Saturday, February 19, 2011

Our Purim Celebration!

This weekend we celebrated Purim and today was our Purim feast with our friends at Beth Shalom. It was a wonderful time of remembering how Yahweh saved the Jews, using Queen Hadassah (Esther). We were so excited to be a part of this celebration because if there were no Jews, there would have been no Messiah and no Bible. I have such a deep love for my brothers and sisters in the Messiah! Thought I would share some pics from our festivities. And below is some concise information about Purim.

What is Purim?

The festival of Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar (late winter/early spring). It commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in Ancient Persia from Haman's plot "to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day."

The story in a nutshell:

The Persian empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and all the Jews were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen—though she refused to divulge the identity of her nationality.

Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews (and Esther's cousin) defied the king's orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed and convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar—a date chosen by a lottery Haman made.

Mordechai galvanized all the Jews, convincing them to repent, fast and pray to G‑d. Meanwhile, Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther revealed to the king her Jewish identity. Haman was hanged, Mordechai was appointed prime minister in his stead, and a new decree was issued—granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

On the 13th of Adar the Jews mobilized and killed many of their enemies. On the 14th of Adar they rested and celebrated.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Forgetting the Spirit of the Laws....

I know for a while now my posts have been very heavy on all different aspects of my spiritual journey recently. I was afraid that I was conveying a condescending or judgemental tone in my posts and I wanted to be sure I corrected that. At the very least, offered an apology if I have come across in any way that makes it appear as though I am better than or know more than anyone else. I am truly sorry if my posts have reflected an attitude like that.

I am still very new in my journey. There are not too many things I am 100% certain of and I would be lying to tell you otherwise. My goal with my blog has always been to be very transparent and I want to be sure I live up to that. Of one thing I am certain. That Jesus, Yeshua, died on the cross for my sins. He paid the penalty so that even in my shortcomings I could be with Him in eternity if I believe in Him, repent of my sins and turn from my old ways and live a new life. Of this I am certain. I am also certain that turning from our old ways and starting a new life means we have to change. I am convinced that YHVH has laws. He is the King of the His kingdom and every King has rules. In searching the Scriptures we will seek to determine just what those rules are. I am certain we are not saved by obeying rules. But out of love for our Messiah and our YHVH we obey His rules/laws/commands.

My husband and I will be re-reading the Bible from the Genesis to Revelation and relying on only the Scriptures to make our decisions. We will not be following any man, any great teacher or preacher or anyone for that matter, except YHVH. I am convinced that I have been programmed to listen and believe what man says instead of auditing those beliefs and seeing what YHVH actually says. For far too long I have only done what I did because that is what my family did or my pastors said to do (bad reasons!). We are starting over fresh! We are un-learning and re-learning things. This process takes lots of time! We are taking baby steps and will take one thing at a time. My husband will take the lead and I will be in submission to his leadership. We will see YHVH together. Already there are many, many things that I have found false in the Christian church and therefore it has caused us to question many of the things they are teaching as solid Biblcal doctrine. Questioning is a good thing I am learning. We should always be auditing our beliefs. And in doing that, our walk may start to look different and it may even change from year to year. The change is just proof that we are auditing our lives and our beliefs against the Word of God at all times. We seek to know the Truth and the truth only. We believe that when one veers even 1/8 cm off course.. over a period of hundreds of years this gap in becomes wider and wider. We seek to walk as close to what YHVH says as possible.

That being said I hope you understand that while I am seeking to understand the commands of YHVH I do not want to become like the Pharisees. I do not want to look good on the outside but lack the fruit of the Spirit on the inside. I am human so I make mistakes but I am trying my best.

This verse has been on my mind for days now.. "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but not much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Phil 2:12 (KJV)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Are you part of the Covenants?

I have many people tell me that they are Gentiles and are not part of Israel. These are people professing to be Christians. I am concerned for several reasons. First of all Gentile means, "out of covenant". I certainly do not want to be considered out of covenant. Second, in Eph 2:11-12 talks about who we were before we accepted and began to follow the Messiah. We were aliens of the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants. I beg you to reconsider who you are in the Messiah. You have been grafted in. You are no longer an alien of the commonwealth of Israel and you are now partakers in the covenants.

The New Covenant, as first spoken of in Jeremiah, is made only with the Houses of Israel and Judah. If you don't consider yourself belonging to one of those two people groups, you are not included in the covenant, and are not of His people.. YHVH's words :
Jer 31:31 "Here, the days are coming," says ADONAI, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra'el and with the house of Y'hudah.
Jer 31:32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated my covenant, even though I, for my part, was a husband to them," says ADONAI.
Jer 31:33 "For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra'el after those days," says ADONAI: "I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Heb 8:8-10 says, For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith YHVH, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith YHVH. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith YHVH; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a ELOHIYM, and they shall be to me a people."

It appears to me that if you are not of the house of Judah or the house of Israel, you will be on the outside looking in!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shabbat Shalom!

Our Prayer tonight:

"Blessed are You, Adonai, Our God, King of the Universe
Who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to
sanctify the Sabbath day!"

Isa 56:6 “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to יהוה, to serve Him, and to love the Name of יהוה, to be His servants, all who guard the Sabbath, and not profane it, and hold fast to My covenant –
Isa 56:7a them I shall bring to My set-apart mountain, and let them rejoice in My house of prayer..."

