Boo! Who?

“Test the spirits to find out if they are of Elohim….”

I wish I had time to do a deep study of this for this post.  But, my main point is this: either we believe ‘spirits’ exist, or we throw our Bibles away.

If they do exist, why do we not ‘deal’ with them?

In the context of the verse quoted above, the spirits about which Yokhanan warns us were to manifest in FALSE PROPHETS.  Yet so few people actually do the very specific litmus test he gave us, in order to learn if we are dealing with a liar or a person true to Messiah.

Our society is the victim of false advertising and self-absorbed ‘progress’, such that we no longer believe in spirits.  In the congregations, the only spirit anyone ‘believes’ in is the ‘holy spirit,’ and so, many who THINK they have the ‘holy spirit’ actually have a false spirit.  In society in general, however, what is actually the manifestations of ‘spirits’ is treated as mere human behavior, and excused as such, and not dealt with in a divine way, but either ignored, or medicated, or psycho-analyzed ad nauseum.

As believers in HaDavar, The Word, which manifested in the human being, a man whose Name is Yeshua, we are supposed not only to believe in Him, but also that there is a realm in which ‘spirits’ operate, in an attempt to depose our King from the human heart.  Those who say they believe do not take this seriously.  Perhaps because since the ‘enlightenment’ most of society has dismissed the idea of another realm.  While there is a lot of truth to the overemphasis on that realm before the enlightenment, and a complete misunderstanding of it due to the heavy sway paganism had on Europe during the dark ages, those ‘enlightened’ ones threw the baby out with the bathwater, dismissing even the very notion that spirits exist.  And since then we’ve [humanity] been treating mere symptoms of spiritual malaise instead of going to the source.  We’ve been ignoring even the possibility that there is another realm, which followers of Messiah were taught to deal with and given power over.   

Yes, today there are those who ‘say’ they have power over it, and ‘think’ they deal with it.  And, the entertainment industry has given a bad rap to anyone who knows they exist, and painted all spirits as more powerful than people of faith, and far more powerful than they actually are.  [Think ‘The Exorcist”] And, many in the community of faith have assigned authority and power to HaSatan himself that only belongs to Elohim, treating him as a direct opposite and mirror image of Elohim [G-d]. He is NOT.  He is completely subservient to Elohim, and must submit to HIM.  Even now.  Even though he is now the ‘prince of the power of the air,’ and the ‘ruler’ of the heavenlies of the earth [up to the third heaven].

One of the most powerful ‘spirits’ that plagues believers is ‘to’evah,’ that of ‘perversion.’  And it is perversion of HIS TRUTH, perversion of HIS DESIGN, and we are letting our society be run by this ‘spirit.’  People succumb to it, because of the ‘brainwashing’ society does, telling us that the design of G-d is no longer relevant.  A girl is no longer a girl, a boy is no longer a boy, and what one does with his body sexually is totally his choice.  This is worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.  G-d designed the human body, and gave it specific purpose.  The language of the scriptures is very clear on this issue.  But, MAN has come along and told G-d that His Word is not true, and that we do not need to align ourselves to it, neither as individuals, nor much less as a society.  How DARE we who believe HaDavar deign to impose the design of G-d on the rest of society?!

The individual who might deal with ‘thoughts’ about whether or not they are a girl and not a boy, or gay and not ‘normal’ in sexuality, or feminine and not masculine, or doomed as an alcoholic, or in need of another substance, is dealing not only with thoughts of the heart or mind, but a spirit of perversion, ‘to’evah’, to twist their life OUT of the design.  And so-called believers are oblivious to this ‘spirit,’ and actually work on its behalf to condemn the person whom HaSatan has blinded to a truth of His Word.  We [The Body of Messiah] are SUPPOSED to be here to SET THEM FREE.  To GIVE THEM SIGHT.  [Yesha-Yahu 61:1-4, Luka 4:18-19]  But instead, it seems to me, we see the human who is ‘bound’ by this as an enemy, and as such do not ‘see’ the real enemy, who has imprisoned this human to perversion.  Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that there are indeed a majority that WANTS to be perverted, they ENJOY their sin, and revel in it, and have no desire whatsoever to embrace His truth, nor to be free from sin.  BUT, there are MANY people who do believe in the Creator, even though their ideas of Him are twisted, but, they nonetheless believe, and yet they THINK that they have no choice in the matter.  The believing community, by and large, has bought the lies of the ‘elite,’ and taken their prescription, instead of seeing a simple truth of The Word, and also being WILLING to do what The Word says concerning our enemy.

