Khanukah Ba! LIFE!

 

Khag Khanukah is coming! And we are beginning our preparations.

This year has been SOOOOO different from any other year, for everyone, I’m certain.

My wife and I both learned later in life we were Jewish, yet both of us grew up in traditional, protestant homes. And we observed the ‘feasts’ that everyone else does at this time of year for the first half of our lives. But, some twenty-seven years ago, we began to bow out, because of a desire in us to do what Yeshua did, to live our lives the way the Son of G-d lived His.

But, before that, when I first turned back to G-d in my early twenties, after having wandered aimlessly for eight years [14 years to 22 years old], my love for this season had not abated. I was on board the U.S.S. Ohio, SSBN 726(G), a Trident Ballistic Missile submarine. It was an extremely long patrol, that began in the fall of that year, and took us up to mid-December. In the middle of that patrol, I said the first truly sincere prayer to G-d my Father in my forward, top bunk in bunk-room 5. “Father, I want to know what Yeshua [I still called Him by His English name then] would say to me if He were standing here.” And I began to read Matai [Matthew] 5 through 7. I don’t quite know why/how I turned there, but I remember those first words, what most call the ‘beatitudes’, piercing my heart, showing me how I was none of those things then. Then, how the rest of those chapters were clearly Yeshua teaching the scriptures more ‘clearly’. And I began, midway through that long, cold-war patrol, to devour the rest of scriptures.

Because I was a health nut already, when I read Leviticus 11, I decided then that G-d must know better about what ‘food’ is than man, and I began to eat a simply kosher life. I stopped eating pork, shrimp, and the other meats that He said were not ‘food’.

But, as I said, that season was upon us. Our captain had us getting the ship ready for a big inspection of the engineering spaces. A torpedoman, named Webster, and I were assigned to taking out the screws in all the deck plates in Engineering middle-level, scrubbing them with wire brushes, and putting them back in with the screw head aligned ‘fore and aft’ with the ship. The monotony of it had us bored, down on our hands and knees undoing, scrubbing, and fighting with screws, and we began to sing carols. All of them. It put me in such a mood that I wrote one myself. And it is beautiful. I taught it to my new wife a few years later. But, all the while, there was this realization that Yeshua never would have known anything about this day. And, there was the realization that He could not have been born at this time of year, according simply to scripture, which had recently become the anchor of my life, my ‘guidance system’.

The further I delved into the scriptures, the less I saw of the customs I had grown up in, with the exception that certain of those customs were forbidden in scriptures, and the Jewish people had ‘tried them on for size,’ and had been sorely punished for them. Many of the customs of the season were in ancient Israel, but they just went by different names; Hebrew versions of the same customs and deities.

Right after I got off the boat, G-d began to do actual miracles in my life. But, to me, in retrospect, the biggest thing HE did in my life at that time, was actually a very tiny seed. Just a month or so after having left the boat, I was driving to Seattle on Highway 16  [our base was in Bangor, Washington]. My Navy buddy, Dave, who served on the U.S.S. Michigan, had just passed me on the right, and introduced me to his fiancé as we were driving down the road. I turned the radio back up after that conversation through our windows, and pushed the seek button. I was near Gig Harbor, Washington. The first radio station that the receiver found was out of Tacoma, and it was playing Hebrew-sounding music. I had, for some reason, always been drawn to Jewish music and tradition. I listened to that song play out, and then a speaker began to speak, and I heard him say “Yeshua”. Another song came on, and that name was throughout the Hebrew song. My heart leaped inside of me, and I didn’t even know why.

Shortly after that, I got orders to shore duty in Georgia, which was unheard of, after having only done three of the seven to eight patrols I was supposed to make. I did not have to re-enlist for that shore duty because of a clerical error that happened two years before! The Navy messed up when I finished “A-school”, and because of their trying to fix that error, they made ANOTHER clerical error, and I got shore duty for only two years, without having to extend for two more years, like so many others had to do.

I experienced a ‘vision’ and a ‘prophecy’ for the first time just before I transferred, after someone took vengeance on me. I did not realize what was going on, but the short of it is, the Creator used me to rescue a young sailor, to bring him to Messiah instead of killing himself, after I ‘saw’ his whole life in my mind, and spoke to him about it. There is an old post on here from about a year ago that tells this story, if I remember right.

After settling down in Georgia, I ran across a teacher from Port Arthur, Texas, teaching about Rosh HaShanah” and how it models the return of Messiah. I somehow ended up in a “Messianic Synagogue”, a startup in Jacksonville, Florida. And my pursuit of a pure, “Messiah-like” walk took root that Shabbat.

Because I began to ‘see’ how the ‘feasts’ that G-d created were ALL pointing to Messiah’s first AND second comings, I began to see how the feasts that catholics created and protestants inherited from catholics all pointed AWAY from Him, in spite of the great efforts of the faithful to ‘try’ to ‘keep christ in x-mas’. What they were [and are] in fact TRYING to do is “PUT MESSIAH in x-mas”. I realized HE had never been ‘in’ that feast, nor any other that the Catholic church had given us.

It is for THIS reason that I began to change my life. NOT for a hatred of ‘all things christian’, but for a LOVE of ALL THINGS BIBLE. G-d had given His people seven yearly feasts that modeled, FOR ALL PEOPLE, His Son’s first AND second comings, His WHOLE ministry of Salvation to mankind. This is what Yeshua meant when I read in Mat 5:17-19 that He said “I did not come to abrogate the Torah, but to confirm/fulfill it”. Yeshua has yet to fulfill the last three of the seven feasts. There is more to do.

