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.


עֵינֵי כֹל אֵלֶיךָ יְשַׂבֵּרוּ;    וְאַתָּה נוֹתֵן לָהֶם אֶת אָכְלָם בְּעִתּוֹ ;  פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת יָדֶךָ וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכָל חַי רָצוֹן

“The eyes of all wait for you, and you give them their bread in its time; O open Your hand, and satisfy every living thing with your favor”

This psalm is in our daily prayers, twice.  As I was walking today, doing my ‘standing prayers’ as Yeshua instructed in Matti 6, I pondered these verses for various reasons.  First, I was in the tunnels under downtown Houston, as it is cold and wet today.  It’s lunchtime, and there are many restaurants in the tunnels, and they were crowded, also due to the weather, I’m sure.  The aroma of various foods was wafting out of the restaurants into the walkways.  I was contemplating the shear abundance of food there is to be had.

We are coming up on ‘Thanksgiving’ this week.  In Hebrew, ‘we give thanks’/”give thanks” [in the imperative plural] is “Hodu!”  And also in Hebrew, the word for “turkey” is ‘hodu’, where only the stressed syllable varies.  Maybe that is why the matter of His abundant provision and compassion toward us all is particularly on my mind this week.

There are many, many times, however, when this crosses my mind.  As I’ve stated recently, the ‘khesed’ of the Creator, His manifold lovingkindness, His compassion, is becoming more and more apparent and obvious to me, in spite of the abundant cruelty this world has to offer, and the pure distortion of His Truth most people follow.

But, I could not help again but to revel in His provision for mankind, and be profuse in thanking Him for me and mine, and our congregants.  It cannot be an ‘accident’ or mere happenstance that on this globe that we inhabit there are resources enough to feed, house, and clothe in abundance all the billions that occupy its surface.  And beyond that, there are resources abounding that provide shelter, tools, and even unnecessary finery, beyond our comprehension.  Every person I saw, including the homeless, were clothed, in layers.  Those of us working down here wandering the tunnels, most of whom were destined for some vendor to purchase lunch, have not only clothing and shoes and coats, but accessories, and jewelry, and cell phones… things that do not sustain our lives, but only enhance them.  They are not necessary.  And there were even all these same wares lying on shelves down there waiting to be purchased.

And I think sometimes we do not appreciate it; and I think most are not aware that ALL of these things are given us by the compassion of our Creator.

In the Hebrew language, the concept of ownership or possession cannot be literally expressed the same way it is in English, when we say things like “My cell phone,” or “I have a car.”  In Hebrew those come out this way, “The cell phone which is to me,” or “There is for me a car”.  Ancient Jews understood that HE is the provider of ALL that we have, including the air we breathe.  But, also the finery with which we lavish ourselves.  “But you shall remember יהוה your Elohim, for it is HE who gives you the power to get wealth.”

He wants us to enjoy life, and He wants His people to be lavished with things: “It is יהוה who fills a house with good things.”  But, when He does that, He wants to be remembered.  And He wants His people to be grateful.

If you eat Turkey this week, remember, in Hebrew, you are literally eating your words.  “Give Thanks!

“Hodu la’ יהוה ki tov, ki l’olam khasdo.”  Give thanks unto יהוה for He is GOOD, for His compassion endures for eternity.”


This Guy?



Kefa said of the writings of Sha’ul these words:

“And consider that the longsuffering of Adoneinu is for Salvation; even as our beloved brother Pavlos also, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his letters he speaks concerning these matters, in which there are certain things so hard to be understood that those who are ignorant and unstable twist their meaning, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. 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.”

Yes, I reference this scripture a lot, but today I do so for a slightly different reason, other than discussing the importance and relevance of Torah in our lives.

Kefa said that those who twist the scriptures are ‘ignorant and unstable.’  It is difficult to prove ignorance in someone who has been long dead.  But, thankfully, history has left a trail to show us that Calvin was indeed ignorant and unstable.

Not the cute guy in the cartoon above.  But the beast of a man that was a so-called ‘reformer’, who is the pride of many religionists today: John Calvin.  His adherents look on him as innocently as newspaper comic fans look on Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes fame, saying his antics were harmless.  I don’t buy it.

This is not meant to be a dissertation on his theology, which is indeed twisted, but more an infomercial on who the man was, and how mentally deranged and prideful he was. Most of his adherents are not aware of the many people he executed.  Yes, murdered.

