Torah Teachings for Sabbath (Ki Tissa)

Veau-dor

“Six days you will work, but on the seventh day you are to rest — even in plowing time and harvest season you are to rest.” – Exodus 34:21 (Taken from this week’s Torah Portion)

2. Internet Teachings and Groups

a. Friday:

YHWH Exists with Jodell Onstott at 9:30pm (EST). Here Jodell Onstott will conduct readings with excellent teachings from here book YHWH Exists. Just so you know, it is not necessary to have the book, to join the study and the open chat. Simply click onto Jodell’s site and have her lead you through this stirring study about YHWH. She also will post the link on her page http://smile.amazon.com/YHWH-Exists…

b. Saturday:

Talking Torah with Jeff Gilbert at 10:30am (EST). Simply click onto the “24/7 Talking Torah” on the homepage then click onto “Talking Torah Chat” for excellent worship music and thought provoking teachings. Also on the homepage click “Talking Torah Chat” and engage Jeff with questions while communicating with other likeminded believers.

3. Torah Portion.  These are some notes and aids to help study out this week’s Torah portion:

Torah Portion 21, Ki Tissa (when you take)

Exodus 30:11–34:35,

 

Last Week’s Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (Your command) 

  • Priestly Clothing
  • Dedication of the Priests
  • The Alter
  • Overview of the Sacrifices

Audio Lecture:

Talking Torah Live! Ki-Tissa, If you believe Moses…

Parshah Class: Ki Tisa, By Baruch Epstein

Great G-dcast Video for Kids and Adults:

Parshat Ki Tisa: Seeing the Golden Calf

1st Exodus 30:11-16 Money for the Tabernacle

V12 “…pay a ransom for his life to Adonai…”

People who were at the age of accountability (20) owed their lives to God.

V13 Israel took a census:

Over 1,400 years later King David would be punished with plagues for taking a census (2 Samuel 24:1-25).  So what was the difference?  A possibility is that if a count was made without receiving the ransom money, the census would have communicated the idea that a king or a human leader owned Israel, when God alone did. (David Guzik)

V13 Worth of a half shekel.

Many might believe that a shekel was a coin.  It was probably a piece of silver whose weight was a shekel.

The first coins would not become invented until 700-600 BCE, over 700 years later.

Exodus 30:24 notes that the measures of the ingredients for the holy anointing oil were to be calculated using the Shekel of the Sanctuary

At today’s rate of approximately 17 US dollars per ounce, 8 grams of silver is around five dollars. –  Rabbi Eliezer Posner

V15 “the rich is not to give more or the poor less than the half-shekel when giving Adonai’s offering to atone for your lives.”

This could signify that all souls were equally precious in the sight of God, and that no difference of outward circumstances could affect the state of the soul; all had sinned, and all must be redeemed by the same price.” (Clarke)

V16 “…use it (the half shekels) for the service in the tent of meeting…”

“It must have weighed something over four tons, and this was dedicated to the use of the tabernacle: the special application of the precious metal was to make sockets into which the boards which made the walls of the tabernacle should be placed.” (Spurgeon)

2nd Exodus 30:17-38 (End) the Washbasin, Anointing Oil and the Incense

V18 “You are to make a basin of bronze (for washing) …”

Bronze, which is a copper alloy, has antimicrobial properties which kills germs.  This was discovered in 1893, over 3,000 years after God told Israel to make these basins for washing.  –  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

V23-26 Recipe for anointing oil (it would make about 7 gallons).  Many of the ingredients have an antibacterial quality. 

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Pure Myrrh – 500 shekels (about 12 ½ – 15 pounds):Myrrh kills bacteria and possesses anti-fungal properties. It can keep microbes from growing in your body and causing an infection.
  2. Cassia – 500 shekels (about 12 ½ – 15 pounds):Cassia is just like cinnamon but sweeter. It supplements or replaces most cinnamon because it’s cheaper. Cassia has antibacterial and antifungal properties like myrrh. However, when applied to the skin, cassia can sometimes cause skin irritation. This might explain Exodus 30:32 where it’s says “It shall not be poured upon human flesh…”
  3. Fragrant Cinnamon – 250 shekels (about 6 ¼ – 7 ½ pounds):True Cinnamon is harder to get than Cassia. Maybe this is why it was used with Cassia. This simple household spice has antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties. This, along with the others, would have been an exceptional way to keep germs down and communicable diseases away.
  4. Calamus – 250 shekels (about 6 ¼ – 7 ½ pounds):Calamus has been esteemed as an aromatic stimulant and mild tonic (8). Its oil is also used in the production of perfumes.
  5. Olive Oil – 1 Hin (almost a gallon):Olive oils do contain high levels antioxidants but it’s primary role in this recipe was probably a binding agent that helped the other ingredients mix. It was used throughout history as a base for perfumes and oils.

THE SCENT

The Aromatherapy for these Essential Oils:

  • Myrrh: Scent black licorice, promotes centering, meditative.
  • Cassia: Scent sweet cinnamon, promotes comfort, energizing
  • Cinnamon: Scent (obvious), promotes refreshing, vitalizing
  • Calamus: Scent a spicy odor: promotes calmness, harmony

By William Jackson, Recipe for Anointing Oil, probable reasons behind ingredients, Center for Tanakh Based Studies, March 9, 2015

V34 Recipe for incense

aromatic plant substances/ fragrant spices

  1. balsam resin/resin droplets: Used in perfumes and in medicinal preparations.
  2. sweet onycha root/ mollusk shell: Unknown ingredient (three possibilities)
  3. bitter galbanum gum: Used in perfumes and also has many health benefits.
  4. Frankincense: Used in perfumery and aromatherapy

Where so many sacrifices were offered it was essentially necessary to have some pleasing perfume to counteract the disagreeable smells that must have arisen from the slaughter of so many animals, the sprinkling of so much blood, and the burning of so much flesh.” (Clarke)

V35 Incense is to be salted

“This ‘salting’ of the mixture was probably designed to secure rapid burning, through the addition of sodium chloride. Perhaps it was also done for the preservative value of the salt.” (Cole)

V33, 38 If someone makes the anointing oil or incense for their own personal use they will be cut off from the people.