GO TO WAR!  We, those who trust in Yeshua, are SUPPOSED to CARE that people are dealing with an enemy.  First, of ourselves, we are supposed to be aware of the war, of our enemy, and in response, to ‘dress ourselves down’ as if we are prepared for it. [Efisim 6].  The purpose of Yeshua coming to us was not to make us ‘sit back and take it,’ or to give in and allow sin to run amuck because we just cannot win.  It was to enlist us in HIS war with our common enemy:

“We all growl like bears, and mourn sore like doves; we look for right, but there is none; for Yeshua[h] [Salvation, the noun form of Yeshua’s Name], but it is far off from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are present to us, and as for our iniquities, we know them: transgressing and denying  יהוה , and turning away from following our Elohim, speaking oppression and perverseness, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And justice is turned away backward, and tzedaka stands afar off; for truth has stumbled in the broad place, and uprightness cannot enter. And truth is lacking, and he that departs from evil makes himself a prey. And  יהוה  saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice; and He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought Salvation unto Him; and His tzedaka, it sustained Him; and He put on tzedaka [right-standing] as a coat of mail, and a helmet of Yeshua[h] upon His head, and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies…So shall they fear the Name of יהוה … And a Go’el [redeemer] will come to Tzion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Ya’akov, says  יהוה . And as for Me, this is My Brit with them, says יהוה ; My Ru’akh that is upon you, and My D’varim which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth of your seed’s seed, says יהוה , from henceforth and forever.”

We have a very vivid episode of Yeshua in contest with HaSatan, Himself being TEMPTED, and He quotes the scriptures in order to ‘stand against the fiery darts of the evil one.’  What many do not realize, perhaps, is that Yeshua quoted ONLY the book of D’varim, Deuteronomy, in standing against HaSatan in personal ‘warfare.’  D’varim means ‘the words’, or, “The Word,” in the sense of an order of magnitude.  The Book of D’varim is the ‘book of war’ that a king of Yisra’el was supposed to write two copies of HIMSELF, and keep one on his horse, as the battle plan.  Yet, our believing community and its leaders have dismissed it, hidden it away, and in some cases CHANGED its relevance to mere ‘symbolism.’  Or worse, called it ‘old’, implying uselessness.  But Yeshua quoted specific commands out of it, the book of D’varim, The Word[s], to keep HIMSELF from going against the Design of His Father.  In this way, Yeshua begins to fulfill the prophecy quoted above from Yesha-Yahu 59, where he puts on the ‘armor’ and garments of vengeance against the adversary.  Consider, just days before His temptation, at His immersion, His Father had sent the Ru’akh in the shape of a ‘dove’, and then spoke from Heaven saying, ‘You are my Ben Ha’Ahuv,’ [beloved Son].  Was not Yeshua ‘clothed’ at that moment?  And Sha’ul echoes this passage in instructing those at Efesus to put on similar armor.

