Galatia

So, I was reading this morning in that famed book that everyone thinks tells us not to keep the Torah.

I’ve written at length about it before, and people have said I write a bit like Sha’ul, and things are not so easily understood.  I am compelled to simplify today, as much as I can, the arguments in that book.

Check history.  I wish I could cite references today, but alas, I cannot.  Nevertheless, the issue was that there were “Judaizers” trying to force ONE doctrine on new, Gentile believers in Messiah.  The history is that this was a faction of Pharisees, from the “House of Shammai,” the sect within a sect of Judaism that believed, for about 150 years before Messiah, that all Gentiles must convert, become a Jew, with the FINAL SIGN/ACT of conversion being physical circumcision.  [Acts 15:1, Gal 5:2-6] They further taught that they could not be ‘saved’ if they did not fully convert to Judaism, and could therefore not worship in the Synagogue with Jews any longer, for rejecting the doctrine.  This is documented history.  Moreover, the ones bringing this manmade, foul doctrine into the Messianic community were NOT believers in Messiah Yeshua, but were false brothers,  pretending to be ‘saved’, and perhaps pretending to be Messianic! [Gal 2:4]  This was ‘another gospel’, which did not exist!  It was manmade.  The “B’sorah” that Sha’ul preached is clearly seen in Acts 13 and 14.  But, these Jews were NOT even “Messianic Jews” who trusted Messiah, but PRETENDED to believe in Yeshua, to take control of the Gentile community!  In truth, their ‘faith’ in G-d itself was false! [Gal 4:17] Not all Jews believed in salvation for Gentiles by circumcision.  Only half of the community of Pharisees did.  But Shammai was the ruling house among the Pharisees.  The “House of Hillel” opposed them, calling Shammai the “Synagogue of Satan,” and they believed that the Gentiles who came into the Synagogue could be saved by doing a minimum number of mitzvot [commandments].  Obviously, both ‘houses’ were trying to earn their salvation, and no true believer in Yeshua has ever taught that!  And thus, they were ‘false believers’!  No true follower of Yeshua has ever taught that salvation is finalized by circumcision. [Gal 2:15-16] Including us!

[ some today believe that the Hillel doctrine on Gentiles was what is today called the “Noakhide Laws” of B’reshit [Gen] 9.  These are indeed very similar to the mitzvot given by Ya’akov [James] as compulsory for worshipping in the Synagogue to the Gentile believers in Yeshua!  But, we do not follow Rabbis anyway, as they rejected the One Shepherd and Rabbi]

Ya’akov’s mandate for Gentiles to follow a certain small set of mitzvot [more than four, in fact several chapters of Torah] [Acts 15:20, 29] was NOT directed as a proof of salvation, but a matter of ‘order’ and ‘right’ in worshipping, IN THE SYNAGOGUE ! ON SHABBAT! [Acts 15:21].  Acts chapters 13 and 14 are the record of Sha’ul [Paul] preaching to the Galatian Gentiles, IN THE SYNAGOGUE, ON SHABBAT.  They continued to worship there on Shabbat.  Nowhere did they shift to ‘sun-day’.  The mandate not to undergo circumcision FOR SALVATION did NOT go so far as to tell them to stop worshipping on Shabbat!  If this was the ‘turning point,’ why did Shabbat observance not cease then also, instead of in 320 A.D. when Constantine mandated it, and less than 100 years later when Rome began killing BELIEVERS who would not STOP keeping Shabbat?

Sha’ul did not dismiss Torah altogether in the book of Galatians.  In fact, he shows us its purpose: “For through the Torah I am dead to the Torah, that I might live to Elohim.”  [2:19] And he declares emphatically that Torah is NOT contrary to the promise of the B’sorah [good new/gospel] : “Is the Torah then against the promises of Elohim? What profanity!”  Sha’ul also told them, “But if, while we seek to be justified by Mashi’akh, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Adoneinu Yeshua HaMashi’akh a minister of sin? What profanity!” [ch 2]  “Sin IS breaking Torah.”  [1 Jo 3:4]  What most people do not realize when reading this is that the sin he’s addressing is trying to become righteous on one’s own, which is an infraction against Torah!  TRUST has ALWAYS been the mechanism of salvation!  “If we are found sinners” to Sha’ul, and all the Talmidim of Yeshua, is to be found ‘breaking Torah’.  Again, the sin of trying to save oneself by obeying Torah is in fact an infraction against TORAH!  But, just like Avraham, who because of his “Emunah”, or firm trust/faith, was given “Tzedaka” by Elohim, and the PROOF of it was that he THEN kept ALL the decrees, statutes, and laws of G-d [Torah, Gen 24], so too we who trust in Messiah [As Avraham did, Yeshua said, “Avraham saw My day”, the resurrection, on his way to bind and offer his own son], prove our Emunah by obeying Torah: Torah defines sin, it tells us what it is, and it tells us what ‘good deeds’ to G-d are.  We do both: observe [do] things G-d tells us to do, and keep/guard ourselves from doing things He said NOT to do.  All believers practice this in some form or fashion, and to some measure.  WE who are Messianic simply TRUST that G-d is PLEASED further when we keep His Sabbath and His other Appointed Times, as Yeshua did, and as Sha’ul and all the Apostles did.

Avraham is the father of our faith: “So then, it is those who trust who are blessed through Avraham the trusting one.”  Sha’ul is telling us that our Jewishness or Gentile flesh [circumcised or uncircumcised] has NOTHING to do with our Salvation, whatsoever, but that ALL are ‘saved’ because of TRUST.

Most readers of Galatians come away with the conclusion that the Torah is a curse.  This is lack of basic reading comprehension, not because people cannot read, but because they read the text with that foreknowledge/presumption, and they cannot ‘un-see’ that INTERPRETATION.

“For those who rely on the works of the Torah are still under the curse; for as it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not practice everything which is written in the book of the Torah.”  This in NO WAY declares that the Torah IS a curse: but, it says that anyone who does not do EVERYTHING Torah says is cursed.  It is indeed true that no one has ever lived his life perfectly according to Torah, aside from Yeshua, the perfect Torah keeper.  So, Abba, in His compassion, redeemed those who trust in Yeshua out from under the curse OF the Torah:  “Mashi’akh has redeemed us from the curse in the Torah by becoming accursed for our sakes; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,” that the blessing of Avraham might come on the nations through Yeshua HaMashi’akh, that we might receive the promise of HaRu’akh through absolute trust.”  The curse in/of the Torah is very explicit, in VaYikra there are whole chapters describing what the curses are for those who break it!  But, that does not in ANY WAY negate the righteous life described in Torah!  And every REAL believer knows that.  They just do not yet see that G-d STILL loves HIS Sabbath, all His ‘sabbaths’, the seven other appointed times that He made for all mankind perpetually.

