Friday, July 28, 2017

Water and Faith




I have been trying to get a handle on the symbolic meaning of water in the Bible.  It is a huge topic.  I have only begun to scratch the surface, but here is one insight that I have gleaned.

Listening to a teaching on Aleph Beta.org called Miriam and the Waters of Strife really spoke to me.  If you are premium members of this wonderful site for Hebrew teaching, look it up.  I will summarize some of the points that came together for me.

It seems that Miriam (sister of Aaron and Moses) was a model for faith.  She is called a prophetess!  Why?  Apparently, she had prophesied that her brother would save the Hebrew people!  When he was cast adrift by his mother on the river Nile, who remained nearby to watch?  Miriam!

Why is this significant?

Would you have been able to watch the demise of your 3 month old brother?  It seemed inevitable he would die.  He’d either perish by accident in the Nile, or the army of Pharaoh’s men would find him and deliberately toss him into the Nile with the same result: death by drowning. But Miriam was convinced her prophesy was correct, and although she couldn’t foresee how it would all come about, she had to watch to see what would happen next!

It had been commanded by Pharaoh that all male infants (even Egyptian ones! see footnote) should be drowned in the Nile to avoid the fulfillment of a prophesy that said an infant, born around the same time as Moses, would grow up to end Pharaoh’s reign.  The astrologers who made this prediction did not know if the child would be an Egyptian or Hebrew, so all male infants were condemned. [This is a familiar story that is echoed by Herod, but I digress]

We all know the ‘rest of the story,’ but as it happens, no one when these events transpired did.

That Pharaoh’s daughter would rescue and adopt the Hebrew child was a miracle!  It seems unlikely that the daughter of the King would risk his wrath by countermanding his express decree!  But, she did.  And because Miriam stood and watched, she was there to offer to find a suitable wet-nurse (conveniently his own mother!) to care for the child for Pharaoh’s daughter!

So, maybe the astrologers were onto something.  When they could not predict if the man who would kill Pharaoh was a Hebrew or an Egyptian, they were correct!  Moses grew up in the palace of the Pharaoh while his birth made him a Hebrew!  Wild, isn’t it?
Ok.  So what has all this to do with water?

The first connection is Miriam is there to watch the miracle of Moses being ‘drawn from the water’ (the meaning of his name) and rescue him by helping Pharaoh’s daughter.

Later on, after the exciting saga of the 10 plagues and the Hebrews spared from the death of the first born of man and animals by performing the first Passover sacrifice, they fled into the desert, loaded down with Egyptian treasure as if they had won a great victory!

Of course, this should have been the end and they lived happily ever after, right?  It so happens that Pharaoh changes his mind about letting them go and pursues them with all the chariots and men of war!

The Israelites were funneled into a dry river bed (identified in recent years as the Wadi Watir) and were unable to turn back (because the Egyptian army was there) and could not climb to the right or left because it was steep impassable terrain.  They had no choice but to forge ahead until they arrived on the bank of the Reed Sea (Gulf of Aqaba), usually translated as the Red Sea. 

Again, because we know the end of the story, some of the suspense is missing from the narrative.  Everyone has seen Cecil B. DeMille’s astonishing story of the Ten Commandments and the special effects that part the ‘Red Sea’ so the Israelites could cross to the other side.   We see the horrible aftermath (for the Egyptians) when they were drowned by that same sea when it returns to its normal condition.  Enemies vanquished, Israel saved, just in the nick of time! 

The significant thing to this event is how Moses dealt with the people before YHVH split the sea. 

The Hebrews were in a panic!  The situation is futile!  All is lost!  What choices are left?  They could die, be killed, surrender or cry out to YHVH…but Moses tells them to cease every one of those pursuits! 

He tells them, “Stand and Watch what YHVH will do.”   It’s an echo of Miriam!  It demonstrated faith that Father would indeed do something beyond what they could see themselves.  Something none of them could have even imagined!

Ironic, isn’t it?  Pharaoh condemned all the male children to death by drowning, and YHVH saved the Hebrews and drowned Pharaoh and his army instead.  The little child who was drawn out of the reeds of the Nile actually did fulfill the prediction of the Egyptian astrologers!  He grew up and Pharaoh, in fact, did die!  It was full-circle.  The child drawn from the reeds of the Nile led  his entire nation out of the Reed Sea!

When the Hebrews reached the other side and their enemies were vanquished, they sang loud songs of praise to YHVH!  But WAIT!  Miriam did something extraordinary!  She sang her own song of thanksgiving, the song of the sea!  She proclaimed that her faith in YHVH was justified! 

Once they reach the desert though, things start to get difficult!  Just one day later they are relieved to find an oasis of water…but it is BITTER!  Moses seeks advice from Father, and is instructed to throw a branch into the water and it became sweet!  Hurrah!  They are saved from thirst.

Then, there is another water crisis!  Most people will die of thirst after 3 days without water, so that was the situation.  It had been three days, and the people thirsted and sought Moses’ help.  He was instructed to strike a rock with his staff and water poured out.  Enough for several million: people and their flocks!