How could a man of such ‘notoriety’ and acclaim be heralded a father of the reformation, and have so many people look to him for guidance on what salvation is?  Because people did not heed or continue to heed Kefa’s warning.

Calvin believed that a saved person was saved ONLY because of the will of G-d, and that a person who would not accept his Christ was predestinated to go to hell, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.  He believed this so strongly that he executed anyone who would not submit to him, or that opposed him in any way.  This is the ‘instability’ Kefa warned us about.  He forced most of the people of Geneva into conversion, deeming them worthy of death and hell if they did not submit.

Many are not aware of Calvin’s one-time friend, Michael Servetus.  He was much like myself, half Jewish, but a believer in Messiah.  He opposed the Catholic church, and that was the basis of their friendship at the first.  But when Calvin published his “Institutions,” Servetus read it, wrote comments on it in the margins of his copy, and sent it to Calvin.  Calvin swore publicly that if he ever saw Servetus again, he’d kill him.  And he did.  He burned him at the stake, making sure the wood was green so it would take longer, and increase his suffering.  He never once showed any remorse for having done it, but instead nine years later was still rejoicing in his decision.  He believed that it was his duty to kill Servetus, and that Servetus was predestined for that fate, and the fate of burning in hell, in spite of Servetus’ confession of trust in Messiah.

This is the man too many today follow, in their ‘plan of salvation.’

They cannot read the word with any clarity, seeming to prefer the socratic, twisted logic of John Calvin, which is laced with hatred and pride.

The two main passages they use to justify their doctrine are so distorted by their logic, and so many today pride themselves in being able to follow that twisted train of logic, that they think the logic must be true.  They dismiss and discourage the plain reading of the text itself, and completely ignore two-thirds of scripture in order to perpetuate Calvin’s lies, and forgive him of his heinous crimes against mankind, though he himself remained unrepentant.

The scriptures that are twisted are these:

“And we know that those who love Elohim are helped by Him in everything, for the good, to those who from the beginning are destined to be called. He knew them in advance and He marked them with the likeness of the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, those whom He marked in advance, He has called, and those whom He has called, He has declared righteous, and those whom he has declared righteous, He has glorified.”  Rom 8:28-30

A couple of things to point out:

He marked in advance those who ‘would’ love Him,’ knowing them ahead of time, and THEN HE ‘called’ them, and THEN he declared them righteous, because THEY responded to the call, and THEN He glorified them.

Another passage that they twist is Efisim 1:

“Since, as from the beginning, He has chosen us through Him before the foundation of the world, that we may become consecrated and without blemish before Him, in love, as at the first, for Himself. And He marked us for Him, and appointed us to be sons through Yeshua HaMashi’akh, as was the pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His compassion that He has poured upon us by His beloved one. ….. And He marked us from the beginning, so He would carry out everything according to the good judgment of His will, that we should become the first to trust in Mashi’akh, to His honor and His glory. In Him you also have heard the Davar HaEmet, which is HaB’sorah for your life; in Him you have trusted, so you are sealed with The Ru’akh HaKodesh that was promised, which is the pledge of our inheritance for the redemption of those who live, and for the glory of His honor.”

Nothing in this indicates that there is no response on the part of the one who trusts.  On the contrary, the impetus of trust is put on us.  A response is elicited.  The response to the call of those who were marked to be called is clearly seen.  Yet Calvinists ignore the many, many places in scripture, invent new terms to explain their doctrine, and condemn anyone who does not believe their ‘idea’ about how salvation works.  They’re arguing semantics over the trust that must be in us, and dismissing everyone of the duty to trust and to obey, and further think that there is NOTHING they can do thereafter that would fate themselves to hell.  I would sooner believe Calvin in hell than many others I know, based on his life AFTER his so-called “Institutions” were written.

The short of it is this: G-d knows ahead of time who will respond to His call, so He marks them ‘to be called.’ The trickiness of Sha’ul’s writing here cannot outweigh all the many passages of Yeshua’s words that tell us WE must believe.  He indeed GIVES US the ‘power’ and the ‘authority’ to become sons of Elohim.  But we must do the ‘becoming.’  Just because Elohim ‘marked’ us for that purpose ahead of time, does not remove the impetus of us to believe, and to love Elohim, and WE must obey Him.

