The day that will live in infamy.
My father was a military man, through and through. Career Navy he was. From a long line of American warriors, all the way back to the Revolution. He married my mother on 9/11. His first son was born on D-Day, the next on VJ-day, and myself on Pearl Harbor Day.
That’s always been a shadow of a thought on my birthday, especially after realizing my parent’s anniversary related to the little phenomenon.
Anyone who walks in true “Emunah” in Messiah Yeshua knows that His people are a ‘warring’ people, in the realm of His Ru’akh. Last week, my drash [teaching message] in the Synagogue was about the “Matzliakh”, the ‘prosperous’ man. One who ‘succeeds’ in this life, spiritually. If I’m not mistaken, Yosef was the first one in scripture called a matzliakh; and he was a servant, a slave, when he was so called.
But, as Friday was the anniversary of my birth, I prayed that day, as I do each day, for all I know, especially those whom I hold dear, to have ‘shalom’ each day..
My birthday started very, very special. I woke up, and read a second email concerning someone who had been studying our congregation’s website, http://www.battzion.org , and had come to repentance. My last post was about the JOY in HEAVEN concerning ONE SOUL doing Teshuvah, so much so that the Malakhim REJOICE in HIGH PRAISES….. FOR ONE SOUL! So, when I read that second email, and learned that the person who had repented, whose name is in our Torah portion this week!, is going to come to the synagogue this Shabbat, then I ‘heard’ the echo of that rejoicing in Heaven…. it sunk in. [the first email had came in thur night, after my family and I began celebrating my birthday.. with cake…can’t help it, biblical days start at night! and I’d briefly read it, but it didn’t sink in; then another came in through the night].
I cannot express how much joy that brought me, considering all the labor we put into the website, into the congregation, investing in people’s souls, versus the number of times people actually do ‘return to G-d in obedience to His Instructions’ [biblical repentance]. when I wrote that last blog post, I asked G-d for that experience again, that deep joy of knowing His Malkhut is truly advancing because of our efforts. Et voila.
Friday, I decided to drive to work, versus riding the bus, because I took a half day off. My jam came on when I got in the car, but it was my whole playlist. I wanted to focus on worshipping and thanking Him, so I switched it just to play Miqedem’s last album. I’ve noticed this before, about that album. But I’ve only shared this with my wifey. I don’t know if Jamie and the rest of Miqedem intended this, but it has certainly caught my attention, what I am about to try to explain:
Friday morning, when I switched it over, I set it to play the album, Volume II, in order, and not to shuffle, because it’s been a while since I just listened to the album straight through. I finished listening to it this morning, and remembered this compelling theme I will try to explain here, starting with the first song, to the last, in order.
“Khanun V’Rakhum’ is the first song, “Gracious and Merciful”. That is the last phrase in the 4th verse of the psalm…. The music starts with a very distinct Hebrew, Middle-Eastern sound, very upbeat, and the first words are “I will thank יהוה “…. [I say/sing His Name… I hope Miqedem can forgive me, as I simply cannot edit His Word when reading/singing it, nor blot out His Name as quoted in scripture with another word]. The first verse of this song is actually the first four verses of Psalm 111. I have the great pleasure of understanding them in Hebrew…. and this phrase, “Khanun v’Rakhum’, is an echo of Moshe’s encounter with G-d that so few people consider, when He said, יהוה יהוה El RAKHUM V’KHANUN…. Merciful and GRACIOUS G-d… this is ‘old testament’, and is describing יהוה as MERCIFUL and GRACIOUS…. the whole description there flies in the face of the xtian idea that the ‘god of the old testament’ was a ‘hateful, mean/angry god.’ Those first verses of 111 expound on His works of mercy and grace as WONDERFUL. Then, the second verse of the song, from Ps 112, tells of the works of a Tzadik, a Righteous One. This is a foreshadowing of Messiah, but also describes one who actually trusts in obedience, delighting in the Mitzvot of G-d. This echoes the fb post I made yesterday, asserting that we, as believers, should strive to be like G-d! Khanun V’Rakhum V’Tzadik, echoing Khanun V’Rakhum יהוה ! Ultimately, it is HIM whom we emulate.
I won’t have time to detail each of the psalms on this album. But, I pray the psalms every Shabbat in the Synagogue during our prayer hour, with a numerical pattern that gets me through all 150 of them about 5 times in a year. And this pattern is in such a way that I sample each type of Psalm [praise, ascent, imprecatory, etc] each Shabbat. And each week, I think about how this mimics the life and experience of believers.