Oddly enough, we don’t hear that there is a water problem in the desert for the next forty years!  YHVH provided the Israelites with water and food (manna)!

Now comes the puzzle.  The topic sentence for the final water crisis is that Miriam died!  No mention is made that there was any mourning for her, but this report of her death immediately proceeds another water crisis!  This is the third time they have had an issue with needing water!

[According to ancient sages, the perpetual well that provided water for the Israelites in the desert was called Miriam’s Well.  Just let that sink in a minute.  Why would it be called Miriam’s Well?  Is that because it dried up when she died?  Although I don’t think it is called Miriam’s well in the Torah itself, I have no reason to doubt this account.  The Aleph Beta teaching (Miriam and the Waters of Strife) explains this in amazing terms that I will not repeat here.  Suffice to say that the Hebrew language provides ample proof!]

Now the event that is astonishing!  Moses again seeks advice from YHVH and is instructed to take his staff and ‘Speak to the Rock.’  Instead of asking politely, Moses has a bit of a melt-down.  Was he angry?  Overwhelmed?  Grief-stricken over Miriam’s death?  The text doesn’t really tell us why he loses his cool, but he makes this astonishing statement, “Hear now, you Rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”  Then, instead of speaking to the rock, he struck it!  Twice!

What’s the big deal about that?  It worked last time!  Water flowed, everyone was happy! 

Everyone except YHVH!

It so happens that Moses really blew it when he didn’t speak to the rock.  Father was so put out with him that he told him he would not be able to enter the promised land with the rest of the Hebrews. 

That just seems harsh!  Not only has his ticket to the Promised Land just been rescinded, Father won’t even let him discuss it!

 [Num 20:12 ] And Jehovah said to Moses and Aaron, Because you did not believe in Me, to sanctify Me before the eyes of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring in this congregation to the land which I have given to them.

Well, I am glad He cleared that up!

Wait, what?  Not speaking to the rock didn’t demonstrate faith in YHVH?  It didn’t sanctify Him before the sons of Israel?  That’s why Moses couldn’t go into the land? 

Not only was he disappointed not to do the one thing he really wanted and expected, he couldn’t even petition for a hearing!  After everything he did in the past!  Didn’t he challenge Pharaoh?  Didn’t he lead everyone in the desert?  Didn’t he spend several trips up and down Mt. Sinai without food or water, just to deliver the Words to the Hebrews?  Didn’t he offer to die in their place when they sinned with the Golden Calf?  What?  Hitting the Rock was the worst thing!? I thought he was YHVH’s ‘favorite’ guy!?

I will leave you to ponder why this was the fate of Moses and direct you instead to the nugget of truth we see when we connect these events with Miriam.  Miriam had faith.  She had so much faith that she believed YHVH would do something beyond what she could see or imagine.  Moses demonstrated that faith when he told the Hebrews to stand and watch.  [Big Surprise!  The Sea parted and the Israelites crossed on dry land!  Who could have ever imagined that?]

Is that the clue?  By striking the rock, Moses forgot to just stand and watch.  He did not allow the Father to demonstrate that everything we have, including water in the desert, comes from Him. 

He is the Doer of the impossible.  When we look with our own eyes, we cannot see the miracle that He can perform.  We limit Him and we don’t fully trust Him!  When we rely on our eyes or our actions instead of trusting, we demonstrate a lack of faith.  Faith that was a type and shadow of Miriam.

Now for a real-life current example of faith in the face of ‘certain’ death.

I have a friend who was diagnosed with what was (according to the doctor’s and catastrophic test markers) certainly cancer.  We were all concerned for her.  We all prayed for her.  And through it all she smiled.  She was absolutely at peace with the situation.  We all thought the worst!  The doctor’s and tests proclaimed the worst!  But she remained calm and even stated that she looked forward to seeing what GOD was going to do!  She was ‘excited for the journey ahead.’

And guess what?  Surgery found no cancer.  Her test numbers went from catastrophic to normal.  Her doctors were thunderstruck! 

Was it a miracle?  I believe so.  But, the thing that is amazing is that my friend believed that Father would do something beyond what any of us could have imagined or thought! 

She is my real-life example of Miriam.  She stood and watched.



Footnote: From transcript of Miriam and the Waters of Strife (Fohrman)
"Another interesting Midrash about Pharaoh at the time; if you look carefully it says that Pharaoh's initial plan is to have the midwives surreptitiously kill the baby boys when they're born. When that doesn't work he says; Vayetzav Paraoh l'kol amo leimor kol ha'ben hayilod ha'yeorah tashlichuhu - ALL baby children from Jews shall you throw in the water and the daughters you should allow to live. The Midrash says; Kol - and by the way, it doesn't mention here Jews, it says; Kol ha'ben hayilod - any male child, period, you shall throw in the water. The Midrash says that on that day Pharaoh had decreed that all male children - Egyptian or Jewish - be thrown into the Nile. Why? Because his astrologers once again, the Sages say, had told him that the day had come when the child that was going to save the Jews would be born, but we cannot tell you whether he is an Egyptian or a Jew. We don't know. "

Exo 1:22  And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.