“But then, when you did not know Elohim, you served those things which from their nature were not gods. But now, after you have known Elohim, and, above all, are known of Elohim, you turn again to those weak and poor principles, and you wish again to come under their bondage. You still observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid that perhaps I have labored among you in vain.”

There are several things to look at concerning the scripture above [4:8-11], which is another ‘proof text’ for many that the Torah is invalid, especially His Sabbath and the appointed times.  First, the “you” in the first clause is explicitly GENTILES, GALATIANS, people who did not know G-d, but served IDOLS.  They were NOT gods!  The “weak and poor principles” he cites most assume to be the Mitzvot of the Torah.  Really, we’re going to call the Mitzvot, the Commandments of G-d, like the “Ten Commandments”, weak and poor principles?  REALLY?  WHAT PROFANITY! [see that phrase’s many uses also in the book of Romans, and pay attention there]  The Galatians could not possibly RETURN to Torah commands from being pagan!  The BONDAGE of paganism was observance of ‘laws’ or ‘commands’ that did NOT come from G-d!  So, EVEN IF he were addressing Jewish believers, this would STILL apply to them, as the command to be circumcised to be saved did NOT come from G-d!  Circumcision was given to Avraham AFTER he was declared ‘righteous’.  Circumcision of the heart is given to US after we are declared righteous, and we, Jew OR Gentile, become TRUE JEWS when our hearts are circumcised, [Rom 2:29], and circumcision of the heart is OBEDIENCE to His mitzvot! [Deut 10]  The keeping of ‘days, months, times, and years’ was NOT exclusive to Judaism.  The pagan rites of Greece and Rome had days of observance: Friday was their day of not eating meat; they had many days of fasting, and many other observances.  Sha’ul doesn’t tell the reader what their ‘days’ and times they were worried about were, because THEY KNEW.  But, he never once said, ‘do not observe the Sabbath’, which these Galatians did observe, even as he wrote them [Acts 13, 14, and 15:21].

The next passage of issue is: “Now these things are a symbol of the two covenants, the one from Har Sinai giving birth to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar is Har Sinai in Arav, and surrenders to Yerushalayim which now is, and is in bondage with her children.”  Because this does indeed refer to Har [Mt] Sinai, and to the Jewish people, readers ‘think’ that this bondage is The Torah.  NO!  WHAT PROFANITY!  The bondage is SIN!  Israel TODAY, just as then, is lost, and under SIN!  And that sin is TRYING TO BE SAVED BY DOING TORAH, and NOT TRUSTING in Yeshua!  THAT is what the “Judaizers” were teaching in Galatia.  The Torah TELLS US what sin is, and points us to Yeshua!  And we find excuses NOT to do what G-d says.  Just as the Galatians were being told. “Trust is not enough, be circumcised and become Jewish.”  NO!  The Torah tells us not to do that!  But MAN fails.  That is the ‘weakness of the Torah’.  It tells us what sin is, but does not cure us from sin.  It gives us no power over sin.  But Messiah DOES.  Trust in Messiah IS the cure!  But, through that trust, we are given the Ru’akh, so that we can OBEY GOD!  Suddenly, keeping the Torah is not frightful, because we KNOW we have a propitiation for our failures!

The last thing we will look at is this: “For the flesh craves that which is harmful to HaRu’akh, and HaRu’akh opposes the things of the flesh; and the two are contrary to one another, so that you are unable to do whatever you please. But if you are led by HaRu’akh, you are not under the Torah. For the works of the flesh are well known, which are these: adultery, impurity, and lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, stubbornness, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and all such things; those who practice these things, as I have told you before and I say to you now, shall not inherit Malkhut HaElohim.”

People see the phrase ‘under the Torah’ and THINK it means to be doing the commandments.  But, look closely.  Being ‘under the Torah’ means to be BREAKING it.  The ‘works’ he lists as deeds of the flesh are NOT “Remember the Sabbath” or “Observe Passover” or  “Observe Matzot” or “Observe Yom HaKippurim”, etc.  but the ‘works’ of the FLESH are adultery, idolatry, witchcraft, and a host of OTHER things the Torah says NOT TO DO!  When one is practicing those things, ONE IS UNDER TORAH!  One might say ‘how does the circumcision issue fall in this category?’  Well, Yeshua and the Nevi’im tell us that our doctrines are idolatry.  MEN made up the notion that one must be circumcised to be saved.  THAT was the Galatian issue.  THAT is a manmade mitzvah, and that is idolatry, the worship of self.  Putting trust in oneself and in his flesh to be saved by it.  Sha’ul is showing us that the Torah is in line with the Ru’akh!  In another book, he actually says that the Torah IS Spirit!  [Rom 7:14]  Any doctrine that does not agree with the Torah spoken on Har Sinai is NOT from G-d.  His Breath spoke the Mitzvot.  Yeshua spoke the Mitzvot to Moshe.  Yeshua spoke the Mitzvot to Yisra’el, and expounded them, and expressly said that He did NOT come to abolish the Torah, but to confirm it.  And he spends the next 2 & 1/2 chapters confirming the Torah [Matti 5-7].

Sha’ul overturned a manmade law in Galatia, and supported the Torah.  Any other conclusion defies the Creator Himself.

I hope this is brief enough for someone…. Shalom!