I won’t go into all the details of the transition from a traditionally protestant life to a traditional life in Messiah Yeshua. What I wanted to convey this year about Khanukah is that it is a symbol of “The Tree of Life”.

The Menorah is the TREE OF LIFE. It is alluded to in Genesis 2:9. It is spoken of as The Torah in Proverbs 3:16-18. It is manifested in Yeshua, when He was executed on an OLIVE TREE, after having carried a beam up the hill. He was ‘nailed to the TREE‘. [ 1 Peter 2:24, Acts 5:30, 10:29].

The Menorah’s seven lamps are filled with OLIVE OIL. Yeshua was ANOINTED [Messiah] with the Ru’akh of the Creator, and the ‘oil’ is what was used to ANOINT kings and priests, and Messiah. He hung on an OLIVE TREE, on the Mt. of Olives.  When we come to the base of that TREE, where Messiah died, we receive LIFE.  Incidentally, while hanging on the tree, Yeshua quoted Psalm 22, and just a few verses from what He quoted [vs 2] while hanging there have these words: “I am a tola’at, and not a man”. A ‘tola’at’ is a particular worm born white. It is red, however, ‘scarlet’, and the female bores itself into an olive tree and bears its young; when she does, she dies, and her blood spills onto her young and turns them scarlet. They are ‘washed’ in her blood.

The “khanukiah”, what most people call a “Channukah Menorah”, is a lamp very similar to the Menorah. During the Maccabean revolt in 165 B.C., the Maccabees, 12 Jewish brothers, overthrew the Greeks. The Greeks had come into Israel, they had sacked the Temple, sacrificed a pig, erected a statue of Zeus, and Antiochus Epiphanes, their king, the ‘fourth king’ of the Book of Daniel, stood in the Temple and declared himself to be god. He forbade the declaration of the Name יהוה , circumcision, the teaching of the Torah, and speaking Hebrew.  Judah Maccabee [The Hammer] and his sons revolted. They miraculously won the war. It was the 25th Day of the NINTH [Biblical] MONTH, the ‘tenth’ month of the Roman/Greek calendar. The Maccabees and Israel decided to hold a “DEDICATION [ חֲנֻכָּה‎ / khanukah ] OF THE HOUSE” [Psalm 30], in much the same way Moshe and Shlomo had, and Ezra [Exodus 40, 2 Chron 5-7, Ezra 6]. Only this time, not in the first or seventh months, but the ninth. “Out of season”.

The Menorah has to be lit first, before any sacrifices can go on. [Ex 40:3]. Similarly, we must confess faith in Yeshua, who hung on the Tree, before we have anything to offer G-d in truth.

After the dedication of the house during the time of the Maccabees, a tradition was born, that of lighting a lamp with EIGHT LIGHTS.  Because they celebrated SUKKOT, the EIGHT DAY FEAST of G-d, “Out of Season”, to DEDICATE the House of G-d again, after it had lain dormant and polluted for three and a half years, during which time keeping the faith of G-d had been illegal.

The FIRST CENTURY HISTORIAN, Josephus, writes of this. He was a Jewish priest as well:

“Now Judah celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival.”

Today, small “Khanukah Lamps” with eight lights have been found in Israel that date from the first century.

This was the darkest time of the year. This was a very dark time in the History of Israel. It was a mere 162 years before Yeshua’s birth. 162 years after the Menorah was lit for Sukkot in ‘december’, Yeshua was CONCEIVED.

It is His CONCEPTION that is the miracle! Yeshua, the LIGHT OF G-D, was announced to Miryam by Gavri’el on the first night of Khanukah! Yokhanan HaMatbil [John the Immerser] had been conceived right after his father’s first two weeks of yearly service in the Temple, when he burned the incense in the “Order of Avi-Yah”.  That order was the EIGHTH ORDER of the priests [1 Chron 29]. They were divided into 24 ‘orders’, to serve for two weeks out of the year in the Temple. The other weeks that make up the year are the FEASTS, when ALL orders served. But, this was HIS ORDER serving.

Zekhar-Yah returned home after HIS service, and Elisheva CONCEIVED. this was June. We know by when the order of Avi-Yah served. SIX MONTHS LATER Yeshua was conceived, and Miryam went and visited her cousin Elisheva, and Yokhanan ‘felt’ Yeshua nearby. He was warmed by His light! Yokhanan had the Ru’akh during his time in the womb, as did Yeshua. They ‘knew’ each other. Six months after Zekhar-Yah left and Yokhanan was conceived was Khanukah. Yeshua was conceived at this time of year, in the WOMB of a VIRGIN, MIRACULOUSLY, the LIGHT of G-d was lit in human flesh!

Thirty-three and a half years later, Yeshua hung on the tree during Pesakh [Passover], the FIRST of the SEVEN FEASTS. He began lighting each lamp of the Menorah of prophecy. He lit Pesakh’s first lamp of the Menorah by dying on the tree. He lit the second lamp of Matzot by being put in the grave [Matzot is “Unleavened Bread”, that is baked, after the dough is pierced]; he lit the third lamp of the First Omer of Bikkurim by rising from the dead and ascending to Heaven, being ‘lifted up’ as the first fruits to G-d; he lit the fourth lamp by sending the Ru’akh, “Ko’akh”, power from On High, on Shavu’ot, the SEVEN WEEK festival that started on the First Omer.

He has not yet fulfilled the remaining three feasts: Yom Teru’ah [Rosh HaShanah], Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. He will, when He calls away His Bride, disciplines the Jewish People [causing them to return to G-d through Him], and returns to earth to JUDGE THE WICKED.