Anyone who ‘departs from evil’ makes himself a prey…. hmmmm.  We are told not to participate in evil.  But, is it at all possible that this ‘departing’, in this context, is that of not facing it in battle?  And this is how we become a prey?  Is that not exactly what Yisra’el had done in history when this prophecy of Yeshua was given.  They had forgotten that worshipping G-d in any way but His prescribed way was actually the worship of demons!  And they’d opened themselves up to multiple spirits, and His Word was no longer on their lips.  And when Yeshua showed up, they’d have told you [Religious Jews] that you lie, if you said they didn’t follow His Word [they DID tell Yeshua that, who told them that very thing]!  Is this why there seemed to be so many ‘spirits’ with which to deal in Yeshua’s day in Yisra’el?  And in the days of the Shlikhim, who also fought against them in many ways?  Most definitely.  Man has turned from trusting in Elohim, and HIS people have turned from doing HIS WAYS, not even aware of the enemy that is so prevalent.  We dismiss the notion of ‘demon possession’ altogether, in its many forms, not even just the ‘spooky’ ways it can manifest.

There are many in our country right now that do not even realize we are at war for our freedom.  They think its a ‘new’ and hip thing, this socialism that so many want, and that everyone who comes to our borders is a harmless little bunny.  They refuse to see that most of those crossing illegally are in fact criminals [the very nature of crossing ‘illegally’, which NONE of us would do to emigrate to another country!].  They refuse to see that socialism always engenders poverty and a dictatorship.  Historically proven time and again.  And they refuse to see that a democratic republic is the longest surviving successful from of free government ever created, and that America’s freedoms and abundant prosperity, while hanging in the balance here at home, are the envy of the world.  In much the same way, believers are oblivious to the fact that there is a war on for their souls.  The ‘once saved always saved’ lie has sent many into a stupor of faithless living and surrender to all manner of sin.  The ‘works for salvation’ lie has caused many in fact to be the puppets of demons.  And in the meantime, people within the realm of faith are struggling with all manner of ‘battles,’ and thinking there is NO HOPE.  And, those who DO have the glimmer of an idea that we are at war, go to war alone, thinking they are some sort of super-hero not in need of an army.

I have been seeing this for a long time.  But, recently, I have begun to PRAY AND fast.  Specifically for people I know who are beguiled by this world and the lies of HaSatan, in the form of perversions they have accepted into their lives in defeat.  And the prayer Yeshua instructed us to pray, albeit tongue-in-cheek, is part of this pursuit: “He had compassion on them, because they were tired out and scattered, like sheep which have no shepherd. So He said to His Talmidim, ‘The harvest is great, and the laborers are few; therefore urge the owner of the harvest to bring more laborers to his harvest’.”

The first part of the book of Romim could have been [and in a way was] written to our country, a country founded on Judeo-Xtian ideas.  As such, I’ve slightly re-worded part of it to the first person:

“For, from the very creation of the world, the invisible things of Elohim have been clearly seen and understood by His creations, even His eternal power and divinity; so that you are without excuse. For you knew Elohim, and did not glorify Him and give thanks to Him as Elohim, but became vain in your imaginations, and your hearts were darkened so that you could not understand. And while you thought within yourselves that you were wise, you became fools, and you have changed the glory of the incorruptible Elohim for an image made in the likeness of corruptible man, and in the likeness of birds, and of four-footed beasts, and of creeping things on the earth. That is why Elohim also gave you up to uncleanness through the lusts of your hearts, to dishonor your own bodies among yourselves ; and you have changed the truth of Elohim for lies, and worshipped and served the created things more than your Creator, to whom belongs glory and blessings forever. Amein. Therefore Elohim gave you up to vile passions; for even your women have changed the use of their natures into that which is unnatural; and likewise also your men have left the natural use of the women and have run wild with lust toward one another, male with male committing shameful acts, and receiving in yourselves the due recompense of your error. And as you did not consent in yourselves to know Elohim, Elohim gave you over to a vain mind, to do the things which should not be done; being filled with all manner of iniquity, fornication, bitterness, malice, extortion, envy, murder, strife, deceit, and evil thoughts. You are slanderers, backbiters, haters of Elohim, revilers, proud boasters, inventors of evil things, without reason, disobedient to your parents; you have no respect for a covenant. You know neither love nor shalom, nor is there mercy in you . Knowing the judgment of Elohim, that those who commit such things He condemns to death, you not only do them, but also associate with those who practice them.”

This was written to BELIEVERS.  How is it we forget that when we read it?

