Narrow Is The Path

Many, if not all, of us have heard the verse about entering the narrow gate, but how much thought have you put into it? Many Christians automatically think the narrow gate is accepting Yeshua (Jesus) as the savior. While Yeshua (G-d) is the savior is that what He meant? Let’s dive in and go a little deeper and see if we can determine what He meant by the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

Again, many of us have heard this passage spoken many of times. Have you ever looked into “the way is narrow that leads to life”? What is the way since so few find it? I think it is of the utmost importance to answer this question. Before we get to those questions let’s look at a few more words that Yeshua spoke.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15-20
Yeshua says we will know people by their fruit. Good people bear good fruit and bad people bear bad fruit. Jeremiah speaks of one who trusts in the L-rd “for he will be like a tree planted by the water…”.

Psalms 1 speaks of those who yield are like a tree and bear fruit:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the Torah of the L-rd and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the L-rd knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalm 1
It is not the wicked who bear the fruit G-d desires, but those who delight in the Torah of the L-rd. Those who delight in the Torah and meditate on it will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water and yields it fruit. G-d knows the way of the righteous, but the wicked, those producing bad fruit will perish. The way. G-d knows the way of the righteous. Those bearing good fruit. Those who bear good fruit are delighting in the Torah and meditating on it. This is the one who prospers.

Just let that sink in for a moment. Stop reading! Let it sink in…think about it. Okay, you might be thinking well Yeshua came and changed that. If that is your thought, then I have a few questions for you. Can G-d’s word come back void or empty (Isaiah 55:11)? Does G-d change his ways (Numbers 23:19 or Malachi 3:6)? One last question before we move on, but picture yourself as a Jew during the 1st century. G-d came and presented the Torah to the Israelites and told them to be a light unto the nations. The Torah is a lamp and the commandments a light (Psalm 119:105). He told them the Torah was forever. There is no indication in the Torah or in the Prophets nor in the writings that G-d was going to put an end to the Torah. You know this because you have studied the Tanakh (Genesis – Malachi) all your life. Then G-d sends Yeshua and ends following of Torah. Wait a minute. All your life, your father’s life, his father’s life, and on and on you were told and you could read that the Torah was forever. Then Yeshua comes and changes everything. How could you place any faith in G-d? How could you place faith in a G-d who said something was forever, but now it is not? How do you know He won’t come again and do the same thing? Now it is no longer placing your faith in Yeshua, but some other way for salvation.

Turning to G-d has always been the way to salvation (Isaiah 45:22). He is the only savior (Isaiah 43:11). Nothing changed in that regard for Yeshua is G-d. Yeshua was very present throughout the Torah and the Prophets (Luke 24:27). Yeshua Himself says that He did not come to abolish the Torah and the Prophets. He continued in Matthew 5 by saying that until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter shall ever pass away from the Torah. As far as I know, I still live on earth, therefore one must conclude the Torah is still valid.

We know from Psalm 1 the wicked do not delight in the Torah and meditate on it. They therefore are full of iniquity. They will perish. Matthew says the same thing in chapter 7: Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. The savior, Yeshua, continued in Matthew 7 saying this:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘L-rd, L-rd!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘L-rd, L-rd, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:21-23
Doing work in the L-rd’s name does not mean you have entered into His salvation. He tells these people who are supposedly doing G-d’s work that He never knew you and to get away. You are a worker of lawlessness. Yeshua is quoting Psalm 6:9 when He said get away from me you workers of lawlessness. In other words, their fruit was like the wolves. They may have looked like one who truly trusted in G-d, but they weren’t. Please, let this be clear to you, doing things in G-d’s name is not necessarily bearing good fruit. Bearing good fruit is about following Torah. This is how you know the fruit is good. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to cause whomever it has entered to follow Torah (Ezekiel 11:19-20 and 36:26-27). Following Torah is about love. This is why John speaks so much about love and following the commandments. The root word of commandment in Hebrew means to connect. The commandments connect us to G-d and to people. They show us how to have a relationship with G-d and with people. The ultimate goal of this connection is about love.
Proverbs 3 tells us the Torah is the Tree of Life.
My son, do not forget my Torah, but let your heart keep my commandments. For length of days and years of life, and shalom they will add to you. Proverbs 3:1
Let kindness and truth never leave you—bind them around your neck, Proverbs 3:3
She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and blessed will be all who hold firmly to her. Proverbs 3:18
This proverb is about seeking and never letting go Torah. The Torah is a feminine word, it is a she. The Torah is a Tree of life. The Torah is truth (Psalm 119:142, 151, 160). G-d is telling us to don’t let go of the Torah for that is the Tree of Life. When Yeshua said I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, He was saying I am the Torah, the Torah, and the Torah. Only after you have turned to Him can you receive salvation and then those who truly have turned to Yeshua must start walking out Torah. Don’t think you have to be able to walk out Torah fully immediately. It is not a sprint, but a marathon. It is taking one step and then another.
The way to life is bearing fruit and bearing fruit is following the Torah. This is why the way is so narrow. Few people will enter the gate. Scripture is quite clear on the matter. It is man that has twisted Paul’s letters into saying the Torah does not need to be followed. I am glad you have read to this point. I hope and pray that you ask G-d to show you the truth. Don’t take my word for it, search and ask. If you have any questions please let me know. You can ask in a comment below, or you can PM me. You can call me or send me an email. However you can contact me, please do.

Until next time….kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is Hashem!

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Bearing Fruit

It is clear throughout the Gospels and the Epistles that believers should bear fruit. I do not think anyone would disagree with this notion. By in-large, I think most people would agree on loving your neighbor would be bearing fruit. Most people are aware of the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So what is the source of the fruit? That is the question I would like to delve into today.

