Psalm 119

A good friend of mine (Jon McPheron, of Berean Breadcrumbs fame) asked us to read Psalm 119 every day for thirty days to see how it would change us.

176 verses and each verse literally speaks to His Word, Precepts, Laws, Commandments, Statutes, etc. (sometimes twice!).  After a while, these short testimonies pop into your head instead of those ditties you used to listen to endlessly in your youth.

They are the spiritual equivalent to the wearing of tzitzits

38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes [tsiytsith] in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe [tsiytsith] of the borders a ribband of blue: 39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe [tsiytsith], that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: 40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.

Numbers 15:38-40

It is obvious that He thinks highly of the instruction (Torah) He has given us – why do we assume that He no longer thinks they are such a good thing . . . but will again in the Millineal Kingdom?

  1. ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
  2. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
  3. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
  4. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
  5. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
  6. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
  7. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
  8. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
  9. BETH.  Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.
  10. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
  11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
  12. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
  13. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
  14. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
  15. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
  16. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
  17. GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
  18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
  19. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.
  20. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.
  21. Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
  22. Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.
  23. Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
  24. Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.
  25. DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
  26. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.
  27. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
  28. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
  29. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
  30. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
  31. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.
  32. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
  33. HE. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
  34. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
  35. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
  36. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
  37. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
  38. Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
  39. Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.
  40. Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
  41. VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.
  42. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.
  43. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.
  44. So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
  45. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
  46. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
  47. And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
  48. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
  49. ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
  50. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
  51. The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.
  52. I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.
  53. Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
  54. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
  55. I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.
  56. This I had, because I kept thy precepts.
  57. CHETH. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.
  58. I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
  59. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
  60. I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
  61. The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
  62. At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
  63. I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
  64. The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
  65. TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.
  66. Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.
  67. Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
  68. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.
  69. The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.
  70. Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.
  71. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
  72. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
  73. JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.
  74. They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.
  75. I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
  76. Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.
  77. Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.
  78. Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.
  79. Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.
  80. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
  81. CAPH. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.
  82. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?
  83. For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.
  84. How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?
  85. The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.
  86. All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.
  87. They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.
  88. Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.
  89. LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
  90. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
  91. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.
  92. Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
  93. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.
  94. I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.
  95. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.
  96. I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.
  97. MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
  98. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
  99. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
  100. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
  101. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
  102. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
  103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
  104. Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
  105. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
  106. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.
  107. I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.
  108. Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.
  109. My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.
  110. The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.
  111. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.
  112. I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.
  113. SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.
  114. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.
  115. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
  116. Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
  117. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.
  118. Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.
  119. Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.
  120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.
  121. AIN. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.
  122. Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.
  123. Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.
  124. Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.
  125. I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.
  126. It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.
  127. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
  128. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
  129. PE. Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.
  130. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
  131. I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.
  132. Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.
  133. Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
  134. Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.
  135. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.
  136. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.
  137. TZADDI. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.
  138. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.
  139. My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
  140. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
  141. I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.
  142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
  143. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.
  144. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.
  145. KOPH. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.
  146. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
  147. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
  148. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
  149. Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.
  150. They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.
  151. Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.
  152. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
  153. RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.
  154. Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.
  155. Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.
  156. Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.
  157. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.
  158. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.
  159. Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.
  160. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
  161. SCHIN. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
  162. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
  163. I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.
  164. Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.
  165. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
  166. LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.
  167. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
  168. I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.
  169. TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.
  170. Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
  171. My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
  172. My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
  173. Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
  174. I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.
  175. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
  176. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

Do you love the Word?  Do you know the Law? 

Do you want a quick guide to help you navigate through the 613(?) Instructions of Yahweh?

When I made the decision to become Torah observant, I looked for an easy guide that would tell me what to do, what to wear, what to eat, etc.  When I couldn’t find one, I wrote one.

GRAFTED: Embracing Torah

It is true that many of the Laws do not pertain to us today, but do you know WHY?  Yeshua did not do away with the Law, the feast days, the dress code, the dietary rules, etc.  Yahweh tells us both when and how, and when not.

Purim

The Jewish holiday of Purim was this past Friday.  I apologize for not getting this blog out sooner so you could plan your own observance.

Purim (“lots”) is not one of Yahweh’s prescribed days (e.g., Passover, Pentecost, etc.), but is observed by Jews because of the victory that was obtained over the enemies of Yahweh’s people.  The story is told in the book of Esther.

While in captivity in Babylon (which has been captured by the Persians), The Jews were sentenced to death by Haman, chief Minister of King Ahasuerus.  A royal edit was sent out to all the provinces of Babylon that the slaughter was to take place on the 13th of Adar (the day before Purim is now celebrated) by casting “lots” to pick the date.  Since no one, not even the king, could countermand a royal edict, it appeared that a holocaust was certain.

Esther, an undeclared Jew, was Queen, but even her position as wife of the king did not allow her to plead for the Jews (and consequently, herself) unless she was summoned by the king, first.  Entering the king’s chamber or throne room without invitation was punishable by death – even for the queen. This greatly reduced the interruptions the king had to suffer

The king could acquiesce to an interruption by holding forth his scepter, thereby pardoning the offender – not a course of action that one would want to rely on if they wished to live a long life.

Esther chose to break the protocol, and risk death, to plead for her life and that of the lives of the Jewish people.  It is probably not a spoiler alert to say that the Jews survive. How they accomplish this makes the story more interesting.

Yes, I skipped over an abundance of details, several interesting plot twists, and a couple of over-lapping palace intrigues, but you should read the story for yourself, not get it from me . . . or a silly movie – which is how we celebrated Purim.

Three movies I found on Esther include, “Bible Collection: Esther” (1999); “One Night With the King” (2006); and Pure Flix: “The Book of Esther” (2013).  Unfortunately I missed the live performance of “Queen Esther” (2020), the live airing of an off (off, off, off . . . ) Broadway performance of Esther.  It appeared to be a musical.

Let me shared my experience with these films:

Bible Collection: Esther (1999)

Though not a big fan of Ted Turner, his Bible Collection series had some gems.  My favorite, by far, is Joseph (1995) as it is staggeringly well written and filmed.  The rest of the films in this series pale in comparison. 

Esther (made for TV) follows the Biblical narrative better than the other two films – which is quite important.  Unfortunately, the actors try to make up for the ‘smallness’ of the production by over-acting.  A lot of yelling takes place which the Director must have thought could substitute for acting.  The actors did not draw me into the story – I could ‘see’ the behind the camera suggestions to do or say what ended up on film – the actors seldom ‘owned’ their roles.

One Night With the King (2006)

This is a gem.  It looked like a major motion picture and the casting was excellent.  James Callis as Haman was especially menacing looking and John Rhys-Davies as Mordecai was an inspiring choice.  I was initially excited that the film opened sharing that the events of Esther were the result of Israel’s disobedience to Yahweh hundreds of years earlier, but was let down when they referenced the wrong event (Peter O’Toole appearing as the prophet Samuel didn’t help).

The movie quickly went off the rails from there.  I understand that the Biblical narrative does not have enough information to fill a two-hour movie and that literary license is therefore necessary, but why change what IS in the narrative?  The acting was great, but the wanderings from the Word crushed me.

The Book of Esther (2013)

Directed by the great David A. R. White (great as an actor, not so much as a director) the film had the feel of a college film project.  I wasn’t impressed with the sets for the ‘greatest empire’ in the world and I was less impressed with the cast.

I didn’t feel the suspense of the court intrigue or the horror of an impending genocide.  Esther did not come across as someone making a life or death decision with the scales weighed heavily against her.

My rankings:

Bible Collection: Esther (1999) – Based on it’s adherence to the Word

One Night With the King (2006) – Based on it’s production and cast

If we could have taken the cast and production of ONWK and placed it in the script of BCE, I think we are looking at 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Book of Esther (2013) – I am probably being generous with two stars.

