Rise and Shine! On Social Media

Rise and Shine
Rise and Shine! On Social Media
By Terri C

Lately I feel less and less inclined to spend time on my social media accounts. With it being December and with less than a year until a presidential election, logging in finds me witnessing so much controversy! I can barely stand to scroll through the newsfeed. It’s not the agnostics or atheists that are arguing about who’s right and what’s right, it’s my believing friends! How are we bringing glory to the Name of our God in this manner? Short answer, we’re not! In a time when everyone  thinks their opinion is the right opinion, it may seem impossible to shine God’s Light from our own little corner of cyberspace, but we certainly can! The internet is a wonderful tool for people like me who have no sense of “religious” community in their own town. We can lift the spirits of the hurting, and touch the heart of the lonely by a simple comment or message. We have the opportunity, if we’ll use it, to shine God’s light from our profile page. To share messages of peace and hope. To truly make a difference in someone else’s day! I hope that you will take a moment to view your own “page” objectively and see if that Light is shining. If, unintentionally, you’ve been sharing contagious conflict and strife, repent today! Let your site be one that  people look forward to visiting.

 

Before we set about shining God’s Light from our social media, though, we must take the time to make sure we have a secure connection to the Light Source in our own lives. This is done through repentance, prayer and careful Scripture study. Only then can we go about shining That Light instead of casting shadows. Here are some tips if you want to rise and shine on your social media accounts:

 

  • Open THE Book before opening Facebook!  It’s easy to check updates on our social accounts as we sip our morning beverage, but it is certainly out of order of how we should begin our day. We know that morning is important to our God, Scripture has so much to say about this time of day! If we want to be fortified for the day ahead, His Word and a few minutes in prayer is where we will find this fortification. Our morning is a top indicator of where we place God on our priority list. If we get in the habit of making Him first on our list every morning, our whole day will most likely follow suit. We can get a good Scripture app for free, and have the icon next to all our social icons right on our phone. Then, we exercise discipline by opening the apps in an appropriate order… Scripture first!

 

 

  • Control Newsfeed Content. We don’t have to allow others to spread their strife to us!  If we notice that a particular person is stuck on spewing garbage or inviting arguments, we can remove them from our feed without removing them from our friend list. We simply select the “unfollow” option.  If we want to catch up on their photos or on how they are doing, we can go to their page to do so, without their every post showing up in our feed. It’s okay to have friends who don’t think like we do, but we don’t have to be assaulted by their thoughts or beliefs. “Follow” peaceful people, ones who aren’t prone to find the negatives in everything. People who are going about doing good and making a difference, and not just complaining and finger pointing.

 

 

 

  • Research before sharing. It goes without saying (I hope) that there is a lot of misinformation in our feed. Headlines are sometimes  paired with old photos, and always add “shock value” to inspire the reader to share. But what should we be sharing, and what is only promoting propaganda? A simple search on our browser before we share a news story will stop us from reposting misinformation. There’s a lot of bad news out there, and there is a lot of good news, too! We are not ignoring the bad stories in the news, not burying our head in the sand. We are just being selective and careful about what “news” we are spreading! We should be seeking discernment before we share posts, to be sure it’s (a) True (b) Respectful and (c) Glorifying God

 

 

 

  • Keep disagreements private! When someone comments on our post in a blatantly argumentative way, it is time to take the conversation into a private message to end it promptly.  Likewise, we have no business going to another’s post to argue. Like us, they have been granted free will by their Creator, it’s on us to respect that. We must learn the difference between a good discussion with differing points and an outright argument, where neither party will consider anything but their own opinion. It’s important to remember that we are called to be righteous, not right. I know this isn’t easy! I see posts that mangle Scripture all the time to fit the purpose of the poster. This is one of those places I institute my “unfollow” rights! After all, how many times in Scripture are we told that God needs our help to prove His point, His power, or His sovereignty? Zero times.

 

 

 

  • Pause before hitting “post”. It’s absolutely wonderful when we receive insight and revelation from God! It can be tempting to “shout from the rooftop” (via social media postings) all the things that we are learning.  But does God want us to shout everything from rooftops? Could some of the information He “lights up” for us be just for us? Should we wait until we have more information before making a declaration? Again, discernment is key. Our God is faithful to lead! We can trust that it is Him who grants revelation, just as He has done for us. Sometimes, especially if a concept is new to us, it is better to wait for more understanding before we begin to publically declare things. Never make a post or comment before reading through it first to be sure it is alignment with God’s ways, and never make a post that begins by pointing out another’s “wrongness”. Even when they are dead wrong, we can approach it in a right way!

