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[--Lamed Messianic Jewish Studies--] Main/FAQ

FAQ

"But sanctify hvhy Mashiakh in your hearts; and be ready to give an answer in meekness and reverence to everyone who seeks from you a word concerning the hope of your faith...."
~ Kepha Aleph (1st Peter) 3:15

If you have a question that is not answered below or somewhere else on our website, ask it here:
Ask The Moreh

(Make sure your question is not already answered first, please)

Great Synagogue, Memorial of
the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs
Q: Aren’t you being “legalistic” by observing the Sabbath and other commands?

A: Legalism is not very well understood today by many believers. Most people who think that there is no use for the Torah today declare anyone who’s trying to follow it as “legalistic”. This is just another case of misunderstanding the Word of G-D.

LEGALISTIC LEGALISM:

To those who say that Sabbath keepers are legalistic we ask, “why, then, go to Church on Sunday?” Is it a “law” for your life? Are you not legalistic in doing so? What is the difference? Legalism is what the Pharisees were guilty of: they were trying to “enforce” the "TRADITIONS OF THEIR MEN”, versus the commandments of G-D!!!! So, legalism that is from the enemy is the attempt by the religious to impose traditions of men on believers IN PLACE OF THE COMMANDMENTS OF hvhy !!!! This is EXACTLY what the “sunday-go-to-meeting” 'tradition' is, as well as the modern “tithe” concept. Legalism is also judging someone else in how THEY obey hvhy . We do not judge [tell others they’re not saved]. But, we do defend our right and call to obey G-D ourselves.

Look at what Messiah said to the Pharisees:

Mat 15:2-9 (a very similar episode is seen in Mark 7:3-13)
(Pharisees speaking to Messiah) "Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders, for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

This is what “legalism” is. G-D is the one who set down the Torah of His Commandments, not men. But men set down ‘Sunday’ worship, Christmas, Easter, modern use of a Torah command called “tithe”, which was rolled up into the priesthood and sacrifice of Messiah, and many other such “traditions” that are now taught as ‘law’, or covenantal truth. Many of those who say others are “legalistic” are themselves more so, by strictly adhering to tithing and Sunday worship, and other man-made traditions to which their adherents must cling.

To those who accuse Sabbath keepers and those who endeavor to follow Torah of being "legalistic", a question must be posed: “Which commandment is it that is bothersome?” Is it the “do not commit adultery” command? Or “do not steal”, or “do not bear false witness”, or “do not covet”, or “do not take the name hvhy in vain”, or “do not worship idols”, or “do not worship another god”, or “do not murder”. Because, if the law has passed away, then so have all of these commands, which are the foundation of the law. And the other foundational command is "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”. What differentiates this Sabbath command from the other nine? Why did it go away, and not the others? If the law has passed away, and many who accuse Sabbath/Torah keepers of legalism vehemently declare that it has, as a means of NOT observing Sabbath, then ALL of the law has passed away, including the other nine COMMANDS. Think about it some more.

The only thing, the ONLY thing that makes Messianic believers “appear” legalistic is the observance of Sabbath, and perhaps the keeping of the other feasts. Decide, did G-D command the Sabbath, or did man. Did G-D command “Sunday” worship as a 'Sabbath', changing His word and His eternal decree about the “seventh” day [Genesis 2], or did man? We assert that all Christians try to keep the Sabbath: they just do it WRONG, on the wrong day! If it is legalism to observe Shabbat, then all believers are legalistic, because every "church" we've ever heard of picks a day to meet! And many call Sunday the Sabbath. MAN did it, MAN changed the declared Sabbath of hvhy , deeming it obsolete, and named Sunday the Sabbath in the fourth century AD (see our article called "History"), and most of Christendom has blindly followed, just as the Pharisees blindly followed their fathers in men's traditions. “But in vain they do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” ~ Yeshua. This was predicted in Jeremiah: "Our fathers have inherited naught but LIES, vanities, and things wherein there is no profit." And after a lengthy discourse on those "errors", hvhy explains the root of the problem: "Thus saith hvhy : TAKE HEED for the sake of YOUR souls: bear not burden on the Sabbath Day!".

The Word says, “I am hvhy , and I DO NOT CHANGE”, and “Yeshua the Messiah is the same yesterday, today, and FOREVER”. He observed the Sabbath, and will continue to forever.

In the verse Messiah quoted (Matt 15:9), the word for “doctrines” is, in the Greek, didiskalia. This word is only used twice in the Greek version of the Tanak (Old Testament). In one place, Proverbs 2:17, it translates the Hebrew word “brit” (covenant), and in another place, Isaiah 29:13 (the verse Messiah quoted), it translates the Hebrew word “mitzvah”, or commandment. So, Yeshua is telling them that they make a covenant with their fathers and follow their teachings as if they were commandments. They are agreeing (covenant) with the words of their teachers more than they are with the mitzvoth (commandments) of G-D. This is true of most Christians today. And, they do the same thing to us as the Pharisees did to Messiah.

A covenant is an “agreement” between two parties. We as Messianic believers have decided to agree with G-D, and walk as He would have us walk, worship as He would have us worship, observe what He would have us observe. Nowhere does the Bible negate His commands, and those who say it does do so in blindness and willful ignorance, not heeding the very Words of the Christ they claim to worship. Do we condemn them [accuse of not being saved ]? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! But neither should they condemn us, nor call us legalistic, or worse, accuse us of being led of the devil (which has happened for this congregation: see Matt 12:32 and decide if the Holy Spirit leads one to obey G-D or not). “But blessed are those who hear the Word of G-D and OBEY it”. Yeshua (Luke 11:28)

Obedience is FAR different from legalism. It is the Messiah Yeshua, Yeshua Christ, who says OVER AND OVER that we should obey…obey WHAT? Let’s look at other scriptures and see what Yeshua wants His followers to “obey”, which means simply to keep His commandments:

Matthew5:19
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments [of the law, clearly seen in the previous two verses], and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 19:17
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life [born again], keep the commandments.
Luke 10:25-28
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
John 14:15
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 14:21
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (See also 1 John 2:3-6)
John 14:24
He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
Matt 5:17-18
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
John 12:46-50
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken [G-D’s Word], the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

So, there is a difference between doing what men say, which is “legalism”, and obeying G-D. The scriptures say, “Obedience is better than sacrifice”. It is incumbent upon us to obey His Word, all of it. Nowhere in scripture are we commanded to change the Sabbath, nor to do away with it: NOWHERE. Also, there are “traditions” of G-D that are NOT men’s traditions, such as the Sabbath, and the other festivals, and all the early believers were compelled to follow them by their apostolic teachers:

2 Th 2:15
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the [Jewish] traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Th 3:6
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our LORD Yeshua the Messiah, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the [Jewish] tradition which he received of us.
1 Cor 11:2
Hold fast to the [Jewish] traditions which I have delivered to you.

This is not legalism, but obedience for proper, biblical order of worship….[see our articles] Legalism is when one takes a command or commands or human traditions and tries to enforce it in SOMEONE ELSE's life, asserting they are not of G-D if they do not adhere to their will! We have NEVER done that. We encourage righteousness and good works, as the New Testament tells us to. That is all. We do assert that many Christians, true believers, are in error, most of them innocently (although it is the individual's duty to seek truth), and we fully believe it is our call to help those who are WILLING in themselves to change, and begin to obey G-D more fully. Not to control them, nor burden them, but to give them the JOY of the TORAH (See Psalm 119). Again, obedience is not legalism. If it is, then Yeshua the Messiah was legalistic, because He obeyed all the commands. He did this not to save Himself, but to "fulfill all righteousness". In the same way, we do this not to save ourselves, but to "fulfill all righteousness". He told John, "in doing this WE fulfill all righteousness". John was not divine, but had to 'obey', in order to make the value of Torah effective in this world. If Yeshua had not submitted, we would not have a Savior, and we would not have the power to obey, nor the grace that covers our failures. He came to give us "power not to sin", and sin is breaking His commands. Obedience is far different from legalism.

Q. Was Yeshua “Kosher”?

A. YES!

Kosher Yeshua

The scriptures do not emphatically declare Him to have been kosher, unless one understands what that means and what the Word says about Him: “He who knew no sin”. The Torah declares that eating foods that were not “clean” was a sin. Messiah knew no sin, which means He kept a kosher diet.

Peter helps to prove this, indirectly: when Peter had his vision of the “sheets”, seeing all manner of unclean animals and being told to kill and eat them, he said, “NOT SO, L-RD! Nothing unclean has ever touched my lips!” Peter was a dear friend of the Messiah, and a fellow Jew, and Jews simply did not violate the dietary laws of Leviticus 11.