Every day is a day to celebrate Yahweh’s goodness and mercy.  Find what works for you.

What IS (was?) the Purpose of the Law

How can you have a blog about the Law and not have a photo of Charlton Heston to accompany it?  Chuck makes everything cool.

While Mr. Heston is portrayed embracing the Ten Commandments, today, most Christians pride themselves in being “free from the Law” (Romans 8:2)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Christians, however, tend to ignore the phrase “law of sin and death”.  When Peter says that the writings of Paul are difficult to understand –

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

2Peter 3:16

it is because Paul was an exceptionally learned man and often spoke as an exceptionally learned man.  It would be like reading a dissertation about the Constitution’s freedom of speech written by me and one by Mark Levin.  Mine would be tersely accurate, while Mark’s would be painstakingly detailed.

Levin’s writings have lots of context and if his words are taken out of context, they could possibly have a different meaning.  The Apostle Paul’s writings are the same.

What is the “law of sin and death”?  Is it the same as the Law of God?  Why not just say, “the Law” if they are the same?  Does Paul just talk to hear the sound of his own voice or do his words mean something?

Paul actually speaks of SEVEN different laws – not knowing the context of which law he is referring to could lead ‘unto our own destruction’.

This is actually a completely different teaching and I am not scholarly enough to do it justice, but I raise this issue to address the Christian’s (of which I am one) tendency to quote a verse and give it a different meaning than the context of the verse would have given.

The purpose of this blog is to examine the purpose of the Law (Torah – Instructions) with an emphasis on their purpose since Christ was sacrificed as a propitiation for all sins.

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

1John 2:2

I had to look up “propitiation”, because big words like that make me sound smart until someone asks for a definition.  Dictionary.com defines it as “the act of propitiating – someone who propitiates”.  That wasn’t overly helpful.

Strong’s defines it as [Greek: hilasmos] atonement.  That is better.  A use of a thesaurus also gives synonyms like reparation, payment, and recompense. 

Many (way, way, too many) Christians believe they are like Teflon where sin is concern . . . nothing sticks.  Confess Jesus as Lord and you can do anything you like and still get into heaven because ‘he died for all sins”!

Why does this sound suspiciously like Aleister Crowley’s [a satanist leader in the early 1900s] commandment, “Do what thou wilt” shall be the whole of the law?

First, see my blog Born Again? to get an understanding of what it means to “confess” someone as “LORD” (which is only half of what is required to be what Christians’ refer to as ‘born again’).

Second, let us read 1John 2:2 in context:

1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1John 2:1-6 — emphasis added

If I came to your house and claimed I was a plumber, but I did not turn off the water supply before I started dismantling the kitchen sink, you would know I was a liar because plumbers will turn off the water supply (if they can) before they do their plumbing.  There are ‘laws (instructions)’ one should/must follow if they are going to be called a plumber.

So why do Christians claim that the law has been superseded?  Superseded by what?  Yahweh gave us ten Commandments as part of His Law and the Word says His Law is “perfect”

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:7-11

Did we get something more perfect-er?  Something wiser? Simpler?  Right-er-er . . . er?  Purer?  Cleaner? . . . .

What is it?  Is it simpler than “thou shall not steal”?  Purer than “thou shall not commit adultery”? Are we allowed to worship other gods, now, because ‘the Law has been superseded’?  Is murder on the ‘okay list’, now?

Why will we be keeping the ‘Law of Moses’ in the Millineal Kingdom (Ezekiel 43- 46) if we have something NOW that is MORE perfect, MORE simple, MORE right, MORE pure, and MORE clean?

Nowhere in the Word does Yahweh speak of changing His Law, except when Paul is taken out of context – and those that claim Paul teaches that ‘the law has been done away with’ have to contend with Paul’s actions and words, for he always did the Law, including keeping the Feasts and having Timothy circumcised.

Paul states

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Romans 7:7)

Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. (Romans 7:12)

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. (Romans 7:14)

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (Romans 7:22)

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:25)

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1-2)

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. (Romans 6:12-15)

Doing the Law is not the way to salvation, but doing the law is the evidence of our salvation.  Yeshua died a horrible death as a recompense for our sinful lives.  Do we repay him by continuing in sin?

If Yeshua is our example and we are to walk as he walked (1John 2:6), should we embrace sin or avoid sin?  How do we know what sin is if the Law was done away with?

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

1John 3:4

Does a lifestyle of thievery help to witness Christ unto the masses?  A lifestyle of incest and adultery?  Or do we agree with Yahweh that such actions are disastrous to the body of Christ and a stumblingblock to those that are weak (1Corinthian 8:9).

Living sin-free is impossible in these fallen bodies, but avoiding sin is much easier.  If you know the Law says to not bear false witness [lie] (Exodus 20:16) then do your best to tell the truth in all things.

If a lie convicts you in your conscience, then you are probably not yielding yourself over to sin.  If you can lie ‘without batting an eye’ (what does that even mean?) and you are not ashamed, then you have not made the conviction to have Yeshua as Lord.

If you do not know the Law, how are you to know what to avoid?  How are you to walk at Yeshua did? or Paul? or Peter? or . . . .  Keeping the Law does not save you – your faith in a Redeemer will save you.  The Law will help you live as the one who redeemed you commanded.

Have faith unto salvation, but keep the Law as an evidence of your faith. 

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James 2:18,26

Do you know the Law?  Do you want a quick guide to help you navigate through the 613(?) Instructions of Yahweh?

When I made the decision to become Torah observant, I looked for an easy guide that would tell me what to do, what to wear, what to eat, etc.  When I couldn’t find one, I wrote one.

GRAFTED: Embracing Torah

It is true that many of the Laws do not pertain to us today, but do you know WHY?  Yeshua did not do away with the Law, the feast days, the dress code, the dietary rules, etc.  Yahweh tells us both when and how, and when not.

Silence

Are Paul Simon’s Lyrics the ‘Words of a Prophet’?

Paul Simon (the singer / songwriter, not the politician) had a very successful career in the 1960s and the 1970s as the creative half of Simon and Garfunkel and in his solo career after their breakup.

In 1964, “The Sound of Silence” was released on their debut album and as a single.  The song was a flop, selling less than 2000 copies.

Thinking that maybe a career in the music industry was not in their future, the duo looked to other ventures.  Meanwhile, producer Tom Wilson asked members of Bob Dylan’s band to add electric guitar and drums to “The Sound Of Silence” and the song soon became number one in the US . . . and Simon and Garfunkel became a fixture on the Billboard charts as well as the culture of a generation.

With a trove of massive hits like “Mrs Robinson”, “the Boxer”, “I am a Rock”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and many, many more, they spoke to the soul of their generation unlike the protest artists of the late 1960s.  Their lyrics were smart, not angry, and the tunes were catchy.  Even adults listened to, and enjoyed, the music

Like many people my age, I bought all their albums and made mix tapes of my favorite songs.  Their harmonies were exquisite and fun, introspective and touching, but they could also be haunting.

“The Sun is Burning” spoke to normal life under the sun, until the sun came to earth in the form of a nuclear explosion (which everyone feared since the 1950s).  “Richard Cory” was a song about a successful businessman that everyone wished they were – until he commits suicide for no apparent reason (as a side note – I went to Catholic Seminary and they taught this song . . . I was asked to leave for asking them to teach the Bible).

The most haunting song is that first single, “The Sound of Silence”. Paul Simon wrote the lyrics one line a day over a period of six months and they spoke to many people that felt they had something to say, but that no one wanted to hear them.

The lyrics were a little disturbing in 1964 – they are downright terrifying in 2021.  Paul’s ‘vision’ has come to realization in the age of social media, lockdowns, and cancel culture.