The Power of Faith

Shalom, Kulam [Everyone],
There is a lot of talk about faith right now, and rightly so, as there is a lot of cause to fear, if one does not know G-d.  But, there are so many proponents of a version of faith that is not ‘faith’ at all, but more ‘wishful thinking’ that is stubbornly rooted in the evil desires of man’s flesh.
There are so many preachers that are teaching that one’s faith in G-d should produce all the worldly desires materially into the lives of those who have this ‘faith.’
Israel did the same thing, EVERY time they first repented, turned to Him in truth, and then He began to bless them, they took their eyes off of HIM and put them on His blessings, gave Him ‘lip service’ of praise, not having HEARTS full of Him and His truth.
I will remind all of us that there are some RICHLY blessed sinners in this world!  Riches, prosperity, and ‘all the right stuff,’ a man of faith does NOT make.
Yokhanan writes, “To those who trusted in His Name, to them He gave the power to become “sons of Elohim.”
What does it mean to become a ‘son of Elohim?’  It means to become like HIS Son, Yeshua the Messiah, the firstborn over all creation, the firstfruits from among the dead.
Is that rooted in riches, blessings, happiness, having all our needs met?
Ask Iyov [Job].  I assure you, the answer is NO.
It is rooted in being willing to CHANGE, even IF that change requires great pain and denial of SELF.
The ‘power’ about which Yokhanan spoke had nothing to do with miracles, healings, material blessings, wealth, better jobs, etc.  The power about which he wrote was the power to TRANSFORM, to change one’s own mind.
It is by His Ru’akh that we transform ourselves, and it is a lifelong transformation.  Sha’ul, at the end of his life, said this:
“But these [worldly] things which once were a gain to me, I counted a loss for the sake of Mashi’akh. And I still count them all a loss for the sake of the abundant knowledge of Yeshua HaMashi’akh, Adonai, for whom I have lost everything, and I have considered all those things as refuse, so that I may abound in Mashi’akh and be found in Him, since I have no tzedaka of my own gained from the Torah, but the tzedaka which comes through the faith of Mashiakh; that is, the tzedaka which comes from Elohim, so that through this tzedaka I may know Yeshua and the power of His resurrection, and be a partaker of His sufferings, even to a death like His, that I may by any means attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not as though I had already attained or were already perfect; but I am striving that I may reach that for which Yeshua HaMashi’akh appointed me. My brethren, I do not consider that I have reached the goal; but this one thing I do know, forgetting those things which are behind, I strive for those things which are before me; I press on toward the goal to receive the prize of victory of the highest calling of Elohim through Yeshua HaMashi’akh.”
The power of the resurrection is not reserved for the future!  It is the transformative power of the Ru’akh to change us from “death” to “life”!  And it is NOT rooted in ANY way on material things, or ‘blessings.’  It is rooted in a great desire to be devoid of ‘self’ and full of MASHI’AKH.  To be ‘changed’ by His Ru’akh, under the guidance of Torah, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Yeshua perfected the walk, because of His Divine Nature.  He imparts that ‘Nature’ to us, but not without a price: “and be a partaker of His SUFFERINGS.”
Yeshua suffered in His body and in His soul, taking all our sin into Himself, and having it ‘purged’ from His soul in JUDGMENT, being punished FOR us, for what WE did wrong.  Then, He gave us HIS POWER to do the same thing in our own soul, to purge ourselves of what self wants, so that we DESIRE to do the WILL of Elohim.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Elohim, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, kadosh, and acceptable to Elohim, by means of reasonable service. Do not imitate the way of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may discern what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of Elohim.”
How do we ‘renew’ our minds?  By reading HIS WORD.  NOT human commentary on it, but HIS WORD, prayerfully.  His WHOLE WORD, by STUDYING IT, not parroting doctrine.
“Mashi’akh loved His congregation and gave Himself for her, that He might consecrate and cleanse her by the washing of water and BY THE WORD, in order to build for Himself a glorious congregation, without stain or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that she should be kadosh, and without blemish.”
So, the POWER to be transformed is given to us, but it must be USED.  He washes us, indeed, but He also commands us to be conformed to the image of the Son: that “IMAGE” is HIS TORAH, the BASE, the ROCK, the FOUNDATION of the WORD of Elohim.
From that process of ‘transformation,’ implanting the WORD deep in the nefesh, in the “lev”, in the ‘neshamah,’  [soul, heart/mind, and spirit], by the Ru’akh [Spirit], from THAT, fruit is produced, and that fruit produces blessings.  Yeshua taught this VERY clearly, telling us NOT to concern ourselves with material blessings AT ALL!
“You cannot serve Elohim and mammon. [money] For this reason, I say to you, do not worry for your life, what you will eat, and what you will drink, nor for your body, what you will wear. Behold, is not life much more important than food, and the body than clothing? Watch the birds of the sky, for they do not sow, neither do they harvest, nor gather into barns, and yet your Father in Heaven feeds them. Are you not much more important than they? Who is among you who by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? Why do you worry about clothing? Observe the lilies in the wild, how they grow; they do not get tired out, nor do they spin. But I say to you that not even Shlomo with all of his glory was covered like one of them. Now if Elohim clothes in such fashion the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow falls into the fireplace, is He not much more to you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry or say, ‘What will we eat,’ or ‘what will we drink’, or ‘with what will we be clothed?’ For worldly people seek after all these things.  Your Father in Heaven knows that all of these things are also necessary for you. But you, seek first Malkhut HaElohim [the kingdom of G-d] and His tzedaka [righteousness], and all of these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry for tomorrow; for tomorrow will look after its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.”
We are to busy ourselves in the study of His Word, in being transformed by it, and Abba will take care of the rest.  Really!
Look at King David’s first song:
“Happy is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the Torah of יהוה; and in His TORAH does he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by streams of water, that brings forth its FRUIT in its season, and whose leaf does not wither; and in whatsoever he does he shall prosper.”
How did David know this?  How did Yeshua know this?
IT IS IN HIS TORAH!
“And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto the voice of יהוה your Elohim, to observe to do all His commandments which I command you this day, that יהוה your Elohim will set you on high above all the nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you, and overtake you, if you shall hearken unto the voice of יהוה your Elohim.”  Deut 28:1-2
What makes it a matter of the heart, however, is that one is NOT doing it for the blessings!  One is doing it because it is RIGHT!  EVEN IF the measure of blessings He pours out on this earth is ‘small,’ or riddled with struggle, poverty, pain, etc.  OR TAKEN AWAY!
“Hold your peace, LET ME ALONE, that I may speak, and LET COME ON ME WHAT WILL…. Though HE [ יהוה ] slay me, yet will I trust in Him….” Iyov 13:15
“I have been rich, and I have been poor, but I have learned in all circumstances to be content.”
Riches are NOT evidence of faith.  Riches are NOT the reward of faith.  The reward of faith is LIFE ETERNAL; taking one’s eyes off that is very, very dangerous.  Because, even if one is poor, he is blessed if he has faith!  His ‘measure’ of wealth is a different scale!  He is content in whatever he has that day, and GRATEFUL.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing BY THE WORD OF ELOHIM, not by money and comfort.
יהוה gave, and יהוה has taken away; blessed is the Name of יהוה .
REAL faith praises HIM even AFTER He takes blessings away, knowing that our place in Him is NOT determined by blessings…..