Tonight we had a wonderful Sabbath meal, chicken wrapped in turkey bacon with stuffing and peas with carrots. We celebrated the Messiah by partaking in the cup and the bread. The evening ended with a worship songs played by daddy on the guitar and the story of YHVH giving the 10 Commandments to Moses was read to the children. We delighted in the beginning of this set apart day, the Sabbath.

Sharing my Heart

On this Sabbath I am reflecting on everything I have learned over the past few months. I am grateful to YHVH for allowing circumstances in my life that caused me to really seek out truth. I had been taught that questioning was a form of rebellion and that belief kept me from seeking out answers to my many questions on my own - until now!

A little testimony about my life and how I got to this point in my journey:

My parents were born and raised Catholics. I was baptized in the Catholic church, but shortly thereafter my parents became "born again". Their neighbors witnessed to them and as a result my parents left the Catholic church, which they had felt was so spiritually empty for them. Their decision to leave the Catholic church was met with much opposition and even family members accused them of joining a cult (the Protestant church). It was a very difficult time for my parents, but they perservered. I always remember being in church Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night no matter what.

During my teen years we attended a church that was very pro-homeschooling. This was a huge blessing for us (so we thought) since my parents were homeschooling me and my siblings. It was at this church that I was introduced to the world of Christian hypocrisy at its finest. The pastor taught one thing from the pulpit but lived another way when no one was watching. The same for many families within this church as well. There were many "rules" of the church, but no relationships. I saw legalism at its finest. An attempt to emphasize the letter of the law over the spirit of the law. For instance, many dressed modest, no make up, only listened to conservative Christian music and courted instead of dated, etc. Yet these very same people gossiped, slandered and held unforgiveness and bitterness in their hearts. They were completely out of balance. Then my brother was diagnosed at the age of nine with leukemia while attending this church. Many things happened that were hurtful. One thing that stands out the most is when my mom tried to share our real needs during that difficult time and because she what she expressed did not match what they church wanted to do, she was labeled as having "gross ungratefulness". The pastor an his elder came to my parent's home while my brother was bed ridden to Matthew 18 (as they called it) my parents. There was even money given for us from another family during offering one Sunday and we never saw a penny of it (a friend of ours who was an usher that day shared that with us or we would have never known). Maybe we weren't allowed to receive financial help because we were being Matthew 18'd. Whatever the case may be were tired of the phony Christianity we saw there and so we left.

We went back to the church we had originally been going to. I continued at this church until I was married for a few years and could no longer handle the way they ran church like a buisness. It literally made my husband and I sick to our stomachs to set foot in the building. Sad, but truly how we felt. Then in 2009 my sister was sexually assaulted and one of the men who did it went to this church! My sister and my parents decided immediately to press charges and are met with opposition from the church. One of the assistant pastors calls my parents up and asks them to drop the case against this guy. Of course my family refused and my father was furious with the request. This church sadly was not interested in the truth, but only their reputation. To this day the pastors of this church have kept all of this a secret (as best they can).

By this time, my husband and I had been attending another church for quite awhile and were not feeling like we were getting fed at all. The people were nice but the sermons seemed more like milk than meat. We attempted to visit other churches and finally found one that at least seemed to preach some meat. We settled there for a little feeling kind of bad for moving our children from one place to another. But even there we were feeling restless. My husband and I talked about house church and what the church probably looked like in the days of the Apostles. We were pretty sure it looked nothing like the churches in America today. We started to search for house churches but could find nothing locally on the internet. We then began to think about starting our own church in our home. There was lots of thinking and praying going on at this time.

Then the unthinkable happened. Some "friends" from a previous church sent us an email saying that they could no longer be friends with us because we were not true Christians. Their reason for this accusation was one of the most hurtful things we had ever been told - it was because we were going through bankruptcy and foreclosure (my husband had lost a day a week at work for over a year, forcing us into some difficult situations and choices). They proceeded to say many hurtful things about how they pay their bills and take care of their family as opposed to us. The worst part was that one of these friends had just got back from a missions trip and was supposedly on fire for God! We were so hurt and devastated by this. In my human nature I reacted, spewing hurtful things right back, something I am not proud of and have apologized for since then. These people severed communication with us immediately and we have not been able to speak with them since then. When God finally got a hold of my heart about forgiving them I was ready to listen. I had been hurt by so many people who claimed to be Christians. I knew I wasn't suppose to look at people but at God. However, these people were really bearing "bad" fruit in my opinion. I began to think (as well as my husband) that if this is what Christianity was all about, I didn't want anything to do with it. At that time my husband and I decided we would no longer call ourselves Christians, but only Followers of the Messiah. I wanted to follow the Messiah in the Bible who said to love and to forgive and who said to be different than the world. This drove me into the Scriptures to figure out what a real follower of this Messiah should look like, act like and talk like. God really did a work in my heart and taught me what true forgiveness really looks like, feels like and acts like. I was given an amazing desire to forgive these Christians who hurt me and even felt like I should bless them with a gift. I obeyed YHVH's leading and I can truly say I have never felt more free in my life! It was a blessing to be able to bless them!

