The Pagan in My Coffee Cup

            I’ve named this, “The Pagan in My Coffee Cup” because of recent concerns about the Messianic movement and other “get back to biblical roots, first-century” jargon. Many are into, First-Century Christianity; First-Century Judaism; First-Century Messianic Judaism; First-Century “this” and First-Century “that.” Well, if you’re like me, then it’s possible your head is spinning as quickly as mine. Why? Well, first let’s examine why this is a concern. This is more of my personal perception, but I believe it holds water.

            First, there seems to be more and more individuals grasping for a more biblical, centralized-faith. In this process, Christians and Jews are becoming weary and tired of the “same-ol’-thing.” “Church as usual” or “the rabbi says” . . . just doesn’t seem to be answering the questions that people have. I credit this “unsettling of the people” to what I’ll call, “Modern-day Bereans” (according to Acts 17:10-11). They are believers who study the Scriptures and see hypocritical interpretations which fit particular molds or they fit particular denominational standards, but they just don’t seem to be biblical. In my opinion, a thesis is being nailed to the doors of the synagogues and the churches across the world; a thesis which states, “We’ve had enough!” They are tired of plaster-molded preachers and teachers that simply teach the latest theological trend or the “new wave” of the stream of God. For example, a book comes out about the End-Times followed by a series; eventually, everyone is teaching about the End-Times. And, then, lines are drawn through “theological” stances: “I’m this . . . what are you?” Before we know it, we are theologically-judged by a popular novel series or a certain dispensation, etc. Well, people are tired of it and they are saying, “No more!” In part, because they see the nonsense, and in part because they see the pride of religious leaders, which refuse to stand  up for the Bible, but hold to their denominational creeds.

            It’s not like these Bereans are saying they want an all-inclusive faith of all religions and peoples. No, that’s ultimate tolerance and ultimate political-correctness. However, they are no longer taking the pill of “this is the way it’s always been” rhetoric either. They are truth-seekers and truth-walkers. They want the purity of the Word, and the junk of influential paganism stripped from their lives. They are willing to take heat from the church and Talmudic halakhah (Judaism’s interpretations of Jewish Law). Within Christianity there are over 33,000 denominations, and among Judaism there are several movements, which range from the most Orthodox to the most liberal. Now, although most Christian denominations adhere to many of the same foundational tenets, each claims to be the proper way or the “truth.” This is no different within Judaism; although most movements are based upon the Talmud and Sacred texts, they vary in practice or observance according to how they see fit. Now, logic only dictates that someone here has to be wrong. Christians will say they’re right, and Orthodoxy Judaism will say they’re right. Well, they both can’t be right! Unlike the popular, American cultural trend—one’s personal faith is all that matters, and truth is in the eye of the beholder—Yeshua says He is the Truth. Furthermore, not only does He say He’s the Truth but He is the Way and the Life. He states, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV). That’s right! Not all religions lead to the Father (however, they all lead to the Judgement Seat). They may all lead to the after-life and to their versions of heaven—that being the spiritual realm beyond our reality; regardless, the majority of religions are headed for a rude awakening!

            And, second, because most people want their lives to mean something, they are quick to join “this” movement or “that” movement, not really analyzing what the movement means or why it was started in the first place. When the Reformation began, in approximately 1517 C.E., it just didn’t happen, “out-of-the-blue.” There were previous attempts that helped establish, probably, the greatest reformation to this side of the Resurrection of the Messiah. Some of them were from people such as Jon Wycliffe and Jan Hus, which tried to reform the Roman Catholic Church and made some tremendous strides; however, they weren’t complete in and of themselves. With Protestantism on the rise, the Scriptures—for the average Christian person—became open to personal, biblical interpretation, and not solely the interpretations of the clergy or Papacy. (Let us remember and not make light of the fact that during these times a lot of blood was spilt over doctrines).

Note: In my personal study of past revivals and why they ended is because I’ve seen one constant: anti-Semitism! Sure, there are other factors to consider, but if one earnestly looks at historical events, he’ll see a pattern emerge and that pattern is how each movement treated the Jewish people. The Reformation was needed and it was a must! And, when Luther said, “no more!” with his 95 theses, he started something that continues to this day. When he started out he had hoped to see the Jewish people, by the groves, come into the church because they were no longer bound by the Catholic Church; however, when they (the Jewish people) still refused to accept “Christianity,” Luther, sadly, just before he died, in 1543 uttered these words:

First, their synagogues should be set on fire . . . Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed. . . . Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer-books and Talmuds. . . . Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach anymore . . . Fifthly, passport and traveling privileges should be absolutely forbidden for to the Jews. . . . Sixthly, they ought to be stopped from usury [charging interest on loans]. . . . Seventhly, let the young and strong Jews and Jewesses be given the flail, the ax, the hoe, the spade, the distaff, and spindle, and let them earn their bread by the sweat of their noses . . . We ought to drive the rascally lazy bones out of our system. . . . Therefore away with them. . . .