Lamah?

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Lamah?

The earliest believers in Yeshua first quoted Tehillah 2 [Ps 2] back to the creator as part of the first recorded ‘corporate’ prayer.  This occurred after Yokhanan and Kefa had been arrested for declaring the resurrection of Yeshua.  They said to the religious Jews, “Whether it be right before Elohim to listen to you more than to Elohim, you judge…”  This verse went through my mind this morning during meditations.  And I thought of many facets of our ‘struggle’ as believers in Yeshua, and of the confidence we need.  And that led to further contemplation of this chain of events.  After Kefa and Yokhanan were released, they returned to the brothers and recounted the events, and then they all prayed:

“O  יהוה  , You are Elohim who has made heaven and earth, and the seas, and all that is in them; You are the One who spoke through The Ru’akh HaKodesh by the mouth of Your servant David when he said, ‘Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings and the rulers of the earth have revolted, and have taken counsel together against  יהוה  , and against His Mashi’akh.’ For truly, they assembled in this very city, together with both Herodus and Pilatos and with the Goyim and with the people of Yisra’el, against your Ben Kadosh, Yeshua, to execute whatever Your hand and Your will had previously decreed to take place. And even now, O  יהוה  , look and see their threats; and grant to Your servants that they may freely declare Your D’var, just as Your hand is freely stretched out for healing and wonders, and Your miracles which are done in the Name of Your Ben Kadosh, Yeshua.”

Their ”Emunah”, their ‘firm trust, faith’, was great that day.  They knew they were doing right.  They knew factually that Yeshua was a man risen from the dead.  And they knew their mandate to declare that fact before even kings.  And before the religious order of Jews, who were opposing that Truth.  They were so convinced, that after their prayer was completed, we read, “And when they had petitioned and made their supplications, the place in which they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with The Ru’akh HaKodesh, and they spoke D’var HaElohim boldly.”

I ruminated over that prayer some two + years ago, and a ‘war hymn’ was birthed in me, and we call it “Lamah?”  “Why?”  It is not a plea of ‘oy veh,’ but one of ‘O my,’ of ‘How foolish are the leaders of this world!’  to fight against the truth of the Resurrection of the Salvation of the World, Yeshua the Messiah!  That song has apparently become a favorite in our congregation. 

The people of this world have still all taken counsel together, they have collectively DECIDED NOT to believe in Yeshua, the Son of G-d, and in His resurrection.  It is NOT that they do not ‘see’ that the evidence is there, and overwhelming!  It is NOT that they do not know that their world view is wrong!  It is that they do not like the Biblical world view, they do not like the ‘counsel’ of the Almighty, nor anyone who truly follows the King of Israel, Yeshua Ben Yosef.  The end of that Tehillah warns the world, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when suddenly His wrath is kindled. Happy are all they that take refuge in Him.” 

The thought processes of MOST people today are against the simple instructions of G-d.  Because of the abundance of iniquity, which is the lack of, or being outside of, the Torah, the love of most people has turned cold; their hearts have hardened.  They are jaded; bitter.  And this causes mankind to turn on itself.  The result?  All the things G-d tells us NOT to do become “honorable” and ‘tolerated’: tyranny, murder, gluttony, adultery, uncleanness, abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, drunkenness, lewdness, and all manner of sin.  And anyone who dares to point to the righteousness of G-d in any way, but especially in regard to the Torah observant Jew, Yeshua the Messiah, is marked a criminal against mankind.  In places where truth has already been snuffed, believers are indeed criminals.  In our country, we are being painted as criminals, and if ALL who SAY they believe in the Son of G-d do not REPENT, and turn from these evils, we will soon not only be painted with the brush of condemnation, but imprisoned for trusting in Him.  Too many believers are putting their hope in Trump, and not G-d.  Don’t get me wrong, I do think, in small part, Trump has been a reprieve, a bit like Jonah was to Nineveh.  But, Nineveh was later destroyed for not remaining faithful.  Many are happy to revel in the financial benefit Trump has been to our country, but are yet not willing to ‘turn’ from their sins. 

The ’power’ of Yeshua is NOT so much in shaken buildings.  That was a manifestation of His approval of THEIR TRUST in His Word.  The power of Yeshua is in a heart turned to repentance.  Turned to following the WAY of Messiah.  In spite of what the religious class thinks.  In spite of what the kings and rulers of the earth think.  And it hinges on the resurrection of a man once dead.  A man who is now alive and seated at the right hand of the Creator of the universe.

The Jewish religious leaders KNEW that Messiah would be declared the “Son of G-d.”  Apart from what has already been quoted from Tehillah 2, we also read there: “I will tell of the decree: יהוה  said unto me, “You are My son, this day have I begotten you.”  And in Mishlim 30:4, familiar to those ancient Rabbis, we read: “Who has ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound the waters in his garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His Name, and what is His Son’s name, for you will know it.”  That is ONE Name!  That name is יהוה , the Name given to Yeshua.  Kefa had just declared in Yerushalayim, “Therefore let all Beit Yisra’el know assuredly that Elohim has made this very Yeshua, whom you have executed, both  יהוה  and Mashi’akh.”  And Sha’ul tells us: “and every tongue shall confess that He, Yeshua HaMashi’akh, is יהוה , to the glory of Elohim His Father.”

It is on THAT declaration that we stand, after having TURNED to His Ways.  And in THAT confidence, we stand against all powers.  We fight the sins described above, to keep ourselves pure in His Way, the SAME way Yeshua did: by declaring His Word, D’varim! 

If we know the mitzvot, as Yeshua surely did, and our enemy comes at us with ‘temptation,’ of any kind, we simply declare to our enemy His Mitzvah.  Yeshua was tempted to perform miracles for show, by miraculous provision, and resisted, declaring D’varim 8:3 [deut].  Yeshua was tempted to ‘see’ if G-d really loved Him by testing Him, and He declared instead D’varim 6:16. Yeshua was tempted to become wealthy and powerful beyond his lot in life, and he quoted D’varim 6:13. 

No matter at all what the temptation is, if it goes against a mitzvah, declare that Mitzvah!  And TRUST in His Truth, in SPITE of what our flesh says, or what our friends say, or what the kings and rulers say, or what the false religious leaders say!  HIS TRUTH is POWER.  And it is POWER over sin!