This new place that YHVH brought me to also brought me to a place of questioning what I had been taught in my many years in mainstream Christianity. I had always wondered why I had been taught that the Old Testament (OT) was done away with and no longer valid. However, these same people preached a 10% tithe that was suppose to be given to the church building you attend. If the OT was no longer valid, why did they choose to pull a tithe verse from it and make a whole doctrine out of it? Besides, the tithe of the OT was a tithe of food and agriculture to feel the Levitical Priests, the poor and the widows. There were many different tithes with a sum total of approx 30% and once again it was like a food pantry for the commonwealth of Israel. So why were preachers taking these verses out of context? And then why was I taught to obey all the ten commandments, but only the ten and none of the other OT commandments? And out of those ten commandments, I was taught to obey all of them except the fourth one, "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy". Why was I not taught to keep the Sabbath day holy? And then there was the question of Jesus' death. I was taught that He died and was buried on Friday and rose on Sunday. Matt 12:40 says that just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. Friday to Sunday is most certainly not three nights! Either Jesus was a liar or someone else is. I do not believe my Messiah is a liar so I chose the latter. That led me to question what else have I been taught from the pulpit or from other Christians that was merely man made traditions or man made doctrines?

I knew right then and there I had to empty my mind of all bias, preconceived ideas and all that I merely believed in the past without testing against Scripture. I began to study the Bible with a Hebrew mind instead of a Greek one and I learned so much! Its amazing what you learn when you read the Scriptures through the Hebrew lenses that the authors intended us to read them with. I discovered my Messiah was Jewish. I discovered that YHVH was unchanging. I learned that if the NT contradicted the OT, the problem was with the translator, not the Bible. I learned that I was adopted into His Jewish family. I learned that I was to be a set apart person. That is I looked "regular", "popular" or like the "mainstream" - I wasn't really set apart at all. I learned that it is the narrow way that leads to life. I learned that my Messiah told me to pick up my cross and follow Him and He wasn't joking!

I have so much more to learn, but I am so excited to be on this new journey. I feel so close to my Abba! I am delighted to honor Him on the Sabbath and I look forward to celebrating His feasts this year! I delight in His laws! "Give me understanding, that I may keep your law (Torah) and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments (Torah), for I delight in it." Psalm 119:34-35 I learned that David was a man after YHVH's own heart and Psalm 119 in almost every verse expresses his love for YHVH's commands (Torah). Oh that I might be like David.

I am learning alot in this journey. I may start to look very different in what I do and how I act (as a matter of fact, I think I already do), but this is the narrow way for me. I have learned the OT commands (Torah) were written on stone tablets, but then in the NT they were written on our hearts. Therefore if I preach all love, love but no commands (Torah), I am out of balance. And if I preach all commands, law (Torah) but do it without love, humility, gentleness, self-control, etc - then I am out of balance as well. I do not wish to be the Pharisees who looked wonderful outside but were nothing but rotting corpses on the inside. Yet, I also do not want to compromise - disregarding the commandments (Torah) and becoming lukewarm. I am excited to see where this journey will take me.

Thank you for letting me share my heart with you. May I always be teachable, always loving, always forgiving and always humble. This is my prayer:
"With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments." Psalm 119:10

May YHVH guide each and every one of you closer to Him. May you be able to leave behind anything He asks you to and follow Him. And may peace be upon you always! Shalom Alechem!

Why Do You Keep the Sabbath Day Holy?

This is a question that I have been asked and I am sure I will be asked in the future so I figured I would make things easier and just write a post about it. Why do I keep the Sabbath Day Holy? Well to put it simply... because YHVH says to!

Genesis 2:3, "So YHVH blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it YHVH rested from all His work that He had done in creation."

Exodus 20:8-10a "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your YHVH. On it you shall not do any work..."

Isaiah 56:2, "Blessed is the man who does this and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil."

Isaiah 58:13-14, "If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; If you honor it not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth. I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

Exodus 31:16, "Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever."

Isaiah 66:23, "From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord."

Matt 12:8, "For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath."

Mark 2:27-28, "And He said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath."

Hebrews 4:9, "So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of YHVH."

I could give you many, many more verses but I will stop there. The word Sabbath is found 169 in the KJV - 109 in the OT and 60 in the NT. Not only is it mentioned in both the OT and NT, but it is the fourth commandment of the 10 that were written on stone tablets. Why I was taught to obey all the other nine and not this one is beyond me. But from now on, our family is going to be obeying YHVH by keeping the Sabbath day holy!

A Perplexing Question

"For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
Matt 12:40 (ESV)

I believe what Yeshua says and I take what He says literally. He literally said that He would be in the grave for three days and three nights. So how come my whole life I was taught that He was buried on Friday and rose on Sunday? Do we suddenly lose our math skills when it comes to something like this? Friday to Sunday is only two nights!

Why does this matter some may ask. Well, let me tell you why. If He did not do as He said then that makes Him a liar and that means that He was a sinner and that He could not be the Messiah. Now my dear friends, I do not believe that. I believe that the Messiah is who He said He was. That He was in the grave for three nights and three days.

I am still studying, but based on what I have learned so far, it would appear as though Yeshua was crucified on a Wednesday and rose on the Sabbath (Saturday). Remember that when Mary went to the tomb.. "Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb." Matt 28:1 It appears to me that very early on Sunday morning Yeshua was already gone from the tomb. And just as He said, He was in the tomb for the three days and three nights!

Here is a time line that might help you understand it better to!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

His Name - YHVH

YHVH is a Tetragrammaton. The Hebrew language is a consonantal language, possessing no vowels. Vowels were pronounced but not written. They were transmitted orally from generation to generation. Most people today pronounce it, Yaweh, although that is only our best human guess at the pronunciation.

His Name, YHVH, I am יהוה. His name appears over 7,000 times in Scripture. Yet, His title is replaced in 99% of all translations.

Why was YHVH removed from most Bibles? Well, the Jewish people took the verses saying not to take His Name in vain, very seriously. They began to use the name Adonai in place of YHVH. Whatever the case, the removal of the Tetragrammaton probably created a different theological climate from that which existed during the New Testament period for the first century. The Jewish YHVH lost some of His distinctiveness with the passing of the Tetragrammaton.