I wish I had time to further expound and explain the foreknowledge of Elohim.  But, what I really want to point out in this is the CHARACTER of John Calvin, the man who twisted these writings of Sha’ul, and invented the doctrine that so many today are following again.  “You shall know them by their fruits.”  Here is a man who very cruelly tortured and murdered a Messianic Jewish man, simply because he disagreed with him doctrinally.  And he did so standing on the foundation of his ‘predestination’ doctrine, which gave him the seared conscience one would need in order to so murder someone without any guilt.  No one can claim to follow the Son of G-d and commit murder without calling his very salvation into question.  Calvin simply became the alternative pope of Geneva, guilty of the very same crimes of the ‘church’ he left.  That is NOT the fruit of the Spirit of Messiah Yeshua.

And Servetus is NOT the only one Calvin murdered.  Some that he murdered he did so for even less serious ‘crimes’ than Servetus.

Some of John Calvin’s ‘accomplishments’ while ‘religious magistrate’ in Geneva:

A man was banished from the city for three months because he heard a donkey bray and said as a joke: “He prays a beautiful Psalm.”

Three men who had laughed during a sermon were imprisoned for three days.

Three children were punished because they remained outside of a church to eat some cakes.

A child was whipped publicly for calling his mother a thief.

A girl who slapped her mother’s guiding hand away was beheaded!!!!

A person was imprisoned for four days because he wanted to call his child Claude instead of Abraham.

In Geneva, a secret police was forged under the name of The Consistory. Every home was compulsorily examined and searched. The City was divided into districts and committees of the Consistory were empowered to search and interrogate all residents without previous notice. Attendance at public worship was commanded and watchmen were directed to see that people went to church. The one thing that Calvin did not endorse was religious liberty.

From 1541 to 1546, John Calvin caused 58 people to be executed. His victims ranged in age from 9 to 80. All executions were public, and Geneva residents were forced to watch. The executions were spaced out so as to exert a continuing policy of fear and terror. Others were killed for advocating local church autonomy; opposing the tie-in of church and state: and preaching that Messiah died for all sinners.

While in Geneva, Servetus made the mistake of attending church on Sunday where he was recognized and arrested. It was on Calvin’s information to the magistracy that Servetus was put in prison, which fact Calvin did not deny. The trial lasted over two months and Calvin himself drew up a document of thirty-nine accusations against Servetus.

On the way to the stake, Servetus asked G-d to pardon his accusers. Because of the use of green wood, Servetus suffered for half an hour, while Calvin watched.  No one with the mind of Messiah could burn a fellow believer simply because he disagrees, and revel in his torture.  This is the pinnacle of instability, and is the work of HaSatan, and is the product of ignorance of the Torah.  Just as Kefa predicted.

Yet so many today are beginning again to follow this man.  It is disgusting and abhorrent.

Junior, Put the Evidence in the FRONT seat!

I read Hebrew all the time; I speak it all the time in my head, since I have no one with whom to speak it out loud. So, I tend to use Hebrew words/terms and transliterate Hebrew names into English versus using the English translation. For me, it is practically second nature now. I realize that is not so of most, even of many of those who attend our congregation.  That’s why I’ve added our congregation’s glossary to the bottom of my posts.

Most everyone knows I am a Messianic Jew, and the overseer of such a congregation. But, many, many of you do not understand what that means; and many have a misconception/preconception about me that is not accurate, maybe more than one. I do not, not for a second, believe that one ‘works his way into the Kingdom;’ neither do I believe that one ‘earns’ his ‘righteousness’ through any works of the Torah.

Just as Paul [Sha’ul] was FALSELY accused of teaching that, so have I been accused, and so have some of you understood, without actually having had a conversation with ME about it, by simply asking.

I have lost friends over that misconception!  Good, long-time friends who would not endeavor to understand me.  It’s really bizarre.

People have ‘unfriended’ me for taking something I stated out of context. I found out an old Navy friend would not ‘friend’ me when he discovered I was Messianic/Jewish.

So, I am here both to set the record straight, and to clarify exactly what is meant by the difference between ‘following the Torah of Messiah in obedience’ and ‘being under the law.’

You may ask any one of the long-time fellow congregants of mine, or the astute newcomers who pay attention, and they will tell you heartily that we do NOT teach that one must observe the Torah in order to obtain ‘righteousness.’ In fact, I specifically and often teach just the opposite.

First, what is the “Torah”?  It is what is translated as ‘law’ in most decent “New Testament” scriptures. Specifically, however, it is the first five books, the books of Moses [Moshe], Genesis through Deuteronomy.