3rd Exodus 31:1-11 Craftsmen: Bezalel and Oholiab

V3 “I have filled him with the Spirit of God…”

The word used for “spirit” is “ruach” which is “God’s spirit.  The soul has three parts the ruach is one of them.

V6 “…Moreover, I have endowed all the craftsmen with the wisdom to make everything I have ordered you”

Bezalel and Oholiab were not the only people that God placed His ruach on.

V11 “…they are to make everything just as I have ordered you.”

Remember, although God made Bezalel and Oholiab responsible these men did teach other how to do it (Exodus 35:34).

4th Exodus 31:12-18 (End) Instructions for the Sabbath

V13 “…You are to observe my Shabbats…”

This command was strategically placed – at the very end of all the commands to build the tabernacle. Though God gave Israel a work to do in building the tabernacle He did not want them to do that work on the Sabbath. (David Guzik)

V18 “…tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.”

Thus the expression “written in stone”

5th Exodus 32:1-29 The Gold Calf

V1 “…make us gods to go ahead of us; because this Moshe, the man that brought us up from the land of Egypt — we don’t know what has become of him.”

The golden calf was to replace Moses not God

By William Jackson, The Golden Moses, Center for Tanakh Based Studies, March 6, 2015

V4 “He received what they gave him, melted it down, and made it into the shape of a calf…”

So why a calf?

Calf is not a good translation of the Hebrew “egel”. A young bull in his first strength is meant: for instance, the word can describe a three-year-old animal (Genesis 15:9).”

The bull had an important role in the art and religious texts of the ancient Near East. The storm-god *Hadad is frequently represented standing on a bull. (Encyclopedia Judaica: The Golden Calf)

Maybe a calf was chosen instead of a bull because it was smaller.  Moses was obvious less significant than God – smaller.

V10 “…I can put an end to them (the Israelites)! I will make a great nation out of you instead.”

God was going to destroy Israel for worshipping the golden calf.  He was going to start a new nation through Moses like He did Abraham.

V11-14 Moses pleaded with God, changes His mind

Moses showed the compassion for other people like Abraham did for Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19).  Unlike Noah, who we have no record of him pleading for the lives of the people.  The lesson here is that God wants us to have empathy towards our fellow man.

V19 “…He threw down the tablets he had been holding and shattered them…”

Who was the first person to break all time commandments at once? Moses.

Note: Sadly, over 1,400 years later this incident would repeat itself through King Jeroboam with the division of Israel’s Kingdom (1 Kings 12:26–30).

V20 “he made the people of Israel drink it (The golden calf)”

Possibly for any or all of these reasons:

  • To show that the so-called god was nothing and could be destroyed easily
  • To completely obliterate this idol
  • To make the people pay an immediate consequence of their sin
  • To make the gold of the idol absolutely unusable, being corrupted with bodily waste.

“The gold dust sprinkled on the water of the wady, flowing down from the mountain, the water that Israel must drink, reminds us of the ‘water of bitterness’ to be drunk by the wife suspected of unfaithfulness (Numbers 5:18-22).” (Cole)

V21 “Moshe said to Aharon, “What did these people do to you to make you lead them into such a terrible sin?”

Aaron’s sin was so great that only the intercession of Moses saved his life. And the Lord was very angry with Aaron and would have destroyed him; so I prayed for Aaron also at the same time. (Deuteronomy 9:20)

6th Exodus 32:30-33:11 Moses Intercedes for Israel

V32 if you won’t (forgive them), then, I beg you, blot me out of your book which you have written!”

V33-34 (God held accountable those that sinned)

God does not allow other people to pay for our sins.

Deuteronomy 24:16 “Fathers are not to be executed for the children, nor are children to be executed for the fathers; every person will be executed for his own sin.” (also 2 Kings 14:6, Ezekiel 18:18, 20, 26)

The Christian NT states differently: John 1:29, 1 John 3:5, 1 Peter 2:24

V11” Adonai would speak to Moshe face to face…”

This was probably figurative, read the rest of the verse “…as a man speaks to his friend…”

7th Exodus 33:12-23  (End) Moses Sees the Lord’s Glory

V13 (Moses speaking) “…Moreover, keep on seeing this nation as your (God’s) people.”

Moses appears to notice that God started to refer to the Israelites as Moses’ people not God’s.

Exodus 32:7 Adonai said to Moshe, “Go down! Hurry! Your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have become corrupt!

In this verse Moses appears to be appealing to God, reminding Him that Israel is God’s chosen people.

V20 (God speaking) “…my face,” he continued, “you cannot see, because a human being cannot look at me and remain alive”

This confirms that V11 is figurative.

8th Exodus 34:1-35 A New Copy of the Covenant 

V6 “…rich in grace …”

The word translated gracious comes from the idea “to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, or to bestow” (Erwin). It is grace, giving to the undeserving

V13 “…you are to demolish their (Canaanite) altars, smash their standing-stones and cut down their sacred poles

As previously stated in Exodus 23:24, showing that the culture of the Canaanites was so corrupt that it was beyond redemption. God did not want Israel to assume any of the sinful practices found in the culture of the Canaanites.

V17 (God) “Do not cast metal gods for yourselves”

The repetition of this command (the idea is in Exodus 20:4, the second commandment) was especially meaningful in light of the golden calf debacle.

V19 “Everything that is first from the womb is mine…”

Here God repeated the laws regarding the firstborn and their dedication to Him, first stated in Exodus 13:11-13 and 22:29-30.

Later God would take the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn (Numbers 3:45-47)

As a point of reference God did call Israel his firstborn (Exodus 4:22).

V23 “Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Lord, Adonai, the God of Isra’el.”

God commanded that at three feasts each year (Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles), each Israelite man should gather before the Lord (Exodus 23:14-17).

 

50 Weeks Past the Cross -Hold Torah Tightly!

Looking Through a New Lens
50 Weeks Past the Cross – Hold Torah Tightly!
By Terrie C

Today marks my 50th week since walking past the cross and I have a great post for week 49 still unfinished in my documents. Last week, I began looking at forgiveness through this new lens. Like everything else, there are different concepts to consider after removing the writings that call themselves the “new testament” from my reference reading. As soon as I typed the first sentence last week, I started seeing the subject everywhere! I love when HaShem does that, don’t you?  I pulled the piece out today to get it finished and uploaded, but didn’t feel the sense of “release” I always feel before I hit that “post” button. The past 11 years of walking with God have taught me to not post without that release. Apparently, I have more to learn about forgiveness before I share!