Thursday, January 19, 2017


DON’T Open Your Mouth:
·        IN THE HEAT OF ANGER   Proverbs 14:17 A quick tempered person does foolish things, and a devious man is hated.
·        TO CONDEMN WITHOUT ALL THE FACTS Deuteronomy 17:6 Based on the testimony of two or three witnesses, they must surely die. But they are not to die based on the testimony of one person.
·        IF YOU WILL OFFEND A WEAKER BROTHER I Corinthians 8:9 But you must see to it that this right of yours does not become a stumbling block for those who are weak.
·        IF YOUR WORDS ARE A POOR REFLECTION OF YHVH OR THE MESSIAH I Peter 2:21-22 This is, in fact, what you were called to do, because: The Messiah also suffered for you and left an example for you to follow in his steps.
"He never sinned, and he never told a lie."
·        WHEN YOU ARE TEMPTED TO JOKE ABOUT SIN Proverbs 14:9 Fools make fun of guilt, but among the upright there are good intentions
·        WHEN IT IS UNFAIR AND/OR VULGAR Proverbs 8:8 Everything I have to say is just; there isn't anything corrupt or perverse in my speech.
·        WHEN IT IS AN ARROGANT RANT Ecclesiastes 5:2 Don't be impulsive with your mouth nor be in a hurry to talk in God's presence. Since God is in heaven and you're on earth, keep your speech short.
·        IF YOUR WORDS CONVEY THE WRONG IMPRESSION Proverbs 17:27 Whoever controls what he says is knowledgeable; anyone who has a calm spirit is a man of understanding.
·        WHEN IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS Proverbs 14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.
·        IF IT MOCKS ANOTHER Proverbs 14:6 A scoffer seeks wisdom yet finds none, but knowledge is easy to the discerning.
·        TO LIE Proverbs 4:24 Never talk deceptively and don't keep company with people whose speech is corrupt. Proverbs 8:7 For my mouth speaks the truth—wickedness is detestable to me.
·        WHEN IT DAMAGES SOMEONE’S REPUTATION (GOSSIP) Proverbs 16:28 A perverse person sows strife, and a gossip separates close friends.
·        WHEN IT IS TIME TO LISTEN   Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heeds his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. Proverbs 18:13 Whoever answers before listening is both foolish and shameful.
·        IF YOU CANNOT SPEAK WITHOUT YELLING Proverbs 25:28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is one with no control over his temper.
·        IF YOU MAY HAVE TO EAT YOUR WORDS LATER Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the control of the tongue. Those who indulge in it will eat its fruit.
·        WHEN YOU HAVE ALREADY SAID IT MORE THAN ONCE (NAGGING) Proverbs 25:24 Better to dwell in a corner of a roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
·        TO EXCUSE WICKEDNESS Proverbs 24:24 Whoever tells the guilty, “You are innocent,” people curse him and nations revile him.
·        WHEN YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING INSTEAD Proverbs 14:23 In all hard work there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Proverbs 21:23
 Watching what you say can save you a lot of trouble.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Find the Passover Story in a Christmas Movie?




A perennial holiday favorite is the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.  The film never made a big impact when it was first distributed, and is often called Capra “Corn” because of its schmaltzy plot directed by Frank Capra.  I even know of a few folks that don’t like the movie!  I find that hard to understand, to be frank (not Capra), but another article on the movie really caught my attention.  I am borrowing liberally from that article’s point of view for this one.  See Article hereI choose to see the nobility of the sacrifices made by the movie’s protagonist, George Bailey.  In many ways his story echoes the Passover story.  Do you see the Passover story in this holiday movie so popular at Christmastime?

I love to see allegorical stories or allusions to things that at first glance seem remote from the heart of a story.  Yeshua spoke in parables, and in many ways It’s a Wonderful Life is just such a parable.  It is a parable that tells the story of our Messiah. 

First, my friend that doesn’t like the movie concentrates on the fact that George Bailey puts all of his own hopes, dreams and aspirations on hold for everyone else.  He misses college, never becomes an architect or world-traveler, and because of that my friend is offended to think George displays such altruism.  Nobody would do that, would they?

What if we look at in the context of George Bailey as a portrayal of Yeshua?

What would ‘Jesus’ do?

Seems to me that George Bailey fits the gospel story almost perfectly.  Should we feel sorry for him?  Or glory in his magnificent gift to his fellow men? What kind of character does George display?

George gives no thought to himself when he plunges into icy water to save his brother from downing.  And this is not the only time!  We see that George has a penchant for doing the right thing, even when he is punished for it.  When he saves the life of a sick child (that he never sees) by choosing not to deliver the wrong medicine he is slapped for it.  And when the truth comes out, even bleeding and in pain George has a generous heart of forgiveness and understanding for the heartbroken druggist who had just lost his son.  He saved both the druggist and the child who would have received the wrong medicine.

Just when life seems to be on the up-swing for George, a curious event happens.  Right before the calling on his life begins with the death of his father, he winds up plunging into a swimming pool in the middle of a Charleston contest.  Mikveh anyone?

Through a series of events George puts all his hopes and dreams aside.  Upon his father’s death he steps up to be the head of the Savings and Loan.  He gives up college to allow his younger brother to go instead. 