The Tehillim [praises/psalms] are Tefilot [prayers] and SONGS. And they are FULL of EMOTION. ALL emotions. Happiness, sadness, sorrow, pain, rejoicing, anger, bitterness, hurt, the list goes on. They run the whole gambit of the human experience. And so do my Shabbat morning prayers. And so does Miqedem Volume II. They sampled almost every type of Tehillah. This one starts very upbeat, rejoicing and thanking G-d for His MERCY AND GRACE, the way a believer starts his life of faith, and the way he SHOULD start EVERY DAY!
It is followed with B’tzet Yisra’el, ‘When Yisra’el Went out of Mitzrayim’, which is a mini Pesakh Psalm, a recalling of the MIGHT of Elohim, who delivered Yisra’el and brought them into The Land. The psalmist almost seems to mock the natural barriers to Yisra’el’s ‘going out,’ reminding us that He Goes BEFORE us, IN MIGHT. This, too, ought to be a theme of our minds as we begin our days.
The next is Ba’erev Yelin, and has been my favorite for a while, though I think it got edged out of late. But, the tone changes, becoming very mellow. This one is a KHANUKAH song! It is the “Dedication of the House,” or “Khanukat HaBayit.” Nothing causes a believer in Messiah more sorrow than for the ‘House’ of his heart to be defiled with sin. “Weeping WILL linger for the night”, as long as the believer walks in self-induced darkness,’ but REJOICING comes ‘la’boker’…. yes, ‘in the morning,’ but, ‘boker’ can imply ‘early,’ and the prefix is ‘for’ in this conjugation…. the earlier ‘light’ comes back to the ‘house,’ the sooner the believer can REJOICE! This one is Psalm 30:4-6.
Then, we get even more contemplative, meditating on the “Compassions of יהוה ” . from 89:2-3, 12. Here, we confess that His compassions are worthy of our declaring them. So much so that the mountains will cry out rejoicing in Him [if we don’t]. I seem to remember Yeshua alluding to this? We stay contemplative, and ‘sing,’ “I love that יהוה will hear the voice of my supplications….” Ps 116:1-2; And then we can say, “Because He has turned His ear toward me, I will call on Him all of my days…. “In the courts of His HOUSE, in the midst of you, O Yerushalayim, HALLELU YAH!” [v19]. We who are believers in Messiah Yeshua do this in such a literal way, because we have a House that is fashioned by Messiah! I can’t EVEN get into all the depth of what is revealed here!
And now it’s time again to REJOICE! The next melody is a complete Tehillah, 117, which is only two verses long. It has a very middle-eastern flare, and a driving beat. Hallelu Et יהוה , kol Goyim, Shabekhuhu kol HaUmim; Ki gamal aleinu khasdo, v’emet יהוה l’olam. That’s it! Praise Him, all nations, Worship Him all peoples! For His compassion upon us is abundant, and His Truth is FOREVER!
The next melody is again quiet and meditative; its all piano and vocal, and is simply one verse; but, it’s not from the Tehillim. It is from “Eikha”, or “Lamenations”: “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of Adonai; lift up your hands toward Him for the life of your young children, that faint for hunger at the head of every street.” Our life indeed should be about praise, and Abba is certainly deserving of all our praise, but the world is deserving of our supplication, our standing in as the royal Kohanim we are, pleading on behalf of the innocent. In our day and age, there is probably no better verse to express how desperate children today are for our intercession. And sometimes, it ‘seems’ as if Abba is not responding to our plea. “Ad Ana,” “Until when?” is the next lyric, from chapter 13. We left our rejoicing, and in the middle of the night got up to pray for the children, and now we ask, “Until when? How long will our enemy rejoice over me? But then, in spite of the waiting we must do, we yet say, “But as for me, in Your compassion do I trust; my heart shall rejoice in Your Salvation. I will sing unto יהוה , because He has dealt bountifully with me.” And we begin to leave our sorrow behind, returning again to our trust that HE IS going to move, and give justice, and compassion. And the music picks us back up again at this point.
The next melody seems to us to be a blend of Hebrew with Appalachian Mountain music. It’s bluesy, “Shir LaMa’alot,” from 121:1-5. It is a reminder that we have to return ourselves to this world, in our journey of ascent [Shir LaMa’alot means “Song of Ascent”]; along the way, there are many perils, but HE is our help! The Maker of Heaven and Earth.
The next song is another deviation from the book of psalms, taking us to Yesha-Yahu 40:31, again a single verse. And the tempo picks back up again, returning to a very authentic, Hebrew sound. Those who wait/hope in יהוה will renew their strength, they will soar in the air as eagles! They will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint. This is like the second wind of life. It is a reminder, especially for one in my stage of life, that it is WORTH waiting on and hoping in HIM. And that ONE DAY, He is going to ‘lift us up’. And HE strengthens us to get through this life.
