — to make the point:
Put a blue thread in the tzitzit on the corners of your garments.
“And you shall have the tzitit, that you may look upon them and remember all the commandments of YHVH and do them, and that you may not spy after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to go astray;
and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be set apart to your Elohim.

Who are we gonna believe?  YHVH or our own “lying eyes”?  If we can learn to follow even some of His simplest commands, and look upon the tzitzit that he tells us to put upon the corners of our garments as a reminder, He is faithful enough to teach us, and guide us the rest of the way.

Kazakh!

A Pure Language

May 30th, 2012

 

Many Christians are unfamiliar with the Biblical holy (or ‘set-apart’) day known in the Hebrew as “Shavuot”.  Those who have heard of it by the more Greek-derived name, “Pentecost”, may tend to remember it primarily as the day when “tongues of fire” descended on the taught-ones of the Messiah following His resurrection, and many of them then “spoke in tongues”  (Acts 2).  There is, of course, MUCH more to the story.

We could start by pointing out that the real miracle that day didn’t really have to do with those doing the SPEAKING, but the HEARING.  Men of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, who spoke many different languages, each heard what YHVH intended for them to hear, in a language they could understand.  Kefa (“Peter”) spoke to those assembled, and quoted to them the words of the prophet Joel (Yah-El, for “Yah is El/Elohim”) concerning the ‘last days’,  and the pouring out – again – of His Ruach (Spirit).

But there seems to be more to the story surrounding the Biblical appointed time of Shavuot and language than originally meets the eye.  For example, while the date cannot be established with certainty, the approximate timing is clear from places like Exodus 19:1 and Numbers 1:1, and most of the ancient sages teach, that the giving of the Torah to Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness — the original “wedding Covenant” — happened on Shavuot.  This was fifty days after the first two of YHVH’s “appointed times” associated with Pesach (Passover) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and then that of First Fruits.  Interesting, as well, is the fact that Scripture tells us to “count for ourselves” the fifty days leading up to the “Feast of Weeks”, as though we were to “take ownership” of that time interval, and consider what is being taught, and foreshadowed.

The story of Scripture repeats one message for us literally many times:  Men make a choice — to rebel against YHVH.  He, however, has a plan for us as Kinsman-Redeemer, and is faithful to execute His plan.  YHVH makes and keeps His Covenants – men continue to break them.  We rebel, get kicked out of the garden, out of the camp, out of the land, even out of the marriages — and back into bondage.  He redeems us — “by a mighty hand and outstretched arm“, by His perfect Sacrifice, by His grace.; “wheels within wheels”, cycles within cycles.  His feasts  — no, not merely the ” “Jewish holidays” but the Appointed Times of YHVH, which He says we should “keep forever” — repeat each year as well, since we evidently need continued reinforcement of the message!

But there is another aspect of the message associated specifically with language, and His miracles and prophecies, which takes a form more reminiscent of “bookends” on a shelf than of cycles.  In that sense, perhaps the “speaking in tongues” associated with the Shavuot following His resurrection is more aptly seen as a milestone, somewhere near the middle of the story.  For its beginning, we turn to the incident at the time of Nimrod, after the Flood, when men sought to build a tower, arguably as an affront to YHVH Himself.  Bereshiet (Genesis) 11 tells us that the “whole earth was of one language,” literally “echad,” or in unity, of speech.  In order to confound those efforts, YHVH confounded, or “mingled,” their language, so that those at what become known as Babel could no longer understand each other’s speech.  One common tongue became many.

At the OTHER, future, ‘bookend’, the prophet ZephaniYah (interestingly, the “Secret Treasure is Yah”) tells us in verse 3:9 that the time will come when YHVH “will [re]turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of YHVH, to serve Him with one consent.”  At this time to come, evidently, out of many languages will — again — come one, purified, tongue.

And in between, we had the prophetic “shadow picture” of a time when people still SPOKE in the many languages of fallen man, but those with “ears to hear” HEARD what YHVH intended for them in a way each could understand.  It was the MESSAGE which was ‘echad’, although it was still spoken with tongues rather than yet being Written on hearts.