 

 

 

  • Promote your cause with grace. Unfortunately, we do live in times with much bad news along-side the good. Sometimes we must share the “ugly” news to raise awareness for a cause or to inform others of danger. However, we can share even the worst things that truly need to be shared in ways that are informative and helpful. We needn’t buy into the shock value that sells so well. For an example, if we are promoting help for rescue animals, is it really necessary to show pictures of horribly abused animals? Our words can paint the picture. Few things online are as upsetting to me as seeing pictures of a starving and badly abused animal. The image stays in my mind all day, as well as sickening my stomach. Another thing I see a lot of is the homeless being exploited in posts so that the believer can pat himself on the back. We need to promote causes with dignity and taste. I won’t even touch the subject of videos that depict beheadings and the other inhuman ways humans treat other humans! I even see people who share the “x-rated” shenanigans of celebrities to complain about “x-rated” celebrities. Oh, friends, my neck hurts from shaking my head!

 

 

Truly, there is so much we can do from our side of the keyboard!

 

If you’ll allow me, I’d like to share the reason I was prompted to write this post. Many of you already know that I was an atheist until my fortieth year. What you may not know is that I was loud, crude and fueled by stress and strife. I never held my tongue, and never thought of consequences. Within the last month, I have had two people comment on my page about how peaceful I am. Me, peaceful! Their comments really made me think about the process I have experienced in going from stress to peace. I shudder to think of what my page may have looked like had I created it before I began walking with God! Yikes, even in my “Messianic Christian” years, my posts were aimed at showing others how wrong their traditions and beliefs were. HUGE mistake! No one, no not one, came to me and said “Tell me more!”

 

It was when I walked away from the cross that I heard this sage advice: “Keep your religion personal and your love universal”. The wisdom in that simple sentence rang true for me, and I spent a good deal of time in prayer about it. And so now, I bring God glory in my posts, seeking to be righteous instead of right. Since I have taken this new approach to my postings and my social sites, more people than ever before are coming to me in private messages with questions and for conversations about our Almighty God! There are those who are called to inform, to teach, and that’s what they should be doing! Even in teaching, though, there is a right way and a wrong way. We each play a part in God’s plan if we will set aside our own ego to walk out that part. After all, none of this is about us, and all of it is about God!

 

We’ll meet again soon, dear reader! Until then…Rise and Shine!

Judahs Principles of Leadership

 

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https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

By William Jackson

When we loss control as leader:  Reuben was the first born (Genesis 29:32, 35:23), of Jacob’s twelve sons, so the position of leadership amongst the brothers fell upon him. Yet; on that fateful day, in the pasture of Dothan, Reuben’s other siblings conspired to murder Joseph, the second youngest. Here, Reuben shrunk from his responsibilities. Yes, these brothers adopted a mob like mentality, with hearts heavy with jealousy and minds bent on evil.  However; at this point in ancient history, Moses hasn’t yet delivered the famed ten commandments; which clearly states in it’s 6th commandment, “thou shalt not murder1 (Exodus 20:13).” Does this excuse their behavior and choices? No, ignorance of the law would not have work here, since God had already told Noah 600 years earlier 2 that murder was counted as a sin (Genesis 9:5–6). So; instead of Reuben seizing the moral high ground and demanding that they do no harm to their brother, he conjured up an alternative; but agreeable plot, “Throw him into this cistern, here in the wild; but don’t lay hands on him yourselves” (Genesis 37:22).  Unknowing to his brothers, Reuben then would double back and rescue Joseph. Such a convoluted approach, instead of just standing up to his brothers and telling them not to commit murder. Then; we have Judah, not knowing any of Ruben’s hidden motives, who decides instead, to sell Joseph to a passing band of marauders.  No, not the most ethical decision; but at least Judah makes a stand.  As is recorded, the brothers listen to Judah (Genesis 37:27). At this point the mantle of leadership seems to have been passed from Reuben to Judah, even though Judah was the fourth oldest (Genesis 35:23).

Joseph being sold into Slavery by His Brothers
Joseph being sold into Slavery by His Brothers

Influence is leadership:  Judah took a hard stand, sadly they chose giving away their brother; but in lieu of killing him, it was the better option.  Thankfully the idea of homicide left the mob’s intentions and a more viable option was agreed upon because of Judah’s influence.

In the US Army leadership is defined by:

“… influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission …”3

The civilian sector also mimics this by saying:

“There can be no leadership without influence, because influence is how leaders lead.”4

Judah influenced the mob, and in turn this action spared the life of his brother.

Note: Reuben’s demise – although Reuben never intended to have Joseph killed, this was not known by the family.  For all intentional purposes, he appeared to have slaughter in his sight, just as the rest of them did.  One needs to remember the best intentions are worthless if they are unknown.  But as we explore Reuben, his bad judgement was not isolated to just this event.  We find later that Reuben would sleep with his father’s concubine (Genesis 49:4), and thus; Jacob considered Reuben to be pachaz (uncontrolled).  Not a great quality to have in a leader.