To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your domains, if this advise of mine does not suit you, then find a better one so that you and we may all be free of this insufferable devilish burden—the Jews. (Michael Brown, Our Hands are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People, Destiny Image Publishing, Shippensburg, PA:  1992, pp. 14-15 as quoted in, Martin Luther, Concerning the Jews and Their Lies, reprinted in Talmage, Disputation and Dialogue, pp. 34-36.)

The influence of these words, no doubt, rang in the ears of Hitler and they persist to this day in bigots, skin-heads, and the ignorant. Furthermore, they are also remembered deeply among the Jewish people! Now, just to be fair, this didn’t start with Luther, but he may have been influenced from such sayings that trail their linkage back to before the fourth century and earlier. One of the “Father’s of Christianity,” St. John Chrysostom, referred to by Cardinal Newman as a “bright cheerful gentle soul, a sensitive heart, a temperament open to emotion and impulse; and all this elevated, refined, [and] transformed by the touch of heaven,” called the synagogue, “worse than a brothel . . . it is the den of scoundrels, etc. . . . [And,] as for me, I hate the synagogue . . . I hate the Jews for the same reason.” (Brown, Stained With Blood, pp.10-11.)

            It should not surprise the church that the Jews, over all, have rejected Christianity or Christian movements because of such things. Yet, it seems to escape even the greatest of theologians in the church today. It’s really not that hard people . . . the “Church” has got to change! Just like the reformations of the past, a modern one is needed. Additionally, it should be noted . . . with change comes messiness! Modern church movements or revivals are quickly labeled heretical by the “church” as defined through apologists on “Church Doctrine,” which uses its own canon of doctrine to determine whether a group of believers are heretical or not. And, to some degree, this has worked pretty good for the church for the past 1700 years—not considering all the separatists, reformations, rebellions, and such. Thus, to many in the church, Messianic movements are a danger and a hindrance to Christianity. Judaism, especially, among Orthodoxy, also label these Messianic movements as heresy. So, what we have in the middle are a bunch of “get-back-to-the-Hebrew-Bible-and-New-Covenant-Scriptures-movements” wandering in the heretical-zone where no Jew or Gentile has gone before!

            Regardless, what I’m saying is that these Messianic movements are needed! However, what has partly come from these movements are tails of some pretty, negative fruit and more divisions. Not that they’re all wrong or bad, but what we have—in the midst of the truth within these movements—are “fleshly” prophets (mostly, but not all, non-Jews fascinated with the Messianic movement and anything Jewish, including Talmudic Judaism) screaming at the church, Christianity, and Judaism, shouting, . . . “You Pagans! . . . You’re nothing but Pagans! Christianity and Judaism are filled with paganism and you’re all going to hell! . . . You need to embrace the real name of God and his Son’s name” (usually, some non-Hebrew name), etc. Yet, their love for the believer in Yeshua—Jew or non-Jew—isn’t present; their lack of the gifts of the Spirit and being led by the Ruach HaKodesh, and expressing God’s Word through patience and gentleness for the believer and unbeliever is, frankly, appalling. In reference to Christianity, I call this anti-Gentilism. And to Judaism, simply, I call anti-Judaism.

            Abraham was a man saturated within a pagan culture, so was Joseph, and the benei Yisrael (Children of Israel). As was David, and yes, first-century Jews. Paganism is in the coffee cup, and it will always be there, there’s no question about it. Today’s Judaism and Christianity have pagan traditions throughout. We all follow the “work-week” whether we accept it or not. We all call the day by its pagan name. Sure, some of us try not to by referring to the days of the week as 1st day or Day one, Day two, etc., until the Shabbat. These are all noble things; however, balance is needed my brothers and sisters. Balance! If we are to reach sinners with the power of the Message of Messiah: that Yeshua is Elohim in the flesh and all Deity rests within Him, and He is the long-awaited Mashiyach to both Jew and non-Jew, and that He has paid the price for our sins through His death and resurrection, and we are now called to walk according to His Kingdom; these are all biblical facts by the way, then, dang it! Wake up! Balance, balance, and more balance are needed. If paganism is the “world”, which I believe it is, then you’ll be surrounded by it. However, if you’re called-out, set-Apart (holy-kadosh), then regardless of how much you’re in this “world” or saturated in paganism, you’ll not be of it.

