Growing up in a house full of boys, wrestling was a big part of my life. I never had my thigh snapped, but I did break my collar bone on New Year’s Day during my eighth grade year, wrestling with my brother.
But, I still tussle with folks, even as an old man! Only now I’m careful not to break anything! I know my limits.
I find it interesting that my Torah portion is VaYishlakh, where Ya’akov, the namesake of my son, wrestles with someone.
Ya’akov wrestles with the Messenger of יהוה , which is a manifestation of Yeshua, before He finally manifested forever as a human being.
He knows who he is wrestling with. This man is about to become the namesake of Yisra’el. He tells the being with whom he wrestles, “I will not let you go, except that you bless me!” That being is a temporary manifestation of G-d as a Malakh, a Messenger; it is, as I said, Yeshua, manifesting as the Creator in the form of a man. He is a tangible being, APPEARING AS A MAN, wrestling with the man Ya’akov. Ya’akov knows who He is, even though he asks Him to tell him His Name. “I have seen the face of Elohim!”
This is at the culmination of Ya’akov’s life in Shinar, the land of Bavel. He is returning to Be’er Sheva, the land of his fathers, the “Well of the Oath.” And he is seeking the blessing of the Creator. This time, he is not asking for food and raiment as he had twenty years before, but a ‘blessing.’ An ‘increase’ in the supernatural. A greater manifestation of the power of Elohim.
What the Messenger does is beat him; he snaps his sinew on his thigh, causing him to limp for the REST OF HIS LIFE.
Is that the blessing? Is it a blessing to know the WEAKNESS that G-d gave you, in order for you to trust in HIS strength? Isn’t that exactly what the Creator tells Sha’ul when he prays three times that He take his infirmity away? ““My compassion is sufficient for you; for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.” Is it possible that Elohim visited him at this moment, and ‘blessed’ him with such a condition, because Ya’akov finally recognized the Presence of G-d in His life all along? He had just prayed, “I am not worthy of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which You have shown unto your servant…”
So many people are striving to ‘be perfect’, when what hey do not realize is that they should be striving for HIM to make up the difference between our shortcomings and HIS perfection, with HIS perfection.
This acceptance of permanent brokenness, which is memorialized in the diets of observant Jews, is indeed a blessing, because it reminds us of our having seen HIS FACE! ONLY HE can truly ‘break us’. And when He does, it is for OUR BLESSING.
Kefa said of the writings of Sha’ul these words:
“And consider that the longsuffering of Adoneinu is for Salvation; even as our beloved brother Pavlos also, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his letters he speaks concerning these matters, in which there are certain things so hard to be understood that those who are ignorant and unstable twist their meaning, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, my beloved, seeing that you know these things beforehand, beware, lest you follow the error of those without Torah, and fall from your own steadfastness.”
Yes, I reference this scripture a lot, but today I do so for a slightly different reason, other than discussing the importance and relevance of Torah in our lives.
Kefa said that those who twist the scriptures are ‘ignorant and unstable.’ It is difficult to prove ignorance in someone who has been long dead. But, thankfully, history has left a trail to show us that Calvin was indeed ignorant and unstable.
Not the cute guy in the cartoon above. But the beast of a man that was a so-called ‘reformer’, who is the pride of many religionists today: John Calvin. His adherents look on him as innocently as newspaper comic fans look on Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes fame, saying his antics were harmless. I don’t buy it.
This is not meant to be a dissertation on his theology, which is indeed twisted, but more an infomercial on who the man was, and how mentally deranged and prideful he was. Most of his adherents are not aware of the many people he executed. Yes, murdered.
How could a man of such ‘notoriety’ and acclaim be heralded a father of the reformation, and have so many people look to him for guidance on what salvation is? Because people did not heed or continue to heed Kefa’s warning.