Many use this scripture to try to assert that G-D had cleansed all the animals and made them suitable food, but that’s not how Peter interpreted the vision: “God has shown me not to call any MAN unclean”. (Acts 10:28) The fact that Peter remained kosher is established in several places later on. Peter associates himself with Torah-keeping Jews in Acts 15, while at the same time acknowledging that Jew and Gentile alike are saved by grace, and not by the works of the law. Peter knew, as do we, that being kosher, or keeping Shabbat, or being circumcised does NOT save anyone. But, he also remained kosher, and a Sabbath keeper (he could not overturn his circumcision!). Peter asserted that Jews should not lay the “burden” of the law on gentiles as a requirement for salvation (Acts 15:11), but they did lay a “measure” of the law on them as a minimum requirement for fellowship, and some of that minimum requirement was a partial kosher diet! (Acts 15:20-21, 28-29). Peter and the other Jews, including James, the brother of the Messiah Yeshua, still remained kosher, and required the new gentile converts to be partially kosher in order to be in good standing with the synagogue. Verse twenty-one is the key to understanding Peter’s and James’ mind on this: “For Moses (the Torah) has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath”. The gentiles would hear, and be lead by the Holy Spirit to do with the Torah what hvhy would have them do in the process of writing His Torah in their hearts.

Was Shaul (Paul) kosher? Yes.

“Although I have done nothing against our people, nor against the customs of our ancestors…” (Acts 28:17)
“I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews…” (Acts 25:4)
“I believe everything that agrees with the law (Torah) and that is written in the prophets…” (Acts 24:14)
“I was ceremonially clean [which includes kosher] when they found me in the temple courts doing this” [offering sacrifices] (Acts 24:18)
“Brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to G-D in all good conscience to this day”…(Acts 23:1)
“You yourself [James says to Paul] are living in obedience to the law [Torah]. (Acts 22:24)

So, why would Shaul write what he wrote to Timothy?

“to be at a distance from foods which G-D created for participation with thankfulness…”

The question is, what does Shaul consider food created for “participation”, or consumption? The answer is anything listed in Leviticus 11! This is where “food” is consecrated in the Word of G-D. The Messiah said that we ourselves should be “consecrated” by His Word: “Sanctify them by thy truth: thy WORD is truth”. So, the food that is consecrated in Leviticus 11 is the food mentioned here, not all animals.

A study on “food”.

The first word in scripture for “food” is brosis: trees “good for food”. (Gen 2:9) Same word is used of the forbidden fruit; this word actually means, “good for eating”. This 'food' is anything that is eaten at all. Clearly, the forbidden fruit is forbidden, but still edible, just as pork is forbidden but still edible.

Next we see “broma”, which is used in Genesis 6:21 in speaking of grains and such for the animals and Noah on the ark: acceptable food. Note that at this point, no one ate meat of any kind. Humanity was told to eat meat after the flood. Later, hvhy wrote into the law the restrictions on food, specifically in Leviticus 11. This word “broma” is used exclusively in Leviticus 11 to denote food “which may be eaten”.

In Psalm 136, 146, 147, we learn that G-D gives food to all beings, and the word for food in each of these texts is “trophe”, and is the general term for food, not “broma” which is the consecrated food. If ALL food were consecrated, the writer would have used this word, “trophe”, which is the general word for “food”. Jews used the word “broma” only to speak of kosher food. Shaul is actually telling Timothy not to allow anyone to teach others to abstain from kosher foods! And he said that this would happen in the “last days”, and in the context of people “leaving the faith”! And that with it would come the compunction to forbid people to marry! We don’t do that! Only people who “leave” Judaism stop eating kosher! The 'christian' practice of forbidding to marry did come with silly restrictions on food in the catholic church. Others have blindly accepted their teachings on the topic. We do not.

Now, we at Congregation Bat-Tzion do our best to follow, at a minimum, the mandate in Acts 15, and some of us have endeavored to become more kosher in our eating, only because it is “beneficial” to us; not to declare that others who do not are not saved. We do not condemn anyone who eats non-kosher foods. But, neither do we buy the idea that the apostles taught others to eat whatever they wanted, or that they turned from Judaism at all. They clearly did not. The decision to eat Kosher should be one led by the Holy Spirit as one studies the Word and begins to see the earthly benefit of being obedient to heaven. Science is proving that the Levitical diet is very healthy. hvhy knew that already.

Q. Should believers in Yeshua tithe?

A. Believers should give freely (to whom hvhy instructs them to give) as has been given unto them, as much as their OWN heart and budget will allow them to give with joy. Tithe was the support of the levitical priesthood....

What is “tithe”?

In Hebrew, where the concept originates [actually, it was first a Canaanite custom, a “tax” from the kings on the plains of Canaan to live in the city-states, or around them; the promise was that if one paid the tithe, the king would offer protection from raiders], the word is “ma’aser”, which means “a tenth”. Most of the time in the scriptures the word is seen in its noun form: its verb form is asar, “to give a tenth”, and is only used once, in Deuteronomy 14. The Greek for this word is apodekatoo [and variations]. The noun form is “dekatos”, a tenth.

This topic tickles us the most, when it comes to Christian churches that push this button so much, and out of the other side of their mouths say that the law has passed away. What doublespeak!

“You have ROBBED god!” they will vehemently declare, on SUNDAY!

Nowhere, not ONE place, in the New Testament is anyone commanded to tithe. NOT ONE PLACE. So, IF Christians are going to use this mitzvah, and they do more than any other, HOW can they then ignore the mitzvah to observe Sabbath, not to eat unclean food, not to serve idols? This is the best representation of the poorest logic among supposedly educated spiritual leaders.

Giving that is divine is giving that comes from the heart, not by coercion. The amount does NOT matter.

What the “tithe” was in the Torah was a means to take care of the Levites, who had no inheritance when they crossed into the Promised Land; they couldn’t even own land. Their job was to perform the sacrifices on behalf of the rest of Israel, tend to the tabernacle/temple, and teach the Torah to the people. They had no source of income, so the rest of Israel was to give them part of their tithe [noun], so that the Levites would be sustained. And guess what, the Levites were supposed to give a tenth part of all the tithe they received to hvhy !

With the renewal of the covenant, the priesthood shifted, since Messiah Yeshua became our high priest. The Aaronic priesthood was about sacrificial worship, which included the tithe. The sacrificial system of Aaron has transferred to Yeshua, and with it the tithe; theoretically, every Christian agrees with the Messiah becoming every sacrifice in the Torah, or we’d be offering bulls and goats. Why this one sacrifice, why cling to it? This tithe is the ONE commandment preachers like to command, and it is a gross misuse of scripture. Nowhere in the New Covenant did anyone tell the Body to give a tenth part for the support of ministers who "ministered" full time. Nowhere! This did not come about for many centuries, under Catholic domination, whose popes desired to restore the model of the Levitical priesthood, and enjoy wealth in a world plagued by poverty. This is another feature of Catholicism Protestants refuse to protest. This is the sin of Nicolaitanism, where there is a paid "clergy" that withholds knowledge from a "laity", whom they deem not worthy/capable of it.

The tithe actually served several purposes: to feed the poor, sustain the Levites, and to finance communion with hvhy ! The Levites effectively got one third of the tithe: every third year, the tithe was to be brought into the gates (of the Temple) and given to the Levites, so that they would have plenty to live off of. Another third was to be given to the poor. The rest of it was to finance a trip to Jerusalem for the person whose tithe it was, and they were commanded to “eat it [the tithe] before hvhy . One Third [1/3] of the tithe was for the tither!

The command “to tithe” is in Deuteronomy 14. This was a savings account for the Pilgrim Feasts, as hvhy had commanded all Jews to come to Jerusalem three times a year for a feast each time: Passover, Shavuot, and Tabernacles. The tithe was used for those purposes. One third, again, was for the Levites, and the Levites gave a tenth of that to hvhy . In Malakhi, where hvhy said, “you rob me in your tithes and your offerings”, He was concerned not for Himself [G-D does NOT need our money], but for the poor, who could not feed themselves, and the Levite, who was not permitted to own anything, and who served the people daily and in the Temple five times per year. Also, they Jews were likely by that time not fully participating in the pilgrim feasts, as that is what the last 1/3 of the tithe was for. It is robbing G-D, not monetarily, but by not having communion with Him and all of Israel as He desired! This is a neglect of Passover, Shavuot, and Tabernacles, which Christians today also neglect!

It is fitting to “offer” anything one wants to offer to hvhy . It is fitting to give to the work of ministry. But it is NOT fitting to command men that they should give ten percent of their income to a church, and then tell them they are free from the rest of the law. If we truly wanted to follow the New Covenant model, we would give ALL THAT WE HAVE, share everything with our brethren! But, what the New Covenant says about giving is that it should be done with a cheerful heart, and with the measure that the giver is willing to give cheerfully. NO OTHER LIMIT OR DEMAND is placed on New Covenant givers. We are ALL priests in his kingdom, and NO ONE should bilk money from people and call it righteous, using a single command of G-D for an offering which Messiah became, and then ignore all other commands. This puts a person in a sore pickle with hvhy . It is duplicity.