            It’s really that simple chaverim. We are called (chosen); we are in this world but no longer a part of it because we all belong to a different kingdom-the Malchut HaElohim-with Yeshua as King. His ways are not of the world; thus, our ways are not of this world. He died for us and those that have NOT YET come into His kingdom. Therefore, we become a crossed-over people—no longer Jew, no longer Gentile—but like our father Abraham we are Ivrim (Hebrew). Why? Because we too have left our families, peoples, religions, etc., and crossed-over into His Kingdom. If you’re a Jew . . . welcome . . . by the blood of the Lamb you may enter. If you’re a non-Jew . . . welcome . . . by the blood of the Lamb you may enter. You’ve all, now, crossed-over and have become the people of God (Am Elohim), and the servant of Yeshua the King. Not that we should lose our heritage being Jewish, or Irish, Spanish, English, etc., but have you ever wondered why there is no definitive author to the book of Hebrews in the New Covenant? Yeah, yeah, I know you all have your ideas of who wrote it and so do I; but, just maybe, just maybe there is no name associated with the book of Hebrews because we all belong to a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession. Jew and Non-Jew called the Body of Mashiyach; called out for a purpose by faith through grace to be transformed into His likeness. Meaning, His Word (Both the Tanakh and B’rit HaChadashah), and His Character (walking out according to His ways)! So, pull the cork out, get off your pagan horse with your nose turned up and away from believers and non-believers and die to your “self”! Not only does the earth eagerly await, but pagans are crying out for the beneiElohim (Jew and non-Jew) to be revealed.

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Shalom, Welcome!

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Terumah 5770

Adrian’s Midrash (A-Drash)

 

This Week’s Torah Portion: Terumah Heave Offering

Exodus 25:1-27:19

Prophets:

1 Kings 5:26-6:13

Gospel:

Mark 10-11

 

               

                    YHWH said to Moses, ‘Speak to the people of Israel that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me’” (emphasis mine, Exodus 25:1-2). The common rendition of this verse reads, “heave offering” instead of contribution; however, if you’re like me, I have no clue what a heave means! Does heave mean something I heave into the air, or does it mean when I take my wallet from my back pocket I heave it up into my lap because it’s so heavy? Yeah, I know I am making fun of the word; however, it seems pretty amazing to me how this simple verse is ignored by so many ministers-Jewish and Christian teachers, alike. The emphasis is usually on all the items of the Tabernacle—the ark, the table of showbread, etc.—not to take away from them, but this simple word and its meaning, to heave is often ignored, which is crucial to understanding the giving of YHWH’s people.

                Therefore, this Midrash will take a closer look at this word, Terumah (heave) and discover the true meaning behind the idea to heave. Granted, the amount of space I have to accomplish this is rather small—I promised to limit these A-drashes to a page so that you’ll keep reading them—so, I’ll do my best.

                The word Terumah in Hebrew means, contribution or offering, although the idea is to lift up or to separate unto. Thus, a heave offering in this context means to bring up or to lift up (take up) a separate offering, or to set apart a contribution of your own free will and bring it up to the presence of Yahweh. Now, this seems to be a very simple conclusion to the word, and it is; however, the process in which the Body of Believers have made it is far from simple.

YHWH makes it clear in this passage the He will only accept an offering of the people from the willingness of their hearts (NKJV). This has not changed. And, although there is no physical Temple due to its destruction in 70 A.D., there is indeed a type of the temple in the people of God due to the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) found in Jeremiah the prophet, “Behold, the days are coming declares YHWH . . . I will put my Torah within them” (emphases mine, Jeremiah 31:31a, 33b).  Contrary to popular belief, a church building or a synagogue is not, “The House of God;” rather, it is the people of God which are the Temple today. The Apostle Paul (Shaul) piggybacks on the New Covenant when he rebukes the immature Corinthians about their sexual immorality by stating, “your body is the temple of the Ruach HaKodesh . . . so glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19). What Shaul was concluding was that no longer will the Divine Presence (Holy Spirit) dwell in a temple made of human hands, but the body of believers which were bought with a price (the blood of the lamb) are now made of YHWH as a set apart (holy) temple (according to the New Covenant) and He was going to dwell within them.

Therefore, that being said, how are we to give to YHWH today? If He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), then what was true in the Tanakh then is, true today. YHWH will not accept an offering from his people without the willingness and desire of their hearts to give it freely. On giving according to the Renewed Covenant, Shaul instructs believers regarding their giving, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (emphases mine, 2 Corinthians 9:7). If YHWH wanted only the offerings that were given from their hearts to build the temple in the desert, then He would want no less from those that have been set apart as the Body of Yeshua.

Amazingly, those that preach that Yeshua died for the Law and that it was nailed to the cross at his crucifixion, are the same ones who impose on you that if you don’t tithe 10 percent, you are robbing from God according to Malachi (taken out of context, of course). Don’t you think that if He died for the Law, then the LAW of the tithe is also dead? The reality is this: (1) the sacrificial aspects of the Torah were completed because Yeshua was the crucified Lamb of Yahweh which brought atonement and forgiveness to all those that believe on the Father and the one He sent, the Mashiyach! And, (2) because the Temple was destroyed there is no need for the Temple tithe of 10 percent, which is why synagogues don’t have a tithe but membership dues, and righteous offerings are done on your own free will. Thus, the heart of giving found in the Tanakh (Exodus 25:2) is the same as that of the Renewed Covenant (2 Corinthians 9:7; Romans 12:8).

