Kol HaTor Weekly
27 Tishri 5769/26 October 2008
To our Jewish Associates – Articles in this Newsletter with Messianic content are identified with a label Messianic content and conform with KHT’s formal strategy NOT to evangelize Jews. It therefore contains no proselytizing intent. This Messianic content being non-relevant to Jews, mainly has importance for Returning 10-Tribers in the process of working for Reconciliation between Judah and the re-identifying House of 10-Israel.
NEWS AND REFLECTIONS ON THE RECENT
FEAST OF SUKKOT::
TWO 4 MINUTE VIDEO PRESENTATIONS OF SUKKOT 5769/OCTOBER 2008
FROM ARUTZ SHEVA/7 NEWS BROADCAST
Video no. 1
Parade, Hakhel and Green Succah
Thousands participated in the Jerusalem Parade. The Temple Institute holds Hakhel Ceremony.
The Jerusalem Municipality “Green Succah”(Second Edition of "Israeli Salad in the Succah")
(Press control and click on the above link for display of the video or
Right Click on Link and select “Open Link”)
Video no. 2
Blessing the People
The nation was blessed by massed Kohanim, priests, who conducted the special blessing for the Sukkoth festival.03:0204:17
(The second video can be seen on the same link above: the first video on the left, in the second window under “features”.)
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE HAKHEL CEREMONY
VISIT THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE AT:
(An article with photo’s)
(A news presentation with a slide presentation of the ceremony)
Sukkot Means Aliyah
(Sections in blue highlighted by the compiling editor of KolHaTor)
When the Jewish people returned to Israel in the time of Ezra, they once again erected Sukkoth. As it says (Nehemiah 8:17): "The entire congregation of returnees from the captivity made Sukkoth and dwelt in the Sukkoth; for the Children of Israel had not done this from the days of Yehoshua bin Nun until that day; there was extremely great rejoicing."
can it be that the Jewish people hadn't kept the mitzvah of Succah for over 900
This can be understood by the explanation for the mitzvah given by Rabbi Abuhav (Menorat Hamaor 3,4,1). He explains that the idea of a Succah is that a person should leave the security of his home in order to place himself in the hands of God for protection against the elements.
The common denominator between the generation of Yehoshua and Ezra is that these were both generations of AliYah. These are the two generations in history that were willing to sacrifice their previously sheltered environment and make AliYah. And, therefore, it was these two generations who were able to appreciate the mitzvah of Succah like no one else.
Our generation is the third generation in history that has left the exile in order to put our lives in the hands of God here in Israel . So we too can appreciate with "extremely great rejoicing" the mitzvah of Succah in our day in its revival after nearly two thousand years.
As a result, may we speedily witness God’s return to His Succah - the majestic Succah of Jerusalem , as it says: "In Shalem is His Tabernacle and His dwelling place is in Zion ."
Zion - The Home of Our Life
(Sections in blue highlighted by the compiling editor of KolHaTor.)
Summarized by students
1. The Home of Our
2. A Daily Attachment to Zion
3. Let It Rain - On Israel
4. "This Is Not Our Rain"
The Home of Our Life
When, in our prayers, we recite, "Have mercy upon Zion, for it is the home of our life" (Haftarah blessing), we are not merely recalling a Zion of the past, our homeland and breeding ground, a land which became the foundation of our national life and culture, and to which we are bound through our inherited fate. Rather, we are speaking about daily life.
Throughout the period of our exile, we made a practice of relating all of our daily life activities to the land of Israel. We looked expectantly to our future there, just around the bend. We lifted our eyes to the mountains, hoping that we might see a bearer of good tidings approaching. In what follows, we shall see how the entire Jewish life order was bound up with the concept of rain in Israel.
A Daily Attachment to Zion
us begin by mentioning a number of well-known characteristics regarding our
attachment to Zion:
1 - To Face the Land of
Israel - Prayer
have always prayed while facing Jerusalem. All of the synagogues in the world
have been built according to this principle. In the west they faced east; in
the south, north; in the north, south. We have always faced the land of Israel.
We learn this from Daniel the Prophet who prayed before the windows which were
opened in the direction of Israel, as it is written, "They shall pray to
you by way of their land" (Berakhot 30a).
2 - Daily Sustenance - Grace after
eating a meal we recite the "Birkat HaMazon," or Grace After Meals,
in the course of which we thank God for granting us "a land which is
desirable, good, and spacious," and ask that
He "rebuild Jerusalem, city of the Holy Sanctuary, speedily, in our
3 - Establishing a Home - Marriage
the joyous marriage ceremony we place ashes on the upper forehead of the groom,
and we break a glass in remembrance of the Temple's destruction. This teaches
us that no joy is complete so long as Jerusalem sits in ruins. The last of the seven wedding blessings reads, "Let
there soon be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the
voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the
voice of the bride." This is an expression of our hope and desire that
Jerusalem, barren and childless, should speedily merit the joyful reunion of
her children in her midst.