At Congregation Bat-Tzion, we do not ask anyone for money. The LORD will provide, and He puts love in the congregation's heart to sustain the ministry financially. As people serve hvhy , and are fed by the Word, and receive the communion of the saints, hvhy will guide their hearts in their giving. And we have never done without. When Moses built the tabernacle, the people were compelled to give “whatever they could cheerfully give”, and they gave so much Moses had to ask them to stop giving. THAT is the model of Congregation Bat-Tzion. We are all priests. We are all supposed to be giving of our love and time to one another, more importantly than anything else. Many people tithe as a means to appease G-D, hoping it stacks up in their favor on judgment day, or many today do it for a "Return On Investment", thinking that hvhy will pour it out on them if they "tithe"; or, many do so innocently because that’s what they’ve been told They are likely in financial bondage for it, so that preachers can continue to compel them to tithe, dangling the prosperity carrot in front of their congregations.

The poor will always be with us. And hvhy shows that our excess, whatever falls from the tree, is for them daily. It was called “glean”, not tithe. Giving to the poor beyond 1/3 should not have a number on it, either. Just a heart of compassion done daily to assure no one goes without. In modern terms, it is our “change”. If we gave all our “change” for the poor in our country, there'd be no hunger. No one would do without. THAT is the idea behind tithing and giving, not financing a robed/suited figure who gets fat off the sacrifices of others, holding them in derision if they don’t tithe, watching them do without so he can be fat.

If one tithes because he feels hvhy wants him to, hvhy will bless. But, hvhy offered plenty of other opportunities to give beyond the tithe for Levites and feasts. Giving is more an “offering” than a tithe, as we can’t go to a Temple in Jerusalem right now for the feasts, and there is no priesthood to support. So, we are free to give, again, whatever we can give with a cheerful heart, gladly, not seeking ROI.

Jews are the ones who are commanded to tithe; and if you join a Synagogue, not even they charge a ten percent “tithe”. In order to be a member of most synagogues, the fee is 2% a year for young families [with kids], and 3 percent a year for those whose kids are grown and gone. They understand it properly, that there is no priesthood right now; but they understand they need to support the synagogue, and they pay 1/3 of a 10th part for that! If there were a temple, the other 2/3 of the tenth part would be for themselves, to make a journey to Jerusalem for Passover, Shavuot, and/or Tabernacles. We submit that those who demand ten percent for the Church are actually the ones who are robbing G-D! Falsifying the purpose of the tithe to line their own pockets, giving them a safety net.

“Freely you have received, freely give”…to whomever you are led by G-D.

It would do well that pastors read the following:

Ezekiel Chapter 34

There are many other places where the leaders were chastened for charging money for the services of hvhy , including in the New Covenant. We will update this article as time permits with more information.

Q. When you use the word "Torah", do you mean the Bible?

A. The Torah is the foundation of the Bible. It took me a long time to see it, but now that I do, it makes everything from cover to cover make perfect sense, and answers all the questions I had...

THE TORAH AND TANAKH:

Seeing the Torah as the foundation also opened the door to SO many more questions and a lifetime of pursuing the depth and meat of the word. Only through the Torah [Genesis through Deuteronomy] can we know what sin is [see Romans 6-7], thereby knowing what we need to overcome and change about ourselves to be conformed to the image of the perfect Son. Many times, if not most times, when I reference the Torah, I AM referring to the whole Bible. The issue is that many, many who say they believe in Yeshua [Yeshua] do NOT think the Torah [Genesis-Deuteronomy] is applicable to their lives today. But, when Paul wrote the church at Ephesus, the city that eventually established the "deity" of Mary, [which is error], he wrote that our gospel is FOUNDED on the Apostles [new testament] AND the Prophets [old testament] [ Eph 2:19-22] [ Moses is THE PROPHET in the Jewish mind; Paul is a Jew; Moses penned the Torah], with Messiah Yeshua as the cornerstone:

Had Ephesus clung to that model, perhaps they never would have deified Mary? The unity of the godhead and the unity of scripture is what is missing in believers today. Believers who try to study usually study only the New Testament, and that through preconceptions and assumptions based on human tradition. Many protestants do not realize how truly catholic they still are! We are fully persuaded that these are the "great harlot" and her "harlot daughters" of the Revelation, the "believers" whom hvhy tells us, "Come out of her, my people".

In an email response to this question came this statement:

"the idea of Torah abandonment is a huge one of these" [errors];

This is speaking specifically of Torah, the "Law of Moses". Abandoning it has caused all the confusion in the circle of those who want to follow Yeshua.

So, in the email in question, all of the references to Torah were specific to the law of Moses; the point is that many think that the letter to the Galatian cities gives instruction to abandon everything in regard to the Torah, the "law of Moses". This flies in the face of the words of Yeshua Himself:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law [Torah], or the prophets [Joshua-Malakhi]: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Torah, till all be fulfilled.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments [of the Torah], and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matt 5:17-19

Paul supports this as well:

"Do we then make void the law through faith? G-D FORBID! Yea! We ESTABLISH IT". Rom 3:31

Long answer, I know, but important, and a very good question. In talking about Torah sometimes the statements are about "the first five books of the Bible"...but, in the broader context of my usage of the word, the Torah is seen as the whole Bible. In the Jewish mind, one can refer to Tanakh as the Torah, the whole "old testament". For believers in Yeshua, one can carry that to represent the whole Bible. Let us not forget that the new covenant promise is that the TORAH would be written on our hearts:

Jeremiah 31:33
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares hvhy . "I will put my TORAH in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Hebrews 8:10
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my TORAH in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Hebrews 10:16
"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my Torah in their hearts, and I will it them on their minds."

Shaul is reminding the Jews of that very promise, twice! In showing them how the priesthood had been transformed by the Messiah; the key here is that he was "keeping" the relevance of Torah...

Torah DOES equal Bible, because it is the part of the foundation we can actually "see" with our eyes; Messiah is the cornerstone, and we can "trust" in Him, but have not seen Him yet; We soon will, and He will judge the earth according to Torah.

Q. What about Galatians, where it says, "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto G-D"?

A. It is I who am dead to the law: the law is not dead to me!

DEAD TO THE LAW

This is Deuteronomy 4:2, a very, very important command:

“Do not add to the word I command you, neither shall you 'take away', to keep the commandments of hvhy your G-D which I command you."

The two most important concepts in this command are the words “Lo tigru mimenu”, and “Lishmar”.

Lo tigru comes from the word “gara”, which means “withdraw”, but also means “to destroy”, in the sense of “shaving”, razing… . The most “simple” meaning of it, when coupled with “mi”, as it is here [mimenu, the word after tigru], is “take away”.

“Lishmar” means “to guard”. This is not addressing their “keeping” them in the sense of obeying the commands; Moses takes care of that in verse 5 and 6, where he instructs, “la’asot” , “to do” them. This “lishmar” means to ‘keep’ in the sense of “preserving”. A literal rendering of lo tigru mimenu lishmar et mitzvoth hvhy ” would be “do not take away from us, [but] preserve the commandments of hvhy ”.

When Yeshua said in Matt 5:18-19, “I did not come to “do away with” the Torah, but to fulfill”, He was ASSURING His JEWISH audience that He was and always would be a supporter of Torah. He was assuring the Jewish community that He would not break this very important command in Deuteronomy 4.

The “riddle” that the English translations of Galatians cause is quelled in this command, and in Yeshua's PROMISE that He would not break this command! Remember, Galatians is about preventing the making Jews out of Gentiles by compulsion, or "bondage", NOT about keeping commands.

Consider this:

“Bear in mind that our L-rd's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that G-D gave him. 16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” II Peter 3:15-16

Paul NEVER intended to overturn the Torah of G-D, nor Shabbat, nor Kosher laws…

”Do we then make void [ tigru] the Torah through faith? G-D FORBID! Yea, we ESTABLISH it [Torah]! Rom 3:31.