Furthermore, the giving of the believers in Acts 4 is how it should be done today. Let’s take a look: Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own but they had all things in common . . . and they laid them (their possessions) at the apostles’ feet and they were distributed to each as anyone had need (Acts 4:32-35). Our hearts should be willing to give to those that are in need; sadly, church programs and building projects have left the people in the Body impoverished. Many have the lights turned off while they have to jump through hoops and scale a mountain of red-tape to get a helping hand from the congregation. Shame on us! If we are the Temple of the Ruach HaKodesh, then should we do whatever we can to be a blessing to one another freely and joyfully? Yes, we should not parade around our giving in the streets, or allow our left hand to see what our right hand is doing (basically, letting others know about “how” much we are giving and to whom), but we should give, nevertheless. We should be creative, wise, and prayerful over our giving, but if you lack the willingness of the heart to give, then don’t give. It’s really that simple.

So, the next time you are told that are robbing from God by not giving your 10% to the church, then return the favor and say, “The “Law” was nailed to the cross” and find a congregation of believers where you can be a blessing to others and give cheerfully to the people and the work of YHWH. A congregation (church) or synagogue is simply the gathering of the God’s people not the focus of God’s people. For we (those that are set apart (holy by His righteousness)), are His temple. And for those that would argue for the tithe by quoting, “Give to God what is God’s, and give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” don’t understand that what is God’s is, the willingness of the heart! Therefore, give joyfully! And make it according to what you’ve determined to give in willingness to YHWH in your heart.

Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved, by Adrian A. Bernal

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Sukkot (Tabernacles)

 

     

    Adrian’s Midrash (A-Drash

    This Week’s Torah Portion: Sukkot "Tabernacles"

    Torah: Leviticus 22:26-23:44

    Prophets: Zechariah 14:1-21

Sukkot, or Tabernacles is the last of the Fall biblical Feasts. Listed in Leviticus 23 we see eight festivals or mo’edim (appointed times). It’s interesting that many just see seven; however, I assure you there are eight, with the weekly Sabbath being the first.

The term mo’edim (mo’adey) is the Hebrew word for appointed times. I love how the Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament)1 defines this word:

appointed time, designated time, i.e., a particular pointed time related to other points of times, with a focus that this time has a purpose designated by an authority.

The two key points to this definition are: 1) it is an apointed time related to other pointed times, and 2) its focus and purpose is designated by an authority. Wow!

Anyhow, Jew or Gentile that has spent any amount of time studying or observing these eight appointed times can see the connection between each of them. These designated times starts with the weekly Shabbat where YHWH specifically states that He’ll meet with us. In doing so, the wisdom of Yahweh is imparted to his kedoshim (Set Apart Peoples—Jews and Gentiles). Through the weekly Torah portions, which you are partakers of, YHWH reveals His nature, character, and wisdom, which is why we are not to forsake the assembling of the believers.

By weekly submitting ourselves to the Creator of the Universe, we are plugged into His righteousness and His mind. And then we are told to carefully observe all the appointed times in their appointed months from generation to generation.

Next we have the Spring Feasts (Appointed times). Starting with Passover (one night), and then the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Sadly this has become one festival today simply called, “Passover.” We are then to observe First Fruits, followed by Shavu’ot (Pentecost). If you were study the life and times of Yeshua you would see that His impeccable timing, observance, and fulfillment of them qualified Him and Him alone as the one to whom these appointed times were the goal (fulfillment), not the abolishment. A person who fulfills Torah doesn’t complete them as in an exam, but, rather, upholds them.

Then, we have the Fall Appointed Times, which we are now in. These last three main Feasts start with Yom Teruah (Rosh HaShannah), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and then finally, Sukkot (Tabernacles)! These last three are divinely connected and appointed for a reason! Yeshua fulfilled (upheld) the Spring Feasts at His first coming, (Messiah, son of Joseph) while these Fall Feasts will be upheld—exactly—at his Second Coming (Messiah, son of David).

Yom Teruah is when YHWH will send His angels to the four-corners of the earth and gather His elect (kedoshim-Set Apart believers), followed by Yom Kippur where he will set the nations before him and judge the righteous and unrighteous according to His Word, and then finally followed by Tabernacles which will last for a thousand years, which Messiah (Mashiyach) will reign as the seed of David.

Now, since these Fall Feasts have obviously not been abolished, or “nailed to the cross,” wouldn’t you think that they are important for today’s believers and skeptics? Absolutely!