Life isn’t all terrible for George, he marries, has a family, and enables the townspeople to escape the thumb of Mr. Potter to build their own homes though the Building and Loan. 

Here is where it gets interesting.   What is George’s response when Potter offers him a job?  It’s triple the salary (wealth beyond belief), it is prestige!  It comes with a cigar, and it even offers travel!  Potter fills in for Satan by offering George the world and all it holds, but George, though sorely tempted, turns him down.  It may not have happened in a desert, but the story is familiar.

George uses money out of his own pocket to save the Building and Loan when there is a run on the bank.  And when Uncle Billy has a large deposit of money stolen from him by Mr. Potter (the richest and most evil man in town) George again places himself in the breach.  Instead of throwing Uncle Billy under the bus, he claims the sin as his own and seeks to fix the short-fall.

When George is at the end of his rope, with no hope to recover the lost money, he turns to prayer.  It is his garden of Gethsemane moment.  He’s contemplating his own death!  A suicide that would pay the debt from his insurance!  And even that is a parallel to Yeshua.  When George jumps off the bridge to save Clarence, he, for all intents and purposes, dies!  He’s given a gift to see the world as it might have been without his ever being born.

Without George, Bedford Falls becomes Pottersville, ruled by the avarice of the most evil guy in town.  Pottersville is dark, decadent and without hope.  Loved ones are inevitably headed for Potter's Field!  And in another parallel, the folks that George loves the most don't recognize him.

When George repents and asks to be returned, he is resurrected.  He tells GOD, “I don’t care what happens to me, just get me back.”  The climax of the movie is when his life is restored.  The world is again a better place in which to live.  With George Bailey there is light and hope; without him it was dark and hopeless.

There is yet another allusion that I see in the movie that takes me to Passover.  When George and Mary make a gift to the new owners of a house built by the Building and Loan they present the family with salt, wine and a loaf of bread.  A covenant meal!  And George is the access point for the poor to have their own homes.  Didn't Yeshua say he was going to prepare a place for us?

Can we look at George as a man after the Father’s heart?  A man willing to sacrifice his own desires, his life, to honor the legacy of his father?  George recognized the weightier matters and set aside worldly things for what is important.  He behaved as a righteous man, even when it was not what he wanted for himself.  And, in the end, he was rewarded for his altruism (I prefer the term love) when the entire town rallies to lift him up. 

Perhaps there isn’t any truth to an angel getting wings every time a bell rings, but George certainly earned his crown.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Here's a little video that I narrated (wrote the poem too). 
Enjoy!

                                         The True Story of the Grinch and Christmas


Sunday, December 11, 2016


HalleluYah  Parody of Leonard Cohen song

I heard a tale of the Temple mount
The Bible once had the full account
But you have never heard the story, have you?
Well it goes like this, the Pagans came
Installed an idol, and shamed the Name
No more to hear the Hebrew HalleluYah
HalleluYah
Some men’s faith was strong, they endured the pain
Not willing for all to join in the shame
They clung to Yah but the Hellenists overthrew them
They killed a pig in the sacred place
They murdered sons before Mom’s face
But from their lips could not silence HalleluYah
HalleluYah
You know that we’ve been here before
The Greek men reign and our GOD deplore
The Temple meant for Yah before they ruin’d ya
We saw their hate for Yah most High
They forced conversion, Our GOD deny
Removed the Sabbath and punished HalleluYah
HalleluYah
Remember the time of the Maccabees
The Hammer forcing the Greeks to flee
But you don’t think they all were heroes, do you?
But they made them leave the holy place
Removed the idols, the altar replaced
And from the Temple purged it HalleluYah
HalleluYah
They did it all for our GOD above
The One who tells us to live in love
But He’s the One who deserves our HalleluYah
If no Maccabees had endured the fight
Where would our Savior have walked that night
When he told men he’s the light and our Y’shua?
HalleluYah




Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sentinels


I recently was privileged to be a ‘guardian’ for an Honor Flight event.  For those of you unfamiliar with Honor Flight, it is an organization that sponsors veterans (from World War II and Korea) to a day trip to Washington DC to see the memorials at the National Mall, observe the changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and receive the accolades many never experienced when they returned from their duty.  Many of the guardians (escorts for each Veteran) are veterans themselves.  It was a profoundly touching and pride-filled day.  To say that the extra-special treatment of the Vets was incidental to the event is to trivialize their pilgrimage to honor friends they lost and to remember their war-time experiences.  In every way the Honor Flight organizers made sure the Veterans were honored by seas of uniformed military folks and ordinary citizens waving flags, carrying signs, and cheering.  There were many hand-shakes, welcome home wishes, and ‘Thanks for your Service.’  It still makes me tear up when I recall that extraordinary day.

A special event attended is one that has been carried on without interruption 24 hours a day since 1948.  It is the silent observation of the changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington.  Volunteers from the 3rd Infantry are eligible only after they have already been ceremonially qualified in The Old Guard.  Acceptance into the Old Guard’s Company E is not an automatic acceptance to the Tomb Guard.  In fact, there are fewer than 400 soldiers in the past 45 years that have earned the right to wear the Tomb Guard Badge.  It is a tiny and elite group, one might call them a remnant, and the standards are high. 