 

Fortunately, I had a (very) rare case of insomnia last night, and collected some thoughts in the three o’clock hour. I sat on the back porch admiring the gorgeous moon and was lulled by the sound of a quiet, steady rain. Without the distractions that come in the day, I was able to let my mind wander through all the changes in my life since I stopped giving Yeshua (Jesus) credit that only belongs to YHVH. There are some things that have really surprised me “over here” on this side of the cross! And so, these “surprises” are what we’ll have a look at today. If the cross is still visible in your rearview mirror, I hope that this post will give you the opportunity to be prepared, should you encounter these surprises in your own journey, so that they will present less of a struggle for you than they did me.

 

Surprise Number One: Personal Relationships

I expected to lose many Christian and Messianic Christian friends, and I did. It’s been interesting, though,  to see who stayed and who left my life. My advice to you would be to handle your relationships very carefully and prayerfully! Avoid sharing what you’re learning in the beginning. Keep your explanation for your decision to walk past the cross simple and short. For example: “I have studied it out in Scripture, and come to a place where I can’t credit anyone but God for being God.” Your friends are going to have excellent questions and excellent arguments. The first couple of months past the cross are NOT the time to address them! There is so much more to this than leaving Yeshua behind you! Try your best to keep shalom in the relationship, even if they are angry at you and show their ugly side. Yes, that will happen with some. Let them walk away if they must and do nothing to burn the bridge they crossed. Should they have questions of their own one day, if you left the relationship with grace, mercy, shalom and dignity, it may just be YOU they bring their questions to!

 

Surprise Number Two: Lottsa Different Doctrine!

If you think you are only walking away from Yeshua and that everything else will be the same, better grab hold of something secure… you’re in for a thrill ride! Make that something the Torah! Use it as your plumbline. Torah is the part of Scripture that houses God’s “mission statements”. It is our instruction manual to navigate this world while we yet wear coats of human flesh. Here on this side of the cross, you won’t find the concept of original sin. You won’t find “your authority” to heal, to “name it and claim it” or to have your every desire fulfilled just by asking for it in someone’s name. You won’t find the concept of being saved by the blood of a man, or of having a mediator for your willful sin. There is no forgiveness, in fact, for willful sin except repentance and atonement. Here, you’ll find a whole new meaning to the ritualistic sacrifices in the Temple! Hell and satan look different here, and salvation is a physical event, not a spiritual one. Christianity taught us to view the Tanakh (Old Testament) through the lens of Yeshua and the writings that didn’t even appear until long after his death. Over here, you’re gonna need a new lens! It will take time to remove him from all the places we’ve stuck him where he doesn’t belong! That’s okay, give yourself time. The further away you get from that cross, the more the beauty of God’s story will shine through for you (and make sense)!

 

Surprise Number Three: Jewish or Jew-ish?

A year ago, I though Jewish and Christian were my only two choices as a child of The Almighty! In fact, when I came out of Christianity, I told those with whom I was closest that I would be converting to Judaism. As I continued along the path, though, I learned that those aren’t my only two choices. From the beginning, there have been those who’ve stood with the Jews without necessarily converting to Judaism. Even in Zechariah’s prophecy for the times to come, we’re told that many will take hold of a Jew to learn about God, because He is with them. Notice how it doesn’t say they will all convert to Judaism? (Reference, Zechariah 8:23) I know people who have converted after leaving the cross. They tell me it was something put on their heart so heavily, they felt compelled to absorb all things Jewish. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you are following a prompting from our Creator, and not just looking for a community to fit into. Here in the middle, the feeling of not fitting anywhere can be overwhelming. Ignore it. Fit into God, and trust Him with the rest! I can’t say that God won’t steer me into a conversion to Judaism one day, but I am positive that He isn’t right now. And that’s okay! Scripture has a lot to say about the “stranger in the gate”. We have always been right there, next to the Jewish folk.

 

Surprise Number Four: “Dehumanizing” God

It was easy to make God into an old man with a long white beard and a staff in His hand, wasn’t it? After all, it’s a figure we can relate to, and easy for children to color in Sunday School. On this side of the cross, though, we are forced to recognize all the Scriptures that tell us He ISN’T a man, and has no form. Here, when we get glimpses of Him, He is within a fire, or is speaking from within a cloud. He is obscured because there is no form to see! He was perfectly able to dwell among men, but He didn’t do it as a man. He created a space to meet with men, but still they only heard a voice. I used to envision Him when I prayed to look like that old man I described a few sentences ago. Now I have come to realize that anywhere I am, I am actually standing within Him! Now I turn my palms up and stretch out my arms. His sun is warming my face, His “breath” is caressing my skin with a breeze, He is everywhere around me! I missed many aspects of His enormity when I had him crammed into a six foot frame for me to relate to. He is so much bigger than I ever gave Him credit for! Here on this side of the cross, it’s easy to see that nothing is about us, and everything is about Him! Christianity had that reversed. They made everything about us. Our “eternal salvation”, our blessing, our authority… us, us US! Truth is, when we place God in proper perspective, we don’t need to worry a bit about the “everafter”! His Torah is for this life. For right now, today. When we are obedient, repentive and doing good for others, He’s got our back for all time to come.

 

Surprise Number Five: Many Doors

My favorite poet, Kahlil Gibran, said “God made truth with many doors to welcome every believer who knocks on them.” Although I used to disregard that statement while still enjoying his poetry, I can now see the truth in it. It was man who accredited God with the the “one door” policy. It is another great example of how much we shrank an omnipotent God to fit Him into our capacity of understanding! As a Christian, it was easy for me to deem others hell-bound because they didn’t  believe how I believed. Oh, I was too “good” to do it outloud, but I sure did a lot of doing it in my head! If people weren’t Christian, I kept them at arm’s length. For ten years, I listened to no music that wasn’t Christian. Ditto for books I read and movies I watched. I considered no man wise unless he thoroughly understood the concept of John 3:16. In my opinion then, anyone who hadn’t accepted Yeshua as their Savior was doomed for eternity. I’ll admit something, will you be honest and do the same? I thought I was better than them! (Forgive me YHVH!) Now, I glean wisdom and enjoyment from many different sources! If something isn’t in violation of Torah, then it is worthy of my consideration. Not as doctrine, but as wisdom. Never again will I assume I know another man’s fate upon his death, or even how The Almighty will deal with him in life. The only thing I know for sure is that God despises evil, and will have wrath for those that practice it. But again, I will leave that between Him and them. My thoughts and opinions aren’t necessary in the relationship others have (or don’t have) with God. My own covenant with Him is my concern.