Calvin believed that a saved person was saved ONLY because of the will of G-d, and that a person who would not accept his Christ was predestinated to go to hell, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. He believed this so strongly that he executed anyone who would not submit to him, or that opposed him in any way. This is the ‘instability’ Kefa warned us about. He forced most of the people of Geneva into conversion, deeming them worthy of death and hell if they did not submit.
Many are not aware of Calvin’s one-time friend, Michael Servetus. He was much like myself, half Jewish, but a believer in Messiah. He opposed the Catholic church, and that was the basis of their friendship at the first. But when Calvin published his “Institutions,” Servetus read it, wrote comments on it in the margins of his copy, and sent it to Calvin. Calvin swore publicly that if he ever saw Servetus again, he’d kill him. And he did. He burned him at the stake, making sure the wood was green so it would take longer, and increase his suffering. He never once showed any remorse for having done it, but instead nine years later was still rejoicing in his decision. He believed that it was his duty to kill Servetus, and that Servetus was predestined for that fate, and the fate of burning in hell, in spite of Servetus’ confession of trust in Messiah.
This is the man too many today follow, in their ‘plan of salvation.’
They cannot read the word with any clarity, seeming to prefer the socratic, twisted logic of John Calvin, which is laced with hatred and pride.
The two main passages they use to justify their doctrine are so distorted by their logic, and so many today pride themselves in being able to follow that twisted train of logic, that they think the logic must be true. They dismiss and discourage the plain reading of the text itself, and completely ignore two-thirds of scripture in order to perpetuate Calvin’s lies, and forgive him of his heinous crimes against mankind, though he himself remained unrepentant.
The scriptures that are twisted are these:
“And we know that those who love Elohim are helped by Him in everything, for the good, to those who from the beginning are destined to be called. He knew them in advance and He marked them with the likeness of the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, those whom He marked in advance, He has called, and those whom He has called, He has declared righteous, and those whom he has declared righteous, He has glorified.” Rom 8:28-30
A couple of things to point out:
He marked in advance those who ‘would’ love Him,’ knowing them ahead of time, and THEN HE ‘called’ them, and THEN he declared them righteous, because THEY responded to the call, and THEN He glorified them.
Another passage that they twist is Efisim 1:
“Since, as from the beginning, He has chosen us through Him before the foundation of the world, that we may become consecrated and without blemish before Him, in love, as at the first, for Himself. And He marked us for Him, and appointed us to be sons through Yeshua HaMashi’akh, as was the pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His compassion that He has poured upon us by His beloved one. ….. And He marked us from the beginning, so He would carry out everything according to the good judgment of His will, that we should become the first to trust in Mashi’akh, to His honor and His glory. In Him you also have heard the Davar HaEmet, which is HaB’sorah for your life; in Him you have trusted, so you are sealed with The Ru’akh HaKodesh that was promised, which is the pledge of our inheritance for the redemption of those who live, and for the glory of His honor.”
Nothing in this indicates that there is no response on the part of the one who trusts. On the contrary, the impetus of trust is put on us. A response is elicited. The response to the call of those who were marked to be called is clearly seen. Yet Calvinists ignore the many, many places in scripture, invent new terms to explain their doctrine, and condemn anyone who does not believe their ‘idea’ about how salvation works. They’re arguing semantics over the trust that must be in us, and dismissing everyone of the duty to trust and to obey, and further think that there is NOTHING they can do thereafter that would fate themselves to hell. I would sooner believe Calvin in hell than many others I know, based on his life AFTER his so-called “Institutions” were written.
The short of it is this: G-d knows ahead of time who will respond to His call, so He marks them ‘to be called.’ The trickiness of Sha’ul’s writing here cannot outweigh all the many passages of Yeshua’s words that tell us WE must believe. He indeed GIVES US the ‘power’ and the ‘authority’ to become sons of Elohim. But we must do the ‘becoming.’ Just because Elohim ‘marked’ us for that purpose ahead of time, does not remove the impetus of us to believe, and to love Elohim, and WE must obey Him.