Judah-and-Tamar

Condor: In the next chapter we read the story of Judah and Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law.  This story is a sorted one (Genesis 38).  Without getting into the details, Judah reneged on a promise made to Tamar to marry his son Shelah.  So Tamar took matters into her own hands, causing a perplexing situation that forced one of two situations: either Tamar’s life is put in peril or Judah’s reputation is put on the line.  Judah having the power to side step the situation, allowing his character to remain intact, instead takes the costly moral high ground stating “She is more righteous than I am, because I didn’t arrange for her to marry my son Shelah (Genesis 38:26).” Many people in leadership positions lose their humility, and through this, although their positions may end up being respected, personal loyalty becomes lost.  In the words of a great General;

George-S-Patton

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom” – George S. Patton

Voice of Reason/Common Sense  Joseph’s brothers returned to Egypt for food which equaled the family’s survival.  In doing so, they had to leave behind Simeon, their brother.  The Pharaoh’s Governor (Joseph) wanted them to return with their younger brother Benjamin, so he kept Simeon as sort of a hostage.  The father, Jacob, was determined not allow his sons to return to Egypt with Benjamin.  He had already lost two sons (Joseph and Simeon), and he certainly was not wanting to part with his youngest, Benjamin. Nonetheless; it was a famine, and the family would soon die of starvation unless they could get back to Egypt for supplies.  Jacob was allowing his emotions to dictate rather they returned to Egypt; but Judah had to step up and be the voice of reason, in which case, he laid it on the line “Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise we will all die of starvation—and not only we, but you and our little ones (Genesis 43:8).” With that, he promised Benjamin’s personal safety and they left for provisions to save the family.

Sacrifice for your people: There was an abbreviation in the Army that went RHIP (Rank Has Its Privileges); but any combat leader worth his salt never understood this acronym.  It’s because we lead by sharing the same hardships with our Soldiers, even when it came to eating, as a leader, you ate last.  Judah also placed his comfort and interest behind his family’s.  When talking to Pharaoh’s Governor (Joseph), he expresses that he must bring his younger brother home, he guaranteed this to his father (Jacob).  He further emphasizes without the boy (Benjamin), his father would die of a broken heart.  At this point, Judah offers his own life for his younger brother Benjamin (Genesis 44:30-34).  As we see in the next chapter, (Genesis 45) this is the straw that broke the camel’s back and Joseph reveals his true identity.

Ironically, earlier Reuben makes an odd promise to his father Jacob, he tells his father, “if they don’t return with Benjamin, then Reuben would allow Jacob to kill his two sons (Genesis 42:37).” Inwardly, I can’t help but to hope that Jacob would never take Reuben up on that offer and truthfully, if that’s so, and Reuben knew that his father would never do such an act to his own grandsons, it shows that Reuben really didn’t have any “skin in the game.”  It would just be Reuben giving a bunch of empty words. Conversely; later, Judah does actually offers his own life for Benjamin’s (Genesis 44:30-34). Just remember, as a true leader you can’t fake it, people know.

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Lead from the Front (Genesis 46:28).  Judah led the entire family into Egypt; but this was not like heading a parade into a welcoming territory.  Egypt was considered threatening, even God told Isaac not to go there (Genesis 26:2).  It should be noted that later God did tell Israel (Jacob), that it’s safe to return to Egypt (Genesis 46:3); but what do we see in these decisions? We see that it was obvious here that Jacob’s trust as a leader was in Judah not in Reuben. Jacob made Judah take point into Egypt (Genesis 46:28), a position of critical decisions and danger. Also; this would have inspired Jacob’s small band of Hebrew to move forward and to stay the course inspired by a brother they trusted.

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We can liken this to the Battle of Gettysburg (July 3, 1863), during a massive Confederate artillery bombardment that preceded the infantry assault, General Hancock was prominent on horseback in reviewing and encouraging his troops. When one of his subordinates protested, “General, the corps commander ought not to risk his life that way,” Hancock is said to have replied, “There are times when a corps commander’s life does not count.5 ” It actually did count in the form of inspiring Soldiers to not cower and to remain on task.

We covered a lot about leadership style today; good and bad. Let’s just do a quick recap:

  • Say what you mean, mean what you say.
  • Lead from the front.
  • Sacrifice for your people
  • Be honest, even when it hurts.
  • Take the moral high ground, even if it is unpopular.

Many of us that have served under poor and good leaders can definitely use this checklist to separate the wicked chaff from the good wheat (Psalm 1:4).

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References

(1)        Judaism: The Ten Commandments, Jewish Virtual Library

(2)        Bible Timeline, Bible hub

(3)        Army Regulation 600–100, Army Leadership, Headquarters Department of the Army Washington, DC 8 March 2007, Page 1, Paragraph 1-4

(4)        By Warren G. Bennis and Burt Nana, Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge, Jenson Online Inc. 1985

(5) By James Ford Rhodes, The Battle of Gettysburg – Friday July 3, 1863, Union Major General Winfield S. Hancock, 1917

Week 37 Past the Cross – What if I’m Wrong?

Looking Through a New Lens
Week 37 Past the Cross – What if I’m Wrong?
By Terri C

A good friend and I have an elephant in the room with us that neither mentions. She knows about me walking away from the cross, but she remains firmly rooted under it. We haven’t had a “religious” discussion since the one we had on the day I told her I no longer considered  Yeshua my Lord or Savior.