Isaiah 42:8 says, "I am YHVH, that is My Name, and My esteem I do not give to another, nor My praise to idols."

That being said I am not being legalistic in implying that you can only use the name of YHVH and none other. I believe that He has many titles. But that is His distinct name. Just as I might be Ma'am or Mrs - but my real name is Rebekah.

I have found a wonderful translation called, The Scriptures, and it keeps all the sacred names in the text. I would recommend it to anyone seeking to dig deeper in their Hebrew roots.


I know this movie is a bit long, but well worth the time if you can watch it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Another Wonderful Explanation about the "Old" and "New" Coventants

A very good friend of mine has people always asking him about the "Old" covenant and the "New" one and so I thought I would share his explanation because I believe he says it so well and I believe the same thing.

"My explaination has to do with the "Old" and "New" Covenants. Since the Torah has definitely NOT passed away, and the heart of both of those covenants have not passed away, I believe both covenants are still in effect. Both are accomplising excactly what Elohim intended from their inception.

The only differnce between the old and new covenants is that the old covenant is Torah written on tables of stone, and the new covenant is Torah written on the "fleshy tables of our hearts".

So what can these covenants do or not do? First, what the old covenant cannot do is make us righteous. The problem is that the old covenant being written on tables of stone and not in our hearts cannot teach us to love YHVH with all our hearts or teach us to love our neighbor as ourselves, because it is external to us.

What the old covenant can do is provide a measure of our righteousness that we can see and understand so that we know we are NOT righteous, and are under the judgement of Elohim for our transgressions.

That is not a bad thing; it is a good thing. As Paul said, "I had not know lust unless Torah had said, 'Thou shalt not covet'". "By the Torah is the knowledge of sin. Unless the Ruach causes me to understand by the Torah that I am a transgressor I will never know that I need the Messiah.

Ps 19.7, "The Torah of YHVH is perfect; converting the soul".

Once I know that I am a sinner through the Torah of the old covenant I learn throught that same Torah that YHVH is sending a redeemer. That causes me to cry out in teshuvah (repentance) for the redeemer to save me.

At that point I am forgiven by faith in Messiah of my sins and his Torah is written on my heart. Since Torah is now in my heart the Ruach enables me to keep it, which is what is pleasing in YHVH's site.

The angel said, "You shall call his name Yeshua for he shall save his people from their sins. If sin is trangression of Torah, and I continue to violate Torah then what has Yeshua saved me from?

In I John it says, "Be not deceived; he that DOETH righteousness is righteous". It is not those who SAY they have "received Christ" that are truly saved, but those who have actually received Messiah by the Ruach, have had YHVH's Torah written on their hearts, and are walking in the righteousness of Torah that are saved.

We are saved by faith in Yeshua alone, but Yeshua's salvation is salvation from sin.

A good tree CANNOT bring forth evil fruit."

The law has been a contentious issue among believers for hundreds of years. How we, as New Covenant believers, relate to the Law and how the Law relates to us is very important. There is a balance that we need to achieve between legalism (that is, seeking to be justified by the Law) and lawlessness (that is, not having any law or a false idea of liberty that leads to transgression of the Law).

And I must add, it is true that we are no longer "under" the law. Instead, that same law has been written in our hearts. Jeremiah 31:31-33

The Old Testament Laws are obsolete?

I have had several people quote me the following verses as reasons why the commandments of the Old Testament are obsolete.

Mat 22:34 But the Pharisees, having heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, were gathered together,
Mat 22:35 and one of them, one learned in the Torah, did question, trying Him, and saying,
Mat 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah?”
Mat 22:37 And יהושע said to him, “ ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’
Mat 22:38 “This is the first and great command.
Mat 22:39 “And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
Mat 22:40 “On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”

(The following is a friend's response which I wanted to share)

"In my opinion someone who uses this as an argument against Torah is not being honest with the language. What does it mean on these two commandments "hang" all the law and the prophets?

If we use a simile we could say that to hang the Torah ...and the Prophets is like hanging a dress on a manikin. Why do we hang a dress on a manikin? So that we can tell what the dress looks like when someone wears.

Or we could say hanging the Torah and prophets was like having muscles on our skeleton. What does that do? It causes us to be able to stand upright and makes our muscles much more accurate and useful.

What would our skeleton be without the muscle? A pile of bones.

What would our muscles look like without the skeleton? A big blob.

Without the love of the two great commandment the Torah and the prophets have no real definition or meaning?

Without the Torah and prophets the two great commandments have no power?

The two great commandment were made to go with the Torah and the prophets. The are integrally entwined.

There is a Christian song that says "Lord we praise you because of who you are. Not because of all the mighty works you've done". My question would be, "Who would YHVH be without His mighty works? Would any of us be saved if he was just a great guy, but never acted on His greatness?"

Just the same love without the commandments is meaningless. Faith without works is dead."

I do not believe for one second that the laws of the OT are done away with because of this passage. The Pharisees were asking what were the greatest commandments, not what were the only commandments. Big difference!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Apostasy in the Church

"Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [Jesus' return] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction," (2 Thess. 2:3, NASB).

Apostasy means to fall away from the truth. Therefore, an apostate is someone who has once believed and then rejected the truth of God. Apostasy is a rebellion against God because it is a rebellion against truth. In the Old Testament God warned the Jewish people about their idolatry and their lack of trust in Him. In the New Testament the epistles warn us about not falling away from the truth. Apostasy is a very real and dangerous threat.