I wish I had time to further expound and explain the foreknowledge of Elohim. But, what I really want to point out in this is the CHARACTER of John Calvin, the man who twisted these writings of Sha’ul, and invented the doctrine that so many today are following again. “You shall know them by their fruits.” Here is a man who very cruelly tortured and murdered a Messianic Jewish man, simply because he disagreed with him doctrinally. And he did so standing on the foundation of his ‘predestination’ doctrine, which gave him the seared conscience one would need in order to so murder someone without any guilt. No one can claim to follow the Son of G-d and commit murder without calling his very salvation into question. Calvin simply became the alternative pope of Geneva, guilty of the very same crimes of the ‘church’ he left. That is NOT the fruit of the Spirit of Messiah Yeshua.
And Servetus is NOT the only one Calvin murdered. Some that he murdered he did so for even less serious ‘crimes’ than Servetus.
Some of John Calvin’s ‘accomplishments’ while ‘religious magistrate’ in Geneva:
A man was banished from the city for three months because he heard a donkey bray and said as a joke: “He prays a beautiful Psalm.”
Three men who had laughed during a sermon were imprisoned for three days.
Three children were punished because they remained outside of a church to eat some cakes.
A child was whipped publicly for calling his mother a thief.
A girl who slapped her mother’s guiding hand away was beheaded!!!!
A person was imprisoned for four days because he wanted to call his child Claude instead of Abraham.
In Geneva, a secret police was forged under the name of The Consistory. Every home was compulsorily examined and searched. The City was divided into districts and committees of the Consistory were empowered to search and interrogate all residents without previous notice. Attendance at public worship was commanded and watchmen were directed to see that people went to church. The one thing that Calvin did not endorse was religious liberty.
From 1541 to 1546, John Calvin caused 58 people to be executed. His victims ranged in age from 9 to 80. All executions were public, and Geneva residents were forced to watch. The executions were spaced out so as to exert a continuing policy of fear and terror. Others were killed for advocating local church autonomy; opposing the tie-in of church and state: and preaching that Messiah died for all sinners.
While in Geneva, Servetus made the mistake of attending church on Sunday where he was recognized and arrested. It was on Calvin’s information to the magistracy that Servetus was put in prison, which fact Calvin did not deny. The trial lasted over two months and Calvin himself drew up a document of thirty-nine accusations against Servetus.
On the way to the stake, Servetus asked G-d to pardon his accusers. Because of the use of green wood, Servetus suffered for half an hour, while Calvin watched. No one with the mind of Messiah could burn a fellow believer simply because he disagrees, and revel in his torture. This is the pinnacle of instability, and is the work of HaSatan, and is the product of ignorance of the Torah. Just as Kefa predicted.
Yet so many today are beginning again to follow this man. It is disgusting and abhorrent.
Yeshua called Epharaimites ‘dogs’, saying they eat the crumbs from the table of the Master. Most don’t realize a Samaritan is actually from the former ‘Northern Kingdom of Israel, and they are only “1/2” Israeli. The KINGDOM of Israel, which was rebellious, was scattered and FORGOTTEN. The REMNANT of that KINGDOM joined Israel and are now called “Jews”, blended into the DNA pool of Judah. They were scattered with Judah, finally, as prophesied, in 70-150 AD, and will return as Jews. [See my former post “Yeshua’s Brother found the lost tribes of Israel”].
The “Ephraimites” movement today says that they are the “fulness of the nations”, because of the blessing that Yisra’el spoke over Ephraim in Gen 48.19
‘I know it, my son, I know it; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; howbeit his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.’