The Messiah, Yeshua, spoke many times on the issue to bear fruit. So did His precursor John. In Matthew 3:8 John said to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. John is telling us we must repent from our sins and we would bear fruit. John could only be speaking about repenting from our sins based on Torah. When we turn from sin and towards G-d and His ways, which is Torah, we bear fruit. If you don’t bear good fruit then you will be cut down and thrown into the fire (v10). Can John come as the precursor to Christ and speak a different way? Absolutely not.

In Matthew 7:15-20 below, Yeshua discusses good fruit and bad fruit. He says “every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20
Then Yeshua continues and makes a profound statement:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘L-rd, L-rd,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘L-rd, L-rd, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23
As Yeshua finished saying every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire ( I believe a refining fire, but that is another discussion), He states that not everyone will enter the kingdom of heaven even if they did miraculous things in His name. Yeshua then says to them “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” Wow. That is quite a statement to make. Yeshua makes it perfectly clear that those who do not practice Torah will not enter the kingdom of heaven. There is only one Torah. The root of the word used for lawlessness per Strong’s dictionary means destitute of (the Mosaic) law.
You might be saying to yourself that all I have to do is believe….have faith in Yeshua. Really? How did Yeshua answer the question of “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” in Luke 10:25? Yeshua answered “What is written in the Torah? How does it read to you?” The man answered “You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Yeshua’s response – “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
Notice that Yeshua did not say believe in me. Believing that G-d is G-d is a prerequisite to following Torah. This man, was already in the covenant, he was a Jew. Therefore, Yeshua’s response was the same over and over again. As Yeshua states it in John 14:15 – “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. Loving G-d and keeping His commandments are throughout the Torah (Ex 20:6, Deut 5:10, 6:5, 7:9, 7:13, 10:12, 11:1, 11:13, 22, 19:9, 30:6, & 16.
Please understand the meaning of following those two commandments. All of the Torah and the Prophets hang on those two commandments (Matt. 22:40). In other words, all the commandments are summarized in those two. The Torah is all about love, it is a covenant of love. Through this love we will be fruit.
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Torah, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. But we know that the Torah is good, if one uses it lawfully… 1 Timothy 1:5-8
Paul taught Torah and told Timothy that the instruction of Torah is love with the purest of heart. Some were wanting to be teachers of the Torah, but they do not understand. Just like many people today. They do not understand Torah. They see it as a bunch of rules that were nailed to the cross, yet Scripture never says this. Paul tells Timothy that the Torah is good, but only IF it is used lawfully. In other words, being legalistic with the Torah, teaching that the Torah is what saves is not lawfully sound.
If you are of the flesh, you carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh so Paul tells us in Galatians 5. We are led by the Spirit and what does the Spirit do?
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. Ezekiel 36:26-27
So G-d is going to give us a new heart and put a spirit within you. He will remove the stony heart and give you a heart of flesh. How does one get a stony heart?
But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the Torah, and the words which the L-rd of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the L-rd of hosts. Zechariah 7:11-12
If you do not remember anything else from this article, please remember this. You get a stony heart by not listening to Torah.
So G-d will remove that heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. He is also going to put His spirit within you and cause you to walk in His statutes and ordinances. On this new heart, G-d is going to write His Torah on your heart (Jer. 31:33). That is the change in the “New Covenant”. G-d is going to write His Torah on your heart, not get rid of it. We are told in Proverbs 11:30 that the fruit of a righteous person is a tree of life. The fruit of one walking in the Spirit, in Torah, bears fruit.
Can G-d’s word return to Him void? No. Then how can the Torah be done away with or fulfilled? Psalm 1 sums it up really nicely for us:
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the Torah of the L-rd, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the L-rd knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
If G-d’s word cannot return void then we must still delight in the Torah. We should meditate on it day and night. This picture created here in Psalms is similar to the Revelation 22:1-2:
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of G-d and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month;
The water of life is Torah. Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 both state the Torah will flow from Zion, from Jerusalem in the Millennial Kingdom. With the Torah flowing the fruit will blossom. The tree of life from the Garden of Eden is there. Adam and Eve chose the tree that bore sin instead of choosing the tree of life. If you have not figured out yet what this source of the fruit is please go back and reread the article. The source is Torah. Plain and simple!
Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is Hashem!