 

~ I even I, am YHVH; And beside Me there is no saviour.~ (from Isaiah 43)

 

The one thing we want to say to each other but don’t, is, I’m sure:

WHAT IF YOU’RE WRONG???

 

Before I dive in, a little disclaimer, of sorts. Let the record show that I have been wrong before!

 

I was wrong when I was ten years old, and I prayed that a perfect, loving God might stop the things that made childhood a nightmare for me. That wrongness is not my fault, I won’t claim it. It was taught to me in church. I colored pictures of a man they said was God calming stormy seas. I could count on him to calm my stormy seas, too, they taught me. If the things that ruined my childhood weren’t stormy seas, then I didn’t know what was! And so I prayed for the calm, and still was nearly drowned everyday by waves. Because of that wrongness, I grew into an adult that thought IF God existed, He wasn’t concerned about a certain little girl, or the many others I knew who’d suffered even worse upbringings than my own. Wrong, wrong wrong!

 

I was wrong when in my twenties and thirties, when I openly denied God’s sovereignty. I take full responsibility for that wrongness, because plenty of people tried to explain the reasons they believed He was sovereign, and I didn’t pick up a Bible to find out for myself. As an adult, it was on me to relook at beliefs I had fostered as a child. At some point, we cannot blame our past for our present. That wrongness caused me to leave a trail of destruction in every life I touched. I’m still paying the price for it today, as are many other people on account of my actions. Wrong, wrong wrong!

 

I was wrong when I first began walking with God. I didn’t question anything I was hearing from the church, I just accepted it at face value. I even started reading the Bible in the place “they” suggested, in the chapters that have become known as the “new testament”. Reading like that, with Genesis following Revelation instead of preceding it, had me in a frame of mind to connect the “old” to the “new” instead of the other way around. It was easy to cram Jesus into every story, even though I had the niggling feeling he didn’t fit there. “Take him on faith” they told me. It doesn’t have to make sense! “Just believe!” Wrong, wrong, wrong!

 

Then I became a “Messianic Christian”. I was getting warmer, but still wrong, nonetheless. I know a lot of people in that religion who call themselves a “Messianic Jew”, but that isn’t accurate. If one believes Jesus is the messiah who will reign in the end of days, they are Christian, no matter what slant they add to that. A Jew, a truly Jewish Jew, believes the messiah has not yet come. But I digress. I learned that the instructions in Torah were still very much valid, as well as Sabbaths, Feasts and Holy Days. When I was “Messianic” I began calling Jesus “Yeshua” added tzitzit and a tallit to my mental picture of him, and still called him “Savior” all the while ignoring the Scriptures that said YHVH was not a man, had no image, and could not die. I was….Wrong, wrong wrong!

 

Not only have I been wrong in the past, so many times I refused to accept that I could be wrong! Perhaps that was my worst “wrong” of all. When I finally came to the end of myself, I came to The Father with this prayer:

 

~Father, I want to know the truth, even if (especially if), I am wrong. Show me in Your Torah who Yeshua is to me, and show me Your truth. Amein~

 

I prayed that prayer twice a day and examined Scripture with a new lens for a full year.

 

And that, my friends, is exactly when the “showing” began! I learned to compare the “new” to the “old” instead of the other way around, and everything changed! Have I got it all figured out? Why would I need YHVH at all if I did? His ways are above my ways, and His thinking is above my own. But I have figured out a few things. The first and main thing is that YHVH is ONE. Echad, in the Hebrew language. Indivisible by any whole number, and certainly not a “three in one” entity! I am grasping other concepts, too, regarding “original sin”, hell, and even Heaven. I am learning that my deeds are more important than my beliefs, and there are things that are “earned” and not given based on my “faith”. But I may yet have some wrong ideas that will be corrected through Scripture study, prayer, and the willingness to be wrong. After all, walking with my Creator is a lifetime journey, not a formula to an eternal reward.

 

And so, yes, I may be wrong. What then? What if I die tomorrow, with no more knowledge than I have today of what is truth? What if Christianity is right, and this omnipotent God really did go against His own Torah by fashioning only one “door” to Himself through a flesh and blood man, who is by definition, a demi-god? How might the conversation go when I am called before the Creator of all, if I am wrong? Believe me when I say I’ve wondered this very thing!  

 

God: Terrie, you have said that you will call no one “God” but me, or attribute My glory to another.

Me: That’s true. I base this on what Your Torah says, what the prophets say and what the Psalms say.

God: Terrie, you have believed that the way to redemption and forgiveness is through repentance, walking in My Ways and atonement on Yom Kippur.

Me: Yes, My King! Again, I base this belief on Your Torah, Your prophets, and the Psalms and Proverbs.

God: You say there is no other Name by which your salvation comes.

Me: Yes, Master. Over and over again, that is what Your Tanakh says. You have no equal. No one is beside You. There is no other Name by which I am saved.

God: You refused a human sacrifice for your salvation.

Me: Yes, Creator of all! Your Torah calls that abomination.

God: You believe the New Covenant will be written on your heart, not penned in an addendum at the end of my Tanakh.