The righteous R' Yitzchak Levi of Berdichev would write upon his children's wedding invitations that the marriage ceremony will be taking place in Jerusalem on such-and-such a date. However, he would add in a footnote that if we do not merit such good fortune, the wedding will be held in Berdichev on the said date.
4 - In Death, in Mourning, and in
To a mourner we say, "May God comfort you together with the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem," and in burial we place soil of the land of Israel upon the head of the deceased. However, not only are death and mourning connected to the land of Israel, even the resurrection is connected to Israel: the custom is for the deceased to be buried with his legs directed toward the land of Israel (Chatam Sofer, Yoreh Deah 332). This custom is based upon the verse, "Lead us upright to our land."
Let It Rain - On Israel
let us consider how the expression "Zion, the home of our life"
relates to rain. We shall see that there is a very interesting distinction in
our daily Amidah prayer between "mentioning rain" (hazkarat g'shamin)
and "requesting rain" (she'elat g'shamim) in Israel and abroad. We begin to mention rain in our prayers from Sh'mini
Atzeret, and this is true both in Israel and abroad. However, when it comes to
requesting rain, there is a difference. In Israel, we begin to request
rain from the 7th of Cheshvan, but Jews of the Diaspora begin sixty days after
the autumnal equinox. This is based upon the well-known talmudic division
between Israel and Babylon (Ta'anit 10a). Rabbenu Asher is of the novel opinion
that in light of this distinction, we can conclude that each Diaspora land
requests rain at a time that accords with its own specific needs. However, most authorities do not accept this position and
recognize only one distinction - that between the Land of Israel and the rest
of the Diaspora.
Rabbi A.I. Kook was asked an interesting question by the Jews of Argentina (Orach Mishpat 24). There, the rainy season lasts from Nisan until Tishrei - i.e., our summer is their winter, and they need to pray for rain when it is summer in Israel. They asked Rabbi Kook what they should do in their circumstance. The Rabbi answered their query as follows: We find that all Jews begin praising God for rain at the same time - Shmini Atzeret. This is because the essence of our praise for God is based upon the land of Israel. Through rain, His greatness and might are revealed, and therefore all Jews mention God's might in accordance with the seasons of the Land of Israel, no matter where they are. Only with regard to requesting rain is there a distinction between the Land of Israel and the Diaspora; but within the Diaspora itself there are no inner divisions.
From here we can understand that prayer and supplication revolve around the land of Israel. That is, not only via daily prayer, Grace After Meals, and wedding blessings have Jews tied their fate to Zion, but even on the level of national existence, by mentioning rain in our prayers - the act of mentioning rain is tied to the land of Israel.
"This Is Not Our Rain"
us bring a relevant story here which the late R' Neryah zt"l relates in
Moadei HaReiya" (p. 137) in the name of the author Yitzchak Ziv-Av:
"I heard this story from a Zionist leader who, as a child in Russia, accompanied his father to the synagogue one Shmini Atzeret. As they recited the prayer for rain the child said to his father, "But, Papa, it's raining outside...why are we praying for rain?"
From under the prayer shawl came the father's stern response, "Child, this is not our rain!"
This story did not receive its full significance until many years later. In the midst of a political whirlpool, the son understood that his father was able to see beyond his own situation, a situation in which even the rain was foreign. He was able to see his true world, a world which though not graspable nevertheless existed! His prayer for rain expressed a sub-conscience belonging to something beyond his present existence, and more concrete than any existence.
From here we receive a good understanding of the words "Have mercy upon Zion, for it is the home of our life" - the Land of Israel is the focus of our life and being. Mentioning rain begins in the land of Israel. Even requesting rain is tied to the land of Israel, and this is the meaning of "Zion" - "the home of our life."
(In the spirit of KolHaTor’s strategy not to evangelize Jews we place 3 teachings with very thought provoking contents this week. The first one is from an Orthodox Jewish perspective, and the other two from a Messianic perspective. For those of us who are familiar with Rabbi Feld’s radio interviews with OvadYah, and the importance of respecting where both houses are in the current process of the restoration of Israel, these 3 articles have much in common with the topic’s under discussion. It is worthwhile to take the time to study these teachings, as there are vital truths and much wisdom that we can gain from our brother’s from both houses.)