The Truth In Love

Peter in his 2 epistle stated Paul is difficult to understand. Peter continues saying regarding Paul’s epistles, the untaught and unstable distort, as they do the rest of Scripture, to their own destruction. Many disagree with Peter and state Paul is easy to understand and that he is delivering a message from G-d telling everyone that Yeshua (Jesus) free us from the Torah. A question to keep in mind while reading this is: if keeping Torah is truth would you do it? Would you believe it? If you are unwilling to follow the truth, even if it is confirmed to you to be the truth, then the issue is more about what you want and less about loving G-d. Let’s look into what Peter was saying about those distorting Paul’s epistles and dig into the truth.
just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of the wicked and fall from your own steadfastness 2 Peter 3:15b-17
Peter is very clear that Paul is difficult to understand, but who are they who distort them as they do the rest of Scripture? The untaught and unstable. The Greek word used for untaught is only used this one time in Scripture. It means unlearned, ignorant. That is easy to understand. Someone who is untaught in a subject is ignorant of the subject. The word used for unstable is used only one other time and is also within Peter’s epistle. It means…..unstable.
having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; 2 Peter 2:14
In this section of Peter’s epistle he is talking about those who are teaching falsely. They are never ceasing from sin. It is critical than to determine what is sin. Sin can be easily defined as going against G-d’s word. Some today think that means only the commandments restated in the Gospels or only the epistles. Some think it is only the ten commandments. The problem with those two understandings of sin is it is the teaching of men. No where in Scripture is sin redefined. G-d’s Torah is the foundation and never changed. In fact, John in his epistle defined sin:
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 1 John 3:4
Anomia is the Greek word translated as lawlessness. Nomia translated as law or the Torah and anomia as without the Torah. One who practices sin is Torahlessness. They are with sin.
Peter warns us in the Scripture above to be on guard so that we are not carried away by the error of the wicked. The wicked are those who break through the restraint of the law and gratifies his lusts. That is the definition of the Greek word translated as wicked. The NIV translates verse 17 like this:
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 2 Peter 3:17
Be on guard that you are not carried away by the error of the lawless. Those who are without the Torah or those who believe they are under grace and therefore continue sinning. Peter is warning all those who teach something other than the truth. The truth is important. You may think you know the truth, but do you? How does Scripture define truth?
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth. Psalm 119:142
You are near, O L-rd, And all Your commandments are truth. Psalm 119:151
The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting. Psalm 119:160
The Torah, the commandments, the sum of His word is truth. King David could only be referring to the Torah when he stated the sum of Your word is truth. It is critical that one allows Scripture to define Scripture. We cannot bring our own thoughts and philosophies into Scripture and define truth. With this knowledge of what is truth, let’s look at a few verses:
Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10
Here Paul is telling the Thessalonians that the lawless one will with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth. They did not receive the Torah. You have heard it said that the Torah can be summed up in one commandment, to love. The Torah is love. It expresses love. Following the commandments show love:
And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. 2 John 1:6
If you say you love G-d but don’t follow the commandments, then you are a liar. Please know these are not my words but John’s:
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 1 John 2:3-4
The lawless one will come deceiving. The lawless one does not want you to follow the commandments. The Torah gives us a formula to use to determine whether someone is from G-d or not. It is a pretty simple formula that all can follow, if you know the truth:
Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. Deuteronomy 12:32 – 13:4
The formula is if anyone comes claiming to be from G-d and they tell you to not follow G-d and His ways (Torah) then you are not to listen. So, when the lawless deceiver comes, it will be easy for those who know Torah to not be deceived. The truth sanctifies you…it sets you apart, makes you holy.

because G-d has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13b
Paul makes it clear in Romans 2:8 about obeying the truth:
but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
Paul says the truth of Christ is in him in 2 Corinthians 11. Jeremiah speaks of the truth being put in your inward parts and written on your heart:
But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the L-rd, “I will put My Torah within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their G-d, and they shall be My people. Jeremiah 31:33
This is why John said for those who do not keep the commandments, the truth is not in him. The truth is Torah. The role of the Spirit? Bear fruits of righteousness, which is following Torah. Ezekiel talks about the role of the Spirit:
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. Ezekiel 36:26-27
This is G-d’s plan. To give you a new heart, a heart of flesh. He will put the Torah in your inward parts and write it on your heart. The Spirit will then cause you to walk in G-d’s statutes and ordinances. Those are G-d’s commandments.
If you have read this you know the truth. You see what G-d considers truth. Are you willing to start following the truth, Torah? It is not expected of you that you start following ALL the commandments immediately. That would be too overwhelming. Just start walking in them. Start reading the Torah. Start attending a Torah observant synagogue who is centered on Yeshua like Sar Shalom Synagogue. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived. The deception is great and so is the prize. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by the error of the lawless. Love G-d!
Baruch Hashem…until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is Hashem!