The hard part for us as humans is to believe that what He says is right is right!  Because our flesh wants otherwise.  And most people are unwilling to leave the flesh and its passions behind.  It is an epic struggle.  Yeshua put it this way:

“And this is the judgment: that light [Torah declared by Yeshua] has come into the world, and yet men have loved darkness more than light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does abominable things [Lev 11, 17-22] hates the light, and he does not come to the light, because his works cannot be covered. But he who does HaEmet [The Truth/Torah] comes to the light [Yeshua’s teaching of Torah], so that his works may be known, that they are done through Elohim.”

We just declared in our Synagogues around the world, “Khazak V’Ematz!”  Be strong and resolute.  I pray that for every reader who has already repented of his sins.  Do it again, if you have faltered, no matter how many times.  He is full of compassion!  For those who have not, I implore you, turn from the ways of this world.  Trust in the Son of G-d, whom G-d raised from the dead, and whose blood was shed to purify all of us from our sins.  Desire to be pure.  And then become so by His blood, and remain so by your confession.  No matter how hard the fight is.  Fight.

 

Happy is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the Torah of יהוה   ; and in His Torah does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does he shall prosper. Not so the wicked; but they are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the Tzadikim. For יהוה   knows the way of the Tzadikim; but the way of the wicked shall perish.

 

Seem hot, Torah?

I have been very, very busy of late!  So I haven’t had much time to write!

We are in the latter part of the fall Mo’edim, working toward day 4 of Sukkot.

Yom Teru’ah was again a ‘blast,’ Yom Kippur was great, and the easiest fast I’ve had; and the first three nights of Sukkot, along with the day 1 assembly, have been unmatched in regard to the joy my wife and I have been given…

What is striking to me is that all the many ‘little’ things that the Creator has done on our behalf add up to so much ‘proof’ of His affection for us. Several times over the last few months different ones have asked me if I ever doubted our faith, the core of what we believe: That there is a Creator; that man was created in perfection, and sinned, losing the Divine Presence he had in Gan Eden; that the Creator chose Avraham, and his descendants, to bring the B’sorah [Good News/Body of the Lamb, His Son] into the world. That Yeshua Ben Yosef of Natzrat, a Jew, is the Son of G-d, our Messiah, who died on a tree as a final, atoning offering for all of mankind, particularly those who would receive trust in that Truth; and that G-d raised the MAN Yeshua from the dead, and He now stands at His right hand on the throne of Glory; and that He will come and gather the Khasidim [devout ones] to Himself, in our near future.  These are those who TRUST, and OBEY, and are given a deposit, a taste of what Adam had, the Divine Presence, with a promise of even greater than that at the resurrection of the dead, those who trust and are faithful.

I can honestly say that there is not one shred of doubt in me about any of that. But, I do sometimes ‘tremble’ that I might blow it, might wander, might falter and go too far; but EVERY time I ‘feel’ that way, I am reminded by His Word of HIS faithfulness, of His GREAT compassion [which is truly beyond our comprehension, and any measuring stick we use]. And each time that I am reminded of that, my ‘joy’ in Messiah is restored.

I have indeed no trust in mankind. Mankind has proven too often to betray.

118

But the brothers in Messiah have been redeemed out of mankind, OUT of “Adam”, and have been ‘recreated’ in the New Man, the Second Adam, Messiah Yeshua. I know that a brother, one redeemed by Messiah, who understands the price paid for himself AND for others, will ALWAYS remain ‘faithful’ to his brothers. No matter what. One who is recreated in the New Man is not weighed down by the products of this world, the sins of mankind.

The ‘theme’ that I am seeing in this Sukkot is that of the newness of life. We are at the time of year when life begins to ‘die’, in regard to plant life.  Animals begin to hide, for warmth and safety.  The world is harvesting its food, and creating new wine, and setting up stores for the cold season; the days are growing shorter, and colder, and darker. And it is at this time of abundant harvest that Elohim has us assemble together and CELEBRATE LIFE for EIGHT DAYS. Yeshua was born on the 1st day of Sukkot; he was circumcised on the 8th Day, the Great Day of Rejoicing in The Torah; he received His Name, Yeshua, SALVATION, on that day! And Salvation will be COMPLETE at the beginning of the 8th Millennium, after Messiah has ruled for 1,000 years on earth, and a new heaven and earth are created, with the current ones being ‘rolled up like a scroll’. People who remain in the ‘first adam’ cannot wrap their heads around that; and they scoff. But, it is going to happen. And at the 7th Millennium, just before it starts [likely within 50 years], the events that bring about His Wrath on earth will begin; and that will happen sooner than any of us want.

America is tumbling fast into the abyss of selfishness and sin. People of faith are going to have to decide soon with whom they will stand. Yeshua said He did not come to bring ‘shalom,’ but a sword, to DIVIDE even families! And that division will be over who HE is! And over what is Tzedaka! And that is happening fast in our country already. The issue is, there are so many false teachers out there who do not know they are false. And so their followers do not know they are false. And they will not be prepared for what is coming on mankind.

However long He leaves His Bride among the wicked, we must be prepared; because there will come a day when He will snatch her out and bring her to Safety in His Mountain. And so few are prepared and ready for the Groom; so few are dressed and ready for the wedding, actually having oil in their lamp. The ‘lamp’ is the Torah, and the oil is The Ru’akh, given by the Second Adam to those who truly trust. And those who do TRUST, will OBEY HIM, and NO other.  That is what ‘trimming the lamp’ is.  That is a simple message that so few ‘hear and understand,’ and it was Yeshua’s message from the beginning to the end of His ministry.

Our ‘appointed times’ with the Creator teach us these things, and remind us year after year, and refine our walk. And I have found that in each season, HE challenges ME, to ‘prove’ to ME that HE is changing me. And this causes me to ‘check myself’ and see IF I truly am in THE Emunah [Firm Faith/trust] as defined by His WORD; the evidence is whether I am changing, becoming more obedient to Him, more like Yeshua. “Blessed are those who do His Mitzvot [commandments of the Torah], that they may have the right to Etz HaKhayim [Tree of Life, a pseudonym for Torah, and for Messiah Yeshua], and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

The ‘gates’ are opened on Yom Teru’ah, the first day of the year. The gates of the New Universe will be opened on the first day of the Eighth millennium, and NEVER CLOSE. Simkhat Torah is a rehearsal of “eternity”/infinity, the eighth millennium that will never end…. And that is how we always feel on Simkhat Torah in our little Synagogue; not wanting it to end.  “Sukkot” is about Messiah being ALWAYS WITH US.