Me: So says Your prophet Jeremiah.

 

At this point, would it even fit with YHVH’s character to say this?

 

God: That’s it! You believed My words, you believed My Torah, you believed My prophets and the Writings, and you lived as though My Name was the only Name by which your salvation comes… Now you will burn in hell eternally for it!

 

Friends, that just doesn’t add up! Does it?

 

I know I’ve got some points I’m wrong in. Part of my daily prayer is to grow in understanding and wisdom. I’m not afraid to stand wrong in front my Creator one day. The day is coming when knowledge of our God will be universal. He doesn’t expect me to understand all there is to understand about Him until that day comes. What He DOES expect me to understand, in my humble opinion, is that there is One True God, and His Name is YHVH.

 

I’ll leave it to my friend to search out her own possible wrongness. After all, my own journey is the only one I’ll be held accountable for. I hope and pray that she’ll begin with the definition of idolatry. Saying Jesus is equal to YHVH, attributing salvation to him, calling him healer, or calling him King is idolatry. Giving satan any power, or even thinking he is a worthy opponent of YHVH, is idolatry. Thinking there is another plan for “salvation” other than what the Tanakh says is idolatry. Since the beginning, it is something our God hates and demolishes. If I do stand wrong before Him one day, it will NOT be because of idolatry! The “spark” that makes me “me” belongs to my Creator, YHWH. It is my soul, which came from Him and will return to Him. I trust Him completely with it, here in this world, and in the world to come! I will give glory to no other Name than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, YHVH. If that makes me wrong, I am in good company. The very ones who have guarded His Torah since it was given from Mount Sinai, and the very ones to whom men of all nations  will cling in the end of times to learn about God (Zechariah 8), also reject the demi-god named Jesus/Yeshua. I stand firmly with them!

Paul Verses Torah

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https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

By William Jackson

What if you were told the most influential Christian spoke against God’s word.  It would be earth shattering, almost too profound to believe.  So who is considered “the most influential Christian”.  Jack Wellman, who is the Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas probably sums up the Christian mindset best by stating “…Paul was the greatest Christian and missionary that the world has ever known and that many today are still being brought to saving faith by his writings…”1.  Sure, why not, Paul wrote almost half of the New Testament, 13 out of 27 books.  However, Paul, who was considered a Pharisee of Pharisees2, talked against Torah, God’s word.  Let’s do a comparison between the Tanakh (OT) and the New Testament (NT), to see what I mean:

 

Torah

Paul
Circumcised

Uncircumcised

Genesis 17:13 The slave born in your house and the person bought with your money must be circumcised; thus my covenant will be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant.Genesis 17:10-14, Exodus 12:48, Leviticus 12:3, Joshua 5:2-8 Romans 2:29 On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; and true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual not literal; so that his praise comes not from other people but from God. 1 Corinthians 7:18-19, Galatians 5:16, 6:15, Philippians 3:3, 1 Colossians 2:11

Follow God’s Torah

Not following God’s Torah

Deuteronomy 28:1 “If you listen closely to what Adonai your God says, observing and obeying all his mitzvot which I am giving you today, Adonai your God will raise you high above all the nations on earth; Exodus 15:26, 23:22, Leviticus 26:3-13, Deuteronomy 7:12-26, 11:13, Isaiah 1:19 Romans 3:28 Therefore, we hold the view that a person comes to be considered righteous by God on the ground of trusting, which has nothing to do with legalistic observance of Torah commands. Romans 4:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5

Food Laws

No Food Laws

Isaiah 66:17 “Those who consecrate and purify themselves in order to enter the gardens, then follow the one who was already there, eating pig meat, reptiles and mice, will all be destroyed together,” says Adonai.Exodus 23:19; 34:26, Leviticus 11:3-19, Deuteronomy 14:12-21 1 Corinthians 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. Romans 14:17, Colossians 2:20-22

Marriage

*Single (see note)

Genesis 2:24 This is why a man is to leave his father and mother and stick with his wife, and they are to be one flesh.Genesis 1:28, 9:1, 7, Leviticus 26:9 1 Corinthians 7:8 Now to the single people and the widows I say that it is fine if they remain unmarried like me; 1 Corinthians 7:26-27,32-35

 priest

*Note: Being married or single; when we study out these scriptures Paul isn’t saying God wants us to be single, but it appears that Paul needs to infuse his opinion here.  So riddle me this, “at what point does any prophet or preacher ever counter God’s mandate with his own opinion in scripture?”.  The very act of doing this minimizes God’s word.  Image if your boss at work told you to tell the employees something very important so you do it but after you state your boss’s wishes you follow it up with your own counter opinion.  For example, “The boss says there will be no overtime, but you better believe it if I have to stay late I will be putting in for overtime” how much credibility would this carry in your business. We also have to remember that Paul’s “opinion” which is almost given the weight of God’s very own words in the Christian community has inspired celibacy in many Christian sects for its Priests.  This has always perplexed me.  Maybe I am crazy but how does one get advice on marriage and family from a man who has never been married or had a family? Maybe that’s why on the other side of the aisle, there are some in the Jewish community that say Rabbis should be married3. So let us look at the Torah not Paul and in doing so we see that the patriarchs and other great Torah Champions were married.  Are we not to turn to these men as our examples?  

