HaDavar is coming! HaDavar is coming!

Boy, do I wish that were a prophecy about Yeshua; and it is, but that is not the purpose of the declaration, in this context…

B'reshtHitgalut

This is the requested update concerning the timing of the publication of “HaDavar יהוה “, the new edition of the sacred Jewish Scriptures of the Tanakh and Brit Khadashah.

The English file is complete, and ready for publication.  The Hebrew file is complete, but as we are hoping to use the best edition of the Hebrew Brit Khadashah [and the only one we are aware of sourced from the Aramaic Peshitta texts], which is still under copyright, we are asking permission from the copyright owner to allow us to put it side by side with our English text in this new publication.  We have been in touch with the copyright holder, and our request is under review as I write this update.  We can only pray that he respects what we have done in the English, and that he is given to helping us get His Davar out into more hands and hearts.

If for any reason we are not permitted to use this version, we are going to go ahead and publish an ENGLISH ONLY edition, while I then begin to translate the Aramaic Peshitta directly myself.  At that point, the full English/Hebrew edition would be released.  I do not know how long that will take, or whether I will further delay my other writing pursuits to do it.  I am praying about that.

Many of you know that I have another novel in the works, and I have delayed that for this project.  Should Abba not sway our friend in Yisra’el to allow us to go forward with the English/Hebrew version, then I have to wrestle with whether or not to delay my own pursuits further.   That is a real struggle for me, as I have many reasons for wanting to finish that other work too.

We have asked for his review to be complete by 03/19.  Whether he will be able to oblige us is unknown at this point.  But, should he delay further, and simply ask for more time to review our material and request, we’d be happy to oblige.

I am beginning to be of the mind to just go ahead and publish the ENGLISH ONLY version while we await his decision.  But I still pray earnestly about that.

It would cost MANY THOUSANDS of dollars to publish it ourselves.  On-demand presses cannot handle the size of the two-language version.  If anyone is aware of a publisher who might be interested in fronting the cost for this work, please send them my information!  I’ve thought of contacting “Messianic” publishers, but their dogma would stand in the way of this work, I’m afraid.  Other major Bible publishers do not have my respect.  As usual, we walk a very narrow road, up hill.

If a decision is made to self-publish the English version, I will notify everyone as soon as possible of that.

Please continue to pray that Abba keeps His hand in this project, and it goes exactly as HE planned, large or small, as it has every step of the way up to this point. I truly believe He has afforded me the opportunity to make this a very worthy rendering of His Word into English.

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A Spoonful of Sugar!

Sufganiyot1

This time of year is great for me.

Last Friday was my ‘Hebrew Birthday,’ the 14th day of the 9th “Khodesh,” or renewed crescent cycle, the ‘biblical month.’  I was the only one who ‘celebrated’ it, as I was the only one really aware of the disparity in the dates.

Next week is my ‘gregorian’ birthday, when most of the celebrating of my making it through another year is done.  But, also next week, on Monday night, Khanukah begins.  We will celebrate the conception of Messiah Yeshua, the Jewish defeat of Greeks and their imposition of greek culture and language, through oppression, and the Miracle of Oil for the Menorah and the Dedication of His House.  We will eat TONS of fried food, some of my favorite foods altogether, for EIGHT NIGHTS.  These are the things that make this time of year wonderful for me.

But, sometimes, over the last fifteen or so years, there is a bit of contrast with all the celebrating we attempt.  Because many, who ‘knew’ me before I turned to begin to do His Torah the way Yeshua does, do not understand why I no longer participate in that other holiday, you know, the one EVERYONE knows about, that the whole world ‘celebrates’?  Yeah, that one.

And periodically I have chosen to attempt to explain my reasons.  But, as a very upfront, even blunt person, I have simply stated facts, in my view, and have lost ‘friends’ over this very thing.  And I don’t think it is anything that should drive anyone out of my life, even if that relationship is only digital in this space-time continuum.

So, before I try to summarize things, I want to say this: I do NOT hold anyone in derision for celebrating christmas, or any other holiday.  Before I began to walk His Walk, I also celebrated it.  And as much zeal and affection as the most avid celebrants have for it, I also had, to the point of having written a very beautiful hymn about it while on board a U.S. Ballistic Missile Submarine during the season, some thirty-one years ago.