So, why are there NINE lamps now on the Khanuki’ah? Our Jewish people cannot help but declare Yeshua in their customs! Even ones they have created LONG AFTER Messiah was sent to Israel! In the middle ages, some Ashkenazi Jews ordered Khanuki’ah “lamps” with EIGHT BRANCHES. But, perhaps their smith was a gentile? Somehow, the NINTH LAMP was added to them by accident. So, the Rabbis decided simply to add a NINTH LIGHT to the customary eight, and called it the “Shammash“, the “Servant Candle”. It would be used to light all the other eight lights.

Khanukah is a Sukkot held out of season. It is an EIGHTH FEAST. AFTER the original Maccabean dedication [khanukah], the traditional eight lamps were lit to commemorate the season. Almost 1,000 years later, a NINTH lamp was added quite by accident.

There are actually NINE celebrations in the scriptures. Chronologically, according to TIME, they are the first seven already named, then, two and a half months after the seventh one, SUKKOT, ANOTHER Sukkot is held in the ninth month, called Khanukah. Then, three months later, in the 12th month, “Purim” is held, where we celebrate Israel being saved from destruction by a BRIDE QUEEN hidden away in the palace.

The Khanuki’ah, then, is indeed a prophetic picture of ALL the celebrations mentioned in Scripture. Yeshua went to Jerusalem during “Khanukah”, and while there, he preached about the false shepherd, while Antiochus Epiphanes would have been on the minds of Jews.

22It was Khag Khanukah [Feast of Dedication] at Yerushalayim, and it was winter.  23And Yeshua was walking in the Heikhal in Shlomo’s porch.  24Then the Y’hudim surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do you vex our soul with uncertainty? If you are the Mashi’akh [Anointed], tell us openly.”  25Yeshua answered, saying to them, “I have told you, but you do not trust; yet the works which I do in the name of Avi [My Father] testify of me.  26But you do not trust, because you are not of my sheep, just as I told you.  27My own sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; 28and I give to them Khayei Olam [Eternal Life]; and they will never perish, and no man will snatch them from my hands.  29For Avi who gave them to me is greater than all; and no man can snatch anything from my Father’s hand.  30I and Avi are unified.”  31Then the Y’hudim again took up stones to stone Him.  32Yeshua said to them, “I have shown you many good works from Avi; for which one of them do you stone me?”  33The Y’hudim said to Him, “It is not because of the good works that we stone you, but because you blaspheme; for while you are only a man, you make yourself Elohim.”  34Yeshua said to them, “Is it not so written in your Torah, “I said, you are elohim [gods]?”  35If he called them gods because the D’var HaElohim [Word of God] was with them, and the scripture cannot be broken,  36why to the one whom HaAv [The Father] consecrated and sent to the world, do you say, ‘You blaspheme,’ just because I said to you, ‘I am Ben HaElohim.’ [The Son of God]  37If I am not doing the works of Avi, do not believe me.  38But if I am doing them, even though you do not trust in me, trust in the works, so that you may know and believe that Avi is in me, and I am in Avi.”  

39And they wanted again to seize Him; but He escaped from their hands.  40And He went away to the Yarden crossing, to the place where Yokhanan was, where He first immersed; and He remained there. 

Yeshua returned, after again declaring Himself to be the Son of G-d, to the place where He had been declared the Son of G-d BY G-D THE FATHER, on the day He became THE ANOINTED, and began declaring ETERNAL LIFE to Israel. He did THIS AT KHANUKAH!

That is why this season has so overshadowed the other feast in our lives during this time of year. G-d forbade Israel to adopt the religious practices of those around them. He loathed the fact that they mixed the worship of Ba’al and Asherah with His worship. That was the sin of Jezebel. She polluted Israel’s worship, through the king of Israel. The same happened to “christianity”, the faith that was created by MIXING the Roman version of Ba’al and Asherah with Messianic faith, when x-mas was CREATED as a ‘christian’ holiday, some three-hundred years AFTER the Jews had given the gospel to the world.

Yeshua was NOT born at this time; he was conceived. He was born NINE MONTHS LATER, during SUKKOT! In a Sukkah! He was circumcised on the EIGHTH DAY of His life, the EIGHTH FESTIVITY of Sukkot, when Israel “Rejoices in the Torah”.

G-d is calling ALL of HIS sheep back into the Sheepfold of Yisra’el. Can you hear HIS VOICE? Or, are you content to be mixing His faith with the world. Are you trying to stuff your walk with Yeshua somewhere were He NEVER walked?

Do you KNOW Yeshua? If not, know this: He WANTS to know you! He died on the tree 2,000 years ago, to rescue EVERY ONE of us from sin. Return to G-d, and DO GOOD. Do what GOD says to do with your life, because you LOVE Him who first loved you!

Q This!

Which Storm is Coming?

“What in the wide world?” That’s what my grandmother would be saying. This election has been one heck of a ride! Republicans went to bed on last Tuesday night believing Donald Trump would again be elected president. They woke up the next morning to a Biden lead, and not long after to an unofficial declaration of a Biden victory, with many news media outlets declaring him the President Elect, without one certified vote count.

Biden jumped on the bandwagon, too! He and his running mate made acceptance and victory speaches, and their voters celebrated in Mardi Gras fashion in the streets, sans masks, socially proximous.

But, then, states began a slow trickle back toward a Trump victory, and at least one flipped back to the Trump column. Media viewership changed hands, and users jumped ship from one social media platform to another. Trump voters sat in their homes quietly, perhaps taking to social media, or demonstrated peacably in several states, showing BLM how peaceable assembly is done.