Believe

Millions of people have ministered to others trying to get them to accept Jesus. To accept John 3:16, that G-d sent His own Son to die for your sins and if you believe in Him you will not perish. Just accept this notion, say a prayer, and you will receive eternal salvation. Some may think this is too good to be true. It sounds very simplistic. Why didn’t G-d think of this before? Millions of people lived on the Earth before Yeshua was revealed and one would think that they would have wanted to know about this. Maybe believing in Him means something different than we think. Salvation is an important topic, so let’s spend some time looking into what is meant by believe in Him.
John 3:16 says:
“For G-d so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life”
Believing in Him seems to be the most important thing one could do. For believing in the Son will cause one to have eternal life. The Greek word used in this verse is pisteuō and means to place confidence in or to trust. John is expressing that we must place our trust, our confidence in the Messiah. What does this trust look like? It is not just believing something to be true, for we are told in James 2:19 (real name Jacob or Ya’acov) that even the demons believe that G-d is one. So, there has to be more to the word believe in Him than just belief. Does that make sense?
Within Judaism, the notion that one needs to believe in a Messiah who will save you from all your sins based on belief does not exist. Now, I understand the difference between Judaism and Christianity, so here me out. Practicing Jews know their Bible really well, far better than even the most knowledgeable Christians. This is not a knock on Christians by any means. In general, Jews have the upperhand with history, knowledge of the Hebrew language, etc. The Jews belief is based on Deuteronomy 30. Deuteronomy 30 explains the terms of their return to the Promise Land. Verses 2 and 3 are the key verses:
and you return to the L-rd your G-d and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the L-rd your G-d will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the L-rd your G-d has scattered you. Deuteronomy 30:2-3
Deuteronomy is Moses last time he address’ the Israelites. He tells them they are going to leave G-d and stop following His commandments. He also tells them how to be restored from their scattering as well. The first thing Moses tells them is to return to G-d. The Hebrew word for return is shuv. Is simply means to return, turn back. Moses is telling the Israelites how G-d is going to bring them back. They must first turn towards G-d. What does this exactly mean? Does it mean believe again? The English word for repentance is teshuva. Do you see the shuva in teshuva? Teshuva is turning from your current ways of sinning and return to G-d. It is a very important aspect of believing in G-d. If you don’t turn from your ways then what you are stating is my ways are more important than your ways. Therefore you have not turned towards G-d.
What is one turning from though? Your sins. John in his first epistle tells us what sin is:
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 1 John 3:4
The word translated as lawlessness is anomia and means devoid of the Mosaic Law. Yeshua actually used anomia in Matthew 7:23:
‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
Notice, just before this verse this was said to those who thought they were doing things in Yeshua’s name. Yeshua said only those who do the will of My Father. His Father gave us His will back in the Torah. His will is for us to do the commandments!
The second item expressed in Deuteronomy 30:2 is “and obey Him with all of your heart and soul according to all that I command you today.” Moses is quoting an earlier part of his speech to the Israelites. He is quoting a portion of the Shema. The Shema is the most important prayer in Judaism. With this prayer you are declaring the L-rd as your G-d. The Shema is actually quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-9 plus some other verses, but we are going to focus on the beginning two verses:
“Hear, O Israel! The L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is one! You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might”
The Hebrew word for hear is Shema and means more than just hear. It means to hear and obey. Literally, the verse is saying hear and obey Israel…. Then Moses says to love the L-rd your G-d with all that you got. Don’t hold back. These words should be on their hearts. Everything Moses commanded the Israelites to do was from the mouth of G-d. They were G-d’s commandments, G-d’s instructions. They are the words of G-d. We are also told that Yeshua was the word made flesh in John 1:14. The word here in John 1:14 is the Torah. I believe this for three reasons:
  1. The Torah was the actual spoken words to Moses and G-d met Moses and spoke to him unlike anyone else. The prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah for example all saw dreams and visions. They never met with G-d.
  2. King David wrote of the word often and it always pointed back to Torah.
  3. When this Gospel was written the Gospels and Epistles would not be canonized into a what exists today as the Bible for a couple hundred years afterwards. Therefore at most, word could be pointing back to the whole Tanakh (Genesis – Malachi) not the “New Testament”
Yeshua also quoted a portion of the Shema when He was asked how to obtain eternal life:
And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law (Torah)? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” Luke 10:25-28
You might be surprised that Yeshua did not state the lawyer should believe in Him. Instead, Yeshua asked him what is written in the Torah. The lawyer then quotes a portion of the Shema and Leviticus 19:18. Yeshua told him do these things and you will live. Every Jew knew exactly what the Shema means. They understand it means to love G-d and they understand how to love G-d. John in his second epistle told us how to love G-d:
And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.  2 John 1:6
John has many quotes about loving G-d and following G-d’s commandments. This is G-d’s will for us. This is His plans for us. I know what you are thinking, Yeshua nailed the Torah to the execution stake. But He didn’t. There is not one verse in all of the Scripture that says He nailed the Torah to the execution stake. There is one verse that states He nailed our debt of sinning to the stake. That is a big difference.
Believing Yeshua is the Messiah is very important. Please do not misunderstand this message. Believing entails a lot more than just thinking something is true. The notion that one can just say a prayer and everything is hunky dory is just false. We must turn to G-d (which means you place your faith in Him), repent, and accept His ways to have eternal life. Yeshua said so Himself! Any other way is idolatry!
Baruch Hashem….until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is Hashem!

G-d Knows My Heart?

Rabbi was speaking about G-d knows my heart in Parashat Shemini and spoke about Aaron sons who were burnt up for either bringing strange fire or being drunk in the Tabernacle or both. Who really knows, but the fact was they loved G-d and yet they did something they were not supposed to do.
So when someone says to us, “G-d knows my heart” what that person is really saying is, I have an excuse for disobedience. However, what they may not know, is that G-d addressed this issues in His word:
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. Jeremiah 17:9-10
The Torah was never meant for salvation. It was given so that those who follow it can be closer to G-d. Be more like Him. It is said that David was a man like G-d’s own heart. Why? He loved the Torah, see Psalm 119 which is the longest chapter in the entire Bible.
Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the L-rd your G-d, which He commanded you, for now the L-rd would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The L-rd has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the L-rd has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the L-rd commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14
You see G-d wanted a leader who would lead His people into following Torah. Saul wasn’t leading people into following Torah therefore he was removed. This is the verse Acts 13:22 was referring to when it says David was a man after G-d’s own heart. G-d wants people obedient to Him. Man’s ways only lead to death.
Proverbs 14:12 – There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 16:25 – There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
We are to love G-d right? What is loving G-d? Scripture defines loving G-d like this:
And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. 2 John 1:6
You might be thinking this means the 10 commandments, but I ask you, where does Scripture state it is only the 10 commandments we are to follow? Who violated Torah and subtracted from the commandments? What did Christ follow?
You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the L-rd your G-d which I command you. Deut 4:2
There was no “New Testament” during the 1st Century. That is when the Gospels and all the Epistles were written. It did not exist as a canonized book until a couple hundred years later. You might say well I love others as G-d said for me to and the Law is summed up in that one commandment. Loving others is following Torah:
By this we know that we love the children of G-d, when we love G-d and observe His commandments. For this is the love of G-d, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:2-3
Those who are continuing to justify not following Torah right now, but say you know G-d, John has something to say to you:
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 1 John 2:3-6
The truth is Torah. When John says the truth is not in him, I think John is saying the Torah is not put in your heart yet. This is the “new” covenant per Jeremiah 31:33. It says G-d will put My Torah in your inward parts and write it in your hearts. Psalms 119:142, 151, and 160 tells us the Torah is truth. So, if you say you know Him and don’t keep the commandments, the Torah, then you are called a liar and the truth is not in you. We are to walk as Yeshua walked. We are to imitate Paul, who imitated Yeshua. They both followed Torah.
Friends, this may be hard to accept. I understand. It is a lot to think through, but please think long and hard about this. Love G-d above all else. Seek Him with all of your heart, soul, and strength. Nothing else matters!
Shalom and until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is Hashem!