 

Without question, walking away from the cross is going to deliver one huge answer: GOD IS ONE. But take it from me, friend, it’s also going to generate many, many questions! Reach out to others who’ve been where you are today. I’d be more than happy to receive a message from you at riseandshine@post.com, as would the administrators of this site at Center for Tanakh Based Studies. There are also countless groups and pages on Facebook  that can be valuable resources for you! If you’d like, here’s a group that you can go and try today, #NoNeedForJesus! It’s true that you’re going to lose many friends because of your decision to walk past the cross, but you can trust that God is going to send you some new ones. That’s how He rolls!

 

“See” you next time 🙂  ~Terrie C

 

Who is Satan to Us?

Center for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William Jackson

satan

After leaving the church and beginning to only read my Tanakh, I started to realize Christianity’s obsession with Satan.  You see, my new mission in life is to unlearn those teachings found in the Christian testament (NT) and try to refine my walk using Tanakh only.  Sometimes it’s hard; thoughts come into my head and I have to ask myself, “Is that really in God’s scriptures or is that in the NT?” When it comes to the topic of Satan in the NT, it can be overwhelming.  For instance, the NT mentions demons over 60 times, and almost half of its books talk about Satan.  Conversely, the Tanakh never talks about people being possessed by demons, and only three books even mention Satan.  Furthermore, even Satan’s appearances in these books are limited.  We will discuss here the three times Satan is mentioned in the Tanakh to better understand who or what he is to us.

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For starters, it appears that Satan’s roll is to challenge people.  The first time the Tanakh mentions him is in the Book of Job, where God allows him to impose hardships on Job (Job 1:6-2:7).  Many people see this exchange in terms of a competition between God and Satan, but God is clearly in charge and establishes certain restraints on Satan (Job 2:7).  After this verse, we do not hear about Satan again.  The majority of the Book of Job is dialogue between Job and his friends as they contemplate the purpose behind Job’s misfortunes.  The point of the Book of Job is not to introduce Satan but to inspire readers to ponder the age old question “Why do the righteous suffer?”1 God enters the conversation starting in Chapter 38 by challenging Job’s weakness with His divine wisdom and omnipotence2.  Satan, merely a facilitator, did his job and moved on.

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Satan resurfaces in the Tanakh over a millennium later where we see him swaying King David. 1 Chronicles states that Satan prompted King David to take a census (1 Chronicles 21:1).  Apparently, this was wrong and angered God, and He ended up punishing Israel for this infraction (1 Chronicles 21:7).  Over 1,400 years earlier, God did have Israel take a census in Exodus in order to receive contributions for His Tabernacle (Exodus 30:13).  So, what was the difference?  One of the possibilities is that if a count took place without God’s command, then the census could have communicated the idea that a king or a human leader owned Israel, when God alone owned the land. Regardless of the reason, we know that David should not have done this, and his action angered God.  At this point we need to say to ourselves, “If Satan truly possessed David, David wouldn’t have been able to control his own actions and God probably would not have punished him”.  However, the truth is that David more than likely gave into his own evil inclination (Yetzer Hara). Instead of resisting temptation, David disobeyed God, and thus he was punished. God counseled Cain in Genesis 4:7, and David and the rest of us need to adhere to this same advice: “…rule over our own sin”.

Zech

The third and last time Satan is mentioned is in the Book of Zechariah.  Here Satan is making an accusation against Israel’s High Priest, Jeshua. God rebukes Satan for his accusations.  But these are prophecies much like Daniel’s visions in Daniel 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 1 and 12. In Zechariah chapters 1-6, the scriptures portray Zechariah’s visions as rich in symbolism.  For example, shortly after these verses in which God rebukes Satan, Jeshua is said to be wearing a dingy garment.  An angel then changes them for clean ones.  After this the angel exclaims, “…I have taken away your sins…” (Zechariah 3:3-4).  Later in chapter 6 Jeshua is crowned High Priest.  Again these are all visions because Jeshua was already the High Priest before Zechariah was ever written.  The Book of Zechariah recalls the nation’s past history for the purpose of relating a solemn warning to the present generation3.  Satan is used in this story to symbolically accentuate the sin of Israel.  The representation now becomes God rebuking Satan, which means that Israel was forgiven (Zechariah 3:2).

Satan and JC

In conclusion, the Satan talked about in the Tanakh is not the same one the Christians portray in their books.  The Christians give Satan something of a godly status (2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 John 5:19, Ephesians 2:2).  As we reviewed in Tanakh, the first two times Satan was mentioned, he was a mere underling to God.  The third and last time Satan makes an appearance in Tanakh, he is simply a vision that is used to spur on a story about Israel’s past sins.

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Reference:

  1. Lawson, Steven J. Job. B&H Publishing Group., 2005

 

  1. Sawyer, John F.A. “Job”. In Lieb, Michael; Mason, Emma; Roberts, Jonathan. The Oxford Handbook of the Reception History of the Bible. Oxford University Press. 2013

 

  1. Carol L. Meyers Haggai, Zechariah 1-8 Vol.25B The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries 1987

Was Satan Cast out of Heaven?

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Center for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William Jackson

Most of us have heard the story about Lucifer (or Satan), being cast out of heaven.  As the story goes, he was cast down to earth from heaven and took a third of the angels with him.  For those of us who left the church to live a more Tanakh centric life, this story still resonates with us, and many of us ask, “How much of it is true?”. As I remember, there were verses in both the Christian New and Old Testament that back up the story of Lucifer and his troupe being thrown out of heaven.  Let us find out which parts of this story are true and which are false in the Tanakh, God’s word.

This story is actually in the Tanakh, in Isaiah:

“O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12).