Making sense of it all and knowing where it is going is near impossible, for those who need evidence. Of course, the loyalists on both sides are confident, if not hopeful, for their outcome. But, at least one prominent liberal had a breakdown on national media, terrified that Trump might again be President of the United States. Maybe there are many that live in terror over the possibly of their side losing.

“Q”, and all those who dub themselves “Qanons”, has been, supposedly, predicting certain outcomes. I don’t know about that. Because I am one of those that requires evidence. Not anectdotal, not coincidental, but hard evidence. I see very little of that in regard to some assertions of Q that have been slid across my desk. But, there are a few things that I have seen about “Q” and the movement that are nonetheless very compelling. Having too much to do, and no time on my hands to investigate such things, I refrain from addressing them here, other than to say that it would be nice if some of it were true.

Like any ‘movement’ worth its salt, there are plenty of “Q”-esque people who are making a mockery of it by spouting outlandish things.

I am not a “Qanon” by any stretch of the imagination. But, I do have ‘gut feelings’ about certain things. And that is what I want to express here. First, my ‘gut’ has told me from the inception that this virus that magically appeared just in time to shut down worldwide protests, and to crash a record economy, was too convenient from the outset to be spread so surgically to the rest of the world and not to Beijing and other parts of China by a man eating a bat. The lab in Wuhan has long been a suspect place for me, for nefarious goings on. The many Harvard professors that were arrested in January betrayed foul play, for me. I sounded like a buffoon saying this thing was manmade, and then a scientist from China says that very thing, very credibaly, on major news networks. And what makes me suspect more that there is meat to her story is that the left, those who control mainstream and social media, shut her down. The timing of and the behavior of and the response to this virus has all been far too handy to the agenda of the left. Mr. Moneybags, who funds much of the WHO, just happened to stage a ‘practice run pandemic’ in China right before this all happened. His pocket monkey just happened to be at the White House press briefing every day fomenting fear. The gubenatorial pawns of the left jumped into action and embedded the sick elderly in the nursing homes, killing thousands, when there were empty hospital beds galore. There was just too much going on that looked ‘dirty’, to me.

And then, we have a presidential candidate hiding from the public. And when he did come out of his hole, he barely could garner an audience, and spoke nonsensically, waffling from his political platform positions like a ping-pong ball at the Chinese ping-pong championship, and the media does not press him with any questions worthy of a high-school newspaper reporter. In contrast, we have an incumbant who is running hot all over the country, bringing record-breaking crowds during the ‘pandemic’, and a media lambasting him with accusatorial ‘questions’, and censoring his every word on social media, altering their platforms programmatically in order, seemingly, to influence the vote. Meanwhile, BLM and ANTIFA were burning down cities all over the country, and the media is blaming “Right-wing white supremacists” for their behaviors, when not one white supremacist group had emerged from the shadows to wave hello, much less burn down cities and kill people.

The doublespeak from the left has been monumental during all of this, and the celebrity shills have exposed their utter ignorance of how our Democratic REPUBLIC was established and is supposed to run. The culmination of it all was the declaration of a winner before any state certified its votes, and a candidate going on the warpath of “diplomacy”, doing the very thing he himself accused the other side of doing four years ago with such gusto that he ruined a man’s life with his false accusations; and now, four years later, he is doing that very thing: calling foreign governments and trying to negotiate with them, though he is not yet officially a representative of our government. And the media and celebrity shills dance in the streets celebrating this hypocrite’s brazen behaviors as he flouts our constitution and our laws. It has truly been an amazing year.

So, what’s coming?

It looks to me like one of two things will happen. If it remains as it is, and the votes are certified and the current self-proclaimed winner is actually elected, and the Biden-Harris ticket becomes our new executive arm, then the United States of America will be no more. The Democratic Republic will become a socialist pawn of the CCP, and America’s freedoms will be decimated by executive fiat. The Bill of Rights will become a relic of a bygone era. Freedom of speach will be permanently disavowed by the government, as it already is by those who control the media, all of it. The right to bear arms will be destroyed, and thus the right and ability of the people to defend itself against an overreaching government will be removed. Infant babies will be killed after they are born, and the left will shout with glee at their ‘right’ to do so. The insanity of people who rejoice in the ability to take a knife to a baby’s neck in the name of ‘science’ and ‘freedom’ is boundless, and betrays the most callous of hearts. People will lose their jobs to the tune of thirty to forty percent unemployement, and the vast majority of Americans will become wards of the state, living off a very limited ‘universal income’. The Supreme Court will indeed be packed with Socialist activist judges with however many seats added to get to a super majority on the court, to ensure that no vestige of conservative thought can ever prevail again. Two more states will be added from two very small territories, for the express purpose of creating a Socialist majority in the Congress and Senate. The Electoral College will be destroyed, so that none of this can ever again be overturned by the will of the people, as this will give complete control of all levels of government to the Hollywood elite of L.A. and California, and to New York, and D.C. Those who live anywhere else will be completely disenfranchised, and their voices will never be heard again. They will arrest anyone for complaining, for using their right to free speach in order to redress their grievances against the government.

Or, if the incumbant manages to prove that there was indeed widespread voter fraud, which would require going to the Supreme Court, in all likelihood, then the Republic will remain intact, though imperfect. The COVID vaccine, a necessary response to the CCP and DNC attack on the American enonomy and elections, will mitigate the virus and it will all but disappear. All the things the challenger hopes to do, expressed above, will not happen. But, what will happen is that, because voter fraud was proven, and a red wave of Americans actually did vote the incumbant back in office, then the avowed socialists, who are actually hard-line communists masquerading as ‘social justice warriors’, will indeed go to war, suddenly forgetting their extreme fear of a pandemic. They will flood the streets in maskless glory, in order to try to invalidate the election by their “protests”, which the American patriot will completely ignore, until it comes to his doorstep. They will riot in the streets. They will accuse the victors of voter fraud and election rigging, the very things they did. The media will become even more vitriolic in describing and reporting about the re-elected President. But, people will begin to be arrested for committing federal crimes during the election, and others, perhaps very prominent ones, will begin to be arrested for their crimes.