The Word, The Light, The Torah

Many believe the Torah first was introduced at Mt Sinai to the Israelites, but is this true? Many believe the Torah was added due to sin, but is this true? Bizrat HaShem, let’s take a look into Scripture and see if there is a different perspective that can be presented.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G-d, and the Word was G-d. He was in the beginning with G-d.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5

That is a lot to digest! There is so much depth to what John is telling us in this passage, so let’s start in the beginning – In the beginning was the Word. Generally speaking, most know John is speaking about our salvation – Yeshua. John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…. Revelation 19:13 says His name (speaking of the Messiah) is called The Word of G-d. I think it is important then to determine what John means when he uses word in this way.

David spoke of the word many times throughout Psalms. Specifically, Psalm 119 speaks of the word.

Psalm 119:9 – How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.

Verse 11 – Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

Verse 16 – I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.

Verse 17 – Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word.

Verse 43 – And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I wait for Your ordinances.

Verse 67 – Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.

Verse 89 – Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.

Verse 101 – I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word.

Verse 105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Verse 130 – The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

Verse 133 – Establish my footsteps in Your word, And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.

Verse 139 – My zeal has consumed me, Because my adversaries have forgotten Your words.

Verse 148 – My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.

Verse 160 – The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Verse 172 – Let my tongue sing of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.

A few of the above verses I want to highlight. Verses 9-11 state this – How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. Verses 16-17 are about delighting in His statutes so that he will not forget and keep His word. David says not to take the word out of his mouth and that he went astray, but not he keeps His word. Forever you word is settled in heaven. I could go on and on. Clearly David is using word synonymously with Torah. We also know from David that the Torah and the commandments are truth (v142, 151). Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:8 that the law is good. Paul also calls the law holy, righteous, and good in Romans. We also know from Proverbs 6:23 that the commandment is a lamp, the Torah is a light, and reproofs for discipline are the way of life. We also saw in Psalm 119:105 that the word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. So word=light=Torah.

Now, Genesis 1:3-5 says this: Then G-d said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  G-d saw that the light was good; and G-d separated the light from the darkness.  G-d called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

What is the light that G-d created for it is not the sun, moon and stars which are created on day four? It is the Torah. The Torah is the light. The light was good…just like Paul said the Torah was good. He separated the light from darkness. Why? John tells us the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it in John 1:5. Isaiah 8:20 says To the Torah and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Thus why in Revelation 12:17 it says And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. In 3:19 John says the Light came into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. So those who practice the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in G-d (v21).   What is truth? As I already mentioned the Torah is truth. So those who practice Torah come to the Torah because they are not of darkness but of Light.   Their deeds are not evil, because they practice Torah.

Genesis 1:4 says G-d saw that the light was good. In the English you cannot see this next point, but in Hebrew you can. Typically, the word את (Aleph Tav reading right to left) is not translated from Hebrew to English. That is right, the translators just skip it. Each time the Aleph Tav is mentioned in Scripture it is speaking about Yeshua and His work. The Aleph Tav are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In Greek it is the Alpha and Omega, but in Hebrew it is the Aleph and Tav…the first and the last. In this verse it actually says את-האןר. That is Aleph Tav – heh aleph vav resh. The word for light is aleph vav resh or in Hebrew OR. I say all this to get to the gemetria of this light. If you don’t know about Hebrew Gemetria it is very powerful and has lots of uses. Each letter is assigned a numerical value. When you add the numerical value of this combination it will amaze you. Aleph = 1, Tav = 400, Heh = 5, Aleph = 1, Vav = 6, and the Resh = 200. Go ahead, add it up. What do you get? I hope you got 613! For there are 613 commandments! When G-d said the light was good, he was talking about the Torah. The Torah is the light! Without the Torah you do not have light, but darkness.

Hopefully, you followed along to this point. We know the Word is equal to Torah and equal to Light. We also know from John 1:14 that the Word become flesh and was full of grace and truth. In other words, the Torah became flesh. So Yeshua is the walking Torah. John later says in 14:6 that I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me. In other words, you cannot go to the father except through the Torah!

Was the Torah given to anyone prior to Mt. Sinai? This I cannot prove emphatically. I have shown how the Torah definitely existed prior the foundations of the world though. We do know that Cain and Abel were bringing sacrifices to G-d. We do know there was a distinction between clean and unclean animals. We do know that Avraham was obedient to G-d’s commandments, statutes, and laws. We know Avraham made sacrifices and paid a tithe. All of this prior to the giving of the Torah at Mt Sinai.

The questions posed at the beginning were was the Torah introduced at Mt Sinai and was the Torah a result of sin. Based on the evidence presented here I do not believe one can conclude the answer to be yes. It has to be no. For Yeshua, the Messiah, existed from the beginning, for He is G-d. G-d is our salvation.

Baruch HaShem! I hope this has brought some understanding and clarity for you. At the very least has made you rethink your perspective.

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!

Why The Law Then

Law, law, law! I am so confused. What is Paul saying in Galatians 3? You could read it and assume every time Paul says law he is speaking of the Torah, the commandments. Unfortunately, that can’t be correct! If you believe that you are wrong! Yes, I am saying that emphatically! How can I be so sure? Let’s take a look at v19 – Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

If the law came as a result of transgressions (i.e. sins) then it is not possible to sin. You cannot sin if the law did not exist prior to the giving of the law at Mount Sinai by G-d to Israel. Sin is transgression of the law (1 John 4:3), therefore the law (Torah) could not have been added due to transgressions because the Torah needs to exist prior to the sin to sin. You might need to read that a couple times, but one needs to understand the Torah (law) is eternal. It is forever. The law spoken of in v19 cannot be the original commandments given by G-d otherwise there would be no sin before that time period.