Did I ‘turn my back’ on Yeshua?  Of course not!  I turned more fully toward Him.

I always knew He is Jewish.  And I always suspected I was, even before I knew for certain how much Jewish blood is actually in my veins.  But, it was not about ‘becoming Jewish’ that caused me to turn away from this widespread holiday.  It was about seeking TRUTH. [I emphasize, I do not yell.  Here, my stubborn nature emerges, as I refuse to bend to the new convention].

Most people know Yeshua could not be born on Dec 25.  But, as a student of History [and eventually a Historian, an M.A. in History], I cannot overlook plain and simple facts.

No shepherds guard their flocks at night in the very dead of winter.  Anywhere.  Beit Lekhem is cold and grassless on Dec 25.

This simple fact alone gave me pause. It didn’t make sense.

But, further study of scripture itself revealed SO MUCH OTHER information concerning the timing of Yeshua’s conception and birth.

I am only summarizing, for brevity’s sake, but the scriptures are rife with facts, clues, and overtones that make all this very, very plain to me.

First, the birth of Yokhanan HaMatbil is directly related to Yeshua’s birth.  He was conceived exactly six months before Yeshua was conceived, and therefore we deduce rightly that he was born exactly six months before Yeshua.

We have some very key timing information concerning Yokhanan’s conception.  His father was a Kohen, serving in the Beit HaElohim when he saw the Messenger, who told him his wife would conceive and bear a son.  We are told the timing of his cycle of duty, by our learning his father was a Kohen in the order of Avi-Yah.  This is the EIGHTH course of the priestly courses established by King David in the books of Chronicles.  This puts him in the temple in June [Gregorian timing, for ease of understanding; I will refrain from confusing people with the biblical months in this post].  This means that Yokhanan was born during Passover, in March, and since Yeshua is born exactly six months later, He is born on the 1st of Sukkot, in late September.  Due to the biblical calendar, these dates float/change on our Gregorian calendar.  But, they are always the same on the Biblical Calendar: the 14th  of Khodesh 1 and the 15th of Khodesh 7.

Yeshua was born during Sukkot, which most know as ‘tabernacles.’  He ‘tabernacled’ among us, many say.

Since he was born at that time, based on facts of Scripture, we can see hints and overtones as well that affirm it.

The “Light of the World” is lit in the Beit HaElohim only during sukkot.  It is lit in the court of the women.  It is ‘high’ above the walls of the “House”, and can be seen from Beit Lekhem.   Miryam was a virgin, giving birth to the Light of the World, without the help of a man.  Sukkot is “The Season of Our Joy!”  And is the most exuberantly celebrated of all the seven feasts of G-d.  It is also the only feast to which all the nations of the world are invited, and in which offerings are made for all the nations.  “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which will be to the entire world. For this day is born to you in the city of David [Beit Lekhem], a Moshiah, who is יהוה HaMashi’akh.”  The light of the world, which was shining over the shepherds, is lit before sundown, and the Kohanim used ‘swaddling’ to make the torches in order to light those huge lights; ‘swaddling’ was strips of cloth used on the ends of torches; the kohahim made them from the old robes of the Kohanim.  But, all torches had ‘swaddling’ on the ends of them to hold the oil that creates the fire.  And thereby the light.   “And this is a sign for you: you will find the babe wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a sukka.”   So, the torch cloths would be wrapped around the “Light of the World”, who would be lying in a Sukka.  A Sukka is a booth that all Jews built in order properly to celebrate Sukkot.  The Jews built ‘booths’ in the desert in which to live during their wanderings.  The Sukka commemorates that time.  This is the time during which a great pillar of fire ‘lit up’ and warmed the Jewish people for forty years; the very Presence of יהוה .  Yeshua was placed in a sukka, because there was no room for them in any ‘inn’.  This is NOT because of the tax…  The Jews were given over a year to pay that tax; they did not all do it at once.  Yosef used the timing of Sukkot in order to go from Natzrat to Beit Lekhem to pay his tax, but ALSO to keep the feast!  Sukkot is a feast that all Jewish men must make pilgrimage to Jerusalem for.  He was killing two birds with one stone. Beit Lekhem is walking distance to Jerusalem.  Sukkot is seen throughout the Prophets as the time of the Shalom of יהוה on earth.  [Zekh 14, and other places].  “And suddenly there appeared with the Malakh a host of heaven, praising Elohim and saying,  “Glory to Elohim in the highest, and on earth Shalom, and good hope for the sons of men.”