Yeshua says, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter (yod), or least stroke of pen (jot), will by any means, disappear from the Torah until everything is accomplished” (Torah mine, Matthew 5:18, NIV). Furthermore, YHWH specifically commands us to observe the mo’edim. It always amazes me when believers—Jews or Gentiles—are unwilling to worship YHWH according to His appointed times and seasons. It’s like we make our own rules and then convince ourselves that because Yahweh is merciful He’ll forgive us no matter what. However, this is what YHWH says regarding worshiping Him not according to his ways, “You shall not act as we are acting here today, all of us according to our own desires . . .” (Deuteronomy 13:8). And again, “Be careful to obey all these words that I command you today, so that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, because you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of YHWH your God” (Deuteronomy 12:28).

Any investigation into any of the Christian holidays, e.g., Christmas, Easter, Lent, etc., one will discover that their roots are deep into paganism. The Feasts of YHWH belong to Him and all who worship Him. Either we are for Him or against Him. Thus, build a sukkah and gather your family in it for the prescribed time Yahweh demands, and look forward to His blessings.

Let me close with this wonderful passage that reveals YHWH is no respecter of persons; however, He recognizes and blesses all those who call upon His name and the Anointed one:

Every native Israelite shall do these things in this way, in presenting an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to YHWH. An alien (ger-Hebrew, stranger) who lives with you, or who takes up permanent residence among you, and wishes to offer an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to YHWH, shall do as you do. As for the assembly, there shall be for both you and the resident alien a single statute, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you and the alien shall be alike before YHWH. You and the alien who resides with you shall have the same law (Torah) and the same ordinance (Numbers 15:13-16).

Finally, and again, Yeshua says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (emphasis mine, Matthew 5:17-20).

Sukkot is a foreshadow of the Malchut Elohim (Kingdom of God). Isn’t time we all celebrate it accordingly and with honor and praise to Yahweh and His glorious manifestation Yeshua?

Shalom v’Hag Sameach. (Peace and Joyful holidays)

Note: If you’d like a more in-depth study of the Feasts and Festivals of YHWH, please go to http://www.yiyadrian.spaces.live.com and click on the folder, “The Jewish Feasts and Festivals.”

1James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament), second edition 2001 (Logos Research Systems, INC., 1997) s. v. “4595 מֹועֵד (mô∙ʿēḏ)

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Ha’azinu

 


The third verse in this week’s Torah portion states, "Ki shem YHWH ‘ekra’ havu godel le’loheynu." Which translated means: I will proclaim the name YHWH; ascribe greatness unto our God. The four most used translations (KJV, NIV, NLT, and RSV) of Christendom reads LORD, and without exception every Jewish translation reads similar, or ADONAI is used, which means LORD. I had to go back to the 1890 Darby Bible to find anything close to YaHWeH, which used the English Jehovah, with the American Standard Bible and the Young’s Literal Translation following suit. I guess it’s not so literal after all. However, I was told that the the Jerusalem Bible uses Yahweh.

In his classic book, Everyman’s Talmud, Abraham Cohen states:

To profane the Name was regarded as one of the most heinous of sins. How serious was the view taken of such an offense may be gathered from the statement, “He who is guilty of profaning the Name cannot rely on repentance, nor upon the power of the Day of Atonement to gain him expiation, nor upon suffering to wipe it out; death alone can wipe it out” (Yoma 86a). In other places we find an even stricter attitude taken up, and the profaner of the Name is classed among the five types of sinner for whom there is no forgiveness (italics mine, ARN 39).1

Thus, to profane the name of YHWH was a serious offense; especially among the rabbis of the Talmudic period.

However, Cohen also states regarding first-century practice:

In the Biblical period there seems to have been no scruple against its use in daily speech. The addition of Jah or Jahu [sic] to personal names, which persisted among the Jews even after the Babylonian exile, is an indication that there was no prohibition against the employment of the four-lettered Name. . . . On the other hand, there was a time when the free and open use of the Name even by the layman was advocated. The Mishnah teaches: “It was ordained that a man should greet his friends by mentioning the Name” (italics mine, Ber. 9.5). It has been suggested that the recommendation was based on the desire to distinguish the Israelite from the Samaritan, who referred to God as “the Name” (HaShem) and not as JHVH [sic], or the Rabbinite Jew from the Jewish-Christian.2

Isn’t it interesting that today Jews, not Samaritans, use “HaShem” to refer to God? With this, isn’t easy to see why the infamous takanot (gaurds, fences) of the Talmudic rabbis were established to keep the people from “breaking” the Law? However, what they intended wasn’t what the Scriptures taught. These mandates became the Oral Traditions (Law), which were and are as binding as the Written Law to the rabbis, which actually kept the people from their true blessing and inheritance—the Name of God: Yahweh.