Will that future event happen at another Shavuot, when a “pure” language is again returned to us?  Will it be Hebrew?  Or some more ancient variant, like “paleo-Hebrew”, or “Abrahu” as some refer to it, or something even more “pure”?  Whether or not we can know yet what that pure language looked or sounded like, there is no question that the meaning of much of His ‘torah’ is rendered more accurately, more completely, in Hebrew than any single English, Spanish, or Greek translation can contain.

Even the two Hebrew words used in the two “bookends” sound like mirror image processes of one another.  ‘Mingled’ is from the word “balal” (spelled Bet-Lamed-Lamed in the root form) while ‘purified’, selected or cleansed, comes from “barar” (spelled Bet-Resh-Resh).

I have long been convinced that His Torah, or “instruction” to us was not only “perfect” (Psalm 19:7) and complete, as originally Written, but is perhaps even impossible to translate FULLY, or with all of the richness of nuance, meaning, and even poetry, into any lesser, ‘mingled’ language of man.  This may give some additional insight into why people were “astounded” when the “Torah Made Flesh” taught with such Authority (MatitYahu/Matthew 7:28-9) and even why the whole of His instruction has obviously not YET been “Written on our hearts”  (YermeYahu/Jer. 31:34)

As an engineer, and later as a computer memory/storage system designer and engineer, I have been impressed with how much language itself influences thought patterns.  “Thinking machines” can be, and are, literally designed to run using a specific computer language.   Programs, too, that might be almost impossible to write in one language can be easy to do in another — especially when the language is designed for the purpose at hand!  Our minds, similarly, are shaped by the hand of the Designer.  Perhaps this is why Shaul (Paul) wrote that we should “let THIS mind be in you” — which is His — and warns that we should “take every thought captive” in obedience to Him as well.  Language truly does SHAPE our thoughts, as any parent should understand.

The Torah was probably given on Shavuot, and His Word was Written for us to later read.  Some seven weeks after the perfect sacrifice of the Torah Made Flesh, again on Shavuot, His Ruach Hakodesh, or Holy Spirit, began to testify through the languages of men.  And in the time ahead, we are told He will again return to us a pure language, so that we may all call upon the Name of YHVH, and serve Him as “echad”, in unity, of one consent.

Until that day, we still “see through a glass darkly“, through the lens of languages mingled with the contamination of pagan words, thoughts, and imagery.  It is certainly possible to learn much from His Word in whatever language we best understand.  But language DOES truly help shape thought patterns.  And there is great value to be had in seeking to “study to show ourselves approved;” to seek out the meaning of some of the most important words and concepts in as close a form as we can manage to the way they were Written for us.  Learning a new language is admittedly a lot harder than having Him miraculously purify one for us, too!  In the meanwhile, however, it is exciting to know that if we diligently seek Him, and try to see His Word in a different way, such as through a Hebraic mindset and language, He will reward our efforts.

 

Dealing with the pagan unmentionable

May 1st, 2012

Many people — perhaps even most, including those who call themselves “Christian” — are often surprised by what the Bible actually says.  There is, for example, no mention of celebrating the most important single event in human history – the death and subsequent resurrection of our Messiah – via pagan fertility symbols like eggs and bunnies, although the practice is repeatedly and unquestionably prohibited.   Likewise, many of us who are beginning to “come out of” such pagan traditions have come to understand that He was not born in late December (when there would not have been “shepherds watching over the flocks by night” anyway) but instead during the time of Sukkot, or “Mangers”, as those temporary structures have been called in Olde English!

But one of the most repeated metaphors in Scripture is even more commonly ignored by the mainstream ‘church’, perhaps because it is even more “politically incorrect” than some of the other pagan-inspired traditions associated with the “religions of man”, but includes some of the same hubris of ancient goddess worship:   “I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will see no sorrow.”   (Rev. 18:7)

It is, as we have come to expect from a Book which reminds us to “let everything” be confirmed by two or more witnesses, confirmed by at least two prophets.  It is, also, consistent with both His Word, and His character, as confirmed by all that is Written about the Covenant we call “marriage”.  Sadly, it is also consistent with His teachings about idolatry, and adultery, and their spiritual and physical equivalence.