Their reasoning is that this means that Ephraim would become the gentiles, and that this happened when Ephraim was ‘scattered’ or ‘lost’, and so the gentiles who believe in Messiah are the Ephraimites, and therefore Israelites. They reason that since Yeshua said He came to save the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”, that He must be speaking of Ephraimites, and that is who gentile believers are today. No. The lost sheep of the house of Israel were the twelve tribes, called Jews, to whom Yeshua sent His Talmidim for a BRIEF SEASON while He was with them here on earth! And they came back to Yeshua from going to those lost sheep in “Judea”, saying they could not cast out demons. They were not ‘geographically’ lost and in need of google maps. They were LOST SOULS, because Israel, the religious class, was not teaching them TRUTH! They were teaching them they are saved by their DNA and by THEIR righteousness. Today’s “Ephraimites” of the movement do the same.
They also add to this that Avraham’s promise of having a multitude of descendants is fulfilled through Ephraim.
This is a twisted LIE.
They misread the prophets.
And, they conveniently FORGET what יהוה promised would happen when Israel, which includes Judah, would disobey and be scattered:
Deut 4:27 only a FEW of you will survive among the nations to which יהוה will drive you.
This was spoken to ALL TWELVE TRIBES. NOT just the ten of the north.
Deut 28:62 And you shall be left FEW IN NUMBER, whereas you were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because you would not obey the voice of יהוה your Elohim.
They had become “as the stars of heaven for multitude” when they left Egypt. G-d said so.
“יהוה your G-d has multiplied you, and, behold, you are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.” Deut 1:10
So, the “stars of heaven for multitude” promise is negated concerning Israel after the flesh, by the promise of יהוה that they would be FEW IN NUMBER if they got expelled from the land!
Today, Isra’el of the flesh, including all 12 tribes, known as “Jews” to the world, are indeed FEW IN NUMBER. There are only maybe 20 million worldwide.
When the days of the gentiles are finally over, there will only be 144,000 men from ALL TWELVE TRIBES assembled in Yisrael, and Ephraim is NOT EVEN MENTIONED! Rev 7:5-8
Even though Ephraimites are of the tribe of Yosef, and they could be included in that 12000 men for Yosef, they have no such preeminent place in the last days as ‘two-house Ephraimite/Israelite people like to hope. These 144k are today’s JEWS, a small portion who will come to faith during the Time of Jacob’s trouble.
[Remember, יהוה does not add women and children to the counting, so it will be more than 144,000 total people].
These are the only ones sealed with the Torah and Faith in Messiah during the tribulation. That’s a TINY number, and it is made up of today’s Jews. And many are already in Israel!!!!
יהוה clearly shows us that there are members of the Northern Kingdom who basically became “Jewish”. Khanah, in the Brit Khadasha, who recognized the infant Messiah, was of the tribe of Asher. II Chronicles tells us that many from the north joined Yehudah in the south. Khanah is a descendent of those, as are many JEWS today!
This “multitude” in Revelation is seen as JEWISH today, but יהוה alone knows their true tribal lineage. And that theory has more scriptural weight by far than any “Ephraimite/Two House” conjecture.
Jews share as much DNA with China, Africa, and Native Americans as they do with Europeans. So, there is no person who can know what their “Israelite Tribe” is, unless they are Jewish, and then many of them do not know! DNA is showing that there is NO ‘pure’ ‘race’ of Jewish people, only threads of common DNA, in small percentages. And there is NO evidence of Danes and Brits being from the middle east.
This lie DIVIDES Jewish believers in Messiah from Gentile believers in Messiah. There usually is not one Jew in Ephraimite “congregations”. This LIE divides the Body of Messiah. It causes distress and argument. And it serves absolutely NO PURPOSE but division. It is a SAD doctrine, and I hate it almost as much as I dismiss the catholic trinity doctrine, since it turns the Body of Messiah into a two-headed beast, as much as the catholic trinity turns god into a 3-headed monster.
Ephraim’s sin, which got him expelled from the HOLY LAND, was creating TWO HOUSES! And blaming it on יהוה :
כו וַיֹּאמֶר יָרָבְעָם, בְּלִבּוֹ: עַתָּה תָּשׁוּב הַמַּמְלָכָה, לְבֵית דָּוִד. 26 And Yaravam [The Ephraimite king] said in his heart: ‘Now will the kingdom return to the house of David.