From the website: PATH OF ABRAHAM
Jewish Orthodox on Messianic Prophecies
(A very thought provoking article and teaching written from an Orthodox Jewish perspective)
By Yosef Mikhael Eliyah
"It's obvious from the 'Old Testament' prophecies that Je'sus is the Christ-Messiah! So why don't the Jewish people see them? Isn't it because they've stumbled over the 'stumbling block' and are thus spiritually veiled so as to be blind to the obviousness of the prophecies?"
THE REPLY (in short):
The issue of prophecies isn't so critical as to why Jews can not accept Christianity. We certainly do believe that the Almighty will send the Messiah. We certainly believe that there are prophecies which speak of the Messiah. So what's the problem? Deuteronomy 13 expresses that signs and wonders are meaningless if a prophet comes along and teaches contrary to the Law of Moses. Someone could fulfill practically ALL the signs in the Bible concerning the Messiah, but if he also additionally fulfills Deuteronomy 13 by teaching contrary to the Law of Moses, then his fulfillment of all the other prophecies is meaningless; -- such a false prophet is simply a test for the LORD's People to pass. When the Messiah comes and fulfills the prophecies concerning him, INCLUDING upholding the Law of Moses (this includes upholding the authority of the Great Court), then we will know for sure that he is the one. All the detailed explanations of how some prophecies are misunderstood and/or mistranslated aren't truly needed if one understands what I've stated here. But in any case, I plan to add explanations as people ask the questions. May He Who sustains us with His boundless compassions open our eyes to the wonders of His Guidance - Torah (Psalm 119:18), and purify our hearts from all deceptions (Jeremiah 17:9). Exalted is He above the most lofty of conceptions (Nehemiah 9:5).
Concerning the Jewish people stumbling over 'the stumbling block,' it is written in the Christian writings:
1 Corinthians 1:23 - "And we proclaim Christ crucified, to Jews this is a stumbling block and to nations it is foolishness.."
The writings which BOTH Jews and Christians consider authoritative state:
Psalm 119: 165 - "They that love Your Torah have abundant peace, and nothing is a stumbling block to them."
Is there another people other than the Jews who are so in love with the Torah (The Law of Moses, G-d's Instruction)? Ever been to a Yeshiva? Only they that stumble over (transgress) the Torah, stumble over the 'stumbling block.'
Is Psalm 119:165 a lie?
Concerning the 'veil' which supposedly blinds the Jewish people from seeing 'Christ,' it is written in the Christian texts:
2 Corinthians 3:14 - "But their minds were blinded. For unto this day the same veil remains unlifted during the reading of the old covenant, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 - And even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 - Even so, when one turns to the L-rd, the veil is taken away."
The writings which BOTH Jews and Christians consider authoritative state:
Isaiah 25:6 "The L-RD of armies will prepare a lavish banquet for all nations on this mountain; A banquet of old wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined, aged wine. 7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which covers all the peoplehoods, even the veil which is stretched over all the nations. 8 He will swallow up death for all time, and the L-rd G-D will wipe away tears from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His People from all the earth; For the L-RD has spoken."
So, if there is a veil over His People Israel, one must also not ignore that Isaiah writes that there is a veil over the nations, until the time when death is swallowed up and His People's reproach is removed from the earth. Has His People's reproach already been moved? If yes, then why would I be writing this? Therefore, if a Bible Believing Christian wants to believe the Jews are spiritually blinded with a veil, they must also recognize that the Bible says the same concerning the nations as a whole.
Now it must be pointed out that the 2 largest religions in the world are Christianity and Islam. Despite the fact that people generally consider these to be two separate religions, there is a belief that they share in common that Jews do not share. Although most do not know it, Muslims (members of Islam) also believe Jesus [Isa] is Christ [Meesahh]. This is true, regardless of their disagreement on what it means that Jesus is Christ. With this in mind, take note, then, that the belief that Jesus is Christ (and 'freed' the Jews from the Law of Moses) is the most wide-spread belief that is not shared by Jews. This belief, therefore, represents a belief of the nations as a whole in contrast to the Jewish people... His People's reproach is not yet removed, and neither yet has the other veil that so greatly divides us. Now re-read Isaiah 25:6-8.
When the blindness is healed then so also will the wounds between us be healed. So, whether it's the Jews who are blinded or others... keep in mind that it is a blindness. Therefore be patient and understanding toward the blind, whoever the blind is. What kind of person would go against a blind person for stumbling over a stone which the blind person could not help to not see?
2 Corinthians 3:16 says that when one turns to the L-rd the veil is taken away. So... what's the problem? Many many Jews have turned to the Almighty. We cry out to Him with humbled hearts and with sincerity every day. Why are our hearts still 'veiled?' Is 2 Corinthians 3:16 a lie, or is it referring to some lord other than the Almighty L-RD Jews serve and love? Either way there is a REAL problem.
By the way, Islam teaches that the spiritual eyes of Jews and Christians are both veiled over.