Christian commentary says that the “morning star” is Satan.

Actually, “morning star” is called “O Lucifer” in less than half of the Christian Bibles:

Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, *O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (KJV)

Morning-Star

*The word for Lucifer is actually “Helel” (1966), which is “morning” or “star of the morning” in Hebrew.

This verse on its own doesn’t imply Satan.  Yet, when you add it to the Christian Testament (NT), it gives the verse new possibilities.  If we look into the NT it defines what a falling star is – the Christian messiah says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18), and in the book of the Revelation, Satan is seen as “a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth” (Revelation 9:1).  Attaching these Christian verses, it really feels like Isaiah is talking about Satan.

Jesus-Morning-Star-Photoshop (2)

Yet, what is confounding is that when we read further in Revelations, we see the Christian messiah is being referred to as a “morning star” in Revelation 22:16.

david

Actually in Revelation 22:16 Christians connect their messiah with King David because David was considered a shooting star.  This idea is found in Numbers 24:17 were it implies the foreshadowing of David as a future warrior:

“I see it, but not now; I behold it, but not soon. A star has gone forth from Jacob, and a staff will arise from Israel which will crush the princes of *Moab and uproot all the sons of Seth” 

*King David would be the one to crush (defeat) the Moabites in II Samuel 8:2 about 1,400 years later.

“So who is “the Star” in Isaiah 14:12?”

The Jewish say that the “morning star” is Venus, which gives light as the morning star.  Venus starts out brightly but then fades away.  The analogy here can be applied to the Babylonian ruler1.

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If we read before this verse in Isaiah 14:1-4 we see that it is talking about how Adonai will allow the Jewish people to defeat Babylon.  The demise referred to in Isaiah 14:12-15 is not Satan being thrown from heaven but Nebuchadnezzar being thrown out of power.

Actually, Isaiah chapters 13 through 22 are Isaiah’s Prophesies against the Nations and have nothing to do with the Christian prince of darkness.  There is ample evidence that much of Isaiah was composed during the Babylonian captivity2.  Therefore, it makes sense that this passage is really about King Nebuchadnezzar being dethroned.

As many of us know, due to Israel’s rebellion, God allowed Babylon to capture them.  In Jeremiah 28:14 God states “‘I have put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations, so that they can serve N’vukhadnetzar (Nebuchadnezzar) king of Bavel (Babylon)’”.  Isaiah’s prophecies about Babylon dying out “like a morning star” came to fruition when the Babylonian captivity ended as stated in Ezra 2:1.

As such, the Tanakh really never states that Satan was thrown out of heaven.  It is talking about the fall of Babylon’s ruler King Nebuchadnezzar.  So what about the part where a third of the angels leave heaven?

Lucifer cast out of heaven- Dore

This can be found in Revelation 12:4:

“Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.”

As we know much of Revelations was plagiarized from the Book of Daniel.  This segment is no different, and it was taken from Daniel 8:10.  Daniel is rich in symbolism but the stars here do not resemble anything demonic.  In fact, quite the opposite – they are symbolic of Israel (Genesis 15:5, 22:17, 26:4).

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The only other place where it talks about angels being cast of heaven is the Book of Jubilee.  The Book of Jubilee never made it into the canonization of the Tanakh because of doubt with regards to its authorship and authenticity3.  It can, however, be found in the Apocrypha.

As we see, when we are willing to cross reference verses in the Tanakh the truth becomes evident.  There have been sermons, books, and doctrines based off an interpretation that could have been disproven if whoever made these assumptions was willing to read before and after this single passage – amazing!

This leaves us with the question “Who is Satan to us,”  we will answer that in next week’s article.

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Reference

(1)        Tovia Singer, Who Is Satan? Outreach Judaism

 

(2)        Sweeney, Marvin A.  “The Latter Prophets”. In McKenzie, Steven L.; Graham, Matt Patrick. The Hebrew Bible Today: An Introduction to Critical Issues. Westminster John Knox Press., 1998

 

(3)        The Book of Jubilees – What is it? Should the Book of Jubilees be in the Bible? Compelling Truth, n.d.

48 Weeks Past the Cross – Riddle Me This

Looking Through a New Lens48 Weeks Past the Cross – Riddle Me This
By Terrie  C

 

As the cross that represents Yeshua begins to fade in my “rear-view” mirror, I honestly don’t even give it much thought anymore. Maybe when I mark my first year of using only Tanakh as Scripture, I’ll change the name of my Blog from “Looking Through a New Lens” to “Looking Through a Different Lens”. After the initial shock of everything being different “over here”,  things really do begin to fall into place! As I walk out the last of my first year away from the cross, I thought I’d make a post directed at those who might be having questions of their own right now, and feel like there’s no one they can ask without being called a heretic.

 

Note: If you have already walked away from the cross, or were never camped out under it, this post will be a repetition of a story you’re hearing more and more these days. As always, though, your thoughts and opinions, as well as your own story, are always welcomed and encouraged in comments section of my posts! Feel free to share this to your own site, too, if you feel led to do so. You might be surprised by who has great questions of their own, but  no one to ask.

 

Now, if you have question marks in the margins of your new testament, this post is for you! I don’t claim to have any “secret” answers, and don’t claim to know something you do not. Anything I know is written in the Tanakh (Old Testament), which houses the Torah (the five books of Moses). These are God’s instructions to His own.  We come to a point when we understand that if it isn’t in Tanakh, then it “isn’t”. The end is from the beginning, and every answer can be found there. Nothing gets added, nothing taken. It is with this mindset that you will begin to find the answers to those question marks. If you’ve tried to google for those answers, you found a hundred contradictory teachings, didn’t you? Take heart! You can learn something from them all. You learn how to study Torah for yourself. God made a door for each of us to touch Him at our level of understanding. Once we walk through the door, that level will deepen. No matter where you are on your journey, His written Word will “speak” to you! For too long, we have let others tell us what all the verses “mean”. But put some credit to seeing them in black and white with your own eyes! Give due credit to context! When you see that it doesn’t add up, search deeper, don’t let anyone tell you to “take it on faith”, for it has already been written!