I so look forward to Simkhat Torah this year. I wish that everyone even remotely aware of me as a person and of us as a congregation would consider coming to share in the culmination of the Season of Our Joy. Yeshua entered into the covenant as a human being on this day 2,000 years ago. And we will enter into the PROMISE of that covenant with Him very, very soon; I wish everyone could be there; especially YOU.

Yom Kippur

For those who are new, or have forgotten:
 
Yom HaKippurim is indeed a FULL, 24hr FAST…
 
At Sundown TONIGHT we begin our fast, to ‘afflict our souls’, and to prepare for the judgment of the damned.  Our confidence is that in Messiah we are already Atoned for, “Sealed against Yom HaPedut”, the ‘day of redemption’.
 
Our affliction, our fast, is in understanding His Sovereignty to judge the earth.  We dress in white in the hope of being dressed in white on this day, seen in Hitgalut [Revelation] 19, where Chapter 14 explains that our white clothing is BOTH our OBEDIENCE to the Mitzvot of G-d AND our trust in Yeshua; NOT just our trust in Yeshua.
 
The Fast is from sundown to sundown starting tonight.  We abstain from ALL food and liquids of any kind.  If you are on medication, however, that requires food, PLEASE, EAT enough with which to take your medicines!  This ‘affliction’ is NOT to endanger your life or give you extreme discomfort!
 
There is MISINFORMATION going around about Yom Kippur, particularly among ‘two-house’ communities.  Gird yourself with knowledge!  This is a refutation of that bad doctrine.  The link below should take you directly to the Yom Kippur section of the page…
 
G’mar Khatimah Tovah, v’Tzom Kol !!
 
[May you be sealed for a good year, and may you have an easy fast]

I.C.U.