So, with this information, [and more, but time does not permit] I was convinced that Yeshua’s birth COULD NOT happen in mid-winter.  As a historian, and a literalist, based on that information alone, I could no longer celebrate His birth on the wrong day.  Also as a historian, I wanted to learn ‘why’ did they pick that day?

I’ve given you the sugar.  Now here’s the medicine.  I hope you don’t throw up, or kick the nurse.

December 25th was and is the universal pagan day of celebrating the birth of the sun-god, whose ‘father’ is married to the second part of a trinity, a female goddess, and they copulate in the spring, and give birth to the ‘inconquerable sun’ on dec25. The three deities in this trinity go by different names in the many cultures that celebrate it. To celebrate, the pagans slew babies under evergreen trees.  They died eggs in their blood and hunted for them during the spring Equinox, to create the fertility necessary for the December births, to keep the cycle of fertility going.  The spring day is the day of Ishtar.  It only very rarely coincides with the actual Passover.  During Roman times, in their version of this pagan, winter season, for twelve days, they celebrated with fertility rituals [sexual deviance], giving gifts, drunkenness, and persecuting/killing Jews.  The most heinous rites were common among all pagan communities, though they went by different names.  EVERY ancient western and near-eastern society participated in this, including Israel in their time of disobedience.  These rites are seen condemned by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.  By the time of Yeshua, Israel had been purged of these rites, through great suffering in the form of punishment from G-d: conquered by foreign armies, starvation, slavery, expulsion from the land, and more.  Khanukah actually celebrates being freed from having these rites again forced on the Jews.

And that is the main reason I re-write this explanation this year.

I do NOT set myself up as one who would infringe your right to celebrate your holiday.  Neither to greet someone with whatever greeting you wish.  You are indeed free to do whatever you want.

But, I ask for mutual respect of my right NOT to celebrate it, and TO celebrate Khanukah, and my desire not to be wished well on a day or for a day that holds no value to me whatsoever, but in fact is offensive to me.  It is being portrayed as the day of Yeshua’s birth: it is NOT the day of His birth, and facts prove that.  And, even those who say they are celebrating His birth are blending that celebration with rites of pagans who did the most abominable things with those rites.  Most people do so in their ignorance.  And I certainly am alert and judicious enough to know that NO ONE that I know would advocate the slaughter of babies under evergreen trees; but, I cannot commemorate it, even with a hint.  Never mind the facts that led me away from it in the first place; now I loathe to see a tree.  For my own reasons. Especially since so many babies die every day in this country, and no one blinks.  But, many, who now know the information, persist in perpetuating the abominations that יהוה Himself speaks against.  Some may choose to equivocate, and say that “Jesus is God” but then deny that He said NOT to do those things, when G-d said:

“You shall surely destroy all the places, wherein the nations that you are to dispossess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every evergreen tree. [The Kananite version is Molekh and Asherah] And you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their Asherim with fire; and you shall hew down the graven images of their gods; and you shall destroy their name out of that place. You shall not do so unto יהוה your Elohim.”

Israel went into the land, and was to purge it of peoples who celebrated these pagan fertility rites.  They did not completely rid the land of those peoples, and those rites, and they ended up celebrating them themselves.  The same is true of America.  The original founders made this holiday ILLEGAL, in every colony.  It remained so until the 1840s; but then, people started giving in, and now the season practically consumes 95% of the population for a whole quarter-year.  It’s so very disappointing.

Do yourself a favor: LOOK FOR THE MESSIAH in it?  How prevalent is HE in the rites and celebrations?

His birth was indeed a momentous event; but, the MIRACLE of it happened at Khanukah.   Which happened to fall on the 25th day of the ninth month, which coincided with the tenth month of rome [deca-ember], our Gregorian 12th month.  Yeshua was CONCEIVED at this time of year: the ‘candle’ of the Light of the world was stoked by the Ru’akh causing Miryam to conceive at this time.