Paul’s intent was to STOP “Judaizers” from forcing Gentiles to BECOME JEWS in order to be saved,, which is what “judaizer” means! This was done by the Pharisaic house of Shammai even before Yeshua! [check history] This event is born out in detail in Acts 13-15…Consider these chapters BEFORE making a judgment about what Paul is writing in Galatians. Paul was part of the settling of the argument over Judaizers; It was settled in Jerusalem, and the “conclusion of the matter” was that the gentiles would continue to hear Torah every Shabbat, and that they should at a minimum keep a partial kosher diet while they learn their new faith: no foods sacrificed to Idols [Indian and Chinese food is], no meat with blood in it, no “strangled meat”, which means limbs wrested from living animals; and, they dumped the WHOLE code of sexual laws from the Torah on them! Is that really doing away with Torah? Doesn’t sound like it to me. It is a doing away with men FORCING others to be CIRCUMCISED, which, historically, has always been associated with Shammai’s rule that gentiles FULLY CONVERT in order to worship in the Synagogue with Jews. It was an on-going debate for many years before Paul converted. Paul was not of the House of Shammai, but of Hillel. Hillel taught that Jews COULD worship in the synagogue if they kept the Noahide laws of Genesis 9. That’s what we see happening in Acts 13-14…Gentiles who were already worshiping hvhy with Hillel’s blessing [the school/house of Hillel was most respected by the Pharisees]. The House of Shammai was in control of the Sanhedrin. That’s who Paul was talking about when he said “am I trying to please men, or G-D?" Shammai’s “men” were forcing a man-made rule on Gentiles. The “minimum” of Hillel was reaffirmed by James in Acts 15….

It is important to note that nothing in the New Testament forbids anyone from keeping Sabbath or keeping kosher…Jew or Gentile!

Chapter 3 of Galatians:

First, recognize that Paul affirms SCRIPTURE first, the truth of the written word, which in his day was ONLY Moses to Malakhi!

Next, verse 2 asks “was it WORKS of law or spirit you received”.
Notice how most minds immediately focus on “law”, and not “works”. In this sentence the main noun is WORKS, with the “of law” as a MODIFIER. This is proven out in verse 3, which says, “commencing in Spirit, are you now completed in FLESH?” WORKS or “deeds” are of the FLESH! The LAW is SPIRIT!

See Romans 7:14~!

He goes on to explain that the Spirit indeed came by faith…just as righteousness came to Abraham by faith…then he says that those who believe “these are the SONS OF ABRAHAM”. And Abraham “kept the commandments, statutes, and laws” of G-D, BEFORE THEY WERE WRITTEN [Genesis 26]. He did so by faith, as do we.

He explains that we are brought into Abraham’s blessings because of Faith in the WRITTEN WORD, the TORAH [remember verse 1 of chapter 3?] He says as many as are of WORKS, [of the law is again the modifier in verse 10] are UNDER THE curse: the curse of what? The CURSE of breaking the Torah…Yeshua has set those who believe in His Law free from the curses contained in it. He goes on and explains that the Spirit comes through the promise made, to Abraham, through Yeshua, to us.

Next, why did the law come? [v 19] “to favor transgressions until the Seed should come, set in order by messengers in the hand of a Mediator [Moses].” [my translation] Stern translates it this way: "It was added in order to CREATE transgressions, until the coming of the seed about whom the promise had been made".

“Is the law against the promises of G-D?” “HEAVEN FORBID!!”

Then he explains that the scriptures confine ALL [JEW AND GENTILE] under sin, until the MEDIATOR Yeshua should come. Then Shaul says that the promise would come to those “guarded by the Torah” so that the promise would take away UNBELIEF. [unbelief of the scriptures, verse 1, the belief in hvhy and His Law, which Messiah came to establish! Matt 5:18-19, and through that, belief in Yeshua. Remember, Yeshua expounded all the LAW and the PROPHETS to teach them about HIMSELF. [Luke 24].

In verse 24 says that the law HAS BECOME OUR INSTRUCTOR! [check a good Greek bible] up to Messiah, teaching us to be justified by faith! Verses 28-29 say that Jew and Gentile have become one; and, if you are Messiah’s, then YOU ARE THE SEED OF ABRAHAM, a Torah keeper! And heirs: inheriting WHAT?: the promise written IN THE TORAH.

This letter was in response to Paul's hearing about the Judaizers, who were NOT sent by James, the leader of the Church at Jerusalem; they took it upon themselves to assert that Gentiles must convert by taking the sign of circumcision IN THEIR FLESH in order to enter the Olam Haba…”be saved”. This is not what keeping the commandments is about. Keeping the commandments, observing them, is about obeying the Word, by faith. This is seen in 4:16, “they are zealous for you, but not for well, but they want to exclude you so that you should be zealous for them…
The proof that this is the Judaizers demanding circumcision comes in 5:2: “Behold I say to you that should you be circumcised", and says that they should not “put their faith in circumcision” to save them. [vs 4] Verse 11 further supports that this is the Judaizer argument.

Now, look at how Paul expresses this same argument to the Ephesians:

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)— remember that at that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without G-D in the world. But now in Christ Yeshua you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, “having made both one [Jew and Gentile], and [the partition of barrier having loosed] the enmity by the flesh of the law of commandments in decrees he cleared away],.

Stern puts it this way:: "has broken down the m'khitzah which divided us by destroying in his own body the ENMITY occasioned by the Torah" [emphasis mine].

[the focal point of that sentence is the enmity, the “curse”, NOT the law!]

His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to G-D through the cross, by which he put to death the ENMITY. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with G-D's people and members of G-D's household, built on the foundation of the apostles [new testament] and prophets [old testament], [the covenants mentioned in previous verse] with Messiah Yeshua himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the L-rd. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which G-D lives by his Spirit.”

Perhaps Paul worded it more easily here, because of what Peter wrote?

In short, Galatians is a very difficult book; the first English translators, and most subsequent translators, have approached the Greek with a PRECONCEPTION that the Torah is DEAD! They ALREADY believe that; to those translators, there's no digging to be done. But, a faithfulness to the language, and to the REST OF SCRIPTURE, not the least of which is the words of Messiah Yeshua Himself, warrants a second look at the book. It was NOT a "Get rid of the Torah" treatise. It was a "Prevent Judaizing" treatise. Nothing further.

If it is more than that, then rip Genesis through Deuteronomy, even through Malakhi, out of your Bible. You don't need it.

Q. How can Yeshua AND Lucifer be the "Day Star"?

A. On the surface, the scriptures referring to "morning star" and "day star" can be confusing, unless one considers the 'directionality' of each.

Morning Star / Day Star

Let's first look at the scriptures that are the cause of this slight confusion:

Star From Jacob – from Numbers, 24.
This is Balaam’s prophecy about Messiah.

Lucifer [light bearer] Son of the Dawn
From Isaiah 14

Star falling from heaven – Rev 9:1

The dawn and the light of day arise in your hearts – 2 Peter 1:19

I will give him the Star of the Dawn – Rev 2:28

Consider, Satan is “Sheker HaMashiakh”, a 'false anointed', or anointed for lies. His 'star' is always a 'descending' star, whereas Messiah’s is referenced as 'rising'.

A “kokhav” is a star.

The first text above says 'kokhav mi Ya’akov', a star 'from' Jacob, a clear reference to Messiah.

The second text does not say kokhav: It says, “fallen [or falling] light-bearer of the dawn”, and is a clear reference to HaSatan. This matches the next one, which does say Kokhakh Naphal, or FALLING STAR.

The next text, from 2 Pet, says, “The dawn [shakhar] and the light of The Day [Ore HaYom] arise in your heart” – note the 'upward mobility'.

The next says “I will give him the Star [Kokhav] of The Dawn [HaShakhar] [a 'rising star', the sun, in metaphor = Yeshua, the “Sun of Righteousness with Healing in His Tallit”.]

Next, Ore Nogah v’Kokhav HaShakhar - “Shining Light and Star of the Dawn”. As you can see, these are not the exact same phrases, and are clearly opposite 'images' of Messiah and Anti-Messiah…

I have not studied this on the deeper levels, but this should get you started in 'sorting out' the seeming sameness of the phrase…

Q. Can we really know how to pronounce THE NAME?

A. The Name of Elohim [G-D] is hvhy . He tells us to know Him. Yeshua revealed Him. Would he REALLY HIDE  His Name from us?

THE NAME

At our recent study of the first chapter of scripture, “B’Resheet”, and the first few verses of the second chapter, we see the first appearance of the NAME, and can gain some initial understanding about it. In these passages, we see Elohim creating the earth and all that is therein, and then, when He details for us 'how' He created Man, interacting with “Adahm”, He refers to Himself as hvhy Elohim. This comes across into English as “G-D” doing the creating, and the “L-RD G-D” interacting with Adahm. Elohim relates or reveals Himself to man as hvhy .

So, the very first use of the NAME in scripture is in Genesis 2:4.