The verse at the top of the page tells us that there will be an apostasy that is associated with the appearance of the Antichrist. Most Christians are looking for the arrival of the Antichrist, but very few are looking for "the apostasy" that must come first. The arrival of the Antichrist cannot occur until sufficient apostasy has happened in the world. The Antichrist, who is the ultimate of liars, cannot abide in a world where the truth of God's word is taught. This is why the Bible says that the apostasy will come first and then the Antichrist will be revealed.

Therefore, we must, as Christians, ask this question, "Is there an apostasy occurring in the Christian church today?" Some would say no and others yes. But, as we look for the arrival of the Antichrist, should we not also be looking for the arrival of apostasy? And where else should we first look but in our own house for the Bible tells us that judgment will begin in the house of the Lord (1 Peter 4:17).

If there is indeed an apostasy occurring in the Christian Church, we would not know it unless we first examined the Bible closely and then compared the Church to the Word of God.

As quoted above, there is a prophecy in 2 Thessalonians about a coming apostasy that is associated with the disclosure of the anti-Christ.

"Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [Jesus' return] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction," (2 Thess. 2:3, NASB).

Have you been looking for the coming of the anti-Christ? Are you waiting for him to pop up on the world scene? If you are, are you also looking for the related apostasy? Most Christians are looking for the anti-Christ but are not looking for signs of apostasy.

The Bible is God's word and it tells us what is right and wrong. To the degree that anyone disagrees with the truths of God's word, to that same degree they are falling away from it. What, then, might be some of the signs of apostasy?

Apostasy is all around us in varying degrees. As Christians, we need to be very sure that we are clinging to the truth of God's word and resisting the inclusion of liberalism, moral relativism, and the oncoming secularism that is all around us. We need to stand on the word of God and never be ashamed of the truth of the Gospel:

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek," (Rom. 1:16).

Monday, February 7, 2011

The 10 Commandments or the 10 Suggestions?

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV)
1 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.
3 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
4 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
5 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
6 “You shall not murder.
7 “You shall not commit adultery.
8 “You shall not steal.
9 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10 “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.”

The Fall of Babylon

Revelation 18
The Fall of Babylon
1After this I saw(A) another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and(B) the earth was made bright with his glory. 2And he called out with a mighty voice,

(C) "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become(D) a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt(E) for every unclean spirit,
a haunt(F) for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
3For all nations have drunk[a]
(G) the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and(H) the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and(I) the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living."

4Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,

(J) "Come out of her, my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues; 5for(K) her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and(L) God has remembered her iniquities.
6(M) Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,
and repay her(N) double for her deeds;
mix a double portion for her(O) in the cup she mixed.
7(P) As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
since in her heart she says,
(Q) 'I sit as a queen,
I am no widow,
and mourning I shall never see.'
8For this reason her plagues will come(R) in a single day,
death and mourning and famine,
and(S) she will be burned up with fire;
for(T) mighty is the Lord God who has judged her."

9And(U) the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her,(V) will weep and wail over her(W) when they see the smoke of her burning. 10(X) They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,

"Alas! Alas!(Y) You great city,
you mighty city, Babylon!
For(Z) in a single hour your judgment has come."

11And(AA) the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, 12cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, 13cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.[b]
14"The fruit for which your soul longed
has gone from you,
and all your delicacies and your splendors
are lost to you,
never to be found again!"

15(AB) The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her,(AC) will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,
16"Alas, alas, for the great city
(AD) that was clothed in fine linen,

in purple and scarlet,
adorned with gold,

with jewels, and with pearls!
17For(AE) in a single hour all this wealth(AF) has been laid waste."

And(AG) all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18and(AH) cried out(AI) as they saw the smoke of her burning,

(AJ) "What city was like the great city?"

19And they threw(AK) dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out,

"Alas, alas, for the great city
(AL) where all who had ships at sea
grew rich by her wealth!
For(AM) in a single hour she has been laid waste. 20(AN) Rejoice over her, O heaven,
and you saints and(AO) apostles and prophets,
for(AP) God has given judgment for you against her!"

21Then(AQ) a mighty angel(AR) took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,

"So will Babylon(AS) the great city be thrown down with violence,
and will be found no more;
22and(AT) the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,
will be heard in you no more,
and a craftsman of any craft
will be found in you no more,
and(AU) the sound of the mill
will be heard in you no more,
23and the light of a lamp
will shine in you no more,
and(AV) the voice of bridegroom and bride
will be heard in you no more,
for(AW) your merchants were the great ones of the earth,
and all nations were deceived(AX) by your sorcery.
24And(AY) in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,
and of(AZ) all who have been slain on earth."

Who is this great whore of Babylon?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Are You Jewish?

This is a question that I have started to get and I realized it might be best answered on my blog. No, I am not a Jew by blood (at least not that I know of). I am simply a follower of the Jewish Messiah and I seek to honor Him in all my ways. If I am following my Messiah (who was Jewish) then some of my ways might look pretty Jewish. That is to be expected if I follow the Master. I dont call myself a Christian, A Messianic.. none of those labels suit me. I prefer to identify myself as a Follower of the Messiah only. I have spent the past few months seeking answers to questions I always had and finding amazing truths that I had never known before. I have discovered that some of the things I had been taught were not founded in Scripture and I also discovered that there are many things in Scripture that I was not taught. I am so grateful that Yahweh has brought me to a place of truly seeking Him with my whole heart. Never before I have felt such a deep connection to my Savior. I literally feel as though now I am walking in His footsteps.