The Sound of Silence” (Click the Title to hear the song)

Hello, darkness, my old friend 
I've come to talk with you again 
Because a vision softly creeping 
Left its seeds while I was sleeping 
And the vision that was planted in my brain 
Still remains 
Within the sound of silence 

What is the “vision”?

In restless dreams I walked alone 
Narrow streets of cobblestone 
'Neath the halo of a streetlamp 
I turned my collar to the cold and damp 
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light 
That split the night 
And touched the sound of silence

Neon lights are generally used to attract our attention to a business or a product.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

It is not uncommon to see dozens of people in a single location and all of them having their faces fixed on their phone.  Tweeting and texting, but not conversing – saying things online they would never say in person.

"Fools," said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you."
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

Our inability to ‘talk’ to each other is killing our society and the mandates to ‘social distance’ are killing the connection we have with humanity.  We are splitting apart as a community because we cannot hear what the other person is saying because we are engrossed in what the internet and the media are saying.

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence.

The sign (‘vision’) on our phones and our televisions is that anyone who does not believe, act, and speak as they tell you to is dangerous.  They are to be silenced and boycotted.

Difference of opinion is giving way to group-think and violent repression.  It has happened before . . . and the consequences are horrific.

There was a day when differences of opinion (even hateful opinions) were vehemently protected.  That is not the case today.  The Constitution is being ‘protected’ from Free Speech when it is the Constitution that is supposed to protect Free Speech.  Beware anyone who tells you that you cannot disagree with the ‘consensus’.  Beware anyone who promotes political correctness as a way of stifling opposition to their opinions.  Beware anyone who tries to silence, cancel and/or boycott someone for having contrary opinions.

  • ‘Following the Science’ to point out that the numerous climate models over the past fifty years have always been extraordinarily wrong and that basing policy on them has colossal, negative consequences for jobs and the standard of living throughout the entire world
  • Following the Science to say there is only two genders is insensitive.
  • Saying that biological males should not being using the same restrooms and locker-rooms as our wives and daughters, or that they should not be competing in sports against biological women is misogynistic.
  • Saying that, “if human life ends when there is no evidence of a heartbeat then human life begins when there is evidence of a heartbeat” is misogynistic – despite approximately half those heartbeats you are trying to save are female.
  • Saying that we should defend our borders and build a wall (for the same reason we put locks on our doors and windows) is xenophobic.
  • Questioning the election of 2020 is reason to harass and drive people from their employment (despite the fact that Democrats question every election they lose)
  • Questioning the science behind the arbitrary lockdown restrictions being imposed and opposing unconstitutional prohibitions of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is met with fines and incarceration.
  • The police and the military are being scrubbed to remove people who believe in limited government but our voter rolls are not scrubbed to remove deceased people, non-residents, non-citizens, and duplicate voters.
  • Believing in the Bible and a Savior other than the government is hate-speech

Government is protecting Big Tech in their quest to stifle non-conforming speech – something the government itself is prohibited from doing.

Paul Simon’s warning is probably too late . . . the ‘cancer’ has metastasized.

“The Answer To Hate Speech Is More Speech, Not Less” – Nadine Strossen, the former head of the American Civil Liberties Union

Born Again? Part 2

Last Week we looked at what Yeshua said about being ‘born again’ (John 3:1-6) and what Christianity teaches, today, about being ‘born again’ (Acts 2:37-41 and Romans 10:9-10).

We also discussed the difference between saying that someone is your Lord (boss, spouse, etc.) and the conviction it takes to show that you truly have confessed Yeshua as Lord.

Yeshua had a ‘boss’, also, and he always did His Will:

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

John 4:34

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

John 5:30

41And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

Luke 22:41-43

In all that Yeshua did, he proclaimed the Father as his Lord.  Yeshua was not an automaton – he had his own free will.  Yeshua could have sinned or he could have walked away from his impending crucifixion, but he did neither.  This is our example of confessing someone as Lord – we do their will, not our own.

The first part of Romans 10:9 is confessing – the second part is believing

9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:9-10 – emphasis added

Once again, this is not just a simple acceptance of an idea.  Believing in your heart is equivalent to saying you have no doubt in the facts of a situation.  This is generally difficult when the idea we are to believe (without doubt) took place nearly 2000 years before we were born. 

I’m often in doubt of what I had for breakfast the day before – and I was there! (most mornings are a little fuzzy before that first cup of coffee).

Here, I am going to steal quite liberally from a booklet written by John Schoenheit, entitled “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”.   You can order copies or download the pamphlet for free from this link.

John heads a ministry entitled Spirit and Truth Fellowship and has a vast library of written materials and videos that are a wealth of information.  He teaches from a Dispensational point of view, so, like anyone else you read from (especially me), you should take what they say to the Word and test it – that is how you can make the word your own.

John writes (and I paraphrase):

If true, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the single most important event in the history of mankind, and therefore the one most crucial to establish as an authentic historical event. In fact, the resurrection is the very linchpin of the Christian faith, holding together every claim and every blessing. If the resurrection could be proven a fraud, Christianity would disintegrate as a total fabrication with little redeeming merit. Jesus would not even be an example of a “good moral teacher,” as some maintain, for his most important prediction – that he would be raised from the dead – would be found a lie.

the Apostle Paul’s entire ministry was built upon the foundation of the resurrection, and it was his personal encounter with the risen Christ that caused him to develop an unassailable conviction in the reality of this event. Paul states the consequences to the Christian faith if the resurrection of Christ did not, in fact, happen.

John Schoenheit, Introduction – “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”

12Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1Corinthians 15:12-20 – emphasis added

This is an important work and should be a part of your library.  To give it justice, I would have to copy the entire text.  I gave you the link so you can read it for yourself, so I will just list the 23 reasons to whet your appetite:

  1. The resurrection narratives have the ring of historical truth
  2. The Apostle Paul’s life and ministry is a strong witness of the resurrection
  3. The empty tomb is a historical given
  4. The disciples were devout Jews
  5. The testimony of women
  6. Jewish propaganda presupposes the empty tomb and the missing body
  7. His enemies would have produced his dead body to silence the believers (part of the plot of the Affirm Films movie Risen with Joseph Fiennes)
  8. There was no veneration of the tomb
  9. A non-Christian historian testifies in support of the resurrection
  10. No alternative explanations in the early non-scriptural sources
  11. The biblical records of the ten resurrection appearances give unified witness
  12. The idea of Christ’s new body was a totally foreign concept
  13. Modern scholars and historians admit that there is strong evidence of his bodily resurrection
  14. The conviction of his followers in the resurrection
  15. The martyrdom of his followers for their belief in the resurrection
  16. The unanimous testimony of eye-witnesses, who could not all have been deceived or deluded
  17. The unbelief of the disciples concerning his resurrection
  18. The idea of a resurrected Messiah was a hard sell to the Jews and absurd to the Greeks
  19. He could have gotten out of the tomb only by resurrection
  20. The very existence and growth of the Christian Church makes no sense if he was not raised
  21. The disciples had nothing to gain by fabricating a story and starting a new religion
  22. The unanimous testimony of the early Christian leaders
  23. All of the alternate explanations proposed for the resurrection lack credibility

In light of the evidence of the empty tomb, the resurrection appearances and the rise of the Christian Church, a reasonable person should conclude that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a well-established historical fact. In a court of law, such evidence would compel conviction unless contradictory evidence could be brought forward to introduce “a reasonable doubt.” But all alternate explanations and theories are extremely doubtful and counter-intuitive.