In our Hebrew classes on Shabbat, the subject of “vowels” can be difficult to conquer, but only because we make it so! The question arises, or statements are incorrectly made, “there are no 'vowels' in Hebrew”/ “are there vowels in Hebrew?”. OF COURSE there are! They are just not written! The vowels are the “spirit” of the Torah! The consonants “carry” or are “covered” by the vowels! You can’t see the vowels unless you “know” the consonants, but you can hear them, if you SHEMA! “LISTEN/HEAR”! [ In Jewish thought, the spaces or “shapes” in-between the letters are other letters! ] If there were no vowels in Hebrew, then when it is spoken, one would only 'hear' clicking of teeth and bumping of gums! So, the statement “There are no vowels in Hebrew” is a misrepresentation of the language. The vowels of Hebrew are “intuitive”, as all humans are, and most humans used to be far more intuitive than we are now, especially men! A better word to describe this, however, is that the vowels are SPIRITUAL. Again, they are the “Spirit” of the Torah. They are most indeed there! Eventually, one “sees” them, after having heard them and acted upon them, and understanding them. They are more important, in one sense, than the consonants that are written! Though they cannot be 'carried' unless the consonants are there! The consonants carry different vowel sounds depending on the meaning that the word/thought they’re in is trying to convey. Just like there is one Spirit but many “powers/gifts”, and one person can 'carry' one or more 'gifts' of the Spirit at various times and functions in the Body, so each consonant can 'carry' a different vowel sound, in order to do the work of Elohim of communicating meaning to us. This is also seen in the Menorah of the Ruakh, in Isaiah 11:1-4, where the five main gifts of the Ruakh are 'book-ended' by hvhy and the FEAR of hvhy . The five 'powers' in the middle and the Ruakh hvhy and the Yirat hvhy all rest on one man: Messiah! The Menorah of the World. In truth, in a subtle way, all the vowel “sounds” are represented in the NAME!

It is true, however, that vowel 'sounds' are not 'written'. There are no individual printed letters that exclusively represent the five 'vowel sounds' of the Hebrew language. This is true of the text of the scriptures themselves. What do I mean? Any man, any natural man, can pick up the scriptures and read them. But, it is only when yielded to G-D and HIS SPIRIT that one can “Shema”, which means, if you’ll remember, “HEAR AND DO!”. This is an even stronger principle when one is reading the scriptures in Hebrew and Aramaic, because of the need to 'understand' the vowels.

There are only five 'vowel sounds' in Hebrew, represented by the English phonetics below:

AH – as in BACH / EH – as in bet / EE – as in feet / OH – as in oat / OO – as in boot

Other sounds that one 'thinks' one hears when listening to Hebrew are called “dipthongs”, or blends of the five sounds above. This 'hints' at the five books of the Torah, and the Prophets! The prophets only use TORAH in their rulings, linking Torah precept to Torah precept! As do the Apostles! An example of the blends is in the word “Adonai”, which means “My Master”. The first syllable is AH, as the first sound listed above. The second syllable is DON, which combines the consonantal “D” with the “OH of oat” and the consonantal “N”, and the last syllable is “AI”, which is a “diphthong” or “blend” of AH and EE. It sounds like our “long I “, but in reality is the blending of AH and EE.

So, when we get to the word hvhy in Hebrew, we 'understand' that it is not an 'empty' word, but “full”. One has to consider what Yeshua said when determining how to say it. “Elohim Ruakh”, or “G-D is SPIRIT!” So, every syllable in this word must be “open”, not “closed” by hard consonantal sounds! Because nothing can “stop” wind, or Ruakh [Breath/spirit]. Here is a 'picture' of the Hebrew representation of the NAME:

Remember, we read from right to left!

The first letter is a unique “consonant” which serves as a vowel sound at times. Its name is Yod, and means 'hand'. It is “open”. Most of the time it represents the sound “ee”, which can turn into our understanding of the consonantal sound of our letter “Y”. But, let’s go slow. Let’s say only “ee” for now.

The second letter is a “heh”, and actually means “BEHOLD!” and also means “SPIRIT!”. It is an “open consonant” as well. In this word, it carries a 'vowel sound', AH.

The third letter, the "vav", functions as a vowel carrier as well! It means “hook”. It’s sound, when positioned within a word, is often “OO”, as in this case. [we will prove that later]

The last letter is a repeat, “AH”.

Each of these letters are “servants” to the vowel sounds in the NAME! They simply “carry” them. They yield to the “spirit”, if you will! Each of them is “open”, so as not to ‘stop’ the flow of the ‘breath’.

So, lets blend these sounds together: EE-AH-OO-AH. A diphthong naturally occurs, which makes us English speakers think of “Y”. Say it faster. The EE and AH become “Yah”, a blend. The rules of transliteration for the Hebrew-to-English give us the word we know as “ hvhy ”.

So, why did the “vowel marks” come into play, and how?

There was a community of Jews in the sixth/seventh century that saw the need to create a system with which to teach Jews who no longer spoke Hebrew on a daily basis, who were scattered in the diaspora, how to read the scriptures. They themselves DID STILL SPEAK HEBREW. They were a community of Jews IN JERUSALEM, doing a service for Israel, the language, and the Tanakh. Their name “Masorete”, means 'tradition keeper', as they had rejected Rabbinic Judaism and believed in a purer Torah Walk. They still exist today, and have had a continuous presence in Jerusalem and Iraq since just after the time of Messiah. They created what we call “niqudot” or “dots”. These dots and dashes make up a diacritical system of indicators that tell us what “vowel sound” a consonant is “carrying”. They themselves, remember, had been reading Torah WITHOUT THEM for generations! But they were ‘compelled’ to preserve the language with these 'niqudot'. From them we get our understanding of Hebrew pronunciation. I find it very interesting that Ya’akov’s sheep and goats all had niqudot!

Hebrew has been read/spoken in Synagogues CONTINUOUSLY for the last 2400 years. There is very little variation, even when one moves from place to place around the globe, especially where vowel sounds are concerned! The only real variation that developed over the centuries is that in the German/Chech/Polish “Ashkenazi” communities they changed the “tav” to use the “s” sound of “samekh”, and the khaph (soft kaph) to use the 'k/q' sound of qoph, probably due to local influence of Slavic languages. But they did NOT modify VOWEL SOUNDS!

So, why is there so much 'debate' over the pronunciation of the NAME?

In the Jewish community, particularly in the sect of the Pharisees, the ruling house in the time of Messiah, there was a trend toward NOT saying the NAME, even though the scriptures command us to say it! To DECLARE IT AMONG THE GENTILES! But, in examining the scriptures closely, especially our Aramaic texts, we see that Yeshua said this NAME often, as did the disciples. So, in His day, the pronunciation had NOT been 'forgotten'. The proof also is that the Mishnah, written down AFTER Messiah, tells us that the High Priest would say the NAME on Yom Kippur in the Kadosh K’doshim.

The Masoretic community, however, though returning to Torah, preserved the man-made tradition of not pronouncing the name when reading the Torah/Tanakh. So, when they assigned the niqudot to the consonants of the NAME, they did not assign the right ones! They assigned the 'sounds' of Adonai and Elohim to the letters of hvhy !

And in some of the places where they assigned niqudot to hvhy , they assigned the vowel sounds for ELOHIM:

So, Masorete readers would 'see' the two variations when reading aloud, but would 'say' either Adonai or Elohim in place of THE NAME! In doing so, they were no longer keeping the command to declare the NAME.

As a result, later “scholars” who did not SPEAK Hebrew saw these vowel points and created a combination of sounds, using Latin replacement consonants, and gave us the faulty transliteration, “Jehovah”. The first syllable should tell us “STOP!”, and certainly so should the third!

So, how do we know what TO say, when we see this name? We look at other forms/uses of the name!

Many Biblical names make use of the NAME. We will look at two, which are the most compelling. The first one we will look at is Isaiah. This name contains a joining of two words.

Attach: yeshayahu_1t.png

The word is pronounced in Hebrew, “YeshaYahu”. I have broken it up into its two cognate parts above. Starting on the right, the first two syllables are “Yesha”, the second two syllables are Yahu. Together these words mean “ hvhy Saved” [You should notice how similar the first part is to Yeshua].

We will focus on the second cognate, Yahu. What letter is missing, when we compare it to the NAME? Only the last “heh”. Here, we basically see three of the five 'vowels': EE, AH, and OO. When we 'say' them in the timbre and cadence of normal speech, it comes out “YaOO”, with a very simple 'wind' from the Heh. Yahu.

This word, Yeshayahu, has been echoed through the ages, and its pronunciation is rarely debated, if ever, among Jews! This same suffix is on the back of “Eliyahu” and Yirmiyahu”, two other major prophets, whose names mean “My G-D is hvhy ” and “Appointed by hvhy ”. The current Prime Minister of Israel also shares this cognate: Benyamin NetanYahu, whose last name means “Gift of hvhy ”.

Now, lets look at one more.

See how similar this name is to hvhy ?