I have taken an excerpt from the website “Following the Ancient Paths” to further explain my new path since she says it well.

…HaShem chose specific people to be His special treasure, the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Through these people He intended to make Himself known to all the world. He instructed them how He had created them to live and how to know Him. We have the record of these instructions in the Torah, often referred to as the Pentatuch. Torah means “instruction” and His instructions are recorded for us in the first 5 books of the Bible. He called His chosen people for a purpose and made them holy, meaning He set them apart from the rest of the people, so that through them He would be made known in the world. Scripture records for us how these plans have played out time and again. People who were not born into the family of Abraham would see the goodness of the G-d of Israel and be drawn to Him. They were grafted in, adopted into the family, from as early as the Exodus from Egypt. We have examples of Caleb, Rahab, Ruth and many more. This is how it was always intended: His light would shine through His chosen children and draw others to come and serve Him. This concept is not new to Christians because we remember that we are grafted into the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by our faith. Shaul (Paul) teaches that the mystery of the Gospel is that Gentiles are accepted, considered fellow heirs with the Jews, based simply on their heartfelt faith. We, for our part, are strongly warned not to become arrogant and forget that it is we who are grafted into them and this is the reason Shaul was a prisoner in chains. Shaul knew full well that the grafted in Gentiles would grow in number to such an extent that there would be more young children (in faith and understanding) than adults (in faith and understanding) and that if the children didn’t honor and respect their elders, we would stray off course. He also was very aware of the workings of the Adversary within the body of believers, our current struggles with the Church are certainly not new ones.

So, we are grafted into Israel. What does that mean? What did that mean to the Shaul (Paul), his fellow leaders and to his intended audience in the first century? It means that we are the ones who converted. What did we Gentiles convert to? In the days of the Apostles there were many different sects of Judaism, just like today there are many different denominations of Christianity. We can read in Acts 24 that the Jewish leaders of the day accepted the growing movement of believers in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah as a new sect of Judaism. It wasn’t only the leaders in Jerusalem that understood this, but the leaders in Rome understood this as well. It is also important to understand that Shaul (Paul) never forsook his place in Israel as a Jewish Pharisee, he held to the strictest of traditions and teachings through his entire life. Shaul never converted to anything nor did he create a new religion, he simply accepted that Yeshua IS the long awaited Messiah and shifted his discipleship from the prominent Gamaliel (highly revered even today) to Yeshua. Had Shaul created a whole new religion he would be worthy of stoning according to HaShem’s very teaching in the Torah. Any prophet that would come and lead the people away from HaShem or His teachings was a false prophet. What Shaul did do was rise to the position of a leader in this new sect of Judaism, a sect that accepted Gentiles with open arms based on their faith in Yeshua and not a series of rituals. Shaul wanted the new converts (us) to hold fast to the teachings and the traditions that he taught and modeled for us. We can see in historical records that there was always a remnant of Messianic Jewish believers (whether they be Jew or Gentile). This early movement never died, though it was greatly suppressed. Today Christianity is beginning to remember that she has a root in Israel and the implications of this memory brings startling consequences. Today people are beginning to really look at why it is the Church isn’t mentioned at even once in any of the Prophets – because we are grafted into Israel.

I am an adopted child of Yahweh! I am so grateful!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

But What About the New Testament?

I was raised in a home that taught that there was an old covenant and new covenant. The Old Testament was done away with and the New Testament was what was relevant for us Believers now. This meant to me that the OT was the old ways, old laws and the old version of God. And now were under new ways, new laws and a new version of God. Yet, I was always taught that God was unchanging. The same yesterday, today and forever! "For I am the Lord, I do not change." Malachi 3:6 This is something that has always perplexed me. Sure we used some of the OT stuff like the 10 commandments and then a few stories here and there. But honestly, the focus was all on the NT.

Let's first remember that we have assigned the names "old" and "new" to our current Bibles. The "old" testament was really called the Tanakh and it was the Hebrew Scriptures containing the Torah, the Writings and the Prophets. This Tanakh was all the "New" testament apostles, teachers and believers had to read from, learn from and obey. The NT is a compilation of the Gospels and letters written to various churches from various apostles. The New Testaments was not compiled until around 100AD. All 27 books were first officially recognized in a letter written right before the beginning of the fourth century. With this in mind we must be careful to read the NT through the eyes of the Tanakh and not the other way around.

So what about the new covenant? I believe a better translation of the word would have been "renewed". There is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:9). In this renewed covenant we no longer have to keep all the law (Torah) in order to attain and maintain salvation. Our Messsiah died on the cross, becoming the perfect sacrifice and becoming the mediator between God and us. The law has not been done away with, but it has been fulfilled. Yeshua is the fulfillment of that law. We are now saved by faith through grace and out of a love for our Messiah, we obey His commandments (Torah). Jeremiah 31:31-33 makes the first mention of this renewed covenant. He says that YHWH will write His commandments on our hearts. He never says He will do away with the commandments (Torah). Most of the NT contains direct quotes of things in the OT. It is very obvious when reading the NT through the lenses of the Tanakh, that the NT only confirms and never contradicts what is said in the OT. The OT contains our foundation (Torah). It shows us the character of God. It is the measuring stick by which we measure everything else we read in the Bible. We cannot build a strong house without a good foundation. I had never thought about this before a few months ago.

So where does the NT tells us to obey Torah? (which has been translated into law,commands or commandments) Let me share with you just a few.