Jews God’s Chosen People

Jews are not God’s Chosen People

Deuteronomy 14:2 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Exodus 19:5, 2 Samuel 7:23-24, 1 Kings 8:53, 10:9 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. Romans 11:25, 2  Corinthians 4:3-4

st-paul-preaching-at-athens-raphael   

Paul taught that the ushering in of Christianity made the Torah irrelevant:

Romans 3:19-21 Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

He also polarizes the new religion having one choose between Jesus or Torah.

Both-Sides-of-Your-Mouth1

Conclusion:

If you research Paul and his misrepresentation of the Torah on the internet you will find an Army of commentators telling us what Paul really meant.  Interestingly their arguments are verified as if no one holds the definitive of what Paul is really saying, just a bunch of speculation and theory.  Even the apostle Peter admits Paul is hard to understand, (2 Peter 3:16). Let me ask you this, “if a political candidate was so misunderstood would the people even allow him on the ballet?” yet since Paul, for some unknown reason, is so critical to the Christian religion many have abandon their common sense.  As a parting note let us just remember that the Christian messiah said “… let your “Yes” be simply “Yes” and your “No” simply “No,” so that you won’t fall under condemnation.” (James 5:12).

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References

(1)        Jack Wellman, What Books of the Bible Were Written by Paul? Christian Crier, September 4, 2014

(2)        Thomas Smith, A Pharisee of Pharisees, Catholic News Agency, September 29, 2008

(3)        Aron Moss, Can a Rabbi Get Married? Chabad.org

Week 36 Past the Cross

Looking Through a New LensWeek 36 Past the Cross
By Terri C

December tenth marks nine months since I “officially” walked past the cross and stepped into a covenant relationship with The One True God, YHVH. In this amount of time, a baby is fully formed into a human being in the womb. That is exactly how I feel, like a brand new baby! I have been sojourning on the Narrow Path for eleven years, but I’d spent that time with a cross strapped to my back. The writings that call themselves the “new testament” lied about that cross not being heavy. It was more than heavy! It didn’t fit through the doorway of the “inner room”. It tainted every Torah teaching I read. It didn’t add up or make any sense, but I was told it didn’t have to. It was on me to take it “on faith”. “They” told me that the whole Tanakh (Old Testament) foreshadowed the birth, life and death of this guy named Jesus (Yeshua). The truth of the matter is kind of reversed from what “they” said. The truth of the matter is that Yeshua cast a shadow over the whole Tanakh! Torah is The Way (Psalm 119) The Truth (Psalm 119) and the Life (Proverbs 13). And yet, a demi-god was given these attributes. And it worked! Is there a place in Torah where it says one day the Torah will wear flesh? No, there is not! People worship Jesus, they pray in his name, and thank HIM for their blessings. Yesterday I saw a tee shirt on a fellow at the market that said “Jesus Saves”. Really? Because all over the Tanakh, we read that we are saved by One Name alone. I’ll leave the arguments on how to pronounce that Name to those who like to argue. I’m blessed to be able to call Him Father! How then, do you suppose, that the “new” testament touched on enough things from the Tanakh to be generally accepted?

 

I have never seen the movie “Star Wars”. I’ll give you a moment to be amazed and befuddled by that. Yep, never saw it. I did, however, watch “Back to the Future” more times than I can count. My kids loved that movie, and it was a guaranteed two hour window of peace and quiet in my house when they were growing up. To this day, we can all repeat the scenes verbatim. Why did I switch from talking about Torah to box-office hits? I have a point, I promise! If I were to sit down and write a sequel for “Back to the Future”, I’d nail it! I wouldn’t miss a nuance of the main characters, and I would peg the story line, I know it so well. It would be easy for others to see that it was, indeed, a sequel to an awesome movie! I might even be able to sell it. Can the same be said regarding the “new” and “old” testaments? Does the “new” nail the “old” or does it introduce new concepts, foreign to the Tanakh? The only way to find out is to search the original!

 

If I wrote a sequel to “Star Wars”, my lack of knowledge of the original would make my attempts futile. “Star Wars” buffs wouldn’t take me seriously at all. My efforts would be a huge flop! However, if I took my sequel to those with little or no knowledge of the original movie, my mistakes wouldn’t be so noticeable. I know a few of the character’s names, after all, and I know they fly on a spaceship! My writing might even be accepted by folks who’ve never seen the movie as “Star Wars” material. Perhaps those people would consider my version truth. Like so many people in the first century did with the new religion presented to them. I was taught that the “new” message about salvation (it wasn’t written yet) was given to the “common folk” like fishermen and shepherds so that it was assessable to all people, but is that the truth? Those common folks accepted it at face value, even dropped what they were doing to follow this man, Jesus. After all, that new religion did make lots of references to God! Even though most of them had never read the Torah with their own eyes, many believed this new religion was based on it because they were told it was. But what happened when those who were learned in the Original Writings were presented with this new religion? What did the ones who held the Torah sacred since the day their forefathers accepted it at the foot of mount Sinai do with this “new” message? They rejected it altogether! Why? Because they knew the Original! They did exactly what any movie producer would do with my attempt at a “Star Wars” sequel. REJECT IT.