To profane YHWH’s name is surely an offense (Third Commandment); however, to use His name according to Scriptural standards is not! To miss out on the blessing of Yahweh’s name bestowed upon us is one of the gravest mistakes that the Jewish and Christian leaders have done—all for the sake of Tradition! Although some traditions can be good, this tradition is not. Please understand, I am not getting down on the rabbis and pastors; however, when men’s traditions become greater than the words of YHWH, then I take the higher road. YHWH is brought up about 7000 times in the Tanach. Several times He tells us that this is His Name; not HaShem, Adonai, G-d, L-rd, etc., and although it may seem respectable to use these titles to show your reverence to YHWH, it is not complete. Yahweh is the only name by which all peoples awaits salvation (Psalm 18) and Y’shua is His Anointed One, which means, “Yah is Salvation.” Hence, Y’shua manifested His salvation to mankind.; for Y’shua is Salvation.

Yeshua and the apostles were actually accused of blasphemy for the use of His name. (Look it up.) Furthermore, Yeshua says, “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world” (John 17:6a, NRSV). The Tanach says, “YHWH said to Moshe, ‘tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: May Yahweh bless you and protect you; May Yahweh smile on you and be gracious to you; May Yahweh show you His favor, and give to you shalom (peace)’ Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them” (emphases, italics, and YHWH mine, Numbers 6:22-27, NLT).

YHWH pronounced Yahweh is in the original Hebrew language of the Tanach. How long have you gone without his blessed name pronounced upon you because of man’s tradition, which nullifies the Word of Yah? It may be argued that the first name a new born baby speaks is not mama or papa but “Yah.” Since the Scriptures teach that Yahweh is spirit (Ruach—Wind, Breath, or Spirit), then when a baby takes it’s first breath he or she is literally saying Yah (Try it yourself. Breath in while saying “Yah.”) Additionally, when we die the last breath we speak is, “Weh.” Thus, we are born speaking the name of Yah, and we die speaking the name “Weh” while breathing out. All glory belongs to Yahweh!

Isn’t it time to reclaim His Name in your worship and praise to the one that parted the Red Sea? HalleluYAH! (Praise Yah!)

Shalom.

1Abraham Cohen, Everyman’s Talmud: New American Edition (New York, NY: E. P. Dutton & CO., INC., 1949) p. 23.

2Ibid., pp. 24-25.

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True Religion

 

Adrian’s Midrash (A-Drash

This Week’s Torah Portion:

Nitzavim Vayelech Standing/He Went

Deuteronomy 29:9(10)-31:30

Prophets:

Isaiah 55:6-56:8

Gospel:

Acts 19-23

It has been quite a long time since you’ve last received an A-Drash from me. However, I hope you find this one timely since we are back to full-swing with school and all. I thought I would start off this week’s A-drash with an answer I gave to a sister in the Messiah via email. It’s longer than usual, but not too long. Next week I will continue on with my normal midrash, but I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s. Also, don’t forget to study the Torah portion above. Let me give a warning to this A-drash: It will offend some of you; however, my hopes are that you won’t be offended but rather challenged to go to the Bible for your answers.

Hey (Omitted),

It’s always nice to hear from you. I feel like you’re my long lost sister, now found. 🙂 Anyhow, you’ll be happy to hear about my progress. I have been working hard on my studies, but more importantly, my book! So, please pray for clarity and wisdom.

Now, regarding your question (question at bottom): The Scriptures teach, "The gifts YHWH gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers (rabbis), to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Mashiyach" (bold mine, Ephesians 4:11-12). Therefore, obedience to Torah is good and righteous and it shows our love to YHWH through the Messiah; however, it is very important to understand that there are true leaders and false leaders (Yochanan 10). Many of the rabbis that established some of the fences that most observant Jews follow today are hindering seekers and believers from walking out Torah with Yeshua’s yoke, which is easy. Sadly, many Messianic Jewish teachers are no better.

History is one of our best teachers if we allow her to be. Today’s modern Judaism, regardless of the tradition (Orthodox, Reform or Conservative), follow mandates that the rabbis established from A. D. 90 onward. The Mishnah (circa., A. D. 200) and the Talmud (circa., A. D. 500) didn’t have its hold during the first-century–even though the rabbis would love us to believe so. They like to teach that it has been passed down from Moshe to them after Mt. Sinai (Oral Law). The rabbis established themselves as descendants of the Pharisees and gave themselves sole authority over the Scriptures. They call it preservation; however, I call it rebellion. Prior to this time, you and I know that the Netzari faith was going full-steam ahead. By the turn of the first-century there were over a million Yehudim (Jews) and hundreds of thousands of gentiles following the Way, meeting on the Shabbat, and caring for the widows and orphans, and feeding the poor. During the first war, when Rome destroyed the Temple (A. D. 70), the Netzarim fled to the mountains because of Yeshua’s words in Mattiyahu chapter 24. Those that were still influential among first-century Judaism (Which is different from today’s Judaism.)at that time cried wolf and made the Netzarim out to be apostates. Well, when the revolt of A. D. 135 took place many of the Netzarim remained and fought but the damage had already been done. However, by that time the Netzarim consisted of every sect of Judaism on the planet, including some from the leadership of the Pharisees (Acts 15).