Therefore the people of Israel, the Jews, continued to look forward to the day when:
"The eyes of those who can see will no longer be blinded, and the ears of those who hear will listen." - Isaiah 32:3
Until then, Jews continue to turn to the L-RD, asking Him "Open my eyes, that I may perceive wonders from Your Torah (Law of Moses)." - Psalm 119:18
From the Yashanet website
Open Letter to the Southern Baptist Convention
Requesting that They Stop Evangelizing the Jews
On March 17, 2003 YashaNet received an e-mail from a man wishing to have his "Messianic congregation" listed on our Messianic Congregations directory. In his e-mail he stated that, "We are a mission of the Southern Baptist Church." After asking for further clarification, part of his e-mail stated that "The SBC decided to target the Jewish people for evangelism and hired "Rabbi H..." to partner messianic congregations with their churches." He further stated that "Rabbi H. .... was raised orthodox Jewish and became a rabbi in their faith. Then he came to know Yeshua." What follows is our response to him stating the basic reasons why we would not permit his congregation to be listed on our directory.
Dear [name removed],
I assume by your statement, "The SBC decided to target the Jewish people for evangelism", that you/they mean converting Jews to Christianity, as this has been the usual practice for centuries in many denominations. I must tell you that even though we believe strongly in Yeshua as Messiah and wish to see all Jews come to faith in Yeshua, we are 100%, UNEQUIVOCALLY OPPOSED to the conversion of Jews to Christianity for the following reasons:
1. Jews (rightfully) will have nothing to do with Christianity because:
· Christianity is not Judaism (deliberately so because of the anti-Semitism of the early Roman church and the anti-Semitism of the early Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, thus casting a negative light on the Torah.)
· Christianity does not celebrate the Sabbath or any other (God ordained) "Jewish" festivals.
· Christianity engages in practices of pagan origins such as Christmas and Easter (not to be confused with the birth and resurrection of Yeshua).
· Christians do not keep kosher and typically do not respect the customs of the Jews. Jews who convert to Christianity almost without exception lose their unique identity as Jews through assimilation (which is forbidden by the Torah - Deuteronomy chapter 13)
2. Jews will have nothing to do with Messianic Judaism because:
· Messianic Judaism (when you trace its origins) is, for the most part, just some form of Protestant Christianity with a veneer of Judaism.
· Messianic Judaism’s theologically is (for the most part) more Christian than it is Jewish (although we believe it is an improvement over Protestant Christianity.)
· Messianic Jews often (but not always) reject the oral law, such as the Talmud, out of hand. (There is some very good information in the oral law that puts the Bible, including the New Testament, into its proper perspective. Without a good basic understanding of the oral law, there are some things in the "Old" and "New" testaments that you simply will not be able to understand.)
I realize that we are coming down pretty hard on Christianity, but we have good reason. I have included/attached some articles with this e-mail as well as providing some links to some other important articles and studies that I think will help you understand why we are taking the position that we are. We here at YashaNet are followers of a form of Orthodox Judaism which believes in Yeshua as Messiah.
As for "Rabbi H...", I am very surprised and shocked that he is endorsing the SBC in this mission, especially coming from his background. If you carefully examine the Messianic Movement (I was in it for over ten years) you will find that most of the Jewish believers are from a secular or Reform background. You will find very few truly religious Jews that are from the Conservative and Orthodox branches of Judaism.
The SBC and the Messianic Movement have been successful in gaining some converts (more now than ever before in history), however, their attempts to successfully reach the vast majority of Jews with the Gospel will be a COLOSSAL FAILURE if they continue on their present course and not return to the original faith, namely, Judaism. God did not establish a separate new religion called Christianity. That is man's invention.
If you wish to reach out to the Jews with the Gospel, I would encourage you and anyone else that is interested to completely separate yourselves from the SBC and any church affiliation and establish an independent congregation that is focused on a Torah observant lifestyle much like that of the Sect of the Nazarene's (Acts 24: 5) in the first century, or, associate yourselves with one of the mainstream Messianic organizations such as the UMJC or MJAA [at least as a starting point]. I have included a couple of articles about the Nazarene's that will explain what faith in Messiah was really like in the first century. It is unlike anything you have ever heard.
I would also strongly request that the SBC cease and desist all attempts to evangelize the Jews until they have the ability and solid understanding to think and act as Jews. Let me assure you, the SBC has no understanding of Judaism whatsoever. They are only causing more harm than good right now.
I have also included an article at the end of this e-mail that I would like you to read first. It is entitled "Why the Church Teaches that Jesus Christ is NOT the Messiah". This is a shocking, eye-opening article which I hope helps you to understand why the Jews are so opposed to Christianity and especially Messianic Judaism.