I do NOT condemn ANYONE.  But, I plea with those who are reading this who see even a glimmer of it: FIGHT for those who are blind to their captors!  Yeshua came, died, went into She’ol and ‘recaptured the captives.’  But He has left the work of freeing others to us!

Again, I wish I had more time to devote to this.  But, I barely got this finished this week, although its been brewing for quite some time.  I do not mean to call too much attention to evil spirits, but enough of it.  Clearly, the scriptures compel us not only to be aware, but to confront.  On a personal level, and more importantly, as a Body.  As a ‘unit’.  An army.

“Adonai gives the word; those who declare the good news are a great army.”  ~ Tehillim 68:12

Update!

Things are finally moving forward!

The ENGLISH ONLY copy of “HaDavar, D’var  יהוה ” is about to go to press!  Some time after that, the Hebrew/English version will also be available.

I am beside myself with thanksgiving to Abba for allowing me to see this finished and becoming available.

But, there are other works coming out, too!

Here is a complete list of my works that will publish soon:

  1. HaDavar :: a new version of the Jewish scriptures, Genesis to Revelation, with the Tanakh sourced from Hebrew Masoretic texts, and Brit Khadashah (NT) sourced from Aramaic Peshitta texts.  English only AND Hebrew/English versions.
  2. Messianic Bar/Bat Mitzvah Study Guide :: a comprehensive study guide for Bar and Bat Mitzvah students of all ages, also serves as a “Messianic Systematic Theology.”
  3. Messianic Megilah for Purim :: The Eisteir [Esther] Scroll is traditionally read during Purim.  This is an abridged version, with Messianic and prophetic notes for discussion during a Shpiel.
  4. Messianic Life-Cycle Madrikh :: An overseer’s guide to all the rites of Messianic Peshitta Judaism, from Brit Milah to death, including Pidyon HaBen, assigning babies’ names, weddings, etc…  All rites’ blessings and cited scriptures transliterated and translated, Hebrew/English.

Books that will re-publish under new publishing title:

  1. Messianic Siddur for Shabbat
  2. Messianic Haggadah for Pesakh
  3. Grave Danger – a novel

Next on the agenda, hopefully to publish in 2020:

A new work of fiction; historical novel set in 1390’s Europe…..

If you are inclined, pray for the success of each of these!  And thanks ahead of time!

~Daniel

Revisiting Romans

The below is my response some years ago to an article that seems to have been removed, concerning the old Duck Dynasty’s commentary on homosexuality, after some children had killed themselves over the issue.  I do not fully remember the premise of that article, nor of the old man’s point of view, but it was something along the lines of one’s beliefs about the issue not mattering.  I had responded to the issue, because I have seen believers go way too far one way, and make themselves hypocrites, simply opposing unbelievers who do the same.  Here is my reply to the article, from back in 2013:

======================

I think public debate about belief on any topic is healthy, and necessary.
What one believes about sexuality is entirely relevant, and this article proves it. Because it is the “belief” of some that caused these children we all want to defend after the fact to kill themselves in the first place. What they themselves believed, and what others believed, affected them very much.
Basically, what many are saying is that this is a ‘sin’. But, there is a belief, a perception of what sin is that is erroneous. Many people think ‘sin’ is something reserved for a certain “other” crowd, when in fact the whole of mankind is riddled with it, including christians. But again, hear me out. Sin is simply “error” against the instructions God gave to mankind to make them ‘holy’ and bless them, and mankind is indeed born with a propensity to err against that. First and foremost, we err against God, and then we err against Him again when we err against our fellow man. This is the foundation of what the Messiah taught. The God of Israel said of Himself: “ יהוה , יהוה , El [God], merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in compassion and truth; guardian of compassion unto the thousandth generation; forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and pardoning;” Understanding THAT should be the goal of every worshipper who claims to love God. Why it is that this one error gets so much attention publicly, then, I have pondered for many years. And I think it is because this particular “error” is not as common among men as other errors. However, it is more common than some are willing to admit.
But, since it is perceived as uncommon, it is easy to target those who choose this way as “other.” I think that’s the basic reason this is the “big one,” but then I think this is compounded beyond belief by other things added to that perception. Nonetheless, “belief” is so intertwined in the social discussion we have over this issue, that to say that what we believe about it doesn’t matter is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What we, society, believe about it IS precisely the problem, and I think we as a society are trying to hammer out a public redefinition of this issue. Until we get a common understanding, this will continue to be a point of contention in society, and it will continue to harm children.
What our society has “believed” about this issue, by and large, has been an over-interpretation of the scriptures for years, but now our society is swinging so far the other way that it is just as dangerous as the former “norm.” Theologians past and present have played “Let’s Make a Deal” with defining what acts are erroneous and what are not. And the laity take their words, and the words of scripture, without having studied them with the intent of learning of God’s heart toward man, and they become the defacto enforcers of bad “belief.” This, I believe, is where the Duck Dynasty star is wrong. When a great swath of evangelicals turn to a duck-hunter-turned-week-end-theologian as the spokesperson of faith, something is amiss. But, on the other side, we have those who think that everyone who is gay wants to be that way, should be that way, must be that way, and are wrong NOT to be that way. This should be left up to the individual. The sheer fact of it is that many who ‘feel’ gay do not want to be. The reason is moot, and many times is not religious. It is the militant on this side of the argument that are JUST as self-righteous as erroneous christians. Society, as a whole, needs a ‘belief’ in the fore that is not so narrow minded and destructive as BOTH these positions are, and we will not get there if we ignore belief.
So, in former days, and even now for many evangelicals, the belief is that because of about three passages in the scriptures, this people group we’ve sequestered out of “normal” society is especially egregious in their “sin.” This is where I differ strongly with them. But I want to explain why it is I think they think this way. It is largely because of one word: תּוֹעֵבָה. This Hebrew word is “to’evah,” and in most translations is rendered as “abomination.” And this English word has subsequently been given a particular tone in society’s perception of what that is, and unfortunately, it has been wielded by the self-righteous to produce a certain “we-they” mentality, and as a weapon used to deflect attention off of one’s own errors. What they fail to recognize, or even consider, perhaps, is that this word is used of many, many things God expressed were “to’evah” to Him. Among those things are: eating shrimp, eating catfish, pork, shellfish, snake, gators, rats, buzzards, etc, and not only those, but also adultery [cheating on one’s spouse], fornication [sex before marriage], and then also forms of idolatry, especially idolatry that is mixed with worshipping God, such as decorating trees and bringing them into homes as focal points, etc. ALL of these things were seen as errors of a particular kind: to’evah. Suddenly, the “we-they” mentality has to be tabled for a moment if we are going to stand on this stump of righteousness, but ONLY IF we are HONEST with what the text is saying! This is where suddenly everyone becomes gymnastic in their scriptural interpretations, waxing philosophical, demonstrating lofty hermeneutical prowess, or simply deciding that their current perception of it is right no matter what, and not wanting to learn the heart of God on any matter of error, but only the one.