And having that in mind, knowing that one who ‘waits for’ and ‘hopes in’ Him, we are HAPPY! And Tehillah 1:1-3 begins with a very upbeat, modern guitar rif, “Happy is the man! And this one has, at least for a season, become my favorite, as I have come to know that my happiness is completely rooted in HIM, and being OBEDIENT to His Tzedaka. And it is not a drummed up, temporary happiness. It is permanent, and completely independent of my circumstances. It is typically a more mature person who really discovers this truth.
And the last song, I don’t know if it was intended this way, but it certainly seems well placed, and seems to fit this theme of the album, that of our journey through life, whether that theme was intended or not as well. Tehillah 23 is read often upon the departure of a loved one; but, it is not written in the voice of the 2nd person, but of the first person: He leads ME beside still waters; he restores my soul… The melody starts very subdued, in contrast to the previous “Ashrei Ha’Ish, and takes us through the first three verses. Oddly enough, the tempo picks up when we get to the valley of Tzal Mavet… EVEN THERE we can PRAISE HIM! Passing through this life into the next! Though I walk through the valley of Tzal Mavet…. All of us are going to do it. But, HE sits us down and feeds us, while our enemies watch! He covers our heads in oil, protecting us. I will dwell in Beit יהוה FOREVER! What else could be so comforting for one ‘crossing the Yarden,’ going into Paradise?
Oddly enough, it almost doesn’t seem to matter in what order one listens to these particular scriptures, the message is the same. And this is true of the book of Tehillim; our ‘worship of David.’ I wish everyone who trusts in Messiah could come to understand the power of restoration and life that is in these songs. Not Miqedem’s, but David’s. Miqedem does a phenomenal job of bringing life to the lyrics, and giving us a taste of Yisra’el in our worship, and we at our congregation are very grateful. But, it is because the words are the very words of His Ru’akh [breath], expressing the very heart of Elohim THROUGH us, if we let them, that we sing them with such passion. I wish I had more time to elaborate, but I hope the reader has ‘seen’ what I have so many times when listening to this album; and so many times when praying these prayers in silence on Shabbat.
This ‘book of prayer’ is a mechanism that could restore the congregations to UNITY in Messiah. Singing them is wonderful. But inwardly meditating on them is even more wonderful, and powerful. I hope someone in inspired to do just that.
This time of year is great for me.
Last Friday was my ‘Hebrew Birthday,’ the 14th day of the 9th “Khodesh,” or renewed crescent cycle, the ‘biblical month.’ I was the only one who ‘celebrated’ it, as I was the only one really aware of the disparity in the dates.
Next week is my ‘gregorian’ birthday, when most of the celebrating of my making it through another year is done. But, also next week, on Monday night, Khanukah begins. We will celebrate the conception of Messiah Yeshua, the Jewish defeat of Greeks and their imposition of greek culture and language, through oppression, and the Miracle of Oil for the Menorah and the Dedication of His House. We will eat TONS of fried food, some of my favorite foods altogether, for EIGHT NIGHTS. These are the things that make this time of year wonderful for me.
But, sometimes, over the last fifteen or so years, there is a bit of contrast with all the celebrating we attempt. Because many, who ‘knew’ me before I turned to begin to do His Torah the way Yeshua does, do not understand why I no longer participate in that other holiday, you know, the one EVERYONE knows about, that the whole world ‘celebrates’? Yeah, that one.
And periodically I have chosen to attempt to explain my reasons. But, as a very upfront, even blunt person, I have simply stated facts, in my view, and have lost ‘friends’ over this very thing. And I don’t think it is anything that should drive anyone out of my life, even if that relationship is only digital in this space-time continuum.
So, before I try to summarize things, I want to say this: I do NOT hold anyone in derision for celebrating christmas, or any other holiday. Before I began to walk His Walk, I also celebrated it. And as much zeal and affection as the most avid celebrants have for it, I also had, to the point of having written a very beautiful hymn about it while on board a U.S. Ballistic Missile Submarine during the season, some thirty-one years ago.
Did I ‘turn my back’ on Yeshua? Of course not! I turned more fully toward Him.
I always knew He is Jewish. And I always suspected I was, even before I knew for certain how much Jewish blood is actually in my veins. But, it was not about ‘becoming Jewish’ that caused me to turn away from this widespread holiday. It was about seeking TRUTH. [I emphasize, I do not yell. Here, my stubborn nature emerges, as I refuse to bend to the new convention].