 

I share my rambling thoughts every week or so because I want others to know that their questions can be the beginning of a great quest! If you aren’t familiar with my journey, here it is in a nutshell:

 

~There were already about fifty question marks in the margins of my KJV new testament when a sister walked away from the cross. I decided then to look for Yeshua in the Old Testament so I could say for myself that I saw him there with these very eyes. Not shrouded in parables that some preacher showed me, but him… someone who paid for the whole world’s sin debt. I didn’t say a word to anyone about my year-long study, and didn’t ask anyone questions, lest their opinion should sway me.  I took the list of prophecies Yeshua was credited to fulfilling with me to research each one in context, as well as my list of those question marks. I never found him in that OT. I could only find YHVH, my redeemer and savior and the One True God, who shares His glory with no one.~

 

From the beginning of this journey, I have been led to only share my questions, and not the answers I found. You see, our Creator grants revelation, not this girl. Perhaps you’ll see your own question in my list. Perhaps my list will spark a question in your spirit. Either way, I share it, hoping that you will continue digging and seeking.  God says that we will find Him when we seek with all our hearts, and isn’t that the goal, finding Him? For length reasons, I’ve reduced my list to the questions that niggled at my spirit the most. Perhaps you have wondered about the same things. Now, riddle me this:

 

  1. Where does the OT tell us tell us a man or a man/god would atone for the sins I commit?
  2. What is the criteria for a sin offering or for atonement?
  3. What does Messiah mean?
  4. Is there more than one Messiah mentioned in the OT?
  5. Where do the Prophets announce two comings of the same Messiah?
  6. Did Yeshua meet the criteria for being the End Times Messiah? Did he do what the Scriptures say he would?
  7. What will the ET Messiah even do here on earth, according to Tanakh? Will  he be  a man to be revered, or a god to be worshipped?
  8. If one Name saves, why do we credit a  different name than YHVH’s?
  9. Is there anyone else in the OT that God calls His Son, or the Prince of Peace?
  10. Where does anyone besides YHVH heal in the OT?
  11. Did Yeshua change the words of Torah?
    1. (Ex: I know you’ve heard it said, but I tell you…)
  12. Did Yeshua add to the Word? (And this I add…)
  13. Why are the 4 Gospel accounts of the Passion Narrative so different, if they were Holy-Spirit breathed into the authors?
  14. Why was nothing written for so long after Yeshua walked the earth? Surely seeing God in the flesh would be notable. Yet the NT has books written from (at least) 30 years after his death to over a hundred years after!
  15. Who wrote those Gospel accounts, and had they walked with Yeshua, as implied? (Hint: this one’s for your search engine!)
  16. Why does the NT specifically say they are doing something to fulfill a prophecy? That would be like me saying, “I’m drinking coffee today without my french vanilla creamer, so that prophecy can be fulfilled.”
  17. Are there prophecies mentioned in NT that aren’t even in OT?
  18. Why were Yeshua’s last words about being forsaken?
  19. Are all God’s Feasts about a future “savior”?.
  20. Is hell a different concept in the OT?
  21. Why does NT call satan king of this earth (or prince of this world), giving him authority?
  22. Where are demons, or a devil who can devour our eternal soul,  in OT?
  23. Where is evangelizing in  OT?
  24. Where is antiChrist in OT?
  25. Where is the concept of being born with original sin in OT?
  26. Is it in God’s character to brutally punish the innocent to atone the guilty? Isn’t He the champion of the innocent?
  27. Why does the OT say that the new Covenant would be written on our hearts, and not mention a “new testament”? New writings aren’t mentioned at all.
  28. What was the meaning behind the Pass-Over Lamb? Was it even a sin offering?
  29. Why did Yeshua tell us to symbolically drink his blood when Torah forbids the drinking of blood?
  30. Why would God impregnate another man’s betrothed?

 

Those are the questions I took into the Tanakh, along with that list of prophecies I mentioned earlier. I did some research on my search engine, too, as well as listen to teachings from both sides of this issue. I wouldn’t vote in an election without considering both sides of an issue, and who I call “King” is so much more important!  After a year, my study ended with me walking away from the cross. I now call God the same thing He calls Himself: ONE. The question marks are gone, and I am finally free from the lies our fathers inherited! The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is finally the God of Terrie C, too!  May His Peace, Truth and Light ever shine on you.

 

 

Non-Jewish Prayer

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https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

By William Jackson

Many of us who are trying to live a Tanakh based life measure everything we do against His word.  We have adhered to erroneous teachings from our past religions.  In an effort to purify our current journey, we have chosen to refine our walk with the Tanakh, burning away anything tainted (Zechariah 13:9 and Malachi 3:3). As we get rid of the New Testament, crosses, and Messianic tzitzits, we must also flush out the old tenets from our mind and adopt those precepts that are only acceptable by the Father. Prayer is one of the cornerstones of our faith, but it needs to be refined.  We will address here how non-Jews can pray while remaining loyal exclusively to Tanakh, His written word.

tefilah

Where does the word prayer come from? The English root word for prayer means to beg or plead.   Conversely, the Hebrew word for prayer is Tefilah. This is derived from the Hebrew root word Pe-Lamed-Lamed and the word l’hitpalel, meaning to judge oneself 1. Since the original language of God’s written word is Hebrew, we should gravitate back to those original meanings before they became Anglicized in thought.  Just remember, God wants our repented heart (Psalm 34:19 and Psalm 51:19), so we should first go to Him in prayer of repentance, asking Him to help make us righteous before asking for supplications.

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In reading the Tanakh, it feels like the predominance of those who prayed to God and received His blessing were Jewish.  Interestingly, there were many non-Jews that spoke to the Master.  In the millennium before the first Jewish Patriarch (Abraham) there are several recorded relationships with God and humanity: Adam (Genesis 3:10), Eve (Genesis 3:13), Cain (Genesis 4:6-15), Enoch (Genesis 5:24), and Noah (Genesis 6:9). Even after Abraham, one of the more significant prayers came from Abraham’s servant, and the prayer was for a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:12-15).   After Judaism was established through Jacob, we see strong Jewish and non-Jewish affiliation with prayer.  For example, did you know that Moses prayed for Pharaoh (Exodus 8:4-26) or that the King of Persia prayed for a Jewish Prophet (Nehemiah 2:4)? Of course, then we have Jonah, who God sent to Nineveh and told him to tell the people to pray and repent (Jonah 3:8).  Consequently, Nineveh’s prayers saved 120,000 non-Jewish souls (Genesis 3:10).  As we can see, speaking prayers in the life of non-Jews is laced throughout scripture, historically speaking.