In light of all this, we must respectfully decline your request to be listed on our Messianic Directory as we are listing congregations that point people to a Hebraic understanding of Scripture and a Torah-based lifestyle, which, unfortunately, precludes anything "Christian."
I would strongly encourage you to share this e-mail and associated articles (and other articles on our website) with your congregation and the SBC. Please understand that my words are not intended to offend you or your friends, they are intended to make you carefully consider WHY you believe what you do.
Please feel free to write me, or any of us at YashaNet, about any questions you may have regarding these issues. I would also like to hear your thoughts about what I have said and about the articles below. I look forward to your reply.
Yehoshua ben Avraham
Please read in the order shown below:
(Disclaimer: The staff of YashaNet does not agree with most of the current theology/teachings of Monte Judah and we do not recommend studying his teachings, however, this is a very good article that he wrote and should be taken ON ITS OWN MERITS)
Why the Church teaches that Jesus Christ is NOT the Messiah
(Please read the article to understand this statement in context.)
By Monte Judah
“The church does NOT teach that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.”
There are some in the church who would immediately take issue with this statement. In fact, I would hope that all brethren would take issue with the statement, but we need to address a critical issue that is affecting everyone of us in the faith. So, lay down your armor plate, sheath your sword, and let us consider together a criticism of the church by the Messiah Himself.
We are not going to split hairs between the Greek derivation of Christ and the Hebrew derivation of Messiah. Let us agree for the sake of this discussion that they are the same title for the Anointed One.
Do you recall Yeshua's particular complaint
against the church of Pergamum?
I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the
teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the
sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of
immorality. REV 2:14
In particular, Yeshua speaks of a teaching of
Balaam that is a stumbling block before the sons of Israel. What exactly is the
teaching of Balaam and how is it a stumbling block before the sons of Israel.
Who exactly are the sons of Israel He is referring to?
If you recall, Balaam was a prophet hired by Balak to curse the children of Israel under the leadership of Moses. The children of Israel were approaching the promised land and Balak didn't want Israel to be around. So, he hired Balaam (a real prophet of God) to set up altars and speak a curse from God upon Israel. Balaam tried to explain to Balak that he could only speak what God said. On several occasions, Balaam spoke, but only blessing came forth. Balak was angry that a curse was not spoken. It was at this point that Balaam offered a different counsel.
If you want to harm Israel, Balaam counseled, you can do it another way. The teaching of Balaam was to get the sons of Israel to marry foreign daughters. This would cause Israel to loose their distinctive definition as being the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This would mix other customs with theirs and thus diminish the value of their heritage. This would change the teaching so that Moses was just one of their teachers and move them gradually to a different point of view. In the end, the counsel was to assimilate Israel and make them just like anyone else, by separating them from one another and removing their identity.
The teaching of Balaam is to tell the sons of Israel that they no longer have a covenant with God through Moses. The teaching of Balaam diminishes and removes the Torah (the teaching of Moses).
Today, the teaching of Balaam is rampant in the church. It comes in the form of the following precept: Jesus Christ came with the purpose to do away with (fulfill) the temple service, the Torah (Law), and alter the customs of Moses. The teaching of the church is to replace (at a minimum to diminish) Israel's identity as the chosen people, the teaching of Moses in the Torah, and to alter the customs of Sabbath and Biblical holidays. The church has done a pretty good job of doing this.
Today, a new Messianic believer will run
right into these stumbling blocks with churchmen disputing Sabbath, holidays,
and the idea of keeping the Torah. In fact, this is the focal point of
discussion for many new Messianic brethren as they wrestle with the
disappointment and shock of being rejected by church brethren for the sin
of seeking the truth.
The spiritual reality is that holding to Moses and the Torah is in direct conflict with the teaching of the church (the teaching of Balaam). It follows that the church's dispute even takes issue with the Messiah when He speaks of Moses and the Torah.
not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to
abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass
away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all
is accomplished. MAT 5:17-18
The Messiah has said that the Torah is still
with us and valid. However, this is not enough to convince the church, because
of the teaching of Balaam. They dispute the meaning of the word fulfill.@
However, it is clear from the context and any basic dictionary that the word
fulfill@ is not a synonym for abolish.@ The church teaches the opposite of
Messiah Yeshua and forms new meanings for words on this point.
Yeshua emphasized that not one part, down to the letters and strokes of letters, would diminish prior to heaven and earth passing away. I would remind everyone that heaven and earth are still with us, therefore, every part of the Torah is still valid and with us. All has not been accomplished yet. That is clearly evident with the subject of the second coming. There is more Scripture about the second coming in the Old Testament than in the New Testament. All has not yet been accomplished.