כז אִם-יַעֲלֶה הָעָם הַזֶּה, לַעֲשׂוֹת זְבָחִים בְּבֵית-יהוה בִּירוּשָׁלִַם, וְשָׁב לֵב הָעָם הַזֶּה אֶל-אֲדֹנֵיהֶם, אֶל-רְחַבְעָם מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה; וַהֲרָגֻנִי, וְשָׁבוּ אֶל-רְחַבְעָם מֶלֶךְ-יְהוּדָה. 27 If this people goes up to offer sacrifices in Beit [the house of] יהוה at Yerushalayim, then will the heart of this people turn back unto their lord, even unto Rekhavam Melekh Yehudah; and they will kill me, and return to Rekhavam Melekh Yehudah.’
כח וַיִּוָּעַץ הַמֶּלֶךְ–וַיַּעַשׂ, שְׁנֵי עֶגְלֵי זָהָב; וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם, רַב-לָכֶם מֵעֲלוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם–הִנֵּה אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלוּךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם. 28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold; and he said unto them: ‘You have gone up long enough to Yerushalayim; behold your gods, O Yisrael, which brought you up out of the land of Mitzrayim.’
כט וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת-הָאֶחָד, בְּבֵית-אֵל; וְאֶת-הָאֶחָד, נָתַן בְּדָן. 29 And he set the one in Beit El, and the other put he in Dan.
ל וַיְהִי הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה, לְחַטָּאת; וַיֵּלְכוּ הָעָם לִפְנֵי הָאֶחָד, עַד-דָּן. 30 And this thing became a sin; for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
לא וַיַּעַשׂ, אֶת-בֵּית בָּמוֹת; וַיַּעַשׂ כֹּהֲנִים מִקְצוֹת הָעָם, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-הָיוּ מִבְּנֵי לֵוִי. 31 And he made [two] houses of high places, and made priests from among all the people, that were not of the sons of Levi.
That is exactly what today’s “Ephraimite/Israelite” people are doing. And they will be scattered and forgetten, barring true repentance.
יהוה has ONLY ONE HOUSE, and our genealogy is irrelevant to our salvation, AND to whether or not we ever live in the Land of Yisrael during the Millennial Reign. Speculating about what tribe we are from is a distraction from building us up in Messiah Yeshua, and building the ONE Body of Messiah.
Heed the words of Shaul:
“Command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer, or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing the work of Elohim—which is by trust.” I Tim 1:3-4
I’m not one for thinking that images in clouds mean anything at all. But this is just an opportunity to show that random patterns in clouds sometimes lean in another direction…and I don’t blame Jews for pointing this one out! Since there are so few of us, these get pointed out far less often, but are probably ‘available’ just as often as others’ hopes.
This is, however, a VERY distinct “Khet”, the eighth letter of the Alef Bet.
It is the Hebrew symbol for ‘infinity’, and also the symbol worn around the neck of many Jews, including my brother Kefa Berg, as it means “Khai,” which means “LIFE”. The theme of the letter, then, is ‘eternal life’.
This happens also to be the symbol that would have been painted over the houses in the Pesakh [Passover], the blood of the lamb being painted over the doorposts and lintel [side posts and top] as instructed in Shemot [Exodus] 12:7 . It is not a coincidence that this forms the “Khet”, the symbol for eternal life.
Messiah Yeshua IS our “Pesakh”, our ‘pascal lamb offering’, [1 Cor 5:7 ] and is our source of life ETERNAL, for those who turn to the Way of G-d, the Torah as taught by Yeshua, and trust in His shed blood.
It is also the first letter in “Khermon,” or Mount Hermon…. now, go read Psalm 133…. Kefa Berg‘s favorite, and pay attention to the “Dew of Khermon,” in the LAST verse….
L’khayim! [To LIFE!]