As I viewed the Changing of the Guard ceremony, it struck me how it was a visual of what we as Torah observant followers should be doing.  There are many parallels that make the Tomb Guard a metaphor for how we should walk. 
Here is the changing of the guard at Arlington to view this event.  Note the narrow path and precision.


The Sentinels walk a narrow line in front of the Tomb.  They move across a narrow path marked by a black mat; you can see where the next footstep will fall by the worn areas on the mat.  Each pass of the Sentry is perfectly timed, totally in line, and elegant in its simplicity of form and total precision. 

When it is time for the changing of the guard three soldiers are participants.   I encourage you to watch the video of this event, as I will not describe it in full.  The highlights are these:  The soldiers’ steps are in perfect unison.  The Relief Commander thoroughly inspects the replacement sentry.  The M-14 rifle that is carried is examined with an open bolt and a white glove to verify it is pristine.  The sentry is inspected front and back, top to bottom, and any minor adjustment made to assure that the uniform is immaculate.  [The day we were there, the Commander made a small adjustment to the replacement guard’s uniform.  I suspect one of the buttons was slightly off center.  It was discretely adjusted by the Commander, the coat was snapped down to readjust, and he continued with his inspection.]

It struck me that this is the kind of attention to detail, steadfastness of duty, and example that we should be modeling in our walk.  Doesn’t He say we should be without spot or wrinkle?

There is no narration of the event at the Tomb.  It is conducted in silence and reverence.  Although ceremonial, it is not a ‘performance’ even though it is viewed by thousands of visitors to Arlington each day.  Indeed, the guards walk the 21 step, turn, ‘shoulder-arms,’  21 second pause, and repeat in the opposite direction continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of the weather and when no one other than God is present to observe their dedication.  Isn’t that what we should be doing?  Aren’t we admonished to preach at all times and when necessary use words?

Shouldn’t we be immaculate in our ‘appearance’ to others and to YHVH?  Shouldn’t we be steadfast to walk the narrow path no matter the time of day? 
The Honor Guards memorize seven pages of the History of Arlington National Cemetery and recite it verbatim. A Sentry is not granted ‘a walk’ before completing extensive training in the manual of arms, guard change ceremony, military rituals and additional information on Arlington which includes the grave locations of nearly 300 veterans.  Sentinels commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live under the tomb, and give up alcohol (on or off-duty) for the rest of their lives.  They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives, and cannot disgrace the uniform (fighting) or the tomb in any way!  To do so is to forfeit their hard-won badge as an Honor Guard. Shouldn’t we take the time to learn the Torah the same way? Aren't we admonished to study to show ourselves approved?

The Sentinels Creed:

My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted. In the responsibility bestowed on me never will I falter. And with dignity and perseverance my standard will remain perfection. Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability. It is he who commands the respect I protect. His bravery that made us so proud. Surrounded by well-meaning crowds by day alone in the thoughtful peace of night, this soldier will in honored glory rest under my eternal vigilance.


The Sentinel at Arlington is a much sought-after assignment.  It is not easy, nor is it without personal sacrifice and commitment.  I am especially struck by this phrase: “I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability. It is he who commands the respect I protect.”


Mic 6:8  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Can we as YHVH’s chosen people do any less than a Sentinel in Arlington? Will we remain loyal, steadfast and true regardless of the weather or time of day?  Observed or not, can we walk humbly alone with our God?  Will we take the time to memorize His statutes, history and instruction?  Will we be able to direct those who ask where to find the hidden things in His Torah? Will our walk testify of our dedication and loyalty to Him? Is the narrow path only for the Sentinels?  Can we present ourselves without spot or wrinkle as is befitting His faithful?  Is it really beyond our ability to walk in perfection the task set before us? 






Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Looking for Superman



[This is the article that got me fired as the editor and writer for a popular ministry site.  I have re-worked it some, but the essence has not changed.  Actually, since writing this article I have done a considerable amount of study and found that I am not alone in my paradigm shift that moves away from the Trinity Doctrine I learned in the church. 

Buckle up!  This will mess with your paradigms!]

This article will look at an ‘understanding’ we have been taught in the Christian church. This is yet another stronghold that we would do well to examine, test, and understand.  We have been confused about Who we need to pray to, who the Messiah really is, and have replaced the real Messiah Yeshua with a kind of Superman.  Yes…the analogy fits!

Our fellowship likes to sing songs that are based in scripture.  Often they are in my ear when I wake up, and become the stems for articles.  Today I awoke ‘singing’ the following: 

For the Weapons of our Warfare are not carnal but mighty through Yah!  To the casting down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Yah!  And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.  (2 Cor 10:4)

Get ready to cast down some strongholds and vain imaginations that exalt themselves above the knowledge of YeHoVaH.