These are things that are obvious. “Q” and those who follow ‘him’ assert other things, deeper and darker, things that will reportedly shock most poeple. So far, none of those things can be emphatically proven, but their evidence is indeed mounting, and just now becoming slightly more than circumstantial. For this writer, I will not be shocked at anything, as the last thirty-five years have proven that this stew of corruption has been simmering on the stove for a while; if it comes to a boil, that is not a surprise to one who has been watching the pot.

The Evil Congregation

Shalom.

Whether we know it or not, it is what we all seek, in some way. We Jews and Messianic folk wish each other Shalom in our greetings, yet often do not consider what it is we are wishing on/for each other. The word ‘shalom’ means to be ‘complete,’ to lack nothing, in any of the many areas of our lives: emotionally/mentally, physically, financially, familial, spiritually, politically, to have ‘completeness’ and be ‘at peace’ utterly. This is difficult for many to achieve in life generally, but right now, it is becoming near impossible for some. We have had a plague, political upheaval, job loss and economic turmoil, imprisonment in our own homes, forced ‘social distancing’, mask mandates, and more, to shake this year like a year hasn’t been shaken for quite some time in our country, if ever; certainly not in my time. For me personally, I watched COVID dehydrate and disrupt my wife’s life to the point of causing her to fall and injure herself, requiring an overnight hospital stay, where they deprived her of any treatment for the manmade chinese/democrat virus, only weeks later to be furloughed from work. All of this on the heels of some very, very disappointing, heart wrenching personal trials, where people that I thought were brothers revealed they certainly were not, but were too caught up in their own ‘righteousness’ and self-interests to ‘see’ Messiah in me. In fact, some of them, the worst of them, have gone about saying He is not in me. That I do not have the Ru’akh, when in fact they themselves testified to me and of me that He is in me, and has spoken to them through me. Which lie is true? But, through all of this, Yeshua, the Son of G-d, who stands at the right hand of His Father, the Majestic Creator of heaven and earth, has kept me in ‘shalom’.

How has He done that? Is it by the great comfort He gave through the selfish betrayals of people who professed to be His, and to be my brothers? Is it by the miracles of circumstance and supernatural power that He did in protecting us from the ravages of the chinese/democrat virus? Is it by the pre-emptive miraculous provision He provided in the face of furlough? Did He answer every single prayer I prayed within seconds? Or, is it because, in spite of all of the chaos and ‘tzarah’ that the world hurls at us, HE HAS SIMPLY SPOKEN to me.

It is indeed all of the above. But, for me, the most important thing that He has done is to speak to my soul. During those early trials this year, He repaired my heartbreak on a nightly basis, like I have never experienced. When my wife suffered, He allowed me not only to bring a soul to Messiah in my anger at the adversary, but also comforted both her and me with an assurance of LIFE, and an affirmation that this man-made disease would not be the plague they hoped it would be, and that they politic it to be. Recently, in making efforts to find different revenue streams, He has assured me, in spite of a slow trickle, that HE is INDEED יהוה יֵרָאֶה , Yah who will ‘see to it’; “Provider”; He has given deep-down assurance on a DAILY BASIS, in spite of occasionally wondering, perhaps getting close to ‘fear’ when He pulls me back into His comfort, by feeding my “neshama”, the flame of His Light that He gave me forty-four years ago when He revealed His Son’s Salvation to me, with the comfort of His food, HaDavar, HaKhayim, The Word, LIFE.

Of late I have been ruminating every day in ONE Tehillah, one Psalm, as it has encapsulated every emotion I have dealt with, every ‘spirit’ I have fought, every ‘fear’ that has come my way to TRY to rob me of my Shalom. And every morning it has ‘lifted’ me, it has caused me to ‘ascend the Hill of יהוה , to bring me under His ‘wings,’ to paint Him as the center of my life; to come to the same conclusion as Iyov [Job], that even if He kills me, I will LOVE HIM, I will OBEY HIM. The adversary of Messiah is indeed my adversary, though some who I thought were more mature have told me this is not so, in regard to the reason for certain trials in my life, and yet Messiah Yeshua has indeed SPOKEN TO MY SOUL in ways they probably cannot even fathom. These same ones eventually turned on me with vitriol, with venom. And that is no surprise. Like Iyov, certain ones have tried to counsel me against the Word of G-d, thinking they understood my position, and had some divine clairvoyance into the situation. Some have counseled me to ‘forgive,’ not realizing I already had, for my own sake. But, their counsel was not forgiveness, but simply to ‘overlook’. This is NOT biblical. We are not to be the whipping boys of our peers, to simply take offenses and betrayal as normal. Melekh David was done wrong by many that were close to him, including his own sons. And what did he do at the end of his life? He counseled his son NOT to allow his enemies to go to the grave in shalom, but to pursue them! To recompense them for their betrayal! Sha’ul, who was betrayed by MANY in his ministry, did the same thing, recording wicked men’s names in the eternal Word as WICKED, as betrayers, as evil-doers! As FALSE.