It is NOT just “the Church” which has fallen into idolatry, and committed spiritual adultery against Him.  And NEITHER is it just “the Jews!”  History, and the Bible, are replete with evidence:  it is BOTH Samaria and Judea, the northern AND the southern kingdoms, Israel AND Judah, which have committed idolatry, been banished into exile, and called “harlots” for their rebellion to their Husband.

Virtually every prophet in the Bible warns of the issue, and YermeYahu (Jeremiah) and Yehezkiel (Ezekiel) are quite specific.

“Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.   
Jeremiah 3:8

Prophecies tend to repeat; there is indeed “nothing new under the sun“.  The northern tribes, which were sent into exile and “lost” – scattered among the nations of the earth, STILL continued their pagan ways.  They brought the fertility rites of Easter, the ‘sunrise service’ celebrated with child sacrifice, and commemorated by dying eggs the color of blood, BACK into “the church” – and pretended, as always, that it was somehow all being done to “honor Him.”    The trouble is, however, that adultery, and things YHVH said were “abomination” to Him, are just not pleasing to Him…regardless of the lies and justifications in which they come packaged.

Judah, too, fell into idolatry, and was ultimately sent into bondage again — for the same reasons as always:

“[Israel] did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it…
Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also…

In spite of witnessing the judgment that befell her idolatrous sister, Judah did not accept chastening, or heed His warnings.

…And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says YHVH.   (Jer. 3:6-11)


And whether it is two sticks, two houses, two kingdoms, or two unfaithful wives which are the subject, the message is always the same:  He is faithful to His Covenant, and we – in the broadest possible sense – have repeatedly been guilty of idolatry – spiritual adultery – putting ‘another lover’ before Him, and have been “put away”, and sent into exile for our harlotry.  He is the Master, King, Father, Redeemer, and faithful Husband — and we have committed infidelity.  Over and over again!

But even when it comes to betrayal and infidelity, the message of Scripture, literally from the first example in Genesis 3 onward, is about His plan for Redemption.   The “remedy for the jealous husband”, the cup described in Numbers 5:12-31, is the very same cup described in Ezekiel 23:31-34, and in Revelation 18:6.  It is the same cup to which the Messiah drank for US in Gethsemane.

There will come a time when BOTH “treacherous sisters” will again have to choose whether to be obedient to their Husband, or to continue to walk in idolatry.  For each of us, as individuals, but who come from multiple ‘traditions’  — all of which ultimately are full of pagan idolatry — that means we will have to decide whether to follow Him, or stand outside the wedding service still to come, with “gnashing of teeth”.

Many denominations seem to have adopted the doctrine that WE — and we alone — are to be “THE Bride”.    Those who do not subscribe to that doctrine, and our traditions, of course, thus CANNOT be part of that “one and only.”  The Truth may be disconcerting to those who “by your traditions have made the commandments of YHVH of no effect.

He is the King, the Master, the Husband – and we are not.  Every story, every parable, makes that clear.   The question, as always, remains the same.  Do we choose to follow Him, or our traditions?

“But you have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me,” says YHVH.”

Newest podcasts and links

March 11th, 2012

Events in the news — already evidently out-of-control —  seem to be coming to a head recently.  Both this week’s and last weeks Torah portions  (from the “Talking Torah” room on Paltalk, where both Jeff Gilbert and I teach every Shabbat)  should be of particular interest to those who are not only concerned about how to “come out of her”, but about what we should come IN TO.

Call it “community”:

Ki Tasa

Tetsaveh

 

 

Is Paul a TARE?

March 9th, 2012
People who are beginning to understand what it means to “come out of her” — particularly when it comes to the lies we have “inherited from our fathers” in paganized Xtianity — tend to have mixed, often contradictory, and sometimes even downright volatile reactions when it comes to Shaul, or Paul, the author of so many letters in the Bible.Some churches seem to believe that the only still-valid True Scripture begins with the Book of Romans. (Well, with perhaps PART of the stories of “Acts”, provided that one doesn’t read too much into the problematic parts that deal with hearing Moses read in the synagogues).  And if that means most of the “old” testament has been “done away with”, so much the better; as if Paul overrides the Word of his own self-described Savior and Master.  Others have careened into the opposite ditch, and contend that he was teaching a whole new religion, whether for good or for ill.  But among some of those who have begun to realize just how pervasive the lies we have inherited have become, there is yet another formulation of that Grand Deception:  “Paul was a TARE!” You know, planted to spoil the crop.