Matt 5:17-19, "Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth shall pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

Matt 23:1-3, "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, the scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you -- but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice."

John 14:15, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

John 14:21, "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me."

John 15:10, "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love."

John 15:14, "You are my friends if you do what I command you."

Acts 28:23, "When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets."

Romans 7:12, "So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good."

Romans 7:22, "For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being."

Hebrews 13:7-8, "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

Heb 10:16, "This is the covenant that I will make with them, after those days, declares the Lord; I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds."

1 John 2:3-6, "And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him; whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked."

1 John 3:24, "Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us."

1 John 5:2-3, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome."

Rev 12:17, "Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea."

Rev 14:12, "Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus."

I ask you to no longer read the Scriptures with a Greek mind, but with a Hebrew mind. In reading the Scriptures with a Hebrew mind you will better understand the Jewish authors and your Jewish Messiah.

2 Peter 3:14-17, "Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found with him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also once wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity, amen."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What is the Torah?

So now that I have shared with you that I am a Torah Observant Follower of Yeshua, you are probably thinking "What in the world is the Torah?". Please allow me to answer that as best as I can.

The Torah is the Law of Moses. Specifically, it is the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This is the "law" that Paul often spoke of in his epistles. Paul used the Greek word 'nomos' to translate the Hebrew word 'torah'. Torah comes from a Hebrew root word that is used as an archery term meaning "to take aim, to shoot", such as shooting an arrow in order to hit a target. Is is derived from the Hebrew verb 'yarah' - to cast,throw, shoot. The essence of this word then is "to hit the mark". The Torah is God's aim for us. Do you see the picture? The Torah is the target for which we aim our arrow. When our shot misses and falls short of the target, we have sinned. Sin is missing the mark of the Torah. Torah is God's standard for righteousness. Sin is our failure to hit that mark. (Rom 3:23, 1 John 1:3, Psalm 19:7) There is a point at which the Torah aims. The bull's-eye of Torah, the careful aim of Torah is the perfect Messiah. This is why Paul wrote in his epistle to the Romans, "Messiah is the end of the law (Torah)" Rom 10:4. Unfortunately, traditional Christian interpretation misunderstood Paul's words to mean that Messiah is the cancellation of the Torah. The Greek of Romans 10:4 is best understood to mean that the Messiah is the "goal" of the Torah. The Greek word 'telos', which is translated as "end", is the same word we use in English words like telephone, television and telescope. Telos implies arrival at a goal. The sound of one's voice on the telephone arrives at the goal of the telephone on the other end. That reading fits the context of Romans 10:4 as well. Messiah is the destination at which the journey of Torah arrives. Torah does not just mean law, it also means

Oftentimes, believers avoid Torah because they are afraid of falling into legalism. But obedience is not legalism. If keeping the Torah were necessary for salvation, we would all fail because "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", Rom 3:23. The Torah was never meant to be the means by which a person could earn his salvation. Legalism says, "I must obey God in order to be saved." Grace says, "I must obey because I am saved."

The Torah can be likened to the foundation of a house because it is the initial revelation of God. Books like Proverbs continually exhort us to turn to the Torah. The Psalms praise God's Torah and urge us to keep His laws.The Epistles are an extension of Yeshua's teaching, but they rest on the foundation of Torah. Even the book of Revelation is Torah-based. It contains seemingly endless allusions to the Torah and speaks of the triumphant over-comers as those "who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Yeshua". Consistency with the Torah is the litmus test of scriptural authenticity. To fully understand God's word, we must read the Gospels and Epistles through the lens of Torah. Only when we start with the beginning of the book will we fully understand the middle and the ending. When the house rests on a solid foundation, it is unshakable.

Torah is more than just legal formulations; it is the revealed person of God dressed in laws and commandments. It is His spoken word written down, His self-disclosure to the world. When one realizes that Torah is God's self-disclosure to the world, one must also recognize the enormous gravity of declaring parts of that same Torah null or void. As soon as we begin to discard commandments, we have begun editing God. We have started reshaping God into an image we deem more appropriate. When we try to change the Torah or do away with a commandment, it is actually God we are trying to change or do away with. Outside observers should be able to look at the Torah-observant life and discern in it several truths of godliness. Deut 4:5-8 says that when Israel lives out the Torah, the world will see God.

Jeremiah's prophecy of God's Torah being written on the hearts and minds of men and women has not yet been fully realized. Redemption is a process. The Torah is being written on our hearts, but none of us have arrived yet. For this reason, we are still very much in need of Yeshua. Consequently, we are still very much in need of the written Torah. It remains the only standard we have to measure our errant hearts against. A living copy of the Torah is being written on our hearts. This inner Torah does not negate the written Torah. Instead God's Law is suppose to become a moral reflex for us, a new Natural Law. which enables us to walk in genuine obedience. To the extent that we do so, we are living lives like Messiah. This is what is means to be transformed by Messiah.

James calls the Torah the "perfect law". (James 1:22-25) Remember, the Torah is a soul mirror. For believers, the Torah is not a sterile list of rules. It is a written version of our inner identity - Messiah.

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?..." 2 Cor 13:5 (ESV)

There is a Torah-Observant, Jewish guy dwelling in you!!!

"Coming Out"

I am sure the title of my post has some of you holding your breath. Wondering what in the world I am going to say. I thought this title best described my decision to tell friends and family about the change in some of my beliefs. I have always loved the Messiah and believe He died on the cross for my sins, rose on the third day and ascended into Heaven and will one day return again! These core beliefs have not changed and never will. I will be sharing these changes with you over several posts.