What does this song from scripture have to say to us today?  It paints a very clear picture that the source of our weapons of warfare come not from man, but from Yah (YeHoVaH)!  He exhorts us to cast down our own imaginations, and every (ANY) ‘high thing’ that exalts itself above the knowledge of Yah.  We are to bring into captivity (carry away/ remove/ exile) every vain thought and be, instead, obedient.  The same way - just as - Yeshua was obedient. 

That’s what ‘obedience OF Christ’ means.  We don’t Obey Yeshua, we obey YeHoVaH, as Yeshua modeled and taught us to do.  It’s a subtle distinction!  We only obey Yeshua in the context of the authority he has been given by YeHoVaH.  This happened when Yeshua became the first fruits of the resurrection (i.e. only begotten son).  His post-resurrection divinity and authority includes being the King of Kings that will rule on Earth for the Millennia, but at the conclusion of the thousand years it is all turned over to the Father. 

In other words, we obey Yeshua because he is acting as the regent for his Father and speaks and acts on behalf and under the authority of his Father, not because he IS the Father.

“…a distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Fuller Seminary and general editor of the prestigious New Testament Theology [said] “The crux of the matter is how we understand the term ‘Son of God’…The title Son of God is not in itself a designation of personal deity or an expression of metaphysical distinctions within the Godhead.  Indeed, to be a ‘Son of God’ one has to be a being who is not God!  It is a designation for a creature indicating a special relationship with God.  In particular, it denotes God’s representative, God’s vice-regent.  It is a designation of kingship, identifying the king as God’s Son.” [1] Theologians who simply assert, without proof, that “Son of God” means “God the Son” are in Brown’s words laboring under a “systematic misunderstanding of Son of God language in Scripture.” [page 44, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, Anthony F Buzzard and Charles F. Hunting]

In short, Messiah is Not God, but God’s Agent!

Yeshua himself used the Hebrew understanding of what it means to be a Son of God.  (See Psalm 82 and Yeshua’s defense in John 10)

ARE YEHOVAH AND YESHUA THE SAME?

There are a lot of teachers that claim Yeshua and YeHoVaH are the same; using the names interchangeably.  The claim is made that Yeshua is a demi-god, simultaneously both man and God.  Some go so far as to assert that he is a hybrid of a human mother and the LORD himself which would make Yeshua mixed seed. (Something that YeHoVaH hates!) Some teach that Yeshua is the Creator.  The doctrine of kenosis says he set aside his deity to dwell among us, and then set aside his ‘flesh-suit’ and ‘returned to Heaven’ where he was originally (i.e. pre-existence and incarnation).  Or even, that Yeshua is the One who is described as the eternal, almighty God that Is, Was and Will Ever Be.  True?  Or only traditions?

All of these notions (I don’t think they qualify as understanding) satisfy what we want to believe.  We think GOD has given us an impossible task!  The Torah is too difficult, and no one can follow it!  Only GOD himself can follow the rules He gave to mankind so that we can be in covenant with Him.  We are given instructions in righteousness that require us to be obedient to His Kingdom rules, but of course, it’s just too hard!  He had to come down here himself to save us from our inability to measure up.  He is the only one who can follow Torah.  He had to follow the Torah and die (but not really die, because he was God already) just so we don’t have to follow that law that our flesh hates.

THAT THINKING TURNS THE CREATOR INTO SUPERMAN




Don’t be offended, just consider:  He is not really a human but is a super-human disguised as Clark Kent (a Man)!  He walks among us until the time is right to save us from destruction.  Underneath the business suit and glasses he is, and always will be, Superman.  All of his actions, while disguised as Clark Kent, are a sham.  He is benevolent to the good guys and fights the bad guys and Lois Lane is the perpetual victim.  She (we) cannot possibly overcome the bad guys!  We need a savior in the form of Superman to preserve us from death.

BEFORE YOU STOP READING: SOME OF THIS FITS!

In one way, this does fit the Creator.  Obviously, we cannot save our own selves and confer eternal life upon this flesh.  We cannot even determine whether or not we will draw the next breath.  Whether we live or die is all in the hands of the Father!  But, what do we expect the Father to do for us?  Has he removed death from the equation yet?  When we die do we all go to heaven (a doctrine that appears nowhere in the Scriptures, by the way)?  And if he came to take on and remove our sin, why is sin still rampant among believers?

If he ‘paid it all’ why are we still here?  Why didn’t all those disciples that believed in him follow right up to heaven with him when he was resurrected?  Isn’t that what he came to do:  wipe away the Law and give us all eternal life?  Why are we still hanging around on Earth?

LOGICAL FALLACY

Many believe Yeshua (Jesus) came down from heaven, perfectly followed the Torah (that he wrote himself), taught everyone to love their enemies as themselves, and then died a horrible death just so we don’t have to follow the law he authored and taught us how to follow. 

As long as we ‘invite him into our heart’ we can pass on from this existence and have eternal life with him because ‘he paid it all.’  The only thing missing - what gets between us and eternal life - was the need for GOD to come in disguise and put a check mark in the box that says “Followed the Torah perfectly.”   That’s it!  Now all who ‘believe in Yeshua’ can have eternal life.  Easy.

 THE LAST PUZZLE PIECE IS IN PLACE!  