Therefore, Christians are being rational, sensible, and fully consistent with common sense when they rest their faith on this well-established historical event. Not only is there compelling historical evidence to back the belief, but extravagant benefits in the future are promised to those who believe it.  According to the Bible, the only sure promise of everlasting life for mankind, both individually and collectively, depends upon belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Evidence # 23 of the pamphlet, “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” by John Schoenheit

Believing is an easy thing.  When you walk into a dark room, you ‘believe’ that there is a switch next to the door that you can flip and a light will come on.  You may not have ever been in the room or you may have no working knowledge of electricity, but you will act on the knowledge you have acquired by walking into other rooms.

If you throw a ball in the air, you ‘believe’ it will come back to earth, even though no one can tell you what gravity is [Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked, “what is gravity?”  His response was, ‘I have no idea – neither has anyone else. We can describe gravity; we can say what it does to other things. We can measure it, we can predict with it, but when you start asking what it is? I don’t know.’]

Read the Word, read the histories, look to the example of other believers and “believe in your heart” the knowledge of the event that will guarantee you everlasting life in paradise.

Confessing Yeshua as Lord and believing the Father raised him from the dead require a conviction in your soul and a change in your life.  If Christ is your Lord and Savior, should you not act like it?  Should you not do what he commands you to do? 

He does not ask us to do something that he, himself, was unwilling to do.  He does not even ask us to do it as well as he did.  He commands you, if you are to be his follower, to have faith and to act on that faith.

14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

James 2:14-20 – emphasis added

Works do not save us, but works are the evidence of our faith. Our Savior did ‘good works’ . . . non-believers are also capable of doing good works . . . so, shouldn’t we do so, also? 

Since we are incapable of avoiding all sin . . .

14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Romans 7:14-15

. . . we repent of what we have done and endeavor to strengthen our walk so we obey the one we confess as Lord.

To be ‘born again’ is not possible in these bodies.  One day we will be given new bodies (I’m praying that mine is younger and thinner) that are similar to the ones that Adam and Eve had before the Fall.  This is when we will truly be ‘born again’.

The spirit we have been given when we ‘confess and believe’ is an earnest (i.e., a down payment)

4For we that are in this tabernacle [human body] do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

2Corinthians 5:4-5 – emphasis added

Ephesians 1 speaks to the ‘mystery’ [mustērion – secret known only to the ‘initiated’ – hidden truth to the natural sense, but seen by the spiritual sense] and predestination. There is a lot to unpack there, but that is for another teaching.  I am only trying to establish that the spirit we get upon being our ‘believing confession’ is only a token of what we get once we receive our new bodies.

10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:10-14 – emphasis added

This is why we are still such a mess!  We only have a voucher of what we are going to get. 

You hear some people exclaim, “I quit craving cigarettes when I got born again” or other such witness to the effect that they were changed when they received the spirit.  Wonderful for them.  Most of us never felt any different and wondered if we had done it wrong.

A voucher is not overly beneficial until you claim it, but when you act on it before cashing it in (which, unfortunately, we cannot claim before Christ raises us from the dead), you can see a difference.

A diploma is a ‘voucher’ which has little value until you use it to get employment.  It does, however, give one the sense that they are worthy of a position that they would not have been considered for without the diploma.

1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

1John 3:1-5 – emphasis added
  1. Knowingly confess Yeshua as Lord in your life
  2. Know the Law (Torah, Instructions)
  3. Do the Law – Do What Yeshua Did!
  4. Believe in the undeniable fact that Christ was raised from the dead three days after he was crucified as a recompense for your sins.

This is the recipe for acquiring a new (born again) body after Yeshua returns in his glory.

I did not plug my book last week so I don’t feel bad about doing it this week.

Doing the Law is important and it is not a burden.  Others that are not doing (will not do) it will give you a multitude of reasons why you can not or should not do it. 

Yahweh gave it to us – Yeshua did it, as did the Apostles, even after crucifixion and resurrection of Yeshua. Do not be deceived, Yeshua did not come to start a new religion, he came to witness to those that lost their way (Luke 19:10) – to perfectly do his Father’s Will.

Read GRAFTED: Embracing Torah to get a simple guide for what to do and not do; what to wear and not wear; what to eat and not eat; etc.  When I determined to Do What Yeshua Did (DWYD!), I looked for a quick and easy guide for following Torah.  When I could not find one . . . I wrote one.

The Law was given to the children of Israel AND to those that left Egypt with them and believed.  Be a fellow-traveler and believe.

One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.

Exodus 12:49

Born Again?

1There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:1-6

Nicodemus was not one of the Pharisees that tried impugn Yeshua’s character or his message.  That is why he came to Yeshua at night, when the other Pharisees would not see him.

Nicodemus’s faith grew so much that he eventually risked being ostracized and excommunicated by going to Pilate and asking for the body of Christ after the crucifixion.  Nicodemus is the reason we have the evidence of the empty tomb – without him, Yeshua’s body may have been thrown into the city dump and burned up.

Whether Yeshua knew of Nick’s importance in advance, or not, he did recognize someone who was truly seeking the truth and shared with him a nugget that was not shared with ours until after his resurrection: “being born again”.

BillyGraham.org asks the question: What does it mean to be “born again”?

“A: Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Our first birth gave us physical life; the new birth gives us spiritual life and membership in God’s family (John 1:13). To be born again is to have the Holy Spirit transform our hearts from indifference and hostility toward God to a love of God and a desire for righteousness and holiness. The only way one can come to God and experience what it means to be “born again” is through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ; read John 14:6. The Bible clearly teaches in Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5, and Romans 10:13 that salvation is a gift; it cannot be earned in any way.”

https://billygraham.org/answer/what-does-it-mean-to-be-born-again/

It is a “gift”? “It cannot be earned in any way”? Not having to earn salvation sounds wonderful (if we had to earn our own salvation, then I fear none of us would ever be worthy), but isn’t repentance an act that leads to salvation?

What is the impetus for the holy spirit to “transform our hearts”? Do WE need to do something, first?  Surely the Holy Spirit does not randomly transform hearts.  If you believe that man has ‘free will’ then we must consciously DO something that gives the spirit the right to “transform our hearts from indifference and hostility toward God to a love of God and a desire for righteousness and holiness.”

Repentance of sin is not enough – even the worst reprobate sometimes wishes they had not done something. John baptized with the “water of repentance”, but added that “he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11)

On the day of Pentecost, Peter is proclaiming what this great miracle (the Apostles speaking in the languages of the foreigners that came to the Temple – languages they did not know) means and giving them holy hell for allowing Yeshua to be crucified – much to their consternation.

37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Acts 2:37-41

So, Peter tells them to repent, be baptized, “and with many other words did he testify”.  So, there was more to message than just repent.

Many teach (myself included) that Romans 10:9-10 is required to be born again.

9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:9-10

This is a big deal that too many gloss over.  What does it mean to ‘confess Yeshua as Lord’?

Returning to BillyGraham.org (BGO), they complete their answer on what it means to be “born again” by saying:

“to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord means more than accepting Him as a fact of history, a teacher, or an example. It means more than giving mental assent to the fact that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world. It means that one turns from sin and with his or her whole heart trusts in Christ as personal Savior and Lord. God makes that one a new person; see 2 Corinthians 5:17. The Bible says, “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).”

I agree that confessing means more than just saying the words (unfortunately, too many Christians don’t go deeper than that) or acknowledging that there was a rebellious dude that lived approximate 2000 years ago. BGO tells us what it is not, but does not address what confessing someone as Lord means.

In Matthew 7 (two chapters into the ‘Sermon on the mount), after Yeshua teaches that there will be imposters that come in his name (“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” verse 15).  He exhorts them to look at what they do, not at what they say (“Ye shall know them by their fruits.” verse 16)

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Matthew 7:21-23

Many 501(c)3s exist that want to tell you how they think Yeshua should be worshipped or how you ought to look or act if you are born again. Those that teach other than what the Word teaches are ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Paul tells us in Romans that we are to confess Yeshua as “LORD”.  That means that he rules your life – that you follow his rules.