How I ‘see’ christians… just so you know…
Many people over the years have misunderstood me, and it is because they have in their own head preconceptions and misconceptions about what it is to keep the Torah of Elohim [Instructions of G-d].
There are thousands of years of theological banter that get in the way of good communication on this matter.
Last night, I awoke in the middle of the night with this on my mind. I don’t know if a dream prompted it, or why I had this in my mind so strongly.
Perhaps it is because of the season we are now in, Teshuvah, leading up to The Season of Our Joy, the time of the Jewish Messiah’s birth, as recorded in SCRIPTURE, and how many who profess faith in Him will not even acknowledge it, but will ‘try’ to celebrate it on the day of the birth of the chief god of Roman paganism, the ‘son’ of a ‘trinity’ of Mithraism, in a few months.
Many think that by my previous statement, and generally my support of His Torah, that I condemn or ‘judge’ those who follow these teachings.
I DO NOT.
I merely do not hesitate to point out the error and hypocrisy of the DOCTRINE of men. If one chooses to abide in the DOCTRINE, that is between them and The Creator, who does indeed look into the heart. But, He judges our hearts according to HIS TORAH, and NOT our ‘desire’, or how we ‘feel’ about a matter.
I see that many among western ‘christianty’ are really partly Torah Keepers… they just do not realize it!
The Torah, or the “Instructions” of G-d, are summarized in the Ten D’varim.
Here is where the confusion begins. Christianity calls these the Ten Commandments. In Hebrew, they are “The Ten Words,” or, “The Ten [most important] Things.” The Western mind views these as ‘cruel directives’ from a ‘god’ who is ruthless and vengeful.
But, these are a foundational model of ALL HIS TORAH/INSTRUCTIONS.
The first four deal with our relationship to The Creator, Blessed is He.
I am יהוה. You shall have no other gods before me.
Do not make for yourselves graven images and bow down and worship them.
Do not take up the Name יהוה for vain reasons.
REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, to set it apart, because I created the world in SIX DAYS and rested on the SEVENTH DAY, so also you shall rest from all your work on the SEVENTH DAY, to CONSECRATE IT [make the 7th day different from every other day].
The last SIX deal with our relationship with one another, man to man.
You will honor your father and your mother, and you will live long because of it. [If I, יהוה, am your G-d].
You will not commit murder [If I, יהוה, am your G-d].
You will not commit adultery [If I, יהוה, am your G-d].
You will not steal [If I, יהוה, am your G-d].
You will not bear false witness against your neighbor [If I, יהוה , am your G-d].
You will not covet. [If I, יהוה, am your G-d].
Now, western believers who profess faith in the Son of G-d as “Salvation” [Yeshua means ‘salvation’], would seem to agree with most of these.
Many do not realize that the Father has a Name: יהוה. But, they understand, to some degree, the Sovereignty that name establishes, and the eternal nature of The Creator… and, they do believe He is the only G-d to be worshipped; so, I myself see them as keeping the first ‘Important Thing.’ IF they DO understand that HE is the ETERNAL CREATOR and SOVEREIGN of all the earth.
Some of those who claim to know the Son of G-d also will not make an idol to bow down to, or pray to a ‘fashioned thing.’ Now, many, many who claim to be ‘christian’ do in fact pray to ‘things’ that they say ‘represent’ someone they claim is not a ‘god.’ They do not understand that if they pray to a ‘spiritual being transcendent of humanity,’ that it is a ‘god.’ Man has fashioned it, and assigned a ‘spirit’ to it. They are breaking this command. They cannot know the Creator, יהוה , until they come to realize this. He is clear that our worship, reverence, genuflection, adoration, supplication, cry for help, and for salvation, is to be directed to HIM, because only HE is Sovereign, and able to save us! But, some, who do say they trust in the Son of G-d, reject all forms of idolatry. They keep this Important Word.
The third is a mite tricky, not to take HIS NAME up in vanity.  The vast majority of those believers do not know that His Name is יהוה , so they do not break this command. Sadly, many who CLAIM to keep His Torah DO take up this Name for vain reasons, and misuse it. THEY would be the ones breaking this ‘Important Word,’ and NOT those who trust in the Son of G-d and do not know/use this Name! And, many ‘think’ that ‘God’ is His name, or that ‘Jesus’ is His name, and they try to reverence it. So, I see them as honoring this Important Thing.
Here is where many, if not most, err against His Instruction. But, we will see that MOST who err in this fashion do so because they have been MISINFORMED.
The fourth Important Thing is REMEMBER the SABBATH DAY, to CONSECRATE IT [from the six days for working].
The Sabbath Day is the SEVENTH DAY. It is the ONLY day of the week in scripture that has a NAME.
1st Day
2nd Day
3rd Day
4th Day
5th Day
6th Day
SABBATH DAY.
Constantine, the pagan who hijacked the Congregations, forced a ‘union’, and rejected/expelled Jewish LEADERS who trusted in Messiah the Son of G-d, CHANGED THIS DAY. He put all the resources of his empire in play to make sure of what the 7th day of JEWS was, and FIXED the Roman calendar, to make sure that ‘christians’ did NOT KEEP the Jewish Sabbath. By ROYAL DECREE he mandated changes in the Sabbath and Pesakh [Passover, the most important feast of early Messianic Jews and Gentiles] saying, “henceforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people [The Jews].” HENCEFORTH is the operative word. This was a CHANGE in the ‘seasons,’ just as Dani’el said the spirit of the lying one would bring, and Yokhanan affirmed this spirit was already in the congregations! Because MANY did NOT STOP keeping the Jewish Sabbath, it became royal decree less than 100 years later, in Laodicea!, that if any ‘christian’ DID keep the “Jewish Sabbath,” which is actually the Sabbath of יהוה , or the Pesakh, HE WOULD DIE. THIS FEAR is still in the ‘spirit’ of that change, and affects MANY who still keep it this way, even though they KNOW that HIS SABBATH is the SEVENTH DAY even on the calendar of Rome. The Jewish people have preserved this Seventh Day! ALL THE WORLD KNOWS this is the Sabbath of the Creator!
Part of our worship on the Sabbath is to remember that we are CREATED. But, many who profess faith in the Son of Elohim DO ‘keep’ ‘a sabbath.’ But it is NOT HIS. But, they have an understanding that they should ‘keep a sabbath,’ so they wrongly call the first day of the week a ‘christian sabbath.’ They ‘say’ they worship on this day because the Son rose from the dead on this day. But, the issue is that he did NOT rise from the dead on the Roman ‘sun day.’ He rose from the dead at the end of the SABBATH! WHEN THE 1st DAY WAS STARTING. (Sat night) So, even the excuse does not fit SCRIPTURE. BUT! They know they ‘should’ keep “a” day for Him. And, they know they should assemble on a ‘seventh’ day. Does He ‘give us credit’ for that? No. Does He ‘excuse’ it? No.  But, He does offer grace, UNTIL we are convinced of truth. But, does a ‘christian’, a true believer, give a NOD to ‘a’ Sabbath?
YES.  By doing so they admit the authority of the Ten D’varim, but at the SAME time fight that authority, and yield to Mashi’akh HaSheker, who MOVED the feasts!
But, there is an impetus to keep ‘something’! A Torah Command! NOWHERE in the Brit Khadasha are we instructed to ‘keep a seventh day of assembly.’ WHY, then, do they ALL DO IT, even though it is on the wrong day? Yeshua did not rise EVERY 1st day of the week, but only on the one after Passover. So, honest worship on the day of His Resurrection would dictate a frequency of only ONCE A YEAR. WHY, then, EVERY SEVENTH DAY? The heart of a real believer WANTS to obey; the heart of a deceiver wants to REPLACE.
So, while these who profess the Son do not keep His Sabbath, deep down they know there is a ‘need.’ They have His Torah being written on their hearts, but they have not yielded to His Will, not fully. Yet. They ‘know’ that this is the fourth “Important Word.” He did not say, however, ‘remember ‘a’ seventh day,’ but remember THE SABBATH DAY and keep it HOLY.
You will honor your father and your mother. Real believers in The Son of G-d agree this is TRUTH, and do this. False ones do not.
You will not murder. Real believers in The Son of G-d agree this is TRUTH, and adhere to this. False ones do not.
You will not commit adultery. Real believers in The Son of G-d agree this is TRUTH, and adhere to this. False ones do not.
You will not steal . Real believers in The Son of G-d agree this is TRUTH, and adhere to this. False ones do not.
You will not bear false witness against your neighbor. Real believers in The Son of G-d agree this is TRUTH, and adhere to this. False ones do not.
You will not covet. Real believers in The Son of G-d agree this is TRUTH, and adhere to this. False ones do not.
So, I see my brothers in Messiah who trust that Yeshua, the Son of G-d, is their salvation, as having an impetus to obey. They ARE TORAH KEEPERS…
They simply do not do the SABBATHS of יהוה the way HE said to, and the way YESHUA DID!
My great desire is to see all His People doing what HE said we WILL do for 1000 years WITH HIM when He is on this earth, to see them doing it NOW, to SHOW the world that HE IS NOT WISHY WASHY, or duplicitous, HE does NOT change with man’s desires or whims, is NOT subject to Constantine, the Popes, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, et al, but is THE SOVEREIGN OF CREATION.
The Sabbath sends that message, every week, that we honor HIM and HIS POWER over the universe when we assemble and REST together when HE said to rest. The other seven Mo’edim, or Appointed Times, are for a similar purpose, but also to show US the map of creation, and what will happen when He returns. This is what the book of Kolosim teaches! It is very, very basic! It does NOT put us ‘under the law,’ because being under any law only happens when one BREAKS that law.
In a ‘free’ government, one does not come under the ‘heavy hand’ or ‘long arm’ of the ‘law’ until one BREAKS THE LAW. Then, the judge will, after determining if indeed the ‘law’ has been broken, will apply the requisite punishment. THAT is what being ‘under the law’ means, in any form of government!
Learn this, that in ancient AND modern Judaism, just like in 4th century and modern ‘christianity,’ there is a ‘law of man’ that supersedes the Instruction of G-d [Torah], and THAT is what men follow! THAT is the ‘law’ from which we are set free. THAT is the ‘law of sin and death’ about which Sha’ul [Paul] wrote. “DO NOT CALL THE TORAH OF ELOHIM SIN. WHAT PROFANITY!” [Rom 7:7] Following MAN’S religious ‘law’ puts man ‘under the law’ of G-d, because they are breaking HIS INSTRUCTION in order to keep THEIRS! [Mar 7:6-7, 15:9, Kol 2:22, Is 29:13] A real, honest citizen of that government will not deliberately ‘break the law,’ because he wants to be an honest citizen. He will throw himself on the mercy of that government when he learns he has broken the law, and a merciful judge will lift the punishment, BUT NOT IF HE PERSISTS TO BREAK THAT LAW! Is Elohim any less just? NO. And real believers know this about all the other NINE ‘Important Words,’ but seem to equivocate over that fourth, and thereby the OTHER feasts of Lev 23.
MAN changed the Sabbath. Dani’el the prophet, who wrote the book on what was revealed about last things, sealed it up.  That book was opened by Yokhanan years later.  They both told us that the Mashi’akh HaSheker would:
CHANGE THE SEASONS AND THE TORAH! [Daniel 7:25]
MAN did this. CONSTANTINE did this. The FINAL Mashi’akh HaSheker [Lying Messiah] will again do it, worldwide, in the name of “Jesus,” of Allah, Mohammed, of Buddha, of Hinduism, and of every named god.
Read Isaiah 56-58 without preconceived notions. Consider the eternal nature of the promises He makes there. Know that “LORD” is יהוה, and “Lord” is Adonai. יהוה only applies to G-d Eternal. Abba has ONE people, The Jews who trust in Messiah, and the Gentiles who join Yisra’el in trust in Messiah. There is ONE set of instructions for all HIS children. He does NOT equivocate, or vacillate, and is not duplicitous. Yeshua UPHELD the Torah, and TAUGHT it. So did Sha’ul. So does ANYONE who genuinely trusts in Messiah Yeshua. Just keep reading HIS WORD, and by IT, trim your OWN lamp, by doing what HE says.
Only GOD can overturn His Own word, and He DID not and WILL not do it! I challenge anyone to find where Messiah Yeshua abolished the Sabbath and Passover [and the other feasts]. IT CANNOT BE DONE. BUT, I have shown and it is well-known HISTORY that Constantine DID!
There are many real believers who are Torah keepers.  They just need to break from Constantine in regard to The Appointed Times of יהוה, and be more correct in their obedience.  He is teaching His children to do this.  Because we ARE in the last days.
“Choose you TODAY whom you will serve! As for me and my house, we will serve יהוה.”