An episode occurred recently that tried to ‘unearth’ those things in my life, and so, as usual, in my morning prayers I completed the daily Tehillim, with far more ‘intent’ on the words of those scriptures that everyone who walks this walk typically prays daily, and then transitioned into praying not for me, but ‘about’ me, reading that Tehillah that has so ‘transformed’ me on the inside these past weeks. Then, as I usually do, I seek one or two more from the Tehillim/Psalms, to further comfort my soul, as Messiah deposits His Word inside of me. Lo and Behold, I arrive at number 26:

Psalm 26

As I read in Hebrew, verse four ‘glows’ at me: I slow down; my personal, inner English translation was: “I will not sit with false men; I will not go with secretive men; I hate the congregation of evil ones, and will not sit with the wicked“…. was I right? I knew for certain that it said the ‘congregation of the wicked ones’; I had to flip over to the English to double check myself on ‘false men’; dissemblers: this is indeed ‘false/fake’ people. People who hide their disdain for someone; they pretend they like you, then stab you in the back. Then I get to verse nine; “do not gather my soul with sinners, nor with men of blood, my life, who have in their hands an evil plan…” ‘Craftiness’ in the English is ‘zimah’ , and in my mind came out as ‘evil plan’; that is indeed what it is, rendered ‘mischief’ in other renderings, established by context and the root word, which appears in several psalms.

Ps 26

So, while some have counseled me to ‘live and let live,’ to overlook great trespasses, which to the offenders were not trespasses, and to some observers were perhaps in their mind light trespasses, I will not be ‘gathered together’ with those who have deceit and falseness in them, nor with those who overlook that deceit and falseness for the sake of ‘being fair’. Were any ONE of these to show genuine contrition, it would be a different story. But, some folk just do not walk in the love of Messiah. They are fake; they are an evil congregation. I will not pander to them, neither will I be shamed into forgetting their way.

So, I was compelled to share this on this beautiful morning, for the purpose of showing how Yeshua continues to preserve my shalom and give me counsel. IN THE MOST TIMELY WAYS.

One of my favorite verses in these times of unrest is this one: [יהוה] Draw out also the spear, and the battle-axe, against them that pursue me; say unto my soul, “I am your Salvation.” He has been saying that to me over and over. And O, HOW I LOVE HIM for it. I have counseled several, including myself, to discipline themselves to LOVE HIM MORE.

In meditating on all of this, before sitting down to write, I reflected on the ‘troubles’ that have been more than I would want, and two verses reminded me that His purpose for these things is to CHANGE US, not those who trouble us.

טוֹב לִי כִי עֻנֵּיתִי לְמַעַן אֶלְמַד חֻקֶּיךָ

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your precepts”.

and,

אַךְ לְשִׂמְחָה חִשְׁבוּ לָכֶם אֶחָי כַּאֲשֶׁר תָּבֹאוּ בְּנִסְיֹנוֹת שׁוֹנִים. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיֹּדְעִים אַתֶּם כִּי בֹחַן אֱמוּנַתְכֶם מֵבִיא לִידֵי סַבְלָנוּת. וְהַסַּבְלָנוּת שְׁלֵמָה תִּהְיֶה בְּפָעֳלָהּ לְמַעַן תִּהְיוּ שְׁלֵמִים וּתְמִימִים וְלֹא תַחְסְרוּ כָּל דָּבָר

2My brethren, take it as a joy to you when you enter into many and varied tests; 3for you know that the trial of Emunah will increase your patience4And let patience be a perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.

The word there for ‘perfect’, is sh’lamim: SHALOM!!!!!

To have ‘shalom’ means to ‘lack nothing’; I would be remiss not to share that the last high-lighted word is ‘takhseru’, and is ‘you will have no lack’. This is the same word in Tehillah 23, יהוה רֹעִי לֹא אֶחְסָר, Yah is my Shepherd, I will not ‘lack’.

Go in shalom and in joy today, in Messiah Yeshua!

“Do I condemn you….”

Our portion this week, for all synagogues around the globe, is “VaYera”, which means “And He Saw”. יהוה sees EVERYTHING. Nothing we do gets away from Him, including our selfish motivation, which is behind almost everything we as humans do.

This portion is about the cities of S’dom and Amorah being destroyed. It invokes passion in a lot of people, and I think it is because the portion is a bit misunderstood, and too much self-righteous overreach accompanies its preaching in most circles, and the vast majority of those who oppose that bent swing too far the other way and employ far too much latitude in its interpretation. The true lesson of it, I believe, is right up the middle, threading the needle.

First, let me make it plain and clear, that the obvious sin of the men of the city of S’dom was indeed a desire to lie sexually, against the will of and with the two male visitors who went into Lot’s house. They were wanting to force themselves on these men regardless of any shared desire or not. This was in direct violation of the scriptures, in regard to the prohibition that men should not lie with men sexually as men lie with women. That is a plain and simple statement made up of six very simple Hebrew words, “Et zakhar lo tishkav mishk’vei isha”. “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman”. There is no room for fanciful interpretation of these words. They are very plain and simple.

People of ‘faith’, however, have taken those six words, paired with the destruction of these two cities, and turned those six words into the ONLY sin that G-d stands against in our day. “Christians” and “Messianics” shout with vitriol, and hatred, and condemn anyone that even looks remotely like they might think about such a sin, yet at the same time commit fornication and adultery at alarming rates, or overlook the same; they vote for abortionists, and/or overlook alarming abortion rates; they watch movies and television shows filled with murder and sexual deviance, vile language, innuendo, and witchcraft, without one ounce of disturbance for their conscience. But, if one apparent or latent ‘homosexual’ surfaces near them, they jump on their soapbox of self-righteousness, putting their hypocrisy on display, allowing the enemy to use them to make a mockery of the faith. It is disingenuous.