Am I the only one that thinks this is absurd?  Did the Creator give us an impossible task when He gave us our instructions in righteousness (Torah)?  And if all has been satisfied, what exactly are we supposed to be doing while we hang around in our own flesh-suits waiting to die so we can be eternally with the Creator? We’re supposed to just ‘win souls for Jesus?’ 

[Yeshua said:] It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no benefit. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life! Yet some of you do not trust.” Yeshua knew from the beginning who were the ones who did not trust, as well as which one would betray Him. Then He told them, “For this reason I’ve told you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by the Father.” From this time, many of His disciples left and quit walking with Him.  [Joh 6:63-66 ]



According to Yeshua it is the Father that grants understanding and eternal life.  We’re all supposed to be ready to give an account for our faith, but we don’t ‘win’ souls for Him.


WHAT IS THE UNDERSTANDING THAT WE ARE NOT GETTING?

Psa_119:34 Give me understanding, that I may keep Your Torah and observe it with all my heart.

Psa_119:100 I have gained more understanding than all my elders, for I have kept Your precepts.

Psa_119:130 The unfolding of Your words gives light, giving understanding to the simple. (TLV)

According to the above scriptures, understanding is following His Torah. Abraham understood this even before Moses was handed the covenant from Mt. Sinai!

…And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. (Gen 26:4-5)

The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10 ASV)

WHO IS THE HOLY ONE?

But Jehovah is the true God; he is the living God, and an everlasting King: at his wrath the earth trembleth, and the nations are not able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding hath he stretched out the heavens. (Jer 10:10-12 ASV)


WHEN DID WE GET CONFUSED ABOUT THE IDENTITY OF THE CREATOR?



I recommend reading Isaiah Chapters 40 through 44.  They connect directly with John Chapter One.  Pay attention to the many verses that say things like, “I am YeHoVaH, there is no one besides me,” “Beside me there is no God,” “I am YHVH that makes all things, that stretches forth the heavens alone; that spreads abroad the Earth by myself.”  YeHoVaH also says, “I am YeHoVaH: That is my name and my glory I will not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”  Nowhere is there a suggestion that YeHoVaH is anything other than the ONE, just as he exhorts us to understand in the First Commandment: “I am the LORD thy GOD…you shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20:1-2) 



[Just a thought: Yeshua prayed to YHVH.  He was without sin; he never would have broken the first commandment!  And, if we set Yeshua up instead of or in front of YHVH, isn’t that putting a god before YHVH? It’s no wonder the Trinity doctrine is so popular...only by twisting the scriptures to make them two parts of the whole can we reconcile this!  Surely you can see the problem with this doctrine!]



Isaiah Chapter 42 talks about Yeshua.  He is called ‘My Servant,” and a ‘light to the gentiles.’ 



I suggest that the ‘new’ testament scholars have led us to view the scriptures in reverse.  They have set up their ‘understanding’ and figured out ways to interpret the ‘old’ testament looking through the lens of John Chapter One.  They conflate Yeshua and YeHoVaH by insisting we understand the ‘Word’ is Yeshua.  But, is that really the case?  The first 12 verses of John Chapter One are speaking about YeHoVaH!  The Greek doctrine of Logos is in our way!



What if a better understanding of the ‘Word’ is the ‘Plan and Purpose’ put in place by the One who created everything?



Try it!  Replace ‘Word’ with ‘Plan/Declared Purpose.’  In the beginning was the plan/declared purpose of YeHoVaH…do it for the first twelve verses of John! I know…it messes with your paradigm, doesn’t it? I am not alone in this Hebraic understanding. Further reading on this topic may be found here: http://hethathasanear.com/theWord2.html

WHAT IS HEBRAIC UNDERSTANDING?



Hebraic understanding can best be described with this example. If you show a Greek a pencil and ask him to describe it he will say it is yellow, made of wood with a point at one end and eraser on the other.  Hebrews would describe the same object as something you write with.  Hebraic thought is action-oriented, it is something you DO.   



The pencil is ‘named’ for its function; just as Yeshua was ‘named’ Yeshua, because he would be the means for Yah to save his people.  Yeshua means: Yah Saves.



…but as many as did receive him to them he gave authority to become sons of God--to those believing in his name, who--not of blood nor of a will of flesh, nor of a will of man but--of God were begotten. And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth. [John 1:12-14]



Therefore, when Yeshua is described as the Word made flesh, it is describing his function.  He isn’t really a Torah Scroll, he is the Torah in action.  What did he do?  He showed us how to walk out the Torah.



What if John Chapter One has been confused by doctrines like the trinity, or misunderstanding phrases like ‘son of God’ and ‘God in the flesh?’   What if have we made those phrases literal instead of a description of Yeshua’s function? 



What if we believe the testimony of the apostles and have faith that Yeshua has been granted eternal life and sits on the right hand of the Father?  Does that mean that he always was divine? 



IF we study the scriptures with the paradigm Yeshua IS the Creator

IF we conflate the Son of God with the Father/Creator

IF we miss that he is the First Fruits of the Resurrection, it distorts everything!