Clearly, the church has failed to understand and reconcile completely the teaching of Yeshua. Yeshua is the pinnacle and focus of our New Covenant faith. Yeshua was emphatic that His purpose was not to do away with the teaching of Moses and the Prophets. But what does this have to do with denying the Messiahship of Yeshua? Before we answer, let's deal with those brethren who assert the teaching of the Apostle Paul.
It is the Apostle Paul and his letters to the Romans, Colossians, and Galatians that serve as the primary reference material for the church's teaching against Torah. The church contends that Paul took issue with Sabbath (promoting first day worship). They argue that the Galatians were told not to circumcise and not to keep the commandments of the Jews. Selected verses from Romans and Colossians are used to fend off Sabbath and holidays. With Paul leading the charge, they claim that other writers join in to say that Yeshua said, All foods are clean and Peter had a vision to eat non-kosher foods. Finally, they interpret that the writer of Hebrews flatly says the New Testament has replaced the Old Testament.
There is an obvious conflict here. You can't have Yeshua saying the Torah will not pass away until heaven and earth pass away, and then have the Apostle Paul say it was all nailed to the cross, or when the resurrection happened, or when the Holy Spirit came, or when the New Testament was written, etc. Moses, Yeshua, and the Apostles must all be in agreement or our faith is corrupt and self-destructing in itself. A house divided against itself will not stand.
The irony of all this is that the Apostle Peter addresses this controversy in his final letter. There he comments how some men take the words of Paul and twist them.... as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 2PE 3:16
Peter says that there are some hard (difficult) things said by Paul that are twisted by unstable and untaught men. What things do you think Peter is referring to? Remember when Yeshua made the outrageous statement about hating fathers and mothers.
anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and
children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My
disciple. LUK 14:26
Isn't Yeshua teaching us that the fifth
commandment (honor your father and mother) of the ten commandments is now done
away with? Isn't He teaching us to hate our fathers and mothers, the
opposite of the commandment? Of course not! We all recognize that Yeshua is
making a superlative comparison between God and man. God takes priority, even
over family members such as fathers, mothers, wife, children, brothers,
sisters, and even our own lives.
If we can see this teaching example in its proper context, then why do we say Paul was doing something else when he disputed the Galatians who elevated circumcision, and legalism above the grace and sacrifice of Yeshua. Surely, we can see that anything put in priority above the Messiah is wrong. Like Yeshua's teaching, that doesn't mean that Paul is teaching that the other things are bad or done away with.
It is the Apostle Paul's testimony that he is a bond servant of Messiah Yeshua (bond servants and their commissioning is the Torah). Paul asserts his identity as being an Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised the eight day, trained in the Torah by Gamaliel, a keeper of the Torah to Pharisaic standards, and observing Sabbath and Nazerite vows. Acts 17:2 clearly states it was Paul's custom to keep Sabbath. How can the Apostle to the Gentiles be a keeper of the Law (Acts 21:24) and teach anyone something different from it?
I can show you how. You have to twist Paul's words while he is teaching the priority of the Messiah and use them against Moses. This is not a new idea; this is the ancient teaching of Balaam. Render the teaching of Moses as null and void.
Back to our original question and discussion point. The church teaches that Jesus came to do away with temple service, the Torah (Law), and alter the customs of Moses. Interestingly enough, this very statement is in the New Testament but not in the way the church teaches.
At the trial of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, a group of men conspired to bring false evidence against him that would shut him up. Acts 6 describes the conspiracy and the charges brought against him.
some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both
Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued
with Stephen. And yet they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit
with which he was speaking. Then they secretly induced men to say, We have heard
him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God. And they
stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and
dragged him away, and brought him before the Council. And they put forward
false witnesses who said, this man incessantly speaks against this holy place,
and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy
this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us. ACT 6:9-14
Please note the false charge of blasphemy
made against Stephen. This man speaks against Moses and God. This man
teaches that Jesus of Nazareth came to destroy the temple, do away with the
Torah, and alter the customs of Moses (like Sabbath and holidays). This is
the same teaching of the church today. How is it possible that the church
teaches as truth the very same false charge made against Stephen? Obviously,
the New Testament (the reference for church teaching) is in conflict with the
church of today. So, which is it? Is the New Testament inaccurate here, or is
the teaching of the church incorrect? Before we answer, consider this final
piece of evidence. Paul was one of the leaders in this conspiracy against
Stephen. He is the one who gives us this testimony in the book of Acts.
Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him [Stephen] to death. And on that
day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were
all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house; and dragging
off men and women, he would put them in prison. ACT 8:1,3
Saul (the Apostle Paul) was part of the
leadership to persecute Stephen. As a result of his involvement with Stephen's
death, he was given letters of authority to arrest others believers and put
them in prison. Saul was well known among the believers for being their enemy
and using false charges to arrest them. So, how can the Apostle Paul confess to
a falsehood against Stephen and then teach the same falsehood bringing the
Gentiles to a proper faith in Yeshua the Messiah? Something is very wrong
here. Obviously, Paul did not teach this falsehood to the Gentiles or
Some churchmen have suggested that Paul said one thing to the Jews and another to the Gentiles (for the unity of the faith). I act as a Roman with the Romans and as a Jew with the Jews. I disagree. I do not believe that Paul was a liar and manipulator against his own brethren. To suggest so is slander against Paul. In fact, this very slander against Paul is given in the New Testament, again by unbelievers with the purpose to sow discord among brethren.... and they [Messianic believers ] have been told about you [Paul], that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses in order that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law. ACT 21:21-24
Paul conspired with other Jews to falsely charge Stephen. Now, years later, other Jews have tried to bring false charges against Paul by accusing him of the same things said of Stephen.
The New Testament clearly says that the charges against Stephen and Paul were false. To say anything differently is to perpetuate falsehoods. But this falsehood is the teaching of the church today. They hold Paul as the principle teacher against Moses, the Torah, Sabbath, and the commandments of God. They throw out verses written by Paul like stumbling blocks before other believers, in an effort to trip people up and cause them to stumble in their walk.
Now, let's answer the real question and issue of this article. The church really does teach that Jesus Christ is NOT the Messiah. I'll prove it. The issue of whether Yeshua is Messiah is measured by the requirements given by Moses and the Prophets. The Messiah must fulfill the prophetic requirements given by Moses. Moses has given us many prophecies to identify the Messiah. In fact, this was the basis of belief used by the earliest disciples.
Andrew said to his brother Simon Peter, We have found the Messiah! Philip told Nathanel, We have found Him spoken of by Moses and the Prophets! Later, after the crucifixion, men on the road to Emaeus were confused and concerned about Yeshua's death. They were comforted and encouraged in their faith by having Yeshua speak from Moses and the Prophets.
Moses has also given us instruction for the identification of a false prophets, teachers, or messiahs.
a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a
wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to
you, saying, Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us
serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer
of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the
Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His
voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams
shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your
God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of
slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to
walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. DEU 13:1-5
According to Moses, God would permit false
brethren to enter the fellowship to test us. He said that some of these
countrymen would have the power to show signs and wonders. Yeshua came to us as
one of our countryman and He had the power to show signs and wonders. Moses
said that the false prophet, teacher, or messiah would attempt to seduce us in
a way different from God and Moses. He said that this false person would give
another definition of God, tell us not to keep God's commandments, nor listen
to His voice, serve Him, or cling to Him. The basic teaching of Torah is to
love, obey, and cling to the Lord.
Now, you will need to be sitting for this next statement. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
By the church teaching that Yeshua came to do away with the temple service, the Torah (Law), and alter the customs of Moses, they just proved that He was a false messiah in accordance with Deut 13:1-5. They just denied the Messiahship of Yeshua. Therefore, the church teaches that Jesus Christ is NOT the Messiah. If He is Messiah, it must be in accordance with definition given by Moses and the Prophets.
I believe that Yeshua IS the Messiah. I believe He was sinless and perfect. The standard for sin and perfection is the Torah (Law). Yeshua did not violate the Torah in the slightest, therefore, Yeshua did not come to give us a different definition of God; He did not tell us to not follow the teaching of Moses, and He did not tell us not to keep Sabbath, Holidays, or other customs. Had He done so, He would have disqualified Himself as Messiah, according to Moses.
What has happened to the church? How is it that they find themselves in blatant opposition with God, the Scripture, and the Messiah Himself? How in the world did such things come to be in our day?
The answer is simple. We have made the same mistake ancient Israel made. We departed from the teaching of Moses. Some would say that we took up the teaching of Yeshua instead, but the evidence and teaching is clear. Yeshua was saying the same thing that Moses said. That is why the religious leaders took issue with Him in His day. And brethren, that is why our own church brethren are going to take issue with you. You will be giving testimony of both Moses and Yeshua.
The churchmen who dispute your walk of obedience to God are unstable and untaught. They don't even know what the Ten Commandments are and can not list them correctly. Ask any churchman what the first commandment of the Ten Commandments is. You can safely bet that they will say, Make no idols is the first. In fact, I have yet to see a plaque of the Ten Commandments in any church or Christian bookstore that doesn't say it.