To’evah simply means that it is displeasing because it was not part of the design.  A better English word would probably be ‘perversion.’  Each of the things listed as ‘to’evah’ is a perversion of the design of God, and using things He designed for one purpose for another purpose is what He is displeased with. But, His displeasure is with the act, not the person’s ‘soul.’ And, if He has dealt with one erroneous act by surrendering the Messiah to execution, then He has dealt with the other.
The next over-interpretation is of the first chapter of Romans, where people ‘think’ that it is about those in Sodom and Amorrah who were “gay,” that this is why they were destroyed. This is not what the text says, and this is not why they were destroyed in the first place. It is because they had forgotten God. Paul is not writing about Sodom and Amorrah, but of Rome and Greece and the rest of the nations in his day. They, too, had forgotten the Creator. Forgetting Him produced ALL MANNER of behaviors, and most importantly that of not caring about their human neighbors. The big “error” was forgetting God, the rest of what he expresses here is the RESULT of that. The first result of their having forgotten the Creator was idolatry, worshipping created things and not the Creator. For that reason, God gave them up to their passions. So, the BIGGER ISSUE is forgetting the Creator. And readers of this passage always seem to leave off the first verse of the next chapter, which says DO NOT PASS JUDGMENT, because you do the same things! Most people in this country are committing some sort of biblical “abomination!” And every one of us err against Him in some way, forgetting the creator and His desire for man on one issue or another during the day.
What tickles me about this is the duality on both sides. The doublespeak. On the one side, we have those who want everyone to tolerate everyone else and every behavior, EXCEPT those who disagree with their particular level of “toleration.” On the other side, we have those who want to quote the “old testament,” while at the same time disavowing it as irrelevant and ignoring the Sabbath that the Creator made for all mankind! “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” Getting honest with Him means facing the fact that our understanding of things is wrong.
God loves every human being on the face of the earth. He gave us some boundaries on a path, that if we would follow that path, we would be blessed beyond measure, protected from our own tendency to self-destruct . NO ONE is going to be perfect in following that path, so the Messiah was sent, to save us from our errors, and return us to that path. That path is very narrow, and christians are not the gatekeeper, nor are Jews, but only the Messiah Yeshua. Not every person who deals with the notion of sexual ‘divergence’ has forgotten the creator. They simply are wandering through this life without a guide, and if they do find Him, morons from both sides of the fence confuse them about this one error, making them feel as if they are never going to please God because they deal with this one thing, which no one else seems to deal with. Or, making them feel that they do not have to be concerned about pleasing Him. Both are wrong. I think this sensation is true of many other things people deal with, too, such as alcoholism and drug addiction. People get a sense of defeatism because of what SOCIETY BELIEVES: right now, that is in flux on many of these issues: on the one hand, some ‘say’ that God does not love them, OR on the other hand, that what they do is irrelevant to God. What some are unwilling to admit on the one side is that there are indeed many who are ‘struggling’ with homosexuality precisely because they do not want to be gay, and it has nothing to do with religion! They just do not understand how they got there, and they want out in a different way, and they are not offered hope by the side of society that tells them to “come out.” Some Christians believe that God hates gays, and they spew hatred. Some do not, but they still ‘reject’ them as people, deride them, talk ugly about them, and drive many of them into the grave, or into a life of deviance in more than one way. Many, however, who hate homosexuality, are not christian, and hate them for other reasons. But, the media never seem to point out those haters, and this is a legitimate gripe on the part of christians. So, there are many “beliefs” about this issue, and the public forum needs to open up the discussion more. Because of the two polar opposites, which are both wrong in their conclusions in some way, there are those within the ‘struggle’ who want help coping with their issue, but the vitriol on BOTH sides causes these tragedies. Belief is VERY MUCH a part of this issue, and public debate is necessary in order to STOP the tragedy. But, the public debate is not CIVIL, and THAT is the problem.
The word for “hate” in the scriptures is “saneh”, and these are things God hates, which are also “to’evah” to Him: [Mishlim 6]
Haughty [proud] eyes (we call it ‘looking down’ on someone)
A lying tongue
Shedding innocent blood
Those who are quick to do evil
A lying talebearer [running someone down, character assassination]
Those who sow strife
When those who are having this discussion publicly can curb their vitriol, we might be better able to help those who struggle in this situation. Our ‘belief” about it, then, should be public, and it should be a public message of acceptance and love, and one that offers help to those who want it. And some in this situation do want help, for their OWN reasons. And that usually stems from their belief about it. It does matter.

WDYD? Bless, and do not curse….

Today is a strange day.