If you work for Elon Musk and you tell everyone that Elon Musk is your boss, but you pass confidential corporate secrets on to a competitor, do you suppose EM is going to call you a ‘good and faithful servant’ or is he going to say “depart from me’?

I live in the United States and I follow the laws issued in the jurisdiction in which I live (for the most part – I insist that traffic laws are merely recommendations, but the police officers that keep pulling me over never agree with me).  I am a combat veteran, so some may say my commitment to the U.S. is higher than most, but if I sold secrets to a foreign power, I would be imprisoned and stripped of the privileges I earned as a soldier.

Finally, look at a marriage covenant:  At the wedding, you swear to “love, comfort, honor, and obey – in sickness and in health – forsaking all others – to be faithful as long as you both shall live”

If you break this vow, your partner’s response, in most cases, is to say “depart from me”.  Even if divorce is not the end result, the consequences are devastating for everyone in this relationship . . . especially the children.

So, what do we DO to show that we have made (“confessed”) Yeshua as Lord?  BGO states WE must “turn from sin” and this is a big deal.  Becoming “born again” does not keep us free from sin since we are still free will beings.  If anything, it makes us a target of sin since you have now pledged yourself to be an enemy of sin.

Not everyone agrees on what “sin” is.  Of course, not everyone is capable of being our Savior so choose wisely and follow their lead.

In Romans 7, Paul tells us, “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” and, also, that, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”  He sets the standard – the Torah (instructions) tells us what sin is and what we should avoid.

John, also, tells us, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1John 3:4)

3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 7Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

1John 2:3-7 – emphasis added

How did Yeshua walk?  The leaders of the Temple were constantly accusing Yeshua of violation Torah and speaking blasphemies . . . but what did Yeshua say about the Torah?

17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:17-19

When faced with a challenging situation, do you consider, ‘What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD?)’ as is the catchy slogan that Christians have used for years.  I tell you that you do not have to wonder what he may have done – rather I exhort you to “Do What Yeshua Did! (DWYD!)

“This teaching is continued on the other side of the tape . . . .”

Next week we will continue addressing Yeshua as Lord  and how you can believe in something that happened thousands of years before you were born.

LOST

“I once was lost, but now am found . . . was blind, but now I see”

John Newton – Amazing Grace

       In Luke 14, Yeshua goes to the home of a chief Pharisee to eat on the Sabbath day and he heals a man which had the “dropsy” [edema – an abnormal infiltration and excess accumulation of serous fluid in connective tissue or in a serous cavity].

       Yeshua first asks if it is “lawful to heal on the sabbath day”?  None answer him, so he heals the man.  

       Understanding that the people present were uncomfortable about his actions, he further emphasizes his point by asking a simple question, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?”

       Once again, all refuse to answer him.  They had all been taught what not to do on the Sabbath, but they seldom considered what they could do

“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27)

       The same can be said for the entire Torah [Instructions – first five books of the Bible].  It was written for man so he could live in the fallen world he occupied.  The instructions explain how best to worship Yahweh and how best to interact with others.

       But what happens when we decide to not follow His Instructions?  What happens when the church teaches that the instructions are no longer to be followed?

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Timothy 4:1-4)

       What happens when the truth of Yahweh’s Words are ‘lost’?

       Luke 14 continues with Yeshua beginning to teach through the asking of questions [the Socratic Method]:

  • Who builds a tower without first making sure he has enough material to complete it?
  • Who goes to war without first making sure they have the men and materials to win?

       Planning is important.  Knowing what you want to achieve and knowing how to achieve it is important.

       Yeshua is not interested in building towers or in fighting wars (yet), but as we see in Luke 15, he is interested in saving souls.  But only those that desire to be saved.

In Luke 15:4-7, Yeshua tells of a shepherd who loses one sheep and leaves the 99 he has to find the one that is lost.  Not only does he seek the one lost sheep, he celebrates when the sheep is found.

       How many of us are satisfied with a 99% success rate? Yeshua seeks 100% of his sheep.

25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (John 10:25-27)

       Yeshua was the Word made flesh (John 1:14) and he always spoke and did his Father’s Will (John 14:31; 6:38)

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:14-16)

       Luke 15:11-32 is the parable of the prodigal son (or the parable of the forgiving father – the son has nothing if the father isn’t a forgiver).

       There are lots of teachings about the son who claims and then squanders his inheritance.  Only when he is destitute and fears dying does he return to his father.

       He hopes his father will forgive him and take him on as a lowly servant, but his father embraces him and returns him to his rightful position as a member of the family.  His father holds a celebration for the ‘lost’ son has returned to him.

       I’d like to emphasize Luke 15:8-10:

8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?  9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

       In the Eastern culture the ten pieces of silver was a gift from her husband.  It was not expensive, but, it carried a very deep sentimental value. It was not the only gift given to her by her husband, but it was certainly the most precious.

       Some say that each piece was about the size of a quarter.  In most cases, each coin would have the coat of arms of the husband’s family on one side.  Usually the year the coin was made was on the other side.

       On very special occasions the woman would hang these in her hair.  Because it had such sentimental value, the woman was very careful when wearing the ten pieces of silver.  The consequences of losing one were very harsh.

       None of the ten pieces could be replaced.  If the wife were to lose one, her husband would banish her from the house until she found it.  They believed that if you lost even one piece of the ten, then you would have lost God’s blessings as well.

(https://confidenceandjoy.com/ten-pieces-of-silver/)

       So what was Yeshua telling the people about losing one silver coin?  One of Ten?

       The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (Psalm 12:6)

       12 And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. 13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. (Deuteronomy 4:12-13)

       She ‘lost’ one coin and diligently searched for it – celebrating when it was found.  Yeshua equates this with a sinner that stops doing one (or more) of the Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:6-21; Exodus 20:2-17) but then returns to Yahweh’s Instruction and repents. “. . . there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

       Have we lost a coin . . . or two, or three?

       Most of us have broken several of the Commandments in our life and repented, determining to never break them again (and often failing . . . again).

       Have you ever stolen (Exodus 20:15)?  Did you feel bad about it? Do you wish you had never done it?  Did you repent of your sin?  If you did, it is because you heard the voice of the Word made flesh.  You listen to the shepherd.

       If you are okay with stealing, then you are not of the flock.

       What about the fourth Commandment?

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)

       Have you ever worked on the Sabbath (we often have no choice – we are in bondage to the world)?  Shopped on the Sabbath (we have a choice about making others work on the Sabbath)?  Did you feel bad about it? Do you wish you had never done it?  Did you repent of your sin?  

       Why do we believe Sunday is the ‘new’ Sabbath (‘the Lord’s day’)?  Did Yahweh make a change to His Law or is it a product of what the church teaches?

       Has the time come that we refuse to endure sound doctrine?  Have we sought after teachers with “itching ears” who preach the truth we want to hear, turning the Word of Yahweh into fables? (2Timothy 4:1-4)

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. (Psalm 19:7-8)

Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. (Psalm 119:142)

       When did we decide to ‘improve’ on what is “perfect”, “sure”, “right”, and “pure”?  How did we develop a ‘better’ “truth”?

       Yahweh, Himself, wrote the Commandments onto stone tablets and gave them to Moses to place in the Ark of the Covenant.

       Are we listening to the shepherd when we unrepentantly break the Sabbath on a weekly basis.  Even if the Sabbath was changed to Sunday (which it hasn’t), do Christians “keep it holy”?

       Is the Sabbath a silver coin you have ‘lost’?  Are you looking to ‘find it’?  Will you rejoice when you decide to do the whole Word of Yahweh?  The angels in heaven will.