 

Even if I managed to “sell” my sequel to those who had never seen the original, they might be inspired to buy a ticket and see “Star Wars” themselves, and my sequel would fall apart. My deception would be exposed! This is exactly what happens when we take the “sequel” for the Scriptures, and compare them to the Originals! The “new testament” comes unraveled. When we refuse to accept something “on faith” but instead search it out against the Words of God, a whole new light shines. If something doesn’t line up with Torah, then it won’t line up in our lives, either. If it doesn’t line up with Torah, it has to go!

 

But what about all the places in Torah that supposedly foreshadow Jesus? There is a list circulating on social media that says Jesus fulfilled three hundred prophecies. I took that list into Tanakh and studied each item in context. Guess what? NO MATCH at all! Some are prophecies that have already been fulfilled (in Tanakh). Some items on the list blatantly twist Scripture from Tanakh, and some are just places they just jammed Jesus into for no logical reason. Take the binding of Isaac for just one example: “They” say it points to Jesus. Was the story about atoning mankind’s sin? Has God EVER had ANYONE kill their child for any reason? To the contrary, God calls sacrificing children abomination! So God provided the offering, and Isaac remained alive. What did God provide? An ANIMAL. How could this ever be about Jesus? It’s not. It’s a story of obedience and of trust. If you noticed, before they went up that hill, Jacob told his servants he AND his son would be back. No foreshadowing there, just an illustration from God for us to behold.

 

Christianity says that we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe it in our hearts. Boom! Done deal. We’ll be on our way to Heaven. I ask, though, is God just or isn’t He? You and I both know He is. How then would a man who’d raped and killed little girls be treated in the same way as a little old woman, whose worst offense was gossip, by God? That’s preposterous, and an insult to His perfect justice! It is the “new testament” that teaches that if we break one law, we break them all. God is not daft! If we break one law, that is where our repentance needs to be, and the consequences of breaking that law will unfold in our lives. Tanakh teaches that we will reap what we sow. Does it even make sense that our little old lady would reap the same consequences as that child rapist? Hogwash! Do we think God will let that man escape consequences? Again, is God just, or isn’t He?  I am not saying that a rapist or a murderer can’t repent and find their own salvation in God, but there is a whole lot more to it than confessing and believing! This “take it on faith” is dangerous stuff! Search it out in Scripture, instead. In the ORIGINAL Scriptures!

 

And so, here in my ninth month of not carrying that cross that cross around, I am searching Scriptures in a brand new way like a brand new baby. What I’m finding is that it is far easier without the cross! I can take Torah at face value, or I can dig as deeply into the meanings as I’m willing to go! I understand my own culpability, and my own responsibility to walk righteous before my God. I will admit that it was easier for me to believe that Jesus paid it all for me. I didn’t have to face my own shortcomings, only look to him. That was comforting to me. Having been an atheist, I acquired some pretty steep debts! But he didn’t pay for my debt, I am paying, and I will be accountable for the unpaid ones!  Even if his whole crucifixion story was the truth, remember that he prayed to escape it. Was he praying to himself? Oh wait, that’s a whole other post altogether! I digress.

 

I have been forgiven for the sins I have confessed and repented of, but have not escaped their consequences. I am learning that when I do sin, there must be restoration on my part wherever possible. A repayment of some sort. Confess and believe on Jesus (or anyone) isn’t going to cut it on the day I stand before my Creator to give an account! Instead, I repent, confess and restore. Action IS required on my part, according to Tanakh. There will be a sequel to the Original Scripture’s story in the times to come, and it will be written on our heart! We’ll know when that time has come, there will be no guess work. A glance out our window will tell us if the “world to come” has, indeed, come. Until that day, any religion invented after the final pen-stroke of the Tanakh is exactly that… invented! A true sequel will always match the original’s baseline. The sequel to even a great movie will flop if it strays away from the concepts of the original. How do we know if it strays or not? We study the original! How much more then should we study the Original Scriptures? A lot more is at stake than a ten dollar ticket!

 

“See” you next week, friends and until then, keep your face on the Original!

Jewish American Presence at Pearl Harbor

https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

By William Jackson

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December 7th 1941 will be “a date which will live in infamy” (President Franklin D Roosevelt, 1941). As most American’s know, Japan conducted a sneak attack in an attempt to destroy our Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. In the attack over 3,000 Americans were killed or wounded. But the phoenix of any great tragedy are those heroes that clashed against backdrop of catastrophe.