Confused? Great. Let’s try and find out what law was added that Paul is referring to in this verse. Initially, all of the sons of Israel were to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:5-6). Something happened though that caused this to change, the golden calf. The golden calf incident changed history forever. No longer were all the tribes going to serve as priests. Now, only the Levites. Prior to the incident HaShem already gave His instructions to the Israelites. Due to the incident new instructions came. The Levitical Priesthood would serve and teach the others. This is the law that was added because of transgressions. This is what Paul is referring to in v19.

Now that the Levitical Priests were setup to lead, for how long were they to lead? What does Paul mean until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. The promise was to Avraham. Not sure of anyone who would disagree with that. So what does “until the seed would come” mean. Yeshua is the seed. Until Yeshua would come the Levitical Priesthood would serve and teach others. We know from Hebrews 7 that the Levitical priesthood was not perfect. We know they did not fulfill their mission of teaching Israel. When Yeshua came (possibly when He comes again) the priesthood changed. No longer were the Levitical priests going to be the teachers of the people. Who is going to be the teacher?

Jeremiah 31:33 says HaShem will put His Torah within them and write it on the hearts of Israel and Judah. They will no longer be teaching, because all will know Him. Ezekiel 36:26-27 says “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

HaShem is going to be the teacher. His Spirit is going to cause you to walk in His statutes and observe His ordinances. The Levites will still have their place in the Temple. In the Millennial they will be serving up sacrifices, including sin sacrifices. The Levites role of teachers ended though with the coming of the MaShiach.

Does Galatians 3:19 make a little more sense now?   There is some detail still to be written, but for the sake of time that will come later.

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem

To Circumcise Or Not To Circumcise

Galatians 2 can be a confusing passage. There are several topics that are discussed. I argue that unless you understand what was going on in that time period you miss the true understanding. In verses 3 and 4 lots of spirited debate occurs. Does anyone need to follow the Torah anymore? Do Gentiles need to follow Torah? Maybe not all of Torah, but circumcision? Titus was not compelled being a Greek so that settles that right? Words are thrown around without truly knowing the context behind the words. Like bondage and liberty. Let’s take a look and see what is going on.

People today, notably Americans, view everything from their own standpoint. We have trouble seeing events in their original context and instead inject our context into the picture. Unfortunately, many have had a picture painted for them about Jews. The picture is many believe Jews work for their salvation. Another picture that is painted is Torah is bondage. It is a yoke that is unbearable. No one can hold up to the yoke of Torah. Torah is opposite of liberty. If you follow Torah you then Christ is of no benefit to you. All of these are misconceptions. They are all false. These pictures come about due to ignorance. For there is not one verse that states Torah is bondage or the Torah is a yoke that no one can bear. In fact, Scripture states just the opposite. Judaism has always been a faith based system. Are there some within Judaism that believe it is a works based system? Yes. Just because someone believes something does not make it true. Some believe in Amillennialism, but that does not make it true. Many believe in Pre-Tribulation, but that does not make it true. Let’s look at Galatians 2 in the context of when it was written.

Many believe that circumcision is required to convert to Judaism. Today, that is what is taught in Orthodox Judaism. This was not always the case. There was a long standing debate between the different schools of thought at one time. Shammai and Hillel debated this very topic. In Yevamot 46a the viewpoint presented is “A male convert who has been immersed but not circumcised or circumcised but not immersed, is a convert.” Note that immersed is basically a baptism. Paul, who was from the school of Hillel, was taught why a Gentile did not have to undergo circumcision to convert to Judaism. Shammai on the other hand believed a convert must be circumcised to convert. Yeshua’s remarks on how to carry out Torah seem to go along with Hillel’s viewpoint over Shammai most of the time. The one opinion Yeshua did agree with Shammai was on the subject of divorce.

Paul, already versed on why a Gentile did not have to undergo circumcision to be a convert to Judasim, writes in Romans 4 how Avraham converted. He converted through faith, while he was uncircumcised. Avraham later received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith. This very thought is what Paul is trying to get through to the Galatians. Circumcision is not a means to convert. Faith is and always will be the true way.

Let’s look at verse four and into the bondage issue. Does following Torah bring bondage? King David said in Psalms 119:45 and I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts (laws). King David, says because he sought after G-d’s Torah he walks at liberty. James calls the Torah the perfect law of liberty and whoever looks into it he being not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work shall be blessed. In James 2:12 he states as they shall be judged by the law of liberty. Everyone is going to be judged according to the Torah per Paul in Romans 2:12.   In 1 John 5:3 we are told for this is the love of G-d, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not burdensome. Yeshua said “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Are we told the same thing in the Tanakh? Yes, in Deuteronomy 30:11 it says “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.” So Torah is not bondage or too hard. What is the bondage that Paul is speaking about in Galatians 2?

Paul speaks several times about sin being bondage. Per Colossians 2:14, believers are released from the death sentence as a result of sin. Yet some of the Pharisees and teachers of the Torah taught something different than Torah. They taught traditions of man and sometimes these traditions would cause them to break Torah. Some of these teachers and Pharisees held their traditions above Torah. You cannot do this. Traditions are fine, but when you hold them equal to or above Torah then there is a problem. This is what Yeshua contended with during His ministry.

Paul did not have a problem with circumcision. He had a problem with using circumcision as a matter of conversion. This is what the Jerusalem Council was all about in Acts 15. Verse 1 says “Some men came down from Judea and bean teaching the brethren, ‘unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved’”. As I mentioned at first, this was a long debated topic and was not new at the time of Paul’s ministry. Include this info along with the idea that Torah is not too difficult or brings one into bondage and that it is actually freedom or life, then you have a whole new perspective to consider.