In my search for authentic living, the way the Messiah intended His followers to live, I discovered a wealth of information that I had never known before. I want to share what I have learned with you and share my heart. I know it may not be popular, but the Messiah was not popular. My desire is just to share my heart, share my adopted Jewish heritage and then pray that you would seek God (YHWH) with all your heart and keep an open heart to what He might be trying to tell you.

A dear friend gave me a wonderful book called, "Restoration: Returning the Torah of God to the Disciples of Jesus". I am so grateful for her kindness and generosity in giving me that book. I gleaned so much from that book that I will be sharing with you in this post. I also have studied the Scriptures with a new founded fervor and a deep hunger to know who my Messiah really is. YHWH has opened my eyes in so many ways, in ways only He can do and I have been so blessed. I hope what I share with you is as much of a blessing to you as it was to me.

We Gentile Christians have in some ways misunderstood and misapplied the Gospel because we have been ignorant of the Jewish origin and Torah context of the Gospel. The Jewish people have lived in exile since the age of the Apostles. So has the Gospel. But the time is nigh for the exile to come to an end. Moses foresaw a time of restoration. He foresaw a time when the people of Israel would return from exile and turn back to the commandments of God. "And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I commanded you today" Deut 30:8.

New Testament scholars are returning the Gospel to its Torah context and reconnecting it with its Jewish origins. In the days of the Apostles, Christianity was not yet a separate religion from Judaism. An honest reading of the NT from a biblical-Jewish perspective makes it clear that the first century church never thought of herself as separate and excluded from Judaism. Rather, she considered herself as part of the whole of Israel. She never imagined herself as replacing Judaism. She might have conceived of herself as a reform within Judaism, but not as a separate entity. Jesus was actually a Jewish teacher of Torah (first 5 books of the OT). His Hebrew name - that is, His real name - was Yeshua. He kept the Torah, taught the Torah, and lived by the Torah. He taught His disciples to keep the Torah in imitation of Him. He argued with teachers of other sects of Judaism. He denounced the Sadducees, rebuked the Pharisees and brought correction to errant teachings, but He did not institute a new religion, nor did He cancel the Torah. Instead, He sought to bring restoration to the ancient faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. His followers, the Apostles and the believers, also remained within the parameters of normative, first-century Jewish expression. They met daily in the Temple. They congregated in synagogues. They proclaimed the Scriptures of Israel. They kept the Biblical festivals, the Sabbaths, the dietary laws and the whole of Torah as best as they were able. When non-Jews began to enter the faith through the ministry of Paul of Tarsus, they too congregated in synagogues and embraced the standards of biblical Judaism. They understood themselves as "grafted in" to Israel and made citizens of the larger "commonwealth of Israel".

History then began to change things. The Jewish war gave rise to the politics of anti-Semitism. Emperor Vespasian followed up the Jewish War by imposing a heavy, punitive annual tax upon all Jewish households in the empire. He determined Jewish households as those who worshipped after the Jewish manner. With the addition of the Fiscus Judaicus tax, Gentile believers had financial, political and cultural incentives to distance themselves from Judaism. By the time second century began, anti-Jewish sentiment was SO high in the church that most non-Jews no longer wanted to be identified with Jews at all. Theologically, the church leaders decided that the Christian church had replaced the Jews as the true Israel of God. They decided that they were now the true people of God, and that Jews were consigned to damnation and everlasting cursedness from God. By the time Constantine converted to Christianity and declared it the official state religion, most of the Jewish elements were gone. Constantine made the divorce from Judaism final with the Council of Nicea (325 CE). His official policy regarding Torah observance is expressed in his words: "Let us have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish rabble." The Council of Antioch (341 CE) prohibited Christians from celebrating Passover with the Jews, while the Council of Laodicea (363 CE) forbade Christians from observing the biblical Sabbath.

As time went on, and the Dark Ages began, the Christian church turned violent toward the Jewish people. Synagogues and holy books were burned, whole communities were slaughtered. Jewish men and women were tortured - all in the name of Christ. The pages of church history are stained red with the spilled blood of the Jewish people. Then along came the Reformation. What the various Protestant reformers have failed to recognize about the first-century church is that she was Jewish. Yeshua, the disciples, the first believers, the worship system, the Scriptures, the interpretation of the Scriptures, the teaching, the vernacular and even the very concepts of faith and grace, Messiah and god were all patently Jewish. Any attempt at church reformation, ant attempt to return to the original NT church falls short as long as it refuses to acknowledge the essential Jewishness of our faith.

The modern-day Jewish roots movement is born out of an intersection of things. The Holocaust, the formation of the State of Israel and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls all combined to spark a complete renaissance in the way that early Christianity is studied and understood.

After reading about my Messiah and His religion.. I realized that I needed to go back to my Jewish roots. I was adopted into His family and I was ignoring His commands to me, His Torah. I now consider myself a TOFY - A Torah Observant Follower of Yeshua. In my next post I would like to share with you what the Torah is and how it applies to us today. I had never really studied the Old Testament, simply because it was "old" - old news, old laws.. nothing in there applied to me I was taught.. oh well except for the Ten Commandments. But anyway, the more I studied the more I realized that not only was the OT for me, but it was relevant for everyone. When Yeshua was on the earth and He taught from the Scriptures and He taught us to obey His laws and His commands, He was teaching us from the OT. The NT did not begin to get compiled until 90AD and some of the letters from the Apostles did not get added until two hundred years after their death. This made me look at things in a new way, a new light.