Anyhow, I say all of this because being obedient to Torah has to be consistent with the Netzari faith, not today’s Judaism mandates. Apparently, the first to third-century believers didn’t have issues with holding to Torah and worshiping YHWH through the Messiah, Yeshua. They didn’t see the "conflicts" that we see today. Through the influence of the "church" and Constantine’s mandates including anti-Semitism, Christianity has become just as much a a snare with all its mandates as modern Judaism. Therefore, both Christianity and modern Judaism are Yokes of Men, that for the most part, sway people from true–righteousness (religion). Furthermore, many Messianic leaders would have you forsake the Writings of the Apostles (NT) and bicker over every detail of the "Law," which in many respects is no different than Judaism with a little sprinkle of Yeshua on top to make one feel better about their "obedience."

The Word is clear about what we are set free from (ceremonial laws), while teaching us to follow YHWH in true righteousness. As a Gentile, you have been grafted into Israel; therefore, you ARE Israel. You were circumcised in the heart and received the new-birth of the Torah upon your life. The four mandates of Acts 15 are the starting point for all believers not only Gentiles (In today’s culture regardless of race, we are all messed up). Furthermore, the growth of a disciple takes him way beyond the four mandates. Those mandates were not given as an all-in-all-to-end-all; they were starting points.

Now, here are all believers’ mandates:

"I therefore, the prisoner in the Messiah, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Ruach in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Ruach, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Messiah, one faith, one baptism, one YHWH and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all" (bold and italics mine, Ephesians 4:11).

"The fruit of the Ruach HaKodesh are: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Yeshua HaMashiyach have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Ruach, let us also be guided by the Ruach. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another" (bold mine, Galatians 5:22-26).

"Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends" (1 Co 13:4-8a).

"If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion (obedience) is worthless. Pure and genuine religion (obedience) in the sight of YHWH the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you" (bold mine, James 1:26-27). (This by the way, is done through observing true Torah mandate.)

This last one is a key to all things in Torah. How many times have we seen believers stress the "Torah" in such a way that tassels and beards become the focus instead of true obedience. The Ten Commandments of YHWH are easy (morally they are written in our hearts), but they are worthless if we are not walking in love and caring for the outcast, which may include nonbelievers. Shhhh . . . don’t tell the rabbis and pastors that life is found in Yeshua and obedience to him through righteous Torah, not just Torah or New testament alone. . . .

Now as far as the major details: Yes, the Shabbat should (must) be observed, and we should not covet, or murder, or commit adultery, etc.; furthermore, we observe the feasts of YHWH found in Leviticus 23. I have seen more believers try to control Shabbat and make others observe, all the while talking against those that don’t fulfill Shabbat like they want them to. Gossip, slander, and hatred are their order of observing Shabbat and not love. So, who is considered more righteous in the eyes of YHWH? The one that walks in Yokes of Men, or the one that may stumble in trying to walk in obedience and is not doing it to the very details that the man wants?

For example, I remember one day you asking me about making fires on the Shabbat. If at all you can prepare the wood and everything prior to the Shabbat, then by all means do so; however, if you had to build a fire to host some people at your home that were outside freezing to death, which becomes more Yeshua, YHWH, Torah-like? Since there is no law against love to build a fire for the sake of a person’s safety, life, or comfort, then by all means build a fire. Furthermore, does God honor a person that is freezing to death, yet wanting to praise him and study his Word if all he or she can do is think about building a fire and not thinking about YHWH? Who then is being worshiped? The flesh or YHWH? Yes, our flesh wants to be fed and comforted; however, it is also the Temple of the Ruach HaKodesh, thus the house of Yeshua–take care of it. 🙂

I once remember a professor telling me in college, "If you are fasting for the Lord, but all you can do is think about pizza, then repent! Go eat your pizza, and then come worship the Lord." That’s pretty wise if you ask me.

So, (Ommitted), finally, what does this have to do with the rabbis, tradition, and obedience? Well, we must confirm all things with the Torah. So, regardless of what the rabbis say, including this one (teacher), you are to balance it all with Torah by not forsaking the greater things . . . love! Remember, we are to be obedient to Yahweh’s Torah through Yeshua the Rebbe, not any particular rabbi (pastor). Tradition is good; however, observing tradition that goes against Yahweh’s tradition and not walking in love is, the worse thing we can do. The Writings of the Apostles are there for a reason, and they were not given to us to hinder or omit the Torah. They were given to modify and amplify Torah. I think many forget that there were always God-fearing Gentiles, they just needed a push in the right direction (Acts 10-ff).