Most people know Yeshua could not be born on Dec 25. But, as a student of History [and eventually a Historian, an M.A. in History], I cannot overlook plain and simple facts.
No shepherds guard their flocks at night in the very dead of winter. Anywhere. Beit Lekhem is cold and grassless on Dec 25.
This simple fact alone gave me pause. It didn’t make sense.
But, further study of scripture itself revealed SO MUCH OTHER information concerning the timing of Yeshua’s conception and birth.
I am only summarizing, for brevity’s sake, but the scriptures are rife with facts, clues, and overtones that make all this very, very plain to me.
First, the birth of Yokhanan HaMatbil is directly related to Yeshua’s birth. He was conceived exactly six months before Yeshua was conceived, and therefore we deduce rightly that he was born exactly six months before Yeshua.
We have some very key timing information concerning Yokhanan’s conception. His father was a Kohen, serving in the Beit HaElohim when he saw the Messenger, who told him his wife would conceive and bear a son. We are told the timing of his cycle of duty, by our learning his father was a Kohen in the order of Avi-Yah. This is the EIGHTH course of the priestly courses established by King David in the books of Chronicles. This puts him in the temple in June [Gregorian timing, for ease of understanding; I will refrain from confusing people with the biblical months in this post]. This means that Yokhanan was born during Passover, in March, and since Yeshua is born exactly six months later, He is born on the 1st of Sukkot, in late September. Due to the biblical calendar, these dates float/change on our Gregorian calendar. But, they are always the same on the Biblical Calendar: the 14th of Khodesh 1 and the 15th of Khodesh 7.
Yeshua was born during Sukkot, which most know as ‘tabernacles.’ He ‘tabernacled’ among us, many say.
Since he was born at that time, based on facts of Scripture, we can see hints and overtones as well that affirm it.
The “Light of the World” is lit in the Beit HaElohim only during sukkot. It is lit in the court of the women. It is ‘high’ above the walls of the “House”, and can be seen from Beit Lekhem. Miryam was a virgin, giving birth to the Light of the World, without the help of a man. Sukkot is “The Season of Our Joy!” And is the most exuberantly celebrated of all the seven feasts of G-d. It is also the only feast to which all the nations of the world are invited, and in which offerings are made for all the nations. “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which will be to the entire world. For this day is born to you in the city of David [Beit Lekhem], a Moshiah, who is יהוה HaMashi’akh.” The light of the world, which was shining over the shepherds, is lit before sundown, and the Kohanim used ‘swaddling’ to make the torches in order to light those huge lights; ‘swaddling’ was strips of cloth used on the ends of torches; the kohahim made them from the old robes of the Kohanim. But, all torches had ‘swaddling’ on the ends of them to hold the oil that creates the fire. And thereby the light. “And this is a sign for you: you will find the babe wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a sukka.” [Our Aramaic Peshitta Brit Khadashah uses an obscure word here for ‘sukka’] So, the torch cloths would be wrapped around the “Light of the World”, who would be lying in a Sukka. A Sukka is a booth that all Jews built in order properly to celebrate Sukkot. The Jews built ‘booths’ in the desert in which to live during their wanderings. The Sukka commemorates that time. This is the time during which a great pillar of fire ‘lit up’ and warmed the Jewish people for forty years; the very Presence of יהוה . Yeshua was placed in a sukka, because there was no room for them in any ‘inn’. This is NOT because of the tax… The Jews were given over a year to pay that tax; they did not all do it at once. Yosef used the timing of Sukkot in order to go from Natzrat to Beit Lekhem to pay his tax, but ALSO to keep the feast! Sukkot is a feast that all Jewish men must make pilgrimage to Jerusalem for. He was killing two birds with one stone. Beit Lekhem is walking distance to Jerusalem. Sukkot is seen throughout the Prophets as the time of the Shalom of יהוה on earth. [Zekh 14, and other places]. “And suddenly there appeared with the Malakh a host of heaven, praising Elohim and saying, “Glory to Elohim in the highest, and on earth Shalom, and good hope for the sons of men.”
So, with this information, [and more, but time does not permit] I was convinced that Yeshua’s birth COULD NOT happen in mid-winter. As a historian, and a literalist, based on that information alone, I could no longer celebrate His birth on the wrong day. Also as a historian, I wanted to learn ‘why’ did they pick that day?
I’ve given you the sugar. Now here’s the medicine. I hope you don’t throw up, or kick the nurse.