If anything has pricked your heart, I ask you to consider it prayerfully.  Again, everyone is indeed FREE to do what they will. Everyone is also free to reject G-d and His Truth, but that does not mean that He wants them to.  I believe what I believe with my whole heart, and I pray for all of you to come into His Truth.  I do see this as error against His Word. And I do believe it needs to be corrected by HIS PEOPLE,  AGAIN!

Now, for some more sugar.

If I did not love people, I would not risk losing their friendship/approval for telling them these things.

This is the last I will think of that other holiday this year.  I am so looking forward to Khanukah.  The purity of it, symbolized in the oil, is such a balm against what I know about what everyone else is doing, and the sadness it would otherwise bring me.  I KNOW that HE is calling HIS PEOPLE out of these behaviors, as HE does in EVERY GENERATION.  I just pray that those I love respond.  Soon.

“You therefore, my beloved, seeing that you know these things beforehand, beware, lest you follow the error of those without Torah, and fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in compassion and in the knowledge of Adoneinu and Moshi’einu, Yeshua HaMashi’akh, and of Elohim HaAv. To Him be glory both now and forever, and through all eternity. Amein.”

 

http://www.battzion.org/resources/glossary/

A Min!

Avraham lived by ‘believing trust,’ what most people call ‘faith.’ Our scriptures tell us that all those who trust in Messiah must also live by that same trust. It’s not that faith is a ‘bad’ word, but that it has been so distorted by modern theology that I’d like to take a fresh look at it with everyone, from the Hebrew perspective.

So many people think that myself and other congregants are trying to work our way into heaven by the ‘works of the law,’ and that could not be further from the truth. Many do not come into the Sabbath for fear that they would be doing that very thing as well. And, even AFTER we have promised over and over that we are NOT trusting in our works to ‘save’ us, they still insist that we are? And these are, many times, people who love us, and ‘trust’ us as family, yet they do not believe our own words we say about our own faith. The popes still have so much power over peoples’ minds, its incredible!

Trust. That is why I keep the Sabbath.

The word is אמונה :: Emunah.
It actually comes from the word for ‘firmly established,’ and is more accurately rendered as ‘trusting belief,’ or ‘believing trust,’ in English.

This is also the word from where we get אמן: Amein, or ‘ay-min’ for you fellow southerners, which affirms in trust, ‘let it be so.’

We keep the Sabbath because we TRUST Elohim, who said that He blesses those who do His will.  He blessed the Sabbath itself, and said that it is a perpetual sign between Him and the children of Avraham. We keep the seven yearly feasts of the spring and the fall, because He has told us that it is good for us, and we trust that His word is true.  And the quintessential Jew, Messiah Yeshua, kept all of these appointed times, becoming our best, and for us, our only example.

And, we trust this in the face of having millions upon millions of people tell us that we are wrong every week, by doing just the opposite, and ‘saying’ that G-d told them to.

What do I mean? Man, people of every ilk, for every one of us who formerly walked as Christians but now walk as Torah observant believers in the Messiah Yeshua, opposes us in EVERY WAY.  Sometimes with great anger and hostility.

Those closest to us accuse us of joining cults, of ‘being under the law’, and condemning ourselves, of trying to work our way into heaven, etc, and again, all of this in spite of the fact that we’ve testified passionately to the contrary.  They cannot seem to ‘hear’ us.

Over the last 12 years, I have met and come to know hundreds of people who have just been reading their Bibles and wondering ‘why’ did they go to church on sundy, why did they keep x-mas, why did we do ‘easter,’ when none of these things are even on the surface of the text of the holy scriptures. [Messiah Yeshua was never in x-mas; find him under a tree in scripture, and we’ll join you in celebrating that day. You know what you do find under those trees in scripture? Babies being offered to pagan deities. Did I just lose you? I hope not. Research it for yourself.]

These people then read “Remember the Sabbath day, to consecrate it, for in six days אלהים [G-d] created the earth, and on the SEVENTH DAY He rested.’ This is pretty plain. It’s actually dang simple and obvious reading. And we took it by EMUNAH that it is firmly established by G-d as Truth. And by that believing trust, we went AGAINST the grain of society, even the ‘society’ of faith, to do what G-d said.