Make no idols is the second commandment. The first commandment of the ten is, I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the house of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. The commandment is believe in Me. But, because Churchmen are not taught what Moses said, they make serious mistakes in understanding what Yeshua the Messiah said and what Paul, a Torah scholar, said. Yeshua drew the comparison this way.
if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do
not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" JOH 5:46-47
A failure to understand and teach Moses will
result in a failure to understand and teach Yeshua properly. It is stunning to
me that the church is the supplier of the best argument why Yeshua is not
Messiah even better than the Rabbis and my fellow Jews. What is wrong with this
picture??? Shouldn't the Rabbis argue that Yeshua was a false prophet
proving that He was against Moses and altering the customs? They know He
didn't teach against Moses. They quote Matt 5:17 against churchmen all the
time. Shouldn't the church be arguing that Yeshua was in agreement with
Moses and did not take issue with his teaching, to prove that He was the
promised Lamb of God sacrifice?
We must be at the end of times brethren. Everything is backwards. The believers have the best arguments for unbelief and the unbelievers have the best arguments for belief. What is wrong with us? The answer is as strange as the question. It is just like Balaam; he can only speak a blessing, but he teaches the best way to destroy Israel. Yeshua said that the teaching of Balaam must end in His church before His return. He said that it causes harm to the sons of Israel.
I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the
teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the
sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of
immorality. REV 2:14
So, who are the sons of Israel that are led
to eat things sacrificed to idols and commit acts of immorality? Ezekiel, the
prophet, saw a day coming when the two houses of Judah and Israel would be
re-united as one. This has not been fulfilled yet. The evidence of the House of
Israel coming forth from the nations would not be their ethnicity or physical
descendency. (Even Jews can't prove their physical descendency). The House of
Israel would do three things: cease from idols, stop transgressing the
commandments, and cease from eating the detestable. In the simplest of terms,
those three things are the teaching of Moses (the Torah).
The Messianic Movement is diverse, confusing, and bewildering at times. In fact, I emphasize that the Messianic Movement is very messy right now. Praise God that He is faithful to His word and accomplishes His work despite the efforts of us. The Messianic Movement is made of more non-Jews than Jews. So, who are these people? The prophet said it would be the sons of Israel returning to the teaching of Moses and their heritage. The teaching of Balaam is a stumbling block to the sons of Israel.
How does the church cause the sons of Israel to eat meat sacrificed to idols? By getting believers to compromise their testimony of the Lord with the idols of this world. Take another look at a Christmas tree and the Easter Bunny. I'm sure you'll see what Yeshua is referring to. What acts of immorality are caused by the teaching of Balaam? How about slandering Paul and saying that Yeshua didn't do the will of His Father (He changed what His Father said). How immoral do you want to get?
Messiah Yeshua promised to make us new creatures by believing in Him. Many of us would say that He has made us new creatures in Him. While we say that, we know that doesn't mean that He threw away our created eyes, hands, and feet. Instead, we understand that the same body parts are to be transformed and used for His purposes. The same can be said for the New Covenant. It did not replace the eye for an eye or the teaching of the walk (halachic). The New Covenant has transformed His instructions for us and filled them up with meaning.
As a final word, I encourage my new Messianic brethren struggling to learn and grasp Torah in the midst of brethren casting stumbling blocks in your path. The next time that our well meaning brethren dispute your observance of God's commandments, sit back, listen, and consider this.
When God spoke His commandments, take Sabbath for example, his voice came from the mountain and shook the entire mountain. Rocks were split asunder, animals gave birth, and everyone was sorely afraid. Even Moses was full of fear and trembling, the Scripture says. The people begged Moses to go up on the mountain and receive God's instruction because they feared the sound of His voice. Today, many of our brethren dispute the very words spoken by God at the Mountain. They are not afraid of what they are saying. They should be afraid. They should be very afraid. They are not afraid because they have never heard the voice of God, but there is a day coming when they will. Remember the warning written in Hebrews.
Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. HEB 10:28,31
Moses and Paul instructed us that faith comes from hearing. Moses said, Hear O'Israel. And Paul said that the faith that is counted for righteousness is modeled after our father Abraham. The base teaching of our New Covenant faith is the Torah. Without it, we have no basis for Messiah Yeshua. The prophets have said that the Messiah will teach us Torah in the kingdom. It has not been set aside or done away with by Him.
And many nations will come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths. For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. MIC 4:2
I believe the church is teaching Balaam and denying the teaching of Moses. I believe they are misrepresenting Paul and the purpose for Yeshua’s coming. I do not believe that the church understands what they are saying. The reason for my understanding is supplied by the Apostle Peter. They are unstable and untaught. If they continue, they will twist the teaching to their own destruction.
PEACE AND BLESSINGS
Compiling editor: Agatha van der Merwe
Content control: OvadYah Avrahami
Participating editors: Dr Robert Mock, Geoffrey Messervy-Norman, Stephen Spykerman
Torah Guidance: Rabbi Avraham Feld
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