It only has ONE other letter in it, a “closed door”, the Dalet, the red letter [the word Dalet, the name of that red letter, means “door”, and it is a 'closed' letter. The Heh, the second and last letter, is actually an “open door”]. This word is YehuDah, with the stress on the last syllable. You know it as Judah. This word means “praised”, coming from the concept of “throwing” or “casting”, and its root is a homonym of “yadah” or “known”. This is the patriarch of the Messianic Tribe, and is the word from which we get our English word “JEW”. The Jews CERTAINLY know how to pronounce this word! Consider, “Judah” has “closed the door” on SPEAKING THE NAME! When they repent of this infraction, and of their other changes to Torah, then Messiah will come! Now, look at how very, very similar Yehuda is to hvhy ! Take the “door” out, and you’re 'seeing' and 'hearing' His NAME. Yeshua, we know, IS the door. When He changed from mortal to “immortal”, He OPENED the door!

“I will declare THY NAME among my brethren! In the midst of the Congregation I will sing praise unto thee! Ye that fear , PRAISE HIM!” [Heb 2:12, and Psalm 22:23]. Shaul attributes these words to Yeshua! In the previous verse in the Psalm, the speaker asks “save me from the Lion’s mouth!” The lion is Judah! His mouth is closed, NOT declaring the NAME!

hvhy said this about His Name to the Jews:
“B’khal hamakom asher EHZKIR et SHMI avoh eleykha ooverakhtikha”.
Meaning, “In EVERY place where my NAME is REMEMBERED I will come to YOU and I will BLESS YOU!”

To “remember” in Hebrew also means “to mention”, or “recall”.

Israel has often done what “Christianity” has done, and forgotten, even forced the omission of the NAME in worship, and especially in daily life. hvhy says that this will be remedied, for everyone, in the future:

Jer 16:21
Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is [ hvhy ] .

Jeremiah then reminds Israel of what they did once more:

Jer 23:27
Which think to cause my people to FORGET MY NAME by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.

What most religious “scholars” fail to teach the “laity” is that the word for BAAL in English is L-RD! The equivalent Greek word for BAAL is KURIOS, a title given to many, many of the Greek gods, including Zeus. Constantine assigned this title to Yeshua, and now everyone calls him “L-rd”, and not hvhy . Further, the name “Yeshua” has nothing in it to tell us that “ hvhy is Salvation”, which is exactly what the word Yeshua does.

But, when Messiah came, He caused Israel to declare the Name hvhy into all the earth, in the name of Yeshua. The Apostles, including Shaul, all went out into the world and SPOKE HIS NAME, the Name of hvhy , and told them His Messiah’s name is Yeshua.

Mal 1:11
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my NAME, and a pure offering: for my NAME shall be great among the heathen, saith hvhy Tzeva’ot.
Acts 2:14-17, 21
Then Kepha stood up with the Eleven and raised his voice to address them: "You Judeans, and all of you staying here in Yerushalayim! Let me tell you what this means! Listen carefully to me! "These people aren't drunk, as you suppose - it's only nine in the morning. No, this is what was spoken about through the prophet Yo'el: hvhy says: "In the Last Days, I will pour out from my Spirit upon everyone”…. And then, whoever calls on the name of hvhy will be saved.”
Acts 2:35 – 36
hvhy said to my master, 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.' Therefore, let the whole house of Isra'el know beyond doubt that Elohim has made him both hvhy and Messiah - this Yeshua”.

And in Malakhi, a prophecy is made about the “Sun” arising, which Peter tells us is also at a FUTURE date from our day. This 'promise' is given to those that fear the NAME of hvhy . The previous verse tells us that it is hvhy speaking in this verse:

Mal 4:2
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

Yeshua IS hvhy , The WORD of Elohim manifested in flesh! The LION of the tribe of YehuDAH. The pronunciation of this name, YehuDah, has the 'blends' of the name hvhy in it, so it is very easy to 'see' that the NAME is pronounced, in timbre and cadence, as EE-AH-OO-AH. I-A-U-A, four vowels. Thus, the early transliterations that offer us “ hvhy ” in English, following the rules that are established linguistically for transliterating between these two languages DIRECTLY, instead of through the Greek or Latin, give us accurately the ENGLISH word Yahweh.

His NAME has NOT been lost!

Please read our file, "The Name ," for more background on this Great Name.

Now, lets briefly discuss the name Yeshua, which means salvation, and is a common, common word in Hebrew scripture, whose pronunciation is obvious. But this pronunciation is further supported as a NAME in the ARAMAIC scriptures, which are more reliable than the Greek and Latin. In Aramaic, the word Yeshua sounds EXACTLY like the Hebrew word yeshua [salvation]. But, in Aramaic, it’s meaning is more full. It means “ hvhy is Salvation”. This is also the meaning of the word Yehoshua. Why not YeHUshua? BECAUSE IT IS AT THE FRONT OF THE WORD as a prefix cognate. But, remember, in Yehuda, it is neither a prefix nor a suffix!

In the Aramaic scriptures, this is quite obviously Yeshua’s name. The Aramaic community in the near east has been using and saying this word for 2700 years! With no loss of continuity! If we were really wanting a proper English word for the name of the Savior, the Son of G-D, it is JOSHUA. This form takes the name Yehoshua out of Hebrew DIRECTLY into English. The word “Yeshua” comes to us from Hebrew, through the Greek, as Iesous. It is further massaged into English using GREEK-to-English transliteration rules, giving us a totally different sounding word from Joshua.

However! The 'ayin' on the end of Yehoshua is translated EVERYWHERE ELSE in Hebrew to Greek rules as an 'open ending syllable', so, the Greek “sigma” on the end of this word SHOULD NOT BE THERE! This is why many postulate that “Yeshua” is a cognate of “hail” and “Zeus”. It is indeed a compelling argument for the unlearned. They assert that the or “ee-eh”, means “hail”, and the or 'sous' means Zeus. But, there are two different letters in Zeus in the Greek: The Zeta and the epsilon.

It is certain that our catholic forebears had an affinity for Greek gods, so it does leave one to question their motive for ignoring the standard rules of transliteration in the case of this ONE word. The last sigma should NOT have been there, and all 'scholars' know this. It is simply 'overlooked'; or is it?

There are indeed many protestants who would cringe at the thought of calling “Yeshua” zeus. These are the ones who ACCEPT HIS JEWISHNESS! And they are few and far between. These are the ones to whom hvhy is calling, and compelling them to learn the truth about pagan ritual laced throughout 'Christian' practice. Their love for the Son of G-D will eventually drive them to His proper name, and His Torah. For now, they are covered by grace, indeed, unless upon hearing the truth they ignore it and prove false about adhering to scripture and truth.

So, when we say “Yeshua”, we are using a very common Hebrew word AND a very common Aramaic word, over which there is no debate in pronunciation. Some Messianics who are making controversy out of its pronunciation are doing so in ignorance, or because they are not truly “Messianic”, but are part of cultic behavior and elitist theology. That is NOT us.

Please read our file, "You Shall Call His Name Yeshua " for more background on the Messiah's Name.

The use of the Name hvhy in speech should be treated with great care, in great fear and reverence of the third commandment. DO NOT take the name of hvhy in vain. In other words, do not use it in “empty” context or common conversation, or to curse someone. In these settings of speech, we use “Abba”, or “Yah”, or “HaShem”, or “Adonai”. Yeshua and the Apostles teach us to call Him “Abba”, which means 'daddy', or “Avinu”, which means 'Our Father'. Personally, I rarely use “L-RD” anymore, because it equates to Baal, and is a human term for one of the most prolific idols of antiquity. That’s just me.

I certainly hope this helps clear up any clouds that might have been lingering!

Q. Is the "Magen David" or "Star of David" a pagan symbol?

A. No. Jews tell us honestly what the Star/Shield of David is, and it has very Messianic overtones that point to Yeshua very clearly.

MAGEN DAVID

"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A STAR will come out of Ya'akov; a scepter will rise out of Israel.” Numbers 24:17
"I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning STAR." ~Yeshua~Revelation 22:16
"We saw His Star in the east, and have come to worship HIM". Matt 2:2
"I am the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valleys" ~Song of Solomon 2:1

Many people ask us about the asserted occultic origins of the Magen [Shield of] David, or Star of David, and whether or not a Messianic Jew should wear one. There are indeed many cultures that use the symbol in their symbology, but HaSatan is notorius for robbing symbols from Elohim and making them into items of worship or symbols of things occult. The most recent theft of something sacred made into something perverse is the use of the rainbow, a symbol Elohim used to promise mankind that he would never again destroy us by water. Recently, a 'cult' has arisen that uses that symbol to represent their evil practices, yet no believer would call the rainbow itself evil. The same has occurred in the case of the Star of David.

While it is impossible to assert exactly when the Jewish Community adopted the symbol as self identifying, the bottom line is that it has long been used in Judaic culture. The most compelling evidence of its intrinsic Israeli value is the "Lily of the Valley", and its very early use in Judaic architecture. This flower [seen above], which grows wild in the region of Galilee [in the North/East], where Yeshua was raised, and where much of His ministry took place, was used in the decoration of the sacred Beit HaMikdash [known to most as the temple of Elohim].