But, Torah does not mean ‘law;’ it means “Teaching”, or “Instruction.” It contains ‘laws,’ and ‘commands,’ or mitzvot, khukim, mishpatim, pakidim, the Hebrew words being rendered commands, ‘statutes’, ‘judgments/ordinances’, and ‘laws.’ It, the Torah, is so much more than those, however. It contains ‘precepts,’ ‘principles,’ ‘promises,’ ‘prophecies,’ ‘blessings’, ‘curses,’ poems, songs, and more, as well as all those statutes, ordinances, etc. All of these together constitute the ‘Instruction of a Father.’

It was NEVER meant that one gains ‘righteousness’ by it; but, it DOES and plainly says that one gains LIFE by it. Why? Because all these beautiful guidelines are together a single picture of the perfection of Messiah Yeshua! “Messiah is the goal at which the Torah aims.” [Romans 10:4]

The Torah itself says that Abraham was ‘justified’ by HIS TRUST in G-d.

[I use that term to represent to you that the G-d of Abraham has a Name, and it is יהוה . The dash invokes the notion that He is not just any ‘god’, like ‘Allah,’ or ‘Krishnah,’ or any other entity named ‘god.’]

Abraham TRUSTED in יהוה , and it was ‘charged to his account’ as ‘righteousness.’ The biblical term there is ‘tzedaka,’ which is from the word ‘tzedek,’ and is meant as a ‘legal’ term. It means, ‘having been made right,’ ‘having been made ‘just’.’ What does that mean? It means having one’s own transgressions against the righteous Torah of G-d expunged off of his eternal record of wrong. Sin is quite simply when one breaks the Torah, or disobeys it. [I John 3:4] Our sins were written down. Righteousness means having a clean slate. Abraham’s eternal ‘account’ is wiped clean. Abraham was a sinner just like the rest of us, and still sinned after having received his righteousness in Genesis 15. But, because he TRUSTED the G-d that spoke to him, his account was ‘considered purged clean.’ The record of his sin was erased.

In all of the prophecies spoken to Abraham, the Messiah’s coming was predicted, and Abraham looked forward to that coming, trusting that one day G-d would indeed ‘justify’ many, through that promised one.

Because he trusted, he obeyed! His obedience did NOT change his eternal status! But, his obedience did ‘testify’ to those around him that he trusted! And, that he obeyed the voice of G-d!

“Because Abraham kept my charge, my statutes, my decrees, and my laws.” G-d told Abraham’s son that he was keeping his promise to Abraham through him, Isaac [Yitz’khak] BECAUSE of ABRAHAM’S OBEDIENCE.

Obedience is the ‘evidence’ of TRUST; it is the ‘substance,’ the visible ‘substance’ of faith, that MOVES the HAND of G-d.

So, while no one is given a clean slate because of any torah-keeping, being obedient to His Torah is the ‘proof’ that we have heard of the Messiah and trusted in Him, and received the promise from Him.

Yeshua says this…

He says that anyone who teaches those who trust in Him to disobey the Torah will be called the least significant in His kingdom. And, in contrast to that, He says that anyone who DOES the Torah, and also teaches others to do so [obey torah], will be called more significant in His Kingdom. He is very, very plain about this. Read Matthew 5:17-19, and know that when he said ‘law,’ he said Torah.

This is what is meant by James [Ya’akov], the brother of Yeshua, when he writes what we are reading in our weekly reading schedule this week:

“Even so, by itself, faith without works is dead. For a man may say, “You have faith and I have works;” show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one Elohim; you do well. The demons also believe, and they tremble. Would you know, O weak man, that faith without works is dead? Was not our father Avraham justified by works, when he raised Yitz’khak his son upon the altar? You can see how his faith helped his works, and how by works his faith was made perfect. And the scripture was fulfilled which said, “Avraham trusted Elohim, and it was accounted to him for tzedaka;” and he was called the Friend of Elohim. You see then how a man by works becomes righteous, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rakhav the harlot justified by works when she welcomed the spies and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”

So, Abraham’s faith was ‘made perfect’ by his works: ‘Abraham kept my charge, my statutes, my decrees, and my laws.’