First, I had a good prayer time this morning.  What prayer time isn’t good?  I know, but, sometimes it is just more ‘noticeable’ than others.  Then, I saw a fb post directed at me from what I think is a pair of brothers, that basically recalled another post in recent history in which one of them had lodged things about me and Kefa, and Messianic Jews in general, that were very insulting.  Last night’s post, some of which I did not read until this morning, was a continuation of a sort, and repetition of the same drivel most people offer as ‘proof’ of why they reject following Yeshua for some other teacher(s).  I had decided not to answer the post, knowing that talking to people who think they are intellectually superior is a waste of time, and both these folks come across as very arrogant and snobbish, so I saw no reason to respond still, and went out the door.  I have since responded, in spite of the fact that I have lost hope of ever building any true rapport with the pair.  I left the house.

But, I was a bit late getting out the door, so I caught one of the later buses.  Thankfully, it wasn’t raining this morning, and not too cold.  My motorcycle rides of late have been frigid, and I was grateful for the reprieve.  Lately, I’ve been cold too much, and certain people won’t let me snuggle for warmth… not even my dogs.  😉

On that later bus, I began reading a book given to me by my friend, Kefa.  I jumped to the chapter that was about a movie he and I managed to take in together this weekend.  “Operation Finale.”  It was very well done, and I guessed pretty accurate.  Kefa had read the book, “Mossad,” which tells the story of this film in one of its chapters.  It is concerning the arrest and trial of Adolf Eichmann, the ‘architect of the final solution.’

Having studied WWII extensively in grad school, I knew much of this man’s history.  But, I’d never read about his arrest and trial, only that it had occurred.  As a spy-novel geek, I don’t know why I haven’t read more about the Mossad, and I suppose that’s why Kefa gave me the book some time back.  It is from there that Kefa gained his detailed knowledge of events in the film, and that made watching it with him more pleasant.  I knew it would.

So, I finished reading that chapter as the bus got closer to downtown.  For a while, I just sat and meditated a bit on things.  I was reminded of my visit to the holocaust museum in Jerusalem.  Particularly of the exhibit of the little boy who would leave the ghetto daily to go and steal bread.  I’ve posted on this before, while it was fresh in my mind after returning from Israel, how it reminded me of my mother sending me for snacks as a little boy down to the ‘post office/gas station/grocery store’ in our little town in Georgia.  But, I did not go in fear of death, nor in the possibility of failing and my family starving to death.  I thought of how I discovered kin in Germany whose names were on the list of the 6,000,000 who perished at Hitler’s hand, while doing my grad school studies.  And of finding out that not only was my mother Jewish, but my father was too, with a grandfather named Ya’akov Shuler [Torah Teacher!].  And how all of this probably escaped our knowledge until the 1990’s and beyond, because of the holocaust.

Then, I thought of all the many times that I’ve been rejected simply because I chose to embrace and reveal my Jewishness.  By so-called ‘christians’.  Even by one friend of 17 years, with whom I shared an apartment.  With whom I declared the gospel.  And with whom I’d shared the fellowship of Messiah many, many times.  And others, who simply turned from me because I revealed I was Jewish.  Then I thought how more recently Jews and Messianic Jews have rejected me in a very similar manner.  Just because I am Messianic, and yet also because I do not embrace Rabbinic teachings.  Specifically, the non-believing Jews reject me because I accept the Name of Yeshua as Messiah.  The apparent believing Jews, however, reject me because I say the Name,  יהוה  , and teach that Yeshua has received that Name, and that the Name above all names is  יהוה  Yeshua HaMashi’akh [Phil 2:10-11], and thus, the Name,  יהוה  , should be declared, AS SCRIPTURES INSTRUCT US.  And this morning, in praying today’s Tehillah [Psalm], I had read, “K’shimkha, ken tehillateikha”,  which is, “As is your Name, so is your praise, IN THE MIDST OF THE WHOLE EARTH!”  As I say this prayer each 2nd day of the week [mon], it further compels me to declare His Name as heartily as I praise Him.  But, for this, those who say they believe in Yeshua reject me, choosing to follow Rabbis who themselves reject Yeshua.  It simply should not be.  And, it is not that they simply walk away, either, but that some of them, especially the “Messianic” ones, then turn to run me down publicly and cause OTHERS to hate and reject me.