The-dedication-of-the-temple

It wasn’t just a historical matter – non-Jews’ act of praying to Israel’s God was mandated. King David’s Psalm 65 states twice that “all people should pray to God” (Verses 3 and 6).  These Psalms were probably written before the first Temple in 966 BCE.  That being said, with the first Temple dedication comes further confirmation that the non-Jews were supposed to pray to the God of Israel. In his dedication of the Temple, King Solomon addresses that foreign nations will be welcomed to pray to God by praying at or towards the Temple (2 Chronicles 6:32-33 and 1 Kings 8:41-43).  God responded to this idea in 2 Chronicles 7:15 with: “My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.” Over 200 years later, Isaiah 56:7 serves as an affirmation, confirming the previous statement. Here God says about the Temple “…My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” This is yet again echoed about another 200 years after Isaiah in Zechariah 8:20-22.  So now we have it from four separate sources within the Tanakh that the Temple is for all God’s people, Jews and non-Jews alike. God hears everyone’s prayers as long as that person is righteous Proverbs 15:8, 15:29, 28:9, Isaiah 1:15.

david

So how are we to pray?  Well, the Tanakh gives numerous examples of prayers.  We should, however, first look towards the Psalms. The word Psalm is derived from the Greek translation psalmoi, meaning “instrumental music”2. The actual Hebrew word for this is “tehillim,” which is plural. The singular is “tehillah” = “song of praise.”3. A majority of the biblical Psalms or Tehillim are devoted to expressing praise or thanksgiving to God.  There are also other prayers in Tanakh. Here are some examples:

Anxiety: Psalm 34:5, 46:2-3, 91:9-11

Guidance: Genesis 24:12-15, Jeremiah 42:3, 1 Samuel 14:41, 23:10-11

Happiness: Psalm 86:4

Mercy: Isaiah 63:15, Jeremiah 10:23-24, Daniel 9:17-19

Praying for others: Genesis 18:23-25, Numbers 21:7, Deuteronomy 9:20, 26, 1 Samuel 7:5, 12:19, Isaiah 37:4, Jeremiah 29:7, 42:2, Lamentations 2:19, Daniel 9:20, Joel 2:17

Pregnancy: Genesis 20:17, 25:21, 30:17, 30:22, 1 Samuel 1:10-20

Repentance: Psalm 41:5, 65:3-4, Daniel 9:20

Rescue: Genesis 32:12, Psalm 54:3, 61:2-5, 69:14-19, 86:1-3, 88:2-4, 91:1-16, 118:5, 25, Isaiah 37:20, Joel 2:17

Sickness: Psalm 41:4, Isaiah 38:2-8, Jonah 2:8

Strength: Judges 16:28, Isaiah 41:10–11

Thanksgiving and Praise: Genesis 32:0-11, 1 Samuel 2:1, 2 Samuel 7:18-29, Psalm 42:9, Psalm 63:1-7, Psalm 66:17, Psalm 72:15, Psalm 118:21, Jeremiah 32:17-22, Daniel 9:4, Jonah 2:10, Habakkuk 3, Jude 1:24-25

Troubles: Psalm 4:2, Psalm 5:2 Psalm 18:6, Psalm 28, Psalm 39:13, Psalm 55:2-3, Psalm 91:1-16

Trouble with people gossiping about you: Psalm 41:5-10, Psalm 69, Psalm 109:4

Understanding: Daniel 10:12

Rabbi-praying-at-the-Western-Wall.preview

A hot topic is non-Jews who will turn to Jewish prayer (Siddur) to supplement what they have lost from their previous walk.  We should first ask ourselves where these Jewish prayers come from. It happened after the establishment of the first temple during the Babylonian captivity. Jewish leaders in Babylon codified a system of prayer that substituted the Temple service. They based this on the prophetic verse, “Our lips will substitute for sacrifices” (Hosea 14:3)4.  Jewish prayers are uniquely for the Jewish people.  Rabbi Eric Kotkin, an orthodox Rabbi, sums it up nicely by saying,

“Prayer is speaking to G-d.  So when speaking to G-d, one should be speaking the truth.  If a non-Jew were to use a prayer that represents themselves as Jewish, when they are not, it will not be a communication with G-d that is based in truth5

If God explains everything through King David and other figures in the Tanakh provided prayers, do we really need to turn to other sources?

Conclusion

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There is a lot to unlearn and learn with regards to all aspects of this journey.  As you might have noticed, the theme of anything when we are to commit ourselves further to our walk with the Master is to simply listen to Him.  For more understandings of prayer through the lens of God’s word, please look at these other articles:

Components of Our Prayers

Prayer, the Spiritual Aspect

Prayer, The Physical Aspect

 

References:

  1. Tracey R Rich, Prayers and Blessings, Tefilah: Prayer, Judaism 101, n.d.

 

  1. Murphy, Roland E. “Psalms”. In Coogan, Michael D.; Metzger, Bruce. The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press (Page 626), 1993

 

  1. Emil G. Hirsch, PSALMS, Jewish Encyclopedia, n.d.

 

  1. Berel Wein, Prayer, Jewish History.org, February 21, 2011

 

  1. Rabbi Eric Kotkin, Can a non-Jew pray using specifically Jewish prayers like the Shema and the Amidah if they are sincere in believing what the prayer states? Jewish Values On-Line, n.d.