December 25th was and is the universal pagan day of celebrating the birth of the sun-god, whose ‘father’ is married to the second part of a trinity, a female goddess, and they copulate in the spring, and give birth to the ‘inconquerable sun’ on dec25. The three deities in this trinity go by different names in the many cultures that celebrate it. To celebrate, the ancient pagans slew babies under evergreen trees. They died eggs in their blood and hunted for them during the spring Equinox, to create the fertility necessary for the December births, to keep the cycle of fertility going. The spring day is the day of Ishtar. It only very rarely coincides with the actual Passover. During Roman times, in their version of this pagan, winter season, for twelve days, they celebrated with fertility rituals [sexual deviance], giving gifts, drunkenness, and persecuting/killing Jews. The most heinous rites were common among all pagan communities, though they went by different names. EVERY ancient western and near-eastern society participated in this, including Israel in their time of disobedience. These rites are seen condemned by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. By the time of Yeshua, Israel had been purged of these rites, through great suffering in the form of punishment from G-d: conquered by foreign armies, starvation, slavery, expulsion from the land, and more. Khanukah actually celebrates being freed from having these rites again forced on the Jews.
And that is the main reason I re-write this explanation this year.
I do NOT set myself up as one who would infringe your right to celebrate your holiday. Neither to greet someone with whatever greeting you wish. You are indeed free to do whatever you want.
But, I ask for mutual respect of my right NOT to celebrate it, and TO celebrate Khanukah, and my desire not to be wished well on a day or for a day that holds no value to me whatsoever, but in fact is offensive to me. Being greeted as such by strangers is understandable; but, I ask my friends to refrain. I seek to follow truth. 12/25 is being portrayed as the day of Yeshua’s birth: it is NOT the day of His birth, and facts prove that. And, even those who say they are celebrating His birth are blending that celebration with rites of pagans who did the most abominable things with those rites. Most people do so in their ignorance. And I certainly am alert and judicious enough to know that NO ONE that I know would advocate the slaughter of babies under evergreen trees; but, I cannot commemorate it, even with a hint. Never mind the facts that led me away from it in the first place; now I loathe to see a tree. For my own reasons. Especially since so many babies die every day in this country, and no one blinks. But, many, who now know the information, persist in perpetuating the abominations that יהוה Himself speaks against. Some may choose to equivocate, and say that “Jesus is God” but then deny that He said NOT to do those things, when G-d said:
“You shall surely destroy all the places, wherein the nations that you are to dispossess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every evergreen tree. [The Kananite version is Molekh and Asherah] And you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their Asherim [trees used during winter pagan rites] with fire; and you shall hew down the graven images of their gods; and you shall destroy their name out of that place. You shall not do so unto יהוה your Elohim.”
Israel went into the land, and was to purge it of peoples who celebrated these pagan fertility rites. They did not completely rid the land of those peoples, and those rites, and they ended up celebrating them themselves. The same is true of America. The original founders made this holiday ILLEGAL, in every colony. It remained so until the 1840s; but then, with a heavy influx of immigrants people started giving in, and now the season practically consumes 95% of the population for a whole quarter-year. It’s so very disappointing.
Do yourself a favor: LOOK FOR THE MESSIAH in it? How prevalent is HE in the rites and celebrations?
His birth was indeed a momentous event; but, the MIRACLE of it happened at Khanukah. Which happened to fall on the 25th day of the ninth month, which coincided with the tenth month of rome [deca-ember], our Gregorian 12th month. Yeshua was CONCEIVED at this time of year: the ‘candle’ of the Light of the world was stoked by the Ru’akh causing Miryam to conceive at this time.
If anything has pricked your heart, I ask you to consider it prayerfully. Again, everyone is indeed FREE to do what they will. Everyone is also free to reject G-d and His Truth, but that does not mean that He wants them to. I believe what I believe with my whole heart, and I pray for all of you to come into His Truth. I do see this as error against His Word. And I do believe it needs to be corrected by HIS PEOPLE, AGAIN!
Now, for some more sugar.
If I did not love people, I would not risk losing their friendship/approval for telling them these things.
This is the last I will think of that other holiday this year. I am so looking forward to Khanukah. The purity of it, symbolized in the oil, is such a balm against what I know about what everyone else is doing, and the sadness it would otherwise bring me. I KNOW that HE is calling HIS PEOPLE out of these behaviors, as HE does in EVERY GENERATION. I just pray that those I love respond. Soon.
“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. But grow in compassion and in the knowledge of Adoneinu and Moshi’einu, Yeshua HaMashi’akh, and of Elohim HaAv. To Him be glory both now and forever, and through all eternity. Amein.”
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