I contend that Shaul was simply a consummate Torah scholar, who — following his revelation on the “road to Damascus” — realized that there was a BIG difference between what was “Written”, in the Torah, Writings, and Prophets (in other words, all that was then known as “Scripture”) and what HE HIMSELF had been taught from the “traditions of the elders”.  He realized that man’s traditions, even when they are CALLED “law”, are not the same as the Torah of YHVH.

Not long ago, I had an email exchange with a friend whose concerns may sound familiar to others who have wrestled with the question of whether Paul was a “tare”, who rewrote Scripture, or has just been “twisted”:

Dear Mark,

You recent articles suggest to me that most “Christians” have been brought up in a “Church” which teaches an insidious lie:
“the Law has been done away with.”

I wholeheartedly agree:  Pew warmers are following Paul instead of Jesus, because “cheap grace” is being taught.

Unfortunately, most Xtians will not believe it, because Paul admonished his followers not to believe “another gospel” if it differs from what Paul was preaching.

Paul and his words remain as tares, so intertwined with the real gospels by chosen disciples and what Christians have been taught for so long, that pulling out the ‘tares’ would remove most of the NT, and shatter lukewarm, misguided mainstream Xtianity and faith in God.

Paul was NOT a chosen disciple and his message of FREE GRACE is in direct opposition to what Jesus actually said!

Paul’s biggest deception was his teaching that because Jesus ‘finished’ everything on the cross, we (as believers) can safely disregard not only the Law that governs Jews, but also, that we can disregard the celebration of festivals, Jewish traditions and customs, as practiced and taught by the Pharisees, FOR Jews.

On the other hand, maybe that would be the BEST thing that has happened in the last 2,000 years or so — exposing the false gospel of Paul in the NT… separating the ‘wheat from the chaff’.

A number of articles from a ministry purporting to teach “Jesus’ words only” were attached.  Since space does not permit a complete response to all of those, I’ll just try to summarize a few points that those confronted with similar questions might find valuable.  And since I usually start with the warning of II Kefa (Peter) 3:15-16 about how Paul could be “twisted”, I won’t repeat that again here (yet, anyway!)

Remember that when we deal with individuals, as individuals, we have an advantage over those of us who write articles, or teach on the radio, or speak in local fellowships.  We can be ready, “in season and out“, to respond to the specific, individual concerns of those who ask about our faith.


Hi… (I responded
)

I actually DID believe that myself for quite some time…that Paul was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, to use another metaphor.  And I really don’t have a huge problem with that thesis; it’s easier for most ‘evangelicals’ to understand than the alternative…which is to study Torah to the extent that Shaul did, “for themselves,” and realize that he in fact IS teaching consistently what YHVH (and the Word Made Flesh) instructed.  BUT, he is TOTALLY at odds with the so-called “Law” taught by the Pharisees.  (This is what really distinguishes the “Law for Jews” from the INSTRUCTION of YHVH for ALL of us!)

Remember that Yahushua roundly condemned them as the “Hypocrites!” they were in places like Matityahu/Matt 23.

Later Popes did the same thing, but with their own, different, substitutions..on everything from YHVH’s “appointed times”, and Sabbaths, to food, to marriage.

And it’s not really about defending Paul; he was a teacher, perhaps even a particularly good one, but arguably a bit too “deep” for most people…particularly those who, centuries later, didn’t have a CLUE about the DIFFERENCES he was pointing out.