IF we correctly identify Yeshua as the First Fruits of the Resurrection from the dead, we allow YeHoVaH to be the Creator of All.  Yeshua is the first begotten son (first man resurrected to eternal life).  Just as we are all promised that we may be begotten of the Father by His authority! (see John 1:12-14)



Yeshua is Not the Great I AM.



Not convinced?


WOULD YOU BELIEVE WHAT YESHUA SAID?



Mar 10:17  As Jesus was setting out again, a man ran up to him, knelt down in front of him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Mar 10:18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked him. "Nobody is good except for one—God.

If we would understand the Shema, we would not be confused by The Prophet that was foretold in Deuteronomy 18:15.  Although Yeshua is THE Prophet foretold by Moses; Yeshua did not claim to be the Father.  He was ‘like’ Moses (a man).  He was/is the Prophet to whom we must listen and obey! 

When asked for the greatest commandment Yeshua paraphrased the Shema (Deu 6:4-5).When he arose from the tomb he said, "Don't hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" (John 20:17)

I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE!

Today we have swallowed the teaching that Yeshua and the Father are identical.  That ‘echad’(one) is a ‘mystery’ that makes Yeshua and the Father two halves of the whole (or 2/3 of the Trinity).  Or different facets of the same being, a collective known as Elohim!

What if we do not have understanding?  Why don’t we believe that there is only ONE God and Creator of all: YeHoVaH?  He said he is One.  He said there is no one beside him. Yeshua never taught us otherwise!  He taught his disciples to pray to OUR FATHER, not to himself.   He said there is only One who is good (whole/complete/functioning in its purpose).  YeHoVaH sent Yeshua to renew the Covenant in his blood, and it was YeHoVaH that raised Yeshua from death!

The scriptures say that man introduced death into YeHoVaH’s creation, and that a man would lead the way and become the first fruits for us to follow into resurrection bodies.  “For by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” (I Cor 15:21)

With that understanding in place, read the following verse that I later paraphrase:



Psa 111:9 He has sent redemption to His people. He has ordained His covenant forever. Holy and awesome is His Name.

Paraphrase of 111:9

YeHoVaH has sent redemption (via a Kinsman Redeemer/My servant) to His (YeHoVaH’s) people.  YeHoVaH has ordained His covenant (Torah) forever.  Holy (Set-Apart) and awesome is His Name (YeHoVaH: which carries the fullness and entirety of his character, reputation, power and might).

YESHUA, OUR KING, KINSMAN REDEEMER and
HIGH PRIEST FOREVER

Do not misunderstand the point of this article.  Yeshua is worthy of praise because he did what the Father sent him to do.  He is our Kinsman Redeemer.  The First Fruits.  Our older brother, High Priest and King!

BUT: He always pointed to His Father (and our Father).  He spoke the Father’s words and did the Father’s will.  He never claimed otherwise!  He has been given authority, he didn’t always have it.

We must be careful not to place Yeshua above the Father.  He isn’t even Equal To the Father! He said so himself! You have heard me tell you, 'I am going away, but I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am.” (John 14:28)

HAS YESHUA BECOME OUR NAHUSHTAN?

What is Nahushtan?  A Google search reveals this:

In the biblical Book of Numbers, the Nehushtan (or Nohestan) was a bronze serpent on a pole which God told Moses to erect to protect the Israelites who saw it from dying from the bites of the "fiery serpents" which God had sent to punish them for speaking against God and Moses. 

Later, this same bronze ‘serpent’ was given the name “Nahushtan” and the people began to worship it instead of YHVH! Later, it was destroyed!  Why?  It was formed for good, to help the Israelites to ‘look up’ for their salvation, but it supplanted the source of their salvation and became idolatry! 

I think, the Greek understanding of Jesus has done just that!  He is a stumbling block and an idol!

Be offended if you must, but think on it.  Yeshua is a stone of stumbling for both Jew and Gentile.  It is time that we place him in the correct relationship to our Father (and his Father).  Although he is worthy to be praised, he isn’t ‘Superman.’  ‘Superman’ implies that we can never aspire to do what he did!

Scripture tells us that the Law is altogether true, good, light, easy and not burdensome.  It is the way of life, a guide to our path and a light to the nations.  It is the easy yoke that Yeshua demonstrated for us.  The way of righteousness.

Those with ears to hear listen to what YeHoVaH has told us.  Let us be wise.  Let us be earnest in our dedication to follow His instructions.  We don’t need Superman to do for us what we have been given to do. We don’t require a Superman to remove the Torah out of our way! The Torah is still in effect.  His Word (his divine purpose and plan) is eternal.  It is up to us to choose, as it has always been.  Otherwise we are living a life of futility.  He gave us instructions in righteousness so that we can all follow in Yeshua’s footsteps.  That is the way of understanding.

Psa 111:10 The fear of Adonai is the beginning of wisdom. All who follow His precepts have good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Yeshua: “… I have not spoken on my own authority. Instead, the Father who sent me has himself commanded me what to say and how to speak. And I know that what he commands brings eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me." (John 12:49-50)






[1] Colin Brown, “Trinity and Incarnation: In Search of Contemporary Orthodoxy,” Ex Auditu, 1991, 87-88