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!

Should Gentiles Keep The Torah?

The article written by Ron Cantor titled Should Gentiles Keep the Torah is well written. It specifically takes verses and uses them to support his viewpoint. He does exactly what he charges those of us who as he calls us the ‘One Law’ movement. I am going to go through the verses he cites for his support and show the other side of the story. Before I do that though, the one thing the author does not do is see things from a bigger perspective. That is what I want to look at first.

The author wants people to believe the (blood) Jews are separate from everyone else. They have different instructions on how to live than any other person who has cleaved to HaShem. So if you are Jewish you follow Torah, but if you are any other designation then you have a different set of rules. I can think of issues with this. Can you imagine a parent having different set of rules for each kid? Or how about a company having different set of rules for each person. That does not work out so well. What if someone is part Jew? Which side do they fall into? Are they more Gentile than Jew and therefore they don’t follow Torah? Or since they have a little bit of Jew they belong in the Jewish group. Should everyone go and take a blood test to determine if they have any amount of Jew DNA? So, there becomes this issue in the beginning if you believe there are different rules for different people.

What happens in a congregation with both Jews and non-Jews when it comes time to eat? In Israel, it is not a big deal about finding kosher food. Kosher food is also not more expensive than non-kosher food as it is elsewhere. In a majority of America kosher meat is not on every corner. In Dallas, I have to drive over 30 minutes to a market that offers a selection of kosher meat. Many congregations have oneg – eating lunch together after service at the synagogue. So a Gentile believer can bring pork and sit next to a Jewish believer who cannot eat pork. That is an issue. What if someone of the pork while being cut flips over to the Jewish person’s plate? Oh man, the ordeal. The Jewish person just lost their lunch. What about if the Gentile person invited the Jewish person over for a meal? What are they to do about meat? The Gentile can’t serve pork or shrimp. How orthodox is the Jew? Should the Gentile be concerned about the plate having had dairy served on it? There are many issues that arise when one considers just the food issue when there are two set of rules.

The covenant spoken of in Jeremiah is a renewal covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. Just like the renewal covenant spoken to Joshua where G-d renewed his covenant with Israel. Is there any difference in this renewal covenant? Yes, the Torah will be placed in one’s inward parts and written on the heart. Why? For this has always been the issue with the Jews. They may follow Torah, but their hearts were uncircumcised. They were following Torah thinking this was their salvation. This never was the case. The Torah does not provide salvation.

With this renewal covenant, just like the previous covenants, Gentiles are grafted into it. Gentiles do not have a birth right into the covenant, like the Jew, but they are still part of this covenant. Assuming the covenant in Jeremiah has started. We know it is not complete based on Jeremiah 31:34. We also know the House of Israel and the House of Judah have not been reconciled. That is a whole other discussion so I digress. Another whole teaching is why Yeshua had to die, to remarry the House of Israel, but that is also another topic.
No matter the covenant that the Gentiles are grafted into they are still children of Avraham. The Gentiles do not have their own covenant. They must graft a covenant to become part of G-d’s people. For that is the promise the Gentiles hold so dear to. Most state the covenant with Avraham is unconditional. I wholeheartedly disagree. For in Genesis 17:1-14 we are told about this covenant. The L-rd said to Avraham “Walk before Me, and be blameless. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly.” In v9 “G-d said further to Avraham, Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. If the covenant between Avraham and G-d was unconditional, nothing Avraham had to do, then why does G-d say walk before Me and be blameless and you shall keep my covenant? Doesn’t sound so unconditional does it? Then HaShem continues by stating that circumcision is a sign that we are in covenant. Not only his physical descendants, but even his servants. Yeshua was a Jew and He is our master. We are His servants and therefore, we are to be circumcised as well. Not as a factor for salvation, but a sign that one was in covenant with G-d. It was previously established in Genesis that Avraham had faith. According to The Book of Jasher, Avraham lived with Noach many many years. Avraham knew of G-d. He had faith in G-d or he would not have done what G-d had told him to do.

Throughout the Tanakh there are over 300 prophecies about the Messiah. There are many prophecies about the nations coming into Israel and worshipping the One True G-d. There is not one mention of different rules for different people. Not one. In fact, there are several verses that speak of the Gentiles becoming one with Israel. Some will be made into Levites and serve in the Temple even!

I have more to say on this topic, but will wait to address it on one of the passages the author quotes for his support. With that, let’s get into the piece that Mr. Cantor authored.
The first passage that is used as support for different rules for Gentiles and Jews is Acts 15 and the Jerusalem Council. He claims verse 21 which says “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath”, does not teach Gentiles should grow in their Jewishness over time. Instead he believes the intention was to show the four things that were forbidden to do, were universally immoral ways to worship the one true G-d and says the Torah would back this up.

The author states the four prohibitions addressed how the newcomers could worship. In this I agree. The author continues though and says that obviously they (newcomers) would adhere to other universal laws found in the Old Covenant (Thou shalt not lie, steal, etc). One other point the author states is the letter that went out and is read in v23-29 says the apostles did not state the Gentiles needed to attend the synagogue every week to learn Torah.

The author writes as if certain commandments are universal and others are not universal. Though this distinction is never made anywhere in Torah nor in the Brit Chadasha. Anyone who resided with Israel was required to follow one Torah. Numbers 15:15 – One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord. Again in Numbers 15:16 –  One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.