Now, for one who is trusting in his own works to ‘make him just’, that one has indeed fallen out of grace, and this is what the book of Galatians does teach. This is what it means to be ‘under the Torah;’ TO BREAK IT!  Trying to be made just by it is a failure, because the Torah itself says we are justified by EMUNAH! THAT is the error of the Galatians! Because no one can be made righteous by keeping commands! This means that the one doing this is not trusting in the Messiah’s blood! So, he is BACK under the punishment of the Torah! But, every human who is not trusting is also held ‘under’ the weight of the Torah on Judgment Day, because the Torah tells the WORLD to trust in Messiah!  [Rom 10:4]  They are condemned, if they do not learn to trust. We have never taught that a person is justified by doing the Torah, and neither do we try to earn any better place with G-d by doing what He says to do. But, being obedient indeed DOES make our faith ‘perfect,’ or ‘full.’

That word for ‘perfect’ does not mean the same to ancient Jews as it does to us, but our English word gets us thinking in the right direction.

The word is ‘full’ in Hebrew. ‘Complete.’

It is only used one other time in the renewed covenant scriptures, in Philippians 3:12. And it is interesting that in that passage, Paul is teaching about trying to reach the perfection of Messiah, the ‘goal,’ of His perfection. Remember, Romans says that the Messiah is the ‘goal’ at which Torah aims! The word Torah is rooted in a term for ancient archery, meaning AIMING AT A TARGET. The ‘instruction’ is like the finger of the archer pointing at the bullseye. So, Paul is striving for making his faith ‘perfect’, by obedience! Just like Abraham!

“Not as though I had already attained or were already PERFECT; but I am striving that I may reach that for which Yeshua HaMashiakh appointed me. My brethren, I do not consider that I have reached the goal; but this one thing I do know, forgetting those things which are behind, I strive for those things which are before me; I press on toward the GOAL to receive the prize of victory of the highest calling of Elohim through Yeshua HaMashiakh.”

So, those of us who keep the Torah, observing His Sabbath, keeping His Feasts, eating ‘clean food,’ ALONG WITH striving NOT to judge, or to covet, or to commit adultery, or to murder, or to steal, or to lie, do so NOT to try to become any more righteous than anyone else who trusts, but to live out the ‘substance’ of our trust by obeying Him.

We can only know HIS WILL by reading HIS word!

It is by reading HIS word that we learn what day the Sabbath is. It is by reading His word that we learn what ‘food’ is. It is by reading HIS word that we learn what ‘holidays’ to keep. It is by HIS word alone, and not by our traditions.

Yes, many of the Jews of Yeshua’s day were trying to become righteous by their own Torah deeds; and they were teaching that to new believers. They themselves had not trusted in Yeshua! Paul tells us they were false brothers! They pretended to believe, to try to get the new Gentile converts to Messianic trust to join them in their own form of ‘righteousness,’ which went against the Torah! The very Torah they claimed to teach. NOT ALL JEWS taught this! And, Paul never once told them not to obey! He only told them not to trust in their own works to justify themselves legally before G-d, to claim salvation because of works, and then he and every other apostle compelled the believers to DO THE WORKS OF THE TORAH. They were following the Messiah’s instructions:

“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one yod, nor a tiny stroke shall pass away from the Torah, until everything comes to pass. Whoever therefore tries to loosen even one of these smallest mitzvot [commandments], and teaches men so, he shall be regarded as small in Malkhut HaShamayim [The Kingdom of Heaven]; but anyone who observes and teaches them, he shall be regarded as great in Malkhut HaShamayim.[The Kingdom of Heaven]”

There are commandments that tell us to do things, and there are commandments that tell us not to do things. We are commanded to keep His Sabbath. We are likewise commanded not to worship HIM in the ways [and at the times] that others worship their gods. We are commanded to eat meat; we are also commanded not to eat certain types of meat. These are all the ‘easy’ commandments that most people forget to care about. The hard ones are: to practice love for our enemies, to forgive those who offend us, to show mercy to sinners. These things are difficult to do. We are to do them, WITHOUT FORGETTING to do the easy ones! [Matthew 23:23] And without TWISTING his words to suit our personal desires.

This is what our congregation teaches, and that for which we strive.

I hope this clears things up for someone! I hope someone who may have been on the verge of deleting me at least decides to see my heart! I love the SAME Messiah that I met in my youth in southeast Texas; I am just ‘pressing on toward the GOAL to receive the prize of victory of the highest calling of Elohim through Yeshua HaMashiakh.’ I desire to obey Him, to show Him to others in TRUTH, removing confusion. And I hope to help as many others as would make their faith sure to do the same. “Examine yourselves, and see whether you are of the faith.”