(Think about this, I added later:  Within only about four centuries after the Most Important Sacrifice in all Human History, the Pesach (Passover) had been not only perverted but actually RENAMED after a Greco-Roman “goddess”.  If Satan had convinced people that the “old Law” was legalistic, done away with, and burdensome; that, INSTEAD, they should celebrate pagan “holidays” named after false ‘gods’ like Ishtar/Easter by eating things God said were ‘not food’, like pig…are we getting pretty close to “calling good, evil, and vice-versa?  And if they can twist the Words of Yahushua Himself, what chance does a poor sap like “Paul” have?  😉

This is my criticism for those who understand part of the problem, but miss the bigger point — and blame “Paul” for the mistranslation and distortion of his teachings, rather than the “blind guides” and “sons of vipers” who twist him (“as they do the rest of Scripture”) to their own destruction.  (There!  Finally, II Kefa [Peter] 3:15-16.)

There is MUCH more than can be said.  But, a series of examples may be the easiest summary of the issues.

Example #1:

Shaul NEVER said that TORAH (the word he really used – not ‘nomos’) is done away with; just that we can’t earn something that YHVH the Father gave us.  Because he was the ‘consummate Torah scholar’, he probably focused too much on subtle details for some; after all, those who don’t understand the “old” Writings as well as he did will miss many of his continual references.  How can one follow his logic, built on the FOUNDATION of YHVH’s Torah, and then claim that the foundation itself doesn’t apply?

But Yahushua put it far more simply:
“IF you love Me, keep My commandments.”  Which?  ALL of ’em, of course! He didn’t change “one yod or tittle“.

Ultimately, that’s why I sometimes distinguish between Shaul and Paul, and between Yahushua and “Jesus”: to make that distinction as clear as possible.   If “Jesus” had really “done away with the Law”  (or “nailed it to his cross”; check the actual wording!) He would have been a liar, and a “false messiah” – just as He pointed out, and warned us about.

In both cases, fallen teachers and false prophets have set up “straw men” who teach something very different from what BOTH Shaul and his Master actually point out “is Written“!

Example #2:  “Did Paul abolish the Sabbath?”

Paul said anyone in Christ’s movement did not have to follow the Sabbath any longer.  He wrote in Colossians 2:16-17:Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

This, I contend, is one of the most often-twisted, and important, distinctions that Shaul makes!

Even the Roman Catholic Church admits that there is NO place in Scripture where YHVH’s Sabbath is changed to “Sunday”.  They are PROUD to have done it on their own claimed authority!  (See John Cardinal Gibbons, Archdiocese of Baltimore; prominent, among many.)  So, I will submit up front that this verse has not only been taken out of context, but literally turned upside-down.  Good is being called ‘evil’.

But before I return to the verse, let me ask a question.  TO WHOM WAS SHAUL WRITING the letter?   Of course, it was the new believers at Colossae.  But the key is the history and context.  They were former PAGANS (perhaps from the ‘lost ten tribes,’ perhaps not — but ultimately they were being “grafted in”) who are still living in a very pagan world, and subject to pressure from their families, friends, and business associates.  They wanted to TURN (‘tshuvah’ in the Hebrew, translated as “repent”, but it literally means “TURN around”; you’re goin’ the wrong way!) away from pagan ‘gods’, from pagan “holy days”, and from pagan ‘meat’ and ‘food’!   They were being persecuted for keeping the Sabbaths of YHVH, and rejecting the “holy days” of the pagan world they lived in!

ANY “torah-observant” follower of Yahushua would know immediately what Shaul was talking about.  But the ‘church’ which DENIES the very Foundation of Scripture, the Written ‘instruction’ of YHVH Himself, and His “Torah Made Flesh” has a problem!  For 1700 years, they have obfuscated the difference between His Word and THEIR “law”…because they have “added to” and “subtracted from” it, just as the Pharisees and “hypocrites” throughout history have done.  And they have for centuries done EXACTLY what Shaul warned about — persecuted, even killed, those who reject their PAGAN “holy days” and false “sabbaths” and instead keep the Appointed Times of YHVH!  (A reading of the sordid truth of this aspect of ‘church’ history may well shock and horrify you.)  Now, take a look again:

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths…”

In proper context, this one is almost funny today!  Those of us who have “come out of” a paganized church can relate to exactly what Shaul was saying!   “WHY won’t you eat pork?  Or shellfish?”

“What is WRONG with you?  You don’t celebrate EASTER!”