Let me leave you with this: "In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God (true Tzadakah (righteousness))" (Acts 10:1-2). Simply put, the house of Israel, the Jewish people, were given the responsibility to be a light unto the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6), and the Gentiles were called to be grafted into the people of YHWH (Romans 11). This was the work of the Messiah, Yeshua: That all nations would worship YHWH and walk according to His ways. You, dear (Ommitted), and all other Yah-Fearing Gentiles, are . . . Ruth. (A grafted-in Gentile no longer belonging to the gentiles but belonging to Yahweh through His Messiah.)

Sadly, in today’s world a Jew would not feel welcomed in a church, and a Gentile would not feel welcomed in a synagogue. Both have their traditions according to their rabbis (pastors) that keep the fences up. However, those that follow proper understanding of Torah through the Messiah in love become the people of YHWH and a light unto all sinners (Jew and Gentile alike).

Shalom shalom,

Your brother, Adrian.

PS. To answer your question bluntly about getting your Lulav and Etrog specifically from Israel? NO! you don’t have to.

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Korach

 

Adrian’s Midrash (A-Drash

This Week’s Torah Portion: Korach Korah

Numbers 16:1-18:32

Prophets:

1 Samuel 11:14-12:22

Gospel:

John 9-10

It’s been a few weeks since my last A-drash; however, because of the summer months and the added day-time hours, I thought it would be best to send them out periodically over the summer. Once school begins, then they’ll become more regular again. Well, as some of you know, Jennie and I just celebrated our 20th year anniversary and we are happy to say that we are still in love and loving each other daily. Although there have been trials along the way, we have overcome and continue to prosper. So, we’d like to thank all of those who have supported us along the way; it’s meant so much to us.

 

This week’s Midrash is quite sad. Not only is it a tragic story, but a relevant story in today’s world. Korach (Korah), along with thousands, thought higher of themselves then they ought, and, overall, 14,700 people died because of a rebellious attitude. When I used to pastor rather large churches I remember that I was never short of my critics. Regardless of how well I did, or bad for that matter, I could remember receiving at times several pages when I went to the office the following week from some unsigned critic of how bad I did, or what I preached didn’t seem to speak to them.

 

When I was a young pastor I could remember that I was always distressed and tremendously broken in spirit over such criticism. And, for the majority of the time, I could not address the issue, except in the confines of my small office with Yahweh and myself, because these letters were unsigned. I would be overwhelmed with sadness, but eventually I had to make up my mind if I was going to serve Him or serve man. I also remember that what stuck with me the most, regardless of the praise, was the criticism which hit me the hardest. I could literally hear words of encouragement from 200 people, and then 1 person would say something like, “Well, pastor, it looks like you missed it this week. You must not have studied very much. . . .” For the remainder of the day I couldn’t rest because the one negative trumped the 200 positives.

 

One of the greatest men of Israel and one of the greatest prophets of all times, Moses, had his share of heart-aches. Often, his critics were charged up by jealousy and envy; however, Moses always went to YHWH. Now, whether or not you’ve been a pastor, rabbi, elder, or congregational leader, I know you can relate on some level. Every person has had to deal with criticism; especially, the constructive criticism that many are eager to offer. However, how it is dealt with is what is important. A wise, old pastor once told me, “Adrian, when you receive these letters, open them and immediately check for a signature, and if you don’t see one, then read the opening to see if it is a positive or a negative . . . if it is an unsigned negative, then throw it into the round-file (trashcan) and get on with your day.” At first I didn’t think this was that good of advice because I thought it was important to hear from both sides; however, what he was saving me from was the self-inflicting doubts I placed on myself for the remainder of the day.

 

And then one day it happened! Someone actually signed her name. I couldn’t believe it. As I started to read the letter, I realized that although she wasn’t shy about telling me my short-comings as a pastor, she out-weighed the negatives with so many positives that all I could do was read the letter through soaked eyes. She talked about how much my sermons meant to her and to her family. How I strengthened her during her daughter’s lost battle over cancer, and how she knew of and heard of all the gossip that surrounded me as a pastor, which I never heard. And, finally, how I should remain faithful to serve because it was all about an audience of one—God. I realized then that I could handle negatives if they were overshadowed with positives. When I received my Master’s degree in Biblical Counseling I was taught that 1 negative criticism had to be overshadowed by a minimum of 10 positives. Well, I beg to differ. It should be more like 20 positives to 1 negative. Not that we should shy away from constructive criticism, but that we should only take it from those that have no other agenda except love. Man will always have his critics, but only those who walk in love should be heard and, my dear brothers and sisters, let the unsigned critics rest where they should . . . in the round-files of your heart. Life is too short to waste. Yeshua says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).

 

I guess if I were to exhort you in any way it is this: if you are led to criticize some one or something, then make sure that your motives are correct, and you love the person you are willing to criticize. Shower them with love and praise. Then, and only then, will you be able to get across to them the things in their lives that are holding them back. I have learned this from trial and error and I have had many failures in my 42 years; however, if you have a different agenda, then you may want to bite your tongue. Believe me, the ground has shaken quite a few times under my feet.

 

Shalom!

 

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