So, I’ve got all these thoughts rolling around in my mind as the bus ambles on toward my stop.  I’m disciplining myself, remembering to pray for our enemies.  I’m not in a pity party, but simply praying that I bear up rightly in all these things, and that I can truly be an ambassador for Him.  It didn’t help that this weekend I was called an a-hole by a supposed ‘believer,’ simply for stating facts.  That, too, went through my mind as I’m striving to obey Messiah who tells me, ‘bless, and do not curse.’  It occurred to me all the many times I do bless.  Both formally, and informally.  Formally, I bless my wife each week, and my son, at the Sabbath table.  I bless our children in the congregation each Shabbat.  I bless our whole congregation each Shabbat.  I assessed myself this morning, and truly surmised that it has been years, many years, since I have chosen to curse someone.  I still hate that I ever did.  But I am happy to realize that the habit, the inclination, has left me, simply because of Messiah’s Word.  So, my musings twisted and turned.  And then, it happened.  It’s not the first time, but this time I actually stopped and ‘meditated’ on it a little more, and perhaps really appreciated it for the first time.  It’s happened twice before, recently, within the last month or so, when I have caught the later bus.

We got to Walker street in downtown Houston, two stops ahead of my stop, and a slightly older gentleman from behind me joins the crowd that exits the bus there.  As he passed by me, he leans down slightly to his left [I always sit in an aisle seat on the left side of the bus], and quietly says, “Blessings to you, my friend.”

It’s not the first time someone has blessed me simply for being Jewish. This man has done it twice before.   Within the last few weeks.  The very first time it happened to me in similar fashion was actually on the bus, probably about ten years ago.  That time, it was a woman sitting behind me.  Shortly after I sat down, she leaned forward and put her hand on my shoulder and said, “I just wanted to tell you, ‘G-d bless you.’”  And through the years I have been similarly blessed and greeted by non-Jewish believers, most recently here at work by the very kind man who sits across from my corner cubicle.  I know why they do it.  These are people who have read their bibles, and they know the many passages that say, in both ends of the book, “I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you, I will curse,” concerning Avraham and his descendants, of whom I am one.  I have chosen to wear the traditional kippah for two reasons: to identify with my Jewish brothers, who choose this particular ‘fashion’ in order to wear a priestly head-covering, and to be reminded daily of the crown I hope to receive one day.  I wear the titz-tziyot for ONE reason: because G-d said to.  But, these two accessories to my wardrobe tell others I am Jewish.  And some, very few, choose to bless me for it.  I confess, it does cross my mind that they only choose to bless me so that they can receive their subsequent blessing.  But, that is enough motivation, I suppose.  At least they have chosen to bless me, and not curse me, as so many have.  And today, the timing of it was very striking.  I did not ask for a blessing.  Neither was I complaining, or pitying myself; I merely ‘observed’ the infrequency of being on the receiving end of something I do often, in contrast to how frequently I receive curses of many kinds.

I know that today the man that did this had his own reasons; perhaps he genuinely wants to see the people of G-d, the Jews, blessed.  Perhaps he is working up courage to share “Jesus” with me, and laying the groundwork in his own way.  [I did consider how no one has ever attempted to share the gospel with me, perceiving me to be Jewish.]  Or, perhaps he just wants his blessing.  Nonetheless, I received it joyfully this morning.  And then, I get settled in at my desk, and I learn that TODAY is the day Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death.  This man embodied the impetus to curse Jews, for a whole nation, and was responsible for killing some of my closer kin, along with many other of our Jewish people.  I had watched the movie of Eichmann’s demise just two days ago, with my closest Jewish friend.  The friend who comforted me when I melted down at the exhibit of the boy fetching bread. We had discussed it quite at length afterward.  And after a weekend of being reminded of those who curse me, I’m again blessed.  On this day worthy of remembering.  Eight days after my birthday.  The overtones of this just keep swelling, but I need to end lunch and get to work again.

“Suffer not your mouth to bring your flesh into guilt…”