(You mean, why do we do as YHVH commanded – and object to a pagan spring fertility goddess sunrise ritual, incorporating elements of child sacrifice and fertility symbols?  Why do we keep His Pesach [Passover] — which He repeatedly said to keep “forever” — instead of a different day and date?  And why would anyone who worships Him, and “Him alone” object to the re-naming of the most important event in human history after a pagan goddess?)     …”have some Easter ham…”

And think about the example of the seven day week!  Almost every culture in the world uses it – almost like it was “from the Beginning”!  Many other languages, like Spanish (“Sabado”), still retain the meaning of the Sabbath (seventh) day in their names.

And there is more support for this point, from the same letter.
“Be careful that you do not let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, and after the elements of the world, and not after our Beloved King.”    (Col. 2:8;  Original Scriptures Edition 1.  Verses 20-22 bring home the same point.)

Paul was NOT ‘abolishing the Sabbath’! He was offering comfort to those who faced persecution from their pagan communities when THEY wanted to return to following YHVH and His Torah!

Yahushua even said “the world will hate you for My sake.”  Sometimes, the world hates Paul, too.  He had a tough job: trying to teach those who did not yet KNOW Torah what the “Word Made Flesh” Himself had said, and done.

And as more people come to an understanding of that Truth, and the fact that YermeYahu (Jeremiah) was right…we HAVE inherited lies!…some may well even be angry about it.  Like Shaul, if we are to be “good and faithful servants” of the Most High, we need to be able to lead His “lost sheep” back to Him.

 

More radio shows links

February 6th, 2012

Latest radio shows and links:

 

“Come out of her, My people Show”

MP3 download for the CooH show

 

Drive Time Friday – week in review with Mark Call and Jeff Gilbert

MP3 download for the DTF show

Whose ‘Law’ is it anyway?

February 6th, 2012

A year ago I wrote in this column about the “middle” plagues visited by YHVH on Mitzraim (Egypt) in the time of Moses.  I tend to refer to them as the “Transition Plagues”, because unlike the first three plagues, where the “magicians of Pharaoh” were at least partly able to mimic the malady (as if adding a few more frogs to the infestation was somehow a helpful demonstration of their power!) — by the time the lice or gnats were brought upon them, those men were forced to admit that “this is the finger of God”.  (Exodus 8:19)  The transition, then, is between plagues or judgments which men may be able to imitate, and thus deny the will or existence of YHVH, and those they cannot.  In other words, for a while, stiff-necked men are still able to claim that they are NOT suffering the curse brought on by their own rebellion to the Word of YHVH.

I speculated then that, if we are in fact entering the Biblical “End Times”, and “the pattern of the original Exodus repeats…then other judgments against the false ‘mighty ones’ of the current worldly systems of the modern versions of Babylon and Mitzraim will follow.  For example, as was already evident some time ago, the breakdown of our fiat paper system of dishonest weights and measures continues.  And in spite of literally trillions of dollars of bailouts and machinations (plagues of dollars are even easier to add to, evidently, than frogs), the world financial system is less stable today than ever.  Even the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) recently admitted that what the modern money magicians persist in still calling a “recession” has not YET entered the long-promised recovery — and evidently won’t, any time soon.  And the related Euro plague has expanded as well, with the initial infection of the PIIGS nations having spread beyond Greece and Portugal lately to downgrades of sovereign bonds in nations like Hungary and France.

It is likely that additional plagues are still to come, and are even somewhat predictable.  Famines and wars generally follow currency breakdowns and bank holidays.  But of arguably even greater concern is the condition predicted by our Savior in Matthew chapter 24.  What those who translated most English versions of the Bible refer to as “lawlessness” or “iniquity”, however, I contend should be rendered more appropriately as “torah-less-ness”, or rebellion against His Word…which is, of course, what those words really mean:

“And because torah-less-ness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
    (MatitYahu/Matthew 24:12)

Admittedly, this condition even sounds more like a PREDECESSOR to the judgments to follow than an actual plague in itself.  But the daily news certainly confirms the diagnosis.  It is the implications of that prediction which are so important now, however, as we seek to “know the season”, and understand what is still to come…and WHY.