       My book (Grafted: Embracing Torah) is a good guide for someone wanting to know what keeping Yahweh’s Instructions entails.  There is an entire chapter devoted to the Fourth Commandment – keeping the Sabbath holy.  It is not a substitute for you going to the Word and making it your own, but it is not a bad start, either.

What is Enough?

Serenity is not easy

When I broke off my relationship with Facebook, I told my ‘friends’ (not everyone you accept on FB is actually a friend – it is FB’s term) that we are living in the end of days.  Neither candidate was going to save us from them (if you are looking for an actual savior, Yeshua [commonly known as Jesus] is available), but it is plain from 2020 that the Democratic candidate will make life as retched as possible as quick as possible – observing the dictatorial behavior of the Democratic Governors in NY, NJ, MI, IL, WA, OR, CA, and elsewhere, the next four years will be a nation-wide hell rather than isolated to smaller areas.

Don’t get me wrong . . . the same was going to happen under President Trump, but it would have taken longer to lose your savings, your livelihood, and your freedom. 

This is the Serenity I accepted before the election in 2020.

After accepting this – what can I change and where do I get the wisdom to know what is changeable?

I have always fought with this because I am a doer – I can and want to DO things. 

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Having spent 20 years in the infantry, I learned that it didn’t matter ‘how’ you did things (within legal restrictions, of course) . . . you did what was necessary to go through, or over, or under, or around the obstacle to get to the objective.

The Army had a saying, “If it looks stupid, but it works . . . it’s not stupid”.  I am a master of doing stupid things to get something to work right.  The internet has scores of slideshows of other masters doing whatever they can to accomplish a task . . . the photos usually depict an abundant use of duct tape and an OSHA warning to, ‘don’t this this at home’.

This attitude is the opposite of “Let go and let God”.

I want Yahweh to fix things (as He is ever so smarter and resourceful than I am), but am I not supposed to do what I can first?

I’m told to, “pray about it . . . .”

Prayer is important and we are instructed to do it without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17), but we are to act, also.

Noah was not saved by sitting on his couch, watching Netflix, eating pistachios, and praying for an ark – hoping Yahweh would make one for him (which, ironically, is part of the storyline of the dreadful 1999 TV miniseries about the Flood starring Jon Voight).  Noah spent 120 years witnessing to people about the coming flood and building the ark.

[As a side note, have you ever noticed how exceeding bad movies about Noah and the Flood are?   You have a kick-ass story about the end of the world and Hollywood acts like they have never read Genesis 6.  The 2014 version with Russell Crowe depicts Noah as a homicidal, environmental wacko bent on ending the human race . . . including his family.]

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Yahweh could have provided a much better ark (presumably quicker than 120 years . . . and under budget), but He did not.  If Noah and his family were to be saved, they were going to have to do a lot of the work themselves.

Not only were they going to have to build it, but they were going to have to put up with the ridicule that comes from building a really, really, big boat that wasn’t going to be able to launch into the sea – unless the sea came to Noah (which, of course, it eventually did).

How many times was the ark vandalized by drunken people?  It had to have been a very stressful century (plus) for Noah’s family.

Abram (later, Abraham) did not pray for Yahweh to remove the idols in his father’s house.  He destroyed them himself (the narrative in the Book of Jasher, Chapters 11 and 12 is humorously entertaining).  This action lands him and his brother in Nimrod’s court and they are sentenced to be thrown in the fiery furnace (not quite so humorously entertaining).

[When reading about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in chapter 3 of the Book of Daniel, they are to suffer the same punishment, but they reply,

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. (Daniel 3:17-18)

They were not just making empty boasts – they were confident that Yahweh ‘was able to deliver them’ from the fire because He had saved Abram from the same punishment – though not Abram’s brother, who was quickly consumed by the massive fire.]

Abram was not capable of escaping the judgment, but his prayers were answered by Yahweh and his clothes were not singed, nor even smelled of smoke when he walked out of the furnace.  He ‘let go and let God.’

What is enough?  I have never been ‘wise enough’ to know when I have done enough and to just let Yahweh handle the rest . . . and that can be stressful. 

How much does one prepare for the coming economic collapse and reset?  Food, water, fuel . . . how much for how long? 

When Israel left Egypt, they did not carry forty years worth of food with them.  Yahweh provided – but not from day 1.

There will be a new exodus, when Yeshua supernaturally transports us to a place of safety to save us from the wrath to come (it will have to be supernatural, because, unlike the Israelites, we are not all in the same place to start the journey), but we need to provide for the time prior to the exodus.

I know people who have a veritable fortress that they plan to defend to the last shell casing.  That didn’t work out so well for the 80 men, women, and children who were known as the Branch Davidians in Waco, TX.  They were no match for the tanks and armored-personnel carriers that were unleashed on them by the US Government.

Randy Weaver had a similar problem at Ruby Ridge, ID, when Federal Marshalls killed his son and his wife in a brutal and heavy-handed operation unleashed on the family of a man who missed a court date.

Richard Branson built himself a ‘bug-out’ bunker on his Caribbean island of Necker, which was utterly destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

What can I, or any other ‘normal’ person, do to protect against a tyrannical government or the ravages of extreme nature?  There is never enough bullets or concrete to stop a determined adversary.

I’ve always tried to stockpile food and water for anticipated events (e.g., blizzards, tornados, etc.) when the supply chain will be disrupted for 2 – 3 weeks.  I have no idea how to plan for a government determined to affect a long-term destruction of the supply chain through lock-downs and draconian, environmental regulations.

I wish there was a hard and fast rule that says you are to do “X” and pray for Yahweh to do “Y”, but I’m not finding it.

I will continue to do what I can while praying it is enough until Yahweh’s plans unfold.  I will also continue to pray that I recognize His unfolding plan so I don’t stubbornly stick to mine.

P.S.  When the collapse happens . . . I’ve stockpiled guns and ammo, also.  All my family can hit what they are aiming at, so don’t show up at my door unannounced.  Just like in Noah’s time, there is no room for those who do not plan.

What We Know(?) // What I Think(?)

My last four blogs have been about “Christmas” (Party Like a Pagan [Christmas]; Really, Awful Worship; Mark 7 ! ! !) and Hanukkah, so I am going to spend some time talking about the presidential election in America that is still ongoing.  There is a lot hyperbole out there and I would like to take a somewhat calmer and possibly realistic approach to what is happening.

This not so much a teaching as it is a long-winded rant, but there is some good information that is being ignored by the media and an analogy between the President’s fight for his political survival and our fight for spiritual survival. The President knows what he is up against . . . do you know what you are up against?

Caveats:

  1. I am 60 years old so I have seen a lot of elections and have lived through some tumultuous times (not like my parents who lived through the Great Depression and World War II – but definitely more tumultuous than today’s snowflakes who cry if they hear opinions that they think are wrong).
  2. I served 20 years in the U.S. Army and I am a combat veteran – I lived in a ‘cave’ for five months while waiting to invade Iraq during Desert Shield.  I have given up a lot for this country and am prepared to do what I can to preserve its greatness.  My oath to defend the country and the Constitution does not have an expiration date.
  3. Government is a necessary evil . . . but it is still evil.  It does not matter who is running the country,  both parties have a lust for power, though I believe the Democrats are more maniacal in their quest for absolute control.  The Republicans will drive this country over the cliff, but the Democrats have their foot on the accelerator and will accomplish the task much sooner.
  4. Politicians are not the source of America’s greatness, even though they all promise to save you from any number of evils, both real and fabricated.  I have a Savior in Yeshua Ha’mashiach (Jesus the Christ), so I do not need them to save me.  I need them to stay the hell out of my way . . . and that goes for their soul-crushing plethora of regulations, also.
  5. The media and big tech are the enemy of truth.  If you believe the media that lied to you for two-years about “Russian Collusion” and for one year during the impeachment for “Quid pro quo” (the transcript of the phone call was released and yet the media refused to inform its listeners to its content or even its existence) then you have been negligent in seeking truth, preferring to consume the poison being fed to you daily.  Media and big tech are erasing any narrative that does not align with their agenda.  You are responsible for seeking, not accepting (Matthew 6).
  6. If you have not read Atlas Shrugged or 1984 (shame on you for thinking that watching the movie is a sufficient substitute), you are not prepared to deal with what is coming.  These are both novels (there are any number of political treatises about the coming end of America and freedom – most are very preachy) so they are easier to stomach (Animal Farm is another good one).  If you do not read the Bible, you do not know that this is all prophesied (not every detail . . . the big stuff, one-world government, WWIII, genetic ‘enhancements’, elimination of morality, etc.) and you will not survive to enjoy the kingdom of Christ which will replace the despotism of today.
  7. There is a test coming.  You will be forced to denounce Yeshua and the Word of Yahweh or face severe consequences.  Nothing is more consequential than having a foundation in the Scriptures so you will not be deceived by the ‘leaders’ of this age. The ‘religious leaders’ rolled over when they were told to close their churches – they nor the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights will have your back when you really need them.