47 Weeks Past the Cross

 Looking Through a New Lens

47 Weeks Past the Cross
By Terri C

As I sit and reflect this morning on the magnitude of The Almighty’s love for those who love Him, I am amazed anew. I say anew because we can forget to be amazed on a regular basis, can’t we? When He provides a meal for us, for example, when it seemed like there wouldn’t be one, we are amazed. Yet once the difficult circumstance passes and we’re back to three meals a day with snacks between, we can forget to be amazed by His provision! I caught myself saying a blessing after mealtime the other day out of habit, but not from a place of amazement. We were in a hurry and grabbed something quick and ate it quickly, instead of savoring the flavor and benefits of our meal. My blessing was the same. Quick, without savoring. Although I credited God for being my sustenance, my blessing was only words, hence only mouth-deep. I caught it and brought it in prayer to my Creator later that night. Turns out, He’s not surprised by my human attention span and my tendency to forget how amazing every moment of being alive is. He doesn’t want me to forget, though. God reminded me during that prayer time that He created us joyful. The capacity we have to be amazed is part of that joy. Truly, it’s our loss if we grow complacent in our amazement. We bind our spiritual feet when they should be skipping and dancing along the path that is our life! Here on the cusp of my eleventh month since walking past the cross, complacency could slip in, but only if I let it. I’ve got my “new” routine, my “new” way to pray and my “new” way to walk, all of which aren’t very “new” at eleven months! It will be up to me to keep them fresh and shiny, and not let them slip into a place of rote routine, without spiritual involvement and connection. How sad it would be to come this far and stop! How sad it would be to live life without truly seeing the amazing things that have to come together for me to even be alive on this day! God did that, He put all those things together. God does that. On a morning when many didn’t wake up here in this world, I did. This fact alone should have me singing heartfelt praises everyday. It should have you singing, too! Although to have my spirit be with Him instead of in this bag of flesh would be the supreme life, to be here gives me the chance to mature and to perfect my walk according to His instructions, the Torah. Being here means I can do what He calls His children to do: be light in a dark world.

 

And so, even with my physical ailments and my current grocery budget, I am practicing not being complacent in my gratitude for these provisions. I’m finding that the more grateful I am, the better my food seems to taste, and the more satisfying it is to my appetite. The more I am thankful for the physical feats I CAN accomplish, the easier they become to accomplish, and the more I can do! My hip hurting may not be a miracle, but the fact that it still functions exactly enough to accomplish my day is! Since walking away from “Messianic” Christianity, not only has God become bigger and more real to me, my spirit has too! My walk with Him is SO much different than it was before! The spiritual connection to YHVH is always available to us, but it is certainly on us to stay connected! We stay connected through Scripture study and prayer and from not growing complacent in our amazement. We can fill our eyes and ears with things about Him, and we can speak lots of words about Him, but until our spirit is touched and moved by our eyes, ears and mouth, our walk with Him is in shallow water. Make no mistake, He’ll take us as deep as we want to go!

 

~When you seek Me with all of your heart, you will find Me~

 

We become complacent and float back into shallow waters when we cease to see the wonder and glory that is all around us every day.  Complacency can grow in seasons of steady paychecks and good times. We might get to thinking that we’re taking care of business, that we’re seeing the fruits of our own success, that we are in control. I’m so thankful He sends us those seasons that remind us we are ever dependant on Him! We’re in control of nothing but our will, and our decision to get in covenant with our Creator! Here on this side of the cross, I am seeing where everything that comes my way is part of a bigger process that I do not yet understand. The good and the bad in my life are both worthy reasons for me to be thankful! Of course, one takes more practice at gratitude than the other, but maybe that’s the point.

 

As my one year anniversary draws near, I am prompted to contemplate how much my spiritual walk has changed in this past year. It’s been so much more than giving up the concept of someone else paying my own sin debt! (although that’s all I’d thought it was going to be) All of the bits and pieces are starting to come together, and they are forming a bigger picture than I had ever dreamed imaginable when I thought I had the “God formula” all figured out! Oh, what I thought I knew then, LOL! I know now that I have so much to learn! At first when I walked away from the cross, it felt a bit like I was dangling in the wind. I remember thinking “Now what?” Then I found out! So much information to unlearn. So much information to learn anew, through a new lens! This teacher says this, and that one says that. A girl’s head could spin! Finally I said, “Enough! I only care what YHVH said!” From there, He began to bring me through this first year of new knowledge one step at a time. Like a ladder. I’m thinking that as long as I continue to awaken in this world, there will always be another rung above me, and an invitation from my Creator to go deeper into His Way, His Truth and the Life He gives. May I never approach either with complacency! That’s my prayer for you, Dear Reader, as well!

 

I have one more thing to mention before I hit the “post” button at the top of my page. I’ve not been remiss to share my struggles with you from the beginning of my journey. If you’ve been following along in my first year past the cross, you know that I’ve had some real relationship challenges! I’ve lost some friends and family over my decision, and seem to have made a whole new group of enemies I hadn’t even anticipated! As my first year mark approaches, though, I am learning that God places people in my path for a reason or a season. I don’t want to become complacent regarding who He sends and who He removes, and neither should you! I’m learning that is is us who attaches the value to another in our life. If we get out of balance, it could be easy to raise someone to the level of an idol for us. On the other side of that coin, we could be tempted to raise ourselves above them, another mistake. We have to learn to appreciate who’s put on our path for whatever they bring into our life. Sometimes it’s a blessin’ and sometimes it’s a lesson, but both are from God above us. When it’s time to let go, we must do it with grace and Shalom. We can trust that God grants restoration, let’s also trust that He knows with whom it should or shouldn’t occur. In the event of death, the toughest of all losses and letting go, we can still trust God with the reasons we were given that person for the season we had them. Furthermore, we can trust that God still expects us to chose life, and to allow ourselves to move beyond our grief and take hold of the ladder rung just above where we are in Him today. Let’s pay close attention to who is placed in our path, and appreciate what they have to teach us. And let’s not be remiss to be thankful to the One who “provided” them to us!

 

I hope you will allow yourself to be amazed anew today, and that you’ll find the connection between amazement and your  joy!

 

A reminder to the reader:

 

If you have recently walked past the cross, or have question marks jotted in the margins of your “new testament” like I did for so long (I don’t now!) I would encourage you to reach out to someone who’s “been there”. I know you’ve been told not to question doctrine, or to take belief in Jesus “on faith” but our God is clear and concise. We may not understand His level of thinking, but His motive is NEVER to confuse us or trick us. He wants us to know His truth!  His Torah spells it out. There’s  no “just believe!” and no “take it on faith!” Knowing that the end was established from the beginning, doesn’t it make sense that if things aren’t “adding up”, the beginning (Torah) is exactly where you should be  looking  for answers? They’re in there, I promise!

 

“See you next time! Until then, seek YHVH with all your heart!

Then, you’ll find Him.