I could go on and on about how our trust has turned us from the customs of men and how much powerful EMUNAH it has taken for most of us to suffer the slurs, ridicule, vicious anger, and not-so-very-‘christian’-‘jesus-like’ behaviors against us in order simply to do what G-d said. To do that which is written in His Word. To do that which is carved in stone, you know, The Nine Commandments. [You don’t believe in the Sabbath. You have edited what G-d wrote in stone.]

This season we are entering is difficult for our families, who do not understand why we do not participate. It is by faith that we do not. Because we believe that The Word of G-d, and being pleasing to Him, is far more important than pleasing men.  Including family.  It was Yeshua who said this:

Do you think that I have come to bring shalom on earth? I say to you, no, but divisions; for from henceforth there will be five in a house who will be divided three against two, and two against three.  For a father will be divided against his son, and a son against his father; a mother against her daughter, and a daughter against her mother; a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

I remember when I dropped the bomb on my family. Of course, my Mother was made of gold, and she rocked and rolled with it. But others, not so much. But, many ‘close’ relationships were very strained, for quite some time. Thankfully, my Dad finally came round just before he died. And Mom, she lived with us a few months before her death, and celebrated the Sabbath with us each week.

But, I have watched families go through very, very difficult times, parents and siblings hurling accusations and insults, in most hurtful ways, at those of us who walk by Faith in the Word of Messiah, daring to modify our lives to make them fit with His Word more closely.

So, you don’t agree with us. Atleast see that it takes great faith to turn away from what we have known all our lives, and turn to trusting only in His Word, having precious few people who agree with us in it.

What I believe, I believe passionately. Wholeheartedly. I cannot ‘unsee’ what I have seen in His Word, and what I believe is error in the churches, at times, seemingly willful error. It is by Emunah that we struck out and asked G-d to create a fellowship for us, of others who would take a huge LEAP of faith IN HIS WORD and DO what He says, BECAUSE HE SAID SO. That, my friends, is faith.

Rant Complete.

Let’s Wrestle!

Growing up in a house full of boys, wrestling was a big part of my life.  I never had my thigh snapped, but I did break my collar bone on New Year’s Day during my eighth grade year, wrestling with my brother.

But, I still tussle with folks, even as an old man!  Only now I’m careful not to break anything!  I know my limits.

I find it interesting that my Torah portion is VaYishlakh, where Ya’akov, the namesake of my son, wrestles with someone.

Ya’akov wrestles with the Messenger of יהוה , which is a manifestation of Yeshua, before He finally manifested forever as a human being.

He knows who he is wrestling with.  This man is about to become the namesake of Yisra’el.  He tells the being with whom he wrestles, “I will not let you go, except that you bless me!”  That being is a temporary manifestation of G-d as a Malakh, a Messenger; it is, as I said, Yeshua, manifesting as the Creator in the form of a man.  He is a tangible being, APPEARING AS A MAN, wrestling with the man Ya’akov.  Ya’akov knows who He is, even though he asks Him to tell him His Name. “I have seen the face of Elohim!”

This is at the culmination of Ya’akov’s life in Shinar, the land of Bavel.  He is returning to Be’er Sheva, the land of his fathers, the “Well of the Oath.”  And he is seeking the blessing of the Creator.  This time, he is not asking for food and raiment as he had twenty years before, but a ‘blessing.’  An ‘increase’ in the supernatural.  A greater manifestation of the power of Elohim.

What the Messenger does is beat him; he snaps his sinew on his thigh, causing him to limp for the REST OF HIS LIFE.

Is that the blessing?  Is it a blessing to know the WEAKNESS that G-d gave you, in order for you to trust in HIS strength?  Isn’t that exactly what the Creator tells Sha’ul when he prays three times that He take his infirmity away?  ““My compassion is sufficient for you; for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.”  Is it possible that Elohim visited him at this moment, and ‘blessed’ him with such a condition, because Ya’akov finally recognized the Presence of G-d in His life all along?  He had just prayed, “I am not worthy of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which You have shown unto your servant…”

So many people are striving to ‘be perfect’, when what hey do not realize is that they should be striving for HIM to make up the difference between our shortcomings and HIS perfection, with HIS perfection.

This acceptance of permanent brokenness, which is memorialized in the diets of observant Jews, is indeed a blessing, because it reminds us of our having seen HIS FACE!  ONLY HE can truly ‘break us’.  And when He does, it is for OUR BLESSING.