Back to the election.  There is no question that President Trump was on his way to an over-whelming victory on election day when something curious happened.  Several ‘battleground’ States suddenly stopped counting their ballots and told everyone to go home until morning.

In the morning, the President’s insurmountable lead was gone, despite the fact that counting was supposedly discontinued overnight. 

Numerous signs of fraud materialized almost immediately, but were discounted or ignored by the media and the leaders in the States where the fraud took place.

This does not include much of the statistical irregularities of the vote tallying that indicate the Dominion voting machines were adding, changing, and/or deleting votes.  Most States refuse to turn over their equipment for forensic analysis which does not help to allay fears of vote tampering.

Many in the media claim that any irregularities are not sufficient to overturn the result.  Where is their evidence?  They are admitting that fraud took place, but we are to ‘trust’ them that the fraud was not large or widespread.

Can you imagine the media keeping quiet if Biden had lost and the Republicans had done ANY of the things mentioned above?  The fix was in and Democrats knew it.  Hillary Clinton told Biden in August that he “should not concede under any circumstances” (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/hillary-clinton-says-biden-should-not-concede-2020-election-under-n1238156).

No one questioned her about this, but the media rail against the President for not conceding when ample evidence of fraud is present.

Lawsuits have been filed (a majority of which have been rejected by the courts) and still continue to be filed.  The number of votes involved are staggering.

The Press have mocked the Navarro Report on the election irregularities, but have refused to print it or cite it.  You can find it here: https://bannonswarroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/The-Immaculate-Deception-12.15.20-1.pdf. It is a good summation of the many abnormalities that the President’s legal team has uncovered . . . so far.

There is not enough time in the electoral process to have trials that can ‘prove’ sufficient fraud. The Electoral College has voted and declared Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election, but this is not the end of the process.  The House and the Senate still need to count and approve the Electors’ votes on January 6. “Alternative” Electors have cast ballots in these battleground States and Congress has to decide which slate of ballots to use (https://www.vox.com/22173990/electoral-college-trump-biden-stephen-miller).

This has happened before (In 1876 and a law was passed in 1887 to deal with this dilemma – https://www.cato.org/blog/presidential-elections-primer), so President Trump still has a slim chance of winning the election, which is why he has still not conceded.

If a Senator AND a Congressman object to an Elector’s vote, then debate over the objection is allowed (2 hours per objection, so this could become lengthy).  Mitch McConnell has begged the Senators to not object, but there are a few mavericks in the ranks. Further revelations of massive fraud could sway even McConnell before the Jan 6 deadline.

In 2017, dozens of objections were made by Democrats in a futile attempt to stop President Trump from winning the 2016 election.

The House cast their votes for the President, but it is done by State delegation – each State gets one vote which nullifies CA and NY’s large Democrat contingents.  Since Republicans control more State delegations, theoretically the President can win that vote.

The Senate cast their votes for the Vice President and since the Republicans hold a six member majority (GA Senate run-off races will not be decided until the day after the Senate votes), they will presumably cast their votes for VP Pence.  In case of a tie, it is assumed that VP Pence (still VP for two more weeks) will cast the deciding vote for himself.

If Democrats fear this might happen, they could raise their own objections to draw the process out even further so that on Jan 20, 2021, if there is no winner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives (presumably Nancy Peloski) would become President since she would be next in the line of Presidential succession.

Is your head ready to explode, yet?

President Trump is fighting the results because he can – legally.  Myself and 80M other voters voted for him because he stood up to the status quo (the “swamp”) which is something we have been begging the Republicans to do for decades.

Having said that, do I think the Republicans in the House and Senate would have the balls to object and change the corrupted results of the Electoral College?  Have they given any indication of having a spine in the last 30 years?  [‘crickets’]

The establishment Republicans (RINOs) hate the President almost as much as the Democrats do. His fight against both entrenched parties has left the President with few friends in Washington.

President Trump should fight the unjust results, even though his chance of success is small.  If someone stole something of value from you, would you not seek to get it back?

Joe Biden (he is not “President-Elect”, no matter what his letterhead says, until after the Congress confirms the Elector’s votes on Jan 6 or President Trump concedes – which he will never do) wants the country to “unite”, but that will not be possible when half the country believes the Democrats stole the election (https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/09/republicans-free-fair-elections-435488).

If he wants to unify the country, Biden should demand a thorough investigation (which cannot change the results since the Constitution does not provide recourse for a stolen election) and institute policies that would negate the fraud in the future.

Since he benefited from the fraud, that is not likely to happen, resulting in even more blatant and wide-spread fraud in future elections.  No one will be brought to justice for committing fraud – in fact, they will be elevated to positions where they can more effectively, fraudulently affect future elections.

We are witnessing the end of America in real time. 

Fighting against this power will be futile, but you must stand for what is true and fight for it anyway . . . just as the President is doing in his fight over the election.

If you do not know what is true, do not go to the media for your answers, based on their history of partisan lies and distortions.  There is only one place where you can find THE truth.

You must find some friends who are steeped in the Word and learn what you can with the time you have left.  When you are asked to choose (and the decision could have life or death consequences) know where you stand in truth and choose Yeshua (Jesus).

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Hosea 4:6

Yahweh is not condemning them for a lack of earthly knowledge – know Him or He will not know you when you stand before the Bema (Messiah’s throne)

Don’t ask “What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)?” – rather, commit yourself to “Do what Jesus Did”.  His decision to stand for the truth of the Word cost him his life (temporarily).  Your decision will be no less crucial to your future.

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The Story of Hanukkah

Hanukkah is not a religious holiday – it is a National Holiday, equivalent to America’s Independence Day.  Whereas America has only fought and won it’s independence once, Israel has had to fight numerous times to throw off the shackles of foreign occupation.

Invariably, Israel, like America, could not be defeated by an outside force until it had destroyed itself from within. Deliverance from overwhelming oppression is only available when the people turn back to Yahweh and submit to what He has told us is good and right.

It takes place between the last book of the Old Testament (Malachi) and before the first book of the New Testament (Matthew).  Though originally in the 1611 King James Bible, the books of the Maccabees  (http://www.metaphysicspirit.com/the-books-of-the-Maccabees.pdf) were removed (along with several others) in the late 1800s, so it is not part of today’s canonized Bible. 

The story is interesting and enlightening for those who believe we are entering into the time of tribulation.  Hanukkah is celebrated because of the minor miracle that Yahweh performs to show His approval of Israel’s actions to free themselves and root out the symbols of pagan worship and idolatry.