Most “Christians” have been brought up in a “Church” which teaches an insidious lie:
“the Law has been done away with.”

Can we be at all surprised, then, when entire nations make that same claim?

After all, He is no longer even permitted to be acknowledged in many Statehouses, legislatures, schools, or courtrooms!

If the “OLD” Testament — the very Foundation upon which the rest of Scripture rests — could have “passed away”, then why would ANYONE believe that something as ephemeral as any Constitution could ever endure?  Can we doubt that when gullible people governed by evil men announce that the “Supreme Law of the Land”  — whatever that means! — has been done away with, they are just repeating the same lie?

And that those who teach such lies are ultimately “without excuse”?

Just take a look at the ‘fruit’ of such perfidy:

The Transportation “Security” Administration now routinely ignores even the pretense of “probable cause” for its routine illegal searches and seizures.  The concept of a “search warrant” is now nothing but a quaint reminder of a time when sworn “officers of the law” actually knew what the Bill of Rights said.  Last month, overwhelming majorities of both a treasonous “Amerikan” House and Senate passed the “NDAA”, which now allows for people ANYWHERE — including, but not limited to “US citizens” — to be detained without charge, trial, or even evidence.  Not even the pretense of “due process” remains.  And only this month, an attempt to allow shutdown of websites based on allegations of “piracy” resulted in a massive online protest.  Only after the offending bills were supposedly sent “back to the drawing board” did the revelation emerge that the administration had ALREADY signed an “executive agreement” masquerading as a treaty called “ACTA”!  Thus, not even the pretense of “free speech” under the First Amendment may soon remain.

And the life savings of literally tens of millions of people is soon to be stolen – both directly and through insidious inflation.  Other forms of “lawlessness” will inevitably follow.  The iron fist of a police state will follow, as intended.

In the final plague before the “death of the first-born”, the Almighty brought “darkness” (or “chosef” in the Hebrew) upon Egypt; darkness which was so spiritually and physically intense that it “may even be felt”  (Exodus 10:21).  Interestingly, this is the same word that was “upon the face of the deep” in the second verse in Scripture, and which was “divided” from the light immediately thereafter by Elohim.

And — just as He had done in all of the plagues following that transition — YHVH “put a difference” between His people and those of the land of Mitzraim, and “all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”  And our true King is now quickening the process of separation — wheat from chaff, sheep from goats, light from darkness, and His people from the paganism — and lawlessness! — of the world.

Pharaoh’s magicians got it; some probably left, and became part of the ‘mixed multitude’ which was brought out of the land of Mitzraim and were later “grafted in” to Israel.  Those who did not (Exodus 10:1) had their hearts hardened right along with Pharaoh.  Those who – regardless of their background – humbled themselves before YHVH and were obedient to His directions were saved.

What is coming is likely to be ugly, and then violent.  But it is the prince of THIS world who claims that ‘the ends justify the means,’ and not our Master.  We STILL have a “choice of Law,” a choice of Whom we serve!  Even as those who are of this world descend into lawlessness, those who “come out of her“, and serve YHVH alone must remember that His ‘torah’ guides our actions!   As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego understood,  “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.”

Even though perhaps the plagues to come have only just begun, I will suggest that this difference between “light” and “darkness” is crucial.  As we seek to understand the counsel of Revelation 18:4, “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,”  we must begin to make that separation ourselves.  “For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”  (II Cor. 6:14)  Through whatever plagues may yet come, and whatever deception may be attempted by the Adversary, our instruction remains clear:
“If you love Me, keep My commands.”

“Come out of her” Q & A Show

January 19th, 2012

Question:  “So what exactly can we do to begin bringing ourselves out of babylon? What can I do NOW? Apart from growing and catching my own food and rain-water.

 

 

Take a listen:

Come out of her, My people Show link – 19 January, 2012

MP3 file for 19 January CooH Show

Latest Torah-oriented podcasts

January 16th, 2012

 

The weekly teachings from the “Talking Torah” Room on Paltalk, featuring both Jeff Gilbert and Mark Call, are up on “Way To Zion”:

MP3 link