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The Destroyer USS Blue (DD-387)

Ensign Moldane and Ensign Asher, two Jewish Americans, were Junior Naval Officers eating breakfast on the Destroyer USS Blue (DD-387) when the attack took place. Their Skipper was on shore leaving these two men in charge. Ensign Asher took charge having the USS Blue head out to open sea, while Ensign Moldane took charge of the ships machine guns engaging the enemy(1). He was quote here saying:

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Illustration by Art Seiden

“I could see Japanese planes coming down about 30 or 40 feet over our heads. dropping bombs and shooting at anything that happened to come along. Our ship kept firing at the planes as it headed out to sea. I went out to the bridge to help Asher when we both saw a Japanese plane that the BLUE’s guns had hit go into a pineapple field. The men gave out a cheer when they saw the plane burst into flames. It took the BLUE one hour and a half to reach the open seas.”

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Congressional Medal of Honor

This was just one of many heroic acts that took place this day. The following Medals were awarded for the action at Pearl Harbor that fateful day 74 years ago

16 Congressional Medals of Honor
51 Navy Crosses
4 Silver Stars

Reference

(1) Seymour “Sy” Brody, (Oct 18, 2006) Jewish Heroes and Heroines in America, Florida Atlantic University Libraries

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Chanukkah; National Victory or Hashem’s Glory?

Center for tanakh Based Studies

By William Jackson

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 So let’s start with the events that led up to the first Chanukkah.  It all began with Israel being occupied by the Syrian-Greek Empire.  The Greek occupation started with benevolence.  Even though Israel was taxed the Greeks allowed them to keep their customs and religion.

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Alexander the Great in Jerusalem

The initial threat of Greece did not come from her taxation; it came from the influence of her culture.  This was called Hellenism and it swept through the Middle East like a plague of locus.  Sadly, many Jews embraced the concept and thus the term Hellenistic Jew was born.  Compounding the impending loss of Jewish identity was the buying and selling of priestly positions.

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So what was the threat behind this Greek culture? The problem with combining Judaism and Hellenism is that they are diametrically opposed to each other.  Let’s look at the differences.

 

Hellenism  Judaism
gods One G-d
Morality measured by man’s standard (2)  Morality measured by God’s standard
Individualism: loss of ethnic group (2) Community: embrace ethnic group
Syncretism: blending different forms of belief (2) Treating Torah as sacred
Vanity: Worship Self Humility: Worship G-d

It is easy to see here, like now, any mixing of Hashem’s word with secularism minimizes Torah.

 temple-destruction-70-ad-francesco_hayez-painting

So over the span of 150 plus years the occupation of Israel became progressively worse. Not only did taxes increased drastically but the Greeks ransacked the Temple, Jerusalem was attacked and Jewish women along with their children became enslaved.  Finally, the last and the worst of the Greek rulers made his debut.  This was Antiochus IV whose nickname was (for good reason) “the madman.”  Antiochus started a policy of aggressive Hellenization which meant his aim was to stomp out Judaism.

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It took a country Priest by the name of Mattathias to turn the tables on the madman.  Mattathias started the rebellion against the Greeks and Hellenistic Jews by killing a Hellenist Jewish Priest.  The Priest he killed was conducting a wrongful sacrifice in a small rural community 17 miles outside Jerusalem.  On the run, Mattathias went to the hills with his five sons.  From here they organized an Army of approximately 12,000 (3) led by Judah Maccabee (Mattathias’s son).  This “rag-tag” Army was pitted against a professional Greek Army over 4 times their size.

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Gravely outnumbered, the Jewish rebels fought numerous battles against the Greeks and through Hashem’s grace after three years of combat defeated them. The band of Jewish rebels earn their name the Maccabees which stood for “the hammer”.  In the end the Maccabees took back the Temple. So on the 25th day of the Jewish month Kislev (1 Maccabees 4:52) the Maccabees re-dedicated the Temple to Hashem.  This is where the word “Chanukkah” comes from which means dedication in Hebrew. “So they celebrated the rededication of the altar for eight days, (1 Maccabees 4:56) and this is where the eight days of Chanukkah comes from.

Food for thought – In 966 BCE, the original dedication of the Temple lasted eight days also (1 Kings 8:66).

Myth Busters

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According to Rabbinic tradition, the victorious Maccabees could only find a small jug of oil that had remained uncontaminated by virtue of a seal, and although it only contained enough oil to sustain the Menorah for one day, it miraculously lasted for eight days, by which time further oil could be procured (4). This is not biblically sound; but merely a traditional story that’s told.

 Menorah

Many perceive Chanukkah as Israel’s defeat of the Greek Empire; but this is only partially true.  Since Israel was divided between both Hellenistic and Traditionalist Jews, the rededication is more about the reaffirming of the sanctity of Hashem and those He desires purity in their faith from, like the Maccabees.

 Judah_Maccabee

 

References

(1) The Story of Chanukah, Chabad.org

(2) Walter B. Russell, The Effect of Hellenistic Culture on Jewish Life, Exploring Theology and Culture -J1

(3) Rabbi Ken Spiro, History Crash Course #29: Revolt of the Maccabees, Aish.com

(4) “Talmud, Tractate Shabbat”. Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved 2013-07-29.