A Little Change’ll Do You Good

I am rejoicing this week; not in the sense of laughter and revelry, but just some quiet gratitude.

I’ve expressed in various settings that the most powerful miracle of all is when a human soul TRULY repents.

Not just being sorry for trite, ‘surface’ sins that everyone understands, but someone actually ‘seeing’ “I was wrong.”

Admitting our own shortcomings can be very, very difficult; especially in regard to understanding God.  Admitting that we might have preconceptions about Him, whether they are placed there by parents, teachers, society, or self, is very, very difficult to bring about.  Admitting that we might have misjudged another human because of ‘first impressions,’ ‘gut feelings’, etc, is most difficult, because of pride.  We cannot be wrong. 

We all ‘wrestle’ with God in that way; and He gently but firmly ‘hangs on’, until, possibly, we BREAK.  Rare is it that anyone completely humbles himself when he first learns of God; not saying it doesn’t happen, because it does.  But, it is not always the case.  And, it usually is always the case that after we do meet God, we begin to rebuild our pride around the ‘version’ of religion we inherit.  We take pride in ‘who’ brought us to Messiah, what person, preacher, and/or stream of thought, and we think that there is NO WAY we are in error now.  And we rarely, truly examine ourselves, as we are instructed to do, to ‘see’ if we really are of “Emunah”, firm trust in TRUTH.

I have had the deep satisfaction just this week of hearing of two different ones who truly are humbling THEMSELVES, and allowing God to ‘change’ them on the INSIDE.  They are listening.  They are ‘hearing AND doing’, which is the Great command according to Yeshua, “Shema!”  “Hear and affect an action”. 

One of them was at one time a ‘belligerent,’ one who was hostile to keeping Torah.  Not just on a passive level, but active.  The other was too, but never toward me.  But, it’s NOT the wearing of the tzit-tzit, or the speaking of Hebrew scriptures and prayers, or the Shabbat attendance, or the rejoicing in the feasts that gives me satisfaction.  Anyone can do those; many do who are actually NOT of the faith!  Doing Torah does NOT save us!  It does affirm our trust in Elohim.  But we are saved only by our trust in Messiah.  It is the ‘transformation’ of their HEARTS that causes me to be overwhelmed to Abba in gratitude;  to one of these I said, “that’s what I live for”.  I truly do pray and cry out for CHANGED HEARTS…  like what is going on in these two people during this season of Teshuvah.  These two are making active steps toward reconciling with people, even those who they themselves did not offend… they are praying about different misbehaviors in others, and ‘seeing’ their own misbehaviors in situations.  These are grownups!  They are and have been being saved for a long time; they have known Messiah.  But, they are finally ‘looking inward,’ to become more like Messiah.  Sha’ul knew this sensation, saying to the congregations in Galatya, “My little children, for whom I am in travail again until Mashi’akh is formed within you…” Sha’ul said this to BELIEVERS!  They HAD the Ru’akh HaKodesh!  [or at least did at one time]  They had been taught by Sha’ul himself!  But, after he left, UBELIEVERS who were PRETENDING to be believers came and taught a false doctrine!  And Sha’ul said he was troubled like a woman giving birth! [travail is particular to labor pains in Hebrew]. 

Yes, I do believe this process my two ‘blessings’ are going through was brought about by their first submitting to the EASY things of the Torah: Shabbat, kosher eating, keeping the seven Mo’edim, wearing tzit-tziyot, saying the prayers.  All of these are the ‘small,’ ‘easy’ things of the Torah.  It is the interpersonal relationships where we ALL fail so much; when we allow our PRIDE to BLIND us to our own error, our own sins against others, the inadequacies of our judgements on others, our failing to love God by TRULY loving our brothers.  Until we recognize our sins against God [the first five of the 10 commands], we will not tend to our sins against our neighbors [the last five of the ten]; and if we never actually fix our behavior in the last five, then any effort to do the first five is an exercise in futility.  Doing that only proves that we want to be religious, and give God ‘eye-service.’  I think MOST people in the realm of faith do this!  They pretend to love God, give platitudes to people, but never REALLY learn to LOVE people, to do the hard work of CHANGING their own hearts.

So, kudos to the two who have proven to be answered prayer for me!  It makes the striving that I do to change self so much more worth it, when others are going through the tough stuff willingly as well.  Anyone can ‘go to church’ and constantly have the ears tickled with ‘holy spirit goosebumps’; anyone can go to synagogue and worship God, to be seen of men; to make themselves ‘feel’ like they’re doing the right thing.  But only a FEW can and will ACTUALLY CHANGE!