The men of S’dom and Amorah were not destroyed because of this one sin, that of being inhospitable and wanting to force men against their will into sexual subservience. They were indeed the ‘advanced’ sinners of the land of Kena’an, the cursed son of No’akh. Their neighboring cities and brothers had not gone as far as they in their sin, but were well on their way. But, S’dom and Amorah were beyond doing teshuvah, beyond TURNING from their sins back to יהוה , the G-d that Avraham and Lot were calling on and serving in their midst. They would not listen to reason. Their passions, ALL of them, had so overtaken them, they did not care about any of their sin. The book of Romim explains to us the full extent of their sin:

21For they knew Elohim, and did not glorify Him and give thanks to Him as Elohim, but became vain in their imaginations, and their hearts were darkened so that they could not understand.  22And while they thought within themselves that they were wise, they became fools, 23and they 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.  24That is why Elohim also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves; 25and they have changed the truth of Elohim for lies, and worshipped and served the created things more than their Creator, to whom belongs glory and blessings forever. 

Their sin was turning to pagan ways, forgetting their creator, and putting stock in and working toward exalting things made with their own hands. They made themselves ‘creators’, forgetting their Creator, the Almighty, ignoring the purpose of HIS design. THAT was their grave sin. Their perversion was the outgrowth of THAT sin; their sexual deviance was the RESULT of that sin, as was their lack of regard for the feelings of others, who might not have wanted to participate in that particular perversion, as the two visitors of Lot surely would not have. This incursion against Lot’s guests was so heinous, that Lot was willing to give his two virgin daughters to them, in the place of these two men. That is how very deviant and violent toward these men they were behaving. And that is how grievous their desire was to Lot, who was tormented in his soul daily because the people of S’dom were so devoid of the Torah. [“Lot HaTzadik, [was] mortified by the filthy conduct of those without Torah; for while that Tzadik dwelt among them, in seeing and hearing their deeds against Torah, his righteous soul was vexed from day to day.” Kefa Bet 2:8] We today do not quite understand that vexation, as we are far too tolerant of most sin, far too ignorant of His Word to understand Lot’s vexation fully. But, Lot, being so tormented, yet did not condemn them while living in their midst. Rather, he sat in the city gate as a judge, trying to influence them. And it was not until יהוה commanded him to leave that he did so, when it was no longer fruitful to try and influence them anyway. His plea to give them his virgin daughters fell on deaf ears. They were gone. We are not there yet, as the Creator has not sent imminent destruction to our land. Though it may be nearer indeed than any of us think.

Does Abba then condemn EVERY person who ever has the thought or desire to have sex with the wrong person? No. Many think that anyone who ever does so is automatically going to hell. That is simply not the case. Yeshua came to save EVERYONE from ALL their sin. So, there are those who have lived in this sin whom Yeshua has forgiven, because He has revealed Himself to them, and shown them His compassion, and forgiven them of their sin. It is the classification of THIS sin into the ‘they’ category by ‘believers’ that causes so many to condemn the slightest evidence of this sin in others. The community of ‘faith’ seems to stand watch, to be on the lookout for this ONE Torah infraction, as if it is the end all be all of sin. This one is SO bad, in the minds of many, that children, taught the same mindset by parents, TORMENT other children whom they ‘think’ might be ‘gay’, simply because they do not act like the rest of the children, and they hear their ‘righteous’ parents condemning only this one act of sin. These same cruel children later go into fornication without any shame whatsoever, or correction from their parents, while condemning others for simply ‘acting’ like a homosexual, being suspicious of anyone who might remotely evince ‘other’ qualities.

Some boys simply do not exude the requisite testosterone and its accepted traits quite as much as the average boy, so, they are excluded from the ‘boy’ club. The mirror is true of the girls who are less feminine. But, those boys, who are being told from very early on that they are ‘gay’, end up thinking they indeed must be. Everyone is telling them they are: their classmates, parents, teachers, psychologists/psychiatrists, television, movies, commercials, video games, etc, etc, are bombarding their minds with the assault that they are ‘other’ than normal. This is the unseen adversary behaving toward them through people who inadvertently become their ‘accusers’. At some point, they have, in their minds, no choice but to believe they are not ‘normal,’ and are chosen for that lot, even ‘designed’ that way. The enemy manages to take normal male admiration for strong male features and pervert it in their young minds, convincing them they are ‘other’. Society participates in the making of these minds. They become prisoners.

We, humans, are bent toward ‘wrong’ from our youth up. In spite of being innocent of committing any acts of perversion or wrongdoing, before we actually can as young children, we are bent that way, because we are born without the light of G-d in us. [Gen 8:21 : כִּי יֵצֶר לֵב הָאָדָם רַע מִנְּעֻרָיו , for the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his boyhood ] And the adversary comes, who is very cunning and deceitful, and knows how to take what is good and pervert it, and make the perverted version of it appealing to us. And then tell us we are not against G-d in following that perverted version of it. This perversion of truth was the first sin [twisting what is good, and dismissing the error of that twisting, making it ‘right’ in ones own eyes]. But, what I want to point out, is that part of that human perversion is to condemn others who are beguiled away from truth by a different “twist” than the one that has affected us! And for many, that perversion is SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Righteousness bequeathed by Yeshua is GOOD. SELF-righteousness is of the flesh, promoted by the adversary, and is the WORST of evils.