Regarding verse 21 which says “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day” the author states this was given to affirm these four prohibitions. Then says “The Torah, which is read weekly, would affirm this, hence v. 21.” So, the entire Torah is read by Gentiles so they could understand about these four prohibitions that the author contends are all in 2 chapters of the Torah. That does not make a lot of sense. For one the verse reads every Sabbath Moses is read, so it is expected for the Gentiles to be in the synagogue each Sabbath to hear the reading of Moses. The author never addresses why this council was even meeting in the first place which is given to us in the very first verse and says “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”. The entire council meeting was regarding does a Gentile have to be circumcised to be saved. The answer is NO! We cannot earn our way to salvation. A Jew cannot earn his way to salvation. This council is a result of things going on which are written in Galatians. Certain men were teaching works save. The whole book of Galatians is to counter this position. It is and always has been faith. If you do not have faith then no matter what you do there is no salvation. Peter gets up and speaks and talks about the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles. The Holy Spirit is to cause one to follow G-d’s commandments (Ezekiel 11:19-20 & 36:26-27). Not “universal” ones as the author contends. James (Or Jacob which is his real name) then speaks and quotes from the Tanakh about rebuilding the Tabernacle of David and allowing the Gentiles who are called by His Name. Are we to go to the Tabernacle of G-d and be eating pork? If eating something is an abomination to G-d, it is an abomination. It is that simple.

James continues by giving the four prohibitions. I contend, which cannot be proven, that the four prohibitions were so the pagan coming into relationship with the Jews could associate with each other. There was no way a Jew was going to associate with a Gentile who was doing these four things. So to start the Gentiles off James gives the four prohibitions. Then in v21 starts off with For, which is a continuation word Moses is read in every city who preach him, is read in the synagogue every Sabbath. I contend that James meant for the Gentiles to continue going to synagogue and listen to Moses. Why? To hear what all Moses commanded to the Israelites from G-d. No one needs to listen to the entire Torah to understand what is said in two chapters. Also, if this is Paul’s understanding why is it throughout the rest of Acts and his own epistles does it state each Sabbath and for three Sabbaths in a row, etc. Why wasn’t he teaching the Gentiles on different days? Instead he explicitly shows Gentiles coming every Sabbath. Where else were they going to know who G-d is than hearing the Torah in the synagogue? It is not like a Gentile was able to go and purchase a Torah scroll in that day.

Regarding the letter, the author points out the Gentiles were not told to follow the Sabbath in the letter. Therefore they should not have to attend the synagogue each Sabbath. The Gentiles were not told to love G-d either or to follow any of the other so-called universal laws, so does that mean they do not have to follow them either? Using the author’s logic, you don’t even have to love or have faith in G-d to enter into covenant. This is simply faulty logic.

As if I needed to add to that, Gentiles are told to imitate the MaShiach and Paul says you should imitate him b/c he imitates the MaShiach! Ephesians 5:1 – Therefore be imitators of G-d, as beloved children.         1 Peter 2:21 – For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Corinthians 11:1 – Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 1 John 2:6 – Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 Corinthians 4:16 – I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 1 Thessalonians 1:6 – And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.

So if Gentiles are to be imitators of the MaShiach, how can they do so without following Torah?

The author’s next point of contention is G-d has called Israel to be a separate nation. They are to be a light to the rest of the world. One of the verses he uses for support is Exodus 19:4-5. Which reading it without any other context certainly paints a picture that Israel was to be G-d’s own possession. The issue with this is who all was in front of Mount Sinai at this time? There were many who came from Egypt and who are camped in front of the mountain. They were together with Israel. G-d did not state for them there are different rules. G-d did not state to them they were not called and are not His own possession. Again, in the Millennial Reign we are told Gentiles will be serving as priests and Levites (Isaiah 66:21). Gentiles will be given land in Israel as an inheritance as well (Hebrews 11:8-16, Ezekiel 47-48, Leviticus 25:44-46, Isaiah 13:19-14:2). Jews, whether believers or not, have this same issue of being separate. G-d never said don’t bring others in. In fact, He says the opposite. That is why Avraham tried to bring so many into covenant. This is why he setup his tents along busy intersections. To bring people into covenant with G-d. One covenant for all.

The author’s next point is Paul’s words to the Gentiles. Brings up Ephesians 2:8 which says faith alone, through grace that we are saved. The author says this could not be any clearer regarding the Gentiles being required to keep the law of Moses and quotes Galatians 3:1-3, 5 & 3:10-11. While I absolutely agree that it is faith alone through grace in which we are saved, these verses do not state Gentiles are called to follow Torah. These verses state about faith and faith alone. That is how one obtains salvation, through faith. If you rely upon your works to be saved then you will be cursed. Why? Because you will sin and therefore the penalty for not following Torah is cursing. The point about following Torah is not about salvation, but about obedience. This is why Moses tells the Jews about being circumcised in the heart.   A couple of prophets state the same thing…be circumcised of the heart.   This means accept G-d with faith. Only G-d can circumcise your heart.

If the author would have read a little further in Ephesians it states in v19 – So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household. Paul is telling the Ephesians you are in the same household as the Jews. We are all one. One tree. One sheep pen.

The next section about why then are Jewish believers commanded to keep the Torah I am going to ignore for now. Little is said and it is not pertinent to this discussion in my opinion.

An analysis of Part 2 will come next week, so stay tuned.

Link to the author’s work:  Ron Cantor – Should Gentiles Keep The Torah

All Things Are Indeed Clean!

What in the world is Paul saying in Romans 14:20?  Are all things really clean?  Does Paul give permission to eat anything you want, despite G-d’s instructions not to?

For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.  Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.  It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.  The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.  But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. Romans 14:18-23

I am going to break from my normal style and link a page.  This is a very good write-up of what Paul discusses about Romans 14 in all and why try and recreate my own piece.  I will also note that I am not endorsing this site that I am linking.  I have not read everything this person has written on the site.  What I have read, I agree with about 95% give or take.

Romans 14 Analysis

Let me know what you think!