Under Syrian Rule

From 222-186 B.C., Antiochus III, the King of Syria waged war with King Ptolemy of Egypt over the possession of the Land of Israel. Antiochus III was victorious and the Land of Israel was annexed to his empire. At the beginning of his reign he was favorably disposed toward the Jews and accorded them some privileges. Later on, however, when he was beaten by the Romans and compelled to pay heavy taxes, the burden fell upon the various peoples of his empire who were forced to furnish the heavy gold that was required of him by the Romans. When Antiochus died, his son Seleucus IV took over, and further oppressed the Jews.

Added to the troubles from the outside were the grave perils that threatened Judaism from within. The influence of the Hellenists (people who accepted idol-worship and the Syrian way of life) was increasing. Yochanan, the High Priest, was opposed to any attempt on the part of the Jewish Hellenists to introduce Greek and Syrian customs into the land.

The Hellenists hated him. One of them told the King’s commissioner that there was a great deal of wealth in the Temple. The Temple treasury consisted of the contributions of “half a shekel” made by all adult Jews annually that were used for Temple operation and maintenance (as well as other community needs).

Seleucus needed money in order to pay the Romans. He sent his minister. Helyodros. to take the money from the treasury of the Temple. Yochanan, the High Priest, beg him not to do it. Helyodros did not listen and entered the gate of the Temple. But suddenly, he became pale with fright. The next moment he fainted and fell to the ground. After Helyodros came to, he did not dare enter again.

The Madman: Antiochus IV

A short time later, Seleucus was killed and his brother Antiochus IV began to reign over Syria (in 3586 – 174 B.C.). He was contemptuous of other religions because they did not call for the worship him. He was called “Epiphanes,” meaning “the gods’ beloved.” Several of the Syrian rulers received similar titles. But a historian of his time, Polebius, gave him the epithet Epimanes (“madman”), a title more suitable to the character of this harsh and cruel king.

Desiring to unify his kingdom through the medium of a common religion and culture, Antiochus tried to root out the individualism of the Jews by suppressing all the Jewish Laws. He removed Yochanan as High Priest of the Temple and in his place installed Yochanan’s brother, Joshua, who loved to call himself by the Greek name of Jason who was a member of the Hellenist party,  As High Priest, Jason used his office to spread the Greek customs among the priesthood.

Jason was later replaced by another man, Menelaus, who had promised the king that he would bring in more money than Jason did. When Yochanan, the former High Priest, protested against the spread of the Hellenists’ influence in the Holy Temple, the ruling High Priest hired murderers to assassinate him.

Antiochus was at that time engaged in a successful war against Egypt. But messengers from Rome arrived and commanded him to stop the war, and he had to yield. In Jerusalem, a rumor spread that a serious accident had befallen Antiochus – thinking that he was dead, the people rebelled against Menelaus, the High Priest who fled together with his friends.

The Martyrs

Antiochus returned from Egypt enraged by Roman interference with his ambitions. When he heard what had taken place in Jerusalem, he ordered his army to fall upon the Jews. Thousands were killed and harsh decrees were enacted against the Jews. Jewish worship was forbidden and the scrolls of the Law were confiscated and burned.  Sabbath rest, circumcision, and the dietary laws were prohibited under penalty of death.

The soldiers tested the adherence of the Jews to the Laws by forcing them to eat pork. Thousands sacrificed their lives rather than consume what G-d had instructed them was unclean. The famous story of Hannah and her seven children happened at that time – the sons were all tortured and killed individually in front of the rest until all were martyred rather than deny G-d.

Mattityahu

Antiochus’s men went from village to village to force the inhabitants to worship pagan gods. One of the tricks the Syrians used was to wait for the Sabbath to attack the Jews, who would not fight on the Sabbath . . . and would die easily at the hands of the Syrians.

When they arrived in the village of Modiin, where Mattityahu the old priest lived, the Syrian officer built an altar in the marketplace. They first tried to bribe and then threatened Mattityahu to offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. Mattityahu replied, “I, my sons, and my brothers are determined to remain loyal to the covenant which our G‑d made with our ancestors!”

Thereupon, a younger, Hellenistic Jew accepted the bribe and approached the altar to offer a sacrifice. Mattityahu grabbed his sword and killed him.  Mattityahu’s sons and friends fell upon the Syrian soldiers – killing many of them and forcing the rest to flee for their lives. They then destroyed the altar.

Mattityahu knew that Antiochus would be enraged when he heard what had happened. He would certainly send an expedition to punish him and his followers. Mattityahu, therefore, left the village of Modiin and fled together with his sons and friends to the hills of Judea.

Loyal and courageous Jews joined them. They formed legions and from time to time they left their hiding places to fall upon enemy detachments and outposts, and to destroy the pagan altars that were built by order of Antiochus.

The Maccabees

Before his death, Mattityahu called his sons together and urged them to continue to fight in defense of G-d’s Torah. He asked them to follow the counsel of their brother, Shimon the Wise. In waging warfare, he said, their leader should be Judah the Strong. Judah was called “Maccabee,” a word composed of the initial letters of the four Hebrew words Mi, Kamocha, Ba’eilim, and Hashem, (“Who is like You, O G‑d”).

Antiochus sent his General, Apolonius, to wipe out Judah and the Maccabees. Though greater in number and equipment than their adversaries, the Syrians were defeated by the Maccabees, who fought on the Sabbath and were given an astounding victory by G-d (Mark 2:27). Antiochus sent out another, larger, expedition which was also defeated.

After these defeats, an army of more than 40,000 men swept the land. When Judah and his brothers heard of that, they exclaimed: “Let us fight unto death in defense of our souls and our Temple!” The people assembled in Mitzpah, where Samuel, the prophet of old, had offered prayers to G‑d. After a series of battles, the vastly out-numbered Hebrews were strengthen by G-d and war was won.

The Dedication

Now the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to liberate it. They entered the Temple and cleared it of the idols placed there by the Syrian vandals. Judah and his followers built a new altar, which he dedicated on the twenty-fifth of the month of Kislev, in the year 3622 (139 B.C.).

Since the golden Menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees now made one of cheaper metal. The Temple Menorah was fed by a basin that the Priests would continually fill so the light would never go out.

When they went to fill the basin and light the Menorah, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the High Priest Yochanan. It was sufficient to light only for one day but the purification process for new oil took seven days.

By a miracle of G‑d, the Menorah continued to burn for eight days with the one day supply of oil they started with, till new oil was made available. That miracle proved that G‑d had again taken His people under His protection. In memory of this, our sages appointed these eight days for annual thanksgiving and for lighting candles.

The Hanukkah menorah is different from the Temple menorah.  Yahweh directed Moses to make a seven candle light for the tabernacle.  The Hanukkah menorah has nine – the ‘shamash’ (center candle that lights the rest) and eight to remember the deliverance of the Jews and the miracle that Yahweh performed in the Temple.

The shamash remains lit, but each night a new candle is lit until all the candles are lit on the eighth day.

After Hanukkah

Judah led the Maccabees in several more battles to free the rest of the land from the Syrians, other neighboring enemies; and the Hellenistic Jews who were destroying Israel from within.

This respite would not last . . . the shadow of Rome loomed over the horizon and the Hellenistic Jews would eventually erode the faith from within.  (https://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/102978/jewish/The-Story-of-Chanukah.htm)

Are you ready to stand for the Faith . . . no matter what?

Will you compromise with ‘fellow believers’ who twist the Word in order to curry favor with the ruling elites?

Freedom comes at a cost.

Hard decisions are coming that will affect your life . . . and your everlasting life.  You may be hated, you may be ‘cancelled’, you may one day be beaten and/or killed, but you must determine now that you will believe in and stand for something bigger than yourself.

Stand (in thoughts and deeds) for the one, true Yahweh, who has given us his Instructions on life in this fallen world – until his son arrives with an army of angels to take back the creation and make all things right.

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