"And the capitals that were upon the top of the pillars in the porch were of lily work, four cubits." I Kings 7:19
"And upon the top of the pillars was lily work; so was the work of the pillars finished". verse 22

As we do not have the remains of the temple to verify, we must trust the Word. However, the star-shaped lily has been found in a synagogue in Capernaum, Kepha's [Peter] home town.


Capernaum - straight lined star -4th century C.E., Credit: Gabi Goldman

So the early use of the six-pointed 'star' flower is both Biblically and archeologically proven, from earliest times. There is reputed to be a star of David over the head of the Israeli king surrendering to Nebuchadnezzar in an ancient relief owned by the British Museum, but we have not been able to locate that. Nonetheless, the symbol carries early significance to Jews.

The flower above and right is the flower of the pomegranate. The pomegranate was interlaced with the bells on the bottom of the Robe of the High Priest. It is interesting that the only two flowers mentioned so specifically both open up into the six-pointed star of David.

Also from this same time period [3rd century], there are many Jewish tombstones that bore the emblem, even in Italy, where one was found in Taranto from that time frame. It has also been found on ancient synagogues from that time in the more 'traditional' hexagon form we know today.

Later use of the symbol in Jewish culture puts this symbol in direct sacred context. It was used on the cover of a Tanakh ["old testament", or Jewish Bible], placed there by the Masoretes, a purely Torah Observant Jewish sect, having themselves a distinct aversion to paganism. They would hardly have even thought to use a pagan symbol in any setting, much less put one on the cover of sacred writ. They viewed it as a Biblical symbol for their people. This comes from the year 1008.


Masoretic text, the Leningrad Codex, dated 1008 CE, Source: Wikipedia.org

Perhaps the most compelling argument, however, is the use of the "flower" on the Menorah! In an ancient Arabic translation of the scripture that describes the Menorah, the word for "flower" is actually translated as "lily". Given that the lily was the flower used on the pillar, it is not difficult to consider the possibility of its use on the Menorah. There indeed was a flower under the bowl on the top of each of the seven branches of the menorah.

"You shall make a Menorah of pure gold, beaten out shall the Menorah be made, its base, its branch, its goblets, its knobs, and its flowers shall be hammered from it". Exodus 25:31 see also vs. 33

In this configuration, the light would burn from the middle of the "star" flower, and would likely cast a shadow in the shape of the star into the floor of the Beit HaMikdash!

In Israel's modern history, the father of Zionism, Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl, asked that there be seven Stars of David on the flag of the new nation of Israel. David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister, and signer of the declaration of Independence, decided that a single Magen David on the flag would suffice.

This is especially compelling when one considers the description of hvhy concerning the Messiah in the book of Revelation:

"To the messenger of the assembly in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the SEVEN SPIRITS OF ELOHIM and the SEVEN STARS". Revelation 2:26. These are clearly the stars of the Menorah, as the Menorah is described in the fourth chapter as holding the seven Spirits of hvhy .

This is further supported in the Messianic prophecy, which names the Seven Spirits, and tells us that the "Root" and "Branch", or the Davidic King, Messiah, will bear them. Isaiah 11:2

So, nothing could better symbolize Messiah Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, the Root of David, the Star from Jacob, the Lily of the Valley, than the Magen David, the Star of Israel, the Jew of Jews. Any pagan accusations are just that: accusations. Since the beginning of the Kahal [congregation] there has been an effort to demonize Jews and accuse them of every dark sin. This is not new. But the symbol of the six pointed star, fashioned after two flowers that are indigenous to Yeshua's home region in Galilee north/east of Jerusalem, replicated on the Beit HaMikdash and the Menorah, is one of the best symbols to represent Messiah Himself, given that He called Himself the Star of David.

There are those who assert that the "Star of Molekh" mentioned in Ma'asei HaShlikihim chapter 7, [Acts 7:42] is in fact the "Star of David." The passage reads this way:

"O Sons of Yisra’el, why have you offered me slain creatures or sacrifices during the period of forty years in the wilderness? Indeed you have borne the tabernacle of Molekh and the star of the god Rephan; and you have made images to worship them; therefore I will remove you beyond Babylon."

First, there is absolutely not one shred of historical evidence that our six-pointed Magen David was marked ANYWHERE on the Tabernacle. Second, this verse is about the wayward heart of Yisra'el, serving other gods while at the same time offering sacrifices to hvhy . The 'star of Rephan' is actually the inverted pentagram, and not the Magen David. But, if we set these verses in context, we see two things: first, that TzefanYah follows up and says that it was the TABERNACLE OF hvhy that was with Yisra'el in the Wilderness! He's saying that they received HIS TABERNACLE. So, the one they carried in the wilderness is NOT the tabernacle of Molekh, and TzefanYah [Stephen] makes this plain! Next, that TzefanYah is actually quoting several of the prophets. YirmiYahu from 19, and Amoz from 5. This is against a disobedient Yisra'el whose hearts had turned from hvhy , and began to worship the hosts of heaven, the 'star' being spoken of here is NOT the "Magen,", the "Shield" of "David", but an ORB in they SKY.

Rephan or Remphan, is the English rendering of the Greek word appearing in Acts 7:43 as Ρομφα, Ρεμφάν, Ρεμφαμ, Ραιφαν, and Ρεφαν . It is part of a quotation from Amoz 5:26 where the Septuagint renders raiphan or rephan in the place of the Hebrew 'Ki'un'. This is probably the Babylonian "Kayawanu," the planet Saturn, another name for Sakkut, which appears as Siccuth in the earlier part of the verse in Amoz.

Never in history has Saturn been associated with the Magen David. By the time the Magen David became an accepted symbol of Judaism, Jews had long turned from the idolatry they had been guilty of in the days of YirmiYahu and Amoz. Yes, there are some Jews today who practice Kabbalah and the Occult, but, that is no cause to indict EVERY Jew and all of Judaism of paganism.

"Magen David", the earliest Jewish definition of its origin, is attributed to the Shield that David carried, that had on it the emblem of His name. The assertion has been that the double "dalet" was used, and overlaid on the back of his wooden shield as a brace. This would be the two 'triangles' in the 'star' we now see, creating the six points. There is, of course, no way to prove this, but neither is there any way to disprove it. The scriptures speak of the "Shield of Avraham," and David is the rightful king of the nation that came from his loins. David wrote of hvhy , calling Him his 'Shield,' and his very great reward. THIS is that to which Yisra'el and the Jewish people have attributed the Magen David, attesting to it in its very name! To deny it is to expose the antisemitic spirit that wants to demonize Jews, saying they do not know what their own symbol represents.

For more compelling historical and archaeological evidence, read this blog: Star of David

Q. Is it wrong for believers in Messiah to drink wine and other fermented/strong drink?

A. No. Yeshua drank yayin [wine], and fermented drink has long been a part of Jewish rites of Shabbat, Pesakh and other feasts.

YESHUA DRANK YAYIN/WINE

For more information on this topic, please see or download: Yayin (Wine) (PDF)

Q. Did Yeshua overturn Torah in His teachings about divorce?

A. No. Yeshua affirmed Torah's instructions about divorce, clearly expressing exactly what Torah teaches:

YESHUA AND DIVORCE

For more information on this topic, please see or download: Divorce (PDF)

Q. Tefillin (Phylacteries) - Are they required or prescribed in Torah?

A. No. Read more about what The Torah, The Talmud, and The Mishnah have to say about this topic and what Yeshua practiced.

YESHUA AND TEFILLIN

Shalom! There have been a couple of questions of late about Tefillin, otherwise known as 'phylacteries,' which are the prayer boxes that are strapped to the arm and the head by Orthodox Jews. New information has come out about them in antiquity, and we need to address this, and then just answer the question for our newer folks who are curious: "Is winding the Tefillin compulsory/"required;" why do we not do that, though we do the Mezuzzah?"

First, I want to re-clarify what our stance is generally on 'tradition/'custom.' I will summarize here, but feel free to go to our 'Customs' page and refresh your memory.

Some may be misunderstanding my drashes of late: WE DO NOT DESPISE JEWISH  TRADITION.

We oppose ANY tradition that contravenes Torah or prevents the doing of the commandments of Elohim. Yeshua also clearly taught this. The two customs in question herein derive primarily from D'varim 6:4-9 and 11:13-21, and also from Shemot 13:9, where the command was first given, BEFORE THE TORAH WAS EVEN WRITTEN, and before they had permanent homes.

The Mezuzah is a known practice in the time of Messiah, though it took slightly different form over the years, due to practicality [people no longer live in one home their whole life] and persecution [Mezuzot make it easy for anti-Semites to find Jews and kill us, so they became "affixed but removable"]. Regardless of the 'form' of the Mezuzah, the command has been clearly practiced by Jews for THOUSANDS of years, way back before the time of Messiah. Further, it does nothing to 'stand in the way' of keeping any other command, but in fact encourages the doing of The Word.