No one is sent to earth to condemn other people of their sin and damn them to hell!!!! That is not what we, especially believers in Messiah, are called to do. We are, in fact, called to RESCUE them, to declare LIBERTY to those who are captive. Condemning them to hell does not do that! In fact, it is a way to shore up their captivity, further decieve them, to stand perpetually in the role of the accuser/adversary, AND, further condemn oneself! And so few endeavor to understand this! If someone thinks a person is caught in ANY sin, their desire ought to be to RESCUE them from it in compassion, to help them understand their captivity, to ‘see’ that there IS a way to be free, not to accuse them of it! And condemnation does NOT lend to any rescue! It enhances the imprisonment. It strengthens the fetters, just as much, if not more so, than anyone who has come along and told them they are ‘okay’ in their sin, that G-d does not hold it against them. This, too, is indeed a ‘twist,’ a perversion: G-d indeed has forgiven us of ALL our sins, but, HE DOES expect us to “Go, and sin no more”. Being accused and condemned by people further torments the one who may indeed be in prison already, or in a struggle against a perversion of the right way. We humans are so thoughtless and cruel in our self-righteousness; we only think about our opinions at times, and not what our ‘opinion’ does to others, who are simply in need of HIS COMPASSION. Especially in regard to a sin that has such a reputation in our society’s community of ‘faith’. The scapegoat is indeed driven off the cliff.

If someone is caught in any sin, even if they know it is morally wrong, by and large they continue to do it. Why? Because they do not see a way out. They have been made ‘captive’; they have been convinced that there is no possibility whatsoever of change. There is no ‘hope’. They are tired of the fight. They’ve tried every recommended remedy, to no avail. They have concluded that it is just their plight, their destiny, their just reward, or their ‘DNA’. That G-d does not wish to help them. They are convinced NO ONE understands how they have tried, nor cared how they feel, what their perspective is. And for those who have been part of the community of faith, and yet have struggled with such a plight, they have, most often, been further abused not by the enemy only, but by fellow congregants, whose sin is merely different, less visible, and rooted in religious arrogance, who point the finger of condemnation at them, but perhaps with a fake veil of ‘mercy’.

Sexual sin is sin against one’s own body. It then becomes the struggle of a believer, one who has been made aware of the error of it, a fight against one’s own flesh, one’s “self”, an epic struggle against the mind, which is the precipice between this world and His Kingdom. It is similar in nature to addiction to drugs or alcohol in that regard. The victim seems/feels powerless to overcome it. It tears at a soul; it can make the heart weak, and self destructive, or it can make the heart callous, and indifferent to the plain truth. This type of affliction is not only that of the homosexual, but of many other sins which the community of faith ignores. But, for some reason, the homosexual today seems to be the scapegoat of the religious community. They point the finger in a ‘we-they’ fashion. The sin of the homosexual seems to offer solace that one is not ‘as bad as that guy’. It puts many on the high-horse of self righteousness.

One sexual sin is just as egregious as the next. Each is an abomination. Sex before marriage is an abomination. Sex with someone other than one’s spouse is an abomination. Each incurred the death penalty in the age of the Temple. Yeshua stood IN THE TEMPLE, during one of the Holy appointed times of G-d, and the P’rushim brought to him a woman caught in adultery. This means they KNEW, with eye-witnesses, that she had committed adultery. They brought her to Yeshua, certain that they had him trapped, and that he must get on the high-horse of condemnation with them. They used the Word of G-d against her, standing before the LIVING WORD, and laid her sin bare before Him, thinking that HE thought and felt about it just as they did, or at least that He SHOULD feel that way.

5Now in the Torah of Moshe it is commanded that women such as these should be stoned; but what do you say?”  6They said this to test Him, that they might have a cause to accuse Him. While Yeshua was bent down, He was writing on the ground.  7When they were through questioning Him, He straightened himself up and said to them, “He who is among you who is without sin, let him first throw a stone at her.” 

First, they ‘twisted’ the scripture from the get-go. It was not only women that should be stoned, but the men who committed adultery as well. Second, if they were serious about it, they’d have brought the man with her to be accused. Third, they’d have done what the Torah says and bring both of them, with witnesses, before the court/judges of Yisra’el. So, the whole procedure itself was a violation of the Torah they claimed to believe. Yeshua’s bending down to write in the dust was deliberate, and after, He stood up and challenged them with their OWN sins, some of which were made bare by their very actions! SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS is more GRIEVOUS a sin than her adultery! Because it flouts the GRACE and COMPASSION of the Creator!

When they could not answer His question, and I believe, when they saw their names written in the dust in the order of their age, they turned away one by one, dumbfounded. Yeshua then looks at the woman and says,

“Where are they? Did no man condemn you?”  11She said, “No man, Adon.” Then Yeshua said, “Neither do I condemn you; go away, and from henceforth, do not sin again.”

Oh, how I wish that EVERY ONE OF US could hear Yeshua, the very Son of G-d, say that to each of us as people. That we could ‘hear’ HIS COMPASSION for our sin plight. And that He would give us “ko’akh”, ‘power’, to turn away from it, as He must have for that woman. But how much more do I wish that those who ‘think’ they are righteous would HEAR His plea to the P’rushim: “He who is among you who is without sin, let him first throw a stone…”

EVERY LAST ONE OF US deserve to die the death of condemnation. Yeshua said plainly that He did NOT come to this world to condemn anyone. Those who stand condemned already are the religious who do not come to Him in HUMILITY, recognizing their own fallen state. Yeshua told the congregation at Efesus, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I will come to you very soon, and I will remove your Menorah from its place, unless you repent.” He was speaking to the Congregation, and threatened to remove the Presence of Messiah, His Ru’akh [Breath/Spirit], if they did not humble themselves. Humility and the recognition of our COMMON PLIGHT will save a sinner SO much faster than our self-righteousness.

Neither do I condemn you; go away, and from henceforth, do not sin again.”