The physical 'Tefillin,' however, are a different matter. First, we do not 'forbid' the practice of winding Tefillin. There is nothing 'negative' about them, except this: The Rabbis/Sages of the Talmud teach that it is THE LAW OF ELOHIM. That is why we have not begun that practice. But, there are problems with that much later, Rabbinic conclusion, which I will address shortly. But, one who does wind Tefillin is NOT despised in the congregation; we only ask that they not put the Rabbinic "compulsory" pressure on our members, asserting man's authority over our Congregants, concerning a much later practice that is NOT seen AT ALL in the Brit Khadashah.

Tefillin are NOT found in antiquity in the time of Messiah, or before. Anywhere. The earliest mention of them in written history is in 159 A.D., long after Messiah had come and gone. One 'Aristeas' had written a letter, in it a passage concerning 'tefillin,' but ONLY being applied to the hand, and no mention of the headpiece. All the wording used to describe the device was Aramaic, which suggests that Hebrew had begun to die out. The very name of these devices, Tefillin, is Aramaic, meaning they come from the Age of the Talmud, and NOT of scripture. While we support the Aramaic Brit Khadashah scriptures, we do not support Talmud. The Aramaic Brit Khadasha scriptures were written about Yeshua and by OUR teachers, the Shlikhim, eye-witnesses of Yeshua's death and resurrection. The Talmud was written by the part of the Jewish community that denied Yeshua as the Son of G-D, and executed Him, and remained unrepentant about it. We do not follow them. We mourn for them, as did Sha'ul, and pray they will see Messiah.

The Mishnah does mention Tefillin. But, interestingly, it betrays the LATER, Rabbinic conclusion on their being 'commanded of G-D.' In Mishnah "Sanhedrin" 11:3, we read:

חומר בדברי סופרים מדברי תורה. האומר אין תפילין כדי לעבור על דברי תורה פיור. חמשה טוטפות להוסיף על דברי סופרים, חייב

'Disregard of the enactments of the Scribes is MORE SEVERELY dealt with than disregard of the injunctions of the Torah! If one says, "NOT to wear Tefillin is NOT a transgression of the Torah," he IS exempt. BUT, if one teaches that [in the Tefillin there are] FIVE partitions, he thus adds to the [words of] the SCRIBES, and IS CULPABLE [guilty].'

Do you see that? Already, in the Mishnah, there was an attempt to give the weight of the words of the Scribes AUTHORITY OVER G-D. They began to make THEIR words MORE IMPORTANT THAN TORAH! And the matter was concerning these little boxes and how they would use them. That is the sin of the Garden all over again, using the idea that man is equal with G-D to force doctrine on others. That is the WHOLE argument of the Rabbinic community AND the Christian community, when you confront them with the plain meaning of scripture.

The history bears out that there was NO SET MEANS of practice concerning these devices in the time the Mishnah was written, as is evident in the passage cited. They were beginning to use the scare-tactic of "We have divine authority" to TRY to force unity in the behavior. Archaeology has born out that there was complete disarray in their early use, too.

The issue likely was the word טוטפות, or Totafot. Totafot has no clear origin, use, or meaning. It gets translated as 'frontlets.' Interestingly enough, in Shemot 13, that word was not used, but zikkaron was: "You shall set them [The Word] as a memorial between your eyes." But, because 'totafot' was so obscure by the time of the Talmud, there was debate concerning the NUMBER OF SCROLLS/COMPARTMENTS in the boxes. This issue was STILL hot in Medieval times, when two of the main Rabbis debated it. They did not unify the Jewish community on it, either. Rashi [1040-1105AD] and Rabbenu Tam [1096-1171] had differing opinions on how many scrolls/compartments there should be, and which scriptures should be placed in them. The issue is only 'settled' in the different communities: Ashkenazi and Sephardi being the two major Jewish communities. This is also why there are different ways to tie the Tzit-Tziot. But, concerning the Tefillin, there was NO prevailing practice in antiquity.

Archaeologically, the earliest Tefillin found were found at Qumran. But, Qumran was a HUGE community of very pious Jews, having been settled THREE TIMES in antiquity. Relative to the number of scrolls found, the number of sets of Tefillin found is VERY SMALL. And, in that number, there is WIDE VARIETY as to how many compartments there were, and how many scrolls/which scriptures should be put in them. These likely come from the THIRD settlement of Qumran, as the scientific dating of the devices themselves puts their origin in atleast the second century. So, though they are the earliest found, they do NOT put Tefillin in practice in the Time of Messiah. Some 'think' they were because of the passage in Matti 23:5 in GREEK and greek-sourced, English texts.

"But all their [Scribes and Pharisees] works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries [Tefillin], and enlarge their garments."

This passage actually betrays the greek texts as coming AFTER the Aramaic Brit Khadashah, because the Aramaic Brit Khadashah texts DO NOT SAY THIS!

"And all their works they do just to be seen by men; for they make grandiose prayers, and they lengthen the tekhelet of their robes" -- Mat. 23:5

Where greek says 'phylacteries,' a greek word INVENTED to translate "Tefillin," or Jewish Prayer Boxes, the Aramaic says תפליהון , tiflayhon, which is תפליהם in Hebrew, both meaning "THEIR PRAYERS." [The 'tekhelet' is the blue thread in the tzit-tzit, and making them very long is still a practice among Jews today].

An Aramaic scholar translating from greek to Aramaic, of which there were MANY in the fourth century when the Greeks hi-jacked the faith, and in the sixth when the Greek community insists Aramaic was translated from Greek [which cannot be true], would NOT have translated phylacteries wrong! As an invented greek word to represent an Aramaic word, how COULD they? This is a MISTRANSLATION of "PRAYERS", תפלין from Aramaic, what was actually תפליהון in the original, to the greek word 'phylacteries,' by GREEKS, who knew of the newer practice and mistook the word, a practice/device which was a hotly discussed, unsettled, non-Messianic Jewish practice in the fourth century, still argued about among Jews 700 years later! This is NOT found in the time of Messiah.

So, we conclude that Messiah is seen nowhere doing this. He is our Rabbi, and NO ONE ELSE. We DO NOT CONDEMN the practice of winding Tefillin, as a practice. But, it is NOT compulsory [required] by the Torah, and therefore also not required for our congregation. And, anyone who tries to tell us that it IS required by Elohim is out of line with scripture, and even with Mishnah, which supports that it was the authority of the SCRIBES that require it, and NOT Elohim and His Torah.

So, what is the purpose of the commands in D'varim and Shemot concerning binding and totafot?

I believe Mishlei, Proverbs, shows us, and this is the understanding of 1st century Jews, Messiah included.

Shlomo and others in the Tanak saw these commandments as applying to the conscience guiding the hands and eyes, the behaviors and practices of the person:

"Hear, my son, the instruction [musar] of your father, and forsake not the teaching [Torah] of your mother; For they shall be a chaplet of grace unto your head, and chains [of adornment] about your neck." Mishlei 1:8-9


"My son, forget not my Torah; but let your heart keep my commandments; Let not kindness and truth forsake you; bind them about your neck, write them upon the table of your heart." Mishlei 3:1, 3


"My son, keep the commandment of your father, and forsake not the Torah of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart, tie them about your neck, when you walk, it [The Torah] shall lead you, when you lie down, it shall watch over you; and when you awake, it shall talk with you." Mishlei 6:20-22


"Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them upon your fingers, write them upon the table of your heart." Mishlei 7:2-3


And in D'varim 11, where some of the scrolls of the Tefillin come from, we read: "Therefore shall you lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul; and you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes."

All of this shows us that Shlomo had Torah in mind when he thought of the binding and the adorning. And it all shows us that he saw these commandments as alluding to an internal work, that of getting Torah INSIDE you. This is the very promise of the Renewed Covenant in YirmiYahu. Yisra'el had failed to do this, so Elohim promised that HE WOULD:

"I will put My Torah in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people." Yeshua affirmed this and started the process for us all at Pesakh 2000 years ago: "And He took the cup and gave thanks, and He blessed it and gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is my blood of the Renewed Covenant which is shed for the sake of many."

His writing the Torah on our hearts is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing, and that we KNOW hvhy , and follow our Rabbi. If one feels that Tefillin help them in this process, that is a fine thing for that person.  But that one should not try to force it on the Body of Messiah as if the practice was done by Yeshua or required by Elohim before His writing it on our hearts.

For more information on this topic, please see: Customs

Great Synagogue Congregation
Bat-Tzion Pics
Lily of the Valley Capernaum,
by: Gabi Goldman
Masoretic text,
Leningrad Codex
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